Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 6 August 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Lethal aid to Ukraine continues to be debated. WashPost lambasts Administration for insufficient effort to counter Russian propaganda, and they have a point. Multiple very interesting essays collected on the impact of the “New Axis of Evil” sanctions bill, from Ukrainian and Russian authors. Saakashvili fingers Russia for the Smolensk crash that killed the Polish leadership. Most interesting is possibly Novaya gazeta’s Mursaliyeva interviewing psychologist Asmolov on the impact of MH17 in Russia, cite: “The academician said that the shooting down of the Boeing jet divided the world. Before then, people in the West could talk about Russian barbarism and Russians could respond; but after that event, people in the West took what they saw as an act of barbarity personally and began to treat Russians as “untouchables.” Because ordinary people in the West came to that conclusion, their leaders, who are much more dependent on popular attitudes than are Russian ones, could not fail to respond to the situation by taking an ever harder line. Many people now talk about an information war, but what we are seeing, the academician says is “a psychological one.” And in that war, Russians have used “practically all the mechanisms of psychological defense” – including projection, rationalization, and compensation Russians must recognize that they are in a difficult situation but also that they are becoming “the product of manipulation … from the most varied sides.” Grigory Asmolov says that in his experience Russians are transferring this personalization of the conflict into their own relations with other Russians.” Asmolov is describing the internal impacts inside Russia of Putin turning Russia into a metonym for evil, destructiveness and dishonesty to the outside world, thus making it toxic to interact with – talk to a Russian at your own peril. His recommendation is no less interesting, as it contradicts the regime policy of active “zombification” :  “To move forward, he says, Russians must “vaccinate” themselves by developing critical thinking and showing that they are capable of responding to each situation. Otherwise they will be reduced to the status of “irresponsible” zombies.”  As always, Prof Goble’s “A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 94” is a must-read item. The most bizarre item being about Russian public feelgood, “knowing” that those despicable Bullfinch-eating, dill-eating, salo-eating, borshch-eating Ukrops are far worse off than decent, regime-fearing loyal-to-the-motherland Russians. Russia deploys 1,500 conscripts into occupied Georgian Abkhazia.

Moldovans complain Russia is covertly preparing a military exercise in Transnistria, while Putinist Pres Dodon declares his intent to block any legislation not friendly to the Motherland (i.e. Russia).

Ukrainians have another Polish problem to deal with, as purveyors of Russian fake news have incited anger against Ukrainian migrant workers claimed to be stealing jobs off Poles, in the midst of a Polish labour shortage and Polish goverment trying to encourage Ukrainians to work in Poland. Ukraine renaming Army brigades, using names of famous Ukrainian units and persons dating back to post WW1 Ukraine, or even centuries past. Donbass fires continue. More on yesterday’s AIr Force Day events. Former Party of Regions MP Iryna Berezhna, an ardent promoter of Putin and Russia, labelled a “Ukrainophobess”, dies at age 36 in a car crash while vacationing in Croatia. Ukrainian military Anime apparently part of a viral interest across Japan in all things Ukrainian military – resulting in a boom market for Ukrainian militaria. Multiple ugly reports from occupied Crimea.

Claims that Russia has refused to supply Iran with the Su-35S FLANKER E and Su-30SM FLANKER H, due to concerns over funding, sanctions and technology theft, with Iran refusing to buy offered digital Su-27SM3 FLANKER B Mod.1, suspected to be stock destined for the PLAAF before the spat over the J-11B.

DPRK argumentation continues, although UNSC sanctions were passed. PLA alleged to be using THAAD battery mockups as targets for practice TBM and IRBM shots.

Curious report about India declining the new Russian Al-41F1S/117S engine used in the Su-35S for an upgrade to the Su-30MKI FLANKER H fleet, negotiating with the French over uprating a domestic engine for this purpose.

US domestic debate remains toxic.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Lethal weapons for Ukraine | The Ukrainian Weekly

We welcome the news that the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon have proposed to the White House a plan to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty by providing lethal weapons. The possession by Ukraine of anti-armor projectiles like Javelin missiles and anti-aircraft weapons would significantly raise the stakes for Moscow, which already has more tanks […]

Yuriy Butusov | This is a terrible nightmare for Russian tanks

The US is considering the issue of transferring to Ukraine warstock  of the famous anti-tank missile complexes “Javelin” worth $ 50 million. Well, the political effect of this event can not be overemphasized – it will be a real breakthrough in US military assistance, a huge achievement of Ukrainian diplomacy and the entire Ukrainian state. But consider the military aspect. First, and what do we get based on the planning of the delivery of 50 million dollars? This is not real money, we will not bargain, it will be allocated to us from the military assistance fund on the terms of the package that are accepted by the US Department of Defense. “Javelin” is a rocket of a new generation, with automatic guidance based on the principle of “fire and forget,” and only two countries in the world – the USA and Israel – possess the technology of production of homing ATGMs that hit the tank in the most weakly shielded projection. Therefore, the price of “Javelin” is much higher than Ukrainian ATGMs. To assess the scope of supply, we have before our eyes a good example of Estonia. In 2016, the Estonian army under the military assistance program received “Javelins” for a similar amount of $ 55 million. To this amount, Estonia has received: 74 launchers, 220 missiles, and 10 missiles for combat launch launches (fly-to-buy). The delivery includes transportation, software, technical support, logistics. The cost of one Javelin rocket when purchased by the US Defense Ministry is not less than 100 thousand dollars, the cost of the launcher is 130 thousand (the PU is equipped with high-quality night and daytime optics). So it is unlikely that we will then purchase a missile on our own. But you can prepare calculations that will professionally work with such an expensive weapon. “Javelin” is magnificent, and this is a terrible nightmare for Russian tanks. But we must take into account that it, too, is not an absolute weapon and panacea, and despite its simplicity of operation and application it requires very competent tactics and planning of combat operations. The launching distance is 2500 meters. The missile has a very clever infra-red homing system, which in simple conditions gives 96% of direct hits. But thermal interference, dense smoke, weather factors affect the accuracy of recognition and aiming. To use such highly effective and expensive weapons should be real professionals, whose actions are provided by trained combat groups. We can not rearm the army “Javelins” completely, and there is no need, probably. We must do as in Israel – special forces for the use of precision weapons. This is the right way for expensive weapons systems, which have important tactical significance. Russian armored vehicles for “Javelin” – the target. But in order to increase losses, reduce the enemy’s security, it is still optimal to subject armored vehicles to shelling from various types of weapons in order to disable dynamic defense systems, screens, active protection systems. Modern weapons are most effective in complex applications. This also applies to such a state-of-the-art system as “Javelin”, which has no analogues in the Russian army. Of course, the capture of “Javelin” would have become the most desired goal for Russian special services, which should also be taken into account when planning combat employment. The opinions expressed in the “Opinions” section convey the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position. Editorial site is not responsible for the reliability of such materials, and the site performs solely the role of a carrier

What the Sanctions Really Mean for Russia | The National Interest

Russia and the United States are now in a situation where confrontation can twist in ways that are difficult—and possibly impossible—to forecast.

How to fight a kleptocracy and win – by maureen-erwin – August 3, 2017 – The San Francisco Examiner

Have we found Vladimir Putin’s Achilles’ heel? Because there might be something going on over there that people making money off massive, systemic corruption that is covered up by human rights abuses really, really don’t want you to know about. And that might give other nations some ideas. Because if all the money in the world can’t get your kid an Ivy League education, shopping sprees or vacations in the Hamptons or the French Riviera, what’s the point? Maureen Erwin is a Bay Area political consultant. Most recently she led Sonoma County’s Measure M, which will create the largest GMO-free growing zone in the U.S.

Tillerson, Russia’s Lavrov hold talks in Manila: Interfax

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began talks on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Manila, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported on Sunday.

If this were the Cold War, America would be poised to lose – The Washington Post

Unlike during the 20th century, the United States currently has no concerted effort to fight Russian propaganda.

What Would Russia Post-Putin Look Like?

What does the future hold for Russia in the long term, and is a peaceful transition possible when Putin steps away from the presidency?

“For Putin, punishing his enemies is extremely important” – Saakashvili considers the Russian president involved in Kaczynski’s death near Smolensk

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed in a plane crash that was commissioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. As reported by Censor.NET with reference to Radio Liberty , the head of the party “Rukh of new forces” Mikheil Saakashvili stated in an interview to the television channel Republika. According to him, the Polish plane crash near Smolensk in 2010 came as a result of Putin’s intentional actions, which thus revenged Kaczynski for his international activity. Saakashvili recalled that in 2008 Kaczynski initiated a joint trip with the presidents of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Tbilisi in order to support the Georgian people in the face of Russian aggression. “Kaczynski was not only a threat, but also a symbol, he did not have military force, but there was a symbolic power …. For Putin, punishing his enemies is extremely important,” the politician said. Recall, April 10, 2010 in the Tu-154 crash in Smolensk killed 96 people, including Polish President Leh Kachinsky and his wife, the leaders of all the armed forces, Chief of General Staff, representatives of the Sejm and Senate, as well as the Polish clergy, the last president of Poland in Exile Ryszard Kachorovsky.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia Goes Global – To Inform is to Influence

Libya to the Balkans to South Africa, the Kremlin is working to hollow out the U.S.-led international order By Eugene Rumer and Andrew S. Weiss Aug. 4, 2017 4:14 p.m. ET Former President Barack Obama once dismissed post-Soviet Russia as a mere “regional power,” but that isn’t how things look today. Vladimir Putin has gone global…

Vladimir Putin’s Russia Goes Global – WSJ

From Libya to the Balkans to South Africa, the Kremlin is working to hollow out the U.S.-led international order.

Volodimir Ogryzko | Moscow has only one way out

Russia can not respond to US sanctions neither politically, nor economically, nor scientifically and technically, because it does not have any instruments of influence, the head of the Center for Russian Studies, ex-Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Ogryzko writes in the blog to NV . President of the United States Donald Trump signed a package of sanctions against the Russian Federation. And Russia has nothing to offer as a countermeasure. The latest reaction proved this: it is an attempt to expel 700 American diplomats from the Russian Federation, of which there have never been as many. After all, in the end, this means that several Russians will lose their jobs, but for the picture and for the Russian people to know that “we will show them a kuz’kina mother,” that was done. In fact, Russia can not respond politically, economically, or scientifically and technically, because it has no instruments of influence either for the US or for the West as a whole. Therefore now in Moscow they are thinking about how to minimize the consequences of these sanctions. But it is unlikely that this will lead to concrete actions, since the Kremlin’s calculation that sanctioning a quarrel between Europe and the US is useless. In one way or another, both the US and the EU have found, or if necessary find, compromises on economic issues. But all of them will be tougher than those that were before the introduction of these sanctions. So, the pressure on Russia will continue, and in Moscow it can not be misunderstood. These sanctions can become a very serious warning to all those around the Kremlin and who “earned” their honestly stolen money in the last century, hiding them in the West. I think that this is actually the biggest threat to the Russian regime. Because in the end, those who hid this money in Europe or in America will have a simple question: did I really do this to now abandon everything. But the main emotional Russian question: who is to blame for this. And I think that everyone will understand the answer even from three times. And then internal political changes will begin, which, perhaps, will have the consequence of a very serious rethinking by some of the gentlemen in Moscow of what is happening with potential solutions that someone today may not like in the Kremlin. This is another painful step for the first time in order for the Kremlin to understand that they need to either return to their original positions-that is, get out of the Crimea and the Donbas, pay compensation for the damage done and gradually begin the process of restoring normal relations-or prepare for the worst: Namely, the slide of the Russian economy is not just to stagnate, but to decline. In this respect, the example of the collapse of the USSR among existing Kremlin leaders should be before our eyes. The somewhat aggressive statements of some European politicians do not mean that there will be a certain aggravation in the relations between the EU and the US. There will be misunderstandings and attempts to find a compromise. Although the position of the EU is somewhat surprising in this respect: Brussels decided to reduce energy dependence on Russia. And today the same Brussels to please, I think, corrupt Russian Gazprom companies, in fact, this energy dependence does not want to cancel. After all, the North Stream-2 is definitely another peg of Europe to Russian energy carriers, that is, an increase, not a decrease in dependence. In the EU itself there is no unity and will not be, because, for example, Poland and the Baltic countries are tough against the Russian gas pipeline. And the European Commission’s desire to negotiate with Gazprom can be easily blocked by the countries mentioned and the idea will end thereafter. But what is said today by some political leaders of the EU in this respect is really surprising, since the North Stream-2, and mainly this project, enhances dependence on Russian gas. What sets us before the question – prices or values? It seems that for some companies money and business play a more important role than principles. The opinions expressed in the “Opinions” section convey the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position. Editorial site is not responsible for the reliability of such materials, and the site performs solely the role of a carrier

Slava Rabinovich | The US is interfering with Putin’s main goal. We are waiting for crap from the Kremlin

US President Donald Trump signed a law on sanctions against Russia, Iran and the DPRK. The current restrictive measures have already dealt a tangible blow to the Russian economy, while the new ones will contribute to the collapse of the Russian Federation. The last package of American sanctions can not actually have any mirror responses from Russia. But Putin’s organized crime group is ruthless, insidious, mean and inhuman. One can recall another US sanction law – the Magnitsky Act, which was aimed at combating corruption and human rights violations. As a “symmetrical” measure, Putin’s OPG adopted the so-called “scoundrel law”, which banned the adoption of Russian orphans by American families, while Americans in the vast majority adopted children who could not be cured by Russian medicine, and in the United States Treated and led to a normal happy life. All that Putin’s OPG can do to counter the new sanctions law is to respond with some kind of baseness of the same plan. No mirror response to sanctions can be in the literal sense of the word, but it can be done meanly, lowly, disgustingly, by the formula “Voronezh bombed” or we take some of our own hostages. Putin in response to sanctions can go to a certain aggravation – you can not exclude such a scenario. But if we take the aggravation that he made in Syria, it was not intended to confront the US, but in order to try to involve them in negotiations on some exchanges, we will help you to fight against ISIS, we will blackmail you with the retention Regime of Bashar Assad, in return for this and that and that. Americans, as we know, have not been led to this. In comparison with the entire military power of NATO, the Russian army is absolutely incompetent. If we do not take into account the factor of nuclear forces, then in the non-nuclear conflict the Russian army can not resist the forces of NATO, and this is understood in Russia. What is the purpose of the Putin regime, its OPG? It is very simple – they endlessly, they think, hold power for infinite enrichment. It is a mafia that seized the state together with all the institutions that they destroyed, together with the armed forces they control, together with nuclear weapons. They all do it to steal on an astronomical scale and hand over the reins of government and theft to their children, grandchildren, so that it goes on forever. This goal can be very violated – and I think they understand it – if they cross some red line. Having unleashed a conflict with Ukraine, having shot down an airplane and killing more than 10 thousand Ukrainians and provoking a humanitarian crisis with almost 2 million refugees, annexing foreign lands, Putin was still stopped where he was stopped. It can not be said that Putin entered Ukraine with his armed forces as a knife in oil, because he was stopped. Sanctions. In the most heated phases of these crimes, Moscow was visited by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, then French President Francois Hollande, then US Secretary of State John Kerry. And apart from the exhortations of a mental patient, they brought ultimatums to Putin – I do not doubt this. They told him how the sanctions would be strengthened if he went to seize the land route to Crimea via Mariupol if he tried to annex other areas of Ukraine – Kherson, Odessa or some other, and it really stopped him. Why? Because it contradicted his goals, the most important of which is the endless retention of power for infinite enrichment. Because he understood that any escalation beyond the limits traced to him would entail a military defeat and a complete economic collapse, which in turn would lead to an imminent change of regime. The instinct for self-preservation in the literal sense of the word in this OPG has long gone, otherwise they would not do what they did in 2014 in Ukraine. But there are still some remnants, and they understand that there are certain limits beyond which their regime will be destroyed. In Ukraine, almost everything, based on Putin’s original plan, has failed. The annexation of the Crimea along with the land corridor failed, the fascist idea of “Novorossia” failed and, it seems to me that this is all – the already gone train for Putin in all respects. The only thing that he probably thinks about in the long term is the continuation of the frozen conflict in the East of Ukraine, in order to shake the economy and political power through it, so that because of this Ukraine turned into a failed state. And after that, he thinks, it will be possible to expand his sphere of influence to Ukraine. Accordingly, any potential escalation in the status quo of the Ukrainian side will mean an accelerated fall of his regime, because sanctions will be strengthened against him. Therefore, a full-scale offensive to Ukraine, I think, is now impossible for him, As this will be a suicidal step. Although we have seen many suicidal actions before: when a person lives in a parallel reality, nothing can be ruled out. This is a real crazy gangster who has a nuclear weapon – this should not be forgotten. People from Putin’s entourage, if we talk about those who from the contingent of the contingent, understood where everything is moving and what will result, three years ago. But the fact is that these people have no influence on Putin, what they had on him in the early 2000s. They can not do anything, especially after Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s landing in 2003 – they realized that they have no leverage, despite the fact that Putin has all power structures in his hands. So they clung to Putin’s shoe and began to lick it. And not just so, but in exchange for a share in their businesses. The overwhelming majority of these people are actually smeared with crimes – this is corporate raiding, and theft of money, and the laundering of this money. They are on the hook of Putin and his special services. Putin holds a carrot and a club over them. Putin himself is surrounded, he thinks, by an impenetrable defense ring consisting of FSO, FSB, Rosgvardia and various bodyguards. Figuratively speaking, each of these businessmen has a snuffbox in their closet, which probably many of them would like to use, but, unfortunately, I just do not see such an opportunity at the moment. And now, in my opinion, a palace coup would be very difficult to accomplish. The economic situation in Russia because of the existing sanctions has worsened, but the Russian authorities always manage to explain to the people certain events. For this, there is a TV. To Russian viewers the Ostankino needle [Moscow TV tower] is implanted directly into the brain. The competition between the TV and the fridge continues, and while the TV wins. But this is most likely to end with together with irreversible changes in the economy, when most of the population simply will not have the means to pay electricity to their TV to continue to work, not to mention food. Therefore, I think that all this slow decay will eventually end in failure, but no one can predict either the time or the essence of these events – this is the principle of “black swans”. I think that the “black swans” will fly – it will happen absolutely accurately.

Podcast: Deja Vu All Over Again

What happens next in U.S.-Russian relations? Listen to this week’s Power Vertical Podcast.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Struggling with ‘Psychological Deportation of Russia’ from the Rest of the World, Psychologist Says

Paul Goble Stanton, August 5 – Since the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, Novaya gazeta journalist Galina Mursaliyeva says, have been dealing with “the unbearable situation of their own powerlessness” to define their position relative to that action and to the outside world which blames their country for it. She interviewed Academician Aleksandr Asmolov, a leading Moscow psychologist, who discussed this situation and concluded that “in the world today, the psychological deportation of Russia is taking place, and you and I all together have become hostages of this situation” (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2014/08/01/60558-psihologicheskaya-deportatsiya-rossii). Also participating in the discussion was the academician’s son, Grigory, who was visiting Moscow for a few days. He is currently working on his doctorate in communications at the London School of Economics. He shared not only his academic expertise but also his experiences living among Russian expats in Britain. The academician said that the shooting down of the Boeing jet divided the world. Before then, people in the West could talk about Russian barbarism and Russians could respond; but after that event, people in the West took what they saw as an act of barbarity personally and began to treat Russians as “untouchables.” Because ordinary people in the West came to that conclusion, their leaders, who are much more dependent on popular attitudes than are Russian ones, could not fail to respond to the situation by taking an ever harder line. Many people now talk about an information war, but what we are seeing, the academician says is “a psychological one.” And in that war, Russians have used “practically all the mechanisms of psychological defense” – including projection, rationalization, and compensation Russians must recognize that they are in a difficult situation but also that they are becoming “the product of manipulation … from the most varied sides.” Grigory Asmolov says that in his experience Russians are transferring this personalization of the conflict into their own relations with other Russians. Before the shoot down, there was “a certain distance between the media and personal communications.” But that has broken down, and it is splitting families and friends even in social networks. “In recent months,” he continues, “we observe an enormous number of breakdowns in social links, among friends, classmates, and colleagues. This is connected with distancing friends in social networks.” But it is leading to a situation in which “people are ceasing to comment on anything.” “Some are simply closing down their Internet pages,” Grigory Asmolov says. “This is a heavy socio-psychological trauma and its impact will be longer than the conflict itself. The breakdown of the social structure is a dangerous trend, which is chock full of far reaching consequences.” His academician father agrees. The shooting down of the Malaysian jetliner whatever the ultimate facts of the case prove to be has led to the “psychological deportation” of Russians from the rest of the world and left them “hostages of this deportation.” Overcoming that is going to be difficult and take a long time. To move forward, he says, Russians must “vaccinate” themselves by developing critical thinking and showing that they are capable of responding to each situation. Otherwise they will be reduced to the status of “irresponsible” zombies. At present, the academician concludes, the shooting down of the Malaysian plane has “cast doubt on the myth that a civil society has arisen in Russia. We have become victims of collective affect. The bell today is ringing over the embryo of civil society in Russia.”

Maksym Rozymny | U.S. sanctions as means for Putin to mobilize electorate

The introduction of new sanctions by the United States was hardly a shocker to Russia. Indeed, Moscow may be a bit confused at the fact that the events are developing a bit off their plan: the Kremlin did not expect such a sharp blow and in such a short time after the presidential election. But in general, Russia sees the whole situation as clear and predictable. I think Russia will present a double response to the U.S. move. In statements and general rhetoric, Russia will show it’s taking up the challenge. At the same time, Russia will demonstrate a stubborn and rigid stance. At least this will be the case until presidential elections in Russia in early 2018. Russia at the margins of “underwater diplomacy” will seek opportunities to mitigate or circumvent these sanctions, and in to have them completely removed in the future By and large, this kind of development is beneficial for Putin and his team, because it keeps his electorate mobilized, reducing the chances for internal protests and internal pluralism. So there is no doubt that the Russian authorities will take advantage of the situation. With regard to a more pragmatic aspect, it is clear that the sanctions do not play into the hands of the Russian ruling elite – they hurt them. Therefore, Russia at the margins of “underwater diplomacy” will seek opportunities to mitigate or circumvent these sanctions, and in to have them completely removed in the future. Russia is not so much surprised by Trump’s decision to sign the law on sanctions, they didn’t quite expect though such unanimity in the American political elite, and that both the U.S. Congress and Senate would be able to gain so many votes to pass the bill. Apparently, this came as a surprise to Moscow. Meanwhile, this whole thing with the delay of Trump’s signing of the ‘Russia Sanctions Act’ and his comments on this legislation (claiming it’s unconstitutional) is about transferring the accents to the plane of the internal political struggle in the U.S. This was expected. Even had Trump not signed the sanctions act, this would also have been an element of the internal political struggle, and this would have also been a tactical step on the part of Trump. Signing the act is fighting the opposition one way, while not signing it is fighting the same opposition by other means. Therefore, the signing by Trump was not so important for Russia. In response to new sanctions, Russia can demonstrate its intransigence to America, including at Ukraine’s expense, and use all its levers of pressure on the United States As for the reaction to the sanctions issue by Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, it has an internal Russian element into it. It is known that Medvedev in the Russian political context has always been regarded as a supporter of reconciliation and partnership with America and the Western world in general. Such a statement on his part is an indication that a picture of unity among Russian authorities will now be created: they will show that there is no opposing opinion, everything is clear, “the state is endangered,” so everyone is quickly teaming up around Putin. In response to new sanctions, Russia can demonstrate its intransigence to America, including at Ukraine’s expense, and use all its levers of pressure on the United States. Ukraine should not expect that after the introduction of new sanctions, Putin will give up, withdraw his troops from Ukraine, return Crimea, and reduce the intensity of hostilities in Donbas. Rather, he will do the opposite. He is unlikely though to take any drastic steps (for example, to launch a large-scale war). But the fact that Russia’s agility will sharply diminish, the status quo will be maintained, and that all possible means of pressure will be applied to Ukraine – this is precisely what we should expect in the near future. For Russia, another problem lies in the fact that they have nothing to respond with to the U.S. on the issue of sanctions. There are only certain areas in which America is somewhat dependent on Russia (nuclear energy or individual projects). But breaking all ties with the U.S. would not be beneficial for Russia because Moscow understands the extent to which the U.S. resources of economic influence dominate over those of Russia. Therefore, most likely, the political form of pressure by Russia will be maintained. And Ukraine will not be the only country to be affected. There are also Syria, Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and the European theater of confrontation. Therefore, probably, all forces of the empire will not be focused on Ukraine, but Kyiv won’t see any easing either, that’s for sure. Maksym Rozumny is a Doctor of Political Sciences, head of the department for the political system development at the National Institute for Strategic Studies

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Moves to Kill Off Last Vestiges of Federalism in Russia

Paul Goble Staunton, August 5 – Over the last month, the Kremlin’s decision not to extend the power-sharing agreement with Tatarstan has sparked a great deal of discussion even though that accord immediately affects only a single federal subject. Indeed, it has generally been treated as Moscow’s final step toward doing away with federal arrangements set up in the 1990s. But in fact, Vladimir Putin’s decision on Tatarstan as important as it is – for a useful discussion, see intersectionproject.eu/ru/article/politics/otgoloski-mertvoy-federacii — may be less fateful for the future of federal relations than two other moves this past week that could kill the last vestiges of federalism in the Russian Federation. On the one hand, the Russian government is preparing legislation that will give Moscow “universal bases” for unilaterally stripping the authority of any region, a move that would leave the federal subjects not only as the creation of the federal center but also as complete dependencies on the whims of the center. And on the other, Moscow is moving toward a system in which the heads of federal subjects would become little more than governors general whom the center would appoint and give military ranks and who would become cogs in the military machine of the state rather than officials elected by the population as the Russian Constitution requires. On Friday, the Russian government announced that it has sent to the Duma a draft law that would establish “universal bases” for taking away from the regions and republics powers delegated to them by Moscow (government.ru/activities/selection/301/28713/ and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59841D1ABB488). As summarized by the Kasparov.ru portal, the draft law would “make possible the seizure of authority” from the regions by Moscow “if on the territory of the region, the federal organs are realizing the very same by content authority that the regional authorities of executive power are” and if this would allow the government to save money. The measure also allows Moscow to take over if it decides this is necessary “for the achievement of measures of the defense of the country and the security of the state” and also for ‘international and all-national measures” or if natural disasters or some other emergency situation arises in a particular region. Thus, the proposed law which given that it is backed by the government almost certainly will be approved will provide a legal framework for Moscow to take powers away from the regions any time it wants, thus legalizing what in fact has been happening under Putin and making it likely that Moscow will make even more moves in that direction. The second development concerns a new law which makes changes in the Russia’s law “On defense” that Vladimir Putin signed ten days ago. As Nezavisimaya gazeta pointed out on Friday, these changes are “only the visible part of an enormous iceberg almost completely concealed from the curious eyes of both enemies and friends” (nvo.ng.ru/realty/2017-08-04/2_959_red.html). The newly approved amendments formally make the heads of regions more responsible for national defense, something the center has been talking about since 2015; but in fact, the paper suggests, they are another step toward the integration of the governors into the defense machine of the state and reducing them to its cogs. That is because the measures not only allow the center to control them by monitoring their activities in terms of national defense but also open the way for them to be given military ranks and thus becoming as it were Moscow’s “governors general” in the regions subject to military discipline rather than the at least nominally elected representatives of the people.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 94

Paul Goble Staunton, August 5 — 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.

  1. Putin’s Three Greatest ‘Achievements’ — Unifying Ukraine, the US and the West. Various Russian and Ukrainian commentators have pointed out that Vladimir Putin can count among his greatest “achievements” three things he certainly didn’t want: a unified Ukraine, a unified US, and a unified West (graniru.org/Politics/Russia/President/m.263049.html). Moreover, some of them are suggesting that the arrest of the late Uzbekistan dictator’s daughter has frightened him more than the new Western sanctions (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597B63FD0DCE0), even though they, like the Magnitsky list, are intended to send Putin’s entourage the message that the Kremlin leader can  no longer defend them (echo.msk.ru/blog/partofair/2027450-echo/). Other Putin news this past week: he was named a friend of Muslims by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (rusisworld.com/religiya/ois-nazvala-vladimira-putina-liderom-pokazavshim-druzheskie-zhesty-islamu-i-musulmanam), he managed to avoid saying anything about the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Terror (mk.ru/politics/2017/08/01/terror-bolshoy-no-tikhiy-rossiya-zabyla-pro-tridcat-sedmoy-god.html), and he refused to agree to become the coach of the Russian football team although he did say he would think about running for president again (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/08/04/1636067.html). Meanwhile, an anti-Putin site in a satirical piece suggested that Russian scholars are working on a special medication to allow Putin to live another 60 or 70 years so that he can run for president five or six more times (intersucks.ru/политика/dlya-putina-sozdayut-lekarstvo-kotoroe-prodlit-emu-zhizn/).
  2. Trump, ‘Weak and No Longer Ours,” Sees His Support in Russia Fall by More than 50 Percent. Following the overwhelming Congressional vote to increase sanctions on Russia and not allow the president to change them without legislative approval and Donald Trump’s announcement that he would sign the measure, Dmitry Medvedev described the US president as “weak” and “no longer ours.” That led Trump to criticize the Congress for its action (graniru.org/Politics/World/US/RF/m.263023.html). Meanwhile, a new poll found that only 18 percent of Russians have a positive view of Trump, down from 38 percent earlier this year (snob.ru/selected/entry/127658).  And Russian outlets picked up on US commentaries suggesting that “Trump is a minor figure in Russian organized crimes” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5980A70329C33).
  3. Russian Politics Changing in ‘Agony of a Dying Democracy.’ A leading Moscow newspaper says that the upcoming presidential election in Russia is emblematic of the fact that the country is living through “the agony of a dying democracy” (ng.ru/editorial/2017-08-02/2_7042_red.html). But as that happens, there are some political changes worth noting: Vladimir Zhirinovsky has called for the three systemic opposition parties to unite (regions.ru/news/2608681/),an analysis of the Duma shows that in the last Duma, 17 deputies did absolutely nothing (rbc.ru/politics/02/08/2017/597f4a009a79479c7edd1473), United Russia is setting up a Soviet-style party school for its apparatchiks (kommersant.ru/doc/3371447), and analysts are suggesting that Putin’s presidential plenipotentiary system has exhausted its utility for the Kremlin (regnum.ru/news/polit/2305033.html).
  4. Russian Central Bank Urges Russians ‘to Think Less’ about Economic Problems.  The Kremlin media report on the problems of the Russian economy less than they deserve, but even so Russians are very much aware that things are tough. Now the Central Bank has come up with a new “solution.” It says that Russians should “think less” about problems in the economy like inflation (newsland.com/community/5652/content/tsb-rekomenduet-rossiianam-menshe-dumat-o-roste-tsen/5940214). Among other bad economic news: Russia’s GDP has now fallen back to its 2012 level (profile.ru/omics/item/118728-pyat-poteryannykh-let), more than half of Russians now fear that they won’t be paid in a timely manner (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597B2F7DA49C8), and experts say that the government won’t be able to pay its employees their salaries by the end of this year now that reserves are gone (m.lenta.ru/news/2016/07/30/minfinstorm/), another poll found that 42 percent of Russians don’t think Moscow will help them get with their economic difficulties (newsland.com/community/129/content/rossiiane-bedneiut-i-ne-veriat-v-pomoshch-gosudarstva/5939178), and only four percent think the state will allow them to get out of poverty (iq.hse.ru/news/207849840.html), and a third of Russians are now relying on private plots for food much as they did in Soviet times (lenta.ru/news/2017/07/31/survival/). Other disturbing news included: reports that Western pension funds now own millions of hectares of Russian land (fedpress.ru/article/1827248?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com), industrial production has fallen by six percent so far this year (forum-msk.org/material/news/13523365.html), purchases of high-end dachas have fallen by 30 percent since last year (dom.lenta.ru/news/2017/08/02/elitdacha/?utm_source=from_lenta), housing construction has collapsed (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/43423), real incomes are down 20 percent since 2014  (politsovet.ru/56099-vshe-realnye-dohody-rossiyan-upali-na-20.html), and savings are disappearing (kommersant.ru/doc/3373044).  Russian economists are saying that even if the Kremlin can cope with sanctions in the short term, their long term impact will leave Russia ever further behind the West (newsland.com/community/6437/content/tramp-povesit-rossii-kamen-na-sheiu/5939262 and svpressa.ru/omy/article/178089/). Not surprisingly, ever more articles in the Russian media include headlines like “Life in Russia  is getting worse with each day” (newsland.com/community/4489/content/zhizn-v-rossii-ukhudshaetsia-s-kazhdym-dniom/5937601).
  5. Polls Showing Russians Upbeat Reflect Fact that They Believe Things are Worse in Ukraine. Analysts say that recent polls, much celebrated by the regime, showing that a greater share of Russians are happy today than ever before reflect not a judgment on their own situation but rather their sense that things are even worse in neighboring Ukraine (www.newsland.com/community/6437/content/bednye-no-schastlivye/5939317 and echo.msk.ru/blog/oreh/2029426-echo/). Other disturbing social news this week included: residents of six districts in the Kuban say that serfdom has returned there (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/307185/), family violence is spreading across Russia (ru.krymr.com/a/28645591.html), fewer than a million Russian marriages occurred last year, the smallest number since 2004 (newsland.com/community/6437/content/brak-utratil-smysl-v-2016-godu-v-brak-vstupili-menee-1-mln-rossiian/5934701 ), workplace suicides are on the rise (politsovet.ru/56079-uralcy-stali-chasche-sovershat-suicidy-na-rabote.html), a Leningrad oblast man took out a loan to pay for the murder of his wife (asiarussia.ru/news/17188/), surveys show that young Russians are less patriotic, less collectivist and less interested in religious values than their parents (ruskline.ru/analitika/2017/08/02/tendencii_izmenenij_v_cennostyah_rossijskoj_molodezhi/), and half of Russians still say you can’t do business without paying bribes (takiedela.ru/news/2017/08/03/ne-podmazhesh/).
  6. Being Orthodox Doesn’t Mean Pro-Putin, Expert Says. The Kremlin mistakenly assumes that those who identify as Orthodox are invariably pro-Putin but that is not the case (republic.ru/posts/85542), despite the fact that the church cooperates with the state in attacking secularism (ng.ru/facts/2017-08-02/14_425_sud.html). The church has its own agenda – it recently attacked all those who study abroad (newsland.com/community/4375/content/v-rpts-obiavili-o-vrede-ucheby-za-granitsei-tam-detiam-meniaiut-soznanie/5935705), is pushing for an ever greater voice in educational matters, something that is sparking dissent (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/07/29/133952-uchenye-podali-kollektivnuyu-apellyatsiyu-na-prisuzhdenie-stepeni-kandidata-teologii), and is successfully demanding the “return” of property that was never its in the first place (interfax-.ru/?act=news&div=67836 and znak.com/2017-08-02/rpc_pytaetsya_poluchit_v_sobstvennost_tri_kolledzha_v_centre_ekaterinburga). Meanwhile, in another religious development, the RIA news agency reported that the Orthodox church is increasingly hiring Muslim workers to build new churches in Moscow (ria.ru//20170731/1499461716.html).
  7. Racial Profiling Only Most Visible Ethnic Problem This Week. Russian police are increasingly singling out those who fit the image they have of ethnic minorities and especially Chechens, an approach that is outraging many non-Russians (kavpolit.com/articles/o_voronezhskom_intsidente_v_svete_rossijskogo_zako-35025/, nazaccent.ru/content/24895-v-voronezhe-ishut-zhenshinu-poslavshuyu-chechenok.html and kavkazr.com/a/voronezh-ne-dlya-chechentsev/28644875.html). Other developments included: non-Russians were dramatically underrepresented in Presidential Grants this year (nazaccent.ru/content/24945-delu-dengi-potehe-net.html), but the Russian nationalist Night Wolves also came up short, not getting anything for the first time since 2012 (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=597F78AC5629C). Stories appeared about efforts to kill Ramzan Kadyrov (svpressa.ru/accidents/article/177924/) and also about the support he reportedly has among the Jews of Chechnya (ng.ru/facts/2017-08-02/9_425_grozny.html).  Tatar nationalists of the Vatan organization called on Kazan to defend their republic’s sovereignty against Moscow (agonia-ru.com/archives/10176), Moscow promotes Kryashen movement against Tatars (nazaccent.ru/content/24916-v-rossii-poyavitsya-pervyj-mezhregionalnyj-kulturnyj.html), a major court case has arisen as a result of a hospital mistakenly confusing a Bashkir and an ethnic Russian baby and giving them to the wrong parents (nazaccent.ru/content/24888-ot-chelyabinskogo-roddoma-trebuyut-3-mln.html), and Russian officials have been throwing up additional obstacles to prevent Circassians from gaining Russian citizenship (nazaccent.ru/content/24919-den-repatrianta-otmetili-v-adygee.html  http://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/307028/). But there was one development this week that may cast an enormous positive shadow on the future: Adgyey librarians have posted online the texts of numerous rare Circassian books from the 1920s and 1930s, a model for other non-Russian nations (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/1927/posts/29406 and nb-ra.ru/bib_servises/neb/neb.php).
  8. Regional Leaders Increasingly Hiring Their Relatives. It is not just in Moscow that nepotism is rampant. In many regions, top leaders are appointing their relatives to key positions (kavkazr.com/a/vsem-mozhno-a-kadyrovu-nelzya/28655127.html). Many Russians are concerned about both widespread forest fires in Siberia and the Far East and the sale of timber from there to China (newsland.com/community/7451/content/lesa-sibiri-i-dalnego-vostoka-bezzhalostno-vyrubaiut-radi-eksporta-v-kitai/5941048 and nakanune.ru/news/2017/8/1/22478066/). And the activities of the regional elites have stirred increasing concern in Moscow (afterempire.info/2017/08/03/ural-problems/).
  9. Russia Now has More than One Million Registered HIV Cases. Russian medical officials say that the number of Russians infected with the HIV/AIDS virus and registered with the state has passed one million, with the real total undoubtedly higher (newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-rossii-uzhe-bolee-milliona-vich-infitsirovannykh-rekord-za-vsiu-istoriiu-nabliudenii/5942597). Other medical news included: commentators say the Russian elite doesn’t care about oncological services in Russia because its members go abroad for treatment. Poorer Russians can’t and are protesting and dying as a result (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59842F317FCFE and svpressa.ru/online/sptv/177747/). The quality of Russian tap water is so bad that Russians have continued to buy bottled water even when they have cut back on food (profile.ru/economics/item/118812-zhazhda-pribyli). Human DNA has been found in Moscow sausages (regnum.ru/news/accidents/2307070.html). The cost of medicine is increasing three times as fast as overall inflation (newsland.com/community/129/content/rost-tsen-na-lekarstva-prevysil-infliatsiiu-v-tri-raza/5941812). Under Putin’s health optimization program, almost 9,000 of Russia’s 80,000 villages with fewer than 100 residents do not have access to any medical care within an hour’s travel time of their homes (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59807ED3D6919).
  10. Protests of All Kinds Continue to Spread. The long-haul truckers have resumed their strike with a convoy through major cities, but the biggest protests of the week were by opponents of the film “Mathilda.”  Those protests which in many cases enjoy the backing of the authorities are backfiring because they have stimulated enormous interest in the move among many Russians (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2029528-echo/, politsovet.ru/56127-sud-v-ekaterinburge-otkazalsya-shtrafovat-uchastnikov-stoyaniya-protiv-matildy.html and openrussia.org/notes/712232/). Some Russians who wanted to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of the Great Terror were able to; others were blocked by the authorities (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5982D777532F4, 7×7-journal.ru/anewsitem/97349 and politsovet.ru/56140-gibdd-ne-dala-provesti-shestvie-v-pamyat-o-zhertvah-repressiy-v-ekaterinburge.html). One protest this week was successful: After officials fired Russia’s teacher of the year for taking part in opposition activities, popular anger forced them to reverse course and return her to the classroom (newizv.ru/news/society/03-08-2017/pobeda-glasnosti-uchitel-goda-iz-sergieva-posada-vernulsya-v-shkolu).
  11. Moscow Worried Repression May Be Increasing Protests. Some Russian officials believe that the amount of repression the government has used has not intimidated people but rather sparked more dissent. Some want to cut back on repression, but others likely believe that the only answer to protest is more repression (kommersant.ru/doc/3373024, polit.ru/article/2017/08/03/thelaw/ and politsovet.ru/56106-nad-novym-zakonom-o-mitingah-budet-rabotat-rosgvardiya.html). (Presumably no one is suggesting doing what Stalin did when he launched the great terror: introducing champagne and ice cream in Soviet stores for the first time (moslenta.ru/eda/morozhenoe-ili-kommunizm.htm?utm_source=from_lenta).)  At least repression appears to be on the rise: the Federation Council has called on the FSB to check all academic papers before publication (meduza.io/news/2017/07/29/sovet-federatsii-poprosit-fsb-proverit-izdatelskuyu-deyatelnost-ran-na-sootvetstve-natsionalnym-interesam), the FSB has stepped up checks on St. Petersburg metro riders to the anger of many (afterempire.info/2017/07/31/metro/). Attacks on journalists and rights activists have increased, including violent ones by “private” citizens (ng.ru/politics/2017-07-31/1_7040_russia.html, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59835F41ECC25, https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/07/31/73282-hozyaeva-zhizney, and svpressa.ru/society/article/177908/). More evidence of torture and extrajudicial murder has surfaced in Chechnya (echo.msk.ru/news/2028466-echo.html). Pro-Putin groups have continued to attack the offices of opposition figure Aleksey Navalny (agonia-ru.com/archives/10132). Russia’s answer to Jerry Springer quit saying that there was too much political pressure on his show (themoscowtimes.com/news/host-of-russian-jerry-springer-quites-because-show-became-too-politicized-58574). Siloviki broke up a Roma village in Tatarstan (idelreal.org/a/28656608.html). Evidence surfaced about mistreatment of people in a Bryansk psychiatric facility (meduza.io/news/2017/08/03/zavedeno-ugolovnoe-delo-ob-izdevatelstvah-v-psihonevrologicheskom-internate-v-bryanskoy-oblasti-patsientov-prikovyvali-tsepyami). But an FSB officer who murdered his wife and children got off by means of a psychiatric defense: his lawyers claimed he is a schizophrenic (sobkorr.ru/news/598426A7E0E21.html).
  12. FSB Says It has Captured Underground Criminal Group Producing and Selling Arms to Population.  The FSB says it has succeeded in arresting the members of a criminal group that had been selling weapons to the population (fsb.ru/fsb/press/message/single.htm%21id%3D10438174%40fsbMessage.html). That announcement came as a group of criminals tried to shoot their way out of a Moscow court (mk.ru/incident/2017/08/01/v-mosoblsude-proizoshla-strelba-est-postradavshie.html), the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee complained about rising violence in the military (ng.ru/politics/2017-08-02/3_7043_army.html), and as polls in several cities showed that many people don’t feel safe anymore (fedpress.ru/news/45/society/1828671). Meanwhile, an anonymous caller said he was prepared to blow up all railroad stations in Russia unless he was paid off. He has not yet been captured (ura.news/news/1052299030).
  13. Reuters Says Russian Forces Have Lost 40 Killed in Syria.  The Reuters news agency says that Russian forces have suffered 40 killed in action in Syria, vastly more than Moscow has acknowledged. Russian officials immediately denounced the agency report as a provocation (echo.msk.ru/news/2029852-echo.html).  Meanwhile, the travails of Russia’s defense industry were highlighted this week by a continuing debate on whether Russia can build six aircraft carriers as Putin has called for (versia.ru/v-rossii-planiruetsya-stroitelstvo-shesti-avianoscev), why Moscow officials think they can build ships at a yard that it now in ruins (svpressa.ru/war21/article/178172/), and how the country can be a naval power given that only 47 of its 291 capital ships were built in Putin’s time. Most go back to the era of the Soviet Union (newsland.com/community/129/content/pri-putine-vvedeno-tolko-16-korablei-nyneshnikh-vmf-rossii-pozor-a-skolko-iakht-dlia-oligarkhov/5938262). But the Kremlin thinks it has a magic bullet: the daughter of Putin’s press spokesman who despite lacking any experience is now giving directions at a shipyard in Sevastopol (newsland.com/community/129/content/elizaveta-peskova-priedet-v-sevastopol-reshat-problemy-mestnogo-sudoremontnogo-zavoda/5937913).
  14. Putin Promises to Keep Lenin in Mausoleum until at Least 2024, Zyuganov Says. The head of the KPRF says Putin has told him that he won’t bury Lenin before the centenary of the Bolshevik leader’s death. Zyganov also opined that the mausoleum constituted a Russian Orthodox funeral and should be respected as such (newsland.com/community/43/content/ziuganov-schitaet-chto-lenin-pokhoronen-po-pravoslavnomu-kanonu/5938681 and newsland.com/community/5392/content/perezakhoronenie-tela-lenina-ne-budet-do-2024-goda-prezident-obeshchal/5939566). On other fronts of the monuments war, the Moscow Patriarchate says it will take control of St. Isaac’s in the near future (fedpress.ru/news/78/realty/1831568), officials in the Transbaikal are defending their decision to keep Soviet monuments up by saying that this will attract Chinese tourists (regnum.ru/news/society/2306965.html), the demand for states of older Russian imperial heroes is so great that sculptures are copying Greek and Roman antiquities when they don’t have a reliable picture of the individual in question (echo.msk.ru/blog/varlamov_i/2027402-echo/), a new state of Nicholas II has gone up and other has been attacked (echo.msk.ru/blog/day_photo/2029164-echo/ and interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=67824), and yet another memorial to a leader of the pre-1917 Black Hundreds organization has been erected (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/07/31/v_pamyat_patriota_rossii/).
  15. Pressure Mounts at Home and Abroad to Strip Moscow of 2018 World Cup Competition. Igor Eidman has detailed the increasing acceptance of the arguments of those who say Russia should not be allowed to host the 2018 World Cup (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1571597369569903&id=100001589654713).  Eigiht US senators have urged FIFA to take the competition away from Moscow (newsader.com/38347-senat-ssha-prizval-fifa-lishit-rossiyu-chm-2018-i/). And FIFA itself has launched an investigation into Moscow’s exploitation of North Korean workers to build its stadiums (newsland.com/community/8181/content/fifa-prizvali-proverit-fakty-ekspluatatsii-rabochikh-iz-kndr-na-stroikakh-obektov-chm-2018/5941081). Meanwhile, WADA has said that Moscow must accept the McClaren anti-doping report in full to be rehabilitated in international competition (rbc.ru/politics/03/08/2017/5982d5139a7947e196ea835c?from=main), and more Russian athletes have been disqualified and stripped of their medals for illegal drug use in the past (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/08/02/1635528.html and newsland.com/community/8181/content/piat-medalei-zavoevannykh-rossiiskimi-legkoatletami-otdali-novym-obladateliam/5942783). The IAAF has banned Russian athletes from using the flag during competition, something Moscow says it doesn’t consider insulting (newsland.com/community/8181/content/iaaf-zapretila-rossiiskim-legkoatletam-pet-i-slushat-gimn-vo-vremia-chm/5937475 and  newsland.com/community/5652/content/ministr-a-ne-schitaet-zapret-na-gimn-i-flag-rossii-unizitelnym/5939161). More Russians are protesting the construction of a parking lot for the competition on the Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, incuding local people, architects, deputies, and the Navalny campaign (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/307062/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306904/kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/307149/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306820/). Meanwhile, regional governments are complaining about the costs they are having to bear in support of the competition (politsovet.ru/56096-ekaterinburg-potratit-4-milliona-na-formu-dlya-volonterov-chm-2018.html), and Moscow is talking about the modern drunk tanks it plans for those attending, a discussion that calls attention to what is a real matter of concern (ng.ru/titus/2017-08-01/1_7041_filantropia.html).
  16. Ever More Russians Blame Elites rather than West for Their Problems.  Polls show that ever more Russians believe that their problems arise from the behavior of Russian elites rather than from any action by the West (rosbalt.ru/posts/2017/07/27/1634179.html).
  17. Ruble Now Increasingly Delinked from Oil Prices. In the past, the value of the Russian ruble rose when oil prices did and fell when they fell, but now because of other economic problems and the lower price for oil, the two are not nearly as directly linked. As a result, the ruble may fall when oil prices go up and vice versa, Moscow experts say (newsland.com/community/politic/content/rubl-teper-rushitsia-dazhe-pri-roste-tsen-na-neft/5938468).
  18. One-Third of World’s Population Views Russia as ‘a Serious Threat.’ A new Pew poll finds that a third of the population of the earth now considers Russia to be a serious threat to the rest of the world (newsland.com/community/politic/content/tret-naseleniia-zemli-vidiat-v-rossii-sereznuiu-ugrozu/5939977).
  19. Dogs of Rich Russians have Better Holidays than Most Russians Do.  Photographs of the pampered canines of the Russian rich on vacation have gone viral, highlighting the unfortunate reality that dogs of the rich have much better holidays than do poor Russians (lenta.ru/photo/2017/08/04/richdogs/). Russian tourists also face problems in that Turkish hoteliers have imposed special fees on Russians because they eat or waste more food than other visitors (bloknot.ru/v-mire/turetskie-kurorty-vveli-spetsial-ny-e-shtrafy-dlya-rossiyan-za-zhadnost-545254.html).
  20. Regions Want to Revive Regional Air Carriers. Given the collapse of domestic air carriers in Russia, some regional governments are now hoping to promote new regional carriers to fill the gap and link them and their neighbors together (onkavkaz.com/novosti/2874-vlasti-dagestana-namereny-vozrodit-maluyu-aviaciyu-v-masshtabah-respubliki-hunzah-botlih-i-guni.html and fedpress.ru/article/1831340).
  21. Rosneft Names Former German Chancellor to Its Board. Russia’s Rosneft company has named Gerhard Schroeder to its board, yet another way that politics and economics have been combined in Moscow strategy (snob.ru/selected/entry/127651).
  22. Putin’s Inconsistent Actions on the Environment. Vladimir Putin has ordered the elimination of restrictions on economic activity near Lake Baikal, further threating that national treasure (sobkorr.ru/news/59842013AE8F2.html) even as he has very publicly promised to do more to clean up that body of water (regions.ru/news/2608678/). Many Russian businesses are pressing for the elimination of even more environmental restrictions arguing that such things are leading to the de-industrialization of the country (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/43447#more-43447).
  23. One Russian in Five has Never Used the Internet. According to a new survey, 19 percent of Rsusians have never once gone on line (politsovet.ru/56126-19-rossiyan-nikogda-ne-polzovalis-internetom.html), even though for the other four Internet use is rising fast (vedomosti.ru/newsline/politics/news/2017/08/03/727829-dolya-rossiyan-virosla).
  24. Fools and Roads Convert in Yekaterinburg. A road construction crew in Yekaterinburg confronted with a car parked where it was scheduled to repave the street solved the problem by simply paving over much of the car (vk.com/wall-32182751_3903558).
  25. Young Turning to First Channel for Entertainment, Not News. Russian officials have celebrated recent poll findings showing that young Russians view the First Channel more often than any other, but analysts say they do so because that outlet has the best entertainment programs not because the young people rely on it for news (ura.news/articles/1036271643).
  26. Russian Who hasn’t Left His Apartment Since Soviet Times an Internet Sensation.  In Soviet times, newspapers occasionally reported about people who had lived so isolated from the country that they didn’t know that Russia wasn’t governed by a tsar. Now, the Internet has made a hero out of an urban Russia who has remained in his apartment every minute since 1991 and as a result is almost as out of touch (newsland.com/community/8181/content/sotsseti-pozabavilo-obnaruzhenie-v-rf-muzhchiny-sidevshego-doma-so-vremen-sssr/5940120).

And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:

  1. Moscow’s War Against Ukraine Shouldn’t Be Minimized by Calling It ‘Hybrid,’ CIA Director Says. The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency says that Russia’s war against Ukraine is a war pure and simple and should not be minimized by calling it “hybrid” or some other adjective (qha.com.ua/ru/voina-bezopasnost/v-tsru-soobschili-kto-organizoval-voinu-rossii-protiv-ukraini/176637/). That does not mean there aren’t some unusual and even “hybrid” elements, but they don’t define the conflict (apostrophe.ua/article/society/accidents/2017-08-02/narodnyie-anarhistyi-kreml-vnedryaet-novuyu-razrabotku-po-razvalu-ukrainyi/13657).
  2. Ukrainians More Divided by Class than by Language, Commentator Says. Many observers argue that Ukrainians are divided between those who speak Ukrainian and those who speak Russian, but one commentator argues that divisions between rich and poor are far more important for an understanding of Ukrainian politics (segodnya.ua/opinion/petrykcolumn/ukraincy-delyatsya-ne-na-russko-i-ukrainoyazychnyh-a-na-bogatyh-i-bednyh-1042835.html).
  3. Moscow Close to Finishing Rail and Highway Projects Bypassing Ukraine. Since 2014, Moscow has committed itself to ensuring that its rail and highway networks remain within the borders of the Russian Federation rather than cross Ukrainian territory. Now officials say that it is close to completing both the rail and highway changes needed to make that happen (newsland.com/community/4109/content/stroitelstvo-dorogi-v-obkhod-ukrainy-blizitsia-k-zaversheniiu/5936128 and newsland.com/community/7912/content/novaia-zheleznaia-doroga-moskva-lishaet-kiev-poslednikh-argumentov/5938616).
  4. Ukrainians Attack Separatist Monument in Luhansk; Moscow Occupiers Plan to Put Up Castro Statue in Crimea.  A monument to pro-Moscow separatists in Luhansk was blown up by Ukrainians last week (http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598020C1D28E5). Meanwhile, Russian occupiers in Crimea announced that they will soon erect a state to Fidel Castro on the Ukrainian peninsula (ru.krymr.com/a/28656321.html). Whether that will do anything to fill the peninsula’s hotels, which remain one third vacant at this peak season, remains to be seen (sobkorr.ru/news/5983134C6A47D.html).
  5. US Said Promoting Intermarium; EU Actively Pushing Poland to Black Sea Waterway.  Russian commentators say the United States is behind the Intermarium security discussions linking states between the Russian Federation and the EU (gazeta.ru/comments/2017/07/27_a_10808210.shtml). Meanwhile, the EU is very publicly promoting the development to a waterway between Poland and the Black Sea via Belarus and Ukraine (rosbalt.ru/world/2017/08/02/1635397.html). Moscow is concerned about both: As Putin’s spokesman put it, Russia doesn’t mind if the countries to its west cooperate on a one-to-one relationship with Western countries but very much opposes their joining any Western structures that moves the borders of these organizations toward Russia (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/08/01/1635116.html).
  6. Belarusians Increasingly Conscious of Their Differences with Russia.  Belarusians don’t look like Russians, a new study finds (https://charter97.org/ru/news/2017/7/20/257005/). Their language is so different that a dictionary has been compiled of Belarusian words which don’t exist in Russian (belsat.eu/ru/news/chtoby-ne-dumali-chto-belorusskij-yazyk-eto-russkij-perekruchennyj-92-letnuchitelnitsa-sozdala-spetsialnyj-belorusskij-slovar/). And a series of new articles points to the ways Moscow worked to destroy Belarusian national identity in the past (belsat.eu/ru/news/sfabrikovannye-dela-beschelovechnye-pytki-kak-sovety-unichtozhali-belorusskuyu-kulturu-chast-1/ and  belsat.eu/ru/news/segodnya-oni-takzhe-byli-by-v-chernom-spiske-kak-sovety-unichtozhali-belorusskuyu-kulturu-chast-2/).
  7. Moldova Declares Rogozin Persona non Grata. Following Dmitry Rogozin’s tirade against Moldova for not allowing his plane to pass through Moldovan airspace, a tirade he subsequently felt compelled to remove, Chisinau declared that the Russian official is now persona non grata as far as it is concerned (lb.ua/world/2017/08/02/373002_moldova_obyavila_rogozina_personoy.html and meduza.io/news/2017/08/01/dmitriy-rogozin-udalil-tvit-zhdite-otveta-gady-o-konflikte-s-rumynskimi-vlastyami).
  8. Religion Playing Ever Smaller Role in Latvia.  A new sociological study finds that religion is playing a declining role in the lives of Latvians (ru.sputniknewslv.com/Latvia/20170730/5445168/religija-igraet-vse-menshuju-rol-v-zhizni-latvijcev-opros.html).
  9. Tashkent Opens Second Chance University. The Uzbekistan government has opened a special pedagogical institute for those who failed to get into its regular university system (fergananews.com/news/26697).
  10. Fewer Tajiks Using Mobile Phones, Internet. Rising prices and government opposition have led Tajiks to cut back on their use of mobile telephones and of the Internet (news.tj/ru/news/tajikistan/economic/20170802/v-tadzhikistane-sokratshaetsya-chislo-abonentov-mobilnoi-svyazi-i-polzovatelei-interneta).
  11. Tensions Rising on Daghestan-Azerbaijan Border as Demarcation Remains in Dispute. Neither Makhachkala nor Baku have been able to agree on the demarcation of the border between their two republics, in large measure because several ethnic communities are divided by that line and because of issues concerning the division of water from the river that defines the border now (onkavkaz.com/news/1808-boleznennuyu-dlja-dagestancev-demarkaciyu-gosgranicy-baku-podogrevaet-pretenzijami-na-zemli-dag.html?fromslider).
  12. Kazakhstan Says No Kazakh is to Go Abroad to Study Islam.  Like other Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan has taken a number of steps to restrict Kazakh Muslims from studying abroad. Astana has now banned all of them from going abroad to study in religious institutions (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=67840). It is likely to discover, as Turkmenistan  has, that taking that step is unlikely to dramatically affect the situation at home (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1501772700).
  13. Kyrgyz Muslims Ask Mullahs to Determine Which Sex Toys are Halal.  Muslims require that their religious authorities certify that food and other goods are halal, that is, pure according to Islamic norms. Now a group of Muslims in Kyrgyzstan has taken the next logical step and asked mullahs there to identify which sex toys are halal and acceptable and those which are haram and thus banned (narynaiyp.com/islam-v-centralnoj-azii-ot-vaxxabizma-do-seks-shopov/).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnic Russians from Regions Find It Harder to Adapt to Moscow than Do Foreign Gastarbeiters, Study Finds

Paul Goble Staunton, August 5 – Andrey Berezantsev, a Russian psychiatrist, says that a new study of the physical responses of new arrivals in Moscow – heart beat and other measures of stress – shows that “Russians arriving in the capital from other regions despite the absence of a language barrier, can feel more hopeless than migrants from CIS countries.” That is because, he says, “an individual from the Russian rural space arrives as a rule alone. He is cut off from his family and he doesn’t have anyone in the city to turn to for help, while CIS migrants often come in large groups … and remain in their own micro-milieux” (life.ru/t/здоровье/1031744/uchionyie_priiezzhim_iz_rieghionov_rossii_v_moskvie_trudnieie_chiem_mighrantam). Life’s Yekaterina Semenova reports that the Moscow Research Institute on Labor Medicine examined 1600 women from Russian regions and also from Tajikistan and Armenia who had lived in Moscow less than three years and assessed their adaption to life there by taking a series of physiological measures. It then rated them as to their success in adapting to the city. Russians from the regions formed the largest share of those judged to have been unable to successfully adapt, while among those with moderate success they trailed those from Tajikistan.

What it’s like to live and report in Russia in the Trump era – The Washington Post

“We assume we’re being listened to.”

Spearfishing, Hiking, Kayaking: Putin’s Outward Bound-Style Vacation – NBC News

Photos released by the Russian Government show a bare-chested Putin successfully hooking several fish in the cascade mountain lakes this week.

Putin stalks pike in taiga lake, and promises to ‘think about’ running for election in 2018

The president finally spears fish during camping trip to boreal forest in mountainous Tuva Republic.

Vladimir Putin’s Summer Vacation: A Siberia Scrapbook – The New York Times

What did the Russian president do on his days off in August? Spearfishing, mushroom picking, boating and sunbathing in and around a Siberian lake.

Behold Sochi’s ‘drinkable water’ — Meduza

When you watch the footage of a drainage pipe spewing black liquid into the waves washing ashore, your first thought isn’t likely “That looks like good drinking water.” City officials in the Russian resort town of Sochi beg to differ, however. When an underground stormwater drain started belching out sludge into Chkalovskiy beach on August 4, locals basking in the summer sun weren’t sure what to make of the foul-smelling substance. Some beachgoers got out of the water, others waded in, and some ran for their cameras.

UAWire – Russia sends 1,500 newly drafted soldiers to Abkhazia

About 1,500 Russian conscripts have arrived at the Russian military base in Abkhazia for further military service, as reported by the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the manning of the personnel units at the Russian military base in Abkhazia has been completed as part of the 2017 spring draft campaign. “Before arriving at the military base, the recruits received a course in combined arms training and took a military oath on the territory of the military unit of the Southern Military District located in Adygea. All servicemen underwent thorough medical examination, and passed tests for professional and psychological fitness,” said the statement. The Russian Defense Ministry notes that about 30% of the young soldiers have higher education, and up to 40% have specialized secondary education. About 25% of the personnel were trained in the schools of Russia’s Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Navy (DOSAAF), and have military registration specialties, among them drivers of “C”, “D”, “E” category motor vehicles, automobile pneumatic-wheeled cranes, and fuel-filling facilities. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia after the Russian-Georgian military conflict in August 2008. Abkhazia’s independence is currently recognized only by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru. The United Nations regards Abkhazia to be part of Georgia, and Tbilisi insists that Moscow has occupied the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


Belarus Reports


The rehabilitation of Belarus | Euromoney

In a yield-hungry world, what could be more appetizing to investors than a nation with stability offering 7% on its Eurobonds?

Belarus passes law saying ‘Little Green Men’ would lead to war | SOFREP

Even Russian allies are concerned about a Russian invasion. Fearful of a growing Russian presence both inside and just outside the country, Belarus has passed legislation seemingly aimed directly at any potential Russian plans to annex the eastern European country. The law states that any foreign soldiers, irregulars, or mercenaries, that arrive on Belorussian territory with weapons intended for use against the state would constitute a declaration of war on the sponsoring nation.

Lukashenko: Population increase is a priority for Belarus

“The human capital is our main wealth. Our population has been increasing in recent years. It is essential to preserve this trend and ensure an even bigger population growth. Belarus can provide for the population of 20 million people. Our main goal is the population of 15 million people,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Public Debt Of Belarus Shows Record-Breaking Growth – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The state debt of Belarus has reached 40,4% of the GDP.


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


UAWire – Moldova accuses Russia of secretly preparing a military exercise in Transnistria

The Moldovan delegation to the Joint Control Commission (JCC) is expressing concern about the preparations for another military exercise in the unrecognized Transnistria (a.k.a. the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, which is not recognized by the United Nations) with the participation of the Russian military peacekeepers, as stated in the bulletin issued by the Bureau of Reintegration under the government of Moldova. “A significant number of military vehicles and special military equipment was sighted not far from Ternovka in the Slobozia district (the Transnistrian Region). JCC’s military observers were obstructed by representatives of the command of the peacekeeping forces in Tiraspol (the capital of Transnistria). During the work of military observers, Russian and Transnistrian soldiers rapidly removed military equipment and blocked observers’ access to the area where military exercise would be held”, the report said. It was also emphasized in the bulletin that the military exercise involving soldiers of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic and Russian peacekeepers grossly violated the charter of the peacekeeping mission. The Joint Control Commission called these actions provocative and capable of destabilizing the situation in the Region. According to preliminary data, the military exercise which involved the crossing of the Dniester River was scheduled for August 5th.

Dodon Intends to Block All Bills That Could Worsen Moldova-Russia Relations – Sputnik International

Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Saturday that he was planning to exert all possible efforts to block potential bills that could undermine ties between Moscow and Chisinau. Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Saturday that he was planning to exert all possible efforts to block potential bills that could undermine ties between Moscow and Chisinau. CHISINAU (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the Moldovan leader held a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in the Iranian capital of Tehran. “As a Moldovan president and on the ground of a legitimate mandate given to me by the nation of our country, I will defend the interests of the Moldovan people and I intend to block the efforts of the ruling Democratic Party to undermine and to hinder our bilateral relations with Russia by all possible legal means, even via boycotting the draft laws adopted by the parliament,” Dodon said on his Facebook account after the meeting. Earlier, the Moldovan government declared Rogozin persona non-grata for the latter’s “offensive” statements, made during an interview with the Rossiya 24 broadcaster, when the deputy prime minister said that the delegation of the Moldovan government, which visited Russia a half of year ago, behaved like “gypsies.” The Russian government strongly condemned the actions of the Moldovan authorities. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that naming Rogozin a persona non-grata was absolutely unacceptable. The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Moldovan ambassador to the country over the issue, while Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that Moscow would consider adequate retaliatory measures. The Moldovan move comes after on July 28, a Russian S7 airlines plane with Rogozin on board, flying to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, was denied access to enter Romanian airspace due to the fact that the official was on the EU sanctions list.

Dodon: Moldova facing year of struggle between president and government | KyivPost

CHISINAU – Moldovan President Igor Dodon believes that the parliament and the government will continue to block any of his decisions and attempts at reforms, which became crystal-clear after the Constitutional Court passed a ruling on the president’s initiative of holding an advisory referendum on pressing Moldovan affairs on September 24. “Yet people can see that, people clearly understand everything. We will achieve the goals we have set for ourselves anyway. This will happen in the next parliamentary election,” Dodon told Interfax in an interview. “The country is facing a year of the hard struggle between the president for one part and the parliament and the government for the other part. If the parliament tries to depose the president, there will be a referendum which this parliament and these authorities will be compelled to hold,” Dodon said.

The Kremlin disapproves of Rogozin’s ban from Moldova

The Kremlin disapproves of Rogozin’s ban from Moldova. According to tass.ru, the statement was made by Dmitry Peskov, press officer of the Russian President, who told journalists, “The situation with Rogozin is absolutely unacceptable,” and is even worse than the sanctions of the US. We remind you that the Government of the Republic of Moldova decided yesterday, August 2, to declare the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin persona non grata. Thus, the Russian official is denied access to Moldova or transit through the territory of the country.

N.C. troops train with partners in Moldova, bolster U.S. efforts in Europe – News – The Fayetteville Observer – Fayetteville, NC

A visiting U.S. Army general watched closely as North Carolina National Guard troops demonstrated mine detection, clearing obstacles and breaching buildings one morning last week.The soldiers, from the Winston-Salem-based 883rd Engineer Company, were right at home amid the training exercise, demonstrating their skills for the general and other military leaders.But these soldiers were far from their native state – more than 5,000 miles away.In the small, Eastern European country of

Fox column: Moldova, men and ministry

You can find an article online that was published last year in The Telegraph entitled, “25 amazing things you probably didn’t know about Moldova.” It’s a good read, and though I have been to the tiny country in Eastern Europe twice, I learned a lot from the article. That being said, my oldest son and I didn’t go there because it is the least visited country in Europe. Or because they have great wine. Or because the people speak two and sometimes three


Ukraine Reports


Trump’s adviser: U.S. gives support to Ukraine, but looks for areas of cooperation with Russia

U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond &quot;H. R.&quot; McMaster says that the United States is already giving support to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression but simultaneously it looks for areas of cooperation with Russia, according to MSNBC. News 06 August from UNIAN.

Russia is setting up Poles against Ukrainian workers, – American think tank

Russian pro-Kremlin media are persistently spreading fear of immigration from Ukraine in Poland. This is insisted by the Washington-based think-tank Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), according to Censor. Referring to the Voice of America . Russian media Sputnik and other pro-Kremlin media are persistently spreading fear of immigration from Ukraine in Poland, CEPA believes. “Their goal: to divide and set up against each other the public of the two countries,” says an article on the website of the American think-tank about the activities of the pro-Russian media in Poland. They draw attention to the fact that the information campaign has intensified after the entry into force of the visa-free travel regime from Ukraine to the EU. Visa-free travel is not able to compensate for other losses of Ukraine from European integration; Migrants from Ukraine will steal jobs of Poles; The same forces that stimulated migration from African countries, provoke migration to Poland from Ukraine – these and other theses push the pro-Kremlin media working in Poland, the article says. “The purpose of these propaganda efforts is to combine the terms” liberalization of the visa regime for Ukrainians “and” Ukrainian labor market ” In Poland. “This harms the image of Ukraine, sets up countries against each other and promotes the slogans of nationalist parties. In March 2017, the Polish nationalist organization “National-radical camp” organized anti-Ukrainian marches. Their goal is to slow the process of Ukraine’s integration into the EU, to frustrate the liberalization of the visa regime and to harm the positive trend of the replacement by the Ukrainians of gaps in the Polish workers ‘market that arose through the workers’ migration of the Poles themselves to Western Europe. The Polish government looks at this as a blessing. But pro-Kremlin propaganda distorts the facts in order to create the opposite impression. An information campaign is urgently needed that will pay attention to the positive measurement of Ukrainian immigration and explain the legal restrictions that protect the Polish labor market from imbalance, “the material says. National-Radical Camp “organized anti-Ukrainian marches aimed at slowing the process of Ukraine’s integration into the EU, derailing the liberalization of the visa regime and damaging the positive trend of the replacement by the Ukrainians of gaps in the Polish labor market that arose through the working migration of the Poles themselves to Western Europe. This is for good, but pro-Kremlin propaganda distorts the facts in order to create the opposite impression. An information campaign is urgently needed that will pay attention to the positive A measure of Ukrainian immigration and explain the legal restrictions that protect the Polish labor market from imbalances, “the material says. National-Radical Camp “organized anti-Ukrainian marches aimed at slowing the process of Ukraine’s integration into the EU, derailing the liberalization of the visa regime and damaging the positive trend of the replacement by the Ukrainians of gaps in the Polish labor market that arose through the working migration of the Poles themselves to Western Europe. This is for good, but pro-Kremlin propaganda distorts the facts in order to create the opposite impression. An information campaign is urgently needed that will pay attention to the positive A measure of Ukrainian immigration and explain the legal restrictions that protect the Polish labor market from imbalances, “the material says. To frustrate the liberalization of the visa regime and to harm the positive trend of the replacement by the Ukrainians of the gaps in the Polish workers ‘market that arose through the workers’ migration of the Poles themselves to Western Europe. The Polish government looks at this as a blessing. But pro-Kremlin propaganda distorts the facts in order to create the opposite impression. An information campaign is urgently needed that will pay attention to the positive measurement of Ukrainian immigration and explain the legal restrictions that protect the Polish labor market from imbalance, “the material says. To frustrate the liberalization of the visa regime and to harm the positive trend of the replacement by the Ukrainians of the gaps in the Polish workers ‘market that arose through the workers’ migration of the Poles themselves to Western Europe. The Polish government looks at this as a blessing. But pro-Kremlin propaganda distorts the facts in order to create the opposite impression. An information campaign is urgently needed that will pay attention to the positive measurement of Ukrainian immigration and explain the legal restrictions that protect the Polish labor market from imbalance, “the material says.

The new names of units are for the 72nd brigade the Black Zaporozhians, the 24th brigade named after King Danylo Halytsky …

As it was reported during the parade of troops on the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine, it is planned to award honorary titles to the military units that showed courage and heroism and distinguished themselves in the course of hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Journalists on Channel 5 in their video, somewhat uncovered the secret of what name the military units would receive. For example, the 72nd individual mechanized brigade will receive the name “Black Cossacks”, and the 24th separate mechanized brigade will receive the name of King Danylo … “Ivan Vygovsky appears, Eugene Konovalets appears, that is, the iconic names for the Ukrainian militaristic history on the one hand, and these are the iconic names for confronting Russian information aggression. Because if we mention Ivan Vyhovsky is 1659, a victory over the Moscow troops near Konotop. If we recall the 72nd Brigade, which is named after the Black Zaporozhians, this is our glorious subdivision of 1917-1921, which was equally distinguished in the struggle against Russian aggression . And the most important thing is that our military understand that they did not appear in an empty place “, – commented historian Vasily Pavlov.

Three Ukrainian soldiers wounded in Donbas over last day – 05.08.2017 12:58 — Ukrinform News

05.08.2017 12:58. Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone as a result of hostilities in Donbas over the past day.

Are Separatists in Ukraine Joining Russia’s Largest Military Exercise?

On July 31, Ukrainian military expert and member of Parliament Dmytro (Dmitry) Tymchuk posted an announcement to his Facebook account that included a shocking bit of information — active soldiers of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) would take part in military exercises alongside Russia’s 8th Combined Arms Army in August and September near the Ukraine-Russia border. Preparations are being made for a series of exercises in the operational departments of the 1st Army Corps of the DNR and 2nd Army Corps of the LNR. These exercises are to be led by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in August and September of this year. According to the plan of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the staff of the Russian 8th Combined Arms Army, the exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation at the Russian border regions and the exercises by the “LDNR” [DNR and LNR] will be conducted on “a single strategic and operational-tactical background.” The units and subdivisions of both “Army Corps” of the “LDNR” will operate in cooperation with the 8th Combined Armed Army of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, to which they are currently subordinate. There have not been any other announcements of military exercises to be held with Russia’s 8th Combined Arms Army in the Russian oblasts bordering eastern Ukraine, but Tymchuk’s information about these August-September exercises coincide with the Zapad-2017 military exercises Russia will hold with Belarus on September 14–20, and which @DFRLab is tracking closely. As of August 2, there is no open source information that corroborates Tymchuk’s dramatic claims. No major Ukrainian media outlets have published detailed analysis of Tymchuk’s text, with most outlets paraphrasing Tymchuk’s original post.

Ukraine leaders greet pilots on Ukrainian Air Force Day

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman have greeted military pilots on Ukrainian Air Force Day. “I congratulate military pilots on Air Force Day! I wish all of us a peaceful sky over head and unshakable faith in victory,” the president wrote on Facebook on Sunday, August 6. The video attached to the greetings features the victorious performance of the military pilots of the 831st tactical aviation brigade at the Royal International Air Tattoo show in Great Britain. Read also Poroshenko praises Ukrainian fighter pilots’ brilliant performance at UK air show Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman also congratulated the Ukrainian pilots on the professional holiday. “Your skill and courage in countering the aggressor deserve the highest respect. I wish a peaceful sky. Ukraine is proud of you!” Groysman wrote on Facebook.

 

 

Петро Порошенко – Hello military pilots happy air force! [VIDEO]

I wish you a peaceful sky above your head and unshakeable faith in victory. The video is part of the display by the 831st Tactical Aviation Brigade at the “The Royal International Air Tattoo” In Britain. Glory to our beloved air force!

Poroshenko arrived at Vinnytsia airfield to congratulate military pilots on Air Force Day – 05.08.2017 13:51 — Ukrinform News

05.08.2017 13:51. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has arrived at the military airfield of Vinnytsia to congratulate military pilots on the occasion of the Day of Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukraine allocates more than UAH 1 bln for military aviation – Poroshenko – 05.08.2017 14:55 — Ukrinform News

05.08.2017 14:55. More than UAH 1 billion from the state budget has been allocated this year for the support of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

UAWire – President of Ukraine promises to increase salaries of Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Donbas

In his speech during celebrations on the occasion of the Day of the Air Force of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised to …

Ex-MP Iryna Berezhna killed in motor accident

Former MP from the Party of Regions Iryna Berezhna has been killed in a motor accident. This information was confirmed by ex-people’s deputy Olena Bondarenko on her Facebook page. “Yes, it’s true,” she wrote. Earlier the LB.ua edition informed about the death of Berezhna in a car accident. According to their information, the accident occurred on Saturday morning on the Adriatic coast between Italy and Croatia. Iryna Berezhna, born in 1980, was a people’s deputy of Ukraine of the sixth and seventh convocations from the Party of Regions. She was a member of the committees on justice and on parliamentary cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union.

Ex-MP Berezhna killed in car crash – LB.ua news portal

Former Party of Regions MP Iryna Berezhna, 36, died in a car crash on the morning of 5 August on the Adriatic Sea shore between Italy and Croatia, LB.ua has learned. The driver of the car she and her eight-year-old daughter were in is likely to have lost control of the car and it skid off a serpentine motorway. Berezhna and the driver were killed on spot. Berezhna’s daughter was lightly injured. She was in the child car seat at the back. Another former Party of Regions MP Olena Bondarenko confirmed the news. Berezhna was a member of parliament of the sixth (2007-2012) and seventh (2012-2014) convocations.

Ukrainophobess and Star of Kremlin TV: scandalous facts from the life of ex-MP Irina Berezhnoy | InfoResist

Today, August 5, a week before her 37th birthday in an accident on the Adriatic coast, the people’s deputy of the VI and VII convocations of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Irina Berezhnaya, perished. Before her arrival in parliament in 2007, the native of Lugansk was a successful businesswoman, managing a travel agency and a notary office. While working in the ASU advocated reforms of the legal and judicial system of Ukraine. Berezhnaya became the owner of several prestigious awards: “Woman of the III Millennium” in the nomination “Rating” (2007); “Woman of the Year” in the nomination “New Generation of the Year” (2009); Honored Lawyer of Ukraine (2011). And after the events on the Maidan in 2014, she actively criticized the policy of the new government. In particular, Berezhnaya was an ardent opponent of conducting ATO in the Donbass, the introduction of a visa-free regime with the EU, as well as decommunization. The ex-regionalist commented on the entry into force of the visa-free regime with the European Union with an emotional post with the phrase “Patriots”, go south. ” Happy St. Vincent’s Day, gentlemen. In the Viennese opera today, a retreat, in “La Scala” delivers front-seat chairs for the first Ukrainian visa-free, in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, urgently change the exposure to satisfy the exacting taste of the descendants of the ancient ukraves. In general, the phrase thirty years ago, the great Zhvanetsky “to me in Paris, on business, urgently!” Shone in Ukraine with new colors. Europe, tremble! In principle, the strange idea of patriotism in Ukrainian way is to break up your own country, destroy the economy, kill 10 thousand Ukrainians, discriminate against the peaceful citizens living in Donbass, to save 35 €, to dump to Europe … Patriots, go nayuh, and do not forget to take with you Pots and red lace panties! Especially for pots I suggest in Boryspil to include in farewell the famous hit of the group Leningrad “Road” … ” With criticism of the Ukrainian government, she also spoke on the Russian propaganda channel Russia. Https://www.facebook.com/berezhna/videos/10155513565964561/ Https://www.facebook.com/berezhna/videos/10155519997149561/ In recent years, Berezhnaya together with the “Anti-Fascist Human Rights League” fought against renaming Vatutin Avenue in Kiev on Shukhevycha Avenue. For insulting Ukrainians Ukrainian journalist Roman Vintoniv, known under the pseudonym Michael Schur, called on law enforcement to bring Berezhnaya to justice. Recall that in an accident on the Adriatic coast, as a result of which ex-MP Irina Berezhnaya died, only her 8-year-old daughter Daniella could survive .

ISW Blog: Ukraine Update: Russia’s Aggressive Subversion of Ukraine

Key Takeaway: Ukraine’s efforts to integrate with the West yielded important progress in the past two months. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s overall pro-Western reformist movement grew more vulnerable to internal destabilization and Russian subversion. Stalling reforms, a poor economy, and an increased focus on the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine provide momentum to populists and pro-Russian political elements, as well as additional opportunities for the Kremlin to exploit as it aims to return Ukraine to its sphere of influence. The Kremlin continued its military aggression in the east and expanded its subversion campaign throughout the country, focusing on low-visibility methods, such as paying individuals to conduct protests. The Kremlin will intensify these efforts in order to destabilize the Ukrainian government as Kyiv prepares for elections in 2019. The U.S. implemented a package of sanctions on August 02 that may restrain the Kremlin’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine and elsewhere. However, the U.S. must also provide full support to Ukrainian reform efforts or risk creating a permissive environment for Kremlin subversion in Ukraine. Ukraine achieved noteworthy successes in deepening its integration with Western political, economic, and military structures, while the U.S. signaled a more active stance. The E.U. officially implemented a visa-free travel agreement with Ukraine on June 11, and the E.U, ratified an economic association agreement with Ukraine on July 11. Both steps will help Ukraine shift away from Russia’s economic and social spheres in the long term. The U.S. also signaled an interest in playing a larger role in resolving the Russia-backed war in Ukraine following a meeting between Ukrainian President Poroshenko and President Trump on June 21 and through the appointment of former NATO Ambassador Kurt Volker as U.S. Special Representative for the Ukraine . Volker indicated that the U.S. may supply lethal defensive arms to the Ukrainian Armed Forces following a visit to the Donbas frontline on July 24. Volker’s statement was reinforced on August 1 when the Pentagon announced a draft plan to provide defensive aid to Kyiv. Ukraine took important steps toward potentially integrating its military with Western military structures. President Poroshenko signed a bill on June 8 to articulate Ukraine’s intent to apply for NATO membership in 2020. The Armed Forces of Ukraine and the U.S. also conducted large-scale naval exercises in the Black Sea on July 10-22 with numerous NATO member-states. The reform progress inside of Ukraine began to stall while political actors increasingly focus on positioning for the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections. The Ukrainian parliament adjourned for the summer without passing many expected reforms, including healthcare reform, a new law on national security, the creation of an anti-corruption court, and others. Meanwhile, President Poroshenko revoked the Ukrainian citizenship of his political opponent Mikheil Saakashvili on July 26. Many Ukrainian reformists condemned Poroshenko’s move as one that undermines the democratic ideals of the Euromaidan Revolution. Other political players in Ukraine are also beginning to prepare for the upcoming elections. Populists, including pro-Russian elements, are likely to gain traction while Ukraine’s political reforms and economy stagnate. The combination of these factors makes the government and the reform movement in Ukraine vulnerable to internal destabilization and the Kremlin’s subversion, which will remain true until the Poroshenko administration takes decisive steps to reinvigorate the reform process and economy. Russia continues to destabilize Ukraine through a variety of low- visibility subversive methods designed not to trigger a major international reaction. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) asserted that Russia conducted a major cyber attack against state and private entities via the malware “NotPetya” on June 27. The attack effectively destabilized many Ukrainian government networks marking the largest cyber attack in Ukraine’s history. The SBU also implicated Russian-backed elements in the assassinations of two top Ukrainian intelligence officers on June 27 and 28. Russia continued its attempts to drive a wedge between Ukraine and its EU allies. Protest participants claimed that Russia-backed elements paid them to instigate anti-Polish Ukrainian nationalist protests at the Polish embassy in Kyiv on July 7. Ukrainian and Polish officials recently accused Russia of conducting additional similar schemes in an effort to inflame nationalist tensions between Poland and Ukraine. The Kremlin’s proxies in Eastern Ukraine continued to conduct offensive operations against Ukraine’s Armed Forces in violation of the Minsk II ceasefire agreements. The Kremlin’s extensive collection of low-visibility tools, designed to conceal its ongoing campaign to destabilize and eventually remove Ukraine’s pro-Western government, will continue to pose a serious threat Ukraine’s stability and sovereignty if Kyiv’s Western partners do not support efforts to counter them.

Japanese go crazy over Ukrainian anime-style soldiers -Euromaidan Press |

A Japanese artist has started drawing colourful anime heroes portraying Ukrainian soldiers and patriots. The artist works under the nickname @msc_nm and posts many of his drawings on Twitter. The Ukrainian heroes are often depicted with SBU, or Donbas and Azov chevrons. According to the information provided on the Erepublik site, certain Japanese fan clubs have launched a fad collecting artifacts from the war in the occupied territories of the Donbas. Apparently, young Japanese are buying up everything and anything connected to the Ukrainian army: clothes, shoes, chevrons, flags and model weapons. Photogallery of Ukrainian soldiers and patriots drawn by Japanese anime artist:

Ukrainian Summer Camp Uses Therapy Dogs to Help Kids With Disabilities – YouTube

A special Ukrainian camp is bring together children with disabilities and canines in an effort to help them overcome communication barriers. The summer camp …

UAWire – Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns Prime Minister of Russia Medvedev’s visit to Crimea

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has expressed strong protest in connection with the latest visit by a Russian delegation to the …

UAWire – Ukraine’s Minister of Justice: those involved in the construction of the Kerch Bridge will be subject to sanctions

The Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Pavlo Petrenko, said in an interview with the Oglyadach TV program on that “all those involved in the construction of the Kerch Bridge may be subject to international sanctions and this will be a “clear signal.” “Not a single self-respecting international company will ever put a bolt or nut in it[ the bridge], because they run the risk of losing its business in the EU, the US, and Japan, and in those countries that have joined sanctions against Russia regarding the Crimea. In other words, it is my deep conviction that there are no prospects for this project,” Petrenko stated. He also said that sanctions forbade companies to supply equipment to the Crimea, “We saw what happened with Siemens,” Petrenko said. The Minister added that he believes Russia is incapable of implementing a major infrastructure project independently. “Russia generally cannot build even smaller facilities. I know that after the Olympics in Sochi, entire stadiums have already begun to collapse. Therefore, I think the best tool in this situation is sanctions against companies that were so short-sighted as to join this project,” the government official noted. Earlier it became known that Ukraine was preparing a lawsuit against Russia as a result of the bridge construction across the Kerch Strait, which will connect the Crimea with the Krasnodar Krai. The length of the bridge will be 19 km and road traffic is planned to begin in December 2018.

UAWire – Ukraine condemns the sentence of Ukrainian activist Balukh in the annexed Crimea

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (MFA) voiced their protest to the “sentencing” by the Razdolnenskiy “District Court” in the annexed …

UAWire – India to increase imports of Ukrainian sunflower oil

India is interested in increasing Ukrainian sunflower oil import volume, as reported by the press service of the State Service of Ukraine on …

UAWire – Ukraine threatens German band Scooter with criminal punishment over their visit to Crimea

Musicians from the German band, Scooter, face eight years in prison in Ukraine for visiting the Crimea, as reported on Friday by Hromadske, …

Scooter Could Face up to 8 Years in Prison for Crimea Debacle – YouTube

Members of the German techno band Scooter are facing charges for performing in Russian-annexed Crimea. They are accused of violating the entry/exit rules for…


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Iran’s Rouhani says US undermining nuclear deal – CNN

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in for a second term Saturday in front of more than 100 foreign dignitaries as he accused the United States of undermining the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the major world powers.

Russia offered Iran to buy Su-27SM3 fighters instead of Su-35 and Su-30SM?

According to the information of the foreign aviation expert Babak Taghavee , which he reported on his Twitter page , Russia denied Iran a total of 24 Su-35 fighter (18 units) and Su-30SM (six units). Instead, Iran was asked to purchase an unknown number of Su-27SM3 fighters, which Iran refused. The reasons for the refusal to supply the Su-35 are the presence of sensitive technologies in the aircraft, the inability of Iran to pay for the supply with hard currency and the availability of UN sanctions. Also, according to his information, there is no contract for the supply of Chinese J-10 fighters to Iran (the estimated number of purchased aircraft is 24 units). China is in this issue under US pressure, but even if the contract is still concluded, the delivery of fighters will begin only in the 2020s. An interesting fact is that Iranian pilots of F-4 Phantom II fighters preferred Russian Su-30 twin-engine aircraft to Chinese single-engine J-10 fighters. Therefore, Iran initially chose the Su-30MK fighter, which was later replaced by Su-30SM.

Russian Air Force Takes Upgraded Su-27s Intended for China | Defense News: Aviation International News [2012]

Sukhoi has delivered 12 Su-27SM(3)s to the Russian air force. The aircraft were originally intended to be supplied as subassemblies to China under a contract signed in 2009, and the last delivery was made in late December. The airframes were assembled at Sukhoi’s KnAAPO plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur from parts originally manufactured for what was meant to be a second batch of 95 airframes in the Chinese order for 200 Su-27SKs. However, China took only the first 105 Su-27SKs, most of which were assembled in China from Russian kits. The Su-27SM(3) is a single-seat multirole fighter capable of air superiority and ground strike missions. The Russian air force has already upgraded a considerable number of its Su-27 fighters to the SM standard. The SM(3) has a stronger airframe than previous SM variants, allowing the manufacturer to increase mtow by more than 2,000 pounds. It has additional hard points for weapons carriage. The heavier weight is offset by higher-thrust AL-31F-M1 engines manufactured by MMPP Salut. As an added bonus, these engines have extended service life. The Su-27SM(3) also features a new electronic warfare suite and improved targeting systems. The weapons package includes new missiles (Sukhoi declined to specify the type) and the air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles in the Su-27SM(3) arsenal have longer firing ranges. Furthermore, the Su-27SM(3) can use modern precision guidance munitions guided by Glonass/GPS. Finally, the company has added the KIS “comprehensive information system,” which monitors the condition of onboard systems to make maintenance easier. The cockpits of previous Su-27SM variants were based on dial instruments. But the SM(3) has a modern glass cockpit with four liquid-crystal MFDs in lieu of 13 “steam gauges” on the original Su-27S. The onboard communications complex is jam-proof and provides a secure datalink with ground command posts and airborne assets. According to Sukhoi the Su-27SM(3) is more than twice as effective against aerial targets and three times more effective against ground targets than the Su-27S. The Russian air force exhibited a Su-27SM(3) at the Moscow Air Show last August, but at the time did not specify how it differed from earlier SM variants.

Iranian soldier opens fire on fellow soldiers, killing four: army

An Iranian soldier opened fire on fellow soldiers at a military firing range south of Tehran on Sunday, killing four and wounding eight, the Iranian army said in a statement.

McMaster: Trump has made ‘a number of decisions’ on Afghanistan | TheHill

President Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Saturday defended President Trump’s strategy on winning the war in Afghanistan. The president has not announced a comprehensive strategy on Afghanistan yet, but according to McMaster he has made “a number of decisions” on the military approach there. “The president’s already made some important decisions on Afghanistan,” McMaster said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that aired Saturday. McMaster said Trump does not necessarily want to telegraph his intentions. “You’ve heard in pieces” the strategy, he said. “And what we’re endeavoring to do is pull this all together in a regional strategy that makes sense,” he continued. Trump has authorized the Pentagon to take the lead on a number of military decisions during his administration. McMaster also added that the White House wants to see a “change in behavior” from interested groups in the region, particularly Pakistan. The top aide said that while Pakistan has taken “great losses” fighting the Taliban, they have done so “selectively.” “This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in– and a reduction of their support– for– these groups,” he said. “I mean, this is– of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan is taking great losses.” “They have fought very hard against these groups,” McMaster argued, “but they’ve done so really only selectively.” He said that Trump is making clear that the U.S. will no longer tolerate any support for the Taliban or related groups.

With U.S. general under fire, Afghans fear being abandoned by Trump – The Washington Post

Trump, frustrated with war stalemate, has further delayed deciding on a new Afghan strategy.

The End of This Road: The Decline of the Palestinian National Movement | The New Yorker

Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi on Palestinian nationalism, the conflict with Israel, and the future of the P.L.O., Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority.

Benjamin Netanyahu backs push to shut down Al Jazeera’s Israel offices – Business & Innovation – Jerusalem Post

Following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, Israel aims to revoke press credentials of Qatari-based news organization.

Two Sydney men charged over planned terrorist acts | Australian Federal Police

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) has charged two men in Sydney this evening with terrorism offences.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


U.N. Security Council passes tough new sanctions on North Korea – To Inform is to Influence

Aug. 5 (UPI) — The United Nations Security Council voted Saturday to enact tough new sanctions on North Korea over its continued pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. The U.S. delegation succeeded in negotiating the package with China and Russia, the two permanent members of the Security Council most hesitant to impose tougher measures against the Kim…

United Nations bans key North Korea exports over missile tests

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.

China Confident Sanctions Can Block North Korea Nuclear Push – Bloomberg

China expressed confidence that new United Nations sanctions would help bring North Korea to the negotiating table to end its push for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

New UN Sanctions Could Cost N. Korea $1 Billion Annually | Military.com

The U.S.-drafted resolution has been in the works since July 4, when North Korea tested an ICBM capable of reaching Alaska.

China and Russia slam US while backing new North Korea sanctions imposed by UN

North Korea Sanctions: China Urges Dialogue With Pyongyang – NBC News

Wang Yi said the U.N. resolution’s call for a return to talks emphasized that diplomatic and peaceful means were necessary to avoid tensions.

Asia-Pacific regional disputes impede united stand on North Korea | Fox News

Disagreements over North Korea’s tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and territorial disputes in the South China Sea are preventing foreign ministers from other Asia-Pacific countries from issuing a unified statement about North Korea’s actions, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

Chinese, N. Korean foreign ministers hold meeting at ASEAN Forum in Manila – report | News5 – InterAksyon

Tillerson gets chance to deliver message to North Korea in person – To Inform is to Influence

One of the better articles regarding the North Korean strategic picture I’ve read to date, including multiple key players. </end editorial>  By Joshua Berlinger, CNN Updated 9:45 AM ET, Fri August 4, 2017 Hong Kong (CNN)The North Korean foreign minister and US Secretary of State walk into a room together. The world isn’t waiting for a…

McMaster: Threat of North Korean nuclear weapon strike impossible to overstate | Fox News

National security adviser H.R. McMaster says the threat of North Korea launching a nuclear weapon at the U.S. or another rival nation is “impossible to overstate” and repeated that a preemptive military strike remains an option.

Why THAAD is needed in Korea

The United States and its allies likely face no greater theater missile threat on earth than in Northeast Asia. As the threat has been developing over the last 30 years, the United States has responsibly deployed missile defenses in Korea to protect its forces already there, its forces that would flow to Korea in wartime, and the people living in South Korea. During the first nuclear crisis with North Korea, in 1994, the U.S. first deployed Patriot missile defense systems, which were appropriate because most North Korean missiles at the time were Scud or shorter-range missiles that the Patriot interceptors could defeat. Since then, North Korea has deployed NoDong and Musudan medium- and intermediate-range missiles that require a missile defense able to handle higher missile re-entry speeds like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. Some of these North Korean missiles may well carry nuclear weapons because they could also cover targets in Japan, Russia and China.

North Korea and the ‘Blink’ of War

At a time when peace in Asia seems to hang by a thread of hope that untested leaders will exercise restraint, a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) seems a game-changer. North Korea has indubitably demonstrated an ability to fire a missile capable of reaching U.S. territory. No doubt further work is needed on a reentry vehicle, and perhaps the Hwasong-14 missile might only be able to reach most of America if it carried a lightweight warhead. Nonetheless, North Korea has crossed the threshold of being able to aim nukes at the United States. Will a 33-year-old dynastic dictator, whose regime one analyst said should not be trusted with so much as butter knives, be emboldened by his newfound ability to hold U.S. cities hostage with nuclear weapons? Or, might President Donald Trump pull the trigger on military action because he is frustrated by the actions of North Korea and the inaction of China? While allied militaries must be ready to fight tonight, U.S. leaders need to remain clear-eyed in the face of danger. Over the long course of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, the United States has periodically looked hard at the cost-benefit analysis of launching a surgical strike. Each time, U.S. officials “blinked,” because the risk seemed higher than the reward. Once again, we appear to be moving in the direction of the brink of war, but in reality, officials are apt to reach the same conclusion as before.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force Staged a Massive Missile Drill Against a THAAD Mockup Target | The Diplomat

The exercise came one day before the People’s Liberation Army celebrated its 90th anniversary with a major parade.

Chinese tourists arrested for Hitler salute in Germany – BBC News

Two Chinese men were caught making the banned sign outside the German parliament.

Chinese tourists detained over Nazi salute in Berlin | News | DW | 06.08.2017

German police have detained two visitors from China who took pictures of themselves giving the Hitler salute at the Reichstag building in Berlin. They could face charges under Germany’s strict laws on Nazi symbols.

China unveils new HQ-22 surface-to-air missile weapon system at Airshow China 2016 | Defence Blog

China has revealed its latest generation of surface-to-air missile weapon system at the Airshow China 2016. The new HQ-22 is an all-weather medium-long range air defense weapon system. The new surface-to-air missile weapon system can attack 3rd generation fighters, armed helicopter and medium and high UAV and other aerodynamic targets. It is highly capable of anti-interference and mobile operation. The HQ-22 has large kill airspace ranges up to 150-170 km at an altitude from 50 to 27,000m which super adaptive anti-jamming capacity with several anti-jamming measures. The HQ-22 have FK-3 export version. It is capable of intercepting various targets like fixed-wing aircraft (including UAV), cruise missiles, tactical air-to-surface missiles, armed helicopters, etc. Killing zone: slant range 5km-100km/altitude 0.05km-27km.

Japan marks 72 years since Hiroshima atomic bomb | Japan News | Al Jazeera

Some 140,000 people were killed in 1945 atomic bomb, with another 74,000 bombed to death three days later in Nagasaki.


Foreign Policy Reports


New EU sanctions over Siemens turbines violate international law, Russian energy minister says

Russian energy ministry has said new EU sanctions over Siemens turbines violate international law.

German FDP Party Head Says May Need To Accept Crimea Annexation ‘For Now’

The head of Germany&rsquo;s Free Democratic Party (FDP) has said in an interview that Germany may need to accept the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region as a &quot;permanent provisiona…

Leader of German liberals urges to “forget” about Crimea occupation for now

The question of annexation of the Crimea should temporarily be &quot;sealed&quot; while progress must be made first on other issues of relations with Moscow, head of the Free Democratic Party of Germany Christian Lindner said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe, Tagesschau reports. “European security and well-being depend, in particular, on relations with Moscow,” Lindner told Funke Mediengruppe, according to Tagesschau. The politician advocated a shift in Berlin’s policy toward Russia. He said that it was necessary to work out proposals that would allow Vladimir Putin to change his policies “without losing face.” “Speaking of taboos: I’m afraid that Crimea should be viewed as a long-term temporary state,” Lindner said. He believes that the conflict around Crimea “needs to be “sealed” for now in order to make progress in other areas.”

EU’s Tusk Says He’s Worried Poland Moving Toward Leaving Bloc

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, says he is worried that his home country of Poland could be moving toward leaving the European Union. Tusk&rsquo;s remarks on August 3 come ami…

A Communist Icon Toppled in Ukraine Is Restored. In England. – The New York Times

A statue of Friedrich Engels, who collaborated with Karl Marx, has been erected in Manchester, where his research made him famous.

Venezuela arrests over ‘uprising attempt’ – BBC News

Men in military uniform post a video saying they are launching a “military and civil action”.

Venezuela Says ‘Attack’ at Military Base Has Been Controlled – Bloomberg

Venezuela’s ruling socialist party said that an “attack” by “mercenaries” early on Sunday at a military base in the central city of Valencia was defeated and that several people have been detained.

Venezuelan Armed Forces Repel Anti-Government Attack | News | teleSUR English

Cabello assured the people that there was &quot;absolute normalcy in the rest of the military units of the country.&quot;

Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez back under house arrest – ABC News

Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez back under house arrest


Strategy / Capability Publications


Why Washington’s Global Strategy Failed | The National Interest

The failed global strategy that has made the world more unstable and dangerous and helped ignite several costly wars.

74 Percent of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Strike Fighter Fleet Can’t Fight | The National Interest Blog

Thanks to sequestration and the F-35.

India plans to use new Kaveri engine to Power its Sukhoi-30MKI fleet ? — Indian Defence Update

Confident with initial studies that show that the desi ‘Kaveri’ engine can be revived and turned around for fighter jet operations in a short time span, India has asked its French collaborators whether the power-pack of the engine can be further boosted to upgrade its fleet of Su-30 MKI fighters. The Kaveri project – which was abandoned in 2014 as it did not meet the power requirements of the Air Force – is being revived with French help for use on both the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) project. Work is on with the French side to use the significant offsets on the Rafale fighter jet deal to fund a redevelopment of the Indian jet engine project. French company Safran has to invest over $1 billion in India as part of its offset obligations for the Indian Rafale deal. India is keen on an indigenous power plant that can be used for its future series of aerial combat platforms. Sources have told ThePrint that now the Indian side has suggested that the Kaveri engine be rated up to produce a power of 125 kn – to make it usable for the Su-30 MKI fleet. The Air Force has a fleet of just under 300 Sukhoi jets that will need to be upgraded. “The idea is to have a more powerful engine that can be used for a ‘Super Sukhoi’ upgrade. With the numbers we require, it will be good to have a Make in India solution,” sources involved in the process told ThePrint. GTRE-SAFRAN are already jointly working together to fix issues pertaining to India’s long delayed Kaveri-engine program. Under Kaveri revival program, French have agreed to fix all issues with Kaveri engine and make it production ready by end of 2018 as part of offset obligation under Dassault Rafale fighter jet deal with India. The sources said that studies are now being carried out on the feasibility of using the upgraded Kaveri for the Su-30 MKI fleet. While Russia will need to be consulted for an engine replacement on the fleet as it is the designer of the jet, officials on the Indian side do not foresee any objections given that French engines are being extensively used, including on the KA-226 helicopters that are to be manufactured domestically for the Army. Under ” Super-30″ Program, Russian companies had offered India it advance 142 kN thrust class AL-41F1S (117S) turbofan engines used in Su-35 to replace current AL-31F turbofan engines due to repeated issues with the engine but India had denied the offer.

US Denies Transfer of Critical Technology and F-16 Fighter Production in India

US has denied transfer of critical technology and production of F-16 fighter jets under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. To a question on whether the US has agreed for transfer of sophisticated technology and production of F-16 jets under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defense said “no”. Bhamre was answering the question in the parliament Tuesday. The critical technologies in question are integrated systems for active electronically scanned array radar, electro-optical targeting pod, infrared search and track and radio frequency jammer. It may be recalled the US had refused to part with these technologies for the South Korean K-FX aircraft, a derivative of the F-16 made by Korean Aerospace Industries in association with Lockheed Martin. South Korea is building its own fighter plane closely modelled along the F-16 with a number of crucial inputs coming from Lockheed Martin. These technologies form an important component of the F-16V fighter jet, the latest evolution of the world’s most successful war plane that has been offered to New Delhi. India has sought guarantee from US for technology transfer in case any US based company bids for fighter jet program under the ‘Make in India’ initiative last month. It was certain by March this year that the production line would not be set up in India. Lockheed Martin started shifting production of its F-16 fighter jets to Greenville from its existing Fort Worth, Texas facility effectively burying its plans to move the production line to India.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Google engineer posts anti-diversity treatise

Gender bias and diversity in Silicon Valley come to the forefront once again as Google engineer’s criticism of company culture goes viral.


US Domestic Policy Reports


The Latest: Trump tweets support for North Korea sanctions | Fox News

The Latest on the U.N. Security Council approving sanctions against North Korea.

Lavrov: We Feel U.S. Readiness To Continue Dialogue

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on August 6 that he believed his American counterpart was ready to continue dialogue with Russia on complex issues despite bilateral tensions and th…

McMaster on Hot Spots: Russia | MSNBC

Hugh Hewitt and Gen. H.R. McMaster focus in on the effectiveness of sanctions on Russia in this exclusive interview.

The Pro-Trump Media’s Assault Against H.R. McMaster – The Atlantic

Rumors have circulated for days that the national-security adviser’s job is on the line, and the pro-Trump media have launched an all-out assault against him.

Democrats fear Russia probe blowback – POLITICO

&quot;We need to talk about what people think about when they wake up in the morning, and it’s not Russia,&quot; said one strategist.

Why is Trump so reluctant to defend us from Russia’s lie machine? – The Washington Post

The White House’s apathy in the face of a clear threat is startling.

How The Dream Of America’s ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ Fizzled : NPR

Construction of new, modern reactors seemed to herald a new era of nuclear power expansion in the U.S. Now all but one of those projects have been canceled.

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