Hopes scattered like autumn leaves, gloomy residents and nostalgia - REPORTAGE FROM POLTAVA

Hopes scattered like autumn leaves, gloomy residents and nostalgia - REPORTAGE FROM POLTAVA Poltava. 12 November. REPORT.AZ/ November in Ukraine is called nothing but a leaf fall. Certainly, this name fits the last month of autumn in the best way.
November 12, 2018 15:56
Hopes scattered like autumn leaves, gloomy residents and nostalgia - REPORTAGE FROM POLTAVA

Poltava. 12 November. REPORT.AZ/  November in Ukraine is called nothing but a leaf fall. Certainly, this name fits the last month of autumn in the best way.

Report’s employees dispatched to Ukraine saw at first hand how much this name fits that month of autumn in Poltava which locates in the country’s north-east. Trees were losing their sumptuous crown and the ground was covered with goldish leaves, as a remembrance of Taras Shevchenko’s ‘Testament’:

When I am dead, bury me
In my beloved Ukraine,
My tomb upon a grave mound high
Amid the spreading plain,
So that the fields, the boundless steppes,
The Dnieper's plunging shore
My eyes could see, my ears could hear
The mighty river roar.

The monument to the famous poet is rising in the ‘old city’ in Poltava. To the end of the road downwards comes a rather modern city with 9- and 12-floor buildings. Here flows the river Vorskla whose name is bore by the main team of the city. By the legend, the waters of this mighty river seized Peter the First’s spyglass carrying it away. In these places stands a moment symbolizing the friendship of nations and another one in honor of the symbol of Poltava – dumplings. This pastry is served in Poltava everywhere, including in one of the most fashionable restaurants nearby.

Here the stadium is seen at a distance

The new city has a stadium. It is not the old stadium named after Alexei Butovski that hosts Vorskla’s home matches. Our colleague, whose activity can be cited an example for the male journalists, the employee of the local Ltava TV channel Yuliya Logvinenko shared the sad memories of this arena: “This stadium used to host the home matches of Poltava club. It was owned by a businessman. By results of the last season, the club made its way to the Premier-league. I was to be appointed a spokesperson. Everything was already coordinated. I started working and could have been the first spokeswoman in Ukraine. But one day the club owner said that he ‘won’t be able to ensure the club’s participation in the Premier league’. The club refused to participate and I was upset.”

Collector frustrated with Dnepr’s suspended activity

Our compatriot Vladimir Khoroshilov, a collector from Dnepropetrovisk, who kindly accompanied us in our tour around the city, left an impression of an energetic and positive man. At one time he was upset with the reports about the suspended activity of Dnepr where he once worked as a spokesperson. He is the fan of Dnepr -1 that competes in the First League of the Ukraine champion but admits that nothing will replace for him the Dnepr that made its way to the Europa league final in the 2014-15 season. One of our Azerbaijani colleagues sent him nearly 30 patterns of the program of Baku match between Qarabag and Vorskla but judging by all it did not give him much joy since he expected a program of the earlier held match between Qarabag and Arsenal.

Museum exhibiting remnants of mammoths

Yuliya Logvinenko who promised to guide us throughout the city was the only Poltava resident among us. She was born and grew up in a family of journalists. Her parents worked in this city and now they are retired. Despite his age, the hardworking father of our guide was employed to work at the museum of history. Yuliya led us through the central avenue to the museum. She said the museum exhibits the remnants of mammoths. She even asked her father to assist so that we could see the exposition with our own eyes, but the custodian said that the museum is closed after 16.00, therefore, he could not make our wish come true.

Unsmiling residents who do not Vorskla’s matches

Poltava residents are not smiling. No matter how hard they try to seem positive, somewhere deep inside their eyes one can see the sorrow, probably, stemmed from some internal problems. Gripped in a vice of economic and well-known political problems, they do not feel much joy. Obviously, this is also the reason of half-empty tribunes at the match between Vorskla and Qarabag in the group stage of the Europa League. To be honest, the weather was not so good and everything around us was in snow. There is simply no other more serious explanation to the fact that the 25,000 stadium was filled only by half. No Vorskla’s match have ever seen the sell-out at the stadium. The last home match will be against Arsenal on November 29. The lowest price on tickets for the match against Qarabag made 50 hryvnia (around AZN 3). At the match with Arsenal the tickets are four times as high. The famous rival will hardly attract more fans. It is due not only to the high prices on tickets, but also fireworks, launched by the fans at the match with Qarabag. No doubt, this time UEFA will fully or partially close the Vorskla stadium.

Present on occasion of Flag Day

All these negative moments are overshadowed by Qarabag’s victory ahead of November 9 – the State Flag Day. The Azerbaijani embassy to Ukraine spared no effort to hold the festivity at the high level for the football match. Ambassador Azer Hudiyev and Azerbaijan’s honorary consul in Poltava Elshan Veliyev were present at the pre-match training and at the match. They organized an event on the occasion of the Day of Flag and ensured the full-house during the match. But the match was remembered for an unpleasant incident when the fans of both teams threw fireworks to the pitch due to which the match was suspended two times. The main referee of the match,  Sandro Schärer sent the teams to the tribunes but then recalled them after an eight-minute break.

Surprise and nostalgia

The victory of Qarabag over Vorskla that autumn night and a draw in the match between Sporting and Arsenal bedropped the leaves of hope of the Ukrainian club. A surprise was waiting for us at the Poltava airport. The weather was adverse and the airplane was unable to fly. Everything was wrapped in fog and the ground was slippery. Thus, the departure was put off for the next day afternoon. Hanging our heads down, we got back to the hotel. It turned out that our rooms were already occupied by new guests and we had to wait in a restaurant. The Qarabag management, particularly, footballer Bedavi Huseynov, showed special care and attention to us. They found vacant rooms in the hotel and accommodated us there. So, we stayed in warm rooms and departed next day.

The trip to Poltava ended, leaving dual impressions. But one thing is for sure – the impressions of Poltava will not be forgotten for long. 

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