Monday, May 5, 2008

Where’s Ukraine?

It is a little bit difficult to choose a topic to start a blog with – it’s like to design a visit card or write a cover letter for all the people who will visit this page. Let me tell a couple of words concerning the reasons why I’ve decided to start this blog and why I’m writing in English (and not in Ukrainian or Russian).
Ten years ago I was participating in student conference in Hague (Holland). On the closure reception I met one nice guy who caused a real cultural shock in my mind. When I told him that I live in Ukraine, he added with sincere sympathy: “It should be very long and difficult trip to Holland from Africa!” I was sure he was joking, but he was not. That educated man who was working in the city hall of Hague just didn’t know that there is such a European country as Ukraine. He was thinking that Ukraine is somewhere in Africa. I decided not to tell him that he is wrong.
So, ten years ago Ukraine was not very popular country in Europe. Now the situation has changed. But (as I can estimate) most people in Europe associate Ukraine only with a couple of words: Shevchenko (football player), Orange Revolution and maybe gas quarrels with Moscow. But here in Ukraine we’ve got a lot of extra interesting things. For example, heritage of genius poet and painter Taras Shevchenko, and a long-lasting political crisis.
In my blog I’m going to write about Ukraine in contemporary Europe and the world. I will use English language to reach a wider audience and to understand, what is the place of Ukraine in minds of Europeans (and not only Europeans)?

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