Moldovan Newspaper Threatened Over Orthodox Metropolitan's Vacation Pics

A Moldovan newspaper says it was threatened after publishing two scandalous investigative reports on the assets and personal life of the head of Moldova’s Orthodox Church.

The Chisinau weekly “Ziarul de Garda” says it received the telephone threats on September 11 after publishing photos of Vladimir, metropolitan of Chisinau and All Moldova, vacationing in Turkey with a woman named Nelli Tcaciuc. 

According to an investigation by the newspaper, Vladimir does not live in his official residence or in the apartment that he owns in Chisinau, but rather in a luxurious villa in the Bostanci neighborhood about 5 kilometers from the capital.

The paper also reported that official records show the villa is owned by the 47-year-old Tcaciuc. Neighbors and locals interviewed by “Ziarul de Garda” confirmed that the church official and a blond-haired woman are frequently seen coming and going from the estate, which is surrounded by high walls, according to the report.

Welp, we’ve hit peak post-Soviet republic news with this story. It has everything.

Ukrainian president offers rebels major concessions to end uprising

Much more at the source.

Immigration to Britain 'cuts Romanian unemployment' - Telegraph
News Analysis: New Russia Sanctions Seen As Burning Slowly

A fresh round of U.S. and European Union sanctions will not inflict immediate economic shock in Russia but could undermine the country’s fiscal stability in the long term if the measures are not rolled back, economists and industry experts say.

The sanctions aimed at punishing the Kremlin for its role in the Ukraine crisis restrict access to Western capital and technology for major companies in Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors. 

They will likely accelerate capital outflow from Russia and could lead to recession as borrowing costs for top banks increase and investment in the Russian economy decreases, economist Sergei Guriev told RFE/RL. 

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A surprising verdict: the G**sy are the racists, not the members of the Hungarian Guard

Sajóbábony, a small town of 2,000 inhabitants 13 km from the city of Miskolc, has been in the news off and on since 2009, shortly after the random murders of G***ies in several towns and villages. In the aftermath of these murders the Hungarian Roma population was not surprisingly jumpy and fearful. Intensifying their fear was the activity of Jobbik and the Hungarian Guard, its paramilitary unit. Guardists often appeared in towns with a large Roma population, almost as if they wanted to provoke some kind of conflict with the G***ies.

In November 2009 the Hungarian Guard decided to move about 600 of their members to Sajóbábony, and Jobbik organized a political gathering in the town. The local Roma community felt threatened and unprotected by the police. Some of them decided to defend themselves, apparently armed with axes, swords, and canes. When they saw a dark car going through their neighborhood, at least nine people attacked it. The two people in the car, who were members of the Hungarian Guard, received minor injuries.

As a result of this incident the nine people involved in the incident were arrested. Last May the Miskolc court found them guilty. According to the prosecutors, in the course of attacking the car the Roma threatened to kill “the stinking Hungarians.” All of the accused denied the charges and claimed that they simply sent “the filthy guards back to where they came from.” Notwithstanding their protestations, all nine were found guilty of a hate crime directed against a distinct community, in this case against the Hungarians. Each received between two years and six months and four years in jail.

Thanks to slepaulica for bringing this story to my attention.

ETA: Slur redacted by me.

I don’t know what ethnicity to put. I don’t know what to do. I’m still thinking about it. Religion isn’t a problem, but ethnicity is. I don’t know how people in America declare themselves, right? Germans are Germans, so why can’t we be Bosnia-Herzegovinians? It is very complicated, but we should call ourselves like that. That is my opinion, and I still don’t know what to do. I would be happiest if I could call myself ‘Bosnian.’
The President Of Twitter

For a sitting head of state, Toomas Hendrik Ilves spends an awful lot of time on the internet. Most world leaders leave their online presence to aides, punctuated only by the occasional initialized platitude. The president of Estonia, however, spends hours a day reading, writing, and tweeting to his nearly 17,000 followers about issues ranging from European Union border controls to the latest Thomas Pynchon novel.

That follower count may seem modest: Barack Obama is just shy of 37 million. But what’s remarkable is that, unique among world leaders, Ilves really gets it. His account is not just a public relations tool. It’s really him there touting Estonia’s buoyant startup scene; warning of Russia’s aggressive policies toward its former satellite states in Eastern Europe; and rebuking people who put his country down. Not bad for the head of a tiny Baltic state of 1.3 million with little in the way of executive power (most of which is concentrated in the prime minister’s office).

In Trial, Romania Warily Revisits a Brutal Past

Remembered as a brutal sadist by inmates who managed to survive the prisons he once ran, Alexandru Visinescu bubbles with violent fury. “Get away from my door, or do you want me to get a stick and beat you?” the 88-year-old former prison commander screamed recently when a reporter called at his fourth floor apartment in the center of this capital city.

Like other onetime servants of the old Communist government, Mr. Visinescu — now a frail retiree with a hunched back — does not like being disturbed. Until recently, he was not. He was left alone with a generous pension and a comfortable apartment, surrounded by black-and-white photographs of his fit, youthful self in uniform. He passed his time with leisurely strolls in a nearby park.

His peace ended in early September, when prosecutors in Bucharest announced that Mr. Visinescu would be put on trial over his role in Communist-era abuses, the first case of its kind since Romania toppled and executed the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989.

The case has opened a flood of news media coverage here and raised hopes, however tentative, among victims and their advocates that Romania may finally be following most of its neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe in shaking off a national amnesia about its brutal past and re-examining a culture of impunity that has fed rampant corruption and constrained the country’s progress despite its entry into the European Union in 2007.

In the eyes of many here, the downfall and execution of Mr. Ceausescu merely removed the leader of the old Communist Bloc’s most intrusive dictatorship, leaving the system beneath largely intact. That continuity between the Communist and post-Communist elites helps explain why resistance to a serious reckoning with past crimes has been particularly strong in Romania, where there is still widespread nostalgia for the Communist era.

Much more at the source.

Amid Putin’s Crackdown, Sochi Gay Scene Thrives

A man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance.

Ravil’s spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays. The morality campaign — centered on a law banning homosexual “propaganda” — has threatened to overshadow the games as it provokes an international outcry.

Paradoxically, Sochi is a far cry from the conservative lifestyle that the president is trying to promote.

At club Mayak, for example, the dancers are as diverse as the city itself: a Muslim who is a former market butcher, an Armenian who owns a strip club in a nearby town, a Ukrainian who loves to sing like Whitney Houston and dress like Adele.

And the men behind Mayak are hopeful that Sochi can remain the exception to the rule as its entrepreneurial, anything-goes crowd prepares to welcome the world. “This is a resort town,” says Andrei Tenichev, the owner. “We have a saying: Money doesn’t smell of anything.”

(There’s a lot more at the source.)

Belgrade Bans Gay Parade Amid Security Concerns