Lviv Opinion

“Democracy and Generation UA”

Issue 25, June 2010.
Lviv Today publisher Peter Dickinson on the challenges facing Ukraine’s post-Orange generation of young patriots as they face up to the country’s new geopolitical direction After five years of post-Orange press freedoms, an ill wind appears to be blowing through the country’s media sector. It took President Kuchma a decade in office before the nation’s journalists finally came out in protest against state censorship, but the new Yanukovych administration has provoked the same reaction within just three months. Journalists at a number of national channels threatened strike action in May in response to the selfcensorship and biased news reportage which they claim has accompanied the arrival of the new government. Meanwhile, commentators complain that the free-for-all of modern Ukrainian political debate has been replaced by a sanitized version of events which bears an uncanny resemblance to the humourless coverage favoured by the Kremlin’s power vertical.

Cosmopolitan gateway or nationalist bastion?

Issue 23, April 2010.
Lviv’s football team Karpaty (‘Carpathians’) are on the verge of qualifying for European football for the first time in a decade, offering the club’s fans the prospect of an all-too-rare European adventure. But will Lviv’s notoriously nationalistic fans prove good ambassadors for what was once seen as one of Eastern Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities?

Disillusioned but doggedly democratic

Issue 22, March 2010.
Does Yanukovych’s victory represent the end of the Orange Revolution or its final vindication? Media coverage of Ukraine’s 2010 presidential elections has understandably focused on the geopolitical implications of Viktor Yanukovych’s headline-grabbing victory. Many analysts have declared that Yanukovych’s win marks the final nail in the coffin for the increasingly discredited Orange Revolution and signals Ukraine’s return to the Kremlin’s exclusive sphere of interest. While the long-term geopolitical ramifications of the presidential elections are certainly unlikely to favour the country’s European ambitions, it is also possible to argue that Yanukovych’s victory is in fact the final vindication of the Orange Revolution and proof positive that however damaged it may be, Ukrainian democracy remains capable of giving voice to the mood of the electorate. A Yanukovych presidency may be anathema to many Ukrainians, but anyone who considers themselves a sincere democrat must also acknowledge that his victory has been a textbook example of democracy at work, warts and all.

Forecast: Lviv’s employment market in 2010

Issue 20, January 2010.
Ukraine suffered a severe blow across the employment market in 2009. Unemployment skyrocketed, underemployment was rampant, many employees began entering other employ- ment spheres, and a vast number of employees were living in fear that their heads would be next on the chopping block. Those that managed to hang on often saw salary cutbacks, bonuses slashed, shortened work days and wages that were not paid out in a timely fashion.

Lviv Racing to Meet Euro 2012 Deadline

Issue 18, November 2009.
This month will see Euro 2012-related activity in Lviv rech a fever pitch as city officials work to meet UEFA’s tough 30 November deadline. In April 2007 Ukraine and Poland were designated as sites to co-host the UEFA European championships in 2012. This decision is monumental on two fronts. First, it marked the first occasion since the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago where the UEFA championships would be held in two countries formerly belonging to the communist camp. Second, for Ukraine still a fledgling democracy belonging neither to the EU nor NATO, it was one of the biggest single achievements since it gained independence 18 years ago. The challenge now is to make sure Lviv is selected as a host city.