Destinations Magazine

In the Fold

By Stizzard
In the fold

AFTER Viktor Yanukovych, who was then president, fled Ukraine in February 2014, Russian flags began appearing around the Lenin statue in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Pro-Russian activists clashed with supporters of the Maidan revolution, and some spoke of a “Kharkiv People’s Republic”. But while separatism caught fire in Donetsk and Luhansk, it faltered in Kharkiv. Ukrainian nationalists felled the Lenin statue last autumn, leaving only a shoe. Sergei Yangolenko, commander of the Kharkiv-1 national-guard battalion, says the days when the city might have joined the rebels are over. He keeps Lenin’s giant ear in his office as a trophy.

Nonetheless, Kharkiv, just 40km (25 miles) from the Russian border, remains tense. Dozens of bombings in recent months have unsettled the city. Ukrainian authorities say the attacks are part of a Russian terror campaign. The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic has threatened to come for Kharkiv, where, he says, supporters “are waiting for us”. The governor, Ihor Rainin, says he spends three-quarters of his time on security issues.

In late February a blast at a parade…

The Economist: Europe

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