Galyna Piskorska of the University of Melbourne begins her article with the following words: “I was running from my home in Kyiv as the Russian army occupied Bucha, Gostomel and Irpin in the early stages of its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

"By accident, I was leaving in a bus that a nearby international school was using to evacuate its students and staff. We drove for a long time, spending nights in bomb shelters with young people and their kids from China, the Middle East and India who had been studying and working in Ukraine.

"When the war broke out, Ukraine was hosting tens of thousands of students from the Global South and was generally viewed as a partner in many countries.

"But the war disrupted everything, including public opinion in many of these same countries. Now, Ukraine is struggling to gain support in the Global South, which has shown ambivalence about the invasion and been reticent to cut off ties with Russia.”

So how has Russia managed to score such a propaganda victory in parts of the world, where it has come to be seen by some as acting in a reasonable manner to protect its strategic interests? Read the full article by Piskorska, an expert in public relations, here.

A dramatic example of how such an approach to Russia can swifly play a part in the changing power dynamics of a region came last week in West Africa. A military coup in Niger appears likely to benefit the Kremlin, while reducing Western influence in the country. For more, read the Q&A below with Leonardo A. Villalón of the University of Florida.

And scroll down for more on the Twitter rebrand; an Indian film that ingited violence against Muslims; and some amazing shark facts.


Stephen Khan

Executive Editor, The Conversation International

General Abdourahmane Tchiani, Niger’s new leader. ORTN - Télé Sahel/AFP via Getty Images

Niger coup: Military takeover a setback for democracy in West Africa

Leonardo A. Villalón, University of Florida

Niger had been seen as a relatively stable nation in an unstable region. The coup could spark fears in the West that the nation may align interests with Russia and the Wagner Group.

‘The Kerala Story’: How an Indian film ignited violence against Muslims and challenges to interfaith marriage

Wajiha Mehdi, University of British Columbia

A controversial low-budget Indian feature film about a discredited anti-Muslim conspiracy theory has been causing a political storm, going all the way to India’s Supreme Court.

You’ve heard the annoyingly catchy song – but did you know these incredible facts about baby sharks?

Jaelen Nicole Myers, James Cook University

Some baby sharks eat their unborn siblings in utero, while others spend 100 years in childhood. Sink your teeth into the weird world of these juvenile wonders of the deep.