Information Warfare · Russia

Russian Protests / Is Belarus The Next Invasion Target? – Update 6 April 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The most disturbing new from Russia is the report by Novaya Gazeta that Kadyrov has set up concentration camps for the “the final solution of gay issue”. If anybody doubts Russia is drifting down the abyss, this should be proof positive.

Multiple Russian commentators observing that Putin has systematically used terrorism, real and contrived, to destroy freedoms and tighten regime control. New surveys show the highest poverty in a decade, and a 38% public approval for the latest series of protests.

In Belarus, the Opposition is planning more protests, but also now complaining about Belarus being encircled by Russian forces.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kadyrov Opens First Concentration Camp for Gays Since Hitler’s TimesPaul Goble Staunton, April 5 – Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov has not only sponsored direct attacks on members of the LGBT community in his republic but has adopted a plan for “the final solution of gay issue” and opened the first concentration camp in the world for sexual minorities since Hitler did so in the 1930s, according to a Novaya Gazeta investigation. The goal of this effort, the paper’s Elena Milashina and Irinia Gordiyenko say, is “the complete cleansing of Chechnya from men of non-traditional sexual orientation.” The authorities have set up several internment camps where inmates are killed or forced to promise to leave the republic ( and One of those who fled told Milashina and Gordiyenko that before being incarcerated in one of these camps, he had been forced to pay bribes to Chechen police of thousands of rubles every month in order to survive. Now, the regime has taken another step against gays by creating these camps, this survivor says. Another former inmate said that he and others incarcerated in “the secret jail” were beaten to force them to name other members of the gay community. The address of at least one of these concentration camps is know: it is in the former military headquarters in Argun at 996 Kadyrov Street, symbolic in its way. Novaya Gazeta and a few other Russian outlets last week reported about repressions against gays in Chechnya, but the Kadyrov regime denied all accusations. It even claimed that “if there were homosexuals in Chechnya,” the authorities wouldn’t need to deal with them because their relatives would.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Exploitation of Terrorist Acts – His Rule’s One Constant — Must be Fought, Commentators say

Paul Goble Staunton, April 5 – The one constant of Vladimir Putin’s time in office, the exploitation of terrorist incidents to impose tighter control on Russian society and to boost his own power, must be recognized, condemned and resisted both at home and abroad, according to two prominent Moscow commentators. Any leader of a country can be expected to impose tighter security in the wake or even given the threat of terrorist actions, but Putin has set himself apart by his exploitation of that accepted pattern by taking actions that do less to prevent any new attacks than to promote his own power – and that is the case whether or not he was the organizer of any of them. In a comment for the Forum-MSK portal, Yakov Azimandis writes that “the single stable thing which has occurred throughout the entire Putin period are terrorist actions” in Russia, despite his claims to have brought stability and security to its population ( Putin’s modus operandi is to frighten defectors and members of the elite with “targeted political murders” and to frighten the masses with “terrorist actions,” Azimandis says. He may but does not have to organize them because for such actions it is always possible to find “free radicals” who are prepared to do so. What matters is that each terrorist incident, the analyst continues, is “an occasion for the further toughening of control and increasing the authority of the siloviki and a means of uniting the people around the leader with the help of sacred victims,” much in the same way that human sacrifice gave primitive peoples “a certain illusion of catharsis” by uniting their participants.– “If there weren’t these human sacrifices,” Azimandis continues, “would the leader have been able to maintain himself until now?” The answer is “no” because such sacrifices alone give the leader “new powers and strengthen his legitimacy.” The problem is that with each repetition, such sacrifices become less effective as people begin to see what it happening. They are becoming tired “even not from the deception involved but from the fact that it is necessary to give the impression that you believe in this latest lie from the screen.” That is why, he suggests, the main message of the latest protests is that the authorities must stop lying and being hypocritical. The Russian people have already given up freedom in change first for well-being and then for security. What they have given up is gone, but “where is the security?” And they are beginning to organize on their own and ask questions about the powers that be that the powers can’t answer. After this terrorist action, the authorities have shown their “bankruptcy.” Instead of immediately launching into a powerful counterattack, they worked first and foremost to “defend themselves,” asking people not to believe those who say the leader is manipulating the situation (cf. That is, Azimandis continues, “while playing in this field with their accustomed instruments, the authorities unexpectedly suffered if not a defeat then at least proved that they couldn’t outplay their opponents.” As a result, the St. Petersburg events undermined the image of the powers that be and led to “the latest crack in the Kremlin wall.” “People have ceased to see in Moloch a defender,” he concludes. “They see ein him simply a wooden idol covered with dried blood and flies. And that means that in a short time they will throw him in the river.” In the second, Vladimir Kardail is even more blunt: he says that world leaders should be offering their sympathies not just to the direct victims of the terrorist action as they have done but to the Russian people who clearly have “fallen under the boot of a corporation of siloviki, bureaucrats and bandits who have usurped power (

What Is Known About Suspect In St. Petersburg Attack

At one point, he liked boxing and wrestling. He liked Snoop Dogg and Roy Jones, Jr. He used to smoke shisha water pipes. And he liked at least two Islamic organizations that appear to promote nothin…

Russian Investigators Search Apartment Of Central Asians Believed Linked To Bomb Suspect

Russian investigators say authorities have searched a St. Petersburg apartment where a number of Central Asians who had been in contact with subway bombing suspect Akbarjon Jalilov lived. Th…

Russian Subway Driver Praised For Steel Nerves In Deadly St. Petersburg Blast

When Aleksandr Kaverin heard a &quot;bang&quot; as he steered his train through an underground tunnel in central St. Petersburg, 15 years of training and experience as a subway driver kicked in. …

Russian Muslim Mistakenly Identified As Metro Bomber Suspect Faces Problems

A Russian Muslim who was mistakenly mentioned as a possible bomber in the April 3 attack on the St. Petersburg metro has been facing discrimination since the incident. Andrei Nikitin, a convert t…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Let Us Grieve on Our Own’ – Why Putin’s Call for Anti-Terrorist Meetings May Backfire

Paul Goble Staunton, April 5 – Vladimir Putin’s call for authorities in Russia’s regions – and especially those where anti-regime protests occurred on March 26 – to organize anti-terrorist meetings is so transparently political that it has offended many Russians who say they should be allowed to grieve on their own and thus may backfire on the Kremlin. The Kremlin leader has called for the regions to organize such meetings in the wake of the St. Petersburg subway bombing as a way of promoting national unity ( as more than one commentator has pointed out, Putin’s motivations are transparent and have little or nothing to do with anything but his own power: he wants meetings in places where the March 26 demos took place in order to show that he can bring out more people than Aleksey Navalny did ( That intensifies antagonism toward Putin among the opposition, but Putin’s efforts to exploit grief this time around is offending far more Russians who say that for them it is important to grieve individually rather than in some formal and meaningless public exercise ( the extent that such feelings grow, the Putin regime’s efforts in this regard will backfire leading ever more Russians to view the regime as concerned only about its own survival rather than the welfare of the people. That is something the opposition has argued for a long time: Now, by his clumsy and overreaching action, Putin has unintentionally encouraged Russians to believe exactly that.

Russian Authorities Say Four Suspects In Traffic-Police Attack Killed

Russian authorities say National Guard troops have killed four men suspected of involvement in a deadly attack on traffic police in the southern city of Astrakhan. The Investigative Committee sai…

Number Of Russians In Poverty Hits Decade-High

The number of Russians living in poverty reached 19.8 million last year, the highest in a decade, as the economy struggled through a recession following a sharp oil-price drop and the imposition o…

38% of Russians approved the Bulk protests approved by the “Levada Center”

The protest again, as in 2011-2012, finds social support, the expert believes.

Is the New Generation in Russia Serious About Protesting? – YouTube

The past few weeks have seen thousands protesting in Russia – the largest demonstrations since 2011. Is major change imminent? Or are we reading too much int…

New Husband of Putin’s Ex-Wife Buys Posh Villa in South of France

Reporters have uncovered a luxurious villa in the south of France which belongs to Artur Ocheretny, believed to be the new husband of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former wife. Ocheretny does not appear to be a wealthy man, and his new wife declared only a small income. So where did this villa come from?

Russian Lawmaker Dies After Slipping, Falling At Sauna

Russian investigators say a member of the upper house of parliament has died after slipping and falling at a sauna in St. Petersburg. In a statement, the federal Investigative Committee sai…

Russia Bans Image ‘Hinting’ That Putin Is Gay – To Inform is to Influence

The paranoia is strong in Putin.  Russian Court Bans Image Suggesting Putin Is Gay The Moscow Times 20:05 Tue, 04 Apr It’s now illegal in Russia to share an image of Putin as a gay clown The Washington Post 15:56 Gay Putin Pic is Banned by Russian Court, Listed as ‘Extremist Material’ HeatStreet 15:31 Federal…

Russia Makes Preparations For Full-Scale Offensive Operation – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The deployment of “Iskander-M” complexes to Kaliningrad, the largest nuclear missile carriers in the Baltic Sea and the “West-2017” exercises are a part of it. One of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, ex-presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov commented on his Facebook page on Russia’s deployment of “Iskander-M” complexes to Kaliningrad region, the rapid entering of the largest Russian nuclear missile carriers into the Baltic Sea, and the Russian-Belarusian military exercises “West-2017”. “Yesterday Russia declared that it will continue to deploy “Iskander-M” missiles (bit over 2 minutes to fly to Warsaw). Today it declared re-deployment of two biggest nuclear missiles carriers to the Baltic sea. It means the encirclement of the Baltic states. It doesn’t look as regular “Zapad-2017” exercise, more like preparation of a full-fledged offensive. It can also explain 4162 railcars which are ordered for the exercise on the territory of Belarus. At this time Lukashenka is stifling the rebelling people of Belarus and fabricates criminal case against patriots. Weak and fragmented West (as it labels the Belarusian opposition) reacts by continuing its efforts to help him “to oppose Kremlin” (which is his happy partner in ZAPAD-2017), prefers not to see the brutality of the repressions and keeps playing its monotonous tune of “dialogue with the dictator,” – Andrei Sannikov wrote.

Belarus: Fraying Social Contract Puts Protestors on the Streets | UCL UCL SSEES Research Blog

I have just got back from a few days in Minsk, where events are moving fast. First was an unprecedented wave of demonstrations that began on 17 February. Belarus is used to a largely ritualistic cycle of impotent political protest from the ‘traditional opposition’ against longstanding dictator Aliaksandr Lukashenka, who has been in power since 1994. These demonstrations were different, however, involving thousands of ordinary Belarusians, in provincial towns as well as Minsk, demanding the repeal of an ill-judged ‘social parasite’ tax, and protesting at the fraying of the social contract that has kept Lukashenka in power for so long. Belarus is in its third year of grinding recession, with no end in sight. Real wages have halved and investment has collapsed; unemployment has soared and prices are higher than in supposedly chaotic Ukraine. Russian subsidies have been cut, the Russian market for Belarusian exports is in recession (until recently, so was the Ukrainian market), the Eurasian Economic Union is not providing the promised benefits, and the low price of oil has cut into Belarus’s life-blood; its earnings from refining cheap crude. GDP fell by 3.9% in 2015 and 2.7% in 2016. Russia has also been pressing Belarus hard, to end its ‘situational neutrality’ over the war in Ukraine. Belarus has been resisting hard, as it doesn’t want to see its sovereignty undermined in the same way. Many of the protestors were therefore part of Lukashenka’s traditional support base. He was initially caught on the back foot. The protests were allowed to swell, because he lacked the funds to buy them off. On 10 March he tried stick and carrot: a ‘suspension’ of the tax for a year, accompanied by a first wave of arrests, designed to break the link between old protesters and new, by putting as much familiar faces as possible in administrative arrest. A second wave of arrests followed when the traditional opposition tried to stage a much larger protest on 25 March – ‘Freedom Day’, the anniversary of the declaration of the Belarusian People’s Republic of 1918. Seven hundred were initially detained, including 24 alleged members of the ‘White Legion’, an organisation supposedly preparing for a Maidan-style armed confrontation with the authorities.

“We Can Expect Interesting Events In Belarus By End Of This Year” – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The power provokes people to mass civil disobedience actions.

Fiadynich: If Authorities Do Not Hold Round Table, There Will Be Civil Disobedience Action – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The people are ready to rise up if the problematic issues are not resolved in a civilized manner.

Lukashenka May Fall Across Real Sanctions – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

May 1 will be the test for the authorities.

Members Of Polish Sejm Call For Resume Of Kalinouski Program – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Politicians told the Polish media about the wave of repressions in Belarus.

EU Can Return Sanctions Against High-Ranking Officials Of Belarus – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Today the European Parliament is to adopt a resolution on the political situation in Belarus.

Historian Aliaksandr Zimnitski Brought Charges In White Legion Case – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

A 25-year-old post-graduate student works as a research scientist at the National Historical Museum.

Leanid Sudalenka: Professional Perjurer Works In Mahiliou Riot Police – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The administrative case against activist Viktar Kazlou seems to acquire some new features.