Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Two news pieces actually coincided with each other temporally: as soon as the State Treasury Service of Ukraine reported that there is in fact no money left in its accounts, Petro Poroshenko immediately reported on social networks that he is creating a centralised body for the exaction of money from Russia. This is unlikely to be a casual coincidence. Having understood that there are no other sources of income in the country, he, seemingly, decided to replace his senseless treasury with Russia. Or he at least hinted to his trustful fellow citizens that it is possible to do this.
The condition of the Ukrainian financial system becomes more and more deplorable. The debt on salaries steadily grows in the State sphere. According to the former head of the National Bank of Ukraine Sergey Arbuzov, this debt grew by almost a third during January-May of this year. In July it already exceeded $100 million. Things were better even in the conditions of the total collapse of the economy of Ukraine in 2014.
As of August 1st, what remains on the accounts of the State Treasury Service of Ukraine is already less than two billion hryvnia, i.e., in total about $70 million. For comparison: for the same period of last year there was 44 billion hryvnia in the accounts of the treasury. Still on June 1st of this year there was 11.5 billion hryvnia. I.e., there was a 80% decrease during June-July.
And here a shining Poroshenko enters the arena and announces to his loyal subjects: don’t despair. We will take huge sums after huge sums from Russia, which will now have to repent and pay for the “occupation of Crimea and Donbass”.
According to the owner of “Roshen”, in Ukraine “an inter-departmental coordinating body” that will be engaged in “the formation of a consolidated claim against Russia concerning compensation for the caused damage” has been created. By “damage” he means: “Russian aggression brings new immeasurable human suffering every day to the Ukrainian land, the infrastructure is being dismantled, and the enterprises and economic potential of Donbass and Crimea are being destroyed”.
Unfortunately, Poroshenko didn’t say which Crimean enterprises are being destroyed by the cruel hand of the “aggressor” during the years of “occupation”, and he didn’t explain how the economy of the peninsula grows at a quickening pace, despite the “economic potential” of Crimea being totally destroyed. Of course, it might be possible to write everything off as “Russian propaganda”, but doesn’t the wonderful emergence of huge Crimean Bridge and the brand new Simferopol airport prove that the “aggressor” builds, and doesn’t destroy objects in Crimea at all?
Well, in Donbass a number of enterprises and important objects of infrastructure really were destroyed. Let’s say that in August, 2014, as a result of the barbarous shelling of Donetsk by the Ukrainian army, the local history museum – a subject of pride among Donetsk citizens – was actually destroyed. The destruction was so catastrophic that the verdict of experts was unambiguous: “It can’t be restored”.
However, in December, 2016, the museum was completely restored via the efforts of the DPR authorities (yes, the same ones that Kiev calls “terrorists”) and the active support of local enthusiasts. Moreover, as the director of this institution Denis Kuznetsov said to me, the museum even expanded its area and increased the number of exhibits.
And so: according to the logic of Poroshenko, Russia must give compensation for the damage caused to Donetsk by the Ukrainian army. I.e., Ukraine selflessly destroyed Donbass, and Donetsk citizens selflessly restore the destroyed objects, but it is Russia that must give billions to Ukraine because of this destruction.
Let’s agree that this a convenient formula. Perhaps the words of the President of Ukraine, who formulated it, will even influence these same naive people who believed that after the agreement on Euro-association was signed the rivers in Ukraine will start flowing with milk and honey. Maybe even now someone will believe that soon the half-received salaries of Ukrainian civil servants will be compensated by Russia.
Poroshenko for certain knows that he won’t receive even a kopeck from Russia. However, the Ukrainian experience shows that certain persons can be enriched even by using the process itself, regardless of its consequences. Let’s at least remember how officials of “Naftogaz” were able to give themselves a reward of $45.6 million due to the phantom victory in the court case against “Gazprom”.
Ponder upon this figure: after all, this is nearly a half of the entire debt of Ukraine to State employees. It is here that Kiev should search for the money needed for patching the holes in the treasury. But Poroshenko wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t blame Russia for all problems and didn’t announce another “victory”, which once again will of course turn out to be zero.
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