Gazprom’s pipelines – dead end or stratagem?

For those who follow the saga of Gazprom’s pipeline projects the recent months certainly offered a decent spectacle. Ever since the cancellation of South Stream and the announcement of Turkish Stream in December 2014, the information puzzle around Gazprom’s actual intentions and capabilities has been growing in complexity. The lack of clarity and transparency allows for speculations by observers over occasional media reports or press … Read more…

Macedonia’s political impasse continues as summer steps in

Bad news came from the Macedonian capital Skopje yesterday July 8th. The opposition party leader Zoran Zaev declared that the snap election deal from June 2nd was now “dead” due to incumbent prime minister Gruevski’s reluctance to step down to a care-taker government which was to supervise the early vote. The announcement coincided with the publication of an opinion poll carried out by the International Republican Institute (IRI) which shows … Read more…

Why the political crisis in Macedonia proves to be a tough nut to crack?

Many of us who follow the development of the political crisis in Macedonia had our eyes set on the round of talks between incumbent PM Gruevski and opposition leader Zaev which took place in Brussels this Wednesday (10 June). After 12 hours of discussions under the mediation of Commissioner Hahn, no tentative agreement was reached and the talks largely failed. This turn of events, though disappointing, should have … Read more…

What are the main conclusions from the Polish presidential election?

On Sunday 10 May Poles went to the polls to elect their president. Unexpectedly, to the dismay of his party and supporters, incumbent candidate Bronislaw Komorowski lost to the main opposition candidate Andrzej Duda. A second round of elections will be staged on 24 May as Komorowski’s 33.8% and Duda’s 34.8% are below the 50% required margin for an outright victory. What are the implications? … Read more…

SigmaBleyzer report on Ukraine’s macroeconomic situation in April 2015

We are re-publishing this report on Ukraine’s current economic situation as the numbers give an idea of the current economic difficulties in the country. The report was prepared by SigmaBleyzer private equity investment management firm & The Bleyzer Foundation in Kyiv and published by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. You can find all copyrights and author attributions below. This is a free and publicly accessible report and all rights belong … Read more…

Russia and Turkey, a story of hard love?

The relationship between Turkey and Russia has an extensive, rich, and tumultuous history. Successors of two powerful empires which defined for centuries the geopolitics of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East, the two countries speak of each other as of “partners” today. However, with the exception of the most recent 15 years of improving ties, the overall bilateral relationship has been marked by … Read more…

A new pipeline is born on the Balkans – Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania will build a “Vertical Interconnector”

“The gas map of South-Eastern Europe is changing”. These are the words of the Bulgarian deputy prime-minister Tomislav Donchev at a working meeting on 22 April in Sofia. A three-side working group consisting of representatives from Romania, Greece, and host nation Bulgaria convened in the capital in order to initiate the construction of a “Vertical Gas Interconnector”. The project is designed to connect the three countries’ … Read more…

What Putin told us? – brief summary of the annual “Direct Line” address

Yesterday 16 April the Russian president Vladimir Putin had his annual “Direct Line” teleconference whereby he replied to questions asked by the Russian citizens. The show lasted almost 4 hours and in total 3 million questions were asked (this year’s record), 70 of which were addressed. The idea of the event is to answer selected questions and reassure the population that they are in good … Read more…

Pipeline puzzles on the Balkans – “South Stream” is dead, long live “Turkish Stream”

On 7 April the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, and Hungary met in Budapest to discuss plans for cooperation in the energy sector. A common declaration was signed whereby the first diplomats of the five states agreed upon the need to improve energy security and develop an alternative gas supply route through South-East Europe and Turkey thus enhancing the friendly relations in the … Read more…

Why change of regime in Russia will not come from the opposition?

The ongoing crisis in Eastern Ukraine reinvigorated the discussions about the nature of Putin’s regime in Russia. The debate has been simmering for decades.  Increasingly, however, many critics and dissidents both in Russia and the West are trying to predict the collapse of Putin’s autocracy as a direct result from his policies towards its weaker neighbor. A strong boost to these speculation came after Boris … Read more…