Tuesday, 8 November 2022 — The van says…
There are very few lights on and very soon, there may be nobody home
Tales have abounded regarding the ‘Ghost of Kiev’, a figment of Ukrainian wishful thinking, yet as covered in this headline, the possibility of Kiev turning into a ghost town due to there being a large-scale evacuation is rising day by day. With that in mind, this article will examine what that would mean for the city as well as the Ukraine as a whole.
Many have criticized the Russian attacks on the infrastructure in Kiev, yet the objective of attacks on infrastructure from Moscow’s perspective was to put Kiev in such a predicament that the government was forced to the negotiating table by public opinion. By removing those people from the region, most if not all of Kiev’s detractors will be whisked away, leaving the government to carry out its orders from afar with little to no risk of a public uprising. Quite who will remain is a very open question, yet with rumors of the large number of Americans who actually control this conflict being in Kiev and Zelenskiy being somewhere in the West standing next to a green screen, at this juncture, there are too many variables to form any concrete conclusions.
With an official population of around four million, Kiev is nominally the seventh most populous city in Europe. When coupled with around 1.8 million living in the oblast (province) that surrounds the capital, that gives a figure of some six million. With many having left since hostilities started and others conscripted, this figure will in truth undoubtedly be lower, yet should Zelenskiy order those not in uniform or reserved occupations out of the city, this will have a huge impact on the ongoing situation. Moreover, as with any country, many of the biggest factories, logistics nodes and specialist services are based in and around the capital. Should that region go into an effective lockdown, so do many other industries and individuals who depend on the businesses in these areas.
If we take the nominal figure of three to four million people being displaced by such an order, in terms of daily life, a former bustling metropolis and its surrounding areas will grind to a virtual halt. This example predicts around one million to remain, yet with many being in uniform and already posted to other areas of the country, the number of people actually out and about will be very low indeed. This will naturally have an effect on the Ukrainian capital, yet the whole country will feel the harsh effects of such a move.
The Ripple Effect
With the administrative hub of the country largely depopulated, a multitude of effects will be felt, both far and wide. The military will be least affected, its administrative structure remaining largely unaltered, yet it will be a very different scenario for the civilians living outside of the region. With all non-essential members of the public being shipped out, central public administration, manufacturing, logistics and a myriad of the facets necessary for daily life will at best be hindered and at worst completely stopped for those living away from the capital.
If this evacuation was to happen, it would set a precedent, and should other areas suffer similar infrastructure woes, many of those in the region may wish to be evacuated in the same manner. Quite how that fits in to the plans of the Ukrainian government or its overlords in Washington is unknown, yet with the Americans attempting to make whatever gains they can from whoever or wherever they can, yet another flood of migrants causing economic mayhem by crossing into Western Europe would further weaken economic prospects in the region.
Pushover or Pushing too Far?
At first glance, this is all well and good from an American standpoint, the expendable Ukrainians being herded around Europe like cattle; but for as much as this gives the US an advantage over Europe, it means that Russia has triumphed in the face of every effort that Washington has made. Having already been belittled through its hasty departure from Afghanistan, DC does not need another debacle to reduce its global standing. Moreover, the further that Russia pushes, the further the is US pushed from the global domination that it needs, other potential conflicts against much stronger foes looming in the years ahead.
It is obvious that sooner or later, hostilities will cease and peace will again reign. Quite where the red lines will be drawn is still unknown, as are the conditions that Russia will stipulate as the dust finally settles. Once it has done however, those who left the Ukraine will have the opportunity to return, yet this begs the question as to how many of them would choose to do so. With their former homeland in a terrible state, many may elect to remain in their host countries, but just as discussed in the previous article, with Ukrainian workers taking jobs from native workers along with a number of other issues, once Eastern Europe again becomes peaceful, it might be the Western European governments who first invited them that will encourage them to return.
If the mayor of the Ukrainian capital is to be believed, the possibility of Kiev as a ghost town is becoming alarmingly real. Not only does that demonstrate the effectiveness and tactics of the Russian administration, it also makes a mockery of the endless support the country has received over recent years and months from its Western supporters.
Many pundits are today focused on events in and around Kherson, this being seen as a pivotal point in the fortunes of both Russia’s Military Operation as well as for the survival of the Ukrainian nation as a whole. This, from a tactical perspective will be covered in the next article, yet the brutal truth is that if the population of Kiev moves out, other than all-out war through the intervention of western states, all hope for the Ukrainian cause will be lost. Not only will Western governments lose faith in their failed Eastern European venture, but so will its people. As the future may well show us, for most of those who leave Kiev, the Ukraine of before will merely become a ghost of the past…