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The rhythmic hip-hop-like chants of protest exploded just as the final curtain came down on the flower-laden ballet dancers and the musicians who had performed with them. Within seconds, the bright lights of TV crews who had forced their way into the orchestra seats overwhelmed as-yet dim house lights when suddenly – as if on a cue from a cameraman – four white banners poured out of the fourth balcony enveloping the hall below. To ever louder chants of “Handba! Handba! Handba!” (“Shame! Shame! Shame!”), the banners demanded that the National Ballet of Ukraine retain their artistic director Denys Matvienko. The sumptuous Kyiv Opera House exploded in chaos after a stunning performance on April 13, 2013.


About the Author

Blair A. Ruble

Blair A. Ruble

Distinguished Fellow;
Former Wilson Center Vice President for Programs (2014-2017); Director of the Comparative Urban Studies Program/Urban Sustainability Laboratory (1992-2017); Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies (1989-2012) and Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Resilience (2012-2014)
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Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region through research and exchange.  Read more