The idea of Basic Income is catching on around the world as it is getting more and more support, especially after cash payments many countries paid during the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. 

A Basic Income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without a means-test or work requirement. This is the first phrase you can see when you open BIEN’s website. So where should states get money for it? For example, from natural resources, as Alaska Permanent Fund does, and from taxes including a tax on robots, carbon tax, as well as a tax on cryptocurrencies, etc. The view that the state should supplement the income of the poor has a long history. For example, one way to increase the incomes of the poor proposed by Milton Friedman is a negative income tax. The idea is quite simple: richer people pay taxes and poorer ones get some percentage of this. 

Ukrainians receive financial aid in the amount of 6500 hryvnias (just over US$200) under the program “ePidtrymka” for loss of part of wages (income), work (economic activity), which are temporarily stopped because of military actions during the current military struggle in Ukraine. It’s just a one-time payment with several strict conditions, including a territorial one. The deadline for submitting applications was March 31, 2022. So, what should other people do after April 1? Why shouldn’t children, women, single parents, young people, the disabled, and the unemployed be taken care of? Every Ukrainian needs to be paid because of the economic collapse and losses of income.

But is $200 enough to help someone who lost a family, home, or job? Is $200 enough to help anyone start life over in Europe or in an almost destroyed country? If this person is gravely ill? What about mental health, which was destroyed, of children, women, and youth? Every Ukrainian needs to be paid at least 500 Euros every month at best for the war’s duration until normal life is fully restored. I believe these brave people deserve more! Ukrainian people should be rewarded with UBI forever. This will be the greatest social experiment in history as well as a clear example for other countries and peoples.

Not only thousands of Ukrainians but also thousands of Russians are dying because of the actions of the Russian authorities. Let’s remember the dramatic events in Bucha, Ukraine, and in other cities. The Ukrainian government suspects soldiers from Khabarovsk, Buryatia, the Far East, and others of committing crimes. These are depressed regions with low incomes and high unemployment, despite their vast territories and natural resources. Residents have little choice: either to serve in the army and security services or to migrate to richer regions of the country. So, these hungry soldiers saw that people in Bucha were living their normal comfortable life. Maybe that’s why they were so cruel? Of course, it’s hard for me to reflect on why they acted like animals. But I strongly believe that they wouldn’t invade another country if they were receiving a basic income.

The situation is similar in other Russian regions like Tuva, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Altai, Jewish Autonomous Region. That doesn’t mean that in other regions the situation is better. Maybe just a little. Official statistics (according to the “new methodology”) indicate that there were more than 16 million people below the poverty line at the end of 2021 in Russia. According to the old methodology, there were more than 20 million people in need. Official Russian statistics are underestimated by two to three times, according to the experts. Anyway, what will happen to Russians after the war and devastating economic sanctions? Of course, I’m not making a comparison between “lost a job” and “lost a life”. However, in my opinion, very few people would participate in an unjust war if they had a basic income and a stable and prosperous life. Therefore, Russians also need a basic income. People would be critical of the propaganda if they have more opportunities.

Ukraine is a brave country that is fighting against Russia’s military intervention and is protecting the entire world from danger. Of course, the other countries support Ukraine. Ukrainians need to be paid basic income. I may repeat it forever. Basic Income has the potential to eliminate the need for war, and that’s why it is important to raise awareness of what Basic Income can do. Ukrainians need to live their calm normal life instead of hiding in their basements as they do right now. Millions of people were forced to flee Ukraine, many had to bury their children or parents in the yards. Nobody knows their feelings. I hope that nobody will ever do that again. 

The war has affected the entire global community. Does the world forget the Chernobyl accident in 1986? Doesn’t the world read or hear about Russian soldiers in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant? Quoting a CNN report, “Although Chernobyl is not an active power plant, the sarcophagus above the reactor that exploded nearly 36 years ago needs to be maintained to avoid further radiation leaks. There is also a considerable amount of spent nuclear fuel that needs to be looked after”.

These miserable soldiers were ordered to dig trenches in that area, which is particularly radioactive. This zone right now is under the control of Ukrainian soldiers, but Russian soldiers may come back. This may be a bigger ecological problem than CO2 emissions for the whole world. What about the threat of Russian use of tactical nuclear weapons? Why do people worry about CO2 while so many people keep dying right now: young, old, children, men, and women? What could happen to the world after nuclear weapons are used? 

Ukraine is a strong country. We are proud as well as terribly sorry about all the events that happen there. Crying and praying for it to end soon, to stop people’s unfair death. This is the whole world’s inexcusable mistake. We could have avoided so many deaths if a Basic Income had been introduced to the world. UBI will reduce humanity’s aggression and destroy the economic, political, and psychological causes of war.

Instability in the world is increasing. Food, gasoline, gas, and service prices are increasing all over the world, including in Africa and Asia. I know that heating prices are high right now in Europe. Soon it will be summer, but later fall and winter will come. The whole planet suffers from Russian military action in the center of Europe and is terrified at the thought of a world nuclear war. We should think about basic income today. No, that’s not right. We should have thought about it yesterday before these disasters. The 99% shouldn’t suffer from the decisions of the 1%. People need to be more independent from the government. 

Article by: Irina Soloveva, Jr.