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On the cover
¹7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard – and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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What's On Archive ¹ 20

¹20/2007
1 June - 7 JuneWedding Season
Ukrainian Marriage Traditions Explored as Kyiv Enjoys the Summer Bride i Groom Boom

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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

For years after the collapse of the USSR the most overused word among the international community in Ukraine was 'potential'. The sheer size of this land, its enormous natural riches and wealth of human resources seemed to have placed Ukraine on the very cusp of greatness. With the shackles of foreign oppression finally removed there appeared to be nothing now preventing the country from occupying its rightful place at the top table of European nations. This idea of Ukraine's enormous potential dominated everything from the literature of glossy country reports and investment guides to the small talk of diplomatic gatherings. There was simply no escaping the potential of the place, as everyone kept pointing out. We currently appear to be at the peak of yet another of these upswings in Ukraine's 'potential' curve, with the country drawing unprecedented investment interest from all over the world and business ticking along very nicely despite the ongoing crises. This is not a bad position to be in, of course, but unfortunately it is also partly responsible for the current debacle. Put simply, all this talk of potential has gone a long way to clouding the judgement of the political classes, who have long since taken the wealth of Ukraine and its huge importance in the wider world for granted and, rather than work to build up a functioning parliamentary democracy, have instead set about defending their slices of the carve-up. Such complacency assumes that the country's potential will inevitably be realised, which in Ukraine flies in the face of history. After all, in the very first chronicle of ancient Kyiv the local princes made the following appeal to the Rus: 'Our land is great and rich, but there is no order in it. Come to rule over us.' In other words, all this talk of potential is actually well over a thousand years old and counting. The question remains of how long the world is going to wait for Ukraine's self-evident potential to mature into something a little more concrete.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson,
Editor


Essential Guide to Ukrainian Wedding Traditions! - Cover Story

Summer is well and truly here and as tradition would have it, the arrival of warm balmy days marks the beginning of the wedding season here in Ukraine. From now until September you will see scores of lucky couples accompanied by a flotilla of shining white limousines surrounding every Kyiv landmark as the bride and groom use them as backdrops for their wedding photos. Ukrainian wedding traditions are rich, steeped in history and often very different from those in the West. So here at What’s On we decided this would be an ideal time to fill you in on the dos and donts of getting married here.



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Political Allies Pose as Football Fans - Whats Up?

Ukrainian football has long been the preserve of the king−making oligarchs but the domestic league has rarely seen a power play as significant as the appearance last week of soon− to−be dismissed Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun in the Shakhtar Donetsk royal box next to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and the country’s richest man club owner Rinat Akhmetov. Political survivor Piskun is a holdover from the Kuchma era who was reappointed to the post of Prosecutor General by President Yushchenko as the current political crisis heated up one month ago in a bid to remove Yanukovich’s influence over the Prosecutor General’s Office. The move backfired last week when Puskin publicly backed the working of the Constitutional Court and criticised Yushchenko’s decision to remove three judges before making his appearance at the big Shakhtar Donetsk vs Dynamo Kyiv showdown. Yushchenko reacted almost immediately, waiting until the following morning before passing a decree removing Piskun from office and initiating a new stage in the on−going political crisis which saw state security forces loyal to both President and Prime Minister battling for control of the Prosecutor General’s Office amid claim and counter−claim of attempted coups and threats that renegade officials would be made to face justice and answer for their actions. Interior Minister and former Soviet collective farm director Tsushko came in for particular criticism following his order for ministry troops to storm the Prosecutor General’s Offices, with Defence Minister Anatoli Hrytsenko fuming, “as a minister, as a politician, Tsushko has cut short his career. I am confident he will face a criminal investigation in the near future.” Interior Ministry troops have since been placed directly under the orders of President Yushchenko to reduce the threat of violence flaring up in the capital in support of the various political parties involved in the negotiations to set a date for snap parlia− mentary elections.


Return of Kuchma’s Infamous Rocket Man - Whats Up?

Former Kuchma era Minister of Defence Oleksandr Kuzmuk made a surprise return to the Cabinet last weekend as the political stand−off entered a new phase with Interior Ministry troops placed under the control of President Yushchenko following violent scenes featuring rival uniformed loyalist bat− talions fighting it out for control of the Pros− ecutor General’s office. Kuzmuk’s appoint− ment as Deputy Prime Minister for National Security and Defence was being interpreted as a move to counter President Yushchenko’s dominance of military structures. Kyuzmuk is best remembered for having been in charge of the military when the army accidentally launched a rocket against a block of flats in Brovary and then later for having been ulti− mately responsible when in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York a Ukrainian ground to air missile destroyed an Israeli passenger plane, killing all on board. These twin tragedies earned Kuzmuk the nickname of ‘Rocket Man’ and led to him becoming widely associated in the popular conscious− ness with the perceived incompetence of the Kuchma era.


New Girl for Prince of Orange? - Whats Up?

The tabloid press was buzzing last week with rumours that President Yushchenko’s scandal−prone eldest son Andriy has left his long time girlfriend Anya Pavlovskaya for blonde bombshell Diana Merinova of 69 pop group fame. Twenty one year old Yushchenko jnr. first hit the headlines in the wake of the Orange Revolution when his taste in forty thousand dollar mobile phones and luxury cars raised eyebrows among a population which had brought his father to power on the back of prom− ises for a society governed by justice and decency. It later emerged that the young Andriy also owned all the copyrights to the brands and slo− gans associated with the Orange Revolution, enraging the public further and undermining the President’s moral standing. Since then the coun− try’s leading ‘Major’ has kept a low profile, but media interest remains high and the press has latched onto this latest tale of love with relish. President Yushchenko is said to have disapproved of former girlfriend Anya due to her high society lifestyle complete with an alleged 50,000 dollar a month stipend from her wealthy uncle, but it is not clear how thrilled the head of state will be with rumours currently circulating that the new love interest in Andriy’s life is Diana, a former topless glamour model and member of unpretentious pop duo ‘69’. Diana is four years older than young Andriy and has been a friend of the president’s son for some time, although when confronted with the allegations that they are now a couple she played down their relationship somewhat, comment− ing, “I’m not his girlfriend and never was. We are just friends. He’s an interesting and cute guy but I never thought of him as a man.”


Hot New Rockers in Love with Kyiv - My Kyiv

Tokyo front man Yaroslav Malyj was born in Ukraine and although he now lives in Russia, he never makes any secret of his deep admiration for Ukraine, its beautiful women and soulful people. While visiting the Ukrainian capital recently to perform a concert, he met with What’s On to share his impressions of the city, his feelings towards his music, and his sources of inspiration



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Sir Elton to Give Free Charity Concert! - Coming Soon

Sir Elton John in Concert, 16 June, venue to be confirmed
The one and only Sir Elton John is coming to Kyiv to perform a charity concert aimed at rais− ing AIDS awareness. Organised by Ukraine’s number one socialite couple Elena Franchuk and Viktor Pinchuk, the legend of British pop, whose string of hits spans five decades dur− ing which he has sold more than 250 million albums, will stage a special one−off concert where he will play some all−time classics such as Rocket Man, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, I’m Still Standing, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and many many more. This is a one off event that should not be missed. At the time of going to press the venue has still not been finalized, but it is expected to be one of Kyiv’s central squares. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted!!!!


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Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didn’t Know We Had

Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer­sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they don’t understand the meaning of these words.


Kyiv Culture

Pulling Strings
Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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