Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from February, 2013
Russia's Feds Now Using Bloggers to Investigate Bloggers
Last week, blogger and corruption fighter Alexey Navalny was on top of the world, after he published information that led to the eventual resignation of a Duma deputy. The Russian Internet, however, is a fickle mistress. Today, Navalny is himself the victim of bloggers, thanks to the Federal Investigative Committee.
World's Grumpiest Traveler Smiles Virtually :-)
It's not true that Vitaly Zelkovsky [ru], better known as “the world's grumpiest traveler,” never smiles. He does – virtually, at least. Reacting to the unexpected fame, Zelkovsky re-posted a Broken News Daily “report” about himself and exchanged a few words with two of his VKontakte friends. Both times, he...
One Billion Rising: Progress for Women Worldwide, But Still Much to Do
On February 14, 2013, a worldwide event "One Billion Rising" was held, in which women were invited to gather and to dance, to demonstrate against gender violence. On this occasion, Barbara Auger raises a question still faced by women today: what role should they take ?
“Liberal, Jewish, Sexy”: Keeping Tabs on Hungarian Students
According to a report published by a Hungarian TV channel, members of the student union of one of the universities in Budapest allegedly kept tabs on students’ religion, ethnic background and political affiliation.
Russia's New Media: Too Clique to Fail?
The previous version of OpenSpace.ru was much less political in nature and was presumably shut down for financial reasons. It reopened a month later with a revamped website and a new team at the helm. It also didn't last as long as the old.
Bulgarian Government Quits, But Protests Continue
The protests in Bulgaria continue: on Sunday, in Sofia and other cities, tens of thousands of people marched against corruption, high utility bills and poverty. Ruslan Trad reports from the Bulgarian capital.
Macedonian Anti-Fascists Protest Against Harassment
On Feb. 16, World War II veterans and their supporters protested against the forced neglect of the Allied Forces' achievements (which include the founding of the Macedonian state), and the continuous harassment of the veterans' organization by the current government at all levels. Filip Stojanovski reports.
God Exists and He Serves the Kremlin
Though the Pussy Riot trial is over, the culture war it launched in Russia drags on unabated. Pope Benedict's abdication sparked the latest conflagration, when political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky addressed the Catholic leader's decision, calling it a path the Orthodox Patriarch ought to follow. In response, Parliament members have asked federal investigators to consider a criminal case against Belkovsky.
A Fistful of Bloggers: Russian MP Pressured to Resign
Duma Ethics Committee Chairman Vladimir Pekhtin resigned today after a week of pressure from bloggers and the media over undeclared Florida property.
Bulgarian Police Attack Anti-Government Protesters
GV Author Ruslan Trad has posted a video from the Feb. 19 anti-government protest in Sofia, Bulgaria: There were provocations and police violence. Police beating everyone. They did not want to arrest provocateurs, and people shouting, “These are provocateurs,” but police beat anyone on the street. Attack of the police...
Russian Opposition, What Are You Doing? Stahp.
The Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition has been a fascinating eDemocracy experiment, conducted in the shadow of Russia's competitive authoritarian status quo. Yet, a recent decision not to nominate candidates for any elections—local or regional—has intensified doubts about the KSO, making it a target for one of the RuNet's more vicious attack memes.
VIDEO: Harlem Shakes Ukraine
Popular Internet video meme Harlem Shake [en] has reached Ukraine. On February 16, 2013, YouTube user Vladislav Stankevich [ru, en] shared a video of several costumed people dancing to the “Harlem Shake” [en] song on what appears to be Kyiv subway.
RuNet Skeptical About Chelyabinsk Meteorite
The tendency of the RuNet to amplify conspiracy theory explanations of any given event cannot be overestimated.
Tax Holiday for Albanian Youth?
THREE YEAR TAX LIFT FOR EMPLOYED YOUTH In a significant boost to youth employment, the government will decide during the coming weeks about the lifting of taxes (social security, health and personal income tax) and expenses of new trainings of those employed in the private sector. We keep our promises! The...
High Energy Bills Keep Bulgarians Protesting
On Sunday, February 17, tens of thousands of people in Bulgaria's capital Sofia and other cities continued to protest against high electricity and heating bills. Ruslan Trad reports.
Summer Course: Internet Advocacy
The Central European University in Budapest, Hungary is offering an intensive course in Internet Governance, Civil Society and Public Policy Advocacy on July 8-19, 2013 in partnership with the Annenberg School of Communication and Center for Democracy and Technology. Apply online before March 15.
For Russia's Comics, it's Raining Meteors
Although the shock wave from the Chelyabinsk meteorite injured hundreds of people, RuNet users have been more eager than ever to crack jokes and spread memes.
Japan's Conservation Groups Fight to Preserve Wetlands
Damp and marshy, they seem boring and barren. But contrary to their appearance, tidal flats or coastal wetlands are rich in biodiversity and help maintain balance in the water cycle. For Japan, which hosts 46 of the 2,098 registered wetlands worldwide, their conservation is essential.
The Chechen President's Unlikely Instagram
From the start it was obvious that the anonymous album was being updated by either Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov himself, his press secretary, or someone equally close.
Blood on the Russian Tracks
Earlier today, the Russian Railways concluded its official investigation into the death of Elena Soboleva, who died on January 18 crossing the tracks at the Saltykovskaia train platform [ru], located just east of Moscow. The Railways (or RZhD, as it's known in Russian) determined [ru] that Ms. Soboleva was responsible for her...