“Everything is annihilated”: the split of Ukraine on the basis of economic data (important text).

The attention of political analysts around the world is focused on the events in Ukraine. But at a certain moment, the fires die out and the riots subside – what will remain are the dry statistics.

Translator’s notes: This is a translation of a post on the weblog “Sputnik and Pogrom”, the authors can be described as Russian Nationalists. But that does not make it any less true, the reason that I translated this is that you will never read something like this in the Western Media, Russian Nationalists do not fit the narrative.

Original post by Kyrill Ksenovontov, 28th of January 2014

Translation: Nils van der Vegte

everythingisannihilated

Ukraine showed itself and the world in 2013 that the country is not important: instead of the planned 3.4% economic growth, it achieved something close to zero. 2013 was a negative year for almost all its economic sectors, except for agriculture (industry decreased by -4.7%). Most experts expect no more than 1% GDP growth in 2014. The irony is that the final fall into the abyss of economic crisis was prevented only by trade with Russia. But in 2014 even trade with Russia will do nothing to prevent that: The budget deficit for 2014 is 4.3% of GDP. The worst thing is that, economically speaking, the two halves of the country vary even more than the Czech Republic and Slovakia once did.

For example, the share of the Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk regions of total Ukrainian exports  is 35% , whilst the 7 most western regions (some of which have a serious historical bonus), make up for just 1/14 of Ukrainian exports. Regionally speaking, the highest number of people living below the poverty line can be found in the north-western and south-central regions (in the Lvov region, 30% of the people live around the poverty line).

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The title of this map is “export per region as percentage of the total export, january-november 2013″.

The stronger the colour red is, the larger the share of exports. The regions Dnepropetrovsk (15,6) and Donetsk (19,7) stand out together with the city of Kiev (19,1).

Eastern Regions (total): 58,1%

Kiev and Sevastopol (total): 19,3%

Central Regions (total): 15,1%

Western Regions (total) 7,5%

 Source:ukrstat.gov.ua. Original: sputnikipogrom.com

 The Human Development Index of Ukraine as a whole is predictably bad but, eastern Kharkov (0,559) is well ahead of western Ternopol (0,475) and the city called “Window to Europe”, Uzhgorod (0,492).

If one looks at the map of the protests, it becomes obvious that the poor western half of the country is rebelling. In the past year, from all regions in the west of the country only the Lvov, Sumy and Cherkasy regions managed to do relatively well (but they managed it thanks to relatively low levels of subventions otherwise they would experience strong negative growth as well), all the others experienced a strong loss in economic activity.

The development of the regions in Ukraine over the past 15 years has been extremely uneven: the GRP (Gross Regional Product) of the Dnepropetrovsk region increased 20.3 times whilst none of the western regions managed to achieve an increase by more than 11.9 times. This means that, whilst the Eastern regions managed to do quite well, the western regions, for unknown regions, managed to lag seriously behind the East (the Eastern regions performed almost two times better). That is why the average salary in the East is 1,5 times more than in the West and the gap is only increasing.

 

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The title of the map is “Salaries per region in US Dollars (8,5 Hryvnia is 1 Dollar), 2013″.

Red regions are regions with a higher than average salary (381 dollar), blue – lower.

Red regions: Kiev and Kiev Region, Nikolaev Region, Dnepropetrovsk Region, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye.

Source: ukrstat.gov.ua/map: sputnikipogrom.com

For comparison: the average salary in Russia was 865 Dollars in 2013.

Ukraine’s GDP for the year 2013 is equal to about 1.475 trillion Hryvnia and more than half of it was earned by only 4 regions (Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Lugansk).

The difference in gross regional product is striking. For example, when one compares the GRP of the Chernivtsi Region, a region dominated by the opposition (where protesters seized the regional administration building) with the “calm” regions in the east then: the GRP of the Dnipropetrovsk region is 3.17 times higher, in Donetsk 2.65 times, in Zaporizhia 2.6 times, in Kharkov 2.16 times and in Odessa 2 times.

In these circumstances, it would be logical to expect that the state would withdraw funds from the richest regions in order to distribute them among those who are poorer. In 2013 alone, the Donetsk region gave 1.7 billion Hryvnia, but it got back only 362 million Hryvnia. Naturally, some of that money came back to the region as donor funding to build infrastructure and industrial facilities, but most of this amount was spent to subsidize the western regions. For example, in 2010, the created/produced GRP per capita was 29.98 thousand Hryvnia in the Donetsk region, but the received income was only 21.36 thousand Hryvnia per capita. The Dnipropetrovsk region was an even bigger donor, in 2010 the total value of produced goods was 34.1 thousand Hryvnia per capita and the federal government took almost a third of this sum.

The budget of the Ternopol region (were protesters successfully captured the regional administration) got 243 million 984.6 thousand Hryvnia as taxes and other income from the region itself but the state budget provided, on top of that, 630 million and 63 thousand Hryvnia…

All this can be compared with the situation in Germany after 1991, when the Western German Government spent a considerable portion of the budget to develop the former GDR. But the situation is much more similar to the situation between the Russian regions and the Caucasus in the Russian Federation: The GRP of the Caucasian Republics is 7-8 times lower than the that of the average Russian region but at the same time the sum of state subsidies is known to everyone and still the population is hostile to those who feed them.

If we carefully analyze the direction of China’s economic expansion in Ukraine, it turns out that the lion’s share of investments from China to the Eastern Russian regions of the country. It is generally not hard to predict what will happen after the signing the Association Agreement with the EU: the East of the country will lose a lot but in the Western regions not so much, the poverty will not disappear and West Ukraine cannot boast about any interesting products that are being made there.

Hypothetically, there is the possibility of “a united Italy” scenario: when the politically dominant north began to use the rich south as an internal colony (which led to the current contrast between the north and south of Italy). But in modern Ukraine, there is no “old money” to organize this kind of process (also, none of the Ukrainian oligarchs are able to play the role of the respectable Genoese banker). Ukrainians are accustomed to ultra right-wing violence and populism but they cannot manage to attract (or create) a middle class and businesses.

If (theoretically) investors will come to Ukraine after the signing of the association agreement, these investors will mostly go to the East of the country. Why? Because things are being produced there, there is infrastructure and there is a good track-record of export. In Russia, Renault-Nissan has gone through many hardships and continues to modernize the cumbersome “AvtoVAZ” in Togliatti instead of building its own factory in, say, Tuva.

 

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“The Western Ukraine is, economically speaking, a “Wild Field”, which nobody wants to develop. From the point of view from investors, it is much better to invest in the resource-rich Eastern Regions with a calm population and , more or less, stabile economic networks than the poor Western Ukraine with a high number of ultra-right wing militants.”

Nowadays, the Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lvov regions, number almost 78,000 companies, many of which are created with the participation of foreign capital. But the seven outer areas of the country are exporting less than little Estonia ($ 15 billion) and isolated Belarus ($ 46 billion). The geographic proximity to Europe does not help at all, even small Slovakia ($ 80 billion per year) exports more than all the regions of Ukraine combined (not to mention the western regions).

The South-East of Ukraine has almost all the major companies in the country: “Donetskugol”, Kryvorizhstal”, “Donetsk Metallurgical Plant”, “Azovstal”, “Alchevsk steel and the Ilyich Steel Works”, “Malyshev Plant”. “Topaz”, “Southern Machine-Building Plant”, “Hartron”, “RADMIR”, “Kharkov Aviation Enterprise”, “Motor Sich”, “Black Sea Shipyard “Ocean””, “Kherson Shipyard”, “Kharkov Tractor Plant”, refineries in Lugansk, Odessa, Kherson, Berdyansk, “the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant”, “DnieproGES” and the “Kakhovskaya HPP”, seaports of Odessa, Sevastopol, Feodosia, Evpatoria, Kerch, Berdyansk, Mariupul and much more.

The example of the Crimea is typical: in the past year the number of entrepreneurs out there increased by 1.4 thousand people, tax collected amounted to 280 million Hryvnia (70 million Hryvnia more than the year before), land owners paid 672,5 million Hryvnia in land taxes (32 million Hryvnia more than before). Moreover the budget for 2014, that was recently passed, lacks deficit (5.4 billion Hryvnia income vs. 5.3 billion Hryvnia costs). It is hard to find a region in Western Ukraine which manages to do that. The Crimea however is, by the standards of the eastern part of the country, not one of the economically most developed regions.

Ukrainian real GDP in 2013, was just 84% of the level of 1992, this means that the people do not “live better and better” but are living worse. In our review of the Global Wealth Report 2013, we did not touch on this, but it will be helpful to readers to know that Ukraine was called one of the poorest countries in the world, on par with Africa. There are many explanations as to why, but I personally prefer the “cultural anthropology” version.

Western Ukraine is the citadel of Ukrainian nationalism and at the same time, the most immature of the two halves of the country. It all boils down to the fact that local nationalism came from the towns (as was the case in all countries – from France to Norway) and from the villages. How many political figures of the Ukrainian national movement came out of the urban environment? Why did the people, before the revolution and the Bolshevik “Ukrainianization”, who lived in cities in Ukraine spoke Russian and why was Ukrainian mostly spoken in the countryside? The entire “Ukrainian” movement bears the heavy imprint of provincialism and narrow-mindedness, characteristic of people from the village, which, as such already has negative consequences for it.

Suffice it to say that of the five largest cities (Kharkov, Odessa, Kiev, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk) four belong to the Russian-speaking south-east of the country. Speaking of Kiev, on paper it is responsible for about 40% of the budget revenues (excluding customs) because many businesses are registered there and also pay taxes there. But subsidies to perform the functions of the capital, the huge costs for infrastructure and other payments from the budget to fund organizations actually mean, no yoke, that Kiev is one of the most subsidized regions across the country. Some may see the parallels with Moscow in Russia (which earns a quarter of the country’s GDP), but these parallels are not really there, the capital of Russia had until recently a budget deficit of 146 billion rubles, largely because of Putin’s election promises.

However, let’s not get distracted here. If you look at the competitiveness of individual regions of Ukraine, it is dominated by the eastern provinces: of the top 5, only Kiev is “Ukrainian”, Donetsk leads on the effectiveness of corporate governance (higher than Switzerland), the railway structure of the Kharkov region corresponds to the Netherlands, on efficiency of the goods market Odessa is nr 1, Donetsk takes the lead on the availability of new technologies (in the Chernigov region, it is the lowest of all the regions in the world), Donetsk also takes the lead on business development and Kharkov leads in innovation. Naturally , the people from the West of Ukraine gratefully give their Eastern brothers, who are the engine for their prosperity, nicknames like “Muscovites” and “Donetsk rednecks”

 

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“Competitiveness of Ukrainian Regions, on the basis of the “Effective Management” fund (fer.org.ua) 2013″

Red: most competitive regions of Ukraine

1. Kiev

2.Kharkov

3.Odessa

4. Donetsk

5. Dnepropetrovsk

Details: fer.org.ua, map: sputnikipogrom.com

In the coming year, Yanukovich intends to give 55% of the national budget to the regions and it is highly likely that most of it will go to purchase the loyalty of the Ukrainian Nationalists. Therefore, Ukraine’s state budget for 2014 includes an increase in loans to the general fund, which amount to 157.31 billion Hryvnia (0.2% more than a year ago). The protégé of criminal clans is really not a “pro-Russian candidate”, in fact, under his leadership Ukraine approached European integration more decisive than under Yushchenko.

In addition, the preservation of the unity of the country is in the interest of the oligarchs who supported Yanukovich coming to power in the first place: they can only preserve and increase their wealth in a single economic space. But whether that is in the interest of the eastern regions?

The problem is that the domestic market of Ukraine is quite poorly developed. Steel exports this year fell by only 2.1% (and that was only because of serious trouble in the global steel industry), but domestic consumption fell by 15%. Domestic consumption of Ukrainian metal (an important source of income for the budget)is only 18% of the total production. In terms of per capita domestic consumption of steel products, Ukraine only has 140 kg per capita. In South Korea the figure stands at 1150 kg, Japan 507 kg, in the Czech Republic 596 kg, in Germany 480 kg and in China 460 kg. These figures suggest that the eastern steelworkers can easily do without the western regions.

Of the planned development and adoption of 3724 regulations in the area of technical regions, Ukraine has only adopted 70 national standards (only 1.5% of the target). Even though more than 15(!) Ministries and Central Executive Bodies were involved like the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Finance, The State Property Agency, Ministry of Agrarian Policy, the Ministry of Coal and Energy, The Ministry of Infrastructure, the Antimonopoly Committee, State Customs Service and many more.

In the year 2013, only the economic sectors of agriculture and retail trade grew, but these could not compensate for the decline in domestic demand in other sectors of the economy. The perspectives of the continuation of a united Ukrainian state are perfectly illustrated by the following data: in 2012 the ratio shadow economy – official GDP was 45%. According to the results of 2012, Ukraine is one of the thirty largest importers in the world (25th), this says enough about the state of the country.

According to research by the World Trade report 2013, Ukraine is on the 10th place in the list of most attractive countries to purchase land, with a potential of 1.2 million ha (that means it is almost one third of arable land in Europe). Most of this land is located in the southeast.

The Post-Soviet countries share of total exports of a unified Ukraine is 36.8%, Asia 25.7%, Europe (mainly EU countries, but not limited to) 25.3%, Africa 8.2% and America 3.8%. The absolute majority of the export products come from the east of the country. It is in the east that the national financial flows are generated and concentrated, which has lead to the creation of large financial-industrial groups and there is nothing that would presage a significant reduction in demand for products in these regions. Western and central Ukraine are focused on the development of the domestic consumer market, which, in theory, would be very good (like in the US) but it turns out that in West Ukraine, it is actually very, very bad. The financial base of Ukrainian nationalism is not impressive. Of the 20 largest banks in Ukraine: 1 belongs to Poltava deputy Konstantin Zhevaho, 1 to the Buryak brothers from Donesk, 1 to Russian citizen Novitskiy, 2 to the husband of Julia Chebotareva (related to former president Kuchma) Nicholaj Lagun, 1 to the “best friend of the Kremlin”, Firtash, 1 to a partner of Yanukovych, Akhmetov, and only one to the sponsor of the Ukrainian Nationalists Igor Kolomoisky. Everything else belongs to European and Russian banks, which are partly owned by the people close to the Russian government (mostly immigrants from the East of Ukraine).

The 6th largest bank in the country (“Prominvestbank”) belongs to the Russian VEB bank and is embedded in important industries for Ukraine: Energy and transport engineering, nuclear energy and aircraft and engine development. Its target clientele – leaders of the national industry, export-oriented enterprises, large enterprises (infrastructure) and medium-sized businesses. In the western Ukraine, the bank participates in the construction of the fourth line of the Kiev Metro and the completion of the Khmelnitsky NPP (Nuclear Power Plant), not to mention dozens of smaller projects. So if someone screams “kick out the Muscovites”, we need to add “out of economically insolvent regions.”

So, in the case of the separation of the Ukrainian East, that region will lose very little as it can throw the western regions out off the balance sheet. The West of the country will lose a lot more: it will be one big Albania. In this situation, the unity of Ukraine can be saved by, oddly enough, the Customs Union. In the case of Ukraine joining the CU, it will have: a revision of energy prices, increased tariff protection market, unimpeded trade will all members of the CU, the lack of gas/dairy/meat wars, and protection against threats from external markets.

Ukrainian Nationalists renamed the “Customs Union” into the “Taiga Union” but, dear Western Ukrainians, if you look at the GRP per capita in your regions, you are not even “Taiga” and, at some points, not even on par with Africa.

The current statistics show that the CU is a very good choice for Ukraine: in 2009, the amount of export transactions between member countries was $36 billion, in 2010 it had already grown to $46 billion, in 2011 to $63 billion and in 2012 to $68.9 billion. In 2012 the trade vole between Russia en Belarus increased by 9.6%, between Russia and Kazakhstan by 6.8% and between Belarus and Kazakhstan 15.1%. Speaking of Belarus: in 2012, Russia and Belarus reached an agreement on the average price of gas: $ 165.6 per thousand cubic meters (Ukraine pays $ 268.5), the profit for Belarus, which gets oil at Russian domestic prices, is estimated at $ 700 million per year.

The removal of export duties on oil to Ukraine could give the Ukrainian budget $ 3 billion (for petroleum products about $ 500 million), a decrease in gas prices to the level of domestic could mean a $ 4.6 billion profit. The big question whether the CU is beneficial for Russia. All this without talking about GDP growth, scientific and technical cooperation and other pleasant bonuses. The association agreement with the EU will be much less favourable.

The economic gap between the two parts of the same country today deepens the national political divide: Russian eastern regions are quiet, whilst the fires of civil disobedience rage. We will not argue who is right and who is not. The main thing is that the two halves of the country have already started the latent confrontation and to preserve the unity of the country it is necessary to resort to the federalization, based on the Canadian example (or peaceful disengagement, as in Czechoslovakia).

The existing unitary state will appeal less and less profitable for the Ukrainian eastern regions and will lead to more and more questions about living together with the colourful peasants from the West to are producing mainly chants and burning tires. For now, the East of the Ukraine has been mesmerized with the Western talk about Europe and the cries of “Glory to Ukraine” but when the eastern Ukrainians start counting the money (and their OWN money), it will mean a very sad ending for the colourful tire burners from the West

Comments

  1. Incidentally, there’s some other data that suggests the industrial eastern regions are, in fact, net takers:

    Anyone have an idea of who is actually right?

    • Fedia Kriukov says:

      Well, I tried to look at the Ukrainian budget and now I have a splitting headache. I guess the numbers are all there, it’s understanding them that might be an issue.

      So it seems the bone of contention is the so-called “equalization subsidies”, where funds are transferred to regional and local budgets from the state budget, to bring them up to a certain level, while at the same time, funds are taken away from certain other local budgets that seem to have too much income. Just to put these numbers in perspective, in 2012 51.6 bln UAH of subsidies were given out, while only 1.1 bln UAH in reverse subsidies were collected. The problem with this data as reported by the Ukrainian treasury is that it doesn’t list cumulative numbers by oblast, but instead it lists all local budgets that participate in these interbudgetary transfers. This means that we cannot easily say how much each region receives without adding up the regional budget (+Kiev and Sevastopol budgets that are considered regional), district budgets that belong to that region, and municipal budgets that belong to those districts and regions. Unless the municipalities listed are subordinated directly to regions and not districts. Anyway, good luck with that endeavor.

      So, it’s not much of a surprise that all regional (oblast) governments are recipients rather than donors. The few donors that exist are big cities (e.g. Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Lvov) and areas that have a special economic situation due to certain infrastructure (e.g. Borispol). Due to the insignificance of reverse subsidies, I don’t think it makes any sense to even look at who donates how much. Instead, I think a more fruitful ranking would be of regions with the regional budget, equalization subsidy and their % of total region revenue to the state budget. Of course, it would be more fruitful to add up district and municipal budgets under regional budgets, but that’s just too much work.

      For starters, I rearranged the data by region (+Sevastopol and Kiev), calculated their tax revenue implied in Table 22 of the budget, and sorted them by their subsidies per capita in relation to their budget contributions per capita. Interestingly enough, by this measure the most heavily subsidized regions are in the center of Ukraine. At the same time, some of the least heavily subsidized and the single donor region are also in the center, so I guess the center cancels itself out. Similarly, Southern Ukraine cancels itself out too, with 3 of 6 regions in the first half of the list, and the other 3 in the second half. Not surprisingly, all four regions of Eastern Ukraine are in the second half o the list, meaning they’re the least subsidized part of Ukraine. Similarly, not surprisingly, all but one region of Western Ukraine are in the first half of the list, being subsidized by everyone else. The Lvov region is the least heavily subsidized region in the West, and it is just one position ahead of Lugansk, the most heavily subsidized region of the East. Naturally, all district and municipality budgets should be rolled under regional data, but most likely that will not change the picture drastically.

      Anyway, here’s my spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmNSPrblZ-qGdFJLQlF6c0FGT1JOOFF6WjhIZ3BMMkE#gid=0 Obviously, this topic requires a lot of further research, but at least for now, I think we can conclude that the data from the article you provided can’t be trusted. E.g. you can’t seriously claim that Poltava transferred 9.6 bln UAH to the state budged in the first half of 2013 when in the entire 2012 only 4.9 bln UAH in tax revenue were collected there. Where those numbers came from remains a mystery.

      In any case, I am quite curious while Poltava turned out to be so rich. It’s not exactly famous for its industry…

    • cryptbeast says:

      The data in the article you quoted is nearly impossible to interpret. It could be anything really – state budgets aren’t too straightforward and always require elaborate explanations of what any given set of data represents. Here that explanation is missing. But even looking at just the numbers quoted in the article (namely the first table) and doing some basic math: Kievskaya, Poltavskaya, Kharkovskaya, andDnepropetrovskaya oblasts have together contributed 67.4% of total transfers to the state budget; all Eastern regions contributed 86.7% of total transfers to the state budget, while accounting for only 73.6% of all transfers from that budget; for the Eastern bloc the share of transfers to the budget in total transfers from the budget is 91%, the same share for the West is 39%, meaning that in its dealings with the East the state budget receives 91 cents on each dollar spent, while with the West – only 39 cents on the dollar.

    • What I’ve heard agrees with the chart you posted rather than the article you translated. To a certain extent it makes sense: Ukraine is fantastically corrupt, the ruling party is linked to the Eastern oligarchs. Why wouldn’t they underpay in terms of taxes, given their connection to the government? Ukraine’s new tax laws, for example, favor large businesses of the sort that dominate the Eastern economy over small and medium-sized businesses more typical of the western parts of the country:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/16/us-ukraine-tax-protests-idUSTRE6AF1U020101116

      • Fedia Kriukov says:

        Hmm, strange… Based on my calculations from table 22, West Ukraine paid 2530 UAH per capita to the state budget in 2012, and East and South combined paid 4835 UAH per capita (East alone paid 6655 UAH per capita). And yet, you’ve “heard” that it’s the East that underpays. Maybe you’ve “heard” wrong?

      • Fedia Kriukov says:

        Upon some further consideration, I can’t say that you’re entirely wrong. I added a column to my spreadsheet above, calculating “Tax per capita as % of GRP per capita”. As you can see, the East does not have the same tax burden as the Center (your theory that Ukrainian tax laws favor large businesses could account for that). But the West’s tax burden is still the lightest of all.

        So to recap all of this:
        1) The West is the poorest part of the country in terms of GRP per capita
        2) The West pays the least amount of taxes per capita (naturally follows from (1))
        3) The West has the lightest tax burden even in relation to its meager GRP per capita (just under that of the South)
        4) The West is the most heavily subsidized part of the country

        I think this should settle the East vs West debate.

        One other note is that usually only the Lvov region is used to represent the West. However, while Lvov is the richest and most developed region of the West, it is only one of 7 western regions in that part of the country, and is not representative of their overall level. Even then, Lvov is merely on par with poorest regions of the rest of the country. There are very few regions outside of West Ukraine that are economically surpassed by Lvov.

        • Firstly, the 7 western Ukrainian oblasts that joined the USSR in 1939 and after the war are culturally and historically distinct. There is former Austrian and then Polish Galicia (Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts), formerly Hungarian and then Czechoslovak Zakarpatia (its own oblast), formerly Romanian Bukovyuna (Chernivtsi oblast) and then formerly Russian Empire and then Polish Volyn (Rivne and Volyn oblasts). Six of these seven are the most nationalistic and western-oriented in Ukraine (Zakarpatia is about the same as central Ukraine from this perspective). Of the six nationalistic oblasts, Galicia is the absolute heartland of Ukrainian nationalism.

          Looking at your chart, we see that the most nationalistic western Ukrainian region is the least subsidized western Ukrainian region. Of the three Galician oblasts, Ternopil is heavy subsidized (though not as much as Kherson in southern Ukraine and three central Ukrainian oblasts). Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, on the other hand, are less subsidized than Sevastopol and Nikolayev, and only slightly more than Luhansk.

          The least subsidized regions in Ukraine are Kiev city, Dnipropetrovsk, Kiev oblast, and Poltava oblast.

          “Even then, Lvov is merely on par with poorest regions of the rest of the country. There are very few regions outside of West Ukraine that are economically surpassed by Lvov.

          This doesn’t mean much. Most of the central, southern and eastern Ukrainian oblasts that have higher salaries than Lviv are basically no different. Odessa oblast has an average monthly salary that is $11 higher than in Lviv. With respect to Kharkiv the difference is $19 per month. Eleven or nineteen dollars a month is hardly noticeable. Moreover, I Lviv is cheaper than Odessa and Kharkiv, so materially speaking Lviv residents are better off. According to this website:

          http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Ukraine

          Lviv (44.64) has lower consumer price index than either Odessa (47.14) or Kharkiv (45.50), which probably more than makes up for the slightly lower monthly salaries. So there is basically no difference in terms of income between Lviv and places such as Kharkiv and Odessa.

          The idea of western Ukrainians being impoverished peasants is largely a myth.

          In reality, there are basically three tiers in terms of income in Ukraine. There is the city of Kiev, which is its own world – by far the wealthiest area in Ukraine with average salary over 600. Then there are regions in eastern Ukraine particularly associated with Ukraine’s export-based steel industry, with salaries in the low to mid 400s. After that, the most of the rest of the regions, which are rather close in income whether they be in the country’s west, east or south, with salaries in the mid to upper 300s. I suppose rural backwaters such as Ternopil and Chernivtsi in western Ukraine and Kherson in the country’s south might be a fourth, lowest, tier with salaries around $300 per month, but these are not very populated or significant.

          • Fedia Kriukov says:

            If you claim that the idea of “western Ukrainians being impoverished peasants is largely a myth”, then you need to demonstrate it on all 7 western oblasts, don’t you? If you claim that Lvov is practically compatible with Odessa in terms of standards of living then, first of all, you’re only talking about Lvov, which is a mere 1/4 of the West by population, and second, you’re forgetting some other statistics:
            Lvov GRP/cap 20490 Odessa 25748 (so far not too far off)
            Lvov tax collections/cap 3612 Odessa 6760 (oops)
            Lvov subsidy/cap 331 Odessa 271 (really?)

            So yes, Odessa and Lvov have compatible salaries, and yet people of Odessa have to pay more taxes and receive less subsidies. If you set out to prove that Western Ukraine is leeching off the rest of the country, you have brilliantly succeeded. Otherwise, please explain to me, if their standard of living is compatible, why they pay so much less and receive so much more?

          • @ Fedia

            “If you claim that the idea of “western Ukrainians being impoverished peasants is largely a myth”, then you need to demonstrate it on all 7 western oblasts, don’t you? If you claim that Lvov is practically compatible with Odessa in terms of standards of living then, first of all, you’re only talking about Lvov, which is a mere 1/4 of the West by population,

            Salaries in Rivne are $8 dollars higher than in Lviv, and only $7 dollars lower in Ivano-Frankivsk. The others are within $30. Only Ternopil and Chernitvsi are significantly lower.

            Odessa is a large international port which may explain large tax collections there.

            BTW why do you write “Lvov”, the English-language Soviet name for the city, in the English language? Do you also stick with Leningrad, or Karl-Marx Stadt? Presumably you do not write “Moskva” when writing about Moscow in English, so it’s not a Russian thing. And the pre-Soviet name for the city was Lwow, pronounced “Lwoove” (rhyumes with “move”).

            • Presumably because its Lvov in most of the history books.

              I agree however that Lviv is more correct, but the adjustment will take time (see Peking, Bombay, etc).

              • Fedia Kriukov says:

                And I’m against politicization of phonetics. Having hissy fits demanding that other use Lviv or Kyyiv rather than Lvov or Kiev is just that. Can’t help but notice that AP uses Kharkiv at the same time, when Kharkov is an entirely Russian speaking city. Ah, the smell of hypocrisy…

                • “And I’m against politicization of phonetics.”

                  LOL. Says the guy who uses Lvov.

                  Kharkiv is a Russian speaking city but is in Ukraine. Actually I don’t mind Kharkov either for that reason, but prefer Kharkiv. Kharkov isn’t a purely Soviet thing in the English language after all.

                  • Fedia Kriukov says:

                    LOL indeed. You’re the one who has problems with phonetics, not me.

                    • You insist on using the Soviet English-language spelling for the city. Your use is thus inherently political.

                    • Fedia Kriukov says:

                      Your paranoid logic is amusing, but let it remain your own problem. Somehow, I don’t think that foreigners should tell others how to spell names of Ukrainian cities, or which language to speak, for that matter. ;)

                      Actually, I forgot to mention this about Kharkov last time, but you managed to contradict yourself there yet again. Let’s reconstruct the discussion:
                      1) After your inane challenge to the use of the transliteration of Lvov, I explained that this a transliteration from Russian, which is the most widespread language in Ukraine.
                      2) You did not dispute the assertion, but pointed out that at least in Lvov Russian is all but non-existent, implying that only the Ukrainian transliteration must be used for that reason (then the discussion went off on a tangent to figure out exactly how widespread Russian is in Lvov, but it’s irrelevant here).
                      3) In order to demonstrate that you are being hypocritical, I pointed out that you use the Ukrainian spelling of Kharkov, even though there is less Ukrainian spoken in Kharkov than Russian in Lvov.
                      4) In your previous missive you insisted on still using the spelling “Kharkiv”, despite of the argument you had used previously, that I summarized in (2).

                      Conclusion: The argument you used in (2) was disingenuous, which leads to the suspicion that the real motivation behind your choice of transliteration to English is political. Now we add the fact that you started to insist that others comply with your preferred spellings. That turns the suspicion into near certainty. As a final straw, you accused me of using the spellings I use for political reasons, while not even bothering to set up a logical chain of reasoning like I am doing for you right now. It was simply “Use Soviet era spelling => political”. This gap in logic leads me to believe that this conclusion was not reached by you logically and thus, once again, this isn’t an opinion you hold honestly, but a projection of your own motivations onto others. I.e. because your usage is politically motivated, others’ usage must be political as well.

                      Based on the above three points, the most likely conclusion is that your English spelling of Ukrainian geographic names is politically motivated. QED.

                      Now that that matter is out of the way, if you care to find out the reality of my spelling choice (and I don’t actually care what others use as long as it’s understandable and non-political), I’ve actually already explained it. I am a Russian-speaking Ukrainian (like the majority of Ukrainians) and transliterations from Russian are more convenient and more habitual for me. Not to mention they look better aesthetically, e.g. Kyyiv? WTF? Zaporizhzhya? Umm, no. But whatever floats your boat. I’m not a Ukrainian nationalist, so I don’t have this habit of telling others how to write, how to talk, and how to live.

                    • @ Fedia

                      You failed at point 2:

                      “You did not dispute the assertion, but pointed out that at least in Lvov Russian is all but non-existent, implying that only the Ukrainian transliteration must be used for that reason ”

                      Not only for that reason, of course.

                      Lviv is the official English word. It is also the word used by the overwhelming majority of that city’s residents.

                      Kharkiv is the city’s official name; but Kharkov is the one used most often by residents and is the traditional word (same for Kyiv and Kiev) so neither use is necessarily politically motivated. I’m used to writing Kharkiv so I stay with it.

                      Lvov is not the official English word, the traditional English word (such as Kiev) nor the the way the locals call it. It didn’t appear on English maps until the Soviets took it over. And now that the Soviet Union is gone its use has declined and mostly exists due to inertia. Lvov is simply, in English, the Soviet name for the city.

                      I pointed out that you insist on spelling the word in English using the defunct Soviet style.

                      If my geographic usage was city names in Ukraine was politically motivated I would be writing Kyiv instead of Kiev, and I do not. But by choosing the Soviet style in English you reveal your motivations. One sees something similar among certain Poles who spell the city, in English, Lwow, or Germans who insist on Danzig for Gdansk, in English.

                      Anyways, a minor, silly point, but nevertheless one that reveals a little about you, Fedia.

                    • “Lviv is the official English word. It is also the word used by the overwhelming majority of that city’s residents.”

                      Okay the debate was interesting until AP said this.

                      I honestly don’t know what to make of this since there can’t be an “official” way to say Lviv/Lvov/Lwow/Lemberg in English as English is not one of the national languages of Ukraine (being neither an official language or a regional language). Hence the official name of the city in question can only be in Ukrainian.

                      As a native English speaker it’s rather tiresome when non-native English speakers decide that it’s okay to tell native English speakers what word they should use in English (I’m looking at you Ivory Coast!) or when non-native English speakers decide they need to claim some kind of “official” status for a word in English. In a way it’s rather amusing and quirky given that there is no equivalent to the Académie française, Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung, National Language Promotion Department (Pakistan), or Die Taalkommissie in English. Something is only an “official English” word if it something so called/named/written where English is the official language (which oddly enough would not include the United States, United Kingdom or Australia since English has never legally been defined as the “official language” in those 3 countries but is the customary language of the government).

                      Seeing as how even the German Wikipedia still calls the city “Lemberg” (while referring to the oblast as “Oblast Lwiw”), maybe you two can stop joking around with English and just leave it be. After all if the “official German name” of the city is “Lemberg” (which isn’t even close phonetically or linguistically to “Lwiw/Lwow/Lviv/Lvov”) then why the hell are people debating/arguing/whatever-ing about “Lvov” vs. “Lviv”? If someone writes it as Lvov or Lviv in English then. It. Really. Doesn’t. Matter. Just leave it be and drop it.

                      It’s not like us native English speakers give Ukrainians grief over the fact that they spell “Vancouver” in Ukrainian as “Ванкувер” which transliterates as “Vankuver”. What if we insisted on the ridiculous idea that this should be “officially” spelt in Ukrainian as “Ванкoувер” (and thus transliterate as “Vankouver”)?

                  • @ Hunter,

                    “I honestly don’t know what to make of this since there can’t be an “official” way to say Lviv/Lvov/Lwow/Lemberg in English as English is not one of the national languages of Ukraine (being neither an official language or a regional language). Hence the official name of the city in question can only be in Ukrainian.

                    I think that governments formally demonstrate such changes when they release documents with the “new” names, in English. So official government websites use the new names. For example Beijing rather than Peking, Sri Lanka rather than Ceylon, Mumbai rather than Bombay, etc. Usually English language sources follow and make the switch. So when the Ukrainian government changed to Lviv from Lvov, mapmakers, news organizations, universities etc. followed.

                    “If someone writes it as Lvov or Lviv in English then. It. Really. Doesn’t. Matter. Just leave it be and drop it.

                    Sure. As I said, it’s rather trivial. I was simply pointing out that Lviv, in English, was called Lvov only during the time when it was part of the USSR. It’s been Lviv for about the last 20 years. Prior to the Soviet times, it was Lwow, before that Lemberg. Some older maps use the Latin name Leopolis. So someone still using the name Lvov in English is insisting, for whatever personal reason, on calling the city by its defunct Soviet name. I thought it was worthy of a brief mention.

                    • I think that governments formally demonstrate such changes when they release documents with the “new” names, in English. So official government websites use the new names. For example Beijing rather than Peking, Sri Lanka rather than Ceylon, Mumbai rather than Bombay, etc.

                      No AP. That’s not how it works. Reason being that for Beijing/Peking the change was adopted not as a result of official Chinese government documents, but because the Pinyin transliteration system was universally adopted as the standard (but not official) system for transliterating Mandarin characters by pretty much all bodies in the world.for English (such as the ISO and Library of Congress, etc). The city is still “Pékin” in French for instance.

                      On the other hand, your examples from Sri Lanka and India differ from the Beijing/Peking/Pékin example because in India, English IS an official language so what India calls it cities in English IS the official English language version. Similarly for Sri Lanka under Chapter IV, Article 18 of their Constitution on “Official Languages” the third clause has English as the official “link” language between Sinhalese and Tamil. So English does have legal status in Sri Lanka and has had so since the British colonized the island (the only time when English did not have a legal status was between 1972 and 1978, prior to 1972 it was one of the three offiical languages; after 1978 it’s status was enshrined in the constitution as an official “link” language. Between 1972 and 1978 it was semi-official in that all laws still in English remained on the books unless superseded by new laws in Sinhalese). So if that big island off the coast of India wants to call itself “Sri Lanka” in English it has the legal basis to make the name official in English. And if India wants to call its cities Mumbai and Kolkata in English it has has the legal basis to make these names the official ones in English.

                      Ukrainian and Mandarin on the other hand are official in countries which do NOT have English as an official or even customary language of legislation. Even in the US, UK and Australia the fact that there is no official language doesn’t take away from the fact that all official documents/laws/statutes in those countries ARE in the locally dominant form of English and thus the names used in English in those laws/documents/statutes etc are in a sense official in English. Mandarin has a standard of transliteration that has been widely adopted by the the ISO,UN, Library of Congress, the government of Singapore (which alone helps to give it an official English to Mandarin link, if only in Singapore, as English and Mandarin are both official languages in Singapore) and others. Ukrainian on the other hand can be transliterated using varying systems. There is the British Standard, Library of Congress Standard, International Scholarly System/Scientific Transliteration, BGN/PCGN romanization ( adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use (PCGN)), ISO 9, etc.

                      Sure. As I said, it’s rather trivial. I was simply pointing out that Lviv, in English, was called Lvov only during the time when it was part of the USSR. It’s been Lviv for about the last 20 years.

                      Oh boy. You missed the point. In English it hasn’t been “Lvov” or “Lviv”. It has been whatever anyone wants to call it English. So among scholars they might have referred to it as Lviv as far back as the 1970s (see: http://books.google.com.jm/books?id=nkWaAAAAIAAJ&q=%22lviv%22&dq=%22lviv%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AP30UpyOHoTMsQTG14K4AQ&redir_esc=y) with other references to the city as Lviv in English language publications from that era and before (http://books.google.com.jm/books?id=YF8vAAAAMAAJ&q=%22lviv%22&dq=%22lviv%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AP30UpyOHoTMsQTG14K4AQ&redir_esc=y, http://books.google.com.jm/books?id=YCcotwAACAAJ&dq=%22lviv%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2fz0Upu1FomQkAftqIFA&redir_esc=y) There is and has never been an official way to say the name of the city in English. EVER. Only certain dominant forms as can be seen thanks to Google Ngram: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Lvov%2CLviv%2CLemberg%2CLwow%2CLwiw&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CLvov%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CLviv%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CLemberg%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CLwow%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CLwiw%3B%2Cc0

                      I’m also not sure why this whole :Lvov/Lviv farce of a debate is being framed as being “Soviet use” versus “non-Soviet use”. If I’m not mistaken during something like 98% of the USSR’s actual existence there was no de jure state language for the entire USSR but each Union Republic (including the Ukrainian SSR) had it’s own official language. So maps published by the Ukrainian SSR government would have been in Ukrainian no? After all, even I can find a map from 1932 which is in Ukrainian: http://buktolerance.com.ua/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/a76cd81-ursr-1932.jpg (from here: http://buktolerance.com.ua/?p=4241) and in 1932 Ukraine was in the USSR. The fact that Russian was the de facto language of communication among the various Soviet nationalities would mean that any maps or documents published in Russian would have Russian usage throughout the document and the map (much as how that 1932 map uses the Ukrainian name for Rostov rather than the Russian). And western cartographers and translators will then utilize these same documents to make a translation or transliteration. And hence most of them would have used a translation of Russian. It’s not like the USSR was forcing these people in the English speaking world to use Lvov versus Lviv or Kiev vs Kyiv or Tashkent vs Toshkent. Heck even with that last example we have a city where up to 2008 only 20% of the population was apparently Russian in a country where Russian no longer has any legal standing and in English the city is still called “Tashkent” rather than “Toshkent” despite Uzbekistan having it’s national transliteration system much as Ukraine does. This does not make the use of “Tashkent” to be Soviet use anymore than using Lvov is “Soviet use”. It’s simply customary English use.

                      Again this debate was interesting until it veered into the territory of people trying to claim some kind “official” status for a word in English when nothing like that exists, existed or ever will exist unless Ukraine adopts English as an official language. Period. It’s almost enough for me to want to kindly ask you and Fedia to stop using English if you are going to utilize my native tongue for such inanities.

          • Fedia Kriukov says:

            And another comment: average salaries are not as indicative of income levels as you make them out to be due to differences in unemployment rates because they’re calculated per worker, not per capita. A region with a higher unemployment rate, like all of West Ukraine, will be poorer on average even if average salaries are identical.

          • @ Fedia

            Unemployment in Ukraine, by oblast, 2010:

            http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/35871.html

            Yes, certainly higher in the West, but not an extreme difference. Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk both had lower unemployment than Donetsk, for example. Other than the Kiev (of course) the center in general seems to have higher unemployment than the west in general.

  2. “the politically north” ?

  3. Regardless of the exact figures both the fine head article from Nils and the exceptional commentary confirm and provide essential and necessary detail to what was already known: the east is much richer than the west and the gap is growing despite the fact that the east subsidises the west.

    A few quick observations:

    1. I have heard that there are some opinion polls that claim that people in the west are happier than those in the east. This is so counterintuitive to the economic facts that I think that this is one of those cases where the “evidence” of those opinion polls (if they exist) can be discounted. If there is any truth to those claims they may be a function of the fact that people in the west are happier being in an independent Ukraine than are people in the east. However I suspect the truth is that people in the west and the east simply measure happiness in different ways. If one replaces “happiness” with contentment on the basis of what we have seen in the Ukraine since 2004 the truth seems to be the exact opposite. The reason people in the west are so angry is because despite the expectations they had when the Ukraine became independent of a prosperous life and future the reality is that they are poorer than they were and are falling further and further behind. Not surprisingly this creates passionate resentment of politicians like Yanukovitch who come from the east and who draw their support from there, reinforces the tendency to search around for scapegoats (oligarchs, Russians, Jews etc.) and makes them clutch for instant solutions to magic away their problems and transform their lives (eg. the EU). This is surely the main reason why the western Ukraine is becoming more nationalist and more radical as time passes. I would add that it is a commonplace for impoverished rural regions to resent big city industrial regions, which they tend to associate with corruption and decadence. A well known example is the passionate hostility that came to unite the South against the North in the antebellum United States but it has also been true in many other places including incidentally in Germany in the 1920s. If a report I read on VoR is true – that much of the more violent element in EuroMaidan consists of agricultural workers with little to do during winter who are bused in to Kiev to boost the numbers of the “People’s Assemblies” held on Maidan on weekends – then some of the extraordinary violence and vandalism we have seen (the storming of buildings, the toppling of statues, the ripping up of paving stones, the cutting down of trees etc) may be manifestations of rural hostility to symbolic elements of the urban elite and civilisation they have come to resent so passionately. Again there are many examples of this and in socio historical terms it is practically a commonplace.

    2. On the specific language issue, a good comparator are the British Isles. In every part of the British Isles the language of urban industrialised environments is English. This is true in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland – even southern Catholic Ireland where the language of the major urban industrialised centre – Dublin – is English. In all these regions Celtic languages are essentially confined to more rural and less industrialised “peasant” regions eg. northern Wales and Scotland, western Ireland etc. Importantly this did not happen in Britain because of any deliberate policy of “Anglicisation” by the British government. Rather it was the natural consequence of industrialisation and urbanisation. I suspect this is also the true reason rather than any deliberate policy of Russification for the spread and use of Russian in urban industrialised areas in the Russian Empire and the USSR. Importantly it is the rural Celtic fringes in the British Isles’s outlying areas where Celtic languages are still spoken that have become the seedbeds for the rise of anti British (and anti London) nationalism in the British Isles since the end of the nineteenth century.

    3. If one bears all this is mind then reverting to the article Nils has translated, the source of the Ukraine’s perennial political instability becomes clear enough. It is the west’s passionate refusal to accept the legitimacy of any government voted in by voters in the east, especially when such governments try to pursue policies that might favour the east, even when such a government is elected democratically and constitutionally and even though the east possesses by far the biggest share of the country’s voters, possesses the bulk of the country’s wealth and industry and pays the greater share of its taxes. Western based voters and politicians have used unconstitutional and revolutionary methods to overturn eastern based governments in 2004, 2007 and are again trying to do so today. Regardless of whether or not they will be successful this time I simply do not see this as a sustainable situation for the long term. At the moment eastern politicians such as Yanukovitch have struggled to deal with these challenges by constantly appeasing them much as some Northern politicians such as James Buchanan and Stephen Douglas sought to hold the Union together by appeasing the South in the antebellum United States. Sooner or later however the point will come (as it did in the North in 1860) when easterners decide that enough is enough and that a policy of constant appeasement and concession has achieved precisely nothing. At that point partition (though not civil war) becomes inevitable.

    4. For an intelligent discussion of the risks and problems of partition see this article from the American Institute in Ukraine

    http://www.aminuk.org/index.php?idmenu=12&idsubmenu=457&language=en#.Uu-XGa_itUE

    • (I removed a link to avoid spam filter, and made some changes)

      AK: Sorry about this, the spam filter is a necessary (~100 spam comments a day) but at times fickle beast. I reprinted your first comment below:

      1. ” I have heard that there are some opinion polls that claim that people in the west are happier than those in the east. This is so counterintuitive to the economic facts that I think that this is one of those cases where the “evidence” of those opinion polls (if they exist) can be discounted. ”

      This is not counterintuitive to the social facts. Look at my other post where I provided links to stats involving population growth, violent crime rate, suicide rate, HIV rate, etc. This is also true of alcoholism, which is highest in the southeast. Happier people are less likely to drink, use heroin, kill themselves, commit violent crimes, and more likely to reproduce.

      Given this overwhelming differences across multiple measures it would seem that people are not happier simply because their region and workplace happens to have industries that generate money for export.

      This is surely the main reason why the western Ukraine is becoming more nationalist and more radical as time passes. I would add that it is a commonplace for impoverished rural regions to resent big city industrial regions, which they tend to associate with corruption and decadence. I would add that it is a commonplace for impoverished rural regions to resent big city industrial regions, which they tend to associate with corruption and decadence.

      Sorry, you are wrong here. Svoboda’s latest electoral performance:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Svoboda-2012.png

      It did best in the wealthiest and most urban western Ukrainian region, Lviv. And it did far better in wealthy urban Kiev than it did in any of the rural western Ukrainian regions.

      I don’t know what percentage of activists in Kiev are from villages, but the three dead ones are an activist from Lviv, who worked as seismologist with a kandidat degree in physics (Verbytsky, who was kidnapped from the hospital and beaten to death), an Armenian from Dnipropetrovsk, and a Belarussian radical living in Vynnytsia (central Ukraine).

      2. With respect to language – Gaelic is spoken by about 1% of Ireland’s population in a daily basis, Ukrainian by about 40% of the population, including in the large city of Lviv, population 900,000 people. Probably 90% of Ukraine’s population can speak Ukrainian, I doubt more than 10% of Ireland’s population can speak Gaelic. Yes, Ukraine was traditionally a rural language spoken by peasants, like Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak, etc.

      3, “If one bears all this is mind then reverting to the article Nils has translated, the source of the Ukraine’s perennial political instability becomes clear enough. It is the west’s passionate refusal to accept the legitimacy of any government voted in by voters in the east, especially when such governments try to pursue policies that might favour the east, even when such a government is elected democratically and constitutionally and even though the east possesses by far the biggest share of the country’s voters,

      Actually, in the last parliamentary elections the Orange parties won the popular vote. They didn’t gain control over the parliament because their three parties split the vote in the first-past-the-post individual races (that is, the single government candidate may have been outvoted by the opposition 65% to 35% but he won with the largest individual number). The opposition has been leading in presidential polls for years. The latest example – Klitschko, the most popular opposition candidate who has inched up to Yanukovich and who beats him easily in a potential run-off according to polls, may be barred from running by the government. The real reason for unrest is not because a minority wants to control Ukraine but because that the majority has been completely shut out of the political process for a long time, and sees no legal outlet. This problem became acute when the government made some controversial moves that the majority of the country opposed.

      AK: Here is AP’s first comment –

      1. ” I have heard that there are some opinion polls that claim that people in the west are happier than those in the east. This is so counterintuitive to the economic facts that I think that this is one of those cases where the “evidence” of those opinion polls (if they exist) can be discounted. ”

      This is not counterintuitive to the social facts. Look at my other post where I provided links to stats involving population growth, violent crime rate, suicide rate, HIV rate, etc. Here is one on alcoholism (it’s from 2005 – I suspect things haven’t changed much): http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/40/4/327.full.pdf

      Given this overwhelming differences across multiple measures it would seem that people are not happier simply because their region and workplace happens to have industries that generate money for export.

      This is surely the main reason why the western Ukraine is becoming more nationalist and more radical as time passes. I would add that it is a commonplace for impoverished rural regions to resent big city industrial regions, which they tend to associate with corruption and decadence. I would add that it is a commonplace for impoverished rural regions to resent big city industrial regions, which they tend to associate with corruption and decadence.

      Sorry, you are wrong here. Svoboda’s performance:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Svoboda-2012.png

      It did best in the wealthiest and most urban western Ukrainian region, Lviv. And it did far better in wealthy urban Kiev than it did in any of the rural western Ukrainian regions.

      I don’t know what percentage of activists in Kiev are from villages, but the three dead ones are an activist from Lviv, who worked as seismologist with a kandidat degree in physics (Verbytsky, who was kidnapped from the hospital and beaten to death), an Armenian from Dnipropetrovsk, and a Belarussian radical living in Vynnytsia (central Ukraine).

      2. With respect to language – Gaelic is spoken by about 1% of Ireland’s population in a daily basis, Ukrainian by about 40% of the population, including in the large city of Lviv, population 900,000 people. Probably 90% of Ukraine’s population can speak Ukrainian, I doubt more than 10% of Ireland’s population can speak Gaelic. Yes, Ukraine was traditionally a rural language spoken by peasants, like Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak, etc.

      3, “If one bears all this is mind then reverting to the article Nils has translated, the source of the Ukraine’s perennial political instability becomes clear enough. It is the west’s passionate refusal to accept the legitimacy of any government voted in by voters in the east, especially when such governments try to pursue policies that might favour the east, even when such a government is elected democratically and constitutionally and even though the east possesses by far the biggest share of the country’s voters,

      Actually, in the last parliamentary elections the Orange parties won the popular vote. They didn’t gain control over the parliament because their three parties split the vote in the first-past-the-post individual races (that is, the single government candidate may have been outvoted by the opposition 65% to 35% but he won with the largest individual number). The opposition has been leading in presidential polls for years. The real reason for unrest is that the majority has been completely shut out of the political process for a long time, and sees no legal outlet. This problem became acute when the government made some controversial moves that the majority of the country opposed.

      • Dear AP,

        Briefly, I never mentioned Svoboda. I accept that it is an urban phenomenon. However it is not merely Svoboda which is involved in these protests. I was making a general point about the west which is a more rural society than the east.

        Secondly, my comments about language in the British Isles were intended to be merely illustrative of how certain languages spread with the process of urbanisation and industrialisation and how areas where the local language becomes embedded tend to be more hostile to the metropolitan centre. I was making no other comparison. Britain and Ireland and the Ukraine are very different societies and countries.

        Lastly, I struggle to understand how it is possible to argue that the people who are protesting feel excluded from the political process when the country had an Orange President and Prime Minister just four years ago.

        • I used Svoboda as an example because it is the most radical and nationalist of the major political parties. If nationalism was a rural peasant movement in Ukraine one would expect it to do best in rural areas, rather than in urban Lviv or the city of Kiev.

          “I struggle to understand how it is possible to argue that the people who are protesting feel excluded from the political process when the country had an Orange President and Prime Minister just four years ago.”

          The majority have been excluded completely for the past four years, despite winning both of the last two parliamentary elections with respect to popular vote.

    • Fedia Kriukov says:

      “I have heard that there are some opinion polls that claim that people in the west are happier than those in the east.”

      I haven’t heard of these polls, but if you might recall global happiness surveys, a very poor country like India consistently comes out somewhere at the top. There must be other components to happiness. Or, as Buddhism teaches us (and, coincidentally, it was developed in India), happiness is not about acquiring material possessions to fulfill your desires, but in getting rid of the desires in the first place. Happiness born of hopelessness, so to speak. Well, if I were a western Ukrainian, I’d be happy too. Over there, you get to live off the rest of the country and then teach them how to be proper Ukrainians. :)

      • Well, Lviv oblast, the most populated and most nationalistic of Ukraine’s oblasts based on Svoboda’s elections results (and thus, the one ,ost likely to teach the rest how to be proper Ukrainians) is also the one that according to your own spreadsheet actually not living off the rest of the country.

        • Fedia Kriukov says:

          According to my spreadsheet, Lvov isn’t living off the rest of the country as much as other western regions, but it is still living off the rest of the country. That’s not even mentioning your continuing fallacy of substituting Lvov for Western Ukraine. Only 1/4 of the population, remember?

          • “According to my spreadsheet, Lvov isn’t living off the rest of the country as much as other western regions, but it is still living off the rest of the country. ”

            Earlier you wrote “Similarly, not surprisingly, all but one region of Western Ukraine are in the first half of the list, being subsidized by everyone else. The Lvov region is the least heavily subsidized region in the West, and it is just one position ahead of Lugansk, the most heavily subsidized region of the East.”

            According to your chart, every province other than Kiev city is subsidized to some extent. However Lviv is among those provinces that are less subsidized; it is indeed less subsidized than Luhansk.

            Western Ukraine can be divided into four regions. Volynia, Zakarpattiya, and Bukovyna are indeed poor and heavily subsidized (although not as heavily as some central Ukrainian areas and Kherson, a rural province on the Black Sea). Galicia is generally neither poor nor heavily subsidized.

            • Fedia Kriukov says:

              All regions are subsidized with the equalization subsidy as percentage of their revenue. Thus, anyone whose percentage is below average is subsidizing anyone whose percentage is above average. Average subsidy for all regions (ex Kiev) is at 5.8%. Lvov’s subsidy level is 9.18% The fact that Lugansk is subsidized on par with Lvov does not change the reality that the rest of Ukraine is subsidizing Western Ukraine including Lvov (i.e. every single western region is above average subsidy level), nor does it change the fact that East Ukraine overall is the least subsidized part of the country.

              Yes, out of curiosity, I calculated average equalization subsidy per part of the country:
              1. West 14.4% (least heavily subsidized region is Lvov at 9.8%)
              2. South 6.9%
              3. Center 6.2% (City of Kiev excluded)
              4. East 2.6% (most heavily subsidized region is Lugansk at 10.6%)

              Considering that only the East is below the national average, the conclusion is obvious. If you want to do this by region, then the following regions subsidize everyone else:
              City of Kiev
              Sumy
              Chernigov
              Kiev oblast
              Poltava
              Donetsk
              Kharkov
              Dnepropetrovsk
              Odessa
              Crimea
              Zaporozhye on the borderline

              Somehow, Lvov failed to make the list. I am truly sorry if it pains you.

              • Please explain why you conveniently exclude Kiev when calculating your “average subsidy.” You complain about my looking at Lviv separately but then exclude Kiev. Perhaps because this way you can include several Blue regions above the cutoff? It seems that if Kiev is included, it will turn out that the Center subsidizes the rest of the country…or at best the Center and the East subsidize the West and the South. Since the Center likes the West (they vote similarly after all) the question is, why should it subsidize the East and the South?

                I am not pained either way. You are the one whining about western Ukrainians, not me. You even spent a lot of time “proving” something, but unfortunately found that only Kiev contributes more than it takes. Are you hurt that people in the West (and Kiev) live better lives than you do (assuming you do not live in Western Ukraine or Kiev)?

                An interesting observation from your chart: although Ternopil is the poorest region in Ukraine, it is subsidized less than one southern and three central regions. And although according to you all 7 western Ukrainian regions are subsidized, so are 9 non-western Ukrainian regions. And the most heavily subsidized region is in Ukraine’s South.

                I have a suggestion for you, for further work: create a spreadsheet, and run correlations in order to examine the relationship between factors such as tuberculosis rate, murder rate, crime rate, HIV rate, infant mortality rate, abortion rate, birth rate, life expectancy, etc. and political affiliation. The portrait of voters would be interesting, don’t you think?

                • Fedia Kriukov says:

                  *sigh*
                  Very simple. As you can see from my spreadsheet, I don’t have the data for Kiev’s tax contribution. That’s why I exclude it. I would feel guilty about it, except that Kiev is a special case, for obvious reasons, and would be an outlier in any calculations. I.e. it would have to be excluded anyway. Even the article you loved so much that seemed to support your bias admitted that despite of how statistics look, since most of the state budget is spent in Kiev, it is in fact a subsidized rather than a donor region (I suspect same should be said of the Kiev oblast). You are also missing the fact that most major cities are donors, just like Kiev, except their contributions are subsumed in their oblast subsidies. If Kiev were treated as part of Kiev oblast, very similarly, the Kiev oblast overall would still be shown as receiving the subsidy, even if a much smaller amount.

                  However, since I’m feeling charitable right now, I’ll humor you. Let’s assume Kiev’s tax burden in relation to GRP is that of Kiev oblast (this is being way too charitable, since bigger cities have lower tax burdens, apparently), so Kiev’s GRP of 224 billion UAH * 32% tax burden added to the overall tax revenues adjust the average subsidy to 4.4%. This means that all eastern and southern cities that were donors are still donors, but Sumy and Chernigov aren’t anymore (that’s Center, right?). So with all the assumptions I made that favor your argument, the list of donors is dominated by South and East even more, even if to a lesser extent in terms of absolute value. Have you heard of the great Ukrainian writer Nikolay Gogol (who actually wrote in Russian) and what he had to say about a certain “non-commissioned officer’s widow”? Also, you know you could have performed this estimation yourself rather than produce your half-assed claims without any statistical backing at all, and demand that I do all the work.

                  “You even spent a lot of time “proving” something, but unfortunately found that only Kiev contributes more than it takes.” — that is not true, and I’ve already explained what “equalization subsidy” actually means. If you didn’t understand it the first time, I’m not motivated enough to keep explaining the same basic things over and over. Google “дотація вирівнювання” yourself and try to understand the percentage listed in Table 22 of the budget. Maybe someone else will have more patience than I do.

                  “Are you hurt that people in the West (and Kiev) live better lives than you do (assuming you do not live in Western Ukraine or Kiev)?” — *facepalm* surely you can’t be that desperate?

                  “An interesting observation from your chart: although Ternopil is the poorest region in Ukraine…” — more irrelevant cherry-picking. You want to talk about Ternopol, make a post about Ternopol. Don’t respond to me with it, since I’m talking about Western Ukraine as a whole.

                  “And the most heavily subsidized region is in Ukraine’s South.” — South subsidized at 6.88% of its revenue. West subsidized at 14.43% of its revenue. And yet, this quote… Let me ask a simple question (although now I’m afraid of what you might answer): Which number is bigger, 6.88 or 14.43? If you have problems with fractions, I can simplify it: Which number is bigger, 7 or 14?

                  “I have a suggestion for you, for further work” — I’ll just quote myself: “you cannot statistically disprove this assertion, so you are forced to throw random and irrelevant data at it to produce some kind of an impression that this assertion is being disputed, when an attentive and logical reader will certainly note that it is not the case — whatever assertions you try to dispute are not the original one.” If you honestly care about this topic, make your own blog post and lay it all out (I won’t hold my breath though), I currently have my hands full with trying to figure out the Ukrainian budget. But please please please don’t use these factoids to dispute my assertion that Western Ukraine is being subsidized by the rest of the country. They are a separate topic. Right? Right? Please tell me you get it now.

                  • “I would feel guilty about it, except that Kiev is a special case, for obvious reasons, and would be an outlier in any calculations. I.e. it would have to be excluded anyway.”

                    In calculations and comparisons, generally speaking, one not only excludes outliers, one also does not treat subjects (or here – oblasts) as one group if they demonstrate wildly different characteristics. For example, if testing a medication we find that it is 100% effective for males but 0% effective for females, we do not conclude that the medication is 50% effective. Your totals for “western”, “central”, etc. Ukraine are comparable to that conclusion of 50% effective. They do not reflect the reality of the situation.

                    Glancing at your chart, it is obvious that there are not 4 regions in Ukraine (for purposes of comparing subsidies) but more, and interestingly they seem to correspond to old historical borders.

                    Instead of “Central Ukraine” there are Kiev, the Right Bank (oblasts west of the Dnipro and west of Galicia, which were Polish until 1795) and the Left Bank (the old Hetmanate – Poltava, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kiev oblasts). Instead of “Western Ukraine” there are Galicia, Volhynia, Zakarpattya and Chernivtsi. Volynia (Rivne and Volyn oblasts), whose histroy is identical with that of the RIght Bank other than for 20 years of Polish rule between the world wars, may fit in with the Right Bank. Instead of Southern Ukraine there are the southern steppes (Kherson and Mikolaiv oblasts), Crimea and Odessa. Zaporizhia may better fit in the East. Luhansk seems to be an outlier in the East.

                    Sorting through these, it looks like the Right Bank (Khmelnytsky, Zhytomir, Cherkassy, Vynnytsia, Kirivohrad oblasts), with or without Volhynia, is the most heavily subsidized unified region in Ukraine. This is Poroshenko’s region.

                    “Have you heard of the great Ukrainian writer Nikolay Gogol (who actually wrote in Russian) and what he had to say about a certain “non-commissioned officer’s widow”?”

                    Rather applicable to your claims about the Gallup interviews (see below)?

                    “However, since I’m feeling charitable right now, I’ll humor you. Let’s assume Kiev’s tax burden in relation to GRP is that of Kiev oblast (this is being way too charitable, since bigger cities have lower tax burdens, apparently), so Kiev’s GRP of 224 billion UAH * 32% tax burden added to the overall tax revenues adjust the average subsidy to 4.4%. This means that all eastern and southern cities that were donors are still donors, but Sumy and Chernigov aren’t anymore (that’s Center, right?).”

                    ““An interesting observation from your chart: although Ternopil is the poorest region in Ukraine…” — more irrelevant cherry-picking. You want to talk about Ternopol, make a post about Ternopol. Don’t respond to me with it, since I’m talking about Western Ukraine as a whole.

                    So you make a list of individual regions such as Poltava, Donetsk, etc. but when I mention Ternopil it is “cherry-picking” and unacceptable, according to you.

                    Looking at aggregates, it would appear that the South, West and Center are all being subsidized by the East, based on your chart. Although given the diversity within each of these geographical groups this is rather silly,as I described above.

                    ““And the most heavily subsidized region is in Ukraine’s South.” — South subsidized at 6.88% of its revenue. West subsidized at 14.43% of its revenue. And yet, this quote

                    Did you read the word “in” ? The most heavily subsidized region in Ukraine, Kherson, is in Ukraine’s South. Indeed, it is more heavily subsidized than any western Ukrainian region. Perhaps I should ave used the word oblast to be more clear for you. I apologize for that.

                    • Fedia Kriukov says:

                      “In calculations and comparisons, generally speaking, one not only excludes outliers, one also does not treat subjects (or here – oblasts) as one group if they demonstrate wildly different characteristics.” — you are forgetting that the whole point of this exercise is to calculate the economic relation of Western Ukraine to the rest of the country. The definitions I use to define Ukraine’s historical regions are standard ones you can even find on Wikipedia. Given the standard definition versus your personal view of history, which do you think I’m going to pick? Like I already explained, you cherry-pick regions in order to confuse the issue of “East vs West”, so to speak. Yes, there are some poor regions in the East too. So what? How is that relevant to the comparison between the East and the West as a whole?

                      “Rather applicable to your claims about the Gallup interviews (see below)?” — I saw below and I wasn’t impressed. Your falsifications and false dichotomies are too easy to catch.

                      “So you make a list of individual regions such as Poltava, Donetsk, etc. but when I mention Ternopil it is “cherry-picking” and unacceptable, according to you.” — I made the list to humor you, since you keep trying to zero in on oblasts you like and ignore the ones you don’t. But you can feel free to ignore it. My overall assertions about the relative budget contributions of Western Ukraine still stand without that list. Naturally, without you, it wouldn’t even occur to me that the list is of any value. I simply use it to demonstrate that you’re being the proverbial NCO’s widow with your approach. Consider it to be some light comic relief.

                      “Did you read the word “in” ?” — I’m sorry, I indeed missed it. This means that your arithmetic is fine, but you’re still cherry-picking. Even if Kherson is the most heavily subsidized oblast in Ukraine, it doesn’t mean that Western Ukraine is a net positive to the state budget.

                    • ““In calculations and comparisons, generally speaking, one not only excludes outliers, one also does not treat subjects (or here – oblasts) as one group if they demonstrate wildly different characteristics.” — you are forgetting that the whole point of this exercise is to calculate the economic relation of Western Ukraine to the rest of the country.

                      And your whole point is based on faulty principles. You are insisting on doing the equivalent of declaring a medication that is 100% effective for males and 0% effective for females, as 50% effective. And you laughably describe correct clustering of data points as “cherry picking.”

                      “The definitions I use to define Ukraine’s historical regions are standard ones you can even find on Wikipedia.

                      On many variables such as church attendance, crime, abortion, natural population growth rate, the 7 westernmost oblasts do indeed fit together. Unfortunately, as your chart has shown, with respect to subsidies they do not. They are too different to make a single meaningful group. Just as it would silly to combine Kiev and Khmelytsky into one group and declare the combined statistic to be meaningful, it would be silly to do so for Lviv and Zakarpatia.

                      I’ll put it another way for you: Galicia is mostly Catholic (about 70%). Volhynia and Chernivtsi are mostly Orthodox (over 90%). Would it be more true to say Galicia is mostly Catholic while Volhynia and Chernivtsi are mostly Orthodox, or would it be more correct to state “Western Ukraine is 40% “Catholic” (i.e., it’s generally an Orthodox region). Your declarations about subsidies are analogous to declaring Western Ukraine to be Orthodox. Mine is to state, in this variable the differences between subregions is so great that conclusions based on the average are meaningless.

                      ““Rather applicable to your claims about the Gallup interviews (see below)?” — I saw below and I wasn’t impressed. Your falsifications and false dichotomies are too easy to catch.”

                      See below to see who was caught. I ought to be charitable and attribute your failure there to your incompetence rather than your dishonesty.

  4. In any case, the south and south-east can do better without the north and the north would gain nothing but being yet another NATO protectorate (and a potential target for Russian retaliation) by signing a Faustian deal with the EU. The EU seems to follow it´s US patron and would probably go for a partition, so that can only be for geo-political, reasons involving NATO (but seemingly left without access to it´s much desired northern Black Sea flank). It is the incredible stupid and short sighted EU that must bear yet another poor albatross around it´s neck, or, more like Mr Creosote of Monty Python have a “mint-cake” and loose it all….

  5. On the subject of partition, I would say that we are already possibly seeing the first steps in that direction. There was some sort of meeting in Kharkov a few days ago that brought together various people from the east to set up a “Ukrainian Front”. I don’t know how important that is – probably not very – but the choice of Kharkov, a former capital of the Soviet Ukraine is suggestive as is the fact that the initiative was apparently endorsed by the Party of the Regions.

    Perhaps more pertinent is an Interfax report of a Party of the Regions member who apparently called for the Ukraine to move towards a more federal structure. This was taken up yesterday by the Communist Party (which is based overwhelmingly in the east), which called for the complete abolition of the Presidency and for the Ukraine to move to a federal structure. It goes without saying that if the Ukraine ever does move to a federal structure then given the differences between the sections partition would be only a matter of time.

  6. Finally, just to deal with the immediate political news, the opposition possibly on western advice has now formulated its plan. It is to get the parliament tomorrow to return to the 2004 constitution and to then form a government.

    Needless to say this plan depends on defections from the Party of Regions. This may of course happen but the only Party of the Regions deputy who the opposition in the person of Tyagnibok claimed had left the party has denied having done so. The opposition has made similar claims about defections from the Party of the Regions before (as well as claims of defections from the Berkut) but they have not so far come to pass to any measurable extent. They did not happen last week when following the seizure of the provincial municipal buildings, the riots in Kiev, Yanukovitch’s offer to make Yatsenyuk Prime Minister and Azarov’s resignation the government appeared to be under far more pressure than it is now (even Kyiv Post has now grudgingly admitted that the campaign to seize provincial municipal buildings has stalled. I understand it has only been fully successful in 7 regions all situated in the west).

    If it does happen there have been hints that Yanukovitch would dissolve the parliament citing as a precedent Yushchenko’s dissolution of the parliament in 2007. We will see if it does.

  7. Thank you for this, I found it most illuminating. It blew away a lot of assumptions that I had carried around for years. Two of which were that the east was a ruin of first and second five year plan factories producing junk while the west was more “Western”.
    I suppose that many in the West are as ignorant as I was. Which may explain some of what is going on.

  8. Interesting article, though rather biased. Examples:

    The map of “Competitiveness of Ukrainian Regions, on the basis of the “Effective Management” fund” seems to show Lviv at number 6. The article conveniently only lists the top 5.

    The article wrote a lot about the eastern oblasts enjoying higher salaries and contributing more to the GDP, comparing them exclusively to the western ones. Yet, most of the southern oblasts, also “blue” are about as poor as the western ones. The salary difference between Lviv oblast and Odessa oblast is only $11 per month. Kharkiv (in the East) and Lviv, $19 dollars per month. Kherson, on the Black Sea, is poorer than every western oblast other than Ternopil. A pro-West article could just as easily focus on Kiev, compare it to Crimea (whose salary is $3 more per month than Lviv’s) and write about how terrible Blue Ukraine is.

    The overall picture seems to be that currently the only thing Ukraine has going for it economically are steel mills and heavy industry. This is probably true, and is the reason why not coincidentally those particular provinces that engage in this activity generate such a large share of Ukraine’s wealth. The question is whether Ukraine should simply stick to this formula or move on. Here is a list abut Ukraine’s top IT outsorucing centers:

    http://outsourcing-ukraine.org/2012/01/03/regional-structure-ukraines-it-outsourcing-industry/

    Lviv is in third place, behind Kiev and Kharkiv.

    Here are the top universities in Ukraine:

    http://www.4icu.org/ua/

    Three of the top 10 are in western Ukraine.

    Social problems and demographic data all strongly suggest that things are indeed better in the West. Natural population growth:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NaturalGrowth2012.PNG

    Note that this sin’t because western Ukraine is rural. Compare urban rates:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NaturalGrowth2009urban.PNG

    Looks like western city-dwellers are doing much better than easterners.

    Here are violent crime rates:

    http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/41625.html

    HIV rate:

    http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/18051.html

    Suicide rate is from 1997; I suspect it hasn’t changed much:

    http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/17751.html

    If I had more time, I would provide links for drug use rates, etc.

    Given the huge discrepancies in terms of these social problems, the picture presented by this article of prosperous satisfied Eastern Ukraine and impoverished, angry western Ukraine is not very realistic at all. And indeed, visit Lviv or Chernivtsi and compare them to Donetsk or Luhansk.

  9. Fedia Kriukov says:

    It seems that you keep proving the same point over and over. It is a fact that western regions produce less GRP, pay less taxes, and receive more subsidies. When you say that nevertheless their income is the same as the rest of the country, you’re simply demonstrating that this policy of the West leeching off the rest of Ukraine is working out great for them. Too bad it’s not working out for the East and the South. If I make a judgment that western regions are impoverished, I’m going by GRP rather than disposable income. It appears quite likely that their income is inflated by subsidies.

    Lvov is the name of the city in the modern Russian language which, you might recall, is the most widely spoken language in Ukraine (I’m sure you’ll try to argue against that, but you’ll be wrong ;) ). If I choose to use the transliteration from Russian, it’s my right, as that of a Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainian, hehe. Certainly the spelling of “Lwow”, taken from the language of a country that has absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine, is the last thing that would come to my mind.

    • Fedia Kriukov says:

      It seems I clicked the wrong “Reply” somewhere. The above is meant as a response to AP.

    • ” It is a fact that western regions produce less GRP, pay less taxes, and receive more subsidies.

      Based on your figures, in general, yes. Although no single western Ukrainian region is subsidized as heavily as a southern and three central regions, and 2/3 of the Galician regions are aboutthe same as Luhansk, and less subsidized than many central and southern regions such as Sevastopol.

      “Lvov is the name of the city in the modern Russian language which, you might recall, is the most widely spoken language in Ukraine (I’m sure you’ll try to argue against that, but you’ll be wrong ;) ). If I choose to use the transliteration from Russian, it’s my right, as that of a Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainian, hehe. ”

      Yes, but when writing in English you do not write “Moskva.” Nor do most Russian-speakers from Russia. You may use the transliteration from Russian, or Chinese, or German, or whatever. I’m simply pointing out your habit of Soviet spelling usage in English.

      And of course Russian is not widely spoken in Lviv.

      • Fedia Kriukov says:

        But if you take the West as a whole and compared it to any of the other three parts of the country as a whole, a different picture emerges, doesn’t it? Let’s not engage in cherry-picking here.

        Moscow is the traditional name for Moskva in English. What’s the traditional name for Lvov? Lemberg? Since they chose to rename themselves, they lost the tradition, so anyone can call them whatever works for them in English. Thus, your analogy fails. Your second analogy of comparing Russian to Chinese or German also fails, because Russian is the language of Ukraine, and Chinese and German aren’t.

        Of course, Russian is widely spoken in Lvov. I don’t know the exact percentage, but given that 83% of Ukrainian population prefer Russian over Ukrainian (Gallup/wiki) and that across the country 75% of oblast center residents prefer Russian while only 9% prefer Ukrainian (FOM/wiki), it won’t be a big stretch to say that as many as 50% of the city of Lvov residents would pick Russian. Everyone I know who’s from Lvov speaks Russian, not that they live there anymore.

        • “But if you take the West as a whole and compared it to any of the other three parts of the country as a whole, a different picture emerges, doesn’t it? Let’s not engage in cherry-picking here.”

          The West is incredibly diverse and the only thing its provinces have in common with one another historically is that they joined the USSR in the mid-century rather than in 1919. Transcarpathia, for example, was part of Hungary from the middle ages until 1918, when it became part of Czechoslovakia before being annexed by the USSR after World War II. Volhynia was part of the Russian Empire until 1918, then part of Poland. Bukovyna and Galicia were separate Austrian provinces, then after 1919 one became part of Poland and the other part of Romania. Galicia is mostly Ukrainian Catholic, the other western oblasts are mostly Orthodox. Escaping the brunt of Stalinism may explain their greater nationalism and religiosity.

          So Volynia, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia are poor, Galicia is not.

          “Moscow is the traditional name for Moskva in English. What’s the traditional name for Lvov? Lemberg? Since they chose to rename themselves, they lost the tradition, so anyone can call them whatever works for them in English.

          What kind of a rule is this? Do you also apply it to, for example, Volgograd (originally Tsarytsin)? How about Dnipropetrovsk (originally Katerynoslav)?

          “Your second analogy of comparing Russian to Chinese or German also fails, because Russian is the language of Ukraine, and Chinese and German aren’t.”

          Legally, Russian is a regional language, like Hungarian and Romanian although obviously spoken in more provinces. It doesn’t have national status and no local status in Lviv.

          “it won’t be a big stretch to say that as many as 50% of the city of Lvov residents would pick Russian”

          And that’s what we need to know about your “objectivity.” Thanks :)

          As for the idea that over 80% of Ukrainians prefer to speak the Russian language, if you believe this too bad for you. You must not have visited much of the country. Well, obviously you have never been to Lviv. Since you cited wikipedia:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Ukraine#Language_and_daily_life

          In an October 2009 poll by FOM-Ukraine of 1,000 respondents, 52% stated they use Russian as their “Language of communication”; while 41% of the respondents state they use Ukrainian and 8% stated they use a mixture of both.[1]
          A March 2010 poll[2] by Research & Branding Group showed that 65% considered Ukrainian as their native language and 33% Russian. This poll also showed the standard of knowledge of the Russian language (free conversational language, writing and reading) in current Ukraine is higher (76%) than the standard of knowledge of the Ukrainian language (69%). More respondents preferred to speak Ukrainian (46%) than Russian (38%) with 16% preferring to speak both in equal manner.

          The first study, showing 52% preference for Russian and 41% for Ukrainian, breaks it down by region if you follow the link in the wikipedia article. Ukrainian preference is 96% in western Ukraine, 53% in central Ukraine, 26% in southern Ukraine and 0% in eastern Ukraine. Having visited family in a central Ukrainian oblast center (not Kiev) I can confirm that people there speak mostly the Ukrainian language.

          • Not a Ukrainian unlike you two (obviously), so feel free to ignore.

            (1) What kind of a rule is this? Do you also apply it to, for example, Volgograd (originally Tsarytsin)? How about Dnipropetrovsk (originally Katerynoslav)?

            I would totally call Volgograd (can you possibly think of a more anodyne name?) Tsarytsin if I thought anybody would know what the hell I was talking about. :)

            (2) The Lviv/Lvov issue – it’s a legacy thing.

            Personally, I tend to use the Wikipedia standard, so I use Lviv and Kiev (not Lvov, not Kyiv).

            Unlike Alexander Mercouris, I don’t use “The Ukraine.” Although it would have been correct half a century ago, does anyone still say “The Argentine”? “The Soudan”? So grammatically, “the Ukraine” seems quaint and old-fashioned. In Russian however, I continue to use na instead of v because that is still the dominant convention.

            (3) About the relative usage of Ukrainian vs. Russian in Ukraine – I think an important factor to consider is that people who consider themselves Ukrainian Ukrainians might feel duty-bound to stress the Ukrainian element in their lives to a degree that perhaps exceeds its actual prevalence.

            A reminder.

            For instance, Russian dominates Twitter conversations everywhere except the far west of the country. (And yes, since we discussed that, it’s been confirmed that Ukrainian was, in fact, considered as a separate language). 0.09% of all sampled georeferenced Tweets were in Ukrainian, compared to 0.40% for Polish (same population) and 0.13% for Czechia (1/4 population). Yes, Internet penetration is higher in Poland and Czechia than Ukraine, but a 2x higher proportion of Ukrainian-language Tweets were georeferenced, so it cancels out. So, 1/4 of Ukraine’s population precisely correlated to the share of its western parts.

            • Yes, this makes sense. Twitter is not representative of the genera population – it skews urban, particularly large urban (vs. rayon or even oblast capitals). The only region with an overwhelmingly Ukrainian-speaking urban population is western Ukraine – which has a bit over 20% of Ukraine’s population. But it only has one large city – Lviv (population 730,000 with about 900,000 in the metro area). So western Ukraine’s share of the large urban population is probably more like 15% or even 10% (I don’t have time to calculate this right now – I’m estimating). So it makes sense that only 25% of Ukraine’s tweets are in Ukrainian. This fact doesn’t contract the numerous surveys that state that 50% of the general Ukrainian population using Russian in daily life vs. 41% using Ukrainian.

          • Fedia Kriukov says:

            If you cherry-pick specific factors that suit your current agenda, you can effectively defeat any attempt at aggregation by claiming that the components of said aggregation are really “diverse”. However, it would be convincing only to you for the simple reason that “West Ukraine” is a generally established aggregation that any Ukrainian knows about. Whether you like it or not, when someone says “Western Ukraine”, they mean the exact seven oblasts of the country, not Lvov alone. Considering that the original article and my posts talk about Western Ukraine as a whole, not about Lvov, your continued attempts at substitution of one for the other server only to confuse the issue rather than clarify it.

            Furthermore, your analogy with Lvov/Lviv and Volgograd/Tsaritsyn is yet another failure due to the fact that Lvov and Lviv are the same word in different languages, and Volgograd and Tsaritsyn are unrelated words, i.e. the city was renamed. Similarly, Moscow and Moskva are the same word with different phonetics.

            I would like to point out that what you need to know about my “objectivity” is that I make my conclusions based on sources available to me, which I name. I’m not going to engage in a debate on language based on anecdotal snippets of three former residents of Lvov that I know vs your supposed personal knowledge of the city. First of all, statistical evidence is always preferable, and second, frankly, I find your intellectual honesty to be too questionable to consider anything you say based on your alleged personal experience of any value.

            Now, going back to statistical evidence (i.e. the opinion polls cited), you are clearly making a number of mistakes in your interpretations of the poll results.

            We have three polls that asks what seems to be the same question, but in very different ways: 1) What is your native language? 2) What language do you use in daily life? 3) What language do you prefer this poll to be conducted in?

            The fact that results differ so widely between these three questions means that these questions are in fact very different. The first question obviously depends on the definition of “native language”. While the linguistic definition is pretty clear, the definition that most people assume is utterly incorrect. What most people interpret “native language” to mean is “the language of your ethnicity/nationality”. Thus, many ethnic Ukrainians answer “Ukrainian” to the question of native language even when they barely speak it.

            The second question asks about the actual use of the language. This is an objective measurement, and yet, if you think about it carefully, it does not show what you purport it shows. The simple explanation is that people’s choice of language used for communication is not their personal choice, but is often forced upon them by the circumstances. Considering that Ukrainization is the official policy of the Ukrainian government, in many settings people are forced to use Ukrainian when otherwise they would not choose to do so.

            Finally, the question asked in the Gallup poll, “which language would you like this interview to be conducted in?” makes it more than a poll, it is in fact a sociological experiment. In other words, the real question being asked was “What language are you more comfortable with, Russian or Ukrainian?”. Since it wasn’t asked directly, people were not on guard and did not have to choose a politically correct answer.

            Thus, when given perfect freedom of choice, free of political considerations, 83% of Ukrainians chose Russian. QED. Waiting for you to disprove this with yet another anecdote from your alleged personal experience.

            I’m not even bringing up the fact that for the purposes of these polls, surzhik is considered to be Ukrainian (in reality, it’s an open question whether it’s a dialect of Ukrainian or of Russian, or if it’s a single dialect to begin with). If only the official Ukrainian were considered, just like only the official Russian is considered here, the number of people actually speaking it would be far smaller than even the polls show.

            I’m also charitably leaving aside the fallacy of your whole argument that arose from your erroneous statement that “Russian is not widely spoken in Lviv”. Even if your allegations about the popularity of Ukrainian were true (which we now know they aren’t), your original statement implied that almost no one is able to speak Russian in Lvov, when, and I hope that even you won’t have the chutzpah to deny it, almost everyone in Lvov is able to speak Russian, even if as a second language.

            • “Furthermore, your analogy with Lvov/Lviv and Volgograd/Tsaritsyn is yet another failure due to the fact that Lvov and Lviv are the same word in different languages, and Volgograd and Tsaritsyn are unrelated words, i.e. the city was renamed. ”

              Okay. St. Petersburg and Petrograd.

              “I would like to point out that what you need to know about my “objectivity” is that I make my conclusions based on sources available to me, which I name.”

              We can see here, the value of your conclusions, which ultimately end in your claim that Ukraine is 80% Russians peaking and that Lviv itself maybe over 50% Russian speaking.

              “We have three polls that asks what seems to be the same question, but in very different ways: 1) What is your native language? 2) What language do you use in daily life? 3) What language do you prefer this poll to be conducted in?”

              Nobody claims that they are the same question. However you obviously confuse #3 and #2. Based on your personal interpretation of #3, you make a conclusion about #2. See below.

              “The second question asks about the actual use of the language. This is an objective measurement, and yet, if you think about it carefully, it does not show what you purport it shows. The simple explanation is that people’s choice of language used for communication is not their personal choice, but is often forced upon them by the circumstances. ”

              Uh huh. This is your personal interpretation. Somehow the people who ran this study did not conclude that, however. I didn’t realize that language use was being monitored in peoples’ homes:

              From the wikipedia article about the Russian language:

              According to a 2004 public opinion poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the number of people using Russian language in their homes considerably exceeds the number of those who declared Russian as their native language in the census. According to the survey, Russian is used at home by 43–46% of the population of the country (in other words a similar proportion to Ukrainian) and Russophones make a majority of the population in Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine:[16]

              The wikipedia article has a chart with language spoken at home every year for ten years. Ten surveys.

              “Finally, the question asked in the Gallup poll, “which language would you like this interview to be conducted in?” makes it more than a poll, it is in fact a sociological experiment. In other words, the real question being asked was “What language are you more comfortable with, Russian or Ukrainian?”. Since it wasn’t asked directly, people were not on guard and did not have to choose a politically correct answer.

              Thus, when given perfect freedom of choice, free of political considerations, 83% of Ukrainians chose Russian. QED. Waiting for you to disprove this with yet another anecdote from your alleged personal experience.

              The problem here is that the Gallup poll did not provide information about which language was originally used in the study. Did someone call up people in Russian and ask them if they preferred to switch to Ukrainian? In that case, only die hard Ukrainian-speakers would want to switch. I get commercial calls in Russian sometimes (long-distance phone companies); I respond in Russian, despite it being my third language, and din’t take up the offer to switch.. Because I do so, you would count Russian as my preferred language.

              The reason this is important is that the results, if interpreted the way you wish to interpret them, contradict the statistics of daily usage across multiple polls and also contradict other measures, such as language used on twitter or Wikipedia entries. Twitter is skewed towards urban populations, which tend to be Russophone. And yet, despite this skew, about 25% of tweets in Ukraine are in Ukrainian. If we took your silly claim based on your personal interpretation of Gallup at face value, it would seem that Ukrainians speakers (who outside of Lviv, are largely rural or from small towns) are more likely “per capita” to use twitter than are Russian speakers.

              • Fedia Kriukov says:

                “Okay. St. Petersburg and Petrograd.” – yet another failure for you. This isn’t different phonetics, this was a change in name within the same language. Keep digging.

                “We can see here, the value of your conclusions, which ultimately end in your claim that Ukraine is 80% Russians peaking and that Lviv itself maybe over 50% Russian speaking.” – now that is simply untrue. My actual quote: “as many as 50% of the city of Lvov residents would pick Russian”, meaning up to 50% (could be 30%, for example). Your claim of my quote: “over 50% Russian speaking”. So, are you genuinely confused or are you being dishonest on purpose? I suspect a little of both.

                As for the polls, let’s put aside your obvious confusion in interpreting a number of polls as some kind of a referendum on the issue. In contrast to a referendum, each poll does not equal one vote and you cannot average them. The quality of each poll must be examined.

                This reminds me of an old joke: Once the government decided to figure out what the average penile length is in the country. As a test, they dispatched two research groups to two neighboring villages to conduct the study. The first group comes back and says that in their village, the average adult penis is 18 cm long, and the second groups comes back and says that it’s 12 cm. So everyone starts asking, how can you get such different results in two neighboring villages? Until finally one scientists found the answer: the first group asked the villagers about their penis size, and the second one actually measured it!

                So the polls you prefer are the ones that ASK, while this one Gallup poll is the one that MEASURES. Now, I am glad that, true to form, you attempted to explain this poll away with an anecdote from your personal experience (although, honestly, no one cares how you talk to telemarketers). However, until you explain the Gallup poll away scientifically, your claims can’t be taken seriously and this discussion won’t progress.

                • “So the polls you prefer are the ones that ASK, while this one Gallup poll is the one that MEASURES.

                  Ah. So you imply that about half of Russian speakers lie about the language they speak at home, when asked. In about ten studies.

                  Amazing.

                  Now, I am glad that, true to form, you attempted to explain this poll away with an anecdote from your personal experience (although, honestly, no one cares how you talk to telemarketers). However, until you explain the Gallup poll away scientifically, your claims can’t be taken seriously and this discussion won’t progress.”

                  You missed the part where I discussed methods. What language was initially used in this study, when the participants were phoned? Since most Ukrainians speak Russian as well as they do Ukrainian, if an interview is begun in Russian it is reasonable to assume that many Ukrainian speakers would simply stay in that language. So if about 40% – 50% of Ukrainians speak Ukrainian at home, if someone calls them in Russian and asks if they would prefer to switch to Ukrainian, it is reasonable to conclude that half of Ukrainian speakers would rather not switch and feel comfortable staying in Russian.

                  This is more likely, than your implication that half of Russian speakers lie to researchers about the language they actually prefer to speak at home when asked about it.

                  Feel free to become bored and not respond, however :)

                  • Fedia Kriukov says:

                    “So you imply that about half of Russian speakers lie about the language they speak at home, when asked. In about ten studies.” — no, this isn’t the implication, this is your unintelligent misinterpretation of it. Gallup poll shows which language people are more comfortable with. The polls you cherry-pick show which language they are more comfortable with PLUS which language is forced upon them by circumstances, all of that skewed by people’s faulty memories/interpretations. This shouldn’t be that difficult to understand, should it? This is how you reconcile seemingly different results from various polls without engaging in conspiracy theories about the pollsters.

                    “You missed the part where I discussed methods. What language was initially used in this study, when the participants were phoned?” — those were face to face interviews. You couldn’t bother to even look that up?

                    “Since most Ukrainians speak Russian as well as they do Ukrainian, if an interview is begun in Russian it is reasonable to assume that many Ukrainian speakers would simply stay in that language.” — it’s not reasonable. You are making assumptions about how the poll was actually conducted and drawing conclusions from your own assumptions, rather than facts.

                    “This is more likely, than your implication that half of Russian speakers lie to researchers about the language they actually prefer to speak at home when asked about it.” — please don’t pollute my reasonable statements with your unintelligent attempts at deriving erroneous implications from them. ;)

                    “Feel free to become bored and not respond, however ” — yes, you can have the last word. I’m not sure it will make you feel better, but I am a generous man. Just please please please, make sure your last word provides some new information, don’t just write random filler like in the post I’m currently responding to.

                    • ““So you imply that about half of Russian speakers lie about the language they speak at home, when asked. In about ten studies.” — no, this isn’t the implication, this is your unintelligent misinterpretation of it. ”

                      You wrote: ““Thus, when given perfect freedom of choice, free of political considerations, 83% of Ukrainians chose Russian. ”

                      You obviously implied that due to “political considerations” a lot (about half) of Russian speakers falsely claim that they speak the Ukrainian language at home. After all, you claim that 83% of people in Ukraine are “more comfortable with” Russian, yet across 12 surveys less than 40% of people in Ukraine claimed to speak “mainly Russian” at home, and according to another survey about 50% of Ukrainians claimed to speak mostly Russian in their lives. So either:

                      1. About half of Russian-speakers make false claims about the language they speak at home or they speak a language at home that they are less comfortable speaking.

                      or:

                      2. You drew incorrect conclusions from the Gallup study.

                      “The polls you cherry-pick show which language they are more comfortable with PLUS which language is forced upon them by circumstances, all of that skewed by people’s faulty memories/interpretations. ”

                      So you are implying that half of Russian speakers don’t remember which language they speak at home, and mistakenly state that it is Ukrainian? And this happened across 12 surveys, from 1994 to 2005?

                      Amazing.

                      ““You missed the part where I discussed methods. What language was initially used in this study, when the participants were phoned?” — those were face to face interviews. You couldn’t bother to even look that up?”

                      Since you didn’t bother to provide a link, I went with memory, and I got this detail wrong.

                      ““Since most Ukrainians speak Russian as well as they do Ukrainian, if an interview is begun in Russian it is reasonable to assume that many Ukrainian speakers would simply stay in that language.” — it’s not reasonable. You are making assumptions about how the poll was actually conducted and drawing conclusions from your own assumptions, rather than facts.

                      It is you who are making assumptions. You are assuming that the interviews were initiated in Ukrainian, or equally numbers in Russian and Ukrainian (in order to eliminate confounds). Although the study did not provide this crucial information, it is more likely, given that slightly more than half of Ukrainians prefer the Russian over the Ukrainian language, and that the researchers seem to be Russians, that the interviews began in the Russian language. So we are both assuming something here, but my assumption is more likely to be correct than is yours. Particularly in light of the fact that it is well established from numerous self-report surveys that Russian is only slightly more commonly used in Ukraine than is Ukrainian.

                      Oh – you are also assuming that the Gallup survey was conducted throughout the country, rather than simply in Kiev (which everyone knows is mostly Russian speaking), or in urban areas only (which also tend to be Russian speaking). The fact that the interviews were face-to-face strongly increases the likelihood that it was not conducted throughout the country.

                      Here is the study:

                      http://www.gallup.com/poll/109228/russian-language-enjoying-boost-postsoviet-states.aspx

                      The method section:

                      “Results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted in 2006 and 2007 with approximately 1,000 residents, aged 15 or older, in each country. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.”

                      Rather useless to draw the conclusions you are drawing from this study, given that much crucial information is not included. But you must desperately cling to that, right?

                      ““Feel free to become bored and not respond, however ” — yes, you can have the last word. I’m not sure it will make you feel better, but I am a generous man. ”

                      Well, here you have generously demonstrated your biased approach to interpreting research findings. Thank you.

                    • Fedia Kriukov says:

                      “I will try to write this as simply as possible for you.” — it would also help if you avoid prevarications while at it. Unfortunately, you failed in that department as well.

                      “1. Across 12 surveys less than 40% of Ukraine’s population claim to speak “mainly Russian” at home (about the same number spoke mainly Ukrainian).” — sorry, have to catch you on a lie here. “Язык бытового общения” does not mean “language spoken at home”, it means “language spoken outside of work”. While some polls you refer to specifically say “at home”, the FOM poll, e.g. uses that term, which means a lot more than “at home”.

                      This is a significant falsification on your part because while you may attempt to dispute the claim that bilingual people have a poor recollection of which language they speak under certain circumstances by pointing out that it’s hard to make a mistake as to the language spoken at home, when the domain is widened to anywhere outside the work, this claim is not as easily refutable. That’s why you used this trick of substituting one term for the other.

                      I would also like to see the 12 surveys you refer to. Could you post links to all 12?

                      Your further falsification with regard to what I stated is that you reduce “circumstances” and “non-freedom” that I referred to to some kind of “political considerations”. While politics do play a part, since you would be forced to use Ukrainian in government organizations, schools, etc, there are more mundane reasons to be forced to use Ukrainian — e.g. when you are speaking to someone who doesn’t understand Russian well enough. Thus, a native Russian speaker (in the linguistic sense of the word) living in the countryside would be forced to use Ukrainian even when their preference is for Russian.

                      Now, your attempt to challenge the Gallup poll with regard to their sampling techniques is cute, but ultimately futile. Gallup made the claim about 83% preferring Russian for all of Ukraine. Unless you want to go into conspiracy theories, we have to assume that a reputable pollster believes their sampling techniques provide sufficiently representative samples to support that claim. You need to find a different way to reconcile these polls instead of trying to throw our random accusations of incompetence.

                      Again, I have to sadly note that you are engaging in projection. You claim that I pronounce most polls as false, when I don’t — I accept their results for what they are. You are the one who is trying to pronounce a poll that is inconvenient to you as “false”. The reality is that there is a vast difference in what language people prefer to use and what language they actually use or think they use. That’s what accounts for the difference between these polls, not your inane conspiracy theories.

                      Now, to bring this whole discussion back to where it started: Your claim that “Russian is not widely spoken in Lviv” is false regardless of what you think the polls you cherry-pick show. Even if it’s not widely spoken in Lvov as a first language (which is most likely untrue, based on the full selection of polls), it is widely spoken as a second language, and even you won’t have the chutzpah to deny it. :)

                      So now that you’ve admitted (after much labor) that Western Ukraine:
                      1) pays less taxes
                      2) receives more subsidies
                      Can you finally admit that speaking Russian there isn’t a problem either? ;)

                      And please don’t forget about the 12 surveys, I’d like to compare them.

                    • ““1. Across 12 surveys less than 40% of Ukraine’s population claim to speak “mainly Russian” at home (about the same number spoke mainly Ukrainian).” — sorry, have to catch you on a lie here. “Язык бытового общения” does not mean “language spoken at home””

                      Oops. You’ve muddled things as usual, Fedia. You are referring to the wrong survey. Since adding more than one link sends most into the spam filter, I’ll tell you to read the wikipedia page “Russian language in Ukraine.”

                      “According to a 2004 public opinion poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the number of people using Russian language in their homes considerably exceeds the number of those who declared Russian as their native language in the census. According to the survey, Russian is used at home by 43–46% of the population of the country”

                      I already posted this. I think I bolded it last time, in a futile effort to make it easier for you. You should learn to read more carefully before accusing others of lying.

                      These surveys were done over 12 years (at least) with similar results every year.

                      Here is yet another survey with similar results:

                      http://ukraineanalysis.wordpress.com/category/russian-language-in-ukraine/

                      David Marples:

                      “These figures are supported by a poll conducted by the Research and Branding Group (RBD) between August 12 and 22, and encompassing just over 2,000 respondents. The poll revealed that at home, 47% spoke Ukrainian, 37% Russian, and 15% spoke both languages. In terms of the language used at school or at work, 45% said Ukrainian, 35% Russian, and 18% both languages.”

                      The same survey is described more thoroughly in a Kyiv Post article. Google “Poll: Almost half of Ukrainian citizens speak Ukrainian”

                      Details: “The sociologists polled 2,075 people in individual interviews in 24 regions of Ukraine and Crimea. The respondents were selected with a view to their place of residence, gender and age. The poll’s margin of error is around 2.2%.”

                      “Now, your attempt to challenge the Gallup poll with regard to their sampling techniques is cute, but ultimately futile. Gallup made the claim about 83% preferring Russian for all of Ukraine.

                      Please quote them where Gallup said ALL of Ukraine.

                      Are you making things up? You like to speak of projection..perhaps this is true of yourself,when you accuse me of dishonesty?

                      Unless you want to go into conspiracy theories, we have to assume that a reputable pollster believes their sampling techniques provide sufficiently representative samples to support that claim.

                      Thank you for admitting that you base your bizarre idea that Russian is the preferred language of 80% of Ukrainians, on assumptions rather than on facts. Assumptions based on your misreading of the study.

                      So to repeat for you:

                      We have numerous surveys that show that less than half of Ukrainian people claim to speak mainly Russian at home. At least one of those surveys was conducted across all of Ukraine.

                      We have one survey where under unknown circumstances, somewhere in Ukraine (we don’t know where), 83% of participants preferred to answer questions in the Russian language.

                      There are a few ways of explaining this discrepancy:

                      1. Half of the Russian-preference speakers in all of those surveys showing that less than 40% of Ukraine’s people speak Russian at home lied by denying that they spoke Russian at home.

                      2. Half of Russian-preference speakers are forced not to speak Russian (the language they prefer) in their own homes.

                      3. The Gallup study doesn’t really tell us what language the majority of Ukraine’s people speak at home. Therefore, it doesn’t tell us about day-to-day language preference for the country of Ukraine (because, unlike language spoken in the workplace or during an interview somewhere, people are likely to use their preferred language at home).

                      I realize that you are desperate to avoid considering the Gallup poll for what it is .

                      “Now, to bring this whole discussion back to where it started: Your claim that “Russian is not widely spoken in Lviv” is false regardless of what you think the polls you cherry-pick show. ”

                      I obviously was referring to Russian as the primary language.

                      What next – will you start to correct my grammar? Spelling? Is this what you are reduced to? Rather sad.

                    • Since the Kyiv Post article I linked to above mistranslated some parts, I have added a better link (but it’s in the Ukrainian language):

                      http://gazeta.ua/articles/life/_u-sim-ji-ukrajinskoyu-movoyu-spilkuyutsya-47-zhiteliv-ukrajini/398460

                    • A link to another, massive study, on language in Ukraine:

                      http://www.kiis.com.ua/materials/articles_HVE/16_linguaethnical.pdf

                      Page 4. Over 22,000 interviews, representative of the country. When asked which language the people would want to conduct the interview in (what the Gallup poll measured), there was no statistical difference between preference for Russian or Ukrainian (that is, about a 50/50 split).

                      When asked which language was easier to speak, 41.2% Ukrainian, 44.2% Russian, 14.5% both equally in 2002.

                      But keep clinging to your silly 83% figure. It demonstrates your “objectivity” every time.

                      Bored and ready to move on now Fedia :)

            • “If you cherry-pick specific factors that suit your current agenda, you can effectively defeat any attempt at aggregation by claiming that the components of said aggregation are really “diverse”. However, it would be convincing only to you for the simple reason that “West Ukraine” is a generally established aggregation that any Ukrainian knows about. Whether you like it or not, when someone says “Western Ukraine”, they mean the exact seven oblasts of the country, not Lvov alone.”

              Says the guy who cherry picks the survey he likes most.

              Western Ukraine is historically diverse – Lviv has more in common historically with Kiev than it does with Zakarpattiya. And of course the subtext to your and other Russian nationalist whining about western Ukraine is you have a problem with its Ukrainian nationalism. Afterr all, you do not whine about Kherson on the Black Sea, which is subsidized more heavily than any western province. Well, guess what? The cultural heartland of that nationalism (Galicia) is doing rather well by Ukrainian standards. Indeed, life there is probably better for regular people than it is for regular people in the East.

              • Fedia Kriukov says:

                And you’re being dishonest yet again. “Cherry-picking” is ignoring facts that are inconvenient to your theory. I don’t ignore the other polls, I explain why they are inferior to the Gallup poll (see the ASK vs MEASURE explanation above).

                Now, I understand that you might feel somewhat butthurt after the last few days, but could you refrain from getting personal? Also, if it’s not too difficult, I would request that you read what I write with utmost care — I have very little desire to spend half of my time explaining to you what you failed to understand from my previous posts (I ask this under the charitable assumption that all your previous misunderstandings were just that, and not deliberate attempts to distort my argument to set up a straw man for yourself).

                Also, please refrain from irrelevant factoids. The original claim that you attempted to dispute (even if poorly) is that Western Ukraine is subsidized by the rest of the country.

                Your factoids (regardless of whether they are true or false) that do not contradict this claim due to their irrelevance:
                1. That Western Ukraine is “historically diverse”
                2. That some regions outside of Western Ukraine are subsidized as well
                3. That Russian nationalists have a problem with Ukrainian nationalism (as a side note, I’ve yet to see a single Russian nationalist — the people who currently call themselves Russian nationalists are anything but)
                4. That life in Western Ukraine is better than in Eastern Ukraine

                The fact that you constantly bring up so many irrelevant factoids and attempt to lead the discussion off on a tangent (e.g., the politically correct English spelling of Lvov), leads me to exactly two conclusions:

                1. That the assertion that Western Ukraine is subsidized by the rest of the country causes great emotional pain to you.
                2. That you cannot statistically disprove this assertion, so you are forced to throw random and irrelevant data at it to produce some kind of an impression that this assertion is being disputed, when an attentive and logical reader will certainly note that it is not the case — whatever assertions you try to dispute are not the original one.

                On the other hand, I am rapidly approaching my limit on debates (usually 3 days) where my interest in a discussion fades below the level of my general laziness. So please take my suggestions above as a guide to future debates you might have, and not necessarily this one.

                • “And you’re being dishonest yet again. “Cherry-picking” is ignoring facts that are inconvenient to your theory.

                  Such as excluding Kiev from your analysis of subsidies?

                  “I don’t ignore the other polls, I explain why they are inferior to the Gallup poll (see the ASK vs MEASURE explanation above).”

                  Indeed, You wrote “Thus, when given perfect freedom of choice, free of political considerations, 83% of Ukrainians chose Russian. ”

                  You are suggesting, comically, that people are so afraid to admit they speak in Russian at home that in poll after poll only 40%-50% or so of Ukraine’s people claim to speak the Russian language at home when in reality 83% of people prefer to speak Russian. You are implying that about half of Ukraine’s Russian speakers lie in polls and conceal the fact that they actually speak Russian at home.

                  This leads you to ignore multiple other studies and instead “cherry pick” the one Gallup study that didn’t ask about language and whose methods are not provided.

                  A wonderful example of your “objectivity.”

                  “The original claim that you attempted to dispute (even if poorly) is that Western Ukraine is subsidized by the rest of the country.”

                  Actually, I agreed with the chart Anatoly provided, that showed that most of Ukraine (including western Ukraine) is subsidized. I did not dispute that western Ukraine is subsidized. Much of the country is. As you yourself have shown, several non-Westren oblasts are more heavily (according to your calculations) subsidized than any western oblast is.

                  “On the other hand, I am rapidly approaching my limit on debates (usually 3 days) where my interest in a discussion fades ”

                  How convenient :).

                  • Fedia Kriukov says:

                    “Such as excluding Kiev from your analysis of subsidies?” — hi, NCO’s widow. It didn’t go too well for you, did it? ;)

                    “You are suggesting, comically, that people are so afraid to admit they speak in Russian at home” — comically, you are willfully misinterpreting what I wrote. That makes you what, a liar?

                    “Actually, I agreed with the chart Anatoly provided, that showed that most of Ukraine (including western Ukraine) is subsidized. I did not dispute that western Ukraine is subsidized.” — finally, it only took three days of painstaking effort to make you admit to it clearly and plainly, and not try to throw irrelevant factoids over the subject to bury it in minutiae.

                    *round of applause*

                    You can do it if you put your mind to it!

                    “How convenient :).” — yes, I often try to make things convenient for you.

                    • ““You are suggesting, comically, that people are so afraid to admit they speak in Russian at home” — comically, you are willfully misinterpreting what I wrote. That makes you what, a liar?”

                      I will try to write this as simply as possible for you.

                      1. Across 12 surveys less than 40% of Ukraine’s population claim to speak “mainly Russian” at home (about the same number spoke mainly Ukrainian).

                      2. In the Gallup poll, 83% of interviewees somewhere in Ukraine preferred to, under unknown circumstances, go through an interview in the Russian rather than in the Ukrainian language. *

                      3. Based on (2), you claimed that the results of (1) were all false.

                      4. Your words – ““Thus, when given perfect freedom of choice, free of political considerations, 83% of Ukrainians chose Russian. ”

                      5. This implies that people answering the surveys do not have freedom of choice or freedom from political considerations when answering the surveys, and thus lie on them. Since the number of people on the surveys who claim to speak mainly Russian at home is less than half of the 83% who preferred answering the interview in Russian, you are claiming that either:
                      5a. Over half of Russian speakers in Ukraine lie by denying that they speak the Russian language at home. Or,
                      5b. Over half of Russian speakers in Ukraine don’t have freedom of choice and freedom from political consideration in their homes, and so speak the Ukrainian language at home.

                      ““Actually, I agreed with the chart Anatoly provided, that showed that most of Ukraine (including western Ukraine) is subsidized. I did not dispute that western Ukraine is subsidized.” — finally, it only took three days of painstaking effort to make you admit to it clearly and plainly,”

                      I’m sorry it took you three days to figure out the obvious. I am not surprised, however, given your pathetic performance with these Gallup interviews.

                      *This is the method section I found online: “Results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted in 2006 and 2007 with approximately 1,000 residents, aged 15 or older, in each country. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.”

                      Note that we do not know where in Ukraine these interviews were conducted. Were all parts of the country equally represented? Were rural and urban regions represented according to their proportional populations? Nor do we now how this study was conducted.. Some language must have been initially used. Were people greeted in Russian first?

  10. A couple of observations re-West Ukraine.

    There is no contradiction between them having the smallest salaries, but also being relatively rich and well-off.

    How, exactly? Let me explain:

    (1) A large part of the Ukrainian diaspora hails from the west. Many family members have relatives in Poland, Spain, the UK, and further afield in Canada, the US, and Australia. They send back remittances, and even 10% of a Western manual salary can make a very appreciable difference if average wages are $300. In fact, it would catapult it to Donetsk’s level or beyond.

    (2) The East is a country of heavy industries and oligarchs. The West is a country of S&M businesses and well-to-do businessmen. That means that (a) the West finds it easier to conceal its true incomes – much easier to fiddle the books for a bakery or whatever than for a giant steel plant; (b) there is probably less income inequality than in the East.

    (3) Demographics. The East has a larger ratio of pensioners to workers. The West has more children to workers, but then again, children are far less expensive to maintain than elderly people.

    (4) Institutions are considered to be better in Western Ukraine (the areas of the former Habsburg Empire to be more precise) than the average for Ukraine. Corruption is presumably lower as well. This isn’t a huge factor, but not having to pay off the traffic police etc as much as in the East presumably helps a bit too.

    Rural West Ukrainians are really religious.

    I have met a few of them in the US and I was really struck by that. One woman encouraged me to go to a Bible study group. Fun anecdote: Another, who incidentally had eight children, drove without a seatbelt, because “God would see and take care of it” (When I pointed out, “What if God isn’t looking at you at a critical moment?” she pondered that a bit and fastened her seatbelt).

    Ukraine scores considerably higher in religiosity than Russia. I can’t believe that people in the South/East are any more religious than Russians, so the difference is surely explained by extremely higher levels of religiosity in the West. Would also explain the Red State America like fertility rates.

    This might come as a surprise to some, but many Ukrainians (the very religious types) in the US actually have a high opinion of Putin. I can totally see where AP is coming from when he says that Ukrainian nationalism (which is virulently anti-Putin) is more concentrated in the better educated, urban, less religious centers like Lviv and Kiev.

    • Anatoly, it is not flattery but an objective review to say that your analysis is brilliant and rings very true, as usual.

      • This table supports what you wrote:

        http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/636/uaprivatecars2008table.png

        There are more private cars per 100 people in Lviv oblast and in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast than in Donetsk oblast. Of course, they may be cheaper cars. But this does suggest that average people live better in the west than in the east (one can add this stat to the other one where I included links for crime rate, natural growth, you can add infant mortality, life expectancy, etc. etc. etc.).

  11. Капиталисты против революций

    Very detailed, well-argued, and I think credible article describing Euromaidan as in large part a struggle between two oligarchic factions within PoR, namely Akhmedov/Firtash (said to control 70 MPs) and the Family.

    I wish I had time to translate it.

    • Interesting, thanks. There are multiple levels to political events in Ukraine. One must not overemphasize one level over another (i.e., most of the the people on the streets have genuine feelings and are not there for the money or because they are manipulated tools; similarly without conflicts among oligarchs and support by some of the protests – particularly with respect to media coverage early on – who knows if they would have gotten this far). This is true everywhere. Do American people participate in US politics, or is it also just a murky conflict between competing oligarchic factions such as the Koch brothers, Soros, etc. I suspect the Soviet tradition with its Byzantine behind-the-scenes struggles causes post-Soviet people to view the world a little bit too cynically, in terms of conspiracies, whereas America’s old tradition of small-town participatory democracy may make Americans a little bit too naive with respect to national politics and how they are influenced behind the scenes. The truth may be in between..

    • Fedia Kriukov says:

      Mhmm, there is already a conspiracy theory that the forces behind Maidan (the US) are basically trying to scare the population with the antics of the maidowns, so that they can then propose their agent (Poroshenko) as a compromise candidate for leadership of the country, whatever form it may take, and it should work because this “compromise” candidate would look like a moderate in comparison. This article seems to be written in that vein.

      If that is the case, it’s not clear if it will be workable at all for the simple reason that it is doubtful whether the right wing militias of the maidowns and the newly forming militias of the South-East are under anyone’s control. Well, I suppose the maidowns can be put down by simply cutting off their American funding and they will have to retreat back to the West, but I don’t know anything reliable about the nature of the eastern militias.

      This reminds me of the start of Khmelnycchyna, when some conspirators thought they were starting a small scale riot as part of a conspiracy, and it turned into a full blown extremely brutal civil war when the people rose up. In their naivete they thought the struggle for liberation was real, and in fact made it real, even if with a few genocidal excesses.

  12. Tymoshenko is singing from a different hymn sheet.

    “Yanukovych is simply considering variations of developments in 2015,” Tymoshenko continued, in an analysis that suggests she remains a formidable tactician even behind bars. “Firstly, if he manages to falsify presidential elections (in 2015) and remain for another term, he will retain the existing constitution… If the opposition candidate becomes president in 2015, then before the inauguration Yanukovych will switch to the 2004 constitution, propose himself as prime minister and then there will be dictatorship and corruption – forever!”

    • She is right, here (I disagree with her call not to bother negotiating). Any meaningful deal would have to involve a rerun of parliamentary elections and a safeguard to insure that the groups who win the popular vote in that election have the majority of the seats – something not true of the current parliament. Otherwise, the current parliament, dominated by those who lost the popular vote, could simply vote out any compromise PM at their leisure (after the protesters all go home), vote for a parliamentary republic prior to the next president taking office, etc.

  13. Discussing government transfers to calculate who benefits is rather like the EU debate. The biggest transfer payers, Germany and the UK and by proportion places like the Netherlands and Sweden, are actually the biggest beneficiaries because their economies are much more competitive than others. Italy’s North/South divide makes it weird. Hence the British Europhobe focus on transfer payments and the Greeks on trade flows. The monster subsidy in the Ukraine is the gas price. Until I researched it, I rather tassued that the viability of Eastern Ukrainian industry depended on subsidized Russian gas (as in, lower prices than Russia wishes Ukraine to pay). Actually, the Ukranians are right. They pay punitively high prices for gas. On top of that, huge internal subsidies for households/district heating, placed on Naftogas rather than any particular region mean that East Ukranian energy intensive industries are paying even higher prices (at least officially). So for East Ukraine, anyplace but here will be an improvement.

    Here is the best analysis I found.

    http://www.berlin-economics.com/download/policypapers/PP_02_2012_en.pdf

    • A lot of Ukraine’s gas is produced in western Ukraine, and bought by the state gas company at very low rates. So to a certain extent Western Ukraine is subsidizing the rest of the country with its cheap gas?

      • Philip Owen says:

        AP, if there is a net surplus of gas that is sold to Eastern Ukraine that would be true. Given the much lower demand for gas in the West, that might even be true. Data is needed that I don’t have time to research. Most offshore deposits are Crimean.

        • Domestic Ukrainian gas production is according to wiki 20 bcm. Only 1.2 bcm was from Crimea. Galicia is one of the two gas areas in Ukraine, so it probably produces about 9 bcm. Total Ukrainian consumption was 55 bcm. Altogh western Ukraine is 1/5 of Ukraine’s population it is much less industrialized than eastern Ukraine and probably consumes less gas per population than the eastern regions. So it is quite likely that western Ukraine, in addition to being self-sufficient for gas, sends some gas at artificially reduced price east. Western Ukraine also has shale gas that will start getting extracted in 2014.

      • Aslangeo says:

        I am a geophysicist working in the oil industry (russian parentage) who has worked in the FSU, most of Ukrainian gas production is in the East , Dnepr-Donets basin, while the west, Carpatian basin production is less (some fields producing since Austro-Hunarian times). in terms of future potential there is not much but DD shale gas may be interesting (centred ironically on Slavyansk). Some gas proding in Crimea and Crimean shelf. What is striking is how little inviolment there has been from the western or russian companies in ukraines E&P sector. The ukies have discovered very little since independence, less than 1 Tcf with less than 100 million barells of oil.

  14. Aslangeo says:

    I have ahd a look at some industry databases, Denpr- Donets (East ukraine ) produces about 90% of Ukie’s gas and has about 80% of the reserves, West Ukraine produces about 5% with Black Sea (Crimea) the rest. Dont forget that Donbass is the only coal producing area in Ukraine and The south and east also has most of the minerals. West Ukraine has good agricultural land, a bit like Moldova writ large

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  1. […] An in depth analysis shows Geopolitics at play, as usual. Ukraine is on the verge of a break up, and this is why Federalization is the only way out. Currently the pro-Russian areas amount to 88,834 square kilometers, featuring 8 administrative units, and having a population of 19.3 million. The pro-Orange Revolution 2.0 regions have 83,622 square kilometers, feature 12 administrative units, and have a population of 18.1 million, with the remaining five being the swing states. It’s the pro-Russian productive East versus the pro-Orange Revolution not so productive West. Here’s the economic data: http://darussophile.com/2014/02/everything-is-annihilated-the-split-of-ukraine-on-the-basis-of-econo… […]

  2. […] change in Kiev. The coal mining and energy center is one of the most densely populated and the most economically developed region in Ukraine. Many here feel that they feed the rest of Ukraine, a mood that has been fomented […]

  3. […] 50%.  With about 58% of the Ukraine’s industry in the eastern zone and workers there make about 50% higher wages, the east is paying the majority of the tax increase.  Although residential users will not feel […]

  4. […] 50%. With about 58% of the Ukraine’s industry in the eastern zone and workers there making about 50% higher wages, the east is paying the majority of the tax increase. Although residential users will not feel […]