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· April, 2015

Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from April, 2015

An Unexpected TV Rerun Sends Serbia's Social Media Into Censorship Panic

Satirical news show 24 Minutes was supposed to air a new episode with Serbia's embattled ombudsman as a guest, but a rerun ran instead. Censorship-weary viewers feared the worst.

What Has Happened to Russia's Best Independent Radio Station?

It's still one of the few outlets where you’ll find independent reporting and analysis, but Echo of Moscow has become Russia’s liberal radio station that Russian liberals love to hate.

Chernobyl Is Burning, But Who's to Blame?

As first responders fought the wildfire near the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine, panic and the conspiracy theories bloomed fast on social networks.

Ukraine's Security Service Takes Down 30,000 Websites to Fight ‘Pro-Russian Propaganda’

In an attempt to shut down a handful of pro-Russian websites, Ukraine's Security Service seized servers from one of the country's largest hosting providers, taking down thousands of innocent websites.

One Croatian Village's Memory Lives On, 71 Years After Nazis Destroyed It

On April 30, 1944, Nazi officers and other troops murdered an entire Croatian village. The Lipa Remembers Memorial Center is making sure no one forgets.

The Curious Chronology of Russian Twitter Bots

Multiple Twitter accounts were created on the same day, sometimes within hours of each other. This trend, typical for automated bot networks, was evident throughout Alexander's pro-Kremlin bot sample.

A Response to the Kremlin-Bot Skeptics

After Alexander's bot network analysis garnered massive attention from Russian media and social networks, he now addresses some of the skepticism about the bot networks and their provenance.

‘Anonymous International’ Wants You to Think the Kremlin Can Hide Nothing

'Anonymous International' continues to leak confidential government correspondence in Russia, while the group's methods and motivations remain shrouded in mystery.

Bulgaria's First Crowdfunding Journalism Project

The ‘Beauty’ of Russian Homophobia

Titled "Beautiful People and What They Say to Me," LGBT rights activist Lena Klimova posted photos of individuals in their everyday lives, and the threatening messages they’ve sent her online.

Russian Siberia, Five Years Later: Still Neglected, Still Burning

RuNet Echo looks at Russian Internet users' responses to the 2010 and 2015 wildfires, comparing what's stayed the same and what's changed.

Liberland, the Balkans’ Newest Micronation, Is Looking for Citizens

To apply for citizenship, just send an email with a photo ID and cover letter. But will Liberland, set between Croatia and Serbia, really become Europe's third smallest microstate?

Google Denies Russian Media Claims on Data Localization Move

Google representatives have denied Russian media reports that Google was bowing to Russia's demands and moving to store Russian users' data on servers inside the country, calling them "inaccurate."

Did a Facebook Post Speed up the Rescue of Tajik Citizens from Yemen?

"And who will rescue us? We live in Yemen, work as doctors, there are more than 300 of us, 400 if to count children too."

Are Google and eBay Bowing to the Kremlin's Data Localization Demands?

Google and eBay may be caving to Russia's data localization law, a move that would leave users even more vulnerable to state surveillance than they are today.

The Kremlin Declares War on Memes

By saying it is illegal to add celebrities’ images to certain memes, the Kremlin could be opening the door to banning a whole genre of absurdist online humor.

Tajik Migrants in Russia: Life Is a Queue and Then You Die

"We poor, desperate Tajiks die on the way to state borders, in the streets and bazaars, on building sites and other dirty places. Alas, no-one takes care of us."

Sixty Million Russians Go Online Daily, New Report Shows

Russia now boasts higher Internet penetration than any other BRICS or CIS country, with over 60 percent of Russian adults regularly using the web.

Who the Hell Keeps Leaking Kremlin Correspondence?

Russia's mysterious data-leaking group Anonymous International strikes again, releasing thousands of private messages allegedly belonging to the official who helped shape the Putin Administration's domestic policy from 2012 to 2014.

Anton Nossik in ‘Open Russia’ on the History of Kremlin Botnets

We translated Open Russia's interview with Anton Nossik about the significance of Russian bot networks and their legacy in the modern history of Kremlin politics.

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