Again, this is all true. Many people don’t know that Ukraine started getting ahead in the standard of living because this is new. Ten or even 5 years ago, the situation was the exact opposite. There have been massive changes in the past few years. Enormous reforms have been conducted in Ukraine. The bureaucratic obstacles to starting and running a business, for example, were dramatically reduced. The tax burden on startups was seriously lowered. Enormous efforts were made to re-industrialize, and we all know how I feel about that. Roads, schools, and hospitals were built. Russia has done none of this. None of the enormous oil wealth went into improving the standard of living. Starting a business is still less profitable than not doing it.
Obviously, things in Ukraine were very far from ideal. But it’s undeniable that there was serious movement in the right direction. The thing about regional economies is that they are dynamic. We can’t learn a single thing about them and then hold on to that belief forever. What was true a decade ago no longer is.