The Economic Future (if Any) of “Novorossiya”

Last May, I posted an item on the economic situation in the rebellious regions of Eastern Ukraine, or “Novorossiya” (New Russia), to use the term increasingly favored by separatists and  their Russian sponsors. Novorossiya was the name of a province of Tsarist Russia that occupied much of the southern part of present-day Ukraine, stretching all […]

Limits on the Efficacy of Russia’s Economic Weapon

The United States and European allies responded to the Russian annexation of Crimea by announcing targeted economic sanctions against a list of Russia individuals (plus one bank) and threatening to impose stronger sanctions in the future. The sanctions included travel restrictions and asset freezes for the listed individuals. On March 24, the Group of 8 […]

Does the West Have Economic Levers to Influence Russian Foreign Policy?

The financial markets have reacted frantically to Russia’s invasion of Crimea – the rouble has weakened despite the Central Bank of Russia intervening massively to prop it up, share prices on the Moscow stock exchange have collapsed and there are reports of significant capital flight from Russia. The West has decided on a travel ban […]

Ukraine’s Crisis Threatens to Drag Russia’s Economy Down, Too

Political events in Ukraine and diplomatic tensions with Russia are filling the headlines this week, but behind these recent developments is a story of persistent economic weakness. Although a change of government in Kiev may eventually bring needed reforms, in the short run it can only worsen the economic situation. Bloomberg reports that Ukraine’s interim […]

How Not to Do Business in the Post-Soviet Bloc

Business in the former USSR is notoriously rough and tumble, where a pronounced lack of transparency means businessmen often act at the outer limits of legality and colluding with influential politicians is a must. The recent saga of Suleiman Kerimov, an extravagant oligarch from Dagestan, serves as a good example of how not to go […]

Open Letter to Ilham Aliyev

For a change, I am not writing about Turkey. I have an open letter to Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan: “Your Excellency; I visited Azerbaijan for the first time last week to participate in a conference. The presentations were great, and I learned a lot about the Azeri economy. But I was most impressed that […]

What to Watch in 2013: Eastern Europe/CIS edition

The following inexhaustive list is a companion to last week’s post on things to watch in MENA and our recently published outlooks. In general our regional outlook, like our global one, has become brighter on the margins but emphasizes the divergence in growth across the region and across emerging and frontier markets. We’ll be treating […]

Putin Declares ‘Eurasian Union’ Goal of Russian Foreign Policy

On October 4, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin published an article in Izvestiia, “A New Integration Project for Eurasia – The Future Is Being Born Today,” that announces the initiative to create a supranational political structure on top of the CIS Customs Union in which Belarus and Kazakhstan participate along with Russia. While the prospects […]