PC Press Digest

Weekly Press Digest – July 25

Political Critique's weekly selection from the Eastern European press.

Michal Chmela’s selection

In the Czech Republic, A2larm published a piece about the seemingly paradoxical practice of human rights being used by populism as illustrated by the case of documentarist-turned-politician Olga Sommerová attempting to score a couple more political brownie points by invoking the spectre of totalitarianism once again. An admirable statement for sure; it is, however, rather marred by the lack of any kind of positive message and it turns out Sommerová is very flexible when it comes to ardent refusal of threats to democracy. It turns out just shouting a resounding “no” to whatever happens to scare the voters does not make a political program – or do anything to help preserve those freedoms we are apparently being robbed of.

And perhaps the most absurd shot in the social-media-fueled battle which started last week was fired when a voyeur published a picture of two women bathing in (the horror!) burqinis. The lawyer and anti-Islam activist Klára Samková stated that wearing a certain kind of swimsuit is an expression of fascist ideology and religious symbols should under no circumstances be displayed publicly. And she should know, given her habit of wearing Christian accessories…

Nino Sichinava’s selection

The Women’s March
One of the most discussed issues recently in Georgia concerns the Women’s march as the answer to March of Georgians on 14th July. Currently, it is the biggest feminist protest in the country along with Women’s march against Trump. Jam.news.net presents a photo report on the event.

According to oc-media.org, the main reason for the women’s uprising was the social media threat of gang rape and violence targeted at Tatia Dolidze, former Georgian Youth Delegate at the UN, by the representatives of the ‘March of Georgians.’ The latter event was conducted by far-rightists, and attended mostly by men, against ‘illegal immigration.’

What brought the anger on Tatia Dolidze, was her open comment on the group’s nationalistic and racist slogans together with sexist attitude towards women. Tabula.ge presents the evidence of the threats towards her words.

However, during the interview with Tatia Dolidze on palitravideo.ge and public apology from Gia Korkotashvili, one of the leaders of ‘March of Georgians, he stressed the fact that her comments were inconsiderate to the reason behind the march itself – the rape scandal on Marjanishvili street that is occupied mostly by foreigners.

Is Georgia still on the agenda of the important issues?
Is Georgia still on the agenda of the important issues? According to Edward Lucas, an editor at The Economist, in his interview to Georgian Journal, the first meeting of President Trump and President Putin might be putting Georgia at risk of falling from agenda. He believes that after the 2012 elections, Georgia ‘is moving downhill,’ therefore there are more internal conflicts rather than external ones, and that is of little interest to bigger political actors.

Emir Kusturica supports Russian annexation of Crimea
After his visit to Crimea, Serbian film-director and musician Emir Kusturica shared his support for Russian annexation of the region and the possibility of directing the Russian-language film concerning the issue. His statements quickly led to his inclusion to the nationalistic website ‘Mirotvorets’.

Anna Azarova’s selection

In Hungary, Kettős Mérce is reporting on the annual youth camp organised by Fidesz in Tusványos, a town in the largely Hungarian-populated Hargita county of Romania. The event provides plenty of material to cover each year, and this time two moments stood out – well, only one, really, as Orbán’s speech was just the usual things about him being the prophet, messiah, and saviour of Europe. The other moment was the speech of Zoltán Balog, the Minister of Human Capacities (his mega-ministry oversees everything from healthcare to education to social security to cultural issues). Now, Minister Balog said that “The Hungarian communities and the government have not decided yet, whether the Hungarian-speaking gypsies of Romania are a burden or a resource.” This raises all sorts of questions of what the raison d’être of a “human resources” minister is; or – more importantly, – along what criteria does Balog even intend to decide whether the “Hungarian-speaking gypsies” are Hungarian or not; and what kind of ideology is reflected in referring to people as resources.

In Russia, the jurors in the Nemtsov trial recount the nine-months long process on Mediazona. According to one of them, the Nemtsov’s murder was presented as committed against a private personality and not as against one of the most prominent opposition politicians; and was subtly “compromised” by the prosecutor in the jury’s eyes.