Poor Ukraine

The Ukrainians ' dream of Western freedom and Western European prosperity has largely died out. You can already see how far-off the Ukrainians are! May someone call me a country that is better after the “Western liberation”? Even billions of grants and loans from the EU, the World Bank and other institutions cannot prevent it: the Ukrainian economy is in free Fall. And the Covid-19 pandemic, as everywhere else in the world, does not affect the wealthy and the rich, but the poor and the poorest. Hundreds of thousands-probably millions - of Ukrainians who worked all year round or at least seasonally abroad and sent part of their salary back to their families in Ukraine, so-called Rimessen, lost their jobs abroad and returned to Ukraine unemployed.

The latest figures say: 45 percent of the population, or about 18 million people in Ukraine, now live in poverty. You have a monthly income (per capita) of 100 francs or less. Even if the Swiss franc and the Euro have significantly higher purchasing power in Ukraine than in Switzerland or Germany, no one can live decently with that.

According to a study carried out in June by the “M. V. Ptukha Institute of Demographics and Social Research”, which collected these figures, 60 percent of respondents said they had a financial shortfall, 38 percent reported a decline in regular income, 16 percent lost their income completely and 14 percent lost their jobs. According to the report of the research institute, households with several children are worst affected.

Bitter poverty alongside billionaire oligarchs

Lyudmila Cherenko, head of the Institute’s Department of living standards Research, warned of a widening gap between rich and poor. No surprise to Ukraine observers: after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, to which Ukraine belonged at that time, as in all Eastern European countries, the wave of privatization has turned a number of particularly “clever” – that is, ruthless and often criminal – businessmen into dollar multimillionaires and dollar billionaires. One of them, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a citizen not only of Ukraine, but also Israel and Cyprus, is long-lived on lake Geneva in Switzerland. He became internationally known not only for his financial dealings with the now nationalized “Private Bank”, of which he was the majority owner, but also because he maintained his own private army and had suspended a bounty of 10,000 dollars for the capture of eastern Ukrainian separatists. Today Kolomoyskyi lives in Tel Aviv.

The West looks away

However, such bitter reports about Ukraine are rarely found in the Western media. This too is no surprise. In the negotiations on the Ukraine-EU association agreement at the time, the EU had taken the position that Ukraine had to choose between the EU and the customs union with Russia – either-or! - when Ukraine was economically much more connected to Russia than to the EU (Ukraine borders more than 70 percent of its terrestrial borders to Russia, Belarus and Moldova). A Ukraine as a bridge State was not an Option for the EU. But which media in western Europe today like to admit that this either-or-demand of the EU was a dramatic mistake and is one of the reasons for Ukraine’s current miserable economic situation?

And what has been learned in the EU? Probably nothing. The massive political interference in the internal unrest in Belarus also does not bode well here. It was released on September 9, 2010. On September 11, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gave the keys to a villa in Warsaw to Svetlana Tikhanowskaja (Svjatlana Zichanouskaja), who had emigrated to Lithuania, and “as a center for the Belarusian Opposition”, with the speaker already calling the recipient Svetlana Tikhanowskaja “President” (“Pani przewodnicząca”) more than once. A perfect provocation that gave a lot to talk about, not least on Russian television. With the non-recognition of Lukashenko as an elected president and with the recognition of the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as a “temporary” representative of Belarus, the European Parliament has now also taken an inconceivable step towards a new serious conflict in the East.

Belarus borders only one third of the EU and more than half of the foreign trade takes place with Russia Today. Should these close relations with Russia be disrupted and impeded in Belarus, Belarus, which is now much better off economically than Ukraine, also faces a crash.