Posts Tagged ‘renovation’


August 1, 2016

DSC05959Midsummer. Sweltering temperatures. Screeching of the jigsaw… banging… thumping … drilling all over my apartment (and, I think, all over the apartment house too). The English word ‘renovation’ doesn’t go here. It’s only the Ukrainian word REMONT that is the epitome of the eternal process that has been going on in the lives of individuals and the country as a whole for months, for years, for centuries… Remember Tsar Alexander II and his (mock) reform of 1861… Or Tsar Lenin’s bloody renovation of 1917, or (not-the-real-Tsar) Gorbachev’s “perestroika” of the 1990s… All of those undertakings (as well as many more smaller ones) were a chain of noisy ‘remonts’ – with banging, screaming, shooting, weeping… And with the unchangeable promise ‘SKORO BUDET’ (‘It’s coming soon!’)

From time to time, the cacophony of sounds in my apartment stops for a few days. Then I reach for the phone and ask the head of the Home Renovation Company what’s the matter. He answers: “The guys were paid yesterday. Today they may be having a drinking bout. SKORO BUDUT (‘They are coming soon‘).”


November 7, 2011

That’s how Andriyivskyi Uzviz (St.Andrew’s Descent) looks like today. Ruts, noise of the machinery, dust… Before it was one of the most visited landmarks of the Ukrainian capital. Now tourists will hardly venture a few meters down the slope. The street which for more than a thousand years has been connecting the Lower Part (Podil) of Kyiv with its Upper City is under reconstruction. All that wouldn’t be so bad (it wouldn’t be bad at all) if the matter of reconstruction were not in the hands of those who think that Anton Chekhov is a Ukrainian poet, who spell their own (dubiously awarded) scholarly title “professor” with double “f”and one “s”, who cluttered up the central square (Maidan) with all sorts of tasteless statues and monuments, who turned Taras Shevchenko Museum in Kaniv (the burial place of the national poet) into a museum of modernistic art, who closed down the best book-shop “Siayvo”in the center of Kyiv, who moved the Museum of Kyiv History to the outskirts of the city, etc, etc. Kyivans remain skeptical and fear defacement of St.Andrew’s Descent seeing what has happened to St.Sophia’s environs when a five-star hotel and a few office buildings were erected next to the walls of the most ancient UNESCO heritage in Ukraine. An elite apartment house Fresco Sofia is being built at the moment there too. The construction is guarded by the police. As we see they are rather high-positioned officers, those policemen: the one in the picture is in the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Incidentally, St.Andrew’s Descent isn’t only renovated: four new buildings will be built in the area. One of the buildings will house a real estate company controlled by the richest oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. I think it’s the true explanation of the upgrade itch.

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