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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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Iran's black market phone disconnection drive pushes up legal mobile imports

April 16, 2018

Iran recorded non-black market mobile phone imports numbering 3.2mn handsets in the last Persian year (ended March 20), marking a 112% y/y gain, Tasnim News Agency reported on April 16. The sudden ...

Romanian president rejects justice minister’s request to dismiss head of anti-corruption body

April 16, 2018

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on April 16 he is rejecting a request from the justice minister to dismiss the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi. ...

Latvia to probe tram tender awarded to Russian-controlled Railvec

April 16, 2018

Latvia’s state security service, the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB), plans to scrutinise a tender to deliver trams to the country’s second-largest city won by a Russian company with ties to ...

Turkish lira’s chronic weakness credit negative for Turkey’s sovereign rating says Moody’s

April 16, 2018

The chronic weakness of the Turkish lira (TRY) is credit negative for Turkey’s sovereign debt rating and poses ...

Slovenia’s president calls early parliamentary election for June 3

April 16, 2018

Slovenian's President Borut Pahor has dismissed the parliament and called early parliamentary elections for June 3, according to a ...

US investor reportedly to replace CEFC in refinery deal with KazMunayGas

April 16, 2018

A US investor backed by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) might replace troubled China Energy Company Limited (CEFC) and take over 51% of KazMunayGas International ...

Slovakia's car industry facing strike at Kia, unrest at Peugeot

April 15, 2018

Workers at Kia Motors Slovakia have officially been on strike alert since April 10, a day before Skoda Auto in neighbouring Czechia ...

Finland’s Hesburger first Western burger chain to open in Iran since Islamic Revolution

April 15, 2018

Finland’s Hesburger has opened its first branch in Iran, becoming the first Western burger chain to set up in the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is located in the Tehranpars district ...

S&P raises Poland’s outlook to positive on rosy prospects of economy in 2018

April 15, 2018

Standard and Poor’s raised its outlook for Poland from stable to positive on April 13, while maintaining the country’s rating at BBB+.  The raising of the outlook is based on ...

Croatia reportedly receives just one bid to lease capacity at planned LNG terminal

April 15, 2018

LNG Hrvatska has reportedly received just one binding offer to lease capacity at the planned planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Croatian island of Krk, unnamed sources ...

ArcelorMittal proposes to divest assets in Czech Republic, Macedonia and Romania

April 13, 2018

International steel and mining company ArcelorMittal said on April 13 it has proposed a divestment package to the European Commission in a bid to obtain approval for its planned acquisition of ...

ADB sees general Central Asia slowdown in 2018

April 13, 2018

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Asian Development Outlook anticipates a general slowdown across the Central Asian region, with the exceptions of Uzbekistan, where the development bank ...

Moldova to take over major stakes in country’s largest banks

April 13, 2018

Moldova’s government has instructed its Public Ownership Agency (APP) to take over major stakes in the country’s largest banks, Moldova-Agroindbank and Moldindconbank, that were previously ...

Finland gives final nod to construction of Nord Stream II

April 13, 2018

Finland has issued a second and final permit for the construction of the controversial Nord Stream II pipeline that is to pump gas from Russia directly to Germany via a Baltic Sea route, the Regional ...

Poland plans to spend over €7bn on fighting smog

April 13, 2018

Poland intends to spend PLN25bn-PLN30bn (€6bn-€7.2bn) in the next ten years to improve thermal insulation of houses in order to reduce the smog that cripples the country in winter months, ...

Serbia’s central bank cuts key policy rate to 3%

April 13, 2018

The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) executive board decided to cut the key policy rate again on April 12 to 3%. The bank previously cut the rate to ...

Iran 'readying move to switch all foreign transactions from dollars to euros'

April 12, 2018

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor Valiollah Seif has said the cabinet is planning to push ahead with proposals to replace the dollar with the euro for all transactions conducted with foreign ...

Latvia’s flag carrier airBaltic boasts 300% rise in net profit in 2017

April 12, 2018

The Latvian national airline airBaltic made €4.6mn in net profit last year, a growth of 301% against the net result in 2016, the company said on April 12. The airline is 80% owned by the Latvian ...

Lufthansa's arrival lifts economy of Hungary's second city

April 12, 2018

Three large German companies have chosen to invest in Debrecen, Hungary's second-largest city, since Lufthansa launched its first direct flight two years ago, it was announced on April 11.  ... ...

US may impose “very strong” sanctions on Iran says Treasury chief Mnuchin

April 11, 2018

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on April 11 that the US may impose “very strong” sanctions on Iran. His remarks came as the multilateral parties trying to formulate a possible ...