Civic Campaign: Make Ukraine better!

Category: by Dmytro Yatsyuk, guests, ukraine
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(Läsningstid: 3 minuter)

Ukraine is now living a very particular situation. End of one historical circle (period of European dream born with Orange Revolution) and beginning of some entirely new and perhaps shadow time, marked by political decision of a new government to abandonee European and Euro Atlantic choice for Ukraine.

In that situation, Ukrainian young generation feel that they must do something (anything at all), to make his own position about situation living by contemporary Ukraine.

In this actual environment, every political, social or cultural organization or part of civic society uses its own “weapons” of choice. Ukrainian feminist organization FEMEN, received the recent visit of Medvedev with his own performance called “Scratched by bear”.

Photo by FEMEN at Flickr

Other group of youngsters from Kyiv, start at May 11, 2010, a civic campaign “Make Ukraine better!”, intended to unite young generation of Ukrainians around of Ukrainian national idea, in way to remind all those who gave their lives for the country.

The bilingual manifesto of campaign (in Ukrainian and Russian) said:

In remembrance of those who fought for Ukraine and to together future – our initiative:

Belt for Belt (from famous UPA lyrics Lenta Za Lentoyu”):

We have different political views. We speak different languages. But Ukraine is unique for us. Do not be afraid to say that. Do not be ashamed. Do not forget.

Put the flag on your apartment. Add the ribbon to your clothes – to the day-to-day one and to festive one and to any one.

You want to make life better in Ukraine? Do it. Anything. And think about more.

Do you want to do more than just putting the ribbon to your clothes? You’re not alone : )

There are all sorts of issues needing to resolution, and actions that can and should be done. For example, today’s issues to be solved by civil society:

1) demand for joint vision of history – as the basis for understanding in the society;
2) actions for organization of civil society;
3) action against state corruption and the filth of personal responsibility of state representatives and politicians (yes, they also must live with respect for the law and must behave decently);
3) support to culture (not for kitsch);
4) support poor and disadvantaged parcels of society;
5) etc, etc, etc …

You can propose your own actions; you also can support actions of others. For more information, visit the online community Make Ukraine better! There discussions are made, there activities are organized. Why not?

You also can help to our action as follows:

1) Place one of the proposed banners on your blog / site:
2) Send to us your beautiful photos with the ribbons, organize a section of photographs, involve famous people, finally, our action allows your personal PR : )
3) Create the design of the original ribbons, banners or other promotional materials.
4) To popularize and disseminate our initiative in the press, in the Internet, in blogosphere, etc …
5) Share with us your ideas. Write to us, don’t be ashamed or join the community or visit the campaign website

Information about this initiative in Portuguese:

Moskvas alternativa scen är liten, men desto kaxigare

Category: by sophie engström, russia
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

I vimlet på “Black market” på Proekt_Fabrika, sprang jag på Elena Tupyseva. Elena är en av Tsekhs drivkrafter. Tsekh är oberoende dansgrupp som är har sina lokaler i Proekt_Fabrika. Hon driver även Fabrikas konsertsal samt dess trevliga bar . Elena beskriver verksamheten i huset, och snabbt får jag klart för mig att detta är kanske en av de mer intressanta platserna i Moskva just nu, om man intresserar sig för vad som sker på den alternativa scenen. Proekt_Fabrika huserar flera olika aktiviteter, men alla som finns där är kopplat till den alternativa kulturscenen. Ja, förutom självaste fabriken, vill säga.

– Vet du om att fabriken fortfarande fungerar? De tillverkar papper och har upplåtit en del av deras yta till oss.

Elena vill helst inte spekulera i varför, men tror att det kan vara ett försök av företagsledningen att skapa goodwill.

-Eller så har de bara ett genuint intresse för kultur, vad vet jag? säger hon och skrattar.

Interiör från Proekt_Fabrika

Elena menar att Moskvas oberoende kulturscen ser bedrövlig ut. Enligt henne finns det ungefär fyra scener som tar in alternativ musik, teater, dans eller utställningar. Staden växer, men inte intresset för alternativ musik. Ett problem är att hyrorna är odrägligt höga, men en annan viktig och bidragande orsak är att intresset för alternativ kultur inte tilltar ut.

– Efter jobbet vill folk inte titta på modern dans, utan heller gå i köpcentra och köpa meningslösa attribut. Jag tror att intresset för kultur har avtagit totalt, men att alternativ, och kanske lite mer svår tolkad kultur, lider mest av det. Helt obegripligt! Modern dans som är så kul, säger hon och skrattar och påpekar att festivalen IntraDance kan bli lidande av det minskade intresset för kultur.

Elena är en av producenterna för festivalen och hon berättar om vilka problem de ställts inför. För det första är det mycket svårt att hitta lokaler som funkar. De som sysslar med modern dans vill helst ha en scen där publiken kan se rörelserna på golvet något uppifrån. Moskva har mycket få scener som stämmer in på den beskrivningen. För det andra är deras problem liten uppmärksamhet i media. Första gången de körde festivalen hade Afisha, Moskvas främsta city guide, ett fem sidors reportage med bilder. Denna gång har de haft 1/4 sida.

– Det är förstås förödande för oss, säger Elena som ändå hoppas på god uppslutning när festivalen drag igång den 20 maj.

Och det är klart att den blir det, tänker jag, när Elena ångar vidare mellan besökarna på “Black market”. Med den kraften kan inget stoppa dig!

Night of Museums in Moscow

Category: by sophie engström, russia
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(Läsningstid: < 1 minut)

Yesterday it was Night of Museums in Moscow and went to Proekt Fabrika. I made an interview with Nick Ohkotin, independent book distributor Berrounz, owner of Proekt OGI bookstore and Interbok in Stockholm such as one of the team heads of Moscow International Open Book Festival. This interview will be published later.

Below you see a (very) short clip from the Black Market, that was situated at the yard at Fabrika. Wonderful atmosphere with friendly faces, tasty wine and many interesting books and other items for sale.

Robbialac Stalinism stopped!

Category: guests
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(Läsningstid: < 1 minut)

I received the information from the campaign Stop Robbialac today, that the company Robbialac has withdrawn their colour “Vermelho Estaline” (Red Stalin) from their catalog. has previously published Stop Robbialac’s protest letter. Here is what they say.

Robbialac would like to clarify that it was never our intention to offend the victims of Stalinism.

Therefore, in order to avoid any doubts about the issue, Robbialac decided to withdraw suppress the color designation “vermelho-Estaline” and “vermelho Rússia”, from the colour cards where they were mentioned.
Robbialac operates in the Portuguese market for 79 years, and has always maintained a thorough respect for the consumers and employees.


Stop Robbialac Stalinism now!

Category: guests
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

This is an open letter from the blog Stop Robbialac.

Recently, a Portuguese painting company, Robbialac, has created a brand new color, with a name of “Vermelho Estaline” (Red Stalin). Decision of its own management and creative department can be verified in company’s Web products catalog (page number 8, right side, down of the page).

Personally, I have consider this decision as a cynic and sinister way to obtain commercial gains based on inhumane suffering, blood and tears of millions de citizens of Central and East Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus.

Also, I have deeply doubt, that Robbialac managements hasn’t no information about horrors of Ukrainian Holodomor, massacre of Polish officers and civilians in Katyn or about system of Soviet concentration camps, generically known as a GULAG.

Based in all this data, I assume me personal responsibility and duty to not buying any Robbialac products, till a company will take of the market this genocidal paint and will publically ask for forgiveness, to millions of victims of Stalinist tyranny in Europe or in any place in the World.

If you are agreeing with my position, please, contact Robbialac painting to show to the company your own civic position:
Telephone in Portugal: + 351 21 994 77 00
Fax in Portugal: +351 21 994 77 94
Green Line in Portugal: +351 800 200 725.

Permanent address of this news

Best regards,

Jest Nas Wielu,
Citizen & Blogger,
Maputo, Mozambique


About this civic campaign on CNN

A brave new world with Konoplyana pravda

Category: by sophie engström, ukraine
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(Läsningstid: 4 minuter)

When I was in Kyiv last I met some of the founders of the paper Konoplyana pravda. I was so fascinated by their project, so I decided to ask them some questions. Here is the answers from Zhenja Matirka, Sergio Azenberg and Taras Ratushniy. Enjoy!

How did it all start? When and who decided to start to make a paper?
We have every year during the Global Marijuana March (GMM) action in Ukraine tried to make a “paper appeal”, a kind of annual newspaper (but a bit unusual one, black and white made by RISO) with facts that one can not normally find in ordinary media . So the “start” was many years ago. Then we learned experiences from our close neighbors (from PL and CZ) also working with GMM in their capitals and their printed medias “Spliff” and “Konopticum” were convinced. That was our dream – a real (and legal) newspaper with real (and also legal) ADs. They had shown us how to realize our main goal, how to legalize ourself. So we started to work with our local crews, found the first advertisers and less then in 3 months our pilot, our first issue, was done.   

Could you describe the procedure? Like, how did you work together? Who did what, or likewise.
Hehe… During our work with the plot it was a real secret for everyone who exactly was responsible for what during the process. Konopljana Pravda has a virtual editorium – half of us has never met one another personally. Just nicks and short info in the google group. Graphic designer was sitting in Khmelnitski region, cartoonist in Vinnitsa, corrector in Minsk (BY) and also some of us were sitting in Kiev, Dnieoropetrovsk, even in India (like Dmitri Gaiduk, our editor). There was just one time we were working together in one room – four notebooks at one kitchen table. We’ll attach the photo : )

From where do you get your inspiration?
We get the inspiration from our readers. We are happy while they’re satisfied. We try to answer every e-mail and to publish the most interesting e-mails.

How do you survive economically? From sponsors or donations? Or both?
After working with i. ex. Global Marijuana March (GMM) for years, on our own expense, we don’t trust donors. Our project is therefor strictly commercial, we have ads. In our pilot the ads did look almost like sponsorship. That was because it was hard to be serious and to ask customers “We’re going to print newspaper in Ukraine? (Do you even know where’s it, Ukraine?) So do you want to buy some pages”. It was almost like selling air.
But when people saw our paper they called and mailed from all over Ukraine, and a lot of ad costumers said “Ok, we’d like to have a contract”. And a matter a fact, several new companies appears in every issue of “Konoplyana pravda”.     

Is the paper for free or people need to pay for it? Where can you find it? In Kyiv only? How do you solve distribution inside Ukraine?
Konoplyana pravda is for free. It can be found in smart-shops, bicycle- and roller clubs and on private parties. It is distributed by activist all over Ukraine – in Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Lviv, Donetsk, and other major cities.

How many readers do you have today? How many would you like to have?
Our current issue is 7.000 but there are at least 3 readers fo every copy of the newspaper. So, we think that about 20 000-25 000 people read it each month.

Do you believe that it is possible to legalize cannabis in Ukraine?
We prefer not to discuss the question of legalization. Firstly because everyone discussing it implies different things. Our standpoint is that the Ukrainian society needs to change its idea about cannabis. It’s not a black or white issue in reality. And after the experts discussion we have to establish the State Policy over the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. in Moscow May 12 – 23

Category: by sophie engström, russia
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(Läsningstid: < 1 minut)

I will come to Moscow on the May 12. I have been invited to hold a seminar about “Social Media and Gender” at a workshop, that belongs to a joint venture project between IREX and FOJO. The workshop is funded by SIDA.

Moscow sky by me.

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