Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from June, 2013
Russians Celebrate Number One Political Prisoner's Birthday
Nearly 10 years after his arrest and conviction, Russian society remains largely apathetic about Khodorkovsky. Those who do care are divided about both his guilt and its consequences.
PHOTOS: Budapest's Unique Brand of Urban Art
The capital city of Hungary, already famous for its history, art and architecture, seems to be breeding its own brand of urban art these days. Photos and commentary under hashtags such as #streetart related to Budapest are popping up daily on social networks like Twitter and Instagram, in particular as the summer tourism season gets rolling.
Russian NGOs Learn to Invest in Paper Shredders
At 3AM, last Saturday, Russian riot police and private security raided the offices of one of the country's oldest human rights organizations. Those inside, including the group's leader, Lev Ponomarev, were forcibly evicted from the premises. Later, allegations arose that the group was involved in certain "unpatriotic" activities.
Environmental Issues Drive Russians to Demand More of Their Leaders?
Over the last year, “Save Khoper” has held a series of protests to bring attention to a cause against a mining project outside Voronezh. On June 22, the latest demonstration turned violent, after a splinter group of protestors set fire to two drill rigs and other geological survey equipment.
Outrage in the European Union over United States Espionage Program
After Edward Snowden revealed the existence of PRISM, a North American secret service program, a few days ago, European Union authorities have demanded explanations from the North American government.
New Law in Slovakia Would Require Citizens to Report Long Stays Abroad
Slovakia's president has vetoed a controversial new law that would require citizens who plan on leaving the country for more than 90 days to inform the nearest Ministry of Interior office of their intended whereabouts during that time. The legislation has prompted highly visible anger from Slovaks on blogs and social media.
The Kremlin's Kitchen Serves Up Russia's Free Press
Novaya Gazeta has implicated Vladimir Putin’s favorite restaurant owner in a bizarre scheme to defame several of the country’s most prominent news publications, involving a conspiracy to plant false information in different newspapers, in order to convince Russians that the news is for hire.
Thousands Are Joining Bosnia's ‘Babylution’
The death of a baby girl has people in Bosnia-Herzegovina crossing the country's deep ethnic divides by the thousands to protest together against the government's failure to remedy a lapse in the law that is preventing newborns from being given an identity number and, by extension, travel papers and healthcare.
Czech PM Resigns Amid Sex Scandal
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas steps down after his Chief of Staff and mistress, Jana Nagyova, is arrested on charges of bribery and corruption.
Anti-Government Protests Rock Bulgaria's New Leadership
Mass protests begin in Sofia and across Bulgaria after the appointment of controversial politician Delyan Peevski to the position of Head of the Bulgarian National Security Agency.
Russia’s Bid For International Prestige: A White Elephant?
As Putin continues to pursue his policy of using international events like the Winter Olympics to show that Russia is worthy of investment, the country's taxpayers are coming to realize that they are the ones footing the bill.
Russians See Themselves in Turkish Protests
As Turkish protests continue, Russians draw parallels between events in Turkey and their own protest movement and hard-line political leader.
Vladimir Putin: Lord of the (Super Bowl) Rings
Did Vladimir Putin steal New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring when they met in 2005? Many Russian bloggers are asking that very question, after Kraft claimed in a June 14, 2013, New York Post interview that he had in fact not given the ring as a gift.
Orphaned in US, SOPA Finds Home in Russia
America’s controversial Stop Online Piracy Act is back—and it’s poised to become law in a matter of weeks. SOPA, however, isn’t coming to the US, where a wide coalition defeated the legislation in January 2012. A law that creates similarly harsh penalties for online copyright violations is on the cusp of finding a home in Russia.
More Violence for Russia's Gays, Supporters
These days supporting LGBT rights in Russia can earn you a trip to the hospital.
Russia's Commodification of Political Prisoners
Russia’s blogosphere comments on the unexpected release from prison of businessman Alexey Kozlov.
PRISM Infects Russia with Cyberwar Scare
Since last week, when the world learned about PRISM, Russian state officials have expressed renewed concerns about foreign social networks posing a national security threat. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin recently told reporters that websites like Facebook and Twitter are elements of a larger American campaign against Russia.
Russia Eyes Another Orphan Experiment
Pavel Astakhov's idea of sending Russia's highly-politicized orphans to the restive North Caucasian Republics as a kind of social "experiment" was overwhelmingly condemned by netizens of all political stripes.
“Give-a-Tree.rf”—Russia's Collective Reforestation Project
In a recent interview with Evgeny Voropai of Social Technologies Greenhouse, Sergey Skorobogadov, head of "Podari-Derevo.rf" (Give-a-Tree.rf) explained how a socially-conscious project can bring a profit and how quantitative indicators can stimulate activity in people.