The Ratz Stan Kogutyak and Gaston Michel along with photographer Ronan Algalarrondo went to visit Ukraine not long ago, egged by Stan who wanted to show them his home country and some authentic Eastern-European ruggedness in Odessa and Kiev. Gaston didn’t need much persuading, being the hustling globetrotter that he is. Let’s just say I met Gaston by bumping into him at a Zagreb skatepark like three years ago, while he was touring Croatia and the Balkans on a stolen, heavy framed city bike. Ukrainian Stan is the same, drop him anywhere and he’ll get around. The name Ratz seems appropriate.

Intro: Josip Jagić
Photography: Ronan Algalarrondo

Once the decision had been made, Stan got on the phone with Ukrainian skaters such as Pavel Marchuk, Demydov Vadym, Max Irzhanenko and Igor Bezuglyi, he booked tickets and an Airbnb and off they went to crazy Odessa.

Without going too much into detail, Stan recollects the time there: “We met a guy at one of the spots while we were skating, we was totally wasted but very juiced seeing Gaston skating and killing the spot. His name was Baton. You’ll see him in the intro of the video. A few days later, Gaston got a quote from the dude tattooed on his body. That same day our riders friends showed us how real Odessa locals have fun at night. We had a big party and got into trouble in the city. Nothing too serious, but just enough to have fun”.

After their visit to Chernobyl, they had to throw away their clothes so they got some at a thrift shop in Kiev and found some really nice clothes for about 10€ each, which they shot a fashion editorial in, before heading back to Paris. Check the editorial and the video below.

About The Author

Josip Jagić

Josip Jagić is the Editor-in-Chief of Be-Mag. Josip has been involved in rollerblading for over 20 years as a blader, event organizer and trivia enthousiast. In real life, he was the Editor-in-chief of a daily newspaper, press officer in a government ministry and a communications expert.