News / Economy

Ukrainian Businesses Look for Alternatives to Russia

Ukrainian Businesses Look for Alternatives to Russiai
X
August 18, 2014 11:42 PM
With tensions continuing to rise with Russia, Ukrainian businesses are looking for opportunities elsewhere. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports on the economic changes taking place in Ukraine from the eastern town of Kharkiv, near the Russian border.
Gabe Joselow

With tensions continuing to rise with Russia, Ukrainian businesses are looking for opportunities elsewhere. 

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, near the Russian border, economic change is underway.  On a warm summer's day riding the cable cars at an amusement park in Kharkiv, you would never guess there is a war going on next door.

Just a few hundred kilometers from here the Ukrainian military is battling pro-Russian separatists in a months-long conflict that has divided the country.

Kharkiv has remained relatively peaceful despite the conflict in neighboring Donetsk province, but the economy has taken a hit because of tensions with Russia.

So, business owners are looking for opportunities elsewhere.

Industries in places like Kharkiv were built around serving the needs of the former Soviet Union.  Ukraine still exports about 25 percent of its products to Russia.

These include agricultural goods like sunflower seed oil, as well as other food and heavy machinery.

But new Russian trade restrictions on Ukrainian products have started to affect local businesses.

Dmytro Kutovyi runs a successful construction business in Kharkiv, his wife owns a popular upscale cafe, and they are active with a leading civil society forum.

“Probably in the short perspective, the Ukrainian economy will suffer losses because cooperation with Russia has lessened and in some fields has stopped," Kutovyi said. "But nothing extremely awful has happened during these months.”

Russia has already put restrictions on food imports from Ukraine and exporters have complained about new, prohibitive customs requirements to access Russian markets.

Kutovy says the increased pressure from Moscow has encouraged businesses in Kharkiv to start looking increasingly inward to Ukraine for opportunities.

“No economy can be dependent on one, even a really large, customer," he said. "Even now, companies are slowly starting to work on the domestic market, which is traditionally important for such fields as the defense industry.”

One of Kharkiv's biggest industries is the production of military vehicles bought by Russia.  Ironically, the rebels fighting against the Ukrainian military are accused of using Russian-supplied equipment.

A new regional administration is focusing on shifting the defense industry to support the local economy, as well as the country's armed forces.

The head of the Kharkiv state authority, Igor Baluta, says the industry was long neglected under the previous government.

“Things for many years have been falling into pieces, say, sabotaged, by the leaders of the Ministry of Defense.  We are trying to restore it now,” he said.

The new government of President Petro Poroshenko has agreed to trade deals with the European Union to encourage more economic cooperation with the West.

But Russia remains the economic powerhouse in the region, its greatest leverage stemming largely from the supply of natural gas.

In the meantime, as war rages, Kharkiv is optimistic the most promising business horizon is at home. 

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8157
JPY
USD
119.96
GBP
USD
0.6402
CAD
USD
1.1629
INR
USD
63.200

Rates may not be current.