Sputnkik News, Feb 26, 2015 (and other reports further below)
The rapid devaluation of the hryvnia has triggered a panic amongst Ukrainian consumers, prompting people to “storm” supermarkets and pharmacies.
The Ukrainian currency has already lost 70 percent of its value, triggering a “consumer panic” in the country. Ukrainians are stockpiling food and medicine, scouring the shelves for sugar, cooking oil, flour, canned products, cakes and frozen chickens. Most of these products have already disappeared from Ukrainian stores.
Local media outlets depict a gloomy picture of people standing in queues for hours, cursing and jostling each other. The panic has emerged in the last few days in Kiev and other cities of the country: cheap products such as coffee, tea and sunflower oil have vanished from the shelves due to consumer hysteria.
Ukrainian stores have already introduced rationing of basic products in order to reduce the negative impact caused by the nationwide panic. Restrictions have been introduced for goods like cooking oil, flour and sugar; with retailers allowed to sell only two bottles of oil and three to five kilograms of flour and sugar per person.
Experts warn Ukrainian consumers against stockpiling flour and cereals, suggesting that the cost of these products is unlikely to rise drastically. They recommend buying caviar, medicine and alcohol – products which are becoming more and more expensive due to the hryvnia’s continuous slide.
Meanwhile, the exchange rate of the hryvnia is falling steadily. The gap between the US dollar and the Ukrainian currency has widened tremendously over the past two days. Banks are currently buying the dollar for 32.8 hryvnias and selling it for 26.5 hryvnias, trying to slow down the speed of the devaluation.
Ukraine is in a deep political and economic crisis, balancing on the brink of default. The hryvnia’s sharp devaluation is only adding fuel to the fire, making the prospects of the country’s economy bleak and unpredictable.
- Because of rising prices Ukrainians empty shops, Ukraine Online, Feb 25, 2015
- Luhansk, Donetsk moving away from failing Ukrainian hryvnia, Sputnik News, Feb. 26, 2015
- Kiev introduces rationing, as falling hryvnia causes shopping binge, RT.com, February 25, 2015
Ukrainian supermarkets have imposed rationing of basic products after the drastic fall in the value of the hryvnia. The currency has lost 70 percent of its value causing people to stockpile food and buy electronics as a hedge.
Restrictions apply for goods such as cooking oil, flour and sugar, Ukraine’s news agency UNN reports Wednesday. Retailers may sell no more than two bottles of sunflower oil, and two packs of buckwheat per customer and, depending on the store, from 3 to 5 kilograms of flour and sugar. Bread, rice, potatoes, meat and milk are not yet rationed, but are not so plentiful on supermarket shelves.
“Financial Maidan” in Kiev violently dispersed by riot police (with video)
Translated report from Ukraine media, by J. Hawk, on Fort Russ website, Feb. 26, 2015
The “Financial Maidan” was a protest staged at the National Bank of Ukraine to protest the crash of the hryvnya and the resulting impoverishment of masses of people. Earlier in the day, Kiev mayor Klichko accused the demonstrators of being “Russian provocateurs” and expressed puzzlement as to why anyone would protest higher utility costs and prices, as well as lower wages. Then he unleashed riot police on the demonstrators. Note that the demonstrators are quite unlike the “European Maidan” ones, in that you don’t see masked thugs waving neo-Nazi banners, only ordinary people suffering from the policies of the government. Judging by the high emotions, one should expect a repeat in the coming days. Possibly on a larger scale.
You can sense, however, that European values have taken root in Ukraine! Shortly after the 5:00 mark, one of the police kindly informs the demonstrators that “if anyone hits us, we’ll shoot. I’m just telling you.” No, there will be none of the Yanukovych-style brutality.
On the other hand, when one of the protesters asks the police “aren’t you concerned that what you are doing right now might be declared unlawful by the next government?”, the police don’t seem to have an answer…