Monday, September 01, 2014

The Week Ahead: July 21-27

July 24: The Moscow City Court is scheduled to announce the verdict in the case against opposition activists Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev, who face charges of organizing riots in May 2012.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

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MONDAY, July 21:
Malaysia/Ukraine: Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman visits Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian leaders over the investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. 
Russia/MoldovaRussian ban on imports of fruit from Moldova takes effect.
UN: The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to vote on an Australia-proposed resolution demanding international access to the Ukraine plane crash site and a cease-fire around the area.
TUESDAY, July 22:

EU/Eastern Partnership: Brussels hosts an Eastern Partnership foreign ministers meeting.
Poland: Warsaw hosts a meeting of presidents of Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltic states, and the Visegrad Group countries.
Ukraine: Lviv hosts the Ukrainian Super Cup soccer match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv.
U.S./Ukraine: Wilson Center in Washington hosts a discussion titled "The Impact of Ukraine in the Neighborhood."
UK/Iran: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Iran: Deal Done?"
THURSDAY, July 24:
RussiaThe Moscow City Court is scheduled to announce the verdict in the case against opposition activists Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev, who face charges of organizing riots in May 2012.
UK/Ukraine: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Referendums and Ethnic Violence: Voting in Ukraine."
UN: Tokyo hosts a global launch of the 2014 Human Development Report.

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

Images And Memories: Tell Us Your Ukraine Story

In September, our correspondent Daisy Sindelar will be traveling through Ukraine to talk to people about their old family photographs -- images of grandparents and great-grandparents, weddings, family homes, military service, formal portraits or casual moments. Anything that tells a story about your family and its unique roots. The end result, we hope, will be a country-wide visual portrait of the complex history behind modern-day Ukraine, and the diverse range of people who consider it home. 

Participating in the project is simple: We will come to you, so neither you nor your photographs need to leave the house (or wherever you'd like to meet). 

Do you have photographs and memories you'd like to share with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty? Please fill out this questionnaire so we know how to find you! (Feel free to answer in the language you're most comfortable with. All of the information you submit is private.) 

The Week Ahead: July 14-20

U.K. - Chechen journalist and activist Natalia Estemirova poses at the Front Line Club in London October 4, 2007. Estemirova was awarded the first annual Anna Politkovskaya award for women defenders of human rights in war in London on Thursday. REUTERS/D

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

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MONDAY, July 14:
Azerbaijan/Italy: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visits Rome.
EU: European Parliament's Plenary Session opens in Strasbourg (to July 17).
Georgia/France: Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili visits Paris.
Iraq/TurkeyThe president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Masud Barzani, is due to meet Turkish leaders in Ankara.
U.S./Ukraine: The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington hosts a discussion titled "Ukraine: The Maidan and Beyond."
WorldMalala Day.
TUESDAY, July 15:
Brazil/BRICS: Brazil hosts a summit of leaders from the BRICS nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (to July 16).
Japan/Kyrgyzstan/Ukraine: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida visits Bishkek and Kyiv (to July 18).
EU: The European Parliament votes on whether to confirm Jean-Claude Juncker for the presidency of the European Commission.
EU/UkraineEuropean Parliament holds debates in Strasbourg on the situation in Ukraine.
U.S./Moldova: U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holds hearing on the nomination of James Pettit as U.S. ambassador to Moldova. 

EU/Iraq: European Parliament holds debates in Strasbourg on the situation in Iraq.
THURSDAY, July 17:

EUEuropean Parliament is scheduled to adopt motions for resolutions on the situations in Iraq and Ukraine.
FRIDAY, July 18:
EU/Georgia: EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele visits Tbilisi.
UK/Azerbaija/Russia: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Investing in Azerbaijan and Russia."
SUNDAY, July 20:
Belarus: The 20th anniversary of Alyaksandr Lukashenka becoming President of Belarus.
Iran: The deadline to reach a permanent accord on the Iranian nuclear program.

Wolrd: International AIDS conference begins in Melbourne (to July 25).

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

The Week Ahead: July 7-13

July 13: The soccer World Cup final takes place in Rio de Janeiro.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

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MONDAY, July 7:
Armenia: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian visits Argentina (to July 8).
Georgia/RussiaGeorgian and Russian diplomats meet in Prague to discuss trade and economic relations. 
NATO/U.S.NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visits Washington, meets on July 8 with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the events in Ukraine (to July 9).
Russia/Bulgaria: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Sofia to discuss the South Stream gas pipeline project.
Serbia/Russia: Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic visits Moscow (to July 8).
Ukraine: Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini visits Kyiv.
TUESDAY, July 8:
Armenia: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian visits Uruguay (to July 10).
Georgia: UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva reviews Georgia.
Media: "The Wall Street Journal" celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Russia: Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini visits Moscow (to July 10).
Slovenia/RussiaRussia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Maribor to discuss the South Stream gas pipeline project.

THURSDAY, July 10:
Armenia: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian visits Chile (to July 12).
BelarusInternational arts festival Slavianski Bazaar opens in Vitebsk (to July 14).
EU/Balkans: Dubrovnik hosts the 2014 Croatia Summit, with the participation of senior European officials and think-tank representatives (to July 12).
Georgia: The UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva is scheduled to review Georgia (to July 11).
UK/Russia: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "The Eurasian Economic Union in the New International Context."
FRIDAY, July 11:
EU/Russia/Ukraine: Brussels hosts a three-party ministerial meeting.
Russia/Cuba: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Cuba.
UkraineOdessa International Film Festival opens (to July 19).
UK/Ukraine: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Ukraine Crisis: The International Law Perspective."

SATURDAY, July 12:
Russia/Argentina: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Buenos Aires.
SUNDAY, July 13:
ArmeniaInternational film festival Golden Apricot opens in Yerevan (to July 20).
Brazil: The sixth summit of heads of state and of government of BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Brazil: The soccer World Cup final takes place in Rio de Janeiro.
Montenegro: Statehood Day.
Serbia:  U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is scheduled to visit Belgrade.

Russia/BrazilRussian President Vladimir Putin makes an official visit to Brazil (to July 16).

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

Pro-Russian Separatist Supporters Seek Western Support On Social Media

The pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are attempting to refine their message to English-speaking audiences.

Over news agency footage of a signing ceremony in Brussels a narrator speaking in English reports drily that Ukraine has agreed to a series of trade agreements with the European Union.

The voice, heavily accented in Russian, then adds a point of context seemingly apropos of nothing:  "Recall you that the Palestinian Authority has signed the Association Agreement with the EU in 1997."

It is one clip in a daily video news roundup created by "South Front," a group supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The video, which begins with an unsubstantiated claim that "mass murder of civilians [by the Ukrainian Army] continues," is part of a growing effort by separatist supporters to expand their reach beyond Russian-speakers.

Since mass pro-EU protests began last December in Kyiv, supporters of the pro-Western Euromaidan movement have used English-language social media to spread their message. The @EuromaidanPR English-language Twitter account has over 34,500 followers and several English Facebook pages supporting the movement have tens of thousands.

The pro-Russian point of view in English has largely been left to RT, Russia's state-run foreign-language news channel, which is also known as Russia Today.

Recent social-media efforts, though, show expanded reliance on campaigns meant to draw greater grassroots appeal. Since early June, tens of thousands of people -- largely separatist supporters -- have tweeted using the #savedonbasspeople hashtag. The tweets often come with photos of children holding handwritten signs in English that blame the Ukrainian Army for violence in eastern Ukraine.

Since April, when armed pro-Russian separatists began occupying buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk, over 400 people -- including military personnel, separatist fighters, and civilians -- have died in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and rebels, according to UN estimates.

The English-language Facebook page for South Front, which has slightly more than 11,500 subscribers, is a mix of carefully selected "news" from the region -- usually from sources like LifeNews, a video news outlet believed to have ties to Russia's security services -- and anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western memes.

The post below, which seems to imply that the Ukrainian Army only targets schools, factories, homes, old women, and children, had been shared 283 times at writing.

The South Front page is also used as a tool to organize sympathetic volunteers from outside Russia and Ukraine.

Content is currently translated into at least three other languages, including Polish, Hungarian, and German. And a recent call for help drew offers from social-media users to provide pro-Russian translations in Slovak, Czech, French, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian, and Norwegian.

It is not clear who runs the group or whether it receives outside funding. Administrators did not reply to an RFE/RL reporter's requests for comment sent through Facebook and Twitter.

Supporters who comment on the page appear to be largely based in Europe and have a radically anti-EU bent.

Moscow has publicly courted fringe Euroskeptic and far-right parties. And several, including France's National Front and Hungary's Jobbik, have defended Russia's actions in Ukraine.

In one page thread, anti-Semitic language is rife when users from Serbia, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, and Hungary discuss their support for Russia and disdain for the EU.

"I am from Europe, but I don,t love europe [sic]" writes Nikolo Lovric, who says his real love is for Russia and the self-proclaimed separatist republic of "Novorossia."  He then warns users not to trust Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who he claims is a "cionistic [sic] player" for Israel and the United States.

But in a message to RFE/RL, a user from France who had earlier volunteered to provide French translations, said he had become convinced of accusations from Moscow that it is Ukraine that "relies on many fascists."

"So I am not pretending that west of Ukraine is evil and east is good guys," said the 29-year-old teacher, who asked that his name not be provided. "But that is certainly closer to the truth than what I hear in western medias."

-- Glenn Kates

The Week Ahead: June 30 - July 6

July 4-12: Karlovy Vary hosts the 49th International Film Festival.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

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MONDAY, June 30:
Azerbaijan/China: Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov visits Beijing (to July 2).
Sweden/Moldova/Georgia: Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt travels from Chisinau to Tbilisi.
TUESDAY, July 1:
EUEuropean Parliament's Plenary Session opens in Strasbourg (to July 3).
Russia: A law comes into force that bans the use of profanity in theater, film, and other cultural events.
Ukraine: Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt visits Kyiv.
U.S./Azerbaijan: Atlantic Council in Washington hosts a discussion titled "NATO in the Caucasus: The Case of Azerbaijan."
U.S./Iraq: Carnegie Endowment in Washington hosts a discussion titled "The Future of Iraq."
U.S./Russia/Ukraine: Wilson Center in Washington hosts a discussion titled "Russia, Ukraine and Energy Security."
WorldGlobal Media Forum 2014 starts in Bonn (to July 2).

Iran: Vienna hosts another round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, which includes the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany. 
Tajikistan: Dushanbe hosts Kazakhstan-Tajikistan business forum (to July 4).

EU/Ukraine: The European Commission's Support Group for Ukraine begins its work in Brussels.
FRIDAY, July 4:
Czech Republic: Karlovy Vary hosts the 49th International Film Festival (to July 12).
SUNDAY, July 6:
Kazakhstan: Astana hosts day of the capital, which coincides with the birthday of current Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

Ukraine's Crisis In Internet Memes

One of the many Ukraine-related memes that have been doing the rounds on social media

The crisis in Ukraine has spawned a steady stream of Internet memes, some lighthearted, others biting, all deeply political.

Here are some of the most popular. 

"Neo-Nazi" Ukrainian leaders

A favorite meme of pro-Russian Internet users, centered on Moscow's claims that the new authorities in Kyiv are cozy with neo-Nazi groups.



Yes, in Ukraine even doormats are being drawn into politics. This one invites Kiyv residents to wipe their feet on ousted President Viktor Yanukovych:


"So the doormat doesn't get stained," it says in the tweeted pic below. People living here are obviously peeved with Washington, which has staunchly backed Ukraine's new Western-leaning leadership.



Gas Crisis

Ukraine is currently embroiled in its third "gas war" with Russia, which dramatically raised tariffs following the ouster of Moscow-friendly Yanukovych and has now halted supplies.

This rather unfeeling meme advises Ukrainians who have "no gas and are cold in winter" to get outfitted for the chilly weather. 

Although Moscow itself has denied any irregularities, rumors persist that the new Ukrainian leadership is siphoning off Russian gas transiting through the country to Europe are proving resilient. 


"Putin is a d***khead (khuilo/huilo)"

The battle cry of hardened pro-Ukraine activists, given a recent boost by Andriy Deshchytsya, until recently Ukraine's acting foreign minister, has inspired many a meme-maker, such as this one


David Cameron

The British Prime Minister posted a very serious photo of himself discussing Ukraine with U.S. President Barack Obama over the phone...


...leading to a fair amount of ridicule.


Jen Psaki

U.S. State Department spokeswoman has been a favorite target of Russian social-media activists, who have ridiculed her for condemning "carousel voting" during a separatist referendum in Ukraine before admitting she did not know what the term referred to.

Her detractors have even come up with a new word, "psaking," or talking through one's hat.

This one says: "At home with Jen Psaki"


"We all know what's happening in eastern Ukraine," says another VKontakte post. "Separatists are separating with a separator."


Yarosh's Business Card

A hugely popular meme referring to Russian claims that the business card of Ukrainian ultranationalist Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the group Right Sector, was found at the scene of a deadly shootout in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainians have been poking fun at the accusation.

Here, Yarosh's Right Sektor group is "blamed" for the fall of a Russian satellite in May.


"It's even in Putin's chest pocket!" says this tweeter:


"Save Donbas People" (from Ukraine)

Eastern Ukrainians who oppose the Ukrainian army's operation against separatists in the east have been posting pictures of themselves – or their kids -- holding "Save Donbas People from Ukrainian Army" placards.


"Save Donbas People" (from Russia)

Pro-Ukraine activists have started their own spinoff of the "Save Donbas People" placard meme.


Separatist Pets 

Separatist sympathizers, using the #сепаратяка ("little separatist") hashtag, have been rallying their pets to the cause. 

This mostly involves donning them with the black-and-orange St. George's ribbon.


There's even rabbits!

-- Claire Bigg

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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