Invasion of Ukraine: Ordinary Russians could overthrow Vladimir Putin, and getting Russia out of Swift payment system could spark an uprising – John McLellan

Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in central St. Petersburg (Photo: Sergei Mikhailichenko/AFP via Getty Images)

There is no doubt that prices have risen before, helped, if I may say so, by the reduction in Russian gas and oil supplies to the West as a harbinger of this week’s bloody events.

And while the Ukrainian flag flew over the Edinburgh City Chamber and councilors expressed sympathy for sister city Kiev, some frustrated SNP representatives went out of their way to denounce the so-called “Thorian cost of living crisis” without mentioning the key role of Russia. in a deteriorating economic situation.

Lord Provost Frank Ross took advantage of a break in the hearings to send a letter of solidarity to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko; if only former world heavyweight champion equaling judo black belt Vladimir Putin in a cage could resolve this dire situation, and my money would be on the hasty departure of the Russians.

If it sounds trite, nothing from the Kremlin in recent weeks indicates that the first full-scale war in Europe since 1945 is nothing more than the deadly selfishness of one lying narcissist, the cruel expression of Vladimir Putin’s burning desire to take his place in history as a human being. who rebuilt the Russian Empire, an ambition for which even at this distance we will all pay the price.

After weeks of deceit and lies and the lifting of the economic harness, February 24, 2022 will be, according to Franklin Roosevelt, a date that will live in infamy.

Except that, unlike December 7, 1941, the United States or any other country is not going to declare war. There are parallels with 1939, not only because it was a blitzkrieg on the scale of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, but also because it led to the Soviet occupation.

However, there will be no full-scale war in Europe, as British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace made it clear yesterday that the Royal Air Force will not introduce the no-fly zone that Ukrainians dream of.

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These are Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968; brutal repression to bring Ukraine back under unquestioned political, military, economic and cultural control of the Kremlin.

In a chilling echo of 1956, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes he is on the assassination list and will suffer the same fate as Imre Nagy, the Hungarian leader who was executed on the orders of Nikita Khrushchev.

In lounges and bars, it’s easy to be an amateur strategist dusting off old Napoleonic board games, and yesterday’s Savanta ComRes poll showed that NATO’s war effort is supported by a surprisingly high 41 percent of British adults.

But since this war is the tragic expression of one man’s messianic ambitions on a global scale, the restoration of Ukraine’s freedom will only be achieved by removing Putin, and it is entirely up to the Russian people, who inevitably return to a cost-of-living crisis. and, unfortunately, the impact of the invasion not only on ordinary Russians, but on all of us.

Hours after the invasion, Brent crude topped $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, with European gas jumping 70%. With a real possibility that Russian gas supplies to Europe will be completely cut off in response to economic sanctions, all prices will be affected due to transportation costs and the use of hydrocarbons in the vast majority of goods.

The case for exploiting the Cambo fields off Shetland should now be irrefutable. With Russia and Ukraine accounting for just under a third of global wheat production, half of sunflower seeds and oil, and a major fertilizer exporter, staple food prices could also skyrocket, with the UK’s current inflation rate of 5.4% unlikely. be near the top of the curve.

However, it works both ways. Inflation in Russia is already at 8.7%, the ruble lost 7.9% of its value against the dollar by 17:00 Thursday, while the Moscow stock market collapsed. About 60 percent of Russia’s GDP comes from fossil fuels, and if prices soar here due to a lack of supply, Russia’s oversupply won’t help the resource-heavy economy, which could lose much of its markets.

In exchange for these raw materials, Russians receive the services and manufactured goods that have transformed major cities from dull, monochrome trading deserts to glitzy shopping malls frequented by kleptocrats and ordinary citizens alike.

In the history of mother Russia, the authoritarian elite is completely immune to the extreme suffering of the masses, but now people, especially the young and educated, know a life different from that of their parents and grandparents; they are digitally connected to the world, they can go to McDonald’s, they can buy BMWs and Mercedes, they can wear the latest designer clothes. And they tasted political freedom; unlike their ancestors, they know what they can lose.

Not that Putin was infuriated. Russia has amassed the world’s fourth-largest foreign exchange reserve, so exclusion of Russia from the Belgian international payment system Swift is just as important as other sanctions against Russian banks.

But, in what looks like self-interest, the EU countries do not want to exclude Russia from the mechanism, finding reasons not to do the only thing that would make international trade almost impossible for the Putin regime. Everyone will have a price, but what kind of war does not cost money?

The Russian economy will be hit hard, and the 1,700 protesters arrested in multiple snap anti-war demonstrations will be just the beginning. Putin must go, and if EU leaders are serious about helping Ukraine, they need to give the Russians an incentive to get rid of him. Quick action is important.

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