I am indebted to our fellow Medium correspondent Chris Snow, for a focus on the war’s impact on agriculture and industrialization.
Specifically, what Chris highlights as “Reverse Industrialization.”
In this process, Russia is seen as reverting back to a pre-digital age.
When Russia overwhelmed Crimea in 2014, Western nations responded with an array of Sanctions. These sanctions did not force Putin to abort his plans for an invasion of Ukraine, as they only hurt Russian citizens. Why would he care? Also, they were not deep enough to greatly affect Russia’s war-making capacity.
So Putin went ahead with his Ukraine plan, confident that he could conclude the business before Western sanctions bit too deeply.
We all know how that turned out: the West unified against Putin and put in place a veritable hermetic seal around Russia. Some 1,000 companies have curtailed operations in Russia.
This new level of sanctions hit deeper; according to Bloomberg: “Some of the hit to Russia’s productive capacity is likely to be permanent, and that could leave output below its pre-war peak until later this decade.”
As one commentator said: “We have never seen a country go backwards as fast as it looks like Russia will.”
As the war went on, Russian companies scrambled to find parts that are no longer available. There is a business slowdown that causes falling demand, job cuts and income losses, further weakening the economy. Inflation is rising.
After several years of this, “reverse industrialization” will begin as companies seek lower-grade alternatives to the technologies cut off by sanctions. Efficiency will drop.
A new, less technologically advanced base will emerge. Mechanical linkages and gears will replace lightweight computer circuits. Planes and trains will be heavier and less efficient. Environmental damage will increase. Already the assembly lines at Lada, the Russian carmaker, stood still for many weeks. When they started up, a lower level of technology meant that they had no ABS.
This will impact the military, which is already fighting with 1970’s technology.