Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters

Ben Aris November 22, 2020

Belarusian police have introduced a colour-coded system for marking detainees that determines how severely they will be beaten, according to reports posted on social media

Russians get ready to spend the holidays at home as Xmas tree sales soar 23-fold

bne IntelliNews November 22, 2020

Russians are getting ready to celebrate a COVID-19 Christmas at home and have been laying in supplies for the holiday season that saw artificial Christmas tree orders on Russia’s biggest e-commerce site Wildberries soar 23-fold.

Turkey under renewed pressure from EU over Cyprus and gas exploration

bne IntelIiNews November 20, 2020

Erdogan’s visit to breakaway north of Cyprus, described by Nicosia as “provocative and illegal”, has widened rift between bloc and Ankara.

North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje November 19, 2020

North Macedonia has opened a public debate on the decriminalisation of marijuana, after it legalised medical cannabis in 2016.

KAZ Minerals says risks around Baimskaya copper project in Russia up due to new government infrastructure plan

Kanat Shaku in Almaty November 19, 2020

Complex submitted development plan for Chukotka "has resulted in higher infrastructure costs and a delay to the bankable feasibility study".

Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion

Ayzirek Imanaliyeva for Eurasianet November 19, 2020

The document has been dubbed a "Khanstitution" for the powers it gives the president.

Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje November 19, 2020

Ministers from Jansa's coalition partners join opposition in criticising PM for position that "does not benefit Slovenia's interests".

Viktor Orban says he blocked EU budget over migration “blackmail”

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest November 19, 2020

Hungarian PM's spin doctors claim Budapest is being punished for position on migration as he faces backlash at home and from his neighbours for vetoing EU budget and recovery fund.

Turkey’s virus outbreak “looks out of control” with Istanbul “total catastrophe” says opposition politician

bne IntelIiNews November 18, 2020

Iyi Party leader speaks out after Erdogan administration declines to bring in nationwide lockdown.

Bulgarians deeply divided over government’s decision to block North Macedonia’s EU talks

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia November 18, 2020

Critics slam Sofia’s decision to block its neighbour’s progress towards EU accession as “morally indefensible” and “pitiful”, link veto to Bulgarian ruling parties’ falling popularity ahead of 2021 general election.

Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 18, 2020

A strong foe is better than a weak friend sums up Moscow's position on Moldova as Patriarch Kirill followed President Vladimir Putin in congratulating Maia Sandu.

Iran admits centrifuge move that raises fears of Trump strike

bne IntelIiNews November 18, 2020

Iranian foreign minister, meanwhile, suggests Biden could swiftly return US to nuclear deal by simply signing “three executive orders”.

Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko

Ben Aris in Berlin November 18, 2020

There have been a string of signs from the Kremlin that it is slowly losing patience with Belarus' self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko as the brutality of his repressive tactics continues to ratchet up.

EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje November 17, 2020

Bulgaria uses veto to block North Macedonia’s progress towards EU accession, while Netherlands insists Albania meet all conditions by EU leaders.

Poland and Hungary block EU budget over rule of law link

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw November 16, 2020

The unanimity required during the process gives Poland and Hungary some leverage in negotiations but is also risky in case Brussels finds a way of circumventing the defiant duo.

Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities

bne IntelliNews November 16, 2020

Opposition parties made a major breakthrough in Bosnia & Herzegovina, winning in its two largest cities for the first time in years in the November 15 local elections.

Belarus OMON arrest and torture demonstrators defending slain protester's impromptu memorial at weekend march

bne IntelliNews November 16, 2020

Hundreds of Belarusian OMON riot police clashed with demonstrators at the “Square of Changes”, were trying to prevent them from dismantling a makeshift memorial to the 31-year-old Raman Bandarenka, who was beaten to death earlier that week.

Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions

Anand Tumurtogoo in Ulaanbaatar November 16, 2020

Truck driver back from Russia infects wife in Ulaanbaatar despite undergoing mandatory quarantine. Second unrelated case discovered in north of country. Locals unhappy at jumbled response from officials.

Pro-EU candidate Maia Sandu wins presidential election in Moldova

bne IntelliNews November 16, 2020

Moldova likely to call snap general election after Moscow’s man Dodon loses runoff by a wide margin.

NBU says no IMF tranche for Ukraine this year

bne IntelliNews November 14, 2020

Ukraine will not receive its second scheduled International Monetary Fund (IMF) tranche of $700mn before the end of this year, Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Kyrylo Shevchenko said following a week of meetings in Washington.