As an expat in Ukraine, Russian-born expatriate Eugene Plotkin shares his thoughts and experiences on the conflict, which started in 2014 and was followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia, a series of military conflicts, and occupation.
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In this blog post, he writes about his first-hand experiences observing the conflict both in Kyiv and his hometown of Odesa, as well as the experience it has been for him to live through these events. He also shares how he perceives Ukraine’s future from this warped perspective. Readers can gain insight into many primary sources referenced in their work or taught within an educational setting.
The West Sanctions Russia
Since February 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the United States and some European countries have imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and corporations. The majority of this is to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine. However, Eugene states that some sanctions are taking place because the United States is wary of Russia’s growing power. He says, “Russia has sent a signal that Western sanctions won’t stop it from expanding its influence. It is a message for other countries to join Russia.”
The United States and Russia are the two world superpowers, and the sanctions bring them closer together as time passes. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, criticized Western sanctions saying they have no positive impact on relations with his country. The Russian government has been blaming Ukraine for the conflict as well.
Eugene Plotkin negatively reviewed the sanctions, saying they have “severely damaged” the Ukrainian economy. He said he is struggling to find a job in Ukraine and is not alone. Inflation is at an all-time high, and food prices are also rising.
How Russia Is Still Coming Out on
Russia has been able to adapt economically to sanctions and is still going strong. Eugene said that Russia is using “dirty tactics” like bribery to increase its influence in foreign countries and use gas and oil as weapons.
The Sanctions have not affected the economic or political situation in Russia. It is thriving, despite the sanctions. Eugene thinks, “Russia is gradually shifting the conflict away from its borders and into international politics.” He believes that “the Kremlin has brought Ukraine to the brink of a crisis before, and will do so again if it can get away with it.”
Can We Afford a New Strategy?
The West’s current strategy has not been effective in deterring Russia. Eugene questions if the US and Europe are ready to make a more significant commitment to Ukraine since it seems that it won’t stop at Crimea. The strategy is “to contain Russia by making it feel the costs of its actions.”
The strategy of containing Russia would require some deployment and occupation. This would most likely be an international project, including Western countries, even China. Eugene believes “the West is incapable of such a major undertaking.”
Eugene feels that the United States will eventually have to make the situation more difficult for Russia to slow down. This can come in the form of an economic blockade, hurting Russia’s economy more than Ukraine’s. Eugene sees this strategy as impacting Russian thinking, but he believes it will only start to look like a real deterrent when Russia’s economy gets destroyed.