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Gorbachev Dies, Taiwan Tensions, Queen Stays In Scotland

Military guards hold a morning flag raising ceremony in Taipei amid heightened military tension between Taiwan and China.

Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the world pays tribute to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who died at 91, the Taiwan Strait sees renewed tension and the Queen breaks with tradition. Meanwhile, Cynthia Martens unpacks the unraveling of Moscow's intellectual property standards in the wake of international companies leaving Russia.

[*Danish]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Russia shuts gas pipeline to Europe: Russia has stopped the circulation of gas through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe, citing the need for 3-day repairs. This move further puts European countries in difficulty to stock gas for winter energy supplies.

• Mikhail Gorbachev dies: USSR’s last leader Mikhail Gorbachev died on Monday night of a long illness at the age of 91. He was both praised in the West and criticized in Russia for introducing reforms that led to the peaceful end of the Cold War, and, eventually, to the fall of the Soviet Union.

• Taiwan fires warning shots: Taiwan fired warning shots to dispel Chinese drones flying over outlying islands near China. The island nation said it would counter-attack if the Chinese army entered its territory, amid increased military presence in the Taiwan Strait since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit in early August.

• Frontex calls for more monitoring of Greek treatment of migrants: A human rights officer for the EU’s border agency Frontex said that Greece should face enhanced monitoring of its treatment of asylum seekers, following multiple allegations of Greece illegally expelling asylum seekers.

• Hong Kong leader cancels China trip: Hong Kong leader John Lee has canceled a trip to mainland China, during which he was due to discuss the resuming of cross-border travel after months of isolation caused by the pandemic. The meeting will be held online for safety reasons, as COVID-19 cases are on the rise on both sides of the border.

• Mississippi floods leave residents with no running water: About 180,000 residents in Jackson, Mississippi and its surrounding area have been warned not to drink water from the tap by Governor Tate Reeves as floods have destroyed a treatment plant. The National Guard has been called to bring relief to the city and to distribute drinking water, as safe running water could be unavailable for days.

• Queen to stay in Scotland to appoint new PM: Queen Elizabeth II is expected to stay at her summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland, instead of traveling to London to appoint the new British Prime Minister next week. No official reason was given for the break of tradition. Liz Truss, UK's foreign minister, and former chancellor Rishi Sunak are vying to replace Boris Johnson.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“Goodbye, Mr. Perestroika,” writes Spanish daily ABC, joining many international publications in bidding farewell to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet Union leader, who died Tuesday in Moscow at age 91.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

9.1%

Inflation hit a new record high across Europe, rising to 9.1% in August from 8.9% the previous month. Inflation rate is expected to reach double digits in the coming months, with the hike in prices being driven by expensive gas amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and food production loss in the wake of this summer’s severe droughts.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Stolen arches, IKEAish? What Western sanctions mean for brand trademarks in Russia

The exit of top international companies from the Russian market in response to the invasion of Ukraine has led to an unraveling of Moscow's intellectual property standards, Cynthia Martens writes for Worldcrunch.

© Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the country has faced numerous financial, trade and travel sanctions. It’s also been snubbed by major intellectual property partners, with the European Patent Office severing ties with Russia on March 1. In response, Russia nullified the enforcement value of Russian patents owned by entities and individuals in “unfriendly” countries and greenlighted the importation of branded products without the brands’ permission, creating gray market headaches.

🇸🇪 RBC Group reported in March that it had tracked more than 50 trademark applications by Russian entrepreneurs and businesses for the marks of famous foreign brands, many in the fashion and tech sector. While most trademark applications were explicit copies of existing brands, in other cases applicants were content to imitate well-known trademarks and trade dress. For example, a Russian entrepreneur from a design studio called Luxorta applied to register an IDEA brand that mimics the style and yellow-and-blue color schemes of famous Swedish brand IKEA.

🍔 In June, the adoption of a totally different trademark for the sold McDonald’s chain led to the reopening of former McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow under the name “Vkusno & tochka” (“Tasty and that’s it”). Brands should be wary of inadvertently jeopardizing their Russian marks by suspending local operations; a trademark may be canceled in Russia after three years of uninterrupted non-use. They should monitor their trademark portfolios closely for infringement and consider how they can prove use of each mark during a prolonged absence from the Russian market.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

Equality is not within reach, and often not even within sight.

Calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to protect LGBTQ+ rights in the country, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN expert on gender-and sexual orientation-based violence, pointed out the dangerous backslide of the recent U.S. Supreme Court's rulings. Madrigal-Borloz expressed his fear that prior progress, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, may be under threat.

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger


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Russia

The Prigozhin Method: Inside Wagner Group's Russian Prison Recruitment

An inmate of the penal colony in the town of Kopeysk reveals the different ways convicts are recruited in the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, whose founder and Putin confidante Yevgeny Prigozhin personally sought the most violent criminals with vows to pay big sums and expunge their sentences.

Photo of a group of ​prisoners walking inside a penal colony in Mozzhukha, Russia

Prisoners at a penal colony in Mozzhukha, Russia

Yulya Krasnikova

The Wagner Group, also known as Wagner PMC, is a private military force with close links to Vladimir Putin. Officially, they do not exist. Their presence in Ukraine made headlines and caused concern as UN investigators and rights groups have accused the group of targeting civilians and conducting mass executions.

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

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The group first emerged in 2014, reportedly financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and associate of Putin. Videos emerged online of Prigozhin recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine in exchange for shortened sentences. Just last week a new video emerged of the execution of the Russian prisoner Evgeny Nuzhin who had joined Wagner and later surrendered to the Ukrainian army and testified against the Russians. The video in question shows Wagner recruits executing Nuzhin by smashing in his head with a sledgehammer.

Independent exiled Russian news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii was the first to report on the recruitment of convicts to the Wagner PMC in July from the St. Petersburg area, which has since expanded to penal colonies in the Ural, Siberia, the Far East, and even the Arctic Circle.

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