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Karachi

May 9, 2017

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‘People do miss socialist era in Ukraine’

‘People do miss socialist era in Ukraine’

People who are old enough do miss the era of socialism in Ukraine when it was a constituent of the USSR as the living of every citizen there was subsidised by the state and the individual was provided all necessities of life. His welfare was the total responsibility of the state.

This was stated by Dr Olena Bordilovska, associate professor at the Institute of International Relations, Kyiev Taras Shevchenko National University, while speaking at a roundtable discussion on Monday evening at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) in reply to a question in that regard. Her talk was titled, “Foreign Policy of Independent Ukraine”.

She said people who were old enough did miss that era most nostalgically because the state took responsibility for the welfare of every citizen and life was far easier then, but that could not be said for the youngsters, the under-25s, as they had not seen the socialist era and thus were not able to speak about it.

Presently, Dr Bordilovska said, they had the system whereby there were institutions in the private sector too, apart from government universities and hospitals in the public sector.

Presenting a profile of Ukraine, she said that it was the “biggest country in Europe”, with a population of 43 million and a landmass of 603.700 square kilometers. Ukraine, she said, was a founding member of the United Nations (1945) and the WTO (2008).

Talking about Ukraine’s foreign policy, she said Ukraine did not participate in any Russia-led integrational projects.

She said that currently, Ukraine attached a lot of importance to its ties and cooperation with Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), and every year joint military exercises with the organisation were held.

She said Ukraine’s Europe-oriented policy did not restrict development of relationships with other regions of the world. She said South Asia, China and other countries of the region figured prominently. She said there were lots of Pakistani students in Ukraine, mostly studying medicine and engineering.

Dr Bordilovska said Ukraine was broadening trade and economic cooperation avenues and the giant AN-132-N aircraft that had been developed with the Saudi Arabian Corporation had just been test-flown.

“Right now our army stands at 250,000, the largest in Europe,” she said.

Recently, she said, the European parliament had voted to give Ukraine a visa-free status. She said cooperation within the region was carried on within the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Asked by a questioner about Ukraine’s stand on the Kashmir issue, she said: “No. Ukraine has never participated in this debate. Can’t say anything about Kashmir.”

When pressed by the questioner for a definite answer who cited the gross human rights violations taking place in Kashmir, like state-sponsored killings, physical torture and rape, she replied, “Human Rights violations have been taking place all over the world and cited human rights violations in Crimea when Russia “annexed” it.

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