Lviv today

Since I was in Ukraine in February incredibly much happened. I witnessed the revolution. When I was back home, everything changed quickly. Russia annexed Crimea, Russian fighters are terrorizing the east of the country now. Ukrainians elected a new President. Now I’m back for a short trip of four days. My first impression: In Lviv, people desire nothing more than a piece of normality. And they celebrate this normality.

At the reception of Hotel George where I always stay when I’m here, I am welcomed by a new face – Tatyana. I wonder if the crisis affects the business of the hotel. When she started her job, it was difficult, Tatyana says. But now it’s summer and business developes. On weekends, the George is fully booked. A first walk through city convinces me that she’s right. The streets are crowded of Sunday dressed locals and visitors. They leisurely stroll through the streets, listen to the street musicians. At the market square they even dance.

At Svoboda Boulevard, where once the big stage of the local Maidan was, there is no reminiscent of the revolution any more. Just a few dealers are left, who sell Ukrainian and European flags. There are also some new items: toilet paper with the portraites of former Ukrainian president Yanukovych and Russian president Putin. Yanukovych as a toilet paper roll, Putin one can buy in Soviet style as single sheets. A chocolate factory came up with another funny item. There you can buy the Russian president as a chocolate sculpture–with a bomb, he keeps hidden behind his back.

On the t-shirt of a young man I read “Ukraine–fuck corruption”. Many of the country’s problems remain unresolved, but people do not want to think about it today. The sky is bright blue, it’s  weekend, street musicians are playing, one can dance. The city is beautiful. I feel at home.

8 thoughts on “Lviv today

  1. Yeap, once in Lviv you feel the need to return perpetually there. I`ve just been to Lviv, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, comparable only with Riga or Prague, and even more beautiful in some aspects.
    On the other hand, it was such a pity because I saw only few tourists; in the US press and even in European press, this still ongoing conflict is presented as taking part in the overall Ukraine, without discriminating between the various parts of this otherwise respectable in dimensions country. And it is a pity indeed because people who are not familiar with Ukraine consider Donbass region as representative for Western Ukraine as well. And in the end, that wonderful city called L`viv really deserves money coming from tourism.
    Thanks for posting, it keeps vivid the memories about Lviv.

      • Yet, such an irony that Chernivtsi nowadays has no trace of this, as well as of the overwhelming once Jewish presence there…the Museum of Jews in Bukovina is open…two hours a day or something like this…Besides, Chernivtsi cannot not even stand in comparison to the architecture of L`viv, and it is natural to be so.
        And actually this is all what I meant, L`viv has extraordinarily amazing houses, and it is paradoxical that people are cramming in, let`s say, Warsaw, but not there, as well. It was an invitation to reflect on what we think of heritage, old houses, and labels.

    • I know the pictures and – as you know – I wrote about the pogrom of 1941, Hardy. But what does it say about the city today? Is a city eternally damned because of the crimes of the past? And are these crimes the only thing one can say about it?

    • I do not want to interfere in your discussion. Just wanted to add that Lviv nowadays is host to institutions/exhibitions/discussions that deal with the memory of what happened that time. This is a widely examined theme among the younger generations of historians of Central and Eastern Europe, now.
      Saying that the city is beautiful does not mean that one is reluctant to acknowledge what Ukrainian, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish nationalism had done.
      Central and Eastern Europe is a very complicated area just as complicated are the memories within. Besides, it was host of bloody events in the nineteenth century as well.

      • Raluca, you are not interfering, you are participating. Yes, “complicated” very much hits the point. Spreading the knowledge of historians to a wider audience – in particular to the young generation – is still a challenge. And let’s also not forget this: the pogrom of 1941 was only possible due to the presence of German forces. They set the frame work for the pogrom.

  2. Who are the customers for Yanukovych toilet paper or funny bombing chocolate Putin’s? For sure not the Ukrainian everyman. Beside the excellent travel impressions, the photos are thought-provoking when it comes to the re-ignition of nationalism. Thank you for sharing, dear Christian!

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