Ukraine fights back

More than a week into the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s strong resistance has surprised many observers. Phil McCausland has a piece in NBC News that analyses why “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine does not appear to have gone to plan”. Western security experts McCausland quotes suggest the Russian leadership may have underestimated the feeling of nationalism among ordinary Ukrainians. “That left the military without the ability to plan a full-scale invasion and made them scramble to hit the Kremlin’s deadlines,” a security expert argues.

Some analysts also believe that the “Russian military is struggling because it deviated from the war it had trained to fight”. An observer explains:

“The invasion of Ukraine is a different type of conflict, forcing Russian forces to create long logistical lines that they have not trained to maintain and also placing a greater reliance on conscripted soldiers, despite their push to move away from a drafted military.”

Read the full story here.

Reporting the war

Apart from missiles and guns, information is also being weaponised in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Both sides have launched a full-fledged information war. While Russia’s state-owned media has provided cover for its troops, the few independent voices that exist in the country are struggling to do their job in the face of immense state pressure.

One such organisation is the daily, Novaya Gazeta, whose editor Dmitry Muratov, shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year with the Filipina journalist Maria Ressa.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Muratov talks about the challenges and how the newsroom plans to deal with it:

“The pressure on Novaya Gazeta and other media began immediately. It’s got to the point of absurdity. We received an order to ban the use of the words “war,” “occupation,” “invasion.” However, we continue to call war war. We are waiting for the consequences.”

Read the full interview here.

Doctors without a degree

In a roller coaster of a story from Assam featuring, among others, “a petite man with protruding teeth”, Kasturi Das and Nabarun Guha in Fifty Two dive into the lives of the fake doctors of Assam many of whom thrive in the state’s tea gardens where health infrastructure is infamously beleaguered. They write:

“The Assam tea estate is a microcosm of a very widespread Indian problem: our healthcare supply and demand is severely skewed. Policies to cover the deficit exist, but the system for last mile delivery of medical services is often broken. The communities that suffer the most are those that are already doing poorly on socio-economic indicators. In remote and marginalised areas, people may even feel a quack is better than nothing.”

Read the full story here.

More than a showman

On Friday, the death of Australian spin wizard Shane Warne, one of the very best to have ever played the game, shocked the cricketing world. Warne was a darn good bowler, but he was more than that: on and off the field he was a maverick who played by his own rules. In a befitting tribute in Cricinfo, Andrew Miller writes

“In a world where Warne could speed-dial personalities as polarised as Ed Sheeran or David Hasselhoff, and whereas Nick Hoult, his ghostwriter at the Telegraph, has memorably related, he was obliged to use code words and pseudonyms at hotel receptions to keep the paparazzi at arm’s length, there was something reassuringly wholesome about sitting anonymously at a poker table, for sometimes days at a time, re-channelling that extraordinary blend of bluff, grind and raw skill that had marked Warne out as one of the greatest sporting champions of any sport and any era.”

Here’s the full piece.