Historical, cultural, beautiful Kyiv is welcoming everybody to visit the most expected EURO 2012 football championship…Should it be an affirmative sentence or a question? The answer is hidden in the middle. Kyiv is, indeed, one of the most interesting cities to be visited in Eastern Europe: it has 15 00’s history, incredible architecture of the XII century, a lively nightlife and beautiful ladies. But is it ready for such a massive event as EURO 2012? Is it as friendly and main, is it safe?
First of all one should understand that Kyiv has many districts: some of them are totally safe and some are pretty dangerous even for locals. These districts are called Borshagovka, Vinogrador and bellowed by all Kyiv citizens Troyeshina. Of course it is not the place but the people who make these districts queerish.
These people are called – “gopniki”. The word itself has no translation; it was taken from one of the jail songs about guys who robbed people on the streets. These guys appeared in the 90s, the rough times of the Soviet Union collapse and a total anarchy. At that time, Russian and Ukrainian so-called mafia took control over the street market and trade. Though, those times have changed and more than 90 % of Kyivans are civilized and educated people, there are still that 10 % that without any doubt will stay for their “territory” during EURO 2012. There are 2 main things you should know about these “super guys”:
- How to identify them? - Sport costume and shoes, plus duck-shaped hat. They call each other “patsani”, walk or seat in groups, laugh like hyenas, eat sunflower seeds and drink beer.
- What to do if you have met them? Stay calm, walk by, if you got into conversation rely on your physical abilities or simply run.
Another people that can get you into trouble in Kyiv are – Kyiv police. The capital city’s police are surprisingly unfriendly to foreigners. This might have happened because most of the policemen are the same “gopniki”. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you cannot trust police but it is better to avoid them. One of the best EURO 2012 tips for football fans is to learn everything that you can and can not do in the city.
One more thing is to find somebody who speaks Ukrainian or Russian, as it is very unlikely that 60% of non-English police stuff will learn the language in such a short time. Russian speaking guide or a friend will make it so much easier for you and police to establish communication, plus, police will understand that they cannot take money for nothing, as you know the rules.
There are also some prohibited themes like fascists, Nazi’s, anti-fascists and World War II. You should probably avoid political subjects concerning Tymoshenko, Russian gas, EURO integration etc.
One more thing is the Kyiv public transport conductors. Remember, you must buy and punch the ticket. The one that has not been punched does not give you the right to use the transport, in such a case you can face-to-face with the controller who will fine you 20 times price of the ticket, which is not too much but is still money.
Last must-remember thing that can get you in trouble in Kyiv is one of the most favorite sins – smoking and drinking. Remember that drinking outside is prohibited and don’t look at dozens of drinking people, they probably don’t have any more money to give to police or have been lucky not to meet it. Don’t forget there are numerous nice and cozy top pubs in Kyiv where you can drink as much as you want to.
According to the latest law, smoking is prohibited almost everywhere in the city. But, in reality, you should stay away from the bus stops, yards and places of massive people gathering in order not to get acquainted with the most bellowed cops.
Surely, Kyiv has much more pros than cons. It is a wonderful city that has more than enough to satisfy all the needs of the EURO tourists. Remember that these are preconscious rules and that you shouldn’t be afraid to come. There are tons of beautiful, interesting and exciting places to see and tons of beautiful and interesting people to meet.