Skip to comments.Letter from Ukraine
Posted on 07/09/2013 8:00:10 PM PDT by marshmallow
A Church of martyrs confronts the cultural iron curtain.
Lviv, Ukraine It was almost a decade ago when I last visited Ukraine, and the surface changes over that period are immediately evident. Then, my flight from Poland was met by a Soviet-era school bus, sans engine, towed by a Soviet-era tractor: a bizarre jury-rigged hybrid that carted my companions and me to a one-hour wait in a Soviet-era VIP lounge at the Soviet-era Lviv International Airport, while the visas we had spent the better part of a day acquiring in a classic Soviet-era bureaucratic muddle were validated. On July 3, my flight pulled up to a gleaming new terminal and, with visas no longer required, I was briskly and efficiently welcomed to Ukraine.
The externals of change are visible both in Kyiv, the national capital, and Lviv, the regional capital of western Ukraine and one of the doggedly persistent centers of Ukrainian national identity during the Soviet period.
The Kyivan skyline is dominated by recently built high-rise apartment blocks, which obscure a cityscape once defined by the distinctive golden domes of Orthodox churches. The cost of the flats in those buildings is such that Ukrainians are leaving the country in droves, unable to afford to live in a capital city whose economic life, like that of the entire country, is controlled by oligarchs allied to the corrupt and authoritarian, if formally democratic, regime of Viktor Yanukovych a regime that has thoroughly frustrated the hopes generated by the Orange Revolution of 200405 and that may succeed in imploding Ukraines efforts to sign an accession agreement with the European Union later this year.
Lviv is also changed from a decade ago. Then, the Old Town of this city of many names (Lwow to the Poles, Lemberg to the Hapsburgs......
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
I am not unbiased here. My father's family were Galician Jews and were expelled by the Soviets.