In Depth, 31/12/2019

Kharkiv Observer Highlights Five Most Remarkable News Topics in 2019

Bright festival and patriotic marches, sporting achievements and winning international contests, memorable visit of Jack Ma, co-founder Alibaba Group to Kharkiv, startups, the confrontation between Ukrainian activists and the city authorities, heart-warming charity events and cultural activities are the parts of diverse patchwork in which Kharkiv was involved in 2019.

Kharkiv Observer has chosen the city’s top five news from 2019 which have been the most popular among our readers

1. The Campaign against Sexist Advertising

This year, Kharkiv Observer took part in the project implemented by the Volyn Press Club in partnership with the Volyn Gender Center, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Internews international organization. As part of the project, a number of articles on gender issues were published.

The most viewed article concerned worldwide campaigns against sexist advertising. The history of sexism in advertising can be dated back to the beginning of the 20th century. Every decade of the 20th century has the most widely known examples of sexism in advertising. The fight against this abusing problem started at the end of 1970s. In Norway, for example, the law prohibiting sexism was adopted in 1978.

In Ukraine, the movement against sexism in the media and advertising started in March 2006. To counter sexism in advertising, the Industrial Gender Committee on Advertising NGO, was created in Ukraine in 2011. This association deals with handling customers’ complaints and education.

For the second consecutive year, in order to prevent the creation and distribution of sexist advertising and marketing products, the Monitoring of Sexist Advertising was done in Kharkiv. Last year the project’s organizers received 87 reports while this year they received 24. This is due to the fact that the advertising industry is becoming more civilized. As a result, less sexist advertising is observed.

Unfortunately, sexist ads are a general tendency of the Ukrainian advertising market. Many other places in Europe have already gone through it but Ukraine has embarked on this path later. The advertisers should become more responsible that gives the opportunity to sell without violation of human dignity.

Next year Kharkiv Observer will continue collaboration with the Volyn Press Club and will share more articles on gender issues with our readers.

2. Long-Awaited Flights Start Operating from Kharkiv Airport

Articles featuring new international and domestic flight destinations are traditionally popular among our readers.

In spring, Ukrainian SkyUp Airlines started operating seasonal flights to Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates.

Italian low-cost air carrier Ernest Airlines opened new routes to Rome and Milan in spring. In winter, the air carrier temporarily canceled flights to these cities due to the decrease in passenger traffic.

Flights to Tel-Aviv (Israel), Baku (Azerbaijan), Batumi (Georgia) and Ukrainian “pearl near the sea” Odesa also commenced in spring.

3. Legendary Volunteer and Fighter Killed in Donbas

At the beginning of April, Ukrainian patriots worldwide were shocked over the news that 39-year old senior soldier, machine gunner Yana Chervona, call sign Vedma (Witch in Ukrainian) was killed as a result of hostile fire in the Luhansk region.

At the end of 2013, she took part in Kharkiv Euromaidan. When the Russian-Ukrainian war started, Yana began to collect aid for the Aidar battalion near Kharkiv shopping malls. In summer 2016, she decided to join the army.

Yana left behind two young kids and a grieving husband.

The heroine was awarded the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky 3rd class and the People’s Hero of Ukraine non-state award posthumously.

4. SkyUp Airlines Expands Flight Geography

Ukrainian air carrier continues to expand flight geography and opened seasonal routes to every taste and budget to more popular holiday destinations.

Those who were going to combine beach holidays with guided tours around ancient cities were able to travel to Barcelona, Spain, Larnaca, Cyprus, Rimini, Italy, and Kutaisi, Georgia, since the end of spring.

5. To Kharkiv with Love: Hitchhiking from West to East

In August, Kharkiv Observer got an email from Tommaso Giani from Italy. His goal was to prove that it’s possible in modern society, where everything has its price and media are full of stories that hitchhiking may still have its dangers, to cross five countries covering 3,000 kilometers on his way to Kharkiv without spending a penny. And he showed with his example that nothing is impossible.

Kharkiv Observer correspondent talked to Tommaso and he recounted his exciting trip which he managed to make with the help of drivers that he called “angels on wheels.”

The Italian fell in love with Kharkiv in 2009 when he first came here as a football fan to support his favorite Italian team, Sampdoria, which played against Kharkiv Metalist at Europa League.

On that occasion, he made friends with some young Metalist fans so much that he decided in the following years to come again to visit them and to watch Metalist matches every year. This year, he honored the tradition in a very romantic and adventurous way: a trip from Genoa, which is the home city of his Sampdoria football team, to Kharkiv involving hitchhiking.

It took him eight days to travel to Kharkiv changing 32 different vehicles across Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary and Ukraine. His goal was to meet his friends and to watch Metalist 1925, Kharkiv, – Rukh, Lviv, match.

He admitted that Ukrainian drivers were very friendly in spite of the fact they don’t speak English. So, Tommaso had to talk to them using his poor Russian or a dictionary on his smartphone. He is also grateful to the drivers to give him the opportunity to explore western Ukraine that he had never seen before.

The Italian was impressed by positive changes in Kharkiv like the reconstruction of Gorky Park and Shevchenko Garden.

Tommaso is not going to break tradition and will visit Kharkiv every August and we expect to listen to further exciting travel stories from him.

This year finishes positively as volunteers of Saint Nicholas’ Reindeer charity project are traditionally delivering presents for upcoming winter holidays to the kids from the so-called “gray zone” near the frontline in the east of Ukraine. Little ones are waiting for miracles and any person can become a magician and fulfill a kid’s dream.

Kharkivites and city guests anticipate Vertep Fest with performances of folk groups from all over Ukraine which traditionally opens the year.

Despite age, anyone who believes in miracles can make a wish on New Year’s Day. Our team believes that the most popular wish of all Ukrainians is long-awaited peace for our country.

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: Industrial Gender Committee on Advertising, Kharkiv Airport, Facebook,, Tommaso Giani,