Andrei Kurkov


Ukrainian novelist

Sheptytsk’kyi Visiting Fellow, Ukraine in European Dialogue
(January – March 2017)


“Symbols of Freedom”—Western Ukrainian Hippies in the Soviet Era and Today

Around a dozen representatives of the hippie movement still live in Lviv. They paint a varied portrait of this movement—or, more accurately, non-movement. The single unifying element was a love of ‘forbidden’ western music; the heart of their ideology was a love of freedom. Beyond that, each of them went their own way. The hippies were seen as harmless by the authorities, since they were not considered political opponents of the Soviet system. But Lviv’s first Amnesty International representative was one of the founders of the Soviet hippie movement. So what mattered more: music or politics, free love or drugs? Were these hippies part of a global movement or did they create something unique?