IMF pushes for more social cuts in Ukraine
31 August 2018
The Ukrainian government of President Petro Poroshenko is facing a serious economic crisis as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is demanding ever greater social cuts.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the various oligarchic bourgeois regimes that have ruled the country have accepted IMF funding in exchange for carrying out a series of “reforms,” such as the privatization of state-owned industries and elimination of government subsidies, all carried out at the expense of the working class.
The current IMF program, under which Ukraine has received only $8.7 billion of a potential $17.5 billion, is scheduled to expire in March of next year. The IMF has not released any funds to the country since April 2017.
The current sticking point is the elimination of household gas subsidies. Any rise in consumer prices would be correctly seen by Ukraine’s working class as an even further lowering of their already precarious living standards.
After initially agreeing to raise household gas prices, Poroshenko has repeatedly continued a freeze on consumer gas prices and most recently set a new deadline of September 1 for continued government subsidies.
The government argues that without an injection of funds from the IMF, the government may start defaulting on paychecks for government workers. As of July, the country had already begun delaying pension payments to retirees causing widespread dissatisfaction.
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman blamed the delays on the incompetence of the country’s pension fund managers, rather than any critical drop in the stability of the Poroshenko regime, and promised an investigation.
A significant percentage of Ukraine’s elderly population relies on…