In case you think Russian tanks in Ukraine do not concern you
by Dr. Andrii Ryzhkov
What I have to say here in this short piece is not meant for the segment of the Russian population that supports Putin’s aggression, nor is it addressed to international supporters of his regime (yet, they deserve a separate and thorough analysis). Rather, I hope to address those people, companies or governments around the world who might be indifferent to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. You might be among those people asking themselves, “Why should I care?” or, “Why should I stop doing business with Russia?”
Well, if a bloody stream of war crimes committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian women, children, and other civilians on a daily basis is not enough to erode your indifference, then please consider this. Whether you are engaged in any level of business, or even just a casual user of any social media platform, it is no secret to you that the world is interconnected as never before. You would also then be aware that any war in the 21st century will inevitably have negative repercussions far beyond the territory in which blood is being spilled.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Strikes on nuclear plants in Ukraine could trigger global ecological disaster across the continent on a scale much worse than the Chernobyl disaster.
But what if you live, say, in a country like Mexico? Then you should know that your country imports many kinds of grain from Ukraine, including the vital corn. The recent seizure of Ukrainian cargo ships full of grain by Russian war criminals will make it impossible to fulfill international contracts and satisfy export demands. Further, the longer Ukraine has to endure Russia’s ruthless assault, the less probable it is that the country will be able to produce and then export the food that the world market has grown to depend on. This will cause all food commodity prices to skyrocket worldwide. The longer this war drags on, the more it will create a ripple effect that tips countries across the planet into instability. Members of governments worldwide should bear in mind that supporting Russia economically or politically won’t save you from your own hungry population.
Even governments that consider themselves neutral should deeply consider whether they really need Russian capital of doubtful provenance from people close to Putin’s regime or their proxies, or whether that money would sooner or later disrupt social dynamics, corrupt the political landscape, or undermine social stability.
What I’ve mentioned here is just a small sampling of the possible global repercussions that are already being felt due to the invasion. The clock is ticking and we may already be too late.
You might find yourself struggling to imagine how you could possibly help avert what will soon be a global catastrophe. But even seemingly simple acts can help to halt the aggression in Ukraine. These acts can range from consumers refusing to buy Russian products to businesses and governments ending their trade relationships with Putin’s Russia. Any profits made now in Russia are tainted, and why would you want to be associated with blood money? But there may be more that you can do, so don’t hesitate to call the Ukrainian embassy in your country and ask how you can help.
Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is about to send shockwaves around the planet, and these repercussions will produce no winners. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option - complacency is complicity in your own self-harm. We should act together to stop the aggressor before it’s too late.
Dr. Andrii Ryzhkov
National Autonomous University of Mexico
His particular areas of academic interest focus on Korean studies, mainly topics related to country image, nation branding, media analysis, translation and cultural consumption