News Summary

The Vostok Report

The news to 26 August 2013

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography

Belarus arrested the Russian Chief Executive of Ukrali, a potash producer. Vladislav Baumgertner was traveling to meet Belarus’ Prime Minister when detained. A video of him being searched later appeared on state television, suggesting that the arrest was revenge for the affront caused when Russia withdrew from a cartel with Belarus’ lead producer, Belaruskali. The cartel controlled 70% of the world’s supply of potash, a fertiliser, at its height, but degenerated into industrial competition.

Source: Reuters

Ukraine received the strong backing of the European Union in a trade dispute with Russia. Russia had imposed restrictions on imports from its neighbour, causing economic disruption in both countries. A trade spokesman said that any attempt to intimidate the country in the lead up to a crucial meeting regarding the proposed Association Agreement was ‘unacceptable.’

Source: Financial Times

Ukraine’s reserves have shrunk to the equivalent of less than three months’ imports with winter approaching. The IMF, which has been negotiating a loan with Ukraine’s government, said that there had been no in depth discussion with the government since April, but that it was expecting a presentation shortly.

Source: Financial Times

Saudi Arabia has offered to reimburse Russia for its economic losses if Western military intervention removes Bashar Assad from power in Syria. The deal could see Russia in an effective partnership with OPEC. Remarkably, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Intelligence Minister, also appeared to promise President Putin a terrorism-free Winter Olympics next year.

Source: Daily Telegraph

FEMEN, the Ukrainian women’s protest group, has accused the country’s authorities of planting guns and explosives at its Kyiv headquarters during a raid.

Source: The Guardian

Serbias Prime Minister, Ivica Dačić, has reshuffled his government in a bid to make progress on European integration. The government’s finances will be handled by 29-year-old Yale and McKinsey alumnus, Lazar Krstic. Krstic has the support of the Serbian Progressive Party. President, Tomislav Nikolic has reportedly been made a judo master by Bosnia’s Judo Alliance, a move which will give him new defences when dealing with Russia’s famously judo-mad President Putin.

Source: Business Day, BBC

Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, saw his authority eroded in a poll of members of his political party. The first poll of Civic Platform to canvas all party members saw turnout of only 50%, and one-fifth of those who did voted for a rival candidate. Mr Tusk is Poland’s longest serving Prime Minister and has a number of jilted rivals within his party. A Polish journalist described the result as a ‘cold shower’ for Tusk.

Source: Financial Times


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