Ukr3 – Introduction to Luhansk

Fifteen hours spent on journey to Luhansk was really enough time to think of various scenarios how it may look like over there. Everything. Back in Poland, at the beginning I had no doubts. Just, country like every other one. But then, when I told my dad where I’m going he wasn’t so eager to share my enthusiazm.

<Where? This is a wild country, my child!> he said.

<Dad… This is a normal country.> I told him.

<Normal? Nothing that lies on the right side on Bug is normal! This is the country of Putin and Lukashenka!>

<…>

Well, there’s not really a lot you could say after that, is it?

Then he read in “Rzeczpospolita” (Polish daily newspaper) that there is absolutely no atms in Ukraine, so I should take there all money in cash. I managed to convince him that it’s impossible (which I consider my personal success, as Rzeczpospolita for him is more than a bible for my mother).

Later there’re all series of questions from various people if I don’t find it scary to go there on my own and why and so after a while I started to feel a little anxious. Well if so many people suggested it maybe I should? Still I’d admitt it only to myslelf and some selected friends. I kept on thinking that these were all stereotypes and I shouldn’t really take it seriously. I started to think about it seriosuly after a meeting with Olessa and Roma though, as they seemed even more frightened by the city I had chosen to live in.

All in all, it wasn’t that bad. Even though I expected more modern city, something more like Gdynia (they’ve similar population), I wasn’t that much surprised. I bet we still can find similar old cities in Poland, maybe just smaller and not of that important position, as the capital of district. Luhansk is a highly industrial center, with a strong emphasis on the coal mining business. The city lies about 30 km far from the Russia’s border and Russian influences can be easilly spotted. The biggest prove is that actually nobody speaks Ukrainian here; Russian seems to be the language of everyday life, education, business and culture. The city for sure remembers better times – not so deep in the past, when it was a part of Soviet Union and its production plan. What is left now is the small city centre, being a cultural and economic heart of town, beautiful church and majestic train station, with everything else that can be counted just as the rest.

I forgot to mention that there’s one McDonald’s (which was the source of my internet for a long time), a cinema, an entertainment centre, a university and some other institutes of higher education, a theatre, hospitals etc. It’s the capital of the district after all. But still, there’s no big shopping mall,  no post cards to send to friends and no tourists. If people are born here, they live here; not a lot of others find it interesting enough to stop by when passing by. One the good side, at least life isn’t that expensive here. When compared to other cities in Ukraine, prices of food and general costs of living are lower and quite stable.

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~ by jumikao on August 29, 2011.

2 Responses to “Ukr3 – Introduction to Luhansk”

  1. Lugansk now does thru a not easy period of its life. The indusrial crisis of hurt us very much . Despite of it “Rzeczpospolita” seems to be not so right. Atms are everywhere in Lugansk)) I just don’t understand about no big shopping malls. How big?

    • Yeah I know : ) That’s what I told him, haha. By a big shopping mall I mean a shopping centre or gallery – like Galeria Baltycka in Gdansk or I saw one in Donieck as well, but I don’t know its name.

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