Russia’s invasion of Ukraine profoundly impacted the global economy, immediately sending shockwaves across the globe. The attack of a country that was once a major energy supplier to Europe on the country which was one of the top food exporters in the world, sent food and fuel prices spiralling, causing major energy shortages and the prospect of protracted recession in the United States and the European Union.
The unprovoked and brutal aggression resulted in nearly universal condemnation and widespread sanctions placed on Russia by the United States, the EU, and other Western allies. Financial sanctions were perhaps the most unexpected and significant with the potential for immediate impact on Russia’s neighbours, including those that did not formally join the sanctions regime. In addition to sanctions, the major consequence of the war was mass migration waves, particularly from Ukraine, but also from Russia and Belarus to neighbouring countries.
At the start of the war, it was expected that the Georgian economy would be severely and negatively impacted for the following reasons:
- First, as a former Soviet republic, Georgia historically maintained close economic trade ties with both Russia and Ukraine. The ties with Russia have weakened considerably in the wake of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war but remained significant. Russia was the primary market for imports of staple foods into Georgia, such as wheat flour, maize, buckwheat, edible oils, etc. Russia and Ukraine were both important export markets for Georgia. Russia was absorbing about 60 percent of Georgian wine exports and 47 percent of mineral water exports, while Ukraine was one of the leading importers of alcohol and spirits from Georgia (46 percent of Georgia’s exports). Tourism and remittances are other areas where Georgia is significantly tied to Russia and somewhat weaker to Ukraine. Before the pandemic, in 2019 Russia accounted for 24 percent of all tourism revenues, while Ukraine for 6 percent. Remittances from Russia accounted for 16.5 percent of total incoming transfers in 2021.
- Second, while the Georgian government chose to largely keep a neutral stance on the war (announcing at one point that they would not join or impose sanctions against Russia), the main financial and trade international sanctions were still in effect in Georgia due to international obligations and close business ties with the West. These factors were reinforced by strong support for Ukraine among the Georgian population, where the memory of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 remains uppermost.
- In addition, Georgia is a net energy importer, and while the dependence on energy imports from Russia is not significant, the rising prices would have affected Georgia profoundly.
Original publication: This policy paper was originally published in the ISET Policy Institute Policy Briefs section by Yaroslava Babych, Lead Economist of ISET Policy Institute. To read the full policy paper, please visit the website of ISET-PI.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in policy briefs and other publications are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of the FREE Network and its research institutes.
As of today, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has persisted for a year. While several countries have helped Ukraine with military, financial and humanitarian aid, Ukraine requires additional assistance to endure the conflict with Russia. What other forms of support and aid are needed for Ukraine’s survival? And how can the EU and Sweden support Ukraine’s victory?
The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) hosted a seminar in which Ukraine’s needs were discussed from an economic and political science perspective by several leading economists, including:
- Nataliia Shapoval, Director of the KSE Institute at the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE)
- Torbjörn Becker, IVA member and Director of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics (SITE)
- Fredrik Löjdquist, Director of the Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS)
- Maria Perrotta Berlin, Assistant Professor at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics.
Nataliia Shapoval, Chairman of the KSE Institute at the Kyiv School of Economics, joined the seminar from Kyiv to share her views. According to Shapoval,
“Tougher sanctions across the board, hefty sanctions on energy, additional sanctions on trade, and more control over financial transactions with Russia are required by the outside world right now.”
As Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has lasted for a year, seminar experts advocated for tougher sanctions against Russia and discussed Ukraine’s needs from an economic and political science perspective.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) is an independent academy with a mission “…to promote engineering and economic sciences and the advancement of business and industry for the benefit of society.” Read more: IVA website
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed during events and conferences are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of the FREE Network and its research institutes.