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May 25: Presidential election in Ukraine.
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.

MONDAY, May 19:

Azerbaijan/OSCE: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs visit Baku.

Azerbaijan/PACE: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteurs make a fact-finding visit to Azerbaijan (to May 21).

Azerbaijan/Vietnam: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev makes an official visit to Hanoi (to May 20).

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic's defense begins at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

EU/Russia: Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger meet in Berlin to set a date and place for three-way talks with Ukraine.

Georgia: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visits Tbilisi (to May 22).

NATO: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference in Brussels.

Russia/Slovak Republic: Russian and Slovak foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Miroslav Lajcak, hold a joind press conference in Moscow.

UK/U.S.: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion with American linguist and left-wing political activist Noam Chomsky on U.S. foreign policy.


TUESDAY, May 20:

Caspian Region: European Policy Center in Brussels hosts a discussion titled "Defining the Caspian: The Future of Caspian Energy."

China/CICA: Shanghai hosts the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit (to May 21).

China/Russia: China and Russia are set to conduct a naval drill, "Joint Sea-2014," in the northern part of the East China Sea (to May 26).

Iran/China: Iranian President Hassan Rohani makes an official visit to China (to May 22).

Kazakhstan: Astana hosts the he first G-Global International Summit of Journalism (to May 23).

Russia/China: Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an official visit to China (to May 21).

U.S./Romania: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits Bucharest.


WEDNESDAY, May 21:

EU/Georgia: EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele meets with Georgian government minsters in Brussels.

Kazakhstan: The Seventh Astana Economic Forum opens (to May 23).

Ukraine: Ukraine is planning to significantly increase reverse gas supplies through Hungary under a contract that was signed on May 14, 2014.

U.S./Cyprus: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden travels to Cyprus to meet with political leaders from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, civil society representatives, and religious leaders (to May 23).


THURSDAY, May 22:

EU: European Parliament elections (to May 25).

Russia: St. Petersburg International Economic Forum opens (to May 24).

Russia: Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich holds a press conference on current issues of foreign policy.

UN: International Day for Biological Diversity.


FRIDAY, May 23:

Serbia: Paris hosts Serbia investment conference.

UN: International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.


SATURDAY, May 24:

Azerbaijan: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Standing Committee convenes in Baku.


SUNDAY, May 25:

Ukraine
: Presidential election.
Politician Jana Volfova appears in a European Parliament campaign advertisement for the nationalist Czech Sovereignty party.
Decapitation. Group sex. Defenestrations.

Frankly, it all sounds like just another night of Danish cinema at Cannes.

So don't let Denmark's "get-out-the-vote" flap over the "Voteman" video discourage you ahead of this month's European elections.

If you're going to hang your head over these elections to fill the European Parliament's 751 seats, let it be because of spots like this one:

WATCH: Euro-Election Campaign Ad For Czech Sovereignty


Candidate Jana Volfova and her nonparliamentary Czech Sovereignty party went completely Kabuki, donning a chador to rail against Muslims and to "defend Euro-Christian civilization."

"Do you really want to have to bow to Allah five times a day?" an announcer asks as a tiny black figure in full fundamentalist Islamic garb emerges from an EU-colored shell game.

"Do you want your daughter or granddaughter to be forced to walk around covered up, for her to be stoned [to death] if she gives her boyfriend a kiss on the street?" Volfova asks from behind a black chador, before assigning the European Commission with responsibility for determining immigration policies. (Never mind that she's campaigning for the European Parliament.)

"We reject the Islamization of Europe," Volfova goes on to say.

"Don't let your own country be stolen, and come defend Euro-Christian civilization," the announcer sums up.

Czech Sovereignty is sufficiently "euroskeptical" for local media to have speculated that it might provide a platform for the post-presidential return to "high politics" of former President Vaclav Klaus.

Chairwoman Jana Bobosikova and her Czech Sovereignty party purport to be engaged in the business of "protecting Czech national interests." Ironically, Bobosikova owes a debt to her supranational foe. She used European elections in 2004 to resuscitate a seemingly moribund domestic political career. She also happens to be an unrepentant former poster child for hated socialist-era Czechoslovak leader Gustav Husak.

Despite their deservedly secular reputation, Czechs have been thrust reluctantly into discussions of two of this century's most disturbing perversions of Islam: 9/11, after which Czech officials (including now-President Milos Zeman) claimed (erroneously) that Al-Qaeda hijacker Mohammed Atta had contacted an Iraqi agent in Prague; and the Tsarnaev brothers' suspected bombing in April 2013 of the Boston Marathon, after which CNN and other media outlets confused the Czech Republic with Chechnya.

But in fact, Czechs' room has been extremely limited for direct contact with Islam -- much less Islamism or other extreme interpretations of the religion. Muslims are estimated to compose less than 0.1 percent of the Czech population of around 10 million, prompting the weekly "Tyden" last year to rank it among Europe's "non-Islamic islands."

Then again, another Czech party with a chance of reaching the European Parliament is the Dawn of Direct Democracy of Tomio Okamura. That movement is at once run by a Czech-Japanese-Korean entrepreneur who is a senior member of the Association of Czech Travel Agencies, and at the same time campaigning on a platform that would curb immigration.

In a country where the absence of that towering figure of 20th-century humanism, Vaclav Havel, is still felt, it is all enough to have convinced the Czech weekly "Respekt" that some of the campaigning for these European elections "has exceeded even the normal scope of Czech political marketing."

-- Andy Heil

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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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