Help Putin find Ukraine: A historian explains the Russian government’s obession with the past
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again reiterated his favourite sentiment: “It was only after the October Revolution that various quasi-states appeared and the Soviet government created Soviet Ukraine. It is a well-known fact.” To historian Alexander Orlov such statements are not only incorrect, but they show the Russian government's "passeism", the hostility towards the present and future.

The textbook (without giving context) quotes Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov’s statement regarding Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union: “Our cause is just! The enemy will be defeated! Victory will be ours!” It is supposed to become a part of the school curriculum starting September 1, 2023. However, the publication Podyom (“Rise”) writes that the textbook will not be mandatory, citing the Russian Word publishing house.

The secretive prisons where Russia hides and tortures Ukrainian civilians
Over the last 14 months, Russia has abducted thousands of Ukrainian civilians, from volunteers and journalists to former soldiers and officials, and locked them in Russian prisons. Most of them are not allowed to communicate with their lawyers or loved ones and without knowing reasons for their incarceration. Now Ukrainians who have been released from the facilities, as well as with their relatives and lawyers, talk about how this clandestine prison system works.

Press freedom advocates have increasingly been criticising “lawfare”, the misuse of the law to silence critical voices. It typically involves charges not directly related to journalism and is more and more a common tool among corrupt and authoritarian regimes keen to fight freedom of expression. Instead of being targeted for the words published or spoken, journalists, publishers and editors are pursued on supposedly unrelated charges.

Imagine if every person in the world could have a conversation with another person, across all borders. A Chinese woman from Shanghai and an American woman from the Rust Belt would exchange stories about their lives. A coal miner from Germany and a small farmer from Madagascar could share their experience of climate change. A cleaning woman from Greece could debate a teacher from Hungary about migration and LGBTQ rights. What would such conversations change?

“We need to stop disguising military threats as ‘political compromises’”: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk warns of Russian imperialism
The Ukrainian laywer and human rights activist says that Putin does not fear Nato but democracy and claims that Russia "has to be stopped in Ukraine" to not go further in its imperialistic expansion. "The imprisoned peoples of Belarus, Chechnya, Dagestan, Tatarstan, Yakutiia, and others endure forced russification, the expropriation of natural resources, and prohibitions on their own language and culture." [Speech transcript in English and German, or watch the recording in English.]

One year without Iryna: The father of one of 2,000 Ukrainian civilians in Russian captivity refuses to lose hope
Iryna Gorobtsova was abducted by Russian forces from the home where she grew up in Kherson. She has now spent a year in a Crimean prison, with virtually no contact with the outside world.

True Russia, a non-profit organisation founded by Russian artists and economists who oppose the war, have created a constantly growing database of social, cultural and scientific initiatives of communities around the world - from distance jobs for academics to remote IT assignments, and from housing initiatives to psychological help.

Secular Religion
unbelievable as it may seem, not all religion requires what you believe. For example I believe and have faith in -Bastet, Baby Yodin, Unholy Ghosts, fae, fairies and tinker bells for cats. -science as a magick unreal/imaginary number -technology that does not work but scams the surface Religion is a bubble, always foaming but ultimately empty of even the meanings we deny To put it another way. My religion is wrong and therefore unfollowable …

I'm submitting this to Humanities instead of Technology, because I believe this is less about social media and more about online communities. > Because that’s what we have to do. Be each other’s pen pals. Talk. Share. Welcome. Care. And just keep moving. Stay nimble. Maybe we have to roll the internet back a little and go back to blogs and decentralized groups and techy fiddling and real-life conventions and idealists with servers in their closets. Back to Diaryland and Minnesota and grandiose usernames and thoughts that take ever so much more than 280 characters to express. That’s okay. We can do that. We know how. We’re actually really good at it. Love things and love each other. We’re good at that, too. Protect the vulnerable. Make little things. Wear electric blue eyeshadow. Take a picture of your breakfast. Overthink *Twin Peaks*. Get angry. Do revolutions. Find out what Buffy character you are. Don’t get cynical. Don’t lose joy. Be *us*. Because us is what keeps the light on when the night comes closing in. Us doesn’t have a web address. We are wherever we gather. Mastodon, Substack, Patreon, Dreamwidth, AO3, Tumblr, Discord, even the ruins of Twitter, even Facebook and Instagram and Tiktok, god help us all. Even Diaryland. > > ... > > Stop buying things and start talking to each other. They’ve always known that was how they lose.

Really just like the picture more than anything.

Supreme Court upholds California law on humane pork sales The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld California’s right to block the sale of pork in the state unless producers abide by more humane regulations on the treatment of pregnant sows. The decision touched on constitutional issues of interstate trade and splintered the justices outside of their usual liberal-conservative blocs. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, writing the majority in what boiled down to a 5-4 decision, rejected what he called a request by pork producers for the court to “fashion two new and more aggressive constitutional restrictions on the ability of States to regulate goods sold within their borders.” “While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list,” Gorsuch wrote for a majority that included Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett.

Much has been written about the problems of large seemingly ultra-affluent cities like San Francisco. This story on San Francisco in 2023 reads a bit less editorialized, goes a bit more "on the ground" than most, with perspectives from diverse people whose lives are connected with the city.

> In May 2001, when the 54th and final volume of the Animorphs series was published, many of its millions of readers felt short-changed by its bleak ending and took to the internet to vent their frustration. Created by American author Katherine Applegate and her husband Michael Grant, Animorphs was a popular science fiction saga for young adults in which a parasitic army of slug-like aliens, called Yeerks, wanted nothing more than to invade Earth but were constantly thwarted by a group of teenagers who possessed the ability to morph into animals. A tale as old as time. To be completely honest, I have never read Animorphs, nor have I watched the TV adaptation, but that did not stop me from enjoying and admiring this refreshingly honest letter, written by Applegate for the attention of the saga's disappointed fans. The letter ends with the below paragraph, but it is well worth a read in full. >> So, you don’t like the way our little fictional war came out? You don’t like Rachel dead and Tobias shattered and Jake guilt-ridden? You don’t like that one war simply led to another? Fine. Pretty soon you’ll all be of voting age, and of draft age. So when someone proposes a war, remember that even the most necessary wars, even the rare wars where the lines of good and evil are clear and clean, end with a lot of people dead, a lot of people crippled, and a lot of orphans, widows and grieving parents.

An artist "ashamed” to be a Russian citizen: As the Ukraine war grinds on, Russia is becoming a cultural wasteland
Part of Vladimir Putin’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine was to save the Russian culture and language from a supposed neo-Nazi persecution in Ukraine, but all the war has done is accelerate the flight of the brightest and best from Russian soil. Evgeny Kissin plays the piano in Prague, Vladimir Ashkenazy in Switzerland. Boris Akunin now writes from London, Lyudmila Ulitskaya from Berlin.

The Timeless Relevance of Hugo and Zola

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