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The Voice of Russia: Ukraine's biggest donor over many years has been Russia

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Jan. 16, 2013, 2:34 p.m. | Ukraine abroad — by The Voice of Russia

Russia is Ukraine's top international trade partner, with the volume of bilateral trade surpassing $50 billion in 2011. This compares with $6 billion of trade with neighboring Poland, $10 billion with China and $2.4 billion with the US.
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It is indeed high time for Ukraine to make some tough choices, hopefully the right ones. Since gaining independence Ukraine's leaders have been performing, with varying degrees of skill, a tightrope act, making simultaneous advances to Russia, the West, and NATO. Clearly, in terms of actual economic assistance, Ukraine's biggest donor over all this period has been Russia. The West has been very generous with words, but real aid - specifically, in terms of cheap energy, especially before the Orange turmoil – has come from the big Eastern brother.

Russia is also Ukraine's top international trade partner, with the volume of bilateral trade surpassing $50 billion in 2011. This compares with $6 billion of trade with neighboring Poland, $10 billion with China and $2.4 billion with the US. Then there is another important factor: hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Gastarbeiters in Russia sending billions of dollars to their families back home. It's a fact of life that most of these immigrants work in Russia illegally, depriving the Russian treasury of untold sums in unpaid taxes. 

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