Archive for the ‘Research notes’ Category

The prequel to “Finding Tito”

(this post is now published also on balcanicaucaso.org)

A few weeks ago, out of curiosity, Davide Denti asked me if I knew how to parse OpenStreetMap data in order to find all streets and squares dedicated to Tito in the former Yugoslavia. I was unfamiliar with how OpenStreetMap stores data, but after a few quick attempts I managed to extract some data and produce a map that looked meaningful. Early feedback suggested that the data were incomplete, and I did not fully polish the data, but – aware that I would not have the time to work on this in the following weeks, and perhaps I would never pick it up again – I decided to make public the draft document I created. I included a notice highlighting that the document was in draft form, that it was only based on OpenStreetMap data, that the data have not been revised and may include substantial inaccuracies. I also made clear that I welcomed suggestions on how to improve it.

Having done this, I thought it was fine to share the result on Twitter. Continue reading…

Abkhazia’s parliamentary elections: not for the famous?

Is being famous nationally an asset or a liability for candidates competing in a single-constituency electoral system in a small polity? Judging from the recent elections in Abkhazia, certainly not a big asset, and probably a liability, in particular in the second round.

In this post, “being famous” is operationalised as “number of mentions of given candidate” in Abkhazia’s main news agency. Relevant data are presented in a few graphs below. While only those familiar with political figures in Abkhazia will recognise the names, colour schemes should make this post intelligible also to readers interested in the general question, rather than to election dynamics in this specific case. Continue reading…

Word frequency of Ukraine, Crimea, DNR/LNR and Novorossiya on 1tv.ru

The data included in this post were prepared for publication on the online journal Ukraine-Analysen 182 (http://www.laender-analysen.de/ukraine/pdf/UkraineAnalysen182.pdf).

This is a quick update to the data presented in a previous post published on this blog in November 2015 on “Word frequency of ‘Ukraine’, ‘Crimea’, and ‘Syria’ on Russia’s First Channel“.

The dataset has been created by extracting textual contents of each news item published on Pervy Kanal’s website between the beginning of Putin’s presidency on 7 May 2012 and 1 March 2017 (115.369 articles in total). Continue reading…

Russian media: more Trump than Putin

Recently, Scan Interfax revealed that in the month of January 2017, for the first time since 2011, Vladimir Putin has not been the most frequently mentioned individual on Russian media: Donald Trump was. The news quickly made the rounds on American media (e.g. on Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, and others).

According to an article by Konstantin von Eggert published by Deutsche Welle, on 15 February Russian state-owned media of the VGTRK group were instructed to stop talking about Trump so much. This does not sound unreasonable, as overtly positive coverage of Trump was increasingly at odds with the explicit anti-americanism that has characterised Russian public discourse in recent years. Yet, how do we know that such instructions have been actually given? Continue reading…

Presidents and prime ministers in Romania’s media

I recently created a big dataset of Romania’s media (more than one million news items in total), in order to do some testing with larger datasets and to structurally check references to Transnistria in Romanian media. The dataset includes two newspapers (Adevărul and Gândul), one news website (Hotnews), one TV station (digi24) and one radio station (Radio Romania Actualități). Continue reading…

Russia and pensions in post-Soviet de facto states

This post outlines basic information about pensions in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, and the role of Russia in financing the pensions of residents in these territories. It is based on data and information available online, and includes references to relevant legislations and international treaties. All information comes either directly from official sources, or from news agencies quoting official sources.

Continue reading…

Word frequency of ‘Ukraine’, ‘Crimea’, and ‘Syria’ on Russia’s First Channel

Just more than a month has passed since Russia started its military intervention in Syria. There has been a lot of talking about the motivations behind the Kremlin’s decision to take an active military role in the Middle East, and a number of competing explanations have been proposed. However, one element that has been frequently quoted is the Kremlin’s desire to shift attention in Russia’s media from Ukraine to something else, while maintaining the focus on foreign affairs rather than domestic issues. For example, Timothy Snyder claimed thatthe more important factor is domestic public opinion”, that “Russia is a television culture”, and that “Russian television has completely changed the subject: from Ukraine to Syria.” Continue reading…

Journals focused on post-Soviet, post-Communist and Eastern European affairs

It requires a big effort to stay up-to-date with academic publications in one’s sphere of interest. I put together this post to make it easier to have at least a quick overview of what has been published recently in English-language peer-reviewed journals for those with an interest in post-Soviet, post-Communist and Eastern European affairs.

First, there’s a list of the journals I think are most relevant for scholars focusing on this region, in no particular order (if you think I am missing something important, please let me know). You find it below.

Then, there’s a Twitter handle: @PostJourn. Continue reading…

Aliyev: more and more ‘double standards’

At the latest ASN conference in New York I have been talking with Sofie Bedford about the rhetoric of ‘double standards’ in Azerbaijan and elsewhere. The conversation prompted a vary basic research question: “is it true that Azerbaijan’s president has been using more and more the rhetoric of ‘double standards’?”

Since it is exactly the kind of straightforward question that can be easily approached with a tool I have been working on recently that simplifies quantitative content analysis of textual materials available online, I gave it a spin… and here are the results. Continue reading…

1989 language laws in Moldova

The language laws introduced in Moldova in 1989 are frequently mentioned in publications dealing with inter-ethnic relations or language issues in the country or with language policies in the post-Soviet space more in general (a short reference list is included at the end of the post).

Understandably, none of them presents in detail each of these laws. However, for my own research, I decided to go through some of them.1

Below, you’ll find a short summary of the main provisions of individual language-related laws approved in 1989-1990, or later amendments and clarifications. Translations are my own and brevity comes necessarily at the expense of details, so I included links to the original texts for further inspection. Continue reading…

  1. A more comprehensive list is available at this address: http://interethnicmoldova.wordpress.com/legislation/ []