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TOPIC: latvia


The "Good Russians" Debate Is Back — And My Rage Just Grows Deeper

A Ukrainian journalist considers the controversy over the shutting down of exiled, independent Russian television station TV Dozhd. Can Russians be opposed to Putin's war and yet support the troops?


What's been unfolding in Latvia this week is minor compared to the brutality that continues every day in Ukraine. Still, it is telling, and is forcing us to try to imagine what will happen in the future to Russia, and Russians, and the rest of us in the region.

What has been a largely respected and independent Russian television channel, TV Dozhd ("TV Rain") was forced off the air in Latvia — where it's been based since being forced into exile at the start of the war in Ukraine — after Alexei Korostelev, one the channel's main anchors, said on live TV that Dozhd viewers could help the Russian army soldiers and urged viewers to write about mobilization violations.

Korostelev was immediately fired, and the television's management reiterated its absolute opposition to the war and repeated calls for Moscow to immediately withdraw its troops.

Nevertheless, the next day Latvia — a fierce Ukraine ally — revoked the channel's license to broadcast

It is a rude return to the "good Russian" debate, which spread across independent newspapers and social media in the weeks after Moscow's invasion. What must we demand from Russians who are opposed to the war and to Vladimir Putin? Should we expect that they not only want an end to the fighting, but should also be pushing for the defeat of their own nation's military?

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Fresh Troops Arriving As Final Battle For Kherson Appears Imminent

A missile attack early Friday kills four, as civilians try to evacuate the largest Ukrainian city under Russian occupation.

The Ukrainian military's General Staff reports that up to 2,000 Russian troops have arrived in the wider occupied Kherson region to replenish losses and reinforce units on the southern front line. These troops are believed to be made up of men called up in Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization,” brought in for what many believe will be a major battle for the key port city and regional capital of Kherson.

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The Kremlin has accused Ukrainian forces overnight of targeting civilians evacuating from the Russian-controlled city of Kherson, after a missile attack killed at least four.

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What Happens When Soviet Monuments Are Torn Down

The toppling of statues and other political symbols creates new spaces that are themselves a reckoning for society.

In the Latvian capital of Riga, an 80-meter concrete obelisk came crashing down in late August to the loud cheers of a nearby crowd. It was created to commemorate the Soviet Army’s capture of Latvia in 1944.

Days earlier in Estonia, another Soviet monument, this time of a tank adorned with the communist red star, was removed and taken to reside in a museum.

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Such scenes are happening all over central and eastern Europe – in Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. The removal or destruction of Soviet-era monuments is a powerful reminder of the complex relationship that exists between history, memory and politics.

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Pro-Russians Claim 99% Victory In Referendums - What Happens Now?

The so-called referendums that have been going on for the past five days in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine have come to an end. With all votes reportedly counted, the results show exactly the kind of majority in favor of joining Russia that has prompted many to consider the referendums a “sham” that violated international law.

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The head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said on his Telegram channel that 99.23% of votes cast were for "joining the Donetsk People's Republic to the Russian Federation.” Elena Kravchenko, the head of the election commission of the self-declared Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), said 98.42% favored annexation by Moscow. In Kherson, 87.05% were in favor of the motion; and in Zaporizhzhya, the head of the election commission said the final tally was 93.11% voting to join Russia.

James Kariuki, the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, has urged the United Nations to reject the results of the referendums in Ukraine. Speaking during a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the war, Kariuki called the votes "an egregious violation" of the principles of the UN Charter.

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger, Lila Paulou, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

Offline Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Has The World Holding Its Breath

The transmission line connecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant with the power system in Ukraine was disconnected due to Russian shelling. Three other transmission lines had also been damaged during Russian shelling earlier in the conflict. As a result, two operating units of the power plant were disconnected from the grid, causing the complete disconnection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant from the power grid.

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In his nightly address, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that back-up diesel generators ensured power supply, which are vital for systems at the plant. "If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident," he said. He also stated that the coming winter will be the most difficult in the history of Ukraine due to high gas prices.

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Busking In The Shade

It was so hot on the shores of the Baltic sea that August that we had to look for shade everywhere we could, just like this street piper in Riga, Latvia.


Eurovision Contestants 2015: Latvia

Latvia ran in 15 editions of the Eurovision Song Contest since its first participation at the turn of the millennium. The former Soviet satellite failed only to qualify in 2004 with expand=1] this song — we have no idea why it didn’t work, people probably forgot what real rock’n’roll was at the time.

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Freedom Skyline

Five years after Latvia's independence was recognized by the Soviet Union (one of the last things the dying Union got to do), we toured the Baltic states, still then in the early stages of painstaking de-Russification.

But from above, Riga, the largest city in the three Baltic republics, looked as beautifully Latvian as ever.

Gerhard Gnauck

Building The New Elite Of Belarus - In Lithuania

Much more freedom is allowed in Lithuania than across the border in Belarus, where strongman Alexander Lukashenko shut down top universities.

VILNIUS — If I close my eyes for a moment, I’m transported back to a German university town somewhere along the Neckar river — Tübingen, perhaps, or Heidelberg. Hölderlin, Heidegger, Kant, Hannah Arendt are among the names that surface in my conversation with Belarusian philosopher Anatoli Mikhailov.

We aren't anywhere near the banks of the Rhine, however, but on the shores of the Neris, a tributary of the Memel River, in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. This is the stomping ground of Mikhailov, 74, a recipient of the German Goethe medal, and founder and rector of the European Humanities University (EHU).

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eyes on the U.S.
Julie Farrar

U.S. Minimum Wage - Compare It To The Rest Of World

President Obama used his State of the Union address to declare his determination to raise the U.S. minimum wage above 10 dollars. Wage policy in the rest of the world may surprise you.

WASHINGTON D.C. — President Barack Obama has called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, the centerpiece proposal in Tuesday's State of the Union address that focused on economic inequality in America.

Pointing out that the current minimum of $7.25 is nearly 20% lower in real spending power than it was 25 years ago, he urged legislators to support a bill that would bring the national rate to $10.10.

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