A Visit to Kyiv

In 1985,

I visited the Soviet Union.

The Cold War nation possessed

most of the traits you read about —

strange clicks when picking up a phone,

tour guides employed by government agencies,

limited ability to explore,

regular searches of bags, and

randomized interviews during travel between cities.

A couple in our group went off one afternoon

to visit an old synagogue without permission.

When boarding the flight to leave the USSR,

the couple was pulled and interviewed for hours

while the rest of us waited and worried on the plane.

My family lost loved ones

in both Kyiv and Minsk

during World War II.

Visiting these cities felt sacred.

But, what I remember most was the people.

Warm, curious, kind.

I left Kyiv in awe

of the men, women and children.

Today I remain in awe

of the citizens of Ukraine

whose battle started centuries ago.

It is time the rest of us

stood up with them.

7 thoughts on “A Visit to Kyiv

  1. Every day I think about the connections between Ukraine, Russia, the U.S., connections forged through travel. I think we must stop Russia and must fo so regardless of gas prices, inflation, etc. And I’ve read some wild stories like the one you told about that couple. Scary stuff.


  2. I appreciate your succinct look back and connecting it to the here and now. I visited the Soviet Union in 1985, too! Moscow & St Petersburg and it was eye-opening to say the least. Like you, I stand
    “in awe

    of the citizens of Ukraine

    whose battle started centuries ago.”


  3. Beth, such a powerful post. 1985 wasn’t that long ago when we think of he continuum of history. Ukraine has endured so much yet remain such a proud, steadfast people. I didn’t realize your familial connection to Kyiv.


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