Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Durov rejects Western funds’ offer to buy 5%-10% of Telegram with $30bn valuation
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
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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
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
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
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
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
75% of Montenegrins want EU membership
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
Romanian construction companies' activity slows in November after intense 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
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Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
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
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
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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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Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
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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
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Iran has requested that allies across the Middle East be on high alert and avoid provoking tensions with the US that could give an outgoing Trump administration cause to launch attacks in the US president’s final weeks in office, Iraqi officials have said, The Associated Press reported on November 20.
The request from Tehran demonstrates the growing regional anxiety over President Donald Trump’s unpredictable behaviour and the uncertainty in the chaotic transition period until President-elect Joe Biden takes over on January 20. It was reportedly delivered by Iranian General Esmail Ghaani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC’s) expeditionary Quds Force during a meeting with Iranian-backed Iraqi militia factions and Shiite politicians in Baghdad this week.
The message was said to be ‘Stand down to avoid giving Trump the opportunity to initiate a fresh tit-for-tat round of violence’, with the Iraqi Shiite paramilitaries also advised ‘Be calm and cease attacks for now against American presence in Iraq.’
On November 19, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader warned in an interview with The Associated Press that any American attack on Iran could set off a “full-fledged war” in the region.
“We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” Hossein Dehghan, who served in the IRGC before becoming a defence minister under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, was quoted as saying.
Guard’s new warship ‘can patrol Indian Ocean’
Separately, the IRGC said on November 19 that it launched a heavy warship built to carry helicopters, drones and missile launchers and capable of patrolling the Indian Ocean. Normally, ocean patrols are left to Iran’s navy while the IRGC’s naval force only conducts patrols in the Persian Gulf. But the Guard said it would use the ship, named after slain IRGC naval commander Abdollah Roudaki, for deep-water patrolling.
The commander of the Guard's navy, Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri, said: "Presence and assignments in the Indian Ocean is our right."
Some local media reports have suggested the ship could almost be classified as an aircraft carrier, but that appears to be a rather overblown description. The ship does not have a runway, though it includes a landing pad for a helicopter.
Iranian state TV showed the vessel carrying truck-launched surface-to-surface missiles and anti-aircraft missiles as well as four small fast boats of the type usually used by the Guard in the Gulf. Sailors manned deck-mounted machine guns.
The Guard said the ship has a length of 150 metres (492 feet). By comparison, a US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier has a length of 332 metres (1,092 feet).
The US Navy patrols the waters around Iran by deploying its Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on January 17 lashed out at claims from French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian made in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche that Iran is building up ... more
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told a visiting South Korean delegation on January 11 that the release of the Hankuk Chemi oil tanker and its 20 crew ... more
Iran has displayed hundreds of domestically produced combat drones at war games held in central Semnan province, the semi-official Fars news agency ... more
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