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NEW YORK TIMES (US), O GLOBO (Brazil)

Worldcrunch

In a country famous for its carnival imbued spirit, it is only appropriate that Brazil's municipal elections, often a dreary affair elsewhere in the world, are somewhat... colorful, to say the least.

Inspired by superheroes, cartoon characters and American presidents, take a look at the candidates screaming for attention in October's local elections.

1. Geraldo Wolverine:

Normally, Geraldo Custodio is a 52-year-old driving instructor but when it's election time, he's Geraldo Wolverine: "It's a marketing strategy, a political program, because if I said Geraldo Custodio no one would recognize me," he told the New York Times.

2. Obama

Who knew Obamania was making its way around Brazil, with no fewer than 16 electoral candidates borrowing the American President's name. This health administration employee is hoping to get a seat in Belo Horizonte.

2. Rambo de Natal

Rambo, complete with bazooka and dodgy bandana, is also running: "Against corruption, Rambo is your solution. God's will be done, and not yours!" screams the Stallone wannabe candidate in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

4. Moises Papai Noel

Yeah, that's right, even the wholesome image of Santa Claus is used for political gain. This is in fact the second time Moises Papai Noel has ran for office, taking time out of his normal routine of running his own shop in São Paulo.


5. Serginho BBB

Ex-reality TV candidate Serginho from Big Brother Brasil 2010 is giving politics a try with the Socio-Democrat Party. Serginho wants to focus on education and protect LGBT rights in São Paulo.

Although, the competition is likely to be tough:

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Geopolitics

One By One, The Former Soviet Republics Are Abandoning Putin

From Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tajikistan, countries in Russia's orbit have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war. All (maybe even Belarus?) is coming to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the Soviet empire.

Leaders of Armenia, Russia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan attend a summit marking the 30th anniversary of signing the Collective Security Treaty in Moscow on May 16.

Oleksandr Demchenko

-Analysis-

KYIV — Virtually all of Vladimir Putin's last remaining partner countries in the region are gone from his grip. Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war, because they've all come to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the empire, where their own sovereignty is lost.

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

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Before zooming in on the current state of relations in the region, and what it means for Ukraine's destiny, it's worth briefly reviewing the last 30 years of post-Soviet history.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was first created in 1992 by the Kremlin to keep former republics from fully seceding from the former Soviet sphere of influence. The plan was simple: to destroy the local Communist elite, to replace them with "their" people in the former colonies, and then return these territories — never truly considered as independent states by any Russian leadership — into its orbit.

In a word - to restore the USSR.

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