KYIV—It is quarter to midnight on the last night of 2014, and the mass of people pouring out of the Metro station near Sophia Square in the Ukrainian capital is so colorfully adorned it is almost unsettling. One of the more jarring aspects of Kyiv, for a first-time visitor like myself, is the strict black/gray monotony of local dress. On this night, though, the streets are filled with blue and yellow.
The display of patriotism is a sight that was practically unheard of before the dramatic, violent protests that began in the winter of 2013-2014 and that led to the ouster of President Victor Yanukovych, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and an armed conflict in the east that has already claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Nearly one year after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the crisis continues to deepen between Russian and Ukrainian forces over control of eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian army withdrew last week from the badly damaged Donetsk airport, one of its few remaining strongholds in the contested eastern portion of the country.
“The best one-liner in Leviathan comes in the opening credits,” the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane noted in his review of the Russian entry for best foreign language picture at this year’s Oscars. “Reportedly, as much as 35 percent of the budget was supplied by government funding. This is like Kazakhstan using oil revenues to pay for Borat.”