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Coronavirus

Iran Risks A Nursing Exodus At The Worst Possible Moment

Qualified health care workers are urgently needed in the Islamic Republic. But because of the COVID-19 crisis, they're also exhausted — and eyeing opportunities abroad.

An Iranian medical personnel feeding a patient in a hospital in southern Tehran
An Iranian medical personnel feeding a patient in a hospital in southern Tehran

Exhausted after eight months of fighting coronavirus, and exasperated with all the empty promises, more than a few nurses and other health care professionals in Iran are looking to pack up and leave.

That's the word from the Tehran Nursing Organization, whose chief executive, Armin Zareian, announced that while nurses are needed in Iran like never before (Tehran hospitals reportedly need an additional 7,000 nurses), the COVID-19 crisis is also creating opportunities for them elsewhere, particularly in European countries, North America and Australia.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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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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