|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 37 (2007)|
12 October - 18 October
Loboda Turns Photographer
Svetlana Loboda launches her first photo exhibition
Take me out!
|From THE EDITOR (37) - Editorial|
Big name bands coming to Kyiv are sporadic at best. Last year saw the Black-Eyed Peas set foot in the country for the first time, and The Prodigy return for a second time, but this year the city hasn’t really seen any major acts come to town (except of course Elton John, but that was a free charity gig), and the rather dismal turnout for George Michael and the collapse of the Roger Waters and Rolling Stones concerts had many thinking further acts might stay away. But they were wrong! Just like marshrutkas, you can wait ages for one and then a couple come along at once, and this week the capital of the country will play host to two major acts – indie rockers Muse and big beat dance act the Chemical Brothers. Muse, a progressive rock band renowned for their frenetic performances, first hit the stage in the UK in 1992. Their heavy guitar sound combined with their sweet melodies have made them a very popular band all over the world, and their biggest hit to date is a hard rock version of the Nina Simone hit ‘Feeling Good’ that has to be heard to be believed. Following closely on their heels at Kyiv’s Sports Palace are the Big Beat dance duo, the Chemical Brothers. These two formed at Manchester University when the city was at the very forefront of world dance and rave culture. Immersing themselves in the rave scene, they soon emerged as producers with an ear for a good beat, and a catchy melody to run over the top. One of the forerunners of ‘live’ dance sets, the Chemical Brothers backed up their music with spectacular live shows. Both these acts offer the best when it comes to live acts – quality music backed up with entertaining shows – and both fall into categories of music much-loved by Kyivites (the same might not be said for George Michael) so let’s hope for sell-out performances for the two of them which will encourage other acts to follow in their footsteps and make it easier for promoters to sell the city as a venue. Kyiv is well and truly stamped on the world map when it comes to classical music and culture, and it has a quality and thriving local music scene. The only thing it currently lacks is its name on the list of dates for when global acts go on world tour, so let’s all hope the Chemical Brothers and Muse change that, and more big name bands are ready and willing to follow.
Neil Campbell, Editor
|Chornobyl Becoming Tourist Hotspot - Whats Up?|
You’ve heard of adventure tourism, and you’ve heard of extreme tourism, but now thrill-seekers are taking things into a whole new, not to mention highly questionable, arena – disaster tourism. Yes, it would appear that those looking for a little more from the holiday experience than simply a massive adrenalin rush from the likes of freefall parachuting, rock climbing or white-water rafting are making trips to disaster areas to wallow in other people’s misery, and Chornobyl is topping the list. For some time now, the scenes of some horrific atrocities such as the World Trade Centre in New York, or Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland have been on the must-see list for many tourists. Many of them, of course, simply want to pay their respects, but there is no doubt some do so out of a morbid curiosity. And it’s not just the independent traveller forging a new path to a different type of vacation experience. It wasn’t long after the winds died down and the waters subsided that tour operators in the States started organising tours to the areas of New Orleans worst affected by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and for some time now, tour companies have been zipping travellers into radiation suits, arming them with Geiger counters, and bussing them into the exclusion zone around Chornobyl nuclear power station.
|Latest Winter Holiday Hotspot - Whats Up?|
The summer sun is fading as the year grows old, and many people are now looking forward to a winter holiday in the snow. When it comes to buying a winter holiday home, the traditional resorts in Western Europe are losing out to Eastern Europe, and Ukraine is fast becoming one of the main hotspots. With the price of property and ski services becoming impossibly expensive in resorts like Val-d’Isere or Innsbruck, more and more people are looking to Eastern Europe when it comes to buying property close to the slopes. For many years now, ski resorts in Bulgaria such as Bansko and Borovets have been experiencing a massive building boom as investors have been looking to snap up relatively cheap property in these towns. But as prices there escalate in line with demand, those looking for a truly exceptional deal are having to look elsewhere, and many are turning their steady gaze on Ukraine’s majestic Carpathians.
|Birthrate Up in Five Oblasts - Whats Up?|
It’s not often you see birthrates exceeding death rates in a post-Soviet country. Since the USSR fell apart, Ukraine’s and Russia’s populations have fallen in a way that’s alarming even by the standards of Europe, which in general is in demographic decline. But a baby boom of sorts is precisely what some parts of western and central Ukraine are now seeing. The Justice Ministry announced last week that five oblasts saw more newborns than deaths in the third quarter of 2007. In Zakarpatska oblast the birthrate was 119%; in Rivne, 117%; in Volyn, 110%; in Lviv 100.7%; and in Kyiv, 108%. In total, over the course of July, August and September of this year, precisely 113,638 babies were born and 155,759 people died. Experienced Ukraine-watchers will understand that the fact that these regions tend western might not be an accident. Ukraine’s west is more religious than the rest of the country, and was less influenced by Soviet culture. The result is that what American politicians call ‘family values’, including a stress on the importance of baby-making, are more engrained there.Meanwhile, the same data identifies those regions of the country where deaths most dramatically outnumber births: Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts, where the death rate is 220%.
|More Train Trouble in Ukraine - Whats Up?|
Travelling by train in Ukraine is a very economical and fun way of getting around, but it is also becoming more dangerous. Following on from the derailment in July in Western Ukraine of a cargo train carrying phosphorous, two trains crashed head on at a station on the Dnipropetrovsk region on Sunday 7 October, leaving one railway worker dead. The collision occurred after a passenger train entered a section of track where a 39-wagon freight train loaded with coal was heading in the opposite direction. Three coal cars derailed along with both locomotives of the passenger train, an overnight express from Sevastopol to Kyiv. Traffic running in both directions through the major transportation artery was delayed for as much as 6 hours. It was not clear whether a stoplight was working at the time, according to accident investigators.
|Yushchenko Hobnobs with Clinton - Whats Up?|
In a meeting reminiscent of his ‘victory tour’ of the western world after the Orange Revolution, President Yushchenko materialised last week in Paris, where he hobnobbed with French President Sarkozy and former U.S President Clinton in a photogenic show of macho collegiality. The post-election timing might have struck skeptics as ominous. The last time Yushchenko publically buddied it up with world leaders was winter 2005, when the new president, glowing from the Orange Revolution’s success, decamped for Western capitals to accept head-pats and collect awards. The display helped establish Yushchenko’s image as someone who wanted to cultivate European and U.S. powerbrokers more than he wanted to run Ukraine, and his government started to fall apart immediately afterward. In Paris, Yushchenko reaffirmed Ukraine’s European orientation in the same optimistic language he used back in 2005. He also called for negotiations with the Party of Regions, toward dividing up power with the Yanukovych camp. This served to remind observers that, while Ukraine’s president rubs elbows with the global elite, there’s important work to be done back home. From Paris Yushchenko flew back to Kyiv, perhaps worried that Yulia Tymoshenko was putting something over on him in his absence.
|Kyiv Cinema Screens Antonioni Classics - Kyiv Culture|
Tired of the crass Hollywood product that typically floods Kyiv’s movie theatres? Then head over to the Kyiv cinema, where films by legendary Italian modernist director Michelangelo Antonioni will screen through 19 October.
|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.