Harsh reality of Ukraine's disappearing villages

Author : Dmytro Duma

Source : 112 Ukraine

For the last 26 years, 461 administrative rural units have disappeared from Ukraine’s map - about 18 villages per year
17:15, 13 June 2016

Every year, about 18 villages and urban-type villages disappear from the map of Ukraine.

According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine as of January 1, 2016 there are 28,385 villages and 885 urban-type villages in Ukraine (excluding the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol). Compared with 1990 (28 804 rural settlements and 927 urban-type villages), the number of villages has decreased by 419 units, and urban-type villages by 42. For the last 26 years, 461 administrative rural units have disappeared from Ukraine’s map. Accordingly, 17.73 rural units disappear every year. However, this statistical information, de facto, cannot be belittled.

If we take into account the study: "The number of villages in Ukraine and its regions in 1991-2013," conducted by "Tyzhden.UA" portal we will get even more amazing results. In 1991, 641 villages, including 40 urban-type villages and 601 village, have vanished from with the map of Ukraine. So now we have 29.1 rural units per year.

The fact remains that the villages in our country are dying at an astonishing pace.

Personal observations

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the villages in different areas, and watch a considerable number of video interviews with the Ukraine’s villagers. In general, the situation is identical in almost all country’s regions. The author divided the recorded observations into three blocks: social status, infrastructure and public sentiment.

Social status

Here is the quote of one of the residents: "... The pension is 1100-1200 UAH (39 - 42 Euro). Your living is in your hands. We are left in the lurch. Especially when you suffer from heart diseases and diabetes." The words of another resident of a village: "You need a hour to reach the doctor. And then, when you come, hear these words: "We cannot help you, go home to die."


Most of the villages face the similar challenges: no buses, shops, schools, kindergartens, clubs, and places of cultural activities. Some villages are not connected to the gas pipelines. Usually, the villagers do not have the financial capabilities to pay for gas, apart from normal roads and owning a car.

Related: Canadian photo artist showed collapse of Ukrainian village

The mood of the population

Young people are trying to find a job in the city or abroad. There are only farmers and their families in the villages. Older people who are over 30-40 years old, regularly say that it is better not to live at all. People are only saving money to pay for the funeral services. Indeed, it is just impossible to survive in such circumstances.

Finding the explanations

The inhabitants of various villages explain that this situation village is beneficial to the state and companies with large capital. People believe that the technology of latent (hidden) genocide of Ukrainian village was pre-programmed. Its purpose is minimizing the number of villages and the rural population and giving the fertile lands to the monopolists and foreign investors. As for the able-bodied people, they are used as a cheap labor. This is a new kind of economic expansion, they say.

Related: Only two people left in northern village of Donetsk region

Young people are against this scenario of the public collusion. The village is losing its competitive ability. From an economic point of view, there are no prospects in the village: the skilled jobs, interesting leisure facilities, and infrastructure. Young people are not interested, they do not see their future development in the village. The process of "extinction" of the village could be explained with the globalist tendencies. IT-technologies and intellectual work in the office are more valuable than the subsistence economy, work in the field or on the farm. Therefore, young people see their future in the city life, or somewhere abroad.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of governmental rural programs on is low, and Ukrainian village is dying. Rural dreams disappear. Families move. Long traditions become just the historical facts.

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