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Russia

Post-Soviet Agitprop, How Putin Is Winning Social Media

Cold War-style propaganda isn't helping the Kremlin win over young Russians. For that, President Vladimir Putin has turned to social media and its teenage fans.

Putin poses with the military police
Putin poses with the military police
Julia Smirnova

BERLIN — The very first question made Vladimir Putin smile. "Do you use social media?" a blond teenager wanted to know. And with a grin, the boy added: "If you want to unwind after a hard day at work, do you scroll through your Instagram feed or do you watch YouTube?" The Russian president had to surrender himself to "tough" questions such as these last month in Sochi when he met with several hundred students — an interaction that was broadcast live on TV.

It isn't a coincidence that Putin is meeting teenagers. Only a small percentage of young people in Russia are politically active. But politicians still can't afford to ignore them; the new generation gets information through the internet and is not easily influenced by tried-and-tested methods of TV propaganda. For the Kremlin, this signals a loss of control.

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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