Enhanced global focus could facilitate Ukraine's future reintegration of these regions. Establishing a record of property usurpations and economic misdeeds could inform post-war legal processes and underpin sanctions or future legal action. For the people living under Russian control, the economic dimension of the occupation also makes for tough questions about transitional justice, challenging Ukraine to define and deal with wartime collaboration. Here, international experiences could offer valuable insight into legal and societal approaches that balance the scales of justice with the goal of uniting Ukrainian society post-conflict.
The narrative of Russia's military occupation often overshadows the economic exploitation underlying it. Russia's occupation is propped up by a vast, corrupt financial network. This includes imposing the Russian banking system, reversing trade routes, and flooding the market with Russian business and businessmen. Russian military and civilian actors have not only seized assets but have also indulged in large-scale looting, exacerbating the economic stranglehold.
This multifaceted occupation has implications for Russia's continued control and Ukraine's eventual recovery. Economically, Russia has managed to align local elites and businessmen with its regime, not necessarily out of loyalty but due to fear and the allure of profit. The occupation structure distributes new streams of income to Russian oligarchs, creating vested interests in the ongoing occupation. Moreover, the occupied territories now play a critical role in a broader web of international illicit finance, which is becoming a cornerstone of Russian foreign policy.
The illegal seizures of assets could constitute war crimes, adding to the complex legal aftermath should Ukraine regain control. How Ukraine handles these instances of economic collaboration will be crucial for the reintegration of these territories.
Enhanced monitoring and systematic sanctions by the international community would support Ukraine's post-occupation recovery, addressing the intricate legal issues that are bound to arise. A publicly accessible and thoroughly documented database of economic crimes would be instrumental in legal proceedings and defining sanctions, ensuring a foundation for justice and property rights in post-war Ukraine.