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Power Lines: From Ukraine to the World
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Power Lines: From Ukraine to the World

Author: Message Heard

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the world. The war’s significance in the 21st century is unparalleled: its reverberations can be felt not just in Kyiv and Moscow, but from Beijing to Washington DC. So how did this country on the Eastern edge of Europe come to play such a significant role in geopolitical events? Why is its future so pivotal to Europe’s stability? And, crucially, how have the conflict’s consequences affected the lives of the people who call Ukraine their home?

This series will hear top global minds discuss everything from Eastern European history to modern global food security, as led by Kyiv Independent hosts, Jakub Parusinski and Anastasiia Lapatina. Combining on-the-ground expertise with a global perspective, Power Lines explores the impact and influence of the war on 21st-century geopolitics, global power structures and the survival and self-determination of the Ukrainian people.


Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for subscriber-only bonus eps featuring extended and behind-the-scenes guest interviews on Apple and Spotify.


Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent 

Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook.

You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage.

33 Episodes
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Ukraine’s economy has been one of the main bright spots after two years of brutal fighting. With decent preparation work undertaken over the past few years, and continued aid from Western partners, there has not been a bank run, there has not been an economic collapse, and Ukraine has been able to continue fighting the Russian invaders. However, as the war drags on and contributions of aid from Western partners come under the spotlight in their home countries, how will this macroeconomic success continue? Will things like frozen Russian assets be utilised by Ukraine to help it continue fighting, and even in the future?  In this final episode of season 2 of Power Lines, we assess this macroeconomic situation, and take a look at the big news from the last couple of weeks, that Ukraine’s Commander in Chief Valeri Zaluszny was dismissed by President Zelensky, in the culmination of a long running feud between the two men at the top of Ukraine’s war effort. To get some insight on all this, we spoke with Timothy Ash. Timothy has been an economist for 30 years, working for some of the most prestigious banking institutions in the world over that time. His focus has been on the economics of emerging Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, particularly Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey. You can find his writing on Chatham House, CEPA and his excellent Substack  @tashecon blog. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The war in Ukraine has evolved a huge amount since it began nearly 2 years ago, not least in terms of the equipment now being used on the front lines. This has been most starkly seen in the use of drones, as these unmanned aerial technologies are now at the forefront of reconnaissance and combat operations for both sides. Ukraine’s drone industry, once chaotic and decentralised, is now one of the most significant in the world. Experts are looking to Ukraine to see how drones are being used in the war, and many see their use as the future of warfare more generally. In this episode, we speak with drone expert Federico Borsari, a Leonardo fellow at the Transatlantic Defense and Security Program at the Centre of European Policy Analysis (CEPA). His work looks at Transatlantic Defense and Security dynamics with a focus on unmanned technologies and their military implications, and he has written a number of fascinating reports on how their use in Ukraine is at the forefront of innovation in the sector. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
President Zelensky has said he wants to call up 450,000 - 500,000 new troops to the Ukrainian army in 2024. And recently, there have been proposed law changes to bring this through - laws that include more punishment against evasion, lowering the mobilisation age, and even setting a time limit for demobilisation. But this law is pretty controversial, causing debate in Ukrainian society against parts which have been seen as draconian, perhaps even enabling corruption.  So how will Ukraine effectively mobilise the new troops it desperately needs to continue fighting against Russia? Is there a fair way to choose who goes to fight on the front lines? This episode sees us look at the evolving nature of mobilisation in Ukraine, how it has changed over the past two years, and what its impact has been on troops at the front line and those who may now be called up. Joining us this week is Francis Farrell, the Kyiv Independent’s war correspondent. Before joining us, Francis was the managing editor at the online media project Lossi 36, and worked as a freelance journalist and documentary photographer. Over the past two years, he’s been travelling across Ukraine and it’s frontlines meeting all the kinds of people who have been mobilised. You can read his reporting through the Kyiv Independent website here: https://kyivindependent.com/author/francis-farrell/  Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
As 2024 begins, the outlook for Ukraine is generally pessimistic, with foreign aid dwindling and the counter offensive stalled. But there is cause for optimism: Ukraine’s businesses and the economy remain resilient. Since the beginning of the full scale invasion, the business sector has been one of the flexible, not collapsing in the way many predicted. Ukrainians’ entrepreneurial spirit has maintained, and in fact flourished, with huge numbers of small businesses being founded since 2022. In this episode, we take a look at how this has happened despite the tumult of the past two years. We explore Ukraine’s economic and business outlook up until now, the kind of reconstruction projects currently underway, and what needs to happen in 2024 to ensure Ukraine’s economic, as well as military, success. Joining us this week is the business editor here at the Kyiv Independent, Lili Bivings. Lili is originally from Washington DC and served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine from 2017 to 2020, before joining us at the Kyiv independent. You can find her writing in her weekly business roundup on our website. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2023 was a really difficult year for Ukraine. People expected that after the Kharkiv and Kherson counter offensives to spawn a whole host of military successes, but in reality, things were more difficult. The counteroffensive stalled, and meanwhile, Western support has started to fracture. But internally, the country has also changed: where once we saw an extremely united front, now politics is back in the conversation. But what does the Ukrainian public actually want? Are they ready to stay the course with Zelensky and his team? Or do they want a change in leadership, with new ideas to bring the country closer to victory? To find out more, on this week of Power Lines we spoke with Mykola Davydiuk. Mykola is an author and a popular political scientist in Ukraine. He's advised many major political figures over the past decade and is now a key commentator on the war through his YouTube and TikTok channels. We asked him how he has experienced 2023 politically in Ukraine, and what he thinks are the likely next moves for Zelenskyy, his allies, and his rivals. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Western response to the war in Ukraine surprised the world in 2022 in how unified it was. European leaders and the US stood together in solidarity against Russia’s brutal aggression, a rare moment of togetherness amidst other divisions. But in late 2023? Well, the situation is mixed. Increasingly sophisticated military equipment continues to be sent to Ukraine, but will it prove to be the wunderwaffe that so many Ukrainians hope for? And with the political success of far right populists in Slovakia and the Netherlands, is the unity of Europe about to break? What role does the cautious German Chancellery play here? And will the much anticipated US aid package come in time to bolster Ukraine’s war effort? In this episode of Power Lines, we answer these questions and more, alongside our guest this week, Justyna Gotkowska. Justyna is the Deputy Director at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) and head of its Security and Defence Department. She primarily focuses on central and Eastern Europe, notably Germany and the Baltic states, and is a regular participant in international research projects, including Think Visegrad, Estonian ICDS, and German DGAP. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Getting in the mind of Vladimir Putin is a notoriously difficult, and indeed thankless, task. Russia analysts have long tried to predict what the Russian President and the Kremlin he dominates is thinking, but often to no avail. It was shown in the surprise by so many when Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine began in 2022, and continues as the war has dragged on. But this week on Power Lines, we’re doing our best to do just this. We’ll look back at the differing cultural and political outlooks of the West and Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, exploring whether there is something uniquely antagonistic about the Russian psyche, or if it comes from a gulf in understanding between the two civilizations. We’ll also look at today, to see whether Russia is benefitting from the current instability engulfing the globe. To find out more, this week we speak to Sam Greene, one of the world’s preeminent Russia analysts. Sam is the Director for Democratic Resilience at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), as well as a Professor of Russian Politics at King's College London, where he founded and directed the King's Russia Institute for ten years. Having lived in Moscow for many years, and with a number of seminal books about the country and its politics under his belt, he was perfectly placed to try and dissect the enigma that is the modern Russian state. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Ukraine, and Eastern Europe more generally, have long had a demographic problem. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and independence across the region, labour migration and other trends have seen millions of working age people migrate to the West or to Russia in search of work. Combined with the demographic catastrophe brought on by the war since 2014 and the full scale invasion, the number of young people in Ukraine can make for a bleak demographic picture. In this episode, we analyse the reasons why this demographic shift in Ukraine has happened over decades, as well as looking forward to Ukrainian reconstruction following the war, to see what programmes and processes the Ukrainian government can put in to improve the situation. And to help us do this, this week we invited Maria Piechowska onto Power Lines. Maria is cultural anthropologist from Poland who works on political and societal analyses that focus on the relationship between Poland and Ukraine. She currently works for the Polish institute for International Affairs, a think tank who work in public analysis on the international issues and processes that affect the Polish position in the world. Check out insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
On Sunday October 15th, Poland went to the polls to elect a new government. As one of Europe’s most significant economic motors and a key spokesperson for Eastern Europe more generally, many saw this election as a barometer for where the world stands in the global battle between liberal and populist political movements. And more than that, as the logistics hub for the war in Ukraine, the result was also seen as vital for the strategic future of the war in Ukraine. So would the far right parties intent on a fractious relationship with Ukraine and the West win? Or would the liberal, pro-European parties come together to defeat the incumbent government? To find out the results and more about just how vital these elections are, this week on Power Lines we speak with Jakub Górnicki, a journalist and the co-founder of Outriders, a news organisation who write about global issues for a Polish audience. We discuss the results of the elections, their significance for Ukraine and for the world more generally. Check out  insights.Kyivindependent.com for more in depth analysis of the War in Ukraine, and follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Season 2 Trailer

Season 2 Trailer

2023-10-0302:54

Last year, Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine changed the world. But with the conflict reaching a kind of stasis, the questions surrounding it have changed. With interviews with world leading analysts and thinkers, Power Lines: From Ukraine to the World season 2 will prove why this war still matters to everyone across the globe, while looking ahead at the practical applications that will allow Ukraine to recover and rebuild in the future. Follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Under its constitution, Ukraine is meant to be in the midst of parliamentary and presidential elections over the coming months. But there’s a hitch - under martial law Ukraine’s constitution prevents it from holding them. But there’s a case being made to change this and hold them anyway. So what would be the benefit? Would elections bolster Zelensky’s support, or unleash unnecessary chaos in a country already engulfed by it? And with millions of Ukrainians abroad or fighting on the front lines, how would you technically hold them, anyway? To find out more about these potential elections, this week on Power Lines we speak with Anatoliy Oktysiuk, a political scientist, who has been working in the Ukrainian political scene for the past decade, assessing how things are run on a granular level behind the scenes in Ukrainian politics. He currently does this for Democracy House, a think tank in Kyiv. Follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. You can find Message Heard on our website at messageheard.com, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to never miss a show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What is it like to live through the psychological pain of war? How can you heal the trauma of genocide? How do you rebuild a country when a generation has been lost to war? Rebuilding Ukraine will not solely be about creating new cities and rebuilding destroyed infrastructure, there will need to be a new sense of a nation, one not cowed by Russia’s aggression, but stronger and more unified because of it. In the final episode of the series, we speak to historian and political scientist Eugene Finkel about what we can learn from the parallels between this war and those of the 20th century, to explore how an entire country can heal together and move forward to a brighter, peaceful future. Jakub and Nastya also hear from some of the Ukrainian guests who have featured across the series, to hear their reflections on a year of war in Ukraine. Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent.  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Q&A on Rebuilding

Q&A on Rebuilding

2023-02-1617:43

This week, it’s our last Q&A of the season. We reached out to our listeners on Twitter to see what they wanted answered on rebuilding, both now and after the war. We received a lot of questions, but most can be boiled down to: how on earth are we going to pay for this?  Jakub and Nastya discuss the possibility of Russian reparations, foreign investment and post-war tourism.  Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent.  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The aftermath of war leaves physical scars in its wake. The abject destruction of landscapes and cities like Kherson, Kharkiv and Mariupol will take tens of years and maybe even a trillion dollars to rebuild, while systemic infrastructure like healthcare and energy plants have been equally affected. So where do you begin when you have to rebuild a country destroyed by war? Who pays for it? And what should be the priorities: people’s homes, or hospitals, schools and roads? In this episode, we speak with two top European economists to answer these questions. First, Ivan Mikloš, a Slovakian politician and the country’s former Minister of Finance. Secondly, Tymofiy Mylovanov, who was previously the Minister of Economy in Ukraine, and is now the president of the Kyiv School of Economics and an advisor to the Zelenskiy Administration.  We also hear from Borys Dorogov, co-founder of interior architecture studio Balbek Bureau, and Adrii Kopylenko, the co-founder of charity organisation District One, to hear how smaller organisations are already beginning the rebuilding process from the ground up. Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent.  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
This week, Jakub and Nastya are speaking to Anna Myroniuk, the head of investigations at the Kyiv Independent. They discuss the complexities of reporting on Ukraine’s corruption in the current climate, offering unique insight into the duty of the media during war.  Since its founding, The Kyiv Independent has always been at the forefront of reporting on corruption within Ukraine’s government. Then, on 24 February 2022, priorities shifted. But is it more important than ever to hold power to account? Or is it a distraction for a country in conflict? Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent.  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Issue with Aid

The Issue with Aid

2023-01-2651:38

The humanitarian response to the full scale invasion of Ukraine has been immense - an outpouring of good will from people across Europe and indeed the world. But when it comes to the large aid organisations facilitating it, the story becomes more blurred. From Amnesty International to the Red Cross, there have been major blind spots, including reports situating the Ukrainian army as aggressors, to aid projects in support of the Russian military. So how did some of these organisations get it so wrong? What would be a better aid paradigm in the future? And should we consider giving weapons to Ukraine as a humanitarian project? In this episode, we speak with Melaniya Podolyak, a broadcaster and member of the Serhiy Prytula Foundation, about her work in bringing aid to Ukrainians, as well as the faults of the major international organisations. We also hear from John Spencer, the author, veteran and chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute, about the specific mistakes made in a 2022 report from Amnesty. Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent.  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
This week, Jakub and Nastya are doing a special Q&A episode on the Russian Intelligence Services. We reached out to our listeners on Twitter to discuss the things you really wanted answered on the FSB, the GRU and the history of this most secretive of organisations. Expect answers to questions like: what is the history of tension between the Russian military and the FSB? Are these agencies focused on spying or just looking to control domestic public opinion? And even: how many of the Russian services’ agents are “nepo babies”? Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent –  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
For years, Putin has used his intelligence, including the FSB and the GRU, to try and understand Europe - what they are thinking, how they would react to a crisis of war. The failure of Russia’s intelligence to predict Ukraine’s commitment to defending itself and Europe’s response of solidarity shows their failures. But what role do the Russian intelligence services play in modern warfare? And what does their history and growth under Putin tell us about the way the Kremlin works today?  In this episode, we speak to Michael Weiss, a journalist, author and expert on Russia’s intelligence services, to discover more about the successes and failures of covert warfare in Ukraine, and how it has changed the outcome of the war. Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this week’s episode, we again take a look into Cyber Warfare, this time from a more policy focused perspective, as Jakub speaks with Lauren Zabariek, the executive director of Harvard’s Belfer Centre.  Lauren tells us about the various ways in which hackers across the globe are seeking to attack foreign targets, how this has affected the war in Ukraine, and the ways in which countries like the US are making policy to prevent attacks in the future. Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The war in Ukraine is being fought by land, sea, air… and online. Russia, has long been infamous for its hacking and aggressive cyber warfare capabilities, having previously been responsible for devastating attacks in Ukraine and across the world. But how effective have they really been during the war? And what about the fightback?  In this episode, we speak to Andy Greenberg, the journalist and author of Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers, to find out more about this pivotal, digital realm in the theatre of war. We also hear from Pavel Lieber, a Belarusian who is creating a digital platform to recreate his home country virtually, while in exile. Sign up for 'Power Lines +' for ad-free content on Apple and Spotify. Support The Kyiv Independent by finding us on our Patreon: patreon.com/kyivindependent  Also find us on our website at messageheard.com, or on our Power Lines Twitter, or our Message Heard Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow The Kyiv Independent on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram to get latest news and to stay up to date with our coverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (1)

Dana Varahi

I love this podcast. It is very informative and well produced. Listening allows me to stay current on the situation in the Ukraine but also learn a lot about its history and culture and its unique place in the world. Like the title suggests this is not only a podcast about Ukraine. It also talks about wider world in which Ukraine is placed. This podcast is great for better understanding of Soviet and Russian imperialism seen through the lens of colonised people rather than the much better known lens of the colonizer. It is totally a missing puzzle piece that a lot of westerners needs to hear. The hosts are top notch, music is good. Highly recommended.

Feb 9th
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