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¹7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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Kyiv Culture

Kyiv’s “New Normal”

Kyiv has become a tale of two cities. One is a fortress likened to those built in medieval times, but surrounding the barricades is the second city, one living in the (albeit post-Soviet) 21st century. In the centre’s “fortress” protesters mix with the curious, shoppers, and workers on their lunch break or daily commute to and from work, it has become normal – a “new normal”. Away from the centre and life for many goes on unchanged. Two cities, two attitudes, What’s On looks at the dichotomy.

For a magazine with an entertainment and event focus we cannot ignore the biggest show in town at the moment – EuroMaidan. Whether it enjoys a relatively short run or will continue to play in the weeks and months to come remains to be seen. What is clear, if you put “the cause” to one side, is it has changed life on a practical level, for some...You may have noticed the word “cancelled” stamped across various announcements in these pages. While the cancellation of some events were a given, others seem over-reactionary. For the most part, life goes on in the city, albeit with an explosive centre that has a fuse just waiting to be lit.

Life Outside The Barricades
There were the obvious cancellations. With the commandeering of the “yolka” and subsequent occupation of the centre, it was clear the gluhwein and other goodies would not be on offer through the festive season. Then, one-by-one, spooked international acts began to pull the pin on upcoming performances. Shows in venues close to the epicentre of EuroMaidan action have become unpredictable – they are either on or off.
Away from the larger-scale events, Kyiv’s arts set still raise their champagne flutes to toast the latest exhibition opening in city galleries, fashionistas still air-kiss at the unveiling of a new collection, business people and other movers and shakers are back at those well-lubricated soirees they like to call “networking”, and movie premieres still attract an A–Z list of celebrities. In fact, due to EuroMaidan spanning the festive season, Kyiv’s social whirl could be said to have simply resumed as usual following the winter break. The events people attend to “see and be seen” continue as they always have. For ordinary citizens it is also life as usual. They go to work, meet for drinks afterwards, go to restaurants, see movies, and flock to the malls. Those of Kyiv’s citizens who are tuned-in to EuroMaidan may have added visits inside the barricades to their usual routine, but there are those who are completely tuned-out.
Welcome to Kyiv’s “new normal”.

Defining The New Normal
The tuned-out briefly tuned-in along with the rest of the world when in response to anti-protest laws announced on 16 January – a standoff between protesters and police began three days later when a pitched battle between protesters and Berkut riot police erupted on Hrushevskoho Street, adjacent to the ongoing EuroMaidan. There were injuries and deaths. The deaths provided a sea-change, they provided something every revolution needs: martyrs and symbols. EuroMaidan was peaceful no more and people were galvanised across Ukraine.
It was as people had been when the first makeshift barricades went up on Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti almost two months earlier in the days after a police crackdown on 30 November. People from all over Ukraine converged on Maidan, bringing everything needed to live in military conditions. It was a novelty at first that soon became routine. Events on Hrushevskoho Street brought renewed vigour to EuroMaidan and the city centre became a fortress.
However in the month following the peak of the clashes, things settled into that same familiar holding pattern – a Cold War. The standoff was dominated by rhetoric and propaganda in what amounted to a type of psychological attrition rather than any action. It’s the new normal for now, yet as proven before and now as we go to print, EuroMaidan can escalate – fast.

by Jared Morgan

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    Ukraine Truth
    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

    Pulling Strings
    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.

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