September 18, elections were held in Russia to the State Duma, the lower house of the country’s legislature. Sotiris Delis, member of parliament from the Swedish Moderate party, describes in an article for Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation his insights from observing the elections with the Organization for Security and Stability in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA).  (more…)

For the first time in post-Soviet history, a majority of Russian voters decided to stay home rather than to vote in a federal election. The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced preliminary voter turnout at 48 per cent and reacted to reported irregularities, including ballot box stuffing and carousel voting. In the past six elections the average turnout was over 60 percent. (more…)

Lukashenka wants to show that he wants to select who will be the moderate opposition in his country. The elections were efficiently organized but still beset by systemic shortcomings.

Read more at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Central Election Committee announced that two opposition candidates have won seats, after the results of yesterday’ September 11 elections, in which the composition of the 110-seat lower house of parliament was to be determined. (more…)

The Belarus regime’s latest move in increasing the budget revenues amid the economic crisis, targets small businessmen and entrepreneurs in the country. The Belarus government has begun requiring small private business to obtain costly certificates guaranteeing the quality of their products. One of the protesters said that they are not against the certificates per se, but against the price for such certificate which reaches from 100-200 USD while an equivalent certificate in the rest of Europe costs about 5 EUR. The demonstration in Minsk was the largest protest in recent years, in an authoritarian country where little tolerance has been showed for dissent.

Read more at Associated Press

Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the book “Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It.” writes about what low oil prices have meant historically, the effect oil and gas wealth has on societies and how the falling oil price is good news for Ukraine.

Read the article here.

Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the book “Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It.” writes that Ukraine accomplished many important economic reforms in 2015 and describes seven key reforms for the country in 2016, for example reform of the prosecution and courts and completing the energy reform.

Read the article here.

“This year, the Russian economy is the G-20’s worst performer, contracting by 3.8%, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest forecast. And things could easily have been worse. President Vladimir Putin claims that his economic policies remain consistent; in fact, he has wisely changed course, limiting the damage that could have been done had he not.”

Anders Åslund is Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. and comments Putin’s new economic policies at the Project Syndicate. Read the full commentary here

November 25, Russia’s first presidential museum opened, a monument to Boris Yeltsin’s presidency. The inauguration of the museum in Yekaterinburg gathered a wide group of guests, from President Putin to opposition activists.

Read more here

Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the book “Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It.” writes about what has happened since the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych and the many reforms that have been carried out. Thanks to these reforms, the economy seems to have stabilized and the inflation is falling. The critical hurdle is the adoption of a new tax system and budget for 2016, for which the government has failed to mobilize sufficient parliamentary support.

Article by Anders Åslund