Text: Alyona Zadorozhnaya
translation by A. for the Saker blog
By the end of 2022, Vladimir Zelensky has achieved unique and in many ways tragic results. He managed to reduce the population of Ukraine to the level of a century ago, put the country in bondage to the West and deprive fellow citizens of the elementary benefits of civilization. What other “successes” could be added to Zelensky’s track record?
In 2023, a catastrophic drop in the birth rate is expected in Ukraine. This was stated by the director of the Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Research, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Ella Libanova. According to her, by 2030 the population will decrease to 35 million people, and the reduction process has been going on since 1994. At the same time, Libanova assures that 34-35 million people still live in Ukraine.
However, these figures are questionable. The number of refugees who arrived in Russia from the territory of Donbass and Ukraine has already exceeded five million people. In the summer, according to the UN, there were about 6.3 million Ukrainian citizens who left the country in all the European states. Experts are convinced that Libanova gives inflated figures – and already today there are significantly fewer people living in Ukraine than she claims..
“Even before the start of the SVO, it was difficult to understand how many people really live in Ukraine. Official figures were around 40 million people, while in reality there were approximately 33 million people, if not less,” economist Ivan Lizan told the newspaper VZGLYAD. “From 2016 to 2019, Ukrainians were leaders among those who obtained primary residence permits in Poland. Every year, up to 500 thousand people “flowed out” this way. Also, do not forget that a large number of their refugees have recently moved to Europe,” the expert emphasizes.
“Thus, there are at best 25-27 million people left in Ukraine, which is comparable to the population as of the 1920s of the last century. Mostly men remained in the country, because they were simply banned from traveling abroad,” the source notes.
“I am sure that these trends will continue in 2023. We will also observe internal migration. In those areas of the front where the situation is heating up, people will run away. As, for example, from the Kiev–controlled part of Donbass, local residents fled to Dnepropetrovsk,” the economist claims.
“A terrible situation is developing in the labor market. State employees mostly live on bare salaries. Teachers who are forced to move to other regions of Ukraine due to the proximity of hostilities have enough money only to pay for rented housing,” says Lizan.
“The most profitable job is to go to war. The APU pays 100 thousand hryvnias (189 thousand rubles or USD 2 700 /month) to those who participate in the battles, and 30 thousand hryvnias (57 thousand rubles or USD 817/month) to those who are not involved in active hostilities. Those who return home from the front begin to drink heavily and indulge in reckless spending. It gets to the point that they go into home appliance stores and, without looking at the price, ask to pack the most expensive TV,” the expert said.
“Some also actively supplement their income by looting. In Ukraine, there is a non–state post office, Nova Poshta, that has been integrated into the logistics system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Nowadays its trucks deliver ammunition, provisions, etc. to the front line, and from there they take out and sell all the loot. This was also the case during the so–called ATO,” the interlocutor stressed. “Life is not easy for the villagers either. Back in the spring, former collective farmers were paid shares in grain, not in money, although in previous years people themselves could make a choice,” said Lizan.
“At least eight million people left Ukraine in 2022. If the population of the lost territories is taken into account, then no more than 18-20 million inhabitants remain in the country. And because of the tough restrictions on the departure of men, it is mostly women and children who leave the state,” adds human rights activist Larisa Shesler.
“Schools are closed in most cities, formally they work remotely. Settlements, even large ones, look like ghost towns. In Nikolaev, Odessa, Zaporozhye, less than half of the buildings’ apartments are occupied, mostly it is the old people or very poor people who have no money and no chance to settle in another country who stay there,” the interlocutor describes.
“And 2023 does not give hope for an improvement in the situation. The majority of the refugees in Europe understand that they will not be able to return to Ukraine. The birth rate is falling catastrophically, and next year will be even more difficult because of the accumulated effect,” the political scientist emphasizes.
“Of those who stayed, many lost their income. Western experts and the Ukrainian authorities estimate unemployment at 30% of the active population. But a couple of months ago, the governor of Nikolaev spoke about 80% of citizens who lost their jobs. And this is more like the truth,” the expert continues. “Those who have jobs also have a difficult time. The vast majority of the employed population receives about 14 thousand hryvnias, which is equivalent to 26 thousand rubles (~USD 381/month). However, the price of goods has risen by 40-80%, so people exist on the verge of survival,” Shesler emphasized.
Against the background of the population outflow and unemployment, the entire economy of Ukraine is suffering. Despite the colossal injections of money from the West, the factories are shutting down, mining is declining, and the harvest is falling. Political scientists predicted the transformation of Ukraine into a third world country back in August. Then it was noted that the state could lose its agricultural potential. And now the forecasts are being confirmed.
Even Ukrainian oligarchs, who [usually] only get richer in difficult times, are losing their fortunes today. Thus, the total wealth of the richest citizens of Ukraine has decreased by more than $ 20 billion compared to the beginning of February 2022, Ukrainian Forbes pointed out.
The government debt is also rising (it is more than $ 100 billion now). “There are simply no adequate estimates of the level of decline in the Ukrainian economy, there is only an assumed range of data. Before the autumn Russian strikes on the electric power industry, the Ukrainian authorities talked about a drop in GDP by 30-40%. The GDP figure for 2021 was 198 billion dollars,” economist Ivan Lizan told the newspaper VZGLYAD.
“When we began to launch large-scale strikes on the energy facilities in order to destroy the enemy’s logistical capabilities, the estimates were adjusted. Kiev then said that if the attacks continue, the GDP will sink by 50%. And the strikes continued,” the source adds. “But already in December, Prime Minister Shmygal said that although there is a drop in GDP, it fluctuates around 35%.
I would not believe this statement and I am of the opinion that GDP will sink by 50% by the end of the year. This is about $100 billion”,
– the expert argues. “Zelensky’s economic adviser Rostislav Shurma also said that in the fourth quarter the industrial production fell in the range of 50 to 90%, depending on the region. At the same time, there is a pattern according to which the territories located closer to the front line have sunk most seriously,” the economist continues.
“For Ukraine, the loss of half of its GDP is even more damaging than it was in 2014-2015. A country without a normal electric power industry cannot have a normal economy. Everything is somehow tied to electricity. For example, corn can be harvested from the fields before the frost and first snow. But then it needs to be dried, and without electricity it becomes almost impossible. Subsequently, the corn harvest fell by 30%, and in general, the yield decreased by 40%,” the expert explains.
“Accordingly, if it were not for the support of the West, Ukraine would have already begun to collapse. But NATO managed to keep it afloat. This is not about the development of the country, but about stabilization of its financial system – they give money so that there is enough for the war,” the interlocutor notes. “There is a separate story with borrowing – it happens [exclusively] inside the country, because no one needs [their] bonds on the foreign market. In fact, this year Ukraine has defaulted for the second time in the last eight years. And now foreign creditors are simply shying away from the Ukrainian debt,” the economist draws attention.
“The forecast of the drop in the Ukrainian GDP is getting worse every day. Over the past month, the critical situation in the electric power industry has led to a drop in production of up to 80% in many industries. Metallurgy has practically stopped, mining and processing enterprises have sharply reduced production,” clarifies Larisa Shesler.
“Now only small enterprises and shops which run on the generators can function in the country; the banking and municipal institutions operate in a limited mode. The situation is complicated by the fact that there are no solutions to the energy crisis yet,” the interlocutor notes.
“Previously, the decline in the annual GDP in November reached 40%. In December, the situation worsened. But no figures can reflect the reality of the rapid deindustrialization of Ukraine. Almost all large factories have been stopped, construction and mining have been stopped,” the expert lists.
“Now Ukraine is losing everything that has been created on its territory for decades. It’s scary to imagine how much it will cost to resuscitate power grids and thermal power plants. It is obvious that neither Europe nor the USA are going to keep Ukraine as an industrial country, even in the form of a supplier of metallurgical raw products or an exporter of electricity from nuclear power plants,” says Shesler.
“They want to convert Ukraine into a territory overrun by paramilitary groups fighting with Russia, and [having only] agricultural land for growing cheap sunflower”,
– she emphasizes. “This year, Ukraine has received large amounts of money in the form of loans and financial tranches, unprecedented previously. And absolutely no one expects a full refund of these payments. Thus, the state becomes completely economically dependent on the Western countries,” the political scientist notes.
Onn should never, ever align oneself with the United States. Ukraine is fighting a proxy war for the US. The US will fight Russia using Ukraine “to the last Ukrainian”. The aim is to weaken Russia as has been said many times in Washington, including that the conflict should prolonged as long as possible. This goes back to the Brzezinski doctrine; which designates Ukraine and Afghanistan as pivotal countries in the geopolitical fight with Russia. This is what happened because the US decided in 1991 to dominate the planet by itself, a malign plan called the Project for a New American Century PNAC. World domination is the name of the game, destruction and devastation is the result. And they still believe that this world empire will come about, which it will not.
Oleksii Reznikov, the Ukrainian Defence Minister abmitted as much only a few days ago. He said Ukraine has shed all this blood for NATO, meaning of course the geopolitical designs of the US.
It is quite clear that a different path starting in 1991 would have resulted in a much happier and prosperous Ukraine today.
“The cat is out of the bag, finally — the US is fighting in Ukraine to preserve its global hegemony. … in a sensational interview in Kiev, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov also blurted out in the weekend that Kiev has consciously allowed itself to be used by NATO in the bloc’s wider conflict with Moscow!” This is the view from India. Only the Europeans are so gullible.
Not sure how accurate it is to say Zelenski did it. Perhaps he was the tool, but it was the UniParty Warhawks of the American Empire who actually did it. All in the name of trying to destroy Russia.
As always, they form a new arm of the American Armed Forces, the Proxy Arm, drawn from malcontents of the target nation. Then, hiding behind their wall of water, 5000kms distant, they send in the Proxies to get slaughtered and destroy the target nation.
And they never, ever, not once, pay a price themselves.
It’s just “rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat”.
So did Zelenski do this? I’d say, only in that he is a willing Judas tool – 30 pieces of silver now being worth a few million US $. The Empire did this.
How do you punish those responsible for this devastation of Ukraine?
Hopefully not in the same way as those responsible for the Iraq debacle.
By letting them destroy themselves. Empire is going bankrupt as de dollarization continues. Petro dollar is gone.
I agree Zelenskyy as a puppet of NATO has destroyed the Ukraine. The question I have is who will lead the new world order ?
China, Russia and India. The BRICS+.
I like your thinking Beatus.
They will lead it, but they won’t strut around in big boots saying “I am the King of the World!”
Let us be fair to Zelensky (a.k.a. Z’.) HIs achievements need to be perceived in a different perspective:
1.) Z’ brought his county’s population under control down to preindustrial levels.
2.) With the help of his Russian comrades he was able to bring down his county’s energy and electrial
consumption to pre-industrial levels.
3.) He was able to reduce overall consumption of non-essential goods by over 40% as reflected by GDP.
4.) He was able to curtail dirty mining operations.
5.) And for social justice, Z’ was able to stop the Oligarths in the Ukraine from further enriching
In essence, under Z’ the Ukraine is rapidly achieving the goals set forth by the U.N. for combating climate change. No other world leader was able to achieve these results for the environment in such a short period of time that Z’ has; not even the German Greens. Z’ needs to be given the U.N. award for most effective leader in mitigating climate change to save the planet. Maybe the rest of the world can follow suit?
Sharp thinking. Ukraine is the future. Z’ is the ultimate Green warrior. Probably snorting organic grown powder.
What an illuminating point of view. How stupid of us not to have recognized Z as one of the great benefactors of humanity, a truly great guiding light. Almost as good as György Schwartz (also known as George Soros). s/
Population of Ukraine has been decreasing for years from its peak in 1994 of roughly 52 million.
This was an article from 2014 discussing the demographic problem:
But since 2014 there has been a steady outflow Western Europe, Canada and of course Russia as well.
There are 8M registered refugees since February 2022, although the number is undoubtedly higher.
The question is whether people who left this year will come back? Some will, but many won’t.
And Ukraine already had population imbalance between men and women (a few years ago 20M
women vs 17M men) and the war will make this problem even worse.
Furthermore, Zelensky is but a court jester, a buffoon who has been made king under false pretenses. This is in line with the general deterioration of the quality of Western leadership.
So, er, this US$100,000,000,000 that “we” are sending to the Ukraine: when do we get it back? And at what rate of interest? Just asking.
Rhetorical question I know, but I could not help offering up this rhetorical answer:
In all likelihood, 50% of the money never made it to the Ukraine, and another 40% is being recycled back as we write; but in the form of kickbacks going to the people who voted to send the money over there. Another 2% or so is going to Ze’s swiss bank account, and rest is going to the Ukraine as a Patriot missile battery that is going to be blown up by the Russians. So, “we” may all as well kiss that money goodbye.