Economic policy

Russia’s new economic policy: starvation, pillage and theft?

In the 1920s, desperation prompted Soviet leaders to adopt the New Economic Policy (NEP), an attempt at new policies to improve the economy. In 2022, faced with sanctions and isolation from Western countries, Russian leaders seem to have adopted another new economic policy. In the 1920s, NEP was based on greater use of market forces. Today, politics seems to be based on force, a combination of robbing Ukraine, facilitating looting by soldiers and inflicting starvation on the world.

Famine: Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces have blocked more than 20 million tons of grain to be shipped via Black Sea ports. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called Russia’s action a war crime. Given the quantity of blocked grains, United Nations personnel have warned a famine could occur in some parts of the world. It’s not an accident. Russian officials are open to using the prospect of mass starvation to force Western governments to lift sanctions that are hurting the Russian economy.

In June 2022, at the Petersburg Economic Forum, Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russian state-controlled RT, said she repeatedly heard people in Moscow say that “all our hope is in starvation”. She continued: “This is what it means. It means the starvation is going to start now and they will lift the sanctions and be friends with us because they will realize that it is necessary.

Preventing Ukraine from selling its wheat is not a side effect of the war. It is part of Russia’s economic strategy to take advantage of widespread hunger to help its economy.

Flight: Russia is not relying solely on starvation. It is also stealing wheat and steel from Ukraine. Russian media openly stated that Russia was selling wheat it stole from Kherson in Ukraine.

The Russian government also steals or nationalizes Ukrainian farmers’ land alongside Stalin’s expropriation of Ukrainian farmers’ property during collectivization in the 1930s, which left millions dead from starvation and led to the deportation of Ukrainian farmers. who resisted.

“Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has taken over some of the most productive agricultural land in what is one of the the world’s largest bread basketsdisrupting supplies and driving up food prices,” the the wall street journal. “Russian forces have also stolen grain and equipment, say the Ukrainian government and farmers. Now whole farms are being taken, say some farmers. . . Mr. [Dmitry] Skorniakov said that in May a group arrived at his farm in southeastern Ukraine claiming to represent the government of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, which broke away from Ukraine with the support of the Russia in 2014. you work for us, everything is our property,” Skorniakov told his employees.

“Valery Stoyanov, 50, said Chechen soldiers took over his farm near the southern town of Melitopol shortly after the invasion began on February 24, telling his farm workers that it now belonged to the army commander. ‘unity. “This collective farm is now mine,” the Chechen commander told workers he had gathered to address, Mr Stoyanov said his workers told him. In the days that followed, the soldiers sold valuable materials and shipped 2,500 tons of grain that was stored on the farm.

The Ukrainian government estimates that Russia stole around 400,000 tons of grain and seeds, according to the the wall street journal. Russia has also bombed Ukrainian farms and grain operations beyond its control.

Looting: The Russian government is struggling to find enough manpower to continue military operations in Ukraine, partly because it has not declared war and has to rely on troop contracts. One of the incentives for service seems to be to allow widespread looting, which at minus one Russian soldier said in an intercepted phone call was sanctioned by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Compensating soldiers through looting was common in medieval times. Widespread reports of looting by Russian troops since the beginning of the war shows that looting was allowed as an informal economic strategy to harm Ukrainians and entice Russians to serve in the military.

In the close team, the Russian government may achieve some success with its current approach, but it shows how the invasion of Ukraine has distorted the Russian economy and its future. In the long term, Russia is unlikely to succeed in building a 21st economy of the century by starvation, pillage and theft.