Spoiler: Today, 3rd of May, is World Press Freedom Day 2022. Press freedom is under duress in many countries and journalists are being harassed, jailed and killed by authoritarian regimes.It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse.
And Russia is among the worst places to be a journalist. From the web site of Reporters Without Borders:
“The situation is classified as “very bad” in a record number of 28 countries in this year’s Index, while 12 countries, including Belarus (153rd) and Russia (155th), are on the Index’s red list (indicating “very bad” press freedom situations) on the map. The world’s 10 worst countries for press freedom include Myanmar (176th), where the February 2021 coup d’état set press freedom back by 10 years, as well as China, Turkmenistan (177th), Iran (178th), Eritrea (179th) and North Korea (180th).”
Following Putin’s war against Ukraine, he also extends his war against the free press in Ukraine. His orcs are abducting, arresting, murdering and torturing journalists inside Ukraine. The situation for the media in Russia is approaching the situation in North Korea.
Spoiler: More and more countries sanction exports to Russia which creates problems for the Russian military industry complex. Russia must therefore to a higher extent than before rely on countries that is not on the Kremlin’s list of “unfriendly countries”. China is not on that list. Putin wants to replace imports from sanctioning countries by imports from China.
However, parts of the Chinese value-added shares of Russian final demand for Computers & Electronics and Machinery origin in countries that sanction Russia. Imposing secondary sanctions that prevent China from using parts and components from sanctioning countries will make it more difficult for Putin to feed his death machine.
This will not put a halt to Chinese exports to Russia. China can keep exporting products without any parts and components from sanctioning countries or produce them themselves. However, that is not easy for China in the short run. Chinese exports without parts and components from sanctioning countries appear to be less advanced and poor substitutes for the products from sanctioning countries.
Spoiler: Putin’s war against Ukraine has led to decreased supplies of several goods which Ukraine and Russia exports. We have already seen price hikes of oil and gas followed by decreased supply and higher prices of wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizers, steel to mention some of the most important goods. The world will be poorer, and the poorest people will be hit hardest by Putin.
The effects are felt directly and indirectly. The direct effects concern those firms and households who use gas and oil for as energy or wheat when baking bread. They are also felt indirectly as goods that are produced with gas, oil, wheat, sunflower, and steel become more expensive. The effects are stronger in countries where imports of the goods are relatively large, account for a large part of final domestic demand and the more elastic demand for those goods are.
The effects are stronger in continents and countries with a relatively large share of poor households. More families will be poor. But the effects will reach further. Increased poverty is associated with less nutrition, shorter life expectance and higher natal mortality numbers. Putin kills people today and in the future. In addition to that, his war will lead to fewer births.
Spoiler: Putin’s annihilation of Ukraine is not going according to his plan. He did not capture Kyiv within two days and did not manage to kill Zelenskyy. Anyone who daily keeps tracks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has seen how hard the brave Ukrainian people resist and causing many casualties in the Russian army, not to mention different kinds of weapons and equipment.
Many military experts have, put forward several factors explaining the weaknesses in the Kremlin war. Just to mention a few, these include bad or even false intelligence of the Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainians resistance, the terrain and more. Add to this the very poor planning with many unprepared Russian conscripts who believed that they were on an exercise extremely poor logistics causing vehicles to run out of fuel and soldiers out of food, faltering communications, and coordination between and of the military units. Reports about old Soviet-type Russian artillery, hitting civilians instead of military targets, and shortages of missiles and rockets, bare witness that the Russian military is less mighty than feared.
These are the consequences of the weak state of Russia, the malfunctioning of the Russian economy with its low-efficient military industry. These are characteristics you find in a society with pervasive corruption. Corruption which is informally sanctioned by Putin who is has shaped the Kleptocracy aka Russia.