Russia's Mercury Retail bets on ultra-convenience format to win food shoppers, boost growth

Ben Aris in Berlin September 30, 2021

Mercury Retail Group, the owner of Russia's Red & White and Bristol food chains, is focusing on its ultra-convenience store format as it continues expansion of what is already Russia's third-largest store-network by sales.

bneGREEN: Poland looks ahead to the death of king coal

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw September 29, 2021

It is still not clear when coal will stop being the staple fuel of the Polish economy and whether future growth will be powered by renewables only or also by nuclear energy.

Ukrainian banks emerging from crisis healthy and back in good profit in August

bne IntelliNews September 29, 2021

Ukraine’s banks have emerged from the 2020 coronacrisis healthy and in profit thanks to the clean-up of the banking sector in recent years and the recovery of the economy.

A pandemic boost but challenges to overcome for Bulgaria’s online retailers

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow September 28, 2021

Online vendors of goods got a pandemic boost in Bulgaria, but when the lockdowns were lifted, many people simply went back to the shops.

Montenegro: The agritourism boom

Cecilia Calatrava of the EBRD September 28, 2021

In countries like Montenegro, more and more tourists have decided to venture inland and swap the comfort of seaside hotel beds for old wooden huts, also known as “katuns”, used in the past by nomadic herders, writes the EBRD.

Quantifying the Caucasus’ gains from BRI trade

Eurasianet September 28, 2021

Two new papers find that Georgia and Azerbaijan would gain more from improving trade with their neighbours than pursing a place on the Belt and Road.

LONG READ: How a V-shaped market and ageing pipes and fields sent gas prices soaring

Ben Aris in Berlin September 26, 2021

Russia has been accused of cutting gas supplies to Europe to force the EU to certify its new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but most of the record-breaking prices can be explained by steep V-shaped market forces and ageing fields and pipelines.

Russian retail investors “shoot the moon” using social media to pick stocks

Ben Aris in Berlin September 26, 2021

Russia’s retailed equity boom is gathering momentum and it is, like elsewhere, increasingly being driven by social media, according to a survey carried out by VTB Capital called “To the moon: Scoring social stock sentiment."

bneGREEN: Western Balkans power plants in doubt after China to drop overseas coal projects

Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo, Clare Nuttall in Glasgow September 23, 2021

What Chinese President Xi Jinping’s commitment not to back new coal-fired power plants abroad means for Bosnia and Serbia’s plans to invest into more coal power capacity.

New study adds to Caucasus’ brag sheet: Cradle of lettuce

David Trilling for Eurasianet September 23, 2021

Geneticists say the popular vegetable was first domesticated in the region.

Shurnukh: face to face with the enemy in Armenia’s newly divided border village

Neil Hauer in Shurnukh September 21, 2021

Villagers endure loss of livestock that wander across new frontier and frustration of knowing that reaching the rest of their country by road means crossing into Azerbaijan.

Georgia flooded with leaked surveillance recordings of clergy

Tornike Mandaria for Eurasianet September 20, 2021

The massive release of “kompromat” focused on the country’s powerful church but also provided evidence of state snooping on journalists, politicians and diplomats.

Iran’s economy – less troubled than Washington would like, and turning to the East

Gav Don September 19, 2021

Iran's economy is under pressure from US sanctions, but is not nearly as sick as US reports would make you think.

The Kremlin takes control of the internet in Russia’s Duma elections

Ben Aris in Berlin September 18, 2021

Russia Duma elections are underway but the election is not about re-electing the ruling United Russia Party but more to ensure that jailed anti-corruption activist and opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s smart voting project is a total failure.

Georgian tourism struggles to recover

Manana Vardiashvili for IWPR September 16, 2021

Once a key economic driver, the sector has been hard hit by COVID-19 and political turbulence.

LONG READ: Russia's hybrid Duma elections

Ben Aris in Berlin September 16, 2021

Russia goes to the polls this weekend to vote in a new Duma. There is little doubt that the ruling United Russia will win a majority. The elections are fixed. But in many regions the elections are fair and those are the smart voting targets.

SPB Exchange driving Russia's retail equity investment revolution

Ben Aris in Berlin September 15, 2021

Russia is going through a retail investment revolution. Plunging interest rates at bank deposits – long the favoured store of wealth for the average person – have led to a boom in Russians investing into equities.

DATACRUNCH: Serbia makes a strong recovery from a modest crisis

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow September 15, 2021

Serbia was one of the best performers in the entire emerging Europe region in 2020 and is now on track for rapid growth this year.

INTERVIEW: Benjamin Roll, Czech protest leader

Robert Anderson in Prague September 14, 2021

Million Moments chairman says his protest movement is ready to take centre stage again as Prime Minister Andrej Babis chases re-election next month.

Russia's ultra-convenience shopping’s future isn’t just online

Stephen Bierman in Moscow September 13, 2021

Europe’s largest retail market may see sales from small local shops offering low-price basic items more than double over the next five years. Russia's new "ultra-convenience" stores are the next big thing in retail.