Every current event has historical roots, and some are more significant than others. In the case of the current crisis in Ukraine, there are several major factors, from the 13th century all the way to the past decade. I would like to uncover the most recent economical issues that have been surrounding the country for the past 25 years. The 1991 dissolution of the USSR was turmoil for Ukraine. During the Soviet-era, Ukraine relied on other republics, especially Russia, to provide the people with oil, minerals, and gas. There was severe inflation between 1991 and 1996, and according to the article, “The Underachiever: Ukraine’s Economy Since 1991,” from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, during this time, the average annual income for a Ukrainian citizen was $1,307. The current median annual household income worldwide is about $10,000 according to a 2013 Gallup poll. No wonder Ukrainians continue to struggle. Weak leadership and corruption are to blame.
When the USSR ceased to exist, Ukraine was given assistance from other countries. The money never reached the people because each president who held office took it all for himself. According to Global Security, after the dissolution of the USSR, as crime rates increased, crime detection rates decreased, and only 10% of detected crimes were put to trial. That means 90% of crimes turned into injustices by the government. BBC News stated that after the dissolution, Poland and Ukraine had similarly weak economies in 1992, but now Poland’s is double the size of Ukraine’s. Ukraine’s industries were dependent upon Russia’s gas supply, but with the current situation, the economy is suffering. A 2013 article by BBC titled, “Ukraine Economy: How Bad Is The Mess and Can It Be Fixed?,” states that Ukraine was “ranked 144 out of 177 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.” For instance, it is known that during Yanukovych’s presidency, he stole billions of dollars from the government. There has been a very recent anti-corruption bill which was passed on March 15, 2016. Corruption, however, has obviously been occurring for years prior to the crisis. These economic issues have severely affected the people of Ukraine.
In a recent 2015 statistic, it was stated by the U.N. that 80% of Ukrainians live below the poverty line. This means that people can barely afford things that are essential to survival. This is a large majority and is frightening. The U.N. also states that the average wage of a Ukrainian person right now is $50 per month. In the United States, a person can make approximately that much in one day working for minimum wage. Although one cannot compare Ukraine and the U.S. in terms of economy, we are still people. We all need money. Money gets us things we need and if we’re lucky, things we want.
In the midst of war, Ukraine is in desperate need for money and supplies. As the economy continues to worsen, so do the living conditions of the people. Think you can’t help? Well, you can. By donating to the UAOH, you will be supporting an effort to aid Ukrainians in need. I strongly urge you to donate any amount because it is unlikely that the conflict will end soon. Every day, something unexpected happens. In the past week, there has been news of the new air defense missiles that Russia sent out. Donate for the people, the ones who are stuck in fear, anxiety, and hunger, as they await for every new coming challenge.