International business forums and scientific conferences, various festivals and patriotic marches, spectacular Champions League football matches, triumphant victories of Kharkivite Elina Svitolina and Ukrainian ex-combatants at Invictus Games, major festivals and gripping concerts, startups, heart-warming charity events are the parts of diverse jigsaw puzzles which have comprised Kharkiv life in 2018.
Kharkiv Observer has chosen the top five city’s events which have been the most popular among our readers during the year.
1. Kharkiv Tragedy
The most viewed and the most discussed topic is the tragic Kharkiv crash, which killed six people in October 2017. Our Canadian reader expressed his concerns that the main suspect Olena Zaitseva could have lenient punishment if “her daddy made a deal.” Ukrainian media and Kharkiv activists are following the case thoroughly, too. Most Kharkivites have no doubts that Zaitseva is guilty as the video fixed she had been driving at breakneck speed and through the red traffic light. As for another driver Hennadiy Dronov, whose car collided with Zaitseva’s Lexus, it is not proved yet whether he had started moving at the yellow or green light. Since narcologist Olena Fedirko, who was the first to examine Zaitseva and who found opiates in her tests, resigned from her job in the dispensary and disappeared, the case is still under investigation and both suspects remain imprisoned.
2. Filming Story of Brave British Journalist
The filming about Gareth Jones, a British journalist from Wales, who first told the world about the horrors of Holodomor in Ukraine in the 1930s, started in the city in March. Kharkiv has become a filming location for the scenes, which took place in Moscow.
The big portraits of Soviet leaders of the 1930s were placed on the walls of the Karazin Kharkiv National University as a scenery set, which raised concern and anxiety among Kharkivites, who witnessed the filming process. However, the people were happy to know that it was a film about a great journalist who was really brave to tell the truth about the crimes of Stalin in Ukraine and to report on Holodomor.
3. International Astronomy Conference at Karazin National University
The conference took place in June and marked the 210th anniversary of astronomy science in Kharkiv, the 100th anniversary since regular observations of the Moon started, and the 40th anniversary of asteroid study in Kharkiv Astronomical Observatory.
For the first time, such a large-scale astronomy event gathered together in Kharkiv 40 science luminaries from 17 world countries. Most of the scientists visited Ukraine for the first time. Many agreed to take part in the conference because they highly value their Kharkiv colleagues’ work and experience. Some were impressed at the high level of education of students and wanted to meet Karazin University professors.
Italian participants noted that many leading universities could not boast with such premises and halls that Kharkiv University has. The guests also enjoyed Kharkiv architecture, sights and squares.
4. Wizz Air is Back to Kharkiv
Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz-Air has returned to Kharkiv this year with regular flights to Dortmund (German) and Wroclaw, Gdansk (Poland).
In November, Wizz Air launched new flights to London (the UK) starting from just $22 (609 UAH) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and to Vienna (Austria) from $36 (approximately 1,000 UAH) twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays.
General director of Kharkiv International Airport Volodymyr Vasylchenko highlights that the return of Wizz Air is great news for the city. The official is convinced that in addition to the flights, opened in 2018, the low-cost company network from Kharkiv will expand further in future.
5. Nestle to Reconstruct Kharkiv Food Factory
In April, Nestle officially announced the company is planning to invest 700 million UAH ($26.2 million) into the Mivina factory in Kharkiv. The financing will be allocated to reconstruct and upgrade the Mivina factory, which has belonged to Nestle since 2010. The project will be implemented in two stages within 2-3 years.
Head of Kharkiv Regional State Administration Yulia Svitlychna reported that Kharkiv Mivina factory exports almost half of its products to 17 countries in Europe and worldwide.
Nestle is planning to have completed the factory’s reconstruction and technology improvement by 2021.
The year is ending on the optimistic note. Volunteers of Saint Nicholas’ Reindeer charity project are bringing a little magic to the kids who live in the gray zone near the frontline in the east of Ukraine, delivering presents for upcoming winter holidays.
The next year will start with a stunning traditional Vertep Fest with performances of ethnic groups from all over Ukraine.
Text: based on Olena Sokolynska’s articles