While the attention of the Russian public is focused on the hostilities in Novorossia, in the adjacent territory of Ukraine, controlled by the Kiev regime, no less destructive processes are unfolding (though not so rapid). This, of course, is about the deteriorating economic situation in the country and the growth of social tensions.
We will talk about the main milestones of this process in this article, in parallel, trying to understand the possible consequences of what is happening.
It's no secret that the standard of living of the population of Ukraine is constantly falling. Recently, the media now and then dazzled with headlines about the next price increase for those or other goods and services. After analyzing these materials, we can get fairly reliable data on how impoverished every inhabitant of “Square” is in the near future.
So, let's start with the most extensive problems entailing a whole train of smaller troubles. The most serious threat looming over Ukraine is the lack of funds in its budget. There is no money for anything, including the functioning of state institutions and public sector wages. From the very beginning of their stay in power, the Kiev government had no other options for solving the problem of the budget deficit, apart from receiving loans from the IMF. Work in this direction, it took up. As a result, an agreement was reached on granting Ukraine a stabilization loan in the amount of 17 billion dollars. Funds had to be received in separate tranches every two months for two years. The first tranche, the amount of 3 billion dollars was allocated to Ukraine in May. Of course, his receipt was accompanied by triumphant reports in the media supporting the Kiev regime. But the glee was not long. The allocated money did not have time to end, when, unexpectedly (for the authorities, of course), the problems that the experts have been talking about for a long time have manifested themselves. The International Monetary Fund warned Ukraine that if it fails to regain control of the rebellious Donbas, the amounts of the subsequent tranches will be revised downward. From the point of view of common sense, it looks quite logical: fewer regions within the state - less costs; less cost - less loan amount. It was during this period that the Kiev regime, led by the “newly elected” president, Petro Poroshenko, began to give hysterical orders to its armed formations for an immediate and rapid attack on the Donbass, with the goal of the complete elimination of the republics. As we know, so far nothing has come of it.
But back to the topic of loans.
No matter how hard the government of Yatsenyuk tried, together with the whole Verkhovna Rada and Petro Poroshenko himself to fulfill the conditions of the IMF, the second tranche of the loan was not received in time. It was supposed to arrive in July, but instead, the fund sent its monitoring mission to Ukraine in order to explore the possibility of further lending to this state. Simply put, the provision of subsequent tranches of the loan was called into question.
In an effort to get the desired funds at any cost, the government began, in accordance with the requirements of the foundation, to significantly increase the prices of utilities. We will tell about it in more detail below. But even such measures could not convince the auditors from the IMF. At the end of the mission in Ukraine, its employees refused to voice a clear answer regarding the future fate of the promised loan. And only after meetings with their American leadership, they still recommended to allocate funds (albeit in a much smaller volume and at a later date). Now the estimated amount of the second tranche of the loan is 1,4 billion, instead of 3 billion, and the issue of its allocation will be considered at the fund’s meeting only at the end of August. This means that the money will go to Ukraine no earlier than September. Recall that earlier it was planned that in September the fund would provide the third tranche, and its amount should have been twice as much. In fact, this suggests that the IMF simply refused to Ukraine to receive the second tranche of the loan and significantly reduced the amount of the third.
As we can see, Ukraine’s relations with the IMF, on which the budget of this state now depends, are far from flawless and, in view of the current situation, the prospect of improving them seems unlikely.
The consequences of the lack of budget funds are already clearly felt by ordinary citizens. For them, this is expressed primarily in the increase in utility tariffs. For many years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of us have become accustomed to the fact that when we are told about tariff increases from TV screens or newspaper pages, we are talking about a few kopecks. But the current situation in Ukraine is not like that at all. Since July 1, the tariff for water supply has increased by 84%, and the tariff for wastewater - by 105%. In addition, gas prices for the population increased by 50%, and electricity rose by 10 - 40% (depending on the region). Taken together, these increases in utility bills have led to the fact that, for example, owners of a three-room apartment, who previously spent about paying 950 hryvnia per month, will now pay about 1500 hryvnia.
At the same time, in pursuit of regular credit funds, the government has already initiated consideration of a bill that would allow evicting debtors from apartments without returning the cost of selected housing (previously, they would reimburse the cost, minus the amount of debt). The adoption of this bill is one of the requirements of the International Monetary Fund.
At the same time, in addition to the rise in prices for utilities, the general inflation in the country is also hitting the pockets of Ukrainian citizens. For the first half of 2014 of the year, its figure exceeded 12%. Although the summer period is far from the worst in this respect, because in summer the vegetables included in the typical “grocery basket” become much cheaper. With the onset of cold weather, the situation is much worse.
In addition to food prices, gasoline prices continue to rise. If in April the cost of various types of fuel ranged from 12 to 14 UAH, now prices vary in the range of 15 - 17 UAH and their upward trend does not stop.
All of the above takes place against the background of a constant fall in the price of the national currency, and hence a decrease in the purchasing power of citizens. Nobody talks about salary indexation in Ukraine. On the day of this writing, the dollar against the hryvnia reached its historical maximum, passing the mark in 13 UAH. And although in the near future the authorities will certainly try to keep it by methods of administrative regulation, this is unlikely to change the general trend.
For greater clarity, we give a simple example. The average salary in Ukraine is 3500 hryvnia. Before the start of the “revolution” in November 2013 of the year, at the rate of 8 UAH for 1dollar, this was 437 dollars. Today, at the rate of 13 UAH for 1 dollar, the amount has decreased to 269 dollars. At the same time, the price of almost all consumer goods in Ukraine is formed taking into account the cost of gasoline and other resources purchased abroad for these same dollars. That is why, everything is becoming more expensive.
In her speech to the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada 12 of August, the head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valery Gontareva called one of the main reasons for the rapid decline of the hryvnia exchange rate of the ongoing war in the east of the country. In response to a question from one of the deputies about when the national currency would stop diminishing, she asked him when the fighting in the Donbas would stop. This formulation of the question looks absolutely reasonable. And not only because money loves silence. The war bears Ukraine a huge loss, so the issue of its impact on the economy of the state, we consider in more detail.
Of course, the main damage inflicted on the Ukrainian economy by the war in the Donbass lies in the fact that very significant funds are spent on its maintenance. The biggest problem is that you will not return this money. They, in fact, burn. But due to the postponement of the second tranche of the loan from the IMF (and in fact - the refusal to provide it), the budget for the war can soon be completely out of place. One day of fighting costs the Ukrainian treasury 3 million dollars. At the same time, Minister of Economy of Ukraine Alexander Shlapak, speaking in the parliament of July 21, stated that only 42 million dollars remained in the reserve fund of the budget (from which the military operation in the east of the country is financed). In the future, the conduct of hostilities requires disproportionately large funds. But there is nothing to save. The Ukrainian army is perhaps the only one in the world in which servicemen taking part in hostilities do not receive either “combat” (a special type of payment to the military in hot spots) or surcharges. Benefits for the loss of the breadwinner to the families of the dead servicemen are also not paid. It comes to the fact that not even all the wounded are treated at public expense. To some of them, combat wounds are recorded in medical records as consequences of an accident, or mismanagement. weapons. Such a formulation deprives them of the right to be treated at public expense.
And even with such inspiring measures of economy, there is still not enough money for combat operations. Under these conditions, the Kiev regime decided to resort to its usual tactics and place the burden of responsibility for its own political mistakes on the shoulders of the country's population. At an extraordinary meeting of the Parliament, held on July 31, a law was passed introducing a military tax in the amount of 1,5% of income for Ukrainian citizens. This law came into force on August 3. For Ukrainian citizens, it means that now with every thousand hryvnia earned, they will have to give 15 hryvnia for military needs.
But the destructive effect for Ukraine of the war it started is not limited to the waste of the budget deficit that is already scarce. The fighting takes place in the most industrially developed region of the country, as a result of which almost the only industry that brings profit is destroyed - heavy metallurgy. This causes enormous damage to the economy of the unfortunate state. According to experts, the fall in Ukraine's GDP in the second quarter of 2014 was 4,7%. But this is not the limit. In the speech already mentioned by us before the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, the Minister of Economy Alexander Shlapak predicted a fall in GDP of 6% by the end of the current year. And it is worth noting that this is one of the most optimistic forecasts, because Kiev managers tend to hide the negative results of their activities. By the way, they themselves planned to compensate for the fall in GDP by developing small and medium-sized businesses (at least in words). After one of the meetings with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, US Secretary of State John Kerry even declared that America was ready to allocate funds for this purpose. The truth is neither about the timing of the loan, nor about the specific amount of the speech was not, and then the topic was completely forgotten as unnecessary and incomplete.
Against the background of all these plausible conversations, Ukrainian small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are closing their firms en masse due to increased taxes. Foreign investors, however, do not want a cannon-shot at all to approach a country with such an unstable economic and political situation, besides leading a war.
But, as they say: “to whom the war is, and to whom - the mother is native”. Unlike small and medium-sized businessmen, some representatives of big business (they are also oligarchs) manage to get financial benefits from the ongoing hostilities. For example, the Dnepropetrovsk oligarch - Governor Igor Kolomoisky won the right to supply diesel for 30 hryvnas per liter for the non-alternative tender, which is twice the market value. In addition, he also delivers body armor to the troops, costing 20000 hryvnia for 1 units, three times higher than their retail price. True, not all oligarchs live so well. Rinat Akhmetov, who was considered the richest man of Ukraine not so long ago, now suffers enormous losses, due to the fact that his enterprises are concentrated mainly in the territory where military operations are conducted. However, given that in addition to factories in Ukraine, he also has huge assets in other countries, this war is unlikely to ruin it completely. However, the oligarchs are not accustomed to forgive anyone for similar financial losses. This is further confirmed by the fact that last Saturday, controlled by Rinat Akhmetov, the newspaper Segodnya published an article by the writer Oles Buzin, famous for his pro-Russian views. The publication was brightly anti-war. The fact that in the Akhmetov newspaper they began to print again such a dissident as Buzin can testify only to one thing: the contradictions in the Ukrainian oligarchic elite are growing.
With this thesis, we smoothly proceed to the description of how the catastrophic situation in the Ukrainian economy and the civil war, which has been going on for the fourth month, affects society.
The first thing that comes to mind is the intensified protests provoked by the start of the third wave of partial mobilization. It is mainly opposed by rural residents of the western regions of the country. The thing is that it is from there that the majority of recruits for the armed forces are recruited, taking into account the high level of loyalty of the residents of these regions in relation to the current government, as well as their lack of literacy (which means the inability to get rid of conscription through various legal tricks). It is worth noting that the authorities do not even hide the goals of mobilization. Officials of the Kiev regime explicitly declare that it is being carried out to replace casualties in armed groups fighting in the East. Just looking at the official data on losses, it is impossible to understand the need for such a replacement. To date, the Kiev authorities have acknowledged the fact that only a little more than 500 people died and injuries around 2000. But reality is at variance with official statistics. According to data, from the intercepted by the hackers and periodically published by them in the network of staff documents of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine, real losses already amount to more than 3000 killed, more than 5000 injured and about 4000 deserters. In modern conditions it is difficult to hide the truth from the population. It still seeps into even the most remote villages, along with the stories of wounded soldiers returning from the front, or simply with rumors. At the same time, knowing the true losses of the Ukrainian security forces, it is not difficult to guess why the residents of even the most "militant" regions are protesting. No one wants to lose their loved ones in the war. In some areas, anti-war rallies were accompanied by the burning of subpoenas and mobilization regulations, which testifies to the seriousness of intentions.
Speaking about the processes occurring in the Ukrainian society, it is impossible to ignore the situation with the “Maidan”. Last weekend, its activists left the main square of the country. This was preceded by their "Dembelsky chord", held on Thursday, when "maydanovtsy" burned tires, fighting off an imaginary assault from the battalions "Kiev - 1" and "Kiev - 2", formed from their own "colleagues". In our opinion, what happened was a confirmation of the assumption, expressed in one of our previous articles, that Poroshenko would try to dissolve the “Maidan” by bribing its formal and informal leaders. This version perfectly explains why at the weekend activists left the square without any pressure. Well, what happened on Thursday looks in this vein as an elementary attempt by the leaders of the “Maidan” to bargain.
However, in our opinion, it is not worth prematurely burying the “Maidan”. First of all, he did not go home, but just moved from the main square of Kiev to Trukhanov Island (there they are now camping). And secondly, all of the above creates an ideal ground in Ukraine for new social upheavals. And unlike the gathering of "revolutionaries" in the center of Kiev, crowds of enraged, hungry and disadvantaged people will not be able to pay off. By the way, even residents of the capital are likely to actively participate in the new social explosion. After all, an economic disaster in the state already affects them in the most direct way: in Kiev, the second month there is no hot water supply. According to the mayor of the capital, Vitali Klitschko, this is due to measures to save gas, and hot water will be served in the apartments not earlier than the heating season. However, experts note that no gas saved will not allow the city to be heated all winter. So, this year, the people of Kiev are waiting for cold batteries and broken pipes.
According to simple forecasts, evident from the pace of development of the situation, all the problems described, from the full expenditure of budgetary funds to riots against mobilization and frozen apartments, will reach their peak in late autumn - early winter. In Ukraine, there are enough forces willing to take advantage of social discontent and shift the current government, so a new coup is a matter of time.
Only the question of who will replace the current leadership remains open. However, in view of the specifics of the “post-revolutionary” Ukrainian society, with its abundance of destitute, but at the same time armed people, as well as universal radical and even belligerent sentiments, the case may end up with another Makhnovshchina with all its charms, in the form of total war, looting, looting and unreasonable cruelty.
But Ukraine is no stranger to the state of the Ruins. The anarchist core sits in the majority of its inhabitants much deeper than all kinds of alluvial nationalism and "European values". It is the essence of this nation. And as long as someone from the outside does not stop this bloody orgy, there will be no peace in the long-suffering land of Ukraine.
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