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Society

The Streisand Effect: When Internet Censorship Backfires

Babs tried and failed, so did the peeps working for Beyonce and even French President Francois Hollande. Once online, information beats to the sound of its own drum.

Not all her pictures look that good
Not all her pictures look that good
Frédéric Joignot

PARIS — In 2003, as part of a major investigation into coastal erosion, photographer Kenneth Adelman published an aerial shot of the cliff atop which sits Barbra Streisand’s villa, a mansion with a bean-shaped swimming-pool. Annoyed, the singer filed a lawsuit against Adelman, accusing him of violating California’s anti-paparazzi laws and demanding that the photo be removed from his public collection. The photographer and his attorneys argued that the purpose of the photo was to show the coast of Malibu — not the home of a celebrity.

The photographer ultimately won the case, and Streisand suffered a double defeat. Word of the lawsuit got around, which led to the photograph being published on several websites. In the month after the lawsuit, it was seen 420,000 times.

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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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