Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update 18 April 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Kiselyov insults POTUS, Peskov makes excuses. Poverty in Russia now impossible to hide, while Western MSM still ignore trucker strike (like the Holodomor, not worth reporting on). Multiple articles on Caucasus ethnic strife, Kadyrov and the murder of LGBTs in Chechnya. Arctic military base and nuclear ammo for Armata MBT. Some excellent history essays.

IW/IO/Cyber – Tymchuk’s exposition on grotesque Russian propaganda rumours used to excellent effect in Donbass begs good questions about how gullible can the zombified be? Multiple reports on IO/IW, propaganda and cyber.

Ukraine – Goble, Heritage, Dickinson, Applebaum and RAND produce interesting reports, the latter exposing good understanding across the EU, but lack of interest in Western EU nations. Donbass attacks continue. Eurovision/EBU exposed for the disgrace they have been with the Russian play. Strategic play by Ukraine and Moldova, encircling the Russian enclave in Transnistria and funnelling all traffic through 13 new border crossings, while of course the large Chervonoglinskoye Airbase in Bessarabia is being reactivated to make a Russian air bridge to Transnistria unexecutable – and Snake Island impossible to take and hold.

Syria/Iran – good report on Russia’s increasing use of Caucasus and Central Asian mercenaries replacing ethnic Russians in Syria, and some interesting reports on Iran.

DPRK – more regime huffing and puffing, Some decent history backgrounders by MSM.

Foreign policy – mainly Turkey meltdown, EU election meddling, and policy analysis.

US domestic – most curious is Blinken making excuses for his actions, we have yet to see Rice and Rhodes join the chorus, trying to justify the damage they did to US credibility whilst zombified by Surkov’s alternate reality. Russia’s greatest strategic coup over the last eight years was to successfully zombify the NatSec Adviser office, noting that most of the messes to be cleaned up now are direct results of Surkov’s success. Calexit reports most interesting.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Russian state TV calls Trump ‘more dangerous’ than North Korean dictator: report | TheHill

Russian State TV Says Trump Is More Dangerous Than Kim Jong-Un – Bloomberg

Russian state television has no doubt who is unpredictable enough to bring the world to war in the North Korean crisis, and it’s not the reclusive communist dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Kremlin Distances Itself From Russia State TV Anchor Who Said Trump Is Worse Than Kim

A Kremlin spokesman is distancing Moscow from an incendiary commentary on Russian state TV that alleged U.S. President Donald Trump is more dangerous and unpredictable than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Dmitry Peskov told reporters on April 17 that comments made by Channel One’s anchor Dmitry Kiselyov often, but not always, matched Kremlin thinking. Like much of Russia’s state-controlled media, Kiselyov initially praised Trump in the weeks before and after his election. But the tone of Russian state-controlled media has shifted since April 7 when Trump ordered a missile attack on a Syrian government air base in response to a chemical-weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians. Since then, Channel One and other Russia media firms have become increasingly critical of the U.S. president. On April 16, just hours after North Korea launched a ballistic missile in a failed test, Kiselyov said Kim is less frightening than Trump because the North Korean ruler was ready for talks, had not attacked other countries, and had not sent a naval fleet to the U.S. coast. “War can break out as a result of confrontation between two personalities: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un,” Kiselyov said. “Both are dangerous, but who is more dangerous? Trump is,” the Russian state TV personality said.

Russian state media is missing the Obama days – Business Insider

For a while, they were loving Trump.

The Morning Vertical, April 18, 2017

ON MY MIND According to a report by the Moscow Higher School of Economics (featured below), some 16 percent of Russians are now living below the poverty line and 41 percent say they are struggling to afford basic necessities like food and clothing. Less than one year before an election, this should be devastating news. And it would be in a country where elections are actually elections. But in Russia, elections are not elections. They are coronations. And next March, President Vladimir Putin is expected to easily win a fourth term. Meanwhile, opposition leader Aleksei Navalny is acting as if he is running for president. He’s travelling around Russia and setting up regional campaign offices, even though it is abundantly clear that he won’t be allowed on the ballot. As Marc Bennetts notes in another piece featured below, Navalny is successfully tapping into a growing groundswell of discontent with the authorities. Recent polls show that 38 percent supported nationwide anticorruption protests that Navalny organized and two-thirds hold Putin responsible for official graft. Will this matter? Despite growing deprivation, the television still appears to be beating the refrigerator in the battle for Russian hearts and minds. And despite growing anger over corruption, Russians are still willing to give their support to Putin. But in authoritarian regimes like Russia, leaders don’t just need to win fixed elections by large margins. They need to fight for and win their legitimacy every day. Any sign of weakness or vulnerability could be lethal. Navalny appears to understand this. He seems to grasp that sooner or later, the Putin bubble will burst. He says he is planning to run in the March 2018 presidential election. But he is actually trying to win a much broader election by chipping away at the Putin regime’s legitimacy bit by bit.

Alexei Navalny: Is Russia’s Anti-Corruption Crusader the Kremlin’s Kryptonite?

Anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny has led massive protests in Moscow and beyond. But can he really challenge Vladimir Putin in 2018?

Poll: fewer Russians support the seizure of the Crimea

In Russia, the number of people who believe that reunification with the Crimea has brought more benefits to the country has declined – up to 64% against 70% two years ago. The number of those who think that there is more harm – has grown from 18% to 23%. This is reported by Interfax with reference to the survey data of the Levada Center. In the opinion of 41% of respondents, the means for integrating the Crimea into the Russian Federation are taken “at the expense of reducing spending on education, health, science, indexation of salaries and pensions.” At the same time, one-third of respondents believe that the state allocates “revenues from the sale of oil and gas” for these purposes, without reducing expenditures on the social sphere, science, etc. (32%). Every tenth (11%) believes that the money came from “private investment of Russian business.” Arguing about the political future of part of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, 37% of Russians spoke out for the region to become an independent state. In 2014, the share of supporters of this opinion was 12%. At the same time, Russians less than twice expressed their wish that the east of Ukraine become part of the Russian Federation – 21% (in March 2014, 48%). Another 21% believe that it would be better if “this region remained part of Ukraine, but gained greater independence from Kiev” (17% earlier). Only 7% would like “the region to remain part of Ukraine on the same terms as it was before the crisis” (8% earlier). The survey was conducted on March 31 – April 3 among 1,600 people aged 18 and over in 137 settlements of 48 regions of the Russian Federation.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Now that the Truckers Strike has Reached Moscow, Will Western Media At Last Pay Attention?

Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – The Kremlin has imposed a media blackout on the Russian truckers’ strike that is now in its third week and has been joined by drivers in at least 80 federal subjects, but unfortunately, coverage of this worker action by the Western media has been almost as sparse. On the one hand, this reflects the Kremlin’s ability to keep the story out of all but a few Moscow outlets on which Western journalists typically rely and the fact that the most important centers of the strike – in the North Caucasus, the Far East and Karelia – are far from the Russian capital. And on the other hand, it also reflects the tendency of Western outlets to devote enormous attention to actions by small groups of liberal intellectuals and political opponents of Vladimir Putin rather than much at all to the far larger economic and increasingly political protests of workers like the long-haul truckers. Now, however, the truckers themselves are coming to Moscow, and one can hope that perhaps Western outlets will devote more attention to them. On the capital’s ring road, police blocked a small convoy of striking truckers who sought to attract attention to their cause ( With luck they will succeed and get more attention. When they pulled into a parking lot, their leaders say, the police told them to move along because they were on private property ( The truckers deserve such coverage not only because of the size of their protest but because the leaders of their movement are often delivering political messages more significant than those offered by the more mediagenic intellectual demonstrators. One of their number, for example, pointed out that “the biggest problem” of Russia is that “there is no society or structures of society. [Instead, the country’s current leadership] has destroyed it as a class,” much as Soviet leaders claimed to have destroyed this or that “class” in the past ( “We need a trade union,” he continued, “but no one wants to take part in it” because the dispersal of the previous protests and “the absence of normal political system within the system” has taught people that “it is useless to struggle.” “People simply don’t believe that it is possible to defeat this monster” consisting of the Kremlin and the Russian legislature. Their lack of such belief, he said, “arises from our television, from the federal channels” which everyone watches and which promote the idea that fighting the system is a hopeless enterprise. It would be too bad if Western media outlets would convey the same image of Russia and Russians to their audiences.

Russian language in decline as post-Soviet states reject it

The Financial Times examines the decline of the Russian language in the former Soviet space.

The Daily Vertical: Putin’s Little Creature (Transcript)

Ramzan Kadyrov can pretty much do anything he wants. He can get away with orchestrating the assassinations of journalists, human rights activists, and opposition leaders. He can extort funds from the Russian federal budget. He can advocate honor killings, burn down the homes of suspected militants, and threaten to open fire on Russian law-enforcement officers. And, as we learned in recent weeks, he can also round up, imprison, torture, and kill gay Chechen men for no other reason than their sexual orientation. And he can implicitly threaten the lives of journalists who report on this. He can do all these things, and more, and there isn’t a damn thing the all-powerful Vladimir Putin can do about it.  On one hand, Kadyrov is Putin’s creature. Putin made him what he is. He appointed him. And he’s protected him. And in this sense, Putin owns Kadyrov. He owns his words and he owns his deeds. But in another sense, Kadyrov owns Putin. Because, rightly or wrongly, Putin fears that removing Kadyrov would lead to instability in Chechnya. This gives Kadyrov impunity. He pretty much has a free hand to act as he pleases. And he knows it. Kadyrov is a living, breathing, walking testament to Putin’s weakness. And that’s actually the charitable view. Because the alternative is that Putin actually approves of everything Kadyrov is doing.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Will or Can Putin Bring Kadyrov to Heel?

Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Ramzan Kadyrov’s oppression of the LGBT community in Chechnya and his threat to punish journalists who write about it have generated support for helping members of that community escape Chechnya and even Russia and for defending independent journalists against such violent attack But equally important, the Chechen leader’s behavior is leading some Russians to point the finger of blame for these outrages directly at Vladimir Putin who has routinely dismissed governors for far less justifiable reasons but who seems unwilling or perhaps even unable to do anything about Kadyrov and his Grozny criminal band. On the one hand, Putin may calculate that he would offend his “traditionalist” base by doing anything serious against someone who attacks LGBTs. And on the other, he may still believe that Kadyrov is the only bulwark he has against a new full-scale war in the North Caucasus, a war he routinely claims to have won even though it very much continues. In the past few days, many Moscow commentators have directed their attention to the ways in which Putin by failing to do anything about Kadyrov in this case is ultimately leading Russians to ask questions about the Kremlin leader rather than just his notorious consigliere in the Caucasus.

U.S. ‘Disturbed’ By Reports Of Gay Abuse In Chechnya, Calls For Probe

The United States has voiced concern over the reported persecution of gay men in Chechnya and urged officials in the Russian region to investigate, while a senior lawmaker called on President Vladimi…

Canada calls purported killings of gay men in Chechnya ‘reprehensible,’ calls for Russia probe – World – CBC News

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs called the alleged detention and killings of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya “reprehensible,” as LGBT rights groups called on the international community to act.

Russia checking threats against newspaper over Chechnya coverage – TASS – Channel NewsAsia

Russian investigators said on Monday they were checking information that threats had been made against a Russian newspaper which reported that gay men were being tortured and killed in Chechnya, the TASS news agency reported.

Chechnya gay concentration camps: Claims three men have died in secret Russian prisons

WARNING: Graphic content

CPJ Says Russia Must Investigate Threats Over Reporting On Abuse Of Gay Chechens

A leading reporters' advocacy group has called on Russian authorities to do more to investigate threats against a newspaper for its reporting about gay men allegedly being rounded up in Chechny…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Tatarstan Names an Ethnic Russian as Its Prime Minister

Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Aleksey Pesoshin has been confirmed by Tatarstan’s State Council as the republic’s fifth prime minister since 1991. He is the first ethnic Russian among them, but he is a native of Kazan and, while a mathematician and technocrat, is very much part of Kazan’s political establishment. That Pesoshin is an ethnic Russian may forestall Moscow criticism of President Rustam Minnikhanov as Tatarstan pursues the renewal of its power-sharing agreement with the Russian government, but that he is a native of Kazan and part of its establishment likely means that he will not pursue any radically new policies within that Middle Volga republic. Pesoshin, 53 and the scion of Russians who were evacuated to Tatarstan during World War II, was trained and worked as a mathematician for much of his adult life. He then went into business there before shifting to administrative work in the government, working first in the Kazan city government and since 2014 as first deputy premier. Reaction is only beginning to come in, but Alina Grigroyeva of Radio Liberty’s Tatar-Bashkir Service has interviewed several specialists about what Pesoshin’s rise to the prime ministership means ( Political analyst Sergey Sergeyev says that Pesoshin is in some ways very different than the man he replaces, Ildar Khalikov. Pesoshin is a mathematician and production manager while Khalikov is a lawyer and a financial specialist. Moreover, “Pesoshin is an ethnic Russian while Khalikov is a Tatar.” But what the two men have in common, the analyst continues, is “more significant.” They both are part of permanent government and “informal ‘party of power.’” And that suggests that Pesoshin in his new role will not make “any revolutionary changes,” at least not on his own. Ruslan Aysin, another analysts says, that the only difference that really matters is that Pesoshin is likely to be tougher and more demanding and that he will serve as a reliable defense for Minnikhanov against criticism from Russians that he is too much a Tatar nationalist. The republic president can point to this appointment as evidence of the contrary. From Minnikhanov’s perspective, Pesoshin has an additional advantage. A technocrat, “the new prime minister should be equally distant from all political influence groups, devoted to [the Tatarstan president] and not have any particular political ambitions” beyond the post he now has. And Artur Khaziyev, the leader of the European Tatarstan group, says that Pesoshin’s appointment shows two things: “the final strengthening of the technical rather than political role of the office of prime minister” and the fact that the new man is someone “from the republic and not from the outside or the federal center.” A commentary in Kazan’s Business-Gazeta today offers almost exactly the same combination of assessments (

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Unwittingly Promoting Broader Anti-Russian Identities in the North Caucasus

Paul Goble Staunton, April 18 – Historians have often observed that the North Caucasus can unite only on the basis of Islam or a mountaineer identity, otherwise its peoples will fight among themselves, and that Moscow has traditionally worked hard to keep them divided lest any unity emerge as the basis for a challenge to Russian rule. But now, under Vladimir Putin, the Russian authorities are taking steps in two key areas that undercut all of that past strategy either because of a failure to understand what is at stake or because of a focus on short-term tactical outcomes rather than longer-term goals and thus make Russia’s control of the region at the very least more problematic in the future. The first concerns the Circassians, a nation tsarist forces expelled, the Soviets divided into more than five parts, and the current Russian government refuses to recognize as compatriots those Circassians seeking to return to their homeland because of conflicts in Syria where many have been living. Valery Khatazhukov, head of the Kabardino-Balkar Regional Human Rights Center, says that the Circassians of Syria and elsewhere should be granted that status because they speak one of the state languages– their language is official in the Adygey Republic – but that Moscow hasn’t been willing to do so ( Instead, it has set up quotas for each of the north Caucasus republics and neighboring Russian kray where most Circassians now live and thrown up obstacles, including the payment of high fees for visas and resident permits, that have prevented Syria’s Circassians from filling even these quotas. Moreover, in one infamous case, the Russian authorities expelled Syrian refugees from sanatoriums in Kabardino-Balkaria in order to provide housing for refugees from Ukraine following the Russian invasion of that country and the Crimean Anschluss, Khatzhukov continues. Had the Russian authorities simply given Circassians from Syria the status of compatriots and allowed them to return, there would have been an increase in the Circassian peoples in the North Caucasus, something that Moscow has always feared. But by denying them that status and restricting their entry, the Russian authorities have produced an outcome even worse for them. Just as was the case in the run-up to the Sochi Olympiad, when Moscow’s refusal to respect what had been the 1864 killing fields in which Circassians were murdered or expelled served to radicalize the Circassian community around the world, now, its actions or rather refusal to act is not only further radicalizing them but unifying them. Indeed, it is striking that both Russians and members of the Moscow-sponsored subgroups of Circassians now talk exclusively about the Circassians, something that encourages them to think of themselves as a nation rather than a congeries of smaller peoples and possibly to act on the basis of that communality. If so, Moscow will have only itself to blame The second case involves the Alan identity. In 1994, the North Ossetian Republic within the Russian Federation added Alania to its name, thus linking it to the medieval kingdom of that name which ruled over much of the North Caucasus. A few days ago, South Ossetia, which Soviet forces helped to break away from Georgia, voted to rename itself the State of Alania. That latter decision, especially in combination with the first, has been viewed critically or sympathetically as an indication that South Ossetia will soon fuse with North Ossetia within the borders of the Russian Federation. That seems to be Moscow’s intention, but the renaming tactic is already having some unintended consequences. That is because, as Alikhan Kharsiyev, a Duma deputy from Ingushetia, points out, the Ossetians are not the only nation with roots in Alania. Almost all the peoples of the central North Caucasus do, a fact scholars from the region could have told Moscow had they not been suppressed as “enemies of the people” ( Now, he says, there is every chance to talk about this common Alan identity, to focus on what “unites” rather than “divides” the peoples of the North Caucasus, something that is especially important because alone, “we are small peoples, and little depends on us.” But together, far more can be done. As far as the Ossetian decisions to call themselves Alania, this is their own affair; but they should remember that there are Alan symbols and identities in Ingushetia, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia as well, and all these peoples should be uniting on the basis of this earlier and not forgotten identity, Kharsiyev says. “We are obligated to begin a civilized discussion on all these controversial questions. We do not have the right to suggest that everything is normal and be silent,” poses that will open the way for “irresponsible and illiterate people and simply provocateurs to fill this vacuum” especially among the young. And he concludes with questions: “the longer politicians put off the resolution of this issue, the greater the harm, for the Caucasus and for Russia. Clearly, sooner or later the leadership of the country will have to take up this issue. But what about us? Will we act like always and complain to one another about Moscow?” Or will be finally act on our own? The Duma deputy clearly believes that moving from ethnic identities to an historically based one will be a stepping stone toward integration of the people of the North Caucasus into the Russian political nation. But there is every likelihood that the result will be just the reverse, that a larger Alan nation will be more ready to resist Moscow than even its smaller components.

Russian Authorities Detain Ninth Suspect In St. Petersburg Subway Bombing

Russian security agents have detained a ninth person in connection with the St. Petersburg subway&nbsp;train bombing that killed 15 people and injured 45 people on April 3. An FSB statement sai…

Russia questions new suspect over St Petersburg bombing | News | DW.COM | 17.04.2017

Russia’s domestic security service says it has detained a suspect linked with last month’s deadly bombing of the St Petersburg metro. The man, said to be from Central Asia, reportedly trained the suicide bomber.

Belarusian walked around St. Petersburg with a Kalashnikov assault rifle

On April 16, at half past seven in the morning near the house number 125 on Leninsky Prospekt, a Belarusian welder was detained, who works at the Zenit Arena. The guy examined and found him … an object that looks like an AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle. The Belarusian was not embarrassed and said that the AK-103 assault rifle, which the law enforcers seized, is a light-noise suppressed weapon. They say, it does not require registration with law enforcement agencies. Now the subject, which looks like an automaton, is sent for examination.

Event: Public Debate: Putin’s Russia: How urgent threat it poses? – To Inform is to Influence

INVITATION Dear Sir or Madame, Jaromír Štětina, member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament and the European Values think-Tank are pleased to invite you to: Public Debate: Putin’s Russia: How urgent threat it poses? Discussants: Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, WMCES Andreas Umland, Fellow, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Anton Shekhovtsov, Visiting Fellow, Institute of…

Tajikistan Opens A New Chapter: No Books Allowed In Or Out Without Approval

You might want to think twice before grabbing a book to read on your flight to Tajikistan — especially if it is written in an unfamiliar script. The country's Culture Ministry recentl…

No, America Didn’t Ruin Russian Democracy – The Daily Beast

The latest whataboutist claim on the far left is that what Putin did in 2016 is no worse than what American consultants did in 1996. That’s nonsense.

Here’s How Russia Cases Potential US Spies | The Daily Caller

The Russian governments spy recruiting techniques were on full display in a 2015 FBI document detailing efforts to turn Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

Mikhail Gorbachev warns of new Cold War with US-Russia arms race ‘in full swing’ | The Independent

Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the world could be heading for a new Cold War as tensions between Russia and the West continue to mount. The 86-year-old former Soviet leader, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the union’s dissolution, accused the US and its allies of moving away from peace agreements on nuclear weapons and other central issues.

Russia unveils its giant new Arctic base | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

Russia has built the biggest manmade structure in the high Arctic to house a military base as part of its attempt to claim swathes of the polar region rich in oil. The Kremlin published the first detailed pictures yesterday of its new Arctic Trefoil military base positioned on Alexandra Land, an island in the Arctic Ocean that is whipped by blizzards and roamed by polar bears. The 150,000 sq ft (14,000 sq m) facility includes living quarters, a cinema, a chapel, a gymnasium, a billiards room and an orangery. It is situated at 80 degrees north and has been built in the shape of a clover leaf and decorated in the red, blue and white of the Russian tricolour.

Inside Russia’s top-secret Arctic base which Vladimir Putin has filled with nuclear-armed warplanes and REINDEER-riding special forces

Experts reckon the area could be cover more than £23 TRILLION worth of oil and gas

Alexandra Land – Google Maps

Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

Russia to Develop Nuclear Round for T-14 Main Battle Tank | The Diplomat

Russia is purportedly mulling fitting its newest battle tank with a 152 millimeter gun capable of firing nuclear rounds.

Russia shows off robotic gunslinger – CNET

Commentary: Russia’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, proudly tweets video of a Russian Robocop in action.

Russia To Send Gun-Toting Humanoid Into Space : NPR

Russia’s space-bound robot FEDOR, Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, is being trained to shoot guns from both of its hands. An official says the robot is not a real-life Terminator.

Russia Trains Robot To Shoot Guns: Can Humans Prevent Rise Of Terminator-Like Killing Machines? : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Russia’s Fedor robot has learned to shoot guns with impressive precision. How do companies like Google, groups and individuals try to stop killer robots from taking over the world?

No, Russia isn’t sending a Terminator robot to the space station | Ars Technica

Financially, conditions could get worse for the Russian space agency in a few years.

The Love Lives of Bolsheviks – The New York Times

They were passionate not just about changing the world but also about one another. It all ended in tears.

Russia and U.S. Relations: Lessons of the “X Article” – History in the Headlines

With U.S.-Russia relations in the news, let’s take a look back at George Kennan’s influential Cold War-era strategy, and how it might still be relevant today.

How One Strange Photo Triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis

This one photo, taken from a spy plane in 1962, set off a chain of events that almost ignited nuclear war.

Russia Then & Now: A Tale of Two Visits | The American Spectator

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Dmitry Tymchuk | List Kremlin delirium: infected rats, the mercenaries of NATO DRG-poisoners and death rays – IS Coordinator – To Inform is to Influence

Apologies, dear readers. These jokes, er, rather propaganda examples, are not nearly as funny in English as they are in Russian.  Nobody will ever accuse Russian propagandists of being too intelligent.  They tend to debase themselves to the lowest common denominator, use racial slurs, and resurrect ancient fallacies.  </end editorial> (Translated from Russian by my…

Russia’s Propaganda Machine Sets Its Sights On The Balkans | The Daily Caller

Russian disinformation campaigns in Europe have grown over the last several years, but the Kremlin is now doubling down on its efforts in Balkan countries.

Russian Disinformation Technology – To Inform is to Influence

Russia’s reinvention of war exploits old techniques for a new century. Open-source citizen investigators are fighting back. by John Pollock April 13, 2017 On July 17, 2014, as passengers checked in at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, “Necro Mancer” (@666_mancer) tweeted about an unusual convoy 1,500 miles east in Ukraine. His citizen…

New center to combat disinformation – To Inform is to Influence

Posted April 11 The facility to be built in Finland is backed by nine countries, including the U.S. BY JARI TANNERASSOCIATED PRESS HELSINKI — A center to combat such things as disinformation and fake news will be built in Finland following an agreement Tuesday of nine countries from the European Union and NATO. The countries… 

The Primer on Russia’s “Active Measures,” Its Information Warfare Strategy – To Inform is to Influence

April 9, 2017 by PAUL RATNER As questions swirl about Russia’s role in the 2016 Presidential elections, the old KGB strategy of “active measures” is getting a closer look. “Active measures” were subversive techniques and policies aimed at influencing people and events in foreign countries to suit Russia’s objectives. Claims of internet-driven hacking and misinformation…

Trove of Stolen NSA Data Is ‘Devastating’ Loss for Intelligence Community | Foreign Policy

Trove of Stolen NSA Data Is ‘Devastating’ Loss for Intelligence Community « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Microsoft says users are protected from alleged NSA malware – 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.

Is the STEM shortage a national security issue?

Here’s what I discovered after looking into the challenge involved in recruiting STEM resources.

Ukraine Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: For All Its Problems, Ukraine Now Easternmost of Western Countries Rather Westernmost of Eastern Ones

Paul Goble Staunton, April 18 – Rudyard Kipling famously observed that “the Russian is a delightful person till he tucks his shirt in. As an Oriental he is charming. It is only when he insists upon being treated as the most easterly of Western peoples, instead of the most westerly of Easterns, that he becomes a racial anomaly extremely difficult to handle.” Anyone who must deal with a Russian, the English writer said, “never knows which side of his nature is going to turn up next” and therefore is often at a loss as to how to respond. Some Russians have repeatedly tried to shift from the one civilizational side to the other, but typically they have succeeded only in putting a Western veneer over the Eastern reality. That makes what Ukraine has done in the three years since the Maidan so impressive. It truly is, as commentators on the Ukrainian counter-propaganda site argue, “the extreme east of the West” rather than “the most westerly” of the East ( Since the Maidan, they point out, “Ukraine hasn’t been able to do many things.” It hasn’t rooted out corruption, and it hasn’t transformed its economy. But Ukraine has done one thing and that is to make a civilizational choice, to be part of the West rather than the East – and that is “the main impulse for changes.” “We have made a European choice not in a geographic but in a psychological and civilizational sense. This means that we accept the Western system of values without qualification and exception for any exceptions inevitably deform all the construction and we would return to where we had begun.” Regular elections, the democratic change of leaders and popular control of the government are “defining conditions of this choice. The most important thing,” these commentators continues, “is that we understand this from below and are already implementing these principles above.” Democracy is often at risk, they point out, and can even be destroyed from within as it was in Germany in the 1930s and is now in Turkey if the population forgets the importance of these principles. That is especially likely if people feel themselves threatened by foreign intervention or domestic enemies. But “Ukraine, even while conducting a war with a powerful opponent which has set as its goal the destruction of our state as such and even to for further and even with its difficulties in escaping from the economic crisis and having a plethora of other dangers, nonetheless has put democratic values and the freedom of its citizens at the center of its national life.” “We will unconditionally win the war, and the economy has already begun quietly to improve and will grow, but we will not give birth to a dictatorship and we have no doubt that we don’t need one,” the commentators say. And because that is so, “we are already Europe: we are already the West.” Ukraine and Ukrainians “will not be Russia or Turkey or South Korea; we were, are and will be Ukraine, part of Europe and the West, an outpost of civilization on the border with wild Asia.”

Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis | The Trump Administration and the 115th Congress Should Support Ukraine | The Heritage Foundation

Ukraine is in the midst of a national struggle that will determine its future geopolitical orientation: the West or Moscow. The outcome of this struggle will have long-term implications for the transatlantic community and the notion of national sovereignty. Since 2014, almost 5 percent of Ukraine’s landmass and more than half of its coastline have been under illegal Russian occupation in Crimea.

Peter Dickinson | Ukrainian Patriotism Has Halted Putin’s Ill-Conceived Invasion | Newsweek

Russia blames a motley crew of phantom fascists, CIA agents and international villains.

Stephanie Pezard, Andrew Radin, Thomas S. Szayna, F. Stephen Larrabee | European Relations with Russia: Threat Perceptions, Responses, and Strategies in the Wake of the Ukrainian Crisis | RAND

This report analyzes how Europeans perceive the Russian threat following the 2014 Ukraine crisis, how European states have responded to Russia’s behavior, and how European officials see the future of Russo-European relations.

Anne Applebaum | Why US taxpayers should care about Ukraine, Opinion News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Mr Tillerson’s question, rhetorical or otherwise, therefore deserves a response. For the answer is yes: US taxpayers should be interested in Ukraine. But not necessarily for reasons that would make sense to an oil company’s CEO.

Ukraine Made More Progress in Last 3 Years Than It Has Done in the Last 25 Years – YouTube

Ukraine made more progress in last 3 years than it has done in the last 25 years, says Dr. Kateryna Smagliy, Director of the Kennan Institute in Ukraine _ Fo…

Hague Court To Issue Ruling On Ukraine Case Against Russia

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) says it will issue a ruling on April 19 on Kyiv&rsquo;s bid to block Russia from sending money, weapons, and troops to eastern Ukraine. The ruling will tak…

Moldova, Ukraine Plan to Set Up 13 Joint Check Points at Transnistrian Border

The Ukrainian and Moldovan customs services plan to establish 13 joint check points at the border with the self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria, local media reported Monday, citing a Moldovan government decree.

Normandy Four leaders discuss release of Donbas hostages

The leaders of the Normandy Four &ndash; Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia &ndash; have discussed the release of Donbas hostages in the all-for-all format among other issues during their recent phone conversation, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's press service. News 18 April from UNIAN.

Alleged accomplice of Voronenkov’s killer was detained for weapon possession and released prior to Russian politician’s murder, – journalist

18.04.17 15:24 – Alleged accomplice of Voronenkov’s killer was detained for weapon possession and released prior to Russian politician’s murder, – journalist The alleged accomplice of Pavlo Parshov, the killer of former Russian State Duma MP Denys Voronenkov, was detained by law enforcers eight days before Voronenkov’s murder for weapon possession. He was subsequently released. View news.

Russian female terror suspect wanted by Interpol detained in Ukraine’s main airport

17.04.17 19:00 – Russian female terror suspect wanted by Interpol detained in Ukraine’s main airport On Monday, April 17, an internationally wanted female citizen of Russia was detained while passing passport control at the Kyiv Boryspil Airport after she arrived from Amman. View news.

Semper Fidelis: Ukrainian marines conduct amphibious, airborne drills. VIDEO

17.04.17 21:02 – Semper Fidelis: Ukrainian marines conduct amphibious, airborne drills. VIDEO A video of the training of Ukrainian naval infantry has been released online. View video news.

Situation in Donbas aggravating, 32 attacks by Russian mercenaries over past day, – HQ

18.04.17 10:22 – Situation in Donbas aggravating, 32 attacks by Russian mercenaries over past day, – HQ Over the past 24-hour period, Russian troops committed 32 attacks upon positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area. View news.

Ukraine reports 1 WIA amid 32 enemy attacks in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 32 times in the past 24 hours with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 18 April from UNIAN.

Russia deploys its retired T-72B, T-80BV tanks to Ukraine border for further handover to Donbas militants, – InformNapalm. PHOTOS

17.04.17 16:58 – Russia deploys its retired T-72B, T-80BV tanks to Ukraine border for further handover to Donbas militants, – InformNapalm. PHOTOS The Russian Federation continues holding its hybrid campaign against Ukraine. The monitoring of social graphs belonging to the Russian servicemen and surveillance for the border areas in the occupied Donbas unveiled unusual activity that may indicate… View photo news.

Russia’s 8th Brigade soldiers exposed as occupiers of Ukraine’s Donbas. PHOTOS

17.04.17 17:38 – Russia’s 8th Brigade soldiers exposed as occupiers of Ukraine’s Donbas. PHOTOS War criminals from the special operations battalion of the 8th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (OMSBr) of Russia’s Armed Forces have been exposed as involved in hostilities in the Donbas. View photo news.

Former US Marine on How Ukraine Could Better Serve Its Veterans – YouTube

Former US Marine and NextOp Executive Director John Boerstler tells UATV how Ukraine may be able to better serve its former servicemen and women. _ Follow UA…

Balaklia, nearby villages cleared from unexploded ordnance after March 23 accident

Workers of the State Emergency Situations Service of Ukraine have cleared the town of Balaklia and nearby villages in Kharkiv region from unexploded ordnance after an accident at a local military depot late in March. News 18 April from UNIAN.

Ukroboronprom’s net profit grows by 31.2% in 2016 | UNIAN

Ukraine's state-run Ukroboronprom Concern, which incorporates major enterprises of the country's military and industrial complex, posted UAH 28.3 billion, or US$1.06 billion, in net profit in 2016, which was 31.2% up from 2015, according to the company's financial report. News 18 April from UNIAN.

IMF offers recipe for Ukraine’s pension system | UNIAN

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is early to introduce defined contribution (DC) plans in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian economic news portal Ekonomichna Pravda (EP). News 18 April from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s central bank to transfer nearly US$1.66 bln to budget in 2017

Head of the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Bohdan Danylyshyn has announced that UAH 44.379 billion, or US$1.66 billion, of the profit posted by the central bank in 2016 will be channeled into the national budget in 2017. News 18 April from UNIAN.

Ukraine imposes new anti-dumping duties on Russia imports, – Ministry of Economic Development

17.04.17 19:56 – Ukraine imposes new anti-dumping duties on Russia imports, – Ministry of Economic Development Ukraine’s interdepartmental commission for international trade has decided to introduce anti-dumping measures against Russian imports and launch a probe into the import of certain Russian products. View news.

Ukraine to fill gap in Turkey’s wheat imports – media | UNIAN

Turkey’s custom tax of 130 percent levied on six products imported from Russia, particularly wheat, has directed Turkish importers toward temporary solutions, leading them to other markets. Moreover, wheat importers will temporarily fill in the gap caused by the customs tax that disables wheat imports from Russia by resorting to the Ukrainian market, according to Daily Sabah.

We buy coal K from Russia, – Deputy Minister Hrymchak

18.04.17 12:14 – We buy coal K from Russia, – Deputy Minister Hrymchak Ukraine continues buying coal K from the Russian Federation. View news.

Six private houses damaged in attack on Ukraine’s Avdiyivka on Monday (Photos, video)

Russia's hybrid forces have attacked residential areas of the Ukrainian-controlled town of Avdiyivka in Donetsk region, six private houses have been damaged, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) headquarters. News 17 April from UNIAN.

Ukraine slaps anti-dumping duties on grinding wheels from Russia

Ukraine's interdepartmental commission for international trade has decided to introduce anti-dumping measures on imports of ceramic bonded grinding wheels originating from Russia. News 17 April from UNIAN.

How Eurovision Became the Kremlin’s Mousetrap | IWM

Firstly, it was the SBU’s job to trace all non-Ukrainian artists who performed in Russian-annexed Crimea in violation of Ukrainian law and ban them from entering Ukraine straight away. Had Ukraine already banned Samoylova from entering Ukraine in 2015, when she performed in Crimea, Moscow would not have chosen her for the Eurovision Song Contest and Ukraine would not have found itself in such an inconvenient situation. (There is little doubt that Moscow would have attempted to do something else to damage Ukraine, but that would have been a different story). At the very least, the SBU could have identified potential candidates during the selection process, checked if they violated any Ukrainian laws and banned Samoylova before she became Russia’s Eurovision nominee. Secondly, the very acceptance of the idea that there were only two ways to respond to Moscow’s nomination was already an indication of the success of the Kremlin’s reflexive control operation. By accepting Moscow’s rules of the game, Ukraine could not win, but it could have minimized the damage resulting from the Kremlin’s info-war operation or even turned the tables. As Sergej Sumlenny, head of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Kyiv, wrote on Facebook, Ukrainians could have outsmarted the Kremlin: “If for example Jamala met the Russian singer at the airport and told her: dear kid, you obviously do not know at all what happened [in] Crimea before. Let me invite you to my house and tell you the story of my people. And there would be pictures in the media [showing] how Jamala [tells] Yulia the real history, and tell[s] her what [the] Kremlin does not want to be told”. Or, as another commentator wrote, Ukraine could have arranged for the Russian singer to meet with Ukrainian servicemen who were disabled as a result of injuries sustained while defending Ukraine against Russian aggression. Ukraine could have come up with other ideas too. It is undeniable that all of them would have been very political, but – given the circumstances – there is no apolitical way of responding to the Kremlin’s reflexive control operation. Today, there seems to be no solution to the problem of Russia’s Eurovision contestant. Following the Ukrainian travel ban, the EBU made an unprecedented move and offered Russia the opportunity to have Samoylova participate in the contest via satellite. As the EBU argued, this would be “in the spirit of Eurovision’s values of inclusivity” and this year’s theme of celebrating diversity. Moscow rejected the EBU’s offer. To a certain degree, this improves the otherwise inconvenient situation for Ukraine, since it is now Russia rather than Ukraine that is throwing sand in the Eurovision machine. Nevertheless, the overall situation is far from having been resolved, and Moscow will likely continue using it to damage Ukraine’s international image.

Ukrainian physics students triumph at the International Physicists’ Tournament | UACRISIS.ORG

April 8th-13rd, Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg, Sweden) hosted the 9th International Physicists’ Tournament. The tournament was attended by representatives of 18 universities from Europe, Asia, the USA and South America. Three teams, including Ukrainian, made it to the final round. The team of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University won the finals, beating the teams of Chalmers University of Technology and Ecole Polytechnique of Paris. The Ukrainian team consisted of Viktoria Zaitseva, Olha Zaitseva, Ihor Sikachin (Physics Department) and Bohdan Bydenko, Kyrylo Herashchenko, Arina Ivashtenko (Department of Physics and Technology). The team was coached for the tournament by Kharkiv National University Associate Professors Zakhar Maizelys and Oleksii Holubov.

Experience a Medieval Easter in Kyiv’s Historic Kyivian Rus Park – YouTube

Easter celebrations in Kyivan Rus park near the Ukrainian capital had a historic touch. The event organizers amazed the crowds with reenactments of knightly …

Syria / Russia Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Spetsnaz of the USSR’ – the New Russian Irregulars in Syria Now Fighting for Asad

Paul Goble Staunton, April 18 – The Syrian military does not have enough personnel to simultaneously launch major attacks, suppress militants, and garrison cities under its control, and so Moscow has dispatched to Syria irregular forces which it calls “the Spetznaz of the USSR” that consist not of professional soldiers but of irregulars from Central Asia and the Caucasus. According to the “Russian Spring” portal, which was launched at the time of the Crimean Anschluss, this force, which it labels “a counter-partisan special detachment from the countries of the former USSR,” calls itself TURAN, has its own uniforms and numbers between 800 and 1200 fighters( Most of the participants come from Central Asia and the South Caucasus, but some come from the North Caucasus as well, the portal says. They are armed with weapons from the former Soviet Union as well as the West, and they appear to “belong to the now fashionable innovation of contemporary war – private military companies.” Its commanders say, RusVesna reports, that they will soon be sending up to 400 of their number along the road connecting Aleppo and Es-Saur in support of government forces. And the portal adds that “the appearance of such departments on the side of government forces should become a signal for the militants that against them are fighting representatives of a good half of the countries of the former USSR which in turn means the following: the days of their bandit activities on the Syrian land are numbered.” The participation of as many as 10,000 militants from Russia and the other post-Soviet states has attracted enormous attention as has the Russian military presence not only in the form of regular units but also Chechen police detachments that Ramzan Kadyrov has loudly promised he has sent. But this new Russian-organized “special forces” group is ominous for three reasons: First, such nominally irregular fighters because their activities can be denied not only by Damascus but by Moscow as well are likely to engage in even more vicious actions than the regular units of both. Second, their appearance may help Bashar Asad in the short term but they almost certainly guarantee that Russian involvement in his regime will be far more long-lasting than many have thought, with units of this “Spetznaz of the USSR” integrating themselves into the Syrian control system again in deniable ways. And third, and perhaps most worrisome of all, such units may represent a model for future Russian behavior in other hotspots, where most attention will focus on militants fighting for Islamist causes rather than on irregulars fighting for dictatorial regimes which are now Moscow’s only allies.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Calls Assad ‘Arch-Terrorist,’ Urges Russia To End Support

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an &quot;arch-terrorist&quot; and said Russia still has &quot;time to be on the right side of the argument.&quot; I…

U.K. Lawmakers Seek To Revoke British Citizenship Of Assad’s Wife

Lawmakers in Britain are urging the government to revoke the U.K. citizenship of the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to her support for her husband&rsquo;s government during th…

Russia Seeks Meeting With U.S., UN on Syria Next Week in Geneva – Bloomberg

Russia plans to hold talks with the U.S. and the United Nations next week in Geneva aimed at breathing new life into the Syrian peace process, state media reported, in what would mark the first such contacts since the new administration of Donald Trump took office.

US aggressive actions in Syria hamper political settlement, Russia’s Lavrov says

17.04.17 18:30 – US aggressive actions in Syria hamper political settlement, Russia’s Lavrov says U.S. missile attack on a Syrian government airfield has affected efforts to find a political settlement, and it may have been done on purpose. View news.

Russian Lawmakers, Saudi King Disagree On Future Of Syria’s President

A delegation from Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federal Council, have met in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud for talks about the war in Syria. …

MIT Professor Drops Wrench Into Sarin Evidence – To Inform is to Influence

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.  It appears the US may have used speculative analysis from Syrian rebels and did not corroborate reports and sources. This is, no doubt, producing severe apoplexy over the use of unproven data.  No doubt this will cause glee in some camps, severe consternation in others.  In both cases, grow…

End of ISIS Nears As Forces Supported by U.S. and Russia Close in On Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

ISIS faces a near-total loss in Iraq and a formidable showdown with both U.S. and Russia-backed forces in Syria that could end with the jihadists’ defeat in the Middle East.

Analysis: Ahmadinejad, Iran’s Greatest Foil, Is Back In The Spotlight

He’s back. The white polyester shirt that glistens in the light; the salesman's shark-toothed grin; the restless arms, always waving and throwing victory signs: Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Iran'…

Iran’s Stealth Fighter Is Still Fake and Not Convincing Anyone – To Inform is to Influence

I didn’t discover this Iranian propaganda but I sure enjoy it!   Here’s another YouTube video about the same plane:  A whole bunch of writeups exposing this as a fake. New Photos And Video of Iran’s Homemade F-313 “Qaher” Stealth Jet Have Just Emerged. And Here’s A First Analysis IAIO Qaher-313 – Wikipedia “Qaher F-313,…

Photo Gallery: Photo Gallery: How Does ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ Stack Up? | Aviation Week

Despite its powerful blast, the MOAB may not be the most powerful conventional bomb in the world.

U.S. National Security Adviser Visits Pakistan, Hints At Tougher Stance

H.R. McMaster, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, has visited Pakistan, a day after he hinted that Washington could take a tougher stance on Islamabad. McMaster arrived i…

DPRK / PRC Reports

Lavrov Urges U.S. Not To Take ‘Risky’ Military Action Against North Korea

Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said he hopes the United States will not take what he called &quot;very risky&quot; unilateral military action against North Korea as it did recently i…

McCain: North Korea Is First ‘Real Test’ of Trump’s Presidency – NBC News

As tensions rise with North Korea, Sen. John McCain said ‘this could be the first test, real test, of the Trump presidency.’

The Trump doctrine? Don’t do what Obama did

For the third time in the last 10 days, the Trump administration sent a very clear message to the world: There’s a new gang running things in Washington now.

North Korea accuses US of creating situation for nuclear war – Washington Times

North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador accused the United States on Monday of turning the Korean Peninsula into “the world’s biggest hotspot” and creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment.”

North Korea ‘will test missiles weekly’, senior official tells BBC – BBC News

A senior official tells the BBC this may happen “weekly”, as the US warns: “Don’t test Trump.”

America Can’t Do Much About North Korea – The Atlantic

But whatever it can do, it will need China.

The North Korea Paradox: Why There Are No Good Options – The New York Times

Fearing losing their legitimacy, North Korea’s leaders created a permanent state of near-war, and an effective asymmetrical power dynamic.

Russia and China Are ‘Tailing’ U.S. Warship En Route to North Korea Region

Moscow and Beijing want a diplomatic solution to the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

North Korean aggression shows need for more U.S. forces in the region, top lawmaker says

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said more troops can act as a deterrent for North Korea and a wake up call for China.

Russia is an Asian Power Too: Japan Understands, but Does the United States?

Washington’s two recent big summits occurred as if they were in two different worlds. First, President Donald Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar

Foreign Policy Reports

Trump’s foreign policy: Speak with a bullhorn and carry a big stick – The Washington Post

In North Korea, Pence confirms Trump was sending a message with his Syria and Afghanistan actions.

Allies worried by Trumps’s changing views toward Russia, China | IOL

US President Donald Trump has rapidly reversed course in the last weeks, concluding there’s more business to be done with Beijing than with Moscow.

It’s France’s Turn to Worry About Election Meddling by Russia – The New York Times

Moscow and its state-run news outlets are churning out fake and slanted reports to bolster favored politicians, just as in the U.S. last year, critics say.

Whistles And Passports: Serbia’s Young Protesters Take On ‘The System’

About 30,000 Serbs move abroad each year. Filip Uzelac doesn&rsquo;t want to be one of them. But the organizational-sciences student is so worried that his fate lies outside Serbia that he has bee…

As Macedonia’s Political Deadlock Drags On, Economy Slows And Social Costs Mount

Jovan Angelov doesn&rsquo;t need to close his eyes and think hard to picture what may happen next. He&rsquo;s seen it before. As Macedonia plunges deeper into political gridlock, the effects on th…

With Reports of Unfree and Unfair Referendum, Turkey Isolates Itself Further Internationally | Foreign Policy

With Reports of Unfree and Unfair Referendum, Turkey Isolates Itself Further Internationally « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

• Chart: Turkish Referendum: How the World Voted | Statista

This chart shows the overall results of the 2017 Turkish constitutional referendum, by country.

Erdogan Lashes Out At European Monitors Of Turkey’s Referendum

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out angrily at criticism from European election monitors over a referendum that will bring sweeping new powers to the presidency.

Erdogan Says Monitors Questioning Turkey’s Vote Should ‘Know Their Place’ : The Two-Way : NPR

European election observers said in preliminary findings that Sunday’s referendum “took place on an unlevel playing field.” The nationwide vote vastly expands presidential powers.

Monitors Criticize Turkey Referendum, Erdogan Denounces ‘Crusader Mentality’ | The Huffington Post

Erdogan won a referendum to grant him sweeping new powers with a narrow victory.

Turkey referendum: Erdogan dismisses criticism by monitors – BBC News

Turkey’s leader rejects a report saying he was given an unfair advantage in Sunday’s referendum.

Australia to introduce stricter rules on working visas – BBC News

Skilled workers from overseas will need to pass additional checks, PM Malcolm Turnbull says.

US, Philippines to conduct military drills amid tensions with Duterte

Despite anti-U.S. rhetoric from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, joint annual military exercise Balikatan is expected to begin next month.

Is India Playing the United States Against Russia? | Foreign Policy

Is India Playing the United States Against Russia? « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

US Domestic Policy Reports

The Nuclear Posture Review is underway. Here’s what to look for.

The Trump administration’s new nuclear weapons review has begun.

New Power Center in Trumpland: The ‘Axis of Adults’ – The Daily Beast

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and other administration ‘adults’ are meeting in private—and having a major impact on Trump.

Trump Presidency Hitting Stride as Obama’s Memory Tarnishes | National Review

Trump has had a good last two weeks on the international front, helped by the contrast with an ineffectual Obama before him.

Ex-Obama officials say hesitation to use force in Syria, elsewhere, emboldened adversaries | Fox News

Some former Obama administration officials watched the news of the Syrian chemical attack with a sense of frustration and a reluctant feeling of vindication.

Antony J. Blinken | How America Is Losing the Credibility War – The New York Times

President Trump helps America’s adversaries by spreading misinformation and inflammatory tweets.

Alexander Dugin and Steve Bannon’s Ideological Ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia

Steve Bannon doesn’t seem to be caught up in the Russiagate probes. But he does have a link to Moscow: Alexander Dugin.

Trump Popularity Plummets in Russia, Poll Shows | World | US News

A diminished perception of the U.S. president follows tensions between Washington and Moscow over Syria.

Trump and the Russia Money

A Retired CIA Officer Talks Russia, the 2016 Presidential Election and More | Sarasota Magazine

I understand that people have a lot of questions right now. That’s why I agreed to meet you.”

Editorial: CalExit — all the way to Russia?

The Leader Of “Calexit” Is Giving Up On The Secession Movement To Live In Russia

Tin Foil Hat Time: MSNBC Host Wonders If Russia And Trump Plotted To Distract Us From Collusion Probe With Syrian Missile Strike – Matt Vespa

Wag the dog.04/18/2017 7:30:52AM EST.

Minot missile field to shrink under US treaty with Russia | North Dakota News |

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The number of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in northern North Dakota will shrink from 150 to 133 by next February under a nuclear arms reduction