Russia has recently celebrated its Victory Day on the 9th May 2023 to commemorate the victory over the Nazis in 1945 at the Reichstag, Berlin. It was on that day that brave troops stormed the deepest, darkest place of the Reich and wiped out the core Nazi government, proclaiming Germany and indeed Europe and free nations once again.
Now, though, Russia has been taking to the Ukraine in a war which has had – as expected – the western nations and people in uproar, touting that they are the worst country in the world. This post isn’t about their feelings but is about the impact of the war so far. So, I will keep this brief and that is that the western hypocrisy is shining like a beacon in the night once again. For those who are angry, hostile and shouty toward Russia with no supporting arguments other than, ‘it’s just wrong,’ and ‘why start a war on innocent people’, they should keep quite. They will happily endorse their own armies and have done previously when it came to Iraq and Afghanistan. They were happy to let their government bomb innocent people for decades. When it comes to Ukraine, I suspect their confusion for caring comes from feeling obligated by news propaganda which is slating Russia. You didn’t see any for the Americans or British during the Iraq war did you?
Anyway, we can see the first effect is one of emotion; shock, feelings of uncontrollable anger, depression, sadness, loss of hope and generalised feelings of being the victims. These should only apply to those fleeing the Ukraine. Refugees who have been extracted to the UK and beyond will bring their families and lives to a new place. It is important to understand the political aspect here, that bringing in such refugees is part of nations agreements. The UK takes in a certain number, and so do other countries. However, as the war rages on people have continued to stay in the Ukraine, with many posting video’s onto YouTube. War is supposed to be dangerous, with several videos being filled with air raid sirens. It makes you wonder what they gain from staying if they are literally in the middle of the war. Lots of places are still safe though, which is my point, although that could change at any moment. Russia so far has targeted government sites, with allegations and evidence they targeted nuclear reactors – the biggest in Europe.
With this comes inevitable inflation. Governments borrow from other countries and banks to fund their war – both the Ukraine and Russia – which has a knock on effect on their economies. Although in another post I highlighted that actually, financially Russia is very stable and seems to be growing exponentially, whereas the Ukraine is dwindling. When Visa/Mastercard pulled out of Russia, lots of expats lost money they had in Russian banks as they couldn’t access it in other countries. This included the normal, working class people and people fleeing the mobilisation initiative.
“Russia’s economy ministry revised higher on Friday its 2023 gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to 1.2% growth from a 0.8% contraction.” A clear vision that the economy is set to surpass many western nations.(https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/russian-economy-ministry-improves-2023-gdp-growth-forecast-2023-04-14/).
The UK has predicted a sharp decline in the economy. “The annual expectation for GDP growth in 2023 is now -1.3%, broadly in line with the OBR and Bank of England’s predictions.”
So surprisingly, or not given the amount of production that Russia has, being very self reliant has paid off. Cutting import costs of luxury brands which have been pulled from Russia including Coca Cola, Levi’s and McDonald’s has saved the economy a ton of money. Russia has their own equivalent and one can’t help feel good for their economy. The Ukraine however isn’t the same and relies heavily on both imports and exports to support the economy. Although it has one of the biggest nuclear power stations in Europe – the Zaporizhzhia plant in southeast Ukraine. Bombing of any kind around here could be fatal for Europe. There wouldn’t be a Ukraine left to fight in and Russia would be affected by the radiation too if it were breached. Fortunately, after some close calls, it is still safe. Although according to this NBC article things are still dangerous -(https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russia-ukraine-war-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-power-plant-dangerous-iaea-un-rcna83230)
Another concern is the lack of qualified staff to run the facility if Russia pulls out workers, albeit Ukrainian workers. Under Russia control. Things have a very Stalinist feel to them in this place. One wonders if that is going to change. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/other/russia-plans-to-relocate-2-700-ukrainian-staff-from-europe-s-largest-nuclear-plant-reports/ar-AA1b08xM)
Going back to the issue of import and export, the inflation has made food more expensive whilst reduced other countries buying capabilities of Ukraine’s resources like food and gas and oil.
“Sharply rising commodity prices have been the most immediate economic impact of the Ukraine conflict, the WTO says. The war also threatens supplies of essential goods from Russia and Ukraine, including food, energy and fertilizers.” (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/04/ukraine-war-global-trade-risk/#:~:text=Sharply%20rising%20commodity%20prices%20have%20been%20the%20most,Russia%20and%20Ukraine%2C%20including%20food%2C%20energy%20and%20fertilizers.)
Crude oil and natural gas saw a sharp increase in 2022 following the outbreak of the war, with prices rising before the war.
“Europe saw natural gas prices climb 45% between January and March to $41 per million British thermal units (Btu) – a measure of heat content. In the United States, on the other hand, prices have “remained relatively low,” the WTO says, at around $4.9 per million Btu.”
It is not hard then to understand a bit more about the inflation of energy prices within Europe and particularly the UK, who have since left the European Union meaning generally higher prices. The UK has to negotiate trade deals with EU countries whereas EU countries have free trade. War or no war, things were always going to be higher in the UK. The oil price increase wouldn’t really impact an oil rich country, like Saudi Arabia for example, as they make money from selling their own oil.
We’ve looked at the war a little and I will end by saying that no matter what the times throw at people they are persevering, surviving and trying to make the most of it. History has shown us that bad things have happened and shouldn’t have been repeated, so let’s hope things settle down soon.
The traditional greeting in the Ukraine is to offer bread and salt to guests. Bread is regarded as the holiest of foods to Ukrainians. Round bread, also known as “Kolach” is a food symbol for eternity; representing hospitality also. When you receive the bread and salt the tradition is to break a small piece of the Kolach and then dip it into the salt, bow your head and say grace (thanks) before you eat it.
To say “Hello, how are you?” in Ukrainian language you would say “Привіт, як справи?” (Privite, iak spravi?)