Minsk taps the Russia-lead EFSD fund for $500mn cash emergency loan

Ben Aris in Berlin October 13, 2020

Belarus tapped the Russia-led Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development (EFSD) for $500mn as its economy continues to suffer from widespread and persistent protests and is running out of money fast

No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote

Nizom Khodjayev in Nur-Sultan October 13, 2020

Outcome secures him a fifth presidential term.

Azerbaijan demands seat at table for Turkey in Karabakh conflict talks

bne IntelIiNews October 13, 2020

Russia says there is no plan to change mediation format. Armenia accuses Baku of allowing Ankara to take over its foreign policy.

Belarusian Ministry of Interior Affairs threatens to use live ammunition on protesters if demonstrations continue, OMON beat pensioners

bne IntelliNews October 12, 2020

Belarus’ Ministry of Interior Affairs released a statement on October 12 announcing it was willing to use live ammunition and weapons against protesters if they continue in their “radical” manner.

Discounters like Fix Price thrive as Russia’s consumers seek value amid falling disposable incomes

bne IntelliNews October 12, 2020

Russia's discount retails are seeing strong sales as the population is seeking out bargains

Independent director at Naftogaz resigns over opposition to reforms

bne IntelliNews October 12, 2020

US businessman and former diplomat Amos Hochstein has resigned as an independent director on the supervisory board of Ukrainian national gas company Naftogaz, complaining of opposition to reforms and of political interference

Belarusian protesters brutally beaten as police arrest nearly 600 at Sunday mass rally

Ben Aris in Berlin October 12, 2020

As with each preceding week, the police became a little more brutal, hoping to break spirits.

Ex-official sprung from prison made Kyrgyz PM with use of disputed proxy votes

bne IntelIiNews October 12, 2020

Sadyr Japarov, a nationalist who was bust out of jail by supporters during the post-election upheaval tht hit Kyrgyzstan last week, also looks set to claim the presidency.

Nagorno-Karabakh truce teeters on edge of collapse after weekend of claimed attacks

bne IntelIiNews October 11, 2020

Azerbaijan’s foreign minister had warned the cease-fire would only last for as long as it took the Red Cross to arrange the exchange of the dead. Allegations of shelling flew within minutes.

Belarus says it has postponed the full launch of the first reactor at its Ostrovets nuclear power plant by two years

bne IntelliNews October 11, 2020

Belarus has postponed the full launch of the first reactor at its Ostrovets (aka Astravets) nuclear power plant by two years until 2022.

Belarus’ Lukashenko meets with opposition presidential candidate Babariko in jail to cut a deal?

Ben Aris in Berlin October 11, 2020

Belarus' self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko met with the jailed opposition leader Viktor Babariko on October 10 in a KGB pre-trial detention centre for 4.5 hours of talks.

OMON sent in to break up Khabarovsk protest for first time in three months

Ben Aris in Berlin October 11, 2020

OMON riot police were used to break up protests in Russia’s Far East city of Khabarovsk on October 10, the first time police have been used, as the protest went into its 92nd day.

A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote

Eurasianet October 10, 2020

President Rahmon will win easily, but elections are the least of his problems.

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree temporary ceasefire

bne IntelIiNews October 10, 2020

Breakthrough in Moscow talks comes in early hours of October 10. “Substantive talks” are now to begin.

Zelenskiy in London to do $1.6bn arms deal, as relations with IMF sour

Ben Aris in Berlin October 9, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was in London on October 8 to sign off on a 10-year loan of $1.6bn to build 10 new fast attack boats for the Ukrainian Navy as relations with the IMF sour further

Iran says US sanctions aim to “blow up” its remaining channels to pay for food, medicine

bne IntelIiNews October 8, 2020

Blacklisting of 18 previously unsanctioned banks cuts off country from international financial system. “Conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity,” says Iranian foreign minister.

Turkey's economic data compiled by loyal officials and “detached from reality” says ex stats chief

bne IntelIiNews October 8, 2020

National recordings of growth, employment and inflation all “dubious” says former TUIK boss turned opposition politician.

Putin launches damage control, as Biden looks set to win US elections

Ben Aris in Berlin October 8, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Kremlin was much closer to the US Democratic Party than the Republicans, as it has lots of “shared values” thanks to Russia’s Soviet past.

Russia frowns on Kyrgyzstan “chaos”, warns it has “obligations” to prevent total breakdown in country

bne IntelIiNews October 8, 2020

Kremlin spokesman refers to security treaty as various groups struggle to fill power vacuum amid revolution that threatens to bring on mob rule.

The mystery of Kamchatka’s environmental disaster

Ben Aris in Berlin October 8, 2020

Something awful happened off the coast of Kamchatka in Russia’s far east that wiped out 95% of all the marine life there, but no one is sure what it was.