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French-born mayor of Hlukhiv wants to make town a success

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Most of the buildings in Hlukhiv were built before the communist came into power. The only reminders of the Soviet past are the monuments dedicated to the World War Two. (Volodymyr Petrov)

There’s a new guy in charge of Hlukhiv, an attractive small city of 35,000 people in Sumy Oblast, 300 kilometers northeast of Kyiv - Mayor Michel Terestchenko.

Terestchenko, 61, is a descendant of the Terestchenko family, one of the Russian Empire’s richest industrial dynasties, who built schools, orphanages and churches in Hlukhiv and Kyiv. Terestchenko’s great grandfather Nicola was forced to flee to France when the Communists came to power.

Now Terestchenko is back in his ancestral home, as the third mayor of Hlukhiv in the family. The French-born Ukrainian won the election in October with more than 60 percent of the vote. Together with a supporting majority in the city council, he hopes to give a fresh start to Hlukhiv, a town he says was on the edge of dying.

Fighting corruption will be the priority for Terestchenko, which he says was “pure banditry.” The mayor has launched an anti-corruption commission in the city hall that investigates the cases filed by civic organizations.

Terestchenko also has an ambitious plan to develop tourism in Hlukhiv, which was an administrative center for the Zaporizhian Cossack state in the 18th century.

“We can be as successful a tourist city as Lviv, why not?” Terestchenko says.

Read more here .

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