Baltics

By Taras Kuzio of the University of Alberta

Friday’s abduction on Estonian soil of Eston Kohver, an officer in Estonia’s Internal Security Service, by “green men” – Russian special forces in uniforms without identification – was the latest instance of a tactic first used during Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in March. The timing of this act of international piracy was no coincidence, coming a day after US President Barack Obama’s visit to the country, when he promised Nato would defend the three Baltic states. Read more >>

Last year’s debate between Paul Krugman, the renowned Nobel-prize-winning American economist, and little Estonia produced plenty of drama.

Now, it’s going to be an opera. Read more >>

Economic growth of 3 per cent in the eurozone? It sounds like a statistical error at a time when the common currency area is braced for a 0.4 per cent drop. But Estonia is set to record a 3 per cent expansion in 2012, nearly double the government’s forecast at the start of the year. And officials expect another 3 per cent in 2013.

Much of this is a rebound from the extra-severe shock that passed through Estonia and the other two Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania in 2009 when Estonian GDP dropped by a cumulative 18 per cent. Read more >>

By Mike Collier of bne

Of all the real estate bubbles to go pop in recent years, none did so more spectacularly than the one in the Baltic states during the 2008 financial crisis. Property prices halved in many cases, and some bruised investors swore never to touch Baltic real estate again. But never is a long time when there is money to be made.

The announcement on August 27 that the biggest IPO on the Baltic bourses in five years will come from a real estate company looks set to test whether investors are ready to believe Baltic realty can be anything other than boom-and-bust. Read more >>

The Latvian government is hell-bent on joining the eurozone by January 2014 even though the move is unpopular among its people. Well, the government will be cheered and the people perhaps dismayed after Standard & Poor’s, the ratings agency, promoted the country to investment grade on Wednesday and applauded the government’s progress. Read more >>