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Flaws And All, The World Will Miss Barack Obama

President Obama was, on many levels, a major disappointment. But his legacy is one of grace and integrity in a political world that grows uglier by the day.

Bye bye Barack
Bye bye Barack
Richard Herzinger

BERLIN — We will miss him dearly.

Barack Obama will have come full circle on his next visit to Germany in November, this time coming at the very end of his second and final term in office. His first visit to Germany in August of 2008 did, after all, mark the beginning of "Obamania" around the world, this boundless euphoria that was ignited by the man onto whom we had pinned our hopes — even we Germans — even before he was elected for the first time.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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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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