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Geopolitics

Syria, Tour Of A Broken Country After Four Years Of War

To gauge the ways the civil war has affected all of Syria, a look at seven cities on the fourth anniversary of the first uprising against the regime. A chronicle of death and life going on.

Watching over Kobane, Syria, on Feb. 15
Watching over Kobane, Syria, on Feb. 15
Orwa Ajjoub and Mais Istanbelli

This week marked the fourth anniversary of the start of the Syrian revolution, and no one is celebrating.

Syrians on all sides of the conflict have suffered beyond measure. Nothing is the same and no one has been spared. Almost every city and town has at one point or another felt the terror of explosions, gunfire and bloodshed. Far too many families have felt the wrenching grief of sudden and violent death. Hundreds of thousands have had to leave their homes and now live as refugees or on handouts — their business, their schools, their dreams shattered.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

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And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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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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