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Lozova 1
Photo: Christian Diemer

Lenin likeliness – as if time had stood still, young Lozovans carry remnants of the Soviet past across the parade

Following on from his trip to Korosten' for the pototo fritter festival, E&M's Christian Diemer is again caught up in a Ukrainian city's celebrations as Lovoza marks the 71st anniversary of its liberation during the Second World War and honours the veterans who fought to achieve that freedom. However, thoughts of a more current conflict are never far from the surface.

"You are not one of us", says the man with the beer on the opposite seat. "Where are you from?" Early morning, I am on the train to Lozova, province town between the eastern Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovs’k. "Ich – heiße – Sergey – hoh", he pronounces the words like a pair of copulating elephants, to make me understand how much he likes the decisive, harsh, and "manly" German language, as he puts it. Russian, he claims, is a soft language. French is for women anyway. Sergey gives me one of his beers. He is of the opinion that we should solve crosswords together.

Sergey is Russian. He studied in Saint Petersburg for eleven years before coming to Luhans’k. Is he one of those that Putin claims to protect? "Putin is the second Hitler", he makes clear. "Russia is a dictatorship. Here in Ukraine, you can speak freely, there you cannot." Like many, he is sure Putin wants a land connection to Crimea, which would, apart from Donets’k and Luhans’k, also involve the port city of Mariupol’. He assumes Putin will go further too, taking Dnipropetrovs’k and Odesa. And who knows whether that will be it.

Sergey shows me his passport, a temporary one, he has lost the original. The authorities in Luhans’k offered him a new one, but from their new government, the LNR [Luhans’ka Narodna Respublika, Luhans’k People's Republic]. "What the hell for, I don’t want that, I want my Ukrainian passport!" He left for Dnipropetrovs’k.

Saturday, 23 May 2015 06:27

Eurovision Quiz

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With all eyes on Vienna for the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, we've compiled a little quiz to mark the occasion. Put your knowledge of this annual celebration of  music, glitz, glamour and voting for neighbouring countries to the test!

Question 1

Conchita Wurst
Photo: Adrian Snood (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0

Following Conchita Wurst’s win in 2014, the European pop extravaganza will take place tonight in Vienna’s Stadthalle, but when was the last time that Austria emerged victorious from Eurovision?

Answer

Conchita’s triumph marked the end of a seemingly interminable dry spell for Austria. It was all the way back in 1966 that the country claimed its only other Eurovision victory. The winning song was Merci chérie by Udo Jürgens, who sadly died last December.

cameron EU
Photo: Number 10 (Flickr); Licence:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 

In the wake of last week's "Karlspreis" being awarded to Martin Schultz, president of the European Parliament, guest author Frank Burgdörfer reflects upon this predictable choice and suggests David Cameron as a better candidate given his European achievements.

The city of Aachen has awarded Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, with the "Karlspreis" – an annual prize named after the medieval emperor Charlemagne. It comes as no surprise at all, as the prize is usually given to people who hold key functions in European institutions. Thus the group of potential recipients is rather limited. Council president Donald Tusk and commission president Jean-Claude Juncker were already awarded the prize. As former president of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet got one previously, it will most likely be the turn of his successor Mario Draghi next year. Truly exciting...

Do not get me wrong: Schulz definitely has merits with regard to Europe. However, this is not exceptional because we as European tax payers remunerate him well for his work. He has indeed increased and consolidated the EP’s influence over the last years. Still, giving him an award for that is a bit like awarding the Pope for special achievements in the field of leading the Catholic Church. 

Are there no committed citizens, innovate business men, progressive researchers or clerics building bridges in Europe? Cartoonists, journalists, historians, teachers or doctors, who have used their positions to give "exceptional contributions in political, economic or spiritual regard for the unity of Europe", as a declaration from 1990 puts it? It seems that the Charlemagne Prize actually puts the city of Aachen more into the spotlight than the awardee – which is in fact often the case with other prizes too. 

Friday, 15 May 2015 09:30

Europe Through a Lens – May / June 2015

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They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we've set out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe.

Here at E&M, we don't just want to know what young Europeans think about Europe, we also want to find out how they see and feel the continent. On the blog, we host a photo competition called Europe Through a Lens and regularly publish a selection of our readers' photographic work. All you have to do is submit images that you think best represent our selected European theme.

For the May / June edition of the competition, we've gone with the topic of "Colourful Europe" and can't wait to see what you come up with. So long as your photo has a component of colour, you're free to interpret the theme however you wish. Entries could be images of anything from a patchwork landscape in full bloom to a gaudy street festival – it's entirely up to you and your powers of imagination!

NEXT ISSUE 01.01.2018