KYIV, Ukraine — The rave had been planned for weeks, with the space secured and the D.J.s, the drinks, the invites and the security all lined up.
But after a recent missile strike far from the front lines killed more than 25 people, including children, in central Ukraine, an attack that deeply unsettled all Ukraine, the rave organizers met to make a hard, last-minute decision. Should they postpone the party?
They decided: No way.
“That’s exactly what the Russians want,” said Dmytro Vasylkov, one of the organizers.
So they rigged up enormous speakers, blasted the air-conditioning and covered the windows of a cavernous room with thick black curtains. Then, they flung open the doors to an old silk factory in Kyiv’s industrial quarter.
And as if on command, the room filled with young men with their shirts stripped off and young women in tight black dresses, everyone moving as if in a trance, facing forward, almost like at a church, the D.J. the altar.
It was dark, sweaty, loud and wonderful. Here was a country locked in a war that touched every person in the room but still, they were dancing their hearts out.
“If you know how to use it, this is the cure,” said one raver, Oleksii Pidhoretskii, a young man who lives with his grandmother and hadn’t been out for months.
After a prolonged silence, Kyiv nightlife is roaring back.
Many people are venturing out for the first time since the war began. To drink by the river. To meet a friend. To sit at a bar and have a cocktail. Or three.
This is a city full of young people who have been cooped up for two years, first because of Covid and then the war with Russia. They yearn for contact. War makes that urge even greater, especially this war, where a Russian cruise missile can take you out, anywhere, anytime.