Ironically, China has outperformed all other economies, even though it has been looted more than most. Between 2003 and 2012, an estimated $1.25 trillion fled the country, bypassing currency controls. China’s most recent attempt to turn off the tap contributed to the collapse of the Shanghai Composite Index.
A recent university graduate with near flawless English, Namazova, 22, had been working as a language tutor before annexation. But once Crimea changed hands, travelers stopped coming, food prices shot up, and banks closed. The peninsula's tourism-dependent economy went into a tailspin. Soon Namazova's clients could no longer afford their English lessons, and she found herself out of a job.
Much has been written about Russia’s information operations against Ukraine and the West. In particular, US and European media outlets love to use the St. Petersburg-based Agency for Internet Studies as the ultimate example of Russia’s determination—and some would have you believe mastery—to win the hearts and minds of disillusioned audiences in Ukraine and in the West.
“The [US] government machine is doing what it can do, but it is doing … more harm than good,” Ilya Ponomarev, a member of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said in an August 26 interview with the New Atlanticist in Washington.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this agreement has reduced Ukraine's financing needs for the next four years by no less than $15 billion. This is a huge achievement for Ukraine's government, and Kyiv managed to accomplish this without having to impose a moratorium on debt repayment.
The current escalation indicates Russian discontent with Ukraine's refusal to make unilateral concessions such as allowing the creation of a demilitarized zone in Shyrokyne near the city of Mariupol without reliable guarantees that Russian-backed separatists won't take back this area after Ukrainian forces withdraw.
Putin's main problem is that he needs to keep acting. He didn't invade Ukraine because he feared for the rights of its Russian-speakers. Rather, it was a diversion from problems at home. He expected a walk in the park when he returned as president in 2012. Instead, he encountered the largest anti-government demonstrations since the fall of the Soviet Union. Nothing terrifies Putin more than popular protests. As a KGB-agent in Dresden, he saw firsthand how East Germans toppled the oppressive system he had dedicated his life to preserve. What if Ukraine's Euromaidan had inspired Russians to do likewise?