There’s one country dominating European news channels at the moment – the events in Ukraine seem to be moving with ever increasing speed. Most reports of course are concerned with the country’s political future and it’s relationship with Europe and Russia.
However there is another crisis which is looming for whoever ends up being in charge of this divided country – an economic one. The country is hugely indebted and relies heavily on the one country it is seeking to distance itself from – Russia. In fact there is a major lending programme in place which is essential to Ukraine’s survival agreed with the Russian government and currently only 20% of it implemented. It would be highly unlikely to continue if the new EU friendly Ukraine turns it’s back on it’s powerful neighbour.
It is estimated that Ukraine needs about £21 billion over the next couple of years to maintain stability. If the Russians pull the plug on aid, which seems likely then it is to Europe that the country will look. It has already been mentioned by several important European officers who are well aware that the country will require substantial economic aid. The US Treasury secretary has also said that international support would be the best way forward probably via the IMF.
So will the US and EU fill the ever growing hole in the Ukrainian finances? It has happened before but the previous lending programmes with the country have not been overly successful, with the Ukranian authorities not sticking to the agreed policies in return for financial support. There were many problems but the central one was probably the reluctance of the government to raise the country’s energy prices. The subsidies cost Ukraine finances which they couldn’t really afford, it also meant that there was little encouragement for being more fuel efficient in both industry and domestic markets.
But it’s not all gloom and doom for the country, there are many resources the country can turn to with a modicum of political and financial stability in place. Like many former Soviet countries, there is a strong educational system in place and Ukraine has a large population of young well educated young people. There is also a large entrepreneurial spirit, and many people are highly active in the global digital economy. They use technologies such as VPNs, proxies and even these Smart DNS technology like this to break down digital borders that many countries have put in place.
There is a huge potential in the country, like most former Soviet countries when they broke away their economies contracted rapidly as they struggled to transform from a centrally planned economy to a western style capitalist economy – it’s never an easy process. There’s a lot of coverage in the media throughout Europe but some of the best is possibly in Germany through their domestic broadcasters – for those outside the country and with the necessary language skills you can use this technique to help bypass the geo blocks which normally block access.