My Wartime Diary. Kyiv, day 79th. The cost of living
I wish I could made this post yesterday as it has something to do with #MarketFriday. I'll tell you about how much life costs in Ukraine now, and how we deal with war challenges. But my market day is Saturday. 😏
I go there in the morning. I took my time for a cup of coffee, meanwhile I was thinking about the better way to do it. Should I go to the market by public transport or my own car. I wasn't delighted by the prospect to carry a heavy backpack and bags. Besides, not everything can be bought on the market, and only for cash. I have a little cash (it's another recent problem) so I had to go to the supermarket where I can use bank card. It's about 2 bus stops from the spot. People often have to wait a long time for a public transport. Municipal transport is still free, buses, trolleys, trams and subways, but from May 16 the passenger fare returns. Private transport has same prices yet, although it is very uncomfortable. So I hesitated. In the end, I neglected comfort and took public transport.
As you may know, there is a acute shortage of gasoline and a diesel in Ukraine. In the beginning of war, the government has imposed a moratorium on fuel prices. Therefore, fuel was really inexpensive, about 1 euro liter. But Russia is working hard to destroy Ukraine and its people. Therefore, they are shelling oil refineries and depots. Finally, this day has come. Prices have risen significantly, although they are still less than 2 euros per liter. Large network gas stations are either completely closed, or you can fill your car with coupons, but only with premium fuel and no more than 20 liters. For instance, my car isn't recommended to refuel with this fuel, especially constantly. This is how are things for ordinary people like me. Ambulances, police and military cars etc. are refueled out of turn, but I don't know under what conditions.
Many drivers have converted their cars to run on gas (LPG). This was beneficial to those who drive a lot, such as taxi drivers, because gas is the cheapest fuel.
At less popular gas stations, where fuel quality has not always been good, fuel is sometimes available. Today I passed by such a gas station. The queue of cars was at least 1 km long 😱 For the first time, I was really glad to use public transport... The queue was very slow. I saw same cars in a row moved forward for maybe 100 meters on my way back from farmer's market to my place. I suppose they'll wait for 3 hours, at least.
Assortment and choice
Of course, the choice has diminished. Many people became refugees. Those who remained did not always have favorable conditions for planting and growing vegetables. The season doesn't wait... There are still a lot of burnt equipment and unexploded ordnance and shells in our fields.
In addition, Russia occupied the south of Ukraine, where a lot of vegetables, fruits and wheat were grown. They sell some of these stocks in the Crimea, but that market is much smaller than the Ukrainian one. And Russia simply took the Ukrainian grain and transported it to Syria. Lots of grain. And they are bombing those elevators they couldn't rob.
Ukraine is trying to export the rest of its grain by rail to Europe, but foreign border crossings are not adapted to increase exports. Another way to export is through river ports on the Danube. That is why Russia is constantly bombing bridge near Zatoka settlement that separates Budaki Lagoon and Black Sea, which connects Ukraine with these ports. Thus, grain shortages threaten not only Ukraine but other countries this year.
By the way, my friend fled to Germany. It turns out that the Germans have no clue that they import sunflower oil from Ukraine. For some reason they are sure that this is Russia, although this is not true. There is a lot of false information in our heads, which came from nowhere and is not confirmed by anything, but does not cause us any doubts. 🤥
In fact, Russia is not at war particularly with Ukraine, but with Europe and the United States. But so far only Ukrainians are dying in this war.
Let's return to the supermarket. It was well known Auchan. When I arrived the air raid has just started. Auchan don't let customers to stay inside during air raids, everyone have to drop off their baskets and go outside. So that if the russian bomb will kill you, it wouldn't be the Auchan's area and responsibility. A la guerre comme a la guerre.
I have already said that since the beginning of the war, fresh fish has not been sold in any market. Sometimes it is in supermarkets, but more expensive and its quality is unknown. Since the war began, I have bought several times products that were of poor quality - milk, eggs, fish.
Yesterday I spoke with my daughter about the deficit. I always bought 30% fat sour cream and 82% fat butter. Now there is no such sour cream anywhere at all, only 15% remains, sometimes they have 20%. Butter of such fat content is still found, but not everywhere. My favorite flour also seems to be gone. So sad... Natalie said she hadn't seen cornmeal in a long time in her town, but I found it in Auchan today.
Some manufacturers of food have completely disappeared from our market. 😳 Instead, new ones appeared, mostly foreign ones. A lot of diary from Poland (especially cheese). Today I saw pasta from Greece, they have never sold it here before.
Before the war, in order for a manufacturer to be able to sell its products in a large supermarket chain like Auchan, it had to provide regular and large volumes and a certain price level. I see that now the requirements softened. Manufacturers change very often, and I think that chains have simplified the requirements so that their shelves do not remain empty.
I was adult enough to remember the terrible 90's, when our banking system, economy collapsed, and life became a continuous survival with elements of banditry. I still remember the shortage of almost everything, and how it feels to carry heaviest bags, walk long distances, make supplies and save on everything. I was glad to forget that, and I didn't think those times would come back.
But Ukrainians never rely on anyone but themselves. They have not yet learned to trust the state (we have reasons for this) as institutions, but to literally give their lives for their own state and identity. That is how we survived, and that is why the whole world is now watching our resistance with amazement and admiration.
Let's be honest. None of the countries that support us now believed on February 24 that Ukraine would hold on that long. Even our government and command, including Zelensky, did not believe. It's just we, Ukrainians, did not know that, thankfully. And we began to resist, surprising everyone.
The blood of ancient Scythians, Sarmatians, glorious Cossacks and Sich archers flows in our veins. We will persevere and create even a better country from our suffering.