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Stories related to the internal politics of states and various domestic issues. 

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News
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi killed in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi killed in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday night at the age of 63. This was reported by Iranian state television. After a multi-hour search, the helicopter wreckage was found near the village of Tavil in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, a mountainous area where there was bad weather at the time of the crash. A period of five days of mourning has been declared in Iran, during which time the country's vice president has been appointed interim president.

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Commentary
A new sense of purpose in Central Asia as leaders seek better relations between their countries and with the rest of the world

A new sense of purpose in Central Asia as leaders seek better relations between their countries and with the rest of the world

For more than three decades after the collapse of the USSR the five Central Asia Republics continued to live largely in the shadow of Moscow.  Neighbouring China made headway, particularly in the economic sphere, largely with Moscow’s acquiescence, and there were a few moments when the west appeared to be making a mark on the region too, especially after the 9/11 attacks, when the US was allowed facilities to help with its invasion of Afghanistan. But this moment did not last long. On everything else that mattered, and for most of the time, Moscow continued to call the shots. The last five years have seen a seismic change in the region. A new generation of leaders are seeking better relations with the rest of the world: connectivity has become a buzzword, and there is a genuine effort to engage with the EU and the US, in most if not all the capitals. Ukraine, and the implications of the Russian invasion on future relations with all the post Soviet states, has focused minds, particularly in Tashkent and Astana.
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Opinion
Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality

Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality

Given the increasingly uncertain political climate in which Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson finds himself, Sweden requires an internal and external positional re-evaluation in order to finalise its accession to NATO, writes Alfred Stranne in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. Meanwhile, Sweden needs to understand the increasing anger coming from Ankara, which is severely hindering its progression towards becoming a member of the alliance. Meanwhile, Sweden must also look within NATO itself to seek support in reassuring Ankara that Sweden will be a significant security provider for the alliance, providing added benefits for Ankara as well. This would repair Sweden’s relations with Turkey and reassure Ankara that despite the ideological and religious differences between Kristersson and Erdogan, Sweden and Turkey have common interests in seeking regional peace and stability.
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News
Ukrainian authorities raid tycoon's home amid corruption crackdown

Ukrainian authorities raid tycoon's home amid corruption crackdown

Ukrainian authorities have raided the home of the prominent business tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky amid a nationwide anti-corruption crackdown. On Wednesday (1 February) the home of the former interior minister Arsen Avakov was also searched, and the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers fired the heads of the customs and tax agencies too. Kolomoisky is an erstwhile ally of President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose TV channel gave Zelensky his break with the comedy series Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played a history teacher who ends up becoming president after a student posts a video online of an expletive-laden rant by Zelensky's character about the state of politics in the country. Kolomoisky also backed the former actor's real-life bid for the presidency. He was also the governor of the wider Dnipropetrovsk region from 2014 to 2015, and played a key role in funding volunteer battalions in response to Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
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Georgian GDP booms by more than 10% in 2022

Georgian GDP booms by more than 10% in 2022

Georgia's GDP boomed by 10.1% in 2022, according to figures released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Geostat, on Tuesday (31 January). The country's economic performance was particularly strong towards the end of the year, registering a year-on-year increase of 11% in December 2022. According to the report published by Geostat, growth was registered in construction, manufacturing, transportation and storage, financial and insurance activities, trade, hotels and restaurants. Meanwhile a decline was registered in real estate activities, professional, scientific and technical activities, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply. Georgia imported US$134.5bn of goods in 2022, 33.2% more than last year. Meanwhile exports also rose by 31.8%, totalling almost US$56bn. Another notable statistic from the report concerns the number of newly registered enterprises, at 6,436 in December alone. This marks a year-on-year increase of 41.4%.
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News
Five people killed in mass shooting in Sagarejo, Georgia

Five people killed in mass shooting in Sagarejo, Georgia

A retired military veteran has killed five people in the eastern Georgian town of Sagarejo before committing suicide, the country's interior ministry announced on Friday morning (20 January). The offender, according to the Georgian interior ministry, had served in the Georgian Defence Forces between 2006 and 2021, including in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. Among the dead is 38-year-old Otar Gvinashvili, a police officer who sustained fatal injuries while trying to protect another person during the shooting. Five other people were wounded. Vakhtang Gomelauri, the Georgian Interior Minister who arrived at the scene early on Friday, said the offender had been with his adult child who escaped the flat following the incident. The 49-year-old offender is believed to have killed himself as security forces entered his flat. Neighbours told local media the shooter had rented his flat and was reportedly undergoing treatment for psychological problems. There is currently no known motive for the mass shooting.