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Poll: Ukrainians love borsch, varenyky, meat, but not salo


Ukrainians prefer borsch, varenyky most of all and they also like meat dishes more than potatoes and fish, according to a survey conducted by the Rating sociology group.

During the poll, respondents were asked to name their three favorite dishes regardless the type of cuisine.

Some 44 percent respondents said they loved borsch, while 18 percent said they liked varenyky (dumplings) filled with cottage cheese, potatoes or cherries; 10 percent said their favorite dish was shashlyk (skewered meat), 7 percent said it was kholodets (jellied meat), 6 percent mentioned cutlets and 5 percent - chops, while 14 percent named other dishes of meat, including the most popular sausage, French-style meat, fried and stewed meat.

Around 7 percent respondents said their favorite dish was plov (Central Asian dish with rice, vegetables and meat), 4 percent said they love roast meat, and only 4 percent respondents said their favorite food was salo (raw pork fat).

Some 10 percent said one of their favorite dishes was pelmeni; 11 percent said they liked mashed potatoes and 11 percent - fried potatoes; 11 percent named Russian salad and 4 percent mentioned Shuba (Dressed Herring) salad, while 10 percent mentioned other salads, including vegetable salad, Vinaigrette, Greek salad, salads with crabs, meat, and Caesar salad.

Around 10 percent respondents said they loved fish dishes.

The poll was conducted on September 26 through October 6 among 2,000 respondents aged 18 and older.

Weddings in war zones: Couples defy conflict to marry and reveal love can flourish in times of chaos

Walking arm in arm, a couple of newlyweds, the bride clad in a snow-white bridal gown and her proud husband in a smart suit, celebrated their nuptials last Saturday. But rather than a formal reception with friends and family, the scene unfolding around them in Kiev, Ukraine was one of conflict and political protest. The bride and groom visited Independence Square where pro-European integration supporters were holding a rally. The series of rallies were sparked by President Viktor Yanukovych's decision last month to choose ties with Russia over integration with the European Union. That deeply angered many Ukrainians, who favor closer links with the West. In light of this thought-provoking image, captured FEMAIL looks back on weddings in chaos, which reflect that even in times of hardship love can flourish and be celebrated.

2A couple of newlyweds visit a scene where pro-European integrations supporters hold a rally in Kiev, Ukraine on December 21

3An Egyptian couple celebrates their wedding as protesters are seen (rear) in Tahrir Square in Cairo July 14, 2011

4A bride and groom celebrate their wedding in Cairo's Tahrir Square, to show their support for protesters

5Ayse Diskaya (far right), 48, son Mazlum (3rd right) and daughter-in-law Sureyya (centre) visit Gezi Park near Taksim Square after her wedding ceremony in Istanbul June 9, 2013


A newlywed couple, supporters of Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko's decree to dissolve the assembly and order a snap election, pictured at a rally in Kiev, April 20, 2007 


Israeli bride Rinat Shiklar, 22, poses for a wedding photo in front of an Iron Dome rocket launcher near the southern town of Netivot June 21, 2012 
7Occupy Amsterdam demonstrator Eveline Constance Heijkamp, 22, prepares for her wedding in a tent on the Beursplein in Amsterdam on November 19, 2011

8Youssef (centre left), a member of the Free Syrian Army, holds his wife as comrades fire weapons to commemorate his wedding ceremony in Aleppo January 17, 2013

9A newlywed couple joins protesters as they march towards Taksim Square in Istanbul June 8, 2013

10Abdallah Amhaz and his bride Mona before their wedding in a district that was damaged during the conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbollah in Beirut's southern suburbs, August 27, 2006

11An Israeli soldier stands guard as two Palestinian couples participate in a protest against the Israeli barrier before their wedding in the village of al-Masara, near Bethlehem on July 31, 2009

12Palestinian Mahmoud al-Zanen with bride Nisreen in a tent near his house which was destroyed during Israel's offensive in 2006, in Beit Hanoun town, Gaza Strip, July 22, 2009

13Spanish newlyweds join demonstrators as they march towards Madrid's Puerta del Sol during a protest against politicians, banks, the economic crisis and austerity measures of Europe, in Madrid July 24, 2011

15A newlywed couple walks, with Interior Ministry officers and servicemen lining up in the background, on a street in the city of the volatile city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, October 9, 2010

16Palestinian groom Emad al-Malalha, 21, walks with Manal Abu Shanar, 17, his Egyptian bride inside a smuggling tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border in the southern Gaza Strip on March 21, 2013

17A newlywed couple, supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, at Rabaa Adawiya Square, in the Nasr city area, east of Cairo, August 11, 2013

18Newlyweds under election campaign billboards during the last campaign rally night in Cairo, May 20, 2012

19Newly married couple Nuray Cokol and Ozgur Kaya shout slogans as they visit Gezi Park after their wedding ceremony in Istanbul July 20, 2013

20A newlywed couple, supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, at Raba' al-Adawya mosque, celebrating with protesters, east of Cairo, August 12, 2013

21A newly married couple pose for their wedding picture at Istiklal street near Taksim square in Istanbul June 2, 2013 after three days of violent riots

Unrolling the Russian carpet


Do you know what really hits home with Russians when they watch the brilliant “The Big Lebowski” by the Coen brothers? It’s the rug, the one “that really tied the room together.”

Although the Dude uses it the proper way, covering the floor, its pattern strikingly resembles that of an old carpet hanging on the wall of a babushka’s apartment. But again, why and what for?

Carpets invaded Russian apartments in the ‘60s, and the reasons for that were numerous. During the time of massive urbanization, millions of people were leaving their rural houses, dormitories and even barracks, and moving into newly-built city apartments in low-cost, concrete-paneled buildings. These buildings came to be known by the twisted name of khrushchyovki – because they were built during the time Nikita Khrushchev directed the Soviet government.

The apartments were very cold in winter (the were concrete after all), so people began using wool carpets as means of heat insulation, especially in the northern regions and the Far East.


“We didn’t care about how it looked,” said Sergei, a blogger from Siberia. “But when it’s -40 Fahrenheit outside, and a match lit near your living room’s wall is starting to burn downwards because of the descending cold air current, it’s better to use carpets than to catch cold while sleeping.”

The walls of khrushchyovkas were not only cold, but also thin – so thin it was sometimes hard to fall asleep in the room while somebody was watching TV in the kitchen, not to mention the quarreling neighbors and their screaming children. So carpets also served as soundproof material.

And the last, but by no means the least, they are beautiful in their own way, especially those which were produced in the southern Soviet republics of Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Naturally, the Muslim states of the Middle East were the ones that introduced carpets as decorations to medieval Europe. In Persia, wall carpets were considered true treasures because of the complexity of their production.

So in 16th century Europe, the carpets (received as gifts or bought in the East) became an indicator of high social status. The same is true for Russia, where tsars often received expensive carpets from eastern ambassadors. The walls, floor and ceiling of the bedroom of Tsar Alexis in the 17th century were decorated with magnificent carpets and tapestries. This trend was picked up by the nobility and continued in the next century, when Peter the Great established the royal tapestry mill that produced gobelins to decorate royal estates. In the 19th century, carpets began to appear in the homes of rich peasants and townsfolk who wanted to show that they were as wealthy as the nobility.


In Soviet times, carpets also were a sign of a well-to-do family, because it could be really expensive. With an average monthly salary of 120 rubles to 150 rubles, a carpet’s cost varied from 125 rubles (in 1961) to 300 rubles to 500 rubles (in the 70s), but that’s for the carpets made in the Soviet Union; the prices for Chinese and Vietnamese carpets were really exorbitant, reaching up to 1,500 rubles.

But one couldn’t just walk in a shop and buy a carpet – in those times, Soviet citizens had to “procure” (dostavat’) almost every expensive and beautiful piece of furniture and apartment decoration. The potential buyers’ names were put on a special list in chronological order; usually people had to wait for a long time, up to a year, to purchase the long-desired carpet.

The same was true for wardrobes, washing and meat-mincing machines, cupboards and sets of crystal crockery that inhabited these cupboards. But collected together, and topped with the inevitable seven marble statuettes of elephants, all these things formed a solid image of a well-off engineer’s or a civil servant’s city apartment. The wealthiest of them even bought carpets to cover the floor, which, too, could be very cold.

In the USSR, carpets became an essential item in everyday life. In fact a superstition connected to carpets states that “one should not nail the carpet to the wall, it may lead to a row in the family.” This superstition is similar to the ancient Russian belief about salt, which says, “if you spill the salt, you’ll get in a row with the one who saw you do it.”

The key to both superstitions is the same – both salt and carpets used to be very expensive, so it’s no wonder that spoiling them causes a row. As for the carpets, Russians usually hang them on the walls using small stitched threads.

Nowadays, young Russian designers, artists and eccentrics have renovated the trend for wall carpet and even devised a humorous title for it: “Its Royal Woolness.” So maybe hanging one in your apartment isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Euromaidan's Little Helpers

KYIV-Sofia Marchenko loves baking. And as protests continue in Ukraine against the government's decision to shelve a landmark pact with the European Union, the 18-year-old Kyiv student has found a new way of putting her kitchen skills to use. Like millions of Ukrainians who long to see their country join Europe, Marchenko was dismayed when President Viktor Yanukovych walked away from the EU deal last month in favor of closer ties with Moscow. Her university exams, however, are currently preventing her from joining the protesters camped out on Kyiv's Independence Square, better known among locals as the Maidan.


To make up for her absence, she regularly prepares patriotic-themed biscuits for demonstrators.

"The kitchen on Maidan is very well organized and people bring a lot of food. But there's a shortage of desserts. People usually want something sweet with their tea, especially when they are cold and down. I think sweets always raise people's spirits," Marchenko said.
During her latest baking session, Marchenko made trays full of heart-shaped biscuits which she adorned with the letters UA and UKR, both abbreviations for Ukraine, and yellow and blue glazing representing the national flag.
"I love seeing people smile as they take the biscuits, as they express thanks and say how tasty they are. It's great to see the joy in their eyes,"  Marchenko said.
Marchenko is one of many Ukrainians who for different reasons cannot spend much time on Maidan but help sustain the protests by keeping demonstrators fed, warm, and in revolutionary spirits.
Words, Deeds Of Support
Since the protests erupted a month ago, sympathizers have been steadily streaming into the square to deliver homemade food, groceries, warm clothes, and other basic necessities.
Many of them take a stroll around Maidan after dropping off their donations at one of the tents that have sprung up on the square, doling out refreshments and words of support to protesters.

Yelena, 75, comes by every other day, usually hauling heavy bags brimming with food and warm clothes.
On one of her recent visits, she was already looking forward to her next delivery.
"I'll make barley kasha. I'll fry onions and throw them into the kasha with some lard, and I'll bring it to Maidan. It should be enough to feed 10 people. I'll also bring bread loaves, otherwise they might still be hungry," Yelena said.
Yelena dreams of a future in Europe for her three children and six grandchildren.
Despite earning just $120 a month answering phones at a local company, she vows to spare no expense for the protesters.
"I'm ready to give whatever I have, however difficult it may be. This is my way of protesting. I come here for the sake of my children and Ukraine, so that its youth lives in Europe, so that we are no longer cheated, so that we receive decent pensions and laws are respected," Yelena said.
Many Ukrainians say they are grateful to protesters for braving subzero temperatures and police truncheons to defend their country's pro-European aspirations.
Riot police have twice attempted to break up the rally in the middle of the night, injuring dozens.
Bonfires, Prayers
Valentina Rokhozhenska, a 41-year-old cook, commutes one hour from work every day to bring homemade food to Independence Square.
It takes her another hour to travel back home.
"People in the cold want to eat warm soup, warm kasha. I bring kasha with gravy and mushrooms, just like in good restaurants. We bring people food and we hope they will stay here until the victorious end," Rokhozhenska said.
While a solution to the political crisis remains elusive, the protesters seem to have everything they need to continue occupying the square for weeks.


The food tent is packed high with supplies, bonfires burn bright, a giant stage provides musical entertainment, volunteer doctors treat coughs and runny noses, and army veterans are on site round-the-clock to shield the protesters from police.
Orthodox priests even lead daily prayers calling for peace under a large wooden cross.
The protests, widely dubbed Euromaidan, have drawn praise for their unprecedented level of organization.
Kyiv entrepreneur Dmitro Vasilev is the co-founder of "Plan of Action," an Internet-based initiative to help drum up support for the protests.

He says the Euromaidan is a dramatic improvement from the 2004 Orange Revolution that ushered in a pro-Western government led by Viktor Yushchenko, who stepped down after losing the 2010 presidential election to Yanukovych.

"The organization is much better this time. There is a very clear understanding of how to run this Maidan, where food, clothes, and wood for heating are collected, where people are accommodated, where valuables are stored, there's even a special Internet tent. We had a first experience, and we have since learned a lot from our mistakes," Vasilev said.
Vasilev, Marchenko, Rokhozhenska, Yelena, and countless other Ukrainians appear determined to ensure this Maidan brings long-term democratic change to their country.
Back in her cramped kitchen, Sofia says she is ready to cook as many biscuits as it takes.
"I will continue to bake in my free time. If the protests continue, I will do everything in my power to support them," Marchenko said.

Breathtaking Video of Kiev Protests Wasn't Filmed by Humans


As weeks of protests against the Ukraine government have grown larger every day, images of the thousands crowding the streets of Kiev have circulated worldwide. The images paint a picture of the protests' magnitude; the latest reports peg the number at about200,000 people. But a new video captured with a quadcopter drone, above, provides perhaps the best view yet on the massive gathering in Kiev's Independence Square.

The video, which was widely shared on Twitter and spotted by BuzzFeed's Max Seddon, was reportedly filmed on Saturday. The source of the drone's operator remains largely unknown. This isn't the first use of a drone — a small remote-controlled helicopter — at a mass protest. In 2011, Tim Pool, now with VICE, used an "occucopter" to document Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan and observe New York City cops.

Since then, drones have been spotted in the skies at protests worldwide. In June, a citizen journalist in Istanbul used one to document anti-government protests in Turkey; one used in Bangkok, Thailand, showed the police using water cannons and tear gas canisters against protesters.

Drones have enormous potential for such events for simple and obvious reasons. They are relatively cheap, easy to use, can carry high-definition cameras and can reach areas off-base to reporters with cameras. So "drone journalism" is starting to become a reality.

Watch the breathtaking views of thousands of gathered at Independence Square above.


Awesome panoramic video, photos prove it really was a march of a million


A video taken from the top of the Christmas Tree on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, and panoramic photos of central Kyiv, taken by several Russian and Ukrainian teams on Dec. 8, serve as proof of the numbers of people at the peak of protests on Maidan Nezalezhnosti on that day. 

A video taken by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist from atop of the Christmas Tree that stands in the epicenter of protests, gives a bird's eye view of the crowds that stretch as far as the eye can see in all directions. Moreover,AirPano, a team of Russian photojournalists released panoramic photos that show a picture that it just as impressive.
Organizers of the anti-government, pro-European protest said that the crowd was well over a million, while the leading world media reported 500,000 people.

Ukraine's police, however, said that the city center cannot fit more than 100,000 people. "Considering that 1 square meter in winter period (when winter clothes are used) can fit only 2 persons, the aforementioned territory where civil and political actions are happening today, physically can fit only about 100,000 people," the police said in its Dec. 8 statement on Facebook page.

Police violently break up Independence Square protests at 4 a.m. today; many injuries reported


Kyiv police forcefully broke up a large gathering of protesters in Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), beating demonstrators with truncheons, according to eyewitnesses and news agencies. There are reports of numerous injuries and detainees. The Associated Press said that police moved in shortly after 4 a.m. on Saturday, swinging clubs and using tear gas, according to a protest organizer, Sergei Milnichenko.

At that time, several hundred protesters remained, the news agency reported, down from the 10,000 people who gathered on Nov. 29 to call for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych in the wake of his refusal to sign a long-anticipated association agreement with the European Union.

Police spokeswoman Olha Bilyk justified the police raid to the Kyiv Post by saying that protesters were interfering with preparations to decorate the square for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. She said demonstrators blocked transport vehicles and city workers appealed to police for help. The spokeswoman said that protesters started throwing stones and burning logs, prompting riot police to be called in. Some 35 people were detained, but will be released after reports are filed, she said.

However, many demonstrators at the scene said the police violence was unjustified.

"First, workers in cars came to say they would wash the monument," said Ilya Nemishaev of Simferopol. "We were trying to make them leave. We were standing in front of their cars, asking them to leave. While we were standing, riot police came - it looked like 2,000 or 3,000 of them. We were standing around the monuments, holding hands. They came closer and started beating us on our legs and then dragging us out from the circle. I covered my head, but then they hit my legs. They were beating even girls, knocking them down to the ground."

Chief doctor of emergencies of Kyiv Anatoliy Vershygora said that 35 people were admitted for emergency help as a result of the attack.

The incident is the most blatant and massive case of non-lethal police brutality in Ukraine in recent memory.

"Police have never attacked peaceful demonstrators at such large scale with so many people hospitalized," human rights activist Yevhen Zakharov said. "There were fights between protesters in 2001, during the Ukraine Without (ex-President Leonid) Kuchma protests, but not one-sided attacks like this morning on such a big scale."

Ukrainska Pravda reported a similar scene, citing member of parliament Andriy Shevchenko and other public officials. Numerous Twitter reports using the #euromaidan and #євромайдан  hash tags.

Pravda quoted Shevchenko as saying that dozens of people were injured and that there were dozens of detaines. "This Ukraine has never seen," Ukrainska Pravda wrote, citing Shevchenko's Twitter feed. Pravda said that Shevchenko and other politicians would remain on the scene.

The news site also cited one activist who said that more than 2,000 armed commandos took action against several hundred peaceful demonstrators and that people were beaten indiscriminately.

Channel 5 also reported similar events and this morning broadcast interviews with people who said that police beat everyone in site, including women and passersby, "They beat everyone, it was simply terrible," one eyewitness said on Channel 5. "I am shocked."

They also broadcast live footage throughout the morning of police who remained on the scene as well as city workers cleaning up the debris.

The crackdown came a day after U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt warned about serious consequences if force was used against the participants in the rally in support for Ukraine's European integration.

Speaking on the Voice of America radio, Pyatt said freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental principles and a top priority for the United States. The Ukrainian authorities have been notified about the US position both publicly and in personal meetings that demonstrations that have been held this week are a positive fact showing the strength of democracy in Ukraine, which needs to be respected, Pyatt said.

The diplomat also strongly condemned attacks on journalists, including those that took place in Kyiv on Nov. 29.

In the meantime, people started gathering on St. Michael's Square in Kyiv for new demonstrations. "Thousands on Mykhailivska Ploshcha. Every car passing honks in support. Inspiring!" Roman Tatarsky, a Kyiv-based businessman reported on his Facebook page. 

By mid-afternoon, some 4,000 people had gathered on St. Michael's Square for a new rally. The police followed them. Some angry demonstrators pounded on police vans, but there were no reports of violence or clashes. Opposition politicians arrived for the rally. Passing drivers honked their horns. Up to 10 foreign ambassadors also showed up in solidarity. Doctors were on hand to tell people what to do if they are sprayed with tear gas. 


Kiev police chief resigns after riot police violence

(CNN) -- The chief of police in Kiev, Ukraine, Valeriy Koryak, has resigned after riot police used "excessive force" against anti-government protesters, police said.

Riot police stepped in early Saturday and dispersed several hundred people who came to Independence Square in support of Ukraine's European integration. Seven people were hospitalized and dozens arrested.


The United States condemned what it called "violence against protesters" in a statement posted online by the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko later apologized, saying riot police abused their power. He promised a thorough investigation.

But he also warned protesters via state television against improper behavior, saying "if there are calls for mass disturbances, then we will react to this harshly."


A massive crowd of protesters, estimated to number at least 100,000, gathered Sunday in Independence Square. Some were seen setting objects on fire and throwing them at security forces. Others broke through a police barrier that was guarding a Christmas tree, climbed the tree and topped it with the Ukrainian flag.
















































EuroMaidan rallies on Dec. 1. The peaceful morning


Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post is providing continuous coverage of the protests in Kyiv and other cities following the government's decision on Nov. 21 to stop European Union integration and end pursuit of an association agreement. The rallies started on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) and are continuing after the Nov. 28-29 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, at which Ukraine and the EU failed to reach any agreement. The events can be followed on Twitter using hashtags #euromaidan and #євромайдан or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EuroMaydan.

 Tartak frontman performs without stage, music

Dec. 1, 1:46 p.m. - Olexandr Polozhynskiy (frontman of Tartak band) performed several songs, standing on a car that served as an improvised stage, without music, to encourage people, including performing Chervona Ruta, or "Red Rue," a classic folk songs at such patriotic gatherings. It's pretty chaotic. There is nothign like a stage for speakers, so it's hard to see what will happen. People are moving along Volodymyrska Street, some of them, it seems going to St. Michael's Square, not to the central square. -- Olga Rudenko.


Protesters climb Christmas tree

Dec. 1, 1:42 p.m. - A bunch of protesters climed on the New Year's tree on Maidan and place Ukrainian flags and opposition flags on top and on the branches. About a dozen people stand on the 20-meter high tree. No police are seen anhwhere. Maidan is full and people are still coming. -- Olga Rudenko

Crowd still streaming in from all over Ukraine; 

Dec. 1, 1:37 p.m. -- More than 90 minutes after crowds started forming in Shevchenko Park, they continued streaming down Shevchenko Boulevard towards the main Independence Square. There is no end in sight. It's a joyous gathering. Police are hardly anywhere in sight, taking a low-key approach. Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of Ukrainians from all over the nation moved down the street -- mothers pushing baby carriages, people calling for President Viktor Yanukovych to serve a third term in prison, singing the national anthem and, in general, happy to be there. This crowd looks like it is capable of doing everything it wants to do -- and, in a very great symbolic move -- have already retaken the main square that police closed off yesterday. -- Brian Bonner

More than 200,000 protesters descend on Kyiv city center, clogging main arteries

Dec. 1, 1:28 p.m. A civic rights group has estimate there are more than 200,000 protesters clogging Kyiv's main arteries