Kravchuk: Cancel Ukraine’s debt

13 03 2022

Jacobin has also interviewed Commons‘s managing editor and economist Oleksandr Kravchuk, who argues forcefully that western countries hoping to aid Ukraine should begin by canceling its foreign debt. An online petition has been started to make this case more broadly known.

While some on the liberal left (rightfully) lament the fact that Ukrainian refugees are treated better than refugees from Africa or the Middle East, Kravchuk reminds readers that Ukraine is “the northern part of the Global South and the poorest country in Europe, fighting for this place with Moldova.” That doesn’t excuse the evident racial discrimination, but putting it in economic terms at least makes the case more complex than the trope that sees Ukrainians as worthy of support because they are “middle-class like us,” “drive the same cars,” and so on.

In a 2015 article in Spil’ne/Commons, Kravchuk had provided a detailed history of Ukraine’s reliance on external debt, including the mechanisms by which debt dependency encouraged social spending cuts and other austerity measures. As Kravchuk notes in the Jacobin interview, “Sooner or later the war will end,” and the requirement of debt servicing will only mean a massive drain on an economy overstretched by the necessity to rebuild both the bombed infrastructure and the countless lives disrupted and displaced by the wreckage.



Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar