Society

18 February 2019
Ukraine Strips Russian-Aligned Bishop of Citizenship

The harsh action against an intransigent cleric moves a religious dispute squarely into the political arena.

 
14 February 2019
Jump Aboard Ukraine’s High-Speed Fashion Train

The growing cohort of young designers in Kyiv showed their wares at Ukrainian Fashion Week.

 
12 February 2019
Velvet Memories Slipping Through Our Fingers?

As the 30th anniversary of 1989’s anti-communist revolution approaches later this year, many young Czechs will likely wonder what all the commotion is about.

By Katherine Schulte and Megan Sokol
 
8 February 2019
Bosnian Serbs Reopen Srebrenica Probes

The question of responsibility for the greatest atrocity of the Yugoslav wars remains open in the minds of some Serbs.

 
4 February 2019
New Year, New Round of Hoax Bomb Scares Across Russia Premium

The authorities’ inability to tell ‘telephone terrorism’ apart from real threats has led to mass evacuations.

While initially swept under the rug, telephone bomb threats are receiving wider coverage after targeting St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow, according to The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor (EDM).

After forcing the evacuation of schools, hospitals, and public places in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, similar instances of “telephone terrorism,” as Russians have dubbed them, targeted St. Petersburg at the end of January.  

In the last few weeks, those evacuated might be as high as half a million people, reports EDM.

The trend itself goes as far back as 2017, when more than 150,000 people were evacuated from schools, hospitals, airports, and public spaces within six days in a series of bomb threats in cities across the country. Back then, the false alarms had been blamed on Ukrainian terrorists, ISIS, ultra-Orthodox fanatics, and even Russian security officers supposedly trying to scare the population about online encryption devices and virtual public networks (VPNs, which are used to visit sites anonymously and out of the reach of the authorities).

A new wave followed last summer, when bars and restaurants across World Cup host city Rostov-on-Don had to be evacuated. The practice continued into November, when 15 shopping centers and a railway station in Moscow also had to be cleared, with security services cited by Russian state-owned news agency TASS saying that the string of phone calls behind the hoaxes had been traced to a phone number registered in Ukraine.

Shortly after, at the beginning of December, a source from Moscow’s emergency services told Kremlin-controlled news agency Sputnik that similar calls made to all of the capital’s nine railway stations had also come from abroad. Despite the threats, the railway stations were not evacuated.  

The most recent round of bomb threats, however, were sent to Siberian authorities by email, according to RFE.

 

·         The impact of these threats goes beyond the disruptions in the lives of those affected, Paul Goble writes for The Jamestown Foundation. The authorities’ powerlessness in the face of the hoaxes might encourage those behind them, or even actual terrorists. Additionally, this could be detrimental to public trust in the security services. 

 

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Moldovan diaries

The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes. 

It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.

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