Almost a century ago, amid the civil warfare that erupted following the collapse of the tsarist empire, a Ukrainian army led by Nestor Makhno marched under the banner, “anarchy is the mother of order.” These days, as a conflict simmers in eastern Ukraine, some Ukrainian entrepreneurs are embracing a far different motto: military necessity is the mother of market invention.
Fiscal and organizational disarray has placed the Ukrainian government at a severe disadvantage as it strives to parry Kremlin attempts to sow mischief in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, Kyiv’s lack of capacity is creating opportunities for individuals to plug gaps and bolster Ukraine’s war effort. It is as if Adam Smith’s invisible hand is giving pro-government forces a gentle nudge toward the West.
Maxim Plekhov is among the market-inspired guerrilla entrepreneurs who are making a mark.
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Katya Kumkova is a EurasiaNet staff reporter.