Ukraine Protests, Part 5

More news from Ukraine, where the president may be gone, but turmoil remains. The new government has issued an arrest warrant for the former president, while neighboring power Russia expresses its dissatisfaction with the situation. This, and more, comes in the latest update from BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26327211).

As converged communicators in International Business (GEB3373) know well, this kind of situation carries serious risks, beyond the obvious problems of violence and death. Some investors fear that Ukraine might default on foreign debt, which could have far-reaching implications. As suggested by the BBC’s Andrew Walker, however, international countries and agencies may come together to prevent this unwanted outcome. The United States, European Union, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) all have an interest in stabilizing the Ukrainian economy, so it is likely that some form of loan would be made available to aid the nation in rebuilding its shaky finances.

These protests also illustrate a new phenomenon in digital media. The BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26173112) also reports that Ukrainian protesters have found ways to modify Mozilla’s Firefox browser, which is open-source software, to promote boycotts of websites connected to the former governing party.

Walker also notes a significant fact that highlights one of the key ideas in our recent reading: Purchasing Power Parity, or PPP. In 1992, shortly after the collapse of Communist power over Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s economy was slightly larger than that of neighboring Poland. Yet Ukraine’s economy has continued to shrink during that time, and is now smaller than it was in 1992. By contrast, the Polish economy is now more than twice the size of its Ukrainian neighbor. Even if you don’t understand all of the details of PPP, it should be obvious that those numbers aren’t very happy for Ukrainians. This further underscores the challenges facing the Ukrainian government – whether the present rulers or some future authorities – as they work to bridge the social, political, and economic fissures in a divided nation.

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