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Geopolitics

French Youth And The Far Right, A Budding Love Affair?

Long relied upon to rally against the far-right National Front party, young French people are increasingly seduced by the ideas of Marine Le Pen. Terrorism isn't the only reason.

Supporters of the National Front in Paris on May 1
Supporters of the National Front in Paris on May 1
Aurélie Collas and Eric Nunès

LILLE — Youssef is only 16. In 2017, when he'll be able to vote, he already knows what he'll do: "I'll vote for anyone as long as they stand in the way of the National Front!" A tenth grader at the lycée Baggio, in the northern French city of Lille, Youssef is relieved that in recent regional elections, his Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy region, slipped away from the leader of the far-right National Front (FN) party of Marine Le Pen.

If he were able to vote, he would have chosen her rival, the candidate of The Republicans party, Xavier Bertrand. "The FN is racist. They hate Arabs, Black people, the Roma ... They don't want a multicultural France!" They are words we have gotten used to hearing from young people in elections going back a generation.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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