Consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war for Egypt

Sent On: 
Thu, 2022-03-24
Newsletter Number: 

The Russian-Ukrainian war has gone in its fifth week. The consequences for countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen are huge since these countries greatly depend on wheat import from Ukraine and Russia. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, is now trying to import wheat from India at substantially higher prices since the wheat export from Ukraine and Russia is now halting.

Graph wheat prices


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded in 2016 that Egypt would strip the subsidies of most products as a condition for obtaining a new loan. This happened but not for bread. Egypt’s bread subsidies cost the state $3.2 billion. This might rise by over $760 million. Doing away with these subsidies is not an option since an estimated 29,7% of the population lives below the poverty line and another 50% is living close to that poverty line. The last time Egypt tried to reduce bread subsidies was in 1977 which immediately resulted in Egypt’s infamous bread riots.


The war has also hit Egypt’s tourism industry since a large number of tourists used to come from Russia and Ukraine. The government had hoped that the expected 300,000 to 400,000 Russian tourists a month would put a sizeable dent in the sector’s deficit. Instead, Egypt has to deal with around 16,000 stranded Ukrainians in the country, Mirette F. Mabrouk, founding director of the Egypt Program of MEI reports.


Egypt cooperates with Russia in energy (i.e. al-Dabaa nuclear power plant) and military matters.


Both the Russian and Ukrainian embassies in Cairo have requested Egypt come out in support of their respective positions. Various western nations pressed Egypt in condemning Russia. The war is far from easy on Egypt’s independent foreign policy.


The insecurity for Egypt as a consequence of the war has made Egypt’s Central Bank devaluate the Egyptian pound with 14%. No doubt all Egyptians will feel the consequences.


I have received comments about our first newsletters about Ukraine. We will place comments in Arab-West Report, but my main line of thinking is not defending Putin or criticizing NATO but fear for the consequences if this war continues. This is not only fear for the use of nuclear weapons but also the consequences of the war for countries as Egypt.


Valeria shows that Russian state media is making all effort to justify the policies of Putin and hence has increased its propaganda. Any Russian writing against Russian atrocities, propaganda, losses and other “non-patriotic” actions is branded a traitor. The misuse of religion is shocking, including the support of Patriarch Kirill for Putin’s policy. Valeria writes that during tsar Nicolas I (1825–1855) the doctrine “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality” developed, enlisting support of church-leadership for autocratic rule and nationalist fervour. Not all Russian clergy have followed this line, but it created divisions in the church and resulted in lack of trust in church leaders. Today former communist Putin quotes the Bible, and the crowd responds with an ecstatic roar. Or is he a former communist? All information about him is indicating he is using religion for his own political objectives. Putin called “the disintegration of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.” When NATO agreed in 2008, upon the wish of US President George W. Bush, to extend membership over an unspecified period of time to Georgia and Ukraine to which Putin then told NATO secretary-general at the time, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, “mister secretary-general, this will not be.” 


See these shocking images:



This reflects today’s image of Russia: God, the military, and Putin. For Valeria’s report click here.


Sadly, throughout history autocratic political leaders have tried to use religion to suit their agendas and sadly many religious leaders have allowed this to happen.


Putin’s ideology has made Ukraine pay a hefty price with thousands of deaths, millions of refugees and displaced and huge material losses but also Russia is severely hit. Own Russian figures indicate a loss of over 10,000 military before this information was taken off the internet. Possibly losses are higher. Russia is severely hit by economic sanctions. Tens of thousands of Russians, mostly well-educated have fled the country because they fear a return to Stalinist practices. The war has given the USA and NATO an excellent insight to the military capabilities of the Russian army. Resistance in Russia is growing. One can only hope that Putin will soon realize that the costs for Russia are that large that negotiations will be a better option. But Putin’s answer to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in 2008 makes one wonder how far Putin is ready to go to maintain his ideal of restoring influence in the countries that were once dominated by the USSR.


Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president from 2008 to 2012 and now deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council gave an insight in Russia’s thinking. He sees the Western response to the war as an effort to destroy the world's biggest country by area. This, he says, could lead to an unstable leadership in Moscow "with a maximum number of nuclear weapons aimed at targets in the United States and Europe." Russia's collapse, he said, would lead to five or six nuclear armed states across the Eurasian landmass run by "freaks, fanatics and radicals".  Does this indicate a Russian fear for a disintegration of Russia? Or is this intended to scare the West? Anyhow, the consequences of a nuclear escalation will be huge. See my report about the Worldwide Threat of Nuclear Weaponry. NATO and Western nations have to operate extremely careful in avoiding further escalations.



March 24, 2022


Cornelis Hulsman, Editor-in-Chief Arab-West Report