Armed rebellion shakes Russia
Confusion and uncertainty pervaded Russia yesterday, with neither Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, nor Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of a mercenary force known as Wagner, appearing in public the day after an open military rebellion led by Prigozhin appeared defused. (Here’s how the mutiny unfolded.)
Prigozhin called off the mercenaries after staging an armed uprising against the military’s leadership for nearly 24 hours over the weekend. But the damage had been done, not least because his criticism of the military leaders as incompetent included questioning the Kremlin’s justifications for invading Ukraine in the first place.
Even as state television tried to trumpet the fact that Russian unity and “maturity” had prevailed, independent commentators in Russia and world leaders elsewhere concluded that the rebellion had revealed cracks in Putin’s hold on power. The deal that ultimately defused the hostilities was credited to Belarus’s leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko, a Putin ally.
Scenes: Russians watched with alarm as Prigozhin’s armored vehicles inched ever closer to Moscow with little armed opposition, raising the specter of a civil war in the nuclear-armed state. In Rostov-on-Don, residents cheered and embraced the mercenaries as they left on Saturday.
Analysis: “Putin lost because he showed how weak his system is, that he can be challenged so easily,” said Pavel Slunkin, a former Belarusian diplomat and analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Prigozhin challenged, he attacked, he was so bold and then he retreated, looking like a loser. Only Lukashenko won points.”
For more: Previously unreported shipments between a state-owned Chinese company and a Russian munitions factory are raising new questions about Beijing’s role in the war in Ukraine.
Jubilation and worries at New York’s Pride parade
Around 75,000 marchers filled Manhattan for New York City’s Pride parade. The event, with its flags and bright floats, commemorates the Stonewall riots in 1969 that spurred the modern L.G.B.T.Q. rights movement. With roughly two million spectators, it is the largest of its kind in the U.S., according to organizers.
The event is broadcast on network television, a reflection of the fact that public support for L.G.B.T.Q. people has never been higher, coming in at over 60 percent in recent polls. But since same-sex marriage became legal nationwide in 2015, backlash has grown, and in the past year several states have passed numerous anti-gay laws, such as ones banning drag performances and transgender health care.
Conservative-led boycotts against companies that once embraced Pride festivities have led to billions of dollars in corporate losses. The backlash has also entered the 2024 presidential race, as Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has staked his Republican primary hopes on opposition to L.G.B.T.Q. rights and has clashed with corporations, like Disney, that support them.
Concerns: Heritage of Pride, which organizes the march, cited the worsening political climate in an open letter this month. “Despite the progress we have made together, we are currently under siege,” the organizers wrote.
Mapping queer memories: A crowdsourced digital atlas has collected over half a million intimate recollections from anonymous contributors.
Results from the Greek election
Greek voters overwhelmingly re-elected the conservative New Democracy party, according to preliminary results, paving the way for an absolute majority for its leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The landslide victory appeared to show that voters had overlooked his government’s ties to scandals and embraced his promise of continued economic stability and prosperity.
In a statement, Mitsotakis described the results as “a strong mandate, to move more quickly along the road of major changes.” However, turnout was just over 52 percent, compared with 61 percent in the first elections held in May. He said of those who had voted: “In a resounding and mature way, they put a definitive end to a traumatic cycle of toxicity that had held the country back and divided society.”
By the numbers: With 91 percent of the votes counted at 9:45 p.m., the party had 40.5 percent, and was poised to win 158 seats in Greece’s 300-member Parliament, far ahead of the opposition Syriza party, which was in second place with 17.8 percent and 47 seats. The socialist Pasok party took third place, with 12.5 percent and 32 seats.
Tech threat: The use of A.I. in elections worldwide has set off a scramble for guardrails against disinformation.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
‘Hava Nagila’ at the club
“Hava Nagila,” a beloved folk song traditionally played at Jewish life events, including weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs, is now making appearances at highly secular, non-Jewish gatherings. You might hear it at a baseball game in New York City or a beach club in Ibiza.
The song was written in 1918 by Abraham Zvi Idelsohn, a composer who believed the Jewish people needed new music at a time when Zionism and the push for a Jewish homeland were gaining strength. It became an instant informal hit.
James Loeffler, a professor of Jewish history at the University of Virginia, said he wasn’t surprised “Hava Nagila” was getting so much airtime today. “It’s a song that is about transformation and reinvention, so that is destined to keep happening,” he said. “It’s always had new lives.”