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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

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 EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys 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.


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.


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.


What's On Archive 38 (2007)

38 (2007)/2007
19 October - 25 OctoberLiving Life to

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From THE EDITOR (38) - Editorial

While lying in bed Saturday morning nursing a hangover after a very late night out with friends in a popular Kyiv nightspot (which included a rather interesting and amusing sojourn in a London taxi cab), I was disturbed by a rather strange gurgling, slurping sound with a slight hint of a whistle. Mildly disoriented, it took me some time to locate the source of the intrusive racket that gnawed slightly at my aching head. Of course, with the sudden drop in temperature from one day to the next just prior to this, I should have known what the sound indicated, but as I say, I was mildly dazed and confused. The noise, needless to say, was the hot water being pumped for the first time this autumn into the communal heating system. Having been undertaking a remont in my apartment that has been going on since March, I was suddenly rather excited and rushed to turn on the valves to the new radiators I'd had fitted during the summer. It came as little surprise to me that they didn't work as they should have, as little does including a broken telephone cable plastered into the wall, eight broken or wrong-size baths delivered from Epicentre (yes, eight!), and a shutting mechanism on the new double glazed balcony door that intermittently falls off, but that's by the by. For me, what is fascinating is the centralised heating system itself. Personally, I'm all for it. I think it's great that people should be secure in the fact that the basics in life will be provided for them at an affordable price, and that the elderly and infirm in the country can keep warm without having to worry about escalating bills. However, I can't help question the method of pumping hot water through miles and miles of pipe, and a complete lack of a means to control the temperature in any apartment meaning that some inhabitants boil even with all the windows open, while others need to back up their heating with electric fans and such like. The wasted energy must be humungous, and it seems to me it might have been better to provide everyone with a little gas boiler and a thermostat or two, but that's not the way it is and I am left with so many questions about it all. Where do they heat the water? How hot does it have to be when it leaves the heating station? How cold does it get by the time it reaches the apartment buildings at the end of the line? How much energy is lost every night with the hot water lying in the pipes? We are going to look into it all, and we will let you know soon. In the meantime, winter's coming - stay cosy.

Neil Campbell, Editor

Shanghai University Opens Ukrainian Programme - Whats Up?

During her visit to the 2007 Special Olympics Summer Games in Shanghai on 2-6 October, First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko also met with the rector of the Shanghai University of International Relations, which has just opened a Ukrainian language department. The What's On team caught up with Mrs. Yushchenko on the plane back to Kyiv and talked to her about what it means that Ukrainian will now be studied in China's financial capital.


City Will Spend Bundle on Monuments - Whats Up?

Who says Ukraine isn't taking its preparations for the Euro-2012 soccer tournament seriously? As reported in the media last week, the city is planning to spend a cool 1.4 billion hrv, or $280 million, on sprucing up the capital's monuments and historical sites before the football-mad European hordes start flooding into Ukraine five years from now. Even if you're not a football fan, this massive renovation will strike you as good news for a city that's often as shabby as it is, under the grimy and crumbling facades, extremely lovely. Three tsarist-era fountains will be rebuilt, on Lva Tolstogo, European and Sofiyivska squares. A fair number of structures in charming, tumbledown Podil will also go under the scaffold, including the Birth of Christ church on Poshtova Ploscha, and the Church of Sts. Konstantin and Elena on Frunze.


Yulia Blames Government for Explosion - Whats Up?

Last Sunday a gas explosion ripped through a ten storey apartment block in Dnepropetrovsk killing 14 and injuring dozens, raising the ire of Yulia Tymonshenko who lashed out at the government and the privatised gas company, Dneprogaz. "The government is to blame 300%," she stormed. "The city gas company, Dneprogaz, is also to blame and they will be taken to account." According to the leader of BYuT, the city's gas company recently reduced its technical equipment and staff in order to cut costs. Tymoshenko went on to say that as well as providing immediate assistance to those affected by the blast, such companies should either be returned to public ownership or stringent technical procedures be legally imposed upon them which would prevent private owners from compromising safety in the name of profit. Dneprogaz was privatised in the mid 90s and is controlled by Complex Energy Systems Company belonging to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

 Neil Campbell

Intercontinental Coming to Ukraine - Whats Up?

The United States' InterContintental Hotels Group announced last week that it's taking its act to Ukraine and Russia, intending to open 16 hotels of various types in the two countries by 2010. It remains unclear how many of those facilities Ukraine will get. But even a few will make an impact in this hospitality-starved country, where only in the last several years have international hotel chains started setting up shop. The advent of new hotels like the Radisson and the Hyatt has been a boon for Kyiv, filling in the market space between expensive luxury facilities like the Premier Palace on the one hand and gloomy former Soviet hotels on the other. But the Radisson and the Hyatt are still geared to corporate travellers, leaving observers of Kyiv to hope that the Intercontinental group brings to the capital some of its more moderately-priced brands, like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo, thereby relieving non-business visitors to Kyiv of the hassle and occasional indignity of renting apartments.


Travel Prices to Rise in Ukraine - Whats Up?

Ex-pats still annoyed about the dollar's recent drop in value are in for another not entirely pleasant surprise starting with the beginning of November: that is to say, those ex-pats who get paid in dollars. With the beginning of next month, airlines at Boryspil airport will start denominating their fares in euros rather than in dollars, in accordance with an International Air Transport Association decision to unite Ukraine with the so-called "Eurozone" when it comes to flights. Prices for other services at Ukraine's expanding international airport-fuel, taxis, and so on - will also start being named in the European UNI0N's currency. This will mean an immediate cash loss for anyone who has to change wads of the currently faltering U.S. greenback into euros. But there's more, given that it reportedly remains unclear how the cross-over from currency to currency is going to happen, practically speaking. In at least one recent news report, a representative of Ukraine's travel industry voiced suspicions that airlines will simply change the dollar signs to euro signs in their computerised reservation systems. Given that as of this writing a dollar buys only 70 euro cents, that means that ticket prices will become about 30 percent more expensive overnight. News reports also claim that airlines have already tried to effect the dollar-to-euro switch when it comes to their contracts for charter flights to top winter vacation destinations, but were beaten back for the time being by tour operators who thought they were being gouged, with good reason. The currency switch is ultimately a positive sign, as it means that Ukraine is integrating a little more fully into the European economy. But that will be small compensation for dollar-clutching ticket-buyers and airport service users who are suddenly ponying up what could be drastically higher fees.

Audrey Slivka

Splashy Pop Trio Release New Video - Cover Story

XS is the clothing size favoured by models, so its no surprise that a pop group with that name should consist of girls who resemble them. But XS isnt just a bunch of pretty faces who look good on TV singing their latest catchy pop confection. Have a chat with them, and youll find that theyre quite nice and very hard-working. Lena, Natasha, and Anya practise their singing and dancing every day, and their goal is to establish themselves as respected figures on the Ukrainian pop scene, and not just be another girl-pop group in a country stuffed with them.


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Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didnt 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 dont 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 childrens 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. Whats 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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