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The Putin Method: How He's Built His Popularity, And The Risks Of Losing It

Support among the Russian public has increased for both Putin and his war in Ukraine. Russia's is a different kind of autocracy, dubbed an "Information Technocracy," where power is held through propaganda and popular support. But this requires Putin to maintain his popularity — and that can only happen if the war succeeds.

​Watching a live broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual televised phone-in

Putin's annual televised phone-in, in a control room of the TKR-Ryazan TV company

Anna Akage

Kramatorsk, Bucha, Mariupol... The names of these Ukrainian cities are now known around the world because of the number of casualties and the destruction caused by the Russian army there. And despite this, based on surveys, Russians continue to support the actions of Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine. Why?

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According to the Russian Levada Center as of March 31, 2022, 81% of Russians support the actions of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Among the reasons for support are "protection of the Russian-speaking population" and "border security."

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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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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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