Ukraine War Day #318: Voldemar The Nation Destroyer

“The current generation now sees everything clearly, it marvels at the errors, it laughs at the folly of its ancestors, not seeing that this chronicle is all overscored by divine fire, that every letter of it cries out, that from everywhere the piercing finger is pointed at it, at this current generation; but the current generation laughs and presumptuously, proudly begins a series of new errors, at which their descendants will also laugh afterwards.”
― Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls

Dear Readers:

Today I have this analytical piece by reporter Alyona Zadorozhnaya. Before starting to read, please remind yourselves one more time what Ukraine looked like back in the year 1991 when it separated from the Soviet Union. This was a nation teeming with people, with world-class scientific and manufacturing skills, unbounded wealth and natural resources, a huge territory, access to the sea, modern industry, an agricultural behemoth that fed the world. A nation that had everything, and now has nothing. Somewhere in there lies a Biblical parable about human folly and pathologically bad decision-making. Or, you can just blame Russia.

The reporter’s lede paragraph begins like this:

By the results of 2022, Vladimir Zelensky has achieved some unique and mostly tragic milestones. He has succeeded in reducing the population of Ukraine to the level it had 100 years ago, placed his country in the status of indentured servant to the West, and deprived his citizens of the most elementary comforts of modern civilization. What further “successes” can we expect Zelensky to achieve in his current position?

While King Voldemar is bathing in the acclaim and admiring his Oscar for “Worst Ruler Ever”, let’s start our analysis with the population bomb:

In the year 2023 Ukraine can expect a catastrophic decline in the birthrate. This was announced by Ella Libanova, who directs the Institute of Demographics and Social Studies for the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In her view, the population, by 2030, will decline to around 35 million, and this process of decline has been happening since 1991. Still, Libanova assures her fellow countrypeople that 34-35 million Ukrainians still reside on Ukrainian territory.

However, her numbers arouse suspicion. The number of refugees fleeing from Ukrainian territory and the Donbass just into Russia, has already surpassed 5 million people. Last summer, according to UN figures, around 6.3 million Ukrainian refugees flooded into Western Europe. Based on this, the experts believe that Libanova is fudging the numbers, and that Ukraine holds a much smaller number of people than she claims.

Russian economist Ivan Lizan disputes Ella’s too-rosy assessment of the catastrophe: “Even before the start of the Special Military Operation it was difficult to determine exactly how many people resided in Ukraine. The official number was 40 million, but factually there could not have been more than 33 million. Between 2016-2019 Ukrainians were in the lead for receiving residential visas to live in Poland. Every year something like 500,000 people leaked into Poland. And more recently there has been a huge number of refugees to all the countries of Western Europe.

“Best guess: currently there cannot be more than 25-27 million people residing in Ukraine, and that’s on the optimistic side of the scale. These are the same numbers from 100 years ago. Males are predominant, because they are not allowed to leave the country.

Economist Ivan Lizan

“I am convinced that in 2023 this tendency will continue. We are also going to witness an internal migration. People will flee from those parts of the front where the fighting heats up. For example, a lot of people living in the Kiev-controlled sectors of the Donbass fled to Dnepro-Petrovsk.

“A horrible situation is observed in the labor market. State employees have to get by on just their salaries. Teachers, for example, who are forced by the fighting to flee to other regions, only have enough cash to pay their rent.

“One of the few ways to make a living, is to join the army. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) pays 100,000 hryvna [around $2700 American dollars] to those who fight in battles, and up to 30,000 [around $800] to those who serve but don’t directly participate in the fighting. Those who return home from the front start carousing and spending money like a drunken sailor, they’ll go into a home goods store and demand the most expensive television set, without even looking at the price.

“Some also earn a living through looting. In the Ukraine they have a private postal service, which has wormed its way into the UAF’s logistical system, it’s called Nova Poshta. Its trucks deliver to the front military equipment, provisions and so on, and then take away all the stuff that has been looted. The same thing happened [years] earlier, during the time of the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation.”

Marc Chagall etching for illustration of Gogol’s “Dead Souls”

Ukrainian human-rights activist Larisa Shesler adds her prognoses: “During the year 2022 Ukraine lost at a minimum 8 million people. And if you also discount people living on the territories that Ukraine lost [to Russia], then the remaining population is no more than 18-20 million people. Moreover, due to the harsh restrictions placed on [fighting-age] males, in the main the people who leave are women and children.

“In the majority of [Ukrainian] cities the schools are not even functioning any more. Technically they are on remote learning mode. Populated areas, even larger ones, look like ghost towns. In cities like Nikolaev, Odessa, Zaporozhie, main apartment complexes are half empty, the only people remaining are the elderly, or the very poor, those who have no money and no chance of starting over in a different country.

“There is very little hope of the situation improving in 2023. The main mass of refugees to Western Europe understand that there is no point in returning to Ukraine. Fertility rates are declining phenomenally, and next year will be even worse, due to the accumulated effects.

“Among those who stayed behind, many have lost their income. Western specialists and the official Kiev government estimate the unemployment rate at 30% among the working population. A couple of months ago the Governor of Nikolaev spoke about 80% of the residents losing their jobs. That number sounds plausible. And even those who do have a job, their situation is complicated. The overwhelming part of the working population receives around 14,000 hryvnas [around $380], however the price of products has increased by 40-80%, therefore these people are barely scraping by.”

Next: Ukrainian economy is collapsing.

[to be continued]

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38 Responses to Ukraine War Day #318: Voldemar The Nation Destroyer

  1. leaf says:

    Ukraine is just a straight up failed state, with 90% of infrastructure requiring repairs, lowest GDP per capita in Europe (maybe Moldova is worse), extensive debt (and it had none in 1991) and complete subservience to the west. Its exploitation and damage is worse than the Germans managed to do in the war.
    150-year old shipyards sold as scrap, world-class space industry choked to death, engine works gone, tractor production gone. They coil together Japanese cables because their labour is cheaper than in Asia, and millions are working abroad in Poland as farmhands. Their parents worked as engineers and scientists.
    Richest land in all of Russia used to grow rape seed and sunflowers, which exhausts this fertile soil rapidly.
    Carpathian forests cut down without oversight so that the mountains become bald, while the nearby forest preserves are wrecked in illegal search for amber.
    10+ million men gone from the country, the population was 50 mil in 1991 and 40 mil in 2001. There were no censuses since.
    Soviet-era anti-desert forests cut down for profit, leading to a slow spread of sand in the south.
    And all this is the direct consequence of those slimes that told the Ukrainians back in 1991 ‘stop feeding Moscow, and we’ll live like France in 5 years!’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arnould says:

    About this catastrophy in Ukraine, from time to time I like to reread this huge article from 1994/95. It is mainly about Soros, but a big part of it is about Ukraine. I found it a few months ago in another pro-russian forum :


    • yalensis says:

      “Of all the countries where Soros has placed his philanthropic bets since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ukraine seems on the verge of producing the greatest payoff. There, more than anywhere else, Soros has been able to exert influence at the highest levels of the government to see his ideas implemented. Indeed, if President Leonid Kuchma succeeds in bringing about the economic reforms he has recently promised, that over-all scenario will have been scripted, to a notable degree, by Soros.”

      Yeah, how did that one work out?
      Thanks for posting this interesting article, Arnould.


  3. Arnould says:

    Then I make an assumption that I never saw anywhere. I first had this idea many months ago, since we know that Kiev’s army is thrown waves after waves after waves into the now famous russian meat grinder.

    Every now and then I think that Zelensky could be a traitor to Ukraine.

    Zelensky is a Jew and I know nothing about his family, especially his family during WW2. Could it be possible that his family suffered a lot because of the banderists, and that Zelensky got mad and now saw an opportunity to avenge it and all the Jews that were murdered 80 years ago ?

    I sometimes think that this could be an explanation to Zelensky’s strange behavior. And then I think that this is a ridiculous idea. Only he knows, I suppose.


    • peter moritz says:

      The proof that Elensky is not much more than a NATO puppet, is demonstrated by the fact that poodle Bojo on behalf of their common owner, the US swamp, could whistle him back during last year’s almost completed negotiations in


    • yalensis says:

      It might be a crazy idea, but you are not the only person who thought of this. A lot of people in the Russian blogosphere believe that Zel is destroying Ukraine on purpose. As in, “It’s just TOO destructive to not be a master plan.”

      Something like a “very long con”, or long play. Or “revenge served cold” kind of idea, like to avenge all the Jews killed at Babiy Yar, or something like that. It would take an actor of enormous self-control to pull off such a con.

      Sometimes it is tempting to believe this, because it sounds like a Hollywood political thriller with a big twist at the end. However, I think that peter is right, and it’s not actually true. Reality is more mundane: Zel simply is the nebbish clown and deluded NATO puppet that he appears to be.


      • Arnould says:

        Thanks ! I am glad to learn that I am not the only one who got this strange idea, from time to time only… But I never knew that this is widespread in the russian speaking sphere. Here in France nobody in official media never ever tried to speak out something as strange as this.


        • John Kane says:

          It is not that hard to build up a conspiracy theory that makes sense. I think that I could make a very “convincing” case that George W. Bush was an Al Qaida agent. Almost every move he made after the 9/11 attack helped strengthen Al Quada or its offshoots and derivatives. His family has had close ties with the Saudi monarchy for years. Even his speech where he described the war on terror as a “crusade” was crazy.

          Nothing like reminding residents of the Middle East that their ancestors spend a few centuries fighting off raiding Franks.

          In fact, I think he was a not-terribly-bright President with little-or no knowledge of the outside world but every once in a while one has to wonder ….


      • Wolf1 says:

        Slight amendment proposed: “well paid nebbish clown”.
        Incompetence is one thing to be damned. But incompetence in the service of self-enrichment that leads to the utter destruction of the nation under your fiduciary responsibility – that is an extreme circle of Hell.


    • 1956 says:

      Zelensky is the hero of the murals at the Denver airport. That’s why he is shown in rotten green clothing.

      He has a mission to accomplish. He will use a bacteriological weapon. After all, there were American, German, Canadian or French biolaboratories in Ukraine for something. !

      He will lose :

      Notice who is destroying the weapons of the whole world.
      A boy similar to the pioneer-communist CCCP !
      He has a red scarf around his neck. This is not a child from Bavaria ! It is a bluff.
      I remember the photos I saw 40 years ago. This is exactly how children dressed for the state entourage of the former CCCP.


      • yalensis says:

        This is awesome. Believe it or not, I once travelled through the Denver airport, but I don’t remember seeing these murals, either that or I wasn’t paying attention. Well, I can be kind of oblivious sometimes, I wish I had been more focused on my surroundings, because these paintings are quite good!


  4. Sorry to be stupid, but are the military earnings per week or month..I guess the civilian’s earnings are per week?


  5. michaeldroy says:

    Keep bumping into Ukrainian men here in London.
    If I were a Ukrainian wife, sister, mother, father or child, I know what I would be telling any man in my life. Look after you family by staying out of Ukraine.

    Crossing the border looks easy – there are no mountains and not many people around.
    Drop the husband off 2km from the border somewhere, he turns his phone off and walks, meet him the other side – he only needs to walk 5km, perhaps at night or dawn.
    Shorter than the night treks I did as a boy scout aged 12.


    • yalensis says:

      Sounds like a great idea. I know if I were Ukrainian, I would have jumped at the first opportunity to bail from that horror-show. Who could blame all those people piling across the border? For some, awful as it sounds, this war was like a dream come true. Because all of a sudden, one was welcomed into any European country one chose, patted on the head, and even promised support. Anybody who DIDN’T go for it, was either a chump, or just pathetic. I know that sounds harsh. But sometimes, when you see the Titanic going down, you just have to go for it and leap onto that raft.


  6. This post begins to touch on something I’m curious about, and I hope you expand upon it in the continuation, using your ability to translate items written by sources close to the events. “What is life like for the average (non-fighting) person in Ukraine at the moment?” When someone wakes up in a suburb of Kiev, or a burg in the hustings, what do they do? Do they have electricity, or do the heat coffee/tea/food on a fire using wood scraps? Do they have a job to go to, whether it’s at a shop selling food/clothes/what-have-you, or go down to their office at the local bank/corporation/government facility? Are they freezing to death, can they get petrol for cars? There’s more to Ukraine at the moment than battles, and a majority of the who-knows-how-many millions of left-behinds still have to eat, sleep and exist somehow.


    • yalensis says:

      Those are precisely the people I identify with, but I don’t see much reporting about them. I will look harder and see if I can find more about the tough lives of ordinary working people, just trying to get through this.


  7. Nanker says:

    Let me quote the great Anatole France :

    “« On croit mourir pour la patrie
on meurt pour des industriels »

    One thinks he dies for his country (in fact) he dies for his country’s industries’ tycoons.

    That was written in 1922…


  8. peter moritz says:

    Regarding Bakhmut, and its importance:
    Unfortunately, I cannot remember if this aspect was addressed “in depth” previously regarding the discussion about the place.


    • yalensis says:

      On Day #171 I wrote this piece about the Soledar salt mines. Sounds like an extraordinarily interesting place. They have weapons stored there from as far back as WWI, and even a lot of Nazi regalia, and stuff like that. After Russian army liberates, they need to turn that place into a museum.


  9. Johnny Conspiranoid says:

    Duck Duck go puts up a few sites which say you are a porno site. Your actual site is nowhere to be found. I gat here through a third site.


  10. Jan says:

    Do you follow her?
    If not, start:



  11. nicolaavery says:

    My friend doesn’t like to talk about anything that has been happening but if she mentions anything…


  12. Ricardo2000 says:

    Galgacus: “They give the lying name of Empire to robbery and slaughter; they make a desert and call it peace.”

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” … or their dickup truck collaborators in Canada and Europe.

    US-NAYOYO wanted this war, wanted these self-defeating sanctions. They embraced both like porn stars, with reason and art appearing as seldom as love. US politicians will demonize Global South leaders for transparently selfish domestic political gain. It doesn’t matter how reasonable, loyal, or generous Global South countries have been in the past. Venezuela and Mexico supported the Allies through WWII with cheap, highly profitable crude oil. Iran supported Little Britain’s colonial empire through WWI as well. They received treacherous collaborators, poverty, contempt, and death squads as reward.

    Jackie Robinson, 1972 biography: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world…I know that I never had it made.”

    War is a complete negation of all humanity and beauty. The Golden Billion support photogenic bombing campaigns, staged political lies, and pompous declamations about human rights. No war is started with human rights in mind. It’s always about greed.

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    The wars in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Palestine were begun with the aim of replacing stable societies unpopular with the West. The strategy is to arm brutal bigots and emplace chaos, then churn their societies with bullets and explosives until they are shattered, and no threat to the White West and their collaborators.

    Eduardo Galeano: “My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia. It’s not a person. It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten.”


  13. Feral Finster says:

    The West cares nothing about any of this, and any Ukrainian who dares to speak up can expect a reception from the secret police.


  14. Chops says:

    Perhaps if Russia didn’t invade things wouldn’t be quite so bad.


    • yalensis says:

      Perhaps if the West had stuck to the Minsk agreement, Russia would not have had to invade, preemptively. Did you not hear about Merkel’s confession, you Chop-Head?


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