Skip to main content

Producer of many essential goods, Russian war 'pushing' world to recession

 By NS Venkataraman* 
While it is not clear as to what is the ultimate objective of Russia in conducting the ruthless attack on Ukraine, the ground reality is that the war has significantly disturbed the global economy and forced several countries, particularly the small countries with weak economy , into a state of severe crisis.
Indeed, the world cannot be without supply of essentials from Russia. Russia is a dominant supplier of energy (crude oil and natural gas) , wheat, fertilisers and several other products to the world. Therefore, the world is bound to get into a scenario of supply and economic crisis , if Russia were to stop the supply of essentials to the world market.
Russia holds 80,000,000,000 barrels of proven oil reserves ranking 8th in the world and accounting for about 4.8% of the world's total oil reserves of 1,650,585,140,000 barrels. Russia has proven oil reserves equivalent to 60.4 times its annual consumption. Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer behind the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Russia is the second largest crude oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia. Russian crude and condensate output is around 10.5 million barrels per day (bpd), making up around 12% of the world's total supply. 
Russia remains the second largest natural gas producer in the world, accounting for 17% of the global output. Russia has oil and gas production facilities throughout the country, but the bulk of its fields are concentrated in western and eastern Siberia.

Agricultural commodities

In the case of the agricultural commodity, Russia, which competes mainly with the European Union and Ukraine for wheat supplies to the Middle East and Africa, has been limiting its grain exports with taxes and an export quota since 2021 amid efforts to slow domestic food inflation.
Russia is an important producer of agricultural commodities in the world. Russia is a net exporter of agricultural products, and play leading supply role in the global market of foodstuffs and fertilisers, Russia is ranked amongst the top global exporter of wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
Russia is one of the world’s largest wheat exporters. The country’s 2022 wheat crop , which is due to arrive this summer, is expected to reach 85 million tonnes. Russia has the potential to export 39 million tonnes of wheat in 2022-23 marketing season, which starts in July. Exports from Russia are crucial for the global wheat supply and demand balance.
Russia produces 50 million tonnes of fertilizers annually accounting for 13 per cent of the world's total output including potash, phosphate, and nitrogen-containing fertilizers, all of which are major crop and soil nutrients. Russia is the world's largest exporter of fertilizers, accounting for 23% of ammonia exports, 14% of urea export, 10% of processed phosphate exports, and 21% of potash export.

Metals, oil and gas

Most Russian metals production is exported. Its market share of total global exports of nickel is estimated at around 49% – palladium: 42%, diamond: 33%, aluminum: 26%, platinum: 13%, steel: 7% and copper: 4%. Russia accounts for only 4.4% of cobalt production, but despite this seemingly small share, it makes Russia the world's second largest producer of cobalt.
Russia is Europe's biggest oil supplier. 30% of the EU's petroleum oil import and 39% of total gas import come from Russia. For Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Finland, more than 75% of their import of petroleum oils come from Russia.
Considering the high level of dependency for energy requirements on Russia, NATO members have now realised that they have no immediate alternative other than buying oil and gas from Russia.
While some steps have been taken by NATO members to shift the source of procurement of crude oil to Middle-East or other regions to some extent, this option is not available with regard to natural gas. In such circumstances, the economic embargo on Russia by NATO members and USA are not making much impact on Russia’s economy as of now.
In April 2022, Russia supplied 45% of the EU's gas import, earning $900 million a day. In the first two months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russia earned $66.5 billion from fossil fuel exports, and the EU accounted for 71% of that trade.
Significant drop in supply from Ukraine of essential agricultural commodities has resulted in food crisis in the world
Russia is insisting that NATO members should pay for crude oil and natural gas in Russian currency roubles, and several NATO members are succumbing to this pressure.
The energy war between Russia and NATO members are continuing with really no perceptible change in demand supply scenario and transaction between Russia and NATO members so far.
Meanwhile, price for crude oil nevertheless surged to around USD 110 per barrel following the expectations in the trade and speculative market that sanctions against Russia would cripple energy exports. It is currently unclear what the impact of sanctions will be on energy flows and if any supply losses will really happen.

Supplies from Ukraine

Ukraine is ranked amongst the top global exporters of wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower oil. Ukraine is the most important producer of several inputs like neon to the world and the neon facility in Ukraine has now been forced to stop operations during the war.
As the supply source from Ukraine has considerably dropped now due to the war, the world has become vulnerable to shocks and volatility of supply and price of vital agricultural commodities, fertilisers etc. The significant drop in supply from Ukraine of such essential agricultural commodities has resulted in food crisis in the world.
Violating the sovereignty of a neighbouring country, Russia has crippled the Azovstal Steel Works in Ukraine for all practical purposes, which is the largest producer of metallurgical facilities in Europe producing 4 million tonnes of crude steel annually.
Real shortfall in supply is happening as Ukraine has been hit hard by Russian forces, curtailing the export of wheat, gas and several other essential agri and non agri commodities from Ukraine. For example, India has been importing about 19 million litre of sunflower oil from Ukraine, which has now stopped, causing severe supply constraint in India for sunflower oil.
Under the circumstances, the recession trend in the world and the impending food crisis can be avoided only if Russia stops attacking Ukraine.
*Trustee, Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai



Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

Teesta treaty? Modi sends ball to Mamata's court amidst Hasina's mango diplomacy

By Samina Akhter*  Most Bangladeshi and India media reports say that the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has received 600 kg of mangoes from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as part of her "mango-hilsa diplomacy." Hasina also delivered mangoes to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, according to the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in India. In all, 1,200 kg of Amrapali mangoes were delivered to the residences of the President and the Prime Minister of India. According to a Bangladesh's deputy high commission official in Kolkata, a few more chief ministers in the eastern region will likely receive similar gifts. Last year, not only President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi, but also the chief ministers of West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam also received mangoes from Prime Minister Hasina. Hasina delivered mangoes from Rajshahi, including kinds like Golapkhas and Amrapali, as it is the peak season for the delectable fruit in

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Cops 'refuse to register' complaint after BSF shot landless worker off Bangla border

By Our Representative  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convener, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), referring to the incident of “firing and execution” of a poor Muslim youth, has alleged that the 26 year old was was shot at “without giving any warning” one and half kilometers inside the Indian territory from Bangladesh border by an on- duty Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. Stating that the person, Ruhul Mondal, belonged to an Other Backward Class (OBC), and hailed from Ramnarayan Para village under Sagarpara police station in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, Roy in his representation said, the BSF person who shot at him is “attached with Singpara Border Outpost, 141 Battalion”, underlining, the BSF has now floated “self defense theory” to cover up its operation. According to the BSF officials, the incident took place in the jute fields in

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Protesters demand release of Teesta Setalvad, Sreekumar, seek review of SC order

By Our Representative  Protests broke out across India on June 27 following Teesta Setalvad’s arrest demanding her immediate release. Sabrang India , a site run by Setalvad, claimed she was “arrested on trumped-up charges after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition moved by Zakia Jafri demanding an investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat violence.” The protesters also demanded release of former DGP Gujarat police RB Sreekumar, also arrested simultaneously. The protests were preceded by over 2,200 people from across the globe signing a statement demanding their immediate release. Leading signatories such as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) general secretary V Suresh, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) convenor Medha Patkar, former Naval chief Admiral Ramdas. “The state has used the observations made in the judgment to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicit

Electoral bonds scheme 'compromises' voluntary nature PM relief fund donations

By Rosamma Thomas*  The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is meant to collect voluntary donations from the general public, either individuals or organizations, to enable assistance to people in times of natural disaster, or for expensive medical treatment. That fundamental voluntary character of the fund, however, has changed in recent years.  The gazette notification of January 2018 announcing the Electoral Bond scheme states, in Clause 12 (2): “The amount of bonds not encashed within the validity period of fifteen days shall be deposited by the authorized bank to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund”. The Union government has, thus, through notification, directed funds to be deposited into what was meant to be purely voluntary. Commodore Lokesh Batra, who has been campaigning for transparency in government functioning, holds that once a gazette notification has been issued directing that funds be deposited into the PMNRF, the character of the whole fund has changed,

Bulldozing houses in UP: India isn't Israel, Muslims living here 'aren't Palestinians'

By Naveen Tewari, Sandeep Pandey*  A recent full front page of the advertisement by a Bhartiya Janata Party government declares, 'House is not just a word. It is a place where power to dream comes and aspirations are fulfilled. Home is much about dignity and security than it is about shelter.' It further goes on to quote Narendra Modi, 'It is my dream that every Indian has a pucca house by 2022.' The occasion was dedication of houses built by a private builder Balaji to the poor. Having witnessed over the past few days the now iconic picture of a bulldozer running down the Prayagraj house of parents of female Muslim student and activist Afreen Fatima, who participated in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests, one is almost tempted to look for a fine print at the bottom of the page to the effect that the promise of house is subject to the condition that one doesn't participate in any anti-government protest otherwis

Church in India: Rooted in patriarchy, Pope Francis-initiated reforms remain on paper

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is ‘Laity Sunday’ once again on June 26! A time for the Church once again to introspect and to see whether the much flaunted ‘lay collaboration’ actually exists in reality or not! In a highly clerical and patriarchal Church, which has stubbornly refused to accept in toto the changes envisaged by Vatican II and as desired by the then Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, introducing any reforms is certainly very difficult. But Pope Francis, in his typical style, is apparently succeeding in doing so! On March 19, 2022 (Feast of St Joseph) the ninth anniversary of the formal inauguration of his pontificate, he published Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel),his new constitution for the restructuring of the Vatican Curia. It was a reform that was promised at the beginning of his pontificate; several aspects of it have already been implemented over the years. The final document, however, does make some significant changes and provides the vision of a Curia that

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization