Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / New Administration Media Ad Hoc – 27 March 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Prof Goble’s analysis is as always exactly on target. Pastukhov essay on internal changes in Russia over the last three years is the best to date, but Pastukhov assumes the regime can maintain its internal cohesion long term, the evidence suggests this may not be the case. Analysis of the changing age demographic of the Russian protests is important – we see increasingly reports of young Russians involved in high risk stunts or suicide dare games, often ending in deaths reflecting a nihilistic subculture that sees no future. Belarus summary hits the key point, which is that the regime has entered a death spiral by violating basic social norms – a cultural taboo. Surkov trying to get himself killed? Trenin analysis is not strong. Intersection essays on Russia relations with Europe and China are very good. Good essays on propaganda topics.

Ukraine news dominated by Donbass escalation, crash of HOPLITE killing chief engineer of AFU radar and SAM forces at Kramatorsk, Gen Nazarov, UA jailed for 7 years on negligence charges for failing to deal with reported proxy force air defence assets at Luhansk APT perimeter resulting in loss of Il-76MD CANDID and 49 KIA AFU personnel, new Youtube clips of new 30mm AFV turret trials.

Russians lose Bulgarian election. Merkel staff leak story of POTUS “invoice” to FRG for unpaid obligations to NATO. DPRK involved in major cyber crime in NYC.

Dem contention that “Russian hack was act of war” hits on a long standing debate in the IW community – how severe an IW attack crosses the threshold of an act of war? By analogy with kinetic, a campaign conducted systematically and with intent to damage the functioning of a nation state using multiple assets in a coordinated manner should be classed as an “act of war”. Debate around investigation increases in toxicity, yet again.


Window on Eurasia — New Series: By Seeking Only to Preserve Power, Putin Regime Undermining Basis for That, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 24 – The Putin regime seeks to “freeze Russian society” in its current state in order to preserve the power of the regime, but even while adopting that line, the Kremlin has in fact been promoting revolutionary change and hence bringing its own replacement ever closer, according to Vladimir Pastukhov. Writing in Novaya gazeta, the University College of London Russian historian points out that “Russian society entered the Putin era as one thing and will come out of it completely different,” not as a result of hostile forces but “as a result of the objective laws of history” that Russia can’t easily violate (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/03/22/71873-doktrina-sechina). The “neo-totalitarian system of present-day Russia” strikes many as something inspiring or terrifying, he continues; but in fact, it is “internally unstable, a ‘political isotope’ with a quite short in historical terms half-life” consisting of “two components: state capitalism and a police state.” These two elements, of course, will recombine at some point because “the political cycle in Russia consists of three main phases: a rapid rise upward, a sharp fall, and a long drifting period in seeking” new goals. Students of Russian history focus primarily on the first two of these three stages; but the third plays a key role and deserves more attention, especially now. Given Russia’s tradition of despotism, a police state in fact represents progress, a kind of “’orbital station’” from which there can be “future flights into a distant ‘liberal cosmos’” where the country has never been before. Twice in the 20th century, Russia tried to jump over this step, only to fall back into totalitarianism under Stalin and neo-totalitarianism under Putin. According to Pastukhov, “Soviet Russia needed a few more than 30 years, if one counts from 1953, to transform itself from an ‘extraordinary’ state into a more or less ‘regular’ one.” But then perestroika intervened with its attempt to jump further forward than Russia had the capacity to go. A decade from now, he says, Russia will pass 30 years from perestroika. What is occurring now, he says, is “a phased transition’ within the post-communist cycle, from ‘counter-revolution’ to ‘regularity,’” a development conditioned “by the evolution of oligarchic capitalism which arose from the barbaric privatization of the 1990s and completely degenerated in the course of the no less barbaric nationalization of the 2000s.” For a quarter of a century of post-communist Russian history, Pastukhov says, the country has developed within “a narrow corridor of possibilities set by ‘black privatization’ and ‘gray nationalization.’” But the negative consequences of the former are as nothing compared to the negative consequences of the latter. No one planned for oligarchic capitalism: it simply arose as a result of the way in which privatization was carried out and “with the complete absence” of even an attempt to create a civil society that could contain it. Not only did that lead to extreme gaps between the richest one percent and the impoverishment of the others, but it was completely ineffective economically. And it had another consequence, Pastukhov says, that the country still is coping with: the fusion of the former Soviet nomenklatura which was the chief beneficiary of the wild privatization with the criminal world. That led to the crises of 1996 and 1998 and almost to a revolutionary situation in the latter year. “Theoretically,” the historian continues, Russia has two ways out: the elimination of oligarch capitalism altogether and the optimization of it. The first, however, was precluded by the fact that the oligarch had achieved complete control of the country. When Putin came to power, he could only pursue optimization then not elimination. What he proceeded to do was to transform the oligarchic system into a “state-oligarchic one in which the bureaucracy (the nomenklatura) became an equal participant of oligarchic rule. The influence of the old post-communist ‘boyars’ weakened; that of the new post-communist ‘nobility’ rose.” Putin’s reorganization “was conducted in the interests of the oligarchy as a class but harmed the selfish interests of particular oligarchs. Some of them really suffered,” Pastukhov says, “but the oligarchy as a whole only won as a result of these transformations.” And taking advantage of oil money, Putin also boosted the standard of living of the population. The popular memory of that remains “up to the present the main political capital and most reliable support of the political security of the regime. Everything, however, has its price;” and this course of events did as well. Putin began like many “Russian ‘autocrats’” as a reformer, but he quickly shifted to what is now known as the Sechin Doctrine in which the supremacy of the state takes precedence over everything else. That became clear after the “gray” nationalization following the economic crisis of 2008-2009. Putin was able to achieve his ends through the use of state entities of various kinds, “but having resolved one problem, the powers gave birth to another still more serious one.” That is, they promoted the rise of “’favoritism’” in which closeness to the throne was the foundation of all power and wealth and in which corruption became all-embracing. “The trigger for a new revolutionary situation became the parliamentary and presidential elections of 2011-2012, but its real causes were in no way connected with the elections.” The protests in Russia at that time appeared similar to the Maidan in Ukraine in 2013-2014, “a sharp reaction of society to the corrupt-criminal degeneration of the powers that be.”“However, the results of these manifestations turned out to be completely different: if in Ukraine took place ‘a revolution from below,’ in Russia what occurred was ‘a counter-revolution from above.” And the latter has proved despite the assessments of many far more dramatic in its consequences than the former. What happened in Russia in 2014-2015 was not conceived as a counter-revolution. That is because “a counter-revolution is also a revolution.” And that is something the regime didn’t want to happen. It sought to promote “the preservation of the regime by changing its nature” in ways few noticed. This counter-revolution “achieved its final goals in two stages: in the first, it carried out the mobilization of society in order to put down a revolution and in the second without much noise it realized a significant part of the tasks of the revolution which did not occur,” the Russian historian says. “The main news of ‘the Russian spring’ was not the return of Crimea.” Instead, it was “the change in relations between the powers and the elites.” Before that time, the powers in the Kremlin and the nomenklatura oligarchy were partners; after it, the latter were reduced to servants of the former. That occurred, Pastukhov says, because “state oligarchic capitalism degenerated into a military-oligarchic form,” one in which no one is safe regardless of his personal ties and in which “the machine of terror” just like in 1937 “has begun to work on automatic pilot” rather than requiring constant guidance. “In this system,” he continues, “there are no lords; instead all are slaves, all are equal in their lack of rights but not all yet recognize this.” Indeed, “if revolutions devour their children, then counter-revolutions devour their beneficiaries.” But military-oligarchic capitalist has no beneficiaries besides the system itself. Now, Pastukhov suggests, the agenda calls for “simply state capitalism in which both the oligarch and the favorites will be just like everyone else, deprived of political and even economic rights but which the power permits at least for now to be rich.” “The political superstructure over state capitalism is a police state, regular, universal but not free. This state is hostile to the oligarchs and favorites just like any other ‘unregulated’ forces.’” Given that, “the last phase of the development of state-oligarchic capitalism promises to be very stormy.” But out of this conflict is likely to arise a police state in the usual sense, something much better than a despotism because it contains within itself “some not bad chances for the further evolution into something more free with the help of the next Russian ‘perestroika,’ a revolution from above.” This process won’t be “very romantic or very quick” but it is promising at least compared to Russia’s past over the last century. And it is entirely possible that “a third ‘perestroika’” will prove to be much more successful than the earlier two. Of course, no one knows when this will happen, but a good guess would be in 2025, 40 years after the first was put in place.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Russian Protesters: Younger, Broader Social Base, and Against Someone Rather than For Something

Paul Goble Staunton, March 27 – The tens of thousands of Russians who marched in the anti-corruption demonstrations, both officially permitted and not, yesterday were very different in three ways than their predecessors who took to the streets in 2011-2012; and these differences should give the Putin regime pause about the future. First of all, the protesters were far younger yesterday than those of 2011-2012 (newsland.com/community/7411/content/pokolenie-putina-vzbuntovalos/5750067) and far more likely to be people who had not taken part in protests before or been among the “celebrity” demonstrators such marches have often attracted (republic.ru/posts/81173 and ixtc.org/2017/03/blog-andreya-malgina-novye-pesni-pridumala-zhizn/#more-13937). That change suggests not only that the protest potential in Russia has broadened but is likely to grow over time, and it is thus no accident that the Kremlin suggested some young people had been paid to march and that some United Russia representatives in St. Petersburg called for raising the minimum age to protest (znak.com/2017-03- 27/v_kremle_schitayut_chto_podrostkam_platili_za_uchastie_v_mitingah_protiv_korrupcii). Second, the protesters are far angrier than they were and far more likely to be against something such as the political system and its corruption as a whole than for anything in particular be it a politician like Aleksey Navalny or a non-Russian cause (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/03/27/1602192.html and idelreal.org/a/28393091.html). From the point of view of the regime, the fact that the protesters were primarily against something rather than for has a mixed meaning. On the one hand, it gives the Kremlin the opportunity to deflect protest by sacrificing or attacking a subordinate official. And on the other, it means that the protesters seem less willing to coalesce around alternative people or programs. And third – and this reflects both the first and the second – protesters were far more apocalyptic in their views, talking about their sense of hopeless about the future and the notion that there is no way out if the current system is not radically transformed (apn.ru/index.php?newsid=36140, asiarussia.ru/blogs/15645/ and znak.com/2017-03-26/mitingi_ot_bezyshodnosti_pochemu_lyudi_snova_ichut_otvetov_na_ulice). That apocalypticism, typical of young people and of those who have not had experience with protests earlier, may play into the hands of the Kremlin: it can portray the Navalny movement as “extremist” at least for the majority of Russians. But it also means that there is an energy behind the protests that likely means there will be more not future of them in the future.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka’s Weekend Crackdown has Only Further Radicalized Belarusians

Paul Goble Staunton, March 27 – When a dictator decides his only remaining weapon against his own population is brute force, the consequences — unless that force is deployed in truly massive way — almost certainly include the further radicalization of the population and the increasing likelihood the dictator will be compelled again to use more force against an enraged populace. That is the situation Alyaksandr Lukashenka finds himself in after the mass arrests in Minsk and other Belarusian cities over the weekend. By arresting hundreds of those protesting against his regime – a large number but far smaller than Vladimir Putin did in Russia at the same time – the Belarusian leader has shown that the social contract he may have had earlier is void. As a result, he will be compelled to use ever more force, leaders of the opposition say, because his crackdown while harsh was insufficient to intimidate the enraged Belarusian nation (belprauda.org/tri-kita-i-bespomoshhnost-rezhima-lukashenko/ and eurobelarus.info/news/policy/2017/03/27/vladimir-matskevich-rezhim-bol-she-ne-sposoben-kontrolirovat.html). Moreover, other protest leaders add, it is clear that Lukashenka understands that he has no other leverage left and so will become ever more repressive, setting the stage for ever more serious clashes with the population which is committed to continuing to demonstrate (belaruspartisan.org/politic/374670/ and charter97.org/ru/news/2017/3/27/245045/). There are many ways to tell that an act of intimidation like the one Lukashenka deployed has produced exactly the opposite effect that he intended. Among those that have surfaced in the last 36 hours are three that are particularly important for the future of that country and its dictatorial leader. First, Belarusian police were seen to attack elderly people, a violation of social norms among Belarusians who retain far greater respect for their elders than is the case in many countries (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/3/27/245024/). And in the wake of the police attacks, people began to collect money for those arrested (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/3/27/245028/). Second, various groups in Belarusian society declared that they would remain in solidarity with the population against the dictator. Among the most significant of these are Belarusian students who have played and likely will play a major part in future protests against Lukashenka and his regime (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/3/26/244995/). And third the Roman Catholic churches in Belarus offered prayers for the future of Belarus and Belarusians yesterday, an action that many in Belarusian society will see as a vote of confidence in them and even an expression of support from an important social institution (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/3/26/245005/). But perhaps the most obvious indication that Lukashenka has failed to intimidate Belarusians but rather by his actions has had exactly the opposite effect is what Belarusians themselves are saying in the wake of the mass arrests. One protester urged Belarusians to engage in acts of civil disobedience: “Don’t obey the psychopath,” he said (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/3/26/244996/).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Novel Ascribed to Surkov Describes Putin’s Departure from Office in Ruined Russia of 2024

Paul Goble Staunton, March 26 – A new novel, entitled Ultra-Normalcy, that posits the overthrow of Vladimir Putin in a ruined Russia of 2024, is being ascribed, despite his denials, to Vladislav Surkov, the gray cardinal of the Kremlin, and consequently is being discussed not just as a work of fiction but as an indication of how those in the Putin regime see things developing. The book, released this month, is nominally authored by Natan Dubovitsky, who many believe, as Valery Bereznev points out in a review essay for Kazan’s Business-Gazeta, is simply a nom de plum of Surkov, despite Surkov’s denial and even, albeit without any public appearance, Dubotsky’s (business-gazeta.ru/article/340964). Told in the form of recovered memory by someone who has suffered a fever, the novel is set in Moscow in 2025. The year before that “was rich in events,” its narrator says. “We took second place in the summer Olympics in New Orleans, the first manned mission to the moon was sent off, the earth’s population reached eight billion, and Kazakhstan prepared to shift to the Latin script.” As for Russia, “we were already preparing to choose a president. Together with the old leader, an entire era of achievements, failures, and unachieved new horizons passed from the scene. Already no one remembered his coming to power … the situation the country was in then and with what he had to struggle.” “The presidential campaign had still not begun, but broadsides and banners, which formed public opinion were on display everywhere. It seemed that if they hadn’t been printed and the money that went for them had been put into the economy, there could have been a doubling of GDP.” “Gradually,” the narrator comes ot understand that a conspiracy has been formed by “a group of people who want to create ‘an alternative language’ in order that by means of this … they will be able to seize power in the country. And then [the narrator, Fedor Streltsov] decides [in his dream memory] to unmask this conspiracy.” The entire country, he says, is in terrible shape, whether from sanctions or some national decision is unclear. Its landscrape in 2024 “recalls ruins with rats living among them. People are burning fires directly on the streets” to heat their food, and “youthful bands are passing through Moscow attacking passers by.” And Russia’s government also looks to be in disarray. The president, here called “the Dragon” is “’a short man of unimposing visage.’ The result which the state had achieved over the 24 years of his rule was the collapse of the economy, a rise in banditry” and an angry and hostile population. “For this situation, of course, not only Dragon but also his ruling Conservative Party of the Center,” a group most readers will equate to United Russia just as they will see the Dragon being a standin name for Putin. The opposition leader, Nikita Vorotilov, looks suspicious like Aleksey Navalny, who supposedly welcomes “the disappearance of the state.” “If the author of the novel is now working as an aide to the president,” Bereznev says, “this means only one thing: Russia from the windows of the Kremlin looks exactly that way.” And the future is troubled: the Dragon is forced out, “giving way to a conspiracy of the elites and the anger of the streeets.” But his departure doesn’t make “’tomorrow’” better. “The matrix of the Kyivan ‘Euromaidan’ works also in Russia,” Bereznev continues, “but the energy of collapse and the dehumanization of the country are a thousand times more powerful than was the case in Ukraine in 2014.” But the primary message of the novel, regardless of who wrote it, is that “the Dragon can leave!” Because that is the case, the Business-Gazeta journalist says, “even though the book is finished and published, its history is only beginning to be written. And who knows what they will write about it in the literary encyclopedia of the future: a mystification or a prophecy” of where Russia is really heading?

Russia is the house that Vladimir Putin built – and he’ll never abandon it | Dmitri Trenin | Opinion | The Guardian

By co-opting the masses against the elite, the president has shaped a country to echo his values and grievances. And now he’s working to secure his legacy

BBC: Russia jails protests leader Alexei Navalny for 15 days

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been jailed for 15 days for resisting police orders during mass protests on Sunday, according to the BBC. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Russia’s Slow Pivot Away From Europe | Intersection

The results of 5 years of pivoting away from Europe are not impressive Author: Anton Barbashin Over the last five years, Russia has been trying to achieve two strategic goals: A “Pivot to Asia” (away from Europe) and a renewed focus on post-soviet integration with its Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Both of those aspirations are rooted in the desire to break away from dependence on Europe, while reasserting its influence in what Russia refers to as its “near-abroad.” The “Pivot” was supposed to bring Russia closer to new Asian markets and energy consumers, and the EEU is conceived to counter European influence through creating a “Eurasian alternative” to the EU in the post-soviet space. Russia becoming a “regional pole,” as some Kremlin strategists hope, or simply a Chinese appendage, as others fear, are both still distant alternatives. Both outcomes could not be accomplished without a considerable rearrangement of economic ties and cooperation: either by increasing regional economic might or by redirecting both export and import flows to a new partner. But as the data suggests, Russia’s “movement” anywhere remains a feature of rhetoric rather than anything concrete.

Russia and China: A Strange Case of Convergence | Intersection

As Putin tries to replicate Chinese-style elite reshuffling, China is shifting toward the Russian model. Chris Miller After every meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin, the two sides issue warm statements and stress their growing cooperation. Especially since the war in Ukraine began in 2014, Russia has tacked ever closer to China, shedding some of its traditional fear of its southern neighbor and seeking to compensate for strained relations with the West by closer ties to China. Beijing, meanwhile, is happy to have Russia on its side in disputes such as that over the South China Sea. Disagreements between Russia and China remain, but there is little doubt that relations now are at their closest in decades. Less frequently noted, however, is a partial convergence in Russian and Chinese domestic politics. Americans regularly group Russia and China together as “authoritarian powers,” but the reality is that the two countries’ domestic political systems operate very differently. Since taking power in Russia in 1999, Putin has emphasized the construction of a “vertical of power” in Russia, slashing the influence of provincial elites and centralizing control in the Kremlin. In China, meanwhile, political power has been no less authoritarian but much more decentralized.

Complete Timeline of Fabricated Russian Disinformation – To Inform is to Influence

This story was published at 15:28 EST on 26 March 2017, all information is current as of this time and date. Sputnik news took a legitimate story about increased sanctions against Iran and embellished the story to make it appear as if Russian sanctions were also increasing. Facts about Russian corporations receiving increased sanctions were…

Russia banned a Polish board game that simulates Communist-era shopping – To Inform is to Influence

My only face to face experience with Communists was during multiple, multiple trips to East Berlin, a few trips to “Hier Grenze” along the East German border near Fulda (shhh, I wasn’t allowed within 1 kilometer of the border but I wasn’t driving), and a vacation trip to Yugoslavia.  I don’t count my multiple trips…

Russia develops ‘unstoppable’ 4,600mph cruise missile | Daily Mail Online

Russia has built a Zircon cruise missile which cannot be stopped by the Royal Navy’s current defenses and could render two new £6.2billion aircraft carriers obsolete, experts have warned.

US sanctions on Russia effective, don’t hurt American economy, report finds -Euromaidan Press |

A new independent report released on 22 March 2017 shows that US sanctions against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine have been generally effective and have had a minimum impact on the American economy. The report, commissioned by Rasmussen Global, is now available online.

OPEC, Russia, Others To Consider Extending Oil Supply Cuts

OPEC and several nonmember oil producers meeting in Kuwait say they have agreed to review whether an agreement to cut supplies should be extended by six months. A statement on March 26 said a join…

Russia Wants Oil-Supply Data Before Deciding on More Cuts – Bloomberg

Russia isn’t ready to support a possible extension of oil-supply cuts into the second half of the year, even as more crude producers acknowledge they will probably need to do so to achieve their goals of balancing the market and firming up prices.

Russia: Business Struggles for Shoes | Footwear News

The footwear business is in decline for many in Russia as fewer consumers are opting to buy shoes, and prices have surged for two years.

Man indicted for using GIF as ‘deadly weapon’ – 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 Lenin’s love of literature shaped the Russian Revolution | Books | The Guardian

The father of the Soviet Union was also a Latin buff who adored Goethe and liked to compare his enemies to figures in novels

‘Pure surprise’: Scientists marvel as Kamchatka volcano erupts for first time in 250 years (VIDEO) — RT Viral

Researchers are genuinely amazed at the Kambalny volcano in Russia erupting for the first time in 250 years. But while this could be described as a scientific marvel, the volcano could also be hiding a threat.


Ukrainian Presidential Staff tells of prospects of Poroshenko-Trump meeting

The meeting of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with his American counterpart Donald Trump will be held as soon as the parties reach a final agreement on the agenda of talks, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Kostyantyn&nbsp;Yeliseiev&nbsp;told the Segodnia newspaper. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Johnson and McCain harden resolve on #Ukraine, #Russia, and health-care reform : EU Reporter

US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said that the first priority for the United States in Ukraine is to provide defensive weapons such as javelin missiles and counter-battery radar. Speaking on the final day of The German Marshall Fund’s 12th Brussels Forum (25 March), McCain said US military advisors have proven effective, and “the Ukrainian military has improved dramatically in their capabilities, they just need the ability to fight”. McCain spoke at a joint press conference during GMF’s Brussels Forum, an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by The German Marshall Fund of the United States and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, US officials, congressional representatives, parliamentarians, and academics.Commenting about a meeting earlier this week with Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, who said it would be an absolute disaster if the United States were to block Montenegro’s accession to NATO, McCain expressed confidence in the vote and expected to exceed the 90 votes in favor of accession.

Kyiv Noir. Will these headlines ever end? -Euromaidan Press |

Dirk Mattheisen The photo above says it all. Soviet era façades. The blonde in an expensive ski jacket. The bloodied body on the sidewalk next to a luxury car. It’s the stuff of post-Soviet pulp novels. On Thursday, Denys Voronenkov, a Russian parliamentarian who fled to Ukraine, was assassinated in downtown Kyiv. To many in the West, this is their image of Ukraine.

Russian Defector’s Murder Sends a Chilling Message – Bloomberg View

Relations between Ukraine and Russia, dismal since 2014, are now at a nadir.

Former Russian MP suggests mastermind behind Voronenkov assassination

Ilya Ponomarev, ex-deputy of the Russian State Duma exiled in Ukraine, believes the official who ordered another ex-MP Denis&nbsp;Voronenkov&rsquo;s&nbsp;murder is General Oleg Feoktistov of Russia’s FSB, according to Apostrophe, a Ukrainian news outlet. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Russia: Denis Voronenkov Shot Dead Amidst Ukraine Treason Case | Fortune.com

The former MP was to be a key witness against Viktor Yanukovich in a treason case and had fled to the Ukraine from Russia

InformNapalm reporter disappears after Freedom Day arrests in Belarus. VIDEO | EN.Censor.net

27.03.17 15:48 – On March 27, trials of journalists detained during Freedom Day are to take place in Minsk, Vitebsk and Polotsk. A Minsk court had to try InformNapalm journalist Dzianis Ivashyn whose whereabouts remains unknown so far. As reported by Censor.NET citing the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), lists of correspondents and journalists pending trials in Belarus have been posted on the official website of the organization. Today, the Frunzensky district court of Minsk was to try Dzianis Ivashyn, the editor of the Belarusian version of InformNapalm OSINT group website. The journalist was detained during the dispersal of the Freedom Day rally in Minsk. Ivashin was accused of violating article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (violation of the procedure for organizing or holding mass events). He spent the weekend in the Center for Isolation of Offenders (CIP) of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the Minsk City Executive Committee at 36 1st Okrestina Lane. However, Ivashyn was not taken to the Frunzensky district court in the morning. BAJ lawyers are looking for him. Source: http://en.censor.net.ua/v433645

Intimidation, propaganda and sweet promises: Russian special services aim to recruit Crimean Tatars in occupied territory

Following the occupation of Crimea, 90% of local staff of the SBU Security Service and police sided with Russia, as well as nearly 70% of the military, that&rsquo;s according to the SBU counterintelligence department. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Russia implementing “Transnistrian scenario” in Donbas – Ukraine’s presidential staff

Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Kostyantyn&nbsp;Yeliseiev&nbsp;believes Russia is now implementing the so-called &quot;Transnistrian scenario&quot; in the occupied Donbas, at the same time not being interested in ending the hostilities, Segodnia reports. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s CEC sees no conditions for holding elections in occupied Donbas

The Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CEC) believes there are no conditions for holding elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas, chairman Mykhailo Okhendovskiy told journalists at an international conference on the latest information technologies in the election process on March 27, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Escalation in Donbas: Ukraine reports almost 90 enemy shellings, 3 KIA, 8 WIA in past 24 hours

The situation in the zone of the Anti-Terrorist Operation has become more intense as Russian-terrorist forces have attacked 88 times the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the past day,&nbsp;according&nbsp;to the ATO Headquarters. News 27 March from UNIAN.

ATO News: Situation Update, east of Ukraine as of morning, March 27, 2017 | Міністерство оборони України

Monday, March 27. DONBAS — According to the press centre of the ‘anti-terror’ operation (ATO) HQ, the enemy has violated the ceasefire for 88 times over the past 24 hours. Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed, eight soldiers were wounded. The enemy used 122 mm artillery, 120 mm mortars, grenade launchers and heavy machineguns near Shyrokyne and Vodyane, tank near Shyrokyne. Enemy’s snipers targeted the Ukrainian positions near Shyrokyne. Occupants fired 120 mm mortars on Hnutove, Pavlopol, Lebedynske, and Talakivka, BMP on Novotroitske, grenade launchers and heavy machineguns on Krasnohorivka and Marinka. Militants attacked the ATO positions near Troitske with 152 mm artillery, 120 mm and 82 mm mortars, near Avdiivka and Luhanske with 120 mm mortars, Kamyanka, Verkhniotoretske and Avdiivka with 82 mm mortars, near Kamyanka with tank, near Verkhniotoretske and Pisky with BMP. Enemy’s snipers targeted the ATO positions near Troitske. The enemy used anti-tank guided missile near Novozvanivka, grenade launchers near Novooleksandrivka, Katerynivka, and Krymske. The Russian occupational troops shelled the residential quarters of Avdiivka with Grad-P. Ukrainian military suppressed the enemy by returning fire.

Heavy artillery, mortars, tank and Grads: Russian militants attacked Ukrainian positions 88 times yesterday, Ukraine troops retaliated, – Staff

27.03.17 08:55 – Heavy artillery, mortars, tank and Grads: Russian militants attacked Ukrainian positions 88 times yesterday, Ukraine troops retaliated, – Staff Over the past 24-hour period Russian militants opened fire upon Ukrainian positions in the anti-terrorist operation area (ATO) 88 times. View news.

Three Ukrainian soldiers killed, eight wounded in combat yesterday, – ATO Staff

27.03.17 08:21 – Three Ukrainian soldiers killed, eight wounded in combat yesterday, – ATO Staff Three Ukrainian military were killed in combat, eight wounded in the course of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the east of Ukraine on March 26. View news.

Commander of missile and artillery support of Ukrainian army dies in Mi-2 crash, – Lviv region council head Hanushchyn. PHOTO

27.03.17 16:28 – Colonel Viktor Kalytych, 54, was killed in the Mi-2 helicopter crash near Kramatorsk on Sunday, March 26. He was the commander of the missile and artillery support service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Chairman of the Lviv regional council Oleksandr Hanushchyn told ZAXID.NET, Censor.NET reports. From 1985 to 1990, Viktor Kalytych served in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany as commander of a detachment, commander of radio-technical troops. From 1990 to 1992, he served in the Red Banner Far Eastern District in Khabarovsk as commander. From 1995 to 2005, he served in Ukraine’s Zakhid Operations Command. In September 2005, Kalytych resigned as reserve colonel. He lived and worked in Lviv in the real estate sector, but when the war broke out in the Donbas, Viktor Kalytych returned to the service.

Video shot from Mi-2 helicopter shortly before deadly crash released. VIDEO

TSN news service received an exclusive footage from the Mi-2 military helicopter, which crashed outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk in Donbas, reportedly after colliding with a power line. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Five Dead After Ukrainian Military Copter Crash

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said a military helicopter has crashed in the eastern Donbas region, killing five&nbsp;people aboard.&nbsp; The ministry said the crash happened March 26 nea…

Mi-2 helicopter crash near Kramatorsk. PHOTOS+VIDEO

27.03.17 09:34 – Mi-2 helicopter crash near Kramatorsk. PHOTOS+VIDEO Collision with a power line is cited as a preliminary cause of the tragedy. View photo news.

Five killed in Ukraine army helicopter crash near Kramatorsk (UPDATED) | KyivPost

The Ukrainian military reported on March 25 that an MI-2 military helicopter crashed near the Ukrainian-controlled city of Kramatorsk, located some 700 kilometers southeast of Kyiv. Reportedly, the helicopter crashed at 3 p.m. after hitting an electricity transmission line, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a military spokesman, said three crew members and two passengers were on board the downed Soviet-designed MI-2.

Mi-2 helicopter crash near Kramatorsk kills 5: preliminary report

According to preliminary data, five people were killed in the Mi-2 military helicopter crash outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk, according to the speaker of the Ministry of Defense for ATO Alexander Motuzianyk. News 26 March from UNIAN.

Five reported killed in helicopter crash near Kramatorsk – LB.ua news portal

The helicopter reportedly snagged a power line. Five people got killed after a helicopter snagged a power line and crashed near Kramatorsk, Donetsk Region on 26 March, news-based 112 Ukrayina TV has quoted the Defence Ministry’s spokesman for antiterrorist operation issues, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, as saying. “According to preliminary reports, we have five people killed. These are three crew members and two passengers,” he said. The Defence Ministry said on its website earlier that a Mi-2 helicopter collided with a power line and crashed near the village of Malynivka on the outskirts of Kramatorsk.

Military helicopter crashes near eastern Ukraine’s Kramatorsk, casualties reported

Mi-2&nbsp;military helicopter is reported to have plunged to the ground after colliding with power lines outside the town of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, according to the press center for the ATO Headquarters. News 26 March from UNIAN.

Military Helicopter Crashes in Ukraine, Crew Died | 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.

General Nazarov found guilty in Il-76 case, sentenced to seven years in prison | EN.Censor.net

27.03.17 17:20 – General Nazarov found guilty in Il-76 case, sentenced to seven years in prison General Viktor Nazarov has been found guilty of the death of the Ukrainian military killed after an Il-76 transport plane was shot out of sky over Luhansk in 2014. The Pavlohrad city district court cited part 3 of article 425 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine providing for 5-8 years in prison. Nazarov has not been deprived of the rank of major general. The moral damage suffered by the families of the victims is to be compensated by the Ministry of Defense. However, only the closest relatives – parents and wives – will receive a compensation. The amount of compensation is 500,000 hryvnia ($18,367) for each family. The court recognized inactivity and official negligence in Nazarov’s actions. The evidence of the prosecution, according to the court, has been fully proven. The court has taken into account the lack of a criminal record and a positive service record of the defendant. After the announcement of the verdict, Nazarov said: “I will not ask for pardon.” His defense lawyers are set to appeal the ruling. “We are going home and will prepare for an appeal. It will take us about a year to stand in court. I’m sure we will win the appeal,” Nazarov said. 

Ukrainian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 shoot-down – Wikipedia

Poroshenko, Turchynov greet National Guards on professional holiday

Day of the National Guard of Ukraine&nbsp;is celebrated&nbsp;annually on March 26. Current news and events 26 March from the Agency UNIAN.

Poland seeks extradition of Minnesota man, citing Nazi war crimes – CNN.com

A 98-year-old Minnesota man accused of committing war crimes during WWII could face arrest and extradition to Poland.

PM Groysman expects to launch free trade between GUAM members in 2017

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman has claimed he expects to set up a free trade zone between the GUAM countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) this year when speaking at the GUAM summit being held in Kyiv on March 27. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Nolan Peterson: Ukrainians Hunker Down for a Long War with Russia

Russia has up to 5,000 military personnel operating inside the rebel Donbas.

How Antonov’s World Record-Breaking Cargo Plane Defined Ukraine – YouTube

UATV is a 24/7 international broadcaster that targets broad audiences around the globe. UATV’s main goal is to convey objective, unbiased, relevant and inter…

Ukraine tests brand new Shturm-M” remote weapon system (video)

The next batch of BTR-3DA armored personnel carriers, equipped with&nbsp;Shturm-M RWS, successfully passed another&nbsp;testing stage at a military training ground in Kyiv region before their transfer to the Armed Forces. News 27 March from UNIAN.

Точність вогню БТР-3ДА з бойовим модулем “Штурм-М” – YouTube [Shturm M trials]

Чергова партія БТР-3, які виготовляються ДП “Київський бронетанковий завод”, що входить до складу ДК “Укроборонпром”, успішно пройшла один з етапів випробува…

Вогневі випробування бойових модулів “Шквал” та “Стілет” для БМП – YouTube [Shkval vs. Stilet BMP-1 trials]

Чергова партія БТР-3, які виготовляються ДП “Київський бронетанковий завод”, що входить до складу ДК “Укроборонпром”, успішно пройшла один з етапів випробува…

Украинская модернизация БМП 1У с боевым модулем «Шквал» ( Ukrainian modernization of BMP 1U)). – YouTube

Чергова партія БТР-3, які виготовляються ДП “Київський бронетанковий завод”, що входить до складу ДК “Укроборонпром”, успішно пройшла один з етапів випробува…

Розвідники та волонтери нагородили колектив ЖБТЗ – YouTube

Чергова партія БТР-3, які виготовляються ДП “Київський бронетанковий завод”, що входить до складу ДК “Укроборонпром”, успішно пройшла один з етапів випробува…

Jazz band of the US Air Forces in Europe performs in Odesa | Міністерство оборони України

“The Ambassadors”, a jazz band of the US Air Forces in Europe performed in Odesa. The concert is a part of year-long celebration of 25 years of U.S.-Ukraine diplomatic relations. Next concert will be in Kyiv, April 1.

Ukrainian 18th century Independence leader Ivan Mazepa to get his own museum -Euromaidan Press |

Centuries later, the famous Ukrainian Hetman – Ivan Mazepa is returning to Kyiv. A museum in memory of the great Ukrainian leader is to open in the Mazepa Tower, located at Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The memorial center will have original archival documents, symbols of power, personal mementos and other items that belonged to the Great Ivan Mazepa. This tower breathes history. During the late 17th/early 18th century, Ivan Mazepa, the Hetman of Zaporizhzhian Host or army, stayed here. Originally, the tower was meant to be a small, sort of cross-shaped church – with one dome. It was built with money donated by Mazepa. The Mazepa Tower at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

Bumbling NATO Instructors on the Brink of Getting Laughed Out of Ukraine [Propaganda – and not very good either]

NATO instructors training Ukrainian troops in the art of war have been accused of incompetence. Recently, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry decided to show off fresh photos of NATO troops training their Ukrainian counterparts for battle. However, eagle-eyed observers pointed out that all they ended up showing off was the NATO trainers’ ineptitude.


Pro-West Party Of Ex-Bulgarian PM Tops Vote; Socialists Concede

Official results in Bulgaria have given the pro-Western party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov victory in national parliamentary elections, and the pro-Russia Socialists have conceded defeat. …

Germany slams ‘intimidating’ £300bn White House bill | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

Donald Trump printed out made-up £300bn Nato invoice and handed it to Angela Merkel | The Independent

Angela Merkel will reportedly ignore Donald Trump’s attempts to extricate £300bn from Germany for what he deems to be owed contributions to Nato.  The US President is said to have had an “invoice” printed out outlining the sum estimated by his aides as covering Germany’s unpaid contributions for defence.  Said to be presented during private talks in Washington, the move has been met with criticism from German and Nato officials.

Donald Trump ‘invoices Germany for £300bn in unpaid Nato contributions’ | Metro News

Donald Trump has reportedly handed an invoice to Germany for £300bn in unpaid Nato contributions. The United States president is said to have presented the mocked up bill to Chancellor…

Angela Merkel doesn’t want to threaten Poland and Hungary ‘for now’ – POLITICO

The German chancellor said she hoped that tensions could be resolved with dialogue.

Iranian President Rohani Visiting Moscow To Meet With Putin

Iranian President Hassan Rohani is beginning a two-day visit to Russia on March 27 and will meet with President Vladimir Putin the following day. The trip is expected to be the Iranian leader&rsqu…

Rouhani to visit Putin in Moscow as Iran and Russia move closer – The Washington Post

The two nations have formed a tacit alliance in the Middle East, even as each remains cautious of the other’s intentions.

What Americans Need To Know If Russia Intervenes in Libya’s Civil War | Fortune.com

Russia wants to be viewed as Libya’s savior, as it has tried to do in Syria.

A danger lies in dismissing Kim Jong Un as irrational | NOLA.comLeaders throughout history realized advantage of having enemies think they were crazy

Kim Jong Un may be behind biggest bank heist in history | New York Post

The man behind the biggest bank heist in history may have been Kim Jong Un. Federal prosecutors are preparing to finger North Korea for orchestrating <a href=“http://nypost.com/2016/04/25/hackers-stole-81m-and-compromised-the-global-financial-system/”>the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account</a> at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year, according to a report. The Justice Department is zeroing in on Chinese thieves under the direction of North Korea, with charges that they hacked Bangladesh’s central bank and swiped millions from its account held at the New York Fed, <a href=“https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-preparing-cases-linking-north-korea-to-theft-at-n-y-fed-1490215094?mod=mktw”>according to the Wall Street Journal</a>. The money was then <a href=“http://nypost.com/2016/08/05/philippines-promises-to-return-81m-stolen-from-bangladesh/”>transferred to banks in the Philippines</a> and laundered through casinos, according to the reported allegations. While some of it has been recovered, much of it is still lost to prosecutors. The hackers <a href=“http://nypost.com/2016/05/13/80m-cyber-heist-is-tied-to-sony-studio-hack-another-bank-attack/”>reportedly pulled off the heist by exploiting shoddy controls</a> at the Bangladesh bank, the New York Fed and SWIFT, a money-transferring system that has come under attack by hackers the world over. It’s unclear whether the Justice Department will file charges against North Korean officials, according to the WSJ report. Spokepersons for Justice and the New York Fed didn’t return requests for comment.

U.S. Preparing Cases Linking North Korea to Theft at N.Y. Fed – WSJ

Federal prosecutors are building cases that would accuse North Korea of directing the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

North Korea’s Missile Failure Won’t Stop Kim Jong Un Trying to Strike U.S. – NBC News

Since he came to power, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has defied U.N. sanctions and greatly increased testing of missiles and nuclear weapons.

Expert Reveals Weird Truth Behind This Picture of Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un is known for his carefully managed public image but a new photo released by one of North Korea shows a different side to Mr Kim.


Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war | TheHill

The warfare accusations fit into a larger narrative that casts President Trump as weak on Russia

Dem senator: Russian hacking may have been ‘act of war’ | TheHill

Shaheen signals Russian hacks could constitute warfare.

Seth Abramson on Twitter: “(THREAD) BREAKING: Harvard professor and @CNN political analyst Juliette Kayyem says, per sources, Michael Flynn may have flipped on Trump. https://t.co/kkG4h4gqvw”

If CNN’s New Russia Report Is True, We May Be Seeing the Beginning of the End of Donald Trump’s Presidency | GQ

The reports keep coming.

Lawmakers demand more information on Flynn’s ties to Russia – CNNPolitics.com

Republicans and Democrats are demanding more information about connections between President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and several foreign entities — including the Kremlin-backed media outlet RT.

Anne Applebaum | The critical questions on Russia – The Washington Post

We already know that social media makes it easier for the Russian state to spread disinformation. Less attention has been paid to Russia’s private businessmen.

Russia’s next stop: Europe | Fox News

Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, last week accused Russia not only of meddling in the U.S. elections, but also having a hand in Europe’s political contests.

Roger Stone: ‘I have had no contacts or collusions with the Russians’ – POLITICO

He says the supposed timeline does not match up.

Roger Stone: ‘I’ve had no contacts or collusion’ with Russia – ABC News

Stone defended himself against allegations he colluded with Russia.

Roger Stone calls Trump-Russia inquiry ‘a scandal in search of evidence’ | US news | The Guardian

Confidant of president says he has not heard back from House intelligence committee as ranking Democrat Adam Schiff questions conduct of Republican chair

Top Democrat says Russia probe went ‘off the rails’ | New York Post

WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election is “off the rails” and its credibility is in doubt, according to the top Democrat on the committee. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) accused the top committee Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) of damaging the “integrity” of their investigation by canceling a public hearing with high-profile witnesses and running President Trump with new evidence without showing the committee. “We are all quite in the dark on this,” fumed Schiff on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We, I think, suffered really two serious blows to the integrity of the investigation this week, one, with that unilateral trip to the White House, but the other with a cancellation of an open hearing.” On Monday the FBI Director James Comey announced to the committee the FBI is investigating the <a href=“http://nypost.com/2017/03/22/nunes-trump-transition-team-was-under-surveillance/”>Trump campaign’s links to Russia</a> and shot down President Trump’s claims former President Obama wiretapped him.

Warner, Schiff back independent inquiry into Trump-Russia ties – POLITICO

Republican Trey Gowdy pushes back on their suggestions.

Russia Probe Is ‘Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Done,’ Senate Intel Committee Vice Chair Warner Says – NBC News

The vice chairman and top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sunday re-affirmed how critical he feels his work is in looking into issues related to Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 election.

John Podesta: Press Did Not Play Up Russia Conspiracies Enough During Election – Breitbart

John Podesta has claimed there was a “failing” by mainstream media to protect American democracy during the 2016 presidential election.

Most Americans Say FBI Investigation Of Trump-Russia Ties Is Necessary

Trump voters, however, aren’t particularly concerned.

President Trump And America’s National Nervous Breakdown – BuzzFeed News

Unlocking your phone these days is a nightmare…

Blog: Heather Wilson, Swamp Creature

 

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3 thoughts on “Russia / New Administration Media Ad Hoc – 27 March 2017

  1. Thanks again for all the interesting things you publish on this blog, Joel. A paragraph in this post caught my eye just now because it connects to something I read and viewed earlier in the day but from a bit of a different perspective.

    Your post reads: “Dem contention that ‘Russian hack was act of war’ hits on a long standing debate in the IW community – how severe an IW attack crosses the threshold of an act of war? By analogy with kinetic, a campaign conducted systematically and with intent to damage the functioning of a nation state using multiple assets in a coordinated manner should be classed as an ‘act of war’. Debate around investigation increases in toxicity, yet again.

    The article I read earlier today was in the “Business Insider” at http://www.businessinsider.com/dick-cheney-russia-hack-no-question-act-of-war-2017-3 indicating that former Vice President Dick Cheney said there was no question Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election and it could be an “act of war.” I admit I had a shadow of doubt about the article being fake news; however, the YouTube video linked in the article at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjavv6DepKs does show Cheney making those comments (15:54 to 17:10).

    I certainly would not consider Cheney a liberal. I also did not consider his comments toxic. Pretty sure his are not the comments being referred to here, but I think they are noteworthy.

    1. Saying anything may be considered an act of war caters to emotionalism. For years I argued that information warfare attacked democracy, it was a matter of national security, but I was ignored. Not until the 2016 election process and the Russians flooded us with disinformation and fake news did the people and Congress agree – for a short while until they began calling it hacking.

      Congress is now holding hearings on how to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation as well as Russian Active Measures… Maybe, just maybe…

      1. I suppose “act of war” does cater to emotionalism but not as much as something like, say, “mushroom cloud.” I took Cheney’s remarks as a strong Republican hint for a need for attention and funding — fingers crossed to fix the “no counterpart” problem you mentioned in your other post today on “Statement During House Hearing on Russian Active Measures.” So perhaps something will come out of your service as somewhat of a canary in a coalmine? Again, fingers crossed.

        Also, with you on your frustration around the hacking fixation. Everyone seems to just be fixated on the non hacking of election booths, espionage, or the possibility of massive cyber attacks taking down power grids, etc. Agree what is most important is how the information obtained from hacks is used. Even low-tech, low-profile hacks of things like medical records, email accounts, home networks, personnel records, etc. could certainly provide Russians with a goldmine for audience research, message development, network analysis, key influencer identification, etc. to power their information warfare operations to evoke action in the real world. Hacks for propaganda purposes is a very scary game changer in terms of foreign governments obtaining actionable audience research discretely at presumably a fairly reasonable price (especially compared to attention-drawing national surveys, etc.). I am amazed that I at least have not seen any solid media analysis connecting the Yahoo hack to how the information contained in these hacked emails can be used for propaganda purposes to undermine democracy, sow chaos and confusion, or promotes Russian national interests (i.e., audience research AND strategic leaks). Perhaps, the issue has been too politicized, just sounds like science fiction, or is simply so scary nobody wants to talk about it and risk appearing to appeal to emotionalism if they do. 🙂

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