Be­tween the rich and the poor

Why Ukraine’s mid­dle class has not yet be­come a so­cio-eco­nomic foun­da­tion of the coun­try

The Ukrainian Week - - ECONOMICS - Lyubomyr Shava­lyuk

Imag­ine an av­er­age mid­dle class rep­re­sen­ta­tive. What do you see? A farmer in a clean shirt be­hind the wheel of an im­ported trac­tor, his hands not stained with oil, his face not ex­press­ing un­cer­tainty in the fu­ture? A doc­tor in a neat white coat, fo­cused on the pa­tients' prob­lems, with­out an ab­sent look be­tray­ing an­noy­ing thoughts on how to scrounge a bribe to pro­vide for his fam­ily? A pro­fes­sor, who is so im­mersed in his stud­ies that some­times he loses touch with re­al­ity, but not over where to find can­di­dates for tu­tor­ing or how to make his stu­dents pay for his study guides? A small en­tre­pre­neur, owner of a cozy cof­fee shop, where hip­sters flock at night?

Find­ing a col­lec­tive im­age of a mid­dle class Ukrainian is not an easy task. Prac­ti­cally no ac­tiv­ity and no pro­fes­sion in Ukraine guar­an­tee a sta­ble and de­cent level of in­come that is typ­i­cal of the mid­dle class. This prob­lem is so com­plex that it is dif­fi­cult to spell it out com­pletely.

To be­gin with, what is the mid­dle class? It is a rather in­tel­lec­tual, ab­stract cat­e­gory. De­fined sim­ply, the mid­dle class is formed by those who earn enough to meet the usual

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