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Ideas

Putin Must Also Face The Gulag Question

Even while embroiled in the biggest foreign policy standoff of his reign, the Russian leader has been forced to acknowledge accusations of torture after leaked videos of violent abuse in prisons. Yet proposed new legislation to stem torture risks challenging a regime built on corruption and state-sponsored repression.

Putin Must Also Face The Gulag Question

An anti-torture protest last year outside the FSB security services headquarters

Alexander Shcherbak/TASS via ZUMA
Cameron Manley

-Analysis-

MOSCOW — The head of a bruised and battered prisoner hangs on his bare chest. A guard clad in camo-green lifts his knee into the half-living, half-dead face, as blood mixed with saliva and mucus drips onto the concrete floor. The prisoner’s hands are then chained, his bare legs thrust high into the air, and his horrifying screams announce the entrance of the long red pole that shall be used in unspeakable ways.

Such torture scenes must be from Russia’s Tsarist past. Or perhaps, the description comes from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1973 landmark book, The Gulag Archipelago, that first revealed details of the evil of Soviet forced labor camps?

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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