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Tereshchenko Dynasty Descendant Now Mayor In Ukraine

Michelle Tereshchenko

Michelle Tereshchenko

The French descendant of one of the Russian Empire's richest family dynasties this week became mayor of the Ukrainian town of Hlukhiv, where his family made its fortune.

Michelle Tereshchenko, 61, took office in the Sumy Oblast town after receiving more than 65 percent of the vote in Ukraine’s local elections on October 25.

He is a descendant of the famed Tereshchenko dynasty of industrialists and philanthropists, who made their fortune in sugar-beet production.

He was born in Paris after his family fled to France during the Bolshevik Revolution.

His family ties -- the Tereshchenkos built most of the 19th-century town center -- served him well in the elections. Now he promises to establish the "true eastern border of Europe" in the small town a few miles south of the Russian border.

Tereshchenko told AFP that he hoped to establish a flourishing, corruption-free democratic government like the one his grandfather had hoped to establish in Tsarist Russia.

"It failed in Russia. But it will succeed in Ukraine," he said.

Tereshchenko first made headlines in March when Ukrainian President Poroshenko granted him citizenship.

Based on reporting by AFP and