Around the Bloc

17 May 2013
Bulgaria’s Leading Party Demands Vote Rerun, Amnesty Slams Ukraine on Gay Rights
Plus, Bucharest flouts the EU with new anti-corruption appointments and police in the Balkans nab human traffickers.

Police swoop down on human traffickers in Bosnia and Croatia


Bosnian and Croatian law enforcement authorities have collaborated in an organized crackdown on human trafficking, Reuters reports. Police in Croatia arrested 25 suspects and were still searching for another eight this week, while their Bosnian counterparts arrested 13, Dean Savic, head of the Croatian police unit for corruption and organized crime, told a press conference.


The action targeted people responsible for smuggling illegal migrants into the European Union via the Balkans. According to Savic, most of the migrants came from Turkey and Kosovo, and paid around 1,000 euros ($1,300) to cross the border into Croatia. Although the number of illegal migrants coming to Croatia annually is around 6,000, an even higher number use the country as a transit point to Hungary, which is already an EU member, Reuters writes.


Croatia will also join the union on 1 July but Zoran Niceno, deputy director of Croatia's border police, predicted recently that accession would not necessarily mean a boost in illegal migrants, as the country will join the passport-free Schengen area in 2016 at the earliest, according to the news agency. writes that an EU report from March urged Croatia to step up efforts to combat human trafficking, as well as to identify and offer assistance to victims.


Anti-corruption video raises eyebrows in Russia


An animated video depicting a vigilante murder has become an Internet sensation in Russia, Radio Free Europe reports.


Since being reposted on YouTube last week, the video has gotten more than 280,000 views and pages of comments. It has also been reposted on several domestic and international news sites, including RFE.


The video opens with a young man sitting behind bars on a defendant's bench while a judge reads out a verdict. An older man, presumably the defendant’s father, whispers to the weeping woman next to him, “Don't worry everything has been paid for.”


After the man is acquitted, a joyous scene outside the courtroom ends when a woman approaches the defendant and shoots him dead.


The video ends with the message, “In prison, he'd still be alive. By encouraging corruption, we take a risk.”


The video was created by Yury Ataev, a board member of the animation and cinematography fund in Daghestan, according to Daghestan is a republic in Russia’s North Caucasus beset by poverty, corruption, and religious and separatist violence.


Ataev said Daghestan’s Committee for Press and Mass Communications commissioned the production of the video two years ago.


Ataev told that he posted the video on YouTube two years ago but that it caught public attention when it was reposted by someone else last week.


Even though the video was originally commissioned for television broadcasting, it remains unclear if it ever aired in Daghestan, RFE reports. Daghestan's deputy justice minister, Suleiman Muradov, said he saw the video online but not on television. He reported it to authorities but does not know what measures will be taken, according to


“What is this supposed to mean? Is it to encourage vigilantism?” one YouTube user commented, RFE writes.
By S. Adam Cardais, Ioana Caloianu, and Vladimir Matan
16 May 2013
Cossacks Go Green, Romanian Priests Spread Regime’s Good News
Plus, Armenians will feel the Russian gas pinch and Moldova has a new prime minister, maybe.
By Erik N. Nelson, Joshua Boissevain, Ioana Caloianu, and Connor Zickgraf

15 May 2013
Hungary Bows to EU Austerity Demands, Tajikistan Debates Ban on Cousin Marriages
Plus, more troubles for Kyrgyz gold mines and signs of a split in the Serbian church over Kosovo.
By Joshua Boissevain, Ioana Caloianu, Ky Krauthamer, Vladimir Matan, and Connor Zickgraf

14 May 2013
Georgian Deputy Minister in Blackmail Charge, Bulgaria's Far Right Sets Sights on Government
Plus, a trial reopens old questions about the sell-off of Czech state companies and a disco divides Krakow's Jewish community.
By Joshua Boissevain, Ioana Caloianu, Ky Krauthamer, Vladimir Matan, and Connor Zickgraf

13 May 2013
Familiar Name Tops Bulgarian Voting, Georgian Presidential Contender Announced

Plus, Macedonia’s attempt to extradite two mass-murder suspects from Kosovo is complicated, and Latvia eases up on some non-citizens.

By Barbara Frye, Joshua Boissevain, Ioana Caloianu, and Vladimir Matan
10 May 2013
Former Kremlin Dark Arts Master Resigns, Belgrade's Gays Get a Haven

Plus, Romania goes another round in libel pingpong, and Hungary's parliament tries to limit access to information.

By S. Adam Cardais, Ioana Caloianu, and Vladimir Matan

9 May 2013
Croatia, Slovenia Star in New Corruption Report, Kerry to Russian opposition: We Hear You

Plus, the Holocaust in Bulgaria was a two-way street and energy firms give up on fracking in Poland.

By Erik N. Nelson, Joshua Boissevain, Ioana Caloianu, and Vladimir Matan
8 May 2013
War Wounds Reopened by Conviction in Russia, Acquittal in Bosnia

Plus, a Jewish leader apologizes to the Hungarian prime minister and Croatia says a sad farewell to a favorite beverage.

By Ioana Caloianu, Ky Krauthamer, and Vladimir Matan

7 May 2013
Georgian Patriarch Demands Abortion Ban, Russian Press Mogul Goes on Trial
Plus, Kosovo arrests a suspected drug kingpin and the architect of St. Petersburg's new Mariinsky defends his conservative design.
By Ioana Caloianu, Ky Krauthamer, Vladimir Matan, and Connor Zickgraf
6 May 2013
Brussels Raps Moldova Over Power Grab, Fighters From Kyrgyzstan Head to Syria
Plus, who gets the blame for letting thousands of Czech convicts free and a poor Latvian town looks to Rothko for a boost.
By Barbara Frye, Ioana Caloianu, and Connor Zickgraf


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