A view of Peetri Plats in Narva. Photo: Andrew Stuttaford.

Vladimir Putin doesn’t take much interest in the rights of Russians at home, but when it comes to the millions of Russians stranded in a sudden abroad after the collapse of the USSR, it’s a different matter. In a speech last year, he made clear that his idea of a wider “Russian World” (Russkiy Mir) came with a threat: “our country will . . . defend the rights of . . . our compatriots abroad, using the entire range of available means.”

The entire range of available means: after the Crimea came eastern Ukraine, and then? Nearly half a century of Soviet...


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