Volodymyr Territorial Community
The Volodymyr urban territorial community is located on the territory of the Volodymyr district, Volyn region at a distance of 14 km from the border with Poland and about 85 km from the border with Belarus.
The total area of the community’s territory is 104.2 square kilometres.
Population: 38,340 people
Internally displaced persons: 3,301
Volodymyr is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Ukraine. He first written mention of the city was made in 988 – at that time, the Grand Prince of Kyiv Volodymyr Svyatoslavovych took this city under his authority, made it a powerful fortress on the western borders of Kyivan Rus and handed over the management of the city to his youngest son Vsevolod.
So, the city was named after this prominent Kyiv prince who was also the baptizer of Kyivan Rus.
The importance of Volodymyr as a cultural, political, economic, educational, spiritual and trade centre is confirmed by the fact that the city is mentioned 105 times in various chronicles, and one part of the famous Galician-Volyn chronicle was created in the city at the court of Prince Volodymyr where educated people lived who knew foreign languages and conducted diplomatic correspondence.
Great ancient trade routes passed through the city – “the route from the Varangians to the Greeks”, which connected the Mediterranean and Scandinavia, Europe with the Middle and Far East.
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located on the territory of the community. It is a monument of sacred architecture of the 12th century, the grandest and most perfect building in the city of Volodymyr. This is the only temple on the territory of Volyn that has come down to us from the time of Kyivan Rus.
The ancient Calvary Cross, created in around the 14th century, is among the most interesting objects in the Assumption Cathedral. For believers, the ark with the relics of the saints will be an equally important sight. The cathedral is protected at the state level. From the point of view of architecture, the cathedral, as well as some other buildings of the complex, has a great many of interesting elements.
The ramparts of the ancient fortress in Volodymyr are a unique monument of the times of Kyivan Rus.
A wooden fortress, ramparts and walls appeared here in the 9th century on the site of the Zymnensky hill fort, which was destroyed by the Avar tribes.
Currently, the Cultural Space “Prince’s Path to the Throne” operates on the territory of the hill fort, where there are wooden figures of 5 Volyn princes, a guard and Ukraine’s largest carved wooden throne over 3 meters tall.
The Church of Joachim and Anna. Legends say that it was here that the treasure of the Polish Crown – the jewel of the state treasury of the divided Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – was stored. At one time, both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis were looking for it in the dungeons of the church. It is not known whether this is true or not. In Soviet times, there was a furniture warehouse, a coffee shop and a discotheque in the premises of the church. With the proclamation of the Independence of Ukraine, it was returned to the Roman Catholic community.
Economy and Welfare
The economy of Volodymyr is quite multifaceted. Predominant are enterprises of the processing industry.
The favourable geographical position of Volodymyr – near the border with the EU, close to the industrial hubs, such as Lviv, Lutsk, and the Kovel interport –contributes to the establishment of economic ties.
The priority in Volodymyr is the development of woodworking, furniture, light, food and construction (housing construction and production of building materials) industries.
The city is one of the most important centres of recreation and tourism in the Volyn region.
Blackouts became one of the challenges facing businessmen during the martial law period. This problem was solved through the use of generators.
Therefore, in order for local entrepreneurs who purchased backup power sources to run their business, the next session of the municipality will work out the possibility of reimbursing registered entrepreneurs for approximately 50 percent of the cost of the purchased generator, but no more than UAH 20 thousand.
There is also a poultry farm on the territory of the community, which is one of the largest contributors to the community’s budget and did not suspend its activities during the war. Instead, it plans to enhance capacity, which will increase the number of jobs accordingly. Currently, they are planning to expand the hatchery.
Community and War
The beginning of a full-scale war triggered significant changes in Volodymyr. Since the city is a border town, the flow of internally displaced persons has changed the demographic pattern of the city.
From the first day of the full-scale invasion, the Volodymyr community took in about 6,000 forcibly displaced persons, of whom more than 3,000 stayed here. Employees of executive authorities and volunteers joined their efforts to help displaced people.
Two military brigades are stationed in the city. For them, funds were allocated from the budget to help restore the barracks, which had been abandoned for many years.
In addition, funds were allocated to border guards for the arrangement of the border with Belarus. Thanks to this, they bought concrete slabs and other necessary materials.
Housing for internally displaced persons has been arranged on the basis of dormitories of two educational institutions, where residents of the Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Mykolaiv, 155 people in total, are currently staying.
An integration space for internally displaced persons was opened, which was created in cooperation with the Charitable Foundation with the support of UNHCR Ukraine – the UN Refugee Agency in Ukraine.
Here they provide psychological help to children, hold joint events, training sessions and create a friendly space for communication not only for children, but also for their parents.
Now the displaced persons are gradually adjusting to communication and life in the community, take an active part in charity events, hold their own events and collect funds to help the military.
The residents of the community also united and began to make trench candles with their own hands. With the joint efforts of caring people, it was possible to collect cans, cardboard, wax, paraffin. To date, 374 trench candles have been made, which means at least 1,496 hours of heat for the soldiers on the front lines.
People of the Community
The community is headed by Ihor Palyonka.
Since the first days of the full-scale invasion, Mayor Ihor Palyonka has been in close contact with the residents of the Volodymyr urban territorial community, of which he took the lead in October 2020. Several times a day, Ihor went live on his Facebook page to provide operational information about the state of affairs in the community: the security situation, the work of the coordination centre for humanitarian aid, the needs of defenders, etc.
As Ihor Palyonka notes, he did not think that so many historical events and important decisions would fall on his tenure. In 2021, the mayor initiated the return of the city to its historical name – Volodymyr. In his activities, the mayor is guided by the principle “the city is for the people”, so he pays a lot of attention to medicine, education, social sphere, infrastructure development, sports and tourism.
Unfortunately, the implementation of many ambitious plans and projects was prevented by the war. However, the community’s cohesion rose significantly in 2022 – the residents united for a common goal in the volunteer movement. Ihor Palyonka pays special attention to the integration of people from the occupied territories who found refuge in Volodymyr. There are currently more than 3,400 such people.
The following projects were implemented during his office:
- the first “TOGETHER” Children’s Point space from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was opened in Volyn. Children’s points “TOGETHER” are a safe and cosy space for children, where professional teachers, animators and psychologists work together;
- the intellectual recreation park “Legend of Volodymyr” was opened. It is a location that features various “green” sculptures that symbolize different periods of history;
- the city stadium “Olympus”, one of the largest facilities, was renovated;
- the reception department of the city hospital is being reconstructed. After the complete reconstruction, the work of the reception department will be completely reformatted. There they will not only receive patients, perform an initial examination and refer them to other departments, but also provide a full range of emergency medical care.
- thanks to the NAKOPA project, an ultrasound diagnostic device and an elastography device, which allows detecting cancer in the early stages, were purchased.
- a children’s playground was opened in the local park;
- the USAID “HOVERLA” project, thanks to which it was possible to get a new excavator for the city enterprise, as well as a lot of equipment and machinery necessary in the current realities, in particular, tools for rescuers and utility workers, fire extinguishers, generators, etc. In addition to tangible values, “HOVERLA” provides participating communities with opportunities for self-development, as well as new knowledge.
2023 plans include:
- construction of a shelter for one of the lyceums awaiting its students in the autumn;
- major repair of the roof of the lyceum, insulation of the building of two kindergartens,
- completion of major renovation of the stadium;
- restoration of the facade of the historical museum;
- reconstruction of the buildings of the former infectious disease department of the city hospital to be transformed into a rehabilitation centre for military personnel. In the future, defenders will be able to receive qualified psychological and other medical assistance here;
- replacement of two emergency elevators in the city hospital;
- purchase of a vehicle for watering roads and lawns;
- purchase of a set of equipment for the street lighting control network. Thanks to this technical equipment, utility workers will be able to adjust the operation of street lighting in automatic mode, as well as save electricity by turning off the lighting according to the schedule;
- repair of 18 streets using asphalt surface.
Also, the Volodymyr urban territorial community became a partner in the development of digitalization within the “Digital Volyn” project to implement digital solutions.
According to Volodymyr’s website, the community will receive expert support, interaction and exchange of experience to strengthen the capacity of local self-government bodies in the area of digitalization thanks to the participation in the project.
The goal of the project is to extend the knowledge of local government representatives of digital transformation, as well as to ensure communication between the government, communities and international donors.
The Volodymyr urban territorial community is twinned with 8 foreign communities and 2 Ukrainian cities.
The community has experience in the implementation of international projects – 3 projects have been successfully completed recently and 6 are currently at the implementation stage.