Revolution and Trade – Ukraine

By Michael Jones (michael.jones@tsiglobalconsulting.com)

The last century has seen countless revolutions occur all over the world.  As the Great Powers decolonized and people’s desire for democracy grew, many dictatorial regimes were brought down.  As we move into this new century, we have seen a continuation of this trend: the now-famous Arab Spring brought democracy to the Middle East, and even now, there are many countries that are undergoing similar revolutions.

One of the largest revolutions currently taking place is in Ukraine.  Historically, Ukraine has been a divided country: roughly 1/2 of the population supports greater integration with Europe, while the other half wishes to remain linked to Russia.  Ukraine had been moving westward in recent years, with President Yanukovych working to develop a trade deal with the EU.  In response to this, Putin’s government in Russia began issuing sanctions against Ukraine in order to coerce them to abandon the trade deal and move towards Russia.  This pressure eventually led to Yanukovych abandoning the deal and thus, enraging the portion of the population in favor of EU integration.  The resulting “Euromaidan” revolution began in late November after the deal’s collapse, and has rapidly escalated from peaceful to violent since then.

What does this have to do with trade, you may ask?  The answer is simple: the U.S. is starting to take  notice.  Within the last month, 26 people have died as a result of the protests, sparking an international outcry against the violence.  The U.S> has weighed in on its opinion, and it is considering sanctions against Ukraine in order to pressure the Yanukovych government to leave office.  Ukraine is already a difficult place to ship things to from the U.S., as it is a popular transit point for goods to Russia and Iran; something that always raises red flags with the State Department.  However, if the U.S. proceeds with these sanctions, these restrictions could become even more severe and even non-military items could end up blocked.  Just goes to show how revolutions can make anything more complicated.

Events like the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine can occur without notice in any country around the world.  TSI has the knowledge and the foresight to help your business expand internationally, all with minimal risk to you.  Call us at 210-757-0618 for a consultation.

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