30 June 2012

Euro 2012 Football Championships in Ukraine draw to a close

Tomorrow will be the final game in the Euro 2012 Football Championships. Italy v Spain here in Kyiv.
I'm sure many people will agree that the whole tournament has been a great success. For many, the month of June has been like one big party. The centre of Kyiv city was converted into one big fan zone which was well attended for every match in the tournament including those played in Poland. Moreover, fans were happy that the price of beer was not too expensive at just UAH 25 per 500 mil.

Perhaps the biggest turnout of fans came from Sweden. They even had their own 'Swedish Corner' in the Kyiv fan zone. A sea of yellow shirts could be seen across Kyiv from the Swedish supporters.
England fans were not so many in numbers but they made up for it in the singing capacity. It was entertaining for local people to come and witness England supporters at first hand. I think the really interesting matches were between England v Sweden, England v Ukraine and England v Italy. (Well I would say that).

I'm sure that all first time visitors to Kyiv must be thinking that the city is a lively and interesting place.
Tonight (Saturday 30 June) we will see a major event in the fan zone with Sir Elton John and Queen performing live. I'm sure the closing ceremony and the final game on Sunday will see a massive turnout at the Kyiv Olympic stadium and on the streets of the city centre.

22 June 2012

Where did all those Police women come from?

Since the start of the Euro 2012 Football championships in Ukraine, I have witnessed something I have never seen before in Kyiv city. Police women on the streets. Police patrols can now been seen all over the city centre consisting of two male officers and a female. This is a first and must surely bring a smile to the face of local people. It is so obvious that this has never been done before. Those police 'girls', wearing their brand new uniforms look like they have just been recruited or have perhaps always been hidden away in some police office somewhere.

It's good that the Kyiv police are trying to put on a 'new face' for the many first time visitors to the city but I can't think that it just smacks of hypocrisy. We all know that the police here have a very bad reputation, are aggressive and corrupt and certainly never seen to raise a smile to anyone.

I'm sure these new found police women will be happy after 1 July when the Euro 2012 tournament comes to an end and they will all just disappear as quickly as they appeared on the streets in the first place.
Perhaps the police will be happy to get back to their normal way of operating in Ukraine.
Like so many things here in Ukraine it's a 'facade'. All front and nothing under the surface.
Sorry to sound so negative but the truth hurts sometimes.

07 June 2012

Euro 2012 Football Championships - Kicks Off

Friday 8 June 2012 sees the official kick off of Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland. Although the first games in Ukraine will not be until 9 June in Kharkiv and Lviv.
England have their first game in Donetsk against France on Monday 11 June.

During the past few weeks much has been written in the media about Ukraine. I'm sure the current 'leadership' in Ukraine did not expect to see so many 'negative' stories from other European media outlets. These stories have focused on racism, anti-gay movements, anti-semitism and of course the concerns expressed by many European and US politicians concerning the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her former ministers.  Plus one or two stories about homeless children in Kyiv. It's a taken for granted assumption that journalists will try to find something negative to write about Ukraine. This a is a normal practice in all free societies. If the government of Ukraine don't like it..tough.  I suggest they start accepting it. The British government have officially declared that they will not be attending.

There are many positive things to write about in Ukraine. Although it is part of Ukrainian culture to always leave EVERYTHING until the last minute, they have done well to prepare for Euro 2012. I have not visited the other cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv recently, so I cannot comment. But in Kyiv its good to see so many new roads. It's a good feeling to be able to drive around on roads which remind me of the roads in many Western European countries. Kyiv certainly needed to do this. The bad condition of roads all around Ukraine have been the subject of jokes for many years. (We have plenty of bad roads and fools driving on them...etc).

Many buildings have had a new coat of paint. Many first time visitors to Kyiv usually declare that ''The whole place looks like it needs a coat of paint''. Well its been done. The main airport Kyiv Borispil has a new terminal building and is also looking good. Flower beds have been created at many intersections using the Euro 2012 logo. Restaurants and cafes/bars have updated their menus into English language, but I suspect that prices have also been upgraded just for Euro 2012.

Kyiv city centre has been closed off to vehicle traffic and a huge 'Fan Zone' has been created complete with extra large video screens and an area for musical performances. One of the main sponsors of Euro 2012 - Carslberg, have created many 'Beer and Food Tents' along the main street Khreschatyk and the prices are reasonable. Beer at UAH 20 (EUR 2 or GBP 1.50)

Lets hope that the Euro 2012 Football championships are a great success for Ukraine.

01 June 2012

Euro 2012 - Transliteration v Translation

Nice to see that Kyiv city is making an effort by transliterating Cyrillic script into Latin script for Euro 2012.
e.g. Metro (underground) and some bus signs and street signs.
However, I wonder if anyone thought about the difference between Transliteration and Translation.
For example:

Майдан Незалежності

has been transliterated from the Cyrillic into Latin.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Now, I do not expect everything to be translated into English. Transliteration into the Latin alphabet is a start.

But, how many foreigners will ask the question: ’’Can you tell me the way to Maidan Nezalezhnosti ?

I’m sure they will ask for ’’ Independence Square’’.

Like wise,

On the buses, I notice they have ‘transliterated’

площa Льва Толстого into Ploscha L’va Tolstogo

Surely it will be easier for someone to ask: ’’Can you tell me the way to ’Lev Tolstoy Square’.


Get my point?