what is what
A dictionary of terms and concepts of the 1990s "from A to Z.” Here we show "textbook" terms and explain the paragraphs’ headings or the external evaluation questions through small things, details, stories, and memories of real people. The dictionary contains images, videos, citations of memories, and useful links.
PUBLIC TELEPHONES (PAY PHONES)
For the inhabitants of Lviv, pay phones were a means of communication, although they almost disappeared from the city streets in the 1990s. Pay phones were located at post offices, cinemas and clubs, hospitals, banks, groceries and department stores, at railway stations and on streets. In the early 2000s somewhat upgraded pay phones appeared again in some public places. To make a call from such a phone, coins were first used. Later, both the functionality and the appearance of pay phones changed. The next model allowed long-distance connection, and after it a coinless pay phone for magnetic and chip cards was introduced. For this purpose only special tokens (later cards) were used. Today, the recently so popular pay phones have given way to mobile communication.
Public call offices, a separate communication phenomenon, were, as a rule, located at post offices. After having stood in a long queue, one could "order" a call abroad or to another region there.
In the early 1990s, Lvivites just began to connect fixed telephones on a mass scale. For this, as it was everywhere, it was necessary to stand in a queue and to get registered. Subsequently, the first pagers appeared in the country, as well as radiotelephones and caller ID devices; at that time, however, the citizens had only pay phones in the streets at their disposal. A three-minute-long talk cost two kopiyky. There were also some smart young people who knew how to call for free: a coin was fastened to a fishing line, thrown into the slot and pulled out after the conversation."The evolution of independence: how the tastes and habits of Ukrainians changed over 25 years,” Siohodni newspaper, 24 August 2016.
It all took place in the following way. From the theater, I phoned a woman at the post office and explained her that I needed to make a call to Toronto. Next it was necessary to give her Motrya’s phone number. The woman then told me how the call would be charged and said she would call when it was possible to talk. She indicated the approximate day and time of the call, but often we had to sit by the phone and wait a lot longer. And so we both, me in Ukraine and my future wife in Canada, froze in anticipation of a communication miracle. And finally, the phone rang, I ran across the entire room, grabbed the receiver and, after a tired and annoyed order of the operator — "Speak!”, triumphantly started a conversation. It was then absolutely not important to us that we barely heard each other, because the line was mercilessly crackling and squeaking, and that sometimes we had to almost shout or to repeat a certain word clearly and by syllables."Victor Morozov and his batiar blues of the 90s in Lviv,” an interview by Khrystyna Malysh, Lviv.com, 30 November 2016.
A headpiece (cap), which became popular after the release of the film "Mimino" (1977). For a long time, it was a trend for individual communities and subcultures.
ANTENNA FOR POLAND
In the Soviet times, Lvivites used home-made antennas on a mass scale to watch Polish television. This phenomenon was widespread in the 1990s too. The design and installation of such an antenna were a serious engineering challenge, but the desire to "glance at the world there" was the best incentive. Films, music, fashion, never seen American movies and programs were broadcast "by Poland.” Polish magazines on cinema, sports, and music were top-rated among viewers and readers, often shaping tastes and a desire to "look or behave just in the same way."
In the 1980s, after the first Solidarity, they (Poles) had some special programs, it seems as if the West just gave them films for free, so there was a kind of “literacy campaign” held there. There was a "Night Movie" (erotica on TV) on Saturday, as well as on Thursday in the second program. There were retrospectives of film directors. It was a quite powerful thing. And it was informative, too; today, it's probably impossible to get out of the state television so much as it was possible from the Polish TV at that time.From an interview with Andriy Boyarov for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 3 December 2012.
Movies were entirely from Poland. Each house had two antennas: meters and decimeters. They stuck out of windows like hands asking for help. It was all natural, like breathing. It seemed that I had wings and would have enough force to fly anywhere. Among other things, to play rock on squares. And so it happened later, actually...From an interview with Ilko Lemko "The Holy Garden. "The Third Dimension" of Soviet Lviv,” Roman Melnyk and Anastasia Chuprynska, Zbruch, 12 November 2016.
That is how a conversation was called in the criminal jargon. Over time, this word began to be used in everyday speech not only among criminals (along with the derivative "bazaryty,” that is, to speak, to hold conversation).
They were formed as a response to the social and political challenges of that time: economic stagnation, unemployment, social stratification, lack of control by the authorities, reconsideration of moral values. In the 1990s, gangs were often formed by friends from sport milieus. Lviv was divided into several gangster districts (for example, Levandivka, Sykhiv, Rohatka, Kvadrat). Often these gangs were semi-criminal. Even in the 2000s, it was possible to hear a question "What district are you from?”, that is, from what houses or yards. In the late 1990s, a romantic image of gangs was formed in the cinema (film series "Brother,” "Bandit Petersburg,” "The Brigade").
The nineties are closely intertwined in our memory with a strange social trend of "prison romance." People were divided into those who were scared by this kind of philosophy and those who tried to adopt it.An interview with Oleh Tsiona, "We knew how to love", by Khrystyna Malysh, Lviv.com, 2 December 2016.
In the largest hooligan districts, there were always gangs attending discos and defending their territory and the girls of their district. The gangs of different districts were at war and fought for influence among themselves. Hard fights (real massacres at times) between districts and between streets were waged.From a conversation with Markiyan Ivashchyshyn within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way." Recorded in December 2016.
An outdoor goods market. It became particularly important in conditions of total deficiency and hyperinflation, when salaries were paid in the form of things and not in cash. In Lviv, the largest barakholka was located in the end of Shevchenka street (where the Riasne district begins). Eyewitnesses recall that "going shopping to the barakholka" on Sunday was a popular ritual. In addition, it was a place to exchange information. The barakholka’s “must have” was a chequered bag and a kravchuchka.
It was not always possible to sell, but sometimes it was possible to change something. Some things for some products. It was very hard, very difficult.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
BARAKHOLKA AT RIASNE UKRAYINA MARKET
There are two troubles in Lviv — the barakholka and the football club.From a conversation with Markiyan Ivashchyshyn within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
This cult toy for the 1990s children was affordable to few; the dolls were very expensive and could hardly be found to buy. Their bright makeup, unrealistic (teenage and feminine) features and clothes were an ideal and an example for imitation for many children. Sewing clothes for these dolls was their favorite occupation. A longed-for Barbie doll could be sent by a family from the diaspora; in the mid-90s, the first store of these cult dolls was opened on Mentsynskoho street. Later, such a toy (a Chinese copy) could be bought at the markets.
BARBIE SHOPThe shop where Barbie dolls were sold seemed some sort of mysterious world, and its products were a hopeless dream, because the cheapest doll cost as much as half of my mother's salary. The advertising on all TV channels was casting a gloom.From an interview with a participant’s sister within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in the winter of 2017.
A popular accessory, which, in addition to its main function (a small bag, where money and personal belongings were kept), had a prestige meaning: to emphasize the owner’s high social and financial status. Hearing the word barsetka, many people get a stereotype idea of a man in a crimson jacket, with a gold chain around his neck and a bag packed with small cash in his hands.DOBROBUT MARKET UKRAYINA MARKET
Exchange of goods and services. This phenomenon is especially characteristic of the 1990s, when money could be devalued several times a day. Barter was introduced as part of the official economic system, from foreign-economic activities to internal payments. Later this phenomenon became part of everyday life. Salaries could be paid with food or products of enterprises. So people exchanged what they had in abundance.
Well, markets worked. Peasants sold their products, sometimes changed them. I did not change, because I did not have anything to change. And those who had sometimes changed. Some things, warm clothes, some kitchen utensils — all this could be changed for eggs, milk, sour cream. It was an exchange of goods, a direct barter. Well, never mind, it was done like that at all times, not only at ours.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
My friend, who worked at the newspaper Ratusha as a typesetter at that time, was given her salary in the form of two electric meat grinders. Well... she sold me one as she needed something to live on. This was a common practice then.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
The Lviv bohemia of the 1990s was quite motley. Poets, free artists, theatergoers, who could afford not to worry about the future, gathered in coffe houses or private apartments to discuss art, literature, music. Often the language of communication was Russian. Due to the geographical proximity of Poland, which was more liberal and artistically developed, the Lviv bohemia was more likely to be aware of Europe's major literary and artistic innovations than its Kyiv or Kharkiv counterparts.
Often in their memories the hippies recall people whom they met both in the city's space and in the space of the symbolic "country of dreams," but who did not consider themselves either "systemic" or members of any informal milieu. These people could lead an even more secluded life or belong to the so-called bohemia (poets, artists, musicians, and those who sympathized with them). Lviv coffee houses became places where representatives of different milieus met. In the tradition of the then bohemia, there were frequent outings to the city for communication, sometimes it was called "to lead a goat,” that is, a company switched from a coffee house to a coffee house to finish creative communication in someone’s studio or apartment. In the late 1990s, the bohemians left the city on a mass scale or gradually moved into more traditional cultural camps, often adopting new rules of the game...From a conversation with Bohdan Shumylovych within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in November 2016.
PSIACHA BUDA CAFÉ DOMOVA KUKHNIA CAFÉ CINEMA CLUB ON KHASANSKA STREET KENTAVR CAFÉ PID VEZHEYU CAFÉ KOMARYK CAFÉ SHOKOLADKA CAFÉ VAVYLON-XX ART CAFÉ
Lviv was Babylon, where everyone spoke his or her language. That’s why we worked and created there as there were no linguistic or national barriers, it just didn’t befit anyone. And in fact there was no feeling as if we were “in the underground." Nobody believed to deliberately oppose the system. Normal books were passed from hand in hand in the form of samvydav. Classics were sold at bookstores, but there had to be "connections" there. In short, he who seeks will find.From an interview with Ilko Lemko "The Holy Garden. "The Third Dimension" of Soviet Lviv,” Roman Melnyk and Anastasia Chuprynska, Zbruch, 12 November 2016.
The most popular Lviv rock band, whose songs were in the so-called Galician surzhyk (mixed Russian-Ukrainian dialect) amidst the sea of intelligent pathos. They were antagonists both to the official Soviet propaganda and to the anti-Soviet Ukrainian Language Society, which was campaigning for the revival of national traditions. Among all these "correct" appeals, the Hadiukiny played the role of "bad guys,” created an image of their half-criminal life, were vulgar and brutal and mocked all authorities. They sang about "dudes,” "jailbaits," and drug addicts, creating colourful images known to everyone today.
VAVYLON-XX ART CAFÉ
In the late 1980s, Kuzia headed the famous Brothers Hadiukiny — perhaps the first Ukrainian rock band, which went out of the underground onto the big stage. It is often said that Kuzminskyy’s tastes were formed in the atmosphere of the Holy Garden and Virmenka. In the early 1980s, this milieu collapsed because of its core’s "oldishness" (Lemko and Sviatyy were already 30 years old) and, as sometimes happens, due to drug abuse."The Holy Garden. "The Third Dimension" of Soviet Lviv,” Roman Melnyk and Anastasia Chuprynska, Zbruch, 12 November 2016.
A slang word for a fixed radio set. Due to popularization and mass production of the radio (before 1970, up to 700 thousand radio sets were produced in the Ukrainian SSR yearly), receivers appeared in the apartments of Lvivites and played from morning till night. True, the devices were programmed exclusively for listening to Soviet radio stations. Being mainly propagandistic, the receiver was popularly and very opportunely called brekhunets (a little liar). Despite considerable efforts, applied to jam other radio waves, people in the Soviet Union found some ways to listen to foreign stations. After the collapse of the Union, this problem disappeared. The jamming was stopped. In the 1990s, a session of the Verkhovna Rada (almost every day) or the Sunday Divine Service could be heard from the brekhunets in the kitchen. No wonder Kuzma sang: "As if by a miracle, due to the Polish radio we discovered that unknown world.” Apparently, "our" one was not able to do this.
There was only one central state radio broadcasting from Moscow. Accordingly, a kind of resistibility to what was heard from there was developed. People were of the opinion that everything said by the authorities was a lie. And since this radio set transmitted everything the authorities said it was not a receiver, but a brekhunets — "a little liar".Roman Lebed, "Radio in Ukraine — will it continue?”, BBC, Kyiv.
A literary group formed in Lviv in 1985. It consisted of Yuriy Andrukhovych ("Patriarch"), Viktor Neborak ("Prosecutor"), and Oleksandr Irvanets ("Treasurer"). The apotheosis of the “bubabists” was the Vyvykh’92 festival, when their poetic opera “Chrysler Imperial” was staged on the main stage of the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theater within the main festival program. "Bubabism is a way of life," wrote Yuriy Andrukhovych. The “bubabists” were the initiators of the 1990s grotesque carnival literature.
OPERAFor Ukrainian literature, the Bu-Ba-Bu group has become a genie of laughter, irony, and carnival let out of the bottle of totalitarianism, a real holiday; boldly destroying literary stereotypes, the “bubabists” were perhaps the first to turn Ukrainian poetry and prose back to European standards, to the search of the Grail of humanity.Viktor Gabor, "The Literary Appearance of Modern Lviv,” ZAXID.NET, 13 November 2007.
A cult German fashion magazine. It was the first European magazine admitted to the Soviet space in 1987 and published in Russian. There was nothing else left for the Generation of Deficiency but to watch the West’s bright fashion through a fashion magazine. Girls often sew similar things after models from the magazine on their own or brought the patterns to dressmakers. The Burda was an explosion in the then fashion industry of the post-Soviet countries. The magazine circulation was small. Girls carefully wrapped them in newspapers and passed them from hand in hand.
FASHION HOUSEIt (velvet) seemed to me magnificent, the same kind as in the Burda magazines, which my mom brought God knows where from for a short time, at least for a day or two.An excerpt from "The Happy Naked People" by Katerina Babkina.
Those who exchanged currencies outside exchange offices. Since the difference between price and cost (read "profit") was significant, it was possible to earn on this. Usually moneychangers could be found at the entrances to shops or department stores. They played an important intermediary role between Western tourists, the diaspora, migrant workers, and local population. Owning foreign currency was one of the ways to survive the devaluation. In the 1980s the term "arbitrary unit" was included in Lvivites’ vocabulary; in the 1990s it was already quite habitual.
There was a lot of currency exchanges, and, near each exchange, there was someone who offered currencies cheaper, sometimes twice cheaper.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
The Lviv Youth Festival of Alternative Culture and Art. It was held twice, in 1990 and in 1992. The Vyvykh became the metaphor of Lviv's 1990s (which began from the second half of the 1980s) and clearly showed that from that time on the city's space belonged not only to the authorities, but also to ordinary people, to the city loonies. It was first held in Lviv in late May 1990, dedicated to the Day of Liberation of Africa and to the first anniversary of the Lviv Student Brotherhood. Scenarios for the festival were written by Serhiy Proskurnia, Sashko Irvanets, and Yuriy Vynnychuk; the artists were Yurko Kokh, Vlodko Kostyrko, and Vlodko Kaufman.
I admit that we were not bothered by political issues. It is only now that I can understand the value of such activities. After all, without knowing it, we tried to undermine the static post-Soviet society. To break its double and dead stereotypes. To show that citizens of a healthy state have not only to forcibly work for the benefit of the party, but also to love, to live, and to breathe freely.An interview with Oleh Tsiona, "We knew how to love," by Khrystyna Malysh, Lviv.com, 2 December 2016.
IVANA FRANKA CINEMA OPERAThe Vyvykh was made within 3 weeks, because this idea had been inside us for more than 3 years. It was made with irony, everything was on the verge.From a conversation with Markiyan Ivashchyshyn within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
The public displays of artists' works in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which were a clear proof of changes in the society. An exhibition of underground artists (those who did not belong to the Artists' Union), called "An Invitation to Discussion,” was held in Lviv in the church of Our Lady of the Snows (formerly the Museum of Photography) in 1987. In the same year, Lviv artists made an installation with live hens at the Museum of Photography (now does not exist). Another exhibition, which was widely spoken about in Lviv, was the "Defloration" in 1990, in whose framework, at the Lenin Museum, there was a coffin filled with water, where fish was swimming, along with some musical and installation projects. Those artists, who worked in the late 1980s, say that in order to get permission and to hold any exhibition, it was enough to add to it just one picture with the image of Lenin.
Oh, it was an interesting exhibition (about the exhibition of photographs in the church of Our Lady of the Snows), there were, so to say, informal artists there. Both amateur and professional artists took part... All came to see it, because it was interesting. Everyone painted what he painted, composed a table and could show his works there. There was not enough room there, and ropes were stretched across and some works were fixed with clothespins on them. So the entire church was filled with these works. Well, it was possible to communicate with one another there. I also forgot to say that in this transitional period some institutions were opened, which were engaged in a kind of intermediary activity.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
This ["Defloration"] was such a resonant exhibition in Lviv organized by Heorhiy Kosovan. In fact, he was, probably, the first Lviv art-dealer in the early 1990s. One of the participants is now an artist known all over Europe. It was held at the Museum of Lenin, and we made a kind of modern art there. There were four of us: Shuliev, Silvestrov, Zamkovskyy (he studied in a parallel group with me), and me. Well, I say, I have not seen a better show. Not because we were participating… everything was done ingenuously, in a burst of inspiration. And the place and time were chosen perfectly. It was a very powerful exhibition, in my opinion. I have seen various exhibitions, but I have not seen a better one.From an interview with Andriy Sahaydakovskyy for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 30 November 2012.
PALACE OF ARTS MUSEUM OF IDEAS DZYGA GALLERY TRY KRAPKY GALLERY LENIN MUSEUM MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY
At that time, each exhibition was expected in such a special way... Not only by the artistic milieu, but also by the intelligentsia, which was involved in a very active manner. All waited for the opening... That’s why, at every exhibition, the then young artists began to display some different thing, sometimes radically different from the things allowed up to that time. Somehow, everyone wanted to experiment with everything then.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
VIDEO RENTAL SHOPS
The massive appearance of places where one could rent a film. In the late 1980s - early 1990s in Lviv (like in a lot of other cities of the Soviet/post-Soviet space), there was a kind of cult, related to a tour for a VHS cassette ("to go out for a video"), the choice of films and discussion with friends and video consultant. The rental became popular and mass; foreign films — American and Asian action films, comedies, science fiction, and so on — could be taken there. It was also possible to buy films produced in the Soviet space. Apart from video rental, before the video player became more affordable, video shows were widespread too. In Lviv, such shows were held in the restaurant Vezha. In the 1980s there was a videorecorder there, actually turning this public house into the first video café.
As far as I remember, a queue for the entrance tickets to the Vezha for 6 p.m. usually began to form after lunch. Each floor was different from the other, it was interesting to stay on each for half an hour, if you managed to take places on time (several friends took care of this).From an interview with a project participant’s father within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in the spring of 2017
LVIV CINEMA VEZHA VIDEO CAFÉ
Well, the minds of video salon regulars were taken by Sylvester Stallone — the star of the action movie "Rocky" — and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In November 1991, Ukraine first learned that "The rich also cry." It was the second Latin American film series (after "Isaura, a Slave,” which was shown in 1988-1989)."The evolution of independence: how the tastes and habits of Ukrainians changed over 25 years,” Siohodni newspaper, 24 August 2016.
A cult coffee house, opened in 1979 and located not far from the Rynok Square, on Virmenska street, 19. It was frequented by informal young people: hippies, artists (from the Academy of Arts, situated nearby), poets, and lovers of Lviv coffee. These were people of different nationalities, often Russian-speakers. In the coffee house, books were discussed and samvydav editions were exchanged. In the mid-1990s, when more and more similar bars began to appear, the Virmenka partially lost popularity among informal and creative people. In the Virmenka, there were only 7-8 tables, therefore visitors took their coffee, went out into the street and sat down on the pavement, stairs, or windowsills of neighbouring buildings. Later, narrow wooden shelves were fixed on the outer walls of the coffee house, where cups of coffee could be put. The Virmenka was a kind of the pre-computer era social network, where all information flows came together.
At the Virmenka, artists, poets, musicians were gathering, and not only those of Lviv. This coffee house, where coffee is still being made in a coffee pot put in hot sand, was a must-visit place for all transit bohemians who came from St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga. The coffee house itself was very small so people settled on the street right on the pavement, filling the street space from where now the Hasova lampa café is located up to the "House of the Seasons,” the one with zodiac signs. There were spontaneous "sessions,” when someone stroke a couple of chords on the guitar, and others joined gradually, and the blues seemed to never end. The residents of local houses, dissatisfied with such a neighbourhood, sometimes covered the pavement borders with a thick layer of solid oil, but no one seemed to be disturbed, people used newspapers and cardboards to sit on. Drinking coffee and smoking, they discussed Cortazar, Beckett, Vian, or Nabokov, whose works had just been read, or King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Aquarium, whose compositions had just been listened to, or "The Ballad of Narayama" and "The Last Tango in Paris,” which had just been seen. There were arguments over the existentialism of Sartre and the nihilism of Nietzsche, although the heat of these disputes was inversely proportional to the knowledge of the subject. Samvydav editions produced by the copier Era were also exchanged; I remember it, as I had self-published books of Castaneda, translations of the Doors and Czeslaw Niemen’s songs in my hands.From a conversation with Ihor Diurych and Andriy Taranenko "Bread, Vodka, Nietzsche in a coffret.” About Lviv of the late 1980s. From the mitec.ua resource.
Every morning we went to drink coffee on Virmenska street, because we lived there in the Virmenskyy courtyard. And it was at that time that it was a milieu of the whole underground, informal social groups, hippies and so on (...). So, the police came there regularly, several times a day, and started to chase everyone. As the coffee house was small, and there were plenty of people, all took their cups and went out smoking, despite winter, despite everything. And the police forbade it and always dispersed the people. "Why are you on the street? Fall out! Bring the cups in" and so on, and so on. Well, we did not get any arrests, because they say it happened there too, but we were made to go away from the street, indeed.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
DOMOVA KUKHNIA CAFÉ PID VEZHEYU CAFÉ
And suddenly there was one place where coffee was made in a coffee pot in sand. It was something completely different, this coffee house on Virmenska street. Immediately after the opening, especially on sunny days, there were so many people there that they came out with their coffee to the street and sat on the curbs, played guitars, left their cups right there on the pavement...Alik Olisevych, “The Holy Garden. "The Third Dimension" of Soviet Lviv,” Roman Melnyk and Anastasia Chuprynska, Zbruch, 12 November 2016.
WATER (OR, RATHER, SHORTAGE OF IT)
A phenomenon quite habitual for the life in Lviv in the early 1990s. During the political transformations, the communal services also changed significantly. News about the disconnection of electricity and gas, hourly water supply, refuse problems were repeatedly covered on the pages of the city periodicals. In any case, the practice of keeping a reserve of water and doing homeworks by candlelight is already a habit of Lviv citizens.
I lived on Stryyska street from 1967, and water was supplied irregularly all the time. It happened even that, after the water supply broke down, we were brought water [by water carriers] for a week or ten days. And there were always interruptions with water in the city. For example, it was impossible to simply take some water from a pump: it was necessary to catch it either in the morning or at night, when there was pressure in the system.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
BATHHOUSE No. 2
Well, there was no water in Lviv. It was also a kind of shock, this water on the schedule, at that time and long afterwards. That is, you could catch some water from 6 till 9 a.m. and from 6 till 9 p.m.; and all these basins, bowls, buckets with water, bathtubs which often were overfilled because someone had forgotten to turn the water off and it flooded the neighbours below. And all those constant scandals because of this: "You got water, you did not get water." (...) She [the grandmother] sat and watched half an hour before water was to appear so as to take it quicker than the neighbours. It was a kind of sport.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
LEAD A GOAT
To spend time light-heartedly and easily, going from one coffee house to another, drinking coffee or something stronger and just talking with friends one meets on the way. Often it ended up in a friend’s studio or apartment, where in a cozy and home atmosphere friends could talk to their hearts’ content. Often it was on such an occasion that some crazy ideas like that of the Vyvykh festival were born. In a coffee house one could meet an intellectual artist, a doctor-philosopher, and a musician-hippie who spent time talking and drinking together.
BULKA CAFÉ PID VEZHEYU CAFÉ CHERVONA SHAPOCHKA CAFÉ VAVYLON-XX ART CAFÉ APENDYTSYT CAFÉ
There was a café called Nektar, where people came simply to relieve the tension after a busy day. It was frequented by Aksinin, Sahaydakovskyy and many others. It was possible to talk there, to drink some coffee and to go on, for example, to someone’s studio. It was called "to lead a goat.” They could travel in this way for a week, flowing from a studio to an apartment, from the apartment to a coffee house.Bohdan Shumylovych, "Rejecting Socialism: Alternative Spaces of Lviv in 1970-2000.”
A representative of a subculture formed as a result of a combination of the criminal world and the socialization processes typical of the 1990s. The term is derived from the slang word "hop-stop,” meaning a small theft from a passer-by, an order to stop. Hopnyks appeared as early as the 1920s, when homelessness and crime became an everyday thing. The hopnyk of the 1990s had a characteristic appearance, whose main features were a baseball cap, a tracksuit (almost always a fake Adidas), sunflower seeds (often in a cone made of a newspaper). Hopnyks are considered one of the brightest memories of the 1990s. Therefore, Ukrainian artists often turn to this image and use it in their works. It has been believed that in Lviv hopnyks could most often be found in the sleeping areas.
To be at war with hopnyks was a concept of life. At first, the school did not have enough rooms in the hostel for all nonresidents, and I, along with other new ones, was foisted for some time at a hostel at Levandivka. Levandivka was the legendary bandit district of Lviv, something like Moldavanka in Odesa. It was there that I first heard the word "tusovka.” True, at that time its meaning differed from the current generally accepted one. Separate district groups, "urlas,” were called "tusovkas.” Actually, the district was formed of these “tusovkas.” There were some "home" clashes between “tusovkas,” but when a district declared war on another district, "tusovkas" were united under the common flag. By the way, the word "urla" was used more commonly than "hopnyk.” This subculture, quite naturally, was hostile to all informal groups, whether it be hippies, punks or breakers. The Lviv "urla" wore a specific "uniform": an “aerodrome” cap, a soldier’s quilted jacket and jeans, tucked into kersey boots, whose tops were to be rolled down.From a conversation with Ihor Diurych and Andriy Taranenko "Bread, Vodka, Nietzsche in a coffret.” About Lviv of the late 1980s. From the mitec.ua resource.
A popular practice of the Soviet era was drinking juice, kept in carafes standing on trays at groceries. There also was a spoon for salt (often tied to the counter so as not to be stolen) sticking out of a faceted glass with water.
CHERVONA SHAPOCHKA CAFÉToday, I remember those small stands with juices at groceries (and there also were shops called Juices-Waters)... Carafes with juices (tomato, apple, apple with pulp, rhubarb, grape, birch)… and next, a machine for washing glasses ... you put a glass on it, press, and the machine washes it... and salt for tomato juice... and behind all this, there were empty shelves... everything was in deficiency...From an interview with a project participant’s father within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in the winter of 2017.
The official currency introduced in 1996 to stabilize the economy. Before its introduction, there were two currencies circulating in Ukraine — Soviet rubles and Ukrainian coupon-karbovanets. Coupons were planned to circulate for a short period, until the financial system stabilized, but it did not stabilize year after year. At that time, there was a galloping hyperinflation in the country. The amount of "half-money" increased steadily. In the morning, the price could be one, and in the evening it could be quite different already. Everyone could become a millionaire, but a piece of paper worth 1 million karbovanets could be exchanged for 6 USD. And only in the autumn of 1996, when the crisis slowed down a bit, it became possible to introduce the hryvnia. The old coupon-karbovanets were exchanged for new hryvnias at the rate of 1 to 100 000.
An interesting fact is that the first Ukrainian bank notes were ordered in Canada in 1992. The printing of currency was cheaper there, but the customers failed to consider the fact that the shipping cost (including insurance) of such a valuable product would be very high.
At that time, all were "millionaires" and carried a huge amount of cash with them. Special mention should be made of tear-off coupons, as opposed to "reusable coupons." They were issued in 1990-1991 and served as cards for essentials... the then everyday life was such that we did not know what to expect. As the money was depreciating, there were coupons. We were all millionaires. All prices were counted in thousands.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
Alternate spaces where people, who had different preferences, could communicate, like during meetings in private apartments or studios, going out to cafés, parks, dancing grounds. In particular, researcher Bohdan Shumylovych, in his article "Abandoning Socialism: The Alternative Spaces of Lviv in 1970-2000," distinguishes the following social zones: Khrest (the intersection of Kyivska and Pushkina, now Henerala Chuprynky, streets), Hrob (the end of Engelsa, now Konovaltsia, street), Monte Karlo (the Halana, now Petrushevycha, square), Pliats (the former Prusa Plac, now the Franka square), Bomba (the neighbourhood of the cinema Myr on 700-richchia Lvova boulevard, now the nightclub Malevych on Chornovola boulevard), Levandivka (a generalized core of the city’s Zaliznychnyy district), Pidzamche (the neighbourhood near the Zamkova hill, the Pidzamche railway station), Zboyishcha, Holosko (former suburban villages adjacent to Lviv’s Pidzamche), Rohatka (the area in front of the plant of diamond tools at Pidzamche), Zamok (the area around the Zamkova hill), Park (the area around the Kostiushka, now Franka, park), Venki (the former Haussman, later Zhovtnevyy, and now Kryva Lypa passage), Kaliforniya (the neighbourhood of Naukova street), Kvadrat passage (the area near the bus factory on Stryyska street), Pryvokzalna and the club Liapa (now the neighbourhood of Pryvokzalna and Horodotska streets) and others.HOLY GARDEN ZBOYISHCHA DZYGA GALLERY
After the restoration of Independence, the Ukrainianization continued in many spheres of life in Lviv, from language to pulling down of Soviet monuments. In 1990-1993, almost 600 streets were renamed in Lviv. It was difficult, even for Lvivites, not to get confused with the new names. The most vivid example of decommunization was the public pulling down of the monument to Lenin in 1989. The Soviet symbols became artefacts and objects of interest for collectors, but still only avant-garde artists realized this.
LENIN MUSEUM MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY CHIMNEYSWEEP
Well, the first thing about us, which was touched by the changes, was that we switched to the Ukrainian language. It's not just about the spoken language, it’s about special terms. And all literature, all norms, all this was published in Russian. And it was necessary to translate, somehow to legalize them, as they were not legalized. So there were a lot of differences, say, about "sprats in tomato paste,” someone said so and someone said otherwise...From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
The beginnings of the people’s consciousness awakening, which became possible due to the regime weakening and the emergence of the spirit of freedom. The first mass gatherings were often spontaneous and unplanned. The common element of these demonstrations was that they were of a strongly pronounced positive nature; they were not purely political, as nearly all the demonstrations took place under the slogan "For": for liberalization, for democratization, for environmental consciousness. In 1987, the hippies held the first unauthorized demonstration in the city for glasnost, perestroika, and peace. Both the bohemia and the hippie milieu became involved in the liberalization process, which was later used by democratic politicians to resist the system. Perhaps the biggest demonstration was the rally for the restoration of the Greek Catholic Church on 17 September 1989. At that time, the rallies were often "filled" with permitted and relevant slogans and goals. It was during the demonstrations that the first blue-and-yellow flags began to appear afterwards. The first rallies took place near the monument to Ivan Franko and then were transferred to the Druzhba stadium, later renamed Ukraine. At the rallies, donations for the election campaign and various actions were collected in plastic bags by activists, for example, for trips to other regions of Ukraine or the "Christmas in Lviv" for the residents of Ukraine’s eastern regions. This opportunity was also used by fraudsters, who pretended to be activists.
When the first demonstrations began, people started to walk around freely; when I first heard Chornovil, it was still under the Soviet Union, in about 87, he just spoke at the Haz club, where the Hadiukiny had their rehearsals later. I don’t know what's up there today. It doesn’t exist now, as far as I know. And for the first time he started to speak rather freely about things. To call things by their proper names. You see, about Ukraine, about the world, and so on. This was certainly a triumph.From an interview with Andriy Manilov for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 20 December 2012.
MONUMENT TO IVAN FRANKO AROUND THE MONUMENT TO FEDOROV AREA NEAR THE OPERA AROUND THE ZANKOVETSKA THEATER BERNARDINES COURTYARD HOLY GARDEN YARD IN FRONT OF ST. GEORGE’S CATHEDRAL MONUMENT TO TARAS SHEVCHENKO (KLUMBA) OPERA
On the City Day in 1987, Alik a coffret.” About Lviv of the late 1980s. From the mitec. [Olisevych] organized a political demonstration: about thirty people went out to the central streets with posters, demanding freedom of speech and respect for human rights. On the way, we were joined by ordinary passers-by, as a result, it became a truly "mass demonstration.” For me, this was, above all, an exciting adventure, I did not realize the political significance of this action. But two days later, when the "hostile radio voices" informed about this action, calling it "the first political demonstration in the Ukrainian SSR," I felt the reaction of the Soviet regime on myself.From a conversation with Ihor Diurych and Andriy Taranenko "Bread, Vodka, Nietzsche in a coffret.” About Lviv of the late 1980s. From the mitec.ua resource.
An unofficial clone of the Nintendo Entertainment System game console. The Dendy was made in Thailand specifically for distribution in the USSR and later in the CIS countries. As the NES was not sold officially in these territories, the Dendy became very popular. This cult toy of the early 1990s was not affordable to anyone. Licensed cartridges were worth their weight in gold, so pirate copies were most commonly used.
* Dendy — the name of the elephant, the console mascot.
There were a lot of games on consoles, but Super Mario was the undisputed leader. If you ponder over the plot of the game itself, you stop wondering why our generation has grown up exactly as it is. The game’s main character is Mario, a plumber (and his brother Luigi for the second player). The player must pass through the Mushroom Kingdom, destroying the King Bowser’s henchmen, so as to save the princess. In a word, the “gastarbeitery” in combination with psychedelia and some romance in the background.Vladyslav Ivchenko "The Dashing Nineties: How Sumy Were Not Sad,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2015.
A phenomenon proper to planned economy, typical throughout the history of the Soviet Union. Having money, buyers nevertheless lacked certain goods and services, sometimes even the essentials.
In 1995, shops were empty, nothing at all could be found there. To buy something, we had to go to Poland. It was the year of our wedding, and my fiancee and I went to Przemysl. We had to buy wedding rings and a wedding suit. First, however, we saw a water heater, which we also needed, so we bought it and carried it with us around the town for half a day; as a result, my hands were swollen, and when I tried the ring, I bought a larger size. Now I have to wear it on another finger, which is thicker.From an interview with a project participant’s father within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in the winter of 2017.
SKVOZNIAK DEPARTMENT STORE
It was around 1987, there was no butter. And when it was brought, they gave only one packet per person and a queue was formed for three hours. After work, my mother used to go to the shop and to stand in that queue. I was 13 years old at that time and I wanted to go out. My mother told me to walk around the shop and to check the queue from time to time. When our turn approached, I joined my mother, and so we were given two packets of butter.From an interview with a project participant’s father within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in the winter of 2017.
From the 1970s, an indispensable element of the wardrobe of every man and woman of fashion, the "symbol" of the Western way of life. At the beginning, jeans were in shortage, and the ban on wearing them in public institutions led to rebellious sentiments. The demand for scarce goods, such as jeans, gave birth to an underground business and flea markets (barakholkas). Real factory-made stonewashed jeans were terribly expensive, so the ritual of transforming old things into trend ones was often carried out at home. Mawin jeans, which began to be called Malvinas, were popular too. There were several channels for getting Western goods in the USSR. They were brought to the country by diplomats, artists, and athletes who traveled abroad and returned from there fashionable, beautifully dressed. Foreign goods were delivered by the merchant marine seamen, foreign journalists, and students. In addition to clothing, these channels were used to bring to the country magazines, in which Soviet people could see a completely different, bright and luxurious life. All this not only attracted mass attention of citizens, but also stimulated their interest. At the same time, there was a problem of selling all the goods brought for sale. It was impossible to do this legally, so there was a need for intermediaries, who were called fartsovshchyks, i.e. black marketeers. Those who had "branded" things were considered successful. If a young man was said to be "completely packed in jeans,” it was as if a frame of a person, who achieved individual success, were produced.
This is a classic situation of those times: records, some Japanese or German tape recorders, and jeans. I was given money and always brought jeans from Karaganda. I bought jeans at a barakholka in Karaganda twice cheaper than in Lviv, without any problem, and then I could even earn some money on them in Lviv. At that time, it was Vynnychuk who was the most famous fartsovshchyk among the whole literary milieu.From an interview with Vlodko Kaufman for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 15 December 2012.
In the late 1980s, people were considered stylish if they had at least one fashionable thing in their wardrobe. If you had at least jeans, you were fashionable. Making a complete ensemble of clothes was impossible, because at the moment when you were buying shoes, the outer clothing could already be worn out.From Zoya Zvyniatskivska's lecture "The Fashion at the Time of the Disintegration" within the lecture program for the exhibition of photographs by Tadeusz Rolke "Tomorrow will be better"; Lviv, March 2017.
Stonewashed jeans differed from ordinary ones because they looked worn and threadbare: so they were considered, say, more real, true, counter-cultural and fashionable. Cowboys never wore new jeans. However, in those days when the USSR was on its last legs, no one was going to (and could) wear them out in shootouts with the Indians, so they were "worn out" in special ways: by the so-called “cooking.”Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
One of the city’s first independent artistic associations. It was founded by activists of the Student Brotherhood and avant-garde artists in 1993. It immediately became the center of alternative art and culture in Lviv. During the Dzyga existence, a lot of cultural events were carried out in it, for example, exhibitions of paintings or concerts of young musicians, the first festivals of contemporary art... so it is today.
This aura of artistic talks, gossip about where and which exhibition is held... Then the milieu moved to the restaurant Chervona Kalyna near the philharmonic society, later to the Porokhova Vezha, and still later the time came for the bohemian pubs of Dzyga. They still do this, and it seems to be the most successful thing they do. The Dzyga knew what Lviv’s artistic environment was."Viktor Neborak about Lviv’s bohemian coffee houses and pubs,” Nata Koval, Chytomo, 6 November 2014.
Before, there was something, a kind of dead end encumbered with some lumber, something like that, I remember that it used to be some sort of godforsaken hole, a dead end.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
An accessory which enabled one to assume an air of importance and business efficiency. Attache cases covered with leather were expensive and inaccessible, but still very desirable. As a reaction to demand, counterfeits (now fashionably called "replicas") were produced on a mass scale, smartly taken up by cooperatives. Attache cases were often made of plywood covered with leatherette. The quality was poor, but the price was affordable, so the long-desired "element of prestige" could be bought. It was at that time that a snappy expression "made of dermatin’s leather" appeared. A similar situation was with fur caps, jeans, and shoes.
I remember being impressed when I saw our engineers in a shop trying to pack two three-liter jars of cucumbers in their briefcases. The jars were round, the attache cases were flat. Where were their string bags?From the memoirs of an eyewitness from a blog about the 1990s in Lviv (Lviv portal).
In the early 1990s, all available joys of life functioned only in the daytime: you could go to the cinema or dance at a disco, but discos worked only till 11 p.m. Later people met at someone's home and arranged the so-called “apartment concerts.” Those who possessed extremely fashionable (at that time) video players, spent time watching Asian action films.
IVANA MYKOLAYCHUKA CINEMA ROMANTYK CLUB VEZHA VIDEO CAFÉ
I worked once at an accounting department, and the first disco bar opened nearby. It was on the ground floor, very romantic. Well, there was a nightclub as well, never mind. Everything there was at the highest level. However, those who went there had to have money. Average citizens did not even look in that direction. A disco bar. The first one opened in Lviv.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
Euphoria was manifested in the general elation and feeling of joy, the state of the society after the restoration of Ukraine’s independence. The most striking examples of this euphoria include rallies at the Klumba, the Vyvykh festival or the “Defloration” exhibition at the Lenin Museum. Euphoria is a short-lived phenomenon; judging by eyewitness accounts, as early as the mid-1990s many Ukrainians were disappointed, the euphoria was over due to everyday problems: low wages, criminalization, and an unstable political situation. Among the attempts to nourish this euphoria was spreading of a variety of historical falsifications and myths, which began to emerge in the early 1990s. As an example, the work "The Way of the Aryans: Ukraine in the Spiritual History of Mankind" can be cited, a modern myth, a proposal to follow the only right way, to feel oneself a single whole with the world, a link between the past and the future, part of a great, heroic and immortal community steering to a better future.
It was a special period. After you had been forbidden to do anything at all, now you could exhibit, you could do and show. Therefore, it was actually a kind of several-year-long euphoria, when people were creating, say, on the old yeast, using some old stock. It was virtually impossible to separate, say, visual art from poetry or from music. It was all so intertwined… and well, someone had more to do with the theater, someone less to do with the theater, and with the theatre it was the same thing. That's why it was an interesting time, when something happened every day. Well, it was like that.From an interview with Heorhiy Kosovan for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 15 December 2014.
AROUND THE ZANKOVETSKA THEATER MONUMENT TO TARAS SHEVCHENKO (KLUMBA)
Yes, all those poorly and uniformly dressed people not only lined up in queues and not just stood during rallies. They were inspired by the Great Dream. Today, we would call this dream European, but this definition was not used at that time. In the 1990s, such a magic word was democracy. And democracy was seen as an inalienable attribute of a national state. The newly-won (in action) right to raise the blue-and-yellow flag publicly was not only a symbol of national statehood, but also that of political liberties and future prosperity for all citizens. It's hard to imagine how enormous the credit of trust in new type politicians was, in all those former doctors, writers, or dissidents. They embodied the Great Dream of genuine people's rule and happy life in a nation state, the dream so powerful that it forced a lot of people to seriously believe in the gold of Polubotok.From Vasyl Rasevych’s text for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke "Tomorrow will be better"
After the Chornobyl tragedy, environmental movements became more active. Organizations were set up in cities, rallies were held under ecological slogans. Often, political rallies were veiled by environmental slogans. Public organizations, formed for the protection of nature, can be considered not only purely environmental, as they were a significant component of social and political life. The first national non-governmental environmental organization was the Zelenyy Svit (Green World), registered in 1987. Its activities were centered on environmental issues, which were especially burning after the Chornobyl disaster. One of the first mass rallies in the perestroyka times (almost 20 thousand participants), held in Kyiv in November 1988, was devoted to environmental problems. People sharply expressed their dissatisfaction with the authorities’ policy of concealing from the people the whole truth about the devastating consequences of the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.
AREA NEAR THE OPERAOn April 26, at an ecological rally held on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Chornobyl tragedy in Lviv, three blue-and-yellow flags appeared for the first time. An environmental action was also held in the late 1980s. It was almost a performance: a polyethylene pipe was made, the engine of a Volga car was started, and the pipe was put into the exhaust to show the level of air pollution. It was on Svobody (then Lenina) boulevard.From a conversation with Oles Pohranychny within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
A cult game, popular not only among children of the 1990s generation, was called "Well, just you wait!" and was one of a series of the first Soviet handheld electronic games with a liquid crystal display. The plot of the game was simple. Four hens are laying eggs; controlling the wolf (a one featured in the cartoon "Well, just you wait!"), you need to catch as many eggs as you can in a basket. The "Well, just you wait!" was an unofficial (pirate) clone of the Nintendo EG-26 Egg of the Nintendo Game & Watch series. The only thing that distinguished it from the original was a wolf from the cartoon "Well, just you wait!" instead of a wolf with a hat in the original game and a hare instead of a cock looking out of the house. The toy began to be released in 1984. In addition to the game, the device had a clock and an alarm clock function. The retail price of the "Well, just you wait!" was 25 rubles.
EURORENOVATION / EUROCEILINGS / EUROTYRES
After the beginning of the restoration of independence, dozens of neologisms containing the prefix "euro" were brought into usage in Ukraine. In the 1990s, the concept of "eurorenovation" appeared, labelling the arrangement of a room, where sterility and brightness of the design helped people to identify their social success. After the "eurorenovation" there were such words as "eurowindows,” "eurodoors" (armoured doors with several locks, made mainly in China), "eurowallpapers" and "euroceilings.” “Euroceilings,” made of plasterboard, with built-in small lights, followed European minimalism, which was supposed to replace massive Soviet-era lamps — a symbol of everyday communist giganticism in a separate apartment.
Cultural mythology, built around the words "European" and "Euro,” is clearly associated in the Ukrainian society’s collective consciousness with a paradise reality, an Eldorado, where all the inconveniences of the Soviet era fade in the past, and people find themselves in a place where their dreams of comfort, clean bathroom equipment and plumbing, rule of law, polite guards, and supermarkets full of cheap food come true.Volodymyr Yermolenko, "The “Eurolanguage” and its Ukrainian Version: New Words and New Objects,” Ukraina Moderna, № 5 (16), 2010.
In the Soviet Union, there was no private property, citizens received housing from the state long after being put on a waiting list. There were separate lists for population groups entitled to special benefits (war veterans, heroes of the Soviet Union, people with disabilities, single mothers, large families), which moved relatively quickly. However, finding themselves in the general list, people could wait for an apartment for 25-30 years. In the 1990s this system, which had never worked properly enough, collapsed. The process stopped, apartments were not built, people did not receive them. Several generations lived in one house, there was not enough personal space. In 1992, the Law "On Privatization of the State Housing Fund" was adopted. This meant that residents could acquire ownership of the apartment they lived in.
To privatize an apartment, we had to run here and there, to stand in queues, to have a hard time with documents: bureaucracy. But it cost relatively cheaply. Those, who had more opportunities, privatized their apartments, then sold them and so earned their living.From a family interview with a project participant’s sister within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
Whole families were ruined because of housing lists. Lack of square meters and the fact that young people could not buy a separate apartment till the 1990s, gave rise to a generation of "broken families,” who became hostages of the system.
From a conversation with Iryna Mahdysh within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
In the mid-1990s Lvivites started to go abroad to work. The mass Ukrainian labour migration after 1991 was called the "Fourth Wave." Fleeing from unemployment, a lot of Ukrainian citizens left mostly for the West. The reason was the economic crisis, and the phenomenon became so widespread, that eventually it gave impetus to the development of the banking network, influenced the city's economy and the real estate market. Lvivites familiarized themselves with the labour market of Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. More personal influence of the labour migrants on the life of Lviv citizens was the transfer of packages with sweets and clothes, “eurorenovations” for the money earned abroad, new home appliances.
The average salary in 1991, immediately after the restoration of independence, began to increase sharply due to inflation, which accelerated from 4% in August to 24% in December. Over the year, prices increased by 3.9 times, while earnings increased by half, from 250 to 500 rubles on average. At the then official rate of 1.8 rubles per 1 USD it was 270 USD, but in reality citizens sold dollars at a commercial rate of 27 rubles per 1 USD, that is, the entire salary "cost" was only 18 USD. However, there was not much to buy even for a large salary because of the total shortage of goods."The evolution of independence: how the tastes and habits of Ukrainians changed over 25 years,” Siohodni newspaper, 24 August 2016.
This accessory was very popular among young people in the 1990s as a certain symbol of protest against the system, when young people, wearing dozens of badges at once, devalued the meaning and significance of this Soviet distinction. Knapsacks, bags, jackets — all these things could be decorated with badges. There was even a motto "There cannot be too many badges."
Gold crowns for teeth were patented by John Beers, a dentist, in San Francisco in 1873. In the 1990s, gold crowns on the front teeth did not necessarily indicate dental problems. Crowns, made of pure gold, were a trend and showed the person’s financial capabilities. Gold crowns also became a good investment and often were pawned.
The economic crisis caused inflation, i.e. devaluation of money. Prices grew every day (sometimes in the evening they were higher than they were in the morning); in panic, people bought whatever was necessary and unnecessary (so as to sell it at a higher price later or just not to lose money). Very soon there was nothing left in shops. Salaries were constantly raised, but they did not keep up with the prices. At factories, salaries were often paid not in money, but in goods produced there; it was much more profitable. Then everyone tried to sell the goods to someone. People who were used to hundreds, received thousands, and nevertheless picked up a scanty livelihood. Those, who were smart, could find an opportunity to take a big money loan, to buy expensive goods at the black market, and to honestly give back the whole amount six months later, when it already did not cost anything.
A kilo of meat rose in price from 3-4 to 10-12 rubles, a loaf of bread — from 16 to 40 kopiykas. And if someone had any shadow income — for example, old women who sold greens at small illegal markets — it was not big."The evolution of independence: how the tastes and habits of Ukrainians changed over 25 years,” Siohodni newspaper, 24 August 2016.
SKVOZNIAK DEPARTMENT STORE
I remember that day when all of a sudden a reassessment was made, when we were still living in a reality where one’s salary is 100 or 200 (I do not remember if it was still in rubles or in hryvnias already, it must be checked out, because years get so mixed up). We still lived in those Soviet realities and price parameters. When sausage was, say, three rubles, and then we come to a shop and see it cost 200 hryvnias or 200 rubles, I do not remember. It was as strange as if we came there now and saw it cost 2,000, something like that.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
At that time there were two parallel realities — a Soviet one and an alternative one; you could read the official newspaper Vilna Ukraina and its opponent Za vilnu Ukrainu at the same time, listen to different radio stations and to different people. For example, Lviv residents usually learned about the January events in Azerbaijan (Soviet Army invaded Baku), Moldova (Tiraspol declared independence), Bulgaria and Yugoslavia (the one-party system collapsed) or the Soviet Baltic republics (declarations of sovereignty) from hearsay and information publications distributed at the Klumba in the city center, or listening to Western radio stations. Official media could instead announce the opening of the first McDonald's in Moscow, the release of Nelson Mandela from jail or the election of Mikhail Gorbachev as the first president of the USSR. Such a situation of informational polyphony was possible due to the policy of glasnost.
CINEMA CLUB ON KHASANSKA STREET BUDYNOK KNYHY MONUMENT TO TARAS SHEVCHENKO (KLUMBA) OPERA
And then there was a lot of all kinds of newspapers. A good deal of them were issued for one day, for two or three days. They were different, there was a lot of information. Who knows where the paper came from, as well as the printing presses... So we had information. We subscribed to the Sovetskiy sport, because my husband was interested in this topic, to the Lvivska pravda and to another central newspaper, Izvestiya. And the rest was bought. Something was bought by us, something was bought and distributed by someone else. We gave the newspapers to one another to read, passed them from hand in hand.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
In the late 1980s, there appeared new magazines with translations and texts, which were not ideologically coloured. For example, the Yi — an independent culturological magazine, which dates back to 1989. Its first publications were translations of philosophical texts (mostly German) into Ukrainian, works of the generation of the 1980s and of contemporary poets and writers, political articles about Ukraine's position in the international environment, its relations with neighbouring and European states. For some time, the magazine’s “editorial staff” was located on the first floor of the Dzyga. The archive of all publications can be accessed here: http://www.ji.lviv.ua/ji-arhiv.htm
The Chetver — a magazine of texts and visions was of the same kind, its first issues were printed on a copier, while the layouts were made using scraps from old magazines, PVA adhesive, and scissors. The magazine was founded by Yuriy Izdryk in 1989, and the first issue was issued in 1990. From 1997 till 1999 it was not issued, and in 2008 the last issue No. 30 was published. Yuriy Andrukhovych, Volodymyr Yeshkiliev, Taras Prokhasko, Sofia Andrukhovych cooperated with the magazine at various times.
A lot of modern Ukrainian literary figures debuted there: Taras Prohasko (by the way, the first one who was rejected a publication), Serhiy Zhadan, Volodymyr Yeshkiliev, Marianna Kiyanovska, Natalia Sniadanko, Tetiana Maliarchuk, Liubko Deresh... Some issues of the magazine are available on the site: http://chetver.com.ua/archive.htm
We wanted to make a thick, glamorous literary magazine, but with some kind of frills, a bit underground, youth, and stylish. We have never been a real periodical: when a magazine was ready, then it was sent to the press. At one time, the Chetver played the role of a launch pad for many young talents. There were no restrictions, censorship, ideology there. The only criterion was the quality of texts. A publication in the magazine often became the first step in a successful literary career."Yurko Izdryk: the Chetver’s time is over, the harvest is reaped, the herbarium is closed," Oksana Khmeliovska, Chytomo, 2015.
A toy consisting of two interconnected disks and a string between them. Even the ancient Greeks enjoyed the yo-yo, made of clay at that time, and the Filipinos used it as a weapon for hunting. The yo-yo acquired its contemporary shape in the United States in the 1920s. In the 1990s, yo-yos with the signs of Fanta and Coca-Cola on the outside of the disks were most widespread in Ukraine.
A martial art. In the 1980s, karate became very popular. Each city had karate classes for children and young people. This spreading of martial arts was facilitated by the distribution of foreign action films (with Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Sylvester Stallone). Their characters often became role models for young people.
To the four types of wrestling — Graeco-Roman, freestyle, sambo, and judo, — which were developed earlier, karate has now been added. Enthusiasts from almost fifty cities gathered in Moscow for a constituent assembly and created a federation for this sport. It was decided to open new clubs and classes in the capitals of all the Union’s republics, in many cities. Only specialists, who have received the USSR Sports Committee’s certificate of a "karate wrestling trainer,” are allowed to conduct classes. The contact style of karate with strikes is strictly forbidden, as it does not correspond to the humane principles of the Soviet system of physical education. In the near future, the rating requirements will be determined.A quotation from an article about karate in the newspaper Pravda, 6 January 1979 (materials from the Arzamas resource).
In the Soviet times, a practice of "going for potatoes" was widespread; students and workers (of plants, factories, administrative institutions) were sent to the country to help with harvesting. Often there trips were mandatory for students regardless of their specialty. Analyzing the memoirs of eyewitnesses, it can be said that these trips "for potatoes" were remembered not only as constant work; those days were unforgettable in their own way: dancing to the player music, merry companies, romantic walks under the stars, swimming in the river, songs at the fire.
Once, in the first year, we were sent to do some practice, to unload barges with Kherson watermelons. There was a problem with shower, so we had to wash our hands and faces with those watermelons... I haven’t eaten watermelons since that time.From memories of a project participant’s mother within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in January 2017.
Labour preparation should take place taking into account the achievements of psychological and pedagogical sciences, scientific and technological progress, innovators’ own experience, and form in young people the awareness of the need for personal participation in the development of agro-industrial production and the readiness for constant self-improvement of individual economic culture.An excerpt from a university's order about the compulsory nature of students’ practical training.
MUTUAL AID FUND
In the turmoil of the pre-independent years students, who took an active part in social and political life, were often threatened by the system. For participation in rallies or work in illegal organizations, such as the Student Brotherhood, everyone could be subject to obstruction and expelled from the university. In order to minimize these effects, students created a kind of fund consisting of their own money, which could be used for immediate expenses under force majeure.AROUND THE ZANKOVETSKA THEATER
One of the "primitive" media carriers. There were two types of cassettes: audio cassettes, which were, perhaps, the major music retransmitter in the 1990s, and video cassettes, used for recording films and home videos. An integral element to the cassette was a simple pencil, used to scroll the cassette’s magnetic tape so that it was not spoiled or jammed by the tape recorder.
VEZHA VIDEO CAFÉCassettes were carefully copied, like books in the Middle Ages. Each subsequent recording was worse and worse, like a photo of another photo. Empty cassettes were sold in boxes with white labels, where you could neatly write what it was possible to listen to with this cassette. They took a lot of space in the apartment, especially if a music lover lived there.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
Chamber meetings in private apartments or studios, where concerts, literary readings, and discussions took place. The city’s alternative underground culture was formed there. It can be assumed that it was due to these apartment concerts that music groups like the Mertvyy Piven or the Braty Hadiukiny became popular. In Lviv, the culture of arranging apartment concerts was not so widespread and popular as in Kyiv or Kharkiv.
Before the mass appearance of television in the apartments of Lviv, going to the cinema was an integral part of recreation and entertainment. At that time, Soviet and Indian films, sometimes cult Western ones were popular. The early 1990s are called the "Ukrainian Hollywood" for film making: feature and documentary films were produced on a mass scale then. At the beginning of the last decade of the last millennium, the Dovzhenko Film Studio has released 54 films. In the early 1990s, there were about 30 cinemas in Lviv; nearly all were closed by the end of the decade. Cinemas were on the decline due to the lack of public funding and the creation of Ltd companies on the basis of unprofitable government-owned cinemas. Video rental shops and video salons became the main competitors of cinemas.
People used to go to the cinema constantly. It was a culture of life in the Soviet Union. Cinema replaced a lot of things. Firstly, it was interesting, secondly, it was a way of communication, and thirdly, it was such a small holiday, breaking away from everyday life. Cinemas were overcrowded almost always, even if there were bad movies there, people still went to watch them. Because it was something different.From an interview with Yaroslav Hrytsak for the collection "Cinema and Lviv: Environments. Revision. Creation.” Posted on 9 November 2012.
CINEMA CLUB ON KHASANSKA STREET LESI UKRAYINKY CINEMA LVIV CINEMA LITAK CINEMA VOKZAL CINEMA DNIPRO CINEMA IVANA FRANKA CINEMA VEZHA VIDEO CAFÉ
My friend and I did not want to stay in the dormitory, and we actually used to go to the cinema every day. First we went around all the cinemas one at a time, and then went there for the second time, and then for the third. At that time, there was a cinema called Pioner in the place, where the theater Voskresinnia is now located. And as far as I remember, "The Elusive Avengers" were shown there, and we watched it about seven times, probably. They did not change the repertoire there. So, let’s go to see "the elusive ones"? Well, let's go. Also we used to go to watch cartoons on Sichovykh Striltsiv street, it was still called Simnadtsiatoho Veresnia then. And there also was a cinema called Myr, opposite the hotel Lviv. All those cinemas, Kyiv and Shchors, were located in the city’s center, and, it seems to me, we even used to go [to the cinema] in the Stryyskyy Park as well.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
“The Flower Bed,” a place where people gathered to discuss current events, demonstrations, and rallies. It was there that a stone with the inscription "There will be a monument to Taras Shevchenko here" was placed, and that's actually what happened later. Once a place where verbal battles between football fans were waged, it became an outdoor talking shop for everyone. One could learn all latest news about planned rallies and actions there. It was possible to listen to famous rally frequenters and to buy various national symbols, patriotic and religious booklets, samvydav editions.
AROUND THE ZANKOVETSKA THEATER MONUMENT TO TARAS SHEVCHENKO (KLUMBA)
This piece of the square was sacred to many Lvivites, even the newlyweds came to be photographed here. From 1989 people began to gather there to discuss political issues, to exchange homemade national symbols and, of course, the fresh press. Soviet newspapers cost a few kopecks, whereas the price of samvydav newspapers was a few rubles. However, people were thirsty for information and easily left some money in this impromptu Hyde Park of Lviv.From a conversation with Liubko Petrenko within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in November 2016.
Commission shops were commercial institutions, where used (as a rule) clothes, appliances, furniture, tableware, jewelry, and other household items were taken for sale. After the goods were sold, the shop received a certain share, i.e. the commission, and the suppliers of the goods were given their pay. Due to the difficult financial situation, many people brought and sold antique items just for a song. And those, who had a little more money, could at a cheap price buy things equivalent to those exhibited at museums today.
At that time, connoisseurs of antiquity could accumulate a significant amount of capital in things, which over time were sold for dozens or even hundreds of times more money than was invested.From memoirs of a project participant’s aunt within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in April 2017.
An apartment, whose separate rooms were inhabited by several families. Shared facilities in these apartments included a bath, toilet, kitchen, corridor, pantry. Communal apartments were widespread as early as the beginning of the 1930s, but in the 1990s they still remained a cheap solution to the housing issue. However, in Lviv they were not so common as in Kyiv, Odesa or Moscow.
...We four lived in a room of 9 [square] meters. In the other two rooms, there were other people. These were the happiest years of my childhood. In the 1970s we got a separate apartment, and in about 1992-1993 Kazik’s aunt privatized that whole home, because everyone else had left.From an interview with a project participant’s father within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in March 2017.
CONCERT OF GREETINGS
A popular TV program. It started to be broadcast by Lviv television in the mid-1970s and was closed in 2017. The idea and format were borrowed from the "Koncert Życzeń" (Polish for the “concert of greetings”), which Lvivites could "catch" with their "Polish antennas.” Initially, the program was shown only live. The "concert of greetings" had its unchanging audience (mostly elderly people), who on Sunday impatiently waited in front of their TV sets for the well-known presenters, so as to listen to a "favourite song" and to congratulations on the anniversary, birthday, or another solemn event. In the early 1990s, mostly folk and the Sich Riflemen’s songs were ordered, the fact testifying to a nostalgia for traditional Ukrainian music.
At first it was not a commercial program, but later they realized that it was possible to earn money on this. A particular downturn was felt when the Soviet Union collapsed. Nobody wanted to be engaged in this at that time. Anyway, we went through that difficult period somehow. This program often seems to be somewhat primitive. One should pay attention, however, to whom are all these congratulations addressed to: mostly parents, grandfathers, grandmothers. The program is for the older generation. We are often asked why there are not always modern songs on the air, and I answer that having a TV with a remote control everyone can just switch.From an interview with Petro Ostapyshyn, Ksenia Medynska, Taras Chaykivskyy "The Face of Lviv Television,” Press Center. Recorded on 12 December 2011.
The beginnings of business activity manifestation. Cooperatives were formed on the basis of a voluntary association of people for gaining some economical benefits. One of the most striking examples of such an association was the café Khlibosol known in the 1990s. Given the fact that the state economic machine failed, there was freedom of business immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Often the regulation of relations was taken up by the criminal world, in particular, the phenomenon of racket was widespread. As a rule, cooperatives were created at the Lviv industrial giants. The period of the cooperative movement was affected by several characteristic phenomena: first, the possibility of earning big money in a short time and having no place to actually invest it; second, the phenomenon of racket. The most successful were cooperatives created in the food, light and services industries.
...Cooperatives started to work, they sprang up very soon. Some made shoes, others sewed clothes. As far as I remember, the first cooperative was a canteen, or not even a canteen, but a café near the Magnus. A private café, opened by a woman. It was still, perhaps, the end of the eighties. And everyone went to have a meal there, at least once. What is a cooperative café? I remember, in my opinion, there is still something there, there were small premises, two rooms. What other cooperatives were there? Various ones. Chiefly related to making shoes and clothing. Everyone, who was able to do something, gathered together, opened [their business] and began selling. The goods quality was not quite good, but more or less it was possible to buy them. ... And then some cooperatives began making jackets. For example, a friend of mine made jackets and jeans. And he was doing very well on that. But he had an opportunity to go to Poland and to bring the necessary goods, materials. And he had a few hired workers already. Well, it seems he had only outworkers. He brought them patterns, material, fittings, and then picked up the finished product and sold it himself. These were very popular things. Jeans and jackets were sold out very soon. And there were those patterns, so that they could be made quickly.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
A slang word meaning “a point,” used by young people to designate everyday meeting places. It is interesting that many of these places had independently installed boards, where it was possible to leave announcements about events or ordinary messages for friends, if plans were suddenly changed.
MONUMENT TO IVAN FRANKO PSIACHA BUDA CAFÉ DOMOVA KUKHNIA CAFÉ CINEMA CLUB ON KHASANSKA STREET PID VEZHEYU CAFÉ KOMARYK CAFÉ DZYGA GALLERY VAVYLON-XX ART CAFÉ LIALKA CLUB
As for our points... there was the Nektar, a pub on Saksahanskoho street, where people belonging to the artistic milieu gathered. The second one was the so-called Shokoladka or the Svitoch later. In the basement, there was such a restaurant there, almost inaccessible. Well, later some others appeared, the Kentavr, then Medivnia on Krakivska street.From an interview with Taras Vozniak for the collection "Cinema and Lviv: Environments. Revision. Creation.” Posted on 21 December 2012.
CUT-GLASS TABLEWARE SET
In the 60s and 70s of the last century, a dream interior was a sectional wall unit, packed with cut-glass tableware and a porcelain service Madonna. These items were a sign of well-being, and it was difficult to get such a luxury: to buy them, people stood in queues for 24 hours a day or brought them from abroad. Massive vases were given as presents on special holidays: for a wedding, in honour of an anniversary or a retirement send-off. Every Soviet family’s must-have was cut-glass glasses, tumblers, vases, ashtrays, sugar bowls, and "boats" in the sideboard. In addition, cut-glass ware was considered an ideal investment option. In the 1990s, it were shuttle traders who were engaged in buying and selling tableware of this kind.
A ceremony of cut-glass ware washing was held about once a month, all members of the family participating. It was a special ritual; the most valuable items, for example, massive vases, were not allowed to be washed by children: God forbid, the cut-glass treasure could be broken. Then all this was arranged in the wall unit in a beautiful manner, which was impossible for us, children, to understand.From an interview with a project participant’s mother within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in May 2017.
The student dress code required jeans and preferably a white T-shirt with an inscription in foreign letters (English was known to few people at that time). An integral part of such an image were sneakers. The top level was Adidas, followed by Puma, the bronze medal was given to the Czech firm Botas. The city wore clothes and shoes, never displayed as goods for sale in shop windows; at the same time, on Akademichna street, where now the Adidas shop is located, there was a shop of the local shoe factory Progres.DOBROBUT MARKET CHOBITOK
LAVENDER, MOUNTAIN LAVENDER...
A cult song (in Russian) by Sofia Rotaru, which could be heard in coffee houses and at markets; like other hits, if it sounded, it sounded everywhere. A lot of hits and schlagers (popular songs) of the Soviet, later Russian and Ukrainian, singers, which are still popular today, can be traced to the 1990s. A "Schlager" or "hit" is the concept of mass culture, which means any dance song with a lyrical entertaining text, capable of gaining popularity and commercial success. Among the Ukrainian "showbiz" of the 1990s, there were hits of Taisiya Povaliy, Viktor Pavlik, Iryna Bilyk, Oleksandr Ponomariov, Natalia Mohylevska. Also among popular Ukrainian performers of that time, there were Alla Kudlay, Pavlo Zibrov, Ivo Bobul and others.
ROMANTYK CLUB SHOKOLADKA CAFÉ
Mainstreamers listened to the music, which was in the background, and it was impossible to hide from it. Anzhelika Varum ("Vishnia, vishnia, zimniaya vishnia…"), Murat Nasirov ("Malchik khochet v Tambov, chiki-chiki-chiki-ta"), Tatyana Bulanova ("Yasnyy moy tsvet"), as well as Diskoteka Avariya, Ruki Vverkh… they are innumerable and their name is legion.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
A booth or kiosk was a retail trade location, which often served as a "point" where companies of friends used to gather. The kiosk was chiefly metallic; its show-window was completely piled up with goods. It was in these kiosks that the goods, which had been in shortage, like chewing gums, chocolate bars, and carbonated soft drinks, were finally available. An obligatory attribute of such a kiosk was a small information sign on the small window from where the products were given out. The most popular inscriptions were "No Beer" and "To be back in 5 minutes."
The family lived close enough to the center, and, going out of the underground, we saw the first kiosks. There still was no such thing as kiosk in Lviv. So, here they are, these kiosks with snickers and all these foreign vodkas. All this could not be bought in shops, they were still Soviet, but the first commercial kiosks appeared, there were lots of various, foreign things in them.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
Popular clothing in criminal circles. For the "nouveaux riches" this jacket became a symbol of a successful businessman. In this way the owners of crimson jackets emphasized the fact that they could afford anything. Often, a gold chain was hung on the neck, and, under the jacket, a tracksuit was worn for convenience and readiness for any situations. The trend for crimson jackets was initiated by Sergei Mavrodi, founder of the first financial pyramid MMM.
Well, there were showdowns and shootouts, very often. Once I saw with my own eyes a man grabbed and put in a car on Kopernika street, he screamed and shouted, but nobody helped him, he was taken away. Nobody knew, where and why. There were crimson jackets, there were those huge chains... there was something new every day. And what to say, it was scary till some moment.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
A popular kind of collapsible furniture, which includes a sideboard, a bookcase, a niche for a TV set, a closed alcohol bar, a wardrobe and a lot of upper shelves. This furniture occupied the central place in the living room, as it was possible to show the guests through the glass doors the contemporary objects of pride and prestige: cut-glass glasses, salad bowls and vases, books of classics in gilded bindings, porcelain statuettes.
A wall unit of the "Snow White’s Coffin" type was considered a sign of prosperity. The level was also determined by carpets on the walls and floor, a cut-glass chandelier on the ceiling, a colour TV set and a "reel" tape recorder. A semi-automatic washing machine Maliutka, after which the washing was wrung out by hand, was considered a good fortune. All this was obtained, as a rule, through one's personal connections.
"The evolution of independence: how the tastes and habits of Ukrainians changed over 25 years,” Siohodni newspaper, 24 August 2016.
MERTVYY PIVEN (THE DEAD ROOSTER)
A rock band, which was born in the environment of Lviv Ivan Franko University. In the 1990s, these guys actively toured throughout Europe. The band debuted at the festival of youth alternative culture and art Vyvykh. They also often performed at the Dzyga and Lialka, cult counter-cultural institutions of that time in Lviv. The band’s highlight was the popularization of Ukrainian poetry. In particular, poems by Yuriy Andrukhovych, Viktor Neborak, Ihor Kalynets were used. Among the Mertvyy Piven audience, there were "advanced" teens, students of prestigious (and not so much) universities, Lviv artists, former dissidents. Due to atmospheric chamber concerts and the style of improvising, the Mertvyy Piven was often called the most lively Ukrainian band.LIALKA CLUB
Due to the perestroika, there were new opportunities for the development of national communities’ cultural life. In 1988 Oleksandr Lizen, a writer, initiated the creation in Lviv of one of the first Jewish cultural societies in the USSR, that of Shalom Aleichem. Religious life was also revived gradually. In 1989 the building of the Tsori Gilod synagogue (now Brativ Mikhnovskykh street) was restituted to the Jewish community. In 1989 the graves at the "Lviv eaglets" memorial, destroyed in the 1970s by the Soviet authorities, were put in order for the first time. The memorial is funded by the Warsaw company Energopol, which was involved in the construction of a power unit at the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant.SYNAGOGUE ON VUHILNA STREET ZBOYISHCHA
Pilferers (called nesuny in the USSR, literally, “those who carry”) were people involved in the theft of goods, raw materials, tools, and means of production, secretly transferring them outside the enterprise. This phenomenon became widespread in the Soviet Union. Workers and employees of meat-packing plants, dairies, distilleries, textile factories, construction plants, canteens carried out raw materials on a mass scale. All obtained in this way was, as a rule, sold at markets or among acquaintances. Many workers, especially those of high qualification, produced various consumer goods at their workplaces during their working hours and sold them later.
Well, I remember how I worked at a brick factory, it was already the year 90 or even 91. Almost all the workers were fired then; me and another one of them were left as guards there. So, all those people were just given some metal as their last salary, because there was a very good deal of metal at the factory. You could be simply said: "Hey you two, saw off that piece for yourselves,” and you had to do it...From an interview with a project participant’s grandfather within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in June 2017.
Our grandmother worked at a factory’s bar and brought home butter, sugar, delicious buns with poppy seeds, and Berlin cakes... I still associate buns with poppy with my childhood and comfort.An eyewitness’ memories from a forum
A phenomenon common for markets and groceries, where some fraudulent schemes were used during the crisis. For example, a cavity was made in a weight and filled with lead, so as to make the weight heavier. That’s why people, coming home from the market, often weighed the foodstuffs bought there again.DOBROBUT MARKET
A businessman who has direct or indirect influence on political life. In the 1990s people with considerable financial resources tried to fulfil themselves in politics. In this way they lobbied for their own business interests through political decisions and formed networks of "their own people".
A fashion catalogue, which provided ideas of how to have a "fashionable look." In Lviv, there were official dressmaking associations based on enterprises, but their products did not satisfy the population’s demand for fashionable clothes from foreign magazines. Trends were set by the Polish weeklies Kobieta i Życie, Przekroj, the Bulgarian magazine Bozhur, Baltic fashion magazines. In many cases, "fashionability of things" because of their deficiency prevailed over the taste, so many people were fond of kitschy things. The official foreign fashion dealer was the Kashtan, a network of shops which sold goods for foreign currency and checks, although only a small number of people could buy clothes there.
Soviet women perfected their sewing and weaving skills using patterns from fashion magazines. They altered old clothes and made fashionable women's blouses of men's pants, brought from Moscow.From Zoya Zvyniatskivska's lecture "The Fashion at the Time of the Disintegration" within the lecture program for the exhibition of photographs by Tadeusz Rolke "Tomorrow will be better"; Lviv, March 2017.
A set of products given by the state or employers instead of or in addition to the salary. In the 1990s the Ukrainians’ gastronomic preferences were not rich in diversity: people had money, but there was nothing to buy. Apparently, only some essential products were available for getting without problems, while for everything else (milk, fresh meat, sugar) one had to "fight" in huge queues; apart from this, it was not possible to buy more than 1-2 kg per customer.
Twice a year, before May 9 [Victory Day], it goes without saying, and, in my opinion, even before the 7th of November, the anniversary of the 1917 revolution, and maybe also for the New Year some rations were distributed in the shop for war veterans. A ration contained a can of mayonnaise, a can of condensed milk, a pack of buckwheat, a pack of rice, a pack of macaroni. Well, some things. It was very cool.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
One of the first electronic communication facilities. To send a message to the pager, one had to dial the operator's number, to say the number or name of the subscriber and to dictate the message. Pager did not gain popularity among the population of Lviv, but those who enjoyed using this miracle of technology, still recall comic stories related to crashes in the transmission of messages.
At that time the image niche, later occupied by the mobile phone, was confidently, although unfairly, occupied by the pager. A man with a foolish black box attached to the belt, who periodically read something from the dim screen, was cool."25 Years of Belarusian Business,” Nash Biznes, Business Review № 2 (134). March 2016.
A dark, carbonated drink, which appeared on the shop shelves in the early 1980s and immediately attracted attention and became one of the most popular beverages among young people throughout the Soviet Union. As one of the few foreign products available in the USSR, pepsi-cola became a symbol of Western life, and people who grew up in the 1990s began to be called the "Generation Pepsi".
One of the most popular beverages, which could be obtained almost exclusively in the establishments where it was sold on draught (often diluted with water). Beer mugs, where beer was poured, were the remains of the former Soviet luxury. The 1990s deficiency eventually caused the disappearance of mugs, which were replaced by liter and half-liter glass jars.
DOMOVA KUKHNIA CAFÉ
Alcohol was first couponed for a long time. And you could only buy a bottle or two per month for those coupons. I had to transport a washing machine from one area to another, so I gave a bottle to the driver and he helped me to load it up and to transport it. It was the best currency. However, its amount was limited. Later various drinks started to be brought. Beer, so many varieties of beer, and then canned beer appeared, and then all these refined drinks, and then the Jewish vodka from Israel, called Keglevich. Well, and they started to open bars.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
The unofficial name of the route taxi, which is due to the fact that once almost all urban transport of this category consisted of Peugeot minibuses (hence is its name).
In the country, overcome with an euphoria of political transformation, there was a belief that the transition to a free market economy would happen automatically and all the problems would be solved immediately. In the 1990s, there was no tax administration and no well-established market, so any business seemed possible. Against the background of the gradual closure of large, formerly government-owned enterprises, a new professional profile of the city emerged: from an industrial center, Lviv began to slowly, but confidently turn into a "tourist Mecca.” A striking example of this was the spring of clothing production and the creation of the Trotolla manufacturer, which was closely linked to the Dzyga artistic association.
KINESCOPE FACTORY VILNA UKRAYINA PRINTING PLANT
A lot of large Lviv enterprises can also be named: the steam-locomotive-and-carriage-repair plant, the gas equipment plant, the instrumental plant, the paint and varnish plant, the chemical and pharmaceutical plant, the plant of building materials; the shoe factory Progress, the leather factory Svitanok, the tailoring factory Mayak, the knitted goods factory Promin, the furniture factory Karpaty, the confectionery factory Svitoch. The development of industry in the city became possible due to the viable power of the socialist system, fraternal friendship and generous mutual assistance of all the peoples of the Soviet Union. Seven Union Republics, 140 factories are involved in the assembly of Lviv truck loaders. In turn, Lviv sends its products to other parts of the Soviet Union. Lviv products are bought by seventy countries of the world.An excerpt from a guidebook published in 1974 by the publishing house Kameniar.
FRUIT-AND-BERRY WINE (PLONK)
A popular and, most importantly, cheap beverage of the 1990s. Wine was "in favour,” because it cost less than beer. Cheap wines were often sold without any age restrictions. Despite the crisis and shortage, people consumed drinks, including those of dubious quality.
On the eve of the Day of All Saints about seven young men, who came from Midni Buky, were sitting behind the college, drinking some "Zolota Osin" cheap wine (better known among the common people as "Zosia") and whistling at the windows of the girls' dormitory.An excerpt from the novel “Kult” by Liubko Deresh.
In Lviv, on Saksahanskoho street, there was a very popular coffee house called Nektar, where they had delicious cocktails and liqueurs. In general, the city always had a lot of facilities where it was fine to stay and communicate, and as students we could afford to come there. Receiving 40 rubles of scholarship, a student could, at least, four times a month to go to a coffee house, it was enough from 5 to 10 rubles for this. That is, to spend 10 it was necessary to drink a lot, so 5 was qiute enough."Viktor Neborak about Lviv’s bohemian coffee houses and pubs,” Nata Koval, Chytomo, 6 November 2014.
While in the Soviet times plastic bags were exclusive and it was possible to buy one with the inscription "Wrangler" only from a profiteer, in the 1990s they became more available, but still scarce. At the beginning, such a bag was considered almost a full-fledged wardrobe detail, it was washed and proudly hung along with clean laundry. A bag was of special value if it had inscriptions "BOSS" or "Marlboro” on it. The development of chemical industry, consumerism, the spread of marketing and advertising quickly caused the emergence of the market and mass demand.
Plastic bags with foreign inscriptions had a high value: they were used as long as leather bags are used today.From Zoya Zvyniatskivska's lecture "The Fashion at the Time of the Disintegration" within the lecture program for the exhibition of photographs by Tadeusz Rolke "Tomorrow will be better"; Lviv, March 2017.
The era of deficiency developed another Copperfield-like ability: disposable things were made reusable, especially plastic ones. I will never forget washed cellophane bags, fixed with clothespins on a lace to dry, washed plastic cups and plates with home-made milk, wine, or tea, sandwiches, wrapped in plastic macaroni packaging, and most importantly — black plastic bags BOSS, which were worn out to holes while going to the city for some shopping, to school or university, for a visit.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
Popular music for entertainment and dance. In the post-Soviet space the term "pops" exists concurrently with the concept of "Soviet pop music.” Originally, pop (i.e. popular) was called rock music and music played by informal bands. Above all, young people listened to pop music. These songs are also called “one-day-long” (that is, short-lived), as they usually become popular rapidly, but also get out of fashion very soon. The Ukrainian hit parade "Terytoriya A,” which was broadcast on ICTV, is directly linked to the Ukrainian pops. Nearly all contemporary performers passed through this TV contest. Of this music, simple texts and melodies are typical. A striking phenomenon of the 1990s is the popularity of "boys-bands" and "girls-bands" imitating American and European bands. In the 1990s pop performers were the idols for many teens, they determined the fashion and manner of behaviour.ROMANTYK CLUB
The former centers of the city’s economic development eventually turned into neglected public spaces, where half-criminal elements grouped. The large factories like Poliaron, Iskra, Elektron lost their economic ties with other centers of the USSR, there was a transformation and a mass stuff reduction.
The phrase "to go by a voucher" was associated with an opportunity to have a vacation, to improve one's health. The vouchers were mostly issued by trade unions. Looking through family photo albums of the 1990s, we can trace where people went on holiday at that time: the Carpathians, Morshyn or Truskavets, the Crimea and, occasionally, Bulgaria, Poland or Lithuania. After the restoration of independence, it was easier to go abroad. Due to the economic crisis, however, not many people could afford having a vacation abroad: for this, it was necessary, firstly, a passport for traveling abroad, and secondly, foreign currency. Therefore, people continued to go on holiday to the Crimea, Sochi, Odesa and seaside towns of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Sanatoriums in resort towns were rather popular.
This slang word, which dates back to the early 20th century, gained relevance and new content in the 1990s. It can still often be heard on the streets of Lviv. Rahul was called a problem and ill-mannered person, usually coming to the city from the outskirts.
In Ukraine of the 1990s, radio experienced a wave of development. In December 1986, rock music appeared on the wired radio for the first time. There were more and more commercial radio stations, and the struggle for obtaining licenses for short frequencies became increasingly fierce. There were many new FM stations: in 1991 it was Vilne slovo z Ukrayiny (Free word from Ukraine), radio Nezalezhnist (Independence) with news and Ukrainian music, Lvivska khvylia (Lviv Wave), where the first DJ radio (music and entertainment) appeared in 1992; in 1993 it was Lux FM (where no Russian-language music was played on principle, only Ukrainian and foreign compositions). The Promin (Ray) radio station (1992) was particularly popular thanks to music from festivals and programs on history, culture, and art. This is how Ukrainian media life was revived.
REVOLUTION ON GRANITE
A protest campaign, a hunger strike, organized by Lviv and Kyiv students in October 1990 on the Zhovtnevoyi Revoliutsiyi square (now Maydan Nezalezhnosti) in Kyiv. It was a moment when the Soviet Union was collapsing just before everyone’s eyes, but the authorities still tried to save it by signing a "new Union Treaty." The majority in the Verkhovna Rada were communists. Just a little bit longer, and there would appear a "new" Union instead of the "old" one. A group of students pitched tents on the granite slabs of the square and tied white bands of hunger strikers on their heads. Day after day they were becoming more numerous and a continuous rally of many thousands began on the square. The students’ demands seemed unrealistic: "To renounce signing the union treaty; to serve in the army only on the territory of Ukraine; all the property of the communist party to be nationalized; the current prime minister to resign." However, on the 15th day of protest, almost all the requirements were satisfied.
Racket is the extortion with the use of threats, blackmail, and violence. In the 1990s human rights were devalued to a great extent: everyone could come to the market and, threatening with arms, take away all goods and receipts. However, there is a significant difference from theft in this case, as instead certain protection was guaranteed by racketeers. This "business,” based on a distorted system of bilateral benefits, became a major gain for beginning racketeers. In words, it was a mid-ranking gangster, but in fact it was a young twenty-year-old man who had merely frequented boxing or wrestling classes earlier.
Lviv’s proximity to the border provided the city residents with opportunities to be among the first to percieve new trends (especially in music), and here it was much easier than in other parts of the country. The boys and girls whose young years fell on the last decades of the USSR could not find responses to their internal energy in the coordinates of totalitarianism. This generation drank coffee at the Virmenka, and in the evenings gathered in the Holy Garden to listen to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd, to discuss the books by Solzhenitsyn or Salinger. In the 1990s there were many Ukrainian bands and performers who played rock, festivals were organized. The early 1990s in Lviv were a time of a rapid development of rock music. At that time a lot of bands were formed, such as Rudolf Dyzel, Lazaret, Plach Yeremiyi, Mertvyy Piven and many others. They appeared and disappeared, were reshaped, united and reunited, thus creating a musical background, from which contemporary popular bands have grown up.
AROUND THE MONUMENT TO FEDOROV LIALKA CLUB
Deep Purple, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin... My God, there were a lot of them, a whole lot. If it's on a record, then it’s cool, a rarity. First it was copied to a reel. Then those compact cassettes appeared. There was a wide circle of those involved. It was relatively expensive, of course. The price of one record was half of one’s salary. One hundred rubles was a salary, and a record cost fifty or sixty. So that you can copy it later at three rubles a copy.From an interview with Andriy Manilov for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 16 December 2014.
Editions, published outside the official system of censorship and publishing houses in Soviet Ukraine, which began to appear in the late 1960s and 1970s. Often various forbidden by censorship works were published in these illegal editions. In addition to the paper one, there was also a mahnitvydav, that is, tape recordings, mostly bards’ songs. The samvydav editions produced in Lviv included Soglasie, Bratstvo, Viko, Zustrich, Skrynia, Postup, Yevshan-zillia.
MONUMENT TO IVAN FRANKO
The perestroika created conditions in which the general public’s demand for new information far exceeded what the official press could offer. At the same time, the threat of severe and inevitable punishment for dissent had almost no influence already. As a result, in the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a real boom of the informal press. The editions were printed in semi-underground conditions, mostly in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, as well as in other cities of the Baltic republics.Vakhtang Kipiani, "In search of samvydav,” Ukrainskyy zhurnal, Kyiv, 4, 2009.
One of the most beloved soap operas of the 1990s, not only in Ukraine, but also in other 50 countries. In the post-Soviet space, this television series quickly became popular because it was something new and unusual for anyone who, most likely, saw living beyond the ocean, in the United States, for the first time. The plot of the series unfolds around the life of the wealthy family of Capwell residing in the town of Santa Barbara. They are always involved in amazing stories that did not leave naive viewers indifferent. Therefore, it is not surprising that the series consisted of as many as 2,137 episodes.
A cult element of clothing, which was a sign of prestige among young people in the 1990s. While the average salary of a nurse was 65 rubles, this sweater’s cost was 110-120 rubles. Everything with an inscription in Latin letters was super-popular, no matter how it was translated. It was cool even to wear bags with the inscription "BOSS.”
One of the cult things of those times was the Turkish Team Boys sweater. The Vyazanie (Knitting) magazine even created a pattern that allowed to make it on one’s own. Such a sweater was a thing which separated the rulers of life from losers who were not allowed to a decent society.From Zoya Zvyniatskivska's lecture "The Fashion at the Time of the Disintegration" within the lecture program for the exhibition of photographs by Tadeusz Rolke "Tomorrow will be better"; Lviv, March 2017
The stage name of the singer Vika Vradiy. She was born in Lviv and started her career as a professional singer at a school in 1976, when she performed as a soloist of the Arnika pop group. Later she collaborated with the Braty Hadiukiny. While the texts of the Hadiukiny are witty but soft and are listened to by a wider audience, Sister Vika sang what not every ear was ready to hear. Her performances were brilliant, sharp, and shocking. At the first festival Chervona Ruta she won the first place in the category of rock performers. Lvivites lovingly called Vika the "Konotop witch" because she lived on Konotopska street. In 1993 Vika and her husband, Volodymyr Bebeshko, went to New York and remained to live there. Subsequently, she moved to Los Angeles, where she lives today.
SLANG OF THE 1990s
In the early 1990s a striking expression of the social reorganization reflexes was "a jargon explosion" in speech. The emergence of a large number of words and jargons and their use in various social groups arose as a result of radical changes in the society: the transparency of borders and the development of the Internet led to the emergence of neologisms borrowed from other languages; partly slang was due to the criminalization of the society. The first Dictionary of the Ukrainian youth slang was composed by Svitlana Pyrkalo.
DIVINE SERVICE FROM THE VATICAN
This concept remained in the 1990s as a relic of the past, when religion was oppressed and churches functioned in the underground. Believers listened to the Divine Service and religious programs of Vatican Radio’s Ukrainian service to participate in the liturgical life. This was an alternative source of information, as, apart from religious themes, political and cultural life of the USSR and the West, dissidents, and persecution of citizens disliked by the Soviet regime were also talked about.
In the 1990s Lviv’s communal economy had a lot of problems causing resentment of the inhabitants. Problems related to the removal of refuse (especially in the city’s central part), lack of refuse cans, irregular sorting — all this often was discussed by the city residents while standing in queues.
Waste paper coupons. Fiction books were much in demand in the Soviet Union, therefore they were in deficiency. In the 1980s a program appeared: books in exchange for waste paper. There were special departments of bookshops, where books could be purchased only when presenting coupons received for waste paper. Special "waste paper" series and collections of classics were published, which were not sold in other departments.From an interview with a project participant’s relative within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in May 2017.
Then she watched the truck which collected refuse. Because, at that time, in the center (I will not speak about the outskirts), there were no refuse containers. They appeared about 10 years later, probably. And till that time, at some point, at 5 or 6 p.m., a truck with a certain kind of sound, like a little bell, arrived. And it was necessary to run out with one’s refuse can and to catch the truck. Otherwise, only one thing remained, to go and to find some place where to throw it; in fact, very often I saw thrown refuse in the gates. Those, who had not had time to throw it, did not want to keep it at home either. You could not go to a nearby street and throw it in a container, because there was no container there either. Otherwise, it was thrown into city refuse cans. Packed in small portions and thrown into those cans. Or, actually, it was thrown somewhere in a neglected corner, and then in the morning yardmen removed it from behind the doors in the gates, from the entrances, from the corners — with a loud brawl, as a rule. These were the everyday realities of Lviv.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
Mass associations of activists of various backgrounds and interests in the late 1980s. There were unions of writers, actors, artists, which held meetings and discussions and organized a mass democratic movement for national, creative, personal freedom.
As early as the mid-eighties, when the perestroika began, when everything started to shake, we created the Shliakh artistic society, which united Lviv artists. And it was already officially registered on the basis of the Culture Fund in Lviv. We introduced ourselves as the first alternative artists' union, to a great surprise of many Lviv artists who were members of the [official] Union. We had some incidents with our activities, because we arranged our exhibitions in Lviv as the Shliakh society. At that time, concurrently (such a strange coincidence) with ours, the Pohliad society was organized in Kyiv, and we were doing mini-exhibitions with them. But there is one nuance here, which I realized just later: Shliakh existed, in principle, until 1992, when the Union collapsed and supposedly independent Ukraine came into existence. We came to understand that, within that society, we were united only by one thing — the dislike of and disagreement with Soviet mentality, that is, we had united at that point and that point kept us together for some time, until the Union collapsed, and then we just drifted apart, quite peacefully, quietly and calmly.From an interview with Vlodko Kaufman for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 15 December 2012.
KENTAVR CAFÉ LYCHAKIVSKYY CEMETERY
As for me, these were rather some informal, private, friendly relations. Because there were communities with some kind of names like "Kum" or something like that. I had nothing in common with them. These were spontaneous unions of friends, based on some interests, it can be said so. They were not even organized around some clearly expressed ideas, but, in fact, perhaps they appeared due to the search for these ideas or some kind of community. That is, it is difficult to say why such a society was founded, on the basis of some musical, artistic or literary views and so on. There was no manifesto, it just did not exist as such.From an interview with Andriy Boyarov for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 3 December 2012.
Fashionable clothes of that time. True, not everyone understood this fashion. Sportswear often was associated only with a certain population group. Convenience and unpretentiousness in wearing made this "getup" universal, and those, who wore sporty outfits, looked very presentable among the like-minded people. Tracksuits were worn by everyone, including small children and adult men and women. A good tracksuit was expensive. In addition to convenience and "value,” tracksuits became popular due to criminalization of the society. In the 1990s, boxers, wrestlers, and "masters" of other martial arts formed communities to make money in any way, mostly by racketeering or robbery. It was quite convenient to do this wearing a tracksuit. The symbol of that time was a combination of an Adidas tracksuit (usually a fake one) with lacquered shoes (high-heeled ones for girls) and some garment of an eyesore colour.
STUDENTS, STUDENT BROTHERHOOD
A general name covering all those who studied in higher educational institutions. Most often students of the 1990s are considered an active part of society which organized and participated in public life, in particular, created student brotherhoods (for example, the Farbovanyy Lys (Dyed Fox) at Lviv Polytechnic), organized festivals (in particular, the Vyvykh). Students played an important role in restoring Ukraine's independence: it was this population group that was the core of the Revolution on Granite.AROUND THE ZANKOVETSKA THEATER PYRIZHKOVA ON SLOVATSKOHO STREET LYCHAKIVSKYY CEMETERY
A Japanese electronic toy. It looked like a plastic oval, the size of half-palm. A small screen featured virtual friends, usually animals, which could eat, drink, play, sleep. To draw attention, the toy began to peep. If the Tamagochi was not responded on time, the creature, shown on the screen, the imaginary embodiment of this toy, died. Tamagochi was popular among Ukrainian children in the late 1990s.
A mania for Tamagochi involved the whole country. Teachers fought with electronic animals tirelessly. The drawers of the teachers' tables were filled with confiscated toys: it was during the lesson, that they were to be fed or walked over by pressing the corresponding button. This ersatz toy devoured time as nothing else. I think, for many children of the 1990s, this toy was the first example of virtual life and the first cause of wasted emotions.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
In the 1990s two new theaters were created: the first Ukrainian-language amateur theater Meta and a professional theater named after Les Kurbas. Volodymyr Kuchynskyy, the stage manager of the Les Kurbas Theater, gathered a fantastic group to whose performances people used to come in crowds.
It was when more turbulent years had started, because it was the turning point, a political turnaround, breaking of the Soviet mental system, in which we lived. This great empire, “Związek Radziecki kochany mój” (Polish for “My beloved Soviet Union”) was collapsing and everything else was collapsing with it. And accordingly, the art in this context was somewhere in the forefront of this national shift, the violation of that constant, ossified consciousness, which lived in the masses. And then very different contacts started, because there were a number of colleagues there: the poetic group Bu-Ba-Bu, close friends of mine, then musical formations like Plach Yeremiyi, the "Don’t be sad!" theater, later Komu vnyz, there was also… but why was? He is! There is Serhiy Proskurnia, a director, who suggested arranging the Vyvykh festival, where I was the production designer of the "Chrysler Imperial” show in the Opera theater.From an interview with Yevhen Starukh for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 19 December 2014.
The Gaudeamus theater was a theater of the then Lviv intelligentsia, technical intelligentsia. It was loved incredibly, and it was practically impossible to get to performances of the Gaudeamus theater. The audiences were packed and overcrowded... when they performed at the Roks, there was room for 60-70 persons at most there, it was impossible to get there and all tickets were sold very well in advance. The same thing happened when they moved to the then Club of Tram Workers: the halls were full, and there were up to about 700 seats there. It was the intelligentsia. And in the Young Spectators’ Theater, it's clear — there were children there. Although there were attempts to attract the adult audience, as there was the so-called small stage there and they tried to perform for adult spectators, but these attempts proved to be not successful; however, it all depends on the theater management’s policy. And at the Les Kurbas theater, it was the youth, it was a revival, so to speak, the Ukrainian revival, as it was called then and is called now. Ukrainian artists used to come there, and it was already the creative intelligentsia, historians. And at the Voskresinnia theater we were frequented by everyone. I call it an open theater. And in general, I would change the theater’s name, would call it not the Voskresinnia theater, but simply the Municipal Theater.From an interview with Petro Mykytiuk from the collection "The Art City and the City Art: Theaters of Lviv after 1945.” Recorded on 30 November 2012.
KOMARYK CAFÉ VOSKRESINNIA (PIONER) THEATER
The then environment was a completely different theater. The years 1989-1995: it was the Koryfeyiv theater, the Les Kurbas theater. And these were young, very impulsive people who wanted to change something in themselves, change something in their profession, in the attitude to the profession. Then the so-called Jerzy Grotowski’s training was carried out, because our actors went to Pontedera, Italy, to visit Grotowski. And from there, samples of this training were brought. We were actively engaged in this for six years, day after day.From an interview with Petro Mykytiuk from the collection "The Art City and the City Art: Theaters of Lviv after 1945.” Recorded on 30 November 2012.
Sixty years ago, a TV tower was installed over the city of Lviv, on the Vysokyy Zamok hill, thus marking the beginning of the television broadcast. At the same time, the production of TV sets was organized in the city, so there were more and more of them in private homes. TV became an integral part of leisure before the 1990s. After the restoration of independence, however, there appeared a lot of Ukrainian channels and programs, films and serials started to be broadcast. The first Ukrainian channels proper were Lviv TV, UT-1, Mist. The first private TV channel Mist was created in Lviv by a Ukrainian-Canadian company, engaged in organizing trips and money transfers. The channel broadcast the analytical program “Politychna shakhivnytsia” (Political Chessboard), there were several musical programs — “Konservatoriya” (Conservatoire), “Muzharbuz" (Music Pumpkin). Many journalists in the 1990s moved to work in Kyiv, as salaries there were much higher than in Lviv.
The generation of the nineties had a misfortune to be a television generation. Television was the everyday thing which was then seen from the very birth, you can safely call it a prenatal element of development.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
In the time of economic transformations, TV sets became one of the important investments. They were valued both in the "internal" and in the "external" markets. The mass coming of Poles for shopping in Lviv was one of the most characteristic features of the second half of the 1980s. The Elektron TVs with the Korean image tube were especially appreciated, the fact often causing fraud. The employees of the Elektron factory took spare parts from the enterprise on a mass scale and assembled TVs at home. Later they often tried to sell these short-lived devices to Polish dealers.From a conversation with Vasyl Rasevych within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in April 2017.
A strong working friendship unites the collectives of two giants of the industrial city of Lviv, the Kinescope factory and the Elektron Production and Technical Association, bearer of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. The kinescopes, made at the factory, become the core of the TVs, produced by the production and technical association. Televisions of the Elektron brand have become perhaps the most popular among buyers and spread the fame of Lviv workers’ industrious hands to all corners of our country. This kind of roundabout completes the production of a kinescope. Hence, where the delicate fingers of assemblers mount the smallest details of the boards, the TV starts.An excerpt from a guidebook published in 1974 by the publishing house Kameniar.
The first Ukrainian television hit parade of music videos "Terytoriya A" was a program, which contributed to the emergence of Ukrainian show business. It is this program that gave a start in life to a lot of performers famous today. First broadcast on the air of Ukrainian TV on 17 September 1995, the "Terytoriya A" gained a whole army of admirers, while its author and presenter, Anzhelika Rudnytska, became a youth fashion trendsetter not only for music, but also for hairstyles and clothes. The "Terytoriya A" was also a peculiar way of the soft Ukrainianization of young people. Most of the compositions, which appeared in the hit parade, were performed in Ukrainian. The most famous performers were Yurko Yurchenko, Aqua Vita, Tabula Rasa, Phantom 2, VV.
A portable game for children and adults, which became popular in the mid-1990s. The first tetrises resembled a "brick,” which was provisionally divided into two parts. The game had a very primitive black and white graphics, but the device did not become less desirable or less interesting because of that. Typically, you could play some popular games: "Tanks,” "Formula 1,” "Snake," and “Tetris” itself. Each game was accompanied by specific eight-bit sounds. The games had different levels of speed. The sly developers called them individual games to increase the game’s attractiveness. When the batteries were going flat, the sound became more stretched and the image grew pale. The Tetris was so popular that in the 1990s some Western groups made arrangements and remixes on the Tetris song; initially, a Russian folk song played on the device.
By the way, the game itself was invented by Pazhytonov, a Russian, in 1984. I suspected that it had a Soviet origin. For only in this part of the world people are accustomed to adjust completely different objects and phenomena, so as to make something of them. In the 1990s, children played Tetris, the figures filled the line, so that it disappeared and you did not get filled up, while adults played the adult Tetris looking for something to fill holes in their salaries.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
Cooperatives, engaged in making clothes and shoes, flourished. The goods were produced using primitive methods of work and the cheapest materials, so their quality was extremely low. In turn, it paved the way for constant demand. Lvivites wore cooperative jackets, shirts, and trousers until the time when all this was replaced by cheap, but much better products from Turkey, when Lviv shuttle traders filled all stalls and markets in the city with these goods.From a conversation with Vasyl Rasevych within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in April 2017.
A fried patty with liver, which cost 4 kopecks. These were popular among ever-hungry students and also, as a cheap snack, among tipplers. The toshnotyk was served with a fork and a strip of white paper, so the grease did not stain the hand and the hand did not soil the patty. They were sold in different places, just out of pots on the streets, from the small windows of catering facilities, in pubs and canteens. A popular place was the Kryva Lypa (Zhovtnevyy before 1992) passage, where the central tree, an old lime, was surrounded by a kiosk selling these patties.PYRIZHKOVA ON SLOVATSKOHO STREET
TURKISH LONG LOAF
In the 1990s, a kind of popular but scarce baked goods. The loaf was popularly called "Turkish" because its recipe was similar to that of the Turkish "Ekmek.”
BULKA CAFÉIn the 1990s Turkish long loaves started to be baked. The Turkish loaves were long and very puffy. They could be distinguished due to a kind of grid on the side. Everyone knew that it was a Turkish loaf. They could not be bought always, however. If you dropped in on time, you could take a Turkish loaf. But they were quite, quite like a balloon.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
That is how canned fish was popularly called, which was not expensive and filled the half-empty counters at groceries. At that time, the consumer range of an average Lviv resident consisted of home-made preserves, unpopular Sea Girdle and onion-and-tomato Nizhynsky salads, by contrast with so desirable and at the same time unattainable Snickers and Bounty bars in kiosks. Those Lviv residents, who did not have relatives in the country or a summer cottage, were in the worst situation, because it was just subsistence production, which allowed a vast majority to survive. A larger range of products (as well as other consumer goods) was accessible to those, who were somehow involved in cooperatives and had access to the distribution system. The notion of "goods sold in a set" appeared, when some additional product (usually not in demand) was to be purchased when buying scarce goods (for example, canned sea girdle in a set with chocolate candies).
Oil was an extraordinary valuable product at that time. In Moscow, there was no oil at all. My husband’s cousin with his family lived there. (...) His wife, whom we had passed two three-litre jars of oil, called and said that half-Moscow envied her because she had oil. I was taught how to store oil for a long time; it was necessary to throw some salt, 2 or 3 spoons per jar, lest oil turn bitter, so that it may be preserved.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
SKVOZNIAK DEPARTMENT STORE
As for food, there were almost no cereals. I remember, my husband went on a business trip and brought some millet. We had such a holiday that we even treated our neighbours. Millet porridge...
(...) One could buy what he saw, what he could buy. There was not much choice. If you caught something somewhere and happened to have some money, then you could buy it. Sometimes it was sausage, sometimes milk, sometimes flour. There was pancake flour sometimes, so you could just dissolve it with water and bake. There was such a flour. That was fortunately. Well, there were disruptions with bread, too.From an interview with Bella Hrankina for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
These are coloured sweet wrappers. Because of bright elements on the wrappers, they were collectible. Among Soviet children and adolescents (especially in the 1990s) it was very popular to collest and exchange wrappers (similar to collecting stamps). This phenomenon was conditioned by the fact that most wrappers were minimal and gray in the USSR, so any coloured wrappers, boxes of candies or stickers (brought mainly from other republics, when parents travelled on business there, or by shuttle traders and fartsovshchyky), overseas goods with bright and attractive packaging, which one grudged throwing away, became valuable things. In the 2000s, there were games, in which the main prize was wrappers or chewing gum stickers, as well as magazines ("Prikliucheniya Shreka,” "Otkroy mir s Volli"), where one of the tasks was to collect all the stickers.
In the childhood of the nineties, chewing gums could be divided into two groups: gums with stickers and just gums. Stickers were also collectible, but chiefly they were used for the following game: two players put one sticker each, then played chu-va-chi to decide who beats first, put the stickers on one another, back side up, and knocked them out with their palms. If both the stickers were turned their images up, the one who beat them took them for himself. This game, like everyone else, accumulated its own rituals and superstitions. Each player had his own happy stickers and techniques of knocking out.Les Beley, "The Dashing Nineties. Love and Hate in Uzhhorod,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2014.
Anyone who gets things, "brand names,” and sells, exchanges or buys them from visiting foreigners. The beginnings of this kind of activity date back to the 1950s. It was at that time that "fashionists" exchanged clothes for Soviet cognac or caviar with foreign students in dormitories. In those years, there was no question of earnings. No commerce, everything for style. The word itself is derived from the corrupted English phrase "for sale.” In the 1980s, this phenomenon became mass in scope. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the "iron wall" fell, demand for quality, beautiful, original things appeared, people began to travel abroad more often. However, imported goods were still unavailable to most people, the country wallowed in total deficiency. Fartsovschyks bought such goods, and then sold them secretly at barakholkas, markets, and in other places. The liberalization of the Soviet system simplified contacts with the West. Parcels with jeans and other "symbols" of the Western way of life began to be delivered to Lviv freely. After all, the demand for foreign goods was so great that things imported into the country legally and illegally were not sufficient. Therefore, there were underground workshops, where jeans and other things were produced. The owners of these workshops quickly made fortunes and, before the perestroika began, they had a significant start-up capital and experience in doing business. In 1991, before the monetary reform and after it, fartsovschyks and owners of these workshops mobilized for action.
DOBROBUT MARKET UKRAYINA MARKET
For many Lviv citizens, the cross-border trade with Poland became a start in the sphere of private business. They sold everything, from iron nails and socks to electrical appliances. But the most profitable was the illegal alcohol trade.From a conversation with Vasyl Rasevych within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
Cultural mass events, which became places for the revival of Ukrainian culture and its popularization, as well as for the creation of new trends of art. The first festivals were organized in the late 1980s. Festivals like Chervona Ruta and Vyvykh were real cultural explosions.
At that time the system had already virtually no influence on it. In the cultural space, there was no dogma, no responsibility, no such a big interrogation mark meaning that I was under an obligation to someone. That is, I am not indebted to anybody, and art is all the more so. However, art could say its word in free space. Well, guys, it's not so. It is possible in some other way. Let's build it differently and so on. For, say, at the first Chervona Ruta, when the Braty Hadiukiny and Komu Vnyz performed in such a format and there were a number of such things there, they [the authorities] just were silent, because no one could say anything anymore since it was already over, the boat had left.From an interview with Petro Starukh for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 14 December 2012.
A group of artists, formed by Ihor Diurych, Ihor Podolchak, and Roman Viktiuk in Lviv in 1991. The Masoch Foundation is one of the most radical phenomena in the history of contemporary Ukrainian art. Its founders were pioneers of dialogue art, or the art of interaction, which made viewers participators of their work, most often by delegating them the role of performers. In 1993, a solo exhibition of Ihor Podolchak, the first artistic event in space, was held at the Russian orbital station Mir.
PERM (PERMANENT WAVE)
The most popular hairstyle of that time. The fashion for perm appeared in the 1980s, but reached its pinnacle in the 1990s. Its ideological inspirations were pop stars; later information about the hairstyle was spread through magazines, which were often brought from abroad and passed from hand in hand. Permanent wave damaged hair very much, therefore not every woman dared to do it. At the same time, backcombing became fashionable as well.CHARODIYKA
A popular subculture, which struggled for the liberalization and democratization of society. Lviv hippies used to hang out at the Virmenka and in the Holy Garden. In 1986, the first unauthorized demonstration of the hippies for glasnost, perestroika, and peace was held in the city.
Young members of informal groups, united by common tastes in music and literature, never set themselves any global change as an object, only their own development and cultural exchange. However, they succeeded in creating a new alternative: along with the nomenklatura, citizens loyal to the regime and non-conformist dissidents, they became the "third dimension" of Soviet Lviv. This dimension was the least ideologized and, due to that, the most romantic. They made it clear that "it was possible to play rock in the Union." Even in Ukrainian.From an interview with Ilko Lemko "The Holy Garden. "The Third Dimension" of Soviet Lviv,” Roman Melnyk and Anastasia Chuprynska, Zbruch, 12 November 2016.
BERNARDINES COURTYARD HOLY GARDEN
The hippies were a challenge for the authorities, as they looked strange, behaved provocatively, but not brazenly, went out into public space and demonstrated their protest, at least by their long hair and jeans.Bohdan Shumylovych, "Rejecting Socialism: Alternative Spaces of Lviv in 1970-2000.” Urban Studies series, Kiev: Smoloskyp (Heinrich Böll stiftung), 2013.
A headgear, a symbol of financial capability and prestige. Such a cap could be worn from early autumn to late spring. The so-called obmanka caps (whose earflaps could not be turned down) were also popular; despite poor quality, they were cheaper, being produced by cooperatives on a mass scale. Caps were expensive, and during the economic crisis and criminalization they were stolen just on the streets, right from someone’s head in the evening. It was popular then to sew on an elastic, which had to protect the cap from being stolen. Looking at the photos of the 1990s, we can also distinguish the following headgear: cockerel hats, hats, berets, kerchiefs.
At that time many wore fur caps, it was a prestige thing. Depending on the level of prestige, they could be made of different fur: the cheapest were of rabbit (white, grey, and black), or of beaver; the most expensive were of fox or muskrat.From a conversation with Vasyl Rasevych within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in December 2016.
In the 1980s the flow of information from the West became much larger. An important point here was the emergence of a global network: it was in the 1990s that the Internet came to Ukraine. In 1990 the British computer scientist Tim Berners Lee created the first web server, which became the www logo. The shock produced by the Internet could only be compared with the surprise after the construction of the first railway: a letter, which was delivered for a month, could now be sent and received in a few minutes. In 1995 target public domains COM.UA, GOV.UA, NET.UA were delegated.
We saw and tracked the development of the Internet in America, which was ahead of us for several years. We understood that the rapid development of the Internet awaits Ukraine, we just couldn’t do without that, even though the technological lag was huge. First, there were analog lines, with rather expensive modems, then digital lines, then satellite channels, then cybercafes appeared.Vladyslav Ivchenko "The Dashing Nineties: How Sumy Were Not Sad,” Kyiv: Tempora, 2015.
CDS (CENTRAL DEPARTMENT STORE)
A central department store is a large retail outlet, which sells almost all types of non-food products (and often food ones as well). Such stores are chiefly located in separate buildings or are part of shopping malls. Compared to other types of stores, department stores have higher profitability. The availability of a large range of goods allows consumers to buy all they need in one place with the minimal expense of time. The first department stores appeared in Ukraine (Kyiv and Lviv) in the late 18th century. In 1978 there were 914 department stores in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, of which 767 were in the system of consumer cooperation. Only 147 department stores of the state-controlled trade system corresponded to the then standards of stores (over 1,000 m² of space). Only every third city of the Ukrainian SSR had department stores. In the early 2000s first supermarkets appeared in Lviv, later followed by shopping centers and markets.NEW CENTRAL DEPARTMENT STORE
An element of both men's and women's wardrobe. In Western Ukraine of the late 1980s - early 1990s it was a symbol of belonging to the intelligentsia and therefore was often ridiculed. A red beret could be jokingly associated with the "Red Corner,” i.e. a room with all the attributes of the komsomol or communist symbols, where various meetings were held.
A phenomenon typical and even symbolic of the 1990s. The main reason was the deficiency, which was a consequence of the crisis in the Soviet economic system. Shopping was a trial, which it is rather terrifying even to imagine. At that time, however, it was a common practice: people spent in queues several hours and sometimes more. There, they had time to get acquainted, to discuss urgent issues, to quarrel; in a word, most people perceived queues calmly, because there were no other options. Also, they sometimes resorted to cunning: since one customer was given only one product, people took their children with them to take more or "borrowed" their friends’ or neighbours’ children.
The queues [...] were also fun: to join, to stand. Because then they still gave there a packet of butter per customer. So she took her little sister [...] because then it was already possible to take two packets of butter and, for example, 2 dozens of eggs and that’s all. Well, you had to stand in a queue for anything. In fact, I do not remember that there was something without a queue.From an interview with Natalia Kosmolinska for the exhibition of photos by Tadeusz Rolke “Tomorrow will be better.” Recorded in the summer of 2016.
BULKA CAFÉ SKVOZNIAK DEPARTMENT STORE
It is merely impossible now to miss such a phenomenon as a queue. It has literally filled up our narrow streets, blocking the way to passers-by. And, metaphorically, you do not have to pretend that nothing has happened. It looks like tomorrow some people will not go to work, because they will not have anything to wear. Or they will get sick without having a sweater or a coat on their shoulders. The commerce seems to have already reached the critical point, and it is necessary to take immediate measures to protect consumers."On the critical edge,” newspaper Za vilnu Ukrayinu, 27 October 1990, p. 3
A mass phenomenon, a new type of business not only in Ukraine, but also throughout the post-Soviet space. Lviv’s proximity to the border had its advantages, because it was due to shuttle trade that Lviv citizens could buy quality things from abroad. Shuttle trading as a business was to get onto a bus along with other "tourists" of the same kind as you, to cross the border, to buy goods wholesale at the closest base. If possible, they sold their own goods and then returned home. Goods were packed in large chequered bags and transported on kravchuchkas. At home the goods were sold at retail markets. The schedule of the shuttle movement was, on average, once in every five days. Europe reacted to the invasion of shuttle traders with restrictions. Now, in addition to a passport and a visa, you had to have an invitation from the country you were going to. This problem was solved very simply, because the bus drivers quickly learned to negotiate with the border guards. The situation was complicated only by robbers who took control of international routes, collecting a "tribute" just in broad daylight. Small Ukrainian business was initiated by shuttle trade. In Sloviansk, Donetsk region, a bronze monument to the shuttle trader — a middle-aged man, who walks with a large bag on his shoulder, — was installed in 2006, the first one in the post-Soviet territory.ZBOYISHCHA UKRAYINA MARKET KRAKIVSKYY MARKET
At first, leather jackets were worn by underground young people. Apart from official or spontaneous fashion, the fashion of youth subcultures developed, that of punks, skinheads, metalists. The leather jacket was an inalienable attribute of subcultures, which borrowed images from the posters of foreign music groups. Later the leather jacket became popular among the whole population. It was on a mass scale brought from Turkey and counterfeited at workshops and cooperatives.KRAKIVSKYY MARKET
In the early 1990s Ukraine somehow forgot to buy chocolate beans. There was no chocolate at all in the country. Within a month, due to passages to Turkey, a chocolate exchange was arranged in Yalta; so market economy, which had been oppressed for 70 years, was restored. Chocolate from Yalta was delivered to other cities and launched chain market mechanisms.PINHVIN CAFÉ
SHCHEDRYK (CAROL OF THE BELLS)
The tradition of public celebration of Christmas was revived in Lviv in the late 1980s, that is, during the perestroika, even before Ukraine regained its independence. After decades of atheism, it was officially allowed to sing carols and to walk with verteps. Numerous groups of carolers, verteps, and the Malankas went out onto the streets. "Let me inform you, master, that Christ is born, that our Ukrainian family is liberated from the yoke," the Lviv newspaper Za vilnu Ukrayinu reported in January 1991. In the center of the city, there were competitions of carolers and verteps, initiated by public organizations and supported by local authorities.
At Christmas we used to go to sing carols, of course. It was on the second or third day of holidays that we used to do that, but there, say, there were quite other people there, those were already kind of colleagues.From an interview with Andriy Sahaydakovskyy for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 9 December 2012.
Well, we used to sing carols always. That is, it was such a protest action. In Lviv, everyone sang carols and celebrated. And so we walked along the street, looking at the windows, where lights were on, came up to the door and carolled. We were let in, welcomed, thanked. There were about fifteen persons, with roles assigned to them, a kind of pseudo-vertep, their bell was enough to understand that the guys were not just walking along the streets, but they were caroling.From an interview with Vlodko Kaufman for the collection "The Creative Communities of Soviet and Post-Soviet Lviv.” Recorded on 12 December 2012.
A chemical soluble concentrate, a magic powder, which, after adding some water, became a sweet acidic-coloured drink. Very often this chemical drink was more desirable than traditional home-made compotes. At times, the prominent advertising slogan of the "Just Add Water" drink attracted adults as well. They, however, added the miraculous powder to alcohol, creating cheap cocktails. The appearance of the drink was due to the mass coming of western goods to the market.
Fashion magazines and music videos with screen stars set fashion not only for clothes, but also for makeup. The early 1990s were characterized by colourful and somewhat theatrical makeup with graphic arrows and eye shadows of various tints (green, blue, brown). Local cosmetics manufacturers did not provide women with the desired range of products. As an alternative to the Soviet choice, cosmetics from Turkey and Poland began to be imported. The popularity of bright makeup is also due to the fact that cosmetics, which had been scarce for a long time, became available in large quantities. Women, who had for a long time "hunted" for cosmetics, had bought it "from under the counter,” suddenly got access to a huge range. Bright and thickly applied shadows and rouge were perhaps a social tradition, according to which the woman should always be "beautiful.”
CHARODIYKA FASHION HOUSE KRAKIVSKYY MARKET
Soviet candies from Ukraine were wrapped in ordinary white paper, while sweets from other republics, and especially foreign ones, were wrapped in paper with gold, pearl yellow spray, which girls used to make up their eyes, as there were no pearl shadows in free sale.From an interview with a project participant’s mother within the project "A Remote/Recent History. About the 90s in a different way.” Recorded in May 2017.