Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 6 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Turchenov, and others, flagellate Putin over his threats to supply weapons into troublespots as payback for arms supply to Ukraine. The bogus Russian Donbass peacekeeper proposal also attracts ridicule, and an RFE/RL Daily Vertical OpEd. COCW Award today goes to Sigmar Gabriel of the SDP, desperately trying to curry favour with Moscow by embracing the bogus peacekeeper proposal – maybe Putin should offer him a Russian passport? McKew’s essay on the  “Gerasimov Doctrine” is excellent, but could and possibly should have been titled “Komintern/Okhrana Doctrine in the Information Age”. Bennett’s Nordstream 2 article is very good, but understates the corrosive impact of Russian gas money in EU, especially German politics – Gabriel’s outburst is proof positive. Braw makes a good point on in-theatre strategic mobility. Dikhtaryenko on PMCs. RVSN, and Southern Military District / Crimea exercises aligned with Zapad-2017.

Musk comments on AI still reverberating, and Bershidsky has a good point. A deluge of reports, and digests from Prof Goble painting the ever more disturbing portrait of Russia’ descent into the abyss. As always the BDDNRS (#98) is a must read – COCW applies to multiple items.

Belarus opposition compares Lukashenko to an ailing Brezhnev. in Moldova, PM Filip directs Army to disregard Putinist Pres Dodon’s ban on the Rapid Trident 2017 exercise, and Dodon bans the reversal of the ban.

In Ukraine, reports emerging that Russia is extracting its most expensive assets, such as electronic warfare systems, counter-battery radars, and RPVs, suggesting that they may believe the conflict to be successfully frozen, or are playing the usual head game against Kyiv. Donbass fires continue. Major POW for EPW swap may occur soon, and US to help with recovery counselling for former POWs. Proposal for hardened 6×6 122mm MLRS emerges. Former Pres Yanukovich now charged with usurping power for unconstitutional manipulation of the constitution, which if proven delegitimises his term as President. Kerch bridge project busting cost records.

Amb Haley canvasses review of Iran deal, while Iran makes more threats against US aircraft, no doubt confident they have the big stick with their shiny new S-300PMU2 / SA-20B batteries. More Russian grandstanding over Syria. Germany and Iraq argue over German teenager charged as an ISIS member with war crimes.

The DPRK remains an MSM bandwidth glutton, with the full spectrum of topics and agendas on display. Russia again grandstanding, and actively politically supporting the Kim regime’s posture – all predicated on the notion that China will support the DPRK to the bitter end – if China does put self-interest first and throws the DPRK to the US/Japanese/RoK wolf, Putin will be in an interesting position. While Kim may be playing an escalation game of threats against the US, Japan and RoK, he is also playing an escalation game in causing serial embarrassment to the Chinese leadership, who so far remain paralytic on the matter. Notable is the Dandong bridge built by China and ending in a field on the DPRK bank of the Yalu, with no access roads – China’s support for the DPRK has not been reciprocated. Good observations by Lee, Sexton and Rice. Analyst Demchenko believes Russia aided the DPRK with its nuclear weapons program – not a new claim: A North Korean Nuclear EMP Attack: The Threat America Downplays at Its Peril | The National Interest Blog. 

Russia merits multiple reports on meddling in Europe, while Asian universities climb dramatically against established US/UK/CAN/AUS institutions in latest THE ranking – Asia’s research capabilities are growing, and dramatically so.

British-Ukrainian Stilleto Systems propose their unique AP 5.56x45mm ammo to the US Army. AW&ST survey advanced helicopter programs in Russia.

Major (Russian) cyber breaches in US electricity grid.

Most interesting US domestic reports by Russians – Kovalev and Prilepin.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Putin Threatens Retaliation If Ukraine Receives Weapons From the USA – YouTube

UATV English Published on Sep 6, 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a not so veiled threat regarding the quote “self-proclaimed pro-Russian republics” in Ukraine. Speaking at a press conference this Tuesday, President Putin said that a decision by the US to supply Ukrainian troops with defensive weapons could lead to an arms escalation in the Donbas region.

Putin threatens selling arms to terrorists; Russia, ISIS and North Korea are key threats to the world’s safety – Ukraine’s National Security Secretary – 112.international

Putin threatens selling arms to terrorists; Russia, ISIS and North Korea are key threats to the world’s safety – Ukraine’s National Security Secretary; The Kremlin attempts to intimidate the international society by selling and supplying weaponry to the world’s terrorist organizations. Oleksandr Turchynov, the Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said that in his commentary on the recent statement by Russia’s president Putin who said the Kremlin could supply lethal arms to Ukraine. Turchynov’s commentary may be found on the website of the National Security and Defense Council. The Ukrainian official called Putin’s statements ‘hysterical’, saying they are ‘a proof of Russia’s readiness to demonstrative funding and arming terrorist across the globe.’ ‘Russian president threatens the U.S. and the rest of the international society: he says there’s allegedly ‘enough weaponry’ in the Russian-occupied areas of Donbas – enough to send it to any hot spot on the globe, which is sensitive for those who creates problems for Russians – that is, the U.S.,’ Turchynov said. The Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council denied that Ukraine could be selling arms to terrorists. ‘There are no weapon or ammunition storages of Ukrainian army in the occupied areas of Donbas; so the weapons that the Kremlin sells terrorists can only derive from Russia,’ Turchynov said. According to him, Russia can only sell arms to the leading terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, or to the North Korean government which currently threatens the global security with ICBMs and the nuclear weaponry. ‘Putin wants to arm them now, covering behind the backs of the fake ‘people’s republics’, Turchynov said. ‘Russia, ISIS and North Korea stand in the same position, posing key threats to the world’s safety, ’ he concluded.

Putin threatening the world with arming terrorists, – Turchynov  | EN.Censor.net

05.09.17 17:07 – Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening the world with delivering arms to global terrorists. National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said commenting on President Putin’s statement regarding possible deliveries of lethal weapons to Ukraine, Censor.NET reports citing NSDC press service. Turchynov said the “hysterical commentaries” of Putin regarding inadmissibility of the lethal weapon delivery from the U.S. to Ukraine are a proof of “Russia’s readiness to demonstrative continuation of financing and supplying weapons to global terrorism.” “The Russian president allows himself to intimidate the U.S. and the international community with alleged “enough weapons” on the Russia-occupied Donbas territories, which can be aimed at any flashpoint in the world sensitive for those who creates problems for them, i.e. the U.S.,” Turchynov said. The NSDC secretary said there had been no Ukraine Armed Forces base for military equipment and ammunition storage in the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied by the Russian Federation. “All military equipment, ammunition and weapons are delivered to the hybrid troops and terrorist groups of “Lugandon” [the Luhansk self-styled ‘republic’ – ed.] exclusively by the Russian Federation,” he said, adding that the border between the occupied territory of the Donbas and Russia is controlled by the Russian Federation. “That is why the supplies of weapons and equipment that Putin threatens the United States with can only be Russian,” Turchynov said. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council also wondered who will be the recipients of Putin’s deliveries that are adversaries to the United States. “There are not so many of them today. They are world terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, or the North Korean regime that threatens the world security with its nuclear missile weapons. They are the ones Putin wants to arm today, under the guise of self-created occupation regimes of the fake “republics”,” Turchynov said. “Thus today, ISIS, North Korea and the Russian Federation stand on the same level as they are threatening the security of the world, of which Vladimir Putin reminded in his statement,” the NSDC secretary summed up.

Putin’s statement direct blackmail to U.S., war threat to Kyiv – MP

MP Iryna Friz (BPP), head of subcommittee on security of government information systems of Rada's national security and defense committee, has said that the statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin on possible moves by &quot;DPR&quot; and &quot;LPR&quot; terrorists in case the United States supplies lethal aid to Ukraine&nbsp;is in fact&nbsp;a blackmail against the U.S. and a threat of war toward Ukraine. “With this statement, the Russian leader has officially confirmed claims of the Ukrainian side: Kremlin’s full control and management of “LPR” and “DPR” terrorist organizations, arms supplies, planning and carrying out subversive acts against the sovereign state of Ukraine. Russian president’s frankness should be the basis for the strengthening of economic and political pressure on Moscow,” she wrote on Facebook. According to MP Friz, “militants of the self-proclaimed puppet ‘republics’ today have neither the required resources nor the potential for an independent offensive.” Read also New “little green men” up and ready: expert explains Putin’s statement on attacking “other conflict zones” “The only scenario that allows us considering the expansion of the occupied territories is Russian invasion,” Friz stressed. In her opinion, such statements by Putin cannot remain unnoticed in Europe. The deputy is convinced that Ukraine should initiate hearings at the UN, and an investigation into the issue of Russia’s support for international terrorism.

New “little green men” up and ready: expert explains Putin’s statement on attacking “other conflict zones”

Military expert Oleh Zhdanov has dug into Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement that the U.S. deliveries of lethal defensive aid to Ukraine could provoke the use of military force in other areas. According to the expert, Putin seems to have threatened the world with the creation of other “people’s republics”, InfoResist reports. Read also Putin’s threat: “Other conflict zones” may be attacked if U.S. gives lethal aid to Kyiv “This is probably what he has meant. If you look into it step by step: the threat regarding lethal aid is a direct response to the U.S. That is, if you give Ukraine weapons, I will greenlight hostilities and, probably, not only in these regions [of Donbas] but elsewhere, too. As the border has not been sealed, we have no border, de facto. So, armed subversive and reconnaissance groups of Russian security forces could penetrate it at any other region of Ukraine and commit terrorist acts or attempt to unleash the same kind of war as they have in Luhansk and Donetsk,” he said.

The Daily Vertical: Putin Plays Peacekeeper Games (Transcript)

So now Vladimir Putin says he supports sending UN peacekeepers to the Donbas. And since this is something Ukraine has been requesting for years, this must be good news, right? German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel certainly seems to think so. Gabriel called Putin’s proposal “surprising,” adding that it is a change in Russian policy “that we should not gamble away” and an “opening to talk about detente.” But, before we get carried away, let’s take a closer look at the fine print of what Putin is actually proposing. Speaking at the BRICS summit in China, Putin said he would support sending UN troops only to the demarcation line separating the territories held by Moscow’s proxies in eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country. And this is quite different from what Kyiv has been demanding: that is, international peacekeepers throughout the Russian-occupied parts of the Donbas and — most importantly — on Ukraine’s international border with Russia. A border that has long been used by Moscow to smuggle troops and weapons into Ukraine. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical Putin’s peacekeeper gambit is a clever ploy for a number of reasons. It perpetuates the myth that Russia is a mediator in a war in which it is, in fact, the aggressor. It creates the illusion that Moscow is being reasonable and agreeing to a key Ukrainian demand, when in fact it is not. And it creates the impression that the front line in the Donbas conflict zone is, in fact, Ukraine’s international border, which it certainly is not. Putin’s proposal may yet inadvertently open the door to a serious discussion about sending a real international peacekeeping force to Ukraine at some point. But at this point, we should see it for what it is.

Hryhoriy Perepelytsia | Game of “Peacekeepers” in Donbas: What is Russia up to?

Ukraine’s current foreign policy line corresponds to the one laid down in the country’s National Security Strategy of 2012. And although a new strategy was adopted in 2015, Kyiv keeps pursuing that line. It is about choosing political and diplomatic methods and appealing to guarantees provided by the Budapest memorandum as key means to repel external aggression. That is, Ukraine prefers exclusively peaceful political and diplomatic tools to refute the aggression, which Kyiv, by the way, is yet to formally recognize. This is what Ukraine has been attempting to implement: deprioritizing military defense in the event of aggression, and settlement of the conflict with Russia (which Kyiv hasn’t branded as war, either), in favor of peaceful diplomatic means. As a result, Kyiv has practically admitted that the conflict is of internal nature. And, accordingly, the methods of its settlement are adequate to any internal conflict. It is for such a model that the “Minsk process” and the Normandy format were crafted. Now Ukraine has moved to passive defense, trying to fulfill the security part of the Minsk agreements. Thus, Ukraine believes that a ceasefire has been introduced; there is no front line but a line of delimitation. And it is logical that Ukraine is appealing to the international community to introduce peacekeepers because Kyiv believes there are all conditions for a peacekeeping mission: there is no war, there are no ongoing hostilities, there is “hybrid peace”, there is a line of demarcation, there is a security zone, and heavy weapons have been withdrawn Similarly, Ukraine is appealing to international organizations from the position that there is an internal conflict in Ukraine, not a war with Russia. Therefore, the idea of introducing a peacekeeping mission looks logical. These are the plans, and President Poroshenko has spoken about this many times. However, he previously called for an OSCE armed mission (although the OSCE does not have the appropriate power to arm its observers and there is no mandate because such mandate is given only by the United Nations). Under the existing mandate, the OSCE is only authorized for a monitoring mission. Meanwhile, Kyiv is trying to “load” the OSCE with powers almost equal to those of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – that’s as if they have to liberate the Ukrainian territory, regain control over the border, etc. Thus, Ukraine would be replacing the functions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with those of the OSCE mission. Ukraine seems to be acting in line with the plan for a peaceful settlement, but this is only possible if there is an internal conflict, when the parties adhere to a ceasefire, etc. But all of it is a total illusion, because in reality there is no truce, there is no ceasefire, and the fighting continues. Besides, the question arises, who the party to the conflict is. After all, in order to introduce a peacekeeping mission, it is necessary to obtain a mandate. Where can we get a mandate? From the UN? They will never grant such a mandate, even if Russia wants it! That’s because the condition for granting a mandate is a complete ceasefire and creation of a security zone, because no one will dare deploy peacekeepers in the zone where hostilities are raging. After all, all that peacekeepers have is a blue helmet and some body armor. So, no country will allocate their contingent for a peacekeeping mission. Really, what’s the point? Just to get them all killed in another shelling? Even if Russia gives a thumbs up to introducing a peacekeeping mission, the UN will not give such a mandate. Because the key condition, mentioned above, has not been met. There also must be an absolutely neutral attitude of peacekeeping troops toward both parties to the conflict. Similarly, these troops must be respected by both warring parties. And, most importantly, there must be an agreement of both parties on the introduction of the peacekeeping forces. If Russia agrees, it is a warring party then. Hence, there must be no Russians in such peacekeeping forces. And neither there must be any representatives of Russia’s military allies. Same for the Ukrainian party, by the way. There is another question arising: does Russia agree to this as a member of the UN Security Council or as a warring party? Moscow could agree as a member of the UN Security Council, but other UN member states will not deploy their peacekeeping contingents to where the shooting continues. In this case, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will appeal to the UN to be given a UN mandate for the entire CIS, and then “Russian peacekeeping troops” will be deployed in Donbas. That is, the reality is that the peacekeeping mandate can now only be provided by the CIS. And what are those peacekeeping forces deployed by the CIS? It’s Russian armed forces sporting blue helmets. That is, the CIS only legitimises Russian armed forces in Donbas, as it once has – in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It should be recalled that the UN did not grant a mandate for the introduction of peacekeepers into Abkhazia in 1992, no matter how hard the then-president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze tried to achieve this. The UN refused because necessary requirements had not been met. Then Russia de facto deployed in Abkhazia its own troops, who simply put on blue helmets, took positions along the Inguri (administrative border between Abkhazia and Georgia) and took up the role of Abkhazia’s armed forces and border guards. The UN has given a mandate to this operation, thus legitimizing the whole thing. I believe this is exactly the strategy Russia pursues today with the idea of the introduction of peacekeepers to Donbas. However, as a warring party, Ukraine can mix up Russia’s cards. Kyiv may simply refuse the introduction of peacekeepers because this peacekeeping mission will have to be carried out on its territory. Moreover, the Ukrainian side should only allow deployment of peacekeeping forces for a one-year period. That is, in a year, consent should be given once again, and so on. That is, Ukraine has the right not to accept peacekeeping forces on its territory. After all, one of the main conditions is the consent of both parties. It is also necessary that the other party agrees to this. But since the conflict is in Ukraine’s territory, Ukraine has an advantage in this issue. If Ukraine also submits to the UN its own draft resolution on peacekeepers, as Russia has already done, it can be put to the vote, but it might as well not pass. At the same time, the Russian version could be adopted because Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with a much bigger weight. But, again, it’s unclear whether the main condition, the ceasefire, will be fulfilled… Of course, Russia can at the blink of an eye order its troops and proxies to bring all shooting to a complete halt. But this will only be done when Moscow clearly benefits from such move; that is, when it comes to the CIS peacekeeping mission. Hryhoriy Perepelytsia is a Professor at the Kyiv National University, Doctor of Political Sciences, an expert on international politics

Ukraine’s envoy: Russia’s UN resolution on Donbas has nothing to do with peacekeeping

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko says that a UN resolution draft presented by Russia on Donbas has nothing to do with peacekeeping, according to 112 Ukraine TV Channel. News 06 September from UNIAN.

UAWire – Ukraine names its conditions for the introduction of a peacekeeping mission in the Donbas

Commenting on the statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin reading the peacekeeping mission in the Donbas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has named conditions the country considers necessary for the introduction of a peacekeeping mission to the Donbas. They include the withdrawal of occupation forces from the Donbas and the absence of Russian personnel in the mission. “Any international peacekeeping presence must be deployed by consent of and after extensive consultations with the Ukrainian side; it must involve the withdrawal of all occupation troops and mercenaries as well as their weapons from the territory of Ukraine; and it must ensure reliable control over the Ukrainian-Russian border to prevent Russian military, weapons, equipment and mercenaries from infiltrating the Ukrainian territory. In the event the decision is made to launch a peacekeeping operation, any presence of military or other personnel of the aggressor state in the territory of Ukraine disguised as peacekeepers would be out of the question, as it would contradict the basic principles of UN peacekeeping activities. Equally out of the question would be any need to seek approval for launching the peacekeeping operation from the illegal military formations operating in the territory of certain parts of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions backed by support, funding, and inventory and logistics management provided by the Russian Federation,” the Foreign Ministry reported on its website. According to the Foreign Ministry, Putin’s proposal to deploy peacekeepers only at the contact line distorts the very idea of introducing a peacekeeping operation and will not serve the main goal – establishing sustainable peace and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Nevertheless, Ukraine is ready to discuss this issue, and the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN has been instructed to hold consultations with the delegations of the UN Security Council.

Germany Welcomes Putin Call For UN Peacekeepers In Eastern Ukraine

Germany has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's agreement to send UN peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine, saying it heralded &quot;a change in [Russia's] politics that we should not gambl…

Germany welcomes Russia’s call for UN Ukraine peacekeepers – The Washington Post

Russia will ask the U.N. Security Council to send peacekeepers to patrol the front line in eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, a development greeted by Germany as a new opportunity for detente.

Ukraine’s envoy estimates costs of UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas: At least $1 bln a year

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko says that preliminary estimates show that the deployment of an UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas will cost US$1 billion a year, according to Channel 112 Ukraine. News 05 September from UNIAN.

Molly K. McKew | The Gerasimov Doctrine – POLITICO Magazine

It’s Russia’s new chaos theory of political warfare. And it’s probably being used on you.

Kirk Bennett | Gas Attack – The American Interest

Why killing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is crucial for European security.

Elisabeth Braw | Why NATO Can’t Move Forces Like Russia Is About To – Defense One

From mismatched rail lines to red tape, a host of obstacles show why NATO needs its own version of Russia\’s upcoming Zapad 2017 exercise.

New book by David J. Kramer: “Back to Containment: Dealing With Putin’s Regime” – McCain InstituteMcCain Institute

The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University has released a new book by Affiliated Senior Fellow David J. Kramer, “Back to Containment: Dealing with Putin’s Regime.” Kramer is the Institute’s former Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy, and was previously President of Freedom House, and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Rights, and Labor. In his first book, Kramer traces the rise of Vladimir Putin and the U.S.-Russia relationship over the course of the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He argues that the Putin regime is a serious threat to the United States and the Western world and that the United States needs to develop a tougher policy of containment and pushback. Kramer, who wrote the book while at the McCain Institute, is currently a Senior Fellow at Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs in the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow’s Mercenaries who Fight ‘Not for the Idea of “the Russian World”’ but for Money a Serious Threat in Ukraine

Paul Goble Staunton, September 4 – Well-paid private Russian military companies are an increasingly important component of Moscow’s strategy in the Donbass and elsewhere providing the Kremlin with a serious force that it can use as it likes and then plausibly deny whenever that suits its purposes, according to RFE’s Andrey Dikhtaryenko. Among the many such companies are Vagner, MAR, Yenoty, and the Slavyansky korpus, whose mercenaries make from 2500 to 6,000 US dollars a month, far more than Russian soldiers are paid and thus at least in principle far more ready to do whatever they are ordered to against non-Russians or against insubordinate Russian forces (ru.krymr.com/a/28715853.html). Such firms, Russian military commentator Pavel Felgengauer says, are “cheaper and less responsible. The defense ministry can always say: we know nothing about them; these are not our losses.” And in times of confusion, many will accept that rather than asking the important questions about who pays such firms and thus who controls them. But these enterprises do not always turn out well. Sometimes the mercenaries talk too much or run afoul of powerful groups within the Donbass militants or the Russian power structures themselves. In such cases, Dikhtaryenko says, serious retribution may follow and the mercenaries may land in jail or worse. That outcome, however, is more the exception than the rule. According to Felgengauer, these private mercenary firms are now in almost all cases well-integrated into the chain of command in the pro-Moscow forces in the Donbass. Indeed, he says, they represent a clearly defined “hybrid structure.” Such mercenaries may become a serious problem in the future if Moscow changes course. In that event, they could split with the other Russian forces there and even fall victim to Russian laws prohibiting independent military actions – or alternatively, they could be used by Moscow to maintain pressure on Ukraine even as the Kremlin denied that it was doing so.

Donald Jensen: Russia is Creating New Facts and Discrediting Georgia’s Sovereignty – To Inform is to Influence

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 5 Sep.’17 / 12:59 Voice of America’s Ia Meurmishvili spoke with Donald Jensen, Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, about the implementation of 2008 Six-Point Ceasefire Plan. Jensen also spoke about “borderization” in Georgia, Russia’s foreign policy towards its eastern neighbors and the West’s approach to the…

UAWire – Russia begins large-scale military exercises in its Southern Military District including Crimea

On Tuesday, September 5, large-scale military exercises involving missiles and artillery began on 19 different training grounds in the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation and the Crimea. More than five thousand artillerymen of the Russian armed forces went to training grounds in the Crimea, Rostov, the Volgograd region, Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, Dagestan, North Ossetia, as well as to Russian military bases in Abkhazia, Armenia and South Ossetia. The artillery training will continue for one month. According to the press service of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation, the military will “learn new forms and methods of artillery fire to support motorized rifle and tank units in the complex situations of modern combined arms combat.” Particular attention will be paid to training in reconnaissance fire and reconnaissance-strike contours. Earlier, exercises of strategic missile forces were launched in Russia. Eleven regiments of the Topol, Topol-M and Yars missile systems were sent to the patrol routes. The Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 military exercises will take place in Belarus on September 14-20.

UAWire – Russia begins exercises of Strategic Missile Forces

Russia has begun drills for the strategic missile forces. 11 regiments of the Topol, Topol-M and Yars missile systems have been brought out to the combat patrol routes, the Russian Defense Ministry press service announced. The patrolling will take place from the Tver to the Irkutsk province. During the exercises, a third of the regiments will carry out intensive maneuvers. “In addition to the tasks and introductions relating to bringing the units to various levels of combat readiness, as well as carrying out maneuvers with land-based mobile missile systems, they will definitely practice mastering new combat patrol regions,” the report states. The Russian army’s maneuvers will take place both during the day and at night. The introduction to patrol routes will be sudden. The soldiers will work on tasks related to opposing an imaginary enemy’s sabotage groups. Nearly 400 units of large equipment will be brought out for the strategic missile forces drills.

Take Elon Musk Seriously on the Russian AI Threat – Bloomberg

Putin sees power in the technology, which means he’s investing in it.

Russian media reacts to recent Elon Musk’s twit on WWIII – Russian media reacts to recent Elon Musk’s twit on WWIII – 112.international

Russian media approach a number of military experts to comment on the Musk’s phrase on the artificial intellect most likely to cause WW3

The Morning Vertical, September 6, 2017

ON MY MIND The arrest and corruption trial of former Economics Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev is many things and can be viewed in many ways. It can be seen as a power play by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin as he seeks greater control of Russia’s energy sector. It can be seen as the opening shot in the cutthroat court intrigue that many observers expect in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle in the coming years. And it represents the first time since the Stalin era that a sitting minister has been arrested and tried for corruption. But as Oleg Kashin shows in a piece featured below, it is also providing a rare window into how the Russian elite operates — and the picture is not pretty. Kashin notes that the case is resulting in “a radical desacralization of power,” adding that “the Russian ruling class is a very closed social group that hides its life, its real face, and its relationships with each other from citizens. Cases when society can see what they really are, are extremely rare.” And for this reason, the Ulyukayev case may turn out to be a watershed moment.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘A Pseudo-Orthodox ISIS’ has Emerged in Russia, Rabinovich Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 4 – Ramzan Kadyrov’s demonstration of his independent power has attracted more attention, but the emergence in the last week of “a pseudo-Orthodox ISIS” in Russia, one ready to engage in terrorist activities against those it doesn’t approve of, may prove to be a far more serious danger. The Moscow commentator says that as yet, “it is unknown who is its creator but we all know the name of the person who has inspired it” – Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya (gordonua.com/blogs/rabinovich/v-rossii-voznik-psevdo-pravoslavnyy-igil-neizvestno-kto-ego-sozdatel-no-my-vse-znaem-imena-vdohnoviteley-205798.html). Rabinovich points to what can only be called terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg on August 31 and in Yekaterinburg on September 4 against those involved in the production and distribution of “Mathilda,” a film about the last tsar and his mistress that has sparked outrage among and now violence on the part of some Russians. Poklonskaya has led the charge against this film, but she has had the assistance of many others including Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the former head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for church-society relations. Indeed, the commentator says, one can call “Poklonskay and Chaplin the public faces of this new extremist and terrorist organization.” “According to the Constitution and Criminal Code,” Rabinovich continues, “Natalya Poklonskaya and her supporters should not be sitting in the Duma but on the bench of those accused.” They should be there rather than those like Sentsov, Navalny and Serebrennnikov that the regime has put there. It is quite obvious, he says, that “the pseudo-Orthodox ISIS is not an end in itself. Putin and his organized criminal group invented the Orthodox ISIS for us in order to frighten and at the same time change the agenda.” After all, Russians now talk about these terrorist incidents “almost forgetting” about everything else Putin has been doing. This “pseudo-Orthodox ISIS” must be opposed not only because of its own threat to society but also because it is clearly a tool, albeit a double-edged one, of Putin’s organized criminal group. What makes this so urgent is that it is not impossible that the Kremlin leader may lose control of this monster he has created just as with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov. But one thing is sure: if the Putin organized criminal group is ousted, this domestic ISIS will disappear “not the next day but on the very same one,” Rabinovich says.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Spiritual Advisor Planning for Survival of Authoritarianism after Putin, Solodnikov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 5 – Many are hoping that when Vladimir Putin leaves office, whenever that may be, Russia will move toward a more open and democratic society; but some, including Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, the Kremlin leader’s spiritual advisor, who already are planning to ensure that a harsh authoritarianism will survive, Nikolay Solodovnikov says. In a commentary entitled “The Birth of a Russian Ayatollah,” the head of the Open Library project argues that Shevkunov is “only formally” a man of the church. In fact, he is very much involved in the current system of political power and is animated by a hatred of the intelligentsia and enthusiasm for the security agencies (echo.msk.ru/blog/nik_sol/2049862-echo/). Shevkunov has criticized Lenin, but “in a surprising way, he conducts himself as the continuer of [Lenin’s] work” and especially as a supporter of Lenin’s chief support, the Cheka. When the security agencies are strong, the bishop believes, the country is too; when they weaken in any way, serious risks arise. Shevkunov “in this sense,” Solodovnikov says, “is a Bolshevik. Not because he respects the doctrine of Marx” but because he believes that the state can grow strong only via “all-embracing radicalism … toward the civilized world.” Russia is surrounded by enemies and can survive only by insisting on “a special Russian path.” In Shevkunov’s mind, the Russian commentator suggests, “the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin was a gradually dying organism which finally exhausted itself at the end of the 1980s with the beginning of perestroika.” The bishop doesn’t want that to happen again when Putin leaves the scene. “Vladimir Putin for Shevkunov and his party is a sacred figure but at the same time a passing one,” Solodovnikov says. “Today before them stand the task of creating conditions for the coming to power of figures on the one hand no less strong but, on the other, still more authoritarian than Vladimir Putin” in order to avoid what happened after 1953. “Today the Russian Orthodox Church and the FSB are called upon not to allow this,” and together they are behind the attack on Russian cultural figures to ensure that the country becomes even more cut off “from the pro-Western European intelligentsia” that they see as a threat to their project. According to Solodovnikov, “soon all these problems will require a final decision. Putin (even if it is 12 years from now) will soon be leaving. And then [Shevkunov] can become a very suitable authoritarian and political strong figure” as “the new patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.” It is worth remembering that only under the Bolsheviks did the restoration of the patriarchate become possible, and today, the Russian commentator says, “the church is the second main binding of Russian society, the second after all-encompassing mass fear for which the FSB is responsible.” “A new Patriarch Tikhon (if this happens) will be the birth of a Russian ayatollah. And then there will be no going back” for “this will be a Russia without Serebrennikov, a Russia without Sokurov,” and Solodovnikov implies a Russia without the hope for a better future that animates many now. Posted by paul goble at 4:12 AM

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lies, Damn Lies, and Putin’s Falsification of Circassian History

Paul Goble Staunton, September 4 – There are three ways Moscow has falsified the history of the non-Russian peoples: It has ignored their stories unless and until they intersect with Russia’s. It has simply lied about those histories, individual or common. And it has selected particular events to which it has given a meaning very different from that any objective observer would. The first approach dominated Soviet historiography from Stalin on; the second became increasingly important at the end of Soviet times and still is the most common way that Moscow tries to fit non-Russian histories into the Procrustean bed of Moscow’s desired image of the past. But it is the third that Vladimir Putin appears to prefer. In many ways, it is the most subversive of all. If no comment or false comments have the effect of generating dissent and demands for the truth to come out, the Putin approach makes those things more difficult for non-Russians because it often puts them in a position where their response is “yes, but,” thus acknowledging Moscow’s position even as they reject it. That works to Moscow’s advantage and to Putin’s mistaken belief that there is a single “stream” of history for the empire in the past that he seems to committed to celebrating and where possible to recreating. And it means that non-Russians and their supporters must be alert to the dangers that Putin’s school of falsification poses. An especially egregious example of what the Kremlin leader is about is on view now in Kabardino-Balkaria in the North Caucasus. At the end of August, officials there announced the start of a 500-kilometr cavalry march through the republic in order to celebrate “’the 460th anniversary of ‘the voluntary inclusion of the Kabards within Russia” (kavkazr.com/a/konny-perehod-k-nesushchestvuyushchey-date/28704987.html). The Kabards, a subgroup of the Circassian nation, are outraged because they are convinced that there is no basis for this holiday at all. As best they can tell, the authorities have decided on it by linking to an actual event 457 years ago when a Kabardinian princess married Ivan the Terrible. Not only does the current event mistake the number of years since then, but it also is being misused by the powers that be to claim that it remembered “the voluntary unification of the Kabards to Russia” rather than what it in fact was, the conclusion of a temporary military alliance between the rulers of the two states. That is the view of Kabard activist Ibragim Yaganov who says that in the 16th century the two states concluded a treaty and then solemnized it by a marriage, something that was normal then but in no way represented the union of the two states. After all the Kabards later joined other Circassians in fighting the Russian military conquest of their land. Andzor Akhokhov, another Kabard figure, says that because of these distortions, the current cavalry march “is an insult to the memory of the knights who gave their lives for the freedom of the country, an insult to the memory of the women, children and old people who died” when Russian forces later burned their homes or forced them into exile. A third activist, Adnan Khuade, says that Russians do not have the moral right to do what they are doing. They don’t get their history right, even on the issue of a specific date of a real event. And a fourth, Dana Cherkesova, says that anything voluntary about the 16th century event was later annulled by Russian attacks. Aslan Beshto, the head of the Kabard Congress, says that the whole notion that Kabardia voluntarily joined Russia was dreamed up in the early 1950s when Stalin decided to glorify Russia and reduce to its adjuncts the histories of non-Russian peoples and to stress how much these peoples wanted to be part of Russia. “Beginning in 1951,” he says, Soviet officials “began to stress that despite the negative characteristics of tsarism as a whole, one should not deny the positive role of Russia in relations with the conquered peoples.” Three years later, a Soviet Kabard historian outlined what that meant in a report “On the issue of the voluntary unification of Kabardia with Russia.” Now Putin is doing much the same thing, weaving together specific facts with a mythical framework that non-Russians, their friends, and ultimately the Russians themselves will have to unpack and reject if they are to have any hope that they can coexist in a positive way in the future.

‘Kim Jong Un guarded by former KGB officers’ and other neglected Russian stories | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

The flood of news stories from a country as large, diverse and strange as the Russian Federation often appears to be is far too large for anyone to keep up with. But there needs to be a way to mark those which can’t be discussed in detail but which are too indicative of broader developments to ignore. Consequently, Windows on Eurasia each week presents a selection of these other and typically neglected stories at the end of each week. This is the 98th such compilation, and it is again a double issue with 26 from Russia and 13 from Russia’s neighbors. Even then, it is far from complete, but perhaps one or more of these stories will prove of broader interest.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 98

Paul Goble Staunton, September 3 — The flood of news stories from a country as large, diverse and strange as the Russian Federation often appears to be is far too large for anyone to keep up with. But there needs to be a way to mark those which can’t be discussed in detail but which are too indicative of broader developments to ignore. Consequently, Windows on Eurasia each week presents a selection of these other and typically neglected stories at the end of each week. This is the 98th such compilation, and it is again a).  double issue with 26 from Russia and 13 from Russia’s neighbors. Even then, it is far from complete, but perhaps one or more of these stories will prove of broader interest.

  1. Will ‘a Woman, a Monkey or a Horse’ Run Against Putin Next Year? No one thinks that any opponent could defeat Vladimir Putin in next year’s presidential race, but the Kremlin leader and his regime are concerned about boosting participation which threatens to be quite low given that everyone knows what they outcome will be.  Among the strategies being discussed, Moscow observers say, is running “a woman, a monkey and a horse” against him to add interest (newsland.com/community/7973/content/sopernikami-a-na-vyborakh-mogut-stat-zhenshchina-obeziana-porosenok-i-loshad/5978906 and rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/09/01/1643055.html). While Putin’s poll numbers remain high inside Russia where saying one doesn’t support him could lead to problems, Russians abroad are increasingly turning away from him (newsland.com/community/4109/content/russkie-zhivushchie-za-granitsei-protiv-a/5973977 and sueddeutsche.de/politik/thinktank-auslandsrussen-gegen-putin-1.3642479), in part because fact-checking shows he often doesn’t get things right (7×7-journal.ru/item/98163), in part because of increasing repression (newsland.com/community/129/content/avtor-knigi–na-mirovoi-arene-nikolai-zubkov-arestovan-sudom-za-prizyvy-k-ekstremizmu/5978036), and in part because of ever more evidence of a hyperbolic personality cult (ura.news/news/1052302881). Meanwhile, for the second year in a row, Putin won’t attend the UN General Assembly meeting in New York (echo.msk.ru/news/2048232-echo.html), and at home, he faces problems protecting his daughter and the daughter of his press secretary from legal harassment (graniru.org/Politics/Russia/President/m.263642.html and  newsland.com/community/4765/content/doch-peskova-obvinili-v-oskvernenii-khrama/5971624). That has sparked suggestions that Putin’s circle is narrowing or even that the US is trying to set Russian big businessmen against him (rusmonitor.com/krug-druzejj-a-suzilsya.html  and newsland.com/community/1713/content/ssha-tolkaiut-krupnyi-biznes-rf-na-miatezh-protiv-a/5978060). But if the latter is the case, Washington appears to have failed. According to the Bloomberg news agency, Russia’s billionaires have seen their wealth grow by 17 billion US dollars since the start of this year (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/09/02/134946-bloomberg-rossiyskie-milliardery-s-nachala-goda-stali-bogache-na-17-mlrd-dollarov).
  2. Moscow Calls US Visa Slowdown Act of Genocide. The Russian foreign ministry in its increasingly hyperbolic way accused the US of “genocide” against Russians by its announcement that Russians would face longer wait times to get American visas, an implicit recognition of just how desperate some Russians are to get to the US for medical treatment or other reasons (com/2017-08-28/zaharova_obvinila_ssha_v_genocide_rossiyan_iz_za_zamorozki_vydachi_viz).  Moscow said it wouldn’t respond immediately to this mistaken American action, but in fact, it has, increasing its Internet-based attacks on the US since the Charlottesville demonstrations (themoscowtimes.com/news/zakharova-russia-wont-respond-to-us-visa-58778and bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-01/russia-linked-bots-hone-online-attack-plans-for-2018-u-s-vote). Some Russians are upset that they are losing jobs following the Moscow-mandated reduction in US personnel in Russia (politsovet.ru/56400-genkonsulstvo-ssha-v-ekaterinburge-uvolilo-bolshe-poloviny-rossiyskih-sotrudnikov.html), but others are so enthusiastic about the break that they want Moscow to close all US consulates in Russia, including the one in Vladivostok (beregrus.ru/?p=9962). And Russia got a black eye when the US closed the Russian consulate in San Francisco, a major espionage center directed at Silicon Valley, when some of its employees asked for political asylum in the US rather than being required to return to their homeland (newsland.com/community/4765/content/rabotniki-konsulstva-rf-v-san-frantsisko-prosiat-politubezhishche-v-ssha/5979149).
  3. Is the Russian Revolution of 1991 ‘Devouring Its Own’ or Keeping the State a Terrorist Organization?Russian commentaries this week continued their tradition of trying to fit the current Putin regime into earlier Russian models. One pro-communist one suggested that “the criminal feudal revolution of 1991-1993” was now “devouring its own children (forum-msk.org/material/news/13642318.html). Another liberal one argued that Putin’s regime is one in which the powers that be are little more than a terrorist organization (soundcloud.com/yuri-rashkin/slava-rabinovich-v-rossii-net-vlasti-a-est-terroristicheskaya-organizatsiya). Meanwhile, more than half of ordinary Russians say they aren’t interested in Russian politics at all (regnum.ru/news/polit/2315461.html), with a third saying that it would have been better if Russia had never given up the monarchy (newsland.com/community/4765/content/opros-tret-rossiian-schitaiut-chto-bylo-by-luchshe-esli-by-v-rossii-sokhranilas-monarkhiia/5971783 and monarhist.info/news/4493). Meanwhile, two new analyses suggest that Russians still have trouble coping with democracy, viewing elections as referenda and therefore requiring huge majorities rather than 50 percent plus one as in other countries (ng.ru/editorial/2017-08-29/2_7061_red.html and liberal.ru/articles/7181). Finally, a St. Petersburg historian has called for limited lustration. He says that those who have served in the KGB or FSB should lose their rights to hold political office (news.mail.ru/society/3022262/).
  4. Is Toilet Paper Again Going to Become a Deficit Good in Russia Today? Shortages are spreading in many regions of Russia, leading some to speculate that toilet paper, in infamously short supply in Soviet times, may soon disappear from the shelves of Russian stores (ehorussia.com/new/node/14737). Perfumes and cosmetics are among the things that have already disappeared (versia.ru/minpromtorg-ozabotilsya-problemoj-importozameshheniya-v-parfyumernoj-i-kosmeticheskoj-promyshlennosti).  As ever more Russians face difficulties finding work, Moscow says that the decline in the share of the population at work is a good thing for Russia (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A532D38C828). Russians are cutting back on foreign travel and spending less on their children for school supplies (islamsng.com/sng/news/13176and  lenta.ru/news/2017/08/30/wciom/).  One intriguing development is that the record grain harvest may lead to record deflation in August (iz.ru/638795/alina-evstigneeva-valentina-dorokhova/rekordnyi-urozhai-zernovykh-nadavit-na-infliatciiu). Other economic news this week includes: one in every three Russians relies on a private garden for food (kp.ru/daily/26726.7/3752214/), ten percent of Russian firms are at the edge of bankruptcy (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/44341), the number of pensioners working has fallen by five percent this year (polit.ru/article/2017/09/01/hundredword/) despite growing problems with pension funds (ng.ru/omics/2017-08-30/1_7062_pensfond.html), Moscow says that it has identified 51,000 cases of wage arrears in the first half of 2017 (iz.ru/638871/bogdan-stepovoi-angelina-galanina/za-okladom-prishel-rostrud), and public transportation is stopping in some Russian cities because the bus and tram lines haven’t paid their bills (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/308833/). In adition, there are media reports that Russia’s production of oil is declining (news.rambler.ru/business/37799904-v-rossii-snizilas-dobycha-nefti/).
  5. Even Well-Off Russians Don’t See a Future in Russia for Themselves and Their Children. Even those Russians who are middle class or better don’t think that they or their children can expect to have a bright future if they remain in Russia (ura.news/articles/1036271970).  In the minds of many, “nothing good” happens in Russia (business-gazeta.ru/article/355613). Moreover, ever more Russians are taking note of the fact that many Russians who were born in the USSR have done far better even spectacularly so after emigrating to the West (newsland.com/community/88/content/rozhdionnye-v-sssr/5978707).
  6. 26,300 Russian Schools have Been Closed Since Putin Came to Power. The Russian Federation largely maintained the number of schools that had existed in the RSFSR until Vladimir Putin took office when they began to close, especially in rural areas, in massive numbers (apn-spb.ru/opinions/article26656.htmand nakanune.ru/articles/113220/).  In some places, rural schools no longer provide free bus rides for pupils (idelreal.org/a/28694399.html), and some feel that the only thing children will be taught now is that “Crimea is Ours” (fedpress.ru/article/1846939) and that Pavlik Morozov is a model for how children should behave (agonia-ru.com/archives/10986). As a result, Russians are now homeschooling some 100,000 children, a dramatic increase from almost none in 1991 (snob.ru/selected/entry/128385). The situation may soon get worse. Some in the defense ministry want to link every school to a military unit (iz.ru/639751/pavel-panov/voennye-chasti-pridut-v-shkoly).
  7. Russians, Raised with Soviet Homogeneity, Find Diversity Daunting.  Given the gray monotony of Soviet life when everyone was encouraged to be like everyone else, many Russians find the diversity that has emerged since 1991 a challenge, and this is a major reason they often express distaste at those who are different (thequestion.ru/questions/38072/pochemu-sredi-naseleniya-sovremennoi-rossii-tak-plokho-razvita-lyubogo-vida-tolerantnost). Often, because whole Russian families move to cities, their traditional way of life clashes with the new urban realities (demoscope.ru/weekly/2017/0735/tema04.phpand demoscope.ru/weekly/2017/0735/tema08.php). And Moscow’s plans to subsidize domestic travel may spark reactions as Russians discover just how diverse their country now is (iz.ru/638390/evgenii-deviatiarov/turoperatoram-mogut-dat-1-mlrd-rub-na-razvitie-vnutrennego-turizma).
  8. ’90 Percent of Russians Live in Stress; the Remainder Live Abroad.’  That is a line that has been circulating on Russian and Western social media (twitter.com/altword/status/904399846181924866). The deteriorating economic situation is leading to more divorces and fewer marriages and that in turn is pushing down the birthrate in many places (kvnews.ru/news-feed/omskaya-oblast-vhodit-v-troyku-samyh-razvodyashchihsya-regionov-sibiriand  ng.ru/economics/2017-08-29/1_7061_brak.html), putting more burdens on the declining number of working-age Russians (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/8/27/261026/). Russians have been warned that the death rate is likely to increase this winter as a result of a flu epidemic (newizv.ru/news/society/29-08-2017/etoy-zimoy-v-rossii-ozhidaetsya-rost-smertnosti-ot-grippa), and Russians with CML leukemia are dying who don’t have to because they cannot obtain the new miracle drugs available in the West (iarex.ru/articles/54449.html). And STDs are spreading because Russians do not want to have contacts with doctors to get contraceptive advice and techniques (takiedela.ru/2017/08/takaya-rossiya-semya/).
  9. Voynovich Says Tatarstan Can Be an Independent Country. Russian émigré writer Vladimir Voynovich says that the Republic of Tatarstan has everything necessary to become an independent country (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/8/28/261158/). His words have encouraged many Tatars because Moscow commentators believe that their hard line against Kazan has blocked Tatarstan from moving in a Ukrainian direction (ruskline.ru/opp/2017/sentyabr/01/moskva_predotvrawaet_ukrainskij_scenarij_v_tatarstane/). Other news from the nationalities front this week includes: the Besermans are headed toward extinction (nazaccent.ru/content/25228-v-udmurtii-sokratilas-chislennost-besermyan.html), the Khakass and the Bashkirs are working to save their languages in the schools of their republics (nazaccent.ru/content/25223-den-hakasskogo-yazyka-vpervye-otmetyat-v.html  and nazaccent.ru/content/25212-vsemirnyj-kurultaj-bashkir-razrabotaet-programmu-po.html), the demographic explosion in the North Caucasus means that the number of children entering schools in that region has risen there more than anywhere else in Russia (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/308866/), the Maris have complained to the presidential plenipotentiary about their underrepresentation in  government structures in their republic (mariuver.com/2017/08/28/polpr-obr/), the Russian Germans mark the anniversary of their deportation (nazaccent.ru/content/25171-rossijskie-nemcy-pochtili-pamyat-deportirovannyh-rodstvennikov.html), officials parachuted into national republics are being forced to come up with a brand suggesting familiarity with the titular nation (afterempire.info/2017/08/29/buy-karelian/), and Vladimir Putin has begun appointing officials at the municipal level who will bear responsibility for the implementation of nationality policy at that level (politsovet.ru/56410-putin-poruchil-naznachit-otvetstvennyh-za-nacionalnye-otnosheniya-v-gorodah.html).
  10. One Russian in Four has Never Been to Moscow and Most Don’t Want to Live There. New research shows that a quarter of all Russians have never visited Moscow and that most Russians do not have any desire to live in the city (echo.msk.ru/news/2048200-echo.htmland echo.msk.ru/news/2047750-echo.html). An Omsk scholar says what many think: if Moscow would allow the regions to keep the tax money they collect, they wouldn’t need subsidies from the center (newizv.ru/news/society/29-08-2017/professor-kostarev-ostavte-omsku-nalogi-i-nikakaya-stolichnost-nam-ne-nuzhna). One commentator in Tatarstan says that Moscow has created a unique system, “unitary federalism,” one in which the country calls itself a federation but in fact is a unitary state (business-gazeta.ru/article/355943). Meanwhile, there are indications that regionalism is intensifying in many places across the country (afterempire.info/2017/08/27/kamchatka-japan/ng.ru/politics/2017-08-28/1_7060_kalinngrad.htmlafterempire.info/2017/08/30/first-for-siberia/ andafterempire.info/2017/08/30/suvalki/).
  11. Could Moscow Make Roman Catholicism a ‘Traditional’ Russian Faith? Some are speculating that the Russian government might decide to add Catholicism to the list of traditional faiths given its growth in many regions and the desire of the Kremlin to ally itself with the Vatican on conservative issues (regnum.ru/news/polit/2314594.html andcapost.media/special/obzory/katolicheskiy_kavkaz_istoriya_i_sovremennost_odnoy_iz_samykh_bolshikh_konfessiy_mira_na_yuge_rossii//).  Meanwhile, Russia’s leading sect fighter says that a court decision declaring the Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses extremist was a serious error that will complicate Russian life (pravoslavie.ru/105915.html), studies show that Russians do not consider training children on religious issues in schools to be important (politsovet.ru/56379-rossiyane-ne-schitayut-vazhnym-vospityvat-v-detyah-veru-v-boga-i-poslushanie.html), the Moscow Patriarchate has taken up the cudgels for the 70,000 North Korean Christians now in jail there putting the Russian church at odds with the Russian state (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=78812), Orthodox priests using reports on confessions have classified Russians’ sin life (philologist.livejournal.com/9553610.html and interfax-.ru/?act=print&div=20342), and the Mari republic doesn’t know what to do with all the churches the ousted republic head built before he was arrested (mariuver.com/2017/09/01/soderzh-hramy/).
  12. Moscow has Evacuated Russians Living Near the North Korean Border. As tensions between Pyongyang and the US intensify, Moscow has evacuated Russians living near the Russian-North Korean border (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A5427157882).Other stories reflecting domestic concerns about security include reports about spy mania sweeping the country (ru.krymr.com/a/28703011.html), anger in social networks about film of Russians fighting in Syria (fedpress.ru/article/1844972), and spreading incidents of violence across the country (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A3FDCE058EA kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A3DBD778466 http://politsovet.ru/56436-v-ekaterinburge-neizvestnyy-ustroil-strelbu-vozle-detskogo-sada.html and newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-ufe-vzorvali-byvshego-politseiskogo-kozhevnikova-obviniavshegosia-v-pytkakh/5978068). Meanwhile, a Belarusian was arrested in Moscow when he sought to trade guns for vodka (camarade.biz/node/26066),and a Moscow policeman was investigated for organizing a prostitution ring (spektr.press/news/2017/08/28/v-moskve-sotrudnicu-policii-zapodozrili-v-prostitucii/).  And ever more Russians complained that Kremlin spending on the Kerch bridge and various foreign adventures were preventing officials from addressing pressing problems at home (ng.ru/regions/2017-08-29/100_kalmykia290817.html andkasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A810453C2C8).
  13. Moscow Doesn’t Want Western Observers at Zapad Exercise Lest They See Its Weaknesses, Golts Says.Aleksandr Golts, a leading independent Moscow military analyst, says that the reason Moscow doesn’t want Western observers at exercises like Zapad 2017 is that the Kremlin fears that they will see just how many problems its military is suffering from (golos-ameriki.ru/a/nato-concerned-about-west-2017/4000817.html).  Russia was further embarrassed by the crash of one of its planes at an airshow (echo.msk.ru/news/2048268-echo.html ) as well as by reports that many Russian weapons systems have not worked well in Syria (svpressa.ru/war21/article/180093/).  Further, it was caught out by Russian sources for understating to the UN its spending on the military by 42 percent (rbc.ru/economics/30/08/2017/59a5a8189a79470f92154521?from=newsfeed) and by German investigations of Russian corruption of German elites (ru.rfi.fr/evropa/20170828-igor-eidman-putin-sozdal-sistemu-korrumpirovaniya-nemetskikh-elit and  thechechenpress.com/developments/13771-kak-nemtsy-platyat-za-putinskikh-agentov.html).
  14. Ever More Russians Believe They Live in an Unjust Country. Ever more Russians believe that the Russia of Vladimir Putin is an unjust country and a share of them are prepared to protest against that (newsland.com/community/5134/content/v-rossii-narastaet-oshchushchenie-nespravedlivosti-gosudarstvennogo-ustroistva/5971527). Other protests included one against restrictions on the Internet that led to arrests (newsru.com/russia/26aug2017/mosinet.html and ixtc.org/2017/08/v-rossii-proshli-mitingi-za-svobodnyy-internet/), the arrest of someone who wanted to remember those who protested the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (ixtc.org/2017/08/v-moskve-zaderzhana-aktivistka-za-plakat-v-pamyat-o-vyhode-na-ploschad-v-1968-godu/), a new debate on whether anyone should be able to use crypto currency in Russia because some see it as a form of political protest (ej.ru/?a=note&id=31504 and chaskor.ru/news/rossijskim_chastnym_litsam_zapretyat_denezhnye_operatsii_s_kriptovalyutoj_42378), a NIMBY protest against a cement factory in Ulyanovsk (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A6682B4B47B), extreme Russian nationalist crimes have resulted in four deaths so far this year (sobkorr.ru/news/59A94D90DF56F.html), and residents of Volgograd organized a protest to demand the ouster of that city’s mayor (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/308830/).
  15. Moscow Introduces New Police Vehicle to Combat Mass Demonstrations. Belarusian media are reporting that Russian police have just taken delivery of a special vehicle designed to fight mass demonstrations (by24.org/2017/08/27/new_police_truck_with_codename_shit_for_fighting_against_protesters_presented_in_russia/).  Meanwhile, the United Nations called on Moscow to end its practice of declaring publications extremist and keeping them on a list (sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/news/counteraction/2017/08/d37761/).
  16. Moscow Gets an Appropriate Monument: to Gun Designer Kalashnikov. Moscow has many statues but none more appropriate is to the designer of the AK-47 (themoscowtimes.com/news/ak-47-designer-kalashnikov-gets-statue-in-moscow-58798). In other parts of the monuments front this week, officials in Chelyabinsk have committed to spending 18 million rubles (300,000 US dollars) to restore a Lenin statue there (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A54B559ACD6chelaybinsk), the Northern Fleet has erected a statue to a Russian saint (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68058), fights over memorials to Admiral Kolchak intensify (kommersant.ru/doc/3398289), the film Mathilda will become a television miniseries in 2019 (ng.ru/news/592882.html), Russians divided on whether  they want the names of their relatives who were victims of Stalin on monuments (echo.msk.ru/news/2044656-echo.htmlsvoboda.org/a/28696654.htmland nazaccent.ru/content/25158-v-kazani-ustanovyat-tablichki-s-nazvaniyami.html), and a monument to tsarist minister Sergey Witte has been erected in Omsk (newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-omske-ustanovili-pamiatnik-tsarskomu-ministru-sergeiu-vitte/5978604).
  17. UN Body Calls on Russia to Root Out Racism among Football Fans. The UN commission responsible for fighting racism has called on Russia to combat racism among its football fans, even as yet another case of that surfaced in Germany (nazaccent.ru/content/25176-v-oon-prizvali-rossiyu-iskorenit-rasizm.htmland newsland.com/community/1039/content/rossiianina-obvinili-v-pokushenii-na-futbolnuiu-komandu-v-germanii/5974077). Meanwhile, Moscow adopted a harder line against WADA charges of doping (politobzor.net/show-141815-ruki-proch-ot-rf-nhl-postavila-wada-na-mesto-zastupivshis-za-zaripova.html), and Russian commentators speculated that Russia might be excluded from the Olympics (newsland.com/community/4109/content/kak-rossiiu-budut-lishat-olimpiady-chetyre-varianta-razvitiia-sobytii/5977918) even as the Russian sports minister said such an exclusion was unthinkable (themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-minister-says-no-chance-winter-games-doping-ban-58771).  Further, there were more reports that World Cup stadiums aren’t ready and complaints that officials are destroying historic buildings to prepare for that competition (echo.msk.ru/blog/projectsplash/2045104-echo/,kasparov.ru/material.php?id=599FCD7067FA9 and echo.msk.ru/news/2044656-echo.html).
  18. North Korean Dictator Guarded by Former Russian KGB Officers.  Tokyo’s Asahi Shimbunreports that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is guarded by officers who served in the Soviet KGB, a report that raises serious questions given Captain Aleksandr Nikitin’s famous remark that “there are no ex-KGB officers just as there are no ex-german shepherds” (meduza.io/news/2017/08/26/ohranoy-kim-chen-yna-zanyalis-byvshie-agenty-kgb).
  19. Putin Cuts Back on Environmental Inspections. Russian media have trumpeted the fact that the number of Russians charged with environmental crimes has fallen by more than 80 percent over the last seven years. But this decline has more to do with a significant cutback in enforcement efforts over that period rather than any improvement in the behavior of Russian companies and officials (newsland.com/community/8090/content/kolichestvo-ekologicheskikh-prestuplenii-v-rf-umenshilos-vdvoe-za-sem-l/5971773 and ecoportal.su/news.php?id=93781).
  1. Soviet ‘Detroit’ Dies in Sea of ‘Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Alcohol.’The city of Tavda in Sverdlovsk oblast, once known as “the Soviet Detroit,” is dying with its population taking refuge in the only things still left to it: “sex, drugs, and cheap alcohol” (theins.ru/obshestvo/68672).
  2. Children of Immigrants Account for All the Increase in New Pupils in Russia. Moscow officials have celebrated an increase in the number of children entering school this year, but a close analysis shows that all of the increase came from children of immigrant workers from Central Asia and the Caucasus rather than from children of indigenous ethnic Russians (burckina-new.livejournal.com/802248.html).
  3. Chinese Tourists Flood into Russia to Visit 1917 Revolution Sites.  The centenary of the Bolshevik revolution is attracting thousands of Chinese tourists into Russia (asiarussia.ru/articles/17472/). Many of them are staying in illegal, unregistered hotels that Chinese firms have set up and act as if they own the places already (http://babr24.com/baik/?IDE=164281). And some Russian commentators warn that there are now so many Chinese in the Far East that Beijing could invoke Putin’s Crimean strategy to take the Russian Far East and parts of Siberia whenever it wants (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/9/1/261601/).
  4. Rural Doctors and Teachers Rely to Internet to Keep Their Sanity. Newly-minted doctors and teachers who are given supplementary pay to work in rural portions of the Russian Federation say that the only thing that keeps them sane is the availability of Internet connectivity (snob.ru/selected/entry/128391).
  5. Internet Growth Forces Moscow TV to Respond by Changing Programming.The clearest indication that the Internet is now a power in Russia is that central Russian television channels are changing their programming to respond to and even correspond with Internet media outlets, something the television networks earlier had been reluctant to do (edpress.ru/news/77/policy/1847312).
  6. Communists Picking Up Support from Disappointed Young. Young Russians, upset both by the closure of social lifts and the absence of social justice in their country, are turning to the KPRF and other communist groups, some observers suggest (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/09/01/1643099.html).
  7. Fulfilling the Plan: Road Built Right Through a House in Novosibirsk Oblast.  The plan must be fulfilled, whatever the obstacles, at least among highway builders in Novosibirsk. There, the road builders simply destroyed half a house to put a road through without telling the absent residents who, on their return, discovered that they needed to set up a tent to have a place to sleep now that their house has been wrecked (amarok-man.livejournal.com/2431281.html#t33410353).

And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:

  1. More Bad News from ‘Big’ and ‘Little’ Zones in Russian-Occupied Crimea.  Russian occupiers are using electroshocks to torture prisoners in Crimea (ixtc.org/2017/08/pravozaschitniki-zaderzhannyh-krymskih-tatar-pytali-tokom/), and even those residents of the Ukrainian peninsula not in prison are also suffering with suicides having jumped to record levels in Sevastopol (sobkorr.ru/news/59A428A255E3C.html).
  2. Ever Fewer Russian Tourists Coming to Crimea. Moscow had expected that Russians would flock to Crimea and boost the economy there, but this year, tour operators say, visits to the Ukrainian peninsula are down 20 percent from the already low levels of a year ago (politsovet.ru/56374-turpotok-v-krym-upal-na-20.html).
  3. Belarusian Opposition Warns Zapad Exercise Opens the Way to Russian ‘Hybrid’ Occupation. Belarusian opposition figures are warning the West that the joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 exercise in September will open the way to “the hybrid occupation” of their country and call for Western countries to monitor the situation closely (topwar.ru/123576-belorusskaya-oppoziciya-nazvala-ucheniya-zapad-2017-rossiyskoy-gibridnoy-okkupaciey.html).
  4. Belarusians Demand KGB Archives be Opened.  Hundreds of Belarusians staged a demonstration to demand that Minsk allow them access to the archives of the Soviet-era KGB so that they can learn the fate of their relatives under Stalin and other Soviet leaders (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/8/27/261021/).
  5. Radio Free Europe Opens New Belarusian Broadcast Facility in Lithuania.  Radio Free Europe has opened a new broadcasting facility in Lithuania to beam Belarusian language programming into Belarus (camarade.biz/node/26069). In another linguistic development, the Moscow Patriarchate church in Minsk has released its first ever translation into Belarusian of the New Testament.  There are already about a dozen others in circulation (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/9/1/261598/).
  6. Moldova Deports Russian General. The Moldovan authorities blocked the entrance of a Russian general who was planning to visit the breakaway republic of Transdniestria (begemot.media/news/deportirovala-generala/).
  7. Last Independent News Agency Closes in Azerbaijan. After struggling to stay afloat for many years, Turan, the last independent news agency in Azerbaijan, has suspended operations, leaving that country without an alternative domestic voice (belsat.eu/runews/v-azerbajdzhane-prekratilo-rabotu-poslednee-nezavisimoe-smi/).
  8. If Kazakhstan Doesn’t Federalize, It Will Suffer Fate of Ukraine, Russian Warns.  A Russian commentator says that if Astana does not federalize Kazakhstan and give Russian areas autonomy, that country will suffer the fate of Ukraine, a reminder if one is needed that demands for federalization of countries neighboring Russia are a form of aggression in and of themselves (cont.ws/@grigmironov/695301).
  9. Kazakhstan May Introduce Criminal Penalties for Offending Feelings of Atheists. Astana is contemplating taking the logical next step in laws about offending others. Officials there are considering introducing fines for those who offend atheists (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/08/24/134698-vlasti-kazahstana-predlozhili-shtrafovat-za-oskorblenie-chuvstv-ateistov).
  10. Islam Karimov Monument Goes Up in Tashkent. A year after his death, Islam Karimov now has a monument in the Uzbekistan capital, even though some although far from all of the repressive laws he imposed have been changed (fergananews.com/news/26805 and dw.com/ru /год-без-каримова-что-в-узбекистане-изменилось-при-новом-лидере/a-40331932).
  11. Tashkent Fears Cellphones Will Allow Uzbeks to Photograph Things They Shouldn’t.  Officials in the Uzbekistan capital are concerned that the spread of cellphones throughout the population could restrict the government’s operations because people will be able to use them to photograph actions that the authorities would prefer to keep hidden (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1504083060).
  12. Tashkent, Bishkek Find Agreement on Borders Easy, on Enclaves Not So Much.  Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have made rapid progress on resolving their border dispute in the months since the death of Islam Karimov. They have not made much progress, however, on the far more difficult issue of what to do with the Uzbek enclaves within Kyrgyzstan. Failure to support Uzbeks there will offend not only those people but many Uzbeks in Uzbekistan (ng.ru/cis/2017-08-28/5_7061_tashkent.html).
  13. Tajikistan has Highest Birthrate and Only Family Planning Effort in Central Asia. Tajikistan continues to have the highest birthrate of any of the post-Soviet Central Asian countries and thus it is perhaps not surprising that it is the only state there actively promoting family planning measures (caa-network.org/archives/10141).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Is It Easy to Serve the Motherland without Soap and Toilet Paper?’

Paul Goble Staunton, September 5 – The mother of a Russian soldier serving in the ranks of the Russian Guard, which is directly subordinate to Vladimir Putin, has complained that thievery is rife in its ranks and that soldiers often have to do without personal hygienic supplies like soap and toilet paper. She posted her complaint on a site that was created to prompt official responses officials (лицавласти.рф/vopros/47889/obespechenie-i-soderganie-vch.html), from which she received no answer; but when Novyye izvestiya then readdressed it to the Russian Guard, an answer of a sort arrived (newizv.ru/news/society/05-09-2017/vopros-dnya-legko-li-sluzhit-rodine-bez-myla-i-tualetnoy-bumagi). Natalya, who did not give her last name lest she get her son and others in trouble, wrote to the Litsa Vlasti portal with some simple questions: “Why aren’t soldiers given basic hygenic supplies? No one says that they should be given shampoo or gels but simply basic toilet paper and soap power should be.” And further, she asks, “why must soldiers sign documents that they have received such things when in fact they have not?” But because she did not give her last name and thus the last name of the soldier involved, officials were free not to answer. When Novyye izvestiya contacted the Russian Guard, it pointed out that Federal Law No. 59 precludes a response unless there is a full name given of the one lodging a complaint. The paper’s Oleg Goryunov says that he was glad to get that much although it means that he can’t say for sure what the state of soap powder and toilet paper is for members of the Russian Guard or how much thievery is going on there. Consequently, he adds, he has been forced to turn to other sources. One Internet portal provides (prizyvnik.info/threads/94741-vorovstvo_v_armii) numerous reports about the corruption in the military and the failure of commanders to provide soldiers with the basic necessities they are supposed to, as well as all the means they routinely use to hide what they are doing. Goryunov then reports that he spoke with Igor Trofimov, the creator of the Litsa Vlasti site, to ask about what that portal does and how officials react. According to Trofimov, by posting such questions and complaints, he hopes to shame officials into responding; but many feel no pressure to do so given existing law and practice. As a result, the Novyye izvestiya journalist concludes, there is no one besides the soldiers themselves who are capable of answering the question: “Is it easy to serve the Motherland” and especially one of its most elite units “without soap and toilet paper?”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘No Russian Nation has Yet Arisen,’ Birna Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 5 – Russian officials and commentators talk constantly about the Russian nation civic and ethnic, but no such community has arisen, Irina Birna says; and as a result, those in power are always able to set one group within it against another, sometimes on the basis of genuine hostility but more often because of the indifference on one to the other. That difference, the Moscow commentator says, explains why the peoples of the countries in Eastern Europe could come together to resist oppression but why those living in Russia have not been equally successful. Indeed, in many cases, they haven’t even tried (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AEEBAF4CEDA). A nation, she writes, “is above all a feeling of being part of a community, a feeling which speaks to each member of it that is no less real even if it remains beyond the understanding of many specialists, a community in which there is no one alien within it and that if you today stand silent at the abuse of others you can expect the same for yourself tomorrow.” No such community has arisen yet in Russia. More than that, both the intellectual community and the state have sought to “exclude the possibility of the establishment of a nation and have blocked this process” with all the resources at their disposal.” Instead, these groups have promoted division and caused one group within Russia to view others as outsiders. A nation, of course, “can be divided into classes” but – and this is the important thing – “this division will be secondary. What is primary and what thus defines social reactions is the nation, and this means that at a moment of danger, an individual will save another individual and not ‘a peasant,’ ‘a worker,’ or ‘an intelligent.’” In a state with a nation, the regime cannot rule by “divide and conquer” means; and that is why the Russian state for all its talk about a Russian nation of whatever kind doesn’t really want to see one emerge. It would be too much of a threat to the powers that be and their pretensions to decide for others. Instead, Birna continues, to save itself and its powers, the state promotes hostility not only to other ethnic communities but also to groups within what should be the nation: hoping to encourage urban hostility to rural residents, intellectual hostility to workers, and thus keeping people apart. As a result, she says, “it is impermissible to speak about ‘the endurance of the people’” in the Russian context. What exists is not patience and tolerance but an all-too-real “indifference” of one group to the fate of others. Until that changes, the Russian state will not be constrained by the population but will act in its own interests against the population.

Rights Group Says Russian Police ‘Systematically’ Interfere With Navalny Campaign

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that Russian police are &quot;systematically&quot; interfering with attempts by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny to campaign for the March 2018 presidential election. …

EU To Renew Russia Sanctions, Keep Bar On Antonov

BRUSSELS — The European Union will prolong its asset freezes and visa bans on Russian officials and Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine for another six months, with Russia's new ambassador t…

Moscow Court Sentences June 12 Anticorruption Protester

A court in Moscow has sentenced a man to 30 months in prison over violence at an anticorruption rally in the Russian capital in June.

Quiz: what kind of Kremlinologist are you? | openDemocracy


Belarus Reports


The State of the People Resembles One before a Thunderstorm – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Lukashenka increasingly reminds of elderly Leonid Ilyich [Brezhnev].

A women fled Chechnya and won political asylum in Norway, but police stopped her in Minsk and handed her over to her father — Meduza

On September 4, police at Minsk airport detained Luiza Dudurkayeva, a resident of Chechnya who recently fled her home after receiving death threats online. Human rights activists say she has been granted political asylum in Norway, but Belarusian officials handed her over to her father, and it’s unclear where she is now. According to reports, Dudurkayeva’s flight from Chechnya could be connected to threats from the online community “Carthage,” whose members harass and share photographs of Chechen women who they believe are “behaving dishonorably.”


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Moldovan President Blocks Sending Troops To NATO Exercises

Moldovan President Igor Dodon says he has canceled the participation of a small contingent of Moldovan soldiers in upcoming NATO exercises. Russia-friendly Dodon posted his decision on his Faceboo…

Moldovan gov’t wants to send military to Ukraine drills amid Dodon’s ban

The Moldovan government will insist on the participation of the country's troops in the Rapid Trident-2017 international exercises in Ukraine, despite the ban earlier imposed by Moldovan President Igor Dodon, NewsMaker reported with reference to the statement of Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip. News 06 September from UNIAN.

Moldovan government wants country’s soldiers to take part in Rapid Trident drills – 112.international

Prime Minister of Moldova called ungrounded Dodon’s ban on participation in military exercises in Ukraine. Moldovan government will insist that its military takes part in the international exercise Rapid Trident-2017 in Ukraine. This was announced by country’s Prime Minister Pavel Filip duing the Cabinet meeting, urging ministers to find an opportunity to send the Moldovan contingent to the exercises, reports NewsMaker. “The trip to the exercises in Ukraine was cancelled the other day. Before that, five more trips were canceled in the same way. I believe that there are no grounds for this. It’s not a secret that 80% of participation expenses are paid for by partners and organizers. Nobody needs an untrained army. I suggest we include in the agenda the government’s decision on the participation of our military in the exercises, “Filip said.

Moldova allows its military to attend Rapid Trident drills in Ukraine – 06.09.2017 12:00 — Ukrinform News

The Moldovan government has allowed National Army soldiers to take part in the Rapid Trident 2017 military exercises that will be held in Ukraine from September 7 to September 23.

Moldovan president again bans troops from participating in Ukraine exercises – 06.09.2017 13:58 — Ukrinform News

Moldovan President Igor Dodon has suspended the government's decision on the participation of Moldovan troops in the Rapid Trident 2017 military exercises that will be held in Ukraine from September 7 to September 23.


Ukraine Reports


UAWire – Ukrainian official: Russia started withdrawing some of its military equipment from Donbas

Russia began the process of reducing its presence in the separatist-held territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as stated by Yuri Hrymchak, Deputy Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, during an interview with Apostrophe. According to him, Russia is gradually withdrawing its weapons from the Donbas, starting with particularly valuable equipment. “For example, REBs – electronic warfare complexes. I was informed that they began to withdraw counter-battery systems. That is, the equipment the Americans supplied to us, and which is produced in Russia as well. There are not so many of them in the Russian army itself, it’s rather a deficit armament. And very expensive. I was also informed that the Russians have begun to withdraw their drones,” Hrymchak noted.

“School-year ceasefire”: Ukraine reports 32 militant attacks in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 32 times in the past 24 hours, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters.News 06 September from UNIAN.

Another Russian serviceman revealed fighting for “DPR” terrorists

Ukrainian Counterintelligence has exposed yet another serviceman of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, who has been fighting for Donbas militants, TSN.ua reported, citing an SBU source familiar with the matter. News 05 September from UNIAN.

Leaders of LNR militants to be judged for downing Ukraine’s Ilyushin Il-76 in 2014; the court session is to be held in Dnipro on September 12 – 112.international

Leaders of LNR militants to be judged for downing Ukraine’s Ilyushin Il-76 in 2014; the court session is to be held in Dnipro on September 12. Babuskinski district court of Dnipro city, southeastern Ukraine, will hold the session in the case of the Ilyushin Il-76, the Ukrainian army’s cargo aircraft downed by pro-Russian militants in June 2014. Radio Liberty reported that on Wednesday. The defendants are the leaders of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, whose fighters are held responsible for the downing of the aircraft. The perpetrators will be judged in absentia. On June 14, 2014, an Ilyushin Il-76MD, the cargo aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force was shot down by members of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic. The aircraft was on approach to land at Luhansk International Airport; it was carrying airborne troops and equipment from an undisclosed location. None of the 49 people on board survived. Former General of Ukraine’s military Viktor Nazarov also faced charges with involvement in the disaster; in March, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

About 200 Ukraine’s Intelligence officers died since Donbas conflict start – About 200 Ukraine’s Intelligence officers died since Donbas conflict start – 112.international

According to the latest information of the Defense Ministry, 2,696 soldiers were killed during the war in Donbas. About 200 officers of the Chief Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry were killed since the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation in the east of Ukraine. This was announced by the representative of Intelligence Directorate Vadym Skibitsky in an interview with the Army FM. “As of today, the military intelligence has lost about 200 people. Scouts perform very important tasks, but a victory without risk is impossible, especially with such an enemy,” Skibitsky said. As it was reported earlier Ukrainian intelligence reported that the leadership of the Russian Federation does not abandon its aggressive plans against Ukraine and continues preparations for possible large-scale offensive actions against our state.

Ukraine ready to release 309 people for Donbas militants in exchange for 87 Ukrainian hostages, – Tandit

06.09.17 10:49 – Ukraine ready to release 309 people for Donbas militants in exchange for 87 Ukrainian hostages, – Tandit Adviser to SBU head Yurii Tandit stated that Ukraine is ready to release 309 people claimed by Donbas terrorists in exchange for 87 Ukrainian hostages held there. View news.

“We are aware of captivity of 87 Ukrainian hostages out of 144,” Iryna Herashchenko

05.09.17 17:56 – We are aware of captivity of 87 Ukrainian hostages out of 144, Iryna Herashchenko The Ukrainian side is aware of location of 87 captive Ukrainians out of 144 POWs in the Donbas. View news.

United States to assist Ukraine in creating recovery system for freed captives – 06.09.2017 15:51 — Ukrinform News

Representatives of the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency of the United States Armed Forces will help establish in Ukraine an integral system of psychological support for the military who were held hostage, captive and survived torture. Deputy Director of the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency Barbara Trenker said this during the visit to the 27th separate brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine on Tuesday, the press service of the Interior Ministry reports. “Recovering and saving people are very important tasks. Over the next few days, we will study in Ukraine the issues of reintegration of persons who were held captive, underwent compulsory isolation or were tortured. We are glad to have the prospects for partnership with the Ukrainian side… We hope we will be able to help Ukraine build the system of reintegration of personnel, both the military and the civil servants working in this area,” Trenker said. As of now, 132 Ukrainians are still held captive. More than a thousand people have been already freed from captivity.

U.S. to help Ukraine create POW psychological recovery system

Representatives of the U.S. Joint Personnel Recovery Agency will help Ukraine create an integrated interdepartmental system of psychological support of servicemen, who were held hostage, captured or tortured. News 06 September from UNIAN.

Veterans of Donbas Conflict Receive Psychological Care – YouTube

UATV English Published on Sep 6, 2017 In order to return to civilian life, many war veterans require psychological therapy. Veterans of the conflict in Donbas are no exception, especially those who experience the horrors of captivity at the hands of the militants. Now, Ukrainian psychologists are going to be trained by their American counterparts to administer the best aid.

Prystaiko names Ukrainian army’s superiority over NATO troops – 05.09.2017 14:58 — Ukrinform News

Ukrainian soldiers, when confronting Russian aggression, have gained significant combat experience and psychological stability, which is useful for the armed forces of NATO countries. Head of Ukraine’s Mission to NATO Vadym Prystaiko said this at a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Brussels on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “The leadership of the alliance and the leadership of the allied governments see the subject of Ukraine’s accession to NATO in two tracks. The first is the powerful military capability of the Ukrainian army to fight, and the most important thing is the psychological willingness to fight… This is something that many nations lack, and they are aware of it,” the ambassador said. Prystaiko also noted positive assessments by the alliance regarding the reform of the Armed Forces and the potential of the Ukrainian army. “But there are also political factors that need to be recognized. And the political balance in the recognition by the alliance of Ukraine [in terms of joining NATO] still does not allow us to make a decision in favor of our state. It’s about a consensus,” he said. He said that he discussed these issues with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on September 4. “NATO is a consensus of ideas. Political hesitancy is still winning,” Prystaiko added.

Renowned Ukrainian military designer unveils concept for heavy multiple launch rocket system | Defence Blog

Ukraine’s military designer Denis Silich has released concept plans for a heavy multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), based on the 6×6 KrAZ-6322 chassis. The concept designs feature a locally designed armoured cab for 5 people and weapon mounted four hydraulically operated outriggers. Fire control, aiming and even recharge is performed automatically from the cabin, without soldiers’ direct intervention. The rocket launcher is designed to defeat personnel, armored targets, artillery batteries, command posts and fortifications. The new MLRS is capable of control fire without the preliminary preparation of a position and exposed crew action thus minimizing the salvo time and also maximizing unit protection. The concept of new Ukrainian heavy MLRS designed as a private initiative.

Donbas Conflict Museum in Dnipro Expands its Exhibits – YouTube

UATV English Published on Sep 5, 2017 Ukraine’s first museum dedicated to the conflict in Donbas has been operating in Dnipro City for more than a year. The museum offers tours conducted by both museum staff and by combat participants who took part in the conflict, and has been recently updated with objects from the Anti Terrorist Operation Zone. _

Ukroboronprom presents new light aircraft – 05.09.2017 11:03 — Ukrinform News

Odesa Aircraft Plant has developed the Y1 Delfin, a new light four-seat single-engine aircraft, the press service of the Ukroboronprom State Concern has reported.

Three ships with energy coal to arrive in Ukraine – Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Kistion has said that three ships with A-grade energy coal will arrive in Ukraine on September 8-12. Latest UNIAN news from 06 September.

UAWire – Ukrainian journalist admits taking part in undermining stability in Ukraine at Russia’s orders

Pavlo Zolotarev, also known as Pavlo Miasoyedov is a Zaporizhia journalist and head of the local editorial board of the news agency New Region. He admitted in court his guilt in encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, as reported by the city’s local website 061.ua with reference to the court register. In February, the head of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine), Vasily Gritsak and Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko reported at a briefing that Zaporizhia journalist Zolotarev had bribed politicians fusing money provided by Moscow. The SBU published an audio recording for corroborating evidence. Zolotarev was accused of encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The case was transferred to Kyiv Pechersk District Court. According to the case, in autumn 2015 an organized criminal group was formed that would implement a plan to destabilize the political and economic situation in Ukraine. The group needed an organizer, a man who could organize propaganda campaign in mass media, as well as hold round tables, meetings and conferences. Zolotarev got involved, and was offered money for that. In 2016, this organized criminal group agreed on the pushing a number of appeals at the sessions of district and regional councils calling on the leadership of the country to implement the separation of powers between central and local authorities, as well as providing an approval for special legal and economic status’ of these territories. To carry out this plan, Zolotarev found officials in local councils who agreed to receive money. For each accepted appeal, he received from the Kremlin anywhere from sixty thousand to a hundred thousand dollars, which he then distributed to the people he involved. At the trial, Zolotarev fully admitted his guilt in court and agreed to conclude an agreement with the inquiry. In this case, his punishment could be mitigated. He could, for example, receive a conditional sentence. The Pechersk court disagreed with this outcome and returned the case to the Prosecutor General’s Office for a second investigation. In related news, the head of the SBU, Vasily Gritsak reported about the detention of 18 Russian intelligence residents in Kharkiv.

Court finishes consideration of materials in May 2 Odesa tragedy case, sentence to be announced by Sept. 15

06.09.17 12:10 – Court finishes consideration of materials in May 2 Odesa tragedy case, sentence to be announced by Sept. 15 The court has finished consideration of the case file on the tragedy of May 2 in Odesa, which lasted for about three years. The sentence will be announced by Sept. 15. View news.

Ukrainian Political Analysts, Journalist, Activist Die In Car Crash

Authorities in Ukraine say three political analysts, a journalist, and an activist died in a traffic accident in the western region of Rivne on September 6.

Yanukovych Faces New Accusation In Ukraine, Trial Delayed Again

KYIV — A Kyiv court adjourned Viktor Yanukovych's in absentia treason trial until September 21 after the former Ukrainian president’s new lawyer asked for more time to prepare. In …

Yanukovych, ex-justice minister Lavrynovych charged with illegally seizing power in Ukraine in 2010; two officials illegally restored the 1996 Constitution, – Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko – 112.international

Yanukovych, ex-justice minister Lavrynovych charged with illegally seizing power in Ukraine in 2010; two officials illegally restored the 1996 Constitution, – Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office charged leading ex-officials Viktor Yanukovych and Oleksandr Lavrynovych with constitutional takeover, which took place in 2010; in order to perform it, they restored the 1996 Constitution of Ukraine. Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko posted that on Facebook. ‘The PGO’s Department of Special Investigations looks into the case of 2010 constitutional takeover, which led to seizing power by the illegal broadening of presidential authority and cutting that of the Parliament and the government,’ he wrote. According to Lutsenko, based on the collected evidence, his office notified the officials about suspicion in the respective crimes (Part 1, Article 109). In July 2015, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office notified ex-justice minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych of suspicion. The court did not arrest him because of the timely paid bail. In August 2016, the case against Lavrynovych was closed.

Ukraine Confirms Georgia Asked For Ex-President Saakashvili’s Extradition

Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that they received a request from Georgia to extradite its former president, Mikheil Saakashvili. &quot;Ukraine has received a request to search for, detain an…

Poroshenko on Russia sanctions extension: The burden of Crimea occupation should become unbearable

06.09.17 15:46 – Poroshenko on Russia sanctions extension: The burden of Crimea occupation should become unbearable The ambassadors of the European Union have agreed on extension of Russia sanctions for another six months for the country’s activities in Crimea and the Donbas. View news.

UAWire – Media: Cost of the Kerch Bridge is three times higher than the price of the longest bridge in the world

The cost of the Kerch Bridge, which is about 19 kilometers long, is almost three times higher than the cost of the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, a bridge 164.8 kilometers long between Shanghai and Beijing, reports website eizvestia.com. Chinese engineers erected the Danyang-Kunshan Viaduct Chinese in two years. About nine kilometers of the bridge is built above the surface of the water. In addition to the highway, a high-speed railway line has also been laid there. The entire project cost China nearly $1.42 billion. Construction of one kilometer of the bridge stood at about $8,800. The Kerch Bridge, which will connect mainland Russia with the annexed Crimea, began construction in April 2015 and has cost more than the Chinese bridge. The cost of the project is about 228 billion rubles (almost $4 billion). This amount has been growing steadily since the beginning of construction. On average, about $209,000 has been spent per meter of the Kerch bridge. The construction of the Kerch bridge was not coordinated and agreed with Ukraine.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


U.N. envoy Haley makes case for U.S. to potentially pull away from Iran nuclear deal – The Washington Post

She said the U.S. should ask whether the pact is in the national interest and suggested Trump may trigger a congressional review.

Iran shuts down airspace for U.S. aircraft; planes will be warned by ground control of AA defense positions – Iran shuts down airspace for U.S. aircraft – 112.international

Iran shuts down airspace for U.S. aircraft; planes will be warned by ground control of AA defense positions. Iranian army will severely respond to any U.S. hostile action against this country; that includes even entering Iran’s airspace. FARS, the state-run news agency reported that on Tuesday with reference to Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, Chief of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces. ‘If any enemy plane enters Iran’s airspace, the Air Defense Base rapidly gives a warning to it but unfortunately, the arrogant countries make hues and cries that Iran has given a warning to the US plane. The enemies should know that warning enemy planes is Iran’s least reaction,’ Baqeri said. FARS went on writing that the official ‘also lashed out at the US for demanding Iran’s coordination with its warships deployed in the Persian Gulf when approaching them as an excessive demand and ridiculous, and said his country should defend its interests in the Persian Gulf’. In July, Brigadier General Rasoul Sanayee Rad, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander for political affairs warned the U.S. that unprofessional behavior of its Navy in the Persian Gulf would end up in grave consequences.

Putin Congratulates Assad After Syria Announces End Of Deir Al-Zour Siege

Russia&rsquo;s President Vladimir Putin has congratulated his counterpart Bashar al-Assad after Syrian state media said government troops broke a three-year long siege of the eastern city of Deir a…

Syria war: Forces reach allies outside Islamic State-held city of Deir al-Zour – The Washington Post

The army broke a three-year siege on an enclave of the city of Deir al-Zour, setting the stage for further advances that could thwart U.S. plans for the area.

Syrian government forces used chemical weapons more than two dozen times: U.N.

Syrian forces have used chemical weapons more than two dozen times during the country’s civil war, including in April’s deadly attack on Khan Sheikhoun, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Wednesday.

Syria government behind sarin gas attack in April: UN probe – Channel NewsAsia

Prowling the Syrian Desert, U.S. Picking Off ISIS Fighters in Stranded Convoy | Foreign Policy

Prowling the Syrian Desert, U.S. Picking Off ISIS Fighters in Stranded Convoy « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Germany fights to stop ISIS schoolgirl, 16, being executed in Iraq after she was captured with jihadis in Mosul | Daily Mail Online

Charges were laid against the 16-year-old Linda Wenzel and three other German women captured in the ISIS stronghold of Mosul in July on Monday this week.

Of Hats, Jackets, and Turkish Politics

In an era of populism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is at the helm. After coming to power as Turkey’s prime minister in 2003, Erdogan became pres

Israel Prepares for Another War With Hezbollah as IDF Practices Lebanon Invasion

The 10-day long drills will involve all branches of the Israeli military including its land, air, sea and intelligence forces.

Negotiating Afghanistan: The New US Strategy and the Pursuit of a Deal – Modern War Institute

After sixteen years of war, President Donald Trump has outlined his administration’s new strategy to America’s longest running conflict in Afghanistan. So far, components like the promise to increase pressure on Pakistan, the encouragement of India to become more involved in Afghanistan, and a shift away from any time-based withdrawal plan have received the most attention. But a different element—what the president said about the prospect of negotiations—could potentially be among the most impactful. The president’s specific comments are likely to influence those negotiations—and their likelihood of success—in important ways. Specifically, the speech strengthened the US position in any political negotiations. But it also left several areas—including political will for an agreement, diplomatic capacity, and negotiation authority between US advisor forces and the State Department—unaddressed or unclear, and risks strategic drift by having the diplomatic negotiators inherit the debris of the US military’s efforts instead of guiding them from the start. A negotiation analysis of the Trump administration’s approach helps us understand what, if anything, changed in the new strategy from a negotiation perspective, and what challenges may lie ahead. Before Mr. Trump’s speech, the default US position was that in the absence of a negotiated political settlement involving the Afghan government and the Taliban, the United States intended to leave Afghanistan. This was the posture in place over the second term of the Obama administration as it continued a drawdown of troops from late 2011 to 2014, dropping from over 100,000 and settling at 8,400 at the end of Mr. Obama’s second term. On the diplomatic front, the Obama administration created and staffed the Office Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the State Department. The SRAP office, as it was known, was allocated the authority, and organizational capacity (i.e., people) to conduct diplomatic initiatives in the region. On the whole, Mr. Trump’s speech clarified the principles the administration believes should guide the US strategic approach to the sixteen-year-old war. But what did it mean for future political negotiations?


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


A Nuclear Slap in China’s Face | Foreign Policy

According to Christine Lu, “If you understand that dealing with people in China is all about face — giving face, getting face, saving face and not letting that person lose face — then you’re all covered.” For China and its president, Xi Jinping, North Korea’s latest nuclear test is a slap in the face. Xi styles himself as the strongest Chinese leader since Mao, but Kim Jong Un has humiliated him repeatedly, for example by killing Kim family members who were close to Beijing. In the latest affront, North Korea’s sixth, and by far largest, nuclear test upstages a BRICS summit meeting Xi is hosting, and comes just before next month’s crucial Chinese Communist Party Congress, where he hopes to consolidate further his hold on the country. The specter of nuclear chaos is hardly consistent with the image of control that he seeks to project.

U.S. Desire for North Korea Oil Cutoff Puts China in a Tight Spot – The New York Times

China’s leader will not want to look weak in the face of American pressure. But a destabilizing war on the Korean Peninsula would be even less welcome.

Report: North Korea oil sanctions a challenge for China – UPI.com

China’s hesitation to cut off North Korea’s oil supply may be attributed to reasons that go beyond fears of regime collapse.

Inside the Chinese border town sustaining North Korea’s rogue regime – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

At the China-North Korea border, the ABC uncovers large-scale sanction violations, a sign of China’s plan for deeper economic ties with the rogue nation.

South Korea calls for cutting North Korea’s oil supplies but Russia is reluctant – To Inform is to Influence

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee September 6 at 7:36 AM SEOUL — Amid escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula, South Korean President Moon Jae-In sought Russian backing Wednesday for calls to block critical crude oil supplies to the North Korean regime after its latest nuclear test. Moon’s request was met with reluctance from Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, who…

Putin Rejects Cutting Off Oil to North Korea – The New York Times

In a meeting with South Korea’s leader, Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said an oil embargo would hurt the people of North Korea more than its leadership.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia will respond to deployment of U.S. missile defense systems in South Korea

The deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system near the Russian border may raise a question about Moscow’s military response, as stated by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. “If all this happens at such an alarming rate, it is inevitable that at some point, perhaps, the question will arise about our reaction in the military sense of the word, in the creation of some kind of counterbalance. I do not want to anticipate anything. But you can’t take this or that thing out of context,” said Ryabkov to reporters, commenting on the issue of THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. The diplomat reminded the press that Moscow has always looked unfavorably on these plans. “Systems for high-altitude interception of warheads in the descending arc of the trajectory, if I will be allowed to translate the abbreviation THAAD into Russian, are easily built into the missile defense system with greater range and more power, if desired. And these are all elements of the integrated U.S. missile defense system,” said Ryabkov. As was reported, in connection with the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea, South Korea decided to deploy three additional installations of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in their territory.

North Korea News LIVE: Putin says North Korea issue may be “impossible” to solve – Moneycontrol.com

South Korea has said it may have detected activity related to an intercontinental ballistic missile launch. Live updates.

Putin says sanctions, pressure alone won’t resolve North Korea crisis

Resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis is impossible with sanctions and pressure alone, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday after meeting his South Korean counterpart, adding that the impact of cutting oil would be worrying.

Putin Warns Against ‘Driving North Korea Into Corner’ Over Nuclear Tests

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against &quot;driving North Korea into a corner&quot; over its nuclear weapons program and missile tests. Putin spoke on September 6 after meeting Sout…

Putin meets with S. Korea leader, calls for talks on N. Korea nuke threat | Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that sanctions are not enough to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, urging that dialogue is need to achieve progress.

North Korea tensions could spiral out of control, Moon says – CNN

A day after predicting “global catastrophe” if North Korea’s nuclear tests lead to anything other than talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the situation may be “impossible” to resolve.

With tensions over North Korea mounting, China is testing antimissile systems of its own — Quartz

In late July, US forces in the Pacific practiced shooting missiles out of the sky, with North Korea very much in mind. That’s not surprising, perhaps, given the tension between the two nations. But China, too, is looking nervously at the Korean Peninsula, and this week it tested antimissile systems of its own. In the…

Sung-Yoon Lee | The Way to Make North Korea Back Down – The New York Times

Threats of American military action are empty bluster. But money talks.

Buck Sexton | North Korea may actually want war | TheHill

North Korea claims it is now part of the thermonuclear club, after successfully testing on Sunday a miniaturized hydrogen bomb capable of fitting on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Assuming the reports are true, the North’s most recent nuclear detonation wasn’t just another test on a growing list of Kim Jong Un’s provocations. It was a major escalation in the nuclear face-off on the Korean peninsula. The world’s most belligerent rogue state going from fission to fusion weapons is ominous to say the least. Top U.S. national security officials appear to believe this time is different, and time is running short. Usually North Korea discussions sound like one long repetition of foreign policy cliches that always end in “no good options.” But in the aftermath of the most recent nuclear test, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slipped in a somewhat stunning statement to the Security Council. She said that North Korea is “begging for war.” This point deserves immediate attention. ADVERTISEMENT What if one U.S. administration after another has been miscalculating the Kim dynasty’s capacity for long-term strategy? What if war is exactly what Kim Jong Un wants and is waiting for? There is a sobering case to be made that Kim isn’t just saber rattling for concessions from the international community, and it grows with each nuclear test. And while Kim increases his capability to turn a U.S. city into a smoldering, irradiated mass grave, we cannot afford to allow the same foreign policy groupthink to dominate the conversation. One thing that’s abundantly clear — what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked. So why would the Kim regime actually desire a major conflict? North Korea’s dedication to nuclear missiles tells us a lot about Kim’s bellicose intentions. There is nothing we can offer to make him abandon his nuclear arsenal. To be sure, nukes provide geopolitical status for a regime whose entire legitimacy rests on military power. As a dictator known to assassinate rivals with antiaircraft guns, Kim knows that nuclear weapons are the ultimate symbol of brute force. And they essentially eliminate any prospective military intervention into North Korea. But North Korea doesn’t need nukes to prevent regime change. It currently holds South Korea hostage with conventional artillery that can be fired from north of the DMZ. Assessments of initial casualties from such a barrage are staggering, and easily run into the tens of thousands in the first hours of hostilities. To put it simply, North Korea is not Iraq or Libya, even without any nuclear weapons in the picture.

Condoleezza Rice: Trump right to paint ‘bleak picture’ of North Korea | TheHill

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she supports the Trump administration in “painting a very bleak picture for the Chinese” on North Korea, amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The former Bush administration official commented on North Korea’s recent missile tests during an appearance at the Library of Congress Book Festival on Saturday. “I don’t think any American president can tolerate that leader with the capacity to reach the United States,” Rice said of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. ADVERTISEMENT “What the administration is trying to do, and I support what they’re trying to do, is they’re painting a very bleak picture for the Chinese,” she continued. “That’s the only country with any real leverage on the North Koreans.” The former secretary of State said that the Chinese are hesitant to exercise their leverage over fears that the North Korean regime could collapse, creating a refugee crisis on their border. Rice said that ever since the George W. Bush administration had tried to negotiate denuclearization with the regime’s former leader Kim Jong Il, the country has continued its research and development of long-range missiles and bombs. North Korea once again sparked international tensions on Tuesday when it fired a missile over Japan, which landed in the Pacific. Japan is now considering amending its defense plan, as the U.S. and South Korea continue efforts to secure the Korean peninsula. “I think at some point the American president, and I’m not inside so don’t know what he’s being told about how long he has, but at some point if you’re threatening Guam and already firing missiles over Japan, we’re getting pretty close to a denouement, we’re getting pretty close to a president having to make a decision,” Rice said, referring to the country’s recent threats to fire missiles off the coast of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific. Rice speculated that China “must have talked to him” Kim Jong Un about the threats, as they quickly stood down from the situation following President Trump’s comments that the U.S. would respond with “fire and fury” if North Korea continued its threats.

Condoleezza Rice Backs Trump’s ‘Bleak Picture’ Strategy on NKorea

Condoleezza Rice Backs Trump’s ‘Bleak Picture’ Strategy on NKorea

Analysis: US options on North Korea narrow further after test

Sanctions on North Korea have been tried, and failed. Serious negotiations seem like a pipedream. And any military strike would almost surely bring mass devastation and horrific civilian casualties.

South Korea wants the US to station nuclear weapons in the country. That’s a bad idea. – Vox

This idea came after North Korea tested its most powerful bomb to date.

South Korea is the Best Friend Trump Could Hope For – The Atlantic

What could possibly explain his odd belligerence towards a proven ally?

Why Trump Can’t Afford to Wreck the Korean Peninsula | The National Interest

North Korea is one of the remaining legacies of the Cold War and one of the greatest threats to America.

Military action against N.Korea “too horrific” to consider: UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday the solution to containing North Korea as the regime conducts continued nuclear weapons tests &quot;must be political&quot; as the &quot;potential consequences&nbsp;to&nbsp;military action are too horrific,&quot; CBC News reports. News 06 September from UNIAN.

UAWire – Ukrainian journalist: North Korean hydrogen bomb could not have been developed without Russia’s help

North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb, most likely with Russia’s assistance, as stated by Ukrainian journalist Alexander Demchenko on Ukrainian Channel 5. “I am more than sure that the hydrogen bomb, allegedly developed by North Koreans, was not made without the Russian Federation’s and the Kremlin’s participation, because China and the Russian Federation have these technologies. And surely, Americans do as well, but they will not share such technology. China would not do that either because it is not profitable to do so. If not them, then who would do it? Looks like it’s the Russian Federation, most likely,” Demchenko said. The journalist added that Russia wants to provoke a military confrontation between the United States and China on the territory of the Korean Peninsula. “Russian Federation wants to stir up Americans against the Chinese into a severe military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, as it was in the 1950s. They wish to repeat this scenario, observe it, and then to become a sort of ‘peacemaker’ that would settle this conflict,” he is convinced. As previously reported, North Korea already announced a successful testing of a hydrogen warhead.

North Korea’s Sixth Nuclear Test: A First Look | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., and Jack Liu. Commercial satellite imagery from Planet, obtained the day after North Korea conducted its largest test to date (currently estimated in the 100+ kiloton range), appears to show numerous landslides throughout the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site and beyond. The area of these surface disturbances, which include numerous areas of pre-existing gravel and scree fields that have apparently been lofted in place from the tremors,[1] is centered about Mt. Mantap (elevation. 2205 meters). These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than what we have seen from any of the five tests North Korea previously conducted. There does not appear to be any evidence of a collapse crater, as might have been suggested from the post-test tremor. The resolution of this imagery is presently insufficient to show any other damage, (e.g. to buildings at the base of the mountain in the support areas). However, once higher resolution imagery becomes available, additional details will become known and we will report on them at that time.

Seismic Detective Weighs In on North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test

This past weekend, North Korea conducted another nuclear test. This is what a seismic expert really thinks is going on.

North Korea nuclear test more powerful than estimated: Japan – The Economic Times

North Korea on Sunday triggered global alarm when it blasted what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile.

For Kim Jong Un, nuclear weapons are a security blanket. And he wants to keep it. – The Washington Post

Nukes help the North Korean regime fend off threats from outside and within.

Undercover In North Korea: “All Paths Lead To Catastrophe” | Zero Hedge

“…to understand what happens next with North Korea… her experience made her extremely pessimistic about every aspect of the country, including the regime’s willingness to ever renounce its nuclear weapons program… North Korea functions, she believes, as a true cult, with all of the country’s pre-cult existence now passed out of human memory.”


Foreign Policy Reports


Two Russians Named As Organizers Of Montenegro’s Alleged Coup Plot

Two alleged Russian intelligence operatives have been named as the main organizers of what authorities say was a coup attempt against Montenegro’s pro-Western government as the trial of 1…

Russian Hackers Can’t Beat German Democracy | Foreign Policy

Of course the Kremlin is going to try to hack Germany’s upcoming election. But it’s not going to succeed.

‘Transparent’ Account Backfires for Czech President – To Inform is to Influence

Is this a new form of political warfare, information warfare, Kompromat, or just a “transparent policy” gone wrong?  Bottom line, be careful what you ask for.  In this case, a probable well-meaning law is creating havoc for politicians in Czechia.  Deservedly?  Perhaps.   In this case, comments made as “contribution” became public, allowing embarrassing statements…

Scandal as Dutch companies help build bridge to occupied Crimea, violating sanctions -Euromaidan Press |

Two Dutch companies have violated EU sanctions by building the equipment which Russia used to build the bridge to occupied Crimea over the Kerch Strait. The government of The Netherlands has ordered an investigation into the matter. This comes just several months after a scandal erupted over the German technogiant Siemens supplying turbines to two power stations in occupied Crimea and goes to show that the EU and USA’s plan to pinch off the region in response to Russia’s violation of international law is not entirely successful.

Neo-Nazi arrests: National Action suspects are in the Army – BBC News

Four servicemen are suspected of being members of the banned far-right group National Action.

Oxford and Cambridge named the top 2 universities in the world — but a Brexit threat looms | Business Insider

Oxford and Cambridge have been named the top…

World University Rankings 2018 | Times Higher Education (THE)

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 list the top 1,000 universities in the world, making it our biggest international league table to date. It is the only global university performance table to judge research-intensive universities across all of their core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. We use 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


THE FUTURE IS HISTORY by Masha Gessen | Kirkus Reviews

A brilliant if somber look at modern Russia, a failed democracy, by prizewinning journalist Gessen (The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy, 2015, etc.).

SpaceX Ready To Drive U.S. Back Onto Superheavy-Lift Highway | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week

With visions of Moon missions and settlements on Mars, SpaceX prepares for the long-promised debut flight of its superheavy lifter. On May 14, 1973, a Saturn V rocket lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex (LC) 39A with Skylab, the first U.S. space station. The launch opened a new chapter in the nascent field of human space exploration but also marked the end of the country’s capability to put more than 100,000 lb. (45,359 kg) into low Earth orbit in a single go. Now, after more than 34 years, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is nearing the debut test flight of its triple-core Falcon 9 in an attempt to reopen the superheavy-lift highway to space—and at a fraction of the cost. Fittingly, the Falcon Heavy’s first flight will take place from the same launch pad used for the Saturn V’s finale. After four years of delays due to technical issues, the top schedule concern for the Falcon Heavy’s targeted November debut is the reactivation of neighboring LC 40 at the adjacent Cape Canaveral AFS, which was heavily damaged in an accident last year. “Basically, the plan is as soon as Pad 40 is ready, we will shift Falcon 9 single-stick customers to 40. We will work on the final elements to site Falcon Heavy at 39A, and then launch it,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer. Her boss, SpaceX founder, CEO and chief technology officer Musk, downplays expectations for the first flight. “I think Falcon Heavy is going to be a great vehicle; there’s just so much that’s really impossible to test on the ground,” he said in July at the International Space Station Research and Development conference in Washington.

Interview: Stiletto Systems may have solution for US Army regarding a 5.56×45 calibre ammunition | Defence Blog

During his recent statement to the American Senate, a four-star General Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, said that the 5.56x45mm M855A1 ammunition is not capable of penetrating the newest types of bulletproof vests. As a result, a decision to replace this type of calibre of bullets with 7.62x51mm followed his statement. We decided to discuss it with Oleksandr Kalachev, one of the founders and chief designer of European company Stiletto Systems Limited. Do you think that this is too much of a radical reaction? Do you think that the 5.56x45mm ammunition has no more room for improvement in terms of armor penetration capacities in order to meet the modern challenges on the battlefield? In this case, it is necessary to stress why exactly it is impossible to increase the armor penetration capacities of the 5.56x45mm calibre ammunition as it is today. The design of the bullet needs radical changes. At some point, everybody chased after the mass product. We speak here about a bullet design scheme, where a steel core propped up with a lead rod is inserted into a brass or biometal shell. And it is well known that the main element guaranteeing the armor penetration is the mass of a steel or a carbide-tipped core, for instance, the core mass, that is used for 5.45mm is around one gram. That’s is why in order to increase an armor penetration capabilities of such a bullet we can only do it via the increase of a core mass itself, that, can actually penetrates armor. In order to do that, the core needs to be placed all along the entire length of a bullet, exactly the way our company does.

Russian Combat Helicopters Increase In Sophistication | Defense content from Aviation Week

The launch of a high-speed combat helicopter development effort is one of several upgrade programs for the Russian military. Along with Russian Helicopters’ official launch of a high-speed combat helicopter concept for the Russian military, the manufacturer is spending much more on efforts to fine-tune its existing products for the country’s defense ministry and foreign clients. The contract to start development of a high-speed combat helicopter was signed by the defense ministry at the end of August. The aim of the two-year effort is to define the conceptual design for the high-speed rotorcraft. Russian Helicopters says it will use the experience gained during testing of a high-speed technology demonstrator. This demonstrator is based on the Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter platform and features a streamlined nose section and cockpit to improve aerodynamics; fully composite blades for the main rotor are also featured. Flight tests began in December 2015, and the following year it achieved a speed of 405 kph (250 mph). The next stage of testing was meant to take the demonstrator to a speed threshold of 500 kph, but whether this was accomplished has not been revealed.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Electricity Providers Targeted In Massive Hack – To Inform is to Influence

A hacking group has grown bolder and gained access to operational controls of US electric companies, according to Symantec researchers. 6 September 2017 Kevin Collier BuzzFeed News Cybersecurity Correspondent A hacker group linked to the Russian government has acquired an unprecedented level of access to companies that supply power to the US power grid, a…

NATO Pub: The Evolution of the Hybrid Threat, and Resilience as a Countermeasure – To Inform is to Influence

06 Sep. 2017 Research Paper 139: “The Evolution of the Hybrid Threat, and Resilience as a Countermeasure”, by Uwe Hartmann. Dear Reader, The latest Research Paper of the NATO Defense College won the NDC Commandant’s Award for the best Individual Paper of Senior Course 130. Written by a Colonel in the Germany Army, it argues that…

Conspiracy: The US creates bioweapons in 400 countries (there are only 195) -Euromaidan Press |

As we have pointed out on many occasions, the pro-Kremlin outlets love conspiracies. And the more shocking these conspiracies are, the better they serve the purposes of the disinformation campaign. For understandable reasons, the most shocking conspiracies include stories about violent death. And since it is impossible to keep on recycling e.g. the infamous story about a crucified boy or the story about nazi zombies in Ukraine, the campaign has to come up with new ways of telling stories about people suffering a painful death.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Andrei A. Kovalev | Putin’s Hand Can Clearly Be Seen In The Chaos Of A Destabilized West – To Inform is to Influence

Vladimir Putin Deliberately Set Out To Destabilize The West / Opinion BY ANDREI A. KOVALEV ON 9/3/17 AT 2:10 AM What role is Russia playing in the difficulties the United States, Europe, and other countries are experiencing? Does the Kremlin reject the existing world order and aspire to a new division of the world? Did Moscow’s political…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Must Mobilize Russian Emigres in US for 2018 Congressional Elections, Prilepin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 4 – Zakhar Prilepin, a Russian writer, controversialist, and opposition figure, says that Moscow must mobilize the three million Russians living in the United States in advance of the 2018 Congressional elections to help ensure the election of pro-Moscow candidates. In a Svobodnaya pressa commentary, he says that Russian officials must recognize that this community is fundamentally different than it was in Soviet times. Then, it was largely anti-Moscow; but now, he argues, the situation has fundamentally changed – and Russia must take advantage of it (svpressa.ru/world/article/180600/). First of all, Prilepin writes, “the majority of Russians who’ve moved to the US … vote for Republics not for Democrats, and the Republicans as you will understand are something like the KPRF fortified by the LDPR and with a sprinkling of ‘United Russia.’” That means that “not only in Russia are ‘slaves’ dreaming of ‘a strong hand’ and other ‘militarism’ but there too.”n he US And second, “it is curious how Russians who want to get an American passport but still haven’t received it continue to vote in elections for the State Duma of the Russian Federation.” In 2011, the overwhelming majority of the Russians who took part voted for the systemic parties in Russia – United Russia, KPRF and LDPR. Only a third voted for Yabloko. Before the 2016 presidential elections in the US, he continues, 53.3 percent of the Russian-speaking diaspora there expressed support for Donald Trump. The real figure was undoubtedly higher but some of these people felt constrained from expressing a view not comme il faut in many American or Russian circles, Prilepin says. In general, then, “if Russia would like to work with various centers of power in the US and to the extent possible oppose the pressure of hostile forces there,” the Russian writer says, “we have a serious group of support.” It may not include all three million but perhaps at least two – and “this is a lot.” Moreover, the real size of this pro-Moscow diaspora may be even larger, he suggests, because many of the spouses of Russian women in the US in the course of time become pro-Moscow in their thinking as well. If one adds them, Prilepin says, the real size of this pro-Moscow bloc could be not two million but four. It is thus time to think about how to use them, especially in the upcoming Congressional elections. Where there are a large number of Russian-speakers, Moscow should encourage them to support pro-Moscow candidates in races for the House of Representatives. And that is “only one example” of what Russia should be doing. On the one hand, there is nothing surprising about such musings: many people in varioius countries think about making use of their diaspora populations in other countries as a major form of “soft” power to influence outcomes. But on the other, in the current case, it is quite remarkable indeed for three reasons. First, Russians have long been conditioned to view emigres as invariably hostile. Prilepin’s words suggest that ever more people in Moscow are recognizing the reality that many of the new Russians in the West are anything but and thus can be used to good effect. Second, Russians also traditionally looked to the Democratic and not the Republican Party in the US as their better ally in promoting good relations between East and West. Now that has changed as well, at least in the perception of those who think like Prilepin. And third, his proposal comes even as the US is investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential elections. Prilepin’s words are a clear indication that Moscow has no intention of backing off or of limiting such participation. Instead, it appears to be planning to do even more in the future – and to do so in far more races than in the past.

Russia threatens to sue US over closure of diplomatic facilities – CNNPolitics

The State Department’s principal spokeswoman said Tuesday the administration is “confident in the legality” of its decision to shutter Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States, despite a Russian threat to sue over the closures.

Trump Is ‘Not My Bride,’ Putin Says – The New York Times

The Russian leader, speaking a news conference in China during a meeting of the so-called BRICS countries, also said he would consider further cuts at U.S. diplomatic posts.

U.S. House Panel Subpoenas Documents In Russia-Trump Investigation

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for documents related to a dossier that claimed Russia collected compromising information about U.S. President Donald Trump, the panel'…

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