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A possible future for Mariupol

Summary:
The Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been almost totally destroyed by the Russian invaders. Putin has created a wilderness, and will probably call it peace. The question arises as to how Mariupol can be rebuilt, and who will fund it? The Russian occupiers do not have an economy that is up to the task, and international aid will be concentrated on rebuilding and restoring Ukrainian cities and infrastructure that have been less devastated.One possible future for Mariupol would be if it were declared an international free city, such as Hong Kong was before the Chinese Communist Party destroyed it in their power grab. Stranding on the Sea of Azov, it has passage via the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean and the world beyond. It has excellent trading opportunities, and is

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The Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been almost totally destroyed by the Russian invaders. Putin has created a wilderness, and will probably call it peace. The question arises as to how Mariupol can be rebuilt, and who will fund it? The Russian occupiers do not have an economy that is up to the task, and international aid will be concentrated on rebuilding and restoring Ukrainian cities and infrastructure that have been less devastated.

One possible future for Mariupol would be if it were declared an international free city, such as Hong Kong was before the Chinese Communist Party destroyed it in their power grab. Stranding on the Sea of Azov, it has passage via the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean and the world beyond. It has excellent trading opportunities, and is connected to the resources of the hinterland beyond it.

If it were to follow the Hong Kong model with low taxes any sympathetic regulations, it could rapidly emulate that city’s success in transforming itself from a poor and insignificant place that started as a low-cost manufacturer of cheap clothing, wigs, plastic goods and toys, into one of the world’s leading economic powerhouses.

Foreign investment would flood in as international companies sought to locate there, and it would be rebuilt with private money pouring in to create office and industrial space, as well as housing for its booming workforce. Its governance could follow the lead set in Hong Kong by its benign British administration led by Sir John Cowperthwaite, its City Treasurer and director of its economy.

Given the full play of free markets, free trade, open access, easy immigration and light burdens upon commerce and economic activity, Mariupol could rapidly flourish as Hong Kong did, and could benefit its surrounding area, as Hong Kong itself did with its economic overflow.

It could become, as Hong Kong became, “a city on a hill” and an example and inspiration to the world. Putin himself would be unlikely to countenance such a step, but the black-robed figure with the scythe will come knocking at his door before long, and Putin’s successor might be prepared to seize the huge economic advantages an international free city would draw in to the entire area, Russia included.

Now that the original Hong Kong has been destroyed, the world has space for a successor, and Mariupol could be the starting point to show once again what human creativity and effort can achieve if it is given the space to do so.

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