How Did the Ukrainian Economy Manage to Grow
As the Russian economy stumbles its way through excessive wartime spending and sky-high interest rates to avoid a recession, Ukraine is slowly making its way back to growth.
“Ukraine’s war-battered economy climbed for the first time on an annual basis since Russia invaded last year as it clawed back from a steep drop, and spending rose among consumers adjusting to the conflict. After plummeting in the months following the Kremlin’s February 2022 attack and further in 2023, gross domestic product jumped 19.5% year-on-year in the second quarter, according to data published by the State Statistics Service.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to plunge Ukraine into darkness and cold this winter. But the country’s economy continues to survive, and supermarket shelves are full. How has Ukraine managed to do it?” asked the German publication Spiegel earlier this year.
It’s an interesting question, I thought.
Neither the Ukrainian government, or the Ukrainian armed forces, nor the Ukrainian people were ready to accept the slavery Putin’s army wanted to impose on their shoulders.
When Putin launched his special military operation, he presumed that he would swiftly conquer Ukraine within a matter of days, if not weeks. However, when this plan did not succeed, and Ukraine began to counterattack, forcing the Russian army out of the occupied regions, Putin shifted his focus towards Ukrainian infrastructure. By October last year, Russia started targeting Ukrainian utilities with the intention of undermining the Ukrainian economy and weakening their resolve to resist.
Ukraine sprang into action. Every time a transformer was destroyed, they found a way to fix it. Every time Kyiv or Kharkiv or Lviv was plunged into darkness, instead of despair, Ukrainians held their heads high and fixed what was broken.
The infrastructure attacks by Russia were not a miserable failure in terms of the cost they extracted from the Ukrainian economy, but they were a colossal failure because they did not force Ukrainians to give up. By the end of winter, patriots arrived on the scene and started blowing up Russian missiles out of thin air.