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Ukrainians Have Had Enough: 'In Kiev, One Gang Was Replaced With Another'

Ukrainians are quickly losing patience with Poroshenko

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The mood in Kiev continues to sour, according to a story in The New Statesman. Although the article's teaser insists that there's "hope for the future on the streets of Ukraine’s capital," if you actually read the piece, you'll find that the majority of Ukrainians quoted think their country is headed in the wrong direction. Examples: 

Evdokiya, who is in her eighties, struggles to make ends meet on her monthly pension of 1,200 hrivna (c.£40). Ukraine’s latest CPI (Consumer Price Index) indicates an inflation rate of 58 per cent year-on-year. Evdokiya is plainly pessimistic about the future: “It’s been getting worse and worse,” she says.

<figcaption>Give it up for the chocolate gang!</figcaption>
Give it up for the chocolate gang!

Larisa, 52, is also struggling: 

“There are no jobs, unless you are 20 or 30”, complains Larisa. “My children work 12-hour shifts and get 2,000 hrivna [c.£67] a month”. Meanwhile, the government promised to clean Kiev of any remaining Soviet signage. “They’ll pour money into taking the images of wheat stems off cast iron bridges, as if we don’t have other problems.” 

The article states that the elderly are especially pessimistic about the future. But life's hardly much better for the young. "Alex" shares his story: 

Alex, 25, tells me he has first hand experience of the new policing regime. When walking home from work, he was stopped by the patrolling policemen and asked for his papers, a routine matter in Kiev. Once they had learned he was born in Donetsk, they searched his backpack and his pockets before letting him go. Alex’s father is still in eastern Ukraine, his mother lives in Odessa and his sister has emigrated to Switzerland. Alex has two jobs, managing a hostel and making coffee, but he hopes to move to Poland, if he can get a work visa. 

Good luck with the move, Alex. Poland, like the rest of Europe, is doing everything it can to keep Ukrainians out. This is how the EU treats its new "junior partner". Depressing stuff, especially if you recall that Poroshenko promised Ukrainians visa-free travel throughout the EU. Now you need special travel papers just to get around Ukraine — don't want any draft dodgers! 

Then there's this comment from a man playing chess in Kiev's Shevchenko Park:

“We have no idea where we are heading to, but we are clinging to the boat,” offered one. “Our country is great, the government isn’t”

The author's conclusion? 

“We needed a kick up the backside to get going,” is a telling summary offered by a young barista, who fixed me a mean cup of coffee near Maidan, where the Independence Monument appears to be shining in the light of new optimism


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