Today is the 1st of May and has always been the biggest holiday of the Soviet calendar. A workers holiday the world over, the first of May was actually introduced by Adolf Hiltler, the day before he abolished all of Germany’s trade unions.
I’m staying at the Hotel Dnipro right on Khreschatyk and Kiev’s “Red Square”. Russian marching music being played so loud, perhaps so that the old veterans can hear it or to drown out the rhetoric gushing from the other speakers?? Many of the old men have on their army uniforms or suits and have so many medals hanging on their jackets; they could easily be recycled into complete washing machines or dishwashers!! Here 90% are old people and their signs are hand painted on old cardboard boxes, their red flags with hammers and sickles are faded almost pink and worn on the edges. The main parade led by a fleet of rusted Lada’s and Moscoviche’s. The picture’s I took here should have been black and white and colour on the other square.
The other square around the corner is facing the monstrous Hotel Ukrainia, where I stayed last time. It could not be more different here. Everything is yellow, being the colour of the ruling reform party. Giant plasma screens show the speakers and the pretty girls handing out flyers, yellow balloons for the kiddies. Their parade was lead by top of the line BMW’s and Mercedes’, the music was modern Ukrainian pop.
The ruling party need only to walk into the nearby Metro station or the pedestrian underground crossways to see “Pravda”(the truth). Old women selling 3 potatoes in torn and worn out slippers, many more just begging, young women with babies begging, perhaps only a scam, then the oppositional political spin doctors have done an excellent job setting up this scenario.
Perhaps the ruling reform party has forgotten one thing. Like the old man sitting with more medals than Bresznev ever had, sitting fiddling with his hearing aid. Perhaps the truth of the Ukrainian economy falls upon deaf ears in the ruling party. They seem to have instead of turning their swords into ploughshares, have turned their swords into colour televisions.
As for me I feel a bit schizophrenic walking from Red Square in to the lobby of the 4 star Dnipro Hotel. But, yet again, maybe I should go back down there, as the Young Bolshevik Brigade had some pretty girls in tight red T-shirts, perhaps I should get some volunteers to “Liberate” my room on the 12th floor, rip out the flowers on my balcony and teach me to plant a victory garden, or at the very least sow some wild oats for the revolution, while playing the International full blast!!!!!
This is Ranger Bob signing off