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FreePint BlogSelected Sources for Eastern Europe, Russia and the Former Soviet Union

Tuesday, 5th October 2010 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Adrian Janes


DocuTicker editors contribute brief articles to FUMSI on conducting research with grey literature - reports from government agencies, think tanks, research institutes and public interest organisations.


In my work as a contributing editor for DocuTicker, I research publicly available reports on a number of global topics. Here are some of my favourite resources for Eastern Europe, Russia and the Former Soviet Union:

The European countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and the entire former Eastern Bloc make intriguing markets. Examples include Russia, Georgia, Croatia and Serbia, and a large number of countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, etc.) which became Member States of the European Union (EU) in the past decade.

In less than 20 years they have undergone huge changes. There remain important variations between them in the amount of State control yielded and privatization introduced (e.g. the Russian Government retains significant influence in the field of energy). In evaluating any country as an emerging market, it is therefore important to be aware of its particular history as well as its contemporary circumstances.

A good way into a country, both for background information and contacts, is through its chamber of commerce. The World Chambers Network and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are both useful in this respect. The ICC provides a page of links to its European members which quickly leads to its members in both Western and Eastern Europe, as well as Russia.

Similarly, embassies and other diplomatic representation customarily have responsibility for affecting commercial contacts. Embassy World and the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office will together provide listings for both the UK and the USA. These embassy websites themselves often lead on to sources of business information for their home country.

Eurostat is the official statistical agency that covers the EU. The Member States which joined in 2004 and 2007 are in a somewhat paradoxical position. Admission depends partly on being judged to have a market economy which is strong enough to withstand strong competition, yet at the same time these are countries which are considered emerging economies (thus the official assistance granted them, known as Structural Funds). This does, however, mean that Eurostat can be a very valuable source for data on many of the countries under consideration. Simply searching the site by a country's name will bring up results both for that country and as part of more general surveys: e.g. a search for Estonia produces energy statistics for all of the EU 27, and figures just for Estonia in areas like fishery products.

One useful annual publication is the European Union foreign direct investment yearbook. The latest edition (2008) has data from 2001-2006, so Romania and Bulgaria do not feature. But figures for the countries which joined in 2004 can be gleaned, along with Russia. Russia's presence here highlights another paradox: A facet of some emerging economies is that they already have a strength which propels them to invest outside their borders.

Further avenues to look into for statistics, relevant legal considerations and case studies are dedicated national government agencies, ministries and departments. Examples are the InvestBulgaria Agency, publications from the Czech Republic, and the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency. There are equivalents throughout the region's countries, with a good way into all of them being REENIC (Russian and East European Network Information Center), from the University of Texas. Simply choose a country from the list and then, from a standard set of categories, ‘Economics' (which includes business and finances).

In this article I have concentrated on official channels of information which, to some extent, could be doubted insofar as they may also have the underlying agenda of wishing to attract investors. It is therefore also necessary to have regard to some more objective sources in order to achieve a fuller picture. REENIC can do this to some extent, and other directories can be found via the British Library's Slavonic and East European resources and the Library of Congress' Central and Eastern Europe ‘Portal to the World'. All of these will provide links, for instance, to media, politics, and country search engines. However, they also differ in the selection and depth of resources per country, so it is worth comparing categories as required.

Concluding on a more strictly economic point of view, the International Finance Corporation (a part of the World Bank) has a section on Europe and Central Asia. This provides a comprehensive list of all the relevant countries with background and statistical data on each of them. The European Restructuring Monitor is an online publication which includes all of the EU in its remit, with regular features on macroeconomic trends and statistics. There are also articles on specific companies and countries, some of which relate to emerging economies.


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  • Item title: Selected Sources for Eastern Europe, Russia and the Former Soviet Union
  • Publication Date: Tuesday, 5th October 2010
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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at

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