- Kyiv’s nightlife is slowly returning six months after Russia began its invasion.
- Daytime raves have been taking place across the city as people look to take their minds off the war.
- Some of the events donate a portion of the proceeds to Ukraine’s armed forces.
Kyiv’s once vibrant electronic dance music scene is reemerging six months after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Images shot by a Reuters photographer show a daytime rave in the Ukrainian capital on August 27.
Cultural life is slowly returning to Ukraine’s capital. Across Kyiv, people are cautiously going to raves and bars and meeting up with friends as the city’s residents find ways to forget – for a few hours – the horrors of more than six months of war.
Some events donate proceeds to the Ukraine’s armed forces.
The event’s DJ, 25-year-old ophthalmology student Artur Bhangu, joined Kyiv’s territorial defense force when the war started, per Reuters.
He arrived at the event in his military uniform and changed into civilian clothes to play for the crowd.
“As soon as the situation in Kyiv became calmer, we immediately started thinking how to help our friends using music and help those at the front,” Bhangu told the outlet. The event’s earnings that day were donated to Ukraine’s armed forces, he said.
Ravers find ways around Kyiv’s 11pm wartime curfew.
Because of the city’s wartime curfew of 11pm, events often begin in the early afternoon.
The Saturday rave’s organizer, 34-year-old Garik Pledov, told Reuters that the new daytime raves have their upsides.
“I even like them more when they are done in the day because parties have become more about music, culture, and conversation than when they were held at night,” he said.
After pandemic restrictions and the ongoing war, residents look for normalcy.
The war, coupled with two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that the city’s residents have been deprived of normalcy for some time.
“I think that this (event) can give people who went through very tragic experiences a certain feeling of freedom, and a feeling that life actually goes on and will be beautiful,” Anastasiia Lukoshyna, a 21-year-old student, told Reuters.
Despite the moments of escapism, war continues to rage on.
Pledov told Reuters he began organizing the parties began in mid-June when it became clear that people were ready to take their minds of the war.
He said that if there is an air raid siren, they turn the music off and go to the nearest shelter.
Ravers take their anger out on a Russia-themed barrel.
The pictured rave took place in the courtyard of a disused factory in Kyiv’s Podil district.
The evening reached a climax when a red barrel painted with Russian flags and Kremlin towers was thrown into the crowd, and rave-goers kicked it and beat it with baseball bats, Reuters reported.
The raves are a form of stress-relief for many.
The raves are a way for Ukrainians to release tension as battles still continue around the country.
“If I sit at home… my aggression and negativity will have nowhere to go,” Oleksandra Pshebitkovska, a 31-year-old IT technician, told Reuters.
The event attracted a crowd of around 100 people, per Reuters.
While Kyiv has remained largely untouched by the Russian invasion in recent months, clashes continue in the south as Ukraine attempts to take back the occupied Kherson region.
The realities of the war are impossible to entirely forget.
While the events can be a form of escapism, the reality of the war is impossible to entirely forget.
Many of the event-goers came with stories of their friends fighting or volunteering on the front lines, some of whom don’t come back, per Reuters.