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 Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh
Julien Bouissou

NEW DELHI — The findings of India’s first linguistic census in a century were unveiled earlier this month. Of the 850 languages identified, 300 had never previously been documented, and nearly 200 are considered at risk of extinction because they have fewer than 10,000 speakers.

The Sept. 5 ceremony took place at the Gandhi memorial in New Delhi, and the location was not chosen by chance. This enormous undertaking — four years of work — led by Ganesh Devy, recalls in a small way Gandhi’s legendary battle for Indian independence. Devy managed to rally some 3,000 volunteers to help document the languages spoken throughout the country, from the Kashmir mountains to the Andaman archipelago.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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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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