Russian authorities to investigate rapper’s criticism of WWII celebrations
Plus, Czech scientists brew ancient beer, Kosovo boxers have been denied entry to Serbia, and more.
The big story: Rapper’s comments strike a nerve in Russia
What happened: Russian law enforcement the authorities announced yesterday the launch of an investigation into the comments made by a popular rapper after questioning the need for large-scale celebrations of the Victory of the Soviet Union in World War II, reports the Moscow Times. In an interview with journalist Ksenia Sobchak Released on Monday, rapper Morgenshtern said: âI don’t understand victory day at all. Millions are spent on these celebrations year after year.
More context: When Sobchak asked him about the celebrations surrounding the victory of WWII – which Russia calls the the Great Patriotic War – meant to him personally, Morgenshtern replied that it was “cool – good start!” But go further, get more victories – victories in information technology, victories in space technology – and celebrate them. But no, we are still only celebrating what happened 70 years ago, âreports RFE / RL.
To note: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Morgenshtern was probably speaking “not out of spite but out of ignorance,” while adding that the rapper should take “moral responsibility” for his statements. Morgenshtern apologized for her comments on Instagram, writing “I respect and pride myself on [WWII] veterans, but unfortunately I am not formulating my thoughts correctly.
News from the regions
Central Europe and Baltic States
- In order to modernize its military, Poland will use a funding model tested for the first time in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, reports Reuters. To raise economic funds during the pandemic, the Polish government used state guaranteed funds obligations issued by institutions such as the national development bank BGK or the public fund PFR. Sure the same lines, Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak said yesterday that the government is creating a Armed Forces Support Fund which will be financed by government guaranteed bonds issued by the BGK, in addition to financing by treasury bills, the state budget and central bank profits. Blaszczak did not go into details on the costs of expansion and modernization, but said the Defense Ministry intended to expand its force to 250,000 full-time troops, up from 110,000. in 2020.
- Following a unique discovery, Czech scientists stirred Beer according to an old recipe, reports Radio Prague International. It all started four years ago when Czech archaeologists discovered a bronze vase in an East Bohemian forest. While similar vessels have already been found in Europe, Czech archaeologists are the first to examine the contents of one of these vessels, and their research suggests that the first herb millet beer in the world was brewed in the region. This discovery led Lukas Kucera from the University of Olomouc to brew beer according to the old recipe, using ingredients such as millet, absinthe and wild yeast. âBeer has a characteristic acidic flavor that will remind you of cider or wine, rather than beer. It’s the color of beer, it smells of cider and tastes a bit like lemon, âKucera said.
South Eastern Europe
- New coronavirus restrictions and rising COVID-19 death rates are pushing further Romanians to get the coronavirus vaccine, reports Reuters. Data suggests more people received their first coronavirus vaccine in October – nearly a million out of a total of 6.5 million people vaccinated – only during the whole summer. Dr Cristian Radu, coordinator of a vaccination center in Bucharest, said the previous easing of coronavirus restrictions could be a reason why the vaccination campaign had Stop. But now things are accelerating. âWe have been able to seeâ¦ an increase over the past two weeks,â Radu said. Even so, while 80% of the EU population received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the number rises to around 38% in Romania.
- The Kosovo Ministry of Sports threat of retaliation after a boxers team were refused entry into Serbia to attend the World Boxing Championships which kicked off in Belgrade on October 24, RFE / RL reports. Three Kosovar athletes were refused entry to Serbia because they wore the national symbols of Kosovo; they were then refused entry after removing the symbols, the Kosovo Olympic Committee said earlier this week. Sports Minister Hajrulla Ceku said Kosovo was planning “action against Serbian parallel sports structures”. Several international organizations joined the fray, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Boxing Association AIBA. After the incident, the IOC accused AIBA of failing to exercise due diligence in granting Belgrade the rights to host the tournament, which the IOC advised against.
- The Bulgarian Constitutional Court ruled that the term “sex” should be interpreted in the biological sense, reports Euractiv. The judgment of the Constitutional Court stated that in the Bulgarian constitution, the biological sex “woman” was associated with the social role of the mother, childbirth and obstetric care. The debate on the issue began three years ago when the GERB party refused to support the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which introduces basic standards for the protection of domestic violence victims, especially women. The convention uses the concept of gender to explain gender stereotypes that women face in society. At the time, the GERB claimed that the convention would allow same-sex marriage and introduce a third sex.
Eastern Europe and Russia
- The Ukrainian military announced yesterday that he is using Turkish combat drones destroy the artillery of pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, reports the Moscow Times. Turkey sent the first batch of Bayraktar TB2 drones in Ukraine in July. “Bayraktar was used to force the enemy to cease fire,” said a statement from the Ukrainian army general staff, adding “after that the bombardment of Ukrainian positions ceased”. The drone strike caused no civilian or military casualties. Earlier this year, Turkish authorities said the country had become the first fourth largest drone producer ever since President Tayyip Erdogan increased domestic production in an effort to reduce dependence on Western weapons.
- The last house of Russian Tsar Nicholas II has been restored and opened to the public as Museum near St. Petersburg, reports the New York Times. The Alexander Palace, which served as the last home for the last royal family of Tsarist Russia, opened its doors to visitors last August after more than a decade of construction. The research team based their restoration on old photos – a few in color and thousands in black and white – as well as paintings, samples of ancient drapery, and written memoirs of palace life. Restoring the original feel of the palace ceilings and floors was a particular challenge as they weren’t captured in the photos. The mansion is part of the Tsarskoye Selo Complex of palaces and parks outside of St. Petersburg.
- Kazakhstan signed an agreement with Turkmenistan for gas imports in exchange for basic products and foodstuffs, reports Eurasianet. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced an agreement for a “significant increase in the volume of mutual trade” after his trip to Turkmenistan to meet Turkmen President Gourbangouly Berdymukhamedov. Kazakhstan plans to “significantly increase imports of Turkmen [natural] gasâIn exchange for increased exports of staple foods such as flour and wheat and other food products, as well as products from the metallurgical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. Tokayev returned from his trip to Turkmenistan with gifts: an Akhal-Teke horse and a dog.