Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / New Administration Media Ad Hoc – 21 March 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Congratulations to Unian.net for using the proper nomenclature: “the Russian occupation forces…”

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Russia has had an interesting day in the MSM.

The “Laundromat” report broke and is generating a lot of MSM interest, more so as the MSM have done what law enforcement should have been doing across the EU. Whitmore’s observation on this being a national security matter is correct, and it should be treated as such – money laundering for Russia (or other foreign powers) is akin to espionage, an act of treason more than one of large scale white collar organized crime.

Excellent essays by Kara-Murza and Vershbow. LAT comments on Russia blowback in the US predicted 6 months ago. Nice explainers by Fifth-Domain, a new cyber journal. Garrels discusses Putin’s ideological seduction of poorly educated across regional Russia.

Goble’s essays on  ‘Ethnic Russian Nationality’ and the new legislation providing Russian citizenship to descendants of anybody who ever lived in the Tsarist Empire or USSR are excellent – the latter was contrived to provide Putin with the “VolksDeutsche” excuse to invade other countries, but Russian nationalists now object on the basis that it would allow currently tightly controlled and shamefully underpaid Caucasian and Central Asian Gastarbeiters and their kin to all claim Russian citizenship, resulting in ethnic Russians becoming a minority in a “Muslimised” Russia. Which comes first, the foreign policy imperative to invade, conquer and plunder, or the domestic policy imperative to make Russia into an icon of Orthodox pan-Slavic purity? Taken in the context of ‘Ethnic Russian Nationality’ and last week’s report on Russian DNA tests showing that more “Russians” are actually culturally assimilated ethnic Ukrainian/Belarusian than actual ethnic Russians, this paints an interesting picture. Putin has played on the same delusional ideas of culture / religion / language being tethered to race / ethnicity, and he now has to deal with the blowback from promoting delusions as fact to support policy – this is something that will further alienate the nationalists from the Putinists.

Two excellent essays on “Russia’s suicide by Crimea” exploring the internal political and cultural meltdown Putin induced by playing the Argentinian Junta Falklands game in invading Crimea, a topic mostly ignored in the West as our interest has been focused on the external strategic and political impacts.

Russian platoon sized assault on Ukrainian positions near Mariupol yesterday, supported by 152mm tube and 122mm rocket artillery, failed and cost them 8 x KIA and 16 x WIA, but killing two UA troops, and thus providing the Russians with a twofold improvement over their usual kill ratio of ten KIA Russians for every KIA Ukrainian. Two good reports detailing the three new Army sized Blitzkrieg formations Russia is forming that will be permanently garrisoned opposite Kiev, Kharkiv and Mariupol, just across the border with Ukraine.

Russian Eurovision singer to be denied entry to Ukraine as she actively promoted invasion of Ukraine in social media. Ukraine to source coal from US/AUS/RSA as Russian sourced coal could be disguised Donbass coal freighted via Russia – this will destroy a lot of the corruption in the energy industry as it will be harder to get corrupt payments from global suppliers.

US MSM are mostly saturated with coverage of Director Comey and Adm Rogers in Russia hearings. Manafort is attempting to defend himself in the media.


Laundromat – OCCRP

Three years ago, OCCRP exposed the “Russian Laundromat” – an immense financial fraud scheme that enabled vast sums to be pumped out of Russia. The money was laundered and moved into Europe and beyond through bribery and a clever exploitation of the Moldovan legal system. Recently, OCCRP and Novaya Gazeta obtained detailed banking records for more than 120 accounts that made up the Laundromat. We shared the data with dozens of reporters from around the world who tracked down the money locally. The results are “The Russian Laundromat Exposed” – a new project which reveals far more about how the scheme worked and where the money went. The stories below explain how more than $20.8 billion was taken out of Russia and laundered, who got the money, and why some of the world’s largest banks failed to shut the scheme down.

The Morning Vertical, March 21, 2017

ON MY MIND As the new report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (featured below) revealed, at least $20 billion has been laundered out of Russia and found its way to more than 5,000 companies with accounts in 732 banks in 96 countries. As a report by the EUObserver (featured below) notes, much of the black cash ended up in EU member states. And as I note on today’s Daily Vertical, it is highly unlikely that an operation of this magnitude involving figures with ties to the Russian authorities wasn’t Kremlin sanctioned — and didn’t have a foreign-policy purpose. We know, thanks to the OCCRP report, that some of the funds went to a pro-Russian think tank in Poland. How much of it was used to finance the plethora of so-called “alternative media” outlets in Europe that push a Euroskeptic and pro-Kremlin agenda? Many have long suspected that the Kremlin was behind many of these outlets, but their opaque financing makes it difficult to prove. How much of it was used for active measures campaigns and black ops? The OCCRP report shines a light on not just a brazen and massive money-laundering conspiracy. It could also shine a light on one of the Kremlin’s most effective weapons in its effort to divide and destabilize Europe.

The Daily Vertical: Putin’s Weaponized Laundromat (Transcript)

Well, it isn’t easy to wrap your head around the Russian money-laundering scheme that was exposed this week. According to a report released yesterday by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, more than $20 billion from 19 Russian banks was laundered through more than 5,000 companies with accounts in 732 banks in 96 countries. Investigators believe the true figure could be as high as $80 billion. Wow! You can buy a hell of a lot of influence with that kind of cash. You can run a hell of a lot of black ops and active measures with that kind of cash. You can stealthily fund a hell of a lot of fake-news-spewing media with that kind of cash. You can stir up a hell of a lot of mischief with that kind of cash. Now, some of these billions are no doubt accounted for by run-of-the-mill fraud and tax-evasion schemes. But it’s hard to imagine an operation of this magnitude, involving figures with ties to the Russian government and security services, that isn’t Kremlin sanctioned. And since Vladimir Putin’s regime uses corruption as a weapon, this massive money laundromat is clearly a tool of statecraft. It’s just the latest example that corruption is the new communism and the Kremlin’s black cash is the new “red menace.” Corruption is no longer just an issue of good governance. It’s a matter of national security. And those in the West who enable the Kremlin’s corrupt schemes — either wittingly or unwittingly — are Putin’s little helpers.

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money | World news | The Guardian

Exclusive: Billions of dollars were moved out of Russia in ‘Global Laundromat’ operation, with anonymously owned UK companies playing major role

The Global Laundromat: how did it work and who benefited? | World news | The Guardian

Everything you need to know about the money-laundering scheme that moved billions of dollars out of Russia

Vladimir Kara-Murza | Answering the Kremlin’s Challenge | World Affairs Journal

After coddling Putin during his political rise marked by repression at home and invasion abroad, the West must shun, isolate, and sanction the Kremlin’s kleptocrats.

Alexander Vershbow | What Does Vladimir Putin Want?

Since the election of Donald Trump, a chasm has opened in American views of Vladimir Putin. Liberals see him as a murderous autocrat and kleptocrat who hacked the election and might somehow be manipulating the president. Meanwhile, he’s enjoyed a surge of popularity among GOP voters, thanks largely to Trump’s consistent praise. But how does Putin look in his own country, where his approval ratings are sky high? What does he give Russians? What really motivates him? What’s his long game? Unfortunately, much American journalism has been content to give lazy answers or brush these questions aside altogether. Alexander Vershbow was the U.S. ambassador to Russia under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, and later an ambassador to South Korea and the deputy secretary general of NATO. He’s also been a student of Russian language, history, and culture since his teens. Vershbow believes that Putin still thinks in Cold War terms of “spheres of influence” and sees NATO enlargement in Eastern Europe as encroachment on a sphere that rightfully belongs to Russia. Below, Vershbow discusses possible Trump campaign ties to Putin, how Russia could influence elections in Western Europe, and how his vision for Russia is different from that of earlier Soviet leaders.

Russian hackers were likely surprised by blowback from cyberattacks on U.S. elections, analysts say – LA Times

Moscow may have miscalculated the fallout of its suspected hacking, which has led to the resignation of a high ranking U.S. official, Congressional hearings and a bipartisan circling of the wagons.

How Russia adapted KGB ‘active measures’ to cyber operations, Part I – 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.

How Russia adapted KGB ‘active measures’ to cyber operations, Part II – Fifth Domain | CyberFifth 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.

NSA, FBI: Russian cyber tactics, ‘loudness’ key differences in 2016 election interference [Updated] – 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.

European security experts call upon EU to triple defense against Russian propaganda -Euromaidan Press |

Russian propaganda is attacking the EU. So why is the EU doing so little about it?

A thousand miles from Moscow: how Putin forged his Russian heartland | Anne Garrels | Opinion | The Guardian

He may be reviled in the west but the president was a godsend in the desperate, dying old rustbelt towns

Russia’s Role as an Arms Exporter | Chatham House

Russia is the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the US, and is seeking to strengthen its position in new markets. Only the US possesses the same ability to be competitive across a wide range of weapons systems. Russia’s large portfolio of orders suggests that it will occupy an important market position in the years to come, and that it is likely to continue to be seen as a reliable source of weapons for countries that do not enjoy warm relations with the US. Asia is the most important foreign market for Russian arms producers, accounting for 70 per cent of their exports since 2000. India, China and Vietnam are the principal sources of demand for Russian weapons in the region, and Russia is the dominant supplier in a large proportion of Asian countries. The Middle East and North Africa is the second-most important market, but competition from other suppliers is much more intense there. Latin America and Africa are of relatively modest importance. Arms exports play an important role in Russia’s economy, accounting for a large proportion of manufactured and technology-intensive exports. This makes the armaments industry one of the leading sectors through which Russia is integrated with the global economy. Exports are not as important to the armaments industry as they were in the 1990s, but they help keep production lines in service and preserve a full spectrum of capabilities. Russia’s arms industry has benefited from the rapid growth in domestic defence procurement since 2011. However, it is not clear whether the government’s import-substitution plan will offset the reduced access to components of weapons systems caused by the sanctions imposed in the aftermath of the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. This could lead to shortages that impede production and, hence, export prospects. There are also broader weaknesses within the Russian defence industry that hamper innovation and could impair the ability of Russian firms to remain competitive in global markets. These include ageing physical capital, an ageing R&D workforce, and weak linkages between higher education and defence-industrial firms.

Belgrade’s possible military alliance with Russia to Counter Kosovo Threat | InSerbia News

Putin Gives Green Light For Incorporating Some South Ossetian Units Into Russian Army

After a year of negotiations on the small print, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his formal approval this week for the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the modalities for the incorporation of “some military units” of Georgia’s breakaway Republic of South Ossetia into the Russian armed forces.

New U.S.-led force to deter Russia in Poland from April | Reuters

A U.S.-led battalion of more than 1,100 soldiers will be deployed in Poland from the start of April, a U.S. commander said on Monday, as the alliance sets up a new force in response to Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Polish lawyer charged with spying for Russia convicted to 4 years in prison

Warsaw&rsquo;s District Court has sentenced a lawyer to a four-year prison term on spying charges, according to PAP. Latest UNIAN news from 20 March.

Lithuania gets reinforcement from Poland in fight against Belarus’ N-plant :: The Baltic Course | Baltic States news & analytics

Poland became Lithuania’s first ally in its efforts to stop the construction of the Russian state corporation Rosatom’s nuclear power plant in Belarus when it announced its intentions not to purchase electricity from the facility under construction in Astravyets, just 50 kilometers from Vilnius, Lithuanian politicians and experts said on Monday LETA/BNS.

Rezekne, Latvia, Frets About Trump NATO Stance, War With Russia – NBC News

Elina Zujane’s hometown is no stranger to war. Now she fears President Donald Trump may spark another. ‘Of course we worry about it,’ the 21-year-old marketing student said. ‘If something does go wrong, we are really near to Russia so we will be the first ones to find out.’ Zujane lives in Rezekne, a Latvian town just 23 miles from the Russian border. On the shifting frontier between East and West, Rezekne has served as history’s battleground for at least 1,000 years. It has been destroyed and rebuilt by everyone from German knights in the 13th century to the warring Nazis and Russians who flattened it during World War II. NBC News interviewed dozens of local residents during a recent visit. Here is the standoff from Rezekne’s perspective.

Russian Space Official Found Dead In Jail After Transfer To Unmonitored Cell

A former executive director of the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, has been found dead in his jail cell with stab wounds. A public prison oversight committee said on March 20 that Vladimi…

Russia’s Navalny Goes Green After Antiseptic Attack

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has made the best of what appeared to be the latest attempt to trip up his effort to run for president. After being doused with green antiseptic whil…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Official ‘Ethnic Russian Nationality’ Arose Only 120 Years Ago

Paul Goble Staunton, March 20 – Whether a civic Russian nation will ever arise is still an open question, but it is possible to specify the exact year – 1897 – when the tsarist regime recognized ‘ethnic Russian nationality’ (russkaya natsional’nost’) as an official category for one portion of the population of the Russian Empire, Mikhail Kulekhov says. The Siberian regionalist says that St. Petersburg took that decision when it decided to conduct its first all-imperial census. “Before this there was no such term in the Russian language.” Everyone instead was “a subject of the Russian tsar,” regardless of language, ethnicity or religion (afterempire.info/2017/03/20/nevoobrazimoe/). What prompted the imperial authorities to make this innovation, Kulekhov continues, was that the category of “nationality” had appeared in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time where there was taking place “’a parade of nationalisms.’” But the authorities soon discovered that this change “gave rise to a plethora of problems.” First of all, “in many gubernias people were ‘bilingual’ and frequently spoke two or even more local languages. How should they define themselves, as ethnic Russians or as something else? Many simply thought of themselves as subjects of the tsar and residents of a particular gubernia. Not surprisingly, Kulekhov says, in 1917 after the revolutions, with the liquidation of the monarchy, “in each gubernia,” people began “spontaneously to lay the groundwork for their own statehood.” Some like Poland and the Baltic states succeeded in becoming independent countries, even with leaders who spoke Russian better than their “titular” language. The others didn’t. “When ‘the second wave’ of the collapse of the Russian Empire (already in the format of the USSR) arrived in 1991, bearers of the word ‘Russian’ in the nationality line also were in the first ranks of the formation of the new nations.” Today, he says, “there is no sense of talking about ‘ethnic separatism’” at all. But at the same time, Kulekhov argues, “there is no ‘single ethnic Russian people.’ Russians above all are a category of being subjects and now can designate a certain attachment to a civilization. Russians are those who are able to read Pushkin without a dictionary and hardly anything more than that.” “A nation is something entirely different;” it isn’t defined by language alone but rather by the sense of a shared “historical fate” among its members; and that sense is what is captured by Benedict Anderson’s classic formulation of the nation as “’an imagined community.’”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Jus Soli Citizenship Could Make Russians a Minority in Their Own Country

Paul Goble Staunton, March 20 – Many Russians view legislation that would give Russian citizenship to all born in the USSR or their descendants as having positive consequences for Moscow in its relations with the post-Soviet states, ever more are asking whether the negative consequences it would have for Russia itself don’t outweigh those benefits. The measure, pushed by Konstantin Zatulin and Natalya Poklonskaya, would in the estimate of almost all create enclaves of Russian citizens in the CIS countries that Moscow could use to maintain or even expand its influence in them. (For background on this, see, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/proposed-citizenship-law-opens-way-for.html.) But even though the measure has cleared the profile committee in the Duma, ever more dissenting voices are being heard from those who believe that such a measure would lead to the influx of too many people from Central Asia and the Caucasus who would never integrate into Russian life and who could in time leave ethnic Russians a minority in their own country. Such fears are surveyed by Ruslan Gorevoy today on the Novaya versiya portal (versia.ru/pravilno-li-yeto-razdat-rossijskie-pasporta-vsem-rozhdyonnym-v-sssr); and while they may be overblown in terms of the estimates of the number of people who would take advantage of such a law, such projections likely will slow the adoption of the measure or kill it altogether. Some of the proposed law’s backers say that it can help boost the population of the Russian Federation to 225 to 300 million from its current 150 million, but they fail to say that the only way to get to those figures is to bring in people who are increasingly dissimilar linguistically and culturally from ethnic Russians. At the very least, these people will form enclaves in Russian cities much as Muslims do in European ones. And in the more distant future, they may form a majority of the population, swamping the Russians and transforming the country in ways that no one really wants, opponents suggest. But even before that happens, opponents of the measure say, Russians will have to pay more in taxes in order to support all the benefits from maternal capital to education to health care that those who acquire Russian citizenship will gain if the measure passes. Given the declining size of the ethnic Russian workforce, that burden will become increasingly heavy per capita. And they need to think about something else: Many of those who choose to get Russian citizenship will not give up their ties with the countries of their birth. Indeed, they may form a new kind of “fifth column” within Russia, one that will work not for Russia but against Russian national interests. Such opposition is not unexpected: many Russians have long objected to unobstructed immigration even as Moscow and business interests have promoted it. But it is an indication, as Gorevoy puts it, that the Kremlin won’t gain the advantages abroad it hopes for with the jus soli law without having to pay a heavy price at home. Given that Russia is about to enter a presidential election, those domestic concerns may outweigh foreign policy prospects in the minds of many Russian voters and many Russian politicians who depend on their support.

Nikolai Klimeniouk | Death by Crimea | openDemocracy

In the three years since the annexation of Crimea, a consensus has emerged in Russia — everything that concerns the Ukrainian peninsula should be considered a Russian domestic matter, and by no means the most important on the agenda. The “unification” of Crimea with Russia has been successfully carried out in the minds of the Kremlin’s opponents, too. In November 2016, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in a Facebook dispute with Crimean Tatar journalist Ayder Muzhdabayev, set out his position on the annexation. It was one shared widely by many liberally-minded Russian public figures, activists and intellectuals — namely that Russian society has more pressing problems to deal with, and that the opposition’s main goal must be to push for a change of power. Returning Crimea to Ukrainian jurisdiction is impossible, they argue, because public opinion would be against it. By way of illustration, Alexei Navalny’s presidential programme does not mention Crimea once.

Three years later: Russia’s suicide by Crimea -Euromaidan Press |

Nikolay Klimenyuk This article was first published in Russian on Open Democracy and was translated by The Russian Reader. As long as Russia maintains its grip on the Ukrainian peninsula, significant changes for the better at home are impossible. In the three years that have passed since the annexation of Crimea, a consensus has taken shape in Russia. Everything having to do with the Ukrainian peninsula is Russia’s internal affair, and far from the most important one. The “accession” of Crimea has even quite succesfully happened in the heads of the regime’s opponents. In November 2016, while arguing on Facebook with Crimean Tatar journalist Ayder Muzhdabaev, Mikhail Khodorkovsky expressed a stance then supported by many publicly prominent liberals, including activists and intellectuals. Russian society, he argued, wants to deal with other problems. The opposition’s biggest task is regime change, but returning Crimea to Ukrainian jurisdiction by democratic means would be impossible because public opinion would be opposed. Crimea is not mentioned at all in Alexei Navalny’s 2018 presidential campaign platform.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: With Crimean Anschluss, Putin Blocked Maidan from Spreading to Russia, Shiropayev Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 20 – Even though Vladimir Putin did not take part in the public commemorations of the third anniversary of his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, there is no question that his press secretary is right that the day he took that step remains for the Kremlin leader “a special day,” Aleksey Shiropayev says. “Imagine for a minute that Putin had not annexed Crimea,” the Russian commentator says. “In that case the victory of the Maidan could have ‘infected’ Russia as well for the spirit of freedom is infectious especially when the countries involved are so close.” Putin had to find “an antidote”– and seizing Crimea was it (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=58CF89197E0F9). And the Kremlin leader “perfectly well understood that the lure of freedom and dignity could be put down in Russian consciousness only by another lure – an imperial lure of greatness, a lure of chauvinist patriotism and slavish ecstasy of unity with the powers that be,” Shiropayev continues. This “antidote to freedom and democracy,” one that generated “an abrupt degradation of society and all political life” in the Russian Federation is what “’Crimea is Ours’” means. And thus “Crimea became Putin’s anti-Maidan.” Such an analysis is intriguing for at least two reasons. On the one hand, it lends weight to reports that Putin personally made all the decisions about Crimea (echo.msk.ru/news/1947412-echo.html), and on the other, it suggests that Putin’s aggression may at least initially have been driven by domestic considerations rather than the possibility of retaking the empire. In either of those cases, backing away from Crimea or at least not seeing it as a precedent for moves elsewhere might come easier for a post-Putin Russia, although given his personal involvement in this way with Crimea, it probably precludes any movement on that issue as long as he is in office or in power. Posted by paul goble at 4:51 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest

Soviet-era punishment resurfaces in Crimea: the political abuse of psychiatry -Euromaidan Press |

Madeline Roache On 26 January 2017, a prominent human rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was on his way to the home of a human rights activist where a police search and possible arrest was taking place, when he was detained by a group of masked officials. Kurbedinov was taken to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. Later that day Kurbedinov was found guilty of “circulating extremist material” and sentenced to 10 days of confinement. Amnesty International, among many others, said that Kurbedinov was targeted because of his human rights work and called for his immediate release.

U.S. NSA director Rogers explains why Russia needs Ukraine’s Crimea (Video)

Director of the U.S. National Security Agency (NAS), Admiral Mike Rogers says Russia has no intention to return Crimea back to Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian language service of Voice of America (VOA). News 21 March from UNIAN.

The expert named the reasons for strengthening the military and naval grouping of Russian troops in the occupied Crimea

For Russia, the transfer of new units and ships, military exercises and maneuvers allow us to emphasize once again the very fact of its disposal of the annexed peninsula, to prove to be the only “master of the situation”. This military expert Dmitry Tymchuk said in an interview with Apostrofa , commenting on the reasons for strengthening the military and naval forces of the Russian Federation in the occupied Crimea. The second circumstance, which causes the strengthening of the Russian contingent in the Crimea, is a confrontation with NATO, which is present in the Black Sea water area. In the opinion of Tymchuk, in this case Moscow also has more demonstration purposes. Finally, the expert draws attention to the significance of the war in Syria, because, using the Crimea, it is more convenient for Russians to transfer troops, equipment and supplies to that country. Read also Putin’s ex-adviser reveals Russia’s costs for the war against Ukraine The militarization of the Crimea, according to Tymchuk, largely depends on the course of the Syrian war. In the event of a weakening of Russian participation in the Syrian conflict – and in the Crimea one can expect corresponding consequences. As for the actual military importance of the occupied Crimea for the fighting in the Black Sea, the features of this theater and the possibility of modern weapons, Tymchuk believes, make the deployment of a large grouping on the peninsula pointless. Recall, on March 20 at the Opuk Range in the occupied Crimea, began a large-scale command and staff exercise of the Airborne Forces of Russia with combat fire.

RFE/RL Contributor Mykola Semena Goes On Trial In Crimea

Crimean journalist Mykola Semena has gone on trial on separatism-related charges in the Russian-controlled territory, telling reporters minutes before the hearing that he is innocent. The judg…

How Moscow Lost Its Luster as the School of Revolution – The New York Times

What once shone as the world capital of Communism became a byword for Stalin’s cynical machinations.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks

Lars Lih is a scholar who lives in Montreal, Canada. He has written extensively on Russia’s revolutionary history and the early Soviet period. He’s the author of several books including Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914-1921, Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done? In Context, and co-editor with Oleg Naumov and Oleg Khlevniuk of The Stalin-Molotov Letters, 1925-1936. His most recent book is Lenin published by Reaktion Books.

Russians Curling With Crapcans Is Curling You’ll Actually Want To Watch

Curling! Unless you bleed Red Green and caught your lunch in an ice fishing hut, you may have no idea how it works. Fortunately, some enterprising Russians found the perfect way to introduce the frozen north’s favorite weird Olympic sport to the masses: by playing it with old, stripped-out rusty hatchbacks.

Woman accused of murder in Russia lived lavishly on the lam | New York Post

A fur-loving Russian temptress befriended an older woman in their homeland, killed her for cash — then fled to Brooklyn and hid in plain sight near her victim’s daughter for more than two years, sources told The Post. Viktoria Nasyrova was finally nailed Monday with the help of a retired NYPD detective — who used the suspect’s own Facebook postings to track her down. Nasyrova, 41, who had been on the lam since the October 2014 slaying, was nabbed by the NYPD’s Warrant Squad in Sheepshead Bay. “This is some kind of miracle for me. Three years of my life, and finally, this person gets arrested,” Nadezda Ford, the daughter of 54-year-old victim Alla Alekseenko, told The Post.


Ukraine: Are We Seeing a Lull Before the Russian Storm? | EurasiaNet.org

Western media may not be paying much attention now to Ukraine, but this does not mean that the conflict there has been frozen, much less settled. The ceasefire concluded in February 2015 has not held, and the frontline has seen incessant fighting. Moscow continues to undermine Kyiv and plans for far more aggressive measures in the future. Russia has not relinquished its goal of maintaining some form of control over Ukraine – a central component of its expansionist geopolitical strategy in Eurasia – and has clearly kept open the option of doing so by military means. To that end, Russia has been building up its armed forces along the Ukrainian border, and is in the process of establishing four new divisions: the 150th Motorized Rifle Division in the Rostov region, the 10th Armored Division and the 3rd Mechanized Division in the Voronezh region, and the 144th Motorized Rifle Division near Smolensk. They will be headquartered 50, 45, and 255 kilometers from the border, respectively. In addition, the headquarters of the Russian 20th Army has been moved closer to Ukraine – from its former base east of Moscow to Voronezh. A new 8th Army headquarters is being established in the Rostov region. And three motorized rifle brigades that were previously located deep inside Russian territory, near Kazakhstan and in the Volga Basin – the 9th, 23rd and 28th – are also being shifted westward. They will be based in the Belgorod, Bryansk and Voronezh regions, all less than 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Russia is building up military power on the border with the Donbas and the Kharkov region – journalist

Russia has created a new 8th Army on the border with the Donbas and is building up the forces of the 20th Army on the border with the Kharkiv region. The journalist Yury Butusov reports this on his Facebook page. He recalled that on March 17, the Russian Mass Media published information on the creation of a new 8th combined arms army for operations on the “Ukrainian direction.” It will be deployed directly on the border with the occupied Donbas, its headquarters will be based in Rostov-on-Don. The 8th Army is an alliance deployed against Ukraine to the south in the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces, and creates a constant threat to the Ukrainian Donbas. Earlier, the war management in Ukraine was carried out directly through the structure of the headquarters of the Southern Military District. Read also “Become a stronger nut to the Russian Federation”: Ukraine should be given the opportunity to defend itself – the US General The 20th Army is deployed against Ukraine in the Western Military District and creates an immediate threat to the Kharkov region. “Apparently, now the operational control of the 1st and 2nd army corps of the occupation troops in the Donbass will be transferred to the headquarters of the 8th Army, and the 150th division will become the operational reserve and the base of these army corps in case of an invasion of Ukraine. Thus, the Russian Federation created permanent army headquarters for the development of the scenario and command and control of troops, “the journalist noted. Butusov recalled that from September 14 to September 20 near the borders of Ukraine, Russia plans to conduct military exercises “West-2017” , within the framework of which units and units from different parts of the Russian Federation will be transferred to the Western military district. This will be the largest military maneuvers of the Russian Federation Armed Forces in 2017. “Undoubtedly, these threatening actions will cause an increase in tensions at the borders with Ukraine and an increase in the combat readiness of the Ukrainian security and defense system, primarily on the Kharkov and Chernigov directions,” the journalist said.

Ukraine Is Silently Leading A Digital Currency Revolution

BY BEN CARNES — Ukraine’s commitment to blazing new trails in the name of transparency represents a commendable example for an American political sphere increasingly marked by intentional obfuscation and “alternative facts.”

The Kremlin doesn’t know what to do with Yanukovych’s letter -Euromaidan Press |

Russia now denies that Viktor Yanukovych had requested the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine. Vitaliy Portnikov Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova again tried to help former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and to save him from charges of treason. Her assignment is challenging. She cannot deny that Viktor Yanukovych wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to deploy troops to Ukraine. This letter was exhibited at a meeting of the UN Security Council by Russia’s former Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin. The presence of such a document was mentioned by Yanukovych himself. A copy of the letter was submitted to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office by the UN Secretary General’s office. Can one say the letter never existed when it did? But when you are a Russian propagandist, you can do anything. Maria Zakharova, on her page on the Web (although private rather than official), claims that this is not a letter but a statement. How does a letter differ from a statement? By the fact that Yanukovych simply “stated” the need to send troops. In other words, he did not request anything from anyone, and did not appeal to anyone. This would mean this letter was nothing more than a cry of despair. It was not registered either in the Russian parliament nor in the administration of the Russian president — nowhere at all. The fact that after its appearance the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia decided to allow President Putin to deploy troops to Ukraine is probably just a coincidence. Because neither Putin nor the senators had seen the letter. And they could not read it because it was not a letter but a statement. And, as Zakharova explains, Yanukovych wrote it and did not show it to anyone. Then how did this letter get to Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin and why did he show it to the participants at the meeting of the UN Security Council? Vitaly Churkin himself could best answer that question. But after his death, it is much simpler for the representatives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to create an alternate reality. Zakharova does not explain how a letter that was not registered in any official Russian institution ended up in the possession of the Russian representative at the UN. However, she does note that Churkin read it as a demonstration — in other words, as information that had nothing to do with the daily agenda.

Kremlin-backed “DNR” to open fake diplomatic mission in Greece -Euromaidan Press |

Russia’s fake Donbas “republics” keep opening up fake “diplomatic missions” in Europe, trying to create an illusion of their own statesmanship and ongoing diplomatic processes towards their recognition in the world.

Ukraine angry at Serbia over Assembly members’ Crimea trip | InSerbia News

PM Hroisman: Ukraine to purchase coal from US, Australia or South Africa, pay foreign currency for it

21.03.17 09:35 – PM Hroisman: Ukraine to purchase coal from US, Australia or South Africa, pay foreign currency for it Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroisman does not rule out that Ukraine will acquire coal from the U.S., Australia or South Africa. View news.

SBU prepares document to ban Russian Eurovision participant Samoilova’s entry into Ukraine

Ukraine’s SBU Security Service has prepared a decision on the entry ban to Ukraine of Russian singer Yulia Samoilova, who earlier visited Russia-occupied Crimea and intends to participate in the Eurovision 2017 song contest that will be held in Kyiv in May. “The document on the entry ban has been prepared,” SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak told journalists in Kyiv on Monday.

SBU chief says entry ban papers drafted against Russia’s Eurovision pickThe Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has prepared papers prohibiting entry into Ukraine of Eurovision 2017 participant from Russia Yulia Samoilova, SBU Head Vasyl Hrytsak told reporters on Monday, March 20, according to 112 Ukraine TV channel. News 20 March from UNIAN.

Chernobyl-scale chemical disaster looms in Eastern Ukraine war, experts warn | Fox News

Experts caution that the conflict in Eastern Ukraine could soon get a whole lot hotter as huge volumes of chlorine gas being stored near the fighting threaten a massive and deadly release of the toxic gas.

Ukraine tests combat stations for new infantry fighting vehicle | KyivPost

Ukrainian designers have successfully tested two combat stations, one of which will be selected for use on a new upgrade of the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, Ukraine’s state-run weapons industry concern UkrOboronProm said on March 20. In a statement on its website, the company said the combat stations, named Shkval and Stilet, produced at the Zhytomyr Armored Plant, were tested at a firing range in Zhytomyr Oblast. The tests were designed to assess and compare the stations’ accuracy, speed and efficiency in action. UkrOboronProm said based on the results of the firing tests, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense would select which station to install on its new, advanced version of the BMP-1.

Ukraine reports 60 enemy attacks, 3 KIA’s, 9 WIA’s in last day

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 60 times in the past 24 hours with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as killed in action (KIA) and nine as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 21 March from UNIAN.

Enemy Grad systems pound Vodiane village. VIDEO

20.03.17 17:55 – Enemy Grad systems pound Vodiane village. VIDEO The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has published a video of shelling of Vodiane village by Russian Grad rocket systems. View video news.

Five ATU fighters were hospitalized in the Dnieper, two of them – in extremely serious condition – a doctor (video)

Five ATU fighters were hospitalized in the Dnieper Hospital, two of them in extremely serious condition. This was reported by the head doctor of the Dnepropetrovsk Regional Hospital. Mechnikov Sergey Ryzhenko, 112 Ukraine reports. Read also Bort with wounded military and volunteers from the Dnieper arrived in Kiev (video) “Five people were delivered in the last week, three of them are heavy, two are extremely heavy, we are doing our best, complex operations for several hours.” Now we have released several houses and are waiting for the fighters, “he said.

Some 40 militants approached and attacked Ukrainian positions outside Vodiane, – ATO Staff

20.03.17 18:52 – Some 40 militants approached and attacked Ukrainian positions outside Vodiane, – ATO Staff A fighting between the Ukrainian military and enemy subversive groups took place in the vicinity of Vodiane village in the Donetsk region. View news.

Eight terrorists killed, 16 wounded in fighting around Vodiane, – ATO Staff

20.03.17 22:32 – Eight terrorists killed, 16 wounded in fighting around Vodiane, – ATO Staff Eight militants were killed and 16 wounded in today’s clash in the vicinity of Vodiane village, the Donetsk region. View news.

Eight militants killed near Vodiane, 16 wounded on Monday – updated info from ATO HQ

As a result of a military clash between soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and militants in the vicinity of Vodiane of Volnovasky district of the Donetsk region, eight militants were killed and 16 wounded on Monday, the press center of the Anti-Terrorist operation (ATO) headquarters reports. “According to the updated information, as a result of the battle between the servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Russian invaders, which took place in Mariupol sector near the village of Vodiane, the enemy suffered significant losses. According to the intelligence service, eight mercenaries were killed and 16 more were wounded,” a message, posted on the press center’s Facebook page on Monday evening, says. As earlier reported, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven were wounded by shelling from combined Russian-separatist militant groups near the village of Vodiane in Donetsk region. “At 09:30 [a.m.] near Vodiane two enemy groups numbering up to 40 individuals approached our positions. Ukrainian troops repelled the enemy, which retreated. At the same time, Ukrainian units moved forward. The enemy then used multiple-rocket launch systems and heavy artillery and retreated to its positions.

Militants shell ATO positions at Vodiane with rockets, one killed, eight Ukrainian soldiers wounded

One Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and eight wounded as a result of shelling by combined Russian-separatist forces in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone near Vodiane in Volnovakha district, Donetsk region, on Monday, the ATO headquarters has reported. Grad multiple-rocket missiles systems and other heavy-caliber artillery banned by the Minsk agreements were used, according to the report. “Today, March 20, combined Russian-separatist forces again violated the Minsk agreements and are attempting to do everything to destroy the agreement to withdraw heavy armaments from the line of demarcation. The positions of Ukrainian forces in the region of Vodiane in the Mariupol sector were shelled by militants with Grad rocket systems BM-21, 152-mm and 122-mm artillery pieces, 120-mm and 82-mm mortar systems,” the ATO’s press service said on its Facebook page. “According to preliminary reports, as a result of the shelling in the Mariupol sector one Ukrainian soldier was killed and eight wounded,” the ATO statement said.

The militants left their artillery fire positions”: volunteers told about the situation near Vodyanoy

After a heavy bombardment from Grads, the situation near the village of Vodyanoye stabilized. This is reported on its Facebook page by the volunteers of the “Come back alive” fund. “At night, the enemy periodically fired our positions from mortars and small arms, each with a sharp fire in response, we now have confirmation of two dead in this sector of the front.The five wounded are in Mariupol ambulance hospital, the rest are directed to the military hospitals of Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk “, The report says. Read also Fights in the Water: in the city council Mariupol was told about the wounded According to volunteers, in general, the night passed calmly, and the main attack was concentrated by the enemy artillery far north, firing the advanced positions of the APU from the city of Dokuchaevsk and its environs. “The guys courageously withstood the shelling, and after a while the invader was forced to leave his artillery fire positions,” they said in “Come back alive.”

Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Fierce Front Line Fighting Against Russian Hybrid Forces – YouTube

Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in fighting over the weekend, in another military escalation by Russian hybrid forces. Some of the fiercest battles took …

Volunteers recreate the chronology of yesterday’s brutal fighting near Mariupol (video)

On March 20, the Russian occupation forces began provocative shelling from artillery in the direction of the village of Vodyanoye, near Mariupol. The fire of the enemy was simultaneously conducted in several positions of the Marine Corps units. This was reported on its Facebook page by the volunteers’ center “People’s Project”. Covering himself with artillery fire, the enemy launched an offensive action before the reinforced platoon. As a result, the terrorists received a worthy rebuff and retreated, and the Ukrainian defenders advanced. “Increasing the activity of militants has traditionally been linked to the so-called” humanitarian escort “that Russia sent to the occupied territories just last week.On these few days, it is obvious that the terrorists have already unloaded ammunition and delivered them to the artillery batteries, In the message of volunteers. Read also The aggravation in the ATU zone: the headquarters told about yesterday’s actions of militants near Mariupol Around 13:00, the People’s Project volunteer Serge Marko said that since the very morning a difficult battle with the invaders began near Mariupol. Ukrainian defenders completely destroyed the enemy stronghold together with the terrorists. However, the enemy increased shelling and transferred fire to the formerly their own positions. The enemy tanks moved to the battle zone. At 14:55 the press center of the headquarters of the ATU confirmed that the positions of the Ukrainian troops near the village of Vodyanoye in the Mariupol direction were fired by the occupants using the ML-21 Grad missile system , 152 mm and 122 mm artillery, 120 and 82 Mm mortar shells. Also, a video of the enemy shelling by the “Grads” of the village of Vodyanoye was published:

1,400 consumers left without electricity in Luhansk region as Russian terrorists damaged power transmission tower

20.03.17 15:30 – 1,400 consumers left without electricity in Luhansk region as Russian terrorists damaged power transmission tower The Russian terrorist forces keep destroying energy utilities of the Luhansk region. View news.

No Language, No Problem: Technology Drives Ukrainian Taxi Services – YouTube

Transportation in Kyiv is becoming more convenient. Citizens and guests can now call taxis online. Installing a special mobile application is enough to get t…

Ukraine’s Antiques Market is Booming. Here’s Why…. – YouTube

These days, the rarities markets in Post-Soviet countries offer rather reasonable prices for collectible items. And this puts Ukrainian antique collectors in…

Tina Karol wins Most Beautiful Woman of Ukraine for a third time – EuroVisionary – Eurovision news worth reading
Tina Karol – Show Me Your Love (Ukraine) 2006 Final – YouTube

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Ukraine: Tina Karol – Show Me Your Love live at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 Final


Tillerson To Visit Russia In May, Will Skip NATO Meeting In April

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his first visit to Russia as part of a European trip in May&nbsp;but will not attend a NATO meeting in April. The State Department revealed the plan…

Rex Tillerson will go to Russia but skip NATO meeting next month – The Washington Post

State Department officials said the secretary of state will go to Moscow in mid-April, a sign he is coming out of the diplomatic shadows.

China Turns Top Mid-Range Missiles Toward Taiwan | The Daily Caller

The Chinese military has deployed new, highly-accurate missiles for precision strikes on Taiwan, the island’s defense minister confirmed Monday.

Macron on Top After First Debate of French Presidential Election – Bloomberg

In the first debate between the main contenders to become the next president of France it was the centrist who came out the winner.

Le Pen, Macron go head-to-head in first French presidential TV debate – France 24

Over three-and-a-half hours of fast-paced debate on Monday evening, France’s five leading presidential candidates laid down the gauntlet for the first face-to-face showdown of this roller coaster campaign.

Le Pen Employs Social Media Blitzkrieg to Amplify Debate Message – Bloomberg

Marine Le Pen’s army of web activists played a key role as the French election’s first-ever pre-first-round debate took off: they saturated the “Patriot-sphere” with messages about her.

France’s National Front co-founder Jean-Marie Le Pen says the battle is already won – The Washington Post

The National Front is poised to win nearly 40 percent of the vote in the French election.

Israel Threatens To ‘Destroy’ Syrian Air Defenses After Missiles Fired

Israel has warned Damascus not to use its air-defense systems against its warplanes after the Syrians fired at Israeli jets carrying out attacks against a convoy suspected of supplying weapons to th…

Russia Summons Israeli Envoy Over Concern About Air Strikes In Syria

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on March 20 that it had summoned Israel’s ambassador to express concern about air strikes that hit close to Russian forces last week around the Syrian city o…

Russia summons Israeli ambassador to explain air raids in Syria | World news | The Guardian

Moscow raises concerns over Israel’s exchange of fire with Syrian regime forces as second incident kills pro-Assad fighter


Trump’s Russian imbroglio prompts Republican rethink on surveillance law | Reuters

Some Republican lawmakers appear to be reassessing whether to make changes to a surveillance law that allows broad snooping of Internet communications, citing concerns over the handling of classified intercepts after leaks of conversations between Russian officials and American associates of President Donald Trump.

FBI Chief Confirms Probe Of Trump Aides’ Links With Russia

The director of the FBI has confirmed ongoing investigations into communications between Russian officials and President Donald Trump’s aides.

THE MEMO: Five takeaways from Comey’s big day | TheHill

Highlights From the House Hearing on Russian Interference in the U.S. Election – The New York Times

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, confirmed an investigation into possible collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia. Here are the other key takeaways.

FBI director blasted by Democrats after probe revelation – The Washington Post

FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that the bureau has been quietly investigating possible links between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian officials since the summer enraged Democrats who already blamed him for rattling the 2016 campaign’s closing days.

Plug the leaks and stop blaming Russians for Clinton’s loss (opinion) – CNN.comThere was something for everyone in Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing — for Democrats, some fuel for their unproven theory the presidency was stolen from them in last year’s election and for Republicans, confirmation that there’s a serious problem with the leaking of secrets by officials in Washington, says Alice Stewart.

NSA knocks down White House claim of British spying – 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.

Russia’s election interfering can’t be separated from its domestic surveillance.

At this point, it’s pretty clear that Russia helped elect Donald Trump. While Congress and the FBI continue to investigate Kremlin interference with th …

Donald Trump Poll: Young People See Him as ‘Illegitimate’ | Time.com

More than half of Americans age 18 to 30 view Donald Trump’s presidency as “illegitimate,” according to a new poll.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort denies link to Russia, DNC hack

Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, denied Monday any involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, release of DNC emails and contact with Russian officials and other involved with the attack

Trump’s Biggest Connection to Russia, Explained – YouTube

As the FBI investigates Donald Trump’s Russia connections, we decided to delve into the most influential of them: Paul Manafort. _ Follow UATV English on soc…

 

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