The Ukrainian View
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The Ukrainian View

Flour Power: Over 100 Days of Russia’s War Against Grain and Maize Dependent Nations

Article by Ukraine PR Army Volunteer\US Citizen Residing in Kyiv, Ukraine

Source: DepositPhotos

The Holodomor which was also called the Terror-Famine was a genocidal Soviet policy carried out from 1932 to 1933 by Joseph Stalin and enforced by military and political leaders of the USSR against Ukraine (then the Ukrainian SSR) resulting in the deaths of 3.5 to 5 million Ukrainians. Moscow’s is once again exercising its “Flour Power” in its War on Ukraine but this time, this purposeful food aggression reaches far beyond the borders of Ukraine. While the Russian Federation is carrying out genocide against the white Ukrainian people, it is now also targeting black and brown peoples as well.

People in the West will remember the many celebrity advertisements for UNICEF and other organizations raising money for food accompanied by photos and video of African and Middle Eastern children with distended stomachs or completely emaciated before the advent of social media. Now, in the age of social media, is the West prepared to view millions more of those images and will consumers in those more affluent countries be able to donate funds with rising energy and food costs affecting their own bottom line?

One of the ways to prevent this is to open Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea which Russia is currently holding hostage. The United Nations has lost much face in its handling of Russia’s War on Ukraine, but it can still redeem itself by collectively opening and protecting a maritime corridor for Ukraine’s grain and maize exports.

Ukraine is one of six breadbasket nations and when at full capacity, can feed over 400 million people worldwide besides its own people. The images of tractors guarded by tanks in Ukraine are already all over the Internet. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian and Food Policy, only about 70% of Ukraine’s previous crops will be able to be sown in 2022.

The Russian Federation (RF) has already stolen millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and is now trying to sell it on world markets.

Certain countries may be faced with either the decision to let their people starve or purchase stolen grain. This sort of policy and practice looks more like something out of an organized crime story than the world economy.

Wheat and oilseed bulk commodities were already on the rise due to COVID-19. Wheat prices have already risen by 53% since the beginning of 2022 and rose another 6% on May 16, 2022 when India decided to suspend exports of wheat to feed its own burgeoning population.

Source: Chicago Board of Trade, quoted in FAO Food Outlook June 2022, Appendix Table 21, page 137

The bread is the life and the RF is taking bread from the mouths of babes and women worldwide. News outlets worldwide have shown the devastating scorched earth tactics being employed by the RF in Ukraine. Those are the quick deaths of innocents, the slow, grueling death of hunger at the hands of the RF are coming if something is not done now.

The lifting of the naval blockade of Ukraine is better handled by the UN as NATO’s involvement will be seen as an act of aggression and could result in harsher military tactics against Ukraine. A UN Resolution could be utilized to bypass the UN Security Council where Russia has veto power.

75% of Ukraine’s grain exports could reach their destinations by sea if the naval blockade is lifted.

Rail and highway systems in Ukraine and Europe are insufficient and will not be able to get the majority of grain exports to their final destinations.

Images of Ukrainian farmers working near the front line show the resolve and bravery of the Ukrainian people who are not only trying to sustain their own livelihoods but also can affect the geopolitical and economic stability of the Middle East and Africa. The wheat being sown in Ukraine could be seen as a loaf of Eish Baladi in Cairo at a family dinner or on a table in a café in Istanbul as Pide bread. The importer, wholesaler, distributor, baker, grocery store or café owner in multiple economies around the world all benefit from those seeds sown in Ukrainian soil.

Grain and agricultural products from the RF and Belarus will also make it on to some of those tables. Every piece of currency sent back to those countries finances the deaths of women, children, elderly and other innocents in Ukraine.

Moscow is using its Flour Power to starve many grain dependent nations throughout the world.

The RF war machine must now also be deprived of its ability to cause further destruction. Starvation in the form of foreign currency and reserves only comes from the strictest economic sanctions and embargoes. The RF can feed and fuel its own population and that’s where its power lies. The world must deprive Russia of what it craves most to give it a taste of its own medicine. Countries dependent on Russian grain and maize must be supplied from alternative sources.

Preferred trade status for many agricultural commodities and goods from Ukraine along with the lifting of the naval blockade will be instrumental in maintaining geopolitical stability and food security. President Zelensky and other leaders within the Ukraine military and government have stated that the War on Ukraine is World War III.

One can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that the RF is directly at war with China, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Indonesia, India, Portugal. Germany, Bangladesh, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, Spain, the Philippines, the Netherlands, South Korea, Tunisia (top 20 importers of Ukrainian Wheat and Maize according to Comtrade).

Russia’s own historical trading partners for wheat and maize are also being held as prisoners of war. In order to feed their populations, they must either do a deal with the devil or risk political unrest and starvation of their own populations. Someday, the dust will settle, the war will be over and those who have done and will continue to do business with the RF may see severe economic consequences from their own major trading partners.

Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. World War II changed the entire geopolitical and economic landscape. The RF War on Ukraine may not have been named World War III but its effects will change the world once again. For better or for worse is the question. It is war on the world right now regardless of what name it is given. Just because conventional weapons are only being used by the RF in Ukraine, doesn’t mean it is not at war with others. The West, for the most part, has acted collectively but Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia must draw their line in the sand now before empty stomachs do it for them.

Russia’s “Flour Power” cannot be used again to kill millions of innocents with the slow suffering of hunger but must be ground down and turned into the “Flower Power” of peace.

Thank you to Olha Danchenkova and Liuka Lobarieva for helping with research while creating this article.

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