Kyiv going Europe – Post Sovietness still remains

Kyiv going Europe – Post Sovietness still remains

16 years after independence, Lenin – the main source of all 20th century world trouble – is still in place in a 1500-year old Kyiv and all across the country. Maybe this a real reason of Ukraine’s failed transition to the rest of Europe?

Creating Europe in Ukraine through building up new and incorporation of Ukraine’s past. Combination of traditional with the best Western practices. The resultant synergy of elements creates a new quality, specific and unique for Ukraine. This is quite in line with European experience of technological and architectural re-development. These are the same ways gone by both. This picture is also metaphoric of different modernisation processes in Ukrainian society: from economy to politics and culture. From old to new. From dictatorship to democracy. From the rubbish of the USSR to Europe, but still keeping the old positive elements. A practical transition.

A lonely Volga taxi car on a lonely Sunday morning street leading past by a lonely office building.

A newly built office building with Mr. Pinchuk – the second richest man in Ukraine – inside. 

What are these huge strips I wonder? Certainly not a part of skyscraper construction technology.

A workers’ dormitory in the backyards of a newly opened “Bilshovyk” hypermarket. Kyiv’s rents have rocketed ten-times within the last six years. Renting a modest furnished one-room flat would normally cost 400 USD upwards.

The text reads: “No lights for stops or turns”. How symbolic of Ukraine’s post-Soviet transition! What the construction workers are doing is also absurd. They prop a thousand ton heavy highway bridge structure with thin metal works. The bridge got damaged by the fire in the African second-hand bazaar stands, which used to be located under it. Do you think this provisional structure is going to carry the bridge? I don’t think so.

The “RAFik” – a Soviet time minibus produced in Latvia for transport of people is here redesigned to carry cargo too. A happy mixture of engineering fantasy and explicit need.

The plaque of the National Bank of Ukraine with a dilapidated house wall in the background.

A truck for emergency repairs in front of the President’s Office on Kyiv’s Bankova street. It is obvious, Ukrainian politics needs urgent fixing.

The current real Europeans of Ukraine.
Next to Bessarabka in the Kiev’s city center you see a very expensive Lexus car with extravagant number plates, which communicate the car owner’s success and jubilation.

Well Europe is all about success and satisfaction, it is about making progress as a society and as an individual, it is about opportunities. Now as a result of post-Soviet transformation, apparently Ukraine’s European choice but in reality a deep socio-economic crises, division and stratification of the formerly “equally poor” society led to sharp contrasts of wealth.

The first stage of Ukraine’s European project is reached: personal economic freedom and more or less democratic capitalism, which made possible accumulation of capital. The Ukraine’s rich now can smile, they made a European choice for themselves already and built themselves Europe in Ukraine.

Now we are on the way to reach stage number two – to share the benefits available to few with the rest of society, making the benefits currently enjoyable by not so many available to all. I think we make it real Europe here in Ukraine when everybody’s car will shine with happiness and satisfaction.

Kyiv on the way to a European capital.
To quote Vicktor Yuschenko, Ukrainians need to build Europe in Ukraine first, put their own house in order. The start was a success: the rents in Kiev are higher than in Prague or Berlin. At least in that we are already Europe!

Kyiv’s dogs expecting an economic miracle to come…

“Refuse chute? Keep the garbage away”.

The new trend of communication by the state agencies and interest groups through the means of advertisements and inducing the public debate on the matters relevant for society was introduced largely after the Orange Revolution.

Europe is about environmental standards, but how much do Ukrainians care about green issues?

In the vicinity of Kiev’s Academmistechko district you find a lovely forest, which unfortunately is absolutely polluted, full of rubbish ranging from empty beer bottles to burnt out tires! The topic of pollution in the environment and forest in particular in Ukraine is on the high agenda. Identifying this issue, drawing of public attention is already a significant way forward in raising awareness, educating and urging for social action. Interestingly enough this advertisement is also placed on the street dust bin itself. This may be a small but in fact very significant step towards the Europe of standards and values, as it causes a qualitative change in Ukrainians´ public perception of the environment they leave in. It is in my view a real life example of how Ukraine narrows the bridge dividing it from Europe as far as environmental practices and public consciousness are concerned.

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