Top 10 Ukraine related London events in 2011

The Ukrainian Institute in London has compiled a list of the top events related to Ukraine and Ukrainians that took place in London throughout 2011.  The events that have received most media coverage or have impacted the perception of Ukraine and Ukrainians include:


1.     Ukraine’s Richest man buys London’s most expensive flat

The Financial Times reported in May that Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, purchased an apartment at London’s most prestigious address One Hyde Park for £136 million. The Ukrainian
Oligarch is reportedly now planning to renovate the new flat at a cost of £60 million.

2.     BBC shuts down Ukrainian language radio broadcast

As part of a continuing effort to cut costs, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) shut down its Ukrainian language radio broadcast. According to the BBC, the cuts were necessary due to the UK Government’s Spending Review. The Ukrainian language service, which was launched in 1992, has retained a website news service.

3.     England drawn to play in Kyiv and Donetsk

England were drawn for the Euro 2012 tournament to play their group stage matches in Kyiv and Donetsk next June. England will face co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk on June 19, in their bid for Euro 2012 glory. Thousands of English fans are expected to travel to Ukraine and support their  team.

4. Downbeat Media coverage on Ukraine in UK press throughout 2011

Right the way through 2011 coverage on Ukraine in the UK’s leading media was more

negative than positive with articles and images that covered new brawls in Ukraine’s parliament, Yulia Tymoshenko’s trial and 7 year sentence, oligarchs’ wealth, topless protesters highlighting widespread prostitution in Ukraine, and also the culling of stray dogs on the  streets of Kyiv ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament. The coverage in the key media was one of the worst in recent years.

5.     British born Ukrainian journalists in midst of the UK’s biggest media scandal

Three British journalists with Ukrainian roots were caught up in Britain’s largest media scandal, which caused the closure of the UK’s top tabloid. Alex Marunchak, Greg Miskiw and Terenia Taras have been accused of involvement in phone hacking while at the News of the World newspaper, with the latter two being arrested. Mr. Marunchak was at the centre of a BBC Panorama investigation and may be in possession of information that could further highlight wrongdoings at Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

6.     Ukraine Ranks 3rd in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries to Visit

Ukraine was ranked in the top 3 countries to visit in 2012 by Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book and  digital media publisher in the world. The publication, owned by BBC Worldwide, has presented its list of the top 10 countries for 2012 – in ranked order – voted for by a panel of in-house travel experts, based on ‘topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor.’

7.     High Court in London dismisses libel lawsuit against Kyiv Post

In February, a London judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed by a Ukrainian billionaire  businessman, Dmytro Firtash, against the Kyiv Post, saying that the link to English jurisdiction was “tenuous in the extreme” and calling the lawsuit “almost an abuse of process.”

The ruling was hailed as a victory for free speech internationally and a blow to so-called “libel tourism”.

8.     Ukrainian billionaire donates £100,000 to educate  deprived British children

The youngest self-made billionaire in Europe, according to Forbes magazine, Ukrainian Konstantin  Zhevago, donated £100,000 to help teach British children at a deprived south London school literacy in a campaign launched by the Evening Standard newspaper. The newspaper article about the donation stated that he and his wife hope to relocate from Kyiv to London.

9.     Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov launches new book in London

Andrey Kurkov, one of Ukraine’s most successful post-Independence authors featuring on various European bestseller lists, presented his new book The Milkman in the Night in London and other UK cities. His works are full of black humour, post-Soviet reality and elements of surrealism, often featuring contemporary Ukrainian politics. The Milkman in the Night is currently widely publicised in the UK and has been reviewed by a number of leading publications, including the Financial Times and the Guardian.

10.   Klitschko defeats London’s David Haye

Following much pre-match exchange of words David Haye was defeated in the long awaited July fight by Vladimir Klitschko. The Ukrainian professional heavyweight boxer and the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion in history for the IBF, WBO & IBO heavyweight titles, won with a unanimous points victory.


‘The perceptions in London about Ukraine and Ukrainians have  been influenced by a number of factors and today are, unfortunately, rather unenthusiastic. In 2012 Ukraine will have a number of magnificent opportunities  to showcase its opportunity, enhance its positioning and  boost awareness about  the country to people around the globe. There are many Ukrainians doing truly great things in their native land, and also abroad. It  would be wonderful to have these people and their work showcased to wider international audiences,’ commented Andy Hunder, Director at the Ukrainian Institute in London.