PALO ALTO, Calif. – Ukraine’s interim government needs money, and badly. On Monday, acting President Oleksander Turchinov warned the international community that Ukraine needs $35 billion in aid, or else it will likely default and head “into the abyss.” While the United States and the European Union have not yet committed to any assistance, one man has stepped forward to save the troubled country: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg, one of the world’s richest men, said on Monday that he plans to “purchase” Ukraine sometime this week. “Thirty-five bill is a serious price tag, even for me,” Zuckerberg noted. “But Ukraine is in trouble, and I think it’s really just a communication problem between the two sides. If they would just connect more, their differences would just work themselves out naturally.”
The turmoil in Ukraine—which recently led to the downfall of former President Victor Yanukovich—has been largely provoked by a struggle over the nation’s identity. Many wish for Ukraine to align itself with its eastern neighbor, Russia, while others hope to join the European Union. Zuckerberg believes that, if he “owned Ukraine,” Facebook’s “groundbreaking ability to bring people together” would put an end to the chaos.
“Do Ukrainians even know that Facebook has a group video chat feature?” Zuckerberg wondered. “It’s seriously the perfect forum for negotiations.”
Most experts believe that, to receive a substantial aid package from the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine would be required to institute a number of strict economic reforms. But in a Facebook message sent to acting President Turchinov late Monday, Zuckerberg promised that his deal would come with “way fewer strings attached.”
“Economic reforms will ultimately do no good,” Zuckerberg predicted. “But think about how much more prosperous Ukraine will be in the long run if every one of her citizens has an active Facebook account. The possibilities are literally endless.”
While Zuckerberg claims that the purchase is intended “mostly to help the Ukrainians,” he admitted that he hopes Facebook will benefit as well.
“Ukraine is sometimes referred to as ‘The Breadbasket of Europe,’” Zuckerberg noted. “I’m a big fan of bread, and we have a lot of new employees to feed.”