Information operations

Russia / New Administration Media Ad Hoc – 16 March 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The most interesting report today is Goble’s digest on the DNA testing of 2000 Russians by Russian Genotek company that shows that 19.2 percent of Russians carry “Ukrainian and Belarusian” genes versus only 16.2 percent who carry uniquely Russian genes. This of course is not surprising if we look at DNA maps assembled elsewhere from older DNA test data, showing these non-Russian genes are indeed “Ukrainian and Belarusian”, but more to the point and not mentioned in the Genotek report, mostly Gothic and Viking Scandinavian in origin (http://www.eupedia.com/europe/maps_Y-DNA_haplogroups.shtml). In coming days we can expect to see Genotek publicly eviscerated for promoting Normanist Western propaganda challenging pan-Slavism and Russian ethnic purity….

Multiple reports of interest on Russia’s slide into the abyss, with a notable little essay by Igor Solovey at LB.ua on how Russia typecast itself into the same role as Nazi Germany. Prof Gregory speculates on whether Russia will admit to killing MH17.

Poroshenko the Deplorable, extolling the support received from the Trump Administration. Patriarch of the Orthodox church in Constantinople tells Ukraine’s PM that he will support an independent Ukrainian church separate from the Moscow church, a major blow for Putin’s campaign to fracture the global Orthodox churches and realign them to the Moscow church. A lot of reporting on the blockade of Donbass, and Ukraine’s escalation by sanctions on Russian banks, while Donbass bombardment continues.

Several very interesting reports on Russian propaganda and the growing effort to challenge it properly. Justice indicts four Russians over Yahoo hack, two of whom are serving FSB officers, one previously charged by Russia as an alleged Agency asset.

Dutch election does not go well for Russia aligned player. Multiple interesting reports from US Russia debate, notably Sen McCain’s comments to Sen Paul over the Montenegro NATO vote.


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Genetically a Lot Less Russian Than They Like to Think

Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – Even though many Russians often say that “if you scratch a Russian, you’ll find a Tatar,” most consider themselves an independent and self-standing nation genetically as well as culturally. But a new study of the DNA of the Russian people shows that only 16.2 percent of the genes they carry are uniquely Russian. Drawing on the results of DNA tests of more than 2000 people from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Krasnodar, Rostov-na-Donu, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk,, Simferopol and Kyiv who sought such testing, Russia’s Genotek company has offered its analysis of the genetic backgrounds of ethnic Russians (kp.ru/daily/26654.4/3674515/). The company’s director, Valery Ilinsky, tells Komsomolskaya Pravda that only 16.2 percent of the genes carried by present-day Russians are typical of indigenous Russians. A larger share of the genes they carry – 19.2 percent — come from Ukrainians and Belarusians. Other sources of the genetic makeup of Russians are Finns (13.1 percent) and Hungarians (6.3 percent). Nationality, of course, is something individuals decide on for themselves, he continues. But “we can speak about the origins of particular fragments of our DNA from various ethnic groups.” And approaching the issue in that way, he says, shows that more than 80 percent of the genes Russians now carry come from other than the indigenous population of Central Russia. Ilinsky notes that at the current level of knowledge, an indigenous people is one which has constantly lived on a particular territory for three or four generations. There simply isn’t yet enough data to go further back in time. Asked why Belarusian and Ukrainian genes form a larger part of the Russian genetic makeup than that from those living in Central Russia, Ilinsky says that there are several explanations. First of all, “the territory of contemporary Central Russia was historically part of a single formation which was called Kyivan Rus. But more important, he suggests, is the fact that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians form a single “very large population” and that the three have more in common than many think. “There are practically no pure ethnic Russians and pure ethnic Ukrainians. All of us from the point of view of genetics are an enormous mix from completely different fragments.”

Where Will Putin Strike Next? Ukraine? Georgia? Belarus?

Russia’s president thinks Donald Trump is not ready to meet a sudden challenge.

Photo Gallery: The Russian Missiles Trained On NATO | Aviation Week

From land-attack missiles to ballistic behemoths, Aviation Week explores the modern weapons Russia is fielding.

Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov off US coast near Georgia Navy submarine base – CBS News

Intelligence trawler spotted just 20 miles from Navy submarine base in Georgia, and heading north

Russia’s Most Powerful Nuclear Attack Submarine Ever Is Almost Ready for Sea | The National Interest Blog

And there are many more on the way. 

Russian Spetsnaz: Learning from Experience | The Cipher Brief

As part of military reforms begun in 2008, Russia has overhauled its special purpose forces, or Spetsnaz to expand its capabilities and professionalization. It also created a new Special Operations Command known as the KSSO.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: ‘We Should Never Trust Russia’ – NBC News

Haley also defended Trump’s travel ban, a version of which she slammed as governor of South Carolina, prior to a judge blocking the revised order.

Six Immediate Steps to Stop Putin’s Aggression – To Inform is to Influence

The United States has taken no steps in any of these categories.  The US has not committed to backing Ukraine and its NATO allies in defending Ukraine against illegal Russian aggression, a Russian invasion, and Russian infiltration. Ukraine needs lethal aid, first and foremost, with the immediate need for FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles, as Russia has built…

Russia Today launches fake-news debunker FakeCheck.

Few news outlets have done more to usher in a “post-truth world” than RT.

“There is such a job as protection from Russia” – LB.ua news portal

There is such a job as protection from Russia”. The confrontation between Putin’s Russia and the West is now part of the mainstream, with political and public activists, who openly declare their support for the Russian Federation, bidding farewell to their reputation in society and even their careers. Great Britain for one now has a dedicated official in charge of fighting Russia. If it goes like this, expressing affection for Russia may well be taken as the same as endorsing German Nazism. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Is Putin Preparing To Admit Guilt For MH17?

A financial settlement and an apology may hold the keys to sanction relief, but Putin must consider the reaction of the Russian people to learning they have been lied to. If Putin admits and settles, this means he believes he has such a grip over his people that even MH17 cannot break.

U.S. ‘Condemns’ Russian Move To Integrate Breakaway Georgian Region’s Military

The United States has denounced a move by Russia to allow soldiers from the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia to serve in the Russian armed forces.

Moldova sees Russian plot to derail money-laundering probe | Reuters

Two months ago, Moldova’s Deputy General Prosecutor Iurie Garaba traveled to Moscow with an invitation to attend an official function for Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Day.

Exposing Putin’s Cronies: The Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous – The Daily Beast

Investigative reporters are using social media posts to reveal the corruption of officials in Russia who live lives of Trump-like excess.

The Daily Vertical: A Praetorian Guard — With A Brain (Transcript)

So does everybody remember that National Guard thing from last year? Of course you do. You know, that 400,000-strong Praetorian Guard force that reports to Vladimir Putin alone and is run by hi…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Moves to Give Zolotov’s Russian Guard KGB-Like Functions

Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – The Rosbalt news agency is reporting that the Kremlin plans to give the Russian Guard additional functions which will make it a full-scale force structure and one that will be “much more similar to the KGB” of Soviet times than the Guard originally appeared to be (ixtc.org/2017/03/srochno-v-rossii-poyavitsya-esche-odno-silovoe-vedomstvo/). And what makes this especially worrisome, the New Chronicle of Current Events says, is that the leader of the Russian Guard, Viktor Zolotov, has said that his organization’s function is the struggle against “’the fifth column’” and “’revolutionary stirrings’” in the population (meduza.io/news/2016/12/16/komandir-rosgvardii-v-altayskom-krae-nas-sozdali-chtoby-sderzhivat-revolyutsionnye-poryvy According to Rosbalt, the Kremlin has developed a plan to convert the Russian Guard into a full-scale force structure with its own investigative arm by incorporating within it the Interior Ministry’s Administration for the Struggle with Extremism (the notorious Center E) and the Administration for the security of senior officials (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2017/03/14/1598336.html). The chief innovation here is that the Russian Guard will gain an independent ability to conduct police investigations, organize its own network of agents, and have the technical possibilities of listening to telephone conversations and seizing electronic correspondence of various kinds. This newly beefed-up National Guard will thus find itself in competition with and possibly conflict with the Interior Ministry and the FSB. That may be part of Putin’s plan to secure his own position, especially since the head of the Russian guard is the former head of the presidential protection service. Given Putin’s demonstrated faith in Zolotov, the New Chronicle says, this reported decision to create a new force structure around him may represent indirect evidence to “a new sharpening of conflicts among the force clans in the Kremlin.” At the very least, it adds, “the new structure will be much more like the KGB of the USSR than any National Guard.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin ‘Thaw’ about ‘More Centralization and Discipline but Fewer Scandals,’ Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – The release of a few prisoners and “the stylistic softening of the Russian regime” has led some to suggest Vladimir Putin is promoting “a thaw” on the model of the 1950s, Sergey Shelin says, completely forgetting that such a move “does not contradict” either growing centralization of power or greater restrictions on the life of the population. The Rosbalt commentator notes that “literally over the course of several weeks, the word ‘thaw’ succeeded not only to become fashionable but to go out of fashion as well” once people saw that the release of Dadin and Chudnovets “wasn’t going to open an era of a major softening” in the regime (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/03/14/1598622.html). Belief in “a second edition” of a thaw has arisen at least in part, Shelin says, because many now have a mistaken idea about the original. “The Soviet thaw arose in 1953-1954 when Beriya and Malenkov ruled the country. It continued until the mid-1960s, frequently changing its priorities, among which the liberalization of the system was never at the top of the list.” The term “thaw” itself came from Ilya Ehrenburg’s short story which was published in early 1954. But as he pointed out, the authorities never accepted it and invariably criticized the ideas that he presented. The second edition, however, is one that the Kremlin and its allies aren’t upset about at all. Indeed, many, feeling that they have support “from above” are pushing the idea of a new thaw forward, and in Moscow now, Shelin says, there are “several large nostalgic exhibits on the theme of the Soviet thaw at the Tretyakoov and the Museum of Moscow.” It is now possible to suggest with some precision exactly what the current bosses mean when they talk about “a thaw.” First of all, they are referring to “the freeing of those convicted in the most insane and clearly false political and ideological charges,” something that opposition figures will certainly welcome as a sign of positive change.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Like Soviet Nomenklatura, Putin Elite Dangerously Isolating Itself from Russian People, Gontmakher Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – The Soviet Union ended not with the August 1991 coup, Yevgeny Gontmakher argues, but rather when Boris Yeltsin launched his attack on the privileges of the nomenklatura by taking public transport and freely associating with the Russian man on the street, something Soviet officials had not done for decades. Now, once again, the Moscow economist and commentator says, the Putin elite is dangerously isolating itself from the Russian people, thus setting the stage for a populist challenge against its privileges and its attitude that it has the right to all that it possesses (mk.ru/specprojects/free-theme/2017/03/15/pogubyat-li-rossiyu-privilegii-chinovnikov.html). The privileges of the Soviet nomenklatura, Gontmakher points out, did not generate “open protests even from the small number of dissidents … But the people living under conditions of a chronic shortage of goods felt ever more negative about the party and economic hierarchy.” Some in the intelligentsia even recalled “Leninist modesty.” “Of course,” he continues, “such a status quo when society is quietly angry about the privileges of the nomenklatura but is afraid to go into the open with protests can survive for a very long time.” There needs to be what people now call “’a black swan.’” A generation ago that was Boris Yeltsin, “who was no dissident but rather a cadre party worker.” Because of his popularity, a commission to study privileges was created under Ella Pamfilova. After nine months of investigation, it reported its findings on July 6, 1991, and called for an end to the corrupt use by officials of their official positions. But the USSR Supreme Soviet rejected its findings. That might have been the end of it except for one thing: Six days later, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin adopted the Declaration of the Sovereignty of Russia and proceeded to move in the directions that the Panfilova commission had called for. Had there not been the failed August coup, Yeltsin’s fate might very well have been different. “It is possible,” Gontmakher says, “that the Soviet nomenklatura could have all the same turned the course of events and the theme of democracy and freedom as well as that of the liquidation of nomenklatura privileges could have been closed for a time.”

Crimea’s de facto head Aksyonov calls to establish monarchy in Russia

Russia needs a monarchy as a new form of government, according to Russian-occupied Crimea's &quot;leader&quot; Sergey Aksyonov's statement voiced on the air of 1st Crimean TV channel. News 15 March from UNIAN.

Russian companies retreat from London stock market

Many struggle to shake off reputational worries and convince investors of credibility

President hails “fantastic dynamics” of relations with the US – LB.ua news portal

President Petro Poroshenko says the Ukrainian-American relations under the new US president demonstrate “fantastic dynamics”. In an interview with the Inter, ICTV and Ukraina TV channels, Poroshenko recalled that “so many so-called specialists have painted the situation for Ukraine in totally black tones” after the coming of Donald Trump to power. But, Ukrainian president said, the situation is exactly the opposite: “The bipartisan support of Ukraine has intensified cooperation between the administration of President Trump and the administration of President Poroshenko, and between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of State.” He noted that Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin during his recent visit to the US met with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with the National Security Adviser on national security issues Herbert McMaster, and other influential people in the White House and the US Congress. Poroshenko himself had meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and Tillerson, and had a phone conversation with Donald Trump on two occasions. “I am sure that the situation for Ukraine in the American establishment, in the White House, the Department of State is changing for the better, and I am happy about it, because more understanding comes, more willingness to act decisively to protect freedom and democracy.” “I am sure that Russia is very disappointed,” Poroshenko added.

Ecumenical Patriarch pledges support in creation of Ukrainian local church – LB.ua news portal

The Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said that Ukraine will receive a unified Orthodox Church. “We pray that the Ukrainian people were united in the same church. The Mother Church of Constantinople will help you in obtaining such a unified church. We should be optimistic about the future,” Bartholomew I said during a meeting with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Istanbul on 14 March. Last June, the Verkhovna Rada has appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I requesting to grant autocephaly to Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In particular, the Rada asked Bartholomew to issue a Tomos (decree) on the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to allow it to take a proper place in the family of local Orthodox churches. However, the All-Orthodox Council on Crete on June 18-26, 2016 failed to adopt such a Tomos.

Gazprom surrender. Ukraine gets new trump card | UNIAN

Russian energy monopoly Gazprom has lost its long-standing dispute with the European Commission. The company has undertaken to fulfill the conditions put forward by the EU &ndash; it will give up all the preferences in the European markets and change the pricing. The fact that Gazprom has recognized violations on its part&nbsp;is in fact&nbsp;a huge trump card for Ukraine. News 16 March from UNIAN.

Arms for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia may help U.S. block Putin in Ukraine – opinion

Arming Ukraine and imposing tougher sanctions on Russia are among the six policies offered by former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Michael Carpenter to U.S. President Donald Trump for blocking Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, according to the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine. News 16 March from UNIAN.

Poroshenko greenlights sanctions against Russian banks | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has given a go-ahead to imposing sanctions against Russian banks, according to TSN news service. Latest UNIAN news from 16 March.

Akhmetov’s DTEK acknowledged loss of control over Donbas energy assets – LB.ua news portal

Akhmetov’s DTEK acknowledged loss of control over Donbas energy assets. The energy holding is gearing up to file lawsuits in international courts. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Russian Sberbank introduces new restrictions on cash withdrawals in Ukraine

Russia's PJSC Sberbank operating in Ukraine has introduced new, more stringent limitations for its clients on cash withdrawals, which have come in force today, March 16, according to the bank&rsquo;s press service. News 16 March from UNIAN.

Finance ministry to calculate Ukraine’s losses from blockade of occupied Donbas

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has instructed Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk to calculate Ukraine's losses from a blockade of trade with Russian-occupied Donbas. News 15 March from UNIAN.

Poroshenko lists conditions for unblocking trade with occupied Donbas

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has listed conditions under which Ukraine will be able to unblock trade with Russian-occupied areas in Donbas, among them are the return of seized assets, a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons. News 15 March from UNIAN.

Russia to Take Measures to Protect Banks’ Subsidiaries in Ukraine if Necessary

Moscow is monitoring the situation unfolding around Russian banks’ subsidiaries in Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman said.

Russia’s VTB keeps plans to exit Ukraine after c.bank urges sanctions | Reuters

Russian bank VTBstill plans to exit Ukraine, the bank’s chief executive said onThursday, after the Ukrainian central bank said it would imposenew sanctions on the local subsidiaries of Russian state-owned banks.

President: We will always respect participants of peaceful rallies, but we will not let armed “guest performers” in the rear of Ukrainian troops — Official website of the President of Ukraine

“We will always respect participants of peaceful rallies, even though we may not share their requirements. But we will detain and bring to justice all people who come with weapons, machine guns, Molotov cocktails, explosives or grenades and blow up railroad tracks at the call of organizers-adventurers, even though they call themselves patriots. Is it permissible to allow armed “guest performers” to the rear of Ukrainian troops?” the President emphasized.

President to initiate draft law on restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity — Official website of the President of Ukraine

At the NSDC session, President Petro Poroshenko offered to initiate, consider and adopt the law on restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine, which meets the national interests of our state.

Ukraine’s Poroshenko on Donbas blockade: “This scenario wasn’t written in Ukraine”

15.03.17 22:06 – Ukraine’s Poroshenko on Donbas blockade: This scenario wasn’t written in Ukraine President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko believes that Donbas blockade was masterminded by the Kremlin. View news.

Poroshenko: Pilot trains with Ukrainian coal from occupied Donbas on their way to Russia

Test supplies of Ukrainian coal from the occupied territories of Donbas to Russia by rail have already started, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Wednesday, opening a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council. News 15 March from UNIAN.

Ukraine Announces Suspension Of Cargo Traffic With Separatist-Held Areas

Ukrainian authorities have announced the suspension of all cargo traffic with areas held by Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, prompting Russia to urge Kyiv to cancel th…

Ukraine Cuts Off All Trade With Separatist Regions – The New York Times

The move raises tensions with the rebels’ patrons in Moscow and is seen by some a potential first step toward partition.

Ukraine blocks road and rail links with breakaway regions – POLITICO

Nationalists are calling for ‘economic war’ with separatists and with Russia.

Poroshenko: Blockade destroyed Ukraine in Donbas, we had to act decisively | KyivPost

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko believes that the blockade by activists in Donbas territories, uncontrolled by Kyiv, is a very dangerous strategy and actions by them destroyed Ukraine in Donbas. “It destroyed Ukraine in Donbas. It’s a very dangerous strategy and actions of blockade protesters were dangerous. We had to act decisively and efficiently,” the president said in an interview with Ukrainian television channels on March 15 night. He expressed confidence that the scenario of the blockade was not written in Ukraine, since it is aimed at internal destabilization of the country.

President: Ukrainian enterprises in ORDLO meant to become springboard for reintegration – 16.03.2017 10:25 — Ukrinform News

Enterprises that continued to pay salary in Ukrainian currency and pay taxes to the Ukrainian budget were the “islets” of Ukraine’s presence in the occupied territories and they meant to become a backbone of the reintegration of these lands after their de-occupation. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said this in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels. “Those were the only places, where the Ukrainian national currency functioned, where taxes were not paid to budgets of the so-called ‘DPR’ or ‘LPR’ or the Russian Federation, but were paid in full to Ukraine. The employment was provided there, and people clearly understood that those, who were working at large Ukrainian enterprises, which although had been located in the occupied territories but remained under Ukrainian jurisdiction, had stayed in Ukraine,” the Head of State said. In his opinion, those enterprises were meant to become the springboard for reintegration of the occupied territories of Donbas into the government-controlled Ukraine.

No cargo crossed demarcation line since 1 p.m. today, – State Border Guard Service

15.03.17 16:44 – No cargo crossed demarcation line since 1 p.m. today, – State Border Guard Service Transportation of goods across the demarcation line in the Donbas has not been carried out after 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15. View news.

Turchynov: All roads and railways across contact line to be shut down by 1 p.m. today

15.03.17 13:31 – Turchynov: All roads and railways across contact line to be shut down by 1 p.m. today Following a decision by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, all roads and rail tracks running towards the demarcation line will be blocked by the National Police and the National Guard. View news.

Rada offers 75% Ukrainian language quota on national TV

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed in the first reading the draft law of Ukraine &quot;On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Language of Audiovisual (Electronic) Mass Media,&quot; according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 16 March from UNIAN.

ATO HQ reports 91 enemy attacks, 4 WIA in Donbas in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 91 times in the past 24 hours, with four Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 16 March from UNIAN.

“All types of artillery hit us. After proper retaliation, militants cease fire,” – Ukrainian marines in Vodiane. VIDEO

15.03.17 16:15 – All types of artillery hit us. After proper retaliation, militants cease fire, – Ukrainian marines in Vodiane. VIDEO Ukrainian marines retain their positions near the village of Vodiane and successfully repel attempts to attack by Russian militants. View video news.

Russian occupant from 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade of Russian GRU Maxim Apanasov pretended to be Donbas militant for two years. PHOTOS

15.03.17 17:56 – Russian occupant from 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade of Russian GRU Maxim Apanasov pretended to be Donbas militant for two years. PHOTOS OSINT investigators have revealed a “double-jobber” military from the 22nd Special Purpose Brigade of Russian GRU Maxim Apanasov, who served both in the Russian army and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” “Spetsnaz GRU.” View photo news.

Shell-Shocked: Ukraine’s Trauma | VICE News

VICE News travels to Ukraine to investigate the war’s impact on soldiers and civilians, and to see how volunteer groups are stepping up to help.

Ryanair begins flights to Ukraine for less than £20 – The i newspaper online iNews

Ryanair has launched flights to the capital of Ukraine with seats available for less than £20. It comes as the country is facing a worsening humanitarian c

Photographing the Russian Empire in colour – BBC News

Pioneering photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii developed innovative techniques to capture parts of the Russian Empire in colour for the first time.

Russia focuses on soft power in its international student strategy

Emphasis on soft power leads to focus on those from former Soviet states.

Fake Think Tanks Fuel Fake News—And the President’s Tweets – To Inform is to Influence

Countering fake news is not that difficult, but every time a counter is invented, another new technology pops up.   Right now the best countermeasure is education.  Because of the protections, free speech and freedom of the press, that are built into the constitution, the government is purposefully limited in their options.  What remains is…

Moscow’s Achilles Heel – CEPA STRATCOM PROGRAM.

The Putin administration recently commissioned an independent analysis of Russian network TV, according to the website Znak.com, which was highly critical of its programming. The study was reportedly prepared for Sergei Kiriyenko—the president’s first deputy chief of staff—by a private company hired to “make sense of the reality depicted on television” and determine how well this presentation “facilitates Russia’s modernization.” The study has not yet been made available to the public, but a Znak.com correspondent was allowed to read an advance copy. Researchers found that news broadcasts on major TV channels Pervyi Kanal and Rossiya-1 were relatively balanced and objective, at least by the standards of the Putin regime (to most Western viewers they are highly propagandistic). But these programs, the study concluded, devote much of their attention to foreign news, presented in strongly emotional terms and fixated on Russia’s confrontations with the United States, the West, and Ukraine—often in overtly military terms. The study also criticizes the shows’ presenters, identifying Dmitry Kiselyov and Vladimir Solovyev as two archetypes of Russian TV news. It says the former relies on “classic propaganda methods,” while the latter is more inclined to use “dramatic tropes borrowed from street theater.” One guest embodies the good patriot, and another guest (often a foreigner or a disgraced figure from the 1990s) plays the antagonist’s role. The report supposedly found that both talk shows and news programs typically depict Vladimir Putin as a national hero. The report also found that Russian TV presents the subject of Russia’s modernization in largely one-dimensional terms. “National television creates a single picture of socio-political reality, the central ideas of which are the assertion of Russia’s sovereignty in a hostile foreign environment, state paternalism, patriotic values, and using foreign threats to justify economic and social problems,” the report’s authors concluded. The study says that Russian national TV largely ignores the country’s domestic political agenda, as well as the interests of social organizations and individual citizens. Researchers warn that Russian TV’s tendency to “inflate negative and disturbing narratives” poses the risk of “escalating emotional tensions” nationally. It is difficult to believe that the report—if its conclusions are as stated—will ever be widely released, since its findings lay bare how the regime uses the media to rule. Putin’s idolization helps strengthen the system’s legitimacy, while the constant depiction of foreign enemies mobilizes Russia’s population behind government goals and distracts it from domestic problems. The concern about the inflation of “negative and disturbing narratives” reflects the Kremlin’s unease with grassroots movements it cannot control, even when they support official objectives. Finally, it is unclear what portion of the Kremlin elite, Kiriyenko and a few others aside, are genuinely interested in facilitating “modernization” or even agree what that means. At a time when the West debates how to push back against Russian information operations, this report highlights vulnerabilities in Russia’s information defenses that can be exploited. Russian media, as the study shows, avoids subjects uncomfortable to the regime. Deeper attention from Western media and government attention to the regime’ s domestic problems, for example, would go a long way toward putting the Kremlin on the defensive. At the 9 March hearings in Congress on Russian disinformation—at which CEPA Executive Vice-President Peter Doran also spoke— Ambassador Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr. recommended that the U.S. government produce a series of well-researched, unclassified reports regarding the Russian leadership to be published in various formats including video, audio, print and digital. These reports could cover the funds and properties controlled by the Russian leadership, Russian hybrid operations in Ukraine, the July 2014 shootdown of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, and dissemination of the findings of deceased politician Boris Nemtsov about the 2014 Summer Olympics in Sochi.

Review: Crafting an Information Warfare and Counter-Propaganda Strategy for the Emerging Security Environment – To Inform is to Influence

They just finished the hearing on “Crafting an Information Warfare and Counter-Propaganda Strategy for the Emerging Security Environment” by the US House Armed Services Committee. The witnesses were Matt Armstrong, Michael Lumpkin, and Timothy L. Thomas. The video was just posted and is available here: https://armedservices.house.gov/legislation/hearings/crafting-information-warfare-and-counter-propaganda-strategy-emerging-security The only shocker was Lumpkin saying the head of…

Fake News, Propaganda and Influence Operations – A Guide To Journalism In A New, And More Chaotic, Media Environment – To Inform is to Influence

Tuesday, 14/03/2017 by Anders Hofseth This article was first published in Norwegian on NRKbeta in February 2017 and was translated into English by its author for the Reuters Institute Introduction The media of the world may be facing a crisis more serious than a media economy in free fall, a crisis involving the foundations itself: Trust.…

Russia’s 5th Column – Center for American Progress

Russia’s actions to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election and help then-presidential candidate Donald Trump win were similar to its activities to build a network of far-right political parties and movements in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin is using this network to advance his policy objectives at home and abroad. In this effort, Russia is motivated by both the desire to lead a conservative revival against Western liberal democracies and a flawed interpretation of recent waves of popular uprisings against autocratic rulers that sees an American conspiracy behind them. Putin has adopted a deliberate strategy to directly challenge the liberal international order led by the United States. That global system helped end the historical pattern of devastating wars among major powers and brought much of the world an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity since the end of World War II. Get the Latest on Foreign Policy and Security It has been 25 years since the end of the Cold War, and many Americans have lost touch with the value of the military and political alliances that helped the United States prevail in that conflict. Russia has not. And even though it remains weak relative to the United States, Putin’s Russia is aggressively pursuing its objective to weaken those political alliances to help it regain its strategic position in Europe. The bond between the United States and European democracies, forged over the past 100 years, is built on the shared values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. Putin’s Russia rejects all of those values. Putin oppresses or jails his political opponents, sends his assassins to murder dissidents who leave Russia, uses state-run media to suppress dissent and stifle the independent press, and mocks the rule of law as he enriches himself and his associates at the expense of the Russian people.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Almost Half of Russians Say They Can’t Distinguish Truth from Lies in Moscow Media

Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – Almost half of Russians – 46 percent – say that they often cannot distinguish “false information from truth” in media reports, while a similar percentage – 46 percent say that they can, numbers that are relatively constant across groups of different ages and social classes, according to Aleksey Levinson of the Levada Center. Given that significant majorities watch central state television channels, the sociologist continues in a Vedomosti article, this reflects their evaluation of their ability to judge what they are told in the first instance on those channels rather than by other media outlets (vedomosti.ru/opinion/columns/2017/03/14/681023-lzhepravdi) Many people say that homemakers “believe ‘the box’ more than others,” but data show that in fact, Russian homemakers today are the most skeptical about their ability to distinguish truth from falsehood on Russian television with 51 percent saying that they can’t always. Only a slightly smaller share of workers say the same thing. Moreover, Levinson continues, “among those who have a university diploma, 41 percent cannot always distinguish between television truth and television lies. And even among the bosses, he says, the figure with similar with four in ten saying that “we don’t know whether they are deceiving us or not.” There are three reasons, Levinson suggests, why there is no general and full trust in the Russian media. First of all, viewers have their own experiences which allow them to compare what is said with what is true. “But this isn’t the main reason,” the sociologist continues, and he points to two additional ones. The second reason is rooted in the experience of Russians at the end of Soviet times when people began to understand that “freedom begins with independence from official propaganda and with the absence of unqualified faith in everything that this broadcast from above.” That attitude has been extended to the Moscow media since they are obviously state-controlled. And third – and this, Levinson says, is the “main” reason – Russian media today and those who direct it “don’t need unqualified faith from their viewers, listeners or readers.” Instead, what they require is that people suspend critical judgment and remain uncertain as to what is true and what is not. That is sufficient and keeps Russians from coming down on the side of truth, an important value in Russian culture, and thus putting th

Levada Study: lzhepravdy time – To Inform is to Influence

Quote from Brian Whitmore: According to a new study by the Levada Center, nearly half of Russians say they can’t distinguish truth from lies in the media. In today’s Congressional hearing, Russian expert Timothy L. Thomas referred to “Kennan’s Long Telegram”, from 1946.  Here is the quote that he referred to, in reference to how Russians…

Russian Duma Adopts Law Limiting Live Broadcasts Of Open Trials

The Russian State Duma has approved legislation that would strengthen restrictions on live broadcasts of open trials on television, radio, and the Internet.

Little girl’s honesty rattles Russian TV propaganda | KyivPost

The honesty of children can slice right through Russian propaganda, if given a chance. A 10-year-old girl Diana Agureyeva, who moved from Ukraine to Moscow two years ago, rattled Russia’s Den TV channel on March 8 when she told host Dionis Kaptar that people in the Ukrainian city of Makiyivka, where Russian-backed forces have seized control from Ukraine, were nicer than people in Russia. “Do you feel there is a difference between people in Makiyivka in Ukraine and in Russia?” Kaptar asks Agureyeva in the middle of the segment, which was posted on Den TV’s Youtube channel here:

Sign the Statement: Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression – A Statement by Robert P. George and Cornel West | James Madison Program


U.S. Indicts Two Russian FSB Officers In Yahoo Hack; One Charged By Moscow With Treason

The U.S. Justice Department has announced indictments against two Russian intelligence officers for the massive 2014 hack against Yahoo, one of whom had been arrested in January in Moscow as part a widening scandal involving Russia’s top security agency.

Justice Department charges Russian spies and criminal hackers in Yahoo intrusion – The Washington Post

The indictments mark the first criminal cyber charges ever brought against Russian government officials.

Four charged, including 2 Russian intel officers, in massive Yahoo hacks

At least 500 million email accounts were hit by the security breaches.

U.S. Indicts 2 Russian Security Officials Over Yahoo Hack : The Two-Way : NPR

The two defendants are officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB. They were indicted along with two criminal hackers over a 2014 breach involving at least 500 million Yahoo accounts.

Russia spies to be charged in Yahoo hack

The defendants, including two Russian agents, gained information on “millions of subscribers” at Yahoo and Google, the Justice Department says.

Russia Hacked Yahoo, Making US-Russian Relations Even More Tense | WIRED

The Department of Justice pinned a major Yahoo hack on Russia, adding to cyber-tensions between the two countries.

Russian agents, FBI Most Wanted hacker charged in Yahoo breach – Fifth Domain | Cyber

Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.

Luxury Car Buff ‘Mr. Karim’ at Center of Russia Yahoo Hack – Bloomberg

When Karim Baratov said on Facebook he’d paid off a mortgage and drove a BMW 7 series at high school, classmates thought he had rich parents. The money may have come, instead, from a secret life as a cyber hacker, including work for Russia’s top spy agency, according to charges filed on Wednesday.

Russian man faces US charges related to Citadel malware – Fifth Domain | Cyber

Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.

Gigabytes of sensitive Air Force documents reportedly discovered by security firm – Fifth Domain | Cyber

Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.


Australia urges South China Sea ruling as basis for ‘code of conduct’ | Reuters

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations should use an international court’s rejection of China’s claims to almost all the South China Sea as basis for a code of conduct, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Thursday.

China’s WTO Bench Honed Over 15 Years Girds for U.S. Trade Fight – Bloomberg

China is emerging as the World Trade Organization’s unlikely champion amid Donald Trump’s threats to weaken it, backed by an army of negotiators who have spent 15 years quietly learning the ropes on trade disputes.

North Korea: Kim Jong Nam’s Murder Spells Danger for Family | Time.com

Unsurprisingly other direct descendants of North Korea’s communist founder Kim Il Sung are now looking over their shoulders

Kim Jong-nam death: Interpol ‘red notice’ for N Koreans – BBC News

Malaysia wants the four in connection with the murder of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader.

Geert Wilders lost elections but Dutch speak his language – NY Daily News

According to exit polls, Geert Wilders, the so-called Donald Trump of the Netherlands, did not win the Dutch elections.

Europe Gets Reprieve in Dutch Election, But the Center Fragments – Bloomberg

When Donald Trump was elected U.S. president in November his Dutch equivalent, Geert Wilders celebrated the arrival of a “Patriotic Spring” that would lift anti-immigrant nationalists to power across Europe. That uprising failed to materialize in the Netherlands.

Israel Navy official: Russia is here to stay in the region – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Israel Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Dror Friedman tells Army Radio that the Russians appear to be setting down roots in the region.

Is This Russia’s Opening Move in Libya? – The American Interest

If so, it could be a repeat of the Syria strategy: do just enough to achieve an acceptable outcome.


Beware The False Temptations Of The Russia Story – BuzzFeed News

Fantasy, confirmation bias, and forgeries in the reaction to Trump…

How Donald Trump’s Enemies Fell For A Billion-Dollar Hoax – BuzzFeed News

An elaborate hoax based on forged documents escalates the phenomenon of “fake news” and reveals an audience on the left that seems willing…

Did Trump Ex-Adviser Paul Manafort Play a Role in 2014 Ukraine Massacre? – The Daily Beast

As the court in Kiev puts police on trial for the Maidan slaughter, the big question is who ordered the killing.

McCain: Rand Is ‘Working for Vladimir Putin’ – Breitbart

During a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) stated that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is “achieving the objectives of” and “working for” Vladimir Putin after Paul objected to a unanimous consent motion to advance a bill to advance Montenegro’s bid to join NATO. McCain said, “If there is objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin. You’re achieving the objectives of trying to dismember this small country that has already been the subject of [an] attempted coup. I have no idea why anyone would object to this, except that I will say, if they object, they are now carrying out the desires and ambitions of Vladimir Putin, and I do not say that lightly.”
McCain then asked for unanimous consent to advance the bill, which Paul objected to. McCain then stated, “I note the senator from Kentucky leaving the floor without justification, or rather — or any rationale for the action that he has just taken. That is really remarkable, that a senator, blocking a treaty, that is supported by the overwhelming number, perhaps 98, at least, of his colleagues, would come to the floor, and object, and walk away, and walk away. The only conclusion you can draw, when he walks away, is he has no argument to be made. He has no justification, for his objection to having a small nation be part of NATO that is under assault from the Russians. So I repeat again, the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”

Democratic challenger hits Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Russia – To Inform is to Influence

MARCH 15, 2017 Sarah D. Wire Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s long-running defense of Russia is the centerpiece of a new online ad from one of his 2018 opponents, Laguna Beach real estate businessman and attorney Harley Rouda. The ad, which will run on Facebook, begins with several recent interviews by Rohrabacher focused on Russia or nearby Baltic…

Witnesses on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Call for “Truth and Transparency” in Response to Russian Interference – To Inform is to Influence

I must point out one highly curious piece contained in this piece, a quote from Congressman Rohrabacher.  Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA): Russia is merely defending its national interests. The U.S. is acting hostilely toward Russia, which will eventually lead to war. What are some examples of military aggression Estonia suffered at the hands of Russia in…

Clinton Ally Says Smoke, But No Fire: No Russia-Trump Collusion – NBC News

Ex-Acting CIA Director Mike Morell says there’s no evidence of collusion between Trump camp and Russia: “There is smoke, but there is no fire at all.”

Lawmakers Set the Stage for Russia Hearing

The top lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee rejected President Trump’s assertion that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, foreshadowing a highly anticipated hearing Monday on Russia’s

Lindsey Graham Forces FBI to Spill on Russia – The Daily Beast

His subcommittee isn’t well-funded or particularly powerful, but Sen. Lindsey Graham still leveraged it to extract a pledge from the FBI to answer his questions about Russian hacking and the 2016 elections.

Comey will testify publicly on Russia investigation next week – POLITICO

Separately, Comey will brief the two top senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee later Wednesday.

 

 

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