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LDNR Nationalizes Ukrainian Enterprises
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This is in response to the blockade of coal shipments from the LDNR into Ukraine by right wing militants, who oppose absolutely anything that helps finance the republics. The resulting energy blockade threatens the stability of what appears to be a surprisingly vigorous Ukrainian economic recovery, and puts Poroshenko – with his record low ratings – in further political jeopardy.

It is also far more significant than the recognition of LDNR docs a couple of weeks ago. That was, essentially, just a humanitarian gesture by Russia. In contrast, nationalization of Ukrainian enterprises does two major things:

(1) It moves the commanding heights of the economy under the DNR legal framework, which has been – for lack of alternatives – integrating with Russia for the past couple of years. That means no more taxes to Ukraine. That means the cutting of one of the last major bonds that tie them to the Ukrainian polity and, consequently, the feasibility of any future reintegration scenario that stops short of a complete Putinsliv (total Russian abandonment).

(2) It severely undercuts the already precaurious position of Rinat Akhmetov, the Poroshenko-allied oligarch who controls most of the heavy industry in the Donbass (there are residual rumors that the reason the DNR offensive to take Mariupol was called off was to allow his enterprises to continue exporting from an internationally recognized port). More speculatively, this might also weaken the position of Alexander Khodakovsky, Akhmetov’s main protege in the DNR, who has been its main voice of compromise and supporter of reintegration with the Ukraine.

Incidentally, it is widely believed that the militias behind the blockade are financed by Kolomoysky. Since having had his challenge to Poroshenko undercut by US diplomatic intervention, and punished through the privatization of his bank Privatbank, Kolomoysky’s fortunes have been on the wane. This might be his play to restore them. First, Akhmetov is Kolomoysky’s direct rival, and Kolomoysky standards to directly benefit from his losses. Second, he has very ample reasons to want revenge against Poroshenko. Third, he has allied himself with Yulia Tymoshenko, who has re-emerged in the past year to become the highest polling politician in Ukraine, including vis-a-vis Poroshenko (not that this is a high bar to clear). The blockade gives Kolomoysky leverage, and the brewing energy/economic crisis may create the conditions to trigger new parliamentary elections that will allow him to replace Poroshenko’s PM Vladimir Groysman with his own allies.

For all the Kremlins’ convoluted efforts to reinsert the LDNR into a federalized Ukraine, all those “clever plans”/mnogokhodovki keep on getting shattered against the Scylla of uncompromising, uncontrolled Ukrainian nationalism and the Charybdis of Ukrainian clan politics. But then again, maybe that was the idea in the first place. Maybe the true mnogokhodovka succeeds through failure; maybe the intent was always to achieve peremoga through zrada.

Well, okay, probably not. Still, this is great news regardless.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Ukraine, War in Donbass 
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  1. Anatoly, I have noticed lately that you seem to have developed a sort of grudging respect for the regime in Ukraine. But I wonder why? Holding ground against LDNR does not make it militarily capable, and bouncing by 1,5% after crashing 20% since 2013 does not make its economy “vigorous”.

    Looking at the currency exchange rates over the last 3 years makes it pretty clear who is winning and who is losing in this war.

    http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=RUB&to=UAH&view=10Y

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    and bouncing by 1,5% after crashing 20% since 2013 does not make its economy “vigorous”.
     
    Ukraine's economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it's still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo's, anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure, and genuinely "vigorous" growth would be 6% or better.
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  2. “Still, this is great news regardless.”

    Can you elaborate on this? I understand you to be saying that this move makes the reintegration of LDNR into Ukraine all but impossible, and I agree. Probably it was already impossible anyway. But for whom is this good news? For residents of the LDNR, who quite plausibly can manage their affairs better than the current Ukrainian government? It seems then good only relative a mountain of bad news over the last few years. If LDNR ten or twenty years from now becomes a secure and prosperous autonomous republic, this will be good news. But what do you think are the chances of that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @JL
    These are good questions. I take it that Anatoly doesn't agree with the Kremlin's strategy of stuffing LDNR back into the failed state of Ukraine to create a somewhat dysfunctional and neutral buffer zone. So, then, what is the end game? If LDNR aren't going back (and I agree this is becoming increasingly impossible, irrelevant as my personal opinion is), what are the prospects of the other South East regions leaving to join the Donetsk polity, not to mention Kiev? It seems that this can only come about via more war. Frankly, I wouldn't wish that on the people of these regions, noble as the cause may be.
  3. @The Big Red Scary
    "Still, this is great news regardless."

    Can you elaborate on this? I understand you to be saying that this move makes the reintegration of LDNR into Ukraine all but impossible, and I agree. Probably it was already impossible anyway. But for whom is this good news? For residents of the LDNR, who quite plausibly can manage their affairs better than the current Ukrainian government? It seems then good only relative a mountain of bad news over the last few years. If LDNR ten or twenty years from now becomes a secure and prosperous autonomous republic, this will be good news. But what do you think are the chances of that?

    These are good questions. I take it that Anatoly doesn’t agree with the Kremlin’s strategy of stuffing LDNR back into the failed state of Ukraine to create a somewhat dysfunctional and neutral buffer zone. So, then, what is the end game? If LDNR aren’t going back (and I agree this is becoming increasingly impossible, irrelevant as my personal opinion is), what are the prospects of the other South East regions leaving to join the Donetsk polity, not to mention Kiev? It seems that this can only come about via more war. Frankly, I wouldn’t wish that on the people of these regions, noble as the cause may be.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    It's all very complicated and any action has huge unintended consequences. The Russian government seems to fairly conservative, in the literal sense of the word, unlike the US government which seems to be completely reckless. If what you are trying to do is minimize the destruction of human life and civilization in Donbass, then you might think in hindsight that the RF should just have occupied Donbass and have done with it. But it is hard to know what the consequences of that would have been. Similarly with Syria. Crimea, I think, was a safer bet, and so far has been a success. The risk of losing Sevastopol was too great to ignore, not only for the RF but also for the whole world order, and it was clear that it would not be too hard to secure it and that the annexation would have supermajority public support both in Crimea and in the RF proper. The situation in Donbass is more complicated, both demographically and geographically. Polls at the beginning of the war showed that public opinion there was more divided than in Crimea, and it would be much harder to secure the borders. I'd be interested in seeing more recent polls in Donbass. Does anyone know where to find them?
  4. @JL
    These are good questions. I take it that Anatoly doesn't agree with the Kremlin's strategy of stuffing LDNR back into the failed state of Ukraine to create a somewhat dysfunctional and neutral buffer zone. So, then, what is the end game? If LDNR aren't going back (and I agree this is becoming increasingly impossible, irrelevant as my personal opinion is), what are the prospects of the other South East regions leaving to join the Donetsk polity, not to mention Kiev? It seems that this can only come about via more war. Frankly, I wouldn't wish that on the people of these regions, noble as the cause may be.

    It’s all very complicated and any action has huge unintended consequences. The Russian government seems to fairly conservative, in the literal sense of the word, unlike the US government which seems to be completely reckless. If what you are trying to do is minimize the destruction of human life and civilization in Donbass, then you might think in hindsight that the RF should just have occupied Donbass and have done with it. But it is hard to know what the consequences of that would have been. Similarly with Syria. Crimea, I think, was a safer bet, and so far has been a success. The risk of losing Sevastopol was too great to ignore, not only for the RF but also for the whole world order, and it was clear that it would not be too hard to secure it and that the annexation would have supermajority public support both in Crimea and in the RF proper. The situation in Donbass is more complicated, both demographically and geographically. Polls at the beginning of the war showed that public opinion there was more divided than in Crimea, and it would be much harder to secure the borders. I’d be interested in seeing more recent polls in Donbass. Does anyone know where to find them?

    Read More
  5. Outrageous comment #2. I asked in another place why the RF doesn’t give away passports to Russian speaking Ukrainian nationals who want to work in Russia. Once the robots put all but the most intelligent of us out of work, perhaps the immigration flow will go the other way: people with IQs of 120 living in countries run by robots will move to countries with lower mean IQs in which the robots have not yet taken over. So I can imagine a non-violent take over of Kiev by out-of-work Muscovites with Ukrainian connections. Eventually the backlash against high IQ immigration is going to be greater than that against low IQ immigration.

    Read More
  6. Everyone being put out of work by robots is as big bullshit as an economic recovery in the Ukraine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    To begin with, it will be a combination of software and robots. I work in an institution with a large bureaucracy. The secretaries in my department are of above average intelligence (not only can they quote Pushkin, they enjoy doing so at length). Most of the jobs they do are easily optimizable and would be done much more efficiently by freely downloadable software. The only reason that we don't get rid of them is because we would feel bad doing so. (Probably also it would not be easy to do because of labour law.) But I'd be surprised if we most of them when they retire, in the not so distant future. Many of those kinds of jobs are just going to disappear and so there is going to be increased competition at that level of employment. A few levels down you are working as a clerk at a grocery store or driving a taxi. Again, those kinds of jobs really are going to be the next replaced by machines. It's already happening, in some place faster than in others. I'm not celebrating this. I'm pointing out that it is a real concern, even if it happens only in major urban centres over the course of the next thirty years. Although wealth doesn't trickle down so much, unemployment does. The comment about Muscovites taking over Kiev was perhaps a bit flippant. But maybe not so unrealistic. After all, Kiev is a beautiful city with a much lower cost of living than Moscow.
  7. @5371
    Everyone being put out of work by robots is as big bullshit as an economic recovery in the Ukraine.

    To begin with, it will be a combination of software and robots. I work in an institution with a large bureaucracy. The secretaries in my department are of above average intelligence (not only can they quote Pushkin, they enjoy doing so at length). Most of the jobs they do are easily optimizable and would be done much more efficiently by freely downloadable software. The only reason that we don’t get rid of them is because we would feel bad doing so. (Probably also it would not be easy to do because of labour law.) But I’d be surprised if we most of them when they retire, in the not so distant future. Many of those kinds of jobs are just going to disappear and so there is going to be increased competition at that level of employment. A few levels down you are working as a clerk at a grocery store or driving a taxi. Again, those kinds of jobs really are going to be the next replaced by machines. It’s already happening, in some place faster than in others. I’m not celebrating this. I’m pointing out that it is a real concern, even if it happens only in major urban centres over the course of the next thirty years. Although wealth doesn’t trickle down so much, unemployment does. The comment about Muscovites taking over Kiev was perhaps a bit flippant. But maybe not so unrealistic. After all, Kiev is a beautiful city with a much lower cost of living than Moscow.

    Read More
  8. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “clever plans”/mnogokhodovki

    It is all situationally-driven.

    Read More
  9. Anatoly, what ever happened to that chick, Nadya Savchencko? Remember her? The pilot who got captured by the Russians, was returned to Ukraine in a prisoner swap? Poroshenko gave her some decoration, but she quickly became critical of government corruption and wanted to compromise with Dontetsk and Lugansk. Haven’t heard anything about her in nearly a year. A really strange lady: she used to like to appear in public barefoot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Fascinating story.

    She has since fallen out with Poroshenko and even Tymoshenko. One might quip she is a bit too genuinely "svidomy" for the svidomy - very outspokenly opposed to the ongoing and unchanging corruption of the Poroshenko regime (many would call this political naivete), and prepared to talk to Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky instead of pointedly ignoring them as is official Kiev policy. For this she was recently booted from Batkivschina.

    Many of her former fans now call her a traitor. Possibly the reason she hasn't had trouble yet is because arresting/putting her on trial would look really, really bad in the context of her history, so policy seems to be to ignore her.
    , @5371
    It seems like an abuse of language to call "her" a chick.
  10. @Seamus Padraig
    Anatoly, what ever happened to that chick, Nadya Savchencko? Remember her? The pilot who got captured by the Russians, was returned to Ukraine in a prisoner swap? Poroshenko gave her some decoration, but she quickly became critical of government corruption and wanted to compromise with Dontetsk and Lugansk. Haven't heard anything about her in nearly a year. A really strange lady: she used to like to appear in public barefoot.

    Fascinating story.

    She has since fallen out with Poroshenko and even Tymoshenko. One might quip she is a bit too genuinely “svidomy” for the svidomy – very outspokenly opposed to the ongoing and unchanging corruption of the Poroshenko regime (many would call this political naivete), and prepared to talk to Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky instead of pointedly ignoring them as is official Kiev policy. For this she was recently booted from Batkivschina.

    Many of her former fans now call her a traitor. Possibly the reason she hasn’t had trouble yet is because arresting/putting her on trial would look really, really bad in the context of her history, so policy seems to be to ignore her.

    Read More
  11. @Anatoly Karlin
    Fascinating story.

    She has since fallen out with Poroshenko and even Tymoshenko. One might quip she is a bit too genuinely "svidomy" for the svidomy - very outspokenly opposed to the ongoing and unchanging corruption of the Poroshenko regime (many would call this political naivete), and prepared to talk to Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky instead of pointedly ignoring them as is official Kiev policy. For this she was recently booted from Batkivschina.

    Many of her former fans now call her a traitor. Possibly the reason she hasn't had trouble yet is because arresting/putting her on trial would look really, really bad in the context of her history, so policy seems to be to ignore her.

    Thanks!

    Read More
  12. @Seamus Padraig
    Anatoly, what ever happened to that chick, Nadya Savchencko? Remember her? The pilot who got captured by the Russians, was returned to Ukraine in a prisoner swap? Poroshenko gave her some decoration, but she quickly became critical of government corruption and wanted to compromise with Dontetsk and Lugansk. Haven't heard anything about her in nearly a year. A really strange lady: she used to like to appear in public barefoot.

    It seems like an abuse of language to call “her” a chick.

    Read More
  13. @Felix Keverich
    Anatoly, I have noticed lately that you seem to have developed a sort of grudging respect for the regime in Ukraine. But I wonder why? Holding ground against LDNR does not make it militarily capable, and bouncing by 1,5% after crashing 20% since 2013 does not make its economy "vigorous".

    Looking at the currency exchange rates over the last 3 years makes it pretty clear who is winning and who is losing in this war.
    http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=RUB&to=UAH&view=10Y

    and bouncing by 1,5% after crashing 20% since 2013 does not make its economy “vigorous”.

    Ukraine’s economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it’s still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo’s, anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure, and genuinely “vigorous” growth would be 6% or better.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Ukraine’s economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it’s still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo’s
     
    You mean the small oil-rich Congo Republic (according to IMF, nominal per capita GDP of $2,024), not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine's ($2,125).

    If you're going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?

    According to IMF, Ukraine's 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn't exactly consider those to be third world countries.

    At any rate, "Third World" refers to the least developed countries and is not strictly based on income, the two are correlated but not perfectly.


    anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure,
     
    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.
  14. @Jon0815

    and bouncing by 1,5% after crashing 20% since 2013 does not make its economy “vigorous”.
     
    Ukraine's economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it's still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo's, anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure, and genuinely "vigorous" growth would be 6% or better.

    Ukraine’s economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it’s still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo’s

    You mean the small oil-rich Congo Republic (according to IMF, nominal per capita GDP of $2,024), not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine’s ($2,125).

    If you’re going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?

    According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries.

    At any rate, “Third World” refers to the least developed countries and is not strictly based on income, the two are correlated but not perfectly.

    anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure,

    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.
     
    In recent news, Russia is Ukraine's biggest foreign investor, investing $1.7bn in 2016 alone.

    http://rbth.com/news/2017/03/01/russia-became-ukraines-leading-investor-in-2016_711556

    That is one heck of a blockade.
    , @Jon0815

    not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine’s ($2,125).
     
    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine's 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .

    If you’re going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?
     
    No, Russia's PCGDP is very close to the world average. I would say you have to be far below the world average to fairly be considered Third World.

    According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries.
     
    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine's 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World.

    In the context of a draining war
     
    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    and economic blockade with the largest neighbor
     
    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine's choices.
  15. @AP

    Ukraine’s economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it’s still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo’s
     
    You mean the small oil-rich Congo Republic (according to IMF, nominal per capita GDP of $2,024), not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine's ($2,125).

    If you're going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?

    According to IMF, Ukraine's 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn't exactly consider those to be third world countries.

    At any rate, "Third World" refers to the least developed countries and is not strictly based on income, the two are correlated but not perfectly.


    anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure,
     
    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.

    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.

    In recent news, Russia is Ukraine’s biggest foreign investor, investing $1.7bn in 2016 alone.

    http://rbth.com/news/2017/03/01/russia-became-ukraines-leading-investor-in-2016_711556

    That is one heck of a blockade.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Point taken.

    But, there are significant economic disruptions between the two neighboring countries that negatively impact Ukraine's economic growth.

  16. @Anatoly Karlin

    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.
     
    In recent news, Russia is Ukraine's biggest foreign investor, investing $1.7bn in 2016 alone.

    http://rbth.com/news/2017/03/01/russia-became-ukraines-leading-investor-in-2016_711556

    That is one heck of a blockade.

    Point taken.

    But, there are significant economic disruptions between the two neighboring countries that negatively impact Ukraine’s economic growth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Hey, wasn't Ukraine supposed to gain access to the common European market by now? Or what was that "association agreement" about?

    Ukraine was warned all the way back in 2013 that ratifying trade agreement with EU would mean the closing of the Russian market to Ukrainian goods. They chose to go ahead anyway for political reasons. To the extent that ensuing "disruption" impacted the Ukrainian economy, it's their own fault.
  17. @AP
    Point taken.

    But, there are significant economic disruptions between the two neighboring countries that negatively impact Ukraine's economic growth.

    Hey, wasn’t Ukraine supposed to gain access to the common European market by now? Or what was that “association agreement” about?

    Ukraine was warned all the way back in 2013 that ratifying trade agreement with EU would mean the closing of the Russian market to Ukrainian goods. They chose to go ahead anyway for political reasons. To the extent that ensuing “disruption” impacted the Ukrainian economy, it’s their own fault.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Sure. But that doesn't change the fact that Ukraine achieved 1.7% growth in 2016 and is predicted to have 2.5% -3% growth in 2017 despite a major trade disruption with its largest neighbor, which is not bad.

    Ukraine showed 5.1% growth in January 2017 btw.

    The idea of the never-ending downward spiral is a myth.

  18. @AP

    Ukraine’s economy is now forecast to grow 2.5-3.0% this year. That would be a solid performance for a developed, First World economy. But for a Third World country like Ukraine, it’s still objectively terrible. When, like Ukraine, your GDP per capita is just barely higher than the Congo’s
     
    You mean the small oil-rich Congo Republic (according to IMF, nominal per capita GDP of $2,024), not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine's ($2,125).

    If you're going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?

    According to IMF, Ukraine's 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn't exactly consider those to be third world countries.

    At any rate, "Third World" refers to the least developed countries and is not strictly based on income, the two are correlated but not perfectly.


    anything less than 4% growth (slightly better than the global average) is failure,
     
    In the context of a draining war and economic blockade with the largest neighbor, 2.5%-3% growth is probably not bad.

    not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine’s ($2,125).

    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .

    If you’re going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?

    No, Russia’s PCGDP is very close to the world average. I would say you have to be far below the world average to fairly be considered Third World.

    According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries.

    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine’s 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World.

    In the context of a draining war

    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    and economic blockade with the largest neighbor

    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine’s choices.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .
     
    That's because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.

    "According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries."

    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine’s 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World
     
    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia's income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.

    "In the context of a draining war"

    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    "and economic blockade with the largest neighbor"

    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine’s choices.
     
    "Choice" is questionable, unless by that you mean - "capitulate to what we want or we will use our means to punish you." If Ukraine just handed Donbas over to the unelected pro-Russian activists and Russian citizens who had taken advantage of the chaos to grab the territory it is certainly likely that this problem, made possible by Russian volunteers and equipment pouring into Ukraine from Russia, would have spread further into the country. The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago. So Ukraine "chose" to fight over its own sovereign territory and "chose" not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.

    But setting that aside - even if it is a choice - nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.
  19. @Felix Keverich
    Hey, wasn't Ukraine supposed to gain access to the common European market by now? Or what was that "association agreement" about?

    Ukraine was warned all the way back in 2013 that ratifying trade agreement with EU would mean the closing of the Russian market to Ukrainian goods. They chose to go ahead anyway for political reasons. To the extent that ensuing "disruption" impacted the Ukrainian economy, it's their own fault.

    Sure. But that doesn’t change the fact that Ukraine achieved 1.7% growth in 2016 and is predicted to have 2.5% -3% growth in 2017 despite a major trade disruption with its largest neighbor, which is not bad.

    Ukraine showed 5.1% growth in January 2017 btw.

    The idea of the never-ending downward spiral is a myth.

    Read More
  20. @Jon0815

    not the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo whose nominal per capita GDP ($476) was almost five times lower than that of Ukraine’s ($2,125).
     
    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine's 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .

    If you’re going to go that route, keep in mind that small oil-rich sub-Saharan Equatorial Guinea has a much higher nominal per capita GDP ($17,287) than does Russia ($9,243). Does that make Russia a third world country?
     
    No, Russia's PCGDP is very close to the world average. I would say you have to be far below the world average to fairly be considered Third World.

    According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries.
     
    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine's 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World.

    In the context of a draining war
     
    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    and economic blockade with the largest neighbor
     
    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine's choices.

    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .

    That’s because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.

    “According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries.”

    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine’s 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World

    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia’s income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.

    “In the context of a draining war”

    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    “and economic blockade with the largest neighbor”

    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine’s choices.

    “Choice” is questionable, unless by that you mean – “capitulate to what we want or we will use our means to punish you.” If Ukraine just handed Donbas over to the unelected pro-Russian activists and Russian citizens who had taken advantage of the chaos to grab the territory it is certainly likely that this problem, made possible by Russian volunteers and equipment pouring into Ukraine from Russia, would have spread further into the country. The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago. So Ukraine “chose” to fight over its own sovereign territory and “chose” not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.

    But setting that aside – even if it is a choice – nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    "Choice" is an empirical question which can be decided by opinion polls. So far, every opinion poll that I have found excludes residents of rebel-held Donbass. If someone knows of a recent (>=2016) reliable opinion poll, I'd like to see it. I don't have a dog in this fight, and it seems to me that no reasonable discussion of this issue can be done without relevant information.

    By contrast, we have such information for Crimea: a supermajority of Crimeans support annexation by Russia. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/#68fe6984510d for references to relevant polls.

    I don't know what the result of such polls would be in rebel-held Donbass, but it is certainly worth settling that question. Even better is if one could set up a prediction market on various questions relevant to Donbass.

    , @Jon0815

    That’s because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.
     
    Even if you exclude all of South Africa, Ukraine's 2015 per capita GDP would still have been less than $800 higher than sub-Saharan Africa's. And you keep implying that oil-producing countries have an economic advantage, although this is far from a generally accepted view among economists.


    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia’s income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.
     
    There isn't any specific criteria for Third World status (originally the term basically meant "non-Communist developing country"). If Russia wasn't a Third World country during the 1990s, then based on its economic and health statistics at the time, it was doing a good imitation of one.

    But if you want to argue that 1990s Russia and present-day Ukraine actually are examples of non-Third World countries whose wealth temporarily fell to Third World levels, fine. That's another reason why a 3% growth rate is weak: Ukraine should be growing even faster than if it were a Third World country, as its PCGDP should naturally tend to rebound to a level consistent with its development.

    The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago.
     
    So? Most successful wars of independence would have failed without help from a foreign government, including the American Revolution. The Donbass separatists have received much less assistance from Russia than the American colonists did from France.

    So Ukraine “chose” to fight over its own sovereign territory and “chose” not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.
     
    Regardless of the merits of Ukraine's initial decision to try to crush the self-determination of Donbass by force (undertaken by a government that also wasn't elected), rather than negotiate some form of autonomy, the only reason the fighting continues now, in 2017, is that Ukraine keeps shelling and attempting to advance into separatist territory. At Minsk, Putin tried his best to sell out the separatists, and stuff them back into Ukraine against their will, but Kiev just won't accept the sellout. Again, it's specious to use the continued fighting as an excuse for Ukraine's weak growth, when Ukraine can make that fighting stop any time it wants to.

    But setting that aside – even if it is a choice – nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.
     
    A growth rate of 3% might be "decent" for Russia. Not for a country whose PCGDP is roughly 1/5th of Russia's.
  21. Still, this is great news regardless.

    I agree. Anything that brings us closer to the smashing of Ukraine’s ugly mug by Russia is a good thing. Also, anything that reduces the presence (economic, legal, etc) of Ukraine in the Donbass is a good thing.

    Read More
  22. @AP

    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .
     
    That's because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.

    "According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries."

    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine’s 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World
     
    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia's income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.

    "In the context of a draining war"

    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    "and economic blockade with the largest neighbor"

    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine’s choices.
     
    "Choice" is questionable, unless by that you mean - "capitulate to what we want or we will use our means to punish you." If Ukraine just handed Donbas over to the unelected pro-Russian activists and Russian citizens who had taken advantage of the chaos to grab the territory it is certainly likely that this problem, made possible by Russian volunteers and equipment pouring into Ukraine from Russia, would have spread further into the country. The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago. So Ukraine "chose" to fight over its own sovereign territory and "chose" not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.

    But setting that aside - even if it is a choice - nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.

    “Choice” is an empirical question which can be decided by opinion polls. So far, every opinion poll that I have found excludes residents of rebel-held Donbass. If someone knows of a recent (>=2016) reliable opinion poll, I’d like to see it. I don’t have a dog in this fight, and it seems to me that no reasonable discussion of this issue can be done without relevant information.

    By contrast, we have such information for Crimea: a supermajority of Crimeans support annexation by Russia. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/#68fe6984510d for references to relevant polls.

    I don’t know what the result of such polls would be in rebel-held Donbass, but it is certainly worth settling that question. Even better is if one could set up a prediction market on various questions relevant to Donbass.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    So far, every opinion poll that I have found excludes residents of rebel-held Donbass.
     
    Correct. We don't know what people in Donbas want right now. Prior to the war, the plurality position within the Donbas according to polls was to be within Ukraine, but with wide autonomy.

    Since then, pro-Ukrainian people have left Donbas and hardcore pro-Russians from places like Kharkiv or Odessa have left Ukraine and moved to Donbas. That, plus the war, probably indicates a much more pro-Russian position within Donbas than before. Conversely and for similar reasons, the rest of Ukraine has become more anti-Russian (and for that, we do have opinion poll confirmation) than it had been.
  23. @AP

    Okay, the Congo is worse off than I thought. But the World Bank does put Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP not much higher than the average for all of sub-Saharan Africa ($2115 vs. $1588) .
     
    That's because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.

    "According to IMF, Ukraine’s 2015 figure (when it hit rock bottom) placed it a little above that of northern Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Moldova, etc. With the possible exception of northern Sudan, I wouldn’t exactly consider those to be third world countries."

    The World Bank figures differ slightly: They have Ukraine below Sudan and Uzbekistan in 2015. Regardless, Ukraine’s 2015 PCGDP was only around 21% of the world average, which I think is low enough to fairly be considered Third World
     
    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia's income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.

    "In the context of a draining war"

    A war of choice, which Ukraine could end at any time by stopping its attacks on the D/LNR.

    "and economic blockade with the largest neighbor"

    To whatever extent that there is a blockade, this is also the consequence of Ukraine’s choices.
     
    "Choice" is questionable, unless by that you mean - "capitulate to what we want or we will use our means to punish you." If Ukraine just handed Donbas over to the unelected pro-Russian activists and Russian citizens who had taken advantage of the chaos to grab the territory it is certainly likely that this problem, made possible by Russian volunteers and equipment pouring into Ukraine from Russia, would have spread further into the country. The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago. So Ukraine "chose" to fight over its own sovereign territory and "chose" not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.

    But setting that aside - even if it is a choice - nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.

    That’s because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.

    Even if you exclude all of South Africa, Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP would still have been less than $800 higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s. And you keep implying that oil-producing countries have an economic advantage, although this is far from a generally accepted view among economists.

    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia’s income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.

    There isn’t any specific criteria for Third World status (originally the term basically meant “non-Communist developing country”). If Russia wasn’t a Third World country during the 1990s, then based on its economic and health statistics at the time, it was doing a good imitation of one.

    But if you want to argue that 1990s Russia and present-day Ukraine actually are examples of non-Third World countries whose wealth temporarily fell to Third World levels, fine. That’s another reason why a 3% growth rate is weak: Ukraine should be growing even faster than if it were a Third World country, as its PCGDP should naturally tend to rebound to a level consistent with its development.

    The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago.

    So? Most successful wars of independence would have failed without help from a foreign government, including the American Revolution. The Donbass separatists have received much less assistance from Russia than the American colonists did from France.

    So Ukraine “chose” to fight over its own sovereign territory and “chose” not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.

    Regardless of the merits of Ukraine’s initial decision to try to crush the self-determination of Donbass by force (undertaken by a government that also wasn’t elected), rather than negotiate some form of autonomy, the only reason the fighting continues now, in 2017, is that Ukraine keeps shelling and attempting to advance into separatist territory. At Minsk, Putin tried his best to sell out the separatists, and stuff them back into Ukraine against their will, but Kiev just won’t accept the sellout. Again, it’s specious to use the continued fighting as an excuse for Ukraine’s weak growth, when Ukraine can make that fighting stop any time it wants to.

    But setting that aside – even if it is a choice – nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.

    A growth rate of 3% might be “decent” for Russia. Not for a country whose PCGDP is roughly 1/5th of Russia’s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Even if you exclude all of South Africa, Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP would still have been less than $800 higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s. And you keep implying that oil-producing countries have an economic advantage, although this is far from a generally accepted view among economists.
     
    Oil-producing countries in Africa have higher GDPs. Equatorial Guinea, for example, has a per capita GDP 40% higher than Russia's! The sub-Saharan African countries without oil have GDPs in the $800 or lower range.

    There isn’t any specific criteria for Third World status (originally the term basically meant “non-Communist developing country”). If Russia wasn’t a Third World country during the 1990s, then based on its economic and health statistics at the time, it was doing a good imitation of one.

    But if you want to argue that 1990s Russia and present-day Ukraine actually are examples of non-Third World countries whose wealth temporarily fell to Third World levels, fine. That’s another reason why a 3% growth rate is weak: Ukraine should be growing even faster than if it were a Third World country, as its PCGDP should naturally tend to rebound to a level consistent with its development.
     

    Ukraine is in a civil war and in an economic struggle with its largest neighbor.

    Regardless of the merits of Ukraine’s initial decision to try to crush the self-determination of Donbass by force (undertaken by a government that also wasn’t elected)
     
    False equivalence. The Maidan brought to power in Kiev the political parties that had won the popular vote in the previous national parliamentary election. In contrast Donbas was led, not by the local elected officials (Party of Regions types) but by Russian activists and nationalist adventurers from Russia, people who had never won elections.

    Most successful wars of independence would have failed without help from a foreign government, including the American Revolution. The Donbass separatists have received much less assistance from Russia than the American colonists did from France.
     
    No. About 10%-20% of Donbas fighters are from Russia, including its first commander Girkin (George Washington, in contrast, was not a Frenchman). Donbas' first PM, Borodai, was a Russian citizen born in Moscow and lifelong resident in Moscow. I don't recall a Frenchman playing that kind of role in the American government. Many of the Russian volunteers were people who had seen action in Chechnya and thus were some of the best soldiers. you can Russian military advisors who organized the DOnbas military and made it professional, etc. While France supplied a few thousand troops on the ground, and a general, to the Americans this was not as extensive. I'm also not sure that the Americans were armed by the French to the extent that Donbas has been by weapons flowing in from Russia.

    France was certainly much more involved with the American Revolution than the West was with Maidan, but this isn't the case with Russia and Donbas.


    rather than negotiate some form of autonomy
     
    Negotiate with whom? Unelected local and foreign activists?

    At Minsk, Putin tried his best to sell out the separatists, and stuff them back into Ukraine against their will,
     
    Under conditions that would grant them veto power over national decisions such as EU or NATO - a permanent anchor for Ukraine's pro-Western ambitions.
  24. @The Big Red Scary
    "Choice" is an empirical question which can be decided by opinion polls. So far, every opinion poll that I have found excludes residents of rebel-held Donbass. If someone knows of a recent (>=2016) reliable opinion poll, I'd like to see it. I don't have a dog in this fight, and it seems to me that no reasonable discussion of this issue can be done without relevant information.

    By contrast, we have such information for Crimea: a supermajority of Crimeans support annexation by Russia. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/#68fe6984510d for references to relevant polls.

    I don't know what the result of such polls would be in rebel-held Donbass, but it is certainly worth settling that question. Even better is if one could set up a prediction market on various questions relevant to Donbass.

    So far, every opinion poll that I have found excludes residents of rebel-held Donbass.

    Correct. We don’t know what people in Donbas want right now. Prior to the war, the plurality position within the Donbas according to polls was to be within Ukraine, but with wide autonomy.

    Since then, pro-Ukrainian people have left Donbas and hardcore pro-Russians from places like Kharkiv or Odessa have left Ukraine and moved to Donbas. That, plus the war, probably indicates a much more pro-Russian position within Donbas than before. Conversely and for similar reasons, the rest of Ukraine has become more anti-Russian (and for that, we do have opinion poll confirmation) than it had been.

    Read More
  25. @Jon0815

    That’s because of South Africa and some of the richer oil-producing countries on the western coast.
     
    Even if you exclude all of South Africa, Ukraine's 2015 per capita GDP would still have been less than $800 higher than sub-Saharan Africa's. And you keep implying that oil-producing countries have an economic advantage, although this is far from a generally accepted view among economists.


    As I wrote, Third World status depends on development, not strictly income. Though the two are highly correlated, there are exceptions. For example, Russia’s income at its low point in the 90s was down to $1,433 but Russia was never a third world country.
     
    There isn't any specific criteria for Third World status (originally the term basically meant "non-Communist developing country"). If Russia wasn't a Third World country during the 1990s, then based on its economic and health statistics at the time, it was doing a good imitation of one.

    But if you want to argue that 1990s Russia and present-day Ukraine actually are examples of non-Third World countries whose wealth temporarily fell to Third World levels, fine. That's another reason why a 3% growth rate is weak: Ukraine should be growing even faster than if it were a Third World country, as its PCGDP should naturally tend to rebound to a level consistent with its development.

    The general consensus is that if Russia had prevented the flow of arms and volunteers into Ukraine, had not sent in trainers and advisers, the war would have been over a long time ago.
     
    So? Most successful wars of independence would have failed without help from a foreign government, including the American Revolution. The Donbass separatists have received much less assistance from Russia than the American colonists did from France.

    So Ukraine “chose” to fight over its own sovereign territory and “chose” not to give special veto power over national affairs to the unelected regional government that the Russians have been supporting.
     
    Regardless of the merits of Ukraine's initial decision to try to crush the self-determination of Donbass by force (undertaken by a government that also wasn't elected), rather than negotiate some form of autonomy, the only reason the fighting continues now, in 2017, is that Ukraine keeps shelling and attempting to advance into separatist territory. At Minsk, Putin tried his best to sell out the separatists, and stuff them back into Ukraine against their will, but Kiev just won't accept the sellout. Again, it's specious to use the continued fighting as an excuse for Ukraine's weak growth, when Ukraine can make that fighting stop any time it wants to.

    But setting that aside – even if it is a choice – nevertheless, despite the war and the trade disruption, Ukraine has shown decent economic growth.
     
    A growth rate of 3% might be "decent" for Russia. Not for a country whose PCGDP is roughly 1/5th of Russia's.

    Even if you exclude all of South Africa, Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP would still have been less than $800 higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s. And you keep implying that oil-producing countries have an economic advantage, although this is far from a generally accepted view among economists.

    Oil-producing countries in Africa have higher GDPs. Equatorial Guinea, for example, has a per capita GDP 40% higher than Russia’s! The sub-Saharan African countries without oil have GDPs in the $800 or lower range.

    There isn’t any specific criteria for Third World status (originally the term basically meant “non-Communist developing country”). If Russia wasn’t a Third World country during the 1990s, then based on its economic and health statistics at the time, it was doing a good imitation of one.

    But if you want to argue that 1990s Russia and present-day Ukraine actually are examples of non-Third World countries whose wealth temporarily fell to Third World levels, fine. That’s another reason why a 3% growth rate is weak: Ukraine should be growing even faster than if it were a Third World country, as its PCGDP should naturally tend to rebound to a level consistent with its development.

    Ukraine is in a civil war and in an economic struggle with its largest neighbor.

    Regardless of the merits of Ukraine’s initial decision to try to crush the self-determination of Donbass by force (undertaken by a government that also wasn’t elected)

    False equivalence. The Maidan brought to power in Kiev the political parties that had won the popular vote in the previous national parliamentary election. In contrast Donbas was led, not by the local elected officials (Party of Regions types) but by Russian activists and nationalist adventurers from Russia, people who had never won elections.

    Most successful wars of independence would have failed without help from a foreign government, including the American Revolution. The Donbass separatists have received much less assistance from Russia than the American colonists did from France.

    No. About 10%-20% of Donbas fighters are from Russia, including its first commander Girkin (George Washington, in contrast, was not a Frenchman). Donbas’ first PM, Borodai, was a Russian citizen born in Moscow and lifelong resident in Moscow. I don’t recall a Frenchman playing that kind of role in the American government. Many of the Russian volunteers were people who had seen action in Chechnya and thus were some of the best soldiers. you can Russian military advisors who organized the DOnbas military and made it professional, etc. While France supplied a few thousand troops on the ground, and a general, to the Americans this was not as extensive. I’m also not sure that the Americans were armed by the French to the extent that Donbas has been by weapons flowing in from Russia.

    France was certainly much more involved with the American Revolution than the West was with Maidan, but this isn’t the case with Russia and Donbas.

    rather than negotiate some form of autonomy

    Negotiate with whom? Unelected local and foreign activists?

    At Minsk, Putin tried his best to sell out the separatists, and stuff them back into Ukraine against their will,

    Under conditions that would grant them veto power over national decisions such as EU or NATO – a permanent anchor for Ukraine’s pro-Western ambitions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    Oil-producing countries in Africa have higher GDPs. Equatorial Guinea, for example, has a per capita GDP 40% higher than Russia’s! The sub-Saharan African countries without oil have GDPs in the $800 or lower range.
     
    Reputable studies have concluded there is a "resource curse": Countries which have an abundance of nonrenewable resources, such as fuels, tend to have less economic growth than those which do not. And even if being an oil-producer is an advantage among sub-Saharan countries, that doesn't necessarily mean Ukraine would also do better if it had more oil, and therefore a comparison with sub-Saharan oil-producers is unfair. Perhaps low-IQ populations with oil have an advantage over low-IQ populations that don't, but the same isn't true of populations with higher IQs.

    While France supplied a few thousand troops on the ground, and a general, to the Americans this was not as extensive. I’m also not sure that the Americans were armed by the French to the extent that Donbas has been by weapons flowing in from Russia.
     
    Without French material aid, the Americans would very likely have been defeated before Saratoga. Altogether, the French provided the Americans with about $1.3 billion livres worth of aid, at a time when France's annual budget was around 500 million livres. That included 90% of the Americans' gunpowder, as well as thousands of muskets and hundreds of cannon.

    And at Yorktown, there were almost as many French troops as Americans (8000 vs. 11,000).


    Negotiate with whom? Unelected local and foreign activists?
     

    You negotiate with whoever is in charge. That was clearly the separatist leaders.

    Under conditions that would grant them veto power over national decisions such as EU or NATO – a permanent anchor for Ukraine’s pro-Western ambitions.
     
    Maybe the Kiev regime could have gotten a better deal if it had negotiated back in early 2014, when the Ukrainian army had huge advantages over the rebels in both manpower and firepower, and it wasn't yet clear that Russia was willing to directly support the rebels even semi-covertly.
  26. @AP

    Even if you exclude all of South Africa, Ukraine’s 2015 per capita GDP would still have been less than $800 higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s. And you keep implying that oil-producing countries have an economic advantage, although this is far from a generally accepted view among economists.
     
    Oil-producing countries in Africa have higher GDPs. Equatorial Guinea, for example, has a per capita GDP 40% higher than Russia's! The sub-Saharan African countries without oil have GDPs in the $800 or lower range.

    There isn’t any specific criteria for Third World status (originally the term basically meant “non-Communist developing country”). If Russia wasn’t a Third World country during the 1990s, then based on its economic and health statistics at the time, it was doing a good imitation of one.

    But if you want to argue that 1990s Russia and present-day Ukraine actually are examples of non-Third World countries whose wealth temporarily fell to Third World levels, fine. That’s another reason why a 3% growth rate is weak: Ukraine should be growing even faster than if it were a Third World country, as its PCGDP should naturally tend to rebound to a level consistent with its development.
     

    Ukraine is in a civil war and in an economic struggle with its largest neighbor.

    Regardless of the merits of Ukraine’s initial decision to try to crush the self-determination of Donbass by force (undertaken by a government that also wasn’t elected)
     
    False equivalence. The Maidan brought to power in Kiev the political parties that had won the popular vote in the previous national parliamentary election. In contrast Donbas was led, not by the local elected officials (Party of Regions types) but by Russian activists and nationalist adventurers from Russia, people who had never won elections.

    Most successful wars of independence would have failed without help from a foreign government, including the American Revolution. The Donbass separatists have received much less assistance from Russia than the American colonists did from France.
     
    No. About 10%-20% of Donbas fighters are from Russia, including its first commander Girkin (George Washington, in contrast, was not a Frenchman). Donbas' first PM, Borodai, was a Russian citizen born in Moscow and lifelong resident in Moscow. I don't recall a Frenchman playing that kind of role in the American government. Many of the Russian volunteers were people who had seen action in Chechnya and thus were some of the best soldiers. you can Russian military advisors who organized the DOnbas military and made it professional, etc. While France supplied a few thousand troops on the ground, and a general, to the Americans this was not as extensive. I'm also not sure that the Americans were armed by the French to the extent that Donbas has been by weapons flowing in from Russia.

    France was certainly much more involved with the American Revolution than the West was with Maidan, but this isn't the case with Russia and Donbas.


    rather than negotiate some form of autonomy
     
    Negotiate with whom? Unelected local and foreign activists?

    At Minsk, Putin tried his best to sell out the separatists, and stuff them back into Ukraine against their will,
     
    Under conditions that would grant them veto power over national decisions such as EU or NATO - a permanent anchor for Ukraine's pro-Western ambitions.

    Oil-producing countries in Africa have higher GDPs. Equatorial Guinea, for example, has a per capita GDP 40% higher than Russia’s! The sub-Saharan African countries without oil have GDPs in the $800 or lower range.

    Reputable studies have concluded there is a “resource curse”: Countries which have an abundance of nonrenewable resources, such as fuels, tend to have less economic growth than those which do not. And even if being an oil-producer is an advantage among sub-Saharan countries, that doesn’t necessarily mean Ukraine would also do better if it had more oil, and therefore a comparison with sub-Saharan oil-producers is unfair. Perhaps low-IQ populations with oil have an advantage over low-IQ populations that don’t, but the same isn’t true of populations with higher IQs.

    While France supplied a few thousand troops on the ground, and a general, to the Americans this was not as extensive. I’m also not sure that the Americans were armed by the French to the extent that Donbas has been by weapons flowing in from Russia.

    Without French material aid, the Americans would very likely have been defeated before Saratoga. Altogether, the French provided the Americans with about $1.3 billion livres worth of aid, at a time when France’s annual budget was around 500 million livres. That included 90% of the Americans’ gunpowder, as well as thousands of muskets and hundreds of cannon.

    And at Yorktown, there were almost as many French troops as Americans (8000 vs. 11,000).

    Negotiate with whom? Unelected local and foreign activists?

    You negotiate with whoever is in charge. That was clearly the separatist leaders.

    Under conditions that would grant them veto power over national decisions such as EU or NATO – a permanent anchor for Ukraine’s pro-Western ambitions.

    Maybe the Kiev regime could have gotten a better deal if it had negotiated back in early 2014, when the Ukrainian army had huge advantages over the rebels in both manpower and firepower, and it wasn’t yet clear that Russia was willing to directly support the rebels even semi-covertly.

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