Here's a typical view of Khreshchatyk five years ago:
And here's what it looks like now, more or less:
In 2003, I was just beginning to take pictures, and this is what I wrote about Kyiv then:
I find it difficult to photograph Kyiv. When I don't have my camera with me, I can see everything partly as it is and partly as I imagine it. Everything has a memory - and often more than just one - attached to it. Every building, every backyard. But with my camera, I'm forced to see it all as it really is - and all of a sudden, I realize that way too many things would be missing from the photos... and quite a lot of what I'd normally ignore would show up... The tacky plastic windows or air conditioners, for example.
Plastic windows and air conditioners? My 2003 rant seems almost sacrilegious now - everything was perfect then, no? - and I try not to think of what this post will read like five years on.
Here's what I must have been complaining about in Nov. 2003:
And here's what we've got today:
Ukrainian politics was very different in 2003, too. The Klichko brothers, for example, were still our glorious boxers then, sharing the "True Ukrainian Quality" title with Chernihivske beer:
Then one of them decided to run for Kyiv's mayor, twice, and failed:
My mother has just accused me of having a very negative outlook on life, and she is right, unfortunately. I took trolleybus #8 today from Ploshcha Peremohy to Shevchenko Park, and I felt like burning my clothes after I got out of the old stinking thing and made it back home. I tried hard not to mention this here, but failed.
To end it on a somewhat positive note, though, here's another picture of Kyiv from 2003 - a picture of something that's still there, sort of: