May 25, 2012

Letter from: Kharkiv, where Ukraine’s EU bid comes to die

For the Soviet-era strongmen of the post-Soviet sphere, politics remains a zero-sum game, writes Matthew Clayfield, a freelance correspondent in Ukraine.

One descends the steps of Kharkiv’s train station to a Soviet-era square with post-Soviet pretensions. Ukraine’s azure-and-yellow is teaming with Poland’s red-and-white next month, in what was originally seen as a boon to the former’s EU prospects, to co-host the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship. A floral arrangement in the centre of the square depicts a ball flying through the air with a trail of flowers streaming out behind it. Svelte mannequins in flag-coloured tracksuits adorn the windows of sportswear shops along Sumska and Pushkinskaya streets.


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