Vladimir Putin’s re-election as Russia’s president, and his absence from recent summits of the G8 and NATO, indicate a hardening of Russian attitudes towards the West, write Jana Kobzová of the European Council on Foreign Relations and Tomáš Valášek of the Centre for European Reform (CER).
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech, the Czech unit of Hyundai, saw a sharp rise in sales and revenues from cars produced at its Nošovice plant during the first quarter of the year. The company launched production of the new i30 hatchback in January, which now accounts for around a third of total output from the plant.
Can the ‘reset’ between Washington and Moscow survive Vladimir Putin’s return to the Russian presidency in May? The warm personal chemistry between Medvedev and Obama contributed to its success. Putin, as prime minister, never used the word but allowed the reset to happen. The prospects for its continuation, however, look bleak, writes CER director Charles Grant.
Gazprombank brought the 46 percent stake in Eriell in December 2011, but the information emerged only on Tuesday with the publication of the bank’s annual report. Founded in 1999, Eriell provides oil and gas exploration and drilling support services, predominantly to clients operating in the former Soviet Union.
State-owned operator of the Czech oil pipeline network Mero has refuted a report by news agency Reuters that deliveries of Russian oil to the Czech Republic via the Druzhba pipeline are to be cut by 80 percent to just 80,000 tons in April. Mero said on Thursday that nothing of the sort is evident or planned.
Upon first glance, the Czech cabinet’s decision to back a reduction in EU agricultural subsidies as of 2014 appears logical. Spending cuts are being made in all areas, yet spending on agriculture still swallows almost a half of the union’s total budget. It would appear that cutting subsidies would force farmers to be more productive, and globally competitive, especially if bureaucratic and administrative burdens are reduced.
Czech President Václav Klaus is noted as a Russophile, but his officials seem to have gone a step too far when they apparently put the Russian flag in place of honor at Prague Castle during a visit by Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev in December last year. A Czech law clearly states the national flag should fly on the left-hand side.
The Kremlin’s long-time chief ideologist, Vladislav Surkov, was named head of the Russian-Czech inter-governmental trade and industry commission weeks ago, but the appointment went unreported in the Czech press until Tuesday. However, it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of the appointment. Despite his recent departure from the halls of power, Surkov undoubtedly retains huge influence in the business and political spheres, and could be a powerful voice for the Russian-led bid to expand Temelín.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car producer, Škoda Auto, confirmed its position as one of the star performers of the Volkswagen Group with 2011 operating profits up two-thirds compared with 2010. The company is also well-paced to take advantage of growing markets in China, Russia, and India.