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Vitaliy Klitschko, Kyiv Mayor: It isn't me who littering at your stairwells

Author : News Agency 112.ua

Respondent : Vitaliy Klitschko

World-famous sport star and Ukrainian politician shares his views on situation in capital, launch of new city projects, work as a mayor and communication with Kyiv citizens
22:38, 18 March 2019

112 Agency

Today, my guest is a real sport legend as well as politician - Vitaliy Klitschko.

- Our guest works as the Kiev mayor, so I should fulfill the order of the public and immediately have to solve all our questions. How was your journey to us, Mr. Klitschko?

- It took a lot of time due to the traffic jam. The city is overloaded with cars. I understand that now there will be a question about ...

- ... Kozeletska street and pits on the road.

- We repaired a lot of roads. Much more than in past years - 830 km of roads in three years. But many more remained. I am convinced that the time will come to repair your street.

- You were offered to become mayor with help of other people, you said: "I do not want to be appointed mayor - I want to be elected mayor." And this is already part of the history of this city. Did people disappoint you a little? I will say why: you are a six-time world champion in kickboxing, then you have gone through a rather serious school with a German coach, with German discipline, and America — you have lived in a huge discipline all your life. At what time does Mayor Klitschko come to the office?

- At different time. I have no plan when I should come, when I should leave.

- I know when you leave. I call at 1:00 in the night - you're still at work.

- Yesterday I left work at 23:00, sometimes at 4:00. There is no schedule - you have to be efficient, have to solve problems, because Kyiv is a big city, it lives 24 hours a day, and 24 hours a day there are problems that need to be urgently solved. Frankly I want to say: there is no time for personal things.

- What about children? What about wife?

- Unfortunately, when you are involved in politics, you cannot find time, and the family suffers most of all, and friends are suffering too.

- Do you understand how the average Ukrainian perceives the mayor of such a big city? "A cosy office filled with money, filled with gifts; he has the opportunity to do whatever he wants." Even in this interview now: if I praise mayor Klitschko now, tomorrow they will write on the web that this was a subservient interview. If I scold Mayor Klitschko now, they will say that this is an order against Mayor Klitschko. Some people love Klitschko, others don’t. How can you get used to this?

- I haven't paid attention to it for a long time. The result is the most important thing to me. People complain: "we need to repair the road." We begin to repair the road - they start complaining: “It’s impossible to drive! When this repair will be over?”. Does someone know how to change the asphalt, make repairs without blocking the road? This is impossible. Shuliavsky bridge: "when will you start repairing it?" Now we are dismantling the bridge - they complain that it is difficult to drive through. That is, you need to explain. It is very important to communicate with people, it is very important to provide information. Explain, explain. And this is one of the important things in my work. Therefore, I say: if we do something, we need to inform people: "This is the beginning and the end of the work. Sorry for temporary inconveniences." This is very important. Lack of information gives a lot of rumors, in many ways, speculations begin. I do not need to be here, in your studio, in order to be recognized, this is an opportunity to additionally say something. I would like to tell a lot of important things that are happening in the city, what can we all expect. Everyone who is listening to us now is waiting for changes that can affect our lives. Life in the house, in the district, in the city, in the country. And each of us wants to have a normal salary, work, social standards, normal roads. And I get pleasure when people give assignments, and I offer them results already or I can tell when to expect them. And the life of every citizen of Kyiv can change.

- You made a great career, you earned money. You could also feel comfortable settling somewhere in a bourgeois house in Hamburg, with a view on a large river.

- Why bourgeois?

- All houses near the river in Hamburg are already bourgeois houses.” (Everywhere in the world buildings with access to water, these are bourgeois houses, I had in mind.) And you could be able to communicate more with the family. When I hear the phrase that Viktor Yushchenko has betrayed Ukraine, I am shaking because I did not see the whole country rushing to help Yushchenko build a large democratic country. I also do not see that all of Kyiv citizens suddenly stop littering, began to clean up after their dogs, and began to park the cars normally. When I drive along the Park Avenue, I look at the pines, at the bushes that have been planted on the greenery plan, and when I see jeeps starting to go through the bushes that people have planted, I feel nervous. I do not see human faces on these people. What can we do with it, how to change their psychology so that people understand that Klitschko alone, and even with the team, cannot do this?

- Right. I’m glad when people understand that our house, our neighborhood, and our city are their responsibility. It annoys me most when people turn to me and say: "This is a shame, there is rubbish at our entrance hall in the apartment building! When will this rubbish be cleaned?" And I say: "Sorry, maybe I came to your entrance hall and littered? Excuse me, please, and who lives at your entrance hall? If it’s you, then you should clean and keep it in good condition. All the  residents should do it." People understand that this is their responsibility. And this is very good, because little by little we change their psychology. People want to live in a normal place, where you can go for a walk with children, where you can let go of children, where it is safe, where there are surveillance cameras, normal lighting, normal lawns, and generally comfortable conditions for life. And this is my task, as mayor, to make Kyiv comfortable. I understand that I already have something to report on, but there are still a lot of challenges today and much needs to be done. Yes, Klitschko is strong, Klitschko is two meters tall, Klitschko has iron muscles, but how can you take everything and change everything in one minute? It takes time. And I do, and show it by example. We have opened 22 kindergartens, and this year we are opening another 7. We have built seven schools and five more are opening this year. We have reduced the queues in kindergartens from 15,000 to 3,000 children. But our goal is that in the near future there will be no queues at kindergartens at all. When you see the results of what you do, you get satisfaction. And you see a comfortable environment for everyone who lives in our city. Kyiv is a unique city. Me, as a person who has traveled all his life to different countries, I know that. And I have something to compare.

112 Agency


- I do not want our viewers to think that this interview is just about Kyiv. This is a model for the whole country. If it works here, it should work somewhere else. I know that you persistently read everything that is written about you every evening. When you get a blow, could it happen when a strong Klitschko reads all this and wants to say: “Well, why do you write this? I’m trying, I’m  doing something”?

- No, it’s completely different. I have a philosophical attitude to many things in life. Klitschko doesn't look who said what about him. Every evening the new monitoring comes to me: the mentions of the Kyiv Administration, the Kyiv city, my name. And I take this information and read - intentionally and unequivocally. Any criticism that sounds there is a hint. If you think that someone is saying something against you ... I am doing my job. I’m criticized - I am grateful. I am grateful to the critics in the sport. They gave me the opportunity, on the contrary, to prove that I can do more in sports. I am grateful to those people who criticize, if this is an objective criticism of the city of Kyiv. I read it and instantly react - I send the link to the specialized employees and demand from them a report and deadlines. It does not need to be taken personally. This should be taken as a workflow, and this is a hint. Therefore, I advise - do not pay attention. One British politician spoke well: "If you throw stones at every dog that barks at you, you will never reach the goal." They will say some things, but if you are distracted and pay attention to all this ... you need a result. And not only me – I’m talking about all those who expect it. They turn to me: you became mayor, we are waiting for this and that. And you have to show the result of the work. Parks, squares, tourist infrastructure, normal water supply, replacement of elevators. That is, there are many problems to be solved. If I am criticized - I thank for this criticism. I pay attention to this and try to solve these problems quickly. I advise you to look at the criticism at the same angle.

- People sometimes get angry about what they see on the streets. When they see how the Chinese in one night can replace the bridge covering, or as they do in the Netherlands. People would like to see Klitschko come and make a miracle. For example, the South Bridge is a bridge of eternal repair. I watched: the guys collect six piles of garbage, but they blocked one lane, and on a day off there is a traffic jam to Boryspil. I know that people call you, I know that you patiently explain.

- Emotions are not always a very good helper. And in this direction you have to make a decision with a cold head. Not emotional decision, but on the basis of common sense - the most effective, correct decision. I do not want to say that I am so smart, good. It is very important to recruit a team of people who are specialists in each of the areas. I am simultaneously the chairman of the Kyiv city council, the head of the administration, and the mayor of the city. Great responsibility for education (because every member of administration works like a minister), and for medicine, and for housing and communal services, the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Many directions, and you need to have people who have experience, who are responsible, who control. We still have a system that we inherited from Soviet times, inefficient system, and we change it in order to work effectively. Little by little we change it, and indeed, there are results. But much more needs to be done.

- Vitaliy can always set an example in everything – in making push-ups, riding a bike, probably in all sports. You can set an example yourself, but you cannot put your soul and heart in another person. Do you often get disappointed in people?

- Indeed, I had such cases. And more than one. When you treat a person honestly, you know him, you did a lot, and he, to put it mildly, incorrectly treats you, or does things that go against the agreements, the area of responsibility, using the position or direction that he was charged with, not on the benefit of society, but for his own enrichment.

- What do you do with such people?

- I throw these people away. The most important thing in life is normal human relationships. What is politics? Politics in the family, in the city, in the state, in international politics. Politics is communication between people, this is a normal relationship, this is trust, this is responsibility, this is correctness. And this is my principle - in this direction to rebuild human relations on these criteria, on these values. Sometimes, indeed, you are disappointed when you are honest, and the person is not.

- When you became the mayor, some technical innovations began to appear on the streets. Last winter, when so much snow fell on the streets, people were not satisfied with your work. This winter the streets were cleaned, but I did not see those who would walk and shout: well done, Klitschko. Here in this injustice. Everyone wanted to look at the car, which melts the snow. What are the new technologies you will bring, what to expect? Multi-storey car parks? Because 5,000 more cars, and Kyiv roads will stuck in traffic jams.

- Indeed, the problem of parking is a very big problem. And even those parking lots, which are now in Kyiv, are half empty. The cars are standing, and the driver says: why should I drive in the parking and pay money for it, when I can leave the car anywhere, even though it is “stop prohibited” sign, and I won’t have a fine for it? For two years we have been waiting for this law on fines, in a month it will start working, and we will fine, evacuate irresponsible drivers who leave their cars on the streets. I can talk for a very long time about new things that will appear in Kiev, but the last one is a thing from Israel - a video surveillance system. The single center system, like 15-51, when the operator instantly knows where you are, who you are, and help you. They connect with the service that you need, and you have an instant response. From every trip I have to bring something. I brought the Smart City system from Davos - a transparent budget, and I brought Uber.

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