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Kyiv’s Unusual Coworking Spaces — Exploring a Detention Centre, Saint Sophia Cathedral

After massive Russian shelling and damage to critical infrastructure in Ukraine, we noticed a trend towards ‘Points of invincibility’ — improvised coworking spaces popping up throughout the country. Vector editorial team decided to experience this new phenomenon for ourselves, so we visited the pre-trial detention center, market mall on the Left Bank of Dnipro, Silpo Car Park, and even a coworking space within the Consistory of the National Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv.”

Disclaimer: We’d like to share our experiences with having backup options when the power goes out and there’s no electricity, no network, and sometimes even no internet. It’s not offered as criticism but rather as a way to help those in similar situations

Pre-trial Detention Centre at Lukianivska Prison

  • Address: 13 Dehtiarivska, near Lukianivska metro station.

  • Cost: free.

  • Working hours: 24 hours a day.

  • Number of seats: 10.

“— Good morning. I’m here to pass on a package! — Name?” “— Hi there, I have a daughter staying here, and we have some important matters to discuss – it is time for us to finalize the division of our property. I would also like to see her. She has already been sentenced and is awaiting a ‘transfer.’ — Write an application”.

Did you catch the vibe of the “Point of invincibility” in the capital’s pre-trial detention center? It is located outside the secure area of the Kyiv pre-trial detention facility in a room specifically set aside to receive citizens. “Good afternoon,” I say as well. But not to the woman on duty behind the window but to the friendly manager of the ‘Point of invincibility.’ “Can I work in here?”. I’m allowed. Not only did they provide me with an opportunity to work, but also a place to recharge and warm up.

General Atmosphere

Despite being situated right at the entrance, ‘The Point’ was warm when I spent 2.5 hours in the detention center. No one else had come to the pre-trial detention facility for the ‘Point of Invincibility,’ but there were plenty of people lining up to use it as intended. Ten armchairs were provided with plaids, and a table was set with tea, coffee, biscuits, and waffles — a cooler held both hot and cold water. The United News (Yedyni Novyny) TV marathon was played on television.

Internet and Charging

  • Internet. During my stay, the WiFi with the name “SIZO_FREE” was consistently stable and had a fast connection. The speed test showed an average of 27 Mbit/s for downloading and 32 Mbit/s for uploading data, respectively, which was enough for my usual activities such as writing and formatting texts, using messengers, etc.

  • Charging. Extension cords are provided for the convenience of visitors.

  • Alternative Power Supply. I no longer find the generator indoors, as pictured on the detention center’s official Facebook page. It appears that, following humorous remarks from users, it was moved away.

When I messaged our editor-in-chief at nine in the morning, saying, “I’m in the detention center! Hey”, he didn’t pay attention to the order of words and was understandably panicked. Anybody would be scared if they were in his shoes.

On occasion, I even wished that a scene from ‘Shantaram’ where the main character breaks out of prison wouldn’t be replicated here. Of course, Lukianivka isn’t a prison, but it’s quite similar — one must agree. Despite the employees being friendly and helpful, the “Point of Invincibility” at this detention facility is not suitable for those who are vulnerable.

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