|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 23|
22 June - 28 June
Ukraine Against Racism
Kyivites Unite this 26 June for an Anti- Xenophobia Demonstration on Maidan
Just a Minute
On the Sofa with...
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
There has been more than enough written over the past few years on the subject of how divided Ukraine is as a nation, so perhaps it is time to turn the discussion on its head and consider exactly which characteristics apply to the entire nation and could be said to be typically ‘Ukrainian’. What, in other words, unites the people of this massive land? One of the traits which I have always personally associated with Ukraine is the wonderful hospitality of the people. Whether I find myself deep in the Donbass or up in the Carpathians, the welcome has always been hearty and genuine regardless of which language it is in, and has usually been accompanied by a refreshing lack of chauvinism. Such sentiments were on show again last weekend, when President Yushchenko sat very publicly alongside Elton John’s husband during the star’s Maidan gig, demonstrating just how friendly, tolerant and open-minded today’s Ukraine can be. All this makes the recent spate of xenophobic violence and attacks on foreigners all the harder to comprehend, and I can only conclude that it has been the work of a bitter fringe intent on preventing the overwhelming decency inherent in Ukrainian society from prevailing. The tragedy here is that the evil intentions of a mere few could override the goodwill of the majority by making Kyiv an uncomfortable place for international visitors and blackening the country’s name abroad. Thankfully for the time being the image of Ukraine remains one of an emerging nation with much to offer the outside world, and both foreign and Ukrainian readers can help contribute to this positive perception by participating in this week’s anti-racism demonstration on 26 June (see page 5 for details). A really big crowd will send an emphatic message to the haters that ordinary Kyivites are appalled by their xenophobic violence while demonstrating to an international audience that Ukrainians are proud of their hospitable traditions and are not prepared to allow an isolated minority to bring shame on the country.
|Kyivites Unite to Oppose Rising Tide of Xenophobia - Cover Story|
This week sees a major protest in downtown Kyiv designed to attract attention to the growing problem of xenophobic violence in Ukraine. Aggressive nationalism is thought to be on the increase in Ukraine, where the economic hardships of the Post-Soviet years have fed resentment among many young Ukrainians who see a future without prospects amid a growing foreign presence in the country. The relaxation of Soviet-era border controls over the past fifteen years has facilitated the creation of a large international community in Ukraine for the first time, providing nationalist extremists with a scapegoat for their frustrations. The end result has been an increasing number of racially motived attacks and killings in the Ukrainian capital over the past eighteen months which has provoked alarm among human rights groups and led to calls for the authorities to introduce legislation directly targeting xenophobia. Despite widespread popular opposition to the violence this week’s protest will be the first public demonstration against the extremist fringe and organisers hope that it will help draw public attention to a problem that is threatening to undermine the country’s positive image internationally and scare off potential investors.
|Le Spiderman is Coming to Kyiv! - Whats Up?|
The most famous skyscraper scaler in the world Frenchman Alain Robert is coming to Kyiv. As a boy this cartoon-inspired stunt man fell from 15 metre height and ended up in a five-day coma, but within a year Alain had recovered and was determined to scale ever higher heights. “Every person creates barrier ahead of themselves, but luckily we always have the power to break through them. Sometimes our aims may seem unachievable but it is vital that we maintain belief in ourselves and pluck up the courage to cope with any difficulties,” he says. Alain has already conquered over seventy buildings all over the world and he is looking forward to reaching new heights. This veritable Spiderman will be in Kyiv as part of Kyiv Star’s ‘Communication for the Future’ campaign and the French legend promises to climb a 70-meter Ukrainian skyscraper (located at 53 vul. Dehtyarivska, near to Beresteyska Metro Station) using nothing but suction pads. Fans of the webbed wonder who want to see the real thing should head there on 25 June at 10.00.
|Free Speech Hetman Departs – Who Will Replace Shuster? - Whats Up?|
Ukrainian free speech Hetman Savik Shuster, who was until recently the host of popular TV show Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech) on ICTV Channel, has confirmed that he will be switching to Inter TV Channel. He will now work on a BBC format project along the lines of the smash hit ‘100 Greatest Britons’ on Inter Channel, focusing on historic Ukrainian personalities. Viewers can expect to catch ‘Great Ukrainians’ this autumn. Komersant-Ukrayina newspaper reported that Inter had proposed Mr. Shuster a monthly fee of more than double the USD 50,000 he was getting paid for his political debate show. Mr. Shuster played down the financial side of his decision and explained the switch as a career move motivated by a desire to push the boundaries of his professional abilities. “I am grateful to Viktor Pinchuk for daring to start Svoboda Slova, but I need to develop and that is impossible on a small channel like ICTV,” the TV presenter explained. The big question in Kyiv now is who will replace Shuster as host of Svoboda Slova, with whispered rumours claiming that top Russian journalist Leonid Parfyonov, the man who was Moscow’s most popular political pundit until the Kremlin’s clampdown on free speech forced him off the air in 2003, is in the frame to take over. Parfyonov’s arrival would represent a huge coup for Ukraine’s free post-Orange media and a major blow to Russia’s image regionally, but ICTV producers were quick to play down the chances of Parfyonov’s arrival, despite the presenter’s very public presence in Kyiv last weekend, where he was pictured attending the Elton John AIDS awareness concert. ICTV bigwigs claimed instead that the top three candidates are Andriy Kulikov of the BBC Ukrainian Service, Serhiy Rahmanin of Dzerkalo Tyzhnya (‘Mirror of the Week’) Newspaper and Vitali Haydukevich of 1+1.
|Bulgarians to the Black Sea Rescue! - Whats Up?|
A Ukrainian man has been rescued after spending more than two weeks adrift in a boat in the Black Sea following an unlikely rescue by a Bulgarian cargo ship. Mykolayiv oblast resident Leonid Kostiuchenko set out to deliver a boat to a new owner on 1 June but suffered mechanical failure and soon drifted off without a radio or mobile phone. Luckily the ship was equipped with reserves of salt and water and he was able to ration his twenty litres to see him through a heatwave approaching 40 degrees. An air search was conducted but with no success and hope was fading when the Bulgarian seamen came to the rescue some 170km west of the Khersonese peninsula in Crimea.
|EU Visa Breakthrough? - Whats Up?|
A Ukrainian delegation visited Luxemburg last Monday where the 11th session of EU – Ukraine cooperation Council took place, with the big news being that an agreement on easing the visa and readmission process between Ukraine and EU was signed. Under the provisions of the agreement journalists, business travelers and people with family in the EU will all benefit from simplified process and should be eligible for five-year multiple entry visas from now on.
|Satire for Isolated Moroz - Whats Up?|
A campaign entitled ‘Let’s help Mr. Moroz find a job’ was launched last Monday with a parade in downtown Kyiv where participants invited interested parties to write suggestions of where Parliamentary Speaker Mr. Moroz might find a job following what most commentators see as a guaranteed end of his political career after the Autumn elections. The deputy head of the youth wing of Our Ukraine Oleksiy Hrytsenko said, “We have come to the Verkhovna Rada in order to present two chairs to Mr. Moroz and Mr. Martynyuk (Deputy Speaker). They behave like children. We give them these presents to calm them down and encourage them to take a break.” Moroz, who many regard as a traitor for breaking ranks with Orange forces last summer to form an unholy alliance with Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions, has been at the centre of opposition to the forthcoming elections, not unreasonably fearing a total collapse in support for his discredited Socialist Party. “I categorically oppose early elections, and I do not hide it” Moroz commented last Monday.
|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.