Category Archives: canada

Ukrainian state film to debut in Toronto this spring

The HotDocs documentary film festival has always shown movies about Ukrainians or set in Ukraine,  but now it will finally debut an official state film from the National Cinematheque of Ukraine:

"ЖИВА ВАТРА" (The Living Fire)

Set in the breathtaking Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine, Living Fire is a captivating story of three shepherds, each at a different stage in his life. Living in a world bound by tradition, they reflect on the meaning of their own existence as the contemporary world begins to encroach into their remote community. 10 year-old Ivanko must leave a carefree childhood behind as he transitions into adulthood. 39 year-old Vasyl reflects on a youth lost as he toils with unforgiving daily labor. Ivan, at 82, is recently widowed, and reflects with gratitude on a life that was good when rooted to a bountiful land. As the snow begins to melt and spring approaches, all three men prepare to begin the difficult journey of following their sheep into the mountains, a journey that his been a part of their families for generations. But with the temptations of an easier contemporary life and the pressures of modernity, they find themselves caught between two worlds—and the struggle to maintain their way of life becomes increasingly difficult.

[Hot Docs]


Screening Info:




CBC & PBS team up for Putin doc starting tonight


It’s not every day Canadian and American public broadcasters team up for investigate journalism, and we’re in for a treat as CBC & PBS co-produced a documentary about the evil side of Vladimir Putin – and it airs first in Canada tonight at 9PM EST on CBC:

He casts a long shadow over globe. Russian leader Vladimir Putin has outlasted three American presidents and is on track to stay in power until 2024. His incursions in Georgia, the Crimea and Ukraine have rattled the West, while his crackdowns inside Russia have riled his democratic opponents.
But a joint investigation by the fifth estate and PBS’ Frontline reveals an even darker side to one of the most powerful leaders in the world: Allegations of criminal activity dating as far back as his early days as a top official in St. Petersburg; ties to organized crime and money-laundering activities; and a secret personal fortune said to be in the billions.
“Putin’s Long Shadow” also raises disturbing questions about the role the Russian security services played in four apartment building bombings in Moscow and other cities in 1999 that killed nearly 300 people – a tragedy Putin blamed on terrorists and used to cement his power.
Host Gillian Findlay talks to a senior police officer who tried to arrest Putin on corruption charges; an investigator who was jailed for asking too many questions about the apartment bombings; and Russian businessmen who detail the levels of corruption and collusion.

CBC Fifth Estate – Putin’s Long Shadow

Here’s the trailer:

The documentary will be shown in the US next week on Tuesday, January 13 as ‘Putin’s Way’ on PBS, as part of the Frontline series. It’s best to check your local listings to be sure of the airtime as it can differ for each PBS station. For those who watch Buffalo’s WNED, it will air at 10PM EST.

Newly discovered western-Ukrainian classical scores premieres Sunday

imageCatch a rare opportunity to hear World-renowned Canadian opera singers perform recently discovered works by western Ukrainian classical composers from different eras in ‘GALICIANS I: The Art Songs’:

When & Where:

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
3 PM
Koerner Hall, Toronto, ON

Tickets: can be purchased at the Koerner Hall website or by calling 416-408-0208.


The concert is from the Ukrainian Art project which aims to promote the classical treasures of Ukrainian art-song. The project recorded over 300 recordings from Ukrainian composers such as Mykola Lysenko, Kyryko Stetsenko and Yakiv StepovyiThe. Sunday they will debut to the world the recently discovered art songs of:

  • Denys Sichynsky – late-romantic period, the first professionally trained Western Ukrainian composer.
  • Wasyl Barvinsky – impressionist era, imprisoned by Soviet authorities for 10 years and destroyed much of his work which some have yet to be rediscovered
  • Stanyslav Liudkevych – post-romantic era,
  • Stefania Turkewich – modernist, Ukraine’s first female composer

Buy the music

Music from the Ukrainian Art Project is for sale:

Taras Shechenko’s poetry is presented as song

Music from Kyrylo Stetsenko

Music from Mykola Lysenko, the father of Ukrainian classical music

Music from Yakiv Stepovyi

The music is also available on iTunes and Google Play

Poroshenko to visit Canadian Parliament and US Congress this week; Ukrainian parliament concedes to Russian rebels and ratifies agreement with EU

Petro Poroshenko is pictured. | AP Photo

What a week. New Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is scheduled to visit Ottawa on Wednesday, followed by a visit to the US congress on Thursday.


Visiting Canada

Poroshenko is scheduled to address Parliament Wednesday at 2PM EST, and you can watch live on CPAC. The Harper government pledged $200 million back in March, but it has yet to be delivered – even causing Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada to ask about the money back in July. Canada also added additional sanctions against Russia and pledged more than 300 election monitors for the fall Ukrainian parliamentary elections.

Update: Here is Poroshenko’s Address to Canadian Parliament:


Visiting USA

Poroshenko is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama on Thursday, and was subsequently invited to speak to Congress the same day. You can watch the Congressional address Thursday at 10AM EST on CSPAN. The US and the EU added additional sanctions against Russia last Friday.

Update: Here is Poroshenko’s Address to the US Congress:



Association Agreement with EU

The association agreement with the EU, originally rejected by Yanukovych back in November which plunged Ukraine into rebellion then war with Russia, has finally been ratified by Ukrainian Parliament. It won’t be fully implemented until 2016.

For about 15 months, Ukraine will be able to ship its goods to the E.U. without paying export tariffs, but Europeans will not be able to enjoy the same free access to the Ukrainian market. That is what Russia has long demanded.

Recently, at the end of August, when the leaders of Russia and Ukraine met for the first time in nearly three months to discuss the war raging along their border, Vladimir Putinused his time at the microphone to rant about Ukraine’s trade deal with Europe. The Russian President insisted that it would cost Russia around $3 billion if Ukraine went ahead with the agreement, which he said would disrupt the customs rules and sanitary inspections that Russia conducts at its border.

How Putin Got His Way In Ukraine


Autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk

Ukrainian Parliament also voted for autonomy and self-governance for the two terrorist-occupied oblasts for Donetsk and Luhansk for the next three years, as negotiated with Russia as part of the ceasefire. Amnesty has been granted to those who did not commit war crimes.

Many argue that these two areas will pave the way for disgraced Party of Regions and Communist party officials to return to office and have a say in Ukraine:

Holding elections in the occupied territories with the almost guaranteed victory of the Akhmetov-Medvedchuk project would return to parliament the most odious names from the previous era. On the other hand, it would permit the transfer of the separatist war from the terrorist to the political format. This has always been the path for dealing with “separatist” conflicts in the West.

Is Medvedchuk coming back?