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Russia / Strategy Media Update – 17 August 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Golts notes that Russia’s new military formations must be understrength, as new units are being formed while overall force personnel numbers are static. Speculation that Armenia will become like Ukraine, hostile to Russia. Pew poll finds Russia now toxic globally.  Tsymbaliuk nails it on ethnic Russians abroad “The fact remains clear. There are many Russian speakers living across the globe – in the U.S., Germany, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Belarus and, of course, in Ukraine. But they suffer and die only if Russia is trying to “protect” them”.

Russia’s descent into a Boschian inferno continues. Notable essays by Krasheninnikov (this is so true given their blinkered Marxist dialectical materialist view of the world), Kholmogorov, Kolomeytsev and RFE/RL’s Miller – his expose of Russia’s treatment of Russia’s Donbass veterans is astounding.

Zapad 2017 dominates Belarusian traffic – the call to become Partisans is wickedly good, and explicitly points to Crimea and Donbass as the fate Belarusians should oppose.

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Poltorak states that Ukraine is prepared for a Russian invasion. Large scale PSU IADS exercise starts. Donbass fires continue, while OSCE is obstructed, and Russia pilfers Donbass coal, yet charges Ukraine for gas used by occupied Donbass. Cyborgs movie trailer released. DPRK debate continues – although much of it appears to be a deluge of MSM speculation, and creative appeasement proposals. US agrees to consult RoK before any offensive operations conducted. China produces video skit mocking India, which sells poorly with Indian audiences.

DPRK debate continues – although much of it appears to be a deluge of MSM speculation, and creative appeasement proposals. US agrees to consult RoK before any offensive operations conducted. China produces video skit mocking India, which sells poorly with Indian audiences.

Ethnic Russian susceptibility to Moscow propaganda a concern in Germany, while SDP leader tries to distract from Crimea deoccupation.

Good precis of problems with multilateral alliance forming in Asia and Middle East – many local animosities are very old and run deep. Good critique of China’s One Belt One Road.

Four reports on cyber, one on propaganda, and one on Russian GPS spoofing.

In the US, Manafort again in the spotlight. Republican voter support for Putin and Russia claimed to be rising – Reagan would simply despair. Daily Stormer wins the COCW Award today.


Russia / Russophone Reports


The Road to Zapad 2017 – CEPA STRATCOM PROGRAM.

Later this year, Russia will launch what could be the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. Known as Zapad 2017, this exercise will get underway on September 14. It will test contingency plans for a full-scale conflict with NATO and interoperability with Belarus and the Commonwealth Security Treaty Organization. In the past, Russia has used military exercises as cover to invade neighboring states – as seen with Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Will Zapad 2017 be a harmless and transparent military exercise or will it act as a springboard for conflict on Europe’s doorstep? Cutting through this fog of fact and disinformation, CEPA StratCom is launching “The Road to Zapad 2017” – an in-depth resource to track and analyze the lead up to Zapad 2017 and its outcomes. Read the latest on The Road to Zapad 2017.

Alexander Golts | The Main Secret of “Zapad-2017”

Today the first units of Russian troops begin to arrive in Belarus, which should participate in the strategic maneuvers “West-2017” scheduled for mid-September. Meanwhile, in the contiguous states, more and more concerned voices are heard. In Kiev, fears are voiced that maneuvers can be used by Russia to concentrate troops for a new aggression. And in NATO countries, they fear that under the guise of the exercises, Moscow will transfer heavy equipment to Belarus, which will then not be transported, but stored on the front lines of military confrontation with the North Atlantic alliance. The commander of American ground forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges, even said that “West-2017” is a kind of “Trojan horse”: “They say:” We just conduct exercises, “and then suddenly they will transfer all these people and forces in another direction” . The Russian military does not cease to certify that the total number of participants in the upcoming maneuvers will be very modest – about 13,000 servicemen, while the Russian military will only have about three thousand transferred to the neighboring republic. All this fully corresponds to the provisions of the Vienna Document, the only surviving agreement that regulates military activities on the European continent. Therefore, assert in Moscow, all NATO fears are purely contrived and dictated by the desire to once again slander Russia, completely uninvolved in military operations in the Donbas. In fact, both NATO and Ukrainian generals have some grounds for fear. It is appropriate to recall here that the Ukrainian crisis began on February 26, 2014 with a “sudden check” of Russian troops, announced by Vladimir Putin. Under cover of this “verification”, about 40,000 servicemen were deployed on the Ukrainian border. In the future, Moscow very dexterously manipulated the Vienna document, which required the mandatory presence of foreign observers, if the number of troops involved exceeds 8,000 participants. Russian strategists said that there is not one common, but several independent and unrelated exercises. And therefore no one is obliged to attract foreign observers. Probably, the same trick will be applied and this time. Observers will be allowed to be present only on the Belarusian part of the maneuvers. Meanwhile, one of the Belarusian generals has already said that “West-2017” will cover a huge space from the Kola Peninsula to the Kaliningrad region. As for the deployment of heavy weapons in Belarus, there are also grounds for concern. Since the moment when the confrontation between Russia and NATO has become a military one, considerations of military strategy are becoming a priority. In the event of hostilities, the primary task of the Russian army is to break through Lithuania a corridor from Belarus to the Kaliningrad region. And for this, he is investigating in advance to place heavy weapons in Belarus. It is significant that Alexander Lukashenko, who for many years successfully converted the military alliance with Russia into economic preferences, is now trying to limit defense cooperation. The most interesting thing in the upcoming maneuvers is how the divisions of those three divisions will be involved in them, which were announced at the end of 2015 on the western border with a pomp. It seems that foreign observers will not be shown them. And the carefully guarded secret here, most likely, is not the high combat readiness of the impact joints. A low. In the Russian army, it is determined by the degree of manning. As I already wrote, despite the fact that our generals regularly report on the creation of new formations, the total strength of the Armed Forces is practically not growing. This means that the divisions that are created are understaffed, which means they are not. So, NATO should not worry. This is the main secret of the maneuvers “West-2017” …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Armenia on Its Way to Becoming ‘a Second Ukraine,’ Some Commentators Say

Paul Goble Staunton, August 16 – A few days ago, Karine Gevorkyan, a leading Yerevan orientalist, said that Armenia, as a result of the shortcomings of its own government, the influence of the Armenian diaspora, and the work for Western governments, is rapidly drifting toward becoming “a second Ukraine” opposed to Moscow and allied with the West. She complained that Armenians favorably disposed to Moscow “do not now have a single pro-Russian resource or any pro-Russian politicians … we have lost all this” and thus the country finds itself at the edge of an explosion like the one that has already occurred in Ukraine (vestnikkavkaza.ru/news/Armeniya-prevratitsya-dlya-Rossii-v-novuyu-Ukrainu.html). In comments to Vestnik Kavkaza, two Russian experts suggest that Gevorkyan’s suggestions are no exaggeration and that both Moscow and Yerevan should not only be worried but should take immediate steps to change the course of events the orientalist suggests will lead to what they say would be a disaster. Nikita Isayev, director of the Moscow Institute of Current Economics, says that the situation she describes is the result of the acceptance of the view that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is “the main pro-Russian politician in the republic.” That has made Armenia “a hostage” to his declining popularity. The current “level of trust in Sargsyan,” he continues, “and as a result to Russia as well now is extremely low.” And what makes this especially dangerous is that “Russia has not demonstrated any clear political line with regard to Armenia,” something anti-Russian forces have been quick to exploit. Given that Armenians view Sargsyan and his institutions as pro-Russian, they are increasingly demanding “a turn to the West,” and Yerevan is doing that, developing links with the European Union and even NATO. And local media, with only a few exceptions, is promoting this trend or at least not opposing it. “Of course,” Isayev continues, “Western special services, in the first instance, English, French and American intelligence agencies” are playing a role, “and their work is bringing results,” which carry with them “significant external risks for Russia” including the possible “loss of the last official Russian advance post in the Transcaucasus at the gates to the Middle East.” The overall trend is not good, he says; and “the most radical scenario is a possible direct armed conflict in which Russia may find itself opposed by Armenia as a member of NATO or [at least] an ally of the North Atlantic alliance.” That outcome is so bad that Moscow must deploy “’soft force’” to ensure it doesn’t happen. Similar efforts need to be made “everywhere on the post-Soviet space” because “Armenia is an ally on which like a litmus test are visible all the difficulties” the Russian government now faces. Most important, Moscow must turn away from oligarchic powers and work with small and mid-sized industry and with a variety of political forces rather than just those of Sargsyan. Isayev’s views are echoed by Sergey Markov, director of the Moscow Institute for Political Research, who called on Yerevan to take more active steps to suppress “foreign financing of anti-Russian campaigns.” To that end, Moscow and Yerevan must devote more attention to the dangers ahead if they do nothing. “The risks are quite serious,” he says, “either ‘a Maidan’ or the evolution of the Armenian government along an anti-Russian path” which “cold lead to the exit of Armenia from the Eurasian Union and to an expansion of military cooperation with NATO.” Indeed, Yerevan is already taking part in NATO-led exercises. If things continue, Markov argues, “Armenia could be transformed into yet another state hostile to Russia, one like Ukraine or the Baltics or Moldova.” That isn’t what the Armenian people want, he says; but unless steps are taken, the oligarchic regime may ignore their wishes and pursue only its own. Yerevan must take the lead in opposing this shift, he argues, with Moscow playing only a supporting role. It must “close foreign foundations which are involved in the unleashing of anti-Russian propaganda” and even more “must adopt a law banning anti-Russian propaganda to the extent it always has catastrophic consequences for these countries.”

Russia and Putin Viewed Negatively Worldwide | Pew Research Center

Around the world, few people trust Putin to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs.

Here’s a Breakdown of Russia’s Foreign Policy Goals (Op-ed)

Annexing eastern Ukraine isn’t one, Carnegie Center’s Dmitry Trenin writes

Roman Tsymbaliuk | Russia, the “If” state

Russian propaganda has been trying to make their president look macho for many years now. Here’s Mr Putin is in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and here’s Putin resurfacing from sea depths with an ancient amphorae, and here’s Putin flying a glider alongside a flock of Siberian Cranes… Then comes yet another bare torso and another caught pike. One of the main features of the image that is being molded – is Putin’s brief and catchy phrases, and the abundant use of common sayings and proverbs. Back in June 2006, the then-“young” president of Russia, when asked about the possibility of sanctions against Iran, remarked that “if a ‘babuska’ [granny] had certain sexual features, she would be a ‘dedushka’ [gramps].” Another witty bit, and the Russians have become even more proud of their idol. At the same day, contemplating the difference between the senior members of the family, Putin stressed that “politics does not tolerate a subjunctive mood.” Years later, this subjunctive became the base of Russian foreign policy, the core feature of whitewashing Russian crimes against Ukrainians. The invasion of Ukraine, the occupation of Crimea and Donbas was justified by the word “if”. It has been mentioned so often over the several years of war with Ukraine that the whole alternative reality has been created for Russians, where an assumption has long become a reality for them. It’s the soldiers of modern propaganda, the Russian leaders and their minions, who create this fictitious picture of the world. The Russian president explains that Crimea was occupied, since NATO troops and bases could be deployed on the peninsula The Russian state TV correspondent in Rostov region, when asked why she had invented the story about the “crucified Slavic boy” was not caught off guard by the question. She readily explained everything quite “logically.” Nobody hides the fact that the report was a purposeful lie, inciting hatred toward Ukraine, but to justify herself, a convenient formula of “there could be such boy” is used. The Russian president explains that Crimea was occupied, since NATO troops and bases could be deployed on the peninsula. He is echoed by numerous experts, film directors, singers, and writers. The reason why they talk about it so often is to create a sense of fear and horror. From time to time, Russian TV warns that Russia needs to be ready to turn America into radioactive ash not to let the Alliance’s tanks come to Red Square. The Russian propaganda channel RT (Russia Today) follows the head of the Russian Federation in inventing boogey stories about the terrible future that Crimea would have faced had Putin not taken a decision on the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. In a fictitious reality, they compare the “peaceful” Crimea to a carnage in Donbas which Russia, itself, has orchestrated. At the same time, for some reason, they forget to mention that there are the same people standing behind the Russian invasion of Crimea and Donbas. Having screwed up a bit in his comment on the prospects of Donbas future, Lavrov recognizes that “we will not solve this problem with more bombings and shellings – instead, we will drive it to a much deeper level” Even now, after three years of a non-stop bloodshed, Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, is still talking about “what would await” Russian-speakers in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and continues to scare the Russians with demons from the “Right Sector” who could “capture” the peninsula. However, having screwed up a bit in his comment on the prospects of Donbas future, Lavrov recognizes that “we will not solve this problem with more bombings and shellings – instead, we will drive it to a much deeper level.” And here comes the reality. If the problem cannot be solved by “more” bombings this means there have been previous ones. Hence, there is no separatism, there is a Russian invasion and collaboration with the enemy. The fact remains clear. There are many Russian speakers living across the globe – in the U.S., Germany, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Belarus and, of course, in Ukraine. But they suffer and die only if Russia is trying to “protect” them. Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow

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The Daily Vertical: An Era Drags On (Transcript)

The era of Vladimir Putin began 18 years ago this week. On August 16, 1999, the Russian State Duma confirmed Putin as prime minister by a vote of 233-84, with 17 abstentions. It wasn’t entirely clear at the time, but that vote marked the end of Russia’s rocky and tumultuous post-Soviet experiment with liberal democracy. Because from that moment on, it didn’t matter if Putin was the prime minister or the president; from that moment on, power resided in him. Slowly but surely, power became personalized. Institutions were steadily eroded and replaced by the cult of Putin the leader. A child born on that late summer Monday 18 years ago would know no other leader than Putin. For a bit of context, Leonid Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union for 18 years and one month — a milestone that Putin will soon pass, making him the longest ruling Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin. The problem with the Putin era isn’t just that it has been so long. In November, after all, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have been in office for 12 years. The problem is that Putin has ruled without the checks and balances and independent institutions that constrain and limit the powers of Western democratic leaders like Merkel. For Putin, of course, longevity and unchecked power are two sides of the same coin. He has used his time in power primarily to eliminate and make a mockery of any and all constraints on his power — from the media, to the Duma, to the courts, to civil society. This, of course, has been a recipe for autocracy. But it’s also been a recipe for the stagnation and ossification that will — sooner or later — be the Putin regime’s undoing.

UAWire – Russian media: Putin has not appeared publicly for a week already

Since August 9th, the Russian Federation President, Vladimir Putin, has not appeared in public, Dozhd reports. “The Kremlin website publishes reports on the President’s meetings, but journalists are not invited to attend. It has been reported that they have been recorded in advance. At the same time, there is no mention of Putin’s vacation this year,” the message says. According to the channel’s report, the last time Putin appeared in public was on August 8th, and the next time will be when he meets with journalists only on August 16th. This was relayed by two people who are familiar with the Russian President’s schedule. On August 8th, Putin worked in Abkhazia and Sochi, where he stayed for one day. “The Kremlin’s website has regular reports of Putin’s meetings over the past few days in which he held with high-ranking officials, but all of them were tete-a-tete, journalists were not invited to them, so it was impossible to understand when these events were actually recorded,” the TV channel reports. Information about all of these meetings appeared nearly at the same time, between 1:50 and 3:20 p.m.; news agencies covered the events within 15-20 minutes after the Kremlin’s website added the information. In addition, all media outlets published only the pictures taken by Putin’s personal photographer.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Brezhnev-Era Origins of Putin Elite Root of Russia’s Misfortunes, Krasheninnikov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 16 – “The true root” of Russia’s misfortunes now, Fyodor Krasheninnikov says, is that Vladimir Putin and his entourage were formed as personalities in the Brezhnev era,” frightened by the excesses of democracy in the 1990s, and have been able since then to exclude from politics “all sincere and ideologically committed people.” Because of their success in shutting down social lifts, the Yekaterinburg political analyst says, Russia is now ruled by “the very same people who at the end of the 1970s portrayed themselves as convinced communists, in the 1980s as supporters of perestroika and new thinking, in the mid-1990s as ‘experienced businessmen,’ and then as preservers of ‘everything good that was in the USSR” (snob.ru/selected/entry/127983). But because of this constant change in public position, these people in fact have come to believe in “nothing besides power and money,” Krasheninnikov says. “They do not believe in sincerity or conviction or in volunteers or in honest elections. They live with the conviction that people go to meetings only if they are collected in buses or mobilized at work” and are paid. They assume that people get involved in politics “only from selfishness because it never comes into their heads the stupid though that some enter politics for the public good and sacrifice their personal wealth and take risks for their convictions. They in general never took risks about anything” – and they assume everyone else is just like them. “Worst of all,” the analyst continues, their experiences of politics in Russia in the 1990s has led them to form a false picture of the way the world is organized not only within Russia’s borders but abroad. “Everywhere,” they assume, “politics is exactly the same: no one anywhere believes in anything [and] all elections are lies.” According to Krasheninnikov, “the cynicism and unprincipledness of the late Soviet elite are what has transformed democracy in Russia into a pathetic farce.” Until those formed in the Soviet period leave the scene, this situation will continue and Russia’s prospects for the future will remain bleak. “The main less from all this,” he says, is that “one should never entrust the construction of a new system to those were educated in the old one, who not simply passed through the school of state cynicism and hypocrisy but even became successes in it: these are the most horrific people of all.”

UAWire – Putin announces reduction in Russia’s defense expenditure

One of the saving goals of the 2018 budget is to reduce defense expenditure, but this will not affect the plans to retrofit the army and the navy. The state will fulfill the defense order. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a statement to this effect at a meeting with United Russia party leader Vladimir Vasilyev in the State Duma. A transcript of the meeting was published on the Kremlin’s website. Putin noted that “significant budget savings” are planned. “We will fulfill the state defense order and make a new program. But we do plan several reductions compared to the previous budget, and so close attention will need to be paid to the matters which always arise in the process of drafting the country’s primary financial document,” the president emphasized. According to Putin, these matters include not only defense and national security, but also the economy, the social sector and healthcare. In Oliver Stone’s documentary film on the Russian president, Putin mentioned plans to reduce defense expenditure. He said that in the next three years, the expenditure is expected to be reduced to 2.7-2.8% of the GDP. According to the president, an effectively functioning economy is a priority for the country, and the armed forces need to be modern and effective, but also compact.

Russia Now Treating Feminists as ‘Extremists’ as Putin Continues Crackdown

A group of women in southern Russia were detained at a local police station and questioned about alleged “extremism.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnic Russians Must have Right to Refuse to Study Non-Russian Languages, Kholmogorov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – Arguing that republics in the Russian Federation are only “conditionally” non-Russian and that the Kremlin is finally prepared to challenge ethnocratic elites on this point, Russian nationalist Yegor Kholmogorov says that ethnic Russians and other Russian speakers must have the right to refuse to study non-Russian languages. Although Vladimir Putin did not go that far in his recent speech in Yoshkar-Ola, the Kremlin leader’s words have legitimated Russian nationalist demands for a wholesale attack on the status of non-Russian languages and non-Russian republics; and Kholmogorov’s words are the clearest indication of that to date (kp.ru/daily/26718/3744008/). In an interview with Yelena Krivyakina of Komsomolskaya Pravda, he welcomes the fact that the country’s leadership is finally willing to take on non-Russian elites given that for so many years, “our powers have tried not to anger the elites of the national republics.” Now, however, they are ready to do just that. According to him, any reduction in Russian language instruction, something often required in non-Russian areas, to allow for instruction in the titular languages there, is a violation of the law and the Russian constitution and Russian law, even though it is nowhere written that a citizen of Russia must know the state langage. “At the same time,” Kholmogorov continues, non-Russian elites point to Article 68 of the Constitution which specifies that the republics have the right to establish their own state languages. But neither there nor anywhere else is it said that it is a requirement that everyone who lives on those territories must study them. Russian-speaking children must not be required to learn any of these languages, although non-Russians must know Russian, the state language of the country, according to the Russian nationalist commentator. But Kholmogorov’s agenda is far larger than linguistic. He argues that “our republics are only conditionally national,” that is, many have a higher percentage of Russians or at least Russian speakers than they do speakers of the titular languages. That should be reflected in state language policy and in the way Moscow deals with these “republics.” Ethnic Russians and non-Russians must both study the same number of hours of Russian. If the non-Russians want to study their language, that should come out of the number of hours devoted to other subjects. Perhaps, Kholmogorov says, Russians could use a similar amount of time to study Old Church Slavonic. Krivyakina points out that Rafael Khakimov, the vice president of the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan, recently observed that “if national languages aren’t taught in schools, this will threaten the liquidation of the republics and they will then be no different than oblasts,” to which Kholmogorov responds that this is all right with him. “Are oblasts worse than republics?” he asks rhetorically. “Or residents of oblasts second class citizens? All this policy of artificially imposing national languages is based on the presumption that Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Tyva, Sakha and other republics are separate countries.” And that in turn reflects ancient history: “A century ago, the Bolsheviks paid for the support [of the non-Russians] against the Whites by offering broad autonomous in completely arbitrary borders. And we are paying for this up to now.” Kholmogorov’s implication is that Moscow should stop doing so. Komsomolskaya Pravda appends to the interview a comment by Margarita Rusetskaya, the rector of the Pushkin Institute of the Russian Language. She says that research her colleagues have done shows that in many non-Russian areas, only five or six percent of Russian language instructors really know the language. “The problem,” she continues, “is that in many non-Russian republics, Russia is taught by people who are not native speakers.” And she adds that “any reduction in the number of hours of Russian language instruction is “simply impermissible … If we want a child to be integrated in all spheres of life on the entire territory of the country, he must speak Russian fluently.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Nearly Half of Young Russians in Far East Don’t want Marriage or a Family

Paul Goble Staunton, August 16 – According to a new survey of 9500 young people aged 21 to 35 in the Russian Far East, 47 percent of people don’t want to get married or have children, 27 percent are ready to marry but not to have children, and only 26 percent saying they want both, figures that make the achievement of Vladimir Putin’s demographic goals there impossible. The survey was conducted by the Black Cube Center for Social Innovation. Both its results and their implications were discussed today by the center’s director Yury Kolomeytsev on the Regnum news portal. He says that no one should think that this pattern is going to change anytime soon (regnum.ru/news/society/2310688.html). “The most unfavorable regions of the Far East from the point of view of planned fertility among the population under the age of 35 are Khabarovsk kray, Magadan oblast, Kamchatka, Chukotka and Primorsky kray,” all predominantly ethnic Russian regions, the researcher continues. The situation is somewhat better in Sakhalin and in Sakha, where 45 and 39 percent of young people say they are planning to marry and have children. In Sakha, “only a third of those surveyed said they were negatively inclined to the creation of the family, and in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and the Amur oblast, this figure was still lower, 32 percent.” According to Kolomeytsev, “favorable conditions for the natural growth of demography can arise only in those Far Eastern regions in which the local population is prepared to remain and continue its family life. In subjects with high labor and educational migration, one should not expect any real improvement in the demographic situation in the coming years.” Overall demographic numbers confirm this. Primorsky kray, he points out, continues to decline and to decline at ever increasing rates,” exactly the opposite of what Putin has called for. In Sakhalin, the government has had to intervene massively to support the increasingly impoverished population. Its actions may explain why there is less opposition to families there. But the task of regional governments in this regard is enormous. In Sakhalin, “47 percent of all monetary income is concentrated in the hands of 20 percent of the population. The remainder live in poverty, with 1.4 percent having incomes less than 7,000 rubles [a month or 110 US dollars]. The incomes of Sakhalin’s poor are 16 times less than those of its rich. The Sakhalin authorities claim they have reduced the number of those in poverty in 2016, but Regnum notes, “experts consider that [the people involved] have not had their material position improved but simply have left for other regions in search of a better life.”

Gore, But No Glory For Russia’s Ukraine War ‘Veterans’

Veterans of Novorossia has its eyes on a bigger prize — the NGO wants to persuade the government to grant Russians who fought in Ukraine state status. It’s a long shot, but one that could shape the fighters’ futures. The effort has yet to really get off the ground, however. Kamayev admits that to push hard for such status now would be ill-advised, given that it would mean formal recognition by Moscow of having a hand in the war. “The less we will demand for ourselves, the more the state will probably respect us,” he says. Even without formal recognition, however, his deputy, Shchinkorenko, believes Russia’s Donbas volunteers will eventually be seen as heroes. “We are the good guys,” he says, conceding an important fact. “It depends on who will be in power [when the war ends] and who will write the history books.”

Russia readies its crackdown on Internet exchange points — Meduza

Russia’s Communications Ministry has published draft amendments that would introduce new restrictions on the ownership of Russia’s Internet exchange points, prohibiting domestic ISPs from connecting to exchange points that belong to other states, foreign citizens, or foreign companies and organizations, the news website TJournal reported on Wednesday. The law would also limit foreign ownership in any company that owns an exchange point to 20 percent.

UAWire – USA accuses Russia of oppressing religious minorities

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Chechen Singer Bakayev Goes Missing During Grozny Visit

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Moral Squalor Or Modern Poetry? Viral Rap Battle Makes Waves in Russia

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Russian Court Postpones Hearing On Wallenberg Suit Until September

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When Russia Owned Part of America – The New York Times

The sea-otter trade brought adventurers across the Bering Strait to Alaska and beyond, and remnants of their footprints remain.


Belarus Reports


The Morning Vertical, August 17, 2017

ON MY MIND One of the more interesting developments in the run-up to next month’s joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises has been the behavior of Belarus. Unlike Moscow, which seems intent on using the exercises as something of a psyop to spook Russia’s neighbors and the West, Minsk appears determined that they not become a source of external friction. With the exercises taking place on Belarusian soil, Minsk has invited military observers from NATO and non-NATO countries, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Red Cross. Belarus has made a special effort to reach out to — and assuage the concerns of — countries in the neighborhood like Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states. Additionally, as Chatham House’s Keir Giles noted in a piece featured in The Morning Vertical earlier this week, “Belarus is running its own program of advance briefings for NATO and Western countries on how the exercise is to run, in parallel with information that Russia is providing.” This is partially out of self-interest. There has been much speculation and anxiety in Minsk that Russia will use the exercises to tighten its grip on Belarus, perhaps stealthily leaving troops behind. “Belarus is pushing for openness to the West during the exercises — which will also help ensure that Russia does not take the opportunity to deviate from the exercise scenario to launch some kind of unfriendly action,” Giles notes. But Minsk’s surprising transparency also stems from the fact that Belarus does not want to be drawn into a conflict between Russia and the West — and wants to distance itself from any attempt to use the exercises as a psychological operation to unnerve the West. Ever the gamer, Alyaksandr Lukashenka wants to keep his options open and to play both sides — even as the wily Belarusian president prepares to join Putin in presiding over the biggest wargaming exercises since the Cold War.

“We’ll Have to Become Partisans” – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Russian-Belarusian West-2017 military exercises in Belarus start in September, but now this topic has become one of the main in the world media. The unusual nature of upcoming exercises more reminiscent of the “smooth occupation” of the country, was mentioned even when it became known that a record high number of railroad carriages – more than 4.000 – was involved in the transfer of the Russian contingent to Belarus. Now many Belarusian and European politicians as well as the military men believe that Russian troops will remain in Belarus after the exercises. Belarusians are outraged by their country’s involvement in geopolitical games of an aggressive neighbour from the East. On September 8 the Warning Action demanding the abolition of the West-2017 exercises starts at 7 pm, Kastrychnitskaya Square, Minsk. Numerous comments on Charter97.org devoted to the West-2017 exercises testify to the mood of Belarusians. When the Crimea was evaded, they also had exercises “In a train window I saw a huge column of troops near Pechy. They were accompanied by traffic police. Russian troops arrived (I saw carriages and cars with Russian numbers). Why are there so many soldiers and what is this all for?” “Collect all information about the movement of Russian troops. Take photos, videos, audio recordings, online streams. Whatever one can do. And upload it on the Internet. You can create guerrilla accounts under fictitious names, so as not to get fried. Intelligence and information gathering is a part of military operations, a very important part. It can be done by every Belarusian who does not want the Russian troops to turn his house into ruins, just like in the Donbas.” “When the Crimea was invaded, they also had exercises, and “they are not there” turned into “the Crimea is ours”! And now the turn of Belarus has come. And then they will say: “We are not there.” Now they quietly settle in military units and no one can even guess it!”. “The day has come when not only the youth should go to the Square. The whole Minsk should come out. If the world community sees that all our people are against exercises, against occupation, this will give us great moral support. The whole world should see that we are the nation. We had a conversation. And this will be the ground to remove our inadequate person from power. Only together we can protect our country and become masters of our home.” The Fight Is Required “I hope that Belarusian soldiers will refuse to obey orders of traitors and will take the side of the people in order to defend our common interests and our homeland – Belarus. Long Live Belarus! Square-2017!” “These exercises bring no good. We will have to become partisans. . “A similar scenario was in the Crimea – the Navy base with 30 thousand military men on legal grounds. If foreign troops do not leave Belarus after exercises, there will be problems. Something shound be done now, otherwise it may be too late.” “We need to fight, not be indifferent, we need to take a stand against Putin’s occupation, against any presence of foreign soldiers in Belarus. Lukashenka was the one who made the decision. He surrendered our culture and language. Workers wake up, young people make all kinds of bikers run away, they have no place in our country. People, we will win if we take the street and do not leave it until we win.” “The Lukashenka’s regime is not eternal. Sooner or later it falls. And Lukashenka will be liable then.” “No one can stand aside when occupants are trying to become masters here! The Russians have already proved their “brotherhood” in Ukraine with their fascist actions, the war, murders of Ukrainians… We must clearly understand it to have an opportunity for a better life of our children and grandchildren.” “This regime, as well as its ruler, has run dry. We can’t stand it anymore; it drives us to collapse of the Belarusian statehood, freedom, independence, neutrality.” “Analysis of the situation gives grounds for such a scenario: Georgia, Crimea, Donbas … Who is next? And Belarus seems to them the easiest prey. We are peparing for aggression, and this is not a joke or a stupid dream. There is certainty – there will be help from fellow Ukrainians. And the most important thing is that the enemywill take a heavy strike on his teeth, because will defend our Motherland”.

Staff Reshuffling in the Upper Echelons of the Army before West-2017 Exercises – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The dictator replaced the chief of the General Staff and the head of the Transport Support of the Defence Ministry. It became known that some divisions of the Belarusian Defence Ministry had their heads changed. The press service of Lukashenka reported on two new appointments at senior positions in the country’s military-defence sector. On August 16 Aleh Mishchenka became the new chief of the communication department of the General Staff. Other innovations are connected with the leadership of one of departments at the Defence Ministry. Yury Shaplauski is appointed to the position of the head of the Transport Department of the Defence Ministry. Russian-Belarusian exercises “West-2017” begin in September on the territory of Belarus. Now many Belarusian and European politicians as well as the military men believe that Russian troops will remain in Belarus after the exercises. Belarusians are outraged by their country’s involvement in geopolitical games of an aggressive neighbour from the East. On September 8 the Warning Action demanding the abolition of the West-2017 exercises starts at 7 pm, Kastrychnitskaya Square, Minsk.

Men In Green Arrived In Hrodna – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

A column of tented trucks has driven into the territory of the Foliush military unit. Last night, Belarusian journalist Dzianis Ivashyn, the author of independent investigations on the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation, wrote about that on his Facebook page: “A sufficiently large military column of tented trucks traveled to the location of the military unit 05733 (the 6th separate mechanized brigade, Foliush, Hrodna), accompanied by traffic police cars. Perhaps, they were bringing the “Kozaks from abroad,” – the journalist wrote. We remind that yesterday the Russian troops arrived on tented trucks at the territory of the military unit in Pechy near Barysau.

Price Of Freedom – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The destiny of the country is everyone’s business. “Remember, the higher the demand is, the lower is the price you need to pay for freedom,” – Stanislav Jerzy Lec. As it happens, everything in the world has its own “price”. Including the right to freedom of assembly in our country. So far, this price is not high. People used to pay more for freedom and independence. And the higher the demand for them, the greater the chance to defend them without blood and violence. Peacefully. To do that, it is necessary for the authorities to hear us, to see that we are not only capable of dashing off on Facebook and Vkontakte, but that we are also ready to defend our position in the streets of our cities. And there must be a lot of us. One stone, one grain of sand might be missing on the scales of history at a crucial moment. It’s a pity that no one knows beforehand when exactly the moment to make a decision will come. Usually, it becomes clear later. This applies to any situation, including the country’s independence. Maybe, things will come right this time. Maybe, the bald dwarf who unleashed the war in Georgia and the massacre in Donbass, will now limit himself to “flexing his muscles” in front of Western “partners”, or maybe not. Only then, when the aggression begins, if will be much more difficult to yell “go away” and, besides, – not enough. Summer protests against the West-2017 exercises did their job. Close attention to the exercises both in Belarus and abroad is the result. On July 21, the BNC called for holding a rally to prevent possible aggression on September 8 – the day of victory in the Battle of Vorsha. This is our chance to show what our “demand” for freedom and independence is, and to take part in setting of the tomorrow’s “price” today. The dictator and his gang are also getting ready for these “trades” in their own way. Trials in absentia, preventive arrests, fines… The actions of the dictatorship clearly shows whom and what exactly it is afraid of. Well, in fact, what kind of threat might come from those who ask for a permission to “protest”? With them the following scheme works: “May we stand for the independence of the country? No? Well, that’s OK”. The dictator wants everyone to be like that. To wait for his command to start talking, as his favorite puppets do. As the monopolized media do. As it happens during the fake “elections”. “Shadow know your place!” – the authorities mockingly snort, receiving an “application for protest” and offering a piece of paper with a “ban” to wipe off. They are not afraid of those who are ready to remain silent, they are afraid only of those who are capable of doing things. Of solidarity, of the choice of where, when and what price to pay for freedom. The dictator wants only his position to be taken into account while setting the “price” of our country’s independence. He thinks only of himself. But the destiny of the country is everyone’s business. After all, what happens next will affect everyone. Now is the time to look around and to think about who you are. A man or a shadow? If you are a man who is able to decide and pay the price for his decision – your path is clear. If a shadow – all you can do is to wait for the dawn, which will be brought closer by others. Maksim Viniarski, Facebook


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


UAWire – Moldova has refuted plans to introduce a visa regime with the Russian Federation

The Moldovan Foreign Ministry has denied media reports that the country’s authorities intend to introduce a visa policy with Russia. “The information that appeared in the media about the Moldovan authorities’ intention to introduce a visa policy between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation is not factual,” the ministry explained. Earlier, an article in Izvestia, cited sources stating that the Moldovan parliament was discussing the introduction of a visa policy for Russian citizens after the scandal surrounding the banning of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin from entering the country. Moldovan President Igor Dodon opposed this decision. He called these initiatives provocations and noted that he saw no grounds for introducing a visa policy with Russia.

Ukraine Reports

UAWire – Command of Ukrainian Armed Forces: Ukraine ready to respond to invasion of Russian troops during Zapad-2017 exercises

After the introduction of Lieutenant-General Anatoly Sirotenko as the new head of the Ivan Chernyakhovsky National Defense University of Ukraine, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak stated that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has made preparations in case of a threat of invasion by Russian troops during the Russian-Belarusian West-2017 exercises, which will be held on September 14-20. “We are monitoring the situation. We know about all the movements of Russian troops up to our border. We understand what threats may arise, and we will respond adequately to those threats connected with these exercises,” said the head of the defense department. “The General Staff has in mind a number of measures that would be adequate to meet these threats,” Poltorak stressed. He also said that he was speaking about “a threat of invasion.” “Incidentally, regardless of the exercises, such a threat is not ruled out, but these exercises have potential threats, as a large number of personnel will move to the Ukrainian border within the framework of exercises in the territory of Belarus,” said Poltorak. “We regard everything that happens on the Ukrainian border as an unfriendly step and as a threat to Ukraine,” the minister said. The joint strategic Zapad-2017 exercises of Belarus and Russia are planned for September 14-20. According to preliminary data, up to 13,000 servicemen will take part in the exercises.

Kyiv sees Russian troop movements near borders ahead of Zapad 2017 drills as unfriendly act

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has designed a package of measures for the Ukrainian army in response to threats that may arise due to the Zapad 2017 (West 2017) drills that are due in Russia and Belarus this September, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said. “We are keeping track of the situation and know about all Russian troops movements along our border. We understand what kind of threats may arise and will react in an adequate manner to the threats the military exercises may pose. The General Staff has identified a number of measures that would be adequate for these threats,” Poltorak told reporters in Kyiv on Wednesday. Poltorak went on to note that the upcoming exercises potentially pose a threat because large numbers of Russian Armed Forces personnel are moving closer to the Ukrainian border,” and currently, we view everything happening at our border as an unfriendly act,” Poltorak said.

Poltorak: Ukraine ready to respond to Russian invasion amid West-2017 drills

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak says the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has envisaged measures in case of the invasion of Russian troops amid the Russian-Belarusian West-2017 military exercises, which are to be held on September 14-20, according to a UNIAN correspondent. News 16 August from UNIAN.

UAWire – Command staff exercises of the Ukrainian Air Force begin in Ukraine

On Tuesday, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched bilateral command post exercises which include all types of aircraft, anti-aircraft missile units and radio-technical troops. As reported on Tuesday on the Facebook page of the General Staff of the Armed, the goal of the exercises is to plan and manage troops and provide all-round support during the preparation and conduct of combat operations in responsible areas in a rapidly changing environment. “During the practical phase of the exercises, plans include testing various flight and tactical tasks, including bombing, conducting staged air battles, marching and moving air defense units to new combat,” stated the information. Particular attention will be paid to improving the operational capabilities of air command, coordinating the work of structural units of control posts, and improving individual capabilities of personnel in planning the use and management of air command forces.

Militants launched 35 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 17.08.2017 09:24 — Ukrinform News

Militants launched 35 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day. One Ukrainian soldier was killed, another four were wounded.

Ukraine reports 35 enemy attacks, 1 KIA, 4 WIA’s in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 35 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and four as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 17 August from UNIAN.

Ukraine Def. Ministry reports 4 WIA’s in past 24 hours | UNIAN

Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, according to a Ukrainian defense ministry spokesman. Latest UNIAN news from 16 August.

OSCE denied access to two settlements in Donbas due to mines – 17.08.2017 09:52 — Ukrinform News

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine still has no access to the settlements of Pikuzy in Donetsk region and Shchastia in Luhansk region, since mine clearance on these routes has not yet started, according to a report posted by the mission on its Facebook page.

UAWire – 270,000 tons of Donbas coal exported from Russia in July

In July 2017, about 267,000 tons of coal mined in the separatist-held territories of eastern Ukraine were exported to European countries from …

UAWire – Russia’s Gazprom continues to supply gas to separatist-held territories and billing Ukraine for it

In the first half of 2017, Russian Gazprom delivered 1,389 billion cubic meters of gas to the separatist DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) and LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic. The price of Russian gas as of the first quarter of 2017 was $306.6 per thousand cubic meters, as supported by the data from Gazprom’s report for the second quarter. Ukraine has not been importing gas from Russia for more than 600 days, which means, all deliveries go to separatist-held territories of Ukraine. According to Gazprom’s data, in the first quarter of 2017, 1.11 billion cubic meters of gas were supplied to separatist-controlled territories in the Donbas. In the second quarter, the supply was 280 million cubic meters. Gazprom had started supplying gas to the uncontrolled territories on February 19, 2015. From February 19, 2015 to June 30, 2017, per Gazprom’s reports, 5.48 billion cubic meters were delivered to separatist republics in eastern Ukraine: 1.7 billion cubic meters in 2015, 2.39 billion cubic meters in 2016, and 1.39 billion cubic meters in the first half of 2017. Russia adds these deliveries to the debt owed by Naftogaz of Ukraine, though the Ukrainian company has long stated that it does not intend to pay for gas delivered to the territories which are not under Ukraine’s control. Naftogaz stressed that it does not accept gas under a contract with Gazprom coming through Prokhorovka and Platovo gas-metering stations. Accordingly, data on gas supplies through these stations cannot be used in the preparation of reports on acceptance of gas and, accordingly, these gas deliveries cannot be paid for by Naftogaz.

UAWire – Ukraine invites Commander of the US Army in Europe to participate in Ukraine’s Independence Day parade

During his visit to Poland, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Army General Stepan Poltorak spoke with Lieutenant-General Frederick Ben Hodges, …

Ukraine’s Independence Day Preparations: August 24 Celebrations Preview – YouTube

A real face of Yaroslav the Wise reconstructed in 3D, different artifacts, and the first run of a much-anticipated Ukrainian historical drama – just several …

Stepan Poltorak: “Our priority is a radical change in officers’ training” | Міністерство оборони України

“Our priority is a radical change in the system of officers training at operational-tactical and operational-strategic levels. Certain changes in training have taken place, but not all problems are solved yet,” the Minister of Defense said. According to the Minister, one of the main tasks of Armed Forces commanders is a careful and qualitative selection of candidates for training: “We need to pay more attention to the selection of officers to be trained, select those who have a sufficient level of skills and knowledge, who can make decisions. It is from such personalities we have to form a commander, a new commander, who will be an authority for his personnel, respected and appreciated by them.” “We should stop the practice of training officers of operational-tactical and operational-strategic levels in classrooms. They have to be trained during practical classes and exercises,” Stepan Poltorak said.

Ukrainian Navy may set up NATO doctrines and tactic center

The Ukrainian Navy plans to establish a NATO doctrines and tactic center before the end of 2017, Capt. 1st Rank Andriy Ryzhenko, Ukrainian Navy deputy chief of staff for Euro-Atlantic integration, said.

SBU detains man trying to sell four grenade launchers in Dnipropetrovsk region

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine together with the Military Prosecutor's Office has detained a 37-years-old criminal, who was trying to sell four RPG-26 grenade launchers in the village of Hvardiiske of Novomoskovskyi district of Dnipropetrovsk region, the SBU's press center said. News 17 August from UNIAN.

New Photo Exhibition Highlights Sacrifices of Ukrainian War Veterans – YouTube

A new photo exhibition has opened in Kyiv, which aims to highlight the courage of Ukrainian soldiers who, to this day, stand day and night, to defend the cou…

Ukraine Requests “The Economist” To Call Situation In Donbas “Russian Military Aggression” – To Inform is to Influence

Ukraine is finally insisting the media does not use Russian propaganda.   I’ve been saying this for a few years, I’ve even named and shamed quite a few media outlets. It’s nice to see Ukraine finally understands how Russian propaganda really works. </end editorial> Letter to the editor of Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK…

SBU reveals its officer cooperating with Russia’s FSB | UNIAN

The operatives of the SBU Internal Security Department have revealed an officer of the SBU Office in Kherson region cooperating with the Russian FSB. Latest UNIAN news from 16 August.

The Ukrainian Children Trained For War

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Ukraine war began, but people on both sides are already training the next generation to fight — at special military summer camps for kids. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)

‘Cyborgs’ Film Documents Soldiers’ ‘Superhuman Effort’ in Donetsk Airport Battle – YouTube

A trailer has been released for a new feature film, documenting the Ukrainian ‘Cyborgs’ who led the heroic defense of Donetsk International Airport in late 2…

UAWire – US Department of Commerce: Ukraine has potential of becoming a world leader in food production

Thanks to a favorable climate and fertile chernozem—the black-colored soil containing a high percentage of humus—that makes up a third of the world’s stock, Ukraine could become a huge export base of fruits and vegetables, both fresh and processed. This was reported by the US Department of Commerce in the report on the fruit and vegetable industry of Ukraine, Voice of America reports. The report, which was based on market research in Ukraine, says that “Ukrainian companies are aware that they can become world leaders in the production and processing of fruits and vegetables.” Ukraine currently ranks fifth in Europe in terms of producing fruits, vegetables, and berries and is eleventh out of 45 countries in Europe for organic farming. In 2016, the total volume of organic production in Ukraine was estimated at $22 million, 17% more than in 2015. According to the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine, many factors, especially an average return on investment of about 300%, make organic farming one of the most attractive destinations for investment in Ukraine, the report says. The deterioration of trade relations with Russia gave impetus to the development and modernization of the industry. “The only important factor that motivates the producers and processors of fruits and vegetables to change is the complete reorientation of Ukraine’s trade relations. During the last two years, Ukraine has reoriented the export of most fruits and vegetables from Russia to the European Union, South Asia, and South Africa. Such change in direction from East to the West requires Ukrainian companies to comply with higher production standards, which in turn requires them to search for better means of production and resources,” the report notes.

Purchasing Property Online: The Revolutionary Way Ukraine Uses Blockchain For Real Estate | HuffPost

“Blockchain” has been making a buzz lately. While this innovative technology can be used in many different ways, governments of certain countries are imp…

Ukraine’s Ex-Premier Yatsenyuk joins co-owners of Espreso.TV channel | KyivPost

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk has become a co-owner of the television channel Espreso.TV. Such information is contained in the State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs. Thus, Yatsenyuk is listed as a member of the founders-ultimate beneficiaries of the Astra Finance company, which owns Goldbury LLC, the owner of the said TV channel. In addition, the list of final beneficiaries of Astra Finance includes: a wife of Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Inna Avakova, and a wife of Ukrainian parliamentarian Mykola Kniazhytsky (People’s Front faction), Larysa Kniazhytska. Exclusive article Sign up or subscribe to view more articles. See All Plans

How to Fix Ukraine’s Economy

It’s been more than three years since Ukrainians were driven in large measure by the rampant corruption in Ukraine to retake their country. Yet state-owned enterprises (SOEs)—the organs of systemic corruption and deterrence for western investment—remain in the hands of the same elites who drain these state treasures of their financial and material resources. Even worse, this unwritten system scares away further capital, expertise, and technology required to restart an economy which is moving away from Russia. At the same time, the Ukrainian economy is starved for capital and the GDP growth required to support its population. Privatizing Ukraine’s state enterprises would send a powerful signal to corrupt elites and foreign investors. So far, major privatizations haven been too difficult both technically and politically. The tradeable market value of Ukrainians SOEs in their current state is very low to zero, even if the underlying fundamental value is high. Many of these SOEs are natural monopolies (petroleum, nuclear, railways, postal service) and should be producing attractive cash flow. It’s time for Ukraine to look to Romania as an example. Romania’s recent history shows how dramatic SOE reform can fix many facets of a broken economy. In our view, and based on our relevant experience in neighboring Romania, Ukraine needs a program to supplement the current privatization effort, a way to rapidly reform other state enterprises which are not ready for stock privatizations. Such a solution would keep the majority ownership of SOEs in the hands of Ukraine’s government, but incentivize these SOEs to adopt corporate governance reform, which will transfer operations and profits from the hands of corrupt elites into a properly functioning and transparent corporate entity. This means more profit and value for the state, combined with better operations for growth and investment at SOEs which dominate Ukraine’s economy. There are at least three indirect benefits: foreign investors will gain confidence that Ukraine is serious about economic development, resulting in billions of capital inflow, Ukraine will gain a strategic tailwind in the fight against corruption by focusing on the entities which are notoriously corrupt and inefficient, and this move will instill greater confidence in the rule of law.

Saakashvili Says He Plans To Return To Ukraine Next Month

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and ex-governor of Ukraine's Odesa region who was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship in July, says he plans to return to Kyiv next month. …

Saakashvili: I am returning to Ukraine – 17.08.2017 09:29 — Ukrinform News

Former Odesa Regional Governor Mikheil Saakashvili has said that he will return to Ukraine from Poland on September 10.

Hearing in high treason case against Yanukovych: lawyer Meshechek steps down

17.08.17 12:07 – Hearing in high treason case against Yanukovych: lawyer Meshechek steps down … View news.

UAWire – Former Ukrainian representative to UN: Russia granted Yanukovych’s request to deploy troops in Ukraine an official status of UN Security Council document

An appeal by Viktor Yanukovych to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the use of Russian Armed Forces to restore &quot;constitutional order&quot; in …

The Ukrainian Who Lives In A ‘Glass House’

A Ukrainian man has built a house with thousands empty bottles. Andriy Sisa said using bottles to build his home in the village of Bohatyrivka was cost effective and energy efficient. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Moscow Voices Hope Iran Won’t Quit Nuclear Deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow hopes Iran will not quit the agreement reached in 2015 with world powers to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most economi…

Gulf boycott of Qatar spreads to banks

Saudi King Salman invites Qatar pilgrims to Hajj | Saudi Arabia News | Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia closed its land border with Qatar in June as part of an economic and political blockade.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


South Korea Says Trump Will Seek Its Consent for Any Strike on North – The New York Times

Assuring his people “there will be no war,” President Moon Jae-in said that the United States had promised to consult with South Korea before acting.

Looming War Games Alarm North Korea, but May Be a Bargaining Chip – The New York Times

Joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, which are set to begin Monday, could provide an opening for efforts to reduce tensions over the North’s nuclear program.

North Korea gives US a clear choice: Restraint or missile launches – CNN

US President Donald Trump implied in one of his latest tweets that he forced North Korea to back down over its threat to Guam. It’s a dangerous misperception that could cause the crisis to escalate and Trump to miss what could be the best chance he will have to halt the tests of missiles that can now threaten the American homeland.

North Korea crisis: Joseph Dunford says war would be ‘horrific’

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said there would be no second war on the Korean Peninsula.

Bannon: No military solution to North Korea | TheHill

US State Department: Negotations with North Korea are “not going to happen imminently” : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh

Tillerson reiterates that Pyongyang must show it is serious about denuclearization US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Aug. 15 that he plans to continue working toward bilateral dialogue to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, but called for a change in behavior first from Pyongyang. Appearing at a press conference for the publication of the 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual Report at the State Department building in Washington, Tillerson was asked to assess the current situation with North Korea. “We continue to be interested in finding a way to get to a dialogue, but that’s up to [North Korean leader Kim Jong-un],” he replied.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons ‘aren’t going away’, says former US intelligence boss – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The world will need to get used to North Korea having nuclear weapons for now, according to a former top US intelligence advisor.

Moscow takes a back seat in North Korea nuclear crisis – CEPA STRATCOM PROGRAM.

In comments at an 11 August youth forum in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged all sides involved in the controversy over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to avoid using force and exercise maximum restraint. “Unfortunately, the rhetoric in Washington and Pyongyang is now starting to go over the top,” he said. “We still hope and believe that common sense will prevail.” At the same time Lavrov seemed to tilt toward North Korea in the dispute: “My personal opinion is that when you get close to the point of a fight breaking out, the side that is stronger and cleverer should take the first step away from the threshold of danger.” In a 26 April speech to the annual Moscow conference on international security, Russian Security Council Chief Nikolai Patrushev much more pointedly claimed that “external provocateurs”—a clear reference to the United States—were pushing North and South Korea toward war.

Can the United States play North Korea against China? – The Washington Post

If China won’t help us on North Korea, let’s try to get North Korea to help us on China.

How Trump’s Predecessors Dealt With the North Korean Threat – The New York Times

The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations each tried to threaten or cajole North Korea into abandoning its weapons programs. None succeeded.

The big problem with the North Koreans isn’t that we can’t trust them. It’s that they can’t trust us. – The Washington Post

North Korea’s leaders know that the United States would cheerfully topple their regime if it had the chance.

What game theory tells us about nuclear war with North Korea – The Washington Post

As rhetoric escalates between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, we asked an expert about the prospects for war, peace and anything in between.

Disarming North Korea means making concessions

A former Department of Defense and State Department official explains why a hardline approach on North Korea will likely fail, as it did with Iran.

China’s Crackdown on North Korea Over U.N. Sanctions Starts to Pinch – The New York Times

A ban on North Korean seafood exports began to be felt this week, curtailing an easy source of cash for the North Korean government but angering Chinese wholesalers.

North Korea releases map of four planned missile strike zones inside South Korea : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh

Guam and Japan also displayed as targets for possible North Korean attack North Korea appears to have divided South Korea into four missile strike zones based on its missiles’ effective firing range. The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, Korean Central Television, and other North Korean media relayed images on Aug. 15 showing leader Kim Jong-un receiving a report at the Army Strategic Force command post from commander Kim Rak-gyom. Three maps were seen hanging on the wall behind Kim, who appeared to be receiving a report on the plan for an “enveloping strike” around Guam. The maps clearly showed text reading “South Choson [Korea] operational zone,” “Japan operational zone,” and “Pacific region US empire invading forces deployed.” The “South Choson operational zone” section in particular showed lines dividing South Korea into four sections, with text at the end that appeared to refer to missile models. The lines were drawn at roughly the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) axis, the Uljin County area, the Pohang area, and the waters off Busan. The four lines are believed to indicate missile strike zones. The map marked “Japan operational zone” included lines extending to the waters in the Pacific Ocean south of Japan, along with a satellite image of what appeared to be Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. A map in front of Kim Jong-un marked “Strategic Force strike plan” indicated a long missile path extending from North Korea to Guam. The pictures appear to have been released by North Korea in an effort to play up its threat to strike near Guam. By Park Byong-su, senior staff writer

China military criticizes ‘wrong’ U.S. moves on Taiwan, S.China Sea

The “wrong” actions of the United States on Taiwan, its South China Sea patrols and deployment of an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea have had a large, negative influence on military trust, a senior Chinese officer said on Thursday.

Chinese media ‘racist’ video on India clash sparks anger – BBC News

It features a Chinese actor in a turban and fake beard, mockingly assuming an Indian accent.

Why Chinese mock video is a pack of lies, India has committed no ‘sin’ in Doklam : India, News – India Today

An explainer about why Chinese video accusing India of committing seven sins in Doklam is an attempt to spread false propaganda.


Foreign Policy Reports


Russian-Germans in focus amid fears of Moscow propaganda

German political parties campaigning for elections next month are competing to attract 2 million voters with roots in the former Soviet Union, amid concerns that Russian propaganda could sway votes in the community.

UAWire – German Foreign Minister: We do not need a debate on Crimea, we need to think about truce in Donbas

In an interview with the German daily newspaper Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel claimed that Christian Lindner, a leader among German liberals, is just trying to get headlines when speaking of the temporary postponement of the issue of Crimea’s annexation, and that the main task at present is to achieve an ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. European Pravda reported this. “In my opinion, Mr. Lindner is only concerned with headlines. We do not need debates on Crimea. We need to think about how to reach a ceasefire in the east of Ukraine,” Gabriel said. According to Gabriel, the truce is a necessary condition for easing tensions with Russia, and in the Minister’s opinion, Lindner does not make any contribution to achieving this goal with his statements. As previously reported, on August 5, the head of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), Christian Lindner, stated that the issue of Crimea’s annexation should be “temporarily sealed” to achieve progress on other points in relations with Moscow. Lindner later clarified his position, saying that his party does not recognize the annexation of the Crimea. However, since it is impossible to solve the problem of occupation now, other issues should not be linked to it, because otherwise it will not be possible to achieve progress in relations with Russia.

Mike Pence urges Latin American countries to isolate North Korea – Business Insider

Pence wants the region to do more to isolate North Korea and called on countries there to “do more” to address the situation in Venezuela.

Russia Says Venezuela Crisis Must Be Resolved ‘Without Outside Pressure’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the crisis in Venezuela should be resolved peacefully and without external intervention. Lavrov said on August 16 that Venezuela must &quo…

Russia Says Venezuela Crisis Must Be Resolved Peacefully | World News | US News

US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.


Strategy / Capability Publications


This is Not the NATO You’re Looking For: A Practical Vision for Arab and Asian Security Networks

The Trump administration’s relationship with NATO is complicated, to say the least. While President Donald Trump keeps the alliance at arm’s length, the ad

A Road to Riches or a Road to Ruin? The Geo-economic Implications of China’s New Silk Road | HCSS

China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project was formally introduced by Chinese President Xi-Jinping in 2013. The project, aimed at integrating trade and investment in Eurasia, encompasses over $900 billion in planned investments of infrastructure across Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

The Terrifying Tale of How One Russian Submarine Almost Started World War III over Cuba | The National Interest Blog

The Cuban Missile Crisis could have gone very different.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Ukraine malware author turns witness in Russian DNC hacking investigation | Ars Technica

“Profexor” turns self in to Ukrainian authorities, assists FBI in DNC hack investigation.


In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking [UPDATED] – The New York Times

For the first time, an actual witness has emerged in the election hacking, and he has been interviewed by the F.B.I.

How Can Ukraine Tackle Russian Propaganda – YouTube

Dmytro Zolotukhin, Deputy Minister of Ukraine’s Information Policy, explains how the country deals with Russian propaganda. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: …

America’s top 4 cyberspace foes

Kevin Mandia, CEO of FireEye, provided an in-depth review of tactics, techniques and procedures of the top adversaries facing the U.S. in cyberspace at DoDIIS Worldwide 2017.

World’s biggest shipper: cyberattack cost up to $300M

The Copenhagen-based group, which was particularly severely affected by the attack, says the impact will first be reflected in its third quarter results as revenue was mainly lost in July.

Russia May Be Testing Its GPS Spoofing Capabilities Around The Black Sea – The Drive

Preparing for a world where GPS connectivity isn’t guaranteed sure isn’t convenient but it may be entirely necessary.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Poll: Republicans’ confidence in Russia’s Putin on the rise – POLITICO

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to have confidence in Vladimir Putin, and less likely to see Russia as a threat.

Lawmakers raise cash off Trump-Russia probe – POLITICO

The appeals for campaign money violate a long-standing unwritten rule against partisan activities surrounding the House Intelligence Committee.

Russian Web Host Suspends Daily Stormer After Government Inquiry

A Russian web-hosting provider says it has suspended the Russian domain of the prominent U.S. neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer after the government's media regulator asked it to look into th…

Can America look to Ukraine for guidance on their growing monument problem? -Euromaidan Press |

Caroline Gawlik For Americans in light of the Charlottesville events, Ukraine is a world away. Right now it has been difficult enough for a citizen of Virginia to find common ground with their neighbors—it is even harder to look across the world for guidance. But in this time of disorder, I think there is much that Americans can learn from Ukraine. Ukraine and America do not have similar histories. Ukraine has never been the modern powerhouse empire that America once was. Instead, Ukrainians have long been the subaltern to various empires—particularly to the Russian Empire, and in turn the Soviet Union. Therefore with the collapse of Communism in 1991, Ukrainians began their modern advancement towards discovering their own national values, identity, and memories. They marked the beginning of this transition by toppling Soviet monuments.

Why Are American Liberals So Afraid of Russia? – The New York Times

Because it reminds them of the United States.

Paul Manafort is toast — the FBI raid was just the beginning – Business Insider

Given his shadowy business and political dealings with pro-Russia elements, with his proximity to Trump, the fact that he’s under investigation is…

Is Paul Manafort Finally Going Down? | Care2 Causes

The president’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort is in deep trouble with the FBI.

New Trump-Russia emails suggest Moscow’s attempt to infiltrate Trump’s campaign may have gone further than we thought | Business Insider

Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George…

New Trump-Russia emails could establish a ‘devastating’ legal entanglement for Paul Manafort | Business Insider

Newly-reported emails show a Trump campaign…

Paul Manafort Sought $850 Million Deal With Putin Ally and Alleged Gangster

Trump’s one-time campaign chairman has a history of unorthodox real-estate deals. But this may have been the wildest of all.

Ukrainian MP seeks probe of Ukraine-Clinton ties – POLITICO

Parliament member demands to know whether his country’s government targeted Trump in the 2016 campaign.

Hope Hicks ‘to be named new White House comms director’ | Daily Mail Online

Hope Hicks, 28, will take the position after Anthony Scaramucci lasted just 10 days in the job, according to a report from the Daily Caller.

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