Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kyiv’s Murals: Sorting Through Historical and Political Identity


In the post-Maidan era, Kyiv has witnessed the proliferation of murals which dot the sides of buildings throughout the capital.  Many murals underscore Ukraine’s search for historical and political meaning.  Take, for example, Mata Ruda’s “Protectress,” located just a block away from Maidan square.  The mural depicts Berehynia, a Slavic […]

Ukrainian Identity: Welcome to Zoloti Vorota


In the wake of the Maidan revolution, Ukraine is in the midst of historic and nationalist soul searching.  For starters, head to Zoloti Vorota or Golden Gates in downtown Kyiv, which was the original site of 11th century fortifications dating to the era of Yaroslav the Wise.  The area was […]

Russian Revolution at 100: Welcome to Kronstadt Revolt


The Kronstadt rebellion took place in March, 1921.  Located on an island in the Gulf of Finland, Kronstadt is a naval fortress on an island in the Gulf of Finland which has served as the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet and to guard the city of St. Petersburg thirty-five […]

Viktor Yanukovych’s Estate


On the outskirts of Kyiv lies Mezhyhirya estate, former home to deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.  The gaudy surroundings attest to Yanukovych’s corrupt and opulent lifestyle.  Today, however, many visitors simply opt to ride bicycles through the local park or pose for selfies.  Yanukovych’s house is closed, and actually getting to […]

The Evolution of Maidan Square


Four years after the revolution, crowds of Maidan square are gone though signs of previous political struggle are still evident.  On the side of a building, a banner reads “Freedom Is Our Religion.” Meanwhile, flags representing right wing military battalions flutter up above Maidan square.  For more on the Azov […]

Ukraine: Exploring Different Ethnic Cultures Through Food


Has Ukraine succeeded in promoting a truly multi-ethnic and pluralistic state?  On the local Kyiv food scene at least, the country seems to have succeeded. On a somewhat more unusual note, Kyiv also offers Carpathian cuisine, not to be confused with the Caucasus region (note: for more on Transcarpathia click […]

Ukraine, Art Nouveau and the Debate Over “Westernization”


What will become of Ukraine’s aspirations to join the West and embrace cosmopolitan modernity?  It’s not the first time the country has sought to negotiate western cultural influence, as evidenced by a few art nouveau buildings peeping through Kyiv’s cityscape.  The buildings, which date to the Czarist period, attest to […]

Traditional Russian and Ukrainian Life


Despite the recent military conflict between Kyiv and Kremlin-backed separatists in the Donbas region, there are certain striking similarities between Russia and Ukraine.  Take, for example, traditional rural life.  In the Russian city of Novgorod, visitors may see a recreation of a traditional rural town. To the outside observer, Pyrohovo […]