Crossing the border to Ukrainia wasn’t as difficult as we imagined. Apart form some confusion about traffic lines at the border…
…we were soon welcomed in Ukraine:We didn’t experience any kind of harassment, arbitrary or repressive behavior on part of the border police. The situation was no different compared to the time when the German/Polish border was the Shengen border. (Or Swiss borders before they joined Shengen.)
Only taking photos is strictly forbidden… Even of upright heros like him.
Then followed our first steps in Ukraine on the way from bus station to train station in Uzhgorod (150m):
After 50 steps we saw a dirty bra lying on the street. A few steps further on, there was a blouse on the pavement…
We then went on to the train station, a building newly errected in 2004.Inside the main waiting hall we found a shrine dedicated to Mr Heorhij Mykolajowytsch Kirpa.For two years (2002 -2004) he had been the Ukrainian Minister of Transport and in this function he had commissioned the building of the new station in Uzhgorod. During his long career he had worked his way up from a simple metalworker until in 1993 he became head of the Westukrainian Railroads. He was a close friend and supporter of Leonid Kuchma (then President of Ukraine) and Victor Yanukowich (today’s President). During the election campaign in 2004 he was accused of having provided special trains to allow supporters of Yanukowich multiple voting in different towns of Ukraine.
On December 27, 2004 he was found dead in his datcha near Kiev with a gun next to him. Although according to press releases his body also revealed burns the official police report states that Kirpa committed suicide.
This billboard next to his shrine shows Mr. Kirpa as a successful and beloved politician on various occasions like school inaugurations, introduction of new trains and festive openings of train stations. It’s headline reads: In the belief of rebirth.