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Budapest – Welcoming Gateway to Europe for Russian Bank

Budapest – Welcoming Gateway to Europe for Russian Bank

The management board of the Russian-led International Investment Bank (IIB) held its first meeting in its new headquarters, Budapest, this week. The move of IIB from Moscow to Budapest has been controversial since it was announced: experts, historians and the media have been worried that the bank would be a tool for the Kremlin to plant spies in the EU or launder money – which both IIB and the Hungarian government denied several times, claiming that it was a regular international bank. However, a regional overview by VSquare reporters reveals that out of the Visegrad countries, it was only the Hungarian government...

A Real-Life Game of Monopoly in Mariánské Lázně

A Real-Life Game of Monopoly in Mariánské Lázně

The beauty of Mariánské Lázně, a Czech spa town located in West Bohemia, is so exceptional that it has actually become something of a disadvantage. Among other things, it attracts foreign investors searching for places to invest their money. Their priority is often only the ownership of a building and they care for its condition. The iconic houses of Mariánské Lázně are, therefore, often neglected and left to deteriorate. The Kazakh spa Once one of Marianské lážně’s most iconic buildings; now, a crumbling wreck: the Miramonte Building was a chateau that also served as a children’s sanatorium at one time. It...

A Vicious Cycle in Mariánské Lázně

A Vicious Cycle in Mariánské Lázně

Investment apartments have become the subject of a heated debate in Prague. The Czech Pirate party’s proposal to ascertain  the number of vacant apartments in the capital by monitoring their electricity consumption and then levy a tax on such apartments raised a wave of protest, criticism and coalition conflicts at Prague City Hall. However, two equally important topics were neglected in this debate: firstly, that of investment apartments in small towns, the (mere) existence of which can change the atmosphere and appearance of these towns, and secondly, investment apartments purchased with dirty money, which often serve as a safe deposit...

Russian Spy on Vacation in Bratislava

Russian Spy on Vacation in Bratislava

Two FSB agents living in Moscow and Slovakia are suspected of allegedly targeting Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov. According to Golunov’s colleagues at the news site Meduza.io, the events leading up to the Russian investigative journalist’s shocking arrest began with an article he was working on, which accused two FBS secret intelligence service agents, Alexej Dorofejev and Marat Medojev, of being behind Moscow’s so-called “funeral mafia.” Medojev’s father, Igor Medojev, who is also an FSB agent, has a home in Slovakia, where he owns businesses and properties. The Golunov Case Ivan Golunov is a Russian investigative journalist, who was recently...

Questions Linger After Indictment in Kuciak’s Murder

Questions Linger After Indictment in Kuciak’s Murder

More than a year after Slovak investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancee were assassinated in their home, one of the country’s richest men has been charged with ordering their murders. The allegations against Marian Kočner, who has been jailed since June in connection with financial crimes — some of which Kuciak had investigated and written about — were announced on Thursday, Mar. 14 at a news conference near Bratislava. The indictment caps a year-long probe into the murders, which Kuciak’s colleagues and the public have long suspected were connected to his coverage of corruption and organized crime in Slovakia....

21st February a Year Later

21st February a Year Later

More than a year after a special prosecutor in Slovakia charged Marian Kočner with ordering murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fianceé Martina Kušnírová. Kočner threatened Kuciak months before the murder. Despite Kuciak´s request, the police did not react. According the special prosecutor, the official motive of Kočner was Kuciak´s investigative reporting. Read the whole story how the newsroom and Slovak society has changed since the day of the murder. I am walking through the Slovak National Uprising Square in Bratislava, where the Public Against Violence monument is situated. The well-known V-shaped symbol is surrounded by several photos of...