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French Revolutionary Lessons Of 1968 For Putin's Russia Of Today

Putin in Vienna on June 5
Putin in Vienna on June 5
Vladislav Inozemtsev

MOSCOW — Fifty years ago, in May 1968, France was swarmed with such powerful mass protests that the government feared a full-fledged civil war or revolution. This popular unrest became a turning point in the history of modern France, and eventually brought about serious changes in the French state.

Vladislav Inozemtsev, a scholar writing for the Moscow-based RBC Media, looks at parallels between the situation in France in 1968 and today's Russia, finding some lessons that can be drawn from the "Paris spring" to help understand Russia's current prospects:

"The May 1968 events showed that, despite economic prosperity and growing quality of life that sharply contrasted with the hard post-War years, citizens can still rise up against the authorities if they lack personal freedoms and suffer from stagnation in social development. As for Russia in recent years, it is similar to France in the 1960s in the following respect: economic factors and the fact that the population has become richer in comparison with the 1990s can no longer compensate for the degradation of social and political spheres.

The authorities cannot control human minds.

"Secondly, the example of Charles de Gaulle demonstrated that a leader's popularity tends to evaporate if there are no reforms meeting the needs of the times. De Gaulle was the architect of the new French state after World War II just like Vladimir Putin is for today's modern Russian state. After World War II, de Gaulle was one of the most popular figures in France enjoying universal popularity and respect. However, by 1968 it had become clear that France was not responding to people's needs and aspirations, which resulted in a uprising.

"Thirdly, the example of France illustrates that the authorities cannot control human minds and maintain a certain moral order amidst globalization and a widespread access to information. Despite governmental censorship that existed in France in the 1960s, people revolted. So, it is very unwise of the modern Russian regime to try to impose a distorted worldview and so-called traditional values on its people.

"None of this necessarily means that there will be a revolution in the near future in Russia, but the French case certainly should be taken into account in trying to understand our country's current situation and possible scenarios of its future."

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Green

Moose In Our Midst: How Poland's Wildlife Preservation Worked A Bit Too Well

Wild moose have been spotted on Polish beaches and even near cities. They're a rare example of successful conservation efforts, but they're increasingly coming into contact with people.

Photo of a moose crossing a road

Moose seen in Poland

Joanna Wisniowska

GDANSK — Images of wild moose roaming the streets and beaches of Poland’s Baltic coast have been cropping up online more frequently. What should someone do if they encounter one? According to Mateusz Ciechanowski, a biologist at the University of Gdansk, the best option is to leave them alone.

“This is the result of the consistent protection that has been provided to this species of moose,” said Ciechanowski. “As the numbers increase, so does the animals’ range”.

Various media outlets have been publishing reports about spotted wild moose in the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot with increasing frequency. Perhaps more surprising is that these moose have been seen on beaches as well.

Centuries ago, moose could be found all over the European continent. But, like the European bison, they were often hunted for their value as an attractive game animal.

Aside from population declines due to hunting, the drainage of European wetlands also decreased the number of viable moose habitats. The animals, which prefer marshy areas, dwindled without the proper natural environment to flourish in.

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