Eastern Europe / Features

DEATH OF THE SOVIET UNION: Mountain-dwelling Old Believer reflects on the USSR that passed her by

Theo Normanton in Moscow December 9, 2021

Living a quiet life of devotion in the mountains, modernity has left Old Believer Agafya Likova largely untroubled, and governments — Soviet and contemporary — have had little imprint on her life, with a few crucial exceptions.

DEATH OF THE SOVIET UNION: A green revolution brought the USSR down

Ben Aris in Berlin, Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius, Clare Nuttall in Glasgow December 8, 2021

The green agenda is dominating the debate today, but the importance of environmental issues is nothing new: 30 years ago it was a green revolution that brought the Soviet Union down.

DON: Blunting the Javelin? – The prospects for Nato participation in a Ukraine-Russia war

Gav Don December 3, 2021

What will Nato offer to Ukraine? Probably a Javelin missile resupply

LONG READ: East Europe fares better than West in gas crisis thanks to pricing terms

bne IntelliNews November 30, 2021

Europe has made a concerted push to end long-term contracts and switch to shorter-term gas hub prices. Countries in northern Europe that made that change have been burnt by the current gas price spike but those in the south that didn't fared better.

INTERVIEW: Kazakh gold miner AltynGold on a roll

Theo Normanton in Moscow November 29, 2021

London-listed gold miner AltynGold with assets in Kazakhstan reported strong first-half results, with revenue doubling year on year to $23mn and a net profit of $9.3mn for the period, compared to a loss in the same period a year earlier.

Russian retail investors return to bank deposits as interest rates rise

bne IntelliNews November 29, 2021

Thanks to a series of aggressive rate hikes by the CBR, Russian retail investors have started to put their money back into bank deposits after they invested heavily in the stock market after real interest rates fell to next to nothing.

Gazprom says it will use windfall gas crisis cash to up boost capex

Newsbase staff November 26, 2021

Capital spending levels at Russia’s Gazprom are once again creeping upwards, as the company prepares to ramp up gas supplies to China and expand development in the Russian Arctic.

Moscow loudly protests against war talk as US continues to accuse Russia of a military build-up

Ben Aris in Berlin November 26, 2021

Moscow has loudly protested against western talk of a possible invasion of Ukraine, but at the same time continues preparing for a possible military clash with Nato.

LONG READ: Russia looks poised to invade Ukraine, but what would an invasion actually look like?

Gav Don in Edinburgh November 24, 2021

Tensions are high and there is talk of a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia. But what would that actually look like? How much destruction would it cause and how many people would die?

Russia’s ruble exchange rate disregarding talk of troops on the Ukrainian border so far

Ben Aris in Berlin November 16, 2021

The ruble’s exchange rate to the dollar has acted a fairly good barometer for the level of geopolitical tensions in the last two years. But it has shrugged off recent talk of troop build-ups on Ukraine's border and a possible invasion.

Savitsky’s museum, the Louvre of the Steppe

Ben Aris in Nukus November 14, 2021

The small town of Nukus in the wastes of Uzbekistan’s Qizilqum (aka Kzyl-Kum) desert is the “Louvre of the Steppe.” The new building houses an Aladdin’s cave of lost Russian impressionist art, rescued from Stalin's terror of the 30s.

Digital divide adds to multi-speed recovery from coronavirus finds EBRD

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow November 13, 2021

New EBRD Transition Report warns there is a widening gap between economies that have stepped up their use of online and digital services and those that have fallen further behind.

Russia's population policy action plan to 2025 about to start

bne IntelliNews November 12, 2021

The action plan for Russia's population policy program until 2025 is about to start. The plan is the final step in the population policy guidelines adopted by President Putin in 2007.

INTERVIEW: Operation Garden Ring banks shut down

Ben Aris in Berlin November 10, 2021

The Mints family used to be one of the biggest players on the Moscow real estate market but their business was destroyed in the 2017 near-miss banking crisis. They claim the crisis was orchestrated by the CBR to take over the top commercial banks.

bneGreen: Development banks ADB, EBRD, EDB up the ante at COP26

Theo Normanton in Moscow November 10, 2021

The UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow has seen development banks from around the world come together to outline their contributions to a low-carbon future. Robust financial infrastructure is key to a just and efficient transition.

Russia’s venture capital market is booming, fuelled by a run of billion dollar IPOs

Ben Aris in Berlin November 7, 2021

Russia’s venture capital market is booming as entrepreneurs and business hope to cash in on the international appetite for the rapidly expanding tech sector.

Russian value retailers surf inflationary wave

Theo Normanton in Moscow November 5, 2021

Russian value retailers are set to benefit from a combination of shifting behavioural trends, spending patterns driven by economic pressures, and a set of competitive advantages which will come to the fore as inflation shakes up the market.

The ins and outs of Nord Stream 2's certification

bne IntelliNews November 5, 2021

Exactly when Nord Stream 2 will be up and running is still unclear, but there are three main scenarios outlined in the following analysis.

The smokey mountain city rising

James C. Pearce November 4, 2021

Yekaterinburg is on the up as climate change creeps in.

Tajik labour migration to Russia hits historic high, officially

Kamila Ibragimova for Eurasianet November 4, 2021

More than a fifth of Tajikistan’s total population has entered Russia so far this year.