Dictators like Putin (and other authoritarians) can't stand it when a vibrant society is too close to their surveillance (police) state. It shows what frauds they are when their people are so close to that life but aren't allowed to live it ... and they KNOW it.

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Mar 11, 2022·edited Mar 11, 2022Liked by Marc Stein

Great stuff, Marc. I've been wondering about The Czar since Ukraine was invaded and this cleared up a lot of questions.

The one time I've been to Europe happened to coincide with the 2013 EuroBasket in Slovenia, a pilgrimage I'm eternally grateful for. As I was cheering on Marquette alum Travis Diener (playing for Italy) an older guy in a Ukrainian team polo turned and asked what my story was in a surprising American accent. We struck up a conversation and he took out his phone to show me some great videos of the raucous crowds from an earlier round of the tournament in the northern city of Jesenice. I want to say he worked for the Clippers at the time but I can't remember his name. Since that day I've been following and pulling for the Ukrainian team.

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