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On the cover
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.


Whats Up?

Whats Happening to the Hryvnia?

For months now weve all been treated to a very stable hryvnia. When the new government came to power, it gained a little against the dollar and has been sitting nicely at around 7.9 ever since. This has led pundits and journalists alike to view it optimistically and theres been many a recent article saying it should gain more ground over the coming months.

But last week it slipped a little and as we go to print, exchange offices on Kreshchatyk are now listing a buy price of 7.93 to the dollar and a sell price of 7.97. The NBU has now said that while it will not allow any sharp fluctuations in the currency, they admit days of a stable currency are in the past.
The first signs of distress appeared on Tuesday last week when interbank bidding opened 7.9095/7.919 to the dollar and closed at 7.947/7.962 a record high for several months. According to the NBU, excessive demand for the dollar was the reason for the sharp fall. The growing demand for the dollar on the interbank market was due to large currency purchases by Naftogaz Ukraine, which is a common occurrence at the beginning of every month as it buys dollars to settle accounts with Russias Gazprom. For example, last Tuesday Naftogaz finished paying for gas supplies in August by transferring $711 million to Gazprom. Most of the currency requested was directly satisfied by the NBU. Another reason for the increased demand was that a number of major importers bought dollars in order to close out foreign economic contracts, Oleksiy Kozyrev, Director of the Treasury at Kreshchatyk Bank is quoted as saying.
Ironically, another likely and very important reason for the fall could well be due to currency speculation as local profiteers began to hoard dollars on reports that the hryvnia would strengthen and they can sell later at a bigger profit.
Analyst at Phoenix capital Oleksandr Lozoviy said an increase in imports is also a factor. We forecast that import growth will exceed the rate of export growth by around 5% based on this years results. This means that in the future the demand for hard currency among importers will be significant, he said.
Apparently, the fall could have been much sharper had the NBU not intervened by selling $79 million on Tuesday. All exchange rate fluctuations on the interbank market are virtually stress free as they do not exceed 0.5%. We will not allow sizeable fluctuations of the exchange rate in the future. However, market speculators must realise that the market is vibrant and reacts to all signals. Slight fluctuations on the currency market confirm its transition to a floating rate mode, said Valeriy Lytvytskiy, head of a group of advisors to the NBU.
There is also some indications that, while generally things are improving, many Ukrainians fear a second wave of the economic crises largely due to reports from the west of ailing economies and the introduction of austerity measures, and they are putting their changing their cash to dollars as security.
The truth is, that no one knows quite what will happen in the future, and this just goes to show once again that reports of a strengthening currency can have the opposite effect.

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Comments (4)
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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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