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Russia

The Courage Required To Come Out In Putin's Russia

As France becomes the 14th country to allow same-sex marriage, Le Monde looks at one of the bleaker corners for gay rights in 2013.

Anton Krasovky has broken a taboo amongst Russia's media elite.
Anton Krasovky has broken a taboo amongst Russia's media elite.
Piotr Smolar

MOSCOW - Journalist Anton Krasovsky has committed a significant act in the small world of Moscow’s elite – he revealed he was gay.

It was January 25, on Kontr TV – a Kremlin-backed Internet and cable television network he helped to launch. The debate focused on the latest initiative of the Kremlin: the adoption by Parliament of a law prohibiting “propaganda” of homosexuality among minors, punishable by fines of up to 12,000 euros. Such measures already exist in rural cities. But ever since its decriminalization in 1993, the Russian government hadn’t organized such an attack on homosexuality – considered by many Russians as a deviancy. A sad legacy of Soviet times.

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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.

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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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