Soviet Bank Deposits And Fulfilling Election Promises

KIEV, Ukraine -- The question of Soviet bank deposits lost to Ukrainian citizens after the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. and during the hyperinflation of 1993 continues to be both applauded and condemned.

A five ruble coin from the time of the demise of the USSR.

On May 22, the Yulia Tymoshenko government issued a resolution to repay 250 million hryvnia in 2009 towards the lost deposits by giving 1,000 hryvnia to individuals. Former Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko believes that they should be returned as this would return public trust to the Ukrainian state.

The state should take responsibility and return these lost savings. But this should be done without provoking inflation. Hrytsenko did not explain how one (returning the deposits) can be undertaken without the other (inflation), especially during a global financial crisis when proceeds to the budget have declined.

Hrytsenko simply explains that it is necessary to balance between financing of the budget and a returning the lost costs. The presidential secretariat’s socio-economic department thinks otherwise. They believe that returning the deposits will be a farce and again reduce public trust in the state.

The secretariat pointed out that in 2008, when the process of returning the deposits was first undertaken, 12.8 million Ukrainians registered, of whom only 6.4 million obtained 1,000 hryvnia each.

To compensate all 12.8 million Ukrainians would have required an additional 5.8 to 6.4 billion hryvnia. Similarly in 2009, the majority of Ukrainians registered to receive compensation will not receive it, according to the presidential secretariat.

In the 2004 elections, Hrytsenko headed the Razumkov Center (Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies) and then went on to head the analytical-research division of Victor Yushchenko¹s election campaign.

Hrytsenko and other experts in the Razumkov Center wrote the majority of Yushchenko¹s social-populist election program (Ten Steps) and 14 draft decrees. Draft decree No. 2 outlines how businessmen and oligarchs would be required to pay a one-off tax surcharge for enterprises they privatised at below-market prices. The monies collected from the one-off tax would be used to repay the lost bank deposits.

What conclusions can be drawn from the bank deposit affair? Hrytsenko is being consistent in supporting this policy in 2004 and today.

Yushchenko ignored his 2004 election program after he became president, while his condemnation of the government’s populism in seeking to fulfill his own election program by repaying the deposits is duplicitious.

The Tymoshenko bloc included this policy in its 2007 election program and began fulfilling the election pledge in 2008.

The method of how it was undertaken and if it caused inflation should be subject to public discussion. At the same time, the message is very clear: If you fulfill your election program, Ukrainian voters will back you (in the first half of 2008, Tymoshenko rose to first place in popularity of Ukrainian politicians). If you don’t - as seen with Oleksandr Moroz’s Socialist Party and Yushchenko, Ukrainian voters will drop their support.

It is time that Ukrainian politicians began to realize that Ukrainian voters are far more savvy than they realize.

Source: Kyiv Post