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This week’s Monday Briefing turns the spotlight on the upcoming WWII Victory Day celebrations in Russia and Ukraine. In other news: the WHO announces the end of the Covid-19 emergency, direct talks between Sudan’s rival factions are being held in Saudi Arabia, in the UK the first coronation ceremony in 70 years generates mixed reactions, and much, much more in our latest issue. 

Spotlight: Victory Day celebrations are nearing in Moscow… Ukraine will celebrate Europe Day instead 

Tomorrow, on May 9th, the day that marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Putin will take to the Red Square in Moscow for Russia’s yearly Victory Day celebrations. More than a year after the invasion of Ukraine, the event has also become evocative of Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine. 

Last year, during his Victory Parade speech, Putin continued to falsely frame Ukraine as the ‘successor’ of Nazi Germany, adding “victory will be ours, like in 1945.” The celebration of Victory Day now serves an important legitimizing role both for Putin and the ongoing war. This year, the victory parades held throughout the country, traditionally opportunities to show off Russia’s military powers, are likely to bear the brunt of the war. In fact, many regions at the border with Ukraine, as well as the Russian-occupied Crimea, have already cancelled their military parades over “safety concerns.” In part, Wednesday’s drone incident seems to have heightened Russian authorities’ fears over the possibility of other attacks. Even in parts of the country where the military parades will go on as planned, it is likely that only conscripts will be marching since all other contract soldiers are at war. The celebration is also a chance to remember World War II veterans. However, as Russian casualties in Ukraine continue to mount – the US estimates around 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded since December alone – the Immortal Regiment march, one of the day’s most recognizable events, during which people paraded holding portraits of their WWII veteran relatives, has been cancelled. Authorities feared that this year people would march holding pictures of relatives who had died in the Ukraine war, highlighting the yet undisclosed real number of Russian losses. 

Cementing the break of Ukraine from its Soviet past, today President Zelenskyy announced that Victory Day celebrations would be moved to May 8th, like in other Western countries. Instead, tomorrow, Ukraine will celebrate Europe Day, generally celebrated in the European Union to mark the signing of the Schuman declaration. Ukraine applied for EU membership in February 2022, and was granted candidate status in June. In Ukraine, Zelenskyy stated the goal of Europe Day is to “commemorate our historic unity – the unity of all Europeans who destroyed Nazism and will defeat Ruscism (Russian fascism).” To honor the day, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will meet with Zelenskyy in Kyiv tomorrow. Clearly, May 9th is a date quickly becoming emblematic of the wider clash of Russian and Ukrainian narratives, both equally critical in their respective countries to consolidate a war effort that, at the moment, sees no light at end of the tunnel.

Around the World 

WHO says Covid-19 emergency is over.  After the 15th meeting of the Emergency Committee, the Director general of the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 over as a global health emergency, underlying the possibility of it being reviewed in the case of a change in the situation. It will now be up to individual countries to continue to manage COVID in the way they think best. The decision was taken after a deep data analysis of the evolution of the virus and the death rate that had dropped from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 on 24 April 2023.

Related:  Monday Briefing 24/04/2023

Drone attack on the Kremlin. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the top of the Kremlin presidential palace was punctured by what appears to have been 2 drone strikes. Moscow claimed the attack had been an attempt by Ukraine to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite Ukraine denying these claims, Russia responded later that day by launching another missile attack on the capital city of Kyiv. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said America did not know who was responsible for the drone attack, but claimed insisted that anything coming out of the Kremlin should be taken “with a very large shaker of salt.” 

Sudan’s warring sides to begin talks in Saudi Arabia as fighting rages on. On Saturday, after three weeks of fighting in Sudan, the two factions: the Representatives of the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) met in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) for pre-negotiation talks aiming to reach a ceasefire and allow aid to reach the millions of civilians in need. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States urge both parties to take in consideration the interests of the Sudanese nation and its people and actively engage in the talks toward a ceasefire and end to the conflict.” The US-Saudi statement noted the efforts of other countries behind this weekend’s talks, including Britain, the United Arab Emirates and organizations like the League of Arab States, the African Union and others. The fighting has continued in recent days despite a threat of sanctions from the US.

Second mass shooting in Serbia in just one week.  On Thursday night, a shooter opened fire from a moving car, killing 8 people and injuring 14 others. This tragedy comes just a few days after a 13-year-old kid opened fire in a school in central Belgrade, killing nine people. President Alexander Vucic announced he would embark on a “practical disarmament” of the country and claimed new security measures would be on the way to protect from such events happening again in the future. 

Indian troops ordered to ‘shoot on sight’ amid violence in Manipur. Clashes broke out on Wednesday in the north-eastern state of Manipur between the Meitei community, which is largely Hindu and lives in the valley in Imphal, and the predominantly Christian tribes who live in the surrounding hills. The evacuation effort has focused on moving Meitei people out of areas dominated by the tribes and vice versa. On Friday, authorities announced they had evacuated about 20,000 people to camps under army protection to prevent further escalation. As deadly clashes entered their third day, Indian troops were deployed with orders to “shoot on sight” and enforce curfew. 

Wagner Chief rages at Russia’s generals and threatens Bakhmut pullout. In two videos posted last week, Prigozhin (also known as “Putin’s chef”) called out Russia’s top defense chiefs for not supplying enough military ammunition. In one of the videos, he stands behind a field littered with corpses, which he claims belong to Wagner volunteer fighters that died in battle. Wagner has had an important role in the Kremlin’s assault on Bakhmut and has recruited countless prisoners to the battlefield, some of which fight in exchange for their freedom.

Trump Rape Lawsuit Trial. Together with the open case of Trump, accused of hush-money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels, another case is currently open against the ex-US President: he is accused of having raped E Jean Carroll, known in the US as the “invincible old lady”. She went public with her accusation of rape in 2019, three years into Trump’s presidency, encouraged by the #MeToo movement. Carroll was accused by Trump of having set it up to try to get publicity and with political scopes. During this week’s trial, the Emmy’s nominee described how she was fired by Elle magazine after 26 years “because I accused Donald Trump.”

Related:  Monday Briefing 20/02/2023

US-Mexico migration deal raises fears for struggling border cities. Under the agreement announced on Tuesday, Mexico will continue to accept non-Mexican deportees from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua who are turned away from the US. In the long-term this is set to intensify pressure on border cities already struggling with large migrant populations. Conditions for migrants in Mexico have become increasingly dire, with migrants facing not just extortion and violence from criminals but also abuse from authorities. 

Hollywood Writers Go on Strike, Halting Production. On Tuesday, movie and television writers of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike. While many late-night shows have already been suspended, the strike will bring many more productions to a halt. This has quickly made clear that the WGA is among a relatively small number of unions in America that actually has power at an industrial scale. The strikers’ demand fairer contracts with the major studios’ coalition which include satisfactory pay, health care, and pension plans, in an industry that has recently been overcome by major technological and structural shifts which have heavily affected all the above. 

Coronation of Charles III. The 74-year old’s coronation ceremony comes 70 years after the coronation of his late mother, Elizabeth II, in 1953. The event benefitted from intense global mediatic coverage. The ceremony was slightly updated to be more inclusive of ethnic minorities in the UK and the Commonwealth, but it was also an expensive spectacle of wealth – it costing between 50 and 100 million pounds –  which failed to truly address the monarchy’s colonialist legacy and the country’s ongoing cost-of-living crisis. During the coronation ceremony, anti-monarchy protests were held in London, resulting in the “premeditated” arrests of some protesters.

Italian News 

Schlein, governo ha varato un decreto ricattabilità: “Hanno approvato un decreto che hanno chiamato lavoro, ma sarebbe più corretto chiamare decreto precarietà e ricattabilità”. Lo ha affermato Elly Schlein, segretaria del Pd, a margine di una iniziativa della Filcams-Cgil alla Stazione Leopolda di Firenze. La Schlein ha commentato: “L’idea che le causali per fare i contratti a termine – ha spiegato – possano essere stabilite addirittura dalla contrattazione tra le parti fa capire qual è l’ideologia di questo governo, e cioè rendere più ricattabili e più fragili i lavoratori, perché quando si siedono al tavolo quelle parti non sono alla pari, c’è un dislivello di potere tra chi il lavoro è in condizioni di offrirlo e chi invece ne ha bisogno per mangiare, e questo li rende più fragili.”

L’aumento di stipendio per i dipendenti pubblici con il nuovo taglio del cuneo fiscale: Dai 48 ai 65 euro in più in busta paga per oltre due milioni di dipendenti pubblici, grazie al nuovo taglio del cuneo fiscale deciso dal governo Meloni con il decreto Lavoro. Il provvedimento, approvato lunedì primo maggio dall’esecutivo, prevede un intervento importante sul cuneo contributivo (ma non il più importante degli ultimi decenni, come ha detto Meloni). Secondo i conti effettuati dal Consiglio Nazionale dell’Ordine dei Commercialisti per quotidiano Il Messaggero, che ha incrociato i dati della Ragioneria generale dello Stato nel conto annuale del Tesoro e i numeri del taglio effettuato dal governo Meloni, l’intervento avrà un impatto importante anche su dipendenti della Pubblica amministrazione. A beneficiare del taglio e ricevere gli aumenti di stipendio saranno 2,2 dipendenti pubblici, divisi nei quattro comparti: funzioni centrali, funzioni locali, sanità e istruzione.

Napoli campione d’Italia, il “giorno buono” che fa esplodere la città: notte di festa con migliaia di persone in strada. Quel ritornello cantato per anni, alla fine, è diventato realtà. Il “sogno nel cuore” urlato a squarciagola ora è cosa fatta: Napoli torna campione. Il “juorno buono” è il 4 maggio 2023, l’uomo che fa esplodere la festa è ovviamente Victor Osimhen, il volto del primo scudetto senza Diego Armando Maradona. In strada si riversano centinaia di migliaia di persone e purtroppo nella festa si contano anche un morto e diversi feriti per colpi di arma da fuoco, con la dinamica ancora non accertata dalla polizia. La vittoria del Napoli, però, coinvolge numerose città d’Italia, soprattutto al nord, dove in piazza Duomo a Milano e per le strade di Roma e Torino si festeggia la vittoria. 

Related:  Biden’s plans for America come with a big caveat for global trade

Bocconi news

This year, Bocconians will be given an extraordinary opportunity to visit the best International Architecture Exhibition in the world at an affordable price.  Thanks to a partnership initiated by our university, Bocconi students will be able to purchase a special pass for the Biennale di Venezia for just 20 euros. Each pass is nominative and is valid for three consecutive days from the first day of use. For more information, check your Outlook inbox. 

Questione di prospettiva

Giovedì mattina il ministro dell’Interno francese Gérald Darmanin, nel commentare la situazione dei migranti che arrivano in Europa via mare, ha criticato duramente il governo italiano, accusandolo di essere “incapace” di trovare soluzioni nonostante una campagna elettorale durante la quale i partiti ora al governo avevano insistito molto sul tema e si erano presentati come potenziali artefici della soluzione alla cosiddetta “emergenza” migranti. 

I commenti del ministro dell’Interno francese hanno causato una piccola crisi diplomatica tra i due Paesi, dato che il ministro degli Esteri italiano Antonio Tajani ha scelto di annullare un incontro che avrebbe dovuto tenere a Parigi proprio giovedì sera con il suo corrispettivo francese, la ministra Catherine Colonna.

Com’è stata affrontata la questione dai giornali di venerdì? In maniera piuttosto variegata. Il Corriere della Sera, che ha fatto della sobrietà nelle titolazioni uno dei propri segni distintivi, apre con il titolo “Migranti, scontro Italia-Francia,” capace di riassumere la situazione senza necessariamente prendere posizione o valutare la posizione delle due parti. Più duro invece il titolo scelto da Repubblica, che apre con “Lo schiaffo di Parigi.” Anche qui, non c’è necessariamente una valutazione esplicita della redazione su chi abbia ragione e chi torto, ma viene data l’impressione che i commenti del governo di Parigi siano stati duri, e che il governo nostrano li abbia sofferti. Questo ovviamente perché è nell’interesse di Repubblica dipingere il governo in maniera negativa. 

Piuttosto diversa la risposta invece della stampa di destra: Il Giornale apre con il titolo “Picchiano i migranti e ci fanno la morale,” mettendo quindi in discussione i commenti del ministro francese sulla base dell’ipocrisia della sua posizione di partenza, dato che le testimonianze di repressioni nei confronti dei migranti sono molteplici. La Verità mantiene lo spirito polemico scegliendo di titolare “Parigi insulta ancora sui migranti.” Da notare come entrambi questi titoli partono del presupposto che la posizione del ministro dell’Interno francese sia sbagliata e come tale vada condannata.

Come al solito, le notizie non sono solamente i fatti che accadono, ma anche la narrazione che ne viene fatta, e spesso la narrazione non solo influenza, ma determina l’opinione che le persone hanno di una determinata vicenda.

Cartoon of the Week: Hollywood to strike off-screen

In case you missed it

Bojan Zeric ritrae l’hip hop come un’esperienza collettiva e “di condivisione giovanile che non potrà mai essere completamente razionalizzata dalle logiche di mercato.”

Sara Ballini, con l’associazione studentesca Keiron, illustra come una sentenza della Corte di Cassazione ha confermato le assoluzioni ai politici e Carabinieri che erano stati coinvolti per anni in uno dei casi giudiziari più noti sui rapporti fra Stato italiano e criminalità organizzata. 

Francesco De Fazio, with the student association BOSDIC, analyses the development of the political situation in Tunisia after the Arab Spring and a once hopeful path to democracy.  

Author profile

Every week, your TiL Monday Briefing 🗞: you better read it with a cup of coffee! ☕️

Current members of the team are Bojan Zeric, Elisa Latora, Dragos Ile, Olimpia Vitali, Marco Visentin, Federica Di Chiara, Chiara Binello and Chiara Todesco

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