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Russia

Belarus: Even Allies Start To Fear Moscow's Ambitions

Though Belarus is part of a Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan, it is cooling toward Moscow. As Minsk hosts Russia-Ukraine talks, much is at stake in the old Soviet orbit.

Putin and Lukashenko earlier this year.
Putin and Lukashenko earlier this year.
Mirosław Czech

MINSK — Amid growing tension between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists, presidents Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin are meeting for a summit today in Minsk, Belarus, where top leaders from the European Union, the host country and Kazakhstan will mediate the talks.

As Poland's influence has waned since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, new regional players have stepped up on the political scene. Belarus and Kazakhstan, both in the Eurasian Customs Union with Russia, intend to weigh in on efforts to de-escalate the conflict in Eastern Europe.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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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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