The vast complex of the steel mill of Azovstal is where the last defenders of Mariupol are making their stand. What kind of place is this? A giant steel works sprawling over several square kilometers. It has tunnels in which the fighters are withstanding the bombardment. But how did it end up there? What brought us to this point of a factory fight in Southern Ukraine?
What a brilliant read! As a "finance guy" I feel that our industry often misses the historical context of it all. Cheers!
Ahmetov got "rights" to such a big plant by illegal privatization, that happened on all post- Soviet Union space in 1990 th by US demanding to privatized government properties.It is still very debated question in post- Soviet world: should we review results of this "privatization": since government owned all industries, government gave every citizen of every area a share in some industry, this oligarchs lije Ahmetov bought them up at negligent price, people were not educated on economics and the industry was artificially bankrupted too.So, does he have rights on something that a whole country built for half of century??- my grandma would turn in her coffin. Neither does Ukraine have rights to Crimea or Eastern Donbass, because Ukraine got it just for 30 years by doings of US when Soviet Union was destroyed.Never-ever before was Ukraine a state on its own- it was either with Poland or with Russia.Unfortunately their new found independence got quickly corrupt: they went to look for "sugar daddy "- US and NATO. And those two created russuan hatred in Ukraine, and now it's an Antislavic War, because both, and Russians and Ukrainians die, I don't see Ahmetov going in the field to fight though- 2 mln Ukrainian untrained men will die, but ge will drink champagne on his yachtes, it is a war against Russia by hands of Ukrainians, but neither two are spared. West doesn't care about 2 mln Ukrainians, they just will send them more weapons to turn Ukraine into new Vietnam, Ukrainian army is putting land mines on beaches in Mariupol, so kids will get blown up there for years, just to protect the dollar to remain the world currency and maintain idea of free markets(antimonopoly laws fir governments, not for corporations)and 0% interst rates, so corporations can extract more resources, and have no limits, like that Ahmetov.How much is average pension in Ukraine- 100 dollars/ month? Where did Ahmetov put the huge money he made?
In his pocket, pockets EU leaders probably, kids in schools don't have free meals, they are poor, it's a shame, not a democracy.Is he paying any Royalty taxes? Royalty on oil is 68% in Saudi Arabia, Norway has a government oil fund, Russian kids have free meals. I feel like we live in the West in Nazy Germany: You tube channels get blocked, just like Hitler was burning books, everyone knows that US is selling Treasury bonds and nothing else in exchange for Chinese goods now, used to for oil, but its ok to allow a whole country to be a bum.
For more on Azovstal, see: Margarita M. Balmaceda, Russian Energy Chains: The Remaking of Technopolitics from Siberia to Ukraine to the European Union (Columbia University Press, 2021). She cites Tanja Penter, Kohle für Stalin und Hitler: Arbeiten und Leben im Donbass 1929 bis 1953 (Essenn: Klartext. 2010) on the early historical context but herself (Balmaceda) brings the story up to and beyond 2014.
Great write up. The more I read about the Ukraine/Russia dynamic the more I realize how little I actually understand about the Ukraine/Russia dynamic. And yet all the analysis I see/read is simplistic and overly confident. Thank you for adding to my perspective.
Thanks for this great historical context. Kotkin’s “Magnetic Mountain“ is fantastic - I read it during my PhD work - but I didn’t remember Mariupol was the same place. You’ve given us a bit of the longe duree, and to switch modern Ukrainian and Russian fighters for the Soviet and German battle of Stalingrad is striking and, perhaps, hopeful. I think it would take a miracle, though.
Russia President is Satan himself and will never take Ukraine which is an independent country led by by Zelensky, a good and upright man. The world will never recognize any part of Ukraine as belonging to Satan. God speed to the Ukraine people to defeat this war and Satan himself.
Great but at the moment what is needed from Biden are ambulances as there are about 600 injured men in need of prompt medical attention. They will be given passage by the Russian army. Please do not hide the fact that the civilians are hostages to be used by the neo nazi pet dogs of the Yankees.
Illuminating article. Weren't the last defenders of Stalingrad embedded in their steel works? Now, eighty years later, the Russians are doing the same. Talk about a palimpsest!
The historical context you've explained here is fascinating and significant. Extremely helpful to understanding where things stand and where they're headed.
Fascinating read of the early Soviet era Azovstal plant and then of the modern Akhmetov era (Party of Regions/Manafort fame), its an intriguing snapshot of the Soviet-Privatisation-Oligarch transition undertaken by so many regions.
Hermann Göring, in the waning days of Stalingrad in 1942, attempted to encourage his troops with thoughts of Leonidas at Thermopylae,
"If you come to Germany, tell them you have seen us fighting in Stalingrad, obedient to the law of honor and warfare."
Kimitaka Matsuzato is always interesting and fun(ny) to read, but please provide link or citation. And nota bene: he not she.
If there is even a little silver lining to this terrible war, is that oligarchs (on both sides) will emerge significantly weakened. It is mind-boggling (and a testament of criminal nature of post-Soviet "transition") that characters such as Akhmetov can "own" gigantic factories like that built up over a century or more. Even more devastating is of course oligarchs like Kolomoyski bank-rolling penis-piano playing actor like Zelensky to presidency, in order to revenge on fellow oligarch Poroshenko for nationalizing his banks.
On the Russian side, the moronic "western leaders" accomplished pretty much the same goal by confiscating property of Russian oligarchs abroad significantly weakening them, which is exactly what Putin and Russian nationalists always wanted. A very popular move, Russian social media is not shy to show much Schadenfreude on the "hardships" of oligarchs abroad.
Thank you so much for this I must subscribe