With Orthodox nativity celebrations upon us, we wonder if Ukrainian traditions of religious iconography and football offer creative ideas for recovering lost history and making one nation.
Some 30,000 Ukrainians descended on Moscow in Aug 1969 and sang folk songs in the heart of the Soviet empire. FC Karpaty supporters celebrated the regional second-division club’s surprising place in Soviet soccer history.
Even women’s football in Ukraine has shown effects of globalization, with players from South Africa, Spain, Mexico and Australia joining one club in 2008.
Football universes exist in parallel. Such was the case in May 08 when Ukraine United and Shakhtar played a friendly, not in the motherland, but on an artificial pitch at Ontario Soccer Centre.
Twenty-two years ago, more than 1,000 buses commandeered from Kyiv rumbled north toward the company town of Pripyat to evacuate its 50,000 residents. By sunset on 27 Apr 1986, as Chernobyl reactor no. 4 burned, in one soldier’s recollection, like a “beautiful blue fire,” the town was empty.
Left behind in the silence: a newly built football stadium sitting just to the north of a bright yellow Ferris wheel, a gift from Soviet authorities in commemoration of the upcoming May Day holiday.
We have covered the revival of the Ukrainian championship—back after winter break—and the weekend’s top fixture, second-place Dnipro Dnipropetrovs’k (43 points) hosting fourth-place Dynamo Kyiv (39). (Mar 2)
Within the textured, contested, sad depths of Ukrainian history, few political gestures go unexegeted in a Talmudic-like zeal for obscure associations and hidden meaning. Such occurred following prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko‘s Dec 23 visit to perennially troubled Zasyadko mine in eastern Donetsk, where 101 coal miners died in a Nov 18 explosion. Her comments stirred memories of past mining disasters and of the wheelchairs that regularly circled the Shakhtar Donetsk football ground (see also 26 Dec 04.) (Dec 28)
Portland, Oregon | U.S. Soccer Federation officials in 2005 improvised to fill out a slate of impromptu summer friendlies. One of those was a game against Ukraine, assisted on its visit by a West Coast–based expatriate known as “the mole.”