Monday, April 30, 2007

Ukraine, Russia and Belarus remind UN of Chernobyl tragedy

Ukraine, Russia and Belarus remind UN of Chernobyl tragedy. The three countries appeal to UN with an announcement at the 21st anniversary of the explosion of Atomic Power Station, and state that polluted territories need International assistance for clearing and life recovery.

"Chernobyl is not only an old pain for the damaged countries. Current problems are also connected with this tragedy" - the announcement quotes.

In 1986, April 25, one of the reactors exploded at the Atomic Station, 100 km away from Kiev, which was followed by horrifying results.

The explosion caused the death of ten thousands of people, and more than three million people got body radiation.

The tragedy results have not been liquidated yet. 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy has been commemorated by special activities held in the cities of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

Khrushchev and Ukraine

Nikita Khrushchev, a bulky man with a provincial face and a wart on his cheek, led Ukraine's Central Committee of the Communist Party for eight years, including the period of the Great Patriotic War. When he was a Kremlin official, his actions affected Ukraine as well. Of all the Soviet leaders, Khrushchev was the most unpredictable and impetuous "helmsman of the party."

Unlike the more reserved Stalin, he impulsively and resolutely demonstrated the country's military might, plunging the world into the Cuban missile crisis. However, Khrushchev, unlike his reclusive predecessor, traveled abroad widely and often welcomed "imperialistic" leaders to Moscow for talks.

It was Khrushchev who energetically resolved the housing problem by building primitive but much needed five-story apartment blocks, the so-called khrushchovkas.

Khrushchev rudely forced writers and artists to fit the procrustean bed of communist ideology, instructing them on how to write books and paint pictures.

It was during his rule that peasants shook off the yoke of serfdom and were given passports. Hundreds of thousands of energetic Ukrainians born in rural areas headed for cities and towns. They soon renounced their rural Ukrainian and began speaking the urban Russian language.

There were lots of mystical and strangely odd episodes in Khrushchev's career.

For example, clay pits above the district of Kurenivka in Kyiv had accumulated loess, a loamy deposit formed by wind, for years. The Kremlin was going to use this dirt to flood Baby Yar, the site where more than 100,000 Kyiv residents, mostly Jews, had been exterminated by Nazi-directed but mostly Ukrainian death squads.

The Soviet leaders hoped this would help the nation forget the Zionist idea of erecting a monument to the victims of the mass killings. In the spring of 1961, thousands of tons of that watery clay broke through a dam and flowed down, covering a nearby village, not Baby Yar. The tragedy left 1,500 people dead.

A few days after the disaster, the planet's first cosmonaut, Yuriy Gagarin, flew into the space. Khrushchev kissed this immaculately honest guy many times upon his arrival from the orbit. He must have been asking humanity to forgive his blasphemous intention to blanket Baby Yar in clay waste. A memorial to the Baby Yar tragedy was unveiled in 1976 after Moscow had been stubbornly reluctant to honor the Jewish Holocaust for years.

It was under Khrushchev that farmers chopped down their fruit orchards to protest against fruit tree taxes. It was Khrushchev who ordered a demonstration of starving workers in the provincial town of Novocherkassk dispersed with rifles.

Khrushchev's attempts at ideological futurology resulted in a shattering fiasco. His slogans, "We will outrun America in the per capita production of milk and meat," and "This generation of the Soviet people will live under Communism," proved impractical, idealistic and unachievable.
Khrushchev was not a typical Soviet leader; he was mobile and public. Working as a regional reporter in the southeast of Ukraine, I rarely saw the Kremlin ruler but popularized his economic innovations in my articles.

Nevertheless, I had first seen Khrushchev before the war broke out.

Meeting the people in an old raincoat

It was May 1, 1941. I was 11 years old. I remember standing on a sunlit Khreshchatyk, holding a little red flag. People gathered downtown to watch the Labor Day military parade. After it, industrial workers marched in columns.

Soviet newsreels made me unusually politicized for my age. I immediately recognized Khrushchev on a government platform. He was gesticulating merrily, wearing a peaked cap, a so-called stalinka. The demonstrators left Khreshchatyk, taking away the sounds of brass bands. Khrushchev went down from the platform immediately. He will now walk into the crowd, someone said, both with approval and blame.

When I grew up, I appreciated Khrushchev's bravery. When Lazar Kaganovich, Stalin's closest ally, was flying to Bandera's Ukraine one day, he was accompanied by a squadron of fighter planes. When Khrushchev, a member of the Military Council of the First Ukrainian Front, visited the liberated capital of Ukraine on November 7, 1943, he rode along the ruined and smoldering Khreshchatyk in an open-topped convertible limousine.

Khrushchev's "crowd walking" on May 1 resulted in a startling discovery made by my aunt, who was hosting my mother and me that day. My aunt, whose husband was one of the big bosses in Kyiv, was standing near Khrushchev that day, and saw that he was wearing "an indecently shabby raincoat." She even advised her husband to dress more modestly, so as to avoid contrasting with Khrushchev's shabby dress. However, he did not heed her advice. The war started a month later, and both Khrushchev and my uncle were sent to different fronts.

Stalin's personal case

In 1956, I was a member of the Soviet Union's only party. My skepticism prevented me from becoming a devout communist. I did not appreciate the bureaucratic falsity of public party meetings. A notice about a closed gathering contained at least some intrigue. We often considered personal cases of some communists during such meetings. Usually we were discussing those who had committed adultery, or reprimanded poets for "wrong and inappropriate" poems or journalists for "distorting the Soviet reality."

At one of such meetings we were considering Joseph Stalin's case. The debate was very nervous.

Everything started in February 1956, when Khrushchev delivered his historic Secret Speech to the 20th Communist Party Congress. He read the Report on the Personality Cult and Its Consequences quickly and anxiously. Then all the secretaries of local party organizations throughout the country were made to read it to their "congregants…"
Our retired communists were unanimous: "You can criticize him [Stalin], but there should be some limit." The young demonstrated their awareness and presented sensational details. Here is one of them.

…Once Khrushchev came to Stalin's office late and sat quietly at the corner of the table. Stalin looked at him gloomily and asked him rudely why he was hiding.
"Don't be afraid. I will not execute you," he promised sinisterly…

Delegates of the 20th Congress demanded Khrushchev remove this episode from his report but it still became known.

Khrushchev hated Stalin. Embarrassment reinforced his hatred: this apparently decent man had been compelled to carry out Stalin's atrocious orders. Many of Stalin's allies were also afraid and therefore hated him. But they could not dare to be morally vindictive. Khrushchev did.

…In 1946, the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of Stalin's constitution. On that day, Khrushchev unveiled a monument to Lenin in Kyiv without asking Stalin's permission. Stalin, who had wanted to have his own statue erected in Kyiv for years, remembered this surprise for the rest of his life.

The Lenin monument was built opposite the Bessarabsky market, on the spot where a gallows, used to execute Ukrainian foes of the German Reich during the war, once stood. The stone Lenin still stands there today.
"The nation will not be able to feed another party"

In the May of 1959, I came to Kyiv to attend a meeting of regional journalists, while Khrushchev, then the leader of the country, came to Kyiv to present the Ukrainian capital with the second Order of Lenin.

He was loyal to his habit and rode along Khreshchatyk in an open-topped limousine. However, it was a new Khrushchev: there was no peaked cap but an elegant hat, no old shabby raincoat but a fashionable jacket. He was waving his hat to salute thousands of Kyiv residents. These people were brought to Kyiv's central street by their directors and stood in the scorching sun, waiting for their leader. I felt as uncomfortable as those people when returning from Kyiv to propagandize Khrushchev's innovation in the provincial press. It infuriated party functionaries at all levels.

Maryinka was an administrative center of a rural district in Donbass. It had a tile plant, a furniture factory, a dairy, and a granary, and 45 collective farms in the area. A district party committee of 30 members controlled blacksmiths, carpenters, farmers, schoolteachers and polyclinic doctors.

When Khrushchev ordered the disintegration of the monolithic party structure, he must have wanted to make national and regional leaders control one another. But this innovation was a caricature in poor districts.

So there were two party committees in Maryinka. The number of party functionaries had doubled. They all worked in the same building and sat there like hens in a hencoop, and oversaw the same processes and projects.

They were so ashamed to hear laughs of wise local workers and farmers that they made up an anti-Soviet anecdote, which was not spoken openly but whispered.

… A communist asks a communist, "Do you think we should have one more party in the country?" "No, the nation will not be able to feed another party…"

The substance of this joke is that the Communist Party by itself absorbed almost the entire national budget.

Crimea: A slap for arrogance

In the summer of 1972, the steppe Crimea saw the first artificial rain, sparkling and multicolored. The trimmed fields absorbed it greedily. The irrigation system was built on an artificial river. I was writing an article about the Dnipro River for a regional newspaper, sitting by that canal, which saved the Crimean peninsula.
My interlocutor was Petro Marchuk. He headed a collective farm growing tons of rice, wheat, grape, and watermelons.
Khrushchev's dream came true in Crimea: it had the sun and other climatic characteristics to grow his favorite maize.

Marchuk was among those who started building this canal from the Kakhovka reservoir on the Dnipro. The construction began in 1956, soon after Khrushchev had officially given Crimea to Ukraine. Geodesist Marchuk was in charge of a team of bulldozer drivers. He was crying when his native village with the graves of his relatives was being flooded, as well as dozens of other Ukrainian villages.

However, like the Soviet government, he understood that it was vital to give water to the arid Crimea. When he had built half of the canal, he started growing wheat. He had a degree in agriculture and generalized his irrigation experience in a Ph. D. dissertation.

Crimean residents no longer remembered and spoke the Tatar language in the 1970s. Marchuk was almost illegally collecting information about Crimea's indigenous population, deported in 1944 by Stalin to Siberia and Middle Asia.

Settlers from Russia occupied the territory. Their reaction to the Crimean climate was panicky, even though water was practically beneath their feet, Marchuk explained. The banished Tatars had gathered morning dew in special pots.
He showed me a copy of a report to the Ukrainian government compiled by a special commission in 1954: it said only three collective Crimean farms of three hundred were functioning properly.

The experienced agrarian Khrushchev must have understood that only Ukraine could save Crimea by helping it build a canal for irrigation. The 400-kilometer-long North-Crimean Canal took 20 years to build. It took so long because the country's new leader, Leonid Brezhnev, made Ukraine finance the project after Khrushchev's forced resignation in 1964.

Russians, both in Ukraine and Russia, as well as in Crimea, forgave Stalin for his atrocities, including the deportation of Tatars. But they still insist Khrushchev cannot be forgiven. They say Russia conquered Crimea with blood and iron but Ukraine received it as a gift, thanks to Khrushchev's generosity.

Khrushchev has been criticized for his unmotivated innovations and injustice, caused by disinformation and deliberate silence. The Izvestiya newspaper contributed to Khrushchev's oblivion. On October 14, 1971, this official media outlet published a short obituary "on the demise of the personal pensioner Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev." No condolences from the Kremlin were presented to his family in that article. Why? Khrushchev must have been right to give away Crimea to Ukraine but his gesture has been seen as a slap in the face by the arrogant Russians since then.


Yanukovych is most trusted politician in Ukraine - poll

KYIV. April 29 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych enjoys the greatest public confidence among policiansin his country.

This follows from a poll taken by Sotsis social and political study center between April 20 and 27 involving 1,200 respondents.

The study indicated that 45% of the polled trust Yanukovych and 53% don't.

As for parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz, Finance Minister Mykola Azarov and President Viktor Yushchenko their respective levels of confidence and mistrust were 33% and 62%, 32% and 45%, 32% and 64%.

Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of People's Self-Defense Yury Lutsenko and Communist leader Petro Symonenko had the following levels of confidence and mistrust 31% and 64%, 31% and 60%, 30% and 64% respectively.

The levels of confidence of the head of the presidential administration Viktor Baloha, Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko and secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Vytaly Haiduk were much lower at 14%, 17% and 8% respectively. ml


Ukraine's Foreign Minister Says NATO Still Priority

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that NATO membership remains a top priority for his country, despite a split in the Ukrainian leadership, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko supports NATO entry, while his rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, opposes it.

Yatsenyuk, who arrived today in Washington for a two-day visit, made the remarks during a forum at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

During his visit, Yatsenyuk is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senator Richard Lugar (Republican-Indiana), and members of the Ukrainian diaspora.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Opera Mini more popular than Apple Safari in Ukraine

Opera Software develops web browser software application for several platforms including mobile devices. The company has also made available a free mobile application named Opera Mini which works with most java enabled mobile devices to access to the internet.

The product has been a massive hit for the company and is used by millions of users worldwide.

Opera has now stated in a statement that for the first time since the launch, Opera Mini has infiltrated desktop browser rankings in the European nation Ukraine.

Tor Odland, a spokesman for Opera Software said in a statement that as per available statistics, Opera Mini has overtaken Apple Safari desktop browser in the country. The data shows that Opera Mini had a 0.3 percent market share compared to 0.2 percent market share for Apple Safari.

This is however still very small compared to regular desktop browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and of course their Opera for Desktop.

Odland added: “We obviously can’t talk about a worldwide trend yet, but this is hopefully the small beginning for the real mobile Internet.”


Shell: using brand capital in Ukraine

Shell has entered into a joint venture with Alliance that will see 150 fuel stations rebranded.

Shell has signed a joint venture agreement with Alliance Group in Ukraine that continues the company's recent strategy of investing in high-growth retail markets through partnerships. This policy allows Shell to capitalize on its brand while minimizing investment; a prudent move should these growth markets experience the same competitive pressures currently affecting Shell in its western markets.

'Content The deal with Alliance gives Shell a 51% stake in the Russian firm's network of 150 stations, all of which will be rebranded with the Shell name. Shell's key competitors in the Ukranian market are now Lukoil, WOG, Alfa-Nafta, OKKO and Ukrnafta, as well as TNK-BP, which supplies some 1,200 dealer sites.

Faced with margin decline in the West, Shell is using its strong brand to establish a retail position in growing markets. New competitive pressures, such as low-cost supermarkets and a more astute customer base, have compromised margins in the company's most developed retail markets, including France, the UK and the US. As a result, Shell has withdrawn from some western markets and has rationalized its site network in others. Meanwhile, in markets such as Spain and Ireland, where Shell has sold its sites to a third party, the Shell brand has often been retained.

Entering into JVs with companies such as Alliance is one of several strategies adopted by Shell in light of this western margin predicament. Other partnership markets include China, where Shell entered into a JV with Sinpoec and other national oil companies, and Turkey, where, in June 2006, the company signed an agreement with Turcas involving 1,200 stations.

Despite having setbacks in its maturing western markets, Shell is understandably keen to exploit growth potential in the East, where car ownership and motor fuel consumption are predicted to grow. Market maturity can come round quickly, however, and relatively buoyant markets such as Poland and the Czech Republic will be in a similar position to the UK within approximately five years, with markets such as Ukraine following suit.

As a result of impending market maturity, and Shell's overriding objective to alleviate its relatively high levels of downstream exposure, the company appears reluctant to make huge investments on its own. Shell's internationally recognized brand is allowing the company to enter growth markets in partnership with domestic oil companies, thus minimizing its capital commitments. As a result, Shell will be in a much better position to exit these markets should margins slip.


Chernobyl disaster area 'must be put to use again'

The uninhabited and contaminated region around the shuttered Chernobyl nuclear power plant must be put to use again, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said today on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the world’s worst-ever nuclear accident.

The April 26, 1986, explosion and fire at Chernobyl’s Reactor No.4 sent a radioactive cloud across Europe, contaminating large areas of land and prompting the Soviet government to permanently evacuate more than 300,000 people. A 20-mile zone around the plant remains closed to the public.

“I am convinced that the Chernobyl zone is coming alive … and step by step, we will begin to develop the possibilities of this territory,” Mr Yushchenko said during a lecture at a school outside Kiev.

Projects being considered include a nature preserve that would take advantage of a wildlife resurgence in the area, which is largely bereft of humans, and using the area to produce bio-fuels, Yushchenko said. He also said he would like to see an international science centre opened at the site to study the lingering effects of the 1986 accident.

“This land must be revitalised,” MR Yushchenko said during the lecture, which was broadcast live on Ukrainian television. “We should look at it as having prospects, not with the feeling that this is a territory of Ukraine that has been erased from the map and which we must forget.”

A project to build a new shelter to cover Reactor No.4 will begin “in several months,” Mr Yushchenko said.

Work on the £550m (€807.6m) internationally-funded project has been delayed repeatedly, though the hastily-built current shelter of concrete and steel is crumbling and dotted with holes.

Thirty-one people died within the first two months of the Chernobyl disaster from illnesses caused by radioactivity. There is debate over the longer-term toll.

The UN health agency has estimated that about 9,300 people will die from cancers caused by Chernobyl’s radiation. Some groups, including Greenpeace, insist the toll could be 10 times higher.


Lesya Ukrainka

Larysa Petrivna Kosach-Kvitka (February 23, 1871 – August 1, 1913) better known under her literary pseudonym Lesya Ukrainka, was one of Ukraine's best-known poets and writers and the foremost woman writer in Ukrainian literature.

Ukrainka was born in 1871 in the town of Novograd-Volynsky of Ukraine, which at the time was mostly a part of a Russian Empire. She was the second child of Ukrainian writer and publisher Olha Drahomanova-Kosach (better known under her literary pseudonym Olena Pchilka). Mykhaylo Petrovych Drahomanov, a well-known Ukrainian scientist, historian, philosopher, folklorist and public figure, was a brother of Drahomanova-Kosach. Ukrainka's father was Petro Antonovych Kosach, head of the district assembly of conciliators. Despite his non-Ukrainian background, Kosach was devoted to the advancement of Ukrainian culture and financially supported Ukrainian publishing ventures. Ukrainka was very close to her uncle M. P. Drahomanov (her spiritual mentor and teacher), and her brother Mykhaylo (who would be known under the pseudonym Mykhaylo Obachny) whom she called "Mysholosie."

Ukrainka's mother played a significant role in her upbringing. Ukrainian language was the only language used in the household, and to enforce this practice their children were educated by
Ukrainian tutors at home, in order to avoid schools that taught Russian as the primary language. Ukrainka learned how to read at the age of four, and she and her brother Mykhaylo could read foreign languages well enough to read literature in their original language. Ukrainka had a good familiarity with Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German and English.

By the time she was eight, she wrote her first poem, "Hope," which was written in reaction to the arrest and exile of her aunt, Olena Antonivna Kosach, who took part in a political movement against the tsarist autocracy. In 1879, her entire family moved to Lutsk. That same year her father started building houses for the family in the nearby village of Kolodiazhne.

It was at this time that her uncle, Mykhaylo Drahomanov, encouraged her to study Ukrainian folk songs, folk stories, and history, as well to peruse the Bible for its inspired poetry and eternal themes. She also was influenced by well-known composer Mykola Lysenko, and famous Ukrainian dramatist and poet Michael Staritsky.

At age thirteen, her first published poem, "Lily of the Valley," appeared in the journal Zoria in L'viv. It was here that she first used her pseudonym, which was suggested by her mother. At this time, Ukrainka was well on her way of becoming a pianist, but due to tuberculosis of the bone, she did not attend any outside educational establishment. Writing was to be the main focus of her life.

When Ukrainka was seventeen, she and her brother organized a literary circle called Pleyada (The Pleiades) which they founded to promote the development of Ukrainian literature and translating foreign classics into Ukrainian. One of the works they translated was Nikolai Gogol's Evenings on the Farmstead Near Dykanka.

Her first collection of poetry, Na krylakh pisen’ (On the Wings of Songs), was published in 1893. Since Ukrainian publications were banned by the Russian Empire, this book were published in Western Ukraine, which was part of Austria-Hungary at the time, and smuggled into Kiev.

Her illness made it necessary for her to travel to places where the climate was dry, and as a result, spent extended periods of time in Germany, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Crimea, the Caucasus, and Egypt. She loved experiencing other cultures, which was evident in many of her literary work, such as The Ancient History of Oriental Peoples, originally written for her younger siblings. The book was published in L'viv, and Ivan Franko was involved in its publication. It included her early poems, such as "Seven Strings," "The Starry Sky," "Tears-Pearls," "The Journey to the Sea," "Crimean Memories," and "In the Children's Circle."

Ukrainka also wrote epic poems, prose dramas, prose, several articles of literary criticism, and a number of sociopolitical essays. She was best known for her plays Boyarynya (1914; The Noblewoman), which refers directly to Ukrainian history, and Lisova pisnya (1912; The Forest Song), whose characters include mythological beings from Ukrainian folklore.

In 1897, while being treated in Yalta, Ukrainka met Serhiy Kostiantynovych Merzhynsky, an official from Minsk who was also receiving treatment for tuberculosis. The two fell in love, and her feelings for Merzhynsky were responsible for her showing a different side of herself. Examples include "Your Letters Always Smell of Withered Roses," "To Leave Everything and Fly to You," and "I'd Like to Wind around You Like Ivy," which were unpublished in her lifetime. Merzhynsky died with Ukrainka at his bedside on March 3, 1901. She wrote the entire dramatic poem "Oderzhyma" ("The Possessed") in one night at his deathbed.

Ukrainka actively opposed Russian tsarism and was a member of Ukrainian Marxist organizations. In 1902 she translated a Communist Manifesto into Ukrainian. She was briefly arrested in 1907 by tsarist police and remained under surveillance thereafter.

Ukrainka married in 1907 to Klyment Kvitka, a court official, who was an amateur ethnographer and musicologist. They settled first in the Crimea, then moved to Georgia.

Ukrainka died on August 1, 1913 at a health clinic near Tiflis in Caucasus.

Ivan Franko

Ivan Franko (August 15, 1856 – May 28, 1916) was a Ukrainian poet and writer, social and literary critic, journalist, economist, and political activist. He was a revolutionary democrat, and a founder of the socialist movement in Ukraine. In addition to his own literary work, he also translated the works of William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Dante, Victor Hugo, Goethe and Schiller into the Ukrainian language. Along with Taras Shevchenko, he has had a tremendous impact on modern literary and political thought in Ukraine.

Franko was born in Nahuievychi, in the Drohobych county of eastern Halychyna, Galicia (which is today part of the Lviv Oblast in Ukraine) and was the son of a village blacksmith, of German ancestry, original surname was Frank. He attended school in the village Yasenycia Silna from 1862 until 1864, and from there attended a Basilian monastic school in Drohobych until 1867. In 1875, he graduated from the Drohobych gymnasium (a secondary school) and continued on to Lviv University, where he studied classical philosophy and Ukrainian language and literature. It was at this University he began is literary career, with various works of poetry and his novel Petrii i Dovbushchuky published by the students' magazine Druh (Friend), whose editorial board he would later join. In 1876, Lesyshyna Cheliad and Dva Pryiateli (Two Friends) were published in
the literary almanac Dnistrianka. Later that year he wrote his first collection of poetry, Ballads and Tales. His first of the stories in the Boryslaw series were published in 1877.

It was at Lviv University where he was introduced to Mykhailo Drahomanov, with whom he shared a long political and literary association. His socialist political writings, along with his association with Drahomanov, resulted in Franko's arrest in 1877 along with, among others, Mykhailo Pavlyk and Ostap Terletsky. They were accused of belonging to a secret socialist organization, which did not exist. However, his eight months in prison did not discourage his political writings and activities. In prison, Franko wrote the satire Smorhonska Akademiya (The Smorhon Academy). After his release, he studied the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, contributed articles to the Polish newspaper Praca and helped organize workers' groups in L'viv. In 1878 he and Pavlyk founded the magazine Hromads'kyi Druh. Only two issues were published before it was banned by the government; however, the journal was reborn under the names Dzvin and Molot. Franko published a series of books called Dribna Biblioteka from 1878 until his arrest for arousing the peasants to civil disobedience in 1880. He was sent to the infamous Siberian prison compound of Kolyma where he spent three months. His impressions of this exile are enumerated in his novel Na Dni (On the Bottom). Upon his release, he was kept under police surveillance and he was kicked out of Lviv University (ironically, the university would be renamed the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv after Franko's death).

Franko was an active contributor to the journal Swit (The World) in 1881. He wrote more than half of the material, excluding the unsigned editorials. It was in this journal the novel Boryslaw Smiyetsia (Boryslaw Is Laughing) was published. Later that year, Franko moved to Nahuyevychi where he wrote the novel Zakhar Berkut, translated Goethe's Faust and Heine's poem Deutschland: ein Wintermarchen into Ukrainian. He also wrote a series of articles on Taras Shevchenko, and reviewed the collection Khutorna Poeziya by P. Kulish. Franko worked for the journal Zorya (Sunrise) and became a member of the editing board of the newspaper Dilo (Action) a year later.

He married Olha Khorunzhynska in May 1886, to whom he dedicated the collection Z vershyn i nyzhyn (From Hills and Valleys), a book of poetry and verse. His wife was to later suffer from a debilitating mental illness, one of the reasons that Franko would not leave Lviv for treatment in Kyiv in 1916, shortly before his death.

In 1888 Franko was a contributor to the journal Pravda (not to be confused with the Soviet newspaper Pravda), which, along with his association with compatriots from Dnieper Ukraine, led to a third arrest in 1889. After this two-month prison term, he co-founded the Ruthenian-Ukrainian Radical party with Mykhailo Drahomanov and Mykhailo Pavlyk, the latter with whom he published the semimonthly Narod from 1890 until 1895. Franko was the Radical party's candidate for seats in the Parliament of Austria-Hungary and the Galicia Diet, but never won an election.

In 1891, he attended Chernivtsi University in 1891 (where he prepared a dissertation on Ivan Vyshensky) and afterwards attended Vienna University where he defended his doctoral dissertation on the spiritual romance Barlaam and Josaphat under the supervision of Vatroslav Jagic, who was considered the foremost expert of Slavic languages at the time. Franko was appointed lecturer in the history of Ukrainian literature at Lviv University in 1894; however, he was not able to chair the Department of Ukrainian literature there because of opposition from Vicegerent Kazimierz Badeni and Galician reactionary circles.

One of his articles, Sotsiializm i sotsiial-demokratyzm (Socialism and Social Democracy), a severe criticism of Ukrainian Social Democracy and the socialism of Marx and Engels, was published in 1898 in the journal Zhytie I Slovo, which he and his wife founded. He continued his anti-Marxist stance in a collection of poetry entitled Mii izmarahd (My Emerald) in 1898, where he called Marxism "a religion founded on dogmas of hatred and class struggle." His long time collaborative association with Mykhailo Drahomanov were strained due to their diverging views on socialism and the national question, and Franko would later accuse him of tying Ukraine's fate to that of Russia in Suspil'nopolitychni pohliady M. Drahomanova (The Sociopolitical Views of M. Drahomanov), published in 1906. After a split in the Radical Party, in 1899, Franko, together with the Lviv historian, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, founded the National Democratic Party where he worked until 1904, when he retired from political life.

In 1902 students and activists in Lviv, embarrassed that Franko was living in poverty, purchased a house for him in the city. He lived there for the remaining 14 years of his life. The house is now the site of the Ivan Franko Museum.

In 1914, his jubilee collection, Pryvit Ivanovi Frankovi (Greeting Ivan Franko), and the collection Iz lit moyeyi molodosti (From the Years of My Youth) were published.

He died in poverty at 4 pm on May 28, 1916. Those who came to pay their respects saw him lying on the table covered with nothing but a ragged sheet. His burial and burial-clothes were paid for by his admirers, and none of his family came to visit him. These events caused Heinrich Wigeleiser of the Academic Gymnasium to tell his Ukrainian students: "Go and see him lying – as poor as your entire nation is. You did not prize him when he was alive and you do not prize him now, when he is dead". Franko was buried at the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv.

Franko depicted the harsh experience of Ukrainian workers and peasants in his novels Boryslaw Laughs (1881-1882) and Boa Constrictor (1878). His works deal with Ukrainian nationalism and history (Zakhar Berkut, 1883), social issues (Basis of Society, 1895 and Withered Leaves, 1896), and philosophy (Semper Tiro, 1906)

He has drawn parallels to the Israelite search for a homeland and the Ukrainian desire for independence in In Death of Cain (1889) and Moses (1905). His is best known for Stolen Happiness (1893), considered a dramatic masterpiece. In total, Franko has written more than 1,000 works.

In 1962 the city of Stanislaviv in western Ukraine was renamed Ivano-Frankivsk in the poet's honor.

Panteleimon Kulish

Kulish, Panteleimon b 8 August 1819 in Voronizh, Chernihiv gubernia, d 14 February 1897 in Motronivka, Chernihiv gubernia. (Portrait: Pantaleimon Kulish.) Prominent writer, historian, ethnographer, and translator. He was born into an impoverished Cossack-gentry family. After completing only five years at the Novhorod-Siverskyi gymnasium he enrolled at Kyiv University in 1837 but was not allowed to finish his studies because he was not a noble. He obtained a teaching position in Lutske in 1840. There he wrote his first historical novel in Russian, Mikhail Charnyshenko, ili Malorossiia vosem’desiat let nazad (Mykhailo Charnyshenko, or Little Russia Eighty Years Ago, 2 vols, 1843). Mykhailo Maksymovych promoted Kulish's literary efforts and published several of his early stories. His first longer work written in Ukrainian was the epic poem ‘Ukraina’ (Ukraine, 1843). In 1843–5 Kulish taught in Kyiv and studied Ukrainian history and ethnography. There he befriended Taras Shevchenko, Mykola Kostomarov, and Vasyl Bilozersky; their circle later became the nucleus of the secret Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood. Another new friend, the Polish writer Michal Grabowski, also had a great influence on him.

In 1845 P. Pletnev, the rector of Saint Petersburg University, invited Kulish to teach at the university. In Saint Petersburg Kulish finished in Ukrainian his major historical novel, Chorna rada,
khronika 1663 roku (The Black Council, a Chronicle of the Year 1663), of which excerpts were published in Russian translation in Muscovite journals in 1845–6. To prepare him for a professorial career, the Imperial Academy of Sciences granted him a scholarship to do research abroad. In 1847 he married O. Bilozerska (the future writer Hanna Barvinok) and set out with her for Prague. En route he was arrested by the tsarist police in Warsaw for belonging to the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood, which had been uncovered at the time. After two months in prison he was exiled for three years to Tula. Because his main offence had been writing a ‘Tale of the Ukrainian People,’ Kulish was forbidden to write. He maintained his innocence, but his interrogation and closed trial and subsequent loss of freedom were for him a deep trauma.

n 1850 he was allowed to return to Saint Petersburg. While working as an editor there, he tried, unsuccessfully, to establish himself as a Russian litterateur, publishing in the journal Sovremennik the autobiographical novella ‘Istoriia Uliany Terent'evny’ (The History of Uliana Terentevna, 1852), the historical novel ‘Aleksei Odnorog’ (1852–3), and the novella ‘Iakov Iakovlevich.’ He worked on a long biography of Nikolai Gogol, finishing it in 1856 while visiting S. Aksakov.

Soon his Ukrainian interests took the upper hand. After living for a while on a khutir in Ukraine and in Kyiv, Kulish returned to Saint Petersburg. There he established a Ukrainian printing press and, after being allowed to publish under his own name, issued two splendid volumes of Zapiski o Iuzhnoi Rusi (Notes on Southern Rus’, 1856–7), a rich collection of Ukrainian folklore, ethnography, and literature in which he introduced a new orthography (Kulishivka). In 1857 he finally published Chorna rada in its entirety, in both Ukrainian and Russian. In the epilogue to the Russian edition he pleaded for the first time for the political unity of Ukraine and Russia while stressing their cultural separateness. He also published a primer (Hramatka, 1857) for use in Sunday schools, a volume of Marko Vovchok's folk tales (1858), and the Ukrainian almanac Khata (Saint Petersburg) (Home, 1860). ‘Maior’ (Major), his Russian novella about his life in Ukraine, appeared in Russkii vestnik in 1859. In 1860–2 he was actively involved in the Ukrainian journal Osnova (Saint Petersburg). In 1862 he published a separate collection of his own poems, Dosvitky (Glimmers of Dawn).

In 1864 Kulish accepted a high Russian official post in Warsaw. From there he developed further the contacts he had made earlier with Galician intellectuals and contributed to several Lviv periodicals. When he was asked to end these contacts he refused and resigned in 1867. After traveling abroad he returned to Saint Petersburg. For a while he edited a Russian government publication. Most of his time he devoted to the study of Ukrainian history, particularly of the Cossack period. His earlier romantic view of the Cossacks gave way to a new and very critical appraisal of them, which had already been evident in Chorna rada. He published several long articles on the Cossacks entitled ‘Mal'ovana haidamachchyna’ (The Painted Haidamaka Era, 1876) and a major study in three volumes, Istoriia vossoedineniia Rusi (The History of the Reunification of Rus’, 1874–7). In the latter he expressed admiration for Peter I and Catherine II and made some uncomplimentary remarks about Taras Shevchenko, thereby alienating most of the Ukrainian reading public. At about the same time, Kulish began translating the Bible, a work that, with the help of Ivan Puliui and Ivan Nechui-Levytsky, was finally completed only after his death. His translation of the Psalter was published in Galicia in 1871.

After the 1876 Ems Ukase forbade Ukrainian publications in the Russian Empire, Kulish strengthened his ties with Galicia. In 1881 he went to Lviv, and in 1882 his collection of poems and essays, Khutorna poeziia (Khutir Poetry), his Ukrainian translations of William Shakespeare's Othello, Troilus and Cressida, and Comedy of Errors, and an appeal for Ukrainian-Polish understanding, Krashanka rusynam i poliakam na Velykden’ 1882 roku (A Painted Egg for the Ruthenians and the Poles at Easter 1882), were published there. In 1883 he published his long poem ‘Mahomet i Khadyza’ (Muhammad and Khadijah), showing his deep interest in Islam. He seriously considered renouncing his Russian citizenship and remaining in Austria-Hungary, but government policies there changed his mind. Disheartened but not dejected, Kulish returned to Russian-ruled Ukraine, settled on his khutir Motronivka, and remained there with his wife until his death. Cut off from most Ukrainian activists, he conducted a wide correspondence and worked on translations of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, Goethe, and Byron. He wrote two more collections of poetry, Dzvin (The Bell, 1893) and Pozychena kobza (The Borrowed Kobza, 1897), which were published in Geneva. A major historical study, ‘Otpadenie Malorossii ot Pol’shi’ (The Separation of Little Russia from Poland, 1888–9), was also completed on his khutir.

Both during his life and after his death Kulish was a controversial figure. His emphasis on the development of a separate, indigenous Ukrainian high culture while advocating political union with Russia found little sympathy among Ukrainian populists. After 1850, during his intense writing and publishing activity, he remained aloof from organized Ukrainian community life. His attempts at influencing Ukrainian cultural activities in Austrian-ruled Galicia were often misunderstood. Kulish's uncompromising attitude and his egocentrism were often stumbling blocks in his relations with others. Yet even his opponents granted him his achievements. During the modernist period of Ukrainian literature interest in Kulish was revived by M. Sribliansky (see Mykyta Shapoval) and Mykola Yevshan. Dubove lystia (Oak Leaves), an almanac in his memory, appeared in Kyiv in 1903, and editions of his works were published in Kyiv (5 vols) and Lviv (6 vols) in 1908–10. In Soviet Ukraine some of his works were republished, new research about him (by Viktor Petrov, Oleksander Doroshkevych, Mykhailo Mohyliansky, Yevhen Kyryliuk, Mykola Zerov, Mykhailo Vozniak, and others) appeared, and the publication of a complete edition of his works was begun (2 vols, 1930, 1934) in Kyiv but not completed. During the Literary Discussion of 1925, Mykola Khvylovy defended Kulish as ‘a truly European intellectual.’ From 1933 on, however, Kulish's works were virtually proscribed in the USSR until a volume of his selected writings appeared in Kyiv in 1969, followed by a small volume of his poetry in 1970. Soviet literary critics have wrongly accused Kulish of ‘bourgeois nationalism.’ In the West, interest in Kulish has existed mainly among academics. An abridged English translation of his Chorna rada was published in Littleton, Colorado, in 1973, and a Ukrainian volume of his selected letters appeared in New York in 1984. A two-volume edition of his selected works was published in Kyiv in 1994.

Ivan Kotliarevsky

Kotliarevsky, Ivan was born the 9th of September 1769 in Poltava, died the 10th of November 1838 in Poltava. Poet and playwright; the ‘founder’ of modern Ukrainian literature. After studying at the Poltava Theological Seminary (1780–9), he worked as a tutor at rural gentry estates, where he became acquainted with folk life and the peasant vernacular, and then served in the Russian army (1796–1808). In 1810 he became the trustee of an institution for the education of children of impoverished nobles. In 1812 he organized a Cossack cavalry regiment to fight Napoleon Bonaparte and served in it as a major. He helped stage theatrical productions at the Poltava governor-general's residence and was the artistic director of the Poltava Free Theater (1812–21). From 1827 to 1835 he directed several philanthropic agencies.

Kotliarevsky's greatest literary work is his travesty of Virgil's Aeneid, Eneida, which he began writing in 1794. Publication of its first three parts in Saint Petersburg in 1798 was funded by Maksym Parpura. Part four appeared in 1809. Kotliarevsky finished parts five and six around 1820, but the first full edition of the work (with a glossary) was published only after his death, in Kharkiv in 1842. Eneida was written in the tradition of several existing parodies of Virgil's epic, including those by P. Scarron, A. Blumauer, and N. Osipov and A. Kotelnitsky. Although the Osipov-Kotelnitsky travesty served as a model for Kotliarevsky's mock-heroic poem, the latter is,
unlike the former, a completely original work and much better from an artistic point of view. In addition to the innovation of writing it in the Ukrainian vernacular, Kotliarevsky used a new verse form—a 10-line strophe of four-foot iambs with regular rhymes—instead of the then-popular syllabic verse.

Eneida was written at a time when popular memory of the Cossack Hetmanate was still alive and the oppression of tsarist serfdom in Ukraine was at its height. Kotliarevsky's broad satire of the mores of the social estates during these two distinct ages, combined with the in-vogue use of ethnographic detail and with racy, colorful, colloquial Ukrainian, ensured his work's great popularity among his comtemporaries. It spawned several imitations (by Petro Hulak-Artemovsky, Kostiantyn Dumytrashko, Pavlo Biletsky-Nosenko, and others) and began the process by which the Ukrainian vernacular acquired the status of a literary language, thereby supplanting the use of older, bookish linguistic forms.

Kotliarevsky's operetta Natalka Poltavka (Natalka from Poltava) and vaudeville Moskal’-charivnyk (The Muscovite-Sorcerer) were landmarks in the development of Ukrainian theater. Written ca 1819, they were first published in vols 1 (1838) and 2 (1841) of the almanac Ukrainskii sbornik edited by Izmail Sreznevsky. Both were written for and performed at the Poltava Free Theater; both, particularly the first, were responses to the caricatures of Ukrainian life in Prince Aleksandr Shakhovskoi's comedy Kazak-stikhotvorets (The Cossack Poetaster), which was also staged at the Poltava Theater. As a playwright, Kotliarevsky combined the intermede tradition with his knowledge of Ukrainian folkways and folklore.

Kotliarevsky's influence is evident not only in the works of his immediate successors (Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnovianenko, Taras Shevchenko, Yakiv Kukharenko, K. Topolia, Stepan Pysarevsky, and others), but also in the ethnographic plays of the second half of the 19th century and in Russian (the works of the ethnic Ukrainians Nikolai Gogol and Vasilii Narezhny) and Belarusian (the anonymous Eneida navyvarat [The Aeneid Travestied]) literature. In his use of genres and poetics he was more a Baroque-influenced Classicist than an incipient Romantic. His view of the world was guided by moral rather than by sociopolitical criteria, and his sympathy for the socially and nationally oppressed Ukrainian peasantry was subordinated to his loyalty to tsarist autocracy. Full editions of his works appeared in Kyiv in 1952–3 and 1969. The Ivan Kotliarevsky Museum was opened in Poltava in 1952.

Hryhorii Skovoroda

Hryhorii Skovoroda (Grigorii Savvich Skovoroda) (1722 -- 1794) Ukrainian poet, philosopher and composer.

Skovoroda was born in the family of a poor Cossack in the village of Chornukhy in the Lubny regiment (Poltava region) of the Hetman State ("Malorossiia") in 1722. He studied at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (1734-1741, 1744-1745, 1751-1753) but did not complete the full program. From 1741 to 1744 he was a member of the imperial choir in the capitals of the Russian Empire. He spent the period from 1745 to 1750 in Hungary and may have traveled elsewhere in Europe as well. In 1750-1751 he taught poetics in Pereyaslav.

For most of the period from 1753 to 1759 Skovoroda was a tutor in the family of a landowner in Kovrai. From 1759 to 1769, with interruptions, he taught such subjects as poetry, syntax, Greek, and ethics at the Kharkiv College. After an attack on his course on ethics, he in 1769 decided to leave teaching for the last time. In the final quarter of his life he traveled by foot through Ukraine staying shortly with various friends, both rich and poor.

This last period was the time of his great philosophic works. In this period as well, but particularly earlier, he wrote poetry and letters in Ruthenian (Ukrainian), Greek and Latin and did a few translations from Latin. A lover of music, he played several instruments and composed songs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Yeltsin's death has come from cardiovascular insufficiency - physicians

The first president of Russia Boris Yeltsin has deceased at 15:45 on Monday in the Central clinical hospital from cardiovascular insufficiency.

" Today, on April, 23rd, at 15:45 in CKH Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin has deceased. The death has come as a result of progressing cardiovascular insufficiency ", - has told S.Mironov's to journalists.

" Nothing foretold Boris Yeltsin's death ", has declared Renat Akchurin which per 1996 has lead B.Eltsinu operation shuntings.

" However, I recently did not observe him, but also occasions for supervision were not. Boris Nikolaevich felt rather not bad though intimate insufficiency on the sly progressed, and sudden cardiac arrest, possibly, became one of displays of this intimate insufficiency ", - R.Akchurin on air of radio station " Echo of Moscow " has told.

According to the surgeon, after operation it is possible to consider term of a life of B.Eltsina " from the medical point of view as good result ". " But how many the person has lived, loss is always sad, and it is awfully a pity to me, that so has occured ", - has noted surgeon.

Death of the first president of the Russian Federation

On April, 23rd, 2007 the first president of the Russian Federation Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin has deceased. He has entered into world history as the politician-reformer: the beginnings the present market reforms, having trusted in young economists "gaidar's teams". Yeltsin initiated Beloveshkie agreements, instead of the USSR has offered a format of the CIS. At Yeltsin the absolute power of the CPSU has been liquidated and the multi-party system is generated.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ukraine Needs to Pass Legislation to Join WTO

Ukraine must pass nine pieces of legislation within the next month to keep alive any chance of joining the World Trade Organisation this year, the country's finance minister said on Friday.

"Serious matters remain to be completed and they depend on joint action by the government and parliament," Anatoly Kinakh told a news conference.

"There are about nine bills to be passed. This is pre-condition for joining the WTO. We would then still have a chance of joining by the end of the year."

The remaining legislation marked the "final stage" before former Soviet republic could join the WTO after more than 13 years of negotiations, he said.

Pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, who was swept to power in 2004 by "Orange Revolution" mass protests, had hoped to win admission to the WTO in his first year of office as part of his drive to move Ukraine closer to the West.

Government ministers at the end of 2006 had said all necessary legislation had been passed and Ukraine was on course for WTO membership in the first six months of this year.

Kinakh said the outstanding bills dealt with health guarantees linked to genetically modified foods as well as farm sector taxation, standardisation and certification issues.

He said he hoped Ukraine's political crisis, provoked by a presidential decree dissolving a hostile parliament and calling a snap election, would not impede the passage of the bills.

"The bills are not very long and if parliament remains able to work, we intend to spend no more than a month on examining and passing them," he said.

Parliament has continued to hold regular sessions in defiance of the dissolution order and has challenged the decree in Ukraine's Constitutional Court.

Sources: Reuters


In the early morning of April 26, 1986, several explosions destroyed Reactor 4 at the V.I. Lenin Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station in Ukraine. Over 100 radioactive elements including Iodine, Cesium, Strontium, and Plutonium were released into the atmosphere.

During the ensuing days, rescue and cleanup workers (liquidators) were exposed to massive doses of radiation. Due to the enormous release of radiation, the Soviet government evacuated over 100,000 people from a large area surrounding the plant. To this day and through the foreseeable future, the area is considered too dangerous for human habitation, though normal radiation levels have returned to some locales.

After the disaster and subsequent decontamination efforts, the Soviet government established boundaries for the newly created Chernobyl Exclusion Zone encompassing portions of Ukraine and Belarus. The Zone is located within 30 km of the station and access is strictly controlled by the Ukrainian and Belarusian governments and militaries.

Ukraine court hears arguments from MPs

KIEV: Thousands of demonstrators surrounded Ukraine’s constitutional court yesterday as parliamentary deputies told judges why a presidential decree to dissolve parliament should be declared invalid.
For a fifth day running the court heard arguments on the legality of President Viktor Yushchenko’s April 2 decree to dissolve the legislature amid a feud with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, plunging the ex-Soviet country into a constitutional crisis.
The 17 judges of the court later adjourned until tomorrow. They still have to hear more members of parliament as well as representatives of the government and the central electoral commission.
Deputy Yaroslav Mendus told the judges that Yushchenko had exceeded his authority by claiming the constitution allowed him to dissolve parliament.
“Only the constitutional court is allowed to interpret the basic law. If the president gets involved in this, it means we have serious problems,” Mendus said.
The president has justified his move by saying that Yanukovich’s parliamentary majority had violated the constitution by luring pro-Yushchenko deputies into switching sides.
Yanukovich has opposed the dissolution and members of his majority asked the court to rule the decree illegal.
It is not clear when the court will make a decision.
On the streets outside, thousands demonstrated both for and against the dissolution amid a police presence that has grown significantly since a demonstration delayed the hearing for an hour on Wednesday.
Both sides’ supporters have held protests in the capital nearly every day since the president issued his controversial decree.
The latest round of talks between the prime minister and president on Friday failed to break the deadlock.
The stand-off is being closely watched by outside powers anxious about the political course of this country of 47mn people, located between the European Union and Nato to the west and Russia to the east. – AFP


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Day of the National flag of Ukraine

The decree of the President of Ukraine № 987/2004 from August, 23rd, 2004 establishes Day of the National flag of Ukraine which should be celebrated annually in day on August, 23rd.

National flag of Ukraine

Many flags, and Ukraine here not exception, represent combinations of color strips. Strips on a flag can be listed from top to down, or from a staff to a free edge. For example, the Ukrainian flag correctly to call "blue-yellow".

Flag of Ukraine is the rectangular panel with a ratio of the sides 2:3 and consisting of two equal strips - dark blue and yellow.

National colors happen from the arms of a medieval princedom of Galicia (a gold lion on a blue field). The first Ukrainian flag has been accepted in 1848; it was yellow-blue horizontal becolour. The Same flag has been accepted by independent Ukraine in January, 1918 Notwithstanding what in XIX century becolour with the top blue strip had wide circulation, officially he has been recognized only since March, 1918 Blue color means the sky, and yellow - wheats - one of the main agricultural crops of Ukraine.

Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko

Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko (March 9, 1814 - March 10, 1861) was a Ukrainian poet, also an artist and a humanist. His literary heritage is regarded to be a foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, of modern Ukrainian language. Shevchenko also wrote in Russian and left several masterpiece paintings.

Born into a serf family in the village of Moryntsi, of Kiev guberniya (then a part of the Russian Empire), Shevchenko was orphaned at the age of eleven. As a child he exhibited talent as a painter, and while accompaning his owner P. Engelhardt in trips to Vilnius, and later Saint Petersburg, he received training in painting. His talents were noticed by influential Russian painters who intervened to gain him freedom from serfdom. The famous Russian painter Karl Briullov donated a portrait of his friend Russian poet Vasily Zhukovsky as a lottery prize, whose proceeds were used to buy Shevchenko's freedom from serfdom on May 5, 1838.

In the same year Shevchenko was accepted as a student into the Academy of Arts in the workshop of Karl Briullov. The next year he became a resident student at the Association for the Encouragement of Artists. At the annual examinations at the Imperial Academy of Arts, Shevchenko was given a Silver Medal for a landscape. In 1840 he again received the Silver

Medal, this time for his first oil painting, The Beggar Boy Giving Bread to a Dog.

He began writing poetry while he was a serf and in 1840 his first collection of poetry, Kobzar, was published. Ivan Franko, the renowned Ukrainian poet in the generation after Shevchenko, had this to say of the compilation: "[Kobzar] immediately revealed, as it were, a new world of poetry. It burst forth like a spring of clear, cold water, and sparkled with a clarity, breadth and elegance of artistic expression not previously known in Ukrainian writing."

In 1841 the epic poem Haidamaky was released. In September 1841 Shevchenko was awarded his third Silver Medal for The Gypsy Fortune Teller. Shevchenko also wrote plays. In 1842 he released a part of the tragedy

Nykyta Hayday and in 1843 he completed the drama Nazar Stodolya. After these successes Shevchenko traveled to Ukraine where he saw the difficult conditions under which his compatriots lived.

On March 22, 1845, the Council of the Academy of Arts decided to grant Shevchenko the title of artist. He again travelled to Ukraine where he met the historian, Mykola Kostomarov and other members of the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a secret political society, created to advocate a wide set of political reforms in the Russian Empire. Upon the society's suppression by the authorities, Shevchenko was arrested along with other members on April 5, 1847, and sent to prison in St. Petersburg. He was exiled as a private with the Russian military at Orenburg in far reaches of the Russian Empire. Tsar Nicholas I, confirming his sentence, wrote, "Under the strictest surveillance, with a ban on writing and painting." It was not until 1857 that Shevchenko finally returned from exile after receiving a pardon, though he was not permitted to return to St. Peterburg but was exiled to Nizhniy Novgorod. In May, 1859, Shevchenko got permission to go to Ukraine. He intended to buy a plot of land not far from the village of Pekariv and settle in Ukraine. In July he was arrested on a charge of blasphemy, but was released and ordered to return to St. Petersburg.

Taras Sevchenko spent the last years of his life working on new poetry, paintings, and engravings, as well as editing his older works. But after his difficult years in exile his final illness proved too much, and Shevchenko died in St. Petersburg on March 10, 1861. He was first buried at the Smolensk Cemetery in St. Petersburg. However, fulfilling Shevchenko's wish, as expressed in his poem "Testament" (Zapovit), to be buried in Ukraine, his friends arranged to transfer his remains by train to Moscow and then by horse-drawn wagon to his native land. Shevchenko's remains were buried on May 8 on Chernecha Hora (Monk's Hill) (now Tarasova Hora or Taras' Hill) by the Dnieper river near Kaniv. A tall mound was erected over his grave, now a memorial.

Dogged by terrible misfortune in love and life, the poet died seven days before the Emancipation of Serfs was announced. His works and life are revered by Ukrainians and his impact on Ukrainian literature is immense.

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (Malewicz, Malevych, Malewitsch), (February 23, 1878 – May 15, 1935) was a painter and art theoretician, pioneer of geometric abstract art and one of the most important members of the Russian avant-garde.

Malevich was born near Kiev, Ukraine. He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1904–1910) and in the studio of Fedor Rerberg in Moscow (1904–1910).

After early experiments with various modernist styles including Cubism and Futurism — as exemplified by his costume and set work on the Cubo-Futurist opera Victory Over the Sun — in 1915, in Petrograd, he introduced his abstract, non-objective geometric patterns in a style and artistic movement he called Suprematism; famous examples include Black Square (1915) and White on White (1918).

Black Square, 1915, Oil on Canvas, State Russian Museum, St.PetersburgMalevich was a member of the Collegium on the Arts of Narkompros, the commission for the protection of monuments and the museums commission (all from 1918–1919); later on, he taught at the Vitebsk Practical Art School in Russia (now part of Belarus) (1919–1922), the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1922–1927), the Kiev State Art Institute (1927–1929) and the House of the Arts in Leningrad (1930). He wrote the book The World as Non-Objectivity (Munich 1926; English trans. 1976) on his theories.

In 1927, he went to Germany for a retrospective that brought him international fame, and arranged to leave most of the paintings behind when he returned to the Soviet Union. When the Stalinist regime turned against modernist "bourgeois" art, Malevich was persecuted. Many of his works were confiscated or destroyed, and he died in poverty and oblivion in Leningrad, Soviet Union (today Saint Petersburg, Russia).

History of jewellery in Ukraine

Jewellery, as one of the art forms originated together with the human culture as one of it's expressions. Ornamentation of body (which is essentially the purpose of jewellery) is known at least from the Stone Age. At this time adornments consisted simply of magic parts of the Cosmos: flowers, feather, wood, bone, stone, and body drawings.

The first jewellery known from the territory of modern Ukraine dates back to Mousterian period (Old Stone Age). It is represented by two bracelets from Mammoth ivory with earliest known meander ornamentation and a shell necklace found on Mizyn archeological site.

Between this remote era and a "golden age" of jewellery during Kievan Rus lies ice age and long period of nomadic migrations that brought in their own contribution to jewellery art in Ukraine. The jewellery of pre-Slavic autochton cultures that nevertheless existed in parallel with nomadic is poorly referenced and needs better studies.

Jewellery of peoples that migrated through Ukraine

Trypillians at their early period of civilization used naturally occurring metals such as copper for their jewellery which was rather primitive - simple spiral armlets, rings, necklaces from shells, copper tubes mother-of-pearl discs, more seldom - diadems. Cimmerians brought with them many new ideas. Their vision of the environment was reflected in their floristic or animalistic compositions, made of bronze or sometimes iron. Fertile soils and generous nature along the
Black Sea coast and the Dnieper riverside attracted Hellenes as long ago as in the Iron Age. At the same time, Scythians, who had come from Asia and replaced Cimmerians, appeared on the territory, which lay farther to the North. They resided here for a long time and appeared to be suitable trade partners and rich customers for the Greeks. Many masterpieces created by Greek and Scythian goldsmiths are widely known. For body, armament and harness ornaments, they employed all of metalwork techniques common at the time. These consisted of casting, coinage, engraving, gilding, inlaying, stone setting and others. The images of fantastic animals (griffins, sphinxes, winged animals, and often beasts with human heads) that were depicted in their works, came to be known as the peculiar "Scythian animalistic" style. Techniques, which had once been rather primitive, improved considerably during the prosperous times of the Scythian State. Stylization of images developed into a realistic method of interpreting complicated zoomorphic compositions.

The Sarmatians conquered the Scythian kingdom and thus occupied their living area. This culture brought along new traditions. Polychrome style, the most characteristic of which, is a process by which an animal's body is covered with inserts of blue paste or turquoise in soldered mountings.

Greek art of the Black Sea region made some changes to the Sarmatian style. Most notably it increased the color range. Interestingly, together with precious metals and gems glass is found in the jewellery of this time. Often made in this style were Greek brooch-fibulas.

Besides Sarmatian, Celtic art began to penetrate into southern regions of Ukrainian territory. In Roman provinces the so-called Renaissance of Celtic handicraft took place, in particular, it was manifested in the form of jewellery. These ornaments invaded the region of the Black Sea and to the North in barbarian world. Another way of penetration of Celtic jewellery into the present day territory of Ukraine was trade and cultural contacts with northern tribes. At a certain time Celtic art permeated into the British Isles territory, Germany and the Baltic Sea coast and from there it finally came to Ukraine. As a matter of fact, all archaeological culture from any particular region in Ukraine contains a sufficient amount of Celtic elements in the styles of arms and jewellery production. Jewellery that came to Ukrainian terrain from the East continued its way to the West in transformed shape. It is worthwhile mentioning the Goths, who came to the area without their own distinct artistic culture. Having conquered the cities on the Black Sea shores and having adopted artistic culture of Hellenes and Sarmatian barbarians, they brought to European jewellery polychrome and animal styles that contributed to the development of the original "merovingian" type of jewellery.

Under the pressure of the even greater war-inclined Huns, the Goths left the territory they had occupied. These Asiatic people brought a somewhat different version of the polychrome style, which was characterized by color inlays in soldered partitions and the presence of background patterns of filigree and granulation. During this time, further migration of people from Asia (Avars, Bulgars, Khazars, Ugrs, Pechengs) to the Ukrainian steppes had been taking place. Theses people brought along destruction and captivity. Every one of these tribes moving to the West took a part of local artistry with them, at the same time settling down and mixing with native inhabitants.

Contribution of autochton cultures

Archeological data prove the presence of many precursory cultures (Neolithic Corded Ware culture, Globular Amphora culture, Yamna culture, pre-Slavic Cherniakhiv culture, Zarubyntsi culture, Przeworsk culture and others) that existed throughout all historical periods on Ukrainian terrain. Some of them co-existed with the Trypillian farmers and nomadic tribes. Though creating rather simple jewellery these cultures were advanced in metal craft techniques. Copper production workshops were found at Yamna culture archaeological cites, forging it in the fire and casting it the forms was well developed methods. Artisans of the Bronze Age made armlets, hairpins, pendants, and fibulas. Lost-wax casting and forging became common techniques. Same techniques and some designs were inherited by early Slavs. It is displayed in the Slavic jewellery like Hryvna - descendant of torc, lunnycia (a moon-shaped pendant), beaded earrings.

Slavic jewellery

Such complicated historical processes preceded the rise of artistic culture in Kievan Rus. Age-old cultural and spiritual experiences of the native inhabitants of Ukraine lay in the basis of these processes as well. Acquirements of previous autochton generations did not vanish, and this was quite apparent in the jewellery. At the same time, alongside with original forms, there is a remarkable Scythian, Sarmatian, Hun, Hellenic, Celtic and Viking influence on Slavic jewellery. The techniques which were familiar to the ancient Slavs are forging, coinage, chasing, granulation, lost-wax and stone forms casting, enameling, niello etc.

Later on granulation, niello and cloisonne techniques reached a perfection that could not be surpassed in our days, and filigree became common. The German erudite monk Theophilus rated jewelers of Kievan Rus second only after Byzantine. Besides the pendants, rings, torque, armlets, fibulas, necklaces and other such jewellery, which had been common to all nations, Slavs had original jewellery - silver armlets of the Kiev type, enameled and three-bead earrings, and diadems. Slavic metal amulets such as spoons, hatchets, horses, ducks, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic sewed plates are also well known.

With the coming of a new religion from Byzantium, many things changed, most notably world view, culture and art. New types of creative works appeared, such as rich book settings, often embroidered with pearls (mainly from the Dnieper river), liturgical cups, crosses, icon setting frameworks, and later on boxes for storing relics, church-chandeliers, cups, and plates. The Tatar-Mongols, who destroyed Kiev and exterminated many of its able-bodied inhabitants, put an end to the bright development of jewellery in Rus. The artisans of Rus were made prisoners and forced to work for the Tatars. This deterioration process lasted for a few centuries. Revived centres in Halych and Volodymyr tried to continue Kiev traditions.

The Renaissance period

A further stage of development of jewellery art in Ukraine happens under the period of Polish-Lithuanian State rule and is characterized by the expansion of a new style of the Renaissance period. The powerful centers of jewellery craft at the time were Lviv, Kiev, Kamianets-Podilskyi and others. Specific feature of Renaissance jewellery in Ukraine was use of decorative elements of ancient Rus. L’viv was the leading center for a substantial period of time. Some of the most famous Ukrainian jewelers whom we know of today were Nykolay, Lavrentiy, Symon, A. Kasiyanovych, and H. Ostafiyevych. They worked hand in hand with Poles, Germans, Jews, Hungarians, Armenians, Italians and Scotsmen. The Independent goldsmiths’ guild in Lviv was founded more than 4 centuries ago. In the works of guild artisans the form of secular dishes and jewellery of the time is often combined with local decorative and functional features. Silver belts were considered to be exclusively Lviv-made. They had characteristic silver, often gilded, engraved plates in the shape of circles or ovals with alternating rectangular plates.

At that time jewelers did not know how to set stones in the right way to strengthen their shine and color. As a rule, they just slightly polished the stone and did not change its irregular form. They made massive cast-seats that considerably covered the stone. Therefore, import of the first faceted diamonds was greeted with high interest.

Unfortunately, the faith and nationality of the goldsmiths of Rus experienced considerable oppression on behalf of official rule and they were gradually transformed from a vast majority into a trifling minority. This even brought about the change of the work material from silver to gold.

Despite all this, Ukrainian jewellery continued to develop under two remarkable influences: western from Augsburg, and Nierenberg and eastern from Turkey by the intercession of Krak?w and Lublin. The former found a good ground in conjunction with ancient Rus’ motifs.

In jewellery centers such as Kiev, Pereyaslav, Nizhyn, and Chernihiv the techniques that were used in making one single piece of jewellery were perfected. They were as follows: champleve, cloissone, painting enamels, casting, coinage with raised and low relief, etching, deep engraving and filigree. Jewellery became smaller and lighter. Pendants were more often worn in pierced ears rather than at the temple or plaited into hair. The form of armlets changed - they were no longer plates on hinges (in the ancient Rus they were used for long chemise sleeves support), but light solid bands or chains made of gilded niello with diamonds or pearls. Pearls, buckles and decorative buttons became popular among men and women of all social classes.

The Baroque period

Along with goldsmiths' guilds jewellers also worked in private workshops. The masterpieces of Baroque from the ateliers of I. Ravych, M. Yurjevych, P. Volokh, I. Zavadovskyi (the tsar gate made of solid pieces of silver, altar framework in Kiev Pechersk Lavra and St. Sofia Cathedral in Kyiv) came to our days. This epoch also brought considerable interest to precious stones. Masters of diamond and gem faceting began appearing. This turned jewelers’ attention to the importance of "recovered" stone and metal combinations.

Later periods

The short Rococo period left almost no marks in Ukrainian jewellery.

In the countryside, the development of rural, non-professional jewellery began. It drew ideas from ancient heathen forms and patterns. At the turn of the century dynasties arose in the Carpathian Mountains, especially in Hutsulshchyna, (among them were brass-masters Dudchak, Medvidchuk, Fedyuk). In the eastern regions of Ukraine dukach - coined medallions or golden coins that hang on a chain or original brooch-knot became widespread. The analogy in Western Ukraine was zgarda - a rope of silver coins in the form of necklace.

The periods of Historicism and Secession in Ukraine have not been widely studied.
The wars at the beginning of the century stopped any progress in the development of goldsmithing in Ukraine altogether.

Soviet times

Under the Communist regime, the situation for Ukrainian artistic jewellery grew much worse. At the beginning, Soviet goldsmiths largely copied old-fashioned patterns of the last century. Instead of the expensive adornments (characteristic of pre-war times) that suited the costly dress of wealthy people, specimens of relatively inexpensive materials with inlays of cheap stones and glass became popular. This “popularity” was promoted by the decision of CC of CPSU and Council of Ministers of the USSR “Regarding the Elimination of Excessiveness in Projection and Building”. This set the task for artists - to find new forms with the use of contemporary materials and achievements in techniques. The fight against “excessiveness” and reproduction of past styles began.

After some time this situation had somewhat changed. The stabilization of social life led to the return of precious materials; forms, however, were left unchanged.

During the period of Socialism a long list of restrictions existed. The right to manufacture any wares of precious metals and stones was granted only to a complete monopoly of state enterprises. Small workshops were allowed to exist exclusively for repairing and mending. The “classic soviet” design (berries, flowers, leaves) became characteristic of industrially produced patterns. Due to the shortage of specialized designers, flexibility in reacting to the needs of the consumer as well as the actual movement and directions of jewellery design was greatly lacking.

For many years Ukraine was deprived of the possibility to participate in the processes of contemporary artistic jewellery creation. There were many reasons for this, such as ideological superstitions of the Soviet regime, lack of information, prohibition for individual artists to work with precious materials, and a general lack of proper artistic education.

Modern time

At present, there is still no secondary or higher educational institution in Ukraine where one could study jewellery or its design in particular. There are 5 secondary art-oriented institutions where students study the technology and the essentials of the composition of jewellery during 1-3 semesters. In the Lviv Academy of Fine Arts, at the only faculty of art metal in Ukraine, only one semester is devoted to the small forms. It is still impossible to work officially with precious materials in the workshops of the Academy because of confusing and complicated laws.

The absence of specialized galleries and appropriate artistic critics makes it very complicated for individual artists to realize their works. The lack of regular exhibitions and competitions means that creative ideas are not being exchanged continually as they should be. A deficiency of tools and materials complicates the situation still more. In the city of Lviv (worth million) one cannot find any shop of tools or materials even if the number of jewellery workshops during the post-Soviet period has increased almost tenfold. Imperfect legislation allows workshops to be opened by persons who are not professionally skilled. The concept of copyright exists only on paper.

Goldsmiths in Ukraine are still isolated from each other since there is no separate union or association. There are few contacts with colleagues from abroad, and there is still no professional literature in Ukrainian. The first attempt to congregate and to collate jewelers from different regions of Ukraine was the 1997 exhibition "Treasures of Ukraine" in the newly created museum of the NBU (National Bank of Ukraine) in Kiev. In 1999, for the first time ever in Ukraine industrialist jewellers exhibited their production in Kiev at the "Yuvelir-Expo" exhibition. In Ukraine, there are 4 state jewellery factories, 2 state factories of stone cutting, and 1 state enterprise of mining and processing of amber. Only just recently Ukraine began to extract its own gold.

Recently, some signs of hope have been appearing, which hint at a better future for jewellery in Ukraine. Small private companies founded in recent years look much more interesting than their "state monster" counterparts. In the last few years, some personal and group exhibitions of goldsmiths have taken place in Kiev, Lviv and other cities. Ukrainian artists participate and are usually successful in competitions and exhibitions abroad. Year after year more and more young artists are joining the search for new forms and surprising unusual materials.

Cities of Ukraine: Ivano-Frankivsk

Ivano-Frankivsk is the capital city of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast which lies to the west in the Ukraine. It is a relatively small city with a population of roughly 205 000 people. The smallness of the city only adds to its charm.

Ivano-Frankivsk started life as a fortress which was built to protect the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth from repeated Tatar invasions. This is did quite well and it wasn’t long before the city-fortress began to grow under the safety provided by this fortification. It was first mentioned in history in 1662 when it was granted the Magdeburg rights.

The city went on to survive not only Tatar attacks but also those thrust upon it but invading Turkish and Russian forces. The Renaissance was a period of extensive growth and rebuilding which lead to it becoming a somewhat more picturesque city. In fact it gained the nick-name “little Leopolis” – Leopolis being the Latin name for Lviv. It was also at about this time that Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, became an important center of Armenian culture.

After Poland was divided up in the ‘Partitions of Poland’, it came under Austrian rule before falling under the domain of the autonomous Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. 1919 was a turbulent time for Ivano-Frankivsk as it was the subject of many Polish-Ukrainian skirmishes.

It eventually ended up as the Second Polish Republic, serving as the Stanislawow Voivodship capital. Eventually, in 1939 it was invaded by German and Soviet forces and was attached to the Ukrainian SSR. Much of the Jewish population was murdered during the Nazi occupation which was a very sad period in the city’s history.

Eventually, in 1962, the name was changed to Ivano-Frankivsk after the Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko. The 1990s saw it become one of the centers of the Ukrainian independence movement. Today the city stands up proudly in its own right.

It is a pretty city with both a victorious and sad history which is interesting to explore should you have the time. Why not visit Ivano-Frankivsk next time you are in the country and find out what it has to offer for yourself?

Cities of Ukraine: Poltava

Situated in central Ukraine on the Vorskla River, Poltava is a city in Poltava Oblast. It is easily accessible by road from the Kiev-Kharkiv highway as well as by train. The city is of a reasonable size and owes most of its industry to the rich black earth which characterizes the region. It is also involved in a number of other industries and exports a variety of goods.

Poltava is probably one of the oldest Ukrainian cities as it was a Slavic settlement in the 8th and 9th centuries. It is only really historically documented from about the 14th century when it was under Lithuanian control.

About two centuries later it was taken over by the Polish administration and in 1648 it was captured by Polish magnate Jeremi Wisniowiecki. By that time it was the base of a distinguished regiment of Ukrainian Cossacks. Poltava only became part of the Russian Empire in 1667.

The most memorable battle in Poltava’s history is the ‘Battle of Poltava’ which took place on the 27th of June, 1709. It was at this battle that the Russian tsar Peter the Great, with some 45 000 troops, easily defeated a Swedish army of some 29 000 troops.

The memorable battle has lived on in the expression ‘Like a Swede at Poltava’ (he is totally helpless), which continues to be uttered by both Russians and Ukrainians down to this day. The battle marked the decline of the Swedish power and the rise of Russia as a great power.

Today Poltava is mainly an industrial center and an important rail junction in the region. Besides food and tobacco which is grown in the rich, fertile soil, Poltava also exports items such as machinery, railroad equipment, building materials, tractors, automobiles, leather goods, textiles, wood products and footwear.

It is a bustling city and is also home to the gravitational observatory of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences – something well worth looking at if you have the opportunity to visit this busy little city.

Cities of Ukraine: Kherson

Kherson has a current population of about 400 000 residents and is situated on the Dnieper river and seaport.

Kherson was founded on June 29, 1778, on the site of former fortification Oleksadrivs’kyi Shanets ruined by the Turks, by Rince Potiomkin. Kherson was named in honour of Chersonesus of Tauris founded by the Geeks in the 5th century before Christ.

Later the town became the center of the Kherson Province and in 1944 it became the capital of the Kherson Region.

Kherson is a city filled with industries, education and culture. Kherson’s main industries are ship-building and mechanical engineering. It is home to some interesting theatres, museums and monuments of architecture, such as the Greek-Sophia Church which was built in 1780, the Gates of the Kherson fortress which was built in the 18th century and the Holy Spirit Churh with the Bell Tower which was built in 1836.

The Kherson Region includes 18 districts, 9 towns, 30 settlements and 677 villages.

Askania-Nova (before 1844 –Chapli) is a resolution of the Chapli district. It was founded in 1822. It now has an Institution of cattle breeding and is home to the museum of flora and fauna of the southern Ukraine. This reserve occupies the area of about 11,100 hectares.

Geniches'k (ormer Yenichi) is a region town and a port on the Sea of Azov. It came into being in 1784 in the locality of extraction of kitchen salt. The name of the town comes from the Turkish "dzheniche".

Gola Prystan' is a district town founded in 1786. It is home to the Balneological resort Hopry.

Kakhovka is a district town, founded in 1791. It was found on the site of the ruined Turkish fortress built in the 16th c. It was named after General Kakhovskyi who was contracted land here and founded a large community of free peasants.

Nyzhni Sirogozy is a district town with a population of over 7,000 inhabitants. It is positioned in the old riverbed where the spring water is conserved in long "sirogozas" (in Turkish -" sira uzun" - a long line).

Skadovs'k (former Dzharylgach) is a district town which was found in 1894 on the lands of the landlord Skadovs'kyi. It is a beautiful resort.

Cities of Ukraine: Odessa

Odessa is the largest city along the entire Black Sea and the 5th largest city in Ukraine and arguably the most important city of trade. Many years ago, Odessa was once the 3rd leading city in old Russia, after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Odessa looks more like a city located on the Mediterranean, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Odessa has always had a spirit of freedom, probably gifted to her by her location and by her ability to accept many different peoples. The city has a wide variety of people including Ukrainian, Russian, Moldavian, Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Caucasian, Jewish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Odessa is one of the major ports and an important centre of industry, science and culture. Her mild climate, warm waters and sunlit beaches attract thousands of tourists year around. Its shady streets, gorgeous buildings and pleasant squares gives the city a certain manner of closeness and understanding.

Odessa is simply charming with its stunning architecture. The city proved itself fertile ground for various architectural styles. Some buildings display a marvelous mixture of different styles, and some are built in the Art Nouveau Style which was in vogue at the turn of the century. Renaissance and Classicist styles are also widely present.

Today Odessa has a total population of about 1.1 million people. The city's trades include that of shipbuilding, chemicals, oil refining, food processing and metalworking. Odessa also has a naval base and several fishing fleets, which adds to the cities economy.

Odessa is beautifully situated on green rolling hills, overlooking a small picturesque harbour. The best time to visit Odessa is during summer, when everything is in bloom and absolutely beautiful. The summer is especially favourable for those who are looking to tan on one of her tranquil white beaches.

Russian is the primary language spoken in Odessa, however Ukrainian is the official language and many advertisements and signs are written in it. English is the most widely used tourist language.

Cities of Ukraine: Yalta

Yalta is situated on a shallow bay facing south towards the Black Sea, on the site of an ancient Greek colony. It is said that Yalta was found by some Greek sailors many years ago who were looking for a safe shore to land on. Yalta is surrounded by many beautiful woody mountains. It enjoys a spectacular Mediterranean climate with many vineyards and orchards in its vicinity.

Yalta is a dramatically handsome resort on the southern tip of Crimea. It will always be a favored destination with its mild climate, lush green landscape and rugged beaches. Yalta attracts many tourists every year.

When going to Yalta you will learn a nice small legend of how the name Yalta emerged. You should be aware that there are two Yaltas, the Greater Yalta and Yalta City. Yalta City is Yalta itself, but Greater Yalta is several small towns which are situated between the Bear Mountain and the Cat Mountain.

There are many activities in Yalta, especially in the summer months. There are many restaurants, cafes, bars and night clubs that will be able to feed and entertain you for a few good hours.

The main promenade is always full of people walking back and forth listening and strolling through the works of the artists, singers and performers. There are many stalls selling souvenirs and all sorts of art works from clothing to beadworks to handmade jewelry. Yalta has a big hall, a theatre and cinema to entertain those who prefer staying indoors.

Yalta’s average prices are close to Western Standards and many shops, restaurants and hotels accept credit cards, however Yalta has an abundance of ATM machines. The people of Yalta incredibly hospitable and very proud of their city and they are usually excited to share it with you.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cities of Ukraine: Lvov (Lviv)

Founded in 1256, Lvov (also Lviv) has long been and important center of commerce in the Ukraine. The city is responsible for the manufacture of electronic equipment, cars, agricultural machinery, chemicals, processed food and textiles.

It has under a million inhabitants and a number of people commute from the surroundings suburbs daily. The winter is fairly cold and the summers are mild. The city sees a lot of cloud coverage.

Lvov is also one of the Ukraine’s leading cultural centers. The first high school in the city was founded by King Jan Kazimierz in 1661 and today the city is the proud home of the Lviv State University.

It also boasts a number of theatres and museums. It also happens to be the seat of the Roman Catholic Ukrainian Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox archbishops. Two of its churches date back as early as the 14th century.

When touring Lvov, one might considered visiting the historical city centre. The center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is fascinating to see. It includes the Ploscha Rynok Market Square with its Black House, the Armenian Cathedral, the Greek Cathedral, the Latin Cathedral, the Dominican Abey and the Boim Chapel. Or you can walk to the top of the Vysoky Zamok hill which overlooks the historical centre.

This is where the Union of Lublin mound is situated. For entertainment, the Philharmonic orchestra and the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre are a real cultural treat. On a more macabre note, the Lychakivskiy Cemetery is one of the biggest and more scenic in the region.

Lvov is and inviting and interesting place to visit. The cultural scene is constantly changing while history abounds and relics of the past remind us of what once transpired many hundreds of years ago. Book your ticket for Lvov today and enjoy the city’s timeless appeal for yourself.

Cities of Ukraine: Kharkiv

The second largest city in the Ukraine, Karkiv (also known as Kharkov) is situated in the northeast of the country and serves as one of the main industrial, cultural and educational centers in the country. The country’s industry and research has been focused on arms production and machinery for many years.

Today the city is home to such mega-companies as the Morozov Design Bureau, the Malyshev Tank Factory, Hartron and Turboatom. These companies specialize in fields such as tank and turbine production, and aerospace and nuclear electronic research.

Kharkiv was founded during the 17th century and has had a university since 1805. From 1917 – 1934 it served as capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Perhaps Karkiv’s most notable increase was during the Holodomor famine of the 1930s which saw many people arriving at the cities in search of food.

It was a sad time and many lost their lives and were secretly buried by surviving relatives. It went on to suffer further tragedy when, during World War II, it was not only the sight of several battles but was captured by Nazi Germany. The Nazis and the Red Army continually struggled for control over the city until August 1943 when it was liberated. During this period of struggle many tens of thousands lost their lives and the city suffered extensive damage.

Today Kharkiv has a lot of attractions to be enjoyed by the average visitor. Kharkov’s Freedom Square is the largest city square in Europe and is second in the world only to the Tiananmen Square. It is a great place to start your sight seeing. After that, you may wish to visit the Gosprom, the Mirror Stream, the Militia Museum, the Memorial Complex, the Shevchenko Monument and the Shevchenko Gardens.

The Uspensky Cathedral and the Pokriv Cathedral are quite dramatic and look great in photographs. If you manage to fit that all into your trip, the Cable Road is another interesting place to stop. Make Kharkiv one of your stops while visiting the Ukraine and take the opportunity to learn more about the country’s turbulent history.

Cities of Ukraine: Kiev

Situated on the Dnipro River, Kiev (also Kyiv) is the capital city of the Ukraine. After a rough and turbulent history, the town has become an interesting array of old and new buildings.

More and more of the culture is being influenced by the characteristics of both Western and European customs, yet the Ukrainians that live here still cling proudly to tradition. Once catapulted onto the world scene by the nuclear reactor blast at Chernobyl, the stunning city of Kiev is a world away from the tragedies of the past.

The modern city of Kiev is home to roughly three million people. Some of these people are foreign diplomats while others are students from other parts of the world. Thus, Kiev has a somewhat cosmopolitan feel. While many of its greater architectural and art treasures were destroyed in the second world war, that which was left has been restored and now proudly adorn the face of this picturesque city. For a while there were understandable concerns about the safety of living in such close proximity to the destroyed nuclear reactor plant but most scientists agree that the city is safe from the effects of radiation.

There is really so much to see and do in Kiev, you will be kept busy for days. Known as the ‘Green City’ for its many botanical gardens, parks and beautiful trees, the city is a wonder to behold in summer and spring. The nearby river provides hours of leisure activity in the form of swimming and boat rides while many enjoy leisurely strolls and cycling trails along its banks. In the winter the lake freezes over to make way to ice fishermen and ice-skaters.

The many theatres and opera houses provide indoor entertainment and craft markets selling and abundance of traditional Ukrainian goods can be found in various city squares. There are art galleries, beautiful old buildings and even catacombs to see. Kiev is a charming and majestic city that should not be missed.

Kiev (Kyiv) - the capital of Ukraine

Kiev (Kyiv, in Ukrainian), the capital of Ukraine, has a population of nearly 3 million inhabitants and covers over 43 km from east to west and 42 km from north to south. Approximately 85% of the Ukrainian population are Orthodox Christians; 10% are Catholics of the Byzantine rite; 3% are Protestant (mainly Baptists); 1.3% are of the Jewish faith.

Kyiv has much to offer in the cultural and architectural arenas with its wide tree-lined boulevards and historical buildings reflecting various styles and periods of the ancient Kyivan-Rus Empire.

Kyiv is a major industrial center that includes companies specializing in electronics, engineering, aviation, food and chemical production, etc. Kyiv's economic development has been enriched by its advantageous location along the Dnipro River, which links Kyiv to the Black Sea.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ukraine: A Promising IT Outsourcing Hub

Ukraine , an Eastern Europe country with a small population of 46.7 million, has started making its mark as an IT outsourcing destination. In the last five years the country's export of IT and related services has only risen. In 2006, Ukraine 's IT exports reached $280 million registering a growth of over 60% over the previous year. This is remarkable compared to the paltry $70 million in 2003.

In the recent past, the country has attracted many technology companies like Cisco, Motorola and IBM. In 2005 Belarus-based software development company EPAM that services American and European clients also opened a development center to leverage on low-cost engineering skills in the country. TechnoPark and GlobalLogic are other companies that have bet on Ukraine 's promise. Some of these companies are planning more centers in the country.

"GlobalLogic is planning to set up two more development centers in Kiev ," says Rohit Sharma, Director, Marketing, Global Logic. "We are also planning to establish a center of excellence for telecom software. Ukraine offers a skilled and cheap talent pool. "

The Ukrainian government is actively supporting the industry with pro-active legislation. In 2006 the government passed more than 20 laws, and many laws, including those to do with intellectual-property issues, are being revised to provide impetus for growth. The government is also actively promoting Ukarine as an outsourcing destination by participating in roadshows and organizing events.

"We have developed liberal rules for the IT sector," says Yuriy Kovbasyuk, Deputy Head of Kiev Region, State Administration. "We are taking several initiatives to attract foreign companies and to make Ukraine a promising outsourcing hub."

Ukraine stands tall in one of the fundamental drivers for globalization of service delivery — having a large base of educated and skilled labor pool. Its large labor has been instrumental in keeping wages stable, and its software programmers are comparatively cheaper in the region. IT salaries in the country are less than the salaries of EU and U.S. IT specialists, according to research by Jones Lang LaSalle, a real-estate services and money-management firm.

A number of professional organizations has contributed to the development of industry in Ukraine : Ukrainian Association of Software Developers, which espouses policies and conducts programs to promote technology and market growth, and IT Committee of American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine , committed to the development of the IT market in the country.

Ukraine has been in the spotlight for sometime with all the right elements to score as an outsourcing destination: Skilled labor pool, stable wages, low operational cost and favorable government initiatives. Tholons, an outsourcing advisory firm has ranked Kiev , the capital of Ukraine among the top 50 outsourcing cities in the world. Its geographic proximity to Europe makes it an ideal nearshore destination. While it cannot match the scale of India or scale it can position as a desirable destination for small and medium companies.