Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 20 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s overseas assassination program, targeting inconvenient Russian emigres, and non-Russians, including Britons and Americans, is producing major MSM traffic (6+ original articles) – Buzzfeed’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” is meticulous and likely to produce a lot of secondary MSM traffic.  Stanovaya essay on Zolotov’s Russian NatGuard assesses it closer to Dzerzhinskiy’s Cheka (ChK – Chrezvychaynaya Komissiya), than the later NKVD and KGB. Disturbing reports from regional Russia where 80% of households spend all earnings on food, due to the catastrophic inflation and economic nosedive, all while billions are wasted on foreign adventures. This is a meltdown of unprecedented proportions for an ostensibly  “First World” nation heading for a Weimar Republic class mess.

Russia topics cover 75% of IO/IW/cyber today.

Ukraine MSM is dominated by Pres Poroshenko’s planned meeting today with POTUS, VPOTUS, NatSecAdvisor, and later SECSTATE and SECDEF – Pres Poroshenko has stated his intent is to make sure everybody in the US leadership is fully briefed on Russian behaviours so the Russians have no further opportunities to mislead the US leadership. There is much MSM speculation about the visit and its significance, or alleged lack thereof. Donbass fires continue, with vital services either crippled or at risk due to Russian targeting of life support infrastructure, and repair crews. Choke on Coffee Warning on one of the Donbass reports. New legislation on occupied territories producing major debate. Marieluise Beck, MP, of Germany’s Green Party did an excellent essay on Germany’s need to have a national debate on Germany’s relationship with Ukraine, noting that far too many Germans have bought into Soviet/Russian propaganda myths about all Ukrainians being diehard Nazis – amazing what the Russians achieved with a few photos showing a handful of Ukrainian WW2 re-enactors wearing M42 Stahlhelms and spotted SS Tarnjacke smocks.

In Syria, Russians and Iranians make threats. Australian RAAF suspends operations over Syria, knowing their Bugs and Rhinos are not competitive. Some good essays arguing the complexities of the Syria campaign, and likelihood of an eventual clash with Assad / Iran / Russia once ISIS has been annihilated. Saudis detain three IRGC commandos carrying explosives to an offshore rig.

Warmbier tragedy producing immense MSM reaction, and justifiably, political and public reaction. SECDEF Mattis is correct in asserting that  “North Korea today is a strategic burden, not a strategic asset” to China – a high strategic risk burden that could shoot TBMs loaded with VX into China if it decided this was to its advantage.

Foreign policy topics dominated by France, UK, EU, and Turkey. A very curious report from Argentina.

Russia sanctions major item in US domestic debate today. Interesting commentary by Newt on the current “cultural civil war”.

Finally, a fascinating little essay by Jerry Useem on the subject of hubris, and how power corrupts absolutely by destroying faculties for empathy.


Russia / Russophone Reports


NATO Holds Military Maneuvers In Poland, Near Lithuanian Border NATO has held its first war games focused on defending a land corridor along the Polish-Lithuanian border sandwiched between Russia's Kaliningrad exclave and Kremlin's close ally, Belarus. …

NATO’s Stronger Baltic Force Riles Russia – WSJ NATO declared that its deterrent force is fully in place in the Baltic area with the addition of a Canadian-led battle group in Latvia, enhancing deployments criticized by Russia.

Canada’s mission to scare off Russia – Macleans.ca Paul Wells visits Camp Adazi, Latvia, where a Canadian-led battlegroup marked its first official day on the job

China, Russia To Hold Joint Military Drills In Baltic Sea After Trump Visit A Chinese naval fleet held the first of two planned military exercises with the Russian navy in the Baltic Sea over the weekend, with another show of force scheduled days after U.S. President Donal…

The Man Who Knew Too Much | Scientist Who Helped Connect Litvinenko’s Murder To The Kremlin “Assassinated” In Britain His nuclear research helped a judge determine that former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had been assassinated – likely on Putin’s orders. Just months after the verdict, the scientist himself was found stabbed to death with two knives. Police deemed it a suicide, but US intelligence officials suspect it was murder.

US spy agencies linked 14 UK deaths to Russia: report | TheHill U.S. intelligence agencies have linked the deaths of 14 people on British soil to Russia’s security services and mafia groups, according to BuzzFeed. The intelligence collected by Americdan spy agencies is based on public material, human sources and intercepted communications, according to the report published Monday. ADVERTISEMENT The two-year investigation conducted by BuzzFeed found that U.S. officials shared all of the gathered intelligence with U.K. authorities; however, police ruled out foul play in all 14 of the cases. The report goes on to say British police have failed to confront Russian assassinations, a KGB tactic to do away with political opponents around the world. BuzzFeed reported last week that U.S. spy agencies had provided the U.K with intelligence claiming Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichnyy was likely assassinated on orders directly from Moscow. British authorities declared that Perepilichnyy died of natural causes. The report comes as Russia appears to be exerting influence in various Western democracies, most notably meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Are Russian Operatives Attacking Putin Critics in the U.S.? | The New Yorker On a Sunday night in February, 2007, “Dateline NBC,” the news show, aired a segment about the strange case of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who died under mysterious circumstances in London. On the show, several guests argued that his death was an assassination, carried out on orders from Vladimir Putin. The Russian President denied any involvement in Litvinenko’s death. Among the “Dateline NBC” guests who accused Putin was Paul Joyal, a former government official and an expert on Russian affairs. On a rainy night, four days later, Joyal pulled up to his house, in Adelphi, Maryland, and was attacked by two men. As he wrestled one of the men to the ground, he heard him say to his partner, “Shoot him.” The second man pulled the trigger on a 9-mm. pistol and hit Joyal in the abdomen, then pointed the gun at Joyal’s head and pulled the trigger. The pistol misfired, and then Joyal’s dog, inside his house, began to bark. His wife, also inside, turned on the lights. The two men ran off. More than a decade later, with Russia’s covert activities in the United States facing intense scrutiny, it seems appropriate to raise the question: Was Joyal shot on the orders of the Russian state? And, more generally, does the Russian government kill people in the United States? After months of treatment, Joyal recovered, but the crime has never been solved. The F.B.I. investigated Joyal’s attack, but he declined to share details of what it reported about its findings. Joyal told me that he believes one of Putin’s friends—“an oligarch”— arranged the shooting. Some Russia experts believe that he is right. “I think they were intending to send Joyal a message,” Paul Goble, a former senior analyst with the State Department and a friend of Joyal, told me. Goble noted that Joyal had been working to arrange for a Chechen activist to visit the United States—an effort that would have enraged the Kremlin. “He crossed a line you cannot cross.” Russian agents have killed political opponents in Europe and the Middle East. An exhaustive investigation by a British parliamentary commission concluded that Litvinenko, the dissident, had been killed by Russian agents, “probably” on orders from Putin. Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. agent, had accused Putin of ordering the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, a crusading Russian journalist who was murdered, in 2006. He also accused the F.S.B.—the K.G.B.’s successor organization—of bombing a series of Russian apartment buildings, killing three hundred people, in order to win public support for a large-scale war in Chechnya. In late 2006, Litvinenko had ingested polonium 210, which was likely dropped into a pot of green tea while he was meeting with two Russians at the Millennium Hotel. For twenty-two days, he suffered increasingly grotesque symptoms; first his hair fell out, then his organs failed. At last, he died. Two men were indicted in the United Kingdom for his murder, but the Russian government refused to turn them over.

Russia is reportedly behind a disturbing number of assassinations outside its borders | Business Insider Since 2003, more than two dozen murders or…

Putin is behind the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, his colleague says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Kseniya Kirillova The trial in the murder of Boris Nemtsov, one of Russia’s leading opposition figures, is coming to a close. Leonid Martynyuk, friend and colleague of the slain opposition leader, who recently received political asylum in the United States, shared with Euromaidan Press his thoughts on the trial, the men who he believes actually ordered the murder, and what lies ahead for Russia’s dissidents. I have been very skeptical about this trial from the very beginning, because I am certain that the Russian government is behind the murder of Nemtsov. I believe that it is Vladimir Putin who ordered this murder. I do not know the details of what manner he gave this order: whether it was a direct order or simply a declaration of his wish, but I have no doubt that he was involved. The investigation simply stopped at the level of those who carried out the order, but the man who ordered the hit, according to the driver, had neither the means nor motive for committing this murder. And most importantly, he had no means of turning off the security cameras of the FSO [Federal Protective Service in charge of physical security of high-ranking state officials, including the President of Russia, as well as associated federal properties, such as the Kremlin and its vicinity where the murder was executed — Ed.]. The murder site [on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge] was a particularly convenient location for those controlling the security cameras and special services near the Kremlin, and, by the same token, extremely unsafe for those who do not control the cameras and the Kremlin’s security services. Leonid Martynyuk adds that Viktor Zolotov, the man who had the ability to turn off the surveillance cameras, would never have planned a murder without Putin’s approval. If we look at his biography, we see that Zolotov has been a faithful bodyguard since Putin’s first days in power. Kadyrov is also indebted to the Russian president for everything that he has. In addition, it is important to understand that Russia is a mafia state, where there can only be one “pahan,” one chief. People who commit such murders without the approval of the boss would have been punished. In this case, however, Putin punished neither Zolotov nor Kadyrov. On the contrary, he promoted Zolotov, making him head of the Russian Guard and giving him enormous powers. Similarly, Putin reappointed Kadyrov as president of Chechnya. These actions look more like gratitude than punishment. Martynyuk also notes that unlike Ramzan Kadyrov or Zolotov, it is Putin who had a direct motive for eliminating Nemtsov, since the slain oppositionist was one of the few people in Russia who were not afraid to directly criticize the Russian leader.

Police confirmed identity of attacker on Osmaev: it is Artur Kurmakaev, Kadyrov’s hitman 19.06.17 16:13 – Police confirmed identity of attacker on Osmaev: it is Artur Kurmakaev, Kadyrov’s hitman Communications department director of Interior Ministry of Ukraine Artem Shevchenko has confirmed that Chechen volunteer Adam Osmaev was attacked by Artur Kurmakaev (Denisultanov). View news.

 

Intimidation as a propaganda tool in the Nordic countries -Euromaidan Press | According to a poll shared by Radio Free Europe, Russia enjoys significantly less popularity in the Nordic countries than in the majority of European countries. This may be why official Russian outlet Sputnik closed its Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian language services last year: In an environment where Russia’s policies and actions are fundamentally unpopular, it is difficult to build an audience using very openly pro-Kremlin messaging – even if it is communicated in the local language. In the recent analysis of the methods applied by the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign, the East StratCom Task Force has pointed out that “targeting the Russian speaking minority seems the most important tool in the Baltic states, whereas in Central Europe it seems to be the use of dozens of “alternative“ websites, while trolling seems most prevalent in Scandinavia”. Why is it that trolling becomes the preferred propaganda method in an environment where pro-Kremlin views enjoy little popularity? If the target audience shows strong resilience to the political message, provoking fear, discomfort and confusion among journalists and other communicators could be a way of promoting self-censorship and perhaps even the kind of collective caution, which during the Cold War became known as “Finlandisation”. Examples of trolling and intimidation abound in Nordic countries: Finland knows of a sad, but well-documented example of how the phenomenon of trolling has been be taken to a new level as openly Russia-affiliated activists are accused of intimidating journalists that cover Russian affairs, or journalists that decide to investigate the phenomenon of trolling. Recently, Johan Bäckman, a Finnish national who faces court proceedings for such intimidation, has also been denied the right to buy a broadcasting radio station in Tampere, Finland; Finland’s authorities found that the takeover would represent a threat to national security, as Finland’s public broadcaster YLE reports. Similarly, Sweden has seen a verdict handed down against a “troll” spreading defamatory disinformation against a Swedish expert commentator who is known for having Russia-sceptical views. Last autumn, we reported about an individual who, using several aliases, trolled the Swedish internet from his workplace in the Swedish Parliament until he was discovered and forced to leave. More recently, Norway’s security and intelligence service published its annual report, highlighting among other threats intimidation and blackmail targeting individual Norwegians from the side of Russian authorities. The primary group of victims has been Norwegians who travel to Russia and residents of Norway with a dual Norwegian-Russian citizenship or with family in Russia. We see a picture emerging in which intimidation of individuals is a preferred practice and an alternative to communicating directly to target audiences as groups. This can also be seen in the light of the high level of interpersonal trust prevalent in Nordic societies. Individual intimidation is by definition a violation of interpersonal trust, and Nordic societies can therefore be seen as less prepared for personal intimidation than societies with a lower level of interpersonal trust.

Putin’s Cry Of Wolf Is Worn Out – To Inform is to Influence Russia cries “Wolf!” about nearly anything. Today they declared that the Syrian jet shootdown was because “the US’ motivation was to undermine ongoing Russian and Syrian anti-terrorist operations”.  In other words, the US is not allowed to defend friendly forces being attacked, it was done to undermine Russian and Syrian operations.  Russia is always saying it…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Guard’s Aspirations Open the Way to Mass Repressions, Stanovaya Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 18 – Russia is on the way to acquiring a government institution fully capable of mass repressions, Tatyana Stanovaya says. Vladimir Putin’s Russian Guard is not yet there, but it is rapidly amassing the necessary authority and its leadership clearly aspires to have additional powers as well. In an essay reacting to an interview Viktor Zolotov, the commander of the Russian Guard, gave on Friday (interfax.ru/interview/566808), the Moscow commentator argues that Zolotov’s structure is rapidly gaining the status of “the main anti-Orange organ” in the Kremlin’s toolbox (republic.ru/posts/84050). “Few were surprised a year ago when the Russian Guard was established,” she writes. After all, what occurred at that time was “the legitimation of Zolotov’s informal status.” But only now are observers beginning to recognize just how far he and his patron Putin are prepared to go to create a modern-day counterpart not of the NKVD but of the Cheka. In the intervening period, under Zolotov’s leadership and with Putin’s sponsorship, “the Russian guard has been transformed into an active, ambitious, and dynamic organ ready to act in a preventive way … against any threats at the destabilization of the situation in the country,” including far more than direct challenges or organized protests. Zolotov’s interview makes clear, Stanovaya says, that “the Russian Guard is becoming not only Putin’s personal ‘army,’ but also one of his key, ostensibly independent analytic centers engaged in predicting the course of the development of the political situation in Russia.” It thus focuses on the media and on NGOs in advance of actions rather than only after the fact. Thus, “unlike the FSB, the Russian Guard is not prepared to be satisfied with the role of ‘warriors on the invisible front.’” It wants to act preemptively and to make alliances within the Putin hierarchy to make such actions possible. Zolotov, the commentator says, “excels” in doing just that. As a result, the Russian Guard has outplayed many of the other siloviki and been given authority over them in some cases. According to Stanovaya, Zolotov is working to gain even greater power over them in the future, a move that could make him into almost the second most powerful man in Russia today. Not only has he gained for his force the right to give orders to military units, something the defense ministry has always guarded against jealously, but he has been allowed to create its own unique “quasi-cyber forces” even though they are nominally supposed to be part of the defense ministry. Ostensibly, the Russian Guard was set up to repel direct challenges to the regime, but it is already clear that Zolotov and that means Putin too sees its charge as focusing on the work of the opposition in Russia in general. Because of this focus, it aspires to have but does not yet possess at least formally the power to engage in investigations of violations of the law. But gaining such powers, Stanovaya insists, is only a question of time. And once that happens, she continues, the Russian Guard will not be so much “the heir of the NKVD” as some have said but in fact will have “the status of the Main Political Administration of the NKVD, which was at one point led by [Cheka founder] Feliks Dzerzhinsky.” Thus, she concludes, “’a political special service,’ which fought with all anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary elements is being reborn in a new form,” one now not charged with fighting Mensheviks, anarchists, White Guards, “and other ‘enemies of the people,’” but with “’the pro-Western opposition,’ ‘foreign agents,’ ‘the fifth column,’ ‘ill-intentioned journalists and bloggers, and also web activists.” Putin’s criticism of what he deems “excessive demonization of Stalin” as “an attack on the Soviet Union and Russia” in effect gives Zolotov and his agency “the moral right to struggle against those who demonize Dzerzhinsky and the NKVD.” Still more ominously, it gives him the opening to create a new super agency to fight the Kremlin’s enemies by a wide range of means.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Protest Activity Growing in Russia Despite Putin’s Apparent Lack of Attention, Experts Say Paul Goble Staunton, June 18 – Protest actions have been increasing in number, size, intensity and subject matter and are likely to continue to do so in the coming months, four Moscow experts assembled by the Finam.ru agency says, despite or perhaps better even because Vladimir Putin seems unaware of or at least unwilling to comment on this trend. Taking part in an online conference call entitled “Putin and Russia — The Recession is Past, the Elections are Ahead,” the four were unanimous in declaring that protest activity was on the rise across the Russian Federation and would continue to increase in the months ahead (finam.ru/analysis/newsitem/eksperty-protestnoe-dvizhenie-budet-narastat-20170616-154024/). Olga Pavlenko a specialist on religion and foreign policy at the Russian State Humanities University, says that the protests have arisen and will grow as a result of systematic mistakes by the authorities such as their continued reliance on propaganda that puts young people off, bankruptcies of smaller companies, and the imitation struggle against corruption. Pavel Salin, head of the Center for Political Research at the government’s Finance University, agrees but says that it isn’t so much objective conditions that are driving the rise of protests as of the subjective sense among ever more Russians that there are few good prospects for them in the future. Unless the powers address that, there will be massive demonstrations. Galina Mikhaleva, another professor at the Humanities University and a Yabloko Party activist, suggests that “the protest movement will gain strength both in response to specific situations such as the long-haul truckers, the victims of renovation, deceived borrowers and depositors, and youth protests.” The effects of all these things will feed on one another and be cumulative, and the point has been reached, she argues, that any use of force to try to stop the protests will be counter-productive and radicalize people further. And Oleg Reut, who teaches at the North-West Institute of Administration of the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, says that the failure of the Kremlin to pay much attention to this trend will only give it more time to crystallize and grow – and not lead it to dry up for lack of public attention.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Striking Long Haul Truckers to Nominate Their Union Leader for Russian President Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – The Carriers Union of Russia, the umbrella group that has coordinated the strike of that country’s long-haul truck drivers, says it will nominate its leader Andrey Bazhutin for president of the Russian Federation in order that the working class will have a real choice in the upcoming elections. The union says that it considers his “base electorate to be the working class,” the part of society which “now is suffering most of all and is most tired of all about the critical situation” of the trucking industry and those industries with which it works (openrussia.org/notes/710579/ and rustelegraph.ru/news/2017-06-16/Dalnoboischiki-vydvinut-svoego-lidera-Bazhutina-na-prezidentskie-vybory-74761/). Many in the union say that they expect the authorities to try to block Bazhutin’s candidacy, but they point out that he does not have any criminal convictions and therefore is not ineligible on that ground. It is possible that the powers that be may seek to entrap him somehow in order to change that. Other news from the truckers’ strike front, besides that it continues in various guises and in various places despite official claims to the contrary, include the following: · Vladimir Putin took no questions from or about the drivers, something that several analysts warn is likely to make an explosion inevitable (riaderbent.ru/voprosy-s-kavkazskim-aktsentom-ogradili-ot-efira-putina.html, unian.net/politics/1978149-o-chem-promolchal-putin.html and trud.ru/article/17-06-2017/1351298_vopros_truda_glavnaja_problema_v_vashej_zhizni.html). · St. Petersburg duma opposition deputies say they will provide pro bono legal help to truck strikers arrested in Moscow (ng.ru/regions/2017-06-15/100_petersburg150617.html). · Truckers point out that unlike other recent protests, their strike was not dominated by young people but rather by the middle-aged (gazeta.ru/comments/2017/06/15_a_10722443.shtml). · A Moscow television channel has announced plans for a new TV serial, tentatively titled “The Wives of the Long Haul Drivers,” a program likely modelled on American shows and one that will raise issue of the drivers in the middle of public consciousness among Russians (v-kurse.ru/news/life/aktrisa_iz_realnykh_patsanov_vedet_shou_o_zhenakh_dalnoboyshchikov_4335345/).· Truckers say their strike will continue and even expand once again because there are still “no signs” of a compromise from the authorities who have not kept their word to meet or on some concessions they earlier made (usolie.info/news/avto/snyatie-trekh-shkur-s-dalnoboyshchikov-prodolzhaetsya.html).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Regions in Deep Trouble: In Most, Only One Household in Five has Money for More than Food Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – Despite Putin’s upbeat comments, Russians living in the regions are even in the most successful balanced at the edge of survival: with one household in five in 20 percent of the federal subjects now having only enough money for food but for nothing more, according to Moscow experts. Made responsible for ever more unfunded liabilities, regional government shave have cut their budget deficits by more than 90 percent; but the consequences of that are that the population is suffering even more than would otherwise be the case, Anastasiya Bashkatova writes in Nezavimaya gazeta (ng.ru/economics/2017-06-15/1_7008_regions.html). Nonetheless, according to Standard&Poor’s, a quarter of Russiaa’s regions are close to bankruptcy and less than a quarter are showing signs of industrial growth, a third growth in agriculture, just over a third in consumer services, just under half in construction, and 61 percent in retail trade, the economics editor says. Only six show growth on all five of these measures; only 13 more, on four; while in 10 there has been a decline in four or five of them. But even in those subjects doing well, 19 in all, in 12, “many citizens are now literally at the edge of survival,” Bashkatova continues, citing the work of Moscow scholars who have been analyzing Rosstat data. In addition, an extremely detailed report by the Regnum news agency on the Russian Far East, one of the more depressed regions of the country, again despite Putin’s claims, shows that in that enormous territory, people are suffering and see few prospects for any turn-around (regnum.ru/news/society/2288362.html).Russian regions in deep trouble: in most, only one household in five has money for more than food | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |           Despite Putin’s upbeat comments, Russians living in the regions are even in the most successful case balance at the edge of survival: with one household in five in 20 percent of the federal subjects now having only enough money for food but for nothing more, according to Moscow experts. Made responsible for ever more unfunded liabilities, regional governments have cut their budget deficits by more than 90 percent; but the consequences of that are that the population is suffering even more than would otherwise be the case, Anastasiya Bashkatova writes in Nezavisimaya gazeta. Nonetheless, according to Standard & Poor’s, a quarter of Russiaa’s regions are close to bankruptcy and less than a quarter are showing signs of industrial growth, a third growth in agriculture, just over a third in consumer services, just under half in construction, and 61 percent in retail trade, the economics editor says. Only six show growth on all five of these measures; only 13 more, on four; while in 10 there has been a decline in four or five of them. But even in those subjects doing well, 19 in all, in 12, “many citizens are now literally at the edge of survival,” Bashkatova continues, citing the work of Moscow scholars who have been analyzing Rosstat data. In addition, an extremely detailed report by the Regnum news agency on the Russian Far East, one of the more depressed regions of the country, again despite Putin’s claims, shows that in that enormous territory, people are suffering and see few prospects for any turn-around.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Talk of Digital Russia Country’s Latest Potemkin Village, Pastukhov SuggestsPaul Goble Staunton, June 17 – Vladimir Putin’s unexpected talk about the Internet and even “a digital Russia” is the latest example of the old Russian tactic of erecting Potemkin villages to suggest something that doesn’t exist to someone who needs to be convinced that it does, according to Vladimir Pastukhov. In this case, however, it isn’t the tsar himself who needs to be persuaded of that but rather young people who are put off by Putin’s own conservative back to the past and who are thus in play for the upcoming presidential elections and need to be catered to at least at the symbolic level, the St. Antony’s scholar says (republic.ru/posts/84030). The discovery that in post-“Crimea is Ours” Russia there is such a group, Pastukhov says, has forced Putin “out of his political comfort zone,” the place where he can occupy himself with the preservation of all that he wants to preserve from the Soviet past, and compelled him to look to a future which in the nature of things does not have a place for like the leader he has been. As a result, he or more precisely his political technologists are trying to present him as something that he is not, someone focused on the future rather than the past and who can thus win over the young without in fact taking any steps that would cost him his base in the conservative majority he now is supported by. That the Putin who speaks about a digital Russia is an invention is something about which there can be no doubt: when Dmitry Medvedev was president, his spokesman noted that Putin didn’t use the Internet or social networks and didn’t even see any particular value in them for himself or others. Now, however, Putin’s associates are suggesting that he has been “reborn” as a digital-savvy leader. But it doesn’t require much thought to recognize that this is all about the upcoming election rather than a real change of heart, the UK Russian historian and commentator argues. According to Pastukhov, “Putin, in contrast to Medvedev, as before remains completely indifferent to gadgets and all their offspring and the main reason she has suddenly begun to talk about them is the return of the theme of the future in discussions of the Russian political agenda.” “The future,” he says, “is ceasing to be a distant abstraction; and this if you will is the main distinction of the upcoming electoral cycle from the previous one. Putin is only seeking to bring himself into line with political circumstances that have unexpectedly changed” and to create “an illusion” that he is a man of the future as well. But in fact, the analyst says, “nostalgia for the past and fear of the future were and remain up to now the main reasons why Russian society resigns itself to any small or large sins committed by the Russian powers that be, including greed and corruption. After all, we have seen still worse times.” That was fine as a political strategy as long as most people remembered Soviet times, but now there is a younger generation for which “the Soviet past is just as distant an abstraction as fearing for the future is for ‘Putin’s support group.’” And that younger group is, even after Crimea, one that political leaders must find a way to attract and win over. The conservative even archaic language Putin has used up to now won’t work and so Putin is presenting himself as a new digital leader, even though the notion of a digital Russia will be just another “Potemkin façade of the real Russia,” Pastukhov suggests. The problem, of course, is that “there is no place” for this statistical place in Russia today. “Present-day technologies are incompatible with the archaic structure of Russian power, with its unlimited legal nihilism, with its greedy ‘family’ monopolies, with its legalized corruption and all-permissive ‘criminal matrix,’ and which has force structures that are not under anyone’s control, including that of Putin himself. But even that is “not the main thing,” Pastukhov says. Rather it is this: the more Putin promotes the idea of a digital Russia, the more obvious he makes himself an anachronism that can be seen by all. That limits how far he can go in using this tactic, but because it will soon be obvious that it is only a tactic, that too will have some negative consequences for his future.

Why Putin Isn’t Laughing at Russia’s Foul-Mouthed YouTube Craze – Bloomberg Nikolai Sobolev’s acute sense of what’s on the minds of his young audience has made his expletive-laced video blog one of Russia’s hottest. But after a steady diet of topics like teen angst, the 23-year-old found an unexpected new issue was taking off this spring: opposition activism.

European Court Rules Against Russian Gay ‘Propaganda’ Law The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia&rsquo;s law banning the dissemination of gay &quot;propaganda&quot; to minors violates the right to freedom of expression and i…

European Court blasts Russia ‘gay propaganda’ law – BBC News Russia’s “gay propaganda” law encourages homophobia, the European human rights court rules.

European court rules in favor of Russian gay activists – ABC News European court rules in favor of Russian gay activists

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Having Provoked the Nogay, Makhachkala has Opened the Way to the Demise of Daghestan Paul Goble Staunton, June 16 – The authorities in Makhachkala by a series of illegal actions have provoked the Nogay to demand that Moscow enforce the law in their region and to consider copying the Crimean Tatar tactic of a generation ago by opening a tent city in Red Square to force the Kremlin’s hand. To the extent the Nogay carry out their threats and attract Moscow’s attention, they will likely open the way to the disintegration of Daghestan, the most ethnically diverse and Muslim republic in the Russian Federation, Mikail Tyobenavullu says, but any blame for that outcome falls on Makhchkala not the Nogay (caucasustimes.com/ru/skolko-ostalos-zhit-dagestanizmu/). The 100,000 Turkic Nogay have long been unhappy with the way in which Makhachkala has acted toward them, ignoring their interests and corruptly helping other groups to occupy their lands; but they have been provoked into almost open revolt by the Daghestani authorities’ decisions to do so under the cover of Ramadan. Makhachkala clearly believes, the Caucasus Times commentator says, that Moscow will allow it do anything it wants as long as there is no revolt. But the Nogay, by presenting themselves in the role of defenders of Russian law against arbitrariness, have put the center in a difficult position. If it defends Makhachkala, then everyone and not just the Nogay will see that law is irrelevant, sending an explosive message to a variety of groups. But if it defends the Nogay, it is difficult to see how “Daghestanism,” the idea of a multi-ethnic republic, or even that republic itself can long survive given how its dominant ethnic groups have behaved toward others. In recent weeks, the Nogays have taken two steps to press their legal case: they have organized a roundtable in Moscow in the hopes of attracting the attention of the central media, and they have assembled a 6,000-strong congress uniting the Nogay not only of Daghestan but of neighboring regions of the North Caucasus to demand the Kremlin intervene on their behalf. The number of people at the meeting, who held up Nogay, Russian and family flags but not a single Daghestani one responded “a disciplined column rather than just the ordinary residents of the southern portion of the country,” Tyobenavullu says. Clearly, he says, “’Daghestanism’ as an idea is coming apart at the seams.” Some Nogays and others in the republic are still afraid to talk about their rights, but others see this as the only defense they have against Makhachkala. And the idea that they should speak up now before corrupt groups in the republic capital trample on their rights is spreading, he says, an indication that the Nogay upsurge is a symptom rather than an isolated event. In Russia today, the Caucasus Times writer continues, people are “accustomed to simulate instead of observe the laws” because those who ignore them are the ones who have power. But the Nogay now have come to feel that they are “the people of the state” and to view those in Makhachkala as the illegal interlopers. That is a big change and means that the Nogay are about to change and quite possibly end Daghestan, setting in train a series of unpredictable events that will destabilize the situation in the North Caucasus more than any event of the last decade or more.

Former Director Of Moscow’s Gogol Center Theater Detained In Embezzlement Case The former director of the embattled Moscow-based Gogol Center theater, Aleksei Malobrodsky, has been detained. The Russian Investigative Committee said on June 20 that Malobrodsky, who also use…

Russian Prosecutor Seeks Eight-Year Term For Real Estate Tycoon Polonsky A Russian prosecutor has demanded a prison term of eight years for real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky in a high-profile embezzlement case. The prosecutor also asked the judge at a Moscow court o…

Russia’s army orders Terminator fire support combat vehicles | Defence Blog The Russian Defence Forces has signed a contract with UralVagonZavod company for the purchase of an undisclosed number of Terminator fire support combat vehicles. That was reported by Russian military expert Alexey Khlopotov in his blog. The BMPT “Terminator” is a post-Cold war armored fighting vehicle (AFV), designed and manufactured by the Russian company Uralvagonzavod. This vehicle was designed for supporting tanks and other AFVs in urban areas. The armored fighting vehicle is unofficially named the “Terminator” by the manufacturers. It is heavily armed and armored to survive in urban combat. The Terminator has a turret with externally mounted armament. It is fitted with two 30-mm cannons, two remotely controlled AGS-17D or AGS-30 30-mm automatic grenade launchers, four Ataka-T anti-tank missile launchers and one coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. The 30-mm cannons have a dual-fed system and can fire a wide range of ammunition, including HE-T, APDS, HE-FRAG and AP-T rounds. The Ataka-T missiles can be fitted with tandem HEAT, HE-FRAG or thermobaric warheads. The Ataka-T has a maximum range of 5 km. Vehicle can engage three targets at the same time, as each weapon is aimed separately. As of late 2016, the only operator of the BMPT Terminator fire support combat vehicles was Kazakhstan. 10 Terminator units were ordered in 2010 and delivered by Russia from 2011 to 2013. Three of these vehicles were showcased for the first time during the 2011 Constitution Day parade.

5 Weapons Russia Would Not Want to Face in a War with America | The National Interest Blog Or in Syria. 

Concept art for an abandoned ‘Roadside Picnic’ adaptation: Designer Alexey Andreyev shares his sketches for a TV project on the Strugatsky brothers’ sci fi classic — Meduza In 2016, the cable television channel WGN America announced that it was working on a TV series based on the Strugatsky brothers’ science fiction novel “Roadside Picnic,” which was the motivation for Andrey Tarkovsky’s 1979 film “Stalker.” Sony Pictures even released a pilot, but WGN America declined to continue the project. Alexey Andreyev, a designer based in St. Petersburg, worked on the pilot as a concept artist. With Andreyev’s permission, Meduza is publishing his work on the now abandoned show.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Awareness and Attitude toward the Problem of Disinformation and Propaganda in Mass Media – To Inform is to Influence Very recent survey. Thank you to StopFake for publishing this!  There are two different summaries. One is for Ukraine, the other for the Donetsk region. The poll was conducted in: all regions of Ukraine, except for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In Donetsk and Luhansk regions the poll was conducted only on territories controlled by…

Russia has been trying to influence the elections in France and the Netherlands by publishing dubious sociological research – To Inform is to Influence (Translated from Russian by GMail) by Bellingcat Investigation, Team Introduction Earlier this week, the head of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will not interfere in the conduct of the presidential elections in France. However, the facts show that in the course of the presidential race in France, the Russian state-controlled media…

Russian experts view of Internet governance of cyber security – To Inform is to Influence Forwarded by a noted expert. This is very much worth the read. It’s a collection of essays on Internet governance buy some of the leading thinkers on cyber security and governance of cyberspace and Russia. These are non-governmental guys, but really the people most responsible for having run the Russian Internet and it’s security. It’s…

INFLUENCE FOR SALE: Bot Shopping on the Darknet – To Inform is to Influence How vendors are selling social media influence and reach for profit on the Darknet The Darknet has a reputation of being a space where hitmen, drug dealers, money launderers, and counterfeiters find buyers for their services, all under a cloak of secrecy provided by blockchain technology. However, not everything on the Darknet is quite so illicit.…


Ukraine Reports


President in the United States: It is important that the meeting of the Ukrainian President in the White House will take place earlier than that of Putin — Official website of the President of Ukraine In the course of the working visit to the United States, President Petro Poroshenko will hold a series of meetings and negotiations. “Look at the powerful and fantastic support we have today in the United States. I came today with the first visit after the presidential elections (of the U.S. President – editorial remark). And we have a fantastic program,” the Head of State noted in the meeting with the Ukrainian community. “It is very important that my meeting, as Ukrainian President, in the White House will take place earlier than the meeting of Putin,” Petro Poroshenko said adding that it is necessary to “provide information and leave no chance for injustice”. The President emphasized that Ukraine has a very powerful bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. Petro Poroshenko noted that the decision of the U.S. Senate to impose new sanctions against Russia became a wonderful gift. He stressed that sanctions are a civilized mechanism to force the aggressor to get away from Ukraine, withdraw troops and weaponry. The Head of State emphasized that a great number of meetings is planned during the working visit. “There will be meetings in the White House, there will be meetings in the Department of State. There will be meetings in the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and Department of Energy,” he informed. “There has never been such a substantial visit. We will have an opportunity to discuss our cooperation in security, political and economic spheres,” the President emphasized.

White House confirms Trump’s meeting with Poroshenko – LB.ua news portal White House confirms Trump’s meeting with Poroshenko. The US Vice President and National Security Adviser will take part in the negotiations. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Trump to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — and possibly iron out his stance on Russia | Business Insider Veronika Bondarenko Jun 20, 2017, 5:44 AM Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is on his way to meet with Donald Trump in Washington this week, with plans to pin down Trump’s stance on Russia. On June 19, Poroshenko’s press secretary announced that the Ukrainian president had left Ukraine for a working visit to Washington. Trump and Poroshenko will from June 19-20, a source told Kyivpost.com. The visit precedes Trump’s first meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit on July 7 -8. Since its 2013 pro-Europe revolution ousted then-President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine has seen its former territory of Crimea annexed by Russia and a bloody, Russia-supported uprising in the country’s east. Since Russia’s military entry into Ukraine, the US has put Russia under sanctions and relations between the two super powers have deteriorated. With Trump publically announcing his intention to revisit US-Russian relations upon taking office, Ukrainians have watched with bated breath. In Ukraine, members of parliament told journalists that Poroshenko hoped to discuss Crimea, Washington’s role in reforms within Ukraine with Trump and the largely ineffective Minsk Protocol that both Russia and Ukraine had signed for an immediate ceasefire back in 2014. The Ukrainian parliament “has appealed to American Congress to recognise Ukraine as its main ally within NATO along with the need to codify a direct wartime agreement between our countries,” wrote leader of the Ukrainian Radical Party Oleg Lyashko on his Facebook page. After Trump’s election, both Russia and Ukraine had expressed hopes that the new administration would lead to closer ties between their countries — and, given Trump’s inconsistent views regarding the two countries, have both been disappointed thus far. “We have no idea if [Trump] will keep his promises, because he can often change his mind overnight,” one Ukrainian official who knew of Poroshenko’s earlier phone calls with Trump, told reporters.

Is the Trump administration poised to take on a new role in the Ukraine conflict? | Europe | DW | 19.06.2017 Reports that Donald Trump will receive Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ahead of his first meeting with Vladimir Putin are causing a sensation in Kyiv. Could the move signal a new policy for the US in Ukraine?

Mr. Poroshenko Goes To Washington: What To Expect From The Ukrainian Leader’s First Meeting With Trump Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko may have pulled off a small coup in winning an audience with U.S. President Donald Trump before Russian leader Vladimir Putin could.

Ukraine leader Poroshenko will meet Trump on Tuesday | Reuters Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday for talks on security, political and economic issues, Poroshenko’s office said.

Ukrainian Leader to Get First Trump Meeting With ‘Drop-In’ – Bloomberg Ukraine’s leader will meet President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, a visit that could reveal more about the level of U.S. backing for the former Soviet republic and its efforts to repel a Russian-backed insurgency in its east. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Pence will “drop in” on a meeting Tuesday between Trump and his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster at 11 a.m. in the U.S. capital, according to the White House schedule. The talks, the first between the two leaders, will take place before Trump meets Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he’s said he’d like to improve ties.

Mattis welcomes Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to the Pentagon this afternoon UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT TO PENTAGON: Mattis welcomes Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to the Pentagon this afternoon, with all the appropriate military honors on the steps of the River Entrance. Poroshenko first meets today with Trump at the White House, and also has appointments at the State Department. “It is very important that my meeting, as the Ukrainian president, in the White House will be earlier than [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s meeting,” Poroshenko’s office said, according to Reuters.

Poroshenko may meet with Trump on Tuesday evening Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko may meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at about 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, the 112.Ukraine television channel reported on Monday.

Poroshenko to talk with Trump, Pence and Tillerson on Tuesday President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has said that within the framework of his working visit to Washington he will hold a number of important meetings with the leadership of the United States.

Poroshenko to meet Trump before US president sees Putin – EURACTIV.com Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet US counterpart Donald Trump in Washington Tuesday (20 June) for talks on security, political and economic issues, Poroshenko’s office said. “It is very important that my meeting, as the Ukrainian president, in the White House will be earlier than (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s meeting,” the president’s office quoted Poroshenko, who is already in the United States, as saying.

Ukrainian president to ‘drop in’ on Donald Trump during Washington visit | World news | The Guardian Hours before Petro Poroshenko’s arrival, details of the meeting had still not been confirmed with the apparently reluctant US president

First Poroshenko-Trump meeting: important nuances | UNIAN A very positive atmosphere is forming around the upcoming meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump – that’s because it’s becoming increasingly obvious for all that Russia has been implementing a policy in respect of all civilized countries (not only the United States but the EU member states as well) aimed at ensuring that these countries get into squabbles and any prospects of European or Transatlantic solidarity fade. Today it is evident even to those in America who desperately refused to believe that Russia had meddled with their presidential elections. This leaves Trump is very little room to maneuver in his foreign policy steps. At the same time, this gives Ukraine the chance to use the situation for its own ultimate benefit. Therefore, the preparations for the meeting and the talks as such will see, besides a very serious Ukrainian-American context, the international vibe as well. After all, it’s clear to everyone that the issue of Russian aggression will be on the agenda. The fact that Poroshenko will get to see Trump before the latter’s meeting with Putin is not a matter of principle but still an important point. That’s because this means that Putin will not be able to impose on his U.S. counterpart any idea about something that is actually not there. He won’t be able to tell him things that are far from reality, but to which Trump could react because of certain personality features. In this context, receiving information “first hand” is a really important point. I believe that Poroshenko’s visit to the U.S. will definitely yield some positive results. Even more so, against the background of Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy’s trip across the Atlantic and those positive messages that followed. It’s about the intention of American legislators to extend Russia sanctions, in a form disabling Trump from canceling those restrictions without their permission. It is also about a quite tough stance against Putin by both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. So the context for Ukraine today is absolutely positive. Therefore, if Poroshenko manages to convey to Trump as clearly as possible information on what is happening in eastern Ukraine, what has happened and is still happening in Crimea, it will be difficult for the U.S. president not to react in the interests of Ukraine. So, in my opinion, Kyiv could at least expect confirmation of sanctions and their continuation, and in a more positive variant – their expansion, and even more preferably – the transition from words about concrete military assistance to action. That is, for Ukraine to finally get from the U.S. lethal aid it now urgently needs both for protection from Russian aggression and deterring Russia. Volodymyr Ohryzko is a chief of Russia Research Center, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Poroshenko on Russia sanctions extension: “Price for attempted annexation must rise” 19.06.17 15:37 – Poroshenko on Russia sanctions extension: Price for attempted annexation must rise Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has commented on the EU decision to extend sanctions against Russia over Crimea occupation. View news.

Ukraine State Energy Chief Praises Senate Measure on Russian Pipeline – WSJ The head of Ukraine’s state energy company cheered the U.S. Senate’s decision to take aim at a Russian gas pipeline to Germany in sanctions legislation last week and urged the Trump administration to penalize companies helping Russia execute the project.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko Leaves For Washington President Petro Poroshenko has left Ukraine for a working visit to the United States, his press secretary says. Svyatoslav Tseholko made the announcement in a message on Twitter on June 19, afte…

President in the meeting with the Ukrainian community: Everything that is happening in Ukraine now is in the heart of the Diaspora — Official website of the President of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko started his working visit to the U.S. paying tribute to the victims of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine and having a conversation with the Ukrainian community. “Most people didn’t know where Ukraine is, let alone the Holodomor. And today one cannot find a person in the world who would not love us, respect us and pay tribute to our nation,” the President said. The Head of State emphasized: Ukraine has passed a great distance despite tremendous challenges. He expressed gratitude to the Ukrainian community in the U.S. for the great efforts and unity. “Everything that is happening in Ukraine now is in the heart of the Diaspora. We feel that. And we do not have to ask for help – the Diaspora does everything it can,” the President said. Petro Poroshenko added that due to the efforts of the Ukrainian community, the military wounded in the ATO area receive necessary support and assistance in treatment and rehabilitation in the United States. The Head of State emphasized that jointly with all Ukrainians all over the world we managed not only to stop Russian aggression, but also to prevent Putin’s plans to restore the Russian empire. He stressed that a powerful Ukrainian army was restored in three years and now it has a unique experience. The President is confident that this is a guarantee of Ukraine’s independence, freedom and democracy. Petro Poroshenko thanked volunteers for supporting the Ukrainian troops. The Head of State also noted that the war is not an excuse for delaying reforms. “All our partners – USA, EU, Australia, Japan, IMF, EBRD – confirm that we have conducted more reforms than 23 years before,” he said. According to the President, the state implements the decentralization reform, huge steps have been taken in the completion of the judicial reform, ProZorro public procurement system has been launched. At the same time, the Head of State called the introduction of the visa-free regime for Ukrainians by the EU the greatest achievement. “It is not just the right to cross the border freely. It is the final farewell to the Russian empire and the return of our nation to the European family,” he added. Petro Poroshenko emphasized that this was achieved also due to the joint efforts and support from the Ukrainian community abroad.


Poroshenko expects Ukraine-EU Association Agreement to fully take effect on Sept 1 | KyivPost WASHINGTON – President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko expects the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement will enter into force in a full scale on Sept. 1. “I am flying straight forward from Washington to Brussels to take part in the transfer of ratification certificates signed by His Majesty the King of the Netherlands. And this is the last country that completes the ratification process, and Ukraine, since September 1, has the great honor with the Association Agreement entering into force,” the president said when interacting with the Ukrainian community in Washington. He said that Russia was making great obstacles in this way, so that the ratification of this document would not take place.

Poltorak stands for activation of defense cooperation between Ukraine and France Security in Ukraine and around its borders, as well as issues of deepening defense cooperation between Ukraine and France, were the subject of a meeting between Defense Ministers of Ukraine and France, Stepan Poltorak and Sylvie Goulard. “Cooperation between our countries is very important, especially in the field of defense. So, there is an opportunity to significantly increase the work between our departments,” the press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. The minister said that the system of integrating the Armed Forces of Ukraine into NATO through joint drills and work in the sphere of the military-industrial complex is important, which is already underway. In turn, the French defense minister said that the French side is ready to deepen cooperation and discuss further prospects. “Beyond all doubt, we support Ukraine, for your heroic soldiers are forced to achieve the country’s independence with lethal force in the 21st century, and this is very important,” Goulard said.

Ukraine Ramps Up Fight Against Russia’s Hybrid War – YouTube Russia’s information warfare against Ukraine goes back years before the 2014 EuroMaidan revolution. But the country has only begun to take the threat serious…

Ukraine draws up list of websites subject to blocking | UNIAN Ukraine's Information Policy Ministry has announced that it will publish a list of websites that are subject to blocking for security reasons, according to the Ukrainian news website Ukrayinska Pravda. News 19 June from UNIAN.

Militants launched 43 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 20.06.2017 09:31 — Ukrinform News 20.06.2017 09:31. Militants launched 43 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.

Four Ukrainian soldiers wounded in ATO zone in last day – 20.06.2017 12:58 — Ukrinform News 20.06.2017 12:58. No Ukrainian soldiers were killed but four servicepersons were wounded and injured in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in eastern Ukraine over the past day.

Russian proxies lob over 60 shells into Ukraine positions near Krymske in Donbas Russia's hybrid military forces lobbed over 60 mortar shells into Ukrainian army positions near the village of Krymske in Luhansk region, Donbas, in the past day, according to a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman for Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) issues. News 20 June from UNIAN.

Avdiivka remains without gas for two weeks – 20.06.2017 10:45 — Ukrinform News 20.06.2017 10:45. Avdiivka remains without gas for two weeks due to the damage to the gas pipeline caused by the enemy shelling.

OSCE SMM: armed ‘DPR’ members instructed not to let SMM pass checkpoints The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine says that Russian-backed militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (&quot;DPR&quot;) were instructed not to let the SMM enter the area, according to an OSCE &nbsp;SMM report.&nbsp; News 20 June from UNIAN.

Speaker Parubiy outlines main principles of Donbas bill – 20.06.2017 10:34 — Ukrinform News 20.06.2017 10:34. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy has said that the bill on the de-occupation of separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will make it possible to use all military divisions without restricting democratic procedures and will recognize the territories of these separate districts as occupied.

Donbas reintegration bill enables peacekeepers deployment – MP Lutsenko Ukrainian MP, presidential envoy in the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Lutsenko says the bill on the reintegration of Donbas does not exclude the possibility of introducing a police or other peacekeeping mission. “The bill does not exclude the possibility of introducing a police or other peacekeeping mission from the international organizations,” Lutsenko told a briefing. She noted that the bill provides for “additional mechanisms that would allow liberating and restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty in Donbas.” According to her, the president has proposed the bill that is now being agreed by a working group that includes the coalition members. “This draft law will be presented to the Minsk group led by our Vice Speaker Iryna Gerashchenko [Ukraine’s humanitarian envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group on the Donbas settlement] so that it could be widely discussed,” Lutsenko said. She also said that the bill would “update the legal framework and the ability of troops to hold arms and protect the state.” “The ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] as such has completed its phase,” she said. In her words, the draft law stipulates the establishment of a clear status of certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as the creation of a single headquarters which will be subordinated to the President of Ukraine. It will include military and civil administrations, the Ministry for Reintegration of Donbas, which will be provided with additional functions and powers that will allow the president to impose martial law in certain areas. Moreover, the headquarters will involve the SBU Security Service, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the police. It is also expected to provide solutions for major humanitarian issues, security, environment, etc. Lutsenko stressed that the bill provides for the restoration of sovereignty exclusively by political and diplomatic means, within the framework of the Minsk agreements. The bill is to be tabled in Ukraine’s parliament before the end of the session, she said.

Turchynov introduces concept bill on Donbas de-occupation – Rada Speaker Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy has said that Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov introduced the concept bill on de-occupation of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions at the meeting of the People's Front faction, according to the Hromadske media outlet. “The concept is being discussed right now, and this is the right approach to initially determine the law’s main positions,” said Parubiy, who also participated in the meeting, Hromadske reported. “Actually, this is a change in status, recognition of the occupied territories as formally occupied ones and most importantly is the definition of legal prerequisites for conducting hostilities and military operations so that this law give such a legislative right for the commander-in-chief and the National Security and Defense Council,” he said. According to Parubiy, the text of the bill is not ready yet and it is only a concept. As UNIAN reported earlier, Turchynov said Ukraine needs a new format to counter the hybrid warfare waged by the Russian Federation. Read also Some 200,000 Russians to leave Crimea after de-occupation – Chubarov Turchynov suggested that not only uncontrolled areas in Luhansk and Donetsk regions should be designated as Russian-occupied territory, but also laws should be passed to stipulate the state policy to liberate them. This requires new effective regulations of protecting Ukraine from the aggressor, he said. Among them is to legislatively empower the president to use the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other law enforcement formations to counter Russian aggression. Turchynov also advocated the creation of an operational headquarters with broad powers for the integrated management of the armed forces, all law enforcement units and structures, including military and civilian administrations

.Ukrainian fighters detained group of military doctors in Donbas on June 18, – ATO deputy commander Rozmaznin 19.06.17 17:55 – Ukrainian fighters detained group of military doctors in Donbas on June 18, – ATO deputy commander Rozmaznin The Russian military got lost in the Donbas and were detained by servicemen of the Ukrainian army. View news.

OSCE: Hostilities in Donbas put water supply to over 1 mln people at risk The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine says hostilities in Donbas put water supply to over one million people at risk. Latest UNIAN news from 19 June.

Ukrainian reporter Stanislav Aseyev feared captured by separatist rebels — media A senior Human Rights Watch activist on Saturday said she fears pro-Moscow rebels have captured a Ukrainian reporter and blogger missing for two weeks in the country's eastern war zone, according to Al Arabiya. News 19 June from UNIAN.

Nineteen IMO members condemn attack on Ukraine’s An-26 over Black Sea Delegations of 19 member states of the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have condemned an attempt by the Russian side to fire on Ukraine's Navy An-26 aircraft over the Black Sea in February 2017, according to the website of the Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. News 19 June from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces shows interest in Z-10 precision rifle | Defence Blog The Ukrainian Special Operations Forces are considering the Z-10 precision rifle to fulfill its broadest range of tactical requirements. That was reported by a Zbroyar company, that produces this rifle. According to Ukranian arms manufacturer, the Z-10 is a semi-automatic rifle developed on the base of the Ar-10 platform with of system «Direct Impingement» (DI) caliber 308Win.. The Z-10 rifle has the ability to fire fast at different distances, which is ideal for special operations forces. The Z-10 rifle capable of engaging targets out to ranges of 1,200-1,500 m. The maximum effective range of the rifle is about 800 m. A standard model has .308 Win/7.62x51mm NATO caliber and 5 kg weight. A fixed barrel allows for precision fire less than 0.75-1.25 MOA. The Z-10 precision rifles are manufactured in Ukraine by a small privately owned company Zbroyar. This company was founded in 2004 to manufacture rifles for long target shooting, long range hunting, and varminting, aswell as for tactical applications.

Ukrainian An-132D performs impressive demo flight at Paris Air Show 2017 (Photo, video) Ukraine's state-run Antonov enterprise has said its brand new multi-purpose transport aircraft An-132D performed an impressive demo flight at the 2017 International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France. News 19 June from UNIAN.

Le Bourget-2017: в небо піднявся український Ан-132Д – YouTubehttp://www.5.ua |

“Prove your commitment to European values”: Ukraine – Sweden foreign policy audit -Euromaidan Press | Daria Gaidai, Leonid Litra Ukraine’s success must include a proactive foreign policy. Today we explore the existing and potential contact points of Ukraine’s relations with Sweden with the help of analysts from the Kyiv-based Institute of World Policy. In official statements, Sweden is consistently named not only an ally but also one of the closest friends of Ukraine in the EU. Kyiv appreciates the strong position of Sweden in support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine under Russian aggression. There are no differences in positions on Ukraine between the major parties of the country, and most Swedish people have no doubt of Russia’s responsibility for the military conflict in Donbas. Moreover, Sweden is also one of the major donors to Ukrainian reforms. Swedish taxpayers fund the implementation of numerous projects in Ukraine in such fields as public administration, judicial, financial, and energy sectors, as well as programs aimed at supporting the civil society, decentralization, anti-corruption reforms, introduction of energy saving technologies, etc. Sweden belongs to the circle of foreign friends of Kyiv that have been actively supporting democratic reforms and European integration of Ukraine for over two decades. Nevertheless, Swedes, like other European partners of Ukraine, were burned and disappointed after the 2004 Orange Revolution, when Sweden increased the volume of assistance to Ukraine by several times, becoming one of the leaders in terms of the amount of political and economic investments in post-revolutionary Ukraine. Even numerous failures, rollbacks in reforms, and strengthening of authoritarian tendencies in Ukraine in 2010-2014 have not forced Sweden to abandon support for Ukraine and its European future. After the victory of Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential elections, Stockholm made every effort to establish contacts with the new government, simultaneously increasing support for the civil society. Perhaps, this is the only investment that paid off. As predicted by the Swedish donors, civil society has become a major agent of change in late 2013. After the Revolution of Dignity, Swedish-Ukrainian cooperation got a second wind.

Why we need a discussion about Germany’s historical responsibility toward Ukraine -Euromaidan Press | Marieluise Beck [Marieluise Beck is the Speaker for Eastern Europe at Germany’s Green Party] On June 20, an expert conference concerning Germany’s historical responsibility before Ukraine will be held inside the German Parliament. In the first half of July, a similar conference was held in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada. A month ago, in late May, a parliamentary debate on the same subject took place in the Bundestag. In Ukraine, some may wonder why discussions about Germany’s historical responsibility for the crimes of Nazism are still needed 72 years after the Second World War? Nobody in Ukraine questions the facts of crimes committed by SS and Wehrmacht soldiers – their traces are still felt inside the country. Probably, stories of slave labor, ostarbeiters, hunger, massacres of the Jewish and Slavic populations are well known to each Ukrainian family. However, the Ukrainian part of this story is largely forgotten in Germany. The current Kremlin propaganda deliberately encourages the view that the aggressive war by Germany was waged only against Russia. Moreover, propaganda even tries to turn Ukraine from a victim of the bloody war into a Nazi accomplice. When millions of Ukrainians took to the streets to struggle for independence and freedom three years ago, innuendoes were spread alleging that the driving forces behind these protests are the “Banderite Nazis” and antisemites. Given the fact that we in Germany have lost sight of a part of our own history, this Kremlin propaganda found fertile soil in our country. For this reason, Ukraine’s fight for freedom and dignity since Euromaidan has often been observed with cool detachment from Germany.

After visa-free travel, Ukrainian government will resist reforms even more -Euromaidan Press | Serhiy Leshchenko The visa-free travel regime with the European Union is becoming a lifeline for President Poroshenko’s future presidential campaign and fits perfectly into the new political matrix crafted by his ideologists for the second term. The matrix includes intimidations of anti-corruption agencies, discredits critics of the government, and switches the agenda from corruption to patriotism. When the European Parliament voted for visa-free travel for Ukrainians, Poroshenko called it “the finalized divorce from the Russian Empire after a 300-year union.” Speaking at the European Square last week, he cited a poem Farewell, unwashed Russia by a Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. The irony is that by itself the visa-free travel regime is not a hallmark of belonging to Europe. It extends to many countries of Latin America. It also does not save Ukraine from Moscow’s embrace. A visa-free Moldova is a good example of that, where after years of stagnation in combating corruption, a pro-Russian president Igor Dodon took power. Visa-free travel was, in fact, a way to prompt the ruling Ukrainian authorities to adopt necessary laws. The main achievement in this process was the creation of anti-corruption agencies. But overall, authorities have consistently blocked unfavorable new changes, which delayed the path toward visa-free travel. To say nothing about the saga with online income declarations, when officials tried to either postpone the launch of the system for a year or remove criminal liability for providing inaccurate information. As a result, Ukraine’s visa-free access to EU has been delayed for a whole year. Based on my personal experience as a member of parliament, I know how much effort it took to pass laws from the visa-free package. As a rapporteur of the law on prevention of political corruption, I witnessed behind-the-scenes pressure applied by Bankova in blocking this law to advance the ruling clans, as public funding for several opposition parties was cut. Now that visa liberalization is adopted, implementing reforms will be harder because of government resistance.

Looking for Traces of Lenin in Ukraine


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Tensions rise as Russia, Iran send warnings after US shoots down Syrian warplane Russia on Monday threatened aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline intended to avoid collisions in retaliation for the U.S. military shooting down a Syrian warplane.

Russia Issues Blunt Warning After Coalition Downs Syrian Jet Russia is warning that it will view U.S.-led coalition aircraft in Syria as targets after a Syrian jet was shot down.&nbsp; The coalition fighting in Syria says it shot down the Syrian Air Forc…

Russia Warns U.S. After Downing of Syrian Warplane – The New York Times Moscow suspended the use of a military hotline for avoiding collisions in Syrian airspace and threatened to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies over Syria.

Russia to Target US, Coalition Aircraft Over Syria | Military.com The Russian Ministry of Defense said it will track joint coalition aircraft west of the Euphrates River and treat them as targets.

Russia Warns U.S. as Risks Rise in Syria – WSJ Russia escalated tensions with the U.S., promising to actively track U.S. and coalition aircraft over Syria with air defense systems and warplanes.

The Official Russian Statement About Syrian Jet Shootdown Includes A Juvenile Turdball – To Inform is to Influence Below is the official statement by Russia regarding the US shooting down a Syrian jet immediately after bombing coalition forces.  This was posted on RG.ru, the Russian government’s official site. A brief synopsis. The shootdown by the US jet of a Syrian jet was illegal The US’ motivation was to undermine ongoing Russian and Syrian…

Россия вышла из соглашения c США о предотвращении авиаинцидентов Сирии — Российская газета (Russian air defense takes control of American planes in Syria – RG.ru) Россия вышла из соглашения с США о предотвращении авиаинцидентов в небе Сирии. Теперь самолеты и беспилотники коалиции будут приниматься на сопровождение российскими ПВО в качестве целей, Попали под сопровождение, Российская ПВО берет под контроль американские самолеты в Сирии , Иван Петров

Russia Threatens U.S. Warplanes in Syria, Escalating Tensions | Foreign Policy Russia warned Monday that any U.S. or coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria will be tracked by Russian warplanes and anti-aircraft batteries, a swift reaction to Sunday’s shoot-down of a Syrian Su-22 bomber by an American F-18. It is unclear if the Russians have the capability to track the dozens of sorties flown by U.S. and coalition aircraft over Syria on any given day, but the threat further raises tensions as U.S.-backed Arab and Kurdish fighters press on the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa, and American forces increasingly tangle with Iranian-backed militias in Syria’s south. Russia is a staunch ally of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, along with Iran, and the downing of the Syrian warplane by a U.S. fighter jet represented yet another escalation in an increasingly tense situation unfolding in southeastern Syria. With Islamic State losing territory, forces loyal to the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed militia are increasingly butting heads with troops aligned with the United States. As part of its protest against the shooting down of the Syrian jet — which the Russian Ministry of Defense called a “flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic” — Moscow also said it was shutting off the hotline maintained by U.S. and Russian military officers in the region, where each side provides warnings about impending air operations in Syria.

White House says it retains right to self-defense in Syria; Moscow warns Washington | Reuters The White House said on Monday that coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria retained the right to self-defense as Russia warned it viewed any planes flying in its area of operations as potential targets.

Pentagon Seeks To Cool Tensions With Russia After Clash Over Jet Downing The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top-ranking U.S. military officer, said on June 19 that the United States is working to reestablish communications with Russia's military that Mosco…

Dunford: Communication with Russia still open after Syria shootdown America’s top uniformed official said lines of communication remain open with Russia following the shootdown of a Syrian regime jet by an American aircraft.

Syria war: RAAF temporarily halts missions after US jet shoots down Syrian bomber – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Australia temporarily halts air operations over Syria after the United States downs a Syrian military jet that dropped bombs near US-led Coalition fighters in western Raqqa.

RAAF halts air strikes over Syria after Russia threat The RAAF has halted air operations over Syria amid rising tensions with Russia, after the United States shot down a Syrian regime fighter jet.

Fallout from U.S. strike on a Syrian jet further complicates messy battlefield | PBS NewsHour An American aircraft shot down a Syrian air force fighter jet Sunday, prompting Russia to say it now considers all U.S. aircraft in the region a threat, and suspending its military hotline for coordination of air missions. John Yang reports and Judy Woodruff gets analysis from Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council and former Defense Department official Andrew Exum.

The Latest: Iran claims its missiles hit IS targets in Syria – The Washington Post The Latest on the developments in Syria (all times local):

Syrian Conflict — Our Fight with ISIS Pits Us against Assad | National Review America’s necessary war against ISIS is evolving into a Syrian invasion …

Syria’s Euphrates valley is becoming a minefield where the risks of a wider war grow daily As ISIS loses territory, the U.S. and its partner forces in the region have come into increasing conflict with Syrian-regime and Iranian-backed militias in a competition to take the strategically important Euphrates river valley, and one of the last remaining major cities under ISIS control, Deir ez-Zor.

U.S. risks further battles as it steps deeper into Syrian quagmire  – The Washington Post Tensions soar in 24-hour period that sees U.S. shoot down Syrian jet and Iranian strikes against ISIS in Syria.

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis opposes a war in Syria, disagrees with other Trump advisors – Red Alert Politics

Mattis Overrules White House Radicals on Syria Policy Pentagon dismisses bellicose plan by Flynn appointees to confront Iran.

Syria and Our Illegal Acts of War | The American Conservative

Oliver Stone interviews Vladimir Putin: On Syria – Salon.com Oliver Stone asks Putin to explain Russia’s reasons for involvement in Syria’s civil war

Column: Syria’s Dead Cities

Kennan Cable No.23 – Putin’s Middle East Triangle – To Inform is to Influence I do not necessarily agree with the author’s comments or conclusions, but it is a perspective worth considering.  I post this primarily to offer a more strategic perspective of what is happening in the Middle East, primarily concerning Syria.  Again, it is “a” perspective, not “the” perspective. </end editorial>   Kennan Cable No.23 – Putin’s…

KSA: 3 Iran Revolutionary Guards captured from boat carrying explosives | Arab News JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it had captured three Iranian Revolutionary Guards aboard an explosives-laden boat going toward an oil platform in the Arabian Gulf.The International Communication Center of the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information issued a statement on Monday saying: “An official source stated that the Saudi Royal Navy arrested three members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who were on board a boat loaded with explosives heading toward an oil platform in the field of Marjan in the Arabian Gulf.”

Saudis Say They Seized 3 Iranians Planning ‘Terrorist Act’ at Sea – The New York Times Saudi officials said their navy had seized three members the Revolutionary Guards Corps heading for an oil rig in a boat loaded with explosives. Iran said the men were “simple fishermen.”


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Mattis Explains What War With North Korea Would Look Like “I would suggest that we will win,” Mattis said. “It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953. “It will involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth,” Mattis said of Seoul, South Korea, which boasts a metro-area population of 25 million. “It would be a war that fundamentally we don’t want,” Mattis said, but “we would win at great cost.” Mattis explained that because the threat from North Korea loomed so large and a military confrontation would destroy so much, he, President Donald Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had all made a peaceful solution a top priority. Mattis said the topic of North Korea dominated Trump’s meeting in April with President Xi Jinping of China, North Korea’s only ally, and that the US intended to make China understand that “North Korea today is a strategic burden, not a strategic asset.” China argues it has limited influence on Pyongyang, but as one expert explained, Beijing could at any moment cripple North Korea through trade means, forcing it to come to the negotiating table. Mattis made clear that the US was nearing the end of its rope in dealing with North Korea, saying: “We’re exhausting all possible diplomatic efforts in this regard.” North Korea recently taunted Trump by saying it was capable of hitting New York with a nuclear missile, but Mattis said a war today would hurt our Asian allies. “It would be a serious, a catastrophic war, especially for innocent people in some of our allied countries, to include Japan most likely,” Mattis said.

How to Deal With North Korea – The Atlantic There are no good options. But some are worse than others.

“Lousy options” as North Korea races for long-range nuclear weapons – CBS News &quot;CBS This Morning&quot; co-host Norah O'Donnell is in South Korea ahead of her interview with newly-elected President Moon Jae-in

Fox News’ Bolling recommends ‘preemptive’ nuclear strike on North Korea before they hit LA

Otto Warmbier: Trump condemns ‘brutal’ N Korea as student dies – BBC News Otto Warmbier case remains a mystery, as the student dies six days after he is returned to the US.

McCain: North Korea ‘murdered’ former detainee Otto Warmbier- CNNPolitics.com “Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime,” said US Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. President Donald Trump condemned the “brutal regime” and lamented the loss of a young man “in the prime of life.” “Otto’s fate deepens my administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency. The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.” South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent his condolences to Warmbier’s family, as well as a letter, the presidential spokesman confirmed.

Otto Warmbier dies from injuries sustained in N. Korea prison Otto Warmbier, 22, of Wyoming, Ohio, has died from injuries sustained during detainment in North Kor…

Otto Warmbier, US student freed by North Korea in a coma, dies Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma last week after more than a year in captivity, died Monday, his family said.

Otto Warmbier’s death is another reminder of the depravity of North Korea – LA Times Otto Warmbier’s death is a tragic reminder of how depraved North Korea can be.

Otto Warmbier, Moral Perversion, and the Social Justice Left | commentary Otto Warmbier’s capture and his death at the hands of North Koreans demonstrates the moral perversion of the social justice left.

Otto Warmbier Suffered ‘Extensive Loss Of Brain Tissue,’ No Sign Of Botulism : The Two-Way : NPR The student has been in a coma since before he was returned to the U.S. on Tuesday. Doctors say they’ve found no evidence of botulism, appearing to contradict the account by his North Korean captors.

What Killed Otto Warmbier? Maybe an Infection or Blood Clot – NBC News It could have been pneumonia, a pulmonary embolism, or even a urinary infection, neurologists said.

North Korean soldier swims across river to defect – BBC News The man swam with foam attached to his shoulders to help him stay afloat, officials say.

Inside Air Koryo, North Korea’s Fleet of Ancient Soviet Planes | WIRED Some say it’s a one-star airline, but photographer Arthur Mebius sees it as the golden age of aviation.

Stories of 7 Fitzgerald sailors killed in destroyer-container ship crash Among the seven U.S. Navy sailors who died in the Saturday collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged container ship off Japan were an Ohio man expecting to retire soon, a Maryland man who was his father’s best friend, and a former volunteer firefighter in his Virginia hometown.


Foreign Policy Reports


Macron’s latest success heralds the death of French socialism – and it was socialist defeatism that caused it | The Independent An outright majority in France’s parliament for a movement founded just over a year ago is clearly a huge achievement. Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling force has captured the imagination of the entire world following yet another exceptional election win on Sunday. 

Q&A: Why a top mathematician has joined Emmanuel Macron’s revolution | Science | AAAS New National Assembly member Cédric Villani sees a “unique and extraordinary” chance for reform

Emmanuel Macron’s Majority Win Boosts European Stocks | Fortune.com European stocks are headed for the biggest rise in two months amid pro-business President Emmanuel Macron’s majority win.

Most European Union citizens rarely visit another EU country — Quartz Europeans like to stay home, thank you very much. According to a recently released study (pdf), less than half of European Union citizens travel to other EU countries more than once every five years, and 37% have never visited another EU country at all. Nearly 28,000 respondents, ages 16 and over, were surveyed for the European Commission-funded…

EU, Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers Discuss Cooperation In Brussels BRUSSELS — EU foreign ministers are meeting on June 19 with their counterparts from so-called Eastern Partnership countries in order to prepare for a summit in Brussels in late November. Th…

European Union seeks to ban backdoors for encrypted communications A European Parliament committee has published a draft report proposing that the ability for citizens to protect their data with encryption should be protected, including banning any possibility of government sanctioned backdoors to encryption protocols that could be used by law enforcement officials.

EU seeks to outlaw ‘backdoors’ in new data privacy proposals | Technology | The Guardian Draft report from European parliament clashes with UK government calls to allow access to encrypted communications from WhatsApp and others

Suspect Named In Van Attack On Worshippers Leaving London Mosque : The Two-Way : NPR British media say 47-year-old Darren Osborne of Cardiff, Wales, is in custody on alleged terror offenses.

Police In London Investigate Attack On Pedestrians As Terrorism : NPR David Greene talks to Omer El-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of Britain about the attack on pedestrians outside a mosque in north London early Monday.

Driver of van that rammed Muslims in London was Caucasian born in Singapore: Reports, Europe News & Top Stories – The Straits Times LONDON – The driver of the van that ploughed into worshippers near a London mosque in the early hours of Monday (June 19), injuring 10 people, two of them seriously, has been identified as a 47-year-old father of four who was born in Singapore, according to British media reports.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Russia’s Rosatom Sells 49 Percent Stake In Akkuyu Project To Turkish Firms Russian state nuclear energy conglomerate Rosatom agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in a giant nuclear project in southern Turkey to Turkish investors on June 19. The stake in the Akkuyu projec…

Nationalism may bring Turkey back to its course -Euromaidan Press | M. Bahadırhan Dinçaslan The word “nationalism” has a negative whiff in the Western World due to historic reasons. Moreover, phenomena such as Brexit and the rise of xenophobia, which strengthened the anti-globalist, anti-immigrant and anti-union sentiment in EU, are usually associated with nationalism. This new-kind of nationalism, aiming to undermine the unity in transnational bodies such as NATO and EU, has a curious “international” foundation and is evidently led or at least funded by Russia. Under these circumstances, it might not be wise to advocate nationalism before a western audience, yet each nation’s story is different, and, as Gellner states, some kinds of nationalism may be utilized to modernize a country and establish a secular, democratic society. One of the most prominent examples of such a transformation are the reforms made by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, father of modern Turkey. Turkey’s future is going to be shaped by nationalism once again, yet, this time there’s a “clash of nationalisms” in Turkey: one, represented by Erdogan, to shift Turkey’s axis and turn it into a North-Korea-like state and the other, a heterogeneous phenomenon represented by Mrs. Akşener, to preserve Turkey within the “free world.” The former utilizes Turkey’s terrorism problem and outrage against the western support for PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a group designated as terrorist by Turkey, NATO, the EU, and the USA, which has active armed militants within Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran and is involved in drug trafficking throughout the world) affiliated organizations, and crushes the “reasonable” voices under heaps of propaganda, while concealing Russia’s past and present support for the PKK. [1] What Turkey made the only relatively secular, stable and constitutional republic that experienced regular elections and determined to be part of the “western civilization” in the Muslim world was its nationalistic vision back in early 1900s. Nationalists established the republic, started the great endeavor to homogenize the country in terms of education and access to social services, and introduced universal suffrage even before many European countries. As Turkey is swayed from its century-old goal to “be a part of western civilization,” and anti-NATO sentiment is at its peak, NATO should reconsider its attitude toward Turkey and Turkish nationalism. The coup attempt on 15 July 2016, which was orchestrated by Fethullah Gülen, a former priest living in USA voluntarily, and his followers known as “Gülen Movement”, marked a milestone in the recent history of Turkey. Although Turkish claims are questioned by the West, there’s consensus that Gülen followers were involved in the coup attempt. Following the coup attempt and the state of emergency that was instated right after, government institutions were purged of members of Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), a process which is still ongoing. However, there are serious claims by leading opposition party, CHP (Republican People’s Party) that Erdogan takes advantage of the situation and purges his opponents branding them supporters of FETÖ.

America and Nazi Germany Were at War Way Before You Think | The National Interest Blog The U.S. Navy engaged in a shooting war with the Kriegsmarine before official entry into World War II.

Hidden Trove of Suspected Nazi Artifacts Found in Argentina – NBC News In a hidden room in a house near Argentina’s capital, police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country’s history, including a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas and even a macabre medical device used to measure head size. Some 75 objects were found in a collector’s home in…


US Domestic Policy Reports


The Trump Administration Has A New Plan For Dealing With Russia A classified document by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lays out a new path for Russia and the US. But does the president, weighed down by scandal and investigation, support it?

U.S. House of Representatives sends Russian sanctions package for review – media Legislation that would hit Russia with economic sanctions and limit President Donald Trump's authority to lift the penalties faces an uncertain future in the House despite the bill's heavily bipartisan backing in the Senate, according to the Associated Press (AP). News 20 June from UNIAN.

US oil groups feel Russia sanctions freeze more than Europeans Rivals gain ground with less aggressive EU stance

Rex Tillerson to Work With Russia on Cybersecurity (Even After Hacking) The secretary of state’s three-point plan calls for working with Russia on several issues including, surprisingly, cybersecurity.

Flynn failed to report foreign trip to broker US-Russia nuclear deal, House Democrats say – ABC News Democrats say retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn made an unreported trip to the Middle East to work on a Russian-U.S. venture in Saudi Arabia.

Exclusive – U.S. investigators in Russia probe look at role of Flynn partner | Reuters Federal investigators probing the lobbying work of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn are focused in part on the role of Bijan Kian, Flynn’s former business partner, according to a person interviewed by the FBI. 

Gingrich: We’re in a clear-cut cultural civil war – YouTube On ‘Hannity,’ the former House speaker on why former attorney general Lynch is back in the spotlight

 


Jerry Useem | Power Causes Brain Damage – The Atlantic Over time, leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise.

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