News Summary

The Vostok Report

The news to 10 November 2013.

As the 19th United Nations Climate Change Conference gets underway in Warsaw, Poland will also host a coal industry summit.  The Guardian reports that the International Coal and Climate Summit will discuss the role of the fossil fuel in the global economy within the framework of the climate change agenda.  Poland itself is heavily reliant on coal power.

Source: The Guardian

Violence marred the Kosovo municipal elections last weekend.  Masked men burst into a polling station in the town of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo and released tear gas, forcing polls to close early and the OSCE to withdraw its monitors from the area.  The BBC reports that there was a low turnout among Kosovar Serbs, concerned voting would legitimise Kosovo’s disputed independence.

Source: BBC

Chess grandmaster turned Russian opposition activist Garry Kasparov is seeking Latvian citizenship.  Kasparov thinks the Baltic state is a safer location from which to pursue his political goals, as well as his bid to oust FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Sources: Bloomberg Reuters

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon was elected to a fourth term on 6th November with 83.6% of the vote according to the official count.  An OSCE election monitor in Dushanbe commented: ‘while quiet and peaceful, this was an election without real choice.’  Rakhmon’s main rival, Oynihol Bobonoazorova, did not gain enough signatures to participate in the elections.

Source: RFE/RL

Armenia signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission in respect of the Russia-led customs union.  The memorandum casts doubts over hopes that Armenia would sign an EU Association Agreement at the Vilnius Summit later this month.  The EU has stated that the Association Agreement is contingent on Armenia not joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Source: RFE/RL

Meanwhile Georgian President-elect Georgi Margvelashvili intends to sign a pre-agreement with the EU in Vilnius.  Margvelashvili – elected on 27th October – announced hopes that Georgia will be party to a full Association Agreement in September 2014.

Source: RFE/RL

The EU has set Ukraine’s government a deadline to pass legislation facilitating the release from prison of Yulia Tymoshenko.  Without Tymoshenko’s release, the EU would face criticism were it to extend an Association Agreement to Ukraine at the end of the month.  Russia’s opposition to the Ukraine-EU agreement is well-known, and only this week Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych met President Putin in Moscow.

Sources: Associated Press Kyiv Post

The President of the European Roma and Travellers’ Forum criticised panic about the lifting of travel restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians in January.  In a video, published by the Council of Europe, Rudko Kawczynski addresses the issue of the Roma language and challenges current European policies towards the Roma.

Source: Council of Europe


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