A slow day in Western MSM, more active in Russophone space. Poland states the obvious, that Stalin enabled Hitler’s invasion of Poland thus the USSR is responsible for starting WW2 – full apoplectic response from Russia is yet to be seen. Graham argues for appeasement, while overstating Russian capabilities, and ignoring its internal problems. More on Russian threats over local elections.
Nobel Prize winner Alekseyevich restates what others have pointed out, in the Russian imperial mindset Belarus and Ukraine are simply provinces of Mother Russia, and any attempts by these nations to be themselves not acceptable. More on Kaliningrad. As always, Prof Goble’s “A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 95” is a must-read item. Regional administrations in Russia diverging on minority languages, and English over Russian, from Moscow. Lavrov earns the COCW Award today, for his remarkable outburst stating “that Moscow had no choice but to come to the aid of ethnic Russians in Ukraine because it had to defend “the genetic code” of the Russian nation” – given the small numbers, multi-generational mating with Ukrainians, and similar mix of Norse, Slavic and Finnic DNA in both nations, this borders on the absurd, but also contradicts the widely promoted triune nation doctrine, thus yet again showing that any claim will do for Russia if it plays on the day. Russia’s Cossacks want to claim Darth Vader. Russia’s youth gang problem spins out of control.
Belarusian opposition continues to fret over the prospect of Russian occupation, while the Belarus KGB is in difficulty due to chronic funds starvation.
Moldovan Putinist Pres Dodon further works to sabotage Moldovan engagement with Romania and the West.
Ukraine to increase density of border posts on Russian frontier. Donbass fires continue, while OSCE flags movements of SA-13 batteries by proxy force. AFU to upgrade its MBT fleets with Turkish developed Aselsan frequency hopping encrypted VHF radios.
Assad expands footprint of territory reclaimed from other players in Syria.
A multiplicity of backfill reports and speculation on the DPRK.
Schröder joins Rosneft board. Latin American nations object to POTUS suggestion of military option in Venezuela.
Readiness of US heavy bomber fleet is problematic, and will present headaches if an air campaign against the DPRK is required.
Excellent albeit a little dated primer by Prof Humphreys on GPS spoofing.
Manafort leads in US domestic Russia debate.
Russia / Russophone Reports
In an interview with wPolityce, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Witold Waszczykowski accused the USSR of unleashing the …
In Russia this week, there is an unprecedented movement of military equipment being flown into the Moscow Region, as well as into Kostroma, Samara, and Volgograd. Military equipment is being moved via aircraft into the European part of the Russian Federation from Novosibirsk. Russia states that this is part of the Zapad-2017 exercises, according to journalist and military correspondent, Andrei Tsaplienko’s blog on NV.ua website. The exercised will begin on September 14th in six formations in Belarus. But military technology for some reason is moving the other way, towards Ukraine, to the Voronezh region, Krasnodar, and the Crimea. The threat of further invasion by Russian troops is still high. This is unambiguous that the transfer of military equipment was planned directly near the Ukrainian border. There are several scenarios. It could be a demonstration of a strength like last year, but on a larger scale. Or it could be in preparation for a new stage of aggression against Ukraine. Nothing can be ruled out at this time. Next year presidential election will be held in Russia. Putin needs some victories, even small ones. Only one person knows the true purpose of such a large-scale movement of Russian military equipment near the Ukrainian borders. I think that even the soldiers participating in this such a provocation have no idea as to Putin’s plans. In addition, it depends only on him, whether these weapons will move into Ukraine, remain at their borders, or return to their permanent deployment locations. However, Ukrainian command is monitoring the situation. According to Tsaplienko, Ukrainian military is aware of the threat and are fully prepared for any possible development. As for the upcoming Russian military exercises in Belarus, these exercises will be held near the Ukrainian border, and they are offensive in nature, as an offensive group of forces has been formed in Belarus. Moreover, no matter what politicians say, there is a real and current threat of invasion by the Russian army.
Russia has increased its military forces in the Crimea, which potentially poses a threat to the whole of Europe. This was reported by the press …
As relations worsen, US must realize Russia will not soon, if ever, become a liberal democracy.
Sergei Lavrov puts U.S. embassy on notice ahead of Russian regional voting.
A NATO-led joint military exercise has drawn to a close in Georgia. The war games involved 2,800 service personnel mainly from Georgian and American troops b…
Putin’s cold-hearted ban on U.S. adoptions has left thousands of Russian orphans without the hope of having parents.
In the minds of Russians, Ukraine, Belarus are also Russia, so the war in Ukraine is a problem of these Russian ideas. This opinion was expressed by the well-known Belarusian writer and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alekseyevich, they write “Ukrainian News” . “This is a Russian problem, first of all, if it already happened that the” Russian world “does not understand its boundaries, it does not feel its borders, it does not know where they are located. And so in the minds of Russians, Ukraine, Belarus is also Russia, and that is why the war in Ukraine is a problem of these Russian ideas, hence this infinite expansion, which is two thousand years old, “she said. At the same time, the writer stressed that “Ukraine is a different world, and Belarus is a different world, these are other countries.” “Ukraine wants to go to Europe,” Alexeyevich said.
By A. Grace Buchholz August 07, 2017 Watch Kaliningrad. This oft-forgotten Russian exclave, squeezed between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, may be the focal point for a dangerous economic and military conflict between Russia and NATO. In April 2017 a battalion of NATO troops marched up to Poland’s Kaliningrad border, to demonstrate to Russia…
Paul Goble Staunton, August 12 — 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 95th 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.
- Putin Now a Sex Symbol Only for Pensioners, Commentator Says. Igor Eidman says that Vladimir Putin may show his chest as often as he likes but with age, he is becoming a sex symbol only for Russian pensioners, his political base (acebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1572611422801831&id=100001589654713). Meanwhile, Russian bloggers and participants on social networks are laughing at the Kremlin leader’s latest expedition, this time to catch a fish (newsland.com/community/129/content/pasporta-u-shchuki-net-dvukhchasovuiu-pogoniu-a-podvergli-rybatskoi-kritike/5943105), and some are now asking a question that would have been unthinkable in the past: do you really care about Putin’s personal life? (newsland.com/community/7268/content/naskolko-vam-interesna-informatsiia-o-lichnoi-zhizni-vladimira-a/5945221). One group that has to continue to care are Russian politicians and officials: Duma members have been given a book on Putin’s life, one that eerily recalls Brezhnev’s Little Motherland of 40 years ago (politsovet.ru/56197-deputatam-gosdumy-razdadut-knigu-pro-a.html). Some suggest that this is all about creating “Putinism with a human face” in advance of the elections (ej.ru/?a=note&id=31414). But the deification of Putin has a downside for him. As one Buryat communist put it, if Putin is responsible for everything, then he is guilty of everything that has gone wrong (newsbabr.com/?IDE=163518). Other members of Russian elites are becoming increasingly critical of the Kremlin leader, with businesses blaming him for the new sanctions and the Party of Growth suggesting he shouldn’t run for another term (gordonua.com/news/worldnews/biznesmen-freydzon-zapad-budet-dozhimat-sankciyami-novye-patrioty-obvinyat-putina-vo-vseh-grehah-otnimut-dengi-i-povesyat-za-nogi-201420.html and znak.com/2017-08-10/v_partii_rosta_biznes_ombudsmena_borisa_titova_predlozhili_u_uyti_s_posta_prezidenta). But others are more sanguine about what Putin is capable of. Some are saying openly that he would be quite prepared to launch another Great Terror if he feels threatened (ixtc.org/2017/08/igor-yakovenko-godovschina-bolshogo-terrora-mozhem-povtorit/#more-15622).
- Putin Urged to Thank Trump for Sanctions. Donald Trump’s expression of gratitude for expelling US diplomats and thus saving Washington money provides a model for Vladimir Putin: he should thank the Americans for sanctions because they have allowed the Kremlin leader to cut so many things in the Russian budget (republic.ru/posts/85766). But this week, Russians focused on two things about Trmp, other than the North Korean crisis of course. They were delighted that Trump will now be using airplanes that originally had been intended for sale to Russia (newsland.com/community/4109/content/tramp-budet-letat-na-samoletakh-postroennykh-dlia-rossii/5945104), nervous that 90 percent of Americans, but not the US president, say Russia is a threat to the West (ru.krymr.com/a/news/28670048.html), and amused that Congresswoman Maxine Walters called for the impeachment of Putin, confusing him with US vice president Mike Pence (regnum.ru/news/polit/2307463.html).
- Navalny Estimates His Chances at Being Assassinated at 50-50. Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny says that he estimates his chances of being assassinated sometime in the coming months as about 50-50, a frightening indication of just how widespread political murders in Russia have become under Putin (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2017/08/07/1636582.html).
- Putin Running Out of Money to Keep Oligarchs Happy. Vladimir Putin’s system is build on corruption but there is less and less money to spread about; and some commentators are suggesting that even if he appears strong, he is losing control over key sectors where he can no longer buy people’s support (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/08/10/finansovoekonomicheskij_blok_absolyutno_nepodkontrolen_prezidentu/, magazines.russ.ru/ural/2017/7/o-korrupcii-vertikali-vlasti-i-budushem-strany.html, republic.ru/posts/85621 and newsland.com/community/4765/content/kazus-siemens-rossiia-teriaet-svoi-suverenitet/5945559). One indication of this is that various parts of what had been the loyal nomenklatura are not only fighting among themselves but increasingly critical of the Kremlin’s personnel decisions (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598429E71D945, svpressa.ru/society/article/178315/ and rferl.org/a/russia-crimea-peskov-teenage-daughter-shipyard-advice-nepotism/28657302.html).
- Nearly a Third of Russians Say There’s No Need for a Duma. A measure of the de-institutionalization of Russian political life under Putin is that 30 percent of Russians now say that there is no reason to have a Duma (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598489BAA7816).
- Two-Thirds of Russians think Crisis Will Be Worse Next Year – and the Numbers Support Them. Despite Kremlin hype about a small, debt-fueled uptick in economic activity in the last quarter, two out of every three Russians think the crisis is not only continuing but will get worse next year (ura.news/news/1052299721). Among the developments that justify such conclusions: Moody’s says that capital flight will continue accelerate (rbc.ru/omics/07/08/2017/5988487c9a794789b4061f16?from=main), there is no market for housing even after significant price cuts by sellers (ura.news/articles/1036271726), more than half of Russia’s pensioners don’t have enough money to eat or purchase clothing (newsland.com/community/8171/content/pensionery-otkazyvaiutsia-ot-podsobnogo-khoziaistva/5945571), corruption continues at enormously high levels and has cost Russia more than two billion US dollars over the last two years (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598B493E246BA corruption cost Russia 130 billion rubles (2 billion usd) over the last two years http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598B31189518A), Russians now say that their country is a paradise only for millionaires but a horror for everyone else (newsland.com/community/politic/content/rossiia-prevratilas-v-nalogovyi-rai-dlia-milliarderov-i-ad-dlia-ostalnykh-mikhail-deliagin/5944415), every fourth Russian is working or trying to find a second job to make ends meet (ng.ru/omics/2017-08-10/4_7048_dohod.html and newizv.ru/news/society/05-08-2017/kazhdyy-chetvertyy-rossiyanin-podrabatyvaet-17ec0b56-fb23-4df7-b81c-1a4b6cdc1d73), and even the richest Russian companies are bleeding resources at unprecedented rates (newsland.com/community/5862/content/rosneft-szhigaet-rezervy-so-skorostiu-2-milliarda-rublei-v-den/5943836).
- Russians have Few Good Vacation Options This Year. This is vacation season, but Russians have fewer vacation options than ever before. Many can’t go at all or are forced to take work with them (.idelreal.org/a/28660365.html), others are finding it cheaper to go to Turkey than to Crimea but are getting sick in the former (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/07/73363-vse-vklyucheno-krome-kryma), and many are facing ecological disasters in the Caucasus if they choose to go there as many are now compelled to do (https://republic.ru/posts/85644 and znak.com/2017-08-05/v_sochi_na_plyazhe_zabil_geyzer_iz_kanalizacii). But wherever they go, they are cutting back on souvenirs and other purchases (lenta.ru/news/2017/08/10/summer_tourism/). Some of the other social problems getting attention this week: Russia’s educational system is collapsing with the country seen becoming “a nation of poorly educated fools” (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/03/73327-prishlo-ochen-mnogo-silnyh-detey-s-horoshimi-ballami, svpressa.ru/economy/article/178392/ newsland.com/community/8171/content/rossiiskoi-ekonomike-znaniia-ne-nuzhny/5945580), the quality and selection of foods in Russian markets are declining (svpressa.ru/economy/article/178370/), city life is becoming so unpleasant that some Russians are now contemplating fleeing to the countryside (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/07/73357-buduschee-za-glubinkoy), and officials, faced with roads that don’t meet standards are now promising only to fix a small percentage of them because of budget shortages (regnum.ru/news/economy/2307429.html).
- 50 Percent of Russian Couples Now Say They Want No Children or Only One. Russia is now being affected by the same demographic trend that is hitting other modern societies. Ever fewer couples want children or more than one, guaranteeing that Russia’s population will continue to decline for as long into the future as one can see (capost.media/news/society/molodye-rossiyskie-semi-khotyat-vospityvat-lish-odnogo-rebyenka/ and /iz.ru/629605/nataliia-berishvili/pochti-50-molodykh-par-khotiat-vsego-odnogo-rebenka). Pro-natalist policies are doing little to change that, despite much hype from the Kremlin (themoscowtimes.com/news/putin-plans-rapid-healthcare-reform-in-time-for-presidential-election-58594), and experts argue that the only thing that could change this trend is to address underlying poverty in a serious way, something the regime lacks the money and stomach to do (polit.ru/article/2017/08/05/demography/). Meanwhile, many Russians are suffering from Putin’s health optimization program: HIV victims in the Urals can’t get the medicines they need to survive (ura.news/news/1052299780), and the medical system in rural areas continues on the road ot complete collapse, meaning that death rates there will only increase (newsland.com/community/4765/content/kak-umiraet-selskaia-meditsina/5944089).
- Udmurt Head Says Officials Must Know … English. In the wake of Putin’s push for Russian and against non-Russian language instruction, regional leaders are staking out a variety of positions. The head of the Udmurt republic says that officials there need to learn English (udmurt.media/news/obshchestvo/22539/), the head of Bashkortostan says Bashkir should become an elective rather than a required subject (nazaccent.ru/content/24955-glava-bashkirii-zayavil-o-vozmozhnoj-otmene.html), and Tatarstan has announced that even students in Russian language schools will be tested for their knowledge of Tatar (nazaccent.ru/content/25003-russkoyazychnye-shkolniki-tatarstana-projdut-test-na.html). Other news from the nationalities front: Some activists are argument that indigenous peoples must be paid rent by the state for natural resources taken from their lands (nazaccent.ru/content/25004-vlasti-korennye-narody-dolzhny-poluchat-dohod.html), the Altay peoples are protesting against the development of gold mining in their republic (nazaccent.ru/content/24988-zolotoe-ozero.html), Moscow city officials are refusing to allow children of some immigrants to attend school (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598C398C48765), the Selkup nation is now down to six real speakers (takiedela.ru/2017/08/kazhdoe-derevo-v-lesu-poymet-tebya/), Moscow has cut financing for Daghestani auls and for Russia’s Father Frost celebrations (nak.com/2017-08-11/pravitelstvo_rf_na_46_mlrd_rubley_sokratilo_programmu_kultura_rossii and nazaccent.ru/content/25008-u-pravitelstva-ne-hvatilo-deneg-na.html), and street crime is now reportedly lower in the North Caucasus than in any other part of Russia (rbc.ru/society/06/08/2017/5986df229a7947f139f15908?from=main).
- Moscow Now Trying to Have Bible Declared Extremist. Even though Russian law says that the holy books of Russia’s traditional religions can’t be found extremist, Russian prosecutors are seeking to have a Bible translation prepared by the Jehovah’s Witnesses banned on that basis. Their reasoning? The Jehovah’s Witness Bible doesn’t call itself the Bible on the cover and therefore isn’t protected by Russian law (openrussia.org/notes/712533/). More news from the religious sector this week included the arrest of an Orthodox priest for involvement with prostitution (themoscowtimes.com/news/orthodox-priest-caught-transporting-prostitutes-58597 and capost.media/news/mainhotnews/belorusskie-vlasti-zaderzhali-svyashchennika-rpts/), a proposal by the Moscow Patriarchate to canonize Anatoly Sobchak even though his former deputy, Vladimir Putin, didn’t come to the erection of his memorial (newsland.com/community/5652/content/pravoslavnye-aktivisty-predlozhili-kanonizirovat-sobchaka/5949420 and newsland.com/community/129/content/putin-ne-priekhal-pochtit-pamiat-svoego-byvshego-shefa-sobchaka-ogranichivshis-buketom/5949793), a report by Yandex that the most common search among Russians on subways in the mornings is for prayers (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78708), and the completion of an Armenian church in Vladimir that had been under construction for a decade (nazaccent.ru/content/24997-vo-vladimire-spustya-10-let-stroitelstva.html).
- Mathilda Sparks ‘Soft Parade of Sovereignties’ in Russia. Conflict over the soon to be released film on the last tsar has sparked what one commentator calls “a soft parade of sovereignties” with various regional and republic leaders staking out positions often at odds with Moscow’s official approval (znak.com/2017-08-09/matilda_stanovitsya_povodom_dlya_myagkogo_parada_suverenitetov, interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=67896, graniru.org/Culture/Cinema/m.263239.html, kavkazr.com/a/v-kakih-respublikah-otkazhutsya-ot-filma-matilda/28671521.html, rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78711 and ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/08/10/russkie_gubernatory_ravnyajtes_na_ramzana_kadyrova/). Opponents of the film are even suggesting that the film will undermine Kremlin power in the North Caucasus (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78716).
- Will Burger King Get Bridge Naming Rights in Tyumen? Because there is a Burger King restaurant at each end of a bridge in Tyumen, the corporation is seeking to have the bridge renamed after itself (regnum.ru/news/society/2307706.html). Other clashes in the monuments wars were less amusing: In Novosibirsk, Stalinists have gone to court to try to have the statue of Nicholas II there torn down (graniru.org/Politics/Russia/Regions/m.263258.html). In another city, someone chopped off the head of a Lenin statue (newizv.ru/news/incident/11-08-2017/leninu-gimnazistu-otorvali-golovu), and in the Urals, activists are pressing ahead with plans to create a memorial to the Russian Imperial Army (politsovet.ru/56153-na-urale-hotyat-uvekovechit-imperatorskuyu-armiyu.html). Meanwhile, in Moscow, construction is beginning on a wall in memory of the victims of Stalin’s GULAG (forum-msk.org/material/news/13543830.html).
- Confessions Get Convictions, But Some Beginning to Talk about Being Beaten to Give Them. As in Stalin’s times, confessions or denunciations are now considered the gold standard in getting convictions, something Russian courts now manage in 99.64 percent of all cases (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/11/73453-pered-kem-vy-opravdyvaetes and novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/05/73347-politseyskiy-donos-dlya-rossiyskogo-pravosudiya-novaya-tsaritsa-dokazatelstv ). But some who have been tortured to provide confessions are now talking about that in court (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/07/73354-bunt). Most convicts, however, have few good choices if they are beaten. In a Bryansk prison, inmates say they can either go on hunger strike or commit suicide in response (sobkorr.ru/news/598D6C90C0339.html). The Russian government is becoming more repressive albeit sometimes in absurd ways: Pioneers meeting in Chuvashia were detained for supposedly taking part in unsanctioned meetings (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5985DCC02E192), Moscow wants to fine people who distribute foreign newspapers and magazines (echo.msk.ru/news/2031260-echo.html and mk.ru/politics/2017/08/04/minkomsvyazi-reshilo-zapretit-v-rossii-zarubezhnye-gazety.html), those who call for referenda, a constitutional right, are being convicted and sent to the camps (ixtc.org/2017/08/srochno-initsiatorov-referenduma-priznali-ekstremistami-i-prigovorili-k-kolonii/), in the name of protecting public morality, a school director has banned trousers for female students (siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/male-school-director-bans-trousers-for-girls-because-they-squeeze-sexual-organs/), and a court has ordered the editing of Navalny’s anti-corruption film (sobkorr.ru/news/598D96A5CC2FF.html). But there were at least two positive developments in this area: a Krasnodar court punished police for failing to defend a Navalny office from attack by Putin loyalists (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/08/10/134310-v-krasnodare-politseyskih-nakazali-za-bezdeystvie-pri-napadenii-otryadov-putina-na-shtab-navalnogo), and a Russian court for the first time began a case against a holocaust denier (newsland.com/community/5206/content/v-rossii-vpervye-zavedeno-ugolovnoe-delo-za-otritsanie-kholokosta/5949029).
- Push for Right to Bear Arms Running into Resistance. One measure of the strength of efforts to allow Russians to carry firearms, including pistols, is that the Russian Orthodox Church has now weighed in against the idea (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/08/11/chelovek_po_suti_poluchit_razreshenie_ubivat/). It says that such a law would virtually give Russians the right to murder one another. Other measures in this area of domestic security this week included: an increase in complaints that Moscow is wasting money abroad, including on the Crimean bridge, rather than helping Russians at home (newsland.com/community/7994/content/krymskii-most-gigantskaia-bessmyslennaia-stroika/5944161, newsland.com/community/4765/content/kommentarii-kerchenskii-most-iarkii-primer-gigantomanii-kremlia/5943887 and versia.ru/ssha-kinut-rossiyu-na-109-milliardov-dollarov), an argument that Russian fighters in the Donbass are now better than ISIS radicals (7×7-journal.ru/post/97423), and the spread of militarized youth groups like the Youth Army (thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2017/08/youth-army-takes-russia-storm and capost.media/news/obrazovanie/v-shkolakh-karachaevo-cherkesii-snova-budut-prepodavat-nachalnuyu-voennuyu-podgotovku-/). Russian officials have also moved to take cell phones away from draftees so that they can’t report on abuse against them (ura.news/news/1052299782).
- Russia Takes More than Twice as Long to Build a Warship as US Does. Vladimir Putin’s much-ballyhooed naval build up won’t happen as fast as he and others suggest, according to Moscow experts who point out that Russian shipyards take on average more than twice as many years – over six – than do American yards to build a ship (ng.ru/blogs/patriotizm/na-proshloy-nedele-11.php). A major reason is massive corruption (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59882707941A3). Three other foreign security developments this week worthy of note: Moscow blocked and then unblocked the Kerch strait demonstrating that it can do that at will (qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/rossiya-razblokirovala-kerchenskii-proliv/177064/ and apostrophe.ua/article/business/transport/2017-08-07/kak-rossiya-otjimaet-u-ukrainyi-azovskoe-more/13733), pro-Moscow forces in the Donbass see the return of refugees as a source of new fighters for them (gordonua.com/news/war/boeviki-rassmatrivayut-programmu-repatriaciya-bezhencev-na-donbass-kak-dopolnitelnyy-istochnik-chelovecheskogo-resursa-razvedka-201209.html), and Moscow has ramped up meetings of union state institutions with Belarus (stoletie.ru/slavyanskoe_pole/sjezd_v_minske_845.htm).
- Russian Team isn’t Ready for World Cup but Aeroflot Very Much Is. FIFA released its latest rankings of soccer teams. Russia’s remains mired way down the list at 62, sparking discussion that it won’t be ready for next year’s World Cup (newsland.com/community/8181/content/sbornaia-rossii-ostalas-na-62-m-meste-v-reitinge-fifa/5949384), but Russia’s national airline Aeroflot is: it has already boosted fares to World Cup cities (themoscowtimes.com/news/aeroflot-hikes-fares-Russia-world-cup-host-cities-58638). However, problems remain at many Russian venues including a major fire at one in Taganrog (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/307275/). Other sports news affecting the Russian hosting of the competition: Moscow expands the list of banned drugs to try to get on FIFA’s good side (rbc.ru/society/05/08/2017/598551d69a7947932501bc3b?from=main), a new film in the West highlights how Putin’s people stole the Sochi Games (thedailybeast.com/how-putins-russian-agents-stole-the-2014-winter-olympics), a Russian Olympic medalist becomes an American citizen (rbc.ru/news/598821949a79474f65b25683), and Moscow propagandists say that American athletes are the worst drug abusers of all (svpressa.ru//article/178852/).
- Putin has Done Nothing for Siberia, People there Say. Siberians say that Vladimir Putin despite all his talk has done nothing for them (theins.ru/confession/67079?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com). Instead, he has made promises of making Vladivostok an open port but hasn’t done it (afterempire.info/2017/08/06/vladik-2/) and has sold off their patrimony to China (kp.ru/daily/26713/3739779/ and newsland.com/community/4765/content/a-dolzhna-li-rossiia-darit-baikal-kitaiu/5944155).
- Stalin More Popular than Lenin Because He Replaced Communism with Imperialism. One analyst suggests that the key to Stalin’s resurgent popularity in Russia is that the Soviet dictator replaced Lenin’s communist ideology with naked imperialistic ideas (newizv.ru/news/politics/06-08-2017/engelina-tareeva-chvsn-stalin-podmenil-kommunisticheskiy-proekt-imperskim).
- Russians Said Even More Easy to Deceive than Americans Are. A commentator has suggested that Russians are far more easy to deceive than even Americans are, one of the reasons that they are often led in the wrong direction by their leaders (newsland.com/community/3550/content/russkikh-ochen-legko-obmanut/5944636).
- Chinese Near Russian Border Now Singing Russian Songs in Chinese. There are few things that frighten Russians more than the possibility of Chinese moves into Siberia and the Russian Far East. This week a report appeared certain to scare even more of them: Chinese living near the Russian border are now singing Russian songs but only after changing the lyrics into Chinese (snob.ru/selected/entry/127775).
- Yekaterinburg Fears It May Lose US Consulate General. Many people in Yekaterinburg and the Urals region fear that they will lose the US consulate general there. Not only will that make it more difficult and costly to get a US visa, but this diplomatic spat will deprive them of an important symbol of their importance relative to Moscow (politsovet.ru/56202-ekaterinburg-mozhet-stat-zhertvoy-diplomaticheskoy-voyny-s-ssha.html).
- Lavrov Invokes Protection of Russian ‘Genetic Code’ as Reason for Moscow’s Intervention in Ukraine. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says that Moscow had no choice but to come to the aid of ethnic Russians in Ukraine because it had to defend “the genetic code” of the Russian nation, language long connected with the furthest of the far right among Russian nationalists (nazaccent.ru/content/25009-lavrov-na-territorii-smyslov-rasskazal-o.html).
- ‘Russia Too Backward to Be of Interest to China.’ Some in the Russian Far East are now saying that their country is “too backward” to be of much interest to China except as a supplier of raw materials (tayga.info/135770).
- New Musical Comedy Film on ‘The Death of Stalin’ Released in Britain. In what must be the most outrageous political film since The Producers included a play entitled “Springtime for Hitler,” a British director has produced a musical comedy called The Death of Stalin (echo.msk.ru/blog/day_video/2035338-echo/).
- US Said to Regret Not Having Divided Up Russia While Yeltsin Was President. Russian commentators have reacted to the release of new US government documents about American policy toward the Russian Federation argue that they show that the US today regrets that it didn’t divide up the Russian Federation when Boris Yeltsin was president and the country was much weaker than today (newsland.com/community/4489/content/tsru-ssha-zhal-chto-ne-raskatali-rossiiu-pri-eltsine/5949513).
- Cossacks Want to Reclaim Darth Vader as One of Their Own. In the latest example of they know not what they are doing, a group of Cossacks in Russia wants the Darth Vader figure to be declared a Cossack. In fact, that character has Cossack roots: the US costume designers, the Mollos, who came up with his outfit were children of a Russian émigré who collected nineteenth century military uniforms and drew heavily on that background in designing the Darth Vader figure (ng.ru/titus/2017-08-11/1_7049_filantropia.html and nazaccent.ru/content/24996-sverdlovskie-kazaki-poprosili-deneg-na-prevrashenie.html).
And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:
- Some Ukrainians Want to Declare Stalin a National Hero. Because Stalin added so much territory to their country, some Ukrainians want to declare him a national hero (newsland.com/community/politic/content/v-kieve-stalina-obiavili-sobiratelem-zemel-ukrainskikh-i-vydvinuli-na-zvanie-geroi-ukrainy/5949641), but most see him as the murderer of their nation, as documented in 110 books that simply list all the names of Ukrainians whom Stalin killed (ru.krymr.com/a/28671466.html).
- Moscow Commentator Urges Russia to Recognize Donbass if US Provides Weapons to Ukraine. A Russian writer has suggested that any US move to provide Kyiv with offensive weapons should be met by Moscow’s recognition of the independence of the Donbass (versia.r)u/povodom-dlya-priznaniya-stanut-postavki-na-ukrainu-amerikanskogo-oruzhiya).
- Russian Orthodox Priest Wants Nudist Beach Established in Occupied Crimea. In another and somewhat usual Russian use of occupied Crimea, a Russian Orthodox priest there has called for establishing a nudist beach on the Ukrainian peninsula (themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-orthodox-priest-in-crimea-asks-for-nudist-beach-58627). In Russia itself, nudists have had a much harder time of it, organizing autonomously but failing to gain official recognition or support (snob.ru/selected/entry/127805, crimea.kp.ru/daily/26712/3741408/ and tsargrad.tv/news/jelina-zhgutova-popytka-zagnat-porok-v-ugol-sozdat-nudistam-osobye-pljazhi-utopichna_79479).
- Has Lukashenka Run Out of Money to Pay the KGB? Minsk is cutting the budget of the country’s security police, who are still known as the KGB, and closing its offices in many regions. On the one hand, this may simply reflect budgetary stringencies; but on the other, it will make it more difficult for Alyaksandr Lukashenka to control the country or oppose Russian moves against it (belaruspartisan.org/politic/390166/).
- Eight to Ten Percent of Belarusians Now Seeking Work Abroad. As many as one in ten Belarusians either is working abroad or wants to do so, according to a new survey by the Minsk Institute of Sociology (belsat.eu/ru/news/institut-sotsiologii-nan-8-10-belorusov-ishhut-rabotu-za-granitsej/).
- Journalist Can’t Find Any Belarusian Who Favors Restoration of USSR. A Belarusian journalist has looked but failed to find anyone in his country who wants to see the Soviet Union return (bydc.info/news/676-moskau-moskau-zakidaem-bombami). Marks the 500th anniversary of the publication of the first book in Belarusian, yet another indication that the Belarusian language is far older than Moscow is willing to admit (belsat.eu/ru/news/500-let-nazad-poyavilas-pervaya-pechatnaya-belorusskaya-kniga/).
- Armenians Press to Change Soviet-Era Names of Streets and Schools. An increasing number of Armenians, angry at Russia for what they say its heavy-handed approach to Yerevan, want to drop Soviet names for streets and schools there and replace them with national Armenian ones (rusarminfo.ru/2017/08/11/v-armenii-xotyat-pomenyat-sovetskie-nazvaniya-ulic-i-shkol/).
- Armenian Lobby Still More Powerful than Azerbaijani One. The Armenian lobby in Western countries is still vastly more powerful than the Azerbaijani one despite having less money to spend. According to some observers, its power is exceeded only by the Jewish lobby (onkavkaz.com/news/1820-armjanskoe-lobbi-vtoroe-po-moschi-posle-evreiskogo-v-razy-silnee-azerbaidzhanskogo-i-kavkazskog.html).
- Busts of Stalin Appear in Abkhazia and a Putin Park May Soon Follow. Small busts of Stalin are now for sale in Abkhaz stores (ekhokavkaza.com/a/28670113.html), and there is talk that the local Lenin Park will be renamed for Vladimir Putin (ekhokavkaza.com/a/28668072.html).
- Chinese Navy Makes First Fleet Visit to Latvia. In a move highlighting its new global reach and one sure to unsettle many in Moscow, the Chinese navy has made its first ever fleet visit to the Latvian capital of Riga (ru.sputniknewslv.com/Latvia/20170805/5507743/korabli-vmf-kitaj-pribyli-rizhskij-port.html).
- Average Age in Uzbekistan Now 28, Up from 23 in 1991. Slowing population growth in Central Asia’s most populous country has boosted the average age there from 23 in 1991 to 28 now, an increase that reduces population pressures on the government and society and makes stability more likely (fergananews.com/news/26716 and stat.uz/ru/press-sluzhba/novosti-gks/1725-demograficheskaya-situatsiya-v-respublike-uzbekistan-3).
- Explosive Growth in Islam, Radicalism in Kyrgyzstan. There has been a veritable explosion in the number of mosques in Kyrgyzstan, especially in the southern portions of the country (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1501915980), and observers suggest that Bishkek is now powerless to stop the expansion of radical Islamist groups like the Wahhabis (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1501870800).
- Kazakhstan Attracts Attention for Taking Down Airline Ad Featuring Nude Stewardesses. One of the problems many of the countries in Eurasia face is that they attract far more attention for stories with a visual feature than for more substantive moves. Last week, Kazakhstan was one of them: it attracted international attention for suppressing an advertisement for its national airline showing obviously nude stewardesses (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1501860780), but it received little notice for a far more important move: it adopted one of the toughest anti-doping standards in the post-Soviet space (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1501855680).
Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Despite the Putin regime’s massive police presence – Russia now has more police per capita than any other country in the world – youth gangs are killing, raping and attacking representatives of the authorities across the country, unfazed by any threat of arrest or imprisonment. Many of those involved identify themselves or are identified in the media as “AUE,” an abbreviation for the Russian expression, “the arrested way of life is united” or simply “jailbirds.” They appeared first in orphanages and then in children’s prisons but are spreading to the streets (bazaistoria.ru/blog/43537081720/Bandyi-maloletnih-prestupnikov-terroriziruyut-regionyi-Rossii). These groups, observers say, are formed by young criminals who are attracted by their romantic view of crime and who see themselves as musketeers or Robin Hoods who are standing up to the authorities in the name of group solidarity. In the past, Russian young people were interested in goths and emos; now, one commentator says, “their idols have become prison personalities.” The term AUE arose seven years ago and has found in at least 18 regions of the Russian Federation, most far from Moscow, according to an investigation conducted by Novaya gazeta (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/06/16/72816-strana-iz-treh-bukv). In many cases, the authorities seem powerless against groups totally unafraid of arrest or fighting with the police. Both ordinary Russians in these regions and some human rights activists and politicians are horrified by the failure of the authorities to take action. They are calling for the suppression of Internet videos that the groups use to promote themselves and recruit new members and also for tough actions against these gangs. In June, a Duma committee held a hearing about AUE. Interior ministry officials sought to minimize the problem, but representatives of the magistracy argued that the MVD doesn’t appear to understand what is going on. Igor Kommissarov, the vice president of the Russian magistracy, suggested that the interior ministry people were living in “a parallel world,” one that doesn’t reflect realities on the ground. “I don’t know where you work, but you absolutely can’t imagine the situation which is developing” in this regard. Russian criminologists are divided as to why the AUE groups have emerged. Some see them as a continuation of the criminal subculture of the 1950s and 1960s, while others suggest there is “a 20-year cycle” of criminal activity, and Russia is simply living through a high point of that curve just now. But increasingly, Russian officials are falling back on their usual argument to explain negative developments in their country. They point out that “youth crime is widespread in many countries” and that “analogues to AUE now exist in Latin America and the US,” as well as in EU member states.
Roskomnadzor (Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) added Snapchat to the register …
Residents of St. Petersburg have paid homage to sailors from the Kursk nuclear submarine, which sank in the Barents Sea exactly 17 years earlier. Relatives and friends of crew members gathered fo…
Yes, there was repression behind the Iron Curtain. But it wasn’t sexual.
Belarus is a key country for the Kremlin’s military plans. Former Polish defense minister Romuald Sheremetiev said in an interview to Charter97.org that the Russian-Belarusian military exercises West-2017 might become a stage of the occupation of Belarus for further actions in the west direction. – The Russian-Belarussian exercises West-2017 are at hand. Ukraine and the Baltic countries are concerned about the Russian military maneuvers near their borders. The NATO Secretary General also said that the Alliance intends to keep a close eye on the maneuvers. What kind of danger, in your opinion, do the West-2017 exercises carry for the region? – What worries me the most is that, if we talk about the intensity of these exercises, they have been going on for a long time. Russians bring a huge number of soldiers and military equipment. And every time the army performs military exercises, the question arises: why is this done? After all, such exercises require large expenditures, and the leaders of states always have their own reasons to take such a decision. The situation is as follows: firstly, we have long noticed that the Russian side has taken for the practice not to inform the opposite side, especially the NATO countries, of holding such exercises. Secondly, when the exercises begin, it comes to the point that military observers from other countries cannot participate in them. Thirdly, we do not have access to the exercise scenario. Therefore, it is not known what the Russian troops are exactly doing. I have a feeling that Russia is forcing us (the NATO member states, – Edit.) to get used to this fact. Saying that they are just conducting exercises, nothing else, this is the norm and it will always be like that. And what will happen if Russia comes up with a military operation with soldiers participating in the exercises? For example, in the Baltic States? This will be a complete surprise for us. I think this is the goal pursued by the exercises conducted by Russia. – There is an opinion that after the exercises, Russia might leave part of the soldiers and military equipment on the territory of Belarus. Some experts suggest that Belarus may be occupied under the guise of the exercises. – Considering that Russia plans to practice offensive operations at the borders of Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Poland, Belarus, as a place where military operations might begin, is a key and very important territory. After all, anyone who intends to conduct a military operation must guarantee full control over the territory where forces and equipment are deployed. Otherwise, there might be surprises. Therefore, taking Belarus under full control is obvious. This will become a signal after the West-2017 exercises are over: whether the Russians have stayed “accidentally” in Belarus and whether the country is under Russia’s full control. – What should the West and NATO do in such a situation? – The problem is that it is not known how far the Russians might go. Therefore, the land forces of the USA and other countries were deployed in Poland and the Baltic States. In addition, NATO is keeping a close eye on what is going on and will react if, God forbid, something happens.
The Belarusian special service is experiencing global perturbations. The State Security Committee (KGB) is experiencing global structural perturbations and a redundancy. The central apparatus of the special service has head offices reorganized, and it is planned to ditch territorial divisions at a lower level, popular Belarusian blogger d-zholik writes. In addition to the existing in the central apparatus of the KGB, a new main department for special events and research has been created. The Main Directorate of Economic Security of the KGB is reorganized into the Main Directorate for Counterintelligence Support of Economic Objects. The Main Directorate for Counterintelligence Support of Law Enforcement and Supervisory Bodies, against Corruption and Organized Crime of the KGB, which was run by Ihar Shunevich from July 2009 to January 2012, was reorganized into the Main Directorate for Counterintelligence Support of Law Enforcement and Supervisory Bodies. In recent years the KGB has recorded an acute shortage of personnel and a multiple decrease in the number of graduates of the departmental Institute of National Security who have been assigned to operational work in units. Five years ago the organization was even forced to declare an open recruitment for service under a contract. And in 2013 during the first wave of optimization of the state apparatus, Lukashenka was zealously defended the department: “The KGB has no one to dismiss. I don’t wantto talk about figures, but even a cleaner can’t be fired.” Not much time has passed, and at the leadership level plans have already been approved for reduction (liquidation) of inter-district KGB offices that existed in the regions since the times of the USSR. Their responsibilities are supposed to be transferred to territorial units of the KGB in cities of regional subordination and major administrative centers. It will be recalled that earlier the blogger informed about serious personnel problems in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus.
The 25-year-old Heavenly Hundred hero died from a wound in the heart during the Revolution of Dignity. Censor.net.ua reports with reference to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine that with the adoption of changes to paragraph 4 of the Order of payment of a lifetime scholarship in commemoration of Mikhail Zhyzneuski, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers by Resolution No. 139 of February 24, 2016, the parents of the Heavenly Hundred hero, a citizen of Belarus, will received a lifelong scholarship via a bank account opened in an authorized bank on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, the Social Protection Department of the Chernihiv District State Administration determined the terms of transferring the lifelong scholarship to the bank account. We remind that on January 22, 2014, 25-year-old Zhyzneuski was lethally wounded in the heart during the Revolution of Dignity. Siarghei Harbatsiuk, the head of the Special Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, stated that in January 2014, EuroMaidan activists Roman Senik and Mikhail Zhyzneuski were killed by bullets used to stop vehicles by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko awarded posthumously the title of Hero of Ukraine to Mikhail Zhyzneuski and presented the Star of Hero of Ukraine to his parents – Mikhail and Nina Zhyzneuski.
The Rosselkhoznadzor head commented on the new bans on Belarusian products. Sergei Dankvert, the head of the supervisory agency, reported on Wednesday that Rosselkhoznadzor had banned deliveries from another dairy plant, the BDG informs. According to him, on August 4, remains of lincomycin were found in the curd of the OJSC Maladzechna Dairy Plant again, and Rosselkhoznadzor was forced to impose restrictions from August 10. In addition to this ban, the department introduced the regime of enhanced laboratory control over Hrodna meat-packing plant products, as ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin were found in its pork. According to Dankvert, Belarusian colleagues still have a lot to do in order to bring the livestock production to a proper level. He notes that hundreds of millions of rubles are needed to acquire laboratory equipment to come up with the Russian level of expertise. “We tried to develop our laboratory base. And they developed production. And, having developed the production, they face the fact that it is impossible to provide it with the laboratory control,” – Dankvert says. We remind that the bans on deliveries from Belarus enterprises are constantly observed. So, since July 25, the import of products from two Belarusian enterprises has been prohibited on the territory of Russia, the products of another six have been taken under special, strengthened control.
Transnistria / Moldova Reports
Former Romanian President Traian Basescu considers running in the parliamentary elections in Moldova is he gets his Moldovan citizenship back.
The United States has temporarily suspended the provision of military technology and equipment to Moldova due to the lack of participation by …
Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) Petro Tsyhykal says that the SBGSU intends to increase the number of border posts, bringing the distance between them in line with the European standards, while focusing on the borders with Russia, Belarus and Transnistria, according to the online newspaper ZN.UA News 12 August from UNIAN.
The general situation in the zone of the Anti-Terrorist Operation remained stable on Saturday, August 12, with no trends toward escalation, with Russia-backed militants breaching the ceasefire agreement 17 times over the past 24 hours, the ATO Headquarters reported on Facebook. News 13 August from UNIAN.
One Ukrainian serviceman killed, eight injured in east. Seventeen truce breaches by militants were registered. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Illegal armed formations have shelled residential quarters in the village of Novoluhanske, Bakhmut district, Donetsk region, damaged gas pipe, power line pylon and windows of two houses, the Ukrainian side of the Joint Center on Control Coordination (JCCC) of the ceasefire in Donbas reported.
Missing National Guard colonel found dead. His body was recovered and delivered to Severodonetsk. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Donbas militants continue violating the lines of military equipment withdrawal, according to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s report of August 12. News 13 August from UNIAN.
The modern digital VHF radio stations of Turkish company Aselsan will be installed on upgraded tanks T-64 and T-72. Projects for the modernization of heavy armored vehicles are currently being carried out by the Kharkov tank repair plant responsible for upgrading the T-64BM tanks and the Kiev Armored Plant, which developed an upgrade version of T-72 tanks to the T-72 AMT version. Samples of upgraded tanks with new communication, protection and target detection systems will be demonstrated in Kiev during the exhibition of new equipment and weapons on Independence Day of Ukraine on August 24, 2017. Work on the adaptation of technological solutions from the Turkish company Aselsan to the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is carried out with the participation of the Ukrainian company Everest. In this case, the Ukrainian Armed Forces offers an option that allows the tank crew to have a reliable unprotected linkage between the tanks of their subdivision and the command of a higher level. Radio stations provide communication within the 50 km between objects, having the mode of the frequency hopping spread spectrum, which provides work in conditions of powerful radio interference from the enemy, guarantee the reliable encryption of voice and data transmitted. Turkish radio stations, without any refinements, also guarantee the interconnection of tank crews with land departments that use radio equipment from Motorola. Previously, there was no such opportunity for tankers, which greatly complicated coordination on the battlefield. Tankmen and infantrymen simply could not hear each other because their communication facilities worked in different ranges. One more step to improving the interaction is to install a special headset on the tanks, with the help of which the infantry near the tank will be able to have direct voice contact with the crew of the armored car, which is extremely relevant during the conduct of combat operations. Based on the new digital radio stations from Aselsan, which will be installed on the armored vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, it is also possible to create a single information field in which the combat vehicles of the platoon, company or battalion will interact. This is the basis for the automation of the combat operation at the tactical level. The head of Everest Yuriy Chubatyuk noted that the “tank project” will be able to demonstrate how modern solutions improve the manageability and situational awareness of the units on the battlefield, increase their ability to perform combat missions. “Everest, as a system integrator, accompanies the rearmament of the Ukrainian Army to new digital communication systems; Carries out projects for automation of combat management processes. For this, Everest team uses the best world experience and capabilities of its international partners. One such example is our joint work with the Turkish company Aselsan, which demonstrates a marked dynamics of the creation of high-tech military equipment and weapons “, – said Yuriy Chubatyuk.
The US Naval construction battalion has begun building a marine operations control center for the Ukrainian Navy in the city of Ochakiv, located …
Ukraine has a clear policy on Crimea, but not so much when it comes to the reintegration of Donbas. Former Humanitarian Officer Bryan Schaaf talks about the …
Nearly 1.6 million internally displaced people in Donetsk, Luhansk regions struggling to find safety, adequate housing and jobs
Due to the blocking of VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, and other Mail.Ru Group services in Ukraine, the company will lose about 1.5% of its revenues …
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (MFA) has issued a protest against the restriction placed by the Russian Federation on navigation …
The fire has destroyed a significant part of vegetation of the Panticapaeum archaeological complex located on the Mount Mithridat in the center of Kerch town in the east of annexed Crimea.
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) welcomes the reactivation of the Australia – Ukraine Parliamentary Group (AUPG) and looks forward to working with the group and its leaders Chris Crewther MP as Chair and Senator Catryna Bilyk as Deputy Chair. The AFUO has been encouraging Members of the Federal Parliament to formalise the Group in the life of the 45th Parliament. The AFUO considers the AUPG as a major vehicle in promoting a strong and positive working relationship between the Australia and Ukraine. 30 Members of Parliament have joined the group with others indicating they intend to join. Chair Chris Crewther MP and his office have been very active in having the group formed. “This is a great opportunity to strengthen ties between Australia and Ukraine”, Mr Crewther said. “Plans for cooperation and establishing a strategic plan have been discussed in meetings with the Chair and Deputy Chair.” The AFUO is now working with the leadership group and the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to officially launch the current AUPG at Parliament House in the near future. “The Group starts it work at a very opportune time. The news of its formation is certainly a shot in the arm for Australia – Ukraine relations and the strengthening of bilateral relations,” AFUO Chairman Stefan Romaniw OAM said today. “Its formation is seen as another bow to Australia’s support for Ukraine in its reform process and in protecting the integrity of its borders”.
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said Syrian government troops backed by Russian forces have recaptured huge swathes of territory from opposition forces in the previous two months. Shoig…
Tehran’s parliament approves a proposed bill to boost military funding in response to US sanctions.
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
Many in Washington and capitals across the Pacific are wondering whether President Trump’s fusillade of apocalyptic threats was more method or madness.
Very thorough, fairly detailed, and insightful report. Having spent more than one year studying North Korea along the DMZ and on all the corridors leading to Seoul, this report is very good. The few flaws I did find were more cosmetic than game changers. The only possible game changer was deep and buried artillery. …
North Korean military figures are putting the final touches on a plan to fire four missiles into the waters around the US territory of Guam, to be presented to leader Kim Jong Un within days.
North Korea continues to dominate the Trump administration’s energies on foreign policy, and matters do not appear to be improving anytime soon. Recent eve
Pushing the envelope is all part of the play.
The world knows very little about North Korea’s supreme leader.
President Donald Trump is finally having a real impact on the economy, but not in a good way.
Sunday Times cartoon.
Many American leaders have grown cavalier about nuclear war, but there is risk of a devastating conflict with China
BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Even as he seeks Beijing’s help on North Korea, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order asking his trade office to consider investigating China for the alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property, an administration official said Saturday.
The president plans to sign an executive memorandum on Monday, senior administration officials said, in a move that might help push China to do more on North Korea.
Chinese Information Warfare from an Indian perspective. </end editorial> By Indrani Bagchi, TNN| Updated: Aug 13, 2017, 01.35 AM IST NEW DELHI: Is China playing out its ‘Three Warfares’ strategy against India? Indian strategists who are involved with China in the current Doklam crisis believe China has now fully operationalized this concept and is applying it…
Foreign Policy Reports
A friend of the Russian president, former German Chancellor Schröder has been working for the Russian energy industry since he lost to Chancellor Merkel in 2005. Rosneft has been hit by Western sanctions.
Russia’s government has nominated Germany's former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, to join the board of the Russian state-owned energy giant Rosneft. The nomination is one of seve…
Police say a drunken American man was punched by a passer-by as he gave the stiff-armed Nazi salute
Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has stated that the country has no plans to join NATO, reports RIA Novosti. At the same time, the …
After months of attacking Venezuela’s unpopular President Nicolas Maduro, Latin America came out strongly against U.S. threats of military action against the struggling OPECnation. U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise comments on Friday may give beleaguered leftist leader Maduro a regional boost, just as Venezuela was on verge of becoming a pariah.
In his second international trip in less than a month, Vice President Pence is visiting U.S. allies in Latin America, with an eye to the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.
Strategy / Capability Publications
Less than half of the bombers President Donald Trump would rely upon to be “locked and loaded” against North Korea could launch today if needed, according to the latest Air Force figures available.
Just weeks after Russia deployed street fighting Terminator tanks to Syria, now Israel has unveiled its own urban warfare tank.
Operational history, technical specifications and images of the Merkava Namer (Leopard) Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle (HIFV) / Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).
This month we feature Professor Todd Humphreys, an expert in the James Bond world of faking out GPS signaling, to tell us what the latest news is for the reliability of the GPS systems that have become increasingly important to our everyday lives. Will GPS become the next front in the war between the modern world and the hackers and terrorists who wish to disrupt it? If so it will be engineers and not super spies who will save the day. Read on at your own risk. Comments welcome as always.
US Domestic Policy Reports
The former US Ambassador to Russia hit out at Donald Trump after he thanked Vladimir Putin for ordering the US to pull 755 of its diplomats out of Russia. Michael McFaul, who served as ambassador from 2012-14, said that Mr Trump’s “flippant” remarks show he “does not understand diplomacy” and that “sarcasm doesn’t work in foreign policy”.
Benjamin Wallace-Wells writes about the F.B.I. raid of Paul Manafort’s home, and what it means for the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the election.