It’s not just the war: Ukraine beyond the headlines (NATO Review)

It’s not just the war: Ukraine beyond the headlines (NATO Review)

It’s not just the war:
Ukraine beyond the headlines Fighting in the east
has come to characterize Ukraine, but only 7% of its territory is occupied
by Russian backed separatists. Its struggle
for survival and self-determination, free of corruption and Russian
influence is fought on many fronts. From stabilizing its economy
to fighting cyber attacks, Ukraine faces five key challenges
that may determine its very survival. #1 INTERNAL DEFENCE February 2015,
a bomb explodes in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.
It kills three and injures at least ten. It wasn’t the first such attack,
but it was the deadliest. Major seaport Odessa has dealt with
at least seven blasts in the past year. Kiev’s stations have been threatened
leading to evacuations and Ukraine’s railways
have been blown up. Under the previous regime, police and
secret service were highly centralized and often used as personal militias. Some even served
as Russian proxy agents. Away from the limelight, a unified
internal security played a key role in defending Ukraine,
as much as regular armed forces. #2. CYBER DEFENCE Nuclear power stations,
gas supplies, chemical factories… Critical infrastructure is
under threat from cyber attack. Hackers had success breaking
into the country’s computer systems. In 2014, hackers changed
the results to indicate that ultra-nationalist party
Right Sector had won by 39% of the vote.
The origin of these attacks? Difficult to know,
as hackers using IP cloakers can disguise their whereabouts. What we do know is
that Russian TV Channel One aired a bulletin the night of the attack
declaring Right Sector the winner. #3 CORRUPTION One of Euromaidan’s top demands
was fair and independent institutions. But with the economy tanking,
rooting out corruption becomes hard, as a culture of bribery
persists in Ukraine’s institutions. That doesn’t mean
the government hasn’t been trying. In March 2015,
Ukrainian police entered a televised government meeting and arrested two senior officials
on charges of corruption. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk
tweeted photos, writing: This will happen
to everyone who breaks the law and sneers at the Ukrainian state. Such showy tactics
will need to be followed up by massive reform of a system that
ranks 142nd out of a 175 countries in Transparency International’s
Corruption Perceptions Index. #4 THE ECONOMY In 2014 one US dollar
would buy 8 Ukrainian Hryvnia. Today, the same dollar
rakes in up to 21. On top of their currency
devaluing by 70%, Ukraine has lost
around 20% of its economy to war and loss of infrastructure.
And its foreign reserves hit new lows, plunging 12.4%
to around 5 billion dollars. It’s a dire situation,
made worse by the 75 billion dollars worth of debts
that the country inherited. Ukraine is without funds
to support security services or pay for implementing
badly needed reforms and any aid or loans are
often tied to big budget cuts and a 40% increase
in natural gas bills. In a glimmer of hope,
a free trade deal with the EU starting in 2016, may bring
some longer-term economic growth. #5 INFORMATION WAR Russia’s information campaign
against Ukraine has stepped up. From bad Photoshop jobs
to professional actors attesting to invented atrocities the attacks
on its credibility are endless and put Ukraine in an impossible
situation to try and counter. Facing a well-funded
and monolithic propaganda machine, Ukraine just doesn’t have
the resources to debunk every story. But to do nothing leaves it
vulnerable to the lies gaining traction. Ukraine’s future depends
not just on how strongly the government stands by its plans but how much its friends
want to support it through what may be a defining
moment in its modern history. xvc


6 thoughts on “It’s not just the war: Ukraine beyond the headlines (NATO Review)”

  • Dmitry Tyschenko says:

    The election attack was spotted and prevented day before. The story was still aired in russian news though.

  • Shocking fact that propaganda campaigns of overt lies elaborately constructed are an increasingly powerful tool of conflict. The truth is rarely as persuasive and the public tends to believe what they want to believe. The least admirable most corrupt governments pursue these tacts without apology while Western democracies are caught flat footed and honestly is outgunned. China and Russia re the leader purveyors of this abuse.

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