Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 3 May 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia producing a lot of MSM traffic. Russia blocking more Internet messaging services. Putin-POTUS and Putin-Merkel meetings yield nothing useful, as one would expect. Acid attacks outsourced to contract personnel labeled by Whitmore as “effectively waging a hybrid war against the opposition”, while criminal banditry by former Donbass mercenaries and military inside Russia appears to reach pandemic proportions, likely aided by abundant supplies of automatic weapons smuggled by Russian personnel back into Russia to earn hard cash. Persecution and torture of LGBT and Jehovah’s Witnesses is producing significant MSM traffic in the West.

IW – Goble essay on Baltics is excellent, as is UATV forensic on Odessa fire in 2014.

Donbass fires continue, while SBU rolls up Russian urban terrorist group in Odessa. Interesting 1919 map of Ukraine – half of Belarus, a chunk of Poland, and much of the Caucasus were part of Ukraine, until the Soviet invasion and stripping of many of these territories – some Ukrainian nationalists argue they still have a claim on these territories.

Syria and DPRK mainly backfill reports, plus ROK political opposition using situation for domestic gains.

Multiple reports on EU blowback against Russian meddling, especially Hungary and France. Good FP analysis on Venezuela meltdown.

US domestic – interesting reports on confirmation delays and IC comments on election hacking effects.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Top general wants more troops in Europe to deter Russia | TheHill

The general in charge of U.S. military operations in Europe said Tuesday that the United States needs more troops in Europe to deter an increasingly aggressive Russia. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command, told lawmakers that U.S. force posture — which includes two brigade combat teams and one rotational brigade in Europe — must increase over time. “Russia’s posture is not a light force, it’s a heavy force,” he said during a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing. ADVERTISEMENT “In order to have the posture that is both credible and of the right composition, we need more armored forces … to make sure that we do have a force of enough size that enables us to deter Russia.” Scaparrotti also said lawmakers should consider sending more “enablers” to Europe, such as engineers and aviation brigades. Scaparrotti has frequently advocated for the U.S. to counter Russia’s aggressive behavior, saying in March that EUCOM hopes to obtain more troops, systems and munitions. He added that the command is coordinating with the Pentagon for “additional maneuver forces, combat air squadrons, anti-submarine capabilities, a carrier strike group and maritime amphibious capabilities.” The U.S. military has about 62,000 troops in Europe today, down from a Cold War high of 300,000.

Russia may block WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram even tomorrow – To Inform is to Influence

Russia is increasing censorship of its own people.  BlackBerry Messenger, Imo and Line messengers and Vchat were just blocked, more are coming.  Russia Blocks Access to Websites Promoting New Moscow Protest Three Ways the Russian Government Is Trying to Control the Internet Four messaging services blocked in Russia This reflects rising protests associated with the…

Putin’s Disappointing Phone Call With Trump – The Atlantic

Reports of a planned meeting were less than met the eye. On Tuesday afternoon, after President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their third phone call in about as many months, news emerged that the two leaders would finally meet this summer. For those tracking the Trump-Putin dance, it might seem just another date in a long love affair. The reality, however, looks far bleaker for Putin. Consider this: After three phone calls and an infinite amount of hope for a Trump-Putin detente dashed against the rocks of American politics, all that Trump and Putin could agree on, according to the readouts provided from each side, was that the war in Syria is bad and that maybe a personal meeting this summer would be good. But even that part about the meeting, it turned out, was just in the Kremlin’s account of the presidential phone call. The White House made no mention of any agreement to meet. And even the Kremlin left room for uncertainty. After a description of “a whole range of timely questions of cooperation between the two countries on the world stage”—which, according to the Kremlin readout, were Syria, and Russia’s perennial, cynically used favorite, counterterrorism—“Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump spoke in favor of continuing contact by telephone, as well as in favor of organizing a personal meeting alongside the G20 Summit in Hamburg on July 7-8.” Which, given the White House’s silence on the meeting, sounds a lot less like a continuing bromance and a lot more like, “Call me” and “See you around.”

Putin Speaks With Trump By Phone, Meets Merkel In Sochi

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have spoken together by telephone for the third time since Trump took office in January.

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Call With Putin | Foreign Policy

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Call With Putin « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Mark Galeotti on 2 May 2017 Trump Putin conversation – YouTube

A snap take on the 2 May 2017 phone conversation between Trump and Putin.

The Morning Vertical, May 3, 2017

ON MY MIND On one hand, the Moscow authorities’ unwillingness to investigate last week’s zelyonka chemical attack against opposition leader Aleksei Navalny is a sign of approval. After all, Internet sleuths have already made a convincing case that the culprits are South-East Russian Bloc, or SERB, a pro-Kremlin activist group. (See Kevin Rothrock’s piece in GlobalVoices on the subject, featured in yesterday’s Morning Vertical.) But as Vedomosti notes in an editorial featured below, the attack on Navalny, other assaults on opposition figures, and the authorities’ response to these attacks illustrate something else as well: As it outsources its attacks on the opposition, Vladimir Putin’s regime is giving up its monopoly on the organized use of violence. The Kremlin is effectively waging a hybrid war against the opposition. And as several reports illustrate, it involves some of the same people who were involved in the early stages of the hybrid war on Ukraine. Aleksandr Petrunko, the man identified as a SERB activist involved in the attack on Navalny, also participated in a failed attempt to take over the Kharkiv regional administration in April 2014. (See Halya Coynash’s piece featured in yesterday’s Morning Vertical.) Using proxies in eastern Ukraine didn’t exactly work out as the Kremlin had planned. And sooner or later, the Kremlin may come to regret opening a similar Pandora’s box at home.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Banditry from Donbass Rapidly Spreading Back into and across Russia, Babchenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 3 – Russia is rapidly descending into “a swamp of illegality and unconstrained banditry” in large measure because those features of the Donbass regimes Moscow has created are rapidly spreading back into and across the country, according to Arkady Babchenko. The Russian journalist says that he predicted this when the Kremlin launched its efforts to create a “Novorossiya” in 2014 because the absence of the rule of law in the various entities Moscow imposed in the eastern portion of Ukraine would inevitably have an impact on life in Russia itself ( Attacks on people and property, bank robberies, and stealing from ATMs have become “almost a daily occurrence. The law isn’t functioning. It still exists to some degree but it is being reduced in importance ever more.” And even law enforcement officials acknowledge that they are not able to fight either organized or street crime. If the country doesn’t change its domestic policies soon, Babchenko continues, it awaits “the fate of Somalia.” And while few want to acknowledge it, “the level of criminality in Russia now exceeds the vaunted ‘wild 1990s.’” Soon people will avoid going out at night or even without the company of others. According to the Russian commentator, “the current regime doesn’t need security and legal order” because it shares the values of the criminals that the only thing that matters is getting rich by whatever means are possible. Law for them is just one more obstacle and, when they can, they ignore it or trample upon its principles. Babchenko is only the latest Russian writer to warn about this. Earlier, Aleksandr Nevzorov said that those who had experienced the lawlessness of the DNR and LNR represent “a direct threat to Russian citizens” at home, first in the southern portions of the country and then everywhere including St. Petersburg ( Russians who have fought in the Donbass, Nevzorov said, “have gotten a taste for easy money, easy blood, and easy opportunities for satisfying themselves,” in short, all “the criminal joys.” And they don’t forget these when they return home, yet another way that Putin’s war in Ukraine is harming Russia.

Ecological disaster in Ukraine caused by Moscow’s invasion spreads into Russia, experts say | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |[UPDATED]

ADDITIONAL CONTENT. Just as was the case with the Chornobyl accident 25 years ago last month, the environmental damage caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is spreading far beyond the borders of that country into the Russian Federation, according to Russian and Ukrainian engineers, mining specialists and ecologists. In an article in, Dmitry Kirillov explains that the damage has been so large because just as in tsarist and Soviet times, the Donbas is one of the most industrially dense regions and so the disruption of industrial and mining activity has an immediate impact on the air and water there and in nearby regions.

Navalny Accuses Police Of Failing To Investigate Attack

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny says he is filing official complaints contending that Moscow police are not investigating an attack against him. Navalny wrote on his website on May 2 tha…

Russian TV Network Shows Video Of Navalny Attack With Assailant’s Face Blurred – To Inform is to Influence

The only reason to blur the Navalny assailant’s face is to protect the guilty.  This leads one to believe the Russian government is behind the attack and the television station is complicit in the coverup. Russian corruption. Thank goodness for open source means to identify the criminal.  The Russian police have shown no interest in…

The Kremlin’s Coercion Calculus (Op-ed) – Moscow Times

Russia’s rulers have to decide how to respond to an uptick in protest sentiment. So far, they are leaning towards further repression. If the Kremlin was content to let the 2011 protests run their course until crackdowns in May 6, 2012, it seems to have no such patience this time around. Many of those arrested in March and last weekend can expect to see real jail time. And as the chemical warfare against Navalny and others suggests, extra-legal measures are also very much in play — in a way they never were six years ago. Going hard against the opposition might deter protesters and get Russians off the streets, but the history of high-risk activism around the world teaches a different lesson. Yes, increasing risks does help keep people at home when movements are new and solidarity is still weak. But when the battle lines have long been drawn – as they have in Russia – escalation by the state tends to lead to greater commitment and an increased sense of ‘now-or-never’ urgency. That may not be the Kremlin’s desired result.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Faces of May Day in Russia

Paul Goble Staunton, May 2 – For many years, analysts focused only on what the authorities announced were the official slogans of May Day; then, they tended to evaluate the holiday in terms of what the balance was between those who took part in officially organized marches and those who were identified as the opposition. But now May Day has become a holiday in which the official slogans and the balance between official and opposition may be less instructive about what is going on in Russia than the ways in which various groups have used the day to promote their cause and how the authorities have responded. Five cases seem especially interesting: · LGBT activists in St. Petersburg staged a protest calling for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to be dispatched to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Not surprisingly, they were quickly rounded up by the police ( who were supported by Russian anti-gay activists (· Long-haul truck drivers in Volgograd who were denied the opportunity to take part in the official May Day celebration there because of their strike staged their own alternative: they ran model trucks through the city to make their case against the Plato system ( · Marchers in the Northern Capital carried signs declaring that Putin’s war in Ukraine is “a crime without a statute of limitations” ( · Opponents of transferring St. Isaac’s to the Russian Orthodox Church and supporters of the creation of an Ingria Republic in northwestern Russia marched together ( and · And activists in Novosibirsk staged their latest “monstration,” a gathering committed to making fun of the bureaucratism and officialism of most Russian government holidays. Among the many delightful signs they carried this time around was one declaring “Big Brother is watching you – and he is bored” ( and

bne IntelliNews – STOLYPIN: Medvedev’s fate foreshadows Russia’s

Ever since he returned the crown to Vladimir Putin, in a speech effectively citing him as a far better president for Russia, Dmitry&nbsp;Medvedev has …

Chechnya anti-gay purge: Police tell parents to kill gay children

CHECHNYA’S police have instructed parents to kill their own gay children or “we’ll do it for you”, according to a horrific account told by a survivor.

Merkel pushes Putin on Chechnya gay detention reports –

Germany’s Angela Merkel has raised reports of the detention of gay men in Chechnya with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, urging the leader to protect minority rights.

Angela Merkel Presses Vladimir Putin on Treatment of Gays and Jehovah’s Witnesses – The New York Times

On her first visit to Russia since 2015, the German chancellor also discussed Ukraine and Syria with the Russian president.

Hypnosis and holy water: Russian ‘cures’ for gay people – BBC News

So-called “cures” dismissed by experts – such as hypnosis and drugs – are used for homosexuality in Russia.

Chechen gays survive torture, flee to Moscow safe houses

MOSCOW (AP) — Anzor was lying on a dirty floor as a man in army boots jumped on his back. His agony worsened when his captors started torturing him with electric shocks. “It’s a feeling like they are breaking every bone of every joint in your body at the same time,” he said. Anzor is a gay man from Chechnya, the predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where dozens of men suspected of being gay were reportedly detained and tortured, and at least three of them were allegedly killed. After his ordeal, Anzor fled Chechnya and is now in hiding in Moscow, fearing not only for his own life but for the safety of his relatives. He spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of using only his first name. Antipathy to homosexuality in Russia is widespread. Gay rights activists’ requests to hold rallies are routinely rejected by officials and any rallies that do take place are often attacked by anti-gay thugs. But “this anti-gay purge, sanctioned by top local authorities, is unprecedented,” said Tanya Lokshina, the Russia program coordinator for Human Rights Watch. Another gay man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told the AP that he was also arrested in Chechnya and held with dozens of others. “We were tortured every day. Beside beatings, we were beaten several times a day with polypropylene tubes. We were tortured with electricity,” he said. “For 20-30 seconds they spin the handle, you feel the electricity, then you fall down, they stop it, and then immediately you come back to consciousness and you are ready again for a new discharge,” he said. “And it goes on five, six, seven times.” The abuse was first reported in April by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which said that about 100 men suspected of being gay were rounded up and tortured, and that at least three were killed. Western governments and rights groups have urged Russian authorities to investigate. Chechen officials vehemently deny not only the reported torture of gays, but sometimes their very existence. “There are no homosexuals in Chechnya. You cannot detain and persecute those who do not exist,” ___ Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington.

Chechen gays survive torture, flee to Moscow safe houses – The Washington Post

Anzor was lying on a dirty floor as a man in army boots jumped on his back. His agony worsened when his captors started torturing him with electric shocks.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Ban: Russian Catholics Condemn Outlawing of Christian Group

Russia’s Catholic Church has joined the chorus of groups condemning the country’s ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Trial Of RFE/RL Contributor Again Adjourned

The trial of RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena, a Crimean journalist who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge on the Russian-controlled peninsula, has again bee…

Moscow Police Investigate Reports Of Discarded Body Fragments

Moscow police say they are investigating reports that fragments of the bodies of Kyrgyz citizens were found in a dumpster in the Russian capital. The May 2 statement came hours after the Kyrgy…

Bad News For BOCh rVF 260602: Putin Bans Unconventional Names

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning a wide range of unconventional names for newborns.

Kazakhstan Sentences Jehovah’s Witness To Five Years In Prison

ASTANA — A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a Jehovah’s Witness to five years in prison after convicting him of inciting religious and ethnic hatred. The May 2 verdict against Teimur Akhmedo…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Online Social Networks Prove to Be ‘Salvation’ of Divided Circassian Nation, Apsheva Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 3 – Facebook and other online social networks have become “a genuine salvation” for Circassians who are divided not only among various Soviet-created republics but between the 500,000 still in their North Caucasus homeland and the far larger number – as many as five million — living in the diaspora, according to Svetlana Apsheva. The Circassian journalist says that members of her nation have long been aware of the possibilities that social networks provide but that their power was most clearly manifested last week when Circassians in various countries marked the Day of the Circassian Flag and came together in virtual space ( Prior to their defeat by the Russian army and the expulsion of many of them to the Ottoman Empire in 1864, an action in which so many died that it qualifies as a genocide, Circassians went into battle under their national flag. Not surprisingly, the Russian occupiers did everything possible to erase it from Circassian memory. But the Circassians have never forgotten their flag, and when Soviet power collapsed, the Adygey Republic declared it the official one of that Circassian republic. And since 2010, Apsheva says, Circassians in other republics of the North Caucasus and around the world “have annually celebrated the Day of the Circassian Flag.”

Is the blog to blame for Vladimir Putin’s 2011-12 elections defeat?

In the 2011-12 elections, government leaders in Russia underestimated the power of the internet and it impacted the outcome of the elections. The open internet provided an opportunity for the opposition to communicate and …

Russia Puts NYC Socialite, Ex-Guggenheim Board Member On Trial In Absentia

Russia has kicked off the trial of a prominent New York real-estate developer and former Guggenheim Museum board member who is accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds t…

Dozens of Russian deaths cast suspicion on President Vladimir Putin [UPDATED]

A large proportion of the unexplained deaths involve people trying to expose corruption.

The U.S. Army Has Big Plans If a War with Russia or China Ever Went Down | The National Interest Blog

Advanced adversaries with carriers, stealth, hypersonic weapons, drones, long-range sensors and precision targeting technology presents the US military with a need to adjust doctrine to properly respond to a fast-changing threat landscape.

What do we know about Russia’s ‘Grand Strategy?’ – The Washington Post

The new Russian Security Strategy aims to put Russia on par with the United States, the European Union and China.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka’s Repression Enough to Keep Belarusians from Resuming Protests, Yegorov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 2 – Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s latest round of repressive actions, combined with a “middling” economic performance, have been just enough to keep Belarusians from returning to demonstrate on the anniversary of Chernobyl and on May Day despite predictions to the contrary by leaders of the earlier anti-vagrant law protests. According to Andrey Yegorov, the new repressive acts in combination with this “middling” economic performance have been just enough for the authorities to “receive middling loyalty” from the population ( The protests in February and March, the director of the Center for European Transformation says, reflected both the seasonal nature of Belarusian actions – they usually take place in the early spring or early fall – and a specific and absurdly unjust action by the Lukashenka regime. In March, he continues, “repressions – both massive with regard to participants and targeted toward the leaders of the opposition ended the mass quality of protests. The authorities were able to present street actions in the traditional way, that is, to have people again associate them with the opposition and with repression” rather than with issues close to their hearts. “The harsh actions of the militia raised the bar for participation in actions, and new leaders have not appeared, Yegorov says. As a result, the largest wave of demonstrations in Belarus for five years has at least for a time passed, and that is likely to be true for some time even if the economy gets worse, as long as the powers don’t do something stupid. It is difficult, he continues, to specify when the social contract between a regime and its population will snap. It may continue for a long time despite a deterioration in the economy that would seem certain to provoke it. What is needed is “a trigger,” and that is something the regime typically supplies by choosing to do something outrageous as with the anti-vagrancy decree. According to Yegorov, a new trigger could be the bankruptcy of an enterprise or government cutbacks or taxes that affect a large number of people. But “if such events don’t occur, protest activity may rise in periods of traditional increases” – the spring and fall – and decline to almost nothing otherwise for a long time to come. It is common ground, the scholar says, that “the Belarusian economy is stagnating, but the average pay of 300 to 350 US dollars a month in equivalent terms allows people to survive in a more or less middling way. For that middling life,” Yegorov continues, the people are prepared to show “middling loyalty,” not genuine support but also not clear opposition.

For the sprayed paint of Lenin – the year of correctional labor

A resident of the village of Malech in the Berezovsky District, Vitaliy Shilinets, was sentenced by Judge Natalya Vakulchik to the year of correctional labor with a deduction of 15% of earnings for the bust of Lenin covered with paint. The state prosecutor Yakubets demanded that Shilinets be sentenced to 2 years of probation work with a deduction of 25% of earnings. Shilinets does not admit his guilt and intends to appeal the verdict, since he considers the “leader of the world proletariat” a criminal, whose monuments should not be on Belarusian squares: “Lenin dispersed the legislative constitutional body – the Constituent Assembly. The Bolsheviks shot a peaceful demonstration that did not agree with this crackdown, which led to a civil war and to millions of victims … There was no such person who would say that I did something wrong. Many expressed their solidarity with me, “Radio Ratsya Shilinets said. The bust was installed around 1980, nowhere on the balance sheet; Before it no one touched.

Former KGB officer fled to Sweden and announced smuggling of oil products through Belarus

A former employee of the Belarusian KGB, Andrei Molchan, claims that he has documents showing the smuggling of oil products from Belarus. Molchan claims that he did not publish the documents earlier, because he was afraid. It follows from the documents that the Belarusian customs officers stopped the diesel fuel trains, which according to the documents passed as a solvent, but were ordered by Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko not to consider this cargo as being subject to customs inspection and not to send a sample of products for analysis to the Russian laboratory. The cargo followed through Tallinn. There the “solvent” again turned into “Russian diesel fuel”, which was sent to the port of Antwerp (Belgium). According to Molchan, he was ordered to send all documents on the smuggling case to Minsk, but he took copies of the entire folder and even retained some original papers. Swedish radio reports that he failed to get a comment from the press service of the government and the president of Belarus, writes Nasha Niva .

Belarus’s company KB Radar to unveil «Vostok-3D» radar at MILEX 2017 | Defence Blog

The KB Radar, one of the leading organizations of the Military Industrial Committee of the Republic of Belarus, is developing a 3D Radar «Vostok-3D» that will be unveiled at the MILEX 2017 exhibition in May. The Vostok 3D radar has been developed solely in Belarus and can substitute foreign products. Made by KB Radar, the managing company of the holding company Radar Systems, it is designed to detect aerial targets, measure their distance and bearing, altitude and radial velocity. The radar station can also automatically track trajectories of targets, recognize the target’s class, and feed the resultant data to an integrated control system. The 3D Radar «Vostok-3D» is designed for detection of aerial platforms, measurement of their range, azimuth, altitude and range rate, automatic target tracking and classification, transmission of radar information into a unified control system. «Vostok-3D» is a new, fully belarusian development capable of substituting all known 3D radars and range-finder + height-finder radar suites. «Vostok-3D» notably outperforms the VHF P-18, 5R84А, 1L13 radars, the 3D 19Zh6 as well as other existent foreign radars in terms of performance characteristics due to use of state-of-the-art in radar and digital technologies, employment of 2 frequencies, advanced engineering solutions. Composition: antenna equipment vehicle; remote automated workstation (RAWS); autonomous diesel power generator. At the MILEX 2017 the Belarus’s company KB Radar will demonstrate the defence technology products that the Belarusian army has now and that have been upgraded since the previous expo in addition to the latest products, which include radio location solutions implementing state-of-the-art radio location and radio signal processing techniques.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Paul Goble | Russian Fake News Operation Seeks to Generate Baltic Opposition to NATO Presence – Jamestown

Russian media outlets in Moscow and in the Baltic countries have stepped up their efforts to generate opposition among Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These media sources have been putting out fake news stories suggesting that NATO was recruiting Russian speakers, especially in Latvia, to use “as guinea pigs” to test new “physical, biological and other techniques.” The goal of such “experimentation” is purportedly to prepare the Balts to help the Western alliance invade the Russian Federation. The fabricated and entirely unsubstantiated story had its origins on April 18, in Moscow’s Nezavismaya Gazeta. The article quoted Russian Lieutenant General Yuri Netkachev, who had succeeded General Aleksandr Lebed in Transnistria in 1992 and commanded Russian forces in the Caucasus more recently. Netkachev told the Moscow paper that “NATO might use some novel techniques affecting the human psyche” during its summer training exercise, Shield XVI, in the Baltic countries. He further alleged that the Alliance’s effort to identify and recruit Russian-speakers, something he insisted NATO has done elsewhere, is likely to be part of that exercise. And providing absolutely no evidence, he concluded that “the use of such methods cannot be ruled out” in the current campaign (Nezavismaya Gazeta, April 18). But those quoted remarks sparked a spate of articles in the Baltic region that repeated this story in increasingly extravagant ways (, April 24;, April 25). Both the original Moscow article and especially its epigones in the Baltic countries repeated the now-standard Russian line that NATO’s activities in Latvia and its neighbors bear “a strikingly anti-Russian character.” Now, Russian media in Latvia has expanded this assertion to mean that NATO is preparing to use Latvia as a base for launching an attack on the Russian Federation (, April 24). The Latvian defense ministry has pointed out that such “fake news” stories about the North Atlantic Alliance are being “spread with increasing frequency.” Moreover, it notes that stories in outlets directed specifically at Baltic nationals and Russian-speakers there are often far more outrageous than those that emanate directly from Moscow. In support of that contention, the ministry pointed to a story that Russian hackers had illegally inserted on the BNS Lithuania news service website. The fake article was titled “The Echo of Syria in Latvia: US Troops Poisoned With Yperite.” BNS has asked the Lithuanian government to help bring the perpetrators to justice (, April 13). Latvian officials have called on everyone in Latvia to adopt “a critical approach” to all such “subversive information operations [now being conducted] in Latvia’s media environment” (, April 25).

How cybersleuths decided Russia was behind US election hack – CNET

Digital clues led security pros to agencies in Putin’s government. It’s as close as we’ll ever get to proof that Russia did it.

Megyn Kelly lands sit down with Vladimir Putin in Russia – NY Daily News

Megyn Kelly is having a productive first week at the office.

Megyn Kelly to moderate forum with Vladimir Putin: Report

The former Fox News anchor will host two shows for NBC: a Sunday night newsmagazine show and a daily “inspirational talk” show.

How Russian Propaganda Twisted the Truth of Odesa Fire Tragedy – YouTube_

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Ukraine Reports

Ukraine does not need illusory “peace” at the price of capitulation – Ukrainian intellectuals -Euromaidan Press |

The participants of Ukraine’s First of December group, a coalition of intellectuals, called upon the Ukrainian authorities and society to refuse an illusory peace at the price of capitulation, as that will only encourage the enemy to new aggression. Though the appeal was made on 16 March 2017, it is even more relevant, as calls for making “compromises” with Russia have been repeated by pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk in an interview to Financial Times, and a campaign to force Austrian-style neutrality upon Ukraine in exchange for the promise of Russia stopping its war.

Putin on seized Ukrainian enterprises in Donbas: “No one ever took anything from anyone; external management was temporarily introduced there”

03.05.17 11:03 – Putin on seized Ukrainian enterprises in Donbas: No one ever took anything from anyone; external management was temporarily introduced there President Vladimir Putin of Russia says no one had ever captured Ukrainian enterprises located in the occupied areas of the Donbas. View news.

Merkel to Putin: “Ukraine should be given access to its own state border”

03.05.17 12:00 – Merkel to Putin: Ukraine should be given access to its own state border German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to do everything in his power to achieve full cease-fire between Russia-backed rebels and the Ukrainian government forces. View news.

Odesa honors Ukrainian patriots died on May 2, 2014 (Photo)

About 100 people gathered at the intersection of Deribasivska and Preobrazhenskaya Streets in Odesa, where pro-Russian separatists shot Andriy Biriukov and Ihor Ivanov, who became the first victims of mass riots on May 2, 2014, an UNIAN correspondent reports. News 02 May from UNIAN.

Ukraine reports 63 enemy attacks, 1 KIA, 7 WIAs in last day

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 63 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and seven as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 03 May from UNIAN.

SBU detained group of people suspected of plotting terrorist attacks and provocations in Odesa. VIDEO

02.05.17 17:32 – SBU detained group of people suspected of plotting terrorist attacks and provocations in Odesa. VIDEO Servicemen of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained a group of local residents in Odesa suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, acts of sabotage, and provocations. View video news.

SBU detains group of people suspected of plotting acts of terror, sabotage in Odesa (Video)

Ukraine’s SBU Security Service together with Alpha special force in Odesa has detained today, May 2, a group of local residents who are reasonably suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, acts of sabotage, and provocation, according to the SBU’s press center, an UNIAN correspondent reports. News 02 May from UNIAN.

Two civilians blown on trip-wire set up by occupiers in Luhansk region

One civilian killed and another wounded in an explosion due to triggering a trip-wire actuating device planted by the Russian-backed militants, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry posted on Facebook. News 02 May from UNIAN.

Evidence of Direct Russian Intervention in Donbas – YouTube

The Conflict in Donbas is called differently. But in fact, it is already a three-year Russian-Ukrainian war. Moscow still denies its participation in hostili…

Paris Peace Conference in 1919, were on the map Ukraine Crimea and Kuban

Maxim Mayorov When World War I ended, it appeared that different national movements there is much more than it was before the war. The war ended with the collapse of several empires – the Russian, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian – and different national movements that arose on the ruins of empires, too, claimed to become actors. Peace Conference solve some basic problems: the signing of peace treaties with the defeated states, the settlement boundaries, recognition of new independent states and establishing the League of Nations – universal regulation system after World War I, which would not allow the emergence of a new war. Ukraine was one of the absolutely new factors which arose on the results of the war, which had to be considered. People, who sent their delegations to the conference were many. Among them were representatives of the exotic, like the Kurds, Assyrians, aromanians. then in Paris Ukrainian considered quite exotic – it was a surprise. Well, it is clear that the Ukrainian expected that, as the conference announced its aim of a new just world, in this world there is a place just for the Ukrainian people. Also relied on the 14 principles of US President Woodrow Wilson, have been declared before the conference and taken into service. That is, the Ukrainian wanted this conference decided Ukrainian national question and relied on it, do not feel defeated. They feel the new entity, to be open to the world and the world should be open to them.

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Ukraine Victorious at 2017 Battle of Nations – YouTube_

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Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Iran and Russia Upgrade Cooperation • AEI

The Russian-Iranian relationship may be the most significant diplomatic romance of the 21st century.

Trump, Putin Agree to Increase Diplomatic Efforts to End Syria War

Leaders discuss civil war in Syria, as well as situation with North Korea, according to White House, which described conversation as ‘a very good one’

Trump and Putin Agree to Seek Syria Cease-Fire – The New York Times

In their first conversation since last month’s rupture over Syria, President Trump said he would send a representative to Russian-sponsored talks.

Russian Military Adviser Reported Killed In Syria, Second In A Month

A Russian military adviser, Lieutenant Colonel Aleksei Buchelnikov, was killed by a sniper in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.&nbsp; Buchelnikov was in Syria as part of a group o…

U.S. Judge Wants To Know If Iran Paying Lawyers In Iran Sanctions Case

A U.S. judge said he wants to know whether Iran employs any lawyers for a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader accused of helping Tehran evade U.S. sanctions. In an order on Mary 1, Manhatta…

How the IED Won: Dispelling the Myth of Tactical Success and Innovation

The U.S. military seems to have settled on the narrative that it won every tactical engagement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this view, failures of strategy and the challenges of nation-building proved the undoing of coalition counter-insurgency efforts in each conflict. Even the most critical accounts of U.S. military performance in the wars, like Lt Gen. (ret.) Bolger’s Why We Lost, emphasize American “tactical excellence” in the campaigns. Such a conclusion, however, seems to equate tactics with firefights and ignores the U.S. military’s failure to meet its objectives to counter the enemy’s weapon of choice — the improvised explosive device (IED). As roadside bombs began to cause a majority of U.S. casualties, counter-IED efforts sought to defeat the IED’s strategic influence. Significant U.S. military investment and innovation to counter IEDs succeeded in improving the odds for American forces in any single engagement with the devices. At scale, however, these innovations imposed higher costs on U.S. forces even as the bombs got cheaper. And while these innovations reduced risk to U.S. forces, they did not change the way in which the devices challenged military objectives in the conflicts. In a protracted fight in IED-laden ground, the initiative remains with the bomb builder.

DPRK / PRC Reports

US: North Korea’s nukes may be a tactic for taking over South Korea

North Korea’s nuclear weapons development may be designed to take over archrival South Korea and coerce the United States into abandoning its close ally, a senior White House official said Tuesday, questioning the North’s stated purpose of warding off a U.S. invasion.

Anger grows in South Korea over US anti-missile system

The anger is palpable on a narrow road that cuts through a South Korean village, an unlikely trouble spot in the world’s last Cold War standoff.

Is THAAD part of global US missile defense?

A top US commander was found Wednesday to have said the country is working to create a “fully-integrated” regional missile defense scheme that includes South Korea, adding to controversy over the deployment of a US missile shield. Controversy has persisted over the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery here, which China argues constitutes Seoul’s de facto participation in the US-led global mi…

South Korea’s likely next president warns the U.S. not to meddle in its democracy – The Washington Post

But Moon Jae-in says he thinks “Trump is more reasonable than he is generally perceived.” 

ANALYSIS: Trump ‘smart cookie’ talk on Kim baffles Seoul:The Asahi Shimbun

SEOUL–U.S. presidents looking to halt North Korea’s push for nuclear weapons over the years normall

US B-1 bombers fly near North Korea –

US Air Force B-1 bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula twice in the past seven days — a move that has drawn sharp criticism from North Korea amid rising tensions in the region.

Only Congress Can Solve the North Korea Problem – The New York Times

New sanctions on Pyongyang’s trading partners might finally apply the pressure needed to make Kim Jong-un negotiate.

Japan’s Shinzo Abe Wants Vladimir Putin Onside in North Korea Standoff

Japanese leader will discuss Pyongyang’s spat with the U.S. over nuclear tests.

Putin, Abe Vow To Work Together To Ease Korea Tensions

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe say they will closely cooperate in an attempt to ease tensions between North Korea and rival nations over Pyongyang’…

Japan-Russia cooperation paves way for peace treaty | Euronews

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, Russia and Japan have their eyes firmly on the rewards of peace as they negotiate a mutually

Abe Sees Momentum Toward Changing Japan’s Pacifist Constitution – Bloomberg

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he sees momentum toward changing Japan’s 70-year-old pacifist constitution, as public opinion polls show a high level of concern over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.

With other democracies in flames, the Japan of Shinzo Abe is saying “no thanks” to change — Quartz

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe made an appearance at last year’s Rio Olympics dressed up as Super Mario climbing out of a pipe. He is rarely that delightful or exciting. What he’s appreciated for in Japan is his steadiness, which is why his government consistently gets approval ratings of above 50%, a dream for any…

Foreign Policy Reports

The Daily Vertical: Europe Wakes Up (Transcript)

Thousands of citizens march in Budapest, chanting “Europe, not Moscow!” In France, a pro-European centrist is poised to handily defeat a pro-Moscow nationalist in the May 7 presidential election runoff. Finland and the Czech Republic have established new centers to combat Russian disinformation and hybrid threats. In Sweden and Finland, the issue of joining NATO is being taken more seriously than ever before. And Spanish prosecutors are aggressively pursuing cases against Kremlin-connected organized-crime groups. Don’t look now, but across Europe, the backlash against Moscow’s efforts to subvert and undermine the EU with disinformation, corruption, hacking, and organized crime is gathering steam. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical Speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, Vladimir Putin said Russia has “never interfered in the political life and political processes in other countries.” Of course, everybody knew he was lying. It comes so naturally to him. But here’s the thing: until recently, Putin nonkinetic assault on Europe enjoyed the benefit of plausible deniability. Yeah, sure, Poland and the Baltic states would regularly sound the alarm — but few were listening. The Kremlin’s efforts to undermine Europe’s institutions and European unity were stealthy enough and Moscow could largely count on European complacency. Elites could be corrupted with lucrative sweetheart deals. The Kremlin’s black cash could fatten the ledgers of Western banks and create a ready-made lobby for Moscow. Gangsters could advance the Kremlin’s interests without leaving fingerprints. But now, the mask is finally off. And the backlash is coming.

Moldova recognized Transnistria as an occupied territory

The Constitutional Court of Moldova on Tuesday, May 2, found unconstitutional the presence of Russian soldiers on the territory of the Transnistrian region of Moldova. The court stressed that Moldova is a neutral country, and the principle of neutrality does not contradict its constitution and legislation. At the same time, the judges noted that “about 11 percent of the territory of Moldova is occupied, and the Russian army was not withdrawn from the Transnistrian region.” The Constitutional Court also concluded that “the principle of neutrality does not prevent Moldova from participating in peacekeeping operations and military exercises aimed at increasing the army’s combat capability in order to ensure the security of the country.” Two years ago, the Liberal Party of Moldova appealed to the Constitutional Court, demanding that Russian peacekeepers remain unconstitutional on the territory of Transnistria. On inf.

Moldova-Ukraine Border Plan Makes Transnistria Anxious :: Balkan Insight

The separatist government in Transnistria has accused Moldova and Ukraine of trying to impose a blockade, after the two countries agreed to set up a joint checkpoint at the border.

Italian PM To Meet With Putin In Sochi

The Kremlin has confirmed that Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 17. Kremlin spokesman Dmitr…

France’s Presidency Is Too Powerful to Work | Foreign Policy

France’s Presidency Is Too Powerful to Work « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Latvian financier said to act as a go-between to get Russian loan for Le Pen | Re:Baltica

A Latvian-based consultant, who has managed offshores for the wealthy and politically influential in Russia, has emerged as an intermediary in helping arrange a Russian loan for the political party of Marine Le Pen, one of two candidates vying for France’s highest political office. Vilis Dambiņš, a director of an intermediary company managing assets related to the family of Vladimir Putin’s special representative for relations with Russian organisations abroad Alexander Babakov, has personally met with at least two high-ranking officials of Le Pen’s Front National (FN) to discuss options for the party to get a Russian loan, a joint investigation by the Baltic center of investigative journalism Re:Baltica and French online investigative journal has found.

Marine Le Pen and France’s Jews | Ottawa Citizen

Suddenly, history is the new political battleground here.

Marine Le Pen Literally Stole Parts Of A Speech From Her Rival | The Huffington Post

Her aides passed it off as an attempt to reach out to Macron supporters.

Marine Le Pen, French Presidential Candidate, Is Accused of Plagiarism – The New York Times

Supporters of the National Front contender, who used words similar to those of her conservative ex-opponent François Fillon, said they were a “small loan.”

Hungarian Citizens Show their Commitment to Europe – YouTube

In Budapest, Hungary, a demonstration was held in support of the European Union and the values of a free Europe. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www

Hungarians take to the streets to protest rising Russian influence – VICE News

Thousands of Hungarians marched through the capital Budapest Monday, chanting “Europe, not Moscow” in protest at the authoritarian government’s perceived embrace of Russian influence. The rally was the latest major demonstration in recent weeks to challenge Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s vision for the country, as the conservative leader openly attempts to steer Hungary away from Western liberal values and, critics say, increasingly draws from the playbook of Putin’s Russia. It came just two days after Orbán was summoned to a meeting of fellow EU center-right parties to hear European concerns over controversial new Hungarian laws that have been widely criticized as an attack on academic freedom. Monday’s “We Belong to Europe” protest, held on the 13th anniversary of Hungary’s accession to the European Union, was organized by Momentum, a new, youth-led political movement that says it plans to contest the next elections in April. At the start of the rally, Momentum leader András Fekete-Győr accused Orbán of “driving the nation toward Moscow.” “Instead of the rich, modern, and free Europe, he sets the poor, oppressed, and underdeveloped Russia as the example for our country,” he said.

Hungarians Protest Against Government’s Closer Ties With Russia – Bloomberg

A new Hungarian party drew thousands of protesters to Budapest on Monday to voice their disagreement with the government’s break with the European Union mainstream in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Ukrainians, Bulgarians protest against Russia’s Night Wolves bikers in Sofia. PHOTOS

02.05.17 18:16 – Ukrainians, Bulgarians protest against Russia’s Night Wolves bikers in Sofia. PHOTOS On May 2, Bulgarian and Ukrainian activists held a protest against local bikers’ participation in the motorcycle race by Kremlin-supported Night Wolves group across Europe to Berlin. View photo news.

U.S. Envoy Urges Macedonian Leaders To Allow New Government To Form

A high-level U.S. envoy met with Macedonian leaders on May 1 and urged them to allow a newly formed parliamentary majority made up of Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties to form a new government.

Macedonia’s New Parliament Speaker Blocked From Taking Office

SKOPJE — The stalemate over control of Macedonia’s legislature continues after the newly declared parliament speaker, Talat Xhaferi, has been blocked from taking up the post by nationalis…

Venezuela Is Heading for a Soviet-Style Collapse | Foreign Policy

Venezuela Is Heading for a Soviet-Style Collapse « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

More unrest in Venezuela as president seeks new constitution – The Washington Post

People blocked streets in Caracas with broken concrete, twisted metal and flaming piles of trash Tuesday to protest the socialist president’s bid to rewrite the constitution amid a rapidly escalating political crisis.

U.S. May Consider New Venezuela Sanctions as Crisis Deepens – Bloomberg

The U.S. may consider new sanctions against Venezuela in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement that he will seek to rewrite his country’s constitution.

The Arab Prince Standing Up to Trump | Foreign Policy

The Arab Prince Standing Up to Trump « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

US Domestic Policy Reports

Russian Election Hacking ‘Wildly Successful’ At Sowing Discord, U.S. Intelligence Figures Say

Russia has succeeded in sowing political discord in the United States by interfering in the 2016 presidential election, which will likely prompt Moscow to try it again, two former top U.S…

McCain: Lawmaker has hold on Trump’s Air Force secretary pick

Lawmakers need to “work through” questions over Trump’s nominee for Air Force secretary before she can receive a confirmation vote, according to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain.

Report: Second Army Secretary nominee may drop out

West Point grad Mark Green has come under fire for comments on gay and transgender individuals.

Trump Follows Instincts, Not Establishment, With Overtures to Kim and Duterte – The New York Times

President Trump‘s willingness to meet with the North Korean and Philippine leaders illustrated his confidence in his own deal making but alarmed critics.

Graham, McCain knock Trump for Kim, Duterte meetings –

The South Carolina senator advised Trump to not meet with the North Korean leader.

New US administration will be harder on Russian aggression, – Senator McCain

02.05.17 16:09 – New US administration will be harder on Russian aggression, – Senator McCain The new U.S. administration will be acting harder than its predecessor against aggressive activities by Russia globally. View news.

Senate Foreign Relations chairman: ‘We’re not going to’ slap new sanctions on Russia right now | Business Insider

The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations…

‘I would be your president’: Clinton blames Russia, FBI chief for 2016 election loss – The Washington Post

The former Democratic nominee said she is now ‘part of the resistance’ to President Trump.

neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Why the Democrats lost

This ignores one of the elephants (donkeys?) in the room, something I touched on in a previous post today: the fact that Hillary Clinton was an unusually poor candidate. But a more important—and less personality-driven—problem for the Democrats is that “reaching out to white working-class voters and the Democratic base” posits an approach that is contradictory and/or extraordinarily difficult. Although Clinton didn’t even try—and that’s part of why she lost—how would Democrats go about doing that? What would such an approach actually look like, while still maintaining a recognizably Democratic identity? The needs of those two groups used to be united—or at least appeared to be united—back in New Deal days. President Bill Clinton was able to do it, too, but he did it by tacking to the middle. These days the bulk of the Democratic Party, and its base, has traveled much further to the left than that. Yes, there were leftists in the 1930s (including some of my own relatives) and in the 1990s, but there are a lot more of them now in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. What’s more, at some point the party made white men the enemy, in both its rhetoric and its policies. That rhetoric and those policies were a conscious effort, not an accident—the result of a calculation to go for the base and ignore that other demographic, a bet that such an approach would lead the way not just to victory but to permanent victory. The Democrats’ base hates Trump for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is that he has thrown a wrench into that theory and those efforts. By appealing to the “forgotten” group—a group that had not so much been forgotten as taken for granted or, more probably, purposely written off as irrelevant—he siphoned off just enough of that group, in the right geographic areas, to win.