About the Project

This blog has the aim to document the progress of the Summer School “Historicity and Post-Revolution – a Journalistic Retrospective on the Maidan-Movement throughout the Country”.

The Summer School is made for and with International and Ukrainian Students and is organized by the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla-Academy” and the Lectureship Programm of the Robert-Bosch-Foundation together with Petro Mohyla Black Sea University Mykolaiv and International University of Economics and Humanities Rivne.

Advertisements

Part four – brilliant pieces, holy halls and wasps

During their research trips in Mykolaiv and Rivne, the participants of the Summer School were quite busy collecting material for their journalistic pieces. They met, interviewed and portrayed a variety of people, ranging from students and radio moderators, via LGBT-activists, IDPs, fighters from voluntary battalions to musical Cossacks and businesswoman.

Back in Kyiv, it was all about finalizing the pieces under the guidance of the experts of the Mohyla School of Journalism.

During the time of writing, the group had the chance to visit UT Ukraine Today TV channel. “Ukraine’s first international TV news network” was founded as a reaction to the Kremlin-steered channel Russia Today and broadcasts news around Ukraine-related issues in English language.

Another visit led to the 9/11 Frolivska Volunteer Run Humanitarian Aid Center for the Refugees from the War Zone right in the heart of Kyivs Podil district. It was very touching to see the variety of help that is provided by volunteers, while the state still doesn´t have the capacities (or the will) to coordinate the support for IDPs who fled from the war zone in the east of the country. One group spend the whole day there as a part of their research for an article about Ukrainian IDPs.

Not only that every group was able to complete their pieces within the pressing deadline (Sunday evening 20:00 pm), which can be considered a realistic foretaste for the upcoming daily struggle for those who are going to work as journalists, but their submissions were also of a very high quality and have good chances to be published in prominent journalistic outlets. Hence, the individual presentations of the projects on the following day took place in a constructive and rewarding atmosphere.

The official last part of the Summer School ended with a wrap up and get-together in the honorable hall of the old part of the Kyiv-Mohyla-Academy. Larysa Chovnyuk invited the participants to come back to Kyiv and to visit KMA. They will be always welcome here!

The participants had the rest of the day off – time to relax and to prepare for the very last part of the Summer School: a boat trip with a barbeque on one of the Dnepr-islands. The grilled food was tasty, the wine was cold, and the water of the river refreshing – after the participants finally had overcome their resentments against the water quality: YOLO.

That also seemed to be the motto of the massive wasp brigades populating the island. Their aggressive stance against those who they perceived as intruders seemed to stem from the fear that never again in their live they will be able to attack the tanned and sun-creamed skin of a human being.

Various remains of people proved that fear wrong. Maybe exactly these burned mattresses and uncontrolled dump sides are the true reason for their aggressive behavior. In this sense, our efforts to keep the site clean might contribute to a more positive connotation of a term that one of the participants heard during the study trip and that resembles rather negative historical feelings: «Немцы в городе!»

It was an amazing time with lots of stimulating (and controversial) discussions. Thank all of you very much and see you somewhere in Ukraine!

Rivne Day 4: More interviews, critical meanings and a very special visit

Our fourth day was dedicated to the media in Rivne. The radio moderator and dean of the juristic department of the university of Rivne Andriy Vasilovych Matviychuk told us first of all, that it was surely no coincidence that we came to Rivne. Rivne was, according to him, one of the three most active cities during the Maidan (with Lviv and, of course, Kyiv). He explained the active participation with the engaged mass media and public organisations. There are all together 170 registered mass media sources in Rivne. He introduced us to the biggest newspapers and radio stations.

IMG_2822

Mr. Matviychuk was very critical to the media. He said that sooner or later the Internet would destroy the traditional printed media. In the discussion we were surprised that very few people in Ukraine actually read newspapers; most of them consume TV or radio for information. “Not every pensioner in Ukraine can allow himself to buy a newspaper even for 2 UAH”, he said.

Alla Lichayeva, head of information services for the radio station “TREK” was even more critical. She said that she was glad to work with the radio and not on TV during the Maidan time. She conducted a lot of interviews and tried to have an objective view at the events, which was as she commented, very hard for her. “We are not just journalists, we are also people.”

IMG_2854_1

She was very critical about the media reporting about on events taking place in the Eastern part of the country. She was not there, in the East, so she has to rely on information somebody gives her and retell stories somebody told her. She has the feeling that the Ukrainian media has no idea how to inform people about what is going on there. She only hears the figures, hears how many people died and it is in general hard to imagine what does that really mean. Also the terms are unclear: How do you call those people in the East? Terrorists? Separatists? Russian aggressors? Ukrainian media has not yet found a solution for that problem.

Alla Sadovnyk showed us some pictures about the Maidan in Rivne.

IMG_2855

After the lunch we had a very special visit to the administration of the Rivne region. Ivan Solodukha, member of the party “Svoboda” and head of the department of culture and tourism, agreed to have an interview with us. He told us about himself (his grandmother is German, since 2010 he is a member of the Svoboda party and he spent two and a half months on the Maidan in Kyiv) and answered our questions.

11824024_1018345471508918_1091137232_n

Later he showed us his office, the cups he won and the letter of thanks he received. That impressed us a lot … well, a bit! =)

11793304_1018345451508920_982756757_n

written by Anja Lange

Part three – Research trip to Миколаїв/Николаев

The Ukrainian Steppe is endless.

At least it felt like this last Sunday morning, when a part of the group packed its belongings into a Marshrutka and started its trip to Mykolaiv, one of the biggest shipbuilding centers in the former Soviet Union, founded during the times of the Russian Empire by Prince Grigory Potemkin in 1789 in the very south of Ukraine.

The gleaming sun burned down merciless and blurred the boarders between heaven and earth, contrasting the yellow of the lushing endless sunflower fields with the continental blue of the sky, arguing wordlessly for the rationale behind the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Even the nuclear power plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk was not able to disrupt the harmonic picture.

The Petro Mohyla Black Sea University in Mykolaiv, a former branch of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, acted as our host on behalf of Prof. Oleksandr Pronkevich, his team and Christoph Schütz, who works there as a Bosch-Lecturer.

Prof. Pronkevich was not only a delightful partner and entertained the group with his intelligent humor, but also established a well-balanced program for the participants and helped with many individual appointments for interviews and background-talks. No wonder that he got elected as the “Person of the Year” in Mykolaiv.

During numerous meetings with journalists, activists, academics and a lovely museum guide, the participants of the Summer School learned a lot about the Maidan in Mykolaiv, its structure, its leading people and especially about the peculiarities of the Revolution in this region.

On 7 April 2014, some pro-Russian demonstrators (often referred to as “Titushki”, i.e. sporty dressed criminals that would do anything for money) tried to size the local administration building. They were stopped by pro-Ukrainians.

Why didn´t the seizure work out in a city whose main East-West Prospect is (still) named after Lenin? It may be pointed out briefly that the loyalty towards the state as such is high in Mykolaiv since its ship-industry is highly dependent from state contracts. That’s a mayor difference to other cities, whose population might be rather loyal to a certain group and thus resemble a neo-feudal state of being.

Another factor is the strong presence of the military in this region, which is also considered as a power loyal to the state – especially after the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.

The research trip ended with a highlight: a boat trip on the Inhul River, during which the sunset against the industrial shipyard background cooled down the hazy-heated heads.

It was a great trip. Yet everybody felt released when the rain started to pour while the Marshrutka went further to the north, on her way up to Kyiv, where the hot sun of the Steppe reverberates in the shells of the sunflower seeds that are spread along the roads – or lie down right at the feet of an unlucky Titushok who would do anything for money love.

Rivne Day 3 – Serious conversations with participants

On our third day we had a very tough program – in the beginning two lectures with Viktoria Servetnyk, journalist and press secretary from the Maidan in Rivne. She told us that on November 21st the rebellion in Rivne began, the rebellion “that changed our history and our spirit”. In the beginning just a few people stood at the Maidan in Rivne, having balloons with the picture of President Yanukovych and the words “Go away!” In Rivne, as well as in Kiev there were some tents built and guards established. The people of Rivne supported their Maidan with smaller or bigger actions (made sandwiches, donated clothes etc.) and students were striking. The Maidan in Rivne started with 100 people and increased to 3000 people. Every evening the events from Kyiv were broadcasted to be up to date and every hour people would sing the Ukrainian hymn together to show their unity and their protest.

11793290_1016224641721001_1673349716_n

Viktoria Servetnyk published a new newspaper called “Vartovi Maidanu” (guards of the Maidan). The reason for establishing a new newspaper was the unbelievable amount of information. For people it was often very hard to find trustworthy information and Viktoria wanted to give them those news.

11749597_1016224648387667_1798453554_n

A very interesting fact was that people were earlier afraid to show the national colours. After the beginning of the Maidan many wanted to make sure: This is my country and my flag and I won’t let anyone take it away!

The participants of the summer school were interested in the Maidan actions in Rivne and asked questions about the age of the protesters and if there was an Anti-maidan (no there was none).

The second lecture was more about the Right Sector. Viktoria told us more about that organisation that was founded during the Maidan.

After so much information we were glad to have a nice lunch in a Ukrainian restaurant called “YOLANDA”. The hand made interior, the Ukrainian music and the food itself especially fascinated the German participants. Of course we had to take a picture of Taras Shevchenko (hero of all heroes…)!

11824132_1016237228386409_1990445908_n

The second part of the day was a conversation with Maidan activists.

11802065_1016224665054332_1116706969_n

Anriy Tokarsky, Zurab Kantaria, three participants of the “Rivne Fight Hundred” and Yaroslav Hranitnyi

Anriy Tokarsky, member of the NGO “OPORA”, told us about his work. The aim of OPORA is to monitor elections in politics but also in on the organisations (and even the university president elections). The organisation began in 2004 after the Orange Revolution and has been monitoring elections since 2007. Yet they can just cover 5 % of the territory of Ukraine.

Zurab Kantaria, member of the political party POWER TO THE PEOPLE (SYLA LYUDEI), told us about the party and provoked a discussion by saying that one of the parties aims would be to allow all Ukrainians to have weapons. The group discussed that issue and Kantaria’s arguments (the army can not protect the people so they have to protect themselves, but under the control of the government). The aim of the party is also to build a new middle class and it was discussed what “middle class” actually means.

Three participants of the “Rivne Fight Hundred” told us something about their activities during the Maidan. They were in Kiev at the Maidan and came back after three participants from Rivne died. They returned to organise the funerals and visit their families, something which they do till this day. Also they organise some events to raise money for the ATO in the East. Their main task though is to protect the region, to go on patrols and to do work that actually should be done by the police.

The last participant of our discussion was Yaroslav Hranitnyi, former member of the “Right Sector” and now member of the “UNAMSO”. He told us about the history of the Right Sector, when and how it was found and what are the current tasks of the Right Sector. He explained why the Right Sector and he are against Eurointegration (because the Ukrainian economy is not ready for it) and said, that Ukraine can just help itself.

11778098_1016224661720999_132262611_n

The last question was about the future of Ukraine. All three had the common opinion that Ukraine is accustomed to rising up from ruins. “We have to find our place under the sun”, said one. And one even quoted Shevchenko: “And there will be a son, there will be a mother, there will be people on the earth.” We all hope that Ukraine will find that place very soon!!!

11824137_1016224675054331_106031777_n

written by Anja Lange

Rivne Day 2 – Everything about the city of Rivne and lots of love

Day Two began with two lectures (how poetic) held by Dr. Valentyna Federivna Danilicheva , teacher of the Stepan Demianchuk International University of Economics and Humanities. As a historian she knows everything there is to do with the past, present and (probably) future of Rivne =)

11816003_1015745785102220_1476448723_n  11741884_1015745808435551_1325928592_n

(together with translator Christina)

She introduced to us the historic, economic, social and political aspects of the region of Rivne. Unscripted, Miss (or Pani as we like to say in Ukrainian) Valentyna was able to talk about Rivne, from its very beginning till present day, mentioning the resources available (basalt and amber), statistics about the inhabitants and their origins as well as explaining the name VOLYN (that is the name of the region in which Rivne is located). VOLYN, by the way, means “something under” and Rivne is called Rivne because it is flat as know mountains are there (just that you know!). She told us about the World Wars and Holodomor, as well as the City’s involvement in these events. After all that information our head were spinning, so we were grateful for a guided tour around the city to cool down a bit and see the sights of the city.

11756679_1015745738435558_1474918535_n  11774430_1015745758435556_2065443891_n

Rivne has a lot nice places and sights. The most important for the summer school was surely the monument for the so called “Nebesnya sotnya” (Heavenly Hundred). Four people from Rivne died during the massacre on the Maidan in February 2014. Also, the Museum of Natural History (normally closed on Monday) had a small exhibition about the Maidan and the ATO in the Eastern part of Ukraine.

11692995_1015745735102225_749796046_n   11791874_1015745731768892_1104758575_n

30 minutes by bus from Rivne one can find the so-called “Tunnel of Love”. Well, if you are not very romantic, then for you it’s a forest (a special grown forest though!). However, if you are romantic (and a lot of participants of our group seemed to be =D) you have a great location to take hundreds of selfies and group pictures. Even the aggressive mosquitos could not prevent the group from having new facebook profile photos and group selfies =)

11774696_1015745715102227_561562468_n   11815646_1015845065092292_549416767_n

written by Anja Lange

Part two – Рема, Тема, Workshops, Media Landscape

The second part of the Summer School was devoted to media analysis and the practical aspects of journalism. Dariya Orlova and Yuri Storozhuk, both from the Mohyla School of Journalism, provided a good basic knowledge about how to conduct an interview, the importance of the narrative, fact checking, the challenge of objectivity and so on.

The two experts also held individual workshops with the international groups that gathered around a variety of different topics they had elaborated during the last days. The following topics are going to be covered during the study trips:

THEME 1 – “Students as Actors of Maidan, Rivne”
THEME 2 – “LGBT community in Mykolayiv”
THEME 3 – “Image of Europe among youth, Mykolaiv”
THEME 4 – “Internally displaced people in Mykolayiv”
THEME 5 – “New nationalism/patriotism in Ukraine, Mykolaiv”
THEME 6 – “Youth Music, Rivne”
THEME 7 – “State of the culture, youth, Rivne”
THEME 8 – “Economic developments in Mykolayiv”

Apart from the workshops, the participants received some insights into the media landscape that has significantly changed during and after the Revolution of Dignity.

This part entailed a visit at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center and a discussion with the Ukrainian philosopher, essayist and an analyst at Internews Ukraine, Volodymyr Yermolenko. The UCMC was established during the Revolution to provide a stage for various individuals and groups from the Maidan to reach out to both the international and domestic public. Initially, the project meant to have a rather short life span, but the subsequent events after the Revolution lead to an institutionalization of the UCMC. Since its move from Hotel Ukraina it is located in the Ukrainian House right at the European Square.

The group also had the chance to visit Hromadske.tv and meet with Angelina Kariakina, who provided the necessary background information about this online citizen journalist platform that has become quiet an institution and is widely known for its “Sunday Show” among the international audience since it takes place in English language.

On Sunday – one of the hottest days of the year – the group split up and went to its research destinations in Rivne and Mykolaiv.

First impressions from Mykolaiv

A month ago I didn’t even think about Mykolaiv as a potential destination. Guess what, right now, at 01:40 I’m typing this post in the room of the „Nikohotel“.

My first impressions are in most cases wrong. So it was with Niko (a rather popular short name of the city). Imagine that sweltering heat, being tired of a 7 hour trip, disappointed with the „soviet-union“ atmosphere, almost dispirited by all those Lenin and Sovietska streets…

I’m now falling asleep with a completely different idea of what Mykolaiv is. Yeah, they do not speak Ukrainian and still they do not care less about how dirty the city looks. BUT. They do respond in Ukrainian, at least they try to. This only fact gives me hope.

I believe there will be much more to tell about this city and its people. Some stereotypes must be ruined.

 

From Valeria Kovtun, one of the Summer School´s participants.

Rivne – Day 1

At 10am the group travelling to Rivne left the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy on a small bus, accompanied by Ukrainian folk songs and a small break (to buy Ice Cream or a Sandwich) at 3pm they reached their destination. While the Mykolaiv group has to sweat it out in the heat, here in Rivne we have a cosy 22 degrees.

11805878_1015346175142181_666009666_n

Robert-Bosch Lecturer Małgorzata Gedlek has lived for one year in Rivne and knows the city well. She was not only our guide but also directed the bus driver in the right direction, as well as providing the group with some important information such as where to find a nice café and how to circumnavigate the streets of the city centre. After a late lunch the group decided to meander through the city centre of Rivne.

11805915_1015346181808847_115237923_n

Rivne might appear for an outsider to be a boring city in the West of Ukraine; however already on our way to the city centre we saw many interesting sights and had great conversations.

There was for example a crowd of people gathered in the street, so naturally we went to have a look at what was going on. The “International Federation of Boyovyy Hopak” was giving an outdoor lesson. This Federation is for young children who want to play typical Ukranian sports. Some participants of our summer school even managed to conduct an interview with the Vice-President of the organisation! In the end we took some photographs and were very grateful for this nice and coincidental meeting! If you want to find more information on these motivated people check out: http://www.hopalo.org

11774349_1015346185142180_1955904797_n 11802038_1015346198475512_2067171848_n 11778165_1015346188475513_899581259_n

Group picture:

11749782_1015346205142178_231803905_n

One of the first sights that had to be seen was the monument of Taras Shevchenko, hero of all heroes of Ukraine. Well, at least for some people…:D

11749599_1015346208475511_45487978_n

In one park (near to the library) we entered the “Rivne music summer”.

11798424_1015346215142177_1943450060_n

This kind of a festival is organised outside, today there was a guy with a saxophone playing and some young enthused people were singing under trees. People around them sang and applauded and the whole group felt very welcomed in Rivne!!!

11798292_1015346218475510_433731808_n

written by Anja Lange

Part one – understanding Ukraine and the Revolution of Dignity

Part one of the Summer School was about to provide the participants with a general understanding of the peculiarities and complexity of Ukrainian politics since its gaining of independence in 1991.

Therefor, Mychailo Wynnyckyj, a Sociologist who was born and raised in Canada but has a Ukrainian background and moved to Ukraine in 2003, gave some insightful lecture in Ukrainian (regional) history, economic transformation, its impact on the social structure and finally his interpretation of the Revolution of Dignity. According to Wynnyckyj, the Revolution is a threefold. having a national, bourgeois (anti-neo-feudal), and post-modern dimension.

Wynnyckyj was an active participant and careful observer of the Revolution. The participants of the Summer School were able to benefit from that fact since he provided them with a guided tour around the sites of the Revolution in the very heart of Kyiv.

The first part of the Summer School ended with a meeting with Mariya Berlinska, who was not only a Maidan activist from the beginning to the very end, but also founded the Center of air reconnaissance in Kyiv. Her first-hand observations and front experience where highly valuable for the participants and shaped the abstract idea of a country being drawn into a war with the biggest country in the world and having to defend itself into something imaginable to some extend.