Featured Article

Meeting the rebuilders of Kharkiv

Published on Oct 19, 2023

Ukrainian article of the week published in the 3rd edition of the "What about Ukraine" newsletter on October 19th, 2023. The article was written by the Ukraїner team (credentials below) and was translated for n-ost by Tetiana Evloeva.

Check out the complete edition of this week's newsletter. You can access the original article under this link. It was first published on October, 11, 2023.

Kharkiv is one of Ukraine’s largest cities that the Russian enemy came to view as an easy target. With only 30 km [~18.64 mi] separating the city from the Russian border, it didn’t take the enemy troops long to reach the outskirts of Kharkiv, so the city was under constant artillery fire until the Ukrainian Army finally forced them to retreat. An insight into Kharkiv’s recovery from living while partially surrounded by Russian troops can be found in the Deoccupation project by Ukraїner. And now, let us show you how the Kharkivites are rebuilding their city, despite still suffering heavy shelling and destruction.

During the first year of the full-scale war, 500 of Kharkiv's buildings were ruined beyond restoration, and another 5,000 were damaged. The hostilities continue, ruining more and more buildings, including housing projects, educational facilities, and listed buildings. Repairs are often delayed due to bureaucratic issues and a lack of resources. There’s an ongoing discussion about whether rebuilding during wartime is feasible, but people need housing now, and culture and heritage need protection. Therefore, concerned residents of Kharkiv have teamed up and found initiatives to rebuild their city.

Today, a lot of volunteer and social organisations focused on rebuilding Ukraine, both at a local and national level, are operating in Kharkiv. In terms of their Renewal project, the Ukraїner explored the performance of individuals, initiatives, and organisations rebuilding listed buildings, housing projects, and educational facilities, and covered the difficulties they have to face.

Save Kharkiv: protecting cultural heritage

Iryna Honcharova is a city councillor at the Kharkiv City Council and a member of the public initiative Save Kharkiv.

Created in 2017 to protect Kharkiv’s cultural heritage, the initiative started as a means of standing against the developers who wanted to demolish historical buildings, and its efforts are now channelled towards preserving and restoring the listed buildings ruined by the Russian military.

As of September 2023, Iryna says that Russian shelling damaged 76 historical buildings. Sadly, the restoration process is quite slow, mostly due to bureaucracy. Before the restoration begins, external and instrumental examination of the building should be done, after which the paperwork is submitted to the regional Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, the agency issuing permits for construction and restoration works. This is where one has to provide the building’s listed status certificate, which is a document most of these 76 listed buildings are lacking.

It’s easier when it comes to rebuilding monuments and residential buildings, as the authorities sometimes try to act faster. However, the process is often dragged out — for instance, the bespoke building with a tower on 25 Chernyshevska Street is still waiting for its roof to be fixed.

“Despite the promises of [Kharkiv’s Mayor Ihor] Terekhov to rebuild, to give that building a roof before the heating season begins, they have only managed to perform the external and instrumental examination of the building during the entire time since the building was damaged,” says Iryna.

The building also lacks the listed status certificate, so the residents took it upon themselves to raise funds, produce a certificate, and complete the restoration works.

Save Kharkiv is also involved in building conservation. The restoration works on a damaged listed building never begin on day one, as searching for grants and producing the necessary documentation take time. To ensure the best preservation of a listed building before the restoration works even begin, conservation is required.

“This is a relatively cheap and affordable option when you build a sort of protective frame around the structure, keeping the water and the squatters out, and keeping the scrap metal pickers and burglars out,” says Iryna. “During that time, the listed building is out of use, but at least it’s shielded from the elements, allowing it to wait until proper restoration, and giving us time to raise funds.”

The Save Kharkiv has already succeeded in raising cash and preserving the Neo-Renaissance building on Blagovishchenska Street, designed in 1889 by theinfluential Kharkiv-born architect Oleksiy Beketov for a merchant named Sokolov. Before the full-scale invasion, the estate was in quite a good condition, and hosted a Dermatology and STI Clinic.

According to Iryna, the initiative is currently on a mission to preserve one of Kharkiv’s oldest buildings, erected in 1832 by a Kharkiv architect Andriy Ton. In July 2022, the building was hit by a Russian rocket missile which ruined its façade and roof. Sadly, the following day Mayor Terekhov announced the city would not be restoring the listed building. Iryna believes the City authority is willing to demolish the building as it has plans to develop the plot.

Iryna notes that historical buildings have to be restored to prevent Kharkiv from becoming an undead city. These buildings will bring in more visitors.

“Every façade, every rosette, every stucco moulding are elements of listed historical buildings,” she says. “That’s why those beautiful buildings, should we restore them, must become cultural centres, restaurants and hotels.”

BUR: rebuilding housing projects

An NGO called Building Ukraine Together (Ukr. Buduiemo Ukrayinu Razom, BUR) creates volunteering opportunities to help homeowners rebuild damaged homes. Sviatoslav Ternoskyi, the coordinator of the organisation’s Kharkiv branch, shares that the NGO was launched in 2014 when three UCU (Ukrainian Catholic University) students went to Kramatorsk to help people whose homes were damaged by guerrillas, restoring 23 apartments over that summer. At first, they worked in the territories affected by the Russian invaders during that period, and later expanded nationwide.

BUR’s Kharkiv branch has been in operation since 2019. Back then, Sviatoslav had been helping BUR for over a year, a volunteer turned team member.

“Construction is a tool that unites people in supporting one another,” he says. “It’s all about good neighbourly relations, cooperation, and being human in general.”

Cooperation is one of BUR’s key principles. Volunteers work alongside the affected family who needs their home fixed, as their gratitude gives volunteers the incentive to persevere. “We only volunteer to work with a family when there’s cooperation,” says Sviatoslav. “They work with us, rest with us, dine with us. When we put in our 70%, the family puts in their 30%. It’s crucial that the volunteers who come to work on a project see the family they’re helping.”

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, BUR has been helping in the restoration of damaged housing in Kharkiv and beyond. Sviatoslav says that it’s important that the people they’re helping are willing to help others. For instance, during a recent renovation project on two neighbouring apartments in Pivnichna Saltivka, the homeowners and their families were helping each other restore their homes.

Many towns and villages needing assistance are located in the part of Slobozhanshchyna [Sloboda historical region of Ukraine] that is still heavily mined, so BUR is awaiting the “all clear” from the State Emergency Service (SES) before embarking on projects there.

Besides assisting the affected people individually, BUR also participates in restoration projects carried out by organisations and state institutions.

“We also help those helping others, be it a State Emergency Service (SES) facility (a project in Makariv near Kyiv), an outpatient clinic (a project in the Chernivtsi region), or a hostel for displaced persons in Zaporizhzhia and west Ukraine (in Kolomyia and Drohobych) — even [bomb] shelters at schools or public spaces.

BUR’s works are financed with grants and funds provided by benefactors. Any person can subscribe for a monthly donation to BUR starting as low as UAH 100 [2.61 Euro].

When applying for grants, it’s important to comply with the terms set by donors and file all documentation correctly, thus, it’s crucial to assess the types of work, number of volunteers, and duration of the construction before the project is launched. Based on that data, a cost calculation is drawn and submitted in a tender proposal. The process is lengthy, so it’s not always possible to start working on the project early on.

The organisation accepts donations in kind. If a donor has building materials, they can bring these to a construction site. Food for volunteers is also gratefully accepted. Many construction companies and hardware stores offer small discounts to BUR. Still, the organisation has to spend a lot of money on their projects. Aside from inviting volunteers, they sometimes have to bring in specialists to supervise the process and prevent loss of materials due to the volunteers’ mistakes. Construction specialists volunteering their time are always welcome.

According to Sviatoslav, volunteering with BUR is joining an open community of people where one can be useful without being afraid of making a mistake, and can try out something new, discovering what working in new environments means, and learn to adapt to those environments. Such volunteering promotes personal growth.

“It’s about you living your day quite interestingly,” he adds. “And for the most part, people nowadays tend to live in the moment and seize the day, and it’s important how you live that day and what you fill it with. That encourages work and interaction.”

Livyi Bereh: rebuilding roofs as a means of investing

Vladyslav Sharapa, a traveller and a construction worker, joined forces with Kseniia Kalmus, a florist, and Ihor Okuniev, an audiovisual artist, to found the Livyi Bereh [Ukr. “Left Bank”] fund in the early days of the full-scale invasion.

“We work in two areas, helping the civilians (in rebuilding their roofs) and helping the military (by bringing them donated vehicles and buying them drones),” says Vlad. “Recently, we dipped into another area, by organising a fundraising platform X-Drones Ukraine, where we raise funds for purchasing FPV drones.”

The Fund was launched in Kyiv, on the left bank [of the Dnipro River], as there were already many volunteers on the right bank. Initially, they drove around Kyiv delivering humanitarian aid and medication, later extending their services to the villages of the Kyiv region. Later they were involved in rebuilding the affected towns and villages in the Kyiv Polissia, Siverschyna, and Slobozhanshchyna [historical regions in Ukraine]. As of today, they are working in the towns and villages of Slatyne, Tsupivka, and Prudianka in the Slobozhanshchyna.

Before they begin working in a village, the Fund asks the local village head for a list of buildings that need restoration. Then specialists examine those buildings regarding their compliance with the selection criteria. Those that fit the profile soon become construction sites.

“We assess whether people really need help ASAP, and pay attention to certain technical aspects,” says Vlad. “Like, the building’s wooden frame should be intact, as this requires a lot of time to rebuild, and we’re on a tight schedule. If we get enough funding, we will rebuild the wooden frame as well — but as of today, we only embark on projects where the frames are intact or have suffered minor damage.”

Livyi Bereh first came to the Slobozhanshchyna in November 2022, when Kharkiv was still an empty and dark place. When the volunteers reached Slatyne, there were only 500 residents remaining (out of an initial 6,500). The Fund started their operation by rebuilding roofs.

“A roof is crucial for preserving a home,” says Vlad. “After a home is damaged, there’s nothing more important than having a roof, as several rainy weeks can result in thousands of Euro in damages. Thus, a roof is an investment in the preservation of the entire house. On average, we spend about 2,000 Euro per roof. So we invest 2,000 Euro and save 10,000 to 20,000 Euro on preventing further damages, depending on the home improvement works we managed to avoid.

Over that winter, the volunteers managed to save 100 homes, working in freezing weather, with no electricity or natural gas, trying to help people living with no electricity and heating.

“We worked with power generators, and our people lit bonfires to keep themselves warm,”: says Vlad. “Our German friends provided us with those power generators, so we distributed them, so that [the rest of the] village also had generators.”

Vladyslav says that he admires the coordination between the residents of Saltyne, who helped each other to rebuild their town. Livyi Bereh even pays the local residents who join construction brigades (operating under the guidance of professional construction workers) living wages. He describes it as another means of supporting those people, as there’s not much work in the town, and the remaining jobs pay meagre salaries. For many people, joining those construction brigades was the only means of generating some income.

Livyi Bereh attracts funds from international foundations. Besides, the organisation has several private donors who are willing to support their operation, because they can see the work being done.

There’s a tell-tale story about some donors who approached the fund on their own accord.

“We were going somewhere, and I was the one driving. And then this email notification pops up, ‘Good afternoon, this is David Gilmour’s family attorney writing...’ David Gilmour and Pink Floyd chose us as one of several charities they wanted to donate money to. I just couldn’t believe it.”

So far, the Livyi Bereh fund has restored 230 homes; they even presented the results of their work in Düsseldorf, during the House of Hopes and Expectations exhibition. They showed the scope of destruction in the village, as well as how they preserved cultural heritage. This exhibition was designed not only to show the results of the organisation’s work, but also to remind people living abroad of the impact of the war in Ukraine.

Vladyslav believes that it is crucial that more people in Ukraine become volunteers and help rebuild the country.

“There are different ways to help: some can produce informational content, telling the foreigners about the situation in Ukraine, others can join groups of volunteers and land a hand in rebuilding,” he says. “There are numerous areas that require some volunteering effort. This is our present-day social tax, and people have to understand it.”

Restoring the Kharkiv National University

Anatoliy Babichev is the Provost of Research at N.V. Karazin Kharkiv National University. He recalls how the Russians ruined and damaged the buildings of the University, and how it affected their scientific base and, most importantly, its people. The war brought their students together, who are now determined to work and rebuild their University.

Now most of the teaching at the University happens online, but there are hubs at Ivano-Frankivsk and in Munich, Germany, where students can study in person. There’s ongoing work on projects for restoring the University buildings, and their implementation requires funds that the educational institution does not have. The University’s budget is spread thin between the repair and maintenance of campus dormitories, replacing broken windows, and repairing the damaged utility systems.

Anatoliy says the restoration plans for each individual building depend on the building itself and the extent of its devastation.

“Their conditions vary greatly. There are some historical buildings, specifically on the Universytetska Street, where our University started. That includes our Central Research Library of Rare Prints, which is a listed building. Our main buildings are also listed though they were built much later. Therefore, as far as the urban planning along with the preservation of historical sites and listed buildings are concerned, no changes to the initial construction can be made, so we are now planning restoration works. Then again, there are buildings such as our Physics and Technology department, which is not listed, so we are planning on rebuilding it anew, to make it a modern facility for our physicists.”

Serhiy Makhovskyi, the Executive Director at Karazin University Charitable Foundation, explains how the Foundation became a humanitarian headquarters in the early days of the full-scale invasion. Back then, Serhiy personally took part in evacuating students and professors alike, buying medicines for the elderly, and organising distribution of aid from foreign partners.

As of today, the Foundation is focused on raising funds for the future restoration and rebuilding of Karazin University. Their current goal is to raise UAH 500 million [about 13 million Euro], with them having already managed to raise UAH 6 million [about 156,000 Euro] of that money.

Architects and other specialists are currently working on projects to restore and rebuild the University’s facilities. Overall, about 40 of the University’s facilities have been damaged so far throughout the war.

“In terms of buildings and infrastructure, our first loss was the Physics and Technology department, which was hit by multiple missile rockets and then came under fire from tanks on February 25, 2022,” says Serhiy “Later, on 1 March, the building of Regional Administration was targeted and hit, with several of our buildings, the Main building and the Northern building, located nearby. In our main building, 900 windows were shattered, while our Northern building lost about 150 windows that day.”

That is only a small portion of the overall destruction. Serhiy describes the destruction of their heating and electricity grids, recalls entire University buildings being reduced to rubble, and mentions rare prints damaged in those attacks. A lot of time and funding is required to rebuild this educational facility. That is a task of utmost importance, both for the further development of Kharkiv and the education of Ukrainians, as Kharkiv National University is one of the best nationwide.

Residents rebuilding their neighbourhood

Vasyl Yeriomin is an architect from Kharkiv who, along with his wife Tetiana, also an architect, founded an architectural firm called Tayer. Vasyl and Tetiana design homes, and help bring people’s visions to life.

After 24 February 2022, the couple left for Mukachevo in west Ukraine. On 16 April that year, they learned their home was hit by a missile. Later, they visited the site, took detailed photos of the damage, and filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. After spending some time in vain anticipation of some commission arriving to document the damages, Vasyl decided to draw up a restoration plan. He came up with their desired design, bought some metal, and started welding it. He also made some concrete to rebuild the ruined wall.

Vasyl showed us how his neighbourhood, Pivnichna Saltivka, was being rebuilt after numerous missile strikes. The residents are undertaking repairs in their apartments, and planning their courtyards, all the while helping one another.


The largest neighbourhood in Ukraine, home to a population of 400,000 residents (before 24 February 2022), Pivnicha Saltivka lies in northeast Kharkiv. This district was the one most affected by the Russian missiles.

“This is the residential building #121, and this is the section that was hit the most,” says Vasyl. “It’s all burned down, and the missiles — from BM-21 Grad or whatever — were flying right through the holes in it. Now those holes are covered with OSBs (Oriented Strand Boards formed out of compressed layers of wood strands with adhesives like synthetic resin, — Ed.). However, if you come out at night, you can see light in some apartments, meaning that their residents have returned home. All that broken [window] glass was piled below, and later some trucks came and removed those shards of glass, so now it’s all neat and clean.”

One apartment has a destroyed bathroom, its windows were broken and one of the walls was riddled with slashes from BM-21 Grad missiles. To date, the state had those windows replaced, while the rest of the damages are still being repaired. The most important part is to repair the wall supporting the weight of another four floors of concrete. The residents of that building raised UAH 32,000 [around 833 Euro] of their own money to repair that wall before it collapsed from a shockwave, when a missile hit another structure nearby.

If it weren't for Vasyl’s vigilance as an architect, the welders who were initially invited to make the frame that was supposed to support the wall could have made a serious mistake. Vasyl noticed that the structure was unfit to bear such weight. The architect invited another specialist, an acquaintance of his, and the residents used the money they had raised to buy the metal and weld for the wall.

After returning to Kharkiv, the Yeriomin family spent some time couch-crashing at their acquaintances’ home in the nearby town of Pisochyn. Back then, Vasyl worked as a member of a commission assessing the destruction of homes to figure out what repairs were needed.

“We were the ones to form that commission consisting of three architects, the two of us and a younger lady, along with some volunteers, and a lawyer,” he says. “During the time of the commission's operation, we produced over a thousand building damage reports.

Kriz Viynu

In the early days of the full-scale invasion, Olha Kleitman, an architect, founded the Kriz Viynu [Ukr. “Through the War”] civic association, which initially helped the military by providing them with night vision devices and drones, and later took up providing care for elderly people living alone.

Olha believes that talks about rebuilding are premature.

“One needs a victory to start rebuilding,” she says. “The enemy can take over anything we build now. For instance, I was visiting my mother yesterday and saw the newly paved roads in the town that she lives in. There were never any paved roads there! Why were they built, and for whom? Today, our every effort must be invested in the victory. We don’t need newly paved or asphalted roads, victory is all we currently have to think about. I understand the importance of creating jobs, however, those jobs can be making missiles, quadcopters, or whatever. Roads are way down the list.”

Olha believes that today the right thing to do is to preserve as many buildings as possible and restore them after the victory.

“It would be cool to integrate modern solutions into restoring what’s left, and certainly we shouldn’t rush and resort to any quick and cheap fixtures that we’ll regret later.”

As for housing projects, every one of them needs an individual approach, depending on the type of building and the damage it has sustained. Olha believes that the Livyi Bereh are doing a very important job, as people returning to villages need places to live and lack the necessary resources to repair their homes.

Public initiatives and the state must work together. Rebuilding cities requires finance and effort from both sides. Often, the state cannot do without the help of volunteers, for instance, when state officials see someone who requires help and is unable to take care of themselves, they contact volunteers at shelters like Olha’s.

Olha and her organisation are currently working on some new projects, having launched a rehabilitation centre in Kharkiv at the premises of a health clinic, and built another three buildings for their shelter. Olha believes that the City of Kharkiv has to revise its concept of the city’s future development and be more community-oriented.

“While working alongside [British architectural firm] Foster + Partners, [architects] Sergyi Ilchenko and Max Rozenfeld conducted a very interesting study, where they discovered that, on a mentality level, Kharkiv consists of 115 communities. Those communities have to be mapped on the wall in the Mayor's office, and he has to communicate directly with the Ivanivka community, or Pavlivka community, or whatever. This is how people should band. This is what can propel the city forward and provide an alternative to decisions taken at an individual’s discretion.”

Olha believes that, so far, it’s a tedious task due to several factors, including the insufficiency of the city government and its detachment from what is going on in public life.

At the same time, there are a lot of positive processes, like people uniting in volunteering initiatives and public organisations, who are getting some leverage with the authorities, and fighting corruption. Such developments are necessary steps towards the future of Ukraine.

“Let’s put it this way: we either change or get conquered, any day,” says Olha. “We have no chance of avoiding change.”

Kharkiv branch of Heritage Emergency Response Initiative

Viktor Dvornikov is a conservation architect and leader of the Kharkiv branch of the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative. He examines the ruined buildings in Kharkiv and its surrounding settlements. As of today, the organisation has recorded over 300 damaged cultural heritage sites.

One of those sites is the Kharkiv Regional State Administration. Its architectural ensemble was refined and rebuilt several times after a square surrounding the structure was built in 1890. After the building was destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt in Stalin’s Empire style, a neoclassical and Socialist realist style of architecture popular in the Soviet Union between the late 1930s and mid-1950s. A vivid example of Stalin’s Empire Style is Khreshchatyk, the central street of Kyiv, where almost every building is built on a massive scale.

Today, the entire Kharkiv Regional State Administration requires restoration.

“There was a lot of speculation over whether we should demolish it or not,” says Viktor. “In my professional opinion, we should definitely keep it. Another question is, in what shape and form it must be kept? There’s also no hint that it requires some serious restoration works.”

The Kharkiv Regional State Administration underwent conservation, a temporary roof was built over it, and its windows and doors were replaced. This is the best way to treat the heritage sites where nobody resides because a residential building or a narrow-focused medical centre requires faster restorations as people need a place to live and medical treatment. As for the other heritage sites, the city can return to them later, when there is enough resources, both financial and professional.

There’s another discussion going on about what the Administration building should look like inside and what it should be housing.

“Given all the [cultural] layers of that building and its location in such a symbolic place, we could make it a museum of the modern history of Kharkiv,” says Viktor. “We should reveal all the layers and thus show the history of this place, making it a cool social site and social project.”

Unfortunately, there’s currently no clear strategy for both this building and the rest of the heritage sites. This is a complex process with many factors to consider. One of the ideas is Foster’s Plan, which is to give that project to Norman Foster, a superstar of world architecture, so that he can assemble the world’s greatest architectural minds and implement the most advanced trends on the site.

That team has done a lot of work already, but still, it’s not a strategy. While reviewing their offers it was decided that the right thing to do would be giving the other teams the opportunity to present their vision. In Viktor’s opinion, this is the right way, for both the professionals and the people who will actually be using those restored buildings must be given a say in the matter.

“For instance, there’s currently a lot of talk about Pivnichna Saltivka, and whether it should be demolished,” says Viktor. “It is our duty to give consideration to [the opinions of] those people because we can’t just kick them out or present them with a fait accompli.”

Building a strategy and defining a vision of the city’s development are hindered by two factors, which are missile attacks and a lack of proactive people. With the constant threat of shelling and rocket missiles, building and implementing a recovery strategy is a difficult task. However, one can adapt to that. The bigger problem is that people are leaving the east of Ukraine, particularly Kharkiv.

“If our conversation took place two years ago, there would be plenty of students here on the eve of 1 September [when the school year begins in Ukraine], but today, there are none,” says Viktor. “I guess that’s the greatest challenge for Kharkiv [today], this lack of proactive people who could propel it forward.”

It is crucial to find ways to attract young, and active people who would work on rebuilding the city, propelling it forward, and creating a comfortable place to live.

“Our vision for Kharkiv is a creative hub,” adds Viktor. “A city with high mobility that, should a threat arise, is able to either move to the basements or move elsewhere, to another location. However, we need to have an environment where innovations are created. Besides, that innovation doesn’t have to be high-tech but rather cultural. We have a unique environment that has already given us a large number of extraordinary individuals, be they scientists, cultural figures, or writers.Kharkiv of the future must also be a place where such individuals are born.”

LiaTiuSho: rebuilding a coffee shop

Daria Lazareva is a co-owner at the LiaTiuSho coffee shop. In early March 2022, a Russian rocket missile hit the Palats Pratsi situated on the same street as the coffee shop. Luckily, there were no visitors or staff members inside the shop, so no one was injured. The space itself sustained great damage.

It was the people who encouraged them to start rebuilding. Daria recalls their hunger for work was evident. The reasons ranged from financial to emotional, as constantly staying home or in bomb shelters with no means to distract themselves was taking its toll on the residents. So in just several months, the shop relaunched.

Once their doors re-opened, Daria recalls how there was no competition between different establishments. On the contrary, people helped one another out. LiaTiuSho coffee shop was one of the first establishments to open in Kharkiv after the full-scale invasion. Later, others began to open, as they saw that it was possible and even necessary.

“People came to terms with the fact that as sad as it may be, it wouldn’t be over in two to three weeks, as everyone initially expected,” says Daria. “So in order to recover the city, everyone started opening [their businesses], little by little.”

At first, the shop owners covered the holes where the windows once stood with plywood, later adding some foam plastic and polyurethane foam for insulation, to keep the cold out. As the coffee shop is located on the premises of a state-owned community college, they couldn’t just replace the windows of their own volition, so they had to wait for their turn for the state to replace them. Thus, the shop owners resorted to temporary fixes to be able to reopen.

Now the coffee shop hosts photo exhibitions of Kharkiv artists, as well as themed displays. The owners wanted the shop to convey a certain idea, so they chose to exhibit Kharkiv art.

Daria believes in Kharkiv’s further development, in a future influx of investments in the city, and an inrush of tourists.

“I’m a strong believer that there will be investments and there will be international partners, for we have a really powerful movement here,” says Daria. “All those people who, even today, are willing to invest and launch new projects here. Some coworkings and stuff are opening all the time. This leads me to firmly believe that there will be a moment when people start coming to see all those students, all those industrial enterprises, all those parks, to see how clean our city is, so see our waste collection bins and our benches. But it’s true because Kharkiv is like that — and I want everyone to know it.”

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