Monumental differences: Prague, Moscow trade barbs over World War Two

May 13, 2020 view of the former Marshal Konev monument with it statue removed. The sprayed text on the wooden structure reads “Koněv = vrah” which translates as “Konev = assassin” Photo by Filip Noubel, used with permission The buildup to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two, marked earlier this month, has exacerbated a longstanding row about how contested historical figures should be perceived in both the Czech Republic and Russia. In Prague, one of those figures — a controversial Soviet Marshal — was abruptly removed…

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Former Yugoslavia’s brutalist architecture shines in new Star Wars fan film

Breaking Point: A Star Wars Story. Scene shot in the catacombs under Tašmajdan park in Belgrade. Photo by Tamara Antonović. Used with permission. At the end of last year, a Star Wars fan film with a difference enjoyed its online premier. Breaking Point: A Star Wars Story is a 25-minute short movie made by a volunteer crew composed of around fifty professional filmmakers, film students and members of Serbia’s Star Wars fan community. It is written and directed by the award-winning Serbian filmmaker Stevan Filipović. [embedded content] The film was shot on locations near the Serbian capital Belgrade.…

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Slovenian protesters channel Katie Melua to explain anti-corruption bicycle movement

Slovenian bicycle protesters including a man with banners reading “Death to fascism” and “Freedom to the people.” Photo: Screencap from video by Bajk Štrajk/YouTube. Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19. А Slovenian protest song with a mellow melody uncharacteristic of its genre has gone viral across the Balkans. The song’s authors describe it as: Protestna pesem proti korupciji, proti zlorabi moči, proti nasilju nad državljankami in državljani, proti nasilju nad demokracijo in različnostjo. A protest song against corruption, against abuse of power, against violence against…

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Russians in lockdown celebrate a subdued Victory Day online

Russia’s “Immortal Regiment” held online for Victory Day, March 9, 2020. Screenshot from 2020.polkrf.ru Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Russia hard, with over 10,000 new cases confirmed every day. At the time of publication, the Johns Hopkins University online map indicated 221,000 confirmed cases in the country. Strict quarantine measures were announced on March 5 and have been extended several times since. Following much speculation, on April 17 President Vladimir Putin did the unthinkable — and cancelled a large…

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Fighting and writing for Moldova’s place in the pantheon of world literature

Iulian Ciocan’s novels in Romanian and in Czech and French translations.  Photo (c): Filip Noubel. Used with permission. Moldova lies on cultural, linguistic, and geopolitical faultlines. Until 1991 this eastern European country of around three million was part of the Soviet Union, where Russian was considered the language of prestige. Upon declaring independence, Moldova quickly reestablished strong cultural ties with Romania, its large neighbour to the West. Moldova was part of Romania between 1918 and 1940, and the two countries’ languages are entirely mutually intelligible — whatever speakers may call them.…

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Russia’s World War Two diplomacy scores a win in North Macedonia

Memorial of Victory Over Fascism Day, May 9, 1945 in Centar Municipality, Skopje, North Macedonia, donated by  the Russian Embassy on May 9, 2020. Photo by Meta.mk, used with permission. This story is based on reporting by Global Voices’ content partner Meta.mk News Agency, a project of Metamorphosis Foundation.  Google “Russian Embassy”, “World War Two” and “monument” and you will most likely be drawn into the high-drama historical standoff bedevilling relations between Moscow and the Czech Republic. More on that, here. But this month also saw a much quieter example of…

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“We’re staying home today”: The unexpected anthem of Russia’s COVID-19 lockdown

Screenshot from the music video of Hadn Dadn’s “We’re staying home today”, YouTube, 2018. Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19. As Russia gradually eases its COVID-19 lockdown, a song by Moscow indie band Hadn Dadn is being hailed as the “anthem of self-isolation.” “We’re staying home today,” begins the song of the same name, “We’re staying home tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after that.” Given the strictness of self-isolation requirements for Russians, particularly in Moscow, it’s not surprising that the song’s…

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‘Corona Ciao’: Parody of old revolutionary song goes viral in the Balkans

Photo: Screencap from YouTube video by Dac & Aleksandar, featuring Brasstet Skopje, Fair Use. Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19. A COVID-19 spoof of the Italian anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao” is blasting its way through the Balkans and beyond with over two million views on YouTube in the last two weeks. The song composed by Macedonian actor Dragan Spasov Dac and composer Aleksandar Mitevski is titled “Corona Ciao,” meaning “Corona [virus] goodbye.” The rest of the song’s lyrics are in Macedonian. [embedded content] The authors wrote:…

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‘Why did your father die?’: Serbia’s COVID-19 chaos spills onto Belgrade’s streets

Protesters in front of Serbian parliament in Belgrade on July 8, 2020. Signs read “All join the strike,” “Health system is not SMS nor SNS” [acronym of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party], “I don’t want to get treated via SMS,” “I am not even allowed to get sick.” Photo by Zoran Torbica, used with permission. Social networks in Serbia were still raw on July 8 after police and so-called plainclothes officers used force to put down a rally against the government’s pandemic policies. The police dispersed protesters who gathered outside…

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COVID-19-themed Global Voices story stars in Czech translation competition

Jan Faber moderating the online awards ceremony for winners of the European Delegation contest for best translation into Czech. Screenshot from a YouTube video. For the second year in a row, a Global Voices article was selected as the reference text for an international translation competition into Czech organized by the Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies (ÚJOP) — part of Prague’s Charles University and the Directorate General for Translation of the European Commission (DGT). In 2019, Global Voices (GV) was selected for the first time as the sole text provider for the competition. Back then,…

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