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11/3/14 11/7/14

Khalid Bagirov has become the second lawyer to be banned

from defending jailed Azerbaijani human rights activist
Leyla Yunus. Bagirov was allowed to meet the client,
however he was denied permission to defend her by the
prosecutor-generals office. No explanation was provided.
Yunus, a harsh critic of Azerbaijans human right
violations, was arrested in July. Western government and
human rights groups have called for her release.

Index of Censorship

Russia celebrated National Unity Day on Tuesday, which

involved nationalist parades and rallies throughout the
country. However, in Moscow this year, the parades drew
only a few thousand participants, rather than the anticipated
10,000. Many noted that the rally was split between
nationalists who support the Kremlins policy towards
Ukraine, and those who do not. National Unity Day
commemorates the battle in 1612 that expelled the Polish
army from Moscow.
New York Times


Western-leaning Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania was

dismissed from his position on Tuesday by Prime Minister
Irakli Garibashvili after the former defended his employees
against what he called a politically-motivated corruption
inquiry. In solidarity, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia
Panjikidze and Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic
Integration Alex Petriashvili resigned as well. Since then,
the Free Democrats party, headed by Alasania, has
splintered away from the Georgian Dream coalition.
New York Times

Kiev announced on Friday morning that 32 Russian military

tanks, 30 trucks, and 16 howitzers have crossed the Russian
border into Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said the incursion
began on Thursday. Russia has denied the claims, saying
that they are provocative reports aimed at fueling
tensions. Fighting in southeastern Ukraine has been
constant, despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement in
early September.

At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, the EU pledged to

provide between 140 and 170 million euros for private
sector, public administration, and judicial reforms in
Armenia over the next three years. In addition, a budgetary
assistance agreement was signed that will provide 25
million euros to assist Armenian agricultural growth. The
deal represents the most significant agreement between the
EU and Armenia since the latter joined the Russia-led
Eurasian Customs Union.

The Foreign Ministry of Belarus issued a statement

expressing its readiness to contribute to the peaceful
settlement of the Ukrainian crisis in every possible way.
Spokesman for the Ministry Dmitry Mironchik said that
Belarus considers continuation and successful completion of
the peace negotiations as its priority task. We reaffirm our
commitment to provide all kinds of assistance, Mironchik
said. The Minsk Protocol was signed in Belarus earlier in
September, creating a ceasefire agreement in eastern


Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the

new presidential palace. Called the Ak Saray, or White
Palace, its covers 3.1 million square feet and exceeds the
worlds current largest residential palace, the Sultan of
Bruneis Istana Nurul Iman palace. The palaces price-tag
of $615 million and environmental impact have sparked
criticism in mostly opposition circles.




The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

announced this week that it will provide $25 million to
Moldovan corporation Trans-Oil Group. The loan will
finance the expansion of Trans-Oils grain terminal in the
port of Giurgiulesti, on the Danube River, and the
acquisition and modernization of a grain facility in the port
of Reni, in Ukraine. Trans-Oil is Moldovas largest
agrobusiness and an international commodities exporter.
Romania Insider

Ukrainske Radio

In a speech to the Defense Council of Kyrgyzstan, President

Almazbek Atambaev warned that the radical Islam
espoused by ISIS poses a special threat to the identity of
the resurgent Kyrgyz ethos. Atambaev elaborated that
Islamization would force the Kyrgyz people to abandon
their national characteristics, national dress, spiritual wealth
and national identity. The Kyrgyz media has devoted
extensive coverage to the problem posed by ISIS
recruitment since the summer.


On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

visited Kabul, where he reaffirmed NATOs commitment to
preserving the gains made in Afghanistan after the end of the
foreign combat mission this year. This will entail providing
$4.1 billion annually to Afghan forces, along with training
and support missions. The Taliban continues to be a near
daily threat, carrying out attacks and regaining control of
several provinces.


The worldwide decline in oil prices threatens stability in

Kazakhstan. Although officials claim that the government
has enough resources to grapple with fiscal problems that
may arise, revenues from oil industry account for 25 percent
of Kazakhstans GDP and 60 percent of its balance of
payments. The price of oil decreased from $106 to $80 since
June 2014. Analysts project that the decline might have
implications for Kazakhstans economy in the long run.

According to reports in Western media, Iran has tentatively

agreed to send a significant portion of its uranium stockpile
to Russia to be turned into specialized fuel rods for the
Bushehr reactor. This agreement would ensure that Iran
cannot use the uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons and
would alleviate Western concerns about Irans stockpile of
enriched uranium. Marziyeh Afkham, spokeswoman for the
Iranian Foreign Ministry, dismissed these reports as
politically motivated speculation.

On Wednesday, the Tajik Embassy in Cairo reported that

four Tajik nationals who were detained in Egypt in
September have now been charged with having links to the
Islamic State. The men were arrested on September 19 near
the Giza pyramids for allegedly recruiting fighters for the
Islamic State but deny any wrongdoing. The Tajik
government estimates that around 200 Tajik citizens have
joined militant groups fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Turkmenistan announced that it has signed an agreement to

become the first Central Asian country to host a World
Bank Group permanent office in its capital. The World
Bank Group includes several international financial
institutions, such as the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development. At the signing ceremony,
World Bank officials praised Turkmenistans rapid
economic growth under the leadership of President
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.


Central Asia Online

On October 31, the International Labour Organization

praised Uzbekistan for tentative progress in the fight against
child labor in Uzbekistans cotton industry. Eight working
groups monitored 172 rural areas from September 18 to
October 25 and found 49 cases of child labor, down from 53
cases last year. This year, Uzbekistan also carried out its
own monitoring of government-led efforts to stop child

Malay Mail

New York Times

Central Asia Online

Tasnim News

Azer News

On Wednesday, the Mongolian Great Hural legislature

voted to oust Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag due to his
alleged nepotism, corruption, and economic
mismanagement in a time of economic downturn and
falling prices due to a slump in the mining industry. Fiftyfour percent of Mongolias 66 members of parliament
voted to remove Norov, including members of his own
Mongolian Democratic Party.

Deutsche Welle

Estonia is the third state to ban Russian actor Ivan

Okhlobystin from entering the country. Okhlobystin was
declared persona non-grata after his comments on sexual
minorities and Ebola victims caused an international scandal.
Although the Ministry of Interior has not explained its
decision for blacklisting Okhlobystin, it is believed to be
connected to his comment from earlier this year that said all
homosexuals should be burned alive. Okhlobystin is an open
supporter of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The Moscow Times
Baltic Times

Belarus and Lithuania held the tenth annual joint economic

forum in Mogilev, Belarus, where the issues of mutual
economic cooperation, trade, and investment were discussed.
The prime ministers of the both countries expressed their
interest in further developing economic relations between
them. Not only do we share a common history and cultural
heritage, but also the long-standing economic relations, said
Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevicius.
Baltic Course


According to the Latvian army, NATO fighters intercepted

a Russian surveillance plane in the Baltic Sea, near Latvian
territorial waters, on Thursday. The interception comes in
the wake of a series of similar incidents, with NATO
intercepting 100 planes this year alone, more than three
times last years total. Although many of the sightings have
been near the Baltic Sea, Russian military ships and planes
have been spotted throughout Europe in recent months,
including as far west as Portugal.


On Sunday, President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman in

a live radio interview shocked the audience with extensive
use of vulgar language. Zeman used crude and vulgar terms
when translating the name of Russian dissident punk group
Pussy Riot into Czech. Presidents extensive use of
swearwords drew criticism from the media and politicians.
Zeman has caused controversies in the Czech Republic and
abroad since he took office last year.
Washington Post


Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak signed an agreement

with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh on Tuesday
to further promote bilateral trade ties and energy cooperation
between the two countries. The agreement was signed during
Lajcaks three-day official visit to Vietnam. Vietnamese
President Truong Tan Sang emphasized that there will be even
more opportunities for cooperation once the Europe-Vietnam
Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is signed. Lajcak also stated
his support for the early conclusion of EVFTA negotiations.
Vietnam Net

Global Post

Washington has pressured Hungary over the latters support

of the Russian-backed South Stream pipeline and desire not
to cut energy ties with Russia despite the Ukraine crisis.
However, Orban insisted Hungary is pursuing a Hungaryfriendly, not Russia-friendly policy, notwithstanding
international accusations. In the last months, the U.S. has
issued entry bans on six Hungarian officials, and in
September, President Obama criticized Hungary for the
crackdown on the NGOs.
Daily Star
Hungary Today

Romanias current Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, won the

Polands natural gas company, PGNiG, has initiated talks with
first round of Romanias presidential elections on Sunday,
Gazprom to cut gas prices under a long-term supply contract.
November 2. Ponta won approximately 40% of the votes in
The contract would provide for the delivery of up to 10.2
the first round. His nearest challenger, Klaus Iohannis, the
billion cubic meters of gas to Poland annually. PGNiG released
mayor of Sibiu, won approximately 30% of the votes. A runa statement claiming that significant changes on the European
off vote between Ponta and Iohannis will be held on
energy market necessitated the renegotiation of the gas prices.
November 16.
The company reported that it may seek court arbitration if it is
not ableof-cease-fire-deal?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world
to reach an agreement with Gazprom within six

Bulgarias central bank announced on Thursday that it had

revoked Corpbanks banking license. The central bank also
requested that the relevant court open insolvency proceedings
against Corpbank and informed the Bulgarian Deposit
Insurance Fund. This move is the latest development in
Bulgarias ongoing banking crisis, which began in June with
a run on Corpbank.
Yahoo! News


The Albania Football Association will appeal the punishment

imposed by the Union of European Football Associations,
following a clash on October 14 between the Albanian team
and Serbian spectators. The UEFA charged both nations with
number of offences and fines of 100,000 euros. Albanias
Football Association accused Serbian spectators of racist abuse
and violent instigation.
Mirror UK

Sky Sports

On November 6, six IL-76 aircraft from Russia arrived in

Belgrade in preparation for the first joint Russia-Serbia
Anti-Terrorist Exercises in Serbia. Paratroopers from Tula
will take part with take part in combat exercises with Serbian
forces under a bilateral military cooperation plan for 2014.
Joint flight tactical exercises are further planned between
Russia and Serbia for 2015.



At a forum held between the transportation ministers of

Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Albania, Macedonian
Transportation Minister Mile Yanakieski announced that he
expected the Bulgaria-Macedonia rail line to start
functioning in 2022. The railway will be built in three
stages. The first stage, from Kumanovo to Beljakovce, is
already underway. The second and third stages, to Kriva
Palanka and then to Gyueshevo, will begin in 2015 and
2017 respectively.

Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak announced that Croatia

received six bids in an international tender for oil and gas
exploration off its Adriatic coast and expects to decide the
winning bid by the end of the year. Croatia is expecting an
investment of around 2 billion euros over the next five years
for oil and gas exploration. Vrdoljak declined to comment on
specific companies, but local media report Exxon, Shell,
Chevron, and Total as all being interested.


Around 100 people joined a gay parade on Sunday in the

capital of tiny Balkan country Montenegro. Demonstrators
were vastly outnumbered by around 2,000 police officers
who were mobilized to avoid the potential violence. The
parade was the third one in Montenegros history. The head
of the EU Delegation in Montenegro, Mitja Drobnic, joined
the rally. Last years parade saw violent clashes between
police and protesters.
Huffington Post
Deutsche Welle

Eulex, the EUs rule of law mission in Kosovo, is facing

allegations of corruption and of an attempt to cover up
evidence of this corruption. A British prosecutor at Eulex,
Maria Bamieh, has accused two top Eulex officials of taking
bribes in exchange for dropping three cases involving
organized crime. Bamieh, who has been suspended, said that
Eulex ignored her calls for an investigation into these
allegations of corruption. EU foreign affairs chief Federica
Mogherini announced that she will appoint an independent
expert to investigate these corruption allegations.
The Guardian

In his first meeting with a head of state, Slovenian Prime

Minister Miro Cerar met with German Chancellor Angela
Merkel in Berlin to discuss Slovenias project of economic
consolidation. Merkel welcomed the plan to address issues
with unions, investors, and employers while developing a
culture of shared responsibility. Merkel also emphasized
that German companies remain interested in economic
cooperation, including Slovenias privatization efforts.

Slovenia Times

The Supreme Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina ordered an end to

the practice of dividing Bosniak and Croat children into
separate classrooms with different curriculums, ruling such
practices as discriminatory. Bosnian human rights NGO Vasa
Prava hailed the verdict as the end of a clear practice of the
division of children in elementary and high schools. The
Supreme Court further mandated schools to implement
common curriculum.

Balkan Insight