Gherkins and the Golden Boot – Ukraine 1 Wales 0

She nailed it. My pal Anya, 33, from Kyiv, first game ever, said after 85 minutes: “You guys need to practise scoring.”

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Chew, what a scorcher – Ukraine 1 Wales 1 (2001)

In  the middle of Kyiv, 50 yards away from the Khreshatyk tube station is a restaurant/pub whose name escapes me.

On the menu are listed the usual starters, main courses, desserts, wines and half a page devoted to . . . chewing gums.

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Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – February 2


Just been for a good look around the protest area.  It all seems to be kind of ‘bedding in’ like before – it’s just bigger now.

There are a lot of people staying in Ukraina House – from where they could be at Krushevskogo barricades in about a minute.

It’s all quite well-organised in there on a micro level – AutoMaidan Centre, medical centre, students centre, library, film centre, clothes donation area, food hall.  

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Back in the USSR! Soviet soccer at the Pele Museum


Lev Yashin and burning passion for Soviet links with Brazil feature strongly in the Pele Museum in Lugansk.

It has a host of fascinating Soviet football artefacts collected by its owner Nikolai Khudobin.

Lev Yashin, the most famous Russian footballer ever, is regarded as maybe the best goalkeeper who ever played.

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Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – January 24

FROM MY PAL IN KYIV (who is not the writer of the above tweet). The strong views of what he thinks will happen are his.

January 24, 11pm:

Pretty sure this weekend will decide it. People are flooding into Kyiv and more people in the city than ever are saying they will demonstrate, so there will be big/moderate turnout.

Many people are prepared for battle, there are large stocks of bulletproof vests, petrol bombs around conflict areas.

About 1,000 men must now win or face at least 15 year prison by new laws, but they believe the govt will kill them.

Continue reading Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – January 24

Kyiv – where are all the leaders?



The other night (to be specific, Sunday night) I was watching the real conflict start, as buses started going up in flames and there were constant explosions from stun grenades, fireworks, gas canisters and molotov cocktails.

The demonstrators have been very careful not to damage private property, and were trying to physically manhandle a parked car out of the way of one of their hastily-erected barricades.

In the middle of all this, the car owner appeared, got in the car, drove off down the street.  Given that a nearby car was overturned and on fire, it must have been his lucky day. 

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A turn for the worse – deaths in Kyiv


I am no longer in Kyiv where people are now dying amid the anti-government protests.

The pro-European protests in Ukraine are continuing, with central Kyiv still occupied by opposition supporters.

It’s all kicking off and violence seems to have escalated to a concerning level amid heightened tensions. This is a short update from a pal out there.

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Pele Museum, Lugansk – Музей Пеле


The Pele Museum in Lugansk is, frankly, utterly surreal.

Thousands of miles away from Brazil, near the Russian border, it’s a shrine to Nikolai Khubodin’s childhood infatuation with the greatest player ever.

Nikolai, who played for his home town team Zorya Lugansk, heard about him on the radio in 1965 when he was ten.

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Pele Museum, Lugansk – Музей Пеле


Yes there really IS a Pele Museum in Lugansk.

Lugansk is in Ukraine. Twenty miles from the Russian border,  it  is the easternmost major city in the country and has about 500,000 inhabitants. 

There is a Pele museum in Santos, where Pele played for the local team, which is about 7,000 miles away from Lugansk.  I hope to visit the Santos museum later this year. 

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Euromaidan’s art revolution

20131209-121752.jpg One of the most extraordinary features of the Euromaidan movement in Ukraine is that it has sparked a welter of artistic efforts to capture the national spirit.

Artists can be seen painting in Independent Square and their works are on the walls of the Globus shopping centre.

So Euromaidan is not only a political movement but it has a cultural, artistic impetus.

Apart from the art there’s also constant entertainment from the main stage which has featured such magnificent acts as Dakh Daughters about whom I could gurgle all day.

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Kyiv City Hall revisited

20131211-172140.jpgThe last thing I did before leaving Kyiv yesterday (Tuesday) was visit City Hall for the second time.

At 1am it was abuzz with activity, even though maybe 150 people were trying to sleep on the floor.

A good 200 more were nervously awaiting an expected police raid,  which was eventually repulsed earlier today. Reports made it sound like a Keystone Cops raid.

A young man, about 23, came up to me for a chat, sporting a Napoleon frown.

His English was quite good. He spoke about how much he detested the country’s corrupt elite. He was angry but not shaking with rage.

I listened for five minutes – it seemed like it was something that he needed to get it off his chest after what had been the most charged 24 hours since the police attacked protesters on Sunday December 1.

He then walked off. I noticed for the first time he was carrying in his right hand, a very nasty looking crowbar.

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Euromaidan, Kyiv – December 9


21.00 – people are heeding social media calls to swell numbers in the centre. Atmosphere fairly jolly. Protesters that I have seen in Lutheranska/Institutska area roaming the streets are not carrying sticks.

18.15 – in the last hour police have started to blockade a camp set up by protesters in Lutheranska.

This was set up by opposition activists yesterday opposite a row of riot police guarding an entrance to the Presidential Administration in a bid to disrupt government operations.

Two of the remaining three exits were sealed and an operation to remove a barricade 100 metres away began.

The oil drum fire used by protesters sizzles after police move to clear a small barricade
The oil drum fire used by protesters sizzles after police move to clear a small barricade

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