Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / New Administration Media Ad Hoc – 19 March 2017


One day late with this, apologies. 

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A great many reports on Russia’s internal meltdown today. The reports on the fabrication of public support for the annexation of Crimea are most interesting, and justify the claims that polled members of Russia’s public treat polling on Crimea as a “loyalty test” (attached photos Crimea events). Multiple reports on cyber, noting that Russian claims the Alfa Bank hack of Trump servers are false flag to implicate Russia are defacto admission Russia did the hack, as with the #goldenshower dossier, to create controversy about POTUS’ relationship with Russia for domestic and EU domain propaganda purposes.

DW essay by Johann on Donbass economic blockade should have been published in Sputnik, not DW – German MSM seem to have been completely penetrated by the Russians. Good essay by Peterson – noting that too many media lose sight of the fact that everything happening in occupied Donbass is stage managed out of Moscow. Donbass bombardment continues, while GUR report Russian troops gunning down their comrades during a desertion attempt, and others being caught at the Russian border and returned.

In the IR/FR area, interesting report by Felgenhauer on Russian PMCs in the MidEast conflicts. SECSTATE interviewed. A huge package of reports on the escalating spat between Turkey and EU nations, especially Germany.

Russia remains a major topic in the US domestic debate.


Vladimir Putin Occupies Russians’ Dreams, Web Search Engine Says – NBC News

Search engine Yandex said the Russian strongman was “the only real individual” to appear regularly in his citizens’ dreams, based on search terms.

Russia-backed Crimea chief says Putin should be president for life | Reuters

The Russian-backed prime minister of Crimea said on Saturday that Vladimir Putin should be made president of Russia for life and that the Soviet Union would never have collapsed had Putin been in charge.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Signs of Less than Universal Russian Approbation of Crimean Anschluss

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – Today, on the third anniversary of Putin’s Crimean Anschluss, the Russian government is orchestrating demonstrations across Russia in support of that action (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/russian-enthusiasm-for-crimea-is-ours.html). But there are five signs that popular support for “Crimea is Ours” is far from universal: · First, in St. Petersburg, supporters of the rights of Crimean Tatars held their monthly meeting to denounce Russian mistreatment of that minority on the Ukrainian peninsula since the occupation (qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/segodnya-v-s-peterburge-proidut-piketi-v-podderjku-krimskih-tatar/172003/ and ixtc.org/2017/03/strategiya-18-peterburgskaya-aktsiya-v-zaschitu-ukrainy-fotoreportazh/).· Second, students at Moscow State University organized a small protest against the Russian annexation and occupation of Crimea despite pressure on them to take part in pro-annexation meetings (graniru.org/Politics/Russia/activism/m.259562.html). · Third, Kazan did not have a mass meeting in support of the annexation this year unlike in the last two because in the words of one Tatarstan official: “Crimea now is not part of the information agenda of Tatarstan” (kommersant.ru/doc/3246793; cf. confirmation of this in the comments of Kazan residents (idelreal.org/a/28374252.html). · Fourth, the leaders of numerous Cossack communities announced that they were refusing to take part in these celebrations just as they had earlier refused to take part in Russia’s military annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula (nr2.lt/blogs/Alexander_Dzikovitsky/Mnogie-volnye-kazaki-otkazalis-uchastvovat-v-operacii-po-vossoedineniyu-Kryma-s-Rossiey-124977.html).· And fifth, Vladimir Putin didn’t appear at any of these festivities, an unusual absence given his earlier talk about the “sacred” meaning of Crimea for Russia and Russians (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/03/17/1599789.html). His failure to appear casts doubt on the value of Crimea for his electoral chances (https://republic.ru/posts/80827).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Officials Paid Russians to Take Part in ‘Crimea is Ours’ Demonstrations

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – In yet another indication that enthusiasm for “Crimea is Ours” may be far less than many think, Moscow backers – likely officials –paid many of those who did take part in demonstrations yesterday up to 400 rubles (about seven US dollars) to do so, a far from trivial amount in a country where monthly Internet connectivity costs about that much. (For background, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/russian-enthusiasm-for-crimea-is-ours.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/five-signs-of-less-than-universal.html and the comments of Russian sociologists on the declining significance of “Crimea is Ours” among Russians at kommersant.ru/doc/3242517.) Earlier Russian officials had ordered universities and government firms to dispatch to the jubilee celebrations specific quotas of people from their staffs, students and employees. But to ensure that the demos were large enough, RBC reports, officials organized a system of paying people to show up (rbc.ru/politics/18/03/2017/58cd73f89a79477e0a94fb34?utm_source=main). The organizers of this effort told potential participants that if they showed up for three hours of participation, they would be paid 400 rubles each. They even posted ads on line about this, but then took them down in order to deny what they had done. But the RBC news agency took a screenshot and so has evidence of this program. According to the agency’s journalists, “no fewer than 2,000” people lined up to get paid for participation. RBC did not say whether this effort to boost crowd size was duplicated in other Russian cities, but there is every reason to believe that what Moscow does, others will be inclined to copy slavishly. Some of those who came for money were unhappy that the authorities weren’t paying them more. According to one quoted by RBC, officials had given those who turned out for the demonstrations on the February 22 Day of the Defender of the Fatherland 50 rubles more than they were doing this time around. Elsewhere in the Russian Federation, many were upset by official efforts to boost attendance at events marking this anniversary. In Kazan, officials decided not to have a meeting at all, and in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, people complained about being forced to take part in such actions (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/299451/). Such responses may mean that efforts to boost the significance of this anniversary may prove counter-productive not only by reminding Russians of the kind of state they live under but also causing them to reflect about what Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea has cost them and their families. To say this, of course, does not mean that many of the roughly 150,000 Russians who took part were not enthusiastic or that many who didn’t nonetheless back Putin’s imperial land grab. Indeed, while officials tried to control the placards people carried, those people wrote themselves provide evidence of this. Two such slogans stand out in particular. Some demonstrators carried signs that may have been printed declaring they were “for the Motherland, for [Russian] independence from the US, and for Putin.” Another, handwritten said “Crimea has been Ours for Three Years: America, Accept Defeat” (meduza.io/short/2017/03/18/vesna-na-vorobievyh-gorah-tretya-godovschina-kryma-v-odnoy-fotografii and yug.svpressa.ru/society/article/145197/).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Crimea is Ours’ at Three – ‘A Jubilee of Stupidity and Criminality’

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry’s spokesperson, said more than she perhaps intended when she declared that the Crimeans, having again become part of the Russian state, “returned us to ourselves as well,” according to Moscow commentator Aleksandr Yakovenko. The Crimean Anschluss, he writes, is as many have noted “the greatest international crime committed in the 21st century.” But living in Putin’s Russia, there is no point in talking “about law, let alone international law.” Instead, Yakovenko argues, “let us talk about consequences” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=58CE1D504B4FC). Crimea in reality, the commentator points out, “has divided the history of Putin’s Russia into two parts: ‘before’ and ‘after’” the Anschluss. “Before Crimea, Putin’s Russia was a dictatorship with four main problems: total corruption, the irreplaceability of the authorities, the zombification of the population, and the absence of human rights (and rights in general).” “After Crimea,” he continues, “all these problems intensified. But in first place arose a new one, which eclipsed all the rest: Russia was converted into the main threat to world civilization.” The Anschluss “has made Russia a world outcast, inserted into the brains of Russians the psychology of a besieged fortress and forced them to be glad of sanctions and to unity around the leader.” “Crimea has radically changed the level of the rhetoric of public persons in the media toward complete idiotism, rabid xenophobia, imperialism and anti-Westernism.” It has destroyed the influence of the Russian opposition, “part of which simply ceased to be such because it supported Putin’s annexation” and part because it needed to in order to survive. The Crimean Anschluss “significantly worsened the real quality of life of Russians, driving many of them into poverty and what is more depriving them of prospects for the future.” It has made “40 million Ukrainians enemies of Russia” because no one can explain to them “why we 140 million cowards can’t stop a single lieutenant colonel” from taking this action. In short, Yakovenko says, “the jubilee of the annexation of Crimea is very shameful, very criminal and very, very stupid.”

Crimean Journalist Risks Jail By Refusing To Follow Kremlin Line

In February 2014, when masked Russian troops without insignia seized control of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, Simferopol-based journalist Mykola Semena grabbed his camera to photograph th…

Russian Journalist Dies In Unexplained Circumstances

Russian media reports say a journalist who has criticized the government has died in unexplained circumstances in the Siberian region of Buryatia.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia May Now Have as Many as 100,000 Violent and Racist Skinheads, Kazan Psychologist Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – There may be as many as 100,000 skinheads in Russia, Rimma Fedyayeva says; and neither their numbers nor the violence they commit against ethnic, religious or racial minorities are likely to decline until the country begins to address the basic cause for their appearance – significant downward social mobility in many parts of the population. Tatars were shocked and outraged by the recent murder of an African student there, the Kazan psychologist says; but they shouldn’t have been surprised given that there have been other murders and attacks on a racial or ethnic basis in recent months and that there is as yet no program in place to block such actions (business-gazeta.ru/article/340263). “Our Russian skinheads are the result of economic and social problems,” she says. “Frequently, they are children of the employed or of parents whose social status over the course of the years of reform has sharply declined.” And many of them believe that members of other groups are doing far better than their own. Hence, they have a more or less well-developed ideology, Fedayeva says, one based on a “social hatred” which holds that they “must hate Jews, Blacks, Chinese, and Caucasians because in their opinion, these are all rich because their members ‘live well at the expense of the Slavs.’” Because of the objects of their hatred, many associate skinheads “with Nazism, racism, fascism and aggression, but if one considers the main stages of the development of the formation of this subculture,” the psychologist says, “then it is possible to see that not all the directions within it are connected with politics.” “In Russia, skinheads include asocial persons who are aggressively inclined who use symbols and when possible ideas for the justification of what are essentially hooligan actions,” a pattern that is exacerbated by the propensity of journalists to present these hooligans as something more formal. Students of the phenomenon, she continues, find that “young people do not have precisely defined political views.” Instead, they are acting out of hatred without much regard to how it might be explained by politicians or one or another kind. They simply don’t know enough or care about history and ideas to focus on these parallels. Most Russian discussions of skinheads focus on Europe and the United States, but according to the interior ministry, there were between 15,000 and 20,000 skinheads in Russia in 2014-2015. But many researchers believe the actual number is far higher, perhaps as large as 100,000. Many of them are concentrated in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara and Rostov-na-Donu, but there are examples across the country. One of the most careful studies of the phenomenon concerns the Northern Capital where there are estimated to be approximately 3,000 skinheads and another 11,000 to 12,000 “representatives of neo-fascist organizations.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Customs of Criminal World Increasingly Inform Moscow’s Actions, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – Every fourth adult male in Russia has spent some time in prison, Igor Yakovenko says; and in some places far from Moscow and St. Petersburg, that share is far higher. Thus, doing time is not viewed as something shameful or bad but “normal or even honorable,” and the customs of the jail have spread to Russian political life. Indeed, the Russian commentator says, “the language of the criminal world, its subculture and the norms of ‘morality’ behind bars do not simply influence present-day Russian society: they have become its foundation,” the spiritual “bindings” that the Kremlin and Russian television talk so much about (7days.us/igor-yakovenko-politika-trex-p/). Vladimir Putin, who came out of the security agencies which dispatched so many people to prison, has attracted attention since 2000 for his use of criminal jargon; but the penetration of the criminal world into the everyday one is much deeper than rhetoric. It explains why certain things are done or not done by the authorities and by Russians more generally. Yakovenko gives as an example “the pathological homophobia” in Russia, a collection of attitudes which are “completely inexplicable for Europeans and Americans where homophobia of course is present but as a kind of exotic anomaly.” In Russia, on the other hand, it is a core belief. Often Russians explain this by pointing to Biblical texts, but they have less to do with the attitude than do the attitudes about homosexuality among prisoners who view homosexuals not as consenting adults but as victims of the sexual depradations of others and thus as weak and alien. “It is thus no accident,” Yakovenko says, “that the law on the prohibition of propaganda of homosexuality has become a truly ‘popular’ law: According to VTsIOM, 88 percent of Russians support it, a figure even somewhat higher than back Putin and almost as high as the one about the backing of the annexation of Crimea.” “It isn’t difficult to see all these criminal methods in Russian politics,” the commentator continues; and he offers two examples from the last week. The first involves Moscow’s decision to send Yuliya Samoylova to represent Russia at the Eurovision competition in Kyiv. He says that there were two reasons for this: first, her being in a wheelchair; and second, Crimea.

Russian Activists Say Suspicious Military Deaths Often Tied To Extortion Schemes

At 10 a.m. on February 17, Russian draftee Arkady B. jumped out of a third-story window of his barracks outside Moscow. Doctors say it was a miracle that he survived, with multiple compressio…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: St. Isaac’s Protests are Petersburgers’ Response to Moscow’s ‘Forced Peripherization’ of Their City, Mironova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – Many interpret the protests about handing over St. Isaac’s to the Russian Orthodox Church as “the last defense of anti-clericalism,” “the last outpost of democracy in Russia,” an example of NIMBY, or even “the beginning of a new perestroika,” Anastasiya Mironova says. But those explanations do not capture what lies under all of them, the St. Petersburg journalist says. Instead, the fight over St. Isaac’s is really “a struggle against the forced peripherization” of the northern capital and reducing it to the status of the rest of the country as “one large periphery” of the capital (rufabula.com/author/mironova/1535). Petersburg, Mironova writes, is “the single city which from time to time resists attempts to make the country strictly unipolar,” but since 2000, it has been fighting a losing battle in this regard. “In the city almost do not remain opinion leaders, important institutions … or even serious major business.” All these things are now concentrated exclusively in Moscow. Transferring St. Isaac’s to the Russian Orthodox Church is “in fact a step to converting St. Petersburg into a periphery administered from the outside, deprived of its own culture and history. Because what would Petersburg be without its museums?” the philologist-journalist asks rhetorically. The transfer of the Smolny and Sampson cathedrals to the church was “also a step toward peripherization,” Mironova says. “The fusion of Petersburg’s Public Library with the Russian State Library was not a steep but a leap in this same direction.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Becomes First Russian Leader Ever to Receive Head of Old Believers

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – On Thursday, Vladimir Putin met with Metropolitan Korniliy, head of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church, the first such meeting between a Russian head of state and the leader of that church and one that likely to have a profound impact on the Kremlin’s relationship not only with the Old Believers but also with the Moscow Patriarchate. Commenting on the meeting, Maksim Shevchenko, head of the Moscow Center for Strategic Research on Religion and Politics, noted that “the Russian state, which has always been inclined toward unification finally has taken note of the fact that Orthodoxy is diverse and that it is not only the ROC of the Moscow Patriarchate (nakanune.ru/news/2017/3/17/22464080/). According to the commentator, “when the Russian state sees that religious life in the country is rich, diverse and has its own very deep and in places tragic history, then our lives will become more interesting.” And this meeting suggests that Putin is now ready to move beyond the traditional Moscow understanding of Old Believers as “some kind of appendix to the ROC.” In reality, Shevchenko continues, the Old Believers are an absolutely independent, canonical ancient Russian Orthodox church which has passed through repression, exile, and punishment but has nonetheless preserved itself and its faith and, what is also important, its internal democratic traditions.” Compared to the Moscow Patriarchate, “the Old Believers are unbelievably democratic. The principles of Russian democracy and of Russian democratic consciousness, including free thought and freedom of conscience are part of the Old Believer tradition. If our state has decided to get acquainted with this genuinely Russian consciousness, [one] can only welcome that. The Old Believers, he says, developed from the 17th century forward on the basis of “’independent accord’ even as Nikon’s church [which is now the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate] for a long time as the ideological department of the state.” The Old Believers were never that and were never run by civil officials. Instead, Shevchenko points out, they “developed independently.” In tsarist and Soviet times, the Old Believers suffered for that and “considered the Russian state openly Russophobic and anti-Christian.” After the mid-17th century schism over doctrine and practice led to the rise of the Old Believers, they have been subject to attack. But over last 50 years, their standing in Russia has improved. In 1971, for example, the Moscow Patriarchate revoked its anathemas on the Old Believers. Estimates as to the number of Old Believers still in Russia vary widely from a million to as many as five million. (Counting them is hard because they are subdivided into many groups and most importantly are themselves split between those who rely on a priesthood and those who don’t. Putin’s decision to meet with Metropolitan Korniliy is unlikely to please the Moscow Patriarchate. At the very least, Patriarch Kirill will see it as an indication that the Kremlin leader wants to have an independent approach to Orthodoxy of his own and now rely as in the past on the Moscow Patriarchate exclusively. But there may be another meaning behind Putin’s meeting with Korniliy: Historically, Old Believers were the most disciplined and capitalistic of Russians and until the Bolshevik revolution, they were responsible for the development of Russian industry in many areas. Playing to that historic theme would be absolutely consistent with Putin’s “conservative” values.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Civic Nation ‘Already Exists,’ Doesn’t Need to be Declared or Defined, Kremlin Official Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – Two weeks ago, efforts by the working group Vladimir Putin set up to define the meaning of a civic Russian nation (rossiiskaya natsiya) collapsed when the leaders of that group announced that they were refocusing a draft law on nationality policy more generally (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/putin-tishkov-push-to-define-civic.html). But yesterday, Magomedsalam Magomedov, the Presidential Administration official who oversees nationality policy, said the working group itself was responsible for the negative reaction its earlier discussions produced in the media (nazaccent.ru/content/23477-na-sovete-po-mezhnacionalnym-otnosheniyam-russkij.html). Moreover, he continued, “the civic Russian nation is a fait accompli: the Russian language unites all of us, and the ethnic Russian people are the nation-forming” core of the Russian state. In short, Magomedov has simply declared as existing that which Putin and his working group supposedly had been working to define. That top-down authoritarian definition will not please very many people. Most Russian nationalists, for example, will view it as a denigration of their status as a separate ethnic nation; and most non-Russians will continue to view it as a threat to their continued existence as separate and distinct communities. But it is consistent with Putin’s approach: inviting discussion and then, when the discussion doesn’t go in the direction he wants, simply ignoring the issues opponents have raised and declaring that what he wanted is what will be, despite the warnings of many about the dangers of doing so (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/12/putin-subverting-value-of-russian-civic.html). Academician Valery Tishkov, the chairman of the working group, reiterated his earlier statement that the draft law to be presented to Putin should focus, in its title at least, not on the formation of a Russian civic nation but on nationality policy more generally. According to Nazaccent, he asked “for another month” to come up with a draft.

Russian Lawmakers Order Probe Of RFE/RL, VOA, And CNN

The lower house of the Russian parliament has ordered a probe into whether RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Voice of America, and CNN are in compliance with Russian laws.

Russia, China making gains on US military power | TheHill

Russia and China are increasingly challenging the military superiority that the United States has held since the early 1990s.

Russian parliament orders probe of U.S. media in Moscow

The Duma responds to “repressive” moves against Russian-funded RT News in the U.S.

Russian parliament backs investigation into US media

The Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a proposal to launch an investigation into U.S. media organisations that operate in Russia.

Russia’s Long History of Meddling in Outside Elections

Do recent Russian actions mean a return to traditional aggressiveness after years of retreat?

British troops arrive in Estonia as German spy chief warns of Russian troop build up

British troops began a long-term deployment to Estonia on Saturday as Germany&rsquo;s intelligence chief warned Russia had doubled its military presence on its Western border.

Lithuanian Popular Militia Expands to Defend Against Russian Threat – Jamestown

Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 30 By: Paul Goble The Donald Trump administration has repeatedly suggested that the true measure of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member country’s commitment to the Alliance—and hence of the Alliance to it—is defense spending equal to at least 2 percent of GDP. But often, such fixation on the relative size of military budgets obscures the additional measures many member states are taking to increase their ability to defend themselves and the North Atlantic Alliance itself against threats from Russia. Though it already meets NATO’s 2 percent spending requirement, the Baltic republic of Estonia has been notable for its additional contributions to Alliance security, such as by integrating its Armed Forces with NATO, promoting economic development in ethnic-Russian-majority Narva region, as well as better incorporating its Russian population into Estonian life (see EDM, February 21). Some similar “beyond 2 percent” measures are also worth exploring when it comes to Lithuania. Not only is Lithuania increasing defense spending to reach the 2 percent level and constructing a wall along its border with Russia—with Kaliningrad—but activists are rapidly expanding a popular militia capable of resisting any “hybrid” war actions by Russia, either alone or in combination with its ally Belarus (RIA Novosti, Svobodnaya Pressa, March 4). Lithuania has a long tradition of popular militias: they played an active role in the early years of the republic and again in resisting the Soviet occupation. As a result, when tensions with Russia rose after Vladimir Putin launched his aggression in Ukraine, ever more Lithuanians joined its units. Three years ago, there were only about 50 people in such militias; now, there are “more than 3,000,” according to commanders (Svobodnaya Pressa, March 4). Many of them are convinced that they are already on the frontlines against Russian aggression. Moreover, because Lithuania is overwhelmingly Lithuanian—ethnic Russians and ethnic Poles form no more than 7 percent each—such popular militias within the country are unifying rather than divisive.

Russia central bank head after G20 says efforts needed to address weak growth | Reuters

Many regions globally are showing economic growth but it’s weaker than the members of the G20 group had expected, Russian central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Sunday.

Articles: Understanding Russia

Why the Collective Security Treaty Organization is a pale replica of NATO – To Inform is to Influence

I was just explaining the CSTO to a friend and ran across this. </end editorial> Sep 8, 2016 Albert Hayrapetyan CSTO has failed to follow the successful path of NATO because of the different priorities, interests and mindset of its member states. Most importantly, there is no “Article 5” that binds each state together in a…

Russia’s Putin, Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev discuss Syria | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed the Syria crisis by phone, the Kremlin said on Saturday, after peace talks in Kazakhstan closed without any substantive negotiations.

Russia’s Alfa Bank Says Cyberattacks Falsely Tie It to Trump – Bloomberg

Alfa Bank said it was a victim of hackers intent on giving a false impression that the Russian lender has communicated with the Trump Organization, and it’s asking U.S. law enforcement authorities for help.

What Russian Hackers Teach About America’s Spies – The Atlantic

A close read of the sensational Yahoo indictment

Yahoo Hacks: the U.S. Gave Russia Too Much Credit | Fortune.com

The Justice Department’s bombshell indictment points the finger at Russia for Yahoo hacking, but a little too much.

Undercover FSB Officer Indicted By U.S. Worked For Moscow Investment Bank

WASHINGTON –&nbsp;One of the two Russian FSB agents indicted by U.S. officials this week worked as an undercover officer at Renaissance Capital, a Moscow investment bank owned by billionaire Mikhai…

How The U.S. And Russia Compare In Cybercapabilities : NPR

NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Susan Hennessey of the blog Lawfare at the Brookings Institution about Russian cyberattacks and how U.S. officials have responded.

How Russia Recruited Ernest Hemingway – The Daily Beast

The Russians have been working among us in Washington and New York for a long time, and Papa Hemingway was just one of their more high profile collaborators.

Two books tell the story of Russia: of now, and of then | Books and Literature | missoulian.com

It has been many years since I have been to Russia, but my interest in that fascinating country has never dimmed. When I visited in 1986 and again in 1991,


Bernd Johann Opinion: Kyiv risks divided Ukraine | Europe | DW.COM | 18.03.2017

As tempers flare in Ukraine, it is Kyiv – of all actors – that is actually undermining national unity. The Poroshenko administration’s blockade of occupied Donbass could lead to the demise of the east, says Bernd Johann.

Ukraine says Russia flouts Minsk accords completely – LB.ua news portal

Ukraine says Russia flouts Minsk accords completely. Ukraine asks foreign partners to show understanding of the Donbas trade ban. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Nolan Peterson | Hopes Fade for a Political Solution to the War in Ukraine

“I don’t trust our politicians to solve this problem peacefully,” an engineering student at Ukraine’s National Aviation University says.

Ukraine Gathers Evidence to the Lawsuit Against Russia – YouTube_

Follow UATV English on social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UATVEN Twitter: https://twitter.com/UATV_en Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ua

Five Ukrainian soldiers wounded as 85 militants’ attacks reported in ATO zone, – ATO Staff

19.03.17 09:36 – Five Ukrainian soldiers wounded as 85 militants’ attacks reported in ATO zone, – ATO Staff No Ukrainian soldier was killed, but five servicemen were wounded in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone yesterday, on March 18. View news.

Ukraine’s defense ministry reports five soldiers wounded in past day

Ukraine's Defense Ministry has reported that five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action in the past day, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Latest UNIAN news from 19 March.

Militants shelled Avdiivka with grenade launchers today, – press-officer Berets

19.03.17 11:31 – Militants shelled Avdiivka with grenade launchers today, – press-officer Berets The pro-Russian militants shelled Avdiivka in the Donetsk region with grenade launchers today. View news.

OSCE SMM reported on fewer cease-fire violations in Donbas on March 17

19.03.17 10:14 – OSCE SMM reported on fewer cease-fire violations in Donbas on March 17 The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) recorded fewer cease-fire violations in both the Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. View news.

Militants fired at OSCE SMM patrol near Yasynuvata on March 17

18.03.17 16:20 – Militants fired at OSCE SMM patrol near Yasynuvata on March 17 The militants fired at the OSCE SMM patrol near Yasynuvata town in the Donetsk region on March 17. View news.

Four ‘DPR’ militants tried to desert and were killed by comrades, – Intelligence

18.03.17 14:29 – Four ‘DPR’ militants tried to desert and were killed by comrades, – Intelligence Four pro-Russian militants tried to abandon their positions and were shot by their own comrades from IFV weapons. View news.

Department of Defense intelligence of Ukraine

The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of March 19. March 18 this year in compounds and paragraphs 1 (Donetsk) and 2 (Luhansk) AK Territorial Center of Southern PA Armed Forces carried out the payment of salaries. To improve the personal financial situation of unit commanders of the Russian occupation troops carried out fundraising personnel under the guise of “fines.” Dissatisfied with conditions of military service and arbitrariness of their officers Russian mercenaries continue to illegally leave the unit and try to desert. On the night of 19 March 9 three separate military assault Mechanized Regiment Marines (Novoazovsk) 1 AC were detained while trying to cross the border with Russia and returned to the front.

Huge arms cache found near Zaporizhia city. PHOTOS+VIDEO

19.03.17 10:58 The SBU and the National Police officers have found a cache with a large number of weapons and ammunition near the city of Zaporizhia. Censor.NET reports citing the press service of the SBU. “The huge arms cache was set up in one of the hangars of Zaporizhia enterprise, which belongs to the critical infrastructure facilities. “The law enforcers have seized an anti-aircraft gun, 124 RPG-26 grenade launchers, 50 RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers, 87 grenade launcher shells, 18 RGD-5 grenades, 21 shells for 82 mm mortar, 30 MD5 mortar shells, 240 RDG-2B smoke grenades, six smoke bombs, and a large amount of ammo and explosives,” the report reads. See more: Police seized grenade launcher, ammunition, shells and explosives from former soldier. PHOTOS+VIDEO Criminal proceedings have been opened under article 263 (part 1) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Soldiers opened fire on car at checkpoint near Shchastia, – ATO Staff

19.03.17 14:28 – Soldiers opened fire on car at checkpoint near Shchastia, – ATO Staff At the checkpoint near the town of Shchastia in the Luhansk region, the Ukrainian servicemen fired at the VAZ 2115 car as the driver tried to cross the checkpoint without passing control. View news.

Police found underground firearms workshop in Mariupol. PHOTOS

19.03.17 12:53 – Police found underground armor workshop in Mariupol. PHOTOS Police officers apprehended a 46-year-old man who manufactured weapons and ammunition in his own apartment in Mariupol. View photo news.

Ukraine, Romania’s chiefs of General Staff approve ‘road map’ for cooperation | KyivPost

Chiefs of the General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine and Romania Viktor Muzhenko and Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca at a meeting in Chernivtsi approved a “road map” for cooperation between the two countries. The press service of Defense Ministry reported that at the meeting the parties discussed the priorities of cooperation and approved the “road map” for cooperation between Armed forces of Ukraine and Romania in 2017-2018. The “road map” provides for the continuation of the bilateral military-political dialog via border meetings and official visits of delegations, the holding of a number of joint exercises, course training and training of military personnel of Ukraine and Romania in military educational institutions of the two countries.

The Ukrainian Navy: Conceptual Aspects and Cooperation With the West – Jamestown

In late February 2017, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, in an interview with Ukrainian Channel 5, said that the country was considering procuring used combat ships from the West as a way to increase Ukraine’s naval capabilities. The vice admiral stated Kyiv would be willing to purchase mine-sweepers and littoral-zone ships (Channel 5, February 27). Employing second-hand combat ships to reinforce one’s naval forces is an established international practice. Ukraine’s neighbors Poland and Romania both bought used frigates in the past (Poland from the United States Romania from the United Kingdom) to strengthen their own maritime security and defense (Navy.pl, IHS Jane’s, March 17, 2016). Several years ago, Ukrainian military authorities reportedly also considered procuring used naval platforms, but these plans were never implemented (Radio Svoboda, March 26, 2009). Prior to 2014, the Ukrainian Navy was composed almost entirely of legacy ships from the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, which was divided between Ukraine and Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In addition, five naval vessels, whose construction began in Soviet times, entered the fleet after independence. Post-Soviet Ukraine’s shipyards began building one multipurpose corvette (the Volodymyr Velykiy, laid down in 2010) and two small Giurza-class armored gunboats (designed for river and close littoral operation, laid down in 2012) to cover the emerging needs of the Ukrainian Navy. But the domestic shipbuilding process has been slow due to a lack of political will and inadequate funding.


President Trump’s IS plan looks much like Obama’s: Official- The New Indian Express

Hizballah’s trust in Russia – strategic dilemma for Israel

Israel finally took a hand in the swiftly moving events looming from&nbsp;Syria over its northern borders by launching multiple air raids against the key northern Syrian air base known as T4 near Palmyra early Friday night March 17. Those events are spearheaded by the pro-Iranian Hizballlah&rsquo;s drive to capture the Golan. Israel acted after Moscow failed to take action to restrain Hizballah&rsquo;s advance through the Hermon.</p>

Private Military Companies Forming Vanguard of Russian Foreign Operations – Jamestown

Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 36 By: Pavel Felgenhauer March 16, 2017 04:34 PM The massive Russian military involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad may be the first move to reestablish Moscow’s influence over the entire Middle East (see EDM, March 8). Russia has also been seeking contacts in conflict-ridden Libya, which still lacks an effective national government following the fall of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi, in 2011. Vladimir Putin, who in 2011 was temporarily Russian prime minister, publicly criticized the then-president, Dmitry Medvedev, for not using Moscow’s veto power to prevent a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Qaddafi’s use of airpower to suppress an uprising against his regime. The resolution allowed for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya and the subsequent Western military intervention, which eventually ousted Qaddafi. In 2012, Putin returned to the Kremlin as president, while Medvedev was relegated to the prime minister post. Since then, Moscow has continued to accuse Western involvement in Libya of being destabilizing and promoting terrorism, all the while seeking ways to reestablish a foothold in the oil-rich country (Mk.ru, February 9). Notably, Moscow has been cultivating relations with General Khalifa Haftar—the most powerful warlord in eastern Libya, supported by Egypt. Haftar, an army general, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and a former citizen of the United States, who lived in exile in that country for nearly 20 years, has twice visited Moscow. Last January, he was entertained onboard Russia’s aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, off the shore of Libya. The Kuznetsov was on course back to its Barents Sea base for repairs, after a combat tour bombing targets in Syria (see EDM, February 1). While on board, Haftar had video conference talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about jointly “fighting international terrorist groups in the Middle East” (Militarynews.ru, January 11). Later, Moscow denied reports it had agreed to supply Haftar’s LNA forces with $2 billion worth of arms and military supplies, though some weapons deals could be underway. Russia has been in contact not only with Haftar, but also with the UN-recognized national unity government in Tripoli and has called for the formation of a joint front against the Islamic State and other jihadist militants in Libya. Still, for Russia, the best outcome would be a stable oil-rich Libya, ruled by a secular authoritarian strongman who would make lucrative arms and technical cooperation deals, promote Russian interests and provide military bases: Haftar, not the Tripoli government, is Moscow’s obvious choice (Mk.ru, February 9).

UN group takes down report accusing Israel of apartheid – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

“The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”

Russia To Host Talks On Afghan Conflict

Russia plans to host international talks on the conflict in Afghanistan in April 14, Russian news agencies cited an Afghan official as saying. The reports on March 18 cited Mohammad Hanif Atmar…

Transcript: Independent Journal Review’s Sit-Down Interview with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

In his first sit-down interview since becoming secretary of state, details on North Korea’s militarization, America’s relationship with China, and the future of foreign policy in the Trump era.

Rex Tillerson finally speaks: ‘The threat of North Korea is imminent’ | Business Insider

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in his first…

Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program – The New York Times

The secretary of state, visiting South Korea, said for the first time that the Trump administration might act pre-emptively if the threat hit an unacceptable level.

Is North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un rational? – BBC News

Analysing the aims of the head of the controversial regime.

Malaysia expects more arrests in Kim Jong Nam murder probe: report | Reuters

Malaysian police are expected to make a few more arrests, including an “important person”, in connection with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, state media reported on Sunday.

The toxic mystery behind Kim Jong Nam’s assassination, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – More than a month after Kim Jong Nam was murdered in Kuala Lumpur, experts are struggling to make sense of Malaysia’s findings that the lethal nerve agent VX was used to kill him without apparent harm to anyone else.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

5 Ways Russia and China Could Sink America’s Aircraft Carriers | The National Interest Blog

And it’s not just those pesky “carrier-killer” missiles.

Tillerson ends China trip with warm words from President Xi | Reuters

With warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to Asia since taking office with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues.

China tells US to be ‘cool-headed’ on North Korea – CNN.com

China urged the United States to take a “cool-headed” approach to escalating tensions with North Korea, and called for a diplomatic solution.

How Russia Is Turning Syria into a Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships (and Israel Is Worried) | The National Interest Blog

Another reason to worry about Syria.

Five myths about Turkey – The Washington Post

No, its president isn’t a dictator, and the country isn’t secular.

Erdogan holds rally on referendum at Turkey WWI event | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

Turkey’s president assures supporters that he ‘will keep on standing firm’ despite some European governments’ actions.

Erdogan Calls for Reinstatement of Death Penalty in Turkey

Move, which would require approval by Turkey’s parliament, would likely end Ankara’s decades-long bid to join European Union

Germany Turkey: 30,000 Kurds in Frankfurt anti-Erdogan protest – BBC News

Turkey accuses Germany of hypocrisy after 30,000 Kurds are allowed to rally in Frankfurt.

Turkey Threatens To Send Europe 15,000 Refugees A Month

Turkey has threatened to send 15,000 refugees to the European Union, in an escalating diplomatic spat with the bloc.&nbsp; Ankara has warned it could cancel a March 2016 deal with the EU to cur…

German media ′only marginally competent′ in Turkey reporting | News | DW.COM | 19.03.2017

The German-Turkish relationship is in tatters. What we know about Turkey, about Erdogan and about the PKK comes from media reports. In a DW interview, Turkey scholar Caner Aver criticizes their limited perspectives.

German intelligence chief not convinced of FETÖ involvement in Turkey coup attempt – Daily Sabah

The president of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) could not see a direct link between the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the July 15 coup…

German Spy Agency Chief Says Does Not Believe Gulen Behind Turkey Coup Attempt | World News | US News

US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Germany supports group behind Turkish coup attempt: Erdogan spokesman | ReutersTurkey on Sunday accused Germany of supporting the network of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric it blames for last year’s attempted coup, comments likely to aggravate a diplomatic feud between Ankara and Berlin.

German Foreign Minister: Turkey ‘Further Away From EU Membership Than Ever’ | World News | US News

US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Turkey’s Quarrel With Europe – The New York Times

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has escalated a war of words with Germany and the Netherlands.

Turkey must urgently look beyond – VERDA ÖZER

Sub Categories: » HOMEPAGE / OPINION/ VERDA ÖZER Sunday,March 19 2017, Your time is 9:26:12 pm Turkey must urgently look beyond Print Page Send to friend » [PrivacyBadger has replaced this Pinterest button.] Share on Facebook The wave is getting bigger. First it was Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Then it was Sweden and Denmark. These are the countries that barred or warned about barring Turkish politicians from speaking in their country as part of political campaigning among Turkish emigres. The Netherlands went as far as to prevent Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from flying to Rotterdam last week, just days before the general elections in the country. However, we are only in a momentary, temporary context. The real issue is far beyond Turkey and the countries in question – and much more comprehensive. Islamophobic and anti-immigrant movements have been spreading in Europe for a while. Even Sweden and Denmark, which are ranked among the most liberal democracies, seem to be leaning toward this new rhetoric. The new U.S. President Donald Trump has also stolen the hearts of voters based on such a discourse. The reason for the rise of such sentiments in Europe for the first time since the Second World War is obvious: Economic crises, unemployment, the flow of refugees, and terrorism have all scared aging and impoverishing Europeans. They are feeling claustrophobic. The current “zeitgeist” has penetrated from the voter base to politicians and vice versa. Muslims have become the main target of fear and rage, as the West considers the Islamic geography as the main source of terrorism and the refugee crisis.

No, Germany doesn’t owe America ‘vast sums’ of money for NATO – The Washington Post

All the things the president gets wrong about this key European alliance.

Trump Slams ‘Fake News’ Coverage After ‘Great’ Meeting With Merkel

Trump Slams ‘Fake News’ Coverage After ‘Great’ Meeting With Merkel


U.S. Justice Documents Said To Provide No Evidence Of Spying On Trump

The U.S. Justice Department has delivered documents to Congress as requested to determine whether former President Barack Obama spied on President Donald Trump, as Trump has claimed. A governmen…

Senators Ask Trump Adviser to Preserve Any Russia-Related Documents – The New York Times

A letter sent to Roger J. Stone Jr. represents the first public indication of the scope of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s inquiry, and possible connections to Donald J. Trump’s campaign.

Senate panel asks Trump ally Roger Stone to preserve Russia-related records | TheHill

The committee asked Stone to “preserve and retain all hard copies and electronically stored information” relating to the Russia probe.

Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort wanted for questioning in Ukraine corruption case

Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion

Trump wants to build 30-foot-high wall at Mexican border – The Washington Post

The Trump administration wants to build a 30-foot-high border wall that looks good from the north side and is difficult to climb or cut through, according to a pair of contract notices posted to a government website further detailing President Donald Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” at the Mexican border.

Donald Trump Calls Tax Returns Sacred & Vladimir Putin “Tough Cookie” | Deadline

President Donald Trump promised “the biggest tax cuts since Reagan,” insisted his own tax returns are “good,” and blasted MSNBC as “bad people.” All in all, a standard, if smiley, interview on Fox News Channel tonight.

Kellyanne Conway’s husband reportedly picked for Justice Department post – LA Times

President Trump has chosen the husband of White House advisor Kellyanne Conway to head the civil division of the Department of Justice,…

News outlet rising on the right for Russia coverage | TheHill

The millennial-focused media outlet has been embraced by Republicans.

Fake: NPR Claims House Assists ‘Mentally Incapacitated’ Vets Get Guns

NPR reported that the GOP-led House was helping “mentally incapacitated’ veterans get guns via the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act.

House OKs Bill Making It Tougher To Keep ‘Mentally Incompetent’ Vets From Buying Guns : The Two-Way : NPR

Critics of the bill say it could lead to more suicides — in one recent year, an average of 20 veterans per day died from suicide, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

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