While flying home last Saturday, I picked up a Kyiv Weekly newspaper on the plane and read it. Three articles on the same page of the newspaper painted a bleak picture for some while creating abundance for others.
The first article deals with the drought we are experiencing in Ukraine and the effect it is having on the crops. Farmers are expecting a 15-20% drop in their harvest this year due to the lack of rain. On top of the drop in revenue, it appears that taxes on land have risen astronomically creating even a further burden on farmers.
Just below this article is one entitled, “Millionaires mushroom in Kyiv.” The article states that there was a 37% increase in millionaires in Kyiv in 2011 from 2010, meaning there are now 945 millionaires in the city. A millionaire in Ukrainian means about 125,000 USD. Interesting enough is that Donetsk has the second highest number of millionaires in the country, totaling 271 (now the article is unclear if this is for our region or just the city).
Next to both of these articles is probably the most troubling…”Nation’s population drops to 45 million”. When I arrived in Ukraine in 1994 the population was over 51 million. This means that in 18 years the population has dropped over 6 million people. According to one health official quoted in the article, “over the past five years, the state of health of Ukrainians has worsened.”
The article goes on to state that the number of abortions has increased over the past 5 years. In 2011, more than 156,000 abortions were performed. The health official went on to say that in order to “maintain the level of the population of Ukraine,” women would need to give birth to 3-4 children.
With the current economic crisis in Ukraine, most families limit the number of children to 1 or 2. Even with the government giving more money to families to have more children, there still is decline.