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Archive for August, 2011

Ukraine celebrates 20 years of independence–its longest, but for how much longer?

August 24th, 2011 4 comments

Ukraine today marks 20 years of independence.

President Viktor Yanukovych will take part in ceremonies in Kyiv. 

Amid a budgetary squeeze, a planned military parade in the Ukrainian capital was scrapped to save $20 million. 

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Only Yanukovych’s planned celebrations are allowed in Kyiv, while any others were banned. Democracy and justice remain fleeting in the country:

Over 5,000 opposition activists rallied Wednesday on the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, protesting the arrest of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and demanding early elections.

Demonstrators, many of them clad in traditional Ukrainian white embroidered shirts, attempted to march on the president’s office, but were held back by police in riot gear who flooded the city’s center.

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Tymoshenko, on trial for abuse of office during her time as prime minister, had requested parole for two days to be able to visit her mother in the east of the country and celebrate with her Ukraine’s independence anniversary. Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union is celebrated on Aug. 24.

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She was denied her request.

Meanwhile the secret service claim to be thwarting mystery terrorists:

Ukraine’s state security service said yesterday it had foiled a bomb attack in the capital Kiev after detaining three people it said were involved in the plot.

The SBU said the attack had been planned for August 24th, the former Soviet republic’s independence day.

The SBU said in a statement it had prevented a “terrorist act” after its operatives found a homemade explosive device stuffed with nails when they raided premises rented by the suspects.

It had found 100 “extremist” leaflets but it gave no details on the suspects’ nationality or their affiliation.

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Is this the work of known extremists, or the creation of crisis to quell dissent during demonstrations?

And finally David Marples does a good job describing Ukraine’s issues as a whole from the past 20 years:

Despite difficulties, the economy has returned to positive growth. And, the mere fact of survival is an achievement, the longest period of independence in modern Ukrainian history.

It is impossible, however, to avoid an impression of fading optimism.

On the eve of Independence Day, the government banned any public demonstrations other than the official celebration.

Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and a co-leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution, remains on trial for making a 2008 gas deal with Russia, despite coming down with a debilitating illness. Her one-time ally and former president Viktor Yushchenko testified against her at the trial, further testimony to the disintegration of the democratic forces.

The president, Viktor Yanukovych, has filled the cabinet with cronies from the Donbas region, few of whom even speak Ukrainian. He appears every inch the Soviet bureaucrat, thuggish and vindictive, and actively using the security forces against his enemies.

The failure to live up to early expectations can be attributed to several factors.

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Happy Independence Day!

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Rumour-killer: Ukrainian Beer still available in Toronto

August 15th, 2011 6 comments

imageAnyone looking for the Ukrainian Beer ‘Lvivske’ were surprised to see in big letters PRODUCT DISCONTINUED on the LCBO page. A quick search on the LCBO site reveals only a few are left in the province with the majority in Thunder Bay and a few scattered around the GTA.

Lvivske and its brother Slavutich, believe it or not, are not independent beers, but are actually owned by the conglomerate Carlsberg which owns many beers internationally. Compare that to a popular independent Ukrainian Beer that is not available in Canada for some reason is Obolon, although you can get this beer in the US.

Edit: Lucky people in BC can actually order Obolon to their local liquor stores.

So what is the fate of the Lvivske Ukrainian Beer at the LCBO? The reason the product is being ‘discontinued’ is that the bottled version of the beer is being phased out for a canned one that is coming out soon. Meanwhile, the Lvivske 1715 brand is available exclusively at the 401/Weston location in Toronto. Sadly both Lvivske and Slavutich seem to be no longer available at the LCBO at Cloverdale mall in Etobicoke Sad smile

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Demonstration against Tymoshenko’s arrest at Toronto Ukrainian consulate tonight

August 12th, 2011 No comments

Tonight, Friday the 12th at 6:30PM, the second demonstration against the unlawful arrest of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko will be happening at the Ukrainian consulate at 2275 Lakeshore Blvd West. The group is organizing the event and possibly more on their Facebook page.

The arrest was recently condemned by our own Canadian government with a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird:

Canada is concerned by the apparently politically motivated persecution, and now arrest, of Yulia Tymoshenko.

The appearance of political bias in judicial proceedings undermines the rule of law. Canada urges the Ukrainian government to strengthen judiciary independence and continues to support efforts to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous society in Ukraine.

The weekly Ukrainian show Kontakt has put up coverage of the first demonstration on YouTube:

Thanks to this week’s ePoshta newsletter for providing coverage of this event.

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Ukrainian Internment Exhibit in Fort St. John, BC

August 4th, 2011 No comments

The travelling exhibit, The Barbed Wire Solution: Ukrainians and Canada’s First Internment Operations, 1914-1920 is now on display in Fort St. John, BC through October 31st:

During the First World War, over 8000 men, women, and children, mostly Ukrainians, were interned. This exhibit explores the economic, political, and social circumstances that led to Canada’s first use of the War Measures Act.

Learn about Ukrainian immigration and farming, daily life and conditions in internment camps, and life following internment.

This exhibit was developed by the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre.

 

June through October 2011 at the

Fort St. John North Peace Museum

9323 – 100th Street, Fort St. John

Mon. – Sat. 9 am to 5 pm

 

For more information please contact

250-787-0430.

And it has been recently featured on the local news:

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Thousands gather for annual Ukrainian Festival in Elmira Heights, NY [Article]

August 4th, 2011 No comments

ScreenClipFrom Your News Network:

The annual Ukrainian Festival at St. Nicholas Church in Elmira Heights has grown exponentially

Sixty four years ago, the first Ukrainian Festival may have been a pretty small operation, but the lines and crowd that were on hand Sunday show that this celebration has come a long way.

The polka music brought crowds to the dance floor, the kid’s games were very popular but the authentic Ukrainian food trumped them all. The lines at any time throughout the day could be over 100 people long, so there had to be enough food to go around

Read the article and watch the video

It’s great to see Ukrainian festivals becoming increasingly popular in the State of New York – whether it’s Buffalo, Yonkers, the Catskills mountains, Rochester or even New York City. There are even more events in our 2011 Summer guide!

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