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Crimea: The Price of the Question

1380293_518544324929902_507880401_nBoris Akunin

I am not thinking of Ukraine right now. Well, [I’m thinking of] Ukraine as well … I wish this country all the best. It has shown, with courage and blood, that it is indeed a nation. I think that everything will go well for Ukraine even without Crimea. The West won’t be stingy with its assistance to turn Ukraine into a showcase of democratic values. Crimeans will surely bitterly regret that they separated.

But I am more occupied with the foreseeable future of my own country – Russia. It looks dark.

I want to ask those of my countrymen who are happy about the future pre-determined annexation of Crimea (who seem to make up the majority): do you even understand what this trophy will cost all of us?


Because Russia’s troops entered onto the territory of another country (no matter what Putin may say), the following will happen:

  • Russia will first find itself politically and then economically isolated. Cash will flow out of the country, there will be no [further] investment, and the world will quickly find a substitute for our gas and oil, and that will spell the end of the enormous profits for fuel.
  • All of this, together with the unavoidable leap in military spending, will lead to economic decline and the fall of the ruble, and then, probably, the cancellation of its convertibility.  So we will have to say goodbye to Antalya, Egypt and Thailand.
  • Imports will rapidly become more expensive, and many will simply disappear.
  • Foreign exchange reserves won’t last long. To pay salaries and pensions, the government will turn on the printing press. This will lead to inflation and even higher prices. And there will still be nothing left to pay the state employees. And the government will go bankrupt.
  • To extinguish growing discontent,  the regime will have to act more harshly, more unlawfully. The Internet will be castrated and censored, the mainstream media even moreso. The numbers of political prisoners continues to grow, and it will extend to people who have little to do with politics. Any protest will be punishable.
  • Yes, thanks to the Crimean adventure, Putin has assured himself power for life. Sentenced himself to it. Now he will simply be afraid of resigning. But this power for life is unlikely to be long and will end with you know what. When there are no legal means of changing a bankrupt regime, revolutionary mechanisms kick in. And revolution in a multi-ethnic country, and one that has nuclear weapons, is truly frightening.

I’m not trying to scare you. Unfortunately, all of this is not only likely but unavoidable. Unless there’s a miracle.

So basically, happy future annexation of Crimea, you poor triumphant majority.


Translation by Anna Shwets, edited by Lesia Stangret

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