A New Government, New City Attractions
by Paul Miazga
Now if only the promise lives up to the hype for the new “Orange” government.
Politicos and pundits alike naturally took with a grain of salt yesterday’s announcement that two of the old Orange Revolution allies – the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) and Our Ukraine (OU) have agreed to form a government. Just over two years ago, President Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko’s government and sowed the seeds for the triumphant and yet ill-fated return by Party of Regions head Viktor Yanukovych. The country remains divided to an extent, but whether that is a true reflection of popular sentiment or just a stinging barb left from the fractious 2004 presidential vote, time will tell.
In the meantime, there are some major issues that need to be addressed, such as corruption at all levels of government, managing the country’s burgeoning economic development and moving the country towards the West while maintaining relations with Russia and other regional neighbors. The recent land grab in Kyiv orchestrated by Mayor Leonid Chernovetskiy and members of his eponymous party and those of OU in the Kyiv City Administration seriously need to be dealt with (in case you hadn’t heard, about $10bn worth of land in the city was given away for less than a tenth of that figure in one single council session last week, meaning a lot of people are on the take), but first and foremost is to get rid of this ridiculous notion of immunity from prosecution for parliamentarians. If President Yushchenko wants to stand behind his promise of one law for all, that must be the first change made, end of story.
We here at Go2Kiev sincerely hope the president and the new government actually follow the wishes of the people and vote to abandon this spurious privilege.
Football, Fine Art and Flour
I’ve rounded up a few worth considerations for Kyiv residents over the coming weeks. First is Dynamo Kyiv, who play host to Machester United’s Red Devils (Christian Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney et al) on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Olympic Stadium in a Champions League Group Stage tie-up. As you can imagine, tickets (Hr 100 and up) are going fast, so head down there and get yourself a pair. Man U are the biggest club team to play in Kyiv since Real Madrid featuring Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham came to town just a little over one year ago (Ronaldo, recall, scored twice in the last five minutes to salvage a tie for the visitors).
Next up is Zolotoy Lilia, the human performance spectacle hosted by Ukraine’s 1996 Olympic all-around gymnastics champion Lilia Podkopayeva, which will go Oct. 27 at the Sports Palace. Podkopayeva, who is also the current UNDP Ukraine HIV/AIDS goodwill ambassador, has since 2002 put together the show, which features a range of performers, gymnasts and acrobats young and old – some even from the world-famous Cirque du Soleil. It’s an amazing spectacle and is suitable for audiences of all ages. Tickets are available now at the Sports Palace box office.
The PinchukArtCentre has unveiled its new “Reflections” exhibit of art from Ukrainians and artists from around the world. The exhibition, which has seen long lineups outside the gallery since its opening Oct. 6, features local artists Oleksandr Roitburd, Ilya Chichkan, the late Oleg Golosiy and others, as well as welcome additions by Murakami, Richard Phillips, Gabriel Orozco and others. Other noteworthy exhibits currently at Ukraine’s only true modern art gallery include “Ukraine Poem – a poem about an inland sea”, which includes works from local and international artists and will show until Nov. 21. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 9pm (closed Mondays).
Finally, if looking for a new place to dine out, check out one of the newest restaurants in the downtown, Muka (“Flour”). Opened by a long-established ex-pat project developer (through the arch and on the right at at 46 Khreshchatyk – you can’t miss the red neon sign above the arch), Muka offers freshly prepared Italian and European dishes at remarkably low prices for the city center. This quiet, very intimate restaurant brings good service and even better food to the table. My fiancée and I have checked it out a number of times and already enjoy their French pizza-like tarts (with anchovies and rucola or salami and parmesan), ravioli with cheese and spinach filling as well as their fish and veal dishes. A range of nice wines and beers are affordably priced, making it a great place to stop even if just for drinks and a small snack after work. Food orders can take a while, especially if the place is busy, but they’re worth waiting for.
“Colorful Japanese artist Haruki Murakami forms just part of the new “Reflections” exhibit on now at the PinchukArtCentre.” (www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)