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Geopolitics

Its Horrific Past Exposed, A Notorious Sect Lingers On In Central Chile

Chile’s Colonia Dignidad is infamous as a place where children were raped and opponents of the Pinochet regime tortured. The sect’s founder, serial child abuser and ex-Nazi doctor Paul Schäfer, died last year. But his right hand man, Hartmut Hopp, is on t

Chile's Colonia Dignidad has changed its named to Villa Baveria in an effort to turn the page on its dark past
Chile's Colonia Dignidad has changed its named to Villa Baveria in an effort to turn the page on its dark past
Sandra Weiss

BERLIN -- He was the right-hand man at Chile's infamous Colonia Dignidad. Hartmut Hopp made sure the child abuse committed by sect leader Paul Schäfer didn't become publically known and oversaw the sect's convoluted finances. Hopp, a doctor, was a key figure in one of the darkest chapters in relations between Germany and Chile. Condemned by a Chilean court to five years in jail for child abuse, in May he was apparently able to slip through the net and head back to Germany.

Citing evidence of his escape to Germany, including e-mails with accomplices, Chilean authorities have applied for his extradition. Interpol also has an international arrest warrant out against the 66-year-old. Hopp's wife moved back to Germany last April, and his daughter-in-law confirmed to the Chilean journalists' association that he was in Germany.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

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

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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