Home > Uncategorized > Where did all the Ukrainian refugees go…?

Where did all the Ukrainian refugees go…?

russiaThe population of Russia is growing again – because Russia accepts millions of Ukrainian refugees. Russia is supposed to be a world-class bully again – but if so (and it is indeed making things in Syria even more vicious than ‘we’ already did…) it is clearly playing outside its league. It is a country with a dwindling population and a dwindling GDP. But while preparing the graph above, I wondered why, after the post 1990 demographic catastrophe (look here  for a The Lancet article about the neoliberal, privatization related origins of this tragedy) the Russian population had not declined more than it did. The answer: immigration. Recently, Russia seems to have absorbed 3 million refugees from Ukraine, which were to quite an extent resettled in Siberia where they seem to be badly needed to boost Agricultural output. Not your destination of choice? Well, anything better than ‘The Jungle’ in Calais… I’m not a friend of a despot like Putin. But giving refugees a chance (even a forced chance like this) to build houses and a life seems more positive and productive than demolishing their shelters, which is what the EU just did in Calais. Which is exactly what seems to be  happening in the EU. Poland accepted hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees too, by the way, by giving them temporary rights to work.


  1. F. Kautz
    November 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Immigration? How about invasion and annexation? The Russian invasion of Crimea would add about 2 million Ukrainian “immigrants” to the tally. If you add the Ukrainians in the eastern Donbass region under defacto Russian control as a result of their proxy war there, you could quickly approach 3 million that Russia may be claiming are “immigrants.”

    • merijntknibbe
      November 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      I totally agree that Russia is an imperial state, at the moment. I do not even exclude the possibility that one of the reasons they actively destabilize Ukraine is to create refugees. Mind: i state Í do not exclude’. If this is the case is beyond criminal. My idea: let all the people along the entire Russian border vote to whih country they want to belong (including of course the Russian side of the border). But this does not alter the fact that 3 million people moved to Russia (the Crimeans are not included in that figure).

  2. World Commenter
    November 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    You have to remember what “voting” in the Russian Federation really means, it is a rubber stamp of what the Kremlin wants to project to the World and has little or nothing to do with what local people really want.

    • merijntknibbe
      November 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Is there anything in my piece which suggests that I’m not aware of this? When I propose a vote (maybe not very realistic at this moment but a possible alternative to the present mess) I of course mean a honest vote. But to press the main point of the article: Russia has a dwindling and ageing population (though life expectancy of especially males, who die young in Russia, is increasing dramatically). And Putin seems to have understood that people are scarce.

  3. November 1, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Someone actually believes Russia instigated the coup in the Ukraine? It was a US State Dept operation from stem to stern designed to provoke Russia. The only problem was that, just as in the other “regime change” actions taken by the USA, the results did not match the expectations.

    • November 1, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      And that coming from the otherwise quite rational and well informed merijntknibbe is a bit troubling. But no mattter, the truth is quite obvious to any discerning observer and if merijntknibbe wants to play fool he may have a good reason to do it.

      • merijntknibbe
        November 1, 2016 at 8:14 pm

        What do you consider to be the truth?

      • November 2, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        My version of the truth starts with seeing a video clip of US senator McCain of Arizona at a dinner in Ukraine with a large room raising their arms in nazi salute.

        I do not know much yet I somehow have gleaned that Vice President Biden’s son is on the board of a Ukrainian fracking enterprise along with a relative of Ambassador Kerry. These are rumors in news of course, yet I saw the footage, somewhere.

        The west attacked the Russian east and is now also attempting to attack through Syria using al-Queda moderates as invader insurgents.

        The US has killed 20 million people and destroyed many democracies since 1945. Do not believe one word of propaganda from a military empire that started with genocide of indigenous nations and still has a problem with former slaves.

  4. Paul Schächterle
    November 1, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Why do I have to read NATO war propaganda, now also on this blog? Please stop this! Focus on economics or we have to open a huge can of worms.

    • merijntknibbe
      November 1, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      What do you consider to be NATO propaganda?

      • Paul Schächterle
        November 2, 2016 at 12:21 am

        In the article: “supposed to be a world-class bully”, “indeed making things in Syria even more vicious”.
        In the comments: “invasion”, “annexation”, “imperial country” etc.

        This is indeed a “complex” topic. It is not suited to be discussed in this forum IMHO. Otherwise we would have to discuss many many hotly debated topics, all related to the image of Russia in the West. This would create a uncomfortable atmosphere and distract from the topics this forum is about.

        Of course I am not arguing against writing about economic issues, including the movement of people. But I am arguing against needlessly making highly debatable political statements.

    • nitroglycol
      November 1, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      How does a post that praises Russia for accepting refugees from Ukraine constitute “NATO war propaganda”? Oh right, I forgot. This post presents Russia as a complex country with a mixed foreign policy record like other countries, and to certain people showing Russia as anything less than saintly is playing into the hands of the Yanks.

      Of course, the world is way more complicated than that, but don’t tell that to Paul.

      • Anna Zimmerman
        November 2, 2016 at 7:32 am

        Paul is quite right to point out that referring to Putin as a ‘despot’ is giving too much credence to NATO propaganda. There are two main problems with this view. Firstly, it imputes far too much power to Putin, who has been perennially hamstrung by a politically strong pro-Atlanticist faction, the remnants of Yeltsin’s era. His supposed supremacy was always a function of Western ignorance of Russian politics. Secondly it implies that he lacks personal support, when he is in fact hugely popular amongst Russians, whilst support for the Atlanticists has dwindled considerably. Last time I looked ‘despot’ implied cruel and authoritarian leadership against the popular will, but this terminology is belied by the facts on the ground.

  5. November 2, 2016 at 8:10 am

    There are plenty of blogs where you can express your opinion on Putin, etc.

    • November 2, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      The world economy cannot be discussed while ignoring the environmental and social destruction of eternal war. The world economy uses 1.5 Earths. Economists need to clarify how long humanity can survive in negative balance and how violent Europe and north America are and have been.

      Economics that assumes away eternal war as the number one polluter on Earth is for yesterday.

      • November 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm

        OK. But what relation with Putin ?

  6. November 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    hello guerrien

    “I’m not a friend of a despot like Putin.” merijntknibbe used this term in an interesting article that exposed a surprising belief of western propaganda obscuring destabilization and a coup in Ukraine funded by the US and supported by Germany shortly before an election that would have replaced the existing president anyway.

    Be it Ukraine, Syria, Puerto Rico, Honduras or Mexico — What makes millions of people flee their country, homes, family and friends?

    I agree that leading personalities are a side issue and that discussing a world economy clearly resulting in destruction of Earth can be side-tracked by heated personality partisanship. Even so, if economists are going to provide real leadership away from a system that is making Earth uninhabitable and economically perverse; then the ideology, propaganda and unending wars of western Europe and north America will need to be addressed as a key first step rather than an avoided subject.

    • merijntknibbe
      November 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Dear Garret,

      I do not agree with you that being sympathetic toward mr P. is a lithmus test of ‘leftism’ and of being immune to NATO propaganda. There are many reasons why we should not look upon mr. P. with any kind of sympathy.

      • November 3, 2016 at 10:43 pm

        Hello merijntknibbe,

        Firstly, I read all of your articles that I see. Next, I am not a fan of Putin and don’t know much about him except what I read and occasionally encounter on the web. I am from the US, a Californian. Sometimes I think you are European, it’s a big world. I recently read “Does Russia have a Future?” by Gilbert Doctorow. He provides an interesting perspective.

        One of our presidential candidates here has referred to mr p as worse than adolph. International tensions lead a Russian aircraft carrier with attending fleet to the Mediterranean sea, presumably to shelter in near the Syrian airbase. The aircraft carrier has quite few helicopters, perhaps for rescuing downed pilots. Who knows what a Russian missile fleet does when its back is to the wall? Who wants to find out?

        I believe immunity to NATO and US propaganda requires continuous vigil. With respect and gratitude for all that I have learned from you, a military confrontation with the vast rail linked inner continent of Eurasia is a very dangerous idea. We are each limited to one life’s perception. Western military aggression is diverting energy from finishing what a mature society would choose in Ukraine; the largest moving structure ever built, the new temporary sarcophagus over Chernobyl.

        Russia was helping at Chernobyl and now the US Nato alliance is delaying it at best. Very unwise to let Chernobyl and Fukushima fall from first place attention. Please correct me if I am wrong about the sarcophagus, maybe the US has pushed full speed ahead and spent billions on sealing off Chernobyl for the next one hundred years.

      • merijntknibbe
        November 4, 2016 at 7:50 am

        Dear Garret,

        agree with all this.


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