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Ukrainian Market Being Hit Hard by Global Recession?

Ukrainian Market Being Hit Hard by Global Recession?As stock prices and markets sink to new levels, one thing’s for sure: Ukrainians will come away largely unscathed.

It’s almost funny how through all the U.S. election talk, Ukraine’s political bickering and the global liquidity crisis that so few Ukrainian news organizations have really tried to grasp the implications of this for the country. Maybe it’s as my friend and former colleague Andrey Slivka recently opined in What’s On, that Ukrainians have ‘been there, done that’ given how they survived the Soviet era only to see their savings wiped out, witnessed runaway inflation and more financial crises in 1998 and yet they’re still hanging on; it’s nothing new to them. Good for them if they’re prepared to knuckled down and tough it out.

I, for one, just lost my job Wednesday, a victim of what I like to call America’s latest war, the war on the middle class. After all, for the poor and the rich, the recent downturn in financial markets will only mean things get a little leaner, while for those people who over the last 3 years have been flush with cash but are now stuck making mortgage or car payments (thankfully, that’s not me), suddenly things have changed.

Or have they? Sure, people like me – expendable, superfluous people – will lose their jobs, but ironically, those loans and credit lines really don’t matter. Why? Ironically, if banks and lending institutions in this country try to call in the bad or overdue loans, Ukrainians will gladly return their TVs, microwave ovens and the like – ha ha on the banks! They’ll never get the actual cash they lent out. And the courts are so weak that they’ll never be able to enforce any kind of actual debt repayments. “We’ll ruin your credit rating!” the banks will scream. Guess what? Considering how young and shaky the banking system is, another bank will surely take them in so long as the new customers put their money away there. The Ukrainian economy is a free market credit farce writ large.

So, while I’ll continue to write for the column, it’s on to new and (pardon the pun) greener pastures for me. I might be expendable and superfluous to an investment bank, but it was never really my cup of tea anyway. Perhaps the stark reality of the next year will hit home with a lot of Ukrainians and make them actually want a real say in what kind of a society they’re building. Perhaps the fact that so many people continue to live in poverty in this country and such a small minority have the money and power to do as they please will have the effect of radically altering this country the way the Great Depression and the New Deal changed America. I, for one, would be happy to see that happen.

Some corrections

It seems the early version of the Molodist Film Festival I read last week printed the wrong dates for the festival. Instead of opening Oct. 8 and running through Oct. 16, the festival will start Oct. 18 (that’s Saturday) and run through Oct. 26. Tickets to various screenings surely remain, so check out the website and find out: http://www.molodist.com/en/.

Also, some months back I wrote about a massive inaugural Texas Scramble golf tournament I attended on a beautiful course west of town. I mistakenly reported the wrong company was behind the event. In fact, Golf Stream put on that fabulous display, so I will make corrections to my original article and repost it. Check out the link (again, pardon the pun) they have in English at http://www.kievgolfclub.com/golfstream/en.

Finally, regarding English films, I’ve been wrong in suggesting that the only cinemas in Kyiv showing English language films were Kyiv, Butterfly Ultramarine and Zhovten. Add to the list (on occasion) Kinopanorama downtown on Shota Rustaveli and Odesa Kino in the Ukraina shopping mall. For more on these and other cinemas in the city, see www.kinokolo.ua.


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