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Cuba

This Happened—November 25: Death Of A Communist Icon

After winning a revolution, and ruling for almost half a century, Fidel Castro dies at the age of 90.

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Who was Fidel Castro?

The bearded face of Communism in Cuba and beyond, Fidel Castro reigned from 1959 to 2008 as Prime Minister and President of the island nation.

Castro had led a successful Communist revolution against the oppressive U.S.-backed Batista regime. His administration nationalized Cuba’s industries, putting an end to private ownership. He was a self-proclaimed “socialist, and Marxist–Leninist" who believed strongly in converting Cuba - along with the rest of the world - from a capitalist system in which individuals own the means of production into a socialist system in which the means of production are owned by the state and workers.

Why was Fidel Castro controversial?

After the U.S. repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to end Castro’s early rule with a series of assassination attempts, embargos, and the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro aligned more closely with the Soviet Union, allowing them to build missile launch sites on the island less than 90 miles away from the U.S., solidifying him as a sure enemy of Washington.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro was reportedly enraged when the Soviet Union agreed to disarm, rather than fire its nuclear weapons at the U.S.

When did Fidel Castro Die?

The 90-year old former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Council of State, Fidel Castro died of natural causes at 10:29 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2016.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Russia Is Suddenly Deploying Air Defense Systems On Moscow Rooftops

Russia is increasingly concerned about security from the sky: air defense systems have been installed on rooftops in Moscow's government quarter. Systems have also appeared in several other places in Russia, including near Vladimir Putin's lakeside home in Valdai. What is the Kremlin really worried about?

photo of ice on the river in Moscow

Clear skies, cold reality along the Moskva River

Anna Akage

-Analysis-

The Russian Defense Ministry has refused to comment. State Duma parliamentary officials say it’s a fake. Still, a series of verified photographs have circulated in recent days of an array of long-range C-400 and short-range air defense systems installed on three complexes in Moscow near the Kremlin, as well as on locations in the outskirts of the capital and in the northwest village of Valdai, where Vladimir Putin has a lakeside residence.

Some experts believe the air defense installations in Moscow were an immediate response to recent Ukrainian statements about a new fleet of military drones: The Ukroboronprom defense contracter said this month that it completed a series of successful tests of a new strike drone with a range of over 1,000 kilometers. Analyst Michael Naki suggests that Moscow’s anti-air defense systems were an immediate reaction to the fact that the drones can theoretically hit Kremlin.

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Yet the air defense installations in Valdai seem to have been in place since late December, following Ukrainian drone attacks on a military airfield deep inside Russia’s Sorotov region, 730 kilometers (454 miles) southeast of Moscow.

Others pose a very different rationale to explain Russia’s beefing up anti-air defenses on its own territory. Russian military analyst Yan Matveev argues that Putin demanded the deployment of such local systems not as defense against long-range Ukrainian drones, but rather for fear of sabotage from inside Russia.

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