French President Macron promises Belarus’ opposition leader Tikhanovskaya to do all he can to help

Ben Aris in Berlin September 29, 2020

In a show of solidarity with the people of Belarus, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, leader of the opposition and nominal winner of the disputed August 9 elections.

Nobel laureate and Coordinating Council member Svetlana Alexievich leaves Belarus for medical treatment in Germany

bne IntelliNews September 29, 2020

Belarusian Nobel literature laureate and member of the Coordinating Council Svetlana Alexievich left the country for a month’s medical treatment in Germany, AFP reported on September 28.

Viktor Orban opens new front with Brussels calling for resignation of EC Vice-President Vera Jourova

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest September 29, 2020

Latest scuffle between Hungary and the EU comes as the European Commission prepares to publish its first report assessing the state of democracy and the rule of law in member states.

Turkey denies Turkish F-16 jet shot down Armenian plane over Armenia

bne IntelIiNews September 29, 2020

Armenians claim incident in showdown with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh occurred in its airspace.

Iran denies allowing passage of weapons into Armenia after video emerges on social media

bne IntelIiNews September 29, 2020

Tehran officially neutral in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict but Iranians known to be unhappy at Azerbaijan’s relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Turkish lira finds another all-time low with Erdogan’s Caucasus adventurism no help at all

bne IntelIiNews September 28, 2020

Banking regulator takes another step to put a brake on massive lending that is worsening external imbalances. Rates are not high enough to attract carry-traders so the lira is set to further deteriorate, says one analyst.

Head of MS Estonia tragedy investigation says ship went down after collision with submarine

Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius September 28, 2020

The sinking of MS Estonia was the deadliest maritime disaster to have occurred in European waters, killing 852 people from 17 countries.

Armenia accuses Turkey of sending in direct military support for Azerbaijan including F-16s

bne IntelIiNews September 28, 2020

Fierce and bloody fighting centred on Nagorno-Karabakh enclave continues to rage. Baku denies Ankara has also commandeered Syrian militiamen to fight on its side.

Bucharest mayoral race win puts reformist USR in strong position ahead of general election

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest September 28, 2020

Exit polls and partial results show Save Romania Union and its ally Plus are heading for victory in local elections in several first-tier cities, as they become a major force in Romanian politics.

Belarusian police use stun grenades, pepper spray and fire shots to control Sunday's mass rallies

Ben Aris in Berlin September 27, 2020

The violence at the Sunday mass rallies in Belarus went up yet another notch on September 27 when masked OMON officers used stun grenades against protesters, liberally doused the crowd with pepper stray and fired multiple shots into the air.

Poland to close coal mines by 2049, miners and government agree

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw September 27, 2020

Poland’s last two coal mines will cease operations in 2049, according to an agreement reached by the country’s powerful mining unions and the right-wing populist government.

Major fighting erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh

bne IntelIiNews September 27, 2020

Both sides accuse each other of starting clash. Russia calls for immediate ceasefire. Turkey pledges to stand by Azerbaijan.

TURKEY INSIGHT: Follow the (hot) money

Akin Nazli in Belgrade September 25, 2020

As banking regulator follows surprise rate hike with relaxation of lenders’ FX swap limits, all the signs are that the Erdogan administration is in the market for a shot in the arm that, ultimately, can only do more damage.

Lukashenko has isolated himself from the rest of the world with a secret inauguration

Ben Aris in Berlin September 25, 2020

Even former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev has thrown his support behind the Belarusian population protesting against self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko.

Iran’s oil minister openly admits forging export documents to dodge US sanctions

bne IntelIiNews September 25, 2020

Tanker tracking companies, meanwhile, see September surge in Iranian crude shipments with one describing “levels we haven’t seen in a year and a half”.

“Putin’s chef” follows through on threat to bankrupt Navalny, bailiffs seize his apartment

Ben Aris in Berlin September 25, 2020

Russian bailiffs have seized the Moscow apartment of Alexei Navalny as the close personal ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, follows through on threats to ruin the opposition activist.

Romania at high risk of downgrade to junk

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest September 25, 2020

Fitch and Moody’s scheduled reviews of Romania’s creditworthiness this autumn, shortly after MPs backed 40% pension hike that could push budget deficit up to 11% of GDP.

Belarus IT specialists develop software to identify OMON officers wearing masks

Ben Aris in Berlin September 25, 2020

Belarusian IT specialists based in Los Angeles have developed software that allows them to identify police and OMON riot police officers even if they are wearing a mask. Once identified, the officers' names are added to online blacklists.

Kudrin calls for restarting privatisation programme as tax reforms gather pace

Ben Aris in Berlin September 24, 2020

Former Finance Minister and Audit Chamber head Alexei Kudrin said the government could raise an additional RUB200bn-300bn ($2.6bn-4bn) a year from privatising state-owned enterprises (SOEs)

A dozen countries refuse to recognise Lukashenko’s inauguration

Ben Aris in Berlin September 24, 2020

A dozen countries refused to recognise Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus after he secretly inaugurated himself on September 23. Tensions were high in Minsk after the news broke and spontaneous protests erupted.