What do Drenthe companies notice of the situation in Ukraine ?

Ukraine, what about?

Bulb grower Henk Schipper from Nieuw-Buinen once had wild plans to set up an agricultural company in Ukraine. But gradually it turned out to be unfeasible to set up a large company there, if you didn’t start living there yourself. “We didn’t get it going properly, partly because of the corruption that still exists. And I didn’t feel like living there.” In the meantime, Schipper is still trading with Ukraine. Crocus bulbs are in demand in that region.

Through his travels in that region and great interest in that part of the world, Schipper has acquired a wealth of knowledge and still has frequent contact with residents of the country. This week. It always turns out to be the same. “The Ukrainians don’t want war with Russia, but when it comes they are combative and combative.” Schipper sketches for us with seven-mile boots the recent history of the Ukraine and why the country absolutely never wants to go back to the ‘Russian womb’.

play ball

“Ukraine has always been a plaything. For centuries. The borders have changed several times. In the last two centuries, Poland, Nazi Germany and the Russians have all wreaked havoc there. The Nazis and Joseph Stalin were well aware that a large part of Ukraine’s black soil with a lot of humus is particularly fertile. After 1920 Stalin forced the peasants to collective agriculture in the sovkhoz (state farms) and the kolkhoz (communal farms). Peasants and landed gentry had to give up their land.” The theory behind this was that food could be produced much more efficiently in large mechanized farms than on the old-fashioned small-scale farms. “There was a lot of resistance against it and that was brutally crushed. With extreme violence Stalin pressed the Ukrainians into collective agriculture. With resistance you ended up in a gulag (camp). All people who had studied or intelligent went there anyway. because they were a danger to oppression.” Stalin deliberately created a famine that killed millions of Ukrainians.

“Poland and Ukraine were equally poor after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Now Poland has a gross national product four times higher than Ukraine per year. The people there also want that prosperity. That is the second reason why they focus on Europe and not on Russia. The economy in Russia is bad and you have to keep your mouth shut in that country. When I came to Ukraine eight years ago you could already see it changing. Russian was still the official language, contracts were still in Russian and the Ukrainian language was only a dialect among peasants and in the countryside. Now Ukrainian is the official language in everything. The national identity has grown very strongly, because the Ukrainians do not have good memories of the Russian rule.”

What about the war in Ukraine?

In fact, fighting has been going on in Ukraine for eight years (Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk). In 2014, Russian soldiers in neutral clothing without Russian logos took the Crimea peninsula. And in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, fighting has been going on ever since by Ukrainians who want to secede their region. These separatists are in the minority but supported by Russia. Although the Kremlin officially denies that. This week, Russian President Putin says Russia recognizes and considers the “people’s republics” in Donetsk and Luhansk as independent. Immediately after his speech, Russia sends troops to Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin says it is a peace mission. The Americans think that during an inserted meeting of the UN Security Council that is nonsense and an excuse to start a war.

Putin still sees Ukraine as part of the Russian sphere of influence. Even though more and more Ukrainians actually prefer to belong to the European Union and to NATO’s military alliance. 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting in eastern Ukraine.