A multiplicity of bizarre reports from Russia demonstrating that its dive into the abyss continues. Russian Embassy declares that “methods of pressure and confrontation toward Russia do not work” – curiously ignoring immense economic impacts. Naval parade in St. Petersburg. Dobrokhotov elaborates on Russia’s campaign to antagonize the West, and makes the point of being careful what you wish for. Harding on Russian meddling, noting that the Russians wanted to be seen to be meddling, both to impress HRC and scare Eastern Europeans. Shelin makes a good point – Russia’s responses to Western actions usually do more damage to Russia than the West. Yakovenko elaborates on what he sees as Putin’s infantile manner of relating to the West – to what extent this is Putin’s internal psychology, and to what extent he is appealing to public attitudes is an open question. Tarasov observes that growing Stalinism reflects commonly held belief that a tyrant is required in Russia to protect the interests of ordinary Russians. Yakovenko lampoons Putin’s United Russia party. COCW Award today goes to Dmitry Gordon for his public speculation thus: “I recently have an increasingly strong feeling that Putin is an agent of the West. I am puzzled by this idea with what success he breaks up Russia. The sensation that the West consciously allows him to do this”. As always, Prof Goble’s “A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 93” is a must-read item.
LGMs in Belarus? Russian servicemen arriving for Zapad-2017 walking around Vitebsk in unmarked BDUs, carrying assault rifles, and frightening local Belarusians.
Moldovans protest changes to electoral laws, while in Transnistria Russians celebrate 25th anniversary of Russia’s enclave splitting from Moldova.
Donbass fires continue at reduced optempo. UA tests new electro-optical targeting system for Mi-8MSB-V HIP at Shirokiy Lan range.
Tajik Jihadists move their children to Syria when joining ISIS. Multiple reports on Jihadists, and in Sydney, Australia, a plot to blow up an airliner busted by police.
Runner up to today’s COCW Award goes to the North Koreans interviewed about last week’s ICBM launch – priceless. DPRK debate heats up, increasing skepticism about China’s ability to do anything, and appeasers appear in strength. Another THAAD test. Indian MSM reactions to the PLA 90th Anniversary Parade.
EU to sanction Poland, while Venezuelan meltdown continues.
Interesting paper by Kruegler, more on Agency declassifying Soviet era literature library, and EMALS trials at sea.
Almost a dozen IW/IO/cyber reports, possibly most interesting is Falk’s research on audience reactions.
Sanctions remain a major theme in US domestic debate, while POTUS tweets what many analysts identified from almost the beginning – the Steele Dossier content was fabricated by the Russians, in the manner of fabricated domestic kompromat, for the sole purpose of creating mayhem, in the belief that HRC would win the election regardless. Trump was expendable and treated like a fool by the Russians.
In other words, Russia was against Trump in the 2016 Election – and why not, I want strong military & low oil prices. Witch Hunt! https://t.co/mMSxj4Su5z
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Russia / Russophone Reports
Pence visiting Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro to signal support and draw line under perceived aggression from Moscow.
The Noble Partner drills come as the Caucasus nation seeks to push its bid to join Nato.
“Peace through strength,” popularized by President Reagan, is again vogue, again vis-à-vis Russia. NATO allies launched their largest military exercise since the Cold War. NPR’s David Welna reports.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin finds himself robbed of a tried-and-true scapegoat for his country’s ills – which U.S. sanctions may soon make worse
New sanctions approved by the US Congress and the Senate, against Russia reflect the desire of the American people to see steps to improve relations with Russia. This was stated in an official statement by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “The near unanimous votes for the sanctions legislation in Congress represent the strong will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope that there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues and these sanctions will no longer be necessary, ” said the head of the State Department in the statement. Tillerson also added that “we will work closely with our friends and Allies to ensure our messages to Russia, Iran, and North Korea are clearly understood.” Moscow reacted to Tillerson’s statements. According to a statement by the Russian embassy in the United States, Washington will not achieve improved relations with Moscow with sanctions; the words of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in this regard “cause only bewilderment.” This was reported RIA Novosti. “The State Department’s statement on July 29 on the Sanctions Bill approved in Congress can not cause anything but bewilderment. Washington did not understand that the methods of pressure and confrontation toward Russia do not work, and further, more sanctions will not improve relations,” reported the Russian embassy.New sanctions approved by the US Congress and the Senate, against Russia reflect the desire of the American people to see steps to improve relations with Russia. This was stated in an official statement by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “The near unanimous votes for the sanctions legislation in Congress represent the strong will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope that there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues and these sanctions will no longer be necessary, ” said the head of the State Department in the statement. Tillerson also added that “we will work closely with our friends and Allies to ensure our messages to Russia, Iran, and North Korea are clearly understood.” Moscow reacted to Tillerson’s statements. According to a statement by the Russian embassy in the United States, Washington will not achieve improved relations with Moscow with sanctions; the words of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in this regard “cause only bewilderment.” This was reported RIA Novosti. “The State Department’s statement on July 29 on the Sanctions Bill approved in Congress can not cause anything but bewilderment. Washington did not understand that the methods of pressure and confrontation toward Russia do not work, and further, more sanctions will not improve relations,” reported the Russian embassy.
Navy Day events in St. Petersburg, which President Vladimir V. Putin oversaw, and in Syria were efforts to demonstrate growing military might.
“Today much is being done to develop and modernise the navy,” Putin told servicemen after surveying the military hardware from his presidential cutter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a naval parade held in St. Petersburg to mark Russia’s Navy Day on July 30. Dozens of military vessels were showcased on the city’s Neva River as aircraft flew overhead. (RTR via Reuters)
I disagree with the author on one contention, I do not believe Russia is yet considered an enemy of the United States, not by anyone in the US. Russia is an adversary, an overly aggressive global competitor with dreams and aspirations of greatness but currently cannot fill those shoes. It carries a loud stick as opposed to a big one. Most of the rest of the article is fairly good, only a wee bit out of sequence at times, however. </end editorial>
What Russia did during the US election of 2016 is actually normal behavior for countries, but Russia was sloppy, undisciplined, and way over the top. All countries have meddled in other government’s affairs since before 1776. Just look how France meddled with Britain and sponsored the US revolution, supplied the colonies money, troops, advisors, and weapons.…
Paul Goble Staunton, July 29 – The last three years of Russia’s economic isolation show, Sergey Shelin says, that “the counter-measures invented by the Russian authorities have harmed the country more than ‘the machinations of the West.’” Consequently, Russians should be more worried about Moscow’s response to new sanction than to the sanctions themselves. The Robalt commentator notes that “many have forgotten that the main Western sanctions were introduced not in the spring of 2014 at the time of Crimea but only in the summer because of the war in the Donbass and the shooting down of the passenger jet. Corresponding countersanctions were declared then” (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/07/28/1634442.html). Thus, Russia now is marking the third anniversary of its economic isolation. That experience suggests what people should expect now because “the new American sanctions package doesn’t so much intensify the measures which were introduced earlier as tighten them and make their lifting more difficult.” The new measure does allow for making them harsher but only if Russia’s responses are such that the US elite and population feels offended. Taking away the American dacha and expelling a few diplomats isn’t going to reach that level, Shelin says. He reminds that “the main direct consequence of the summer sanctions of 2014 was the need to return foreign debts quickly and search for new sources of credit in place of those that had been closed off.” On July 1, 2014, the foreign debt of Russia was 733 billion US dollars; now, it is about 530 billion US dollars. The new package doesn’t make a further decline likely. Indeed, the Rosbalt commentator says, “the more symmetrical [Moscow’s response] will be … the less noticeable will be the transition from the old version of Western sanctions to the new.” And thus “the optimistic variant” is that Moscow won’t do anything that will provoke a further Western tightening. Moscow can issue statements, cope with a small further decline in the ruble exchange rate, some additional capital flight, and a decline in foreign direct investment. But if the Kremlin adopts a more significant counter-sanction program, such as an embargo on the import of food of all kinds, then the outcome could be more negative, past history suggests. In 2013, Russia exported 16.2 billion US dollars’ worth of foodstuffs; last year, it exported 17 billion, a tiny increase given that Russian agricultural production has been growing more or less uninterruptedly since the end of the 1990s, Shelin says. If things had been normal, Russian exports would have soared. “But import substitution,” he says, “opened before the agricultural magnates enormous sources of income on the domestic market” and meant that they could ignore foreign problems. But Moscow’s counter-sanctions had a very different and more significant impact on Russian consumers. In 2013, Russia imported 2.65 times as much food from abroad as it exported; last year, that figure was 1.45. That decline was not because Russia was becoming more self-sufficient but rather because of the sharp decline in imports as a result of Russia’s declining income and thus ability to pay. And that permits the following conclusion: “Even in such a growing and almost flourishing part of the economy as agriculture, ‘import substitution’ counter-sanctions have distorted normal development, have supported oligarchic circles, and materially harmed masses of ordinary Russians.” They can only hope that the Kremlin will not adopt something similar again, Shelin concludes.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 29 – In most cultures, young people use force to dominate others but with time, the majority of them uses other means to advance their agendas. But unfortunately, Russia today is ruled by someone who never outgrew his youthful belief that force is enough and who hasn’t been forced to reconsider that faith and grow up, according to Igor Yakovenko. As a result, the ruler in the Kremlin is still psychologically a child, the Moscow commentator says, with all the dangerous consequences from being a child but having possession of enormous levers of power (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597C2C1FDC644). Putin’s constant recollections that he was educated in the Leningrad streets and learned early on to “beat first” show this, as do his preferred rhetoric since coming to power.” His machismo, including his pride in judo and his display of a naked torso, all show that he views the world not as an adult but as a child. It is thus “not accidental,” Yakovenko continues, “that [the Kremlin leader’s] victims have become real men who have [unlike Putin] become adults: Mikhail Khodorkovsky whom Putin sent to prison for ten years and Boris Nemtsov who was killed on Putin’s order.” And the fact that he was installed by his predecessor rather than chosen by the people has only intensified his feelings of childlike insecurity. Putin’s childishness is behind the extraordinarily high level of military spending, his aggressive use of force abroad and his repression at home. Support for “force” as such has “achieved heights in Putins Russia unprecedented even in the second half of the 20th century let alone the 21st.” “Never in all its history have monuments been put up in Russia to the bloody murder Ivan the Terrible, but under Putin, they are going up. Never after the 20th congress in the USSR or in post-Soviet Russia was there open propaganda of Stalinism. Under Putin, Stalin has become the name of Russia and his glorification goes non-stop on state television.” “The mass consciousness of Russians not simply accepted but was delighted and transformed into a cult of national pride the annexation of Crimea, the aggressive war in the east of Ukraine and the mass murder of the citizens of Syria,” Yakovenko says. This all means that “Russia is a very sick country.” According to Yakovenko, “the conviction that force was, is and will remain the chief resource of foreign policy and that only military strength can guarantee security is [held not only by Putin and his supporters but is] shared by a significant part and perhaps a majority of the supporters of a democratic, liberal and western course for Russia.” One has the sense, he continues, that “the mentality of even the most progressive Russians remains in the 19th or in the best case in the first half of the 20th century when military force was the only means of preserving sovereignty and guaranteeing peaceful life to one’s citizens.” “Unfortunately, even the most progressive people in Russia when one begins to talk” about overcoming Putin and Putinism sound very much like his most passionate and thoughtless supporters, discussing everything in terms of force as the Kremlin leader does. Only if that changes is there a real chance for progress. But that change will require Russians to grow up. And tragically, Vladimir Putin himself still a child is doing everything he can to keep them at the level of children.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 29 – The increasing sympathy and support Russians show for the figure of Stalin, psychiatrist Vyacheslav Tarasov says, reflects their sense that local officials aren’t preventing but rather promoting injustice and that a strong hand is needed to restore both order and justice. And that those ends are so important that they justify almost any means. He tells Mikhail Karpov of the Lenta news agency that calls to Vladimir Putin during his Direct Line program showed that Russians now see that “the local authorities are extremely inert and inactive,” that they are very much upset about this, and that they want justice imposed by “a strong hand” (lenta.ru/articles/2017/07/29/stalin_good/). It is that feeling and nothing else that explains why Russians increasingly view Stalin in a positive light and want to see his statue up in their cities and towns, Tarasov continues. For them, Stalin was someone who embodied just such strength and willingness to use force against all the little bosses. He is for them “the enemy of the enemies of the people.” But it is important to remember that what Russians support about Stalin is not the actual historical figure but rather the picture they have of him, a picture that has been established artificially. This trend, the psychiatrist says, is “very worrisome” because no one knows just how far this “demand for a strong power and a strong hand” will go. That two-thirds of Russians don’t want to be remined of Stalin’s crimes is completely logical, the psychiatrist says. They are ready “to forgive everything done by a strong and willful leader,” on the basis of the principle “’the end justified the means’” or as Stalin put it, “’when a forest is cut down, the chips fly.’” Right now in Russia, Tarasov continues, “we can live until the moment when someone will come and say: ‘I free you from the chimera of conscience. Do everything for the good of the nation.’ This has all happened before in history and to what consequences it can lead is very well known.” Most Russians justify their affection for Stalin by saying that he should be remembered as part of our history. But here as often is the case, “people are masking their true motives with noble ones.” No one wants to say directly: I want someone to come and kill all the evil dealers. But that is what he really means and wants. Russians have been approaching this “gradually,” he says. “About five years ago, the figure of Leonid Brezhnev began to appear in a positive key,” even as “the best leader of the Soviet state for all the period of its existence.” But now there has been a change in landmarks as it were. “In Brezhnev, the people valued stability, comparable well-being and a peaceful life without terrorist acts or social upheavals. But now that is not enough. Given the lengthy economic crisis and the broken relations with other countries, the former model has receded into second place, freeing the space for the model of Comrade Stalin.” Not surprisingly, young people are among the most enthusiastic Stalinists, Tarasov says. “The young are always radical, they always need slogans and very simple answers to the most complicated questions. An understanding that there are no simple answers to complicated questions comes only with the passing of time.” Today, the psychiatrist says, “Russia wants great deeds. The population has a demand for them. A monument to Stalin makes an individual feel attached to victory in the Great Fatherland War, to Stalin’s construction projects, and to many other achievements. That this was accompanied by repressions is something hardly anyone wants to think about. As one good Russian film put it, “’No one ever remembers the victims; everyone always remembers the murderers.”
Paul Goble Staunton, July 30 – Members of the Soviet nomenklatura as officials named from above by the CPSU were known and were so brilliantly described by Mikhail Voslensky a generation ago followed every twist and turn in the party line, but their successors – the senior people in the ruling United Russia Party – are even more morally flexible than their predecessors. That is the argument of Moscow commentator Igor Yakovenko who suggests the term edinorossus vulgaris as the most appropriate description of the ultra-obedient and flexible “everyday United Russia” leader, who is capable of saying things that no Soviet nomenklaturshchik ever would (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597CD55C2A682). Many people simply view the current species as a direct continuation of the earlier one, Yakovenko says; but there are important differences. No member of the nomenklatura could ever dream of having the wealth that United Russia people do, and no one of them could ever advise people in financial difficulties, as one Sverdlovsk United Russia official did, to “eat less.” According to the Moscow commentator, “an important evolutionary advance of the Soviet nomenklaturshchik was a flexible spine, but the degree of elasticity of the ordinary United Russia man is immeasurably greater” because unlike his predecessor “there is no core in the form of Marxism, communism, and also internationalism and other -isms.” Edinorossus vulgaris “in the course of a long and difficult evolution has rejected” all of them as unnecessary and even harmful “in the world of political struggle for survival in the era of developed Putinism,” Yakovenko says. As a result, there have been significant and irreversible changes in the brains of the ordinary United Russia leader. “The structures responsible for logic, empathy, and one’s own dignity have all disappeared.” That becomes obvious, Yakovenko suggests, if one compares members of the Soviet nomenklatura with such figures as Yarovaya, Zhelenyak, Markov, Fedorov, Milonov and Poklonskaya. This year marks the centenary of the birth of homo soveticus, the commentator continues, noting that “one of the first to describe this strange anthropological type” was the philosopher Sergey Bulgakov. He has been followed by researchers at the Harvard Project in the early 1950s and then by the research of Yury Levada in the 1980s and 1990s. “Many archeologists,” Yakovenko recalls, “dream of being in Ancient Rome. Many paleontologists would like to see a living dinosaur. Russian social scientists and anthropologists are incredibly lucky: they can observe while living the surprising zigzag of human evolution by examining the large population of everyday United Russia people.”
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 93rd 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.
The success with which the president of Russia breaks up the country, suggests that he can be “recruited”. President Vladimir Putin is a symbol of the Russian people, he will again be elected president, but his future depends entirely on Western countries. This opinion was broadcast on the TV channel NewsOne by journalist and founder of the Internet publication Gordon Dmitry Gordon . “Putin is a symbol of the Russian people, a symbol of the Russian people’s dream of the empire, of the” Russian world “, that, yes, we are with an asshole, but we have the biggest missiles, yes, we can in hunger, cold and Swamps rot, but we are Russian, we have a Russian spirit, we will conquer all. Therefore, they will choose it again, of course. I have no doubt, “Gordon said. In his opinion, “to cut off oxygen” to Putin, the countries of the West can “click”. “This is how events will unfold further – everything depends on the West, on its position. It is possible to cut off oxygen to Putin and his friends simply, at a click, because the financial intelligence of the United States of America knows where someone has money. Look, what a problem with the Siemens turbines in the Crimea arose. And can not Russia without these turbines, can not without Boeing and Airbus aircraft, without spare parts for these aircraft, without Mercedes can not, without Nissan … So if the West wants, it will block Putin’s oxygen, “the journalist stressed. At the same time, according to Gordon, Putin behaves in such a way that doubts arise: is he not an agent of the West. “I recently have an increasingly strong feeling that Putin is an agent of the West. I am puzzled by this idea with what success he breaks up Russia. The sensation that the West consciously allows him to do this, “- suggested the journalist.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 29 — 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 93rd 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.
- Is Putin a CIA Agent or Only the Richest Man on Earth?Vladimir Putin has done so much harm to Russia that the only possible conclusion is that he is an agent of Western special services, a charge that recalls those made by Soviet loyalists against Mikhail Gorbachev (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/7/27/257752/). Meanwhile, Willilam Browder, the founder of Renaissance Capital and the man behind the Magnitsky Act, suggests that Putin is “the richest man in the world” with a net worth of perhaps 200 billion US dollars (echo.msk.ru/news/2026742-echo.html). Putin is certainly wealth and he has helped his friends to great wealth as well: this week it came out that he had made a dollar billionaire of the man who supervised his kandidat dissertation (znak.com/2017-07-24/rektor_universiteta_gde_zachichal_dissertaciyu_putin_okazalsya_dollarovym_milliarderom). But Putin seems to be losing it in some ways, denying the obvious – there is no censorship of any kind in Russia, the Kremlin leader says, or confusing the figures about the growth or decline of the Russian population (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2023044-echo/ and newsland.com/community/4765/content/putin-pereputal-prirost-naseleniia-rossii-s-ego-ubyliu-ili-bednaia-geografichka/5924883). He did reveal his KGB name – Platov (newsland.com/community/politic/content/putin-raskryl-svoi-psevdonim-kotorym-polzovalsia-v-razvedshkole/5924801) – and said he maintains his equilibrium by remaining on Moscow time even when he travels (kp.ru/daily/26705.7/3733249/).
- Criticism of Putin Mounts among Commentators and Officials. It is perhaps no surprise that many Russian commentators are critical of Putin these days: One said that distrust in his regime is so great that Aleksey Navalny looks good by comparison (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/07/25/1633448.html). But more seriously, some officials are become more if still implicitly critical of the Kremlin leader: Challenged by those who object to new charges for carryon luggage, the transportation ministry said Putin had made the decision, a claim that it may have thought would end discussion but that highlights objections to his policies within the Russian government (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59777E171876B).
- Trump is Like Having Zhirinovsky in Power, Russian Analyst Says.If criticism of Putin is generally circumspect, criticism of the US president Putin had hoped would be his ally is not. One Russian writer suggested that Donald Trump is the American equivalent of the outrageous LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and is behaving just as Zhirinovsky would if he were in the Kremlin (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59777E2FF027D). Another Russian analyst says that Trump may not be Putin’s agent but he uses many of the same propaganda techniques, an analysis that cuts both ways (stopfke.org/kseniya-kirillova-propagandistskie-shemy-tramputinizma/). But Russian commentator are suggesting that Trump and Putin are beginning to understand each other better, with the former recognizing that Putin is a real danger and the latter realizing that an American president isn’t all powerful (snob.ru/selected/entry/127303 and echo.msk.ru/blog/taratuta/2025172-echo/). Antoher Russian analyst (Igor Eidman) says that the two are a lot alike but that the US system is in many ways “idiot proof” while the Russian one isn’t (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1564698910259749&id=100001589654713).
- To Save Economy, Some in Moscow Thinking about Reviving Five-Year Plans. One measure of how bad the Russian economy now is as compared to Kremlin claims about it is that some officials are now proposing that the Kremlin revive the Soviet practice of five-year plans to organize economic activity (forbes.ru/biznes/348269-vernut-pyatiletki-ekonomike-nuzhen-plan-za-kotoryy-mozhno-sprosit). Such proposals have surfaced as the IMF predicts an economic boom just about everywhere except in the Russian Federation (svpressa.ru/omy/article/177498/) and Russian state policies are suppressing entrepreneurialism or driving it underground (profile.ru/omics/item/118682-kto-ne-spryatalsya-tot-i-vinovat). Other distressing economic news this week incudes: housing prices have fallen but not enough to compensate for falling incomes, leading to a collapse in property markets and in the building industry (svpressa.ru/realty/article/177774/, fedpress.ru/news/77/society/1826736and ng.ru/omics/2017-07-26/4_7037_stroyspad.html); ever fewer Russians can pay their loans in a timely fashion or qualify for new ones (ng.ru/economics/2017-07-27/1_7038_dolg.html, rbc.ru/finances/27/07/2017/5979df939a79470326be964f?from=newsfeed, newsland.com/community/4788/content/rossiiane-vse-glubzhe-pogruzhaiutsia-v-dolgovuiu-iamu/5927870 and finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/bolee-7-millionov-rossiyan-ne-mogut-oplachivat-bankovskie-kredity-1002208404), real per capita incomes are back where they were in 2007 (newsland.com/community/4765/content/realnye-dokhody-rossiian-zastriali-na-urovne-2007-goda/5929701), trade unions are warning of massive unemployment ahead (newsland.com/community/4788/content/profsoiuzy-predupredili-o-budushchei-massovoi-bezrabotitse-v-rossii/5924507), business confidence in Russia is declining (kommersant.ru/doc/3367080), and Moscow is discovering that trying to end run sanctions may make its situation even worse (themoscowtimes.com/articles/siemens-sanctions-scandal-58486). One mile post in the economy this week deserves to be noted: the first-ever legal post-Soviet Russian dollar millionaire has died (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/07/23/1632809.html).
- Moscow Will Soon Be Divided Between Rich Neighborhoods and Slums. Russians have long been proud that their cities are not divided between rich neighborhoods and slums as is the case in many cities abroad, but the current city government is taking actions that many fear will transform Moscow into a city like any other (snob.ru/selected/entry/127373). Other unwelcome social news at the individual level: pensioners have been promised only a four US dollar increase in their monthly pensions (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/07/25/1633307.html), government support for Russian university students ihas fallen behind that of Ukraine, Belarus or Kazakhstan ( http://www.ng.ru/economics/2017-07-27/4_7038_students.html), the tourism tax has outraged many Russians and convinced them not to travel at all this year (newsland.com/community/6437/content/gosduma-postavila-krest-na-rossiiskom-turizme/5927356), Russians face the prospect that they soon will not be able to get payday loans (gazeta.ru/business/2017/07/24/10802756.shtml), only a quarter of Russians say they have saved any money for their funerals (newsland.com/community/5652/content/chetvert-rossiian-rasskazali-ob-otlozhennykh-na-pokhorony-dengakh/5928746), Russians confined to psychiatric facilities are being seriously mistreated, according to a new study (meduza.io/feature/2017/07/25/nu-vyzdoravlivayte), and the electric commuter trains many Russians now rely on have been declared increasingly unsafe (forum-msk.org/material/news/13498868.html).
- Reducing Number of Hospital Beds Improving Access to Russian Health Care, Officials Say.Last year, the Russian government as part of Putin’s optimization campaign reduced the number of hospital beds in the country by 23,000. This week, the health ministry insisted that this improved access to health care in Russia (newsland.com/community/4788/content/sokrashchenie-chisla-bolnichnykh-koek-minzdrav-schitaet-povysheniem-dostupnosti-medpomoshchi/5928401 and rbc.ru/society/24/07/2017/5970a5939a79474bc77c9a7d?from=newsfeed). There was more bad news on the health front, including a report that there is now only one doctor for every 85 residents in St. Petersburg which is better served than many other cities (newsland.com/user/3566637532/content/strakh-i-zdorove-malenkogo-sankt-peterburga/5928802), a serious reduction in the amount of government money going to help those with Alzheimer’s (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalnovash/2023016-echo/), and showing that two-thirds of Russians are now suffering health problems because of environmental problems, including dirty air (kommersant.ru/doc/3365825 and takiedela.ru/news/2017/07/25/v-negative/). Meanwhile, a controversies broke out about the high prices and low availability of condoms in Russia (newsland.com/community/6437/content/glave-rospotrebnadzora-pozhalovalis-na-vysokuiu-stoimost-prezervativov/5927357) and about corruption in medication supply chains (svpressa.ru/economy/article/177511/). But perhaps the most disturbing reports of all concern increases in the number of Russians suffering and dying from cancer. At present, 1,000 of them are dying of that disease every day (rusjev.net/2017/07/26/v-rossii-ot-raka-kazhdyiy-den-umiraet-tyisyacha-chelovek/) and the incidence of cancer is increasing in all age groups (mk.ru/social/2017/07/25/rak-v-rossii-stal-nacionalnym-bedstviem.html). One hospital has come up with an idea to “improve” the situation: medical personnel will be docked 500 rubles (eight US dollars) for each patient who dies on their watch (newsland.com/community/4765/content/na-urale-iz-zarplat-vrachei-vychitaiut-po-500-rublei-za-smert-patsienta/5929828).
- Kremlin Behind Kadyrov’s Offer to Go to Jerusalem, Israeli Analyst Says. Avraam Shmulyevich says that Ramzan Kadyrov’s offer to resign and go to Jerusalem to solve the conflicts over access to the Temple Mount is a Kremlin stunt designed to distract attention from Moscow’s failure to extend the power-sharing accord with Tatarstan and to mollify Russia’s Muslims who often feel that the Russian government doesn’t do enough for them (rusmonitor.com/za-iniciativojj-kadyrova-po-khramovojj-gore-stoit-kreml.html). Other developments on the nationalities front this week include: studies show that the Kremlin’s program to distribute free land in the Far East is harming the indigenous population (nazaccent.ru/content/24801-ledkov-zakon-o-dalnevostochnom-gektare-lishaet.html), the Chuvash have taken the lead in opposing Putin’s line on non-Russian languages (ireklekh.blogspot.ru/2017/07/blog-post_22.html), the situation in Daghestan is slipping out of control with fewer people supporting the Moscow-installed regime, more officials kidnapped, and continuing tensions about the Nogays (caucasustimes.com/ru/opros-v-dagestane-bolee-poloviny-zhitelej-respubliki-stali-zhit-huzhe-i-utratili-doverie-k-vlastjam/,onkavkaz.com/news/1790-nogaicy-nanesli-abdulatipovu-pervoe-oschutimoe-porazhenie-no-on-gotovit-pozicii-k-otvetnomu-uda.html, and republic.ru/posts/85225), protests have erupted in Bashkortostan against the Moscow-imposed ruler there (/fedpress.ru/article/1823606), the 650,000 ethnic Kazakhs living in Russia are forming an all-Russian organization to defend their interests (nazaccent.ru/content/24820-kazahskie-organizacii-rossii-obedinilis-v-soyuz.html), the Hilton hotel chain is planning to open a hotel in Sakha (siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/stay-at-the-hilton-if-youre-hunting-for-diamonds-or-woolly-mammoths/), the ousted president of Mari El is appealing to the outside world with his own poetry (mariuver.com/2017/07/24/oklevet-markel/), officials are playing games with the Russian language examination to keep Circassians from Syria from gaining Russian citizenship (ekhokavkaza.com/a/28635875.html), and hostility in the North Caucasus to people from Central Asia appears to be on the rise (kavpolit.com/articles/ty_uzbek_ezzhaj_v_uzbekistan-34953/).
- Liberal Russians Failing to Protest State’s Effort to Declare Bible Translation ‘Extremist.’The Russian government is continuing its efforts to have a translation of the Bible prepared by the Jehovah’s Witnesses declared “extremist” in contravention of Russian law (portal-credo.ru/site/?act=comment&id=2192), but unfortunately, Russian liberals aren’t protesting this egregious action, according to a Moscow commentator (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597AEB1E762B4). Meanwhile, despite complaints that the Russian Orthodox Church isn’t maintaining buildings returned to it, many in the legislature are pressing for giving it even more buildings including empty houses that the church had never owned before (newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-gosdume-predlozhili-perestraivat-nenuzhnye-moskve-doma-v-khramy/5930935, politsovet.ru/56014-sverdlovskie-vlasti-otdali-rpc-pamyatnik-arhitektury.html and novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/07/26/73240-zachem-rpts-razbrasyvaet-kamni). The Moscow Patriarchate has also reached agreement with the culture ministry to prepare joint texts to promote the “correct” views about Russian classics (rg.ru/2017/07/26/ministerstvo-kultury-i-cerkov-sozdali-pushkinskij-soiuz.html).
- Moscow, Local Governments Step Up Fight Against Regionalist Movements. Governments in various parts of the Russian Federation have joined with Moscow to try to suppress regionalist movements (nazaccent.ru/content/24835-sajt-dvizheniya-svobodnaya-ingriya-zablokirovali-za.html, afterempire.info/2017/07/24/censorship/, facebook.com/groups/freeingria.org/andthebarentsobserver.com/en/civil-society-and-media/2017/07/murmansk-burgeoning-fight-between-city-government-and-free-press). Among the things powering regionalism is Moscow’s reduction in subsidies for key issues like demography and the impact of global warming on the Russian north (politsovet.ru/56065-naselenie-sverdlovskoy-oblasti-prodolzhaet-ubyvat.html, newsbabr.com/irk/?IDE=162680, takiedela.ru/kamchatka/ and regnum.ru/news/economy/2304035.html).
- Blood Drawings Not Acceptable for Security Services’ Anniversary.Pupils in a Siberian school have been told that their offerings in a drawing competition on the occasion of the anniversary of Russia’s security services won’t be accepted if they are drawn in blood as some of the children planned (themoscowtimes.com/news/siberian-drawing-competition-for-security-services-centenary-wont-accept-bloody-artwork-58494 and znak.com/2017-07-22/v_tomskoy_oblasti_shkolnikov_poprosili_pozdravit_fsb_bez_krovavyh_baek). Other protests this week including a demonstration against migration in Ingushetia that was forcibly suppressed by police (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306736/), complaints by Russians about officials who increase their own pay when others are suffering (7×7-journal.ru/anewsitem/97149), a Moscow demonstration in favor of Internet freedom that led to the arrest of one man with a sign reading “Putin lies” (newsland.com/community/politic/content/moskovskaia-aktsiia-za-svobodnyi-internet-sobrala-800-chelovek/5926938 and republic.ru/posts/85207), more protests about renovation plans in Moscow with the likelihood that these will spread now that the center has decided to extend the renovation plan to the entire country (newsland.com/community/7149/content/khroniki-renovatsionnoi-afery-o-nelegitimnosti-sobranii-zhiltsov-v-polovine-domov/5925530, rbc.ru/politics/24/07/2017/596de2a99a7947525e17e142?from=mai, themoscowtimes.com/news/moscow-demolition-s-unlikely-58478 and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5976D55FC07CD), miners declared a hunger strike and sued the VTsIOM director for his dismissive comments (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306621/ and snob.ru/selected/entry/127305), Kazan residents protest against the construction of a mosque there (idelreal.org/a/28636968.html), Derbent residents demonstrate against handling of trash (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306661/), Pulkovo astronomers who complained to Putin are fired (ng.ru/regions/2017-07-25/2_7037_piter.html), Yaroslavl people picket against cutting down trees in city center (regnum.ru/news/polit/2304651.html), and liberals and Russian naitonalists work together in Penza to call for the freedom of all political prisoners (sobkorr.ru/news/597854829AFFC.html).
- Too Much Knowledge about Repressions a Threat to Russian Identity, Teachers Say. Teachers in Perm say that children should not be given too much information about repressions in the past (and presumably in the present?) lest it undermine their Russian national identities (ura.news/articles/1036271606). Meanwhile, in other measures of repression, fewer officials were charged with corruption and bribery over the last six months than a year ago (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/07/27/1633973.htmland republic.ru/posts/85335), but only one in every 500 ordinary Russians charged in Sverdlovsk oblast was found not guilty (politsovet.ru/56052-v-sverdlovskoy-oblasti-sudy-vynesli-021-opravdatelnyh-prigovorov.html), more than half of Chelyabinsk residents say they don’t trust the police (fedpress.ru/news/74/society/1827076), the authorities have brought extremism charges against a Magnitogorsk witch for supposedly threatening them (openrussia.org/notes/711974/), officials seeking power to shutter websites without a court hearing (ng.ru/editorial/2017-07-27/2_7038_red.html), other officials have been caught using sexual torture against students who take part in protests (svoboda.org/a/28632270.html), Moscow wants to ban those who beg on behalf of sick children (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/07/22/1632755.html), inmates have been tortured to change their testimony and confess (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/07/22/73201-ya-ves-sodrogalsya-i-bilsya-golovoy-o-podlozhennoe-sidenie-primerno-30-minut-menya-bili-tokom, ixtc.org/2017/07/voronezhskogo-aktivista-izbili-beysbolnoy-bitoy/ andecho.msk.ru/news/2024206-echo.html), definition of bribery may be expanded to include non-monetary gifts, thus opening the way for more to be charged (politsovet.ru/56009-v-gosdumu-vnesli-zakon-o-nematerialnyh-vzyatkah.html), the Kremlin has appointed a new official to oversee the Internet (politsovet.ru/56026-v-kremle-poyavitsya-esche-odin-kurator-interneta.html), and officials have launched a case against a glossy journal for photographs of models in a non-working church (newsbabr.com/msk/?IDE=162753).
- GULAG Not Only Continues Under Putin But is Getting Worse. Russia’s prison camps remain an integral part of its economy and penal system, and conditions in them are in fact getting worse after compared to their state at the end of Soviet times (themoscowtimes.com/articles/how-gulag-lives-on-in-russias-prison-economy-58482and ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2017/07/blog-post_21.html). This week, reports about a secret FSB prison near Moscow, one that some Russian writers christened “the Russian Guantanmo” because it houses suspected terrorists from Central Asa, sparked a sharp debate about the GULAG more generally, with activists and former inmates talking about torture and other forms of terror and repression while officials denied such facilities even exist (snob.ru/selected/entry/127271, spektr.press/news/2017/07/24/zhurnalist-ilya-rozhdestvenskij-uvolilsya-iz-rbk-iz-za-otkaza-redakcii-opublikovat-statyu-o-sekretnyh-tyurmah-fsb/, spektr.press/news/2017/07/26/upolnomochennyj-po-pravam-cheloveka-otkazalas-verit-v-suschestvovanie-sekretnoj-tyurmy-fsb/, themoscowtimes.com/news/metro-bombing-suspects-claim-existence-of-russian-guantanamo-58480 http://spektr.press/podval-dlya-terroristov-chto-izvestno-o-sekretnoj-tyurme-fsb/, republic.ru/posts/85167 https://newsland.com/community/6207/content/vas-legche-pokhoronit-chem-lechit-sergei-mokhnatkin-o-tiuremnoi-bolnitse/5928705, ru.rfi.fr/rossiya/20170724-sergei-mokhnatkin-o-bolnitse, echo.msk.ru/blog/lev_ponomarev/2024376-echo/ and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5976247E0AB9C).
- Radical Russian Nationalists Caught Illegally Selling Guns to Population. Russian officials have lost control of the gun market, as two reports this week showed: According to one, a group of Russian neo-Nazis were selling guns to anyone who wanted them (nazaccent.ru/content/24866-v-moskve-zaderzhali-torgovavshih-oruzhiem-neonacistov.html), and according to the second, Daghestan’s effort to buy back guns in private hands has collapsed (kavkazr.com/a/sdavat-ili-ne-sdavat-vot-v-chem-vopros/28639051.html). Significantly, those who want to buy guns this way want to buy foreign made ones which are considered to be of higher quality despite their higher prices (lenta.ru/articles/2017/07/21/importozam/). Putin’s Russian Guard which has made fighting illegal private gun ownership one of its targets got its own aviation wing this week as well as promises to organize companies of scientists to help it do its job (lenta.ru/articles/2017/07/26/aviaguard/and politsovet.ru/56056-v-rosgvardii-poyavyatsya-nauchnye-roty.html). But its overreaching has sparked opposition: a group of Russians in a Moscow suburb blocked its efforts to build a new facility there (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597ADF1EBF652). And in another indication of the domestic security situation, two women appealed to Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to end the conflict so that their sons and the sons of others could return home (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/07/27/73256-eto-v-vashih-silah-vernut-domoy-nashih-detey-i-prekratit-voynu).
- Only Honest Part of Putin’s Defense Plan is Provision Saying It Will Be Cut if Budget Requires. Putin’s ambitious defense plan will not be realized, experts say who point out that the only honest provision is one that says it will be modified according to the amount of money available(ej.ru/?a=note&id=31366). (Indeed, Dmitry Medvedev has already indicated it won’t be fulfilled as far as its Arctic sector plans are concerned (newsland.com/community/5652/content/medvedev-realizatsiia-riada-arkticheskikh-proektov-budet-otlozhena/5931873). Instead, Putin seems set on spending massively on public demonstrations of force without really building things up (newsland.com/community/6437/content/na-baltike-sotni-millionov-rublei-vyletiat-v-korabelnye-truby-radi-nebyvalogo-prazdnika/5926322,regnum.ru/news/polit/2304013.html and lenta.ru/articles/2017/07/27/grandfleet/). Many ships will be in drydock far longer than the plan specifies and Russia is unlikely to be able to catch up with the US in key technology areas (https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2017/07/nuclear-missile-cruiser-out-waters-35-years and regnum.ru/news/it/2304360.html). Russia is also wrestling with a shortage of draft age males. This week, the Russian ombudsman proposed allowing the drafting of women but this has sparked much negative comment (takiedela.ru/news/2017/07/26/national-army/, newsbabr.com/msk/?IDE=162766 and newsland.com/community/4765/content/komitet-soldatskikh-materei-otreagiroval-na-ideiu-moskalkovoi-o-zhenskoi-sluzhbe/5931426). Meanwhile, recognizing that it has few friends and allies and thus little soft power (stoletie.ru/rossiya_i_mir/chto_predlozhim_miru_766.htm and censoru.net/19910-v-seti-dali-chetkiy-otvet-rossiyanam-pochemu-ih-nenavidyat-sosednie-strany.html), Russian officials and businesses are hiring more lobbyists but in fact, because of the budget, spending less on them than they were (rbc.ru/newspaper/2017/07/26/597754619a79474245d52c3a). In other defense news, Moscow approved a unified group of forces with Armenia (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/7/27/257757/) and took a 49 year lease on an airbase in Syria (themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-extends-syrian-airbase-lease-by-49-year-58512).
- Ivan the Terrible, Nicholas II and Dzerzhinsky Statues Go Up as Gogol Monument Crumbles. In order to get a statue of Ivan the Terrible up in Moscow quickly, the authorities moved one there from Vladimir Oblast (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78617and politikus.ru/v-rossii/print:page,1,97242-vazhnoe-sobytie-v-centre-moskvy-ustanovlen-pamyatnik-ivanu-groznomu.html). Also going up is one to Nicholas II and the Imperial Family (newsland.com/community/7231/content/pamiatnik-nikolaiu-ii-i-ego-seme-otkroiut-v-nizhegorodskoi-oblasti/5931186) and to Cheka founder Feliks Dzerzhinsky (newsland.com/community/6399/content/v-kurske-po-prosbe-veteranov-ustanoviat-bronzovyi-pamiatnik-palachu-dzerzhinskomu/5927187). But an older statue of Nikolay Gogol in Moscow fell apart into the street because of lack of repairs (themoscowtimes.com/news/gogol-sculpture-crumbles-in-moscow-58487). The Constitutional Court said it would not consider an appeal against handing St. Isaac’s back to the Russian Orthodox Church (znak.com/2017-07-21/konstitucionnyy_sud_rf_ne_stal_rassmatrivat_zhalobu_o_peredache_isaakiya_rpc), but conflicts continued over the film “Mathilda” (forum-msk.org/material/news/13482456.html) and a statue to a Soveit general who suppressed Manchukuo in 1945 (http://newsbabr.com/irk/?IDE=162736). Ecologists have now weighed in against the construction of the Church on the Waters in Yekaterinburg (politsovet.ru/56055-institut-ekologii-uro-ran-ocenil-vred-ot-stroitelstva-hrama-na-vode.html). And controversy is likely ahead in the cases of two monuments planned to honor the victims of Soviet power: those who died in the Great Terror (newsland.com/community/8181/content/vlasti-i-obshchestvennost-vitebska-sporiat-o-massovykh-zakhoroneniiakh-30-kh-godov/5931885) and those Russian officers killed in the Red Terror in 1918 (opengaz.ru/stat/zhestokoe-bylo-vremya).
- Russians Furious Over Desecration to Volgograd’s Mamayev Kurgan to build World Cup Parking. Vladimir Putin’s regime may have done more to block the 2018 World Cup being held in Russia than any of his foreign opponents. Moscow has ordered the construction of a parking lot on some of the holiest land in Russia: the site of the Soviet defense of Stalingrad against the Germans in World War II. Russians are furious and there is no indication that their fury won’t extend to the entire world cup effort (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/07/28/1634482.html, znak.com/2017-07-27/volgograde_iz_za_mesta_pod_parkovku_k_chm_2018_vyrubili_chast_parka_u_mamaeva_kurganaand rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/07/27/1633969.html). Giving Russians free tickets won’t do the trick (znak.com/2017-07-25/na_chempionate_mira_po_futbolu_2018_budut_razdavat_besplatnye_bilety). Moreover, none of the old problems has disappeared: the construction of venues has been corrupt and incompetent (economist.com/news/europe/21725330-they-have-become-symbol-corruption-under-putins-rule-cost-overruns-russias-world-cup?fsrc=rss and rbc.ru/society/22/07/2017/597394f49a79472418034798?from=main), and the doping scandal shows no sign of disappearing although it has received less coverage in recent weeks (ura.news/news/1052298291,novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/07/25/133803-trehkratnogo-chempiona-mira-po-hokkeyu-zaripova-diskvalifitsirovali-iz-za-dopinga and themoscowtimes.com/news/after-doping-scandal-russian-athletes-wont-be-allowed-anthem-ringtone-58495). Also unchanged has been Russia’s response: to blame the West for Russia’s failures (politobzor.net/show-139110-anglosaksonskaya-sportivnaya-mafiya-sovsem-poteryala-sovest.html) and to threaten to organize its own games to which Western athletes won’t be invited (versia.ru/esli-rossijskix-sportsmenov-ne-vosstanovyat-v-pravax-doping-konflikt-perejdyot-v-politicheskuyu-ploskost).
- Bring Back ‘Comrade’ as Russian Greeting, KPRF Says. Russian communists have called on Moscow to drop the use of “mister” and use the Soviet-era term “comrade” as the proper greeting of one Russian to another (newsland.com/community/politic/content/kommunisty-poprosili-pravitelstvo-smenit-gospod-na-tovarishchei/5928391).
- Russian Justice ‘More Perfect’ than European Human Rights Court, Moscow Ombudsman Says. In the increasingly Orwellian discourse of Russian officials, this week’s prize for the most outrageous remark in the Russian Federation goes to the Russian human rights ombudsman who says that Russian justice is “more perfect” than that of the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg (meduza.io/short/2017/07/26/upolnomochennyy-po-pravam-cheloveka-o-spravedlivosti-v-rossii-i-evrope-tsitata).
- Wallenberg Family Sues FSB for Release of Information on Family Patriarch.The family of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved hundreds of Jews at the end of World War II before disappearing into the maw of the Soviet occupation organs, has sued the FSB for the release of information about him (zona.media/news/2017/07/26/wallenberg and graniru.org/Society/Law/m.262854.html).
- Nothing New Under the Sun: Femen has Roots in Tsarist Okhrana Practice.The radical femen movement which uses nudity to make political points can trace its origins not to the hippies of the West in the 1960s but to some of the tactics the tsarist secret police used against Nicholas II’s enemies, according to a new study (nn.by/?c=ar&i=194562&lang=ru).
- Gigantist Russian State Projects Allow for More Corruption. One reason that Moscow likes gigantist projects is the importance of size in all things to Russian officials; but another and more compelling reason, a Moscow commentator says, is that large projects offer many more opportunities for corruption and theft (echo.msk.ru/blog/mmironov/2025852-echo/).
- Russian Officials Working Hard to Remove Data about Themselves from Internet. Russian officials are Internet-savvy enough to know that any information that goes on the web will be mined by others and possibly used against them. They are not savvy enough to recognize that almost everything is cached and therefore retrievable even if it is removed by those who put it up (newsland.com/community/4765/content/pochemu-rossiiskie-chinovniki-udaliaiut-informatsiiu-o-svoem-obraze-zhizni-iz-interneta/5930137).
- ‘You Can Take Russians Out of the 1990s But You Can’t Take the 1990s Out of Russians.’A Moscow blogger points out that it is not only a question of removing Soviet values from contemporary Russians but also removing some of the highly distorted ones that were widespread in the first decade after the end of the USSR and suggests that doing that may prove far harder than anyone now thinks (morena-morana.livejournal.com/714605.html).
- Russian Internet Posters May Not Be Becoming Smarter but They are Using Bigger Words.A massive new study of online posts by Russians finds that these increasingly feature longer words and thus concludes that Russians are becoming smarter, an intellectual leap many might challenge (takiedela.ru/news/2017/07/28/polzovateli-sozsetei-umneyut/).
- Leader of Black Hundreds Movement Celebrated.A prominent Russian Orthodox nationalist portal this week celebrated the life of the organizer of the notoriously anti-Semitic Black Hundreds movement. The lengthy hagiography praised his activities as reflecting “the conscience” of the Russian people (ruskline.ru/analitika/2017/07/28/sovest_protiv_revolyucii/).
- Russia is ‘God’s Bad Joke on Humanity.’A Russian commentator, Igor Yakovenko, says that Russia now as in the past is “God’s bad joke on humanity” (7days.us/igor-akovenko-usmeska-boga).
And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:
- Superheroes Retake Crimea for Ukraine – at Least in the Comics. A Ukrainian publisher has released a new line of comic books featuring a variety of superheroes. In one of the books, the superheroes combine to oust the occupiers from Crimea and restore Ukrainian sovereignty in that peninsula (newsland.com/community/7451/content/na-ukraine-predstavili-komiks-pro-supergeroev-kotorye-osvobozhdaiut-krym/5930030).
- Kyiv Documents Russian Financing of Terrorists in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has turned over thousands of pages of documents to the International Criminal Court that show Moscow has been financing terrorist groups on Ukrainian territory (112.ua/glavnye-novosti/v-mezhdunarodnyy-sud-oon-peredany-tysyachi-stranic-dokazatelnoy-bazy-otnositelno-finansirovaniya-rossiey-terrorizma-gricak-402469.html).
- More than Eight Million Guns have Leaked into Ukraine, Russia from Donbass War Zone. Military veterans estimate that more than eight million guns have leaked into private hands in Ukraine and Russia. Few of these have been registered with the authorities in either country, and almost all of which create problems for the two societies (versia.ru/veterany-ato-vooruzheny-do-zubov-u-nix-na-rukax-bolee-8-millionov-stvolov).
- 55 Russians Take Ukrainian Citizenship During First Half of 2017. According to Kyiv officials, 55 former Russian citizens took Ukrainian citizenship during the first six months of this year, a relatively small number but one that suggests such people are betting on Ukraine’s future rather than Russia’s (ukranews.com/news/509589-55-rossyyan-poluchyly-ukraynskoe-grazhdanstvo-v-2017).
- Moldova’s Parliament Demands Russia Pull Its Troops from Transdniestria.Even though Moldova has a pro-Russian president, its parliament is solidly anti-Moscow and has now demanded that the Russian government pull its troops out of the breakaway republic of Transdniestria so that Moldovan sovereignty and control can be restored there (sprotyv.info/ru/news/kiev/parlament-moldovy-trebuet-vyvesti-rossiyskie-voyska-iz-pridnestrovya?_utl_t=fb).
- Smolensk Should Again Be Part of Belarus, Many Residents Say.Many people in Smolensk oblast which is now part of the Russian Federation identify with Belarus in which their territory was situated before World War II, and at least some of them now proudly declare that they are “an island of Belarus” within Russia (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/7/22/257272/ and rufabula.com/articles/2015/11/19/island-of-belarus-in-russia).
- Lithuanian Visiting Belarus Asks that People Speak Belarusian, Not Russian with Her. Saying that she is “from Lithuania and doesn’t understand Russian in all cases,” a Lithuanian visiting Belarus has asked her interlocutors there to “speak Belarusian” instead (nn.by/?c=ar&i=194245&lang=ruand charter97.org/ru/news/2017/7/22/257276/).
- Kyrgyzstan to Test Officials for Kyrgyz Language Knowledge Beginning Next Year. Kyrgyzstan has been one of the slowest of the post-Soviet states to go over to the language of its titular nation in official business, but now Bishkek has announced that beginning in 2018, it will require all officials to take and pass a test in Kyrgyz (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1500787740).
- Armenians are Learning Azerbaijani. In what must be one of the most unusual linguistic developments in the post-Soviet space, Armenians are now learning Azerbaijani, educational officials say, apparently convinced that knowledge of that language will ultimately be more useful to them than say Russian (oc-media.org/a-growing-trend-in-armenia-learning-azerbaijani/). At the same time, there are ever more calls from the opposition for Yerevan to break with Russia (rosbalt.ru/world/2017/07/25/1632956.html).
- To Balance Russian Influence, Kazakhstan Seeks Closer Military Ties with the US. In order to counter Moscow’s attempts to dominate it, Astana is pursuing closer military and other ties with the West in general and the US in particular (exclusive.kz/kazakhstan_uravnoveshivaet_vliyanie_rossii_voennym_dogovorom_s_ssha).
- Two-Thirds of Georgians Want to Join the EU, NATO. More than six out of ten citizens of the Republic of Georgia want their country to become a member of the two key Western institutions, the European Union and NATO (ekhokavkaza.com/a/28639033.html).
- Outmigration and Immigration Changing Ethnic Mix in Post-Soviet States. Lithuania is only one country where the influx of immigrants is compensating for the departure of native Lithuanians, but there as elsewhere, this process is changing in large ways or small the ethnic mix of the populations of these states (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/7/24/257381/).
- Estonia Treats Pensioners Best in Former Soviet Space; Russia Isn’t Even in Top 30.Estonia pays higher pensions and provides better medical care to its aging population than any other post-Soviet state, according to a new international ranking. Russia in contrast doesn’t even make the top 30 (forum-msk.org/material/news/13502942.html).
Paul Goble Staunton, July 30 – As so often in the past, a Russian police crackdown against a group the authorities don’t like not only highlights the fears of the Putin regime about any independent thinking but also attracts far more attention to the group and its ideas than any of its leaders could have done on their own. Last night, masked officers of the St. Petersburg police broke into the Ingria-Festival rock concert in a local club, checked documents and searched for drugs. The local interior ministry office said that “vigilant local residents” had complained about the gathering, noise and traffic. There were no arrests (newsru.com/russia/29jul2017/ingria.html). According to Russian news agencies, police sources indicated that they had hoped to find among those in attendance “people well-known to the officers of law enforcement organs as disseminators of extremist views,” including in particular members of the Free Ingria movement whose website was briefly blocked earlier this month(fontanka.ru/2017/07/24/076/). The police had good reason to think that supporters of Free Ingria would be in attendance given who organized the concert. One organizer was Nikolay Menshakov who has long been involved in the Ingrian cause, a movement that relatively few people had heard about until the authorities began to come down hard against its supporters. As Newsru points out, “Ingria, a historical territory around St. Petersburg which doesn’t have strictly defined borders is now almost completely situated within the present-day Leningrad oblast. During the Civil War, for about 18 months (from July 1919 to December 1920), part of this territory had sovereignty under the self-designation Northern Ingria.” “The date of the declaration of the independence of Ingria (July 1, 1019) is for the supporters of this idea a day of memory: ’98 years ago in Ingria was ignitd the flame of freedom which burns even now. We regionalists … believe that soon the freedom of our Motherland will become real,’” the Ingrian or Ingermanlanders say on their Internet pages. Dmitry Vitushkin, a founder of one Ingrian site, pointed out that the Ingrian movement no has “no relationship to extremism or separatism.” The most it wants, he said, is “the unification of Petersburg and Leningrad oblast into a single federal subject with republic status and the return of its historical name” (meduza.io/feature/2016/06/02/chto-takoe-ingermanlandiya-i-chego-hotyat-ee-storonniki). Although mainstream officials like Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko have also called for uniting the two subjects as well, the Russian authorities are not prepared for anyone to propose this independently. Hence the latest crackdown, in many ways a repetition of what the poice did in May 2016 (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/05/by-attacking-free-ingria-leader-moscow.html).
The Trump-Russia controversy might hinge on Putin’s staggering personal wealth.
The economic sanctions imposed by Western governments on Russia and plummeting oil prices have necessitated stringent cuts in funding to Russia’s constituent subjects. But there is one glaring exception to that trend: The Chechen Republic is seemingly exempt from such belt-tightening.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned two women who were convicted of high treason for sending text messages to Georgian acquaintances about the movement of Russian military equipment on the eve of the brief 2008 Russian-Georgian war.
Technopromexport, the company which purchased four gas turbines from Siemens, has finally admitted that it has delivered those turbines to occupied Crimea after modernizing them. It also states that prior to the delivery, an attempt was made to sell the turbines back to Siemens, but the German company refused. Apart from that, Technopromexport finally admitted that the turbines delivered to Crimea were the ones it purchased from Siemens in 2015. Speaking to journalists on 28 July 2017, a Technopromexport representative stated that it had not received any offers from Siemens to buy back the turbines which were delivered to Crimea in breach of EU sanctions, but had offered for Siemens to buy them back in 2016, TASS reported. “Technopromexport did not receive any formal proposals from Siemens to buy back the turbines. It was decided to sell the equipment in connection to the bankruptcy of the company on teh decision of the court. Moreover, in 2016, on the initiative of Technopromexport, Siemens was officially offered to buy back the turbine units, a corresponding open contest was made, but the Siemens concern refused this offer. The turbines were sold to another company,” the representative said, TASS reported.
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR JULY 29, 2017 BARUTA, Russia — With its winding dirt lanes framed by lilacs, quaint wooden houses and graceful onion-domed church, the tiny farming hamlet of Baruta was once a veritable postcard of Russian bucolic bliss. No longer. More people lie in the tightly packed church cemetery than inhabit the village. Agriculture is slowly…
Learn these odd customs and you will fit in very quickly
Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan, has been charged with six counts of crime, the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office said.
With Kyrgyzstan scheduled to hold its presidential election on October 15, this week's Majlis looks at the unavoidable Russian influence on Kyrgyzstan's elections. Russia is being accuse…
Russia and India are holding negotiations for the supply of 48 Russian Mi-17 military transport helicopters with Moscow hoping to seal the deal by the year end, a top Russian official has said.
Sunday, July 30, 2017 Paul Goble Staunton, July 30 – A Belarusian has posted on Facebook a six-minute clip showing Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms in Vitebsk, a city not far from the Russian Federation border, thereby exacerbating fears that Moscow will use the upcoming Zapad-2017 military exercises to carry out regime change in Minsk.…
Paul Goble Staunton, July 30 – A man from the Belarusian city of Vitebsk, a city not far from the Russian border, has posted on Facebook pictures showing Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms there something that will undoubtedly exacerbate existing fears that Moscow will use the upcoming Zapad-2017 military exercises to carry out regime change in Minsk. The blogger, who uses Drug Syabar as his screen name, says that in the photographs, one can see that “Russian soldiers are already beginning to arrive for the so-called military exercises. The arriving troops are beginning to take locations throughout all cities. But there are also appearing people with automatic weapons in military uniforms bearing no distinguishing marks” The pictures are available at facebook.com/DrugSyabarPS/posts/1965479527068878. It has been reported described in among other places at newvv.net/ukraine/253991.html, profi-forex.org/novosti-mira/novosti-sng/belarus-/entry1008309440.html, and dsnews.ua/world/v-belarusi-poyavilis-rossiyskie-zelenye-chelovechki-s-avtomatami-27072017162600). Given that such people became known as “the little green men” who led Russia’s invasion forces in Ukraine, such reports from Belarus now will only intensify existing fears about Russia’s intentions in Belarus even if it turns out as may be possible that those pictured are simply support elements for Russian forces rather than a genuine invasion force.
The Belarusian media amalgamate the shocking photo of the user of the Facebook social network Friend Syab, who captured servicemen with Kalashnikov assault rifles in the city tram! Photo taken in the city of Vitebsk of the Republic of Belarus . The signature of Friend Syabr under it is more like a cry of despair: “There were already people with automatic weapons in military uniform without identification signs. WITH KALASHES RIDE IN TRANSPORT, AND ANYONE DOES NOTHING TO DO ANYTHING !!! In general, we will have to protect our land. ” Friend Syabar writes that these are Russian servicemen who, long before the “West-2017” exercises (which will be held in September 2017 in Belarus – Ed.) Began to arrive in Belarus and “disperse” around the cities of the republic.p
In the photo my hometown vitebsk. Russian military is beginning to arrive at the so-called military exercises. The Soldiers are beginning to spread to all cities. But there were already people with machine guns in unmarked uniforms. With stacked driving in transport and no one is doing anything!!!! Anyway, I’ll have to protect my land. Last December, I gave an interview in which I was asked about the situation in Belarus. Already in that moment I panimal what the military exercises that Russia will spend in the fall of 2017 will be the last moment of freedom….. I said they increased 4 times the number of combat equipment and living forces before they did. Going out after the exercise won’t be!! There will be a plot in Crimea. Make a referendum and otozhmut the country But the most interesting part is that most of the belarusian, under the pseudo promise of a better life, will instantly vote for That bitch mustache over the last 10 years on a debt that we’re not going to give in life, and we’ve managed to get almost 80 % of the plants and the Russian Federation!!!! So Russia is considered a vladeletsoy country, only papers to sign.. So lose country……. it’s fucked!!! Now, look at the map for how much the front line is going to be, and in what chic catelet we’re going to be up to Kiev 200 miles https://youtu.be/3JnlnwPs5rE -video from an interview
Transnistria / Moldova Reports
Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region marked the 25th anniversary of Russia’s so-called peacekeeping operation in Bender-Tighina, Transdniester, on July 29. Deployed shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Russian forces effectively froze the conflict between independent-minded Moldovans and a pro-Russian minority. The event, which featured an exhibition on Russian forces, military-style catering, and a performance by a Russian rock band, was attended by the region’s separatist leader Vadim Krasnolesky and Russian Ambassador to Moldova Farit Mukhamedshin. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was absent, as his plane was blocked a day earlier by neighboring Romania from using its airspace. Bucharest said Rogozin was on an EU sanctions list imposed after Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. The move triggered condemnation by Moldova’s pro-Russian President Igor Dodon, Russia, and Transdniester. (RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service)
Hundreds of protesters are rallying in Moldova after parliament approved controversial changes to the electoral system that critics say favors the country's two largest political parties. …
Russia's hybrid military forces violated the ceasefire in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, 14 times in the past day as of 06:00 local time on July 30, as a result of which one Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and another seven were wounded, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 30 July from UNIAN.
One serviceman was killed and six wounded as a result of a targeted attack by pro-Russian militants near Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Region at around 8 a.m. Kyiv time, the antiterrorist operation (ATO) HQ said in its evening update on Facebook. From midnight to 6 p.m., the ATO forces registered two militant attacks, during one of which three 120-mm mortar bombs landed close to an ATO strongpoint and caused the casualties. The militants also used grenade launchers near Novotoshkivske. A total of 19 attacks was recorded on 28 July, no casualties were reported.
Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas twice on July 29, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action and six as wounded in action, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation Headquarters. News 29 July from UNIAN.
The latest from the front – the Special Monitoring Mission to the OSCE has reported seeing a Russian convoy in eastern Ukraine. The convoy consisted of 37 tr…
29.07.2017 14:51. The Special Operations Forces are the pride of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ukroboronprom State Enterprise has developed a new thermobaric weapon, the infantry flamethrower RPO-16, which was developed by the research institute, Chemical Products, as well as RGO-27S and RGT-27S2 grenades developed by Artem State Enterprise, as indicated in a statement released by the press service of Ukroboronprom. The new thermobaric weapons were presented at the Honcharovskyi training ground of the Armed Forces of Ukraine before the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, who personally evaluated the products of the Ukroboronprom State Enterprise. “The effectiveness of the Ukrainian enhanced blast weapons was tested at the training ground. There are, practically, no such weapons at the front line today. The RPO-16 hand-held rocket flamethrower proved to be very good,” Turchynov said. One of the types of thermobaric weapons is the RPO-16, a reactive infantry grenade launcher, which is armed with a reactive grenade with a special thermobaric mixture. This is a portable weapon, which is able to destroy an enemy, even when shielded by a strong cover. Its high explosive action the RPO-16 93mm caliber grenade is equivalent to a large-caliber artillery shell. The RGO-27S and RGT-27S2 grenades developed by Artem State Enterprise, which is a part of Ukroboronprom, were also demonstrated at the testing ground. These grenades, weighing no more than 600 grams, create a two second fire cloud with a volume of not less than 13 m³, inside of which the temperature reaches 2,500 degrees. This temperature allows not only for the destruction of the enemy, but are also able to disable lightly armored vehicles. “Very few countries in the world have the technology to create thermobaric ammunition. These are the first weapons of this type developed in Ukraine, and they came about thanks to the fact that Ukroboronprom invests in science and people, and the development of its competencies,” Volodymyr Korobov, Deputy Director General for Aircraft Industry and Operations said.
From July 10 to July 14, flight tests of the prototype of the suspended optoelectronic module PM-LKT, created in the DP NVK Photoprilad (general director – Koroe GS), were conducted at the “Voznesensk” aerodrome and the “Shiroky Lan” range. Which is a part of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom”. The Optoelectronic Module was created according to the technical specification and in the financing of the Ramzay PrAT. An active contribution to the development and creation of this device from our enterprise was made by Kompaniets Yu.M., Serbin I.S., Mazurin IV, Holub O.G., Moroshchuk S.V. Etc. The module is designed to provide search, detection, recognition of targets, the selection and launch of a guided missile, and the formation of a laser control field to guide the missile operator to the target. The device is installed on helicopters. PM-LKT was tested as a part of the complex 524Р on board the helicopter Mi-8MSB-V. Representatives of the DP NSC “Photoprilad”, DP DKBB “Luch”, PJSC “Ramzay”, “Motor Sich”, DNSC of the Armed Forces of Ukraine participated in the tests. During the tests, helicopter Mi-8MSB-V helicopter training flights were carried out with the purposeful search, simulation of the launch of the rocket, measurements of the characteristics of the complex. After the operation, missile launch and target defeat were completed. These successful tests will allow the DP NSC “Photoplider” to provide new orders for the manufacture and delivery of PM-LKT products for the future.
In May, Fuhrlander Windtechnology company (FWT) manufactured Ukraine’s most powerful windmill generator in Kramatorsk, a city in war-torn Donetsk Oblast 45 km away from the front line. The turbine’s capacity is 3.2 MW. Over 50% of the wind turbines’ components are produced in Ukraine. Three Kramatorsk enterprises are involved in the manufacturing cycle. The windmill generator was produced for Prychornomorskyi wind farm in Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine’s youngest wind farm with a projected capacity of up to 90 MW. Earlier FWT produced and supplied several 2.5 MW wind turbines for the farm. Kramatorsk manufacturers have plans to produce wind turbines of 4 MW capacity. FWT is the only Ukrainian producer of modern wind turbines. The company produces wind turbines at the facilities of the Kramatorsk Heavy Machine Tool Plant (KZTS), a manufacturer of machine tools and high-precision parts. Using its own equipment, Fuhrlander Windtechnology has built seven wind farms in Ukraine and one more in Kazakhstan since 2010. The 45 MW wind farm in Ereymentau, Kazakhstan is holding talks with FWT to expand the power plant’s capacity to 300 MW.
The general cargo ship Anda has capsized and fully sank off Sevastopol, the Russian news agency TASS has reported quoting the Maritime Rescue Subcentre of the Russian Sea and River Fleet Administration. Vessel with cargo of wheat is understood to have been caught in storm after leaving Kerch in Russia-annexed Crimea to Tripoli, Libya. Eight crew members were rescued, one is missing. A search and rescue operation is underway. The vessel is understood to have been caught in storm after leaving Kerch.
Mikheil Saakashvili, who was recently stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, spoke in an interview with ZIK TV how Ukrainian President Petro …
Ukrainian pilots who were steering an airplane of the Turkish company Atlasglobal were able to safely land an airplane with a badly damaged cockpit on 27 July. The 121 passengers and 6 crew members on board were safely transferred to another airplane, Milliyet reported. At 4000 feet (1220 m) altitude, the airplane ran into some bad hail, in the result of which its front windows and cockpit were damaged.
An airplane crash was successfully prevented thanks to the professionalism of Ukrainian pilots. During a freak summer storm, an AtlasGlobal airliner flying o…
An-74 freight plane of Ukraine’s CAVOK Air airline has crashed in Sao Tome and Principe Island in Central Africa, and the plane crew was injured, Deputy Infrastructure Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lavreniuk has said. An-74 freight plane of Ukraine’s CAVOK Air airline has crashed in Sao Tome and Principe Island in Central Africa, and the plane crew was injured, Deputy Infrastructure Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lavreniuk has said. “An hour ago An-74 freight plane of Ukraine’s CAVOK Air airline crashed while taking off from Sao Tome Island. The preliminary information is that birds hit the right airplane engine when the plane was taking off,” Lavreniuk wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday. “All crew members are alive, but injured. We are following up the situation,” he said. CAVOK Air was founded in 2011 in Kyiv. In 2012, the airline received a certificate from the State Aviation Service of Ukraine. The airline provides cargos, special and charter cargos transportation services.
The 28th of July is when Slavic Orthodox Christians celebrate the day of the baptism of the Rus when Prince Volodymyr converted the ancient state of Kyivan R…
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Paul Goble Staunton, July 30 – The standard image of the ISIS recruit is of a young man or more rarely a young woman who has left family behind and gone off to fight in Syria or Iraq for the caliphate. But that image needs to be modified: in the case of ISIS fighters from Tajikistan, 252 of the 840 Tajiks in ISIS ranks are children there with their families. According to a report presented by Dushanbe to the United Nation that is described today by the Tajik Service of Radio Liberty, there are currently 240 Tajik families in Syria and Iraq, totally 840 people in all. That number includes 309 men, 279 women, 110 girls and 142 boys (rus.ozodi.org/a/28648529.html). Over the last 30 months, the Tajikistan report says, 19 families have returned from the fighting. Among them were 21 girls and 20 boys. Earlier this year, the Tajik Service says, Radzhabmo Badriddinova, children’s ombudsman for that country, said that “dozens” of Tajik families had gone to fight for ISIS but that the authorities had little information about them. Tajikistan law has not caught up with this phenomenon: There are no special rules governing the handling of children swept up in this process. But now Dushanbe is thinking about what should be done to correct that given the numbers involved. One step already taken is the government’s decision to amnesty all who return to Tajikistan voluntarily. This report is significant for at least three reasons: First, it suggests that ISIS recruitment abroad is now targeting not just young adults but whole families, something that may make it easier for the Islamists to attract people to its cause not only in Tajikistan but quite possibly in other Muslim countries as well. Second, the presence of such children among ISIS forces raises the disturbing possibility that Islamist commanders may sacrifice them in order to win propaganda victories by suggesting that the opponents of the Islamic State are killing innocent women and children. Any such claims, especially if supported by pictures, are likely to go viral. And third, the recruitment of entire families also means that if these people do return to their homelands, their impact on the situation there is likely to be measured not in a few years but over decades because at least some of the children who are taken by their parents to Syria and Iraq will become radicalized and ready to act when they grow older.
Russia’s state-funded international network RT says one of its correspondents has been killed in shelling by Islamic State (IS) forces in Syria.
More than 150 jihadists and other criminals have been stripped of their citizenship and banned from returning to Britain amid fears that the collapse of Isis wi
Islam Mitat had been married for three months when her British husband, Ahmed, said he had a surprise for her. He had a new job in Turkey and wanted them to mov
Australian police disrupted a plot to bring down an airplane and arrested four men in raids on homes in several Sydney suburbs, the prime minister said Sunday.
Police disrupted a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane and arrested four men on Saturday in raids on homes in several Sydney suburbs, the prime minister said.
In a series of raids on five properties in Sydney’s suburbs, police made the arrests and reportedly found a homemade bomb. Officials say they believe the plot is “Islamic-inspired terrorism.”
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
North Korea’s state-run television KRT on Saturday (July 29) showed a video of Pyongyang residents welcoming the state’s second test of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
A day after North Korea tested a ballistic missile that it claims can reach all of the United States, US President Donald Trump ripped China for not reining in Kim Jong Un and his missile program.
President Trump tweeted that China does "NOTHING for us with North Korea," which on Friday tested an intercontinental ballistic missile
For various reasons, the U.S. cannot count on China as a reliable partner in defusing the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea announced a new weapon it claims can destroy North Korea’s nuclear facilities plus tunnel strongholds. Following North Korea’s test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile Friday, South Korea’s president ordered expansion of the country’s U.S.-supplied missile shield system know as THAAD. A former U.S. diplomat who negotiated with nuclear armed-North Korea said the Trump administration should agree to talks with Pyongyang and ditch the “dead-end” sanctions route
China is betting that U.S. President Donald Trump won’t make good on his threats of a military strike against North Korea, with Beijing continuing to provide a lifeline to Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Sharp rhetoric will get us nowhere. It’s time for the U.S. to abandon its longstanding “One Korea” policy.
NORTH KOREA has been threatened US will use “rapid, lethal and overwhelming” force, a top general said.
The United States flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force on Sunday after Pyongyang’s recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the U.S. and South Korean Air Forces said.
The United States said it conducted a successful missile defense test in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday amid growing tensions with North Korea.
The U.S. has conducted a test of its THAAD defense system in Alaska by launching a ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean, officials said Sunday.
President Moon Jae-in requested permission from the U.S. to strengthen its missile program after North Korea’s latest launch.
The South Korean government wants greater firepower to counteract the growing threat from North Korea’s missiles
In North Korea, a generation gap grows behind the propaganda
After 56-year separation, Suh Ok-ryeol is stuck in South Korea, with no way of knowing if his wife in the North is still alive “I would like to see my family once before I die. This time, I would really like to go,” said Suh Ok-ryeol, 90, in a calm voice during an interview with the Hankyoreh on the morning of July 22. Suh spent 29 years in prison. Suh, who lives in a rental apartment in Gwangju, was just released from the hospital after spending two months there. Heart disease combined with the other ailments of old age to put him for a time on the threshold of life and death. His kitchen is only furnished with a small fridge, a small rice cooker and a few plates. On the table in the main room are some books and magazines, along with several medicine wrappers. His bookshelf is neatly arranged with books on economics and philosophy printed in Japanese. Suh‘s life is like a book bound with the time he spent in North and South Korea. He was born in South Korea on Palgeum Island in Sinan County, South Jeolla Province, the eldest child of five sons and one daughter. He was studying economics at Korea University when the Korean War broke out in 1950, and he headed to north after joining the (North) Korean People’s Army (KPA). After being discharged from the military in Nov. 1953, he began working as a teacher at a middle school in Chonnae County, located in the part of Gangwon Province under North Korean control. While there, he fell in love with a female teacher, and the two got married. After graduating from Kim Il Sung University with a major in politics and economics in 1955, Suh worked at a cadre training center in Pyongyang. It was in Aug. 1961 that Suh came to South Korea. When he was dispatched to the South, he left two children in North Korea, a five-year-old and a three-year-old. He had been sent to the South to visit his hometown and try to convince his younger siblings to defect. After a brief meeting, he was heading back to North Korea when he was arrested by the South Korean authorities. Charged with violating the National Security Law (which prohibits unauthorized contact with North Korea), the lower court sentenced him to death, but this was commuted to life in prison on appeal, and the high court’s decision stood. As of this year, Suh has spent 56 years in South Korea. A letter that he wrote in 1998 but has not been able to send expresses his ardent feelings for his wife. “Dear, are you still alive? I wasn’t able to see you before I left because you were in the hospital at the time, and I can’t stop wondering whether you’re alive,” he wrote. “The day of our wedding remains in my thoughts even now and always brings me comfort.” Since the death of a Korean-German who informed him that his wife was alive over a decade ago, he has heard nothing about his wife‘s fate. Suh’s studies are what helped him endure his loneliness and longing. He speaks five languages: along with Korean, he is fluent in Japanese and also knows English, Russian and Chinese. Based on what he studied in prison, after his release he wrote a book titled “The Fundamentals of Political Economics.” His “Journal Excerpts,” which record his life in South Korea in the form of a diary, runs for more than 10 volumes. The journal contains a detailed account of the day he started reading the German edition of “Das Kapital,” by Karl Marx (July 22, 1996), and the day he started studying conversational Russian (March 3, 1997). “I want to give my children a record of my life,” he said.
China accused India of challenging its sovereignty . Now, Chinese President Xi Jinping says that the PLA can defeat all invading enemies.
His statement comes amidst the Sino-India military standoff at the Doklam area near the Sikkim border. – Amidst Doklam Standoff, Chinese President Xi Jinping Says PLA Can Defeat ‘Invading Enemies’
The world’s most valuable company appears to have pulled down the apps amid China’s deepening crackdown on tools that evade internet controls.
China held a military parade at Zhurihe training base in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 9:00 a.m. Sunday, in celebration of the 90th birthday of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Chinese President Xi Jinping reviewed the country’s armed forces in the field on Sunday morning, as part of the commemorations to mark the 90th founding anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It is the first time that Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission, observed such a massive parade staged in the field. Xi was greeted by Han Weiguo, commander-in-chief of the parade and commander of the Central Theater Command. Han reported: “Comrade chairman, the troops are ready. Please review!” “Proceed!” Xi said. Clad in camouflage military suit, Xi stood in an open-roof jeep that drove slowly past formations of troops as military music was being played through loudspeakers. The soldiers were standing to attention down the length of an airstrip at the Zhurihe military training base, flanked by sandy prairies that stretched to mountains on the skyline. Every few moments, Xi called out “Salute to you, comrades!” through microphones mounted in front of him, to which assembled troops responded “Hail to you, chairman!” Xi alternated that greeting with “Comrades, thanks for your hard work!” to which soldiers replied “Serve the people!” “Follow the Party! Fight to win! Forge exemplary conduct!” Servicemen and women saluted Xi and exclaimed.
Foreign Policy Reports
On Saturday, July 29, the European Commission officially launched a procedure for imposing sanctions against Poland. This happened after one of …
After weeks of clashes and tensions, Venezuelans started voting Sunday in a major poll that could mark a stark turning point for the country.
Strategy / Capability Publications
Published on July 26, 2017 Thomas A. Kruegler DCS G2 Intelligence Staff Officer The U.S. military, and therefore, the U.S. Army, finds itself at a historical inflection point, where disparate, yet related elements of the Operational Environment (OE) are converging, creating a situation where fast moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are…
July 28, 2017 By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki In January of 2017, CIA made the entirety of their declassified records collection available online. Previously, only select documents were available through the online collection, with the rest available only through National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Thus, for researchers of intelligence such as myself, the new online collection of 930,000…
Off the coast of Norfolk Friday, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, conducted the first-ever at-sea test of the ship’s two new electromagnetic flight deck systems.
Don’t worry, the robot apocalypse is not nigh.
Social neuroscientist Emily Falk uses individual brain responses to predict whether health messaging lands successfully or not Interview by Meeri Kim July 28, 2017 Meeri Kim: As director of the Communication Neuroscience Lab, you use the brain as a window into human attitudes and behaviors. What kinds of questions does your lab try to answer in this way?…
Social neuroscientist Emily Falk uses individual brain responses to predict whether health messaging lands successfully or not
StopFake: “Sputnik & RT’s Editor in Chief proposed that Russian and Chinese media should work together to tackle “fake news”. Once I stop laughing I might finish this editorial… </end editorial> Fake news, criticism and censorship July 27, 2017 – 19:11 Context By East Stratcom Speaking at the third Russia-China media forum in Moscow recently, Sputnik and RT’s…
OIR is Operation Inherent Resolve, US led operations in Syria and Iraq. </end editorial> By DANNY LEFFLER on July 28, 2017 U.S.-executed decapitation strikes are eliminating key ISIS propaganda leaders and hacking away at the terror group’s ability to broadcast its jihadist message across the world from its dwindling holdfasts in Syria and Iraq, Operation Inherent Resolve announced…
An erroneous cybersecurity statistic that wormed its way into bills and congressional testimony hasn’t been snuffed out—even though the organization the stat’s attributed to has disavowed it. House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, cited the phony stat—that 60 percent of small businesses hit with cyberattacks go out of business within six months—during a hearing on small businesses…
Michael Rubin @mrubin1971 July 25, 2017 10:06 am As the current crisis between Qatar and many moderate Arab states approaches its second month, one of the key complaints which the anti-Qatar coalition has voiced is about Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite channel which was once the most watched Arabic station. Al Jazeera and its supportersargue that the…
By ARL Public Affairs Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have discovered that the process of intrusion detection in computer networks exhibits a significant degree of burstiness as well as strong memory. Until now, this combination was not known. Researchers say significant burstiness means that bunches (“bursts”) of events cluster together, occurring rapidly one…
Details have emerged regarding increasing levels of proliferation across the Contemporary Operating Environment (COE) of Electronic Warfare (EW) threats arising out of Eastern Europe. Despite ongoing concentration of effort in the Middle East by an international coalition determined to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, a rather difference threat environment is gathering pace along the Ukraine’s…
A man alleged to be the pioneering spam lord, Pytor Levashov, is in Spanish custody awaiting extradition to the U.S.
Joint effort nabs Seattle resident.
US Domestic Policy Reports
A discretionary provision authorizing sanctions against companies that invest in Russian energy pipelines, is hardly a reason to reject the bill.
NPR’s Don Gonyea talks to Rem Korteweg, head of the Clingendael Institute’s Europe in the World program, about concerns the European Union has about the recent U.S. Russian sanctions bill.
Russia’s retaliation to US actions ‘long, long overdue,’ Kremlin says
The U.S. will have to cut staff numbers by more than 700 at its diplomatic missions in Russia as a result of an order to slash the size of American representation in retaliation for new sanctions, according to two officials in Moscow.
President Trump on Saturday resumed efforts to discredit and end allegations about his presidential campaign colluding with Russia in the 2016 White House race — pointing to Senate testimony earlier this week that linked the Kremlin to a dossier compiled to discredit him.
Probably the most sensible article about RussiaGate written. </end editorial> By DANIEL HOFFMANJULY 28, 2017 Russians are fond of a proverb, “besplatniy sir biyvaet tol’ko v mishelovke”: “Free cheese can be found only in a mousetrap.” Having long considered the United States its main enemy, the Kremlin deploys a full quiver of intelligence weapons against America…
For those of you not conversant in Latin, “res ipsa loquitur” means “the thing speaks for itself”. </end editorial> By Alex Potcovaru, Benjamin Wittes Friday, July 28, 2017, 3:02 PM We made a little video. No commentary. No opinions. No nothing—except recent senior intelligence and administration officials answering questions about what they believe about the Russian election interference.…
The US government ruled Mikhail Lesin’s death an accident, but multiple intelligence and law enforcement officials suspect it was a Russian hit. The government is withholding information so today BuzzFeed News has filed a lawsuit to pry the records loose. Posted on July 28, 2017, at 11:59 a.m. By Jason Leopold(BuzzFeed News Reporter)Ken Bensinger(BuzzFeed News Reporter)Anthony Cormier(BuzzFeed…
By Editorial Board July 29 at 5:58 PM PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN is a fresh convert to the principle of reciprocity in his dealings with the United States. He ought to take it a step further. On Friday, the Russian leader, irked at a sanctions bill that sailed through Congress, confiscated two American diplomatic properties in Russia and ordered the expulsion of…
Sanctions from the United States on Russia have impacted many Russian oligarchs. Many of these sanctions have been implemented thanks to the Magnitsky Act. T…