Accessibility links

Breaking News


June 20: World Refugee Day.
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, June 16:

Armenia/Germany: Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian visits Berlin (to June 17).

Armenia/PACE: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Armenia visit Yerevan (to June 18).

Azerbaijan/Greece: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visits Athens to discuss the construction of the TAP pipeline (to June 17).

Belarus/Russia: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Minsk.

Iran: Vienna hosts another round of talks on the Tehran's nuclear program (to June 20).

Moldova/France: Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca visits Paris.

Moldova/Czech Republic: Czech Senate Vice Speaker Premysl Sobotka visits Chisinau (to June 19).

NATO/South Caucasus: The NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 86th Rose Roth seminar titled “South Caucasus: Challenges And Opportunities” opens in Baku.

Russia: Moscow hosts the 21st World Petroleum Congress (to June 19).

Russia/Serbia: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Belgrade (to June 17).

U.S./Europe: The German Marshall Fund of the United States hosts a discussion with U.S. Assistan Secretary of State Victoria Nuland on the current state of the U.S.-European partnership.

Uzbekistan: South Korean President Park Geun-hye visits Tashkent and Samarkand (to June 18).

World: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) releases its World Nuclear Forces 2014 report.

TUESDAY, June 17:

: The 28th round of the Geneva International Discussions between Georgia and Russia begins in Switzerland (to June 18).

Russia/Azerbaijan: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Baku (to June 18).

Tajikistan: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visits Dushanbe (to June 18).

UN: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.


Kazakhstan: South Korean President Park Geun-hye visits Astana (to June 20).

Ukraine/Czech Republic: Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek visits Kyiv (to June 19).

U.S./Ukraine: Atlantic Council in Washington hosts a discussion titled "The Ukraine Crisis And NATO."

World: The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) releases its annual Global Peace Index.

THURSDAY, June 19:

Russia: International film festival opens in Moscow (to June 28).

FRIDAY, June 20:

Turkmenistan: South Korean President Park Geun-hye visits Ashgabat (to June 21).

U.K./Russia: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "From The Kremlin To Kyiv: Russian Security Services."

UN: World Refugee Day.

SATURDAY, June 21:

Belarus/Russia: Brest hosts the 46th session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Russia and Belarus (USRB) under the chairmanship of Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin.

SUNDAY, June 22:

: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Yerevan (to June 23).
Throngs of young people jumped with joy after Croatia went ahead against Brazil in their World Cup opener in Sao Paolo.

"Yes!" many of them screamed, while others pumped fists in the air, some of them clad in the red-and-white checkered jersey symbolizing Croatia's historic coat-of-arms.

A chance visitor would be forgiven for thinking that he or she was in the middle of the soccer-mad Croatian capital of Zagreb.

Actually, this was happening in the center of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Croatia's "arch-enemy" in sports, politics and -- two decades ago -- on the battlefield as the former Yugoslavia collapsed in a series of wars.

Football rivalries, sometimes reflecting historical relations, often run very deep -- just ask your average English, Irish, or Scottish fan.

In the light of recent bloody history, however, they are taken to the extreme in the Balkans. Deep antagonism, even hatred, especially among the young, seemed to be the rule and supporting the "others" is anathema.

But for several dozen young Belgrade residents, as well as a growing number of people throughout the region, this attitude just does not make sense at all.

That's why big-stage debutants Bosnia and relative tournament veterans Croatia, the only teams from the region in Brazil, can count on noisy support from some unlikely quarters this time around.

"I can only say that I cheer from the bottom of my heart for the neighbors, a little bit more for Bosnia than for Croatia, I have to say, but tonight for Croatia," a woman in her twenties told RFE/RL's Balkan service in a cultural center in Belgrade to the sound of almost frantic cheering for Croatia in the background.

The shared viewing of this and other games, under the slogan "Cheer for Your Neighbor," was organized by the "Youth Initiative for Human Rights,"a Belgrade-based non-governmental organization with a reputation for breaking ethnic-based taboos in Serbian society.

"We have to support each other. After all, we belong to the same culture," another woman said, standing against a wall adorned by the Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian flags.

One of those who could be credited with helping this thaw is Novak Djokovic, the world's number two tennis player.

Util recently, he was seen outside of Serbia as someone who allows himself to be too easily used by politicians when it comes promoting a nationalist Serbian identity.

But, after massive floods hit Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia last month, "Nole" did not spurn the opportunity to appeal for assistance to the three countries, saying that, when disaster strikes, there is no difference between these peoples.

He also didn't do any harm by saying that, in the absence of Serbia at the World Cup, he would cheer for Bosnia and Croatia.

Still, this may not be enough to persuade most Bosnian Serbs and Croats to support "the Dragons" as Bosnia's national team is affectionately known.

The team has been dominated by Bosniak Muslim players, but over the two decades since it first came into existence, Bosnian Serb and Croat coaches and players have played very important roles.

The western part of the ethnically divided city of Mostar looks no different than most Croatian cities these days -- Croatian flags and banners in support of "the Fiery Ones" adorn the town's streets and buildings.

Unlike Sarajevo, which awaits Bosnia's first game against Argentina on June 15 in a state of euphoria, in Banja Luka, the capital of Bosnia's Serb Republic, the World Cup does not seem to arouse any passion -- apart from those who say that, in the absence of Serbia, they would support any team except Bosnia and Croatia.

But even there, after years of widespread open contempt for the Bosnian team, there are signs that things are changing.

"I will support Bosnia, why not? After all, our players from Banja Luka and from Republika Srpska are on the team," one young man told RFE/RL.

-- Written by Nedim Dervisbegovic in Prague based on reporting by Zoran Glavonjic in Belgrade, Selma Boracic in Sarajevo, and Erduan Katana in Banja Luka

RFE/RL's World Cup Quiz

RFE/RL's World Cup Quiz

Start the quiz to find out!

Load more

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

Latest Posts