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Taking the Capitalist Road Was the Wrong Choice For Ukraine

Natylie Baldwin

I found a 1992 Deutsche Bank study arguing that, of all the countries into which the USSR had just been divided, it was Ukraine that had the best prospects for success.  Ukraine had been one of the most industrially developed parts of the Soviet Union. It was among the key centres of Soviet metallurgy, of the space industry and of aircraft production. It had some of the world’s richest farmland, and its population was well-educated even by Western European standards.  Add in privatisation and the free market, and within a few years Ukraine would be an economic powerhouse, its population enjoying first-world levels of prosperity.  Fast-forward to 2021, the last year before Russia’s “Special Military Operation.”  The country had been drastically de-developed, with large, advanced industries essentially shut down... Suppose, though, that Zelensky were to sit down with Russian negotiators and hammer out a peace deal. Realistically, this would require a recognition by Ukraine that the Donbas and Crimea had been lost. Neofascists would have to be purged from the state apparatus, and their organisations outlawed. Ukraine would need to break its ties with NATO, and its armed forces would have to be cut to a level the country could afford.  If such a deal were reached, of course, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists would line up to assassinate Zelensky. If, that is, the CIA didn’t get him first.