Friday, November 21, 2014


RFE/RL Discussion: Who Is Islamic State?

Even if you missed the live broadcast, you can still watch our video discussion of the methods and activities of the brutal militant group Islamic State (IS). 

This edition of RFE/RLive features Joanna Paraszczuk, author of RFE/RL's Under The Black Flag blog, which provides daily news and analysis about IS in Iraq and Syria and examines the response to the group in the Arab world, Iran, and across the former Soviet Union.

She was joined by RFE/RL Regional Broadcasting Director for Iran and Iraq Mardo Soghom to talk about who controls IS, whether it functions under a unified command, and whether its leading personalities are indeed the masterminds they appear to be.

Watch it here:


The Week Ahead: November 17-23

Ukraine -- People attend a commemoration ceremony at a monument for Holodomor victims in Kyiv, November 23, 2013

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, November 17:
 
AzerbaijanNational Revival Day.
 
 

EU: European Union's Foreign Affairs Council begins meeting in Brussels (to November 18).
 
KazakhstanUN Committee against Torture reviews Kazakhstan in Geneva (to November 18).
 
Russia/Iran: Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin visits Tehran.
 
Ukraine: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin visits Brussels, meets with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
 
 
 
TUESDAY, November 18:
 
Germany/Russia/Ukraine: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Kyiv and Moscow (to November 19).

Russia/Belarus: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Minsk.
 
Turkmenistan/Italy: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzimakes visits Ashgabat.
 
Ukraine/Norway: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg makes an official visit to Kyiv.
 
UK/Russia: The Henry Jackson Society in London hosts a discussion titled "Five Years from the Death of Sergei Magnitsky."
 
UN: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) publishes its State of World Population 2014 report.
 
U.S./Czech Republic: Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and unveil a bust of the late Czech President Vaclav Havel in the Capitol, the seat of the U.S. Congress.
 
 
WEDNESDAY, November 19:
 
Montenegro/NATOMontenegrin Justice Minister Dusko Markovic visits Brussels, meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
 
 
 

THURSDAY, November 20:
 
EU/Serbia: EU's new neighborhood and enlargement negotiation commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Belgrade.
 
MoldovaUkrainian and Polish Presidents Petro Poroshenko and Bronislaw Komorowski visit Chisinau in show of support for Moldova’s pro-European course.
 
NATO/Baltic States: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visits Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (to November 21).
 
Turkey: Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit opens in Istanbul (to November 21).

UK/Russia: Chatham House in London holds a discussion titled "Russian Energy: The New International Context."
 

 
FRIDAY, November 21:
 
Azerbaijan: Baku hosts the 43rd session of the European Olympic Committee (to November 22).
 
Montenegro:  EU's new neighborhood and enlargement negotiation commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Podgorica.
 
 
 
Ukraine: The first anniversary of the Ukrainian protest movement known as Euromaidan that swept former President Viktor Yanukovych.
 
U.S./Russia: U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller visits Moscow (to November 22).
 
U.S./Ukraine: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Kyiv.
 
 
SATURDAY, November 22:
 
 
 
SUNDAY, November 23:
 
Russia: The eighth anniversary of ex-KGB officer turned Kremlin critic Aleksandr Litvinenko's death in London.

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


The Week Ahead: November 10-16

Russia -- Natalya Magnitskaya, mother of Sergei Magnitsky, attends a commemoration of her son at Sakharov Center in Moscow.

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.

Follow Me on Pinterest

MONDAY, November 10:
 
 
China: Beijing hosts the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit (to November 11).
 
Iran/U.S./EUIran, the United States, and the European Union hold talks in Oman over Tehran's nuclear program.
 
Kazakhstan/Germany: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Astana.
 
Kyrgyzstan/Turkmenistan: Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev makes an official visits to Ashgabat.
 
 
Serbia/Albania: Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama makes a historic visit to Belgrade, the first by an Albanian head of government to Belgrade in 68 years.
 
 
 
TUESDAY, November 11:
 
Georgia/Kazakhstan: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visits Astana (to November 12).
 
Kazakhstan/EU: Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov visits Brussels (to November 13). 
 
 
Ukraine: A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) begins work in Ukraine (to November 25).
 
 
WEDNESDAY, November 12:
 
 
EU: European Parliament's Plenary Session starts in Brussels (to November 13).
 
Macedonia/Greece: New York hosts a new round of UN-mediated talks between Macedonia and Greece over the use of the name "Macedonia."
 

THURSDAY, November 13:
 
Croatia: Split hosts the NATO-Industry Forum 2014.
 
EU/Moldova: European Parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on the Association Agreement with Moldova.
 
Iran/Azerbaijan: Iranian President Hassan Rohani visits Baku (to November 13).
 
MoldovaMoldovan Parliament Speaker Igor Corman visits Brussels, meets with European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
 
 
Russia: Russia’s Supreme Court reviews the Russian government’s lawsuit to liquidate Memorial, the country's oldest and best-known human rights organization.
 
Tajikistan/Iran: An Iranian industrial exhibition opens in Dushanbe (to November 15).
 
 
FRIDAY, November 14:
 
 
Russia/Serbia: Russian Patriarch Kirill visits Belgrade (to November 16).
 
 
SATURDAY, November 15:
 
Australia: Brisbane hosts the Group of Twenty (G20) summit (to November 16).
 
Georgia: Supporters of former President Mikheil Saakashvili plan rally in Tbilisi.
 
 
 
SUNDAY, November 16:
 
 
 
 

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


'Sit At Home And Embroider' -- Ukrainian Rebel Sparks Debate On Women's Rights

Ukrainian rebel commander Aleksei Mozgovoi (file photo)

It appeared to be the first sign of discontent in the packed eastern Ukraine auditorium. 

Shortly after the "People's Tribunal of Novorossia," had overwhelmingly approved a death sentence for an alleged rapist, a feared separatist commander opined on the causes of such crimes against women. 

In a video of the October event in the Luhansk region city of Alchevsk, Aleksandr Mozgovoi, dressed in a black beret and military fatigues, announces a ban on women going to bars and clubs on pain of arrest and instead commands them to "sit at home and embroider."

Some in the makeshift courtroom can be heard audibly groaning. 

"You don't like this, huh?" he asks. 

Anastasiya Pyaterikova, a former stripper who has become a prominent face of the Luhansk separatists, does not.

"You’ve gone too far, Mozgovoi!" the "Luhansk Guard" member wrote on VKontakte, a Russian-language social network, on November 5.  "Don’t you think you're taking a lot on??? What right have you got to arrest women, and even more so to lay down your orders??? Have you got women trouble? That's how it looks."
 
Pyaterikova, a leader of the "anti-Maidan" movement, is known both for racy pictures of her pole-dancing online and for her brief flight from Ukraine to Russia when she fell under Kyiv security surveillance earlier this year.  

Continuing her attack on Mozgovoi, Pyaterikova wrote: "Got carried away and decided you were almighty? Don't anger honest people. Or else we'll quickly do away with your cult."  

'Wasted Chicks In Miniskirts'

But, in a heated debate on a pro-separatist VKontakte forum, some backed the goateed commander, who once dabbled in poetry. 

"In wartime, this is exactly the right approach," says Alisa Kudashova. "The city is filled with the brutalized blood of men and yet here wasted chicks in miniskirts will still wander around at night. Protecting women from violence is absolutely right." 

Her views were backed by Maksim Gorodetsky, a Donetsk resident, who accused women who disagreed with him of being "feminists" (or worse). "In wartime it's better for young women to stay at home," he wrote.

When Yury Belousov, identified as a resident of Mariupol -- a key port city in southern Ukraine that separatists have threatened to capture from Kyiv -- suggested that the law should be modified so that young married women can go out at night in the company of their men, Gorodetsky fired back with apparent condescension: 

"Yury, let me repeat myself: [What you've described] is not a girl, but a woman with her lawful husband!"  

However, the men in the conversation who supported Mozgovoi's edict appeared unable to deflect the words of several commenters who pointed out the hypocrisy of preventing only women from frequenting local taverns. 

"War doesn't divide men and women," said Tatiana Nikulina, who is identified on VKontakte as a Moscow resident. "I think that if there's a state of war then, in principle, all of the bars should be closed...let's be honest here though -- war is war, but if the city continues to go about its life in spite of everything no one should be poking their noses into the lives of grown adults." 

More than 4,000 people have died since April in fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

ALSO READ: Ukraine Separatists Dole Out Summary Justice
 

Mozgovoi, who has stood by the death sentence handed down at the extrajudicial hearing, has apparently faced enough local pressure to walk back his comments on punishments for women. 

"No one is going to be arrested," the apparently offended commander of the Prizrak ("Phantom") battalion told the Govorit Moskva radio station in an interview. "But the situation is beyond comprehension for me. We put the rapists of these very women on trial, but an outcry arises over the fact that a woman is prevented from having an extra shot of vodka." 

-- Tom Balmforth, Glenn Kates


The Georgian Political Shuffle: A Chat With The Experts

RFE/RL Georgian Service Director David Kakabadze (left) and Power Vertical author Brian Whitmore

It was a diverse and unwieldy coalition that was formed for one reason and one reason only -- defeating former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his ruling United National Movement.

And as soon as that goal was accomplished two years ago, the cracks began to appear in this rickety alliance, which includes liberals, socialists, and nationalists.

And this week, with the sacking of Defense Minister Irakli Alasania -- currently the most popular politician in Georgia -- those cracks became a chasm.

In the aftermath of Alasania's firing, European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Minister Aleksi Petriashvili and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze quit in protest -- leaving Georgia's fragile ruling coalition vulnerable and potentially placing its goals of European integration in jeopardy.

Join Brian Whitmore, author of RFE/RL's Power Vertical blog and David Kakabadze, director of RFE/RL's Georgian Service, as they discuss the developments.

WATCH HERE:

 


U.S. Rapper Snoop Dogg 'Loves Belarus'

Snoop Dogg

Last updated (GMT/UTC): 07.11.2014 14:02

Snoop Dogg loves Belarus.

At least that's what a collection of T-shirts and accessories released by the U.S. rapper indicates.

The items have gone on sale at his online store under the tag "Snoop Loves Belarus."

The rapper posted a snapshot of a backpack on his Instagram account on November 5 to advertise the new line, which also features T-shirts, iPhone cases, and laptop sleeves, all adorned with traditional Belarusian embroidery patterns. 

The items were designed by HoodGraff, a group of street artists from the Belarusian city of Vitebsk.

HoodGraff member Artsyom, professionally known as Boorj, says Snoop Dogg first contacted the collective in late 2013.

"He has been following our work as street artists for a long time," says the designer. 

The "Snoop Loves Belarus" product line
The "Snoop Loves Belarus" product line

Artsyom says this summer the rapper asked him and his team to come up with a Belarusian collection for his online store.

"He likes ornaments and patterns a lot and he was very surprised that Belarus has such unusual ornaments," says Artsyom. "He had never seen anything like it. He said, 'Let's do it,' and that's how it started."

The origins of Snoop Dogg's professed interest in Belarus remain a mystery.

The motto "Snoop Loves Belarus," however, is unlikely a display of admiration for the country's authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who doesn't appear to share the rapper's fondness for HoodGraff.

The artists chose to relocate to Russia earlier this year after being fined $1,700, a substantial sum in Belarus.

Their offense: attempting to paint a mural of the late, internationally acclaimed Belarusian writer Vasil Bykov, a vocal Lukashenka critic, during a street-art festival in Minsk.

-- Alyaksandra Dynko and Claire Bigg

PHOTO GALLERY: The 'Offensive' Work Of HoodGraff

  • The mural of Belarusian writer Vasil Bykov that got the group into trouble.


Beauty Pageant Turns Nasty In St. Petersburg

Beauty pageant contestant Viktoriya Maladayeva has provoked a wave of social-media outrage for comments she made criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin. (VKontakte screenshot)

MOSCOW -- A St. Petersburg beauty pageant for married women has devolved into a hailstorm of racially charged bickering after a finalist made anti-Kremlin comments on social media. 

As online voting began for the 2014 Mrs. St. Petersburg pageant last week, Viktoriya Maladayeva, a 25-year old native of Russia's Buryatiya Republic who has lived in Russia's second city for nine years, surged up the leader's board -- drawing ire from users of Russia's popular VKontakte social-networking site.

"A Buryat girl as Mrs. Petersburg is just funny. No one will believe this," Margo Gershkovich, a VKontakte user supporting a rival pageant finalist, wrote. 

The online assault escalated after another user, Aleksandr Chernomortsev, shared a screenshot of anti-Kremlin comments Maladayeva purportedly made on her VKontakte page on September 19. In the post, Maladayeva lambasted the Kremlin for restricting media and Internet freedoms, calling President Vladimir Putin the "worst thing that has happened to Russia since the 1950s."   

"Once again, we've put ourselves on a par with the Third World," Maladayeva wrote, launching an attack on "stupid people" in an apparent reference to Putin's supporters. 

Maladayeva doesn't deny making the comments, which have since been removed from her VKontakte page.

She was later quoted by Russian media as saying "her words were taken out of context" to make her seem "Russophobic" and named Chernomertsev as trying to "discredit her for [her] political views, nationality." 

But the post sparked a slew of comments in which Maladayeva was accused of having "problems with her brain," of "hating Russians," of "bringing shame to Petersburg," and being an "enemy of the people." There were also calls to remove her from the competition.

Aleksandr Belopotanov, a VKontakte user on the forum, wrote simply: "Shave off her hair and put her head in the toilet."

One forum user, Katya Sidorovich, accused Chernomerstev of inciting ethnic hatred and appealed to administrators to ban him from the forum.

Likewise, Yevgeny Khamaganov, a writer for the "Asia Russia Daily," spoke up to defend Maladayeva.

"I haven't in a long time read such examples of caveman Nazism and shouting because a person doesn't have 'the right' opinions," he wrote

Maladayeva called on her supporters to ignore the slurs -- and stuck by her opposition views.

"Honestly, where have I written that I 'hate Russians' and so on? It's the sick fantasy of trolls. Friends, please ignore it. I was ready for negativity from some people, but not to this degree," she wrote on her VKontakte page

The Mrs. St. Petersburg pageant is in its fifth year. Contestants must be married with children and at least 168 centimeters tall. The winner will be announced on November 6.

-- Tom Balmforth

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 transmission+rferl.org

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