Share |

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saving All My for Yu

I love that song, Whitney being one of my teen queens. I love that heart-shaped check mark, BYuT being the party I gave my heart to in the September parliamentary elections.

Of course, I was a little younger than a teenager when "Saving All My Love for You" came out. I was a Soviet 5-year old living in one of the two superpowers that could annihilate each other at a moment’s notice. (Needless to say, we didn't have MTV at the dawn of perestroika.) Unsure of what the future held for them, my parents and grandparents nevertheless decided to save, and so did millions of other Soviet Ukrainians.

Now that I speak some English, there’s something I heard about those savings on Wednesday night. It sounded like a song, too, and I want to share it with you.

If you’re looking for materialistic terms like principal, interest, future value, CPI, indexation, etc, you better quit right now — or it will break your heart. Nowhere does it mention them. Remember, the heart emoticon can be expressed as <3>

So, forget the finance. Enjoy the romance.

I sincerely greet you. We’ve celebrated New Year and Christmas holidays. The time has come to get to work. I want us to start getting used to the idea that politicians carry out the promises they make during election campaigns. We promised to refund the savings lost with the former Oshchadbank of the USSR, and we are doing it. On January 8, depositor registration in Oshchadbank Ukraine began. To register, bring your passbook, a photocopy of your passport, and your ID number. [Ukraine still relies on the internal passport system. A person’s ID number is the equivalent of a social security number.]

At the bank’s branch, you will be met by an administrator who will assist you with all the required paperwork. In a matter of three days following the registration, the money will be transferred to your account. If your deposit does not exceed 1,000 hryvnias [$200], you will receive the full amount [In fact, deposits were made in Soviet rubles.] But if your deposit is more than 1,000 hryvnias, you will receive your first payment of 1,000 hryvnias. And then we will continue. You will decide how to spend this money: whether to take cash or to leave it in your Oshchadbank account at the annual interest rate of 13.5 percent.

I ask you, my dear ones, and especially elderly people: do not worry and do not stand in long lines. Deposit registration and savings disbursement are not time sensitive. May God give you good health, and each of you will be guaranteed to receive what is earmarked in the budget. Our task is to organize the payout so as not to provoke accelerated inflation, so that the money that is coming back to people will not be lost on its way to the store. A responsible government should support the savings payout with a host of counter-inflation measures.

That’s why we will offer, as a supplement to the 1,000 hryvnias, which you will receive in cash, to use according to your wish the remainder of your deposit to pay for utility debt and current bills, to pay for your kids’ education, and to pay for durable consumer goods such as: television sets, refrigerators, and other consumer electronics. In a month’s time, the government will pass related regulations that will allow you to use your savings to buy goods and services. It’s just that some time is needed to work out the related active and failsafe mechanisms.

You will get all the answers to your questions regarding the savings payout by calling our hotline toll-free: 8-800-501-34-10. Wrong were those who dismissed our statements about returning the lost savings as hollow campaign promises. Our team keeps its promises. This year, the amount paid out will be 30 times as much as our predecessors did in 2007, and five times as much as has been returned to the depositors throughout the 17 years of Ukraine’s independence. And this is just the beginning.

Our work on returning the lost savings is eliciting a critical and sometimes even hysterical response from our political opponents. I don’t want to waste time arguing. We’re giving the money back, and that’s it. It so happened that the real work on savings compensation began at Christmas time. Given this opportunity, let me send my New Year and Christmas greetings to you once again, and let me ask for God’s blessing for a good cause. Good luck!

Video uploaded from:


Anonymous said...

Is there any Ukrainian who is ever satisfied with anything? And given that dissatisfaction, has anything better to implement?

Unless I am mistaken, I sense a little bit of sarcasm or disappointment.

But, really, has anyone ever addresssed the return of those lost sovok savings deposits like Tymoshenko has? Meaning, giving back at least some of the lost money? In the sense of "every little bit helps"? Or "at least it's something, and more than before"?

For 17 years, a few thugs have been robbing Ukraine blind.

Now she and her co-workers are doing something about it.

Isn't it high time?

DLW said...

sorry you lost me, is BYuT backing off in a "diplomatic" manner from their promise to return the savings?


Taras said...

David, BYuT is not backing off.

BYuT is indeed doing more than any other party has ever done before. But it can also be seen as using this theme as a voter loyalty program. You know what I mean.

And what’s more, these savings being "returned" do not even cover the interest accrued, not to mention the principal. Calling them “returned,” “repaid,” “refunded” (or whatever) would be a joke, financially speaking.

From my point of view, I see a mountain being made out of a molehill.

Elmer, it's not about satisfaction. It's about social justice.

And I wouldn’t call them "Sovok" savings. These are the savings that Ukrainians earned by the sweat of their brow. These are not stock options.

If the U.S. government borrowed $6,000 from you in 1988 and then offered you $200 in 2008, would you accept it as a settlement? Would you jump for joy? I don’t think you would.

That explains the sarcasm in my post.

Anonymous said...

Taras, if my realistic choice was zero or $200, which is the case in Ukraine, I would not be happy about it, but at least it's something.

0% of 100 = 0.

And if the government was robbing me blind in other ways, such as by perpetuating a few corrupt thug oligarchs, and preventing me from earning a livelihood by imposing all sorts of "payments" to government Mafia types, I would be happy to see a person like Tymoshenko at least making a start to fight for me.

Who else is there in Ukraine, besides Lutsenko, who has provided her type of leadership and actually done something on a realistic basis?

Tymoshenko is not the enemy here.

She did not cause the state to default on the deposits.

The people who bought into the sovok system did.

That's a hard fact to swallow.

"We have met the enemy and he is - us."

Taras said...

I never thought of Tymoshenko as the enemy. But I do think she can be too friendly with the enemy. It's bothering the hell out of me because I voted for her party. And if you take into account the cost of living in Ukraine, and specifically in Kyiv, you'll see that $200 almost amounts to 0.

Is the enemy inside of us? The answer is yes and no.

To the extent that in my extended family I do have Communists, I'd say yes. But to the extent that my parents never voted for the Communist Party or Kuchma, I'd say no.

As for me, I was but 11 years old when one Evil Empire ended and another one began. Initially, the West didn't notice the evil of that nascent empire. Why? Because it didn't threaten the West with nukes. But as you know, very soon that empire would nuke her own people out of their future.

When I was 11, in my English class I had to memorize that "Ukraine is a country of 52 million people." And guess what — 17 years later we only have about 46.

Anonymous said...


I think you know this, but I wasn't addressing anything specifically your way.

Even if $200 doesn't have a lot of purchasing power in Kyiv, it's got to amount to at least something - even in Kyiv.

As far as 52 million people:

Tony Blair said that the measure of a country is how many people want to get in - and how many people want to get out.

He did not mean fraudsters, or hucksters, or swindlers, or "investors".

He meant people who would want to live there and be citizens.

I think Tymoshenko is at least one of those people who is trying to make Ukraine into a country that people want to get into.

As far as the enemy being "us" - that means all of those people who still vote for "stabilnist," all of those people who still carry flowers to Lenin's statues on Sunday, all of those people who demand - or pay - bribes in Ukraine, all of those people who stay silent when there is wrongdoing committed by a government official, etc.

I think you understand perfectly well.

I wish it could be better, but the only other alternative for getting people back all that money is to examine every crooked privatization since 1991, and get all the money back in re-privatization.

In principle, that's what should happen.

At least Tymoshenko holds out the hope that there may be more than just $200 down the road.

The money's got to come from somewhere, and it just isn't there at the moment.

Taras said...

You can be sure I agree with Tony Blair.

I want Ukraine to be a better place. I want Ukraine to be a country worth living in. That’s why I don’t want Tymoshenko to capitalize on those cheap handouts as a self-styled political Taj Mahal.

I want her to live up to her promise by decapitalizing the less-than-invisible hand that forces Ukrainians to quit their homeland in droves or die before their grandchildren are born.

I wouldn't have voted for her if I hadn't considered her to be the best choice. It is with choice that criticism comes. She’s a fighter. But if she does anything that fails the choice I made, I will talk about it. The house rule is this: Fighter yes, prodigal daughter no.

To tell you the truth, reprivatization doesn’t seem realistic to me. What I want from her is to do all she can to cast the remaining privatization set in the Kryvorizhstal mold.

Like millions of other Ukrainians, I want a bigger bang for my ballot, and I deserve it.

Anonymous said...

The state-owned Savings Bank (Oschadbank) has raised its employees’ wages by 50% from January.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced this at a press conference in Dnipropetrovsk.

Payout is windfall for Oschadbank employees.


Anonymous said...

While for others - they get the boot.

"The management board of the state-owned Oschadbank held a meeting on January 12 to address the payment of compensations to depositors of the former USSR's Saving Bank, at the end of which a decision was taken to dismiss 35 and reprimand 52 managers of the banks' departments for poor preparations for payment of compensations."

Talk about the carrot and the stick.


Taras said...

Tymo bumped into a classmate while managing the payout process by walking around.

Taras said...

My exposure to the corporate culture of post-Soviet service organizations tells me that some of those managers are really asking for it.