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Old 02-13-2018, 08:33 PM
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Default Democracy Watch, 2011__06

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With nationwide poverty worsening the government of Ukraine brings pension reform and social benefit reduction back into debate. EU integration negotiations continue, some Ukrainian regions take European promotion into their own hands.

Poverty and divisions in Ukraine

The rise of the Ukrainian middle class seems to have ceased over the last three years. Since 2008, global crises and ineffective economic policy have frozen development among small and medium enterprises, uprooting and scattering many members of the middle class in the process. By point of contrast, the assets of the 100 richest Ukrainians put together constitute 61% of Ukraine's GDP.

The current income of over 17% of Ukrainians is below the official minimal wage (set at 984 UAH as of October 2011 - US$123), meaning that over 7.5 million people are considered poor by Ukrainian standards. By the criteria of the United Nations almost 80% of Ukrainian families are impoverished (living on less than $14 US per day). Large families and families with children under 3 are the hardest hit, which is cause for concern in a nation with a rapidly decreasing population. Thus the work-able population is sliding into poverty. According to Lyudmyla Charen'ko from the Institute of Demographics and Social Studies of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, 80% of households with at least one working person are poor in Ukraine. Low salaries lead to growing poverty and over time will doubtless undermine the national moral(1).

A widening class division amongst Ukrainian society between massed poor and the ruling elite threatens the social stability of the country. The recent protests, by entrepreneurs, students and the socially vulnerable, against current governmental policies are likely only the beginning of what might become a large-scale popular protest. We should remember also that the polarisation of a population leads to the stagnation of society, which is a major threat to democracy.
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