It’s been 28 years since the Soviet Union dissolved, and small, independent nations started popping up in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Whenever a new country is formed after detaching itself from a union or an empire or pretty much anything else, the first issue is the economy.
Almost every single country that found independence in the 90s had terrible economic difficulties.
Doing business was almost impossible, political uncertainty was rampant, and many seemed to be doomed to go right back to Russia.
But there was one field that everybody could tackle and adopt: technology.
The impact of growing tech expertise can be seen in several Post Soviet nations, especially Estonia, Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine. However, just saying that they benefited from having tech knowledge is not enough facts.
This article takes a look at how exactly tech is helping these nations assert themselves and further entrench their independence.
Lack of resources compensated by tech
Almost all of these nations I mentioned have a serious lack of valuable resources. Things such as oil can only be found in Estonia out of the list, and not to a point where it can be the biggest industry.
Georgia, Ukraine, and Belarus can more or less rely on agriculture, but the economic value to the population is much smaller than on the state. Let me reiterate.
“Although agriculture represents an amazing industry to bolster a nation’s economy, it doesn’t necessarily translate into improving the lives of its citizens.”
These can be backed up with the yearly income of people employed in these industries in these countries, which is usually less than $8000 or so.
Due to this lack of resources, the countries had to somehow compensate for the economy and help it grow. Estonia went down the road of technology, where it develops some of the best software applications as well as hardware products. Georgia tacked the logistics due to its geographical location, and Ukraine and Belarus produce some of the best software developers the world has seen.
But, why? Why are there so many tech-savvy young people in these nations? What drives the interest?
Local markets aren’t good enough
Another issue that these countries had to face was a lackluster local market. At most, the size was a dozen or so million people with very little to spend on anything besides necessities.
Therefore, entrepreneurs needed to find a way to somehow export their services and goods to foreign countries. Considering how exporting goods has a lot of costs associated with it, to a point where they can’t challenge local goods, exporting services was the much clearer way to go.
These days, you’ll find software outsourcing companies dotted all over Eastern Europe. Developers that work for US and Western Europe-based companies are all the rage, which is driving even more people to the tech world as we speak. Why? Because it pays well. Around $2000 a month for a developer in a country like Ukraine or Belarus is more than enough to afford rent, food, utilities and have a lot more left at the end of the month to spend on various other non-essential activities.
The fact is that outsourcing tech companies allow their employees to live in a developing country with a salary of a regular developed nation worker.
Specializing in something
To go back to my previous argument about compensating for resources, I’d like to add that technology was the only way these countries could distinguish themselves.
Let’s take the blockchain as an example. It’s an emerging technology that will most definitely change the world and finances as we know them.
However, as already mentioned, it’s in its infancy, meaning that developers from all over the world are trying to improve it and make it more applicable to modern life.
The blockchain is an opportunity for developing nations to gain notoriety, wealth and power, the same as it was with oil in the previous century for now developed nations during mass industrialization.
Should any of the Post Soviet nations specialize in this technology, and create a hub of some sorts, it will definitely be at least a few steps ahead of the rest of the world when blockchain becomes widespread.
We are already seeing the effects. Eastern Europeans are vigorously purchasing cryptocurrencies for speculative purposes, while countries like Georgia are developing their mining industry to a point where they’re #2 in terms of volume.
Overall, technology is the knight in shining armor that these countries were waiting for and he can already be seen on the horizon.