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Ukraine

The Bad Economics Of Crimean Independence

Whatever political and ethnic forces are at play, all sides must remember that Crimea's finances and infrastructure are Ukrainian to the core.

The port of Sevastopol is the hub of the Crimean economy
The port of Sevastopol is the hub of the Crimean economy
Dmitri Butrin, Aleksei Shapovalov, Anna Colodovnikova and Anastasia Fomicheva

MOSCOW – The new regional government of Crimea would in theory be in a unique position to double-dip on aid from both Kiev and Moscow. It is just one twist in the crucial economic question that must be considered in any discussion of Crimean independence from Ukraine.

After a recent meeting in Moscow between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and senior finance officials of the new Crimea regional government, the Kremlin says it is preparing a financial aid package for Crimea. The Vice Premier of the new Crimean government said that the region would need around $1 billion in aid and $5 billion in “investment.” Considering the population of Crimea is around 2 million, that is less per capita than the aid that Russia gave to South Ossetia after hostilities broke out there with Georgia in 2008.

The Russian Finance Ministry hasn’t revealed the exact contents of its offer, but it seems to be considering some combinations of loans and pure aid.

The region of Crimea is entirely integrated into Ukraine. In spite of the fact that all of Crimea’s tax revenue stays in the region (other regions in Ukraine contribute 50 percent of tax revenue to the federal budget), around 70 percent of Crimea’s monthly government expenditures are funded by transfers from Kiev.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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