The tale of Helena, the producer of honey, among the stalls: “The hives were destroyed by the Russians” Mikhail: “We were importing coffee, we are about to close”
It’s a tradition dating back to the last years of the Soviet Union: every Sunday morning along the sidewalks and in the tree-lined areas around the covered market in Corso Parque Inhabitants of the popular neighborhoods of Kramatorsk They come to sell their stuff. Besides the regular stalls, anyone can stack second-hand clothes, grandpa’s shoes, kids’ bikes, or old crockery. But recently, the flea market is a mirror of the economic crisis caused by the Russian invasion on February 24, which impoverished larger sections of the Ukrainian population. “Only those who still have elderly parents at home are saved and receive state pensions, but otherwise unemployment is normal and so is the end of fixed income. We live today”, say Maria, Alina and Margarita, respectively, aged 69, 74 and 58, All without work and without pensions and whose children have been displaced abroad since the early days of the war. “We never thought we would have to sell our clothes and sheets at home to try to feed us,” they say, showing bundles of shirts, skirts, and trousers lying on the lawn in front of them. In his fifties a folding chair and suggests a little griffany rusty work toolsincluding heavy wrenches used by Russian tankers in World War II.
“We have all gone back to levels of life similar to those of our grandparents during the Nazi invasion. We hope it will end soon, because we cannot move forward like this,” shouts Helena, 54, who sells honey produced by the bees of their family business. “In recent years we have been doing well. By 2021, we had far exceeded six tons of honey, which guarantees us excellent profits. They also came to buy it from Kyiv and Kharkiv. But our cells are located in combat zones, part of which is occupied by the Russians. So we had to move bees here around Kramatorsk and this year we will be lucky if we can produce half a ton. We will not even cover the expenses.” Mikhail also recounts the economic collapse of Cup Coffee, the Kramatorsk company with which he worked for three years: “We specialized in importing coffee, which we roasted, creating new blends that became very popular. In 2021 our turnover exceeded one and a half million hryvnias, but in 2022 it will not reach 22,000 hryvnias. A disaster..import ban..we can’t work..we get rid of stocks..then we close.” Stories that confirm the alarming assessments of key international economic bodies and raise troubling questions about the resilience of Ukrainian society engaged in a conflict that threatens to turn gangrene in the long run.
The poverty line
The World Bank estimates that by the end of the year, 70% of about 40 million Ukrainians (including 5 million refugees abroad and 7 million internally displaced people) could be close to the poverty line, meaning living on less than $5.5. Today, but if the war continues, 60% will be well below that limit by 2025. In 2021, it was estimated that only 18% of the population was at this level. Very similar estimates are provided by the United Nations. And Bloomberg Economics is already predicting today that the gross national product for 2022 will be half that of 2021. “The poorest remain, those who do not have the resources to travel and are afraid of losing their homes. “We see them every day and we welcome them to our local charitable organizations,” said Alexander, a 38-year-old Orthodox priest associated with the Kyiv Patriarchate who broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate. We meet him in his small suburban parish, where he himself has collected food for distribution: “I see people struggling to survive. They haven’t received an income since March and prices keep going up.”
Jun 19 2022 (change on Jun 19, 2022 | 23:18)
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