Ukraine faces a massive depopulation crisis. Millions of people of all ethnicities are leaving the country, fleeing poverty and war.
Since the restoration of capitalism in 1991, the overall population of Ukraine has declined from just over 52 million to approximately 42 million today, a decrease of nearly 20%.
If the separatist-controlled provinces of the Donbass region and Crimea are excluded, it is estimated that just 35 million people now live in the area controlled by the Nazi-style regime of Petro Porosehnko.
As fascist far-right nationalist groups regularly parade through the country demanding “Ukraine for Ukrainians,” An official country-wide census has not been held since 2001. In late 2015, the Poroshenko government postponed the 2016 census until 2020.
Such data are a testament to the monumental failure of capitalism to provide a standard of living that matches, much less exceeds, that which existed during the Soviet period over 25 years ago.
While the country’s low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country’s depopulation, but emigration is by far the biggest factor.
Facing poor employment prospects, deteriorating social and medical services, marauding far-right gangs, and the ever-present prospect of a full-scale war, between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return.
Through 2015 and 2017, as a result of the ongoing war in the Donbass region and the plunging value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, migration increased notably: 507,000 people went to Poland; 147,000 to Italy; 122,000 to the Czech Republic; 23,000 to the USA; and 365,000 to Russia or Belarus.
In 2018 alone, more than 3 million Ukrainians applied for passports that would allow them to work in Poland. Poland is the only EU country that allows Ukrainians to obtain seasonal work visas with just a passport.
Ukrainians have received 81.7% of all work visas issued in Poland this year.
Between 1 and 2 million Ukrainian workers now reside in Poland, where they are often forced to take jobs “under the table,” are easily exploited by employers, and work in dangerous conditions.
Many Ukrainian laborers are recruited to Poland by scam offers of employment, only to then find themselves stranded and forced to work for whatever wage they can get.
While Russia is constantly demonized in the Ukrainian and Western press as the eternal enemy of Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian citizens now live or work in Russia.
The migration of Ukrainian workers abroad has reached such a level that remittances from migrants now constitute 3% to 4% of the country’s GDP. They exceed the amount of foreign investment in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian ruling class acknowledges that the country is in serious trouble. “One of the main risks of the current scenario is the continuation of the outflow of labor from Ukraine, which will create a further increase in the imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market.
However, the government can do nothing to slow the mass emigration, as it is thoroughly under the control of international finance capital and committed to implementing the austerity programs demanded by the IMF, Western states and banks.
Russia Insider / ABC Flash Point Deportation News 2018.