Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
It would appear the main outcome of the POTUS-Putin meeting has been, despite Putin’s alleged cordiality, Putin feeding the anti-Trump MSM in the US with projectiles to throw at POTUS. Not the smartest political play in Russia’s circumstances. Tsymbaliuk comments on Putin’s public readout on the meeting. Ukraine’s Portnikov, who is deeply skeptical of POTUS, and despite some misconceptions, very accurately captures the incompatibility of Putin’s agendas and US national interests.
Russia again trying to intimidate the Baltic States with naval and VDV exercises. A disturbing report by Novaya Gazeta that Kadyrov’s “law enforcers” conducted a mass extra-judicial execution of 27, and possibly up to 56, people they detained during a series of raids in January, and then quietly buried the remains. Prof Goble posted a great many digests from Russophone media this weekend, all of which paint a disturbing picture of Russia’s self-inflicted woes. Notable is the digest covering how the Russians misplanned for future gas exports: “Eighty-nine percent of Russia’s natural gas production comes from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District in the Russian Far North and passes via 17 high-pressure pipelines through a single 500 by 500 meter area resting on permafrost on its way to European Russia and foreign markets”, noting that the area is seeing increasing frequency of methane bubble explosions, and if they have a really bad day, they could lose a big fraction of that export capacity [Message? Buy your gas from the United States, Qatar, Australia or other reliable suppliers]. Also notable is the digest on the Urals Republic, and the Chuvash rejecting Cyrillic in favor of Latin. As always “A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 90” is must-read material, ranging from the distressing, to Choke On Coffee Warning items. Belarus dumps the Rouble in favor of the Yuan as their reserve currency.
Seven very interesting IW/IO/Cyber reports mostly courtesy of Harding. Who in Germany removed the pro-Ukraine and pro-Chechnya billboards at the G20 venue?
Ukrainian media dominated by SECSTATE visit, nomination of Amb Kurt Volker as special envoy for Ukraine, and POTUS tweet on Russia:“Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!”. Amb Volker, highly regarded in Ukraine for critical thinking and a skeptical view of Moscow, will spend several days in Ukraine receiving briefings (NB Russian meme poster below – clearly an astute choice for the role!). Other Ukrainian reports of interest include Gen Muzhenko commenting to MSM on the offensive focus of the new Russian Blitzkrieg formations being deployed in Western Russia and near Rostov, and Zapad-2017 vs. Belarus, and Internet traffic surveys showing that Vkontakte and Yandex have sunk to 4 and 5 in frequency of access in Ukraine, behind Facebook and other non-Russian platforms. Graphic of new Yuzhmash TEL appears, not disclosed whether this is for the Neptun (Harpoon-lookalike ASCM) or a future or legacy SAM system.
ISIS collapse continues.
Gen Clark comments on DPRK being misconstrued by MSM (intentionally?). POTUS and Xi discuss DPRK at G20, PLA says on the record DPRK ceased talking to them after public schism (this may be true, DPRK have previously treated their main benefactor poorly when picked over one or another matter). Good comments by Amb Bolton. Russia-China consensus on DPRK producing commentary. Most interesting DPRK item is WashPost article on analysis by Michael Elleman @ IISS, who intends to publish his work showing the most likely engine employed in the Hwasong-14 is a variant of the Soviet RD-250 series, designed in Russia, manufactured in quantity during the Cold War by PivdenMash in Dnipro, Ukraine, and employed in the SS-9 SCARP, SS-18 SATAN, and Tsyklon and Dnieper series ELVs, the latter repurposed SS-18 ICBMs. The Tsyklon was retired from use in 2009, while the program to repurpose mothballed SS-18 SATAN ICBMs as Dnieper ELVs was halted after the invasion of Crimea when Ukraine refused further support for the SS-18 ICBM inventory. Did the Russian government sell surplus Tsyklon rocket engines to the DPRK after 2009? Did an enterprising space industry executive in Russia sell “na levo” a shipment of“tractor parts” or“scrap metal” to the DPRK? Unknown. If the Hwasong-14 engine is indeed an RD-250 family engine, then PivdenMash records in Ukraine might be useful, as these will show exactly how many engines were built and supplied to Russia. If Russia was indeed the source of the DPRK’s ICBM engine, Russia’s leadership will have some explaining to do. Interesting background reports from China, and the Bhutan dispute escalates further.
Interesting G20 fallout, including a MSM spat over“Cultural Marxism”.
US domestic debate over Russian remains toxic.
G20 summit – Russia would lose war with US says ex envoy as Donald Trump meets Putin | UK | News | Express.co.uk RUSSIA will not survive if it goes to war with the United States, a former envoy has said as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet for the first time. Kurt Volker, former US representative to NATO, said Russia was in a “much weaker position” and would “back away” from a fight. His comments come as G20 leaders, including Mr Trump and Mr Putin, are meeting for two days of talks in Hamburg. The leaders shook hands and the Republican billionaire patted Mr Putin on the back. Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, presenter John Humphrys said fallouts, such as over Syria and Russian forces in Georgia, had led to poor relations between the two superpowers.
Russia Crows Over Putin’s Meeting With Trump – The New York TimesThere was relief that if short on concrete deals, the talks seemed to halt the downward spiral in relations and lack of contact between the two countries.
Russians Call Putin’s Trump Meeting Win, but Doubt Concrete Gains – The New York TimesThere was relief that if short on concrete deals, the talks seemed to halt the downward spiral in relations and lack of contact between the two countries.
Putin says he thinks Trump ‘agreed’ with assurances that Russia did not interfere in U.S. elections – The Washington PostRussian president says he told Trump that Moscow did not interfere with 2016 election and that “It seemed to me that he took it into account, and agreed.”
Putin: Trump appeared to agree Moscow didn’t interfere in election – CNNPolitics.comRussian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that US President Donald Trump appeared to agree with Moscow that it did not interfere in last year’s election
Putin hails meeting, thinks Trump accepted election denials – The Washington Post Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed his first face-to-face meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying Saturday he thinks Trump accepted his assurances that Russia didn’t meddle in the U.S. presidential election and that their conversation could be a model for improving ties between the two countries.
Trump walked a thin line with Putin on Russia’s election meddling: ‘He let them off the hook’ | Business Insider US President Donald Trump and Russian President…
Roman Tsymbaliuk | No deal at G20 summit. Putin to continue messing with world Discussion of Russian aggression in Ukraine at the G20 summit in Hamburg was announced well in advance, both by the White House, the Elysee Palace, the office of the Federal Chancellor of Germany, and the Kremlin. After a long pause, the Russian-Ukrainian war was finally brought to the highest world level of discussion. However, the result close to zero, as expected. That’s besides formal statements on the need to continue to negotiate in the Normandy format and along the line of Vladislav Surkov – Kurt Volker (a newly appointed U.S. Special Envoy for the Ukraine conflict). Western leaders were practically silent about the results of the latest talks, confining themselves to diplomatic streamlined phrases. In his rather emotional address, Putin made it clear that there were still no prerequisites for the Ukraine settlement. His words say only one thing. Unsuccessful attempts to destroy the Ukrainian state will continue. To cover Russia’s crimes, every Putin’s propaganda outlet will continue the chatter of “brotherhood,” “common history,” and “unity.” The only goal is to weaken Ukraine from within and seize it, and if not, simply destroy the country. The way it will go has already been demonstrated in the cradle of the “Russian world” in the occupied part of Donbas for more than three years already. Responding to a question about the settlement of the conflict in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Putin announced that “the interests of Russia and Ukraine, the interests of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples” coincide, in contrast to interests of Ukraine’s leadership. However, no matter what he says, the Ukrainian leaders have not come from space and not even from the U.S. State Department. The president, parliament, and local authorities are elected by the Ukrainians. Putin is dissatisfied with this fact as he seeks that his minions be appointed to the highest offices as they have in the occupied Crimea and Donbas. The scheme is primitive: local collaborators on TV, while real powers – in the hands of supervisors from Moscow. Judging by the Hamburg address, the lure will remain the same as before: “Soviet times” and the joys of “unified economies.” Putin seems not to take into account the fact that over the past 25 years of independence a new generation has grown up in Ukraine, which is sick of such offers. Moreover, these “tempting proposals” are nothing more than lies. Ukraine and Russia have long ceased to have any cooperation, while the Russians began to refuse such cooperation long before the war. In the first twenty post-Soviet years, no large-scale projects have been implemented in aviation, shipbuilding, or space industry. None. For a long time, there has been no unified infrastructure, energy grid, and transport. It is enough to mention those gas pipelines constructed and planned for implementation, bypassing Ukraine. These projects are pushed with perseverance of the maniac.
Putin and Trump may have chemistry but they don’t have physics to make a deal, Portnikov says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump may have achieved a certain “chemistry” at their meeting in Hamburg, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggests; but neither leader has the underlying “physics” that will allow for any real agreement or the capitulation of one to the other, according to Vitaly Portnikov. The Ukrainian commentator argues that as a result, the meeting was less significant than many have wanted to make it into because at least at the present time, “both leaders simply do not have the platforms needed for an agreement” or even for approaching one in any serious way.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin and Trump May have Chemistry But They Don’t have Physics to Make a Deal, Portnikov Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump may have achieved a certain “chemistry” at their meeting in Hamburg, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggests; but neither leader has the underlying “physics” that will allow for any real agreement or the capitulation of one to the other, according to Vitaly Portnikov. The Ukrainian commentator argues that as a result, the meeting was less significant than many have wanted to make it into because at least at the present time, “both leaders simply do not have the platforms needed for an agreement” or even for approaching one in any serious way (lb.ua/world/2017/07/08/370927_himiya_bez_fiziki_trampu_putinu.html). Portnikov argues that “Trump cannot capitulate to Vladimir Putin even he wanted to but he doesn’t want to” for three reasons: First, “he is president of the US,” and the relative power of the two countries is incomparable even when Moscow “decides to make use of the newest technologies for the destabilization of its opponent.” Second, the state he leads is itself a barrier to any capitulation given how Moscow has been behaving. And third, Trump can’t because he and his closest collaborators are “figures of an investigation into possible contacts with the Russians during the election” and the president must show “that he does not have any relationship to these contacts.” But Putin cannot capitulate to Trump either and for three important reasons: First, Putin long ago left the world of reality for a world based on fantasies of his importance. Second, “capitulation would mean the collapse of Putin’s authority” in the eyes of his security service cronies. And third, just as Trump has nothing to offer Putin so Putin has nothing to offer Trump which is not inconsistent with the political and “what is most important” economic systems of the countries that they head. As a result, the two could talk as long as they wanted – “an hour, two or even three” and nothing would result, Portnikov says. Indeed, what their aides did announce after the meeting of the two shows just how little the meeting mattered as far as key issues are concerned. The partial agreement on Syria had already been worked out before the meeting and in fact was announced nearly simultaneously in Jordan because it reflected the work of more than just the US and Russia. If the two are going to resolve the Syrian crisis, it will take far more than what has been announced. As to Ukraine, it has turned out that “the American administration has no new form, that its entire model involves the demand that the Minsk accords be fulfilled and that there be a separate channel between the White House and the Kremlin,” something that was already in place under Barack Obama. Kurt Volker, the new special US representative on Ukraine, is known as a hawk but in fact he simply is someone who “thinks in a sober-minded fashion.” That is indeed “an important signal to Moscow” that the Trump Administration is “prepared to wait until Russia weakness and capitulates” and better to the US than to the EU. But Putin “will not capitulate,” and that appears to be something that hasn’t entered Trump’s mind, Portnikov says. And as far as cyber-security is concerned. Trump knows that Putin is lying, but he has no strategy for dealing with that either. Consequently, the meeting could be praised by Tillerson only for allowing the two leaders to achieve a certain “chemistry” in their relationship. But “this has no importance at all.” “Because ‘chemistry’ without ‘the physics’” which operates on the real laws of the world, isn’t going to produce any result at all.
Nikki Haley: ‘Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections’ – To Inform is to Influence Notice the final statement, “Putin claimed on Saturday he and Trump were in agreement that Russia was not involved. ” “Putin claimed”… but we did not read or hear of a corresponding statement from the President. Just because Putin says it is so, does not make it true. It is often quite the opposite. Putin is known to…
US, Russia on Collision Course Vying for Europe Gas Market Eastern European states accuse Moscow of energy blackmail
UAWire – Polish Minister of Defense: Russia-China strategic alliance poses a threat to the free world Antoni Macierewicz, the Minister of National Defence for Poland, accused Russia and China of creating a strategic alliance that ‘threatens the free world,” in response to the Russian-Chinese military exercises in the Baltic. “Over the past few years, Russia and China have tried to hide the strategic alliance that unites them. They tried to create the impression that there is no such union. They gave the appearance of a conflict between them in order to mislead the public opinion of the West and even some leaders,” Macierewicz stated in an interview with Telewizja Polska. He stated with certainty that “it is recognized today that the situation from their point of view is so tense that it is necessary to remove their camouflage, that there is a need to threaten the free world and those who understand reality have known this for a long time.” “In fact, Russia and China are united by a strong strategic alliance,” concluded the Polish Minister. A detachment of ships of the Chinese Navy will participate in the Russian-Chinese naval exercises “Naval interaction – 2017” in the Baltic, in the Sea of Okhotsk, and in the Sea of Japan.
UAWire – Latvia detects Russian warships near its borders The Latvian National Armed Forces detected Russian warships near Latvian national borders. This is stated in a message published in the official …
Russian Agent Jailed for Spy Plot on Lithuania’s President Lithuania’s security services say the case is the first of its kind involving a Russian federal agent.
Russian Paratroopers captured the conditional enemy’s airfield in course of the exercise | Defence Blog The advanced units of Ulyanovsk and Ivanovo formations of Russian Airborne troops are practicing raids behind conditional enemy’s lines in course of command-and-staff exercise. Currently, Commandos are installing the control points and preparing special hardware for performing maneuvers, capturing the airfield and conditional enemy’s logistics facilities. Having passed more than 100 km of field and frontline roads in the night on military vehicles, the advanced units of Ulyanovsk troops came to the Strugy Krasniye range and proceeded to reconnaissance of conditional enemy’s regrouping forces. About 2,500 servicemen and more than 500 pieces of military and special hardware are engaged in the training of units of two formations in cooperation with units of the Pskov Airborne formation. The aircraft of Aerospace Forces of Russia, Air Force and Air Defence of the Military District is widely used in the exercises.
Russian Paratroopers captured the conditional enemy’s airfield in course of the exercise – YouTube Read more at: http://defence-blog.com SOCIAL NETWORKS: https://www.facebook.com/defencenewsblog https://twitter.com/Defence_blog https://www.linkedin.com/com…
Russian Paper Alleges Summary Executions In Chechnya Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper, citing two unidentified sources, has reported that security forces in Chechnya summarily executed 27 people on the night of January 26. The paper reported o…
Russian newspaper probes “mass extrajudicial execution” in Chechnya Journalists of Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper say they are aware of 27 people allegedly killed after being detained by law enforcers, although the death toll may rise to 56 residents of Chechnya, according to data collected during the investigation. The victims were detained at different dates [January 9, 10, 21, and 24 – UNIAN]. However, they were all slaughtered overnight 26 January, according to the investigation by Novaya Gazeta. On this night, all detainees were held in the Chechen capital Grozny at the base of the patrol police regiment named after Hero of Russia Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov. “According to the information we have obtained, that night, detainees were shot and taken to various cemeteries, including Christian ones, where they were buried in hastily dug graves [certain burial sites are known to Novaya Gazeta],” the journalists said. A careful study of the lists of detainees leads to the conclusion that the decision on extrajudicial execution was a centralized and, oddly enough, spontaneous one. However, this is exactly how key decisions are made in today’s Chechnya, Novaya Gazeta noted. “Despite the fact that our information was confirmed by two sources (in the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for Chechnya and in the Chechnya leaders’ administration), we cannot assert that on the night of January 25-26 an extrajudicial execution took place, unprecedented in its scale even for Chechnya,” the journalists stressed. “We are sure that it was the long-term turning a blind eye at such practices that made possible the mass persecution of gays in Chechnya. And if this practice is not suppressed, the next time we will face an even more defiant crime than the killing of people only because someone has considered their sexual orientation unacceptable,” they added. Read also Gang eliminated in attack on Russian National Guard in Chechnya – media In April 2017, Novaya Gazeta reported that about 100 men had been detained in Chechnya over suspicions of same-sex sexual relations. It was alleged that they had been kept in secret torture prisons. Dozens of people were killed. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the Interior Ministry of the republic refuted the reports.
Russia blackmails gays with Syria recruitment, victim reveals Following reports about gay pogroms in the Russian region of Chechnya, a new story sheds more light on state-sponsored policies of repression and intimidation of LGBT people, Hromadske International reports referring to an interview a gay man from the Russian Republic of Dagestan with Caucasian Knot, the Northern Caucasus's only independent newsroom, which exposes the blackmail practices of the Russian Security Services (FSB) in recruiting agents for covert operations in Syria. 26-year-old Ruslan, whose real name the publication didn’t disclose for his own protection, said that the FSB threatened to disclose his sexual orientation and demanded he go to Syria for a “task,” Hromadske International reports. “When I heard Syria, I felt sick. I said that I didn’t want to go anywhere and that I didn’t need anything from them,” he told Caucasian Knot. According to Ruslan, this happened in 2013 in Derbent, a city in the Russian Republic of Dagestan. A car approached him and people in civilian clothing asked him to get in the car for a brief conversation. Ruslan said he had no choice but to get in, “From their tone of communication I realized they were from the Security Services. From the FSB, I think,” said Ruslan. He was then taken to a hotel in the city center. There they asked him about his friends and neighbors and showed him pictures of friends and strangers. After he refused to answer further questions, they showed him a video depicting him and a gay friend. Read also Ukraine’s parliament speaker: Only NATO can stop Putin’s Russia “The video is personal, it was filmed at the house of my friend who was also in the video with me,” he said. “After they showed me the video they said it was in my interest to work with them if I didn’t want all the people in my phone contacts and friends on VKontakte to learn about who I am.” Over the course of the conversation with the FSB it became clear that they wanted to send Ruslan to Syria. “When I refused they told me not to worry,” he said. “They told me that people would meet me and guide me in Turkey and Syria. They didn’t say if they were from Russia or local, but they said they would teach me everything.” They also threatened him with 20 years in prison. Ruslan was later released and given five days to think about it, after which the Security Services said they would contact him.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Laws Don’t Even Have to Be Enforced to Be Repressive Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – Russia, it is sometimes said, has entered a “vegetarian” stage in which government oppression does not have to be widespread to be effective in intimidating the population. This reality is clearly demonstrated in the case of the anti-gay propaganda law adopted four years ago. That law, which imposed heavy fines on anyone who according to the authorities was promoting “non-traditional” sexual orientations, sent a powerful message to Russians (and to the world) that official Moscow was “a defender of traditional ways of life” and that it would suppress gay activism wherever it found it. That certainly sent a chill through Russia’s LGBT community and sent a signal to Russian traditionalists opposed to gay life that they could likely attack gays with impunity, as a drumbeat of violence against gays across Russia since that time has shown. But the law has not functioned as a law is supposed to, as a standard for government action against violators. A new Rosbalt study has found that “over the course of four years,” Russian courts have brought back verdicts against supposed violators of the 2013 act in “no more than 30 cases.” Even in St. Petersburg, a hotbed of anti-gay activism, there have been only two, and neither of them involved a Russian citizen (rosbalt.ru/piter/2017/07/07/1629028.html). Rosbalt’s Ilya Davlyatchin says that his agency “examined tens of thousands of administrative cases” in order to reach that conclusion. He doesn’t say but it follows from that statement that the Russian government has not released data on its enforcement of this odiously repressive law. The journalist concludes his report by citing the words of Vitaly Cherkasov, a Russian lawyer, who says that Rosbalt’s findings show that the law was all about PR and sending a message to Russians about what the government thinks or wants them to. “In principle,” Cherkasov says, “we have quite a large number of so-called ‘dead’ paragraphs both in the criminal code and in other codes which are applied exclusively in special circumstances, [particulary] to put someone in his place or to show him where that is. It is possible such ‘dead’ paragraphs will be annulled.” But that really isn’t the point, he suggests: they for the time being represent “a trend” in Russian government practice, in which laws themselves are as much hybrid phenomena as anything else the government does, announced for one reason but used or not used for quite another.
A single methane ‘bubble’ explosion from global warming could cut Russia off from 89% of its natural gas | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | A single methane ‘bubble’ explosion from global warming could cut Russia off from 89% of its natural gas
Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Single Methane ‘Bubble’ Explosion from Global Warming Could Cut Russia Off from 89 Percent of Its Natural Gas Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – Eighty-nine percent of Russia’s natural gas production comes from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District in the Russian Far North and passes via 17 high-pressure pipelines through a single 500 by 500 meter area resting on permafrost on its way to European Russia and foreign markets. Not surprisingly, the Russian government has taken the possibility of terrorist against these pipelines seriously given their importance for electrical and heat production inside Russia and for the money the gas they carry earns Moscow from its sale abroad and has introduced extreme security restrictions on the area (agonia-ru.com/archives/9323). But what it has not done and indeed what it cannot do is prevent the kind of natural disaster that is now appearing more and more often in the Russian Far North as a result of global warming: methane bubble explosions leading to sinkholes many tens of meters across. (See windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/07/global-warming-already-having-explosive.html.) As Gazprom has repeatedly declared: “There is no alternative to the Yamal fields!” (cdu.ru/catalog/mintop/infograf/012015/). But just like their Soviet predecessors, so too the Russian rulers of today, because of their propensity for centralization and for ignoring the potential for natural disasters, have done little to prepare any work around. Consequently, Russia’s natural gas production or more precisely its ability to deliver it either to its own citizens who depend on it for electricity and heat or to customers abroad is far riskier now than anyone wants to admit or plan for.
A single methane ‘bubble’ explosion from global warming could cut Russia off from 89% of its natural gas – To Inform is to Influence This is commonly called a “single point of failure”. Russia has a 500 by 500-meter area which is a beyond critical, and if disrupted, could destroy their economy to a point where it is beyond repair. Yes, the Russian economy could be absolutely and utterly crippled. </end editorial> By Paul Goble Eighty-nine percent of…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Can’t Hope for Reform from Children of Current Elite, Vinokurova Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – In recent days, Yekaterina Vinokurova says, several well-respected analysts in Moscow have suggested that the children of the current elite who are beginning to occupy positions of power, the “princes” of the Putin system, are Russia’s best hope for reform because they are educated and supposedly want change no less than anyone else. But that argument, the Znak commentator says, is “utopian” as there is no reason to hope for reform “from the children of feudal lords.” Indeed, she argues, these people on their own represent “one of the chief threats to the future of the country” (znak.com/2017-07-06/ekaterina_vinokurova_o_tom_smogut_li_deti_elity_reformirovat_stranu). (A month ago, Vinokurova argued that Russian hatred for this new generation who have achieved undeserved success only because of who their parents are is mounting (znak.com/2017-06-02/ekaterina_vinokurova_o_nacionalnoy_idei_dlya_rossii_xxi_veka). For a discussion, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/06/russians-increasingly-hate-those-with.html.) The Znak writer gives numerous examples and says that there are “hundreds” more just like those she has described, young people in their earlier 30s, running banks and state enterprises, and all sharing one common characteristic: a complete unwillingness to make a career independently rather than have it handed to them on silver platter. Such “dependent” and “amoral children, born in a golden cradle of a tasteless palace and not having any idea about reality cannot be the hope of any country in the world,” let alone Russia, Vinokurova argues. That is because the only thing that distinguishes them from their elders is their age. Those who are encouraging Russians to expect something otherwise are simply taking part in yet another effort to get Russians to give up on reform, to accept a lifetime presidency for Vladimir Putin, and to put up with the children of his elite now and even after his passing, the Znak writer says. Reforms will at some point in fact come, and when they do, these “golden” children with their English language and degrees from foreign universities will be incapable of taking part in it although they may seek to sabotage such change in order to save their positions and thus their ability to hand them on to their children as well.
Dozens Of Russian Opposition Leader Navalny’s Campaign Workers Detained Police in Moscow have detained dozens of supporters of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny who were campaigning for his bid to be elected as president in 2018, according to the politician's campaig…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘The Idea of a Urals Republic has Not Died,’ Perm Scholar Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – William Faulkner famously observed that “the past isn’t over. It isn’t even past,” words that apply with particular force to a society like Russia which is obsessed with the past and thus cannot escape the possibility that things some thought had been safely confined to earlier times will reemerge now and in the future. Twenty-four years ago this month, Sverdlovsk Oblast proclaimed itself to be the Urals Republic and then asked neighboring regions to join it in a Greater Urals Republic, a project that lasted only until November when Moscow, having suppressed the Russian parliament, demanded that the oblasts return and the republic disappear. But in the years since that time, Pavel Luzin argues, this idea “has lived its own often fantastic life far from real politics … a form without clear content” but one that arises from the desire of the people of the region to be linked into the broader world in a more effective way than now(afterempire.info/2017/07/07/bur/). The Perm State University researcher and columnist says that “the main problem with the Urals Republic was that it did not offer or operate on any universal values or political principle. Its single goal was to occupy a position the Sverdlovsk oblast elite could use in trade with the Kremlin.” In other words, it was “more about money than about real federalism.” But while that was true, Luzin continues, “the idea of a Urals Republic expressed resentment toward Moscow and that is how it has remained in the consciousness” of people in the region, who very much want to have closer ties with one another through the development of adequate transportation networks. And because Moscow was concerned about that and even saw it as a danger, when the Kremlin created the federal districts in 2000, it “ignored both the constitution and the economy and the objective interests of the residents of this large region” by excluding things that should have been in it like Perm oblast and including others like Tyumen, Khanty-Mansiisk AO and Yamalo-Nenets AO that shouldn’t. Nonetheless and “despite all these efforts” by the center, “the idea of a Urals Republic hasn’t died.” Urals residents feel a common bond not because of geography but rather because of their historical and cultural experience as “a Russian frontier” to which people fled or were exiled and “where arose its own ‘melting pot’ of a multitude of cultures.” In short, “the unity of the Urals was formed by the political policy of Moscow toward this large region,” and especially Moscow’s constant redrawing of borders and failure to develop adequate transportation infrastructure. “This in general is the paradox of colonialism,” Luzin continues. The metropolitan center plays a key role in the formation of unities under its control. “Of course,” the Perm scholar says, “one should not exaggerate the significance of regional identity: it is only the consequence of objective reality.” Instead, one should focus on “the material preconditions which make the unity of the Urals vitally necessary for people living there.” In the first instance, that means the cities there because they are where the economy could grow and the need to link them together via good roads and rail lines so that communication among them can be made easier and quicker. But it especially requires societal agreement on the value of a republic as a link to the larger world. In “post-Putin Russia,” Luzin says, the people of the Urals must take the following steps: ensure freedom of inter-communal and inter-regional associations, improve transportation among them, and guarantee that this transport network will be tied in “with the Baltic ports, other Russian regions, and Europe.” Even if all that is achieved, Luzin concludes, there is no guarantee that a Urals Republic will arise overnight. But such steps “will give residents of the Urals a chance to remain and make the spirit of the frontier their already not within a colonial but rather within a republican paradigm.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Chuvash Activists Push for Shift from Cyrillic to Latin Script for Their National Language Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – Arguing that Russian law requiring all languages in the Russian Federation to be written in Cyrillic both puts a brake on their development and violates the rights of citizens, the Chuvash Ireklekh organization is calling on their republic government to shift to the Latin script. In a letter to the Chuvash republic head Mikhail Ignatyev, the organization details the ways in which the continued use of Cyrillic is cutting the people of the republic off from the international community and making it more difficult for them to engage in research and public life (turantoday.com/2017/07/chuvashia-latin-alphabet.html). The Chuvash thus become the latest Turkic republic in the former Soviet space to make that demand. Most of the now independent Turkic countries there already have made the shift or are in the process of doing so, and the Turkic republics within the Russian Federation, including Tatarstan, have been seeking a similar change. Chuvashia, a 1.2 million-strong republic just to the west of Tatarstan, seldom gets the attention others have. But it may play an even larger role in changing the alphabet regime in Russia than any of the others. That is because it represents a kind of bridge, its titular nation being Turkic by ethnicity and Russian Orthodox Christian by religion. Consequently, this call has the potential to promote a shift away from Cyrillic to Latin script go beyond the Turkic world and affect neighboring Finno-Ugric and other nations in the Middle Volga and perhaps more generally. Russian officials are very much aware of this danger to their position as they understand it and will actively oppose what the Chuvash want. The Ireklekh appeal begins by noting that arguments for using Latin script rather than Cyrillic have been made for more than a century and are now being advanced not just by nationalist activists but also by “leading scholars and linguists of the Chuvash State Institute for Humanities,” a government institution. What makes the appeal especially powerful is that it is less on the national feelings of the Chuvash than on the current features of the Internet and the difficulties anyone not using Latin script faces in gaining access to what is becoming the most important channel for international scholarly communication. “The English-language origin of the Internet means that URLs and e-mail addresses are presented in Latin script letters” or in some cases in non-Latin script but with “the use of letters of the Latin script” as the underlying element, the appeal says. And it points to the “technical” difficulties facing anyone who is not using Latin script all the time. Cyrillic keyboards don’t have all the Chuvash letters needed. That not only makes it more difficult for Chuvash speakers to gain access online, but it also means that those who want to find Chuvash texts face a far more difficult challenge in searching for them. This problem is even more critical in SMS messages because so much space has to be given to the alphabet issue that little additional information can be conveyed. What needs to be remembered, the organization reminds the republic head is that “the Chuvash alphabet on the basis of the Latin script is already being used in the Chuvash sphere of the Internet in the establishment of sites, the carrying out of blogs, and in communications via messengers, and also by German, Hungarian, Finnish and Turkish researchers of Chuvash.” But that raises another problem which going over to Latin script more broadly could solve, Ireklekh says. There is at present no standard Latin script for Chuvash but rather several, and the government can play a positive role by promoting a single standard Chuvash Latin script so as to avoid confusions. And the organization suggests that at least as a transitional measure, there is no reason why Chuvash in the Latin script cannot coexist with Chuvash in Cyrillic, something that would allow the republic to follow both the republic law on languages and the Russian Federation law on alphabets.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 90 Paul Goble Staunton, July 7 — The flood of news stories from a country as large, diverse and strange as the Russian Federation often appears to be is far too large for anyone to keep up with. But there needs to be a way to mark those which can’t be discussed in detail but which are too indicative of broader developments to ignore. Consequently, Windows on Eurasia each week presents a selection of these other and typically neglected stories at the end of each week. This is the 90th such compilation, and it is again a double issue with 26 from Russia and 13 from Russia’s neighbors. Even then, it is far from complete, but perhaps one or more of these stories will prove of broader interest.
1. Putin’s Spiritual Advisor Comes Out Against Restoring the Monarchy. In the clearest indication yet that Vladimir Putin has no plans to become tsar, despite the promotion of that idea by some Orthodox and Russian nationalist leaders, the Kremlin head’s spiritual advisor, Bishop Tikhon says that he is against the idea (politsovet.ru/55803-episkop-tihon-shevkunov-vystupil-protiv-diskussiy-o-vozrozhdenii-monarhii.html). Other neglected Putin stories this week included: Putin has allowed for the classification of all elite property holdings including his own thus creating the basis for criminal charges against anyone who talks about them (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5958C3CF625DE), Russians are evenly divided on Oliver Stone’s film about Putin with a third having seen it and a third not having heard of it at all (regions.ru/news/2606873/), an art critic says that Putin’s aesthetic like that of most dictators is fundamentally boring (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/2011128-echo/), Putin himself announced that he plans to have a new domestically produced limousine by the end of 2018 (regnum.ru/news/economy/2297488.html and regnum.ru/news/it/2297511.html), Putin appears to be planning to ditch his connection with United Russia at exactly the point when that party is becoming more popular among Russians (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/07/06/133187-levada-tsentr-rasskazal-o-roste-populyarnosti-edinoy-rossii), and a Moscow commentator suggests that Putin’s “negative consolidation” of Russian society reflects an “old-fashioned sexuality” of teenage thugs from the 1950s (vedomosti.ru/opinion/columns/2017/07/05/709439-staromodnaya-politicheskaya-seksualnost).
2. Two Billboards Putin and Trump Should Have Seen in Hamburg But Probably Didn’t. During the G-20 meetings in Hamburg at which the Russian and US presidents had their first face-to-face meeting, two billboards were erected in the city by activists for Chechnya and Ukraine respectively. The first called attention to what it described as Putin’s “final solution” of the Chechen problem (thechechenpress.com/developments/13632-press-reliz-2.html and the second invited passersby to look at the faces of Ukrainian soldiers who are now “protecting the borders of civilization” (rufabula.com/photo/2017/07/06/borders-of-civilization). In another Trump related development, the Belarusian government registered the Trump brand trademark allowing the US president to make money in that country (myfin.by/stati/view/8775-donald-tramp-zaregistriroval-v-belarusi-svoj-tovarnyj-znak).
3. Russians Increasingly Paying for Counter-Sanctions Out of Their Own Pockets. Vladimir Putin’s counter-sanctions regime is something ordinary Russians are having to pay for out of their own pockets at a time when they are being forced to cut back on nearly all purchases, according to Russian experts (svpressa.ru/omy/article/175943/). Among the things they are cutting back on are entertainment (regnum.ru/news/omy/2296860.html), jewelry (newizv.ru/article/general/04-07-2017/yuvelirnyy-rynok-rossii-perezhivaet-chetvertyy-god-v-rezhime-padeniya-3b2d9e67-5287-4ebd-900f-65f84dfa6911(, basic foodstuffs (newsland.com/community/6437/content/shok-infliatsiia-takogo-bank-rossii-ne-ozhidal/5904818), and shoes and cosmetics (ng.ru/omics/2017-07-06/1_7023_total.html). Bankruptcies are up by almost 100 percent from last year (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=595E310F6B132), more millions are caught in a debt trap (svpressa.ru/society/article/175973/), and the government has made it easier for collection agencies to harass borrowers (versia.ru/legalizaciya-kollektorskogo-biznesa-udarila-po-dolzhnikam http://svpressa.ru/society/article/175973/). And despite what the Kremlin says, pensioners in Russia are working only because they need the money, not in order to find fulfilment (ng.ru/omics/2017-07-03/1_7020_pensia.html).
4. Business Climate, Not Geopolitics, Driving Investors Out of Russia. To hear the Kremlin tell it, Western investors would come flooding into Russia again if sanctions were lifted; but Moscow experts say that much of the massive and rising disinvestment now taking place reflects problems with the domestic business climate rather than geopolitics (kommersant.ru/doc/3342065 and echo.msk.ru/news/2011364-echo.html). Moreover, they say, that climate and the level of poverty in Russia will be much worse in 2019 and not better as the Kremlin is suggesting (newsland.com/community/7285/content/uroven-i-kachestvo-zhizni-na-2019-god-prognoz/5899889).
5. Boosting Pension Age Will Give Moscow Large but Short-Lived Infusion of Funds. Experts say that if Moscow raises the pension ages by several years as it now plans, the government will get a large but very short term boost in revenues because it will not have to put money in pension funds. But this boost will rapidly disappear in the out years, they say (iz.ru/615899/inna-grigoreva/biudzhet-sekonomit-na-povyshenii-pensionnogo-vozrasta).
6. More Social Problems of All Kinds. Russians are suffering from an increasing variety and intensity of social problems. Reports this last week, for example, noted that according to the government, 20 percent of the milk and 50 percent of the fish in Russian markets are adulterated (newsland.com/community/4109/content/minpromtorg-20-moloka-i-50-ryby-falsifikat-poddelok-stanovitsia-vse-bolshe/5899960), more than 19,000 Russians died from impure water in the last year (newsland.com/community/6701/content/okolo-19-tysiach-grazhdan-rf-umerli-v-proshlom-godu-iz-za-griaznoi-vody/5903258), Russia’s war on illegal drugs is failing (themoscowtimes.com/articles/high-on-moscow-hills-russias-law-enforcement-losing-the-war-on-drugs-to-the-dark-web-58290), Russian single mothers are suffering more than almost any other group (takiedela.ru/2017/07/vorovali-chtoby-vyzhivat/), Russian neo-pagans are taking over the country’s national parks and forest preserves (ng.ru/ng_religii/2017-07-05/12_423_yazuchnik.html), the Moscow Times is shutting down its print edition (themoscowtimes.com/news/the-moscow-times-closes-print-edition-58296), the Soviet nostalgia market is growing by leaps and bounds (https://iq.hse.ru/news/207301673.html), and Russians are stealing from restaurants when they can afford to go to them (echo.msk.ru/blog/yunis/2010378-echo/).
7. Agriculture Minister Views Wine in Place of Vodka as Solution to Demographic Problems. Russia’s minister for agriculture argues that if Russians would stop drinking vodka and drink more wine, that in itself would solve Russia’s demographic problems (svpressa.ru/economy/news/176072/). But the health sector more generally is in trouble: in many places, there are no medicines available even of the kind most widely prescribed (kavkazr.com/a/lekarstv-net-no-vy-derzhites/28589758.html). Russians view medicine as the most corrupt sphere with which they have to interact (politsovet.ru/55786-rossiyane-schitayut-medicinu-samoy-korrumpirovannoy-sferoy.html), and parents say school medical facilities have been destroyed leading to more health problems among young people (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2017/07/03/1627703.html).
8. Russians and Especially Youngest and Brightest Want to Move Abroad. Ten percent of all Russians and two to three times that share among the young and the educated now want to leave Russia permanently (svpressa.ru/society/news/176166/and znak.com/2017-07-04/sociologiya_kazhdyy_desyatyy_rossiyanin_hotel_by_uehat_iz_strany_mnogie_uzhe_kopyat_dengi). Few of the best and the brightest see much hope for careers or even employment in Russia anytime soon (newsland.com/community/6437/content/mozhno-li-uderzhat-tekh-kto-ne-vidit-dlia-sebia-perspektiv-zhizni-v-rossii/5901998, newsland.com/community/5392/content/molodezh-pakuet-chemodany/5901732 andnewsland.com/community/7149/content/rossiiane-nazvali-samye-privlekatelnye-strany-dlia-emigratsii/5901416). Moscow is hoping to counter this by offering outstanding students draft exemptions if they agree not to leave Russia (republic.ru/posts/84584), but that doesn’t seem to be having much success as ever more university students and scientists continue to leave (kp.ru/daily/26699.5/3723722/ and snob.ru/selected/entry/126540).
9. Moscow Inserting Ethnic Russians in Posts Long Held by Non-Russians. One of the things non-Russians achieved in the waning days of the USSR was to gain control of more positions in their republics for members of their own nationality. Now, Moscow is reversing that, putting ethnic Russians in posts non-Russians view as properly theirs. The latest such move was in Karachayevo-Cherkessia this week where an ethnic Russian was named interior minister, the first outsider in many years (kavpolit.com/articles/politsii_karachaevo_cherkesii_predstavili_varjaga-34425/). That is just one of the developments that is animating demands for more democracy there. Other factors at work include violations of freedom of speech and electoral law and the all too obvious burden of corrupt Russian officialdom (caucasustimes.com/ru/opros-na-severnom-kavkaze-chashhe-narushajutsja-svoboda-slova-izbiratelnye-prava-i-pravo-na-zhizn/, kavkazr.com/a/nam-nuzhny-ne-deshevye-sochineniya-a-svobodnye-vybory/28599587.html and capost.media/news/policy/skolko-kavkazskie-chinovniki-tratyat-na-roskosh/). Other “ethnic” developments this week include: fewer than 2000 Chechens apply for the 2600 spaces in this year’s haj quota (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/305390/), and the head of the Sakha Republic says he doesn’t want foreign workers to be sent into his territory (echo.msk.ru/news/2006310-echo.html). Perhaps the most intriguing development, however, is this: Russian officials have long attacked the West for interest in the non-Russian nations but now they are focusing their ire on increasing Western attention to Russian regions instead (newsland.com/community/7451/content/amerika-pytaetsia-izuchit-vliianie-sanktsii-na-rossiiskie-regiony/5904215 and iarex.ru/articles/54186.html).
10. Moscow Insists Fines for Public Reading of the Bible Don’t Violate the Constitution. The Russian justice ministry rejects the conclusions of many that sentencing people for collective reading of the Bible in cafes is a violation of Russia’s constitution (meduza.io/news/2017/07/05/minyust-shtraf-za-nesoglasovannoe-chtenie-biblii-v-kafe-eto-ne-ogranichenie-konstitutsionnyh-svobod). It is entirely appropriate, the ministry says, for the government to require that those wishing to read divine texts tell officials of their plans in advance (ng.ru/ng_religii/2017-07-05/14_423_hybrid.html). Meanwhile, Moscow’s war against the Jehovah’s Witnesses is heating up with one Witness dying after being questioned by police (graniru.org/Society//m.262204.html), and analysts suggesting that Moscow has gone after the Witnesses mostly because it wants to gain control of property they have owned (echo.msk.ru/blog/cur_blog/2009356-echo/). Controversy over the percentage of Christians and Muslims in Russia continues, but with the upshot being that ever more experts are suggesting that the number of observant Christians is even lower than anyone had thought before (http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=monitor&id=25744 and ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/06/28/rossiya_ne_prevrawaetsya_v_pravoslavnomusulmanskuyu_stranu/).
11. Protests Spread and Diversify. This week, a rock festival against torture happened in Nizhny Novgorod despite official opposition (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=595A112F23BEC). Coal miners in Gukovo declare a hunger strike (newsland.com/community/8137/content/gorniaki-v-gukovo-obiavili-o-nachale-golodovki/5901152). Opponents of the demolition of apartment blocks in Moscow appealed to the Constitutional Court (newsland.com/community/4765/content/zakon-o-snose-piatietazhek-obzhalovali-v-konstitutsionnom-sude/5900520). Buryats demand free and direct elections (znak.com/2017-07-04/buryaty_sobirayutsya_potrebovat_svobodnyh_vyborov). The Nogay nation steps up its pressure on Makhachkala with 2,000 Nogays confronting security forces in northern Daghestan (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/305624/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/305655/, kavkazr.com/a/borba-za-raionnye-vybory-v-dagestane/28599596.htmland kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/305595/). And Human Rights Watch denounces Moscow for its arbitrary and abusive arrests of demonstrations earlier this month (themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-day-detentions-arbitrary-and-abusive-says-human-rights-watch-58323).
12. Repression Spreads and Intensifies Across Russia. The coordinator of Open Russia was forced to flee abroad because Russia is now closed to those who support democracy (ixtc.org/2017/07/koordinator-otkrytoy-rossii-pokinul-stranu-iz-za-presledovaniy/). The authorities stepped up their campaigns against anonymizers (meduza.io/news/2017/07/03/fns-my-blokiruem-ne-anonimayzery-a-sayty-s-anonimayzerami), reporting on torture in prison (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/07/03/72990-fsin-hochet-molchaniya), and Russian nationalist sites (rufabula.com/news/2017/07/06/blocking), Navalny campaign sites (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=595E011AE207E). The government approved new and broader rules for forced labor in Russia (znak.com/2017-07-06/komissiya_pravitelstva_po_zakonoproektam_odobrila_rasshirenie_praktiki_prinuditelnyh_rabot). And it showed its disregard for law in two important ways: It convicted five graduates of a Turkish lycee for being members of an organization that doesn’t exist (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=595BA6D86674F), and it used quasi-private youth and pensioner groups to do its dirty work attacking Navalny’s campaign (tvrain.ru/teleshow/videooftheday/otrjada_putina-438650/).
13. Monuments War Eases Slightly. Compared to most weeks, the last has been almost peaceful on this front. The commemorative plaque to Admiral Kolchak was taken down in St. Petersburg (meduza.io/news/2017/07/05/v-peterburge-demontirovali-memorialnuyu-dosku-kolchaku-etogo-dobilis-storonniki-kurginyana). And plans went ahead for nationality-related monuments in Daghestan and Kabardino-Balkaria (nazaccent.ru/content/24569-pamyatnik-avarskoj-poetesse-fazu-alievoj-ustanovyat.html and magazines.russ.ru/nz/2017/2/kommemorativnye-praktiki-v-sovremennoj-kabardino-balkarii.html). The highpoint in this sector was the announcement that city fathers will mark the 400th anniversary of Uryupinsk, the symbol of provincialism in the eyes of most urban intellectuals in Russia (ng.ru/regions/2017-07-03/100_170703_uryupinsk.html).
14. Russian Guard Units Kill 125 People in Last Year. Vladimir Putin’s Russian Guard reports that since it was created a year ago, its officers have killed 125 people and destroyed 300 camps in the North Caucasus as well as participating in crowd control work elsewhere (rbc.ru/society/04/07/2017/595b5aad9a7947836632eefc). One thing the Guard has been looking for are caches of illegal arms, ever more of which are being found (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=595E76931C369 andlenta.ru/news/2017/07/05/novosib/). Meanwhile, officials reported that the military is having serious trouble preparing soldiers and sailors (ok-inform.ru/szfo/murmansk/95828-kak-zapolyare-lishayut-budushchikh-moryakov-i-rybolovov.html). Other domestic security issues reported this week include the fact that an elite military brigade has now become a Muslim dominated one because of changes in the draft cohort (newsland.com/community/5325/content/elitnuiu-brigadu-vv-prevratili-v-musulmanskuiu/5901985) and a new Duma push to prevent anyone who is deferred from or avoids the draft from serving in the government for ten years, an indication that claims to the contrary notwithstanding, draft evasion may be growing (kommersant.ru/doc/3344082). It was also reported that Putin has introduced territorial defense units within the Russian order of battle (politsovet.ru/55777-putin-vvel-v-rossii-territorialnuyu-oboronu.html) and is directing the construction of new bunkers for the leadership beneath Moscow’s streets (newsland.com/community/1003/content/kreml-stroit-pod-moskvoi-bunkery/5898717).
15. Lavrov Confirms Russian Forces Intervened in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov clumsily but finally acknowledged that Russian forces had “gotten into the fight” in Ukraine, thus confirming what the world knows that Moscow is a direct participant and not the honest broker it always insists it can be (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2010936-echo/ and newsland.com/community/4109/content/a-kak-zhe-ikhtamnet/5898163). Meanwhile, bloggers show but the Russian government is hardly likely to confirm that Russian soldiers in Syria have used sledgehammers to torture prisoners there (funker530.com/prisoner-sledge-hammer/).
16. Planned New Russian Carrier Will Attack Only the Russian Budget, Analysts Say. The Russian defense ministry’s plan to build a new aircraft carrier over the next decade will be capable of attacking only one target: the Russian budget, according to Moscow analysts (svpressa.ru/war21/article/176115/). Indeed, ever more voices are being raised against the project as an overly expensive ship that Russia doesn’t need and certainly can’t afford (newsland.com/community/4109/content/avianosets-shtorm-nuzhen-li-flotu-novyi-super-dorogoi-korabl/5900898).
17. Russia’s Two Allies Meet Its Two Problems. Russia, it is sometimes said, has only two allies, its army and its fleet, and only two problems, roads and fools. Those four have now come together: Military planners want to shift from trains to trucks to move military equipment about because there are more roads than there are train tracks and thus it will be harder for an enemy to attack them. But such plans, as analysts are pointing out, ignore the fact that Russian roads are in horrific shape and that heavy military trucks will tear them up faster than the government can fix them (regnum.ru/news/polit/2296968.html).
18. Moscow Spending Massively on Lobbying in Europe. Transparency International reports that Russian companies and at least some of them as cover for the Russian government are spending massively on lobbying efforts in European countries (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/07/06/133186-transparency-raskryla-traty-rossiyskih-kompaniy-na-lobbistov-v-evrope). Meanwhile, in a relative development, a pro-Russian group of deputies is trying to become a formal group in order to gain access to the top positions there (nr2.lt/rumors/V-PASE-sozdayut-gruppu-prorossiyskih-lobbistov-125749.html).
19. Russian Team will Lose in World Cup – Why Should Russians Finance the Competition? Russia’s poor showing in Federation Cup play has led to ever more predictions that it will not do well in the 2018 World Cup and prompted questions as to why Russians should pay for this “show off” campaign in which the country will only be embarrassed (forum-msk.org/material/news/13404210.html and newsland.com/community/politic/content/otkuda-est-poshli-ponty-u-rossiiskoi-elity/5901021). Despite upbeat comments from international sports officials and Moscow, the Confederation Cup competition was marred by numerous failures that must be corrected soon, Russians say (business-gazeta.ru/article/350545 and ura.news/articles/1036271396). There were too few hotel rooms and hotels engaged in price gauging, something that suggests next year would be even worse (iz.ru/614911/anna-ivushkina/rosturizm-konstatiroval-defitcit-gostinitc-k-chm-2018,novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/07/05/133151-rosturizma-otchitalsya-o-defitsite-gostinits-k-chm-2018 and echo.msk.ru/news/2012196-echo.html). Moscow officials have promised that they will ensure that ticket prices next year will be accessible for ordinary Russian fans (versia.ru/vitalij-mutko-zayavil-chto-ceny-na-chm-2018-budut-dostupnymi-dlya-rossijskix-bolelshhikov). But cases of waste and corruption were widespread and those will be hard to root our (politsovet.ru/55824-k-chm-2018-v-ekaterinburge-snimut-film-kotoryy-mozhet-nikto-ne-uvidet.html). Meanwhile, the IAAF issued tighter rules governing Russian competitors who may have to take part in international meets under neutral flags (newsland.com/community/7285/content/slovo-rossiia-prishlos-sodrat-dazhe-s-chemodana/5896390).
20. Russian Male Life Expectancy Slips Further Behind Female Rating. Russian men now live 11.5 years fewer than Russian women, six months fewer than a year ago and an indication that any efforts the Russian government have made to reduce mortality rates among working-age males have failed (polit.ru/article/2017/07/05/demography/). In other demographic news, experts say that Rosstat data on life expectancies in the North Caucasus are the product of statistical sleight of hand (kavkazr.com/a/dolgoletie-na-bumage/28595211.html).
21. Pushkin, if Published by Soros, Taken Out of Arkhangelsk Oblast Libraries. In what rights activists are calling “a chronicle of idiocy,” officials in Arkhangelsk have ordered books published by the Soros organization to be taken out of libraries there, even if the works involved are republications of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and other unimpeachably Russian classics (newizv.ru/news/incident/06-07-2017/hroniki-idiotizma-v-arhangelskoy-oblasti-iz-bibliotek-izymayut-klassiku-675624dd-8a97-4033-8887-3a04fea23125 and takiedela.ru/news/2017/07/07/knigi-soros/).
22. Could a Single Film Destroy Russia? Russian Churchman Thinks So. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin says that if the movie “Mathilda” about the love life of the last tsar is ever shown to the wider public, the Russian Federation “will be condemned” to collapse (znak.com/2017-07-03/protoierey_vsevolod_chaplin_schitaet_chto_esli_matilda_vyydet_na_ekrany_to_rf_obrechena).
23. Many Soviet Citizens Executed After Stalin’s Death were Innocent but Killed to Meet the Plan. According to a new study, many of the 21,000 Soviet citizens executed by the authorities between 1962 and 1990 were innocent and in many cases even known to be, but they were killed in order to meet plan targets handed out by the center (russian7.ru/post/spravedlivyy-sud-kogo-v-sssr-rasstr/?utm_source=infox.sg).
24. Falsification of Archive Holdings Continued Under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. The falsification of archival materials under Stalin has been well-documented, but many are unaware that this process continued almost unabated under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, making the writing of the history of their period far more difficult (newsland.com/community/129/content/pri-gorbacheve-i-eltsine-prokhodila-falsifikatsiia-istoricheskikh-arkhivov/5902019).
25. Russian Young People Far Less Altruistic and Concerned about Justice than Many Think. A review of some 122 sociological studies of the attitudes of post-Soviet Russian youth finds that this cohort is far less altruistic and concerned about justice and far more pragmatic and selfish than many are now inclined to think (ttolk.ru/2017/07/04/молодёжь-россии-за-комфорт-и-бизнес-п/молодежь-2-3/).
26. Portable Toilets Attack Crowds in Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s famous remark about drowning people in the outhouse has taken on a whole new meaning now that a set of portable toilets set up in Moscow on Russia’s national day got loose and began sliding down into a crowd, causing chaos and leading Russians to flee for their lives (dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4654996/Chaos-Moscow-people-flee-portable-toilets.html).
And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:
1. Six of Top Eight Countries Russians Identify as Enemies are Their Neighbors. In the yearly enemies list, six of the top ten countries Russians name as enemies are neighbors of their country. In descending order, these are Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Georgia. The only two others to make the list are the US, which leads, and Germany (estonianworld.com/security/estonia-seventh-yearly-russias-enemies-list/).
2. Ukraine Creates Territorial Defense Units to Respond to Zapad 2017. Threat. Kyiv has ordered the creation of special territorial units of defense in response to the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises (Zapad 2012) planned for this fall (belaruspartisan.org/politic/386516/).
3. Kyiv Billboards Say Using Russian ‘Harms Central Nervous System.’ Billboards have appeared in the Ukrainian capital telling residents that speaking Russian will harm their central nervous systems (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2011428-echo/).
Title: Health Reminder / Tongue disease / Russian Language – Disease Causing / Harms the Central Nervous System
4. Russians Fear Belarus Following Ukraine’s Language Policy. Minsk is following in the footsteps of Ukraine’s anti-Russian language policy and what Ukraine is doing now, Belarus almost certainly will do soon if Moscow doesn’t do anything to stop it, according to Russian analysts (lenta.ru/articles/2017/07/01/mova/).
5. Putin Can Never Leave Donbass – There are Too Many Witnesses for a Hague Trial. According to one Ukrainian commentator, there is yet another reason to think that whatever he says, Vladimir Putin will never return control of the Donbass to Ukraine: There are simply too many witnesses to Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity who could testify in the Hague (khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1499268442).
6. Discipline among Pro-Moscow Fighters in Donbass Said Collapsing. Ukrainian officials say there is growing evidence that discipline among the paramilitary units supporting Moscow’s invasion of the Donbass is deteriorating rapidly(gordonua.com/news/war/v-chastyah-rossiyskih-okkupacionnyh-voysk-prohodyat-proverki-v-svyazi-s-sostoyaniem-discipliny-razvedka-195653.html).
7. Russia Moves Border Further into Georgia. The Russian client statelet, South Osetia, has moved its border posts further into Georgia, extending its occupation by another 10 hectares. Moscow has denied that this has happened (agenda.ge/news/82746/eng and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/305555/).
8. Belarus to Use Chinese Yuan not Russian Ruble as Main Reserve Currency. The Belarusian government has announced that it will now use the Chinese currency rather than the Russian one for its national reserves, another blow to the union state(newsland.com/community/4109/content/belarus-budet-uchityvat-iuan-a-ne-rubl-formiruia-natsrezervy/5900057).
9. Moscow Sharply Criticizes Baku for Failing to Protect Russian Citizens. The Russian foreign ministry has criticized Azerbaijan for failing to protect the rights of Russian citizens on its territory, a criticism that has raised questions about the possibility of a new Moscow tilt against Baku and for Yerevan (regnum.ru/news/polit/2297472.html).
10. Tajikistan Tilts Away from Iran and toward Saudi Arabia. Tajikistan, whose titular nationality speaks a language very close to Persian but follows Sunni rather than Shiia Islam, is moving quickly to reduce its various informal links with Tehran and to increase them with Saudi Arabia (islamio.ru/news/policy/tot_devushku_i_tantsuet_saudity_otbivayut_tadzhikistan_u_irana/).
11. Masonic Lodge in Belarus Raises Its Profile. The Masonic lodge in Minsk has gone public for the first time in a long time (belaruspartisan.org/life/385946/), as Russia’s Masons also very publicly mark their 300th anniversary in that country with a meeting in Perm (ura.news/articles/1036271434).
12. Only a Third of Azerbaijan’s 2200 Mosques are Registered with the State. More than 1400 mosques in Azerbaijan remain unregistered and thus potentially a source of radicalism in Azerbaijan (islamsng.com/aze/news/12825).
13. EU May Sanction Lithuania for Having Too Many Outhouses. The European Union is threatening to impose sanctions on Lithuania because of the large percentage of housing in rural areas that does not have indoor plumbing (newsland.com/community/politic/content/litva-mozhet-popast-pod-sanktsii-iz-za-sortirov/5898866).
Russian Internet Pioneer Nosik Dead Of Suspected Heart AttackWell-known Russian journalist, blogger, and Internet pioneer Anton Nosik has died in Moscow at the age of 51. Nosik's friend and current owner of The Moscow Times and Vedomosti newspaper…
Russian Embarrassing Billboards Removed In Hamburg For G20 – To Inform is to Influence Pure speculation, but it seems Russians are removing billboards in Hamburg, Germany, that are specifically designed to remind people that Russia invaded Ukraine, that Russia is still illegally occupying a part of Ukraine, and for everything we know, Russia will illegally remain ensconced in a part of East Ukraine for the indefinite future. The billboard…
UAWire – Posters with portraits of Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the Donbas removed from billboards in Hamburg before Putin-Trump meeting Yesterday, 7 July, before the meeting at the Hamburg G20 summit between the US President, Donald Trump and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, …
Putin’s Verbal Gymnastics – To Inform is to Influence Below is a fairly good analysis of the analysis that goes into the words that world leaders use. This is a good time for a quick analysis of the analysts themselves. The analysts who examine the Presidential rhetoric, the words that world leaders use. There are a few different levels of analysts of Presidential rhetoric, but…
German intel calls Russia, China, Iran top cyber threats – To Inform is to Influence by Teri Robinson, Executive Editor July 06, 2017 An annual report from the German intelligence agency BfV called out Russia, Iran, China and Turkey for their cyberespionage activities. The report pointed to an abundance of “attacks originating in Russia and China” but noted “other countries whose intelligence services have the necessary resources and capabilities to…
U.S. officials say Russian government hackers have penetrated energy and nuclear company business networks – To Inform is to Influence Note the distinction of saying Russian “government” hackers. More specifically, the report says the FSB’s signature was on the operation. </end editorial> Russian government hackers were behind recent cyber-intrusions into the business systems of U.S. nuclear power and other energy companies in what appears to be an effort to assess their networks, according to…
Author of Original Petya Ransomware Publishes Master Decryption Key – To Inform is to Influence Catalin Cimpanu July 7, 2017 05:37 AM The author of the original Petya ransomware — a person/group going by the name of Janus Cybercrime Solutions — has released the master decryption key of all past Petya versions. This key can decrypt all ransomware families part of the Petya family except NotPetya, which isn’t the work…
Don’t Ignore Ukraine: Lessons From the Borderland of the Internet – To Inform is to Influence Excellent article but two minor points skewed the entire article into a standard cyber-centric focus. The authors came from the US Army’s Cyber Institute, so this is understandable. It is noted that the authors were on a train in Ukraine during cyber attacks, which did not affect their travels. Then a leap of logic occurs,…
Trump: Russian sanctions to remain in place until Ukraine and Syrian crises settled Sanctions introduced against Russia will remain in place until the crisis in Ukraine and Syrian has been solved, U.S. President Donald Trump has said. “Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!” he tweeted on Sunday. Trump met with Putin on Friday, June 7, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Tillerson talks tough on Russia, vows US support for Ukraine | News & Observer U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told Russia that it must take the first steps to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine and that American and European sanctions would remain in place until Moscow reversed course in the region.
Tillerson says Russia must make first move in Ukraine peace process | Reuters U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence in eastern Ukraine, adding that Washington’s primary goal is the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity.
Ukraine’s President Hails Tillerson Visit As A U.S. Show Of Support Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that the visit to Kyiv by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was a "powerful" signal of U.S. support for his country. At a joint pres…
Meeting between the President and the U.S. Secretary of State: We have coordinated interaction and algorithm of the joint work for the further progress in the Minsk process — Official website of the President of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko called the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ukraine symbolic and timely. “We see a powerful signal of support for Ukraine, our common struggle for democratic values, freedom and democracy in today’s visit,” Petro Poroshenko said in the joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson following the meeting. The Head of State noted that the Ukrainian party had been informed in details on the negotiations in Hamburg during the G20 Summit. The parties have coordinated their future actions. The President expressed confidence that at their first meeting the Presidents of the U.S. and Russia had discussed the situation in Donbas and the reaction to Russia’s non-compliance with the Minsk agreements and non-implementation of clear and direct steps on de-occupation of Ukraine and restoration of peace on the Ukrainian land. “Once again, Kyiv did not unleash this war, there are no Ukrainian troops on the Russian territory, we did not plan this war and did not start this. It was planned and started in Moscow. That is why, the keys from the peaceful resolution are kept in Moscow,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized. The Head of State noted Ukraine’s clear commitment to the peace process. “Most of all, we seek peace in Ukraine. We strictly adhere to our commitments under the Minsk process, count on the assistance of our partners from the United States in the Normandy format and expect sober understanding of this situation in Russia,” he said. “This is the key result of our meeting – we have coordinated interaction and algorithm of the joint work for the further progress in the Minsk process,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized. “We are confident that Russia must demonstrate its good will to the peace resolution in Donbas and cease murder, cease war, cease hybrid attacks not only in the east of our state, not only in Crimea, but also improve the situation with cybercrimes, cease propagandistic, trade, energy and other types of wars that are components of Russian hybrid warfare,” Petro Poroshenko noted. The President regretfully stated that there are no noticeable changes in Russia’s behavior. He informed the U.S. Secretary of State on the present situation in Donbas and the restriction of the OSCE SMM activity by Russia. The President reminded that paramedic – representative of the mission, citizen of the U.S. Joseph Stone had been killed recently in the occupied territory by pro-Russian militants. The Head of State presented a high state award of Ukraine to this OSCE representative. According to Petro Poroshenko, unless Moscow wants to lose its chance once again, it should stick to the logic that is followed by all the other members of the Normandy format. First – stable and reliable ceasefire. Second – withdrawal of all Russian troops from the Ukrainian territory. Third – cessation of intimidation of the international observers with consideration that the OSCE SMM will be frightened and leave the Ukrainian territory. He expressed confidence that those were very dangerous plans that must not be allowed. Fourth – ensuring reliable control by the international forces over the uncontrolled area of the Ukraine-Russia border and the touch line to guarantee stable ceasefire, peace and cease infiltration of weapons. Fifth – liberation of all hostages illegally held in the occupied territories and Russian prisons. “I am confident that the fulfillment of these – minimum – security requirements could intensify the peace process, which, unfortunately, lacks only the political will of Moscow,” Petro Poroshenko stated. In his turn, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson emphasized that USA supports the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “We seek safety and security of all Ukrainian citizen regardless of their nationality or religion. As long as the parties are committed to these goals, I am confident we will be able to achieve progress,” he said. Rex Tillerson noted that in his negotiations with Russian leadership he had repeatedly emphasized that it was necessary for Russia to take the first steps on de-escalation in the east of Ukraine. “Respect ceasefire, withdraw heavy weaponry and allow the OSCE observers perform their duties,” he stressed. “We are disappointed with the absence of progress in the Minsk agreements that is why we appointed special representative to make an additional emphasis. We will continue close coordination in the Normandy format, coordination with you and Russian leadership to achieve progress promptly,” the U.S. Secretary of State said. He urged Russia to respect its commitments under the Minsk agreements and exercise its influence on separatists in the region fully controlled by Russia to cease violence in the east of Ukraine. “We urge to provide the observers with a complete access to all the territories, so that they can perform their mission not only on the touch line, but also along the entire Ukraine-Russia border,” the U.S. Secretary of State emphasized.
Poroshenko says briefed thoroughly on Trump-Putin talks President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during a joint press conference with U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson in Kyiv July 9 said he had been informed in detail about the talks between the U.S. and Russian presidents at the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 09 July from UNIAN.
‘The guy is a hawk’: New envoy accompanies Tillerson to Ukraine – The Washington Post Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and special envoy Kurt Volker will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and a group of reformists as part of a U.S. push to resuscitate stalled negotiations over ending the government’s war with Russian-backed separatists. Many Ukrainians are encouraged by the the greater U.S. involvement and the appointment of Volker, a seasoned diplomat who has backed sending lethal arms to Kiev to defend itself. “It is welcomed, since the guy is a hawk,” said Konstantin Batozsky, a political analyst in Kiev. Volker’s appointment mollfies Ukrainians who have been concerned President Trump might make a deal with the Russians unfavorable to Ukraine. “Kurt has been very strong on Russia,” said Taras Berezovetz, a political analyst in Kiev who talked with Volker during a visit to Washington last month. “Germany and France have played a crucial role. But it is understood that if the United States gets involved, the chances of getting a peace agreement will be much higher.”
U.S. disappointed by lack of progress in Minsk process, authorizes its special representative for Donbas settlement The United States says it is disappointed by the lack of progress in peace talks on Donbas, eastern Ukraine, therefore a U.S. special envoy has been appointed for Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced.
Poroshenko: Ukraine, United States start practical fulfillment of bilateral cooperation President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has announced the transition of bilateral relations between the United States and Ukraine to practical implementation.
Rex Tillerson arrives in Ukraine (photo, video) | UNIAN U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s plane has landed in airport Boryspil outside Kyiv on July 9. Current news and events 09 July from the Agency UNIAN.
US Sec. Of State Rex Tillerson Arrives for First Official Visit to Ukraine – YouTube US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has arrived in Kyiv for a bilateral meeting with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. On the agenda is the ongoing confl…
Госсекретарь США Рекс Тиллерсон прибыл в Украину – YouTube В аэропорту “Борисполь” приземлился самолет госсекретаря США Рекса Тиллерсона. Трансляцию вел телеканал “112 Украина”. Читайте больше: http://112.ua/politika…
U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine to stay in Kyiv for several days – Poroshenko President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Kyiv July 9 said that the U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, would stay in Kyiv for several days to coordinate further steps, an UNIAN correspondent reports. News 09 July from UNIAN.
Tillerson, Newly Named Envoy for Ukraine Crisis Head to Kyiv Former US Ambassador Kurt Volker will accompany secretary of state to Kyiv Sunday to discuss ways to end conflict in eastern Ukraine and support its ongoing reform efforts
Kremlin says steps needed for genuine ceasefire in Ukraine | Reuters Measures are needed that will lead to a genuine ceasefire in Ukraine, and implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the conflict there has been too slow, the Kremlin said on Saturday.
Ukraine, NATO counter common challenges – Rasmussen – 08.07.2017 15:00 — Ukrinform News 08.07.2017 15:00. A visit to Ukraine of the North Atlantic Council headed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg must confirm the determination of the allies to keep up the pressure on Russia and to support Ukraine.
PM Groysman insists on uniting efforts against Russia aggression – meeting with UN Sec Gen Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at his meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Kyiv July 9 has said that international efforts must be united in refuting Russian aggression, an UNIAN correspondent reports. News 09 July from UNIAN.
UN chief urges warring sides in Ukraine to adhere to ceasefire | SBS News United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels to adhere to a ceasefire deal aimed at easing the bloody conflict in the country’s east.
UAWire – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly calls on Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine The General Committee of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) on Political Affairs and Security approved a draft resolution during a session in …
Andreas Umland | What If Putin Makes Another Grab for More of Ukraine? He desperately needs a land connection between the Donbas and Crimea along the Azov Sea.
UAWire – Muzhenko: Russia is restoring facilities for the storage of nuclear weapons in the Crimea Russia is restoring facilities for the storage of nuclear weapons in the annexed Crimea, Channel 5 Ukraine quotes Viktor Muzhenko, the Chief of …
Head of Ukrainian General Staff sees offensive potential in Russian divisions deployed on Ukrainian borders Three motorized rifle divisions that Russia has deployed near the Ukrainian borders are not intended for defense, these units clearly have offensive purposes, Viktor Muzhenko, the head of the Ukrainian General Staff and the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, has said. “The organizational and staff structure, the weapons and military hardware that are being supplied to them indicate that these Russian divisions are essentially strike ones and are intended for offensive actions. Even their staff name contains the concept ‘strike,’ which makes them different from the other divisions and emphasizes their special purpose,” Muzhenko said at a joint session of the Military-Scientific Council of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. Even the honored names of these units are aimed at exerting psychological pressure, he said. Specifically, the 144th Vinnytsia rifle division, which is now stationed in Smolensk, stormed Vinnytsia in August 1944. The 150th motorized rifle division, which is located in Novocherkassk, is called Idritsk-Berlin and it once participated in combat actions in the territory of Poland and in the storm of Berlin. “Giving newly created divisions such names, the Russian federation tries to exert moral and psychological pressure, both on Ukraine and on the European community, and it also demonstrates its far-reaching intentions,” Muzhenko said. Muzhenko earlier said there are over 30,000 Russian military in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions uncontrolled by Kyiv and in Crimea. He said there is still a big threat of Russia starting large-scale military action. The Russian political and military leadership have repeatedly denied the presence of Russian troops in the territory of Ukraine.
Ukrainian General Staff Head fears some of Russian troops may stay in Belarus after West 2017 training Viktor Muzhenko, the head of the Ukrainian General Staff and the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, has said he assumed that some of the Russian troops preparing to participate in the joint training with Belarus West 2017 may stay in Belarus after the training. “It is not ruled out that some of these troops will stay in Belarus after the training. There is a high probability of hidden weapons, military hardware and physical infrastructure storage points being deployed in the course of the training,” Muzhenko said at a joint session of the Military-Scientific Council of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. Such actions can help the enemy considerably reduce the time needed for the creation of strike groups on the western and southwestern strategic tracks, which creates a direct threat to Ukraine’s security. “According to our information, the number of Russian troops for participation in the training has now been increased from the declared 3,000 to 5,000. Such large-scale Russian-Belarusian trainings as West 2017 may be regarded as a measure to boost the combat potential of Russia on the borders of our state, and also on the borders of Poland and the Baltic states,”Muzhenko said. The joint Russian-Belarusian training West 2017 is scheduled for September 2017.
Ukraine rebels blame Kiev for fatal blast in Lugansk – The Washington Post Officials in the rebel-controlled Ukrainian city of Lugansk say two bombings in the center of the city have killed one person and wounded five.
Odesa preparing for Sea Breeze 2017 exercises The Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with foreign partners are completing preparations for the Ukrainian-American Sea Breeze 2017 exercises to be held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, in Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, on for July 10-23. According to the press service of the naval commanders, the leadership course for the sergeant staff at the Western naval base of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Odesa) has completed. “During five days Ukrainian sergeants have been carefully studying the course, interested and asked a lot of questions. The instructors, in turn, tried to instill the appropriate skills in them and provide opportunities for self-realization as a leader and a manager under NATO standards,” chief warrant officer of the Royal British Navy Bill Bailey. The Sea Breeze exercises are multinational military exercises that have been held in Ukraine since 1997 according to the memorandum of understanding and cooperation on defense and military relations between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense. The co-organizers of the exercise are Ukraine and the United States.
UAWire – Poland to supply optics for Ukrainian Armed Forces armored vehicles The Polish state-owned company PCO S.A. will help modernize the optoelectronic equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to a press …
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Ukrainian journalist fined for criticizing scandalous French film about Euromaidan to fight back -Euromaidan Press |Kostiantyn Yanchenko IiOn June 29, the Paris Court ordered Anna Jaillard Chesanovska, a Ukrainian France-based journalist and translator, to pay a EUR 10,000 fine to French journalist and filmmaker Paul Moreira. The money is supposed to be a compensation for moral damage allegedly caused to Moreira by Chesanovska’s op-ed article for Libération in which she criticizes his documentary “Ukraine: Les Masques De La Révolution” (“Ukraine: Masks of the Revolution”) for being manipulative and propagandistic in covering right-wing movements in Ukraine. Chesanovska’s lawyer has already applied for an appeal. In 2015, when Moreira’s film was not yet finished, Chesanovska contributed to its creation by translating two interviews featuring Ukrainian Radical Party MP Ihor Mosiychuk and the founder of the Azov battalion Andriy Biletsky into French. According to Anna, it was the access to those unedited raw materials which allowed her to come up with a critical review on Moreira’s film. In her article, Chesanovska claims that Moreira has сut and assembled the words of at least two interviewed speakers in a way that distorts their original thoughts and сhanges the general context significantly.
Iraqi elite force reaches Mosul Old City riverbank as Islamic State faces defeat | Reuters Islamic State militants threw themselves into the Tigris on Sunday, trying to flee the battlefield in Mosul as Iraqi forces reached the riverbank, bringing them to the verge of victory.
Iraqi commander: IS caliphate has fallen in Mosul Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is expected to visit Mosul to announce the victory over IS.
A new Syrian truce goes into effect, testing Trump’s relationship with Putin – The Washington Post The guns fell silent well before the partial cease-fire agreement backed by Russia and the United States, which lacks details but offers hope for a fresh attempt to end the six-year Syrian war.
Scenes of destruction across Mosul as Iraqi army poised to take full control NRT English brings you the latest news from Kurdistan, Iraq, and the region.
Mosul Victory Looms Against ISIS, But Struggle over Iraq’s Future Intensifies – NBC News After months of fierce fighting, the campaign to recapture Mosul from ISIS is drawing to a close, but the struggle for Iraq’s future is far from over.
Syria: Ceasefire brokered by US and Russia begins – CNN.com A ceasefire brokered by the US, Russia and Jordan went into effect Sunday in southwest Syria as part of an agreement hailed as a precursor to greater cooperation between Russia and the US over the war-ravaged country.
Iraq says forces are ‘tens of meters’ from retaking Mosul – The Washington Post Iraqi commanders say their forces are “tens of meters” away from defeating the Islamic State group in Mosul, a day after a major counterattack by the militants.
Iraqi army says Mosul victory imminent, Islamic State vows ‘fight until death’ | Reuters Islamic State militants vowed to “fight to the death” in Mosul on Saturday as Iraqi military commanders said they would take full control of the city from the insurgents at any moment.
ISIS, Despite Heavy Losses, Still Inspires Global Attacks – The New York Times The Islamic State’s territory-building project is crumbling, but it still has an international reach and an ideology that motivates attackers around the world.
Iraqi forces rescue civilians, including children, trapped under rubble in Mosul’s Old City NRT English brings you the latest news from Kurdistan, Iraq, and the region.
US has no military options for North Korea: Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark ‘There really are no good military options with Korea,’ former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark tells CNBC.
Bolton: North Korea ‘a very ugly piece of baggage’ for China | TheHill Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton in an interview aired Sunday called North Korea “a very ugly piece of baggage” for its ally China. “Younger Chinese leaders understand that North Korea is a very ugly piece of baggage,” Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York. Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Germany on Saturday and discussed the “destabilizing threat” posed by North Korea, the White House said. Bolton argued that because Trump “is wrestling with a narrowing set of attractive options” on North Korea he should try to convince China to allow “the two Koreas to reunite.” The former U.S. diplomat argued that reunification of North Korea and South Korea was necessary in order to resolve the hostility between the two nations. “I think [reunification] is something we can sell to them. We can promise them that we will not have American troops on their border,” Bolton said after expressing doubt that President Trump can get China to pressure North Korea to halt their nuclear program. He said if reunification is not possible, then the U.S. will “be faced with the very unattractive option of using military force to keep North Korea from getting nuclear weapons.” The former ambassador also said U.S. intelligence on the increasingly hostile state is undependable, saying they did not know about the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on Tuesday. “We did not know about the [ICBM] missile until it was launched on the 4th of July,” he said. “It is a good example of how bad our intelligence is about North Korea.” “What we don’t know is almost certainly bad news for the United States,” he added. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday he doesn’t believe North Korea’s new ballistic missile capability brings the U.S. “closer to war” but said the U.S. remains ready for any conflict.
Trump and China Agree to Military Exercises Over North Korean Threat as President Tones Down Tough Talk Against China’s Xi Jinping At the G20 China’s Xi Jinping urged the U.S. to engage Pyongyang in talks about its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Trump Discusses the North Korea ‘Menace’ With China’s President – The Atlantic On the last day of the G20 summit, the U.S. President sat down with Xi Jinping talk about ending Pyongyang’s missile program.
Trump keeps it friendly with Xi at G20 on North Korea threat | Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump took a conciliatory tone on Saturday at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping where the leaders agreed to keep working on two pressing issues: the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and bilateral trade irritants.
China-Russia alignment on North Korea raises eyebrows | TheHill North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this week has sparked an alignment between Russia and China that could complicate U.S. efforts to curtail Pyongyang, former diplomats and Asia policy experts say. In a coordinated response to the launch, Beijing and Moscow issued a joint statement on Tuesday calling for a mutual freeze on Pyongyang’s nuclear program and U.S.-South Korean military maneuvers in the region. Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian media that relations between the two countries were currently at their “best time in history” and that China and Russia were one another’s “most trustworthy strategic partners.” The proposal, and the strategic alignment between the two one-time rivals, raised some eyebrows amongst regional watchers. Russia has often backed China in UN Security Council negotiations, but during the Obama administration it was far less engaged on North Korea than Beijing. Xi’s government, meanwhile, had appeared prepared to begin taking a more assertive stance on the reclusive nation. The recalibration serves a common goal that regional experts say is central to both Russian and Chinese foreign policy — loosening American alliances around the globe. Former diplomats are split over the significance of the sudden chumminess. Robert Gallucci, the chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994, called it “unsettling” but “not catastrophic in any way.” He characterized the surprise sync as two nations seizing an opportunity to undercut the U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance — not a herald of a new era of coordinated policy against the United States. But some regional policy experts fear that a united Sino-Russian front on North Korea could make it more difficult for the U.S. to rein in Pyongyang’s burgeoning nuclear program.
We have ‘zero contact’ with North Korea, senior Chinese military officer tells Conversation With – Channel NewsAsia BEIJING: A senior Chinese military officer told Channel NewsAsia in a rare exclusive interview that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) currently has no contact with their North Korean counterparts. Senior Colonel Zhou Bo from China’s Ministry of National Defence said: “In the past we did, we had a lot of contact and exchanges. I think this reflects a kind of change in our relationship for the reasons known to all.” His comments came as North Korea increased the frequency of its missile tests over the past year, which have been condemned by the United Nations. The interview was recorded prior to Pyongyang’s latest missile launch on Tuesday, where it reportedly successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). In a wide-ranging interview with Conversation With’s Lin Xueling, Senior Colonel Zhou, who is director of the ministry’s Centre for International Security Cooperation, also addressed Southeast Asian countries’ concerns about China’s perceived growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. “That is what I said since China’s rise. We are not using force against anybody,” said Senior Colonel Zhou, who has served in the PLA for 38 years. “When people warn China against use of force, I find it ridiculous because that is not what we are doing, and we have no intention to do that in the future,” he added.
Is US ignorant of the limits of Chinese influence over North Korea? | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post The US president’s demands that Beijing rein in its neighbour overestimate its influence and help Pyongyang drive a wedge between China and America
The secret to Kim’s success? Some experts see Russian echoes in North Korea’s missile advances – The Washington Post The new intercontinental weapon’s propulsion system looks to some like a Soviet knockoff.
|RD-252 – R-36MUTTKh / SS-18 SATAN
||RD-252 Turbopump Assy
R-36MUTTKh / SS-18 SATAN launch.
You, Too, Can Analyze North Korea’s Missile Capabilities–With Physics and Video | WIRED Let's take a closer look at the video North Korea released to determine that missile's acceleration.
North Korea accuses US of ‘reckless military provocations’ after practice bombing run | Fox News North Korean state media sharply criticized the U.S. on Sunday for a recent practice bombing run on the Korean peninsula, calling it a dangerous move raising the risk of nuclear war.
North Korea calls U.S. practice bombing run a provocationNorth Korean state media have sharply criticized a recent practice bombing run by two U.S. B-1B bombers on the Korean peninsula, calling it a danger ous move raising the risk of nuclear war.
Scared About North Korea? You Aren’t Scared Enough – BloombergA Q&A with Jeffrey Lewis, aka the Arms Control Wonk, on why Kim’s ICBM launch shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Trump, North Korea and shifting alliances: is this a new world disorder? | World news | The GuardianThe balance of power is changing as US influence declines. Amid a nuclear crisis and a fractious G20 summit in Hamburg, who will win the struggle for succession?
‘Everyone in China has the American Dream’ – and a popular path to it may disappear – The Washington PostChina’s fast-growing professional class may need more money to buy a future in the U.S.
Man accused of selling secrets to China linked to CIA – ABC NewsMan accused of selling secrets to China linked to CIA
Swarms at War: Chinese Advances in Swarm Intelligence – To Inform is to InfluenceSwarms at War: Chinese Advances in Swarm Intelligence Publication: China Brief Volume: 17 Issue: 9 By: Elsa Kania The Jamestown Foundation The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) anticipates that future warfare will be “unmanned, invisible, and silent” (“无人、无形、无声”战争), with ever higher degrees of “intelligentization” (智能化).  PLA strategists expect that future, autonomous combat involving unmanned systems, as well…Liu Xiaobo: Western doctors contradict China on Nobel laureate’s cancer – BBC NewsChina says the activist cannot be safely moved for cancer treatment, but two western doctors disagree.Sikkim standoff: China is angry because India has changed the rules of the game | analysis | Hindustan TimesOne, there is no evidence Beijing would not move the goalposts of its territorial claim further south if it were able to secure the Dokalam plateauIndia China border: Indian Army getting ready for long haul in DoklamThe Indian Army is ready for a long haul in holding onto its position in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction, notwithstanding China ratcheting up rhetoric against India demanding pulling back of its troops.With Tents And Supplies, Army Digs Its Heels In Standoff With ChinaThe Indian Army is ready for a long haul in holding onto its position in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction, notwithstanding China ratcheting up rhetoric against India demanding pulling back of its troops.India-NSG bid: NSG bid: India trying to join Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia group – The Economic TimesAn entry into the two groups can help strengthen India’s non-proliferation credentials and build up a strong case for it as the country seeks an entry into the 48-member NSG.
Trump, Asian allies seek counter to North Korean ‘menace’ – The Washington PostWrapping up his second European tour, President Donald Trump and Asian allies searched for consensus Saturday on how to counter what the president called the “menace” of North Korea after its test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.G20: Trump hails talks as ‘success’ despite divisions – BBC NewsThe US president lauded the summit – despite his country’s isolated position on climate change.Ivanka Trump Sat In for Her Father at the G-20 Leaders’ Table – BloombergDonald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, took his seat at a Group of 20 meeting table in Hamburg, sitting in for the president when he stepped away for one-on-one discussions with other world leaders.Trump leaves leaders fearing the future as G-20 summit closes – The Washington Post“Our world has never been so divided,” French President Emmanuel Macron said at the close of the talks.Australian journalist demolishes Trump at G20: ‘biggest threat to the west’ | US news | The GuardianReporter Chris Uhlmann’s commentary tearing into American president – a man with ‘no desire and no capacity to lead the world’ – reverberates to WashingtonChris Uhlmann should mind his language on ‘cultural Marxism’ | Jason Wilson | Opinion | The GuardianIn the Australian, ABC political editor Chris Uhlmann repeated a disturbing theory about the origins of 20th century social change and the culture wars
Russia’s Sputnik News coming to D.C. airwaves – Axios Russian-government owned outlet buys a Washington radio station
Trump Jr. says he, Kushner and Manafort met with lawyer tied to Kremlin – The Washington Post Natalia Veselnitskaya is known for her work challenging the blacklisting of certain Russian nationals under the Magnitsky Act.
Team Trump: Kushner & Don Jr.’s Trump Tower Meeting With A Russian Lawyer Was A Democratic Setup. (Maybe.) Team Trump initially downplayed a meeting with one of Russia’s top lawyers as a courtesy on behalf of orphaned children—and then pinned the meetup on a nefarious Democratic plot.
How Europe and the rest of the world mocks Trump in art, sculptures, parades | NJ.com From creative protest placards, street art and sculptures to puppetry, trinkets and parade floats, Donald Trump has been ridiculed and teased by protesters from around the globe.