By Gleb Garanich
Passing through a pedestrian subway in central Kiev about twenty years ago, I saw elderly people dancing. I stopped for a few moments and then proceeded on my route – I was 25 years old at the time and, frankly speaking, this story was of no interest to me.
By pure accident, I ended up in the same place one evening in early February, and all of a sudden I felt a completely different attitude to what was happening… I was no longer indifferent to the lives and destinies of these people. What makes some 200 people gather in this passway on weekends for twenty years and dance for four hours?
Why gather in this very subway? Well, it is understandable – they have no money to rent a spacious room and dance indoors, and the mayor’s office allows them to gather underground instead of allocating any funds.
The reason they dance is also well understood – this is probably the most affordable way to while away their spare time and communicate.
Yet the main problem of the elderly generation in this country is that they feel unneeded by the state and people that surround them. This generation grew up in the Soviet Union. Many cannot adjust to a completely different lifestyle or reconcile with new realities and values. They don’t understand communication via social networks, but they still clearly remember the way all holidays were celebrated during their childhood and youth; when tables laden with food were brought out, and neighbors from the same street or house would sit down together and then dance to the tune of an accordion through the night.