East and Southeast Europe
The Regional Office FNF ESEE covers 23 countries in East and Southeast Europe. The Regional Office in Sofia coordinates the following Project Offices in the region: Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Greece, Romania and Moldova, Western Balkans, Russia and Central Asia, Ukraine and Belarus, South Caucasus and Turkey.
Bringing education to the table
The up-and-coming Turkish politician Zeynep Dereli believes more female representation will change the political agenda for the better. There are many reasons to trust the judgement of this aspiring politician, education leader, businessperson with two decades of experience in several industries, and mother of two. But if need to single one out, it would be her firm belief in the great future of her country and its women. “The first word that comes to my mind when you ask me how I feel about being back in my country is hopeful. Why? Because I feel, there is an increasing demand for female representation in politics in Turkey as well as for equity in all aspects of life.”
Prisoners of Conscience 2019: Political Prisoners from East and Southeast Europe
Every year hundreds of people around the world are wrongfully imprisoned for no other reason than being critical of those in power. In some countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Russia, human rights advocates, opposition leaders, journalists, activists and others have been targets of persecution and crackdowns on critical voices. They have become prisoners of conscience. Download now the full report "Prisoners of Conscience: Political Prisoners from East and Southeast Europe". Raising awareness is crucial, as one political prisoner is one too many.
When activism meets law
Denitsa Lyubenova is a human rights lawyer and LGBTI activist who helps people live normal lives and enjoy equal rights in Bulgaria.
She is not a stereotypical lawyer — her mission for many years is to achieve justice and equal human rights for people from different communities. Denitsa helped establish the LGBTI organisation Deystvie (meaning “action”) and now, as its legal expert, helps it change the lives and protect the rights of all groups in society. She has helped children receive citizenship, made marriages legally acknowledged, and facilitated access to medicine for HIV patients.
Defending what is right
Georgian politician and civic mover and shaker Tinatin Khidasheli has been immersed in the fight for justice for 30 years – and is ready for the next 30 to come. Tinatin is the type of person for whom the use of “fighter” in the expression “freedom fighter” is well deserved. In her three decades of civic activism, she has gone from clashing with the Soviet-era militsiya (police) in the final year before the fall of the USSR to defending in court the basic rights of those ostracised by the new Georgian state, from advocating the need for EU integration of her country in Parliament, to reforming its military.
One Day of Pride
Tbilisi Pride, Belgrade Pride and Sofia Pride – these three events represent a huge step forward for the LGBTI community. Despite these Prides, there is a need for further improvements in the fulfilment of LGBTI rights. Our new study analyses the Prides in Serbia and Bulgaria compared to the first Pride in Georgia in 2019.
Bill Gates, the Villain
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a few prominent conspiracy theories. One of the most popular ones draws a connection between the building of 5G infrastructure and the spread of the virus. One of the main targets of a disinformation campaign is none other than the billionaire Bill Gates, accused of developing an evil plot for world domination. Regardless of the fact that Microsoft’s founder donates billions of dollars for hunger and poverty relief, as well as for improving access to healthcare and education in developing countries, he became the go-to villain of conspiracy theorists from all over the globe. According to them, Gates has intentionally caused the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by greed to enrich himself by selling vaccines and medication.
Freedom Team Interview: Martin Kothé in Focus
Meet Martin Kothé, our new Regional Director for FNF East and Southeast Europe and Project Director for Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Greece since August 2020. Learn more about his professional journey and personal manifesto. Martin Kothé has joined FNF in early 2020 after 10 years as a Managing Director for FTI Consulting in Berlin, a US strategic communications consultancy. From 2004 to 2010, Martin was working as spokesperson to the German President Horst Köhler during his tenure in office. Prior to that, Martin served as communications director and spokesperson of the German liberal party FDP affiliated to FNF (1999 - 2004). He started his career in journalism, learning the trade in the German Section of the BBC's World Service from 1988 - 1991.