Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chronicles of the Collapse of Kiev - Edition 2014-1

Kiev, Ukraine: Nov 27 - Dec 16

by NoBC4U (No Bread & Circuses for You)

Kiev of course has not collapsed yet, and it may somehow make it through it’s recent troubles relatively unscathed. But from what I’m seeing, this outcome seems less and less likely as time goes by. Still, it’s hard to wish this kind of trouble on most people. But sadly, a small, hard core group of idiots can force a whole nation to sink under the waves into the Ocean of Oblivion.

Ukraine is a country that doesn't have much of a reason to exist. Its whole Raison d’être is defined as anti-Russia. Beyond that, they’ve rarely had a country; never been much of anything; never aspired to be something. Their only aspiration is to not be Russia. They're the anti-Russia. Just like matter and anti-matter cannot coexist; Russia and anti-Russia cannot coexist.

News from Kiev and Ukraine

Skilled Professionals Are Leaving Ukraine.

Well, should we really be surprised? Exactly what do they have too look forward to by remaining in Ukraine? A sinking economy? Deteriorating infrastructure? Continuing dysfunctional government? A nice 2 meter deep hole with one’s name on it? A Jekyll and Hyde educational system that metastasizes every couple of years depending who is in charge? A government run by Nazis? You can have all of this and a whole lot more if you remain in Ukraine; but if this isn't exactly your cup of tea, you're a whole lot better off somewhere else. And the exodus has begun.

The Antonov aircraft plant ceases production.

Well, it's certainly not the first, nor will it be the last industrial operation to shut down. But it’s certainly one of the largest industrial operations in all of Kiev. And now it's no more, at least temporarily. Because it seems the Boeing Corporation may be interested in taking over this plant. But trying to take over of vibrant operation with a lot of orders is a lot more expensive than taking over a factory that is idle. But from the USA's point of view, this is what the whole Ukrainian revolution was for. Ruin the economy, force formally vibrant companies to shut down operations, and let foreign corporations buy the whole operation for kopeks. And by buying into a depressed economy such as Ukraine, you can pocess a workforce that costs 50% less than a it would have cost two years ago.

Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has an accident.

Boy, that sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it? Just like Little Bobby had an accident.  (Except it's a whole lot more serious).

Luckily, it's not something very serious; certainly nothing close to the scale of a Chernobyl. Yet the authorities here are playing with fire. They are trying to use nuclear fuel sourced from the USA in Soviet era nuclear reactors. There have been numerous warnings stating that this could cause a disaster, but when the choices are using compatible and well tested products from Russia, or using untested products from the USA, the chance to thumb your nose at Russia was just too big for some of the idiots in charge around here to pass up. But don’t blame the current government for this one. This decision goes back to 2005, when the “Orange Revolution” government was in charge. So then, as now, go for the highly modified and untested products from the USA, screw Russia, and hope for the best.

Kiev faces power outages.

According to Kiev energy, lack of sufficient coal to power power plants is leading to some short-term problems. Kiev energy assures us that outages will only affect industrial operations and will last for no longer than two hours at a time. Surprise Surprise! They were wrong. There already are reports of numerous residential outages, often for 3 to 4 hours at a time, and often 2-3 times a day. Now that may have something to do with the nuclear power plant incident mentioned above, yet that has been no update of the original announcement. And the outages are still continuing.

Kiev schools to shut down for an additional week for winter break.

Well, no surprise here. The one week fall break magically turned into two weeks, and now the two week winter break magically morphs into three weeks. And this will apparently save Kiev 1/3 of $1 million. By the middle of January, children will have already missed two weeks of regularly scheduled school time. But don't fret! Rest assured that they will just accelerate the curriculum to make up for lost time. Of course, your children don't learn all that much during the regular paced curriculum. But students are sure to be motivated to learn a lot more when the pace picks up. And all this will be done by teachers who have historically been poorly paid and is now being paid even more poorly under the auspices of the new government.

Ukraine gets its own "Ministry of Truth."

Yes, it's 1984. And Ukraine has a new ministry. Officially, it's known as the "Ministry Of Information Policy." But journalists here and elsewhere are already referring to it as the "Ministry of Truth." The term “Ministry of Truth” comes from George Orwell's novel 1984, where the Ministry of Truth had absolutely nothing to do with the truth. It was strictly the propaganda arm of the government. So it was in the novel; so it is in Ukraine today. Journalists are up in arms about this new ministry, but really, they have no reason to complain. This is just the formalization of what's been happening ever since the junta came to power. I guess propaganda is just fine up to that point where the government gets to give its approval or disapproval. It makes you look less independent.

Luxuries, like meat and medicines, are being priced out of the range of normal citizens.

Well, what can you say about this one? I guess one might consider meat as a luxury that you can cut back on. But medicines? While that certainly seems to be more of a necessity than a luxury, if you can't afford them, or if it just not available, what choice do you have? I wrote a while back that not only on medicines more readily available in Moscow, they can often be purchased for 50% less. With the continuing devaluation of the local currency, these medicines will only become more costly and more difficult to find.

Propaganda trucks on the prowl.

It's getting more than just a little bit annoying by now, but three, four, five times a day, propaganda trucks go driving by with big PA speakers on the roof, informing everybody of what they should be outraged about today. But who has time for outrage when survival is on the line. I did see the local propaganda truck parked at a nearby police station a couple of days ago, and the propaganda stopped. But the trucks are back with your daily dose of propagandist thought.

Kiev cheers the demise of "South Stream."

Well, clueless is as clueless does I guess. Someone here in Kiev seems to believe that the demise of South Stream is good for Ukraine. And somehow this is a recognition by Putin that Ukraine is a reliable partner when it comes to gas deliveries. Poor, poor Ukraine. They just don't get it do they? One way or another, Russia will make Ukraine irrelevant when it comes to gas deliveries to Europe.

For only 200 hryvnias (about $13), you can help the Ukraine create a siege of Moscow.

How delusional can you get? A local aspiring “entrepreneur,” or whatever he wants to call himself, recently had to give his up his hopes of a military invasion of Moscow because nowhere near 25 million Ukrainians decided to pitch in the money. There's been no word on exactly how many did donate, or what will be done with any funds that have been donated.

Ukraine still has high hopes for liquid natural gas.

One of the earlier schemes of the Kiev junta and the US State Department involved shipping liquid natural gas from the USA to a new port to be built in Odessa, Ukraine. But it seems no one consulted with the Turks about this. The only way to get such ships into the Black Sea is through the Bosporus, and Turkey does not permit these types of ships to pass. Oh well, I guess there's always room for another color revolution. In Turkey. But it seems Ukraine’s plans for this port are still going ahead, undeterred.

Ukrainians are starting to refuse to pay utility bills.

As if the end of November, utility debt in Ukraine already totals 11.8 billion hrynias. Translated to dollars, this is about $800 million! While some of this is likely due to some people not being able to afford to pay, some of it is definitely a boycott of the current costs, plus another 50% increase that is supposed to go into effect on January 1. And this indebtedness is only likely to grow more quickly in the upcoming months. But this is nothing new here. During the days of Kravchuk and Kuchma (Ukraine’s first two presidents), a good number of people did not pay their bills for three years or more. It looks like the good old days of post-Soviet collapse have returned.

I expect to have more about this shortly.

The EU. A day late, a ton of Euros short.

Some in the EU are now claiming "it's only a minor misunderstanding. South Stream is just a matter of not being compliant with legislative action." Looks like Russia was tired of being jerked around by the EU and found more willing partner to deal with.

Churches continue to go up in flames.

Astute readers are already well aware that numerous Orthodox churches in the East of Ukraine have been deliberately bombed by the Ukrainian Army. But there are other fascists at work too. A church near the Babi Yar memorial complex was deliberately firebombed on December 2nd. For those who are not familiar with the history of Babi Yar, it's only the site of the largest two-day Nazi massacre of World War II.

Not surprisingly, petty crime is on the rise.

A friend of my wife's father recently reported that he had a tire slashed on his recently purchased vehicles. The scam goes like this. The perpetrators look for either older men or women of any age driving in high priced vehicles. The driver stops, goes into a store, and then when you come out you find a tire slashed. Older men and women of any age will most likely need help to replace the tire. The perpetrator and a couple of buddies offer their help. While the owner and the perpetrators change the tire, another buddy grabs whatever he can from the car while your attention is distracted. So, why men? Here men often carry valuables in a small handbag and not in their pockets.

The American carpetbagger in the finance ministry gets to work.

Well, that didn't take long did it? Here is some of the shock and awe in store for the citizens of Ukraine. No more free education and health care for you. Compulsory education is reduced from 11 years to nine years. Most students and teachers will lose access to free transportation. Most students will lose access to stipends and for the few that continue to get that, they will not be adjusted for inflation. Teachers with additional titles and degrees will no longer get extra pay for that. And many experienced teachers will see their pay drop to the level of a new graduate. Retirement age will be increased by 10 years for women and by five years for men. Those who worked during Soviet times may see an additional pension decrease because they were "working for the occupier country" during Soviet times.

On the taxation side, you'll be asks to prove the source of your income for any purchase over approximately $800. And if the value of the hrynia continue to decrease, that $800 valuation will be even less. If you can't prove the origin of your income, it will automatically be assumed to be undeclared income and you will pay an additional 30% for that purchase. Saving diligently or having relatives outside the country sending you funds will not be sufficient reasons to avoid the tax.

This is of course is just scratching the surface of life in the new Ukraine.

A Personal Thought.

I’ve thought back a couple of times to those days when I was younger, and this song has popped into my head on a few occasions. It’s a song from 1981 called “Part of a New America” by the Groceries. I remember then having the feeling that things were going to change for America, and definitely not for the better. I sometimes find myself singing this song, but with new words…

“I’m part of the New U-krai-ni-a.” Definitely changing, and not for the better.

That's the news from the past two weeks. Further dispatches will hopefully be on a weekly or biweekly basis. Until then, hope for the best, but expect the worst. Signing off from Kiev for now.


  1. That's, Part Of OCEANIA!

  2. Most excellent sitrep

  3. Great video! I'd never heard this song before, so thanks for posting it.


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