Opinion

RIMMER: Sea snot as metaphor

Julian Rimmer in London June 24, 2021

Sea snot is the perfect metaphor for the Erdogan regime. That was my first thought when I saw the visually arresting images of the Sea of Marmara enveloped in a suffocating gunk.

Amid Afghanistan pullout observers ask if there's a place for a US military base in Central Asia

bne IntelIiNews June 23, 2021

Carnegie analyst identifies Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as long-shot options.

MITTELEUROPEAN INSIGHTS: EU and Austria – what is your stance on the Belarus sanctions?

Gunter Deuber Head of Research at Raiffeisen Bank International and Marcus How Head of Research & Analysis at ViennEast Consulting in Vienna June 23, 2021

In the end, the EU has agreed to comprehensive economic sanctions against Belarus. Sectoral EU sanctions are to be revealed and likely adopted by the EU on 24-25 June and reportedly include sanctions on potash and mineral fuel exports and finance.

ECFR: Biden meets Putin: America, Russia, and the return of diplomacy

Kadri Liik an ECFR Senior Policy Fellow June 19, 2021

Joe Biden is the fifth American president to hold a bilateral summit with Vladimir Putin. But he is likely the first post-Cold War US president to have a realistic understanding of what Russia is and what it wants.

RIMMER: Unhappy anniversary: Operation Barbarossa

Julian Rimmer in London June 15, 2021

It's the anniversary of Operation Barbarossa on June 22, when Hitler launched his surprise invasion of the Soviet Union, completely catching Stalin unawares. The ultimate victory over the Nazis has become a centre-piece of Putin's Russia.

THE VIEW FROM MITTELEUROPA: Surviving on life support – Belarus, sanctions and path-dependency

Gunter Deuber Head of Research at Raiffeisen Bank International and Marcus How Head of Research & Analysis at ViennEast Consulting in Vienna June 14, 2021

The Ryanair incident on 23 May was as much a bellwether for the status quo in Belarus as it is a geopolitical catalyst.

COMMENT: Time to end Putin's impunity

Jeff Lovitt and Jan Piekło June 10, 2021

The price faced by Russia for aggression must be too high for the Kremlin to countenance, and this is the message that Biden should deliver to Putin – and act upon.

COMMENT: CEE national recovery and resilience plans – the focus, the gaps and what comes next

Otilia Dhand of Teneo June 10, 2021

Most CEE governments submitted their national plans after the deadline and two (Bulgaria and Estonia) are yet to finalise them.

MOSCOW BLOG: Primary rehearsal

Andras Toth-Czifra in New York June 6, 2021

The governing United Russia Party held its “primaries” in the last week of May. The votes were tallied and a party congress will, on June 19, approve a list of candidates for the September Duma elections.

ING: Hungary seems all set for a record year in 2021

Peter Virovacz is a Senior Economist with ING in Hungary June 6, 2021

The Statistical Office has revised up the first-quarter GDP growth for Hungary to 2.0% quarter on quarter. The strong start and details suggest we are likely to see the economy growing by around 7.4% this year.

RIMMER: Peker has him in his pocket

Julian Rimmer in London June 3, 2021

Mafia boss Sedat Peker’s deliberately provocative YouTube vlogs implicating staunch Erdogan allies have gripped the Turkish public. There’s a paradigm shift afoot in Turkey’s politics and at long last we have The Tinpot Tyrant Takedown.

COMMENT: More speed, less haste – finding the right balance in preparation for Uzbekistan’s SOE privatisation

Fiezullah Saidov director of Uzbekistan Equities in Tashkent June 2, 2021

On May 20021, State Asset Management Agency (UzSAMA) and the World Bank arranged a high-level international forum held in Hyatt Regency Tashkent to lay out the roadmap for Uzbekistan’s privatisation of some its most valuable companies.

STOLYPIN: The challenges of targeting Minsk and doing more harm than good

Mark Galeotti May 31, 2021

Will the West end up saving Alexander Lukashenko by its eagerness to target Vladimir Putin? Will it force a Belarus-Russian Anschluss that no one – not Europe, not Moscow, not Minsk – really wants?

COMMENT: Russian inflation is as infectious as the virus

Petr Ter-Avanesyan of Invest Navigator Telegram channel in Moscow May 28, 2021

Russian authorities have suggested that Russia needs to introduce special grocery and food cards. Prices have been soaring over the last six months, especially for food, and the government has resorted to clumsy administrative responses.

ING: Romania’s previous central bank prudence paying off

Valentin Tataru chief economist for Romania at ING May 27, 2021

By not pushing its key rate close to zero, the National Bank of Romania (NBR) has now just a bit more time to act than its regional peers. While risks for rate hikes in 2021 have increased, we still believe the NBR will try to delay such measures.

RIMMER: The Belgravia banya

bne IntelliNews May 27, 2021

I’m in the Russian Bathhouse in Belgravia, submitting myself to the high-heat, ritualised beating with birch twigs they called the parenie. The furnace and flagellation treatment lasts barely fifteen minutes but the intensity is severe.

COMMENT: Force vs. Smartness – Russia three months before legislative elections

Andras Toth-Czifra in New York May 26, 2021

Russia will hold legislative elections in September this year, along with regional and municipal elections in almost half of the country’s regions. The elections will take place in an environment of unprecedented repression.

COMMENT: How the Gamestop phenomenon hit Russia

Petr Ter-Avanesyan of Invest Navigator Telegram channel in Moscow May 25, 2021

Russian retail investors inspired by the speculative mania surrounding US videogame company GameStop are piling into the domestic stock market and are increasingly seeking to co-ordinate their activities.

Nagorno-Karabakh: in the aftermath of war, Armenia faces an unpalatable choice

Kevork Oskanian May 24, 2021

More than six months have passed since the “second Karabakh war” came to an abrupt end with Armenia all but defeated. The ceasefire left many questions unresolved. Anxieties for Armenians are at fever pitch ahead of a snap election.

Perspectives | Xi’an meeting marks a new chapter for China in Central Asia

Srdjan Uljevic for Eurasianet May 20, 2021

As the only major power at the table, China sets the agenda.

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