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On 11 November ‘elections’ were held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR & LPR) to choose the leaders and the so-called people’s soviets (parliaments). According to the results published by the separatist authorities, 80.1% of those eligible to vote in the DPR did so, as did 77% in the LPR. The elections were won by the candidates currently serving as the acting heads of the republics and the political parties which they lead.
On 6 November in the Bavarian parliament, a coalition of the CSU and the Free Voters (Freie Wähler, FW) re-elected the Bundesland’s former Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) for another term. The coalition has a majority of 112 out of 205 deputies. This is only the second coalition government in Bavaria in a period of over fifty years. In the new cabinet, the FW obtained three ministries, including the post of Deputy Prime Minister, and the associated ministry of economy, energy and agriculture for the party chairman Hubert Aiwanger.
Last week speculation appeared in global media about ‘secret bases’ set up by Russian military intelligence in Finland, which were allegedly created under the guise of activity by the company Airiston Helmi, owned by a Russian entrepreneur, which is involved with real estate and tourism. These assumptions have been associated with a wide-ranging search operation on 17 properties owned by Airiston Helmi which the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation carried out on 22-23 September.
On 1 November, the President of Armenia, Armen Sargsyan, signed a decree on dissolving parliament. The new elections to the National Assembly will take place on 9 December. In accordance with the constitution, the parliament was terminated after deputies failed for the second time to choose a candidate for prime minister. The only person seeking the office was the current head of government, Nikol Pashinyan. Of the 105 deputies sitting in parliament, 11 abstained, while the others did not vote.
The Russian government imposed economic sanctions on Ukraine on 1 November by way of a decree passed by the president of the Russian Federation on 22 October. According to the document, the funds, securities and assets of selected Ukrainian entities will be frozen in the territory of Russia, and these entities will not be able to transfer capital from Russia.
An election to the parliament of the federal state of Hesse was held on 28 October in Germany. The CDU – which has governed this federal state uninterruptedly since 1999 – maintained first position. The Christian Democrats led by Minister President Volker Bouffier garnered 27% of the votes, however, sustaining major losses when compared to the preceding election in 2013 (-11.3 percentage points). The Green Party and the SPD each had support of 19.8%.
On 18 October, the Helsinki District Court announced its long-awaited verdict in the case of Ilja Janitskin and Johan Bäckman. The former was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment, the latter to 12 months (suspended). The judgement is not final, and the defence has announced it will appeal. The period of almost one year in custody has been credited towards the imposed penalty on Janitskin.
Russia’s ostentatious return to Uzbekistan
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was on an official visit to Moldova on 17 and 18 October. During this visit he met, amongst others, with President Igor Dodon, Prime Minister Pavel Filip and the head of the governing Democratic Party, Vlad Plahotniuc. He also took part in the official opening ceremony of the building of the presidential palace which had been renovated using Turkish money.
On 20 October, US President Donald Trump announced the US’s intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on the elimination of ground-launch ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of from 500 km to 5500 km. The reason given was that Russia had repeatedly violated the Treaty.