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Economy
Yuri Litvinenko and Valeria Lebedeva

Instagram Nyet! Russian Influencers Lose Mojo On Homegrown Platforms

It's a different kind of "migration" indeed, from Instagram to VKontakte, after U.S. social media were banned in Russia. It's yet another kind of difficulty for Russians trying to continue with daily life.

MOSCOW — Since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, access to international digital platforms and social networks within Russia has become virtually impossible. Facebook and Instagram were banned in late March, the activities of their parent company Meta were declared extremist and blocked, and Twitter was quickly added later to the hit list.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Andrei Prakh

What Russians Fear The Most (And It's Not Escalation In Ukraine)

An annual report has revealed Russians' anxieties. This year, contracting COVID has been replaced by food shortages, inflation, and internet blackouts.

MOSCOW — A recent report has revealed what Russians fear most. Carried out by the CROS agency (Public Relations Development Agency), the report traces Russian citizens' primary concerns over the first three months of the so-called "special military operation".

High on the list were fears caused by the blocking of Western social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (now only available via VPN) or the departure of foreign brands from the Russian market. So too was the issue of food shortages, which has dominated the minds of Russians since February. The issue has become so prevalent that it may be called a “pseudophobia,” the study says.

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The findings mark a sharp change from those published in 2021, which ranged from fears of contracting COVID to having freedoms limited by Russia’s harsh imposition of QR codes for entry into public places.

Fears caused by inflation and the increase in the number of violent crimes also came up high.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Anne-Sophie Goninet, and Emma Albright

EU’s One-Two Punch At Russia — Sanctions Extended To 2023, Gas Imports Cut 15%

The European Union has renewed its sanctions against Russia until the end of January 2023, while also taking a major step to try to reduce dependency on Russian energy exports.

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The EU energy ministers were in Brussels today for a special Energy Council, and were tasked with renewing a wide range of sanctions for another six months that include restrictions on finance, energy, technology, transport and luxury goods. First introduced in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the tariffs were widely expanded after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

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LGBTQ Plus
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Emma Albright and Bertrand Hauger

LGBTQ+ International: South African Fatwa, “Sims” Update — And The Week’s Other Top News

Controversy in Morocco, video games news from the U.S. and Japan, Russian activists ... and plenty of other news.

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

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Paris Calling
McKenna Johnson

Adieu Roe, Watching From Paris As My Rights Are Stolen Away

A young American takes in the most personal and political moments of her life far from home. What will it feel like when she lands back in Idaho?

-Essay-

PARIS — When Roe v. Wade fell, I was sitting in the lobby of my long-stay hotel nestled among the skyscrapers of the La Defense business district just outside the city limits of Paris. I had spent the day working my summer internship remotely, while dealing with a leaky ceiling and a hotel concierge who didn’t understand my broken French.

My first reaction to hearing the news was physical. I got chills; my heart sank; I felt sick; Then I texted my mom, my grandma, my childhood best friend if they had seen the news. Sitting with another intern from my program, a student from Texas, all we could do was stare at each other. I can’t speak for her, but I simply couldn’t find words.

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Geopolitics
Artur Weigandt

The Russian Soldier Turned Social Media Star — Revealing More Than Putin Might Like

Anatoly Dremov shares his experiences of the war in Ukraine on the Russian Telegram network – and reveals details that don't always line up with the Kremlin narrative.

“That damn Ukrainian 'dill' shot up our tank,” a young soldier says into his cell phone camera. Dill is Russian slang for “Ukrainian Nazis.” The soldier squats in a car. The camera pans to the street. Destroyed apartment buildings roll by, destroyed tanks and civilian vehicles too.

Then a change of scene: several soldiers, all wearing the Russian Z on their sleeves. “It doesn’t matter at all who we meet on the way to victory: young Ukrainians, old Ukrainians. They’ll all get it.”

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What sounds like a cheap Russian action movie is reality. The reality of soldier Anatoly Dremov, sometimes Artyom Dremov, also known by the pseudonym Snami Bog – “God with us.” Dremov is 25 years old and from St. Petersburg. Sometimes he claims to be the owner of a restaurant. Sometimes it’s a tobacco store. Maybe both are true. Maybe both are not true.

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In The News

Reservations For Nature, Entry Fees For Cities: Is Mass Tourism Reaching A Dead End?

July 9-10

  • In Ukraine, living with Russian troops next door
  • Hollywood’s “coming of old age” problem
  • Game-changing sand battery
  • … and much more.
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CLARIN
Ignacio Katz

We Should Use The Pandemic To Rethink Death, And Life

Two years of restrictions and millions of deaths brought on by the pandemic might have had us reflect on the reality of suffering and death, but as booming pharmaceutical and retailing figures suggested, nothing can distract modern folk from their love of distraction. A view from an Argentine physician.

-Essay-

BUENOS AIRES - Talking about death gets bad press. Our culture hides it, and we shun it and can barely accept it as the final point of our lives. For philosophy, however, death is a star that has irradiated its dim light from the very dawn of thought. For medicine, it is akin to a calendar.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

U.S. Pledge To Ukraine War Effort, Macron Re-elected, Beijing Mass Testing

👋 ¡Hola!*


Welcome to Monday, where the U.S. pledges more military aid to Ukraine, France’s Emmanuel Macron gets reelected and a COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing triggers mass testing and panic buying. Meanwhile, Russian daily Kommersant looks at the consequences of the ban on Western social media for Russian influencers and their online activity.


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In The News
Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

The Fall Of Severodonetsk

After weeks of raging battles, it appears Severodonetsk is set to fall under full control of Russian forces. The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from the strategic city in southeastern Ukraine.

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The decision to retreat was made in order to save Ukrainian soldiers: “Nobody abandons our guys, nobody allows the encirclement (of our troops). The situation right now is as such that staying at these destroyed positions just for the sake of being there doesn't make sense,” Haidai said. At least 90% of the city's infrastructure has been destroyed.

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Geopolitics
Dan Wu

John Lee And The "Mainlandizing" Of Hong Kong

The festivities to mark 25 years since the British handover to China of Hong Kong also marked the official arrival of the new leader of Hong Kong, John Lee, who will move things even faster and closer to Beijing.

The scene was set well Friday as Hong Kong marked 25 years of being back under Chinese rule. The weather forecast predicted a typhoon, just as it had in 1997 when the sovereignty of the island city was officially transferred to Beijing, ending the era of being a British colony that had begun in 1842. But there were other storms brewing.

Streets flooded with Chinese and Hong Kong flags, cheering crowds, history lessons and speeches — and at the center was President Xi Jinping, who arrived on Thursday, for his visit outside mainland China since the 2020 Covid outbreak, and his first visit to Hong Kong since 2017.

But the other face to keep track of for Hong Kong’s 25th Handover anniversary looked a bit more tense than Xi's behind their respective white masks with a red "25" on the side.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

U.S.-Russia Prisoner Swap, Earth Overshoot Day, Meta Drop

👋 Ćao!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the White House and the Kremlin discuss a prisoner swap, Earth Overshoot Day tells us we keep living beyond our Earth’s means, and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta takes a $2.8-billion dip. Meanwhile, Eleonora Camilli in Italian magazine L’Essenziale focuses on how the children of immigrants are seeking a new path to obtain Italian citizenship.

[*Montenegrin]

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