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Brazil and Russia: Comparative Analysis of the Politics of Countries Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 27th, 2021

Introduction

The political observers often draw parallels between Brazil and Russia, given two countries’ large size and also the fact that they both are the part of so-called “Second World”. This prompts them to conclude that the foreign policies of Russia and Brazil should share a certain degree of sameness, because these policies are assumed to reflect the particularities of socio-political dynamics in each country. However, it appears that on international arena, Brazil and Russia position themselves differently – whereas Brazil pursues the course of cooperation with its neighbours, Russia never stops considering many of its neighbouring countries as such that fall into the sphere of Russia’s geopolitical interests, rather then fully independent nations. The MSS design, in regards to Russia and Brazil, provided earlier, helps us to understand that we cannot refer to the striking difference between both countries’ foreign policies, as being objective in its essence. After all, Brazil and Russia’s economic potential, military expenditures, the size of population and many other factors seem to closely match each other. Therefore, it will only be logical, on our part, to conclude that, within a context of discussing what defines both countries’ positioning in the field of international politics, we should consider that some hidden factors are at play, which results in Russia and Brazil’s foreign policies being strikingly different. Therefore, in this paper, along with analysing the objective variables of each country’s development, we will also analyse the non-objective ones and will expose them as such that directly affect each country’s geopolitical positioning.

The political situation in Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. The sheer size of its territory places it fourth, behind Russia, the USA, Canada, and China. Brazil’s population has almost reached 200 million, which accounts for 3.5% of Earth’s total population. Brazil possesses two-thirds of South America’s industrial potential. This makes this country one of the biggest economic powers in the world. Brazil is usually being referred to as a developing country, but it reserves a special place, among them, because of its economic capability. Many economists consider Brazil to be an industrial nation and suggest that its representatives should participate in G8 summits. For hundreds of years, Brazil remained a Portuguese colony, with a well-developed system of slavery, which was only abolished in 1888. This, along with the fact that, for a long time, there were no other industries in Brazil, but sugar manufacturing, had left a negative impact upon a society, which is still being felt today.

Brazil is a federative republic with a Presidential form of government. Its administrative division accounts for 26 states and one Federal District, which has an autonomous status. Just like in the United States, the Brazilian government consists of three independent branches – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The representatives of the Legislative and Executive branches are being directly elected by citizens, whereas the representatives of the Judicial branch are being appointed, according to the procedure, defined by the Brazilian Constitution. Such a form of government was chosen in 1891, when Brazil’s first Republican Constitution had introduced the system of checks and balances, as the most important principle, which was to define the functions of the Brazilian government.

The history of contemporary politics in Brazil begins in 1964 when President Joao Goulart was being removed from office by military conspirators. From this time on, the army played a very important role in Brazil’s political life, up until 1979, when it slowly began to distance itself from the political processes in Brazil. However, up until this time, all five Presidents that served in the office were army generals. The most popular of them was Castelo Branco, who was elected as President, because of overwhelming support, on the part of small business owners. He declared the stabilization of the socio-political situation in the country, as his main goal. To accomplish this, the civil rights and freedoms of Brazil’s citizens were being severely limited. For example, the principle of collective bargaining was temporarily abolished and the workers were being deprived of their essential right to go on strikes.

Nevertheless, by 1968 it started to become clear to everyone that such strict measures were fully justified. The inflation’s ratio was being brought to the minimum, while people’s welfare continued to improve steadily. Between 1967 and 1974, Brazil’s economy experienced the fastest growth, throughout the history of this country. At the same time, during this period, the oppressive nature of military rule was becoming too obvious for everybody. The Brazilian government came under a lot of criticism, from within the country and from abroad. The introduction of political reforms in Brazil became only a question of time. Since the middle of the seventies, the political regime in Brazil started to become more and more Liberal. Many political dissidents, who had left Brazil after 1964, were allowed to return. Also, people were allowed to participate in mass political rallies. In 1982, for the first time since the military coup of 1964, the state governors were being elected by the mean of the popular vote.

In 1989, during the first truly democratic elections, since 1960, the President of Brazil was elected Fernando Collor. But in 1992, he was impeached, because of the widespread allegations of corruption, on his part. In 1992, the new Brazil’s President Fernando Cardoso had publicly introduced his plan of how to beat inflation. Plan’s main idea consisted of linking the value of Brazilian cruzeiro to the American dollar. Also, Cardoso allowed a few large energy corporations to be privatized, which helped to revitalize the Brazilian economy.

The current political situation in Brazil can be best characterized by its inner instability, which negatively affects the country’s economy. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was able to win Presidential elections in 2003, because of his left-wing populism, which attracted a large portion of the marginalized electorate. He promised to fight social inequality and to make Medicare more affordable for people with low income. Also, he wowed to do his best to improve the country’s educational system. Yet, he did not stick to most of his promises. Just as it is the case with just about any left-wing politician, skilled in the utilization of political populism, da Silva’s primary concern became improving the lifestyle of the members of his immediate family. Almost instantly, after the elections, da Silva became involved in series of scandals, which had to do with money laundering, on his part.

Curiously enough, it did not cost da Silva his job, which points out to the fact that many Brazilians think of politicians’ corruption, as the essential element of political life in this country. In its turn, this can be explained by the racial composition of Brazilians, 80% of which are the products of intense racial mixing, which implies that they are being largely deprived of their sense of existential idealism, which in its turn, points out to the fact that attaining instant gratification (material or spiritual) represent the solemn purpose of these people’s existence.

The most popular political parties in Brazil are as follows: Brazilian Worker’s Party, which holds 15% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies, Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, with 14% of the seats, and Brazilian Social Democratic Party, with 13.6% of the seats. One does not have to be a political scientist to realize that left-wing parties dominate Brazilian political life. Partially, it explains why Brazil is listed among the 20 most corrupted nations of the world.

During the last fifty years, the economy of Brazil has achieved considerable progress. From 1950 to 1995, the country’s GNP had increased by 11.4 points. In 1950 only 50 million people were living in Brazil, by 1973 their number had risen to 83.1 million. By 2008, 196,342,592 Brazilians were living in the country. There are only three other countries, in Latin America, where the population growth, during the last fifty years, was even more rapid – Mexico, Venezuela, and Peru. By the mid-seventies, the number of foreign investments in Brazil amounted to $30 billion. However, after the political climate in Brazil began to change, at the end of the seventies, the potential investors became discouraged by the fact that the new Brazilian government was going to turn the country into a socialist welfare state.

Because the country was heavily relying on loan debentures in the seventies and early eighties, it eventually led to the creation of a situation when Brazil’s foreign debt became a very serious burden for its economy. Between the years, 1950 and 1970, the Brazilian government was applying a lot of effort to turn Brazil into an industrialized nation. The emphasis was being put on the development of the mining business and on increasing the amount of manufactured industrial products. During these years, the Brazilian government would invest astronomical amounts of money into the large private enterprises, while expecting to make considerable profits, within a matter of few years. Such a strategy proved to be very effective, for a while. However, since the beginning of the eighties, the profitability of industrial manufacturing began to sink rapidly worldwide, as the side effect of revolutionary breakthroughs in the field of informational technologies. This had effectively denied Brazil the prospects of qualifying for membership in G8.

The oil crisis of the seventies had prompted the Brazilian government to drastically increase the output of the country’s oil industry. By 2000, the oil production in Brazil had reached 850.000 barrels a day. The oil sector of the Brazilian economy continues to attract foreign investors on progressing scale.

During the last two decades, the new branches of Brazilian industry began to rapidly develop. The most important, among them is auto manufacturing. At present time, it yields a million vehicles a year. But what is most important, these cars are 100% Brazilian made. Brazil is the 10th largest manufacturer of automobiles in the world.

The very important factor that affects Brazil’s economic realities is the fact that it is a highly urbanized nation. In 2000, 80% of all Brazilians lived in towns, whereas in 1950, there were only 36% of them. The rapid growth of the urban population, which comes as the result of uneducated people from rural areas moving into the cities, made the social problems in Brazil very acute. The biggest cities in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and San Paolo suffer from the highest crime rates in the whole world. It is practically impossible for the White tourist to have a little stroll, along the street of these cities, without getting robbed.

.Brazil is often being referred to as a powerful giant, who lacks brainpower. The country’s vastness and the abundance of mineral resources, found in it, make Brazilians a truly blessed nation. At the same time, political corruption does not allow Brazil to realize its true destiny. This corruption comes as the result of incompetent governing, which, in its turn, reflects the overall quality of the population, strongly affected by racial mongrelization (ethnic diversity). As the famous saying goes – every nation deserves the government it chooses in favor of, during elections. Brazil’s colonial past affects its present social and political situation more than in any other country in Latin America. Throughout its history, this country had always maintained very strong cultural ties with Portugal. The mentality of an average Brazilian still regards Portugal as the “mother country”. The uneven spread of population in Brazil indicates a strong colonial legacy, although it can also be linked to the specifics of the country’s climate. The gap between rich and poor in Brazil continues to widen, although such a social tendency can also be observed just about everywhere in the world. The Brazilian specifics of social stratification correspond to the fact that even as recently as 50 years ago, 70% of the country’s land belonged to comparatively few rich families.

At the same time, it would be wrong to suggest that because of Brazil’s strong affiliation European colonialism, it can be referred to as a country that lacks cultural identity – the racial characteristics of Brazilian society result in it being affected by corruption, but at the same time, society’s comparative racial homogeneity imply that there are no objective preconditions for Brazil’s national integrity to be undermined from within, as it is the case with Russia.

The political situation in Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world – the size of its territory amounts to 16,995,800 sq km. Formally, Russia’s form of government is best defined as a semi-presidential republic, but we can talk of it as being an authoritarian dictatorship de facto implies since Russian citizens are largely deprived of many civil rights and freedoms that citizens of other countries (including Brazil), take for granted. Russia’s population amounts to 140,702,096 million, with the overall population’s growth rate being negative: -0.474%. Half of Russia’s territory is associated with unfavorable climatic conditions. Although Russia does have seaports in its European and far Eastern parts, it cannot fully exploit its commercial and military potential, due to geographic remoteness and because the operation of these seaports is subjected to seasonal changes in weather. Russia is considered one of the world’s major economic and military powers. Its annual GDP in 2008 amounted to $2.097 trillion, however, Russia’s economy is largely extensive – 80% of Russia’s GDP relates to this country selling its natural recourses (gas, oil). In its turn, it makes the Russian economy highly dependant on commercial dynamics on the world’s market of such resources.

Russian Federation is a comparatively young nation, in the political sense of this word – its emergence as an independent country was only made possible by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. During the nineties, Russia’s political leaders strived to distance the “newly emerged Russian democracy” from the political, ideological, and economic legacy of the Soviet Union. However, the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as Russia’s President in 2001, had signified the process of this country returning to its “old ways”. That is – Russian officials now openly proclaim the collapse of the Soviet Union as a “great tragedy” and the very fact that fourteen former Soviet former republics had gained independence in 1991 is being viewed by them as the “fluke of history”. For us to get a better understanding of current socio-political realities in Russia, we will need to get a retrospective on Russia’s history in the 20th century, because it is namely the particularities of this history, which affect designing Russia’s current foreign policy more than any other factor.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Russia was considered one of the world’s greatest geopolitical powers, due to its size and large population. However, in terms of industrial development, Russia was falling way behind such nations as Germany, the UK, France, and the United States, because governing of this country was based on essentially feudalistic principles (this continues to be the case even today). By 1914, Russia was only a European country with its government being an absolute monarchy. This was one of the reasons why Communists were able to overthrow Russian government with apparent ease in 1917. The formation of the Soviet Union in 1922, marked the beginning of the biggest social experiment, ever conducted on the citizens of a single country, throughout the history of mankind. It is now being estimated that, before 1941, Communists had succeeded in slaughtering 30 million ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, simply because they belonged to a wrong social class. It was Lenin and Stalin and not Hitler (as it is being wrongly assumed nowadays), which had openly proclaimed their intention to conquer the whole world. Up until 1991, the Soviet coat of arms featured a hammer and the sickle over the globe, with Soviet Constitution openly stating that it was only a matter of a short time before all countries in the world would become a part of the USSR. In 1941, Hitler had inflicted a mortal wound on the Soviet Union, by attacking it in a pre-emptive manner. Like a wounded bear, Stalin was able to recover from Hitler’s initial attack and to occupy half of Europe by 1945 (as opposed to his original plans of occupying the whole of Europe in 1941). However, ever since the end of WW2, Soviet Union was doomed to slow and painful self-destruction, simply because Communism cannot win, while peacefully competing with other forms of political governing.

. By 1980, Soviet progress in the field of military technology became fully dependent on the effectiveness of Soviet espionage. It was often more profitable for the Western defense contractors to sell their technological secrets to KGB than to their governments. Soviet leaders never experienced the lack of money, because of the enormous profits they were making from selling oil and other Russia’s natural resources, which explains the fact why leaders of Communist parties in Western countries were often wealthier than the capitalists they used to criticize. Nevertheless, after the price of oil began to drop in the early eighties, Soviet leaders could not afford to throw money into the air anymore. President Reagan was able to realize that the policy of appeasement, in regards to USSR, was only enabling the continued existence of an “evil empire”. He decided to proceed with his plans for developing an effective system of defense against Soviet rockets, which is now known as the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), while understanding perfectly well that the Soviet Union would not be able to come up with adequate measures, because of the pathetic state of its economy. By doing this, he drove the last nail into the coffin of international Communism, as such that posed an immediate danger for the well-being of free countries. The year 1989 marked the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, which paved the way for the reunification of Germany. One after another, Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe started to crumble down, just like stacks of cards. From this time on, nothing could prevent Communism from becoming a part of history.

This, however, did not result in former Communists being removed from political offices in Russia. Nowadays, Russian Federation has adopted an old Soviet anthem, after former (and future) President Putin had publicly announced Russian Federation being a Soviet heir. In 2005, Putin had revised the principles of democratic governing in Russia, by making the Presidents of Russian Federal Republics be the subjects of governmental appointment, instead of being the subjects of the popular vote. In other words, even though that officially Russian government promotes democratic values (there are eight officially registered political parties in Russia), this country is nothing but a miniature model of the Soviet Union, with the majority of Russians perceiving Putin as Tsar, regardless of whether he holds the office of Russian President or Russian Prime Minister. Russian current President Medvedev (his physical height is 5’1’’) is nothing but a puppet in Putin’s political game, with even Russia’s controlled Media openly recognizing this fact. Just as in Brazil, Russian politics are based on the principle of checks and balances (Russian government consists of three independent branches – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial). However, the reason why this system is being maintained in Russia is to simply create an illusion that this country is a democracy, while all important decisions (including the appointment of judges) are being made in Putin’s office. Therefore, Russia’s current political system is best described as an oligarchy. The representatives of the Russian financial elite who are in favor of Putin, such as Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Fridman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Viktor Vekselberg, and Alexander Abramov (only 2% of Russian oligarchs are ethnic Russians), can make billions of dollars in profits, on annual basis, whereas according to Russian government’s official statistics, 25% of Russian citizens are being officially recognized as living in the state of extreme poverty.

The process of Globalization and countries’ increased economic interdependency had significantly strengthened Russia’s geopolitical influence, simply because 45% of oil and 75% of natural gas, consumed in countries of the EU, come from Russia. This was the reason why, why even though by invading Georgia in August of 2008, Russia had violated the most fundamental international laws and regulations, such countries as Germany, France, and Italy, did not even manage to come up with diplomatic protests, in regards to this invasion. By invading Georgia, Russia simply wanted to test the possible international reaction, in regards to its intention to pursue expansionist foreign policy in the future. As it turned out, countries of the EU had proven themselves helpless to do anything about the Russian bear starting to awaken, for which they will eventually pay a heavy price, as it happened many times, throughout history.

The main problem, which Russia’s ruling elite have to deal with, is the fact that the existence of Russia, in its current form, does not make much of a geopolitical sense. For example, the economy of Russia’s Eastern territories is much more interdependent with the economy of China, than with overall Russia’s economy. The same can be said about Russia’s Western regions, such as Kalinigradskaya Oblast, which only formally belongs to Russia, while being an essential part of the EU, in the cultural and economic sense of this word. Russian Federation is a conglomerate of ethnically diverse regions, residents of which feel as being alienated from each other. For example, there is nothing in common between Dagestanis (Muslim Turks) and Pskovians (Orthodox Slavs), except for the fact that they hold Russian citizenship. Even though Russian has the status of an official language in the Russian Federation, only 60% of Russian citizens speak Russian. Whereas the population of Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians) has been reduced by six million, ever since 1991, the population of Russia’s Muslim autonomous Republics (Dagestan, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Chechnya) has grown by three million, during the same period of time. In its turn, this results in the degree of ethnic tensions within Russia continuing to increase rapidly. Unlike representatives of the Brazilian financial elite, Russian oligarchs do not consider themselves as being spiritually affiliated with the country they rule (virtually all Russian oligarchs hold Israeli citizenship). It is namely this fact that provides us with insight on why Brazil and Russia’s foreign policies vary significantly, despite the absence of objective reasons, which could have explained it. In the next part of this paper, we will develop this thesis even further.

Comparison of the political situations in Russia and Brazil

There is only one objective reason that allows Russian oligarchs to continue surrounding themselves with immense luxury (in 2007, Abramovich had bought a $460.000 mansion in London, for one of his numerous “fiancés”, as “casual present”) – the very existence of Russia, in its current form. As we have mentioned earlier, today’s Russia is the miniature model of the Soviet Union. Why did the Soviet Union painlessly cease to exist in 1991? It is because everybody in this country hated it with utter passion, including Soviet governmental officials, who were often willing to trade Soviet state secrets for a few cans of Coke, Levi’s blue jeans, or Marlboro cigarettes. In 1991, there were spontaneous jubilations on the streets of just about every town in Russia, after people had realized that the “evil empire” is no more. This had taught Russia’s present rulers (consisting of former high ranking Communists, KGB officers, and “chosen people”) one good lesson – for them to be able to continue enriching themselves, by selling Russia’s natural resources to the West at dirt cheap prices, they need to ensure that Russia will not collapse like a stack of cards, as it happened to the former Soviet Union. This is the reason they needed to resurrect the myth of Russia being surrounded by enemies, this is why Russian children are now being indoctrinated that the Soviet Union alone had defeated Nazis, and this is also the reason why just about any ethnic Russian can be sentenced to as much as 8 years in jail (“extremism”), for simply expressing its contempt with Russia being flooded by hordes of illegal immigrants from Third World. Russian oligarchs are interested in citizens being instilled with the sense of “imperial pride”, as people who belong to a “great multicultural empire”, even though that, as history shows, ethnic Russians were never able to exercise control over presumingly “their” empire. They have simply been used as “cannon meat”, throughout Russia’s history. This is the reason why, just like in the U.S. (the Roman Empire of modern times), the policy of “multiculturalism” is being jammed down citizens’ throats, despite their will. Oligarchs strive to divert ethnic Russians’ attention from the fact that they are not the masters in their own country and there is only one effective way of doing it – making sure that Russia becomes periodically involved in military conflicts with small countries (to be able to get out of these conflicts as the winner) so that “patriotic” hysteria among naive citizens never subsides because only the existence of such hysteria guarantees Russia’s unity in its today’s borders.

In Brazil, this could not possibly be the case, simply because only 5% of its citizens are White (as opposed to Russia’s 65%), which points out to their socio-political weight in this country as being rather insignificant. According to the recent statistical data, 80% of Brazilians are racial hybrids, with an atrophied sense of existential idealism, which is the reason why they simply cannot become politically active, unless they feel that such their activity might serve them as the source of entertainment. This is why social upheavals in Brazil traditionally occur after the end of Samba carnivals. Brazil’s ruling elite maintains strong cultural links with Portugal, which means that it cannot be referred to as consisting of a bunch of cosmopolites, as is the case with Russia. Therefore, even though that Brazil’s oligarchs never forget about insuring their well-being, as such that represents a foremost priority in their eyes; they are also entitled to the sense of national solidarity, which is why they do not have to deal with overwhelming hatred, on the part of ordinary citizens. We can say that, whereas the political corruption in Russia is being perceived by the majority of White Russians as something intolerable, in Brazil, such corruption is being thought of as the essential element of country’s political life (just like it is the case with all countries in South America, with the probable exception of Chile and Argentina), because people affected by racial mixing tend to hypertrophy the concept of family relations, as representing a supreme social value.

Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking country in Latin America. This alone guarantees country’s unity better than anything else. There are Japanese, East Indian, and African communities in Brazil, but its members are simply in no position to demand special rights and privileges, as is the case with Russian Muslims, because Brazil’s ruling elite does not allow the representatives of ethnic minorities to have an access to country’s financial system. The members of countless native tribes in Brazil cannot exercise much of a political influence either, simply because it was not too long ago, since the presence of Portuguese settlers allowed “bush people” to advance beyond the Stone Age, for the first time in their history. We can say that, even though ethnic tensions do exist in Brazil’s society, they can hardly be referred to as being intense enough to pose danger to the well-being of Brazil as a sovereign nation. The majority of Brazilians do not think of their own country or their government as their sworn enemy, as is the case with Russian Muslims or with Russian Nationalists. Therefore, there is no need for Brazil to pursue an aggressive foreign policy, because, even though the majority of Brazilian citizens are being affected by racial mongrelization, they nevertheless are the patriots of their country.

Thus, it appears that the analysis of countries’ economies, military might, and natural resources, can hardly provide us with insight on what causes these countries to choose in favor of a particular way of acting in the international arena. After all, as it appears from our MSS sheet, Brazil and Russia’s economic and military potential closely match each other. Yet, Russia actively strives to oppose itself against the whole world, while Brazil firmly remains on the course of international cooperation. This is because most of our MSS design’s independent variables cannot be thought of as “thing in itself” (except for countries’ size, their dependency on import of natural resources, and their climatic conditions), but as such that closely relate to population’s biological quality. Even though it is now being commonly assumed that “race does not matter”, the objective realities of post-industrial living indicate something opposite. Unlike Brazil’s society, where the majority of people are quite satisfied with their stagnant mode of existence (Brazil had never contributed to Western civilization, in the cultural or scientific sense of this word), Russian society is being deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines, which it is turned, undermines the national integrity of Russia, as an independent state. Whereas White Russians strive to see their country among the world’s civilized nations, Russian “Eurasians” and Muslims want to adjust socio-political realities in this country to their perverted sense of “traditionalism”, as such that opposes Russia against the whole world. In other words, the Russian population consists of people that often cannot genetically stand the sight of each other. Therefore, the concept of Russia’s national unity is nothing but a myth, which nevertheless needs to be actively maintained, just as it the case with the concept of America’s national unity, which disappears into the thin air, every time American large cities experience electrical blackouts, or when the U.S. becomes affected by natural disasters, such as the hurricane Katrina. This is the reason why it is not only Russia that pursues an aggressive foreign policy (under the disguise of protecting Russians in neighboring countries), but also the U.S. (under the disguise of protecting democracy).

In Brazil, the continuous process of racial mixing, promoted by the Catholic Church, had resulted in creating a situation, when many Brazilians are now being preoccupied with indulgence in petty theft, as their full-time job, as a result of being deprived of their ability to operate with highly abstract concepts (low IQ). On one hand, this reduces the degree of ethnic tensions, within Brazilian society, on the other – it prevents Brazil from being closely associated with the notions of cultural or scientific progress, as racial mixing is nothing but a synonym of energetic entropy. In a society affected by racial mongrelization, the free flow of people’s existential energy (which serves as the metaphysical basis for the very concept of progress), becomes impossible. This is the reason why Brazil is very unlikely to be affected by social cataclysms in the future, just as China, for example. Unfortunately, this also means that it will never be able to acquire the status of a First World nation. The situation with Russia is much different – it is whether White Russians will be able to take full control of their own country (even at the expense of Russia being reduced in size), or they will eventually follow the footsteps of White Rhodesians, who in 1979 had committed the act of collective suicide, by deciding to embrace “diversity”.

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