KI Daily Brief – July 20, 2015

Crimea: Corruption Fueling Feud Between Local and Federal Elites

It appears that a power struggle is intensifying in Russia-annexed Crimea revolving around graft. The infighting pits local officials against Russian federal agencies, including the powerful Federal Security Service.

European Corruption Watchdog Praises Ukraine’s Reforms, Says More Must Be Done
Kiev Post

Ukraine has implemented satisfactorily, or dealt with in a satisfactory manner most of the recommendations made by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe’s corruption watchdog stated in a report published on July 10. Establishedin 1999 to monitor anti-corruption efforts in Europe, GRECO said Ukraine had fulfilled 20 of the 25 of the group’s recommendations, and had made considerable progress over the past year.

Rumours, Politics and Corruption Most Likely Topics to be Censored on Chinese Messaging App WeChat
South China Morning Post

A new report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab illustrates how censorship takes place on the most popular real-time messaging app on the Chinese mainland. It suggests a change in tack by Beijing, as previous research on other Chinese messaging and social media platforms has shown that censors focused more on posts encouraging protests and other forms of collective action. Past studies showed protectors of China’s so-called “Great Firewall” were not as interested in comments on government policies, or the ongoing anti-corruption campaign of President Xi Jinping, as they appear to be when it comes to WeChat. Keywords relating to corruption made up five of the top 50 most sensitive keywords in the latest report, according to its author Jason Ng, a research fellow at Citizen Lab.

Putin’s Allies Stole My Oil Company, Says Business Exile
The Australian

Court documents seen by The Times allege that in the volatile years after the collapse of the Soviet Union a close aide of Mr. Putin, Alexey Miller, was involved in the illegal seizure of a lucrative oil company. The documents also allege that two other men were handed a 4 percent shareholding in the company when its rightful owners were improperly erased from its records. The case documents, filed in New York, point the finger at two of Russia’s biggest energy companies. The case claims that Lukoil, Russia’s largest non-state company, and Gazprom, the state energy giant, “engaged in organised international criminal activity” which resulted in “grave physical attacks”. Both companies are sanctioned by the US. The allegations are denied.

Breakaway Transnistria Region Could Become Next Flashpoint With Russia
Al Jazeera America

Some observers fear Russia may try to use its powerful leverage over Transnistria to force concessions in Ukraine, stoking a crisis there as an excuse to threaten military intervention or actually carry one out. In the meantime, trade restrictions linked to the conflict in Ukraine are bringing the region closer to economic collapse.

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