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Is an independent artistic statement at all possible in today’s Russia? Political scientist Sergei A. Medvedev ponders the fate of art and artists in a country where most cultural production is heavily state-dependent, and where artists and writers in the provinces are under especially strict supervision.

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Ahead of local elections at the end of March and presidential elections in August, Tigrane Yegavian looks into the influence that the Gülen movement wields in Turkey and beyond; and why this puts it on a collision course with the ambitions of its former ally, prime minister Erdogan.

Religious intellectuals in Iran are striving to redefine the relationship between reason and revelation, and, despite Pope Benedict’s belief to the contrary, consider Islam to consist precisely of multiple interpretations, writes Abdolkarim Soroush. Reason’s greatest rival is not religion, then, but revolution. Speaking from personal experience of Iran’s Cultural Revolution, which he supported, Soroush warns: “The first resource that is squandered in a revolution is rationality and the last thing that returns home is rationality. If it ever returns.”

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Never have there been more refugees in the world as today: an estimated 45 million in total. So what’s the current relationship between international law, emancipatory politics and the rights of the rightless? Seyla Benhabib on the urgent need to create new political vistas.