Ukraine Unlocked

Doomsday Clock Ticks Down

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The Week of January 23rd - January 30th

This Week's Takeaway in 30 Seconds...
Doomsday Clock cartoon from 1962. Credit: James Vaughn via Flickr
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The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists adjusted the Doomsday Clock to its most alarming level in its 78-year history as the threat of nuclear destruction grows. German and U.S. leaders are trying to prevent a doomsday scenario by changing their position and sending tanks to Ukraine. However, analysts are worried that revelations of a major corruption scandal in Ukraine may give credence to political opponents who question the West’s unfettered support for Ukraine. Meanwhile in the Netherlands, a museum exhibit at the Resistance Museum is sparking conversations over how the world will remember Ukrainians’ experiences before and during the invasion. On the global stage, the International Olympic Committee made a controversial decision on the status of Russian and Belarusian athletes for the 2024 Olympics.

All this and more in this week's 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.

Doomsday Clock. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Power Shifts
  • Center of Power: With the lack of strong leadership from western Europe, Poland and the Baltics have stepped up their support for Ukraine. This robust backing has many thinking that the center of power in Europe has shifted. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz even admitted it himself, saying, “The center of Europe is moving eastward.” Poland is planning to double the size of its military in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But since the E.U. is primarily an organization focused on economies and population size, it may take more time for control of the continent to be wrestled from the powerful hands of Germany and France. 
  • Doomsday Clock: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a U.S.-based nonprofit that examines the issues of global security and science, is becoming increasingly concerned with the situation in Ukraine. The group has set their Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest the Clock has been to midnight since its establishment in 1945. The group sets the time based on their concern about how close humanity is to destroying itself with man-made technology. It is notable that during the height of the Cold War, the closest the clock came to midnight was two minutes.

🪖 Human Moment:  🪖

Two Ukrainian soldiers get to know each other during a firefight.

Olympic rings in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
What's The Role of Sports?
  • How Might This War Be Remembered? When Russia’s war in Ukraine concludes, one central question will be how to remember the people involved in the conflict. In the Netherlands, the Resistance Museum has portrayed the heroics of the Dutch during WWII, but a new exhibit is adding nuance to the country’s history. For example, the exhibit tells the story of Gerard Mooyman, a Dutch teenager who joined the Nazi military effort after being impressed by German propaganda. Ukraine will likely face these same dilemmas of how to remember the complex experiences of its people during the war. In the lead up to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, residents in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine still had favorable views of Russia. How will these Ukrainians be talked about and discussed in the years after the war? 
    They’re Back: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paris Summer Olympics next year. The IOC says that the teams from Russia and Belarus must be neutral, meaning that they will not be directly representing their home countries. President Zelesnkyy vocalized his opposition to the decision, telling French President Macron that Russia has no place in the games. The Kremlin praised the decision, saying that the games “cannot be staged without Russia.”

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German-made Leopard tank. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Fighting a War on Two Fronts
  • Tanks Roll into Ukraine: After weeks of indecision, the U.S. and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine. Starting in December, President Zelenskyy began to request tanks and more long-range missiles. However, neither Germany nor the U.S. would agree to send tanks without the other’s commitment. The sticking point seemed to center on Pentagon officials’ belief that training Ukrainian soldiers to operate and maintain the tanks on the fly would prove too difficult. During the White House press conference on Wednesday, President Biden said that sending the tanks and showing a unified front was more important than the Pentagon’s concerns.
    • Pushing For More: With the West now sending tanks, something they had previously said they would not do, Ukraine is pushing its allies to send F-16 fighter jets. Officials within the U.S. Department of Defense are saying that they are not opposed to the idea of providing jets to Ukraine.
  • Corruption Scandal Shakes Government: On Tuesday, four deputy ministers and five governors in eastern oblasts lost their jobs following corruption and bribery charges. Notably, authorities detained a deputy infrastructure minister after they observed him accepting a $400,000 bribe for securing contracts to fix damaged facilities. President Zelenskyy, who was elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2019, said that any internal corruption is being addressed and “will be cleaned up.”
    • War Implications: A Kyiv-based Ukrainian political analyst, Volodymyr Fresenko, said that the corruption involved military supplies, so the Zelenskyy administration had to act swiftly and show their western allies that Ukraine is appropriately using the aid. However, a major corruption scandal could weaken Western support for Ukraine. The U.S. and E.U. countries have been providing billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, but allegations of embezzlement could give a louder voice to political opponents.

  Human Moment:  

What early mornings in Ukraine can look like.   

Russian oil tanker in the port of Murmansk. Credit: GRID-Arendal

Global Oil

  • Altering the Global Oil Trade: Before the war Russia sent half of its oil exports to Europe. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drastically changed this supply chain. The mounting sanctions have forced Russia to sell its oil to China, India, and Turkey for a steep discount. India is taking advantage of the price differential and plans on buying 1.5 million barrels of crude oil this month alone. In particular, China is buying crude oil at the lowest possible price, then turning around and selling refined products into markets that have sanctioned Russian oil. The market will likely shift dramatically in February when the E.U. places an embargo on Russian diesel and other refined oil products.
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
Pro refugee banner in Germany. Credit: Montecruz foto via Flickr
Tracking non-Ukrainian Refugees from Ukraine
  • Following the Exodus: Under current E.U. law, third-party nationals who were living in Ukraine, such as Afghans and Syrians, must have permanent residency in Ukraine to receive temporary protections. That leaves the nearly 80,000 stateless people, such as Romani people, and the 5,000 registered asylum seekers living in Ukraine before the invasion with few opportunities. Roughly 40% of the non-Ukrainian refugees who fled the war have yet to be able to register for documentation and essential services.
    • Lack of Information: While third-party nationals can register for asylum in the E.U., most are unaware of how or where to start the process. Many European countries began a mass information campaign both Ukrainian and Russian, but that is of little help to the newer refugees from Syria and Afghanistan who had only recently arrived in Ukraine when the war started.
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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