Ukraine: Thoughts on Staying and Leaving

Global Voices Online
Thursday, January 4, 2007

LJ user chio - of Simferopol, Crimea - writes (RUS):

On life

A friend came for a visit recently - he had emigrated to New Zealand some five years ago as an already established businessman. He was shocked by what he saw around him. He was genuinely surprised by the rudeness of restaurant waiters. He couldn't believe it that when you just order a coffee, they don't notice you, but when you are acting extravagant, they get obsequious, fawning. He noted that Ukraine has completely lost its attractiveness because life and real estate are expensive there - even in New Zealand life is cheaper, what can you say when in the fall, apples here cost 6-7 hryvnias [slightly over a dollar per kilo], etc... He made fun of the abundance of expensive foreign-made cars, and other [...] attributes of success, and declared that in New Zealand, if people want to stand out, they try to distinguish themselves differently... And he left determined to sell what remains of his real estate here and never to come back...

Below are some responses:

9000: In New Zealand, what is it that he does?

chio: He has his own business, took him a lot to open it - worked hard, succeeded, at last. Bought several cars, delivers food from suppliers to supermarkets and large stores. The business has only recently became profitable. He works almost non-stop, without rest. There, it takes more than it does here to achieve something.

It used to be his childhood dream - to move to New Zealand. And he has managed to.

9000: Ok, I see. My friends left for Ecuador. Work online :) Polygraphic design and other internet services. A computer doesn't care where to stand. But I wouldn't want to go there to work as a programmer. In North America, it's easier. (And I'm prepared to do food deliveries only if there are no other options.)

chio: He was doing more or less the same here, too - distribution, only with more success. He, of course, doesn't drive his trucks himself - he provides jobs to New Zealanders... [...]


big_bang: I've noticed that people who travel a lot, gradually learn to take every country the way it is. Complaints about the rudeness of the French or the tardiness of Italians are most often heard from people who don't visit these countries frequently. If you constantly compare a country with your home and get upset about its drawbacks, you won't enjoy your travel at all. You can't change the whole world. The trick is to minimize the drawbacks and discover positive aspects. I mean, if you ignore the rudeness of the waiters in Ukraine and act a bit wasteful, it'll be a lot more fun.

bujik: This is what the secret of your tolerance is. I kept wondering - how come you never spit non-stop during your visits to Ukraine.


vbez: I work for Americans in Ukraine. A large company. Have worked for over five years already. In this time, a lot of people have left to the headquarters in the States. And even though they aren't paid a lot there and the work is boring, NO ONE has come back to Ukraine.

mxn: And you believed it. It's nothing but an excuse for his emigration! I, for example, don't remember being ignored when I'm drinking coffee in Simferopol. And excuse me, but there are practically no expensive foreign-made cars in Simferopol. I've seen a Ferrari once - at the airport's parking lot, but it had a Moscow license plate. [...]


mxn: I'm not arguing that it's way worse in Ukraine. I just felt that the arguments put forward by the comrade from New Zealand were artificial and rather emotional, and didn't reflect the reality. I actually think that all those who have left, made the right decision - because in the new country they found more opportunity for growth. [...]

chio: Of course, his arguments are emotional - he was sharing his fresh impressions, but I can't agree that they do not reflect the reality. They do reflect it. I didn't write about everthing that he paid attention to. And he doesn't really need to look for an excuse for his departure - he dreamed of moving to New Zealand since he was a kid, and his children and his family are feeling well there. [...]


mxn: As you know, I'm spending most of my time not in Crimea, either. [...] But i'm grateful to all the countries that life has put me in: to Ukraine for allowing me not to fear for my children's lives and health (in Moscow, I would have feared), and to Russia for allowing me to avoid poverty and become a co-owner of a good business, and to Kazakhstan for allowing this business to develop [...].

chio: There's a potential counterargument here... Gratitude is a good thing, but don't forget that to avoid poverty, you have to give up science and start doing things that are alien and not something you're used to, I think. Under different circumstances and in another country, you'd have probably been a professor and a laureate of something by now, you would have been traveling around the world and wouldn't have been scared for the lives and health of you loved ones just as well. But I don't feel like using this counterargument - I myself feel something similar... [...]


arcivi: I am grateful to the States because I can take a shower every day... ;) And I do not understand at all why I became not needed in my own country... [...]


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