On January 11 Ukrainians started to get compensation of depreciated deposits placed before January 2, 1992 at the former Soviet savings bank. Compensation for Soviet-time savings was one of pre-election promises of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ukrainians are to be given 105 hryvnias, or more than $20, for 100 Soviet rubles. Alyaksandr Lukashenka by his decree offered an exchange rate of 199 Belarusian rubles (or 9.3 cents) for 100 Soviet rubles. It’s 215 times less!
On January 10 Oschadbank (the State Savings Bank of Ukraine) has got the first tranche of budget funds for payment of the compensation in 2008, about $200 millions.
A resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers envisages to pay compensations for a total sum of 6 billion hryvnas in 2008, while 5.76 million hryvnas will be paid to depositors, and 0.24 billion to inheritors of late clients.
The payments will be made in keeping with the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of January 9, 2008 on payment to Ukrainian citizens in 2008 of compensation of their losses from depreciation of money deposits made before January 2, 1992 at the offices of the former Soviet savings bank and state insurance agency in the territory of Ukraine, as well as the bonds of the 1990 state interest-free loan, the state treasury bills of the USSR, and the certificates of the Soviet savings bank purchased in the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Ukrainians will get up to 1,000 hryvnias ($200) in cash for their Soviet-time savings. One Soviet ruble will be equivalent to 1.05 hryvnias. Those who held over 1,000 hryvnias in their accounts will be able to receive the rest of their money later in non-cash payments, such as vouchers that would offset utility bills, the government says.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet of Ministers is drafting one more resolution, in accordance with which the citizens can use savings for offset of debts and current payment of housing and communal services, pay for children’s study and buy durable goods. That is the way the Government has chosen for return of remaining savings in order to withhold inflation and prevent devaluation of money returned to the people.
Tymoshenko stated she would vacate the position of the head of the cabinet if she won’t return savings to citizens at Soviet bank in two years.
Meanwhile, as we have informed, in Belarus depositors of the former Soviet savings bank are treated in Soviet style. Or it’s better to say in Lukashenka’s style. Less than $10 is offered for 10,000 soviet rubles, while in 1980 a two-room cooperative apartment could have been bought for this sum. People were saving money to buy an apartment for many years, and now they are offered to buy half a kilo of sausage.
In 1994 one of the main issues in Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s election agenda was “compensation of the population’s lost deposits according to the currency exchange rate of ruble to dollar in 1985” (that is, one US dollar for one Soviet ruble). And notably, Lukashenka promised to give back money partially in TV sets and refrigerators. By the way, there are so many TV sets and refrigerators in Belarusian warehouses now.
The time will show whether Ukrainian prime minister will manage to keep the promise. “People’s president” has deceived Belarusian citizens shamelessly.