Ukrainians Are Indeed Poor
While one can have doubts about whether these particular women were really poor given the fact that they could afford to travel to Switzerland, it seems clear that most Ukrainians are indeed poor, judging by the preliminary 2011 GDP report from Ukraine. According to it, GDP in Ukraine was just 1,314 billion hryvniah. Given the fact that a hryvniah currently is only worth only 12.36 U.S. cents, that means that in U.S. dollar terms GDP was only about $162 billion.
And with Ukraine having on average 45.7 million people in 2011
this means that per capita GDP is only $3,545 per year.
This means that yearly per capita income in Ukraine is actually lower than monthly income in most countries in Western Europe and North America as well as some in Oceania, East Asia and the Middle East (the Arab Gulf).
While this is partly compensated by the fact that the cost of living due to the Penn effect is lower in Ukraine, the fact remains that most Ukrainians are very poor compared to Switzerland and other countries in the above mentioned regions.
Why is Ukraine so poor then? One of the topless female Ukrainian protestors claimed that it was "because of you" (clearly refering to the people attending the Davos meeting), but in reality it is instead in part because of Ukraine's communist part, and in part because of the incompetent and corrupt way that the transition from communism has been handled by government officials in Ukraine.