Ethnic minorities in Russia are campaigning for the breakup of the country

class=”MuiTypography-root-142 MuiTypography-h1-147″>Ethnic minorities in Russia are campaigning for the breakup of the country

​​​​​​​Russia's long persecuted ethnic minorities — Buryats, Chechens and Yakuts — have seized on the war in Ukraine to make a case for the independence of their own regions. They say the conflict has laid bare Russia's violent and imperial mentality, not just in Eastern Europe, but within its own borders.

The WorldMay 22, 2023 · 3:30 PM EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Cabinet meeting via videoconference at Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 17, 2023.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

More than a year of war has changed Ukraine forever — but it is also reshaping Russia, with opinion starkly divided on what should happen to the country after the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping its borders will be expanded and his own grip on power will be strengthened. Many outside Russia are pushing for a future without Putin, in which Moscow will never again be in a position to invade its neighbors.

But some Russians themselves are calling for a restructuring of the country and a rethinking of Russian national identity — often at great personal risk.

Alexandra Garmazhapova, a Russian citizen originally from the Siberian region of Buryatia, now lives between Brussels and Prague.

Earlier this year, she said, she was put on Russia’s wanted list over her work with a group calling for greater autonomy for Buryatia.

“If I try to go back, I’ll be arrested as soon as I get off the plane,” she said.

She also voiced fears about other activists and opposition figures who have been poisoned by Russian agents.

Garmazhapova is one of a number of ethnic-minority activists who are using the conflict in Ukraine to highlight racism within Russia and fight Moscow’s top-down rule of the country.

About 70% of Russians are ethnically Slavic, but the country is also home to almost 200 other ethnic groups, like Buryats, who have historically been badly treated.

Garmazhapova said it’s absurd for Putin to call himself an anti-fascist, and say that he invaded Ukraine to fight naziism there.

“He’s the xenophobe in chief,” she said. “He’s a chauvinist who has proudly described himself for years as a Russian nationalist.”

The president often talks about Russia’s multi-ethnic makeup. But in reality, authorities have long targeted ethnic minority activists and tried to limit the teaching of minority languages.

Thousands of miles from the capital, Buryatia is one of Russia’s poorest regions. It has historic ties to Mongolia but was colonized by Tsarist Russia from the 1600s.

Garmazhapova said that she would often be told to “go home” to China or Uzbekistan, because of her Asiatic appearance.

“I’d say, ‘Actually, I’m a citizen of the Russian Federation. I have the same passport that you do.’”

At the start of the invasion, Garmazhapova’s Free Buryatia Foundation helped soldiers from the region escape army contracts and return home.

The group said Buryat men were used as “cannon fodder” as their lives were seen as less valuable. Then, they were unfairly blamed for committing the worst atrocities of the war.

But bringing soldiers back from the front has become all but impossible under new laws.

Now, Garmazhapova is campaigning for genuine local government in Russia — like in the United States or Germany.

That dream might be a long way off.

Putin has spent the last two decades centralizing power in the Kremlin, and anyone who challenges this in a meaningful way is arrested, forced to flee the country, or in some cases, killed.

Some ethnic minority activists want to go even further than Garmazhapova. They don’t want their regions to be part of the Russian Federation at all — they want to be completely independent.

Among them is Raisa Zubareva, an activist from Yakutia, a far eastern region. She now lives in Warsaw.

“Russia mustn’t carry on existing as it is. In its current form, it will always be a threat,” she said, adding that the mineral resources that provide the money for the military come from regions like hers.

Most politicians in the West, she said, are reluctant to publicly back the breakup of Russia, rejecting it as too extreme.

But she suggested that, if you keep repeating an idea, eventually, it will become normalized.

Zubareva said that she doesn’t see a problem with activists like her living outside Russia.

“If they stay there, they will be arrested, and you can’t communicate with the public from prison.” Her Free Yakutia Foundation sees its work as informing the public and changing attitudes.

Activists might be divided on whether they want independence or just greater autonomy. But they all agree that the war in Ukraine has given them an important opportunity to bring their plights to global attention.

They say that invasion has laid bare Russia’s imperial, colonial mentality, which is not just killing Ukrainians, but also harming ethnic minorities within its own borders.

Abubakar Yangulbaev is a human rights lawyer from Chechnya, which was brutally subjugated by Moscow after fighting for its independence. He now lives in Paris.

“After Russia invaded Ukraine, we started to talk about racism, chauvinism and xenophobia inside Russia,” Yangulbaev said. “And it's a big problem, because in Russia, Russia never fought against racism.”

Now, people are starting to pay attention to what life is actually like for minorities in Russia.

“Right now, many national minorities have resources, we have a network.”

While Russian society becomes ever more nationalistic as the war drags on, conversations around racism and decentralization are beginning to happen.

People from minority groups are increasingly interested in their own cultures and history, these activists say. Whatever the challenges ahead, they believe another Russia is possible.

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Email AddressEmail AddressSubscribeI have read and agree to your Privacy Policy.Related ContentUkraine's air defense adapts with more sophisticated technology, equipmentThis fashion brand modernizes Ukraine’s traditional vyshyvanka shirt and dress to reflect wartimeUS Amb Bridget Brink: ‘I see no break in support’ to help Ukraine prevail against RussiaHow a Boston hospital transformed a Ukrainian child’s life

US Amb Bridget Brink: ‘I see no break in support’ to help Ukraine prevail against Russia

class=”MuiTypography-root-239 jss217 MuiTypography-h1-244″>US Amb Bridget Brink: ‘I see no break in support’ to help Ukraine prevail against RussiaThe WorldMay 12, 2023 · 2:00 PM EDT

US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink in Kyiv.

Brendan Hoffman/The World

After months of stalemate, Ukraine's military says it's gaining ground in the embattled southern city of Bakhmut.

In recent days, Russian troops have pulled back and Ukrainian forces have advanced more than a mile, according to Ukrainian officials. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, denies this.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the United States announced an additional $1.2 billion in military assistance for Ukraine.

To get more perspective on US support for Ukraine, The World's Daniel Ofman spoke with US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink in the capital Kyiv.

Daniel Ofman: For months now, there's been a lot of speculation about the Ukrainian counteroffensive. What can Americans listening at home expect from Ukraine's counteroffensive? What are you looking for?Ambassador Bridget Brink: I would just say that it is one aspect of this war, and I think it's important for us to put it in the perspective of our efforts to enable Ukraine to push out and fight against the Russians that have invaded this country, that have tried to change the borders of Ukraine by force. So, I think that there will be a more kinetic period as the counteroffensive continues and moves into this phase. We also spent the whole winter in a very kinetic period where we actually had to move to bunkers almost 30 times because of massive missile and drone strikes. And I anticipate that we will just continue to do what we're doing, which is to support Ukraine in every way possible so that they can continue to liberate and take back their territory.How do you and, by extension, the United States define victory for Ukraine?Well, President [Joe] Biden has said all along that it will be up to President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy as to when he decides to stop fighting and that all negotiations, all wars eventually come to some kind of end. And that decision is with the elected representative, the president of this country, and that our job is to support Ukraine in every way possible to enable them to take back as much territory as possible. So, when they do get to that point, they're in the best possible position at the negotiating table.And are you concerned about war fatigue back in the United States?I can say that from the level and frequency of visitors that we get here from our own government, our president, nine members of our Cabinet, a multitude of people under that level, as well as 40-plus members of Congress, I see no break in support and desire to ensure that we do everything possible to help Ukraine prevail.Still, Americans are very familiar with long and drawn-out wars. Are you worried that, after a certain amount of time, people will say, "OK, how long is this going to go on? What are the results of our taxpayer money going here to Ukraine?"It's certainly a question. But what I would say in being here is that this war is very important, of course, to the Ukrainians. It's an existential fight for their future, for their freedom. But it also is very important to the United States for many reasons. No. 1, our longstanding principle, and something which I have been a public servant for over 25 years promoting, is in support of freedom. This is ultimately a fight for freedom. No. 2, it's also a moral question to support Ukraine against what is a clear example of attacks on a country, not just a military attack, but attacks on people such as the critical civilian infrastructure, the energy grid, which would affect millions of people. Sexual violence at a level we have not seen in Europe in a very long time. Attacks which include stealing children from their families and filtrating them to Russia, attacks which include war crimes and atrocities that are unspeakable and not anything that we have seen since World War II in Europe.

The World's Daniel Ofman interviews US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink in Kyiv.


Brendan Hoffman/The World

continued…So, I would say that the moral clarity of this is also a very important point and something that Americans really understand. I also believe there are tremendous impacts to this war on the economic side. So, obviously there's the grain impact, which is influencing and increasing prices of wheat around the world. But there also is the impact on energy and energy prices and Russia's use of energy as a weapon. In addition to even the economic impacts, there are ways in which Russia is fighting this war on the disinformation side, not just in Ukraine, but in Europe and also in America, which are very dangerous to our democracy. And then finally, there's a strategic reason that ultimately is very important to us in the United States, and that is, if we allow Russia to change borders by force, it potentially opens up instability all around the world.Wars, armed conflicts, they tend to end at the negotiating table. How will the US know that it's time to negotiate?So, President Biden has said that it's up to President Zelenskiy to decide when he would start negotiations. That time isn't yet.Is the US making plans, though, in order to aid Ukraine in negotiations, facilitate negotiations? Because at a certain point, this likely will happen.I would say that we are in support of the Ukrainian vision on the future. And so, we will do what we can to support them when that time comes.So, we've seen this trend. We have seen time after time Ukraine asking for howitzers, then HIMARS. And after some time, the US would end up providing these weapons that the US beforehand was reluctant to provide. So, why the lagging behind? If Ukraine says we need weapon X in order to be successful on the battlefield, why this kind of lag in the US providing the weapons that they ask for?I mean, I would maybe look at it in a little different way, that I think we have provided something, I think, along the lines of $36 billion worth of security assistance in the last year in a very fast and dynamic fashion in a way that is more than any other partner. So, I'm quite proud of what we have provided, to include advanced weaponry, that was not something that was even being considered a couple of years ago. So, I think we've been extraordinarily fast and extraordinarily nimble.How about when it comes to F-16s? This is something that President Zelenskiy has been very vocal about in terms of fighter jets. Has the US moved when it comes to F-16s or other fighter jets that the Ukrainians are asking for?I can say that under discussion are many different capabilities. And also under discussion is how and when we could provide or support various capabilities for the Ukrainians. And so, obviously, it's a lot to take on in one time. But I am very proud of what we've been able to provide. And I know that we will continue to adapt as the Ukrainian battlefield requires.As you've noted, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in support, military support, but just regular aid as well. How do you make sure that that money is used wisely and is accounted for?Well, from day one, accountability for all US assistance has been, and is, one of my very top priorities. It's something I publicly said when I was first credentialed by the president and something that I have a whole team of people working on here. Essentially, we are required by law and regulation to take certain steps to account for US assistance. And I can say that I worked closely with my team to make sure that we are doing everything that we can. In addition, we have multiple offices of the inspector general who also advise us and oversee us as well as the Ukrainians. And this is how we are making sure that every penny of taxpayer assistance is being used in an appropriate way as intended.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Related: How a Boston hospital transformed a Ukrainian child’s life

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Russia’s new Fan ID law seen as new form of authoritarian surveillance

class=”MuiTypography-root-142 MuiTypography-h1-147″>Russia’s new Fan ID law seen as new form of authoritarian surveillance

​​​​​​​In Russia, in order to attend soccer matches in the country's Premier League, fans now need to present a "Fan ID." The state says it’s about public safety and security. But Russian soccer fans aren’t buying it. 

The WorldMarch 23, 2023 · 1:00 PM EDT

Fans are seen on the stands during the Russian Premier-League soccer match between Khimki and Rostov Rostov-on-Don, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia.

Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik/AP

In Russia, soccer is by far the most popular sport — fans often pack stadiums in their team’s scarves, waving flags and singing their team’s song. 

And the country even hosted the men’s World Cup in 2018.

But a new policy known as the Fan ID law has sports fans annoyed — and many see it as a new form of authoritarian surveillance. 

“The law is very simple, without Fan ID, you can’t get into the stadium, you can’t get tickets into the football match,” said Irina Borogan, an expert on Russia’s security services, based in London.

Fan IDs have been implemented sporadically in the past. But the Fan ID law was adopted last summer and implemented gradually. First, five stadiums required Fan IDs and, as of this year, all soccer stadiums now require it. 

“To get Fan ID, every Russian citizen has to be registered at the special government website. It means you provide all information about you to the government,” Borogan said.

The state says it’s about public safety and security. But Russian soccer fans aren’t buying it.

At a recent game at the Spartak Moscow soccer club, fans were heard chanting, “Fan ID is killing soccer!” 

There are already facial recognition cameras at soccer stadiums. People are now afraid of additional state surveillance, Borogan explained. 

“That’s why they are against this law, and that’s why it prompted a lot of protest from the football spectators and the football fans,” Borogan said. 

A woman walks past the WCup Fan ID distribution center as it's opened in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 7, 2017. A Fan ID is a document that all the spectators of 2018 FIFA World Cup matches needed to get access to stadiums. And now it's a law for all stadiums in Russia. 


Pavel Golovkin/AP

She said the war in Ukraine is another factor. 

A lot of young men are trying to avoid the draft, and they are not inclined to share all of their personal information with the state.   

Ilya Chicherov, a Russian sports attorney, said the Fan ID system is arbitrary, with no way to appeal the decision if a sports fan applies and gets declined. 

“The law says that if there is information that you have intention to commit something not very good at the stadium, that’s a reason not to give you that Fan ID and to allow you to the stadium,” Chicherov said. 

Some analysts speculate that Russian security services are targeting those with a record of opposition. 

“They want to make life less comfortable for people who are not OK with the governmental policy,” Chicherov said. 

Since the implementation of the Fan ID system, Russian soccer teams have seen a big drop in attendance.

Fan groups across Russia are boycotting matches where Fan ID is required, and some prominent soccer personalities are speaking out.

Leonid Slutsky, a former coach of Russia’s national team, said that because of the new Fan ID, he’s no longer going to matches in person.

Alena Popova, a Russian opposition politician now based at the Wilson Center in Washington, said the Fan ID policy is all about surveillance. 

“I’m against the creation of the total surveillance machine in my own country,” she said. 

Popova said it’s highly unlikely that the government will back down. The Russian government takes a hard line against all forms of dissent. 

But Popova said soccer fans are a tough group to silence. 

“Protest rallies are prohibited now in Russia, so they are the only community with the chance to protest and they use that for more than 100%, so they showed many, many people that you can protest,” she said. 

Popova said she hopes that Russian citizens will take notice.

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Email AddressEmail AddressSubscribeI have read and agree to your Privacy Policy.Related ContentRussia's war turns Armenia into a booming tech sectorFaith and family sustain this Kyiv family in wartime UkraineArt historians debate identity of iconic Mariupol painterAthletes in Ukraine strive for Olympic gold 

Russia’s war turns Armenia into a booming tech sector

class=”MuiTypography-root-142 MuiTypography-h1-147″>Russia's war turns Armenia into a booming tech sector

Thousands of Russian tech workers have fled to Armenia, helping the country’s tech sector double in size and fueling dramatic economic growth over the last year.

The WorldMarch 22, 2023 · 5:45 PM EDT

Colleagues gather at a cafeteria in the offices of Picsart, in Yerevan, Armenia.

Levi Bridges/The World

On a recent afternoon, Russian and Armenian colleagues gathered in a cafeteria at Picsart, a tech company that produces photo software, from its office in Yerevan, Armenia. 

They were sitting in comfy chairs and helping themselves to free snacks and drinks while two co-workers played at a pingpong table. 

The office resembled any tech office in San Francisco. 

For years, many Armenian migrants have gone to Russia to work low-wage jobs. But now, Russians are migrating to Armenia and helping to improve the local economy.

“Having so many new Russian colleagues on the ground has expanded the creativity, the mindset, the solutions — there's just a more diverse opportunity at the table," said Madlene Minassian, Picsart’s head of learning and development.

It’s estimated that at least 100,000 tech workers have left Russia since it invaded Ukraine last year for neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan and Armenia. 

After the full-scale invasion in Ukraine began last winter, data analyst Alexei Rostotskiy attended an anti-war protest in Moscow. But denouncing the war is a crime in Russia; its punishable by jail time. Police officers quickly detained and charged him with participating in an unlawful protest. 

Several weeks later, Rostotskiy managed to flee to nearby Armenia along with at least 40,000 other Russians. 

Many tech workers who fled to Armenia strongly opposed the war or feared getting drafted. And most have no intention of returning home as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power.

“If I had, like, a tiny piece of belief that something can be changed in Russia I would have stayed,” Rostotskiy said. 

Alexei Rostotskiy, a data analyst from Moscow, moved to Armenia shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine because he didn't agree with the direction the country is going. Like many Russian tech workers who have relocated abroad after the war started, he has no intention of returning to Russia anytime soon.


Levi Bridges/The World

Other tech workers fled Russia because the companies they worked for had difficulties paying them after Western nations implemented harsh new restrictions on Russia’s banking system. 

Rostotskiy had the opportunity to work remotely, which made leaving Russia and starting over in Armenia much easier. Many Russians in Yerevan also work remotely for Russian and foreign tech companies.

“One of the best-paying jobs in Russia is in IT, so my feeling is that most of the Russians that came to Armenia have tech jobs,” Rostotskiy said.

The exodus of so many tech workers is a blow to Russia’s economy. In Armenia, affluent Russians with remote jobs have caused a housing crisis with rents soaring. 

But their arrival has helped bolster Armenia’s tech scene, which has been growing steadily for years.

“The number of talent, the number of companies opening branches in Armenia, the number of startups is growing rapidly,” said Narek Aslikyan, the chief executive officer and co-founder of the Armenian Coding Academy in Yerevan.

Aslikyan said the number of tech workers in Armenia has more than doubled since the war started. It means that tech companies considering doing business in Armenia will be able to draw from a much larger talent pool.

At the Armenian Coding Academy in Yerevan, Armenia, students study to become the next generation of the country's tech professionals. Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, thousands of young Russians have relocated to Armenia causing the number of tech workers in the country to nearly double.


Levi Bridges/The World

For years, members of the Armenian diaspora abroad have launched tech companies in Armenia with the support of venture capital from places like California, with large Armenian communities. 

“I'm quite sure that if the Armenian diaspora in the United States weren’t located in California and Bay Area, and instead was mostly in Arizona, then maybe some of the Armenian startups wouldn’t have been created at all,” Aslikyan said.

Now, Russians coming from abroad are rapidly expanding tech’s footprint in Armenia even more. 

Aslikyan sees this moment as a key opportunity for Armenia. He believes the presence of more Russian tech workers is spurring Armenia’s tech industry to become more global as these two groups of workers — Armenian and Russian — have to find a common language: English. 

“It's an opportunity for both Armenian companies and also for the Russian companies relocating here to insist to their employees to learn English,” Aslikyan said.

Since the war started, Russians have registered thousands of new businesses in Armenia – most of them in the tech field – and the economy has grown three times as fast as it was a year ago, according to Vahan Kerobyan, Armenia’s economy minister.

Although Russian migrants have helped drive a significant amount of the growth, Kerobyan also credits other factors like increased Russian tourism in Armenia and trade with Russia. 

“Many international companies left Russia, and Armenian goods now have less competition in Russia, so our exports to Russia skyrocketed,” Kerobyan said. 

Kerobyan also credited government programs and a general trend with economies accelerating worldwide as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as part of Armenia’s rapid economic growth. 

But tech remains a key part of Armenia’s economic strategy, with the war helping those efforts. Russia’s economy has grown more isolated since it invaded Ukraine, but Armenia’s is getting more competitive. 

Kerobyan said that Armenian and Russian tech companies that relocated to cities like Yerevan are competing for local talent, which is good for business.

“We will have much more competitive, locally born companies that can be more successful in the international market,” Kerobyan said.

But some Russian tech workers in Yerevan are more skeptical about the future of the tech industry in Armenia.

“It's very possible that the Russian government will push IT companies to stop working remotely [in Armenia] or create big taxes to make it more difficult,” said a Russian tech worker in Yerevan named Andrey who didn’t give his last name due to fear of retaliation. 

Some Russian lawmakers have proposed harsh measures like seizing property from Russians who left the country to coerce them to return home and stop the brain drain. 

But those threats aren’t diminishing the optimism that Armenians feel right now about the future of tech in their country. 

And if the trend continues, more Armenians might be able to stay and work at home alongside their new Russian neighbors.

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Critical permafrost research in Russia disrupted by war in Ukraine

class=”MuiTypography-root-233 MuiTypography-h1-238″>Critical permafrost research in Russia disrupted by war in Ukraine

Most of the world’s permafrost lies in Russia. Critical research looks at how melting permafrost contributes to global warming. But sanctions against Russia this year have disrupted field work and threatened collaborations among scientists.

The WorldDecember 20, 2022 · 5:15 PM EST

An iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle, Aug, 16, 2005. A new report finds permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever before.

John McConnico/AP/File

Flying over the sprawling region of Yakutia — also known as the Republic of Sakha — in Russia's Far East, the landscape below fans into a flat expanse of tundra pockmarked with small lakes that formed by thawed permafrost.

Yakutia is a remote, sprawling region of Russia, nearly the size of India. Much of it rests on permafrost — essentially ground that remains frozen for multiple years. Yakutia is one of the coldest places on the planet, but it’s also one of the fastest warming ones. The changing climate thaws permafrost, releasing climate-changing carbon and methane gasses that increase global temperatures even further.

Scientists estimate thawing permafrost could eventually warm the climate by as much as all of the emissions produced by the United States combined.

Most of the world’s permafrost lies in Russia, but the war in Ukraine is now disrupting critical research there.

“When we do our analysis of where the environmental and ecological gaps are, Russia just lights up,” said Sue Natali, the Arctic program director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center.

For decades, scientists from the US and Europe traveled to faraway parts of Russia, like Yakutia, each year to launch new permafrost research in collaboration with Russian scientists.

But since the war started last February, many Western universities and research institutions have stopped funding permafrost research in Russia. A combination of moral opposition to the war, fear that foreign researchers might face safety issues while traveling in Russia, and the practical impossibility of funding research projects in the face of sanctions that make it impossible to transfer money, have all played into the decisions.

Russian scientists have also been banned from attending some scientific conferences.

Current permafrost research now focuses heavily on Alaska and Canada. 

“I’m very sad, the world is losing a great opportunity for exchange between the international research community,” said Alexander Kholodov, a permafrost researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who has been restricted from visiting his research sites in Russia.

In the past, Kholodov and other researchers helped their Russian colleagues by bringing scientific equipment to Russia that was either not available in the country or too expensive.

Meanwhile, foreign researchers doing fieldwork in places like Siberia benefited immensely from Russian scientists’ local knowledge. Russia has a deep tradition of permafrost research dating back well into the Soviet era.

“Historically, in terms of permafrost science, Russia is one of the pioneers,” Kholodov said. 

In this photo taken on Sunday, March 15, 2015, a Nenets family in the city of Nadym, in northern Siberia, Yamal-Nenets Region, about 1,553 miles northeast of Moscow, Russia. In a study published Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019, scientists working on the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost, say the world’s permafrost is getting warmer, with temperatures increasing by an average of .54 Fahrenheit over a decade.


Dmitry Lovetsky/File/AP

Remote science

As the climate changes, rainfall will likely increase in Yakutia. That could make permafrost thaw even faster and speed up global warming.

Each summer, Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, a professor of earth systems science at the University of Zurich, would travel to Yakutia to research how increased rainfall might affect permafrost. Schaepman-Strub set up testing sites with sprinkler systems on the tundra, including elaborate shelters with gutters and water pumps, to study the impact. 

This kind of research can present quite a few obstacles. Schaepman-Strub’s research site, located in the Kytalyk National Park, is only accessible by a boat ride up the winding Indigirka River. Clouds of ravenous mosquitos swarm in the summer air and researchers sleep in large tents.

But after nearly 15 years of traveling regularly to Russia, her university also prohibited her from working in the region after the war broke out in Ukraine.

“We invested a lot of money and manpower to assemble the systems on site, so this is a huge effort that is just being totally lost.”

Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, professor of earth systems science, University of Zurich

“We invested a lot of money and manpower to assemble the systems on site, so this is a huge effort that is just being totally lost,” Schaepman-Strub said.

This year, she attempted to continue her experiments remotely, by having Russian colleagues check in on her research sites during the summer. But they weren’t able to devote the same amount of time and quality control. Some of the equipment at the research site malfunctioned, ruining parts of the experiments.

Schaepman-Strub had planned to run the experiment for at least three more years. But to continue, she needs to send new water pumps to Russia, which is now difficult, given the restrictions on sending money or importing goods to Russia from the West.

If she fails to get the failed part of her experiment running again next year,  it will be destroyed due to overexposure to natural elements. 

Her Russian colleagues have also been unable to send her this year’s data on soil moisture and temperature, since Russian authorities have implemented new restrictions on sharing data with scientists outside Russia.

“We always needed permission to export the data, but this year, permission is not being granted,” Schaepman-Strub said.

Many other scientists have also been denied the ability to receive scientific data or samples for experiments, like rocks used in geological studies. 

Russian authorities have not officially stated why the scientific data is being withheld.

Meanwhile, Russian researchers are now having to do fieldwork alone.

Alexander Fedorov, deputy director of the Melnikov Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, Yakutia's capital, said his institute had to reduce the amount of fieldwork they did this year by about half, in part because they lost so much foreign funding in 2022. They’ve had to redirect their work to things like creating computer models that can be done from an office.

“Global warming increases because of permafrost degradation and it’s a problem that’s continuing, so it will be very bad if we lose several years of data,” Fedorov said.

In this Oct. 27, 2010 file photo, Russian scientists Sergey Zimov and his son Nikita Zimov extract air samples from frozen soil near the town of Chersky in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of Moscow, Russia. Scientists say the world’s permafrost is getting warmer, with temperatures increasing by an average of .54 Fahrenheit over a decade.  between 2007 and 2016.


Arthur Max/AP

Permafrost misunderstandings

Most current climate models don’t fully account for how permafrost could contribute to global warming, which means current predictions about climate change might be incorrect. 

“The big issue with greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost thaw is that we're not counting them,” said Sue Natali of the Woodwell Climate Research Center.

Natali has been working with an international team to establish a network of towers across the Arctic that monitor greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost zones. The valuable data they collect can improve climate models and allow the global community to make better-informed plans to prepare for climate change.

But this year, plans to send a new tower to Russia were also put on hold because of the war.

Natali’s institute hasn’t completely banned her from working in Russia, but many logistical complications remain. Natali and her collaborators plan to put up 10 new towers over the next three years across the Earth's permafrost regions. This year, they pivoted their plans from Russia and put up a new tower in Canada.

Their project continues to expand even with temporary changes. 

And there’s still hope that they will be able to continue working with Russian scientists to correct inaccuracies in today’s climate models.

Related: A heat wave in Siberia signals dangerous Arctic warming

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Russia’s war creates economic hardships for Central Asian migrants

class=”MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>Russia’s war creates economic hardships for Central Asian migrants

As the Russian economy starts to slow down because of Western sanctions, migrant workers from Central Asia, who often work low-wage jobs in Russia, have been some of the first to feel the war’s economic impact.

The WorldNovember 9, 2022 · 12:45 PM EST

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, an elderly man sits inside a bus in the station of Moscow, Russia. More and more migrants from the Central Asia are coming come to Moscow in search of work.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

For years, Tolkunbek Akmatov spent long hours driving freight trucks and taxis through Moscow’s notoriously hectic traffic. An immigrant originally from Kyrgyzstan, moving to Russia allowed Akmatov to occasionally send money to relatives in his home country and put his two sons through university.

But for many migrants in Russia these days, success stories have become rarer.

“Work is disappearing and everyday things become more difficult [for migrants],” said Akmatov, who previously ran a Kyrgyz diaspora organization in Russia called Nookat.

The Russian economy has so far proved very resilient to the war. Economists believe sanctions could eventually devastate Russia’s economy, but the effects are taking longer than expected. Russia’s GDP contracted by more than 3% this year, but that’s less than half of what the International Monetary Fund originally predicted. 

Similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war’s economic effects are hitting essential workers in Russia first, many of whom come from Central Asia and work in restaurants or on construction sites. Migrants employed by international companies that pulled out of Russia because of the war were some of the first affected. 

“[Foreign] businesses like McDonald's, KFC and Ikea, their employees were out of a job,” Akmatov said, referring to how sanctions affected workers in Russia from countries like his native Kyrgyzstan.

Akmatov said that many of those workers who were laid off by foreign companies found other work. But as the war drags on into its ninth month, many have found that jobs are disappearing again.

In this Aug. 27, 2012, photo, Uzbekistan natives and subway janitors Kushan, right, and Umid pose for a photo in Moscow. The old Moscow is rapidly giving way to a multiethnic city where Muslims from Central Asia are the fastest growing sector of the population.


Misha Japaridze/AP

Rakhat Sherali, a program specialist at Insan-Leilek, an organization based in southern Kyrgyzstan that aids migrant workers in Russia, said her office has received calls from hundreds of migrants who were fired from their jobs after the war started. Sherali said Russian employers typically fire migrants first and keep Russian citizens on the job. Some Central Asian migrants searching for new work in Russia said the wages offered have decreased by half of what they were before the war. 

“When you have so much competition between migrants, the pay they’re offered goes down,” Sherali said.

Central Asian countries that were once part of the Soviet Union share deep cultural and historical ties with Russia. Many people in Central Asia still speak Russian. So, when the Russian economy started taking off in the early 2000s, people from Central Asia began migrating to Russia in droves in search of work.

In Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, a row of businesses line a street near the city’s western bus station, advertising shared taxis to cities all over Russia. From Bishkek to Moscow, it’s about a four-day trip by car. Migrant workers take shared taxis from their home country to Russia because it’s cheaper than flying.

In Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, businesses advertise shared taxis that bring migrant workers to cities all over Russia. Although the trip by car to Moscow can take four days, it's cheaper than flying. One in seven people in Kyrgyzstan work abroad in Russia.


Levi Bridges/The World

Business owners who run transportation companies between Bishkek to Moscow said that business diminished to just a trickle when Russia announced a mobilization campaign earlier this year to send men to fight in Ukraine, although they said it’s starting to pick up again now that the draft has wound down. 

Many Russian citizens fled to Central Asia to escape the draft, but they were also joined by migrants and immigrants who sought safety in their countries of origin. In some cases, Russian authorities picked young men up right off the street and sent them to the army. Migrants in Russia have also been issued draft papers.

“I don’t feel safe going back to Russia until they stop turning people into cannon fodder,” said one young man who returned to Kyrgyzstan after 15 years of working in Russia as a cook and construction worker. He declined to give his name, because he plans to return to Russia and fears getting in trouble with the authorities.

The departure of migrants from Russia also causes financial repercussions for their families. The man who returned to Kyrgyzstan recently because of the draft left behind his wife and three children in Moscow.

Now, his wife is struggling to survive on one income.

“She’s got to pay rent, feed the kids and the snow is already falling, so we need to buy them new clothes,” he said.

Even though some migrants are leaving Russia, their relocation hasn’t yet had a massive effect on Central Asia’s economy, according to Rustam Urinboyev, an associate professor at Lund University in Sweden who researches labor migrants in Russia. 

“But in the long term, if the Russian economy deteriorates and the ruble collapses, probably there would be a massive return of Central Asian migrants to their home countries,” Urinboyev said.

Although the trip by car to Moscow can take four days, it's cheaper than flying. One in seven people in Kyrgyzstan work abroad in Russia.


Levi Bridges/The World

Sherali, of the migrant aid organization Insan-Leilek, said that nearly half of the migrants in Russia she and her associates spoke with as part of a recent survey said they would return to their birth countries if the Russian economy continues to deteriorate.

If migrants continue to return to Central Asia, sanctions could inadvertently devastate the economies of Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan, where remittances sent by migrants make up nearly a third of the GDP.

Central Asian governments started preparing for that possibility this year by working to create new guest-worker programs in Asia and Europe in case Russia’s economy totally collapses.

“My plan [for the future] is to work abroad, probably in Europe,” said a woman in Bishkek named Gylmairam who previously worked in Moscow for a decade.

A migrant named Gylmairam worked in Russia for a decade before returning to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, with her family. 


Levi Bridges/The World

This year, Gylmairam’s husband got a visa to work on an apple farm in England during the summer through a new program that recruits Kyrgyz workers.

Many analysts have argued that the war in Ukraine has weakened Russia’s influence in Central Asia, where locals fear that Russia might one day invade their countries as well, and many dream of emigrating to Europe or the United States. But economic and historical ties still bind the region closely to Russia.

Gylmairam said she hopes to join her husband in England next year as part of Kyrgyzstan’s new guest-worker program. But she said that she hasn’t ruled out going back to Russia either, if the economy there improves.

Related: Kyrgyzstan’s walnut forests dwindle with increased cattle farming, climate change

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Count me in!Related Content'I thought we were going to die': A Ukrainian woman speaks out about her ordeal as a prisoner of warRussia is placing 'a major bet' on US midterm election outcomes, journalist saysStuck without passports in Kazakhstan, Russians who avoided the draft face a ticking clock'As a mother, I'm scared': Recalling the day a popular Kyiv playground was hit by Russian military

Russia is placing ‘a major bet’ on US midterm election outcomes, journalist says

class=”MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>Russia is placing 'a major bet' on US midterm election outcomes, journalist says

Journalist Mikhail Fishman, an anchor at the independent Russian news outlet TV Reign, joined The World's host Marco Werman to talk about how the Russian government is placing "a big bet" on US midterm elections outcomes that will favor Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

The WorldNovember 8, 2022 · 4:15 PM EST

A voter moves to cast their vote after filling out their ballot at a polling site inside The Shed arts center, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of the Manhattan borough of New York. 

John Minchillo/AP

The US midterms are important not just for Americans across the globe. Millions of people are paying close attention, especially in Russia. TV channels funded by the Kremlin are full of commentary on the US midterms. 

Journalist Mikhail Fishman is keeping tabs on this. He's an anchor at the independent Russian news outlet TV Rain and is also the author of "The Successor," a new book about why democracy failed to take hold in Russia after the Soviet collapse.

Fishman spoke with The World's host Marco Werman from Amsterdam about the spin that commentators on Russian state TV are telling their audiences. 

"The new Russian television sends the message that the Republicans will most likely take the House and probably the Senate, and then after that, they will stop writing blank checks to finance the war in Ukraine. That's a big hope in Russia, and that's what Russian television is spinning," Fishman said. 

Marco Werman: So, aside from some prognosticating here, what's going on? What are the commentators saying?Mikhail Fishman: [Commentators are] expecting Donald Trump to get back into the White House. And that's the second part of this big hope of failing Democrats during these midterm elections and presidential election of 2024. You have to understand that Moscow at the moment, the Kremlin, is eager to get into some kind of peace talks with Ukraine, with Kyiv. It urgently needs to freeze the conflict until the Russian military is rebuilt and Vladimir Putin can send it back to invade and attack Ukraine. But right now they need to freeze the conflict and they rely on the West, that the West will push Kyiv to enter peace talks with Moscow on Moscow's terms. And it's a major bet now on the midterms, and that after that, the White House will stop financing the war, will stop writing huge checks, and it's a big bet. I mean, listening to these commentators, it almost feels like an echo chamber, assuming these commentators are watching US media. Do you get the sense they are reformulating GOP talking points or Democrat talking points?They basically rely on Fox's coverage of the election, most importantly, hosts like Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity. They also personally attack Joe Biden. They say that he might be personally involved financially in this war, that he probably has his own financial interest, which is hardly true, of course. So this will also have to stop after the situation gets normal and American population has its vote and has its voice heard. Finally. Generally, how big of a deal are the US midterms on Russian news right now?It's quite a big deal these days because there is a hope that these midterms will really have an impact on what's going on on the battlefield. That's one of their biggest bets at the moment. They're desperate to make [Ukraine President Volodomyr] Zelenskiy stop the military campaign right now. They have to stop the war for at least some time until they rebuild their army.Aside from Russian state TV, what are the sources of information and can Russian audiences easily access? Like how much effort does it take to kind of get beyond the prevailing narrative? The censorship grip is extremely tight, and every independent newsroom had to leave Russia after the war. But you still have YouTube in Russian. You have Telegram channels which are gaining popularity because there's nothing left. And on social networks, some of them are banned. Telegram is not. And on YouTube, you can find pretty much everything you want and everything you need to know the real picture.The US is portrayed as a nation that's encouraging war with other countries, even relishing it, perhaps. Aside from supplying weapons and other support to the Ukrainian military, what else do those commentators point to as evidence?Generally, the message is that Western elites — and you can hear it from Putin himself and from the state television propaganda, from the minister of foreign affairs, whoever — you will always now hear the message that the elites, the governments, are detached from their nations in the West. And this battle that Russia has entered is not with Ukraine, but with these governments, with these elites who represent evil and spread evil across the world. And you can remember Putin recently talking about two different Wests, the traditional West, which cares about traditional values and history and whatever, and the progressive neo-liberal elites who actually run the world right now. And that's what Russia has to stop, because it found itself on the frontline of this major existential battle. That's basically the narrative, part of which are now American midterm elections.You're saying it's a vast ideological critique of the US and the West? Yes, absolutely. It's a new narrative since it became clear that Russia is losing the war on the battlefield. Putin had to frame it as something different, to explain to a Russian audience why Russia is losing and why they have to be emotionally involved in what is going on. Specifically taking into account that he declared partial mobilization and hundreds of thousands of men have been drafted in October.Yesterday, we heard provocative comments from Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. He was asked about election interference and answered, "We have interfered. We are interfering. And we will continue to interfere carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way as we know how to do." I mean, Prigozhin does have a motive for bragging, but the US has also accused him of past meddling. What do you make of his statement yesterday?I think it reflects two trends. One is a domestic Russian trend in which Yevgeny Priogozhin is getting more and more in the spotlight. And it looks like his own political campaign. At the moment, he evolved during this war as one of the major political players on the Russian political arena. And the second thing is that in this war, there are no rules anymore. And as Putin has stated, "What are the rules? Who invented these rules? We do not play by the rules." And Prigozhin is following this line. And if there are no rules, everything is permitted. And Russia can do whatever it wants to get the result, because this is an existential battle. Everything is allowed.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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Count me in!Related ContentStuck without passports in Kazakhstan, Russians who avoided the draft face a ticking clock'As a mother, I'm scared': Recalling the day a popular Kyiv playground was hit by Russian military The war in Ukraine is hampering efforts to stop a polio outbreakRussia’s ‘conflict diamonds’ under scrutiny 

Russia’s ‘conflict diamonds’ under scrutiny 

class=”MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>Russia’s ‘conflict diamonds’ under scrutiny 

The United States is not at war with Russia though it is supplying Ukraine with lots of weaponry. And Washington is wielding its economic might against Moscow. US sanctions cover a wide range of Russian industries: fossil fuels, banking, aviation — and even precious minerals, like diamonds.

The WorldNovember 3, 2022 · 3:00 PM EDT

President Joe Biden announces that along with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, the US will move to revoke "most favored nation" trade status for Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, March 11, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington. The Biden administration also banned imports of Russian seafood, alcohol and diamonds. 

Andrew Harnik/AP

When Russia invaded Ukraine, President Joe Biden said the US would hit the Kremlin where it hurts economically.

“We’re also taking a further step of banning imports of goods from several signature sectors of the Russian economy, including seafoods, vodka and diamonds,” Biden said.

Russia’s leading diamond company — Alrosa — is worth billions of dollars. It accounts for more than 90% of Russia’s diamond production.

A 2019 ad claims that 1 in 4 diamonds on the global market are extracted by Alrosa. But now, some countries are pushing to redefine the status of these precious Russian gems.

This week, meetings are taking place in Botswana to determine the status of Russian diamonds.

Ukraine is one of the countries that wants Russian gems to be officially branded as “conflict diamonds.”

But doing that would require all nations involved in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to reach a consensus, which was aimed at curbing trade in conflict diamonds, according to Martin Rapaport, a top diamond broker and influential voice in the industry.

Blood diamonds were a devastating part of the civil war in Sierra Leone — they were used to finance brutal violence, he explained: “The Kimberley Process was created with a specific purpose of to stop the war in Sierra Leone, which was a terrible war, it succeeded.”

“It involved the cooperation of governments, NGOs, and trade, and at the time it was a very good idea; it did work, I myself was in Kimberley, at the first meetings.”

Those meetings took place in Kimberley, South Africa. But now, Rapaport said, the process is falling short.

“The problem with the Kimberley Process is that while it is a process of trying to get governments to cooperate on insuring the legitimacy of the diamond industry, it does not deal with human rights; it has been held up as if it deals with human rights, and this misrepresentation and greenwashing is a fundamental problem.”

Also, Russia is one of the countries that was involved in the Kimberley Process and it’s unlikely to agree to a consensus. But the fact remains, Russian diamonds are still under US sanctions.

Roman Malayev is the CEO of Forever Diamonds, a family-owned jewelry business in New York City’s Diamond District.

“It’s important to be able to have guidelines to make sure that everything is ethically sourced, you want to work with manufacturers and suppliers that who follow the Kimberly act, and if you’re big enough of a company, you’re not risking your reputation in trying to do things that are not legit.”

Malayev said it’s difficult to track the origins of diamonds — they pass through many hands before they end up on display at a jewelry store.

“I don’t know how much of the retail side is concerned with origin; if there was more request for it from the consumers, then, I think that [enough] retailers can persuade the manufacturers to further that origin process.”

Malayev said that some companies, like Tiffany, are already moving in that direction.

Ultimately though, consumers — the people shelling out big bucks for diamonds — will be the ones driving this process.

“And the key factor here is going to be that society gets the level of social responsibility they’re willing to pay for, no more, no less,” Rapaport said.

Will you support The World?

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Become one of 1,000 donors to help us reach $100,000 before the end of the year. Donate today so we can keep on bringing you The World.

Count me in!Related Content'As a mother, I'm scared': Recalling the day a popular Kyiv playground was hit by Russian military The war in Ukraine is hampering efforts to stop a polio outbreakThese Ukrainians are trying to rebuild their lives at home — despite renewed Russian strikesWar in Ukraine expedites Poland's move to destroy Soviet-era monuments

What to expect from Russia’s new general in Ukraine 

class=”MuiTypography-root-229 MuiTypography-h1-234″>What to expect from Russia’s new general in Ukraine The WorldOctober 19, 2022 · 12:30 PM EDT

Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin, commander of the Russian forces in Syria, speaks, with a map of Syria projected on the screen in the back, at a briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow, Russia, June 9, 2017. Russia's Defense Ministry announced that air force chief, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, would be the commander of all Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. The statement marked the first official appointment of a single commander for the entire Russian force in Ukraine.

Pavel Golovkin/AP

The word that’s most often used to describe Russian Gen. Sergei Surovikin is ruthless: His nickname is “General Armageddon.”

Some say that’s because of his hot temper, while others believe the nickname reflects his approach to war.

On Russian state media, Surovikin is praised for his years of military experience. He’s described as all-business — someone who gets the job done.

Surovikin has just been appointed to lead Russia’s war effort in Ukraine following a lot of turnover among the country’s top military commanders. Analysts say that the Kremlin never planned the war to last for many months, and many of its stated goals have not materialized. But despite the seasoned general’s reputation, some experts are skeptical about whether he can shift the war in Russia’s favor.

Irina Boragan, an expert on Russia’s security services, said that Surovikin already has a well-established record.

“He’s a professional army officer,” she said. “He’s 56 years old, and he started his military career during the Soviet times.”

During the war in Afghanistan, Surovikin served in a special forces unit. Later, during the final days of the Soviet Union, Surovikin was in the thick of things as Kremlin hard-liners tried to oust Mikhail Gorbachev.

When protesters took to the streets, Borogan said, Surovikin responded: “Surovikin was a young officer, and he commanded a rifle division and he ordered his soldiers to open fire on the protesters and as a result three men were killed.”

The officer spent a few months in prison, but that didn’t stop his rise up the ranks in Russia’s military. Surovikin later served in Chechnya, and he led Russian forces in Syria, eventually becoming commander of Russia’s air force.

“He became known as a very reckless and brutal commander because he launched a series of attacks against civilian infrastructure in Syria, and he became notorious for indiscriminate bombardment of civilians in this country.”

In 2020, Human Rights Watch listed Surovikin as a possible war criminal.

During that time, Gleb Irisov was an officer in the Russian air force. He said that he met Surovikin on multiple occasions and that the general was not well-liked. 

“The majority of Russian air force officers used to be very disappointed with his personality,” he said. 

Irisov said that Surovikin would lash out at subordinates and even resort to violence. 

But, Surovikin is the kind of officer that the Kremlin can rely on, he said: “He seems to be very loyal directly to the highest Russian political power. Directly to president, to government, not to his chain of command, but directly to this political power.”

In 2017, Surovikin was awarded the “Hero of the Russian Federation” medal — Russia’s highest honor.

At a ceremony in Moscow that year, the general expressed his loyalty to President Vladimir Putin, saying, “We’re ready to execute your orders.” 

Robert Hamilton is a retired US Army colonel and is now a research professor at the United States Army War College.

Hamilton was based in the Middle East and kept up communications with the Russian military operating in Syria, including Surovikin.

“We had daily interaction with the Russian headquarters in Syria, and I sat in on all the calls with Gen. Surovikin, so [I] got a little sense for him as a commander.”

So, what will Surovikin bring to the job as commander of Russian forces in Ukraine? 

Just this week, Russia launched long-range missiles into Ukrainian city centers.

“Those types of attacks [are] because he oversaw those types of attacks in Syria. I don’t [think] there’ll be any institutional or personal break, or restraint if the Kremlin orders the targeting of civilians in Ukraine.”

That means more civilian casualties in the future. But Hamilton said that turning things around for the Russian military on the battlefield is another matter altogether. 

“Having Surovikin in theater in charge may not be as big an advantage as it would normally be, because he may not have the authority to make the types of decisions that a normal theater commander would have to make, because I think, probably, he has to seek approval from the Kremlin to do things that in Western militaries, a theater commander would just have the authority to do on his or her own.”

Some experts say that Putin appears to be micromanaging Russia’s war in Ukraine.

As for Surovikin, his record shows that he’s not one to protest — he’s likely to keep following orders.

Russia is using suicide drones in Ukraine. They’re coming from an unlikely source.

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Russia is using suicide drones in Ukraine. They’re coming from an unlikely source.

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said this week that Russia has been deploying Iranian-made drones in his country, targeting civilian areas. The drones are relatively small and can fly at low altitude, evading Ukrainian radars, Zelenskiy said.

The WorldOctober 17, 2022 · 1:45 PM EDT

Firefighters work after a drone attack on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022. Waves of explosive-laden suicide drones struck Ukraine's capital as families were preparing to start their week early Monday, the blasts echoing across Kyiv, setting buildings ablaze and sending people scurrying to shelters.

Roman Hrytsyna/AP

In recent days, residents of the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Odesa say they have been hearing the buzzing sound of drones overhead more often.

Some have been capturing them in videos and photos, documenting how they are being used by Russian forces as deadly weapons and a means to sow fear in civilian areas.

In Odesa, for example, the Russians used to attack places on the outskirts of the city, said Volodymyr Dubovyk, who teaches international relations at Odesa National University.

“But with the drones attack, they [are] very visible and people [are] basically getting their heads up in the sky and seeing them buzzing,” he said. “And, it’s terrifying because it’s slow moving and no one knows where they’re going.”

Russia has intensified its attacks on civilian areas in recent weeks following major losses in several regions in Ukraine. These attacks also follow a truck bomb attack on the Kerch Bridge on Oct. 8, which was a strategic route linking annexed Crimea to Russia. Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility, and Russia announced this week it has arrested eight suspects, including five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia.

Part of Russia’s response to losses in Ukraine and the bomb on the Kerch Bridge has involved the use of "kamikaze" or suicide drones.

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, accuses Iran of providing these drones to Russia and has asked the international community for more air defense support.

Analysts say intelligence reports as well as video footage and photos from the ground support Zelenskiy’s claim. They say Shahed-136 delta-wing and ​the Mohajer-6 are being deployed in Ukraine. Some of these Iranian drones, they add, are repainted and rebranded in Russia.

Dubovyk, who is currently a visiting professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts, described the use of Iranian drones to attack Ukraine as “humiliating for the Russian military.”

That’s because “They always praised themselves as the strong military which has enough of these weapons but it turns out it doesn’t,” he said.

Last month, Ukraine responded to Russia’s use of Iranian drones on its territory by downgrading its diplomatic ties with Tehran.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the accusations “bogus" and Iranian officials have denied sending drones to Russia.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said “the Islamic Republic of Iran has not and will not provide any weapon to be used in the war in Ukraine. We believe that the arming of each side of the crisis will prolong the war,” he said, according to a readout of his call with his Portuguese counterpart published on Saturday.

But Peter W. Singer, a strategist with the New America think tank and author of “Wired for War,” pointed to evidence that connects Iran to the drones.

“The first is trackers who have been tracking the movements of cargo planes from Iran during this period to Russia,” he told The World, adding that a variety of pictures of them in action has appeared online. US and British intelligence reports also support the claim they are being used.

“So, put me in the camp of no, I don’t believe Iran, in this instance, that they’re not playing a role,” Singer said.

The Shahed-136 drones are cheap and easy to make, he said. They carry explosives and self-destruct once they hit their target — that’s why they are called suicide or kamikaze drones.

In the air, they’re actually slow moving — “Snoopy and his biplane back in World War 1 could actually fly faster than them,” as Singer put it, but they are having an impact on the ground, partly because the Russian military deploys them in batches or swarms.

“It means they can be in a high number. They can also be in multiple different places,” he said.

The news that Russia is relying on Iranian drones says a lot about the state of its military capabilities, Samuel Bendett, an expert on Russia’s military and weapons at The Center for Naval Analyses, a nonprofit research and analysis organization in Arlington, Virginia, told The World.

“How is it that one of the most-advanced militaries in the world is unable to manufacture relatively cheap, loading munitions at scale?”

Bendett said that Russia quickly ran through a large number of its domestic drones in the first few months of the war and faced a gap in its capabilities, which its own domestic industry was unable to address fast enough.

“They need something right now and not a month from now or two months from now,” he said.

That's where Iran comes in.

Iran has been developing its own unmanned aerial vehicles for decades, Bendett explained. It has been supplying them to militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

“So, all of that accumulative experience over many decades is basically resulting in a current Iranian drone lineup. Russia really doesn’t have that long-term expertise. Even though it was one of the major military powers during the Cold War that also used UAVs. A lot of that expertise was lost in the 1990s and early 2000s,” he said.

Ukraine is also getting drones from the US and Turkey. And in response to Zelenskiy’s repeated pleas for more effective air defenses, the British government announced it would provide missiles for advanced NASAM anti-aircraft systems that the Pentagon plans to send to Ukraine, according to the Associated Press.

The UK is also sending hundreds of aerial drones for information-gathering and logistics support, plus 18 howitzer artillery guns.

“These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the US NASAMS,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.

Singer said that these weapons are unlikely to determine which side is going to win the war. But their impact cannot be ignored.

In the past, he said, there was a debate within military circles about the value of drones in conventional warfare.

“The events of the last months have ended that debate. It does give us a taste of hey, we’re going to see a lot more of this,' not just in the war in Ukraine but in all wars to come,” Singer said.

Russia must change its power structure to get back on a democratic path, opposition figure says

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Russia must change its power structure to get back on a democratic path, opposition figure says

Russian businessman and opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky recently released a new book, "The Russia Conundrum: How the West Fell for Putin’s Power Gambit — and How to Fix It." He spoke with The World's host Marco Werman about Russia, President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine.

The WorldOctober 11, 2022 · 12:45 PM EDT

Russian opposition figure and former owner of the Yukos Oil Company Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks during a press conference with Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs at the "Esperanza" hotel in Paunguriai village, Aug. 20, 2021.

Mindaugas Kulbis/AP/File photo

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a businessman and Russian opposition figure, and the former chief executive officer of the Yukos Oil company. He was a political prisoner for a decade between 2003 and 2013, sentenced under the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Khodorkovsky also founded the Open Russia foundation with the aim of "building and strengthening civil society in Russia." He enlisted global figures such as Henry Kissinger and Lord Rothschild to serve on the board, among others. The group had to temporarily cease operations in 2017 after a decision by Russian courts, but is currently operational outside of the country.

Khodorkovsky recently released a new book, written with Martin Sixsmith, called "The Russia Conundrum: How the West Fell for Putin’s Power Gambit — and How to Fix It."

He joined The World's host Marco Werman from London for a discussion about Russia, Putin and the war in Ukraine, speaking through interpreter Elena Cook.

Part IMarco Werman: We'd like to focus on your new book and your own personal story. But first, the question that is on everyone's mind, what is Vladimir Putin thinking at this moment? How close is he to pulling the nuclear trigger?Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Well, what Putin is thinking about now, you should ask of Putin himself, or a psychiatrist. But if you try to evaluate him as a pragmatic person, if you think he is a pragmatic person, at the moment, he's still thinking that mobilization might help him. And [while] it is not clear to him that, in fact, mobilization hasn't helped him, at the next stage, which is using nuclear weapons, that next stage is not going to happen. This is the topic for the next year, for the beginning of the next year.So, you've sat across the table from Putin many times. You've incurred his wrath. Who do you think Vladimir Putin is listening to right now? Like his advisers, are they people you once knew?Today, there's no point in thinking that somebody is imposing some solutions or decisions [on] him. He's taking his own decisions. But among his entourage, his inner circle, there are, of course, people like [Yevgeny] Prigozhin, Mr. [Ramzan] Kadyrov. The majority, however, consist of people proposed by Mr. [Yury] Kovalchuk. This part of his inner circle is controlled by Kovalchuk, and they have maximum access to Putin. They have his ear.So, are you saying there's nobody around him who can provide some opposition or some kind of dissenting opinion?Well, over the last 20 years, those people who were in conflict with Putin, or [opposed] him, expressed different points of view that Putin didn't like, they have been removed from his inner circle. Today, when the level of risks for people in his entourage has growing much higher, we can see that conflict has arisen in his inner circle. At the moment, these conflicts sometimes break through into the public domain, which haven't affected Putin himself directly. Whether anyone in these conditions could tell Putin face-to-face something he doesn't like to hear, of course this might happen. Whether Putin is ready to acknowledge this unpalatable truth, I don't think so.But when you hear him talking about using a tactical nuclear weapon, is there anyone around him who would say, "Not such a good idea"? Does anyone dare to question him?I think that Putin, himself, realizes full well that using nuclear weapons is not really the best idea. He's not quite as crazy as that. I think what is more likely is that the part of his circle who are crazy and who understand that they're going to be responsible if the war is lost, they would bear the responsibility, this part of his entourage are trying step-by-step, to pressurize Putin into getting him to fight to the very bitter end, including using nuclear weapons. If Ukraine were to receive the necessary number of weapons in order to finish the war off this year, we would say with confidence that Putin's opinion about the use of nuclear weapons will not have formed. However, if this conflict extends for another year, it's quite likely that the combination of this pressure that he experiences from his inner circle and his own depression as a result of an obviously lost war, this might lead to the fact that he discovered that he's cornered, and by the beginning of spring next year, he might come to use nuclear weapons.Do you think you understand Putin's own personal limits?I think what you have in your head is something quite bizarre. You think that there are some red lines? There are no red lines, in fact. What I think is that there is a perception, a feeling for the situation, and that largely is connected to the tiredness that is accumulating with the psychological aspects, the depression, that is accumulating and growing as well, with the constant pressure of his entourage. And this is developing, this is flowing dynamically. This is not to say that there is some red line that you step over and you launch nuclear weapons. No, this is not the case. "I feel, (I, Putin), I don't like it. I feel really badly. And then I get to the stage, where I don't care anymore. And then I'm launching nuclear weapons." This takes time. So, what is important now is to finish off the war as soon as possible rather than extend it for a long period of time.Mr. Khodorkovsky, today you live in London, and from that perch you wrote your new book, "The Russia Conundrum," a sort of manifesto for a post-Putin Russia. Do you think Putin has long in power?Having started the war with Ukraine, he has reduced the time in power. If, before the beginning of this war, I thought that the likelihood of him staying in power until 2036 was quite considerable, now I think it's more likely that by 2026, 10 years earlier, he's going to either disappear or he [will] be taken out of that chair. But this would largely depend on the results of the war in Ukraine. Let's suppose that if Putin were offered by the West, those conditions that Elon Musk had suggested recently, I think it's quite likely that Putin, today, would want to accept those conditions and he would stop at the borders of those four regions. But the accumulated inertia, those national patriotic forces that have formed during this new military operation would not allow him to stay in these negotiations and ceasefire for a long time. And, I think, within a few months or maximum a year, we would have another war, a new war with those million people who have been mobilized, conscripted, drafted, this Putin's army with a defense industry that will have changed to a military production manufacturing regime. And this would be a much harder continuation of the existing war.Part II

To listen to the second part of this interview, click on the audio player below.

Right now, though, no one is around Putin to provide contrary, dissenting opinions, as you said. What is the state of opposition and dissent across Russia? I mean, so much of the opposition is now in exile or in jail or they've been killed.We have three types of opposition to the regime in Russia. One is the communists who, at present, have almost merged with Putin. The second are national patriotic forces. These are those people or the moving force of the war in Ukraine at the moment, the moving factor. And the third one is democrats. I wouldn't call them liberals, but these are democrats, democratic forces. And this part of the opposition, at the moment, is experiencing a lot of change. Those democrats who stood for legal methods of fighting the regime, participating in elections, peaceful protests, that part of the opposition is slowly losing their influence on society. Those people in opposition who are gaining influence, are those who think that to confront this regime, it can only be done by force, or at least by threat of force, threat of violence. And I think this process will come to fruition within the forthcoming few months.Will it really happen that quickly, given the strength Putin's security forces have over the country?Well, people will mobilize, they are mobilizing, and there are already draft offices, conscription offices burning, being set on fire in the dozens. Mobilization has been declared. People are going to find themselves on the battlefield and they will be coming back, both injured or deserters with weapons in their arms. These are the processes which will take a few months, perhaps until the summer of next year. And this will grow and become much more obvious, much more significant, and politically, this is quite fast.Mr. Khodorkovsky, in the 2000s, you led the important oil firm, Yukos, and you famously challenge Vladimir Putin face-to-face on live TV in Russia. That video has basically disappeared from the internet. Take us back to that point in time. What were you trying to accomplish?Has it really disappeared from the internet? Quite recently, I looked at the link and it was still on YouTube. That was the point in time when Russian businesses wanted to move on to become transparent. Our company, Yukos, was one of the leading Russian companies at the time, and we wanted to have an IPO in America. At the time, the Sarbanes-Oxley Law was adopted in the US that demanded that companies control corruption practices within their own companies if they wanted to do an IPO in the stock market in the US. So, my colleagues in the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs decided to go to Putin with a proposal and say to him, "Let's start global work cleaning up, getting rid of corrupt practices in the country." Unfortunately, it turned out that Putin, in fact, had already decided the opposite. He had already decided that he was going to make corruption one of the linchpins of his regime. With the help of corruption, he decided to control his closest circle, and fighting corruption was something totally unacceptable. And that was clearly obvious in that video when we're talking about corruption. Putin, contrary to what any normal politician would do, who in any case would say, "Oh yes, let's fight corruption," and then would do nothing. Putin didn't even find it in himself to say those words.That event ended with a lengthy jail sentence for you. You were one of the most powerful men in Russia at the time, and you ended up in a gulag, a Siberian labor camp. You say prison changed you and your view of the world. Can you explain what you mean?When I left to go to prison, I was a businessman. Ten years of prison made entrepreneurship less interesting for me than it was for me before jail. I suddenly realized, in myself, that it is impossible to be free in business if the whole country is not free, if people in the country are not free. And fighting for democracy was first and foremost the main objective that had to be resolved, that had to be achieved, even compared with economic issues.Can you imagine going home again, Mikhail Khodorkovsky? And where do you consider home?Home, for me, as well as for many other people, is the place where my family and my friends are. At the moment, this circle has been dispersed across a whole range of countries. But if we are talking about my native land, my motherland, my fatherland, it's Russia. It's the only one. And I would like to be able in my lifetime to see that Russia has come back onto the path of democratic development. And if I can do anything to promote it, I will do it. If and when Putin leaves the political stage, or just dies, this possibility will arise with a quiet livelihood inside the country. And then for Russia, it would be dangerous to have this idea of searching for a good or kind czar. There could never be a kind czar in Russia. Such kind czars, like Gorbachev, lose power. What is important for Russia is to change the structure of power. Russia should become a parliamentary republic. Russia should become much more federalized in its makeup. But it should remain as Russia. And in that case, the world would have a non-aggressive neighbor and Russia would be at the possibility of democratic development. And whatever I can do in order to put it in place, I will do.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Related: Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks out against Russia's intervention in Ukraine

Russia blasts Kyiv, other Ukrainian cities in deadly strikes

class=”MuiTypography-root-229 MuiTypography-h1-234″>Russia blasts Kyiv, other Ukrainian cities in deadly strikesAssociated PressOctober 10, 2022 · 10:15 AM EDT

Firefighters and police officers work on a site where an explosion created a crater on the street after a Russian attack in Dnipro, Ukraine, Oct. 10, 2022.

Leo Correa/AP

Russia unleashed a lethal barrage of strikes against multiple Ukrainian cities Monday, smashing civilian targets including downtown Kyiv, where at least six people were killed amid burnt-out cars and shattered buildings. The onslaught brought back into focus the grim reality of war after months of easing tensions in the capital.

Ukraine's Emergency Service said at least 11 people were killed and 64 wounded across the country in the morning attacks — the biggest and broadest since the early days of the war. Though some missiles apparently targeted energy facilities, others struck civilian areas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes were in retaliation for what he called Kyiv's “terrorist” actions — a reference to Ukraine's attempts to repel Moscow's invasion forces, including a weekend attack on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Putin vowed a “tough” and “proportionate” response should Ukraine carry out further attacks that threaten Russia’s security.

“No one should have any doubts about it,” he said.

Monday's intense, hours-long assault marked a sudden military escalation in Russia's assault on Ukraine. It came a day after Putin called the explosion Saturday on the huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea a “terrorist act” masterminded by Ukrainian special services.

Putin, speaking in a video call with members of Russia’s Security Council, said the Russian military launched "precision weapons" from the air, sea and ground to target key energy and military command facilities.

But the sustained barrage on major cities hit residential areas and critical infrastructure facilities alike, portending a major surge in the war amid a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent weeks.

The missile strikes marked the biggest and most widespread Russian attacks in months. Putin, whose partial mobilization order earlier this month triggered an exodus of hundreds of thousands of men of fighting age from Russia, stopped short of declaring martial law or a counterterrorism operation as many had expected.

Moscow’s war in Ukraine is approaching its eight-month milestone, and the Kremlin has been reeling from humiliating battlefield setbacks in areas of eastern Ukraine it is trying to annex.

Blasts struck in the capital’s Shevchenko district, a large area in the center of the city that includes the historic old town as well as several government offices, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Some of the strikes hit near the government quarter in the symbolic heart of the capital, where parliament and other major landmarks are located. A glass tower housing offices was significantly damaged, most of its blue-tinted windows blown out.

Residents were seen on the streets with blood on their clothes and hands. A young man sat on the ground as a medic wrapped a bandage around his head. A woman with her head bandaged had blood all over the front of her blouse. Several cars were damaged or completely destroyed. Air raid sirens sounded repeatedly across the country and Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces launched dozens of missiles and Iranian-built drones against Ukraine.

The General Staff of the Ukraine Armed Forces said 75 missiles were fired against Ukrainian targets, with 41 of them neutralized by air defenses.

The targets were civilian areas and energy facilities in 10 cities, Zelenskyy said in a video address. The Russians "chose such a time and such targets on purpose to inflict the most damage,” Zelenskyy said.

The morning strikes sent Kyiv residents into bomb shelters for the first time in months. The city’s subway system stopped train services and again made the stations available as places for refuge.

While air raid sirens have continued throughout the war in cities across the country, in Kyiv and elsewhere many Ukrainians had begun to ignore their warnings after months of calm.

That changed on Monday morning. The attacks struck Kyiv at the start of the morning rush hour, when commuter traffic was beginning to pick up. At least one of the vehicles struck near the Kyiv National University appeared to be a commuter minibus, known as a “marshrutka,” a popular alternative to the city’s bus and metro routes.

Nearby, at least one strike landed in Shevchenko Park, leaving a large hole near a children’s playground.

Among the targets hit was the Klitschko pedestrian bridge — a landmark in central Kyiv with its glass panels. Closed-circuit television footage shared by an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister showed a huge explosion as the bridge was struck. A man was seen running away after the blast.

Elsewhere, Russia targeted civilian areas and energy infrastructure as air raid sirens sounded in every region of Ukraine, except Russia-annexed Crimea, for four straight hours.

The Ukraine Emergency Service said the strikes left four of the country's regions — Lviv, Poltava, Sumy and Ternopil — completely without power, while in the rest of Ukraine power outages were patchy.

Associated Press journalists in Dnipro city saw the bodies of multiple people killed at an industrial site on the city’s outskirts. Four people were killed and 19 injured in the city, local officials said.

Witnesses said one missile landed in front of a bus during the morning rush hour. Despite heavy damage to the vehicle, officials said no passengers were killed.

Natalia Nesterenko, a mathematician, said she saw one missile fly by her Dnipro apartment balcony as she was working in her kitchen. Then she heard two explosions.

“It’s very dangerous. I immediately called my kids to see how they are because anyone can be hit. Women, children,” she said.

Ukrainian media also reported explosions in a number of other locations, including the western city of Lviv, which has been a refuge for many people fleeing the fighting in the east, as well as in Kharkiv, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr and Kropyvnytskyi.

Kharkiv was hit three times, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said. The strikes knocked out the electricity and water supply. Energy infrastructure was also hit in Lviv, regional Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi said.

Three cruise missiles launched against Ukraine from Russian ships in the Black Sea crossed Moldova’s airspace, said the country’s foreign affairs minister, Nicu Popescu.

The Kerch Bridge to Crimea is important to Russia strategically as a military supply line to its forces in Ukraine and symbolically as an emblem of its claims on Crimea. No one has claimed responsibility for damaging the 12-mile-long bridge, the longest in Europe.

The attacks brought out a fresh bout of international condemnation of Russia.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said the Group of Seven industrial powers will hold a videoconference Tuesday on the situation which Zelenskyy will address. Germany currently chairs the G-7.

The attacks brought a chorus of outrage in Europe. French President Emanuel Macron expressed “extreme concern." British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted that “Russia’s firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine is unacceptable.”

“Russia once again has shown to the world what it stands for. It is terror and brutality,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Some feared Monday's attacks may just be the first salvo in a renewed Russian offensive. Ukraine's Ministry of Education announced that all schools in Ukraine would switch to online at least until the end of this week. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba broke off his Africa tour and headed back to Ukraine.

In an ominous move, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced Monday that he and Putin have agreed to deploy a joint “regional grouping of troops” amid the escalation of fighting in Ukraine. He offered no details.

Lukashenko repeated his claims that Ukraine is plotting an attack on Belarus, sparking fears the stage is being set for preemptive action by Minsk.

By Associated Press writers Adam Schreck and Hanna Arhirova. Sabra Ayres in Kyiv, Vasilisa Stepanenko in Kharkiv, and Justin Spike and Yesica Fisch in Dnipro, contributed to this story.

Georgia’s proxy war with Russia has linguistic ripple effects

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Georgia’s proxy war with Russia has linguistic ripple effects

More than 10,000 Russians are fleeing to neighboring Georgia every day to escape being drafted into the war in Ukraine. The influx is exacerbating tensions going back to Soviet times.

The WorldOctober 7, 2022 · 1:00 PM EDT

Customers walk into the Dedaena Bar in Tbilisi past a QR code notice. Russian citizens are required to approve a series of online statements in order to be admitted to the bar.

Patrick Cox/The World

Lola Svanidze has lived in Georgia for four years. She says some Georgians swear at her in the street for speaking Russian.


Patrick Cox/The World

Lola Svanidze has lived in Georgia for four years, longer than most Russians. 

Her father is Georgian, but she grew up in Russia. As a result, she doesn’t speak Georgian. 

When Svanidze and her friends speak Russian in public, she said Georgians sometimes insult them and swear at them. She says that’s especially true since the war in Ukraine began.

“I understand if you feel aggressively toward people who sit in Russia right now and support this whole thing,” Svanidze said.

But she said that aggression directed at her and other Georgia-based Russians is misplaced. 

Tens of thousands of Russians have entered neighboring Georgia since President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of Russian men to fight in Ukraine. Recent figures by the Georgian government put that number at about 60,000 people.

Estimates vary, but it’s likely that before September’s influx of Russians, more than 50,000 Russians already resided in Georgia, which has a total population of 3.7 million people. That includes about 30,000 who left Russia in the early weeks of the Ukraine war.

Many of them don’t speak Georgian, which has sparked a more linguistic type of conflict. In fact, national tensions became so fierce at a popular bar in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, that the place even started requiring Russian citizens to agree to a series of statements about their politics before entering. 

For some people, the hostilities toward Russia — and by extension, Russian immigrants — is deeply rooted in history.

In 2008, the Russian army entered Georgia and occupied South Ossetia, a region of the country that it still controls. Since 1993, Russian-allied forces have controlled another region, Abkhazia. Before that, Georgia was a largely unwilling member of the Russian and Soviet empires. In the 1970s, Moscow even briefly tried to outlaw the Georgian language.

Georgia has been independent for more than 30 years, but the war in Ukraine has brought new worries about Russia’s intentions. Additionally, Russian citizens are able to enter Georgia without visas.

Tato Londaridze is the manager of the Dedaena Bar, Tbilisi, Georgia.


Patrick Cox/The World

But some Russians who’ve fled to Georgia are adapting. 

Andrei Babitsky is a Russian who has lived in Georgia since the beginning of the Ukraine war, Tbilisi, Georgia.


Patrick Cox/The World

Like journalist and political dissident Andrei Babitsky, who left Russia 20 hours after it invaded Ukraine.

Because he lives in Georgia now, Babitsky considers it “common decency” to learn the language.

He said that studying Georgian is like working out at the gym: Do it regularly and you’ll see improvement.

Babitsky's newfound mastery of Georgian has started paying off. 

“I am like this only Russian guy who tries speaking Georgian,” he said. “Everybody loves me.”

Babitsky said it’s never been easier for him to get a taxi or book a table at a popular restaurant. So, he’s trying to convince other Russians by telling them about these advantages. So far, though, he said, the message isn’t  getting through.

Patrick Cox is the host of "Subtitle," a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. "Subtitle" is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

The US should not ‘overestimate the divisions inside of Russia,’ former ambassador says

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>The US should not ‘overestimate the divisions inside of Russia,’ former ambassador says

Even some of the Russian leader's closest advisers don't know what Vladimir Putin is thinking, according to former US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft. He has spent plenty of time in the room with Putin himself.

The WorldOctober 3, 2022 · 4:00 PM EDT

In this handout photo released by The State Duma, The Federal Assembly of The Russian Federation Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, foreground center, addresses deputies during a session at the State Duma, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament in Moscow, Oct. 3, 2022. Russia's lower house of parliament endorses treaties for four regions of Ukraine to join Russia. 

The State Duma/Federal Assembly of The Russian Federation Press Service/AP

The war in Ukraine seems to be edging closer to a dangerous tipping point. Ukrainian troops have pushed Russian soldiers out of the city of Lyman, a key logistics hub in the northeast of the country. Meanwhile, thousands of mobilized Russian troops are reportedly being sent home, deemed unfit for military duty.

Anxieties are especially high after a Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechen leader and key ally of President Vladimir Putin, called for the use of a "low-yield nuclear weapon" in Ukraine.

Even some of the Russian leader's closest advisers don't know what Putin is thinking. That's according to former US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft, someone who has spent plenty of time in the room with Putin himself.

"On a given day, I'm not sure who knows exactly what Vladimir Putin is thinking," Tefft told The World.  

"And I think those of us in the West need to be careful and humble in our estimates of the man, because we just don't have the kind of access or the understanding of his current mindset at this point."

Tefft said that Putin has backed himself into a corner in Ukraine: "This is a man who learned life in the streets of Leningrad when he was growing up — a very tough upbringing." 

"And he's a guy who, I think, consistently has doubled down in dealing with things. He doesn't back down. He pushes forward and tries to get his way. And I think what we've had in Ukraine is a strategic mistake that he made launching the invasion in the beginning, a strategic mistake of the first order. But he seems to be making additional mistakes now, hoping that he can rectify the situation and still achieve his dream of taking control of all of Ukraine."

Tefft, who also served as US ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, is now a senior fellow with the RAND corporation. He joined The World's host Carolyn Beeler to discuss his views on Putin's approach to war based on years as a diplomat in the region. 

Carolyn Beeler: So, let's talk about the thing overshadowing all of this. Nukes. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close Putin ally, generated a lot of headlines this week when he called for the use of a "low-yield nuclear weapon." Russian leaders try to counter that sort of talk. Do you see this nuclear threat as rising right now?John Tefft: Putin looks at this and sees the impact that it has, certainly in Western media. But I've talked to some other experts and most of them right now, the ones that I listen to, don't think that use of nuclear weapons is anytime imminent, that he's in fact bringing in more troops, conscripting more people in this partial mobilization, as he calls it, that this signifies an attempt to keep going and press ahead inside the war. Now, the other thing is, I think Putin still hasn't given up on the idea of somehow increasing opposition to Western support for the war, primarily in Europe, but I think also perhaps even in the United States, he hasn't been very successful in that. And maybe he calculates that brandishing this idea of possible tactical nuclear weapons use on the battlefield will scare people and try to do that.This weekend, former CIA director and retired Army Gen. David Petraeus told ABC News that the US would destroy Russia's troops if Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Is this what US officials, those currently in office, are trying to convey to the Kremlin?Part of the whole reason for this war, you'll remember, was Putin's miscalculation, not just of what was happening inside of Ukraine and not just his dream of controlling it, but his misreading of the West from the very beginning. And I think it's important that we continue to send very clear signals about what the costs of this would be. I listened to my friend Bill Burns the other day, and he was saying how carefully they're monitoring the situation, including movements of critical weapons systems that might give some indication of what was happening. So, it seems to me they're doing about all that you can do at this point, at least from my perspective, outside of government.Do you see any off-ramps or opportunities for conversations with Russian officials?No, I think that the administration has tried very hard to signal that it's willing to countenance negotiations. But I have to say, right now, I don't see that Putin is in any mood to actually engage in any kind of negotiations. And if there were to be some, I suspect he would try to find a way to just cut a deal that would continue to hold a lot of Ukrainian territory. And the Ukrainians have made it clear they're not going to stand for that. So, I think we need to keep open the possibility of talks, but I don't see right now that there's any real prospect in the immediate future for these. I would just say I think Putin is calculating of trying to get through the winter because that will probably minimize some of the fighting, but it will also allow him to put greater pressure on Europe, particularly in terms of energy supply, and to see whether that changes the political equation, the political support for Ukraine inside of Europe.You mentioned the winter. I know you're a diplomat and not a military general. But how do you see colder temperatures, energy security playing into the fighting this winter?Obviously, the Europeans have been doing everything they can to stockpile energy. We would all hope that this winter is not going to be a very cold one in Europe. I'm not sure that Putin really has gotten it right on this point, because what I hear, not just from governments, but I've had some friends who have just come back from Europe, from Britain, from Germany, and they keep telling me that the support for Ukraine at the grassroots level is still very, very strong, just as it is here in our country. People identify with Ukraine fighting against this repressive power that's trying to just take over their country. And people understand that, not just an intellectual level, but I think an emotional level. But I think we shouldn't overestimate the divisions inside of Russia. And we should always remember that Putin has spent 20 years making sure that he is at the top and that he is unchallenged at this point. There's never guarantees, of course, but I think he's still very much in charge and calling the shots literally and figuratively.Finally, what are you keeping an eye on going forward to understand where this is headed?Well, I was listening this morning to a colleague who said that he'd recently been in Ukraine and had been out to the front lines. And he said in his week or so of going around, he didn't hear a single person in military or private say, "We need to stop this war." People seem to be united behind this effort to try to push the Russians out. And so I think that's a key one. The other part is I try to watch, as carefully as I can at this point, the public attitudes inside of Russia. Clearly, the mobilization has caused divisions at the top, and it's obviously hit home for a lot of people, just judging from the number of Russian young people, young men and who are who have left the country. But, you know, what about the average person who has been a supporter of Putin for many years? He sees all of the people who have been killed, all of the soldiers who have been brought home and buried. When are they going to start asking, "Has this been worth it? What are we achieving with all of this horrible loss of life? Are we really the great Russian power, which is what our president said he wanted to achieve?" I try to watch that as carefully as I can, but it's very hard, especially since many of the media who follow this very carefully, in the past, many of the people responsible have left the country now, and we don't get the kinds of information that we used to.

This interview was lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Russia will not appoint a new permanent representative to the EU in the near future

Moscow does not intend to appoint a new permanent representative to the EU in the near future after the departure of Vladimir Chizhov and will be represented at the level of charge d'affaires, RBC learned 9/71/756644707963719.jpg 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi) ” >

Russia will not appoint a new permanent representative to the EU in the near future

Russia's permanent mission to the EU will be headed by a charge d'affaires, Moscow does not intend to appoint a new permanent representative after Vladimir Chizhov's departure, two sources familiar with the discussion told RBC. “In the near future, Russia does not intend to appoint a new permanent representative and will be represented in Brussels at the level of charge d'affaires. The issue is suspended indefinitely»,— one of them told RBC.

Another RBC source familiar with the discussion of the issue said that such an appointment is not planned in the near future.

The press service of the Russian permanent mission to the EU told RBC that “the timing of the appointment of a new permanent representative depends on many internal and external factors.” “At the same time, it is obvious that the activity of any Russian foreign agency implies the presence of its head, appointed by presidential decree. Until that time, Russia will be represented in EU Brussels at the level of Acting Permanent Representative,— added in the Russian diplomatic mission.

The permanent mission noted that they had repeatedly heard that the EU was in favor of maintaining channels of political dialogue. “However, in the current and future work in this area, the confrontational statements of the European Union, including those made by its leaders within and on the margins of the session of the UN General Assembly in New York, also have to be taken into account,” — concluded in permanent representation.

In turn, the official representative of the EU Foreign Service, Peter Stano, told RBC that he could not publicly comment on the process of issuing agremans and nominating permanent representatives. “We also do not comment on what steps the partners are taking in this regard and when they request (agrement) from us,” — he explained.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Thursday that Russia has not yet asked the EU for a new envoy.

RBC sent a request to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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The new EU Ambassador to Russia, Roland Galyarag, presented copies of his credentials to Grushko on September 27, after which he was able to start working as head of the EU diplomatic mission. The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova on September 15 on the air of the Soloviev Live TV channel stated that Galyarag was already in Moscow. Stano also spoke about this to RBC. However, the diplomat did not participate in the ceremony of presenting his credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which took place in the Kremlin Palace on September 20.

Vladimir Chizhov has served as Russia's Permanent Representative to the European Union since 2005. On September 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin released him from his duties by decree. Chizhov, 68, said earlier. “I am no longer comfortable acting as a living monument to the strategic partnership between Russia and the EU,” — the diplomat told reporters on 12 September. He noted that during his “farewell visits” told his European colleagues that “burning bridges is much easier than rebuilding them later.”

As early as July 25, he became a candidate for the post of senator from Karelia. On September 11, elections of the head of the region were held in the republic, according to the law, during registration, candidates propose their three candidates for the post of senator. Chizhov was a candidate for senators from the executive branch of the current head of Karelia, Artur Parfenchikov, who won the election. On September 27, Chizhov was appointed a senator.

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Trump offered his mediation to Russia and Ukraine

Former US President Trump has asked if he could lead a negotiating team on Russia and Ukraine The conflict in Ukraine has “the whole world at stake,” but both sides would like to agree on an end to hostilities, Trump said. He also saw the risk of “serious escalation or war” in the situation around Nord Stream ” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Trump offered his mediation to Russia and Ukraine

Former U.S. President Donald Trump asked on Truth Social if he could lead a negotiating team between Russia and Ukraine, Business Insider writes.

“Be strategic, be smart. Close the deal now. Both sides need it and want it. The whole world is at stake. Shall I lead the group?,— he wrote.

Trump also expressed confidence that the Nord Stream pipeline would sabotage occurred, warning of the risk of “major escalation or war.” The ex-president of the United States called on the country's authorities to be calm and calm in relation to what happened with Nord Stream. The incident should not provoke a “big decision, at least not yet,” Trump warned.

Trump has previously said that, prior to the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine, he considered the increase in tension in this situation to be a “smart way to negotiate.” Trump expressed confidence that hostilities in Ukraine would not have begun if he had retained the presidency. “There will be nothing left but death and destruction” if there are no negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, the ex-President of the United States emphasized.

The negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine was frozen in early April after publications about the deaths of civilians in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, the Russian authorities consider reports of this to be a staged and provocation. Kyiv warned that the dialogue would be impossible to resume if Moscow recognized the referendums in the Russian-occupied Kherson and part of the Zaporozhye region of Ukraine, the LPR and the DPR. “Another attempt to annex Ukrainian territory will mean that we have nothing to talk about with the President of Russia,” — noted at the end of September, President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Treaties on the inclusion of new regions into Russia will be signed by the president on Friday , September 30, announced in the Kremlin.

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Russia recognized the independence of Zaporozhye and Kherson regions

Russian President Putin signed decrees on the independence of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions -width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Russia recognized the state sovereignty and independence of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the relevant decrees were signed by President Vladimir Putin. They are published on the Legal Documents Portal.

The decision was made “in accordance with the generally recognized principles and norms of international norms of international law, recognizing and confirming the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” enshrined in the UN Charter and taking into account the “will of the people” in a referendum, the decrees say.

Five days before (from 23 to 27 September) in the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, as well as in the LPR and DPR, referenda on joining Russia. According to the data provided by the authorities of these territories, the majority of residents supported this development of events.

At the same time, the Kherson military-civilian administration (formed after the capture of the region by Russian troops) said that independence would not be declared, despite its actual existence within a certain period of time after the vote. “We have a slightly different situation than the LPR and DPR, Kherson region— immediately part of the Russian Federation”, — explained the head of the CAA Vladimir Saldo.

The material is being supplemented.

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Will life insurance be valid if a person is mobilized?

Story Partial mobilization in Russia Expert's answer 0 + –

According to the law, mortgage lenders must insure the collateral — apartment or house. Banks usually offer life insurance to borrowers in exchange for a reduction in housing loan rates. The cost of such insurance depends on various factors — the size of the mortgage, gender and age of the borrower. For example, a 35-year-old man who has borrowed 10 million rubles from a bank, life insurance will cost more than 20 thousand rubles a year.

Life insurance protects the borrower (and also his heirs) from the occurrence of undesirable events associated with disability or death — if their appearance, the mortgage is reset to zero.

And does apply such insurance to mobilized people? According to  head of the Bureau of Lawyers, Honorary Lawyer of Russia, Vice-President of the Guild of Russian Lawyers Nikita Filippov, it is usually stated in the  insurance contract that military measures are the basis for exempting the insurer from insurance compensation. Simply put, if the mortgage lender is mobilized, life insurance ceases to operate.

  Article 964 of the Civil Code expressly states that the insurer is exempt from payment of insurance indemnity and the sum insured when the insured event occurred as a result of the effects of a nuclear explosion, radiation or radioactive contamination, military operations, and also maneuvers or other military events, civil war, civil unrest of any kind or strikes, — Filippov explained

In    Vice-President of the Association of Lawyers for registration, liquidation, bankruptcy and legal representation, Deputy Head of the Federal Mediation Center, Chairman of the All-Russian Trade Union of Mediators Vladimir Kuznetsovadds that the life of military personnel is insured by the state — such insurance is not  individual, but collective, and applies to all servicemen.

«Payment, which is provided for this type of insurance, consists of two parts: insurance compensation and   — at the moment, with the death of a serviceman, they amount to 2.968 million rubles and 4.453 million rubles, respectively, in the amount — 7.421 million rubles" — notes Kuznetsov.

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“We don’t leave our own” sample 1877. How was the first mobilization in Russia

Plot Partial mobilization in Russia

The partial mobilization announced on September 21 as part of the Special Military Operation continues to remain in the center of public attention. This is not the first such case in Russian history. 145 years ago, in 1877 g., in the course of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 , the first mobilization measures were completed.

«The task of Russia — build, not destroy"

Considering the events of those years, one cannot refrain from drawing direct historical analogies. By and large, the eve, beginning, course and final of that war can be described by a modern slogan, under which actions —— “We don’t leave our own!” The   appeal of Russian    II II, addressed to the Balkan peoples: “My orders are entrusted to my army to approve for you those sacred rights, without which the peaceful and correct development of your civilian life is unthinkable. The task of Russia — create, not destroy! From now on, Russian weapons will protect you from any violence. For  every crime will be mercilessly followed by legal punishment».

For several years, this was preceded by an unprecedented social upsurge, colored, however, in the same tones of “we don’t leave our own”. The heads of the provincial gendarmerie departments, who were entrusted with the duty of regularly compiling and sending mood surveys among the inhabitants to the center, conscientiously recorded speeches on the spot. Here, for example, was what the peasants of the Vyazemsky district of the Smolensk province were talking about among themselves: “Two years before the war, there were rumors among the people that the Turks were slaughtering Christians, that Christians were suffering martyrdom from them … We knew that our father-tsar is merciful, they thought, and some said aloud: “What is our father giving offense to his filthy Turks?” Well, now, we heard that the tsar began to send people on the sly to step in there … & raquo; In October 1876 , that about about six months before the war the pskov region reported: “From the first days of October the possibility of a war with the Turks came to foreground, and excitement among the masses became appear more clearly. Genuine, folk enthusiasm began to appear…»

strife — society was consolidated even before Russia started hostilities. Rozalia Plekhanova, nee Bograd, married the famous Russian revolutionary Georgy Plekhanovalready after the war. And  here this is what this native of the Jewish shtetl of Kherson Uyezd wrote a few months before her beginning:  I and my young comrades in the course burned with a desire to go where the great work of liberating the oppressed peoples was being accomplished…» ; She is echoed by a born German, Anna Korba, nee Meinhardt: “I couldn’t stay calm from the very beginning of the uprising of the Slavic peoples. I wanted to give even the slightest help to the fighters for their freedom… I reasoned as follows: at every given moment in history, every nation has its own vital task. In recent years, such a task for Russia has been war. The whole country was interested in the successful outcome of».

And here is a letter from a group of Russian officers published on their pages in 1876  publication “The Illustrated Bulletin”: “There are many of us who want to fight for the liberation of the Slavs; perhaps there will be a war, but for now, for God's sake, can can go there as volunteers, and what needs to be done for this? It's not ashamed to go…»

Everyone considered themselves Russian

However, on this wave of enthusiasm, those who passionately wanted to defiantly separate themselves from the rest of the peoples of Russia also tried to swim out. Kyiv historian Mikhail Drahomanov, the ideologist of the creation of the Ukrainian state, which would become "Union to defend itself from "strangers", for some reason decided that the Ukrainian nation had already been fully formed, and"only "oppression of the empire" prevents her from showing herself. And that's why Drahomanov came up with the initiative to create a separate detachment of Ukrainian volunteers, which would fight in the Balkans under its own special flag, thus showing the whole world the political consciousness of Ukrainians and their ability to self-organize.

The result was disastrous, to say the least — humiliating. On the entire territory of conditional Ukraine, there were exactly six volunteers to help the Balkan brothers. One person from Odessa and five more from Kyiv. Everything. However, no, not everything. Of these six, three were wanted and were looking for a plausible pretext to sneak abroad. Total — three Ukrainian volunteers. On this question about existence back in the XIX century of a “separate formed Ukrainian nation” could have been safely closed.

For comparison — General Mikhail Chernyaev, the conqueror of Tashkent and the publisher of the Russkiy Mir newspaper, goes to the Balkans without permission. A few months later, a corps of  7 thousands of volunteers of different nationalities of the Russian Empire, including natives of Kyiv, Poltava, Zhytomyr, was formed under his command… All of them considered themselves Russians, and everyone went to fight for the common noble cause. And that was just the beginning. The volunteer movement grew and gained momentum every day. It got to the point that teenagers began to run away to the war — by the way, this was the first precedent in national history. So, the future head of the State Duma was going to run away, and in those schoolboys Alexander Guchkov — he was stopped in time. Others turned out to be more agile, and the provincial press wrote about them: “The sons of a merchant” of the II Guild Matvey and Aleksey V., who had intentions to go as volunteers to the Balkans, were taken off the ship in Saratov and delivered to my father, who carved them .

They didn't promise an easy walk

However, these are still volunteers. And how were things with mobilization as such? This question was then asked at the very top. The fact is that mobilization was a novelty. Moreover — a novelty, for which neither the country, nor the army, were ready for objective reasons. Universal conscription and conscription of the army was introduced only in 1874 g.

"In the autumn of 1876, we were only in the third year of general military service and did still haven a a reserve, dismissed on new principles —     wrote in his work “The Evolution of Military Art” military theorist, Major General of the Russian Imperial Army Alexander Svechin. — The transitional state in which the army was located made it somewhat difficult to carry out mobilization … The first day of mobilization was scheduled for November 2, 1876; 254 thousands were subject to conscription, of the fifth day of mobilization, 75% of recruiting stations appeared».

In total, three waves of partial mobilization were supposed. The second fell on & nbsp; April 1877 & nbsp; — War was declared just then. The third lasted until the winter of that same year. About the results of the second wave to Emperor Alexander II at the end of April 1977  reported Interior Minister Alexander Timashev: “According to the general opinion of the governors, reserve people gathered everywhere quickly and willingly. There were no those who evaded appearance upon conscription…» The most interesting thing is that the rush did not die out and into the third wave. Here is what he wrote in & nbsp; December 1877 & nbsp; assistant to the head of the Voronezh provincial gendarmerie department: “When recruiting young soldiers in the Ostrogozhsky district, many rejected ones expressed a desire to serve voluntarily, and” those already enrolled in the “service” asked to be sent to the & nbsp; active army.

The most interesting thing is that the captivating moods were reasonably stopped, which, along the way, historian and publicist Dmitry Ilovaisky wrote: «We never talked about lightness the fight ahead of us. We remind you of the possible still complacent people who look at this as a military walk. No, we are dealing with an enemy numerous, and most importantly, dexterous and malicious».

The words are fair. But "the main thing" after all, it was not in this. And in the fact that all the estates, all the peoples of Russia in those years realized their commonality, and, no less important, the need for Russia historical mission to restoration of justice, peace and tranquility, which fits into three words : “We don't leave our own.”

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How did the referendums on joining four regions to Russia end?

Electoral commissions in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions summed up the results of referendums for accession. What will follow the referendums and when the regions can become part of Russia – in the material RBC media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

What were the results of the referendums

The Republic of Donbass, as well as the authorities of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions controlled by the Russian military, summed up the results of the referendums on joining Russia.

Voting results look like this:

  • LNR— 98.42% voted for joining Russia
  • DNR— 99.23% for joining Russia
  • Kherson region— 87.05% for joining Russia
  • Zaporozhye region— 93.11% for joining Russia

The total turnout in the LPR, according to the local CEC, was 92.6%. In the DNR in the DNR— 97.51%, in the Kherson region— 76.86%, and in Zaporozhye— 85.4%.

The pro-Russian Zaporozhye and Kherson civil-military administrations intend to declare the region's independence within administrative boundaries. At the same time, in the Zaporozhye region, they control only the southern and central parts, the capital of the region— the administrative center of Zaporozhye is controlled by Kyiv.

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How the voting went

The referenda went on for five days— in the first four days, voting took place in the adjoining territories and during the address bypass; on the last & mdash; September 27— on the plots. The organizers explained this decision for security reasons. By the evening of September 25, the referendums in the DPR, LPR and in the Russian-controlled territory of the Zaporozhye region were declared valid as a result of a turnout exceeding 50%: according to the central election commissions of the DPR and LPR, 77.12 and 76.09% of voters voted in three days, respectively. Kherson region exceeded the threshold of half the voters the next morning. Schools and colleges were on vacation during the voting period.

Polling stations for residents of the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions were opened in 84 Russian regions, there were about 600 stations, the CEC of Russia reported. Most of them were discovered in the south of Russia. CEC Deputy Chairman Nikolai Bulaev spoke of “hundreds of thousands of people” who are forced to stay in Russia and wish to vote. In total, more than 4 million people have arrived in Russia from the zone of military operation since February, Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova noted.

At the polling station, one had to present a passport or other document proving one's identity and confirming one's residence in the territory of one of the republics or regions. Residents of the Kherson region who lost their documents voted on a photocopy of their identity card if they were included in the voter lists, and citizens without documents could bring witnesses who would confirm the residence of the voter in the territory, explained the head of the local CEC Marina Zakharova.

Significant part of the voters was added to the lists additionally directly at the polling stations. “In particular, in polling stations formed abroad, the lists are compiled from scratch, that is, every citizen of the republic who comes to vote is entered into them,” — said the head of the Central Election Commission of the DPR, Vladimir Vysotsky, adding that some of the voters could not be taken into account initially.

When the regions can become part of Russia

Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said on September 27 that all Russian authorities are ready to join the country with new regions. State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin promised that the House would support the decision to join the DPR and LPR to Russia, if it is adopted.

Following the results of the referendums on joining the LPR, DPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, the authorities planned a rally in the center of Moscow, sources told RBC. It is tentatively scheduled for September 30, where Vladimir Putin is scheduled to speak. This can be combined with the signing of an agreement on joining Russia with the LPR, DPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

The Federation Council may consider the entry of new subjects into Russia on October 4, speaker of the chamber Valentina Matvienko said, adding that she does not see the need for an extraordinary meeting of the chamber. Andrey Klishas, ​​Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building, also noted that the need for “artificial acceleration of the constitutional procedure for the admission of new subjects to Russia” no. Klishas added that the inclusion procedure would require amendments to the text of the Russian Constitution.

The head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, has already announced plans to visit Moscow with an appeal to Putin. According to Pasechnik, he hopes that “today-tomorrow” will go to Moscow. The head of the Zaporozhye region, Yevhen Balitsky, and the head of the military-civilian administration, Volodymyr Saldo, also announced their intention to visit the capital of Russia after the announcement of the results of the referendum.

Russian legislation contains a procedure for joining a new entity— foreign country or part of it. Admission to the composition takes place on the basis of an international treaty, before signing which the President of Russia notifies the Federal Assembly and the government. After the conclusion of the agreement, the President applies to the Constitutional Court with a request to assess the compliance of the agreement with the Constitution. If the court finds no violations, then the contract, together with the draft federal constitutional law, which defines the name of the new subject, its status, boundaries, transitional provisions, is sent to the State Duma, and then to the Federation Council. After the adoption of the document by the Houses of Parliament in Art. 65 of the Constitution is amended— the names of new subjects of Russia are added there.

What will change after the joining of subjects

After joining the republics of Donbass and the territories of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions controlled by Russian forces, Moscow will no longer conduct a special military operation, but a “counter-terrorist operation on its territories,” said the head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov. He also expressed the opinion that these territories could have been annexed without holding referendums, since their inhabitants “have long been determined in their legal choice.”

The Kremlin reported that after the referendums on joining the DPR, LPR, as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of Ukraine to Russia, “dramatically” the legal status of these territories will change. The situation will change “with all the relevant consequences for the purposes of protection and security in these territories,” Peskov noted.

A wave of public euphoria about this seems unlikely so far, the head of the Petersburg Politics Foundation believes. Mikhail Vinogradov. “To put it in sports language, the citizens approached the referendum not at the peak of their form. Therefore, there are no signs so far that the expansion of borders can cause a surge of positive, commensurate with the Crimean one or with how the hypothetical demobilization would be perceived, — said the political scientist RBC.

The topic of legitimacy will not be paramount in interpreting the referendum, Vinogradov added. “Everyone who feels the need to recognize it has actually already recognized it,” — he noted. According to the political scientist, referendums and partial mobilization were declared as two elements of one event. “In the first week of partial mobilization, there were expectations that the Russian authorities were trying to seriously accelerate the dynamics of the conflict with these actions. However, will Moscow be able to cope with this growing dynamics and these two solutions have created a synergy that strengthens the Russian position,— this is still a question on which there is no unequivocal opinion, — the political scientist concluded.

How Ukraine and the international community reacted

The position and task of Ukraine do not change due to the holding of referendums on joining the DPR and LPR to Russia, as well as in the territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions controlled by Russian troops, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said. In early September, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk said that Ukrainians would face a prison term for participating in referendums. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that holding referendums would make it impossible to continue diplomatic negotiations with Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that referendums in the Donbass and other regions “will not have legal consequences, and called them a “parody.” The authorities of Germany, the USA, Great Britain, Poland, Estonia, Turkey and a number of other countries also announced the non-recognition of the results of the referendums.

The UK imposed sanctions against 33 persons associated with the organization of referendums in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions .

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Foreign Ministry allowed Russia to participate in the investigation of the accident at Nord Stream

So far, no such proposals have been received, said Deputy Minister Alexander Grushko. The readiness to support the investigation was declared in Brussels, and both there and the Kremlin do not exclude that a targeted attack led to the damage /02/756643562474022.jpg 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Russia is ready to participate in the investigation of incidents at Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2, if offered, said Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.

“If there are any appeals, we will consider them. So far, there have been none, as far as I know, — said the Deputy Minister (TASS quote).

On the night of September 26, a sharp drop in pressure was recorded in one of the lines of Nord Stream 2, which was never put into operation without obtaining permission from Berlin and Brussels. Then the operating company Nord Stream reported a pressure drop on both strings of Nord Stream. (gas pipeline transportation has been suspended for an indefinite period since the end of August).

The company subsequently attributed the pressure drop to the unprecedented disruption. There have been leaks from gas pipelines, “it is not yet possible to estimate the timing of restoration of the gas transmission infrastructure.”

At the same time, seismologists from Denmark and Sweden, in whose territorial waters leaks occurred, recorded powerful explosions.

The Kremlin admitted that a targeted attack could have caused the damage. Possible sabotage was announced by EU diplomat Josep Borrell and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as well as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The Swedish authorities also believe that the leaks were the result of “explosions, probably caused by sabotage.”

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Borrell assured that the EU will support “any investigation aimed at clearly establishing what happened and why.”

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Latvia has introduced a state of emergency on the border with Russia and strengthened border control

Latvia has introduced a state of emergency on the borders with Russia and strengthened border control measures Latvia has increased the number of patrols on the borders with Russia, and also introduced a state of emergency in the regions closest to it for three months. The Cabinet of Ministers explained this by the outflow of Russians from the country after the announcement of the mobilization -width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Latvia has declared a state of emergency (ES) in areas that border Russia. This is stated in a message on the website of the government of the republic.

The Cabinet of Ministers explained that, in general, the situation on the border between Latvia and Russia is stable, however, after mobilization was announced in Russia, the number of Russians wishing to leave their country “significantly increased”. “Thus, there is a risk of a rapid increase in the number of illegal migrants on the Latvian-Russian border as well. Purpose of emergency measures— preemptive preparation for such a risk,»,— The message says.

The emergency regime came into force on September 28 in the Aluksne, Balvi and Ludza regions of the country and will last for three months. It also applies to airports, sea and rail border crossings.

The measure will allow border guards, in case of need or a sharp increase in the number of migrants, to quickly attract additional resources: the police, the State Security Service, as well as the country's armed forces.

In addition, Latvia will close the Pededze border crossing, strengthen border surveillance and border control. In particular, the number of patrols will be increased to prevent illegal border crossing.

Since September 19, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia have banned the entry of Russians who have tourist Schengen visas, including those issued by third countries. Exceptions are provided for those who cross borders for humanitarian reasons, for diplomats, for those visiting relatives, and for truck drivers.

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In announcing the introduction of the state of emergency, the Latvian government announced that the number of Russian citizens wishing to enter Latvia is declining. Since September 19, 57 Russian citizens have been denied entry into the country. “Not a single Russian citizen crosses the Latvian border as a tourist. The circle of persons who are allowed to cross the external border of the EU as an exception is determined in accordance with the agreement reached by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries of the region, and in accordance with the decision of the Government of Latvia, — the government says.

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Pasechnik asked Putin to consider joining the LPR to Russia

The head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, asked Putin to consider joining the LPR to Russia -width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Leonid Pasechnik

The head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to consider the issue of joining the republic to Russia. Pasechnik's appeal is published by LuganskInformCenter.

At the referendum that ended this week in the LPR, 98.42% of voters voted for joining Russia.

The material is being supplemented.

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Taliban agrees with Russia on gas supplies to Afghanistan

The Taliban managed to negotiate with Russia on the supply of food and fuel. The exact terms of the deal are unknown, in August the Afghan government did not rule out that they would pay with raisins and medicinal herbs .png 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

The Taliban holding power in Afghanistan (recognized as terrorist and banned in Russia) entered into a trade agreement with Russia. This was reported to Reuters by the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry of Afghanistan, Haji Nooruddin Azizi. According to him, the Taliban government is now working to diversify its foreign trade relations.

As part of the deal, Russia will annually supply the country with about 1 million tons of gasoline, 1 million tons of diesel fuel, 500 thousand tons of liquefied hydrocarbon gases ( LPG) and 2 million tons of wheat, he said. Azizi did not name the exact price of the contracts, but said that Russia offered the Taliban a discount compared to the average world prices for raw materials.

The agreement will remain in effect for an indefinite trial period. After it, the parties will have to sign an agreement for a longer period if they are satisfied with the results.

RBC sent inquiries to representatives of Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and the Ministry of Energy.

On June 15, representatives of the Taliban visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Among the Taliban negotiators who arrived were the deputy head of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammad Younis Hossein, and the head of the Afghan diplomatic mission, Jamal Nasir Garwal. One of the goals of the visit was to negotiate the supply of wheat to Afghanistan.

In August, Azizi said that the Afghan authorities intend to negotiate with Moscow on the supply of fuel to the country. The Taliban are ready to pay for Russian oil with minerals, raisins and medicinal herbs Azizi said. If such a scheme does not suit Moscow, then Kabul can also pay with money, he noted.

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Opposition MP announced Georgia’s plans to close the border with Russia

Opposition deputy announced Georgia's plans to close the border for men from Russia Representatives of the Georgian authorities did not confirm the words of the deputy from the opposition 756641397039415.jpg 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

An opposition MP announced Georgia's plans to close the border with Russia

From September 26, the Georgian authorities may close the borders for men from Russia due to the large flow of Russians arriving in the country, said the deputy of the opposition party of Georgia “United National Movement” in the Georgian Parliament Nona Mamulashvili on the air of the Ukrainian TV channel FreeDom.

“The Georgian government has so far done nothing to stop this massive influx of Russians into Georgia. As far as they explained to us, on Monday they will close the borders. This is the only thing they could do at this stage,»— she said.

According to her, the entry ban may primarily affect men aged 18 to 55.

Mamulashvili pointed out that no official statements have yet been received from the Georgian government.

Early on the morning of September 23, at the Upper Lars border checkpoint, there was a record queue of cars for 2022— 1.7 thousand

According to the data of the Federal Customs Service (FTS) of Russia on the workload of automobile checkpoints, the most significant queues (the number of vehicles in front of the checkpoint) were then recorded at the following points:

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  • Upper Lars (border with Georgia)— 1715 cars;
  • Kyakhta (border with Mongolia)— 80 cars;
  • Burachki (border with Latvia)— 58 cars;
  • Ubylinka (border with Latvia)— 25 cars.

The next day, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of North Ossetia called on Russians to refrain from traveling to Georgia due to the fact that at the checkpoint “Upper Lars” there were large queues of people waiting for the passage— only about 2.3 thousand cars.

On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in the country. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, it is planned to mobilize 300 thousand Russians, or about 1% of the total mobilization reserve.

After that, traffic jams were reported on the border with Georgia, Finland, Mongolia, and airlines sold out tickets for the next direct flights to Istanbul, Yerevan, Baku.

Kazakhstan's National Security Committee reported that on September 25, the country's border guards detained three Russians who violated the border, bypassing the existing checkpoint.

« The violators explain their actions by the desire to evade the partial mobilization being carried out on the territory of Russia,»,— noted in the message.

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Japan has imposed a ban on the export to Russia of goods related to chemical weapons

Tokyo imposed new sanctions against Russia against the backdrop of referendums in the DPR and LPR, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. The sanctions list includes 20 more Russian organizations related to the defense sphere (max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Japan imposed new sanctions against Russia, in particular, banning the export of goods related to the production of chemical weapons to the country. The corresponding message of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan is published on the agency's website.

In addition, the sanctions list of legal entities in respect of which export restrictions have been introduced has been expanded,— 20 more Russian organizations were added to it.

Among those included in the lists— JSC «Moselectronproekt» (“subsidiary” of JSC “Russian Electronics”, NPO “Etalon”, JSC “Informakustika” (part of Rostec), Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics named after A.I. Alikhanov National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute” (ITEF), Salyut plant.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry last week warned of plans to expand export sanctions against Russia. Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi then announced that companies related to the military and defense sphere would fall under the restrictions.

This happened against the backdrop of decisions being made in the DPR and LPR, as well as in the Russian-controlled territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine about holding referendums on joining Russia.

Earlier, the US and the EU announced new sanctions in case of holding referendums.

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Tokyo supports Ukraine, in particular, equipment and drones were sent to Kyiv, as well as financial help for humanitarian needs.

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Understanding the mailing


FT called the West’s mirror response to Russia’s nuclear strike unlikely

The West doubts the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, writes FT. According to the newspaper, in response to such a move by Moscow, a nuclear strike is not considered. media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

FT says West's mirror response to Russia's nuclear strike is unlikely

Western officials doubt that Russia will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but if it does, a mirror response is unlikely, sources told The Financial Times.

Despite the fact that Western countries did not take the words Putin, who warned about the readiness to use “all means” to protect the country, as a direct threat, they increase vigilance and nuclear deterrence, the newspaper's interlocutors said.

Two unnamed officials expressed doubt that the West would do the same in response to a potential nuclear strike. According to them, “the usual military response” will follow. Three sources told the newspaper that NATO countries had warned Moscow about the scale of the response to the use of nuclear weapons. In their opinion, such a threat would be the best deterrent.

Analysts and politicians, the FT notes, believe that if Russia decides to use nuclear weapons, then it will be tactical (it contains less TNT equivalent compared to the strategic one).

The topic of Russia's possible use of nuclear weapons in the West is being discussed after Putin's words on September 21, during his address to citizens, during which the head of state announced a partial mobilization. He accused Western countries of “nuclear blackmail”.

“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It's not a bluff. <…> Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind rose can also turn in their direction, — he said.

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The law signed in 2020 provides four conditions for Russia to use nuclear weapons:

  • receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territories of Russia and/or its allies;
  • the use by the enemy of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction on the territories of Russia;
  • the impact of the enemy on critical state or military facilities of Russia, the failure of which will lead to the disruption of the response of nuclear forces;
  • aggression against Russia with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened.

In March, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any outcome of the military operation in Ukraine “certainly not reason for the use of nuclear weapons. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, after the announcement of the referenda, warned that the protection of all joined territories would be strengthened. “Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, can be used for such protection,” — he wrote in his telegram channel.

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Klishas criticized Tsekov’s idea to restrict exit from Russia

Legislators should develop support measures for mobilized citizens, and not “escalate” the situation, Senator Klishas believes. As an example of “injection”, he cited Tsekov's proposal to restrict exit from the country

The head of the Federation Council committee on constitutional legislation and state building, Andrey Klishas, ​​suggested to his colleagues “instead of escalating the situation”; engage in the development of social support for citizens who are subject to mobilization. Klishas wrote about this in Telegram.

“I would like to invite all colleagues (instead of escalating the situation) to pay attention to the issues of social support for citizens who are subject to mobilization, and violations during partial mobilization, which are reported by the media,” — wrote Klishas.

Klishas put forward such a proposal, commenting on two initiatives of the Senator from the Crimea, Sergei Tsekov.

Tsekov proposed to ban all citizens of military age from traveling abroad, as well as increase fines for evading receipt of agenda from 3 thousand to 50 thousand rubles, RIA Novosti reported.

State Duma deputy Yevgeny Popov also opposed the proposal to introduce travel restrictions for citizens. “Categorically against any restrictions on movement for our citizens”, — he wrote in Telegram.

For avoiding mobilization, namely from receiving a summons and appearing at the military commissariat, administrative liability is provided for under Art. 21.5 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, which implies punishment in the form of a fine from 500 to 3 thousand rubles. Criminal liability for failure to appear occurs only if the person received the summons and signed it.

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The beginning of partial mobilization in Russia was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 21, on the same day he signed the corresponding decree. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 300 thousand people are subject to conscription. According to him, these will be mainly people who have a military specialty or combat experience. According to the explanation of the Ministry of Defense, privates and sergeants under 35 years old, junior officers under 50 years old, senior officers are subject to partial mobilization. up to 55 years old. Shoigu promised that students and conscripts would not be included in this number.

In total, according to the minister, 1.1% of the total mobilization resource, which is more than 25 million people, will be attracted as part of the mobilization. The length of the front exceeds 1,000 km, the rear needs to be “fixed and controlled.” Later, the ministry issued a clarification according to which representatives of certain professions would be exempted from mobilization in order to ensure the “work of certain high-tech industries, as well as the financial system.” Russia. Also “booking” military-industrial complex employees will receive.

Despite assurances from the authorities about limited mobilization, there have been reports in the regions of the draft of citizens who do not meet the criteria for mobilization. In particular, the head of Yakutia, Aisen Nikolaev, said that fathers with many children with four children under 16 were called up, the governor of the Magadan region, Sergei Nosov, and the head of Buryatia, Alexei Tsydenov, spoke about complaints from relatives of citizens not subject to mobilization. According to him, the fathers of large families called on the agenda were released. The head of the Vladimir region, Alexander Avdeev, also stated that work on the return of those mistakenly mobilized in the region had already begun.

Complained about the “stick” approach to mobilization to the Minister of Defense and the head of the Human Rights Council Valery Fadeev. “They call on people without a military specialty and combat experience; inappropriate for age. At the same time, there are known cases of refusal to accept volunteers due to the fact that the military registration and enlistment office “already fulfilled the plan.” Military registration and enlistment offices may have outdated bases, digitalization is lame somewhere, so you need to work with each person carefully, and not for a plan, — said Fadeev.

Announcing the mobilization, Putin announced that all mobilized citizens would be given the status, payments and social guarantees of contract soldiers. The heads of some regions have already announced that they will independently introduce payments for mobilized citizens. Thus, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin set monthly payments of 50 thousand rubles. military personnel called for mobilization. In the event of the death of the mobilized, the family will receive 3 million rubles. By decree of the Governor of the Tula Region, those mobilized will receive an additional one-time cash payment in the amount of 100 thousand rubles.

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Zaporizhzhya State Administration called the referendum on joining Russia held

More than half of the voters in the Zaporozhye region voted in the referendum, it “definitely took place,” the region's CAA reported. Voting will end on September 27, the results have already promised not to recognize Ukraine, the USA, Serbia and Turkey ” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Zaporozhye VGA called the referendum on joining Russia a valid one

The turnout at the referendum in the Zaporozhye region of Ukraine on joining Russia exceeded 50%, the vote is considered “in essence” held. This was stated by the chairman of the movement “We are together with Russia”, a member of the council of the military-civilian administration of the region (VGA) Vladimir Rogov on the radio “Komsomolskaya Pravda”. The VGA was formed after the Russian military took control of the region.

“Yes, [the referendum] definitely took place. You know, we have never had such activity in the elections at all, — added Rogov (TASS quote).

Over 25,000 people voted outside the Zaporozhye region to join Russia, said Marina Zakharova, chairperson of the regional election commission, Interfax reports. According to its data, on September 25, 8.6 thousand voters located in Russia cast their votes.

Russia controls part of the territory of the Zaporozhye region, the voting will take place from 23 to 27 September. In the same period, voting will take place in the Kherson region occupied by Russian troops (to which part of the Nikolaev region was annexed), as well as in the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics. In the republics of Donbass, the vote was considered to have taken place on the evening of September 25.

Russia will support the results of the vote, President Vladimir Putin promised. “We cannot, we have no moral right to give people close to us to be torn to pieces by executioners, we cannot but respond to their sincere desire to determine their own fate,” — he said during his September 21 address. During the same address, he announced the introduction of partial mobilization in Russia.

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Ukraine announced that it does not recognize the results of referendums. The authorities of Serbia declared a similar attitude to the vote, indicating: “this is completely contrary to our national interests, our policy of maintaining territorial integrity and sovereignty and adherence to the principle of inviolability of borders.”

The authorities of Turkey and Turkey also spoke in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine USA. US President Joe Biden called the referendums “a sham, a false pretext for annexing parts of Ukraine by force.” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promised that the accession of Ukrainian regions to Russia would never be recognized by the United States. “Ukrainians have every right to take them back,” — he emphasized.

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G7 countries condemned referendums and threatened Russia with additional measures

The G7 countries stressed that they would never recognize the results of referendums.

The G7 countries (Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan and the USA) condemned the holding of referendums on joining Russia in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

They expressed their readiness to take additional economic measures against Russia, as well as individuals and legal entities inside and outside the country, “providing political or economic support to Russia's illegal attempts to change the status of the territory of Ukraine.” This is stated in the statement of the states, published on the website of the White House.

The readiness of the United States to subject Russia to additional sanctions was also confirmed by the press secretary of the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre.

“We, the leaders of the G7 (G7), strongly condemn the bogus referendums that Russia is trying to use to create a false pretext to change the status of the sovereign territory of Ukraine,” the statement says.

Moscow's actions violate the UN Charter and international law and are contrary to the rule of law, and referendums have no legal force and are not legitimate, the G7 believes. The statement emphasizes that the G7 will never recognize the results of the referenda.

In addition, the G7 states condemned the announcement of partial mobilization by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his rhetoric, calling it a “step towards escalation.”

Putin called the goal of mobilization “the defense of our Motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.” He also accused the West of having launched “nuclear blackmail”, and assured that “if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people” Moscow is using “every means at our disposal.” “It's not a bluff,” — approves the head of state.

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In the DPR, the question for the voting ballot was formulated as follows: “Do you support the entry of the DPR into the Russian Federation as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation?”

In the LPR, the question will sound like this: for the entry of the LPR into the Russian Federation as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation?

The bulletin in the Kherson region will contain the question: state and its entry into the Russian Federation as a subject of the Russian Federation? The bulletin will be compiled in two languages: Russian and Ukrainian.

In the Zaporozhye region, the question was formulated as follows: “Are you in favor of secession of the Zaporozhye region from Ukraine, formation of an independent state by the Zaporozhye region and its entry into the Russian Federation as a subject of the Russian Federation?” It will be dubbed in Ukrainian.

Putin said on September 21 that Russia would support “the decision about its future, which will be made by the majority of residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.”

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military operation in Ukraine, the purpose of which he called “protecting people who have been subjected to bullying, genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years,” as well as “demilitarization and denazification” neighboring country. At the same time, he claimed that the Russian side did not intend to occupy Ukrainian territory.

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