In Baranivka, the Interschool Resource Center prints protective face pads on a 3D printer and makes face masks using an own sewing equipment. That was how the communal enterprise, whose equipment is used by schoolchildren, was reformatted to help medics and residents of Baranivka AC (amalgamated community) in the Zhytomyr Oblast. Read more
Innovative ideas, hard work and persistence – these are the steps a business prepared to compete for funding from the European Union would have to overcome. Speaking at the webinar “Micro business in Ukraine: European experience”, SolarGaps founder and director Yevhen Erik told the story of his company. Read more
Climate of the Transcarpathian region is extremely favorable for winegrowing and winemaking. The Carpathian Mountains protect the region against cold Arctic air coming from north, and that’s why grapes have long been cultivated in the Transcarpathian region. Local families have been doing that for years: one can find as many as 40 wine cellars in one street. Despite the prohibition of private entrepreneurship by Soviet authorities and dry law, the locals were able to preserve their traditions, which are now being gradually restored. This story tells about Nota Bene, Chizay, Ursta and Paraska family wineries. Read more
The beginning of spring is not only about flowering trees and the start of fieldwork in gardens across the country. Spring also heralds the start of demining work in the Donbas. Ukrinform asked Danish Demining Group (DDG), a nongovernmental organization and one of the key participants in demining effort, about technical aspects of this process and whether Ukrainian legislation governing this area is sophisticated enough. Read more
FinancEast, a program financing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, was launched in Ukraine on 20 December. To support regional businesses, the European Union allocated 9.5 million euros via the KfW. Read more
Quality education is the cornerstone of the country’s development in all areas. The European Union offers numerous mobility opportunities for everyone interested in professional growth, for those who want to gain new knowledge and skills, and most importantly, international experience. This article tells about programs available for academic community, students and specialists, and why you should apply for them. Read more
Today, people of Zhytomyr can take advantage of a new, convenient electronic cartographic service: geoportal. This service is available to both the city’s residents and the staff of Zhytomyr City Council. Read more
An exclusive interview by Matti Maasikas, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, to Interfax-Ukraine Read more
How would today’s crisis change our perception of the world and views of certain processes? These points are actively discussed today. At this moment, one can hardly tell something for sure – we shall see it later. However, there is one special area which obviously needs a more careful approach even today, because of the pandemic. Read more
Life imprisonment is the harshest punishment in Ukraine. Capital punishment was abolished in 1999. Human rights activists advocate the changes which could approximate our penitentiary system to international standards. This topic is addressed by Important for Life project and its part, Penita. Opera composed by Zoltán Almási, 45 to the libretto by Tetiana Kytsenko, 42.
Contemporary Ukrainian opera is rapidly transforming itself from an elite underground art into something of a mainstream. The tone was set by Vlad Troitsky’s Nova Opera together with the composer tandem of Roman Hryhoriv and Illia Razumeiko. Eight operas were staged under this brand since 2015, and one of them, IYOV, won the Shevchenko Prize this year.
Premieres of several operas by Ukrainian composers also took place this season: Oleksandr Shchetynsky’s Natalka Poltavka in Kharkiv, Ivan Nebesny’s Mykyta the Fox in Lviv, Andrii Merchel’s Entropy based on Olha Tokarchuk’s prose in Poznan, Poland. The premiere in Kharkiv of Alla Zahaikevych’s opera Vyshyvanyi. The King of Ukraine to the libretto by Serhii Zhadan was announced for this May.
Amid these mostly literary plots, Penita. Opera is distinguishable for its documentary background. It is based on the stories of four women doing time in Kachanivska penal colony No 54 in Kharkiv.
Last year, the opera was staged in Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipro and Kharkiv. They also wanted to perform the opera in the prison itself, but the administration denied permission, fearing the reaction of the convicts.
According to statistics, almost four percent of people serving a life sentence in the world were wrongly convicted. Unlike in European countries, we do not have the practice of conditionally paroling those serving life in prison or a mechanism of correcting judicial mistakes.
Important for Life project includes an exhibition of works by documentary photographer Rusia Aseyeva. The photos were taken in Kachanivska penal colony. We can see a convict’s lunch, laundered bed linens drying on the rope, a picture of convict’s family on the cell’s wall.
The project’s curator, playwright Tetiana Kytsenko, wrote libretto for this opera. A while ago, she became a revelation at the Week of Ukrainian Contemporary Play. She began engaging in dramaturgy while already having journalistic experience. Perhaps that’s where her interest in social topics comes from. She wrote plays about the problems of Ukrainian healthcare system (The Bilokhalatnist), about the situation in the police force (My Militsiya Me), about the phenomenon of the Euromaidan and the role of women in war (Women and the Sniper). Her plays are based on interviews with people. Her style features a combination of documentary art with absurd and grotesque.
Penita was Tetiana’s first opera libretto. In Kachanivska penal colony, she spoke to women serving a life term, recording their stories on tape. Her interlocutors were 37-year-old Kateryna Shchuka, 39-year-old Maryna Hovor, 40-year-old Lilia Chyzhyk, and 62-year-old Iryna Radosiuk. One of them is doing time for murder, another for double murder, and the other two claim that they didn’t kill anybody but were framed.
The characters tell their story in turns, interrupting to let the next character speak. They do not hear each other. Each of them lives in her own world, by her own memories. They speak in different languages. The “spirited Assyrian” played by Li Berlinska and the “most timid among the convicts” portrayed by Viktoria Romashko speak Ukrainian. The “Thunder Baba” who spent 38 years behind bars, impersonated by Tetiana Lavska, speaks Russian. The fourth one, “smart as a steel trap”, the heroine of Asya Sereda, speaks a macaronic language. The four monologues intertwine into a macro-metaphor of huge human woe, pain and suffering. The text of libretto is a synthesis of facts from life of people and overused clichés like “I believed that I will meet a beautiful prince”, “it was love”, “Vadim wasn’t like everybody else”. And all that is mixed with references to Dante’s Divine Comedy and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
Music plaits into action and becomes a part of symbolic code. The names of the main characters are divided by the parts of a string quartet: “Good Violin”, “Bad Violin”, “Viola” and “Cello”. To be sure, a string quartet (which in the opera staged in Kyiv is Levko Revutsky Quartet) accompanies the action from the beginning till the end. They sit on a portal in the upper left wing of the stage. The musicians also play the role of crowd, the “public court”, shouting moralizing phrases like “What a shame!”, “Don’t you remember that you’re a woman?”, “You should’ve used your brain!”, “People like you must be shot on sight!”
The cello part in the quartet is played by the composer, Zoltán Almási. He reads the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine about “deliberate murder”.
For Zoltán and Tetiana, this is the first experience in creating an opera. The composer draws on the tradition of comic opera. Almási is a master of stylization, and Penita became a sort of a cocktail of everything, from religious canticles to criminal songs.
“Remotely, this is, of course, the tradition of opera buffa, Singspiel, then the operetta and musical. In other words, this is a variety of the opera genre containing many dialogues and spoken text,” Zoltán Almási says. “However, it has all features of a classical opera: leitmotifs, leittimbres, modified recitatives. Overall, I composed it based on the task we had: a documentary, social opera. In addition to rap, it has recitatives of kolomoyka style, stylizations a la pop music, prison chanson, romance, religious songs styled as the latest protestant Christian movements.”
According to the plot, all heroines are victims of males. And the story of rape, where the woman who fell victim to male violence kills her rapists, and other stories tell about the woman’s self-sacrifice for the sake of love. A man who committed murder forces his wife to share responsibility: “You and I are both in the same boat”. In the world where men reign and women sacrifice themselves and then serve a life term, the Song About a Teethed Vagina sounds like a mockery: “Teethed vagina / You are the evil spirit! / Teethed vagina / Bit off the dick”. And the idea of repentance by women sentenced to life in prison seems absurd. After all, they don’t know what to repent:
“Cello: And what if we do repent, really?
Good Violin: Repent what?
Cello: No need to clarify that”.
It seems that the justice system should not divide people on the basis of gender – all people should be equal before law, and a person must answer for their acts. However, this “right symmetry” is debunked by one of the most dramatic episodes in the play: a tale about pregnancy of one of the life-term convicts. Once every two months, convicts are allowed to see their close ones in a separate room. It ends with abortion, because “doing time with children is prohibited!”
Stage acts are played inside a white circle, evoking associations with the circles of Dante’s Inferno, a vicious circle, despair. Red confetti is strewn inside the circle. These two colors, red and white, dominate in the play’s symbolism: blood and innocence. In the final act, all four heroines take off their white dresses and remain in the underwear, exposing their vulnerability.
“Life imprisonment is not just about those who will spend the rest of their life behind bars; it is also about all of us. Many people on the outside have only illusory freedom, chained in the prison of their own stereotypes and groundhog days. But metaphors aside, people serving life in prison surely have to answer for what they committed. But on the other hand, we, the society, also have to realize what we do with these people. Life imprisonment without the possibility of conditional parole contradicts the meaning of penitentiary system: the person has neither motivation nor possibility to change their behavior,” Tetiana Kytsenko, playwright, curator of Important for Life project, says. This project was implemented with financial support from the European Union under Culture Bridges program.
By Olesia Naidiuk
Thanks to the EU and the UN, mobile Administrative Service Centres (ASCs) came to the Donetsk Oblast. Read more
As part of the global response to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, the European Commission announced the allocation of funds in support of Ukraine, European Pravda reports. Read more
27 public online services are already available on the government portal Diia, in particular, registering a sole proprietorship, filing changes in constitutional documents, changing the area of activity and closing a sole proprietorship, procuring a statement of the absence of criminal record, applying for a childbirth benefit or monthly reimbursement of childcare services for children under three years of age. You can file a lawsuit, register a motor vehicle or receive driver’s license-related services, apply for a number of licenses and permits, and receive abstracts from public registers. Read more
Having a City Integrity Plan is not a legislative requirement. However, the desire of city councils for integrity can be achieved by taking these steps. Read more
Before the outbreak of the armed conflict, Yuri lived in Mariinka and worked in Donetsk, but after the fighting started, he had to quit the job and leave for a while. Yuri did not want to leave his native city for good, though, but finding a job was all but impossible, so the young man began to think about how to set up a business that could put food on the table for his family. Read more
The Knowledge Hub, a training center operated by the European Union Advisory Mission Ukraine and the first of its kind in the country, has opened in Odesa. The center will host joint events for EUAM’s partners in the public security sector, including the National Police, prosecution and judicial authorities, Security Service and Interior Ministry, a Radio Liberty correspondent reports. Read more
Starting a new business is always not easy, especially if you have to take care of your home, of your children and parents, if you get support from no-one and you often have no idea where to start. There are many international programs helping women launch a business, receive education or protect their economic rights. But it often becomes difficult to find the right information. That’s why analysts from EU Neighbors East gathered all EU projects in Ukraine which can help women succeed in their own business endeavor. Read more
Erasmus+ program enables Ukrainian students to study at the best universities of Europe for free. Serhii Melnykovych, a Ukrainian, took advantage of this opportunity as well. Read more
The EU priorities and visions for engagement with Ukrainian civil society, as well as the new communication campaign “Civil Society is YOU” — in an interview of EUProstir with Sinziana Poiana, Programme Officer for Civil Society Support of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. Read more
Maksym Kozhemiaka, a cofounder and marketing specialist at Kyiv’s HUSS printing house, tells about how a small company can receive an international grant for business development. Read more
Severynivka amalgamated community in the Vinnytsia Oblast is developing its economy using a “fruit and berry cluster” which combines production, tourism and medicine. Read more
“The nation in a smartphone” has already become a reality, people in Ukraine are now joking sometimes. The involuntary self-isolation of millions of people has drastically increased the significance of the Internet and everything that can be done online, from information search and shopping to the handling of business matters or things involving interaction with public authorities. Read more
During the European Music Export Conference (EMEC) held in October 2019, the European Commission presented the first results of an extensive study of the music sector in 22 countries and announced a number of new contests in its support. Read more
Above the underground complex in the Shevchenko Park, construction workers are erecting the entrance group of structures which will greet visitors to the interactive attraction. On the top, these round structures will be covered by ultra-strong glass through which nobody will fall down. Read more
Last year, Vladyslav Kucherenko of Poltava became a participant of Erasmus+, an academic exchange program. He studied at the Technical University of Applied Sciences in Lübeck, Germany. Read more
Concrete, cement, rebar, mineral wool, foam plastic. These are all ordinary words when used with regard to construction. Hemp is a less ordinary word, isn’t it? This is the story of a Ukrainian startup manufacturing building materials based on industrial hemp and already exporting its technologies abroad. Read more
The assertion that human factor in nuclear power plays the decisive role does not require proof. After all, safe operation of nuclear power plants depends, first of all, on competent actions of their personnel. They at Zaporizhia NPP know that very well, and therefore, they do everything possible to improve professional skills of nuclear power specialists. Read more
The EU’s EU4Business initiative helps succeed in business, and COLLAR-COMPANY, a leading manufacturer of goods for pets, saw that for themselves. Read more
“Probation: A Safer Society”. Kyiv Mayor’s Office hosted the first open forum devoted to European system of working with criminal offenders: rehabilitation without incarceration. As part of the forum, a press conference devoted to the fifth anniversary of passing the Probation Act was held at Kyiv City State Administration. Read more
The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises want to receive money to buy agricultural machinery. FinancEast, a program for which the European Union allocated 9.5 million euros to provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises in the Ukrainian government-controlled territory of the Donbas, was launched on 19 December 2019. Even back then, some players were saying that the available funds will last for only a few months. Read more
The tenth-graders from the School No 64 won in the third wave of UPSHIFT Ukraine project in Mariupol, and now, they know exactly how to turn a hobby into a future profession. Read more
Today, we will talk about development of internally displaced universities, and in particular, about a very important project recently signed by the administration of Luhansk State Medical University and the EU Delegation to Ukraine. Read more
Five Ukrainian cities – Zhytomyr, Mariupol, Nikopol, Chervonohrad and Chernivtsi – are participating in the “Integrity Cities” project to tackle corruption in city councils, to provide transparent and better quality public services. Based on their experience, the project experts highlighted five effective anti-corruption tools that will be useful for other local authorities. Read more
In December 2019, Anastasia Gudilianova, a fourth-year student of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, took part in an international project to confront populism in Georgia under the EU Erasmus+ programme. Together with other students from Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Poland, Spain and Germany, she learned to recognize populism and conduct peacebuilding trainings to prevent conflicts in society. Read more
It has been two years since Stepanivka elementary school registered for the European Commission’s eTwinning Plus program. Thanks to this program, Stepanivka’s schoolchildren have the opportunity to learn about life and culture of other countries not just from teachers but also from their contemporaries “on the other side of the screen”. Read more
Yulia Makliuk, the founder of Here and Now ceramics studio, tells in her interview to Delo.ua about how Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, an international program of business exchange, helped her business. Read more
EOS Crop Monitoring analysts made an estimate of the harvest gathered last year from unregistered land plots in Ukraine. The figure exceeds UAH 88.5 billion. Read more
Entrepreneurs in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts will be able to take up a business development loan for up to 150 thousand euros, with the half of that loan repayable by the European Union Read more
In the conditions of decentralization, communities became able to make decisions autonomously. Thanks to that, education system in communities is transforming faster and with higher quality in accordance with the principles of the New Ukrainian School. Read more
A new social media was presented in Kyiv: Merezha, an online platform launched with the support from the European Union and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as part of EU4Business initiative. Its main purpose is to bring together small and medium-sized businesses and professional consulters. Its developers expect that in the future, their platform will receive approximately 30 thousand visitors every month. Read more
The Ukrainian company named “Symbol” launched the manufacture of plain bearings from scrap ferrous metals, replacing traditional bronze. Today’s metallurgy uses mostly bronze bearings, and the production of this nonferrous metal leaves a substantial energy and carbon trace. The manufacture from scrap metals is more economically beneficial and less harmful for public health and the environment. Symbol became a winner of Climate Innovation Vouchers, a grant program from EBRD and the EU implemented in Ukraine by Greencubator. Read more
What awaits our producers which use European geographical indications in the names of their products, and why their own local brands are worth promoting? Read more
There is a mini-bakery in the village of Deshychi of Stary Sambir district. Almost every day, children from Lviv, Skhidnytsia, Truskavets and the surrounding villages come here for creative workshops on baking bread and pastry. Children knead dough themselves, decorate and bake bread, draw pictures using flour, and have fun with animators. The mini-bakery was opened as part of the “COWBoyky: Ukrainian Wild West” project, which promotes tourism in the Nove Misto amalgamated community. The project is funded by the EU as part of the Mayors for Economic Growth initiative. Read more
Inclusivity has ceased to be something faraway and incomprehensible for Ukraine. One step after another, little by little, we are bringing ourselves to the state of mind in which we no longer look away but act, help and win. Win, first of all, over firmly-entrenched prejudices which, worse than any spokes in our wheel, slow us down on the way toward not as much European as humane future. Talking about inclusivity is as necessary as believing in these words and understanding them: we are all equal, and we all welcome each other. To be sure, talking about certain things isn’t that easy sometimes, and that’s when art comes to rescue. Read on to find out about Eurofest: Cinema for Everyone, the first inclusive film festival, about the feature presentations and the perception of each other without labels and clichés. Read more
EU4Skills program was launched in Ukraine. Thanks to this program, European partners, working jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, will improve infrastructure, procure equipment and organize training for teachers at vocational schools. Read on to find out whom these changes will concern and what the students of vocational schools, colleges, specialized lyceums and centers should expect. Read more
A new program from the European Union – House of Europe – was launched in Ukraine. This program was created to promote professional and creative exchange between Ukrainians and their colleagues in EU states. Read more
“It’s so strange: after all, members of parliament are the same humans as us!” This is the phrase schoolchildren often say after visiting the Verkhovna Rada Educational Center (EC) and talking to people’s deputies. Read more
Five years ago, Sambir faced an energy challenge. On the one hand, rising electricity tariffs took more and more funds out of the city’s budget. Read more
Olena Isaieva, the owner of Ukrfavorit, told Delo.ua about how she received a grant and what results it brought to her business. Read more
How the European Union assesses the progress of judicial, anti-corruption, land and other reforms in Ukraine; whether the West is satisfied with President Zelensky’s approach to resolving the Donbas conflict; how long sanctions against Russia will last; and what are the prospects for Ukraine’s accession to the EU – read all this in the big interview of Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas. Read more