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GAZETA WYBORCZA

Time To Stop Coddling Russia, A View From Poland

Should a state be driven by law, or by force? Russia's neighbors, friends and enemies must reflect on what's really at play in the showdown over Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin will take your questions
Vladimir Putin will take your questions
Dawid Warszawski

WARSAW — In his speech after Crimea’s annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the West’s policies towards his country without mincing words. “Those actions were aimed against both Ukraine and Russia,” the Russian president declared. “Time after time, we were lied to, decisions were made behind our back, we were constantly put before a fait accompli: the enlargement of NATO to the East and establishing military infrastructure close to our borders are just a few of the many examples.”

This point of view found a willing audience in many corners of the West, where Russian fears are considered more than comprehensible. After all, the argument goes, the eastern expansion of NATO and the European Union, which followed the fall of the Soviet Union, intruded into the Russian sphere of influence. Thus, when Russia regained its forces, it hit back. Its actions in Ukraine are nothing more than defense. The West asked for the troubles. Now, it should alleviate the situation instead of supporting the Ukrainian troublemakers.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade: Will It Spark Anti-Abortion Momentum Around The World?

Pro-life activists celebrated the end of the U.S. right to abortion, hoping it will trigger a new debate on a topic that in some places had largely been settled: in favor a woman’s right to choose. But it could also boomerang.

Thousands of people demonstrate against abortion in Madrid

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Shaun Lavelle

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion put the United States at the forefront of abortion rights in the world.

Other countries would follow suit in the succeeding years, with France legalizing abortion in 1975, Italy in 1978, and Ireland finally joining most of the rest of Europe with a landslide 2018 referendum victory for women’s right to choose. Elsewhere, parts of Asia and Africa have made incremental steps toward legalizing abortion, while a growing number of Latin American countries have joined what has now been a decades-long worldwide shift toward more access to abortion rights.

But now, 49 years later, with last Friday’s landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade, will the U.S. once again prove to be ahead of the curve? Will American cultural and political influence carry across borders on the abortion issue, reversing the momentum of recent years?

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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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