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Johnny Rotten with the Sex Pistols in 1977
Johnny Rotten with the Sex Pistols in 1977
Stéphane Davet

His provocative texts and venemous singing with the Sex Pistols helped spark the punk explosion. It was only natural for the “Euro Punk” exhibition in Paris to hope that John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, would pay a visit. Before an Oct. 23 concert in the French capital with Public Image Limited, the band with which he invented post-punk in 1978, the man who wrote “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the UK” and who now lives serenely in Los Angeles, rekindles a few memories.

What do you think about the punk movement being turned into a museum piece?
JOHNNY ROTTEN: I’m aware of what’s at stake and the problems it can represent. Punk has been misinterpreted so many times, especially in Britain, under the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s rags. I don’t know the organizer or the content of the exhibition, but I hope elements of truth will come out of it. If not, I’ll have to have a quick word with him. After all, I’m supposed to be the king of punk. No, I AM the king of punk!

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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