Alex Kleimenov is a Ukrainian TV producer, photographer and writer who lives in Kiev.
Ukraine's local elections featured dozens of candidates who legally changed their names to run as Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters. But behind the antics, and the excitement over the arrest of a man in a Chewbacca costume in Odessa, is some murky "political technology" that would do Emperor Palpatine proud, says one Ukrainian journalist.
Kiev was rocked by an explosion near Ukraine's Parliament building — an interruption in what has been a peaceful, even pleasant summer. A local resident says it's a reminder of what the city has partly tried to forget: that there's a war on just a few hundred miles away.
The scenes may look normal in Ukraine's capital city. But with a war raging again in the eastern half of the country, the conversations are anything but ordinary.