Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from September, 2012
The criminal investigation targeting Russia's most prominent oppositionist blogger, Alexey Navalny, is heating up. Viacheslav Opalev, the former director of a logging firm in Kirov, has confessed [ru] to participating in the embezzlement of 16 million rubles (over half a million U.S. dollars), and named Navalny as the scheme's mastermind.
The just-announced slogan of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (“Hot. Cool. Yours.”) has spurred a brief episode of merrymaking on the RuNet. At first that may seem surprising, while the English version of the slogan may sound slightly confusing and a bit corny, it isn't particularly rich fodder for jokes or double entendres.
A bill that calls for penalties of up to five years in jail for defamation passed a first reading in the Ukrainian Parliament on Sep. 18. Following the online campaign against the adoption of the bill, its author submitted a request to recall it. The bill isn't history yet, however, and the protest continues.
Earlier this week, the media got a sneak peek at a new report on the foreign penetration of the RuNet and the potential manipulation of the country's future elections. The Internet's growing popularity is transforming it into a political weapon: a weapon that is increasingly guarded by American, albeit private, media firms.
This summer, Přednádraží, a small neighborhood in Ostrava, has been the site of an intense struggle against unlawful evictions of the predominantly Roma residents. Daniela Kantorova reports on the history of the area and ongoing struggle of its residents.
On September 27th Yekaterinburg-based internet news portal URA.ru was raided by city police, reports [ru] Evgeny Roizman, local anti-drug campaigner. Roizman is dating the editor-in-chief of the portal, Aksana Panova, who has apparently managed to leave the country before masked operatives arrived at her apartment and scared her mother and young son [ru]....
Dagestan is among Russia’s most impoverished and ethnically diverse republics. Recent tension between Sunni Sufi and Salafi communities suggest more conflict may not be far to come.
Despite initial setbacks, the Hungarian public has succeeded in convincing the Parliament to treat the issue of domestic violence seriously.
Now, nine people who self-identify as writers are running in the elections for the so-called "Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition," and a tenth strongly considered registering as a candidate before ultimately dropping out. Bearing in mind that writing is not the most popular of professions, this is a hefty proportion of the total.
The Yes-butno meme "created to break assumptions and stereotypes that everyone makes about various cultures, genders, sexualities, etc", has gone viral on the Ukrainian segment of Facebook, thanks to Lviv-based Rost Tatomyr and his selection of the nine "most popular stereotypes about Ukraine."
As the din of the Pussy Riot trial fades, some human rights activists in Russia are seeking to shift the public's focus to protesters arrested in connection with violence against police at a mass demonstration in early May. Twenty-three of Russia's most noteworthy intellectuals and activists have signed an online...
In Mutatione Fortitudo says that the two main opposition parties in Azerbaijan have united behind the government in its criticism of a European Parliament ruling condemning the 31 August pardon, release, and promotion of an Azerbaijani soldier who axed to death a sleeping Armenian counterpart on a NATO Partnership for...
The parliamentary election in Belarus is to take place on Sunday, Sep. 23, but the early voting has already begun, and the turnout may end up being high, despite calls to boycott the vote.
Anyone following the Russian protest movement cannot help but notice the degree to which many Russian journalists are involved with the opposition. In the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, such interpersonal relationships are clearly visible to outside observers. But what does this overlap say about Russia's journalist culture?
On his Facebook page, activist Žarko Trajanoski wrote [mk] about the latest session of his trial (started in 2010): ‘The Process’ continued – the accused presented his defense in absence of ‘the brave’ plaintiff, whose attorney said he did not know his whereabouts. The Court was allegedly informed that he...
The 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok has come and gone. What remains is discussion of what APEC means to Russia’s Far East and the country as a whole. Bloggers' biggest issue, however, was President Putin's promise to send some APEC volunteers on a cruise to Japan, who went, and who did not.
Odessablogger writes about the recent rally of the United Opposition's Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Odessa, explaining “why the unpopularity of the Party of Regions has not been reflected in the rising popularity of the United Opposition”: […] A monologue stating just how bad Party of Regions are then ensued. […] The...
Facebook page “Southeast Europe: People and Culture” notes that “Kosovo is one of this year's newcomers to the [Venice Biennale]”: The pavilion allows visitors to share their views on Kosovo's future design landscape. More on the Kosovo Pavilion – here.
The Balkans Beyond Borders Short Film Festival 2012 opens in Tirana today. This is the third time that the festival is being held; this year's theme is “TALK TO ME – multilingualism and communication”; the program of the three-day event is here.
At OpenDemocracy.net, Luke Dale-Harris writes about the Romanian Orthodox Church's “threatening influence on democracy in the country.”
Earlier today, blogger Maksim Kononenko highlighted [ru] the Coordinating Council candidacy of convicted terrorist and neonazi Nikolai Korolev, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 15 people in 2006.