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Germany

German Elections: Why The Far Right Has Fizzled

For months, the news media couldn't stop talking about them. But now the so-called 'disenfranchised' have again gone quiet. Did they ever really exist?

Anti-AfD graffiti in Berlin
Anti-AfD graffiti in Berlin
Jennifer Wilton

BERLIN — Mr. H. gives off mixed signals with his socks and sandals, all purpose vest, angry eyes and friendly smile. He sits in front of his house in a sprawl of high-rises on the border of the city. It's early summer, and no one has put up campaign posters just yet. But Mr. H is already thinking about the elections in September.

Mr. H. is a man with a long, varied history. He's been a police officer as well as a railway employee. He's also diabetic, was unemployed at one point, and retired early. "Maybe that's too many details," he says. "Who really cares? No one," he asks and answers. Mr. H, to use his own words, feels "disenfranchised." Everyone out here feels disenfranchised. Forgotten by politicians. Ignored by everyone else.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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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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