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Russia

Putin's Plan To Transform Russia's Forgotten Far East

With billions in investments and a land distribution scheme not unlike the Homestead Act, in the U.S., Moscow is looking to revive a long-neglected region.

Port of Vladivostok
Port of Vladivostok
Benjamin Quenelle

VLADIVOSTOK — For Dmitry Igumnov, the Kremlin's conquest of the Russian Far East didn't just impact his career. It changed his life. A businessman who worked in all corners of the country and even spent a few years in California, he decided, in the end, to put down roots and to "start from scratch" in his native region, in the extreme eastern part of Russia.

Here, across 6 million kilometers, live just 6 million inhabitants. Like 100,000 other citizens from other parts of Russia, Dmitry Igumnov, 52, volunteered to take part in an unprecedented government program: to freely obtain a plot in the middle of the taiga, an area of boreal forest that had been neglected by the authorities since the fall of the USSR and forgotten by investors for more than two decades. In just over one year, some 30,000 pieces of land have been distributed. The chosen ones have five years to fulfill their mission: to develop and to create. Otherwise, the government can take back what it gave.

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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