Hlukhiv, a city near the border to Russia, played a key role in Ukraine’s history. From 1708 to 1784, it was the European-style capital of the Cossack Ukraine, with embassies, chancelleries, colleges, musical academy, theater…
In the 18th century, the idea of Ukrainian independent nation was born in Hlukhiv. In 1784, Tsarina Catherine II forcefully abolished Ukrainian Hetmanate and punished this proud Ukrainian city by ordering that it would be fully burned (only 2 buildings survived this tragedy) and never rebuilt.
In the 19th century, thanks to the benefits of the sugar production, Ukrainian entrepreneurs rebuilt the city of Hlukhiv elegantly, and among them the ancestors of the Terestchenko family: Artemiy Terestchenko, the mayor of Hlukhiv from 1841 to 1850, and then his oldest son Nikola Terestchenko, first elected mayor of Hlukhiv from 1850 to 1872 (22 years). In 1907, one of the members of Tereshchenko family became Finance and later Foreign Affairs Minister of the Provisional Government of the democratic Russia. After the Bolshevik revolution, the family had to immigrate to France. After the Bolshevik revolution, the family had to immigrate to France.
Now, in the beginning of 21th century another family member, Michel Terestchenko, is writing history. He left France, asked for Ukrainian nationality, presented himself as a candidate to become a mayor of Hlukhiv and was elected, despite strong opposition of local oligarhs.
His programme – a corruption-free, EU-oriented city with sustainable development principles as a model for the whole Ukraine – created enthusiasm as well as resistance.
This “battle of Hlukhiv” is now receiving high resonance in Ukraine and Hlukhiv is becoming a symbol for the whole Ukraine. To share with us his experience and aspirations, Michel is visiting Brussels.
Thursday, 22nd February 2018
Brussels Press Club
Rue Froissart 95
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