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Russia / Strategy Media Update – 02 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting. 

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Zapad 2017 remains a major theme in the media, with well-considered inputs by NATO and Ukrainian senior officers, and Poroshenko weighing in. CACDS director Badrak observes that Russia has been building up forces and supporting assets to conduct a major war, likely against Ukraine and emphasizes Putin’s need for a big win before the March 2018 election. Russia deploys two SCARAB TBM batteries to the border with Ukraine. Frolov argues that Russia’s agendas in Ukraine are political rather than territorial but his argument does not fit the evidence. DFRLab profiles Surkov, using data gleaned from the hack of Surkov’s email account.

Putin’s crowd-pleaser quote for the day: “Whoever leads in AI will rule the world” – Russia cleverly wants to build Skynet first. An interesting collection of digests by Prof Goble dealing with the Orthodox church preaching serfdom instead of Christianity, Orthodox activists attacking others, and ‘Donbass in Gorky Park’ as citizens conditioned by 3 years of toxic media coverage lionizing Donbass mercenaries attack fellow citizens for trivial reasons. Another disturbing snapshot of Russia’s descent into the abyss.

Moldovan authorities deport a major high profile delegation of Russians intending to visit Transnistria, Moscow and Transnistrian “Foreign Ministry” respond with toxic outbursts.

AFU Chief of Staff Gen Muzhenko interviewed on Zapad. Poroshenko announces new border control rules for high-risk nations (read Russia). SBU Chief Hrytsak proposes criminalizing unauthorized visits by politicians and public figures to Russia, which will hobble the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party, who are known to frequently visit Moscow. Ceasefire failed from outset according to OSCE. Key DNR activist continues his tirade against Russian betrayal: “What we call DNR is a parody of a state. In 2014 people voted to join Russia. If the referendum would be held today, its results would be the opposite. People were fooled, including by myself. Today DNR is kept afloat by internal terror” – they did summon the Soviet devil, so should they be so surprised? Major debate under way over whether to reopen the 8,000 ft runway Mariupol airport to civil traffic, there is concern about it being in reach of Russian rocket artillery, and the approach pattern being exposed to Russian MANPADS. OSCE locates two recently refurbished Ukrainian SA-15A GAUNTLET SHORADS just North of Mariupol.

Russian meddling in DPRK issue described as an attempt to hurt the US and undermine PRC. Robb argues RoK and Japan should be nuclear armed. ROK and US to revise missile performance agreement. Multiple essays on how to solve the problem. Japan debating pre-emptive strikes and cruise missiles. DPRK diaspora in Japan being harassed. More on Yuzhmash.

Many reports on German election, while Gabriel argues appeasement, Schultz criticises Russian aggression. The spat between FRG and Turkey escalates.

Four interesting reports on IO/cyber.

Russians decide to dramatize their consulate departures by burning rather than shredding documents. US debate remains toxic – this is the expected blowback Russia did not expect nor consider.


Russia / Russophone Reports


NATO worried about monitoring loopholes as Russia preps for massive war games – World – CBC News

NATO says it will send three experts to observe military exercises between Russia and Belarus next month, but alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants the two countries to allow broader monitoring.

US general: Media should be invited to observe Zapad | News | ERR

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, called on Russia to invite media representatives to observe Zapad, the large-scale joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise to be held in mid-September, saying that there wasn’t much reason to trust official numbers provided by Moscow regarding the scale of the exercise.

US general doesn’t trust Russia’s numbers for Zapad, says media should be invited

VILNIUS – The US Army’s commander in Europe on Friday called on Russia to invite media representatives to observe next month’s military …

Estonian troops urged to maintain vigilance due to Zapad 2017 drills | KyivPost

Estonian Defense Forces Commander Gen. Riho Terras has urged Estonian troops to exercise vigilance due to the upcoming Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 (West 2017) exercises in mid-September. “This year is the year of Zapad. It means we are observing events abroad even more closely,” the press service for the Defense Force’s headquarters cited the general as saying in his speech on the occasion of the beginning of the academic year at the Defense Forces Academy on Sept.1. “Even if the risk of direct military invasion of the Baltic states and Poland is low, we, together with our allies, need to be vigilant and ready for a quick response if the picture of the threat changes,” Terras said.

Canadian troops in Latvia prepare for massive Russian military exercise | CTV News

Canadian troops in Latvia will have front-row seats to a massive Russian military exercise this month that has set NATO on edge and sparked calls for calm across eastern Europe.

Russia gears up for major war games, neighbors watch with unease

Russia is preparing to hold large-scale military exercises it says will be of a purely defensive nature, amid concerns in neighboring nations that the drills may be used as a precursor for an invasion.

Is Russia About to Invade Belarus? | theTrumpet.com

Could Belarus be the next Crimea?

NATO, Baltic States Alarmed by Russia’s Impending Zapad War Games | Observer

The fear isn’t that Russians will invade its neighbors during Zapad; the fear is that they will leave weapons in place for a later invasion.

Zapad 2017: Should We Fear Russia’s Latest Military Dress Rehearsal?

Peter Zwack In mid-September, Russia will conduct Zapad “West” 2017, a major quadrennial military exercise that takes place near the borders of the Baltic

Ukraine prepares for different scenarios of West-2017, including a Russian offensive – 112.international

Ukraine’s Commander-in-chief believes the Russia-Belarus drills pose threat not only to Ukraine, but to NATO countries as well. West-2017 military exercise has a broader context than the claimed maneuvers in Belarus. The drills are aimed at preparing the Russian military for an offensive, and pose threat to both NATO and post-Soviet countries, according to Chief of the General Staff, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko, as the press service of the Ministry of Defense informs. “We are looking at various scenarios of the adversary’s actions, including an offensive,” Muzhenko noted. According to Ukraine’s Commander-in-chief, the activity planned for West-2017 and the composition of troops could enable Russia to start an offensive in both South-Western and Western directions, and create conditions for supporting it during a considerable period of time. “It objectively creates a threat of large-scale military aggression of Russia against both Ukraine and NATO countries. The cause of the aggression commencement, despite the unpredictability of the Russian military and political heads, could be, for example, massive provocations in Eastern regions of Ukraine and Baltic countries, as to infringement of rights and liberties, and threat to security of Russian-speaking citizens,” he explained. Muzhenko added that the overall number of participants of the drills can estimate up to 240,000 military.

Ukraine warns Putin will stage land grab during war games | Daily Mail Online

Joint war games with pro-Kremlin Belarus could be a mask leading to Moscow forces without insignia trying to seize land in one of the West’s most vulnerable zones, Ukrainian officials fear.

Poroshenko says Ukraine will monitor Zapad 2017 military drills closely | KyivPost

KHARKIV – Ukraine will closely monitor joint Russian-Belarusian strategic military drills, dubbed Zapad 2017 (West 2017) because they could threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said. “We are looking at the drills with great interest because we see a potential threat, including a threat to Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” Poroshenko said during a briefing in Kharkiv on Sept. 1. The president said he had received assurances from Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko that Ukraine should not be worried about Russian aggression from Belarus.

Poroshenko About West-2017 Exercises: Russia Must Withdraw Military Equipment From Belarus – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Ukraine attaches great importance to the conduct of Russian-Belarusian military exercises. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko spoke about possible threats to the territorial integrity of Ukraine due to the large-scale Russian-Belarusian military exercises West-2017, Radio Svaboda reports. “We are very attentive to the conduct of these exercises. We see the possibility of threat, including for the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” – Poroshenko told journalists during a working visit to Kharkov region. The President of Ukraine also recalled that in 2008 and later, the Russian Federation concentrated its equipment in the guise of exercises. “Now we will closely monitor the exercises to make sure all the equipment that has been brought (to Belarus) for training, was withdrawn and threats were removed,” – Poroshenko said. Russian-Belarussian exercises West-2017 will be held on the territory of Belarus on September 14-20. They will involve 13,000 servicemen. Russian troops began arriving in Belarus on August 15. The exercises will be held at six training ranges in Belarus: near Lepel, Barysau, Losvidz, Asipovichy, the air force and air defense training ranges Ruzhanski and Damanauski, as well as near the village of Dretun. Belarus invited two observers from seven countries to monitor the exercises on its territory.

U.S. send extra fighters to police Baltic skies during Russian exercise

The United States has sent a reinforced detachment of fighter planes to police the skies over NATO members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia during a major Russian military exercise in the Baltic region next month.

Russia’s preparations for big war nearing completion – Ukrainian expert

Valentyn Badrak, a military expert and writer, the director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, says that the probability of a Russian military operation before the presidential election in Russia, scheduled for spring 2018, is quite high, since Vladimir Putin needs &quot;victories&quot; to continue his &quot;reign,&quot; according to an UNIAN correspondent. “In fact, we note today that Russia is completing preparations for a big war. Whether it will happen or not – that’s a different matter,” Badrak said at a press conference in Kyiv on Friday, September 1. “Why do we think that the threats have increased today, and why do we believe that they have undergone transformation? There is a number of factors that signal this,” Badrak said. According to him, “the relations between the Russian Federation and the United States have deteriorated significantly.” In particular, the expert noted the symbolic support of Ukraine and the arrival of the Pentagon chief and representatives of other NATO member states, which caused “frenzied hysteria” in Russia. At the same time, Badrak believes that in general, “the Western world is happy with the situation when Ukraine is a buffer zone between the West and Russia.” “Europe is aware of this, and especially the Europeans are comfortable with this,” he said. In addition, the expert is convinced that the “attrition warfare” does not give Russia the results that it expected. “The presidential election is approaching, and Putin will need some victories in March 2018, certain things that he can give his society to qualify for another victory and continue his ‘reign,'” Badrak said. In addition, he stressed, today the General Staff of the Russian armed forces has a “pragmatic understanding of the weakness of Ukraine’s defense potential.” “The evaluation of what has been done in Ukraine in the three years gives grounds to Russian analysts to say that Ukraine is not ready for a large-scale war, for a sudden large-scale strike,” Badrak said. Meanwhile, Russia “has substantially increased its capabilities,” the expert said. “According to our data, those units that are on the front line… the level of equipping these structures, in these units with new weapons, military equipment has reached 58% as of 2016. As of the end of 2017, it was planned to achieve 62% of re-equipment with new systems,” he said and noted that this is a very serious challenge for Ukraine. In addition, according to Badrak, the issue of securing a land corridor for Crimea remains pressing. Any development of military success, if it takes place, will also be a formal achievement for the Kremlin. “Therefore, the probability of a military operation before the election is quite high,” he said. Badrak also noted that a military operation “cannot start on its own – Russia needs to create a pretext for this.” “Already today we see very serious work – pro-Russian movements, Russian agents are becoming more active. And in fact, information activity gravitates towards the political sphere,” the expert said. He added that Russia reserves the right to use measures involving force, like terrorist attacks, to influence society and provoke distrust toward the authorities.

High chance of Russian military action against Ukraine before Russian presidential election

Director of the Kyiv-based Center for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies Valentyn Badrak has said there is a high possibility of military actions by Russia against Ukraine before the Russian 2018 presidential election. Director of the Kyiv-based Center for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies Valentyn Badrak has said there is a high possibility of military actions by Russia against Ukraine before the Russian 2018 presidential election. “The likelihood of such an operation before the election is rather high,” Badrak said on Friday during a press conference. “Relations between Russia and the U.S. have worsened. The symbolic support of Ukraine by the head of the U.S. Department of Defense and ministers of eight NATO countries irked Russia greatly, something we have not seen since the start of the war,” he said, adding that Russia military leaders are not impressed by Ukraine’s military potential. “What has been done in Ukraine over three years gives Russian analysts grounds to say that Ukraine is not ready for a massive war, a surprise strike. Meanwhile, Russia has increased its capabilities…,” he said, adding that Ukraine as a buffer zone between the Russia and the West suits many Europeans.

Russia moved Tochka-U tactical missiles division to Ukrainian border – InformNapalm.org (English)

A video titled Volgograd. Train with military equipment showing a Russian military train was posted on youtube on August 22, 2017. Volunteers of InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community analyzed the video and identified that the train consisting of 40 flat cars and passenger wagons transported 47 items of military equipment and 170-200 people. The train was filmed in the outskirts of Volgograd and was moving west towards Ukrainian border. We identified a full tactical missile battalion, which consists of 2 Tochka-U batteries with additional missiles, signal equipment, mobile generators and mobile kitchens. Most likely, the battalion belongs to 464th Missile Brigade (Kapustin Yar, Znamensk) or to 60-th Combat Training Center (Kapustin Yar, Znamensk). We identified the following equipment on the train: 9P129 Launchers – 4 pcs.

UAWire – Analysts: Russia transferred missile division to the Ukrainian border

According to the report published by InformNapalm analytical-investigative group, Russia has transferred several hundred troops and about 50 …

Military Exercises Are Tearing Up Russia’s Infrastructure | War Is Boring

Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin has been racing to bolster the Russian military’s fighting abilities with frequent, large-scale exercises near his country’s western borders. But one recent story from Glavny, which covers western Russia, indicates that the exercises are taking a toll on infrastructure and local governments which are swarmed by armored vehicles. In recent days, 574 vehicles of the crack 74th Guards Air Assault Division set off at night from its base at Pskov near the Estonian border for a training site at Strugi Krasnye some 40 miles to the northeast. The lumbering convoy headed up a cracked, pitted, asphalt-covered federal highway, tearing up the road and inflicting more than half-a-million dollars in damage. Twenty of the division’s vehicles broke down during the journey for a failure rate of 3.5 percent, which isn’t bad, demonstrating the division’s ability to move on short notice with relatively few mechanical losses. But the damage upset local authorities. “It’s scary to imagine what will happen when they go back,” Simeon Gutsu of the Pskov’s region Commission for Road Safety told Glavny. It’s a small anecdote, but given the scale of Russia’s recent exercises — 2017’s Zapad exercise involved some 100,000 troops — involving heavier vehicles than what the 74th Guards operates, it’s likely that wear and tear isn’t contained to Pskov. This is in a country ranked 123rd in the world in the quality of its road infrastructure according to the World Economic Forum, tied with Sierra Leone, Gabon, Venezuela and Nepal. However, the bulk of the Russian army moves by rail, where Russia performs well. Nevertheless, the news spread to Russian military bloggers who were impressed by the division’s readiness, given the 74th Guards’ role as an elite unit designed to fight at a moment’s notice. They were less impressed with the damage. “So that’s who spoils the roads,” one blogger stated. “It’s familiar,” came a reply. “Especially after summer 2014.”

Vladimir Frolov | In Ukraine, Russia Wants Political Control, Not Territory (Op-ed) | Moscow Times

The meeting between Moscow’s and Washington’s top envoys on Ukraine exposes fault lines

Moscow’s Man on Minsk – DFRLab – Medium

Last week, the new United States Special Representative to Ukraine Ambassador Kurt Volker met with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov in Minsk to discuss the implementation of the peace…

Russia Sees Artificial Intelligence as Key to World Domination

Comments by Russian president are helping push digital arms race to new heights

Who Putin thinks will rule the world – CNN

On the first day of the new school year, students in Russia learned an important lesson directly from their President — who will be the ruler of the world.

‘Whoever leads in AI will rule the world’: Putin to Russian children on Knowledge Day — RT News

Vladimir Putin spoke with students about science in an open lesson on September 1, the start of the school year in Russia. He told them that “the future belongs to artificial intelligence,” and whoever masters it first will rule the world.

Lavrov says Russia will ‘respond harshly’ to ‘damaging’ sanctions – BBC News

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was still considering its response to new US sanctions.

Podcast: Active Measures

Hacking and leaking. Front groups and cutouts. Fellow travelers and useful idiots. Counterfeiting and forgeries. Intimidation and assassinations. Troll farms and dramaturgy. Fake news, slick disinformation, and crude propaganda. Active measures — активные мероприятия — have been part of the Kremlin’s foreign policy tool kit for decades, if not centuries. And they’ve been at the forefront of our attention in recent years. But how does Vladimir Putin’s regime control all this chaos? How does the Kremlin manage its political war with the West? On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, we’ll take an in-depth look and discuss a new report on the subject. Joining me is my co-host, Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and author of a recently published report for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Controlling Chaos: How Russia Manages Its Political War In Europe; and Andrei Soldatov, co-founder of the investigative website Agentura.ru and co-author of the book Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators And The New Online Revolutionaries, which has just been reissued with a new chapter covering Russia’s hacking campaign against the West, which we’ll also discuss on the podcast. Enjoy…

A Female Candidate For A ‘Predictable Election’? Kremlin Floats Women Challengers To Putin

It’s all but certain that Vladimir Putin will stand for a fourth term as president when Russia holds its next election&nbsp;in March. It&rsquo;s less certain who the Kremlin will allow — o…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Many Fail to Recognize that the President of a Nuclear Power can Be a Bandit, Shekhtman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 31 – Many, from the leaders of Western countries to the leaders of the Russian opposition, are failing to recognize that a bandit can play the role of a businessman, an official or “even the president of a nuclear power,” but that whatever role he is in, he nonetheless remains a bandit, Pavel Shekhtman says. They must realize that “if something acts like a dog, it is a dog” and that “bandit isn’t a course word, it is simply the name of a profession, which, like any other profession – bookkeeper, military officer, or prostitute – leaves its mark on the outlook and mentality of an individual,” the Moscow commentator says (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A588D2BF8B4). And this, rather than the nominal position “is the defining factor: everything else is secondary.” “A bandit may turn up in the role of businessman (the majority of bandits are nominally that), a bureaucrat, a policeman, a judge or even the president of a nuclear power. None of these other positions means that he ceases to be a bandit, and consequently for achieving results in dealing with them one must adopt methods” used to deal with criminals. Unfortunately, Shekhtman says, “this is something that neither Obama nor Nemtsov wants to understand. He continues: “In the struggle with a bandit, one can appeal only to force. Even when you appeal to legal institutions, you all the same are appealing to force, to the state apparatus of force which by definition is stronger than any band. Law doesn’t work by itself – law works through a complex system where behind the judge always stands the policeman … and the jailor.” But there are circumstances when there is no such force behind the law because the bandits have taken over that as well. This is the case in Russia now, and the only real possibility of salvation is to create “the appearance” of such legality so that the bandits will decide that it is better to adapt to that than to continue as they are. “Naturally, this is a very risky method of struggle, but it is the only possible one from a position of weakness” which is where those in Russia are given the current power of the bandits there at the top. Those “who don’t play poker with the bandits is [will otherwise] simply be giving everything away.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Orthodox Christians and Muslims Authoritarian and Aggressive, Moscow Psychologist Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – It has long been a commonplace that new members of any religious faith and especially those who have converted from another are more radical in the expression of their beliefs than those who have been members of this or that faith for a long period of time. But now Sergey Yenikolopov, a psychologist at Moscow State University, says that in Russia today, there is another fundamental distinction between those who have been followers of the Russian Orthodox Church or Islam for a long time and those who have joined only recently (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/30/73646-cila-samyy-veskiy-argument). His research shows that the impact of the expansion of the numbers of believers has been “exaggerated” and that those who have been Orthodox or Islamic for a longtime tend to be more “democratic, tolerant and non-aggressive” while “neophytes [in these faiths] are [more] authoritarian and aggressive.” In an interview with Natalya Chernova of Novaya gazeta concerning the rise of violence in Russian society, Yenikolopov says that serious violent crime appears to have fallen but that although “there are no statistics about crimes at the edge of petty hooliganism,” one has the clear sense that these have become more numerous. Aggression “at the individual level,” the psychologist says, “is one of the best forms of the defense of one’s own ‘I’ in the broadest sense of this word” and that it is encouraged by both what appears on television and what is taking place around an individual. When there is a lot of violence in both, people tend to become more violent whatever their starting point is. “However paradoxical it may seem,” he continues, the fact that contemporary Russian society is “a society of free people” makes this situation worse. Russians don’t know how to cope with freedom and so they rapidly move toward anarchy whenever they feel anger or distress and have the chance. For many, Yenikolopov continues, “the socialization of young people passes through an understanding that force is the most weighty argument,” a feeling that has intensified as people feel frustration that the social lifts they are promised will help them advance no longer work for most people. They acquire the sense that “there are no established rules of the fame or that the rules are different in different circumstances,” something amplified by the sense of a break between what people are told and what is “the real situation.” They want to strike out, and in everyday language, the rule becomes “If there is no policeman about, then one can do anything.” The government has devoted very little attention to this because society has devoted very little attention to it either. The regime focuses only on those things that it thinks society is worried about. Thus, the murder of a journalist which gets a lot of media attention gets the regime’s. The murder of someone else is typically ignored by both. This trend began at the end of the 1980s, the Moscow psychologist says, “In Soviet times, however one relates to them, all the same, a militiaman was a militiaman. The cop on the beat had to work in his area. But how long has it been since you have seen one do that? In Soviet times, the policemen knew when people went on vacation.” No more. That only encourages people to think they can act however they like. But what may be most fundamental is the attitudes parents pass to their children. In many cases, Yenikolopov concludes, parents communicate the idea that “justice is something ephemeral, but force is a good thing.” Their children are acting on that now.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Patriarchate Promoting Peasant Values More than Religious Ones, Cultural Specialist Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – The Moscow Patriarchate backed by those in the church especially close to Vladimir Putin is promoting the peasant values of the 19th century more consistently than it is disseminating truly Christian ones, according to Ilya Ilyukovich, a theologian specializing on cultural questions. In an essay entitled “Peasantry or Christianity? Social Aspect of Present-Day Orthodoxy,” the scholar says that the Russian church now works on the basis of an image of Russia that is rooted in the idea that Russia somehow has remained a primarily peasant country (ahilla.ru/krestyanstvo-ili-hristianstvo-sotsialnye-aspekty-sovremennogo-pravoslaviya/). The problem here is not that many parishioners are “simple people” but rather this supposed “’simplicity’ is being cultivated by the church itself and supported in an artificial way” at a time when Russia has changed but when the church itself has refused to do so, Ilyukovich continues. The priest as the little father of the peasants remains central to the Patriarchate’s image of itself. The church hasn’t taken note of the rise of a middle class or even of an educated stratum. Instead, it remains rooted in a vision of society from the 19th century or even earlier that is designed to keep the population at the level of irresponsible children the powers will control. The Russian as peasant at the basis of this vision is “a child of the land, not independent and not completely responsible for his actions. The figure of the peasant in culture inevitably approaches that of the slave who does not control his existence. Such a peasant-child needs a little father master.” This is the world of the notorious Domostroy, of subservience to anyone in power and one whose only demands on the peasant are that he work, tolerate misfortunes, not drink to excess, not revolt and have a strong patriarchal family. He doesn’t need any independent qualities at all. That suits the current Kremlin just fine because as in the 19th century, the Russian Orthodox Church today promotes the idea that “’there is no power that is not from God,’” and thus encourages not discussion and participation but simply a life of prayer and obedience, the cultural affairs specialist says. “Of course,” he continues, no one in the hierarchy speaks about this directly. It simply acts that way; and even when it uses texts that could be employed to promote an alternative vision of Russia, it does its best to give them only a “peasant” reading lest they create problems for the powers that be. And such “peasantism” extends into the monastic life of the Russian Orthodox Church where the most important tasks are prayer and physical labor not theological discussion and dispute and not an effort to find answers to the most pressing problems of the society around them. Unfortunately, Ilyukovich says, there is little pressure for any change. While some church intellectuals have emerged, the Russian state continues to support this “peasant” interpretation because it helps keep the population obediently in line – and the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate is quite prepared to go alone. One clear piece of evidence that this is so is the bestselling book by Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, Unsaintly Saints. Known to be close to Putin, the bishop promotes this peasant vision of the Church and hence of Russia, a vision that is both anti-intellectual and anti-democratic but one that could block the country from any real move forward.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Donbass in Gorky Park’ – Moscow’s Use of Violence in Ukraine is Coming Back to Haunt Russia

Paul Goble Staunton, August 31 – The violence Moscow “exported” to Ukraine and other parts of what the Kremlin claims are parts of “the Russian world” is coming back to haunt Russia at home, with Russians ever more inclined to see violence as a legitimate means to solve their problems, Kirill Martynov says. In a Novaya gazeta commentary, the Moscow paper’s political observer notes that the war against Ukraine continues but that the Russian propaganda outlets are devoting ever less attention to it, a classic case of cynicism in which one begins a war and then forgets about it when other tasks arise (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/08/29/73634-donbass-v-parke-gorkogo). But almost unnoticed has been the fact that “something new” has appeared on the screen: violence at home. “For three years, the Russian state has succeeded in explaining to its citizens that killing for the right cause is good and acceptable,” Martynov says. Now, Russians are having to live with that in their own lives. “We have become accustomed to political force,” the use of violence by officials against those they see as their enemies. But that is now “escaping from under the control of the state.” As a result, “hooligan attacks on activists and even political murders are our new reality,” and one that extends far beyond politics. A signal indication of that was the recent murder in Moscow’s Gorky Park where blogger Stanislav Dumkin was killed by a group of hooligans because he wasn’t dressed properly in the opinion of the latter and worse a hat and glasses. (Martynov doesn’t point to the Machayevism that this reflects.). Despite the horror this murder generated in the media, he says, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone because Russians had been well prepared for just such an outrage: “attack ‘a Banderite,’ attack a gay, attack an incorrect theater director, attack a film about the tsar and a ballerina, and finally, attack those dressed not according to expectations.” Such attacks have “an objective cause” – the decline in incomes “which (together with other signs of social degradation) has continued almost as long as have lasted our geopolitical successes.” When there is no new money, people from top to bottom turn to force to get some of what is left or to compensate for its absence. The wealthy pray on the less wealthy, and “ordinary citizens, especially young men who have nothing to lose except their chains form gangs and begin to struggle for their place” in what is an ever less bright environment, taught by the regime that force of all kinds is the appropriate way to do that. by “At the end of the 1980s, as Soviet society was dying, the most promising profession already was service in the rackets.” Now, those who have the means of violence, first the siloviki and then the population, are using those means to compensate for the losses they are suffering. But it is obvious that the siloviki “have already lost the initiative” to the latter. According to Martynov, “the ideology of the new Russia asserts that there exist entire classes of people whom it is correct to destroy. And neither the magistracy nor the police can speak out against such a situation. The consolidation around ‘the Ukrainian question’ has ended and the taboo on the use of force has been lifted.” In short, “the Ukrainian war has turned into a war of all against all” in Russia.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Assembly Calls for Naming Streets after Muslims Who Died Defending Traditional Values

Paul Goble Staunton, August 31 – The World Russian Popular Assembly has called for naming streets in Russia in the memory of those Islamic leaders “who at the price of their lives defended traditional values,” an appeal Muslim leaders welcome as highlighting both the strength of Islam in Russia and the convergence of Russian Orthodoxy and the Muslim community. “It is deeply symbolic,” Mufti Albir Krganov says, “that on the eve of Kurban Bayram, the World Russian Popular Assembly has come out with this initiative. This is an indicator of the internal situation of our society and a mark of the deep mutual respect between our peoples and religions” (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68027). Among those who may be candidates for such honors are Valilulla Yakupov, the Tatarstan mufti who was killed in Kazan in July 2012, and Said Atsayev, better known as Said Chirkeyskiy who was killed in Daghestan in the same year. Those are individuals about whom there might be little controversay. But in reporting this idea, Krganov points to some others whose names may soon grace Russian streets but only at the price of sparking new controversies. Among them is Mukhammat-Safar Bayazitov, who opposed the 1917 revolutions and who then in 1937 was executed by Stalin. The Moscow mufti says that the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia which he heads “plans in support of these renamings to conduct a number of actions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan as well as in Makhachkala. “I consider,” the mufti says, “that the stable development of society will be secured not only by the economic growth of the country but also by the good-neighborly coexistence of various cultures and religions” that such renamings will both symbolize and promote.” It very much remains to be seen if Russian Orthodox nationalists will agree with that.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow City Residents Getting Two-Thirds of All Russian Funds for Social Improvements, Zubarevich Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 31 – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev professed shock to learn that 2700 schools in rural Russia don’t have indoor toilets; but he shouldn’t have been, Natalya Zubarevich says, because under Putin, Muscovites, although forming less than 10 percent of the Russian population, get two-thirds of all government funds for social improvements. Not surprisingly, this outrages many outside of Moscow because they cannot afford even a small fraction of what the capital’s residents now expect as their due, the specialist on regional development says (newizv.ru/interview/30-08-2017/natalya-zubarevich-moskva-nikak-ne-mozhet-byt-primerom-dlya-regionov-e0ac081d-13d9-48e9-8f6b-7ebe72a6f71a). The government spends 150,000 rubles for each Muscovite while in Samara it spends only 12,000, in Volgograd, only 16,000, and in Voronezh, only 15,000. As one can see, Zubarevich says, “the difference is not simply in percent but in order of magnitude!” And people are taking notice. The problem is that the Russian government takes so much from the regions that they have nothing left but gives back to Moscow far more than its share. At present, the central government takes 75 percent of the taxes people in Omsk pay. If it took only five percent, that city would be able to solve almost all its problems. Muscovites say they deserve the money spent on them but that is based on a misconception. Pointing to their budget surplus, they forget that almost all Russian companies are registered in and pay taxes in the capital city rather than where they actually earn their money and should pay taxes. Even in Imperial Russia, things were concentrated in the capital city, Zubarevich continues; but there was an important difference. The wealth of that country was generated by agriculture which by its nature was more decentralized than wealth now from the extraction and sale of oil and gas, the only things Russia is competitive in internationally. One reason that the authorities are spending so much money on renovations in Moscow is the power of the construction industry, she continues. That industry, despite its power, has taken a huge hit in the last 18 months. It saw its production fall by 14 percent in 2016 and by 40 percent in the first half of this year alone. Obviously, the powers that be have to take that sector’s needs into consideration; but for the country as a whole, things can get better if and only if there is serious decentralization of power and decision making. That won’t be achieved by moving the capital as the case of Kazakhstan shows. Indeed, shifting the capital could end by making things more centralized. “The capital functions of Moscow will be reduced only when the super-centralizstion of the system of administration is reduced,” she says. Perhaps what is needed is to have many capitals, “an aluminum capital, a metallurgical capital,” and so on, although that isn’t enough for modernization. Repression won’t solve Russia’s problems as the situation in China shows; only decentralization of power can do that. But moving in that direction will be hard given Russia’s traditions and its paternalistic belief that the center knows best and should be able to impose its will everywhere on all things. Despite that and despite the existence of paternalistic attitudes even among Muscovites, the portion of the population most educated and most aware of the problems Russia faces and thus the part the Kremlin is careful to take the best care of lest if face massive protests, Zubarevich argues, the trend toward modernization via decentralization is “unstoppable.” There will be periods of retreat as well as progress, and it will remain true that “in Russia, one must life a long time in order to see changes; but they will occur! [Indeed,] the entire 21st century in Russia will be seriously turbulent.” It won’t be “stable,” despite what some imagine, “but the vector of modernization” away from centralization will win out in the end.

‘That Awkward Moment’: Putin Cited Debunked MH17 Claims In Oliver Stone Interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin, it seems, didn&rsquo;t get the memo — or just doesn&rsquo;t care.&nbsp; A purported &quot;Spanish air-traffic controller&quot; at a Kyiv airport was exposed as …

FSB Officer Called To Testify At Former Russian Economy Minister’s Trial

A Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) general accused by former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev of helping set him up for a bribery charge has been called to testify for th…

Russian Ex-Minister’s Bribery Trial Starts In Moscow

A Russian court opened the bribery trial of former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukaev — the highest-ranking government official to be arrested on corruption charges since the Stalin era. (RFE/RL’s Russian Service)

Russian Child Dies After ‘AIDS-Denying’ Parents Refuse Treatment

A 10-year-old girl from St. Petersburg has reportedly died of complications from AIDS after a lengthy battle in which her adoptive parents cited religious objections in refusing medical treatment fo…

How a transgender Chechen escaped Russia and found asylum in the United States – The Washington Post

Now that she has managed to escape, she’s putting pressure on Washington to help others.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Declaring Soros a terrorist would mean shaking US foundations, Russian senator warns

Soros is the founder and head of the Soros Fund Management hedge fund and one of the wealthiest people in the world

Ethereum’s Founder Struck a Deal with a Russian Bank to Create ‘Ethereum Russia’

Ethereum just partnered with Russia’s state-owned bank, VEB. This comes as Russia’s interest in blockchain technology swells with curiosity.


Belarus Reports


UAWire – Putin and Lukashenko to inspect Zapad-2017 joint military exercise

The Presidents of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, respectively plan to visit together the strategic Zapad (West) 201 …

Ales Stankevich: We Created Belarusian Popular Army – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The Oath of Freedom will be a logical continuation of the consolidation of Belarusian patriots. This year is the 25th anniversary of the solemn oath of allegiance to Belarus, which Belarusian officers took. A public civil action was prepared by the Belarusian Association of the Military. The solemn event was timed to the Day of the Belarusian Military Glory, which is celebrated on the day of the victory of the troops of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Battle of Orsha. Back then, Kanstantsin Astrozhski defeated the army of Muscovites, which was three times bigger. The Belarusian National Congress launched an initiative to take the Oath of Freedom at 7 p.m. on September 8 in the Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk. The BNC Council offered the following text of the oath: I… before God and Belarus: Swear to fight for the freedom and independence of my country; Swear to cherish Belarus in my heart, and defend it from any enemy wherever they might come from; Swear to be faithful to Belarus and never to betray my friends, who are struggling for the free Homeland. Long Live Belarus! The website charter97.org asked the direct participant of those events, retired Major of the Belarusian army Ales Stankevich what the main goal of that action was, what the Belarusian officers felt while taking that oath, and why it is so important for the Belarusian patriots to take the Oath of Freedom. — Young soldiers at that time had already taken an oath, the text of which was approved by the Supreme Council, and the commanders remained under the oath of the USSR. This was very dangerous, since in the event of a military conflict, they were not even obliged to fight for Belarus. The Belarusian Association of the Military and the Belarusian Popular Front starting raising this issue in the society. On September 8, on the Day of Belarusian Military Glory, the anniversary of the victory of the troops of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania over Muscovy, we took this oath. Thousands of people gathered in the Independence Square. People specially came to this event from other cities of Belarus: many officers, sergeants, privates, reserve soldiers. On the stage, 12 officers — members of the leadership of the Interior Ministry — took the oath, in parade uniform. Mikalai Statkevich was the first to take the oath, after the text was signed by the military, who were there. Our main goal was the creation of a popular army. I fully support the initiative of the Belarusian National Congress to take the oath of allegiance to Belarus. People should be reminded of patriotism and love for their country.


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Russian minister criticizes Moldova’s call for troop pullout – ABC News

Russian minister criticizes Moldova’s call for troop pullout

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Russia does not want war and is not going to participate in it — Lavrov

The top diplomat stressed that Russia’s main fortune is its people

UAWire – Transnistria protests Chisinau’s deportation of Russian delegation

Diplomats of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic accused the Moldovan authorities of deporting delegation members from Russia and South Ossetia who were traveling to Transnistria, as reported on the official site of the Transnistrian Foreign Ministry. “The actions of the representatives of the Republic of Moldova are evidence of yet another cycle of Chișinău’s use of mechanisms to filter foreign guests heading for Transnistria,” the statement reads. According to the Transnistrian Foreign Ministry, Moldova even deported the president of Russia’s Collegium of Military Experts, General Major Alexander Vladimirov, and members of the South Ossetian delegation headed by Igor Kozaev, head of the republic’s presidential administration, and Vsevolod Zheleznov, assistant to the executive director of the Russkiy Mir Foundation. According to the statement, the Transnistrian Foreign Ministry has sent the relevant appeal to Moldova, expecting “cooperation on all levels of dialogue”. Earlier Moldova announced the decision to remove all Russian forces from its territory. The declaration regarding the necessity to have the Russian forces withdrawn was made by the parliament. Moldovan President Igor Dodon considers this step “hostile” and has pointed out the “unprofessionalism of the Moldovan officials”.

Moldova deported Russian general along with delegation

The Moldovan authorities deported members of the Russian and South Ossetian delegations that were heading to the territory of the unrecognized Transdniestria. In particular, among the deportees was Russian Major General Alexander Vladimirov. As reported by “Interfax”, in the so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Transnistria, they were indignant at the actions of Moldova. “These actions of the Republic of Moldova testify to the rejection of the commitments undertaken by the Moldovan side within the framework of the negotiation process, in particular, the protocol decision” On some aspects of the freedom of movement of the population “of February 28, 2014,” the so-called Transnistrian Foreign Ministry said. The publication specified that the president of the College of Military Experts of Russia, the honorary chairman of the All-Russian Union of Cadet Associations “Open Commonwealth of Suvorovites, Nakhimovs and Cadets of Russia”, Major General Alexander Vladimirov, a delegation of South Ossetia led by the head of the so-called presidential administration Igor Kozaev and from Russia, were deported from Moldova Vsevolod Zheleznov, assistant executive director of the board of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, and a representative of the Supreme Council of the unrecognized Transdniestria in Russia Olga Gukalenko.


Ukraine Reports


Muzhenko: Ukraine preparing for various scenarios amid Zapad 2017 military exercise | KyivPost

The Russia-Belarus Zapad-2017 exercise poses a threat to NATO countries and the nations of the post-Soviet world, Ukraine’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief Viktor Muzhenko said. “We are evaluating various scenarios of the adversary’s actions, including offensive action,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s press service quoted Muzhenko as saying. The contents of the events planned during the Zapad-2017 exercise and the composition of forces involved makes it possible for Russia to deploy powerful offensive taskforces in both the southwestern and western strategic vectors and create conditions for their lasting employment,

I Just Toured the Front Lines between Russia and Ukraine (and It’s Not Frozen) | The National Interest

Up to two dozen are killed a month in the conflict.

Poroshenko: Ukraine To Impose New Border-Crossing Rules For ‘Risky’ Countries

Ukraine says it will introduce new border-crossing rules from next year, affecting citizens of &ldquo;countries that pose risks for Ukraine.&rdquo; President Petro Poroshenko told reporters o…

Ukraine To Impose New Border-Crossing Rules For ‘Risky’ Countries — Poroshenko

Ukraine says it will introduce new border-crossing rules from next year, affecting citizens of &ldquo;countries that pose risks for Ukraine.&rdquo; President Petro Poroshenko told reporters o…

Ukraine tightens control over entry/departure of foreigners

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed Decree No. 256/2017 to enact a decision taken by the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) on July 10 to strengthen control over entry into Ukraine, departure of foreigners and stateless persons from Ukraine, their compliance with the rules of stay in Ukrainian territory, the presidential press service has reported. News 01 September from UNIAN.

SBU chief suggests holding Ukrainian politicians criminally liable for visits to Russia – 02.09.2017 12:54 — Ukrinform News

Vasyl Hrytsak, the chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) believes that Ukrainian MPs, politicians and public figures should be held criminally liable for visits to the Russian Federation. Hrytsak said this to journalists on Saturday, commenting on the introduction of biometric control for foreigners starting from 2018. “This will definitively help us in our work. I support the initiative of the President. I would even introduce a legislative ban and criminal liability for MPs, politicians and public figures for their visits to the aggressor state,” the SBU chief noted. As a reminder, the decision of the National Security and Defense Council over entry into Ukraine, departure of foreigners and stateless persons from Ukraine, their compliance with the rules of stay in Ukrainian territory has entered into force. The National Security and Defense Council instructed the Cabinet of Ministers with the participation of the Security Service to take within a month’s time the comprehensive measures to tighten control over entry into Ukraine, the departure of foreigners from Ukraine, including citizens of the Russian Federation, and stateless persons, their compliance with the rules of stay in Ukraine. The Government of Ukraine should also within two months work out a mechanism and phases of the introduction of preliminary electronic notification by foreigners and stateless persons about their plans to enter Ukraine; entry into Ukraine and departure from Ukraine by foreigners, including citizens of the Russian Federation, with the use of biometric passports.

SBU head suggests prohibiting Ukrainian politicians, public figures from visiting Russia

Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Head Vasyl Hrytsak has suggested legislatively prohibiting Ukrainian lawmakers, politicians, and public figures from visiting Russia.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Russia voices concerns over Ukraine-Croatia contacts on regaining control over Donbass

Moscow calls on Zagreb to «use all possibilities to encourage Kiev to consistently and fully comply with the Minsk agreements»

Ukroboronprom presents new Ukrainian weapons – 02.09.2017 12:17 — Ukrinform News

Ukraine&rsquo;s State Concern Ukroboronprom has presented achievements of the domestic weapon production for the past three years.

Hug says ‘back-to-school’ ceasefire in Donbas not respected – 01.09.2017 16:32 — Ukrinform News

Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) to Ukraine Alexander Hug has said that that the ceasefire regime in the Donbas is not respected.

Militants launched 20 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 02.09.2017 11:19 — Ukrinform News

Militants launched 20 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.&nbsp;

24 hours in Donbas: 20 attacks on Ukrainian positions – 112.international

On September 1, the militants in the Donbas conflict zone attacked the Ukrainian positions 20 times with small arms, as the Ukrainian Army HQ reports. In Luhansk sector, the Russia-backed terrorists opened fire four times near Stanytsia Luhanska, Krymske and Zhovte. Donetsk sector was the most tense: 14 attacks were recorded near Avdiivka, Zaitseve, Maiorsk, and Butivka mine. In Mariupol sector, the enemy attacked Ukrainian strongholds near Vodiane two times. No casualties among the Ukrainian soldiers occurred. The Ukrainian Army opened return fire only once, when the lives of the country’s defenders were put under threat. The Ukrainian Army is ready to react appropriately to aggressive actions of the enemy.

School-year start in ATO zone: militants shell Ukraine troops 20 times, army returns fire once

On September 1, Russian-occupation forces in the zone of the Anti-Terrorist Operation fired at the Ukrainian troops 20 times, according to the press center of the ATO headquarters. News 02 September from UNIAN.

Militants abduct young man at Stanytsa Luhanska checkpoint – 112.international

On Friday, September 1, the human rights advocates informed that militants abducted a young man at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint, according to their statement on the website of Kharkiv human rights protection group. “Petrukhov Mykola, born 1995, worked as a mover at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint. He made his living by helping people move their belongings from the checkpoint on the Ukrainian side to the one on controlled by the militants. Over the past year it was the only source of income for him and his mother. On August 31, Mykola crossed the Ukrainian checkpoint. After this, at the militant checkpoint, he was stopped by armed men, who started asking him questions. There are eyewitnesses of this. Next the militants pulled Mykola aside. Since then the connection with Mykola Petukhov has been lost and there is no information about him,” the message says. The mother of the abducted young man asked the OSCE and the Kharkiv human rights protection group for help. The human rights advocates also tell about another recent abduction by the militants. They found out, that a week ago another young man, who was also a mover, was abducted by the militants at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint in the same manner. At the moment his relatives only gave his name – Oleksiy. Three days later, the corpse of the young man with the signs of violent death was found near one of the cafes in occupied Luhansk.

After 2 years of training, Azov Regiment itches to return to war | KyivPost

URZUF, Ukraine — Ukraine’s best — and most controversial — fighters haven’t seen full-blown combat for more than two years. But the men of the Azov Regiment, part of the National Guard, say they’ve stayed sharp and active in special operations against Russian-led forces. They train, drill and bide their time in Urzuf, a small Donetsk Oblast city between the two large Azov Sea port hub cities of Berdyansk and Mariupol.

Donetsk separatist referendum organizer: “Return to Ukraine is inevitable, Donbas is Ukraine” -Euromaidan Press |

Roman Lyagin, one of the masterminds behind the illegitimate separatist referendum in Donetsk, expressed his disappointment in Russia and in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). Now he says pretty much what pro-Ukrainian Donbas activists keep telling since 2014, that the Donbas is Ukraine. First, the Ukrainian online newspaper Segodnya.ua published a recent Facebook comment by Roman Lyagin in which he calls the DNR “a parody of a state” being “kept afloat by internal terror”: “Ivan, you are an adult person and I am sure that you didn’t get rid of your Ukrainian passport. What we call DNR is a parody of a state. In 2014 people voted to join Russia. If the referendum would be held today, its results would be the opposite. People were fooled, including by myself. Today DNR is kept afloat by internal terror.” In their article, the newspaper called Lyagin the former head of the so-called DNR Central Electoral Commission. It was his position in the fake pro-Russian Donetsk government in 2014-2016. Commenting on the piece by Segodnya.ua on his Facebook page, Roman Lyagin was even more lavish in praises of Ukraine (archived post):

UAWire – Official from the separatist DPR accused Russia of betrayal

In his Facebook post, the former leader of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Roman Lyagin …

Fantom, Taipan, Horlytsia – Ukroboronprom reveals new weapon developed for hybrid war. Infographics

01.09.17 16:45 – Fantom, Taipan, Horlytsia – Ukroboronprom reveals new weapon developed for hybrid war. Infographics Over the past three years, Ukroboronprom State Concern has created dozens of newest weapons, which are a worthy response of Ukraine to the challenges of the hybrid war. View news.

NEAR 300 COMPANIES FROM 11 COUNTRIES TO TAKE PART IN ARMS AND SECURITY 2017 EXHIBITION IN KYIV IN OCT

“Ukraine’s former judicial system crumbles” – lawyer who made it to the new Supreme Court -Euromaidan Press |

The competition to the Supreme Court of Ukraine has been accompanied by scandals. The Public Integrity Council assessed 25% of its 120 candidate judges as being engaged in corrupt practices, making biased decisions against Euromaidan participants, and leading a luxurious lifestyle at odds with their declared income. Along with this, for the first time in the history of Ukraine, the judicial system has disclosed its inner processes to the public, people from all over the world had an opportunity to watch online how this competition was taking place. Euromaidan Press sat down with Olena Kibenko, a winner of the competition and owner of a successful law firm who was named as one of the top-100 lawyers in Ukraine, about all the intricacies, positive and negative sides of the competition, innovations of the Procedure Codes, her comments on the story of Poroshenko’s offshores, political career at the Samopomich political party, and reforms at the Ukrainian Bar Association.

Illusion of a friendly empire: Russia, the West, and Ukraine’s independence a century ago -Euromaidan Press |

On 31 December 2017, Finland will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its independence. Next year, the same grand jubilees will be marked in Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Latvia, which all emerged on the ruins of the Russian Empire. Ukraine, on the contrary, has just observed its 26th Independence Day, though in January 1918 the sovereignty of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (known after the acronym UNR) was proclaimed in Kyiv. After World War I, the nascent Ukrainian state, which also tried to break away with the empire, did not manage to withstand several waves of the Russian Bolshevik invasion. Since 1920, most of today’s Ukraine fell under Soviet rule for nearly seven decades, excluding western Ukrainian lands, which were incorporated into the Soviet Union later, during the Second World War. The failure of the Ukrainian revolutionary statehood of 1917–21 was connected to a large extent with the fierce internal collisions of various social and political forces, the strength of invading Red troops, and the crucial role of Ukraine in the Bolshevik economic and geopolitical strategy. However, one more major factor was the lack of recognition and real support of Ukraine on the part of the victorious powers in the wake of WWI. While the United States and the Entente (France and Britain) proclaimed the emancipation of enslaved nations as their chief political goal at war and during the peace talks, their program was not implemented fairly and systematically. The Western leaders solemnly declared that an independent Poland was a necessary condition “of a solid and just peace, and of the regime of right in Europe.”[1] After the war, French Prime Minister and head of the Paris Peace Conference Georges Clemenceau was immensely proud of restoring the Polish state, whose partition by Russia, Austria, and Prussia in the 18th century he labeled no less than “the greatest crime in history.”

Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal hits back at Ukraine’s SBU – Aluminium Insider : Aluminium Insider

Russian aluminium giant U.C. Rusal hit back at the Security Service of Ukraine after the SBU accused some of the company’s representatives in the country of deliberately destroying the Zaporozhye Aluminium Smelter (ZALK) and causing damages of over $39 million as a result of their actions. “The company views those illegal actions as an attempt to retaliate and put political pressure over a lawsuit against the government of Ukraine filed by Rusal to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID),” a company spokesperson said. The smelter at the center of the tiff, ZALK, which is Ukraine’s sole aluminium plant, was expropriated by the state in 2015 when its shares were transferred from a Rusal subsidiary to the State Property Fund of Ukraine. Rusal initiated proceedings shortly thereafter at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes seeking the return of its stake in ZALK, plus costs and interest. Results of the request for arbitration are pending. However, according to Alexander Okhrimenko, a Ukrainian political analyst and president of the Ukrainian Analytical Center, ZALK was set up as part of the USSR’s industrial system and would not be able to function outside the Russian value chain. The plot further thickened in the fall of 2016, when President Petro Poroshenko levied sanctions upon the Russian firm, alleging it of undermining the country’s national security. The presidential decree gave Ukrainian authorities the right to freeze Rusal’s assets and block its economic actions within the country. It also prohibits the firm from removing capital, bidding on government contracts, and engaging in share transactions. Rusal was one of three hundred other Russian businesses and citizens that were ultimately subjected to restrictions placed upon it by the current Ukrainian leadership since 2014. Although the government’s 2016 decree failed to outline precisely how Rusal may have been threatening the government, Rusal indicated at the time that the sanctions were imposed in retaliation to the simmering ZALK dispute. It is unclear at this point what the fate of Rusal’s other asset in Ukraine, the Nikolaev Alumina Refinery (NGZ), will be. The Russian company bought a 30 percent share of the plant in 2000, and invested US$430 million in order to increase the 68-year-old plant’s capacity by 700 thousand metric tons per annum. Energy consumption was slashed by one-fifth, largely via converting to automation a significant portion of the smelting process. All in, the operations at NGZ now process between 4 and 5 million tons of bauxite each year, a small share of which was used by ZALK before it was expropriated by the Ukrainian state, with the rest going to other Russian smelters due to differences in production standards that make its output incompatible with European smelters.

Saakashvili Says His Brother Detained In Kyiv

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is also a former governor of Ukraine's Odesa region, says his brother David has been detained in Kyiv. Saakashvili wrote on Facebook that hi…

Lenin On Linen: An Artist Remembers Her Soviet Childhood

Two weeks after 14-year-old Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi and her family left Kyiv for a new life in Israel, the U.S.S.R collapsed. Recently, the artist drew on memories of her Soviet childhood in a series of paintings that have captivated the Russian-speaking Internet.

UAWire – Russia postpones opening of two power plants in Crimea

The Russian government postponed the commissioning of the Simferopol and Sevastopol TPPs (Thermal Power Plants). The document, signed by Prime …

Activist of Ukrainian Cultural Center in occupied Crimea flees to mainland Ukraine following threats

An activist at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in the Russian-occupied Crimea, Leonid Kuzmin, has fled the peninsula after he had repeatedly been threatened, RFE/RL&rsquo;s project Krym.Realii reported. News 01 September from UNIAN.

Dangerous flights: Why in Mariupol want to launch an airport (MAP)

The restoration of the airport’s work in Mariupol has been going on for a year, however, recently, local authorities are increasingly striving to launch it. When in the spring of 2016, the head of the Donetsk regional military-civilian administration Pavel Zhebrivsky announced about the reconstruction of the airport in Mariupol, which was going to spend 60 million hryvnia and make it for half a year, many were wondering why the city, the airspace over which is closed and in what is the red level of the terrorist threat of opening the flight? It was said that this would improve the situation with civilian transport, however, fighting in the southern direction is unlikely to contribute to this. Subsequently, the mayor of the city of Boychenko voiced an amount of 70 million hryvnia and called the plans for reconstruction in three stages. In the winter of 2017, they spoke about her again, and recently the patriarch of the mayor of Mariupol, Alexander Goltvenko, during a meeting with the Lithuanian delegation, declared readiness to resume the work of the city airport. According to the official, the city authorities can easily restore the airport, but the opening of airspace over the city is a political issue that should be solved at the state level. In general, Mariupol presented the National Transport Strategy of Ukraine in 2030. Mayor Boychenko proposed for the city’s successful development the following tasks: to repair the Zaporozhye-Mariupol route, increase the throughput capacity on the Komish-Zorya-Volnovak section, to make passenger transportation more comfortable, to open the airport, to let Intercity . If you return to the airport, the Deputy Mayor Goltvenko is sure that the militants will not be able to fire him because of the height of the heights, so the local authorities consider the yard to be safe. And his work will solve the problem of transport, because the city through the “narrow neck” can not skip the required number of trains. Of course, if you look at the line of demarcation and the territory from where the militants regularly bombard the forces of the Armed Forces, which are Sahanka, Bezimenna, Azov, and so on, then “Grad” is quite realistic to get to the airport. How sophisticated is the question of professionals. Range of shooting “Grad” – 40 km. It is just the distance to the Sakhalin flight, from which, in 2015, there was flown by the city, Vostochny microdistrict. In addition, the terrorists often bombard the suburb of Mariupol – Sartan. However, in addition to the threat to the airport itself, there will be at risk the planes that will theoretically approach the landing. It is known that before the landing, the liner is maneuvering over the Granite with a sharp drop in height. Granite, it should be recalled, under the control of militants “DPR”. And the plane will become an easy target for the enemy. We will have to break the head of the professionals in the field of aviation, how to change the route and reduce the danger if the airport is still open. Despite the fact that the fighters, and most importantly Russia, are very unprofitable to shoot down airplanes in today’s conditions, when the aggressor is already sanctioned and for such actions their strengthening will be inevitable, yet we should not forget about the downfall in the summer of 2014 in the area of Snezhnoe “Buk” Boeing B-777-200ER, flying Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur. In fact, civilian planes, like the airliner, will be under constant threat of possible shelling. Therefore, the question of how expedient it is to open an airport in terms of civilian flights will remain open for a long time. And people who even have the opportunity to buy tickets to the plane, will have to drink in trains (from Kiev to Mariupol to go 18 hours by train), or ride motor transport through Berdyansk and more. Since the desire of some to demonstrate that there is no real threat to the city from the side of the militants, it can cost too much if diplomatic fuses do not work. Because only thanks to them Mariupol is not Avdeevka, which is regularly fired. On the other hand, the airport may well serve for military purposes. First, there are still military. Secondly, in 2014, the Mariupol airfield together with Kramatorsk and Siverskodonetsk became the key points for the defense of the Ukrainian Army in the respective directions. Even when Mariupol was temporarily occupied by the “DNR”, our military was stationed at the airport and it was from the airport that the liberation of the city began. The active use of the airport can increase mobility and strengthen the group of Ukrainian Army in Primorye, as well as enable the rapid transport of wounded soldiers, respectively, increasing the number of saved lives. It is clear that the restored airport will be able to accept at least An-26, not to mention the large IL-76 … For military, its reconstruction and use will be of strategic importance.

The Previously Mothballed Tor Was Observed in the ATO Zone

Posted by Admin On August 31, 2017 With the commencement of hostilities in the Donbass region in order to confront the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, our country removed many military equipment for the stock of newly formed military units from storage, and, among other things, the Armed Forces received super-powerful 2S7 “Pion” artillery systems with a 203 mm caliber capable of destroying targets on distance of almost 50 km. In the course of the exhibition of military equipment “The Might of the Undefeated ” in Kyiv, on the Independence Square, the SAM “Tor” was demonstrated, which in the 90’s was armed with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and, for a number of reasons, was withdrawn from their warehouses and put into storage. About this, at the exhibition, the military revealed some details about these machines, in particular, that this sample has not been restored to show at the exhibition, and some of the complexes are already in combat duty. This information was confirmed by the OSCE, which in a report released yesterday from its UAV noted these complexes in the area of military operation in the Donbass: On August 24, an average range of UAV UAV recorded 5 anti-aircraft missile systems (two 9K330 Tor and three 9K33 Osa) near. Kasyanivka (81 km south of Donetsk) and one anti-aircraft missile complex (9K35 Strela-10) near Kremenivka. (This is the first case when the Mission reports the presence of “Tor” anti-aircraft missile complexes). As for the total number of complexes in the Armed Forces, there is no open information yet, but it is now known that trial firings have already been made of them, during which their tactical and technical characteristics have been confirmed. So far, the level of modernization of the complex and its missiles remains unknown. As you know, in Ukraine, OPK companies have already mastered the maintenance of missiles to the S-300 complex, firing of which was recently conducted in Bulgaria. ZRK “Tor” (the index of GRU – 9К330) – an anti-aircraft missile system designed to solve the tasks of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense at the level of the division’s level. Provides protection against targets moving at speeds up to 700 m / s, at a distance of 0.5 to 12 km and at altitudes from 10 m to 6 km. Transfer from the original to a combat position lasts up to 3 minutes. The reaction time of the complex is 8-12 seconds

Ukraine may repair and return TOR self-propelled missile system to service | Defence Blog

The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine is planning to bring back into service some of its mothballed TOR all-weather, short-range surface-to-air missile systems and to update them. The first repaired 9K330 Tor self-propelled air defence system was displayed during the «Might of the Undefeated» arms exhibition in Kyiv on August 24. Early, the Ukrainian 9K330 missile systems were in service at least until 2001 but later were removed from service because of the inability to keep in working order. According to a source in the country’s defence industry, the State enterprise “Lviv Radio Repair Plant” has been selected for repair and overhaul work on 9K330 Tor air defence system. All information on this project is kept secret. The State enterprise “Lviv Radio Repair Plant” is part of the Ukroboronprom and it is the plant for repair and overhaul work on the radar location stations of air target reconnaissance (P-18, PRV-16, PRV-13, NRZ-4P, NRZ-6P, AGU P-14, AGU 5N84A, radar station of air defense systems S-125, S-75). The 9K330 Tor is commonly known by its NATO reporting name, SA-15 “Gauntlet”. The Tor self-propelled missile system is especially designed to protect the most important military and civil objects from air strikes carried out using aircraft, helicopters, cruising missiles, guided missiles, aerial guided and non-guided bombs, UAVs, etc. under any lighting and weather conditions. The 9K330 Tor air defence missile system is armed with 8 surface-to-air guided missiles. The missile’s high-explosive fragmentation warhead and an active proximity fuse allow it to destroy targets moving at speeds of 700m/s and altitudes of 6,000m, within a range of 12km. The anti-aircraft missile system is based on a GM-355 tracked combat vehicle, which can travel at a road speed of approximately 65km/h for a range of 500km. RELATED NEWS :


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


ISIS convoy stuck in Syria after US airstrikes block it | Fox News

A convoy of ISIS militants found itself with nowhere to go after getting stuck Thursday in Syria following U.S.–led airstrikes that blocked it in.

Just outside Syria’s capital, a battle still rages over one of the last rebel-held enclaves – LA Times

A little-noticed but bitter struggle continues in the few remaining rebel-held enclaves on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Syria’s ‘disappeared’ are murdered on an industrial scale. The UN must step in | Nicola Cutcher | Opinion | The Guardian

In Syria, thousands of detainees are being abused and killed. But the will of the UN to step in is woefully lacking, writes Nicola Cutcher

Bogus Truces in Syria Are Handing Assad an Easy Victory

‘Reconciliation deals’ are farcical shows of forced settlement with support from Russian and Iranian forces.

Trump’s big decision in Syria – The Washington Post

Even after the Islamic State is routed, U.S. troops can play a key mediating role.

U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ By Death Sentence Against Iranian Spiritual Leader

WASHINGTON — The United States says it is &ldquo;deeply concerned&rdquo; by reports that imprisoned Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri has been sentenced to death, and it called on th…

Obama’s Myanmar legacy in trouble and it’s not Trump’s fault – The Washington Post

One of former President Barack Obama’s greatest foreign policy achievements is at risk — and it has nothing to do with his successor


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Russia’s North Korea power play unsettles China and US – CNN

Russia’s increased presence in the Koreas is meant to not only cause diplomatic angst for Washington, it’s also designed to disrupt China’s regional aspirations.

UAWire – Putin: The North Korean situation is on the brink of war

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is teetering on the brink of a large-scale conflict. He wrote this in an article on the eve of the BRICS summit, which will be held in Xiamen on September 4-5. The article was published on the Kremlin’s website. “I cannot ignore the situation on the Korean Peninsula, which has recently escalated and is teetering on the edge of a large-scale conflict,” said the Russian president. Putin stressed that, in Russia’s opinion, the notion that it is possible to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program solely by putting pressure on Pyongyang “is erroneous and unlikely to yield results.” According to him, it is possible to solve the problems in the region through direct dialogue that involves all interested parties and without setting preliminary conditions. “Provocation, pressure, and combative and insulting rhetoric is the way to nowhere,” the Russian leader said. On the night of August 29, North Korea launched a ballistic missile in the direction of Japan. It flew over the territory of the country and crashed into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The missile traveled a distance of 2,700 kilometers and reached a maximum flight altitude of 550 kilometers. The Hwasong-12 missile is the first North Korean missile in 20 years that can fly at such a high altitude over the territory of Japan.

North Korea Declares Start of Pacific Offensive Amid Missile Standoff – Sputnik International

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Friday the recent missile launch marked the beginning of a military operation in the Pacific, according to state media.

North Korea: US bombers, allies conduct drills over Korean peninsula after latest missile launch – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

South Korean and Japanese jets join exercises with two supersonic US B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula, two days after North Korea fired a missile over Japan, sharply raising tensions.

Joseph DeThomas | Getting Tough on North Korea: Iran and Other Mirages | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

As North Korea moves closer to its goal of being able to target key parts of the United States with nuclear weapons, it has produced a near universal consensus in Washington that it is “time to get tough” with Pyongyang. By and large this consensus still centers on the same policy tools it has for the past dozen years: economic sanctions capable of coercing Pyongyang into capitulating to US and UN demands that it end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Sanctions are clearly preferable to war, but they do not offer a viable strategy for untying the Gordian Knot that is North Korea. Those advocating the “get tough with sanctions” approach to the North Korean nuclear and missile problem in turn base their approach on two dubious assumptions.[1] First, they believe that there is a great deal of additional economic pressure that can be put on North Korea. Some who share this assumption believe the US has a number of unilateral tools that could achieve US objectives. Others—like President Trump—believe that China holds the key by threatening economic pressure on Pyongyang and that China can be persuaded or coerced into using its leverage on Kim Jong Un. Second, advocates of this approach believe that this additional pressure will likely produce a positive result: North Korean capitulation to US demands or—failing that—a change of regime in the DPRK. Those who believe sanctions are the answer to the North Korean problem point in particular to the sanctions regime developed against Iran’s nuclear program. They assert that sanctions on Iran were more severe than they are today on North Korea. They add that when the international community got serious about sanctions on Iranian oil and Iranian oil revenue, the regime became serious at the P5+1 negotiations. Thus, if only the US and China would get as serious about sanctions on North Korea, Pyongyang would be faced with the choice of collapse or agreement to end its nuclear and missile adventure.

Trump’s terrible options on North Korea

The only prudent option is to deter North Korea, which already has nuclear weapons, just as Washington did with the Soviet Union and China (far more powerful and dangerous adversaries) during the Cold War and continues to do today. Kim is a sociopath, a brute, a murderer, a war criminal, a narcissist obsessed with his own sense of glory, but there isn’t any evidence he is suicidal. The fear among the North Korean elite of getting annihilated by U.S. military power would preclude an unprovoked nuclear attack. Hopefully, this is what Trump means when he says “talking is not the answer.” Hopefully, this is code for “we are switching gears toward containment.” Because the other interpretation would mean a lot of dead Koreans, Japanese, and Americans, the destruction of the world’s 11th largest economy (South Korea), and a conflict that would be so violent that it would make the last decade of war look like a minor traffic stop. The U.S. policy of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula went out the window as soon as Pyongyang exploded its first nuclear device in 2006. Eleven years later, North Korea boasts at least 20-25 nuclear warheads. For the U.S., two policies remain: preventive war, which is immoral and would cost far too much, or deterrence, which has worked against every nuclear-armed country since scientists discovered how to split the atom. Deterrence is the only policy which will protect American security at an acceptable cost.

Robert Robb | North Korea has nuclear weapons. South Korea and Japan need them too

North Korea is a threat to South Korea and Japan because it has nuclear weapons and they don’t.

North Korea missiles as wedge between US-China? | Asia Times

China recently backed a US-sponsored UN Security Council move to slap harsher sanctions on Pyongyang

Presidents Moon, Trump agree to revise missile guidelines : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh

In phone call, the two leaders reaffirm maximum sanctions and pressure on North Korea During a phone call, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump reportedly agreed to revise the two countries’ missile guidelines. Moon’s phone call with Trump began at 11:10 pm on Sept. 1 and lasted for about 40 minutes, according to Blue House spokesperson Park Soo-hyun. During the phone call, the two leaders discussed how the North Korea’s recent missile provocations had affected the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and how to respond to those provocations. They also agreed to update the missile guidelines. “The two leaders are of the same mind about the necessity of strengthening South Korea’s military in response to North Korea’s provocations and threat, and they agreed on the principle of revising the missile guidelines to the extent desired by South Korea,” Park said in a press release sent by e-mail to reporters immediately after the phone call. Moon described North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) as “a violation of the UN Security Council resolution and a severe provocation that raises tensions in the region.” Park also quoted Moon as saying, “Strong countermeasures have been adopted so that the South Korean military can display its massive retaliatory capabilities.” Park went on to say, “Our assessment is that South Korea and the US’s close cooperation helped the US demonstrate the firm defensive posture of the South Korea-US coalition through swiftly deploying strategic assets and helped the UN Security Council release a presidential statement denouncing North Korea’s missile provocations with unprecedented speed.”

Trump and South Korea’s Moon pledge more pressure on North Korea | TheHill

President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In on Friday pledged to continue a regime of diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, and Trump gave “conceptual approval” to a multi-billion dollar military equipment sale to South Korea. “The two leaders agreed to strengthen our alliance through defense cooperation and to strengthen South Korea’s defense capabilities,” according to the White House. The phone call came a day after the U.S. and South Korea concluded annual joint military exercises in the region by flying two B-1B supersonic bombers and a bevy of fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against Pyongyang. ADVERTISEMENT “President Trump provided his conceptual approval of planned purchases by South Korea of billions of dollars in American military equipment,” the White House statement added. Details were not immediately available.

Trump gives ‘conceptual approval’ of billions of dollars in US military equipment to South Korea

President Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday about the North Korean threat and during the call gave “conceptual approval of planned purchases” of military equipment. As Pyongyang continued its provocations in the region this week, launching a ballistic missile that flew over Japan, a readout from the White House said Trump and Moon discussed their countries’ “coordinated response to North Korea’s continued destabilizing and escalatory behavior.” “The two leaders agreed to strengthen our alliance through defense cooperation and to strengthen South Korea’s defense capabilities,” the statement said. Trump at one point in this conversation also “provided his conceptual approval of planned purchases by South Korea of billions of dollars in American military equipment,” according to the readout. The statement didn’t go into further detail. South Korea already has some U.S. THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) batteries deployed, and though he initially opposed further U.S. missile defense buildup, Moon has recently called for more talks about adding more THAAD coverage.

U.S., South Korea differ on readout of Trump, Moon call – CBS News

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone Friday, but readouts of the call differed on dialogue with North Korea

US, S.Korea set to revise bilateral missile treaty – CNN

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump have agreed “in principle” to revise a bilateral treaty that limits the weight and range of the South’s ballistic missiles.

North Korea: Doesn’t Kim Jong Un understand ‘suicidal’? | Asia Times

American officials and commentators often say it will be “suicide” if Kim Jong Un tries something. That something is usually unclear but at the rate Kim is launching missiles he appears to think he’s got plenty of leeway before he does something suicidal. The North Koreans wouldn’t be the first to miscalculate what suicidal is. It was suicidal for the Japanese to attack the Americans and British in 1941, in retrospect, at least. But at the time, it seemed like a reasonable idea. It was suicidal for Hitler to attack Russia, especially when over half the German invasion force’s transport was horse-drawn. But at the time it didn’t seem so. The United States invading Iraq without a plan for what to do once Baghdad was captured? It might not have been suicidal, but was at least the equivalent of jumping off a three-story building onto an asphalt parking lot, repeatedly.

North Korean soldiers told to steal corn to be ‘combat ready’ for ‘imminent war’ | Metro News

Starving soldiers in North Korea have been told to steal corn so that they’re ‘combat ready’ if war breaks out, it has emerged.  Kim Jong-un’s army officers have reportedly given…

North Korea’s capitalism catch-22

North Korea has sentenced four South Korean journalists to death for reviewing a two-year old book, North Korea Confidential. That book explores the hidden capitalism thriving at the heart of the North Korean economy and political structure, and was written by two British journalists who, so far, they have escaped absentee death sentences themselves. Still, announcing its verdict, the North Korean judiciary didn’t hold back. “Not content with viciously slandering our socialist system, the most advantageous system centered on the popular masses which can not be found in any other parts of the world, they seriously insulted the name and emblem, symbols of the inviolable dignity of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. This is a never-to-be-pardoned high treason.” The book, it said, is “a collection of words uttered by the riff-raffs including defectors from the north…” And in a clear threat to carry out assassinations on South Korean soil, the North Koreans affirmed that “The criminals hold no right to appeal and the execution will be carried out any moment and at any place without going through any additional procedures as soon as the objects are confirmed. We will track down to the end those who masterminded and manipulated hideous provocations of slandering and insulting the dignity of the DPRK and mete out death to them.” In case the flamboyant language hadn’t carried the point through, the judiciary spokesman attacked “… the group of wicked conservatives who are breathing their last after being reduced into a group of living corpses.” Phew!

NKorea missile fear sets pre-emptive strike debate in Japan – SFGate

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is debating whether to develop a limited pre-emptive strike capability and buy cruise missiles — ideas that were anathema in the pacifist country before the North Korea missile threat. With revisions to Japan’s defense plans underway, ruling party hawks are accelerating the moves, and some defense experts say Japan should at least consider them. After being on the backburner in the ruling party for decades, a possibility of pre-emptive strike was formally proposed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by his party’s missile defense panel in March, prompting parliamentary debate, though somewhat lost steam as Abe apparently avoided the divisive topic after seeing support ratings for his scandal-laden government plunge.

Wary of North Korea, Japan mulls additional military options | Fox News

North Korea’s recent test firing of a missile over northern Japan has officials in Tokyo rethinking the country’s long tradition of pacifism.

Japan seeks funds to boost missile ranges days after North Korea threat

Japan’s defense ministry on Thursday sought $160 million in a record budget request to develop swift, longer-range missiles to extend its military punch in East Asia, countering growing Chinese strength and an increasing North Korean threat.

‘Cockroaches’ and ‘old hags’: hounding of the North Korean diaspora in Japan | World news | The Guardian

Japan has 600,000 Korean residents, many descended from forced wartime labourers. While 150,000 claim loyalty to Pyongyang, all face hostility because of the regime’s behaviour

North Korea Latest: War With US Could Be Deadliest Ever, Germany Says | HuffPost UK

World War III would be ‘devastating’.

Russia, China, India Get $1.4 Billion In Loans Ahead Of BRICS Meeting

A new development bank established by Russia, China, India, and Brazil is providing three of those countries with $1.4 billion in loans ahead of a meeting of the major developing countries next week….

Did Ukraine Provide Rocket Engines to North Korea For Its Nuclear Missile Program?

Any proof of Ukrainian complicity on N. Korea’s missile program would irreparably damage U.S.-Ukrainian relations.

The North Korean spies Ukraine caught stealing missile plans | News | gvnews.com

The images are a little grainy, but in the half-light of a dusty Ukrainian garage, you can sense the unbridled enthusiasm of the two North Korean spies who are photographing


Foreign Policy Reports


Schroeder accuses his critics of wanting a ‘new Cold War’

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hit back at those criticizing him for taking a job at a Russian energy company, saying some of his critics wanted to push Germany into a “new Cold War”.

Schroeder: ‘Compared to Trump, Vladimir Putin is a highly rational man’ – YouTube

UATV English Published on Sep 1, 2017 Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UATVEN

Candidate for Chancellor of Germany Schultz criticizes Russian foreign policy – 112.international

Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany Martin Schultz criticized Russian foreign policy, having called it “aggressive” in his interview for Bild. “It’s clear to see that Putin’s government is conducting an expansive policy, partly very aggressive foreign policy,” Schultz said. The politician also advocated for balance in relations with Russia, saying he was ready “to make suggestions”, if the Russian side is ready for them. Previously Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Sigmar Gabriel said the approach of intimidation towards Russia will only turn up the pressure.

Blunting the Far Right, Merkel Gains as German Election Nears – The New York Times

Once vulnerable, the chancellor has opened a big lead in polls by taking away from her opponents the issue that had animated them: immigration.

German election: What you need to know about Germany′s political parties CDU, CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, Left Party, Greens | Germany | DW | 01.09.2017

Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term this September, but the election race may not see a clear winner. Coalition building may prove interesting. Here’s a who’s who of German political parties.

Here’s What Happened in Week Three of the German Election Campaign – Bloomberg

It’s almost half way through the decisive phase of the campaign, and Angela Merkel has made some additions to her schedule that hint at possible concerns close to home.

The Ad Agency that Helped Elect Donald Trump Has a New Client: A Populist Party in Germany

Harris Media’s website lists Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, and Britain’s pro-Brexit UKIP party among its past clients.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg pulls crowds to German comeback

Former star minister who quit in academic scandal campaigns for Merkel

Family affair: Martin Schulz′s nephew crowned ′Germany′s Next Chancellor′ | Germany | DW | 01.09.2017

With youth turnout less than 64 percent in Germany’s last election, the project “Germany’s Next Chancellor” aims to improve youth engagement in politics. Perhaps winner Julius Freund can now give his uncle a few tips.

Germany bans Nazi salute and swastikas, but far right still grows

The country that gave rise to the Nazis doesn’t understand why the U.S. allows modern-day sympathizers a public platform.

UAWire – Berlin: Poland has no legal grounds for war reparations from Germany

Poland has no legal basis for demanding reparations from Germany for damage caused during the Second World War, according to an expert opinion …

Chancellor Angela Merkel weighs tougher approach to Turkey after arrests | News | DW | 01.09.2017

German Chancellor Merkel has called for a rethink of Berlin’s attitude towards Ankara after Turkey detained two more German citizens. Relations between the countries have been deteriorating since the failed 2016 coup.

Turkey compartmentalizes ties with Kiev, Moscow – Daily Sabah

Amid ongoing, low-level clashes between two countries to its north, Ukraine and Russia, Ankara’s isolation of its ties with each actor and developing good relations with both in different fields is working in its favor, experts say


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


Russia is making wild claims that its MiG-31 successor will be able to fly in space | Business Insider

The head of the Russian aircraft…

Weather connections | Aerospace America

A weather-data transformation is playing out in cockpits

75 year old Messerschmitt BF109 E4 flys again – YouTube


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Russian Twitter Bots Troll NATO – To Inform is to Influence

Report says automated tweets targeting alliance military activities in E. Europe traced to Moscow trolls BY: Bill Gertz September 1, 2017 3:55 pm Seventy percent of Russian-language tweets targeting NATO military activities in Eastern Europe are generated by automated Russian trolls, according to a survey done by the military alliance. “Two in three Twitter users who…

Weaponizing Ridicule – To Inform is to Influence

Michael Waller, PhD Download the PDF Vladimir Putin officially banned this popular meme of himself with his face painted in drag. That reaction inadvertently made the meme more popular than ever, and it became an international sensation. According to the author of this article, Putin’s “thin skin” makes him an easy target for ridicule.…

Philippines: Spreading fake news now a crime – To Inform is to Influence

By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 1, 2017 – 12:00am MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte signed into law this week Republic Act 10951, which includes a provision imposing penalties on a person found guilty of spreading fake news that might affect public order. Amid the prevalence of false news in the country and elsewhere, Duterte…

Meet The Russians Helping The Feds Hack Silicon Valley

At a time when suspicions over Russia are at fever pitch, these Russian security firms are now a part of the U.S. government’s surveillance apparatus and sit on some of the nation’s most sensitive networks.


US Domestic Policy Reports


US reveals details of recent ‘sonic attack’ on Cuba diplomats – BBC News

A suspected acoustic attack on embassy staff in Havana was reported as recently as last month.

Russia Accuses U.S. of Breakdancing Alone Instead of Doing Tango – NBC News

Russia’s top diplomat accused the U.S. of “performing a solo breakdance,” adding that “it takes two to tango.”

Everything you need to know about the score-settling tug of war over U.S.-Russia diplomats | National Post

The score-settling that started in December is the broadest involving the two countries’ foreign outposts since 1986

Russia lashes out after Trump’s shutdown of diplomatic posts | New York Post

MOSCOW — Russia accused the United States on Friday of a “gross violation of international law” after the Trump administration gave Moscow two days to…

Russia Complains U.S. Intending To Search San Francisco Consulate, Diplomatic Residences

WASHINGTON — Russia's Foreign Ministry said that U.S. law enforcement officials intend to search its San Francisco consulate and some diplomatic residences, and it complained the U.S. demand…

Smoke seen pouring from Russian consulate in San Francisco – POLITICO

A fire official said she did not know what they were burning on a day when normally cool San Francisco temperatures had already climbed to 95 degrees by noon.

Russia’s San Francisco consulate is mysteriously burning stuff before it is shut down — Quartz

The US government is forcing Russia’s consulate in San Francisco to shut down on Saturday (Sept. 2) in the latest in a series of tit-for-tat punishments. As workers scramble to close the building in time, acrid black smoke began billowing out of its chimney, according to local news reports. When firefighters showed up to investigate,…

Fire Spotted at Russian Diplomatic Building in D.C. | Foreign Policy

Fire Spotted at Russian Diplomatic Building in D.C. « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny – The New York Times

A Times investigation has found that infiltration efforts were broader than previously disclosed and that state and federal agencies have conducted few forensic inquiries.

Former Soviet Military Officer Who Met With Trump Jr. Denies Being A Spy

A former Soviet military officer and Washington lobbyist who attended a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump’s son during the 2016 campaign has denied working for Russian military intelligenc…

Manafort’s notes from the Trump Tower Russia meeting reportedly mention ‘donations’ and the RNC | Business Insider

Congressional investigators examining…

Editorial: Trump’s Russia reset is a bust – San Francisco Chronicle

It turns out that even if Trump’s obsequious attitude toward the Russian president could be justified on diplomatic grounds, it’s no way to improve relations with a deeply cynical regime. Putin has repeatedly shown that he will respond to any perceived weakness by attempting to take advantage of it. And Trump has certainly managed to appear weak even when he is going through the motions of punishing Russian provocations. More The Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. President Obama expelled 35 Russian nationals, including those working at the Russian Consulate in Pacific Heights, and sanctioned five Russian entities and four individuals for an alleged cyber assault on Democratic political organizations during the 2016 presidential campaign. US shutters Russia’s San Francisco consulate in retaliation June 8, 2017 – Daniel Kravtsov works on his computer late at night at his home in Hayes Valley. Kravtsov is one of thousands of foreign entrepreneurs who try and make it in the U.S. To do so, foreigners often have to jump through hoops to succeed. As a Russian immigrant, most of Kravtsov’s team is still in Russia (which he has been unable to bring them over to the U.S. because of strict visa laws). In order to work with his team overseas, Kravtsov must work from until 3am every night (after a full work day). (Nick Otto Special to the Chronicle) SF consulate closure another obstacle for Russian entrepreneurs Visitors with an appointment come to the Russian consulate for passport related issues on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in San Francisco, Calif., as the Russian consulate will be closing tomorrow. Russian officials pledge tough, measured answer to US order The result is that U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated markedly despite, and in some respects because of, Trump’s grotesque admiration for a man who has declared war on Ukrainian sovereignty and American democracy alike. Signals that the administration might make undue concessions to Russia, for example, led Congress to pass a measure stepping up sanctions against the country and limiting the president’s ability to soften them. Facing a veto-proof mandate, Trump reluctantly signed it while grousing that it was “seriously flawed.” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s sometime seat-warmer, took the opportunity to ridicule Trump for having “demonstrated complete impotence in the most humiliating manner.” As if to prove the point, Trump went on to impotently thank Putin for forcing a retaliatory two-thirds cut to American diplomatic staff in Russia, while insulting U.S. employees by saying he was “trying to cut down our payroll.” Thursday’s State Department order to close the San Francisco consulate and two other facilities by Saturday was a more potent response. But the administration did not force staff reductions and hoped to “avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday blamed souring relations on the Obama administration, which in December closed two East Coast Russian compounds in response to Moscow’s election meddling. A few months later, the Russians’ preferred candidate explored returning the facilities. That Trump has instead been compelled to close more diplomatic posts shows his Russia strategy isn’t even working on its own naive terms.

Don Surber: Peace through fracking

More from Grigas: While reducing Gazprom’s dominance is part of Washington’s long-standing agenda, the Trump administration is the first to explicitly link the trinity of diplomacy, LNG trade, and national economic interests in Europe, Asia, and beyond. US officials should be wary of implying that Washington’s LNG diplomacy is centered on making America’s friends buy gas to prove their loyalty. It’s already in Washington’s economic interests to support its allies’ energy security. There is no need for America to belabor the point. The Fracking Revolution is part of the American Revolution, which is based on liberty and allowing people to pursue their dreams. We just saw the previous generation of entrepreneurs create Amazon, Microsoft and Apple to change retail and put information in our hands. Before that, there was the Green Revolution led by Norman Borlaug that turned a world headed toward starvation into a world that may be a little too well fed. My pantheon of heroes has few politicians, and plenty of men who made lots of money. America is the last best hope for the world not because it has a statue on Liberty Island, but because it keeps producing Cornelius Vanderbilts, John Jacob Astors, and Henry Fords. Our previous president said we cannot drill our way out. President Trump says yes we can. Oh, yes we can

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