On October 6, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy paid a visit to Kharkiv. The president attended Malyshev Plant, Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau and Kharkiv Aviation Factory that belong to Ukroboronprom State Concern and presented a new head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration as part of his trip.
Based on the results of his visit to the defense enterprises, Volodymyr Zelenskiy shared his impressions during the workshop on issues concerning Ukroboronprom enterprises at the Aviation Factory’s hall. In particular, the president was extremely surprised that the Malyshev Plant in Kharkiv has built only one tank for the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the last ten years.
The president also pointed at salary arrears at defense enterprises, which in some cases reached four years, as well as the relatively low salaries of employees. For example, at the Kharkiv aviation plant, the average monthly wage is 3,500 UAH (approximately $140) which is the lowest among all Ukroboronprom’s enterprises.
Mr. Zelenskiy also highlights that Ukroboronprom’s employees work in conditions that don’t meet standards of micro-climate. In winter, people had to operate in premises which equals about 0 Celsius degrees.
Aivaras Abromavicius, Ukroboronprom’s General Director, considers the lack of a favorable environment as one of the trickiest problems of concern enterprises. He stated that shortly pilot projects on free food and providing employees with overalls are planned to be launched at several of the concern’s enterprises.
During the workshop, Mr. Zelenskiy presented Oleksii Kucher, a new head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration, and thanked the previous governor Yulia Svitlychna for her work.
Oleksii Kucher, 34 years old, was born in the Kherson region and has both teacher and law degrees which he received in Kharkiv. Until recently, he was MP from the Sluha Narodu (English: Servant of People) president’s party. Before he was elected as MP, Kucher served as a lawyer and handled a few high-profile cases.
According to Kucher, there will be three main areas of his work: investments, ecology and anti-corruption.
Ordinary Kharkivites were looking forward to the president’s visit and planned a few gatherings. Some residents had to act radically to communicate with the Head of State and expressed their concerns.
A group of Kharkivites blocked the drive of the president’s motorcade to protest against the destruction of the part of the Barabashovo marketplace which is the biggest in Ukraine. A decision to build the road which will pass through the Barabashovo trading zone was adopted at the city council’s session on October 16.
The new road is going to connect Akademik Pavlov with Moiseyevska Streets, it’s length will be 2,5 kilometers. As a result of this construction, some entrepreneurs will lose their business.
The mayor’s office believes that the new road will improve transportation between Saltivka and the city center and redistribute traffic from Akademik Pavlov Street and Saltivske Highway. The city council promises to provide the entrepreneurs whose workplaces will be compulsorily purchased with new premises in the nearby area.
After blocking the president’s motorcade by the protesters, Volodymyr Zelenskiy left his car and discussed issues with them. He persuaded them that this problem will be sorted out.
No Surrender action participants did not see the president though they had been waiting for him for about four hours near All for the Victory volunteers’ tent in front of the building of the Regional State administration.
According to Euromaidan activist Suren Kocharyan, the event was organized by National Corp, Euromaidan Kharkiv, Demokratychna Sokyra (English: Democratic Axe), Union of Anti-Terroristic Operation veterans’ patriotic organizations. About 100 people joined the event. It aimed to discuss various issues with the president including disengaging Ukrainian military forces in Donbas and solving problems with heating in the city.
Activists also expected the new head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration would be presented in the building of the Regional State Administration.
Many participants held signs saying: “Ukraine is not a Grand-Piano,” “Don’t Dare to Surrender the Country,” “You Will Pay for Betrayal” and other posters.
“We are waiting for you, Mr. Zelenskiy, please join in! We want to talk to you, we are ready to meet with you,” said Kharkiv activist Yaryna Chahovets.
Activists also prepared a platform for the president from where he would be able to speak to Kharkivites.
Participants had been waiting for the president from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but he didn’t appear at the event. According to the participants, they were friendly and wanted to discuss various issues with the head of state.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: news.pn, Suren Kocharyan