Millions of Ukrainians are seeing the New Year in with empty purses. The new “winter” bills they will have to pay will leave them with no money for New Year gifts. In Nov 2015, an average bill was no less than 2,000 UAH, with an average monthly salary being just 4,500 UAH. But there is more to come: so as to get more loans from the IMF, the Ukrainian leaders have promised to redouble the utility tariffs in 2016-2017.
In the meantime, food prices have grown by 42%. They in Kiev term this endless robbery as “reforms.” This is how Vladislav Bovsunovsky, a Kiev-based businessman, commented on the government’s decision to impose new taxes on SMEs: “The next year will be even harder. The so-called code of Jaresko has left us with no more hope for improvement. Let me explain what it means: each day you will see new higher food prices; you will have no idea how to fuel and insure your car; in school you will have to pay for your child more and more; your relative will be fired and will have no chance to get a new job; you will get your wages with delays; UAH will go even lower against USD but you will not care any longer as you will have no money to buy any USD; police will no longer be able to cope with criminals; and, most importantly, even the people who are trying to do something now will soon lose heart and will emigrate. If you think that Ms. Jaresko will be made responsible for all this, you are mistaken. She will show her U.S. passport (despite Ukrainian legislation prohibiting dual citizenship, she still has a US passport), leave for America and live there happily for the rest of her life,” Bovsunovsky said.
His predictions are coming true. Infrastructure Minister Andriy Pivovarsky resigned a few days ago because his 6,000 UAH salary is too low for him.
But not all the reformers are as poor as Pivovarsky. Poroshenko’s team consists mostly of rich people.
EADaily has calculated the official incomes of the key Ukrainian reformers.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko still owns Roshen Confectionery Corporation, a number of car and bus factories and shipyards. Officially, last year he earned 369,000,000 UAH or $16,000,000 – mostly as dividends from his businesses. Officially, he had 452,000,000 UAH or $19,000,000 on his bank accounts. But his official monthly salary was just 10,000 UAH.
Head of Poroshenko’s Administration Boris Lozhkin, former owner of UMH, officially earned 92,000,000 UAH or $4,000,000. Lozhkin has four apartments with a total area of 500 sq m, a 534 sq m house, land plots of a total of 20 h, four Lexus and Audi luxury cars. By the way, with the current tariffs, he will need 16,000 UAH a month to be able to pay his bills - which is equivalent to his monthly salary.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk earned 1,147,000 UAH or $49,000 (mostly in dividends and interest). Officially, he is the poorest reformer in Ukraine, but public activist Alexey Mochanov claims that in Aug Yatsenyuk organized a private party to celebrate his first billion in USD. Legally, he has no way to earn this much. In bank accounts, he has no more than $500,000. He also has three apartments with a total area of 340 sq m, a 300 sq m house and a 3,000 sq m land plot, a Mercedes and a Range Rover. In Dec, Yatsenyuk’s official monthly salary was raised by 25% to 34,000 UAH ($1,450). 1/3 of it he will have to spend on bills.
Governor of the National Bank Valeria Gontareva, former Chairperson of the Board of Director of the Investment Capital Ukraine earned 26,300,000 UAH or $1,120,000 – mostly from securities and equity warrants. Gontareva and her family own three apartments with a total area of 200 sq m, two houses with a total area of 650 sq m, a 3,000 sq m land plot, four Porsche Cayennes and Toyota Land Cruisers. She needs 13,600 UAH a month for bills but earns just 10,000 UAH.
Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, former co-founder of Horizon Capital, citizen of Ukraine and the United States. Last year she earned $2,050,000 (99% abroad) and has $2,000,000 more on bank accounts. Her official salary is 6,000 UAH, while her 120 sq m apartment needs no less than 22,000 UAH to be heated.
Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavičius, Lithuanian businessman and partner of East Capital of Sweden, officially earned 15,000,000 UAH or $641,000 – mostly from the Swedish company. He has apartments in Vilnius, Crimea and Kiev, two Porsche Cayennes. He will need 4,000 UAH or 2/3 of his monthly salary to be able to pay his bills.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov earned just 222,000 UAH or $100,000. But the Italian business of his family is still giving him a lot of money. Last year it gave him 1,500,000 EUR. Avakov has three apartments in Kiev with a total area of 785 sq m. In order to be able to pay his bills, he needs two monthly salaries.
Governor of Odessa Oblast, former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili earned $97,000. He also has bank accounts for a total of $150,000, two flats with a total area of 300 sq m, a 97 sq m house and a 7,000 sq m land plot.
Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn earned over 2,000,000 UAH (almost $100,000), Deputy Prime Minister Hennadiy Zubko – over 1,000,000 UAH or more than $50,000, Healthcare Minister Alexander Kvitashvili – $82,000.
Today, the Ukrainian leaders are very far from their people. The reforms they have undertaken have put them and their people in parallel, mutually disjoint worlds: while for the former the choice is which car to go to office in - a Porsche Cayenne or a Toyota Land Cruiser – for the latter it is either to pay for heat or to buy food for the New Year.