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ALACO DISPATCHES: Why Russia’s elections may derail Putin’s biggest critic

Question: Are Sobchak and Navalny the only opposing Putin in the election? And how large is the popular support for these candidates (estimated)?

Answers: Thank you for your question. Up to now Alexei Navalny and Xenia Sobchak are the only ones to announce the intention to run for president in 2018. Their poll numbers are negligible at 1-2% and they both are still to comply with the red tape required to register a candidate. Navalny also has a criminal conviction in the Kirovles corruption case that might deter him from the race.  On November 20 Interfax reported that veteran ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) will be running for president for the sixth time. The leader of the Communist Party of Russia (KPRF) Gennady Zyuganov was also planning to run, according to unconfirmed reports. Their poll numbers are at about 3%. It must be noted that Vladimir Putin, whose approval ratings have been record-high at over 80%, has yet to announce that he will be running for president in 2018, whether as a candidate of the ruling United Russia party, as an independent candidate, or in some other quality. In the highly likely outcome of Vladimir Putin running for president, the greatest other threat to his re-election is perhaps public apathy or indecisiveness, with recent polls showing that over 40% of Russian don’t know who to vote for, or whether they would vote at all. Best, bne IntelliNews team

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‘Pro-Erdogan’ holding reportedly set to buy Hurriyet daily and CNN Turk

March 21, 2018

Turkey’s Demiroren Holding, an unlisted firm seen as backing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has agreed to buy the respected Hurriyet newspaper and broadcaster CNN Turk, an official of the holding ...

Kosovan opposition MPs release tear gas to stop vote on demarcation deal with Montenegro

March 21, 2018

MPs from Kosovan opposition party Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) released tear gas in the parliament on March 21 with the aim of stopping the vote on the ratification of a crucial border ...

Russian Night Wolves defy ban to enter Bosnia

March 21, 2018

Members of Russia’s nationalistic motorcycle club the Night Wolves entered Bosnia & Herzegovina late on March 20 despite a ban ...

Hungarian opposition parties bet on strong election turnout as cooperation talks stall

March 21, 2018

Green opposition party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) has suspended talks with fellow opposition parties after they failed to reach a cooperation agreement ahead of the April general election.  ...

World Bank to support Bucharest's largest urban development for decades

March 21, 2018

The authorities of the 5th district in Romania’s capital Bucharest ...

Sale of 51% in KazMunayGas International to troubled CEFC postponed to June

March 21, 2018

The deal under which China’s troubled CEFC will take over 51% in Romanian unit KazMunayGas International (KMGI) from Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas (KMG) has not been cancelled but has been postponed ...

Croatia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against deputy PM over Agrokor crisis

March 20, 2018

Croatia's opposition party Most, the third strongest party in parliament, filed a no-confidence motion against ...

Economically exposed Turkmen president signs agreements with UAE leaders

March 20, 2018

Amid his country's great economic difficulities, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov visited Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week, skipping the first summit of Central Asian ...

Montenegro’s Djukanovic confident of first-round victory in presidential election

March 20, 2018

Milo Djukanovic, Montenegrin veteran politician and leader of the long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, is confident that he will ...

Slovenia initiates lawsuit against Croatia as border dispute escalates

March 18, 2018

Slovenia has submitted a letter proposing a lawsuit against Croatia to the European Commission. The letter is the first step in Slovenia's plan to take Croatia to the EU's Court of Justice over ...

Britain, France, Germany ‘proposing new Iran sanctions in effort to protect nuclear deal’

March 18, 2018

Britain, France and Germany have embarked on an attempt at persuading Donald Trump to stick with the nuclear deal by assuaging the US president with fresh EU sanctions targeted at Iran over its ...

S&P warns return of political tensions in Macedonia could lower rating

March 18, 2018

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings affirmed on March 16 its 'BB-/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Macedonia, keeping the outlook ...

Bulgaria launches probe into “hospital within the hospital” schemes

March 18, 2018

The Bulgarian prosecution is launching an investigation into seven state-owned hospitals over alleged mismanagement ...

Macedonia looks to dispose of radioactive medical waste “time bomb” stored in downtown Skopje

March 17, 2018

Hazardous radioactive waste has been kept in the Oncology Clinic in downtown Skopje for decades, and poses a “time bomb” in terms of safety, local media reported, citing officials from the ...

Turkey’s CDS at 1-month-high and lira weakest in 3 months as economic clouds gather

March 16, 2018

The cost of insuring exposure to Turkish debt grew to a one-month high on March 16 as anxieties about Turkey’s economic difficulties and the Afrin military showdown in Syria unsettled markets. ...

The Western Balkans needs the US, Serbian president says

March 15, 2018

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on March 14 stressed the importance of the US presence in the region, a controversial message given the opposition of many Serbs, especially the pro-Russian ...

Kazakh judge jails former rising star minister for 10 years after corruption trial

March 15, 2018

A Kazakh court on March 14 sentenced former Kazakh Economy Minister Kuandyk Bishimbayev to 10 years in prison after he was found guilty of bribery and embezzlement.  Judge Adilkhan ...

Macedonian government mulls cancelling concession deal for Kazandol mining project

March 14, 2018

The Macedonian government has said it is mulling plans to cancel the concession agreement for the construction of the Kazandol mining complex in southern Macedonia after enviromental ...

UK moves to expel diplomats and threatens to freeze assets over Russian spy poisoning

March 14, 2018

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the ...

Survival of Iran nuclear deal appears far less likely under US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

March 14, 2018

The odds on the Trump administration attempting to kill the Iran nuclear deal substantially shortened on March 13 with the firing-by-tweet of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement ...