[ARTICLE] Ukrainian farmers turn to Donbas veterans for protection from raiders

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By Fabrice Deprez in Berezhinka – July 26, 2017

The flag of the Donbas battalion, one of the most notorious Ukrainian volunteer units to have fought against Russia-backed separatists, flies over the main building of Mikola Trybinienko’s farm.

Members of the former military unit came at the end of June to Berezhinka, a village in central Ukraine, to protect Trybinienko against “raiders”, the term used in the region to describe criminal groups who specialise in the illegal and often violent appropriation of land.

Trybinienko says raiders seized his 500 ha farm in May, after he discovered the state corporate registry had been modified using a forged signature, making the company officially no longer his. When he tried to get it back with the help of locals, a violent clash occurred, injuring at least three people. Local media reported that pistols and hunting rifles were seized by the police at the site.

Vous pouvez lire la suite de cet article sur le site de bne IntelliNews.

[ARTICLE] Bodyguards Incorporated: the rise and fall of Putin’s presidential guards’ construction empire

In February 2017, the Kremlin quietly appointed a new head of the Caucasus region branch of Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FSO), the main job of which is to guard President Vladimir Putin, but which until recently ran a secret and highly profitable construction empire.

In April last year this empire collapsed after Russian billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko, who had close ties to senior FSO officials and ran the Baltstroy construction company that actually did most of the work, was arrested for trying to smuggle $1mn worth of vintage cognac into the country. The case caused a major scandal. The deputy head of Russia’s Customs Service had to resign and Mikhalchenko was also charged with skimming millions of dollars off the top of renovation work on one of Putin’s country houses.

Vous pouvez lire la suite de cet article sur le site de bne IntelliNews.

[ARTICLE] Special Report: CEE Real Estate

Rebelote : j’ai participé à la réalisation du numéro spécial de bne IntelliNews consacré au marché de l’immobilier en Europe Centrale & Orientale. La Pologne reste le marché le plus attractif dans la région, mais République Tchèque, Hongrie et les Balkans affichent tous une excellente forme. Plus d’infos dans le numéro de mars de bne IntelliNews (où se trouve aussi mon article sur les appels d’offre étatique en Russie).

[ARTICLE] Investors shy away from market darling Magnit as Russia’s retail sector competition toughens

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Have investors fallen out of love with Magnit, the star of Russia’s retail sector for many years and one of the most profitable retailer in the world?

The stock was a must-have as the retailer that uniquely shunned Moscow went from strength to strength driving up earnings which were over $10bn last year. However, last year the stock was flat between January and December, while the market as a whole was up over 50%.

In London, the company’s share price went down throughout 2015 and kept fluttering in 2016, losing serious ground to its main competitor, X5: in April 2015, Magnit’s shares were worth $58, while X5’s shares sold at $18. Today, the price is closer to $40 and $30 respectively. Shares in Magnit have also been on a downward trend at the ruble-denominated Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) since the beginning of the year.

Vous pouvez lire la suite de cet article sur le site de bne IntelliNews.

[ARTICLE] ‘Spiteful Tongues’: How Telegram became the go-to place for Russian political gossip

Russian political scientist Leonid Davidov enjoys a large following on the web, with nearly 60 000 followers on Twitter, 19 000 on Vkontakte and 36 000 people on Facebook reading his various analyses on regional politics.

But the 19 000 people who follow him on Telegram come for something different, that Davidov only shares on the messaging app: short messages that usually start with “spiteful tongues are saying that…”, and then give the latest rumours on upcoming promotions or firing of state officials, or more generally on events about Russian politics.

The rumours don’t always materialize, but they do hit the mark sometimes: on the 2d of February, “Davidov.index”, the name of his channel, wrote that the governor of the Perm region would not run in the next elections. Three anonymous sources told the same thing to the Rain TV station on the 5th, before the governor officially announced it on the 6th.

Vous pouvez lire la suite de cet article sur la plateforme Medium.

[ARTICLE] Special report: CEE Fintech Survey 2017

Pas tout à fait un article, mais j’ai participé à la réalisation du numéro spécial de bne Intellinews consacré au secteur de la fintech en Europe Centrale et Orientale, particulièrement dynamique dans la région. Sur la Russie, Kaspersky Lab est une force dominante dans le domaine de la cybersécurité, mais plusieurs autres sociétés se démarquent (Tinkoff Bank a par exemple largement contribué a renouveler le secteur bancaire en Russie grâce à sa formule “100% digital”).

Le numéro peut être consulté à cette adresse.

[ARTICLE] Russia exempts 64 “elite” companies from procurement rules

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Book Expedition would not strike the casual passer-by as anything special, and certainly not an integral component of the Russian state. Located in Kitai Gorod, the oldest part of central Moscow, the shop sells books and souvenirs to tourists wandering in one of the few really charming parts of the Russian capital.

But it is special – it is owned by the Directorate for Presidential Affairs and stands next door to the offices of its owner. As a result Book Expedition has a Federal Protection Service (FSO) agent constantly watching its front door, the elite of Russia’s security services and equivalent of the US Secret Service tasked with protecting the president among other things.

No one stops you entering the store. Heavy drapes hang in the door and windows but the atmosphere inside is snug compared to the sub-zero temperatures on the street outside. Eager saleswomen proudly show off luxurious hunting knives decorated with the emblems of the Russia Federation, the “Kremlin” and “VDV” (a Russian paratrooper division) branded eau de toilette, or the more run-of-the-mill calendars, watches and President Vladimir Putin biographies.

Thanks to its elite owner, Book Expedition was named in a decree signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as one of the country’s 64 state corporations – out of a total of 1120 “Federal State Unitary Enterprises” – that are “significant in order to ensure the rights and legal interests of Russian citizen as well as the defence and security of the State”.

Vous pouvez lire la suite de cet article sur le site de bne Intellinews.