Capital at War: Kiev’s Deceptive Spring

Ein sunny morning in front of Chernobylska 9a in Kyiv. The warm rays that shimmer through the fresh green of the trees envelop the well-kept green areas in a friendly light. The red and white barrier tape is still fluttering in the spring air around the earthy crater in front of the block of flats. Then the hum of a drill mixes with the chirping of the birds.

Oleh Surow is back in his small shop in the annex building for the first day. In fact, everything the neighborhood needs is here. Sausage, some pastries or sweets for the little ones, but now the shelves are sparsely stocked. The impact in front of number 9a, less than 30 meters from Surov’s shop, shattered the windows and threw the displays through the shop. In the weeks that followed, nobody was here, most of the customers had fled to safety from Kyiv anyway. “But it’s time to move on,” says Surov and, with his strong hands, tightens the next screw with which he fixes a chipboard in the empty window frame. “The economy has to get going again, I have to pay taxes and do something for the state,” he says, letting a smile cross his grumpy face. “Spring is here, people want to go back,” interjects Ludmilla, his cashier.

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