Culture News Politics Society, 19/06/2017

Kharkivites Question Impartiality of the City Authorities’ ‘European Success’

European Association website appears to be developed and hosted in Kharkiv.

Recently, the General Assembly of the Association of Towns Awarded the Europe Prize was held in Kharkiv. The delegations from 13 European towns took part in it, and Kharkiv was elected for the second time to head this Association with the presidency of its mayor Hennady Kernes in 2017-2018.

The news was accompanied with eulogy on the city authorities great achievement in developing the city infrastructure and standard of living.

The pompous tone of the news on the occasion, spread by some local media, contrasted to modest progress in reality; it made the city residents smile. That is why the most curious ones called into question the value and trustworthiness of the city praises attributed to the Association.

Kharkivite Yurek Yakubov and some other activists did a brief research and found out that the website of the Association is hosted in Kharkiv and was created by Kharkiv IT specialists. What is more, the domain is also registered in Kharkiv, and its owner has worked in the City Council since 2016.

Meanwhile, the Kharkiv City Council also announced that it initiated the renewal of the website of the Association.

“There is nothing strange in the fact that a Ukrainian company develops the site for such an organization. And this Association might be involved in some serious scope of activity. But it looks funny when the website publishes praise for its developers and host company. There is an impression of some show off”, notes Yurek Yakubov.

According to many Kharkivites, the news about Kharkiv “’best’ mayor” and “great success” of Kharkiv infrastructure development sound exaggerated and trumped up; the self-promotion of Kharkiv authorities has produced numerous local memes.

Currently, the activists are going to find out whether Kharkiv budget funds the Association website or other expenses which might be a less funny story than impetuous self-praise.

Reference: The Europe Prize was created by the Parliamentary Assembly in 1955. It has been bestowed on a European town “for its actions in the European domain”. Kharkiv got the Award in 2010. The “Association of Towns awarded the Europe Prize” was set up in 1984. It is a voluntary network aiming to develop closer links between all winning municipalities which meet once a year.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: City Council