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For more on Ukraine, see Alon Raab's dispatch—"5,624 miles, 7 goals, 2 Portlands and 1 mole"—from the U.S. women's international friendly against Ukraine on 10 July 2005.KIEV, UKRAINE, 26 DECEMBER 2004
One realizes that more is being contested in this
one of my friends thinks
that if we switch to the roman alphabet
our people will steal less
our messy byzantinisms
our obnoxious sovietisms our endless ugro-finnisms
(sorry ugrics, sorry finns)
will disappear and something will snap in our heads
—and "voila!" we are part of europe
The lads from Shakhtar Donetsk accept some huzzahs: "And for you, Shakhtar, the medal of my love / Will always shine on [the] pitch where you are" (full anthem available here). (AP)
Complicating issues is that only a minority of players for Donetsk and for rivals Dynamo Kiev are Ukrainian (5 of 24 on Donetsk, and 12 of 25 for Kiev)—and most of these are not regulars. In fact, as Franklin Foer writes in his recent book, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, Ukraine has been especially adept at trolling the world market for footballers, showing fondness for Nigerians—with mixed results (see chap. 6, "How Soccer Explains the Black Carpathians," 141–66). Foer profiles Edward Anyamkyegh of Karpaty Lviv; Julius Aghahowa, also from Nigeria, plays striker for Shakhtar. Neither seems at home. Says journalist Oleg Racz about Aghahowa:
Both Shakhtar (Hryhoriy Surkis) and Kiev (Rinat Akhmetov) are owned by
[Donetsk] is not Kiev or Lviv, which are pretty cosmopolitan now, but a town with coal mine slag heaps and Soviet urban sprawl everywhere. When he first came he couldn't speak the language, couldn't settle. . . .
Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kiev, at 4:44 p.m. local time on election day, 26 December. (1+1)
Dynamo Kyiv, 1942.
Tragically, the Dynamo players who did survive the war were treated as pariahs for having played against and allegedly cooperated with the German occupiers. Some, however—certainly the Jewish goalkeeper, Abram Gorinstein—were killed at Babi Yar, among some 45,000 murdered at the ravine outside Kiev. And Ukrainians as a whole bore the brunt of losses in the European conflict, suffering between 12 million and 15 million fatalities. As historian Vladimir Mayevsky remarks in the DVD collection History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game, "People died, and let the land be soft for them."
Other sources: For regular updates
on the Ukrainian elections, see the English-language Kyiv
Links to Web logs about Ukraine are available at The Guardian website (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/archives/world_news/
2004/11/watch_the_world_watching_ukraine.html). For more on the mighty Dynamo Kiev, see the feature at the Football Culture website (http://www.footballculture.net/teams/ground_kiev.html).