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Russia / Strategy Media Update – 11 August 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A remarkably busy day for reports. Russia’s descent into the abyss appears to be accelerating, with actions by the Putin regime exacerbating every single problem. Prof Goble’s digests are stellar, items by Piontkovsky, Shelin, Oreshkin, Bobryshev, Remizov, RNE, Shmulyevich, and Khristenzen are must reads.

Belarus may be home to Russian A2/AD SAM batteries (e.g. S-400 / S-300VM/V4) under the terms of a treaty signed with Russia last year. Russian priest report hits English language media, COCW applies.

Superb essay on the Donbass war by Nolan Peterson in the Daily Signal. Debate over Javelins continues. Matusova’s essay is another must read, as the toxicity of Russia has impacted the Arts and culture. Donbass fires and OSCE harassment continue. Great Terror report is excellent.

The DPRK/China nexus is the high profile topic today. China plays its card finally, saying it will defend the DPRK if the US attacks first, but will not if the DPRK attacks first. POTUS very nicely re-iterates his warnings. Some good and not so good analytical essays. China threatens India overtly, and insults Japan.

Russian shenanigans in Germany hitting resistance (were are the SDP when you need them?). Cuba and Venzuela reports of interest.

Almost a dozen interesting IW/IO/cyber reports.

Some interesting US domestic reports, include POTUS masterfully trolling Russia. More on Manafort.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Russia’s biggest war game in Europe since the cold war alarms NATO

SEPTEMBER will be an edgy time for NATO’s front-line member states. For a week in the middle of the month, Russia will be running what is being described as the biggest military exercise in Europe since the end of the cold war. The build-up is already under way.

Sanctions against Russia work, says Dan Fried, retired US State Department veteran | KyivPost

After capping a 40-year career in the U.S. State Department in February as coordinator of sanctions policy, Daniel Fried is a sought-after voice of wisdom given his experiences as U.S. ambassador to Poland, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia and a National Security Council senior director under two presidents, among other posts. Fried has now found a professional home as a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, D.C. In an Aug. 8 interview with the Kyiv Post, Fried discussed U.S. policy with Ukraine, the effectiveness of Western sanctions in ending Russia’s war against Ukraine, why Ukraine didn’t succeed as well as Poland after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and other topics in an hour-long telephone conversation.

Russian Suspected Of Planning Drone Attack On U.S. Aircraft In Turkey

Media reports in Turkey say law enforcement authorities have detained a suspected Islamic State (IS) militant from Russia who was allegedly planning a drone attack on U.S. aircraft at Incirlik ai…

A-10 Warthog Practices Improvised Landings in Estonia – YouTube

The US and NATO have been working to strengthen their military support of the Baltic States. Here’s a peek into one training exercise that happened on August…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin System Now Facing One of Four ‘Inglorious Ends,’ Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – The Kremlin “simply doesn’t know” how to react to the personal sanctions the new US law imposes, not only because they put an end to a key feature of the Putin system but also because the attacks the measure calls for against the most corrupt leaders in Russia echo or even have the support of the Russian people, Andrey Piontkovsky says. As a result, it is increasingly obvious that “the noose is tightening around the neck” of the Putin system and that it faces one of four “inglorious ends,” the Russian analyst says. These include “an attempt at hybrid capitulation with Putin at the head,” “an attempt at hybrid escalation with Putin at the head,” an attempt of hybrid capitulation without Putin,” and “capitulation” ( The Putin regime’s dilemma, one of its own making because of its overreaching aggression and efforts to influence the outcome of the US elections, has arisen, Piontkovsky says, because it “is not in a position to respond to the law on sanctions in any serious way.” It thus will have to wait as members of the Putin elite are exposed for the criminals they are. The Kremlin has no model of behavior to fall back on, he continues, because “there was nothing like this in the years of the cold war” and because the personal provisions of the new sanctions legislation fall not only on Russia as a whole but more critically on individual members of the Putin elite. While the Kremlin will do all it can to distract the attention of Russians from this reality, Piontkovsky says that he is “absolutely certain that this hunt for the wolves will enjoy the sympathy and gratitude of the multi-national Russian people” who have suffered as well by the actions of this elite. In the immediate term, he argues, this may lead to a further deterioration of relations between Moscow and the West; but over time, it points to the ultimate defeat of Putinism and Putin’s Russia in “the fourth world war” which the Kremlin leader was incautious enough to launch because he failed to understand the world in which he was operating. There now isn’t going to be “any Yalta-2” about which so much ink was spilled earlier. Instead, Russian elites, fearful of their own survival now that they are being cut off from the wealth they’ve stashed in the West, will choose between two variants or in fact four: hybrid capitulation or hybrid escalation, and in each case with Putin or without him.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Luck has Run Out and Russians Know It, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – The 18th anniversary of Vladimir Putin in power is an appropriate occasion to remember that the successes of the Kremlin leader and those of Russia as a whole aren’t “one and the same thing, however much his regime tries to promote the opposite view, according to Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin. From antiquity, philosophers and rulers have recognized that it is better to be lucky than to be talented, the Russian commentator observes. That is because “talent does not bring success every time but you can’t argue with achievements. Fate is after all fate” ( Vladimir Putin was extremely lucky for the first part of his reign, but his luck has clearly run out; and he doesn’t have the talent or the energy to function successfully without luck, Shelin suggests. As a result, Russians are increasingly inclined to view his earlier “successes” as being more about luck and him personally than about real development and themselves. At the end of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, Shelin continues, there were “two consensuses.” The first was public and involved a conviction that the government needed to be made effective even at the cost of some freedoms. The second was held within the regime and held that this could only be done by people with backgrounds in the special services. Putin fit the bill perfectly, and his rise to power “was the result not only of his personal abilities but of luck. Fortune could have smiled on someone else who would have done approximately the same things he has, Shelin argues. Putin’s second piece of luck was the rapid growth of the economy until 2008. Its growth actually began before he came to power, but few Russians noticed that and were thus inclined to give him credit for something he didn’t begin but simply carried on. His chief contribution initially was not to get in the way of this growth but to encourage it. But already in 2003, the Kremlin leader had begun to become part of a group of people whose chief desire was to become wealth or wealthier – and he fell in line with that as well, enriching himself to an unheard of degree, something many forgave him because they were becoming better off too. All this was possible, of course, because of Putin’s luck: he was in office when oil prices rose, a development he had absolutely nothing to do with. Putin had another piece of luck. Most analysts forget that at the end of his time in office, Yeltsin had gotten into fights with the leaders of “literally the entire world. Putin at that time young energetic and advanced worked in a different way.” He established better relations with those in the West then in power, and again it looked like it was his doing. But in fact, Shelin says, this was possible because of the kind of leaders then in office in the West: Schroeder, Berlusconi, Chirac, Sarkozy, Blair and Bush. Putin drew the entirely unjustified conclusion that the West would always be ruled by such people. His failures with Trump are thus only the latest example of his luck in that regard having run out. 2007 was the high point of Putin’s presidency and his luck: Oil prices were high, he had restored order to the Russian state, and ordinary Russians were living better than ever. But a year leader, his luck ran out: the international economic crisis began, oil prices collapsed, and Putin found himself casting about for new ways to make the world “respect” him and Russia. He thought he had found one with the invasion of Georgia, but that action did not have all the consequences he hoped for. Indeed, Shelin says, one can point to the exact date when Putin’s “legendary luck ran out: the middle of 2014, with the battles in the Donbass, the shooting down of the Boeing, Western sanctions, and the beginning of the collapse of the oil market. Because of Putin’s actions, “Ukraine lost Crimea and half of the Donbass, but it didn’t fall apart, and the divorce with it will not be described in future history textbooks as a plus for the head of Russia.” Not only did it alienate Ukraine but also the West and helped promote the collapse of oil prices, Shelin argues. Putin’s standing in the polls “no longer reflected the love of the people for him. If they in general report anything then it is only the fear to say something out of line and concerns that things might become still worse.” Thus, on his 18th year in power, “Putin is no longer the magician he was in the first half of his rule. Around him are two rings of problems.” The regime is no longer effective as an administrator because there isn’t enough money for all the oligarchs, for Putin and for the Russian people. And “the main thing,” Shelin says, is that “the people no longer is asking for the screws to be tightened.” That is especially the case with “the children of the Putin era who over the last months have produced one surprise after another.” “The leader if you like is tired.” He can enjoy catching fish but he no longer enjoys being asked for solutions for problems by Russians of all kinds. Indeed, it is becoming obvious that all these appeals are “beginning to annoy him.” “It is easy and even pleasant to run a powerful state when everything is going your way,” Shelin says, but it is “a different matter” when your luck runs out. What to do? Putin might throw it all up and retire, but it is far more likely that he will simply “continue to rule” for another term or more. However, that includes within it great risks. Not only has his luck run out, but that reality is increasingly appreciated not only by his entourage but by the Russian people themselves.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Used Wars to Boost His Popularity Doesn’t Have a Good Option Now, Oreshkin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Three times in the past, Vladimir Putin has used war to boost his popularity – in Chechnya in 1999, in Georgia in 2008, and in Ukraine since 2014 – but he doesn’t have any good options to repeat this a fourth time, even by expanding his aggression in Ukraine let alone in Belarus or Kazakhstan, according to Dmitry Oreshkin. “In Ukraine,” the Moscow analyst says, “pro-Russian force resources are exhausted. Belarus and Kazakhstan are our allies, and a small victorious war with them would look extremely strange. The same thing is true about the Syrian war which in Russia society has generated more anger than satisfaction” ( That means, he continues, that Putin will conduct his re-election campaign on an “inertia,” trying to avoid losing his current level of support but not coming up with anything that could really boost it. The only real possibility for that would be to organize a coup against him as Erdogan did in Turkey and then present himself as the savior of Russia once again. Putin has little or no chance to reinvent himself: he has been in power too long and his style and image are fixed in Russian minds. Russia needs a new image of the future, and Putin is not too old to come up with one, but he is trapped by his entourage which doesn’t want change and is clearly tired. Moreover, few would believe any new model he might propose. Putin must be “an eagle or appear to be an eagle,” to update Pushkin’s line, Oreshkin says, “because if Putin ceases to be an eagle, then he will become a Brezhnev.” Putin could of course refuse to run, but those around him don’t want that because they consider all the possible alternatives as dangerous risks of change that would work against them. And Putin who trusts no one would have to trust his replacement not to move against them or him personally. That is very unlikely, and Oreshkin says he is confident Putin will run. To go quietly as Yeltsin did would be “a catastrophe” for someone like Putin. He might leave in 2024 but he isn’t thinking that far ahead. For him and the oligarchs, “it is important to preserve power for the next six years.” Beyond that, neither he nor they can now think. There is one wild card, however. Putin could “uncover some internal conspiracy,” use it to frighten people and generate support for himself in that way much as Turkish President Recep Erdogan did. To do so, however, would require “organizing an internal enemy” as least as threatening as the Chechen separatists.” And while this is unlikely, Oreshkin concludes, “it is not excluded that something like this will be done in the

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Arms Race, on Top of Sanctions, Destroyed the USSR and Will Destroy Russia, Analysts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Vladimir Putin’s plans to spend more money on rearmament is “a squandering of valuable natural and labor resources, Mikhail Bobryshev says. But more than it, “an arms race led to the collapse of the USSR and the same thing will happen with Russia if it doesn’t stop and reflect about this.” As in Soviet times, the country has been subjected to Western sanctions, but Moscow is compounding the problems they create by entering into an arms race, something it is even less well equipped to pursue than was the USSR, according to Mikhail Bobryshev, a Moscow specialist in international trade ( Bobryshev is only one of many Russian writers now given to drawing parallels with the late Soviet Union and Putin’s Russia today. Another is Aleksandr Khots who points out that it was the cold war, including the arms race, which “buried the USSR, a country which couldn’t withstand competition with the West” ( Khots says that Putin has sparked a confrontation with the West copying “Soviet models” because he sees in “neo-Sovietism” a way of giving meaning to his domestic and foreign policy. For a long time, the West refused to recognize that reality, but now Putin’s “dream” of returning to the past has “achieved.” The consequences, however, are not ones he’ll welcome. Putin’s pursuit of confrontation “cannot end other than as a new ideological war,” one that it would be hard for “the rational West” to begin but “now will be complicated to stop.” As many don’t remember, Brezhnev began with the pursuit of détente but ended by invading Afghanistan – and sparking the final phase of the cold war. “It is striking,” Khots says, “to what degree the Putin ‘elite’ is repeating the path of Soviet diplomacy,” moving “from being a member of the G8 to that of international outcast, from trade links with the West to complete isolation.” Today’s Putin’s Russia is where Brezhnev’s Soviet Union was when Ronald Reagan gave his “evil empire” speech. That Soviet-provoked view led to the end of the Soviet Union, and its current analogue can have the same effect on Russia. “However, all this is hardly a basis for pessimism. Rather the reverse.” The Cold War ended the USSR but gave Russia a chance to start anew, something many Russians want even if Putin doesn’t. Putin’s readiness to begin a new arms race, one that he can’t win and that his “imperial and ineffective regime” won’t survive. Thus, “paradoxically … a new cold war is a historic chance for a new Russia to return to the historical arena,” albeit via a path that will be filled with “hurt, collapse and chaos.” Moreover, the Moscow analyst says, the more Putin strives to enter into an arms race with the West, the more destructive that will be for the Russian economy and “the greater the window of opportunities which will open for us into the civilized world.” Dostoyevsky once wrote in his Diary of a Writer that “war is not always evil; sometimes, it is a salvation.” Today is “a rare case” when a new Cold War will allow one to agree with the nineteenth century classic.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow has Completely Failed Russian Far East, Russian Analysts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – For decades, Moscow has been making “empty promises” to do something about the Russian Far East; but its failure to follow through an act on these words means that the problems of the Far East and Siberia are becoming only worse day by day,” Rosbalt analyst Dmitry Remizov says. Security Council secretary Nikolay Pastrushev’s remarks this week are the latest example of big promises (/, Russian analysts with whom Remizov says; but they are doubtful that this time will be any different than earlier ones ( Andrey Kobyakov, an economist at Moscow State University, points out that Russia “today simply doesn’t have any institution responsible for scientific strategic planning of development” and that despite much talk no real steps have been taken. Instead, there has been moves in the opposite and negative direction. The regional affairs ministry “as currently organized” isn’t involved with this work. And “the key institutions which like the council for the development of productive resources have in practice been disbanded,” he says. That is simultaneously a tragedy and a retreat from the arrangements that existed in Soviet times. There must be a complex state program and there must be an institution committed and able to implement it. That is the only way to hold the population in the region, attract investment from domestic and foreign sources, and ensure that Siberia and the Russian Far East don’t deteriorate still further. Nikita Krichevsky, a senior scholar at the Moscow Institute of Economics, says that there is little or no prospect that Moscow is going to take any real steps to address the region’s demographic problems or any others. As a result, people will leave, and China will play an ever greater role, by applying pressure on regional and federal officials. Bair Tsyrenov, a Buryat deputy agrees both in terms of diagnosis and prospects. “Without serious government programs, the problems won’t be resolved. Siberia and the Far East are special regions, the development of which always in tsarist Russia and especially in the Soviet period required stimuli so that people would stay living there. Unfortunately, he says, Moscow is quite prepared to spend enormous sums on gigantist projects; but it isn’t willing to develop and spend money on more mundane and more effective smaller ones. And Stanislav Zakharov, a regional activist, says that the problem with Chinese businessman is especially worrisome because despite rules limiting their activities, these people rely on using corrupt relationships with local and federal officials to do an end run around the rules and behave exactly as they like. “We have already heard for many decades about the growing problems of the Far East and Siberia,” he says; “but in fact, no one tries to solve them: the authorities, both federal and region, only make new promises.” If that pattern continues, the region will be “transformed into a desert,” without people, without forests and without water supplies.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: More than 20 Russian Regions Now at Third World Levels Economically

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – According to official statistics, approximately every fourth subject of the Russian Federation has a GDP per capita that puts in on par with third world countries like Sudan, Nigeria, and Guatemala, and all of them are suffering as a result from rising crime and increasing interest in emigration. Among these failing places, which should be called “zones of national disasters,” the Russian nationalist RNE portal says, are predominantly ethnic Russian areas like Bryansk, Ivanovo, Kirov, and Kurgan oblasts, Stavropol and Transbaikal krays, and non-Russian republics like Altay, Mordvinia, and Buryatia ( Not only is Moscow sucking them dry, but their collapse is contributing to ever larger capital flight. In the first seven months of 2015, net capital flight increased 1.5 times from the same period a year earlier to 13.1 billion US dollars. And over the past year, more than 2,000 “dollar millionaires” moved abroad with their money. But it is not only the wealthy who are thinking about leaving. Ever more people and especially the young are too, sparking predictions that Russia in the coming years faces its largest emigration in history. Among them are the most educated, something that will cost Russia its future. The Russian nationalist site argues that the Kremlin “is transforming the entire country into ‘a zone of national disaster.’ By the most optimistic predictions, the Russian Federation will need not less than a decade to compensate for the fall of incomes over the last three years and return at least to the level of 2014.” But “in reality,” RNE continues, economists say that Russia faces “at a minimum, 20 years of economic stagnation.” Kremlin propagandists argue otherwise, but “the more pragmatic part of the electorate doesn’t believe these promises and is either packing its bags or experiencing ever greater anger as a result of the constantly worsening quality of life.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: North Caucasus Republics Could Flourish on Their Own, Israeli Political Analyst Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Even people who accept that the north Caucasus is a Russian colony often argue that the republics of that region would be incapable of living on their own. But Avraam Shmulyevich says that history shows they could and that both they and Russia itself would be better off if they were to become independent. The Israeli political analyst points out that “the Caucasus is one of the most ancient hearths of civilization on the planet, and the North Caucasus people, the majority of whom have lived on this territory for thousands of years, have cities like Derbent, the history of which is counted in millenia” ( Over this period, they have often created stable societies and states, and even during the last 200 years when there has been “an uninterrupted” Russian colonial advance, one “accompanied by genocide” and “scorched earth” policies, the peoples of this region have been able to organize and resist. In the course of centuries, Shmulyevich says, “the Caucasus peoples have suffered many catastrophes, invasions and conquests. Russia’s colonial rule is only one of them.” It has been a “disintegrating” factor, and it will take time to overcome the consequences of its rule. But the Caucasus has existed as a distinct civilization for more than 2000 years. Moscow, in contrast, “occupied all of its territory only 153 years ago.” In resisting Russian expansionism, the North Caucasus peoples “have demonstrated remarkable even unprecedented vitality and an ability to establish vital social structures in very different foreign political and economic conditions,” the Israeli analyst says. There is no reason to think they couldn’t do the same if Russia were to leave. Russia will certainly try to drive the region into chaos if it leaves. Its preferred tactic will be delayed action mines, like those which have already exploded in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Karabakh, but also like those “in other places” which are only waiting to be set off to bring Moscow maximum advantage. But if Russia is able to generate chaos, that will not last, Shmulyevich says. “The capacity for self-organization and the formation of a stable society” is one that “the peoples of the Caucasus have demonstrated over the course of millenia.” They can and will do so again when Russia departs.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Nationalist Wants to Split Up Sakha and Destroy Its Titular Nationality

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Ivan Vladimirov, who writes for the Russian nationalist portal Sputnik i Pogrom, argues that Sakha, which he calls by the Russian name Yakutia, is the only non-Russian area that threatens the formation of a truly Russian Russia and thus must be dismantled and its titular nationality assimilated. There is no indication that his specific ideas have wide currency in Moscow, but Vladimirov’s line of argument is simply a more extreme form of one that is often found in the Russian capital and thus provides a key to understanding what is at stake given Vladimir Putin’s now-stalled regional amalgamation program and his current ethnic and language policies. In his new article, Vladimirov argues that the only non-Russian republic that is large enough and wealthy enough to pose a problem for the creation of a Russian Russia is Sakha, an area as large as India and one richly endowed with enormous natural resources such as diamonds ( Although ethnic Russians or at least non-Sakha dominate the regions where that wealth is extracted, the Sakha now make up a majority of the population again, a status they lost during Soviet times but have regained since as a result of Russian flight and higher birthrates among the indigenous people. That raises the specter that at some point Sakha nationalists will demand more control or even independence, the Russian writer says, and therefore “the Sakha Republic should not exist, just as other national-territorial formations should not. However, the simple renaming of it into the Lena/Yakutsk kray [as some have suggested] will not change the ethnic balance.” Instead, the republic needs to be suppressed and divided up with the economically important “Russian” areas handed off to other federal subjects in Siberia and the Russian Far East and the Sakha portions reduced to the status of “a grandiose reservation” where they can continue to exist at least for a time but won’t be a drain on Russian resources. But that is only a temporary and not a final solution to the “half-million Asiatic people in the middle reaches of the Lena,” Vladimirov continues. What needs to happen, he suggests, is to push the Sakha to leave the region because if they do they will become very different people, far more ready to intermarry and far less interested in turning back to their ancient religions. In Sakha itself, only 7.8 percent of Sakha men and 9 percent of Sakha women have entered into ethnically mixed marriages. But among those who go elsewhere, these figures are dramatically higher: 73 percent and 78 percent respectively. Moreover, the offspring of these marriages almost invariably choose to become Russian, Vladimirov says. He sums up his argument in the following way: “Sakha-Yakutia is a problem reigon, and the Yakuts are a problematic ethnos for the ethnic Russian character of the statehood of Russia. Therefore, these problems must be resolved in a complex fashion.” First of all, Vladimirov says, “Yaktia must not simply be transformed into an oblast but reduced in size or split up altogether,” with the diamond and other resource regions taken away from the titular nationality. Second, the Yakuts (Sakha) lest they retreat “into paganism,” must be integrated “into the Russian social system by means of migration throughout the country.” Outside of their home area, they will behave like Koreans or Chinese and that will only be a good thing. And third, “if however Russian-speaking Orthodox Yakuts will sometimes be assimilated into Russians via metisization this won’t be such a terrible thing” for Russians who are so much larger in number that they will gain the upper hand.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Giving Rising Demands for Change, Kremlin Said Mulling Four New ‘Social Contracts’

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Now that the Kremlin’s pollster has said that Russians because of fears about the future are more inclined to say they change for the better than to be acceptant of stability at the current low standard of living (, the Kremlin is said to be considering four possible new “social contracts.” Moscow commentator Yury Khristenzen says that the stability of Putin’s authoritarian regime has rested on a social contract between the population and the elites, one in which the population gives the regime loyalty in exchange for a rising standard of living, something the regime can no longer guarantee ( According to the commentator, there are indications that the Kremlin is currently discussing four new social contracts to replace the one that has more or less collapsed. They include: o “Loyalty in exchange for security.” This one would be based on discovering a terrorist threat at home that only the current regime could address and contain. o “Repressions in exchange for disloyalty.” Instead of a positive message, this one would suggest to the Russian population that the regime will punish the disloyal and therefore people should demonstrate loyalty to the Kremlin. o “Loyalty in exchange for subsistence.” This accord would clearly seek to convince people that as bad as things are, they could be worse and that they should back the current regime as a lesser evil compared to any other. o “Loyalty in exchange for political and economic freedoms.” According to Khristenzen, such an exchange would hardly be welcomed by elites but it might be extremely popular with the population at large.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s ‘Young Technocrats’ Aren’t Technocrats But a Sign of Regime’s Lack of Any Ideas, Krasheninnikov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Russian political discourse frequently gives new meaning to words in common use elsewhere, Fyodor Krasheninnikov says. Since the start of 2017, it has talked a lot about “young technocrats” who are not technocrats but rather a symptom of the vacuum of ideas at the top of the country’s political system. The Kremlin uses the term “young specialist” to designate a group of former governors who have been assigned to head regions or simply young governors who have been in office for a long time but are relatively young, the Yekaterinburg political analyst says. But they are not technocrats ( With rare exceptions, these people have worked in the political system most or all of their lives and thus are not the technocrats in the usual sense. But identifying the cadres in this way allows the Kremlin to answer the question as to why they have been appointed and also to suggest that the regime is moving forward by focusing on technical effectiveness. Moreover, the term suggests that these people are “apolitical,” a positive thing in two ways. On the one hand, that suggests to many people that these people aren’t pursuing any agenda. And on the other, it means that the regime can count on them to obey any future twist and turn in the Kremlin line. In many ways, Krasheninnikov says, this represents a recapitulation of the practice adopted at the end of Soviet times when leaders chose younger people whom they believed were effective because they weren’t ideologically committed to any one position. Mikhail Gorbachev was thought to be one of these, and in the Russian Federation later, Vladimir Putin. This reliance on technocrats,” the analyst continues, “is a sign of self-complacency of a collapsing political system,” one that signals that there has been a loss of faith in the previous ideological and political arrangements but no identification of new ones in which younger people can place their faith. Given “the unqualified dominance of the federal government in all spheres and the emptiness of regional budgets, there is no real reason to expect miracles from any of the Kremlin-backed promotions: these people will hardly take any risks” by challenging the party line from above. But this arrangement doesn’t always work as its creators expect, Krasheninnikov says. Some of these young people may decide to break with their elders if they fear that otherwise they will share the same fate. That happened at the end of Soviet times, and it could easily and unexpectedly quickly happen once again.

The Midnight Train to Moscow | Foreign Policy

Riding the rails to Russia with the migrant workers of Central Asia.

Russian Court To Hear Wallenberg Case Next Week As Family Looks For Answers

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Controversial film about last tsar approved for release in Russia | World news | The Guardian

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These are the best parts from the video of Vladimir Putin’s vacation in Siberia | Business Insider

Russia on Monday released a 47-minute video of…

Richest men in history: Vladimir Putin, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett aren’t even close – MarketWatch

Combine the vast riches of today’s wealthiest it still doesn’t even approach some of history’s monied elite.

Back to the land: how sanctions transformed Russian farming 

Can government policy and a new foodie class turn the country into an agricultural force?

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Belarus Reports

Putin introduced bill to Duma that allows using anti-aircraft defense on Ukraine and Belarus border. DOCUMENT (in Russian)

11.08.17 13:53 – Putin introduced bill to Duma that allows using anti-aircraft defense on Ukraine and Belarus border. DOCUMENT (in Russian) The bill is aimed at alleged enhancing of security of the borders of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, which are also borders with Ukraine. View photo news.

Putin seeks joint air defense with Belarus – News about politics | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to gain an opportunity to use air defense systems on Belarus borders with the European Union and Ukraine, that&rsquo;s according to a corresponding bill he submitted to the State Duma, according to the Russian parliament&rsquo;s website. The report says, Putin has requested that the State Duma ratify the protocol “On amendments and additions to the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus on joint protection of the external border of the Union State in airspace and the creation of a unified regional air defense system of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus from February 3, 2009.” The initial protocol was signed in Minsk on November 2, 2016. It includes amendments concerning the organizational and staffing structure of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the procedure for the use of weapons and military equipment by air defense officers on duty in the process of joint performance of combat duty tasks. Read also Ukraine’s General Staff speaks of threats of Russia’s West-2017 drills “The implementation of the Protocol will improve the security of the external border of the Union State in the airspace, enhance the security of the two states, and will not require additional appropriations of the federal budget,” the report said. As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian war journalist Andriy Tsaplienko reported on an unprecedented movement of military equipment in Russia in the direction of Ukraine. “On these fresh photos there are pieces of military equipment, which for some reason are not moving to Belarus (where Zapad-2017 military exercises will be held), but in the opposite direction: toward Ukraine, Voronezh Region, Krasnodar, and Crimea,” Tsaplienko said. Read also Latvia expects provocations during Zapad-2017 drills Later, a military expert and journalist Yuriy Butusov said that the movement and amassing of Russian troops at the borders with Ukraine is associated with constant rotation and exercises aimed at testing the scenario of an invasion of Ukraine. Read also Russia’s drills near NATO border raise fears of aggression – NYT According to the expert, Russia has drawn conclusions from the events of 2014, so in the case of “appropriate political situation,” they are going to act faster.

Putin wants Russian air defense systems on border between Belarus and Ukraine – 11.08.2017 11:27 — Ukrinform News

11.08.2017 11:27. Russian President Vladimir Putin has tabled in the State Duma a bill that will help Russia use its air defense systems on the borders of Belarus, in particular, with Ukraine. The text of the bill has been posted on the website of the State Duma. “The implementation of a protocol will help improve the reliability of protection of the external border of the Union State [of Russia and Belarus] in the airspace sector, strengthen the security of both states and will not require additional allocations from the federal budget,” the document says. According to the draft law, the Russian president asks the State Duma to ratify the protocol introducing amendments and additions to the agreement between Russia and Belarus on the joint protection of the external border of the Union State in the airspace sector and the creation of a unified regional air defense system of Russia and Belarus, dated February 3, 2009. Putin also proposed that the State Duma include in the Russian-Belarusian agreement on the joint protection of the external border the term “the period of a direct threat of aggression.” The document specifies: “the period of escalation of the military-political situation during which there was and there is a threat of aggression against one of the parties [to the agreement] in the region on the part of any state or a group of states.” The protocol was signed in Minsk on November 2, 2016.

Terras: We will accept Belarus’ invitation to observe Zapad | News | ERR

According to Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) Gen. Riho Terras, Estonia will accept Belarus’ invitation and send its observers to the large-scale joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad in September.

Mikalai Statkevich: Lukashenka Is Like Sugar Babe Throwing Hysterics At Her Sugar Daddy – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The dictator is not able do anything to protect the country in case of Russian aggression. After holding the military exercises West-2017, some Russian servicemen might stay in Belarus, opposition member Mikalai Statkevich, the leader of the Belarusian National Congress, said in a commentary to the periodical Gordon. “Even if the probability of a threat from the Russian Federation is 10 per cent, this raises serious concerns: it’s a terribly high percentage, because it is possible that not all the Russian troops will leave Belarus after the exercises and the military base will stay in the country. There is another option – Russia might leave some weapons in Belarus that the Russian group will be able to use in the future. In any case, there is a possibility of provocations. We know that it is customary in Russia to solve internal problems by means of starting actions in other countries. Moreover, there’s not so much time left before the presidential elections. That’s why we express our concern,” – Statkevich said. According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoys greater popularity than Lukashenka does among the Belarusian heads of security forces. “Lukashenka’s regime will not be able to do anything in the case of Russian aggression against Belarus. What kind of counteraction can there be if this regime is in Putin’s pocket? It is defended solely by rhetoric, which suits the Russian Federation, and due to the fact that Moscow feel s full control over Belarus. Lukashenka’s regime lives entirely at the expense of Russian subsidies. Therefore, it conducts a corresponding information policy within Belarus. Our law enforcement officers are being trained as a branch of Russian law enforcement agencies. And it’s not Lukashenka, but Putin who is the most popular politician in the power structures of Belarus. Our law enforcement officers, like most of the Belarusian society, despise and hate Lukashenka,” – the oppositionist stressed. According to him, it will be more difficult for Belarus to defend its territorial integrity than for Ukraine in case of Russian aggression. “Russian television channels in Belarus are brainwashing the population. And it gives its result. Lukashenka has, actually, given everything, except for the formal signs of sovereignty, to Moscow in exchange for Russian subsidies. We are very confused by the fantasies of Ukrainian political scientists who see in Belarus some resistance to Russia performed by Lukashenko. There is nothing like this, it’s just a trade for subsidies. Lukashenka behaves like a woman who throws hysterics to her sugar daddy, demanding more and more donations from Moscow. So there should be no illusions in this regard. Only Belarusians can protect Belarus. Unfortunately, we do not have any hopes for Belarusian law enforcement agencies. And it will be harder for us than for Ukrainians. At least you law enforcers gave weapons to the people who wanted to protect their country. Here it won’t be so,” – Statkevich summed up.

Belarus Charges Russian Priest With Pimping

Belarusian authorities have charged a Russian Orthodox priest with attempted pimping and human trafficking, accusing him of seeking to take two women to Russia to work as prostitutes.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Moldovan President to Visit Base Where US Plans to Build Military Facilities – Sputnik International

Moldovan President Igor Dodon announced Friday his plans to visit a military base in Moldova’s Bulboaca village in order to assess the situation around the area following reports on the US plans to construct eight military facilities at the base.

Ukraine Reports

Nolan Peterson | The Truth About the War in Ukraine

Ukrainians have the will to fight. But they need help.

Giving Ukraine weapons to complicate Kremlin’s advance – Herbst – 10.08.2017 09:58 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 09:58. If the United States provides Ukraine with the necessary defensive weapons, it will be able to reduce the odds of a dangerous confrontation with Russia, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst.

Experts Debate Pros and Cons of Lethal Arms for Ukraine

Current policy of supplying only non-lethal military gear has neither deterred Russian aggression nor created an opening for cooperation with Moscow

Arm Ukraine | KyivPost

The news that the U. S. Pentagon and State Department have drawn up plans to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other defensive weapons has provoked a flurry of opinion pieces for and against the move. The arguments fall into two broad camps: those arguing for arming Ukraine say such weapons will deter further aggression from Russia, while those arguing against say that arming Ukraine will only anger the Kremlin and provoke it to escalate the conflict, or encourage Ukraine to go on the offensive itself.

U.S. ‘Defensive Arms’ For Ukraine?

The White House is considering supplying Ukraine with “defensive arms,” but what does this actually mean? (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service/Reuters)

How anti-tank weapons are shaping Donbas conflict – experts

Last week, reports emerged in the United States that both the Pentagon and State Department are pressuring the White House to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine to bolster their defenses against the tank-reliant Russian-led separatist forces. However, Ukraine has taken several steps toward developing and modernizing its own anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers, DFRLab reports. The “Javelin question” has hung over two White House administrations, with even Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko himself asking for 1,240 Javelin anti-tank missiles, DFR Lab wrote. The two largest single battles of the Ukrainian conflict — both of which led to substantial defeats for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) — were the August 2014 Battle of Ilovaysk and the January-February 2015 Battle of Debaltseve. In both of these battles, Russia deployed hundreds of well-trained servicemen from tank and motorized infantry brigades to operate sophisticated equipment, most notably T-72B3 tanks and, to a far lesser extent, T-90A tanks. The strongest calls for the transferring of Javelin missiles to Ukraine came during and immediately after the Battle of Debaltseve, in which Russia’s tanks and the participation of its 5th and 6th Tank Brigades and 37th Motorized Infantry Brigade led to a rout of Ukrainian forces and the Russian-led separatist capture of Debaltseve, a key railway hub. But the threat of another offensive lingers, and this threat has led to a number of innovations and new lines of production for ATGM launchers in the UAF. As DFRLab recently reported, Ukraine modernized its military forces with upgrades and increased production rates for ATGM launchers, including the Stugna-P and RK-3 “Corsar.” The Stugna-P was originally developed in 2011 during the Viktor Yanukovych presidency, and is now back in production since the Russian annexation of Crimea and Russia’s participation in the war in eastern Ukraine. A video from the defense manufacturer Ukroboronprom shows the Stugna-P in action, 2,000 meters away from its target. The Ukrainian news site Slovo i Dilo has reported on the Stugna-P, praising how it is manufactured within Ukraine and without any parts from Russia. The 130mm weapon has a higher caliber than that allowed by the Minsk Agreements, thus making its deployment on the front lines a violation of the peace accords. However, ATGMs have received far less attention from monitoring groups than unguided artillery systems have, due to differences in the danger posed to civilian lives and property. The Ukrainian defense manufacturer Luch has been developing the RK-3 Corsar system for years, with new videos of prototypes of the yet-to-be-deployed system appearing on the manufacturer’s social media pages. Luch shared a video of a Corsar prototype in action in July 2017. With the arrival of Javelins far from a certainty, Luch has focused on how ATGM systems can be made in Ukraine, with Ukrainian components and specifically for the UAF. The Stugna-P and the RK-3 Corsar ATGM systems were both successfully tested during July 2017 Ukrainian military exercises. Speaking of potential effect Javelins would have on the ground, the experts say that they would not change the calculus on the front lines, as neither side is currently using motorized equipment to take new territory. In fact, with their entrenched positions and their lack of major movement, both Ukrainians and Russian-led separatist forces are more often using tanks and anti-tank missiles as makeshift artillery, rather than for their primary intended purposes. There is no shortage of tanks among the Russian-led separatist armaments, but few ever cross the front lines, where they would be most vulnerable to Javelin missiles. Thus, it is hard to believe that the appearance of Javelins on the front lines would give a distinct advantage to the UAF in pushing back Russian-led separatist forces in hotspots such as Avdiyivka or Novoazovsk. Read also Arms of Ukrainian victory Javelin missiles would instead, theoretically, act as a deterrent for future Russian-led separatist offensives similar to those offensives launched in Ilovaysk or Debaltseve.

“Stugna-P” – високе мистецтво від ДК “Укроборонпром” – YouTube

Влучність, мобільність та низька вартість – головні переваги вітчизняного протитанкового ракетного комплексу «Стугна-П».

Forget High-Tech APCs, Ukrainian Troops Must Trust ‘The Banker’

Ukraine’s military has been trying to modernize its equipment in the face of three years of fighting Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country. But a series of design and production problems have meant that soldiers cannot use new armored personnel carriers meant for the battlefield. So, some troops continue to rely on a shot-out, patched-up Soviet-era transport vehicle affectionately known as “The Banker.” (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service program, Crimea Realities)

Russian Active Measures Used to Attack Ukrainian Civil Society – To Inform is to Influence

The activities Russia engages in to disrupt Ukraine’s civil society. After the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2014, the Kremlin launched a full-scale disinformation campaign against Ukraine. Russian special services are deeply involved in these actions.

UAWire – Ukrainian MP: Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine in Odessa region

A member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defense, Irina Friz, sent an appeal to the Secretary of the National Security …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ukrainians Turning Away from Russia Not Only Politically but Culturally, Experts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – To no one’s surprise, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine has alienated Ukrainians politically from the former imperial center; but more important but less noticed, it is increasingly leading them to turn away from Russia culturally, a development with far-reaching consequences that it may be impossible to reverse. In an essay for Radio Liberty, Elena Matusova says that researchers in a wide variety of areas have confirmed that “Ukraine is coming out from under the cultural influence of Russia” and thus is “becoming independent not only in a political and government sense but in a cultural one as well” ( The journalist rightly points out that Russia has been losing influence on the culture of Ukraine” since 1991 when Ukraine achieved its independence, but the process accelerated following the collapse of the pro-Moscow regime of Viktor Yanukovich and Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its continuing war in the Donbass. Viktor Mironenko, the director of the Center for Ukrainian Research at Moscow’ Institute of Europe agrees. He notes that “the reduction in the role of Russia has occurred at all levels: political, economic and cultural” and he explains this by pointing to the rise of “a new generation of Ukrainians who live in a different reality which is neither Soviet nor Russian.” Kyiv poetess Mariya Galina notes that “in Ukraine, even poets who in the past wrote exclusively in Russian are today choosing to use the Ukrainian language” and that the war has led to a fundamental change in the Ukrainian book market with Russian language materials now occupying a significantly smaller place. Moreover, she continues, “in Ukraine now is taking shape a new group of young authors” who are writing in Ukrainian and are much younger than their counterparts in Russia. They have “enormous influence” and this shift has reached the point where one can speak of it as being irreversible. In her view, Galina says, “Russian culture will mean for Ukraine approximately as much as Polish culture does. That is, it will have a certain influence, there will be personal contacts, some books will appear but there will not be such a powerful turn toward Russia as there was before the Russian intervention.” There is a downside to this, however, both Mironenko and Galina say. The reduction of Russian influence on Ukrainian cultural will be paralleled by a reduction of Ukrainian influence on Russian culture. And Russian culture needs that influence now in particular because that country is undergoing a new period of “nation building.”

Donbas conflict update: 15 shellings on Ukraine positions, soldier killed in booby trap blast

Over the past day, illegal armed groups violated ceasefire 15 times, leaving a Ukrainian soldier wounded in a shelling. Another soldier was killed as a result of an explosion on an unknown explosive device near the village of Pisky, as reported by the press center of the ATO Headquarters. News 11 August from UNIAN.

Kyiv reports 16 attacks on Ukrainian army positions, one wounded soldier over past day

Over the past day, militants have opened fire 16 times on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the press center of the ATO headquarters has reported.

One Ukrainian fighter killed, one wounded in combat yesterday, – ATO HQ

11.08.17 09:25 – One Ukrainian fighter killed, one wounded in combat yesterday, – ATO HQ On Aug. 10, one Ukrainian military was killed in combat in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the east of Ukraine, one was wounded. View news.

14 wounded military brought to Odesa, four of them in grave condition. PHOTOS

11.08.17 09:58 – 14 wounded military brought to Odesa, four of them in grave condition. PHOTOS The fighters,who were wounded in combat in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO), were brought to a military hospital in Odesa by plane. View photo news.

OSCE SMM observers again prevented from entering Novoazovsk in Donetsk region – 10.08.2017 17:52 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 17:52. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has informed that its patrols were prevented from entering the town of Novoazovsk in Donetsk region, which is now under the control of the so-called &ldquo;Donetsk People&rsquo;s Republic&rdquo;.

“DPR” militants block access for OSCE observers to occupied territory ten times for two weeks – report – 11.08.2017 12:48 — Ukrinform News

11.08.2017 12:48. Over the last two weeks, 10 cases of the restrictions of movement of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission representatives were recorded at the checkpoint near the village of&nbsp;Verkhnioshyrokivske of Donetsk region.

Donbas militants hold OSCE patrol near Mariupol | UNIAN

The militants of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (&quot;DPR&quot;) have held a patrol of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine at a checkpoint near the village of Verkhnioshyrokivske of Donetsk region. News 10 August from UNIAN.

Donetsk Uncovered: Russian Military Positions Embedded in Civilian Areas – To Inform is to Influence

Frequent damage to civilian areas reveal military positions and weapons banned by the Minsk Agreements @DFRLab @AtlanticCouncil’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. Catalyzing a global network of digital forensic researchers, following conflicts in real time. Aug 9 Over the weekend, civilian areas in and around Donetsk city were once again caught in the crossfire after intense…

Ukrainian Armed Forces adopts many NATO-like safety standards – Canadian military instructor – 11.08.2017 10:57 — Ukrinform News

11.08.2017 10:57. The Ukrainian military command requested Canada to help introduce the NATO-like safety standards in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Canadian Army Major Chris Hartwick, who oversees one of the training courses within the UNIFIER Canadian training mission to Ukraine, said this in an interview with the Army news. “Some might ask why we are imposing our safety standards on them [Ukrainian servicemen], but this is actually something the Ukrainian Armed Forces has requested of us. They wish to adopt more NATO-like safety standards and their leaders strive to learn as much from Canada and the U.S. as possible in this regard,” Hartwick said. According to him, the absence of a separate training structure in the Armed Forces of Ukraine creates certain problems for Canadian mission. “Unlike us, the Ukrainian Armed Forces does not have a standardized training structure. So, many of their instructors have never undergone training on how to teach a class or run a firing range,” the Canadian Army Major said. He added that Canada “exercises a strict set of safety guidelines when planning and conducting training and the Ukrainian Armed Forces functions differently.” As reported, the Canadian government announced early March its decision to extend the UNIFIER military training mission to Ukraine for another two years until March 31, 2019. About 200 Canadian military instructors have been training Ukrainian servicemen within the framework of this mission.

Creation of Ukraine’s military court meets international standards – Defense Ministry – 11.08.2017 14:53 — Ukrinform News

11.08.2017 14:53. Creation of the Military Court of Ukraine corresponds to the international standards.

Indictment against Defense Ministry officials for procurement of helmets and armored vests in 2014-2015 sent to court

11.08.17 12:38 – Indictment against Defense Ministry officials for procurement of helmets and armored vests in 2014-2015 sent to court … View news.

Russian and Israeli citizen Aksinenko makes hoax bomb threats with support of FSB, – InformNapalm. PHOTOS

10.08.17 13:28 – Russian and Israeli citizen Aksinenko makes hoax bomb threats with support of FSB, – InformNapalm. PHOTOS … View photo news.

From Pennsylvania to Ukraine with coal – WFMZ

Last month, a major deal was struck between a Pennsylvania coal company and a Ukrainian utility.

Pilot killed in plane crash near Almaty was ethnic Ukrainian with Kazakhstan’s citizenship

When the trainer aircraft crashed near Almaty (Kazakhstan), an ethnic Ukrainian who was a citizen of Kazakhstan died, the Ukrainian Embassy in Kazakhstan told Interfax-Ukraine. “As it became known to the embassy, the deceased instructor pilot had the citizenship of Kazakhstan, but he is an ethnic Ukrainian,” the press service of the embassy told Interfax-Ukraine on Thursday. Earlier on this day, the press service of the Civil Aviation Committee of the Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan reported that at 09:53 on Thursday (local time), while performing the training task at a distance of 2 km from the Azem aerodrome control point (Almaty region, 43 km from Almaty), the Tecnam P-2002JF aircraft crashed (registration number UP-LA321). Director of the department of investigation of traffic accidents and incidents of the ministry, Zhanibek Taizhanov, said that after the plane took off from the conveyor, a stall occurred, resulting in the aircraft being burnt and completely destroyed. At the time of the incident of the aircraft a pilot-instructor and a cadet were on board – both have been killed. The ministry creates a commission to investigate the circumstances of the accident. At the same time, a number of Kazakhstani mass media report that as a result of the plane crash, pilot instructor Kurchenko, born in 1977, who according to preliminary information was a citizen of Ukraine, and cadet E.Abishev, born in 1996, died.

Amnesty International Demands Immediate Release Of Elderly Crimean Tatar Activist

Amnesty International has urged authorities in Russia-controlled Crimea to immediately release a 76-year-old Crimean Tatar activist from jail. In its August 10 statement, Amnesty said that Serve…

Lawyer For Crimean Tatar Leader Compares Russia With Nazi Germany

A Russian lawyer for a Crimean Tatar leader who is on trial in Russian-controlled Crimea has sharply criticized the Kremlin, comparing President Vladimir Putin's Russia with Nazi Germany an…

Lawyer for Crimean Tatar leader compares Russia with Nazi Germany – media

A Russian lawyer for a Crimean Tatar leader who is on trial in Russian-controlled Crimea has sharply criticized the Kremlin, comparing President Vladimir Putin's Russia with Nazi Germany and suggesting officials who serve the state will face an unhappy fate, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. News 10 August from UNIAN.

Turkey says it is against EU sanctions on Russia – DIPLOMACY

Turkey does not approve sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU over its annexation of Crimea, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, urging both sides to resolve their issues through dialogue and political means. “Turkey suffered from sanctions a lot in the past. Sanctions against our neighbors and partners caused grave damages on our economy. That’s why when we hear about sanctions we don’t rush into it. We are looking into whether we can find other ways to solve the problems,” Çavuşoğlu told daily Türkiye in an interview on Aug 11. “That’s why we did not join the sanctions on Russia, and we prefer political engagement and dialogue,” he added. EU’s sanctions on Russia were imposed after the latter annexed Crimea and broke territorial integrity of Ukraine in 2014. Sanctions were strengthened in September 2014 by targeting the country’s financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as dual-use goods. EU has recently extended economic sanctions until January 2018. Russia is also targeted by the United States, as a recent set of sanctions would likely hit international energy projects and pipe line constructions to supply natural gas to the world market. Çavuşoğlu, however, did not mention the U.S. sanctions, which would also affect the ongoing Turkish Stream natural gas project. These sanctions are introduced against entities doing business with the Russian military or intelligence agencies, companies involved in Russian offshore oil projects, and those participating in Russian oil or gas pipeline construction within Russia. “As you follow nowadays, Russia and the U.S. are attempting to sanction each other. The EU is mulling measures against the U.S. on grounds that the sanctions would also affect it. What we are doing at this very point is to try to solve problems through dialogue to keep our economy unaffected by all these,” Çavuşoğlu stressed. Both Turkey and Russia are examining how U.S. sanctions on energy projects could have an effect on the Turkish Stream. The project, which already started, will supply natural gas both to Turkey and the EU. With a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas, the project is expected to deliver around 16 billion cubic meters of it to Turkey by 2019, and the rest to EU countries. August/11/2017

Turkey’s FM says Ankara against EU sanctions on Moscow over Crimea grab

Turkey does not approve sanctions imposed on&nbsp;Russia&nbsp;by the EU over its annexation of Crimea, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said, urging both sides to resolve their issues through dialogue and political means, Hurriyet Daily News wrote. News 11 August from UNIAN.

Saakashvili accused of spending public funds on masseuse invited from Germany

The Tbilisi City Court on Thursday continued hearing a case in which former President Mikheil Saakashvili is charged with misappropriating public funds amounting to about 8 million lari (over $3 million).

Ukraine Remembers the Soviet Great Terror of 1937 – YouTube

Ukraine has commemorated the victims of the Great Terror which started in the summer of 1937. 80 years ago, the resolution of the Politburo “On Anti-Soviet E…

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

US official: IS putting up stiff resistance in Syria’s Raqqa

News about the U.S. Military. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Jihad Wins in Idlib | Foreign Affairs

HTS has already scored a major strategic victory against Ahrar al-Sham and will likely dominate Idlib from now on.

US airstrikes in Somalia; high-level al-Shabab leader killed

The U.S. military has announced two new airstrikes against al-Shabab extremists in Somalia, and Somalia’s president says the joint operation killed a high-level leader of the group.


Trump and Kim’s War of Words Has Asia Bracing for Conflict – Bloomberg

The escalating war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent Asian markets tumbling as the region braced for more provocations from his regime next week.

China should be neutral if North Korea fires first on US: Global Times

China should remain neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the U.S., a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday.

Chinese paper says China should stay neutral if North Korea attacks first

If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea’s government China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday.

China will stop America if it attacks North Korea first | Daily Mail Online

An editorial in the Global Times, warned that ‘China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.

China Announces Unidirectional Neutrality Position Regarding Military Action With North Korea… | The Last Refuge

There is a considerable amount of debate surrounding how much pressure Chinese President Xi Jinping is receiving from the hard-line communist party apparatus.  Some believe Xi Jinping is actually in conflict with the party apparatus and most of the old guard of Hujintao. There is a line of logic that states the current Chinese rhetoric…

This is the moment of truth on North Korea – The Washington Post

As the nuclear threat becomes real, can China and United States solve the problem?

Get your act together or else, Trump warns North Korea | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

President Trump told North Korea’s leaders last night to “get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble”

Trump Doubles Down on Threats Against North Korea as Nuclear Tensions Escalate – The New York Times

The president said that perhaps his earlier “fire and fury” comment was not strong enough, though he did say he was open to negotiations with the North Koreans.

Trump Doubles Down on ‘Fire and Fury’ Vow as Wargames Near | New Jersey News | US News

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers, a move that if carried out would be its most provocative missile launch to date.

Trump doubles down on ‘fire and fury’ warning to North Korea as wargames near – Chicago Tribune

Issuing a new threat to North Korea, President Donald Trump demanded that North Korea “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble.

Trump’s Harsh Language on North Korea Has Little Precedent, Experts Say – The New York Times

The statement went far beyond the usual tough-but-vague words that past presidents have used to confront the North’s frequent provocations.

How Trump Can Contain North Korea Without ‘Fire and Fury’ – The New York Times

The president has a chance to use diplomacy and economic incentives to curtail Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions.

A Trump nuclear strike against North Korea: constitutional or not? | PolitiFact

President Donald Trump&rsquo;s threats against North Korea and tweets about the United States&rsquo; powerful nuclear arsenal have raised the specter — however small — of nuclear war. But some members of Congress argue that the current process by which the president can order a nuclear strike is illegal. &quot;Our view is the current nuclear launch approval process is unconstitutional,&quot; U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif, said on CNN on Aug. 8, 2017. Lieu has filed a proposal to require congressional approval before the president could launch a first nuclear strike. &quot;Right now one person can launch thousands of nuclear weapons, and …

If Trump wants a nuclear attack against North Korea, his military advisers have few other options – The Washington Post

Nuclear weapons are designed to deployed within minutes of a president’s order.

How To Respond To North Korean Aggression | Washington Outlook content from Aviation Week

In this week’s Washington Outlook: The U.S. can intercept missiles bound for Guam, and it can launch offensive strikes, say Pentagon leaders.

Fake News | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

Lost in the media scrum about threats and counter threats from President Trump and North Korea is a very important story that was totally missed. While headlines a few days ago blared that North Korea said it would never negotiate with the US on its nuclear and missile programs, in fact, it never said that. This isn’t the first time the media missed the story. It happens all the time, whenever it covers statements by North Korea. A big part of the blame goes to Pyongyang. It’s incredibly hard for anyone to parse its public policy statements, often filled with bluster, bluff and just plain old propaganda. It is hard for anyone except the most experienced North Korea hand to figure out the real message—if there is one. But, with that caveat the news media has a responsibility to get the facts straight. And on this story, it failed completely. That failure is particularly dangerous given the continuing mounting crisis between Washington and Pyongyang. Ri Yong Ho speaks to reporters after attending the ASEAN Regional Forum in Vientiane on July 26, 2016. (Photo: AFP Photo / Hoang Dinh Nam) What is especially disturbing was the failure in this case was not a case of bad analysis. As was pointed out by Robert Carlin, who has been following North Korea and its media statements for almost four decades as a US government official and now a private expert, it a failure of getting the language straight. The media cherry-picked a part of what the North Koreans were saying in order to write a sensational story. That story focused on a statement by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting, which was misinterpreted to mean the North Koreans would never negotiate with the United States. The English translation was: We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table. Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves, unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the D.P.R.K. are fundamentally eliminated. This splitting of sentences raised several questions as to what was covered under the qualifier of “unless” the hostile policy is removed. The answer though could be found in the Korean language version, in which the formula was presented as one sentence, not two: 미국의 적대시 정책과 핵위협이 근원적으로 청산되지 않는 한 우리는 그 어떤 경우에도 핵과 탄도로케트를 협상탁에 올려놓지 않을 것이며 우리가 선택한 핵무력 강화의 길에서 단 한치도 물러서지 않을 것입니다. “Unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the D.P.R.K. are fundamentally eliminated, we, under no circumstances, will put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table and will not flinch even an inch away from our path of strengthening of the nuclear forces, which is chosen by ourselves.” Indeed, this formulation just repeats earlier statement by Kim Jong Un himself (on July 4) as well as an official North Korean government statement on August 7, which is an authoritative policy pronouncement. But no one in the media mentioned either of these statements in their coverage. In short, the North Koreans appear to be saying that the only way they will put their WMD programs on the table is if the US threat to their country ends, a very different position than described in media reports. We can argue whether the North Koreans are “sincere” about negotiations and of course whether talks can work, but first we need to get our facts straight. In this case, the media did a disservice to us all.

How Ronald Reagan would have handled North Korea—Commentary

Ronald Reagan left us the perfect road map for defeating North Korea, says Jake Novak.

Be Strategic, Not Impulsive, on North Korea – The New York Times

Note to President Trump: We should be laughing at its missile tests, not leveling unscripted threats.

Mattis: War with North Korea would be ‘catastrophic’ | Fox News

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that war with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” casting a dire tone after President Trump unleashed a string of warnings to the rogue nation.

Trump’s North Korea Nuclear Riffing Creates a Real Danger | WIRED

Donald Trump’s loose rhetoric toward nuclear weapons and North Korea could spell major trouble.

How North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Resembles a CEO | Foreign Affairs

Kim Jong Un is no buffoon. A better way to view him is as a new CEO taking over a company—call it North Korea, Inc.

How Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’ Rhetoric Plays Into North Korea’s Hands – POLITICO Magazine

What actually changed this week with North Korea? One top expert explains.

North Korea Answers Trump’s Vague Threats With Specific Ones – The Atlantic

The unusual detail of the Kim regime’s latest statement on Guam

As tensions with North Korea escalate, Trump retweets several comparisons with Obama – The Washington Post

The current Republican president appears focused on his Democratic predecessor.

Why Is North Korea So Fixated on Guam?

The island is America’s military outpost in the western Pacific and the source of those vexing “air pirates.”

Guam locals: ‘We could be here today and gone tomorrow’ – CNN

With his rough, calloused hands, Guam local Marco Martinez steadily trims his fishing line.

North Korea missile crisis seen pushing South Korea to gun up

The escalating threat arising from nuclear-armed North Korea’s recent series of missile tests is prompting South Korea to beef up its military muscle and experts warn it could spur an arms buildup elsewhere in Northeast Asia.

Rational Security on The E.R.: The “Fire and Fury” Edition | Foreign Policy

Rational Security on The E.R.: The “Fire and Fury” Edition « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

U.S. destroyer challenges China’s claims in South China Sea

A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters.

India will suffer worse losses than 1962 if it incites border clash – Global Times

This time, we must teach New Delhi a bitter lesson.

China air force chief rips defense white paper, says ‘Sea of Japan is not Japan’s’ | The Japan Times

The head of China’s air force has blasted a Japanese Defense Ministry white paper critical of Chinese military drills in and over waters near Japan, saying

Foreign Policy Reports

Russia Has Launched a Fake News War on Europe. Now Germany Is Fighting Back – To Inform is to Influence

Simon Shuster / Berlin Aug 09, 2017 One morning in November, Simon Hegelich, a professor of political science at the Technical University of Munich, was surprised to get an urgent invitation from the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wanted to hear more about his research on the manipulation of voter sentiment. Less than…

German Election 2017: The Fact-Checkers Fighting Fake News |

The tide of misinformation flowing out of Russia is being met by a barrier of fact-checkers in Germany

Woman Accidentally Picks Up WWII-Era White Phosphorus

Luckily she only lost her coat.

Ukraine, Lithuania Protest Proposed Polish Passport Images | World News | US News

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ukraine and Lithuania are protesting a proposal by Poland’s nationalist government to include images in Polish passports of landmarks in formerly Polish cities that are now within the borders of those neighboring countries.

Tanking Up in Greece | Foreign Affairs

For the past generation, Greece has been spending enormous amounts on its armed forces

Castro huddles with Russia as US-Cuba relationship crumbles


Hearing loss of US diplomats in Cuba blamed on covert device

WASHINGTON (AP) — The two-year-old U.S. diplomatic relationship with Cuba was roiled Wednesday by what U.S. officials say was a string of bizarre incidents that left a group of Am

Did Russia Attack U.S. Officials in Cuba? USSR Used Microwaves Against American Diplomats During Cold War

According to reports, a third country may have been behind the mystery attacks in Havana.

How to Avoid a Venezuelan Civil War | Foreign Affairs

Venezuela is dangerously close to slipping over the precipice. It is time for regional states to provide an off-ramp.

Strategy / Capability Publications

Goodbye, MiG: Boeing, General Dynamics Debut Anti-Aircraft Stryker – To Inform is to Influence

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on August 09, 2017  HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: If you fly Russian MiG fighters, Sukhoi attack jets, or Hind helicopters, your life just got a little harder — and in the event of war, potentially much shorter. At the Space & Missile Defense conference here, General Dynamics rolled out the latest variant of their eight-wheel-drive Stryker armored…

The U.S. Army Is Officially Looking For a Newer, More Powerful Rifle

The Interim Combat Service Rifle will replace the M4 carbine.

China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data – To Inform is to Influence

Arjun Kharpal | @ArjunKharpal 5 Hours Ago China has demonstrated way to send data over long distances which is potentially unhackable. It relies on “quantum cryptography” and a satellite sending data via photons from space to earth. The implications could be huge for cybersecurity, making businesses safer, but also making it more difficult for…

Ryzen Threadripper review: We test AMD’s monster 1950X CPU [Ed: 16 Core CPU Chip]

AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 1950X smashes its rivals in performance and cost. But who really needs this monster? Find out in our review.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Tracking tool charts how Russian bots target U.S. divisions – To Inform is to Influence

Moscow exploits internal White House strife to further divisions By Dan Boylan – The Washington Times – Tuesday, August 8, 2017 A former FBI special agent-turned disinformation expert says a propaganda tracking tool he helped develop took less than a week to pinpoint evidence of Kremlin efforts to exploit current White House political divisions at the highest…

Understanding Russian Propaganda – To Inform is to Influence

Today Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard points out that Russian propagandists have fallen in against National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster.  McMaster is currently the subject of a lot of criticism from the American right for clearing his Obama-era predecessor, Susan Rice, famous for her Benghazi distortions and for her role in the unmasking scandals. Is it the…

Understanding Russian Propaganda – Security Studies Group


Ukrainian postal service hit by 48-hour cyber-attack – BBC News

Hackers targeted the system that tracks customer parcels on Ukrposhta’s website two days in a row.

Ukraine police make arrest in Petya ransomware case | ZDNet

A 51-year-old Ukrainian national was arrested in connection with the ransomware attack

Ukraine Police Arrest Man for Spreading NotPetya Ransomware in Tax Evasion Scheme

Ukrainian authorities have arrested a 51-year-old man from Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk region, on accusations of distributing a version of the NotPetya ransomware.

US is ‘outgunned’ in electronic warfare, says cyber commander

Two military leaders admitted at the TechNet Augusta conference this week that the United States is falling behind in its electronic warfare capability.

Cyber, electronic warfare blur tactical, strategic lines

The Army is working to test new technologies to help inform requirements, doctrine and operational concepts in the cyberspace domain.

Hackers discover hundreds of vulnerabilities in Air Force domains

The Air Force wrapped its first bug bounty program on June 23 and announced the results on Thursday, finding more vulnerabilities than previous programs run by the Pentagon and Army.

Securing the cockpit: How the military is tackling avionics cybersecurity

The cyberthreat to systems on individual platforms, particularly weapons as well as position, navigation and timing systems embedded in U.S. military aircraft, is garnering increased attention.

Sensor overload is overloading the network

This problem is expected to get worse in the next 10 years with the increase in boxes and sensors.

US Domestic Policy Reports

Nearly 90 Percent Of Americans See Russia As Threat To U.S., Poll Shows

A wide majority of Americans see Russia as a threat to the United States, a new poll shows. The poll released on August 10 showed that nearly 90 percent of respondents see Russia as either a &ldqu…

EvelynFarkas on Twitter: “This is an outrageous collaboration between fascist Kremlin-associated ideologue and Neo-RightWing ideologue @alexjonesshows”


Andrew S. Weiss on Twitter: “Can’t make it up. Alex Jones/InfoWars hosts Aleksandr Dugin to attack Globalist Enemy #1 HR McMaster h/t RCO”


Trump: ‘Very Thankful’ To Putin For Cutting U.S. Diplomatic Staff In Russia

President Donald Trump on August 10 shrugged off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand for deep cuts in staff at U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia, thanking Putin for a move he said would help cut U.S. payroll costs.

President Trump Thanks Putin For Ordering Expulsion Of U.S. Diplomats From Russia : NPR

After the Russian president moved to expel 755 staffers from U.S. embassies and consulates in response to sanctions, Trump said his administration needs to cut the State Department payroll anyway.

Trump Praises Putin Instead of Critiquing Cuts to U.S. Embassy Staff – The New York Times

The president’s comments were in keeping with his practice of not criticizing the Russian leader.

Trump says he’s ‘very thankful’ Putin expelled U.S. diplomats from Russia

President Trump responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin expelling U.S. diplomats from Russia. “I want to thank him, because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” he said on Aug. 10.

Russia may be forced to shut down consulate in the US – NY Daily News

Russia may be forced to close one of four consulates in the US, sources said.

Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC  | Foreign Policy

Fired White House staffer argued “deep state” attacked Trump administration because the president represents a threat to cultural Marxist memes, globalists, and bankers.

Sen. Tom Cotton: Vladimir Putin causing US-Russia relations to tank


Trump, Russia and the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists

President Trump responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin expelling U.S. diplomats from Russia. “I want to thank him, because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” he said on Aug. 10.

U.S. intelligence reportedly intercepted Russian operatives chatter about Manafort collusion.

Buried in a long story on CNN Thursday recapping the current state of play in the Russia investigation was a reminder that former Trump campaign chairm …

Mueller Turns Up The Heat With Unusual Search Warrant In Russia Probe : NPR

Legal experts said Russia special counsel Robert Mueller is moving with unusual speed and assertiveness. Mueller may be increasing pressure to try to secure cooperation from insiders.

Manafort switching legal team as feds crank up heat on him – POLITICO

Manafort’s case will now be handled by Miller and Chevalier, a boutique firm in Washington.

Robert Mueller & Paul Manafort — Special Prosecutor Plays Hardball | National Review

The FBI raid on Manafort’s house indicates that Mueller is squeezing him to witness against others …

Paul Manafort Was Once Sued by Fmr. Ukrainian Prime Minister for ‘Scheming’ and ‘Money Laundering’ | Law News

On the heels of the DNC email leaks, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, pointed the figure squarely at the Russians and said that the emails were

The other Russia story we need to talk about is adoption

Amid the deluge of Russia news, don’t forget these children and the Americans who want to be their parents.

Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don’t Buy the Russia Story – Bloomberg

Evidence that undermines the “election hack” narrative should get more attention.

Jeffrey Lord, Trump Defender on CNN, Is Fired for Using Nazi Slogan – The New York Times

Mr. Lord, a CNN contributor and stalwart Trump loyalist, was abruptly fired after posting “Sieg Heil” on Twitter in a heated exchange with the president of a media watchdog site.

Trump attacks on McConnell bring rebukes from fellow Republicans – The Washington Post

The president, on Twitter, escalated an extraordinary feud with a GOP leader, dimming hopes for passing legislation this fall.

Watchdog files FEC complaint over alleged DNC-Ukraine meeting on Trump oppo | Fox News

A watchdog group is urging the Federal Election Commission to investigate the Democratic National Committee and a former consultant for allegedly soliciting illegal contributions from the Ukrainian government by seeking information about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.


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