Lviv Opinion

Good or Not – Bitter Harvest is a Must-See Movie

Issue 99, March 2017.
Let’s get this out of the way right now – if you are a foreigner that lives or spends any amount of time in Ukraine, you have to see Bitter Harvest. The Canadian-made movie about the Soviet-manufactured famine in Ukraine in the 1930s has polarised the critics, but that shouldn’t stop you from this cinematic treatment of a subject integral to Ukrainian-Russian relationship that is not widely known in the Western world. The film tells the story of two star-crossed lovers struggling to survive the Holodomor, a genocidal famine in Ukraine caused by Joseph Stalin’s collectivisation policies. The film labours to be as meaningful as other cinematic treatments of horrific wartime atrocities, such as Schindler’s List’s take on the Holocaust or The Pianist’s portrayal of the Warsaw Uprising. Bitter Harvest doesn’t quite live up to it’s subject matter though, reminding viewers more of Passendaele – another Canadian wartime movie about a famed World War I battle. Both movies have $20 million budgets and plots that, despite the important subject matter, fail to sufficiently impact viewers. Despite this – or perhaps because of it – the films are required viewing. Good or not – Bitter Harvest is a must-see movie.

The Amazing Ukrainian Woman

Issue 98, February 2017.
Ukrainian women have long been acclaimed for their physical beauty. Even in the Soviet days, women from Ukraine were considered the most beautiful of all the socialist republics. What is too often overlooked is that the Ukrainian woman is far more than just a pretty face. She must wear several masks – sometimes all at once. With the nation mobilised and many men off fighting a war in Eastern Ukraine, the roles of Ukrainian woman have become even more amplified.

Ukrainian students flock to Polish universities

Issue 96, December 2016.
More than half of the international undergraduate community studying at Polish universities hails from Ukraine The number of foreign students enrolling at Polish universities continues to grow year-on-year and currently includes representatives of 157 countries. The largest single group comes from Ukraine and totals 30,589, representing 54% of the total number of foreign students currently studying in the country. This unprecedented growth in the Ukrainian undergraduate community is the product of the current domestic instability caused by Russia’s hybrid war in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, but it also stands as testament to the growing reputation of Polish institutes of higher education.

Ukraine Turns 25! To mark the occasion, Lviv Today chooses 25 Ukrainian “moments to remember”

Issue 92, July 2016.
It’s been 25 years since Ukraine finally achieved independence and there are no shortages of ways to celebrate the occasion. Festivals, exhibitions, parties, music and dance events – it seems like everyone has found their own way to mark this momentous achievement. So we here at Lviv Today figured there was no better way for us to celebrate than to mark the greatest achievements that the country has put on display in Ukraine’s first quarter-century. It’s not so easy to break down 25 years of a nation into just 25 moments, so we’ve broken them into 5 broad categories: Culture, Technology, Sports, Politics, and Honourable Mentions. Make a list yourself and see how many you can guess? Or go to our Facebook page to let us know which ones we’ve missed. Happy reading and Happy Independence Day!

Hosts No More – Can Ukraine Roar? Ukraine’s EURO 2016 Preview

Issue 90, May 2016.
Every four years a spectacle rolls through Europe – and it’s not of the EuroVision kind. UEFA’s EURO tournament is back and better than ever as it now features 24 of best teams the continent has to offer. Ukrainian football fans know just what’s in store for France, as they remember the excitement of having fans from across Europe visit the country four years ago for EURO 2012. Unlike four years ago, when the team gained automatic qualification for the tournament as host, this time the Blue-Yellows qualified the hard way, and in the process exorcised demons of qualification past.


Issue 89, April 2016.
Ukraine’s policy of appointing foreigners to senior government positions has been one of the boldest and most controversial steps taken by the country’s post-Euromaidan authorities. Critics have slammed the trend as an insult to the Ukrainian nation, claiming that it implies a complete lack of suitably qualified local candidates. Supporters have tended to counter this argument by pointing to the strong performance of most foreign appointees, and the absence of corruption allegations surrounding them.


Issue 88, March 2016.
The Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula looks set to become one of the talking points of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest after Ukrainian TV viewers selected Crimean Tatar singer Jamala’s haunting ballad ‘1944’ to represent the country at this year’s event. Although ostensibly a tribute to the victims of the 1944 Soviet mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars, the song will inevitably draw international attention to the ongoing plight of the Crimean Tatars, who have suffered a range of human rights abuses since the Russian seizure of Crimea in early 2014.


Issue 88, March 2016.
Anti-EU forces seek to strike a blow against Brussels but the ultimate beneficiary of a 'no' vote would be Vladimir Putin The upcoming April referendum in the Netherlands over the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is about much more than free trade ties between Brussels and Kyiv. Ukraine is guilty of nothing more than particularly bad geopolitical timing. The country finds itself an innocent bystander caught up in what is a far larger battle for the soul of Europe that sees advocates of greater continental union pitted against national forces intent on stopping what they regard as the undemocratic Brussels bulldozer. The future of Europe is in the balance, and Ukraine's own integration ambitions are in danger of being relegated to the status of mere footnote.

Patrol Police as the face of the new Ukraine

Issue 86, January 2016.
Ever since Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the country’s law enforcement agencies have consistently ranked bottom in surveys of public confidence. For many if not most Ukrainians, the nation’s police officers were nothing less than symbols of corruption. These overwhelmingly negative perceptions make the success of Ukraine’s new Patrol Police all the more remarkable.

“Making the most of EU free trade”

Issue 81, July 2015.
EU expert Olivier Vedrine explores coming EU-Ukraine Association Agreement opportunities and shares his views with Lviv Today readers