Economics professor speaks about Russia, Ukraine conflict on “The Dan York Show”

 A URI professor appeared on “The Dan York Show” to discuss the political economics of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia

University of Rhode Island professor of economics, Richard McIntyre, was recently featured on “The Dan Yorke Show” to talk about the economic implications of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

McIntyre, a political economist, has been a member of the economics department at URI since 1987. He regularly teaches courses in comparative and international political economy. 

He was invited onto “The Dan Yorke Show” as a guest to “talk about his opinions of the war and the economic standpoint of it all,” Yorke said. McIntyre said his experience on the show was a good one and said that Dan Yorke was appreciative, asked good questions and seemed genuinely interested. 

The podcast started with a brief introduction. Yorke then asked McIntyre for qualifications on why he can go about speaking on this topic. McIntyre has background experience in teaching international economics and world economy, has visited Russia and spends a lot of time thinking about world economic problems. 

The podcast then proceeded to inquire about the reasons why Putin is acting the way that he is. 

“Putin has said that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century,” McIntyre said. “Russian leaders have been interested in restoring at least parts of the Soviet Empire since even before Putin. Russia took back part of Ukraine in 2014 with its grab of Crimea, now they want the rest.”

McIntyre believes it is not the oligarchs, who became rich after the collapse of the Soviet Union due to hyperinflation, who are to blame for the war. He believes that Putin shut down the oligarchs. The real problem is the former KGB and the military who now hold titles and power in politics. 

“The group ruling Russia now is a relatively closed off clique of former military and intelligence figures who have become politicians,” McIntyre said. “Economic growth has been slow over the last decade and perhaps they see grabbing resource rich Ukraine as an answer to that.”

McIntyre said the Russian government has been planning this for a long time, meaning that they have already moved assets to other countries to try to circumvent the sanctions. Sanctions have some effect, but not enough. The price of the ruble, however, has been devalued, causing prices to go up and inflation to rise. 

“Sanctions generally don’t work that well, but these are the most extensive and serious sanctions we have ever seen,” McIntyre said. “The sanctions will cause great suffering for the Russian people. Whether they will affect war planning or encourage regime change is yet to be seen.”

He continued explaining that the Russian people have to now pay higher prices for imports. This will make life more uncomfortable. The protests being led aren’t so much economic, but more against the government, and according to McIntyre, pressure from the Russian population could be the most effective strategy to ending this war. 

“Pressure from the Russian people will be the most effective counter to the strategy of the ruling group. That the government is stepping up censorship shows that such pressure is somewhat effective, but it will also take time and some kind of offer from the Western powers,” McIntyre concluded.