A famous Polish composer Frideric Chopin, whose body is buried in Paris, asked in his will to bury his heart in Warsaw. Here it rests in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. In this city, which the famous musician was so deeply in love with, his works are immortalized by the so-called Chopin’s benches. These black marble constructions are installed near the buildings, where the genius lived or which he visited. These music boxes of a kind play the famous composer’s tunes. Once you are in Warsaw, you understand the last wish of the famous Pole: when you visit the Polish capital, you leave a part of your heart in it.

" /> Why you want to leave a part of your heart in Warsaw…
06.07.2015

Why you want to leave a part of your heart in Warsaw…

A famous Polish composer Frideric Chopin, whose body is buried in Paris, asked in his will to bury his heart in Warsaw. Here it rests in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. In this city, which the famous musician was so deeply in love with, his works are immortalized by the so-called Chopin’s benches. These black marble constructions are installed near the buildings, where the genius lived or which he visited. These music boxes of a kind play the famous composer’s tunes. Once you are in Warsaw, you understand the last wish of the famous Pole: when you visit the Polish capital, you leave a part of your heart in it.

“Eight years ago, when I worked here, Ukraine did not get as much support from Poland as it is getting now, and our delegations were not greeted with the attention they are getting now in the Polish Foreign affairs Ministry and public organizations”, said Andriy Deshchytsia, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Poland. Representatives of the delegation of Ukrainian central and local authorities, which went to Poland with a training visit, could see for themselves that the statement was true. They got acquainted with the experience of reformation of local self-government bodies. The trip was arranged by: «SolidarityFundPL» (Polish Foundation for International Solidarity”), Swiss-Ukrainian project “Decentralization support in Ukraine” DESPRO and “Centre of European Cooperation” (under financial support by a grant of Polish-Canadian programme for democracy support). Representatives of Ukrainian government, presidential administration, heads and officials of oblast councils visited the respective institutions of our friendly neighbour as part of the project “Civil dialogue – cooperation of local self-government bodies – better quality of administrative services”.

“When there was shooting on Maydan and people were dying, Polish delegation was in Canada, and that was when the representatives of these two European countries’ governments decided to assist Ukraine in conduction of reforms, and created a Polish-Canadian programme for democracy support”, tells the chairman of Polish Fund for International Solidarity „SolidarityFundPL” Krzysztof Stanowski.

Decentralization has been chosen by Poles as a particular sphere of assistance to our country, and notable achievements have been made in this sphere. It is symbolic, that this year is the 25th anniversary of Polish local self-government reform. “Local self-government is not for the president or parliament, it improves the life of ordinary people. To see this for yourself, you need to visit Polish provinces. We do not have a difference in the level of secondary education between the village and the city”, he admits.

According to administrative division of Poland, its local self-government units are gminas (city, village, or a group of villages and cities), powiats and wojewodstwos. In Ukraine the respective units are communities-raions-regions. It is interesting to note that the richest and wealthiest of these three basic units are the smallest ones, i.e. gminas. According to Polish Ministry of finance, within the structure of revenues, local revenues of gminas amounted to 49.3% (in powiats and wojewodstwos – respectively, 31.3% and 36.9%) in 2014. However, gmina-level officials are the most modest ones. For example, in the city of Poznan we were surprised not to see a single foreign car near the city hall, but instead, around ten bikes were standing in a row at the parking…

A bicycle is the favourite means of transport in Warsaw, where bike roads are equipped for its proponents. Mr. Andriy Deshchytsia also uses his two-wheeled friend on his way to work. According to the Ambassador, during the last few years Polish cities became more organized and clean, they are quick to respond to the needs of their residents. Particularly, this results from Poland’s fruitful reforms of local self-government bodies, its increasing wealth, induced by EU membership, and new opportunities for financing from European funds.

“Polish cities are interested in joint work on local self-government, not only with the cities of Western Ukraine, but with Central and Eastern Ukraine as well. You should learn on our mistakes as well. Powiats, created 9 years after gminas, have serious tasks, but little money. That’s why powiat roads are worse than roads maintained by gminas and wojewodstwos”, says the Sejm deputy, member of Polish-Ukrainian parliamentary group, the only ethnic Ukrainian in the highest representative body in Poland, Myron Sych. He conducted an excursion for Ukrainian delegation in Polish Sejm. However, we were not the only ones to make photos to remind us of our visit. That day several groups of Polish schoolchildren were there as well. Sejm turns out to be one of the most democratic parliaments in Europe. In order to get in, it is enough just to register in advance, and provide the necessary documents. It would be good to make access to our parliament this easy when the war is over…

Poles also wish us peace. It was very touching to see Ukrainian flag hung in respectable Polish establishments in honour of Ukrainian delegation. Beside that, in the Principal Administrative Court of Poland, in the hall where the meeting took place, we were delighted by a composition of yellow and blue chrysanthemums.

I bid my farewell to Warsaw by Chopin’s bench near the palace of Radziwils, listening to the melodies of the famous composer, which still captivate any heart.

 Victoria Kovalyova,                                                                                    

“Uriadovy Kurier” (“Governmental Courier”)