The Russian aggression has radically enriched the assortment of goods in small-town and village shops. Urban residents have traditionally sent their children to relatives in rural areas during the summer, but now entire families are escaping to the quiet of the countryside – away from air raid warnings – and not just for the summer holidays. As a result, I have noticed more Belgian beer, high-end French and Spanish wines, Italian cheeses, and sausages in out-of-the-way towns.
War stops life only when it destroys everything and kills everyone or forces the population to flee. Many internal migrants are looking for work and opportunities to settle in these quieter locations.
In the Brusyliv district of Zhytomyr Region (80 km west of Kyiv), farmers are looking for people to pick berries and vegetables. The pay is reasonable.
In the town of Brusyliv, where about 8,000 people live, there are also vacancies for permanent work in new cafes and shops, as security guards, or at a factory producing fuel briquettes from wood waste.
Although winter is still relatively far away, residents are already stocking up on heating fuel. On social media, as if on purpose, some people are spreading panic, saying that next winter will be even more difficult than the previous one.
The charcoal briquette factories also benefit from this panic. Before the war, few people knew what the wood-pellet briquettes looked like, but now every other village has a brickette-making business.
There are job vacancies in cities too. In Kyiv, there is even a vacancy for the Minister of Culture since former TV producer, Olexander Tkachenko, resigned. Parliament was almost unanimous in calling for his resignation, with only two deputies voting against the motion.
Activists on the cultural front had been demanding that Tkachenko step down as Minister of Culture for a long time. However, he was unshakable until a new wave of indignation was triggered by the announcement that budget funding had been allocated for the creation of television shows.
These included a comedy series whose main hero bears a close resemblance to a notorious businessman with a criminal past – the owner of the “Inhulets” Football Club, Olexandr Porovoznyuk. The TV series was going to be called “Inhulets” which is also the name of the river flowing next to Porovoznyuk’s farm.
State funding for this series has been canceled, but producer Yuri Gorbunov, who applied for state support for this project, said that he would find private money and go ahead with filming.
Government funding has also been canceled for the completion of the museum complex dedicated to the Holodomor (The artificial Famine of 1932 and 1933). Ukrainian society seems to have accepted this news quietly. Activists believe that all available funds should go toward the war effort. In his recent speech, President Zelensky agreed with this point of view.
Meanwhile, the search for a new Minister of Culture goes on. The well-known Ukrainian ballerina, Kateryna Kukhar, has announced that she was offered the post of Minister of Culture, but that she declined it.
The most interesting Ukrainian vacancies currently available must surely be the ones announced by the National Antarctic Committee. They are looking for participants in the next annual Antarctic expedition to Faraday – the Ukrainian Scientific Polar Station.
As well as scientists, they need a doctor, a cook, an electrician, a diesel engine specialist, a mechanic, and a system administrator. Successful male applicants will be exempt from mobilization for the period they spend in Antarctica.
This is already the 29th Ukrainian expedition, but the 27th expedition will remain the most dramatic in the history of the Ukrainian program.
That expedition was supposed to leave for Antarctica at the very end of February 2022. The director of the National Antarctic Center, Yevhen Dykyi, bought an airline ticket from Kyiv with transfers to Chile for Feb. 28.
Needless to say, his plans were badly interrupted. Eventually, some members of the 27th delegation gathered from all over Ukraine, in besieged and shelled Kyiv, and a bus set off towards the western border, while some participants had to catch up by bus and train.
In the end, they all got to Antarctica and replaced the Polar Station staff of the previous expedition.
Having returned from Antarctica, the head of the 26th expedition, 50-year-old geologist Bohdan Havrilyuk, immediately joined the army and became an instructor for sappers. He’s still in active service.
His unit is called “Combat Penguins.” Fellow Antarctic expedition participants fundraise to help the “Combat Penguins” overcome supply issues for things like first-aid kits and demining equipment.
Fundraising for the military goes on every day. Recently a car set off from our village near Brusyliv loaded with cotton underwear, socks, wet wipes, toilet paper, soap, and other gifts for the military unit in which our fellow villager Dmitro Yakutis serves.
When everyone around you is raising money for the army, it does seem strange that the Ministry of Culture wants to spend state funds on a comedy series.
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.
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