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In Tatarstan, more than half the population is Muslim (Adam Jones)
In Tatarstan, more than half the population is Muslim (Adam Jones)
Ildar Abuzyarov with Sergei Melnikov

KAZAN - Nobody has the exact numbers. The arrests are only talked about when the suspect is someone already well-known in the region. People like Artyom Kalashov, a Russian weightlifting champion, who they first interrogated, then tried to arrest without actually accusing him of the crime. The court blocked the arrest. Then they arrested the lead singer of a well-known local band.

At 2 a.m. in the streets of Kazan police stuck a gun in Danis Safargali�s back, and �summoned� him to the police station. Safargali, the leader of an activist organization called The Golden Horde, says he has never gotten involved in religious questions, but he was still taken to the police station that specializes in fighting religious extremism and interrogated for nine hours. Police repeated their questions again and again, trying to force Safargali to take a lie detector test. Safargali was released only after his lawyer got involved - every procedure in the book was violated, and police could not accuse Safargali of anything.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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