Spread of Omicron pushes coronavirus infections to all-time highs in parts of Southeast Europe

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 6, 2022

Albania and Croatia reported record numbers of COVID-19 infections while other countries are close to records set in previous waves of the pandemic.

Fake news? Conflicting reports of shooting in Almaty as Russian and Kazakh governments appear to manipulate reporting for own agendas

bne correspondent in Almaty. January 6, 2022

Soldiers have started a military operation to clear the streets of Kazakhstan’s commercial capital and largest city, threatening to shoot on sight anyone that ventures abroad. But are the reports real?

CSTO comes out of the shadows for the first time

bne IntelliNews January 6, 2022

In Kazakhstan the Russian-dominated military alliance is conducting its first military intervention since its foundation 30 years ago.

Hungarian opposition PM candidate abandons plans to set up his own fraction

bne IntelliNews January 6, 2022

Opposition parties seem to have lost their momentum after the primaries, amid squabbling over joint national list.

US imposes new sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Dodik

Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo January 6, 2022

Fresh sanctions follow move by Dodik to remove Bosnia's Serb entity from state institutions, potentially leading to the breakup of the country.

#Kazakhstan President Tokayev calls on CSTO to send peacekeepers as protests spin out of control

bne IntelIiNews January 5, 2022

Moscow-led security alliance of five ex-Soviet states has agreed to send peacekeepers to Kazakhstan where the protests have got beyond the control of the authorities.

Fears Europe could run out of gas this year fall on warmer weather, rising LNG deliveries, but gas supplies remain tight

bne IntelliNews January 5, 2022

The draw-down from Europe’s gas storage facilities has flattened out thanks to the arrival of warmer weather and a “flotilla” of US LNG deliveries as of January 3, according to AGSI+ data.

President appeals to Moscow and threatens ruthless crackdown on Kazakhstan unrest

bne IntelIiNews January 5, 2022

Day sees protesters seize Almaty airport. Tokayev strips predecessor Nazarbayev of state security post and speaks to Russian and Belarusian counterparts to discuss response to turmoil. Moscow-led CSTO to send peacekeepers.

Poland’s central bank delivers fourth rate hike to 2.25%

bne IntelliNews January 5, 2022

The Polish central bank used to the most dovish in Central Europe but now Polish rates are higher than in Czechia and Hungary.

Serbian media tycoon takes over Southampton football club

Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo January 5, 2022

United Media founder Dragan Solak bought football club from Chinese real estate magnate Gao Jisheng in £100mn deal.

Kazakhstan gripped by protests as anger over fuel price hike sparks anti-government sentiment

bne IntelIiNews January 4, 2022

In largest city Almaty thousands clash with riot police. President says officials will meet to discuss protesters’ “socio-economic demands”.

Polish government on the ropes over Pegasus spyware scandal

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw January 4, 2022

Radical rightwing government allegedly used Israeli Pegasus spyware to hack the phones of opposition figures.

Hungarian banks tell government they cannot support mortgage rate freeze

bne IntelliNews January 4, 2022

The government has fixed variable-rate home loans at October 2021 rates until at least the April elections.

Belarus’ opposition leader Tikhanovskaya calls on the people to hold firm in an emotional New Year’s address

bne IntelliNews January 3, 2022

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya told viewers that she was “angry” but sees “light in the darkness: you,” in an slick New Year’s address released on YouTube to see out a year of frustration and repression.

Kosovo faces worst energy crisis in a decade

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje January 3, 2022

Daily power cuts planned for the next 60 days to save electricity.

Estonian government under fire for booming trade with Belarus

bne IntelliNews January 3, 2022

Government says that companies brokering or transiting goods from Belarus to the foreign market through Estonia do not violate sanctions imposed on Lukashenko's regime.

Montenegro’s biggest industrial producer KAP shuts down after energy price hike

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 2, 2022

Rising electricity prices make aluminium smelter's production uneconomic and its owner was unable to reach an agreement with power company EPCG.

North Macedonia’s president gives mandate to SDSM’s new leader to form government

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje December 30, 2021

Dimitar Kovacevski's main challenge will be to find a solution with neighbouring Bulgaria to unblock North Macedonia's EU accession process.

Sources say Fillon nominated to Sibur board by TAIF shareholders

Theo Normanton in Moscow December 24, 2021

Sources say that the former French Prime Minister was nominated by shareholders from Sibur's former rival TAIF, with which it completed a mega merger in 2021.

HarperCollins settles with Abramovich Putin’s People book case, agrees to substantial corrections and to pay a donation to charity

Ben Aris in Berlin December 22, 2021

The British publisher HarperCollins has settled with Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in a defamation case and has agreed to delete or change over 1,700 words in the book Putin’s People authored by veteran Russian reporter Catherine Belton,