Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 19 May 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A very busy day in the MSM. Multiple Choke on Coffee Warnings, the absurd and grotesque is abundant, especially in Russia!

Notable Russia essays hitting some of the deeper core issues behind Russia’s descent into the abyss by Khodarkovsky and Inozemtsev, while Zaslavskiy shows Russia’s energy business in the EU exists for influence and blackmail reasons, more than commercial outcomes, something wilfully ignored by too many EU politicians. Arkhipov et al illustrates what was evident 6 months ago, that the Russians were foolish to interfere in the US election as the blowback would do them far more damage than good. Powell and Harding dissect the Russian game. Chikov’s essay on the abuse of the ROC as a domestic tool for political repression should be read together with the three essays on the soon to be voted on legislation regulating the ROC in Ukraine – the Putin regime is playing the same game Al Qaeda and ISIS have played, exploiting the West’s cultural protections and legal havens afforded the clergy to operationalise it as a component of a warfighting system, providing offensive information attack and C3 roles. Hopefully the Ukrainians will set the critical legislative precedent for timid Western policymakers – a clergy aiding and abetting a state’s conduct of aggressive war can no longer be a clergy. Multiple reports on Russia’s and Belarus’ ongoing internal meltdowns.

IO/IW/cyber again dominated by Russia.

In Ukraine, Donbass fires continue. Legislation on Russia’s abuse of the ROC for hybrid warfare deferred in the Rada. Somebody in the State Dept just earned a Choke on Coffee Warning for siding with the Russians on Ukraine’s sanctions against Russian social media – evidently too lazy to read in to what was actually being done, and exactly why, well articulated in no less than nine articles, essays and reports. Will the statement be retracted and an apology given to Kyiv? Yats visits DC, building bipartisan political support for Ukraine. Germany U-turns, now arguing for US involvement in Ukraine negotiations. Multiple AFU reports, while volunteers drop leaflets into Russian held areas. An excellent essay on the MH17 lawsuits and legal challenges. Josh Cohen yet again attacks the Ukrainians – he may not be a Putin supporter, but never misses an opportunity to bash Ukrainians. A dozen interesting items on the Crimean Tartars, including the Youtube link to the historical docu-drama movie  “Haytarma” about Crimean Tartar fighter ace Amet-khan Sultan’s futile attempts to stop his family being deported – almost half of the Crimean Tartar nation perished in Siberia and Central Asia following the 1944 deporations, making this a human tragedy of similar proportions relative to population size to the better known 20th century genocides against Jews, Ukrainians and Armenians. Worth noting that Russia’s ethnic cleansing of Crimea began with the deportation of the Crimean Greek (and speculated upon remnant Crimean Goth) population to Mariupol following the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74.

In Syria, US bombs Iran’s proxy militia troops, POTUS departs for Israel and Saudi visits. Multiple reports on Iran, especially on Rhode’s alleged turn to more moderate politics, noting the presidential challenger has a track record of mass murder against regime dissidents. Blinken, Rhodes and followers earn another Choke on Coffee Warning.

Multiple background reports on DPRK, while China ramps up provocations in the South and East China Seas, including harassment of a USAF WC-135C/W Constant Phoenix, begging some interesting questions about the coherency of policy in Beijing. Major debates in Japan on constitutional changes and BMD.

Much on Venezuela – the socialists are now clearly doomed, as even the indigenous Amazonian Shamans have formally cursed them for mistreating indigenous communities.

Interesting arguments now emerging on defense policy in the US. Toxic Russia debate continues.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Russian Su-24M attack jets made extremely close passes over Dutch frigate | Defence Blog Two Russian Su-24M attack jets made extremely close passes on a the HNLMS Evertsen, a Dutch air defense frigate, on Tuesday, according to the Dutch navy. The Russian jets got within 200 meters of the ship, though it&apos;s not immediately clear if they were armed. The Dutch frigate has advanced radars and surface to air missiles, but the Dutch navy maintains it did not see the Russian jets as a threat. The passage was not a threat to air defense and command frigate. However, the operations were monitored closely. This was done by the frigate, but also by the two fighters from the Swedish Quick Reaction Alert that accompanied the Russians. The Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name: Fencer) is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft. The aircraft has a variable-sweep wing, twin-engines and a side-by-side seating arrangement for its two crew. The Su-24M front-line attack aircraft is designed to penetrate hostile territory and destroy ground and surface targets in any weather conditions, by day and night. Variants of the Su-24 have also been produced, designed for reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures.

Russian aircraft fly past Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen – YouTube Video: HNLMS Evertsen/ Royal Netherlands Navy On Tuesday May 16th 2017 around noon, two Russian navy Su-24M Fencer jets flew three times at a distance of 200…

Russia’s ‘Killer Satellites’ Re-AwakenThe trio of mysterious spacecraft were idle for at least a year. Now they’re zooming toward foreign satellites again—and no one really knows why.

Michael Khodarkovsky | Russia’s Age-Old Question: Who Are We? – The New York Times Behind the facade of a resurgent power led by a strongman lies a weak, diverse and fragile state struggling to define its national identity.

Vladislav Inozemtsev | The Great Russian Phantom | Intersection In order for Russia to become anything modern – a country, society, state, commonwealth or republic – it should stop being a gosudarstvo. We often hear that, unlike in most modern, developed societies, people in Russia are subservient to the authorities and everyone who represents them. This can usually be explained by the specifics of Russia’s history, physical location and economic conditions. At the same time, when considering this topic, most people tend to deem the situation an anomaly which is hampering the country’s development. This may be true, but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that our problems go deeper than it seems. Unlike the liberals who regard Russia as a normal country, I think that we are inherently different, politically speaking, and, as the Russian president claims, we have an “exceptionally strong genetic code”, although it is unlikely to be “one of our main competitive advantages in the world today”. And I will explain why. What word in the Russian language defines a political form of society and its systems (which have special internal control and coercion mechanisms while being externally independent)? – gosudarstvo [“the state”]. We say the word every day and find nothing unusual in it. Yet, in my opinion, it contains a lot of peculiarities and determines, inter alia, Russia’s completely unique path. The etymology of the word gosudarstvo seems quite simple: it stems from the word gosudar’ [“monarch”], which in turn derives from the Slavonic gospodar’, i.e. master or lord. Some linguists go even further and make the next step – to the word Gospod’, or God; while some stop at gospodin [“mister”]. Even if we refrain from calling the state holy (it was explained in the Holy Scriptures long ago anyway: “There is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.” [Romans 13:1]), the term itself does not imply that the state should serve its citizens, but that they should provide for it, with no regard for their own interests and needs. The phenomenon described as gosudarstvo in Russia has been known for thousands of years, but has never been so pronounced elsewhere as it is in our country.

Ilya Zaslavskiy | Putin’s Art of the Deal | Berlin Policy Journal – Blog Russia’s energy investments may seem like a holdover from Soviet times – like Moscow’s avenues and office buildings, they are often inefficient and grandiose beyond practicality. But this misses their true purpose: funneling state money into the pockets of allies and keeping foreign governments friendly.

Russian Lawmakers Accuse RFE/RL, VOA Of Election Interference Pro-Kremlin Russian lawmakers have accused the Russian-language services of RFE/RL and Voice of America of using &quot;propaganda&quot; to sow confusion during parliamentary elections last year a…

Ilya Arkhipov , Evgenia Pismennaya , and Henry Meyer | Chaos Engulfing Trump Stirs Anxiety in Russia Over U.S. Ties – Bloomberg T he Kremlin’s growing increasingly unhappy at being in the center of U.S. political storms that threaten to knock President Donald Trump off course.

Bill Powell | Inside Putin’s Campaign to Destroy U.S. Democracy As the many investigations unfold over the coming months, remember: This is not a homegrown scandal but one made in Moscow.

Joel Harding | Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America – To Inform is to Influence This article in Time is much better than I expected, from an influence perspective.  It shows how technology is being used by Russia and gives us quite an inside glance at what the newly minted investigation 0f Russian influence during the US 2016 election is going to find.  For instance, I believe this information from…

Podcast: Putin’s Perpetual War From the hacking to the disinformation to the political interference to the active measures, it’s become fairly commonplace to assume that Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin is waging a nonkinetic political war on the West. And from Europe to North America, it’s pretty much conventional wisdom that Russia is supporting extremist forces and promoting so-called traditional values to drive a wedge into Western societies. But what are the aims of this political war? Is it simply tactical? Is it just an effort to weaken the West’s resolve? Or is the goal broader? Does Putin’s political war on the West actually represent a full-blown civilizational challenge? On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, I have a conversation with co-host Mark Galeotti about the goals and scope of the Kremlin’s assault on the West — and how the West can respond.

Pavel Chikov | In the Name of God: Atheists in Russia Under Fire (Op-ed) A recent court case demonstrates that the Russian church has teamed up with the state to take aim at atheists

Religious Freedom Group Notes ‘Grave Concerns’ About Russia Sixteen countries have been designated as Countries of Particular Concern by bipartisan US government commission

In Russia, A Vibrant Platform For Politics Thrives On Encrypted Telegram Messenger MOSCOW — As Russia tried to take the moral high ground after Ukraine this week banned a raft of Russian social-networking and news sites, some Russians saw a ray of hope concerning their own Interne…

Anastasia Zyryanova, Dmitry Filonov | Having lost, do not cry. What will we lose if Telegram, YouTube and WhatsApp are blocked? Russia may lose access to Telegram’s messenger. The authorities demanded that the service provide data for its entry into the register of information dissemination organizers. The founder of Telegram Pavel Durov, who consistently refuses to cooperate with both Russian and the authorities of any other country in the world, refuses to provide data. “No other government or special service in the world has received a bit of information from us. It will always be so, “the representatives of Telegram stated. What will happen now? After repeatedly refusing to provide information, Roskomnadzor will have the right to block access to Telegram from Russia. The blocking of social networks, instant messengers and Internet resources is a political issue. When the oppositionists stopped broadcasting on TV channels, they opened their own – on YouTube. Messengers are a way of instant distribution of any information, and in Facebook you can quickly gather tens of thousands of people for a rally. The authorities want, but can not control these channels. The latest actions – blocking the niche social network LinkedIn and several secondary messengers – look like a rehearsal for the upcoming presidential elections. 2018 year is close. But the policy in the same YouTube and Telegram is not in the first place. These and other Internet services managed to fit tightly into the lives of Russians and create – each in its own way – new social phenomena, changing people’s communication. What will we lose if they are blocked?

Usmanov And Navalny Take Bitter Legal Battle Online With Dueling Videos Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov and opposition leader Aleksei Navalny have exchanged bitter, strongly worded video attacks as they rejected a Moscow court's proposed settlement in a defamation cas…

The Daily Vertical: The Navalny Phenomenon (Transcript) Reasonable people can certainly differ about Aleksei Navalny the man. His anticorruption campaign is brave, clever, slickly presented, inspirational — and even funny. He’s smart, articulate, and charismatic. But on the other hand, it’s easy to find his nationalist past more than a bit disturbing. But while we can differ and argue about Navalny the man and what kind of a leader he would be should he ever come to power, it’s hard not to view the Navalny phenomenon — the forces he’s unleashed in Russian society — as anything but positive. Because thanks to the Navalny phenomenon, more and more Russians are thinking of themselves as citizens rather than as subjects. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical Thanks to the Navalny phenomenon, a new generation is being motivated by hope rather than by fear. Thanks to the Navalny phenomenon, an increasing number of Russians are starting to believe in a different story about what it means to be a Russian citizen. And at its heart, politics is all about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. For years Vladimir Putin’s regime has been telling Russians that they cannot have democracy, that they cannot have honest and accountable government, and that they cannot be Europeans. And now Navalny is telling them: “Yes we can. Yes — we can.” And if this belief ever truly takes hold, the Navalny phenomenon will have succeeded in transforming Russia.

Russian Court Hands Out First Sentence Following March 26 Unsanctioned Protest A court in Moscow has sentenced a man who took part in an antigovernment protest on March 26 to eight months in a so-called colony settlement for attacking a police officer. The Tver district cour…

Exclusive: Putin’s ex-wife linked to multi-million-dollar property business | Reuters The former wife of Russian president Vladimir Putin helped create and now supports a foundation that owns a historic Moscow property generating millions of dollars from tenants, a Reuters examination of property records has found.

The Morning Vertical, May 19, 2017 ON MY MIND From the hacking to the disinformation to the political interference to the active measures, it’s become fairly commonplace to assume that Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin is waging a nonkinetic political war on the West. And from Europe to North America, it’s pretty much conventional wisdom that Russia is supporting extremist forces and promoting so-called traditional values to drive a wedge into Western societies. But what are the aims of this political war? Is it simply tactical? Is it just an effort to to weaken the West’s resolve? Or is the goal broader? Does Putin’s political war on the West actually represent a full-blown civilizational challenge? On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, I have a conversation with co-host Mark Galeotti about the goals and scope of the Kremlin’s assault on the West — and how the West can respond. So be sure to tune in later today!

IMF Sees Russian Economy Moving Out Of Recession, Inflation Slowing The International Monetary Fund said Russia's economy will rebound this year after a two-year recession and inflation should slow to the central bank's target amid diminished short-term risk…

Russia Warns Canada Against Enacting Bill To Punish Rights Violators Russia has warned that it will retaliate over legislation moving through the Canadian Parliament to impose sanctions on people guilty of human rights violations in Russia and other countries. …

Russia warns Canada over ‘blatantly unfriendly’ Magnitsky Act – To Inform is to Influence Borrowing from a Canadian friend:  Contrived human rights claims against Russia … you mean like murdering political opponents and journalists, intimidating diplomatic staff, and imprisoning dissidents??? Yes, those human rights claims. He added: When John McCain calls Putin a “thug and a murderer” this is what he’s talking about Here’s a list of Putin critics…

Russia Increasingly Treats Georgia as Its Prospective Satellite – To Inform is to Influence Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 68 By: Vasili Rukhadze May 18, 2017 10:25 PM The last several weeks were quite tumultuous for Georgia. The country experienced a heightened level of Russian intimidation and ended up on the receiving end of several humiliating statements by high-ranking Russian politicians. The first such incident involved the…

Moldovan President Calls EU Aid ‘Geopolitical Assistance’ Moldova’s pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, has accused the European Union of providing “geopolitical assistance” to his country in order to keep a series of pro-EU governments in power in Chisinau.

Russian Drug-Testing Agency May Be Reinstated After Two-Year Suspension World Anti-Doping Agency President Craig Reedie has said that the body may lift its suspension of Russia's drug-testing authority as soon as next month after nearly two years on the blacklist. …

Belarus seeking security cooperation with both Russia and the West: Mission possible? | Belarus Digest – News and Analysis of Belarusian Politics, Economy, Human Rights and Myths On 9 May in Washington, in a presentation at the American think tank Atlantic Council, Belarusian deputy foreign minister Aleh Krauchanka emphasised the importance of Belarus-US security cooperation. Meanwhile, numerous Eastern European officials from Western-alligned nations made statements about their apprehensions regarding the upcoming Russian-Belarusian West-2017 military exercises. Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė announced that West-2017 exercise is evidence that Belarus and Russia are preparing for war with the West. Minsk, however, is playing its own game and trying to get the best of both worlds. It is using the exercise to extract benefits from Russia while attempting to assure Russia’s opponents of Belarus’s neutrality.

Vasil Paliakou: Protests Show That Authorities Fear Force – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Homel activist said that only protests can force the authorities to make concessions.

Tax Office Demands Taxes For 10 Years From Unemployed In Zelva – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The outraged Zelva resident will now sue the tax inspectorate himself.

KGB Detains 10 Persons In Charge In Health Ministry And Several Businessmen – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Persons in charge from the Ministry of Health are detained for bribery.

Let Kolya Lie in” Scam – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk What is the price of a new outlandish order of Lukashenka?

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Russian hackers targeted Pentagon workers with malware-laced Twitter messages – The Verge Russia may have used Twitter as a tool of international espionage. An article published today in Time describes an official report that circulated through the intelligence community, claiming…

Usmanov Responds To Corruption Accusations From Navalny In The Most Humorous Way – To Inform is to Influence One thing is for certain when reading Russian media, it’s entertaining.  In March 2017, Usmanov was accused of being a part of the corruption allegation against Russian Prime Minister Medvedev by corruption fighter and Russian Presidential candidate Navalny.   Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is an Uzbek-born Russian business magnate. As reported by Forbes, in 2017, Alisher…

BBC Says It May Contact Your Boss If You Post Comments It Finds Problematic – To Inform is to Influence from the wait,-what? dept Say That Again by Mike Masnick Thu, May 18th 2017 3:25am There are all sorts of different ways that websites that allow comments have dealt with trollish behavior over the years, but I think the BBC’s new policy is the first I’ve seen in which the organization threatens that it may…

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web”- May 18, 2017, Seen on the Web – To Inform is to Influence Seen at Marine Corps University DIME: elements of national power – Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economic (Hat tips to Benjamin Franklin and Tom Paine, and to Thomas Jefferson – “let facts be submitted to a candid world”) – – – – – – – This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic…

WannaCry ransomware attack crippled Russian computers despite Putin getting priests to bless his networks Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, blessed Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs computers in 2013

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception: George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller: 0884315720309: Books Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception [George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Ever since Adam Smith, the central teaching of economics has been that free markets provide us with material well-being

Ukraine Reports

Ukraine delays vote on religious bill outraging Russia – Yahoo7 Kiev (AFP) – Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday postponed a vote on a religious bill that has outraged Russia because it suggests imposing severe restrictions on the Moscow branch of the Orthodox Church.

Ukrainian legislation about religion will finalize divorce between Kyiv and Moscow | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Two pieces of draft legislation about religious organizations in Ukraine scheduled to be taken up by the Verkhovna Rada today will do far more to complete the divorce between Ukraine and Russia than any other step Kyiv has taken so far. And not surprisingly, Moscow and its agents in Ukraine are aghast. The first draft law gives to parishioners the right to decide on their own whether they want to change from one jurisdiction to another and requires the registration of those believers, two steps that Yekaterinburg commentator Aleksey Shaburov says will strike at the foundations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s empire in Ukraine. On the one hand, giving parishioners the legal right to change from one jurisdiction to another will allow Ukrainian Orthodox to decide to leave the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, something Moscow explicitly forbids without its approval. And on the other, the required census of parishioners will allow for the determination of just how strong each of these jurisdictions is in Ukraine. The Moscow church has more parishes and bishoprics, but the Ukrainian one has larger and more rapidly growing church organizations, something Moscow routinely denies. The second draft law, Shaburov says, “hits the Moscow Patriarchate still more strongly.” It introduces limitations on the activities of churches whose leadership is situated “in an aggressor state.” In the current circumstances, that church is the one subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate. If this bill is passed, he continues, “the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will be required to get the agreement of the Ukrainian authorities for appointments to senior church positions and for invitations issued to “foreign,” again in this case, Russian, “religious officials.”

Alexey Shaburov | Ukrainian lesson for the ROC The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is discussing a package of “religious laws” that can severely restrict the activities of the Moscow Patriarchate on the territory of this country. Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill has already addressed the world leaders and even the Pope with a request not to allow the adoption of these laws. But there is every reason to assert that the ROC is largely to blame for this problem of its own. We are talking about two bills put on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada meeting on May 18, 2017. The first law gives the right to parishioners to independently determine the fate of their parish – including transferring it to the jurisdiction of another church. To register parishioners, a registration procedure is introduced. The Moscow Patriarchate fears that this will allow the parishes to massively enter the jurisdiction of the competing Kyiv Patriarchate, loyal to the Ukrainian authorities, but considered to be “schismatic”. In addition, the census of parishioners will establish the actual number of flock of each of the churches. The second law will hit the Moscow Patriarchate even more. He introduces restrictions for religious organizations, whose leadership is in the “aggressor country”. It is not difficult to guess that the aggressor country is Russia (it was officially recognized by the Ukrainian authorities). The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, though it enjoys wide autonomy, nevertheless formally submits to Patriarch Kirill and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (the head of the UOC, Metropolitan Onuphrius is included in the Synod). If the law is adopted, the UOC-MP will be obliged to coordinate with the Ukrainian authorities appointments to higher ecclesiastical offices and invitations of foreign religious figures. In the event that its cooperation with the “terrorists” (that is, with the LNR and the People’s Republic of China) is proved, the religious organization can in principle be banned. In fact, if the law is adopted, the UOC-MP will be faced with a choice: either to live in conditions of such restrictions, or to seek autocephaly, that is, complete separation from the ROC. Of course, the RPTs do not like this variant of the development of events. On the eve of the Patriarch Cyril addressed the heads of state of the “Normandy Quartet”, the UN Secretary General and even the Pope of Rome Francis. He asked them to intervene in the situation and prevent the adoption of the law. The actions of the patriarch can be understood – but at the same time one must recognize that moral and political responsibility for what is happening lies to a large extent on it. If we proceed from the fact that Ukraine and Russia are in a state of armed conflict, the actions of the Ukrainian authorities are easily explained. Any state will not tolerate when religious preachers who obey the church of the enemy state freely operate on its territory. But that’s not the point. It would seem, why involve religion in the conflict between the two states? But the ROC in recent years has done everything in order to become part of a large state machine, the most important ideological tool in the hands of the Russian authorities. It is unlikely that in 2017 someone will argue the opposite. The church and the state in Russia have merged into one at least politically. Patriarch Kirill achieved a “symphony”, but it struck him from an unexpected side – from Ukraine. It can be assumed that if there had been no “symphony”, if the ROC had not come so close to the state, then there were fewer claims from Ukraine. Worst of all, Russia does not have the moral right to intercede for the Moscow Patriarchate in the present circumstances. After all, by and large, Ukraine is doing the same thing that the authorities of the Russian Federation have been doing in recent years. The law on the “aggressor state” is very similar to the Russian laws on “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations.” It is also difficult to name the model of observance of freedom of conscience of the present-day Russia: it is enough to recall the recent ban of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, recognized by the extremist organization. Ironically, the opponents of the Witnesses rested on the fact that their parent organization is in the US unfriendly to us. That is, we can say that Ukraine does not do anything that the Russian authorities would not do in its place. On the one hand, it may seem sad that instead of becoming a European country, Ukraine is becoming an analogue of the Russian Federation. But on the other hand, for Russians it is an opportunity to look at ourselves from the outside: we in the eyes of the world in recent years looked the same as Ukraine now looks in our eyes. And as for the ROC, for her it is also a lesson – the end of the close friendship between the church and the state ends. But the church probably will not make any conclusions from this lesson.

U.S. State Department calls on Ukraine to protect national interests without violating freedom of speech The U.S. Department of State urges the Ukrainian government to find an opportunity to protect its national interests without violating constitutional principles, in particular, freedom of speech. The U.S. State Department made a corresponding statement at the request of “Voice of America” in response to the ban on Russian social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki in Ukraine. There is no doubt that the mass media under Russia’s control are trying to undermine the Western media with the help of fake news and false information, including with Ukraine […] Nevertheless, freedom of speech is a key element of a healthy democracy prescribed in the Constitution of Ukraine. We call on the Ukrainian government to find ways to protect their national interests in a way that does not undermine constitutional principles, a statement reads. Answering a question asked by a Voice of America correspondent about possible preliminary communication between the United States and Ukraine over the ban on Russian social networks, the State Department spokesman said he can not comment on private diplomatic talks on this particular issue, but said they are constantly engaged in discussions with the Ukrainian government about importance of supporting freedom of speech.

Joel Harding | Ukraine’s “Right to Self Defense” in Cyberspace – To Inform is to Influence There is an ongoing battle in cyberspace, the right to free speech versus the right to self-defense. There is an information war being waged in the cyber domain. This is not a battle waged by itself, but is part of an ongoing overwhelming total offensive against Ukraine by Russia, purposefully avoiding the definition of conventional…

No punishment for using sanctioned Russian social media, NSDC says 19.05.17 13:47 – Ukraine will impose no penalties against Ukrainian users for visiting banned Russian social media, says head of information security department of the National Defense Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Valentyn Petrov. “We do not deal with content. If any user… now there are numerous ways to overcome [the ban], like VPNs, TORs, please use them. Users will be not punished for that in any form,” Petrov said on air of 1+1, Censor.NET reports. The official added that no penalties are imposed for viewing illegal content on these social media either, including child pornography, as there is no way to conduct investigation as long as the servers are based in Moscow.

MP: Russian social networks not unlike Mein Kampf – news portal MP Anton Herashchenko believes that Russian social networks are a propaganda tool not dissimilar from Hitler’s Main Kampf in its time. “Anyone who says that blocking the access to Russian social networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte is an attack on the freedom of speech is either an idiot, or works for Russia, or has no clue of what he is talking about,” Herashchnko said. “I was very discouraged by the statements by a number of people’s deputies that the closure of Russian social networks is a step towards dictatorship. This is a complete nonsense, because people probably do not know the history. It was propaganda that paved the way toward mass killings and wars,” the lawmaker told a round table conference in Gorshenin Institute on 17 May. He reminded that Hitler’s opus magnum Mein Kampf published in Germany in 1924 was “nothing but a book that did not kill anyone” but eventually opened the way towards the atrocities of the WWII. Herashchenko also cited the Rwanda genocide that was prepared by official propaganda: “The editor of the government-supported Thousand Hills Free Radio and Television, who has not killed or raped anyone, was sentenced for life. Why? Because he has called for massacres, something that is being done via Russian social networks in relation to our country,” he stressed. “Russian social networks have been used as information weapons for terrorist recruitment, for sawing division in our country. As a result – 10,000 dead, 296 passengers of the downed airliner MH17 – dead, the loss of almost 10% of the territory, one third of industrial capacity,” Herashchenko concluded.

InformNapalm: separatist movement in Ukraine began with the groups in Russian social networks – news portal A spokesman for the international intelligence community InformNapalm Mykhailo Makaruk supported the ban of Russian social networks in Ukraine. “All the separatist movements began with groups in VKontakte and Odnoklassniki. The groups that were going to block military bases in Crimea, the same [Donbas separatist battalion] Somali took has originated from a public in VKontakte, which Ukrainian special services could not prevent. They couldnot have this content to be deleted because these companies are directly supervised by the FSB,” Makaruk told a round table conference in Gorshenin Institute on 17 May. In western social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Google+ Ukraine has at least some levers of influence, he went on. Makaruk admitted that anyone who wants to access Russian social networks will be able to do this despite the ban, but this will take some effort. “Meanwhile, people are lazy,” he said. He recalled that Ukraine is living through the fourth year is a hybrid war, and the ban of Russian social networks is a hybrid response to it. In Makaruk’s opinion “Either we give a hybrid answer in a hybrid war, or it’s full-time martial law, and then the current sanctions will seem a light version, because cellular communication and any social networks will be banned,” Makaruk said. “One thing in conclusion: one can talk a lot about freedom of speech and be a fancy liberal as long as others perish in the trenches for you,” he said.

VK, Yandex to fade away like ICQ and AltaVista – news portal Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Dmytro Shymkiv expects that Russian Internet services that fall under the recently imposed Ukrainian sanctions will lose their popularity in Ukraine in the same way as it happened with ICQ and AltaVista. “Indeed, both Tor and VPN they all do exist, but the cost of blocking at such a level is much higher and complex. Our purpose is making the access to Russian propaganda resources harder. If you access a social network via Tor, you lose a lot of functional, eg notifications,” he said. “There was ICQ. Where has it gone? There were other services like AltaVista. Any recollection? No. They all were replaced by alternative services. People chose what is easier and more accessible,” Shymkiv said. The decision of the National Security and Defense Council, which President Petro Poroshenko put into effect on 16 May, expanded the list of individuals and legal entities of the Russian Federation, against whom sanctions were imposed. The expanded list includes 1,228 individuals and 468 legal entities. In particular, the access to social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, as well as to and Yandex will be banned in Ukraine.

Shymkiv: sanctions against VK and Yandex create niches for Ukrainian companies – news portal Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Dmytro Shymkiv believes that the sanctions imposed on Russian Internet services open great opportunities for Ukrainian companies. “A big niche for development has appeared for Ukrainian companies,” the official told a round table conference in Gorshenin Institute. “In recent seven to ten years, there have been moments in the history of the Ukrainian Internet, when there really were high expectations of growth, but when you compete against powerful players who have a significant financial resource to scale their services, it’s quite difficult. A small vacuum that the Ukrainian developer can fill,” explained Shymkiv. Earlier, it was hard for Ukrainian companies to convince investors that they could compete with “monsters” of the Internet market. Now this problem is partially eliminated, he said. On May 17, Russian company VTB-Invest issued a comment on the sanctions, which says that Yandex has lost one of the most promising markets,” Shymkiv said, “and this creates opportunities for other companies and other players, opens up new niches.” The decision of the National Security and Defense Council, which President Petro Poroshenko put into effect on 16 May, expanded the list of individuals and legal entities of the Russian Federation, against whom sanctions were imposed. The expanded list includes 1,228 individuals and 468 legal entities. In particular, the access to social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, as well as to and Yandex will be banned in Ukraine.

Informational security | Ukrainian Reforms – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Ukrainian ban on Russian products: can Russia retaliate? After Ukraine banned access to Russian social networks, email services, online resources and software, the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation suddenly remembered about international law: Moscow claims Ukraine is violating it by imposing such restrictions. When Russia whines over “violations” of international law and says that there is some kind of purely political motivation in Kyiv’s decision, it sounds purely ridiculous. After all, Russia made similar decisions back in 2014-2015. As a person who sometimes happens to visit Russia, I see that many Ukrainian sites cannot be seen from Russia – a notice tells you that Russia’s watchdog Roskomnadzor has restricted the access. In this whole story, another point is also important: the policy pursued by Russia is hitting the progressive part of Russian society. Everyone knows how Yandex shares dropped on the Ukraine ban news. In other words, Russian citizens should be aware of what the Kremlin’s current policies lead to. The most promising stratum of the Russian population does suffer losses… Ukraine’s ban is a serious blow at Russia as it limits Moscow’s opportunities at the applied level for its own citizens. The owners of Russian software and online resources, like and Yandex, now both banned in Ukraine, are losing profit. They are well aware of the consequences of such a ban. And this affects not only the Ukrainian market. Now, following Ukraine, other users from post-Soviet states may try to ditch Russian software and online resources because they have personally seen the example of how the use of Russian websites brings nothing good. In its hybrid warfare, among other things, Russia uses the tools of its “soft power” (mass culture, artists, language, and literature). Although let’s admit, no one is actually against the Russian language, people stand against the policy pursued by the Russian government.

Russian-controlled media spread untrue information about Energoatom – James Wilson Founding Director of the EU-Ukraine Business Council James Wilson says that the pro-Russian nuclear lobby and Russian-controlled media spread false information and rumors about the activities of Ukraine's national nuclear energy generating company Energoatom and equipment suppliers for nuclear power plants due to the fact that the company reduces dependence on Russian nuclear fuel and technology, according to his publication in The Brussels Chronicle. News 19 May from UNIAN.

IP called a new possible plan for Putin in Ukraine | UNIAN The Kremlin wants to subjugate Ukraine by winning the pro-Russian forces and parties in the upcoming elections. Coordinator of the “Information Resistance” group, People’s Deputy Dmitry Tymchuk, said this commenting on the statement of the leader of the “LNR” Igor Plotnitsky on the possibility of joining the “pro-Russian Ukraine”, Apostrophe reports. According to Tymchuk, after the failure of the scenario for the creation of “New Russia” by Putin, a new scenario is being played – the transformation of Ukraine into a state puppet of the times of Yanukovych. “Today the regional regions are actively raising their heads, the” Opposition bloc “is being promoted, judging by the resources that are spent on PR, their electoral field is growing, in particular in the east and south of Ukraine,” the expert said. He also stressed that the Kremlin and its supporters in Ukraine opened a window of opportunity against the backdrop of an extremely negative social and economic situation in Ukraine. “The next elections to the parliament can become a starting point when the Ukrainian parliament will be packed with pro-Russian elements and agents , then you can try to impose a president who would be more loyal to Russia,” Tymchuk summed up.

Ukraine’s envoy: Lavrov’s new song “Visa discrimination” of Russians in Crimea Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba has said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned &quot;visa discrimination&quot; of Russians in Russian-occupied Crimea after Ukraine had signed EU visa waivers. News 19 May from UNIAN.

Yatsenyuk: Ukraine needs US and EU support – news portal The leader of the Popular Front party Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is on visit to Washington, on 16 May, with US President Barack Obama and US Vice-President of 2009-2017 Joseph Biden. After the meeting, Yatsenyuk told a briefing that Obama and Biden “have done a lot to ensure that Ukraine has endured and survived, and had economic achievements, not just to keep Ukraine in the global focus, but prevent Russia from seizing Ukraine.” “It is important for us to have bipartisan support. Both Republicans and Democratic parties in the Congress and in the Senate support Ukraine. And that’s why we need to talk both with the Republicans and with Democrats – with the new US administration, with the representatives of the Democratic Party in the Congress,” he said. Yatsenyuk said his meetings focussed on the supply of defensive weapons for Ukraine: “I hope for the support of the US Congress and the position of the new US administration. Such a decision would send a clear signal that Ukraine remains a priority, that Ukraine is important for Europe and for the United States, that we are defending our independence and at the same time the borders of the EU and NATO member states.” He said he hoped the new administration would consider such a political decision. The leader of the Popular Front he has discussed the continuation of the program for the modernization of the Ukrainian army that has started three years ago – the provision of equipment and training for Ukrainian servicemen. “Both President Obama and Vice President Biden know very well what Ukraine is. And their position is the following: Ukrainian success is important for Ukraine, but it is also important for the whole world,” he said. “This is the appeal that I will try to convey to the American administration. We have proved that we can fight. But the struggle against the armed to the teeth of the Russian aggressor needs the support of the European Union and the United States,” added Yatsenyuk. During his visit to Washington, which began yesterday, Yatsenyuk held meetings with US presidential adviser on Europe and Russia Fiona Hill, US National Security Adviser Andrea Thompson, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs John Heffern, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bridget Brink, and also spoke at the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Yatsenyuk is scheduled to meet with the leadership of the US Department of Defense, the International Monetary Fund and US senators.

Germany expects U.S. mediation in settlement of Donbas crisis German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel expects that the United States will be more actively involved in the political settlement of the conflict in Donbas, Ukraine's east, in future, according to the Ukrainian-language service of Germany's Deutsche Welle. News 19 May from UNIAN.

Ukraine-NATO: 20 years of cooperation – news portal Ukraine-NATO: 20 years of cooperation. This summer Ukraine will mark the 20th anniversary of the Ukraine-NATO Charter. And at the end of May, the 28th Alliance Summit will be held in Brussels. A spokesperson for the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, Carmen Romero, talked to about its agenda, Ukraine’s progress in defence reform and prospects for Ukraine-NATO cooperation. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Three Ukrainian soldiers wounded amid 40 attacks in Donbas in last day Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 40 times in the past 24 hours with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 19 May from UNIAN. 

No Ukrainian soldiers killed yesterday, three wounded in 40 attacks by Russian militants, – ATO HQ 19.05.17 09:57 – No Ukrainian soldiers killed yesterday, three wounded in 40 attacks by Russian militants, – ATO HQ Over the past 24-hour period, Russian occupation troops opened fire 40 times upon positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area in the east of Ukraine. Three Ukrainian military were wounded in combat. View news.

Aftermath of Shyrokyne and Berdianske shelling by Russian troops. PHOTOS+VIDEO 19.05.17 15:55 – Aftermath of Shyrokyne and Berdianske shelling by Russian troops. PHOTOS+VIDEO The shelling has provoked massive fires. View photo news.

“Glad to see progress of Ukrainian SOF and appreciating your achievements,” USSOCOM Commander to Stepan Poltorak | Міністерство оборони України Friday, May 19. LITHUANIA – “We are pleased to observe progress in how your soldiers act, and appreciate your achievements. Your Special Operations Forces were founded a year ago, and they are impressive. You build your own models of action and rely on your unique combat experience, not on theory. I also like that you root for your Special Operations Forces, because that’s what I live for,” Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) General Raymond A. Thomas said.The Minister of Defense of Ukraine invited General Raymond A. Thomas to visit the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.

Stepan Poltorak takes part in Flaming Sword 17 closing ceremony, congratulates Ukrainian SOF soldiers | Міністерство оборони України Friday, May 19. LITHUANIA – Defense Minister of Ukraine General of the Army of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak visited the Pabrade training ground to participate in the Flaming Sword 17 closing ceremony. The exercise involved special operations units from six NATO countries, as well as Ukraine and Georgia. After the exercise, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine congratulated Ukrainian SOF servicemen with the ending of SOF training. “Despite that the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces were created recently, you acted highly professional during the exercise,” the Minister said. Following the results of the exercise the Minister decided to award the Ukrainian Special Operations soldiers with cash awards.

Army | Ukrainian Reforms – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

National Bank recommends checking borrowers through Myrotvorets database. DOCUMENT (in Ukrainian) 19.05.17 11:31 – National Bank recommends checking borrowers through Myrotvorets database. DOCUMENT (in Ukrainian) The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) recommends checking borrowers through the Ukrainian Myrotvorets website, created and run by an NGO and aimed at revealing people involved in separatism in the east of Ukraine. View news.

Psyop: Ukraine dispersed thousands of leaflets over occupied Horlivka – To Inform is to Influence On May 9, Ukrainian Aerial Reconnaissance dropped several thousand postcards and leaflets over occupied Horlivka. Some leaflets not only reminded residents of the Donbas that Ukraine had not forgotten them and continues to fight for their liberation from Russian occupation, but also broke through the information blockade. Leaflets with accessible infographics informed people that Russian…

У Горлівці українська аеророзвідка кинула тисячі листівок над парадом бойовиків – YouTube UA – У Горлівці українська аеророзвідка кинула тисячі листівок над парадом бойовиків. Аеророзвідка привітала жителів окупованої Горлівки з травневими святами…

Ukrainian Airmobile Forces to soon receive new batch of the T-80 “flying tanks” | Defence Blog The Ukrainian Airmobile Forces, high mobility branch of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, will soon receive the new of the T-80 “flying tanks”. That was reported by UkrOboronProm. According to Ukroboronprom officials, the Ukrainian Airmobile Forces will soon receive main battle tanks upgrade to better equip them for their growing role in order to deal with enemy tanks with the same level of armour. The upgraded tanks equipped with the new engines developing 1,250 hp. This gave the tank a high power-to-weight ratio and made it one of the most mobile main battle tanks in the world, and consequently it was referred to as the “flying tank”. Like most Ukrainian and Soviet’s main battle tanks, the T-80 has a smaller and lower shaped profile compared to Western tanks. The T-80 uses a 125mm Smoothbore main gun. It is capable of firing Anti-Tank Guided Missiles through the main gun such as the Combat.

“Укроборонпром” підготував для десантників чергову партію “летючих” танків Т-80 – YouTube  ДП “Харківський бронетанковий завод”, що входить до складу ДК “Укроборонпром”, підготував до передачі чергову партію основних бойових танків Т-80 для Високом…

Challenges persist for multiple legal actions regarding MH17 Multiple parallel actions are ongoing with the aim of achieving truth and justice for the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The flight was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014…

Ukraine to appeal London Court ruling on “Yanukovych debt” Jun 10 – Danyliuk Ukraine&rsquo;s Finance Ministry on June 10 will appeal the decision of the High Court of London on the Russian suit against Ukraine over the so-called $3 billion &quot;Yanukovych's debt,&quot; minister Oleksandr Danyliuk, told journalists. News 18 May from UNIAN.

Canada Senate approved FTA with Ukraine – news portal Canada Senate approved FTA with Ukraine. The document is to be signed by the Governor-General. Main – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Ukrainian government approves deal with Turkey for passport-free travel – media The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved an agreement with the Turkish government on Wednesday allowing their citizens to travel to each other's countries without passports, according to Daily Sabah. News 18 May from UNIAN.
Ukraine slams anti-dumping duties on Russian fertilizers – news portal Ukraine slams anti-dumping duties on Russian fertilizers. The government proposes to introduce a zero duty on fertilizer imports. Main – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Cargill’s new Yuzhny terminal to bring over $30 mln to Ukraine’s coffers per year The new grain terminal of U.S. company Cargill being built at the port of Yuzhny will bring over UAH 600 million, or US$22.7 million, in taxes and about $8 million in port fees to Ukraine's coffers annually. News 19 May from UNIAN.

Ryanair to launch Lviv – Memmingen flight in September | UNIAN Europe's largest low-cost air carrier Ryanair will start flights from Lviv to Memmingen (Germany) in September this year, a month earlier than the target, &nbsp;due to the great demand from Ukrainians, according to Ryanair's press service. News 18 May from UNIAN.

Lutsk High Castle Offers a Look Into Life in the Middle Ages – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

New Life for Lviv’s Ivan Franko Museum – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Vyshyvanka Day Celebrates Ukrainian National Culture – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Ukrainians Remember their Heritage Through Traditional Clothing – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Josh Cohen | Something Is Very Wrong in Kyiv Ukraine Brags about Reforms and Harasses Activists

Fixing mistakes. How Ukraine treats Crimean Tatars after the occupation of Crimea -Euromaidan Press |  On 18 May 1944, the tragic deportation of Crimean Tatars was initiated by the Soviet People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD). In result, at least 183,185 people were evicted (up to 240,000 by other estimates) – the majority were transported to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. According to different data, during 1944-1945 up to 46% of those evicted died. In 1989, the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic recognized the deportation as illegal. Crimean Tatars started to come back home. Ukraine was hospitable to them, but in the end, it turned out it did not do enough. Now the Crimean Tatar population is again in danger due to the Russian occupation of Crimea and political persecution of those who stayed on the peninsula. Only now did Ukraine activate the process of integration of the indigenous people of Crimea. But is it enough?

Kyiv-run Orthodox Church joins mourning for deported Crimean Tatars – news portal The Kyiv-run Ukrainian Orthodox Church is joining the mourning for Crimean Tatars deported by Joseph Stalin’s regime on 18 May 1944. The church said on its website that its cathedrals would ring the bells in a five-minute tribute at noon on 17 May. Kyiv’s Independence Square will also host a rally in commemoration of the Crimean Tatar victims. Thematic classes will be held in schools and universities all over Ukraine.

Russian repression against Crimean Tatars new “despicably disguised” deportation: Poroshenko Russia is doing everything to further drive Crimean Tatars from their native land, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during a vigil in commemoration of victims of Crimean Tatar people&rsquo;s genocide, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 18 May from UNIAN.

Ukrainians Remember the Victims of the 1944 Soviet Genocide of Crimean Tatars – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Ukrainians Commemorate Crimean Genocide of 1944 in Central Kyiv – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Crimean Tatars Remember the 1944 Genocide – YouTube_ Follow UATV English: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Medium: ht…

Crimean Tatars Compare Current Crisis with 1944 Deportations – YouTube The deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 by the Soviet authorities is a crime without a statute of limitations. Forced eviction has become one of the mo…

“Culture can help us stitch our country together without blood”: Crimean Tatar filmmaker -Euromaidan Press | Political regimes benefit from the fear of “others”—those who have a different skin color, speak another language, pray or make coffee in a different way. Ihor Vynokurov Four years ago, the first full-length feature film made by a Crimean Tatar director was premiered in Ukraine’s Crimea. The event was dated to the anniversary of the 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatars from their homeland. The film Haytarma is dedicated to this Kremlin’s crime and its victims, as well as heroism, friendship, loyalty, and love during the war. Earlier this year at the Museum of Theater, Musical, and Film Art in Kyiv, its director Akhtem Seitablaiev revealed the details of how his movie, which scared Russian neo-Stalinists and taught Ukrainian children tolerance, had come to life.

Haytarma: the film about Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars Russia doesn’t want you to see | Watch online -Euromaidan Press |Among the many films prohibited for public screening in Russia is Haytarma, the first feature film about Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars from their homeland. The forceful eviction of nearly 200,000 people (238,500 by other accounts), most of whom were women and children to Central Asia started on 18 May 1944. They were given only 30 minutes to pack their belongings. Nearly half of them perished in the difficult journey, not being able to withstand the heat, lack of water, and inhumane conditions of the cattle wagons transporting them to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Other national minorities in Crimea such as the Germans, Bulgarians, Armenians, and Greeks were evicted as well. Stalin’s official reason for the deportation, the supposed collaboration of the Crimean Tatars with the Nazi occupation regime during 1942–1943, was a purely nominal one: collaborators were found in all occupied USSR territories regardless of their nationality, but the majority fought against the Nazi invasion, like the 5 Crimean Tatars who were awarded as Heroes of the USSR. They, together with women and children who were evacuated, could physically not have collaborated with the Nazis but were deported nonetheless. Haytarma, Crimean Tatar for “The Return,” tells the story of one such Hero. It is likely Putin’s war on history aiming to whitewash Soviet crimes that is behind this movie being banned for screening in Russian theaters, along with many others. When the film premiered in Simferopol before the Russian occupation four years ago on 17 May 2013, Russia’s consul Vladimir Andreyev provoked public controversy by stating that the film “distorts the historical truth” and called the Crimean Tatar traitors and collaborationists. Ironically, Haytarma also won the prestigious Nika Russian film award on 1 April 2014 but was prohibited for public screenings in Russia. Produced by the Crimean Tatar channel ATR which has now been forced to leave Crimea and broadcasts from Kyiv and directed by Crimean Tatar filmmaker Akhtem Seitablaiev, it also won the prize of the Kimera International Film Festival in the Italian city of Termoli for “Best Director” and “Best Film” and is the winner in the category “Best Feature Film” at the Trieste Film Festival in Italy. The film shows this tragic page in the history of the Crimean Tatar people through the eyes of the famous aviator and national hero of the Crimean Tatars Amet-Khan Sultan. The events start on 9 May 1944 on an airfield at the outskirts of Sevastopol during the Second World War. The Soviet army is finishing liberating Crimea from the fascist forces. Amet-Khan’s friend and partner Andrey dies during an air battle for Sevastopol. On 16 May 1944, after Sevastopol was liberated, the military command allows Amet-Khan Sultan a three-day visit to his native Alupka together with his friends Vova and Francois. There they meet Amet-Khan’s many relatives. And on 4 AM of 18 May 1944, the NKVD starts its operation to deport Crimea’s native people from their homeland, including Amet-Khan’s relatives. The Soviet ace, who was feared by German pilots, was powerless to protect his people from the crimes of the Stalinist regime. Haytarma was funded by the Crimean Tatar businessman Lenur Isliamov, was filmed over 6 months and produced by his TV channel ATR, and cost $ 1.5 mn. Most of the roles were played by amateur actors. More than a thousand people from all over Crimea were filmed in the crowd scenes. A large part of them is elderly people who lived through the tragic events of 18 May 1944.

Amet-khan Sultan – Wikipedia Amet-khan Sultan (Russian: Амет-хан Султан; 25 October 1920, Alupka, Crimea – 1 February 1971) was a Soviet fighter ace and test pilot whose mother was Crimean Tatar and father was an ethnic Lak.[1] Alternative spellings of his name include Ahmed Khan Sultan, Amet-Han Soultan, Ahmet-Han Sultan, Amet-Han Sultan, and Sultan Amet-Han.[citation needed] Amet-Khan graduated from military aviation school in 1940. With the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 he was a pilot with the 4th Fighter Regiment, based around Odessa, flying the I-16. He claimed his first victory on 31 May 1942, ramming a Junkers Ju-88 with his Hawker Hurricane fighter. In October 1942 he transferred to the elite 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (9th GIAP), equipped at various times with the Yak-1, P-39 Airacobra and finally the Lavochkin La-7. In action over the Briansk, south-western, Stalingrad, southern, Ukrainian, and Byelorussian fronts, Amet-Khan flew some 603 sorties participated in 150 air battles, and personally claimed 30 planes shot down, with 19 more victories shared.[2] In 1946 he transferred to the Reserve and became a test pilot, at Gromov Flight Research Institute. He was killed in a plane crash on 1 February 1971 during a test flight on Tupolev Tu-16LL. During his lifetime he personally tested over 100 planes. He was portrayed in the 2013 film Haytarma.

Haytarma (english subtitles) / Фільм «ХАЙТАРМА» – YouTube To the Memorial Day (18 May 1944) of Deportation of the Crimean Tatars / До 72-ї річниці депортації кримських татар

Russian occupiers in Crimea intend to be allowed to confiscate land plots from citizens 19.05.17 13:01 – Russian occupiers in Crimea intend to be allowed to confiscate land plots from citizens Occupation authorities in Russia-annexed Crimea intend to amend some laws that will allow them confiscating land plots registered by Ukrainian authorities prior to Russian annexation of the peninsula. View news.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

With latest airstrikes, US signals to Iran: Containment is back – The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS waged a series of airstrikes against a military convoy of loyalists to the Syrian regime, CNN has confirmed.

U.S. Bombs Syrian, Iranian-Backed Forces For First Time, Leaving Eight Dead U.S. forces have for the first time bombed a convoy of Syrian government and Iranian-backed militia forces after Russia was unable to keep them from entering an area where U.S. allies have bee…

U.S. aircraft conduct strike on Syrian army convoy – CBS News CBS News correspondent David Martin reports Syrian regime vehicles have violated the deconfliction zone twice within the past few days

US air strikes pound pro-Assad forces in Syria | Fox News The U.S. military launched fresh air strikes against pro-Assad forces in Syria, officials told Fox News Thursday.

US bombs Assad-backed militia in Syria

US forces strike pro-regime militia in Syria | TheHill

The Dangerous Lives of Undercover ISIS Informants | Foreign Policy Meet the small group of Middle Eastern men willing to risk everything to help destroy the Islamic State.

$110 Billion Weapons Sale to Saudis Has Jared Kushner’s Personal Touch – The New York Times Mr. Kushner called the head of Lockheed Martin while he met with Saudi officials, showing President Trump’s eagerness for a major deal before his first foreign trip.

US lawmakers condemn Turkish president’s security detail after protesters were attacked in Washington | Business Insider Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared…

Recep Tayyip Erdogan Watched Attack on Washington Protesters | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan watched on Tuesday as his supporters and Turkish security forces violently attacked protesters

US sanctions Iran officials, Chinese network over missile program The U.S. has sanctioned two Iranian defense officials and members of a China-based network for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Forget the politics. Iran has bigger problems. – The Washington Post  Iran’s leaders have led the country into one of the world’s worst water crises.

The Rise Of The Internet-Based Economy Shows What’s Changed In Iran : NPR We explore Iran’s burgeoning tech scene and what it means for President Hassan Rouhani’s prospects for winning a second term.

Iran Presidential Election Denounced Widely By Active Dissidents As we near Iran’s presidential election, dissident activists are voicing the people’s true abhorrence of the ruling regime through brave measures.

Iran Has Its Own Hard-Line Populist, and He’s on the Rise – The New York TimesEbrahim Raisi, the darling of the country’s conservative clerics, might one day become the supreme leader. But can he win the presidency?Rouhani Goes to War Against Iran’s Deep State | Foreign PolicyIran’s president is vying for votes by attacking the country’s unelected institutions. But votes might not be what decides the election. Iran’s presidential vote is now a two-man race. Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf’s 11th-hour withdrawal means that incumbent Hassan Rouhani will face the 56-year-old Ebrahim Raisi, a close associate of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a man who was at the heart of the decision to mass execute political dissidents in the late 1980s.

Antony J. Blinken, Jon Finer, Avril Haines, Philip Gordon, Colin Kahl, Robert Malley, Jeff Prescott, Ben Rhodes, Wendy Sherman | A Momentous Week for the Iran Nuclear Deal – POLITICO Magazine President Trump’s first foreign trip could undermine an agreement that has kept Americans safe, nine former top Obama administration officials warn.

DPRK / PRC Reports

US Navy sends second aircraft carrier near North Korea – The US Navy is moving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula where it will conduct dual-carrier training exercises with the USS Carl Vinson amid heightened tensions in the region, two defense officials told CNN.

Tillerson Urges North Korea to ‘Trust the U.S.’: Diplomat | Signifying a tonal shift in rhetoric, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged North Korea to “trust the U.S.,” a South Korean envoy says.

North Korea, Iran, and the Challenges of Dealing With Cyber-Capable Nuclear States – Lawfare With the attention of the United States and its allies at present focused on North Korea’s nuclear activity, North Korea potentially has greater latitude to act aggressively in the cyber realm, especially against the private sector.

‘WannaCry’ attack: Was North Korea trying to send a message? – LA Times Shutting down important systems moments before a nuclear strike by North Korea is a chilling thought.

North Korea’s hacker army: A look at Hermit Kingdom’s ‘elite’ cyber ops | Fox News Last week’s global cyber attack has shed light on the shadowy and highly sophisticated team of cyber spies in North Korea believed to be among the best hackers in the world.

‘Hero’s welcome’ for missile developers in North KoreaNorth Korea has launched what it claims to be a new ballistic rocket capable of carrying a heavy nuclear warhead.

Ferry Service Launches Between Russia, North Korea Despite U.S. Demand sA new ferry between North Korea and Russia has docked for the first time at the port of Vladivostok, despite U.S. calls for countries to downgrade relations with Pyongyang over its nuclear and missil…

Shinzo Abe pushes ahead on constitutional reform amid heated debate within Japan In many respects, Japan’s constitutional debate is a microcosm of Asia’s international order, relfecting a basic mode of operation now past it use-by date.

Asia-Pacific’s top U.S. commander visits closest SDF base to China:The Asahi Shimbun YONAGUNI, Okinawa Prefecture–Adm. Harry Harris, the top U.S. commander in Asia and the Pacific, vis

The China–North Korea Relationship | Council on Foreign Relations China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner and arguably has the most leverage on Kim Jong-un’s regime. But while Beijing appears willing to condemn its neighbor’s nuclear developments, analysts say its cautious policies remain focused on stability.

Duterte says China’s Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil | Reuters Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday Chinese counterpart China Xi Jinping had warned him there would be war if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in a disputed part of the South China Sea.

Has China Restored Private Land Ownership? | Foreign Affairs Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made a remarkable—and remarkably unheralded—announcement which amounted to a declaration that full private ownership of land has been restored in China’s cities.

Adrift in the South China Sea | Foreign Affairs It’s time for the Trump administration to resume freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

Chinese fighter flies inverted over US Air Force jet – To Inform is to Influence It’s only been a few short years since a US Navy EP-3E ARIES II SIGINT aircraft and a PLA Navy (PLAN) J-8II interceptor fighter jet ‘bumped’ in mid-air, the Chinese pilot was killed and the US aircraft was forced to land at Hainan Island on April 1, 2001. Since then, relations between the US and China…

Chinese fighter flies inverted over US Air Force jet – Two Chinese Su-30 fighter jets intercepted a US Air Force radiation detection plane over the East China Sea Wednesday, according to the US Pacific Air Forces.

Chinese fighters buzz U.S. surveillance plane, underlining strategic mistrust – The Washington Post The U.S. plane is designed to detect evidence of nuclear tests and routinely monitors North Korea.

Apparent China drone near Senkakus is sovereignty violation: Japan- Nikkei Asian Review TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on Friday criticized an apparent drone flight linked to a Chinese government vessel that enter

Japan protests Chinese drone flight over East China Sea islet | Asia Times

Tokyo Seeks New Ways To Stop North Korean Ballistic Missiles | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week Aegis Ashore batteries would add an outer layer to Japan’s ballistic-missile defense. Tomahawks on destroyers could hit Pyongyang’s weapons before launch.

Sweden Wants Japan To Consider Saab As Future Fighter Backer | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week Sweden is urging Japan to consider Saab as a possible technical backer for the Future Fighter Program.

Foreign Policy Reports

German Hate Speech Law Targets Social Media Companies | Foreign Affairs In April 2017, the German cabinet passed new legislation that enables Germany to fine social media companies up to 50 million euros ($55 million) for not reacting swiftly enough to reports of illegal content or hate speech.

Rebellion in Venezuela: 43 Dead in 44 Days of Relentless Protest Demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro persist.

Venezuela: Indigenous Shamans Invoke Ancient Curse Against Socialists in Amazon Protest – Breitbart The governor of inland Amazonas state, Venezuela has organized a protest against socialism Wednesday led by indigenous shamans.

Venezuelan generals talks about snipers on secret tape | Miami Herald A secret recording of a meeting in April of Venezuelan generals captures the group discussing possible deployment of snipers to help control massive public demonstrations against the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The recording was obtained by el Nuevo Herald from a Washington source.

US Imposes New Unilateral Sanctions on Venezuela, Tightening Economic Noose | News | teleSUR EnglishSenator Marco Rubio lambasted the eight judges for aiding and abetting Venezuela’s democratically-elected president.

U.S. Blacklists Maduro Loyalists on Venezuela Supreme Court – The New York Times The sanctions are intended to pressure the court to stop its efforts to obstruct the legislature, controlled by opponents of President Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela’s Melt Down Explained By The ‘Oil Curse’ Venezuela’s political and economic destabilization can be traced to an over-reliance on oil revenue. This is the oil curse. And it was forecast forty years ago by Venezuela’s own oil minister.