6 Questions for Gennadiy Chizhikov

Gennadiy Chizhikov is an Honorary Consul of France, the President of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, a Member of General Assembly Eurochambers’ Board of Directors, an Honored Economist of Ukraine, and one of the founders of the first local AIESEC committee in Ukraine.

On the eve of the French festival “Le Printemps français en Ukraine,” Gennadiy Chizhikov graciously agreed to give an interview to Kiev Check-in and tell us about cooperation between France and Ukraine, as well as his professional and personal plans.

Currently France is open to new common initiatives. So now everything depends on Ukrainians. We should be more proactive and want these badly. As it is written in the Bible, “knock, and the door will be opened to you”!Gennadiy Chizhikov
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat do the French know about Ukraine and how is the collaboration between Ukraine and France in the field of culture, education and science going?

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]istorically, Ukrainian and French cultures are closely intertwined. Of course, French people remember and honor Ukrainian Princess Anna Yaroslavna, who became Queen of France.
However, the real discovery of Ukraine for the French has happened in recent years. The Orange Revolution (2004–2005) and the Ukrainian Revolution of 2013–2014 showed France and all of Europe that Ukrainians are lovers of liberty who very much appreciate and aspire to democracy and freedom. Nowadays, the French perceive Ukrainians with deep sympathy.
The presence of France in Ukraine is rather great. There is a state program to support Francophonie, the French cultural center, and the Alliance française in different cities of the country, aiming to promote French language and culture in Ukraine.
France is the 3rd most attractive country for foreign students, including Ukrainians. There are a lot of Master’s programs and scientific projects offered for foreign students. I am very pleased that interest in the French language is growing among Ukrainians.The strong cooperation and a great variety of common cultural projects between Ukraine and France are evidence of mutual sympathy, and a thirst for creativity, originality, and positivity that unites both nations.
The already well-known and awaited French Spring Festival annually conducted in Kiev is a great example of how French people love to bring something different and worthwhile and are not afraid to experiment.
Currently, France is open to new common initiatives.So now everything depends on Ukrainians. We should be more proactive and want these badly. As it is written in the Bible, “knock, and the door will be opened to you”!

[dropcap]G[/dropcap]ennadiy Dmytrovych, tell us what has been done and what are the prospects of strengthening the economic collaboration between Ukraine and France.

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]France, which has one of the largest economies in the world, is known globally as a country where highly developed industry, banking and insurance sectors, agriculture, distribution, and tourism successfully combine with great professionalism and a love of making things by hand.
In 2016, there was a positive dynamic of increasing the foreign trade turnover between Ukraine and France by about 30 % when the volume of French investment in the Ukrainian economy increased by 1%. This caused capital inflow into our country as well as creating new working places for Ukrainians. A great contribution to strengthening the collaboration is made by French-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, which gathers around 150 companies in different sectors. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area gives opportunities for Ukrainian companies to expand the French market. Currently, when due to the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian machinery is losing a lot of orders, I assume it is time to search for opportunities of subcontracting and cooperation with French companies in this area.

[dropcap]P[/dropcap] aris is an extremely popular tourist destination. Every year millions of tourists from different countries visit the city. It not only brings huge profits to local companies and, accordingly, to the budget of the country, but also attracts foreign investment and supports business development, especially trade. Looking at the example of France, tell how we can develop tourism in Ukraine, Kiev in particular?

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] think the potential of Kiev is underestimated and great internal work should be done here. There are two important opportunities I would like to underline:

  • Attracting low-cost airlines and increasing investments in the middle-class hotels are great incentives to draw more tourists to the country.
  • Promoting Kiev around the world. Kiev is notable for architectural beauty, hospitality, wide vistas, much greenery, the large Dnipro River with various lakes, and, no doubt, the most beautiful women. Many foreigners already express sympathy for and interest in Ukraine and Kiev in particular. We should just show its main advantages and make people fall in love with this city!

[dropcap]W[/dropcap] hat do you like about the French culture and mentality? How much are the French people and Ukrainians similar to each other? What can we learn from each other?

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]rench people tend to be perfectionists in everything they do and make it with love. For centuries, they tried their best to give the world famous and delicious cheese, amazing wine, the bluest lavender fields and more. French people care about architecture, and they are very eco-friendly nation. Together with that, the French are the great example of enjoying life and love of life. In common with Ukrainians, they are a freedom-loving nation and feel a strong sense of responsibility for the future of the country.

[dropcap]W[/dropcap] hat is your greatest professional dream?

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]very dream should be a bit fabulous. What I really like is the constant process of self-development that allows me to set increasingly high goals throughout the life. My professional dream is to make the organization where I work and that I like, Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the most friendly organization in Europe. I wish Ukraine was not only perceived as a part of Europe but started introducing some new progressive trends and directions in Europe.
Together with that, I have a certain personal dream — to run a 100km ultramarathon that requires high level of discipline, self-possession and perseverance on a long-term horizon.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap] ell us about your favorite place in Kiev and explain why.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] love Kiev the most in the early morning when the city just wakes up and soft sunlight appears through the thin morning mist. I am fond of running near Kiev Pechersk Lavra where wide horizons and charming views please the eye and indulge the soul. For me, the best place for meditation, full of intimate and positive energy, is Trukhaniv Island. I would like Trukhaniv Island to become the Central Park of Kiev, a must-see place where many excited tourists make a wish to come back to Ukraine again.