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After Sunday night's victory
After Sunday night's victory
Heribert Prantl

BERLIN — The all-conquering hero is traditionally a masculine figure, but in Angela Merkel it finds its feminine embodiment. Her election result is more than a victory; it is a triumph. Moreover, it is her triumph, and not her party’s. It is Merkel as an individual, as the chancellor with unprecedented approval ratings, who has won this election.

Thanks to her victory at the polls, Angela Merkel has risen almost to the level of Konrad Adenauer, the leader who won the Christian Democrats’ first and only absolute majority in 1957. That year was the high point of Adenauer’s career. For Merkel, we may one day be pointing back to 2013 as her apex. This election confirms that whatever the next term holds, her time in government constitutes an era – the era of Merkelism, of a subtle, unflashy brand of power politics.

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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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