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more than a year ago
Ukraine My Home

All you need to know for a successful stay in Ukraine...

Ukraine is bordered by Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia. Buses stop for about an hour at borders; westbound trains for more than two, because Ukrainian wheels don’t fit European tracks and thus have to be switched! You should expect close inspection of your documents and belongings at border crossings. EU and American travellers need a visa to enter Belarus, Moldova and Russia and can’t be obtained at the border, so make sure you contact their embassies in Ukraine (see Directory/Business).

If you are 18 years of age or over you can import, free of customs duties and taxes, one litre of hard alcohol, two litres of wine, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco. Personal belongings are not subject to customs duties or taxes, though a customs officer has the right to ask you to make a written declaration in relation to them. (Avoid bringing unessential, valuable, personal items! A colleague of ours was told by a customs officer to declare her wedding band.
She declared the value of the ring, and - to make a long story short - she ended up paying a $200 bribe in order to avoid an outrageous duty.)
A person can bring in food products free of customs duties and taxes if their total value does not exceed €200. However, food products should not total more than two kilogrammes, and there should not be more than one package of the same product. Goods with a total value of less than €1000 may be brought in free of customs duties and taxes. If the value of your goods is greater than €1000, but less than €10000 they will need to be declared on a customs personal declaration form and you should pay 10% duty plus 20% VAT. If the value of the goods is greater than €10000, the goods will be subject to clearance in accordance with the import declaration requirements for imported cargo.
Cultural goods may be brought in if they are not subject to any international alert and you have documents which prove your right of ownership. To take such goods out of Ukraine you will need to obtain relevant authorisation documents from the State Service for Control Over the Passage of Cultural Values Across the National Frontier of Ukraine (J-3, Smol’s’koho 10,
tel. (+380) 322 75 80 81/72 79 91.) All customs declarations, filled out upon arrival to Ukraine, must be kept throughout the period of your stay, and must be handed over upon departure. This declaration can not be renewed if lost.

Like an aggressive case of athlete’s foot, communism refuses to go away. While Ukraine’s youth embraces capitalism and nationalism, many elderly and disillusioned citizens cling to socialism. In June 2009, this political divide made international news as hooligans linked to a Ukrainian nationalist organisation savagely vandalised Kyiv’s sole statue of Vladimir Lenin.
Most people, Ukrainians included, think of the Bolshevik Revolution as a Russian revolution - this is inaccurate. Many top revolutionaries (Leon Trotsky, Gregory Zinoviev, V. Volodarsky) were, in fact, from Ukraine. Also, many prominent Soviet leaders had Ukrainian roots.

Leonid Brezhnev was born in the Dnipropetrovs’k Oblast. Nikita Khrushchev moved from Russia to Donets’k as a teenager, and ascended the ranks of the Communist Party in Donbas and Kyiv.


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