Gold from the Carpathian Mountains

The first Ukrainian gold nugget was produced in the town of Muzhiyeve, Zakarpattya Oblast on September 30, 1999. The specialized factory in a small western Ukrainian town in the Carpathian Mountains made the 5 kilogram (5.721 kilo to be precise) nugget after work of extracting gold-containing ore had begun at the gold deposit earlier this year. It was known that there were deposits of gold and silver in the Carpathian Mountains way back in the Soviet times but for some reasons these deposits were not used. It was only this year that a factory was built at a gold deposit. It will produce about a ton of gold annually.

Free Economic Zone in Odesa
Porto-Franco free economic zone was unveiled in the Odesa Sea Port on September 7, 1999. In the next three years no taxes at all will be collected in the Porto Franco zone, and in the following three years taxes will be paid but they will be halved. In fact, Odesa was a free economic zone in the years 1819-1858. During that time the foreign trade turnover increased more than sixfold and Odesa became the biggest port in the south of the Russian Empire.
Promotion of Investments into the Economy of the Donetsk Oblast
Several investment- and culture-promotion events were held in the city of Donetsk in early September. At one of the events, attended by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, the new coat-of-arms and banner of the Donetsk Oblast were presented to local authorities. A monument, Mertsalov's Palm, was unveiled.
Mertsalov's Palm was made out of a rail in the early twentieth century and shown at several international exhibitions, including the one in Paris where it excited admiration for the technical achievement and craftsmanship. Now it has been turned into a monument for everyone to see. A series of concerts, puppet and sports shows, a parade of big air balloons attracted large audiences. Vadym Pysarev, UNESCO Laureate in the Best Dancer of 1995 and manager of the local opera and ballet theatre, also joined the promotion of investments campaign. He emphasized a great role culture should play in the life.
The demonstration of the Donetsk Oblast potential, should, in the opinion of the organizers of the promotion events, attract Ukrainian and foreign investors.

Farewell to Arms and Arms to Export

Ukraine has established itself as one of the biggest exporters of weapons in the world. And it is not because Ukraine is a militaristic state, quite the other way round. In fact, Ukraine became the first state in the world to get rid of its nuclear weapons. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Ukraine found itself possessing the third biggest nuclear arsenal in the world, after the USA and Russia. And Ukraine, faithful to its policies of neutrality and reduction of war arsenals, dismantled its nuclear weapons.

AN-70 transport plane.
But the former Soviet Union had left behind, among other things, a legacy of the enormous military-industrial complex, part of which was located in Ukraine. This complex could produce the most sophisticated weapons, from small firearms to intercontinental ballistic missiles. It was in Ukraine that the military design and development centres were situated. All of this has allowed Ukraine to continue developing new high-tech weapons systems, military planes, tanks and rockets.

The Ukrainian military export list is topped by the AN-70 transport plane. There are plans to supply it to the NATO countries after it has been modified in cooperation with the leading west European aircraft building companies. Another hot item is the T-80 tank. Some of these tanks have already been purchased by Pakistan, and Turkey has announced that it is looking for the best new tanks available at the weapons market. The Ukrainian-made T-80 is likely to win the tender.The Czech Republic is a likely partner in joint production of these tanks, and France, Spain and Latvia have shown interest in armoured vehicles made in Ukraine. The Yuzhmash rocket and missile building plant in Dnipropetrovsk produced most of the rockets and missiles in the former Soviet Union. Now Ukraine, which is a neutral country that has not joined any military or political blocks, does not need offensive weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles. But the technological expertise that the Ukrainian rocket builders possess has come in handy in the development of the Sea Launch international project that involves the USA, Norway, Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine is to build the Zenit carrier rockets which in fact are modified and updated versions of the Soviet missiles that could carry nuclear warheads. The first successful launch took place on October 10, 1999, when a US satellite was put into orbit by a rocket that was launched from a sea-based launch pad.

Changes in psychiatry

Kyiv's psychiatric asylum (officially called: psycho-neurological hospital) is one of the oldest in Eastern Europe. It was established thanks to the efforts of and donations from the congregation of a church. The first nurses and attendants of the newly founded mental hospital were monks, priests and members of the congregation. In the Second World War, when Kyiv was occupied by the Nazi troops, 760 in-patients of the hospital were shot by firing squads, following Hitler's order as to the extermination of "all the mentally deficient and physically handicapped people" in the occupied territories. Under the Soviet regime, mental patients (and together with them numerous dissidents whom the KGB Secret Service declared "insane" and put into heavily guarded mental institutions) were among the most underprivileged people who were actually stripped of social protection of any kind. Many progressively minded physicians spoke out against such inhuman practices but no radical changes were possible until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now Ukrainian psychiatry in general and mental institutions in particular, are going through many positive changes. They should be made more humane, democratic, open to public scrutiny. The Kyiv psycho-neurological hospital organized "an open-doors day" on October 7, 1999, and invited psychiatrists, doctors of related specialities, journalists and representatives of the general public to attend. It does not seem to be an event of any great significance, but for Ukraine, which is one of the post-Soviet states, it is. It is evidence of radical changes. Changes to the better.

The Hall of Meeting of the Scientific Council of National Kyiv Shevchenko University.

Ukrainian Furniture 2000

The All-Ukrainian Ukrainian Furniture 2000 Fair was recently held in Kyiv. It distinguished itself by its scope among other similar fairs held in the capital. About 200 Ukrainian companies compete at the Ukrainian furniture market of which they control about 40 percent. The Spetsmebli Company took a central place at the fair and the furniture it produces does attract attention by its quality and excellent design. The main customers are hotels, offices and theatres. The production volume has grown 102 percent since last year.

Viktor Levytsky, the head of the Spetsmebli Board of Directors says: "This fair helps figure out the demands and requirements of the market, see what is needed most, introduce desirable changes into the work of the Spetsembli, shows our possibilities in the spheres of technology and design. Customers seek good quality at reasonable prices. We produce furniture for a wide range of customers. We have what to offer for offices at comparatively low prices and at the same time we provide expensive items made of expensive and durable varieties of wood. We are flexible and our flexibility keeps bringing new customers." Seems to be a good advice.

Reviving Ukrainian Cinema

In order to revive Ukrainian film production a centre of development of Ukrainian cinema was set up in Kyiv in July 1999. Oleksiy Maryshkin, a young producer, stands behind the project. It is planned to promote Ukrainian cinema through financial support, advertisement campaigns, schooling, cultural exchange, participation in festivals.

A cooperation with an international association of cinema and TV schools will be sought. Jerzy Hoffman, a Polish film director, has promised to conduct special classes of cinema studies. Kyiv Dovzhenko Film Studio and the local branch of the Kodak Company are the centre's partners. The centre has set the major guidelines for its work: to create producers' and disrtibutors' agencies which will promote Ukrainian films; to provide financial and technical support for the beginners in making films; to lobby the film industries in the corridors of power; to encourage the media coverage of problems and state of things in Ukrainian cinema; to get Ukrainian films represented at film festivals. The centre also intends to find ways of dealing with films' pirating. One major project and several smaller-scale projects have been planned for the year 2000. The centre hopes to raise money needed for the realization of the projects through donations, sponsors, state support, box office revenues, sale of films on videocassettes. At present, only 4 or 5 films are made in Ukraine annually and the centre's plans do not seem to be quite realizable but maybe a massive support for Ukrainian cinema will get things rolling.

The Scryabin pop group soloist is much loved by young people; he often performs at the Tavriyski Ihry Festivals.

Day of Knowledge in Kyiv

September 1 is marked in many countries, Ukraine including, as the Day of Knowledge. The Choose Life Charity Fund together with the Tavriyski Ihry Association which has a considerable experience in staging songfests, entertained a 250-thousand crowd with a pop show at the Pisenne Pole ("Song Field") in Kyiv. The show was meant to promote the family values, education among the young, donations to the children hospitals and support for the elderly. Recent surveys have shown that about 30 percent of Ukrainians of school age do not think they should study beyond secondary education. So the pop stars called upon the young not to drop out of schools and to combat the AIDS. There were also calls to financially support children hospitals and the elderly. The Pisenne Pole is a hill in Kyiv facing the Dnipro River equipped with a stage. Admittance is free as there are no fences around the place. The concert amply demonstrated that the young enjoy pop music but whether they have understood the message remains to be seen.

Days of Russian Federation in Ukraine

In 1997, the Days of Ukraine's Culture were held in Russia, and now two years later, at the end of September, the Days of Russia's Culture were held in Ukraine. A number of events in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine attracted capacity audiences. Pavlo Khoroshylov, deputy minister of culture of the Russian Federation in his official speech at the opening ceremony emphasized close links of Ukrainian and Russian cultures that had existed since early periods of cultural and historical development of the two nations. Many composers, writers and artists have contributed in the course of centuries to the spiritual development of both the Ukrainians and the Russians. Russia has confirmed its readiness to return cultural treasures that were taken out of Ukraine in the Soviet times. Performances of Igor Moiseyev's Dance Troupe were a great hit with Kyiv audiences. Incidentally, Igor Moiseyev was born in Kyiv 93 years ago and later moved to Moscow. He and several other Russian performers were awarded Ukrainian medals of distinction at the closing ceremony held at the central concert hall of Kyiv, Palats Ukrayina. Culture has always been and remains the most reliable messenger of good will.

Monument to Pole Vaulter

Serhiy Bubka, an athlete from Donetsk, Ukraine, many times over world and Olympic champion in pole vaulting, has been honoured with a monument erected in his native town. One should admit it is somewhat unusual to erect monuments to living persons, much less to athletes. Bubka has begun his training for the Olympiad 2000 to be held in Sydney, Australia. But he thought the unveiling of a monument to himself merited his presence and he flew in from Monaco where he stays most of the time to attend the ceremony. Bubka was one of the first track-and-field athletes who had gone professional and started receiving money for his performances. "I believe that one's native place always remains a source of strength and inspiration. If I have done anything to make my native place known in the world I'm happy. I hope it'll help make it a better place to live in," says Bubka.

Knockout Brothers

Some western sports observers have recently dubbed the phenomenal brothers Klychko "Knockout Brothers", or "Klitch KO" for short. Vitaliy and Volodymyr Klychko have indeed created a sensation by winning their bouts against a number of the leading world professional boxers mostly in the first round by knockouts. Volodymyr Klychko, the younger of the two brothers, recently took on Axel Schultz, much admired in Germany by numerous boxing fans. The winner would get the belt of the European champion in WBA, one of the most prestigious professional boxing versions. Schultz was a formidable opponent who had for a sparing partner and trainer South-African Ross Purity, the only boxer who had beaten Volodymyr (the only defeat in Volodymyr's boxing career).
Schultz, at the beginning of the bout, relied on his great stamina and exceptional defense, hoping to exhaust Volodymyr and then get the upper hand. But Volodymyr proved to be a tough nut for the German to crack. The bout lasted for eight rounds, longer than that is usually expected from the Klychko brothers, but in the end Volodymyr, being superior in speed, agility and many other factors, overwhelmed the German and won by a knockout. It should be mentioned here that Axel Schultz, unlike many other opponents of the Klychko brothers (who are known for their respectful and civil behaviour), behaved civilly and in "a gentlemanly fashion," as one journalist put it, before, during and after the match.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said of Ed Mahone, the opponent of Vitaliy, the elder of the Klychko brothers in the WBO version match for the world champion title. Arriving in Germany, where the match was to be held, Mahone announced that he would beat Klychko to a pulp and then spread him all over the ring. Mahone was confident he would easily win in the early rounds. Such braggarts are punished by the brothers Klychko severely. And fast. Already in the second round Mahone got into bad trouble but somehow managed to survive to the end of the round. But early in the third round he received an extremely powerful knockdown blow and the moment he was back on his feet a series of devastating blows sprawled Mahone on the ring. It was the 26th bout that Vitaliy won in a row by a knockout.

Yevhen Verbytky is the six-times world cup winner.

Model Aircraft Flying
Ukrainian model aircraft construction and flying are ranked among the world leaders, according to the Federation Aeronautical Internationale, an organization whose membership is about 100 countries. This year the world model aircraft championship was held in Israel where heat, desert and whirlwinds were not the best conditions for flying model aircraft. Oleh Kulakivsky won in the category of models with extensible motors. Even before the championship, at the world cup stage, Ukrainians won in all the three model aircraft categories.

The Ukrainian junior team at the championship in Israel also did well winning the first place. Ukrainian model aircraft enthusiasts have been successful at several major completions and at the moment Ukraine holds the World Champion Cup, the Cup of the World Champion Team and the World Cup. Ukrainian success in model aircraft construction and flying has long been recognized in the world. The Ukrainian model aircraft team was flown to and from Israel by the Aerosweet Ukrainian airline.

Olena Vitrychenko.

Medals from Seville and Osaka

At the world track-and-field championship in Seville, Spain, the Ukrainian athletes were not among the most successful teams, sharing 15th-16th places in the overall medal count with Australia - one gold, one silver and two bronze medals (which is not too bad, in fact, considering that there were 204 countries taking part). Inha Babakova (coach Serhiy Babakov) has won the gold medal in the high jump event (199 cm). On her return to Kyiv she was awarded another medal - Princess Olha order, III class. Anzhela Balakhonova (trainer Shulhin) won the silver medal in pole vaulting in Seville. She has been in sports for 14 years, and her sports career was only shortly disrupted for periods of time when she was pregnant. Six months ago she gave birth to her second child. The world championship in rhythmic sportive gymnastics (modern rhythmic gymnastics) was held in the Japanese town of Osaka. Olena Vitrychenko won two gold medals in two events (ribbon and ropes) and a bronze in the third (hoops).
News prepared by A. Hlazovy and H.-H. Pylypenko