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In Major Speech, Medvedev Urges Reforms

Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev used his final state-of-the-nation address to outline extensive political reforms that, if implemented, would begin to deconstruct the heavily centralized government built by his mentor, Vladimir V. Putin.

(NYT) Moscow -—Dmitri A. Medvedev used his final state-of-the-nation address as Russia's president on Thursday to outline extensive political reforms that, if implemented, would begin to deconstruct the heavily centralized government built over the last decade by his mentor, Vladimir V. Putin.

The proposals, which included a return to the direct election of governors, increased oversight of expenditures by officials and the creation of an independent television station, were clearly meant to address some of the main complaints of a protest movement that has recently emerged as a significant challenge to the Kremlin.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Missiles And Euphoria: The Folly Of War On Full Display In Kharkiv

As Ukraine's counter-offensive gathers steam, the city of Kharkiv is targeted by Putin's forces. Here's a view from up close, during heavy shelling that has sparked power and water outrages, even as the liberation of territory sets off scenes of joy and elation.

Russian shelling destroyed a residential building in Kharkiv in early September 2022.

Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova

KHARKIV — For several years, a woman has been sitting on the corner of my street selling flowers almost every day. On Sep. 9, our neighborhood was shelled for the first time – and have no doubt that an hour and a half after the missile hit our street, she was sitting right there in her usual place. People were cleaning up broken glass and cutting tree branches 50 meters from her. Some came to buy flowers.

In some way, this is all you need to know about life right now in Kharkiv.

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We are hostages of geography: the time it takes for the missile to reach Kharkiv from Belgorod, Russia, as air defense officers tell us, is 43 seconds. None of our existing defense systems are able to prevent their arrival in our neighborhood.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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