”Why dictators are afraid of girls” and English tutorʼs impression of Russia. Worldʼs leading media about the war on November 7

Sasha Sverdlova
Anton Semyzhenko
”Why dictators are afraid of girls” and English tutorʼs impression of Russia. Worldʼs leading media about the war on November 7

If we rely on the logic of dictatorsʼ actions, then Putin is unlikely to resort to the use of nuclear weapons, writes war researcher Dan Reiter in a column on Foreign Policy. The risks of escalation are excessive even for autocrats who are going through a crisis ― and leaders like Putin still refused the most radical steps, especially those that would not significantly affect the course of the war. And the use of nuclear weapons will not lead to victory in the war: for a limited nuclear strike in Ukraine, there are too few strategic goals, the destruction of which could bring Russia an advantage, the author believes. Instead, it would lead to a final break in relations with the West and to the refusal of cooperation from China and Saudi Arabia. Also, NATO may decide to openly enter the war. This is hardly what Putin wants ― after all, losing a war does not automatically mean that everything is lost. The author concludes that the level of panic among allies should be reduced, and the West should continue to support Ukraine and stop talking about "peace at any cost."

"Why dictators are afraid of girls" is the title of the article on War on the Rocks by a group of researchers from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The article names numerous examples of womenʼs protests that changed the course of history, and about the active actions of authoritarian regimes aimed at suppressing gender equality. In authoritarian regimes, gender plays an important role in maintaining power, and challenges to established gender systems often lead to social change. Autocratic rulers around the world embrace patriarchal totalitarianism and use the concept of gender as a tool of information warfare, and gender norms as a tool of repression. In Russia, too, Putin manipulates the so-called traditional values ​​and contrasts them with the "decadent" West, which has already led to a worsening of the situation with regard to womenʼs rights. In China, the Communist Party is also increasingly viewing feminism as a threat to the partyʼs survival, the article says. So if dictators put the suppression of gender equality at the center of their regimes, it means that maintaining and promoting it is critically important, the authors conclude. To put these ideas into practice, the US should take gender into account more broadly in the formation of foreign and defense policy, for example, by adding a gender perspective to war games and simulations, as well as more actively involving women in actual decision-making.

A private English tutor writes about the mood in Russia based on his own observations of the family in which he works in an essay for The Economist. His 14-year-old student, from wealthy Russian family, actively repeated official narratives about the "special operation" and the "inauthenticity" of Ukraine at the beginning of the war. Recently, the author noticed that he was sharing pro-Ukrainian videos on TikTok and Ukrainian memes to his friends. Even the atmosphere in the city is changing, the author writes: the capital Z on the facade of the municipal building has recently disappeared. The society has no respect for its army or faith in it: the Armed Forces of Russia are now associated with either jokes or the tears of the families torn by mobilization. Despite living in Russia for the past several years, the author writes that he decided to leave because he can no longer understand Russia and does not feel like a part of it.