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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.



MONDAY, July 7:
Armenia: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian visits Argentina (to July 8).
Georgia/Russia: Georgian 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/Russia: Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Maribor to discuss the South Stream gas pipeline project.
WEDNESDAY, July 9:

THURSDAY, July 10:
Armenia: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian visits Chile (to July 12).
Belarus: International 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.
Ukraine: Odessa 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:
Armenia: International 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/Brazil: Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an official visit to Brazil (to July 16).
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

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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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