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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

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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