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Interview to Segodnya newspaper (issue of January 1, 2014)

For the former mayor of Kiev Leonid Chernovetskiy the new year of 2014 started with the pleasant fuss. On January 3, his third child was born. Imagine the father is 62! His wife Elena gave birth to his son Gavriil. Segodnya was first to hear the sensational news and spoke with the happy parent.

– Leonid, how is your wife and son are doing?


– They are great!

– Where was your son born? And why this name?


– He was born in Europe, weight 3,55 kg, height 52 cm. It happened on January 3 at 7:00 pm – my two lucky numbers. By the way, I believe in these numbers, they are often mentioned in the Bible.

Elena and I named him Gavriil after my grandfather, a Siberian, who was an educated and prosperous peasant of the Volchya Burla village (Altai region), and according to my mother, he was a nephew of the writer Goncharov, the illegitimate son of his brother, and he grew up in his family.

In 1926, he was tortured by the Communists, who tried to expropriate his corn and buried him alive. My mother told me a lot about my grandparents. I’d like to say just a few words about that time, and I’m surprised that there is no mention of it in the official history… My grandmother Fedosia and tens of thousands of people from those places were taken across the river Lena (a Siberian river, five times wider than the Dnieper) without food or clothes and abandoned to starve to death – almost all of them died there… And there is nothing about the crimes of the Bolsheviks in the official history! There are so many stories like this one… People need to know this too, and not just about the Holodomor.

I feel deep respect and admiration for my grandfather… And my wife Elena was very supportive in this.

– Leonid, why did you hide the fact that your wife was pregnant?

– I wasn’t hiding anything. She even flew over to Kiev few times when her baby bump was already visible. As a matter of fact, Elena and I are tired of all the gossip and tittle-tattle…

– Where you and your family are going to live?

– In Georgia, the house is almost finished…

– And why not in Ukraine?

– We will live in Ukraine too. I have a house there which as you know is modest yet comfortable. And Gavriil will be a citizen of Ukraine.

– How do you picture your son’s future? How did your family react when they heard the news?

– My son Stepan is the happiest one. He now has a brother! He has already congratulated me. He phones me every day, he wants to know how the baby is doing. The rest of the family were ok. But, of course, my wife is the happiest one. I’ve never seen Elena so happy. Elena’s mother Sofia and her son Daniel are also thrilled.

It will be up to Gavriil, not me, to decide what his future should be like. He can become whoever he wants to be. What I need to do is open up all his talents and show him the right direction. But it is imperative that he grows to become a good person, unselfish and honest.

– Leonid, do you already know who is going to be your son’s godparents?

– Choosing godparents is an extremely important task. The people in power and business people choose godparents based on their political or business level, they are often looking for sponsors. Not all of them, of course… For me, it means nothing. There’s no way I’m going to look for godparents for my kid among presidents and moguls. Many ordinary people see this as something trivial, and eventually the godparents and the godchildren forget about each other’s existence… I’m going to find people who will take care of my boy and play an active role in his life. Over time, I’ll tell my son how he should treat his godparents. For those who will become godparents for my son Gavriil this will be a matter of great significance. So now I’m in search.

– Are you planning to visit Ukraine soon? Is it possible that you will run for mayor again?

– This is a provocative question. And here is my answer… When my time comes, when people understand me and stop inventing all sorts of nonsense about me, then I will come. You can visit my official website and see what laws I submitted to the Supreme Council, and this will help you see my way of thinking and my contributions to the development of Ukraine. Then it will become crystal clear who in Ukraine is a wacko, and who is a patriot.

After my son was born, I decided to donate an extra million dollars to charity projects in Ukraine and Georgia. I have many ideas about how to interest Ukrainians and Georgians in philanthropy. People need to understand that it is essential to help the needy, and not just their own relatives or acquaintances. That’s my main goal at this stage.

– What would you like to wish the people of Kiev in the new year?

– I have a lot to say from the deep of my heart… The most important is that they need to believe that they can elect a decent mayor and that they can never make a wrong choice. Whichever government comes to power in Ukraine, it will always try to pressure the people of Kiev to vote for its protege, it will persuade people in their inability to choose their own future, it will tell them to listen none but them or else they would end up electing a bad guy, a crazy one, etc. (I have seen things like that written about me thousands of times). Such a non-democratic tradition exists in all post-Soviet states.

The people of Kiev should have their mayor, and not based on the person’s political affiliation, but on personal and professional qualities. And there should be a law not only to impeach a mayor, but any politician of any caliber, in case they fail to perform their duties.

The people of Kiev! Do not forget to call your elderly parents as soon as you finish reading this. This is the most important thing you can do today and any day… Because tomorrow it may be too late.

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