5 Reasons Why Shevchenko is Still Cool Lviv Today Recognizes Ukraine’s ‘Poet-in-Chief’ on the 200th Anniversary of his Birth
Issue 66, March 2014.
It is impossible to live in Ukraine and not know Taras Shevchenko. To be honest, it’s practically impossible to live in this country and not see Taras Shevchenko on a daily basis. For Ukrainians, he remains a constant presence; a common thread throughout their lives much like an old friend or a wise uncle. For tourists and expatriates though, little is known about the man other than he wrote poems and every town in Western Ukraine has a statue that bears his likeness. So, in honour of the anniversary of our national poet’s birthday, Lviv Today looks at 5 reasons why the man is still revered in Ukraine and around the world 200 years after his birth.
Issue 64, January 2014.
You have to look back a long ways to the last time Ukraine tasted Winter Olympic gold – Forrest Gump ruled the cinemas, Okean Elzy was just beginning to practice as a group in their garages, and Leonid Kravchuk was still President. It was also the year that a tearful 16-year-old Oksana Baiul skated to Ukraine’s lone Olympic gold medal since independence. That could all change when the Ukrainian women’s biathlon team straps on the skis and rifles in Sochi next month.
Issue 63, December 2013.
If you’ve been able to find open tables at your favourite restaurants, relaxed in the extra space on one of Lviv’s crowded metros, or wondered where the kissing couples from Lviv’s romantic park benches have gone, it’s likely because many of our youth – the student population of Lviv – have migrated to Kyiv this month to help lead the EuroMaidan protests on Maidan Nezholeznosti. The movement, led by protests in Kyiv and Lviv, was sparked by President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to forego signing an Association Agreement with the European Union in lieu of pursuing closer ties with eastern neighbour Russia. Even with the exodus of Leopolitan students to the capital, the city of Lviv has continued to draw record crowds in support of leading Ukraine along the path to European integration, with over 50,000 people drawn to the Taras Shevchenko statue on Prospekt Svoboda on Dec. 1 in support of Ukrainian-European integration and the efforts of Leopolitan students. What Leopolitan students, in many ways the beating heart of the EuroMaidan movement, may recognize more than most is that they are continuing in the sacred path of protest set out for them by their trailblazing student ancestors.
Issue 63, December 2013.
For anyone from abroad that has spent any time in Ukraine, you know that Ukrainian people take a liking to celebrations. Indeed, the question in Ukraine seems not to be “When is the next celebration?”, but “What are we celebrating today?” For example, when days such as the Day of Professional Sergeants (Mar. 1) are celebrated, it can seem as though your friends are playing tricks on you and inventing reasons to celebrate from nowhere. (It also leads you to ask whether there is a day that celebrates “Unprofessional” Sergeants…) The list of celebrations is so long that I’ve found that Ukrainians can’t even keep track of the holidays themselves. So, for the benefit of all that care, here is a definitive guide to when to celebrate in Ukraine.
Issue 63, December 2013.
Every culture seems to have its own nuances that require a native’s touch to be perfected. For instance, did you know that in Ireland there are six steps to pouring a proper pint of Guiness? [Hint: it takes 119.53 seconds.] In Italy, you can get a Masters certificate for learning the craft of pouring a proper glass of wine.
Issue 62, November 2013.
Ukrainian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and former world pole vaulting champion Sergey Bubka knows something about setting the bar high. So high in fact, that nearly 20 years after setting the current world record, not a single human has even come within 10 cm. So when he announced at the third Ukraine Sports Congress in Kyiv this summer that Ukraine was moving ahead with a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Lviv and the Carpathian Mountains, it made sense to hear him out. After all, this is a man who has made a career out of (literally) reaching for the sky and making believers out of non-believers.
Issue 60, September 2013.
It’s just six games into the 2013-14 Ukrainian Premiere League season and already FC Karpaty Lviv finds itself 12 points (4 wins) behind second-place and UEFA Champions League contender Metalist Kharkiv. This is a familiar position for both clubs: Metalist fighting for one of Ukraine’s two automatic berths to Europe’s most prestigious club competition and Karpaty struggling to avoid relegation to Ukraine’s second-division ‘First League’. It makes it all the more interesting that it would be these two clubs that would become embroiled in a match-fixing scandal. According to a ruling by the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) and upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the April 19th, 2008 fixture between the sides, resulting in a 4-0 Metalist victory, was found to have been manipulated. Current Champions League rules require that no club has been involved in fixing national or international matches since April 2007 (when it updated its legal statutes). After failing in all its appeals, the decision effectively dumps Metalist from this season’s competition. This is no small decision either: while Karpaty gets off with relatively minor fines, Metalist is set to lose anywhere between $5 and $20 million (or more).
Issue 58, June 2013.
Stories are a part of every culture, every generation and every family. All that changes is how we share them. After attending the Lviv International Children’s Book Festival, I started thinking about whether our children will read stories the same way we did as we grew up. It seems that every few generations there is a fundamental breakthrough in how we exchange our stories. Was it the invention of paint in our cave days, the advent of the printing press in the Middle Ages, the popularity of the paperback novel in the last century, or the proliferation of electronic media that we see today, the fact that people love a good story doesn’t change; it’s only the medium that differs. So just what is in store for the book industry? Will our children read differently than we have? What can the children of Ukraine expect? In this month’s article, Lviv Today explores the future of the children’s publishing industry in Ukraine.
Issue 56, April 2013.
For those of us foreigners that find ourselves for the first time in the beautiful city of Lviv over Easter, it’s doubtful the season will remind us of home. There’ll be no Easter Bunny hopping around the mall or delivering baskets of chocolates to children. No Easter egg hunt where kids search the house and garden for their mysteriously-disappeared coloured eggs. But you’ll still find eggs to be an important part of the season.
Issue 54, February 2013.
Witty article by Lee Reaney