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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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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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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‘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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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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Journalists in Russia’s regions catalogue the ‘unseen victims’ of COVID-19

“We find those who are indirectly suffering due to the coronavirus. We trace the signals about the problem. We track the trends,” reads the landing page of Coronavictims.ru. Some die of heart attacks, as there were no ambulances available to take them to hospital. Others couldn’t get medicine for serious conditions or organ transplants in time. Then there are those who lose their job, income, and savings, some by falling prey to fraudsters who promise protective equipment or miracle cures in exchange for cash. These are Russia’s “unseen” COVID-19 victims…

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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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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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Kremlin expands online voting possibilities amid COVID-19 fears

Remix of image by Mohamed_Hasan / Pixabay. Published under a simplified Pixabay licence. In Russia, socially distanced voting has just become a lot easier. Russia’s parliament has passed a law to extend the possibility of “distance voting” — particularly online. The amendments to the country’s Law on the Basic Guarantee of Electoral Rights now allow citizens across Russia to cast votes by post and online. The law was submitted for consideration by deputies from ruling party United Russia on March 2 and passed on March 13. If that turnaround seems unusually…

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