|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 28|
27 July - 2 August
DJ Killer Sister Headlines at the big What’s On Ibiza XII Beach Party this weekend!
Just a Minute
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
Nineteenth century British politician Benjamin Disraeli once famously commented that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. If he were to find himself in today’s Ukraine he could quite conceivably add a fourth to the list: opinion polls. In the past few months the great Ukrainian public has been bombarded with such an avalanche of so-called public opinion surveys covering intended voter patterns for the forthcoming parliamentary vote that it makes you wonder what all these thousands of pollsters do when there’s not an election campaign on. The divergence of results also raises the question of whether they should be accorded any credibility at all, and more importantly invites observers to consider what the underlying motives are behind this statistical chicanery. Such tools are part of the armoury of the Political ‘Technologs’, that curious breed of spin doctor which emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet collapse and continues to hinder the growth of grass roots democracy across the former USSR through spoiling strategies as diverse as they are nefarious. I first saw the use of such questionable opinion polls during the mass falsification of the 2004 presidential elections, when teams of Russian hirelings were employed to produce exit polls supporting the official rigged figures in a classic attempt to preempt the inevitable international polls demonstrating that the election had been stolen. This time round the tactics are not quite so unsophisticated, which demonstrates that even the Technologs themselves accept Ukrainian democracy has moved on, but nevertheless the appearance of endless dubious polls is evidence of the immaturity of democratic culture in Ukraine and illustrates once again the need for continued vigilance.
|Bulging Bodies on Display - Picture Perfect|
Kyiv welcomed the participants of the First European Sports Games last weekend, with disciplines including everything from Sumo Wrestling to Motor Sport. The Body building contest drew big biceps from all over the continent! For more on this sporting sensation turn to this week’s Kyiv Life section (pages 36-43).
Photography: Maria Bykova
|Disappointing Dynamo Draw Despite Brazilian Brace - Whats Up?|
A double strike from Dynamo Kyiv’s new Brazilian hitman Michael (pictured, left) failed to prevent the Ukrainian champions from stuttering to their second draw in two games as the domestic 2007-8 season’s second round of ties last weekend suggested that we may finally be about to see a closely contested title race. Dynamo had earlier drawn their opening game against arch-rivals Shakhtar Donetsk and faced Arsenal on Sunday in the Kyiv derby. They looked to be in a comfortable position at 2-1 up until Arsenal managed to squeeze an injury time equaliser, leaving Dynamo supporters shattered and the underdogs overjoyed. This was not the first occasion to cheer for Arsenal in the past few weeks, as the club has recently been saved from bankruptcy by the deep pockets of Kyiv powerbroker Vadim Rabinovich, who took on the club’s debts after Kyiv City Administration officials refused to continue financing the side, and with coach Oleksandr Zavarov at the helm the team have declared European football as their target for the season.
|Missing Minister Finally Returns to Ukraine - Whats Up?|
Under fire Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko returned to Ukraine last week following extended treatment in Germany for an alleged heart condition that came conveniently in the wake of the storming of the Prosecutor General’s Office in late May which brought the spring 2007 political crisis to a climax and paved the way for a deal to allow parliamentary elections on 30 September. Many observers dubbed Tsushko’s German trip a short-term political exile, but the man whom President Yushchenko has vowed to punish is now officially back in Kyiv, where he will participate in meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers before going on holiday somewhere in the south of Ukraine, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Konstyantyn Stogniy. Tsushko left Ukraine after an incident which saw the pro-presidential State Guard and ‘Berkut’ Special Forces clash at the Prosecutor General’s Office following the dismissal of then-Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun. Months of political tension almost came to a boil when the Interior Minister defied the president’s dismissal order and sent in ‘Berkut’ troops to defend the Prosecutor General who remained in his office while protestors gathered outside.
|Fifa Considering Regional Leagues for East Europe - Whats Up?|
Last week saw many of Eastern Europe’s footballing bigwigs gather for a conference in Neuchatel, Switzerland to discuss the idea of creating international super leagues incorporating the top sides from the domestic leagues of the region. The initial focus for this novel idea is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the former Yugoslavia, where six former republics now have their own leagues and where a merger already exists incorporating the top basketball teams of the region. If successful the move could be replicated to boost the ailing domestic game throughout Eastern Europe and bring increased competitiveness instead of the current domination of individual leagues by a handful of big name clubs. The downside is that for the scheme to work any regional league would have to offer Champions League places at the expense of the various national leagues, but while former UEFA president Lennart Johansson was a consistent opponent of anything that even hinted at damaging individual leagues, new UEFA supremo Michel Platini has made it clear that one of his major objectives is to narrow the gap between Eastern and West European football, and he is thought to be in favour of the idea of regional leagues if it will help create some sort of parity.
|Kyiv Band Top Chart at World Music Website - Whats Up?|
Ukrainian pop music became truly global this week when Kyiv band, Abanda Shake, led the ‘Top Band’ poll on the website for music lovers, Myspace. Beating off competition from all over the world, including many very famous bands, Abanda Shake has created a unique sound they call ‘Global Pop’ which has got web surfers in a spin. The band consists of two artists – singer Natali Dali (pictured) who writes the melodies and lyrics and musician Dimitris Krist who composes the music. These multi-talented Ukrainians perfectly mix pop rhythms with catchy hooks, and this along with the wonderful voice of singer Natali with her stunning ice-maiden looks have created a virtual furor that has spanned the world!
|Security Services Warned Ministry of Ukrainian Railway Crash Risk - Whats Up?|
As panic spread through Ukraine following the 16 July toxic spill after a freight train crashed in Lviv oblast, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced they had warned Ukrainian Transport Ministry in June that a huge number of defects to the rail infrastructure posed a serious risk of causing a serious accident. The report, which was provoked by a May crash involving a Dnipropetrovsk express passenger train which Transport Minister Mykola Rudkovsky suggested could have been the result of terrorism, followed an in-depth investigation by SBU employees and stated that up to 50% of the national railway transport infrastructure was in poor condition and in need of repair, with the risk of a serious incident high. However, the near continuous politically motivated personnel changes within the Transport Ministry and the subdivision responsible for Ukraine’s railways over the past few years has made it difficult to assign responsibility to officials and employees charged with guaranteeing safety and no action was taken prior to the 16 July crash, which saw dangerous chemicals leaking into the environment following a six wagon fire that forced officials to evacuate large parts of the surrounding countryside and resulted in thousands of local residents seeking health checks and hundreds being hospitalised.
|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.