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Ukrainian press says rapprochement with EU harms national economy

July 03, 2014, 16:33 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, July 03./ITAR-TASS/. Kiev is accusing Moscow of conducting a media war on Ukraine, it is stripping Russian mass media of accreditation and terminating the rebroadcasting of Russian television channels. Some Russian journalists have already lost their lives to hostilities in Ukraine, while Kiev is accusing Russian media of anti-Ukrainian propaganda. However, some publications in the Ukrainian press over the past week indicate that the root cause of the evil is not in Russia, but in the policies being conducted by Kiev’s new authorities.

Both politicians and rank-and-file Ukrainians have been ringing the alarm bell in hope to draw attention to the condition of the country’s economy.

“With the signing of the association agreement with the EU Ukraine may lose its machine-building industry, which is an extra reason for alarm to us,” quotes Economic Development and Trade Minister Pavlo Sheremeta as saying.

“Ukrainian officials keep quiet about the fact the country’s entry into the free trade zone with the European Union will make impossible mutually beneficial cooperation with the Customs Union countries and strip it of the customary markets. Last year Ukraine exported to Ukraine over $ 3 billion worth of farm produce,” quotes the leader of the public movement Ukrainian Choice, Viktor Medvedchuk, as saying.

“In the first quarter of this year Ukraine’s economically active population aged 15-70 shrank by 2.55% in annual terms,” says Forbes Ukraine.

And Vesti Ukraina remarks that in absolute figures about 1.88 million men and women are jobless.

The European Union’s demands for optimising the staff of government-run corporations and officials will result in the direct growth of those jobless in Ukraine. As many as 17,500 railwaymen will be dismissed already this year. It is one of the steps to reform the state company,” says TSN Ukraina television news channel.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema has slashed the staff the PGO by 1,500 with the aim to save budget funds,” says

The Tax Ministry has fired 2,000 tax collectors and customs officers.

The Ukrainian press points to corruption as one of the worst ills of the national economy.

“Nearly each law enforcement body in Ukraine sees the struggle against corruption as one of its high priority tasks. The Interior Ministry alone has a staff of nearly 324,400. In the meantime, no tangible results of their efforts are anywhere near in sight. Most criminal cases opened over bribery are terminated inconclusively,” says LIGABiznesInform.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office has exposed many instances of embezzlement of military property. The damage is estimated at 27 million hryvnias (roughly 2.25 million dollars at the current rate of exchange). In the meantime, Ukraine’s new authorities seem to be mostly busy with redistribution of state-owned assets. “The change of power in the country has resulted in political struggle by parliamentary groups for control of the state banks,” says Forbes Ukraine.

Ukraine’s ordinary citizens have to pay for the dwindling economic rates and soaring corruption from their wallets.

“By June 1 wage arrears in Ukraine had reached nearly 1 billion hryvnias (roughly $ 900 million),” says LIGABiznesInform.

“The economic crisis has hit ordinary people in the pocket. For the first time over the past four years Ukraine has seen a decline in retail trade, which had all the way served as a major support for the national economy,” says the Ukrainian periodical Levy Bereg (Left Bank).

Vesti Ukraina says that Ukrainian guest workers in other countries have been sending home ever smaller amounts of cash. “In the first quarter of the year the amount of cash transfers to Ukraine, mostly, from Russia, fell by 7.7% to $ 1.64 billion.

In search of extra revenues the government of Ukraine has been introducing ever more taxes and levies.

“Several clauses of the law on preventing a financial disaster that took effect July 1 will hit child benefits, large bank deposits and high pensions. A 15-17% tax on retirees’ pensions will be charged automatically,” warns Vesti Ukraina. Forbes Ukraine says that the government had taxed individuals’ incomes on bank deposits.

Against the background of this fiscal policy the results of an opinion poll held by the Razumkov Centre and the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Fund looks not very optimistic. According to the poll Ukraine’s accession to the European Union is favoured by 53% of the polled, while 35% object to the integration choice. Another 11.6% remain undecided. In the coalmining and industrial area Donbass 75% of residents are against integration with the EU.

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