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Geopolitics

A Visit To Zelensky’s Hometown, As Russians May Be Set To Attack Again

The 44-year-old’s parents still live in the same apartment in Kryvyi Rih, where Russian troops attacked in the early days of the war before retreating. But with Putin's focus shifted eastward, the people who grew up with Zelensky brace for more attacks.

The Muravenik housing project in Kryvyi Rih.

President Zelensky grew up in the Muravenik housing project in Kryvyi Rih.

Alfred von Hackensberger

KRYVYI RIH — The housing project where President Volodymyr Zelensky grew up is called Muravenik, which means "anthill." The Anthill is circular and built like a fortress. The 10-story apartment blocks in this southeastern Ukrainian city date to the Soviet era, and you can tell. Large swathes of the outer cladding are missing. The old doors, windows and makeshift extensions give the whole housing complex a run-down look. In winter, the leafless trees and muddy grass add to the bleak atmosphere.

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It’s hard to believe that this is where the country’s president grew up.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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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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