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3/2/15 3/6/15

On Wednesday, President Ilham Aliyev visited Bulgaria to

discuss the possibility of bringing Azerbaijani Gas to Europe
through the shelved Nabucco pipeline. Bulgarian Prime
Minister Boyko Borisov announced that Bulgaria is interested
in reviving the project. Nabucco was initially proposed by the
U.S. and aimed at reducing Europes dependency on Russian


The International Monetary Fund projected that Georgia will

face inflation in coming months and announced projected
growth of only 2 percent for the year of 2015. The mission
advised the Georgian government to push more actively for
reforms and preserve the independence of the National Bank.
Recently, the bank came under attack from government
officials, with accusations that the head of the bank is failing
to prevent the ongoing devaluation of the Georgian lari.
The Financial

In Belgium on Tuesday, the European Peoples Party (EPP)

adopted a resolution that condemns the Armenian genocide and
calls for the Turkish government to formally recognize the
genocide. The resolution, made in honor of the upcoming
centennial of the event in April, honors those who died and
criticizes the destruction of Armenian cultural monuments in
Turkey. It also appeals to European organizations, like the
Council of Europe, to pay restitution to victims. The EPP is the
largest political party in the European Parliament.
Armenia Weekly

Thursday marked the official opening of Turkeys largest

refugee camp for displaced Syrians, with a capacity of
35,000 people. First Lady of Turkey Emine Erdogan
attended the opening ceremony in Suruc, a town in the
southeastern province of Sanliurfa that has seen an influx of
refugees from the war-torn town of Kobani since last year.
Erdogan said that the people of Kobani will be treated as
guests of Turkey until their town is rebuilt. Turkey
currently hosts 1.7 million Syrian refugees.
Daily Sabah


Slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, 55, was buried on

Tuesday in Moscow. He was gunned down in central Moscow
late on Friday, February 27. No suspects have been detained for
the killing, which President Vladimir Putin has called a
disgrace. A march that was supposed to focus on events in
Ukraine on Sunday was instead held in honor of Nemtsov.
Before he was killed, Nemtsov was working on a report on
Russian military involvement in Ukraine. Opposition member
Ilya Yashin has vowed to continue Nemtsovs work.
New York Times

Washington Post

On Wednesday, 33 miners were confirmed dead after a coal

mine blast near the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk.
Mine officials said the explosion was caused by a buildup of
methane gas and not linked with shelling at a nearby
frontline. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President
Petro Poroshenko accused the separatists of holding up the
rescue effort by restricting access to the site. The Zasyadko
mine has a history of deadly accidents, including three
explosions in 2007 that killed over 150 workers.
Voice of America


A diplomatic row erupted between Kyrgyzstan and Belarus late

last week over former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev and
his family, who are currently sheltered in Belarus. After a
witness to the murder of a Kyrgyz mobster was killed in Minsk
following a meeting with Bakievs brother, Kyrgyz President
Almazbek Atambayev ordered them extradited to Kyrgyzstan.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry responded by saying that
Belarusian authorities are looking into the murders. Bakiev fled
Kyrgyzstan in 2010 following violent protests that ousted him
from the presidency.

Romania has initiated a project that entails the shipment of

natural gas to Moldova as Chisinau aims to reduce its energy
dependency on Russia. It is first time that gas goes from
West to East, declared Foreign Minister of Moldova Natalia
Gherman during her visit to Bucharest. Moldova receives most
of its gas from Russia, however, it is currently trying to
diversify its other sources.

Associated Press


Starting this year, Kyrgyzstan will cancel secondary school

graduation tests in the Uzbek language, limiting the option to
either Kyrgyz or Russian. Chynara Batyrakeyeva, expert in
the governments Center for Education Assessment, said that
only 49 students took the exam in Uzbek last year and the
exam was scrapped due to low numbers. The issue of Uzbek
language in the public sphere remains a sensitive subject
after clashes between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz in 2010.

The ninth wave of a mysterious sleeping disease struck the

northern town of Kalachi this week, forcing residents to
evacuate to other parts of Kazakhstan. The disease was first
reported in March 2013 and is characterized by an extreme
drowsiness that causes people to fall asleep at any time,
sometimes for several days. The exact cause of the disease is
unknown, but some researchers suspect radon emissions from a
nearby abandoned uranium mine to be a factor. Over 150 people
have fallen ill from the disease in the last year.


Umarali Kuvvatov, outspoken critic of the Rahmon government

and leader of the opposition movement Group-24, was shot
and killed in Istanbul on Thursday evening. According to
Turkish media, he was killed with a single shot to the head at
10:30pm and was dead before medics arrived on the scene. The
Turkish government, which had previously refused a request by
the Tajik government to extradite Kuvvatov, is investigating
the murder. Kuvvatov had fled Tajikistan in 2012 and had been
living in Istanbul since 2013.
Deutsche Welle


An Uzbek government delegation to Germany has signed a

package of investment and loan agreements totaling $2.8
billion. The trip marked the first meeting of the GermanUzbek Business Council and knowledge exchange of best
practices among 50 German companies in the field of
corporate governance. The package of agreements covers the
chemical, electro-technical, textile, and food industries, among
others. German-Uzbek trade increased 10 percent in 2014
compared with 2013.
Times of Central Asia

On Tuesday, the international NGO Human Rights Watch

(HRW) published a report detailing extrajudicial killings,
abductions, and other human rights abuses presided over by highranking Afghan officials since the fall of the Taliban. In the
report, HRW calls on the United States and other international
donors to pressure the Afghan government to hold the security
forces to account. President Ashraf Ghani did not respond to any
individual allegations but thanked HRW for the report and stated
that his administration would not tolerate torture.

The Guardian

Iran has taken a leading role in backing the Iraqi militarys latest
attempt to reclaim the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State. Iran
has contributed drones, artillery, and rockets, as well as fighters
from Irans Revolutionary Guards. Shiite militias with close ties
to Iran are also involved in the offensive, with nearly half of the
30,000 fighters involved coming from Shiite militias. U.S.
officials have expressed some concern about the possibility for
the active involvement of Iran and Shia militias to inflame
sectarian tensions in Iraq.
Wall Street Journal

Christian Science Monitor

Turkmenistan signed a series of agreements on improving

bilateral relations with Turkey during Turkmen President
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedovs official visit to Turkey this
week. During talks between Berdimuhamedov and Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders emphasized the
strategic importance of energy and transportation cooperation
between the two countries.
Todays Zaman


Last week, Mongolian and Japanese archaeologists announced

that the remains of a military outpost dating from the 13th
century was likely built by Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan.
The outpost, which resembles a fortress surrounded by an
earthen wall, is located in southwest Mongolia and was first
discovered in 2001. The archaeologists also discovered
fragments of Chinese ceramics, wood chips, and bones at the
site. It is hoped that the site will help researchers gain deeper
understanding of the Mongolian Plateau between the 13th and
14th centuries.
Huffington Post
Archaeology News Network

Estonias governing Reform Party won a national election.

Prime Minister Taavi Roivas will likely form a coalition in
the 101 member parliament, out of which his party holds 30
seats. The election campaign was dominated by the topic of
Russian aggression in Ukraine. The pro-Russian opposition
party came second with 24.8 percent of the vote.



The U.S. and Lithuania held joint military exercises near the
capital Vilnius with live fire aimed at sending a signal to
Russian designs on the Baltic region. U.S. Army Captain
Russell Moore, leading the troops in the exercise this week,
said that the war games show not just that the U.S. is willing
to stand with all of its NATO alliance partners - it shows that
were strong, Europe is strong and theres a collective
defense ready to defend against foreign aggression.

Ukraine Today

Russia expelled a Latvian civilian aviation senior inspector for

allegedly working as a double agent for Latvia and the United
States. The Latvian citizen, Andrejs Dudarevs, has been banned
from entering Russia for 10 years. According to the FSB,
Dudarevs was gathering military classified information for
more than 20 years. Latvian sources maintain that Dudarevs
was trying to enroll in the Saint Petersburg State University of
Civil Aviation and had no connection with the Latvian Secret
The Baltic Course
Value Walk

The Czech Republic is planning to hand over 909 acres of

territory to Poland in order to end a border dispute that dates
back to the 1950s, when the Soviets altered the border
between Poland and Czechoslovakia. The Poles have a
territorial claim that we acknowledge," Interior Minister
Milan Chovanec told the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes. Czechs
have previously offered money to their Polish counterparts
for the land, but the Poles refused. The area that the Czechs
are willing to hand over to Poles has not been yet disclosed.
The Telegraph

Prague Post

Around 50 participants will meet at a conference in Koice,

Slovakia to discuss the Ukrainian crisis and find a solution so
that Putin does not leave the field as a loser. The Conference is
organized by the group called German-Russian Forum.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico announced the event as an
important peace conference, though critics have emphasized the
pro-Russian nature of the conference.

Slovak Spectator

Shanghai Daily

The Hungarian Parliament approved a law on Tuesday that

would classify for 30 years all information related to the $14
billion Paks nuclear power plant expansion by Russia. The
agreement has provoked criticism from opposition members,
who claim that the agreement ignores competition rules and
increases Russian energy dominance in European markets. The
EU Energy Commission has already been evaluating the nuclear
deal for irregularities, although the investigation is still
preliminary. The deal was signed last year and is opposed by 60
percent of Hungarian citizens.
Wall Street Journal

On Wednesday, Polands Central Bank announced an interest

rate cut of rate 50 basis points to a record low of 1.50 percent in
response to consumer price declines. The cut is in line with
similar easing measures by central banks across Europe in
response to the stimulus program announced by the European
Central Bank in late January. The bank said that the cut would
be its last in the current easing cycle.

On Tuesday, the Romanian Supreme Council for the

Countrys Defense (CSAT) approved the stationing of four
Portuguese F-16 jets and 150 Portuguese troops and civilians
in Romania beginning from May-June 2015. The aircraft and
troops will be stationed in Romania to participate in NATO
aerial policing drills spurred by the crisis in neighboring
Ukraine. At the same meeting CSAT also agreed to increase
the Romanian defense budget by 2 percent of GDP by 2017.

Wall Street Journal



ACT Media

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva

announced a new plan for the integration of refugees into the
national economy. The government will provide Bulgarian
language training to refugees, as well as acknowledgement of
education and certificates obtained abroad. Kuneva said under
the government plan, refugees will be able to rent property
and work legally, while being required will be required to pay
health insurance. Kuneva stopped short of announcing the
cost of the government plan.
Shanghai Daily

Maja Gojkovic, the Serbian Speaker of Parliament, visited

Albania this week as part of an ongoing effort by the
governments of Albania and Serbia to improve relations
between their countries. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama,
President Bujar Nishani, and Parliament Speaker Ilir Meta all
met with Gojkovic during her visit. The meetings emphasized
the importance of cooperation between the two countries for
ensuring stability in the western Balkans.


On Thursday, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic held a joint

news conference in Belgrade with the EU Commissioner for
Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris
Avramopolous. Vucic said that Serbia is not responsible for
the waves of migrations that have upset Europe, adding
that Serbia took action in consultation with Brussels and
followed the agreement on freedom of movement. According
to Serbian officials, around 38,000 migrants were intercepted
by Serbian authorities in 2014.


Macedonia plans to conduct joint military exercises with the

United States in an effort to speed up its accession to NATO.
In his first meeting with the new US Ambassador to
Macedonia Jess Baily, Defence Minister Zoran Jolevski
emphasized that the country is ready to become a full-fledged
member of NATO. Jolevski highlighted Macedonias defense
reforms and the countrys contributions to NATO missions in

Eurasia Review

On Thursday, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic spoke

against the devaluation of the national currency, the kuna,
stating that it will hurt citizens and companies. Croatias
economy has been in recession since 2009 and unemployment
has reached 20 percent. Croatias central bank has regulated the
float of the currency against the euro through numerous
interventions. After joining the EU, Zagreb is obliged to
become member of the EuroZone, though analysts say it is
unlikely in the near future.

The Ministry of Health of Montenegro has published data that

shows the extents of alcoholism within the country. With
around 30,000 citizens suffering from alcoholism, the addiction
directly affects about120,000 citizens, out of 630,000 total. The
amount of alcohol consumed in Montenegro is significantly
higher than in the rest of the world, with one Montenegrin on
average consuming 12.8 liters a year compared to the global
average of 7.

Ministry of Health

On Tuesday, Kosovo's Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci called on

the EU to speed up integration of the Balkan countries to
counteract the threat of Islamic extremism and the growing
influence of Russia. Thaci stated that delaying EU and NATO
integration in the Balkans would open the way for penetration
and the increase of influence of Russia in political terms,
economic terms and military terms," as well as leaving the
region open to influence by the Islamic State.

Ukraine Today

On Tuesday, the Slovenian Parliament voted to allow same-sex

marriage. The bill, which passed with 51 votes in favor and 28
against, will permit same-sex couples to marry and adopt
children, three years after a similar law was voted down in a
national referendum. Until the passage of the new law on
Tuesday, Slovenia had permitted same-sex unions but did not
give same-sex couples the right to adopt children.


U.S. immigration officials are preparing to deport 150

Bosnians for their involvement in war crimes in the Balkan
wars of the 1990s. Officials had identified 300 Bosnians who
hid their wartime past when they came to the U.S., though
the real number may be as high as 600. Those facing
deportation include a soccer coach in Virginia, a metalworker
in Ohio, and casino employees in Las Vegas. Many of those
identified had taken part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of
8,000 Muslim males.
New York Times
Voice of America