COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
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Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
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OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
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OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
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OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
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OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
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Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
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OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
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OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
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OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
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OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
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OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
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OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
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TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
STOLYPIN: Scope for limited progress under Biden, so long as the past remains the past
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OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
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OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 9 has accepted the government changes that were put forward by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin under the new simplified procedure that was one of the amendments voted in during the Constitutional referendum earlier this year.
As reported by bne IntelliNews, in the beginning of 2020 the government of trusted technocrat PM Mishustin has swiftly replaced that of long-time Putin's proxy Dmitry Medvedev. Mishustin was seen as mandated to implement Putin's National Projects spending spree.
However, the launch of the National Projects was upset by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic turbulence and was partially rolled back. The new changes in the government could indicate it is regrouping after the shock and is adapting to the new post-US election external environment.
"Essentially an econ management/National Projects focus with a bit of Mishustin muscle-flexing," Marc Galeotti of Mayak Intelligence commented on November 9 on the latest government reshuffle.
The most notable change in the government is the promotion of the Minister of Energy, Alexander Novak, to the post of the Deputy Prime Minister, covered in detail separately by bne IntelliNews. Novak will be replaced by the ex-head of RusHydro hydropower utility major, Nikolay Shulginov.
“Shulginov is interesting as there were rumours of his being fired from RusHydro. This looks like a compromise candidate - lots of big businesses want their own person as Energy Minister to get point position on construction contracts - he's a neutral, competent manager,” said Tom Adshead, a political analyst with Macro Advisory.
Notably, Putin has signed a separate decree increasing the number of Deputy PMs from nine to ten to allow Novak his promotion. This highlights the pivotal role of the energy sector in Russia's economic policy and the balancing of the oil output and prices under the international OPEC+ deal which Novak co-authored.
“Another twist is that the President increased the number of deputy PMs to 10, so there is room for 3 more, so we may see some promotions today. These are the first ministers appointed under the new law, so they will have to be ratified by the Duma, but this should be no problem,” said Adshead. “I see this as a win for Mishustin - he did not get all the people he wanted when he was first appointed PM, but now is moving to stamp his authority, within the bounds of the political forces that constrain all activity in Russia.”
Vladimir Yakushev will be replaced by his first deputy Irek Fayzullin as the Minister of Construction, while Minister of Transportation Evgeny Dietrich will be replaced by the CEO of the national air carrier, Vitaly Savelyev.
Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin will be changed for the ex-Minister of Far East Development Alexander Kozlov, to be replaced in turn by the head of the Far East Development Fund, Alexei Chekunkov.
Sources and analysts surveyed by Vedomosti believe that Novak's promotion coupled with the changes in the Ministry of Natural Resources is a response to "green" challenges that Russia's energy sector will have to face at the international arena vis-a-vis the European Union and the US president-elect Joe Biden.
Ex-Minister of Natural Resources Kobylkin has also been under fire for the implementation of the waste management reform and the Ecology National Project, RBC business portal reminds on November 9.
The fired Yakushev and Kobylkin have previously served in the regions that are believed to be in the sphere of political influence of the Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
“There may be suggestions that Sobyanin loses out, as one of his guys (Kobylkin) moves from a ministry to a regional representative job, probably one to which he is better suited,” said Adshead.
Still, Sobyanin is seen as largely in control of the construction policy, as both Deputy PM Marat Khusnullin, responsible for construction, housing, and transportation, as well as the newly appointed Minister of Construction Fayzullin are seen as affiliated with the Moscow mayor.
As for transportation, the CEO of Aeroflot Savelyev was seen as the only manager in the transportation sector that has adequately reacted to the COVID-19 crisis, sources told RBC, seeing his appointment as the Minister of Transportation as logical. Aeroflot was also working closely with the Federal Tax Service (FNS), which PM Mishustin used to head.
The reshuffle is also seen as a pilot run of new constitutional amendments by PM Mishustin, as the State Duma is expected to vote it in smoothly. The timing of the changes in the government is seen as prudent, as the latest three-year budget has just been voted in.
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