A bar where Ukrainians can let off steam against Putin
Decorated in honor of the Ukrainian insurgents who fought against the Soviet Union during World War II, the establishment plays Ukrainian music and serves local specialties. One of the most popular remains a beer from the Pravda microbrewery in Lviv.
Marked with the inscription
Putin Huilocommonly translated as
Putin is an assholethe label alludes to a popular protest song across Ukraine among supporters of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Russians and Putin are personae non gratae here. And in more ways than one. For example, to enter the Kryivka bar, you have to knock on the door. A sinister-looking guard, armed with a submachine gun, asks for the password. What to answer Slava Ukrainian : glory to Ukraine, glory to its heroes.
This protocol is something to smile about, knowing that it was introduced several years ago. But this rallying cry took on a whole new dimension in these times of war. The slogan is repeated ad nauseam by President Zelensky during his appearances.
Russians don’t say “Glory to Ukraine”, so it’s like a test, says Marian Matveyev, one of the servers at Kryivka, who shows us around the place. There are artifacts from the Second World War and each customer can even put on the military fatigues of the Ukrainian insurgents of the time to have their picture taken.
The times are different, but the enemy remains the same, explains Marian, who draws the parallel between the Ukrainian resistance of the Second World War and the Russian invasion which is devastating her country at the moment. The proof is that this singular bar has a shooting range where patrons can practice aiming for a fairly obvious target here: the face of Vladimir Putin.
Even if he is far from the bombs raining down in the east of the country, Marian Matveyev remains hopeful and thinks that Ukraine will recover the 20% of its territory that fell into Russian hands.
Both Crimea and Donbass, he believes. Before the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, he often spent his holidays in this region which was so hospitable at the time.
Today, aware that he is in relative safety in a town located 70 kilometers from the Polish border, he says he is always ready to welcome displaced people from Donbass. At the start of the war, when thousands of survivors arrived from Luhansk and Donetsk, he served them free meals in the bar to show his support for their cause.
Hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and then by the war unleashed by Russia last February, the Kryivka bar has gradually started to attract customers again. A firm believer in Ukrainian victory, the staff here intend to celebrate when that day comes. With beer bottles and gunfire on their favorite target…