Even as their country is being invaded by the Russian Federation, everyday Ukrainians are just trying to live their lives.
That's reflected in this bright and cheery postcard that I received this week from fellow Postcrossing user Olga in Kyiv.1 It features an illustration of young, smiling people in traditional outfits. They're holding hands. She's holding sunflowers.
And, look, Crimea (крим, the peninsula in the lower-right corner) is still shown as being part of Ukraine. (In March, Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine and joined Russia. This remains disputed internationally.)
On the postcard, Olga also included a beautiful collection of stamps from her country.
Olga has only been a Postcrossing user for about six months. Her profile states simply: "Hi everybody! I’m Olga from Kiev (Ukraine) and I’m really happy you gonna send me a postcard =) I love almost every kind of postcard, whatever it looks.. Take it easy!"
When I was showing this postcard to my daughter Sarah and explaining to her the new fighting that has been taking place in Ukraine2, she perceptively, and somewhat sadly, pointed at Olga's Postcrossing profile and said, "Maybe that's why she was last seen 12 days ago." (Postcrossing profiles show you the last time a user logged in to the site.)
So, if you're out there Olga, the Ottos are thinking of you and wishing you the best. We loved your postcard.
- Documenting Chernobyl and early rumbles of Russia-Ukraine war
- Postcard featuring the traditional costumes of Ukraine
- Margaret Tarrant and Cossack Mamay of the Ukraine
- Postcard of a domovoi from Ukraine (Slavic folklore)
- Postcrossing card from Kyiv: A meal of varenyky and uzvar
1. Kyiv is the spelling we should all be using (not Kiev). Here's the recent history of that spelling, from Wikipedia:
"Kyiv is the romanized version of the name of the city used in modern Ukrainian. Following independence in 1991, the Ukrainian government introduced the national rules for transliteration of geographic names from Ukrainian into English. According to the rules, the Ukrainian Київ transliterates into Kyiv. This has established the use of the spelling Kyiv in all official documents issued by the governmental authorities since October 1995. The spelling is used by the United Nations, all English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions, several international organizations, Encarta encyclopedia, and by some media in Ukraine. In October 2006, the United States federal government changed its official spelling of the city name to Kyiv, upon the recommendation of the US Board of Geographic Names. The British government has also started using Kyiv. ... Most major English-language news sources like the BBC continue to use Kiev."2. While the Drudge Report can certainly be known for its sensationalism, this snapshot of headlines on its website today speaks to the ominous times in Ukraine right now:
And I'll leave you with an opinion piece to read about the Ukraine-Russia crisis, from Ian Birrell in The Independent: "Why do we stand by and watch Putin? It is shameful cowardice to pretend this isn't an invasion. We must act."