Amid the twisted girders, ruined walls and underground tunnels of the Azovstal plant, Ukraine’s defenders are making their last stand in the siege of Mariupol. The steel factory dates to 1933 and the era of high-Stalinism. It was ruined by Hitler’s Wehrmacht before his forces retreated in 1943, and restored in the postwar period as one of the hubs of Soviet industry. Now the steel plant is being ruined again, this time by Russian forces. Assuming it is returned to Ukraine, will Mariupol’s steel complex become the site for a Ukrainian revival fuelled by Marshall Plan aid from the West?
That is what Azovstal’s owner, the billionaire oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, is asking for. “We will definitely need an unprecedented international reconstruction programme, a Marshall Plan for Ukraine,” Akhmetov declared to CNN. “I trust that we all will rebuild a free, European, democratic and successful Ukraine after our victory in this war.”
Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has unleashed a revival of Cold War liberalism in American and European political discourse and punditry. Nato is back. The West is rallying. Against that backdrop it was only a matter of time before the call went out for a Marshall Plan for Ukraine. America’s fabled aid programme is widely credited with kick-starting western Europe’s miraculous recovery after 1945. It provided the material foundation for the era of so-called embedded liberalism – the synthesis of normative principles and institutions that underpinned the postwar order.
Read the full article at The New Statesman