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#1 Ukraine: Up to date
The Promote Ukraine Podcast is back with a brand new format! In our new series “Ukraine: Up to date” we present you the current hot topics so you can stay on top of things that are happening in and around Ukraine.
This week we are talking about the first judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the Ukraine v. Russia case, the implications of the termination of the US sanctions policy on Russia, and many other interesting topics.
Fifty-Five Percent of Europe’s Residents Support Ukraine’s EU Membership
When Germans, French, Italians, and Poles hear the word “Ukraine,” it evokes three associations: war, poverty, and immigrants. This is evidenced by results of a poll commissioned by the New Europe Center in these four European countries.
At first glance, there is nothing good for Ukraine. However, if we compare these results with the answers to similar questions put to residents of the same countries five years ago, we will see quite encouraging signals. For example, the majority of respondents (55%) support Ukraine’s membership in the EU. Support for Ukraine’s membership in NATO is not overwhelming but is rather significant as well (38%).
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Belarus is Not Experiencing a Maidan, But in Its Own Way – a Struggle for Dignity
With an astonishing 80.23 percent of votes in the recent Belarusian presidential elections, the incumbent president – Alyaksandr Lukashenka – has once again secured a landslide victory over his opposition. His sixth consecutive victory, however, was met with mass protests in the capital, Minsk, over the falsifications and electoral fraud that have become apparent in the aftermath of these elections. Yet, despite a history of electoral fraud, Belarusians appear to have had enough of Lukashenka and his never-ending rule, mobilising in numbers of up to 300,000.
As a response to the peaceful demonstrations, the government deployed riot police to disperse the protestors, using batons, stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets. Violent clashes ensued, and to-date over 12,000 protestors have been detained, five killed, and dozens more have gone missing. This inhumane use of force against peaceful demonstrators has often drawn parallels with Ukraine’s Maidan, although whether such a comparison is justified is a different question in and of its own. Read full article
Severe Sanctions or the Immediate Release of Political Prisoners Are Inevitable
The Kremlin’s release of Ukrainian political prisoners hardly made headlines in the world and domestic media this year but also does not arouse lively and engaged interest on the part of Ukrainian society. Solitary pickets and the desperate attempts of relatives and friends of the Moscow regime’s prisoners to draw the attention of the Ukrainian authorities, foreign diplomats and the most active part of society to this urgent problem do not inspire optimism. Sympathy and an attempt to understand can hardly be noticed in the eyes of my interlocutors. More often it is indifference, surprise, and a lack of any human reaction.
A year has passed since Ukraine managed to secure the return 11 political prisoners and 24 sailors, who were captured at various times and unlawfully detained in the Russian Federation for years. Since then, there have been two more waves of hostages and political prisoners released from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine’s eastern regions. Unfortunately, 135 Ukrainian citizens (at the time of writing) are still considered political hostages of the war waged by Russia. 135 families are waiting for their fathers, husbands, brothers and grandfathers. They are real heroes, who face the challenge of fate with dignity in isolation, going through new difficulties all the time – including changes of cells and colonies, the pressure of prisons administration, repeat offenders, and the FSB, the cold climate, terrible food and medical care, a lack of information, and the risk of catching COVID-19.
Last September, a special initiative was launched together with Mark Feygin. It aimed to offer the international community an opportunity to create an effective mechanism, primarily diplomatic, and to establish rules and arrangements to help prevent the emergence of new political prisoners. The aim is to exclude this humanitarian aspect from the existing confrontation. In the meantime, a number of consultations with diplomats, experts, journalistic community and lawyers have been held.
Discussions have been held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in foreign and Ukrainian embassies, and in the international arena. Oleksii Makieiev, a former political director and currently the special representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on sanctions policy, strongly supported this idea. With the appointment of Emine Japarova to the position of First Deputy Foreign Minister, the idea became more specific. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the establishment of the international action platform on Russia’s release of Ukrainian political prisoners. Its inaugural meeting took place on 1 July 2020 in a videoconference format. It was joined by the representatives of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories, the President’s Office, the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, by the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the representatives of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, non-governmental human rights organisations, and the relatives of unlawfully detained persons. Metropolitan Clement of the Crimean Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PCU) and other religious and public figures agreed to participate in the work of the platform.
Roman Sushchenko, a famous Ukrainian journalist, former political prisoner of the Kremlin, Ukrinform correspondent in Paris, and now in Kyiv
Out of the box options – How the Euromaidan brought up a new cultural stream for the younger generations
When thinking about Ukrainian culture many things come to mind: stunning churches, beautiful traditional costumes, folklore music, and much more. Rich, traditional culture is a big part of Ukrainian national identity and something Ukrainians are very proud of.
What is often overlooked, however, is the fact that culture is not static; it is continuously developing.
The younger generation is the future of the country and has its own, unique characteristics and mentality, which cannot be compared to any other youth in Europe. Young Ukrainians spend a big part of their youth, if not even their entire youth, in the middle of political instability and war, torn between breaking free from Soviet and Russian influence and moving towards a European future – all the while trying to live the normal life of an adolescent. Today, the mark that the political situation is leaving on the culture of younger generations shows in many different ways. However, there is one remarkable movement that managed to rise from within the Ukrainian youth, through the devastation and uncertainty the young people were facing, to an internationally renounced phenomenon, which many consider the country’s “business card” towards young Europeans: Ukraine’s alternative club culture. Read the full article here
Vyshyvankas as one of the beautiful symbols of Ukraine
In May, Ukraine celebrated World Vyshyvanka (Embroidery) Day, a celebration of Ukrainian identity and a return to folk traditions, for the fifteenth time.
During the Soviet era, a period of stagnation, when overt expressions of Ukrainian identity were suspect, Ukrainians who dared to wear embroidered shirts were considered dissidents or nationalists, and were exposed to all the possible consequences.
However, Ukrainian diaspora in the West faced no such problem: they could wear their national clothes on any day, without any trouble.
Diaspora Ukrainians, therefore, had the opportunity to preserve and pass on the wonderful tradition of creating and wearing embroidered Ukrainian shirts. We see a striking example of such creativity in the Halaburda diaspora family. All four Halaburda sisters make vyshyvankas, using – and preserving – the skills they once learned from their mother. Currently, their collection includes about 15 full suits and 60 hand-embroidered shirts.
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