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Analyses |
On 19-20 August, a rally took place in the city of Osh attended by between 1500 and 5000 people in support of the mayor, Melis Myrzakmatov, who has refused obedience to the central government. He turned down an offer from Bishkek to resign his position for a ministerial post, which means that the rule of Roza Otunbayeva’s government over the south of the country (for which control over Osh is an essential element) is still not complete. In most important matters the government is dependent on negotiations with local leaders and is too weak to take control over the south by force.
Analyses |
On 30 August President Viktor Yanukovych paid an official visit to Germany, during which he met the most senior government and business representatives. The visit was principally a ‘getting to know you’ affair. Yanukovych tried to present Ukraine as a stable and predictable state; this is of essential importance for German investors, who over the last few years have been grappling with problems in doing business in Ukraine.
Analyses |
On the night of 22-23 August, 25 members of an armed Islamic underground group escaped from police custody of the National Security Service in Dushanbe. Signals of a rise in the terrorist threat have been emanating from Tajikistan since at least the last year. In this context, the escape of a large group of important members of the armed underground arouses serious fears for the efficiency of Tajikistan’s state structures, and in the longer term, it may be an omen of the destabilisation of the country.
Analyses |
On 30 August, Russia’s minister of agriculture Yelena Skrynnik revealed the size of the direct losses farmers have suffered as a result of this year’s drought; these have reached 37 billion roubles (over US$1.2bn). Over 20% of crops have been lost; however, thanks to high reserve supplies held over from last year, Russia will not run out of crops. However, an important problem for the Russian government is the rising prices of agricultural food products, which has raised public concern.
Analyses | | Łukasz Antas
 
German politicians are arguing about the shape of the new energy policy. The outcome of this discussion will affect Germany’s stance on the European Union’s energy policy, German economic potential and its possibilities for exporting electric energy.
Analyses |
On 25 August the federal government accepted a bill on the restructuring of banks as a way to prevent future bank crises in Germany. The key objectives of this law are to strengthen state control over banks and to introduce a bank tax. The revenue generated from this would be used to rescue financial institutions facing insolvency. The federal government wants to persuade other EU member states to adopt similar laws.
Analyses |
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle visited Serbia on 26 August as did his British counterpart William Hague on 31 August. Both ministers insisted the Serbian authorities withdraw the draft resolution on Kosovo, which is to be discussed at the UN General Assembly this September. Serbia, wishing to avoid a confrontation, will most likely try to change the text of the resolution following consultations with EU member states.
Analyses |
The Lithuanian energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas announced on 26 August that a letter from Gazprom received by the Lithuanian authorities, containing a protest against plans to reform the Lithuanian gas sector as being contrary to the interests of Gazprom, was written in a way that resembles an ultimatum. Sekmokas said that Gazprom’s warning that it would bring the matter for consideration to an international court of arbitration was the application of pressure on a sovereign state.
Analyses |
The Druzhba pipeline is being used to a lesser extent as a supply route for Czech refineries. Its role is being gradually taken over by the Ingolstadt–Kralupy (IKL) pipeline, supplying oil from the western direction, which already accounts for more than 40% of oil supplies to the Czech Republic. Some of the oil delivered by IKL is supplied by Russia. A successive increase in Russian oil supplies via IKL is putting into question the future of Druzhba as the main route for oil supplies to the Czech Republic.
Analyses |
On 23 August the federal minister of defence, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) presented five variants of the reform of the Bundeswehr to the CDU/CSU/FDP coalition exports. Through this he started an official debate on structural changes in the German army. The final concept of the reform is likely to become clear at the end of this year. It is expected that conscription will be lifted and the German army will have between 170,000 and 200,000 soldiers.