16 February 2012

Driving in Kyiv

Those of us who are 'visitors' (aka foreign residents in Ukraine) and are brave enough to drive a car on the streets of Kyiv, know all too well the risks we endure each day.

Monday 13 February 2012 - Even in the severe winter weather with snow falling in the evening I witness people trying to avoid the biggest problem of all......The DAI. (Department of Automobile Inspection). I cannot think of any other country in the world where a Traffic Policeman, standing at the side of the road in thick snow, will stop a passing vehicle to perform a 'document check'.
But as we all know they are all trying to supplement their meager salaries by encouraging drivers to 'help them'.
However, driving INTO Kyiv city centre on Monday night I was surprised to find how easy it was. The streets were so free of traffic, for a few moments I began to think that some VIP was in town and the streets were cleared to allow them free passage, as is the norm here. But I genuinely think it was down to the traffic cops/local cops doing a good job by controlling the traffic flow. However.......if you were trying to drive OUT of Kyiv you would have been waiting in almost gridlocked traffic for many hours.

Tuesday 14 February 2012 - Rush hour(s) traffic in Kyiv on this day must have been the worst for many years. I doubt it was due to all those men rushing around buying flowers and gifts on Valentines Day. Admittedly more snow had fallen that day which added to the bad road conditions. But I think most of the people driving in or out of Kyiv will agree it was a nightmare on the roads. But even in these bad conditions and very slow moving (if at all) traffic, our friends from the DAI were as vigilante as ever trying to spot any motorist who dared to commit the smallest offence, so they could stop the driver and demand a 'reward fee'.

I must declare that I rarely get stopped by these DAI 'highwaymen' and on the odd occasion that I do get stopped I politely inform them that I do not pay money, even if I had committed a so called driving offence. After realising that they are talking with a foreigner, they give up quickly and allow me to proceed so they can get their eyes back on the road to search for the next 'customer'.

Parking - There are no public carparks in Kyiv city centre unless you include the underground car park at Arena City which tends to be full most of the time. Megamarket supermarket car park is probably the nearest but a long walk from the city centre. So.....where do you park a car in Kyiv? Well just about anywhere you like really. The pavement is a favourite place at any time of year. Apart from main street Kreshatyk it is possible to park just about anywhere on the road or pavement. (But even in Kreshatyk you can park on the walk ways). Car park attendants are ever present but they do a good job in actually HELPING YOU to find a place to park so they can accept a small parking fee from you. Lets be clear there are no traffic wardens in Kyiv. There is no one sneeking about looking to see if you have over stayed your parking meter like in London or if you have parked 2 inches inside a yellow line so they can order your car to be clamped and later towed away. Oh no...this is Kyiv, the standard of driving amongst Ukrainians may add to the challenge of driving here but you have the freedom to park where you like without the fear of being hunted down by a traffic warden. I know they tried to introduce clamping in Kyiv not so long ago but it proved to be a negative experience for all concerned so it appears to have died away already.

11 February 2012

EU and Ukraine - Whats the point?

This week the British Ambassador in Ukraine - Mr Leigh Turner, wrote on his blog about the process of the EU and Ukraine signing an Association Agreement. He described the process clearly for all to understand. (See link below)

From my point of view, it appears obvious that Ukraine is a very very long way away from signing any agreement with the European Union. It's obvious there would be many EU member states who would openly refuse to accept any agreement with Ukraine. Particularly as Ukraine is seen to be sending former members of government to prison.

Moreover, the EU Office in Ukraine has signaled that it will stop funding programmes in Ukraine.

Makes you think....I wonder how many EU citizens are aware that the EU is using funds to 'help Ukraine'. Millions of Euros have been spent on a range of 'EU Programmes' in Ukraine. Most of which appear to be a waste of time and money.

Perhaps the only useful thing the EU has done is to help Ukraine strengthen its borders with the EU with regards to new and improved equipment and systems designed to help prevent illegal immigrants entering the EU via Ukraine.

Maybe the biggest waste of EU money has been the millions of Euros spent trying to improve the 'Rule of Law' in Ukraine.


08 February 2012

Training for Consultants in Ukraine

The British Business Club in Ukraine has launched the very first training course for 'Consultants' in Ukraine. There are many people who call themselves consultants but maybe do not understand what being a consultant really involves. So, we designed this special course in line with the requirements of the British Institute of Consulting.

Plus we also discounted the course fee to allow as many as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.

Further details about the course are available as a PDF download here

05 February 2012



Monday 6 February 2012

Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, celebrates 60 years as Monarch.
The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms.

The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was born in 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25, and has reigned through more than five decades of enormous social change and development. The Queen is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and has four children and eight grandchildren.

Various celebrations will take place across the United Kingdom during 2012 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of HRM The Queen.
The British Club in Ukraine will celebrate with other British citizens on Monday 6th February 2012 at 1930 at O'Briens Bar in central Kyiv. All members and guests are welcome to join us in toasting the Queen on this great occasion.

03 February 2012

Top 50 British Loves

These are a few of our favourite things

The tasty bacon butty is what we love most about Britain, a survey revealed today.
A humble bacon sandwich topped the poll of the 50 things we most adore about the nation, with a traditional roast dinner taking second place.
Nothing washes down a meal better than a lovely cup of tea - which came in at number three in the survey of 60,000 Brits.

From a Daily Mail survey:

1. Bacon sandwiches
2. Roast dinners
3. Cup of tea
4. British history
5. BBC
6. Big Ben
7. Buckingham Palace
8. Countryside
9. Fish & Chips
10. Yorkshire Pudding

See the full Top 50 List here in the article:

The Big Freeze

It's certainly cold here in Ukraine today. Currently -22 Degrees. The car started OK this morning but after a few hours I had to leave it in the city centre as it just refused to keep going in this cold weather. Lets see what happens tomorrow.

Across Ukraine we hear about the deaths of over 100 people and the count will probably rise within the next few days.

In Britain the weather is set to become colder around -10 degrees this weekend. No doubt the country will come to a complete stop and people will stay home as most public transport will fail to operate. In Ukraine we would be very happy if the weather was ONLY as cold as -10. ))))))).

However, if the bitter cold continues in Ukraine and gets worse, then it will be a sign to book a flight to a warmer climate. Hello Sri lanka.