|On the cover|
Tunnelling Towards Hope
|28 February - 6 March 2014|
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.
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.
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.
|What's On Archive ¹ 22|
15 June - 21 June
Welcome Sir Elton!
English legend plays Maidan to raise AIDS awareness
Just a Minute
On the Sofa with...
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
This week I'd like to invite readers to participate in a little social survey of sorts: simply ask your Ukrainian friends and colleagues if any of them have ever been voluntarily tested for HIV/AIDS and see what kind of reaction you get. If my experience is anything to go by, the general response will be one of embarrassed discomfort and mild offense, with most of those you question taking it as a direct accusation that there is something wrong with them. The point here is that in the Ukrainian popular perception AIDS remains very much stuck in the shadows, a dirty little problem which only poses a threat to drug users, gays and prostitutes and should not be spoken of in polite company. This flies in the face of the facts, which show that the country is currently the worst hit in Europe and on the verge of an epidemic. It also raises the question of just when Ukrainian society will finally wake up to the crisis it is facing, and whether it will be too late. Events such as this week's free Elton John concert will certainly help to keep the issue in the public eye, but while the efforts of international superstars are to be applauded it was no surprise to find Orthodox Church leaders bleating on about the singer's ungodly ways prior to the concert and distracting attention from the rather urgent matter at hand. This brand of deeply ingrained conservatism helps prevent Ukrainian society from dealing with the AIDS problem in an open and effective manner and keeps the country trapped in an outdated moral straightjacket that is increasingly at odds with the population at large. When combined with Post Soviet short-termism the result could prove disasterous. An emerging nation like Ukraine can ill-afford the kind of burden that a large population living with AIDS will place on the country, but the painful truth is that the prudishness and denial which overshadow current efforts at prevention could end up costing Ukraine dearly.
|Dynamo Bring the Title Home! - Whats Up?|
There were scenes of jubilation last week as local heroes Dynamo Kyiv regained the Ukrainian Premier League title which they last won in 2004 with a convincing 3−1 home triumph over Kar− paty Lviv. The most successful side in the history of the Soviet championship have dominated the Ukrainian national league since its inception in 1992, winning twelve of the sixteen seasons outright, but for the past two years deadly rivals Shakhtar Donetsk have won the championship in tightly fought title races, leading to calls for a complete overhaul of the Dynamo squad. Last week’s victory secures the 2006−2007 championship for Dynamo and clinches their seventh Ukrainian league and cup double. The win will ease pressure on under fire Dynamo trainer Ana− toli Demyanenko, who was widely criticised for the side’s inept Champions League campaign this season which saw Kyiv concede a record number of goals in a series of drubbings before finishing bottom of the group and crashing out of the competition. Rumours of the imminent ap− pointment of a top foreign coach, whispered to be Swede Sven Goran Eriksson, had been gaining currency around the Ukrainian capital, but club president Ihor Surkis will now likely keep faith with former backroom boy Demyanenko, who was part of the coaching staff during the reign of the legendary Valeri Lobanovsky. The impetus will now be on the trainer to build on this domestic success and take Dynamo back to the top table of European football after years in the doldrums that have seen Kyiv’s UEFA rating slip and left the club’s fans increasingly restless.
|Euro 2012 Latest - Whats Up?|
Ukraine has offered to help Poland meet its shortfall in construction labourers and experts as part of the two countries’ efforts to prepare for their joint hosting of the UEFA 2012 European Football Championships. The games will beheld in June 2012 in both countries and the next five years will see huge building works undertaken to get infrastructures up to scratch, with motorways, hotels, stadiums and more in the pipeline. Ukrainian authorities working on the games hope to be able to entice large numbers of Ukrainian citizens home from Western Europe, where they are currently employed as migrant construction workers, while Poland has seen a huge outflow in builders following a relaxation of border controls in the wake of EU membership in 2004. This week sees Ukraine get their preparations for Euro 1012 underway in earnest with a summit meeting of representatives from the six potential host cities, with Odessa and Kharkiv joining the four guaranteed hosts Lviv, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk at a planning meeting in the capital where major construction works will be under discussion.
|Monument Cements Cultural Ties Between Colour Revolution Nations - Whats Up?|
Last week witnessed the unveiling of a new monument to Georgian national poet Shota Rustaveli in Kyiv on the street named after the literary great at a ceremony attended by both President Yushchenko and his op− posite number Georgian supremo Mikhail Saakashvili. The two former Soviet republics have developed close bilateral ties follow− ing the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia and 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, both of which saw Western−leaning lead− ers triumph over corrupt Moscow−backed regimes thanks to mass popular support. “Today Ukrainians and Georgians sense that they have much in common. Both na− tions value freedom,” offered Yushchenko. The ceremony follows on from last year’s un− veiling in Tbilisi of a monument to Ukrainian national bard Taras Shevchenko.
|Xenophobia Concerns - Whats Up?|
The United Nations refugee agency this week urged the Ukrainian government to take all pos− sible steps to stem what was termed as a rising tide of xenophobic violence in the country. There was rising concern following the death of an Iraq asylum seeker on 3 June, with UNHCR spokes− man William Spindler calling on the Ukrainian au− thorities to ‘increase their efforts to put an end to these attacks and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.’ The spokesman said that since 2001, when the agency first voiced concern after a refugee from Rwanda was beaten to death outside his house, the UNHCR office in Kyiv has been ‘receiving on a regular basis reports of ra− cially motivated incidents, attacks, beatings, and other acts of xenophobia’ throughout the country. Ukraine has suffered a spate of ethnic minority killings in the past year leading campaign groups within the country to call for a change in legisla− tion to recognise racially motived crimes, but the planned mass anti−racism rally scheduled for April was postponed indefinitely due to political unrest. Many commentators are concerned that the rise in racial assaults is linked to neighbouring Russia, where extreme nationalism is thought to have led to over fifty racially motivated murders in the past year alone.
|Fake Medicine Fears - Whats Up?|
As Ukraine struggles to meet the criteria for WTO membership the problem of counterfeit medicines has presented a stumbling block, with five product recalls issued this year alone and government attempts to curb the trade hampered by endemic corruption. Experts have pointed the finger at Russia, frequently ranked as one of the world’s biggest produc− ers of counterfeit medicines, as among the main providers of phony medicines in Ukraine and throughout the EU, but a lack of legislation in the former USSR dealing with such offenses has meant cracking down on the trade is prov− ing harder than anticipated. Press agency AFP reported that last year a company owned by a member of the Russian Duma was accused of counterfeiting and taken to court, but the pun− ishment meted out was mild, with the company receiving a 1500 US dollar fine. Ukrainian com− panies are thought to be keen to keep the lid on the scale on the problem and Kyiv sources claim it amounts to just 3% of all medicines sold in Ukraine, but the World Health Organi− sation has claimed that the real figure could exceed 20%, making it a serious threat to the entire country. Ukrainian legislation is currently unable to deal effectively with the problem, and medical workers trying to fight the flow of counterfeit medicine typically complain that it is very hard to get an investigation going, but with WTO membership high on the agenda this issue is likely to become more widely debated later this year.
|Book Baron Ivan Malkovych - My Kyiv|
Ivan Malkovych born in Hutsul Ukraine in the Carpathian Village of Nyzhniy Bereziv in 1961, is an outstanding Ukrainian poet and founder of the children’s publishing house`A-Ba-Ba-Ha-La-Ma-Ha`. Despite the high cost of publishing in Ukraine and many difficulties face along the way, Malkovych’s hard work and enthusiasm has made a great success of his project with its books topping the charts in Ukraine and being sold in countries such as the UK, the US, South Korea, Australia, Hungary and Croatia.
|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|
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.