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Russia

From Rat To Bear To Rabbit: How Russians See Putin In The Animal Kingdom

As the ruble nosedives and Russia chokes on Western sanctions, the president --once compared to a bear or bull -- now looks smaller to his countrymen in an unusual recurring survey.

Vladimir Putin and his labrador Koni
Vladimir Putin and his labrador Koni
Wacław Radziwinowicz

MOSCOW — The impressive popularity of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his home country seems to be taking on a new, um, face. A recent survey by a famous Russian sociologist revealed that Putin, often described by citizens and Russian media alike as "the Russian bear," has recently been evoking smaller species, no doubt because of the country's latest economic and political difficulties, experts say.

Over his lifetime, the Russian president has undergone an interesting sort of zoological evolution, representing a different animal during each stage of his political career.

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Ideas

Ukraine Has Exposed The Bankruptcy Of Germany's "Never Again" Pacifism

A group of pro-peace German intellectuals published a letter asking the country not to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, but they're missing the point completely. Germany needs to reinvent itself in order to face today's challenges — and threats.

The Bundestag, or German federal government, meets at the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Sascha Lehnartz

-OpEd-

BERLIN — When even the brightest minds — some of whom have shaped the intellectual life of this republic for decades — suddenly seem at a loss, it can mean one of two things. Either the clever minds are not as clever as we were always led to believe. Or the times have changed so brutally that old pieces of wisdom are suddenly no longer valid.

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If you don't want to give up your childhood faith in the Federal Republic of Germany quite yet, you can settle on the second option.

Alexander Kluge, one of Germany's most versatile artists, founded a television production company, proving that there can even be television for intellectuals. Journalist and prominent feminist Alice Schwarzer has done more for the liberation of women in this country than anyone else. Yet Schwarzer and Kluge, along with another two dozen intellectuals, have written an open letter that basically recommends Ukraine to submit to Vladimir Putin for the sake of the authors' peace of mind.

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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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