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· March, 2019

Stories about Eastern & Central Europe from March, 2019

Russian regulators ask VPNs to block blacklisted websites, but most have refused

This defeats the purpose of a VPN, a technology used primarily to help people access censored websites.

What changed for the Macedonian people after the country changed its name to Republic of North Macedonia

However, that didn't just transform the Balkan country's international relations: it also introduced many changes that affect the everyday lives of its people.

The Slovakian memes that tore apart the first round of presidential elections

Pro-EU candidate Zuzana Čaputová won the first round following an eventful race that was wittily captured by the Slovakian internet on memes.

With elections just days away, Ukraine faces disinformation, cyber attacks and further Russian interference

Ukraine may be home to “the most globally advanced case of computational propaganda.” How will this affect the presidential election?

Netizen Report: EU activists make a final push to keep the internet filter-free

The EU makes a final decision on copyright rules, Iraq considers a new cybercrime law, and internet activists in Kazakhstan, Egypt and Venezuela face legal threats.

Russian journalist forced to resign for Telegram channel critical of St. Petersburg authorities

Journalist Maria Karpenko says her editor confronted her about co-running a Telegram channel critical of St. Petersburg authorities.

‘Blood feud’ against Chechen blogger is the culmination of a months-long, unusually frank conversation about a buried past

Heated exchanges provide a rare glimpse into painful and conflicted issues that are burning hot in today’s Chechnya, ten years after the official conclusion of the Second Chechen War.

Abandoned church construction site bears testimony to waning Russian influence in North Macedonia

Sergei Samsonenko's fortune seems to have waned since the Russia-backed political party VMRO-DPMNE lost the 2016 elections after ruling for a decade.

Slovak businessman charged with ordering murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée

"This is a significant step, and a rare one in murders of journalists. We hope authorities keep their promise to bring all perpetrators to justice."

Teen theatre production banned by Russian authorities for promoting ‘non-traditional family relations’

Russia has recently passed a series of socially conservative laws targeting activists, advocacy groups and online media for anything that can be construed as "promoting homosexuality to minors."

Russia sends an official implicated in a sexual harassment scandal to the 2019 UN Commission on the Status of Women

Leonid Slutsky’s appointment as the head of a national delegation to a global forum on the status of women can only be regarded as an act of cruel trolling.

Russia’s latest ‘anti-fake news law’ is so bad even Kremlin pranksters hate it

Provisions of the new law make it clear that its real target are the online news outlets still not fully controlled by the state or its subsidiaries.

Queer women in Russia’s North Caucasus ‘face sexual violence, forced marriage, and murder’

Out of the 21 women interviewed by QWNC, eight knew someone among their friends, relatives, or neighbours killed by their male family members for behaviour that "humiliated the family."

‘We are not bots!’ In Berlin, thousands protest proposed EU regulation on internet upload filters

Protesters rallied against the proposed "upload filters" in EU Copyright Directive, as part of a movement spanning the continent.

The French Yellow Vests movement seen through global lenses

As we witness the rise of the Yellow Vests, France revisits its bloodthirsty history.

Russian rocket Soyuz launches the first OneWeb satellites, tethered to the ground by restrictive legislation

Russians' hopes for censorship-free online access crashed and burned after the authorities imposed strict regulations and full government control of the pioneering satellite Internet program.

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