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  #1  
Old 05-03-2009, 09:48 AM
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Kings Overthrown in the Twentieth Century

Hello! Post here King overthrown in the past XX century or monarchies abolished :)

-Italy (in ¿1946? by a referendum)
-Ethiopia (during a military coup)
-Spain (the Monarchy returned again in 1975)
-Cambodia (the Monarchy returned again in ¿1992?)
-Vietnam
-Laos
-Iran(1979)
-Iraq (1958: All the Royal Family was murdered)
-Egypt (in 1952 the King fled into the exile in his luxury boat and in 1953 the Monarchy was abolished)
-Tunisia
-Yuguslavia
-Bulgaria
-Russia (the Czar and his family was murdered in 1918)
-Germany
-Greece (in 1967 the King and the Queen fled into the exile and in 1973 was formally abolished, and in 1974 again by a referendum)
-Romania
-Uganda

What do you think about the abolition of these monarchies?

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Old 05-03-2009, 06:39 PM
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Well I don't like the abolition of any monarchy.
It would be interesting to go case by case into why each was abolished.
The Eastern European monarchs of Roumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia were deserted by the Allies after the war. It was obvious that Russia was going to treat the Eastern European countries badly.
Nepal - that was hardly suprising. Sad but perhaps for the best as the last monarch and his heir were terrible. It will be interesting to see if the marxists will be willing to gibe up power if a future election votes them out.
I know many persians in exile who are very bitter that the Shah was overthrown, with the support of the US.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:51 AM
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Here's what I think on a case-by-case:
  • Italy: results havn't been too bad, the republic's been chaotic but the kingdom hadn't been a model of stability either. What really strikes me as unfair is that the King was blamed for Mussolini and his whole family was exiled whereas Mussolini's family not only wasn't exiled but was able to re-enter politics!
  • Ethiopia: Emperor Haile Selassie was a great man, he was replaced by a brutal communist dictatorship -not good.
  • Spain -the result was a bloodbath by the republic (killed more people in a few months than the inquisition did over centuries) which then led to the horrible civil war and then the Falangist dictatorship -not good.
  • Cambodia: brief military dictatorship under Lon Nol, then the Khmer Rouge, the Killing Fields and the massacre of a third of the population -not good.
  • Vietnam: communist dictatorship, national division, decades of war, millions killed and displaced -not good.
  • Laos: communist dictatorship, foreign occupation, one of the most impoverished, isolated and repressive regimes in the world still basically under the thumb of Hanoi -not good.
  • Iran: the theocratic tyranny of the Ayatollah, the hostage crisis, wars and so on, basically allowed for the first seizure of an entire country by violent Muslim fundamentalists -not good.
  • Iraq: eventual result was the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein who admired guys like Hitler and Stalin -not good.
  • Egypt: chaos, dictatorship, several small wars, a brief flirtation with the USSR and plagued by violent fundamentalists -not good.
  • Tunisia: I don't know too much about the monarchy there before or after French rule but it's recent history has been marked by dictatorial presidents and problems with radicals so -not good.
  • Yugoslavia: communist dictatorship of Tito, dictatorship of Milosevic and the ultimate break-up of the country -not good.
  • Bulgaria: communist dictatorship as a soviet puppet-state, recently has been better but decades of tyranny and repression -not good.
  • Russia: Lenin, Stalin, the purges, the gulags, the Cold War, threats of nuclear holocaust, regime still very autocratic and crime-ridden and lots of strong-arm tactics, Stalin alone took out about 20 million people so -definitely not good.
  • Germany: We got the ineffective and doomed Weimar regime then about a decade of the Nazi nightmare, about 10 million people (mostly Jews) massacred, World War II, the division of the country and a Soviet puppet-state in the east that set them way back economically -not good.
  • Greece: military dictatorship under the Colonels, decline of the country, not as bad as some others but on the whole -not good.
  • Romania: communist dictatorship as a Soviet puppet state, tyranny and repression -not good.
  • Uganda: Not sure about what was there monarchy-wise under the British Empire or just post independence but I think they still have their local monarchs, I want to say like 4 tribal kingdoms.
There were others too like Portugal, Austria and Hungary, Afganistan, India, China etc but I cannot think of any example wherein things instantly got better because the monarchy was gone. Certainly not in China where there was chaos and warlord rule followed by the bloodiest civil war in history and finally the rise of Mao whose fanatical policies took the lives up about 60 million people through purges, massacres, repression and massive starvation from the "Great Leap Forward".

So countries, keep your monarchs!
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:21 AM
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India was divided into many tiny kingdoms after the death of Ashoka the great (304 BC - 232 BC). By the time India got Independence on 15th August 1947 most of the Royal families lost everything. The Decentends of the royals are living like Middle class Indians. Only very few royal families still live like Royals.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:41 AM
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Maybe you know that the results of 1946 referendum have been contested, since the republic was proclaimed by the Government, whose head assumed the power of head of State, and not by the Supreme Court of Cassation, that had to do it. So, the republic in Italy strictly came from a coup d’état...
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:26 PM
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No, I was not aware of that. I knew the vote was very close and I knew the results were highly suspect, especially with results being reported before all the votes were in, especially in the south which I have heard is more monarchist than the north. That is, rather outrageous really. It goes against the very principles that the republicans claimed to be championing. I'm always reminded of the law in the French constitution that forbids changing the style of government away from a republic back to a monarchy. That seems to inherently go against the so-called "spirit" of having a republic in the first place. But then, my experience has been that most die-hard republican types are so utopian they almost cannot help being hypocritical.

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Old 05-17-2009, 09:19 PM
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But then, my experience has been that most die-hard republican types are so utopian they almost cannot help being hypocritical.

Bones, I couldn't help but notice your country of residence.... Couldn't the U.S. be described as a country of utopian, "die-hard republican types"? After all, no one seems to be sorry that King George III got the boot. In other words, do you consider the U.S. a country that "cannot help being hypocritical" because of our strong democratic, republican political philosophy?

Also, I'll note that history is, in some cases, more nuanced than you present it to be above. King Constantine of Greece lost broad support and was eventually deposed because he legitimized a military coup that overthrew a democratically elected, centrist government. Therefore he is in great measure responsible not only for his own fate, but also for the subsequent instability in the country.

The situation in Spain is also much more complex than you present it to be. King Alfonso XIII left the country in April 1931 after republicans won a majority of urban seats in an election, and the Second Republic followed. Under this government, a Constitution was adopted in late 1931 that established: (1) freedom of speech, (2) freedom of association, and (3) separation of Church and State. Sound familiar? It also provided universal suffrage for women, as well as the right to divorce. Not terrible things, all things considered. But the separation of Church and State and the right to divorce were objectionable to the Catholic Church, of course, as well as to the right wing. In fact it was the military, under the direction of Franco, who started the Civil War in 1936 and, with it, the bloodbath.

Franco, as you know, was both a fascist and a monarchist. In fact, King Juan Carlos has Franco to thank for putting him on the throne ahead of his own father, the Count of Barcelona (and his cousin Alfonso, Duke of Cadiz). Luckily, by the time he got to the throne Juan Carlos had learned a lesson from his brother-in-law, Constantine of Greece. Therefore Juan Carlos refused to legitimize or support the Spanish military coup known as 23-F (23 February). It was a pivotal moment in his reign -- the moment when he garnered devotion and loyalty from his people -- and these have endured.

In general, I find that I can support constitutional monarchs within a democratic system of government, mainly because they embody history and provide meaning and continuity for their people. This is an important function. On the other hand, I oppose any form of autocratic government -- be it monarchist, communist, or fascist.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:34 AM
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Bones, I couldn't help but notice your country of residence.... Couldn't the U.S. be described as a country of utopian, "die-hard republican types"? After all, no one seems to be sorry that King George III got the boot. In other words, do you consider the U.S. a country that "cannot help being hypocritical" because of our strong democratic, republican political philosophy?
I mean exactly what I said; the die-hard republican types -yes. Was it not just a tad hypocritical to raise an angry mob over a tax of a few cents when John Hancock was the wealthiest man in America, Washington married money and was one of the largest landowners in Virginia and Thomas Jefferson had a vast plantation with hundreds of slaves? Now, there are reasons and justifications and all the rest for this case and that, but surely someone who goes so far as to think that "their" system is the greatest, most perfect form of government on earth are going to be hypocritical when faced with the fact that no system is perfect?

Quote:
Also, I'll note that history is, in some cases, more nuanced than you present it to be above. King Constantine of Greece lost broad support and was eventually deposed because he legitimized a military coup that overthrew a democratically elected, centrist government. Therefore he is in great measure responsible not only for his own fate, but also for the subsequent instability in the country.
From what I heard the King of Greece was overthrown because he was plotting against the colonels who had seized power.

Quote:
The situation in Spain is also much more complex than you present it to be. King Alfonso XIII left the country in April 1931 after republicans won a majority of urban seats in an election, and the Second Republic followed. Under this government, a Constitution was adopted in late 1931 that established: (1) freedom of speech, (2) freedom of association, and (3) separation of Church and State. Sound familiar? It also provided universal suffrage for women, as well as the right to divorce. Not terrible things, all things considered. But the separation of Church and State and the right to divorce were objectionable to the Catholic Church, of course, as well as to the right wing. In fact it was the military, under the direction of Franco, who started the Civil War in 1936 and, with it, the bloodbath.
Obviously any history is going to be more complex than can be presented on a message forum post of bullet points. There was a monarchy, it fell, there were two brutal regimes and a civil war and once the monarchy came back things have been better. Those are facts. Is the whole story more complex? Yes, but those are the basic facts. You favor the Spanish republic -okay, I will reserve comment on that, but if you associate Franco with monarchy you are not being complex enough. He pretended to be a monarchist to get monarchist support but if he had actually been a monarchist he would have simply restored the King as soon as his forces were victorious. As far as him being the founder of the restored Kingdom of Spain...so what? The USA was established by military force too, not by popular vote. The fact remains it was under the King that militarism was suppressed and democracy instituted.

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In general, I find that I can support constitutional monarchs within a democratic system of government, mainly because they embody history and provide meaning and continuity for their people. This is an important function. On the other hand, I oppose any form of autocratic government -- be it monarchist, communist, or fascist.
Then we are in agreement, I would only ask when in the 20th Century has the destruction of a monarchy resulted in a truly benevolent, democratic system? People called the last Shah of Iran "autocratic" and yet under his reign women could go to school, wear short skirts and makeup, walk the streets unescorted, one could have any religion or no religion and Iran was not threatening to wipe anyone off the planet. It is obvious to me that if this was "autocratic" for a monarchy it is still preferable to the "autocratic" republic that followed it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:21 PM
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No, I was not aware of that. I knew the vote was very close and I knew the results were highly suspect, especially with results being reported before all the votes were in, especially in the south which I have heard is more monarchist than the north. That is, rather outrageous really. It goes against the very principles that the republicans claimed to be championing. I'm always reminded of the law in the French constitution that forbids changing the style of government away from a republic back to a monarchy. That seems to inherently go against the so-called "spirit" of having a republic in the first place. But then, my experience has been that most die-hard republican types are so utopian they almost cannot help being hypocritical.

I didn't know the results in Italy were so contested either, but the big difference between North and South is a historical thing. Basically, everything below Rome used to be part of the Kingdom of Naples/Sicily (which was part of the vast Spanish territory) while Rome and everything North of it were just a dozen different principalities/duchies/counties/papal states.... They were more inclined to vote for a form of government they had more control over - so they could feel more independant.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:05 PM
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Very true. That's the only reason I've been led to believe monarchist sympathy is more prevalent in the south. I've heard somewhat more talk of active monarchist support there and it is the only part of Italy I have seen people out in the streets waving monarchist flags -which were of course the flag of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, not the Italian nation state. Maybe the Bourbons were disliked slightly less than the Hapsburgs.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:40 PM
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Fascinating conversation. I really appreciate it. There are many points on which we agree, and some on which we see things slightly differently. (King Constantine of Greece, for example).

I agree wholeheartedly on the Shah of Iran, but I would simultaneously point out that Czar Nicholas II was far from attuned to the suffering of the vast majority of Russians. Of course, his rule was followed by despotic communism... but haven't you observed that one extreme will almost inevitably yield its opposite? (You'd have to ask a former serf whether his life was better under the Czar or under Lenin, but I don't imagine that either one was very good). To my mind, the real task is to maintain the middle ground, and that is precisely where I locate most constitutional monarchies, along with other forms of democracy.


Still, I couldn't agree more that all of history is nuanced....
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:26 PM
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Well, I'm not very "up" on what happened in Greece, I do know that politics there had not been very stable all the way back to independence. I'm just going on what I've heard from the few Greeks I know and my own opinion that Constantine just doesn't seem like the militarist sort.

As for Russia, I'm pretty sure serfdom had been abolished long before the reign of Nicholas II (I want to say 1862) but the suffering that occurred under the Empire (on the whole, there are always exceptions) was more a result of famines & such; the underdeveloped nature of the country; whereas under the Soviets there were constant purges, persecution of various groups, "class enemies" and massive starvation that was caused by collectivization rather than the chances of nature. Peasants in Imperial Russia probably had as bad or possibly a lower standard of living than their Soviet counterparts, but I don't think as many lived in constant fear. The Soviets also, as I see it, spread a great deal more suffering around the world than Czarist Russia ever did becuase of their committment to spreading the "international revolution".

I'm not sure if the middle ground is always best, though it has certainly been the via media, constitutional, monarchies that have survived.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:22 AM
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I Know a gentleman who was born in Russia just after the war. His family would be what we would call middle class country folk. They lived on a profitable farm, owned by their family, which employed some 20 people plus about 15 members of their own family. They were reasonably well off. (The family went on holidays to the Crimea before the war.) and this was a typical scenario of the region where they lived. All of this was destroyed by Stalinism, he and his parents had to flee, through China and eventually to Australia. The rest of his family, including sisters were killed. The whole region that they lived in was decimated and most of the farms destroyed. He says that it never recovered and the whole area was wracked by starvation, terribel poverty and fear. Something that the area had never experienced under the Tzars.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:49 PM
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Iran: the theocratic tyranny of the Ayatollah, the hostage crisis, wars and so on, basically allowed for the first seizure of an entire country by violent Muslim fundamentalists -not good.
Not sure about this. The theocratic tyranny replaced another tyranny, and I'd hesitate to say that one was better than the other. I'd say with Iran, largely thanks to CIA interference, that the transition from monarchy to republic was neither good nor bad, but was one bad system replaced by another.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:55 PM
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I Know a gentleman who was born in Russia just after the war. His family would be what we would call middle class country folk. They lived on a profitable farm, owned by their family, which employed some 20 people plus about 15 members of their own family. They were reasonably well off. (The family went on holidays to the Crimea before the war.) and this was a typical scenario of the region where they lived. All of this was destroyed by Stalinism, he and his parents had to flee, through China and eventually to Australia. The rest of his family, including sisters were killed. The whole region that they lived in was decimated and most of the farms destroyed. He says that it never recovered and the whole area was wracked by starvation, terribel poverty and fear. Something that the area had never experienced under the Tzars.
There was a great deal of poverty, lack of education, cruelty and starvation under the Tsars. They were no great loss for Russia. The great loss was that they were replaced by a government equal or worse than before.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:38 PM
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Not sure about this. The theocratic tyranny replaced another tyranny, and I'd hesitate to say that one was better than the other. I'd say with Iran, largely thanks to CIA interference, that the transition from monarchy to republic was neither good nor bad, but was one bad system replaced by another.
Yes, I thought it was something like that too.

I'm still wondering whether or not the Italian Republic was a good thing. Since the establishment of the Republic, the country saw almost as many governments as years pass by (I believe one of Berlusconi's recent governments was the first to do it's full term of 4 or 5 years, which brought some balance in this equasion). But obviously there's no telling if this would have been different with a King instead of a President.

And I think this applies to many examples you so easily dismiss as having been for the worse, Bones. There's no guaranteeing that keeping the monarchy would have been a better choice. Cambodja, for instance. Is it so sure a monarch would have prevented the Khmer from coming into existence? Would an Italian King have prevented the "civil war" between left and right in Italy, and all those bombing attacks? Nobody can know this for sure. (although I guess for some countries it's obvious that the way things turned out certainly isn't for the best)

It's also a bit one-sided to judge these historical developments only by their outcome, and not by what lead op to the abolishing of the monarchy.
Which doesn't mean I'm pro abolishing, just that you have to see things in their entire context.

So maybe some of you (who know more about this than me) can enlighten me as to the situation in all these countries before the monarchies were abolished?
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:42 PM
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There was a great deal of poverty, lack of education, cruelty and starvation under the Tsars. They were no great loss for Russia. The great loss was that they were replaced by a government equal or worse than before.
Under the Tzars it was possible for things yo improve and there were people whose lot was improving, as per my example above, under the Soviets all that was destroyed. I would say thar the Soviets were worse.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:46 PM
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Not sure about this. The theocratic tyranny replaced another tyranny, and I'd hesitate to say that one was better than the other. I'd say with Iran, largely thanks to CIA interference, that the transition from monarchy to republic was neither good nor bad, but was one bad system replaced by another.
Ayatollah was worse. The Shah was very pro western ideals and he actually was going to transition the country to democracy, at least that was his plan. Under the Shah there was alot of personal freedoms, freedom of dress, religon, freedom for women etc. There was a large devloping middle class that had tp flee the country after the overthrow. Things are worse now, expecially for women.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:11 PM
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Yes, the Shah had his drawbacks, but the present government is a nightmare, especially for women.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:43 PM
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Well, I'm not very "up" on what happened in Greece, I do know that politics there had not been very stable all the way back to independence. I'm just going on what I've heard from the few Greeks I know and my own opinion that Constantine just doesn't seem like the militarist sort.
I agree that Constantine doesn't seem like the militaristic sort, but my impression is that he wasn't strong on backbone, either.... I think that it's fairly well documented that he legitimized a military coup that was otherwise on very shaky ground. On the other hand, we must remember that he was a very young man at the time. I, too, have a number of Greek friends -- perhaps more left-leaning than yours -- and their opinion of him is not particularly high. (Not hateful, either -- only a kind of lukewarm disdain, which may be even worse).

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As for Russia, I'm pretty sure serfdom had been abolished long before the reign of Nicholas II (I want to say 1862) but the suffering that occurred under the Empire (on the whole, there are always exceptions) was more a result of famines & such; the underdeveloped nature of the country
Yes, serfdom was abolished long enough before Nicholas II or Lenin came to power -- hence my use of the term "former serfs." I meant to refer to the lower socioeconomic strata in czarist and communist Russia, and to wonder how they fared under each autocratic regime. I also wasn't saying that Nicholas II was a direct cause of the massive poverty that these people suffered, but I did say that he seemed fairly divorced and unattuned to it. I think that he was much more focused on dreams of colonialism (in Manchuria, to be precise), and that these distracted him in important ways from the plight of his people. I also believe that his wife didn't help much in this regard.

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whereas under the Soviets there were constant purges, persecution of various groups, "class enemies" and massive starvation that was caused by collectivization rather than the chances of nature. Peasants in Imperial Russia probably had as bad or possibly a lower standard of living than their Soviet counterparts, but I don't think as many lived in constant fear. The Soviets also, as I see it, spread a great deal more suffering around the world than Czarist Russia ever did becuase of their committment to spreading the "international revolution".
Yeah, you know... you're going to have to work awfully hard to get me to say anything nice about communism, especially given that my family has had some first-hand experiences of that form of government. Well, I suppose that I can say that some people that I respect deeply & who know the field of medicine very well have said that poor people in Cuba have much better access to decent health care than their counterparts in the U.S. But that has nothing to do with czarist Russia, so it's beside the point. And I'll admit that a part of me is still skeptical, anyway.

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I'm not sure if the middle ground is always best, though it has certainly been the via media, constitutional, monarchies that have survived.
Here we disagree. I believe that the middle way is the way. Not a wishy-washy, watered-down belief system, but something that you arrive at after really struggling & weighing the merits of both sides. A dynamic tension that is always challenging to sustain. A commitment to keeping both sides of an argument alive, without the need to foreclose or reduce one of them. What Heidegger might call a dialectical tension.
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