Fears of a fresh banking crisis are mounting in Kazakhstan thanks to a backdrop of rising political risk in the lead-up to snap presidential elections in June and debt. More mergers and liquidations are in store.
Russia’s expenditure falls for a second year, even though Moscow fears are driving defence outlays elsewhere. Turkey committed a league-topping 24% more while Iran spent 9.5% less on its armed forces as US tightened economic noose.
Southeast Europe enjoys a largely free and vibrant press, but an index developed by consultant Keshif shows that the press is coming under pressure and diversity and quality are slipping.
Ballot box victory for interim president a foregone conclusion as authoritarian Kazakhstan has no real opposition parties.
Central and Eastern Europe faces a demographic catastrophe in the coming decades that will see Central Asia pull ahead of the eastern EU member states in population terms by the end of the century.