These days there are lots of Santa Clauses in Maidan – the central square of Kyiv. At each moment their number is no less than a hundred. They hug children who come to Maidan with their parents and all together get photographed with “Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden.” All of a sudden, the all-powerful being who generally lives far in the North and travels to Ukraine once a year is materialized for the kids: they can touch Santa Claus, speak to him and tell him their most secret wishes.

The children’s communication with Santa Claus costs a pretty penny for the parents. That’s why a group of volunteers decided to dress as Santa Clauses and do the photo-sessions for free. As it turned out, that was an uphill job. A man in black told the volunteers to get away before “they “are dead.” A few other Santa Clauses dogged them all the time while the volunteers were in Maidan, uttered profanities  (in the presence of children and their parents) and kept threatening them. Those who weren’t influenced by financial gains were told to pay to the protection racket if they wanted to work in Maidan as Santa Clauses.

The children keep dreaming about Grandfather Frost. Here he is coming: in a sleigh across the night sky, to the melody of “Jingle Bells…..and with materialized wishes in his bag. The children touch him. From now on they will be saying that they know what is happiness…

…The adults know better.


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