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Geopolitics

French Teacher Beheaded: A New Attack On Freedom Of Speech

Le Monde's editorial board warns that the brutal killing of a middle school teacher is another direct attack on the same basic freedoms targeted in France since the Charlie Hebdo murders in 2015.

Recalling the 'Je suis Charlie' slogan, an 'I am (a) teacher' sign in solidarity with the victim.
Recalling the "Je suis Charlie" slogan, an "I am (a) teacher" sign in solidarity with the victim.

Friday evening in a small town north of Paris, a history and geography teacher was attacked and beheaded by an 18-year-old Islamist terrorist of Chechen origin, who was later killed in a standoff with police. The teacher had been the target of a local backlash that spread on the internet after he'd shown cartoons of the Muslim prophet to his class of 13 and 14-year-old students in a lesson about freedom of speech.

—Editorial—

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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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.

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