The Azerbaijani Laundromat: Why It Matters

azerbaijani money laundering

Money laundering may not be theft, but it is a product of theft. Sources of laundered money may include illegal activities such as trafficking in drugs or humans, or it may be diverted income from natural resources, inflated costs, bribes, fake loans, or other financial manipulation. The money might be stolen from the state, in the form of unpaid taxes or other charges, or from the people of a country – as with stolen revenues from the sale of natural resources from oil to diamonds. Money laundering thus reflects economic and moral damage to individuals and institutions and thereby threatens the stability and security of states, societies, and regions.

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Does the Sceptre of Separatism Haunt Emerging Europe?

Szekely Land Flag

There is much talk in Europe at the moment about the potential spread of separatist movements, a consequence of Catalonia’s referendum on independence. A number of maps have appeared on the internet pointing to various regions which may be next in line. The spectre of disintegrating states haunts some European Union states and is perceived (or instrumented) as a threat by others. In the eastern part of the EU, there is much talk about the case of the Silesians (some even mention the Kashubians) in Poland, the Hungarians of the Székely Land in Romania and Slovakia, Moravians in the Czech Republic, Russians in Latgale (Latvia), and the historical region of Samogitia in Lithuania.

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Measure, Strengthen, and Grow

dacia brand

Almost three decades since the fall of communism, emerging Europe brands still do not shine as bright as their western counterparts.

The latest Nation Brands report, published by Brand Finance, shows how Brand Romania, Brand Slovakia, Brand Bulgaria and other nation brands from emerging Europe are much weaker and less valuable than their western neighbours — and with a long way to go before they can carry their economies in times of distress. Perceived higher market risk has also been reflected in lower FDI and M&A flows over the past three decades.

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All for One, and One for All

GE

The lead sentence from Dumas’s Three Musketeers, symbolising team work and cooperation towards a common goal, came into my mind at our recent event, the CEE Supply Chain Dialogue, organised with the participation of Hungarian, Polish, Croatian, Czech, Romanian, Serbian and Slovenian government organisations, investment agencies, and export banks. Our aim with the event was to discuss opportunities to better connect SMEs in CEE to the global economy via GE’s supply chain, and ways in which GE can catalyse and support this process. Clearly a case of ‘all for one and one for all.’

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‘Traditional Values’: A Potent Weapon Against LGBT Rights

gay rights putin

In April, news broke of a widespread anti-gay purge in Chechnya; in September, gay men and transgender women were rounded up in Azerbaijan; and in October reports emerged that a registry of gay men and lesbians was being compiled by the authorities in Tajikistan. How might we understand these disparate events as part of a trend in these three former Soviet countries?  

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Why Was Zapad-2017 So Important?

russian tank belarus zapad

The strategic joint military exercise Zapad-2017 took place from September 14-20 at several training grounds in Russia and Belarus. According to official statements, the total number of troops participating in this military drill was 13,000. However, the real figures could well have been significantly higher. The official scenario of Zapad-2017 was very close to that of previous Belarusian-Russian military exercises, which took place in 2011 and 2013. Belarusian and Russian troops were preparing to repel aggressive actions by their western neighbours, aimed at destabilising the situation in Western Belarus.

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Euroscepticism in Serbia: An Image Problem?

It would likely make sense to search for the causes of the euroscepticism of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and other similar states in the region in the specific features, length and effects of a social transition which has been going on for more than twenty years. Disappointment, unfulfilled expectations under conditions of radical social change, and confusion in the understanding and promotion of EU integration could be considered general causes. Radical changes of the economic, political, legal and any other system have been going on for too long.

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Moldova’s Briefly Suspended President is Still in Business

chisinau moldova parliament

Following a game-changing decision of the Constitutional Court on March 4, 2016, Moldovan voters were keen to vote for a new, directly elected president. The idea of choosing the highest official of state in direct elections appealed to regular citizens: more than 90 per cent approved of the idea. It was the political parliamentary parties, who had elected the president until then, who were less keen.

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Are Czech-EU Relations at Breaking Point?

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 21 JUNE 2014: People on the streets of Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most visited city in Europe with over 5 million visitors every year.

The future of Czech policy towards the European Union became very uncertain after the country held elections on October 20-21. Not only did billionaire Andrej Babiš’s party, ANO, often described as populist and Eurosceptic, secure a landslide victory; the remaining parties, of which four of the five most popular are anti-establishment, failed to secure enough votes to create majority without ANO.

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