Olexandr Omelchenko has been newly elected mayor of the city of Kyiv. The “rightists”, “leftists”, “conformists”, “centrists”, “nationalists”, “internationalists” - people of all political affiliations cast their votes for Mr Omelchenko. Some observers were even surprised by the unanimity of the people’s choice.
This unanimity can probably be explained by the personal qualities of Mr Omelchenko. No doubt, he has gained such a wide popularity with the Kyivans thanks to the things that he has done for the city of Kyiv in recent years.
Mr Omelchenko is sometimes called in the press “a workaholic” and he does work a lot indeed. His working day begins at seven o’clock in the morning and ends quite often after midnight. But of course, it’s not the length itself of the working day that matters.
The people of Kyiv can see for themselves the excellent results of his work: the newly rebuilt Mykhaylivsky Zolotoverkhy Cathedral; beautifully renovated Khreshchatyk, central street of Kyiv; wages and pensions paid on time; stable prices for most important food products; artesian wells providing excellent water in all parts of town; considerable fall in the crime rates — to name just a few things on a long list of what has been done. All of it is directly linked in people’s minds to the activities of Kyiv’s mayor.
Olexandr Omelchenko has been elected mayor for three years. The popular mayor has been a guest of the Welcome to Ukraine magazine office.
WU: How does it feel to be mayor elected in a democratically run election?
Omelchenko: Frankly, I still feel a bit tired. It was a tough exam for me and the examiners were strict. I just had to do my best, not to be ashamed afterwards. I regard the fact that most of the Kyivans voted for Olexandr Omelchenko as their approval of the course taken by the Kyiv City Administration headed by me, approval of our work whose aim was to improve life conditions in Kyiv. Evidently, our hard work in the past three years has not been done in vain. At the same time, I have carefully studied the programmes of other candidates, particularly those, who got considerable number of votes. I’ll use the most interesting items in their programmes to further develop our wonderful city.

The future of Kyiv in reliable hands.


Youth festival in Kyiv. There has been many of them in Kyiv recently, - maybe becouse the mayor is young in his heart?


Mr Omelchenko is head of the Ukrainian Ice Hockey Federation.


WW II Victory Day in Kyiv.

WU: What is your opinion, sir, of the way this election was held?
Omelchenko: My rivals have not spared money in their attempt to win. Both commercial and political mechanisms have been used as well. A lot of malicious slander has been cast upon me. But in spite of all this, the majority of Kyivans have voted for me. Probably because the work of Kyiv City Hall and of the capital’s State Administration has been duly appreciated, and is, as it were, transparent, and the results of our work can be seen and understood by everyone.
WU: Were you sure you would win?
Omelchenko: Yes, I could say that I basically was. But I have to admit that I felt nervous tension before the election and on the night right before the election day I could not sleep. You see, anything can happen at the elections. When I learned of the results, I experienced an acute feeling of heart-felt unity with my dear Kyivans, a feeling of great gratitude to them for the trust they have shown. But now I understand that I’ll have to work even harder and in a more fruitful manner, in order to justify their trust and hopes.
WU: There has been a lot of discussion going on as to whether Kyiv mayor should be a politician or a good manager and businessman. What can you say?
Omelchenko: I am quite convinced that a mayor is to do everything possible to provide effective running of a big city. That is the mayor’s primary task. But at the same time, the mayor of the capital cannot be left entirely out of politics. I have always been paying my biggest attention to the business and managerial matters, but Kyiv’s mayor should possess certain skills of a politician as well. The only thing the mayor should not do is that he must not become a politico.
WU: Your opponents, Mr Omelchenko, often blame you for spending too much money on renovating Khreshchatyk. They say the centre of Kyiv has been turned into a show case but the suburbs are in a deplorable condition.
Omelchenko: Let me answer by saying that first of all the centre of any city demands a special attention because it is surely a place advertising, as it were, the whole town. One judges by what the centre looks like what the whole town is like. And isn’t it pleasant for our numerous guests and people of Kyiv to walk along Khreshchatyk knowing that this central street looks no worse than the central streets of Paris, Montevideo or Melbourne?
And secondly, the plans of the city development include provisions for renovating and repairing all the streets of town. According to the Law on the Capital, recently adopted, each major street of Kyiv has a special significance. You see, there are all kinds of diplomats and high-ranking officials from many countries of the world who come to Kyiv, and move about it. Naturally enough, everything in Kyiv must be taken a good care of. We have started working along these lines. If we don’t do it, we will not be able to turn Kyiv into a really European capital.
WU: Could you give some more particulars concerning the development of our town?
Omelchenko: We are planning to restore houses which are dilapidated or are too old. At the same time we are going to go ahead with the restoration of the architectural monuments.

In one of Kyiv's schools.

At the meeting with Volodymyr Kuzmuk, Ukraine's Minister of Defence.
We are planning to introduce new technologies in running the city. No less important are ecological problems and we are going to tackle them too. Of course, it would be nice to have tap water as good as the artesian water, but so far it is impossible from the biological or ecological point of view. That is why we are going ahead with sinking artesian wells. They provide water good for health, good for our children, and our children are our future. Mind you, Kyiv, despite being situated not far from the Chernobyl Zone, is quite successful in solving ecological problems
WU: It’s not a secret, that sometimes even the word “Chernobyl” scares off foreign investors.
Omelchenko: Yes, sometimes foreigners are reluctant to invest their capital in Kyiv, but even here we have been observing a good tendency.
Last year Kyiv had 213 million USD of investments which is twice as much as in 1997. In fact, it is one fourth of all investments of Ukraine’s economy. So, Chernobyl doesn’t scare people too much. The biggest investments were put into the Kyiv Reemstma Tobacco Factory (17,2 million USD) and into McDonald’s Ukraine Ltd. (12 million USD). So you see that such respectable companies see Kyiv as a place for good investments and it means that the ecological situation in Kyiv is quite normal.
WU: What new things will enhance the beauty of Kyiv, “Mother of All Russian Towns”, in the nearest future?
Omelchenko: We are planning to build Kyiv Disneyland in the Trukhaniv Island. The work on the project is to start soon. An old outdoor theatre on the slope of a hill facing the Dnipro will soon be renovated. We think that these projects will boost tourism and tourism is one of our priorities.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Kyiv Mayor Olexandr Omelchenko with his wife, brothers Klychko, famous professional boxers and other officials at the ceremony of installation of the statue of Archangel Michael at the facade of the Mykhaylivsky Zolotoverkhy Cathedral on May 29, 1999.


Mayor Omelchenko and Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and of all Ukraine.


Mayor Omelchenko and Filaret, Patriarch of Kyiv and all us-Ukraine at the consecration of the main cross of the Mykhaylivsky Cathedral.

In the past two years over one hundred million hryvnyas were put into the construction and renovation of hotels, another 120 million hryvnyas were used for building and renovating roads and bridges. We are planning to build five five-star hotels, 12 four-star and 58 three-star hotels - and all that before the year 2010.
WU: Mr Omelchenko, you have been telling us about making up plans of building new beautiful things in the city of Kyiv. Before becoming mayor you were a construction engineer. Now, Mr Omelchenko, could you tell us how you managed to build such a nice family that you have?
Omelchenko: Yes, that’s the best thing that I ever built. I am proud of it. If we continue with the construction comparisons, the “main pillar” of our family is my wife Lyudmyla, she’s been a great help to me in everything.
I have two sons. The elder son, Yan, is a diplomat. He is working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The younger son Olexandr, is also a construction engineer, as I used to be. Two “most privileged” persons of our family are my granddaughters, Katrusya and Marynka. They are the apple of my eye.
But I must tell you that Lyudmyla and I were not doting on our children. My both sons went into sports, doing boxing quite successfully too. They served in the army. Neither of them had any home tutors. We are proud of our children. I hope, my parents — my mother Pavlyna and my father Olexandr - have not been ashamed for me either. They have taught me the most important things in life - to work hard, to build life with my own forces. My mother lives in the land of Polissya, in the town of Brusyliv.

The best relaxation for me is to help my mother with her work in the ve-getable garden and about the beehives.
WU: Mr Omelchenko, you have become mayor at the turn of the twentieth century. What’s your vision of Kyiv at the beginning of the next millennium?
Omelchenko: I hope that all the terrible destructive forces — wars, revolutions, earthquakes - will remain in the past. People will change for the better, they will have a new feeling of their national identity, they will feel responsible for their native town, for the nature around them, for their native land. I’m convinced that the time will come, when we will start using our great potential. Kyiv will be not only a city park, but it will become a flourishing centre of our culture, sciences, arts.


Press-conference given by Vitaliy Klychko, WBO super weight world champion. Vitaliy Klychko won the title on June 26 in London Arena, in the British capital. In the evening of the same day a grandiose sports and music show, Step to the Victory, took place in the centre of Kyiv; among the organizers of the show was Kyiv State Administration, headed by Olexandr Omelchenko
It will be a city, filled with music of happy voices of our people. I’m working to make all of these dreams true.