Firehose day in MSM.
Good Russia essay by Al Vershbow. Lavrov meeting with POTUS, outcome TBD. Much on Russia’s internal meltdown, more on the parade. Bizarre policy to increase birth rates. Proposal to fill Crimea with Central Asian immigrants from radical Islamist areas.
Very good essays on IO, especially the Russophobia OpEd.
In Ukraine, Donbass fires continue, 45 mostly Russia supporters arrested for disrupting V-E day events, two senior police officials sacked for releasing paid by Russia rent-a-protesters. Guide for Russian troops to avoid war crimes trials.
On Syria, CNN air more graphic footage of children dying from sarin poisoning, TNI surveys Russian influence ops in Black Sea region, Erdogan incites Muslims against Israel, Israel warns Russia to keep Iran out of Golan Heights, US to arm Syrian Kurds.
On the DPRK, many reports on new ROK President Moon, and a firehose of argument over how to deal with the DPRK, covering every imaginable option, reasonable or otherwise.
In Europe, many reports on Merkel’s poll gains, French election meddling, German disagreements with Turkey, and German criticism of EU dealings with Turkey. Le Pen’s niece/heir-apparent bails from politics. Multiple Venezuela reports.
The predicted firing of Bureau Director Comey for the predicted reasons happened, curiously the Left MSM who wanted him crucified over the election now want to crucify POTUS for firing him. Multiple reports on Russia related matters.
Attached some accidental find images of the DPRK M1989 Koksan 170mm long range gun that would be employed for CW deliveries over the DMZ.
Russia / Russophone Reports
Russia has deployed 215 more nuclear warheads than allowed by the New START treaty, setting itself up to violate a provision that goes into effect next year. Surely this will end well.
US President Donald Trump will have his first high-level meeting with a Russian representative this week, when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov comes to the White House following a scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The stakes are high: about the only thing on which Moscow and Washington agree is that relations are at their lowest point since the height of the Cold War. Lavrov will try to persuade Trump that the downturn in relations has nothing to do with Russia, that President Barack Obama’s “Russophobia” and NATO expansion are to blame, and that it’s time for another reset. He will suggest that the two countries put aside contentious issues like Ukraine, abandon economic sanctions, and join forces against the Islamic State.
What Trump should tell the Russian foreign minister when he meets with him this week.
“Send a strong signal that the United States continues to prioritize our relationship with longstanding allies.”
Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov marks the highest level, face-to-face contact with Russia in his young presidency.
With Washington in an uproar over James Comey’s firing amid his Russia probe, the president and his secretary of state are welcoming Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to town.
President Donald Trump plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, according to his schedule.
President Donald Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat on Wednesday, the White House officials said.
Arctic and regional cooperation will be on the agenda when Russia’s Foreign Minister visits Finland next week. A few days later, Fairbanks, Alaska is the destination.
Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state under George W. Bush, said despite a pending investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it’s important for the two countries to put aside their differences.
Since the collapse of the USSR, Russia has fomented several conflicts across former Soviet republics. Several regions in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are still de facto occupied by Russia: the territorial entities are fully controlled by Russia, the Russian troops are deployed there officially as peacekeepers or unofficially under cover of Russian denials. Occupation is a tool of control to keep the conflicts frozen, stopping Russia’s neighbors from joining the EU and NATO. Common stages of the Russian occupation can be distinguished in all of the Russian-controlled post-Soviet conflicts.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 9 – Vladimir Putin’s regime, which has always been authoritarian and kleptocratic, nonetheless has evolved over the course of the last 18 years through four stages and now is entering its fifth and final one, according to Moscow commentator Igor Yakovenko (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5910CBCC3CA63). The first period lasted from 1999 to 2003, having begun with the blowing up of apartment buildings and the start of the second post-Soviet Chechen war, had as its “main event” the destruction of independent mass media, something that allowed Putin to make the lie the basis of his power, the commentator says. The second period (2003-2007) involved “the destruction of private property and the transformation of corruption” into the key feature of the regime. That was accompanied by the “cleansing of the political field” and remarks like “parliament is not a place for discussion.” As in the first, “the world didn’t understand anything” about what Putin represented. The third period (2007-2014) extended from the Munich speech to the Crimean Anschluss and aggression against Ukraine. In this period, “the Putin regime ceased to be a problem of Russia alone and become a problem of the entire world.” As a result there was a partial return to the cold war and a search in the West for an explanation of Putin’s behavior. The fourth period, one of “an imagined empire,” lasted from 2014 to 2016, from the Crimean Anschluss in 2014 to “a series of foreign policy failures of the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Putin conducted “’wars for television,’” and he promoted a series of “imperial myths” taken from the past but projected on to the future. During that period, Yakovenko points out, “Russia was excluded from the g8 but with the help of television imagined itself as a world empire.” The West “began to understand that Putin’s Russia is the main threat for humanity” but “nevertheless felt compelled to conduct negotiations” with it. After Brexit and the victory of Donald Trump, Russian television shifted from the idea that “Crimea is ours” to notion that “the world is ours.” But then things began to go wrong, the commentator says, and the Putin regime entered its fifth period. Trump turned out to be something other than Putin expected. “The main hero of Brexit by the name of Boris suddenly became the chief supporter of anti-Russian sanctions.” And Russian military actions in Syria highlighted not Moscow’s strength but its weakness. Moreover, a series of developments in Europe have shown that despite everything Russia can do in the propaganda sphere, there are definite limits to its influence, given the realities that ever more people in the West can see. Montenegro is now in NATO, and “the Balkans are lost for Putin.” In Austria, the Kremlin’s preferred candidate for president lost, thus “depriving Putin of support in Central Europe.” The elections in the Netherlands deprived Moscow of yet another supporter in Europe. And the French elections served up a crushing defeat for Putin’s preferred candidate Marine Le Pen. There is little reason to think Putin will win the German elections. And according to Yakovenko, Putin has even called particular attention to these losses by his support for his defense minister Sergey Shoygu’s construction “for 20 billion rubles” of a plywood Reichstag in a Moscow park so that Russian children could “storm” it. Hardly an advertisement for Putin’s success. In short, Putin’s Russia is in its fifth and final stage. When it will end is as yet unclear, but that it will end is certain because in so many ways, Putin’s regime recalls that of the Soviets in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when what propagandists said and what people saw diverged so much that the regime became unsupportable.
Vladimir Putin’s regime, which has always been authoritarian and kleptocratic, nonetheless has evolved over the course of the last 18 years through four stages and now is entering its fifth and final one, according to Moscow commentator Igor Yakovenko.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 10 – The long-haul truckers strike in Russia is beginning to have an impact on Russian politics. Those governors who have been unable to find a common language with the strikers are among those who have seen their rating by the Petersburg Politics Foundation fall the most and who are thus likely candidates for dismissal. The foundation points to particular problems in that regard for the heads of Oryol, Tyumen and Daghestan (https://orel.glavny.tv/news/62810 and nakanune.ru/news/2017/05/10/22469497). Now that the May holidays are ending, some truckers may resume their strike this week, although most are likely to wait to see what happens when their leaders meet with senior Russian transportation officials a week from today in Moscow.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 10 – Vladimir Putin’s desire that nothing should upset his electoral campaign may cause Russian officials to postpone plans for various changes until after the vote if they face or fear they will face mass protests, a trend that might keep things quieter than otherwise but one that gives those with grievances against the authorities a new opportunity. To the extent that is true, the Kremlin leader may have won a battle but lost a war because many groups, from the long-haul truck drivers to Moscow khrushchoby residents to those who have seen their benefits cut will have new reason to protest or even better to threaten to protest if Moscow continues with policies they don’t like. And this experience of winning through protests is not something that they will soon forget, especially since it implies that Putin and his team are so frightened of demonstrations and what they might mean for the stability of the Russian Federation that the regime can be forced to back down. That prospect is implied by the analysis of Moscow economist Mikhail Khazin who suggests the powers that be, “having encountered protests, may stop the project for the renovation of Moscow until after the presidential elections in 2018” (newizv.ru/news/politics/09-05-2017/mihail-hazin-proekt-renovatsii-mozhet-byt-zakryt-do-vyborov-prezidenta). Khazin’s analysis is not new: Almost three weeks ago, Moscow commentator Yekaterina Schulmann drew a similar conclusion about the likelihood that the Kremlin would make such a calculation (newizv.ru/news/politics/21-04-2017/ekaterina-shulman-reaktsiya-grazhdan-na-snos-moskvy-uzhe-pugaet-vlasti).
Paul Goble Staunton, May 10 – At least one of the reasons the Kremlin has given for Vladimir Putin’s decisions to fire or even arrest the heads of federal subjects is that such moves will enhance political stability in this or that oblast or republic or at least reverse situations where instability seemed most likely. But a new rating by the Petersburg Politics Foundation finds that where Putin has taken such actions, ratings of stability in the regions involved has declined rather than increased, exactly the opposite of what he supposedly has intended(https://fpp.spb.ru/fpp-rating-2017-04 and http://fedpress.ru/news/77/policy/1784327). On the one hand, this may be only a short-term phenomenon. When a longtime leader leaves and a new one comes in, it is entirely reasonable to expect that there will be problems with the transition with whose connected to the old regime seeking to protect themselves either by ingratiation, resistance or other means. But on the other, this finding suggests that Putin’s favorite tool for bring the governors in line may not be working at least in the current environment and that if he replaces more regional heads, he and Moscow will face more problems rather than fewer. Some undoubtedly will use this to argue against any further changes at least until after the presidential vote. And that could have another consequence: governors who feel they are protected as a result of this finding could decide to act more independently by appealing to the population rather than acting as if Putin is their own constituent. If some do, that could be yet another unintended consequence of the Kremlin leader’s recent moves against this group of cadres.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 9 – Vitaly Ivanov, a former minister for culture and nationality affairs in Chuvashia, says that current efforts to promote ‘a civic Russian nation’ (rossiiskaya natsiya) are just like those in Soviet times to promote ‘a Soviet nation’ (sovetskaya natsiya) and potentially even more dangerous. Its advocates, he tells Idealreal’s Ilnar Garifullin, “are trying to convince us that ‘a civic Russian nation’ is not an ethnonym but rather a poly-ethnonym, but we understand all too well that with time, its ethnic meaning may eclipse such a poly-ethnonym entirely” (idelreal.org/a/28469649.html). That is, Ivanov continues, the civic Russian nation will replace national self-consciousness,” something that “for representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation is simply unacceptable.” They “will resist this trend” and insist that it be rejected as an insult to their dignity. Other experts with whom Garifullin spoke agree. Damir Iskhakov, a leader of the World Congress of Tatars, says that under the current constitution, citizens of the Russian Federation have come to accept the idea of “’nations in a nation” as an aspect of the idea of “’a multi-national civic Russian people.” But everyone must remember that “a federative state can exist only if the rights of numerically small peoples will be observed.” Unfortunately, Iskhakov says, this is far from the case in Russia today. And he notes that ethnic Russian national organizations are also opposed to this new term, viewing it as an attack on their identity as well. A third person with whom the Tatar journalist spoke, Mikhail Shcheglov, the head of the Society of Russian Culture of Tatarstan, agrees. He says that the very idea of a civic Russian nation replacing ethnic identities is “fundamentally wrong.” Neither ethnic Russians nor non-Russians will ever accept it. In Shcheglov’s view, some unknown forces in the depths of the Kremlin pushed Russian ethnographers to advance this idea for unknown reasons. It gained the backing of some Russian journalists. And Vladimir Putin was confronted with a kind of fait accompli: He had no option but to agree with it, although clearly he should see that it is not in his interests either. The main problem, Shcheglov says is that Russia today doesn’t have a clearly defined nationality policy and all the talk of “a civic Russian nation” is getting in the way of its elaboration. Drawing on these observations, Garifullin says that those behind the civic Russian nation have gotten the cart before the horse in that they have slyly introduced on the territory of Russia “the absolutely alien” idea of “the nation state” not directly but rather via the idea of ‘a civic Russian nation.” “As is well-known,” he continues, the concept of an ethnic nation always and invariably presupposes the construction around it of a nation state,” a state however much some might deny it which would be based on “a single ethnos which would serve as its real foundation and symbol.” In the case of the Russian Federation, Garifullin says, “it isn’t hard to guess which ethnic group” would occupy that status if the current borders are maintained. Nor is it hardly that as a result, “the remaining indigenous peoples [of the country] which have their own national autonomies in the form of republics in this case would inevitably lose their political status.” But there is an even more fundamental problem with the civic Russian nation idea, he suggests. And it is this: “Political nations have been built around some common idea which is capable of unifying various ethnic groups with at times varying interests into something monolithic.” The CPSU tried to build “a Soviet nation” around the idea of the construction of a communist society, but as history showed, that effort collapsed. And at the present time, “the sense of being attached to one country (i.e., of being a citizen of Russia) cannot by itself be a unifying idea.” That is “a simple fact” which no one can dispute. And that makes the arguments of those pushing for a civic Russian nation on the basis of some “historical-cultural values” problematic. What could these be for peoples of “absolutely different confessions, languages and ethnicities” that would tie them together in one country rather than simply make them part of “all the peoples populating the planet?” Paul Goble Staunton, May 9 – Vitaly Ivanov, a former minister for culture and nationality affairs in Chuvashia, says that current efforts to promote ‘a civic Russian nation’ (rossiiskaya natsiya) are just like those in Soviet times to promote ‘a Soviet nation’ (sovetskaya natsiya) and potentially even more dangerous. Its advocates, he tells Idealreal’s Ilnar Garifullin, “are trying to convince us that ‘a civic Russian nation’ is not an ethnonym but rather a poly-ethnonym, but we understand all too well that with time, its ethnic meaning may eclipse such a poly-ethnonym entirely” (idelreal.org/a/28469649.html). That is, Ivanov continues, the civic Russian nation will replace national self-consciousness,” something that “for representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation is simply unacceptable.” They “will resist this trend” and insist that it be rejected as an insult to their dignity. Other experts with whom Garifullin spoke agree. Damir Iskhakov, a leader of the World Congress of Tatars, says that under the current constitution, citizens of the Russian Federation have come to accept the idea of “’nations in a nation” as an aspect of the idea of “’a multi-national civic Russian people.” But everyone must remember that “a federative state can exist only if the rights of numerically small peoples will be observed.” Unfortunately, Iskhakov says, this is far from the case in Russia today. And he notes that ethnic Russian national organizations are also opposed to this new term, viewing it as an attack on their identity as well. A third person with whom the Tatar journalist spoke, Mikhail Shcheglov, the head of the Society of Russian Culture of Tatarstan, agrees. He says that the very idea of a civic Russian nation replacing ethnic identities is “fundamentally wrong.” Neither ethnic Russians nor non-Russians will ever accept it. In Shcheglov’s view, some unknown forces in the depths of the Kremlin pushed Russian ethnographers to advance this idea for unknown reasons. It gained the backing of some Russian journalists. And Vladimir Putin was confronted with a kind of fait accompli: He had no option but to agree with it, although clearly he should see that it is not in his interests either. The main problem, Shcheglov says is that Russia today doesn’t have a clearly defined nationality policy and all the talk of “a civic Russian nation” is getting in the way of its elaboration. Drawing on these observations, Garifullin says that those behind the civic Russian nation have gotten the cart before the horse in that they have slyly introduced on the territory of Russia “the absolutely alien” idea of “the nation state” not directly but rather via the idea of ‘a civic Russian nation.” “As is well-known,” he continues, the concept of an ethnic nation always and invariably presupposes the construction around it of a nation state,” a state however much some might deny it which would be based on “a single ethnos which would serve as its real foundation and symbol.” In the case of the Russian Federation, Garifullin says, “it isn’t hard to guess which ethnic group” would occupy that status if the current borders are maintained. Nor is it hardly that as a result, “the remaining indigenous peoples [of the country] which have their own national autonomies in the form of republics in this case would inevitably lose their political status.” But there is an even more fundamental problem with the civic Russian nation idea, he suggests. And it is this: “Political nations have been built around some common idea which is capable of unifying various ethnic groups with at times varying interests into something monolithic.” The CPSU tried to build “a Soviet nation” around the idea of the construction of a communist society, but as history showed, that effort collapsed. And at the present time, “the sense of being attached to one country (i.e., of being a citizen of Russia) cannot by itself be a unifying idea.” That is “a simple fact” which no one can dispute. And that makes the arguments of those pushing for a civic Russian nation on the basis of some “historical-cultural values” problematic. What could these be for peoples of “absolutely different confessions, languages and ethnicities” that would tie them together in one country rather than simply make them part of “all the peoples populating the planet?”
Paul Goble Staunton, May 10 – Moscow has been unsuccessful in reversing the decline in the number of children Russian women choose to have – its pro-natalist policies simply aren’t funded heavily enough to have a chance to do so – and so it was inevitable someone would call for imposing special taxes on those who don’t have three or more children. The attractions of such an idea for the cash-strapped Russian government are obvious. Instead of having to come up with more money to prevent the country’s further demographic decline, it might actually force Russians to do what the Kremlin wants and collect more in taxes at the same time. But such proposals are almost certainly dead on arrival. On the one hand, they would be extremely unpopular, especially in big cities where ever smaller families are the norm. And on the other, they likely wouldn’t work. Nonetheless, they appear certain to spark a new round of debate about what Moscow might try to do to stave off demographic collapse. In today’s Izvestiya, journalist Darya Filippova reports that Yury Krupnov, the director of the Moscow Institute of Demography has sent Vladimir Putin a proposed draft law that calls for providing more benefits for women with children and imposing a tax on those who have none or even too few (izvestia.ru/news/699494). The demographer argues that such steps are necessary to change attitudes about having more children. At present, he says, only 6.5 percent of Russian families have at least three children; but they account for 20 percent of all children in the country. Their status and benefits need to be raised. At the same time, that of those with two or fewer needs to be lowered. Obviously, improving the situation of those with more children will have some positive demographic consequences, and moving in that direction is something many experts support. But given Moscow’s lack of money and the general trend among urban Russians to have fewer children regardless of benefits, such steps will have less impact than many expect. The experts Filippova queried were supportive of the goals but doubtful of the utility of taxes on those with few or new children. But the clearest indication that this idea is going nowhere has come from Elena Mizulina, a Russian parliamentarian who has championed some of the most regressive and repressive Kremlin measures in the past. She described Krupnov’s proposal as “a provocation” intended to destabilize society rather than help resolve its problems (kp.ru/daily/26676/3699137/ and znak.com/2017-05-10/elena_mizulina_vystupila_protiv_vvedeniya_naloga_na_malodetnost).
‘No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die’: Showdown between Goldfinger and Sean Connery voted greatest James Bond moment </end editorial> By Matthew Chance, CNN Updated 0332 GMT (1132 HKT) May 10, 2017 Moscow (CNN)”Why does Russia never leak?” I asked the investigative journalist sitting opposite me in a dingy Moscow café. He took gulp…
A fear of life-threatening consequences in Russia stifles potential leakers and whistleblowers, maintaining the country’s closed and mysterious reputation.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 9 – Even as the occupation forces do everything they can to repress the Crimean Tatars, the most consistent opponents of Vladimir Putin’s Anschluss of their homeland, some in the Russian Duma are proposing to “open the peninsula to migrants from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,” thereby creating Ruslan Gorevoy warns a radical Muslim enclave there. If the Duma’s plans are realized, he says, the Muslim share of the population of the peninsula will more than double from 12 percent now to 25 percent in a few years, and those new arrivals will be introduce Islamist radicalism that will threaten Russian control from a new direction, the Versiya writer says (versia.ru/kak-krym-prevrashhayut-v-musulmanskij-anklav). (Gorevoy does not address it but Putin’s policies have already succeeded in transforming the Chechen national challenge from a specifically ethnic one to a much larger Muslim and even Islamist one, and so it seems entirely consistent that Moscow will again pursue a self-defeating policy in Crimean by attacking ethno-nationalism and thus allowing Islamism to spread.) The Duma deputies seem set on this course because the draft bill “on the legal status of foreign citizens in Russia” contains a provision which allows Uzbeks and Tajiks who are distant relatives of deported Crimean Tatars to gain Russian citizenship without going through the checks that Moscow now insists upon for others from those Central Asian countries. Not only have the Duma deputies failed to focus on this opening to Islamist groups, Gorevoy continues, but they appear oblivious to the fact that this segment of the proposed law in fact reflects the ideas of some but far from all Crimean Tatar nationalists in the 1990s that to become a national republic, they must take in more Muslims and not just Crimean Tatars.
Even as the Russian occupation forces do everything they can to repress the Crimean Tatars, the most consistent opponents of Vladimir Putin’s Anschluss of their homeland, some in the Russian Duma are proposing to “open the peninsula to migrants from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,” thereby creating Ruslan Gorevoy warns a radical Muslim enclave there.
“’The Victory Parade’ in Putin’s Russia is unique in its absurdity, one in which an imperial army presents itself as ‘defenders of the motherland,’ occupiers as liberators, and invaders as anti-fascists,” Aleksandr Khots says. It is thus “a hybrid parade of ‘heroes’ of a hybrid war,” of “totalitarianism under the mask of anti-fascism.”
Russia put its massive military on full display in a Moscow parade on Tuesday, an annual event commemorating the end of World War II in Europe. Nominally meant for a Russian audience, the Kremlin is hoping the parade chock full of high-end military tech will wow rivals in the West who are watching, too.
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The Russian president urged international cooperation against terrorism, but foreign leaders stayed away from Victory Day celebrations in Red Square.
VLADIMIR PUTIN showed off his country’s vast military arsenal in the Victory Day parade today – but it didn’t go totally to plan.
A 72-aircraft fly-past was grounded because of low cloud over the Kremlin, foiling the Russian strongman’s bid to showcase his aerial power
Paul Goble Staunton, May 10 – A group of Duma deputies, working together with experts from the interior ministry and Russian Guard, are preparing a draft bill that would allow Russians to use with impunity any amount of force they deemed necessary to defend their lives and property against attack. The measure is a response to a 25 percent increase in the number of armed attacks on Russians in the last year (newsland.com/community/4590/content/nachat-eksperiment-po-uproshchennoi-registratsii-grazhdanskogo-oruzhiia/5822271) and to cases in which those who have used to defend themselves are charged with crimes (rg.ru/2017/05/09/zashchishchatsia-ot-prestupnikov-razreshat-liubymi-sposobami.html). The backers of this measure, Mikhail Falaleyev reports in Rossiiskaya gazeta, say that “Russians must not be afraid of defending themselves, their homes, life and the health of their family members” but instead must have rights as Americans do in most states to use force against those they believe are threatening them. Pressure for such a new law has been growing. In the past, proposals to make such change have been rejected by the parliament. But court cases in which those who used force to defend their lives and properties were found guilty have changed the atmosphere and made the passage of this measure more likely, the journalist suggests. If this proposal is adopted, there likely will be an upsurge in the number of Russians who want guns and in the number of incidents in which guns are employed. At present, experts say there are approximately 25 million guns in private hands in Russia and that that number is rising rapidly (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/01/80-percent-of-25-million-guns-now-in.html).
Antonina Kumka The Soviet Union has left a terrible legacy, which to this day continues poisoning the minds of so many around the world. The Soviet Union has destroyed millions of lives. Lenin and Stalin, the “great” Soviet leaders have brought torture, destruction and death to tens of millions of homes of occupied countries, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and to the homes of Crimean Tatars, who wanted to preserve their identity. Some countries and nations suffered more because they resisted harder. Ukraine’s Holodomor (an artificial famine genocide) in the 1930s was one of the world’s most treacherous massacres, orchestrated by Stalin.
A powerful Russian crime syndicate that’s accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars around the world appears to have also flowed millions through nearly 30 Canadian bank accounts.
Exxon Mobil is suffering from sanctions on Russia. The same can’t be said for other big Western energy companies, or for Russia’s oil production.
Estonia: Russian plane with Lavrov intruded in our airspace
They left their homes in Central Asia to fight against the German army. Why were they taken to Amersfoort before being starved or shot?
Russian armed forces showcased the newly developed Tor-M2DT short-range air defense missile systems and Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile system for the first time in a public event during Russia’s Victory Day parade today. Designed to operate in the Arctic, Tor-M2DT and Pantsir-SA were mounted on Vityaz articulated tracked vehicles, which proved to be highly successful in getting the systems over Arctic-style hummocky ground during trials, Sputnik reports. The Russian army’s Land Forces Commander-in-Chief Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov earlier said the new anti-aircraft systems were capable of fulfilling the tasks of ensuring Russia’s security in the difficult climatic conditions of the Arctic, with complete absence of roads and remoteness from the bases. The Tor-M2DT system was developed using the Tor-M2 missile launcher station specially for Russia’s Arctic military group, and is able to defend airspace from enemy air attacks within a radius of at least 15 kilometers (9 miles). The parade will also see Russian Knights’ aerobatic skills with the brand-new Su-30SM jets. Russian S-400 air defense systems and surface-to-air missile launchers Pantsir-S1 are also part of the parade.
With Victor Yankovych’s takedown from power three years ago heavy on their minds, Presidents Lukashenka and Putin are facing growing and widespread domestic resistance.
Religious Freedom in Belarus: worse than in Ukraine, better than in Russia – Read on Belarusdigest.com
Great article but in his attempt to counterbalance his argument, I believe Brian takes a slight detour from the point he is trying to make. I’m not sure but I believe an editor made a decision not to allow Brian to directly attack with his words. To be “Russophic” or Russophobia is a fear that…
Sergei Lavrov sees "Russophobia" everywhere. Allegations that Moscow is supplying arms to the Taliban are "Russophobic." Accusations that Russia is interfering in Wester…
Admiral Rogers is spot on. Russian Information Warfare does not align with US IO, SC, PD, or any organization in the US or the West. Russian Information Warfare is roughly aligned with a nine-part organization as described by Dr. Igor Panarin in a 2008 paper he submitted. There are some outliers, however, and we in…
Bulgarian fake-news agents often promote Moscow’s line not for Russia’s sake, but for their own political interests By Michael Colborne, for Codastory In the tiny town of Pliska, a former capital of Bulgaria set amid rolling plains, a mother and son are hard at work, posting pro-Russian propaganda on Facebook from the projection room of…
Officials fear Russia could try to target US through popular software firm under FBI scrutiny
Why the Russo-Ukrainian War will probably drag on for a generation. In a provocative March 27 column in the Financial Times entitled “Brexit and Imperial Amnesia,” Gideon Rachman chided the English for, as one reader put it, “a serious misunderstanding of [Britain’s] oppressive imperial past.” Aside from generating a lively and entertaining discussion of the issue, Rachman’s piece gave me a framework for understanding an even more remarkable article I had just read in the March 17 edition of Nezavisimaya gazeta. It was entitled “Главное—не повторять ошибки” (“The main thing is not to repeat mistakes”) and was penned by Aleksandr Khramchikhin, the Deputy Director of the Institute for Political…
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will stand as an advocate of Ukraine in negotiations with Russia, while Washington could join the Normandy format of talks, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who is now in the U.S., TSN Morning reports. News 10 May from UNIAN.
Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 70 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and two as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 10 May from UNIAN.
One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and another four were wounded in action in the zone of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in eastern Ukraine in the last 24 hours, speaker for the ATO at Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Andriy Lysenko told a briefing, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 10 May from UNIAN.
The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has detained a contracted soldier of one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donetsk region, who had previously sided with Russian-supported terrorists, the SBU’s press service told UNIAN. News 10 May from UNIAN.
Ukrainian major arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom presented at the 13th International arms expo IDEF-2017 in Istanbul its new portable rocket grenade launcher, the company’s press service reports. News 10 May from UNIAN.
The Ukraine had by far the most mine explosions and casualties in the world in 2016 due to ongoing conflict in its eastern region.
Understanding that violent events in Ukraine are being orchestrated by Russia’s top leaders, Russian military servicemen who find themselves fighting Russia’s undeclared wars—whether unwittingly or under duress—can protect themselves. They can collect proof of being coerced to following unlawful orders and engaging in unlawful combat. Such proof can consist of, but is not limited to, the following: Collecting originals and photocopies of battle orders and instructions that confirm their unlawful nature, including letters of assignment; Making video and audio recordings of their superiors issuing orders on tours of duty and missions to undeclared wars; Saving documents used to conceal Russian military servicemen for the aforementioned duties; Preserving maps and schemes of military operations and of Russian troop locations in the disputed regions; Confirming the supply of weapons and military equipment from the Russian Federation and other documents related to logistical support to such areas, particularly the 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the Central Territorial Command of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation. The personal decision to serve in an unlawful war is often a difficult one. Understanding the heavy predicament many servicemen face, it is important to recall that a system ensuring basic human rights and freedoms exists and should be utilized. It is there to protect the victims of war, and was created as a result of the wisdom gained from the tyranny of previous world wars.
Russian troops should collect proof of being coerced to engage in unlawful combat.
Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) – More than 10,000 people waving Russian flags and carrying portraits of Stalin watched tanks roll through Ukraine’s de facto rebel capital Donetsk on Tuesday in celebration of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany.
War in Ukraine 2016 – Helmet Cam Footage of Ukrainian Soldiers from 43 battalion “Patriot” During Firefight on the Frontline in Zaitseve town. Footage shot i…
Ukraine is not at peace. It is not formally at war, either. This curious state of affairs, engineered by the Kremlin apparatchiks to sidestep international n…
An unusual challenge has kicked off in a small German town. Military specialists and hardware equipment from all over the world has been spotted at the “Stro…
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that from 8 million to 10 million Ukrainians were killed during the Second World War, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 09 May from UNIAN.
As Ukraine seeks closer ties with the West and feelings of unity with Moscow are slowly fade… only a low key Victory Day ceremony has been held in Kyiv. _ …
Commemorations of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi forces in 1945 has become a highly contentious topic in Ukraine. Amid Russia’s war in Donbas, Ukraine is …
Viktor Vyatrovych, Director of the Ukrainian Institute for National Memory talks about the status of certain Soviet celebrations, such as May 9. For several years now, Ukraine has marked the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on May 8 and Victory Day over Nazism in World War II on May 9. What has changed during this time, and is Ukrainian society ready to move memorial celebrations from May 9 to May 8?
Anniversary of wartime triumph now divides Ukraine and Russia
Ukraine’s Minister of Interior Aren Avakov on May 10 signed the executive orders to dismiss the chief of the Main Directorate of the National Police in Dnipropetrovsk region Ihor Repeshko and head of Dnipro Police Department Andriy Bidylo, according to the minister’s Facebook posting. News 10 May from UNIAN.
10.05.17 12:30 – Interior Minister Avakov fires two top police officials in Dnipro city and region The dismissals are related to the events in Dnipro City on May 9. View news.
10.05.17 12:06 – Dnipro police free ‘titushkas’ detained on charges of May 9 beatings, – mayor Filatov Dnipro mayor Borys Filatov has informed Prosecutor General Lutsenko about disinformation. View news.
10.05.17 10:55 – Eight paid protesters detained on charges of May 9 clashes, – Lutsenko The pro-Kremlin march in Dnipro became possible due to the failure of local patriotic organizations and parties to take part in the celebration of Victory Day. View news.
09.05.17 18:02 – 45 people detained in Victory Day events across Ukraine, – Interior Ministry The police have detained 45 people during May 9 commemorative events in Ukraine. View news.
Ukraine is not at peace. It is not formally at war, either. This curious state of affairs, engineered by the Kremlin apparatchiks to sidestep international n…
UATV spoke with Halyna Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group about Russian dis surrounding the Odesa Clashes of May 2nd, 2014. _ Follow UATV En…
Ukraine is looking for Canada’s backing as the embattled eastern European country establishes a special court to deal with anti-corruption cases.
Ukrainian MP Andriy Artemenko, who has been deprived of Ukrainian citizenship by a presidential decree, will be able to visit the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine until the deputies vote for the deprivation of his mandate, said Deputy Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Andriy Mahera, 112 Ukraine reports. News 10 May from UNIAN.
The European Union will announce the simplification of the visa regime with Ukraine in a few days, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said during a meeting of the UN Security Council, Deutsche Welle reports. News 10 May from UNIAN.
Ten finalists of the Eurovision 2017 song contest in Kyiv have been named after 18 contestants took part in Semi-final 1 on May 9. Latest UNIAN news from 10 May.
Thousands of people from around the world are in the Ukrainian capital for Eurovision. For the international event, Ukrainian authorities have increased secu…
Beneath the song contest’s glitz and glamour lies some tricky geo-politicking—especially when Ukraine plays host.
Instead of airing the host nation’s semi-final interval act Brit viewers will see a spoof of The Bridge film with real Ukrainian police uniforms
Sure, it’s got troubles, but even when it’s not hosting Eurovision, this huge country also has plenty of reasons to explore.
A recent poll illuminates the disparities in the competence of local governments in Ukraine, and how the citizens feel the pain.
On VE day, Jews and Christians gather near Uman to unveil a monument to 1,000 Jewish children murdered by the Nazis
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Putin is making moves all around the region.
Harrowing new footage of the chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun reveals the depravity of the Syrian regime, reports CNN’s Clarissa Ward.
CNN’s The Lead on Tuesday aired graphic video of the victims of the April 2017 chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria that killed over 90 people, including
A day before the Russian foreign minister arrives in Washington, Moscow has sent dozens of new artillery howitzers to Syria to be used by the Assad regime in a future ground campaign against rebel forces, U.S. officials told Fox News on Tuesday. News 10 May from UNIAN.
‘Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Muslims to visit the Temple Mount to act as a counter to the “insult” of “occupied Jerusalem.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan angered Israel on Monday with new comments about Jerusalem.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday he had useful discussions with Turkey and the two countries are working out differences over a U.S. alliance with Syrian Kurds in fighting Islamic State militants.
President Donald Trump has approved a plan to arm the Syrian Kurdish militia, an important United States ally in the fight against ISIS, two defense officials told NBC News. The plan’s options include providing Kurds with rifles, ammunition and armor. Syria’s six-year civil war has left nearly a half million people dead.
Ankara views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, as a threat.
In Moscow, defense minister also says Jewish state will not tolerate attempts by Iran to transfer weapons to Hezbollah
(JNS.org) Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Russian officials that Israel “won’t allow concentrations of Iranian and Hezbollah forces on the Golan Heights.”
DPRK / PRC Reports
He says we want him dead. Do we? What about the Chinese? North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un says we want to kill him. Of course we do, but we shouldn’t. We don’t want to knock Kim Jong-Un off because we can’t control who would take power after his death and because his assassination could easily result in a war in which thousands of Americans and South Koreans might die. But there’s another party to this crisis that has good reason to kill the current Kim. China could — and probably ought to — assassinate Kim Jong-Un.
Song Byeok, a North Korean defector who escaped in 2002 and now lives in South Korea, said he fears conflict but believes there is no other way Kim Jong-un will surrender power.
North Koreans are not honoring their “supreme leader” in private, and those who do are being ridiculed, unidentified sources say.
Does Bill Mathew Letters, 95 seriously think that backing away from a paranoid, psychotic dictator will in any way alter his behavior
The assumption that the country is run by a lunatic is not only incorrect — it’s dangerous.
Three experts downplayed a threat Tuesday from North Korea’s U.K. ambassador to destroy U.S. strategic assets.
In another life, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s propaganda chief could have had a heck of a career as an insult comic.
Pyongyang’s comments may be an indication that the six-decade symbiosis is in danger of falling apart.
Three things the Chinese could do to pressure Kim Jong Un.
An expert warned that North Korea may be soon be capable of taking out parts of the U.S. homeland via an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
An expert believes satellites are already in place that could wipe out all electrical systems below.
After arresting two American university instructors and laying out what it says was an elaborate, CIA-backed plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un, North Korea is claiming to be the victim of state-sponsored terrorism — from the White House.
The Korean Peninsula continues to simmer as the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, launched another ballistic missile test over the weekend.
Hundreds of Americans visit North Korea as tourists each year, even as the State Department warns of the risks of detention.
The former secretary of state shared her thoughts on North Korean provocations and Trump’s controversial remarks toward the regime’s leader on Tuesday.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice…
Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric spoke to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about her new book, “Democracy: Stories From the Long Road to Freedom.” On President Trump’s characterization of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “smart cookie,” Rice agreed, “He is smart. If you stay in power in that system, you’re pretty smart. It doesn’t mean it’s somebody we should admire.”
A meeting would boost Kim’s prestige while guaranteeing nothing for America in return.
Forget Duterte: this is the Asian dictator Trump should be welcoming.
Moon Jae-in’s election as South Korean President has the potential to upend the US relationship with a key regional ally, who appears to be less of a hard-liner against North Korea, Jonathan Cristol says.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has told China he is open to welcoming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a meeting in the United States if P
Rather than relying on China to address the North Korean threat, Rep. Mike Gallagher argues that the United States must take an increased leadership role in East Asia.
The buzziest stories of the day. That’s all. #TheShortList
A day after his election, Moon Jae-in drove the streets of Seoul waving to throngs of supporters on his way to the Blue House, the presidential residence.
First it was an off-the-cuff offer from then-candidate Donald Trump to have hamburgers in Washington. Now, South Korea’s new president says he is willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — if, of course, the conditions are right.
Moon Jae In, South Korea’s newly elected president, has policy ideas of his own.
The Latest on South Korea’s presidential election (all times local):
‘Game of Thrones,’ Pokémon, and Dabbing: The Crazy Ways South Koreans Watched the Election « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Korean Television Is Going Queer – VICETelevision can play a huge role in normalizing queerness in Korean culture.
Chinese rocket forces tested a new type of missile aimed at the country’s waters west of the Korean peninsula, the defence ministry announced in a rare public statement on Tuesday….
President Trump wants China to help persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, but the Chinese prefer a different strategy.
The Government of Thailand and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) signed a $1.04 billion U.S. deal for three S26T air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines from China on Friday, May 05. In a government-to-government agreement, state-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) was awarded a contract to manufacture the three submarines over a period of 11 years. The S26T is a custom version of the CSOC S26 designed exclusively for the RTN. A $20.2 million down-payment to Beijing is due in 45 days. As per the Bangkok Post, China will also sell munitions for the submarines, these will include torpedoes and anti-ship cruising missiles (ASCM). In fact, China is reportedly supplying CM-708 ASCMs to the RTN at no extra charge. Based on the Bangkok Post’s report, these would be the 290-km range CM-708UNB. After choosing the S26T over competing alternatives, Thailand began the process of securing the S26Ts in January – the RTN secured $383.4 million in funding from the Thai Parliament. In March, Thailand’s prime minister – Prayut Chan-o-cha – claimed to Thai media that one of the submarines will be “a free gift”, but in light of recent reports, it is unclear if this has been swapped for free munitions. The RTN submarine program has drawn domestic criticism due to the fact that the sale was approved by the Thai government cabinet with limited scrutiny and disclosure. The S26 appears to be the AIP-equipped version of the S20 diesel-electric submarine (SSK). The S26 has a displacement of 2,660 tons and six torpedo tubes for heavyweight torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. It can travel up to 18 knots and reach up to 8,000 nautical miles (at four knots). Its maximum diving depth is 300 metres. In 2015 Pakistan ordered eight AIP submarines – designated the Hangor-class – from China, these too are likely customized S26s.
Foreign Policy Reports
The Forever Chancellor « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Her only real rival in terms of political longevity on the world stage is Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The French presidential election and a German regional election both gave the chancellor a boost on Sunday.
The German foreign minister has accused Angela Merkel of treating Ivanka Trump like royalty in a backlash against the chancellor from her coalition partners before the election in September.
Chancellor Angela Merkel sharpened her tone against President Donald Trump’s demands that Germany spend more on defense, saying she’ll keep insisting that targets on development aid are just as important. The U.S. administration has ruled out counting foreign aid toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s target of spending 2 percent of gross national product in member states on defense. Trump has said Germany owes “vast sums of money” on security. “As much as the U.S. government demands meeting NATO’s 2 percent defense spending goal by 2024, we will stand just as much by our 0.7 percent spending for development aid,” Merkel told an industry club in Hamburg on Friday. Germany spends about 1.2 percent of GDP on defense.
Reports of a dinner attended by Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker described it as disastrous.
The view from Berlin is that Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is a monumental miscalculation, and a disastrous departure from reality-based British pragmatism
Germany has granted political asylum to numerous Turkish military personnel and their families holding diplomatic passports, German media reported Monday, amid strained relations between the two NATO allies.
Turks living in Germany will not be allowed to vote in any referendum on reinstating the death penalty in Turkey, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in remarks broadcast on Tuesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Europe should not push Turkey away despite worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s tightening grip on power, seeming to play down talk that its aspirations to join the European Union are over.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has advised the EU to be clear in its criticism of Turkey, stressing that the 28-nation bloc should do it with discretion….
GERMAN celebrations of Emmanuel Macron’s victory had barely begun last night when the first arguments about it broke out. The French president-elect’s longstanding calls for a “new deal” between his country and Germany were the impetus.
NSA Director Michael Rogers provides the first US government confirmation that Russia successfully compromised elements of the French election.
The U.S. watched as Russia “penetrated” French systems during the election runup and gave French officials “a heads up,” Adm. Mike Rogers said Tuesday.
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the leak of large quantities of hacked data from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign two days before Sunday’s presidential election, which the centrist won, a judicial source said on Tuesday.
The niece of Marine le Pen had been tipped as a future leader of the far-right National Front.
Another Le Pen Bites the Dust? | Foreign PolicyAnother Le Pen Bites the Dust? « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
The fetid bombs reprotedly made their debut over the weekend during clashes in Los Teques, near Caracas.
Even as crowdfunding campaigns raise money for gear, demonstrators are coming up with makeshift equipment.
More than 30 people have been killed in recent weeks as protests continue against President Maduro.