Putin and the City

Russian President Vladimir Putin rolled to victory in Sunday’s elections, sure. But one particularly poignant data point for him was to take 70% of the vote in Moscow, cradle of the upper middle-class opposition that once put hundreds of thousands on the streets against him.


Back in 2012, when those protests were in full force, Putin failed to even win a majority in the capital city, notching just 48% of the vote. It was, and remains, the only time a Russian president has failed to carry the capital city.

It’s true that many of those most implacably opposed to Putin simply boycotted this election, and that there wasn’t even a remotely palatable opposition candidate — the role played better by oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov in 2012 than by socialite Ksenia Sobchak in 2018.

But do those factors fully account for a 22-point swing in Putin’s support among Muscovites? The reality is that six years on from the largest protests in Russia’s post-Soviet history, Putin’s assertive nationalism, skillful messaging, and deft repressions have both boosted his appeal and demoralized his opponents. Now, if Putin could just figure out what to do in 2024…

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Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

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January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

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A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.

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