“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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Viktor Tsoi: The undying icon of Soviet dissident rock

The Viktor Tsoi wall in central Minsk, where the Chinese character “崔” is used to write his Korean surname. Photo by Filip Noubel, used with permission. June 21, 1962, is the birth date of Viktor Tsoi, a Korean-Russian rock star from the late years of the Soviet Union who now enjoys cult status across Russian-speaking countries 30 years after his tragic death. Rocker, actor, dissident Tsoi was born in Leningrad to an ethnic Russian mother, Valentina Guseva, and an ethnic Korean father, Robert Tsoi. Tsoi’s father traces his origins to…

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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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New law forces Hungarian transgender people to choose exile

Transgender people protesting against article 33. Credit: Bankó Gábor/Prizma Being a transgender person in Hungary is about to become even harder, after the government passed a law that will demand all citizens write their “sex at birth” on their national IDs. And the response in this field cannot be changed. “I have no hope of getting my gender recognised now,” said Ivett Ördög bitterly, sitting behind her home desk, which has now become her office, with her dark hair and eyes, a colourful floral shirt, and big earrings. She is…

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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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Beach destinations in Albania face an unusual summer tourist season

A beach in southern Albania. Photo by Ardi Pulaj, used with permission Most years, reservations at the iconic “Adriatik Hotel” in the Albanian port city of Durrës are at a premium. But 2020, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, is not “most years”. The hotel reopened its doors on May 18, as the country emerged from a lockdown that saw its beaches as well as its borders with neighbouring countries closed until the beginning of June. Despite the relaxations, reservations are down 85%, according to general manager Nevila Dudaj. “We had many reservations…

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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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Afro-Czechs on visibility, racism and life in the Czech Republic (Part I)

Black Lives Matter slogan on the facade of a theater in downtown Prague. Photo taken on June 14 by Natalia Marshalkovich, used with permission. Long invisible, Afro-Czechs, one of the smallest communities in the Czech Republic, are gradually emerging and speaking their minds in public. This post is the first in a two-part series looking at their struggle for recognition in the central European country. Until the fall of Communism in 1989, Black Africans and Afro-Czechs had no visibility in the public space, even though hundreds of them had been…

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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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Nationalists in North Macedonia use border closures to sow confusion and mistrust

Screencap from the live video by Albanian PM Edi Rama that was misinterpreted in North Macedonia. This story is based on reporting by Global Voices’ content partner Meta.mk News Agency, a project of Metamorphosis Foundation. Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19. Did Albania’s Prime Minister really only welcome ethnic Albanian visitors from Balkan neighbours to his recently re-opened country? Did Greece really prohibit travelers from parts of North Macedonia where large ethnic Albanian and Roma populations live from visiting? The answer to both these questions is “no”.…

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