Hot and Bothered in Kiev

Doroteya Nikolova

The next point of my research into maternal surrogacy, Ukraine, was a really big surprise for me. I know the Balkan countries well and also the post-Soviet development of East Europe.

In fact, I remember the last years before 1989. For my family, these years were far from good.

Maybe that explains my preliminary sensation of Ukraine, a mixture of a little fear and some curiosity. Very close to Russia and yet very far from it, Ukraine is such an interesting country.

In the eastern part of the country, in Kharkov, only a few people speak Ukrainian. Here they prefer Russian, even in official institutions like banks.

The situation in Kiev is different. There I even found people who refused to talk to me when I spoke Russian.

I also met and talked to people from Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Germany, Canada, the US, Japan and France.

My first impression of Kiev is that it is big, large, incredibly clean and with a lot of beautiful buildings in Stalinist neoclassic style. Second impression was heat.

It was very, very hot and dry. The temperature was more than 35-37 degrees. The last day it even struck 39.

I had several useful meetings in Ukraine. Marina Vasilieva, from the New Life agency, shared with me that people from the Balkans often ask about their programmes for surrogacy motherhood.

Valeriy Zukin, vice-president of Ukrainian Association for  Reproductive Medicine and owner of Nadia RM Clinic, said the same. With him I had a really interesting discussion about all aspects of reproductive medicine in Ukraine and its opportunities.

Every meeting occurred at different, and, quite often, in remote parts of Kiev. To be frank, in three days I learned the Kiev metro as if I’d built it.

I also spoke with some lawyers: Marina Legenka and Sergei Lisicya, from the La Strada Ukraina, an NGO program for prevention of women trafficking, and with some local journalists.

What else? The water in Ukraine is not too good. Maybe I’m fussy, because Bulgaria is third in the world when it comes to variety of mineral waters, but my heart ached when I had to buy water unworthy of its tag price. But the local beer was perfect and I tasted it with pleasure.

On the way back to Bulgaria I took the international train. It was a cultural shock. The railway carriages were older than me. The windows didn’t open.

It was just like the years before 1989, when all the exits in international trains used to be jammed out of a fear that people might escape to the West through the train windows!

Fellow Bio

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Doroteya Nikolova

Doroteya Nikolova, from Bulgaria, is currently employed as a radio show host, news editor and broadcast journalist at Radio Varna - a regional station of the Bulgarian National Radio network.

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