Kiev Commonwealth of Naturists

"H&E Lifestyle" 1998

History, poverty and nudity - naked living in Kiev

Robbert Broekstra

My short tour of the Ukraine started at Kiev. My first impression of the airport weren't bad and I received a warm welcome from my friend Oleg. He whisked me off to the city of Kiev which is in fact 40 kilometres away from the airport.

Kiev has a population of three million and in the centre there's a large MacDonalds, one of three in the city, and people flock to it day and night. Sophia Cathedral is worth visiting but a real must-see are the Lavra Cloister and St. Andrew's Church with their icons and museums. Lavra means a whole world; a world created for nine centuries by the laborious efforts of numerous generations. The monks used to live in the catacombs and some continue to inhabit the lower Lavra, while the upper is open to the public.

You buy a candle and once underground you come across several chapels. The buildings of the Lavra were constructed and decorated by the best Ukranian and Russian architects, artists, stone work specialists, carvers and jewellers.

The Dormition Cathedral was blown up in 1941 and the building was plundered, though the ruins are still visible today. Besides this cloister you have a magnificent view of the city when you visit the outdoor military museum in a park next door. A huge statue depicting Mother Land is overlooks it all.

Although Oleg was picking me up, I was going to stay with Andrii, the leader of another naturist group. Unfortunately, the two leaders don't always see eye to eye. Andrii has a small selected group while Oleg has a larger group.

"H&E Lifestyle" 1998

"H&E Lifestyle" 1998

Both naturist groups in Kiev invited me to attend their sauna sessions and to meet their members. The complex is large but does need repairs badly, as usual lack of money is the problem. The atmosphere was good at both groups and people were just happy to have the chance to come together and exchange information and meet each other.

Oleg's group held a small party with Ukranian songs in my honour then it was time to ask about naturism in my country. They wanted to know if there were more men active in naturism than women and if the clubs in Holland had many teenagers in them. In Kiev nudists swim outside even during the cold winter months when the water is icy cold and there's snow on the ground, which is certainly one major difference to Dutch naturists who prefer warm water during the winter months.

Hydro Park Nudist beach became official in 1992, but nudists had been using it long before this. The best way to get there is to take the underground (Metro) to Hydro park stop (everyone knows it). When you leave the underground, head towards the bridge, go over it but when you come to the fork turn left. At the textile beach turn right to find one part of the naturist beach, but across the river is the largest and nicest part. You can swim across or rent a rowing boat (they can be found immediately to the left after crossing the bridge). At weekends it can be very busy but during the week you might find only 20 to 30 people on a sunny day. During the last two years attendance has dropped considerably.

The river water isn't very clean but it is possible to swim in it. We chatted with several people and took photos. The people here are hungry for magazines and you'll soon have a crowd around you if you start handing them round.

"H&E Lifestyle" 1998

"H&E Lifestyle" 1998

Seventy per cent of Kiev's population can't afford to rent an apartment. We visited one woman who lived with her elderly mother and hadn't been able to make ends meet for two years. Many people lead a financially poor life. At one bus stop a woman was hitting a man who looked like he had stolen her bag or purse. As she tried to get it back 60 people stood looking at it but did nothing. My bus came so I didn't see if anyone ever helped her.

On another street I came across young men selling frying pans while a little further down the road another man was trying to sell religion. At one point an eleven year old girl in a tram tried to pick up my conversation with my friend. She kept staring at me and when she got off the tram she turned back and waved - a very touching moment.

At the other end of the city you will find the nude beach called Obolon next to a marina, at the end of Bus 24 or 24K line. It's a small but pleasant area and good for photography. I met some really lovely people here. Naturists in the Ukraine have no hang ups about cameras or videos. They are natural and open minded - quite different from the average naturist in Europe.

I wish these two groups lots of luck in expanding naturism in this area, especially in the light of financial difficulties.

If you want more information about these places right to: 04213 Kiev-213, P.O.Box 74, КСN. Ukraine.

A word of warning; Watch out for taxis who may try to rip you off. Fix the price and never leave the taxi until the driver has taken out your luggage

Robbert Broekstra

"H&E Lifestyle" 1998

 

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