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A view from Parque das Cerejeiras
A view from Parque das Cerejeiras
Camila Appel

SAO PAULO — Cemeteries are rarely considered places of beauty and pleasure. The one in the Sao Paulo neighborhood of Jardim Angela was also grim for another reason, considering that in 1996 the UN ranked it the most violent urban region in the world. But now a part of this graveyard is bringing some smiles and levity, doubling as a place of leisure and art for visitors.

In a region that still bears the marks of poverty, with bare brick houses, some of which have illegal connections to water and electricity networks, this private cemetery called Parque das Cerejeiras (Cherry Trees Park) has been turned into an artistic landmark of sorts.

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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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