conflict zones, latest, Ukraine

Ukraine: Currency panic and empty shelves

kiev_shop

Ukrainian shoppers have swept shelves clean of basic necessities. Source: ruposters.ru

Bloggers expect destabilization, possible government exit

A currency panic engulfs the Ukraine while the population sweeps shop shelves clean of all basic necessities. As blogger El-Murid puts it, Kiev’s National Bank decisions are no longer a match for the mass psychosis. No one doubts the fact that the Bank has provoked the panic, but by and large, the situation has been brought to such a state that it could be unraveled by any event.

“Talks abound of a default which is already there – but it was, in fact, a reality even without the panic. Ukraine’s collapse would not benefit the external players, and they tried to ignore the facts on the ground. Even in these circumstances Russia supported the financial system of Ukraine by means of its largest banks refinancing their Ukrainian affiliates. Russian banks bought Kiev’s defense bonds, financing the slaughter in the Donbas; the West did not invest much, but it did not require repayment of loans. Everyone pretended that everything was fine – but in fact it was very bad even under Yanukovych. The new government just added to and deepened the crisis.

“There is nothing to celebrate. The panic has sharply raised the pain threshold of the Ukrainian population – it cares much less now about the war in the Donbas and aggressive Russia. Problems sharply narrowed to where to buy oil, canned meat, gasoline – herd behavior dictates its own stereotypes. This is the problem [for Kiev], because now, in order to distract its raging citizens, the government should do something out of the ordinary, to bring them back into the usual nirvana of hate, disconnecting them from everyday problems.

War can be a very seductive manner for such a digression, but it should start under some pretext – of course, provoked by the authorities.

 “In any case, the chance of provocation and consequent tough action has increased significantly. Such a development can only be prevented by an intra-elite fight. A culprit is urgently needed – either external (Russia and the separatists, of course) or internal.

“But who would have become a domestic culprit – this is the question. Oligarchic groups fighting among themselves can come together for a while, knowing that the tide can sweep them all away – and then war will be clearly their last argument.

“But they may also fail to reach an agreement – and then begin a war between themselves. Then the ukromedia must explode in the coming days, revealing each other’s dirty laundry, given that the media market is divided in a very clear-cut manner between the key clans.

“Actually, while we can assume that the media will mark what scenario will be implemented. I some conclusions can become obvious within a week.”

The currency panic leads blogger Yurasumy to expect exactly this type of developments. He marks the date of March 3, since this is when the Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament) must vote on this year’s budget and probably answer the question whether the infighting between President Poroshenko and Prime-Minister Yatseniuk will lead to the latter’s government resignation.