Nizhyn Territorial Community
The Nizhyn territorial community is located on the southern border of the natural-geographical zone of the Ukrainian Polissia.
The area of the community is 105.6 km2.
It consists of 5 settlements, including 1 urban and 4 rural ones. There is also one starosta-headed district of Kunashivka-Pereyaslivka.
At the beginning of 2022, 66,747 residents lived in the community, of which 65,924 resided in the town.
Nizhyn is the youngest town of the Chernihiv region.
The share of young people aged from 18 to 35 is 24%
Middle-aged people (35-50 years old) account for 30%
Older people (over 51 years old) give 29% of the population.
People of the retirement age generate a slightly higher percentage – 33%.
The population is dominated by women (55%) with an absolute dominance among the elderly.
Among the residents of the community there are 748 veterans (including those of the Anti-Terrorist Operation), 5,138 people with disabilities, and 2,750 internally displaced persons.
Nizhyn is a historical and cultural gem of Ukraine. Over 1000 years old, the town belongs to the oldest population centres whose history begins with the times of Kyivan Rus.
It is one of the few ancient towns where a unique historical and architectural complex of architectural and cultural monuments has been preserved.
Although Nizhyn has been known since the days of Kyivan Rus, the beginning of its prosperity dates back to the 17th century – after the transfer of the Ukrainian lands situated on the Left Bank of the Dnipro River under the authority of the Polish Crown and granting them Magdeburg rights, which laid the foundations of territorial self-government. However, Nizhyn gained the greatest importance during the times of the Ukrainian Cossack state – Hetmanship. Then the town became the capital of the Cossack regiment and found itself in a vortex of fateful, sometimes tragic events. Perhaps the most famous is the Black Council of 1667 and the election of Ivan Bryukhovetskyi as Hetman in Nizhyn.
Also, the town successfully developed as a craft and trade centre.
The Nizhyn community is the birthplace of several cultural figures of national significance, and is closely connected with many more.
Mykola Gogol studied at the Nizhyn Gymnasium of Higher Sciences. Yuriy Lysyanskyi, the discoverer of Antarctica, was born here. In fact, this is the birthplace of the founder of practical cosmonautics Serhiy Korolev. Nearby is the village of Zanky, where the great actress and theatre worker Maria Zankovetska is from. This is the birthplace of the artist Mykola Samokysh, singer and poet Mark Bernes, and also ballerina Olha Khokhlova, Pablo Picasso’s wife. Famous Greek, Polish, and Jewish figures are also closely related to Nizhyn.
Nizhyn is the most well-preserved centre of the Cossack regiment of the 17th-18th centuries with the corresponding architectural heritage. It was here that the architectural style that became known as Ukrainian (Cossack, Mazepa’s) Baroque revealed itself for the first time. The town has up to 300 historical buildings, of which more than 70 are of great cultural and historical value.
The St. Nicholas Cathedral is the oldest landmark of the Ukrainian Baroque era and the standard of this style. Its height is 55 meters. The church was built in the 1650s by the Cossacks of the Nizhyn regiment with the funds of the Zolotarenkos brothers. In 1663, the legendary Black Council, described in the same-name novel by Panteleimon Kulish, took place under the walls of this temple.
Fifty meters from the St. Nicholas Cathedral, there are three churches – All Saints’ Church, St. Michael’s Church, and Trinity Church. Two of them were built by Nizhyn Greeks, who determined the development of the town in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Rare Book Museum of the Mykola Gogol Nizhyn State University is located in Nizhyn. It collects rare manuscripts and ancient books, which make the museum one of the most interesting and comprehensive in Ukraine.
The Museum exhibits many unique European and Slavic editions dated from the 16th to the early 20th centuries. A special pride of the museum is the 1689 Presbyterian Gospel from the Annunciation Monastery in Nizhyn. The huge tome weighs almost 18 kg, some pages are painted by hand, and the titles are gilded.
In 2017, Nizhyn became one of the winners of the All-Ukrainian event – 7 Wonders of Ukraine: Historic Cities and Towns.
Economy and Welfare
According to the All-Ukrainian Rating of institutional Capacities and Sustainable Development of Communities compiled by the Regional Centre for Economic Research and Business Support, the Nizhyn community was rated second out of the twenty best communities of the Chernihiv region as of January 1, 2021 with a score of 101.75 points which is also one of Ukraine’s best indicators.
In October 2022, as part of the UNDP project entitled Analysis of Credit Capacity and Implementation of Financial and Credit Instruments for Territorial Communities of Sumy and Chernihiv Regions, published by the Rating Agency, the investment attractiveness rating of the Nizhyn territorial community was inv A-, which means that the community is characterized by high investment attractiveness compared to other rating objects.
Among the famous enterprises of the town is the Kopytsia Soft Toy Factory which sets an example of modern Ukrainian production of goods for children. For more than 20 years of operation, the company has created the No. 1 brand on the territory of Ukraine.
The largest employers in the community are state and communal enterprises and institutions, including, in the first place, the Special Aviation Detachment of the State Emergency Service, a state-owned enterprise Progress, the Mykola Gogol Nizhyn State University, a state-owned enterprise Ukrzaliznytsia.
The industrial complex is characterized by the gradual renewal of production capacities. Despite the martial law, a number of new enterprises were opened.
In the industrial sector, the food industry is still predominant. Production volumes in the food industry amounted to UAH 1,621.9 million in the first half of 2022, which is UAH 947.9 million higher than in the corresponding period last year. This was possible due to Nizhyn Grease Plant Private Joint-Stock Company, which increases the production volumes even in the conditions of martial law. 93% of them are exported.
The main types of products manufactured by the town’s enterprises are special engineering products, optical and mechanical products, iron castings for railway transport, agricultural machinery, medical equipment (which is both developed and mass-produced), bakery products, oils, cakes, furniture, and bricks.
Products manufactured in the community are sold to the countries of the East, Europe and North America
Nizhyn has a very intensive external bus and rail connection. The community is located at the intersection of transport routes that run from west to east and from north to south.
Strategically important is the active airfield located in the town, which is based on the special aviation unit of the operative rescue civil protection service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. This is a former military airfield capable of receiving heavy-duty aircraft.
Community and War
In the first hours of the invasion, the Nizhyn airfield was attacked by missiles. As a result, the command post, where the aviation unit of the State Emergency Service is stationed, was completely destroyed.
What followed was a month of merciless missile and bomb attacks, shelling by Uragan, Grad and Kinzhal missiles, which destroyed or damaged 25 high-rise buildings and more than 60 private houses, 2 schools, a kindergarten, boiler rooms, a town cemetery. Also, an Iskander missile launched from the Black Sea destroyed one of the town’s enterprises.
However, thanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the formed Territorial Defence Battalion and the Voluntary Formation of a Territorial Community, which was joined by ordinary caring residents of Nizhyn, the invaders were repelled and the enemy was prevented not only from entering the town, but also from advancing to the capital of our state – the city of Kyiv.
Food, medicine and hygiene products were consistently available in Nizhyn thanks to the activities of the town government and civil society institutions. With a developed logistics network and warehouses, Nizhyn has become a hub for the provision of humanitarian aid for the entire region and a centre for receiving internally displaced persons from populated areas of Ukraine where active hostilities are taking place.
During the active phase of hostilities, residents of the Nizhyn community united and became active for the sake of a common cause – Victory. The community has a humanitarian headquarters created at the town council, a wide variety of voluntary public organizations, charitable foundations, etc.
These organizations engage in very diverse activities: collecting funds for the purchase of equipment for our defenders, preparing dry rations, weaving camouflage nets, making clothes for the military, helping hospitals, social institutions and IDPs, delivering aid to the front line, etc.
The history of each organization is the history of an indomitable struggle to preserve Independence. Volunteers of Nizhyn are a cohesive and powerful front for the defence of Ukraine.
People of the Community
Oleksandr Kodola has been the Mayor and Head of the community since 2020. He started his social and political activities in 2006. Since then, he was elected a deputy of the district council, regional council, and a People’s Deputy of Ukraine of the 8th convocation (from 2014 to 2019). In a short time, Oleksandr Kodola created a team of professionals who work for the development of the Nizhyn community. Active development of the community’s economic and tourist attractiveness began during his current term of office.
He also pays great attention to the development of international relations. In 2022 alone, four international agreements on cooperation with foreign municipalities in Poland, Latvia and Belgium, as well as an agreement on cooperation with the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk were concluded. Cooperation with international organizations is being actively established. Nizhyn also participates in a number of international grant programmes.
Among the annual town events, we can single out the Traditional Patriotic Bicycle Race, in which community residents of various age groups participate.
Every autumn, in honour of the feast of the Intercession [Ukrainian – Pokrova] of the Holy Mother of God, the Pokrovskyi Fair is held in Nizhyn. For several days, folk craftsmen and traders from all corners of Ukraine (and even foreigners!) come to show their art, establish new trade relations, offer their goods, buy something and exchange experience.
During the full-scale Russian invasion, schoolchildren from Nizhyn launched a challenge – Help the Armed Forces – Bring the Victory Closer. Children and their parents collected warm clothes, first aid supplies, fast food and delivered them to the front line. Nizhyn is a real town of volunteers. Almost every resident of the community joins the country’s volunteer front. From the first days of the war, the people of the town rallied around a noble cause – helping and supporting the Armed Forces.
The first Strategy of the Nizhyn territorial community was developed with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe programme and was implemented in 2019. The following changes were made as part of cooperation with the DOBRE project in 2021.
The development strategy of the Nizhyn territorial community for 2023-2027 includes three strategic goals:
- Economic development of the community based on local resources:
Attracting investments in community development;
External positioning of the community;
Development of the tourist potential of the community.
- Improvement of living comfort, safety and environmental situation in the community:
Spatial development and attractive appearance of the community;
Modernization of the communal infrastructure of the community;
Increasing the level of safety and security;
Development of transport infrastructure;
Environmental protection, restoration and efficient use of natural resources.
- Development of social capital of the community:
Ensuring effective interaction between the authorities and the public;
Quality education and innovative science;
Increasing accessibility to a diverse cultural and sports environment;
Available medicine and social services for all groups of residents.
In 2022, in order to study the opinion and determine the needs of various groups of beneficiaries and stakeholders on the issues of strategic areas of post-war reconstruction and development of the Nizhyn territorial community, a questionnaire was distributed among the community residents and a survey was organized of stakeholders and interviews of two focus groups – business representatives and internally displaced persons.
Based on the results of the survey, the main problems and needs in the post-war reconstruction and further development of the community were determined and taken into account during the formation of the following operational goals.