What We Have NOT Heard From the President

According to surveys by the Razumkov Center, socio-economic development issues are usually among the key concerns of Ukrainians. So, there were hopes that the Head of the State in two years of his presidency will finally speak correctly and concretely (and not in the format of slogans) about what kind of country the current government is trying to build. However, hopes were again dashed, unconvincing arguments increased doubts about the rationality of presidential positions, the selectivity of raised points additionally contributed to the reorientation of certain "uncomfortable" issues to anti-oligarchic rhetoric or references to the previous ruling team.

First of all, we have not heard how, in the context of the escalation of pandemic, extensive quarantine restrictions, loss of businesses, wages, household incomes, it was possible to spend half of the anti-coronavirus fund on the roads. At the same time, we have not heard a word about the current continuation of depressive trends and stagnation in the economy. Despite the fact that the dismissal of the Minister of Economy and the Minister of Infrastructure would seem to provide an excellent opportunity to once again fantasize regarding an active attraction of investments (already in the near future).

At the same time, we have not heard whether we can expect any changes in the industry, which shows a clear tendency to continue to fall (by 2% in the 1st quarter), whilst the corresponding ministry, which was renamed to strengthen its "strategic power", has not yet managed to define and present their own strategic or planning guidelines.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges this year not only for the socio-economic environment, but also for society as a whole, will be the land reform, which was not even mentioned. However, the relevant ministry is still virtually non-existent, and the unfinished mechanisms of the unprepared agrarian reform mean growing risks to food security and can easily "break out" into widespread social disorders (riots?), especially in rural areas.

We have not heard a word about support and promotion of business and the "favorite" lending program "5-7-9". Rather, the results of the program are a clear indication of its ineffectiveness. Indeed, the total amount of new loans for entrepreneurship in the first quarter of 2021 amounted to about UAH 3 billion, — it was about the same in April-May 2020 (during the height of the crisis). As another example, the rates for micro-enterprises with an annual income of up to 50 thousand euros (which should have become the main recipients of such loans) remained at the level of the summer months of 2020: 11–16%.

Probably, it would have been better not to hear that Ukrainian salaries are catching up with Polish ones. In reality, not only are they NOT catching up, but they are lagging behind more and more. Thus, in the fourth quarter of 2019 (on the eve of the crisis) the average salary in Poland was 5199 zlotys ($1368), whilst in Ukraine it was 11223 UAH ($462), i.e. the Polish average salary was three times higher than the Ukrainian one. However, in the first quarter of 2021, the average salary in Poland was 5682 zlotys ($1536), and the average salary in Ukraine was 12833 hryvnias ($459), i.e. the Polish excess has already amounted to 3.3 times. One should add here the chronic growth of wage arrears in Ukraine (UAH 3.4 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2021), as well as debts for payment of housing and communal services in the amount of UAH 80 billion (mainly due to the lack of ability of many households to pay them on time and in full). Thus, the presidential attempts to disguise the reality of well-being in another myth about well-being cause nothing but irritation.

Unfortunately, we have not even seen a hint that the government team takes responsibility for the troubles or at least is ready to apologise for the losses caused by its own (non)activities.

Vasyl Yurchyshyn

Director, Economic Programmes

Born in 1955 in Kamyanets-Podilskyi.


T. Shevchenko Kyiv State University, Department of Cybernetics (1977).

Institute of Public Administration and Local Government at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (1994).

Professor in Public Administration. Author of nearly 100 scientific works.


In 1977–1993, worked at the Kyiv University as an engineer, research fellow and senior research fellow;

1994–1999 — head economic researcher at the International Centre for Policy Studies, Fund for Banking and Finance Development;

1999–2004 — Assistant Professor, Department of Economic Policy of the Ukrainian (currently, National) Academy of Public Administration, office of the President of Ukraine;

1999–2004 — Research Director at the Agency of Humanitarian Technologies, later — Agency for Social Analysis;

2002–2003 — advisor to the Minister of Economy of Ukraine;

since April, 2004 — Professor, Department of Economic Policy of the National Academy of Public Administration, office of the President of Ukraine;

since June, 2005 — Economic Programmes Director at Razumkov Centre.

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