Crimea and Ukraine

I haven’t said anything about what’s going on in the Ukraine since it’s a very confusing situation–for example, one of the reasons that ex-President Yanukovych turned to Russia was that the IMF was asking for so much before it offered assistance:

As IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced a team would travel to Kiev in coming days to assess the economic needs, fund spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters yesterday that Ukraine’s leadership is pledging “wide-ranging reforms.” Rice said he didn’t wish to “make comparisons between different governments.”

“I will be probably the most unpopular prime minister in the whole history,” Yatsenyuk told Parliament before being approved yesterday, heralding decisions on cuts in subsidies and welfare payments and later calling his job a “political kamikaze” mission. “But we will do everything possible to avoid default.”

The IMF has heard such promises before.

In loans dating back to 1994, “usually the IMF had made two quarterly disbursements and then stopped because the Ukrainian government has refused to comply with the IMF conditions,” said Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

He said he expects the fund in this negotiation “will be tough and demand very strict prior actions” before offering support.

Under a $16.4 billion loan in November 2008, when Yulia Timoshenko was prime minister, Ukraine pledged to let its currency float and to balance its budget, in part by raising energy prices.

The fund froze the loan after a year, ultimately canceling and replacing it with a $15.2 billion package in July 2010 with similar prescriptions under Yanukovych, who defeated Timoshenko in presidential elections. Disbursements on that program stopped the following year as the country again failed to meet conditions.

So, the IMF is saying that the Ukraine should implement austerity measures which have worked so well in Greece and Spain:

The unemployment rate is lowest in Austria and Germany at around 5 percent and stands at about 26 percent in Spain and 28 in Greece.

Youth unemployment, meanwhile, edged down marginally across Europe. The rate of jobless for those aged under 25 in the eurozone fell by 0.1 percentage points to 24 percent, a drop of 87,000. In the wider EU, the rate fell from 23.7 percent to 23.4 percent.

Youth unemployment was highest in Greece and Spain, where almost six out of ten under 25 are jobless, and lowest in Germany with a rate of only 7.6 percent.

There are also questions about some of the nationalists in Ukraine. Still, it seems that there has now be some sort of an invasion by Russia and this can’t be tolerated. There isn’t much that can be done short of war, but the world should start discussing them such as cutting Russia from the G8. Also, Russia shouldn’t get another Olympics–of course, this should have been true even before these events:

Just last Sunday night, Putin was sitting in Sochi’s Fisht Stadium for the Closing Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, declared, “You send a powerful message from Sochi to the world: the message of a society of peace, tolerance and respect.”

The next night, more than 400 Russians were rounded up in Moscow, protesting prison terms for anti-Putin demonstrators. Later in the week, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was put under house arrest for two months.

and there should now be discussion for finding another location for the World Cup in 2018 (and the 2017 Confederation Cup). Really, the world should start planning to stop going to Russia if they don’t behave.

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