MOSCOW BLOG: Taliban say all the right things at their first press conference – perhaps too right?

Ben Aris in Berlin August 18, 2021

The Taliban gave its first proper press conference yesterday where they didn't not just say the right things, they said exactly the right things. Some are speculating if it has been given professional PR advice as the message is a little too perfect.

Russia’s RTS stock market index close to 10-year highs

bne IntelliNews August 18, 2021

Russia’s stock market is flying and approached a 10-year high on August 17 as the index reached 1,690 – its highest level since 2012.

Bruce Willis is back in Russia in a “deepfake” advertising campaign for mobile phone company Megafon

Cameron Jones in London August 18, 2021

Hollywood actor Bruce Willis’ face is back on the screens in Russia after he agreed to feature in the new advertising campaign of leading Russian mobile phone company Megafon. However, the actor will not physically participate.

MOSCOW BLOG: The Afghan failure – bombs & cash vs institution building

Ben Aris in Berlin August 18, 2021

A chaotic first day of the new regime in Kabul. The images coming out of Kabul airport are going to become iconic. As bad as, if not worse than, those that came out of Saigon.

Russia’s economic growth continues to surprise on the upside with 10.3% expansion in 2Q21

bne IntelliNews August 17, 2021

Russia’s GDP was up 1.3% vs. 4Q19, although it is still 3 percentage points below pre-COVID-19 trend levels.

US threatens to revoke Russia’s 'market economy' status

Ben Aris in Berlin August 17, 2021

The weapon, which has not been used since the 1990s, could lead to special duties more painful than the blunt instrument of sanctions.

Afghan president reported to have fled with helicopters full of cash amid chaotic scenes at airport

Ben Aris in Berlin August 16, 2021

Taliban appear to be standing back to allow the evacuation effort, while fear grips Kabul.

Russian e-commerce major Ozon signs agreement with Kazpost to deliver parcels

bne IntelliNews August 16, 2021

Russian e-commerce major Ozon is expanding its presence in Kazakhstan. In August, Ozon began delivering orders to 2,000 post offices around the country in a partnership with Kazpost that will increase pick-up 20-fold.

ASH: US pulls out of Afghanistan to focus on China problem, but that is harder now

Tim Ash of BlueBay Asset Management in London August 16, 2021

The fact the Biden administration pulled the plug on allies and friends in Afghanistan, and against the advice of allies in Nato, just affirms its all encompassing focus on China in foreign policy.

President flees as Kabul falls to Taliban

Ben Aris in Berlin August 15, 2021

Kabul fell to Taliban forces on August 15 with almost no fighting, completing the Islamic fundamentalists' recapture of Afghanistan in just six weeks since the US pulled out.

Central Asia and Afghanistan: Enemies at the gate?

Chris Rickleton for Eurasianet August 14, 2021

The Taliban has assured the region’s governments that it has no designs on them, but can it keep more hostile groups in check?

The Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan is headache for China

Ben Aris in Berlin August 14, 2021

The rapid recapture of almost all of Afghanistan by the Taliban only weeks after the US pulled out is a major headache for China, but Beijing has already moved to recognise the fundamental Islamic movement in an effort to quickly end the fighting.

UK, Russian ambassadors anger Iran with photo pose evoking WWII Tehran meeting

bne IntelIiNews August 12, 2021

Envoys accused of looking imperialistic after being photographed in chairs sat in by Churchill and Stalin in the Iranian capital at a time when Iran was under occupation.

Deaths from coronavirus in Russia top 800 in one day, set new record

bne IntelliNews August 12, 2021

The number of deaths from the coronavirus reached 808 in 24 hours on August 12, the highest mortality rate since the pandemic began, according to Russia’s COVID-19 task force.

Russian online product sales may exceed RUB1 trillion by 2024

Cameron Jones in London August 12, 2021

Russian e-commerce is booming and grocery delivery is becoming a key growth driver for the sector. By 2024 the turnover of this business may exceed RUB1 trillion, according to Infoline.

Russia’s stumbling along in the race to carbon neutrality

Cameron Jones in London August 12, 2021

Earlier this year Vladimir Putin’s called for cutting Russia’s greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions to below those of the European Union as the Kremlin starts to wake up to the dangers of global warming.

Defeat and Uncertainty: Russia’s new wave of politically fuelled emigration

Cameron Jones in London August 12, 2021

This year will go down in Russian history as the start of a new era of political emigration. While waves of emigration from the country are part of the drama of Russian life, today, for the first time since Soviet times, people are emigrating again

Watcom Shopping index overtakes 2020 level of activity as retail recovers on rising incomes

bne IntelliNews August 11, 2021

The Watcom Shopping index overtook the 2020 level of activity in week 30 of this year as the retail business recovers on the back of the post-crisis economic growth and rising incomes.

Bank Otkritie makes comeback with record profits, looks for buyer

Ben Aris in Berlin, Cameron Jones in London August 11, 2021

Central bank starts to actively look for buyer for lender, but an IPO may be more likely.

MOSCOW BLOG: No easy way out of the Belarusian crisis as West hits Minsk with fresh sanctions

Ben Aris in Berlin August 10, 2021

On the anniversary of the fraudulent presidential elections that plunged Belarus into its worst political crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, Washington and London ramped up their sanctions regimes.