Impoverishing Ukraine: What the US and the EU have been doing to the country for the past 30 years

 Impoverishing Ukraine: What the US and the EU have been doing to the country for the past 30 years

This is the first installment in a two-part series. Part 2 can be read here.

At last Wednesday’s gathering of US congressmen to hear the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the event by crying out, “Slava Ukraini” – “Glory to Ukraine” —no less than five times. This expression has become popular in Washington, London, and elsewhere as of late, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also bellowing out the cry in a session of the House of Commons and on Twitter.

American President Joe Biden, while not yet tackling the two Ukrainian words, claims at every moment that the more than one billion dollars’ worth of armaments he has poured into Ukraine — enough for every citizen to kill every other multiple times over — is to defend the “freedom” and “dignity” of that nation.

The origins of the term “Slava Ukraini” reveal something about the real relationship of the US and NATO to Ukraine’s working masses of all ethnicities and linguistic groups — Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish, etc. As biographer Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe explains in his book about Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, “Slava Ukraini” was part of the salute delivered by members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which were collectively responsible for the mass murder of tens of thousands of Soviets, Jews and Poles during World War II.

Neither the United States nor the EU nor any of their related institutions care now or have ever cared about the people of Ukraine, much less their liberty. Even as they have been using the country as a cat’s paw in their battle with Russia — as a result of which massive amounts of firepower are making their way into the hands of today’s Ukrainian fascists, and parts of the country are being blown to bits— the US and the EU have been economically strangling the Ukrainian people for decades.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (R) greets Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych (L) at the IMF Headquarters April 12, 2010 in Washington, DC. (International Monetary Fund Photograph / Stephen Jaffe)

As measured by GDP per capita, Ukraine, with its 44.13 million inhabitants, is the poorest or second poorest country in Europe. It competes with Moldova, with about 2.6 million people, for these inauspicious titles.

The bottom 50 percent of Ukraine’s population gets just 22.6 percent of all the country’s income and 5.7 percent of its wealth. The top 10 percent own nearly 60 percent of Ukraine’s net personal assets, according to the World Inequality Database, a publication put out under the directorship of three of the globe’s leading specialists in inequality — Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. In 2018, Ukrainian households ’average net savings stood at minus $ 245.

The median household income in Ukraine is around $ 4,400 a year, about on par with that of Iran, whose economy has been operating under crushing sanctions for years. The average wage in Ukraine is estimated to be just € 330 a month, and the state-mandated minimum a worker can be paid is € 144. According to the Ukrainian government, an individual ought to be able to survive on less than half that amount, as the subsistence minimum is € 64. Retirees who are at the bottom rung of the pension scale take home € 50 a month.

The country’s Institute of Sociology reports that the typical Ukrainian family spends 47 percent of its total income on food and another 32 percent on utility bills. In 2016, nearly 60 percent of people were poor by government standards, including 60 percent of kids. That poverty rate dropped to “only” 37.8 percent in 2019. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization found that in 2020 15.9 percent of Ukrainian children under 5 were malnourished, and in 2019 17.7 percent of women of reproductive age were anemic, a condition caused by lack of iron in the diet. That number has been steadily rising since 2004. Twenty-four percent of the population is obese.

Ukraine population

Between 2014 and 2019, the birthrate fell by 19.4 percent. Ukraine’s mortality rate is extremely high — 14.7 per 1,000 people. It is well above that of many countries in Africa, the poorest continent on the globe. Its suicide rate, according to the World Bank, ranks 11th in the world. With deaths outstripping births by more than two to one and hundreds of thousands emigrating annually in search of anything better, the country’s population has shrunk every year since 1993. There are 8 million fewer Ukrainian citizens today than there were 30 years ago.

Source link

Related post