Posts Tagged ‘survivors guide’


Hryvnia devalutation almost a certainty before the year end

October 23, 2012

On 2nd January 2012, I wrote this, stating that the Hryvnia needed to devalue to between UAH 10 or UAH 11 to US$ 1 by mid 2013.

Since then I wrote this, on 1st July 2012 stating it would need to devalue to UAH 9 to US$1 by the end of 2012 and this on 22 August 2012 underscoring what I have previously written.

I am not an economist, nor banker and would never give financial advise to others.  That said, as part of my Business Management degree, of course economics were necessarily part of the studies – albeit hardly to a depth to make the forecasts I have made at the beginning of 2012 have any credibility as far as any readers are concerned – and rightly so.

So, I will now at least add some credibility to my projection 11 months ago, by bringing this Bloomberg article of 22nd October to your attention.

In it, Alexander Morozov of HSBC Moscow, predicts a 10% devaluation of the Hryvnia by the year end after the elections.  That 10% devaluation will take the Hyrvnia to just about UAH 9 to US$ 1 – just as I wrote so very long ago and in the time frame I stated.  Hurray for me!

Further, just as I wrote on 2nd January 2012, Mr Morozov states that the Hryvnia will need to devalue to UAH 11 to US$1 by end of 2013.  Hurray for me – again!

He generously allows an additional 6 months for this to happen over my prediction – but then our predictions were 10 months apart in their making – so I will bow to both his expertise and his access to information that I don’t have.

Nevertheless, it would seem that my predictions from beginning to end of 2012 relating to the Hryvnia are now supported by those who should know – albeit that support is somewhat late in coming.

It seems the last quarter of 2013 will be the earliest to consider jumping back into the Hryvnia in a serious way as there is little likelihood of a recovery in the rate before then, but a continued devaluation until then is much more likely.


William Hague on UK Foreign Policy

September 11, 2011

Sometimes you can tell when people enjoy their job. Maybe they don’t enjoy it all the time but there are moments in which they positively rejoice in a certain task.

Here is William Hague’s speech on the UK FCO and UK foreign policy from a few days ago.

No, I am not talking about Mr Hague enjoying his job. He may well do but it is not him to whom I refer. I am talking about the FCO speech writer who was tasked with writing this speech for Mr Hague.

You can almost feel the delighted flicks of quill on paper/fingers dancing on keyboard, as the D Miliband and T Blair sidelining of institution and continuity is consigned to the wastepaper basket of particularly dumb ideas and the reinstalling of institutional continuity of knowledge and relationships returned to its rightful place.

Now that sounds like a very partisan thing to write, however it must be remembered that politicians come and go, often at very short notice (if they fiddle their expenses or are caught in a compromising position with somebody they ought not to be) so there is much to be said in favour of the civil service, particularly the FCO, when it comes to retaining the longevity of collective and individual knowledge and relationships with foreign states and supra-structures such as the UN, NATO and the EU.

There is even more to be said for circulating the FCO staff in regions in which they gain knowledge and personal relationships. There would be little point to having a mandarin fluent in Russian working within the FSU region where currently all leaders, opposition and captains of industry still know each other from the days of the USSR and send them to Bangladesh on their next posting (even if that is where they want to go). It seems rather unlikely that an FCO mandarin with extensive knowledge and contacts within the FSU could put that knowledge and their command of Russian to greater effect in Bangladesh unless they happen to be able to speak West Bengali or any other commonly used language in that region as well and be so personable that they can easily take over an existing network and gain the same level of trust and understanding of said network.

Of course all relevant and salient issues can be recorded for those who follow but that never takes the place of any personal relationships that are built completely. Just as much as a tap on the shoulder at a drinks party or in a university library can begin a career, so do the personal connections made with opposite numbers in far off lands once that career has started.

Anyway, enough of pointing out the poor decisions of D Miliband and T Blair in respect to the FCO. Hopefully the speech writer’s words that came out of Mr Hague’s mouth will become a reality.

Somewhat coincidently, having clearly stated the FCO will not outsource foreign policy to the EU entity run by Baroness Ashton, it would appear that a call from Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain for a permanent EU military HQ is gathering steam, again under Baroness Ashton. Considering Mr Hague’s previous statement on this matter “I have made very clear that the United Kingdom will not agree to a permanent operational HQ. We will not agree to it now and we will not agree to it in the future. That is a red line.” we may soon see just how good British diplomacy is, for it will surely be tested publicly on this matter.

Given Ukraine has a declared non-aligned military status, any form of EU Army and guaranteed commitment to it on full mambership would become a serious stumbling block for Ukraine’s full entry into the EU as far as current Ukrainian positions go.

Time will tell of course. By 2025 – 2030 which is the earliest realistic time frame for full EU membership (if it is ever actually sought) the positions of Ukraine may be quite different and the EU, if it still exists, may be quite a different animal from today and not worth joining as a full member.

Nevertheless, bravo to a victory for common sense as far as the speech and FCO policy goes. Let us see if the words become deeds.


PayPal in Ukraine and Russia

August 30, 2011

It has always seemed something of a pain for the few US citizens I know that PayPal did not work in Ukraine and Russia.

There is a rumour that from 24th September 2011, I will no longer have to listen to their incessant whining about this and PayPal will now operate in both nations.

I hope the rumour is true!


Disability Laws in Ukraine change‏

July 8, 2011

As tempting as it is to continue to cover the absolute farce that is the Tymoshenko trial, a farce that is compounded by the actions of Tymoshenko herself actually within a sitting courtroom, I like many people here are becoming tired of it. When something worthy of legal note occurs, I shall return to the matter, but in the meantime it serves no purpose to bore you even further with it.

Instead I will turn my attention to a subject closer to my heart that bypasses the polarised political figures all of whom seem to have no respect for the law when it involves themselves.

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, plans to bring national legislation on the rights of disabled persons in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by the Ukrainian parliament on December 16, 2009.

Some 278 out of 382 MPs registered in parliament’s session hall on Tuesday supported at first reading a bill on amendments to some legislative acts on the rights of disabled people.

According to the draft law, the laws of Ukraine on the basis of the social protection of disabled people in Ukraine are amended with new definitions, and the terms “disability” and “disabled person” are defined under new wording on the basis of a social rather than a medical model of disability.

The bill establishes that educational institutions render educational services to disabled persons at an equal level to other persons, through ensuring proper staff and technical provisions.

The document foresees that the state promotes the development of sign language. In particular, the draft law defines sign language as a natural language of persons with hearing disorders.

In addition, according to the bill, the state government agencies and local government agencies must ensure the training of employees of the social protection of the public, law enforcement agencies, fire safety agencies, rescue services, and health care establishments so that they can obtain the required skills in sign language.

Very good. Hopefully the disabled infrastructure in the four Ukrainian cities hosting the Euro 2012 football tournament will also see a dramatic improvement. The laws though, existing and new, are all too often ignored or at best randomly inforced, particularly when it comes to construction and design regulations for new commercial and accommodation building.

Granted there is occasionally little that can be done with 200 year old architectural wonders within many Ukrainian cities, but new build? Why a entrances still not wheelchair friendly? Why are doors still not made 20 centimeters wider to allow wheelchair access with ease? Why are there so few disabled toilets in new buildings……notwithstanding having them on the ground floor rather than upstairs which prohibits wheelchair access anyway.

Why are such simple things not enforced upon architects and construction companies in Ukraine as a matter of course rather than exception? There are no great cost differences when taking such things into account in a design and build if done sensibly.

Why do EU companies in Ukraine completely ignore the disability issues that would see them sued continuously in their home nations? Why do I write so many letters to EU company head offices having to point this fact out? Where is the Odessa authorities and what actions are they taking to address this issue where they can (particularly with new build)?

Come on people, some of you were voted for by disabled people who fought a very unfriendly physical environment to go and vote for you or your colleagues. Whilst it is not always possible to change historical buildings (at least with ease) it is certainly possible to change those under construction and yet to be built!

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