Public Gaming International Magazine May/June 2022

34 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MAY/JUNE 2022 Ukraine has enough experienced pilots and Air Defense specialists. What we are short of is weapons, aircraft and such. Priority #2 is fuel. Russians hit with their modern medium range missiles all oil refineries and many gas storages in the territory of Ukraine. So we badly need petroleum and diesel fuel. But as well when the economy is in this state of war, food and other goods necessary to stay alive are needed too. Ukraine is a breadbasket of Europe. But Russians have done everything possible to prevent sowing season this year. Many cities are in ruins so we will need construction materials and financing. But this is later, when our victory is achieved. I believe that after the war Ukraine will be a very attractive country for foreign investments. What can you tell us about the uncertain future? What will become of life for the people in Ukraine and MSL Lottery in the years to come? E. Vlasenko: In 1791 Poland adopted its Constitution, second in the world after the USA. Three years later, Russia invaded Poland and abolished the Polish constitution. Paul, do you see historic parallels? Today, Poland is an independent, modern and developed EU member. Russia is a warhead with a wild population. After the war Ukraine will stay independent, democratic, and European. Life will be very difficult – we have no illusions about that. But it will be a happy life because our children will not die under Russian bombs and missiles any more. The Ukrainian army will remain one of the strongest in the world and I hope that we will manage to build a Great China wall along the Russian border. Because I personally do not believe that Russia will ever change. We need to stay away from and guard against them to be secure and be protected in the future. About MSL. We have a 50-year history and experience. We will stay strong and try to build successful lotteries for the benefit of our people and our economy. I have a dream. This dream is to launch an international lottery in support of Ukrainian reconstruction after the war. And MSL will invite all our numerous friends, operators of the state lotteries, to become founders of this New Game for Ukraine. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the U.S. and allies pushed Iraqi forces all the way back to the Baghdad city limits. Is there any hope for mounting a counter-attack and pushing Russia back to the city limits of Moscow? E. Vlasenko: I remember 1990 Kuwait war pretty well. The situation in Ukraine is different. Different ambitions of the invaders: Hussein had regional economic and anti-US ambitions. Putin has global and anti-Ukrainian and anti-NATO ambitions. Second. At that time, NATO was not afraid of Iraq and USSR that was backing Iraq because the USSR was in a state of decay. And Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. Today the enemy is much stronger. Nevertheless, Russians will be thrown out of Ukraine in “the direction of their military ship”. To which limits? We will see, Russia is big. Is there anything else you might like to say or share with your friends from everywhere else in the world? E. Vlasenko: I want to thank our colleagues from many countries from all aeound the world that support Ukraine officially and privately. Everybody is doing what they can and we appreciate the ongoing support. You can find a lot of examples of solidarity with Ukraine at EL web site. I want to thank global lottery community for taking a decisive position to discontinue Russian and Belorussian members in WLA and EL. In Ukraine we communicate about all those facts at our web site and in social media. MSL employees and our players know about the contributions from the international lottery community for the defense of Ukraine. And we are grateful for this. As the war continues, we should fight Russian fascism everywhere where we can. The military strength of the aggressor depends on its economy. Its economy depends on taxes they collect. Taxes decrease when international business leaves Russia. That is why Russia should be isolated. Therefore, together with our world lottery community partners, we have a plan to build an anti-Russian gaming coalition. Many leading world companies in the sports betting industry have already joined the protest to support Ukraine, including William Hill and Bet 365 which have left the Russian market. Furthermore, LeoVegas, Statscore, DraftKings, Fan Duel, OPAP, Coolbet, Pari Match and many others withdrew betting offers on Russian sports events. PokerStars has also ceased operation in Russia. But at the same time, Russian business tries to hide, mask, or change their names and use other tools to protect its positions, and even penetrate into new businesses and new geographies. These businesses will sponsor Putin’s regime. I completely agree with President Biden and Senator Lindsay Graham who called Russia a terrorist country and Putin a war criminal. And from my perspective, those who do business with them, pay their taxes, or give them jobs are advocates of the war crimes. During this time when our businesses are destroyed and our people have to leave their homes, there should be no comfort for any Russian businesses in the world lottery community. The ultimate victory is composed of small elements. Ukraine will be restored after the war. We will restore our business after the war. We believe that our partners from WLA and EL will help us to launch a modern after-the-war lottery as the governments are ready to support after-the-war reconstruction of Ukraine. Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine!) n Life in Ukraine continued from page 27