Tag Archives: Russia

Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

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Gorbachev’s legacy is lauded by the West. The reality is more complicated

Gorbachev was heralded by the West but his political legacy feels largely irrelevant today

By Thomas Rowley  Published 8-31-2022 by openDemocracy

Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Moscow, May 12, 2010 Photo: Veni/flickr/CC

It was in 1984, Mikhail Gorbachev recalled, that he met Margaret Thatcher at Chequers.

The relationship between the pair has since been romanticised, with Thatcher famously referring to Gorbachev as “a man one could do business with”.

In his recollection of the trip, Gorbachev remembered the encounter as “open and friendly”, adding: “nevertheless, our ideological differences immediately became apparent”. Continue reading

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The UN must act now to stop the crackdown in Russia

New amendments have been added to the ‘undesirables law’ as Putin looks to intimidate, silence and quash dissent

By Damelya Aitkhozhina  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Andrey Pivovarov, former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement | Image: Facebook / Andrey Pivovarov

For months, Russian authorities have regularly unleashed repressive announcements on Fridays. 15 July was no different.

That day, a court in the city of Krasnodar sentenced Andrey Pivovarov, the former executive director of the now-defunct pro-democracy Open Russia Civic Movement, to four years in prison on charges of leading an ‘undesirable organisation’. Continue reading

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Inside the Democrats’ climate deal with the devil

The new climate package furthers the US’ most profligate pastimes: drilling oil and driving big cars

By Aaron White  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Senator Joe Manchin Photo: Third Way Think Tank/flickr/CC

Last week, Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator whose decisive vote in the evenly split upper house has led some to brand him ‘President Manchin’, and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer surprised even the most clued-in political junkies by announcing support for a climate bill that had been declared dead just several weeks before.

The 725-page legislation seemed a brief respite from a summer of extreme weather – a brutal heatwave and flooding across the US – as well as soaring inflation, a cost of living crisis and radical Supreme Court rulings that overturned abortion rights and limited the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency. Continue reading

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It’s getting harder for scientists to collaborate across borders – that’s bad when the world faces global problems like pandemics and climate change

International scientific collaboration has boomed since the end of the 20th century.
Yuichiro Chino/Moment via Getty Images

Tommy Shih, Lund University

The United Nations and many researchers have emphasized the critical role international collaborative science plays in solving global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss and pandemics. The rise of non-Western countries as science powers is helping to drive this type of global cooperative research. For example, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed a tuberculosis research network in 2017 and are making significant advancements on basic and applied research into the disease.

However, in the past few years, growing tensions among superpowers, increasing nationalism, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have contributed to nations’ behaving in more distrustful and insular ways overall. One result is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to collaborate with scholars in other nations. Continue reading

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‘You Don’t Got This’: Peace Group Blasts NYC’s New Nuclear Survival PSA

It’s difficult to take shelter during a thermonuclear attack, says ICAN, “when, in a matter of seconds, houses up to 175 kilometers away from the epicenter crumble like they are made of cards.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 7-13-2022 by Common Dreams

“You’ve got this,” the narrator of a New York City Emergency Management public service announcement assures residents facing a hypothetical nuclear attack. (Photo: YouTube screen grab)

Peace advocates on Tuesday derided a New York City public service announcement meant to prepare residents for a nuclear attack as a 21st-century version of the absurd Duck and Cover civil defense film of the early Cold War era.

“So, there’s been a nuclear attack,” the narrator of the NYC Emergency Management video begins. “Don’t ask me how or why, just know the big one has hit.” Continue reading

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Children ‘Dying Before Our Eyes’: Aid Workers Plea for Help as Famine Unfolds in Somalia

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished,” said one United Nations official, “and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published -22-2022 by Common Dreams

Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary-General Jan Egeland listens to a woman speaking during a visit to drought-stricken Somalia on June 21, 2022. (Photo: Jan Egeland/Twitter)

International aid workers are issuing desperate pleas for help this week as severe climate-driven drought coupled with critically depleted global food supplies due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are fueling a slide into “catastrophic famine” in Somalia that could claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of children by summer’s end.

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished, and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September this year,” Adam Abdelmoula, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Somalia—which has suffered an unprecedented four consecutive failed rainy seasons—said during a visit to Dolow in the south near the Ethiopian border. Continue reading

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‘Off the Scale’: Warmer Arctic Ocean Fueling Climate Feedback Loop Faster Than Previously Known

“This is one of the scariest reports I have ever seen,” said one climate scientist in response to new study.

By Jon Queally  Published 6-15-2022 by Common Dreams

The Barents Sea is an area of the Arctic Ocean, located in the north of Norway and Russia. Named after the Dutch navigator Willem Barents. Photo: Richard Mortel/flickr/CC

New scientific research published Wednesday shows the waters in the North Barents Sea are warming at a rate that is much more rapid than most climate models have predicted, with worrying implications about feedback loops for the larger Arctic region and far beyond.

Extending between the north coast of Norway and Russia in the eastern Arctic Ocean, the North Barents Sea has been warming at a rate nearly seven times that of the global average, the study shows. The researchers used temperature data over four decades to determine that the trends in the region—the “fastest warming place known on Earth“—should be seen as an “early warning” of what could happen elsewhere. Continue reading

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‘Worrying Trend’: Global Nuclear Stockpile Set to Grow for First Time Since Cold War

“The risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War,” said the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-13-2022 by Common Dreams

The world’s stockpile of nuclear warheads is expected to expand in the coming years for the first time since the 1980s and the catastrophic threat of those weapons being used is escalating, a leading arms watchdog said Monday.

“If the nuclear-armed states take no immediate and concrete action on disarmament, then the global inventory of nuclear warheads could soon begin to increase for the first time since the Cold War,” Matt Korda, an associate researcher with the Weapons of Mass Destruction Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said in a statement released alongside SIPRI’s annual report. Continue reading

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Our global economic system is broken. Are we headed for a mass revolt?

How long can billionaires continue to amass wealth while the world’s poorest struggle to buy food?

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-28-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Today Show

While it has long been blatantly obvious that the global economic model is not working for all, the rate of accumulation of wealth by a small minority is now breathtaking – if not totally obscene.

With the situation only being worsened by the economic impact of the Ukraine War – which has come on top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – could we be headed for mass revolts sparked by a desperate need for change? Continue reading

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