Kyiv is booming. A youth-driven cultural renaissance is taking hold after the EuroMaidan democratic revolution of 2013-14. Murals on the sides of apartment buildings, street art, music, online content of every description — you name it, and it’s happening in Ukraine. I came across this installation, called The Director, in Mariyinsky Park. Behind me is Mariyinsky Palace, undergoing substantial renovations. Behind that is the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, where a renaissance of another kind is going on: the rebirth of the nation through anti-corruption reform, lustration, decommunization, and waging war against invaders from Russia in southern and south-eastern Ukraine.
Andriyivsky Uzviz is the steep, winding, cobblestoned road between Podil, the lower town, and the upper town of Kyiv. I have been up and down this street many times, from 1992 to now. It has changed from a grim, Soviet, boarded-up thoroughfare to what it was always meant to be: a touristy, artistic, Bohemian mecca. In the context of the twenty-teens we’re living in now, that means it’s teeming with hipsters. This is me hamming it up with a statue of Mikhail Bulgakov, a famous Kyiv writer and the author of The Master and Margarita.