News from Central and Eastern Europe, Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Bulgaria

BBC News: Bulgarian MP attack: Avengers may be prosecuted. ‘A Bulgarian official has said those who attacked a man after he held a gas pistol to the leader of the opposition party may themselves be prosecuted.

Oktay Enimehmedov, 25, mounted the podium where Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan was giving a speech, pointing a gun at his head.

The incident happened at the National Congress Centre in Sofia on Sunday.

Mr Enimehmedov was rapidly tackled by security guards who pinned him to the floor, where he was punched and kicked.’

Europe

New Europe: Challenge to far-right membership of Council of Europe delegations. ‘The inclusion of certain members of the national delegations of Greece and Hungary to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE) has been challenged owing to their membership of far-right political parties.

Centre-right Italian assembly (PACE) member. Fiamma Nirenstein is leading a challenge to reject the national delegations on the grounds that they are incompatible with the values of the CoE.

Both delegations contain members of far-right political parties, The Golden Dawn in Greece, and Jobbik in Hungary.’

Greece

New York Times: Bomb Attacks in Greece Raise Fear of Radicalism. ‘When alarms jolted Christos Konstas awake at 4 a.m. recently, he thought a neighbor’s apartment had caught fire. But as he made his way to the building’s lobby, it was clear something more nefarious had taken place.

The remnants of a crude bomb lay smoldering at the front door.

A police officer, recognizing Mr. Konstas as a television commentator who had often defended the Greek government’s efforts to cope with the financial crisis, pulled him aside. “Another journalist was also just hit,” the officer told him in a low voice. Within minutes, reports emerged of explosions at the homes of three more journalists.’

Hungary

Times of Israel: Hungarian lawmaker to speak on ‘Zionist threat’. ‘A lawmaker from Hungary’s Jobbik Party who recently called for listing Jews as a “security risk” reportedly is planning a lecture tour about the “Zionist threat.”

The lecture tour by Marton Gyongyosi is set to begin this year, Jobbik said in a statement.

Gyongyosi drew passionate condemnations in Hungary and abroad when he said during a speech in parliament in November that “it was time to compile a list of Hungarian Jews” as they pose “a national risk.” His address concerned Hungarians with dual nationalities, specifically the Israeli nationality.’

Politics.hu: MP who touted “Jewish list” to warn about Zionist threat in lecture tour. ‘Marton Gyongyosi, deputy parliamentary leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, will tour nationwide to give lectures “about attacks on Jobbik and himself and the party’s foreign policy, with focus on its strong and true criticism of Israel,” Jobbik said on Friday.

Addressing Parliament last November, Gyongyosi called for a list of Jewish lawmakers and government members to be compiled, suggesting they posed a national security risk.’

World Jewish Congress: Hungarian extremists again defame ‘Zionists’. ‘Márton Gyöngyösi, the deputy leader of the far-right Jobbik party in Hungary’s parliament, will go on a nationwide lecture tour on “attacks on Jobbik and himself and the party’s foreign policy, with focus on its strong and true criticism of Israel,” Jobbik said last week. Addressing Hungary’s parliament last November, Gyöngyösi caused outraged when he urged a list of Jewish lawmakers and government members to be compiled and suggested that Jews and Israeli passport holders posed a national security risk.’

Russia

Guardian: Moscow begins evacuation of Russians from Syria. ‘The Russian government has said it is sending two planes to Lebanon to evacuate Russians from Syria, the first such effort since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

The emergency situations ministry said two of its planes would fly to Beirut on Tuesday to bring home more than 100 Russians.

The announcement appears to reflect Moscow’s increasing doubts about Assad’s ability to cling to power and growing concerns about the safety of its citizens. Russia’s foreign ministry has said it has contingency plans in place to evacuate thousands of Russians from Syria.’

Serbia

Al Jazeera: Protests after Serbia removes memorial. ‘Thousands of ethnic Albanians have protested in Serbia against the removal of a memorial to fallen fighters, and dozens of Serb graves in neighbouring Kosovo have been damaged in apparent retaliation.

The monument in the town of Presevo was removed on Sunday by 200 masked Serbian police officers backed by armoured personnel carriers.

It bore the names of 27 ethnic Albanian fighters killed during the 2000 conflict in the Presevo Valley, a spillover from the 1999 war in Kosovo, Serbia’s former province.

Authorities in Kosovo said on Monday about 60 gravestones had been demolished at Serb cemeteries in the western town of Prizren and eastern village of Klokot.’

Ukraine

Jewish Chronicle: Ukranian far-right party says ‘This is a safe place for Zhids’. ‘Ask Yuri Syrotyuk, a senior member of Ukrainian far-right party Svoboda, about widespread allegations of antisemitism in his own party and among the country’s political classes, and he constructs an unfortunate defence.

“It is absolutely not true… Many representatives of your people [Jews] are in the Ukrainian parliament and among the richest citizens of Ukraine. Could that happen in a country where antisemitism is widespread?”

Svoboda — which holds 38 seats in parliament — has a troubling record when it comes to Jews, who number 71,000 in the Ukraine.’

Kyiv Post: Anti-shale gas campaign gets new momentum with Svoboda. ‘Ukraine’s feeble attempts to wean itself from natural gas dependency through diversification are now finding enemies in unexpected places, including the oppositional Svoboda Party, which is now a political player on the national stage.

Svoboda received 37 seats in Ukraine’s 450-seat parliament in last year’s election. Despite campaigning mostly on social issues, such as the status of the Ukrainian language, the only parliamentary committee the party sought vigorously was the one dealing with ecological policy, natural resources and ongoing problems stemming from the 1986 Chornobyl power plant explosion.’

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