Today’s deluge makes up for thin digests over the last three days. Zapad 2017 debate continues. Orban analysis suggests greed rather than ideology in Hungary. Galeotti on Russia’s deniable pretend-PMCs. Excellent commentary by Lucas on Russian mass murder of Ukrainians, and good Snyder comments on Ilyin, author of Eurasianism, promoted by Dugin to Putin. Reports Putin viewed Panama Papers as Agency plot to damage him, compelling payback. Montenegro assassination plot photos. Russian urban terrorism pricelist detailed – what the FSB/GRU pays for wet jobs and other covert work inside Ukraine. More trouble in Caucasus. Russian mortality the same as in 1965 in most age groups. Artur Gorokh comments on Russian media vs. public, COCW. Prof Goble’s BDDNRS #90 is as always a must read item, multiple COCW, it is the best weekly exposition of Russia’s entry into the abyss.
Belarus dominated by Zapad 2017, and the kidnapping of a Ukrainian teenager by the FSB using his Russian girlfriend as bait – extraordinary effort to capture a child who insulted Russia on his VK account. Moldovan govt says it will not withdraw its request to the UN.
Poroshenko responds to Macron and Merkel asking Ukraine and Russia to work harder on the ceasefire – clearly the SDP are driving FRG policy. Ukrainian MSM expose Valdai Club membership of Michael Kofman, and his track record arguing the Russian side. Much reporting and argumentation over Amb Volker’s FT interview. New Donbass legislation will designate Russia as an “aggressor state”, while ceasefire remains broken. Good report on the cultural rennaissance in Ukraine. Four reports on the Ilovaisk massacre, including eyewitness testimony of the Russians shooting into ambulances.
ISIS collapse in Tal Afar, while Hezbollah release ISIS EPWs. Burmese Muslims radicalise.
DPRK IRBM shot over Hokkaido elicits claim by Beijing that the US should negotiate – Kim is playing an escalation game to maximise poker style winnings when the US and Allies fold, China is saying “now is the time to fold”. Four interesting background reports on DPRK and PRC. India now also claiming a win in the Himalayan dispute.
SDP in Germany again playing proxy for Russia. Two interesting topics on migration to the EU. Russian argues US preparing to invade Venezuela.
Interesting primer by Hansen on Russian subthreshold / hybrid techniques. Holmes elaborates on PLA arguments on defending SCS acquisitions. Indonesia shopping for Su-35S and KILO SSKs.
Hamilton 68 online system for monitoring Russian propaganda on Twitter. AI in cyber. Facebook tries to suppress fake news.
US domestic debate remains hyper-polarised and toxic – Newsweek even arranged NATO accession for Finland to take a shot at POTUS.
Russia / Russophone Reports
Russia said on Tuesday joint war games with Belarus would be purely defensive in nature and rejected what it said were false allegations it might use the drills as a springboard to launch invasions of Poland, Lithuania or Ukraine.
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has repeated his arguments that Washington should have a better relationship with Moscow as he declined to describe Russia's actions in Europe i…
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President Trump and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland will hold a joint news conference Monday at 4:20 p.m. ET
A friend shared: So, Åland is actually in the middle of an important shipping lane between Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. Åland is also exempt from conscription and considered a demilitarized zone and could be very difficult to retake should it become occupied. Colleagues in the Finnish intelligence community have previously told me that these…
It may look like Moscow’s ties with Budapest are strong. But looks can be deceiving. Putin’s honorary degree is connected to an agreement between the Debrecen University and Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, to develop specialized nuclear related education. Gas relations is another key issue for both sides. Lately, Gazprom has had to fight hard for its market share in Europe. Under pressure from the EU, 65 of its European contracts have reportedly been revisited since 2015. But Budapest is also bargaining hard. In 2015, Hungary postponed signing a long-term contract with Gazprom citing “nervous markets” and “international market pricing.” At the same time, it recently signed an agreement with Gazprom over the Turkish Stream pipeline, describing it as the “only realistic” step toward energy diversification. Compared to Poland or Lithuania, which are willing to pay a premium for independence from Russia, Budapest’s key objective is cost. Reducing household energy bills contributed to Orban’s victory in 2014. The gas bills delivered to homes still specify total savings so Hungarians remember to be grateful for the government price cuts. Gazprom is also interested in storing gas in Hungary’s commercial storage facilities toward the 2019 elections seasons in Ukraine, a key transit country for Russia’s gas to Europe. This would mitigate the risk of a potential transit blockade in Ukraine for Russian gas. Putin’s visit comes ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections in Hungary scheduled for spring 2018. Opposition parties have been preparing for the visit — and the elections — saying Hungary must choose between the EU on one hand and Russia and Orban on the other. It will be a bit of a stretch to convince Hungarian voters of this binary. Despite its pragmatic ties with Russia, Hungary has remained firmly rooted in the Euro-Atlantic world and Hungarians are among the most ardent supporters of the EU according to recent polls. Budapest’s “eastern opening” policy — its shift towards Russia following unrest in Ukraine — is not out of the ordinary or a major departure in policy. And Hungary’s slide into illiberalism was neither inspired nor supported by Putin. Rather, it was precipitated by Orban’s dominant position on local politics in the past eight years. The Russian secret services’ increased activities in Hungary are rightly the subject of suspicion in the West and a headache for Budapest. But the alternative could see the Kremlin limit its tacit support for Orban in favor of his main challenger, Hungary’s far right. As Andras Racz, a Hungarian analyst of Russian affairs put it, this is no friendship and there are no common values to base a long-term alliance on. As their mutual interests are on shaky grounds, expect some tough bargaining.
Protesters took to the streets in Budapest to denounce the visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the World Judo Championship. Several small anti-Putin protests were held on August 28 by Hungarian opposition parties, who also slammed Prime Minister Viktor Orban for his affinity for the Russian leader and classified long-term energy deals with Russia. (AFP)
BRUSSELS — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said that the EU should seek better relations with Moscow, but without giving up its values. "There is no European securit…
U.S. President Donald Trump says he believes that U.S. relations with Russia will improve. Speaking on August 28 at a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Washington, Trump called Russia “a big country” and added, “I think we will eventually get along with Russia.” (AP)
Further revelations regarding the role of Russian private military contractors in Syria exposes how, under Putin, “state” and “private” are often one and the same thing.
The Holodomor happened almost a century ago. It’s legacy still shapes contemporary conflict. Was the Holodomor a genocide? No, says modern Russia, echoing the Soviet Union; Stalin killed lots of people, and the fact that so many millions of them were Ukrainians is beside the point. For Ukraine, by contrast, the mass murder of millions by the Communist regime in the Kremlin is both a historical fact and a defining feature of modern statehood. Stalin was not just trying to uproot the peasantry across the old Tsarist empire (pious, traditional and inherently anti-Soviet) but also especially needed to attack Ukrainian national identity, which threatened the whole basis of the supra-national Soviet Union. The new book “Red Famine” by Anne Applebaum (full disclosure: one of my oldest and dearest friends) is an exemplary account of both the mass murder of the Ukrainians in the early 1930s, and of the historical arguments that have raged about it ever since. Without giving away too much about the book, I would only point out at this stage that Applebaum is already the acclaimed author of two definitive histories of the past century. “Gulag” won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for its meticulous, scholarly—but also heart-rending—account of the Soviet system of slave labor camps. “Iron Curtain” in 2012 chronicled the postwar Soviet seizure of power in what we used to call “Eastern Europe.” Both books attracted a lot of sniping from other commentators: Applebaum was a “cold warrior” (as if that were a bad thing). She compared Soviet crimes with those of Nazi Germany, and found some similarities. She criticized Western historians who, whether from naïveté or self-interest, had soft-pedaled their criticism of the Soviet system. I suspect that “Red Famine” will prompt similar ire. Its first review by Sheila Fitzpatrick, an Australian scholar of Stalinist Russia, wrote in the London Guardian that the book exemplified the difficulty many in the left-liberal academic mainstream have in coping with competition. Fitzpatrick is furious that her own book is not included in Applebaum’s bibliography. She asserts, bafflingly, that “Red Famine” is based on no original research, and that the extensive references to archival sources are just a juvenile form of showing off. Most strikingly, she is determined to interpret Applebaum’s scrupulous analysis of the historiography of the Holodomor as a rejection of the idea that it was indeed a genocide. All that is quite wrong. Applebaum and her research assistants scoured the archives for primary sources. The book quotes them in great detail—even when accompanying references to secondary sources—because Russian propagandists habitually claim that the Ukrainian famine is exaggerated or even invented. Moreover, Applebaum is also quite explicit in her argument that the artificial famine exactly fits the original definition of “genocide.” The Soviet Union lobbied hard after the war to exclude political killings, precisely because the Kremlin worried that its habit of exterminating its opponents en masse might be covered by the original definition. Applebaum’s book could not be more timely. It is being published just as the able Kurt Volker, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Ukraine, says the United States is “seriously considering” sending lethal weaponry to the authorities in Kyiv. The two issues, of war and famine, are intertwined. The regime running Russia lies blatantly and systematically about its treatment of modern Ukraine, which it has invaded, occupied and dismembered. And the same regime lies blatantly and systematically about its predecessors’ barbarity in Ukraine. That is shocking enough. What is even more remarkable is that so many outsiders prefer in both cases to quibble about details, rather that focus on the real issues at stake: imperialism now, and mass murder then.
How to read Hitler and Ilyin? Historian Timothy Snyder, in conversation with Simas Čelutka of the Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, discusses how to approach problematic works of political theory. In addition to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Snyder has recently studied the works of Ivan Ilyin, a twentieth-century Russian writer whose ideas are influencing the Kremlin’s current world-view. Reading your book Black Earth and your article on Ivan Ilyin, what struck me was a very close and attentive reading of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Ivan Ilyin’s writings. You treat their ideas very seriously. It’s especially unusual with regards to Hitler, whose Mein Kampf is not extensively studied among historians – most of them concentrate almost exclusively on his actions, but not his thinking. In my view, the seriousness with which you take ideas makes your scholarship as a historian exceptional and refreshing. Henry Kissinger noted this by claiming that Black Earth is partly a book of history, and partly a book of political theory. What is your take on the relationship between ideas and actions, words and deeds? First of all, there’s a danger in separating intellectual and political history, where intellectual historians are concerned with ideas that are interesting, and political historians are not concerned with ideas at all. Often ideas that are most significant are bad ideas, i.e. ideas that are not interesting in and of themselves, but nevertheless exert psychological, sociological, and political power. And we don’t have to go all the way back to Hitler to see an example of this. In our own societies, we know perfectly well at least a few ideas that are significant, although they may not be good ideas. An intellectual historian 80 years from now may not be concerned with them, but they are nevertheless powerful. That said, to understand Mein Kampf I think you have to have a certain amount of intellectual history background to realize how Hitler is working from Biblical traditions, from traditions of Victorian science, Darwinism etc. Not so much because he needs to be classified as a thinker, but in order to see and comprehend how Mein Kampf makes sense, how it holds together. You’re right, it is very unusual to spend as much time on Mein Kampf as I do at the beginning of Black Earth. I put it at the beginning of my book because Black Earth is a book about the Holocaust of the Jews, and the history of the Holocaust of the Jews has to be understood as a realization of a particular worldview. The worldview, a vision of the world without Jews, is stated in Mein Kampf, and is realized in the history of Germany and also in the history of German actions towards states and societies beyond Germany. I don’t think you can understand the Holocaust without analysing the worldview. There are many ways you can make this argument. One is the classical question of the different forms of extermination policies applied to Jews and Slavs. If one ignores the ideology one easily falls into questions of comparison rather than questions of origins. The difference between how Germany treats the Slavs and how it treats the Jews is ideological – it goes back to the difference between colonizing the Slavs and a world without the Jews. You can have massively murderous policies towards both groups of people, but at the end of the day there is a difference, and the difference is ideological. Slavs were to be colonized and Jews were to be removed from the planet because Slavs were seen as an inferior race whereas Jews were seen as a non-race that prevented the racial struggle from getting underway. Or, in a case of my own central argument, I am saying that the Holocaust happened because of a certain kind of politically generated anarchy, in the course of which German power was used to get rid of traditional political institutions, and that created an environment that made mass killing in these stateless zones possible. It is easier for me to see that when I read Mein Kampf and realize that Hitler is not a German nationalist, that he is not a state-builder. Instead, he is someone who is trying to restore the world to its natural condition of being which is precisely a competition among races. Competition among races is not a political-institutional idea, it’s some other kind of idea. And so then it’s easier to see the German campaign in the East with its destruction of institutions as a normal part of the destructive process. If you ignore the ideas and start from the premise that it’s all about institutions and what institutions do, you cannot understand the destruction of other institutions as part of the argument. What about Ivan Ilyin and his ideas? Despite the fact that Vladimir Putin has brought Ilyin’s ideas into high politics and justified his foreign policy quoting Ilyin’s writings, Western observers are yet to discover this author. You, on the other hand, have read a lot of him lately and have written about him. Why are you taking Ilyin’s writings so seriously?
Is Vladimir Putin about to get his very own banknote? Could be. An association of entrepreneurs has recently proposed that the Russian central bank issue a commemorative 10,000-ruble note featuring Putin’s likeness. Now you can read this a couple ways. The simplest, of course, is that it is just the latest example of leader worship, the latest manifestation of a cult of personality that has run amok. But there is also another way to look at it. Despite the fact that Putin is widely expected to seek — and all but certain to win — a fourth term in the Kremlin in March, it could be a sign that the Putin era is actually entering its final lap. Because in recent weeks, Russian pundits, media, and think tanks have been increasingly — and very openly — speculating about life after Putin. The prominent sociologist Sergei Belanovsky recently wrote on Facebook, for example, that “the Putin era is coming to an end” and that “this is an incontrovertible fact that doesn’t depend on how much longer he remains president.” There has been noticeable speculation in the press about the Kremlin leader’s health. And the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation recently published rankings of potential Putin successors — and major Russian newspapers like Vedomosti, Kommersant, and Gazeta.ru amplified them. Now, we’ve been here before and every time we begin to write off this regime, it comes roaring back. But the system does appear to be preparing itself for Putin being a lame duck. Which is a pretty far cry from three years ago, when Vyacheslav Volodin famously said, “There is no Russia today if there is no Putin.”
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan have updated their 2015 book investigating the Russian Internet.
ON MY MIND In an updated edition of their book Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators And Online Revolutionaries, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan suggest that Vladimir Putin saw the publication of the Panama Papers as a personal attack orchestrated by the United States (see interview with The Washington Post featured below). Soldatov and Borogan also suggested that Russia’s hacking activity during the 2016 U.S. election could have been, in part, retaliation for the publication of the Panama Papers by Western media. This is intriguing (and it makes me really want to read the new chapter in Soldatov and Borogan’s updated book). And if this is indeed the case, it is yet another example of how little Putin and his entourage actually understand about how Western societies operate. The Panama Papers revelations of offshore accounts implicated not just Russsian officials, but governments around the world. If they were a U.S. plot against Russia, then they were also a plot against Great Britain, Ukraine, Argentina, Iceland, and others as well. Their publication resulted from a massive leak from an anonymous source of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The German paper then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which in turn shared them with a network of international media. In short, they resulted from a whistle-blower’s leak and from Western journalists doing their jobs. And the fact that Putin apparently saw this as a U.S. plot against Russia speaks volumes. It shows that his Kremlin feels threatened not only by things the West is doing — but mainly by what the West is.
Sources say the images are more evidence of Russia’s link to the attempted coup and show blatant aggression in a European country.
Journalist Andrei Tsaplienko published information about how many Russian supervisors are paying their agents for preparing terrorist acts in Ukraine. “Pricelist” is published on the journalist’s page on Facebook. According to Tsaplienko, a file with instructions and quotations was found from a Russian agent, whom the SBU detained for attempting to recruit Ukrainian officers.
- “Monitoring of buildings and officers of the AFU-MVD-SBU: duration – 5-10 days, remuneration from 60 to 100 US dollars per day”;
- “Fulfillment of the order (diversionary act by placing IED near the “objective” in the car, office, lobby, etc.): remuneration from 20 to 45 thousand US dollars;”;
- “Observation of high-level officials: duration 7-14 days, remuneration from 100 to 150 US dollars per day;
- “Liquidation of top-level officials: remuneration from 30 to 90 thousand US dollars “;
- “Observations and assessment of the situation in military units: duration 5-14 days, remuneration from 60 to 100 US dollars;
- “Terrorist acts in military units: 15-55 thousand US dollars (the amount depends on the amount of destroyed equipment, fuel, ammunition, etc.), “
Tsaplienko quoted the estimate.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 29 – Russian opposition candidates are winning support in places neither the Kremlin nor Moscow’s analysts expected: the numerous regions across the Russian Federation that the central government has neglected, according to a report by Germany’s Handelsblatt. In an article entitled “The Russian Provinces Rise Against Putin,” the German business paper says in many places, local people are supporting Aleksey Navalny because of Moscow’s neglect (handelsblatt.com/politik/international/russland-die-provinz-probt-den-aufstand-gegen-putin/20238408.html; in Russian inopressa.ru/article/28Aug2017/handelsblatt/russia_oppozit_01.html). A journalist from the paper visited Vyksa, a town of 60,000 in Nizhny Novgorod oblast about 300 kilometers east of Moscow. What it found were many local businessmen who are concerned that the Kremlin’s “aggressive foreign policy” is hurting their business and who are thus prepared to support Navalny against Putin despite all odds. One of them has seen his business collapse since 2014 and blames Kremlin policies for that. He earlier served on the city council where he learned that Moscow takes all the money and decides everything. The businessman says that he now believes the country must decentralize if the economy is to grow again. And he is doing more than complaining. Not only are he and some like-minded people distributing Navalny literature despite the opposition of the authorities, but they are using YouTube to produce Vyksa Live, a one-hour weekly program that reaches from 500,000 to a million people. That broadcast talks almost exclusively about local problems and the need for local solutions, and officials have been forced to respond to its reportage, fixing some if not all of the problems the broadcast points to. Obviously, supporting opposition figures is not career enhancing, the people of Vyksa say; but now at least businessmen fear that if they don’t support an alternative to the current regime, they will be left with nothing: “In 1991, all of us were equal and had nothing to lose,” one says. “But now I do have something to lose” – and thus something to defend.
Russian authorities say four suspected militants and three law enforcement officers have been killed in two separate clashes in the volatile southern province of Dagestan.
A police officer has been gunned down and two assailants killed during a shootout in the restive North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a local law enforcement source as saying Monday. The incident took place in the city of Kaspiysk on the Caspian Sea’s western coast, 20 kilometers south of Dagestan’s capital of Makhachkala. The attack is the third deadly assault on law enforcement officials this year, RIA Novosti says.
Russian authorities say three law enforcement officers were killed in two separate incidents in the southern Daghestan region on August 28, including an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group’s propaganda agency.
The deadly stabbing attack in Dagestan follows a similar incident in Siberia that left eight people injured, according to reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Georgia’s breakaway Republic of Abkhazia in early August served to highlight once again Moscow’s uneasy and difficult relationship with that particular client.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 29 – The foreign policy course of new Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, one that stresses the brotherhood of all Central Asian peoples, has left the residents of the three Uzbek enclaves inside Kyrgyzstan – Sokh, Shakhimardan and Chongar — wondering what will be their fate given that they see Kyrgyz officials systematically working against them. In a comment for the CentrAsia portal, one local resident, Sukhrob Mamadaliyev, says that Tashkent in its efforts to reach agreement with Bishkek is ignoring the interests of ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan and especially those who live in the three relatively small Uzbek enclaves there (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1503960060). And that in turn, Mamadaliyev continues, is leading Bishkek to assume that it can get away with anything and to encourage young Kyrgyz to seize land and inflict other damages on Uzbeks in the name of Kyrgyz “hurrah patriotism.” Not surprisingly, this is infuriating local Uzbeks who now feel defenseless because they are cut off from their own country. This problem didn’t arise yesterday or even the day before yesterday, he suggests; but it has gotten worse in recent months, largely because of Tashkent’s unwillingness to oppose what Bishkek is doing. If nothing changes, he implies, the local residents will have to take things into their own hands, a step that would likely trigger the kind of conflict Tashkent couldn’t ignore.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 29 – The Kremlin typically focuses on birthrates when it talks about demography, but in fact, many of Russia’s most pressing problems reflect death rates which for many age cohorts are today no lower than they were in 1965, according to Anatoly Vishnevsky, director of the Moscow Institute of Demography. This is connected in the first instance, he says, with the “risky” behavior of adult males, particularly overconsumption of alcohol. Indeed, at present, “the main high contingent are adult males aged 35 to 40 who should not be dying but are (znak.com/2017-08-25/demograf_anatoliy_vishnevskiy_o_krizise_rozhdaemosti_roste_smertnosti_i_probleme_migracii). Frequently, Vishnevsky continues, this is hidden by the statistics the authorities choose to talk about. Russian life expectancy has risen but only thanks to a reduction in infant mortality not mortality of older groups. That is because cutting mortality rates among the youngest groups has the greatest impact on overall mortality. There are other problems among adults as well, he says. HIV infections and mortality from AIDS continue to grow in Russia even though deaths from this disease have declined in advanced countries. The infections largely occurred in the 1990s, but the deaths are only coming now as the disease has a long gestation period. And Russian adults suffer from super-high levels of deaths from other causes like murder, suicides, accidents and so on. Some of the last can be blamed on bad roads, but a far larger cause is the inability of the government to ensure that ambulances will arrive at accident scenes soon enough to save people. As a result, Vishnevsky says, “there has been a complete stagnation in Russia” as far as life expectancy is concerned at least compared to other developed countries. And the situation threatens to get worse. Russia passed the first demographic transition with the introduction of antibiotics for infectious diseases. But it is not doing well with the second. That involves diseases not caused by infections and other causes. There Russia is lagging behind, and the government bears much of the responsibility. It is spending far less of its GDP on health care and other public services than any country with an aging population must if conditions are to improve. Vladimir Putin likes to talk about reaching a life expectancy of 76 by 2025, Vishnevsky says; but the Kremlin leader and his supporters fail to point out that many countries are at that point now and will have longer life expectancies then. Thus, in what may appear to be its racing ahead, Russia is in fact falling further behind.
When the Iron Curtain fell and waves of Russian emigrants washed upon the American shore, a famous musician you’ve never heard of wrote a song titled “Good Bye America.” It is about the America that existed in the collective unconsciousness of the deprived Soviet population, a country that achieved happiness via abundance and freedom. It […]…The similarities are numerous. In news reports, anchors never really have to outright lie when relaying facts to the population. Careful and subtle omission is the only tool required to perform a remote lobotomy, and only amateurs resort to reporting factually false information. Then there is a Bill O’Reilly-type show where the host would give his personal take on the recent events in a pseudo-intellectual manner that makes you feel you’re smart for following his convoluted conspiratorial explanations. But a personal favorite TV gimmick of mine is the panel discussion — whoever invented this genre was a genius! You can present your radical viewpoint as moderate by inviting to the show someone outright insane and you can pretend you are being fair to the other side by inviting them to participate, and then cutting them off after five seconds. You don’t need to act unprofessionally by making unbased claims — you can instead let your guests do the job. Finally, what can be better for ratings than the engrossing drama of spit-n-shout arguments which are oftentimes misconstrued as debate? The crazy thing is, if you listen long enough, even while disagreeing with every word and making fun of moderator’s style choices, you will walk away with your point of view nevertheless ever so slightly shifted; like uranium radiation, propaganda poisons you regardless of whether or not you choose to believe in it. The bottom line is that information in Russia is abundant but unwanted. And the main obstacle to improving freedom of press is not the imprisoned bloggers but the pathological and irredeemable ignorance and addiction to television exhibited by my compatriots. Chances are, neither of those things sound foreign to you, reader.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 26 — 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 97th 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.
- Russians Increasingly Looking Beyond Putin.Even though Putin almost certainly will be reelected if he runs, ever more Russians are looking beyond him and his era, a development that is making him effectively a lame duck. One Russian has asked “is there life after Putin?” (http://svpressa.ru/politic/article/179615/). The compiling of possible successor lists has underscored that he won’t be in office forever (http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599A73FAA5D59). Putin himself has added fuel to this fire by talking about the qualities a Russian leader must have (newsland.com/community/5652/content/putin-nazval-glavnye-kachestva-rukovoditelia-strany/5962895). And ever more Russians are talking about how hard it will be to cure Russia of Putinism (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5997D3EBE4512). Nonetheless, the Putin cult continues to grow with some wanting to put the visage of the Kremlin leader on Russian currency (rbc.ru/politics/21/08/2017/599ae7129a794787663ee436?from=main), and other suggesting that Putin may cease to be president only to become “an Orthodox ayatollah” (business-gazeta.ru/article/355246). Other Putin developments: by focusing on Khersones, Putin has reduced the centrality of the Russian mythology about Kyiv as the mother of Russian cities (regnum.ru/news/polit/2311884.html). He has been criticized for failing to express sympathy to the victims of domestic terrorism even while he invariably does so if the victims are foreigners (newsland.com/community/4765/content/putin-predal-svoi-narod-terakt-v-surgute-kak-lichnyi-pozor-prezidenta/5964699). He has acquired a new dacha but apparently not a lot of new clothes (themoscowtimes.com/photogalleries/president-putins-sartorial-style-58707 and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599E7FB4080F1). And Russians’ trust in Putin slips ever further behind their support for him (kp.ru/daily/26722/3747925/).
- ‘Is Trump Still US President?’ After obsessing about US President Donald Trump for most of the last six months, now Russians appear to be forgetting about him, even asking in some cases whether he is still in power (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599D6AFE38130 and ura.news/articles/1036271923). There was a brief flurry of new interest when Russian outlets picked up Western stories that Trump is unhappy about the new Russian sanctions (regions.ru/news/2609734/).
- Will Kremlin’s Use of Dating Service Boost Voter Turnout?Given that the results of voting are predetermined but the level of participation is now, Russian political technologists are trying all kinds of things to boost the latter, including employing a dating service to get young people to the polls (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599A91F380EA9 and newsland.com/community/6399/content/pamfilova-posetovala-na-slozhnost-vosstanovleniia-doveriia-naseleniia-k-vyboram/5966021). Other political developments worthy of note: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says visa decision by US was designed to provoke a Maidan in Russia. His words were backed by a fake story about long lines at the US embassy (ng.ru/news/591580.html and meduza.io/en/shapito/2017/08/22/russian-news-outlets-spread-fake-story-about-huge-lines-outside-the-u-s-embassy-in-moscow). The foreign ministry unintentionally cast doubt on the legitimacy of Boris R(newsland.com/user/4295808247/content/mid-rossii-postavil-pod-somnenie-legitimnost-vtorogo-izbraniia-eltsina/5962415). School directors who don’t support Putin will be fired (znak.com/2017-08-23/v_zabaykale_ministr_grozil_uvolit_direktorov_shkol_ne_podderzhavshih_shkolnikov_putina). A stable of 162 possible governors is being formed, an indication of more changes ahead (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/08/23/134645-vedomosti-uznali-o-poruchenii-ranhigs-podgotovit-162-kandidata-v-gubernatory). Russians are unhappy with Medvedev government and no longer consider it a symbol of the country (polit.ru/news/2017/08/24/government/ and politsovet.ru/56293-rossiyane-perestali-schitat-medvedeva-simvolom-strany.html). Fewer than a thousand people have refugee status in Russia (ng.ru/politics/2017-08-21/3_7055_refugees.html). And Russian officials are making ever more foolish mistakes: Russian television made Sakhalin part of Japan (regnum.ru/news/society/2312081.html), and a Urals woman was registered as having a birthday on February 30 (ura.news/news/1052301331).
- More Russians Move into Shadow Economy as Putin Makes That Easier.The shadow economy in Russia is growing with some 33 million workers (ng.ru/economics/2017-08-24/1_7058_shadow.html ), and Putin is making this trend easier by cutting back no government inspections of firms (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5998144705DFD). Other macro-economic news includes: the dollar capitalization of Russian firms fell by 44 percent from 2009 to 2016 (newsland.com/community/5206/content/kapitalizatsiia-rossii-v-dollarovom-vyrazhenii-umenshilas-s-2009-po-2016-na-44/5961336, Muscovite renovation plans will lead to a jump in Moscow’s deficit (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599AA4C969EA8), Russian firms are reducing hiring of young people (newsland.com/community/129/content/issledovanie-rossiiskie-kompanii-otkazyvaiutsia-ot-molodykh-rabotnikov/5964494), foreign investors are pulling out capital from Russia (newizv.ru/news/economy/22-08-2017/inostrannye-investory-vyvodyat-sredstva-iz-rossii-3d5acfc9-488f-49c9-b11a-6c55c9efe3b0), shadow reserves are running out in many companies (newsland.com/community/7285/content/rossiia-doedaet-tenevye-rezervy-valiuty/5965514), unemployment now at critical levels in a quarter of Russian regions (ng.ru/economics/2017-08-25/1_7059_unemployment.html), and one expert assessment says US sanctions are costing Russia 500 billion rubles (eight billion US dollars) every year (newsland.com/community/politic/content/ssha-urezali-vvp-rossii-amerikanskie-sanktsii-budut-stoit-strane-ezhegodno-500-milliardov-rublei/5962656).
- How Bad are Things for Ordinary Russians? Samara Residents are now buying dog meat for food (agonia-ru.com/archives/10710), and ten percent of Urals residents say they’ll have sex with bosses to get hired or be promoted (politsovet.ru/56320-kazhdyy-desyatyy-ekaterinburzhec-gotov-na-seks-radi-polucheniya-raboty.html). More than half of Russians haven’t been to a restaurant or a movie in the last year (takiedela.ru/news/2017/08/22/ni-kina-ni-vina/), and real Russian pay remains less than half what officials say it is (newsland.com/community/5442/content/realnaia-sredniaia-zarplata-v-rossii-pochti-v-2-raza-menshe-ofitsialnoi/5966121). Adding insult to injury, Russian officials have described the recent decline of Russian incomes as “a technical adjustment” (newsland.com/community/4788/content/v-pravitelstve-nazvali-tekhnicheskim-padenie-dokhodov-rossiian/5964895). One-third of pensions now have to work to make ends meet (newsland.com/community/4765/content/attraktsion-neslykhannoi-shchedrosti/5964758), and Russians say they see no end to the crisis (newsland.com/community/4788/content/dokhody-rossiian-padeniiu-kontsa-ne-vidno/5962974).
- Income Divide Only Deepens. Poor Russians spent on average 4,000 rubles (62 US dollars) to get children ready to go back to school; rich ones spent as much as 300,000 rubles (5,000 US dollars) (znak.com/2017-08-22/princ_i_nichiy_podgotovit_shkolnika_k_1_sentyabrya_stoit_ot_4000_do_300_000_rubley). The wealthiest have one trillion US dollars stashed abroad, about 75 percent of the country’s total wealth (echo.msk.ru/news/2042154-echo.html, regnum.ru/news/economy/2313086.html,svpressa.ru/economy/article/179815/?rpop=1and nakanune.ru/articles/113205/). The Russian rich continue to buy up property abroad (znak.com/2017-08-24/druzya_putina_okazalis_vladelcami_starinnoy_villy_iz_sherloka_holmsa) and to support high-end stores in Moscow (rbc.ru/newspaper/2017/08/24/599c62509a79477ceaaaefd2). What the Russian rich don’t do is give to charity: only one Russian billionaire has pledged to give away his wealth (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/23/73561-milliarder-dlya-truschob). That is offensive to many poor Russians who give a far higher share of their incomes (iq.hse.ru/news/208432918.html).
- ‘Property for Sale; Residents Convey.’ In what some Russians see as a return to serfdom, Russians are now selling property with an indication that the residents “convey” to the new owner (newizv.ru/news/incident/22-08-2017/krepostnaya-istoriya-v-tyumeni-prodali-zemlyu-s-lyudmi-na-vyvod). Other social news: Russians feel more pride in the symbols of their country (newsland.com/community/4109/content/vtsiom-rossiiane-ispytyvaiut-gordost-i-voskhishchenie-gliadia-na-simvoly-rf/5962641), Russian school children will now be given lectures on state security (rosbalt.ru/posts/2017/08/24/1640910.html), Moscow claims to have reduced amount of illegal vodka (iz.ru/632600/evgeniia-pertceva/rar-zafiksirovalo-lish-7-nelegalnoi-vodki), the atomization of Russian society has reached unprecedented levels (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599AC18255C28), majority of Russians want to restrict immigration despite saying they aren’t prejudiced about immigrants (takiedela.ru/news/2017/08/23/potok-migrantov/), and Internet usage is stratified by class with university students looking at one set of sites and those with less education at an entirely different mix (iq.hse.ru/news/208391981.html), and half of university students now prepared to emigrate becase of income inequality (http://ttolk.ru/2017/08/22/справедливость-в-представлении-моло/).
- Being Elderly in Russia Means ‘We Hope You’ll Die Soon.’Russia’s elderly are increasingly invisible even though they are more numerous and some say that the attitude of others is that “we hope you’ll die soon” as the only thing you have to look forward to is the cemetery (snob.ru/profile/27352/blog/128059, newsland.com/community/6399/content/liudi-nevidimki-sotsiolog-o-tom-kak-zhivut-pozhilye-v-rossii/5964184 and idelreal.org/a/avariynoe-zhilye-kazan/28692223.html). Diseases of all kinds are hitting ever more Russians but falsification of government statistics is so bad that only anecdotal evidence is available (newsland.com/community/4765/content/falsifikatsiia-meditsinskoi-statistiki-v-moskve/5962319). Medicines are increasingly expensive or not available at all (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/08/18/1639620.html andng.ru/health/2017-08-23/7_7057_apteka.html). And experts say that depression among Russians is on the rise because they don’t talk about their problems with others (fedpress.ru/news/russia/society/1841041).
- Russians in Republics Complain about Being Forced to Learn Non-Russian Languages. Picking up on Putin’s recent comment, ethnic Russians in non-Russian republics and in Tatarstan in the first instance are complaining about being forced to study the titular languages there (regnum.ru/news/society/2314148.htmlandkp.ru/daily/26720.5/3745927/). Moscow has also launched an attack on Tatar nationalists (business-gazeta.ru/article/355300 and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599D66B938555). But even Tatars who don’t speak Tatar are retaining their national identity, something that means Moscow’s obsession with language may not work out the way it assumes (business-gazeta.ru/article/354938). Other ethnic news this week includes: a Belarusian national cultural autonomy has appeared in Karelia (nazaccent.ru/content/25146-v-karelii-poyavilas-nacionalno-kulturnaya-avtonomiya-belorusov.html), a group of Caucasians beat to death a Russian athlete in Khabarovsk (znak.com/2017-08-20/v_habarovske_razyskivayut_boyca_prichastnogo_k_smerti_chempiona_mira_po_pauerliftingu), Ingushetia elite rejects idea of morals police (msk.ru/news/2040346-echo.html), Russians think Caucasians have advantages in entering Moscow higher educational institutes while North Caucasians think Moscow wants to keep them uneducated (newsland.com/community/4765/content/moskva-v-shoke-v-vuzy-i-kolledzhi-postupili-odni-kavkaztsy/5962251 andkavkazr.com/a/gosudarstvu-ne-nujny-shibko-gramotnye-kavkaztsy/28688486.html), only eight percent of Russians think the unity of the people is important for Russia (nazaccent.ru/content/25088-tolko-dlya-8-rossiyan-edinstvo-naroda.html), new restrictions have been imposed on north Caucasus marriage ceremonies (svpressa.ru/society/article/179392/), Ramzan Kadyrov reunites families by pushing for polygamy (themoscowtimes.com/news/special-chechnya-commission-reunites-divorced-families-58728),Makhachkala said ignoring highland Daghestan (onkavkaz.com/news/1839-my-voobsche-ne-suschestvuem-dlja-nashei-vlasti-vysokogornye-raiony-dagestana-naproch-zabyty-vla.html), more Daghestanis are now dying from highway accidents than in armed conflicts (ekhokavkaza.com/a/28692166.html), and Putin is urged to reject Russian nation law and proceed to do away with republics and even non-Russian nations (newsland.com/community/8/content/rossiiskaia-natsiia-v-novom-zakonoproekte/5965687 and zen.yandex.ru/media/id/5933233c8e557d35dc614b74/chto-delat-russkim-s-malymi-narodami-rossii-5991feef77d0e6967695bba3).
- More Regions Delay School Openings because of Kurban Bayram. Because the Muslim holiday this year falls on the same day Russian schools are slated to open, ever more places where there are sizeable numbers of the faithful are delaying school openings until September 4, despite Russian warnings and complaints (gazeta.ru/comments/2017/08/24_e_10855730.shtml and sova-center.ru/religion/news/authorities/protection/2017/08/d37757/). Russian commentators point out that Russian Christianity is divided from the West even by the way it represents the cross (interfax-religion.ru/?act=print&div=20339), a leading sect hunter says many more religious groups should be banned in the same way the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78786 and sova-center.ru/religion/publications/2017/08/d37672/), the Russian Orthodox Church is expanding its cooperation agreements with regional governments even as it acqir3es more property (newsland.com/community/4109/content/sverdlovskoe-ministerstvo-obrazovaniia-podpisalo-soglashenie-s-rpts/5965791 and newsland.com/community/4765/content/rpts-zabiraet-rossiiu-kak-tserkov-rasshiriaet-svoi-vladeniia/5963823), the Moscow patriarchate says it will defend priest accused of organizing ring of prostitutes (politsovet.ru/56361-rpc-budet-pomogat-svyaschenniku-obvinennomu-v-organizacii-prostitucii.html), and Patriarch Kirill has denounced extreme forms of sports (politsovet.ru/56311-patriarh-kirill-osudil-ekstremalnye-vidy-sporta.html).
- Regions Vary Widely in Reaction to Moscow-Imposed Heads. A new study finds that some regions resist mightily when Moscow imposes a new head on them while others don’t (fedpress.ru/expert-opinion/1842927). They also vary enormously in terms of how welcoming they are to opposition parties (newsland.com/community/4765/content/vdali-ot-moskvy-rossiiskaia-oppozitsiia-organizuetsia-v-regionakh/5959671). New fears are spreading about the number of Koreans and Chinese in the Russian Far East (versia.ru/rossiyane-begut-s-dalnego-vostoka-ix-mesto-zanimayut-korejcy-i-kitajcy). Proponent of shifting capital from Moscow says Muscovites have no right to better life than other Russians (newsland.com/community/4788/content/iurii-krupnov-sergeiu-sobianinu-dokazhite-chto-moskva-dolzhna-zhit-luchshe-rossii/5962689).
- Surgut Violence Makes Russians Feel Insecure. The police in Surgut handled the violence there so ineffectively than all Russians could see it even on Moscow television, and many are now thinking about acquiring guns for self-defense. The failure of the Russian Guard to protect a Russian athlete in Khabarovsk only adds to this fear (ura.news/articles/1036271932and echo.msk.ru/news/2042780-echo.html). In many places, demand for guns has skyrocketed (newsland.com/community/7268/content/rossiiane-ne-mogut-zashchishchatsia-kogda-ikh-rezhut-i-ubivaiut/5962306, regnum.ru/news/society/2311971.html and znak.com/2017-08-24/kalashnikov_predstavil_oruzhie_effektivnoe_protiv_teraktov_s_naezdom_na_tolpu). In other news on domestic security, fighters returning from the Donbass are getting little honor or even respect (currenttime.tv/a/28684467.html), ethnic clashes are increasing in the military (versia.ru/v-rossijskoj-armii-obostrilas-mezhnacionalnaya-problema), Russian officials are tightly restricting drone sales (profile.ru/economics/item/119109-derzhi-dron-vyshe), and the Russian stop list at the border now has 77,000 names on it (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599AA7EA413C9).
- War in Ukraine Wrecked Russian Military Reform, Golts Says.Aleksandr Golts, a leading independent military affairs analyst in Moscow, says that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had the effect of torpedoing Russian military reform, putting off change as well as siphoning off enormous sums of money (themoscowtimes.com/articles/war-in-ukraine-ruined-russian-military-reform-op-ed-48110 and obozrevatel.com/finance/kryim-obhoditsya-rossii-v-3-35-mlrd-v-god-aleksashenko.htm). Now,, other experts say, Moscow can’t hope to compete militarily with the West in the way that it talks at least not anytime soon: its satellite launches are failing, it won’t have any aircraft carrier at sea for more than three years, and it won’t have a fifth generation fighter until at least 2025 (newsland.com/community/5206/content/dmitrii-goreburg-ambitsii-moskvy-v-oblasti-voenno-morskogo-flota-iavliaiutsia-boleznenno-nerealistichnymi/5962534, iz.ru/635581/evgenii-deviatiarov/tri-rossiiskikh-sputnika-ne-vyshli-na-sviaz-posle-zapuska-na-orbitu, dsnews.ua/world/rossiya-na-tri-goda-lishitsya-edinstvennogo-avianostsa-23082017104900 and forum-msk.org/material/news/13597160.html). Moreover, Russia is going to have a hard time maintaining its current level of arms sales abroad (newsland.com/community/8211/content/rossiia-sokhranit-eksport-vooruzhenii-na-urovne-15-mlrd/5962646). Moscow has finally acknowledged that it has only three real ports on the Pacific: the rest exist only on paper (regnum.ru/news/economy/2312940.html), and an independent expert says that Russia suffered 27,000 combat deaths in Afghanistan and not the 15,000 Moscow has admitted (ng.ru/non-fiction/2017-08-24/15_900_between.html).
- Two-Thirds of Russians haven’t Heard of Scandal around Mathilda but Half Plan to See Film. Sixty-nine percent of Russians say they haven’t heard anything about the scandal around the film about the love life of the last tsar, and 47 percent plan to go see it (spektr.press/news/2017/08/25/69-ne-slyshali-o-skandale-vokrug-matildy/andkasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A0375F8455F). Other monument fights increasingly follow class lines (newsland.com/co munity/5442/content/borba-s-pamiatnikami-borba-klassovaia/5963207). This week these included a graffiti memorial to the Kursk (nakanune.ru/news/2017/8/23/22480341/), fighting over street names in Makhachakala (regnum.ru/news/society/2312595.html) and church in Khabarovsk (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=67977), the erection of pre-Soviet memorials in Kaliningrad (newsland.com/community/6399/content/v-kaliningradskoi-oblasti-pochtut-pamiat-uchastnikov-semiletnei-i-pervoi-mirovoi-voin/5960173), and a church honoring Ivan the Terrible in Moscow (politsovet.ru/56283-v-moskve-vosstanovyat-hram-postroennyy-v-chest-ivana-groznogo.html). Two other developments of note: Putin favors restoring a monastery in the Kremlin (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78778) and 40 percent of Russians say Stalin had no choice but to engage in repressions (thequestion.ru/questions/286042/bolee-40-oproshennykh-rossiyan-nazvali-repressii-stalina-vynuzhdennoi-meroi-chto-vy-dumaete-po-etomu-povodu).
- A Quieter Week on the Protest Front. With many on vacation, there were fewer protests this week than last or than are scheduled for next week and next month. The most prominent actions involved a woman dressed as Russia tying herself to a Lenin statue in Novosibirsk (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599BC54BC064D), a massive petition drive against the show trial of Kirill Serebrennikov (https://themoscowtimes.com/news/petition-58731), and an effort in St. Petersburg to take down illegal ads on streets, an action often violently resisted by those who put them up (paperpaper.ru/illegal-ads/?utm_source=meduza&utm_medium=partners&utm_campaign=friends).
- Putin’s Russia Now So Repressive It is Not Possible to Work and Not Be Violating Law. A commentator says that the web of rule the Putin regime has imposed and the ways in which officials interpret laws to meet their needs mean that no one can have a job in Russia and not be violating one or another law (kp.ru/daily/26722/3748726/). A survey of Russian court decisions finds that they are becoming ever more absurd (profile.ru/obsch/item/119131-neveroyatnye-priklyucheniya-femidy-v-rossii). Beatings in prisons are getting worse (obkorr.ru/news/5996E950D41EC.html and kavpolit.com/articles/ne_dat_dozhit_do_osvobozhdenija_za_neuchastie_v_mj-35391/). The authorities have now put out lists of who can and can’t be asked to provide commentaries on Russian television (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599AB8206D789). The Agora rights group documents that Moscow is using illegal as well as legal means to observe the activities of all in Russia (raniru.org/Politics/Russia/m.263482.html). And Nezavisimaya gazeta reports that there are now 29,000 foreigners in Russian prisons. Most are Central Asians and many are Islamist radicals (ng.ru/politics/2017-08-22/1_7056_fsin.html).
- WADA Will Review Russia’s Status at End of September. The world anti-doping agency says it will review Russia’s status at the end of next month (regnum.ru/news/sport/2314208.html). Meanwhile, another Russian athlete has lost a medal for doping (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5996D3C854B8Dandnewsland.com/community/7268/content/doping-skandal-pliaski-na-trupe-rossiiskoi-federatsii-sporta/5959867). The stadium in St. Petersburg is still far from ready for the World Cup (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/21/73550-kto-vinovat-v-tom-chto-na-stadione-zenit-arena-za-43-mlrd-rubley-vechno-protekaet-krysha), and Russia’s reserve teams aren’t ready either (regnum.ru/news/sport/2312944.html). Meanwhile, Russian fans in Switzerland displayed the violence they are infamous for (enta.ru/news/2017/08/20/fans/).
- Russians Will Have to Wait Three Months, Ukrainians Only Four Days for US Visa Processing. The real cost ofin the US-Russian diplomatic spat is coming home to Russians. Not only will even those far from Moscow have to travel to the capital to apply, but they will have to wait on average almost three months for the process, while in Ukraine, Ukrainians will only have to wait four days (newsland.com/community/4765/content/rossiiane-budut-zhdat-vyzova-na-sobesedovanie-dlia-vizy-v-ssha-pochti-3-mesiatsa-v-kieve-vsego-4-dnia/5963993). Adding insult to injury, US officials have announced that Russians can apply for visas in third countries which may be closer to them than Moscow is (versia.ru/posolstvo-ssha-rossiyane-mogut-podat-dokumenty-na-poluchenie-vizy-v-drugix-stranax).
- Massive Field of Nuclear Waste Identified Near Sakhalin. Soviet dumping of all sorts of nuclear materials in the sea around Sakhalin has led a massive and dangerous environmental disaster there, experts say (newizv.ru/news/society/22-08-2017/ot-yadernyh-bomb-do-generatorov-more-u-sahalina-stalo-radioaktivnoy-svalkoy).
- 5,000 Russian Pilots May Soon Lose Their Licenses. Russian aviation is about to take another hit. Not only are many professional pilots moving abroad for higher salaries, but the Russian authorities have announced that they may strip 5,000 pilots of their licenses and force them to requalify. That will cut flights and further complicate transportation in Russia (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/08/23/134639-kommersant-uznal-o-vozmozhnom-lishenii-litsenziy-okolo-5-tysyach-deystvuyuschih-pilotov).
- Vladimir Kirillovich Didn’t Serve in SS, House of Romanov Says. Although he had close relations with Nazi Germany, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, the father of the chief pretender to the Russian throne, did not serve in the SS as some have suggested, according the House of Romanov (newizv.ru/news/society/24-08-2017/velikiy-knyaz-vladimir-kirillovich-ne-sluzhil-v-ss).
- Russian Court Declares Jan Nowak Book Extremist. A Russian court says that a book by Jan Nowak, longtime Radio Free Europe Polish broadcaster, hero of the Polish underground, and much decorated Polish émigré, is extremist, an indication that Moscow courts will now be looking not just at new books but at older ones as well (kavpolit.com/articles/v_sankt_peterburge_priznali_ekstremistskoj_knigu_s-35411/).
- Western Broadcasting in Non-Russian Languages Designed to Provoke Russians, Moscow Commentator Says.According to a Regnum writer, Western broadcasts in non-Russian languages have been intended not just to stir up non-Russian nationalism but to provoke a backlash of Russian nationalism (regnum.ru/news/polit/2311694.html). In another media development, Life TV ended broacasts this week (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59971614A91FE).
- Capitalism by Itself Couldn’t Give Russians a New Ethical System, Russian Writer Says. Many in the West and in Russia too assumed that capitalism by itself could provide Russians with a new ethical system in place of communism, but that is not the case, according to a Russian commentator. More is needed, and it hasn’t been supplied (chaskor.ru/article/dyrka_ot_etiki_40691).
- Two Landmark Developments on Northern Sea Route. As a result of global warming and receding ice levels, a Chinese icebreaker has crossed the Central Arctic on its own thus opening the way for more Chinese shipping (thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2017/08/chinese-icebreaker-navigates-across-central-arctic), and a Russian tanker without icebreaker support has set a new speed record for the Northern Sea route as well (thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2017/08/tanker-breaks-its-own-way-through-ice-sets-speed-record-northern-sea-route).
- Pornography Gives Russians More than First Channel Can, Moscow Expert Says. Pornography for all its moal shortcomings at least gives what it promises, a Moscow commentator says, while the government’s First Channel simply gives them nothing but meaningless chatter (newsland.com/community/4765/content/ekspert-obiasnila-pochemu-porno-luchshe-chem-pervyi-kanal/5962396).
And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:
- Soldiers from Nine NATO Countries March in Kyiv Military Parade. Even though many are suggesting that it will be a long time if ever before Ukraine becomes a member of the Western alliance, the symbolism of soldiers from nine NATO countries marching in a Kyiv military parade on Ukraine’s national day was lost on no one, encouraging Ukrainians and their supporters and undoubtedly infuriating Vladimir Putin and his entourage (newizv.ru/news/world/24-08-2017/na-parade-v-kieve-proshli-voennye-9-stran-nato).
- Red Cross Says 2700 Civilians have Died in Donbass Conflict.The International Red Crosssays that its research shows that 2700 civilians have died since the beginning of the Russian intervention there (http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5999382FE7727).
- Ukrainian Journalist Tells How Much Moscow Pays for Terrorist Acts in Ukraine. A Kyiv journalist has documented how much Russian agencies pay people for carrying out terrorist attacks in Ukraine (apostrophe.ua/news/politics/government/2017-08-23/zhurnalist-rasskazal-skolko-rossiya-platit-svoim-agentam-za-podgotovku-teraktov-v-ukraine/105013).
- Ukrainian Monument Should Show Post-Russian Countries.A Ukrainian monument to the resistance Ukrainians have shown to Russian aggression, a sword plunged into a map of the Russian Federation, would be even more powerful if it showed the post-Russian states that country is likely to disintegrate into, according to one Russian analyst (afterempire.info/2017/08/24/kol/).
- Minsk Invites Observers from Seven Countries for Zapad Exercise. The Belarusian government has invited observers to come to follow next month’s Zapad exercise to help ensure that the joint Russian-Belarusian exercise does not lead to more apocalyptic results (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/8/23/260665/).
- Anti-Russian Posters Go Up in Belarus in Advance of Zapad Exercise. Posters declaring that “where the Russian army is, there is war” and calling on the Russian military to “go home and not come back” have begun to appear in Belarusian cities in advance of the Zapad exercise (newsland.com/community/7994/content/russkii-soldat-idi-domoi-poiavilis-foto-plakatov-protiv-rossiiskoi-armii-v-belarusi/5957483).
- Moldova Asks UN to Help Force Russian Troops to Leave Transdniestria. The Moldovan government has appealed to the United Nations to help get Russian troops to leave the breakaway republic of Transdniestria and reintegrate that territory into Moldova (newsland.com/community/7149/content/moldaviia-prosit-oon-obsudit-vopros-vyvoda-rossiiskikh-voiskh-iz-pridnestrovia/5966454).
- Estonian President Warns Against ‘Self-Occupation.’ Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has warned her countrymen against taking steps that constitute a “self-occupation” and limit the country’s freedom and independence (lenta.ru/news/2017/08/22/kersti/).
- Moscow Again Stirring the Pot in Latgale.Russian activists are again seeking to promote Latgale separatism in Latvia by visits, publications and broadcasts (https://lenta.ru/articles/2017/08/18/latgalia/).
- Iran Paying for Armenian Translation of Koran. Tehran is paying for a translation of the Koran into Armenian, thus making it accessible to the residents of that country (http://www.ansar.ru/rfsng/koran-snova-perevedut-na-armyanskij-yazyk).
- Tajikistan Teetering on Edge of Bankruptcy. The Tajik government burdened by massive debt and falling revenue is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, creating instability and opening the way for expanded outside influence by Russia and China (entrasia.ru/news.php?st=1503376140).
- HIV Infections Spreading Along Central Asian Transport Routes. Medical experts have tracked the spread of HIV infections along major transport routing in the Central Asian region, raising concerns there about the expansion of such arteries in the future (caa-network.org/archives/10049).
- Tashkent to Open Consulate in Kazan. The Uzbekistan government is expanding its network of consulates in Russia to provide support for its gastarbeiters there. Last week, it opened one in Vladivostok; this week, it has announced that it will soon do so in Kazan (http://www.fergananews.com/news/26771).
Moscow was rattled this week by the arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov, an internationally renowned Russian theater and film director. Russia’s Investigative Committee, a…
Paul Goble Staunton, August 29 – The Russian government machine is becoming ever more repressive, Sergey Shelin says; “but the voices of those who protest, including some who had been in the nomenklatura have also become louder,” exactly the reverse of what the Kremlin hopes for and an indication that Russia is moving into an entirely new period. The willingness of ever more people to protest at show trials and Kafkaesque behavior has the effect of “destroying the illusion of the legality of what is going one” and thus undermining its power to intimidate the population, a power the authorities have long relied upon (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/08/25/1641358.html). Shelin says that he will not venture “to predict how this contradiction will be resolved, but a new page in the history of repression in the fatherland is already being written.” And he inventories some of the most prominent cases of repression and the way these are now being opposed to make his case. Although he does not make a prediction, there are precedents in Russian history and more generally for what this development is likely to presage. Either the authorities will be compelled to try to suppress opposition by even more authoritarian means or they will face a situation in which each new act of repression will weaken rather than strengthen them. At the end of Soviet times, it was often remarked that Mikhail Gorbachev was someone who was fighting a grease fire with small amounts of water. Instead of dousing opposition, he was simply causing it to spread and thus intensify. Shelin’s analysis suggests that Russia is again at the same point, but Putin isn’t Gorbachev. And that in turn raises some more serious questions: Is Putin about to intensify repression still further? Could he do so without wrecking the country? Or is he going to have to change course, cutting back on at least some kinds of repression in the hopes of reducing opposition as well?
The Russian human rights group Memorial is calling for the release of a 77-year-old former space researcher who was sentenced to prison on a treason conviction in 2016.
The Russian human rights center Memorial has recognized a Tatar activist who is currently on trial as a political prisoner. In an August 29 statement, the Moscow-based Memorial said that Dani…
Stalin is there. So is Lenin, and notorious secret police boss Feliz Dzerzhinsky. All are remembered, in statuary, in a Moscow park where old Soviet memorials were moved in the 1990s.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 29 – Vladimir Petrov, a United Russia deputy in the Leningrad oblast legislative assembly, has called on the Russian Academy of Science and Ministry of Education to adopt a Latin script for Russian, not as a substitute for Cyrillic but as a means for Russians to be able to function better online and to attract new attention to their culture. Petrov says that what he is proposing is based on the positive experience of Turkey under Ataturk and of the Scandinavian countries which required English-language films to be distributed with original sound and subtitles. The first opened the way to Turkey’s flourishing; the second to the expansion of English (regnum.ru/news/cultura/2314230.html). He faces an uphill battle: Not only is Cyrillic required by law for almost all indigenous languages in Russian and is any change in it opposed by Russian nationalists but most linguists are also opposed, in large measure because they argue that any shift would weaken the language and reduce the amount of its use. Aleksandr Pokrovsky, a Petersburg writer, tells Regnum’s Inga Slazhinskaite that “for residents of Russia, ‘Latin Russian’ would bring only harm: the sound of letters would be different, and writing in a different language would completely change the sound of familiar Russian words.” Great Russian writers didn’t seek to change the alphabet, he continues, and when Dmitry Likhachov proposed dropping the yat, he was sent to the camps. What should Petrov expect if he wants to do away with the entire Cyrillic script?” If Petrov were living in Stalin’s time, think what punishment he would have meted out for that. Boris Averin, a philologist at St. Petersburg University, points to the case of Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada, a novel which does use Latin script for Cyrillic. While perhaps theoretically interesting, it was a failure artistically and culturally, he says. It would be “strange” to move in that direction. “Why are there so many alphabets? Because that is how it is supposed to be! There must be variety and not a monoculture … No one wants to have a single language.” We see the world differently when we use multiple alphabets and learn new languages. Allowing the internet to dominate will only reduce the variety in the world. “This is not a new culture: this is the collapse of culture,” Averin says. The real fear of Russians, it appears, is that they will suffer the fate of the Serbs, where ever more Serbs are shifting from Cyrillic to Latin script even though the government is fighting back with fines for the use of the latter in official documents. In Russia, Slazhinskaite says, one can only hope that such measures will never be needed.
The results are in, and the title of highest-earning spouse of a Russian official — according to official declarations, at least — goes to the wife of the head of the oil-rich region of Tatarstan. …
Russia installs a huge railway arch for a bridge seen as a key link to annexed Crimea.
Russia has unveiled plans to forbid investors who are not ‘qualified’ from purchasing cryptocurrency.
Stripped of Ukrainian citizenship, the former head of the Odessa region, Mikheil Saakashvili, said that the Georgian authorities "in full …
The Russian military continue to arrive at the West-2017 exercises. On September 14-20, the Belarusian-Russian military exercises West-2017 will be held in Belarus. The Russian military started to arrive in Belarus beforehand, even special hashtags, under which eyewitnesses are encouraged to post photos and video of the servicemen and military equipment, have appeared on the social networks, Radio Svaboda reports. Internet users report on the presence of military personnel in Russian uniforms at the railway station in Barysau, Russian attack jets over Lida, a train with military equipment at the Hudahai station. The information agency BelTA informed about military landing exercises on the highway Minsk – Mahiliou, the Belarusian Military Newspaper – about the engineering exercises of the Belarusian and Russian military near Ramashkava in Vitsebsk region. On August 26, it became known about a railway echelon with military equipment at the Viareitsy station near Asipovichy.
Poland monitors very closely what’s happening at the eastern border
Ukrainian Embassy asks Belarusian MFA to find out son of officer of Ukrainian Border Guard Service – Ukrainian Embassy asks Belarusian MFA to find out son of officer of Ukrainian Border Guard Service – 112.international
Ukrainian Embassy asks Belarusian MFA to find out son of officer of Ukrainian Border Guard Service
Journalists managed to find the girl with whom Pavel Grib had to meet in Belarus. 19-year-old Ukrainian Pavel Grib, who disappeared in Belarus, was indeed detained by Russian FSB officers. The girl, with whom the guy was supposed to meet in Homel, has stated this, TSN informs. As it is known, 19-year-old son of the Ukrainian military chaplain, Pavel Grib, disappeared in Belarus. His father Igor says that the guy went to Belarus to meet with a girl whom he had allegedly met through the Internet. However, after crossing the border, the Ukrainian disappeared. Homel police informed the father that his son was wanted. Allegedly, for terrorist activities. However, they had no information about the guy’s detention. The journalists succeeded in finding the girl with whom Pavel was to meet in Belarus. She is a 17-year-old resident of the city of Sochi. She says that she was actually supervised by the FSB. They forced her to invite the guy to Homel. The girl claims that she had to do it, because she was under investigation as well. “Everything was arranged. I was sent to Belarus by blackmail. We raised topics such as nationalism or something like that. Well, in fact, I am also being prosecuted. You might as well say that it happened because of the conversation with him… I cannot talk about this because I signed a paper on non-disclosure,” – the girl says.
29.08.17 09:41 – Ukrainian Ihor Hryb says his son was kidnapped by Russia secret services in Belarus. PHOTO … View photo news.
Prosecutor’s office opens investigation towards Pavlo Gryb disappearance
Nineteen-year-old Pavlo Hryb, the son of Ihor Hryb, a member of the Public Council of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service and a former border guard officer, has disappeared in Belarus on August 24 after he went for a date with a girl who he knew only via social media, according to the father. News 28 August from UNIAN.
Transnistria / Moldova Reports
Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip said in an interview with RIA Novosti that Chisinau will not change its position regarding the inclusion of …
Authorities organized a folk costume parade and a concert in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, to mark the country’s independence day on August 27. Meanwhile, hundreds joined a march called by the Union of Pensioners in Moldova to protest against corruption and low retirement pensions. Participants carried pickets with slogans such as “Stop social genocide,” “Minimum pension is a minimum of existence,” and “Moldova, the failed state where pensioners have been robbed by thieves from the government.” (RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for Russia and Ukraine to increase their efforts to implement a fragile ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have called for Russia and Ukraine to step up their efforts to implement a fragile cease-fire agreement in eastern Ukraine. Th…
Ukraine’s President stressed that he instructed the leadership of the Armed Forces to continue to adhere to the announced silence regime. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko welcomes the calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on the ceasefire in Donbas. Poroshenko wrote this on his Facebook page. “I welcome the persistent call of Germany and France leaders , first of all, on the Russian president, as an aggressor country’s leader and party to the conflict, to ensure full compliance with the ceasefire regime in connection with the start of the academic year,” the report said. Poroshenko noted he instructed the leadership of the Armed Forces to continue to adhere to the announced silence regime. “This issue, among others, was discussed during my today’s meeting with the military leadership in Kramatorsk,” the president said.
Michael Kofman has been trying for three years to convince everyone that Ukraine should not be armed. Including Ukraine itself. Yesterday, The New York Times published a column of authorship of Michael Kofman about the prospects of Ukraine to obtain lethal weapons from the United States. NYT calls Kofman a global affairs specialist at Wilson’s center and a freelancer at the Modern War Institute. In his article, the expert writes that the Donald Trump administration’s plan to arm Ukraine is a serious political decision that can have far-reaching strategic consequences and is of concern. The US is thus going to an indirect war with Russia, and Washington is not ready for victory in this war, Kofman believes. He also writes that the proposal to send weapons to Ukraine is untimely, because Ukraine “has not lost a significant territory” over the past two years, and Russia has not committed a full-scale invasion. This is already the second material of NYT about Ukraine lately. In mid-August, the publication published information on alleged supplies from Ukraine to the DPRK of engines for missiles. The authors of the “rocket” article – William Broad and David Sanger – referred to a senior researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Michael Elleman. The next day it became known that Elleman’s wife was probably Russian and that he was raising a son named Nikita. And one of the authors, David Sanger, in his time was responsible for the publication of Wikileaks materials. Michael Kofman does not have a Russian wife and the release of Wikileaks plums in his track record. But he has his own page on the portal of the Valdai Club. Valdai is a so-called discussion club initiated by the Kremlin, which meets annually since 2004 in Veliky Novgorod. In addition to the Kremlin elite, who regularly visits there, the club is visited by such topical politicians today as the former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and the ex-head of the French government Dominique de Villepin. The page contains one article by Kofman on the war in Syria and the participation of the aggressor country in this war. In an article dated December 15 last year, there is not a word about the brutality with which Russia acts in this conflict and about the alternate accuracy of Russian aviation, which bombs not so much the IG as the Syrian opposition. But there is, for example, such a phrase: “… Russia should not have held a concert in Palmyra for propaganda purposes, realizing that in the conditions of war the situation is dramatically changing, and the advertised successes can put in a very uncomfortable position.” By the way, in the article for NYT Kofman compares the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine with the arming of the Syrian opposition. In the case of Syria, the plan was ill-conceived and ended with the defeat of the opposition when Russia got involved in the war in 2015 and supported the regime of Bashar Assad , he writes. A superficial search on Google also gives other interesting publications by Michael Kofman, and some of them have already been deleted. But the discussion of the materials was not deleted, which makes it possible for Google to remind them of them. In one of them, Kofman argues that “the number of Russian tanks in Ukraine is very high.” There are others. In 2015, Kofman gave an interview to Novoye Vremya , where he expressed confidence that Ukraine would not win the war with Russia. And he said the following: “The real problem in Ukraine is that no one – neither Poroshenko nor Yatseniuk – wants to sign this agreement on compromise with Russia.” They do not want to understand what happened and give some political status to these militiamen. Very afraid of the people, the third Maidan. ” Correspondent in the same year, Kofman said that Ukraine should not spend money on the modernization of its air force and navy. “… Is it not better to send money to combat units? You have to finance only real soldiers and significantly reduce the number of senior commanders who exist in the army without a definite goal,” the global expert says. The most recent publication on the Correspondent’s website is no longer there, but reprints have been preserved indicating the publication. In 2016, Kofman’s column with the didactic title “How to Restrain Russia” was published on the Russian tape .ru. In it the author writes the following: “… all the scenarios of the Russian invasion of the Baltic States have one drawback: none of them explains why it would be generally necessary for Russians.” In fact – the invasion of Georgia and Ukraine in a big way did not give Russia anything. In addition to new territories. If you start a search in the English-speaking segment of Google, the following page pops up on the second page: “The United States is interested in separating Ukraine (the conflict issue – Ed.) From other bilateral interests or points of interaction with Russia.” Kofman’s note deals with a nuclear deal with Iran, and he already in the first sentence writes about the benefits that the United States brought Russia in this situation. There is also an article on the Wilson center portal, in which Kofman veiledly denied that Russia was generally responsible for unleashing a military conflict in Ukraine: “… the” hybrid war “is more a label that the West is hanging on Russia’s actions in Ukraine in an attempt to explain the avalanche A security crisis in which all parties except Russia lost their balance. “Thus, the senselessness of rendering military assistance to Ukraine and the perniciousness of strengthening and reforming the army by Ukraine itself, Kofman says not stopping since 2014. It is very likely that the next publication in the NYT is part of an information campaign against Ukraine, which, in fact, has never stopped, including using Western sites.
Putin could regard U.S. arms transfers as a symbolic test of who dictates conditions in the Donbass warzone.
The United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker warned Ukraine against attempts to regain nuclear weapons. In an …
29.08.17 13:52 – No separate deal above Ukrainians or behind Europeans, – Volker on talks with Russia Washington supports the peace talks in the Normandy format, but does not intend to become part of it or join it. View news.
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker has said that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is seriously considering supplying lethal weapons to Kyiv.
The conflict in Donbas will get worse, unless the U.S. take action. Kurt Volker, the Special Envoy of the U.S. Department of the State said that in his interview with Financial Times. According to him, the U.S. administration seriously considers the possibility to give Ukraine lethal weapons. ‘Russia wants to freeze the conflict in Donbas; but it will have to get over the international isolation’, Volker said. According to the diplomat, ‘U.S.-Russia relations are essential, but they will continue to deteriorate unless Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine.’
Oleh Voloshyn comments on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel
According to James Mattis, it becomes quite clear that the US will fight with Russia diplomatically, but providing lethal weapons is more a military and political step than a diplomatic one. The President Petro Poroshenko underlines on his Twitter page that for the first time in the last ten years, the head of the US defense department visited Ukraine. Will this be a herald of a shift in the issue of lethal weapons supply to our country, expected for three years already, or will it be another step in the current diplomatic struggle? This question remains open. On August 18, the press service of the US Department of Defense reported on the visit of head of the Office James Mattis in Kyiv in the framework of a five-day trip to the countries of the Middle East and Europe. The minister will visit Jordan, Turkey, and Ukraine will be the final stage of the working trip, and the visit was planned to take place on Independence Day of Ukraine, on August 24. In the world of diplomacy, such coincidences are usually treated as a symbolic act, a sign of special support for the country to which the visit is planned. However, Ukraine traditionally expects a more tangible result from such support, to be precise, of the supply of lethal weapons, which is still not available. Occasional talks about the delivery of 1200 anti-tank rockets “Javelin” to Ukraine disappear later, and from equipment that can be used at the frontline, Ukraine received 6 US AN / TPQ-36 radar systems with a target detection range up to 24 kilometers, which allows detecting heavy artillery, 10 AN / TPQ-49 radar systems capable of detecting mortar batteries at a distance of 5-10 kilometers, as well as several hundred Humvee cars, only a few dozen of which were armored, the rest were modernized already in Ukraine. Against the backdrop of Egypt’s annual aid of $ 1.3 billion, Pakistan’s $ 900 million, not to mention Israel (an average of $ 3.8 billion a year over the past 10 years) it is a drop in the bucket. However, Ukraine does not have the status of a strategic ally of the United States, despite the desire and words of Ukrainian politicians. Nevertheless, talks about military assistance to Ukraine from the US were actively intensified. Already in the course of the Pentagon’s press service announcement about Mattis’ future visit to Kyiv, it was reported that meetings with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak were planned.
Kyiv is "not content" with the working schedule of the OSCE SMM observers in Donbas, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during his visit to Donetsk region, the presidential press service reports. News 28 August from UNIAN.
Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 19 times in the past 24 hours, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 29 August from UNIAN.
The enemy shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, Vodyane, Shyrokyne and Stanytsia Luhanska from grenade launchers and machine guns
Representative of the Ukrainian president in the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Lutsenko, has told TV Channel 5 that the draft law on Donbas reintegration, in accordance with international norms, will determine that the Russian Federation is an aggressor state in relation to Ukraine. “The most important thing is the novelties introduced with this bill. First of all, for the first time, the notion that Russia is an aggressor state will be introduced at the legislative level,” Iryna Lutsenko noted. “This is very important for us and for our partners. This is the first time that we have decided on this, and this does not mean that we are declaring war on Russia, that we are at war – we’re not. It is an aggressor state. International norms are clearly defined that give us the opportunity to formulate it this way,” she said. Lutsenko also noted that the Donbas reintegration bill has a clear reference to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations regarding self-defense. “This means that Ukraine has the right to self-defense. Once again, this is not war but self-defense. This is for the International Monetary Fund to give us resources, this is for investors,” Lutsenko said. At the same time, she said, the bill “introduces the notion that Ukraine is not responsible for what is happening in the temporarily occupied territory.” “Here it clearly defines the tools, motivation, and means by which the president of Ukraine will propose to the public to reintegrate Donbas at the legislative level, to have these territories returned. The law is clearly focused only on the return of the temporarily occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, not Crimea,” Lutsenko said.
Since the introduction of the new cease-fire, Russia-backed mercenaries have decreased the amount of the attacks
Ukrainian ambassador demands from Bulgarian authorities to investigate DPR flag incident
Two Spanish journalists deported from Ukraine
The Ukraine issue has been reflected in one of the five priorities of the European Union’s foreign policy, that is “global governance,” an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels reported Monday from an annual conference of EU Ambassadors. News 28 August from UNIAN.
In the near future, the situation in Donbas will remain unchanged, Russian war reporter Arkady Babchenko told Focus magazine. Latest UNIAN news from 28 August.
Under high fire risk conditions, militants in the Donbas are deliberately firing flares, aiming directly at fields and settlements and creating …
Two MPs of the so-called People’s Assembly of LNR were murdered in the occupied Luhansk, as Grygoriy Tsevenko, Deputy Prosecutor General of the self-proclaimed republic, told in a briefing, according to RIA News. “In Kamenobrodskiy district of Luhansk, on the night of 26 to 27 August, a high-profile murder of two individuals, who were MPs of the People’s Assembly of LNR, occurred,” Tsevenko said. He noted that the Investigation Department of the so-called Ministry of Internal Affairs of LNR started criminal proceedings under Part 2 Article 113 of the Criminal Code of LNR (murder of two individuals). The circumstance of the crime and the information about the victims aren’t revealed in the interest of the investigation.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's Press Secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko has said the Ukrainian leader on Monday arrived in the town of Kramatorsk and held a meeting with Ukrainian servicemen on the situation in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) zone. News 28 August from UNIAN.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko congratulated citizens of Donetsk on City Day and assured that the struggle for the return of Donetsk to …
The town of Avdiivka is no longer dependent on the supply of energy from temporarily occupied territories, and in the near future it will be deprived of such dependence on gas supply.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to Hurricane Harvey (all times EDT):
A visit of U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to Ukraine, which was scheduled for August 29, has been postponed until November due to Hurricane Harvey.
Slovenia’s Adria Airways announced it will launch new flights between Ljubljana and Kyiv, which marks company's return to Ukraine after six years.
5 ways in which violence, crisis and upheaval are driving the country’s arts and culture.
The catastrophic accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) near the city of Prypyat occurred overnight into 26 April 1986. By the evening of that day, two people had died in the city from effects of radiation exposure; 52 more were hospitalized. 24 hours after the blast, the authorities ordered residents to evacuate Prypyat and other settlements in the 10-kilometer zone. Residents were told to bring only what was necessary for approximately three days. Pets and most personal belongings were left behind. Ten days later, the evacuation area was expanded to 30 km. In total, about 200,000 people were evacuated from the 30 km zone. Among them, more than 50,000 residents of Prypyat and about 14,000 inhabitants of the city of Chornobyl located about 10 km from the NPP. Later, some people returned to their homeland. They are now known as samosely or self-settlers. As of 2017, the city of Chornobyl has a population of 690.
Vegetarian or traditional. Served with garlic bread, herbs, and sour cream. I’m talking of course about the famous Ukrainian dish, borshch. In Kyiv, the Ukra…
A number of memorial ceremonies have been held around Ukraine as the country marks three years since the Battle of Ilovaisk – one of the most tragic chapters…
On August 29, Ukraine marks the third anniversary of Ilovaisk tragedy, deadliest battle in Donbas. On August 29, Ukraine marks the third anniversary of the battles near Ilovaisk. They were one of the most deadly periods of the war in Donbas and one of the most cruel episodes of European history in the 21st century. Yet, neither Europe, nor the rest of the international community have paid proper attention to the Ilovaisk massacre, where 366 soldiers (by official estimates) were killed. This year, Ukraine made a step forward by providing the International Criminal Court with evidence of the direct responsibility of Russian military forces for it. The experts say there is enough information to prove Russia’s guilt. However, the other side of the story — the inaction, professional negligence, and even the betrayal of Ukraine’s high level military commanders will probably remain unproven. That is, until the people involved are still in power.
Three years ago, on August 29, 2014, the Ukrainian army began to withdraw its forces from the encirclement near the town of Ilovaisk in Donetsk region. Volunteer battalions that were fighting jointly with the regular armed forces repeatedly requested reinforcement from the command. However, according to the fighters, they did not get the required support. News 29 August from UNIAN.
29.08.17 13:18 – 255 Ukrainian military were killed in Ilovaisk withdrawal in 2014 The B sector of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) forces lost 368 people killed and MIA during the entire Ilovaisk operation in August 2014. View news.
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
The Iraqi military says its forces have recaptured Tall Afar’s town center after just eight days of fighting, a sign of Islamic State’s depleted capabilities after loosing control of Mosul.
The Islamic State militants are being taken to eastern Syria in a deal for the remains of eight people thought to be Lebanese soldiers.
The Varshavyanka class are among the quietest in the world, according to the boasts of Russian state media.
During the Cold War, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made a statement to a group of Western ambassadors that was translated as “We will bury you.” Naturally, what was seen as a rude and bellicose remark by a top Soviet official speaking to foreign diplomats made headlines, and it exacerbated tensions between the rival Eastern and Western blocs. But what Khrushchev actually said was slightly different. Translated more accurately, he said: “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side.
Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) (AFP) – Heavily pregnant and confined to a squalid Bangladeshi refugee camp, Ayesha Begum does not regret that her husband will miss the imminent birth of their sixth child as he fights alongside Rohingya militants in Myanmar. Begum, 25, joined the exodus of Rohingya fleeing
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
North Korea on Tuesday fired a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan for the first time, sending a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
BEIJING: China warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula have reached “tipping point” after North Korea Tuesday (Aug 29) fired a ballistic missile over Japan, but said the United States and South Korea are partly to blame. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged all sides to avoid provocations and repeated Beijing’s call for the North to suspend missile tests in return for a halt to US-South Korean military exercises. The situation is “now at a tipping point approaching a crisis. At the same time there is an opportunity to reopen peace talks,” Hua told a regular news briefing. “We hope relevant parties can consider how we can de-escalate the situation on the peninsula and realise peace and stability on the peninsula,” she added.
With its fourth missile test in four days, North Korea issued a stark reminder to the United States that its weapons program isn’t going away.
North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile eastward over Japan, at around 5:57 a.m., Tuesday, which flew more than 2,700 kilometers at a maximum altitude of around 550 kilometers, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The missile, fired from a point near Sunan in Pyongyang, flew through the sky over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before falling into the North Pacific Ocean.
The launch comes as Pyongyang has been threatening to fire a missile to land close to Guam.
North Korea fired a missile early on Tuesday that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific waters off the northern region of Hokkaido, South Korea and Japan said, in a sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters, ‘We will do our utmost to protect people’s lives’
Commercial ventures planned between Russia and North Korea three years ago are not being implemented because of Pyongyang’s missile testing program, the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East, Alexander Galushka, said.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index slid as reports North Korea fired a missile over Japan rekindled geopolitical angst two weeks after the U.S. president warned aggression would be answered harshly.
North Korea’s awful record of human rights…
Regarding the Aug. 23 front-page article “U.S. sets new sanctions related to North Korea”: The Trump administration’s attempts to isolate North Korea with sanctions failed to note the role that Burm…
Every year in April, Jiang Xingquan sets aside part of his farm in northern China to grow cannabis. The size of the plot varies with market demand but over the last few years it has been about 600 hectares. Like every other hemp farmer in Hexin in Heilongjiang province near the Russian border, Jiang is growing the plant legally. The growers sell the stems of the crop to textile factories to make high-quality fabric, the leaves to pharmaceutical companies for drugs, and the seeds to food companies to make snacks, kitchen oil and drinks.
The Han Clothing Movement, a youth-based grassroots nationalist movement built around China’s majority Han ethnic group, has emerged over the past 15 years in urban China. It imagines the numerically and culturally dominant Han—nearly 92% of China’s population—as the target of oppression by both China’s minorities and “the West,” in need of revitalization to save…
Universities should be aware of the “red hot patriotism” Beijing is stirring up on Australian campuses and the national security risks posed by such fervour.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth installment of “Southern (Dis)Comfort,” a new series from War on the Rocks and the Stimson Center. The series seeks to unp
The successful resolution of the over two-month-old stand-off on Bhutanese territory brought the two Asian powers back from the brink — if the standoff had tipped over into military conflict, it could have escalated beyond control.
Delhi, Beijing deserve diplomatic credit. Going ahead, an appreciation of the costs of conflict must inform relations
After nearly two months of a tense border standoff high in the Himalayas, India and China have finally agreed to disengage their personnel at the disputed area in Doklam. “In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our…
Three cases show how Philippine leadership and public opinion are curbing Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea, where it had pushed the limits since 2010.
Foreign Policy Reports
On August 27, while answering questions from citizens on the government's open day, German Foreign Minister Zigmar Gabriel stated that he …
Russian intelligence services are actively working in Germany and may try to intervene in the upcoming elections, said Hans-Georg Maassen, …
The gloves came off in the latest round of Brexit talks, with the European Union asking the U.K. to come clean on the money it owes and British negotiators exasperated at what they see as the EU’s stubbornness.
A “plume of gas” rolled ashore in England on Sunday. By the time it dissipated, 150 people were being treated for burning eyes and vomiting. But one day later, answers are still hard to find.
African leaders agreed to set up centers to register “vulnerable” migrants in exchange for aid from Europe.
Poland is open to migrants, in particular from Ukraine and Belarus, but it does not agree with forced distribution of refugees from the south, on which the European Commission insists.
Russia accused President Trump’s team of trying to set the stage for an invasion of Venezuela, in a condemnation of the latest U.S. sanctions on the South American dictatorship. “We are strongly against unilateral sanctions against sovereign states,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Monday. “We will carefully analyze the implications of the sanctions imposed by the United States, and their possible effect on the interests of Russia and Russian businesses. We can already say that they will not affect our willingness to expand and strengthen cooperation with the friendly nation of Venezuela and its people.” That was just one salvo in an extended rebuke of U.S. policy, after Trump issued an executive order imposing new sanctions designed to cripple dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime. The Russians suggested that Trump is trying to destabilize Venezuela in order to provide a pretext for a U.S. invasion of the struggling country. “In these circumstances, the announced sectoral sanctions against Venezuela’s financial and oil sectors are clearly aimed at further unbalancing the situation in the country, and exacerbating its economic problems,” Zakharova said. “As follows from US official statements, the administration is exploring options for further tightening its policy, including the potential use of force against Venezuela only ‘in case of deterioration of the situation’ in this South American country. Hence, the question: what are the current US sanctions designed to achieve? Are they supposed to benefit the Venezuelan economy? Clearly, the very logic of sanctions implies further increasing tensions.” The accusation hinges, implicitly, on a warning that Trump issued abruptly while vacationing in Bedminster, N.J. “We have many options for Venezuela,” he said on Aug. 11. “And by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option.”
Russia and Turkey have almost agreed on the delivery of S-400 anti-air defense systems, said Dmitry Shugaev, director of the Federal Service of …
Jakarta has confirmed that it will buy 11 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter aircraft for $1.14 billion, with a major component of the deal involving agricultural commodities. In a joint press conference, Indonesia’s defence minister and trade minister stated that under the deal, Moscow will be obligated to accept 50% of the contract value in local commodities. Russian arms supplier Rostec and Indonesian Trading Company (PPI) have been tapped as the “technical implementers” of the transaction. The fighter sale is also subject to Indonesia’s 35% offset requirement. The deal between Moscow and Russia was originally signed on 10 August, although Indonesia’s Su-35 acquisition has been in discussion for several years. A range of commodities which are available for export include rubber, cocoa, coffee, textiles, tea, seafood, and other commodities. Moscow can also obtain Indonesian defence products. The 11 Su-35s will replace Jakarta’s six Northrop F-5E fighters. Altogether, it is believed that Jakarta wants to obtain up to 16 Su-35s.
Indonesia is interested in acquiring Project 636 Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarines, as stated by Dmitry Shugaev, head of the Federal …
Strategy / History / Capability Publications
Small professional forces are not well equipped to deal with the rising tide of large-scale military risks and threats that are not only on the horizon but are already here.
In February 2013 General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, published a short piece on ‘the value of science in forecasting’, in which he outlined the contours of future warfare. According to Gerasimov some of the key features of this latter will be:
■ That it will be undeclared.
■ That it will see a broad use of kinetic and non-kinetic tools in close co-ordination.
■ That the distinction between the military and civilian domains will become still more blurred.
■ That battles will take place in the information space as well as in physical arenas.
Predictions such as these illustrate the so-called hybrid warfare, which has become a household term in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in February 2014 and the outbreak of fighting in eastern Ukraine in the spring of 2014.
Think about a “People’s War.” Last year China’s defense minister, General Chang Wanquan , implored the nation to
Dozens of business executives and technology experts in artificial intelligence and robotics have signed an open letter to the United Nations calling for public deliberation on the potential threats that could arise from “lethal autonomous weapons systems.”
A RADA news release describes the order as “dozens” of Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars, from a customer identified only as “a key US military force.”
Hamilton 68: tracking Russian twitter account to better understand their influence in US politics.
The consequences and implications are significant, but most people won’t notice a big change when the first AI attack is unleashed.
Beijing censors step up summer’s crackdown on internet speech
by Anthony Ha (@anthonyha) Facebook says it’s taking another step against Pages that share fabricated news stories. The company has already been working with outside fact-checkers like Snopes and the AP to flag inaccurate news stories. (These aren’t supposed to be stories that are disputed for reasons of opinion or partisanship, but rather outright hoaxes and lies.) It also…
US Domestic Policy Reports
The newly appointed Russian ambassador to the United States has met with the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Russia to discuss ties, Russia’s Foreign Ministry says. Anatoly Antonov and John Teff…
Russia’s new ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov met U.S. ambassador to Russia John Tefft on Monday to discuss ties between Moscow and Washington, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Ban on some military surplus ordered following police response to 2014 rioting in Ferguson, Mo.
After the riots in Ferguson, Obama barred distribution of armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other heavy military gear to local police agencies. Trump will reverse that ban.
President Donald Trump declined Monday to tag Russia as a security threat, saying he would put “many countries” in that category instead.
Michael Cohen’s email to Putin spokesman came during the U.S. presidential campaign.
A business associate of President Donald Trump promised during the early stages of the election campaign to engineer a real estate deal with the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin that would help Trump win the presidency, The New York Times reported on Monday.
A review of Trump’s long-standing attempts to make a buck from Moscow.
Emails show that Felix Sater promised to get Vladimir Putin’s support for a Trump Tower in Moscow. “Our boy can become president,” he wrote.
Trump refused to be drawn into directly criticizing the Kremlin at a press conference with Finland’s president.