Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 17 May 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Prof Goble’s essay on containment in the globalized digital age is the best to date, debunking the popular notion that Kennan can be reused verbatim, rather than more active strategies pursued. Baev comments on Russia’s clumsy dealings with the US, overlooking the regime’s need for cohesion that mandates a hostile relationship with the US. Rep. Hunter and WP point to fundamentally divergent agendas of the RF vs. the US. Antonova essay is excellent, as is Whitmore’s comment on it. Goble’s post-Soviet man essay is excellent, the“Sovok/Vatnik” as labelled by Ukrainians in one. The “Orthodox Taliban” theme emerges again, after the Pokemon-Go trial. Multiple reports on the ongoing meltdown, and Belarus’ pursuit of Chinese money.

One short of a dozen very good IO/IW/Cyber articles, especially survey of Russian influence in Ukraine, Georgia, Czechia and Hungary, the latter two so gullible the Russians now have strong influence, and Macron’s disruptive play that hobbled the Russian campaign.

Ukraine sees more Donbass attacks, and SIGINT suggesting the Russians may try to take Mariupol yet again. Carnegie survey shows that Donbass residents care little about ethnicity or nationalism, confirming earlier observations from 2014 that money appears to be the primary motivator for all actions, behaviours and attitudes. Ukraine blocking of Russian social media produces immense Western MSM coverage, and overt support by NATO. Russians launch retaliatory DDoS attack on Presidential website. The St George AKA “Colorado [beetle]” ribbon now illegal in Ukraine as a propaganda artefact. PM Groysman in Israel, in particular pitching for access to Israeli military tech – although Holocaust politics emerge, and will no doubt elicit Holodomor politics in Ukraine. Multiple reports on AFU and ATO, while CoS Gen Muzhenko being sued over the Luhansk loss of the Il-76 CANDID by families of KIA servicemen.

Turkey and Iran dominate ME MSM coverage, noting that Iran may be sliding further down the abyss that Rhodes told Congress was a matter of the past.

DPRK’s CW is finally hitting the MSM, with Mizokami propagating Bermudez’ survey report – interesting the MSM’s armchair analysts have now spent months ignoring the operational and fully weaponised capability to deliver cyanogen chloride (CK), hydrogen cyanide (AC), mustard-family (H, HD or HL), phosgene (CG and CX), sarin (GB), soman (GD), tabun (GA) and V-agents (VM and VX). Adm Harry Harris, PACOM,  “pushed for a sense of urgency” over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, stressing it even threatens Pyongyang’s allies China and Russia” – something both China and Russia need to be reminded of continuously – whether the DPRK lobs VX or nukes on Hwasong-12 IRBMs, they can cover most of China and much of Russia with these WMDs. If they get away with blackmailing the US and its allies, why not blackmail China and Russia? A number of essays look more closely at the impacts and options in a shooting war against the DPRK. China suffers from ransomware attack.

Bellingcat survey Russian influence in EU youth organisations.

US domestic debate continues.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Paul A. Goble | Containment of Putin’s Russia in today’s globalized world won’t be easy or even enough | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Ever more people are calling for the containment of Putin’s Russia and some are even celebrating that the West has already been taking the necessary first steps in that direction, but such appeals and even more such celebrations fail to recognize that in today’s globalized world, containment won’t be easy – and almost certainly it won’t be enough. The reasons for that unsettling conclusion reflect just how different the world is than it was when George Kennan first defined containment as a program intended to surround and isolate the Soviet Union and defend those countries threatened by Moscow’s policies until the internal contradictions of the communist system forced the USSR to retreat and to change. Containment, as many now appear to have forgotten, was predicated on a large number of features of the international system and the state centered on Moscow that are no longer true; and because of these changes, containment will be difficult if not impossible to carry out – and in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive policies, it won’t be enough to stop him. In this article, I would like to point to five changes in Russia and five more in the international environment and especially in the US and Europe that make containment alone unlikely to work as many of its advocates assume and that means that the West needs to recognize that to counter Putin, it is going to have to do far more than “contain” him. Among the changes in the state centered on Moscow between 1945 and now, five are especially important:

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Containment in Today’s Globalized World Won’t Be Easy or Even Enough Paul A. Goble | To point to these ten changes – and in fact, there are many more – is not to say that the United States, Europe and the civilized world should not oppose the aggression and authoritarianism Putin represents. Reviving NATO and other allliances and including new members in them as soon as possible are necessary steps. But it is to insist that those things will not be enough. Even if there were tens of thousands of NATO troops in the frontline states of Eastern Europe – and there ought to be at least that many — Putin could and would use his Internet and his corruption to reach over those forces and change the nature of these countries and their willingness to oppose him. He has demonstrated this again and again and again. What then should the West do? First of all, it must acknowledge that as attractive as fighting the last war always is, containment which was part of that last conflict isn’t going to work in the new war if it is the only thing going. Obviously, rebuilding its defense capability must be part of the answer, but it can’t be the only one. Indeed, it wasn’t earlier either. Then, it must recover its own self-confidence. The strength of the West is not as many, including Putin, imagine in its GDP and its missiles: it is in the ideas on which the West has been built. Those ideas will ultimately like a blade of grass growing through concrete break it into pieces just as they did the USSR. And finally, it must join the battle that Putin has chosen to begin, exposing his use of the Internet to destroy the notions of truth and objectivity and of corruption to promote a sense of moral equivalency where it does not exist. And it must recognize that his regime has to be brought down and not just kept behind a line the West can no longer enforce. To do all this will not be easy, but it is essential because what Putin is doing is just as serious an existential threat to the West as was Stalin’s. Indeed, the current Kremlin ruler’s actions may be even more dangerous. At the very least, they are currently far harder to counter. But we have no choice but to try.

Moscow Spoils Every Opportunity to Improve Relations With US – Jamestown The Kremlin continues to cling to hopes that it can build a rapport with the Donald Trump administration; those expectations copiously developed at the start of the year, only to succumb to one cold shower after another since then. Yuri Ushakov, President Vladimir Putin’s long-serving foreign policy aide, recently asserted that the “difficult legacy” left by the Barack Obama administration was gradually sorted out despite the resistance of “certain forces in the American establishment” (RIA Novosti, May 12). Yet, he could not refrain from warning about the “limits of Russia’s patience” regarding the diplomatic property “confiscated” by the United States in December 2016 (RBC, May 12). This bitter complaint reflects the depth of frustration in Moscow caused by the accumulation of new complications in Washington that block Putin’s plan for cultivating a beautiful friendship with the inexperienced but open-minded President Trump. This frustration results in Moscow pushing too hard for every opening in the frozen relations and in spoiling the few opportunities that come up.

Moscow Spoils Every Opportunity to Improve Relations With US – To Inform is to Influence By: Pavel K. Baev May 15, 2017 05:39 PM Age: 17 hours The Kremlin continues to cling to hopes that it can build a rapport with the Donald Trump administration; those expectations copiously developed at the start of the year, only to succumb to one cold shower after another since then. Yuri Ushakov, President Vladimir…

Let President Trump try to work with Russia None of what has incited controversy should alter the view that Russia will take advantage of any weakness, writes Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Trump claims he wants closer ties with Russia. Here are 3 reasons that won’t fly. – The Washington Post Russia’s strategic interests diverge from U.S. goals.

The Morning Vertical, May 17, 2017 ON MY MIND So which is it? Is it Putin the invincible? Or is it Putin the vulnerable? Is the current Kremlin regime a monolithic authoritarian state impervious to change? Or is a revolution or a palace coup just around the corner? In an insightful piece featured below, journalist and playwright Natalia Antonova concludes that “when it comes to possible scenarios, for now it’s best to stick with the boring ones” like “the slow corrosion of an inflexible political system.” That’s probably about right. Vladimir Putin’s regime is in trouble because it has run out of rationales for why it should rule indefinitely. First it promised prosperity in exchange for political freedom. That worked until from 2000 until about 2012. Then it promised empire in exchange for prosperity and political freedom. But the high from the “Crimea drug” appears to be wearing off. For the first time, Putin seems incapable of articulating a convincing legitimizing narrative. But the Kremlin also has enough tools of repression at its disposal to handle any public unrest. And Putin has been careful to take precautions — purging his inner circle and creating the National Guard — to insure against a palace coup. What this all should add up to is a prolonged period of stagnation and decay. Can you say “Late Brezhnev”? Of course you can! The Putin regime isn’t strong, but it isn’t weak either. But it is brittle. As Antonova notes: “Russian history has been known to move in fits and starts, with plenty of surprises along the way. It’s just that surprises rarely occur exactly where you’re looking for them.”

Natalia Antonova | bne IntelliNews – COMMENT: Putin’s main weakness is voters’ passivity Support for Putin is high, but it is only passive. International commentators are barking up the wrong tree. Putin’s been in power for so long that he’s become both a constant – kind of like the weather, which you can’t do anything about – and an abstraction. Many people are also still bitter about the 2011-2012 anti-Putin demonstrations, which ended up with the protest movement crushed and divided. Both emotionally and practically speaking, Russians are currently more interested in narrower and more achievable causes than driving Putin out. This isn’t to say that Putin has nothing to worry about. An opposition that’s getting smarter is reason to worry enough – but there is also the fact that Russia generally appears to be at yet another crossroads. The economy has faltered, but the rapaciousness of the local elite still shows no bounds, causing a slow but steady growth of discontent. Even the pet opposition parties present in the State Duma, while craven and discredited, could show their fangs should things get really dire. The euphoria that occurred when Crimea was annexed has passed, and the pendulum of the public mood could swing sharply in the opposite direction. Then there is the obvious fact that while Russia is legally a nation, it still functions closer to that of an empire – with all of the usual problems that empires tend to generate for themselves in the long run. Taken all together, the political processes that Putin is presiding over right now don’t fit into boxes such as “there will be a new revolution tomorrow” and “Putin will probably try to take over the world before he’s done”. When it comes to possible scenarios, for now it’s best to stick with the boring ones – the slow corrosion of an inflexible political system, Putin’s search for a successor, and so on. Of course, Russian history has been known to move in fits and starts, with plenty of surprises along the way. It’s just that surprises rarely occur exactly where you’re looking for them.

Russia is ready to fight dirty | Public Radio International Russia never expected Donald Trump to become president, but Russian leaders are probably benefiting from the ups and downs that have filled the president’s first months in office.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Post-Soviet Man Resembles Pre-Soviet Predecessor More than Soviet One, Sociologists Say Paul Goble Staunton, May 16 – The Tolkovatel portal over the last several years has focused on the origins of the characteristics of post-Soviet man, including his suspiciousness about everything new, his hierarchical approach to all things, his unhappiness with his life, and his believes in dark forces and conspiracies. And it has pointed to how the post-Soviet man compensates for this by an elevated sense of exceptionalism and to the origins of these values not in Soviet times but rather in the Russia of the 18th and 19th centuries(See ttolk.ru/2016/08/17/александр-ахиезер-когда-в-россии-появ/. Cf. windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-archaic-revivals.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/11/russian-authoritarianism-from-below.html). Today, the review blog excerpts a new article by Sergey Patrushev and Lyudmila Filippova of the Moscow Institute of Sociology entitled “The Dualism of Mass Consciousness and the Typology of Mass Politics” published in the latest issue of Politicheskaya nauka (inion.ru/files/File/PN-Patrushev-Philippova-2017-1.pdf. The selected passages are at ttolk.ru/2017/05/16/постсоветский-человек-родом-из-архаи/). After recounting the characteristics of “post-Soviet man” offered earlier by Yury Levada and Lev Gudkov (nataliabaranova.livejournal.com/127841.html?thread=366177), Patrushev and Filippova seek to answer “why Europe achieved the creation of ‘a political man’ while Russia didn’t?” And they make the following argument: “The sources of the dualism of mass consciousness in Russia are to be found not in the ‘totalitarian’ Soviet past but in much earlier historical periods. The investigation of the creation of Russian political consciousness highlights the way in which a number of tendencies have reappeared in our days in a cyclical fashion.” “In Russia of the second half of the 18th and the 19th centuries, political consciousness [in Russia] was formed under conditions of a split, first between the numerically dominant peasant population and the small nobility and then between modernist and anti-modernist worldviews,” Patrushev and Filippova say. Because of this split, “political and pre-political consciousness coexisted at the same time although the latter predominated.” “The traditional culture of the Russian peasants” was simultaneously “loyal and inclined to revolt,” while “various groups of the nobility represented conservative, liberal and revolutionary types of political consciousness.” But what is most important is that “the process of Europeanization stimulated anti-modern attitudes” in reaction. And that took the form of superficial adoption of European values while even greater attachment to archaic ones, leading to a kind of ‘’doublethink’” in which people might appear to be Europeanized but in fact had become more archaic, a pattern that has re-emerged in post-Soviet times, the two sociologists say. “The technology, forms of organization of work, and social ideals borrowed from European peoples,” they continue, “in a paradoxical way were reproduced in society with deeply rooted stereotypes of thought and behavior. This paradoxical combination of Europeanism and the archaic” is fully reflected in Russians’ approach to public and political life. And this has resulted in a sharp difference between Western Europe and Russia. “In Western Europe, civil society formed on agreed-upon principles as a result of which” people recognized the reciprocal nature of rights. But in Russia, “civil society did not take shape, and the main principle of social organization was collectivity (sobornost),” which forced the individual to “dissolve” himself in the whole. It is this “contradiction between superficial modernism and deep archaism” [which] forms the essence of the dualism of present-day Russian political consciousness,” Patrushev and Filippova say. But the resulting “alienation from politics leads to an institutional trap” from which Russians have not been able to escape. “The alienation from politics and from the powers,” they continue, “remains one of the key characteristics of Russian mass political consciousness” which also retains “elements of paternalistic dependence on the powers that be.” Nearly two-thirds of Russians “don’t feel responsible for what happens in the country, and 78 percent don’t expect the state to help them. “In the apathetic nature and inertia of the mass strata, in their weakness and inability ‘to challenge’ the existing order of things” explains why the powers that be can count on relative stability for most of the time. “Correspondingly,” they say, “the powers that be are interested in the preservation of the dualism of political conscioiusness by a combination in political discourse of traditionalist and modernizing elements. The reverse side of the tendency of the depoliticization of the masses is the growing dependence of the authorities” on conflicts within the elites. “The political elites are not capable of developing a stable agreement on the main issues of the development of Russian society,” and that, “in combination with the other important characteristic of mass consciousness – a refusal to take responsibility – produces an institutional trap” neither can easily escape.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Claiming Victories, Tyumen Long-Haul Drivers Suspend Strike But Say They’ll Be Back Paul Goble Staunton, May 16 – The long-haul truckers of Tyumen have suspended their labor action after 33 days off work because, in the words of their leader Vladimir Ardashov, they have achieved many of their immediate goals and will resume their strike if the regional and federal governments don’t make further concessions. The union leader said the drivers had succeeded in getting Moscow to promise a review of the Plato system in the courts, forced the authorities to cancel all fines that had been levied against the truckers during the strike, and that prompted Moscow to freeze the Plato rate rather than increase it (ng72.ru/news/view/15-05-2017-zabastovka-prekratilas-predsedatel-dalnoboyshchikov-tyumeni-ushel-v-otstavku-iz-za-bolezni-s-serdcem). “We could have continued to strike,” Ardashov continued, “but there already is no point in doing so.” Now, the drivers can earn a living again and they can watch to see if the powers that be continue to meet them at least half way. “If there are no results,” however, the drivers will resume their labor action. The Tyumen labor leader said that health problems are compelling him to step aside and the union there will have to hold new elections. “If it is decided for us to begin a third strike, then it already will be not with me at the head,” not because his attitude has changed but rather because he is too ill to do all that is necessary. Meanwhile, the Russian authorities are doing what they can to play down the strike even as they make concessions. In Yamal, they announced that they were testing the long-haul drivers for HIV, clearly a way to trying to isolate and demonize the drivers (vesti-yamal.ru/ru/vjesti_jamal/na_yamale_dalnoboyschikov_testiruyut_na_vich162157). Moscow officials said the Plato system has collected 25 billion rubles (500 million US dollars) already (argumenti.ru/economics/2017/05/534924), and a Russian bank claimed that the long-haul truckers’ strike had not affected the delivery or price of consumer goods, despite much evidence to the contrary (rns.online/consumer-market/Raiffaizenbank-protesti-dalnoboischikov-suschestvenno-ne-povliyali-na-potrebitelskie-tseni–2017-05-15/). There was one positive development late yesterday: officials in the Kirov oblast government announced the establishment of a special department within the bureaucracy to deal only with the problems of the long-haul truckers, the latest regional hierarchy to make that decision (7×7-journal.ru/anewsitem/94998). And for those who would like to get an idea of the reach of the truckers’ strike, Stratfor has published a map showing where there have been reports that the drivers have carried out labor actions (profi-forex.org/novosti-rossii/entry1008307777.html).

The Daily Vertical: What’s A Crime In Russia? God Only Knows (Transcript)  Well I guess now it’s official. The Russian Orthodox Church appears to be the final arbiter of Russian law. This all became clear over the past couple days. Let me explain. Earlier this week, the popular television host Vladimir Pozner issued a remarkable on-air appeal to Vladimir Putin, Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin, and Patriarch Kirill, asking them to clarify whether or not atheism now constitutes a crime in Russia. Pozner was responding to the conviction of Yekaterinburg-based blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky, who had just been handed a three-and-half-year suspended sentence for insulting religious believers by playing Pokemon Go in church. The verdict against Sokolovsky noted the fact that he “denies the existence of Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad.” In his appeal, Pozner said that, like Sokolovsky, he too was an atheist — and he asked whether he too could face prosecution. In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment, saying such matters were for the courts. Now, anybody who understands how Russian criminal justice works knows that that is complete nonsense. But fair enough. But the Constitutional Court also declined to comment, saying it only responds to formal legal appeals. But guess what? The Russian Orthodox Church did respond. It said that Sokolovsky was convicted not for his atheism, but for showing disrespect toward believers. So I guess the good news is that no, atheism has not been criminalized in Russia — at least not yet. But the bad news is that Russia now looks increasingly like a theocracy.

Veteran State TV Journalist Asks On Air: Can Atheism Get You Jailed In Russia? MOSCOW — Can atheism now get you jail time in Russia? Russia's laws suggest it cannot, but after a blogger was convicted for playing Pokemon Go in a cathedral last week, that was the questio…

Gay-Rights Activists File ICC Genocide Complaint Over Alleged Chechnya Abuses LGBT activists in France say they have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the leader of Chechnya alleging genocide following reports of the torture and killing o…

Baku Decries Russian Court’s Closure Of Azerbaijani Diaspora Group Azerbaijani officials and legislators on May 16 decried a decision by Russia's Supreme Court to shut down a group representing more than 2 million Azerbaijanis living in Russia. Baku'…

For Crimea’s drug users, a Russian death sentence – POLITICO Moscow’s ban on substitution therapy is driving the peninsula’s HIV epidemic.

Russian media copes with a more volatile political environment – CEPA STRATCOM PROGRAM. Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov is reportedly in talks to sell his RBC media holdings, which include an information agency, business consulting firm, internet news portal, business newspaper, monthly business magazine and RBC Television. Russian businessman Grigory Berezkin, who has stakes in utility and media companies, is the likely buyer, Berezkin spokeswoman Marianna Belousova said on 9 May. Berezkin owns shares in the daily newspaper Metro and is co-owner of the Komsomolskaya Pravda publishing house. Prokhorov’s media outlets reportedly angered the Kremlin in 2016 with its reporting on the business interests of people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the time, Russian law enforcement searched Prokhorov’s offices and several top editors had to leave their posts, though Russian authorities denied any connection. Current tensions between RBC and the Kremlin over coverage of recent anti-Putin protests also likely play a role in the transaction. According to one press report, Aleksey Gromov—deputy head of the presidential administration—is pressuring Prokhorov to sell. Gromov considers as a “personal insult” both the extensive coverage of the opposition rallies and RBC’s 5 April report that the Kremlin was considering allowing greater coverage of Russian domestic politics. Control over the media, especially TV, is a key instrument of Putin’s rule: it generates public support for the system and Putin’s personal popularity, on which the legitimacy of the system depends. It can also mobilize the population behind favored regime causes such as the invasion of Ukraine, and it earns Kremlin elites huge amounts of revenue. There appears to be grounds for Kremlin concern regarding each of these rationales. A recent survey by the state-run polling agency VTsIOM shows that TV continues to lose its hold on the public. For the past two years, the share of Russians who say they get their news from TV has dropped by 10 percent, while the share of Russians who rely primarily on the internet for news has grown by the same amount. Though TV is still the primary source of information about current events in Russia, 32 percent of respondents said they now go online for news. About half (52 percent) of Russians currently watch TV news—down from 62 percent in 2015. News websites, blogs and social media are all gaining popularity in Russia, according to the VTsIOM study. Unsurprisingly, younger people are far more likely to rely on the internet for information; 65 percent of Russians between the ages of 18 and 24 get their news from the web, as do half of Russians between 25 and 34. Yet for now, trust in TV is still significantly higher than faith in online sources, with 70 percent of Russians telling VTsIOM they have confidence in the national networks, and 63 percent saying they rely on local TV news. Fewer than half of Russians believe in any other media source, according to the survey. Political commentator Valery Solovey suggested in an 8 May interview that the authorities have convinced themselves that the recent spate of opposition activity is only temporary, and that the trouble will pass. He notes that with the repression of political activity, an obedient, toothless parliament and little in the way of independent media, there is no channel for feedback from the public. The Kremlin does not actually know what is going on in Russia, he said. Even structures that are supposed to provide objective information indulge in wishful thinking, and they accommodate the views of their bosses. It is difficult to know, of course, if Russia’s leadership is out of touch. But the Kremlin appears to have accepted the widespread view that young people relying on social media largely spurred the March demonstrations. On 11 May, Putin issued a 27-page executive order that would treat the internet more like official news media, which face restrictions not applicable to many online outlets. It instructed the federal government to devise new mechanisms to rein in online media and limit internet users’ anonymity. It also specifies that the new policing mechanisms should apply to internet TV networks, news aggregators, social networks and instant messengers, as well as “any websites.”

Gas Blast Kills Two In Russia’s Volgograd Officials say a gas explosion has killed at least two people and injured eight in an apartment building in the southwestern Russian city of Volgograd. The May 16 blast destroyed part of th…

Expert: Russia is a potential military threat to any neighbor Eastern European countries are increasing military capabilities in case of need to defend against Russia. Is the Kremlin really a serious threat to this region today?

The Growing Russia Military Threat in Europe | CSCE Russian military aggression in recent years has flagrantly violated commitments enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act relating to refraining from the threat or use of force against other states; refraining from violating other states’ sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence; and respecting the right of every state to choose its own security alliances.

From Я to R: How To Change A Country’s Alphabet — And How Not To Kazakhstan is planning to change its alphabet from a Cyrillic-based script to Latin. How do countries change their alphabets?
Inter-Slavic Language In The Making By Czech Linguist and Croatian Anthropologist – Slavorum Two Slav scientists have started to work on a common inter-Slavic language. Slavic languages were used the least and were neglected on a world stage, this is why they enrolled on a task to create Slavic language that would help Slavic peoples across Europe.QUIZ: Find A Western Spy Among Slavs – Slavorum Privyet comrade. You are on a special task today, with Slavic culture being more and more popular each day we have encountered a major problem. Massive amount of Western spies are trying to infiltrate our ranks, we obviously do need to trace them all or eventually we might meet a grim end.

Lukashenka To Xi Jinping: I Have Not Heard Such Powerful Speech For 20 Years – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The dictator actively learns duties of a lackey of Chairman of the PRC.

New Details in Police Lawlessness Story in Brest – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The guy beaten up by the police told how his bones were broken in the ROVD and the way police officers ate crayfish bought by him in a restaurant.

Bureaucrats Are out of Touch with the Reality – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The contrast between ordinary Belarusians and the authority is getting stronger.

Belarusian Opposition Movement Gets Registered At Last MINSK — The Belarusian opposition movement Havary Pravdu (Tell the Truth) has been registered after seven years of unsuccessful attempts to gain official status. Havary Pravdu co-Chairwoma…


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Inside the Kremlin’s media machine -Euromaidan Press | How does the world look from inside a pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet? We rarely get the opportunity to hear from the people who work in such organisations. So it is something of a scoop every time a whistle blower surfaces and offers a testimony. Last week, Coda Story presented a valuable piece of documentation with the article “Confessions of a (Former) State TV Reporter“. It featured Ilya Kizirov, who now works as a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian-language service, but who previously worked in Russian state-controlled media outlet RIA Novosti. According to Kizirov, RIA Novosti was “for years one of the most unusual media organizations in Russia: a state-run agency with an excellent reputation for balanced and fair reporting”. But this professionalism was challenged when Dmitry Kiselev was appointed CEO and, as also reported by other media, announced to his staff that “the period of impartial journalism is over. Objectivity is a myth that we have been offered; it has been imposed on us”. Top-editors told the staff that “there is no more time for truth-seeking”, and that “our country is back in the Cold War era.”

Russia’s response to Trump leak reports: don’t read U.S. newspapers | Reuters A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday advised that people don’t read American newspapers, in response to U.S. media reports that President Donald Trump had disclosed classified intelligence at a meeting with Russian officials.

Russian hybrid warfare: The view from Estonia | CEPA Victim-blaming is a common mistake when talking about crime. Women are told that their clothing or social habits are to blame for sexual assault, for example. That arouses justified outrage. But does the same apply to our discussion of Russia’s hybrid warfare? Last weekend I was chairing a panel on “Hacks and (Fake) Facts: Warfare in the Information Space” at the Lennart Meri conference in Tallinn, the main security shindig in the Nordic-Baltic region. The other participants were Kier Giles, a leading British expert on Russian e-spookery, Gerhard Conrad, a former German spymaster now running the European Union’s intelligence-assessment center, Ivana Smolenová, a Slovak information-war expert living in Ukraine and Taimar Peterkop, who runs Estonia’s national information systems agency. Sadly we did not enjoy the company of the chief of Germany’s domestic security service, Hans-Georg Maaßen, who had to pull out at short notice.

Analyzing a counterintelligence cyber operation: How Macron just changed information, cyber & security forever – To Inform is to Influence To be accurate, this article is not about cyber security, not at all – so I changed the title. It is about information, gaining the advantage in messaging and the narrative, and seizing the initiative.   As much as I love the author, Gadi Evron, he makes a totally false statement: “information warfare or as…

Ukraine Resists Kremlin Influence and Propaganda – YouTube Ukraine leads the fight against Russian propaganda, according to a study of the Kremlin’s influence in 4 countries: Ukraine, Georgia, the Czech Republic and …

WannaCry: Why Russia’s cyber defenses are so weak – May. 15, 2017 Russia’s reputation as a cyber-savvy nation that churns out computing experts has been undermined by its troubles with WannaCry ransomware.

Microsoft on massive ransomware attack: nations must not hoard cyberweapons – To Inform is to Influence The world leaders’ response?  *crickets chirping* As long as North Korea exists as a rogue state…  As long as Russia remains rogue… As long as we have the internet, there will be a need for cyberweapons.   If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. </end editorial> Elizabeth Weise, USATODAYPublished 6:52 p.m. ET May…

WannaCry Campaign: Potential State Involvement Could Have Serious Consequences – To Inform is to Influence WannaCry Campaign: Potential State Involvement Could Have Serious Consequences The massive ransomware campaign, broadly referred to as WannaCry, makes use of a well-known technical vulnerability and at this stage does not indicate a clear link to any state actor. However, if attribution to a specific state or state-controlled actor is established, Tallinn Manual 2.0 on…

Experts try to figure out who’s behind global cyberattack – Fifth Domain | Cyber Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.

Cyber attack eases, hacking group threatens to sell code | Reuters Governments turned their attention to a possible new wave of cyber threats on Tuesday after the group that leaked U.S. hacking tools used to launch the global WannaCry “ransomware” attack warned it would release more malicious code.

A guide to 21st-century propaganda: echo chambers, fake news, bots, big data, and the science of persuasion — Quartz “There are two kinds of propaganda,” wrote Aldous Huxley in 1958 in Brave New World Revisited, a retrospective on his famous novel: rational propaganda in favor of action that is consonant with the enlightened self-interest of those who make it and those to whom it is addressed… (in other words, arguments couched in facts and logic) …and non-rational…


Ukraine Reports


The Two Parts of Ukraine’s Donbas – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace A new survey reveals that people living through the war in eastern Ukraine are not characterized by clear-cut ethnic or political identities.

Ukraine Seeks Direct U.S. Role in Peace Talks – WSJ Ukraine’s government is pushing the Trump administration to take a direct role in peace talks over eastern Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister said Monday, including possible three-way talks with Moscow and Kiev on ending the violence.


NATO says blocking Russian Internet websites in Ukraine is a matter of security, not freedom of speech NATO believes that Ukraine’s decision to block Russian Internet resources in Ukraine is a matter of national security and has nothing to do with freedom of speech, the press service of the alliance said. “The Ukrainian government has made clear that this decree is an issue of security, not one of freedom of speech. NATO works with Ukraine to strengthen its reforms, including in the fields of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Freedom of speech is covered by this dialogue. We have trust in Ukraine’s commitment to its international obligations and the system of checks and balances in place in Ukraine,” the website of 112.Ukraine says referring to the statement of the NATO press service. As reported, On May 16 Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree enacting a resolution by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) dated April 28, 2017 on the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions).

Informational Policy Ministry brands banned Russian social networks “instruments of hybrid war” The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine in a comment issued Monday declared that social networks&nbsp;VKontakte&nbsp;and&nbsp;Odnoklassniki as well as Yandex and Mail.ru online services&nbsp;have long been used by Russian security forces s as an instrument in Russia&rsquo;s hybrid war. News 16 May from UNIAN.

Turchynov urges Internet access providers to start instantly blocking Russian content 16.05.17 21:04 – Turchynov urges Internet access providers to start instantly blocking Russian content Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov called on the Internet service providers to begin blocking Russian sites subject to sanctions. View news. 

Ukrtelecom takes around one week to block sanctioned Internet resources Ukrtelecom has started implementing Ukrainian president decree No. 133 dated May 15, 2017 and blocking access to the Internet resources outlined in the sanction list and it would take around one week to finish this work. “Works have been started. They will be carried out in stages. According to the preliminary assessment of specialists it would last several days up to one week,” the company said on Tuesday. “The process is complicated. It requires time, taking into account the large number of resources,” Ukrtelecom said. As reported, according to the sanctions imposed, Internet providers are to ban access of users to Internet resources www.kaspersky.ru, www.drweb.ru, www.mail.ru, dozens of Yandex resources and social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.

Ukraine to develop mechanism to apply sanctions to Russian entities threatening Ukraine’s info, cyber security The Ukrainian Security Service and the Cabinet have been instructed to work out a mechanism to implement special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions) with regard to Russian legal entities whose operations pose a threat to Ukraine’s information and cyber security. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued an executive order enacting the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council’s (NSDC) decision dated April 28 to impose sanctions on 468 legal entities, the NSDC press service said. The legal entities facing Ukraine’s sanctions include “legal entities of the Russian Federation whose activities pose a threat to Ukraine’s information and cyber security.” “The Ukrainian Cabinet of ministers and Security Service have been instructed to develop a mechanism together with the National Bank of Ukraine to ensure the implementation of this decision,” it said.

All of Ukrainian president’s official pages on Russian social media sites being closed vUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced the closure of his official pages on Russian social media sites and urged Ukrainians to quit Russian servers for security reasons. “Ukrainian internet providers should stop providing access to VK, Odnoklassniki, Yandex and other Russian servers. All of the president’s official pages on these servers will be closed. I am urging all of my fellow citizens to immediately withdraw from Russian servers for security reasons,” a statement posted on Poroshenko’s VK page says. “The hybrid war requires adequate responses to challenges,” Poroshenko said. “So for the purpose of countering opponents and countering propaganda, my team used pages on several Russian social networking sites,” Poroshenko said. “Massive Russian cyber attacks worldwide, in particular, the recent interference in the French election campaign, show that the time has come to act differently and more decisively,” Poroshenko said. The VK pictogram has been removed from the Ukrainian president’s official site. All of his official pages and accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube remain in place, the Ukrainian president said.

Government agencies to be barred from using Russian software, – Turchynov 16.05.17 23:20 – Government agencies to be barred from using Russian software, – Turchynov Ukrainian government agencies will be prohibited to use the software developed in the Russian Federation. View news.

Kremlin says may retaliate against Ukraine over sanctions on Russian web firms | Reuters The Kremlin said on Tuesday itmight retaliate against Ukraine after Kiev banned Russia’slargest internet firms Yandex and Mail.ru Groupcalling the move “shortsighted.”

“Kyiv willing to make its citizens blind and deaf,” – Russian Foreign Ministry on banned social media 16.05.17 22:47 – Kyiv willing to make its citizens blind and deaf, – Russian Foreign Ministry on banned social media The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is outraged by the sanctions Ukraine has imposed against popular Russian social media. View news.

New Ukrainian sanctions to have no effect on Kaspersky Lab The restrictive measures introduced by Ukraine will not affect Kaspersky Lab operations, a company spokesperson told Interfax on Tuesday.

Ukraine president’s site ‘attacked by Russia’ – BBC News The president claims it is retaliation for Ukraine’s ban on some Russian internet services.

Ukraine’s Poroshenko to block Russian social networks – BBC News President Petro Poroshenko slaps a ban on some of the biggest Russian sites, including VK and Yandex.

Ukraine to block access to Russia’s social media websites – Fifth Domain | Cyber MOSCOW (AP) — In another round of sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday ordered the blocking of access to Russia’s most popular social media websites and search engines. Poroshenko’s office on Tuesday published the decree that he signed a day earlier, freezing the assets and banning the operations of hundreds of Russian companies in Ukraine. The decree also calls for blocking access to dozens of Russia’s most popular websites for three years, including the search engine Yandex, social media network VKontakte and the email provider Mail.ru. All of them have a substantial audience in Ukraine. All of the websites were accessible in Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon and it was not immediately clear when and how the Ukrainian government was going to enforce the ban. Unlike Russia, which has in the recent years adopted and enforced a plethora of legislation to crack down on independent websites and online media, Ukraine does not have laws and regulations in place that would allow such a ban. The ban dismayed many journalists and public figures in Kiev who saw it as an attempt to match Russia’s repressive legislation. Poroshenko “should not have copycatted the Russians, it will attract criticism from our international partners as well as at home,” said Kiev-based independent analyst Volodymyr Fesenko. Most of the internet and media companies banned by Ukraine are privately owned and have grown over the past decades from start-ups working out of a basement to major international businesses.

Ukraine to block access to Russia’s social media websites – ABC News Ukraine to block access to Russia’s social media websites

Ukraine blocks popular social networks as part of sanctions on Russia | World news | The Guardian President’s decree prevents access to some of country’s most visited websites, sparking outcry from users

Ukraine blocks access to Russia websites Ban steps up sanctions in retaliation for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea

In new sanctions list, Ukraine targets Russian social-media sites – The Washington Post The sites to be blocked are among the most visited in the country.

Ukraine’s updated sanction list includes over 1,200 individuals Some 1,228 citizens of Ukraine, Russia and other countries have been put on the list of individuals who fall under sanctions by a resolution of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

Ukraine extends sanctions, blocks popular Russian web services and software companies -Euromaidan Press | President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree dated 15 May 2017 enacting the decision of the NSDC (National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) “On Application of Personal Special Economic and Other Restrictive Measures (Sanctions).” The decision extends the Ukrainian sanctions against 1228 personalities linked to the Crimea annexation, terrorist activities, illegal border crossing, and 468 Russia-based or Russia-affiliated companies, mostly providers of web services and software developers. The list of personalities also includes persons who had illegally visited occupied Crimea. Ukraine sanctioned Russia because of the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the continuing conflict in the Donbas. Before today’s update, the Ukrainian sanctions list included more than 400 Russian entities. Economic sanctions include the freezing of assets, ban on transactions, providing public services and other measures. The sanctions will be in force from one to three years.


Ukrainian Lawmakers Back Ban On Ribbon Embraced As Patriotic Symbol In Russia The Ukrainian parliament has approved legislation introducing fines and potential jail time for people who appear in public wearing a black-and-orange ribbon widely viewed a patriotic emblem in Russi…

Rada introduces fines for production, distribution of Saint George ribbons as propaganda The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has banned the production and public use of Saint George (Guards) ribbons and introduced administrative responsibility for this.

Ukraine MPs ban controversial St. George’s ribbon The Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading a bill banning the so-called St. George ribbon, making those wearing it liable under the Administrative Code. News 16 May from UNIAN.

Opposition bloc abstains as Rada rules to fine persons wearing St. George’s ribbons 16.05.17 18:22 – Opposition bloc abstains as Rada rules to fine persons wearing St. George’s ribbons The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a law allowing to fine persons for the manufacture and demonstration of St. George’s ribbons. View news.


Israel could help Ukraine in security, defense issues Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has called on Israeli authorities to help Ukraine cover the needs of its security and defense sectors. During his official visit to Israel, Groysman met with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss opportunities for bolstering military and technical cooperation between the two countries, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Minister’s press service said on Tuesday. “The democratic world needs to demonstrate greater solidarity in light of the Russian hybrid war,” the Ukrainian prime minister said. He called on the Israeli government to extend assistance to Ukraine that is needed to cover the requirements of the country’s security and defense sectors, the press service said. Kyiv is interested in Israel’s experience of medical treatment and rehabilitation of people who took part in hostilities, Groysman said. “Ukraine is interested in developing mutually advantageous cooperation with Israel in military-technical issues,” Groysman was quoted as saying by the press service.

Ukraine Prime Minister condemns Russian aggression during Israel visit – Israel News – Jerusalem Post Trade and bilateral agreements signed on “friendly and constructive” visit.

Jewish Ukraine Prime Minister Meets Netanyahu in Israel – The Forward Volodymyr Groysman of Ukraine met with Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem. They are the only Jewish prime ministers in the world.

Rivlin to Ukraine PM: New Era of Understanding Requires Acknowledging Terrifying Past – The Jewish Press | David Israel | 19 Iyyar 5777 – May 15, 2017 | JewishPress.com President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning met at his residence with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, who is on an official visit to Israel, accompanied by a delegation of government ministers who participate in a wider set of G2G meetings with their Israeli counterparts. Between 1941 and 1945, an estimated 950,000 Jewish civilians were killed as part of Nazi extermination policies, with widespread collaboration from the Ukrainian population. According to German historian Dieter Pohl, around 100,000 Ukrainian citizens joined police units that provided key assistance to the Nazis. Many others staffed the local bureaucracies or lent a helping hand during mass shootings of Jews. Ukrainians, such as the infamous Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, were also among the guards who manned the Nazi death camps.”

 


Modernizing the Ukrainian Army – YouTube Four billion dollars are required to develop the Ukrainian Army from now until 2020. The Ministry of Defense says that the main goal of the plan is to equip …

Ukrainian defense minister says Minsk agreement is ′only alternative′ for Donbass | News | DW.COM | 16.05.2017 Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has spoken to DW following meetings in Berlin with his German counterpart. Poltorak said the Minsk agreement was the ‘only alternative’ to fighting with Russia.

Poltorak: If Russia commences open aggression, every Ukrainian will go to war | News – Latest news about events in the world | DW | 05/16/2017Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak in an interview with Deutsche Welle said that Kyiv does not plan to return control of some regions of Donetsk and Lugansk region by military means. However, he does not rule out new provocations from Russia. This Poltorak said on Tuesday, May 16, in Berlin, where the Minister met with German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen (Ursula von der Leyen). “We do not consider the question of solving the problem of capturing territory Donetsk and Lugansk by force. But every citizen of Ukraine (…) will protect each centimeter of their land if Russia will decide on the open aggression” – said Poltorak. He stressed that the breach of truce and Minsk agreements – on the conscience of Russia, including through the supply of military equipment separatists. “We believe that Donetsk and Luhansk – the territory of Ukraine”, – said the Minister and announced a number of important decisions of the government and the president to return outside the control regions, and annexed the Crimea , under the jurisdiction of Ukraine. Concrete steps, however, did not name Poltorak.

ATO HQ: Russian proxies attack Ukraine 43 times in last day Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 43 times in the past 24 hours; no casualties were reported, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 17 May from UNIAN.

Russian militants attacked Ukraine Army’s positions 43 times yesterday, employed mortars, anti-tank missile systems, and IFVs, – ATO HQ 17.05.17 10:14 – Russian militants attacked Ukraine Army’s positions 43 times yesterday, employed mortars, anti-tank missile systems, and IFVs, – ATO HQ The situation in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area in the east of Ukraine did not change much yesterday and remained tense but stable and controlled by Ukrainian military. View news.

Militants preparing a breakthrough near Pavlopol Russian-occupation troops are preparing a breakthrough under the village of Pavlopol, Donetsk region. According to information Ministry of Defense , The Ukrainian military intercepted the radio air of terrorists. “According to them, they are preparing for a breakthrough near Pavlopol. For this purpose, the enemy draws down manpowerforce and equipment in this direction, “the message says. At the same time, the press service of the ATU Headquarters on its Facebook Reported that as of 18:00 on May 16, the units of Russian-terrorist forces in the ATU zone continued to shell our positions. From the beginning of the day the militants opened fire on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 19 times. There was no loss among the Ukrainian soldiers today. Primorsky direction. Militants fired at our strong points in the area of Pavlopol, Shirokino, Vodyanoy from grenade cup discharges of various systems and small arms. Not far from Chermalyk they were beating from a large-caliber machine gun. According to our positions at Krasnogorovka the enemy fired a mortar of 82 mm mortars. And the Ukrainian soldiers who keep the defense near Novotroitsky were fired by an enemy sniper. Donetsk direction. Surroundings Avdeevka and separate positions south of this city, the enemy fired from 82-mm mortar shells, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms. From the suburbs of the temporarily occupied Gorlovka, the militants were attacking our strong points in the Zaitsevo district from the arms of armored personnel carriers, large-caliber machine guns and small arms. Lugansk direction. Shooting early in the morning Ukrainian defenders in the area of the settlement of Yellow from 120-mm mortar shells, and positions near Lopaskino from the anti-tank grenade launcher, illegal armed formations significantly reduced their fire activity. During the daylight hours, as of 18:00, there was not a single fact of their use of weapons in this direction.

Ukrainian troops came under mortar strikes near Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Zhovte, – ATO HQ 16.05.17 21:40 – Ukrainian troops came under mortar strikes near Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Zhovte, – ATO HQ The anti-terrorist operation (ATO) units have incurred no losses as the Russian-terrorist forces have committed 19 attacks on their positions since the beginning of the day. Ukrainian troops fully control the situation in areas of their… View news.

Avdiivka residential neighborhood shelled by Russian-backed militants again, – National Police. PHOTOS 16.05.17 23:58 – Avdiivka residential neighborhood shelled by Russian-backed militants again, – National Police. PHOTOS The militants’ strike on the residential neighborhood of Avdiivka damaged a house but fortunately caused no casualties among civilians. View photo news.

Ukrainian troops surrendered not a single meter near Pesky, – ATO HQ disproves report on grey zone seizure 16.05.17 18:50 – Ukrainian troops surrendered not a single meter near Pesky, – ATO HQ disproves report on grey zone seizure Ukrainian military refute the information that the Russian-backed militants have allegedly captured a part of the grey zone near Pisky village in the occupied Donbas. View news.

Relatives of troopers killed in downed IL-76 plane sue Chief of Staff Muzhenko 16.05.17 20:42 – Relatives of troopers killed in downed IL-76 plane sue Chief of Staff Muzhenko The lawsuit against Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko was filed May 12 on behalf of the relatives of commandos who died in Il-76 military aircraft downed over Luhansk airport on June 14, 2014. View news.

Ukraine’s Security Services at a crossroads: to cover the authorities or to protect the people -Euromaidan Press | Recently, Ukraine’s SBU was implicated in operations to discredit anti-corruption activists. Is the chief security institution turning back to its old ways? For the third year in a row after the Euromaidan Revolution, Ukraine fights one of its main inner enemies – corruption. Some successful steps have already been made in this direction, however, the battle is still in full play. Moreover, there are signs that battling corruption is becoming dangerous again. Lately, several incidents have shown that the system is involving its heavy artillery – the security services (SBU) – to oppose being exposed. The roots of the institution lead to the Soviet Committee of State Security (KGB). For many years, its main function was to serve the interests of the government. Moreover, it was infested with Kremlin agents. Let’s take a look how the institution functions in the wake of upcoming reforms and what are the main obstacles on its way to changes.

Yanukovych defense on May 18 to ask Kyiv court to help organize video conference with ex-president Lawyers for disgraced ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych will ask Kyiv’s Obolonsky district court on May 18 for a preparatory hearing on the state treason case to explain procedural issues involving the possible appearance of Yanukovych in a video conference.


EU Deal On Visa-Free Travel For Ukrainians To Be SignedBRUSSELS — Representatives of the European Parliament and the European Council are due to sign a document in Strasbourg formalizing a long-awaited visa-liberalization deal with Ukraine. After th…

Holodomor Web Project Carries on Memory of Forced Famine – YouTube A new electronic project about the Ukrainian Holodomor will allow anyone to contribute. The project will allow people to add their own family stories about t…

Some 551,000 tonnes of imported coal shipped to TPPs, CHPPs in Ukraine in Jan-April  A total of 550,500 tonnes of imported steam coal was shipped to thermal power plants (TPPs) and combined heat and power plants (CHPPs) of Ukraine in January-April 2017, including 137,200 tonnes in Arpil alone and only from Russia, a source in the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry has told Interfax-Ukraine. Over the period 72,900 tonnes of coal was shipped from South Africa, 358,800 tonnes from Russia and 118,900 tonnes from Poland. Coal stocks at TPPs and CHPPs in Ukraine in April 2017 grew by 4.5% or 85,600 tonnes, being 2.008 million tonnes as of May 1, 2017. As of May 1, 2017, gas coal stocks amounted to 1.7 million tonnes and anthracite stocks – 377,500 tonnes. In April 2017, 1.587 million tonnes of coal was shipped to TPPs and CHPPs, and 1.502 million tonnes was consumed. Fuel oil stocks at warehouses of power plants in April 2017 narrowed by 23.4%, to 60,200 tonnes. Coal stocks at warehouses of power plants as of May 1, 2017 were 26.9% less than as of May 1, 2016, and fuel oil stocks – 47.2% less. Natural gas consumption in April 2017 was 173.2 million cubic meters (mcm) compared to 453.6 mcm in March 2017 and 170.6 mcm in April 2016. 

Alternative Energy is Rapidly Developing in Ukraine – YouTube Alternative energy is rapidly developing in Ukraine. The increase in prices for traditional energy resources makes us look for approaches to solving energy p…

Ukraine to Join in New Silk Road ‘One Belt, One Road’ – YouTube One Belt, One Road. This is the concept for recreating the Great Silk Road. World leaders met in China this week at a forum in order to discuss doing just th… 

China Invests in Ukraine – YouTube China is going to invest 250 million dollars in Ukraine in order to modernize the industrial capacities of the Ukrainian company “Motor Sich.” _ Follow UATV …

Malta could become big transport hub for Ukraine – Poroshenko Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Malta could become a hub for Ukrainian agrarian businesses to supply northern Africa and open new opportunities for Ukrainian metallurgical products. The president’s website page expressed enthusiasm in a post about the possibilities following a joint press conference in Malta with Poroshenko on Tuesday. The president also expressed Ukraine’s willingness to open an office for the Antonov aircraft company, in order to develop Ukraine’s aviation industry. Attention during the visit was focused on possibilities of developing cooperation between Ukraine and Africa and using Malta as a big sea transportation hub.

Preview of Ukrainian Films Competing at Cannes Held in Kyiv – YouTube In 2017, the Cannes Film Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. The best film will receive the cherished “Palme d’Or” or “Golden Palm”. In addition to the…

Ukrainian President cancels Eurovision appearance after Russian shelling attack kills four | The Independent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cancelled his planned appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev after a shelling attack in the war-torn eastern part of the country reportedly killed four civilians.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Rouhani Could Lose Iran Presidency: Seven Charts Illustrate Why – Bloomberg Iran’s more historically reliable opinion polls indicate President Hassan Rouhani is likely to win his bid for re-election on Friday. Yet his conservative challengers have put up a stronger fight than many expected, attacking his government’s economic record and accusing him of failing to improve living standards for the poor.

How Iran Became an Undemocratic Democracy – The New York Times Since the 1979 revolution, the country has shifted toward and away from dictatorship. The changes, while subtle, often coincide with an election.

Despite sharp differences, Trump and Erdogan clasp hands after cozy meeting – ABC News        President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showered each other with praise after a series of meetings at the White House Tuesday, but they made little progress to deal with their sharp differences on issues like terrorism and Syria. According to a readout provided by the White House Tuesday night, the leaders discussed “how to further strengthen the deep and diverse relationship between our two countries. President Trump reiterated the commitment of the United States to the security of our NATO ally Turkey and the need to work together to confront terrorism in all its forms.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump hold talks | Turkey News | Al Jazeera Meeting between Turkish and US leaders comes just days after Trump’s decision to arm Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria.

Watch: Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards beat up protestors in Washington DC after meeting with Trump — Quartz” The relations between Turkey and the United States have been erected upon common democratic values and common interests.” That’s what Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a White House press conference with US president Donald Trump on Tuesday (May 16). But shortly after the event, Erdogan’s bodyguards proceeded to beat and kick people outside the Turkish…

9 hurt, 2 arrested in altercation at Turkish Embassy in D.C. – Chicago Tribune Authorities say nine people were hurt and two arrests were made during an altercation at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the U.S. capital on Tuesday.

Donald Trump & Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Oil-for-Gold Trial Gives U.S. Leverage over Turkish President | National Review A pending American criminal case could give President Trump leverage over his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan …

A Turkish TV blockbuster reveals Erdogan’s conspiratorial, anti-Semitic worldview – The Washington Post” The Last Emperor” claims to be based on historical facts, but it’s actually a calculated exercise in bigotry.

10 Things to Know About Recep Tayyip Erdoğan | Best Countries | US News The Turkish president was once jailed for reading an Islamic poem.


DPRK / PRC Reports


The North Korea Military Threat Everyone Is Forgetting About | The National Interest Blog Think chemical weapons. In recent years, North Korea’s chemical weapons have taken a backseat to her nuclear weapons. They are, however, no less dangerous. The deterioration of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) makes them more essential to victory than ever before. For both practical and doctrinal reasons, North Korea will almost certainly use chemical weapons in wartime, from riot control to lethal nerve gases. Chemical weapons will be used to create a local, tactical advantage on the front lines and neutralize some advantages, such as air power. Thanks to North Korea’s prodigious missiles and artillery, they can be employed beyond the battlefield as well. North Korea will likely attack South Korea (ROK) through its depth with chemical weapons, from the Demilitarized Zone to Busan. The vast number of delivery systems would make shutting down the KPA chemical threat impossible during wartime.

North Korea’s Chemical Warfare Capabilities [2013] | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea Joseph Bermudez Jr. examines what is known about North Korea’s chemical weapons programs. The recent revelations of chemical agent usage in Syria’s long civil war not only reveals the tragic levels that this conflict has descended to but has also unexpectedly raised interest in the chemical warfare capabilities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has reportedly provided chemical warfare assistance to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.[1][2] The available body of evidence reveals that the DPRK produces and possesses the capability to effectively employ throughout the Korean peninsula, significant quantities and varieties of chemical weapons. It also has, to a lesser extent, the ability to employ these weapons worldwide using unconventional methods of delivery. Just as ominous as these chemical weapons production and delivery capabilities is a growing body of evidence that indicates a DPRK history of proliferation of chemical capabilities to nations such as Syria, Iran and others.

North Korea poses threat to China, Russia: US admiral – Yahoo7 Tokyo (AFP) – A top US Navy commander on Wednesday pushed for a “sense of urgency” over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, stressing it even threatens Pyongyang’s allies China and Russia. Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the Pacific Command, spoke during a visit to Japan after North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test raised further alarm over the pace of its weapons development. North Korea on Sunday launched what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile yet, claiming it was capable of carrying a “heavy nuclear warhead” in a test aimed at bringing the US mainland within reach. Pyongyang carried out two atomic tests last year, and has accelerated its missile launch programme, despite tough UN sanctions aimed at denying leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his weapons ambitions. “In every test he (Kim) makes, it’s a success because it takes North Korea one step closer to be able to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile anywhere in the world,” Harris said.

U.S. Admiral Harris: ‘The actions of North Korea are unacceptabl – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL The top American military officer in the Pacific slammed recent North Korean missile tests as ‘unacceptable’ on Tuesday, denouncing attempts at military escalation as unwarranted during meetings wi…

US admiral: North Korea’s actions ‘recipe for disaster’ – ABC NewsUS admiral: North Korea’s actions ‘recipe for disaster’

When will North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have a nuclear missile capable of reaching the US? Satellite images offer clues. — Quartz Kim Jong-un, the North Korean strongman, was pleased as punch on May 14 when his country shot a missile some 2,000 km (1,240 miles) into the air. The exercise may have demonstrated his country’s ability to launch nuclear weapons at targets like the US military base on the Pacific island of Guam, but it leaves a critical question: When…

Hwasong-12 a stepping stone in North Korea’s ICBM development : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Latest launch shows advancement in reaching altitude over 2,000km, and a range that puts Guam in striking distance North Korea announced on May 15 that the missile it had launched the previous day was a newly developed Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile. Analysts saw the Hwasong-12, which became the first North Korean missile to reach an altitude above 2,000 km, as a stepping stone in North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) development. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Rodong Sinmun, and other North Korean state media outlets reported on May 15 that scientists and engineers had successfully conducted a test launch the day before on the Hwasong-12, a “newly developed surface-to-surface intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket.” The reports also showed images of the launch and photographs of leader Kim Jong-un conducting field guidance. According to North Korean reports, the missile was launched at 4:58 am (5:28 am Seoul time) and reached an altitude of 2,111.5 km before falling into the East Sea 787 km away. North Korea has yet to provide any details on the missile‘s performance or characteristics. But its reports that the launch confirmed “the pressurization system and other technological aspects” have led analysts to conclude it was a liquid-propellant missile. A pressurization system is used to spray liquid fuel. The released images of the missile’s fuselage also suggest it was a single-stage rocket. The Hwasong-12 is believed to have a new and different engine from the Scud or Musudan missiles. On Mar. 18, Pyongyang announced that it had succeeded in “ground jet testing for a new form of high-output engine,” which may have been used for the Hwasong-12. In performance terms, the missile is believed to have surpassed the Musudan. The term intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) typically refers to ballistic missiles with ranges between 3,000 and 5,500 km. North Korea also described the Musudan as an IRBM. But while the title of the Musudan was Hwasong-10, the latest missile was the Hwasong-12. Given North Korea’s practice of assigning sequential numbers to its missiles from short to long range, the latest missile is believed to have a range midway between the Musudan and the KN-08 (Hwasong-13) or KN-14 (Hwasong-14).

Missile Defense 101: North Korea Could Hit with Little Warning | Military.com Two experts talk about what would happen if North Korea fired at targets near and far. The takeaway: It would get messy very fast.

This is what would happen if North Korea launched a real attack | New York Post President Trump would have “maybe 10 minutes” to decide whether to launch a retaliatory strike against North Korea — should it ever fire a missile…

What Are America’s Military Options Against North Korea? – The Atlantic What would a strike actually entail?

A North Korean refugee crisis would bring a humanitarian disaster to China’s doorstep — Quartz There’s an undeveloped strip of land on the Korean peninsula where nature thrives, but wild animals occasionally explode. Walking across it would be a bad idea. Known as the demilitarized zone (DMZ), it divides South Korea and North Korea, nations that technically have been at war since the 1950s. Running 240 km (150 miles) across the Korean…

North Korean hackers test China’s patience – POLITICO The spreading malware crisis has security advocates hoping Beijing will finally slap down its aggressive neighbor, something the U.S. has been seeking for years.

North Korea’s Hackers Fund Nuclear, Missile Programs by Stealing From Banks, Others Known more for its nuclear and missile tests, North Korea has become a force in cyberwarfare.

North Korea May Be Linked To WannaCry Ransomware, Researchers Say : The Two-Way : NPR Google security researcher Neel Mehta pointed out similarities between WannaCry and malware used by Lazarus, the group that has been blamed for the Sony Pictures hack of 2014.

‘You Either Support North Korea or You Support Us,’ U.S. Envoy Says – The New York Times Nikki R. Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, called for stiffening sanctions and perhaps even punishing those who continue to help North Korea.

Haley vows to UN that US will ‘call out’ countries backing North Korea Countries must decide whether they support North Korea or those opposed to its nuclear and missile programs according to Nikki Haley.

Why does North Korea hate the United States? Let’s go back to the Korean War. – The Washington Post North Korea tells its people terrible things about what the American forces did during the Korean War. And it’s not all wrong.

How China Is Building the Post-Western World | The Nation Not infrequently, I bang on in this space and elsewhere about “parity between West and non-West.” I consider achieving this the single most pressing necessity of our century if we are to make an orderly world out of the deranged, dysfunctional botch those responsible for it still get away with c…

China’s fondness for pirated software raised risks in cyberattack – Fifth Domain | Cyber Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.

Chinese aviation finally takes off with help from the west Comac C919 designed to reduce reliance on foreign manufacturers Boeing and Airbus


Foreign Policy Reports


European Parliament Postpones Aid To Moldova European lawmakers have delayed the disbursement of financial assistance to Moldova after several political groups in the chamber voiced concerns about the political situation in the country.

Russia is trying to gain influence on European politics through the youth branch of the extreme right and extreme left-wing parties – To Inform is to Influence (Translated from Russian by my Chrome browser) by Bellingcat Available evidence suggests that in order to lobby for the lifting of European sanctions against Russia, the Kremlin has chosen to youth organizations, including the youth branch of European parties. Also, work is being done with other youth organizations in order to improve the image of…

Czech City Deprives Stalin Of Honorary Citizenship Authorities in the Czech city of Ceske Budejovice have stripped the late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin of the title of honorary citizen. The city council approved the decision in a vote on May 15. ..


 

 

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