April 24, 2022

What the Invasion Means for Russians

What the Invasion Means for Russians
Putin addresses a crowd at a rally, March 18, 2022. Above him appear the words "We don't abandon our own." Sputnik News, an affiliate of the Russian state.

The news out of Ukraine is shocking. Refugees on the run from their homes, starving pets, and tales of war crimes. Ukraine and its people are victims, and they're fighting bravely despite overwhelming odds.

Yet the Russian populace doesn't appear to have a happy immediate future either.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens have fled abroad, typically those with the means, diplomas, and skills to allow them to do so, applying their talents away from their homeland. Sanctions on imports mean that Russia will have to grow almost all of its own food. Russian athletes are barred from competing in some sports. Most international airlines have stopped all inbound and outbound flights, and Boeing and Airbus have repossessed all aircraft operated by Russian carriers, forcing them to rely on domestic and Chinese-built craft (although the winds are shifting away from that direction, too).

But what does this mean for the everyday Russian? Interviews with locals shed some light. 

Medical supplies manufactured in Germany, like replacement joints, medication, or dental disinfectants, can no longer be imported. Car parts can longer be imported, so it may be time to invest in a poorer-quality local build. Food quality and variety will worsen to whatever can be grown within the borders of Russia and its friendly neighbors. And with the current sentence of fifteen years for speaking out, journalists and protesters have had to be furtive.

All the progress of Russia's globalization for the past thirty years has been erased in a matter of weeks. Russia is backtracking: this level of closure and isolation hasn't been seen since Soviet times. And at the end of the day, the Russian people themselves will suffer.

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