HOUSTON – As members of the Ukrainian diaspora, whether we live in the United States, Canada, Germany or anywhere else in the world, it is easy to become somewhat disconnected from what’s going on in Ukraine. Even if you are up to date on the news about the political and economic situation in Ukraine, it is hard to fully understand what it’s like for the citizens living there, just trying to get by.
On February 21, the Houston Ukrainian community had the opportunity to take a glimpse into the daily struggle of a person living in Kyiv today. Highlighting the people of Kyiv, Dr. Roman Cybriwsky gave a presentation based on his recently published book, “Kyiv, Ukraine: The City of Domes and Demons from the Collapse of Socialism to the Mass Uprising of 2013-2014.”
The book provides a perspective that people from the diaspora rarely get a chance to see. Much has changed in the government and, similarly, the city itself is still in flux. Relics of the old regime are everywhere. “Corruption, social inequality, sex tourism and destruction of historical ambience” are still present in Kyiv, Dr. Cybriwsky notes. He adds that, even though Ukrainians now are more and more politically aware and ethnically conscious, it is still quite difficult for those living there to go about their daily lives in such a hostile political environment.
Dr. Cybriwsky is a professor of geography and urban studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was born and raised in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrant parents. His presentation in Houston, organized by the Ukrainian American Cultural Club of Houston (UACCH), was well-received and enjoyed by all who attended in Houston.
Dr. Cybriwsky has already shared his book presentation with many Ukrainian communities throughout the U.S. He has visited Ukrainians in Des Moines, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, as well as Iowa State University in Ames.