Alexander Gorobets: Interview with the Kiev mayor

Alexander Omelchenko is the mayor of Kiev. This person is the most talked-about official in Ukraine. During almost five years of his work, he has managed to achieve a lot. Only idlers and drunkards can not get work there, it is warm in all the apartments, and the bread in Kiev is cheaper than in any other city or settlement. The city administration acquired a football club several months ago and entitled it “Arsenal.” Omelchenko said this club would soon become more famous than the well-known Dinamo. Omelchenko has also established the new political party, which is becoming the biggest in the country. There are some three million people currently living in Kiev, and now the city has found a person who is able to supervise its entire economic structure. Omelchenko is not a beginner. He used to be in charge of the construction field in Kiev and there was a lot of construction work carried out in the city. At first, the people were furious because of it, but they then all sighed with relief, as the roads became wider, and the city became more comfortable both in regard to the traffic and for the citizens.

- Are you sometimes bored?

- Not at all. There is so much work to be done. There were not many people three years ago who believed that there would be no such notion as unemployment in Kiev. If you take an employment newspaper in your hands, you will see tons of ads for jobs there. Last year, we set up 17 thousand additional jobs in the city and over nine thousand over the first six months of the current year. If this trend is going to be preserved during November and December, then only idlers and drunkards will not be able to get a job, which is what I said three years ago. The people are aspiring to prestigious processions now; there is a lack of doctors and teachers in Kiev though.

- Maybe it is because of their small wages?

- But they are not the meagre wages. They are higher than in the regions. As it usually happens, the things that are introduced in the capital are then repeated either by the cabinet of ministers or the Ukrainian parliament. Kiev, for example, raises the salary for teachers without any legal grounds to do it; the rest are afraid of doing that. Then, there is a situation of conflict, as the teachers in the regions are not be happy about their colleagues in Kiev having bigger wages. Then, the cabinet of ministers will repeat Kiev’s decisions. This is the sense of a capital: to be the first.

- Kiev became the pioneer when it came to the reduction of bread prices.

- Bread became cheaper in Kiev first. All the enterprises that are situated in Kiev belong to the capital: bread-baking factories, mill houses, grain elevators, ect. However, the regional enterprises are privatized. So who cares to reduce prices there? It should not be a surprise that the bread, baked in Kiev, is delivered to the districts of the Kiev region.

- So you mean they should not have carried the privatization out?

- No, I do not mean that, but they should have started with handicraft, entrepreneurship, and commerce. They should have watched it for a year or two, how the process was going on. If it were stable, then they could go on with the privatization of light industry and so long, gradually, step by step. We have conducted this process in a very bad way. Everything has been stolen, absolutely everything. It kicked the corruption off. I am not being pessimistic, I am just very sorry for what has been done in Ukraine in this respect, and I can not exert any influence over the situation. The only thing I could do was not to allow the plunder of Kiev.

- I have heard that the specialists for Kiev build a metro in Beijing.

- The Beijing mayor has been to Kiev and when he visited our metro, he said it was the best, even better than in Moscow or anywhere else. Therefore, we are likely to get this job. They need 300 kilometers of track built (we have 50 kilometers). This will cost a huge sum of money: tens of millions of dollars.

- What do you think is the major problem for Kiev?

- I think it is the ecological problem. I believe that the majority of problems happen due to the bad ecology: illnesses, the reduction in the birth rate, ect. A factory to process garbage costs 250 million dollars. Where can we get such money? Who needs to work with garbage? Unfortunately, no one. We have been conducting negotiations with the banks in Vienna. If we manage to sign a contract with them, then we will be able to build one of the best garbage-processing enterprises in Europe. It is a very expensive enterprise, as it costs even more than a blast-furnace.

- What about the Kiev Sea?

- This immense water reservoir is a separate problem. It has been built higher than the level of the capital. It is hanging above us, so to speak, and the levee is very weak. If the dam bursts, then it will be a disaster for the whole of Ukraine. I was there two years ago. We have to drain the sea in order to be able to solve all the problems. I spoke to Boris Paton, the president of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and he supported me. It will surely cost a lot, but what else can we do? It is not good to make jokes with nature.

- Why did Kiev buy the Arsenal football club?

- We already have controlling stock of the club, 51%. We will do our best to make this club a very strong one. The capital cannot have only one sports team; there should be a competition here too.

As it can be seen from this interview, Alexander Omelchenko is to a certain extent an ambitious person. Last summer, he established a new ppolitical party, Unity, which did not have any prospects for development. At the present moment, it is one of the most prospective political institutions in Ukraine.

Alexander Omelchenko was interviewed by Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev, Ukraine

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Author`s name: Editorial Team