The Totalitarian Democratic Utopia of The KaZantip Republic
We recently left the familiar sights of New York for a week-long adventure to Eastern Europe. This trip was long overdue and left the notorious path-less-traveled as one of our most exciting, eye opening, and inspiring trips to date.
Our first stop was Istanbul, Turkey: where east meets west. We turned a mandatory layover into a weekend of culture, food, and partying…on a boat (courtesy of follow). As we carelessly drifted on the Bosphorus somewhere between Europe and Asia, we reflected on our first trip to Istanbul less than a year ago.Not surprisingly, that trip also turned into a jams-filled, flaming-shot guzzling escapade of epicness (read about it here: http://bit.ly/18sjvHK). Lest you haven’t read our previous article, we warmly recommend adding Istanbul to any Techno Tourist’s itinerary.
Our 48 hours in the city turned into a party never-land, with excellent back-up assistance from the wonderful rooms at the W Istanbul. Like all great things in life, the city left us thirsting for more—more apple tea, more Turkish coffee, more Turkish baths, more Turkish delights…really, more of everything Turkish. But time flies in the center of the world. Before we knew it, we were back at Ataturk Airport for the continuation of our adventure. After a decade of waiting, we were finally off to the KaZantip Republic.
Upon our arrival into the blazing Crimean sunshine of Simferopol, we took our first breath of Ukrainian air. As in other places sporting high levels of traffic freedom, the cab-ride was best described as… thrilling. On our left side, we had a periodic clear view of the Black Sea, with nothing less than perfectly instagramable #nofilter cloud-porn. The natural beauty was only broken up by intermittent views of Soviet Union architecture and watermelon stands. Endless watermelon stands.
Our cab ride ended at a tiny seaside town that hugs the borders of the Kazantip Republic’s official territory (reference: google maps). Popovka acts as a calm refuge from the revelry that goes on within the walls of the Republic. It was here, about a 7-minute walk from the border, that we left our bags. With refreshing feelings of eagerness and suspense, something that captured the essence of ‘first times’ long past, we made our way towards the promised land. Think back to grade school and a story of a girl named Lucy who entered a wardrobe and had her world changed forever. Like Lucy, we thought, “I can always get back if anything goes wrong.” The path to salvation led us into a wardrobe, where we emerged walking down a dusty cinder block alley that dropped us into a bazzar of food goods and then finally, the ViZa office. This is where we would officially become -perhaps the most noble thing one can ever become- citizens of KaZantip.
After the appropriate bureaucratic arrangements had been made, we were handed a coveted viZa, and even more importantly: a copy of the KaZantip Republic constitution and rules. The entire process was a far cry from your typical rainy club queue in England, or underground guestlist entry in New York. And, after a tour led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it was apparent: “This wasn’t just an ordinary wardrobe.”
Even with the mandatory, tracked viZa scans at the customs; there was no great discomfort with this same-but-other-worldly experience. The KaZantip Republic, and the strong underlying ideology that binds it all together, creates a specific kind of culture, which has been cultivated and perfected by PreZident Nikita for 21 years. This totalitarian democratic utopia is said to both exist and not exist. Criminal codes are strictly enforced, with the threat of deportation floating loosely in ones consciousness. The citizens are encouraged to focus on achieving the impossible while Article 7 of the constitution declares that the belief in the reality of miracles is the official state religion.
Without attempting to give words to the entirety of this nearly indescribable self-generating, energy-diffused locale, we will mention a few aspects of the Republic that exemplify its guiding principles. Most profoundly (in a satirical manner) the KaZantip Republic draws clever parallels to the real world. The corporate nightlife world has changed the definition of VIP from “Very Important Person” to “Very Infinite Pockets,” something that the systemic hierarchy implemented by the Republic Government manages to revert successfully. WC4 afterhours are invite only (via a bracelet) and are protected like a bunker with a bank vault door. Loose lineups are announced in advance, though nothing is final and modifications are often made. Set times for the day scroll across a massive light wall like a magical ticker and will, more often than not, reveal a pleasant surprise (or five). Artists who impressed Nikita are awarded Valedictorian medals, symbolizing his approval of their work.
Not only in terms of politics is the KaZantip Republic a story of success. The considerable effort placed into the structural quality of the Republic infrastructure is utterly impressive. The Befooz stage was new for 2013 and stood out with an elegant design that took full advantage of the surrounding natural beauty. Creative lighting applications provided a full sensory experience with flawless sound generated by massive two-line arrays flanking the stage. In fact, the sound generated at almost every stage was superior to many four-point systems in recent memory (the wall of subs would make the artificial earthquake technicians at Universal Studios jealous). The other stages also brought, each to their own right, a completely different feel of party-experience: The construction of Dark Side resembled what one might interpret as KaZantip’s version of a University lecture hall. In here partygoers could learn from some of the top talent in the industry and further enhance the cascade of human capital that drives the development of the entire industry. Heaven resembles Tatooine so much, that at one point we wouldn’t have been surprised if the special guest was Jabba The Hutt himself. And Croissant, built by Mikhail Prokhorov, boasted an impressive inventory complete with a dance floor, private restaurant, full gym and swimming pool. These structures perfectly reflected the feel-good energy that radiated from its citiZens. They are not about poshness or excess, they’re about realizing, living, and acting out one’s dreams in a shared environment: an environment where everyone has the right to “be the one they wanna be.”
Needless to say, we absolutely recommend that everybody take a trip to KaZantip Republic to experience the giant adult playground on the Black Sea, where everything feels right where it should be. Each day of our trip pulsated with a feeling of divine adventure and yours will too.
As our trip came to a close, we had a surreal moment, looking out into the glistening water, reflecting on the trip; One of our newfound Russian friends looked us straight in the eye and asked out of nowhere: “Were you scared?” Now, we were in a self-proclaimed republic that is just as far from NYC by plane as Tokyo, several hours from the nearest major city, and adjacent to a town that has only 6 streets (none of which are paved). Common sense predicates that we should have at least felt anxious about our position in the Universe. We were not. We were home. This was nirvana.
After years of reading every piece of information we could come across, watching every video that exists, and speaking with party aficianados with first-hand experience of this mysterious KaZantip Republic, we had figured that our Eastern European adventure wouldn’t be too far off of a typical Techno Tourist ‘business’ trip. We were wrong.
Perhaps the most important thing the KaZantip Repbulic taught us is that some of the most meaningful highlights of being a professional Techno Tourist can be conjured ‘off’ of the dancefloor. Words cannot explain the perfect mesh of people, meticulous attention to detail, and the gracious hospitality of the KaZantip Republic Government—all worked into place by a particularly poignant ideology. The magic that happens within those walls is something you have to feel, hear, dance, and see to believe.