Dec 17 2014

The Moldovan Elections of 2014 are more than about Putin or the EU: Corruption, Poverty and Parties

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Dan BrettEllie KnottThe most shocking result of the Moldovan elections has been the rise of the Socialist Party, closely associated with Russia. “It would be incorrect to see them as Russian stooges, opportunists, or as old faces under a new banner. Instead, their support has come from those concerned about corruption, poverty, Europeanisation and a growing dissatisfaction with Moldova’s Communist Party’s leadership”, argue Daniel Brett and Eleanor Knott.

 

“Towards Europe, towards a decent future”

“Towards Europe, towards a decent future”

 

Pure democracy is three wolves and two sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.
Benjamin Franklin

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Dec 16 2014

Does civil society in Albania have an answer to the country’s many problems?

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018On 4-5/12/14 a group of civil society activists from Albania – journalists, academics and international stakeholders – met in Munich at a workshop organised by the Sudosteuropa-Gesellschaft. They held a dialogue on Albania and its future, looking for answers to the current issues surrounding Albania’s civic society and finding more questions, as outlined by Joanna Hanson. The event participants expressed the wish to continue this discussion: contributions are welcome as comments to this post.

 

Workshop CSO Albania december 2014_09

Photo: courtesy of Südosteuropa Gesellschaft

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Dec 15 2014

Belgrade Waterfront: when Sultanism enters city planning

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Jorn KolemaijBarend WindBelgrade Waterfront – Beograd na Vodi: top-notch urban design or glossy but shady façade? Two young urbanists, Jorn Koelemaij and Barend Wind, take us through the many layers of this controversial project. This blog post has been kindly provided by The ProtoCity as part of a blog exchange. You can read LSEE’s contribution to ProtoCity, “Brand Old Skopje”, here

 

Serbia’s capital Belgrade is about to become an integral part of the glitzing scene of ‘world cities’ as soon as its new Waterfront development will be established in 2019. At least, this is what the project’s founding father, prime minister Aleksandar Vučić, seems to be convinced of. The media report that his personal contacts account for 3 billion euros of Arab investments in this project. Many active citizens are sceptical and wonder whether the project will ever be realized and what its actual costs will be. What is behind this remarkable urban mega-project?

The Belgrade Waterfront Gallery/ 3D Model presented at the ‘1905 Belgrade’. Picture by Jorn Koelemaij

The Belgrade Waterfront Gallery/ 3D Model presented at the ‘1905 Belgrade’. Photo: Jorn Koelemaij

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Dec 15 2014

Brand Old Skopje

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Tena Prelec

The ProtoCity[Go to full article] In recent years, Skopje underwent a process of city rebranding, reinventing itself along a past that, arguably, never was. The project was presented as a way of dignifying the city’s landscape and attracting tourists – but it mostly attracted international media’s scepticism and ridicule, and also exacerbated the long-running name dispute with Greece. The sums of money involved in the project have also raised questions of financial integrity.

Critics point at a redrawing of the city boundaries: a process that risks perpetuating and entrenching underlining ethnic segregation. An often heard argument is that the dominant ethnicity, by claiming for itself a direct continuity with the historical region of Macedonia and reneging links to the Ottoman period, is pushing all non-ethnic Macedonians out of the city’s past – and therefore present.  An alternative interpretation now emerges: the two largest ethnic groups might both have a stake in the project.

LSEE’s Tena Prelec writes about the topic for The Protocity, as part of a blog exchange with the LSEE Blog. Read the whole article on The Protocity.

Skopje city centre’s construction projects. The new buildings on the waterfront are now covering up the architecture from the socialist past, as to erase it from the eye of the observer. Map by Jakub Krupa / LSEE

Skopje city centre’s construction projects. The new buildings on the waterfront are now covering up the architecture from the socialist past, as to erase it from the eye of the observer. Map by Jakub Krupa / LSEE

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Dec 13 2014

Kosovo is a full member of the IOC. So what?

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Dario BrentinWhat links sport, nation-building and international diplomacy? In the Balkans, sport has often been (mis)used as a nation branding tool. The recent recognition of Kosovo by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a further occasion to reflect. “Although it remains to be seen how FIFA and UEFA will react to the IOC decision, the inclusion in the ‘Olympic family’ represents a symbolic victory for Kosovar international diplomacy on its way to full UN membership”, writes Dario Brentin.

Source: http://www.srf.ch/sport/mehr-sport/olympische-spiele/ioc-macht-weg-fuer-kosovo-frei

Source: http://www.srf.ch/sport/mehr-sport/olympische-spiele/ioc-macht-weg-fuer-kosovo-frei

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Dec 4 2014

Putin and Erdogan: Partnership of convenience?

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Dimitar BechevThough Putin’s visit will be remembered for the South Stream announcement, what is most remarkable about it is the continued development of Russian-Turkish relations amid mounting tensions between Putin and the West, writes LSEE’s Dimitar Bechev
in a post that was originally published on Al Jazeera website’s In Depth section.

 

Photo: The Press and Information Office of the President of Russia, kremlin.ru

Photo: The Press and Information Office of the President of Russia, kremlin.ru

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Dec 1 2014

“The Hungarians” and the Presidential Election in Romania

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Sherrill StroscheinKlaus Iohannis (or Johannis? Spelling does matter, in this case): Sibiu mayor, ethnic German, known to keep order in a nice town, a Transylvanian. It should not come as a surprise that the Hungarian minority voted for him. And yet, the whole picture is more complex: Sherrill Stroschein disentangles the riddle behind the Hungarian ethnic vote in Romania. To find out more about the Romanian elections, come to our panel debate on Monday, 1 December.

Photo: iohannispresedinte.ro

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Nov 29 2014

Petrit Selimi: ‘all political parties in Kosovo or in the wider region have rotten apples’

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The June 2014 parliamentary elections in Kosovo led to a deadlock. Almost six months later, political leaders have finally agreed on a new government, which will be formed by the two largest parties: the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, and the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK. Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Selimi of PDK answers questions on the way this unlikely partnership is going to work. We are publishing an interview largely based on the English translation of statements Mr Selimi gave to the Serbian newspaper Danas.

DFM Petrit Selimi with incumbent PM Hashim Thaci / Photo from media.lajmi.net

DFM Petrit Selimi with incumbent PM Hashim Thaci / Photo from media.lajmi.net

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Nov 26 2014

LSE Cities: ‘Reconstructing Sarajevo’ report

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Bronwyn KotzenSofia GarciaThe challenge of reconstructing a city after the devastation of war far surpasses the act of bringing together its pieces. Never has this been truer than in the ethno-cultural complexity and geo-political density of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s (BiH) capital city of Sarajevo. Words by Bronwyn Kotzen and Sofia Garcia.

 

Sarajevo’s landscape tells the story of the city’s accretive urban system set in a valley. Behind the hill lies the ‘Inter-Entity Boundary Line’ that separates the country in two and bisects the city’s differences. Photo: Sofia Garcia

Sarajevo’s landscape tells the story of the city’s accretive urban system set in a valley. Behind the hill lies the ‘Inter-Entity Boundary Line’ that separates the country in two and bisects the city’s differences. Photo: Sofia Garcia

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Nov 19 2014

2014 Presidential Romanian elections: Where do we go from here?

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Dan BrettEllie Knott - profileThe outcome of the Romanian presidential elections has been nothing short of surprising: underdog candidate Klaus Iohannis beat the incumbent prime minister and favourite, Victor Ponta, with a very convincing result. Daniel Brett and Eleanor Knott take us through the whole story and get ready to discuss Where does Romania go from here at our event on 1 December.

 

“Mândru că sunt român ortodox” / “Proud to be Romanian Orthodox”
Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister and PSD Presidential Candidate

Top: Victor Ponta President – the president who unites; bottom: Iohannis – Romania, work done well (Source: Daniel Brett)

Top: Victor Ponta President – the president who unites; bottom: Iohannis – Romania, work done well (Source: Daniel Brett)

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