What Feeds Kharkov

NEW – March 6, 2023

Forget the old Kharkov! The one that was the third city of the USSR in terms of industrialisation – after Moscow and Leningrad. And the one that was closest to the capital of the RSFSR from the entire Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, for this reason, gravitated to the Russians.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

Kharkiv did not have enough strength to stand up for Novorossiya in 2014, and since then I have repeatedly heard from those who communicate with Kharkov residents – well, they don’t want to go to Russia! But they don’t want to – for one simple reason. What Kharkov now feeds on and what its citizens are used to, will be destroyed in an instant.

The first and main source of income – at least before the start of the Special Military Operation – is a huge wholesale clothing market. The largest in all of Eastern Europe. 75 hectares. Almost twice as large as our once famous Cherkizon and slightly larger than the current Moscow “Sadovod”, which, by the way, is the main wholesale clothing centre in Russia.

Yes, Ukrainians built absolutely nothing after the collapse of the USSR. They didn’t create anything. Everything was only ruined. But to make the best flea market in the world – they managed. Buy – sell… It’s “their own”! What we went through in the 90’s and what our country lived in the era of collapse – they are now proud of it.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

The second source of income is trips of gastarbeiter to Poland. One will say – this is not enough for a city of almost one and a half million people! But each of those who left has a mother, father, and relatives who receive a small salary in the city, but are happy for their child, who did not go just anywhere – but “to Europe”! They live by this optimism!

And so, if you imagine for a second that Kharkov becomes Russian, Kharkov residents immediately lose both. Europe and the Poles, of course, will stop all deliveries of their rags. And no one, of course, wants to build new schemes from China. In addition, if now, you took, went and immediately bought everything yourself at the Polish border, then for deliveries from China you have to wait months – when everything arrives. You pay the money in advance – for a pig in a poke. No, the current Ukrainians will not do this.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

Well, the Poles will also throw out the Kharkov gastarbeiters from the country. “Go – rise up against Russia, and when you return the city to Ukraine – then come!”

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We can fantasise as much as we want about what Kharkov residents think about Russia, somewhere deep in their hearts, and how they want to return to their alma mater, but their real everyday and familiar life is like this.

And suddenly – to take it all – and dump it, get off the usual rails. For any person, this is stressful. Try it yourself. And they do not believe that all these old and rusty factories can be revived.

Meanwhile, if you take and discard the usual way of life, understand where you will be more successful and happy – not tomorrow, but in five or even ten years, then Russia would be very suitable for Kharkov.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

Let’s start, as always, with history. Yes, Kharkov is a very ancient city, but at some point it was destroyed to the ground. And in 1654, Peter I’s father, Grand Duke Aleksey Mikhailovich, decided to build a new city, the basis of modern Kharkov. And this city entered the Moscow Principality, was assigned to the Belgorod province. Later, Aleksey Mikhailovich signed a decree on the creation of the Kharkov province.

Secondly, those who fled from Right-Bank Ukraine settled there. When uprisings broke out there and the Poles attacked. That is, they were people who did not accept either the Poles or the “Westerners”.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

Thirdly, do you know what was the first battle of the Kharkov armed force? In 1666, Kharkov was besieged by the rebellious Zaporozhye Cossacks led by the Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko. During the defence of the city, a detachment of Kharkov Cossacks led by sotnik Grigory Donets unexpectedly left the city gates and attacked Sirko’s Cossacks. Kharkov residents chased Sirko for a long time – and during the chase they seized two cannons, which are still stored in Kharkov – on Constitution Square.

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And now – about the industry and factories. In 2013, a joint study was conducted in Kharkov and Belgorod (the North-Eastern Research Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the National Research Institute of Belgorod State University), which provided economic forecasts for the development of Kharkov industry in various integrations of the region’s economy in the EAEU. Thus, the authors predicted a 46% increase in the volume of regional domestic product by 2017!

Let me explain once again – this refers to the normal indicators that were in 2012. This includes +46%. Kharkov’s share in the total trade turnover of Ukraine with the EAEU would be 31%!

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

Here – if Kharkov residents have forgotten – I will remind you. Kharkov accounted for 15% of all tractors produced in the USSR, 60% of diesel engines for mainline diesel locomotives, 20% of large electric vehicles of any complexity, and 33% of steam turbines. On the territory of the Kharkov region were so many businesses and factories of a serious scale – that is, if you try to read their list via Google, then you will not have enough patience to reach the end of the list.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

And what do all these “many” do now? When Zelensky became President of Ukraine, he came to Kharkov to the city’s flagship plant, the Malyshyev Plant, which produces armoured vehicles. Zelensky looked a little lost at the time: “I’m in shock.. The director has just told us that one tank has been built since 2009.”

Billions of dollars in debts, workers without salaries for years, frost in the workshops in winter – all this is about this plant, which in Soviet times launched mass production of the legendary T-34, and by the end of the USSR could assemble a hundred T-80UD in a month.

And the one tank Zelensky mentioned at that time, released in ten years, was the fulfilment of a Thai contract for 49 tanks. It’s not necessary to say what happened next with that contract… And the factory became a graveyard of rusty scrap metal.

What feeds Kharkiv. And that's why he doesn't want to go to Russia for anything

About the scale of the fall of the Malyshyev plant speaks at least this, while not the most serious, fact. In Soviet times, the factory had 32 canteens, and in them alone 800 employees worked in the kitchens.

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At any rate, before the Special Military Operation two canteens are left.

And in Kharkov, it is believed that Malyshyev workers still somehow breathe.

And what to do now…

The city of Kharkov is so huge in its scale that during the Great Patriotic War it was taken by five (!) armies of three (!) fronts. So the question is then – why do we need this Kharkov? With a ruined economy, not eager for us to get there – and at such a price?! Here Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Zaporozhye – it is a yes! While – Kharkov?

But let’s not forget the most important thing. It is Kharkov, as the closest and most promising point of attack on Moscow, that can become a new NATO base. As it was once planned in Sevastopol. It was in precisely Kharkov that they, including the United States, conducted their extensive research into biolabs to create deadly viruses. And if (!) Ukrainians create their own nuclear bomb against Russia, it will happen in precisely Kharkov. So, think about why we need Kharkov.

Well, think about it, Kharkov residents. Why do you need all this and why do you need such risks, which, first of all, will be aimed against you.

Do you, Kharkov residents, really like that your great city has become a flea market and is covered with rust all over? Do you really want to leave such a legacy to your descendants? That’s not what you think about when you send them to work as farmhands in Poland. Remember that joint history of Belgorod and Kharkov, and that only with Russia can your great city turn from the main flea market in Eastern Europe into its main industrial centre… You will not go to the Poles for sheets, but they will come to you for engines and turbines.

Aleksandr Bochkaryev

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