Families in Eastern Europe

ISBN: 978-0-76231-116-3, eISBN: 978-1-84950-279-5

ISSN: 1530-3535

Publication date: 30 December 2004


The experience of the first decade of state independence changed the mood of the Ukrainian people from hope and enthusiasm to frustration and apathy. The reasons for this are manifold, including widespread corruption and the evident failure of Ukrainian democracy. For most families, the major challenge was the severe economic crisis of the 1990s. A combination of factors led to economic decline and stagnation, a dramatic decrease in the standards of living, and economic and social insecurity. Firstly, the Soviet system and its common economic space of which the Ukraine was a deeply integrated member, collapsed. Following this downfall, there was a persisting dependence on Russia in terms of oil and gas supplies. What is more, Ukrainians lacked a clear strategy for economic reforms and a political will to enforce them. Finally, a business elite, interested in suspending privatization and in blocking the implementation of a viable rule of law, was formed. Although the official unemployment rate is rather low (3.8% in 2002), the estimated rate according to the ILO (International Labour Office) methodology is over 9.8% (Uryadovy Kuryer, 28.02.2003). Estimations including those who are employed but on “administrative leave” raise the total unemployment rate to almost 24% (ILO, 2001). Permanent delays in the payments of salaries, pensions and social allowances became normal practice during the 1990s. Moreover, inflation and monetary reform devaluated the saving of most families. Economic insecurity forced many to look for low wage jobs and to enter informal and often illegal businesses. Between 1.5 and 2 million Ukrainians are working abroad, most of them in the low-skilled labor force.


Zhurzhenko, T. (2004), "FAMILIES IN THE UKRAINE:BETWEEN POSTPONED MODERNIZATION, NEO-FAMILIALISM AND ECONOMIC SURVIVAL", Robila, M. (Ed.) Families in Eastern Europe (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 187-209. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1530-3535(04)05012-5

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