bneGreen: Emerging Europe’s perfect storm for illegal logging

bne IntelliNews September 1, 2021

High demand for wood for the booming global furniture market, poverty, persistent corruption and huge areas of sparsely populated forest land combine to create the conditions for illegal logging in Emerging Europe.

European Medical Centre, 32 years of caring for Muscovites

Ben Aris in Berlin August 31, 2021

Any expat that has lived in Moscow for an extended period knows the European Medical Centre. Set up in 1989 before the fall of the Soviet Union to cater to the diplomatic community, the EMC is now a largely Russian business and recently IPO'd.

Only tough options for Afghans looking to escape north or west

Muzaffar Ismailov in Tashkent & Kanat Shaku in Almaty August 29, 2021

The UNHCR has estimated half a million could attempt to flee Taliban rule by year-end, but Central Asia, Iran and Turkey will prove far from welcoming.

Russia’s ruling United Russia Party faces prospect of losing its majority in the upcoming elections

Ben Aris in Berlin August 27, 2021

As its poll numbers drop to new lows, Putin-supporting United Russia Party faces the prospect of losing its absolute hold on power in September’s elections as its popularity falls to about 35%.

Nord Stream 2 fails to get exemption from EU gas market rules

bne IntelliNews August 25, 2021

A court in Germany has ruled that Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline should not be exempt from EU gas market rules, creating new headaches for the project’s state-owned operator Gazprom, which may be unable to use half the capacity.

Kyiv residential real estate booms as high demand causes price surge

by Cameron Jones in London August 25, 2021

Demand for residential real estate in Kyiv is outstripping supply. As a result, Kyiv has a lack of available apartments and prices are surging, following trends seen earlier this year.

Ukraine shows off its old and new military hardware in 30th anniversary of Independence Day parade

by Cameron Jones in London August 25, 2021

New military technology joins ranks of Soviet-era weaponry at Ukraine’s Independence Day

Uzbekistan: Afghan troubles keep border city on edge

Eurasianet August 23, 2021

Termez is normally a sleepy place, but the Taliban's ascendancy has caused creeping anxiety.

Zasag Chandmani mining dispute is a litmus test for Mongolia

Ben Aris in Berlin August 22, 2021

The younger half-brother of Britain's prime minister, Maximilian Johnson, has run into trouble in Mongolia. He works for a Hong Kong-based fund GRF2 that invested $19mn in a mine, but the owner has run off with the money.

Ukraine to receive $2.7bn worth of IMF SDR allocation

Ben Aris in Berlin August 22, 2021

The International Monetary Fund is due to grant Ukraine a $2.7bn gift on August 23 as part of its $650bn Special Drawing Rights giveaway to help poorer countries recover from the coronacrisis more quickly.

15% of Russian industrial companies are zombies

Cameron Jones in London August 22, 2021

The share of zombie companies in Russian industry is 10-15%, according to the Centre for Business Studies of the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

The borscht index: The number of portions Russians can afford to cook has been falling

Cameron Jones in London August 20, 2021

The purchasing power of Russians in the first half of this year fell in 64 of Russia’s 85 regions, according to the “borscht index”, a sort of Russian version of the well-known “Big Mac index”.

Armenia criminalises insulting public figures

Mania Israyelyan for IWPR August 19, 2021

Using foul language or “hurting the dignity” of public figures could lead to up to three months in jail.

Can China tap Afghanistan’s lithium treasure?

Cameron Jones in London August 19, 2021

Afghanistan has hundreds of millions of dollars of hard-to-find lithium deposits in dusty ground. Following the Taliban sweeping to an effortless victory in the country, it is China that is best positioned to exploit the resource.

Food prices in Armenia hit generational high

Ani Mejlumyan for Eurasianet August 18, 2021

Inflation is further stifling weak demand, putting the central bank in a bind.

Ukraine’s law enforcement clashes with far right Azov movement

Ben Aris in Berlin August 17, 2021

Violent clashes after Ukrainian law enforcers attempted to crack down on the criminal schemes the movement uses to make money.

Belarus' flower man given 8.5 years in jail, tells court of his harrowing treatment and torture

bne IntelliNews August 17, 2021

A year ago Stepan Latypov (Stsyapan Latupau) went down to one of the main squares in central Minsk and started to hand out flowers to the women he met there. He was later arrested, beaten and finally sentenced to 8.5 year in jail.

$6bn of IMF SDRs will hardly dent Turkey’s net reserves deficit of $41bn

Akin Nazli in Belgrade August 17, 2021

A $2bn swap deal with Korea also provides little but make-up. Turkish central bank has no competitor worldwide in carrying such a huge short FX position.

As Taliban regime takes shape, Central Asia and Iran assess fate of Afghanistan investments

Muzaffar Ismailov in Tashkent & Kanat Shaku in Almaty, Will Conroy in Prague August 16, 2021

The future of plans for a gas pipeline, trade links to South Asian ports, power transmission lines and railways will remain up in the air until the direction of the new Afghan regime is clear.

Central Asia and Afghanistan: Enemies at the gate?

Chris Rickleton for Eurasianet August 14, 2021

The Taliban has assured the region’s governments that it has no designs on them, but can it keep more hostile groups in check?