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Photo: Christian Diemer
 
Just half a year ago, buildings were burning and over 80 people were shot dead on Kyiv's
Independence Square.

 

As part of an excursion organised by the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Christian Diemer travels to Kyiv and meets with various figures from Ukrainian civil society, all now trying to come to terms with a post-Euromaidan world.

A return to Kyiv

Vast, elegant, full of contrasts, an ocean of green and blue with golden domes in between – this is Kyiv, capital of Ukraine, home to nearly three million inhabitants. A futuristic mix of torn-down concrete barracks, crumbling stucco façades, mirroring glass towers, some with opulent pyramid or concave roofs or bridges between each other. Seventeen per cent of Ukraine's GDP is generated here, with city-centre rents no lower than in downtown Munich. Wide as an ocean, the river Dnipro divides the city. Standing on the riverside promenade, with the roar of Porsches and Ladas, Hummers and Kamaz behind, it is hard to believe that beyond the green, tree-covered island to which the metro is heading, there is yet another river branch to cross before one even reaches the other bank.

Published in Under Eastern Eyes
Thursday, 01 May 2014 00:00

Road trip to a new Europe

 caravan

 

It's a sublime and sleepy spring afternoon in Słubfurt, and Michael Kurzwelly is pontificating from a tree stump in the central square of the city he founded. "I am not German, French or Polish," he says, "but European. When you have lived in many cultures, you cannot stand to exist in only one."

Kurzwelly lives in a picturesque university town that conventional maps know as Frankfurt an der Oder. The river that marks the eastern edge of the city is also the limit of the German state: on opposite bank sits the Polish town Słubice. As a sworn transnationalist, Kurzwelly did not feel at home in either Frankish Frankfurt or Slavic Słubice. His own identity, he says, was '"the identity of being in between." And so he dreamed up a polis of his own: Słubfurt, "the first city located half in Poland and half in Germany."

Published in Contentious Europe
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