Czech village home to Europe’s ‘Tree of the Year’: Elsewhere in emerging Europe

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.

Pine tree near flooded Czech village voted European tree of the year

This is the kind of news we need these days: a lonely pine tree believed by superstitious locals to act as sentinel over a flooded Czech village has been chosen as Europe’s tree of the year, beating stiff competition from a Croatian gingko tree, a Portuguese chestnut and an English oak.

Read the full story here

A relapsed Soviet’s guide to surviving coronavirus shortages

Empty shelves, no toilet paper, bans on public gatherings — just add rolling blackouts, subtract hot water and you’ve got a childhood in the USSR.

Read the full story here.

No convictions for Radovan Karadzic’s ‘helpers in hiding’

A year after Radovan Karadzic was convicted of genocide and other wartime crimes, no one who helped the former Bosnian Serb political leader to evade capture for 12 years has been convicted in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

Read the full story here.

Ukrainegate: Rudy Giuliani’s new campaign against Joe Biden

According to businessmen, diplomats and politicians in Ukraine and Washington, Rudy Giuliani has relaunched his effort to prod the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and is working with a new set of local accomplices in Kyiv.

Read the full story here.

Polish actor comes out as gay aged 100

One of Poland’s most respected stage stars has come out as gay at the age of 100. Witold Sadowy, who appeared on the Warsaw stage for more than five decades and in recent years has worked as a theatre critic, opened up about his sexuality in a profile with TVP Kultura marking his 100th birthday.

Read the full story here.

The rise, death and rebirth of Eesti 200

Eesti 200 began as a political movement bringing together Estonian and Russian-speakers that were frustrated by divisive language politics. Since Estonia’s independence in 1991, Estonian serves as the sole language of the state administration. This has led to the Russian-speaking minority’s complaints of alienation, especially in the educational sphere.

Read the full story here.

From hooligan to national hero

Football Today features the story of Sergei Filimonov, a Ukrainian ultra, who went from hooligan to national hero.

Listen to the podcast here.

Post-war Kosovo becomes hub for mine-clearance expertise

After the success of efforts to clear unexploded mines from the 1998-99 war, a training centre in Kosovo is teaching deminers to remove explosives in other conflict-ravaged countries around the world.

Read the full story here.

How did Montenegro become independent (again)?

In June 2006, after almost 90 years, Montenegro split from neighbouring Serbia and regained its independence. However, few know the extraordinary story of what happened to the country in between. In a video, James Ker-Lindsay explores Montenegro’s journey from an independent kingdom to an independent sovereign republic through five different countries – including several different variants of Yugoslavia.

Watch the video here.