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Layers of a War

By Pragna Kurra

March 13, 2023

Diverse group of people holding a flag
Understanding the Human Impact

The following writing came out of a seven-week project I worked on in my Critical Contexts class at the Institute of Design during Spring 2022. During the course, we read and surveyed a variety of theories and methods that helped us evaluate “the humans” and the world we live in. I, along with my two teammates, developed a prototype of an interactive world map breaking down the complexities of the ongoing Russo-Ukranian war to present what we found to be a perspective that usually does not get the spotlight: the human perspective. Although the characters are fictional, they are either a direct representation of the people we spoke to (names changed) or a synthesis of the literature review we conducted.

Oleksandra recollected the time when she first visited Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, where her grandparents and relatives lived. She was six years old.
Countries across the world were taking a stance, either in support of Russia or against. But there were a few countries that chose to remain neutral.
She never thought about the impact of a war from this perspective. She understood the impact runs deeper than what she saw on the news media in her country—that the war might have an impact on the Indian economy.

In a country where an average household spends two-thirds of the daily income on buying a vegetarian meal, rising prices of key ingredients following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will make Indians feel the pinch. This may lead to people having little left to spend on other essential items like health and education.

With additional costs stemming from the crisis, not forgetting inflation, the gross margin turnaround could well be pushed into the start of 2024, if the Ukraine crisis persists. And if markets are anything to go by, both equity markets and futures, people are persuaded that things could take longer before ‘normalcy’ is restored. Uncertainty breeds volatility.

She was determined to learn more about the impact of war in countries that are not directly involved.

In recent years, my family experienced large repercussions to our business, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their country and the world. Now, fertilizer and oil prices have gone up, impacting our lives. We had to shut down operations on one of the farms. Also, due to the insecurity in the state, largely stemming from insurgencies (all due to economic impact on the nation), we had to withdraw my two sisters from boarding school for their own safety.

Today, the countries of the world and their citizens are more connected than one might think. An event like the Russo-Ukrainian war has impacted lives across the world.