Writing about Ukraine

As most visitors to this site will know, I have written a fair amount since arriving in Kiev. You can find some of my writing in the form of speeches on the Toastmasters site.

I posted writing on my first impressions on my web site, through the links below.  I later started a couple of Live Journal blogs, one specifically on Ukraine and another to more generally capture observations on life.  

The customs story (concluded, but without much apology, in April of 2009, after 5 months of adventure in corruption, corporate apathy and ineptitude). I had United Van Lines send some household goods over here when I closed up my apartment in the United States. Not much: 500 pounds of old clothes, bicycle, books, and the like. If I had been able to bring it in suitcases it would have cost no money either for customs or for shipment.  But I could not, and I opened myself up to what is purportedly one of the most corrupt bureaucracies in all Ukraine.

The Hungarian bank story is a story about a 90 day certificate of deposit I opened in August of 2008.  One's fondest hope for a certificate of deposit is that it is an extraordinarily boring and routine transaction. That turned out to be anything but the case.


The Confidence Man. Religious belief runs strong in Ukraine, a fact which attracts hustlers on both sides. There are hustles in the name of religion, and hustlers who prey on your Christian charity.

The door code story. Reflections on how hard it is to know what is going on in a formerly closed society, and how independent the perception of crime is from the real danger.

The roof.  As a team of workmen come to fix the roof, I learn about how the way my building was constructed reflects on Soviet society.

Ukrainian Landlords.  My former landlady in Kiev, Tetyana Klinchenko, proved the point that you never know a woman until you get a divorce.  She not only stole our deposit, but she compounded the crime with egregious insults to salve her own conscience. My previous landlord was likewise a flawed soul, not evil so much as overwhelmed by life. 

A yacht trip on the Dnieper.  One gorgeous summer day in 2008 I went on a singles cruise and picnic on the Dnieper.   Had fun, and appreciated a refreshing directness.


Related articles from the Kyiv Post

The Kyiv Post is the leading English-language newspaper in Ukraine. They have been quite brave in exposing corruption and counterproductive laws and practices.  I offer the following links to Kyiv Post articles that are closely related to the themes that I write about.

The first is about the scams. I was warned when I first got here about the dropped wallet scam. People have tried it on me four times. I just walk away -- the Australian guy who wrote this letter to the editor is a braver soul. He wanted to see what happened.


Foreigners in Kiev make a point of leaving the country every six months for passport purposes. I accepted it as received wisdom -- something you do. Here is the story of somebody who decided to find out what is involved getting approved by the OVIR if you do not.