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Ukraine hollows out

Since independence and especially since the Maidan coup Ukraine has experienced a population collapse unprecedented in post Second World War Europe.

Andrey Fomin

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This article was first published by Oriental Review

In the legendary Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls”, a swindler buys on paper slaves who died after the latest census (therefore officially alive) in order to use them as a collateral to take a loan he has no intention of paying back. As we’ll see, Groisman’s government of Ukraine wrote a new version of the novel, this time taking down a whole country in their insane plan.

It’s official: Ukraine doesn’t count its emigration

Ukraine held its last census in 2001. At that time its population accounted 48,457,000 people. The official figures as on Jun 1, 2017 show a demographic disaster: 42,482,000, 6 million or 13% down in 16 years.

Population of Ukraine 1990-2017, in millions. Source: Ukrstat.

Surprisingly, according to the same data, net migration in Ukraine after the first Orange Revolution (2014) turns slightly positive: 

Ukrainian population in 1990-2016 chart. Source: UkrStat. Positive migration balance in 2005-2016 marked in red.

This miracle has a very simple explanation.

The figures of immigration and emigration are normally based on the entries and exits of the national territory. In Ukraine, on the contrary, these statistics are based on the official place of residence.When a citizen moves from one part of Ukraine to another, he has to declare his change of residence for administrative reasons. But those who move out of the country simply have no reason to do so. The falsification of Ukrainian demographic data therefore consists in a simple change of definition, as confirmed in an endnote of the 2017 migration figures. Importantly, this endnote in available in Ukrainian language only:

Translation into English: Information based on the available administrative data on the change of registration of place of residence.

In other words: the falsification of the Ukrainian demographic data is absolutely not a secret. We shall try to measure the magnitude of this falsification, and try to understand who is benefiting from these ‘dead souls’.

Estimates of the real population of Ukraine

Electicity consumption

The first is based on the official electricity consumption figures:

Energy consumption in Ukraine, 2015 compared to 2014 (total, industry, agriculture, transport, public utilities, population). Source: Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine.

Thus, during that year the Ukrainian industries decreased approximately on 18%, while population diminished on 7-8%.

Bread comsumption

A notable Ukrainian analysis shows that the bread consumption had plummetted 55% between 2000 and 2016:

The chart presents statistics of production of different types of breads in 2000-2016 in Ukraine, in tons.
The chart presents statistics of production of different types of breads in 2000-2016 in Ukraine, in tons.

It should be taken into account that in Ukrainian culture the fall of incomes impacts the consumption of bread in a minimal scale or even leads to its increase as the bread often replaces more expensive products like meat and fish. Therefore, 55% decrease in bread production together with lowering incomes evidence that Ukraine has apparently lost half of its population for the last 16 years.

Number of the schoolchildren

During the 1995/1996 school year there were 7.1 million schoolchildren in Ukraine. In the 2015/2016schoolyear it was down to 3,783,150 (official data of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine) or 47% in 20 years.

Ukrainian Institute for the Future

In June 2017 the Ukrainian Institute for the Future released a symptomatic report with the following graphics:

Structure of the Ukrainian population in employment terms.

It shows that there are only 12.3 million officially declared jobs in Ukraine today.

Emigration statistics in neighboring countries since 2014

From the Russian official statistics the net legal migration between the two countries in 2014 and 2015 was 240,501 towards Russia. In 2016194,385 Ukrainians obtained a residence permit and 100,696 obtained Russian citizenship. Another 600,000 Ukrainians living in Russia are waiting a law change to allow them to obtain Russian citizenship. These figures do not include temporary refugees and people with work patents. Also, due to the absence of visa requirements, a significant part of the immigration from Ukanire to Russia is illegal. All this taken into account, we can roughly estimate the emigration from Ukraine to Russia since 2014 to about 2.5 million people.

As to the rest of the world, the main destination is Poland and we can estimate that by the end of 2016 there were 1.5 million Ukrainians working there. The total exodus from Ukraine to abroad since 2014 most likely reached 6-10 million people. However the vast majority of them do not have any permanent residence permits and have to go back to Ukraine regularly.

Emigration between 2004 and 2013

The World Migration Report 2008 claimed that 780,000 Ukrainians worked abroad, compared to 62,000 people according to Ukrainian authorities.

Russian figures indicate that the net migration between Ukraine and Russia was approximately292,000 towards Russia from 2005 until 2013. The equivalent figures for Italy from 2003 until 2013 is 206,320 people towards Italy. There have also been 892,908 Ukrainians who received long term visas (over 3 months) to the EU between 2008 and 2013. In total, we can estimate that the falsification of demographic figures before 2014 was approximately one million people who were already living abroad before the 2014 coup. If we add the loss of population in the Donbass to DNR and LNR at 3.5 millions, the permanent Kiev-controlled population now should be around 42,5-8-3,5-1=30 million people.

Why do they falsify?

Alexandr Klymenko

Aleksandr Klymenko, former Minister of Taxes and Duties of Ukraine, offers four interesting explanations for this falsifications:

Trick the IMF and the EU

The international donors seem to use the official falsified figures in their predictive models to determine if Ukraine will be able to pay back. It is obvious that Ukraine will default (it has already defaulted on a 3 billion dollar debt to Russia) and that no analyst could take the current Ukrainian government seriously in this matter, but maybe all this make-believe theater is simply very convenient to transfer Western taxpayer money into the right pockets: several Ukrainian oligarchs and Western companies benefit from the chaos.

Steal money from the Ukrainian people

Oleksandr Klymenko suggests that the falsification could help some officials become richer, through the energy officially used for the millions of dead souls. As Ukrainian apartments do not usually have individual electric or gas counters, the energy is counted for the whole building, then paid by each tenant based on how many people officially live in each apartment. One way to steal money would be to make people who live a large part of the year abroad as much as if they were always in Ukraine, then pocket the difference.

Steal the elections

Until 2014, mass emigration was mostly observed in the pro-NATO Western part of the country. Letting relatives vote for two million people living mostly or permanently abroady greatly helped parties opposed to good relations with Russia.

Minimise the casualties of the war

Officially, Kiev recognizes only 2700 soldiers killed in the undeclared war against Donbass, despite catastrophic losses during several combat phses, such as the Ilovaisk mousetrap. Hiding the real losses of the war helps the government to remain in power: it hides their incompetence, reduces protests against the war, and lets them blame all of Ukraine’s problems on the war (which is imputed on the mighty invisible Russian army).

Hide Ukraine’s weakness compared to its neighbours

The economic and demographic collapse of Ukraine puts it in an extremely weak position compared to all of its neighbors: Ukraine is now in all aspects much weaker than the smaller Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The main problem however may come from Poland, which has not forgotten that almost 100,000 km² of the West of Ukraine used to belong to Poland until 1939. The relations between the two countries are already getting sour because of the glorification of Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian Waffen-SS volunteers, who massacred not only Jews but also many Poles. There is no risk of war between the two countries in a foreseeable future, but Poland, America’s most servile vassal in Eastern Europe, knows how easy it can be to invade another country in the name of democracy and Western values and get away with it. This may be far-fetched, but more simply if millions of West-Ukrainians live in Poland and obtain Polish citizenship, Ukraine might very well become Poland’s vassal state. Hiding the real demographic disaster might prevent Polish politicians from even planning such a take-over.

Minimise the importance of emigrants for the economy

Remittances sent by migrant workers to their families in Ukraine represents sums larger than foreign direct investments (over $6 bln compared to less than $3.5 bln in 2016). They are the reason why the value of the hryvna has not completely collapsed despite collapsing exports. Remittances contribute to around 8% of the Ukrainian economy. Denying the mass emigration is a way of exagerrating the strength of the Ukrainian economy, as these remittances are due to the weakness of Ukraine’s economy and not a measure of its strength.

Hide the government project of population reduction

Having its Soviet-built industry, completely destroyed, today’s Ukraine simply cannot afford to socially support 30 million people and latently encourages emigration elsewhere. Oleksandr Klymenko agrees and adds that the plan of the government is to reduce the population of Ukraine to 20 millions as quickly as possible: old people will die faster from the reform of pensions and the reform of health services, and on the other hand fertility will decrease due to the end of free medicine for expecting mothers and the end of benefits paid to parents of young children. The falsification of demographic figures hide the fact that the “operation 20 millions” is carrying out successfully.

Conclusion

Although the falsification of Ukraine’s demographic data is not a secret, as it is clearly mentioned on Ukrstat’s website, the validity of the official figures is hardly ever discussed. We showed here an exclusive method of estimating the population of Ukraine which confirms that the demographic collapse of Ukraine is much worse than officially acknowledged. As in Gogol’s novel, the trafficking of dead souls probably helps a few people getting richer, but beyond this, the dissimulation of mass emigration hides the criminal incompetence of the Ukrainian government and the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis they initiated. Many elements point to a worsening of the demographic situation in the foreseeable future, and the very existence of Ukraine might be threatened in the next few decades by the consequence of the suicidal politics of the current government, if it is not soon replaced by competent people determined to pull Ukraine out of the disaster by ending the war, stop the all-out confrontation with Russia and definitely cancel the politics designed to serve the financial and strategic interests of the Western elite instead of the interests of the Ukrainian people.

Photo taken in the Ukrainian town of Drogobych, 2016

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Is this man the puppet master of Ukraine’s new president or an overhyped bogeyman?

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

RT

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Via RT…


It doesn’t actually matter if Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Igor Kolomoisky is the real power behind Volodymyr Zelensky – the president elect has to get rid of the oligarch if he is to make a break with the country’s corrupt past.

The plots, deceits and conflicts of interest in Ukrainian politics are so transparent and hyperbolic, that to say that novice politician Zelensky was a protégé of his long-time employer was not something that required months of local investigative journalism – it was just out there.

Zelensky’s comedy troupe has been on Kolomoisky’s top-rated channel for the past eight years, and his media asset spent every possible resource promoting the contender against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, a personal enemy of the tycoon, who hasn’t even risked entering Ukraine in the past months.

Similarly, the millions and the nous needed to run a presidential campaign in a country of nearly 50 million people had to come from somewhere, and Kolomoisky’s lieutenants were said to be in all key posts. The two issued half-hearted denials that one was a frontman for the other, insisting that they were business partners with a cordial working relationship, but voters had to take their word for it.

Now that the supposed scheme has paid off with Zelensky’s spectacular victory in Sunday’s run-off, Ukrainian voters are asking: what does Kolomoisky want now, and will he be allowed to run the show?

‘One-of-a-kind chancer’

Born in 1963, in a family of two Jewish engineers, Kolomoisky is the type of businessman that was once the staple of the post-Soviet public sphere, but represents a dying breed.

That is, he is not an entrepreneur in the established Western sense at all – he did not go from a Soviet bloc apartment to Lake Geneva villas by inventing a new product, or even setting up an efficient business structure in an existing field.

Rather he is an opportunist who got wealthy by skilfully reading trends as the Soviet economy opened up – selling Western-made computers in the late 1980s – and later when independent Ukraine transitioned to a market economy and Kolomoisky managed to get his hands on a large amount of privatisation vouchers that put many of the juiciest local metals and energy concerns into his hands, which he then modernised.

What he possesses is a chutzpah and unscrupulousness that is rare even among his peers. Vladimir Putin once called him a “one-of-a-kind chancer” who managed to “swindle [Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich himself.” In the perma-chaos of Ukrainian law and politics, where all moves are always on the table, his tactical acumen has got him ahead.

Kolomoisky’s lifeblood is connections and power rather than any pure profit on the balance sheet, though no one actually knows how that would read, as the Privat Group he part-owns is reported to own over 100 businesses in dozens of Ukrainian spheres through a complex network of offshore companies and obscure intermediaries (“There is no Privat Group, it is a media confection,” the oligarch himself says, straight-faced.)

Unsurprisingly, he has been dabbling in politics for decades, particularly following the first Orange Revolution in 2004. Though the vehicles for his support have not been noted for a particular ideological consistency – in reportedly backing Viktor Yushchenko, then Yulia Tymoshenko, he was merely putting his millions on what he thought would be a winning horse.

Grasp exceeds reach

But at some point in the post-Maidan euphoria, Kolomoisky’s narcissism got the better of him, and he accepted a post as the governor of his home region of Dnepropetrovsk, in 2014.

The qualities that might have made him a tolerable rogue on TV, began to grate in a more official role. From his penchant for using the political arena to settle his business disputes, to creating his own paramilitary force by sponsoring anti-Russian battalions out of his own pocket, to his somewhat charmless habit of grilling and threatening to put in prison those less powerful than him in fits of pique (“You wait for me out here like a wife for a cheating husband,” begins a viral expletive-strewn rant against an overwhelmed Radio Free Europe reporter).

There is a temptation here for a comparison with a Donald Trump given a developing country to play with, but for all of the shenanigans, his ideological views have always been relatively straightforward. Despite his Russia-loathing patriotism, not even his fans know what Kolomoisky stands for.

The oligarch fell out with fellow billionaire Poroshenko in early 2015, following a battle over the control of a large oil transport company between the state and the governor. The following year, his Privat Bank, which at one point handled one in four financial transactions in the country was nationalized, though the government said that Kolomoisky had turned it into a mere shell by giving $5 billion of its savings to Privat Group companies.

Other significant assets were seized, the government took to London to launch a case against his international companies, and though never banished, Kolomoisky himself decided it would be safer if he spent as long as necessary jetting between his adopted homes in Switzerland and Tel Aviv, with the occasional trip to London for the foreseeable future.

But the adventurer falls – and rises again. The London case has been dropped due to lack of jurisdiction, and only last week a ruling came shockingly overturning the three-year-old nationalization of Privat Bank.

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

Own man

Zelensky must disabuse him of that notion.

It doesn’t matter that they are friends. Or what handshake agreements they made beforehand. Or that he travelled to Geneva and Tel-Aviv 13 times in the past two years. Or what kompromat Kolomoisky may or may not have on him. It doesn’t matter that his head of security is the man who, for years, guarded the oligarch, and that he may quite genuinely fear for his own safety (it’s not like nothing bad has ever happened to Ukrainian presidents).

Volodymyr Zelensky is now the leader of a large country, with the backing of 13.5 million voters. It is to them that he promised a break with past bribery, graft and cronyism. Even by tolerating one man – and one who makes Poroshenko look wholesome – next to him, he discredits all of that. He will have the support of the people if he pits himself against the puppet master – no one would have elected Kolomoisky in his stead.

Whether the oligarch is told to stay away, whether Ukraine enables the financial fraud investigation into him that has been opened by the FBI, or if he is just treated to the letter of the law, all will be good enough. This is the first and main test, and millions who were prepared to accept the legal fiction of the independent candidate two months ago, will now want to see reality to match. Zelensky’s TV president protagonist in Servant of the People – also broadcast by Kolomoisky’s channel, obviously, would never have compromised like that.

What hinges on this is not just the fate of Zelensky’s presidency, but the chance for Ukraine to restore battered faith in its democracy shaken by a succession of compromised failures at the helm.

Igor Ogorodnev

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Roger Waters – The People’s Champion for Freedom

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there.

Richard Galustian

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Submitted by Richard Galustian 

Roger Waters is one of Britain’s most successful and talented musicians and composers but more importantly is an outstanding champion for freedom in the world, beyond compare to any other artist turned political activist.

By way of background, he co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965.

A landmark turning point of his political activism occurred in 1990, when Waters staged probably the largest rock concert in history, ‘The Wall – Live in Berlin’, with an attendance of nearly half a million people.

In more recent years Waters famously narrated the 2016 documentary ‘The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States’ about the insidious influence of Zionist Israel to shape American public opinion.

Waters has been an outspoken critic of America’s Neocons and particularly Donald Trump and his policies.

In 2017, Waters condemned Trump’s plan to build a wall separating the United States and Mexico, saying that his band’s iconic famous song, ‘The Wall’ is as he put it “very relevant now with Mr. Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions.”

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there, or any place else for that matter.

Here below is a must see recent Roger Waters interview, via satellite from New York, where he speaks brilliantly, succinctly and honestly, unlike no other celebrity, about FREEDOM and the related issues of the day.

The only other artist turned activist, but purely for human rights reasons, as she is apolitical, is the incredible Carla Ortiz.

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ISIS Says Behind Sri Lanka Bombings; Was ‘Retaliation’ For New Zealand Mosque Massacre

ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. 

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Via Zerohedge…


Shortly after the death toll from Sunday’s Easter bombings in Sri Lanka climbed above the 300 mark, ISIS validated the Sri Lankan government’s suspicions that a domestic jihadi organization had help from an international terror network while planning the bombings were validated when ISIS took credit for the attacks.

The claim was made via a report from ISIS’s Amaq news agency. Though the group has lost almost all of the territory that was once part of its transnational caliphate, ISIS now boasts cells across the Muslim world, including in North Africa and elsewhere. Before ISIS took credit for the attack, a Sri Lankan official revealed that Sunday’s attacks were intended as retaliation for the killing of 50 Muslims during last month’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

However, the Sri Lankan government didn’t offer any evidence for that claim, or the claim that Sunday’s attacks were planned by two Islamic groups (though that now appears to have been substantiated by ISIS’s claim of responsibility). The group is believed to have worked with the National Tawheed Jamaath, according to the NYT.

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the number of suspects arrested in connection with the attacks had increased to 40 from 24 as of Tuesday. The government had declared a national emergency that allowed it sweeping powers to interrogate and detain suspects.

On Monday, the FBI pledged to send agents to Sri Lanka and provide laboratory support for the investigation.

As the death toll in Sri Lanka climbs, the attack is cementing its position as the deadliest terror attack in the region.

  • 321 (as of now): Sri Lanka bombings, 2019
  • 257 Mumbai attacks, 1993
  • 189 Mumbai train blasts, 2006 166 Mumbai attacks, 2008
  • 151 APS/Peshawar school attack, 2014
  • 149 Mastung/Balochistan election rally attack, 2018

Meanwhile, funeral services for some of the bombing victims began on Tuesday.

Even before ISIS took credit for the attack, analysts told the Washington Post that its unprecedented violence suggested that a well-financed international organization was likely involved.

The bombings on Sunday, however, came with little precedent. Sri Lanka may have endured a ghastly civil war and suicide bombings in the past – some credit the Tamil Tigers with pioneering the tactic – but nothing of this scale. Analysts were stunned by the apparent level of coordination behind the strikes, which occurred around the same time on both sides of the country, and suggested the attacks carried the hallmarks of a more international plot.

“Sri Lanka has never seen this sort of attack – coordinated, multiple, high-casualty – ever before, even with the Tamil Tigers during the course of a brutal civil war,” Alan Keenan, a Sri Lanka expert at the International Crisis Group, told the Financial Times. “I’m not really convinced this is a Sri Lankan thing. I think the dynamics are global, not driven by some indigenous debate. It seems to me to be a different kind of ballgame.”

Hinting at possible ISIS involvement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Monday press conference that “radical Islamic terror” remained a threat even after ISIS’s defeats in Syria.

Of course, ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. The extremist group said the attacks were targeting Christians and “coalition countries” and were carried out by fighters from its organization.

Speculation that the government had advanced warning of the attacks, but failed to act amid a power struggle between the country’s president and prime minister, unnerved citizens and contributed to a brewing backlash. Following the bombings, schools and mass had been canceled until at least Monday, with masses called off “until further notice.”

 

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