Russia and Eurasia |
Chronology - 9 March 2014
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CHRONOLOGY of Russia/Eurasia-related events and daily guide to international MEDIA HEADLINES
iNYT = New York Times International (www.nytimes.com). WP = Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com). FT = Financial Times (http://search.ft.com/search/index.html). IHT = International Herald Tribune (www.iht.com/frontpage.html). LAT = Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com). iNYT = International New York Times. Econ = The Economist (www.economist.com). MonDip = Le Monde Diplomatique (www.monde-diplomatique.fr). MT = Moscow Times(www.themoscowtimes.com). Guard = Guardian Weekly. BBC = BBC World Service website (www.bbc.co.uk/news). Other titles given in full.
REVERSE CHRONOLOGY - Latest dates first
09 Mar. Ukraine crisis: US warns Russia not to annex Crimea (OSCE monitors turned back) BBC
08 Mar. Russia warns US against sanctions (BBC) / Bloodshed fears mount over Crimea referendum (FT) / The pretext and plotting behind an occupation in the dark (FT) / Russia takes new steps to undercut Kiev leaders (iNYT) / Former Soviet republics see concerns confirmed (FT) / Ukraine says it won't boycott Paralympic Games in Russia (iNYT) / Storm clouds gather over Black Sea's popular resorts (FT) France in choppy waters (assault ships contract) FT / Fallount of Crimean crisis unclear (business) iNYT /The price of invasion for Russia (iNYT business) Belligerence cannot hide Russia's frailty (FT leader) / The Russian strongman taking a gamble on Western weakness (Putin) FT / Russia has already lost the war (Freeland) iNYT / States are born by accident but sustained by ardour (Garton Ash) / Crisis in Ukraine - Kidnapped by the Kremlin (Econ)
07 Mar. Ukraine crisis: Obama urges Putin to pursue diplomacy (BBC) / West's action against Russia raises the stakes in Ukraine (FT) / Cramea brings forward vote on split (FT) / Crimea moves faster on vote to join Russia (iNYT) / US takes first step on sanctions (FT) / Oligarch tightens Kiev grip on Donetsk (FT) / Moscow view of peninsula invasion sparks scorn (FT) / Ukraine crisis: Obama urges Putin to pursue diplomacy(FT) / Putin loyalist points finger at 'global financial oligarchy' (V.Yakunin) FT / Reset the 'reset' - Visa bans will not deter Putin (FT) / Revisiting a history soaked in blood (iNYT) / Sense of betrayal drove Putin's actions on Ukraine (iNYT) / Ukraine fights for its truth (iNYT)
06 Mar. EU summit to tackle Ukraine crisis (BBC) / Blows for west in bid to counter Moscow (FT) / U.S. effort to start talks on Ukraine falls short (iBYT) / Search for sanctions on Russia divides EU (FT) / Dilemma for Berlin as conflict of interest is tested (FT) / Putin's gamble on western disunity risks backfiring (FT) / Pro-Moscow militias fill up power vacuum (FT) / Cities of the east bridle at Kiev's interim orders (FT) / Russia needs to defend its interests with an iron fist (Karaganov) / What Putin really wants in Crimea (Pukhov) iNYT / A Crimean vote spells danger (terms of the referendum) FT / Ukraine not ready for divorce (Riabchuk) iNYT / Why Putin doesn't respect us (Friedman) iNYT
05 Mar. Ukraine crisis: US and Russia to hold key talks (BBC) / US demands Russian troops pull-out as Putin steps back (no plan to take action in Eastern Ukraine) FT / Putin stance complicates resolution of crisis (FT) / Europe's dilemma over Ukraine (FT leqder) / Gazprom adds to Kiev's woes with rise in energy prices (FT) / Kiev sets about task of uniting nation (FT) / White House battles against perceptions that Putin senses weariness (FT) / Washington unveils $1bn aid for government (FT) / Institutions count costs as risks threaten to exceed rewards (FT) / Warning shots give way to frustrating standoff (FT) / Putin keeps door open for more force (iNYT) / A classic case of making his point (Putin press conference) / Putin can't stop (iNYT) / A convoluted grab for power in Crimea (iNYT) / Russia's doomed ideological war (iNYT) /Gas emerges as strategic lever in crisis (iNYT)
04 Mar. War fears decimate Russian stocks (FT) / Search to offer Putin a face-saving way out (FT) / Moscow in no mood to listen as western pressure grows(FT) / Russia wages media war on Crimea (FT) / Investors turn twitchy over threat of sanctions (FT) / Premier agrees to reforms for aid package (FT) Europe divided over measures (FT)/ Struggling Russian economy faces risk of more setbacks (FT)/ Russia is in no position to fight a new cold war (FT) / Fears in east amid pro-Russin provocations (iNYT) / Forces face off at Crimea base (iNYT) / In Ukraine and West, fear grows over Russia's plans (iNYT)/ Russian aggression (iNYT leader) / Resisting pressure, Putin test's rival's will (Obama) iNYT / At Ukrainian base, tension and downcast eyes (iNYT)/ Ukraine's clashing worlds (iNYT)
03 Mar. World rounds on Moscow (FT) / Soldiers at the gate as daily life goes on (Simferopol) FT / Ukraine puts armed forces on alert (iNYT) / Nerves fray in eastern regions (FT) / Putin suspected of plotting action for weeks (FT) / Oligarchs vow to protect homeland (FT) / Kiev turns to oligarchs to help stabilize the country's east (iNYT) / US has few options to put Putin accountable (iNYT) / Crimea, the tinderbox (Charles King) iNYT / Markets braced for rouble to fall (FT) / Soldiers move into peninsula under cover of manoeuvres (FT) / Gazprom raises threat of higher gas price (FT) / Obama faces his sternest challenge (FT) / A second cold war threatens Europe (FT) / The US and EU have options to outmanoeuvre Russia (Burns) FT / Putin cooks up Obama's chicken Kiev moment (FT)
01 Mar. Ukraine crisis: Crimea leader appeals to Putin for help (BBC) / Duelling alliances unsettle Ukraine (iNYT) / In Russia, Yanukovich rejects intervention (iNYT) / Gunmen raise tension in Crimea as U.S. issues a warning to the Kremlin (iNYT) / Kiev accuses Russia of provocation (FT) / Crimea has long been a focus of conflict (iNYT) / Power play in the Crimea (FT leader) / Ukraine - The February revolution (Econ) / Saving Ukraine - How the West can help (Econ) / Leading critic of Putin placed under house arrest (Navalny)- iNYT
28 Feb. 'Russians' blockade Crimea airports (BBC) / Split widens in Ukraine (iNYT) / On the edge - Ukraine new leadership has limited time to reform the country (FT) / Yasenieuk's appeal to western powers invokes 20-year-old accord (FT) / Yanukovich acused of 'robbing' state (FT) / In Ukraine harbor, a trove of secrets (iNYT)
27 Feb. Ukraine: Gunmen seize Crimea government buildings (BBC) /Putin orders troop drills on doorstep of Ukraine (iNYT) / Putin puts forces on alert (FT) / Yatseniuk poised to lead Kiev cabinet (FT) / Unfolding revolution raises fear of warning shots from Russia (FT) / Cultures collide in Crimea as concerns grow on separation (FT) / Ukraine discovers ex-leader's retreat (iNYT) / Moderate Islam? Look to Central Asia (iNYT)
26 Feb. Ukraine 'disbands elite Berkut anti-riot police' (BBC) / EU treads gingerly on Ukraine bailout (iNYT) / No easy path for the West in effort to bail out Kiev (iNYT) / Wary U.S. stance in Ukraine crisis (iNYT) / Ukraine's uncertain future (iNYT leader) / Ukraine is not caught in East-West battle, says US (BBC) / Sevastopol dreams of return to motherland (FT) / Ukraine can now fix its economy - if it moves fast (Anders Aslund) FT / Has the West alreqdy lost Ukraine? (iNYT)
25 Feb. Moscow takes aim at western backers of Ukraine dictators (FT) Triuimphalism on hold as west treats Ruissia with respect (FT) / Fear of a new order filled with old faces (iNYT) / Yanukovich planned to intensify Kiev crackdown, papers reveal (FT) / Ukraine hunts for its ousted president (iNYT) / The Ukraine crisis: The leadership must be as mature as its citizens (Pinchuk) FT / An east-west tug of war can still be avoided (Rachman) FT / Ukrainian interim leader to complete government (BBC)
24 Feb. Lawmakers take over in Ukraine (INYT) / Ukraine arrest warrant for ex-leader Yanukovych (BBC) / West rushes to fix Ukraine rescue (FT) / 'He really didn't understand. It was over.' (Yanukovich's last stand) FT / Ukrainians take stock of opulence a president left behind (iNYT) / Kiev turns to mending its finances and politics (FT) / International lenders scramble to foot rescue bill (FT) / Putin considers his next move over crisis (FT) / Russian-speqking Crimea distrusts change of guard (FT) / Hour of Kiev and Europe (FT leader)/ Russia needs a 'Finland option' for Ukraine (Brzezinski) FT / Why Russia won't interfere (Trenin) iNYT / What the West must do for Ukraine (Carnegie expert)iNYT / As golden spell ends, Sochi faces reality (iNYT) / After cost questions and security worries, a proud Russia closes Games (iNYT)
23 Feb. Ukraine MPs meet as protesters stay (BBC) / Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko calls for protests to continue (BBC)
22 Feb. Ukraine crisis: President's Kiev offices abandoned (BBC) / Ukraine protesters stay on the streets despite deal (BBC) / Ukraine steps back from abyss (FT) / Kiev calm but uncertainties temper relief over agreement (FT) / Ukraine deal cuts president's powers (iNYT) / Drama forces Putin to cede limelight at Sochi games (FT) / Ukraine's turn in torments of geography and politics (FT) / 8 convicted for rally on eve of Putin's inauguration (iNYT) / Ukraine in flames (Econ) / Europe's new battlefield (Ukraine)
21 Feb. Ukraine on brink of war after 70 die in bloodiest day of conflict (FT) / Fears grow Yanukovich will send in military (FT) / Russia rattles sabres over fate of Crimea (FT) / Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych announces 'peace deal' (BBC) / E.U. will impose sanctions (iNYT) / Ukraine's deadly turn (iNYT leader) / How Ukraine can be saved (Romano Prodi) iNYT
20 Feb. EU weighs sanctions against 'authors of violnce' in Kiev (FT) / Government announces wide crackdown (iNYT) / Turmoil spreads beyond Kiev (iNYT) / Ukraine truce frays ahead of EU talks (BBC) / The West must act firmly in Ukraine (FT leader)
-- Sochi police announce the administrative arrest of the person responsible for beating members of Pussy Riot with horsewhips as they were launching an anti-Putin video. / President Putin announces that, at the request of the Ukrainian president, he is sending Vladimir Lukin, the human rights commissioner, as a mediator in negotiations with the opposition. / Ukrainian protesters confront police in Maydan through the night; later in the morning, the Berkut riot police retreat to Arsenal metro station and deputiesleave parliament; about 1.500 protesters regain the barricades in Maydan; 75 civilians are killed and 571 injured; 13 policemen are killed and 480 injured. / By 72 votes out of 79, the Crimean parliament adopts a constitutional amendment upgrading the status of the Crimea Autonomous Republic; they want their representatives to be included in the revision of the Ukrainian constitution. / The Polish, French and German Foreign Ministers - Radoslaw Sikorski, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier - have a six-hour meeting with Ukrainian president Yanukovich.
19 Feb. Ukraine crisis: Renewed Kiev assault on protesters (deaths rise to 24) BBC
-- According to his spokesman, President Putin thinks that ‘extremists’ are fully responsible for the latest events in Ukraine; he has talke by telephone with president Yanukovich during the night .. / Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko and Arseni Yatseniuk says that talks with president Yanukovich have failed and that demonstrators will stay on Maydan . / Ukrainian police clam they have not used firearms against protesters; 9 policemen have been killed and 349 hospitalised, including 74 with gunshot wounds. / Protesters continue to seize official buildings in Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia; the President declares a day of mourning; about 5.000 people remain in Maydan behind a buffer zone of about 100m from the riot police; some groups seize buildings of the central post office and the Radio-TV broadcasting. / Ukrainian three main churches condemn the bloodshed. UDAR leader Vitali Klitschko says president Yanukovich has to go, and calls for international sanctions against him and those responsible for the deaths. / Crimean Tatar deputy Refat Chubarov calls restraint by all sides and instructs regional heads of the Tatar Assembly (Majlis) to hold meetings with all other forces to ensure public order in Crimea . / After a new round of talks with the president, Ukrainian opposition leaders confirm that the president has pledged not to storm Maydan.
18 Feb. Police storm main Kiev protest camp (BBC) / Russia uses aid to parry Berlin move over Ukraine (iNYT) / Former Georgian PM jailed (Vano Mrabishvili) FT
-- Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, accuses ‘representatives of some non-EU countries” of meddling in Ukrainian affairs by making a list of ministers they want to see in the new Ukrainian government. / The newly appointed director general of Ekho Moskvy confirms that chief editor Alexei Venediktov is in charge of editorial policy for a new thirm. / . 50 Ukrainian opposition deputies block the rostrum of parliament over the speaker’s refusal to register their resolution reinstalling the 2004 Constitution; outside, several thousand protesters break through the police cordon on Hrushevsky Street, and petrol bombs are thrown into the office of the Party of Regions nearby. Clashes erupt between the defenders of Maydan, internal troops and Berkut anti-riot units; police set a deadline for activists to stop protests at 18.00, then storm the main protest camp on Maydan; opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko and Arseni Yatseniuk meet the President but not Oleh Tyahnybok. The death toll rises. Protesters attack police stations in Eastern Ukraine.
17 Feb. Ukraine amnesty comes into force after protesters retreat (BBC) / Ukraine city spins beyond reach of the government (Lvov) iNYT / To Russia with love: Obama's big energy lever (shale gas effect on world market) BBC
-- Police in Sochi briefly detain former Italian parliamentarian and MGBT rights activist Vladimir Luxuria after making a one-person demonstration with a ‘Gay is OK’ rainbow flag. / . The Russian human rights centre Memorial publishes a new version of its list of political prisoners reduced to 40 names (against 70 in October 2013) thanks to the December amnesty. / Protesters again restrain traffic along Kiev’s Hrushevsky Street, scene of violent clashes between antigovernment protesters and riot police, in reaction to the return of Internal troops cordoning the area. / The head of the Majlis, the self-styled Crimean Tatar assembly, Refat Chubarov, says that Tatars will repulse any attempts to separate Crimea from Ukraine. / During a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko and Arseni Yatseniuk ask for an inquiry into the provenance of assets kept in EU countries by president Yanukovich and pro-government tycoons. / Three people linked to the Uzbekistan president's daughter, Gulnara Karimova, are taken to the prosecutor’s office for interrogation over alleged large-scale tax evasion.
16 Feb. The Ukrainian opposition announces that, under the amnesty law, the Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Poltava regional state administrations have been unblocked; at the same time Kiev city state administration headquarters has been passed under the patronage of Switzerland as chair of the OSCE. Barricades and tents remain in central Kiev. / Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko says that he has given up his German residence permit and is now a citizen of Ukraine. / Opposition leader Arseni Yatseniuk says he has rejected President Yanukovych's offer to become Ukraine's next prime minister as he is in the process, with allies, of forming an opposition government. / Opposition leader Oleh Tyahnybok calls on Ukrainians and Euro-Maydan activists to march on parliament on 18 February demanding a reversion to the constitution of 2004.
15 Feb. Russia's surly waiters and gruff hoteliers learn to smile at Sochi (FT) / A familiar feeling t the Games - Decidedly unexotic, Russia's showpiece has a distinct Western flavour (iNYT) / Putin and the media - Dreams about Russia (Econ)
-- Clashes erupt in Kiev between ‘citizens wanting to clean up the city’ and demonstrators. / Newspapers in Uzbekistan denounce Saint Valentine’s Day celebrations as distracting young people from celebrations marking the birthday of the medieval Uzbek poet and ruler, Zahiriddin Bobur.
14 Feb. A balancing act in Sochi between security and fun (iNYT) / Russia submits a draft proposal to U.N. on aid to Syria (iNYT)/ Russia backs Egypt ruler's apparent run for president (Field Marshal Sisi) iNYT
-- Azerbaijani newspapers speculate on the origin - terrorist attacks or coincidence? - of four blasts in different parts of the country, killing 3 people, including one blast near a metro station in Baku. (Two terrorist groups - the Forest Brothers and Jayshullah – announce that they had started armed operations against the Azerbaijani authorities). . Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbaev threatens to dissolve the government if it fails to attract more foreign investments; he says that there will be no further devaluation but that the government will not help commercial banks with bad loans. / Kiev ‘national resistance headquarters’ say the last of the 243 protesters has been released from custody. / President Yanukovych says Ukraine's strategic priority is to restore relations with the EU, the USA, Russia and China; and that any discussion about Ukraine's federalisation is not currently topical;
13 Feb. Czar Vladimir's illusions (M.Saakashvili) iNYT / All is forgiven as Sochi kindles pride (iNYT) / Sochi activist jailed for three years (FT)
-- Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signs a decree tightening the conditions for adoptions of Russian children in states allowing same sex marriage. / Egyptian Defence and Military Production Minister Abdal al-Sisi visits Moscow for two days of talks on bilateral and regional cooperation; Russian president Vladimir Putin wishes him success in his bid for the presidency. / EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy Stefan Fuele meets Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich for the second time in two days; he says that EU could not provide financial aid to Ukraine unless reforms are carried out but that aid is not linked to the association agreement. / Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov postpones his visit to Prague allegedly for logistic reasons, after many high officials involved in the signature of bilateral agreements cancel meetings with the Uzbek delegation.
12 Feb. Poland urges Ukraine protesters to work with Yanukovich (FT)
-- In Baku, Azerbaijani and Georgian presidents Ilham Aliev and Giorgi Margvelashvili discuss investments possibilities, especially in the energy sector; Margvelashvili also visit the northern Azerbaijani districts of to meet Georgians living there. / Protests erupt in different cities of Kazakhstan, including Almaty, against a decision to devaluate the tenge asking for the resignation of National Bank head Kairat Kalimbetov. / . / Russian President Vladimir Putin orders the government to elaborate plans to further development of Sochi after the Olympics. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara says that authorities have no plans to use force against protesters.
11 Feb. TV news station feels Kremlin's wrath (Dozhd) iNYT / In Ukraine, a window of opportunity (Bohlen) iNYT
-- The National Bank of Kazakhstan devalues the tenge-dollar from 155.56 to about 185 t but says it does not completely rule out currency interventions if needed to ensure financial stability (the last devaluation was in February 2009). / The International Olympic Committee announces that all industrial issues have been settled since , after an investigation in collaboration with Russian authorities, 6,175 unpaid builders involved in the construction of the facilities in Sochi have had their arrears cleared. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow still considers that the opposition delegation in the intra-Syria dialogue in Geneva is not sufficiently representative. / A Ukrainian court turns down an application by the defence of Yulia Tymoshenko to move her to the social rehabilitation section of her penal colony.
10 Feb. Russia seeks to replicate Beijing's success story (Sochi) FT / Triumpant Russians restore reign on ice (iNYT) / Russia pledges Bitcoin crackdown and warns over 'cryptocurrencies' (FT) / Citing bomb threats, agency alerts counterterrorism units (Kiev) iNYT / Kalashnikov [manufacturer] sets sights on survival (FT)
-- Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Georgia's participation in the Sochi Olympics and says he is ready to meet the new Georgian president, Giorgi Margvelashvili ‘if he wishezs it”; Margvelashvili says this could only be after careful consideration and consultation with Georgia's Western allies. / The Russian ambassador in Washington, Sergei Kisliak, says that President Putin’s invitation to US President Barack Obama to visit Russia still stands, despite the USA's refusal to hold a bilateral summit in September last year; he says the G8 summit is a potential opportunity; and thqt Russia hopes for the US will adopt a more constructive stance, allowing continuing negotiations on disarmament. / The leader of the Right Sector, an umbrella organisation of Ukrainian radical protesters, Dmytro Yarosh, calls for nationwide mobilisation as the government is making no compromises.
09 Feb. Two people are killed and six injured in a shooting in an Orthodox cathedral in Sakhalin in Russia's Far East. / The leader of the Fatherland faction, Arseni Yatseniuk, says that the gold and currency reserves of the National Bank of Ukraine cannot last more than two months.
08 Feb. Russia kicks off its Olympics with hope and hubris (iNYT) / Welcome to Sochi: Russia's greats help Putin deliver an opening ceremony rebuke (FT) / Coach of Russian tem says he suspected [suspended] biathlete was taking drugs (iNYT) / Putin enlists capitlists as it seeks success of Soviet era [at Sochi] FT
-- Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze says that Georgia will not react officially to the attendance of Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s presidents to the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony as they are not there with an official invitation but only as private persons. / Co-chairmen of the Russian opposition party RPR-Parnas Boris Nemtsov and Mikhail Kasianov deplore the decision of the other co-chairman, Vladimir Ryzhkov, to quit the party together with 15 members, after disagreement about liberal electoral strategies. / In Donetsk, Ukraine, over 300 government supporters prevent 1000 anti-government protesters from holding a rally to honour the memory of those killed in street clashes in Kiev.
07 Feb. Russia's president stakes his political future on Sochi success (FT) / Risks and rewards for Putin in Sochi (iNYT)
-- The Russian foreign ministry confirms that the Syrian authorities and opposition have reached an agreement allowing the civilian population to be evacuated from Homs and for humanitarian aid delivered to the city.
06 Feb. West steps up bid to woo Kiev (iNYT) / Ukraine's oligarchs face a difficult choiice (iNYT)/ First Olympic race: To save stray dogs (iNYT)
-- President Nazarbaev proposes considering the possibility of changing the name of Kazakhstan into Kazak Eli (Kazakh Nation) to distance itself from the other ‘stans’ of Central Asia. / By 60 votes to 35, the Kyrgyzstan parliament approves a controversial deal to set up a joint venture between the government and Canada's Centerra Gold company to run the Kumtor gold mine. (Centerra’s 100% ownership of the mine will be reduced to 67%). / President Putin signs a law consolidating Russia’s Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitration Court, with 170 judges; the new Supreme Court will be based in St Petersburg with a representative office in Moscow. / Chinese and Russian presidents, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, hold talks at Sochi. / About 1,000 protesters encircle the Kiev parliament building in Kiev;
05 Feb. Sochi 2014: Gay rights protests to target Russia's games (BBC) / Sochi Games put focus on crackdown in Caucasus (iNYT) / An Olympian snowmaking endeavour (iNYT) / Amid chill, U.S. envoy to Russia to resign (iNYT) / US ambassafor McFaul quits Russia (FT) / An Olympian snowmaking endeavour (iNYT) / After the party (the Russian economy) FT / Russians take $55bn oil deal to New York courtroom (Lebedev v Vekselberg and Blavatnik, TNK-BP)FT
-- Addressing heads of the diplomatic missions accredited in Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbaev asks for support to the nomination of Kazakhstan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. / Russian President Vladimir Putin thanks foreign partners for helping with the provision of security at the Sochi Olympics. / In Ukraine, several hundred activists of the Freedom far-right opposition party visit the Interior Ministry, urging Interior troops to switch sides.
04Feb. West pushes to retake the initiative in Ukraine (iNYT) / Don't let Putin take Ukraine (iNYT)/ Higher, faster ... unfinished (Olympics site) iNYT
-- Russia's migration service says it has granted temporary asylum to 1,200 Syrians.
03 Feb.Yanukovich will fight to 'last bullet', warns foe (Yatseniuk) FT / Ukraine faces moment of truth (FT leader)/ Protesters in Ukraine beat police officer, officials say (iNYT) / Sochi games sharpen focus on fate of Russia's Circassian community (FT)
-- The Azerbaijani parliament discusses tougher measures to prevent young men going to fight on the side of extremist Sunni groups in Syria, (nearly 100 Azerbaijanis have reportedly been killed there, most of them from the north-west of the country with minorities having ties to Russia’s Dagestan. / The Kazakhstan Agency for Religious Affairs says it disbanded some 500 religions association in 2013 for failing to pass the re-registration. / The Moldova ruling coalition attacks Communist opposition for supporting an ‘illegal’ referendum in Gagauzia, in which 97.33% of the voters opted in favour integration into the Customs Union and 2.77% integration into the EU
02 Feb. Ukrainian opposition figures call for forming a new parliamentary majority.
01 Feb. Putin aide calls for crackdown (Ukraine, Glaziev) FT / Sochi embraces gay community despite Russia's opposition (FT)
-- Returning from talks in Moscow, Ukraine Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky says that Naftohaz Ukrainy is gradually repaying its $3bn debt to Russia and denies gas debt restructuring talks.
31 Jan. Ukraine unrest: Russia and EU clash at Munich summit (BBC) / Ukraine military hints at possible intervention (iNYT) / Putin aide calls for crackdown (Glaziev) FT / Crisis takes darker turn as torture claims surface (FT) / Sochi embraces gay community despite Russia's opposition (FT)
-- The parliament of the Dniester region calls on the Russian Duma to help prevent ‘another economic blockade of the Dniester region’ as a consequence of Moldova creating a free trade zone with EU. / The Russian Prosecutor-General's Office says it jas found no signs of extremism in the activities of the TV channel Dozhd, which was disconnected from cable services after a viewer poll raising the question whether it would have been wiser to save life by surrendering wartime Leningrad to the Germans. / The two men who organised a series of explosions in Sochi in 2008-2009 killing 14 people are jailed for life (in the case of a former policeman) or for more than 21 years. / Ukrainian police launch an investigation into the abduction of Dmitro Bulatov, the organiser of the Auto-Maydan movement, found alive but seriously injured after a week.
30 Jan. A vacuum in Ukraine as president takes a leave (iNYT) / Opposition urges west to act (iNYT) / Extremists and fringe groups raise profile (iNYT) / Deadly threat of 'black widows' haunts Sochi Olympics (iNYT) / Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia (BBC)
-- Russian investigators say theyh have identified the two suicide bombers involves in the 29 December Volgograd blasts, as well as two brothers who transfered them to Volgograd and are detained in Dagestan. / The Tusdsian FSB says it has established an operational security headquarters for the Sochi Olympics, coordinating over 30 ministries, departments and organisations; representatives of more than 50 secret services from nearly 40 states will be accredited to the headquarters. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych takes a sick leave with a cold and temperature.
29 Jan. Putin puts Ukraine's bailout on hold (FT) / Ukrainian protest factions battle among themselves (iNYT) / Ukraine protesters defy terms of new amnesty law (BBC) / Russian tests of missile add strain to ties with US (suspected breach of medium missile treaty) iNYT
-- President Putin instructs the Russian government to ensure that the existing financial and energy agreements with Ukraine are implemented to the full; and to maintain contacts with their Ukrainian colleagues, even in the current situation. / The Kremlin press service says that President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussrf Ukraine, Syria and Iran by telephone. / By 232 votes to11, with173 abstentions, the Ukrainian parliament approves an amnesty laws for yjr participants in mass protests.
28 Jan. Ukraine's PM Azarov and government resign (BBC) Kiev's pro-EU protesters determine to stay put (FT) / Putin's imperial project threatens European values (Sherr) FT / Ukrainian government vents its frustration (iNYT) / 'Time for east and west to work together' (Ukraine), letter from Kwasniewski, Solana et al (FT)
-- Addressing parliament, Russian Patriarch Kirill II says any attempts to legitimise same-sex marriages should be blocked by the state. / With 395 MPs present out of 450, the Ukrainian parliament opens an extraordinary session attended by former presidents Viktor Yushchenko, Leonid Kuchma and Leonid Kravchuk; by 361 votes, against the opposition of the Communist Party, the house repeals the recent anti-protest laws. / Ukrainian premier Mykola Azarov resigns ‘to allow a peaceful settlement of the conflict.’
27 Jan. Unrest hitrs Yanukovich heartland (FT)/ Divided EU struggles to raise its voice to Moscow (FT)/ Ukraine's opposition rejects concessions (iNYT) / Russia dashes to have Sochi Olympics ready on time (FT)
-- Tatarstan police detain 15 members of a criminal group suspected of organising arson in Orthodox churches (since the beginning of the year, seven were set on fire in Tatarstan districts. / Russian central bank warns Russian businesses against offering ‘virtual currencies’ (in particular bitcoin) for roubles or foreign currency, or for goods and services.. / A Kiev court rules that the leader of the opposition party UDAR Vitali Klitschko, must report whether he holds residence permits on the USA and Germany. / Ukrainian opposition leaders and president Yanukovich agree on repeal of anti-protrest laws and an amnesty for those arrested during mass demonstrations; Arseni Yatseniuk refuses the President Yushchenko’s offer of the premiership.
26 Jan. Ukraine's opposition rejects cocessions (iNYT) / Unrest hits Yanukovich's heartland (FT) / Ukraine justice minister in state of emergency warning (BBC) / Divided EU struggles to raise itrs voice to Moscow (FT)
-- Ukrainian Defence Minister Pavlo Lebedev says that the army will stay out of the conflictual situation in the country. / In Donestk, the home region of president Yanukovich, Cossacks and Afghan war veterans set up voluntary squads to guard public order and administrative buildings.
25 Jan. Peaceful Ukraine mediation 'futile' [according to Ukraine interior ministry, which accuses protesters of possessing weapons] BBC / On the front line (Ukraine) FT feature / Putin's transformation of Sochi (iNYT feature)
-- In Ukraine, protesters storm ministries in Kiev and administration buildings in other cities; Ternopil’s regional council (western Ukraine) bans the pro-governement Party of Regions and the Communist Party from operating in the region. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych offers the premiership to opposition leader Arseni Yatseniuk and the deputy premiership for humanitarian issues to Vitali Klitschko; the opposition leaders have until 28 January to reply.
24 Jan. Scepticism over Ukraine crisis talks (BBC) / Yabukovich offers Kiev protesters a concession (emergency parliamlent meeting) FT / Opposition seeks concessions in Ukraine (iNYT) / Russia frees assosciate of tycoon (Lebedev)
-- During a meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, the leader of the Moldovan opposition Communist Party, former President Vladimir Voronin, asks the EU to clarify Romania’s ‘territorial claims’ towards Moldova. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych reshuffles his administration.
23 Jan. Ukraine deaths threaten to inflame crisis (FT) / Ukraine's political crisis causes tumble in hryvnia (FT) / 2 protesters die in Kiev; leaders try to ease crisis (iNYT) / Ukraine opposition issues ultimatum (BBC)
-- The Russian Supreme Court orders the release of Khodorkovsky’s co-defendant and former head of Menatep, Platon Lebedev; but does not revoke a demand for the recovery of R17bn ($500m) allegedly owed on account of his dealings; The court order prompts Khodorkovsky to rule out returning to Russia in the near future. / In an open letter, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev asks presidents Putin and Obama to involve themselves in a solution of the Ukrainian crisis. / In Russia for a four-day visit, the President of Palestinian National Authority Mahmud Abbas meets president Putin and salutes the return of Russia on a international area, especially the Middle East. / Confrontation between protesters and police in Kiev enters its fifth day; Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych meets the three opposition leaders in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the political crisis; on Maydan, protesters say they will not accept a truce with the authorities and start to build a new barricade.
22 Jan. Ukraine tracks protesters through cellphones (iNYT)
-- The chairman of Alfa-Bank consortium, Mikhail Fridman, files a lawsuit against a correspondent of the Izvestiya newspaper and the leader of the opposition Yabloko party Sergei Mitrokhin over reports that he has sponsored opposition leader Alexei Navalny. / The Russian ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, urges Brussels to help Ukraine escape a political crisis instead of threatening officials with sanctions. / The first fatalities are registered in Kiev. / In a message to Ukrainians on Day of Unity and Freedom, which marks the unification of eastern and western Ukraine in 1919, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says that national unity is a safeguard of Ukraine's establishment as a free European state and pledges to modernise the country.
21 Jan. Ukraine unrest: Second night of violence on Kiev streets (BBC) / Yanukovich seeks 'compromise' (FT) / Pulling Kiev back from the brink (FT leader) / Kiev protesters try to block government (iNYT) / Islamists boast of Volgograd raid and threaten on Olympics (FT)
-- A poll by Kiev’s Razumkov Centre shows that none of the Ukrainian regions support using force against the EU-Maydan protesters, albeit with huge variations (support by 1% in western regions, 6% in central regions, 30% in southern regions, 27% in eastern regions). / Coordinators of the protest movement say that almost 1.,500 people have been injured in clashed with the police in Kiev during the last 24 hours.
20 Jan. Ukraine's President Yanukovych in talks pledge after clashes (BBC) / Kiev rally turns violent as anger grows at harsh anti-protest laws (FT) / Yanukovich finds reason to adopt Russian model (FT) / As Olympics near , Russia tightens screws on security (iNYT)
-- South Ossetian president Leonid Tibilov disbands the government over ‘poor performance’, including mismanagement of the funds allocated by Russia for the restoration of the republic. / Georgian foreign ministry slams the expansion of the to Russia border zone 11 km deeper into Abkhazia during the Sochi Olympics as a violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity. / Following violent clashes in Kiev, the Ukrainian authorities suspend the publication of the controversial bills adopted on 16 January. / Kiev officials say that around 200 activists and 70 policemen asked for medical help during a night of violent clashes.
19 Jan. Ukraine crisis: Clashes after thousands defy protest ban (BBC)
The former commander of the Ukrainian navy, Rear-Admiral Ihor Tenyukh, urges the Armed Forces not to carry out ‘illegal orders’. / Ukrainian opposition leaders announces a three-point ‘plan’: the creation of a people's council,the impeachment and dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych and the adoption of a new constitution.
18 Jan. Ukraine's president signs anti-protest bill into law (BBC) / Ukraine's protesters - Still out there (Econ)
-- Ukrainian activists in Maydan denounce as provocation the intervention of several dozen people presenting themselves as Kiev residents wanting to dismantle barricades
17 Jan. In his annual address to the nation, Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev orders the creation of an efficient land market with transparent pricing mechanisms; he says one should not be afraid of foreign investors because, thanks to their investments and introduction of modern technology, they will increase competition. / Aytmamat Kadyrbaev, acquitted of all charges brought against him for involvement in Kyrgyz-Uzbek riots in 2010, is declared mayor of Osh (Kyrgyzstan's second largest city) by 25 votes out of the 45 on the city council. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urges the Syrian leadership not to yield to attempts to disrupt the holding of the Geneva 2 international conference. / Ukrainian former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko asks the opposition to take the necessary legislative steps to prevent the laws adopted on 16 January from coming into force and to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. President Yanukovych signs the laws.
16 Jan. Russian deputy premoier Dmitri Kozak puts the total expenditure on the Sochi Olympics to R214bn ($6.4bn), including R99bn ($2.96bn) from the Russian budget; Krasnodar Territory will invest R800m ($24m) in the maintenance of the Olympic ice facilities, which are being transferred to the region's control. / Opposition leader Alexei Navalny describes Kozak’s figures as ‘absurd’ and sqyshe is preparing a dossier on the true cost of the Sochi Olympics and how the money ‘has been channelled into senior officials’ pockets’. / Russian President Putin meets Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in the Kremlin; he praises the role of Iranian leadership in nuclear issue progress and says Russia wants to overturn a recent fall in trade. / Despite the opposition blocking the rostrum, 261 Ukrainian deputies (out of 450) register in the parliament chamber and 249 pass the 2014 state budget without discussion; 235 support a draft law toughening public security laws .
15 Jan. Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia has exhausted the opportunities for economic growth that it has been relying on over the previous 10 years – and that now ‘a qualitatively new business climate is everything’; he also says he is not unhappy that Russia is forced to move beyond a development based on energy companies. / Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky says that Ukraine and China are discussing the construction of an oil refinery in Kherson or Odessa regions at a cost of between 1.5bn and 2bn dollars.
14 Jan. US journalist David Satter barred from Russia (BBC)
-- The Federal Migration Service says that half a million foreigners have been banned from entering Russia for between three and ten years for violations of the law; and that neqrly 3.5 million foreign nationals have entered the country as legal immigrants but are working in the country illegally. / Ukrainian parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak adjourns a session due to approve the budget for 2014 after opposition MPs block the rostrum.
13 Jan.Khordokovsky riddle drives rumours on fate of Yukos assets (FT) / After holiday lull [Kiev] opposition revives protest movement (iNYT)/ Reputed university feels Kremlin's scrutiny (High School of Economics 'aid' to Khodorkovsky) FT
-- Rosatom head Sergei Kirienko says negotiations are taking place for Russia eventually to build new power units for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran; and that Rosatom has been invited to take part in building atomic reactors in Great Britain. / The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav, says that the Church is not participating in any political process and that priests are on the Maidan at the request of demonstrators ‘to be with them and pray for them’. ( The Minister of Culture has questioned the right of the Church to lead services on the square.) Ukraininian First Deputy Prime Minister Serhi Arbuzov says that talks are ‘being conducted with authorized representatives of the European Union’ and that he rxpects the association agreement to be signed this year.
12 Jan. The leader of Ukrainian opposition parliamentary faction Fatherland, Arseni Yatseniuk addresses tens of thousands people on the Kiev Maidan, calling for US sanctions on Ukraine; in an opposition protest, a column of several hundreds cars breaks through the barrier blocking the approach to the out-of-town residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych; Opposition leaders announce similar ‘visits’ to the homes of other officials or oligarchs considered supporters of the regime.
11 Jan. The leaders of the Ukrainian opposition condemn the beating of protesters by riot police in central Kiev on 10 January, in the course of which former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko sustained head injuries.
10 Jan. Dispute over fishing vessel draws anger in Moscow (Senegalese seizure) iNYT
-- The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency announces the start of operations by of a working group on airspace use above the city of Sochi until the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. / Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Kozak says that the village of Khosta in Sochi's Khostinsky district, with easy connections with Sochi city centre and the Olympic Park, has been selected as a venue for all political protests during the Winter Olympic Games. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signs documents providing for the transfer of funds for the construction and utilities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, each receiving $30m a year from 2014 to 2016 inclusive.
09 Jan. Russia's 'spare individuals' (reality of amnesty) iNYT
-- A French court upholds the request for extradition of Kazakhstan's fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, arrested in the South of France on 31 July 2013, to either Ukraine or Russia, while giving priority to Russia. / The Chechen rebel website Kavkaz-Tsentr claims that the FBI is seeking advice from the US Chechen diaspora over security for American athletes and fans in Sochi.
08Jan. Russia eases protest ban in Sochi Olympics (iNYT)
-- The Belarus National Bank announces a decision to tighten monetary policy in 2014 but says it will continue to secure high interest on Belarusian rouble deposits. / Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Erlan Abduldaev salutes the signing of a cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia during a visit in Bishkek of deputy foreign minister Prince Khaled Bin Saud.
07 Jan. Winter Olympics: Russia launches Sochi security clampdown (BBC)
-- The Kyrgyzstan Board of Muslims accepts the resignation of Chief Mufti Rahmatulla Egemberdiev after the showing of an ‘intimate’ video involving him and his wife. The mufti denounces a plot against him. / By telephone, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Russian President Putin discuss the situation in Syria ahead of the Geneva 2 conference.
06 Jan. Romanian President Traian Basescu says that Romania should start an internal debate on the unification with the Moldova as a way of keeping its European policy on track if it should be jeopardised by internal changes. / In his Christmas message, President Viktor Yanukovych urges Ukrainians to overcome their differences in a spirit of peace and love
05 Jan. The press secretary of Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he has left Germany for Switzerland but has not yet decided on a permanent place of residence. / The Ukrainian opposition says its leaders will participate separately in the first round of the next presidential election but support a single candidate in the second.
04 Jan. Volgograd blasts aise doubts over key pillar of Putin's rule (FT) / Terrorism in Russia - Will there be more? (Econ)
-- President Putin signs a decree amending an earlier one on security measures at Sochi, authorising public gatherings in special venues, provided they have been authorised by the local authorities, including police and security. / Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that the US has offered co-operation over Sochi security. / The Federal Migration Service reports there are 1,111.,791 citizens of Tajikistan in Russia, of whom 926,668 men and 185,123 women. / Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko says that EU should impose personal sanctions against Ukrainian officials responsible for violence against demonstrators.
03 Jan. Russian-led u nion risks new divisions (FT leader)
02 Jan. After silence, Putin vows 'destruction' of terrorists (iNYT)
-- Russian premier Dmitri Medvedev approves a $450m loan to Belarus at an annual interest rate of 4%.
01 Jan. President Putin arrives in Volgograd to meet the authorities and visit people injured in the terrorist blasts (according to latest data, 34 people were killed, 100 were injured, and over 60 still in hospital.). / Several thousand people join a torchlight march in central Kiev to mark the 105th birthday of the anti-Russian wartime Ukrainian Insurgent Army leader Stepan Bandera; it is organised by the far-right Freedom party, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, is one of the three figures heading the current protests.
31 Dec. Blasts leave confidence over Sochi in tatters (FT) / Counting the cost of sporting glory (FT leader) / Latvia sees euro as counter to Russia (iNYT) / Russia's oligarchs, alive qnd well (Putin as arbitrator) iNYT
30 Dec. Volgograd blasts: New deadly explosion hits Russian city ['killing at least 14' in packed trolleybus] (BBC) / Bomber hits Russian rail station; at least 15 die [on 29 Dec.] iNYT) / Bombing rases Sochi fears [on 29 Dec.] FT
29 Dec. Volgograd suicide bomber kills 15 at railway station (BBC)
27 Dec. Three held over beating of Ukraine activist Chornovol (BBC) / Moldova, the 51st state?
26 Dec. Ukrainian activist is badly beaten (iNYT)
24 Dec. The president of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexandr Zhukov plays down reports that some foreign officials will not attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, saying it will not affect the quality and meaniung of what is above all a sports contest. / The presidents of Russian and Kazakhstan sign an agreement on cooperation over the transit of Russian oil to China via Kazakhstan. / Prime Minister Medvedev announces that, on 23 December Russia bought the first tranche of Ukrainian sovereign bonds, worth $3bn. / Addressing the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at a meeting with the participation of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin details the key principles of the Union's activities and says that that participants are now working on the functional section of an agreement due to be signed by 1 May 2014. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says there is ‘nothing bad’ about the pro-EU movement, which is ‘a sign of the people's aspiration for a better life’- but he warns against ‘letting emotion take over common sense’.
23 Dec. Khordokovsky pledges to refrain from Putin challenge (FT) / Former oil chief set to campqign for inmates (FT)
-- By 77 votes out of 131, the Armenian parliament approves the gas deal giving Russia the exclusive right to supply gas to Armenia, via a Russian-controlled company, for 30 years; journalists accredited to parliament echo the protest outside the chamber and urge deputies to reject the agreement. / The governor of Gagauzia, Mikhail Formuzal, accuses Moldova’s pro-EU foreign policy of being short-sighted and ignoring opinion in the autonomous region.
22 Dec. President Putin ratifies Russia’s free trade agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia signed in the spring of 2012. / At a press conference in Berlin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he will fight to clear his name, but not not for his former company’s assets; he says he has no plans to finance the Russian opposition and will not return to Russia until lawsuit for the recovery of R17bn is closed, because he might not be able to leave; he says he is not going into politics or into business. / The three leaders of the Urainian opposition are named members of a council (along with former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior minister Yuri Lutsenko) in charge of preparing a new constitution; several hundred people continue to occupy Maydan square. / Pro-EU activists in Ukraine's eastern city of Kharkiv rename the Lenin Avenue after the Beatle John Lennon.
21 Dec. Freed abruptly by Putin, Khordokovsky arrives in Berlin (iNYT) / Follow Russia's lead, Ukrainian says (Tymoshenko's daughter on Khodorkovsky's release) (iNYT) / Russian amnesties (iNYT leader) / Drama of Khordokovsky release puts fresh twist on a modern Russian epic (FT) / Fraternity test (Russia-Ukraine, Putin-Yanukovich)FT
-- Despite environmentalists’ concerns, Gazprom starts oil production at the Prirazlomnoye oilfield; the plans is to produce at least 300,000 t of oil next year in this first Russian project to develop reserves on the Arctic continental shelf. / The Russian Duma ratifies an agreement between Russia and Tajikistan governing the stay of Tajikistan citizens in Russia.
20 Dec. Putin signs Khodorkovsky pardon (BBC) / Khodorkovsky arrives in Germany after Putin pardon (BBC) / Khodorkovsky set for pardon as Putin eyes Russia's image (FT) / A rival to Putin may soon go free (iNYT)/ Sochi games spur Putin to mend reputation (FT) / A good year for Putin has been a bad one for Russia (FT) / Ukrainian [president] acts to reassert control (iNYT) / Kiev protesters set stage for election after dress rehearsal (FT) / Russia and Ukraine - Putin's expensive victory (Econ)
-- Belarus Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Prakapovich tells parliament that the government has offered to sell its stake in Mazyr oil refinery to Russia’s Rosneft in exchange for an increase in the amount of crude oil supplied by the Russian company to Belarus - rising to 20m tons by 2020. / Despite the situation now being ‘relatively calm’ in the Batken southern region, Kyrgyzstan border-guard units on the Kyrgyz-Tajik section of the state border stay in a heightened state of alert and a road still blocked. / Moldova’s parliament votes a law on official holidays providing for twice celebrating Christmas , on 25 December according to the Georgian calendar and once on 7 January according to the with the Julian;. / President Putin signs a decree to pardoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky; and the former head of Yukos leaves jail and Russia, and flies to Germany. / In an interview with RIA Novosti, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the West is now close to admitting that having Al-Asad in office is less of a threat to the welfare of Syria than terrorists seizing the whole territory.
19 Dec. Putin 'to pardon' jailed former oil tycoon Khodorkovsky (BBC) / Financial crisis gone, says Ukraine's premier (iNYT) / Wealth fund pays for Putin's Kiev deal (FT) / Amnesty bill may liberate Pussy Riot members (iNYT) / Russian approves prisoner amnesty (FT) / Got a light? The Olympian feat of getting a torch across Russia (iNYT) / Tele2's travails reveal Russia's complexities (FT)
-- Russian President Vladimir Putin holds his end-of-year news conference attended by more than 1,300 Russian and foreign journalists. He says, among other things, that (1) Russia has still to decide about the deployment of missiles in western border areas and plays down Western concern; (2) Conservatism is the key to safeguarding values without which society will deteriorate, and those values, deep engraved in society, must be protected from attempts to impose others from outside; (3) he has never met Edward Snowden, ‘an interesting person who has helped millions of people to change their view of the world’, but who never worked with Russia and should determine the rest of his still young life by himself; (4) the presidential amnesty could not have been extended to the defendants in the Bolotnaya mass unrest case, because if protesters were allowed to use violence against police, ‘complete chaos’ would ensue; (5) Russia is ready for environmental cooperation with anyone, including Greenpeace, but environmental activism cannot be made an instrument for self-promotion and enrichment, including by blackmailing companies; (6) Yes indeed, he felt pity for the Pussy Riot punk group- because they degraded themselves and women by their provocative behaviour; (7) the Ukraine standoff is not about joining the EU but about domestic politics; (8 he sees no prospect of a new criminal case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky; (9) all energy companies, both state and private, work for the benefit of Russians as long as they pay their fair share of taxes, and will nor nationalise or abandon state participation despite objections from institutions such as the European Union. / All Russian political forces welcome the pardon to Mikhail Khodorkovsky announced during Putin’s press conference. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says that no hidden strings are attached to Russia's $15bn bailout. / By 339 votes in a 450-strong chamber, Ukrainian deputies adopt an amnesty for pro-EU demonstrators. / Prime Minister Mykola Azarov says that Ukraine’s halting of EU association process was based on an analysis of the present economic situation. / Final results of the Turkmenistan parliamentary elections show that of 125 elected deputies, 47 are representatives of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, 14 of the Party of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs, 33 of Turkmenistan trade unions, 16 of Turkmenistan's union of women, eight of the Magtumguli youth organisation and seven of citizens' groups.
18 Dec. Russian deal with Ukraine blow to EU ($15bn in loans and sharp discount in natural gas prices) FT / Putin plays trump card in contest over Ukraine (iNYT) / Russia deal saved Ukraine from bankruptcy - PM Azarov (BBC) / Ukraine opposition demands Russia agreement details (BBC) / Putin takes bold gamble over Ukraine (iNYT) / Russia confirms missile deployment [in Leningrad region] (iNYT)/ Discrimination ['against gays'] in Sochi (iNYT leader)
-- Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev signs into law the bill adopted by parliament in November banning MPs and other individuals invited or registrerd within the parliament to carry firearms in the building. / Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti says he will not attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that agreements reached between Russia and Ukraine are mutually beneficial and are not limited to granting a loan to Ukraine. / The Russian Duma declares an amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution: it is expected to benefit some 25,000 people within the next six months.
17 Dec. Ukraine leader set for Moscow talks (BBC) / Ukraine and Russia in talks on $10bn loan (FT) / Protests in Ukraine lift right-wing party (Svoboda) iNYT / Anders Aslund on Ukraine oligarchs (BBC)
-- At the signing ceremony of the Sah Daniz 2 project in Baku, in the presence of the British foreign minister and EU officials, , Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev says the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which will carry Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy, will ‘change the energy map of the region’. / Afghan refugees rally near the UN office in Bishkek demanding simplification of the procedure for receiving Kyrgyzstan citizenship; (40,000 Afghan citizens have arrived in Kyrgyzstan over the past 15 years). / At the sixth session of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission in Moscow, the Russian and Ukrainian ministers of economy sign an action plan to settle bilateral trade restrictions in 2003-2014 and to develop cooperation, including in aeronautics and space. / The Russian and Ukrainian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych agree on a $15bn Russian loan to Ukraine and a large gas price discount worth: $5bn; they do not discuss Ukraine’s accession to the Russian-headed Customs Union according to their spokesmen. / The Ukrainian opposition UDAR party leader, Vitali Klitschko, says he is halting his boxing career in order to engage fullyin politics. / The leaders of the Ukrainian opposition call for early presidential and parliamentary elections in March 2014; they accuse president Yanukovich of giving away Ukraine’s national interests and independence by signing agreements with Russia.
16 Dec. EU suspends trade talks wkth Ukraine (iNYT)
-- In Armenia, a group of former dissidents and Soviet-era political prisoners denounce the decision of the government to join the Customs Union. / Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko declares an intention to normalise relations between Belarus and the EU but only on condition that ‘no complaints are made about us’. / Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev says his country will join the Russian-led Customs Union only if its national interests are observed;. / Five Moldovan MPs receive Romania's highest civil order for their ‘personal contribution to the recognition of Romanian as the official language of the Republic of Moldova’. / The ‘Ukrainian’ Foreign Ministry
15 Dec. The newly elected leader of the Social Democrats of Russia party, former ‘A Just Russia’ party deputy, Gennadi Gudkov, says the new party will strive for social justice, a parliamentary republic, and the supremacy of the law. Also, it does not object to big business taking part in its funding.
14 Dec. Talks fail to move Ukrainian president (iNYT) / Crackdown in Ukraine - Good-bye Putin (Econ) / Ukraine's protests - The battle for Maidan (Econ)
-- The chairman of Russia's opposition Yabloko party, Sergey Mitrokhin, says that his party aims to speak for the ‘creative class’ which is ready for changes and a pro-European agenda; he dismisses anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny as a front man for vested interests. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych suspends the head of the Kiev administration and the deputy secretary of the National Security and Defence Council suspected of involvement in a ‘violation of citizen’s rights’ during the dispersal of the Kiev protest camp on 30 November. / Ukrainian police accuse radical groups linked to the Trident, Bratstvo and UNA-UNSO organisations of responsibility for provocations against law enforcement forces in recent weeks.
13 Dec. From Ukraine's east, a message to protesters in Kiev: Go home (iNYT) / Ukraine protesters rebuild barricades in centre of Kiev (BBC) / Brussels and Moscow claim progress on Ukraine accords (FT) / Putin criticises capital outflows (state-of-the-nation address) FT
-- On a landmark visit to Armenia to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says that the ‘deportation’ of Armenians in 1915 was inhumane, and that Turkey never supported the move. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev callsthe visits by senior EU officials to protesters’ camp in Kiev ‘gross interference’ in Ukraine's internal affairs. / Russia’s envoy to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, queries the need for a NATO missile shield in Europe given the progress thqt hzas been made on the Iranian nuclear issue. / Ukraine’s wealthiest businessman, Rinat Akhmetov, issues a statement by his SCM company, saying that Ukraine has been following gthe European path for three and a half years and calling on all political forces to negotiate their differences. / In Kiev, 4,000 volunteers sign up for self-defence units to keep order on the Maydan square. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych suggests a moratorium on any use of force until the parliament considers all the implications an association agreement with the EU bears in its present form. / The special commission under the Ukrainian ministry of interior admits an excessive use of force during different dispersals in central Kiev.
12 Dec. Ukraine leader 'wants to sign' deal [Ashton tells remorters] BBC / Tough tactics back leader and 'Family' into a corner (FT) / Diplomats condemn crackdown in Kiev (iNYT) / Outlook for Yanukovich look more precarious (FT) / Russia tries to distort big news next door (FT) / Dangerously divided Ukraine (iNYT leader) / Russia reviews Pussy Riot verdicts (BBC)
-- Azerbaijani media report new clashes between police and Wahhabis in northern Azerbaijan. / In his annual address to the Federal Assembly, president Vladimir Putin admits that the causes of Russian economic slowdown are internal, even if the global crisis played a role; he also draws the attention of federal and regional authorities on the lack of speed in implementing his decrees; he says that salary increases should come from reforms not additional budget measures and proposes to step up the ‘de-offshorisation’ of the Russian economy; he defends ‘traditional’ values against a backdrop of cultural ‘uniformisation’. / Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev announces that an agreement has been reached for the European Commission to lead talks with Russia on the South Stream gas pipeline project. He says the Bulgarian position is backed by Slovenia, Austria and Hungary. / Rallies continue in Kiev with a few thousands in tents and before the presidential administration building.
11 Dec. Clashes as police try to dislodge Kiev protesters (BBC) / Yanukovich pledges to revive EU talks (FT) / Ukrainian convenes 'round table' (iNYT) / Putin orders Russian military to boost Arctic presence (BBC) / Putin's imperial one-man show (iNYT)
-- 1n Moscow, the secretaries of security councils of all CIS countries discuss threats and challenges originating from Middle East and Northern Africa. / Several hundred people rally in Tbilisi in support of pro-EU demonstrators in Ukraine. / For the third time in two months, by 36 votes out of 101, Moldova’s opposition loses a no-confidence motion in the government. / After meeting Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirms mutual intentions to develop cooperation in accordance with agreements reached earlier by presidents Putin and Rouhani. / The Ukrainian Interior Ministry says that around 25,000 interior troops have been deployed since the morning to maintain public order in central Kiev; police storm Kiev’s administrative centre where about 200 protesters barricaded themselves in Kiev’s town hall; others clear a protest camp in central Kiev; after the Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko pledges not to disperse the main protest camp; protesters regroup in Maydan square. / Prime Minister Mykola Azarov says that Ukraine wants 20bn euros if it is to sign the association agreement with EU, to ‘minimise losses to the Ukrainian economy’. / The Crimean parliament says that the action of the opposition in Kiev threatens the autonomous status of Crimea and calles on residents to defend the autonomy of the region.
10 Dec. Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych ready to resume EU talks (BBC) / Ukraine president to discuss crisis with former leaders (BBC) / Police deploy in Kiev as leaders offer negotiations (iNYT) / Fears of crackdown as riot police surround protesters in central Kiev (FT) / Putin closes news agency (RIA Novosti) FT
-- The head of the Russian presidential Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, says that the drafted amnesty law will apply to about 20,000 people. / At the meeting with rights activists and NGOs representatives, Russian president Vladimir Putin says that their work played a role in making society ‘more receptive’ to human rights norms included in the Constitution; he salutes among ‘oldest fighters on this front, our colleague Liudmila Alexeeeva ‘ (head of the Moscow Helsinki Group). / In Kiev, special police buses block the access to the entire government quarter after clearing it of protesters' encampments overnight; around 500 protesters regroup in a near-by park; 2000 pro-government supporters stay in another tent camp. Opposition parties refuse to attend the president’s round table without the consent of Maydan protesters. The US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland, meets Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseni Yatseniuk and Oleh Tiahnybok in the occupied Trade Unions House in Kiev.
09 Dec. Russian news agency RIA Novosti closed down (BBC) / Ukraine protesters maintain blockade in central Kiev (BBC) / Ukraine security services launch coup probe as protests flood Kiev streets (FT) / Fury builds as protesters mass for rally in Kiev (iNYT) / The rush for the Arctic's riches (iNYT)
-- Belarus opposition activists from the Malady Front announce they set up a headquarters inside the Kiev city council building seized by Ukrainian protesters to coordinate the activities of Belarusians joining the protests in Kiev. / Russian president Vladimir Putin signs the decree reshaping RIA Novosti news agency and radio Golos Rossii into a state federal international news agency ‘Russia Today’. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych supports former president Leonid Kravchuk’s proposition to launch a national round-table to find a compromise in the current political situation and agrees to meet the three former presidents on the 10th.
08 Dec. Ukraine's capital Kiev gripped by huge pro-EU demonstration (BBC)
-- More than 10.000 people gather in central Kie in support of the policy of the current government and president; pro-EU protesters claim they gathered half a million; former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko urges protesters to refuse talks with the president but o work for his pre-term removal; activists hold a picket in front of the London residence of Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov calls the demolition of Lenin monument in Kiev a barbaric act; the three main opposition leaders refuse to take responsibility for its removal despite declarations by Freedom members that they did it.
07 Dec. Russia-Ukraine 'closer on gas price'(BBC) / Oligarchs are split on Ukraine's path (iNYT) / The pugilist politician taking aim at Ukraine's presidency (Vitali Klitschko) FT /In Kiev, high stakes for democracy (iNYT) / Crisis in Ukraine - Not the same movie (Econ leader) / Ukraine's protests - Revolution on Maidan Square (Econ) / The future of Afghanistan - Too important for pique (Econ leader)
-- In central Osh (Kyrgyzstan) about 2.000 people rally demanding the reinstatement of their mayor Melis Myrzakmatov dismissed for corruption by prime minister Jantoro Satybaldiev. .
06 Dec. By focusing on long-term Europe missed out in Ukraine (iNYT) / Gazprom denies accord with Kiev [on payments] FT / Russian diplomats charged with US [health]benefits fraud (BBC) / Winter games, Caucasian misery (iNYT) / Elton John Russia gigs 'will go ahead' say organisers (BBC)
-- Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minster Natalia German says that Transdniestr residents should benefit from EU modernisation programmes. / Russian and presidents, Vladimir Putin meets Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in Sochi, on the latter’s way home from Beijing. / The daughter of Ukrainian Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says her mother is ending her hunger strike at the request of protesters rallying in Kiev. / The Ukrainian opposition sets up a self-administration committee in the currently occupied building of the Kiev city council.
05 Dec. / Protesters in Ukraine get sanctuary and support [from Kyivan patriarchate] iNYT / Protesters urge EU to help forge deal with Yanukovich (FT) / Mutual mistrust grows among 'one people' (FT) / Gazprom seeks detente with Brussels [over charge of abuse of E Europe market dominance] FT
-- In the Moscow region, the police discover more than 2,500 illegal migrants from Vietnam in a factory fully equipped to produce counterfeit branded clothes. / The heads of Russian human rights organisations (Memorial, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Union of Soldier’s Mothers Committees, and Agora) say that they will not forego foreign funding despite having won state grants in a contest. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that some ‘finger-pointing’ speeches made at an OSCE ministerial meeting over Ukraine were incompatible with the international agenda. During his second meeting with president Putin this year, Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan discusses the situation in the Middle East and the preparations for a Syrian peace conference in January. / The Russian Foreign Ministry promises simplified visa procedures for foreign tourists wanting to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi. / Ukrainian speaker Volodymyr Rybak fails to gather the quorum of 226 deputies needed to call a sitting of parliament as opposition members block the rostrum. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov says he is ready for a ‘peaceful dialogue’ with the protesters but accuses ‘extremists’ of blocking state buildings. Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych says that the bilateral agreements signed with China are worth around $8bn of investment.
04 Dec. Ukraine president survives confidence vote (iNYT) / Ukraine's fragile economy totters under turmoil (FT) / A moment of peril in Kiev (iNYT leader) / Protesters' hopes dashed as ruling party survives no-confidence vote (FT) / How the EU pushed Ukraine east (iNYT) / Russian Olympic site is ideal ... for avalanches (iNYT) / Dancer gets 6-year term for Bolshoi attack (iNYT)
-- Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller denies any agreement on the $2.02 owed by Naftogaz Ukrayni for gas deliveries. / President Putin meets Russian Human Rights Council chairman Mikhail Fedotov and Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to discus an amnesty marking the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution; he excludes from any amnesty crimes involving violence against the state’s representatives. / Nine Ukrainian protesters are jailed for two months in connection with the seizure of administrative buildings and incidents outside the presidential administration in Kiev; 53 criminal procedures are opened.
03 Dec. Ukraine protests: Opposition loses no-confidence motion (BBC) / Ukraine protests spark fear of default (FT) / Protests endanger leader's grip on Ukraine (iNYT) / Putin lashes out at 'pogroms' (FT) / 'Ukraine debt' in Lex column (FT) / Ukraine protests deserve solidarity (FT leader) / How Putin miscalculated (FT)
-- Russian President Vladimir Putin sets up an anti-corruption directorate within the presidential administration to check officials’ income and expense declarations, as well as to identify and conditions for conflicts of interest inside the administration. / A court in Arkhangelsk imposes the first fines for infringing the gay propaganda ban on two men for picketing with placards outside a children's library. / During his visit to Athens, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu confirms Russia’s interest in having naval access to Greek ports for ships’ maintenance. / By 368 votes (in a 450-member house), the Ukrainian parliament invites Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to discuss the question of the cabinet's responsibility for refusing to sign a Ukraine-EU association agreement; Azarov defies the opposition, but says the government will send delegations to Brussels and Moscow. The opposition calls for the dismissal of the cabinet of ministers no-confidence resolution is supported by only 186 MPs (90 from Fatherland, 42 from Kliuschko’s UDAR, and 36 from the far-right Freedom party); the opposition calls on crowds to block the presidential offices. / President Yanukovych leaves, as planned, for a three-day state visit to China / Workers and directors of the largeststate-owned firms in Kiev, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kremenchuk and Luhansk support the government’s decision to suspend the EU deal; some workers express readiness to form self-defence groups or help maintain order in the region.
02 Dec. Call for revolution in Kiev (FT) / Fury sweeps Ukraine over reversal on EU summit (iNYT) / Ukraine PM Mykola Azarov warns of coup in making (BBC) / Tug-of-war pulls Ukraine to the edge (FT) / Ukraine media decry protest violence (BBC) / The setback in Ukraine will teach Brussels a lesson (FT) / Ukraine unrest: Protesters in stand-off over EU deal (BBC)
-- During his visit to Armenia, President Putin celebrates the ‘special relationship” and announces that Russia is annulling the 35% duty on petroleum products for Armenia and promises to speed the entry of Armenia into the Customs Union; the Armenian and Russian presidents sign an agreement providing for an increase of Gazprom’s shares in Armrosgazprom from 80 to 100% in return for a reduction of gas price to189 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. / Meeting the request of the opposition, the full text of Moldova-EU association agreement is made public (1,000 pages, 7 chapters, 7 annexes and 4 protocols). /’Russian president Vladimir Putin says that events in Kiev are riots not revolution and are mostly an internal process in which some people ‘taking away the Ukrainian people’s dream’ have in fact preparation for the 2015 presidential election in mind. / Ukrainian protesters move to block all entrances of the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Bank guarded by riot police. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara says that ‘everyone hoped the deal would be signed in Vilnius’ but that a delegation will go to Brussels to further discuss financial matters. / Fresh interior troops are brought into Kiev from the regions to guard administrative or to relieve some of the ,.000 men already there.
01 Dec. Clashes amid huge Ukraine protest against U-turn on EU (BBC)
-- Demonstrators in Kiev regroup after the dispersal by the police; the rowdof around 250,000 is joined by Polish politicians - the vice-president of the European Parliament, Jacek Protasiewicz; the former head of the European Parliament, erzy Buzek, and the former Polish prime minister and leader of opposition Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. / Masked men try to break through the thick cordon of riot police outside the presidential administration building using a bulldozer; more than 100 policemen and 22 demonstrators are said to be injured. / party right-wing leader Oleh Tyahnybok says that Freedom representatives have seized the Kiev city council to set ‘national resistance temporary headquarters’ ; he calls for a revolution but in an orderly manner. / The police block a rally of about 100 cars truing to reach the president’s out-of-town residence where officials are said to be meeting.
30 Nov. Ukraine police disperse protesters (BBC) / Ukraine protests hampered by fragmenting of political opposition (FT) / Ukraine - Day of the gangster pygmy (Econ leader) / Ukraine and the EU - Stealing their dream (Econ)
-- The Tatarstan prosecutor's office pronounces seven arson attacks on village churches in the predominantly Muslim republic in the past six months to be acts of terrorism and an attempt to destroy regional stability. / Ukrainian opposition leaders call for international sanctions against President Yanukovich and his representatives after violent police action agonist protesters in Kiev. President Yanukovichorders an investigation into the action of the police, while opposition leaders call for a nationwide strike and a blocade of central Kiev.
29 Nov. EU tries to regroup after switch by Ukraine (iNYT) / Pro-Europe crowds press Kiev to strike Brussels agreement (FT) / EU puts brave face on 'Eastern Partnership' (FT) / Intrigue rises in Russia as ex-minister faces charges (Serdyukov, 'corruption') FT
-- In a joint statement, Armenia and EU announce they will not initial an EU association agreement because of Armenia's ‘new international commitments’; they agree on the need to update the EU-Armenia European Neighbourhood Policy action plan; President Sergzh Sargsian says that Armenia is committed to European values. / In Vilnius, Azerbaijan and the European Union sign an agreement on a simplified visa regime, which will come into force after the signing of a readmission agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU next year. / Georgian foreign minister Maia Panjikidze and then Moldovan prime minister Iurie Leanca initial, together with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the Association Agreements with the EU and agreements on easier visa procedures. / About 1,000 people spend an eighth night in central Kiev. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych attends Vilnius summit; he has a sideline brief conversation with the EU leaders but nothing is signed; opposition UDAR faction leader Vitali Klitschko says that Yanukovich ‘disgraced Ukraine’ in front of the world at Vilnius; demonstrators adopt a resolution demanding the resignation of President Yanukovych.
28 Nov. EU struggles to loosen Russia's grip on energy (FT)/ Moscow abolishes commercial court (FT) / Luxury exhibit falls foul of Kremlin (Louis Vuitton 'suitcase' on Red Square) FT / Ukraine on the brink (iNYT)
-- Romanian president Traian Basescu says that, a day or another, as it happened with the two Germanies, Moldova and Romania will be unified (Foreign minister, Titus Corlatean, sayss the statement as a risky mistake). / The parliament in Gagauzia, an autonomous entity in southern Moldova largely populated by Orthodox Turks, calls a referendum for 2 February 201 to approve a draft law stipulating that the region should become an independent republic iif Moldova loses its status as an independent state. / The St Petersburg city court releases on bail the last remaining member of the Greenpeace ship crew.
27 Nov. Moscow police arrest 'armed Islamists' in raids (BBC)
-- A Belarus representative of small business announces that a large number of market vendors who sell clothing and footwear plan to stop paying taxes on 1 January, 2014 when the Customs Union's new certification rules and changes in tax rules will be applied. / . / Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin says that if Ukraine signs an association agreement with the EU, that he sees as ‘a way to NATO’. . / Meeting Iraqi ambassador to Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill expresses concerned over the sharp decrease in the numbers of Christians in Iraq, from half a million before the US intervention to less than 150.000 today. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych calls for tripartite talks between Ukraine, Russia and the EU; also for the setting up of a stabilisation fund to compensate for losses to the Ukrainian economy as a result of an EU association agreement before signing the deal.
26 Nov. Protesters criticise Ukraine's inaction (FT) / The Bolshoi's dance of power (iNYT)
-- President Putin’s spokesman dismisses the EU leadership’s statements accusing Russia of putting pressure on Ukraine, saying it is up to Ukraine to handle its internal matters. / The chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, Mikhail Shmakov, warns Ukraine against an EU agreement as it has been prepared if it wants to avoid huge unemployment. / The head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Alexandr Shokhin, says that if Ukraine signs the association agreement with EU, Russia will need to protect its domestic market against the risk of becoming a ‘hole’ for exports from Turkey, the EU and other countries with which the EU has a free trade regime. / The Security Service of Ukraine demands an investigation into the attack on its vehicle by demonstrators from the nationalist party Freedom. / Police in different cities of Ukraine demolish tents and dispersing demonstrators.
25 Nov. Ukrainian protest E.U. trade pact's demise (iNYT) / Thousands protest in Kiev over snub to EU (FT)
-- About 25.000 people take part in an anti-European rally in central Chisinau saying that Moldova’s president and prime minister, Nicolae Timofti and Iurie Leanca, are ‘mercenary managers hired by foreign political force’. / In Kiev, riot police use tear gas to disperse pro-EU demonstrators gathered outside the main government building; in a televised address to the nation, president Viktor Yanukovich says that he will attend the EU summit in Vilnius; he has not given up European integration plans but he suspended preparations for signing the agreement because he wants to protect ‘the most impoverished and unprotected’ Ukrainians. / In Bucharest, Chinese premier Li Keqiang briefs his counterparts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Lithuania and Estonia on the new opportunities for cooperation opened up by the reforms made by the latest session of the Chinese Communist Party central committee.
24 Nov. Police clash with pro-EU crowd in Kiev (BBC)
-- After stepping down as Georgian prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics by stepping down as chairman of the Dream - Democratic Georgia party saying he “will remain an active citizen”. / The start of the first joint of the Serbian section of the South Stream gas transmission system, celebrated in Belgrade, is saluted by Gazprom head Alexei Miller, a making Serbia ‘a gas transit, storage and distribution centre in Europe’. / Clashes in central Kiev oppose demonstrators and the police, causing dozens injured on both sides; tents are set up in central Kiev defying a court order; a crowd of about 100,000 gather during the day, calling for Ukraine’s integration with Europe and sometimes clashing with pro-government rallies; former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko urges protesters to force president Yanukovich to sign the EU association agreement on 29 November.
23 Nov. Russia and EU accuse each other of blackmailing Ukraine (FT) / Opposition enraged as Ukraine retreats from E.U. (iNYT) / Nostalgic Russians reach for the tsars (Romanov anniversary events) iNYT
-- The Russian government announces that Russian Sochi Olympic champions will be awarded R4m ($122,000 dollars), R2.5 for silver and R1.7 for bronze. / Tajikistan president Emomali Rakhmon appoints as new prime minister the head of the Sughd Region, Kokhir Rasulzoda, a northerner like his predecessor.
22 Nov. Putin move scuppers EU deal on Ukraine (FT) / EU blames Putin for Ukraine's about-turn (FT) / Ukraine vote imperils E.U. partnership agreement (iNYT) / Ukraine opposition mass rally in Kiev over snub to EU) / US moves to secure Russian support for Syrian peace talks (FT)
-- Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Turkish prime Minister Recep Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold talks on trade and on relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan, Syria and Iran.. (Bilateral tade has increased by 24% in 10 years, and Erdogan says the discussions are at an ‘enviable level’. / The Russian Duma votes a constitutional amendment merging the Supreme Court and the Higher Arbitration Court, and also reforming the nomination of regional prosecutors. / Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she is ready to remain in jail in exchange for the signing of the EU-Ukraine association agreement. / About 2.000 people continue an all-night vigil in central Kiev. One of the opposition leaders, Arseni Yatseniuk demands the presidents impeachment for violating the constitution and accepting ‘billions of dollars’ from Russia. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov says he hopes that trilateral talks (among Ukraine, Russia and the EU) will remove contradictions and minimise Ukraine's economic losses.
21 Nov. A power struggle emerges in Uzbekustan's first family (Gulinara Karimov discredited as possble successor) iNYT / Putin clings to the past ('Former soviet satellites must be free to choose their future') iNYT leqder / Eni to sell gas field in Russia's Arctic (FT)
-- Azerbaijan and Russian defence ministers Zakir Hasanov and Sergei Shoigu, sign a cooperation deal for 2014. / Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that Russia needs to make consistent efforts to reinforce groups of troops and protect its interests in the Arctic region’. / The leaders of Russian non-parliamentary opposition parties’ describe their meeting with president Putin, the first at such level since that with president Medvedev, as a constructive dialogue, without aggression or attempts to humiliate or discredit anybody. / President Putin proposes trilateral talks between Russia, EU and Ukraine but before the establishment of an EU-Ukraine association. / By 365 votes out of 423 (with the communists abstainning), the Ukrainian parliament adopts changes to the clountry’s election law as required by EU, but rejects a law that would allow imprisoned ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko to go abroad for medical treatment. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov says that new trade barriers in the CIS would be ‘wrong and unacceptable’ and that Ukraine is preparing to sign an agreement on access to transport by the CIS pipeline network in May 2014. / The Ukraine cabinet of ministers halts preparations for signing the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU; it orders the resumption of an ‘active dialogue’ regarding possible entry into the Russian-led Customs Union. Deputy prime minister Yuri Boiko says the preparations are being halted for reasons of the economy./ The opposition speaks of ‘treason’. / Ukrainian industrialists and the ruling Party of Regions ask the government to postpone signing an agreement with EU for a year.
20 Nov. Ukraine closes on Slovakia gas deal (FT)
-- By 93 votes to 19, the Georgian parliament passes a vote of confidence to the new prime minister Irakli Gharibashvili, 31, and his government. / Moldovan prime minister Iurie Leanca says he sees no contradiction between EU and the Russian-led Customs Union since ‘we are all members of the WTO’. Polls in Moldova show modest expectations from the Vilnius summit, with only 19% of the population expecting ‘substantial changes’. 34% ‘some changes’, 22% ‘only insignificant changes’, and 25% were uncertain. / / Egypt purchases 120.000 tonnes of Russian wheat to replenish its reserves and meet the country’s needs until March. / The Syrian Ukraine opts for EU integration but that sanctions are not on the agenda.
19 Nov. Brussels or Moscow? Yanukovich has yet to jump (FT) / Merkel issues challenge to Russia (ex-satellites must be free to pick) iNYT / Ex-oligarch now fights 'dirty money' (A. Lebedev) iNYT
-- Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenkosigns a law allowing public associations to be transformed into political parties, if they have at least 1,000 members representing most of the regions and Minsk. / The members of the criminal gang which terrorised a district of Krasnodar region, headed by a district councillor, Sergei Tsapok, are convicted for the murder of 19 people over at least 12 years ; sentences are from 19 years to life / Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash says that the political direction of Ukraine, whether towards towards EU or the Russian-led Customs Union, ‘does not matter’ because ‘for a businessman the most important question is not to lose opportunities in either direction”, which is why Ukrainian business has been working on both paths since March.
18 Nov. Russian GPS in U.S. stirs sy fears (iNYT) / Opportunities multiply for Russia's entrepreneurs (SMEs) FT
-- Parliament speaker Igor Corman says that Moldova's integration with Europe will help the integration of the Transdniestr region with Moldova, since its residents are also interested in free movement and access to EU markets. / A Moscow district court upholds the decision by the Russian Justice Ministry to deny registration to Alexei Navalny's People's Alliance party. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explains Russia’s opposition to humanitarian corridors inSyria, saying they would inevitably be used by the opposition to transfer money and weapons; he says Russia prefers humanitarian aide to be supplied through government channels; and that Russia and the US will do their best to convene a Syria conference in 2013 even in less-than-ideal conditions. / Ukrainian and Azerbaijani presidents, Viktor Yanukovych and Ilham Aliev, agree to deepen their cooperation in energy.
17 Nov. At his inauguration ceremony, the new Georgian president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, promises to consolidate the democratic process and keep EU and NATO integration thr ultimate foreign policy goal while simultaneously deepening dialogue with Russia. Outgoing president Mikheil Saakashvili and members of his party ignore an invitqtion to attend.. / The People's Alliance party elects activist Alexei Navanly as chairman. / President Putin orders the formation of a commission to investigate the cause of a plane crash at Kazan airport killing all 52 passengers and crew, among them the eldest son of Tatarstan president. .
16 Nov. U.S. dancer, complaining of bribery, quits Bolshoi (iNYT)
-- President Putin has a telephone conversation with Egypt’s interim president Adli Mansur at Russia’s initiative. / In an peration near Makhachkala, Daghestan, five people are killed including the alleged organiser of the 21 October Volgograd bus suicide bombing. / At a military parade marking his inauguration, newly re-elected Emomali Rakhmon, president of Tajikistan since 1994, promises to continue the democratisation of society, to step up fight against crime and corruption, and to pursue an ‘open door’ foreign policy.
15 Nov. A fine line for activists (Greenpeace, Arctic Sunrise) iNYT
-- Belarus foreign minister Vladimir Makey says that, after the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Belarus should weigh up the claims of the EU and the Russian-led Customs Union. / Representatives of the Syrian government arrive in Moscow to discuss preparations for the international conference Geneva-2. / In a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Azarov, Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Ukraine must ‘honour its obligations’ and make sure that Russian gas reaches European consumers. / Six people are injured (two seriously) in a brawl between local Salafis and Sufis, outside a mosque in Leninkent, Dagestan.
14 Nov. Delay to Tymoshenko's release puts Ukraine's pact with EU in jeopardy (FT) / Kiev delays vote on ex-premier's release (iNYT) / Russia and Egypt in key Cairo talks (strategic shift?) BBC / Pussy riot member moved to Siberia prison (iNYT) / Russia, China and others win seats on [UN] Human Rights Council (iNYT)
-- Kazakhstan First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintaev says that over $39m have been allocated to the implementation of joint projects with NGOs this year. / Kyrgyzstan foreign minister Erlan Abdyldaev hands to the US ambassador a letter notifying the decision to shut the US air base at Manas airport in 2014. / After meeting visiting Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmi says that Egypt is looking for ‘strong, continuous and stable relations with Russia’ bearing in mind its positions and role in the Middle East; both countries agree to resume their antiterrorist cooperation and relaunch military-technical cooperation. / For the first time in two years, Russian and Syrian presidents Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Asad talk by telephone. / EU special envoy Aleksander Kwasniewski says that a failure to sign the EU-Ukraine agreement in Vilnius on 28-29 November ‘will mean a postponement of association for a number of years’. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych says that all Ukrainians are equal before the law, including former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
13 Nov. Bank head urges Russia reform (Gref, Sberbank) FT
-- At a reception devoted to the docking of the US flagship USS Mount Whitney in Batumi, US ambassador in Georgia Richard Norland expresses hope that bilateral cooperation will further deepen under the new government. / During a visit by President Vladimir Putin, Russia and Vietnam sign documents on bilateral cooperation, including on education, energy and defence. / President Putin meets South Korean president Park Geun-hye to discuss economic cooperation and the reduction of tension in the Korean peninsula; they launch a $500m joint investment platform focussing on cross-border investments. / Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu announces the signing of a military cooperation agreement with Serbia extending the strategic partnership agreement signed earlier by the Russian and Serbian presidents. / Ukrainian speaker Volodymyr Rybak closes the parliament's extraordinary sitting after MPs fail to vote on the bills asked by EU which would have allowed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko to go abroad for medical treatment with a subsequent pardon; the leaders of the opposition factions, Arseni Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok, ask the European Parliament's Cox-Kwasniewski mission, who attended the session, to present an ‘interim’ report not a negative one. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov tells colleagues that ‘normalisation of ties with Russia is the No 1 issue of national policy’.
12 Nov. Which way to turn? (Eastern Europe before Vilnius) FT / EU deals compound Moscow's angst (FT) / Russi imposes prison terms on 4 for fatal airport bombing (iNYT)
-- A draft law ‘On the recognition of Nagorny Karabakh republic’ is wins the support of only 10 opposition deputies in Armenian parliament. / The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs asks the Ukrainian president to postpone signing of the EU association agreement for at least a year, saying it fears an export crisis, because domestic products will become uncompetitive as no-one needs them in Europe. / The Uzbek diaspora in Russia sends an open letter to president Islam Karimov, complaining of unsatisfactory work by their embassy in Moscow. They say about 8,000 Uzbek citizens are in Russian prisons, waiting for embassy documents allowing their return home. (Filing the documents can take 18 months).
11 Nov. The dilemma of Russia's slowdown (FT)
-- After a series of tit-for-tat closures of their borders, the Iran and Azerbaijan reopen check-points to individuals (but not vehicles) allowing residents of the Aserbaijan’s Nakhichevan enclave to reach the Azerbaijan mainland by means other than air. / At the 10th interregional cooperation forum, presidents Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbaev hail the signature of a programme of strategic cooperation between Russian and Kazakhstan in the 21st century. It includes industrial agreements, including energy deals. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia considers it unacceptable to use the situation over the Korean Peninsula as a pretext for deploying additional components of the global ABM system. / Four suspects in the 2011 suicide bombing at Domodedovo airport in Moscow are condemned to sentences between 10 years an life imprisonment plus compensations to the victims of $1.600- $16.600 equivalent. / The Russian presidential press secretariat confirms that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych made a working visit to Moscow on 9 November to discuss trade and economic relations with president Putin. / The jihadist Chechen website Kavkaz-Tsentr describes the 6 November UN General Assembly resolution calling for a global truce during the Sochi Winter Olympics as sponsored by Russia and essentially an armistice proposal to the Caucasus emirate. / Flares, thunder flashes and bottles are thrown at the Russian embassy in Warsaw as Polish nationalists commemorate Poland's national independence
10 Nov. Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans expresses hope that Moscow and The Hague will find a diplomatic solution to the incident involving the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, in the coming week; he denies having said that gays are discriminated against in Russia and consequently qualify for asylum;. / The foreign ministers of India, Russia and China hold their 12th meeting in New Delhi, to discuss ‘strengthening the trilateral dialogue for consultation and coordination on regional and global issues’.
09 Nov. Iran and Azerbaijan meet to try to put an end to a tit-for-tat closure of border posts.
-- Belarus opposition activists from the Malady Front announce they set up a headquarters inside the Kiev city council building seized by Ukrainian protesters to coordinate the activities of Belarusians joining the protests in Kiev. / Russian president Vladimir Putin signs the decree reshaping RIA Novosti news agency and radio Golos Rossii into a state federal international news agency ‘Russia Today’. / Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych supports former president Leonid Kravchuk’s proposition to launch a national round-table to find a compromise in the current political situation and agrees to meet the three former presidents on the 10th.
-- Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov praises the role played by the USA in current talks between the 5+1 group and Iran to on the nuclear issue; he reasserts Russian position of a stage by stage approach, on the principle of reciprocity. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov says that European politicians will bear full responsibility if they decide to put a crucial decision as the signature of an EU-Ukraine agreement on the same level as a questionable demand for the release of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
08 Nov. Russia seeks ruble symbol (iNYT) / Bolshoi director testifies after acid attzack (iNYT)
-- The Russian Olympic Committee says that the ‘scandal’ over sportsmen of non-traditional sexual orientation is ‘whipped up’, artificially.. / The Russian FSB confirms that it has resumed co-operation with the UK special services ahead of the Sochi games. / The Russian Foreign Ministry says it regrets the refusal of the Syrian National Coalition to take part in informal talks, in Moscow, with representatives of the Syrian government. / Gazprom says it wants new regulations to ensure the safety of Russian offshore energy facilities following the attempt of Greenpeace activists to board the Prirazlomnaya oil rig. / The Russian FSB charges former Duma deputy Mikhail Glushchenko with organising the 1998 murder of Galina Starovoitova, the Duma deputy and co-chair of the Democratic Russia party. (Two men were convicted for the murder in 2005 and given 20 and 23 years in prison). / A group of < b>Ukrainian producers ask prime minister Mykola Azarov to protect the interests of national manufacturers and complain about deteriorating cooperation with Russian partners.
07 Nov. The hacker group Anonymous Ukraine takes responsibility for an attack on the webpage of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Estonia. / The Kremlin press service says that president Putin has no plans to meet the head of Greenpeace about the arrest of its activists. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadi Gatilov says it is ‘absolutely unacceptable’ to exclude Iran Iran from a conference on Syria. / As communist parties in all the CIS celebrate the 1917 revolution, the Russian Communist Party claims to have collected 2 millions signatures on the Internet asking for the dismissal of the present government. / The Ukrainian parliament adjourns without reaching a compromise on a bill allowing former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to go abroad for medical treatment. / The leader of the pro-presidential Party of Regions parliamentary faction says the European Parliament observer mission on the Tymoshenko case (Pat Cox and Alexander Kwasniewski) has never once met representatives of the pro-presidential party and has dealt only with the opposition. / The Tajikistan Central Electoral Commission announces the re-lection of president Emomali Rakhmon for a fourth term, with 83,6% of the vote; the turnout was 86.6%. (The two main opposition parties, the Islamic Rebirth Party and the Social Democratic Party, did not take part after failing to secure electoral reforms).
06 Nov. Ukraine moves to reduce reliance on Russia with Chevron [shale] gas deal (FT) / China sows seeds for Ukraine food tie-up (FT) / Tajik President Rakhmon set to win another term (Polling today) BBC
-- Gazprom head Alexei Miller says that growing Russian gas exports to Europe confirm that the South Stream pipeline, whose construction started recently in Bulgaria and will soon be taken up in Serbia is ‘more relevant than ever before’. / It is announced that a political party against religious and ethnic extremism in Russia is being set up on the basis of the Russia For All foundation. / At a meeting on the use of the National Welfare Fund, Russian president Vladimir Putin warns against depleting Russian reserve funds, saying they are like a ‘safety cushion for the Russian economy, social sphere and financial system’, especially in period of unstable growth.
05 Nov. Going all out at Sochi, but what next? (iNYT)/ Ukraine's risky bet (iNYT)
-- Armenian Economy Minister Vahram Avanesian says that Armenia continues to adapt ‘key’ EU directives to its own economy despite joining the Customs Union. / The head of the Russian drug control service, Viktor Ivanov, says that a joint operation by Lithuanian and Russian agencies has managed to stop an ‘amphetamine tsunami’ into EU countries worth valued at about $1.5bn a year. / The leader of Ukraine’s ruling Party of the Regions parliamentary faction, Olexandr Yefremov, says that the party will not back any of the bills providing for former premier Yulia Tymoshenko’s treatment abroad. / Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky announces the signature of a Production Sharing Agreement with Chevron for shale gas extraction in the Oleska field (Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions).
04 Nov. Russia's foreign policy iss nearing complete failute (FT)
-- Thousands of people attend events held across Russia to mark the Day of National Unity, with a mix of people from royalists to drunken football fans and extreme nationalists. A dozen are arrested for wearing masks, shouting Nazi slogans or using banned symbols. / In his Unity Day speech, President Putin speaks of how the feeling of unity and solidarity from the Time of Troubles onwards became a ‘reliable foundation for the Russian state’. / Meeting the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, Ukraine’s premier Mykola Azarov says his country has cut gas consumption by half and expects to produce its own gas by ‘studying the US experience on shale gas production’.
03 Nov. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili pardons Bacho Akhalaia, the former interior and defence minister, sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in prison over the prison scandal of 2006, when he was prisons chief. / Over 100,000 people rally in Chisinau in support of Moldova’s ‘integration with Europe’, calling the government to resist internal and external pressure to the contrary.
02 Nov. Snowden appeals for clemency in letter from Russia (iNYT)/ trouble.uz? (bid to unseat President Karimov's trendy elder daughter Gulnara as aspiring successor) Econ
-- Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili nominates interior minister Irakli Gharibashvili as his successor. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that Edward Snowden will not be allowed to violate the conditions set by President Putin for his asylum, nor to damage US-Russian relations, but that he is free to meet whoever he likes. He is also free to give evidence over alleged US surveillance of the communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, since the material in questions was disseminated by German, not Russian, media. / The first Russian-Japanese meeting of foreign and defence ministers is held in Tokyo to discuss anti-terrorist and anti-piracy cooperation, and the stepping up contact between the two countries’ armed forces. / Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny says he will not take part in the ‘Russian March’ in Moscow on 4 November due to ‘the new situation’ created by his successful showing in the Moscow mayoral election.
01 Nov. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that it is unrealistic to expect that Syrian president Bashar al-Asad will give up power without guarantees and some kind of proposal about the development of political dialogue in Syria. Separately, he says that there is not link between the problem of Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine and Ukraine’s bid for EU integration, because it is necessary to pay for energy irrespective of which organisation one belongs to. He says that while Russia is sympathetic to environment concerns, it cannot support activities such as those of Greenpeace in the Artic which may cause damage to the environment and be dangerous. / The lawyer of former CIA contractor Edward Snowden’s lawyer says his client is ready to cooperate with German secret services but cannot cross Russian border without loosing his temporary asylum. / Rosatom announces it won a tender to build a nuclear power station in Jordan. /It is announced that the Greenpeace activists arrested in the Artic will be moved from Murmansk to St Petersburg to be held in better conditions.
31 Oct. Democracy's test in Georgia (possible prosecution of Saakashvili) iNYT / More than they bargained for (Russian treatment of Greenpeace crew) iNYT / Russian stock offers a direct bet on diamonds (private investors admitted) iNYT
-- The Kazakhstan parliament ratifies an agreement to give military aid ‘without strings’ to Tajikistan. / Edward Snowden’s lawyer announces that the former US security service employee has found a job in the support team of a Russian website and that, living in Russia under Russian laws, he cannot go abroad and will not answer questions on the US spying on its allies, as it agreed when he received asylum. / Russian President Vladimir Putin appoints Alexei Kudrin, former finance minister and deputy prime minister, to the presidium of the presidential economic council. (He resigned in September 2011 after a row with President Medvedev over public spending). / A two-kilometre-long line of over 80 lorries forms on the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Donetsk Region, as Russia toughens its customs rules./ The lawyer of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she is ready to accept any proposal by the European Parliament's mission.
30 Oct. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny charged again (BBC)
-- Armenian Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobian says the inflow of Armenian refugees from Syria resumes, with about 200 arriving weekly (there are now over 10,000 in the republic). / Belarus condemns the decision by the European Council to extend sanctions on Belarusian citizens and enterprises. / Russian president Vladimir Putin and visiting Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic discuss ‘century old relations’, including Russian investments in Serbia ($1.2bn) and Serbian investments in the South Stream Project. / As a delegation of arrives in Moscow, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky says that Ukraine hopes to resolve the issue of the Russian gas debt ‘today or tomorrow’. / After eight hours of discussion, the Sarmatia company, involved in the extension of the Ukrainian Odessa-Brody pipeline to Poland, receives a fatal blow as the state-owned Polish company PERN Przyjazn stops financing the project.
29 Oct. Saakashvili likely to face inquiry, PM says (FT) / (Ex-official of Georgia is guilty in prison case (Bachana Akalia) iNYT
-- Iranian Navy Commander Rear-Admiral Habibollah Sayyari and his Kazakhstan counterpart, Rear-Admiral Zhandarbek Zhanzakov, pledge increased cooperation in the Caspian Sea. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that the situation with gas deliveries to Ukraine is critical and that Russia may apply the system of advance payment if it is not settled, because ‘gas communism’ is a fact of the past. (According to Gazprom chief, Alexei Miller, Ukraine, whose gas deliveries are at a historical low, has yet to pay $882m for the supplies in August.) / Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg face new formal criminal charges for the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Russian division of the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov admits problems about Russian gas deliveries but says they are not critical and the issue must be settled by Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy, not at cabinet level. / Ukraine deputy prime minister Yuri Boyko and the US State Department special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Carlos Pascual, discuss the possibility of liquefied gas supplies to Ukraine via an LNG terminal.
28 Oct. Giorgi Margvelashvili is elected president of Georgia with 62.1% of the vote; Davit Bakradze, of the United National Movement, recrives 21.7% and Nino Burjanadze, of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia, 10.2%. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov salutes ‘the good level of interaction between Russia and Ukraine on border issues ahead of Sochi Olympics, as numerous visitors will travel through Ukraine.’ / President Putin assures the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach that Sochi visitors ‘will feel at ease regardless of their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation’.
27 Oct. In Vilnius, delegates to the Third Forum of the Belarus Human Rights Council allege a continued deterioration of the human rights situation and ask for the liberation of political prisoners and a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing it. / Responding to signs that Georgians have elected Giorgi Margvelashvili, of the rival Georgian Dream coalition, to succeed him, President Saakashvili says he respects the majority’s opinion but laments a ‘regression’ in Georgia’s development. / Ukrainian and Russian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych hold an ‘informal’ meeting in Sochi mostly devoted to the implications of Kiev’s signing the EU association agreement.
26 Oct. The Gulag oligarch (extended interview with Mikhail Khordokovsky) FT
-- Tension eases on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border where 120 Tajik border guards penetrated Kyrgyzstan territory in order to protect start-up of two oil rigs which Dushanbe consideres illegal. (Half of the border between the two countries is not delimited.) / Akram Iskhak, the leader of a Circassian charity organisation in Syria, tells the Council of the International Circassian Association that 150 Circassians have been killed and more than 4,800 wounded during the Syrian conflict. / Tajikistan says it is introducing an electricity energy supply limit in all the regions.
25 Oct. Ten years a prisoner, by Mikhail Khordokovsky (article from prison camp proposes 'construtive compromise' by Kremlin and political opposition) iNYT / Klitschko to run for Ukraine presidency (FT)
-- A representative of the Georgian foreign ministry rejects the invitation to rejoin the CIS made at the CIS Minsk summit by Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko. (Georgia left the CIS after the August 2008 war). The press secretary of the Moldovan president says that President Nicolae Timofti does not reject the idea of awarding medals to WWII veterans as long as the medals did not show the hammer and sickle communist symbols. / In Islamabad, Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan subscribe to a ‘road map’ for jointly combatting drug trafficking in Central Asia. / The Russian Duma passes a law providing for compensation for damage arising from acts of terrorism, including those occurring on foreign territory, to be paid by the terrorist's relatives. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych says that the CIS, over which Ukraine is due to preside in 2014, will benefit from Kiev’s signing the EU association agreement.
24 Oct. Russia eases prosecution of Arctic oil protesters (iNYT) / Russian puzzle proves hqrd to crack (ownership of Surgutneftegas) FT / What does China Want? (Jonathan Steele on pressures in Central Asia) The London Review of Books - www. lrb.co.uk
23 Oct. Russia 'drops Greenpeace piracy charge' (BBC)
22 Oct. Bolshoi dancer Dmitrichenko set for acid attack trial (BBC)
-- In Chisinau, visiting Polish and Swedish foreign ministers Radoslaw Sikorski and Carl Bildt express support for the ruling three-party ruling they see as a guarantee of satiability and the EU integration process, while denying they are interfering with Georgia’s domestic politics. / Representatives of national diasporas call on the Moscow mayor's office to ban a nationalist ‘Russian March’ planned for 4 November in the Liublino district. / The head of the parliamentary faction of Fatherland party, Arseni Yatseniuk, says that former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and leader of the party, would accept a ‘partial pardon’; visiting Polish and Swedish foreign ministers Radoslaw Sikorski and Carl Bildt say that EU is waiting for specific decisions about Tymoshenko by 18 November.
21 Oct. The US ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar, offers deeper cooperation with the country’s government, despite differences of opinion, and for the sake of shared interests. / President Alexandr Lukashenko says that Belarus is ready to hand over the arrested head of the Russian potash giant Uralkali, Vladislav Baumgertner, if he agrees to cover losses incurred by Belarusian potash company Belaruskaly as a result of allegedly fraudulent actions; he adds that ‘Belarus is ready to cooperate with Russia on the potash market’. / The Russian President’s Human Rights Council drafts a proposition for an amnesty for 200,000 people to mark the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. / A bomb explodes in a bus in Volgograd killing 6 people and injuring 55, including 20 children and 8vivtimd in intensive care; the suicide bomber is identified as a 30 year old Dagestan woman married to the member of an ‘illegal armed formation’. / The Secretary-General of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), Nikolai Bordiuzha, says that the organisation wants to avoid a Syrian scenario on its territories, including by preventing mercenaries from CSTO countries to return home with ‘new technologies. He says the CSTO will help Tajikistan strengthen its border with Afghanistan.
20 Oct. In Bucharest, several thousand people, including individuals from Chisinau, take part in a march in favour of the union of Moldova (which they call Bessarabia) with Romania. / Moscow mayor Sergei Sobianin acknowledges that he consulted with President Putin about the participation of opposition candidate Alexei Navalny in the recent mayoral election of 8 September. / In Khimki, in the Moscow Region, police briefly detain four organisers of a ‘civil raid’ by nationalists aimed at uncovering illegal immigrants. / Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Moscow on the first leg of a two-nation visit (the next being China) for talks with President Putin on strengthening their countries’ strategic partnership and ‘adapting it to changing times’. / Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov says that ‘the time has come to devolve more powers’ to regional and local authorities, but that this requires more money and better organisation on the part of those authorities.
19 Oct. In a low key ceremony, without foreign guests or television coverage, Ilham Aliev takes the oath as new president immediately after Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court declares him winner of the 9 October polls with 85% of the vote; the authorities react sharply to OSCE allegations that the election was ‘seriously flawed’. / Discussing technical and military cooperation with Brazil, including the development of a fifth generation fighter aircraft, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that Russia wants to step up its presence on the Latin American arms market. / Police detain 78 people, including 60 teenagers, mostly drunk, to prevent a mass fight in the Moscow suburb of Liubertsy in revenge of the recent rape of a Russian woman by a group of migrants.
18 Oct. Assault sullies a 'friendship' year (Intruders beat up Dutch diplomat in Moscow (iNYT)
-- The NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for South Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, arrive in Yerevan to discuss peace talks on Nagorny Karabakh, ties between NATO and Armenia, the modernisation of the Armenian armed forces, and other regional issues. / Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev says that rich citizens should not forget their social responsibility and should invest in the country development. / The heqd of the Moscow police instructs subordinates to crack down on illegal migration by checking, before the end of the year, every Moscow flat in which illegal migrants might be living, as well as all markets, week-end fairs and similar commercial enterprises. / The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Rosneft sign an agreement to set up a joint venture (49% CNPC, 51% Rosneft) for developing a number of large oil and gas fields in eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East. / According to the Moscow police, the number of political protests in Moscow doubled in 2013, with about 25,000 mass rallies, attended by more than 18 million people, and the mobilisation of 420,000 Moscow policemen to maintain law and order. / The Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources says that Italy's ENI, Electricite de France and Ukraine's state-run Chornomornaftohaz and Vody Ukrayiny plan to jointly explore the three hydrocarbon sites on the Black Sea shelf.
17 Oct. Russian court suspends sentence on Navalny (iNYT) / Russian mayor forges delicate path for the opposition (Rolzman, Yekaterinburg) FT
-- Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev instructs governors to work more with neighbouring regions of Russia in order to advance the sale of Kazakhstan goods on the Russian markets, as a balance to the rising importation of goods from partner countries in the Customs Union - Belarus and Russia. / The Moldovan parliament rejects a motion of no confidence tabled by the opposition Communist Party;. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov says Ukraine and Russia have started a reset of their mutual ties on the basis of pragmatic cooperation, benefits to both sides, and the avoidance of artificial obstacles.
16 Oct. Ethnic viomlence returns to Moscow (iNYT)
-- The penal chamber of the Kirov Region Court changes the sentences of opposition activist Alexei Navalny and another defendant in the Kirovles case, Piotr Ofitserov, from five years imprisonment to suspended sentences. / A former Chechen militant who took hundreds of people hostage in Budennovsk hospital (North Caucasus) in June 1995, under the late separatist field commander Shamil Basaev, is jailed for 14 years. (More than a hundred people were killed).
15 Oct. The Russia left behind (decay of rural society) (iNYT)
-- Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says that he will name his successor within a week of the 27 October presidential election. / The Russian police arrest, in Kolomna, in the Moscow region, the suspected killer of 25-year-old Moscow resident Yegor Sherbakov, a citizen of Azerbaijan. / In the Kirov region, the police charge two men from the North Caucasus, allegedly supporters of Wahhabism, with planning to blow a chemical arms storage and disposal site in central Russia.. / Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev says that if Ukraine signs an EU association agreement its chances of joining the Customs Union “’will practically be zero”’ / The Moscow policechief sacks the police chief of the Biriulevo district in southern Moscow, which was the scene of unrests and attacks of migrants after the killing of a local man; the Ministry of Interior says that criminal proceedings could be instituted against police officers serving in the district as well as the administrators and the owner of the vegetable storage facilities there.. / Almost 300 people are detained during a nationalist demonstration near Prazhskaya metro station in Moscow. / The Ukrainian and Russian prime ministers, Mykola Azarov and Dmitri Medvedev sign agreements on the creation of the Black Sea grain pool.
14 Oct. Premier Bidzina Ivanishvili reacts to call by Georgian president Saakashvili to boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi saying “we have to stop living based on impulses”. / The president of Transdniestr region, Yevgeni Shevchuk, expresses concern over the recent agreement on military cooperation between Moldova and Romania, ‘bearing in mind that the Transdniestr-Moldova conflict is not settled’. / Moscow mayor Sergei Sobianin reports on steps take to deal with the aftermath of clashes in Biriulevo; he calls for the quick arrest the killer of resident Yegor Shcherbakov, the closure of the local vegetable warehouse and checks on illegal migrants. / More than 70 people detained during the violence in Biriulevo face fines; while 300 others are released from police stations after receiving a ‘crime prevention’ talk. / The Moscow Patriarchate calls for a war on the shadow economy and ethnic crimes in the capital and in all Russia; the Council of Muftis of Russia calls on Muslims not to hide the Biriulevo murderer or fall for provocations. / The head of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky says that Russia does not need tougher legislation on migration but ‘an activisation of existing mechanisms and giving them the chance to work’. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the refusal to take part in Geneva-2 conference by Syrian National Council leader George Sabra shows the West is unable to bring the Syrian opposition to talks and that the Council loosing ground. / A Moscow Court rejects the appeal by opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg, and refuses to close the criminal case against them. / In an interview, former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she is ready for compromise with the authorities in the form of a pardon without full rehabilitation, because she does not want her case to weigh on a EU-Ukraine agreement. / Ukrainian foreign minister Leonid Kozhara discusses cooperation with Kazakhstan and the Customs Union after the signature of an association agreement with the EU.
13 Oct. Russian interior minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev sends reinforcement to the Moscow suburb Biriulevo after protesting locals are joined by nationalists and drunken football fans who attack migrants and vandalise a mall; the protest followed the publication of a video picturing the Caucasian-looking killer of local resident Yegor Shcherbakov on the night of the 10 October as he tried to protect his fiancée.
12 Oct. Some 2.000 people take the streets of Baku to protest the 9 October Azerbaijan presidential election result; opposition candidate Camil Hasanly, claims that the turnout was about 20 per cent and that he took about 65-70 per cent of the vote.. / Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that Russia should continue to keep part of its reserves in US treasury bonds despite the danger of a US debt default. / The Iranian National Oil Company's director for international affairs, Seyed Mohsen Qamsari, says negotiations are under way with the Caspian littoral states to boost the volume of oil swaps.
11 Oct. Vise tightens in Caucqsus (security ahead of Sochi winter Olympics) (IHT)
-- Dutch ambassador to Moscow Ron van Dartel pays a visit to the Russian Foreign Ministry to present an official report on the incident with a Russian diplomat in the Hague. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says reports indicate that ‘third countries’ illegally used Afghan territory to train Syrian rebels in the use of chemical weapons, evading Kabul’s control; he also urges all interested sides to remove ‘artificial obstacles’ to an international conference on the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. / In Leninkent, on the outskirs of the Dagestan capital Makhachkala, representatives of village and regional authorities, the Interior Ministry, the religious board of Muslims of Dagestan, and Salafi communities act to prevent sectarian clash over a Sufi mosque.
10 Oct. Greenpeace makes plea to Putin to free activists (IHT) / Deal to free ex-premier of Ukraine seems near (IHT) / Kazakhstan advertising supplmement (IHT)
-- The Russian Constitutional Court rules that people convicted of serious offences cannot be deprived for life of the right to stand for political election and instructs parliament to establish a clear duration for such a restriction. / In Ankara, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Turkish pemier Recep Erdogan discuss plans to set up a Black Sea coast trade agreement due to be signed next year. / Residents of three villages in the Bakhchysaray region of Crimea fight with police after losing a nne years long lawsuit with a private agricultural firm over occupation of their land.
After meeting the EU’s foreign affairs chef, Catherine Ashton, in Brussels, Armenianforeign minister Edvard Nalbandian says that Armenia wants to cooperate with the Union while considering the republic’s other schemes for integration. / Ilham Aliev is reelected for a third term as president of Azerbaijan with 84% of the vote. Turn-out was 72.31%. / Premier Mykola Azarov says Ukraine welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin's ‘constructive’ stance on the resolution of trade issues which the two countries could encounter after signing a Ukraine-EU association agreement in Vilnius on 28-29 November. / The office of Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Ukraine, Fazyl Amzaev, denies claims by the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev that his organisation is recruiting Ukrainians to fight in Syria.
08 Oct. Belarusian and Ukrainian prime ministers, Mikhail Miasnikovich and Mykola Azarov, sign a cooperation ‘roadmap’ for 2013-2015, including 80 industrial joint projects. / President Putin says that Russia awaits an apology from the Netherlands for an incident involving a Russian diplomat and the Dutch police. The matter has been seen in Russia as a riposte to Russia’s arrest of Greenpeace activists, sailing under a Dutch flag.) / Russian President Vladimir Putin opposes the introductions of visas within the CIS as a means of fightingillegal migration but says the employment of labour migrants should be better regulated.
07 Oct. UK-based Toros andBelarusian state-owned oil company Belarusnafta unveil plans to set up a joint company for prospecting shale oil and shale gas in southern Belarus. / In Karakol, a town in north-easternKyrgyzstan, police repel a second attempt to storm the local administrative building by protesters at the government agreement with a Canadian company on the Kumtor gold mine. / On the 61st birthday of president Putin, the All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) publishes the results of a poll showing that 65% of Russians consider Putin to have lately become more far-sighted, wiser and purposeful; 50% that he has become more credible and closer to common people; and 67% that he is execising more weight in global politics. / In his address to the APEC summit in Bali, Putin refers to the structural and protracted problems of the current economic model; he invites APEC members to participate in projects in Siberia and the Russian Far East, and to take advantage of the Eurasian integration process. / Putin approves the signature of a border treaty with Estonia covering the delimitation of maritime boundaries in the Narva Bay and the Gulf of Finland.
06 Oct. Following information that a Russian bomber pilot who fought against Georgia in 2008 would be among the Olympic Games' torch-bearers, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili urges the Georgian Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. / Ukranian communists hold rallies in Simferopol, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Chernihiv in support of a referendum on Ukraine's entry into the Customs Union. / Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses the ceremony in Red Square launching the relay of the Olympic flame across Russia
05 Oct. Azerbaijan defence command say that its forces have completely taken over the Qabala radar station from Russia. (Russian terminated the ten-year contract in December 2012 when Baku decided to increase the rent to $300m). / Deputy foreign minister Alexei Meshkov says that in the past 18 months Russia has, in vain, asked the Netherlands to put an end to the ‘unlawful activities’ of Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise ship. Ir dismisses Dutch legal action over the recent protest.
04 Oct. Following information that a Russian bomber pilot who fought against Georgia in 2008 would be among the Olympic Games' torch-bearers, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili urges the Georgian Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. / Ukranian communists hold rallies in Simferopol, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Chernihiv in support of a referendum on Ukraine's entry into the Customs Union. / Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses the ceremony in Red Square launching the relay of the Olympic flame across Russia.
03 Oct Russia evacuates embassy in Libya after attack (BBC)
-- In a message to the World Public Forum ‘Dialogue of Civilisations’ in Rhodes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the international community should aid the development ofArab countrie by helping to establish an internal dialogue among them without imposing a ‘scale of values’ from outside. / The Russian Investigations Committee says that all 30 crew members of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have been charged with piracy. / Gzazprom says it is ready for constructive dialogue with Greenpeace. / The Russian permanent envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, says any decision on joining regional associations should be left to Ukraine but that it cannot be based on illusory schemes on the ‘how to sit on two chairs’ variety.. / Ukrainian deputy premier Kostyantyn Hryshchenko signs a document making Ukraine an associate member of CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research).
02 Oct No headlines Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbaev approves a 2013-2017 programme on fighting religious extremism and terrorism in the country. / South Ossetia and Russia sign an interparliamentary agreement. / The directorate of the Russian Interior Ministry responsible for Moscow says it has established that more than R100m ($3.1m) were embezzled from the federal budget in the reconstruction of the Bolshoi and Maly theatres. / Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) can only benefit from the adhesion of India and Pakistan. / The Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledges that unidentified assailants fired shots and attempted to enter the territory of its embassy in Tripoli, but without casualties. / Prime minister Mykola Azarov says that Ukraine hopes for EU aid towards implementing provisions of its future association agreement with the EU, as well as facilitating systemic promotion of Ukrainian goods in EU countries.
01 Oct No headlines Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov says that only a fall in the US economy's growth rate can affect the economy of Russia and other countries – not a partial shutdown of US federal agencies. / Ukrainian agricultural policy and food minister Mykola Prysyazhniuk says he is holding talks with China’s Eximbank about reciving a loan of $3bn for restoring irrigation systems. / Hungarian and Polish operators transported some 1,489bn cu.m. of gas through their system during the first nine months of 2013; but, according to the Ukrainian energy ministry there was no reversal of the gas supply to Ukraine from Slovakia because Tussian Gazprom did not agree. / The Tajikistan parliament ratifies the agreement on the status and term of the 201st Russian Division’s military base in Tajikistan for the purpose of stabilising the frontier.
30 Sept Russian sappers start a mine clearing operation in mountainous areas of Chechnya in order to revive agriculture there.
29 Sept On hunger strike aginst prison conditions since 23rd Sept., Pussy Rioter Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is transferred to hospital. / A court in Murmansk rules that all 30 people recently detained on a Greenpeace ship on a charge of piracy should remain in custody for two months.
28 Sept The head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, says that about 150 major criminal groups currently operate in the Central Asian region using at least 100,000 couriers to smuggle drugs into Russia. There are about 1.5 million heroine addicts in Russia taking an average of two doses of heroine a day; a third of them earn the 90.000 roubles a month they need to buy drugs by selling 200 doses in the same period). No headlines
27 Sept Russia in the world -Preening (Putin at Valdai on Syrian diplomatic success) Econ
-- The OSCE calls on Azerbaijan to stop the imprisonment of journalists for political reasons, and on Russia to release journalists who were travelling aboard the Greenpeace ship. It also condemns the suspnsion of three newspapers in Kazakhstan / Defence officials in Kazakhstan’s Kostanay border region says that 10-20% of the young people of the call-up age go to work in Russia to avoid conscription. / Russia's permanent representative at the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that Moldova's signing of an association agreement with the EU could complicate the Transdniestr problem more complicated since two parallel economies exist on the two banks of the Dniestr; and that prices for Russian goods in Ukraine can increase if they have to meet EU norms.
26 Sept EU woos Ukraine as rival suitor persists (FT) / Putin says arrest of activist ship was justified (IHT) / Where art and politics collide (Moscow biennale) IHT / IOC dismisses Russian 'gay law' concerns (BBC)
-- Armenia and Greece sign a military cooperation programme for 2014. / The Belarusian authorities confirm the transfer of the Russian CEO of Uralkaliy, Vladislav Baumgertner, from a remand centre to house arrest. (Uralkaly withdraw from its joint veture with Belaruskaliy in July; Baumgertner was detained in Minsk on 26 August and charged with abuse of office.). President Putin is scheduled to arrive in Belarus to observe a joint military exercise. / Gazprom accuses Greenpeace activists who assaulted its oil rig in the Arctic of using an ‘illegal form of protest’ and endangering the lives of people then working underwater. / Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov predicts a record grain harvest of up to 60m tonnes; in 2013 and says that Ukraine agree with Kazakhstan and Russia to create a a Black Sea grain pool.
25 Sept The Russian Investigations Committee says that thirty members of the Greenpeace ship crew have detained for their protest action against an oil rig in the Artic. / In his speech at the Third International >Arctic Forum, President Putin speaks of the rapid development of Russia’s northern regions and the need to keep a balance between economic needs and ecological norms. / Putin also chairs a meeting on the Yamal LNG project and the building the Sabetta seaport. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych says has that the issue of jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko will be known before to 21 October. /Yanukovych also says that a Ukraine-EU deal will benefit the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. / Meeting his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev in Astana, Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov offers to discuss the EU association agreement, saying that issues with Russia could be solved under WTO rules; and that if Ukraine signed the agreement, it would remain an observer in the Customs Union but not be able to join; at the same time the volume of trade and economic cooperation would , but ‘this waas not an ultimatum’. In NewYork, Ukrainian energy minister Eduard Stavytsky signs a Product-Sharing Agreement with the Western energy companies Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell nd MV Petrom) for hydrocarbons in the Skifska field of the Black Sea shelf.
24 Sept The Russian Federal Penal Service clarifies the conditions of Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: she is not in a punishment cell but in a secure cell in comfortable conditions, with all her personal belongings and the right to make an unlimited number of telephone calls. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that the negative reaction of the > Syrian opposition abroad to the Russian-US accord on chemical weapons shows it is more interesting in toppling Assad regime than in helping Syrian people. / During the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Russian foreign minister Lavrov and US Secretaryof State Kerry meet and prepare implementation of their agreement on chemical weapons in Syria reached in Geneva.
23 Sept Russia offers troops for Syria plan (BBC)
-- Greenpeace sends an open letter to President Vladimir Putin asking him to free the eco-activists detained in the Artic after attempting to board an oil platform. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that the special partnership regime between Kiev and Moscow will end if Ukraine signs an association agreement with the EU; he says Ukraine ‘cannot sit on two chairs’. / Rosatom announces it has handed over Bushehr atomic power station's first power unit to its Iranian customer. / As Russia takes the chair at the > CSTO's collective security council meeting, President Putin lists as priorites the strengthening of CSTO’s external borders, improving command and control of the Organisation’s collective forces, the ght against drug smuggling, the development of collective rapid-reaction forces and the training of CSTO peacekeepers. Member states adopt a statement opposing foreign intervention in Syria.
22 Sept About 10,000 people rally in Baku in support of the opposition National Council of Democratic Forces, calling for free and fair presidential elections on 9 October. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the international community, not Russia, is the guarantor of chemical disarmament in Syria; that Russia can help international efforts to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons but only with military observers (a large military presence is excluded); that Western countries have still not produced evidence that government troops were behind the gas attack in Syria; he calls on the Syrian armed opposition to take part in the disposal of chemical weapon. / Chinese and Uzbekistan defence ministers, Chang Wanquan and Kabul Berdiev, agree to strengthen military cooperation.
21 Sept In Yerevan, several hundred activists march towards the presidency to protest against Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to join the Customs Union. / Georgia’s foreign minister Maia Panjikidze and minister for European integration Alexi Petriashvili express hope that Abkhazia and South Osseria will be removed from the registration form for independent entries in the Olympics, otherwise Georgia may reconsider its participation (Georgian Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze disagrees). / The head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov says that Russia may change its position on the Syria issue if it sees that President Bashar al-Asad is ‘cheating’. / Russian president press spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, describes as ‘an internet exercice to relieve boredom’ tweets, including one by opposition figure Alexei Navalny, about President Putin’ marrying former gymnast Alina Kabaeva that day.
20 Sept Putin calls for a return to values of religion (FT) / Russia assails report by UN on Syria (IHT)/ Russia 'seizes' Greenpeace ship after Arctic rig protest (BBC)
-- Belarusian and Russin armed forces start Zapad-2013, a joint strategic exercise, involving 13,000 servicemen and 350 pieces of military hardware. / According to the FSB, up to 400 Russian nationals are fighting as mercenaries in Syria. / Moscow City Court rejects Alexei Navalny’s appeal against mayoral election results; (Navalny had cited two alleged violations: distribution of food packages to pensioners and unequal access to the media. / T he Russian Duma rejects EU claims that Russia is exerting pressure on neighbours who are planning to join the European free trade zone; it accuses the EU of ‘arm-twisting’ and attempting to limit the sovereign rights of countries to choose their foreign relations. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych says he is certain that the EU association agreement will be signed in Vilnius but that ‘life will not stop’ if it is not.
19 Sept The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan signs contracts to sell gas from the Sah Daniz field to nine foreign companies (Bulgargas, DEPA, Shell, Gas Natural Fenosa, EON, Gaz de France, Hera, Enel, Axpo) to be transported to Turkey and then to Europe. / Kazakhstan’s Human Rights Commission says that about 300,000 migrants are working illegally in the country. / Moldova Prime Minister Iurie Leanca reacts to a recent Russian ban on the importation of Moldovan wines and spirits by calling for ‘a civilised dialogue’ with Moscow. / Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says Russia is ready to taken part in the elimination of Syria' chemical weapons. / Russia seeks the extradition of a Chechen accused of killing a Russian diploma in Abkhazia. (The accused man waw arrested while trying to enter Turkey, after a exchange of fire with Georgian border guards.) / By 325 votes to 62, the Ukrainian parliament adopts a series of law required for the signare of an association agreement with the EU - including one on a customs tariff, another on the implementation of court rulings, and a hird boosting the power of the Audit Chamber (by 380 to 18)
18 Sept Behind Syria deal, old rival of U.S. (Lavrov) IHT
-- Russia's second largest bank, VTB, rejects claims by four US senators that, together with Gazprombank and Vneshekonombank, it is undermining international sanctions by conducting business with Syria; also allegations that 60.9% of President Asad’s personal assets are with VTB. / Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Riabkov holds talks with Syrian president Bashar al-Asad. / The Russian FSB says border guards fired warning shots on the Greenpeace icebreaker in the Pechora Sea when people tried to board a Gazprom-Rosneft platform. / The head of the Kremlin administration, Sergei Ivanov, says that missiles found on the spot of chemical attack in Syria were manufactured in the USSR between 1950 and 1960, an antiquated type supplied to dozens of countries; including Lybia; but that the USSR never supplied warheads with sarin gas to Syria or any other country. / Russian economic development minister Alexei Uliukaev says that the economic situation in Russia is the worst since the global crisis of 2008, and that the slowdown started from the end of last year. / By 331 votes to 107, the Duma passes a controversial bill reforming the Russian b>Academy of Sciences. / The Ukrainian government approves the draft of an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU.
17 Sept US and Russia at odds over use of force in Syria (FT) / Bumper corn harvest îts Ukraine near top of exoprt league (FT)
-- The Azerbaijan foreign ministry refuses to comment on report that six Azerbaijani rebels have been killed by Syrian government forces in recent days. / The /b> Kazakhstan Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbay Karabalin says that the time of easily extractable oil is coming to an end. / The Moldova foreign ministry says that Moldovan and Belarusian women held by Syrian rebels have managed to escape and are now in a safe place in Lebanon. / A criminal case is opened after 15 servicemen were injured in a fire aboard a nuclear submarinein Vladivostok. / Russian deputy finance minister Tatiana Nesterenko says that a shift has been made to the state armament programme, with R300bn ($9.3bn dollars) rescheduledfor spending after 2016.
16 Sept Putin must deliver Assad's compliance (FT leader) / Russia plans naval patrols in ice-free waters (IHT)
-- Azerbaijan news agency APA reports the death of an citizen who went §o Syria to fight the regime and has been fighting in a group led by a terrorist of Chechen origin. (Cases of nationals who have gone to serve the jihad to Syria emerge regularly in Azerbaijani media.) / In Kyrgyzstan’s southern Osh region, security officers announce the arrest of three Central Asian recruits sent from Syria to Kyrgyzstan to commit acts of terrorism in the run-up to Independence Day and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek. / President Putin says that Russia is recreating a military base on the New Siberian Islands to secure control over that part of the Arctic. / A counter-terrorist action is launched in a Chechen district in reaction to a suicide bombing which killed 3 police officers – the first such action since last summer. / The lawyer of Edward says he is living in Russia in a secret location and has been provided with private bodyguards; she also says that he possesses materials that he has not yet made public.
15 Sept. For the second time in four days, Georgian Rustavi-2 TV's headquarters in Tbilisi are evacuated because of a telephoned bomb threat. / Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmi leaves Cairo for his first visit to Moscow since in this post; he will discuss the means of promoting bilateral cooperation and regional issues such as Syria
14 Sept Peace talks in Syria tied to accord on poison gas (IHT) / Syria talks focus on wider solution (FT) / A long week/ Putin's diplomatic gambit (FT) / Blaze kills 37 at Russian psychiatric hospital (IHT)/ Riussian politics: Through the looking glqss (Navalny election result) Econ
-- The foreign ministry says that, at a preparatory meeting for the Eastern Partneship summit in November, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey has called for more economic projects with the EU in the framework of the Parnership program and for a equal treatement for all partners. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that 21 August chemical attack near Damascus was ‘obviously fabricated’ as ‘witnessed by independent experts including 12 retired Pentagon and CIA staff’; also that his Americain counterpart, John Kerry, has confirmed that he will work with his allies to persuade the Syrian opposition to attend ‘Geneva 2’ conference. In answer to questions, Lavrov says Moscow was not surprised by China’s decision to send warships to the Syrian coast, because ‘at the moment everyone want to be closer to see what is happening’.
13 Sept Kerry and Lavrov at odds in Syria talks (FT) / Putin plays to strengths on foreign policy (FT) / Russia and U.S. face off over Syrian arms deal (IHT)/ As Obama pauses, Putin steps to fore (IHT)/ A plea for caution from Russia (Vladimir Putin) IHT
-- In Bishkek, at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Russian president Vladimir Putin says that he was happy at Iran’s greater openness over its nuclear power but that it has ‘a right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including enrichment, like any other state’. / On the sidelines of the conference, he says Russia will continue to supply to the Afghan army certain kinds of arms, partly free of charge, and training in Russian military institutes. / The presidents of the SCO unanimously support Moscow's recent proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control and for this Arab republic to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.
12 Sept Kerry and Lavros set for negotiations over UN resolution (FT) / Kerry to start urgent talks with Lavrov over Syria (IHT) / Playing chess with Putin (Bill Keller) IHT
-- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accuses prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, for ‘braking the main taboo of Georgian politics saying Georgia may eventually join the Russian-led Eurasian Union.’ / He describe this as a ‘new form of the Soviet Union created by Putin and his entourage in order to roll back our region’s progress towards NATO and the EU’. / The Russian Justice Ministry registers the pro-Putin All-Russia People's Front as a nationwide public movement. It has set up 51 branches in the regions.
11 Sept A proposal for Syria (IHT leqder) / Moscow move more a matter of prestige than co-operation (FT) / Iran backs Kremlin plan for chemical weapons handover (FT) Russia's plan for Syria needs testing (FT leazder)
-- The secretary of the Kyrgyzstan Defence Council, Beyshenbay Junusov urges the Collective Security Treaty Organisation to reinforce the security at the southern borders of the CSTO. / Meeting Moldova’s president Nicolae Timofti, the new EU representative Pirkka Tapiola vows European support to counter Russia’s wine ban. / Alexei Navalny appeals against Moscow election results where he came second; he wants the election annulled for procedure violations. / Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdimukhamedov signs cooperation accords including in gas and oil during an ‘historic visit’ to Japan.
10 Sept Russia proposes oversight on Syria (IHT) / Russia bids to head off US strikes on Syria (FT) / Moscow result overturns status quo (Navalny and mayoral election) FT / The return of real politics in Russia (FT leader)
-- President Lukashenko says that Belarus wants to sort out the ‘potash’ problem Russia. / Official results of Moscow mayoral election give acting mayor, Sergei Sobianin 51.37 per cent of the vote, Alexei Navalny 27.24 per cent, Communist Party candidate, Ivan Melnikov, 10.69 per cent; Yabloko candidate Sergei Mitrokhin, 3.51 per cent; Liberal Democratic Party candidate Mikhail Degtiarev, 2.86 per cent; and A Just Russia candidate Nikolai Levichev, 2.79 per cent. Turnout was 32.07 per cent / Visiting Moscow, Libyan foreign minister, Muhammad Abd-al-Aziz says his country is opening new fields of cooperation with Russia. / The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill sends a message to US President Barack Obama urging him to abandon plans of military invasion in Syria; he says Syria's Christian population is threatened with ‘complete annihilation or exile’ in the event of war.
09 Sept How Syria amassed a nerve gazs stockpile(IHT) / Navalny beats poll predictions (FT)
-- The Russian ambassador to Abkhazia, Sergei Grigoriev, says it is too early to talk of political motives after his first secretary is shot dead by unknown persons and his wife seriously injured outside their home in Sukhumi; a criminal case is opened. / Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says that he has completed his ‘mission’ to remove President Mikheil Saakashvili and his allies from power; and that he is content to leave politics following the 27 October presidential election. / Georgian deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani denies that a US-funded biological research laboratory in the outskirts of Tbilisi might be related to chemical weapons used in Syria. / Deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov says that Russia and Japan have agreed not to disclose the details of negotiations on a bilateral peace treaty ‘in order to prevent external influence’. / Addressing the Russian Security Council, President Putin says that a number of countries and international organisations are trying to destabilise the North Caucasus as a bridgehead from which to destabilise all Russia. / At a meeting in Moscow, opposition leader Alexei Navanly says that ‘politics has finally been formed in Russia’ and that he proposes to work as a united political force with LDPR, A Just Russia, Yabloko and the Communist Party.
08 Sept Exit polls shows Sergei Sobianin a clear winner in Moscow mayoral election candidate Alexei Navalny calls (ineffectively) for a rub-occ, claiming that Sobianin received only 46% of the vote. / Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych plays down the possibility of a split in his Party of Regions, between supporters of Ukraine's European integration and those in favouring the Russian-led Customs Union. The final decision will be taken by a referendum. / Back to Tehran after a visit to Turkmenistan, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani says both countries have a common stance on regional issues.
07 Sept. Moscow's mayor - Inspired by 'The Wire' (Econ)
-- In Kazakhstan, on his journey through Central Asia, Chinese president Xi Jinping proposes that China and Central Asia join hands to build a ‘Silk Road economic belt’ to boost cooperation. / After the further failure of a Bulavaintercontinental ballistic missile test, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu orders to conduct five additional launches.
06 Sept. Moscow election tests Kremlin's metal (IHT) / Obama pressed to rethink assault on Syria (G20) FT
-- At the gala marking the 22nd anniversary of the creation of the armed forces of Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria repubic(now about 7.000 men), defence minister Maj-Gen Alexandr Lukianenko stresses the level of their organisation and their capacity to ‘defend [the republic’s] freedom and independence’. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that a strike on Syria without UN Security Council approval would end efforts at a political settlement; he regrets that US Congressmen have refused to receive a delegation of their Russian counterparts to discuss the situation in Syria. / The Russian state television channel reports that US president Obama and his staff ‘frayed the nerves’ of the organisers of the G20 summit by repeatedly changing their mind about where to stay and other logististical matters..
05 Sept. Hunting for migrants in Russia (IHT)
-- As part of the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbaev meets UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and expresses support for ‘resolving the Syrian crisis without war’. / Deputy premier Arkadi Dvorkovich restates Russia’s position that the arrest of by the Belarusian authorities of Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner is ‘unacceptable’ (he has bee arrested on 26 August as he was about to fly out of Minsk after a meeting with Belarusian Prime, at the latter’s invitation, to discuss industrial disagreement). / The Russian foreign ministry says Russia wants to discuss the question of possible nuclear risks due to a military strike against Syria at the autumn session of the International Atomic Energy Authority. / Deputy defence minister Anatoli Antonov says that the Russian ships in the Mediterranean region will not take part in a possible conflict but will monitor the situation in case a situation develops which could threaten Russian national interests. / BRICS leaders meeting in St Petersburg express deep concern over ‘electronic espionage’ against a number of countries, including their own.
04 Sept. Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says that, at this stage, he has no position on joining the Russian-led Customs Union; but he does not rule it out the possibility in the future, if it is in the interests of Georgia. / In a long interview on Channel 1, President Putin says that Russia does not intend to be engaged in the Syrian conflict; he warns the West against taking military action against Syria without a UN Security Council resolution, but he does not rule out agreeing to a military operation if it is sanctioned by the UN; Russia’s position will depend on evidence provided by UN inspectors. He also says he is ‘very much hoping’ to talk with President Obama on the sideline of the G20 summit. / The Russian Navy says that two more warships will join its task force in Mediterranean in the next few days.
03 Sept. Russia resists as France pushes case for strikes. (IHT)
-- Following their negotiations in Moscow, the presidents of Russia and Armenia, Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sargsian, sign a joint statement whereby the Armenian president announces his country's decision to enter the Customs Union. / In Baku, the Board of Muslims of the Caucasus condemns a possible US attack on Syria; at the same time, the Azerbaijan foreign ministry says that ‘Azerbaijan is against the use of chemical weapons in Syria’. / Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves Beijing for state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as the summits of the G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). / The Syrian ambassador in Russia, Riyad Haddad, says that ‘at the moment Russia has taken up a conciliatory position between the USA and Syria which would enable President Obama to find a diplomatic solution [to the Syrian crisis] and at the same time show that Syria that it always with those who fight against violations of the international law’. / Heads of Russian NGOs, including those defending gay rights, announce they received an invitation to meet president Obama during his time at the G20 in St Petersburg. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announces the creation of a commission for the development of the Russian Far East on the model of that for the Caucasus. / After signing bilateral accords, the Turkmenistan and China presidents, Gurbanguli Berdimukhamedov and Xi Jinping, present the project for a new gas pipeline between their countries.
02 Sept. Russia lifts the veil on spammers (IHT)
Kazakhstan websites are deluged with comments on the cost of the wedding of President Nazarbaev’s grandson e, stimated at $6m, including $3m for a brief performance by a US rap singer. / In Chisinau, Moldova, protesters from two parties favouring unification with Romania, oppose an official visit by Russian deputy prime minister and special representative for the Dniester region, Dmitri Rogozin, asking him to be declared persona non grata. / Speaking to international relations students in Moscow, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov describes as ‘strange’ his American counterpart John Kerry’s declaration that Washington has provided Moscow with irrefutable proof of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime; he says that Moscow is not convinced by what it has received from the West, that Russia wants the West finally to agree on the date for the conference on Syria (which a military strike would again delay) and a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. He also says that the invitation to President Obama to visit Russia for talks is still open and that Russia and China have the same views on Syria, Iran, North Korea and other issues.
01 Sept. Despite the division of local authorities in Telavi (eastern Georgia), the Stalineli organisation unveils a monument to Stalin at the site of a World War II memorial. / In Almaty, 165 people, mostly fans of Kazakh singer Kairat Nurtas , are arrested for rioting in the car park of a shopping and entertainment centre. / The chairman of the Russian Duma's International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, says that President Obama’s decision to ask Congress support for a military intervention in Syria is a ‘change of tactics but not of strategy’. / Another school teacher in murdered in Dagestan, the third this year. / The Tajikistan electoral commission announces that candidates for the presidency should collect at least 210,000 supporting signatures (that is to say, 5% of the entire electorate, 52,000 more than in previous election).
For continuation see 'Sixty-two Days, July-August 2013'.
9 March 2014
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