5 min read

⏳ Thursday Fix: Russian Ramifications

⏳ Thursday Fix: Russian Ramifications

Morning all,

Putin's daughters are sanctioned, Burkina Faso's former president is sentenced, Israel's coalition is fractured, and harassment of women getting abortions in Spain is banned.

Until tomorrow,

Your Fixers


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On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen assured there would be further sanctions against Russia in the future. While she mentioned Russian oil as a target, The Guardian had some extraordinary context in one of their articles.

"The enormity of that sum was laid bare by the bloc’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, who said the EU had given €35 billion to Putin in fossil fuel payments since the war began, compared with €1 billion in arms for Ukraine." - The Guardian context

Meanwhile, Lithuania has become the first EU country to stop the import of Russian gas. France 24 described the move as "a remarkable turnaround for a country that imported almost all of its gas from Russia as recently as 2015".

Putin's daughters: President Putin's two adult daughters - with his ex-wife Lyudmila - were sanctioned by the US government.

CNN said they were targeted with the understanding they may be helping Putin hide some of his assets.

Here is a fascinating look at who Putin's daughters are, and what is known about them - including a suspected 18-year-old "love child" who bears a striking resemblance to Putin. *You may need a Times subscription to read this. If so, BBC News also had an article - though not quite as detailed.


The former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, has been sentenced to life in jail for his complicity in the assassination of his predecessor in 1987.

What's the background here? In 1987, Thomas Sankara was the leader of the west African nation. Reuters described him as a "charismatic Marxist revolutionary". He was gunned down in the country's capital of Ouagadougou. An Al Jazeera report said Compaore was at the time Sankara's "friend and comrade-in-arms". Compaore went on to lead the country for 27 years, before he was ousted in a coup in 2014.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in on an ongoing and polarising debate, saying trans women should not be able to participate in female sports.

"I don't think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events. And maybe that's a controversial thing ... but it just seems to me to be sensible." - Prime Minister Johnson

Johnson was speaking about the topic as the fallout continues over the government's decision to exclude trans from a proposed ban on conversion therapy.

According to PA, Johnson went on to say he believes there should be women only spaces - using changing rooms, prisons and hospitals as examples.

"That doesn't mean that I'm not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition. It's vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions. But these are complex issues and I don't think they can be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation. It takes a lot of thought to get this right." - Prime Minister Johnson

Don't forget: we recently published a piece about trans participation in sport and we think it would make for a very insightful and interesting read. You can read it here.


A right-wing Israeli MP has left the government coalition, leaving prime minister Naftali Bennett without a majority.

What is this all about? the religious MP quit over a row about leavened bread being provided in hospitals during the Jewish holiday of Passover. As The Guardian noted, in Jewish tradition leavened bread is barred from the public domain during Passover.

Politics at play: Before this happened, Naftali Bennett led a very fragile coalition government - made up of eight hugely diverse parties, including an Arab Muslim party and the Jewish right. One of the things that united them the most last year, was their shared desire to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

Following this defection, there are now 60 MPs in coalition, and 60 in opposition. While Bennett can still stay on as prime minister in this scenario, it means he faces a very difficult to task of passing legislation, and is also very vulnerable to further defections.


For the last few days, the British government has been widely criticised for its plans to privatise Channel 4.

Worth noting: Channel 4 was set up during Margaret Thatcher's time in office. While it is government owned, it generates revenue from advertising, unlike the BBC where citizens pay an annual licence fee. Any profits made are put back into the channels for programmes. Critics of the government's plans say the quality of programmes will suffer if it gets privatised.

BBC News said Channel 4 is worth between £600 million and £1.5 billion.

Worth noting: A petition to stop the planned sale has already received close to its target of 300,000 signatures.


Spain has made it illegal to intimidate or harass women going for an abortion, with a punishment of up to a year in jail for those found breaking the law.

It effectively means pro-life activists can no longer station themselves in protest outside abortion clinics.

What are the current laws on abortion in Spain? Abortions can be obtained freely during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After that, an abortion can also be permitted in cases of rape, where the pregnancy poses a serious physical or psychological risk to the mother, or if the foetus is malformed.



House of Maxwell

A new three-part docuseries exploring the Maxwell family - Robert and his daughter Ghislaine in particular - was released on BBC iPlayer this week. You can watch it here.

Remember: Ghislaine Maxwell was recently denied a re-trial, and faces possibly spending the rest of her life in jail after being convicted of crimes - including trafficking - associated with the late Jeffrey Epstein.

Reviews: The Guardian and The Independent gave it 4/5, while The Telegraph was a bit tougher - 2/5.


Did you know that 'brother' in Polish is 'brat'? How extraordinarily fitting.