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· February, 2016

Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from February, 2016

29 February 2016

Ukraine's Eurovision 2016 Entry Is About Stalin’s Repressions. Russia Isn't Thrilled.

RuNet Echo

Ukraine’s entry for the Eurovision 2016 music contest is a song about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by the Stalin regime. So why are Russian officials upset?

Macedonians Protest to ‘Defend the Constitution from the Constitutional Court Justices’

"Apparently it's perfectly legal to do election fraud, and whatever crimes you commit as long as the court approves it"

Macedonian Court Rejects Appeal by Activist Sentenced for Defaming Pro-Government TV Host

Five years after the case first began, Macedonia's judiciary has finally rejected an appeal by an activist convicted defaming a pro-government television show host.

Belgrade Mayor Stands By Police Chief Who Interfered in Journalists’ Work

Belgrade Mayor Siniša Mali has refused to comply with the request of Serbia's Ombudsman to fire the chief of the Communal Police, who interfered with the work of journalists.

Youth NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe Tackle Corruption With a New Documentary Series

In the former Yugoslavia and former USSR, "from kindergarten to university, generations of children and students grow up learning about corruption from their own experiences."

27 February 2016

Young Women in Kosovo Are Writing Code to Fight Harassment

Developers of a new app, Walk Freely, hope it will help solve Kosovo’s sexual harassment problem.

Anti-Extremism Police in Yakutia, Russia, Say They Have Ways of Finding You on WhatsApp

RuNet EchoGlobal Voices Advocacy

WhatsApp messenger is hugely popular in Yakutia—and the anti-extremist police force are on it.

25 February 2016

Ukrainian Court Equates Social Network Profile With Mainstream Media

RuNet EchoGlobal Voices Advocacy

The social media pages containing "calls to overthrow authorities" were determined by the court to be "mass media" because they were public and accessible to an unlimited number of people.

UN Human Rights Official Pulls No Punches in Assessment of Hungary

After a nine-day visit, UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst highlighted the disheartening conditions human rights activists face in Hungary.

24 February 2016

When Elections Are a Joke, the People Tell Election Jokes

Election fraud and other misdeeds have been a widespread problem in the Balkans. As the saying goes, 'If I didn't laugh, I'd cry.'

Homophobia Mars a Chechen Model’s Dream

RuNet Echo

Many models dream of scoring a photoshoot for Dolce & Gabbana. 17-year-old Ilona Bisultanova's dream came true last month, but what followed online wasn't entirely beautiful.

23 February 2016

Unexpected Border Closure Leaves Thousands of Afghan Refugees Stranded in Greece

In Idomeni, a small village next to the Greek-Macedonian border, the only hope seems to be a passport.

Russians Find the Stories Hidden in Photos of Decay

RuNet Echo

There's a community on the Russian social network Vkontakte that takes photos of rust, peeling paint, and decay, and reimagines them as “abstract stories.”

22 February 2016

Hard Labor for Woman Who Reposted Online Criticism of Russia's Actions in Ukraine

RuNet EchoGlobal Voices Advocacy

A Russian court found Vologzheninova guilty of "discrediting the political order" and of "inciting enmity" by reposting or liking online material critical of Russia’s actions in Crimea and in Donbas.

Albanian Police Use Force Against Protesters Defending the Capital's Last Public Park

One police officer was heard threatening them with the words: "There will be blood!"

21 February 2016

Eurasia’s Leaders Urged to Close Their “Cyber-Borders”

The obscure Organisation of Eurasian Cyber-Security says an open internet can spur 'colour revolutions' of the sort already witnessed in the ex-Soviet region.

20 February 2016

Online Documentary Preserves Oral History Surrounding 1950s Yugoslav Anti-Veil Law

The law was adopted "... to achieve the goal of removing the century-old sign of subjugation and backwardness of of Muslim women..."

The KRA Factor: The Shaming of Kadyrov’s Online Critics

RuNet Echo

The Chechen ideologists have invented a highly effective way of influencing their online critics. The method has been tested in Chechnya and is now being used outside of the republic.

19 February 2016

Blogging Is Making a Comeback in Russia, Thanks to the Man Who Helped Kill It

RuNet Echo

A funny thing is happening in the chaos of today’s Russian Internet use: people are starting to feel overwhelmed on social media.

18 February 2016

A Blogger Exposes Personal Data Protection Flaw on Macedonia's Election Commission Website

Global Voices Advocacy

"The mishap is at a very amateurish level from the perspective of professional principles of working with personal data on the open Web."

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