Ukraine Unlocked

Cutting Off Russia's Lifeline

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The Week of October 3rd - October 10th

This Week's Takeaway...
A meme depicting Putin as the central character in the Munch painting "The Scream" with the Kerch bridge in the background. Credit: @Juliaioffe
In a belated gift to President Putin, Ukraine launched an attack on the Kerch bridge, which links Russia to Crimea. Billionaire Elon Musk's "peace plan" also grabbed headlines this week and sparked a Twitter feud with President Zelenskyy. Back in the States, American intelligence agencies think that Ukraine carried out the assassination of Darya Dugina, the daughter of well-known Russian nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin. This revelation hasn't stopped the U.S. and other Western allies from pouring money into Ukraine to help reestablish its economy. While Ukraine focuses on domestic issues, Liverpool has been chosen to be the proxy host for Eurovision 2023 even though Ukraine won in 2022.

 All this and more in the below newsletter! 

Ukraine Unlocked is a weekly newsletter providing a roundup of the cultural, political, and economic developments in the country. We hope to provide students, professionals, and the casual reader with greater insight into Ukraine as its role on the global stage evolves throughout the 21st century. 
Billionaire Elon Musk speaks at a press conference. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Who Did It?
  • Musk’s Peace Plan: Polarizing billionaire and celebrity Elon Musk published his controversial "peace plan" for Ukraine on Twitter this week. Musk proposed redoing the recent referendums in the regions currently controlled by Russian forces and also allowing Russia to keep Crimea. President Zelenskyy criticized the plan creating a poll on Twitter: "Which Elon Musk do you like more?": "One who supports Ukraine" or "One who supports Russia?" The results were stark: 78% voted for a pro-Ukranian Musk. 
    • Starlink Struggles: Musk’s Starlink system, which has allowed Ukrainian troops to access the internet while on the battlefield faced a string of outages recently. The drops in service have apparently created massive issues for the Ukrainian military, as communication between forces has been severed. Compounding the issue, the system does not seem to be working in recently liberated territories in eastern Ukraine.
  • Who Killed Dugina? The New York Times published a report that the U.S. intelligence community believes Ukrainians carried out the assassination of Darya Dugina. As a refresher, Darya is the daughter of Alexander Dugin who has been labeled as “Putin’s Brain.” The U.S. apparently played no part in the assaination and even lambasted Ukrainian officials for the hit after it took place. The Kremlin welcomed the news but Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he hopes this report is not a political move by the U.S. to dodge responsibility for future attacks. 
  • Liberalism vs Nationalism: In an op-ed written by New York Times’ David Brooks, he argues that Ukraine’s resistance is fueled by both nationalism and liberalism. While for many these two ideologies seem contradictory, Brooks writes that if democracies are to survive they need strident nationalists to defend liberal systems and values. 
 Human Moment: 
Ukraine unveiled a new stamp which commeoreated the destruction of the Kerch bridge linking Crimea to Russia. 
One of Zinkivskiy's pieces of work. The text can be translated to "Your world/light (if it exists) matters." Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Reframing Destruction
  • Kharkiv Gets Repainted: In Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, Hamlet Zinkivskiy is using his artistic talents to beautify the city. Zinkivskiy has covered numerous surfaces, some of which have been damaged as a result of the war, with his art. His pieces often carry a political commentary for example: Zinkivskiy painted molotov cocktails with an inscription underneath reading “hellish hospitality.” The Ukrainian resistance is the inspiration for this particular mural. 
  • Liverpool Plays Proxy Host: The Ukrainian band Kalush won the Eurovision competition last year, which normally means their home country would get to host the event the following year. Due to the ongoing war, the U.K. stepped in to make sure the contest could go on in an environment where artists and spectators can remain safe. Liverpool got the nod this week that they would host Eurovision 2023. The director of the organization Culture Liverpool said the city would reflect "what Ukraine and its people deserve."
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Russia finishing the illegal construction of the Crimean Bridge in 2018. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Bold Bombs
  • Bridge to Nowhere: Russia’s illegally constructed bridge in Crimea, which opened in 2018, suffered extensive damage to two lanes after a truck bomb exploded. The bridge connects the occupied Crimean Peninsula to mainland Russia and is a vital transport route for the Russian army’s campaign in southern Ukraine. Ukrainska Pravda originally reported that an anonymous official in Kyiv said Ukraine was responsible for the attack. Several Ukrainian officials have publicly celebrated the attack without taking responsibility. One advisor to the president said the explosion was a result of a conflict between Russia’s Security Service (FSB) and Russia’s military. 
  • Barrage in Zaporizhzhia: Over the night of October 8th, Russia launched 12 missiles at civilian targets in Zaporizhzhia, killing at least 12 and injuring 49. Since illegally annexing Zaporizhzhia last week, Russia has intensified attacks in the region because Ukraine still controls most of the surrounding area. 
  • Begrudging Birthday: On October 7th, as Vladimir Putin turned 70 years old, Ukraine’s military continued to liberate more occupied territories in the east and south. Since Ukraine launched their counteroffensive at the end of August, its forces have recaptured 927 square miles (2,400 square kilometers) of land. During the past week, they have retaken 300 square miles (776 square kilometers) of territory. 
    • Growing Discontent: U.S. intelligence officials reported that a member of Vladimir Putin’s leadership circle confronted the president over the mishandling of the war and the mobilization. Hyper-nationalistic bloggers in Russia have also discussed the shortcomings of the war, which may undermine Putin’s strongman image within Russia. While exact numbers are unclear, reports indicate that hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled the country since the call for mobilization.
  • Cutoff in Zaporizhzhia: On Saturday, the resumption of shelling near the Zaporizhzhian Nuclear Power Plant knocked out the last external power source. While all reactors have been shut down, they still require electricity for cooling. The plant must now rely on emergency diesel generators.
    • Another Annex: Putin announced on Wednesday that Russia was taking over the plant. Energoatom, Ukraine’s state nuclear agency, said they will continue to operate the facility.

 Human Moment: 

A human rights group consisting of Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians won a joint Nobel Peace Prize, sparking controversy in all three countries. 
Logo of Russia Today, a state-controlled news agency, which has sought to spread disinformation about Ukrainian refugees in Europe. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Humanitarian Crisis
  • Spreading Propaganda: Despite sanctions against Russian news outlets in the E.U., a report from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue shows that Kremlin officials have devised a way to sidestep the bans by making minor changes to the URLs of RT English, RT Spanish, RT Germany, and RT France. The sanctions include clauses that ban workaround domains, but it is largely up to local police officials to enforce the laws. Many of the published RT articles focus on the negative aspects of Ukrainian refugees in Europe: preferential treatment over other refugees, economic drain on host countries, and disadvantages for Russian-speaking Ukrainian refugees. 
Looking to lend support to Ukraine? Below are some ways you can help:
  • Help forPEACE, which seeks to connect foreign donations with on-the-ground organizations in Ukraine
  • Donate to the Ukrainian military (will need google translate on your computer)
  • Donate to Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive
  • Help Ukrainian refugees in Poland
Advertisement for Advantage Ukraine on government's website. Credit: Ukraine's Ministry of Economy
The Future of Business
  • The Ukrainian Advantage: Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy recently launched Advantage Ukraine, a platform dedicated to attracting investors into the economy. According to the Ministry, the platform has already received over 250 investor requests. The prospective investors, mainly from the U.S., U.K., Germany, Turkey, and Poland, are interested in the tech, agricultural, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Investment in Ukraine is exceedingly promising, as the government is advertising tax benefits for opening factories and large-scale privatization. 
    • Small Businesses Come Back: As part of the effort to revitalize the Ukrainian economy, the government is trying to provide new and enticing opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses to have them restart operations. Loans have been doled out to these companies with the hopes that it can serve as a lifeline while they readjust to a new normal. The economy ministry has helped over 700 companies relocate from areas near the war to safer locations in the west. While money has flowed into the country, outside investment is still needed specifically focused on supporting small businesses. 
To help people pursue their passions about the Eurasian region we are collecting jobs that are connected to the area. If you have a relevant job you would like posted here please contact us. 
Entry Level  Mid-Career Senior Level 
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. We always look forward to engaging with our readers. 

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