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The Thursday Politics Thread Sanctions The Oligarchs

Morning Politocadoes,

The invasion continues with ceasefires being broken repeatedly, reports of up to 7,000 Russian and Belarusian troops killed in action, and the repeated targeting of civilian locations by invading forces. Hopes remain high for possible talks between Ukraine and Russia’s Presidents following talks between Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba in Turkey on Wednesday. Though Russia is unlikely to have changed on most of its positions. In the end, what may force Russia’s hand is the economic consequences of its attacks.

With Russian forces indiscriminate destruction of a children’s hospital and maternity ward, the UK has sanctioned, among others, Oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Roman Abramovich. The efficacy of which, is questionable, given that most of their assets are likely in the Channel Island of Jersey. Hopefully, authorities are prompt in searching there first but the fact remains that this was done far too late. Sanctioning Russia’s oligarchs is key to challenging Putin’s chokehold on the government. The money. You never fuck with the money.

https://tinyurl.com/ye26bkfr

Russia is finding this out more broadly with McDonald’s closing its 850 locations, Ikea, Nike, Apple, Netflix, and friggin’ ExxonMobil the country is suddenly very isolated. Putin’s government had expected sanctions, they had not anticipated such a rapid exodus of companies. But the reasoning is pretty interesting. The companies are pulling out due to reputational concerns. The war is so unpopular in the West that the cost of doing business just isn’t worth the hit brands would take.

“But the scariest part is not luxury brands exiting. It’s mass-market brands like Mothercare leaving the country, with very few Russian substitutes available. It’s absolutely insane how the Russian government has managed to destroy all the connections that were built with the international retail industry for 30 years in just 10 days.”

The shock may not have yet hit many people in Russia, after all, it’s only been 10 days. But the forecast is grim indeed. A senior official in the Russian government has called for nationalizing the brands that have suspended operations to help offset unemployment, but uh, that seems to like a bad, short-sighted move? But then, this entire war is a bad, short-sighted move what’s one more?

https://tinyurl.com/hdarkmj8

It’s a sad day when you hope that the men who’ve been greedily hoarding money and power will suddenly grow a spine when their material wealth is threatened. After all, we kept waiting for our oligarchs to do something when Trump was clearly fucking with our ability to do business. It’s why, while I think it will take a while, that real change will come from the people. The access to the outside world and the ability to maintain even the façade of a middle-class life will chip away for the average person so long as Putin and his cronies remain in power. Here’s hoping that from this tragedy, something better can emerge.

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