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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Russia Shifts Focus Of War To Eastern Ukraine; Calls Mount For Putin To Be Tried For War Crimes; How To Wean The West Off Russian Energy; Interview With Masha Gessen About What Is Happening Inside Russia. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 10, 2022 - 10:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our local producer's grandfather was on the wall. He had been in prison for two years before being sent to a Soviet gular for 25 years.

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. I'll have more reporting from Ukraine over the next week. The news continues next.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world, I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.


ZAKARIA (voice-over): Today on the show, Russia's brutal war shifts focus to the east. We will bring you the latest from CNN's team on the ground. Then, the case for war crimes. Western governments have vowed to hold Vladimir Putin accountable, but what can the world do?

I will speak to the former British prime minister Gordon Brown who is calling for a Nuremberg-style war crimes tribunal.

And one billion euros a day. That is how much energy Europe is still buying from Russia. How will sanctions ever work if the oil and the oil money keep flowing?

Finally on a lighter note, I will bring you a clip from my new CNN Plus interview with the extraordinary Billy Joel.


ZAKARIA: But, first, here is my take. When Russia launched its attack on Ukraine a wide variety of commentators believed that there was at least one silver lining in this catastrophic cloud. Putin's assault on the liberal order they hoped would expose and delegitimize the illiberal populist forces that have been surging for years.

One commentator speculated that the Ukraine war could end the age of populism. Another, the scholar Francis Fukuyama, saw it as an opportunity for people to finally reject right-wing nationalism.

Alas, six weeks into this conflict such speculation looks like wishful thinking. In Europe two pivotal elections in Hungary and France tell the tale. As recently as a week ago it was possible to suggest, as an essay in "The Atlantic" did, that the Ukraine war was upending European politics by highlighting the illiberal and pro-Putin records of the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Experts were quoted saying that Orban was desperately trying to reframe the events around the war, and predicted that the French would now see Macron as probably the only person who can lead them through there crisis. In fact, Viktor Orban won reelection and a fourth straight term in office by a handy margin, getting around 53 percent of the vote compared to the opposition coalition's roughly 34 percent.

The same day voters in Serbia reelected a populist staunchly pro-Putin president by a landslide. In France where the first round of presidential elections set for today polling suggests that Macron's lead has been evaporating and that Le Pen has surged significantly. As a "New York Times" headline says even before France votes the French right is a big winner. In Europe at least right-wing populism continues to thrive.

It's not that Russia's actions in Ukraine are popular, they just don't dominate people's world view. The reputations of the pro-Russian politicians have not suffered from the war as many expected. Frustrated by the Hungarian leader's cozying up to Putin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy took a gamble and actually denounced Orban, calling him virtually the only one in Europe to openly support Mr. Putin. It didn't work.

In America one sees similar forces at work, though they are not as strong. Initially in the first weeks of the war the Republican Party seemed to revert to its historic hawkishness on foreign policy, many of its older guard are vociferously anti-Putin and pro-Ukrainian, but that would not describe the position of the man who is still its most popular leader, Donald Trump, who has praised Putin since the invasion.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Why shouldn't I root for Russia, which I am?


ZAKARIA: FOX News' highest rated anchor Tucker Carlson who two years ago declared that he was on Russia's side in its battle against Ukraine has recently taken to repeating Russian propaganda about alleged American sponsored bioweapons labs in Ukraine.

It's worth noting that there are some mitigating factors at play here. Viktor Orban has manipulated Hungary's democracy in ways that give him structural advantages. In 2010 he gave citizenship to 2.4 million ethnic Hungarians living abroad and portrayed himself as the only defender of their rights, which gained him massive support from these newly minted voters.


He's quashed the independent media. The government actively promotes Orban sending out publicly funded posters with his image. These kinds of practices have led Freedom House to rate Hungary as the only European Union country that is just partly free.

Even so, right-wing populism in Hungary and elsewhere is genuinely popular. While Le Pen has taken advantage of rising inflation, castigating Macron's government for price hikes of all kinds, her fundamental appeal comes from her strident cultural nationalism.

Orban, Le Pen and others on the right constantly rail against immigrants, multiculturalism, LGBTQ rights, and "le wokisme," a new phrase that has cropped up in France. At the same time these leaders have cast aside much of the free market economics of the old right. Le Pen has denounced many of Macron's new liberal reforms and embraced the old statist policies of the French left such as the 35-hour workweek and early retirement.

She has publicly speculated that she might bring in members of the left who agree with her ideas on protectionism and industrial policy. Orban had long practiced a kind of populist statism that doles out general state subsidies to groups his party favors.

In America Tucker Carlson spends little time on the Ukraine war, focusing his program instead on a daily diet of outrage about woke politics and cancel culture. Leading Republicans like Ron DeSantis do the same. If you were to listen to the American right these days you would think that the most pressing issues in the world today are school boards that are indoctrinating children with ideas about gender fluidity.

It is true that these ideas appeal to only part of the electorate, especially those who are older, more rural and less educated, but by now it should be clear that these voters are numerous enough and passionate enough to win elections on both sides of the Atlantic.

Go to for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

In perhaps the most telling sign yet that Vladimir Putin knows his war effort in Ukraine has fared poorly, he's made a mid-course change to the top of his command structure. General Aleksandr Dvornikov will now lead the Russian military in Ukraine.

CNN's Phil Black joins me now from Lviv, Ukraine, to talk more about this move and what it means for the future of the conflict.

Phil, welcome. What we do know about this man, General Dvornikov, is his record in Syria which was one of brutality, particularly towards civilians but effectiveness, right?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Fareed. So he is a man with history, the sort of history that is going to make people concerned about the brutality that could still be yet to come in this war. And, yes, in Syria he was the commander, the first commander of Russia's intervention in that civil war. The war that eventually turned the tide and ultimately saved the Syrian regime, but at tremendous costs.

It was an operation that had great willingness to use terror and cause suffering and death among civilian populations, notably of course in the city of Aleppo. What this all shows, though, is that it is yet another sign that Russia is aware that things haven't gone well so far. And a tacit admission that its efforts so far simply haven't worked because the assessment so far has been that Russia's various units in various parts of the country have been operating with considerable independence and what that means is no overall cohesion, at times there have been crossing over, at times they've been competing for resources, and logistical support as well.

This as Russia now focuses its efforts in the east, as it is expected to launch a more consolidated effort to take territory there in the hope of making tangible military gains in the Donbas region. This new commander is seen as a new effort, as an additional part of that effort, I should say, Fareed, in order to bring that new cohesiveness and bring results quickly.

ZAKARIA: The tragedy about what you're telling us, Phil, is it means the worst things get for Russia the worse they get for Ukraine's civilian population because they then, you know, wreck even greater destruction.

I want to ask you about -- very quickly about the eastern strategy now because we have these satellite images of a long supply line going to Kharkiv. What is specifically going on here? Is it an effort to really cordon off the east? Is this going to be a new and powerful offensive?


BLACK: That's the expectation. So these images show us and back up what we've been hearing from Ukrainian officials in the region and that is that Russia is bringing in large numbers of troops and resources ready to launch operations in the hope of breaking through Ukrainian defensive lines. That convoy is heading south, the line advancing south of Kharkiv through the city of Izyum.

This is thought to be a key point where Russia really wants to direct attention in order to expand its control of that Donbas region. It is a region that has already experienced significant fighting in recent weeks and that is expected to get much worse with the launch of these new offensive operations.

ZAKARIA: Phil Black, terrific reporting. Thank you so much. Stay safe.

Next on GPS, Britain's former prime minister Gordon Brown on his plan to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for his military's actions in Ukraine.


[10:15:21] ZAKARIA: The scenes of death and destruction from Ukraine in recent days have amplified calls to hold Russia accountable for its actions there. A warning, we're going to show you some of those scenes and they're graphic. The images from Bucha shocked the world, a mass grave behind a church and dead scattered around the town's streets. Then on Friday in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, a train station packed with people trying to escape to safety, that was hit by a Russian missile strike. At last count at least 50 were killed and around 100 were wounded.

One of the big questions surrounding all this is should Vladimir Putin himself be prosecuted for war crimes? Could he be?

The former British prime minister Gordon Brown has proposed a way to make this happen. He joins me now from Scotland.

Gordon Brown, explain why this idea of yours would make a difference? After all, we are not going to arrest Vladimir Putin anytime soon.

GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What we're seeing now is torture, rape, mutilation, murder, not as byproducts of war but as a policy of war being conducted by Putin, and we have already found this morning far more evidence in other villages just outside Kyiv of these kinds of crimes. So we've got to, first of all, say that Putin cannot act with impunity.

Secondly, we've got to say that those people in his inner circle are complicit and they could be charged with crimes of conspiracy. And thirdly, we've got to give the Ukrainian people the sense that we will continue to monitor and report and investigate and eventually prosecute these crimes. They need the assurance that the eyes of the whole world are upon Ukraine. And I believe that we should set up a special tribunal in this case to charge Putin with a crime of aggression.

Clearly, he has invaded the country and clearly, he continues this process of invasion even if he is now focused on the east rather than on Kyiv. And I believe a special tribunal could be created very quickly. It's at the request of Ukraine whom I have talked to about this, and many other countries should support their efforts to get this tribunal. It should probably be set up in the Hague alongside the International Criminal Court which would over time investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, but this crime of aggression is the initial crime, it's the supreme crime.

It's was what was of course prosecuted after 1942 when we decided that there would be what became the Nuremberg trials, and it's perfectly within our power to agree that we should set up this tribunal now.

ZAKARIA: The big difference between Nuremberg and now, Gordon Brown, is that people say you're going to have to cut a deal with Putin. The only way out of this crisis is some kind of negotiated settlement. Obviously in World War II the goals were unconditional surrender, total destruction of the Nazi regime and the Imperial Japanese regime.

Given that you're going to have to deal with Putin most likely, does it make sense to do this?

BROWN: That would be for a decision of the Ukraine people what sort of deal that they might in the end reach as an agreement with the Russians, but we've got to understand the only thing that Putin understands -- I've worked with him, I've dealt with him, I've negotiated with him. The only thing he understands is strength. If you show any sign of weakness either disunity or a willingness to compromise on principles, then he will use that as a sign that he can go further.

So we've got to display strength and strength is saying you cannot act with impunity. These are war crimes, probably crimes against humanity. They may extend over time to genocide, a form of ethnic cleansing, we do not yet know about that, but what we do know is that there's been a crime of aggression. That was the initial crime in 1942.

Now the question then is how do you get to Putin and his inner circle to punish them? You make it clear of course that the crime of aggression is in Russian law, it's in Ukraine law. You make it clear that if he left the country he would be arrested. You make it clear to his inner circle that if they stick with Putin then they are liable to be arrested, too.

But what you've got to do is set up a process, probably in the Hague, as I say, working alongside the International Criminal Court, but we will publish this week what is, if you like, a list of the crimes of aggression which makes it clear that there is a prima fascia case for a prosecution against Putin and his inner circle.


ZAKARIA: It sounds like you're saying Putin is essentially persona non grata, you know, should be kind of the common international pariah. In that circumstance, for example, should Russia's membership in the G20 be suspended in some way? This is what Jake Sullivan, the National Security adviser, has raised. You were instrumental in making the G20 important after the global financial crisis. Should Russia be out?

BROWN: Well, of course, Russia has been thrown out of the G7 which for a brief period of time became the G8, and I think that was the right decision to take. Suspension is different from expulsion and of course in circumstances where you cannot work with a country -- Russia is basically on the sidelines in the G20 at the moment. It's not really participating. I don't think Putin has attended a meeting recently or any of his ministers in person.

I think that's a decision the G20 can make when it meets next. But the key thing is to understand --

ZAKARIA: But what would you recommend?

BROWN: -- that the United Nations Security -- I would recommend suspension but I would hope that it would not lead in the end to expulsion, but that depends. Putin's regime is a pariah state. As long as Putin is leader of Russia in my view it will remain a pariah state. It is leading to the decoupling of Russia from Europe and the decoupling of Russia from the West.

We don't know yet what final attitude China will take to this. It is more ambivalent perhaps than what people thought at the outset of this crisis. What I feel we're moving towards unless we take action as one world and two systems, the future of one world two systems.

What I think the West has got to do, that's Europe and America, is offer people a global Marshall plan which is not simply about military action to contain Russia and potentially in future to contain China, but economic and political action that can bring those parts of the world together, whether it's through free trade or whether it's through subventions to make sure that people can enjoy prosperity.

We've got to show that there is a superiority in the way that our economic prosperity has developed in the countries of Europe and America.

ZAKARIA: You dealt with Putin when he had essentially ordered the poisoning and the killing of a former -- of a Russian defector. You know, when -- in your view when he faces these setbacks, when he feels like plan A is not working, what is most likely? What do you imagine Putin's plan is now in Ukraine?

BROWN: Putin is opportunist. You know what his final objectives are, but he's opportunist. When Litvinenko was assassinated in London we knew that he was behind it. We also knew that he was planning other assassinations on British soil and the only way we prevented these until the attempt in Salisbury 10 years later was massive security on our side but the threat to Russia about the action we would be taking if there were further attempts at assassination on our soil.

In other words, the only thing he understands is threats, the only thing he understands is strength, and we've got to show that this united strength that has started this approach to dealing with this crisis continues and that will mean, I'm afraid to say for Germany and others they will have to do oil and gas sanctions, they will have to cover all the banks and not just some of the banks, and it would be ridiculous if we ended up paying the cost of Putin's war by allowing the continuation of payments from the West to Russia for oil and gas over a very considerable period of time.

ZAKARIA: Gordon Brown, always good to have you on, sir. Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, we will take up Gordon Brown's challenge and talk about exactly how Europe can wean itself of Russian energy. Back in a moment.



ZAKARIA: Earlier this week Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked an urgent question, how many more Ukrainian men and women will the Russian military kill before Western governments implement a ban on Russian energy?

The chorus of voices calling for such a ban is growing, but how could Europe do it? The E.U. depends on Russia for about a quarter of its oil imports and about 40 percent of its gas.

Meghan O'Sullivan is here with some answers. She is the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard's Kennedy School. She was deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan under George W. Bush.

Meghan, welcome. So I want to start by asking you a baseline kind of question, which is if you had your job as deputy national security adviser and President Biden called you in and said, I want us to work on driving down Putin's oil and gas revenues, can you come up with a plan? Is the basic -- is your basic view it's doable, but hard, or it's really not in the realm of possible?

MEGHAN O'SULLIVAN, DIRECTOR, HARVARD'S GEOPOLITICS OF ENERGY PROJECT: Well, thanks, Fareed. Good to be with you. And I would say it's certainly doable and the question is, at what cost? And there are different components of this, as you know, and any -- actually, the Biden administration, as you know, has already decided to cut off its import of oil and gas from Russia, but the real question, I think, is, is Europe?

You know, the extent of the rest of the world and Europe makes up such a significant amount of the purchase of Russian energy from, you know -- from both the oil and gas perspectives.


O'SULLIVAN: So I would say, if I were asked to present a plan, I would say, "Let's break this into pieces. The first piece is probably coal, which Europe has already announced its intention to do. The next piece would be oil. And that, I think, is really the critical piece, because in 2021 the -- the Russians made about $3 for every dollar -- they made $3 in oil revenues for every dollar they made in gas revenues.

So while we hear a lot of talk about oil and gas together, if we're really trying to choke off Russian revenues, it's oil that is the critical factor. And then gas is even harder, but not as critical to the Russian revenue streams.

ZAKARIA: So let me just put up a graph which -- which illustrates the point you're making, in terms of where revenues come from. So Russian revenues from oil, 2021, $178.9 billion. Gas is just $61.8 billion, a lot, but, as you say, almost a third as much as oil.

So what would you do about oil? How do you -- how do you replace Russian oil?

O'SULLIVAN: Sure. And let's talk about this from the perspective of Europe. We just heard very passionately from Gordon Brown, and Europe is really -- this is where the sanctions against potentially Russian oil are most in play. So right now Russia exports about 7.8 million barrels a day, or up

until recently, let's say that, both oil and oil products. And about half of that goes to Europe. So we're talking about 4 million or 4.5 million barrels of oil going from Russia to Europe every day.

And what would happen to the world and to Europe if that were cut off in very short order?

So the oil market, unlike the gas market, as you know, is global. And oil is a fungible product. So, at least in theory, the oil that Europe wasn't consuming could be fed back into other markets, and that ultimately there would be some kind of rebalancing or reshuffling of the whole global system.

That's in theory. In practice, I think it would be a lot harder, although certainly some of that oil would make its -- make its way back into the system, most likely through China. China is really the key here, if we're asking about what happens to the oil market. It depends on how much China takes.

China has the ability to take a lot of that, let's say a substantial portion, the majority of that 4.5 million barrels of oil that Europe might not take, but that is just from a feasible -- technical feasibility. It really also is a political question for the Chinese. They've become -- you know, they cultivated this very close relationship with the Gulf producers and might be reluctant to jettison that or to scale it back in favor of accepting a substantial amount more of Russian crude.

So there's the Chinese. We can talk about OPEC being another source of trying to make up that lost supply, as well as some outliers like Iran and Venezuela. But all of these have uncertainties around them and there are time lags to all of them.

Add to those pieces of supply, you also have the prospects of American increased oil production, but more likely we're looking at a continued reliance on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, at least for a few months.

So the bottom line, Fareed, is that there are a lot of places where the world could make up that shortfall, but all of these, as I said, have a lot of uncertainty around them. And it would take an unprecedented amount of cooperation and real savvy execution to make sure that there wasn't a huge disruption in the oil markets as a result of a ban on Russian oil to -- to Europe.

ZAKARIA: Meghan, so what you're saying, which is very important, and I think not enough people understand, it's not just enough to increase the supply by getting OPEC to pump more or getting Venezuela to pump more, or getting the Iran nuclear deal so Iranian oil comes out. You also have to make sure that -- that Putin's oil doesn't just go to another buyer. And that's why dealing with the Chinese, dealing with the Indians potentially, who would otherwise simply substitute, and Putin would get the money just from another source.

Now, I've got to ask you very briefly, the hardest one, which is gas. What do we do about gas?

I have -- I have a minute, so I'm going to ask you to be -- to be brief here.

O'SULLIVAN: Sure. OK. So the -- the International Energy Agency says, looking at this from a less political, more technocratic perspective, they say, of the 155 BCM of gas that flows from Russia to Europe every year, that by the end of this year, 2022, the Europeans could displace a little more than half of that Russian gas.

And this would be through a variety of ways. It would be through increased LNG, liquefied natural gas, from other sources; a significant increase in coal; a very modest increase in renewable energy; and an increase in nuclear capacity.


And, very significantly, about 10 percent of that reduction of the 155 would come from demand destruction, basically conserving energy.

So there is some way of feasibly replacing about half of Russian gas exports within the year, which is not overnight, but, again, all of this requires a lot of coordination. And it would still leave a significant shortfall that would end up resulting in much, much higher prices, particularly for Europeans, and would result in probably more demand destruction because there wouldn't be sufficient quantities of gas to -- to meet demand in the immediate term.

So, again, I would just conclude by saying all of this is feasible, and under the circumstances, I -- I think it is almost inevitable, at least on the oil side. But it will require a lot of -- a lot of coordination, a lot of markets moving things, a lot of political stamina to actually see this happen.

ZAKARIA: Meghan, thanks so much. That was very instructive.

Next up, Masha Gessen on what is happening inside Russia.

And tonight on CNN, we have a special. There was no one like Anthony Bourdain. This is the story you haven't heard from the people who knew him best. "Roadrunner," a film about Anthony Bourdain that premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.



ZAKARIA: One of the novel aspects of this war in Ukraine is the speed at which the rest of the world is able to see the tragedies, hear about the brutality of it all. But it leaves one wondering what do the Russian people see? What are they being told?

The Russian-born Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker, written brilliantly about all of this.

So the first question I have is, we hear about these polls and we hear about the fact that Russians seem to support the war. Putin's ratings are at 83 percent. Anecdotal evidence does seem to support this, when you hear of reporters, they go out and ask people. What should we make of this?

MASHA GESSEN, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: You know, there's a certain point when opinion polling becomes meaningless. And it's misleading to call it opinion polling, right? You can't have public opinion in a country that has no public and where people have no opinions.

At this point you are measuring the level of totalitarianism in society, right?

When you get into numbers that are over 70 percent, you are talking about how totalitarian is this place, and where, for people, it's really -- it feels like a matter of survival to mirror back to the state what the state says to them, that's what you're seeing, right?

In a sense, maybe it's even more significant to look at the 17 percent who somehow objected, even though it's now punishable by up to 15 years to so-called "spread false information" about the Russian military.

ZAKARIA: But does that mean you think Putin is not popular?

Because in most countries, you have a war, people rally around the flag.

GESSEN: Absolutely. No, it does not mean that Putin is not popular. I am by no means trying to say that people are hiding their real opinions. What I'm trying to say is that they are in a situation of extreme state pressure and extreme propaganda where they don't even have the opportunity to form their own opinions.

ZAKARIA: And you're seeing some of this -- there was a New York Times piece about how people are now beginning to denounce one another in a way that is reminiscent of the -- the Stalin era.

GESSEN: Absolutely. This is a mark of totalitarian society. A totalitarian society is not only one that applies pressure from above but one where people start horizontally to enforce the rules that they perceive the state enforcing.

ZAKARIA: Do you -- do you think it is significant that, by some accounts, 200,000 to 300,000 Russians might have left -- or, again, I mean, it's a large country; this may not be that telling?

GESSEN: A portion of that, of those people who left, which is probably about a quarter million, the best estimate we have, those are people who were trying to create or creating a civil society in Russia, right?

That's a really important part of the population. It's a tiny group, comparatively, in a country of 145 million people, but it's a really important group. These were the people who were running NGOs, who were the last remaining independent media. And the fact that they've left, and left in despair, and left because they felt they had no choice, is really heartbreaking for the country.

ZAKARIA: And -- and to me, that makes me ask this next question. So if they think they can't change what is going on, is there anything from the outside one could do to penetrate through this totalitarian -- what you're describing, fascinatingly, as a totalitarian state but also a totalitarian society, a society so shocked and scared by all this that it's numb in a sense?

GESSEN: Right. I don't think, at this point, there is any pressure from the outside or from the inside that can change what goes on in Russia. I think that the ideas that, rhetorically, underpin sanctions, that people are going to rise up and overthrow Putin because life gets difficult, or that the elites are going to stage a palace coup, are mostly fantasies. They're not entirely impossible, but they're mostly fantasies.

ZAKARIA: So what would you recommend?

GESSEN: I think we have to think differently about it. I think that we have to focus more on what is the actual lifeline of the regime? And the actual lifeline of the regime is income from energy, right? And -- and think hard about the kind of hardship that the sanctions -- you know, what we have now is not even sanctions exactly, right?

There are sanctions, but there's also this huge spontaneous boycott by multinational corporation that didn't have to pull out but feel that public opinion makes them pull out, and also there's a snowball effect because the worse things are there, the less sense it makes to make -- to do business there.


But the impact of that is disproportionately -- I mean, the impact of sanctions is always disproportionately on the poor, but the kind of sanctions that we're seeing now is really disproportionately hitting the poor. It's making ordinary people not have access, for example, to life-sustaining medicine, right? And that's -- that's an impact that we have already seen. What we haven't seen is cutting off the actual income for the regime. And that's gas, oil, coal.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the -- the piece that you're going to -- the New Yorker is going to publish tomorrow, I guess it is. It is about the -- the great atrocity, the Holocaust atrocity in Ukraine.

And one part of what I want to ask you is, it does feel like the Ukrainians are -- are experiencing a kind of brutality that is off -- the kind of epidemic proportions, or epic proportions, that happened. Do you -- do you think enough is being done to recognize this?

Gordon Brown wants to do a war crimes tribunal. Because it does feel as though we are -- we're living through one of these moments in history that will be remembered for centuries.

GESSEN: You know, for this article on Babyn Yar, which is the largest mass shooting of the Holocaust, that has never been properly memorialized. And the biggest reason it has not been properly memorialized is because the Soviet Union suppressed any memory of the Holocaust.

And in talking about it, I talked to a priest who has become an investigator, Father Patrick Desbois, who is known for coining the term "Holocaust by bullets."

And he made this point that, you know, the Holocaust as we think about it, the Holocaust by gas, industrial murder, that's a unique event in history. But mass killing by bullets happens all the time...

ZAKARIA: And -- and in a sense, that is...

GESSEN: ... and goes unpunished.

ZAKARIA: And that is the kind of thing we're seeing now.

Masha Gessen, pleasure to have you on. Thank you.

We will be back.



ZAKARIA: Now for an interlude, something completely different.

When I was a teenager growing up in India, I fell in love with the music of an extraordinary American musician, Billy Joel. So when I started thinking about a new show on CNN+, he was the first person I wanted to interview.

I traveled down to his home near Palm Beach, Florida, and we had a wonderful wide-ranging conversation about his music, his creativity, his life. It was at times very funny, at other times very serious.

Here's one of my favorite parts from the premiere episode of the series "Extraordinary with Fareed Zakaria," only on CNN+.


ZAKARIA: Sometimes you'd bring stuff to the band, and in the course of playing, it would get redone?

BILLY JOEL, MUSICIAN: Well, I've brought stuff to the band that they said, "That stinks."

ZAKARIA: Really?

JOEL: Oh, yeah. They don't hold back. My band is -- they're all from New York.


This was back in the day. And if they didn't like something, my drummer would throw his sticks at me.

ZAKARIA: Liberty? JOEL: Yeah -- "Terrible! That sucks!"

There was one song, "Moving Out." Originally, it went -- "Anthony works in the grocery store, saving his pennies for some day. Mama Leone left a note on the..."

They looked at me like, "That's 'Laughter In the Rain" by Neil Sedaka.


And I went, "Crap. I wrote all those words for nothing?"


So I changed the melody.

"Anthony works in the grocery store..."

I wrote a whole new song.

"Saving his pennies for some day."

So in a way, it was a motivator to write a completely new song.



JOEL: But, like, they won't let me get away with anything. They're tough.


ZAKARIA: There's much more to see of this conversation with Billy Joel, part of my new series "Extraordinary With Fareed Zakaria." And you can only see it on CNN's new streaming service, CNN+. To subscribe, go to If you do so right now, your subscription will be 50 percent off for life. That is to subscribe.

Now, I want to close this program with a final thought about the crisis in Ukraine, or rather, about the crises being set off around the world because of the war in Ukraine.

You've heard about the challenges that Western countries, particularly European countries, face with regard to their energy security. But an even more dramatic problem is ravaging some of the poorest countries in the world.

As energy and food costs rise, many developing countries are finding that they simply do not have the money to import the minimum they need to survive and grow. In Sri Lanka, a country that had been reforming and growing after years of civil war, the government faces massive protests, has seen most of its cabinet resign and much of it parliamentary support erode, all triggered by huge spikes in prices. Now, Sri Lanka's economic problems predate the war in Ukraine, but that war has undoubtedly exacerbated those problems, and it is exacerbating the crisis we are seeing.


Egypt, another country with an impressive recent record of reform and economic growth, is the world's largest importer of wheat, with 85 percent of that supply coming from Russia and Ukraine. The government has devalued its currency and put price controls on bread, but more emergency measures are likely to come.

Pakistan is in the middle of a political crisis anyway, but the war has made it more likely that the country will default on its debts.

In fact, the World Bank has noted that, over the next year, a dozen developing countries could default on their debt, the largest debt crisis in developing countries in a generation. And as Sri Lanka vividly shows, these debt problems will turn into political instability very quickly.

So when you hear about high energy costs, don't just think about high heating bills in the West. It might also mean strikes, protests, governmental collapse and a plunge into poverty in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.