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Hungary

Viktor Orban's Assault On Democracy Quietly Got Much Scarier This Summer

Not the same imminent threat as Vladimir Putin, but the Hungarian prime minister is posing a bold challenge to the West, with a troubling speech in Romania that flew below the radar.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Jacques Schuster

BUDAPEST — Since his 2010 election victory, the words of Viktor Orban have been seen by the West as a bitter pill that must be swallowed.

When the Hungarian Prime Minister, for example, claimed that the "Magyar race" was in "serious danger," the phrase may have seemed cut from World War II propaganda reels. Still, Western observers weren’t unduly worried, repeatedly succumbing to Orban’s virtuosity with double meanings.

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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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