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.