By Taras Kuzio of the University of Alberta
During the course of the four-month long Euromaidan, I have been interviewed nearly 100 times by radio, television and print media from across the globe. Those interviews have revealed three deeply ingrained myths about Ukraine.
These myths are an outgrowth of three factors: Russo-centric biases in the foreign media, which, as in Soviet times, still cover the entire former USSR from Moscow; Russia-focused academic studies on Eurasia, which I remember only too well from my university days in Britain; and the opinions of former Soviet, now Russian left-wing fellow travellers much loved by journalists. Continue reading »
By Mike Collier of bne in Riga
With the Russian military heading westwards in a move similar to the ”invited annexation” that saw Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lose their independence in 1940, it’s hardly surprising the Baltic states are watching events in Ukraine’s Crimea warily. Upcoming elections and a controversial parade to honour soldiers who fought alongside the Nazis will create plenty of flashpoints in these countries with large ethnic Russian minorities. Continue reading »
The Ukraine crisis has entered its “wait and see” phase. Does this mark the beginning of a peaceful resolution or is it the calm before the storm? Have investors embarked on a relief rally, or is the dead cat bouncing?
There were opinions to match all tastes from market analysts on Wednesday. Here is a beyondbrics summary of those views, from “Crisis? What crisis?” to “Cold War 2.0″. Continue reading »
Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, who this weekend agreed to become governor of his native Dnipropetrovsk region as the country braces for a broader Russian invasion into eastern Ukraine, described Russia’s president Vladimir Putin as a “schizophrenic of short stature” for putting Russia and Ukraine on the verge of war.
“I don’t understand how Ukrainians and Russians can fight,” he said in an online video. Continue reading »
Just as things were starting to look up for many economies in central and eastern Europe, along comes the crisis in Ukraine. How severe will the impact be?
The answer, of course, depends on how the crisis develops. Says Simon Quijano-Evans of Commerzbank: “If we’re talking about the secession of any region of Ukraine, then we have to go on to the next step, which is about relations breaking down not between Russia and CEE but between Russia and the EU. The only way the EU and the US can react is through economic and financial sanctions.” Continue reading »
As beyondbrics foresaw last week, Russia has turned to Gazprom, its state-controlled natural gas monopoly, to put pressure on the new Ukrainian government. Over the weekend, Gazprom warned that Kiev may lose the discount agreed by ousted president Viktor Yanukovich from the second quarter of 2014. The big question now is, should the European Union worry that an escalating gas row between Russian and Ukraine would lead to cuts in Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe? Continue reading »
By David Clark of the Russia Foundation
As this week’s sabre-rattling shows, Vladimir Putin is seething. The Winter Olympics he prepared as a showcase for Russia’s new confidence and power turned out instead to be the backdrop to a humiliating reversal of its geopolitical fortune as the people of Ukraine responded to the recent pro-Moscow turn of their government by overthrowing it.
The timing of this rebuff will not have been lost on the Russian president. Continue reading »
Russia is pushing ahead with a $4.9bn project to expand the East Siberian Pacific Ocean oil export pipeline as surging oil demand from China and other east Asian consumers attracts oil sales at the expense of Europe.
Transneft, Russia’s state pipeline monopoly, won government approval for its investment program on Tuesday clearing the way for Espo’s capacity to more than double by 2020. Continue reading »
Investors look to Dmitry Medvedev (left) to champion the cause for privatization. But Russia’s prime minister hardly sounded overly confident as he reviewed the government’s plans to sell off state assets on Monday.
“We have quite serious plans to raise around Rbs200bn ($5.7bn) from privatisations this year and I hope the plan will be fulfilled,” Medvedev told a government meeting. “We should not drag it out, but at the same time we should consider the economic circumstances in the world and in the country.” Continue reading »
By Ben Aris of bne in Moscow
Unless you live in Moscow and are in the retail business, you probably haven’t heard of Moskovsky Kreditni Bank (Credit Bank of Moscow, in English). But you may soon. A top-20 Russian bank, CBM is joining the increasingly long line of Russian companies that want to IPO on London’s stock exchange.
“We are contemplating an IPO, but have not decided on specific timing or plans,” CBM’s CEO, Vladimir Chubar, tells bne in an exclusive interview. “It depends on if the market improves, as the current valuation levels for Russian banks are not necessarily attractive. We are still growing, we have one of the lowest cost/income ratios and the return on equity of about 18-20% is one of the best in the sector. We feel like we are still quite a young bank and will wait for the right window of opportunity to open.” Continue reading »
When billionaire Suleiman Kerimov and his business partners sold their stakes in Uralkali, the Russian potash miner, at the end of 2013, analysts expected a prompt restoration of Uralkali’s export cartel with its former Belarusian partner, state-owned Belaruskali.
Yet both parties seem happy with things as they are. Any revival of the cartel looks more likely to be driven by political than commercial considerations. Continue reading »
Russian potash producer Uralkali has decided to invest in port infrastructure in Brazil in a move to bolster its position in the world’s fastest growing fertilizer market.
In a statement on Friday, Uralkali said it had acquired a 25 per cent of Equiplan Participaceos, the main shareholder in Terminais Portuarios da Ponta do Felix, a terminal in the city of Antonina on Brazil’s southern coast. Continue reading »
By Vladimir Lisin, Chairman, NLMK
In the first few weeks of 2014 it has become clear that the global economy is entering a new phase of uncertainty. Emerging markets have come under renewed scrutiny, leading to volatile movements in currencies and stock markets, reflecting concerns among investors about the impact of the Federal Reserve’s “taper” programme and financial stability in China.
These issues come at a time when the underlying trends suggest that China has passed the point of its fastest growth. Those metals and mining companies who budgeted for years of accelerating consumption to come have already been caught out by the new realities and the pressures on them can only intensify in 2014 driven by the increased funding costs. Continue reading »
By Leslie Palti-Guzman of Eurasia Group and Tatiana Mitrova of the Russian Academy of Sciences
As the global market for natural gas is transformed, Russia and its national champion Gazprom have found their long-term export strategy challenged. No longer able to rely on their core European market, the Russians are looking eastwards, where they have long been seeking a strategic gas deal between Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) that would provide an easily accessible market for gas from new fields in eastern Siberia. Continue reading »
Real estate can be an alluring post-crisis investment. Just ask punters who poured money into the US market a couple of years ago, or those now sniffing around Spanish property. The same applies to central European real estate, which last year saw a 31 per cent increase in investments, to €10bn.
That makes 2013 the second busiest year for transactions since pre-crisis 2008. Continue reading »