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 […]

What Does Putin Hope to Gain by Releasing Khodorkovsky?

On Thursday, in a move that surprised many Russian businessmen, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was considering offering a pardon to the former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky; on Friday morning the pardon was signed and Khodorkovsky walked free. It is believed that this decision by Putin is intended to reduce the criticism being […]

Russia Opens LNG Floodgates

The Russian government has made room in the natural gas market by letting companies other than Gazprom export liquefied natural gas. The shale natural gas revolution in the United States is pushing Russia from its leadership position in terms of output. Gazprom, meanwhile, only has one LNG plant in service. On Monday, engineering company Foster […]

Why the Baltic Recovery Is Not a Success Story for Austerity: Lessons for the US

While EU members along the shores of the Mediterranean struggle with a seemingly endless slump, others who dip their toes in the Baltic are making a strong comeback. As the following chart shows, real GDP growth in the Baltic 3—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—has recently run well above the euro area average. Meanwhile, the Med 4—Greece, […]

To EU or not to EU: Eastern Partnership Countries at the Crossroads

In 2008 Poland and Sweden launched the European Union’s Eastern Partnership initiative. Its aim was to provide a venue for discussions on trade and other issues with the former Soviet Union states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine with the prospects of concluding Free Trade Agreements, liberalizing visa regimes and embracing other forms […]

Breakup of the Ruble Area (1991-1993): A Cautionary Tale for the Euro

Good news: The euro crisis is over. At least that is how French President Francois Hollande sees it, according to remarks he made during his recent trip to Japan. Latvia’s pending entry is another piece of news for the battered currency area. Never mind minor problems like a deepening recession in many countries, unsustainable government […]