It’s only the third day that I’m in Kyiv – it feels like it’s been weeks. It’s the busy schedule that’s the reason for it but it’s also because I feel familiar with this place. Blame that on NATO internship which seems like a life-time ago. I’m at a random café near the military hospital waiting for my friend to join me and take me over to see Dima (the injured soldier that I wrote about months ago – was it months ago or weeks? Time is starting to feel like distant distinction now). I just had brunch with my cousin (we figured out that it was our fathers’ genes that inclined us to this semi-nomadic lifestyle) and we discussed the situation in Ukraine.
What can they do to fix the corruption issue? Do they do what the Poles did in the early 1990’s and just start all over again or do they try to take the post-war German route? Honestly, corruption in this country has gotten so out of hand that in my opinion, the only option for them is to completely start again: re-hire people who at the very least showed some solidarity with the anti-corruption movement or who are willing to work towards a path of de-corruption on a mass scale. But I don’t know – I’m not a politician, so who knows what’s going on behind the scenes in Parliament.
We discussed that it seems like the war is in a far-away place, not 300 kms from Kyiv. People go about their lives here but there is an underlying stillness here: a sadness that you see among the faces of the people waiting for the metro or in the cafés when you catch them having a silent moment amongst themselves. The war is on everyone’s mind and maybe that’s why the military parade is a good idea – you have a false sense of security. The military is alive and well. At least based on aesthetics.
Sometimes, I just want to curl up and cry: this country has so much to offer and those f*ckers in the east just won’t let it happen. We have the art (someone said that in every Ukrainian family there is at least on artist), we have talent and now, we have to will to make this country into something the rest of Europe will envy. All of this however, is effected by the war: the artists, talented entrepreneurs and willful people are going to war, the rest stay behind.
I love this place – even with all of its troubles because I can see it changing right in front of my eyes. My friend and I have, on numerous times during this adventure of ours, that the Ukrainian men have become very attractive lately. Maybe it’s the war, the uniforms or just the larger influence of the West. But there’s a certain uniquely Ukrainian element to what is happening here. Yes, there’s a large cultural and ideological influence from the West but Ukrainians are doing what we’ve always done best: making it our own. And that is a truly magical thing to see.