Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 29 May 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s internal crackdown / meltdown continues, with some truly grotesque and toxic public statements by regime supporters – notable reports on ’15 Minutes of Hate’, genocide being a healthy ’weeding out the weak’, ’NKVD campaign to shoot deaf and dumb Russians’, and  ’indigenous Yamal Shamansrecruited by West to dismember Russia’. Some very apt and timely ground truth observations by SECDEF Mattis and Sen McCain, truths that need continuous repeating until the MSM come to their senses: Russia is not a hapless victim of the West justified in its outrage, and ISIS is not an existential threat to the West. Good NYT report on rent-a-crowd Russian diaspora in the West. In Belarus, 250 judges and law enforcers implicated in brutalizing protesters outed, their names now circulating on the web.

In Ukraine, Donbass bombardment of civilian areas continues. NATO Parliamentary Assembly supports Ukraine. SBU raids Russian ISP Yandex.Ukraine. T-84 Oplot detailed. Some funny march photos.

SECDEF Mattis on target with ISIS annihilation. Good essay by Bielokolos on radicalisation and failures in naive Western integration policies.

DPRK launches SCUD-ER to bait US and allies. SECDEF Mattis spells out some ground truths MSM keep ignoring. Russian support for DPRK detailed.

NATO/G-7 arguments continue in MSM, while Macron meets Putin in Paris.

US domestic debate on Russia continues – the Russian play is producing increasing cumulative blowback by the day and is apt to become the political FUBAR of the decade at this rate.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Sec. Mattis on Russia: “NATO is not a threat and they know it” – CBS News What do the Russians want? &quot;Beats me,&quot; says Secretary of Defense James Mattis

McCain says Russia is a bigger threat than ISIS | New York Post Sen. John McCain said he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government interfered in the 2016 presidential election, is more of a threat to America…

McCain Says Russia Is Bigger Threat Than Islamic State – WSJ Russia is a bigger security threat than Islamic State based on its willingness to challenge the democratic foundations of the U.S. by interfering in elections, Sen. John McCain said during a visit to Australia.

Vladimir Putin a bigger threat than Islamic State, John McCain says – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Russian President Vladimir Putin is a bigger threat to world security than the Islamic State terror group, US senator John McCain tells 7.30, while also admitting Donald Trump sometimes makes him nervous.

US-Russia Relations After Putin and Trump – Bloomberg What if the U.S. accepted that Russia, long-term, is part of the West?

Foot Soldiers in a Shadowy Battle Between Russia and the West – The New York Times Freelance agitators promote Russia’s agenda abroad, getting their backing from tycoons and others, not the state itself.

NATO PA’s 2017 Spring Session: Members’ defense begins in Ukraine Vice-President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) Rasa Jukneviciene, a Lithuanian Member of Parliament, announces at the NATO PA 2017 Spring Session in Tbilisi that the defense of NATO's member states begins in Ukraine, according to the press service of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc. News 28 May from UNIAN.


What does Russia want? | European Council on Foreign Relations The nature of the ‘Russia challenge’ – and how to address it

Donald Trump’s plan to play Russia against China is a fool’s errand | South China Morning Post Alexander Gabuev says in its clumsy attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities of the Sino-Russian axis, the Trump administration misunderstands not only the strength of relations, but also its own desirability as a useful ally

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Russian Guardsmen Now Subjected to Daily ’15 Minutes of Hate’ Paul Goble Staunton, May 29 – In George Orwell’s classic novel of totalitarianism, 1984, the subjects of the state were subjected to “two minutes of hate” to keep them obedient to the regime in the face of supposed foreign threats. Now, in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, members of his Russian Guard are subjected to “15 minutes of hate” about enemies both foreign and domestic. Indeed, according to Russian blogger Aleksandr Strygin who cites a longtime friend in the siloviki as his source, these mobilizing minutes are directed more at generating hatred toward domestic enemies than toward foreign ones and thus suggest the Kremlin is preparing for a civil war ( According to his siloviki source, the blogger says, “every day in the Russian Guard are being conducted ’15 minutes of hatred’ – they are enemies, they want to dismember Russia, they want to sell out Russia to the West. [And] they receive money for this from Western special services and governments.” By such actions, Strygin says, “Putin is making out of normal law enforcement personnel zombie-haters who are ready to kill” those who are foolish enough to link themselves in any way to the opposition. Such attitudes, more than any among the opposition, are pushing Russia toward “a civil war.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Daghestani Long-Haul Truckers Say Makhachkala has Not Kept Its Word Paul Goble   Staunton, May 29 – A major reason why striking long-haul truckers in Daghestan agreed to suspend their strike last week was that the republic authorities said they would pass on the drivers’ demands to Moscow, but according to a leader of the strike there, the powers that be have not kept their promise. Abduraashin Samadov says that “the long-haul drivers do not have confirmation that their demands have been sent on to the State Duma” in Moscow as Makhachkala had promised, a discovery that makes the renewal of the strike in that North Caucasus republic, possibly after the end of Ramadan, far more likely ( The drivers feel particularly betrayed, his comments to the Kavkaz-Uzel news portal suggest, because the governments of other republics, including most prominently Tatarstan, have in fact send on to the federal legislature the drivers’ demands. In the last 24 hours, there were two other developments on the long-haul truckers’ strike front: On the one hand, the Carriers Union in Sverdlovsk Oblast announced that the authorities there have approved the truckers plan for a two-to three hour strike action on the ring road of Yekaterinburg on June 3 (   Indeed, regional union head Nail Nigamatullin said that “the Sverdlovsk authorities had approved the mobile strike action without any questions or comments.”  And on the other hand, Kommersant reports that long-haul truckers are increasingly taking part in protests on other issues, including most prominently the one organized on Sunday by opponents of plans to demolish the five-storey khrushchoby in Moscow and shift the residents to more distant regions (

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin’s Demand for Approval of Everything It Does Splitting Russian Society, Krasheninnikov Says Paul Goble Staunton, May 29 – An increasing number of Russians are finding it impossible to rally round the Kremlin now that it is demanding not only that they support Putin “personally” and “curse” the West but approve the increasingly arbitrary and excessive actions not only of a few senior officials but of ever more siloviki, according to Fyodor Krasheninnikov. The Yekaterinburg political analyst says that “the times of the Crimean consensus seem a golden age about which only memories remain” because “now a sincere patriot must almost every day adopt the ‘required’ position on ever more inconvenient disputes” brought on by the actions of regime representatives ( This may be most obvious in the requirement that Russians not question the often absurd claims or actions of Dmitry Medvedev despite all the evidence showing them to be illegal or worse or of those by people like Usmanov or Burkhanovich who are lower down on the state latter but still are held up as models by the regime. But these things “are not the worst that can happen,” Krasheninnikov says. “The worst are [Russia’s] law enforcement organs, loyality to which as a symbol of the faith of any patriot and guardian occupies a principle position. ‘A man in epaulets cannot be wrong!’ has become the thesis around which all defenders of the powers are forced to consolidate themselves.” Any report of crimes or outrages by such people, be it the misuse of force, massive corruption, or mistreatment of prisoners, supporters of the regime are supposed to say, are either rejected as false or provocations or alternatively accepted as accurate but justified because those involved are wearing the uniform of the state. The last such incident was the arrest of a young boy in Moscow who was reading Shakespeare on the street. “It would seem,” Krasheninnikov says, “that any normal individual would first of all reflect that such ‘a violation of the law’ does not represent any threat for those around him and in no way corresponds to the ferocity displayed by the police. But that isn’t how regime loyalists responded. Instead, they said the police were right to act as they had and even demanded that the child’s parents be punished for allowing this to happen. For them, “loyalty to senseless terror against unarmed and defenseless citizens, who have committed no crimes, is a new level of ‘patriotic’ consolidation.” But this isn’t really something new, the commentator says. It is what happens whenever support for the existing authoritarian state becomes an end in itself. The state, for such “’patriots,’” he continues, “is precisely and above all the police” and thus they line up behind those who decide whom to beat and whom not to, something that has nothing to do with “attitudes toward Ukraine, Crimea and the West” and that is producing “a fatal split within [Russian] society.” That split, Krasheninnikov argues, “is between those who with delight approve any manifestation of terror and force by any representative of the powers that be and those for whom the unending tightening of the screws and systemic use f force seems criminal and dnagers both for each of us and for our common future.” This divide is becoming “ever wider and more dangerous,” he concludes, because “history teaches” that relying on “the ferocity of the police” has “not saved even a single regime” anywhere or at any time, even though it may have allowed some of them to last longer than might otherwise be the case.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Idealizing Soviet Past Will Lead to Another 1917 and Another 1991, Historian Says Paul Goble Staunton, May 29 – Those who now idealize the Soviet system as a guarantor against social cataclysms have things exactly backwards, historian Andrey Kostryukov warns. In fact, “the idealization of everything Soviet” will have exactly the opposite effect and lead both to another 1917 revolution and another 1991 collapse of the Russian state. That is because failing to take into account the mistakes that were made by the Russian Empire and by the Soviet state will prevent its Russian successor from correcting them and thus avoiding what happened to those two regimes, according to the historian at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Humanities University ( Unfortunately, Kostryukov says, the trend in official commentaries and popular beliefs now is moving in exactly the opposite direction to the one Russia needs on issues ranging from famine to collectivization to terror to supposed conspiracies against Stalin; and that should worry all who care about Russia. In a 3,000-word article, the historian offers numerous examples of this misreading or, perhaps better, failure to learn from the past. But the examples he cites are far from the only evidence of the trend he sees. Three new articles contain if anything more damning instances of idealizing or at least whitewashing some of the most prominent events in the Soviet past. First, during a Vechernyaya Moskva discussion on Stalin’s deportation of peoples, Yury Krupnov, a commentator close to the Kremlin, said that this action had positive consequences by weeding out the weak of these nations who died in the process and then setting the stage for an upsurge in fertility after their return ( In reporting these remarks, Moscow commentator Igor Chubais says that Krupnov did not respond to whether what Stalin had done was a crime or whether he, Krupnov, would recommend that the Russian government today “deport the Russian people for the solution of its demographic problems.” Second, a communist commentator argues that collectivization was “as necessary to us as air. Without it, there wouldn’t have been industrialization or the Great Victory” in 1945, a position that reflects the increasing willingness of Russians to turn the war into a universal moral solvent for any crimes Stalin committed ( And third, Aleksandr Zdanovocih, a retired FSB lieutenant general, argues that there really was a conspiracy led by Soviet commander Mikhail Tukhachevsky – it was not a product of Stalin’s supposed “paranoia” — and that the Soviet organs were entirely justified in snuffing it out before it could be carried out against Stalin (

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Western Missionaries Said Working with Nenets Shamans to Detach North from Russia Paul Goble Staunton, May 28 – In 1986, Russian émigré writer Eduard Topol published a novel, Red Snow, in which he described how Moscow’s oppression of the Nentsy, one of the numerically small peoples of the North – this nation numbers approximately 45,000 — led some members of that nation to challenge Soviet power. Now more than 30 years later, life is imitating art at least in the overheated imaginations of some Russian Orthodox and nationalist activists who say that Western Protestant missionaries are seeking to use Nenets shamans to spark a Maidan and detach the Russian North from Moscow’s rule ( and The Bereg Rus portal, a Russian Orthodox and nationalist outlet in the Far East, reports on this in breathless tones: “The world community,” it says, is constantly trying to detach from Russia its territories in order to establish its own sodomite anti-order,” and it continues: “the most effective weapon in this regard is an anti-Russian ethno-cultural policy.” “While in liberal academic circles false notions about various kinds of nations – from civic to political – continue to circulate, our geopolitical opponents confidently are rooting themselves in strategically important territories.” News from Arkhangelsk is clear evidence of this danger, the portal continues. According to its authors, a conference in Arkhangelsk at the end of April by the Barents Secretariat, a body which they point out is “only partially controlled by the Russian Federation, featured speakers who repeatedly said that “there is no grater evil for civil rights, numerically small peoples and confessions than the Russian Orthodox Church.” That is because, the speakers said, the local bishop since 2011 has conducted a massive and “aggressive” missionary effort to prompt members of local nations like the Nentsy to turn away from their traditional shamanist faiths and become members of the Russian Orthodox Church. “Is Nenets shamanism a religious basis for extremism and separatism?” the portal asks, Unfortunately, it may be becoming so not because of the actions of the Russian church but rather because of missionary activity by Evangelical Protestants linked to and supported by Western governments. These missionaries have promoted the idea about the Nentsy and other Northern peoples that “American sectarians are their friends, but the Russian bishop is their persecutor.” And from such attitudes to a Maidan and secession from Russia is only a small step. “One must say,” the portal continues, “that at the beginning of the 20th century, the charismatic movement played on the territory of historic Russia the same role that Quakers and independents played in mid-17th century English. The social essence of their religious teaching is revolution.” And they played a similar role in Ukraine only a few years ago. “Charismatics and other sectarians,” Bereg Rus continues, “became the worldview nucleus of the first and second Ukrainian Maidans.” And now this forces Russians to ask whether a similar scenario is possible in the Russian Arctic. That may seem absurd now but no more absurd than the Maidan appeared before it happened. And just as the West wanted to pull Ukraine away from Russia so too it wants to take control of Russia’s northern territories in order to ensure that the West and not Moscow is in control of the Northern Sea Route between Europe and Asia. And consequently, the portal says, the West is using exactly the same technique in the north. No one inside Russia needs “a new Yamal uprising or a new ‘Mandalala.’ But there are people in the West who do and who are quite prepared to use Evangelical Protestants to link up with shamans in order to bring one off. Russians must be vigilant agains this threat, Bereg Rus suggests.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 80 Years Ago, Stalin’s NKVD Began to Arrest and Shoot the Deaf and DumbPaul Goble Staunton, May 28 – One of Hitler’s most heinous crimes was his execution of Germans with physical and mental handicaps, an action that few know even now that Stalin copied when his NKVD launched sweeping arrests and executions of many of the deaf and dumb in Soviet society. It has taken decades for many to accept the fact that Stalin’s crimes were not limited to attacks on people of different social classes, the usual defense of his system by many in the West in the past and many in Russia to this day, but instead were directed at people because of their national origins.Arresting and killing people only because of their class, nationality or religion is horrific and deserves universal condemnation, but doing so to the most defenseless members of a society, those who suffer from physical or mental incapacities, merits particular condemnation. A new article in Novyye izvestiya may open the way to that outcome. In August 1937, the Moscow paper reports, Stalin’s secret police arrested 55 people in the Leningrad Society of the Deaf and Dumb. They were accused of forming “a fascist-terrorist organization” and distributing counter-revolutionary literature. This action became known as “the deaf and dumb terrorist group” ( At that time, there were some 30,000 deaf and dumb people in the USSR, including some 6,000 in Leningrad alone. Following Soviet practice, they were treated largely in terms of their capacity to perform “socially useful labor,” with those who could treated much as other Soviet citizens were and those who couldn’t with suspicion and repression. Most of the efforts to help these people were carried out by the All-Russian Society of the Deaf and Dumb, which provided special courses and interpreters. But many had to make ends meet by selling pictures and pencils in railway stations – and that was enough to trigger the Stalinist terror machine. The militia started investigating deaf and dumb sellers for possible charges of financial manipulation, but then the NKVD got involved and came up with the invented charges about the existence of a terrorist group that the authorities said was planning to kill leaders of the Soviet state. Interrogating those arrested was difficult for the militia NKVD which did not have sufficient numbers of people capable of working with the deaf and dumb, and so these victims were even more likely to be tortured than others and even more likely than other categories of people to be sentenced to be shot. Thirty-four of the 53 deaf and dumb people arrested in Leningrad were sentenced to be shot, with the remainder dispatched to work in the Mordvinian or Karaganda camps. The few of those who managed to survive were released in 1940, and all who were killed were posthumously rehabilitated in 1955. There is only one monument to the victims of this Stalinist crime: a simple stone one in the Levashov wastelands that was erected by the relatives of two deaf and dumb activists who were shot by Stalin’s henchmen.

Russian Scientist Convicted Of Treason Asks Putin For Clemency A 76-year-old former space researcher who was sentenced to prison on a treason conviction has asked President Vladimir Putin for clemency.

Navalny Seeks Permits For June 12 Protests Across Russia Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and his allies have formally requested permission from the authorities to hold anticorruption rallies in Moscow and several other cities on June 12. …

Russian Tycoon Announces Meme Contest In Spat With Navalny Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has fired a new salvo in a high-profile dispute with opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, announcing&nbsp;an online competition for &quot;the best stickers…

Russia Seeks Suspended Sentence For Ukrainian Library Director Russian prosecutors are seeking a five-year suspended sentence for the former head of Moscow's Ukrainian Literature Library, who is accused of extremism and embezzlement in a case that has bee…

Text A Priest: Russian Orthodox Church Using Social Media To Connect Kids, Clerics An online outreach program to schoolchildren by the Orthodox Church in Ulyanovsk is once again provoking discussion about the appropriate relationship between church and state in modern Russia.

Russia Surprises With Maiden Flight Of Its First Post-Soviet Commerical Plane Russia surprised the aviation world on May 28 with the maiden flight of its new MS-21 medium-range passenger plane, creating a rival for its Western competitors with its first post-Soviet mainstream commercial airliner.

I am dead, yet I live | openDemocracy As Twin Peaks returns to television, it’s time to consider the original show’s cult status in the post-Soviet world — and the strange and sad ways in which its legacy lingers. “If you stop crying and come with us, we’ll let you read The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.” It was the early 1990s in Ukraine, and someone had just set the door of our family apartment on fire — not an entirely bizarre occurrence in the chaos of the early post-Soviet years. My father’s business was under pressure from criminals, and the late evening fire was clearly meant to send a message. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, my parents packed me off to stay with friends, for my own safety and sanity. I was hysterical, of course, and didn’t want to go. It was the mention of Jennifer Lynch’s Twin Peaks spin-off novel — newly translated into Russian and featuring Laura Palmer as narrator — that got me to let go of my mother and step into the dark hallway that still smelled like smoke. Just like David Lynch’s show, the book was entirely inappropriate for a girl in elementary school. It also sadly related to my life and my world, the strange world we all now occupied — where nothing made sense and the senselessness was almost comical at times, if it wasn’t for the fact that it could also maim and kill and stun the psyche, as I found out time and time again.

Russia shocks airline industry with maiden flight of new plane A plane designed to take on Boeing and Airbus has completed its maiden flight.

Russia’s First Post-Soviet Passenger Jet Completes Maiden Flight | Russia carried out the maiden flight of its new MS-21 medium-range passenger plane on Sunday

Russia Starts Largest Renewable Energy Auction in Bid for Jobs – Bloomberg Russia is pressing ahead with its biggest-ever auction for renewable energy, seeking to award contracts to purchase 1.9 gigawatts of clean electricity as well as attracting foreign investment to support jobs at home.

List Of Those Who Participated In Repressions Against Belarusians In Spring 2017 Revealed – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The list includes more than 250 judges, police officers and employees of special services who participated in the suppression of popular protests. The list presented on the site is based on the data received from Belarusian human rights activists, as well as activists of democratic organizations. Some of the persons on the list took part in the repressions against peaceful demonstrators and journalists in February-May 2017. Some of them beat and detained people. Some lied in the courts and tortured the protesters. Some sent protesters to prison and sentenced them to pay huge fines. Some told horror stories from TV screens and from official newspapers. The list is incomplete, though it contains hundreds of names. The authors of the project asked to inform them about the names that are missing on the list, and to send documentary evidence of repressions. The “black list” with the surnames of those who participated in repressions of spring 2017 is here.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

WannaCry hackers ‘were likely from southern China’ | South China Morning Post Linguistic analysis of the malware’s ransom note suggests origins of its writers, US security firm says

North Korea top suspect for WannaCry attack, says ex US security chief | UK news | The Guardian Methods used in ransomware attack on NHS and in up to 100 countries similar to those used by Pyongyang in the past, says Michael Chertoff

Ukraine Reports

German, French, Ukrainian, Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers To Meet May 30  Deputy foreign ministers from Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia are to meet in Berlin on May 30. A German government spokesman announced the planned meeting, part of a four-way process known a…

Some sources say Russia deploying nuclear weapons in Crimea – Parubiy at NATO PA The Russian Federation intends to deploy nuclear offensive weapons on the territory of the occupied Crimea, chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy said at a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi on Monday.

Ukraine’s parliament speaker: Only NATO can stop Putin’s Russia Speaker of Ukraine's parliament Andriy Parubiy says that only NATO can stop Putin's Russia, according to live video streaming on his Facebook page. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Rada head invites NATO Parliamentary Assembly session to Ukraine Chairman of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy has proposed that one of the next NATO Parliamentary Assembly sessions be held in Kyiv, according to the press service of the Rada's apparatus. News 29 May from UNIAN.

NATO PA speaker: Nobody will fight for Crimea; sanctions seen as best option Speaker at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 2017 Spring Session Soli &Ouml;zel says that nobody is going to fight for Russian-annexed Crimea, and sanctions against Russia remain the best option. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Inside the Trump administration’s plans to restart the Ukraine peace process – The Washington Post Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is leading a behind-the-scenes effort.

Trump administration plans to restart Ukraine peace process – Washington Post In their Oval Office meeting in March, President Trump told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Ukraine crisis was Europe's responsibility and that the United States wouldn't get heavily involved, according to two officials briefed on the discussion. Only two months later, the Trump administration is reversing course and planning to re-engage on Ukraine in a significant way, according to The Washington Post. News 29 May from UNIAN.

SBU raiding Yandex.Ukraine offices in Kyiv, Odesa | UNIANHead of the Moscow-based Yandex press service Asya Melkumova says that representatives of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine are now raiding Yandex.Ukraine's Kyiv and Odesa offices, according to the Ukrainian-based IT news portal AIN.UA.&nbsp; News 29 May from UNIAN.

SBU raiding offices of Yandex in Kyiv and Odesa, – spokesperson Hitlianska 29.05.17 14:40 – SBU raiding offices of Yandex in Kyiv and Odesa, – spokesperson Hitlianska Lawyers of the company have left for the scene. View news.

Ukraine Security Service Searches Yandex Offices In ‘Treason’ Probe KYIV — Ukraine&rsquo;s security service is searching the Kyiv and Odesa offices of Russian Internet giant Yandex as part of a treason investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the securit…

Ukraine reports 7 WIA’s amid 48 enemy attacks in last day Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 48 times in the past 24 hours with seven Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Shelling of Krasnohorivka: 29 buildings damaged, including hospital and school, – Abroskin. PHOTOS 28.05.17 18:02 – Shelling of Krasnohorivka: 29 buildings damaged, including hospital and school, – Abroskin. PHOTOS 29 buildings were damaged as the town of Krasnohorivka in the Donetsk region was shelled by the militants this morning. View photo news.

JCCC: Number of injured in Krasnohorivka attack grows to eight civilians (Photos, video) The Ukrainian members of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) regarding the ceasefire in Donbas have reported that the number of civilians that were injured in an attack by Russian proxies on the Ukrainian-controlled town of Krasnohorivka in Donbas on Sunday morning has increased to eight people. News 28 May from UNIAN.

Ukraine Blames Separatists For Bombardment That Injures 8 Civilians KYIV — Ukrainian authorities are blaming Russia-backed separatists for a hail of artillery fire that injured at least eight civilians, damaged buildings, and interrupted water supplies in the fron…

Russia-Backed Militants Shell Ukraine’s Frontline City – YouTube Russian-backed militants continue to blatantly disregard the Minsk Peace Accords. The Ukrainian frontline city of Krasnohorivka in Donetsk region has been un…

Ukraine’s defense ministry: Almost 100 soldiers killed in Donbas in 2017 alone Spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Andriy Petrenko has reported that 98 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed in action in Donbas, the east of Ukraine, since the beginning of 2017, according to First Deputy Chairperson of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada Iryna Gerashchenko. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Poroshenko dismisses deputy commander of Ukraine’s National Guard Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dismissed Valeriy Rudnytskiy from the post of deputy commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, according to presidential decree No. 147/2017 posted on the presidential website. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Taming the beast: Ukraine showcases new Oplot tanks (Video )Director of the Defense Express consulting firm Serhiy Zgurets has posted footage showcasing the technical capabilities of the Ukrainian-made Oplot main battle tank. News 28 May from UNIAN.

Приборкання звіра. Танк БM Оплот / MBT Oplot new 2017 – YouTube Завод ім.В.Малишева (Україна, м.Харків) продовжує виконання контракту на постачання нових танків “Оплот” до Таїланду. Також харківські танкобудівники спільно…

Ukraine’s Sailors Patrol Tense Sea Border With Russia Ukrainian coastguards in the Sea of Azov are fully armed and ready for combat — Russia, and Russia-backed separatists, are close by — and here too, the conflict has claimed casualties. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)

How Ukraine’s Border Guards Protect the Country From Russia’s War – YouTubeUkrainian Border Guards have been marking their professional holiday. Even now, thousands of them are working to police the country’s frontiers on land, at s…

Border Force UA: Episode 1 – YouTube Today in our program: high IQ, language skills, psychological stability and physical endurance. What criteria does a modern Ukrainian border guard have to me…

Language quotas in Ukraine: Are print media next in line?  European and international media markets are seeing complicated transformation – they are going through tough times of stagnation. In Ukraine, just as in Europe and overseas, circulation of print media outlets has been shrinking. Therefore, Kyiv must take time to examine the issue and come up with a balanced approach to Ukrainian language quotas in print media. Although I should take an important note that I am a supporter of quotas and the amendments to the law on language in audiovisual media adopted recently. The desire to let Ukrainian consumers have an opportunity to enjoy media products in their native language is quite valid. After all, for the past few decades, we have seen Russian dominance, supported by the Kremlin, meaning that Russian language was No.1 in Ukraine’s print media. Under such circumstances, the Ukrainian language was back-shelved considerably. Today though, when the print media market faces completely different challenges, we must ensure that the consumer is able to obtain information in Ukrainian. On the other hand, we must closely monitor the latest developments on the market and explore ways to help it develop. So when we talk about quotas we should as well consider a range of important aspects to the issue. In Ukraine, a nice example has been set by the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia weekly. Released in both Ukrainian and Russian, the publication has become a type of an intellectual club, treating its “members” to some delicious bits of quality information. The issue of language in print media has already been discussed in expert circles. Periodical Publishers Association and other professional unions have been trying to find a fitting solution. In particular, one of the female experts noted that it would be great to have women’s glossy magazines also released in Ukrainian, noting that traditionally the majority of them are in Russian. In general, newspaper stands in city kiosks show a striking prevalence of Russian-language press, leaving consumers struggling to get the required information in the native language.

Ukraine may create own low-cost airline in 2017 | UNIAN Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan has announced that a national airline can be set up in the country's segment of low-cost air transportation this year. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Kyiv hosts “Vyshyvanka Megamarch” – Photo story

Choke on Coffee Warning (JPEG Image, 630 × 400 pixels)

Ukrainians in London wear national dress to mark Vyshyvanka Day (Photos) Ukrainians in London have marked Vyshyvanka Day, which is dedicated to the embroidered shirt &ndash; part of the Ukrainian national costume, with a festive march in the center of that city, according to a Facebook post by the Ukrainian Embassy in the United Kingdom. News 29 May from UNIAN.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Mattis vows ‘annihilation tactics’ against Islamic State so foreign fighters can’t go home to wage attacks | The Japan Times The fight against Islamic State has shifted to “annihilation tactics” to stop potential terrorists who’ve flocked to places such as Iraq and Syria from returning

Oleh Bielokolos | Make Europe safe again – world news | UNIAN When in December 2016 a professor of political science at Oxford University Jan Zielonka wrote in his article for Die Zeit that “Europe is no longer safe,” perhaps for many people it still seemed an exaggeration. Obviously, then people thought that the problems with the weakening of the European Union, the crisis of traditional European political parties and rising populism and uncontrolled migration could be handled. But today, after a series of horrific terrorist attacks in European cities, when Deutsche Welle columnist Felix Steiner said the people “have accepted the possibility of terrorism as normal, the idea voiced by Mr. Zielonka does not seem that redundant anymore. Moreover, no one has not yet dared to answer the question, why Islamist ideas have been gaining popularity so fast in the Muslim communities of the Western countries… Some experts stress that the main cause of the so-called “radicalization” of Muslims in Western countries is a result of the failure of the “multiculturalism” policy, which gained popularity there back the 2000s. Apparently, this is not entirely true, because actually no serious and systemic policy of “multiculturalism” has been implemented, because obviously setting up language courses for newly arrived immigrants and issuing permits for the construction of mosques is just not enough. It’s just that for a long time, western establishment and society in general has gotten along well with the fact that immigrants were doing low-paid jobs without requiring much attention. And then “suddenly” they found that the Muslims not only reject Western values and fail to understand the principles of modern secular liberal state but also frankly hate them, believing that they destroy their beliefs. Moreover, under the influence of Islamist preachers, whose views, through social networks, have become available in all corners of the world where Muslims live, they began to be subject to brainwashing techniques in the spirit of intolerance and hatred toward anything that does not meet their worldview. Today, ideas are being voiced in Germany and France of the creation of “German or French Islam” that would get European funding and comply with European values, one of which is the separation of religion and state. The challenge is clearly very difficult, because, according to some reports in France less than half of the Muslims living there perceive well the idea of secularism (reducing the role of religion in political, social and personal life) and consider themselves integrated into the system of modern French values. However, about a third of Muslims adhere to the values other than the Republican ones. Religious radicalism is prevalent among French Muslims under 25 years of age with low living standards and education. We also know that the majority of Muslims in France rated negatively the well-known law of 2004 banning the public display of religious preferences, while six out of ten Muslims living there believe that girls should be allowed to wear hijabs in high school.

Amid Tatar Renaissance In Europe, An American Mosque Turns To Its Roots BROOKLYN, New York — Standing in an office cluttered with papers, old photographs, and ledger books, Marion Sedorowitz sorts through the week's mail sent to her mosque in Brooklyn'…

Iraqi Forces Say Final Assault On Mosul Has Started U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a broad attack on the final districts held by the Islamic State (IS) militant group in west Mosul, military officials say. The Joint Operations Command on May 2…

Long Shunned By Foreigners, Iran Looks To Tourism To Boost Ailing Economy  Stunning landscapes, famous hospitality, and numerous World Heritage sites. &nbsp; Iran&rsquo;s potential as a holiday destination is vast, but foreign tourists have largely avoided the country eve…

We failed with North Korea, but Iran must be kept in check The election outcome in Iran last week that saw President Hassan Rowhani re-elected does not signal change or moderation in the country. Rather, it merely reinforces Supreme Leader Ali Khameneis duplicitous tactic of creating a false narrative of a moderating Iran as cover for the Islamist regimes continuing campaign to dominate the Persian Gulf and eastern Mediterranean through intimidation and aggression.

DPRK / PRC Reports

The Daily Vertical: Putin’s Pal (Transcript) Did you ever notice that Russia’s oh-so-mild criticisms of North Korea always come with a little twist, a little hedge, and a little yeah, but? Just this morning, for example, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov offered the obligatory condemnation of Pyongyang’s latest missile launch. He felt compelled to add, however. that Moscow is “calling on the partners with whom we are working to show restraint, including toward military activity in this region.” It was the same song and dance after another North Korean missile launch earlier this month, when Vladimir Putin said we need to “stop intimidating” Kim Jong-un’s regime and find “peaceful ways of resolving these issues.” Now a little context here is useful. Because lately the Kremlin’s been quite busy courting Pyongyang. Shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, for example, Putin wrote off most of North Korea’s $11 billion debt to Russia. About 50,000 North Koreans are working on construction sites in the Russian Far East. And since most of their pay is taken by the North Korean state, it’s not a stretch to call them slave laborers. And a new ferry route was recently opened between Vladivostok and the North Korean port of Rason. Kim Jong-un, it appears, is fast joining Bashar al-Assad as an honorary member of Putin’s gallery of rogues. And as it becomes the protector of some of the world’s most odious regimes, the Kremlin also gains valuable new tools to extort concessions from the West. It’s just another aspect of Putin’s global protection racket.

Russia condemns latest North Korea missile launches, calls for restraint | Reuters Russia condemned on Monday the latest missile launches conducted by North Korea, while calling the world community for restraint, RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying.

War with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” Defense Secretary Mattis says – CBS News A conflict in North Korea &quot;would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetimes,&quot; says Defense Secretary James Mattis

North Korea threat: Mattis says war with isolated nation would be ‘catastrophic’ | Fox News Defense Secretary James Mattis offered a dark outlook of what war with North Korea would look like hours before the rogue regime launched another ballistic missile.

North Korea fires Scud-class ballistic missile, Japan protests | Reutersmin ParkNorth Korean Missile Launch May Be Testing Rivals, Not Technology – Bloomberg Seoul, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s latest missile test Monday may have less to do with perfecting its weapons technology than with showing U.S. and South Korean forces in the region that it can strike them at will.

North Korean Tests Add Urgency for U.S. to Fix Defense Flaws – The New York Times The North has recently test-fired missiles based on a technology that would give the United States little warning of an attack. And they seem to work.

Japan vows ‘specific action’ with US to deter N. Korea | TheHill

Japan Will Take Steps With U.S. to Deter North Korea: PM Abe | World News | US News US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

North Korean Missiles Threaten New South Korean President’s Policy – WSJ North Korea’s third missile firing in three weeks didn’t appear to mark an advance in its capabilities—but it is likely to complicate newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s efforts to engage with Pyongyang.

Sources: 3rd US Naval Strike Force Deployed to Deter North Korea USS Nimitz to join two other carrier-led strike forces in the western Pacific

Christian-Backed School Teaches Scions of the Elite in Atheist North Korea – The New York Times In a country that bans religion, the school educates a crop of handpicked students — and perhaps gives the government some leverage with Washington.

Defectors Reflect On Life In North Korea : Parallels : NPR Now in Seoul, North Korean defectors recall life inside one of the world’s most secretive regimes, talking of brainwashing, required military service — and the jolt of seeing the outside world.

Expert at escaping North Korea has a message for Trump | The Japan Times“I’m good at escaping,” says Grace Jo, a slender 25-year-old who managed to flee North Korea and its authoritarian regime not just once but three times, th

Sen. John McCain visits Australia for security talks – The Washington Post U.S. Sen. John McCain met with Australian leaders on Monday for security talks in the nation’s capital, where he received praise for his public support of the decades-long U.S.-Australia alliance following a diplomatic spat between the two countries earlier this year.

Foreign Policy Reports

The Briefing: A Meeting In Versailles Vladimir Putin heads to France today to meet France’s new President Emmanuel Macron. A step toward ending Moscow’s estrangement from the West? Or a chance for Europe to read Russia the riot act? On this week’s Power Vertical Briefing, we look ahead to what promises to be a much-watched meeting in Versailles. Joining me is RFE/RL’s News Editor Steve Gutterman.

Putin Welcomed By New French President At Versailles Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcomed at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron. The May 29 meeting is the first between the two men since Macron’s decisive victory over right-wing rival Marine Le Pen, a Putin admirer whom the Kremlin and its surrogates appeared to favor. (Reuters)

French President Vows To Be ‘Demanding’ With Putin In Versailles Talks New French President Emmanuel Macron says he will be &ldquo;demanding&rdquo; when he hosts Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris on May 29. Macron, who wa…

Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on US and Britain | News | DW | 28.05.2017 The German chancellor’s comments came after contentious meetings with US President Donald Trump at NATO and G7 summit meetings. Trump clashed with America’s allies over global warming, mutual defense and trade.

Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on U.S. and Britain – DW German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Europe has to forge its own path forward, as the United States and Britain were no longer reliable partners, according to Deutsche Welle. News 28 May from UNIAN.

‘Convinced Atlanticist’ Merkel being honest with U.S., spokesman says | Reuters Chancellor Angela Merkel believes firmly in strong German – U.S. relations and is simply being honest with the United States when she flags up policy differences with Washington, her spokesman said on Monday.

Merkel spokesman: Germany still seeking stronger US ties – The Washington Post Berlin remains committed to strong trans-Atlantic relations, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suggestion after meetings with President Donald Trump that Europe can no longer entirely rely on the U.S. “speaks for itself,” her spokesman said Monday

Emmanuel Macron says Bone-crushing Donald Trump Handshake was ‘Not Innocent’  The French president wanted to show his American counterpart that France will not make concessions.

Hell Yes I Mangled Donald Trump’s Hand On Purpose, Macron Says By this point, every world leader has heard tell of Donald Trump and his infamous yanking handshake. It’s billed as a power move, though my personal theory is that his hands are just too small for individual finger control, and therefore simply clamp onto their victims like a ribbon snake’s little jaws clamp onto a guppy.

Macron explains his tense handshake with Trump – French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that there was indeed a deeper significance to the prolonged handshake he had with US President Donald Trump in Brussels.

US Domestic Policy Reports

Blog: General Mattis leads from the front

The Case for Restraint – The American Interest America has been trying to do too much with too little. It’s time to do less and succeed more.

In A Trial (By The Press), Do We Need Direct Evidence? – To Inform is to Influence When reading the following CNN story, before every statement, and again after, ask yourself: which document, which witness(es) actually support and will testify to this conclusion?  Don’t make any assumptions, question every step, every conclusion, every facet of this argument. Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with an attorney. He used to work for one…

U.S. Democrats Demand To Hear From Kushner On Russia Ties U.S. Democrats demanded to hear from key White House adviser Jared Kushner over allegations he tried to establish secret communications with Russia before the inauguration of his father-in-law…

Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin – The Washington Post Sergey Kislyak’s account of the meeting was captured by U.S. intelligence.

Kushner Asked to ‘Lay Low’ After Russia-Related Reports, Source Says – NBC News The caution for Kushner to keep a low profile comes in the aftermath of new revelations that he sought to set up a secret back-channel with Russia.

Two Dead In Suspected Anti-Muslim Incident In U.S. A man in the northwestern U.S. city of Portland is being held on suspicion of stabbing to death two men who were reportedly trying to prevent the assailant from harassing two young women who appeare…