Note by the Saker: the following is a translation of a partial transcript of an interview given by Rostislav Ishchenko, arguably the foremost Ukraine specialist alive today, to Dmitrii Puchkov. Thanks a lot to Eugenia for translating this for the blog. I asked for this translation because it reminds us in just a few short words of what the Ukraine could have been had this country not been run by corrupt crooks from Day 1. Is it not amazing to think that just 25 years ago the prospects for the Ukraine look better than for Russia?
I was traveling today with a colleague from Kronstadt, and I was telling him that if those people (the Ukrainian elites – translator’s notes) were adequate, they could have created a country where today the Russian citizens would be coming to find work. Indeed, for the first 10 years of its existence, Ukraine was in an ideal, exclusive, privileged position. It possessed most of the Soviet industry, heavy, military, and such. Ukraine housed the largest and, for those times, the most modern part of the Soviet military. At the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Army was larger than the Russian one, although the territory and the population were significantly smaller. Ukraine was located at the intersection of transit routes.
President Kuchma has signed an agreement until 2012 to buy the Russia gas at $50 (for 1000 m3 – translator’s notes). And this is considering that starting from around 2003-2004 Europe was buying the Russian gas at $150, then at $200, then at $300 and $400. This means that the Ukrainian industry had an advantage right from the start, since, for example, in the chemical industry the price of the energy account for about 70% of the production cost. In the metallurgical industry – the main export industry in Ukraine – the energy price accounts for 30-40% of the total production cost. That is to say that just because of that the country and its industry were placed in a perfect position for a breakthrough. Just because of the low energy cost, their products were 8-10 times more competitive than that of their European competitors.
Because Ukraine has many enterprises of the military-industrial complex, it was not just of interest but essentially the only suitable partner for the Russian industry at the time when Russia began to rebuild its Army and the military industry. By this time, Russia has built many enterprises duplicating the ones that existed in Ukraine. Russian did not want to build them; in was not in its interest; it intended to work with the Ukrainian enterprises. Moreover, some of the Ukrainian enterprises have relocated their stuff of engineers and their technical documentation to Russia. Now new enterprises created on the Russian territory use these resources to manufacture the same products previously made in Ukraine but now these are Russian products.
By signing the association agreement with the EU, Ukraine renounced the Russian market worth 10-15 billion dollars annually. Furthermore, the price of that association grows all the time getting higher and higher every year. Ukraine failed to obtain new markets. We could count losses like that, and count, and count, and count. . .
I have not yet talked about the fact that these people (the Ukrainian elites – translator’s notes) started working on partitioning Ukraine the moment they came to power. In 1992-1993, Ukraine was indeed a united country. The population thought: “ Yes, a part of the Soviet Union broke away; there is Russia there; we will have our Russia here and call it Ukraine – no problem, we will live in a slightly smaller country”. In less than 10 years by 2004, the country was brought to the brink of a civil war, and in 2014 that civil war started. In essence, the people first squandered their own property, then set on a barrel with gunpowder and lit the fuse. Now they are sitting on that barrel waiting for the fuse to burn completely but still saying: “Everything will be fine, because when the barrel blows up we will fly directly into Europe”.
This sad story has repeated itself elsewhere. Saudi Arabia has squandered about $1 trillion on overpriced, subpar weapons and other rubbish. That money could have developed the region. Someone told me years ago that the countries mired in the third world debt crisis have paid that debt 40 times over.
Since the 90s Ukraine (like many other countries) is being looted and destroyed by NATO powers through the IMF in a new Generalplan Ost. Already in 2013 the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) exposed in a paper that Ukraine’s EU association would require “serious and extremely painful social adjustments.”
During WW1 Ukraine was created by Germany to serve as a colony for the German occupiers and to destroy Russia, too. By force NATO transformed Ukraine into a Reichskommissariat ruled by Nazis again. Officially it is called a “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area”.
“The cumulative decline in GDP resulting from the IMF sponsored reforms was in excess of 60 percent (from 1992 to 1995).”
“She served as energy minister in the government of Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko. During that two-year period, £120 billion, according to the United Nations, was looted from Ukraine.”
The Germans seem to expect lopsided agreements from other states.
Good point. All debts should be written off, third world ones and ours. Russia wrote off $30 billion of Cuba’s $33 billion debt. Most of these debts were fraudulent in the first place, and owed to blatantly criminal organisations.
One plausible estimate of the cost of the 2007-8 US bank bailout was $23,700 billion.
Officially, it was $750 billion, but this was a figure that was constantly being paid out and then topped up again back to that figure.
After publication of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” the third world debt should be written off.
“… we will fly directly into Europe”
Made me chuckle. Yes Europe. I heard that Putin ordered
for Russian ports only to accept Rubles. What does this mean?
Well, now if someone wants to buy Russian goods (products or raw materials)
he has to pay in Rubles. I am assuming China is or will soon do the same.
Now consider this, Mario Draghi the chef of the European Central Bank is
printing 80 billion euros per month!. With that money, the European elites
bought the EU public off, maintaining social order. Not anymore they can’t. Now
everybody has to earn their Rubles. Sucks to be the dummy who broke
off all economic cooperation with Russia (Ukrop, Poland, Baltics).
And hello to a EU civil war…
I believe that you are wrong in your assumption. Export contracts will still be written in USD, EURO and RMB. Port Authorities will now only accept payment in RUB, in other words shipping companies will have to open a USD account with a Russian bank and a corresponding RUB account. They will pay into the USD account, transfer to the RUB account and payout in RUB.
It is very difficult to transfer money to a RUB account. For example in Australia I had to go from AUD to USD and back to RUB. Nowadays, using non-bank transfer companies I can go from AUD directly to RUB in a Russian RUB account, much cheaper and fewer fees.
Study it. Then report back.
Ishchenko has insight and knowledge of the great catastrophe of Ukraine, and always spotlights the latest disastrous move by Kiev.
In a mere quarter century, and for the paltry sum of $5 Billion and a bag of cookies, the entire potential, and all the natural resources and the best human talent of a nation of 42 million people has been led in a dance of death to its self-destruction.
And who led it? It’s best friend and loan guarantor the USA. Pied Piper of Russophobia.
So for the price of all that Ukraine might have become and all that Ukraine was actually worth, the Ukies paid to enjoy their hatred of Russians, while being denuded of their wealth, their assets and their future.
If by some miracle they don’t dissolve as a nation, the inevitable shrinkage of the actual size of the country is in the cards. No infusion of loans and investments can hold the fractured pieces over the long haul. If not this decade, next decade, Ukraine will be downsized.
It already has lost 6-10 million people. It’s birthrate will dive and every calamity of poverty and corruption will take care of hope for growth. If not terminal, it is chronically ill with prognosis of no hope for change in its condition.
And Kurt Volker, in a punk phone conversation with Russians pretending to be Turchynov, the nazi Kiev leader, warned that if they attacked Donbass again the Russians would “crush” Ukraine and the US could not help them.
So even the US front man for the Khazarian plotters knows the Ukies are doomed at the only relief for their internal anxiety.
Terminal. Like a junkie who takes more and more speed or heroin.
The more hate of Russia, the sooner the overdose and foamed death as they spasm on their own bile and phlegm.
The nazis hired by NATO are deliberately persuing a scorched-earth policy again. NATO powers don’t want a prosperous Ukraine because it would be a rival on the world market and a valuable economic partner for Russia.
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.”
Russia should stop bailing out Ukraine with energy and loans.
It owes Ukraine nothing.
Let Washington and Brussels have it, for what it’s worth.
Consider the other aspect of this; what has happened in the Ukraine has, to one degree or another been duplicated across the world — Africa and the Middle East especially, but also Europe as a whole, even Britain and Ireland.
The US empire when it goes, when its hold is broken, is now within the foreseeable future — imagine the enormous release of productive power that will bring to the world, the new technologies that will demand and possibilities for this world that this will mean.
Of course we should not forgive or forget, and in all the corridors of power the worst sort of people inhabit, people without imagination, professional managers of one sort or another, people who can do nothing worthwhile but stop others and take for themselves. That huge manager-class has to be be dissolved.
The last empire is a dam burst, a cascade of long held back potential. Just think of all the technologies, medicines, and literature that have been designed, tested, and written, but has been locked up, hidden away, or placed out of public reach.
Imagine a better Ukraine is not imagine a much better world.
“It is not enough to succeed; one’s best friend must also fail” various people said similar things at different times.
The US wants to be the only one who succeeds and so sabotaged Ukraine and others, with the help of the elites in the countries concerned. You can’t be number one and allow others the luxury to catch up, then you won’t be number 1 no more.
Leader of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine Dr Natalia Vitrenko examined the Ukraine’s tragic post-“independence” collapse in detail, at an April 2013 conference of the Schiller Institute in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany ( http://newparadigm.schillerinstitute.com/media/natalia-vitrenko-eurasian-integration-as-a-chance-for-survival-in-the-global-economic-crisis/ ). The figures are shocking—and this was almost a full year before the coup regime came along and made everything so much worse:
“The machine-tool industry practically ceased to exist. Whereas Ukraine used to have 16 major machine-tool plants, which produced 37,000 machine tools in 1990, now there are only three left, which are barely on their feet; they produce just 40 machine tools a year.
“Out of 50,000 companies privatized, 49% ceased to exist. They shut down. As for 1990, machine-building had been the core of the Ukrainian economy, with 360 factories organized in 20 specialized industrial sectors. Ukraine had an advanced military-industrial sector, machine-building for heavy industry and the power industry, rocket-building, an aircraft industry, shipbuilding, and auto, locomotive, tractor, and machine-tool industries. Machine-building accounted for 31% of GDP, making Ukraine one of the top ten countries in the world.
“Ukraine accounted for 2% of world GDP, and we were 11% higher than the world average for per-capita GDP. By 2012, Ukraine was producing only 0.2% of world GDP. Per capita, we are 40% below the world average; we’re lower than Namibia.”
Thanks for posting that report, Rich B.
I knew the figures were bad, but not that stark.
I’d be interested in knowing how bad the situation really is currently, after 3 years of civil war and the loss of around 7 million more of its population as refugees and the breakaway Donbass.
The last figures I have are from 2011 before things fell apart.
At that time the income per head, PCI, was put at $2,700, behind Egypt at $3,000 and ahead of Syria at $2,400.
One economist thought there were still some potentially promising industries in Ukraine, but I think he was being way too optimistic.
I think the only future Ukraine has is a colony of the EU. A pool of cheap immigrant labour, maybe some foreign owned agribusiness and extractive industries. Maybe some sweatshop type low cost manufacturing if they’re lucky.
… but still saying: “Everything will be fine, because when the barrel blows up we will fly directly into Europe”.
Ya, but might be difficult to find their ’72 virgins’ there in Euro-paradise…
They still think the streets of Brussels are paved with gold. They should ask the Greeks and the Spaniards about that.
‘In 1992-1993, Ukraine was indeed a united country.’
I doubt that was the case, western Ukraine and its eastern part Donbass (now DNR and LPR) were always 2 different worlds. It was just quiet before the storm time.
The best for both sides is to split and go their own ways. It is inevitable.
The ones in power in the Ukraine do not care about the country or its people. They are probably in this ruling position for that reason, ie. to inflict the maximum damage to the country. Then blame everything on to the Russians. If for some reason people there would wake up and revolt against the corrupt rulers, then they would probably move to Israel or the US.
Once Ukraine earned $2.5 billion on rail transport alone but now…. hardly more than $300-400 million?
Surely God does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition; and when God intends evil to a people, there is no averting it, and besides Him they have no protector. Quran verse 13:11.
Victoria Nuland bragged to the National Prestitude Club that the US had spent $5billion on destabilizing Ukraine. The speech was in late 2013 or early 2014 IIRC. The $5billion was not for just the Maiden-time, but dating back to Ukraine becoming seperate from Russia/Soviet Union.
Reading between the lines of this most interesting piece (and thank you for flagging it as Must Read), one can see the thoughts behind this. The parts about how the Ukraine ended up with much of the old Soviet manufacturing and military capacity is the clue. Someone in DC decided that spending money and effort to try to subvert this country away from Russia would be worth the effort.
As a bonus, they thought they might get the Russian navy out of its historic base at Sevastapol, and then saw an opportunity to put their Nazi friends into power to become a pain in the keester to Russia.
Of course, this only seems logical if one has the mentality of a super-villan in a James Bond flick who’s trying to rule the world. But, if one has that sort of warped mentality, I suppose it does make a sort of sense in its own twisted way.
Wonder what America could have been like if it hadn’t been run by corrupt crooks for the same length of time?
Trillions of dollars have been stolen from the American people, money and wealth that the American people worked hard to create. Its been stolen by a massive war machine, as well as bankers and corrupt corporate chiefs.
So, try to picture what America might be if it had invested those trillions into America, its infrastructure and its people?
The American people have, certainly during the ‘good’ years, also greatly benefitted from the Bretton-Woods and Wall Street Banker’s ponzi schemes as well as the reserve currency petro dollar. Unfortunately for them the new situation will be a double whammy.
All this time Ukraine has been lead by CIA. Russia managed to liberate itself from the CIA, but Ukraine didn’t. All these barons, the corrupt politicians, judges, policemen .. have been created from the CIA, in order to keep Ukraine occupied.
In 1945, the Ukraine, like Byelorussia and Western Russia, was completely destroyed by war. And it was to be rebuilt as “Socialist Model State”, with emphasis given to the then Hi-Tech industries (Transportation, Aerospace, Chemistry, Electronics, etc.). And the Ukrainian products were among the finest from the Soviet Union (Antonov transport planes from Kiev, turbines from Zaporozhye, T-64 tanks from Charkov, rockets from Dnepropetrovsk, ships from Nikolayev, KrAZ trucks from Kremenchuk, and others). Of course, few of this was of any interest to the West, they have their own planes, tanks and rockets they try to sell, and what the USA, UK, Germany, etc. wanted was to get rid of a pesky competitor.
Just take the example of the An-70: almost identical to the A400M, flying since 2009, while the Ukrainian plane first flew in 1994, and being much cheaper to build (€67 M vs €151 M apiece), it would have deprived EADS of a lot of money, had it been chosen by any Western Country.
Russia contributed a lot to that program, having a lot of older An-12 and Il-76 in its inventory. But as the Ukraine is now a foreign country, they have abandoned their interest, and are instead modernizing the Il-76.
The well-trained and hard working specialists at the Antonov plant in Kiev are paying the price.
Ukraine was the most prosperous part of the Soviet Union till it broke up in 1991.
Then, like Russia, all the wealth of the country was looted by a handful of Jewish oligarchs and gangsters serving the interests of western capital.
Unlike Russia, that process has continued and never been stopped, let alone reversed.
Everything that wasn’t nailed down was stolen by western orchestrated oligarchs.
It is officially one of the most corrupt countries on earth, just ahead of places like Afghanistan.
By 2011, Ukraine was midway between Syria and Egypt in terms of income per head.
Syria $2,400 Ukraine $2,700 Egypt $3,000.
After this time, all three countries were destabilised by the US and its satellites, and their economies fell off a cliff.
The Ukrainian economy is in tatters, with a shaky Fascist coup regime still in power in Kiev.
The country is hopelessly divided and cannot be put back together again.
At the time of independence, the population was 52 million. It has since fallen to 42 million. And that includes the 1.5 million refugees who have fled to Russia and the 6 million in the Donbass republics.
The only future Ukrainians have is as illegal immigrant labourers in the EU.
The only thing Ukraine produces that the EU wants is prostitutes.
I’m wondering as to why the Soviet Communist Party favored the Ukraine so much – handing it Odessa, all the eastern territories of what is called Novorussia, plus Crimea, all that industry etc, the best military equipment and armed formations, and then allowed it to secede. Were there forces at work silently directing this, patiently working toward some long term plan al the time?
The looting by Western elites of anything and everything is more than 100%. I suppose that is why the Ukranian elites went for it. Did most know anything else? Wasn’t communism built on the same principle, looting anything and everything!
It must be taxing for the elite not to cull the heard entirely but just enough so the culling never stops.
I hope the Russian and Chinese elite can keep their current course up but greed eventually catches up and the cycle repeats.
Todays saviors are tomorrows villains.