Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 31 May 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s internal crackdown / meltdown continues, with multiple meltdown reports today. Whitmore is probably right on the delusional alternate reality driving the Muscovy leadership – that kind of mass delusion reflects the cultivated groupthink that is characteristic of Russia, and previously the USSR, who raised and trained most of the current leadership group in Moscow.  Kimbrell may be overstating the effectiveness of Russian propaganda – clearly it is disruptive, but in terms of achieving much beyond aggravating Western audiences, it has not performed well. Nepotism and corruption stories are oh so contemporary Russia.

The deep and compelling insights of Cohen and Stone dominate today’s IO/IW/cyber traffic.

In Ukraine, Donbass fires continue, Russians now firing as deep as 20 km beyond the demarcation line. Dutch vote on EU AG has produced much joy in Ukraine, and little commentary from Russian propagandists, all toxic. Debate on whether to out former KGB officers, but especially former KGB informants – all of the problems Germany confronted when decommunising the DDR.

Russian Kalibr LACMs used again in Syria, and a good essay on the propaganda used to evade accountability for the CW attacks.

DPRK H-Bomb debated, while US BMD interceptor shot from Vandenberg described as successful.

Putin vs. Macron still saturating MSM, with best essay today no doubt by Dobrokhotov.


Russia / Russophone Reports


The Morning Vertical, May 31, 2017 ON MY MIND Margarita Simonyan’s response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s accusation that RT and Sputnik were “agents of influence and propaganda” was priceless — and quite telling. The RT editor in chief said that by Macron’s standards, all Western media should be “thrown out of Russia.” In the view of the Kremlin and its surrogates, independent Western journalists who are simply doing their jobs are a component of Western information warfare against Russia. This is part of the same mindset that leads Vladimir Putin’s regime to view Western NGOs as part of a hybrid war against Russia. And it is part of the same mentality that causes them to believe that genuine popular uprisings against corrupt authoritarian regimes are always orchestrated by the CIA or the State Department. The thing is, I don’t think the Kremlin and its surrogates are being disingenuous here. I think they really believe this. And it points to a fundamental weakness of Putin and his cohorts. They simply don’t understand how Western society operates. They don’t believe that independent media, independent NGOs, and civil society itself exists — or can exist. And as long as this persists, they will continue to get the West wrong and make flawed policy as a result.

Curtis Kimbrell | Smart Power, Russia Today, and the Strategic Implications of Fake News – Modern War Institute “It’s only fake news if you know it isn’t true.” This was the prescient comment made recently by Brig. Gen. Peter L. Jones to a group of West Point faculty members. Speaking to the group about Russia’s “New Generation Warfare,” he emphasized the central and disproportionate role of information warfare and propaganda within Russia’s broader strategic efforts. He asked another simple question: “Have you recently watched RT?” I hadn’t, but his remarks about Russia Today, the Russian international television network funded by the government, piqued my interest. In 2015, RT was the most watched foreign news outlet in the United States with an audience that was almost seven times larger than its closest rival. As journalist Lincoln Mitchell wrote about the network, “Somebody who only watched RT would have an image of the U.S. as a place of radical economic inequality, widespread civil unrest, corrupt politicians, racial animus and a collapsing economy, committed to expanding its global influence through military might.” One might say that Russia is capitalizing on the current information environment. Our own Joint Doctrine describes information as “a powerful tool to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp an adversary’s ability to make and share decisions.” RT represents among the clearest signals of the Kremlin’s keen recognition of that power. Russia is using its influence to shape the narrative, and is doing so with surprising effectiveness. Again, it’s only fake news if you know it isn’t true.

Moscow Court Rejects Navalny Motions In Oligarch’s Defamation Suit MOSCOW — A Moscow court has held the first hearing of a defamation lawsuit filed by Kremlin-connected oligarch Alisher Usmanov against opposition politician and anticorruption activist Alekse…

Moscow Court Orders Navalny To Remove Video With Medvedev Corruption Allegations MOSCOW — A Moscow court has ruled in favor of Kremlin-connected oligarch Alisher Usmanov in his defamation lawsuit against opposition politician and anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny. Afte…

Why Putin Won’t Confirm Whether He Is Running For President Next Year With less than a year until Russia’s next presidential election, Putin is keeping quiet about his future.

Daghestan Court Sentences Man To 19 Years On Terrorism Charges A court in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region of Daghestan has sentenced a local man to 19 years in prison on terrorism charges. The Investigative Committee's branch in Daghestan sai…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Spends Far Less on Human Capital than EU Countries – and That Isn’t Even the Worst News, Khachaturov Says Paul Goble Staunton, May 31 – As percentages of GDP, the Russian government in 2015 spent half as much on healthcare and three times as much on national defense as the average countries of the European Union, Arnold Khachaturov says, a situation that if sustained will lead to national degradation over time. But the far worse news, the Novaya gazeta journalist says, is that the government’s lack of interest in investing in human capital is mirrored by a lack of interest among most Russians in investing in themselves through health care and education and thus putting themselves in line for a better future (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/05/29/72614-za-nashu-i-vashu-rentu). Many have pointed to “the passive adaptation” of the majority of Russians to the current economic crisis. Most have simply accepted that the way things are is “the new normal” and that they cannot do anything about it, an attitude that is making it even more difficult for the country and its people to escape the current situation. “Only 15 percent of Russians,” he says citing the findings of the Institute of Social Analysis and Prediction of the Russian Academy of the Economy and State Service, are engaged in any active efforts to improve their situation via raising their qualifications through education or seeking additional sources of income. The other 85 percent is “paralyzed by a feeling of its own impotence and does not see any prospects for itself.” Consequently, members of this large group “do not invest in education, their own health, and so on,” a pattern that feeds on itself and makes the situation ever worse for themselves and Russia as a whole. Only two groups of the population have a positive outlook: “workers of the force structures and those in the bureaucratic apparatus of the state, i.e., the representatives of the two most promising professions in the eyes of Russians … a manifestation of the paternalistic model of power in which the state plays the key role in solving economic problems of the population.” This is especially so in economies based on the extraction and sale of raw materials and a search for rents. That search “rapidly becomes the norm not only for elites but also for the entire society, and shifting away from such arrangements is very difficult even after a reduction of the size of ‘the pie.’” Many have argued that Moscow needs to promote change by providing more assistance to the power strata of the population and to the creative classes. But there is little money to do the former and no particular political inclination to do the latter, Khachaturov suggests. Instead, the Kremlin has been moving in the opposite direction. As a result, he continues, “the share of social payments in the incomes of Russians last year reached a historic maximum of 19 percent, four percent more than the same measure in the USSR in which people were building socialism.” Indeed, “for 40 percent of the population [now,] transfers from the budget exceed half of their incomes.” Once again, many in the Russian capital are talking about improving the situation with regard to human capital. But “the country has fallen into the trap of paternalism: above there aren’t the former resources and political will and below there isn’t a readiness to struggle for economic freedoms.” One need not be an expert on economics to understand, Khachaturov says, that “the scenarios of innovative development require a quite different social atmosphere.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Number of Russian Hospital Beds for Pregnant Women Down by Almost Half Since 1990 Paul Goble Staunton, May 31 – As a result of the collapse of public services in the 1990s and Vladimir Putin’s health optimization program more recently, there has been a massive reduction in the number of birthing homes in rural Russia and an almost 50 percent decline in the number of hospital beds allocated to pregnant women. In 1990, government statistics report, there were 122,000 hospital beds for women about to give birth; in 2015, the last year for which comprehensive statistics are available, that number had fallen by almost half to 69,400, just slightly more than the 62,900 that had existed at the end of World War II (rbc.ru/society/30/05/2017/592c32549a7947f2b221e488?from=main). In major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, improvements in equipment and personnel in the remaining hospitals has driven down both maternal mortality and infant mortality; but in rural areas, the reduction in hospital beds for pregnant women has had disastrous consequences, undercutting Moscow’s hopes for demographic improvement. For Russia as a whole, maternal mortality has indeed fallen significantly, to 10.1 deaths per 100,000 births in 2015 and infant mortality during pregnancy and the first days of life has also fallen countrywide to 8.29 deaths per 1,000 births. But in many regions, the situation is very different and very bad. In Magadan, maternal mortality is 57 deaths per 100,000 births – almost six times the all-Russia figure; in Tomsk, it is 48; and in Buryatia and Oryol 35. Infant mortality is also higher in many regions. The RBC report notes that it is now 18.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in the Chukchi Autonomous District. These higher death rates reflect the fact that with the closure of birthing houses in rural areas, many Russians have to travel enormous distances over often impassable roads if they go by car or by air if they can afford it – or if in a particular locale, the health ministry is willing and able to send a plane.How are the children of officials? And what is wrong with them“Medusa” and “Transparency International-Russia” represent a joint project dedicated to the children of high-ranking officials from the presidential administration, government and law enforcement agencies, as well as heads of state companies. Our study showed that the children of officials often work in the same industries that their parents supervise, or are related to them by business interests. Sometimes other relatives of people in civil service are engaged in business (for example, the son-in-law of the former governor of Krasnodar Region, the Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev, Roman Batalov, is engaged in the agricultural business in the region, which was led by his father-in-law). Try to decide for yourself whether these data are a sign of a conflict of interest – a situation in which the direct or indirect personal interest of an official affects or may affect the proper performance of his duties.

Holy Roller: News Site Told Russian Priest’s Land Cruiser Is Off-Limits MOSCOW — A Russian priest with a taste for lavish cars has landed in the spotlight after a furious letter in his name demanded that a regional news site delete its report about his luxury SUV or fac…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow’s Campaign against Jehovah’s Witnesses a Threat to All Believers in Russia Paul Goble Staunton, May 30 – The Putin regime has had undeserved success in presenting itself as a defender of Christianity, but its campaign against Russia’s 170,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, who now face criminal charges and abuse just for practicing their faith, not only shows how false those claims are but also represents a threat to all Christians and others in that country. Not only have Russian courts classified the Witnesses as “an extremist organization” on a par with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, but the regime has sent a signal that some in Russian Orthodox fundamentalists have taken to mean that they can attack the followers of this denomination with impunity. The staff at the world headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have compiled a list of 50 violations of the rights of believers just since the April 20 Russian ban was imposed. These range from official warnings to dismissals to refusal to allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to perform alternative service to acts of violence, arson and vandalism (dropbox.com/s/2mnvoa5jwl92gmr/Negative%20Impact%20of%20Russias%20Ban%20on%20JWs.pdf?dl=0). Among the most horrific of these incidents were an April 30th fire set at the Jehovah’s Witness hall in Lutsino on April 30, vandalism of a hall in Voronezh oblast, threats to parishioners in Yekaterinburg oblast, a pogrom of violence directed at Jehovah’s Witnesses in Izhevsk, and the firebombing of a hall in Zheshart in the Komi Republic. Importantly, reports on these crimes have been corroborated by rights activists in Russia itself (znak.com/2017-05-29/svideteli_iegovy_soobchayut_o_pogromah_i_podzhogah_ih_pomecheniy_po_vsey_strane), but those responsible have yet to be brought to justice. If such actions had been inflicted upon almost any other religious group, there would have been an international outcry; but sadly, that has not been the case in these instances. However, for the reasons Pastor Niemueller outlined nearly 80 years ago in Nazi Germany, there should be lest those who are attacking the Jehovah’s Witnesses today attack others tomorrow.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Czech Court Rules Extradition Of Russian Hacker A Czech court has ruled that a Russian computer hacking suspect can be sent for trial to either the United States or Russia. Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom for the extradition hearing of 29-year-old Yevgeny Nikulin in Prague on May 30.

Stephen F. Cohen just wants Trump and Putin to get along. Stephen F. Cohen just wants Trump and Putin to get along.

Vladimir Putin is misunderstood, says director Oliver Stone – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Oliver Stone spent hours interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin for a TV documentary. And the veteran movie director says the West has got him wrong.


Ukraine Reports


The Daily Vertical: Ukraine Won. And Putin Lost. (Transcript) Ukraine is finally about to get what it has been fighting for. Ukraine is finally about to get what nearly 10,000 people have died for. Ukraine is finally about to get what the Kremlin did everything in its power to prevent. After a popular revolution and more than three years of war, Ukraine is finally getting its Association Agreement and free-trade pact with the European Union.  They’re getting it despite Vladimir Putin’s attempts to bribe and blackmail former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. They’re getting it despite Russia’s illegal annexation of one part of Ukraine’s territory and despite its invasion of another. And they’re getting it despite Moscow’s attempts to smear and discredit Ukraine’s leaders and its people. With the Dutch Senate’s ratification of the accord this week, the last real hurdle has been cleared. This is finally happening. Ukraine won. And Putin lost. And with everything that has happened over the last three years, it’s easy to forget that this was what Ukraine has been fighting for all along. As a wave of Euroskepticism swept the EU, ordinary Ukrainians waved European flags on the Maidan. As the likes of Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen disparaged Europe, Ukrainians were quite literally dying to join it. And they’re about to take a big step closer to that goal.

Statement by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, on the vote in the Dutch Senate on the ratification of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine European Commission – Press Release details page – European Commission – Statement Brussels, 30 May 2017 Brussels, 30 May 2017 Today’s vote in the Dutch Senate sends an important signal from the Netherlands and the entire European Union to our Ukrainian friends: Ukraine’s place is in Europe. Ukraine’s future lies with Europe. I would like to thank the Dutch government and the leadership of other parties for their efforts in bringing this process to a positive conclusion. We are nearly there. Our Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area component, is now one step closer to being ratified. I would like to see the process now being finalised swiftly, in time for the EU-Ukraine Summit in July. The European Union is fully committed to our partnership with the Ukrainian people, which has developed into one of our closest and most valued. The Association Agreement has already increased trade between us, has brought increased prosperity for entrepreneurs, has helped to initiate and consolidate a number of reforms in Ukraine, and has brought new opportunities to European Union and Ukrainian citizens alike. Let us harness the positive momentum generated by today’s vote to further strengthen our partnership.

President comments on the decision by the Dutch Senate to ratify the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement — Official website of the President of Ukraine Entry into force of the Association Agreement, free trade area and visa-free regime with the EU that will start in exactly 10 days are crucially important on our way to the United Europe. We are strongly committed to reach our strategic goal. This is the guarantee of our freedom, independence and territorial integrity. Europe is our civilizational choice.

Ukrainian internet services provider blocked Russian websites in occupied Sevastopol 31.05.17 12:36 – Ukrainian internet services provider blocked Russian websites in occupied Sevastopol In the morning of May 31, Ukrainian internet provider Volia that operates under Russian laws in occupied Sevastopol and Crimea, in compliance with the decision of Ukraine’s President Poroshenko blocked Russian websites Yandex, Mail.ru and VKontakte… View news.

Russian Search Engine Yandex Faces Treason Charges In Ukraine – To Inform is to Influence Yandex was raided:  Ukrainian Yandex Offices Raided Under Accusation of Treason Softpedia 16:05 Yandex Statement on Searches of Yandex.Ukraine Offices PRWeb (Press Release) 11:47 Security Service of Ukraine conducted searches in the offices of Russian media giant Yandex UAWire 11:11 Ukrainian offices of Russian Internet company Yandex raided UPI 10:09 Russian tech giant Yandex hit…

VKontakte to close Kyiv’s office – media – To Inform is to Influence According to trusted sources: FSB-controlled #Vkontakte – a massive piracy portal & illegal harvester of personal data for the RU intel agency – is closing its #Kyiv office. </end editorial> Russia’s VKontakte social network will close its office in the Ukrainian capital, according to the Russian online publication about startups, innovations and Internet projects vc.ru.…

dossiers of KGB informants: to expose, to lustrate, or not to disturb? -Euromaidan Press | One should ask if a person had selfish motives, which methods of encouragement or pressure were applied, and if the consent meant complicity in the crimes.

New Battle Looms On Ukraine’s Blockade Lines  In Ukraine’s fractured east, nationalists and other activists behind an ongoing blockade of trade with Russia-backed separatists say they are preparing to defy Kyiv once more. RFE/RL visited the blockaders after they announced plans for a new round of “actions” targeting those they say are profiteering from the conflict.

Ukraine reports 1 KIA, 5 WIA’s amid 44 attacks in Donbas on May 30  Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 44 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and five as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 31 May from UNIAN.

Russian artillery launches long-distance strikes upon Ukraine positions, – journalist  31.05.17 11:03 – Russian artillery launches long-distance strikes upon Ukraine positions, – journalist The nature of shelling in the east of Ukraine conducted by Russian mercenaries, as well as redeployment of 8th combined army at Ukraine’s border is anything but a cease-fire. View news.

Russian artillery systems in Donbas start to shell at longer distance Ukrainian military journalist and blogger Yuriy Butusov claims that Russian artillery systems used against the Ukrainian army in Donbas have begun shelling at longer distances. News 31 May from UNIAN.

Militants shell Bakhmut farm, it catches fire Militants continue shelling residential areas and civil infrastructure, in particular, on May 30, the Bakhmut Agrarian Union enterprise was fired upon, the press center of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) headquarters reported with reference to the Ukrainian side of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination.

Air Defense of Russia in the Donbass: the militants deploy “Barnaul-T” and “Tor-M1”, which are controlled by the Russian military. PHOTO reportage Another type of modern Russian military equipment is a set of the air defense tactical control subsystem of the tactical link Barnaul-T, which was adopted by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation only in 2009 in 2015, has already appeared in the occupied Donbas. The international intelligence community InformNapalm has found new evidence of the supply of modern types of armament Barnaul-T and Tor-M1 to the terrorist groups DNR, which are managed by regular Russian servicemen. “Deliveries of Russian modern types of weapons to terrorists, including air defense systems, have already caused more than one large-scale tragedy in the Donbas.” The MH17 is a tragic example of Russian terror on an international scale, “volunteers recall. Object of investigation Blinov Dmitry Georgievich , call sign “The Seagull” ( archive of the photo album ), date of birth April 4, 1988. From 2006 to 2008, he served in military unit No. 16662, the troops of the Federal Security Service (FSO), the private soldier, the electric driver (substation-generator). From 2011 to 2014 he served as commander of the branch in the fire department number 76 of Vereshchagino in the Perm region. From 2014 to 2016, he took part in hostilities in the Donbass as part of the Russian occupation corps as part of the calculation of the anti-aircraft unit ZU-23-2 of an antiaircraft artillery battery of the so-called commandant regiment 1 AK DNR (military unit 08816). In 2016 he returned to Russia and continued his service in the fire department Vereshchagino. Address of residence: Perm Region Vereshchagensky r. With. Ascension str. Lenina, 38 square. 48, mobile phone +79028031002.

Ukraine’s citizens struggle to survive in Donbas shelling. VIDEO 30.05.17 17:21 – Ukraine’s citizens struggle to survive in Donbas shelling. VIDEO The term ‘frozen war’ is often used to describe the stalemate between government troops and Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, but three years of conflict continue to spread fear and poverty among a forgotten population. View video news.

Slovyansk and Kharkiv key to understanding war in Ukraine -Euromaidan Press |If you want to begin to resolve this conflict, the first thing that you have to do is to be clear about its origins.

War crimes suspect in Ukraine conflict extradited to Austria – Washington Post Poland has extradited to Austria a man suspected of war crimes after he allegedly killed civilians and enemy troops after they had surrendered while fighting for Ukrainian forces, authorities said Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. News 31 May from UNIAN.

War crimes suspect in Ukraine conflict extradited to Austria – The Washington Post Poland has extradited to Austria a man suspected of war crimes after he allegedly killed civilians and enemy troops after they had surrendered while fighting for Ukrainian forces, authorities said Tuesday.

Interfax-Ukraine to host press conference ‘Actions of the State Executive Service destroy the main competitor of Russian space enterprises – Yuzhmash plant  ‘On Wednesday, May 31, at 15.00, the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency’s press center will host a press conference entitled “Actions of the State Executive Service destroy the main competitor of Russian space enterprises – Yuzhmash plant about blocking of economic activities of State Enterprise “Production Association Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant named after A.M. Makarov” due to the arrest of the company’s accounts and threats to disrupt the contract concluded in April with the company S7 Sea Launch Limited for the production of the Zenit launch vehicle for the Sea Launch and Ground Launch projects. The participants will include Deputy Director of the State Enterprise “Production Association Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant named after A.M. Makarov” Serhiy Zakharchenko, head of the trade union organization of the state enterprise “Production Association Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant named after A.M. Makarov Valeriy Vasiliyev (8/5a Reitarska Street). Admission requires press accreditation. Additional information by phone: (050) 858 2161 or at: yeschenko.tetiana@gmail.com (Tetiana Yeschenko).

Ukrainian Defense Industry on Track to Supply NATO Forces – YouTube The NATO Support and Procurement Agency proposed to include Ukrainian arms suppliers in the list of producers of defense products used by NATO members. _ Fol…

Ukrainian IT Industry Spreads Worldwide – YouTube Information Technology is one of the fastest developing industries in Ukraine nowadays. The world’s largest companies already use products made in Ukraine an…

Historian Explores Relationship Between Cossacks and the Crimean Khanate – YouTube Creating a united Ukrainian state will require having a united historical narrative. In the past, most of the focus on Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar relations has …

Series of events in London will mark centenary of Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 -Euromaidan Press | The Russian Empire’s Revolution of 1917 is largely remembered through its influence on Russia, although it was consequential to the establishment of a number of independent states, among them Ukraine. The Ukrainian Institute in London is planning to bring out the Ukrainian perspective from the 1917 Revolution and how it impacts modern Ukrainian society with a series of events in London. Remembering the 1ooth anniversary of the Ukrainian revolution is crucial today, as the experience of those turbulent years has influenced the political processes in modern Ukraine and many historians today look at the Ukrainian revolution of 1917-21 as a precursor to the Euromaidan or “Revolution of Dignity” of 2013-14. “The Ukrainian revolution of 1917, aiming to achieve social justice and national liberation, opened a century of Ukraine’s struggle for its independence and statehood in which Ukrainians experienced revolts and violence, civil war and social experimentation, forceful collectivization and famines, persecution of religion and faith by the atheistic state, Soviet state building and disintegration of the Soviet Empire,” the Ukrainian Institute’s website says. The organizers contend that the revolution of 1917, which set the foundations of a modern Ukrainian state, apart from bringing unprecedented upheavals and tragedies, spurred the creativity and flourishing of Ukrainian arts, namely avant-garde painting, literature, and cinema:


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Russia Fires Missiles At IS Targets In Syria From Mediterranean The Russian Defense Ministry says a Russian warship and a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea have fired four cruise missiles targeting positions and equipment of the extremist group Islamic State (IS… 

How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike – To Inform is to Influence  By MALACHY BROWNE, NATALIE RENEAU and MARK SCHEFFLER | Apr. 26, 2017 | 7:09 A New York Times investigation shows how Syria and its main partner, Russia, have distorted the facts surrounding the chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun. Source: https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000005063944/syria-chemical-attack-russia.html 

Moscow heavily involved with ISIS and other terrorist groups, Ukraine tells NATO | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | In the not so distant past, the United States government would have taken the lead in exposing Russian threats to the West; but now, with Washington pulling back from that role, other countries and particularly those most directly exposed are filling the vacuum in various ways.

Russia, Saudi Arabia Hail Oil Output Deal For Stabilizing World Markets Russia and Saudi Arabia on May 30 praised their agreement on oil production curbs, which they said had helped stabilize global oil prices, and agreed to pursue more cooperative efforts. At …

Is America Going to Turn on Pakistan? | The National Interest A new bill in Congress would formally label Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.


DPRK / PRC Reports


US tests anti-missile system in wake of North Korea threat – CNNPolitics.com The Pentagon is testing its ability to shoot down an ICBM, widely seen as a test of US ability to counter a North Korean missile launch.

Wary Of North Korea, U.S. Destroys Mock Warhead Over The Pacific : The Two-Way : NPR  The Pentagon says its interceptor shot down a missile similar to the type that North Korea could someday use to threaten the United States.

A new balance of terror: Why North Korea clings to its nukes | Fox News Early one winter morning, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stood at an observation post overlooking a valley of rice paddies near the Chinese border.

North Korea wants to rain missiles on the US — China does, too. Let’s wake up | Fox News  North Korea’s latest missile launch, while certainly not the most sophisticated of its recent firings, sends an ominous message.

Why a North Korean Hydrogen Bomb Could Be Asia’s Next Nightmare | The National Interest Blog It would be a big deal. Here’s why. 

Averting the ticking time bomb of nukes in North Korea | TheHill OPINION| It is foolhardy to suppose that nuclear catastrophes can be indefinitely averted without addressing these deeper challenges that have existed ever since the original atomic attack on Hiroshima.

Exclusive: Retired general supports military action in North Korea | KGW.com PORTLAND, Ore. — North Korea fired another missile this week. It is the third test in three weeks, and the twelfth just this year. &nbsp;

U.S., China Debating When U.N. Should Act on North Korea: Haley | 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 Korea: China Using Back Channel to Stop Missile Tests | Time.com U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Donald Trump’s administration believes China is using “back channel networking” to end North Korea tests

U.S. Bombers Fly Near North Korean Border After Missile Launch – WSJ The U.S. and South Korea conducted a joint drill involving U.S. B-1B bombers on Monday, the second such exercise this month and a move North Korea called “a grave military provocation,” after the North test-launched a short-range ballistic missile the same day.

Mystery as 2 North Koreans found dead in same Moscow hotel | Daily Mail Online The two North Korean citizens were discovered dead on Saturday in separate rooms at a hotel in the west of the Russian capital, Moscow.

North Korea reinvents the ‘iPad’ North Korea has a state-controlled economy, and it produces devices such as tablets and computers for its citizens who can afford them. This isn’t really news….


Foreign Policy Reports


Roman Dobrokhotov | Muammar Putin at the Versailles | Macron | Al Jazeera Gaddafi’s shadow loomed at Versailles during Macron’s meeting with Putin.

Vladimir Putin shows little appreciation of Emmanuel Macron’s speech | Euronews After keeping the world waiting more than an hour for his press conference with new French president Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin didn’t seem too

Why Russia wants to divide United States and Germany Vladimir Putin sees opportunity as Donald Trump pulls back from the US-Europe alliance.

French President Emmanuel Macron just went after Russia — to Putin’s face – Vox France is back, baby. Macron takes a strong stance with both Trump and Putin.

Macron Accuses Russian State Media Of ‘Propaganda’ – To Inform is to Influence Macron Accuses Russian State Media Of ‘Propaganda’ Four conclusions can now be made after the French election: Macron won Le Pen lost Putin lost Putin keeps losing Not only did Macron win, but he slammed Putin and the Russian propaganda machine. Macron was the target of a Russian smear campaign.   Macron publicly embarrassed Putin and…

Steve Rosenberg on Twitter: “Did they get on – or didn’t they? What today’s Russian papers are saying about the Macron/Putin meeting. https://t.co/ExIbpDZtQE”

Paul Ricoeur: The philosopher behind Emmanuel Macron Unthinkable: Macron studied under Ricoeur. What could it mean for his presidency?

How Emmanuel Macron’s sensitive masculinity turned him into politics’ Modern Man  Along with Justin Trudeau, Macron is undermining the traditional masculinity of the Vladimir Putins and Donald Trumps. 

In Praise of a Transatlantic Divorce | Foreign Policy  Trump’s trip wasn’t a “home run,” but it’s not bad for Europe to start taking more responsibility for itself.

The Merkel Way, the Macron Way – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace The German and French leaders begin looking at Europe’s future relationships with the United States and Russia.

Germany votes: European dilemmas in the Federal Election | European Council on Foreign Relations In the federal election year, Germans are ready to give new European solutions a strong boost and take more risks

Visegrad Group Meets with Baltic and Nordic Partners to Discuss Germany – YouTube Ukraine was the main topic during a summit this week attended by foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group as well as several Baltic and Nordic countries. _ Fo…

French, German Leaders Invited To Investigate Chechen Gay Abuse Reports The leader of Russia's Chechen Republic on May 30 invited the leaders of France and Germany to visit his region to determine whether reports about gay people being killed and tortured there ar…

Moldovan Leader Hopes To Discuss Russian Diplomats’ Expulsion With Putin  Moldovan President Igor Dodon said he hopes to discuss the expulsion of Russian diplomats from his country with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg this week, Russian news agencie…


US Domestic Policy Reports


‘Mad Dog’ Mattis sleeps well, keeps others awake Watch out for the “Mad Dog” when the sun goes down.

Putting America’s Defense Spending into Perspective This map shows global defense spending by country – and it puts U.S. military spending into perspective.

Americans respect all military branches but the Air Force takes the lead as most important, poll finds The Air Force has been at the forefront of the fight against the Islamic State, leading an air campaign that includes airstrikes, reconnaissance flights, resupply missions and electronic jamming operations

Putin: Russian meddling ‘fiction’ invented by Democrats – ABC News  Putin: Russian meddling ‘fiction’ invented by Democrats

Vladimir Putin: Don’t invent ‘imaginary Russian threats’ – POLITICO‘ You rely on imaginary data,’ says Russian president.

Putin, Trump Blame U.S. Democrats For Allegations Of Russian Meddling Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump on May 30 both dismissed allegations of Russian meddling in last year's U.S. presidential campaign as &quot;fiction&quot; or &quo…

Take Vladimir Putin’s Scandalous Russian Intel with a Grain of Salt (For Now)  Receiving intelligence from hostile foreign networks is much like playing a schoolyard game.

How the White House Lost Its Brains | Foreign Policy Failing to appoint scientific advisors to the president is putting national security at risk.

Mika Brzezinski – My father passed away peacefully last weekend….

 

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