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putin ukraine

As the war in Ukraine continues, the response in Montreal has varied, from the heartfelt to the unconventional. One city councillor has been blasting the Ukrainian national anthem from across the street from the Russian consulate. Three local rabbis travelled to Poland to help refugees. There have been fundraisers, demonstrations, and donation drives.

This crisis has brought out the best instincts of many. Unfortunately, it seems to have brought out the problematic views of others.

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Couche-Tard is the latest company to either pull out of or pause work in Russia in protest of President Vladimir Putin's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. The Quebec-based company said on March 7 that it's suspending operations in all its stores in Russia effective immediately.

The 38 stores in Saint Petersburg, Murmansk (in northwestern Russia) and Pskov (southwest of Saint Petersburg near the border with Estonia) were operating under the Circle K brand.

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A poutine restaurant chain in France took to social media to clarify that it is not linked to "the Russian regime and its leader." It says it has received "calls of insults and even threats" given that the "Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, has been at the centre of a chilling news story" over the past few days.

Vladimir Putin translates to Vladimir Poutine in French, as both spellings were adapted from the Cyrillic Russian spelling.

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You may have seen "poutine" trending on Twitter, spawning countless bad memes from anglophones who confuse the French spelling of the autocratic Russian president's name with the gravy-logged dish from Quebec. "Putin," of course, isn't how it's spelled, either.

Both spellings are just approximations roughly matching the native Russian pronunciation of his name with Roman letters that produce similar sounds in French and English. The French "Poutine" also conveniently avoids sounding too much like the favourite vulgar interjection "putain."

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