• Livia Radu Featured
    Galați,  Romania

    The Challenges Facing Romania

    The Place: Galați, Romania “Galați struck me as a city built for functionality and practicality… It’s unpolished and unapologetic, and isn’t there to cater to the needs of tourists. It’s atmosphere was neither welcoming nor hostile, carving out a middle-ground where life simply goes on, and where a vein of the Romania’s economy and industry carries lifeblood to the rest of the country. “ Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own. The Person: Livia Radu, 29, Former Coffee-shop Owner “I moved here when I came to college to study economics… I didn’t finish my course, because I stopped to…

  • Olga Kulaksız Featured
    Comrat (Gagauzia),  Moldova

    What does it mean to be Gagauz?

    The Place: Comrat (Gagauzia), Moldova “Rising above a sea of the grey architecture that was a hallmark of the USSR, an island of vibrance in the form of a bright-yellow orthodox church topped with gold domes scattered the rays of sunlight spilling from the horizon…” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own. The Person: Olga Kulaksız, 57, Culture Centre Director “There is a Gagauz cultural centre in the Odessa region in Ukraine, and I am the director of that centre. It’s not academic research or anything. I am the director, but there aren’t many people that work there, so…

  • Anya Golomoz Featured
    Tiraspol,  Transnistria

    What’s it like to live in Transnistria?

    The Place: Tiraspol, Transnistria “…so far I’d experienced the essence of the Soviet Union as a memory; an anecdote told by a local here, or a monument or preserved building there… what struck me most was not the… atmosphere itself, but the meaning behind it. In Transnistria, it represents the here and now… Roses lie scattered, adorning the bases of statues of Lenin, standing proudly outside government buildings… the “Supreme Council”, and… “House of Soviets”. These aren’t memories, they’re hospitals and shops, parliaments and police stations, and monuments to the country’s heroes.” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own.…

  • Alexander Mirgorodski
    Chișinău,  Moldova

    Pros & Cons of the Soviet Union

    The Place: Chișinău, Moldova “Silhouettes of featureless, concrete tower blocks split orange rays of the setting sun, barks echoed, feral animals scampered across potholed streets, and I descended my final hill into Moldova’s capital city… I allowed gravity to take control as I glided between haphazardly parked cars, and standstill traffic. I picked up speed with a lump in my throat; less than 15 minutes earlier, I’d watched a distracted driver careen into a stray dog I’d befriended for several kilometres, and I still felt my arms tremble a little as I attempted to maintain my composure.” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views…

  • Marina Skaletskaya Featured
    Bălți,  Moldova

    Inequality & Youth Culture in Moldova

    The Place: Bălți, Moldova “…shadows gradually emerged from the white, and Moldova’s peculiarities began to reveal themselves; indistinguishable at first, but gradually they began to take shape… the clip-clopping of a horse and cart carrying farming supplies, audible long before it was visible, which seemed to materialise from thin air. I was in a bubble, extending 100 metres from me in every direction, obscuring everything outside it from view. “ Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own. The Person: Marina Skaletskaya, 16, High-School Student “I was a volunteer for one-and-a-half years at a small youth centre in our…

  • Pavlo
    Chernivtsi

    Childhood in Soviet Ukraine

    The Place: Chernivtsi “Sunlight bounced off a mosaic of coloured tiles, visible only where snow had cascaded in an avalanche from the roof into the garden below. I was looking at the snow-dusted and grandiose UNESCO world heritage site, Chernivtsi University. Students strolled in and out of the main gate, seemingly oblivious to the breathraking beauty of what towered above them.” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own. The Person: Pavlo Kolyadinsky, 36, Tour Agency Director “I was a PhD student in the geographical department. I finished that several years ago. It was to do with architecture and urban…

  • Ivano-Frankivsk,  Ukraine

    Escaping the war in Eastern Ukraine

    The Place: Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine “The snow brought respite to my eardrums, muffling the noise and allowing a stillness to take hold of the city. Voices echoed across parks, crows cawed while they circled above, and wind swayed creaking branches as artificial sounds, for once, receded into the backdrop… the capital of the Carpathian region balanced the tranquility of a town with the vibrance and character of a city, giving me time to catch my breath and for my senses to recover after my last two stops in Ukraine.” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own. The Person: Yulia Ostrohliad, 36,…

  • Oleksandr Rozhok
    Lviv,  Ukraine

    The 2014 Revolution & Christmas

    The Place: Lviv, Ukraine (Again) NOTE: When I first visited Lviv, I fell in love with it. So much so that I spent more than two weeks overstaying my welcome with a local couple and a cat called Wusek. Since I stopped for so long, I decided to find two interviewees in the city which, aside from being mighty convenient for me since I’ve already written about Lviv for a previous interview here and so won’t bore you with a repeated description, also gives a slightly broader view of life according to locals in this part of Ukraine. Enjoy! Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that…

  • Kiev,  Ukraine

    Witnessing the Ukrainian Revolution

    The Place: Kiev, Ukraine “Though now a capitalist society, Kiev’s bedrock of communism is far more obvious than anywhere else I’d visited… Rather than remnants of an archaic communist world peeking through the veneer of a more modern, capitalist culture, it seemed to be the other way round. Though advertisements, billboards and the glass and steel of the city’s business sector reflect what Kiev, and the rest of Ukraine, has now become since the fall of the USSR, they seemed like patches haphazardly stitched onto the old coat of the soviet world.” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own.…

  • Lviv,  Ukraine

    Speaking Russian in Lviv, Ukraine

    The Place: Lviv, Ukraine “…the atmosphere in Lviv stood in stark contrast to the silence that befell my last stop in Poland once snow dusted the cityscape. Women emerged from their homes dressed to the nines in fur coats, men added a foot to their height in the form of soviet-era ‘cossack hats’ that inexplicably left their ears exposed, and street-sellers continued to go about their business with a few extra layers than normal in a city that wasn’t about to let ‘a little cold’ ruin it’s day.” Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own. *In this interview, you…