As a first generation Australian with two Russian parents, I have always found myself trapped between two ideologies – the east and the west
My mother and father spent a large chunk of their lives in Soviet Russia, living through its collapse and the turbulent transition to capitalism led by Boris Yeltsin.
When Vladimir Putin came into office, it was seen as a turning point for the country. A potential for stability brought by the hope that Russia could convert to resembling a Western nation.
While watching state television news, I was entranced by Putin. I was mesmerised by the propaganda that was fed through censored journalism and faked approval ratings.
More than 20 years later and Putin is still in power as the democracy that was once promised, continues to creep further out of reach.
What was once a presidency full of possibility, it now has mutated into what some call – a dictatorship
This has bled into various sections of life from business to education, where corruption is rife.
Journalism has been one crucial industry impacted by the changing landscape of Russia, with press freedom gradually deteriorating through the silencing of journalists.
For independent journalists this has meant being labelled as “foreign agents” for any funding received from international organisations including small donations.
Putin insists that the Foreign Agents law works in favour of preserving the transparency of companies.
“I’m sure our people, who are taking the money, are honest and kind but those paying them, as a rule, are guided by an agenda of trying to restrain Russia – that’s the problem,”Putin says
The president compares his country’s laws to the U.S, who has imposed similar legislations since 1938. He says Russia’s are more lenient as they do not ban companies from operating.
“These organisations do keep working and functioning, however they are required to report if they are engaged in internal political activity and receive funding from abroad, nobody’s rights are being infringed here whatsoever.”
Independent news channel, Rain TV labelled a ‘Foreign Agent’ as The Kremlin presses down on vocal journalists
Dozhd (TV Rain) is an independent news channel that has gained over 2 million followers since it launched in 2010 and one of the first Russian news organisations to report on the protests against the alleged rigging of the country’s parliamentary elections, but in August it was labelled a foreign agent.
Dozhd Editor-in-Chief Tikhon Dzyadko says the event was “very humiliating” for him as he views himself as a “patriot”.
He says “this legislation is to punish opponents” and to make “people afraid of speaking up”.
“We are completely sure that everything we have been doing for and with Rain TV, we have been doing for the good of Russia and Russians,” says Mr Dzyadko.
“Because a lot of young people, they do not watch the TV, they don’t watch the propaganda. They use YouTube, Telegram, TikTok, Instagram, other major platforms, and the problem is that there are two different realities.”
He says the gap between the government and independent media continues to widen with the foreign agent label highlighting “that our enemies are the state”
This comes amid the increasing silencing of journalists, with Novaya Gazeta newspaper fined on Wednesday for failing to properly label “foreign agents” in their news coverage.
The safety of media personnel is constantly threatened with Russia being the most dangerous European country for journalists.
Between 1992 and 2021, 58 journalists died in Russia, with 38 of them murdered, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
When asked why he chooses to stay within the country, Mr Dzyadko says he spent two years in the U.S. but is too deeply rooted within Russia to migrate.
“Everything I have, everything I know, is here and I want my kids to live in this country, and my goal is to make the life here better,”
“Of course it’s not very comfortable now, of course it is very unstable, but at the same time, I see that we have millions of our viewers here in Russia for whom it is very important that we’re reporting from Moscow because these people want this country to be better as well.”
“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army
Vladimir Putin’s army is in a bit of a pickle. They’ve been drafting retirees, and telling conscripts to use tampons for bullet wounds.
This isn’t exactly the most impressive fighting force we’ve ever seen. In fact, they look more like dad’s army than anything else.
It’s clear that Putin is desperate to beef up his forces, but it seems like he’s just throwing bodies at the problem instead of actually preparing them for battle.
Pictures from Sevastopol in Crimea show groups of men — many well into their 50s and 60s gripping weapons and wearing uniforms.
Several appear in questionable fighting shape.
This could be a big problem for Russia if they actually get into a serious conflict. We hope for their sake that they never have to find out.
Thousands of Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid conscription. This just goes to show how unpopular Putin’s policies are, even among his own people.
The Kremlin is now trying to catch thousands of Russian men as they try and leave the country. But it’s not going to be easy.
Many of these men are willing to risk everything to avoid being drafted into Putin’s army.
It’s estimated that up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the conflict began.
This is a huge loss of life for Russia, and it’s all thanks to Putin’s reckless policies.
Many of these soldiers were just boys, barely out of their teens. They had their whole lives ahead of them, but they’ll never get to experience it now.
It’s tragic, and it’s all thanks to Putin. He needs to be stopped.
At the same time, a video shared on social media shows a Russian officer telling new recruits what to expect.
“I say right away if you are near the fire, you are f***ed,” she says, before reeling off a list of items they will need to acquire themselves before entering the war zone.
“Take sleeping bags with you, you will sleep where you have to.”
IRAN PROTESTS | Are countries using religion as an excuse to violate basic human rights?
Iran protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression
IRAN PROTESTS – The story of Iran is one of a country that has been through a lot in recent history.
An uprising of both men and women has engulfed Iran, following the death of Mahsa Amini. Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.
From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.
Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.
There is a feeling of discontent among the Iranian people. The economy is struggling, and many young Iranians feel they have no future.
They are fed up with the corruption of the government and the lack of opportunity.
Mahsa Amini’s brutal death
On top of this is the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman.
Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police for “improperly” wearing her mandatory hijab.
Reports suggest she was beaten so severely that she went into a coma.
Three days later, she died, and many suspect it was a direct result of this police brutality.
Amini’s death has fuelled further anger and extreme protest, with widespread condemnation from Iranians, denouncing her death and the regime that caused it.
The incident has brought attention to the plight of many Iranians who feel they are living under an oppressive regime.
While it is difficult to predict what will happen next in Iran, many hope the death of Amani will not be in vain.
Many pray the protests will lead to real action and a country where women are treated as equals. They want a country where there is opportunity for all.
Women in Iran and around the world are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption and human rights violations.
In 2022, many are angry that men are controlling what women do with their bodies and what they wear.
Will this drive change?
In Iran, many young Iranians are showing the world they don’t want this system any more, that they want democracy.
They’re cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, they’re putting their own safety on the line to take a stand against the regime that has silenced them for so long.
This generation is very different, but it doesn’t guarantee that this uprising will fuel any real change.
However, Memarsadeghi said “there is no way back from here.”
How can organisations and world leaders help?
Iran is in the midst of a political upheaval and the world is watching.
Scenes of protest and violence are being shared far and wide on social media. The world has a front-row seat to the unfolding crisis.
However, the Iranian Government has responded by imposing a sweeping internet ban, cutting off the protesters from the outside world.
This only adds to the urgency of the situation, as Iran’s people are now risking their lives to speak out against their oppression.
World leaders and democracy advocacy groups are already discussing ways to help the people of Iran and hold their violations to account.
How close to a full scale nuclear war are we really?
Since President Vladimir Putin’s latest warning that he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, the question of whether or not the former KGB spy is bluffing has become much more urgent.
There are several reasons why Putin’s nuclear warnings have the West worried. First, Russia has been increasingly aggressive in its actions in recent years, from annexing Crimea to intervening in Syria. This has led to a feeling that Putin is becoming more and more reckless and unpredictable.
Second, Russia has been beefing up its nuclear arsenal, with reports indicating that it now has more nuclear warheads than any other country in the world. This increase in firepower makes Putin’s threats all the more credible.
Last but not least, there is the fact that Putin is a former KGB agent. This means that he is no stranger to playing games of brinkmanship and bluffing. In the past, he has used nuclear threats as a way to get what he wants. For example, in 2008, he threatened to aim nuclear missiles at European cities unless the United States agreed to drop plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
The West is worried
Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Putin’s latest nuclear threats have the West worried. Only Putin knows if he is actually bluffing, but given his track record, it’s certainly a possibility.
If a nuclear weapon were used in Ukraine, it would cause a massive humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people would be killed or wounded, and millions more would be displaced. The economic and social damage would be enormous, and Europe would be plunged into chaos.
In addition, the use of nuclear weapons would also have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. The nuclear non-proliferation regime would be dealt a serious blow, and there would be a renewed risk of nuclear war.
The world would become a much more dangerous place.
A nuclear explosion in Ukraine would have a regional impact, but it could also have global consequences. The use of nuclear weapons would violate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and this could lead to other countries acquiring nuclear weapons. In addition, the risk of nuclear war would increase, and this would have a negative impact on the entire world.
The UN has condemned Russia’s threats of nuclear war, and it has called on all parties to refrain from any actions that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. The UN Secretary-General has said that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and he has urged all sides to return to the negotiating table.
Russia has several allies in its war against Ukraine. These include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia also has the support of China and Iran.
The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on energy prices.
Due to the conflict, there has been a disruption in the supply of natural gas and oil from Ukraine. This has led to an increase in prices for these commodities.
The West can only threaten Putin further, as they’ve done all year, since President Biden warned that Russia was about to invade Ukraine.
Every step of the way, Putin has done exactly what the West has feared.
Russia will formally annex Ukraine regions Friday
“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army
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