High time “dead souls” stopped determining the fate of the country – Oleksandr Opanasenko

The 21st century Ukraine is the place where the characters of the Ukrainian genius Mykola Hohol come to life. Officials and politicians are now successfully using the schemes of Mr. Chichikov, deceiving citizens and manipulating figures for their own interests.

The authorities do not know how many people they should take care of

In response to a seemingly simple question – how many people live in Ukraine now – we hear extremely different figures – from 36 to 42 million. The difference of 6 million is not only surprising and puzzling, but also alarming. So, the authorities do not know how many people they should take care of? How then can the country be successfully managed, and how the standard of living of taxpayers can be improved?

Moreover, the ignorance does not affect the appetites of higher ranks, because the amount of funds spent on the state apparatus is growing every year. Thus, in the state budget of 2014 it was about 27.4 billion hryvnias, whereas in 2017 we already have 56.6 billion. Consequently, in three years this figure doubled. And this is in a country where officials cannot count the number of citizens!

In order to possess real data on the number of the population and its age composition, it is necessary to carry out a population census on time. The UN recommends doing this every 10 years, because without a census it is impossible to predict either real economic prospects of the country or foresee labor potential, improve the investment climate or strengthening local self-government.

Therefore, it goes without saying that any adequate authorities should be interested in regularly updating this information. However, our statesmen seem to have their own motives. The proof of this is the fact that the census was due in 2011, that is six years ago (!). Yet, according to the Cabinet of Ministers’ decree issued in 2015, the census is likely to be carried out only in 2020 – that is only after the presidential and parliamentary elections!

Millions of taxpayers’ money is already being allocated for the census planned in 2020.

What do the elections have to do with this? Knowledge of the real state of affairs in the country helps avoid manipulation with “dead souls” – ghost voters – people who only exist on paper. Presently these “dead souls” do not only provide the authorities with the “votes” for those whom the latter need, but also receive pensions and social benefits at the expense of taxpayers. As a result, this leads to large-scale theft of budget funds.

Who can count today how many fake pensioners receive pensions illegally? How many so-called internally displaced people enjoy benefits and subsidies not being eligible to them?

Therefore, every missed population census gives state officials the opportunity to correct any numbers at their discretion and create corrupt schemes.

However, this is not the whole story yet. Every year considerable funds are allocated to prepare for the census, which has been postponed for six years in a row. The money is spent on the development of computer programs for the State Statistics Service, the production of cartographic material, wages to temporary workers. As of 2012, the census “ate” 52 million public funds. Up to date, this amount must have grown drastically.

It’s high time “dead souls” stopped determining the fate of the country!

How do we stop this arbitrariness?

We need to conduct an honest (!) census as soon as possible. The key word is honest. The data obtained will finally allow us to adopt a fair budget, provide assistance to those who need it, and compile current voter lists in which there will be no “dead souls” to whom our dishonest politicians are so used

Without a population census, we are doomed to walk in circles and see one and the same faces in the parliament, the government, and the President’s Administration for years to go.

Do you want that? I’m sure you don’t. Let’s jointly force the first persons of the state to make decisions on the conduct of an all-Ukrainian census in the near future, to change the law on elections and make changes to the composition of the Central Electoral Commission.

It’s high time “dead souls” stopped determining the fate of the country!

Oleksandr Opanasenko
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