Cryptocurrency scammers flood Facebook users with ads for fake Forbes.com articles

A Facebook page about Cookies advertising cryptocurrencies. Suspicious? 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.  Scammers using fake Forbes articles and anti-EU disinformation as bait continue to target Facebook users across Europe, the Skopje-based Metamorphosis Foundation has warned. Metamorphosis is a civil society organization from North Macedonia promoting digital rights and media literacy. Its monitoring of social networks has revealed that scammers continue to use Facebook advertisements masked as links to articles from…

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Serbian foreign minister disowns ‘zombie-like’ campaign ad

Photo: Screencap from video clip published by Branko Ružić, vice president of the executive board of the Socialist Party of Serbia. This story is based on reporting by Global Voices’ content partner Meta.mk News Agency, a project of Metamorphosis Foundation.  The leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), Ivica Dačić, has distanced himself from a pre-election video clip that has become the butt of zombie film jokes on social media. The video was published on Twitter on May 31 by Branko Ružić, the vice president of the SPS executive board.…

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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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The mural will not be whitewashed: How dissident poet Joseph Brodsky continues to inspire free-thinking Russians

Screen shot from Alexei Navalny’s YouTube channel showing how Brodsky’s graffiti is painted over in white on May 25, 2020. The 80th anniversary of the birth of Russian poet and Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky was marked this year in Russia by an incident on May 25 highlighting the special place writers still hold in Russian political culture. Iosif Brodsky (known as Joseph Brodsky in the English-speaking world) holds iconic status in Russian-speaking culture: he is considered a master of Russian poetry, one of the very few approved of by that giant…

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A conversation with Udmurt language digital activist Artyom Malykh

Artyom Malykh speaks at the Eshkolot cultural festival in Moscow. Photo courtesy of Artyom Malykh. Udmurt is a Uralic language spoken in Russia’s autonomous Republic of Udmurtia, where it shares official status with Russian. Speakers can also be found across a large area between the Volga River and Ural Mountains, such as in the Perm and Kirov Regions and neighbouring autonomous republics of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Mari El. It is one of several related Uralic languages spoken in this diverse area of Russia, such as Mari, Erzya, Moksha, and Komi.…

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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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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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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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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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‘Where is the center of the story?’: Revisiting the traditional view of Russia’s Muslim communities

Tatar family on a picnic (place unknown, first half of the 1910s). Photo from Renat Bekkin’s archive, used with permission Muslims account for 10 percent of Russia’s population, making their religion the second largest behind the Russian Orthodox Church. They have been part of Russian history for centuries and inhabit the entire Russian Federation: from Siberia to the North Caucasus, in large cities such as Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.  The largest ethnic group professing Islam are Tatars, who are also the first ethnic minority in Russia, with over 5 million members, their…

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