Eastern Europe / Features

The Kremlin is hiking taxes for the first time in twenty years

bne IntelliNews September 21, 2020

the Kremlin has approved a new budget that will greatly increase spending but has also used the cover of the coronacrisis to hike a variety of taxes, many for the first time.

International bond investors are selling off local EM debt in all but the best markets

Ben Aris in Berlin September 21, 2020

Emerging markets capital markets have been through a revolution in the last decade, but the coronavirus pandemic and rising political and economic risks in some markets have seen these investors turn tail and flee.

An “Italian strike” is hobbling production at Belarus’ biggest companies

Ben Aris in Berlin September 21, 2020

The opposition leaders called for a general strike in Belarus on August 11, two days after the disputed presidential election. It flopped. But as details of brutal police beatings came out two days later one company after another walked out on strike

Disasters in the making

Will Conroy in Prague September 19, 2020

Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan among countries ranked most vulnerable by inaugural edition of Ecological Threat Register.

Turkey takes assertive role in Caucasus conflict

Ayla Jean Yackley for Eurasianet September 16, 2020

The shift is motivated in part by energy considerations and in part by nationalist politics.

Ukraine’s partners worried about deteriorating commitment of Zelenskiy administration to judicial reform

Ben Aris in Berlin September 16, 2020

Lack of commitment to the rule of law and judicial reform are causing consternation, while the increasingly politically motivated actions of recently appointed General Prosecutor Iryna Venedyktova are raising tensions.

Russia to vote in 83 regional elections

Ben Aris in Berlin September 11, 2020

Russia goes to the polls this weekend for important regional elections in 83 regions where the Kremlin will face a challenge due to the sinking popularity of the ruling United Russia Party.

Questions raised over veracity of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine test data

Ben Aris in Berlin September 10, 2020

A group of international doctors have written to the British medical magazine The Lancet raising questions about the veracity of data presented in a recent paper that showed Russia's Sputnik V vaccine was “100% effective” in Phase II trials.

Ruble slides to RUB76 to dollar on Navalny poisoning, new sanctions fears and falling oil prices

Ben Aris in Berlin September 9, 2020

The ruble fell for a third day in a row to reach RUB76 as of September 8. Analyst now say that it could fall to RUB80 by the end of this year before recovering to RUB72 next year.

Belarus’ battle of the journalists

Ben Aris in Berlin September 8, 2020

The war between the population of Belarus and entrenched President Alexander Lukashenko took a new turn on September 8 as the journalists' big guns were brought up to the front in the disinformation war that is gathering momentum.

A general strike in Belarus could bring the Lukashenko regime down, but so far it has failed to reach critical mass

Ben Aris in Berlin September 4, 2020

A general strike by Belarus blue collar workers could bring the Lukashenko regime down, but it has failed to reach critical mass, leading to an uncomfortable standoff

Climate change and the Russian economy

Ben Aris in Berlin September 3, 2020

Russia has signed off on the Paris Accord this year and has joined the global fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But it has only set itself modest targets and made modest progress.

With Turkish backing, Azerbaijan ups rhetoric against Russia

Joshua Kucera for Eurasianet September 3, 2020

It remains to be seen if this is yet another tactical balancing act on Baku’s part, or the sign of a more substantial shift.

Capital Economics and IIF report capital flows have reversed and returning to EMs

Ben Aris in Berlin September 2, 2020

Capital Economics and the Institute of International Finance report capital flows have reversed and are returning to EMs in July for the first time since the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis began.

Belarus’s economy in danger of a crisis in the face of sustained popular protests, says IIF

Ben Aris in Berlin September 2, 2020

Gripped by mass protests and a general strike, Belarus will struggle to meet its debt obligations this year and faces a serious economic crisis, reports the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in a paper released on September 2.

Russia’s permafrost is melting

Ben Aris in Berlin September 2, 2020

The frozen wastes of Russia’s interior are melting. That’s a big problem for Russia, and could be an even bigger problem for the planet. A large share of Russia’s oil, gas, diamonds and metals are produced in cities that sit on the permafrost.

Happy birthday RTS, 25 years old on September 1

Ben Aris in Berlin September 1, 2020

The dollar-denominated Russia Trading System (RTS) celebrates its 25th birthday. The predominant Russian stock exchange was launched on September 1, 1995 with the leading RTS index set at an arbitrary 100.

SCOOP: Leaked emails of Trump-linked ‘Russian spy’ Kilimnik reveal full story of Ukraine back channels to the EU

Graham Stack in Berlin August 31, 2020

bne IntelliNews has obtained hundreds of Konstantin Kilimnik's emails that show how he and Paul Manafort tried to influence Europe on behalf of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych by building back channels that eventually lead to Manafort's jailing

The robot will help you now

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow August 29, 2020

Robot grocery deliveries, checkout-free stores and facial recognition payments are some of the technologies coming out of CEE as retail goes contactless.