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Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev

Dmitry Anatolyevich MedvedevMedvedev

Open doors against fraudsters and crooks

A Ukrainian citizen movement opens its doors to soccer fans from around the world. A friendly protest against corruption and exorbitant overnight prices. A report by Constanze Aka

A few weeks before the kickoff of the European Championship, Ukraine's image is suffering noticeably. International media report instances of nepotism, dog killings and political persecution. The most recent wave of indignation is directed against the Ukrainian hotel industry because it allegedly forces the overnight rates up during the EURO 2012. According to the internet portal, the price range for available double rooms at the venue Kharkiv is on average 400 euros per night. A note on the website says: "Kharkiv is in high demand around your travel dates, prices might be higher. Tip: Try another travel date," which could bring many soccer fans to the brink of despair.

Nice alternative: Be a guest in a Ukrainian home

"This situation is neither normal nor reasonable," says Ivan Varchenko indignantly. This opposition politician from Kharkiv is the initiator of the newly formed citizens' movement Laskavo Prosymo. This can be translated to "Welcome to Ukraine." In the protest against excessive prices and corruption, about 600 Ukrainians are united already in a Facebook group called WELCOME TO UKRAINE! to accommodate soccer fans for free at home. The number of voluntary private hoteliers is still rising.

Among them is Victoria Sklyarova, a resolute electrical engineer and tour guide. "Unlike the image that government members currently paint of us, we Ukrainians are a hospitable nation. Therefore we invite all soccer fans to our homes. "A couple from Berlin got in touch with her. The political scientist and journalist Jochen Gossmann and his wife are spending two nights at Victoria's. They want to cheer on the German team and get to know the land and people at the same time. "We will get to know Ukraine not only as tourists, but also from the perspective of locals. This offer is awesome. Exactly what we wanted," says Gossmann.

Committed citizens – skeptical government

Ivan Varchenko

In contrast, the reaction of officials is very cautious. The idea is nice, but he does not believe in its success, said Marcian Lubkiwski, Ukrainian tournament director, in an interview on Radio Svoboda. The reluctance on the part of the politicians is not surprising for Ivan Varchenko. In an open letter, he and his colleagues from the other venues Kiev, Donetzk and Lviv, accuse the Ukrainian government members of making a gross profit from the European Championship.

"Our campaign for free fan overnight stays is therefore also a political campaign," says Varchenko. He called on all Ukrainians to take part: "We citizens can thus save the image of Ukraine, at least in part." He hopes that as many guests from abroad as possible can be invited to the home stays. Whoever wants to join: A Facebook message is sufficient to sign up!

This article has been published already on the website of Kick-off Ukraine 2012. It is part of a cooperation of Kick-off Ukraine 2012 and Objective Mind. The rights of this article are owned by Kick-off Ukraine 2012. The translation into English has been made by the editorial staff of Objective Mind.

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1st picture (source): / The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed.

2nd picture: Victoria Sklyarova / all rights reserved