Friday, February 08, 2013

Ghosts of Ukraine

Building 22 on Shovkovychna on the corner of Philip Orlik Street

Ukraine is a state of civil war with itself. Here unseen partisans fight for control of the street. Ghosts vie for the hearts of men. The past argues with itself to the frustration of the present and for the amusement of the future.  
Soldiers of Free Ukraine

Here on this street, you can still hear the bullets of the Bolshevik Kievan uprising of 1918 whizz by as the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen supported by the Free Cossacks face the Red Guards of Left Bank Ukraine.  The Lipki suburb hosted violent clashes with free Ukrainians and Soviet Ukrainians after the toppling of the Czar. 

As usual foreigners blocked the Ukrainian quest for independence.  Wars with Poland and the Soviet Union plague Ukrainian dreams of peace and freedom.

Red Guards

Ukraine's history after the Revolution reads like the book of the Apocalypse.   The horses of Conquest, War, Pestilence and Famine savaged the countryside killing 1.5 million Ukrainians. After a period of revitalization, Stalin came to power and he proved a merciless taskmaster. 

You won't see any carcasses of the starving dead on this 1932 street.  Even if you did Stalin's watchful eyes will not let you scrape the corpses up but rather let the dead bury the dead.   This is an NKVD street.  This is where they made their home.  Their kids went to the school across the street.


They made movies about their exploits.  

They even made statues to their achievements.
Named Frederich Engels Street, it still serve's the nation's elite.

This house sat on the estate that was the old Klovsky castle or the Kievan Royal Residence for the visiting Tsar.

Built in the Renaissance Style, this 1908 structure stands in silent homage to the world and order that presided before the Revolution. In former days a mansion to a wealthy family, building 4 is home to the new aristocracy - government offices that serve the state.

The Josper Bar, calling itself a meat bar, the fine dining restaurant caters to well heeled government bureaucrats in the Justice Departments. It sits in building 6, a post-Revolutionary extension (1932) of a pre-Revoltionary structure building Number 4 (1908).  

Germans seized the city in 1941.  General Timoshenko and political commissar Krushchev abandoned 600,000 Soviet soldiers to the Nazis.  On the day of their surrender  September 1, 1941, 2 years after the invasion of Poland, Hitler established his Reichskommissariat.  

The Germans held the city for two years before the Soviets would return.  After the second battle of Kiev, the Soviets exacted their revenge on Ukrainians who they deemed disloyal whose only crime was enduring  Nazi abuse.

There are a lot of ghosts in Ukraine.

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