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· April, 2012

Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from April, 2012

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Russia: Gun Rights Advocates Rally Around Tula Hero

RuNet Echo  30 April 2012

Russian gun ownership laws are long and restrictive. In early April, when a small-scale farmer in Tula used a kitchen knife to kill three armed robbers that threatened him and his family, the incident sparked a new dialogue about gun rights and self-defense in Russia.

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Russia: The Battle of Borodino Lives On

RuNet Echo  30 April 2012

After 200 years, through the works of artists such as Leo Tolstoy (as well as legal disputes about the historic preservation of the battlefield), the Battle of Borodino continues to inspire passion and incite controversy. In this post, RuNet Echo returns to the historical and modern contexts of Russia's victory in the Napoleonic Wars.

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Ukraine: Netizens Discuss Dnipropetrovsk Bombings

  29 April 2012

There has been a great deal of speculation about the four bombings that rocked the city of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, on Friday. The timing of the blasts is key to most of the popular theories emerging online, as Ukraine is undergoing a very eventful period right now.

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Russia: Putin Proposes Contentious State Power Grab in Siberia

RuNet Echo  27 April 2012

On April 20, 'Kommersant' revealed an ongoing legislative project to create a state company to oversee the economic development of Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East. The schism at the heart of the RuNet's response to this issue reveals certain fundamental apprehensions that shape online Russian civil society.

Russia: Dombrovsky and Molotov

RuNet Echo  27 April 2012

The Faculty of Useless Knowledge tells a story of writer Yuri Dombrovsky‘s brief encounter with Vyacheslav Molotov, and shares a link to a documentary [ru] about Dombrovsky's life.

Bulgaria: Penalty For Getting Pregnant

  26 April 2012

The blog “Работнически глас” (“Worker's voice”) tells [bg] about a trial scheduled for May 26: a former female employee is suing a company for a discriminatory clause in the work contract, which stated that any female employee who gets pregnant after being hired will have to pay a fine (700 lv,...

Bulgaria: “Big Change Begins With Small Steps”

  26 April 2012

Various blogs [bg] and mainstream media [bg] were telling [bg] about a student initiative held in the capital city of Sofia on April 24. Many students and members of diverse youth organizations planted trees in the badly-maintained Studentski Grad (“Students City”), a welcome citizen initiative where the leitmotiv was “Big change...

Slovakia: Protest Against Construction Near Bratislava Castle

  24 April 2012

On April 18, 200-250 [sk] people attended a protest against illegal construction near Bratislava Castle, organized by Bratislava Openly [sk]. The west side of a new white house (a continuation of a historical building, photo here) had to consist of just the ground floor and a minimal attic, but the...

Bulgaria: May Bicycle Parade

  23 April 2012

On May 19, the 15th annual May Bicycle Parade will gather thousands of supporters of cycling in Sofia with one clear goal – to count the cyclists and show that in Sofia there are more of them than ever. Bulgarian NGO “Bicycle revolution” is organizing the event [bg]. In 2009,...

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Russia: The Tsar's Victory Over Napoleon, 200 Years Later

RuNet Echo  23 April 2012

Across Russia, celebrations have commenced honoring the 200th anniversary of Tsar Alexander I's defeat of France's Napoleon Bonaparte. Russian and English language bloggers have been tracking the celebrations and lingering cultural impact of the war.

Bulgaria: “Why Should We Read Books?”

  23 April 2012

As many in Bulgaria fear that there are fewer people reading books now than in the past, Ognyan Antov of Anapest offers [bg] three answers to the question “Why should we read books?”: 1. Because thus we absorb the language and its grammar and spelling; 2. This way, we come...

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Serbia: Upcoming Elections Offer Few Choices, Inspire Apathy and Humor

  22 April 2012

Much unbeknownst to most people in the world, Serbia is, in many ways, looking at its most important election since the 2000 revolutionary elections that toppled the government of Slobodan Milosevic. As politicians have started campaigning avidly, so have many bloggers broken their silence on this issue. Danica Radisic reports.

Slovakia: “Slavery in the Streets of Bratislava, 21st Century”

  21 April 2012

Radovan Bránik highlights an instance of child abuse in his photo report, Slavery in the streets of Bratislava, 21st century [sk]. His pictures show a girl from Romania who, instead of being at school, is playing accordion for money in Bratislava's Old Town. A few older kids stand nearby, permanently...

Bulgaria: Interior Minister's Controversial Statement

  21 April 2012

Blogger Nikolay Delchev condemned [bg] the reaction of the Bulgarian interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov to the recent student protests against construction at the National Sports Academy's Black Sea training facility: “[…] Interior Minister almost regrets that ‘the whole repressive apparatus that they (the police) have by law has not always...

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Russia: Anti-Drug Activist Identifies Corrupt Moscow Police in Sverdlovsk

RuNet Echo  21 April 2012

Controversial activist Evgeny Roizman originally made a name for himself by establishing a non-profit fund called “A City without Drugs.” The fund both treats drug addiction and targets dealers, albeit using somewhat vigilante methods. Writing in his LiveJournal account, Roizman is now at the forefront of publicizing a police corruption scandal in Sverdlovsk Oblast.

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Russia: Liberal Democrats Join Opposition to Ulyanovsk NATO Hub

RuNet Echo  21 April 2012

In the last week, Vladislav Naganov and Aleksei Navalny, two of Russia's most prominent liberal democrat bloggers, entered the debate about a proposed NATO transit hub in Ulyanovsk. The transit hub (or "military base," as critics call it) is unlike most Russian political issues that involve the North Atlantic Alliance, as the Kremlin in this instance has agreed to cooperate with (rather than resist) the West.

Macedonia: Lead Smelting Company Sues Environmental Activist

  19 April 2012

Greenbox blog reports [mk] that Toni Dimitrievski, director of Мetrudhem, the corporation that intends to restart the lead smelting factory in the city of Veles, has filed a lawsuit against environmental activist Igor Smilev for “endangering security,” “unauthorized recording,” “slander” and “insult,” requesting EUR 20,000 in damages. So far, only...

About our Eastern & Central Europe coverage

Filip Stojanovski is the Central Europe editor. Email him story ideas or volunteer to write.

Roman Shemakov is the Eastern Europe editor. Email him story ideas or volunteer to write.


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