Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winter of discontent brewing?

Big demo's were staged in Kyiv today by market traders and other small business owners protesting against proposed new tax codes.

'Segodnya' estimated between 30,000 and 50,000 took part in noisy but peaceful protests.

Similar scenes were seen in Khmelnytskyi, were maybe 10,000 protested in the main square [see photos here] Smaller demo's took place in other cities too.

These small-scale entrepreneurs form an important segment of the economy, providing employment for millions, particularly where other jobs are not available.They are now organising the biggest demo's seen since 2004.

These guys know that right now, the proposals in parliament are just that - proposals...Once the laws are passed there's no way back, hence today's big push.. The Azarov cabinet have ignored 'straws in the wind'.

'Nezavisimaya Gazeta' claims most analysts agree that the country is on the brink of default. The external debt of Ukraine at the end of the year will make up 41% of GDP: the load on the state budget on debt service is growing steadily and will reach its peak in 2013. The government is being tightly squeezed by its main creditor, the IMF, so, as in other countries, they are being forced to comply with the fund's demands and take very unpopular decisions, otherwise it will be impossible to keep within planned budget parameters.

'N.G' concludes: "But the attempt to pass these problems onto the shoulders of the most socially active [and resourceful?] ordinary citizens who were able to build up their own business in recent years could turn into a revolution, in which new political leaders could appear, experts admit."

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