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Banner in Bangkok instructing residents not to share anti-government views on social networks, under direct threat of prison
Banner in Bangkok instructing residents not to share anti-government views on social networks, under direct threat of prison
Kannikar Petchkaew

Martial law has brought calm but not peace to Thailand.

A report released this week by the International Crisis Group warns that the military regime’s stifling of dissent could ultimately lead to greater turmoil. The military claims that the coup d'etat last May was staged to maintain order after six months of street unrest by anti-government protests.

They took TV channels and radio stations off the air, and only heavily censored versions have been allowed to return. Several hundred academics and activists have been detained. Many others have fled to the west where they are applying for asylum.

From his temporary new home in an undisclosed location in the United States, Jom Petpradab makes a Skype call home to his nephew. He assures him that he's doing just fine in the U.S.: "Don’t worry about me," he says. "Just go to school and do your best."


Jom Petpradab — Photo: Kannikar Petchkaew

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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