Quiet Flows the Dark Money on the Hudson

My first piece with EurasiaNet looks at the millions flowing from post-Soviet republics into the New York skyline:

Remember when Russian anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny dubbed Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his cronies as “The Party of Liars and Thieves?” Well, a New York Times investigation suggests that a sizable chunk of Russia’s dark money has ended up in New York City’s real estate market.

Over at The Diplomat, meanwhile, I looked at the rough year that awaits Kazakhstan:

Friction with Russia shows no signs of slowing in the economic sphere, either. As the Eurasian Economic Union continues to act as a hamper on Kazakhstan’s sluggish economic outlook, recent voices have begun calling for the reinstatement of customs checkpoints along the Kazakhstani-Russian border – effectively negating any purpose of a customs union in the first place. The protectionist measure hasn’t yet taken form, but has received support from one of the country’s most Russian-heavy enclaves in Pavlodar. Citing the recent flood of cheap Russian products, the region’s vice-governor offered “to introduce a ban or limit [on] the import from Russia for those goods that domestic producers are capable of supplying in sufficient quantities on their own[.]” This, presumably, casts a wide net.

If and when customs checkpoints return to the border – and if they remain along the Kazakhstani-Kyrgyzstani border, as is presumed – this would see customs checkpoints along nearly every land-border within the Eurasian Union. Indeed, the only land-border that would not see customs checkpoints may well be between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognized statelet carved out of Azerbaijan. Not a situation that necessarily illustrates legitimacy.