While working Europeans are asked by their governments to endure the increasingly high cost to wage an ill-thought-out economic war against Russia, maintain the solvency of Ukraine’s military, and ensure the welfare of the nearly 8 million refugees who’ve resettled across the continent, Ukrainian oligarchs have come under increased scrutiny across Europe.
Six months into the Russo-Ukraine War, with Austrian workers having committed nearly 60 million euros to support the Ukrainian war effort thus far, a tax burden that amounts to one-fifth of their gross incomes, people are beginning to ask why the government of Volodymyr Zelensky continues to tax Ukrainian billionaires’ income at a rate of just 18%.
The increased scrutiny comes as the Center for Economic Policy Research in London has warned that Ukraine’s economy will collapse—and with it the country’s ability to resist the Russian onslaught—if the country’s tax regime is not quickly revamped in the image of Western Europe’s, the Vienna-based news site Exxpress reports.
Meanwhile, ultra-wealthy Ukrainians who’ve fled to Switzerland have also come under increased scrutiny, as cantonal welfare authorities have begun to take into consideration their bank accounts at home as well as other assets when calculating the amount of social welfare they’re eligible to receive.
The change, which means over 50,000 Ukrainians who have “S protection status” will no longer enjoy privileged status compared to all other refugees who have been provisionally admitted, was prompted by growing resentment in the Swiss population over state welfare funds being doled out to an increasingly visible number people driving Mercedes SUVs, Porsches, and other luxury vehicles with Ukrainian license plates, according to a report from the Swiss financial newspaper Inside Paradeplatz.
Despite the rule changes, some Swiss citizens have criticized the new social welfare regime for failing to consider key assets of Ukrainians, like their personal vehicles, when calculating monthly allotments. In contrast, Swiss pensioners who are in need of social welfare assistance are required to liquidate the vast majority of their assets—including their cars, no matter the make and model—in order to receive support from the state.