Michael Totten just returned from a trip to post-communist eastern Europe. I’m looking forward to reading what he writes about this trip. For now, his pictures will have to suffice.
He has a brief description of his trip in this post:
After leaving Romania, I was supposed to visit Chernobyl and the apocalyptic ghost city of Pripyat outside Kiev, Ukraine, but the trip was cancelled at the last minute. The Chernobyl Administration wasn’t letting anyone into the area for reasons that aren’t clear to me and may never be – perhaps because of a radiation leak, or maybe for more mundane reasons.
So I went to Crimea instead, the part of Ukraine that may be lopped off and reattached to Russia if Vladimir Putin decides to go on another Georgian-style adventure.
Traveling from the eastern edge of the European Union into Ukraine is educational, to say the least. Romania, Hungary, Poland, and other formerly Eastern bloc countries have largely recovered from communism, but much of Ukraine outside Kiev is still ruined. It still hasn’t fully recovered from Soviet collectivization, the genocidal terror-famine, the Stalinist purges, and dekulakization. Kiev is a magnificent city and Crimea is a jewel, but large parts of the countryside feel haunted and doomed.