Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 10 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting. 

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ps. I’m taking time off from my all-important season opener Washington Redskins game. It’s 16-14 at the halftime against the Philadelphia Eagles, I haven’t had an American football fix in almost nine months, and…  

Anway, I just received a “barn burner” via Twitter DM a few seconds ago. Enjoy this in the meantime!



Stoltenberg, Fallon, Linkevičius criticise Zapad 2017,  Rassmussen and Vershbow challenge the Russian bogus UN peacekeeper “proposal”. Russia objects to Poland’s demolition of a claimed war grave monument – the Poles should consider exhuming the remains and returning them properly to Russia, if the site is a genuine war grave.

Zhdanok and Mitrofanov book illustrates a Moscow propensity to mirror Russian behaviours on to the West, the cause of many of their follies.  Verkhovsky explores the linked problems of Russian anti-semitism, and the so called  “Russian Orthodox jihad” against foreign influences – a true case of an ossified culture. Prof Goble’s Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 99 is a must read depicting Russia’s ongoing descent into the abyss, in their own words. The reports span the full spectrum on growing social, political, cultural, ideological, religious and ethnic breakdowns and divisions, difficult to choose which report is the most bizarre or most tragic. More on electoral fraud and harassment of a journalist.Zapad 2017 dominates Belarus media, while in Moldova Russia tries to reframe Putinist Pres Dodon’s loss of authority as a constitutional crisis – it is actually a case of a President losing all credibility after putting Russian interests ahead of Moldovan interests.

Zapad 2017 dominates Belarus media, while in Moldova Russia tries to reframe Putinist Pres Dodon’s loss of authority as a constitutional crisis – it is actually a case of a President losing all credibility after putting Russian interests ahead of Moldovan interests. Poroshenko to address UN General Assy, and make multiple claims against Russia in UN. Ukrainian maritime patrol vessel threatened by Russian personnel in Black Sea. Donbass fires continue, one UA KIA. Russia files criminal charges against 30 Ukrainian senior officers and officials, as if they were already under Russian jurisdiction. MSPO-2017 Defense Industry Exhibition in Poland: Polish-Ukrainian collaboration on ZRN-01 Stokrotka mini-MLRS, using two repurposed aerial 80mm FFAR pods, and Ukraine procures the Polish WB Electronics Warmate  “Kamikaze Drone”, that be be configured with either shaped charge or blast-frag warheads. In Ukraine, the 169th Training Center solves the long standing problem of how to get use from the ghastly Soviet era 2A28 Grom 73mm low pressure gun on the legacy BMP-1, famous for poor accuracy and range – they developed ballistic software to use the gun no differently than the breech loading 120mm mortar on the 2S9 Nona BMD variant. Good videos from the Czech Airshow, FLANKER and MBT training. Some interesting political reports – including a Ukrainian immigrant winning a Senate seat in Indiana.

Poroshenko to address UN General Assy, and make multiple claims against Russia in UN. Ukrainian maritime patrol vessel threatened by Russian personnel in Black Sea. Donbass fires continue, one UA KIA. Russia files criminal charges against 30 Ukrainian senior officers and officials, as if they were already under Russian jurisdiction. MSPO-2017 Defense Industry Exhibition in Poland: Polish-Ukrainian collaboration on ZRN-01 Stokrotka mini-MLRS, using two repurposed aerial 80mm FFAR pods, and Ukraine procures the Polish WB Electronics Warmate  “Kamikaze Drone”, that be be configured with either shaped charge or blast-frag warheads. In Ukraine, the 169th Training Center solves the long standing problem of how to get use from the ghastly Soviet era 2A28 Grom 73mm low pressure gun on the legacy BMP-1, famous for poor accuracy and range – they developed ballistic software to use the gun no differently than the breech loading 120mm mortar on the 2S9 Nona BMD variant. Good videos from the Czech Airshow, FLANKER and MBT training. Some interesting political reports – including a Ukrainian immigrant winning a Senate seat in Indiana. China halts banking transactions with DPRK. US proposing naval blockade, an excellent idea. Interesting DPRK related reports from the UK: Guardian looks closely at the relationship between Pres Xi and Kim, and conflicting imperatives in China. DPRK celebrates its nuclear test. Telegraph cites UK government officials stating they suspect Russia or Iran helped the DPRK with its nuclear programs – there have been previous reports of Russian assistance during the 1990s. European leaders support US on DPRK denuclearisation. Fascinating WashPost report on DPRK escapee/refugee support networks across Asia. Bandow now arguing appeasement of the DPRK, rather than Russia.

China halts banking transactions with DPRK. US proposing naval blockade, an excellent idea. Interesting DPRK related reports from the UK: Guardian looks closely at the relationship between Pres Xi and Kim, and conflicting imperatives in China. DPRK celebrates its nuclear test. Telegraph cites UK government officials stating they suspect Russia or Iran helped the DPRK with its nuclear programs – there have been previous reports of Russian assistance during the 1990s. European leaders support US on DPRK denuclearisation. Fascinating WashPost report on DPRK escapee/refugee support networks across Asia. Bandow now arguing appeasement of the DPRK, rather than Russia.

Politico looks at deliberations on the future deployment of low yield tactical nuclear weapons instead of current higher yield designs.

Four articles on Russian IO/IW/EW, and one on the replacement of the EC-130 COMPASS CALL with a slightly more survivable G550. The debate around Russian EW is curious – it is generally less sophisticated compared to available US tech, but the problem is not what the US can build, it is what the US has actually mass produced and deployed to its military units in the field, where the Russians have an advantage, as they did not dismantle conventional capabilities to conform to the COIN cult.

Facebook making money from Russian propaganda is the most interesting US domestic media thread today.


Russia / Russophone Reports


North Korea, Russia and ISIS Make World Most Dangerous in a Generation, Says NATO Chief

“It is more unpredictable, and it’s more difficult,” Stoltenberg said when asked about the changes in the world over his 30-year career.

Sir Michael Fallon SLAMS Putin plan for army exercise on NATO borders | UK | News | Express.co.uk

UK DEFENCE Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has hit out at the Kremlin – and accused Vladimir Putin’s military of trying to provoke Britain.

Baltic states urge Nato unity as Russia gears up for war games

Defence officials call for freer movement of troops ahead of huge military exercise

AndersFogh Rasmussen on Twitter: “If Putin’s proposal for peacekeepers in #Ukraine is a bluff, the UN should call it. @ARVershbow & I with ideas how https://t.co/0obxvnW7oP https://t.co/RhSLe9zNYI”

Rasmussen and Vershbow: the UN should test Russian sincerity for a Donbas peacekeeping force – Rasmussen Global

Leading friends of Ukraine Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Alexander Vershbow are urging the UN Security Council to agree a credible peacekeeping and stabilisation force to help restore Ukraine’s sovereignty. Leading friends of Ukraine Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Alexander Vershbow are urging the UN Security Council to agree a credible peacekeeping and stabilisation force to help restore Ukraine’s sovereignty. President Putin this week reversed his long-standing opposition to a UN presence in eastern Ukraine, which was put forward already in 2015 by President Poroshenko. However, former NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and former NATO Deputy Secretary General and US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow believe the conditions in the Russian proposal* would hobble a potential UN peacekeeping mission from the outset. Rasmussen and Vershbow fear the proposal could be a diversionary tactic by Putin to buy time and legitimise Russian and proxy troops in Ukraine by handing them a UN mandate. However, with the peace process (the Minsk process) stalled, the proposal could be the biggest opportunity since the signing of the Minsk agreements to halt the bloodshed and reach a political solution to the conflict. The pair are proposing a three-stage deployment of peacekeepers: phase one close to the contact line; phase two deeper into occupied territories; and phase three covering the entirety of the occupied territories and a presence along the international border. The force could only be deployed once heavy weaponry is withdrawn, and it should have access to inspect all convoys – including humanitarian convoys – crossing the border. To be effective, the phased deployment would have to be synchronized with the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk agreement and not limited to a six months’ period as proposed by Russia. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who now advises Ukrainian President Poroshenko on foreign policy matters, said: “The devil is definitely in the detail. However, with a peacekeeping force now on the table, the UN Security Council should seriously engage with the proposal. “As it stands, Moscow’s proposal would merely lend UN credibility to Russian troops dug in on the wrong side of the Ukraine-Russia border. Given Moscow’s tactics in the past, we cannot be naïve about Putin’s proposal or his timing. After all, Ukraine has sought peacekeepers since 2015, and Russia repeatedly threatened a UN veto. “However, if this move is a bluff by Putin then the other Security Council Members should call it. With the right mandate, this could be the biggest opportunity to halt the loss of life and to break the stalemate since Minsk II was signed in 2015. Moreover, UN Security Council members should not fall in the trap of linking a peace-keeping force with the lifting of sanctions on Russia. The Russia sanctions are linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreement.” Alexander Vershbow, who is a former US Ambassador to Russia, added: “Russia’s proposal is inadequate to enforce a durable ceasefire. However, it opens a window for negotiation that could deliver the stability needed to move ahead with a political solution. For that the UN Security Council should agree on a resolution with clear conditions. “The West cannot begin to consider adjusting its sanctions policy towards Russia until after satisfactory conclusion of the Minsk process. However, with the right scope and mandate, peace-keeping troops would be a forcing mechanism for Russia and Ukraine to implement Minsk.” *Moscow insists that the ‘blue helmets’ would only protect the OSCE monitors already on the ground, and only for a mere six-month period. The mission could only operate along the current Line of Contact, instead of within the whole territory including the Ukraine-Russia territorial border where the OSCE is authorized to operate but faces constant separatist obstruction.

UAWire – Lithuania urges Russia to cancel Zapad 2017 military exercises

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius urged Russia to cancel the planned Zapad 2017 large-scale military exercises in NATO’s eastern …

UAWire – Russia protests the demolition by Poland of the Mausoleum of the Red Army soldiers

The Russian Ambassador sent a note to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Polish Foreign Ministry in connection with the demolition of the Mausoleum of the Red Army Soldiers in the Polish city of Trzcianka (Wielkopolska Voivodship), as stated by the head of the Ministry of Defense of Russia on the memorialization of those killed in the defense of the Fatherland, Vladimir Popov, Interfax reports. “The Polish authorities, without the notification and consent of the Russians, demolished all of the architectural elements of the burial, including the Mausoleum of Red Army Soldiers,” Popov said. According to him, Polish authorities are trying to justify their actions by referencing the fact that there are no buried Soviet soldiers there,” and if they are there, they will be exhumed and moved to another place.” He also said that Polish authorities have twice appealed to the Russians regarding the dismantling of the monument in Trzcianka and twice they received replies with the argument that this is a Russian military burial place from the Second World War. The representative of the Defense Ministry added that the Russians once again sent Poland documentary evidence of the burial of 56 Red Army soldiers at the site. The communal grave of the Soviet soldiers in Trzcianka on Poshtova Square was opened in 1945. 56 soldiers of the Soviet Army (the personal data of 17 servicemen is known) who died during the liberation of the city during the Second World War were buried in the grave. The total area of the burial is 0.02 ha.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Policy in Post-Soviet States Failing Because He Thinks All Leaders are for Sale, New Book Suggests

Paul Goble Staunton, September 10 – A new study of Russian policy in Latvia suggests that Vladimir Putin assumes that Moscow can rely on the selfishness and greed of elites across the former Soviet space to get what it wants, a conclusion that fits many of the facts but that has brought a sharp rejoinder from a former Russian foreign ministry specialist on the Baltic countries. In their new book, Ethnic Russians of Latvia at the Turn of the Centuries (in Russian: Riga, Aveerti-R, 2017), Tatyana Zhdanok and Miroslav Mitrofanov argue that Moscow’s policy toward Latvia and other parts of the former Soviet space changed radically in 2003. On page 191, they write the following: “After 2003, ‘a super-pragmatic’ approach toward the post-Soviet countries took the upper hand. This approach was based on faith in the diktat of economic interests. It was assume that the elites of the post-Soviet countries could not reject the personal profits they would gain from economic cooperation with wealthy Russia and that over time this should lead to the resolution of all political conflicts among the states. “Political technologists and oligarchs of post-Soviet Russia transferred to the post-Soviet elite in neighboring countries their own vision of the world, without taking into account the cultural distinctions, historical phobias, and internal solidarity of the political elites of the former ‘national’ republics of the USSR. “Russians refused to understand that there are limits to selling out and that it is impossible to construct strategic relations between countries only on the basis of economic profit.” Not surprisingly, this analysis, as close as it fits the facts, has been sharply rejected by Russians. Mikhail Demurin who earlier supervised relations with the Baltic countries for the Russian foreign ministry and is now a leading commentator for the Regnum news agency, is among the sharpest critics (regnum.ru/news/polit/2319551.html). In a new article, he argues that Zhdanok and Mitrofanov are wrong in their reading of the March 2003 memorandum prepared by Nikita Ivanov, Modest Kolerov and Gleb Pavlovsky entitled “Is the Russian government effectively defending the country’s national interests. The need and potential of active measures in the Baltics” (regnum.ru/news/96738.html). That memorandum argued, Demurin says, that Moscow needs to more clearly define its national interests in the Baltic countries and former Soviet republics more generally and to consider all the levers it can use to achieve Russian goals. It did not, he insists, limit Moscow to the “’super-pragmatic’” approach Zhdanok and Mitrofanov outline.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Conspiracy Thinking, Orthodox Eschatology Lead Russian Nationalism Back to Anti-Semitism, Verkhovsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 10 – Anti-Westernism and anti-liberalism have not displaced anti-Semitism in Russia as some have argued but rather, along with widespread conspiracy thinking and eschatological links between Russian nationalism and Russian Orthodoxy, have laid the groundwork for a new recrudescence of this ancient evil, Aleksandr Verkhovsky says. The director of the SOVA Center makes this argument in a Nezavisimaya gazeta review of Viktor Shnirelman’s new book, The Tribe of Dan: Eschatology and Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Russia (in Russian, Moscow: BBI, 2017, 633 pp.) (ng.ru/ng_religii/2017-09-06/15_427_book.html). Shnirelman, Verkhovsky points out, is a proponent of “civilizational nationalism,” a notion that has attracted many Russians and especially the Russian Orthodox Church. That idea holds that identity does not emerge via ethnicity or language but “in the first instance via a synthetic image of Russia as the nucleus of a special great culture or civilization … inspired by high goals … and being in a global and long-term opposition to the West.” Those within the Church define these goals in eschatological ways that are by their nature and for entirely understandable reasons radical because they are about what the Church views as the approaching Armageddon. As history shows, Verkhovsky suggests, such ideas cannot exist “without anti-Semitism.” The SOVA director recalls that he recently heard one Orthodox priest in Moscow deliver a homily in which he said Russians must prepare themselves for Armageddon and must be ready “to kill their enemies, including Jews and Jewish children. This will be very difficult, he said, but it has to be done because otherwise God’s will won’t be fulfilled.” “It would be interesting to know how important anti-Semitism is at the level of feelings” in a country where conspiracy thinking is widespread “and how this is simply an old instrument for the expression of eschatological emotions and corresponding political views,” Verkhovsky continues. Shnirelman cites the arguments of those like Andrey Lesnitsky who assert that “anti-liberalism and anti-Westernism are displacing anti-Semitism,” the SOVA analyst notes; but he suggests this is an overly optimistic assumption. Indeed, those very values can become a breeding ground for anti-Semitic attitudes and actions. A major reason for concern, Verkhovsky continues, is that the Moscow Patriarchate has failed to provide a clear analysis of the Apocalypse and thus has allowed earlier anti-Semitic readings of that to remain widespread and unchallenged – and especially the most radical positions. And it has failed to do so despite the collection and widespread publication of openly anti-Semitic eschatological texts from the Russian past and their promotion by leading commentators and church hierarchs, texts that highlight the close links between eschatology and anti-Semitic ideas. Eschatology in the Russian tradition has been important for both Russian nationalism and anti-Semitism, often serving as the link between the two given the stress both place on defending Russia as “the Third Rome” and thus “the last bastion in the struggle with apostasy,” a struggle that over the last two decades has taken the form of what one might call an Orthodox “jihad.” As a result, anti-Semitism in Russia has not lost its importance even though “in mass xenophobia it long ago moved to a secondary or even tertiary level.” As Shnirelman shows, it could easily re-emerge because the eschatological elements of Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism are powerful influences in the minds of many. Indeed, Verkhovsky concludes, “anti-Semitism as part of this assemblage is in practice inevitable, but even the more modernized forms of eschatological attitudes described in the book which avoid basing themselves on anti-Semitism, all the same provoke one or another form of xenophobia in general and anti-Semitism in particular.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Baker’s Double Dozen of Neglected Russian Stories – No. 99

Paul Goble Staunton, September 9 — 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 99th 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. For Putin’s Visit, Perm Becomes Ultimate Potemkin Village.  Many cities and regions of Russia have long welcomed visits by the countries leaders because they know that local officials will do what they can to spruce things up, something that residents may occasionally benefit from.  But this week, when Putin came to Perm, officials there put up huge photographs to cover entire streets, something that ended by embarrassing the officials and provoking demonstrations by Perm residents (livehiv.ru/novosti/novosti-sverdlovskoy-oblasti-i-ekaterinburga/vich-polozhitelnyy-podrostok-otkryl-litso.htmlura.news/news/1052303530,kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B12FFB1DA7Eura.news/news/1052303268newsland.com/community/4109/content/potemkinskii-portal-dlia-putina/5985800 and https://ura.news/news/1052303544). The Potemkin village strategy arose in tsarist times, and Putin during his Siberian tour personally displayed another tendency of Russian and Soviet leaders that lives on today: a propensity for gigantism.  Rather than taking real steps that might solve actual problems, Putin called for the construction of a bridge-tunnel network linking Japan and Sakhalin, something that would cost more than Moscow can afford and almost certainly will never be built but may become a cash cow for the oligarchs (ng.ru/news/593389.html). Putin did get one good piece of news: the leader of South Korea said that the Kremlin leader as “the soul of a Siberian tiger” (themoscowtimes.com/news/south-korean-leader-says-putin-has-soul-of-a-siberian-tiger-58877).
  2. The Trump-Putin Bromance is Definitely Over. Speaking in Beijing, Vladimir Putin said that the US president isn’t his “bride” and that he isn’t Trump’s “groom” (profile.ru/economics/item/119365-briks).  The Russian president also opined that the US secretary of state whom he had counted a friend had unfortunately fallen in with “bad company” (regnum.ru/news/polit/2318585.html). Meanwhile, the Russian foreign ministry helpfully suggested that Trump may not serve his fullterm (themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-foreign-ministry-spokeswoman-says-trump-might-not-sit-out-full-term-58848), and Putin himself said he was ready to reduce the number of US diplomats in Russia by another 155 (meduza.io/news/2017/09/05/putin-rasskazal-o-vozmozhnosti-sokrascheniya-dipmissii-ssha-esche-na-155-chelovek).  Looking at the situation between the two leaders, one commentator suggested that clearly Trump isn’t Reagan and equally clearly that Putin isn’t Andropov (gordonua.com/blogs/berezovets/putin-yavno-zaigralsya-tramp-poka-eshche-ne-reygan-no-putin-uzhe-tochno-ne-brezhnev-ili-andropov-205948.html).
  3. But One Russian Nationalist Still Backs Trump. A Russian nationalist now standing trial for extremism continues to back Donald Trump and announced that he has sent the American president a contribution to be used to fight LGBT people and Democrats.  His contribution, however, is not especially large: 14.88 rubles or just about 25 US cents (fontanka.ru/2017/09/07/064/).
  4. Is Putin’s Power Vertical Shaking?Increasingly, Russian commentators are not only looking beyond Putin but suggesting that his system is coming apart. One insists that no power vertical exists (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2049382-echo/), and others say Putin has failed to institutionalize his rule in any serious way (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A7F2584D242 and snob.ru/selected/entry/128483). Putin has reached back to the Soviet period for one new institution: he has created a university for United Russia cadres (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AD6367D2646).
  5. Moscow Mayor Promotes His Own Cult of Personality.  Many news outlets had fun this week with the surfacing of a directive requiring all Moscow news outlets to mention the name of the Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin at least three times in any story about the city (meduza.io/news/2017/09/06/tri-moskvy-tri-sobyanina-zhurnalist-aleksey-kovalev-raskryl-glavnoe-pravilo-napisaniya-zametok-pro-mera-v-rayonnyh-gazetah).
  6. Nearly Half of Russians Don’t Think Courts Dispense Justice. According to a new poll, 45 percent of Russians say that the courts in their country don’t dispense justice but rather reflect the will of the powers that be. Many say they would like to see judges elected to make them more responsible (https://newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-gorode-na-neve-proidet-miting-s-trebovaniem-vybornosti-sudei/5986243).  There is a widespread sense that the law is not written for those with money and power but only for those without those things (newsland.com/community/4788/content/zakon-ne-dlia-nikh-edinaia-rossiia-agitiruet-priamo-v-moskovskikh-shkolakh/5986198). And this week, various observers suggested that one aspect of this situation is that senior officials and business types now prefer to get their bribes in suitcases to keep things quiet ( ura.news/news/1052303297).
  7. Mixed Signals on Promoting Participation in Elections. Much of the discussion of the upcoming presidential election in Russia is about how the Kremlin can produce high turnout, given that there is no question who will win. But this week officials sent very mixed signals about how much participation they want in other races if not in that one.  Some regions are using raggle and rap concerts to get young people to the polls (themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-regions-lure-young-voters-with-raffles-and-rap-concerts-58887), businesses are handing out instrucitons to workers about showing up and how to vote, including at the Uralvagonzavod which was held up as a center of Putin support in 2012 (politsovet.ru/56475-rabochim-uvz-razdali-instrukcii-po-golosovaniyu-za-edinorossov.html), Moscow officials were divided in how much participation they wanted, reducing coverage in advance and even signally that low participation would ensure that the incumbents would all win easily (meduza.io/news/2017/09/07/vedomosti-meriya-moskvy-reshila-ne-osveschat-munitsipalnye-vybory-chtoby-provesti-svoih-kandidatovandthequestion.ru/questions/310025/pochemu-v-moskve-ne-reklamiruyut-municipalnye-vybory-10-sentyabrya), and the central election body called for eliminating all “dead souls” on voter lists, something it probably wouldn’t do if all it was concerned about was boosting participation (versia.ru/pamfilova-poruchila-komissiyam-ubrat-mertvye-dushi-iz-spiskov-izbiratelej).
  8. ‘Two Nations’ Emerge in Russia – Rublovka and Glubinka.In Russia today, the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, prompting one commentator to suggest that there are now “two nations” in Russia, Rublovka and Glubinka, an idea that goes back to Friedrich Engels who took it from the title of a Benjamin Disraeli novel (publizist.ru/blogs/107559/20174/-). Among the reports this week that give substance to this argument are the following: 60 percent of the Russian poor are now working families with children (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AFD24D7FB0A), there are now 69 personal bankruptcies a day in Russia (obkorr.ru/news/59AFEF95A6348.html), the educational system is now divided between the rich and poor as is medical care (takiedela.ru/2017/09/takaya-rossiya-obrazovanie/), ordinary Russians say that inflation is 3.5 times higher than the government admits (newsland.com/community/4109/content/rossiiane-otsenili-infliatsiiu-v-35-raza-vyshe-chem-rosstat/5985571).  Increasingly indebted ordinary Russians are now forced to pay every third ruble of their incomes to serve debt (babr24.com/msk/?IDE=164791), factories are closing in almost every sector (newsland.com/community/4765/content/vsia-sut-putinskogo-kapitalizma-rossii-v-odnoi-fotografii/5982083), and the finance ministry says it can’t find the money needed to pay for programs in healthcare or other public services (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B22D4FDC2C2 and kommersant.ru/doc/3404204). At the same time, Putin has been taking steps to protect his friends from sanctions, forcing ordinary Russians to pay the bill (newsland.com/community/129/content/putin-perelozhil-finansovye-poteri-svoikh-druzei-oligarkhov-ot-sanktsii-na-prostykh-grazhdan/5982124). The finance ministry has suggested, however, that officials curb some of their expensive tastes (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/09/07/135071-minfin-predlozhil-menshe-tratit-na-lyuksy-dlya-chinovnikov). Two other pieces of economic news are suggestive: Russian agriculture which Moscow has been boosted as a driver is now a brake on the country’s economic development, experts say (ng.ru/economics/2017-09-06/1_7067_farmer.html), and one Russian region has acknowledged that there isn’t enough money in the educational budget to offer classes in financial literacy (ura.news/news/1052303549).
  9. Ever More Social Problems Surface and Intensify.  Russian society faces ever more problems, many of which the regime has brought on itself and some of which may lead to explosions at least down the pike. The regime has imposed new rules that will allow it to seize land and dachas from those who haven’t paid their bills, something that will alarm many (realty.mail.ru/news/39978/nekotoryh_rossijan_mogut_lishit_uchastkov_i_sadovyh_domikov/). Teachers are increasingly complaining about being overworked and underpaid as Putin’s “optimization” program hits them (mk.ru/social/2017/09/04/prepodavateli-vozmushheny-svoimi-zarplatami-i-nagruzkami.html). Human trafficking is on the increase in Moscow and other Russian cities (kp.ru/daily/26726.5/3752653/). The Federation Council wants to adopt legislation that would allow the authorities to expel anyone whose actions they deemed “undesirable” regardless of other laws (nazaccent.ru/content/25239-v-sovfede-predlozhili-vydvoryat-migrantov-za.html). No Russian university ranked in the top 100 in the world this year (rbc.ru/society/05/09/2017/59ae2dfe9a794753f05e3e06?from=main). Russian scholars were cut off from access to the largest data base of scientific papers (newsland.com/community/2409/content/rossiiskie-uchenye-lishilis-dostupa-k-krupneishei-baze-nauchnykh-publikatsii/5983455). And a new study finds that prostitution like almost everything else in Russian life is highly centralized with those engaged in it able to get the higher prices if they are located near the center of Moscow or at least close to a metro station (iq.hse.ru/news/209000077.html). There was one piece of good news: the Aeroflot stewardesses won their cases against the national carrier which had dismissed them because they were older than the company wanted (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B027730041E).
  10. Putin’s Optimization Costing Russians Access to Health Care and in Some Cases Their Lives. Putin’s cutbacks in health care delivery systems have effectively killed primary care in many places, leaving them without medical assistance when doctors could cure them, and meaning that ever fewer Russians have access to healthcare at all (regnum.ru/news/cultura/2317224.htmlregnum.ru/news/economy/2318197.htmland newsland.com/community/5392/content/rossiiane-stali-rezhe-poseshchat-polikliniki/5985820). Because Putin was visiting the Far East, stories about that region were numerous and reported some true horrors: alcoholism among the population there is twice as high as for the country as a whole and 70 percent of male deaths in that region are related to overconsumption of alcohol (newsland.com/community/7411/content/glava-minzdrava-rasskazala-ob-urovne-alkogolizatsii-dalnego-vostoka-vdvoe-prevyshaiushchem-srednii/5985862 and newsland.com/community/5652/content/minzdrav-na-dalnem-vostoke-ot-pianstva-umiraiut-70-muzhchin/5985076).
  11. Russians Say They’d Rather Encounter a Chechen than a Ukrainian on a Dark Night.  Ekho Moskvy asked the visitors to its portal whom they would least like to meet on a dark street, a Chechen or a Ukrainian.  Those who answered said they’d be more afraid of a Ukrainian(dsnews.ua/society/rossiyane-bolshe-boyatsya-vstretit-nochyu-ukraintsev-chem-07092017084500).  Other news from the nationalities front: the North Caucasus is at the bottom of foreign language instruction (kavkazr.com/a/inostranniy-severniy-kavkaz/28694969.html).  That region is also ceasing to be a reliably KPRF “belt” (capost.media/news/politicheskiyblog/severnyy-kavkaz-lishaetsya-krasnogo-poyasa-/). Ninety percent of the ethnic Russians who were in the Russian Far East in 1989 have left since that time, eliminating hopes to restore a Ukrainian Green Wedge there (afterempire.info/2017/09/08/zeleni-klin/). The newly installed head of Buryatia says he has Tatar, Jewish, and Circassian ancestors as well as Buryat ones (nazaccent.ru/content/25286-cydenov-esli-tatarina-poteret-vylezet-buryat.html). The situation for ethnic groups in Karelia is so dire that some of them have now appealed to Putin (finugor.ru/news/grigorev-situaciya-v-respublike-kareliya-blizka-k-nacionalnoy-katastrofe).  Leaders of the All-Tatar Social Center (VTOTs) have appealed to Kazan to defend it against being closed down by Moscow (idelreal.org/a/28718013.html).
  12. Declared Followers of Little Faith an Increasing Political Problem. People who say they identify with one or another religion but are not really believers in any serious way are an increasing problem because they are the most easily mobilized by radicals for political goals in Russia and other post-Soviet states (ng.ru/ng_religii/2017-08-16/12_426_world.html).  Moscow officials are now promoting the restoration of property not only to the Russian Orthodox Church but to the Roman Catholics as well (sobkorr.ru/news/59AFB3A436160.html) prompting Old Believers to step up their campaign for similar treatment (ruvera.ru/articles/borba_za_imushestvo). Natalya Poklonskaya’s Mathilda campaign based on radical Orthodoxy has been criticized as a threat to Putin’s regime (ru.krymr.com/a/28721573.html), the compilation of a list of the 100 most well-known ethnic Russian Muslims has been condemned as a witch hung (neofitam.net/?p=308). And the Muslims of the Middle Volga have finally opened the Bulgar Islamic Academy which they suggest will be the leading center of Islamic thought in Russia (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68067).
  13. Chinese Billionaire Says Russian Far East Should Be Renamed ‘Pacific Region.’A Chinese billionaire has suggested that calling the easternmost part of Russia the Russian Far East is out of date because it suggests that Russia is centered in Europe not Asia and that Moscow should move promptly to rename it “the Pacific Region.” However much logic he has on his side, this suggestion will simultaneously terrify and outrage many Russians (lenta.ru/news/2017/09/07/dv/). Most analysts suggested that Putin’s visit to the region will do little or nothing to solve its underlying problems (nazaccent.ru/content/25276-putin-predlozhil-davat-dalnevostochnyj-gektar-sootechestvennikam.htmlpolit.ru/article/2017/09/08/fareast/ and svpressa.ru/economy/article/180990/). Meanwhile, it was announced that almost a third of all the housing in Russia could be fixed up for what the center is spending on renovations in Moscow alone (newsland.com/community/4788/content/ioshkin-krot-podschital-kak-moskva-zhiruet-za-schet-rossiian/5985427). Other regionalist news this week: a Kuban activist was punished for promoting separatism in a Russian region (afterempire.info/2017/09/07/polyudova/), and Perm and Krasnodar tried to keep and gain respectively the status of “millionaire” cities, a term introduced in Soviet times that still affects budgetary allocations and not just bragging rights (regnum.ru/news/economy/2318686.html and ura.news/articles/1036272100).
  14. Russia has Its Very Own Columbine Incident. A shooting incident at a school near Moscow has been called Russia’s Columbine, a reference to the murderous rampage in an American school in Colorado several years ago (spektr.press/eho-kolumbiny-podrostok-ustroil-strelbu-v-podmoskovnoj-shkole-vsya-istoriya-korotko/).  Such violence, and other outbreaks across the country, has put Russians on edge and made them less confident of their personal security (ura.news/news/1052303495andregnum.ru/news/accidents/2317257.html). It has led to the publication of special guides on how those in such circumstances should behave (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/09/06/73729-kak-vesti-sebya-uchenikam-studentam-i-prepodavatelyam-vo-vremya-teraktov-i-napadeniy-v-uchebnyh-zavedeniyah) and to warnings that fear of attacks can become a source of instability on its own (ng.ru/editorial/2017-09-06/2_7067_red.html).
  15. 49 Percent of Russians Want an End to Syrian Campaign.  According to a new poll, 49 percent of Russians want Russia to end its military operation in Syria; only 30 percent favor continuing the Kremlin’s approach(graniru.org/Politics/Russia/m.263792.html). This shift in public attitudes away from Putin reflects both the difficulties Russians are experiencing in their own lives, difficulties the regime says it can’t address because of the costs of security operations and the rise in the number of casualties from the conflict (newsland.com/community/politic/content/obrechennaia-siriiskaia-avantiura-putina/5985900  and obkorr.ru/news/59AFE95A4BBD6.html). Even the defense ministry is feeling the pinch of budget shortages: Soviet-era tanks are being modernized rather than replaces (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B1936A5292B), and reformers are proposing cutting defense spending to modernize the economy (newsland.com/community/88/content/kudrin-predlozhil-putinu-sokratit-raskhody-na-silovikov-dlia-rosta-ekonomiki/5983856).  Putin’s foreign policy on the cheap is increasingly backfiring or at least being exposed. Russian Germans are ever more alienated, polls show (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/russkoyazychnye-v-germanii-vzbuntovalis-protiv-kremlevskoy-manipulyacii-205961.html), and the US has exposed Russian penetration and disordering of various public functions abroad (themoscowtimes.com/news/facebook-blocks-470-fake-accounts-linked-to-russian-troll-factory-58874rbc.ru/politics/06/09/2017/59afeafe9a7947426ee76310?from=newsfeed and newizv.ru/news/politics/07-09-2017/rossiyu-obvinili-v-rassylke-politicheskoy-reklamy-v-facebook-pered-vyborami-v-ssha).
  16. Kadyrov Demonstration in Grozny Far Smaller than Initially Claimed.Ramzan Kadyrov’s demonstration against Myanmar’s war against Muslims there attracted only about 100,000 people and not the million that many reported at the time  (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/309098/).  That helps to explain both Kadyrov’s own greater deference to Moscow afterwards (onkavkaz.com/novosti/3038-kadyrov-my-prodolzhim-stroit-buduschee-v-sostave-mnogonacionalnoi-i-mnogokonfessionalnoi-rossii.html) and Moscow’s decision not to allow another Muslim demonstration in front of the Myanmar embassy tehre (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B0429994774).  There were demonstrations on various issues across Russia this week, but the most interesting development was that some of them took up issues other than the ones that had originally animated the protesters, suggesting that there is greater willingness to make alliances against the regime (nazaccent.ru/content/25209-v-tatarstane-proshel-piket-za-zaklyuchenie.html and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/308954/).
  17. Education Ministry Wants to Exclude Foreign Words from School Curriculum. Russia’s educational minister says she wants all foreign words to be excluded from the curriculum of schools in her country, a demand that many critics are now questioning (philologist.livejournal.com/9578110.htmland newsland.com/community/6784/content/prozhivut-li-shkolnye-uchebniki-bez-inostrannykh-slov/5986302).  But her call reflects an increasingly repressive environment across the board: St. Petersburg now wants to find ways to fill up all squares where protests might otherwise occur (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2051432-echo/), Putin began this year of ecology by declaring an environmental group a foreign agent (thebarentsobserver.com/en/2017/09/putins-year-ecology-aetas-declared-foreign-agents), postal workers are being celebrated for identify extremist materials in the mails (sobkorr.ru/news/59AD1683D0869.html), a Petersburg dissident has been confined in a psychiatric hospital (ixtc.org/2017/09/v-peterburge-aktivista-otpravili-iz-politsii-v-psihiatricheskuyu-bolnitsu/), Kuban pupils have been forced to report each day about what is on First Channel news to ensure that they watch it rather than getting their information online (snob.ru/selected/entry/128715), the Kultura channel has stopped carrying Euronews (echo.msk.ru/news/2049282-echo.html), and the Russian government has imposed new restrictions on Russians who want to purchase planes or ships manufactured abroad (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B242383C106).
  18. Moscow Says It Can’t Afford to Bury Lenin.The Russian government has offered many excuses for not closing the mausoleum on Red Square and burying the founder of the Soviet state, but now, it has come up with a new one: Moscow can’t afford to bury Lenin because of budgetary shortfalls (regnum.ru/news/society/2319158.html). The conflict over the Mathilda film continues to heat up: one theater has been firebombed (ura.news/articles/1036272060), Poklonskaya charging that the film was paid for corruptly (znak.com/2017-09-05/poklonskaya_matilda_finansirovalas_po_somnitelnym_shemam_vozmozhna_korrupciya), some Russians suggesting that Moscow should keep Crimea but send Poklonskaya back (forum-msk.org/material/kompromat/13667941.html), and one governor now coming out in support of her and her call for a ban on the film (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/09/06/pervyj_russkij_gubernator_protiv_matildy/). Other clashes on the monument front: a monument to the founder of the Soviet cheka has gone up with others now in prospect (https://7×7-journal.ru/item/98242 and agonia-ru.com/archives/11132), a third of Russians saying they want memorials to Stalin (belsat.eu/ru/programs/bolee-treti-rossiyan-vyskazyvayutsya-za-neobhodimost-ustanovki-pamyatnika-stalinu/), a fight between supporters of the murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and Moscow city over whether there can be any memorial to him of even the smallest kind (vestnikcivitas.ru/news/4100 and newsland.com/community/4489/content/memorialnaia-doska-nemtsovu-ustanovlena-nezakonno-moskovskie-vlasti-eio-demontiruiut/5986391), a new conflict in Chelyabinsk over a monument to the anti-Bolshevik Czech Legion (regnum.ru/news/polit/2317076.html) and an older one in Yekaterinburg over the construction of a cathedral there has intensified (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AD0DCFD41C6 and ura.news/news/1052303435), a conflict over a new monument in Moscow to Kabards (nazaccent.ru/content/25258-v-moskve-otkryli-pamyatnuyu-dosku-na.html) and one over the savior of Baikal in the Far East (babr24.com/baik/?IDE=164701) and a new conflict in Moscow over memorials to churchmen and tsarist officials killed by Bolsheviks (newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-moskve-pochtili-pamiat-kaznennykh-bolshevikami-sviashchennikov-i-tsarskikh-chinovnikov/5984866). Indeed, there are now reports that entire cities are divided more over monuments than anything else (afterempire.info/2017/09/07/2vyatkas/).
  19. WADA Official Denies Moscow Reports It is Dropping Its Doping Charges Against Russians. The Kremlin put out stories this week that the World Anti-Doping Agency plans to drop its charges against Moscow and thus allow Russia out of the doghouse, but the author of the report that has so outraged the Russian authorities denies that is the case (regnum.ru/news/sport/2317237.html,  kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AE8F815008B). In response, some Russian writers have suggested that  WADA wants Russian blood and will do anything it has to in order to get it (newsland.com/community/7268/content/wada-snialo-obvineniia-protiv-rossii-no-po-prezhnemu-khochet-nashei-krovi/5982416and https://newsland.com/community/5652/content/eto-khuzhe-chem-my-mogli-podumat/5981850). Meanwhile, construction projects for the World Cup 2018 continued to be behind schedule and overbudget with Russians asking how the money might better be used for social needs (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AFD939B0028momenty.org/city/i176753/znak.com/2017-09-06/v_stavropole_40_byudzhetnyh_millionov_na_chm_2018_ushli_chastnomu_licu,  newsland.com/community/7268/content/piterskii-pozor-pered-chm-2018-russkoe-chudo-trebuet-eshche-400-mln-i-eto-ne-predel/5986157 and politsovet.ru/56486-vlasti-ekaterinburga-otkazalis-ot-rasstekleniya-balkonov-k-chempionatu-mira-po-futbolu.html). Meanwhile, Russian athletes were banned from the 2018 Paraolympics (snob.ru/selected/entry/128725) and from another competition as well (newsland.com/community/7245/content/zapret-sbornoi-rossii-po-tiazheloi-atletike-uchastvovat-v-chm-2017/5985032).
  20. Northern Sea Route now ‘Completely Ice Free.’The Northern Sea Route that Russia hopes will link Europe and Asia has become “completely ice free” in this summer season as a result of global warming; and traffic along it has jumped with nearly 100 ships now in transit (thebarentsobserver.com/en/2017/09/northern-sea-route-completely-ice-free-and-shipping-thrives).
  21. Medvedev Fires Russia’s Top Weatherman.  Because unexpected weather embarrassed the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev has fired Russia’s top weatherman, the latest case of shooting the messenger in Russia (spektr.press/news/2017/09/06/medvedev-uvolil-glavu-rosgidrometa/).
  22. Majority of Russians Say They Regret Collapse of USSR. The share of Russians who say they regret the disintegration of the Soviet Union has now passed 50 percent, a reflection of Vladimir Putin’s oft-repeated suggestion that that event was “the greatest geopolitical disaster” of the 20thcentury (newsland.com/community/129/content/bolshinstvo-grazhdan-rf-sozhaleiut-o-raspade-sssr/5984929).
  23. Ever More Russians Seeking Patents of Nobility from the House of Romanov.  When you have just about everything else, you can now apply to get a patent of nobility from the House of Romanov. That is what numerous wealthy and powerful Russians are now doing (newizv.ru/news/society/04-09-2017/status-bez-privilegiy-kogo-i-za-chto-prinimayut-vo-dvoryanstvo-30b48ce1-7463-47c8-b7fe-b3a59d891e5b). Such patents don’t give their bearers any particular rights; but in the minds of some, they do confer real status.
  24. ‘Where are the Cossacks with Their Whips?’ Russians Ask after Muslim Demo in Moscow.  Some Russians apparently would like to go back to one of the more ugly features of the Russian Imperial past. After Muslims demonstrated in front of the Myanmar Embassy, some Russians were heard to ask “where are the Cossacks with their nagaikas” when you need them? (newsland.com/community/6399/content/gde-kazaki-s-nagaikami-runet-vzbeshen-aktsiei-musulman-v-tsentre-moskvy/5981394).
  25. Russia Gets Another Road to Nowhere – This Time in Udmurtia.Russian road construction plans often lead to the building of roads that don’t actually connect anything but instead simply end in the middle of nowhere. Yet another one of these roads, this time in the Middle Volga republic of Udmurtia, has drawn attention and sparked criticism this week (fedpress.ru/article/1850373).
  26. Sakhalin Officials Give Blind Activist a TV.  Bad staff work or simple incompetence has led to a decision by officials in Sakhalin to award a television set to a blind activist there, an action that has sparked comment across the country (znak.com/2017-09-06/na_sahaline_chinovniki_podarili_slepomu_aktivistu_televizor).

And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:

  1. Kyiv Paper Describes Putin’s ‘Peacekeeping’ Initiative as ‘War-Keeping.’The Kyiv Post says that Putin’s proposal for “peacekeepers” in the Donbass should be described as “warkeeping” (kyivpost.com/opinion/warkeeping). The author of these lines has always felt that Moscow does believe in “piece-keeping,” a different spelling with a different meaning altogether. This week, Ukrainian officials identified “more than 75” Russian military units in the region, undercutting Kremlin claims that there aren’t any there (newsland.com/community/ukraine/content/na-donbasse-identifitsirovali-svyshe-75-voennykh-podrazdelenii-rf/5981069).
  2. Kyiv Police Launch Effort to Block Illegal Trade in Guns.  The Ukrainian government, facing the bleeding back into Kyiv-controlled territory of guns being used in the war with Russia, has begun a massive program to block such trafficking (gordonua.com/news/society/nacpoliciya-nachala-vseukrainskuyu-operaciyu-po-protivodeystviyu-nezakonnomu-oborotu-oruzhiya-206080.html).
  3. Kerch Bridge’s Problems and Price Keep Rising. The Kerch bridge between the Russian Federation and Russian-occupied Crimea faces new problems, including the collapse of part of it into the water (infoaccent.net/chast-kerchenskogo-mosta-ukhodit-pod-vodu-raboty-ostanovleny/?_utl_t=fb), a rising price tag that will mean if it is ever completed, it will have cost three times as much as the current longest bridge in the world (https://newsland.com/community/4765/content/tsena-kerchenskogo-mosta-v-tri-raza-prevysila-tsenu-samogo-dlinnogo-mosta-v-mire-smi/5983174).
  4. ‘You Have No Rights,’ Occupiers Tell Crimean Tatar Woman.Russian occupation forces have told a Crimean Tatar woman that she has no rights when it comes to dealing with them (khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1504536072).  That statement at least appears less hypocritical than many the occupiers make who continue to repress people on the Ukrainian peninsula.  The latest development: school children there are now forced to participate in five-minute glorification of Russia programs (qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/okkupanti-vvodyat-v-shkolah-pyatiminutki-proslavleniya-rossii/177933/).
  5. Belarus Authorities Drop References to Moscow as Third Rome in School Textbooks. The Belarusian government has issued new textbooks which have eliminated any reference to Kievan Rus as the point of origin of Russian statehood and to the notion of Moscow as the Third Rome (newsland.com/community/5206/content/iz-belorusskikh-uchebnikov-istorii-ubrali-kievskuiu-rus-i-moskvu-tretii-rim/5986574).  This week, the Belarusian media also played up the history of the ten years when Minsk was Mensk (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/9/6/262037/) and the 503rdanniversary of a Belarusian defeat of Muscovite forces (insk was mensk for about ten year (freeingria.org/2017/09/v-minske-otmetyat-503-letie-pobedy-nad-moskoviej/). But the Belarusian authorities refused despite requests to open the Soviet KGB archives there to investigators (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/9/4/261849/).
  6. Lukashenka Losing His Political Base. Belarusian demographers report that over the last 20 years, almost all the regions of the country except the city of Minsk have seen a decline in population (belsat.eu/ru/news/za-poslednie-20-let-prakticheski-vo-vseh-rajonah-belarusi-umenshilos-naselenie/).  That matters because those regions have been the most significant bastions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s support and the cities, and especially Minsk, have been where the opposition is strongest.
  7. Vilnius Calls for a ‘Military Shengen’ System. The Lithuanian government has proposed establishing a Shengen-like arrangement for military personnel in Europe so as to allow them to move quickly from one place to another to counter threats (rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/abroad/litva-predlagaet-es-sozdat-voennyj-shengen.d?id=49221309).
  8. Moldovan Army Says It Answers to the Government, Not the President. The Moldovan armed forces, pointing out that their country is a parliamentary republic, say that they take their orders from the government, which is pro-European, rather than from the president, who is pro-Moscow (ng.ru/cis/2017-09-08/6_7069_moldavia.html).
  9. Georgians Suspect Moscow May have Set Forest Fires in Their Country. Georgians fear that Moscow may have come up with another form of “hybrid” attack.  Many of them think that Moscow or its agents are responsible for setting ablaze parts of their country and forcing the government to focus on that rather than on anything else (ng.ru/cis/2017-09-06/5_7067_fire.html).
  10. Kazakhstan’s Muslim Leaders Ban ‘Salafite Sex.’Kazakhstan’s Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) says that none of the faithful should engage in what it calls “Salafite sex,” the kind of sexual activity that some Salafis call for that deprives women of satisfaction (newtimes.kz/proisshestviya/item/58076-smk-predlozhil-zapretit-salafitskij-seks-v-kazakhstane).
  11. Kazakhstan Cuts State Share in Economy and Passes Russia in Per Capita Consumption. While Russia is seeing the state sector of the economy grow at the expense of the private one, Kazakhstan is undergoing exactly the reverse process (newsland.com/community/6437/content/pochemu-v-rossii-dolia-gosudarstvennogo-biznesa-rastiot-a-v-kazakhstane-sokrashchaetsia/5985951).  That is one of the reasons, experts say, why Kazakhstan now outranks Russia in consumption per capita (https://newsland.com/community/4788/content/rf-teper-ne-samaia-blagopoluchnaia-strana-v-sng/5983862).
  12. Tajik Officials Banned from Disagreeing with Regime Policy in Public. A new code that has been imposed on government officials in Dushanbe bans any employee of the state from expressing dissent about government policies (fergananews.com/news/26840).
  13. CIS Leaders, Except Those of Russia and Kyrgyzstan, Use Western Aircraft Rather than Russian Ones. A survey finds that the leaders of CIS countries, except for the presidents of Russia and Kyrgyzstan, have chosen to use Boeings and Airbuses rather than Russian products, itself an indication of one of the ways these states have reoriented themselves since 1991 (new.ia-centr.ru/publications/na-chem-letayut-prezidenty-stran-sng/).

Posted by paul goble at 10:54 AM

Russians Voting For Regional Governors, Local Legislatures

People across Russia have been going to the polls to elect local and regional councils and governors in the last major vote before a presidential election in March. Opposition candidates in Mosco…

Moscow’s mayor fires local city officials after hidden camera footage shows plans to fix Sunday’s voting — Meduza

Svetlana Antonova, a top deputy official in Moscow’s Novo-Peredelkino District, had a bad day this Saturday. Before dawn on September 9, video footage appeared on YouTube showing Antonova meeting with representatives of voting precincts throughout her district, passing them envelopes stuffed with something, referring to the parcels as “compensation” and “advance payments.” In the video, Antonova also discusses how to keep a special record of turnout by “our supporters,” and asks the precinct monitors not to start counting ballots until they’ve received word from her office. Later in the day (just hours before Moscow’s municipal elections), Mayor Sergey Sobyanin fired Antonova along with her supervisor in the Novo-Peredelkino District, and replaced every voting precinct chairperson in the area. Meduza reviews the contents of this scandalous YouTube video and the reactions from Antonova and Moscow City Hall.

Kremlin Critic Latynina Leaves Russia After ‘Arson Attack’ On Her Car

Yulia Latynina, a prominent Russian journalist and a searing critic of Russia's ruling political elite, says she has left Russia after unknown assailants set fire to her car. In a Skype call t…

The Russian Military’s Greatest Enemy (And, It’s Not America)

For several years now, Moscow has been trumpeting its development of sophisticated next-generation weapon systems that finally put the superiority of Western


Belarus Reports


Belarus briefs NATO on Zapad 2017

Aide to Belarus’ Defense Minister Oleg Voinov gave a briefing on the Zapad 2017 army exercise at the NATO headquarters. MINSK, 8 September (BelTA) – Aide to Belarus’ Defense Minister Oleg Voinov gave a briefing on the Zapad 2017 army exercise at the NATO headquarters, BelTA learned from the the website of the Belarusian Defense Ministry. On 8 September Major-General Oleg Voinov, Head of the International Military Cooperation Department at Belarus’ Defense Ministry, Defense Minister’s Aide for International Military Cooperation, gave a briefing on the Zapad 2017 joint strategic exercise of the armed forces Belarus and Russia at a meeting of the NATO Committee of Deputy Permanent Representatives. The meeting was held at the NATO headquarters in Brussels Read full text at: http://eng.belta.by/politics/view/belarus-briefs-nato-on-zapad-2017-104728-2017/If you use BelTA’s materials, you must credit us with a hyperlink to eng.belta.by.

Concerns regarding the Zapad 2017 Russia-Belarus joint military drills – CONTRIBUTOR

The Zapad 2017 military drills jointly conducted by Russia and Belarus every four year are scheduled to take place in Belarus, the Kaliningrad enclave, and Russia’s western regions bordering the Baltics and Poland on Sept. 14-20. The Zapad 2017 military drills jointly conducted by Russia and Belarus every four year are scheduled to take place in Belarus, the Kaliningrad enclave, and Russia’s western regions bordering the Baltics and Poland on Sept. 14-20. These drills have amplified the security concerns not only of the Baltic states, Poland, and Ukraine, but also of NATO officials. The drills also raise questions as to whether they are only related to combat readiness training or a cover for Russia’s suspicious geopolitical ambitions. Either way, they demonstrate Russia’s increasing assertiveness vis-a-vis the West and point to the emerging counters of the geopolitical game, in the context of the wider background of a maturing New Cold War two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union. The magnitude of the drills is the primary cause of concern for the West and the states neighboring western Russia. Russia and Belarus have declared that 12,700 troops, 70 aircrafts, 680 armored vehicles, 200 artillery units and 10 war vessels will be involved. However, Western some experts claim that to escape international responsibility related to the presence of international observers to monitor the drills, Russia and Belarus have deliberately misinformed the international community about the magnitude of the drills. Some analysts estimate that the drills will involve 70,000-100,000 troops and many more vehicles than announced. The fact that the 2015 Trident Juncture, the largest NATO drills since the Cold War, involved 36,000 troops, demonstrates the comparable vast magnitude of Zapad 2017. Certainly, the highly strained relations between Russia and the West add to the worries arising from these latest drills. Russian and Belarussian officials insist that Zapad 2017 is a purely defensive exercise in the face of the increasing NATO presence on Russia’s western border. However, this declaration hardly convinces Russia’s western neighbors. One fear expressed by the Baltic states and Ukraine is that Zapad 2017 could be a cover for the initial step of a Russian invasion. Those who sustain this claim point to the Russian military intervention in Georgia in 2008 and the occupation of Crimea in 2014, which occurred just after Russian military drills in the North Caucasus and at the Russia-Ukraine border. It has also been argued that the 4,000 NATO troops already deployed in Eastern Europe would be an ineffective force to prevent such a scenario. On the other hand, Russia may seek to encourage the further deployment of NATO troops as a “provocation” in order to legitimize any probable aggressive acts. Another concern is that Russia might permanently station its forces in Belarus after the drills. In this way, Moscow would gain further leverage over its uneasy ally Belarus, which in recent years has sought to rehabilitate its relations with the West to counterbalance Russia. Such an occurrence would also mean another step toward Russia’s encirclement of Ukraine, given that Russian troops are already stationed to the country’s south (Crimea), east (Donbass), north (Belgorod in Russia on the Russia-Ukraine border), and southwest (Transnistria). In addition to these, Zapad 2017 is perceived as an attempt to intimidate NATO, which in recent years has accelerated its efforts to strengthen its presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. It is also believed that by conducting military drills in order to exacerbate security concerns, Russia aims to test both NATO’s capability and determination to protect Poland and the Baltic states. NATO’s failure to effectively ease the worries of these states may cause dissention between established and more recent members of NATO. This would grant Russia leverage to weaken Western hegemony over the long run. There are also those who perceive Zapad 2017 and the possible permanent deployment of Russian troops in Belarus as a preparation for a future war with NATO. In addition, worries have been expressed regarding the possibility of accidental confrontations between Russian-Belarusian and NATO forces during the military drills.

Protests in Minsk as Belarus prepares to host Russian drill Protests in Minsk as Belarus prepares to host Russian drill

NATO forces begin their own war games in Ukraine amid fears that an upcoming Russian military drill in Belarus could be a Trojan horse tactic to invade Baltic states.


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


PM: Ukraine counts on Moldova’s support of Donbas peacemaker initiative | KyivPost

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has said that Ukraine backs the consideration of the withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Transdniestria by the United Nations General Assembly and counts on support of the initiative to send the peacekeeper mission to Donbas by Moldova. The press service of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine reported on Friday that Groysman met Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip in Odesa. The prime ministers discussed cooperation between Ukraine and Moldova. “Kyiv is interested in political stability in Moldova. It supports the principles of territorial integrity of the neighbor state. It believes that it is appropriate to include the issue of the withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Transdniestria to the agenda of the UN General Assembly,” the press service said, citing the Ukrainian premier.

Ukraine counts on completing of state border demarcation with Moldova by 2018 | KyivPost

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman has said that Ukraine counts on completing the demarcation of the state border with Moldova until the end of 2017. Groysman in Odesa held a meeting with Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filipp, during which the parties discussed the strengthening of cooperation in the economy and the development of cross-border cooperation, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine reported. The premier of Ukraine said that Kyiv is expected to complete the procedure for demarcation of the Ukrainian-Moldovan border by the end of the year.

Ping Pong between the Government and the Presidency: Dodon suspends the decision on Moldovan soldiers to participate in military exercises in Ukraine

The President Igor Dodon suspended the Government’s decision on the participation of Moldovan soldiers in training exercises in Ukraine. The announcement was made on a social networking site. According to the head of state, the Government violated the provisions of the Law on National Defense, which stipulates that “the participation of some units of the National Army outside the territory of the country with military personnel, weapons and equipment at joint military exercises with military units of other states is approved by to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.” “In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, we decided to suspend the Government Decision on the participation of Moldovan soldiers in military exercises in Ukraine. For the first time as head of state, I decided to make use of my constitutional right, which stipulates that the President suspends government acts that run counter to the law until the final decision of the Constitutional Court is passed,” Dodon wrote on Facebook. At the same time, Igor Dodon specified: “The Republic of Moldova is a neutral state according to the Constitution, and Moldovan soldiers do not have to participate in military exercises conducted under the aegis of one or another military bloc. At the same time, we will not prevent the participation of Moldovan soldiers in pacific exercises under the aegis of the UN “. Recall that the Government approved on Wednesday, September 6, the decision regarding the participation of a contingent of Moldovan soldiers at the “Rapid Trident” training course in Ukraine. The subject was included on the agenda at the request of the prime minister, who was unsatisfied that Dodon forbids Moldovan soldiers to take part in the training exercises abroad, where they accumulate experience.

Constitutional Crisis Brews in Moldova as Government Tests President’s Authority – Sputnik International

Moldovan President Igor Dodon is demanding the resignation of Deputy Defense Minister Gheorghe Galbura for defying a presidential order to block the deployment of Moldovan troops to Ukraine to participate in NATO-led military drills. Speaking to Sputnik, regional expert Boris Rozhin warned that the country is on a path to a constitutional crisis.


Ukraine Reports


President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko intends to address the General Assembly and the UN Security Council, where he will discuss the issue of the implementation of UN peacekeeping mission –  112.international

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko intends to address the General Assembly and the UN Security Council, where he will discuss the issue of the implementation of UN peacekeeping mission. This was reported by Ukraine’s permanent representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko in an interview with Ukrinform. “Of what we can say now, we are planning to address the General Assembly and the Security Counci. For example, at the meeting in the Security Council the issue of peacekeeping will be discussed. We were lucky, it coincided that we have something to say on this issue. I’m talking about thr vision of the UN peacekeeping operation, our approaches, why we are categorically not satisfied with the Russian project – and not only we, “he said. According to Yelchenko, the idea of the Russian Federation regarding peacekeeping did not receive support in the Security Council. “For the time being, practically none of the members of the Security Council except Russia, actually, spoke in favor of their ideas. Some simply did not say anything, while the overwhelming majority said that they saw no point in working on exactly this format,” he added. In addition, Yelchenko announced a lot of bilateral meetings of Poroshenko in the UN, as well as the president’s participation in several additional thematic events.

Ukraine is preparing a number of claims against Russia, which it intends to voice next week at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly – Ukraine preparing number of initiatives against Russia at UN General Assembly – 112.international

Ukraine is preparing a number of claims against Russia, which it intends to voice next week at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. This was reported by Ukraine’s permanent representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko in an interview with Ukrinform. “There are a number of initiatives that I do not want to disclose now in advance for our former strategic partner, but they (the Russian side, – Ed.) should be sure that there will be many surprises on their way. I can only say that these are lot of questions. The General Assembly has six main committees that cover the spheres of economy, human rights, international law, information, and in each of them you can find many things that Moscow has either violated or simply does not fulfill. Of course, it’s all going to be about the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, “he said. He noted that after the “peace initiative” of Russia, the Ukrainian side intends to once again draw the attention of the General Assembly to the possibility of introducing a UN peacekeeping contingent to the territory of Donbas. According to him, Ukraine has not stopped focusing on this since March 2015, but after the statement of the Russian Federation this issue is more acute. Yelchenko clarified that all the claims will concern Russia’s aggression in the east of Ukraine, as well as the annexation of Crimea. In addition, the Permanent Representative added that on October 16, elections to the Security Council for Human Rights will be held in New York. He expressed hope that Ukraine will be elected to the new composition.

UAWire – Russians point weapons at Ukrainian ship as it inspects Ukraine’s marine economic zone

The marine protection ship Grigory Kuropyatnikov conducted a planned survey of Ukraine’s exclusive (marine) economic zone in the gas deposit region, during which it documented further violations by Russia, the Ukrainian State Border Services reported. The survey was done at all the active deposits in the northwest part of the Black Sea – Shtormove, Arkhangelsk, Golitsynsk and Odessa. “The goal of the interdepartmental group was to verify the received information concerning the initiation of activity in several sections of the Black Sea Shelf, the movement of Russian-annexed self-lifting floating drill rigs, the delivery of additional equipment which could give evidence of illegal activity being carried out by the Crimean occupation authorities, mining natural resources which belong to Ukraine,” the report states. The Ukrainian marine protection ship was able to survey about 20 facilities at four deposits. “Once again we documented the presence of armed people who took combat positions when the marine protection ship approached, and sometimes purely demonstratively, without hiding, they pointed weapons at the ship. When the drill platform crew was questioned over radio, the personnel admitted to belonging to Russia and claimed to be in neutral waters, not violating the law. However, they did not confirm that they were mining gas,” the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported. At the same time, specialists from Naftogaz Ukraine and Chornomornaftogaz gave evidence that at several MSPs (Marine Stationary Platforms) there is equipment which clearly confirms that work is being done to upgrade, reinstall or renovate the mechanisms and devices, which means that they have been used for mining operations. The process of hole-drilling has been documented at the Krym-1 self-lifting drilling rig (renamed “Ukraina”) at the Odessa gas condensate deposit. “Acting within the legislation of Ukraine and the norms of international law, the marine protection ship warned all facilities at all the deposits that legal violations by them were being recorded, and that it is unacceptable for them to continue the illegal activity in Ukraine’s exclusive (marine) economic zone. As a result of the survey of the deposits by the interdepartmental group, a statement has been drawn up on the identified legal violations, and it has been submitted to the military prosecutor general’s office for further reaction,” the department concluded.

ATO update: 41 enemy shellings, 1 KIA outside Krasnohorivka

In the past 24 hours, Russian proxies in Donbas opened fire on the positions of the Ukrainian army 41 times, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation&rsquo;s Headquarters. News 10 September from UNIAN.

One Ukrainian soldier killed, one wounded over 24 hours in Donbas – 112.international

The militants attacked Ukrainian Army positions 41 times, with Donetsk and Mariupol sector remaining the hot spots

There are about 6 thousand Russian servicemen in the occupied territories of the East of Ukraine – About 6 thousand Russian military and up to 40 thousand militants are in Donbas – 112.international

There are about 6 thousand Russian servicemen in the occupied territories of the East of Ukraine. There are about 6 thousand Russian servicemen in the occupied territories of the East of Ukraine. This was stated in an interview with Radio Liberty by the official representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Vladyslav Selezniov. “Up to 6,000 Russian servicemen are in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas and up to 40,000 Russian-terrorist militants, as well as local marginals who perform tasks in the first and second army corps, which are functionally subordinate to the armed forces of the Russian Federation. In fact, they serve as occupational troops on the territory of Ukraine, “Selezniov said. According to him, the Russian military personnel do not stop coming to the occupied territories of Donbas, including the leadership of the army. “There are such military leaders who, at the level of the company commander and above, carry out tasks just for a certain time,” the representative of the General Staff said. As reported, more than 30 criminal cases were opened in the Russian Federation against servicemen of the Armed Forces, participated in Donbas conflict.

More than 30 criminal cases have been started in the Russian Federation territory against the Ukrainian military, Donbas conflict participants – More than 30 criminal cases against Ukrainian servicemen initiated in Russia – 112.international

More than 30 criminal cases have been initiated in the Russian Federation territory against the Ukrainian military, Donbas conflict participants, said Vladyslav Selezniov, spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in an interview with Radio Liberty. “There are more than 30 of them (criminal cases, – Ed.) against officials of various levels, beginning with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General of the Army Viktor Muzhenko, and ending with commanders of units that carried out or are currently carrying out tasks in the areas of Donbas conflict. There are also a number of criminal cases that are initiated impersonally, that is, virtually any of the Ukrainian servicemen who performed tasks in the east of our country can get into the number of persons involved in these criminal cases, “he said. We recall that recently Russian special services detained Ukrainian Pavlo Gryb on August 25 – the day after he crossed the border of Belarus – and did not allow representatives of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry or lawyer to visit him. The Belarusian side only confirmed on August 31 the fact of crossing the border. Also on the territory of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh are illegally detained. The Supreme Court of Russia recognized the verdict of Klykh and Karpyuk sentenced to 22.5 and 20 years of imprisonment for allegedly participating in military operations on the side of Chechen rebels in the 1990s.

At the MSPO 2017 defense industry exhibition in Kielce, Poland, WB Group, in cooperation with the Ukrainian state concern Ukroboronprom, introduced the ZRN-01 “Stokrotka” missile system. –  112.international

At the MSPO 2017 defense industry exhibition in Kielce, Poland, WB Group, in cooperation with the Ukrainian state concern Ukroboronprom, introduced the ZRN-01 Stokrotka missile system. This is reported by defence24.pl. The presented missile system combines air missiles of caliber 80 mm with a ground launcher equipped with Topaz modern fire control system. The system can serve not only for the destruction of surface targets, but also for drones, helicopters and other low-speed air targets.

Kamikaze-drones: Ukraine bought a weapon in Poland

According to Polish web resource www.defence24.pl, on September 5, 2017, the Ukrainian Spetstechnoexport, a Ukrainian web site www.defence24.pl, at the MSPO-2017 Defense Industry Exhibition held in Kielce, signed a contract for the purchase of a Warmate unarmed ammunition bomber unit for Ukraine’s armed forces. They are manufactured by a Polish private company, WB Electronics SA. Parameters of the contract are not disclosed. It is worth recalling that in December 2016 at the Goncharivsk landfill near Chernigov Ukrainian military tested unmanned combat vehicles – both terrestrial and air. And then it was about the Warmate ammunition. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Alexander Turchinov then declared that it was such a weapon that was needed on the front line. Although, in essence, the drone drone from Warmate was presented in 2016 at the Milwaukee landfill. He saw even Poroshenko. There were announcements of plans for their production for the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the Chernihiv Radio Equipment Plant and projects of various applications, such as the Sokil Reconnaissance and Squadron Complex, which has elements of the shockless unmanned aviation complex WB Electronics Warmate on an armored vehicle. It’s up to the purchase right now. What is warmate Warmate is a machine made of composite materials with an electric motor. WB Electronics developed it in two versions and it was tested in the second quarter of 2015. The shell can be launched from portable launchers or from air carriers, including unmanned aerial vehicles. The operator is responsible for the control and guidance of the UAV for the purpose. The first option is a disposable ammunition with a mass, according to various data, from 0.7-1.3 to 4 kg with a daytime optical sensor. With a wing width of 1.4 m, it can carry a flight of up to 40 minutes at a range up to 10 km. The ammunition carries a warhead weighing up to 0.7 kg with a fragmented or cumulative combat unit. The second version of the ammunition is multiple for reconnaissance and limited enemy defeat. It features a dual-channel sensor, daytime IR optics and a laser-illuminating target. The mass in this variant is 200 m Small dimensions and the use of structural materials provide obscurity of the munitions by means of radar reconnaissance. How much does it cost The cost of Warmate – about $ 12 thousand What will the Armed Forces help? Warmate will enable the Armed Forces not only to conduct intelligence, but also to strike at hostile settlements, which will endanger the positions and life of the military personnel of the Armed Forces. However, it will be difficult to inflict great damage on the enemy by these drones, however, it is possible to arrange fires and explosions in ammunition depots, destroying them, by their means. Is there an alternative in Ukraine? Back in 2016, the model of the Ukrainian shock drum “Yatagan-2” was presented. The drone is able to strike a punch at a distance of up to 3 km. The principle of the impact drone in delivering the charge of explosives (1 kg) to the target and its destruction by direct attack. By its very nature it is a drone kamikaze. It is folded inside of the pipe with its wings, which unfold immediately as soon as the device flies. Together with a carrying bag and a launcher, it easily fits in the backpack. Also, a shock drill “Yatagan-2” can be launched from the hand or used as a shock on new armored personnel carriers and infantry combat vehicles. Time of active work – 12 minutes. This is, in fact, its main disadvantage.

Warmate expendable UAV in production for two customers

Polish company WB Electronics has revealed that its Warmate micro combat unmanned air vehicle has been purchased by two undisclosed export customers. Warmate is effectively a scaled-down expendable loitering munition, aimed at detecting and countering targets including light tanks and armoured vehicles, and is now in production for two customers. “Warmate was bought by two countries [that are] involved in military conflicts, and these orders are huge,” Wojciech Komorniczak, WB Electronics’ vice-president for development and new technologies, told a presentation for the Polish armed forces and media. “We have started serial production of them.” Later this year, tests of Warmate with live warheads are also planned for a series of potential customers in-country: “We now have more than a dozen questions, mainly from Middle East customers,” Komorniczak notes. He adds that the per-unit price of one UAV including the warhead is $12,000. It has an operational radius of 10km (5.4nm), an operational ceiling of 1,640ft above ground level and can carry out “hunt and kill” missions for 30min, with fully automatic flight control during the search phase and aided flight control in the engagement phase. Warmate takes off using a pneumatic launcher, and has wingspan of 1.4m (4ft 7in) and a length of 1.1m, while the maximum take-off weight is 5kg (11lb) and the maximum payload weight is 1.2kg. The warheads installed on board Warmate were designed and manufactured by the military armament institute in Poland in partnership with WB Electronics. Payloads are interchangeable, and different selections can modify the mission profile. The system can be operated as an autonomous system transported by the army or special forces, and can also be installed on board military vehicles and controlled through the vehicle’s electronics.

Warmate | WB Electronics

Micro Combat Unmanned Aircraft System WARMATE (Micro C-UAS WARMATE) is designed in order to support the following combat operations, depending on the payload in use: Surveillance, detection, recognition and identification of the objects of interest (EO/IR payload GS9), Detection and strike against the enemy personnel (EO-fragmentation charge warhead), Detection and strike against the enemy’s light armored vehicles (EO-linear cumulative charge warhead). The selection of the mission profile is being performed by choosing the proper payload/warhead just before the system operation. The payloads are interchangeable by sharing common interfaces. Micro C-UAS WARMATE can be operated as an autonomous and independent system, being transported by the army or special forces troops. The system has also the capability of being installed onboard the military vehicles, such us the terrain vehicle or armored personnel carrier. The subsystem as the Ground Control Station or Ground Data Terminal can be seamlessly integrated with the vehicle’s onboard installation making it a part of the system. Micro C-UAS WARMATE is an alternative solution related to ATM/APM being much cheaper and allowing for the wider radius operations (10 km) with the possibility to Hunt&Kill missions for the extended period of time (30 minutes in the air). The operator has the ability to make sure the observed object is a real target to be engaged. WARMATE is a micro representative of the loitering munition class weapon. The system can be easily extended with the laser seeker capability. The warheads installed onboard WARMATE air vehicle were designed and manufactured by Military Armament Institute (Poland) in partnership with WB Electronics S.A. The WARMATE air vehicle, in the combat mission is an one-time, expendable solution. On the other hand, equipped with the EO/IR payload can be recovered using deep-stall landing. Warheads used in Micro C-UAS WARMATE Cumulative warhead GK-1 – designed for destruction of light tanks and armored personnel carriers. It is part of the carrier (UAV), prepared for integration with UAV WARMATE GK-1 Specifications: – armor penetration: 100 – 120 mm RHA – security device type SAD (Save-Arm-Disarm) – full information about the current status of the warhead, – armaments and weapons can be changed remotely by the UAV operator High Explosive warhead GO-1 is designed for destruction unarmored individual targets: riflemen, machine-gun nests, punks resistance. It is part of the carrier (UAV), prepared for integration with UAV WARMATE GO-1 Specifications: – range of effective destruction – 10 m – explosive material – 300 g TNT – security device type SAD (Save-Arm-Disarm) – full information about the current status of the warhead, – armaments and weapons can be changed remotely by the UAV operator

The training center “Desna” upgraded the BMP-1, turning it into an artillery weapon. [BMP-1 Indirect Fire Regime] VIDEO

In the 169th training center “Desna” introduce new defense technologies, so the capabilities of combat vehicles are expanded to artillery. According to the military, with the current fighting in the Donbass, the classic BMP is absolutely ineffective. The infantry fighting vehicle was one of the first to enter the arsenal of the former USSR. She has more than half a century. It is intended for direct-fire shooting, which under current conditions simply means a waste of ammunition. The combat officers and volunteers of the “Come back alive” foundation modernized this combat vehicle. The project was called “Bronya”. Specialists have developed software and azimuth scale, which is attached to the gun turret. Now the projectile released, like a mine, flies by a canopy and more than for three kilometers hits the target of 10 square meters. The instructor of the program complex “Bronya” Viktor Krapivka notes: “This is shooting from a closed position, that is, I do not see the target. I quote in the direction and range. The machine must be delivered with great accuracy. ” The developed program can be adapted not only for BMP, but also for mortars, grenade cup discharges and tanks. All you need to specify is the type of weapon, projectile and target coordinates. Smart gadget takes into account even the error to the wind, the temperature and height of the position

2A28 Grom – Wikipedia

Above: BMP-1 2A28 Grom 73mm Low Pressure Gun Turret / Below PG-9 HEAT Round

Ukrainian military introduces new principles of combat – YouTube [BMP-1 Indirect Fire Regime]

24 Channel Published on Sep 5, 2017 SUBSCRIBE 100K In the training center “Desna” introduces new technologies of defense, therefore the possibilities of combat vehicles are expanded to artillery. Read on: http://24tv.ua/n860770

Петро Порошенко – Posts [VIDEO]

It was already a good habit to welcome Colonel of the Air Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Alexander Oksanchenko with successful performances at the international air show. Another achievement of the Ukrainian aza – a victory on the authoritative international aviation show CIAF – Czech International Air Fest – 2017. Every turn in Alexander’s performance is a real sight. We are proud!

Su-27 attacks. – Вартові неба України [VIDEO]

AFU Tanks – Exercises Video by cduATO [VIDEO]

Ukrainian immigrant Spartz picked to replace Kenley in Senate | 2017-09-06 | Indianapolis Business Journal | IBJ.com

Victoria Spartz, chief financial officer for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, has been chosen to replace retiring state Sen. Luke Kenley in his District 20 seat. Spartz won control of the seat on the sixth ballot during a Republican caucus Wednesday evening, beating Kenley’s handpicked successor, Noblesville Common Council President Megan Wiles, with 54 of 93 votes cast. Kenley, 72, announced July 5 that he will retire Sept. 30. Spartz, who was raised in the Ukraine before becoming an American citizen, is also a Noblesville resident, an adjunct faculty member at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis and has served as the vice chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party. “I’m so honored to be elected by you,” Spartz told the room of 93 precinct committee members. “For me, coming here 17 years ago, I never thought about it, but we are going to prove to everyone what the Republican Party is about.”

Ukraine native becomes US Senator – 112.international

Ukraine native Victoria Spartz became Senator-elect for Indiana. According to WTHR, as 72-year old Senator Luke Kenley retires from his post. Spartz won over six other candidates, including Dan Schmidt, who previously worked for former Gov. Mike Pence, and Megan Wiles, president of the Noblesville City Council and the candidate Kenley himself endorsed.

Jason Corcoran on Twitter: “Not one to miss a media circus, Yulia Tymoshenko intends to lead Mikhail Saakashvili personally across the border back into Ukraine https://t.co/7ak0Up2B0G”

Saakashvili Boards Train In Effort To Return To Ukraine

KRAKOVETS, Ukraine — Mikheil Saakashvili, the ex-president of Georgia and former governor of Ukraine&rsquo;s Odesa region, changed his strategy for returning to Ukraine on September 10 — boarding …

State Border Guard service to return Saakashvili to Poland, seize his Ukrainian passports – 112.international

Ex-president of Georgia, former Head of Odessa City Administration Mikheil Saakashvili is planning to return to Ukraine today, September 10. However, Deputy Head of State Border Guard service of Ukraine Vasyl Servatiuk said that the Ukrainian passports will be seized from the politician and he will be returned to Poland, as Channel 24 informs. “At the moment Mr. Saakashvili has a few Ukrainian passports – one internal (an ID), and two international. According to the decision of the governmental institutions, these passports are invalid, and the State Border Guard service is assigned to seize them. So we are to seize his passports, fill in the documents, and send him back to the territory of the country he comes from,” Servatiuk said. As it was reported earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the decree stripping Saakasvhili off the Ukrainian citizenship. Anton Herashchenko, the Counselor to Interior Minister of Ukraine said that the government learned certain previously unknown facts from Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office; as of the time when Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship, Ukrainian authorities were unaware of that information. Later on, the Prosecutor’s General Office in Ukraine said Saakashvili would need a visa to come to Ukraine.

Radioactive scrap metal diggers detained in central Ukraine – 112.international


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


U.S. denies Iran report of confrontation with U.S. vessel

An Iranian military vessel confronted an American warship in the Gulf and warned it to stay away from a damaged Iranian fishing boat, Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday, but the U.S. Navy denied any direct contact with Iranian forces.

‘Stop worrying so much about putting ‘humpty dumpty’ Syria back together again’ – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

A former Pentagon official says that leaders shouldn’t be wedded to old colonial borders.

Israeli jets break sound barrier in south Lebanon causing damage

Israeli jets flew low over the city of Saida in southern Lebanon on Sunday causing sonic booms that broke windows and shook buildings for the first time in years, security sources and residents said.

Turkey: Germans initially denied visit make it to NATO base – The Washington Post

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a delegation of German lawmakers has arrived at a NATO air base in central Turkey to visit German troops stationed there.

Will Pakistan and the U.S. Make a Deal? – War on the Rocks

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published by The Interpreter, which is published by the Lowy Institute for International Policy, an

Burmese Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi Has Turned Into an Apologist for Genocide Against Muslims

The longtime prisoner of conscience now leads Myanmar and defends her government’s abuses, including killings and gang rapes, against the country’s Rohingya minority.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


China’s Xi hates Kim Jong-un. But he hates instability more | Richard McGregor | World news | The Guardian

North Korea has long been skilled at creating leverage from weakness – Xi and Trump are not the first to be frustrated by the strategy

Instead of Launching a Missile, North Korea Throws a Party – The New York Times

Kim Jong-un honored his nuclear scientists for their recent test explosion as the world waited for an intercontinental missile test seen as inevitable.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un fetes nuclear scientists, holds celebration bash

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a massive celebration to congratulate his nuclear scientists and technicians who steered the country’s sixth and largest nuclear test a week ago, its official news agency said on Sunday.

North Korea threatens to make US ‘pay’ for Nikki Haley’s ‘tongue-lashing’

North Korea warned the U.S. against tightening sanctions over its nuclear program, saying the nation would “pay” for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s threats against Pyongyang. “The U.S. administration will have to pay a dear price for her tongue-lashing,” North Korea’s deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Hui Chol said. Choe said that Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test last week was significant for North Korea and the working project to create a “state nuclear force,” according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. The North Korean government official reportedly said North Korea was eyeing the U.S. for its attempts to increase U.N. sanctions on the state’s nuclear weapons testing. Haley slammed the U.N. on Monday for unsuccessfully restraining North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nukes and Make U.S. Pay for Nikki Haley’s ‘Hysterical Fit’

North Korea “will keep watching every move of the U.S,” after Nikki Haley’s “tongue-lashing.”

Chinese bank ban ‘threatens to tighten chokehold’ on trade with North Korea | South China Morning Post

Ban applies across the board but cash and barter system offer ways around the sanctions, analysts say

Trump will urge UN to impose North Korean naval blockade and oil embargo | World news | The Guardian

A US draft security council resolution calls for member states to use ‘all necessary measures’ to inspect country’s shipping

Japan Backs U.S. Proposal to Target North Korea’s Oil Supplies – Bloomberg

Japan backed a U.S. push for the United Nations Security Council to vote Monday on fresh sanctions against North Korea, saying that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program poses the most serious threat since World War II.

NATO Chief Say North Korean Threat Requires ‘Global Response’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says North Korea&rsquo;s nuclear and missile program is a &quot;global threat&quot; that the international community must respond to. Speaking to the BBC o…

North Korea illegally exported $270M in goods so far this year, UN says | Fox News

North Korea illegally exported coal, iron and other commodities worth at least $270 million to China and other countries including India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka in the six-month period ending in early August in violation of U.N. sanctions, U.N. experts say.

Report: British Suspect Iran Or Russia May Have Helped North Korea Nuclear Program

Britain's Telegraph newspaper is reporting that U.K. officials fear that Iran or Russia may have helped North Korea&rsquo;s &quot;sudden advancement&quot; in the development of nuclear weapons. …

Exclusive: North Korea ‘secretly helped by Iran to gain nuclear weapons’, British officials fear

North Korea&rsquo;s sudden advancement in developing nuclear weapons may be due to secret support from Iran, British officials fear.

North Korea nuclear weapon progress ‘down to secret support from Iran’ UK officials fear | World | News | Express.co.uk

BRITISH officials fear that North Korea’s progress in developing nuclear weapons may be down to secret support from Iran, it has been reported.

Moscow analyst: Russia has made North Korea’s rocket program possible

In two articles published online this week, Moscow analyst Aleksandr Nemets details the evidence many have assembled showing that Moscow is heavily involved in both the rocket program of North Korea and Pyongyang&rsquo;s &ldquo;aggressive plans&rdquo; to use it against other countries, Euromaidan Press reports. It is absolutely essential, Nemets says, that South Korea, Japan, and the United States understand that everything that is now brewing in the region is what Moscow or more precisely Putin wants and not some rogue action by Kim Jong Un as many imagine, according to Euromaidan Press. In the first of these articles, Nemets traces the history of Russian deliveries of missiles to North Korea in recent decades and the ways in which, apparently with some Russian assistance, Pyongyang has modified them, and then offers three main conclusions: First of all, he says, “the development of the relatively primitive ballistic rocket Hwasong-10, one that corresponds to the level of Soviet rockets of the 1960s, from the beginning in 1992 until the series of tests in 2016, lasted 24 years.” What the North Koreans came up with was “a copy of the Soviet R-27 rocket.”

Britain under threat from North Korean nuclear missiles says Defence Secretary 

London is at risk from North Korea&rsquo;s nuclear missile programme, the Defence Secretary has warned.

NATO’s Stoltenberg says North Korea’s ‘reckless behavior’ requires global response

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a massive celebration to congratulate his nuclear scientists and technicians who steered the country’s sixth and largest nuclear test a week ago, its official news agency said on Sunday.

France discusses increased pressure on North Korea with Trump, Abe

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a massive celebration to congratulate his nuclear scientists and technicians who steered the country’s sixth and largest nuclear test a week ago, its official news agency said on Sunday.

Merkel reiterates Iran deal should be model for solving North Korea crisis | Fox News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel once again has stressed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – negotiated with U.N. Security Council members and Germany – as a model for solving the North Korea crisis.

How North Koreans are escaping the clutches of Kim Jong Un | The Washington Post

How North Koreans are escaping the clutches of Kim Jong Un

Everyday Life In North Korea : NPR

NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Sokeel Park of the refugee assistance group Liberty in North Korea about everyday life for North Koreans.

North Korea is able to exact nuclear annihilation | IOL News

The North Koreans are devising their war strategies not in incremental moves typical of conventional war, but with the objective of total annihilation

Doug Bandow | Persuading China to Cooperate Against North Korea | The National Interest Blog

The United States will need to practice the art of diplomacy.

US, Japan conduct air exercise over East China Sea  | TheHill

Exercise comes as South Korea braces for another possible missile test by North Korea on Saturday.

Five years after nationalization of three Senkaku islets, Japan still wary of intrusions by Chinese vessels into area | The Japan Times

Tokyo remains wary of routine intrusions by Chinese government ships into waters around the Senkaku Islands five years after they were effectively nationalized.

Chinese fishing fleet only sails to Senkakus under order of Beijing:The Asahi Shimbun

XIANGSHAN, China–Having overfished waters near the Chinese coast, captains of fishing boats based i


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


Trump review leans toward proposing mini-nuke – POLITICO

It would be a major reversal from the Obama administration, which sought to limit reliance on nuclear arms.

Trump administration mulls ‘mini-nukes’ program | New York Post

The Trump administration may soon propose a new program of tactical nuclear weapons in the face of threats from North Korea and potential nuclear adversaries…

Politico: Trump Panel May Propose Developing Mini-Nuke

President Donald Trump created a high-level panel to review options for the creation of a low-yield nuclear weapon that would give military leaders more options against hostile nations such as Russia, North Korea and other countries that currently have nuclear capabilities.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Russian Propaganda Targeting Russians – To Inform is to Influence

A senior Russian official in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a link to an article in Russian. Most of the readers of his page are Russians, he posts a breakdown of his readership weekly. Mysteries of the American tragedy of September 11, 2001 (Загадки американской трагедии 11 сентября 2001 года) The article is in…

Russian Troll Or Just An Inept Domovoi? – To Inform is to Influence

The Facebook Ad scandal hit the news about 48 hours ago, which is just about the amount of time it takes for Russian trolls to gin up a party line, disseminate a guidance sheet, then have the trolls put out the word. Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul put out a Tweet, knowing full…

Glavset Is New Name For Russian Internet Research Agency, The Russian Troll Farm – To Inform is to Influence

The Russian troll farm at St. Peterburg, Russia, has a new name. Glavset. Facebook May Have More Russian Troll Farms To Worry About reminded me that the Internet Research Agency is now known as Glavset. I reported on them previously, in March 2017: Investigation of RBC: how a “media factory” grew out of the “troll factory, but I…

EW: Russian Electronic Warfare Technology is Reshaping Western Attitudes – To Inform is to Influence

September 08, 2017 London Paul Another reason for the upswing in online interest regarding Russia’s rumored ability to simply shut off many Western combat systems and proven capability to crash low flying Raven drones and scramble Ukrainian army radio signals: the Israeli Air Force testing Moscow’s willingness to respond to their strikes against targets in Syria,…

EW: It’s Official, the USAF’s Next Jamming Plane Will Be a Gulfstream BizJet – To Inform is to Influence

The US military is finding this type of aircraft increasingly attractive for various specialized missions. BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 After weathering Congressional backlash and industry protests, the U.S. Air Force has awarded a contract for new jamming aircraft based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet. The decision puts the service on a road to finally…


US Domestic Policy Reports


U.S., Russian diplomats try talks in Finland as tensions flare – CBS News

The envoys are expected to discuss broad strategic relations, as well as arms control

Facebook Wins, Democracy Loses – The New York Times

Healthy democracies have transparency in political advertising. That doesn’t matter to Facebook.

As Facebook disclosure shows, Russian influence campaigns seek to divide, cripple democracy

As the Facebook report reveals, there’s no consistent theme to today’s Russian propaganda. But don’t underestimate its impact.

Facebook says it’s ‘unable’ to reveal the ads linked to Russia – To Inform is to Influence

Facebook is saying it cannot reveal the ads placed by Russians during the campaign leading to the 2016 election.  Senator Warner called for Facebook to reveal the ads.  Here is the key sentence. “Some experts estimate the ads could have reached and influenced more than 30% of the US population”.  The biggest problem, if you read…

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One thought on “Russia / Strategy Media Update – 10 September 2017

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