Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 10 April 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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By far the most interesting reports today are from inside Russia, and the most surprising of all was Putin voicing his fears of a revolution in Russia that would lead its disintegration, appealing to Russian media to aid his effort to discourage protests and dissent in Russia. Prof Goble extracted this from multiple Russian opposition publications, also extracting Novaya Gazeta’s report on the trucker strike being larger than earlier believed to be, reports from multiple sources that the Russian public is blaming the regime for terrorism, rather than the terrorists, and importantly, a major shift away from TV to Internet news gathering in Russia, described as  “the era of zombification is over” with fewer and fewer Russians watching TV propaganda, and the mean age of TV propaganda viewers being 60+.

If these reports are accurate, Russia is now in the early phases of the regime collapse that gripped Belarus three months ago, and Ukraine three years ago. All of the propaganda and deception plays have been exhausted, all of the delusions are collapsing with the social contract, the regime’s credibility in the eyes of the populace is evaporating, and the only remaining regime option is naked force on a large scale. While this worked for the Soviets until 1990, it is an open question whether it can be made to work for Putin. Nezavisimaya Gazeta argues for Orthodox Christian missionary work to counter radical Islam in Russia, guaranteed to send the Muslim population through the roof.

Multiple reports on IW/IO and Cyber topics.

Iran and Russia threaten the US with retaliation over Syria, SECSTATE puts blame for CW attack squarely on Russia, and UK Foreign Secretary lobbies allies for more sanctions on Russia, all while Moscow Federation Council member and well known hardline ultra-nationalist Alexey Pushkov states “Trump needs to think three times before imposing new sanctions on Russia”, indicating that the prospect of further sanctions is seen as a genuine survival risk for the regime.

Putin’s Chekist regime is confronting a loss of social cohesion, and if Novaya Gazeta’s Latynina is correct, it is also confronting a propaganda machine that is rapidly losing traction. Putin’s options are therefore either a radical change in strategy and politics, abandoning the foreign adventures that created this self-inflicted mess, or further escalate his confrontation with everybody he has antagonised since the invasion of Crimea, to produce a distraction on the scale of the Cuban Missile Crisis during the 1960s, in the hope this would increase national cohesion. Creating a bigger confrontation with the West will not be difficult given where Russia stands now, whether this would delay the breakdown of social cohesion is less clear, since further sanctions and economic impacts will further accelerate the problems that are causing the loss of cohesion.

Coming weeks will be very interesting, as will be the outcome of SECSTATE’s visit to Moscow.

No significant developments in Ukraine, but notable comments by Sen Inhofe on lethal aid. Neighbouring Hungary is seeing large street protests over legislation to close down the Soros funded university.

US debate dominated by Syria, White House shuffles. Very interesting map on election demographics just released.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Revolution Means Disintegration of Russia,’ Samara Students Told by Putin

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – Vladimir Putin last week appealed to the media to work to prevent a revolution (versia.ru/putin-poprosil-zhurnalistov-rabotat-na-predotvrashhenie-revolyucij), and four Orthodox priests in Samara told university students there that the major reason they should do so is that any revolution leads to the disintegration of Russia (openrussia.org/notes/708207/). On the one hand, this reflects what has become the Kremlin’s implicit argument about the two 1917 revolutions of a century ago: the February bourgeois democratic revolution was bad because it led to disintegration while the October Bolshevik one was less bad or even good because it led to the recovery of most of the former empire. But on the other, it suggests, as the AfterEmpire portal put it, that for Russians now, “the most horrible danger” is the disintegration of “’Great Russia’” rather than a change in the nature of the regime. Consequently, the Kremlin feels compelled to argue that any revolution would threaten the territorial integrity of Russia (afterempire.info/2017/04/08/revolutions/). That is likely to be a compelling argument for many Russians, but the reports from Samara suggest that at least some of their students were put off by the crudeness of the message. In the words of one, speakers didn’t address the nature of revolution but only repeated over and over that “revolution is the disintegration of the country” (openrussia.org/notes/708207/). And it is likely to dawn on at least some that if Russia is so weak that any revolutionary change will lead to its disintegration into a number of parts, it is unlikely to survive in its current borders well into the future. That appreciation in turn could lead more Russians to ask just what the new units and borders might be and whether they would be better or not for those involved.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Truckers’ Strike Far Larger than It Appears, Novaya Gazeta Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – The long-haul truckers’ strike is far larger and thus having a much bigger impact on the economy than many suspect not only because the state-controlled media have not been willing to cover it but also because of the specific nature of the truckers’ action and the situations they face with regard to the authorities, according to Novaya gazeta. The strike, the paper says, has truly become an all-Russian action with strikers appearing from Vladivostok to Smolensk and from Daghestan to Yamal. But because the strikers don’t have an all-Russian coordinating center (lest it be closed by the authorities), the national number of truckers involved is unclear (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/04/08/72084-protest-na-prikole). At the local and regional strikes, however, organizers have good figures; and so journalists from the independent Moscow newspaper visited some of these in Kurgan, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, St. Petersburg, Murmansk, Irkutsk, and Daghestan in order to draw some broader conclusions. The paper offers three: First, the size of the action is typically seriously underestimated because many truckers who are participating are doing so simply by parking their trucks and not doing anything more than that. That makes them “invisible” if one is looking only at those who come together on the roads. Second, “with the exception of Daghestan where there have been clashes among the long-haul truckers, protests are occurring is a clearly peaceful fashion.” Dispersing the truckers and other force measures are in every case at “the initiative of regional siloviki.” And third – and this is the most important of all – this strike is going to last a long time “because the long-haul truckers do not have any motivation to end their work action” until the authorities back down on the Plato system and other tariffs to which the truckers object.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Petersburg Attack Calls into Question Foundation of Putin’s System, Barinov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – Since he rose to power, Vladimir Putin has made his ability to counter terrorism so central to his political system and legitimacy than any successful terrorist attack, like the April 3 bombing in St. Petersburg, not only offers him new opportunities to tighten the screws but also raises questions about his much-ballyhooed ability to prevent such attacks. Most attention over the last week has focused on the ways the Kremlin leader may again tighten the screws, but Aleksandr Barinov argues Putin’s failure to prevent this attack has forced him to change course, minimizing the incident, on the one hand, and mobilizing the population Soviet-style to condemn it, on the other (profile.ru/obsch/item/116524-lozung-protiv-bomby). Putin and his allies, the Moscow commentator says, have displayed an almost “Olympian calm” about the attacks, with the leader and his followers suggesting that such attacks are a fact of life in today’s world that Russia can’t hope to avoid entirely, a very different message than he has delivered in the past. Moreover, the Kremlin has organized meetings of the population against terrorism, thus seeking simultaneously to prevent any questions about the responsibility of the powers that be for the fact that the attack happened and to draw on the anger of an “enraged” citizenry to provide another line of defense against future attacks. For Putin more than most leaders, terrorist attacks raise questions because the political system he has put in place since Beslan in 2004 has been based on fighting terrorism. At that time, Barinov says, Putin declared that “the inspirers, organizers and executors of terrorist actions are seeking to disintegrate the country.” And he posed then as he has since as uniquely positioned to defend the country against such attacks, although then and especially now Putin has stressed as well the importance of “the active participation” in this struggle not only “of all institutions of the political system” but also “of all Russian society.” Putin invoked the need to fight terrorism as the justification for broadening the powers of the security agencies, restricting elections and the powers of parliaments and magistrates and a range of new laws for countering terrorism that in effect transformed Russia from a quasi-democracy to a dictatorship. This was part of the second grand bargain between the Kremlin and the Russian people. In the first, the regime promised wealth and a rising standard of living in exchange for deferring to Putin on all political issues. And in this second, the regime promised security in exchange for the surrender of basic liberties. The first broke down after the collapse of oil prices, and now the second has appeared to many to have broken down in St. Petersburg on April 3. “In such a situation,” Barinov continues, “the restrained reaction of the authorities to the tragedy in St. Petersburg looks completely logical.” Doing more would only call attention to this failure of the regime. And despite some moves by inertia to tighten the screws, the regime appears likely to continue as it has. To do otherwise would only raise more questions not only about how best to fight terrorism but also about Putin’s claims of his ability to do so. And the Soviet-style mass meetings to condemn terrorism are all of a piece: they too are intended to block any discussion of why this action happened and whether more such attacks are ahead.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Increasingly Angry at Authorities for Failing to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, Gorevoy Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 10 – Until recently, in the wake of any terrorist attack inside Russia, Russians focused their anger on the terrorists, Ruslan Gorevoy says; but after the bombing in St. Petersburg, they have shifted their fury against the powers that be which repeatedly have promised to defend them against terrorism but have proved incapable of doing so. As Andrey Illarionov observed (aillarionov.livejournal.com/990006.html) in a commentary Gorevoy cites with approval, this marks a sea change in Russian attitudes and constitutes “the new reality” of political life in Russia, one that the powers can ignore only at their peril (https://versia.ru/pochemu-rossiyu-budut-vzryvat-i-dalshe). Gorevoy argues that Russians have proven themselves to be incredibly “naïve,” accepting as true the authorities’ promises after each terrorist attack to prevent new ones only to have new outrages visited upon them because the powers that be have not taken the steps needed to guarantee the security that the population very much wants and deserves. Americans have proven themselves much less naïve, he continues. They adopted the Patriot Act after the September 11 attacks, something no Russian government has done because they recognize that sometimes nations must give up some of their basic freedoms in order to defend their security. Why hasn’t that happened in Russia? There are many reasons, Gorevoy says. He points in particular to Moscow’s failure to restrict immigration from Central Asia, a failure that reflects the fact that all too many in the Russian elites benefit from that influx even if it brings with it Islamist terrorism. But ordinary Russians are beginning to understand that there is a problem with their own rulers, the Moscow commentator says. “If earlier the people by custom laid all blame for terrorist attacks on the terrorists themselves, then now many have begun to reflect” and to ask why those charged with defending them have failed to do so. The Kremlin should recognize what that shift means. In Israel after Black September, Israelis turned on Golda Meir and forced her from office for inaction – even though she was extremely popular up to that point. Dmitry Medvedev doesn’t have that level of support now, Gorevoy says. Russians need an American-style Patriot Act. Its provisions have meant that there have not been any major terrorist actions in the US since its adoption, Gorevoy points out. But there is little or no chance that such a measure will be adopted in Russia: too many powerful people benefit from not having such a measure in place. The banks, for example, oppose its introduction because of the strict reporting requirements it would impose on them. Businessmen and officials who benefit from the use of gastarbeiters don’t want to lose their profits. And the government is doing little or nothing to explain why such a law would benefit Russians because it won’t benefit the elites. What that means is both simple and tragic, Gorevoy concludes, as a result of official inaction, “Russia is going to be blown up again and again in the future.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Internet, Not the Refrigerator, Defeating the Television in Russia, Latynina Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 10 – Since the onset of the economic crisis in Russia, most commentators has discussed the future in terms of a competition symbolically represented as between the television which portrays a rosy picture of life in Russia and the refrigerator which shows Russians precisely what their life has become. But even though the refrigerator has been gaining on television in recent months, a more important competitor to the state’s TV-centric message system may have emerged in the shape of the Internet, especially among the young, Yulia Latynina suggests; and that is why the Putin regime seems set on imposing ever more draconian limits on Russians’ access to that medium. In a Novaya gazeta article entitled “The End of Television,” the Moscow commentator says that the rise of the Internet relative to the television is “an unstoppable process which is comparable to the Reformation” and which will have comparable effects on Russia which did not undergo that transformation (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/04/08/72085-konets-televizora). Most people still believe that Russians overwhelmingly take their views from television, but that “mythology” is simply wrong. It has never been entirely true, Latynina says; and the last several weeks since Aleksey Navalny’s film on corruption was released on the Internet have only served to confirm that fact and the trend away from television. Indeed, she suggests, this may very well be “the most important result of the [March 26] protests.” The numbers tell the story, only about six percent of Russians watch the television news and commentary program “Vremya,” according to official statistics. Moreover, the average age of these views is 63, also “an official figure.” Not only is its audience far older than the average for the population, but it is far less active. As for those who viewed Navalny’s film online, the YouTube counter put the number at 17.5 million. Latynina argues that this figure should in fact be doubled especially among the younger age groups. That means that “every second Russian citizen younger than 50 watched Navalny’s film – a figure confirmed by the Levada Center which says 38 percent of all Russians had done so. The era of zombification is over, she continues. “The absolute majority of Russia’s active population is getting its information by other means” than television: by telephone, by social networks and from websites. Russians are making choices for themselves: they may like entertainment on state television, but “no one” is tuning in to propaganda shows. This change does not mean the authorities have lost their information advantages, but it is no longer so directly connected with television. Instead, it reflects the fact that “the powers re the powers” and thus have “a sacred status” for most Russians. It did before television ever appeared, and it will continue long after TV is displaced by the Internet. “The chief reason for the condemnation of the Ukrainian revolution by a significant part of Russian society is simply that Vladimir Putin condemned the Maidan, and not that he did this on television,” Latynina argues. And because that will continue, the Internet does not threaten the powers that be in the way many think. And that is why the comparison with the Reformation is so instructive. Martin Luther attacked Rome for its corruption, but in response, the church cleaned up its act in order to save the Roman Catholic Church. The different with Russia is that the Putin regime can’t do that because holding on to its corrupt benefits is the only reason for its existence. And thus the Putin powers that be can’t escape a more final judgment of history. After all, Latynina says, while the Kremlin’s “Vremya” program is being watched by “six million pensioners,” Navalny’s film about the corruption of the core elite has been watched by “35 million young people.” Not surprisingly given its genetic code, the Putin regime is responding to the new power of the Internet in Russian society by trying to crack down on this medium, even though 75 percent of the population now uses the Internet on a more or less regular basis (polit.ru/article/2017/04/07/hundredwords/). Pro-Putin politicians are promoting bans on children visiting social networks, bans on officials using the Internet at work, and bans on anonymous screen names (regnum.ru/news/society/2261007.html, rbc.ru/society/10/04/2017/58eb49db9a794749e015c948?from=main and znak.com/2017-04-10/milonov_vnes_v_gosdumu_zakonoproekt_o_registracii_v_socsetyah_po_pasportu). A majority of Russians back restrictions on children using social networks (regnum.ru/news/society/2260938.html), but there is not only far less support for the other measures but also open opposition to their introduction with experts talking about how much Russia would lose by cutting itself off from the web (lenta.ru/articles/2017/04/09/interneta_net/).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Should Back Russian Orthodox Missionary Activity among Muslims, Nezavisimaya Gazeta Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 10 – Reacting to the involvement of Central Asian Muslims in recent terrorist attacks and a Pew Research Center finding that Muslims will be almost as numerous in the world as Christians, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta have called on the Kremlin to support Russian Orthodox missionary activity among the country’s Muslim population. If the paper’s call is heeded, that would mark the end of what has been an informal agreement among Russia’s four “traditional” religions not to engage in missionary activity among members of the other, an accord that has helped keep inter-religious peace and whose annulment could spark ever more serious religious clashes. Since the end of Soviet times, the leaders of the four “traditional” faiths have generally agreed that it is perfectly fine for each to promote its respective faith among those who follow other faiths or none at all but spoken out against missionary work by one of them among followers of the other three. That policy has not always been respected: Many Orthodox churchmen have sought an end run around this ban by arguing that most Muslims in Russia are “ethnic Muslims” – that is, people who identify as Muslims for ethnic rather than religious reasons –rather than real believers and thus missionary work among them is perfectly permissible. But the rule has generally held and enjoyed the support of most experts and commentators as a necessary condition for inter-religious stability in a religiously diverse Russia. And consequently, that makes the argument by the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta today to the contrary so striking. In a lead article entitled “Islam is Outpacing Other Religions,” the editors cite the findings of the US-based Pew Research Center that by 2060, the number of Muslims in the world will nearly equal the number of Christians, with three billion of the former and 3.1 billion of the latter (ng.ru/editorial/2017-04-10/2_6970_red.html). Pew also projected that the share of people who will not believe in God or support specific religious teachings will fall over that period from 16 percent to 12.5 percent and that the share of the followers of Hinduism and Buddhism will fall from 15.1 percent to 14.5 percent and from 6.9 percent to 4.8 percent respectively. The American researchers, the editors say, linked these trends primarily to demographic differences between the current followers of these religions. But Nezavisimaya gazeta argued that it would be a mistake to ignore something else: “the significant polarization” of many societies regarding “the preservation of traditional Christian values.” In Russia, the editors say, the Russian Orthodox Church is “almost the only bulwark of defense of these values.” It should engage in “productive dialogue” with the other faiths on behalf of these values especially among Muslims “in order to limit the influence of radical Islam.” But that isn’t enough, the editors continue. In addition to supporting “moderate Islam,” Russians at all levels must give “all possible assistance to the efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church, including its missionary work.” That is needed, they say, to “consolidate society against the terrorist threat from radical Islam” and to defend “the territorial integrity of Russia.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Nearly One Million Central Asian Gastarbeiters Now in Kazakhstan, Twice Number in 2011

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – While the number of Central Asian gastarbeiters in Russia has fallen, their ranks in Kazakhstan have dramatically swollen from 509,000 in 2011 to 945,000 now, an increase with serious consequences for the domestic situation in Kazakhstan and for Astana’s relations with the three donor countries, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Almost all of the increase in the number of Central Asian gastarbeiters in Kazakhstan has been the product of declines in their numbers in the Russian Federation, according to a study by the International Migration Organization summarized by Kazakh journalist Botagoz Seydakhmetova (exclusive.kz/trudovaya_migraciya_menyaet_vektor). The IMO predicts this trend will continue for at least a decade and that Central Asians who can no longer find work in Russia will choose to go to Turkey if that is possible but more likely to Kazakhstan where they already form large communities. Most of those in Kazakhstan are Uzbeks, and that pattern too, the IMO suggests, will continue as well. Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz gastarbeiters in Kazakhstan have taken over distinct niches in the Kazakhstan economy. The Uzbeks control much of the restaurant business in Almaty and Astana; the Tajiks sell fruits and vegetables; and the Kyrgyz are involved in both food supplies and restaurant work. But there are three things they have in common: all find it more difficult to send money home from Kazakhstan than from Russia, a large share of them are in the country illegally with all the negative consequences that entails, and most are afraid to turn to the authorities because they don’t trust the regime. As a result, they represent potentially fertile ground for the flourishing of Islamist ideas and thus create a security problem inside Kazakhstan and a source of tensions in its relations with the three countries, especially Uzbekistan, that are the homelands of this group of gastarbeiters which has received less international attention than it deserves.

Smolensk tragedy: Presidential plane fell apart in air

Poland's presidential plane, which crashed in Smolensk seven years ago, fell apart in the air, said the head of the commission investigating the crash, according to Radio Poland. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Belarus expects to receive $1 bln loan from Russia | UNIAN

Belarus looks forward to receiving nearly $1 billion credit from Russia, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Semashko told ONT National TV channel, TASS reports. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Russia’s First Channel Is Afraid Of Charter, Belsat And Statkevich – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

A strange piece was shown in the program “Sunday time” on the First Channel of the Russian Federation last night. The RF First Channel piece tells about the huge subsidies that Russia invests in Lukashenka’s dictatorship. “Belarus gets Russian gas very inexpensively. Now we have agreed on the price of $ 130 per thousand cubic meters. Neighboring Ukraine buys gas at $ 230. It buys gas in Europe, although it is that same Russian gas. Also, Belarus gets Russian oil without duty. And the oil is much cheaper than in the world market. And these are subsidies as well. Economists estimate the size of such subsidies at seven to ten billion dollars a year. Is this much or little for the Belarusian economy, what to compare it to? It’s very simple. The economy of Russia is about 20 times larger than the economy of Belarus. Therefore, on Russia’s scale, these 10 billion turn into 200 billion. This is more than Russia’s earnings on the sale of oil,” – Ekaterina Kibalchich’s piece says.

Russia and Belarus protests – ‘part of general crisis in post-Soviet space,’ Portnikov says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

The anti-corruption protests in Russia and the anti-vagrants tax ones in Belarus are “the direct result of the end of the social contract” between the regimes and the population, itself the result of “a general crisis in the post-Soviet space” that has emerged as a result of “the final exhaustion of Soviet economic resources,” Vitaly Portnikov says. Georgia passed through this crisis several years ago, the Ukrainian commentator says, but now along this difficult path is moving “not post-Soviet but post-Maidan Ukraine.” The time has come for Russia and the others, because, as Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev stated, there no longer is any money to do otherwise.

The U.S. Army Is Getting Ready for a Tough Reality: Battling Russian or Chinese Weapons | The National Interest Blog

A tough challenge. 

Top US admiral expresses growing concerns over Russian naval activities | Fox News

The latest activity from Russian warships around Europe has exceeded levels seen during the Cold War, a top U.S. and NATO naval officer said Saturday.

Russia’s Quest to Build a Space Empire—or Go Broke Trying | WIRED

Roscosmos is helping upstart space programs achieve lift off, partly because they want to turn them into customers.

This Is The Worst Russian Anti-Trump Propaganda Ever – To Inform is to Influence

This article is the worst Russian anti-Trump propaganda trash ever, and that is saying it nicely.   Finian Cunningham.  I like this guy.  Please, Sputnik, have him write some more?   The comedic relief is refreshing. He is refreshingly reminiscent of the former Soviet drivel.  I swear they used a template, the word preceding the…

Fake “Islamic Battalion” arrives in Mariupol – News about social life | UNIAN

The spokesperson of the self-proclaimed &quot;DPR&quot;&rsquo;s ministry of defense, Eduard Basurin on Saturday voiced baseless&nbsp;claims that an &quot;Islamic brigade&quot; with as many as 500 fighters had been deployed to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and was working with the 36th Naval Infantry Brigade, according to the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Not So Silent Night: Dallas Emergency Siren System Hacker – To Inform is to Influence

Ah, how quickly we forget the lessons we learned from Y2K. </end editorial> Apr 8, 3:29 PM EDT DALLAS (AP) — Dallas’ emergency siren system was hacked overnight, resulting in them sporadically sounding for about an hour and a half and forcing officials to have to shut down the system, they said Saturday. The person…

Facebook puts link to 10 tips for spotting ‘false news’ atop feed | TechCrunch

Today Facebook begins fighting misinformation with news literacy education, in addition to product features. This week, users in 14 countries, including the..

McAfee Labs on malware: They can rebuild them — better, stronger, faster – 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.

Spain Arrests Russian Thought to Be Kingpin of Computer Spam – The New York Times

Western cybersecurity researchers have identified the man being held, Peter Levashov, as the spammer known as Peter Severa, though some doubt he is the same person.

Programmer Pyotr Levashov reportedly suspected in US election hacking arrested

A Russian computer programme has been arrested in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

Russia Loves Me – Not – To Inform is to Influence

I seem to be blocked in Russia – again. It happened shortly after the Panama Papers were released. Hmmmm. A wee bit thin skinned are we, in Russia?  There’s nothing like a little truth among friends.  But Russia is not about letting the truth in for the citizens, or the government for that matter. Russia…

Our Deeply Flawed US National Strategies – To Inform is to Influence

Below are the extracts from the latest ‘comprehensive strategy’ written by the Heritage Foundation from 2015, I have extracted two sub-strategies: the one for Russian Propaganda and the one for Cybersecurity. First, a few observations. Public Diplomacy, in no way, is manned, resourced, trained, or equipped to counter Russian propaganda, which is only a minor…

Social Media Strategy Framework in Russian – Структура стратегии в социальных медиа – To Inform is to Influence

Social Media Strategy Framework in Russian – Структура стратегии в социальных медиа By Ross Dawson Continuing our series of translations of Social Media Strategy Framework, today we are launching the Russian edition. See the original post for the full overview of the Social Media Strategy Framework in English. Click on image to download pdf Please…


Syria / Russia Reports


‘We will respond with force’: Russia and Iran in stark warning against further US military action in Syria – To Inform is to Influence

The forceful words are intended for Russian citizens, only, as the rest of the world already understands Russia has been already humbled.  Note the emphasis on messaging, statements, narrative.   </end editorial> As the crisis in the Middle East deepened a command centre made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias loyal to…

Assad allies say U.S. attack on Syria air base crosses ‘red lines’ | Reuters

A joint command center made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed “red lines” and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

Russia’s Deep Ties To Syria And Why Putin Keeps Backing Assad | The Huffington Post

Putin is doubling down on his support for the Syrian president.

Russian official reacts to possible introduction of new U.S. sanctions

A Federation Council member has issued a comment regarding the possibility of new sanctions being introduced by the U.S. government against Russia. Latest UNIAN news from 10 April.”Trump needs to think three times before imposing new sanctions on Russia,” Federation Council member Alexey Pushkov tweeted.

Syria, Russia Would Be ‘Insane’ to Retaliate Over US Airstrikes, Former US Ambassador Says | Fox Business

Ryan Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said on Sunday that retaliation by Russia or Syria over the U.S. airstrikes last week would be “insane.”

Syria air strikes: Why the prospect of a US war against Russia is real

When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travels to Moscow this week, topic No. 1 will be Syria – and the stakes could not be higher.

Haley on Russia and Iran: ‘I don’t think anything is off the table’ – CNNPolitics.com

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said nothing “is off the table” when it comes to imposing tougher sanctions on Russia and Iran in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN.

Tillerson, on Eve of Russia Trip, Takes Hard Line on Syria – The New York Times

The secretary of state called Russia “incompetent” for allowing Syria to retain chemical weapons and accused Moscow of trying to meddle in European elections.

Tillerson: Russia ‘failure allowed Syria chemical attack’ – BBC News

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Russia did not ensure Syria destroyed its chemical weapons.

Tillerson can survive this Russia trip. Really: Column

He needs to act like a CEO and strike performance-based deals on Syria and Ukraine.

U.S. air strike gives Tillerson a boost for Moscow talks | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow this week will be an early test of whether the Trump administration can use any momentum generated by striking a Syrian air base to craft and execute a strategy to end the Syrian war.

Deconfliction Likely To Come Up During Secretary Tillerson’s Meeting With Russia : NPR

Former U.S. State Department Under Secretary Nicholas Burns explains the meaning of “deconfliction” and how it relates to the Syrian conflict.

Britain to push for tough new sanctions on Putin – media

Britain is pushing western nations to impose new sanctions on Russia if Moscow fails to curb ties with Bashar al Assad amid the escalation of Syrian conflict, according to The Times. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Putin ‘could be allowed to rejoin G7’ if he pulls out of Syria

The prospect of Russia rejoining the G7 group of the world&rsquo;s leading industrialised nations will be used as part of a carrot and stick approach to persuade President Vladimir Putin to pull out of Syria, The Daily Telegraph understands.

Erdogan tells Russia to reconsider support for Assad

Turkish president welcomes US action against regime, calls for broader effort to end Syrian conflict – Anadolu Agency

Syria war: G7 seeks united front on Assad and Russia – BBC News

The G7 nations wrestle with how to pressure Russia over Syria after the suspected chemical attack.

Tillerson, G7 ministers look to pressure Russia to reconsider Assad support | Fox News

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with six other Group of Seven foreign ministers, aim to send Russia a “clear and coordinated message” in the wake of the U.S.’ response to a gas attack that left scores dead.

Putin fires a weapon of mad deception – To Inform is to Influence

DOMINIC LAWSON 9 April 2017, 12:01 am, the Sunday Times Russia is using ever wilder lies to defend Assad and is in too deep to stop There was a time when the Russians — or at least their rulers — were masterful liars. The lie would be well organised, backed up with apparently creditable research and…

Reckless West could unleash jihadist hell in Syria

The US has launched a pre-emptive strike on a foreign nation. President Donald Trump ordered the missile strike without an independent investigation into allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

Pentagon Says All 59 Tomahawks Hit Syrian Targets | Defense content from Aviation Week

Pentagon officials say all 59 Raytheon-built Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles fired against a Syria’s Shayrat airfield on April 7 reached their intended targets and the 60th was waved off. One missile failed, but another was launched in its place. A surface-to-air missile site, radar and about 20 aircraft plus various ammunition bunkers and suspected chemical weapon storage facilities were damaged or destroyed in the attack. That is the assessment of the U.S. Defense Department. Speaking to the media at the Pentagon, two officials involved in the mission who declined to be named said the late-night naval strike was executed with 100% accuracy. “We’re very positive that 59 missiles hit,” they said. Their remarks and photographic evidence appear to debunk claims by the Russian Ministry of Defense that just 23 of the 59 cruise missiles reached the base and only destroyed six MiG-23s in a repair hangar and radar site. “The combat effectiveness of the massive American missile strike on the Syrian airbase is extremely low,” the Russian ministry claims.

Exclusive: General H.R. McMaster on decision to strike Syria | Fox News

President Trump’s national security adviser weighs in on ‘Fox News Sunday’

Ivanka Trump ‘pushed for her father to bomb Syria’ | The Independent

Donald Trump’s daughter persuaded him to strike targets in Syria, according to reports of a diplomatic memo. A cable briefing to Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson by Britain’s ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch said Ms Trump was influential in bringing about the bombings, those who saw the memo said.

Tomahawks as argument for America’s return to Middle East

U.S. forces carried out a cruise missile strike on an air base of Assad forces in Syria in response to an earlier chemical attack of the Syrian government in Idlib province, which killed civilians, including children. U.S. President Donald Trump has confirmed that he personally ordered the targeted strike. This step makes it apparent that the 45th U.S. President is trying to show a stance radically different from that of his predecessor, Barack Obama. At the beginning of the crisis, he continuously blamed the former administration with bringing the situation in Syria to a deadlock, and therefore its complexity makes it extremely difficult for him to take any decision. Trump greenlighted a strike, first of all, to prepare ground for being perceived differently from his predecessor, and, second, to demonstrate the intentions of the new American administration, without creating further escalation in Syria. Read more on UNIAN:https://www.unian.info/world/1865371-tomahawks-as-argument-of-americas-return-to-middle-east.html

Ex-NATO commander: Trump-Russia relationship ‘going downhill’ | TheHill

Trump officials “beginning to realize that Russia is not a force for good in the world,” admiral says.


Ukraine Reports


U.S. Senator Inhofe: Russia killed people in Ukraine, knowing previous U.S. Administration would not send defensive weapons – 10.04.2017 10:27 — Ukrinform News

10.04.2017 10:27. U.S. Republican Senator Jim Inhofe said that the times of Russia’s impunity for crimes against Ukrainians had passed. The Senator said this on the air of Fox News. Inhofe noted that Russians loved the period of Barack Obama presidency because they could do anything they want. He also urged to draw attention to the situation in Ukraine. “They [Russia] came in there and started to kill those people, knowing that our Administration would not send defensive weapons to Ukraine. Now, of course, it’s a different game in town. So I think that they now have a new respect for us and it is going to be reflected in much better relationship,” Senator Jim Inhofe said.

Inhofe Joins Neil Cavuto on Fox News to Discuss U.S. Airstrike in Syria – YouTube

‘My mission is complete’: Ukraine’s central bank chief resigns

Valeria Gontareva, the Ukrainian central bank chief who has been highly praised by Kiev’s western backers for ushering in a sweeping bank reform and stabilising the country’s economy after three years of Russian military intervention, has tendered her resignation.

Ukraine President’s Grip Weakens as Central Bank Chief Quits | 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.

Ukraine in talks with ESA to become member

Colorado Springs CO (Sputnik) Apr 10, 2017 – Ukraine’s State Space Agency is currently in accession discussions with the European Space Agency (ESA) to become its member, Chairman Yuriy Radchenko told Sputnik on the margins of the Space Sympos

Reflections on Ukraine, Russian Destabilization, Ethnic Separatism, the Gagauz People, a Voyage to Odessa and the So-Called “Bessarabian Republic” | The Huffington Post

As Vladimir Putin seeks to wrest back control over the former Soviet sphere of influence, many have focused on the smoldering conflict in eastern …

Conflict Escalates Again in Eastern Ukraine: Possible Causes and Consequences – Jamestown

The first quarter of 2017 was marked by a renewed escalation of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. The increased military confrontation began in the vicinity of Donetsk, at the end of January, when saboteur-reconnaissance groups of Russia-backed militants made an attempt to seize the Avdiivka Coke Plant (ACP)—the largest coking enterprise in Europe. Severe fighting around the area continued during February–March. Moscow-backed guerrillas heavily shelled Ukrainian troop positions; on one day, as many as 117 instances of heavy weapons fire were recorded coming from the occupied side (Segodnya.ua, March 1). By mid-March, the Russian-supported forces initiated a fight in the direction of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol (Mariupil) (Hromadskeradio.org, March 19;

Censor.net.ua, March 20).44 attacks registered April 9, enemy used 120 mm mortars, anti-tank grenade launchers and IFVs, – ATO Staff

10.04.17 10:52 – 44 attacks registered April 9, enemy used 120 mm mortars, anti-tank grenade launchers and IFVs, – ATO Staff Militants continue attacks on Ukrainian positions along the entire contact line in the Donbas. View news.

Ukraine reports 2 WIAs amid 44 enemy attacks in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 44 times in the past 24 hours with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Militants launch friendly fire to accuse Ukraine of cease-fire violation, – Intelligence

09.04.17 15:28 – Militants launch friendly fire to accuse Ukraine of cease-fire violation, – Intelligence. Russian hybrid forces attack their own positions to accuse Ukrainian army of violating the cease-fire. View news.

Ukraine’s T-64 tank tested before being transferred to army (Photo, video)

A T-64 tank, which was sent to the Kharkiv Armored Plant for a routine maintenance, has gone through a full complex of restoration works on its engine, transmission units and assemblies, and an armament complex, including a remote weapon system. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Перевірка Т-64 перед відправкою до Збройних Сил України – YouTube

Для тестування результатів ремонту систем, відремонтований танк Т-64 був направлений на спеціальний танкодром, де фахівці ДП “Харківський бронетанковий завод…

Перший політ Ан-132D – нова сторінка у історії авіабудування України – YouTube

Для тестування результатів ремонту систем, відремонтований танк Т-64 був направлений на спеціальний танкодром, де фахівці ДП “Харківський бронетанковий завод…

Ukrainian military cadets win at NATO Enterprise Architecture Hackathon

Ukrainian cadets of&nbsp;Military Institute for Telecommunications and Informatization have won a NATO Enterprise Architecture Hackathon, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. News 09 April from UNIAN.

In Ukraine, Both Sides To Appeal Verdicts In Tornado Battalion Case

KYIV — Ukrainian prosecutors and defense lawyers have both vowed to appeal the verdicts and prison sentences handed down to former members of the disbanded Tornado battalion. On April 7, a cour…

Ukraine marks 500 days without Russian gas, – Naftohaz

10.04.17 11:26 – Ukraine marks 500 days without Russian gas, – Naftohaz The decision to stop the purchase of gas from Russia was made in November 2015. View news.

Ukraine may be on the doorstep of an electro-cars revolution -Euromaidan Press |

Amid post-revolution transformations, ongoing fight against corruption and the de facto war in Donbas, there is still a place for progress in Ukraine. At some questions, the country is even more successful than its Western neighbors. In the last few years, Ukraine has become a powerful IT hub. Recently the Forbes told about the country’s digital revolution which is silently taking hold in the form of almost unparalleled adoption of digital crypto-currencies. And now the development of electro-cars market can be added to Ukraine’s accomplishments. InsideEVs, an outlet dedicated to electric vehicles around the world, gave Ukraine 5th place in the list of the Top EV countries. In it, Ukraine even went ahead of the US and Japan.

Czech court closes down organization posing as “DPR Consulate”

The Regional Court in Czech Republic&rsquo;s Ostrava started proceedings to liquidate the &quot;DPR&quot; Representative Center in Czech territory headed by Czech national Nela Liskova, according to Hlidacipes.org. News 09 April from UNIAN.

Donbas war refugee turns shrapnel into works of art to raise funds for Ukrainian armyEuromaidan Press |

Yevheniya Vasylchenko, originally from Volnovakha, a city in Eastern Ukraine which is on the frontline of battles between the Ukrainian and Russian hybrid army, and now a resident of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, turns shrapnel into works of art. These “artistic fragments” are sold to purchase supplies for soldiers on the front lines.

Driven Desperate by War, Odessa’s Women Look to Model’s Cinderella Story – The Daily Beast

Models in Ukraine’s center for romance tourism hope to become the next Olexandra Nikolayenko, a model who married an American billionaire close to Donald Trump.

Sex Worker’s March in Ukraine: “We have the right to work” – Political Critique

A controversial law takes aim at Ukraine’s anti-corruption NGOs | openDemocracy


Foreign Policy Reports


Korea crisis deepens as the US dispatches the Carl Vinson strike group to the region

In a release Saturday afternoon, U.S. Pacific Command announced the cancellation and redeployment of Vinson. Announcing carrier movements in advance is rare, and generally done to send a clear message.

China’s Changing Economy Helps Explain Taming of Trump’s Threats – Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to punish China over trade have been displaced by a pledge to negotiate after hearing the perspective of his counterpart Xi Jinping. Below are five charts that may explain the change in tone.

Asia’s Biggest Nightmare: A U.S.-China War in North Korea | The National Interest Blog

It could happen.

Le Pen says France not responsible for WWII roundup of Jews – The Washington Post

Far-right French presidential contender Marine Le Pen made “a serious mistake” by denying that the French State was responsible for the roundup of Jews in World War II, her main rival said Monday.

Teen [ISIS wannabee] asylum seeker from Russia arrested in Norway explosive case – CBS News

An explosive device was found near a busy subway station in Norway’s capital; Police defused it before it detonated

The Balkans Will Be America and Russia’s Next (Virtual) Battlefield | The National Interest

If Putin wants to stir up trouble anywhere else, it’s the obvious place to start.

Denmark seeks to change law on pipelines amid Nord Stream 2 divisions

Denmark's government is proposing amending legislation to allow it to ban pipeline projects on the grounds of foreign and security policy due to concerns raised by Russian efforts to build a disputed gas pipeline through Danish waters. News 10 April from UNIAN.

Large protest in support of Hungary’s Soros-backed university – BBC News

It was probably the biggest anti-government protest in Budapest since PM Viktor Orban came to power.

Hungarians Plan More Protests as President’s Deadline Nears – Bloomberg

Hungarian anti-government organizers vowed to continue protests after one of the largest mass demonstrations against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s rule as the deadline approaches for the country’s president to sign a law that may force a university founded by billionaire George Soros to shut down.

Hungarians Protest Their Leader by the Tens of Thousands – The New York Times

An estimated 70,000 people turned out on Sunday for a protest against legislation that could force one of Hungary’s top international universities out of the country.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Did Trump Attack Assad to End the Russian Collusion Story?

A failure to respond would have been portrayed as a confirmation of Trump’s collusion with the Kremlin.

For Obama, Syria Chemical Attack Shows Risk of ‘Deals With Dictators’ – The New York Times

President Barack Obama said in 2014 that America was “getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike.” Then came last week’s chemical attack.

John McCain applauds airstrikes, warns biggest threat is Kim Jong-un, ‘crazy fat kid’ in North Korea – Washington Times

Sen. John McCain said Friday that the biggest threat facing the United States is not coming from the Middle East, it is coming from the “crazy fat kid” in North Korea — alluding to the nation’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Rubio intensifies criticisms of Tillerson over Syria strategy&quot;

This focus that you can defeat ISIS as long as Assad is there is not true,&quot; says Rubio.

Schiff says Russia is absolutely ‘complicit’ in Syrian chemical attack – ABC News

Schiff says Russia is absolutely ‘complicit’ in Syrian chemical attack

Donald Trump listens to generals’ advice on military – Washington Times

The same President Trump who can be gruff and erratic in public tweets is a commander in chief who is deferential and attentive when he talks to a star-studded cast of his closest military advisers.

Adam Curtis: Donald Trump Has Become a Deep State Puppet – Salon.com

The legendary documentarian shares his thoughts on the Syrian airstrike and Trump’s presidency

McFarland to Exit White House as McMaster Consolidates Power – Bloomberg

K. T. McFarland has been asked to step down as deputy National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump after less than three months and will become U.S. ambassador to Singapore, according to a person familiar with White House personnel moves.

Donald Trump aide KT McFarland latest casualty of National Security Council reshuffle, official says – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A top national security adviser to US President Donald Trump is the latest official heading out in an ongoing shuffle within the National Security Council, a US official says.

Donald Trump watched Star Wars on Air Force One before Syria bombing | Metro News

Donald Trump has been pictured watching Star Wars on board Air Force One on the same day he approved a major airstrike on Syria.

Hating Putin and loving Trump —  why that makes sense to some Russian Americans | Business Insider

Gary Kindler is a frequent guest on Davidzon…

The Most Stunningly Detailed 2016 Election Map Was Just Released—Democrats Should Be Scared, Very Scared

From every angle, the Democratic Party looks like they are in an uphill climb.

 

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