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Stories about Eastern & Central Europe

8 November 2019

Chechen leader suggests killing users who ‘insult honour’ online

RuNet Echo

For several years, human rights defenders have consistently cited Chechnya as one of Russia's most repressive regions, citing widespread torture, disappearances, and a complete intolerance of dissent.

7 November 2019

Bulgarian prosecutor refuses far-right party's request to close down human rights NGO

On September 30, two VMRO-BND officials asked the prosecutor to dissolve the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee for “interfering with the judiciary” and engaging in "openly anti-Bulgarian activities."

6 November 2019

Environmentalists raise alarm over hydropower boom in the Balkans

More than 2,700 small hydroelectric plants are either planned or under construction in the region. Critics say governments aren't properly assessing their impacts.

Behold Russia's new ‘sovereign internet’

RuNet EchoAdvox

The "sovereign internet" bill is about bringing the "critical infrastructure" of the RuNet under the state's oversight. That could mean a more effective implementation of Moscow's laws regulating expression online.

26 October 2019

Yugoslavia wasn't a Soviet ally—so why does that misconception persist in Western media?

The Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia's independence from both the Eastern and the Western blocs was a key feature of its national identity.

25 October 2019

Despite ban, Telegram survives in Russia — but for how long?

RuNet EchoAdvox

Most users still have access, but the authorities aren't giving up on attempts to block the instant messaging and voice app.

24 October 2019

Albanians angry at EU's failure to open accession talks–but for PM sun ‘still shining’

"This is the biggest mistake that the EU has made over these years, Albania is a reforming country who more than ever needed this decision to be positive."

21 October 2019

Twitter users from North Macedonia fight disappointment with EU non-decision with humor

The date for the long-anticipated start of negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia's membership in the EU didn't materialize, due in large part to a lack of support by France.

18 October 2019

Bulgaria's far-right is attempting to shut down the country's oldest human rights NGO

A member of the European Union since 2007, Bulgaria took a turn to the far-right in 2017 when PM Borisov's center-right party GERB allied itself with a small coalition of nationalist...

14 October 2019

A Crimean Tatar journalist's defiant last words in court

RuNet Echo

"I am a citizen of Ukraine, a Crimean Tatar, a Muslim. I am a journalist, a father, a husband, and a son. With the grace of God, these will not...

Meet the civic activists documenting abuses in Crimea

RuNet Echo

Crimean Solidarity members livestream arrests, detentions, and court hearings on the occupied peninsula, and fundraise for detainees' legal fees. That's why Moscow has had enough of them.

10 October 2019

‘I and we': The rallying cry of Russian protests

RuNet EchoThe Bridge

As the product of no particular political grouping or ideology, Я/Мы has become a relatively neutral rallying cry around which citizens of all political persuasions can unite.

The Hungarian journalists who wouldn't keep quiet

Interview with Csaba Lukács, journalist and managing director of the independent weekly Magyar Hang, on the trials and tribulations of running a critical, conservative newspaper in Viktor Orbán's Hungary.

9 October 2019

The oligarchs are the main disinformation proxies in Bulgaria, says local expert

"Patterns of ownership, economic dependency and (in)formal political links of media outlets in the countries under investigation to pro-Russian groups are reflected into corresponding trends of employing Russia-originating propaganda narratives."

2 October 2019

Bearing witness to Putin's rise to power

Interview with Vitaly Mansky, a former film director with Russia's state TV, about his latest documentary — on Putin's rise to power, exactly 20 years ago.

24 September 2019

Russia's return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Diplomacy or defeat?

Amending the Council of Europe’s (CoE) sanctioning rules to restore Russia’s voting rights in its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has divided democracy and human rights advocates.

20 September 2019

Netizen Report: Pro-government doxxing campaigns rock Hong Kong, Serbia

Advox

Doxxing is all the rage in Hong Kong and Serbia, an Indian judge delivers a win for internet rights, and Facebook debuts plans for its oversight board.

Serbian journalists expose a ruling party bot application used to manipulate readers’ comments on media websites 

Advox

Investigative journalists discovered that a mobile application linked to their country's ruling party IP address was used for automatic voting on user comments on websites of popular media outlets.

19 September 2019

China Central Television urges netizens to doxx Hong Kong protesters and reporters

The state-run TV helped publicise doxxing site hkleaks.ru, which targeted pro-democracy lawmakers, student activists and journalists in Hong Kong.

18 September 2019

Once hotbeds of political resistance, Czech secondhand bookstores are slowly disappearing

The few surviving "antikvariat" have turned into nostalgia museums.