Civil society

Tbilisi: batons and metal rods

14/10/2009 -  Giorgio Comai

In Georgia, opposition activists are victims of aggression and suffer violent attacks, even at the hands of the police. The government minimises these accusations and speaks of a Georgia which is headed straight on the path toward democracy

Transnistria's Breakthrough

24/09/2009 -  Giorgio ComaiBernardo Venturi Tiraspol

Alena Arshinova is the leader of "Proriv"("Breakthrough"), a youth organization founded in 2005 in Transnistria, a de facto independent territory that, in Soviet times, belonged to the Moldovan SSR. We met her at the organization's headquarters in downtown Tiraspol. An interview

Activist under investigation

23/09/2009 -  Onnik Krikorian Yerevan

Mariam Sukhudyan, a local environmental activist, faces up to 5 years imprisonment after alleging cases of child abuse in a Yerevan boarding school. This seems to be part of a growing trend of governments in the region targeting youth activists

A ghost still wanders Europe

22/09/2009 -  Irene Dioli

Sexual minorities may not be the most fashionable topic in international cooperation, but there is quite a lot more that Europe can do - and in a better way. Human rights, the NGO sector, and neo-colonialist ghosts in a conversation with Svetlana Ðurković

Lobbying lavender

15/09/2009 -  Irene Dioli

What is behind the adoption and discussion of anti-discrimination laws in SEE? LGBT rights, EU conditionality, and international cooperation in an interview with Lilit Poghosyan, ILGA-Europe's Programmes Officer for the Balkan region

Rocking and rapping in Azerbaijan

10/09/2009 -  Onnik Krikorian Yerevan

Music in all three republics continues to be dominated by those singers and musicians who are subordinate to nationalist or predominant political interests. But rock and rap bands are starting to speak out, especially in Azerbaijan

The New Istanbul

02/09/2009 -  Fazıla Mat

An urban-renewal plan for Istanbul has been destroying entire neighbourhoods and expelling residents to the city's periphery. The Roma population has been expelled from their ancient neighbourhood, Sulukule, where a third bridge will be built on the Bosphorus

Facing violence at home

18/08/2009 -  Arzu Geybullayeva Baku

Domestic violence is a taboo topic in Azerbaijan. Every attempt to discuss issues that touch the private, family realm is perceived as a threat to the country's national identity

Corporate environmental responsibility?

28/07/2009 -  Claudia Iatan

A further take on corporations, responsibility, and the market in Romania. The strong focus on environment, funding mechanisms, and fashion in an interview with Dragos Bucurenci, founder of a specialised NGO

Youth activists and bloggers detained

20/07/2009 -  Arzu Geybullayeva Baku

Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada have been recently detained in Azerbaijan because of apparently groundless accusations. Despite inquiries to the local authorities by foreign embassies in Baku, they are still being held in jail

Lifting the wall

17/07/2009 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

The European Commission proposed visa liberalization for Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro, which would bring an end to a costly and sometimes humiliating ritual for people who need to travel abroad. Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania, though, were excluded from the recommendation

Responsibility or marketing?

15/07/2009 -  Claudia Iatan Bucharest

Sensitivity on corporate social responsibility is embryonic in Romania as well as elsewhere. Trade unions are absent, institutions are fragile, and NGOs draw on the business sector for their fund-raising activity

Bittersweet relief for NGOs in Azerbaijan

08/07/2009 -  Arzu Geybullayeva Baku

Recent amendments to the law on NGOs in Azerbaijan have been milder than earlier expected. And while the local NGO community is relieved, there is some dissatisfaction and worry that the struggle is not over yet

Bosnian Chess

02/07/2009 -  Andrea Rossini Sarajevo

An interview with Senad Pećanin, director of the news weekly Dani, about the ongoing clash between High Representative Inzko and the institutions of Republika Srpska, the position of the international community, and the future of the country

The Wall, the Walls

04/06/2009 -  Marjola Rukaj

In 1989, Fatos Lubonja was in jail serving time as a political prisoner. It was there that he received the first news of what was going on in Eastern Europe. In the beginning, it seemed as if what was going on would not have any impact in Albania. An interview

Oblivion and doubts

28/05/2009 -  Francesco Martino Bucharest

"We have not managed to deal with the legacy of communism in a clear way and this is not only a source of confusion, but also of frustration". The events of 1989, an ambiguous revolution, the Romanians and Europe. An interview with Mircea Vasilescu

Caucasian Knot

14/05/2009 -  Giorgio Comai Moscow

Osservatorio met Grigory Shvedov, the editor-in-chief of 'Caucasian Knot,' the largest news outlet dealing with the region, to talk about freedom of the media, the role of international organisations in the Caucasus and his web portal

Celebrating Flower Day in Azerbaijan

12/05/2009 -  Arzu Geybullayeva Baku

Young people were arrested while mourning for recently killed fellow students in a Baku university on 10 May, Flower Day in Azerbaijan, also remembered as the birthday of former president Heydar Aliyev

An online revolution in the making?

08/05/2009 -  Onnik Krikorian Yerevan

Internet penetration remains low in regions such as the South Caucasus. However, as costs come down and connection speeds increase, there is no doubt that online and mobile communication will become important tools in the hands of civil society and political activists alike

A pass to paradise

08/05/2009 -  Iulian Lungu Chişinău

Following the post-electoral violence in Moldova, Romanian authorities approved an urgent act which simplifies the procedures to obtain Romanian citizenship. Despite the tough reactions of Chişinău's authorities, thousands of Moldovans rushed to apply for a Romanian passport

The government vs. the court

24/04/2009 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

A few days before Easter, the Macedonian constitutional court cancelled a law enacted by the VMRO-DPMNE led government introducing optional religious education in public schools. This act marked the beginning of the fiercest dispute between the executive and highest judiciary institution

Otherwise and elsewhere

20/04/2009 -  Marjola Rukaj

"Our desire for elsewhere was equal to our desire for otherwise." Young Albanian students, from the collapse of the regime to the mass exodus. An interview with Ron Kubati, a writer

No way out of the protests

14/04/2009 -  Tengiz Ablotia Tbilisi

On 9 April, the government opposition in Tbilisi, Georgia started a new wave of protests to demand the resignation of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. The protests have been peaceful but are rapidly heading into a stalemate

For the good of Russia

31/03/2009 -  Giorgio Comai Moscow

The organization "Russian Congress of Caucasian Peoples" was founded by members of different nationalities in the region that have united to guard their own interests, defend themselves from discrimination and for the good of Russia

As if nothing had ever happened

23/03/2009 -  Danijela Nenadić

"They listen to my generation's stories of fighting against Slobodan Milošević's regime like we used to listen to the partisans' stories we were told, once upon a time." The bombings and the generation born under them, the unsaid, the future

The fall

04/03/2009 -  Andrea Rossini

The end of division in Europe, the end of Yugoslavia, the advent of globalisation: an interview with Rada Ivekovic. A new article in the series on European identity, the new system of international relations and the memory of communism in the first 20 years after 1989

Who Are We? II

26/02/2009 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

Macedonians have become bitter with each other. Over themselves. Over who they are. Over whether they are Slav or ancient Macedonians. Op-eds and commentaries have overwhelmed the press; the blogosphere has overheated. It all started because of a monument

Surviving Reunification

18/02/2009 -  Andrea Rossini

From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the European integration process, via the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The controversial heritage of Communism in Europe, made of nostalgia, social injustice and demand for security. An interview with Slavenka Drakulić

Noz, Zica, Srebrenica

15/01/2009 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

When Facebook caught on to a Serb ultra-nationalists forum called "Noz, zica, Srebrenica", or "Knife, Wire, Srebrenica", using the social networking site to glorify one of the bloodiest massacres in Europe since World War II and promote hatred against Muslims, it was promptly shut down. But on the Internet, where does the hate speech end?

Dial M for Multiculturalism

18/12/2008 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

The government of Skopje is trying hard to pay respect to diversity. Some analysts argue that, despite a difficult start, Macedonia remains the only viable example of successful ethnic co-existence in the Balkans. This may also be an exaggerated statement, but it is worth thinking about it