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Travelers from Russia cross the border to Georgia.

REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Would you accept Russian draft dodgers?

In the week since Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilization, roughly 200,000 draft-eligible Russian men have fled the country, preferring to live in Russia’s neighboring countries as refugees rather than as invading soldiers.

But while most of Russia’s post-Soviet neighbors have welcomed them, the European Union – which has already all but stopped issuing visas to Russians anyway – is split over how to handle a fresh wave of asylum-seekers coming from a country that the bloc is now all-but-directly at war with.

The EU’s president, Charles Michel, says members should admit them as conscientious objectors. Germany and France have signaled a willingness to do so. But the Baltic states, those nearest the Russian border, have a different view: nothing doing.

What’s the right policy? Here are some arguments both for and against rejecting Russian asylum-seekers.

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Gabriella Turrisi

What We’re Watching: Brazil braces for “moment of truth,” British pound slides, Putin invites chaos, Snowden becomes Russian

Could Lula win it all in Brazil’s first round?

For months, mainstream pollsters have consistently shown Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro trailing his rival, left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, by a margin of about 10 points. But a new study shows Lula now has nearly 50% support, the threshold for winning the election in the first round, which takes place next Sunday. How accurate are the polls? Support for Bolsonaro is consistently underestimated because many people are unwilling to admit openly that they’ll vote for him. Pollsters say that’s bogus and that they have a good track record of measuring public opinion over the years. Regardless of whether Bolsonaro and his supporters believe the polls, a more important question remains: will they believe the result if he loses? He has spent months fomenting doubt about the electoral system. Either way, as Brazil’s (pro-Bolsonaro) comms minister Fabio Fara put it to the FT: “the moment of truth is coming.”

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A Russian service member stands next to a mobile recruitment center for military service under contract in Rostov-on-Don.

REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

The script for conscripts: Inside Putin’s (partial) mobilization

Russia is raising the stakes in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s call for the partial mobilization of Russian reservists — along with holding referenda in occupied parts as well as threatening to use nuclear weapons — has come in the wake of his troops suffering stunning losses at the hands of Kyiv. While the referenda are expected to be sham votes, and nukes are way up the escalation ladder, the mobilization edict is the most immediate of Putin’s three latest moves.

It’s also already affecting the cost, politics, and operations of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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