06 December 2023
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People believed in amalgamation and decentralisation: Myrne priest and villagers rebuild infrastructure

Residents of Myrne village in the Bilyayivka Rayon of the Odesa Oblast, have been waiting more than a year for the final decision on accessing to the Bilayivska AH. For a long time the village has no elected head, its functions are performed by the village council secretary. There are a lot of problems here. The residents try to cope with them on their own. And Father Vasyl, village priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is very often organising these transformations.

There are many issues in a once prosperous and prosperous village. The first thing that catches your eye is hundreds of mini dumps everywhere. Ragweed is in blossom. Once powerful farms stay destroyed in the middle of the village.

However, our interlocutor is convinced the problem is that people have not been shown an alternative. Once such a dump was nearby a village temple. Now there are flowers, a garden and a tile. And also a trash can where passers-by can throw an ice cream wrap or a bottle of juice.



“I went out and made remarks to children and adults,” says Father Vasyl, “and they told me: where should we throw it? I thought and bought a trash can. Now people do not throw litter under their feet. They do everything in a civilised way.

The first joint effort to improve the village began with the restoration of the pump room.

Father Vasyl is not a local, originally from the Lviv Oblast. But when he heard that people were sorry that the pump room was not working, he decided to try to repair it.

Work on restoration of a pump room continued for almost a year. When it was launched, they took a sample of water, brought it to a special laboratory and did not believe it was water from one and the same spring. So different were the chemical indicators between the new and the previous ones, taken here earlier.

Now not only the Myrne residents come here, but also from Mayaky and Teplodar. The initiative group from the village restored the pump room. Father Vasyl says if you write the names of all who joined – you will get a list of at least 100 people.


The pump room restored by the villagers themselves

Now the pump room is open around the clock and throughout the year.

Representatives of the village initiative group who restored the pump room

By the way, all passers-by are asked to clean up after themselves, to wipe the water if it is spilled. People do it with pleasure. 

Valentyn Nezamayev


“I come for water three times a week,” said local resident Valentyn Nezamayev, “the water has special taste here.”

Former village paramedic Volodymyr Katyuzhynskyi adds:

“If the water is freshly taken, it is as if alive – it can revive a withered tree, a faded flower, and a sick person.

Volodymyr Katyuzhynskyi


Three months ago, the villagers started another work. Six houses have recently burned in the village. Something had to be done with that.

“We helped the fire vistim,” says Father Vasyl, “since all his belongings burned to the ground.”

Now there are four hydrants in the village

“I found out that there is now a programme in Bilyaivka for restoring hydrants all over the city,” the priest continues, “I started researching their cost. It turned out that our budget cannot afford them. A project is needed, large sum of money has to be pais for equipment and work. Then we decided to do everything ourselves.”

Villagers restore hydrants

Again local activists, mostly young men, joined efforts and started work.

They worked from morning till late at night

“This is a real engagement,” says Father Vasily, “And not going to organisations and poking a cell phone into people’s faces. First do something for the village and then demand.”

The priest with like-minded people also restored the sign on the road. And, in general, they try to improve life in the village with all their might.



There is another project proposed by an initiative group in the village. They want to build a modern children's playground with their own efforts and patrons’ help. However, there were controversies about it.

“We do not refuse assistance. On the contrary, we offer to those who criticise: Lead the work! There were a lot of constructive suggestions.”

The priest believes that people can do a lot themselves, but the authorities should not be afraid to communicate honestly with people.

In Myrne, they very much hope that will access Belyayivka having given their voluntary consent.

Here they are ready to change. And Myrne residents believe that decentralisation will give their village the opportunity to become developed and capable again.

The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE


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