What do village heads, who are against voluntary amalgamation, really think?
After the DESPRO debates, held in Poltava, the decentralisation.gov.ua talked to the village head, who was loudly indignant in response to success stories, however, did not dare to speak out.
By Dmytro Synyak
I was sitting quite far from the stage. In front of me there were several men, apparently representatives of rural self-government. In response to almost every reform success story these men were contemptuously bridling up, and each remark against the changes was supported by applause or encouraging cries. And what’s interesting is that none of them has ever taken a floor and asked a single question, although the moderator was repeatedly calling for this.
Upon the end of the debates, I came up to the most active of these men. He turned out to be Serhiy Nesen, head of Zolotukhy village of the Orzhytsia Rayon. I had the following conversation with him.
- Good afternoon! I saw that you are opposed to the reform. But why did not you say that aloud? Why did you decide to quietly sit in the gallery?
- Because they will anyway do what was decided from above. And they will not listen to average people. I have long worked as a village head. And yet I know something about it.
- Why did not you say that? You should have stood up and said: “No one is listening to me!”
- And what will it change?
- And how can anything be changed when you sit quietly in the corner and keep silent?
- I always reach changes as follows: I pull up my sleeves and work.
- Your method is well suited for the country. Why haven’t you yet applied it?
- Because I do not believe that I will be given the opportunity to change something. Honestly, I do not even believe in the voting results that are being displayed today.
- So maybe you should consider the Government’s proposal to amalgamate? It offers a simple recipe: amalgamate and get a lot more money and a variety of opportunities. Moreover, there is no deception – other, already amalgamated hromadas can prove it.
- Frankly speaking, the problem of amalgamation, at least in our Orzhytsia Rayon, is that no one wants to amalgamate with the man who will most likely head the future AH to be established by the Perspective Plan.
- The experience of other AHs shows that changes are possible.
- Changes require a lot of money, but we do not have them. And we cannot take the bank loan, since 30% per annum – it's ridiculous…
- And do you know that Petro Kiyashko, head of the Veselivska AH in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, who spoke today, plans next year to allocate UAH 1 million on interest-free loans to entrepreneurs?
- Well, he probably has the means for that. He has projects. And we do not. We don’t even try it.
- So probably it is worth trying? The money did not fall on Petro Kiyashko from the sky. He received them through active participation in the reform, due to amalgamation. The budget of his hromada has grown by times, and tens of millions of hryvnias are now spent on the restoration of infrastructure in remote villages. Only in the AH centre 20 km of sidewalks have been laid over the past two years.
- Maybe it is so. I do not know. We’ll think about it.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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