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.
Rising in the east: Can Wizz Air soar amid the pandemic?
The mood among airline bosses can seem uniformly bleak. For good reason: air travel may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Not a week goes by without an airline sacking thousands of workers. Against this gloom, József Váradi, who runs Wizz Air, cuts an audacious figure.
How the trade union that brought down communism became a conservative government ally
Poland’s Solidarity, the umbrella movement of many colours that helped topple Poland’s communist regime, has morphed into an ally of today’s populist government, which has undermined much of the country’s democratic progress since 1989.
The world’s deepest freshwater cave just got a whole lot deeper
For decades, spelunkers have flocked to the flooded caverns of Czechia’s Hranice Abyss, which stretches farther below ground than any other freshwater cave system. Now, a scientific campaign to the cave has revealed it is one kilometre deep, more than twice as deep as previously thought.
When Mucha painted Bosnia
A mission to introduce the world to Bosnia and Herzegovina changed the course of Alphonse Mucha’s life.
Out of Eastern Europe, a window into the post-pandemic office
Special quarantine rooms. Floor-to-ceiling walls in bathroom stalls. Touchless entrances that take your temperature. This is what telecommunications company Ericsson’s office building in Bucharest looks like after coronavirus. The space has become the pilot for a 100-prong coronavirus standard that a real estate investor in Eastern Europe is pitching as a new global “immune” building standard.
As Serbia strengthens ties with West, Russia seeks to destabilise
According to recent research, 65 per cent of Serbian citizens support the strengthening of co-operation between Serbia and the United States in the fields of security, defence and economy.
Turkmenistan: The dog days of August
A secret delivery of antibody tests, more warnings about “dust,” and why cronyism will comfortably outlive Covid-19. Oh, and presidential plans for a dog breeding centre: it’s been another mad week in Turkmenistan.
Archeologists in Romania discover revered Hungarian king’s tomb
A team of archeologists from Hungary and Romania is hailing the almost certain discovery of the tomb of a medieval Hungarian king celebrated for granting a famous charter.
Press freedom under threat in Slovenia
Few countries in Europe have experienced such a swift downturn in press and media freedom after a new government came to power than in Slovenia under veteran Prime Minister Janez Janša. In the last six months, the outspoken PM, who took office in March 2020 and previously governed the country on two prior occasions, has immediately renewed long-standing grievances with the press and denigrated critical media outlets.
Uzbek TV urges battle against ‘spiritual viruses’ homosexuality and feminism
Uzbek state television has launched an attack on feminism and homosexuality, saying they don’t belong in the predominantly Muslim Central Asian country. In the 90-minute live program known as Munosabat (Attitude), the station – which serves as a mouthpiece for the government – targeted a social-media flash mob held by young Uzbek women who were protesting violence against women and domestic abuse.
Disinformation and anonymous portals in Bosnia
In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are thousands of anonymous portals that pollute the web with disinformation. It is difficult to find solutions, except for media literacy.
My Transnistria: Growing up in a breakaway state
Most images of the breakaway region of Transnistria focus on the monuments that earnt the area its nickname as a lost “Soviet enclave”: Lenin statues or tanks in the heart of town squares. By contrast, Mikhail Kalarashan’s unassuming pictures of everyday life ring differently as the photographer strives to capture his birthplace “through the eyes of a peer”.
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