Western Ukraine: I recently spent a few days in a small town in western Ukraine near the Moldovan border. It was a typical provincial town – in some respects – that you come across in Russia. Soviet-era factories barely operate, turned into sources for scrap metal or warehouses. Dogs, guarding these factory buildings, barking – or chasing – cars that pass by. Outdoor markets with middle-aged women working the stalls.
However, nearly every where you looked, you saw yellow and blue – the colors of Ukraine. This is what made it differ from a Russian town, where you rarely see Russian flags except on state buildings. As I passed a convenience store painted in yellow, I saw a young man standing outside smoking a cigarette and drinking tea.
Dima, 25 yo, said he had just come from France, where he was looking at work opportunities. His girlfriend said it was difficult to find a good paying job in Ukraine even if you had a good education. That was evident from the papers taped at local bus stops that read ‘Work in Poland’ with contact details. The work offers $800-$1,200 a month in Poland, a very good salary by Ukrainian standards.
Dima said many young Ukrainians are leaving the country and he and his girlfriend may soon join the exodus. He says officials are asking people to be patient and ”wait to 2020” when things will be better. ”But I have plans and I want to achieve them.” Among his dreams – the same I hear from Russians, Belarusians, and Americans – is to have a house and a car.