Lviv Opinion

Why independent Ukraine is the ultimate post-Habsburg nation

Issue 105, October 2017.
Twenty-six years since it first gained independence, people still routinely refer to today’s Ukraine as a post-Soviet country. The Soviet experience, together with the Russian imperial epoch that came before it, are widely accepted as the definitive historical foundations underpinning the modern Ukrainian state. This highly Kremlin-centric perspective on Ukrainian history completely ignores the major roles played by numerous other powers in the formation of the Ukrainian nation, such as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire.

Time for Ukrainians to discover Ukraine

Issue 104, September 2017.
One of the biggest victories scored by the Ukrainian government this year was the approval of comprehensive visa liberalization with the European Union. Thanks to this measure, Ukrainians have entered into a new phase in their relationship with the EU and will be able to travel throughout Europe without visas for the first time in the country’s history.

Ukraine prepares to boost public diplomacy efforts

Issue 104, September 2017.
Plans underway to establish Ukrainian Institute as Kyiv seeks to improve country’s weak international profile What do most foreigners know about Ukraine? There is a good chance they know next to nothing, while what little information they may have is likely to be both distorted and negative in character. This unsatisfactory state of affairs may be about to change. After decades of neglect, Ukraine is finally addressing the country’s international image problems. Autumn 2017 will see preparations continue for the launch of a public diplomacy initiative designed to promote Brand Ukraine internationally and raise the country’s cultural profile around the world.

Steampunk Superheroes of Ukrainian Independence

Issue 104, September 2017.
Comic book blockbuster seeks to bring 1917 Ukrainian Revolution heroes to post-Maidan audiences When people think of Ukraine’s long struggle for independence, they tend to focus on the WWII-era insurgent army that fought both Nazis and Soviets, or the Cossack statehood bids of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is perhaps understandable: the romance of Cossack leaders Bohdan Khmelnitskiy and Ivan Mazepa has captivated generations of Ukrainians, while the polarizing figure of WWII insurgency leader Stepan Bandera has cast a shadow over the national identity debate ever since the 1940s. However, prior to 1991, the closest Ukraine actually came to establishing a recognizable modern state was during the epic independence struggle that began in 1917. As Ukraine marks the centenary of those momentous events, a group of comic book artists is attempting to introduce today’s post-Maidan generation to an era of Ukrainian history that has direct relevance to the ongoing hybrid war with Russia.

10 ‘Must-Have’ Travel Apps

Issue 103, July 2017.
With Ukrainians now able to explore their European neighbours with little more than their new biometric passports and their mobile phones, we thought we’d help out by offering the 10 must-have travel apps for your phone. Having these handy little helpers in your pocket will take the worry out of your journey and allow you to maximise your relaxing time. To keep a few extra nickels in your pocket (which you’ll need when paying €10 for a beer in London), we’ve made sure that every featured app in this article is free to download. So, happy travels!

That Never Happened: The Untold Story of How Canada Interned its Ukrainian Citizens

Issue 103, July 2017.
Imagine a place where during the Great War, Ukrainian men, women, and children were rounded-up and transported to remote places far from their homes. They had committed no crimes, nor been charged or convicted. They were then forced to spend years living behind barbed wire and providing forced labour. Can you believe that place was Canada? At the time, Canada was at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary and interned over 8,500 Ukrainians at work camps (aka concentration camps). They were forced to work on projects like road- and railway- building or in mines or on farms. Most had their savings confiscated and some never returned home. The rest of Canada’s Ukrainian population – some 80,000 people – were forced to register as “enemy aliens”.

Will Mavka mark the return of Ukrainian animation greatness?

Issue 101, May 2017.
There was a time when Ukrainian animation was considered to be among the best in the world. From hits as early as 1927’s ‘Ukrainianisation’, 1966’s Golden Shoe-winning ‘Little Bear and the One that Lives in the River’ and the spectacularly successful and long-running ‘Cossacks of the Zaporizhia Sich’, to more recent hits such as 1983’s multi-award winning Sirko (Once Upon a Dog) and this year’s inaugural Ukrainian Dziga (Oscar) winner for Best Animated Feature, Mykyta Kozhumyanka (The Dragon Spell) – Ukraine has a long and rich history of animation. It looks like they’ll have a new film to join them after Animgrad Studio’s Mavka: The Forest Song wowed audiences during a pitch at Bordeaux’s influential Cartoon Movie festival.

Lviv Today, Ukraine Tomorrow

Issue 100, April 2017.
Lviv Today Publisher Peter Dickinson reflects on Lviv's role as a model for Ukraine's European transformation

Good or Not – Bitter Harvest is a Must-See Movie

Issue 99, March 2017.
Let’s get this out of the way right now – if you are a foreigner that lives or spends any amount of time in Ukraine, you have to see Bitter Harvest. The Canadian-made movie about the Soviet-manufactured famine in Ukraine in the 1930s has polarised the critics, but that shouldn’t stop you from this cinematic treatment of a subject integral to Ukrainian-Russian relationship that is not widely known in the Western world. The film tells the story of two star-crossed lovers struggling to survive the Holodomor, a genocidal famine in Ukraine caused by Joseph Stalin’s collectivisation policies. The film labours to be as meaningful as other cinematic treatments of horrific wartime atrocities, such as Schindler’s List’s take on the Holocaust or The Pianist’s portrayal of the Warsaw Uprising. Bitter Harvest doesn’t quite live up to it’s subject matter though, reminding viewers more of Passendaele – another Canadian wartime movie about a famed World War I battle. Both movies have $20 million budgets and plots that, despite the important subject matter, fail to sufficiently impact viewers. Despite this – or perhaps because of it – the films are required viewing. Good or not – Bitter Harvest is a must-see movie.

The Amazing Ukrainian Woman

Issue 98, February 2017.
Ukrainian women have long been acclaimed for their physical beauty. Even in the Soviet days, women from Ukraine were considered the most beautiful of all the socialist republics. What is too often overlooked is that the Ukrainian woman is far more than just a pretty face. She must wear several masks – sometimes all at once. With the nation mobilised and many men off fighting a war in Eastern Ukraine, the roles of Ukrainian woman have become even more amplified.