• 52'
  • Authors : Gaël Mocaert, Guillaume Lhotellier
  • 27-08-2021
  • Master : 3083

UKRAINE, IN THE MIST OF THE CARPATHIANS | France 5 | Les Routes de l'Impossible

When driving in Ukraine you need patience and steady nerves. You also need imagination and know-how to fix things and have to count on solidarity between drivers if you want to reach your destination. In the remote provinces of the country, the roads are in a catastrophic state. They haven’t been maintained since independence, 30 years ago. Ukraine remains profoundly marked by its Soviet past. Mikola, at the wheel of his Moscovitch has to allow two days to get to his work in Sarata, an isolated village in the mountains. A journey of 50 km and endless problems. Mechanical concerns, skidding, bogging down, impassable stretches… A daily misery shared by those lucky enough to have a car. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Ukraine has been dying. It’s the poorest country in Europe. In Shepit, a small village in the south, the post office finances have dried up. Dimitri, the mail man, is forced to use his own car to do his round. A 1972 Lada that is falling apart. He only earns 75 euros per month, but nothing is going to stop him. He is the last social link with residents cut off from the world and abandoned by the political powers for decades.

In Ukraine the employment rate is up to 20%. Difficult living conditions are driving part of the population to dip into petty scams and trafficking to earn a little money. In the Rivne region, Viktor and his men have become amber diggers in order to feed their families. It’s illegal, but they are prepared to take risks. To reach the precious seam, they have no choice but to cross the swamps in a tank. A little further south, the Carpathians have become the Amazonia of Europe. Deforestation is destroying all in its path. Yuri and his father, Miroslav, are trying to preserve this natural gem and its ecosystem whatever the cost. To help the stags that are dying for lack of food, they climb mountains and  paths that don’t exist. In winter, their scrapped Russian army truck often turns into an ice-breaker. Ukraine is on the doorstep of Europe, but in some parts of the country they still live as in 1950.

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