Early Morning in KaZantip by Sasha Ivanov on In The Know Traveler
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The Ins
To get into "Z Republic" visitors should buy a "viZa." The cost is $20 with a multiple viZa available for $80. There are other options. Those with a yellow suitcase or wearing orange valenki (Russian winter footwear) can get in free "“ or the truly uninhibited, can come through the entrance nude, with clothes in hands, gratis.

Before now, I had only seen "Z Republic" in photos. Now, having passed the viZa and customs supervision (the contents of bags are checked. It is strictly forbidden to bring meals and drinks.), I see everything with my own eyes. There are fourteen dance floors to accommodate a variety of musical tastes: house, techno, trance, drum'n'bass, R'n'B, and lounge. The main alley is surrounded by artificial palm-trees. There is a volleyball-court and a great number of bars and snacks shops scattered all over the territory. All of which are protected by the "Angels of Security."

According to the "Z Constitution," the main property of the "Z Republic" is the "happy z-people." As a rule, it is the youth (20-25 years of age), citizens of big cities of Russia and Ukraine, and club-life fanciers, although clubbers from Western Europe come here more and more often. Are they really happy and contented here?

Vladimir from Dnipropetrovsk, who comes here to "chill out," time and again, shared his personal attitude toward the festival with me. "So you want to go to KaZan?" He asks, "Go on, one idiot more, one idiot less, who cares! No one really wants you. Your dough is all that matters there. Music that everyone praises is nothing more than a series of similar repeating sets "“ DJs play as if they do us a favor. We expected headliners, but except for the famous Timo Maas, who appeared at the opening, only amateurs are here, commonly talent-less. Even the environment is no longer the same due to overblown rumors; absolutely useless people come here who are not able to party properly. They think as they come in, everyone will feed them, keep them, amuse them. Aha, keep dreaming! Do enjoy yourself or none [not] at all!"

Katya from Moscow has her own opinion. "KaZantip "“ it's awesome! For five days we had spent there with our company, I haven't ever regretted my coming! Every day different holidays were celebrated, the Day of the Absolute Independence or the Day of Cosmic Brothers, when everybody gets in touch with the Cosmos and comes out into the astral. KaZantip "“ is the best place on earth… It can only be compared with annual musical fest in Ibiza."

This sweet word "Popovka"

Happy Z-people by Sasha Ivanov on In The Know TravelerThe road trip to Popovka, a hamlet, KaZantip's home, begins on a bus. Old and suffocating, it is full of party animals eager to enjoy the fruits of "orange folly." The bus trudges along the road, passing through the boundless steppe. The dull landscape makes us depressed. Nothing points out the presence of a human-being. Rolling by these vast expanses, I had the impression that we were no longer going to a festival of music and revels, but back to the beyond.

I wondered how Popovka had been living, before the Z Republic? Probably, drably and dully, but now, as "tanned laZybones" lodged here, the locals wouldn't be bored. They raised the prices in shops and hurriedly started building new dwellings for holiday-makers. Visitors pay $5 to $10 for a night in barrack-type apartments before the official opening, after that prices double.

"But the festival itself pales in comparison to the antics of Popovka villagers," says Igor, an old stager of the KaZantip movement. "These landlords aspire to compress up to six human beings into a single room. The beds [are] made of scrapped wood and the toilets [are] on the other side of the courtyard."

KaZantip, Ukraine's Uncharted Republic
KaZantip, Ukraine’s Uncharted Republic, pt.3

Written and Photographed by Sasha Ivanov

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