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TOPIC: russian propaganda

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Putin Reads Tolstoy: The Case For A Hard Line Against Russian Culture

From ballet to opera to classic literature, Russia has turned its culture into an instrument for its own expansion. The West must fight back, Ukraine's culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko writes in an op-ed in German daily Die Welt. It's time to stop supporting Russian artists and seek out Ukrainians instead.


KYIV — At first glance, it seems only a small administrative act: on Jan. 25, Vladimir Putin changed the mission of his country's state cultural policy. Its task now includes "protecting society from external ideological expansion."

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Behind this change lies the idea that there are "unfriendly states involved in activities aimed at undermining the cultural sovereignty of the Russian Federation." What is at stake is nothing less than the "protection of historical truth."

Culture is thus a tool and even a weapon in the hands of the state. Russia actively uses it to promote its interests — from making Russian ballet and other symbols of Russian culture (Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Piotr Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich) popular, to protecting the rights of Russian speakers abroad.

It is time to do something about this.

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Exclusive: Russian Leak Reveals Extent Of Country’s Anti-War Protests That Kremlin Was Hiding

Independent Russian media Vazhnyye Istorii has obtained a major data leak from the top Kremlin information agency that reveals the scale and extent of anti-war protests across the Russian Federation.

Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian government information agencies have repeatedly published public opinion polls showing that the overwhelming majority of Russians support Vladimir Putin's domestic and foreign policies, especially the war against Ukraine which is officially referred to as the special “military operation to denazify Ukraine and liberate Donbas.”

However, an unprecedented large-scale leak of data from Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal propaganda and surveillance agency, shows that protest movements in 2022 were expanding across much of the Russian Federation.

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At A Hinterland Cemetery, Russians Mourn Their Sons And Stand By Putin

This is the other side of the Kremlin's "special operation" in Ukraine. The human cost of the Russian side remains unclear. The reportage takes place in the capital of one of the poorest regions of Russia, in the heart of the Caucasus, where a growing number of soldiers are buried.

VLADIKAVKAZ — Throughout Russia, military cemeteries continue to fill up and expand. Looking at the dates on the graves, one begins to gauge the scope of the Kremlin's so-called special military operation in Ukraine.

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"We will win this war," says Taïmouzar, 65. "It will be long. But we will make it all the way." .

At the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, Vladikavkaz is one of the poorest regions of Russia — a fertile ground for recruiters looking for volunteers to fight in Ukraine.

Looking at the grave of his son David, 21, the grieving father speaks with certainty: "He didn't want to fight this war," Taïmouzar says. "But he was right to go and fight there. A year ago, the Ukrainians were preparing to attack us. Russia had to defend itself."

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All Eyes On Southern Ukraine, Baghdad Clashes, Pumpkin Ride

👋 Da'anzho!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine launches a counteroffensive to retake Kherson in the south of the country, deadly clashes rock Iraq after cleric al-Sadr resigns, and the world record for pumpkin paddling (you read that right) gets broken. We also turn to Ukraine’s news platform Livy Bereg to see how Russian propaganda plays out across European countries.

[*Eastern Apache]

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In The News
Bertrand Hauger, Anna Akage, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

A Cruel Summer For Ukrainian Kids

And see the contrast with kids in Russia...

With the summer break around the corner and heat taking over most of Europe, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza is running, as part of its “photo of the day” section, a picture of children splashing about with their parents in a river. A refreshing photo, in stark contrast with the caption chosen by the Warsaw-based newspaper: “These children don’t have to be afraid of bombs.” The river in question is the Moskva, and these are Russian kids cooling off near the Kremlin.

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The same Gazeta Wyborcza has also reported on a Poland-based hotline, open to Ukrainian children (an estimated 500,000 of whom have found refuge in Poland) to be able to talk to a psychologist about their traumatic experiences — or simply looking for a chat in their native tongue.

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Christian Meier

Russian Media Wars: Why Europe's Ban On Sputnik And RT​ Could Backfire

The EU is planning to ban state broadcaster Russia Today and news agency Sputnik. But how is the network reporting on the war in Ukraine? And will banning them potentially affect Russians more than Europeans?


BERLIN — President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced that the European Union plans to ban Russian state broadcaster Russia Today (RT) and state-owned news agency Sputnik. In making the announcement last Sunday, von der Leyen vowed that the EU would develop the necessary technological tools to prevent the broadcaster from spreading “toxic and damaging disinformation” and “lies to justify Putin’s war” in Europe.

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How this ban will be implemented on a practical level remains unclear.

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