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· April, 2017

Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from April, 2017

Three Ways the Russian Government Is Trying to Control the Internet

“The Internet was created as a special project by the CIA,” Vladimir Putin announced three years ago. Since then, Russian authorities’ faith in the Internet has declined even further.

Russian Protest Movement Says It Will Press On, Despite Federal Ban

Despite being outlawed today by the Attorney General, opposition movement “Open Russia” says it’s continuing all operations, including plans for nationwide anti-Putin protests this Saturday.

Romania's Anti-Corruption Protests and the Burden of Shame

Though shadowed by a sense of national shame, for a few days Romania was an inspirational place, as people took to the streets and acknowledged the widespread reality of corruption.

Kyrgyz Kickboxer Claims Racism After Publicly Contesting a Loss in Russia

The contest's Russian referee threatened Sharsheyev with deportation as he refused to leave the ring after the loss.

Russian Authorities Want Easy Access to Online Dating Logs

Do you hope to find love in Russia? If so, and you’re planning to use the Internet to meet people, the pursuit could be less private than you maybe hoped.

One Small Town's Referendum on Gold Mining Is a Big Victory for Citizen Participation in Macedonia

It was the first successful referendum since Macedonia gained independence 26 years ago.

How Alexey Navalny Abandoned Russian Nationalism

Alexey Navalny had to reinvent himself to take charge of the Russian opposition, but he may have given up his populist edge over Vladimir Putin, along the way.

How a 1970s Polish TV Cartoon Can Help Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Today

A Polish TV cartoon series from the 1970s can help educators make Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM subjects more entertaining and appealing to children.

The Day Russia Outlawed Jehovah's Witnesses

It’s strange to see this in writing, let alone know that it’s true, but here it is: Russia has formally banned Jehovah's Witnesses.

Critics Say Albanian Parliament Is Trying to Amnesty Crooked Politicians, Under Pretext of Judicial Reform

Following protests, Albania's president has rejected legislation that could have spared the hides of many corrupt politicians. But it could still become law, regardless.

31 Years Later, the Lights Come Back on in Chernobyl

Last week, group of Polish adventurers lit up the abandoned town of Pripyat, three miles from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The Kremlin Is Reportedly Planning a Major Mudslinging Campaign Against Putin's Biggest Critic

The Kremlin has reportedly decided to unleash a major mudslinging campaign against opposition leader Alexey Navalny, after his anti-corruption efforts shaved 10 points of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s approval rating.

Russian Math Instructor Faces Criminal Charges for Online Posts He Says He Didn't Write

The arrest of a Moscow math instructor has raised questions about the safety of using internet anonymizers in Russia.

Pick Your Poison? Russian Orthodoxy or Banishment From Social Media

Critics of Vitaly Milonov, perhaps the most reactionary social conservative in the Russian parliament, have vowed to get him banned from Vkontakte, where his “online status” features an “illegal expression.”

So You’d Like to Start Computing in Your Own Language

Twelve tips for free software localization for minoritized and indigenous languages.

Urbanisation in Chechnya: Why Do People Leave Their Ancestral Villages?

Chechnya's farms have fallen fallow as villagers enthusiastically swap the hard work and abundance of the countryside for occasional labour and handouts in the city.

Can Russia Protect Its Journalists From the ‘Homegrown ISIS’ in Chechnya?

Alexey Venediktov, one of Russia's most prominent journalists, says the Russian government appears to have allowed a “homegrown ISIS” to emerge under its nose in Chechnya.

Meet the Activist Trying to Bring Ukraine's Villages Online

“I don’t really like Europe. In Europe, 99 percent of things are finished; here, there is work to be done."

Russian Journalists Say One of NYT's Pulitzer-Winning Stories Was Stolen

The New York Times won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for ten articles on Russia. The Russian website Meduza says one of those stories was stolen.

Russian Political Astroturf Is Back

Before Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was released from jail on Monday, a staged “student demonstration” was making headlines to spoil his public return.

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