I thought I would post this despite the site's imminent demise. I first visited Ukraine in 2003, travelling to Kiev and Donetsk and I've just returned from a trip to the capital and to Crimea, so a few observations. 1) The vast majority of people still seem to speak Russian but those who object are ridiculously chippy. I witnessed a particularly petty incident outside Simferopol train station, with someone demanding that a taxi driver speak to him in Ukrainian. A slanging match ensued. 2) The authorities in Kiev have invested quite a bit of cash on street-lighting. There are no longer the dark streets that I recall from 2003. Neither does masonry fall from buildings which workmen are renovating, any longer. Health and safety appears to have taken hold. 3) Prices have gone up quite dramatically. £3 GBP for a beer in many restaurants and cafés in Kiev. You could easily spend upwards of £30 on a decent meal. The cheapest place we visited was Bakhchisaray in Crimea. 4) I was pick-pocketed on the Kiev metro (I am careful, but the train was packed and it was a highly professional job). The militisya could not have been more helpful and indeed they were able to return my wallet (minus some money) about 2 hours after the incident took place. I was extremely impressed. 5) Crimea's southern coast is a huge amount of slightly trashy fun. I could've happily spent the entire summer lounging on beaches and drinking beers from the kiosks at the front in Alushta. 6) Simferopol looks like a dusty, no mark town when you're passing through, but if you wander around for an afternoon you find attractive parks, pedestrianised streets and trendy cafes.