RADA, Palace, Dynamo & Kissing Bridge
Mariins’kyi Palace ... closed to those not entitled to a special audience with President Yuschenko (2007), this beautiful blue- and cream-colored palace is nevertheless a pleasant place to walk around. Named in honor of Russian Empress Maria, the wife of Tsar Alexander II, the palace was completed in 1755 and excellently combines elements of Ukrainian and Russian Baroque styles.
It’s reminiscent of the Summer Palace in St. Petersburg, and with good reason - they were designed by the same architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The imperial family resided here during their visits to Kyiv, and now meetings with high-ranking foreign diplomats are held in the palace.
Dynamo Stadium ... (near the Mariins'kyi Palace) in the stadium is a monument honoring the life of Valeriy Lobanovs’kyi, Dynamo's famous coach who died in May 2002. Lobanovs’kyi won countless Soviet leagues and cups first as a player and then as coach, not to his mention his team’s two European Cup-Winners Cup triumphs and a string of Ukrainian titles. An even more poignant memorial is the one depicting in stern granite the four Dynamo players who were killed by occupying Nazis during WWII.
Contrary to Soviet myth and many published materials, these players were not shot in their uniforms immediately after defeating a German side in a so-called ‘Death Match’. However, their team Start (consisting of players from Dynamo and other Soviet clubs) did defeat a team of German soldiers called Flakelf in August 1942 - in fact they did it twice in 72 hours by scores of 5-1 and 5-3.
Only weeks later were N. Korotkykh, N. Trusevich, A. Klimenko and I. Kuzmenko arrested. Korotkykh, a NKVD (the precursor to the KGB) agent, was tortured and soon died, while the other three were executed in February 1943 at the Syrets death camp. Regardless, the less-romanticized reality shouldn’t take away from the players’ heroism, embodied when they ignored orders and refused to give a Nazi salute prior to their last game.