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A BUSINESSMAN CITY
Because of the companies that manufactured missiles Dnipropetrovsk was shut down for the foreigners until 1987. Unlike, for instance, neighboring Zaporizhzhya, even the students of friendly Asian and African countries did not attend the local higher learning institutions and you would not hear foreign language spoken in restaurants and hotels. Opening of the city to the world coincided with the grave recession of its industrial giants (with rare exceptions). There were the objective processes associated with the split of the USSR. But at the same time since independence banking, construction industry, trade, and food industry began developing in Dnipropetrovsk. Today, along with famed industrial brands – Pivdenmash, Dnipropetrovsk Piping, Interpipe, Dniproshyna, Petrovskiy and Babushkin steel mills, a diversity of Dnipropetrovsk brands are known throughout Ukraine from Privatbank to Karat vodka, from the retailer ATBMarket to the largest food market of Ukraine Ozerka.
Today’s population of Dnepropetrovsk is up slightly short of one million (995,000), but if you take into account Dnipropetrovsk agglomeration, which includes Dniprodzerzhynsk and Novomoskovsk, we are talking about the impressive figure of 1.3 mn inhabitants. But there quite impressive figure: the largest number of millionaires in Ukraine comes from Dnipropetrovsk – 1 in every 1,200 residents of the city is a millionaire (in Kyiv – one in every 3,200 residents).
The strategy of Dnipropetrovsk development until 2025 proposed for discussion to the city dwellers in March 2014 envisages the metropolis as the ‘cityentrepreneur”, leader of the regional and national development, and the city that encourages citizens to achievements and development.
Characteristics of the city’s future as a financial center include high concentration of financial and credit institutions and at the same time – high business activity. “Dnipropetrovsk should become a “cityentrepreneur” with a developed market and information and communication infrastructure, which will create stimuli of business activity and favorable conditions for business and investment,” – says Yuri Sharov.
However, there is an issue that was not reflected in the strategy of the city’s development, although it essentially is closely linked to people occupying leading positions in the economy of Dnipropetrovsk, primarily in the financial and trade sectors.
From the point of view of stereotypes, there is nothing surprising that there is the most developed Jewish community in the country working in the financial center of Ukraine. Jews and money have been linked in myths and legends and popular stereotypes. Due to historical circumstances, Jews have for centuries been involved in usury and trade and succeeded quite well in that.
From the point of view of the people who know the history of Jewish revival in the independent Ukraine, there is nothing surprising that this most successful Jewish community function in Dnipropetrovsk. This is not only about economic potential of the city and abundance of Jewish businessmen. The thing is that in 19091939 Levi Yitzchak Schneerson was a ChabadLubavitch Hasidic rabbi in YekatrinoslavDnipropetrovsk. He was the father of the seventh and last ChabadLubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. That is why Dnipropetrovsk is a holy place for the representatives of Chabad and that is why the chief rabbi of independent Ukraine Shmuel Kaminezski was sent to Dnipropetrovsk in 1990. The time showed that the best one was chosen: Rabbi Shmuel managed to organize the live of the Jewish community in Dnipropetrovsk in all spheres (education, traditions, culture, charity). Most importantly, he managed to to unite in the leadership of the community Dnipropetrovsk’s major businessmen of Jewish origin.
This allowed for creating a serious financial basis for implementation of many projects, the major one being creation of Menora Center, opened in October 2012. A multifunctional Jewish complex is one of a kind in the world and has already become a place of interest in the city. Its hotels and kosher restaurants provide a possibility for comfort visits of Jewish (and not only) tourists from different countries of the world to Dnipropetrovsk, while halls and exhibitions centers provide a possibility to organize mass events.
For Ukraine, a Jewish cityforming component is not a rarity – everybody knows about Hassid, who come to Uman to pay homage to the grave of Nachman of Breslov and provide an opportunity for the good half of local residents to earn some money. Naturally, the situation in Dnipropetrovsk is completely different and Jewish tourism will not be such an important source of money for the city. However, the status of Jewish capital of Ukraine will certainly bring the city moral and material dividends.
By the way, if you look at the world map, you can see that Dnipropetrovsk is located on the same longitude as Jerusalem.Printable version