Putin accuses US of threatening Russia in the Pacific. Zapad-2017 producing intensive discussion. Full text of Shevtsova’s excellent essay on Russia’s meltdown. Prof Goble’s “A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 92” provides another snapshot of Russia’s descent, extracted directly from Russian regional media (COCW applies for many items!). Some of the reports on the social meltdown are simply staggering – Russia is truly drifting out of the developed world into the developing world. HRW report “Online And On All Fronts: Russia’s Assault On Freedom Of Speech”. MAKS-2017 footage of Su-35S goes viral – rightfully so as the flight control software and other design features push this aircraft well outside the traditional manoeuvre performance seen in the West. More on the Navalny vs Girkin debate – Girkin was far more revealing than expected, with some interesting forensics.
Belarus chastised by UN, IMF and EU, but Ukraine visit successful.
Ukraine now actively assisting Moldova, excellent forensic background report by Zoria – all you ever wanted to know about Russian meddling in Moldova. Dependency on Russian gas identified as major vulnerability.
Malorossiya argument continues – scathing essays by Yakovenko, Portnikov, Vynokurov and Solovey (COCW).
German foreign ministry yet again puts equal blame in Donbass fighting on Ukrainians, unfuriating many in Kyiv – the Russians appear to have deep hooks into the German bureaucracy. SBU reports a large number of broken up attempts by Russians to conduct invasions of official buildings using rent-a-crowd protesters, cite: “The security service has established the organizers of these actions – all of them are on the territory of the Russian Federation. They received orders from Surkov and Ardzinba in the Russian presidential administration. The funding was provided by the Committee of Rescue of Ukraine Azarov and Oliynik, former high-ranking officials and fugitive oligarchs”. Amb Volker to visit Donbass. Only five attacks in Donbass overnight. Excellent S-300PS / SA-10B launch footage from Shabla-2017 exercise. SEA BREEZE 2017 stills. Crimea heading for an environmental meltdown, like Donbass. Historical backgrounder on Civil War Union BGen John Basil Turchin, previously Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov.
Interesting Syria reports, and speculation on Iran.
DPRK foreign assistance finally discovered by the MSM.
Poland clashes with EU.
US domestic Russia debate remains toxic, Rice testifies in closed meeting. Spicer producing major MSM frenzy.
Russia / Russophone Reports
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the framework for a state policy regarding Russia’s naval activities through 2030. The document has …
Eastern European countries are in an atmosphere of "fear and uncertainty" in connection with the forthcoming West-2017 joint Russian and …
Russia on July 21 lambasted as "buffoonery" U.S. allegations that the Russian military might leave equipment behind in Belarus after holding large-scale military exercises there in Septembe…
The main problem for Putin and the Kremlin will not be the presidential elections in 2018, but the period after them. The Kremlin, in its attempts to come up with the image of the future for Vladimir Putin’s presidential campaign in the 2018 elections, replaced several political technologists and, in the end, decided to collect the best ideas from a variety of concepts . Allegedly, this will deal with the first deputy head of the presidential administration of Russia Sergei Kiriyenko. The Russian political scientist Lilia Shevtsova told about what the Kremlin will ultimately build a pre-election campaign and what it promises to him. There is a lot of talk about the fact that the presidential administration and pro-Kremlin analysts can not cope with the basic idea of Putin’s presidential campaign, which, of course, is going on. Officially, it is not announced and should begin, in December 2017, according to CEC chairman Ella Pamfilova. But the campaign is on. Putin travels to the regions, especially those in which problems that are unsustainable are not resolved. That is, he somehow tries to compensate for the lack of communication between society and the Kremlin. But, of course, as always in election campaigns, it is about what the idea of a new presidency is, the idea of a new reproduction of Putin’s power. And we know that several people who were responsible for the concept of the presidential campaign were forced to withdraw from this responsible role – now this is engaged in Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy head of the presidential administration. But the very intention to build a new presidential campaign of Putin on the idea of the future is doubtful. It itself is already crumbling to dust. Because the main consolidation of Russian society by the Kremlin and the legitimization of the Kremlin authorities, Putin himself, has been carried out for a long time in recent years through the rejection of the vision of the future and a return to the past – to a selective, selective history. If the Kremlin was building consolidation on the basis of turning to the past, when suddenly from the past to move the bridge into this future, and what future will be for Russia? Therefore, there are a lot of problems. And it is unlikely that Kiriyenko will cope with them. In order to have the image of the future, you need to have an image of, at least, some renewal, you need to give the population hope, you need to give a mission to the political class. And now we, so to speak, the main task of Putin is the reproduction of the status quo. The status quo can not have a future. This is the main problem! Political technologies in the Kremlin are not bad: that is, technologists who can consolidate [society] on the basis of myths, infringements, complexes. But the future can not be built through complexes, vulnerability, infringement and the mythology of power. Therefore, the very idea in a country in which the elite denies the future and wants to preserve itself through the past is impossible to implement. Therefore, ultimately, having failed to offer Russia a new future, I think that the Kremlin will follow the simplest path along which other populist regimes have gone in the process of extinction. Of the already exhausted financial resources will give handouts, especially to its traditional [electoral] base – state employees, that is, pensioners, teachers, doctors and representatives of law enforcement agencies. Also try to create the impression: it is better to have what we have; Let’s extend this weather, even if it is unpleasant! Better than something that can threaten us. How once [Alfred] Hitchcock’s films were based on the idea of suspense, a threat of something incomprehensible, horrible, chaotic, apocalyptic. This is where the campaign will be built. In any case, there is an opportunity and even a guarantee of Putin’s re-election – due to a number of factors. And due to the fact that the population is really demoralized; And by virtue of the fact that it has not yet realized both the possibility and the personality of the systemic alternative; And due to the fact that the population is afraid of deterioration; And because the authorities have the potential, so to speak, distributing “bribes” and preserving situational stability. And due to the fact that the authorities have a very clever, tried and tested mechanism for manipulating election results. But, on the other hand, is now July 2017. The situation in Russia is like on the Sun: when from time to time, prominences of different strength can flash. We know that something is happening under the Earth’s thickness, but what happens, and when a splash of this gas happens, it’s unclear. Therefore, it is very difficult to say categorically about what will happen in January, February, March 2018. We extrapolate the current mood for the spring of 2018. Putin has a chance for re-election. But the main problem for Putin – and he understands this, understands the elite, understands all the forces involved in the political process – the main problem for the Kremlin and the country will not be the elections of 2018, but what will follow them. How to maintain stability later, without a vision, without a future, without financial resources and, in fact, not having control over governance in the country. Lilia Shevtsova , Russian political scientist, especially for “Apostrophe”
Paul Goble Staunton, July 22 — 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 92nd 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.
- Does Hollywood Now Have the Best Kremlinologists? Hollywood writers have removed Vladimir Putin from two films scheduled to be released next year, an indication that perhaps they do not expect him to be in office by then – or at least relevant to Western audiences (meduza.io/news/2017/07/20/a-ubrali-iz-stsenariev-dvuh-gollivudskih-filmov-2018-goda). Meanwhile, Russians found out just how little impact complaining to the Kremlin leader can have. After Murmansk residents told him that they didn’t have hot water, Putin fixed the problem: they got hot water for exactly 20 minutes and then it was cold once again (znak.com/2017-07-21/murmanchane_pozhalovalis_u_na_otsutstvie_goryachey_vody_ee_dali_no_lish_na_20_minut). Other Putin news this week: a Russian activist who posted an image of Putin as a Nazi was jailed for three days (meduza.io/en/news/2017/07/14/russian-activist-is-jailed-for-three-days-for-reposting-an-image-depicting–as-a-nazi), the network of souvenir shops for the Uralvagonzavod factory which Putin used as a centerpiece in his last campaign closed because of debt (lenta.ru/news/2017/07/20/uvz/), Putin eliminated the last vestiges of competitive democracy by requiring that even opposition candidates be cleared by Kremlin officials (nr2.lt/News/politics_and_society/Novoe-rasporyazhenie-a-prevrashchaet-vybory-v-eshche-bolshiy-fars–125841.html), and a British newspaper has published an unconfirmed report that Putin now routinely bathes in the blood from severed deer antlers in order to prolong his life (dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4707444/-bathes-blood-cut-severed-deer-antlers.html).
- Putin Views Trump as Russian Agent, Felshtynsky Says. Yury Feltshynsky, a Russian specialist on Moscow’s security services now living in the US, says that Vladimir Putin views Donald Trump as just the latest Russian agent these services have recruited (dsnews.ua/world/-s-tochki-zreniya-putina-tramp—ocherednoy-zaverbovannyy-im-18072017220000). Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but one thing is certainly the case: Russian agents of influence have now had an impact not just on the US president but, as one would expect from Soviet and Russian precedents, on a far larger cast of characters in the US, including some in the now ruling Republican Party (regnum.ru/news/polit/2303074.html, thedailybeast.com/gop-lawmaker-got-direction-from-moscow-took-it-back-to-dcand theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/russian-anti-sanctions-campaign-turned-to-california-congressman/534102/). There may be trouble ahead for these relationships, however. On the one hand, Putin clearly does not understand that the American political system is not dependent on one man or even a few but on a large number of institutions and understandings. And on the other, Trump has nominated a Mormon as the next US ambassador to Moscow. Given that the Mormons may not be a target of the Putin regime after its attacks on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, that sets up a potential conflict that few have yet been focusing on (ura.news/articles/1036271558).
- Russian Economic Prospects at Macro Level Anything But Rosy. Russian faces a long period of relatively slow GDP growth, something that will mean the country will fall further and further behind the rest of the world, according to Russian bankers (polit.ru/article/2017/07/14/gdp/). In other bad macro-economic news, Russians are now recognizing that their currency, the ruble, is at best a regional one, freely convertible only in Moscow-dominated structures in Eurasia (ng.ru/economics/2017-07-19/1_7032_rubl.html), the country’s commercial river fleet is collapsing eliminating one of the main integuments holding the economy together (profile.ru/economics/item/118555-zatonuvshie-milliardy), and even Russian officials now project that oil prices will remain low for many years, thus eliminating the possibility for a miracle that would turn the country’s economy around (rusjev.net/2017/07/19/v-rossii-zayavili-o-zakate-neftyanyih-godov/).
- 6,000 Dollar Millionaires have Fled Russia in Last Three Years. In a vote of no confidence about Russia’s future, 6,000 Russian dollar millionaires and billionaires have fled the country over the last three years, adding to the 14,000 others who left over the previous decade (newsland.com/community/4765/content/za-13-let-rossiiu-pokinuli-20000-dollarovykh-millionerov-i-milliarderov-6000-tolko-za-poslednie-3-goda/5919199). Most of Russia’s middle class has been hard hit by the economic crisis (iq.hse.ru/news/207514710.html), wage arrears are increasing across the country (newsland.com/community/4788/content/rabochim-so-stroiploshchadki-iamal-spg-tri-mesiatsa-ne-platiat-zarplatu/5917476and politsovet.ru/55956-esche-na-odnom-uralskom-zavode-rabochim-ne-platyat-zarplatu.html), Russians are cutting back vacation travel even domestically (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=596DBF8E58CBF), personal debt now exceeds 650 billion rubles (11 billion US dollars (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=596EEBD5F0155), and the market basket of basic foods continues to increase in price thanks to weather-induced shortages (newsland.com/community/4788/content/minimalnyi-nabor-produktov-v-rossii-podorozhal-na-15/5921117).
- Three-Quarters of Russian Government Social Payments Don’t Go to the Neediest. Russian social welfare payments generally go to those who need them least, with only a quarter going to Russia’s poorest people (newsland.com/community/4788/content/tri-chetverti-sotsvyplat-ne-dokhodiat-do-nuzhdaiushchikhsia/5920950). But there are many other social problems that were highlighted in the Russian media this week: more than half of Russians with university degrees can’t work in the fields they were trained for (meduza.io/cards/pochemu-tak-mnogo-lyudey-rabotayut-ne-po-spetsialnosti), Russian officials are exploring whether spinners are subversive (nakanune.ru/news/2017/7/18/22476578/), Russia’s educational system thanks to Putin’s optimization program has been compared to the Titanic hitting the iceberg (newsland.com/community/7451/content/nash-titanik-priot-na-aisberg-kak-spasti-prognivshuiu-sistemu-obrazovaniia/5919962), Russia faces a serious honey shortage (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/42850), the Duma has now permitted Russian airlines to charge passengers for checked baggage (versia.ru/passazhirov-obyazhut-doplachivat-za-perevozku-bagazha-v-samolete), vodka production rose 57 percent in the first quarter despite Moscow’s claims that Russians are drinking less and talk of ending alcohol sales on weekends (newsland.com/community/politic/content/vodki-v-rossii-vypushcheno-za-polugodie-bolshe-sigaret-menshe/5921948, /iz.ru/621632/2017-07-20/minzdrav-potreblenie-alkogolia-sokratilos-v-rossiiand iz.ru/619340/evgeniia-pertceva/vykhodnoi-bez-vodki), Russia is drowning in trash, something sparking protests and concern in many places (vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2017/07/03/706067-rossiya-musore), ever more men are turning to prostitution to make ends meet (snob.ru/selected/entry/126923), and strip clubs are closing down at increasing rates across Russia (moslenta.ru/city/striptiz.htm?utm_source=from_lenta).
- Putin’s Maternal Capital Program Helping to Make Russia Less Russian. Because of its poor design, Vladimir Putin’s maternal capital program is boosting or at least maintaining already high birthrates in Muslim areas while doing little or nothing to prevent the decline in birthrates among ethnic Russian women (ng.ru/economics/2017-07-18/2_7031_demografia.html). Indeed, an increasing share of the latter are choosing to be childless, something driving down the share of ethnic Russians in the population (rwns.online/economy/Ekonomisti-prognoziruyut-rost-chisla-besplodnih-zhenschin-v-Rossii–2017-07-17). While immigration has been compensating for about two-thirds of the indigenous decline (nazaccent.ru/content/24786-rosstat-migracionnyj-prirost-na-dve-treti.html), Moscow officials say that immigration is now falling and so won’t be doing that in the coming years (rbc.ru/society/19/07/2017/596f70789a79472ee3f6f5e7). More bad demographic news can be expected next year when Russia will run a pilot census in advance of the regular one scheduled for 2020 (svpressa.ru/society/news/177159/). Meanwhile, Russia’s health crisis continues to deepen. Ninety-five percent of the country’s doctors say the health sector is now a disaster (ng.ru/economics/2017-07-18/4_7031_medicina.html), the quality of medicines is declining as fast as their availability (ria.ru/society/20170714/1498500713.html), an HIV epidemic has broken out in Novosibirsk (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5968A84F25923), and patients with rare diseases are increasingly having to go to court to force hospital administrators to give them the medications they need (newsland.com/community/129/content/regiony-sudiatsia-s-bolnymi-detmi/5923767).
- Russia Ranks Near Bottom in the World on Pensions But Top People Take Care of Themselves. Russia ranks in the bottom five of 43 countries evaluated in terms of support for pensioners (news.mail.ru/society/30437548/), but senior officials like the president and prime minister have planned pensions 46 times those of the Russian average (ekb.dk.ru/news/v-46-raz-bolshe-sredney-kakie-pensii-u-prezidenta-premiera-i-ministrov-237084059).
- Chechnya Should Vote on Independence, Commentator Says. Leonid Gozman says that Chechnya clearly needs to have a referendum on whether to become independent of Russia (kavkazr.com/a/28629081.html). Meanwhile, Moscow appears desirous of provoking a conflict with Tatarstan by failing to agree to any extension of the power-sharing accord with Kazan (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/07/17/73141-nazad-v-1994-god). Interethnic conflicts in Daghestan are now so intense that Moscow has formed a commission to try to figure out what to do to rein them in (chernovik.net/content/respublika/ni-voyny-ni-mira, nazaccent.ru/content/24752-fadnu-predlozhili-sformirovat-komissiyu-dlya-resheniya.htmland onkavkaz.com/news/1785-video-glava-lezginskoi-avtonomii-povedal-putinu-kak-vlasti-dagestana-sabotiruyut-ego-poruchenij.html?fromslider). One nationality, however, is getting some of what it wants: the 97 Yiddish speakers in Birobidzhan are going to be allowed to have street signs in their native language in its alphabet on the streets of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, something Moscow has opposed allowing all other nationalities to do (nazaccent.ru/content/24764-deputaty-eao-uzakonili-nadpisi-na-yazyke.html). An activist in Siberia has been arrested for promoting pan-Finnic ideas (ovdinfo.org/express-news/2017/07/14/na-zhitelya-krasnoyarska-zaveli-delo-o-vethnicozvelichivanii-finnov-u-nego), and the Altay peoples and their related nations have held a forum in Bishkek to promote “Altai civilization” (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1500613200).
- Moscow Increasingly Worried about Regionalism in Russia. The Russian central government is increasingly worried about the revival of regionalist ideas in predominantly ethnic Russian regions (afterempire.info/2017/07/20/mirror/) and is working to block independent-minded Russian candidates from running for governors and possibly promoting this trend (newsland.com/community/8171/content/roizmana-ne-pustiat-na-gubernatorskie-vybory/5920831). Meanwhile, there is increasing appreciation among Rusisan regions that Tatarstan’s fight for an extension of the power-sharing accord is not just about the non-Russians but about the future of federalism for everyone (business-gazeta.ru/article/352064), and officials have cracked down hard on those in Kaliningrad who they say are promoting regionalism and even separatism there (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/07/20/pora_ostanovit_akademicheskij_separatizm_i_izmenu/, kaliningrad.glavny.tv/news/72388and newsbalt.ru/analytics/2017/07/v-kaliningrade-nuzhna-lyustraciya-tekh-kt/).
- Orthodox Church Doesn’t Want State to Supervise Its Activities. The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church is making it clear that it doesn’t want the state interfering with its activities although it feels free to reject government requirements and laws governing the treatment of minors and finger-printing (hraniteli-nasledia.com/articles/diskussii/patriarkhiya-protiv-obshchestvennogo-kontrolya/, politsovet.ru/55984-rpc-otkazalas-sdavat-otpechatki-palcev.html, pravmir.ru/tserkov-otkazala-politsii-v-provedenii-daktiloskopii-v-monastyiryah/and newsbabr.com/msk/?IDE=162517). And the Russian church has succeeded in freezing out all other denominations from television, the most important communications channel in Russia (sobesednik.ru/kultura-i-tv/20170713-govorit-i-pokazyvaet-rpc). But one interesting development this week occurred among another group: the pagans, out of which emerged a new court case about the supposed harm caused by offending their feelings (ng.ru/events/2017-07-19/11_424_yazuchniki.htmland spektr.press/news/2017/07/19/sk-rf-vozbudil-delo-ob-oskorblenii-yazychnicej-chuvstv-drugogo-yazychnika/).
- Duma Deputies Press Putin for Legalization of Handguns and Concealed Carry Rights. A group of Duma deputies has called on Vladimir Putin to support legislation that would allow Russians to own handguns and carry them in a concealed way (radiovesti.ru/brand/61178/episode/1399663/). Meanwhile, in other domestic security developments, it was reported and then denied that Moscow had reduced the staffs of its anti-extremism units (znak.com/2017-07-18/mvd_otricaet_informaciyu_o_sokracheniyah_v_otdelah_po_borbe_s_ekstremizmomand iz.ru/620423/oleg-fochkin/mvd-sokrashchaet-borbu-s-ekstremizmom), Putin elevated the Russian Guard to the status of a strategic enterprise meaning that its funding is largely beyond touch (polit.ru/news/2017/07/17/rosgvardia/), more corruption and illegal use of force was discovered among senior FSB officers (regnum.ru/news/polit/2302756.htmland znak.com/2017-07-20/v_tyumeni_rassleduyut_delo_bandy_killerov_iz_fsb), draft resistance appears to be spreading in some Russian areas (sobkorr.ru/news/596DD69A968A4.html), Putin signed a law depriving those draftees who test positive for drugs of military benefits (newsland.com/community/5652/content/putin-podpisal-zakon-o-lishenii-voennykh-posobii-za-neprokhozhdenie-testa-na-narkotiki/5921528 and russian.rt.com/russia/news/410265-putin-zakon-voennye-posobiya), Sakhalin residents fearful of radiation have asked Moscow to raise two atomic bombs located under water near their shores (newizv.ru/news/society/15-07-2017/sahalinskie-deputaty-prosyat-podnyat-dve-atomnye-bomby-s-upavshego-tu-95), and Russian airports are increasingly in trouble with inadequate flight control and weather protection (newsland.com/community/7285/content/pogodnaia-pereplata/5920984, siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/were-sorry-to-announce-holiday-flight-is-delayed-because-the-runway-has-turned-into-a-lake/ and kommersant.ru/doc/3360601).
- Syrian War has Cost Russia 140 Billion Rubles Already, Yabloko Says. The Russian government refuses to publish figures on the cost of its military intervention in Syria, but the Yabloko opposition party says that it estimates that Moscow may have spent 140 billion rubles (2.2 billion US dollars) there already(vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2017/07/20/724737-yabloko-voinu). Russian officials have also worked hard to conceal military losses there (newsland.com/community/4109/content/rossiia-skryvaet-istinnye-poteri-v-sirii/5918168). Other foreign policy and security news this week included: experts say Russia can’t compete without an aircraft carrier fleet and can’t afford to build one (forum-msk.org/material/news/13476981.html), Moscow’s decision to send a Typhoon class submarine from Murmansk to the Baltic on the surface has sparked suggestions that this was an act of intimidation or that it may mean the ship has serious problems when it is submerged (thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2017/07/typhoon-sails-surface and thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2017/07/im-deeply-concerned-about-safety-board-nuclear-armageddon-machine), Russia is rapidly losing its ability to be competitive in space (newsland.com/community/5652/content/po-prognozu-space-x-za-rf-vskore-ostanetsia-menee-10-rynka-kosmicheskikh-puskov/5916608 and newsland.com/community/5206/content/rossiia-otlozhila-nauchnuiu-missiiu-na-iupiter-i-na-veneru-i-na-lunu-groshau-niama/5916451), Moscow celebrated as a diplomatic triumph its success in getting the countries of the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty to fight revisionism on World War II (ej.ru/?a=note&id=31337), and officials announced plans to expand Russia’s export of nuclear technologies in order to make money (regnum.ru/news/economy/2303477.html).
- Protesters have Figured Out How to Foil Face Recognition Technologies. Moscow thought it could intimidate people into not protesting by deploying facial recognition technologies and then publishing lists of participants in demonstrations, but protesters have figured out some simple and inexpensive ways to foil such systems and disseminated information about them on social media(belsat.eu/ru/news/v-rossii-pridumali-kak-obmanut-sistemu-raspoznavaniya-litsa/). Meanwhile, protests continued to expand geographically and in terms of subject. Among the most intriguing this week were protests against communal costs and renovations in numerous cities (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/07/15/133517-v-krasnodarskom-krae-zhiteli-otpravlennogo-vlastyami-pod-snos-doma-perekryli-federalnuyu-trassu, newsland.com/community/129/content/uchastniki-mitinga-v-kalache-na-donu-vystupili-protiv-povysheniia-tsen-na-kommunalnye-uslugi/5916491 and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=596C62A1854C2), plans for a celebration of the birthday of Eduard Rossel, a leading Russian regionalist (politsovet.ru/55938-v-sverdlovskoy-oblasti-sozdan-orgkomitet-po-yubileyu-rosselya.html), and the blocking of the Roskomnadzor building in Moscow (republic.ru/posts/85090). For those tracking where demonstrations are happening, Federal Press has begun issuing interactive maps by region (fedpress.ru/article/1823162 and fedpress.ru/article/1823116).
- Kremlin Assaulting Freedom of Expression Across the Board, Human Rights Watch Says. The international human rights group says that in every sector it monitors, the Kremlin has cracked down hard over the last year (hrw.org/report/2017/07/18/online-and-all-fronts/russias-assault-freedom-expression). Evidence of this includes: Moscow now leads in requests to Google to take down stories the Kremlin doesn’t like (rbc.ru/newspaper/2017/07/21/5970dff19a7947741150305b), the European Human Rights Court is taking ever more appeals from Russians about their mistreatment (echo.msk.ru/news/2020620-echo.html), and the number of snitches in the Russian population has risen to unprecedented levels (glavred.info/mir/v-rossii-ogromnoe-chislo-stukachey-specsluzhb-advokat-447842.htmland obozrevatel.com/abroad/39586-oni-povsyudu-fejgin-rasskazal-grustnuyu-pravdu-o-rossii.htm). Meanwhile, while many in the West view anti-gay oppression and violence as a Chechen problem, new reports show that it is ever more a Russian problem: The Soviets imprisoned approximately 1,000 gay people every year from 1934 on for their sexual orientation and Russia continued this trend, although jailing only 100 a year (anews.com/p/64205286/), and this week an Omsk store refused to hire a gay sales person (snob.ru/selected/entry/127119). Other repressive actions this week: the Duma passed a law giving the government control of the election of the president of the Academy of Sciences (nakanune.ru/news/2017/7/20/22476877/), the legislature passed an unconstitutional measure allowing the authorities to deprive terrorists of Russian citizenship (ixtc.org/2017/07/gosduma-odobrila-zakon-o-lishenii-terroristov-grazhdanstva-rf/), Russia’s schools have been ordered to introduce a special set of lectures on the Crimean Anschluss (iz.ru/621208/pavel-panov/vossoedinenie-kryma-s-rossiei-vkliuchaiut-v-shkolnuiu-programmu), journalists are now being threatened by anonymous people for anti-government actions (cpj.org/2017/07/russian-journalist-warned-by-anonymous-text-messag.php), persons unknown splashed Yulia Latinina’s residence with an unknown substance (newsland.com/community/politic/content/politsiia-vyiasniaet-kto-oblil-dom-zhurnalistki-latyninoi-neizvestnoi-zhidkostiu/5922693), the Duma approved the oath people must take in order to become Russian citizens (nakanune.ru/news/2017/7/19/22476742/) and Duma members complained that secularism, although included in the constitution, is “destructive for morality” (newsland.com/community/4109/content/v-gosdume-schitaiut-svetskoe-gosudarstvo-razrushitelnym-dlia-nravstvennosti/5920737). Meanwhile, lawyers pointed out that many judges are filing inaccurate declarations of income or saying they have law degrees when they don’t (newsland.com/community/5652/content/v-sudakh-rossii-rabotaiut-sudi-s-poddelnymi-diplomami/5920660and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306296/).
- Russia’s Fans Increasingly Rowdy and Increasingly Political. Russian soccer fans have shocked many by their racist rants and nudity, things that could cause problems if Moscow is allowed to host the 2018 World Cup (championat.com/football/news-2851956-fanaty-spartaka-skandirovali-rasistskuju-krichalku-vo-vremja-igry-s-lokomotivom.htmland themoscowtimes.com/news/naked-fans-58396). But most fans continue to enjoy the support of the authorities because they back Kremlin causes like traditionalism and support for Russia’s imperial past (echo.msk.ru/blog/day_photo/2018996-echo/). Meanwhile, Moscow boasted that it had solved its doping problem even as it complained that Russian athletes were being discriminated against by international sports federations (politobzor.net/show-138109-kazanskiy-plan-deystviy-rossiya-svyazyvaet-ruki-wada.htmland newsland.com/community/7451/content/potselui-po-amerikanski-ili-kak-sportsmeny-ssha-ot-nakazaniia-ukhodiat/5917291).
- Russia’s Monuments Wars Heat Up on Anniversary of Murder of Imperial Family. Russians in various cities marched to mark the anniversary of the Bolshevik murder of the members of the Imperial Family and also to attack any criticism of the last tsar as in the film Mathilda (themoscowtimes.com/news/Russia-marches-to-mark-anniversary-of-tsar-nicholas-murder-58410, rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78541andnewsland.com/community/4765/content/bolelshchiki-futbolnykh-klubov-spartak-i-lokomotiv-vystupili-protiv-filma-matilda/5917053). Statues of Nicholas II went up as others were attacked and as Vladimir Zhirinovsky called for renaming Sverdlovsk Oblast because its name refers to one of those who ordered the killing of the Imperial Family (politsovet.ru/55958-zhirinovskiy-prizval-pereimenovat-sverdlovskuyu-oblast.htmlandnakanune.ru/news/2017/7/20/22476854/). Other skirmishes in the monuments wars included: Yekaterinburg residents are collecting money for a memorial to Osip Mandelshtam (politsovet.ru/55983-v-ekaterinburge-sobirayut-dengi-na-memorialnuyu-dosku-mandelshtamu.html), an Irkutsk court is considering whether to allow statues of Admiral Kolchak to remain in place (newsland.com/community/4765/content/irkutskii-sud-rassmotrit-isk-o-demontazhe-pamiatnikov-kolchaku/5922296), a historian recalled that the Soviets considered renaming Moscow four times, once for Lenin and three times for Stalin (back-in-ussr.com/2017/07/pochemu-v-sssr-tak-i-ne-pereimenovali-moskvu.html), a statue of Lenin was beheaded in Pervouralsk (newizv.ru/news/incident/16-07-2017/lenin-bez-golovy-v-pervouralske-otorvali-golovu-s-pamyatnika-vozhdyu), and residents in Stavropol are being offered a new drink, carbonated Stalin war (newsland.com/community/7329/content/gazirovannyi-stalin-na-stavropole-torguiut-napitkom-vozhd/5918434). One commentator has called for a truce in these wars, suggesting that all toponyms and monuments should feature only cultural figures and not political ones (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=596E827CBBD00).
- Russians Worried about Increasing Number of Russian Women Marrying Chinese and Turks. Russians have always been concerned about those of their number who marry foreigners, an act they see as threatening to the cohesion of the Russian nation. Now, complaints about this center on Russian women who choose to marry Chinese or Turkish men (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1500035820and mk.ru/social/2017/07/13/chem-khoroshi-i-chem-plokhi-vostochnye-zhenikhi-dlya-rossiyanok.html).
- Zhirinovsky Predicts Social Explosion in Russia. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant head of the absurdly named Liberal Democratic Party of Russia but often a bellwether of elite opinion, said this week that if the economic situation continues to deteriorate, Russia will likely face a social explosion (newsland.com/community/1713/content/zhirinovskii-preduprezhdaet-vlast-o-sotsialnom-vzryve/5915970).
- Opposition to ‘Russian Nation’ Law Intensifies. Ever more residents of the Russian Federation are expressing their opposition to the draft Russian law that defines ethnic Russians as the state-forming nation, viewing this as an indication that in Russia today, “all citizens are equal but some are more equal than others” (kavkazr.com/a/vse-grazhdane-rf-ravny-no-nekotorye-ravnee/28616231.html).
- Defense of High Pay for Deputies Sparks Debate. The defense last week of a decision by one regional legislature to double their own salaries while leaving the pay of teachers and the doctors where it was has sparked a lively debate across Russia about who should get what and whether the government is responsive to the needs of the people (ekb.dk.ru/news/mozhet-deputaty-poyasnyat-pochemu-oni-sdelali-sebe-samye-vysokie-zarplaty-v-mire-mnenie-237083913and znak.com/2017-07-19/senator_skazavshiy_chto_deputaty_dolzhny_poluchat_bolshe_vrachey_ya_tak_ne_govoril).
- Average Russian Bribe Now 10,000 US Dollars, Interior Ministry Says. The MVD says that it has calculated that the average bribe in Russia now amounts to 614,000 rubles, almost exactly 10,000 US dollars at the current rate of exchange (newsland.com/community/8137/content/mvd-podschitalo-srednii-razmer-vziatki-v-moskve/5920634).
- If You Look at Russia from Alaska, What You’ll See Isn’t Pretty. Those who suggest that they can “see Russia” from Alaska would be horrified if they actually could by the sad state of affairs in the Chukotka peninsula with its dying cities and impoverished people. For an amazing collection of photographs comparing Chukotka and Alaska, see newsland.com/community/7996/content/aliaska-i-chukotka-nagliadnoe-sravnenie/5921152).
- International Tribunal Orders Moscow to Pay 5.4 Million Euros for 2013 Seizure of Greenpeace Ship. An international tribunal organized under the auspices of the Law of the Sea Treaty has ordered Russia to pay 5.4 million euros in compensation for its seizure of the Greenpeace ship, “Arctic Sunrise,” in 2013 (thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2017/07/russia-ordered-pay-eu54-million-seizing-arctic-sunrise-today-greenpeace-sails-vessel).
- Russians Fearful Baikal Becoming ‘a Chinese Lake.’ Given Moscow’s agreement with Beijing to allow China to take massive amounts of water from Russia’s most famous lake, many Russians fear that their national treasure is becoming “a Chinese lake” and that that trend presages even more loss of Russian control in Siberia and the Far East (newsland.com/user/1637669351/content/baikal-velikoe-ozero-kitaiskoi-strany/5922155andnewsbabr.com/baik/?IDE=162406).
- Most Russians Swear They Don’t Swear, New Poll Finds. A new survey finds Russians saying that they don’t swear even though massive evidence shows that most do (themoscowtimes.com/news/most-russians-swear-they-dont-swear-58419).
- 53 Russians Think Long Term about Living in a Post-Putin Russia. Fifty-three Russians have frozen their bodies so that they can be revived at some distant point in time, a reflection of their apparent view that only then will things be better and of the fact that there are massive problems with Russian cemeteries, including the fact that in 90 percent of them, no one is sure who owns them and thus how they may be disposed of in the future (newizv.ru/news/tech/18-07-2017/s-nadezhdoy-na-voskreshenie-v-rossiyskom-kriohranilische-zamorozheny-53-cheloveka, iq.hse.ru/news/207677281.htmland snob.ru/selected/entry/127107).
And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:
- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Lead Incomes in Post-Soviet Space. Estonia has the highest average monthly income of any in the region, twice that of Russia which is in fourth place and more than ten times that of Turkmenistan which is in last (newsland.com/community/5206/content/reiting-zarplat-stran-byvshego-sssr/5923058).
- Russian Organized Crime Again Expanding in Ukraine, Kyiv Officials Say. Russian organized crime groups have increased their activities in Ukraine in recent months, giving Moscow yet another lever against the Ukrainian government (obozrevatel.com/crime/86793-rossijskij-kriminal-pustil-korni-v-ukraine.htm).
- Ukrainians Officially Own Nearly One Million Guns, Unofficially Many More. Ukrainians have legally registered ownership of more than 900,000 guns, Kyiv officials say; but unofficially, there are likely three or four times that many in private hands (dsnews.ua/politics/na-rukah-u-ukraintsev-ofitsialno-bolee-900-tysyach-stvolov–15072017211000).
- Ukraine Ends Requirement that Documents Be Stamped. In yet another small but significant step of moving away from Russian domination, Ukrainians no longer need to have documents stamped by various officials as was the case in Soviet times, according to a new regulation (qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/v-ukraine-bolshe-ne-trebuetsya-stavit-pechati-na-dokumenti/176221/).
- Minsk Refuses Moscow’s Request to Supply Peacekeepers for Syria. Belarus, following two Central Asian countries, has turned down Russian requests for troops to back up Moscow’s “peacekeeping” operations in Syria (belaruspartisan.org/politic/387937/).
- Minsk Wants to Exploit, Control Belarusian Diaspora. Minsk is reaching out to the four million plus Belarusians living abroad in the hopes of using them to promote Minsk’s policies but it is offending many by its heavy-handedness in dealing with them (belsat.eu/ru/opinions/kakaya-diaspora-nuzhna-vlastyam/).
- Belarusians Replacing Russians as Key Tourist Group in Ukraine. Ever fewer Russians are travelling to Ukraine this summer, but ever more Belarusians are, according to Kyiv statistics (newsland.com/community/5206/content/ukraina-nabiraet-populiarnost-u-turistov-iz-belarusi-rossiia-teriaet/5916658).
- Minsk Begins Repaying Hated Vagrants Tax. The Belarusian government has begun repaying to its citizens the vagrants tax that sparked protests earlier this year (newsland.com/community/8181/content/belorusam-nachali-vozvrashchat-uplachennyi-imi-nalog-na-tuneiadstvo/5920208).
- Armenian Parliamentarians Reject Moscow’s Request to Make Russian State Language There. Armenian deputies are outraged that Moscow would even consider requesting that they make Russian a state language in their country (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306276/).
- Turkmenistan Blocks All Social Networks. Turkmenistan, the most closed-off post-Soviet state, has now blocked all social networks, including Russian ones, on its territory (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1500488880).
- Turkmen TV Now Features Live Readings of President’s Books. Turkmen television viewers are being given a special “treat.” TV channels there are featuring live readings of the entire works of the country’s president for life (currenttime.tv/a/28626950.html).
- Tajikistan Wants to Shift Outmigration from Russia to Arab World, Europe. Dushanbe, worried about its dependence on remittances from Tajik gastabeiters in Russia, has announced a program to promote those who want to work abroad to go to Arab countries or Europe rather than Russia (migrant.ferghana.ru/newslaw/таджикистан-хочет-диверсифицировать.html).
- Kazakhstan Won’t Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unlike some former Soviet republics who tend to follow Moscow’s lead especially when it comes to repressive measures, Kazakhstan has announced that it will not ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses as Russia has done (kazislam.kz/ru/songy-janalyktar/item/14072-kazakhstan-ne-planiruet-zapreshchat-svidetelej-iegovy).
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – Young Daghestanis don’t view those of their compatriots who have gone to fight for the Islamic State as enemies but rather as victims of “brain washing” or “unresolved social problems” at home, according to a new study by three scholars at th Center for Youth Research at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg. Iskender Yasaveyev, Nadezhda Vasilyeva, and Alina Mayboroda conducted 49 in-depth interviews with Daghestanis aged 17 to 27 in Makhachkala who have been active in youth Internet communities there (sociologica.hse.ru/2017-16-2/207149695.html and iq.hse.ru/news/207691593.html). Their key findings include: “Those who join ISIS are viewed not as enemies and traitors,” rather as people “who have made a mistake” and brought suffering to their families and friends. “Often,” the respondents said, “leaving for ISIS is connected with unemployment and the need to support one’s family,” something many young Daghestanis find very difficult in the current economic crisis. Those who recruit people to fight for ISIS are individuals “who know how to conduct a conversation” and whom most “find it difficult to resist.” “The main channels of recruitment are social networks and skype, “through which both ‘recruiters’ inside the republic and those who are located beyond the borders of Daghestan and Russia communicate.” Many young Daghestanis are afraid to talk about these things because they fear the information will get back to the special services and they and their families will suffer. For the same reason, most do what they can to avoid attracting attention whatever they think. “However, none of the interviewees called for the severe punishment ‘of those who went.’” Instead, the study found, “a repressive anti-terrorist policy which affects a wide circle of people” doesn’t “enjoy the support of young Daghestanis.” “The majority on the contrary” suggested that “’the best anti-terrorist policy is a good social policy,’ with a solution found in the region to the problems of education and employment.”
The eldest daughter of the slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has appealed against the verdicts and sentences of five men convicted for her father’s killing and called for the cas…
Human Rights Watch says Russia has introduced significant restrictions to online speech, conducts invasive surveillance of online activity, and prosecutes critics under the guise of fighting extremism. In a report released on July 18, New York-based HRW documents Russian government measures it says are aimed at bringing the Internet under greater state control. The report, Online And On All Fronts: Russia’s Assault On Freedom Of Speech, says that since 2012 Russian authorities have unjustifiably prosecuted dozens of people for criminal offenses on the basis of their social-media posts, online videos, media articles, and interviews. The authorities have also shut down or blocked access to hundreds of websites. The report says Moscow’s crackdown on free speech comes as a part of a larger crackdown on civil society unleashed after large antigovernent protests in 2011-2012 and Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in May 2012 after a stint as prime minister. Russia has since introduced a range of repressive laws that provide the government with a broad array of tools to restrict access to information, carry out unchecked surveillance, and censor information the government deems “extremist,” out of line with “traditional values,” or otherwise harmful to the public, the report said. “Russia’s authorities are leading an assault on free expression,” said Yulia Gorbunova, Russia researcher at HRW. “These laws aren’t just about introducing tough policies, but also about blatant violation of human rights.” The authorities have increasingly conflated criticism of the government with “extremism,” according to the report, especially on issues such as Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, criticism or satire targeting the Russian Orthodox Church, and Moscow armed intervention in Syria. The report says that based on the data provided by the SOVA Center, a prominent Russian think tank, the number of social-media users convicted of extremism offenses in 2015 was 216, in comparison with 30 in 2010. Between 2014 and 2016, approximately 85 percent of convictions for “extremist expression” dealt with online expression, with punishments ranging from fines or community service to prison time, the HRW report says, citing the SOVA Center. Between September 2015 and February 2017, 54 people went to prison for “extremist” speech, including online. In February 2017, that number spiked to 94, the report says. In the occupied Crimea, Russian authorities have silenced dissent, claiming to be “combatting extremism,” the report says. They have closed down all independent media outlets in Crimea and aggressively targeted critics. HRW says that Russian authorities have also actively enforced a 2013 law that bans dissemination of information about so-called “nontraditional sexual relations,” otherwise known as the antigay “propaganda” law. According to the report, at least six people have since been found guilty of violating the federal law.
(Moscow) – Russia has introduced significant restrictions to online speech and invasive surveillance of online activity and prosecutes critics under the guise of fighting extremism, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The CEO of Silovye Mashiny, which was involved in a scandal with Siemens turbines, has been fired In Russia. As reported by Interfax, the Board …
Video of Sukhoi’s Su-35 super-maneuverable aircraft flying an impressive new demonstration routine at the MAKS airshow in Russia this week has gone viral on social media. This year’s updated Russian Sukhoi aerobatic demonstration, similar to previous Sukhoi and MiG demos, follows the first-ever aerobatic display of the American F-35A Lightning II at the Paris Air Show a month ago. The Su-35S “Flanker E” is the 4++ generation variant of the Su-27 Flanker aircraft. The multirole aircraft features thrust-vectoring, radar-absorbent paint, Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array radar, IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) and the said ability to detect stealth planes like the F-35 at a distance of over 90 kilometers (…), the Khibiny radar jamming system along with the ability to use some interesting weapons, including the ultra-long range R-37M air-to-air missile that could target HVAA (High Value Air Assets) such as AWACS and tanker aircraft. The aircraft were deployed to Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, in February 2016 to undertake air superiority and escort missions over Syria. Aviation analysts have long contended that displays of so-called “super maneuverability” at low speeds have little or no tactical value in the real world air combat environment. These displays do often lead to conversations comparing aircraft capabilities and re-open the never-ending debates about which aircraft design doctrine provides a real world tactical advantage. Are such low speed maneuvers worthless to fight against the U.S. 5th Gen. stealth aircraft that would engage the Su-35S from BVR (Beyond Visual Range) exploiting their radar-evading capabilities? Real world tactical merit aside, Sukhoi’s display is sensational. The aircraft seems to depart the conventional control regime as it flips, twists and tumbles. The Su-35’s most remarkable sequence is a low speed “Pugachev’s Cobra” transitioning to a tumbling back flip followed by a side-slip to an inverted spin and then a classic recovery gained by pointing the aircraft’s nose to the ground to regain lost energy in exchange for altitude. The entire sequence is flown at altitude that presumably lives little margin for error, making it even more thrilling.
According to the press center of the Pacific Fleet of Russia, a Russian Navy MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor launched from the Kamchatka Peninsula, intercepted a supersonic cruise missile in the stratosphere during exercises that were conducted on the eve of the celebration of the Day of Naval Aviation. The missile was launched from the water area of the Sea of Okhotsk at an altitude of more than 12 kilometers at a speed three times the speed of sound, Pravda new outlet reported. The Mig-31 Foxhound is a two-seat Mig-25 Foxbat derivative in service since 1983. Whilst the MiG-25 was built as a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor, capable of reaching the speed of Mach 3.2 to intercept American B-58 and B-70 bombers, the MiG-31 was designed to intercept the B-1B bomber, which was designed to operate at low-level, below the radar coverage. The MiG-31 has quite good low-level capabilities (which MiG-25 does not) and is equipped with an advanced radar with look-down-shoot-down capability (needed to detect low-flying bombers), and data bus, allowing for coordinated attack with other fighters. The production of the Mig-31, one of the world’s fastest tactical fighter in active service with top speed of Mach 2.83 and a range of 1,450 km, ended in the early 1990s, but the interceptor is being upgraded to extend its operative life up to the 2028 – 2030. The Russian MiG-31BM jet, capable to carry up to four long-range R-33 missiles and four short-range R-77 missiles, was expected to carry a weapon able to shoot down space satellites; according to some sources, the ability to intercept a cruise missile, previously Kh-55 and now Kh-101, is something practiced by the Russian Foxhounds for years. The video below, released by the Russian MoD, is said to show the test conducted on Jul. 17 (even though the actual interception of the cruise missile can’t be seen.)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny held a debate with Igor Girkin (Strelkov), former leader of the so-called “DNR” militiamen, where they raised questions about Russian aggression in Ukraine, in particular, the war in Donbas and annexation of Crimea. Russian citizen Girkin, who claimed that he was a Colonel of the FSB, headed the Russian sabotage group, which carried out an armed seizure of the city of Sloviansk, Donetsk region in April 2014. In addition, during his “leadership” there was an incident when militants downed the Malaysian MH17 Boeing with a rocket launcher “Buk”, taken from Russia. In early March 2014, Girkin arrived in Crimea and coordinated the seizure of Ukrainian military bases, local government authorities and autonomy management by Russian servicemen.
Based on this context, Hromadske prepared a selection of the most important quotes spoken at the debate, which are related to Crimea and Donbas – the occupied and annexed territories of Ukraine, as well as Russia’s involvement in this.
► Navalny’s question about the seizure of Slovyansk: “Did you not receive money for your operation from the oligarchs?”
I took the weapons in Crimea, besides, it was not big money. And, as an officer, I cannot and will not answer the rest of the questions, because if I do, it will deprive me of the officer’s honor. There are people who continue fighting (in Donbas – ed.), and they depend on me.
►Girkin on the Boeing MH17 downed in Donbas
We did not have the means to shot down a Boeing. I had five “Igla” surface-to-area missiles and one “Strila-10”, which was in Zugres at the time of Boeing’s fall. I cannot say anything more. I do not follow, do not care about and do not take part in the investigation. I can swear on the Bible that I did not write that message about the downed Boeing.
► Navalny on the war in Donbas and Russia’s involvement
The war you started is an expensive thing that destroys Russia’s economy. No, Russia cannot wage a war. Events in Donbas are horrible events – 10,000 people have been killed. There is Minsk-II, you may not agree with them. But the leaders of these “republics” (self-proclaimed “LPR” and “DPR” – ed.) and the Kremlin, Europe, USA, Ukraine are part of these processes. But Russia has no money for this war. You said, “We will still fight”. No, we will not. We do not want to fight. I would like to stop it all.
►Girkin on the invasion of Donbas and Crimea.
I could have come anywhere: to Odesa or Melitopol. But I came to Donbas to give the Russians the right to self-determination rather than to unleash a war. I was not afraid to be killed. I would not have gone to Crimea and Donbas if I had been afraid. There were many situations when I might have been killed. And then such conditions were set forth that I could not stay there. However, I cannot say what conditions. It is a secret.
► Navvalny’s question: “Has the war in Ukraine improved anybody’s life?”
I think that we should not speak about whether the war has improved the life of people in Ukraine until its end. We should not speak about this until a complete union with Russia. We have been parted. Therefore, it makes no sense to speak about something like that until we are not together.
►Girkin on the end of the war in Donbas.
There will be no reconciliation with Ukraine for as long as there is the acting government in Kyiv. The war is inevitable.
► Girkin on the leaders of the self-proclaimed “LPR” and “DPR”.
Putin betrayed the whole “Novorossiya”, although he could free it. He betrayed entire Ukraine. Putin turns it into the second Poland. For me, both Plotnitsky (“LPR” leader – ed.) and Zakharchenko (“DPR” leader – ed.) are traitors. I came as a volunteer and appointed myself a commander. I was not a citizen of Donbas. When they became the heads of “republics”, they signed the Minsk agreements and thus betrayed entire Donbas.
► Girkin on his return to Donbas.
I received nothing for my escape from Donbas or for my service. I am living even worse now. Before the events in Donbas and Crimea, my income was high. Now I am a hired worker. I live on a salary and a pension. I do not have anything else.
Former “Defense Minister of the DNR” Igor Girkin (Strelkov) said that he left the Donbass in 2014 because of the condition he had put forward. He said this during a debate with Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny. “I, unlike you, defended the Russians not only in the Donbass. And I did not come to Donbas to unleash a war, what you accused me of, but to defend the right of the Russian people to self-determination, to reunite with the main part, to reunite in a single state, “said Strelkov. In turn, Navalny said that Girkin fled from the Donbass, when he realized that he could be killed. “This is my claim to Vladimir Putin that in 2014, when it was possible to join Russia, or at least give an opportunity to self-determination to all Russian regions of Ukraine, at the time when Russia’s financial and economic situation was quite firm, he did not. And, if you reproached me for why I was here, and not in the Donbas, I can say this: I was not afraid that they would kill me. If I was afraid that they would kill me, I would not go to the Crimea or the Donbas, “he added. According to Strelkov, if he had a choice, he would have stayed in the Donbass. “Unfortunately, I was put forward such conditions under which I could not stay in the Donbass. What – it’s really, I’m sorry, I’m a military man, I can not answer yet, “Girkin said. In addition, he said that he can not physically be in the Donbass even “ordinary.” “I received nothing for my flight (from Donbass – Ed.) So-called, not for service, I live on the same grounds as I lived here, we can say that it’s worse. Before going to the Crimea and the Donbass, I had a very high-paying job, high social guarantees and could look ahead. Now I’m an employee, I live on a salary and a military pension, I do not have anything superfluous, “the ex-leader of the terrorists summed up.
“A Gorbachev who will try to reform an un-reformable system without changing anything in a serious way. And the system, just as at the end of the 1980s is beginning to fall apart in a real way, all the more so because citizens won’t fear this new Gorbachev as they do Putin.” For the chekists and bandits, Navalny is a real find, a reserve in case things go really wrong, Portnikov says, and before that happens, they may be able to “grow” him into “a new Yeltsin,” someone with whom they will have agreed about everything well in advance.”
WASHINGTON — The United Nations’ top official in Belarus warned against the danger of politicizing human rights issues in the country, and called for more international engagement wit…
The European Union on July 21 criticized the two latest death sentences handed down in Belarus, saying that they "violate the right to life." Belarus’s Mahilyow Regional Cour…
The IMF does not see “any distinct support for reforms.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended negotiations with Belarus on the credit program in order to clarify the official policies in a …
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he has reached agreement with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the stay of Ukrainians and Belarusians in both countries on equal terms.
The official Minsk wants closer cooperation with Ukraine. Lukashenka stated this today in the course of the expanded negotiations with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, BelTA reports. “We have discussed the most sensitive matters of cooperation one-on-one. We will be moving forward in this direction. I told you we do not have any allergies. We do not trade or make friends against anyone. We want to work together in the markets of the distant arc countries and other states, manufacture joint products and sell them,” – the dictator said. “We will make high-technology goods and export them together to foreign markets. This is what our one-on-one agreements were about”. “Our annual trade was once $8 billion. We did not reach this level this year but I believe we can exceed it,” – Lukashenka noted.
During the meeting between Lukashenka and Poroshenko in Kiev on July 21, the FEMEN movement organized another performance.
Lithuanian FM does not rule out that Latvia hasn’t yet considered the possibility of blocking BelNPP’s electricity.
A U.S. Army major died mysteriously while visiting Belarus last month, media reported on July 6. The father of Kyle Tafel, 36, said the U.S. national guardsman was visiting Belarus with two of hi…
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova on Reintegration, Gheorghe Balan, to discuss the issues of deepening cooperation between the two countries in the area of defense and security, the NSDC press service reports. The parties also discussed the issue of Russia’s hybrid aggression against Ukraine and Moldova. “Hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against a sovereign country began in 1992 from Moldova,” Turchynov said, stressing that Russia’s failure to fulfill its international obligations to withdraw its military from Transnistria is one of the factors of security destabilization in Europe. Read also Ukraine, Moldova launch Kuchurgan-Pervomaysk border checkpoint in Odesa region (Photo) The interlocutors discussed a set of measures and coordination on security issues in order to stabilize the situation in the region. Balan stressed that Ukraine was giving Moldova “a good example of counteracting aggression, in particular, in fighting Russian propaganda.” Read also Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova recruited fighters – Reuters “We have adopted a draft law restricting the broadcasting of news programs from the countries that have not signed the European Convention on Transfrontier Television,” he said. In addition, the parties expressed interest in coordinating actions to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Moldova.
Moldova has no control of 454 km of its border with Ukraine for 25 years. This border sector is fully controlled by the breakaway region of Transnistria having border checkpoints as on the Moldovan state border with Ukraine as on the administrative border with the rest of Moldova. After a quarter of a century since the Transnistrian conflict erupted, it is still far from a resolution. The conflict was frozen in 1992 and it is being settled with no success until now. Ukrainian and Moldovan governments have found a way for Moldova to regain control over its border. 13 joint border checkpoints are to be opened on Ukrainian territory for Moldovan border control of the Transnistrian region. Ukraine is ready to contribute to the restoration of Moldova’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, according to President Poroshenko. The breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria is not recognized by any country as an independent state. Even Russia, which is keeping the conflict in Moldova frozen, didn’t recognize Transnistria. The Moldovan government has no control of the eastern region for more than 25 years. The Moldova–Ukraine inland border is 1222 km long. Transnistria controls 454 km of the Moldovan border with Ukraine. On the Ukrainian border, 31 border crossing points operate in Moldova’s government-controlled territory, 14 more were established by Transnistria. However, this year Ukraine and Moldova have found a strategy for Moldova to regain control of its border, and the strategy may work. The first joint checkpoint has been opened on Ukrainian territory bordering on the Transnistrian region. Twelve more to be open in the future.
WASHINGTON — Moldova is among the most vulnerable countries in the world in terms of energy security, with protracted conflicts in Transdniester and Ukraine potentially putting it in a perilou…
CHISINAU — Moldovan President Igor Dodon has signed into law a controversial bill introducing a mixed electoral system despite mass protests in Chisinau. Thousands rallied in Chisinau on July 2…
BRUSSELS — The European Parliament has voted for the European Union to disburse 100 million euros ($113.5 million) of macrofinancial aid to Moldova, with the first of three tranches due in December….
CHISINAU (Reuters) – Moldovan intelligence believes five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova last month were spies who were recruiting fighters for the Moscow-backed insurgency in neighboring Ukraine, a government source and two diplomatic sources told Reuters. Moldova, a former Soviet state that has long been the focus of a struggle for influence between Russia and the West, expelled the diplomats on May 29. It did not explain the decision, with Prime Minister Pavel Filip saying only that his government had “good reasons”. According to the sources, who are familiar with the case, the five were ejected because of their alleged activities as undercover officers with the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. They said Moldovan officials believed the Russians were recruiting fighters from Gagauzia, an autonomous southern region home to an ethnic Turkish population that is pro-Russian and opposes closer integration with the European Union. The Moldovan government source and Chisinau-based diplomatic sources all spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. They did not say how the Russians allegedly recruited the fighters, how many were recruited or the reason for their recruitment. Reuters could not independently verify the allegations about the activities of the five Russians.
A volunteer-cum-entrepreneur has helped launch a popular American barbecue restaurant in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau. Now he is trying to use his experiences in fighting through the post-Soviet bureaucracy to help other start-ups get off the ground. (RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service)
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – “By his planned cleansing of the political field of Russia” of anyone who might challenge him, Vladimir Putin has “liquidated any direct threat to the preservation of his power,” Aleksandr Yakovenko says. But at the same time, he “has created a new albeit long-term threat” to him and Russia. The essence of this threat, the Moscow commentator says, is that “in Russia today, there exists a critical mass of fools in power and fools with initiative,” a reality that Putin himself occasionally acknowledges as he did with regard to official attacks on artists and directors (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59719A83C5005). “But the winner of the competition for the title ‘chief fool of the month’ undoubtedly is DNR head Aleksandr Zakharchenko who declared that he is replacing Ukraine and putting in its place Malorossiya with a capital in Donetsk.” Unlike most fools in Putin’s entourage, this wasn’t a personal evaluation or a prediction: this was a declaration. Holding what he said was “’a constitutional act,’” Zakharchenko listed the 19 Ukrainian oblasts he said would be part of his new state. (Why he didn’t list the other four is uncertain. Perhaps he doesn’t know, Yakovenko says.) Worse yet, “it is obvious that the Kremlin wasn’t prepared to go so far in its own alternative reality.” Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov didn’t quite know how to react at all, while Vladislav Surkov suggested that all the “hype” about Malorosia about “the imaginary state of Malorossiya on the whole is useful.” At least, it will have an impact on Ukraine’s efforts to integrate with Europe. To the honor of Ukrainians, Yakovenko continues, “many of them still have” a positive attitude toward Russia and its leadership.” But “it is difficult to say how the further rapid growth in the number of fools in the Russian leadership and the appearance of ever new foolish initiatives on the relationship of citizens of Ukraine and Russia.” “Especially,” he concludes, “if one considers that the author of this main and most foolish initiative on the occupation of Crimea intends to continue to rule Russia until the end of his life and Russians in the same way are prepared to put up with this.”
The Kremlin now claims that the Donbas war and “Malorossiya” plans are efforts to unify Ukraine. The Russian president’s personal advisor Vladislav Surkov has stated that the insane declaration by the chieftain of the Donetsk militants Alexander Zakharchenko (regarding the creation of the “new country of Malorossiya“– Ed.) was due to the fact that “the Donbas is fighting not for separation from Ukraine but for its inseparability, for the entire Ukraine and not just for a part of it. In other words, there is a ‘civil war’ in Ukraine between people who see the future of their country differently.” This is a completely new view of the events associated with Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Because, at the beginning of the undeclared war, it was considered that the struggle was for “Novorossiya,” which the Bolsheviks supposedly gave to Ukrainians. This is what Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about in the “Crimean speech.” When it became clear that the Russian offensive in the east was faltering, (the Russians) moved to create some new “Donbas” nation with its own mentality that was different from the Ukrainian one. After all, it is not by chance, for example, that the word “Moldovan” appears in the name of Transnistria (Pridnestrovie) , the separatist enclave in Moldova. But the word “Ukrainian” is absent in the names of DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) and LNR (Luhansk People’s Republic). The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) was created as another Moldova. And DNR and LNR were created as the “anti-Ukraine” territory that had nothing in common with its own state and had only one dream — to join Russia under any conditions. Even when there was talk about territorial integrity it meant the “restoration” of the territorial integrity of DNR and LNR within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. And now, suddenly, it turns out that Zakharchenko is fighting not for the detachment of the Donbas but for its reunification with Ukraine. Who would have thought! Interesting. Is Zakharchenko aware of it himself? Well, if he doesn’t know he will soon find out. This is because Surkov’s words testify to the Kremlin’s desire to get rid of the “people’s republics.” Russian officials simply do not know yet how and under what conditions. Naturally, they really would like to return the occupied part of the Donbas to an “obedient” pro-Kremlin Ukraine, but for now they have begun to expound on the wholeness of the country, on the “civil war” between people who have different ideas about the future of this entire country. After all, in a civil war it is possible that the Ukrainians could win as well as the “Malorussians.” And what would Surkov do in the event of such a victory? Well, nothing special — just shrug: the country’s unity has been preserved. If there is no “Russian” Donbas, if there is no “Novorossiya” but only “Malorossiya,” which is transformed into Ukraine with the wave of a hand, then what is there to argue about? As Surkov explained to his assistants, the main thing is that this is an “internal Ukrainian discussion.” Simply put — prepare for the surrender of the occupied part of the Donbas. The same fate awaits occupied Crimea. Yes, today the peninsula is considered to be “an integral part of the Russian Federation,” but this is true as long as an insane Putin sits in the Kremlin. And after the inevitable collapse of his regime, Crimea will likely become the only commodity that Russia can use to trade with the West, the only opportunity to prove its commitment to international law. And then suddenly, unexpectedly, it will turn out that “annexation” of the peninsula is against this very law and that everyone knew it but was afraid to say so. And if certain Crimean residents still have a different idea of their own future at that time, this will become part of the “internal Ukrainian discussion.” Russia will have nothing to do with it.
Malorossiya as an example of ideological war against Ukraine’s integrity. On public, Moscow distances itself from the Malorossiya project. However, the Kremlin will use it to put Russia aside from the Donbas conflict. And also as a tool in its ideological war against the statehood and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Thus, the Russian leadership spent the entire first half of 19 July calming down and persuading Western leaders that Moscow had nothing to do with the certain “hangover-ish” statement and is not withdrawing the Minsk talks. However, by the evening on the same day, after a certain meeting held by “His Lowness” [or, if translated literally, “His Darkness”, Surkov’s nickname], Chesnakov gave a new interpretation of the Malorossiya initiative, albeit with different undertones. He said that the initiative put forward by Zakharchenko and his entourage is not that bad after all. Chesnakov made no secret of the fact that it is an element of the ongoing ideological war, and attempted (once again) to redirect the debate from Russia’s armed aggression to the alleged “internal conflict in Ukraine”. “All this hype around a fantasy state Malorossiya is useful in general. What is important is that Donbas is fighting not to get detached from Ukraine but for its integrity. This means that in Ukraine there is a civil war between people who have different views on the future of their country,” Surkov was quoted as saying by his spindoctor.
On 18 July 2017, the leader of the Kremlin’s proxy “Donetsk People’s Republic” Oleksandr Zakharchenko called to replace all of Ukraine, sans occupied Crimea, with the so-called “Malorossiya.” In the minds of many Ukrainians, the latter is associated with a province of the Russian Empire, to which most of modern Ukraine was subjugated before 1917. The move has ignited indignation in Ukraine while analysts ponder what this means for the Minsk peace process, which envisions the reintegration of the Russian-backed separatist stronghold to Ukraine. Where did Zakharchenko’s aides pick up the name for their new utopia, the “state of Malorossiya” as a “successor” of Ukraine? And how does the historical meaning of “Malorossiya” correlate with Donetsk separatists’ dreams of establishing their regime over the rest of Ukraine? Where did the name “Malorossiya” come from? The term originates from the Greek ecclesiastic term Mikrá Rhōsía (“Little Rus”), which appeared in the 14th century in order to differ the newborn and smaller Orthodox archdiocese of Halych from the older and bigger archdiocese of Kyiv (called Megálē Rhōsía, or “Great Rus”). “Great Rus” thus meant the canonic territory that had formerly been under the political power of the great princes of Kyiv, except for its Western part, where the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia was proclaimed in the mid-13th century. Since 1299, however, the metropolitan archbishop of Kyiv actually officiated in the city of Vladimir in Northeast Rus. Given that in the 13th century, Kyiv was badly destroyed during the Mongol invasion and the following fighting in the Golden Horde, Vladimir became a safer place for the archbishop’s residence. Soon the rulers of the small Duchy of Moscow enticed the church authority to move to their capital. That is how Moscow became the de facto center of an Orthodox “Great Rus.” For a long time, this Moscow-centered church area formally retained the title of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kyiv.
Mikrá Rhōsía or Mala(ya) Rus continued to define Orthodox lands which, after the fall of the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia and demise of the Golden Horde, were part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland. These lands included the terrains of contemporary West and Central Ukraine with Lviv and Kyiv, as well as of Belarus (or “White Rus”) and sometimes also Lithuania proper with her capital, Vilnius. The term became especially popular with local Orthodox writers who saw Muscovy (“Great Rus”) as their prospective ally against the expansion of Catholicism. In the mid-17th century, Ukrainian Cossack rebels led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky shook off the Polish rule and appealed to the tsar for the military protection of Ukraine. In this context, the name of Mala(ya) Rus or Mala(ya) Rossiya became a useful tool for both Cossack leaders and Moscow statesmen to justify their supposedly common, primarily anti-Polish and anti-Catholic, interest. It seems that the spreading of the term “Malorossiya” was a by-product of the submission of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate to Muscovy in the second half of the 17th and early 18th century. It gradually substituted for Malaya Rus/Malaya Rossiya, apparently because of the proliferation of the latter’s derivative, the adjective Malorossiiskiy, in Moscow bureaucratic vocabulary—with Malorossiisky Prikaz (still called also the Prikaz of Malaya Rossiya, and not “of Malorossiya”) as a chief governmental institution in charge of Ukrainian Cossack affairs. How much Ukrainian land did Malorossiya cover under the Russian Empire? After the death of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Moscow tsars granted their suzerainty over the self-governed eastern part of the Hetmanate (on the left bank of the Dnieper River) nearly for 100 years. In 1764, Russian Empress Catherine II abolished the autonomy of the left-bank Hetmanate and created the Malorossian Governorate in its place. The territory of this first Governorate (1764–1781) covered most of today’s Chernihiv and Poltava Oblasts, as well as Kyiv and the eastern part of Kyiv Oblast. When Russia annexed the right bank of the Dnieper from partitioned Poland at the end of the 18th century, the borders of the province of Malorossiya were not extended westwards. On the contrary, Kyiv and its vicinity remained beyond the second Malorossian Governorate (1796–1802). In the first half of the 19th century, a new entity called the Malorossian General Governorate expanded to the east absorbing the terrains of the former Slobidska Ukraine, which are now Kharkiv, Sumy, and the northern half of Luhansk Oblasts. In the 19th-century documents of the Russian government, the imperial province of Malorossiya was clearly set apart from governorates to the south, as well as of the right Dnieper bank. In either of its three administrative configurations, it embraced substantial parts of only seven regions in the north, northeast, and center of contemporary Ukraine (and never all of them at the same time). The rest of Ukraine’s twenty regions, including Donetsk Oblast, did not belong to it.
The Foreign Ministry of Germany on Friday, July 21, urged the parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to fulfill the conditions of the "Harvest truce," the statement released on Twitter reads, according to Deutsche Welle. News 21 July from UNIAN.
Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has reported about the attempt to seize the public reception of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine and the planned provocation in the presidential administration, organized by Russia with the view of destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. “Attempts to destabilize Ukraine continue. According to latest information, at a closed meeting of the Russian leadership in May, Putin criticized his assistant Surkov for the failure of the operation to destabilize the socio-political situation in Ukraine and set a new task to undermine the ruling regime in Ukraine within the shortest possible time. Kyiv has been chosen as a site for the provocation,” Hrytsak said at a briefing in Kyiv on Saturday. According to him, during one week – from June 28 to July 4, alone, the SBU prevented six attempts by the Russian side to organize protests outside the Polish Embassy in Ukraine. And on July 5, the SBU thwarted the seventh attempt of provocation, this time near the building of the consulate of Poland in Ukraine. Hrytsak stressed that Russia also remains the main initiator of forceful provocations whose purpose is to show that Ukraine is allegedly the source of the spread of extremism. “On July 12, on the instructions of the Russian side, an attempt was made to seize the public reception of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine,” the SBU chief said. Another provocation was being prepared in the public reception office of the Ukrainian president, Hrytsak said adding that they have a screenshot of the correspondence containing the plan of provocations from Moscow. “The security service has established the organizers of these actions – all of them are on the territory of the Russian Federation. They received orders from Surkov and Ardzinba in the Russian presidential administration. The funding was provided by the Committee of Rescue of Ukraine Azarov and Oliynik, former high-ranking officials and fugitive oligarchs,” the SBU head said. The organization of anti-Polish pseudo-actions was led by Nikolai Dulsky.
The Trump administration’s new special representative for Ukraine negotiations is making his first trip to embattled eastern Ukraine.
U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker will visit Ukraine again by the end of July, a source in diplomatic circles told Interfax-Ukraine.
22.07.2017 11:54. Next week, United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker will visit Ukraine, France, Belgium, Austria and the United Kingdom as part of the efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation in eastern Ukraine.
KYIV — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has blamed Russia for the recent deaths of eight Ukrainian soldiers in its eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, where Moscow-backed separatists hav…
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has blamed Russia for the recent aggravation of the situation in Donbas, and urged international partners involved in the peace process to step up pressure on Moscow.
Given a recent spike in enemy activity in Donbas, this Friday could be characterized as a relatively quiet day, the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) press service said.
22.07.2017 13:53. One Ukrainian soldier was killed, another two soldiers were wounded in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day.
Four Maryinka residents were wounded as a result of shelling by militants, the press center of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) reported on Facebook, according to the Ukrainian side of the Joint Center on Control and Coordination (JCCC).
Pro-Russian militants are impeding access of the OSCE observers to the temporarily occupied town of Novoazovsk in Donetsk region, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission wrote on Twitter. News 22 July from UNIAN.
22.07.2017 14:22. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has informed that the SMM patrols were prevented from entering the town of Novoazovsk in Donetsk region, which is now under the control of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”.
Mother of Viktor Ageyev, the Russian contracted soldier earlier captured by Ukrainian forces in Luhansk region after a shootout with a sabotage recon group he was part of, has met her son, Novaya Gazeta’s special correspondent Pavel Kanygin reported by phone from Ukraine’s Starobelsk in Luhansk region. News 22 July from UNIAN.
The mother of a Russian military serviceman Viktor Ageyev, Svetlana, has crossed into Ukraine on Friday, July 21, a Russian journalist Pavel Kanygin, who accompanies the woman, has told Novaya Gazeta by phone from a train late Friday. News 22 July from UNIAN.
An analysis of the tasks of combat duty showed that during the first half of 2017, the regular air defense forces were transferred to readiness number 1 more than a thousand times. Today, on July 21, in particular, it was discussed in Lviv during the summing-up of the activity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the first half of the school year of 2017, which was held under the command of the Air Force Commander, Colonel-General Serhiy Drozdov. According to the Commander of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the purpose of the event is to assess the state and readiness of the Air Forces to carry out tasks for the purpose, taking into account current challenges and threats. During the constructive dialogue, the main emphasis was put on the introduction of best practices in the practice of troops and clarification of the task for the next six months. From the positive dynamics noted during the summing up – the presence of combat experience in a significant number of servicemen, the intensification of combat training activities, including in co-operation with forces and means of other types of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the gradual renewal of armaments and military equipment, and support of troop activity Civilian population. One of the most effective measures of combat training was recognized flight method at the Lutsk airfield. During the event, about three dozen crews of bomber and fighter aircraft, as well as helicopters, were trained to conduct ground-based military operations. Chief of Staff – First Deputy Commander of the Air Force, Major-General Vyacheslav Shamko conducted an analysis of the tasks of combat duty in the first half of 2017. So, in one day, on average, regular forces are detected and conducted to 1300 air targets. Violations of the order of use of airspace of Ukraine for the first half of the year revealed almost 13 thousand, of which the absolute majority – 99.65% in the airspace over the territory of the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Among the best parts of aviation, the teams of tactical aviation Ivano-Frankivsk and Myrhorod were marked by the command of the Air Forces in the first half of the year. Two anti-aircraft missile units, representing the South and East air forces, were the first to become parts of the air defense system. Press Center of the Air Command “West”
Shabla 2017 Live Fire Exercise, Bulgaria
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 3.4K 3,614 views Published on July 20, 2017 In mid-July, a multinational firefighting exercise took place at the military training ground of the Bulgarian Armed Forces on the Black Sea coast.
The polygon is located near the small Bulgarian town of Shabla, respectively, and training, in which units of the anti-aircraft missile troops of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia and the USA participated, received the same name as “Shabla 2017”. Four fragments from the YouTube network are used.
21.07.17 16:49 – 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade trained to span Dnipro River. VIDEO Military of the 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade conducted an exercise to span Dnipro River. View video news.
22.07.2017 12:18. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has congratulated the residents of towns Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and Rubizhne in Luhansk region on the third anniversary of liberation from the militant occupation.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has greeted the residents of three towns in Donbas – Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Rubizhne – on the third anniversary of their liberation from the Russian-hybrid forces. News 22 July from UNIAN.
Six servicemen from the 45th US National Guard Brigade Combat Team (Oklahoma) participating in the training mission of the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U) at the International Center for Peacemaking and Safety, National Academy of Land Troops named after hetman Petro Sagaidachny, last Sunday were in the city of Lviv on an excursion. In the city center, near the Lviv National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet named after Solomiya Krushelnytska, they suddenly saw thick smoke over one of the houses. American fighters rushed to the burning building without thinking. Military men remember that when they got to the scene of the event, there were no rescuers. The mountain is the second floor. Smoke from a fire made breathing difficult. They immediately began to knock at all the doors to attract the attention of the inhabitants. The language barrier added difficulties. However, people quickly realized that they were in danger. Until the arrival of rescuers, the Americans managed to evacuate the third floor. The Oklahomaan national guards acted confidently, because among them there was a volunteer firefighter Nelson Diz from Crowder in Pittsburgh County. He clearly knew that they needed to move quickly and save people from the flames. American soldiers Matthew Odom, Nelson Diz, Vincent Hamerickhaus, Kellar Jackson, Aaron Moore and Kevin Polk, who saved the residents of Lviv from a burning house, unanimously protested with their actions. As reported by the press officer of the 45th US National Guard Brigade Combat Team Captain Kayl Christopher, the US Department of Homeland Security was informed about this courageous act of US troops. All supporting documents will be sent there, and at the decision of the Ministry of National Security, the six heroes will receive the highest Soldier’s Medal bronze medal award, approved by the US Congress in 1926. It should be noted that this award is awarded to servicemen of the US Army for a courageous act outside of military action, that is, in peaceful life.
U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems) belonging to the 9th Operations Group/Detachment 4th of the U.S. Air Force deployed to Sigonella from Beale Air Force Base, California, have been flying ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions in support of EUCOM, AFRICOM and CENTCOM theater mission tasking since 2011. Beginning in 2015, they have started flying over Ukraine as well and, as already reported, instead of keeping a low-profile, they can be regularly tracked not only by “standard” ground radars, but even by commercial ADS-B receivers like those feeding online flight tracking systems such as Flightradar24.com, PlaneFinder.net or Global ADS Exchange while its imagery intelligence (IMINT) sensors take a look at Russian bases in Crimea and gather information about the pro-Russia forces on the ground in the Dombass region of Ukraine. As we write this story, 19:00 GMT on Jul. 20, a Global Hawk drone can be tracked as it performs an ISR mission over Ukraine at 53,000 feet. The unmanned aircraft has been airborne for some 17 hours. It started tracking early in the morning after departing from Sigonella, then it has headed east, flown over Bulgaria to the Black Sea, “skirted” Crimea, performed some racetracks off Sochi and then headed back to make a tour of Ukraine. Here are some screenshots taken by our friend and famous ADS-B / ModeS tracking enthusiast running the popular @CivMilAir @ADSBTweetBot Twitter feeds:
Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has said thousands of pages of evidence regarding the financing of terrorism in the east of Ukraine by the Russian Federation have been transferred to the International Court of Justice of the United Nations.
Today, July 21, the Court of Appeal in Odesa region overruled an appeal motion by representatives of JSC Odesa Oil Refinery, Energy and Gas Ukraine LLC, and a representative of Serhiy Kurchenko, a young oligarch close to Viktor Yanukovych who had fled to Russia along with the other members of the ousted ex-president’s entourage, following the Revolution of Dignity. News 21 July from UNIAN.
Robert Kirchner, Dr Ricardo Giucci, Anne Mdinaradze After a massive decrease in GDP during 2014/2015, the Ukrainian economy is now recovering: Economic performance increased by 2.3% in 2016 and in 2017 GDP is expected to increase by 2.0%. An important reason for this positive development is the increase in investment, which reflects growing confidence in the country. This recovery process is accompanied by a general stabilisation trend. The exchange rate has been stable for a considerable amount of time and is now backed by significantly larger foreign exchange reserves. Inflation is still high at currently 15.6%, but will decrease significantly this and next year. Thanks to the fact that the Naftogaz deficit has been eliminated, the budget deficit amounted to only 2.2% of GDP in 2016. However, expenditures for the recovery of the banking sector amounting to 5.4% of GDP are not included in the budget. Nationalising the country’s largest bank was, without doubt, a necessity. In spite of these economic policy success stories, economic growth is with a meagre 2% far below potential. The speed of reforms has to be significantly accelerated in order to achieve tangible improvements for the population, thus securing its further support for the reform process
The International Monetary Fund indicated that in order to continue cooperation with Ukraine, it is necessary for Ukraine to adopt pension …
Even those Crimean residents who initially welcomed the Russian Anschluss are now disappointed with the occupation and angry at Russians for their behavior, and the Russians there, long-time residents, new arrivals and tourists, are reciprocating with anger at the local population, according to Yevgeniya Goryunova, a Crimean political scientist, EuroMaidan Press reports. News 22 July from UNIAN.
The Bulgarian TV channel apologized for airing a map of Ukraine without the Russian-annexed Crimea, the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria wrote on Facebook. News 22 July from UNIAN.
Occupied Crimea is on the brink of an environmental disaster. In 20 years, most of the peninsula could become a salty desert. Crimean residents already face a shortage of fresh water. The Kremlin and the self-proclaimed “authorities” of the peninsula are not able to solve the problem and blame Kyiv for destabilizing the situation in the region. Serhiy Stelmakh [the name was changed due to the security reasons], a Crimean journalist of RFE/RL, assumes that Russia is preparing an ultimatum to Ukraine – either it unblocks the channel which provided water to the peninsula, or the Kremlin will use its power. The situation with water is so critical that even Russian authorities have to recognize it and speak about it openly. “The situation with providing water resources to the population and economy of the Crimean peninsula is rather complicated. The total water intake in 2016 fell fivefold compared to 2014,” Nikolay Matrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, stated on 27 June 2017 while visiting Simferopol. He said that the problem was most acute in eastern Crimea, where the area of irrigated land fell by 92%, and fisheries and industrial enterprises suffer, while the problem of supplying water to the other parts was solved. Traditionally all the blame was put on the Ukrainian side. To a great extent, the Crimean peninsula depends on water from the Dnipro river which was brought from the mainland through the North Crimean canal. After Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, Ukraine dammed the canal. Despite making loud statements, Russia could not find any alternative to it. Let’s take a look at the situation from the beginning.
Occupied Crimea is on the brink of an environmental disaster. In 20 years, most of the peninsula could become a salty desert. Crimean residents already face …
In English transcription, his name, however, sounds like John Basil Turchin. Both in life and on the gravestone, with his name, the word “Cossack” was spoken and written all the time – not as a title, since it was always emphasized that he was a general, and like a title … Hereditary Cossack Ivan Turchyn was born in 1822 on the Don. At that time, it was already the land of the so-called Donskoy Troops, but in the Cossack villages continued to communicate in Ukrainian, all customs and ordinances also had Ukrainian origin, which is not strange. After all, the Cossacks came to these lands, to the eastern borders of the former Wild Field, namely from the Ukrainian Cossack region – Zaporozhye. Naturally, the Cossack son himself became a soldier – in 30 years, Colonel Ivan Turchin was the head of the corps headquarters. But after suppressing the revolutsioon in Hungary and the Crimean War, Ivan Turchin filed a resignation request. Together with his wife Nadia, in 1856 he left home. After a few months in Germany, France and England, the Cossack colonel arrived in America, not even knowing that ahead of him, a professional military former in the past, is not a peaceful life, but a war … In Chicago, Ivan Turchin as a graduate engineer settled on the railway – the head of the technical department of the Illinois Central Railway. In parallel with this became a publicist, he wrote in the newspaper about the rights and freedoms of the black population, interested in his views of the congressman of Illinois Abraham Lincoln. Personal acquaintance was held in Springfield in 1860. During a statement by the future president, the representatives of the South staged a fight in which Turchin, at the risk of life, saved the future president of the United States. In the year of the abolition of serfdom in the Russian Empire, in the homeland of the Cossack, the struggle against slavery began and in the United States – a civil war broke out between the racist South and the Democratic North. Colonel Ivan Turchyn volunteered to join the North Army and was appointed commander of the 19th Regiment of Volunteers in Illinois. For the most part these were non-military people – yesterday’s workers, miners, farmers, so the colonel had to work hard to make true soldiers of them. He wrote a collection of instructions for the commanders, editing the regimental newspaper, in which he pointed out in the articles on mistakes the soldiers and commanders. It should be noted that at the time the command also did not have any combat experience, so in this Abraham Lincoln entirely relied on the few professional soldiers who were his allies. And the first among them – the Cossack colonel Ivan Turchin. It was his experience that the American command began to implement throughout the front. These include, in particular, the actions of the infantry in the expanded chain, the bayonet battle, and the actions of mobile cavalry units, the concentration of infantry and artillery at headquarters and strategic positions, the construction of fortifications in ammunition warehouses and foodstuffs, and so on. Already at the end of that same year in 1861 Col. Turchin became commander of the brigade in the army of General Carlos Buell. In the winter of 1862, she made a march to North Alabama. A well prepared cavalry of the Southern Army met her with unexpected attacks. To counter confederates, Turchin put ambush in places where the enemy was likely to appear, and he himself, perhaps from the enthusiastic ferryman and railroad platforms, was perhaps the world’s first armored train that carried out raids in the rear of the “southern”. Turchin’s team was one of the first to recruit a black recruits, and the military field hospital was led by Nadiya Turchin. When, one day, a malaria attack invaded the commander in bed, a brave Cossack took the soldiers into battle. Heading the division, General Turchin wrote many glorious pages in her combat chronicle under Huntsville, Chikamagha, Chatunuga, on the Missionary Ridge Mountain Range and accomplished the famous “march to the ocean.” After the Civil War, General Turchin and his wife lived in Chicago for several years. He worked there himself, where before the war – at the head office of the Illinois central railway. Just this time there was the first wave of emigration from the countries of Eastern Europe. And here Turchins founded the town of Radom in the south of Illinois, the first settlers of which were Polish families. The general helped them build a church and school. But for a long time, his heart was throbbing hard at home. And then, after two months of serious illness, he died at the hospital in the hands of his wife. In an official statement from the US military ministry, it was stated: “On July 18, 1901, at the age of 79, General General Turchin, a brave Cossack of the Great Army of the United States, died.” The material was prepared by Alexei TRIGUB
Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov better known by his Anglicised name of John Basil Turchin, was a Union army brigadier general in the American Civil War.
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
By James M. Dorsey US President Donald J. Trump. in a step that could embolden Saudi Arabia to move ahead with plans to destabilize Iran, ha…
Special Operations commander walked back remarks that appeared to surprise the CIA.
A top U.S. general confirmed on July 21 that the CIA is shutting down its program to equip and train rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, but denied it is doing so t…
Securi Security Service of Ukraine Head Vasyl Hrytsak has reported more than half a thousand Russian mercenaries who took part in operations in Donbas are currently fighting in Syria. “According to the SBU intelligence, more than 500 Russian citizens who were involved in the operations in Donbas now fight in Syria as mercenaries. Most of them are part of official military units from the special purpose units, airborne troops and marines, as well as special operations forces… I should note I am talking not about the official Russian military contingent in Syria, but about mercenaries of the Russian Ministry of Defense… Of these, 124 people have already died,” the SBU chief said. Hrytsak also made public the data of the Security Service, according to which several thousand Russian servicemen and mercenaries have already died on the territory of Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on July 22 that its officials had signed a deal with moderate Syrian rebels at peace talks in Cairo on how a safe zone near Damascus will function. Th…
Will Bardenwerper, The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid (Scribner, 2017) More than 14 years afte
A prosecutor says that a German girl, who ran away from home after converting to Islam, has been found in Iraq.
The toll of the airstrike, which took place in Helmand province, is expected to rise.
Defense Secretary Mattis says Islamabad is not doing enough to counter Haqqani network
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday evening offered some of the most aggressive comments yet from the Trump administration with regard to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
The reclusive state did have a few helpful friends
North Korea’s announcement that it successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4 has pivoted the world’s attention to the Korean peninsula.
Myanmar’s military has maintained ties with North Korea, even though the civilian-led government denies any cooperation, and the Trump administration is pressing for a complete break-off of remaining links, current and former U.S. officials said.
The new policy will reportedly include the threat of canceling the passports of Americans who violate the travel ban.
A report that Kim Jong Un is dead and that it was an American sniper who killed him is fake news, despite an alarming headline and short story posted on dailysidnews.com. A July 6, 2017, post headlined, "Kim Jong Un dead: North Koreans calling Trump an assassin," claims the North Korean leader died "of an apparent high-powered gunshot wound to the head" and that state media reports the "bullet came from the sniper rifle of an American positioned more than a mile away." Though the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is secretive and the government controls information and the media, …
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile threat from North Korea.
Russia and China have started weeklong naval maneuvers on the Baltic Sea, flexing their muscles in a region where tensions have risen in recent years. The joint exercises began on July 21 at th…
CHINA is pushing the boundaries of its new-found military might, sending an advanced spy ship to monitor Australia’s largest international war game.
Vessel stayed outside territorial waters but was inside exclusive economic zone in move Australian defence officials described as ‘provocative’
Foreign Policy Reports
Rightwing government’s planned reforms for legal system could prompt triggering of article 7 for the first time
A bill that would give Poland’s populist government the power to push all the nation’s Supreme Court judges into retirement passed the upper house of the National Assembly early Saturday.
Last month, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met American President Donald Trump at the White House, the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies re-established the first principle of an alliance between representative democracies: populism. In their joint press conference remarks, President Trump aptly noted: “both American and the Indian constitutions begin with the same three very beautiful words: We the people. The Prime Minister and I both understand the crucial importance of those words, which helps to form the foundation of cooperation between our two countries. Relations between countries are strongest when they are devoted to the interests of the people we serve. And after our meetings today, I will say that the relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, has never been better.” In formulating their nation’s foreign policy, Trump and Modi concurred on the one essential point: through their elected representatives, the people must have a seat at the table. As such, America’s national security interest is aligned with that of India and vice versa. The priority interest of the American people and the Indian people is the same; the people expect their government to defend its sovereignty and protect its borders. Americans and Indians are equally aware that terrorism is the greatest imminent threat to their prosperity and their way of life. Heinous acts of terror are no longer limited to the war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but have occurred with high frequency in the main streets of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, New York, San Bernardino, and Orlando. Eradicating terrorism, wherever it may be, is critical to security, and security is a necessary prerequisite to trade and economic growth. In a dramatic shift from India’s past entrenched positions, Prime Minister Modi agreed to actively support President Trump’s two priority concerns: Afghanistan and North Korea.
US Domestic Policy Reports
When it comes to responding to the Russia probe Trump and his advisers do not have many options. And the ones they have carry big political risks.
Former national security adviser Susan Rice met privately Friday with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, Fox News has learned – in one of several Capitol Hill sessions involving Obama administration officials.
Susan Rice, who served as former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, quietly met behind closed doors Friday with Senate intelligence committee investigators probing Russian meddling in the elections, according to an official familiar with the matter.
President Donald Trump’s eldest son and his former campaign chairman won’t testify publicly next week on Russian election meddling
Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak claimed he discussed the 2016 campaign with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, possibly contradicting the attorney general’s public comments about his interactions with Russian officials, according to a Washington Post report Friday.
A U.S. Senate committee investigating alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential election has said it will not force President Donald Trump’s eldest son and former campaig…
Russia’s FSB spy agency was a client of the Russian lawyer at the center of U.S. probes into Moscow’s alleged attempts to meddle in the presidential election, media reported on July 21. …
‘That was a terrible, insulting affront,’ said former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.
Mr. Spicer quit after telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
President Trump’s overhaul of his White House, in a shake-up of senior team, continues a pattern of seemingly constant chaos.
Incoming communications director Anthony Scaramucci announced Friday that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will succeed Spicer as press secretary.
Congressional tradition allows McCain time to battle cancer
Crew members aboard the USS Fitzgerald should have spoken up long before the American warship collided with a massive cargo vessel off the coast of Japan last month, U.S. officials said on Friday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The crew of the USS Fitzgerald was likely at fault in the warship’s collision with a Philippine cargo ship in June and had not been paying attention to their surroundings, according to initial findings in an investigation, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Friday.