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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 49,537 41,380 37,600 55
GNI per capita
 US $ 970 770 720 137
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Ukraine

Update No: 334 - (24/10/08)

The Beauty and the Beast bicker 
The Ukrainian political situation has been tense for months. And now the global financial crisis has put the economy on the brink. Before it had broken, President Viktor Yushchyenko called for new elections to parliament in December, the third in less than three years. He is nicknamed the Beast after his disfigurement in September, 2004 (when he most unwisely forgot the saying that, when dining with the devil, the KGB in his case, one should have a very long spoon, or rather refuse the invitation outright), he received a near fatal dose of poison. 

He has pulled his party out of the coalition government, led by Yuliya Tymoshenko, his partner in the Orange Revolution four years ago, nicknamed the Beauty. He has called the elections manifestly to oust her from the premiership ahead of crucial presidential elections next year, in which they will be the rival candidates. He does not want her to have the aura of incumbency at that vital time. At present 24% support Tymoshenko, but his own standing is in single figures. 

The financial crisis has led Yushchenko to agree to delay the elections to parliament by a week until December 14. It may backfire on him badly, as voters feel now is not the time to rock the boat. Tymoshenko is, moreover, a billionaire businesswoman, with comparative youth and beauty, and massive character on her side. A bit of a crook no doubt, like all Ukrainian oligarchs it seems, but with a sure hand. It is difficult seeing her making such a mistake as dining with the devil; she is on Russia's wanted list. She is certainly a feisty lady, who describes herself as the only one with real balls in the Orange camp (hardly a remark to endear her to Yushchenko). Her daughter has married a British rock star, accused of beating up his previous wife. "That's exactly what we want," said she. "A real man."

Yushchenko clearly hates her guts. He has accused her of placing "personal interests over national ones" and said that the Orange alliance was destroyed by her "hunger for power." 

This is rather a matter of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’. As the Vice-Premier, Hryhoriy Nemyria, a key aide to Tymoshenko, says: "The desire to get rid of Yuliya is so strong that it is basically top of the president's agenda and it doesn't matter what will happen to Ukraine....This is a classic case when personal survival and political future demean all rational behaviour." 

The economy on the brink; IMF to the rescue 
Ukraine has borne the full brunt of the roller-coaster that the world economy is on. First it has had to bear the massive rise in oil prices, remorselessly pressed upon it by Russia, its main supplier. A resulting vast current account deficit is hardly likely to be offset by inflows of FDI at such a time. 

The IMF is negotiating a loan of up to $14bn to support the banking system and prevent a run on the currency, the hyrvnia. The central bank has already placed restrictions on Ukrainians making withdrawals from deposit accounts. 

Ukraine's reserves of $37.5bn are enough to cover less than four months of imports! Look here for future developments. That is how states become ‘failed states’!  

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