POLITICO Confidential: Grandpa with a grenade launcher — Russia squeezes France out of Africa — EU TikTok ban
The best of POLITICO’s coverage selected by Editor-in-Chief Jamil Anderlini.
By JAMIL ANDERLINI
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After a week with my family skiing in the shadow of the Matterhorn, I returned this week to a whirlwind tour of our growing satellite operations in London and Paris. We are in rapid expansion mode, with lots of exciting employment opportunities across the Continent and beyond, so if you are obsessed by politics and want to join the leading political news source in the democratic world then take a look at what we have on offer right now.
I started in London, where we hosted a highly successful event on Tuesday night for hundreds of guests across the river from the Palace of Westminster. I interviewed Jane Hartley, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St James, who is only the second woman to serve in that august post. At the end of the interview, she revealed her media preferences with a comment that endeared her to us immediately.
Then my colleague Jack Blanchard interviewed the U.K.’s Minister for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch, a rising Tory party star. If I had to bet, I would say Ms. Badenoch is destined to be prime minister, at least for a few weeks!
My brief sojourn across the Channel reminded me how excellent our U.K. political coverage is and how essential London Playbook is for the British political classes.
I then ventured to Paris, where our growing team of brilliant journalists has established POLITICO as the must-read publication for French politicos too.
Now back in Brussels, where our coverage has focused on marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. We’ve had some sharp and insightful pieces from across the newsroom, as well as from outside contributors.
Until next week, enjoy!
‘Oh my God, it’s really happening’
Read this and feel goosebumps over those shocking first moments of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Led by POLITICO’s Chief Brussels Correspondent Suzanne Lynch, our team of reporters spoke to leaders, ministers and top EU officials to revisit the critical first few hours and days of the invasion, a time in which seemingly everything changed. The result of their work makes for a compelling account that captures the human drama and the colossal scale of the challenge still facing Europe and the world a year on. Read the story.
Meet the Bucha ‘grandpa’ who greeted invading Russians with a grenade launcher
His video monologue surveying the wreckage of a Russian armored convoy on Bucha’s main street remains an indelible memory of the early days of Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression. Now, thanks to this remarkable interview, we know that Valentyn Didkovsky — callsign ‘Did’ (Grandpa) — was the veteran Ukrainian territorial defense volunteer who first fired an RPG at a fuel truck and then called in artillery fire, stopping the attack in its tracks. Read the story.
Free tea and sausages in the snow
A rare, personal glimpse of the war from inside Russia. Evocative reporting from around Vladimir Putin’s speech at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium that really puts the reader at the scene and provides a vivid picture of what headline patriotic rallies are like for people on the ground. Read the story.
How Moscow chased France out of Africa
This was a very well-told story featuring a range of interesting voices on the subject of French presence in Africa, and how Russian mercenaries have made inroads through a widespread disinformation campaign. Why exactly has France lost an influence campaign to the Kremlin? You’ll find the answers here. Read the story.
Amber de Botton: ‘Partygate’ poacher-turned-gamekeeper in Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street
Masterly profile of one of Downing Street’s most powerful but under-reported figures — the director of comms who helped bring down Boris Johnson. Her objective since joining No. 10 last October has been to quieten things down, following the chaos which gripped British politics over the previous 12 months. But is that even possible? Read the story.
The new Luddites: AI comes for the creative class
In this article, we stole a march on the competition and looked at what the creative destruction being wrought by AI models like DALL-E and MidJourney will mean for the world of work. The resistance, and the fight over who owns works created with AI, has already begun. Read the story.
Brussels moves to ban Eurocrats from using TikTok
This has it all: Europe’s fear of China and … Eurocrats banned from making their cats into video superstars. In all seriousness, the Commission and Council’s move to ban staff from using the Chinese-owned app is just the latest example of growing strains between Beijing and the West. Read the story.
YOUR WEEKEND PLAYLIST
EU Confidential: Russia’s war in Ukraine, one year on: How Europe has changed
Host Suzanne Lynch discusses the seismic changes in Europe over the past year with Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. Then POLITICO’s Veronika Melkozerova in Kyiv describes the mood there after U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit earlier this week — and how Ukrainians are trying to rebuild and stay positive, as the one-year mark of war looms. Finally, Suzanne speaks to curators at a museum in Kyiv who are gathering evidence of war crimes in an attempt to hold Russia to account. Listen to the episode.
Westminster Insider: What’s the point of the House of Lords?
Host Ailbhe Rea takes you inside the weird and wonderful world of the House of Lords. Paralympic gold medallist and crossbench peer Tanni Grey-Thompson lifts the lid on what life in the Lords is really like, and Ailbhe has a rare meeting with an endangered species: a hereditary peer, the Earl of Caithness, in his natural habitat. John McFall, the lord speaker, takes us on a tour of the building itself while POLITICO’s Esther Webber explains the joys of covering the second chamber as a journalist. Jess Sargeant from the Institute of Government provides a whistle-stop tour of efforts to reform the Lords down the decades. And we look at the debate within the Labour Party over former PM Gordon Brown’s recommendation to abolish the House of Lords altogether. Henry Stannard, who worked closely with Brown on his commission, defends the plans, while Labour grandees Neil Kinnock and David Blunkett take radically different points of view. Listen to the episode.
Remember 1983? Well it’s back thanks to spy balloons and book editors. Declassified has more.
“Coming soon to Netflix … ‘CSI: Kyiv.‘“
Can you do better? Email [email protected]olitico.eu or on Twitter @pdallisonesque
Last week we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.
“Former U.K. prime ministers two for one this week at ALDI,” by Tom Morgan.
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