Anne Applebaum

Epidemics Reveal the Truth About the Societies They Hit

BOLOGNA, Italy—I am sitting in the middle of this northern Italian city, two hours’ drive from the Lombardian towns that have been quarantined. At this precise moment in time, Bologna has not produced a single instance of the new coronavirus. One or two people with the disease, known as COVID-19, have been moved into the …

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Venezuela Is the Eerie Endgame of Modern Politics

Venezuela Is the Eerie Endgame of Modern Politics

Last month, Juan Guaidó appeared in Washington in the role of political totem. Venezuela’s main opposition leader—the man who is recognized by that country’s National Assembly, millions of his fellow citizens, and several dozen foreign countries as the rightful president of Venezuela—was one of the special guests at the State of the Union address. President …

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Reagan ED REINKE / AP

This Is How Reaganism and Thatcherism End

This article was updated at 10:17 ET on February 10, 2020 In an Italian hotel ballroom of spectacular opulence—on red velvet chairs, beneath glittering crystal chandeliers and a stained-glass ceiling—the conservative movement that once inspired people across Europe, built bridges across the Iron Curtain and helped to win the Cold War came, finally, to an …

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Brexit Reveals a Whole New Set of Political Wounds

FRANCISCO SECO / AP IMAGES One evening last week, I found myself dining in the House of Lords just as the “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill”—the law that will finalize Brexit—was wending its way through the final stages of the British legislative process. When I arrived, the debate was paused; at suppertime, formally speaking, the …

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The Disturbing Campaign Against Poland’s Judges

The Disturbing Campaign Against Poland’s Judges

Anek Skarzynski / AFP / Getty Last summer, a very unusual scandal unfolded in Poland—or rather, a very ordinary scandal, but with some unusual protagonists. A journalist at a Polish news website, Onet.pl, exposed the existence of an organized online trolling campaign designed to discredit public figures. An everyday occurrence, of course. Except that this …

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Putin - PETER ANDREWS / REUTERS

Putin’s Big Lie

In the opening scene of the most famous Polish movie of the past two decades, a crowd of anxious, desperate people—on foot, riding bikes, leading horses, carrying bundles—walks onto a bridge. To their immense surprise, they see another group of anxious, desperate people heading toward them, walking from the opposite direction. “People, what are you …

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Boris Johnson isn’t the cause of Britain’s unseriousness. He’s the product of it.

“The Tories, in their terror, have elevated a cavorting charlatan to the steps of Downing Street.” Those are the words of Sir Max Hastings, writing in the Guardian on June 24. Hastings is the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, the conservative British newspaper that has loyally backed the Tory party for generations. Like many other …

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Putin’s attack on Western values was familiar. The American reaction was not.

Russian scorn for liberal democracy has a long history, and a certain kind of Russian disdain for the West is nothing new. As far back as 1920, Lenin declared that parliaments were “historically obsolete” and predicted that it was just a matter of time before they disappeared. In 1956, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev famously …

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Unlearning the lessons from Chernobyl

Five years after the Chernobyl disaster, in the summer of 1991, the last summer the Soviet Union was still in existence, I visited Ukraine. I trekked out to the 20-mile exclusion zone — it had been cleared of all people after the accident — together with some local environmental activists. We brought Geiger counters, which …

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