Our weekly digest of articles about emerging Europe published elsewhere this week, all of which caught our eye and all of which are well worth your time. Listing them here, however, does not necessarily mean that we agree with every word, nor do they necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.
In Yugoslavia, World War II didn’t end on VE Day
The Battle of Odžak ended 16 days after the Allies had celebrated victory in Europe. Yugoslav authorities kept the battle secret until 1971.
Inside Germany’s abattoirs: The human cost of cheap meat
Eastern European migrants have long staffed slaughterhouses with poor pay and gruelling hours. A new law wants to change that.
Why the Baltics behave as they do toward Russia
Frustrated maximalism may present a window for rapprochement. The Baltic states will be more likely to look at Russia as it is, not as they want it to be. One day Russia might also look at the Baltic states as just neighbors: not as an amputated part of the Soviet Union, or Washington’s hostile lapdog.
Why Covid couldn’t stop the Hungarian production boom
After an initial lockdown last spring, film studios in Hungary were able to reopen quickly, and major productions — including Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune — returned to complete shooting.
Cold War turned Flavour War: On European food disparity, from East to West
In Poland, Leibniz biscuits contain five per cent butter and some palm oil, while those sold in the company’s home market of Germany contain 12 per cent butter and no palm oil, a cheap alternative to butter. The Slovene consumer association examined thirty-two products sold in Slovenia and Austria and identified ten where there was a difference in quality.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty under threat
The independence of America’s public broadcaster has been badly battered recently, especially so in the weeks after the 2020 election. The Biden team needs to act quickly to rebuild an institution vital to the fight against autocratic regimes.
In Bucharest, fans of indebted football giant pay not to watch
Once a contender on the European stage, Dinamo Bucharest has fallen on hard times. Now thousands of fans are buying tickets for games they cannot watch, just to keep the club afloat.
Uzbekistan: Registration barriers for independent groups
Uzbek authorities are severely hindering the work of independent nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) with excessive and burdensome registration requirements, violating their right to freedom of association, Human Rights Watch claims.
The power of mythmaking: Nationalism in Poland
In his seminal essay Tragedy of Central Europe, Milan Kundera wrote: By virtue of its political system, Central Europe is the East, by virtue of its cultural history, it is the West. But since Europe itself is in the process of losing its own cultural identity, it perceives in Central Europe nothing but a political regime, put another way, it sees in Central Europe only Eastern Europe.
‘Not enough work, not enough money’: Can this Kyrgyz village survive without tourists?
Life was hard in this remote area of Central Asia, until tourism offered new hope. Then Covid-19 struck and the visitors stopped coming.
Pieces of a Woman: A vehement but inauthentic childbirth drama
Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s film, starring Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf as a young couple hit by tragedy, combines high trauma and horribly unconvincing stretches.
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