Power outages, start of the “Karaoke on the Maidan”: what Ukraine was like in 1999

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1999 marked the beginning of the “Karaoke on the Maidan” TV talent-show and forced people to buy candles due to power outages. Vitali Klitschko became a boxing champion and represented the country on the world stage.

We tell about it in the new issue of the documentary series “30 years of Independence” on the UA TV channel.

90’s – it’s the dominance of all imports, when the chocolate bar was American, and the furniture – Italian. But the late 90’s changed everything. Ukrainians again learned to make and buy domestic produce.

This year a modern chocolate factory appeared in Dnipropetrovsk. And modern furniture production started in Cherkasy.

Chains of supermarkets or giant shopping malls were not in sight. Therefore, we had to buy and sell goods in wholesale markets. This was taking place in every city.

This year there were regular power outages.

“It simply came to our notice then. The ads, I remember well, were printed in the local press, broadcast on the radio – when, where it will be turned off, for how many minutes” – said Olga Balakireva, chairwoman of the Social Monitoring Center.

Despite fire safety, candles were lit even in kiosks. And enterprises across the country adjusted to the schedule of power plants.

Also that year, barter payments in the energy sector were abolished.

“At least these are two winters, i.e. 1998-1999 – 1999-2000, these two winters were transitional. That is, you have minutes for a while, these mechanisms should work. They give either a positive effect or a negative one. In this case, this is an example when the created model turned out to be quite successful and allowed to stabilize the situation in the Ukrainian energy sector” – says energy expert Valentyn Zemlyansky.

Communal services have risen in price, and other prices were rising as well. Teachers and miners protested without salaries. As in the early 90’s, the salary was paid with goods – namely, sugar, vegetables, washcloths.

Elections were also taking place this year. Incumbent President Leonid Kuchma won the second round.

Ukraine has a new prime minister. In 1999 – The 45-year-old former head of the National Bank, Viktor Yushchenko, begins his political career. This year the first GDP growth of 6% was recorded in the history of independent Ukraine, but at the same time the utility bills became more expensive.

And “Karaoke on the Maidan” talent show started in 1999.

“In the first year of its existence, the program had an average share of about 50%. Now no one has such an average share, none of the programs in Ukraine” – says the host of the “Karaoke on the Maidan” (1999-2019) Ihor Kondratiuk.

The “Karaoke on the Maidan” presented many young performers to Ukrainians, because at that time it was the only talent show in the country.

In 2019, the last issue of “Karaoke on the Maidan” was released. But even now, the issues of the show posted on the Internet witness the growing views.