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On 15 November, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that the detention of Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny during rallies in 2012-2014 and the administrative penalties imposed on him were politically motivated and constituted a breach of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and awarded damages in the amount of €63,000. Navalny came to Strasbourg to be present when the decision was announced.
On 12 November, the Czech website Seznam Zprávy published a report in which Andrej Babiš Jr., the 35-year-old son of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš from his first marriage, talked about how he was deported against his will to Crimea (and other locations) by a Russian employed in his father’s company. Babiš Jr. stated that the abduction was connected with the investigation being conducted into the affairs of the prime minister and his family members on suspicion of fraudulently obtaining EU funds.
Nikola Gruevski, who served as the prime minister of Macedonia in 2006–2016, fled his country at the beginning of November and submitted a request for asylum in Hungary, which was granted. The former prime minister, whose passport was confiscated in 2017, reached Hungary via Albania and Montenegro with support from Hungary’s embassy in Tirana.
Last week, Russian leaders participated in a series of multilateral meetings at the highest level in the Asia-Pacific region. During a three-day official visit to Singapore (13-15 November), President Vladimir Putin participated at the Russia-ASEAN summit (14 November), and then the East Asian Summit (15 November). Meanwhile Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev took part in the annual summit of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum on 17-18 November.
Elections to the councils of over 1,200 municipalities and cities coupled with elections of city mayors and chiefs of municipalities were held in Slovakia on 10 November. With voter turnout at 49%, high by Slovak standards, the best result was achieved by independent candidates: 42% of chief and mayor positions (in 2014, they garnered 38% of the positions) and 35% of city councillors (an increase from 29%).
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.
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.
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.
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.