Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update (319) – 28 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Gen Dunford on lethal aid for Ukraine, and well argued.

Gvosdev essay appears to make a virtue out of a necessity – all of Russia’s “clients” owe significant debt to Russia, and unless a friendly (to Russia) regime survives, the debt may not be paid off. Kozin comment on “‘the Amerikantsy’ are ‘the Nemtsy’ of Today” in many ways resembles the catchall evil enemy stereotype cultivated by the Tehran and Pyongyang regimes. Oreshkin on Russia’s demographic catastrophe. Multiple articles on the descent into the abyss, along the usual themes of ethnic and religious divisions, corruption and repression. More on the Krasnodar cannibals who have gone viral in Western tabloids and MSM – Russian sources claiming they used human flesh for human consumption in a cadet mess and elsewhere possibly.

Ioffe@Jamestown on changes in Belarus. Putinist Pres Dodon in Moldova appears to be trying to incite an insurrection, while the parliament aims to add EU membership as a national goal in the constitution.

In Ukraine, the media are saturated with reports on the Kalynivka weapons storage depot fire. Good news is the fire is almost dead if not dead, and damage may be limited to as little as 10% of warstock. Bad news is multiple contradictory reports from ostensibly well informed sources claiming a Russian RPV attack, or Russian sabotage, or negligence, investigators finding fire alarms disabled, and fire fighting equipment missing or broken. What is clear is that the AFU needs to expedite dispersal of warstocks, and better protect all sites, even if this is an accident / negligence rather than enemy action, it is the fourth depot fire since 2014 and something that should be avoided. Ukraine asks Canada to share satellite intel, and invites participation in new munition plant project. Donbass fires continue. Good documentary on the revival of the 204th TAB returned from Belbek, Crimea, now based at Mikolaiv. Good essay on decentralisation. More Russian misdeeds in Crimea.

Kurdish vote main story in M.E. AW&ST detail why the OIR air campaign has been rightfully labelled as “Desert Drizzle”.

Dominant DPRK story is the Warmbier tragedy. Most interesting report is Lewis et al @ armscontrolwonk.com arguing that the DPRK is manufacturing its own UDMH rocket fuel, identifying the Hungnam Chemical Plant as the likely site (Note to NYT – chemical plants that make synthetic fibres are not textile plants). Yet to be detailed is the DPRK capability to manufacture  dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) and it sibling oxidisers, AK20/AK27 (IRFNA + N2Oblends, a Soviet enhancement of a German WW2 Peenemunde oxidiser). Excellent history essay by Kaplan on the inability of the US to determine a viable retaliatory strategy in 1969 after the DPRK shot down an EC-131. DeThomas argues the new sanctions regime will produce the same reaction as the US oil embargo on Japan did in 1941. Russia deploys troops to DPRK border. Warmbier coroner report inconclusive. Atrocities against prisoners detailed. Some astounding/disturbing DPRK propaganda art used for posters.

Most interesting FP/IP reports deal with Germany, Turkey and Japan.

Three good essays on Russian IO, plus another proxy delivery sample.

US domestic Russia debate dominated by Russian exploitation of social media to aggravate extant social / racial / religious divisions in the US.


Russia / Russophone Reports


UAWire – US Department of Defense and Department of State officially recommend the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine

A decision on the provision of lethal weapons support to Ukraine is now at the White House. Joseph Dunford, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs ofMig-29…

Wicker Asks Gen. Dunford About Ukraine, and the Need for Bigger Navy – YouTube

SenatorWicker Published on Sep 26, 2017 Watch as U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., asks Gen. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the importance of providing aid to Ukraine. Wicker and Dunford also discussed the need to build a bigger Navy.

Nikolas K. Gvosdev | Why Venezuela Proves That Russia Is Still a World Power | The National Interest

Russia has acquired in Venezuela, as it has in Syria, a need to preserve the current regime in order to safeguard its investments.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: For Russians, ‘the Amerikantsy’ are ‘the Nemtsy’ of Today, Moscow Translator Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 27 – For centuries, Russians referred to almost all foreigners as “Nemtsy, because their ignorance of Russian rendered them mute,” translator Sergey Kozin says; and today, they often speak of “Amerikantsy” whenever they are talking about a foreigner they think embodies “threats and homosexuality.” In support of his argument, Kozin points to a scene in the 1997 movie Brat in which a Russian tells a Frenchman that “all your America is shit, and your American music is shit too,” an apparent confusion that reflects the fact that “Amerikantsy” now occupy the role of “Nemtsy” in the past (thequestion.ru/questions/38276/pochemu-mnogie-russkie-tak-ne-lyubyat-ssha). “This great honor fell to the Americans for understandable reasons,” he continues. “During all the same of the Cold War, America was considered our main potential enemy. The 1990s and ‘the reset’ did little to dispel this reflex which had been in place for decades;” and now that tensions have returned, Russians have returned to this custom. But there is “an important positive aspect” of this: for Russians, their enemy is almost always “faceless. It is much easier to hate all Amerikantsy (that is, foreigners) than any one in particular. And consequently, Russians are sympathetic to any individual American if he is a normal person.” “In the final analysis, Kozin says, Russians know that that Amerikanets “isn’t guilty that he was born not where he should have been. Simply things didn’t work out.” And that in turn opens the way for a new attitude toward them if the situation changes.

Another Worrying Sign For Russia’s Dire Demographics 

MOSCOW — Many advanced economies are wondering how breakthroughs in technology could leave whole swaths of the population unemployed, but in Russia the government is pondering how to fill jobs with a dramatically shrinking work force. Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin this week called Russia’s demographic situation “one of the most difficult in the world,” saying that in the next five to six years “we are going to lose approximately 800,000 working-age people from the demographic structure every year.” Speaking at Sberbank’s Corporate University on September 25, Oreshkin cast it as a knock-on effect of the 1990s, when birthrates plunged following the Soviet breakup that brought political freedom, but also economic hardship, rising crime, and a collapse of welfare. “The lowest birthrate in the country was reached in 1999, and these people are now 18 years old; they are entering the work force. This generation is very small,” Oreshkin said in comments reported by state news agency RIA Novosti. According to Oreshkin, the working-age population will contract by 4.8 million over the next six years.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Change of Monuments’ Shows Kremlin ‘Headed toward the Cemetery with Guns in Its Hands,’ Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 27 – The monuments a government puts up say more about what is going on inside the minds of its rulers than any speeches they may give or programs they may announce, according to Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin. And the Russian government of Vladimir Putin is no exception. When the Putin regime decided to put up a statue to Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the machinegun of the same name, the commentator says, he for the first time felt a certain admiration for those Soviet leaders who in the 1980s erected a statue of Yury Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/09/26/1648879.html). Those who put up the Gagarin statue based it on the proposition not that the spaceman was a Soviet officer whose achievement was the result of competition with the US, Shelin continues. Instead, they viewed him as “a world-historical hero as the first man who was sent into space. Everything in the monument tis only about this.” Its designers knew something” that those behind the new Kalashnikov monument don’t, and they were able to “distinguish good from evil,” while the current regime simply can’t do that. Even Stalin had enough sense not to make the war memorials he ordered up at the end of World War II about more war but rather about the pursuit of justice, as he understood it. That of course was a case, as one French existentialist put it, Shelin argues, of “hypocrisy being the last gift that vice pays virtue.” But Stalin paid it; the Putin regime does not seem capable of doing so. Its monument to Kalashnikov is not to the man but to the weapon he designed. And it is completely devoid of “artistic, professional and intellectual” dignity. Consequently, one can only agree with the Vedomosti writers who point out that “the style of the monument belongs to that of a new Russian cemetery where criminal bosses of the wild 1990s are interred” (vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2017/09/22/734902-kulturno-ognestrelnii-brend). But in another sense, Shelin suggests, these are only external signs. Much more significant is the essence of what the Putin regime has done: it has elevated to the statue of a national brand a gun intended for nothing else but killing. That is the message of this regime to humanity, and it is very different than the one those behind the Gagarin statue wanted to deliver. The current regime’s thinking is also reflected in its new Alley of the Rulers of Russia which includes busts of seven Soviet ones “from Lenin to Gorbachev.” Esthetically, they are unimpressive; but the messages this assemblage sends is both obvious and disturbing especially for Russia’s future. That conclusion does not arise from the presence of Stalin among these people: he has been “rehabilitated” for a long time already, Shelin says. Rather, it comes from a reflection about those who are not included: Zinovyev who was viewed as “the first person in 1924” and Malenkov who was in 1953 and part of 1954. Their absence reflects not so much the historical ignorance of Russia’s current rulers as their view of what a Russian ruler must be: In their minds, he “must be an autocrat” regardless of what his title is; and if he is unable to achieve that power, then he must be “written out of history” and forgotten. The message this sends to the Russian people is easy to decipher, the Rosbalt commentator says. “On Red Square, if one stands facing the Mausoleum, there ise a necropolis to the right. And in the necropolis – in so-called ‘granite ranks’ are monuments with busts of 12 leaders set up over their remains.” “The visual and ideological similarity of the new ranks with the old is simply striking,” Shelin suggests, “all the more so because four of the seven ‘rulers of Russia’ — Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko — are memorialized by extremely similar busts also on Red Square.” And what this means is this, Shelin says. Russia’s current rulers aren’t so much concerned with “’a single history’” as they are with a cemetery. Or “if you like,” their view of history is one “understood as a hierarchically organized cemetery” where everyone is buried in ranks not by the personal qualities but by how much power they had. Thus, the commentator concludes, “the presentation of the machinegun and the busts is not a cultural measure. It is the regime’s confession of its most secret feelings. What then do you want to know” or possibly expect to find out “from the current powers that be about the past, the present or the future?”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Now Looking to History Rather than to the Russian People, Stanovaya Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 27 – Vladimir Putin views the upcoming presidential elections as being not so much about legitimizing him as the leader of the Russian people but rather as a ruler “who wants to write him name down in history,” according to Tatyana Stanovaya; and that shift will affect both the campaign and his behavior after the vote. According to the Russian analyst, Putin is seeking to install “a new technocratic model of political administration,” one that will require less immediate participation on his part in current affairs and thus allow him to focus on bigger issues that he believes will define his place in Russian history (carnegie.ru/commentary/73217). Since the 1990s, Putin has viewed elections as an unnecessary distraction but one that he has felt compelled to focus on because they are the basis for his legitimation, Stanovaya say. But now he and those around him, confident of the outcome once again, want to shift the basis of legitimation from popular to historical. “In contrast to all preceding campaigns,” she suggests, Putin will “gradually disappear as an active actor.” Instead, he will delegate the task of his re-election to “the new Kremlin political technologists.” In sum, it will be they rather than Putin that orchestrates the campaign – and that will change both its nature and its meaning. According to Stanovaya, Putin in recent years “has become more mechanical in his approach to issues of political administration.” And so what he is doing now is simply taking that approach to a new level and infusing it with new meaning. “The new post-Crimea psychology has given him as it were the moral and historical right” to make this shift. Electoral legitimation has declined in importance as his geopolitical actions have increased. It is they and not the vote of the people that in Putin’s mind justify his rule. He and those around him are now considering their actions not in terms of the population but in terms of the history of Russia. This means, Stanovaya says, that “the role of elections” has declined in importance for Putin because “the people is ceasing to be the source of Putin’s legitimacy.” That is something people in the Presidential Administration clearly feel, and they want to keep problems from cropping up by minimizing the campaign. As a result, she continues, “Putin will begin to play a more passive role [inside Russia] but at the same time a more global role [beyond its borders].” Another shift in Kremlin thinking that arises from this is that the Kremlin now emphasizes legality over legitimacy. That has the effect of “lowering the importance of institutions in favor of the importance of procedures,” something that raises the importance of technocrats while reducing the importance of political figures and of politics as such. Indeed, it now appears, she says, that “the Kremlin technologists are convinced that legitimacy is the result of legality.” If the elections take place without scandals even if they are completely managed, that in and of itself will confer further legitimation on Putin, these people think, unlike their predecessors who worried about participation and percentages. One important aspect of the situation that is as yet unresolved is whether Putin will run as a candidate of United Russia or as an independent. The latter would require the collection of two million signatures on petitions, but that is not a problem. However, if Putin does run as an independent that will have serious consequences for the Russian political system. If Putin does run as an independent, that will increase “the new trend toward depoliticization and technocratization of the political sphere,” and it will diversify Putin’s bases of support, at a minimum depriving United Russia of its “exclusive” role, something that will affect how the country is governed after the vote. In sum, Stanovaya says, this election, like each of Putin’s earlier ones, will become “an important milepost in the development of the regime.” And this one seems set to change the Russian system even more than the earlier votes, reducing the political and increasing the personal as Putin looks beyond this term to history.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Names Merkushkin to New Post to Counter Foreign Influence among Russia’s Finno-Ugric Nations

Paul Goble Staunton, September 27 – Vladimir Putin has named Nikolay Merkushkin, the man he just replaced as Samara governor to be his special representative to the upcoming World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples, an assignment many will see as a consolation prize but that reflects growing concern about the Finno-Ugric peoples within the Russian Federation. The position Merkkushkin will now occupy, Komsomolskaya Pravda notes, is a new one: Putin has not had such a representative to these peoples before. And it suggests that the former Samara governor has been assigned the increasingly difficult task of keeping the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia in line (samara.mk.ru/articles/2017/09/25/nikolay-merkushkin-otpravlen-k-finougorskim-narodam-vrio-gubernatora-samarskoy-oblasti-dmitriy-azarov.html). The paper says that Merkushkin’s position is especially important now because foreign efforts to influence the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia are comparable only with attempts to influence the Muslim regions of the country.” “The Finno-Ugric republics of the Russian Federation,” it continues, include “Mordvinia (from which Merkushkin, a Mordvin, comes, Karelia, Komi, Udmurtia, and Mari El. In addition, the Khanty-Mansiisk, Nenets and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Districts are all part of Finno-Ugric world within Russia. The paper adds that “in these regions are concentrated major military-industry,” as well as large reserves of coal, oil, gas and timber. And they are the focus of the three Finno-Ugric countries – Estonia, Finland and Hungary – all of which argue that the Finno-Ugric peoples would be better off if they were more politically active and ultimately independent of Russia. These countries, the paper says, promote their influence “via the cultural and scientific elite of the republics and via religious missionaries, including the establishment of Lutheran parishes in the Orthodox Russian Finno-Ugric regions and via inviting students to study” abroad in these Finno-Ugric lands. What Putin wants, Komsomolskaya Pravda suggests, is to have Merkushkin reign in such efforts and do everything he can to ensure “the preservation and development of the culture and traditions of the peoples while at the same time parrying the efforts of political and religious influence from abroad.” Dmitry Soloninkov, a political scientist who specializes on the Finno-Ugric peoples, says that Merkushkin’s task is not an easy one. Indeed, he tells the Regnum news agency that the former Samara governor will have to use all his political skills to navigate “the swamp” that exists among the Finno-Ugrics (regnum.ru/news/2326438.html). He argues that Moscow brought this problem upon itself because according to him “linguists in Moscow and St. Petersburg” in the 1930s invented “the artificial languages” these people speak and thus not only created the basis for ethnic statehood but put “a delayed action mine” under the Russian Federation. (Soloninkov’s statement is without foundation. The Finno-Ugric peoples who now live within the borders of the Russian Federation have ancient languages and were living where they do now centuries before Russians appeared. Indeed, the name of the Russian capital is in the view of many experts a Finno-Ugric word.) Now, the three Finno-Ugric states are exploiting this unfortunate situation, one he describes as consisting of “a new fake culture” and Moscow through the person of Merkushkin is going to have to fight it far more intensively than it has up to now. Two recent developments suggest that the Russian government is already moving in that direction. On the one hand, it is putting Russian officials in what are nominally NGO bodies among the Finno-Ugrics, thus restoring the notorious Soviet system of GONGOS in this area (mariuver.com/2017/09/26/pochemu-goschinov/). And on the other, there are indications that Moscow is moving far more cautiously in dealing with language issues among the Finno-Ugrics, an indication that the central government may fear that any precipitant action would provoke the kind of reaction it certainly does not want to see (nazaccent.ru/content/25479-glava-afun-v-voprose-izucheniya-yazykov.html).

Finno-Ugric peoples – Wikipedia

The Finno-Ugric peoples are any of several peoples of Eurasia who speak languages of the Finno-Ugric group of the Uralic language family, such as the Khanty, Mansi, Hungarians, Maris, Mordvins, Sámi, Estonians, Karelians, Finns, Udmurts and Komis.[1] The four most numerous Finno-Ugric peoples are the Hungarians (13–14 million), Finns (6–7 million), Estonians (1.1 million) and Mordvins (744,000). The first three of these have their own independent states – Hungary, Finland, and Estonia. The traditional area of the indigenous Sami people is in Northern Fenno-Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula in Northwest Russia and is known as Sápmi. Some other Finno-Ugric peoples have autonomous republics in Russia: Karelians (Republic of Karelia), Komi (Komi Republic), Udmurts (Udmurt Republic), Mari (Mari El Republic), and Mordvins (Moksha and Erzya; Republic of Mordovia). Khanty and Mansi peoples live in Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug of Russia. Komi subgroup Komi-Permyaks used to live in Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug, but today this area is a territory with special status within Perm Krai.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Russian Language and Thus Russians Becoming ‘Foreign’ in Armenia, Aksyonov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 27 – The announcement by Armenian Education Minister Levon Mkrtchyan that from now on, the Russian language will be treated as a foreign language not only means that there is no chance it will ever be the second state language there as Moscow wants but also that Armenians now “view Russians foreigners,” a Moscow commentator says. That is the judgment of Sergey Aksyonov, a commentator for Svobodnaya pressa, and it suggests an even more radical and unexpected development is taking place in Armenia than the much-more-commented upon change in the status of the Russian language in Ukraine (svpressa.ru/society/article/182116/). Mkrtchayn stressed that “the only state language in Armenia is Armenian because we are an independent and sovereign state. This is axiomatic. And all other languages are foreign.” That doesn’t mean Russian won’t be studied in schools: At present, it is studied from the second class just as English is studied from the third. A major problem, the Armenian minister said, is that there are not enough qualified instructors in Russian in Armenia anymore. Consequently, even though the older generation is almost entirely bilingual in Armenian and Russian, the younger generation often is more likely to know English than Russian. In some ways, Moscow brought this problem on itself by insisting rather heavy-handedly on having Yerevan adopt Russian as a second state language. Armenians were offended and now have reacted. But their reaction, Russian experts say, does not mean that the Russian language and Russians more generally don’t have a future in Armenia, only that more work is needed. Yerevan’s readiness to declare Russian a foreign language, however, does suggest that Armenia like the other former Soviet republics is gradually moving away from Moscow’s orbit, something that Russian pressure on even its closest allies in the past may be accelerating even faster than its aggression against others.

‘Left To Die As Guinea Pigs’: Tatar Village Struggles On, 60 Years After Nuclear Catastrophe

An explosion at a Soviet nuclear plant 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow remains the world’s third-largest nuclear disaster, after Chernobyl and Fukushima. At the time, in 1957, it was the worst ever. Sixty years on, nearby Tatar villagers are still struggling for official recognition of their plight. (RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service)

Kyshtym disaster – Wikipedia

The Kyshtym disaster was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak, a plutonium production site in Russia for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant of the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES),[1] making it the third-most serious nuclear accident ever recorded, behind the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl disaster (both Level 7 on the INES). The event occurred in the town of Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, a closed city built around the Mayak plant, and spread hot particles over more than 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2), where at least 270,000 people lived, with 300 immediate deaths among the villagers nearby.[2] Since Ozyorsk/Mayak (named Chelyabinsk-40, then Chelyabinsk-65, until 1994) was not marked on maps, the disaster was named after Kyshtym, the nearest known town. In 1957 the cooling system in one of the tanks containing about 70–80 tons of liquid radioactive waste failed and was not repaired. The temperature in it started to rise, resulting in evaporation and a chemical explosion of the dried waste, consisting mainly of ammonium nitrate and acetates (see ammonium nitrate/fuel oil bomb). The explosion, on 29 September 1957, estimated to have a force of about 70–100 tons of TNT,[citation needed] threw the 160-ton concrete lid into the air.[7] There were no immediate casualties as a result of the explosion, but it released an estimated 20 MCi (800 PBq) of radioactivity. Most of this contamination settled out near the site of the accident and contributed to the pollution of the Techa River, but a plume containing 2 MCi (80 PBq) of radionuclides spread out over hundreds of kilometers.[8] Previously contaminated areas within the affected area include the Techa river, which had previously received 2.75 MCi (100 PBq) of deliberately dumped waste, and Lake Karachay, which had received 120 MCi (4,000 PBq).[6] In the next 10 to 11 hours, the radioactive cloud moved towards the north-east, reaching 300–350 km (190–220 mi) from the accident. The fallout of the cloud resulted in a long-term contamination of an area of more than 800 to 20,000 km2 (310 to 7,720 sq mi), depending on what contamination level is considered significant, primarily with caesium-137 and strontium-90.[6] This area is usually referred to as the East-Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT).[9]

Telegram CEO Durov Says Russia’s FSB Demands Messenger’s Encryption Keys

Russia’s main security agency has demanded encryption keys to the popular Telegram messaging app, according to the company’s founder, as authorities ratchet up pressure on what has grown int…

Navalny Says St. Petersburg Authorities Blocking Him From Meeting With Supporters

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny said St. Petersburg authorities have repeatedly refused his request for a place to meet with supporters in the city center on October 7. In a post on hi…

Russian Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Doping Whistle-Blower

A Moscow court on September 28 announced that it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov, who helped orchestrate the country’s state-sponsored Olympic dopin…

Human Rights Envoy Disturbed By Alleged Abuses Of Gay Men In Chechnya

The Council of Europe’s human rights chief, Nils Muiznieks, said he was very disturbed by reports of torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya. Speaking to RFE/RL senior correspondent Pete Baumgartner on September 26, Muiznieks criticized Moscow’s lack of cooperation amid reports of rights abuses in Chechnya and Russia-occupied Crimea. (RFE/RL)

Council Of Europe’s Rights Chief Decries Abuses, Says Russia ‘Only Country Not Cooperating’

The Council of Europe’s human rights chief told RFE/RL in an interview that Moscow is not cooperating with his office amid reports of rights violations in Chechnya and in Russia-occupied Crimea.

FSB Says Grave Of North Caucasus Insurgency Leader Umarov Found

Russia’s main security agency says the grave of Doku Umarov — the late leader of the Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus — has been found. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said o…

Former Russian Ambassador Kislyak Joins Parliament

Sergei Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States whose contacts with U.S. President Donald Trump’s team stirred controversy amid allegations of Moscow&rsquo;s meddling in las…

Putin Hails Russia’s Destruction Of Chemical Weapons, Chides U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was destroying its last chemical weapons on September 27 in what the head of the international chemical weapons watchdog called a &quot;majo…

Russia Destroys Chemical Weapons, and Faults U.S. for Not Doing So – The New York Times

Presiding over the weapons’ destruction, President Vladimir V. Putin suggested that Washington was playing a devious double game.

In Russia, Spotlight Falls on Oil Boss – WSJ

The corruption trial of a former Russian economy minister is casting a spotlight on a Kremlin power struggle and the clout of the country’s top oil boss.

UAWire – Russian national, owner of Spanish soccer team, detained in Spain over ties with Russian mafia

Russian businessman Alexander Grinberg, as well as nine persons connected with him were detained in the Spanish resort town of Marbella as well …

Family of cannibals who ate 30 people and fed human meat to cadets arrested – PravdaReport

The woman worked as a nurse at a military aviation school and presumably fed cadets with human meat stew. Recipes for canned human meat were found in their home

‘Russian cannibal couple made human meat pies’ | Daily Mail Online

The 42 year old and husband Dmitry Baksheev, 35, are detained amid urgent police investigations into her confession that the couple killed and ate 30 or more victims.

Krasnodar cannibals tried to organize supply of long pig in bistro

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Russia: ‘Cannibal Couple’ May Have Killed up to 30 People | Time.com

Police in southwestern Russia have arrested a couple accused of sedating, skinning alive and eating parts of as many as 30 people

‘Cannibal family’ admits eating at least 30 people over 18 years | Metro News

A suspected ‘cannibal family’ is reported to have admitted killing and eating at least 30 people over an 18-year period. Police have found body parts including meat and skin throughout…

Russian ‘cannibal couple’ confess to eating 30 people

Natalia Baksheev and her husband Dmitry Baksheev confessed to eating as many as 30 people.

Air Force Academy branch in Krasnodar

Air Force Academy branch in the city of Krasnodar. The history of the institution, date bases, Sub. Contacts. Photo.


Belarus Reports


Grigory Ioffe | Belarus Shows Three Important Signs of Change | Jamestown

Nothing is eternal under the moon. Indeed, Belarusian attitudes toward Russia, the country’s meaningful other, are visibly shifting. Similarly, international opinions of Belarus’s national leader are currently exhibiting signs of change. Even the Belarusian opposition is now undergoing a transformation of sorts. Russia’s commanding position in Belarusian electronic media weakened around 2010, when three main Russian TV channels broadcasting in Belarus were turned into hybrid Belarusian-Russian stations. Today, the newscasts aired on these channels are exclusively Belarusian, and there are several Minsk-based talk shows; but 65 percent of the overall content is still produced in Moscow. “Whether or not you dilute Moscow TV channels, the ‘Russian world’ is still there,” proclaims a recent article by the media expert Pavlyuk Bykovsky (Naviny.by, September 16). In response to this broader state of affairs, Yaroslav Romanchuk, a neoliberal economist and a 2010 presidential hopeful, warns Belarusian officialdom against practicing the approach “let us do it the way they do in Russia.” According to Romanchuk, this approach is more harmful for Belarus than even ten Zapad 2017–style war games in a row; he cites 12 reasons why this is the case, including that the leading Russian liberals of Boris Yeltsin’s vintage turned out to be “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Salidarnasts, September 18).

Belarus row over church bells ban story – BBC News

Reports of a church bell ban have angered Belarusian social media users.

Belarus accuses Ukraine of violation of airspace, awaiting official explanations

The Belarusian authorities claim that a Ukrainian DA42 four-seat airplane violated its airspace on September 25 and expect official explanations from Kyiv regarding this incident. News 28 September from UNIAN.

Belarussian citizen sentenced to two-year home confinement for fighting in Donbas

Belarusian national Aleksey Yershov, 29, who fought against Ukraine in Donbas, has been sentenced to two-year home confinement under a law forbidding participation in a militant formation in a foreign state’s territory, armed conflicts or hostilities without authorization from the government if there are no signs of&nbsp;mercenarism, according to the Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva newspaper. News 28 September from UNIAN.


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Moldova’s Pro-Russian President Warns Of ‘Revolution’

Moldova’s pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, has warned his country’s pro-Western government against impeaching him, saying it could trigger a revolution. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service on September 26 in Chisinau, Dodon said the country’s ruling coalition should hold a referendum if it wants to remove him. Dodon has been at odds with Moldova’s pro-Western government after winning the presidential election last November. Political leaders from the ruling coalition led by the Democratic Party have warned that parliament might try to suspend Dodon for trying to block Moldova’s military cooperation with NATO. (RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service)

Moldovan official says joining EU is key priority | The Seattle Times

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A top Moldovan official says its parliament plans to amend the constitution to explicitly state that joining the European Union is a key goal for the ex-Soviet republic. Moldova, located between Ukraine and Romania, has been divided between moving closer to the EU and returning to the Russian orbit. Parliament speaker Andrian Candu acknowledged that Moldovans lost confidence in pro-European politicians after some of them were accused of involvement in the looting of $1 billion from Moldovan banks in 2014. But he says trust is slowly being restored with a series of anti-corruption measures. The ruling Democratic Party says changing the constitution will clarify Moldova’s future regardless of election results and other developments.

Ukrainian ambassador: Moldovan president disrespects Ukraine’s sovereignty | KyivPost

CHISINAU – Ukrainian Ambassador to Moldova Ivan Hnatyshyn accused Moldovan President Igor Dodon of not respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “There can be no contacts with a president of Moldova who doesn’t respect my country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Hnatyshyn said at a roundtable conference with the theme “Moldova-Ukraine: Cooperation, Competition, Interdependence” in Chisinau on Sept.27. Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman will come to Chisinau on an official visit on Oct.6, he said.

Ukrainian Envoy to Moldova tells why President Dodon’s visit not expected in Kyiv

Igor Dodon&rsquo;s visit to Kyiv in the near future would be&nbsp;impossible,&nbsp;since the Moldovan president does not respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine and brands Donbas hostilities &ldquo;civil war&rdquo;, Ambassador of Ukraine in Chisinau Ivan Hnatyshyn said, according to Newsmaker.md. News 27 September from UNIAN.


Ukraine Reports


“We must learn to protect our strategic facilities from saboteur groups,” – Poroshenko at War Cabinet

28.09.17 10:10 – We must learn to protect our strategic facilities from saboteur groups, – Poroshenko at War Cabinet Press secretary of the head of state Sviatoslav Tseholko made public some fragments of yesterday’s War Cabinet meeting chaired by President Petro Poroshenko. View news.

Fire in Kalynivka depot localized, towns to be cleared of mines in upcoming days, – Head of State Emergency Service Chechotkin

28.09.17 11:45 – Fire in Kalynivka depot localized, towns to be cleared of mines in upcoming days, – Head of State Emergency Service Chechotkin Head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine Mykola Chechotkin said that the fire at the ammunition depot in Kalynivka, the Vinnytsia region, has been completely localized. View news.

Sabotage Cited As Ammunition Depot Explosions Rock Central Ukraine

A fire caused a series of explosions at an ammunition depot in central Ukraine, leading to evacuations of the surrounding area. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service and Current Time TV).

Ukraine says ammo depot explosions huge blow to combat capability

The destruction of two ammunition depots this year have dealt the biggest blow to Ukraine’s combat capability since the start of its separatist conflict, security and military officials said on Thursday.

Ukraine Security Chief Says Depot Blasts Dealt ‘Big Blow’ To Combat Capability

Explosions at two large Ukrainian military depots this year have caused losses of ammunition so high that they represent the biggest blow to Ukraine’s combat capability since the start of the&nbs…

Ukraine rules out foreign sabotage plot in munitions fire – NY Daily News

MOSCOW (AP) — Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor has ruled out a foreign sabotage plot in a massive fire at an ammunition depot that forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Ukrainian Leaders Blame ‘Sabotage’ For Huge Blast At Munitions Depot

Ukrainian leaders said &quot;sabotage&quot; was behind massive explosions at an ammunition depot in central Ukraine that prompted the evacuation of more than 30,000 people and the closure of airspac…

Ukraine says ammunitions blast was ‘sabotage’ as 30,000 evacuated – Independent.ie

More than 30,000 people have been evacuated after a blaze ripped through an ammunition depot in Ukraine in what Kiev authorities called an act of

Poroshenko says perpetrators of Kalynivka tragedy must be punished | KyivPost

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has called on the heads of law enforcement and security agencies to find and punish the perpetrators of the tragedy in Kalynivka, Vinnytsia region, the president’s press service reported. “We need to learn how to protect our strategic facilities from subversive groups. Are there other versions? Then we will hold those [found guilty] under other versions liable,” Porshenko said addressing heads of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Police. In addition, the head of state briefed the participants of the ‘military cabinet’ about the order issued earlier on Sept. 27 to step up the protection of strategic facilities by the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Chief military prosecutor says fire alarms didn’t work at Kalynivka arsenal, half of security equipment was missing | KyivPost

ODESA – Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoliy Matios has said fire alarms were out of order at the ammunition depots near Kalynivka, Vinnytsia region, and half of technical security means was missing. “Among the faults established by investigators were non-working fire alarms and only half of the required security technical means,” Matios said at a briefing in Odesa on Sept. 28. He also noted that there is a problem with military security guards, whose wages are extremely low so mostly elderly people work there.

Ukraine arms dump fire alarm ‘was not working’ – BBC News

After big explosions prompt 28,000 residents to evacuate, officials reveal a series of failings.

It’s a blow upon defense; it’s a responsibility of Chief of General Staff as well, – Turchynov on Kalynivka explosions

28.09.17 15:29 – It’s a blow upon defense; it’s a responsibility of Chief of General Staff as well, – Turchynov on Kalynivka explosions The responsibility for the fire at the ammunition depot in Kalynivka, the Vinnytsia region, is on the entire vertical of the defense leadership of the country starting from the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. View news.

Poltorak: Less than US$1 mln allocated for Kalynivka ammo depot in 2017

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak says that UAH 25 million, or US$944,465, has been allocated for the maintenance of the military arsenal near the village of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, according to the presidential press service. News 28 September from UNIAN.

Fire-fighting Armored Vehicle Deployed to Combat Ammo Depot Fire in Ukraine

An ammunition depot in Ukraine’s Vinnytsia region detonated late Tuesday causing huge explosions as Uragan, Smerch and Grad multiple rocket launchers were stockpiled there among other munitions. According to the Ukrainian police, the munitions detonated at nearly 10 p.m. local time (19:00 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday. Early on Wednesday, the Ukrainian aviation authority closed airspace in a radius of 31 miles from the burning buildings. Ukroboronprom has deployed a special fire-fighting armored vehicle, the GPM-72 to help put out the fire. The GPM-72 is equipped with a fire fighting reservoir with a capacity of 20 tons, a modern fire pump and a mount, allowing extinguishing at the distance of up to 100 meters, a Ukroboronprom release said. The vehicle has enhanced passability and crew protection from various types of ammunition and fire. 30-mm armor protects the rescuers, the cabin has a filter-ventilator unit and the system of pouring water over the cabin to reduce its temperature. Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said Wednesday that the situation around burning ammunition depot in Ukraine’s Vinnytsia region was under control, adding that Ukraine’s Emergencies Service, the National Police and the Defense Ministry were working at the scene, agencies reported.

Thousands Evacuated After Massive Explosion Rocks Ukrainian Ammunition Depot | Gizmodo Australia

A large fire at an ammunition depot in central Ukraine has triggered a series of massive explosions, prompting the evacuation of about 30,000 people….

Kalynivka: all details as of 10 pm – 112.international

All the details on Kalynivka as of 10:00 p.m., September 27, 2017: – The fire started at about 10:00 p.m. on September 26. Police of Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr and Khmelnitsk regions were on high alert. – The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that 10% of the arsenal area was on fire. – According to the open source data, 188,000 tons of ammunition is stored in the arsenal. The area of the arsenal is about 60 hectares. Vinnytsia regional administration states there are 83,000 tons. – As of 10:00 a.m. 28,5 thousand people are already evacuated from the area of the incident on the arsenal. 20 thousand of them are evacuating themselves, 180 people from the Central regional hospital are also evacuated. The Vinnytsia regional administration reports 26 thousand people evacuated. – The persons evacuated are accommodated in the Vinnytsya regional hospital and in the schools of the region center, Vinnytsia.

SBU to probe sabotage at Kalynivka ammo depot | UNIAN

A criminal case launched by the prosecutor’s office over sabotage at an ammunition warehouse in Vinnytsia region was forwarded to the Security Service of Ukraine, according to the press service of the military prosecutor’s office of Ukraine&rsquo;s central region. News 27 September from UNIAN.

Ukraine ammunition depot explodes | Reuters.com

Smoke and flames rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Explosions in Kalynivka are Muzhenko’s dismissal. Criminal cases against generals from General Staff to follow, – Yurii Bereza

27.09.17 17:08 – Explosions in Kalynivka are Muzhenko’s dismissal. Criminal cases against generals from General Staff to follow, – Yurii Bereza If the practice of blowing up ammunition depots does not stop, and responsible people not made accountable, Ukraine will lose the war with Russia. View news.

Canada’s Defense Minister Sajjan visited new Center for simulation modeling of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Lviv region. PHOTOS

28.09.17 14:02 – Canada’s Defense Minister Sajjan visited new Center for simulation modeling of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Lviv region. PHOTOS On Sept. 27, Minister of National Defense of Canada Harjit Sajjan visited the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in the Lviv region of Ukraine. View photo news.

UAWire – Ukrainian President asks Canada to share satellite intelligence about Russia

Petro Poroshenko has appealed to Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau with a request to grant Kyiv access to satellite reconnaissance data. …

UAWire – Canada may take part in construction of ammunition plant in Ukraine

Canada may join the construction of an ammunition plant in Ukraine, according to the Minister of Defense, Stepan Poltorak, as indicated in a …

West needs to get real on Ukraine

Western demands for Ukraine to implement utopian reforms at lightning speed, at the same time as defending itself against Russia’s war, serve only to weaken the Ukrainian government.

Russia’s hybrid forces violate Donbas truce 15 times on Sept 27

Russia’s hybrid military forces violated the ceasefire in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, 15 times in the past day, according to the press center of the Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 28 September from UNIAN.

No combat casualties in Ukrainian army yesterday, 15 attacks by Russian militants recorded, – ATO HQ

28.09.17 09:37 – No combat casualties in Ukrainian army yesterday, 15 attacks by Russian militants recorded, – ATO HQ On Sept. 27, the illegal armed gangs fighting in the Donbas against the government troops violated the cease-fire 15 times. No casualties in the Ukrainian army were reported. View news.

Teenage assistant to propagandist Graham Phillips commits suicide in occupied Luhansk

A 17-year-old freshman student Vira Shcherbak fell out of the window of her room on the fifth floor of the university dorm in the occupied city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine September 25, as reported by Information Resistance. News 27 September from UNIAN.

204th TacAirBde Documentary | Програма ТРС МОУ “Бриз” “НА ВАРТІ” від 23.09.2017 р. – YouTube

Documentary report on the 204th TAB returned from Belbek Crimea with damaged aircraft, now operational at Mikolaiv AB.

Below: MiG-29 FULCRUMs of the 204th TAB at Belbek in 2014, being returned to Ukraine after the Russians damaged them.

Ukraine education ministry comments on Russia’s hysterical statement over education law

Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Liliya Hrynevych says that the Russian Federation has &quot;absolutely strange reactions&quot; to the way Ukraine is developing,&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent reported from the official&rsquo;s briefing following her meeting with Romanian Minister of National Education Liviu Marian Pop. News 27 September from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Solution to Saving Democracy: Let the Towns Run Themselves | Fast Forward | OZY

A key part of the country’s reform movement is decentralization.

Ukraine and Israel are at the final stages of the negotiation on the creation of the Free Trade Area (FTA) – Ukraine, Israel are at final stages of negotiations on Free Trade Area – 112.international

Ukraine, Israel are at final stages of negotiations on Free Trade Area

Linguistic expert report not found the signs of separatism in statements by Yanukovych in his letter to Putin, – court – Linguistic expert report not found signs of separatism in statements by Yanukovych, – court – 112.international

Expert’s report hasn’t found the direct calls for aggressive war in the statements of ex-president either

Lviv Polytechnic University will not be named after leader of far-right organization Stepan Bandera – Lviv Polytechnic University will not be named after Stepan Bandera – 112.international

Against the backdrop of special attention to Bandera, unique achievements of world-renowned representatives of the scientific and technical elite of Lviv Polytechnic University are out of sight

Ukrainian consuls no longer allowed to see Pavlo Gryb, – MFA – Ukrainian consuls no longer allowed to see Pavlo Gryb, – MFA – 112.international

Also, attempts to obtain permission to examine a young man by Ukrainian doctors end in vain

Ukraine and Russia fight over Crimean heritage

SIMFEROPOL: The painting “Moonlit Night” by famed 19th century maritime artist Ivan Aivazovsky is a study in tranquillity: two boats sailing calmly across a placid sea. But now the masterpiece is caught up at the centre of a storm between Ukraine and Russia as the violent feud between the two neighbours has spilt over into a cultural tug of war.

Crimean Tatar Leader Given Two-Year Sentence For ‘Separatism’

Russian-appointed judges found Crimean Tatar Leader Ilmi Umerov guilty and sentenced him to two years in a penal colony for his opposition to Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Peninsula. (RFE/RL’s Crimea Realities)

Russia plans to build 50-km fence on Crimea’s “border” with mainland Ukraine

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation has announced an auction on building a two-meter high fence in the Krasnoperekopsky district of the Crimean peninsula bordering mainland Ukraine, TASS reports. News 27 September from UNIAN.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Russia says general killed in Syria held senior post in Assad’s army

A Russian general killed in Syria had been seconded to the Syrian government as a military commander, Russia’s military chief of staff said on Wednesday.

Iraq Escalates Dispute With Kurds, Threatening Military Action – The New York Times

Iraq threatened to send troops and seize oil fields and moved to shut down international flights in the Kurdish region after an independence referendum.

Iraq: Turkish PM ‘supports’ Baghdad’s measures against Kurdish

U.S. Air Force Rewriting Rules In Syrian Air War | Defense content from Aviation Week

The service asks airmen to take on more responsibility in an unconventional fight.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Dunford Wants More Ground-Based Interceptors | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S.’s top general has expressed support for the procurement of additional Boeing-built Ground-Based Interceptors in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile program and other threats.

North Korea’s ‘Intent’ Worries Northcom Chief | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force general in charge of Northern Command says she is concerned about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s intent to follow through with threats of attacking the homeland.

Remote Textile Plant May Secretly Fuel North Korea’s Weapons – The New York Times

A new assessment suggests that the UDMH fuel, which some had thought might be imported from Russia or China, is made within North Korea.

Ankit Panda | No, North Korea Isn’t Dependent on Russia and China For Its Rocket Fuel | The Diplomat

It’s long past time to stop underestimating North Korea’s indigenous technical capabilities.

Michael Duitsman, Jeffrey Lewis, Grace Liu, David Schmerler, and a bag of locusts | Domestic UDMH Production in the DPRK

We were surprised by the recent debate about whether North Korea can domestically produce UDMH.  Working with my colleagues at CNS, we have translated several North Korean scientific papers documenting North Korea’s domestic production of UDMH and identified at least one of the sites probably associated with UDMH production, the February 8 Vinalon Complex in Hungnam.

Fred Kaplan | What happened after North Korea shot down a U.S. plane in 1969.

After President Trump threatened last week to “totally destroy” North Korea, the country’s foreign minister responded by claiming that the president has “declared war” and that North Korea has the right to shoot down American bombers that venture near the country’s airspace. It sounds—and it is—alarming, but it’s worth noting we’ve been here before. On April 15, 1969, North Korean MiG fighter planes shot down an American EC-121 spy plane flying off the coast of the Korean Peninsula (but still over international waters), killing all 31 crew members. President Richard Nixon, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff spent the next 2½ months pondering what to do. In 2010, the National Security Archive, a private research outfit at George Washington University, published a trove of once top secret documents—which the group had obtained through the Freedom of Information Act—summarizing the discussions. They are worth a close read. It’s likely that Trump’s advisers have been holding similar discussions; it’s also likely that their conclusions aren’t very different from those reached nearly 50 years ago.

Joseph DeThomas | The New US Sanctions: Moving From Sanctions To Economic War | 38 North

President Trump’s new Executive Order on North Korea sanctions is a unilateral declaration of economic warfare designed to bring the North to its knees through the aggressive use of secondary sanctions against any country that trades with or finances trade with North Korea. Rather than bring North Korea closer to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, they are likely to hasten war and even the collapse of the regime if effectively enforced. It is unlikely, however, that this severe tightening of the sanctions screw will be successful.

America is making life difficult for China over North Korea

More sanctions will not, by themselves, curb Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions

South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea in mid-October

South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea next month, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean communist party and China’s all-important Communist Party Congress.

Facing North Korean threats, Seoul expects U.S. to send ‘strategic’ arms – The Washington Post

In the face of North Korean threats, South Korea wants a greater show of U.S. weaponry.

Are America and North Korea Destined for War?

By Daniel L. Davis and Harry J. Kazianis Harry Kazianis and Daniel Davis discuss the implications of America and North Korea’s war of words. Daniel L.

Donald Trump vs North Korea: Will it end in war? – YouTube

North Korea: Millions sign up to military to counter U.S.

State newspaper ‘Rodong Sinmun’ said millions wanted to counter the U.S.
Russian troops are dispatched to the border of North Korea | Daily Mail Online

Soldiers are patrolling the top of Zaozyornaya Hill at the Khasan crossing point on the Russian-North Korean border in the tri-border area where Russia, China and North Korea meet.

China May Take Over North Korea, Russia as Greatest Threat to U.S., Top General Warns

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said China’s rapid military reforms and economic growth threaten U.S. hegemony.

North Korea says Otto Warmbier not tortured as Donald Trump and American student’s family insist otherwise – CBS News

Day after U.S. coroner says real cause of fatal brain damage may never be known, Kim regime lashes out again

U.S. student held in North Korea died of oxygen starved brain: coroner

An American student who had been imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months died from lack of oxygen and blood to the brain, an Ohio coroner said on Wednesday.

Marc Thiessen: The Warmbiers are right: North Korea should be back on the State Sponsors of Terror list | Fox News

In their first television interviews since their son Otto’s death, Fred and Cindy Warmbier described the horror of first seeing their son on his return after a year-and-a-half of North Korean captivity.

North Korean propaganda shows soldiers torturing women | Daily Mail Online

Paintings believed to be from 2005 claim to depict atrocities carried out by American soldiers during the Korean War of 1950-1953. They show Americans torturing women and babies.

Life inside a North Korea labour camp: ‘We were forced to throw rocks at a man being hanged’ | The Independent

A man who survived one of North Korea’s most notorious forced labour camps has spoken about the 10 years he spent in captivity. Kang Cheol-hwan, a North Korean defector, was confined at the Yodok concentration camp, otherwise known as Camp 15, used to imprison so-called enemies of the state. It is hidden in a mountainous region around 110km from the capital, Pyongyang.


Foreign Policy Reports


Rise of German far-right party causes alarm in Israel | Middle East | DW | 27.09.2017

Israelis have expressed consternation over the entry of the far-right populist AfD party into Germany’s Bundestag. Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned of rising anti-Semitism, reports Miriam Dagan in Tel Aviv.

Woman, 65, hired by civil service is held over ‘spying’ | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

A female contractor to a government department was arrested by counterterrorism officers yesterday on suspicion of spying for an enemy state.The 65-year-old wom

Putin to meet Erdogan as Russia-Turkey ties deepen | News & Observer

Russian President Vladimir Putin is traveling to Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on developments in Iraq and Syria and Turkey’s decision to purchase a Russian-made missile defense system.

Putin, Erdogan Set To Discuss Syria, Iraq During Talks In Ankara

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara on September 28 for talks set to touch on Syria and Iraq. Putin’s one-day working visit t…

Japan Election Turmoil Sets Up Two-Horse Race: Abe Versus Koike – Bloomberg

Japan’s main opposition party agreed to merge with a new group created by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, setting her up as the main challenger to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he dissolved parliament ahead of an Oct. 22 election.

Democratic Party effectively disbands, banding together with Koike’s party for Lower House poll | The Japan Times

In a dramatic move sure to change the landscape of the nation’s politics, the center-left Democratic Party decided Thursday to effectively disband its Lowe


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


Kalashnikov Unveils Flying ‘Hovercycle’

The same company also makes the AK-47.

Hoverbike Kalashnikov – YouTube

Oops! Statue of Russian AK-47 Inventor Accidentally Features German Rifle

Made all the worse since Mikhail Kalashnikov has been accused of copying the German design.

Amid SR-72 Rumors, Skunk Works Ramps Up Hypersonics | Defense content from Aviation Week

Retired But Still Flying, the F-117 Nighthawk May Soon Fade to Black

The Air Force will remove four F-117s every year to fully divest them — known as demilitarizing aircraft, a service official told Military.com on Monday.

White House Cuts Aerial Refueling From New Air Force One

The Trump administration nixed in-flight refueling for the presidential transport, but Congress has questioned the decision.

This Crazy Camera Is the Future of Photography – WSJ

Light’s L16 pocket-size camera has 16 small lenses capturing many views at once, to create a DSLR-quality photo.

The Self Driving Car Whiz Who Fell from Grace | WIRED

Anthony Levandowski’s all-too-human behavior sits at the heart of Google’s self driving car lawsuit against Uber.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Russia, Wikileaks and Ed Snowden Are Lying About Upcoming Catalan Independence Vote – To Inform is to Influence

The case against Russia vs. the World continues to build.  Russia vs. the West. Russia, the “Rogue State” keeps close company with North Korea, only other rogue states, and that is not propaganda.   Here Russia is attempting to break Spain apart. They lie, they misinform, just to drive a stake into the heart of a…

Why Twitter’s double-sized tweets will be a really big deal – To Inform is to Influence

Doubling tweets from 140 to 280 characters will change Twitter for the better for most users. By Steve Ranger | September 27, 2017 — 11:23 GMT (04:23 PDT) | Topic: Innovation Journalists like me love Twitter for several reasons. It helps with the job, by giving unmediated access to the thoughts of 330 million people — including everyone from the most powerful…

Russia Today and Hungary – To Inform is to Influence

Russia is building its presence throughout the world, hoping to ‘sell’ Russia.  I’m surprised that RT did not fund such an effort in Hungary in 2014, when their budget increased significantly.   It’s good to see that Hungary keeps track of RT. There appears to be a trust issue. Pourquoi? </end editorial> September 26, 2017 4:04 pm·…

Stephen F. Cohen | Do Liberal Democrats Want War With Russia? | The Nation

“Russiagate” is abetting the possibility of direct military conflict with Moscow, and liberals, once opponents of such politics, are promoting it.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Sen. Lankford says Russian trolls trying to sow discord in NFL kneeling debate – Chicago Tribune

Oklahoma senator James Lankford says phony social media accounts from Russia taking both sides of debate over silent protests

Russian ‘Trolls’ Fan U.S. Controversy Over Football Player Protests, Senator Says

Russian Internet &quot;trolls&quot; are exploiting a controversy over protests against police violence by black American football players to stir up divisions in the United States, a senator on the …

Zuckerberg Blew Off Russian Troll Warnings Before the Attack on America

Facebook has an ugly history of making Kremlin-friendly moves.

Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and Ferguson – Sep. 27, 2017

At least one of the Facebook ads bought by Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign referenced Black Lives Matter and was specifically targeted to reach audiences in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore.

How Russia keeps exploiting anti-black racism in the U.S. – To Inform is to Influence

Please don’t forget the three goals of Russian Information Warfare. Sow divisiveness in the West, especially in the US and the UK Promote chaos in the West, especially in the US and the UK Promote Russian national interests By exploiting and promoting racial divisiveness in the United States, all three goals are accomplished. This Russian…

Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram

Kremlin trolls stole the identity of an authentic U.S. Muslim organization—first to smear John McCain and Hillary Clinton, then to sing her praises.

Russia’s disinformation campaign on Facebook could have been more widespread than we knew | Business Insider

Before they capitalised on Facebook to promote…

How Russia-linked social media stoked U.S. culture wars.

It’s still early days in our national exploration into how Russia used—and apparently continues to use—social media to influence not just American vote …

As Facebook Reveals Dark Posts, Twitter Keeps Them Hidden – To Inform is to Influence

Previously today,  I made a commitment not to make an analysis until I could examine the details of the “ads”.   I’m sticking to that commitment.  The problem is twofold, at the moment. Twitter is publicly traded and doesn’t want to lose value through too much transparency.  Second, Twitter hasn’t fully assessed the legal ramifications of…

Why secret Russian ads on Facebook are a worry for America – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Reports that Russians used Facebook to sow “political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos” have added worries to future U.S. elections.

Facebook, Google, Twitter asked to testify on Russian meddling

Executives from Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Twitter have been asked to testify before the U.S. Congress in coming weeks.

Twitter To Talk To U.S. Congress Panels In Russia Probe

Representatives of social-media giant Twitter will visit the U.S. Congress on September 28 as part of House and Senate investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. …

Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in Election – The New York Times

Facebook has faced the most scrutiny over social media’s role in the 2016 election. But Twitter may have been used even more extensively by Russians.

Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight – POLITICO

A closed-door briefing for Senate staffers will put the social media company into the same hot seat occupied for weeks by its larger rival Facebook.

Technology Companies Face Growing Questions in Russia Probe – NBC News

Twitter will appear before Congress Thursday as investigators prepare to receive 3,000 ads turned over by Facebook showing Russian attempts at election meddling

Paul Manafort Expects to Be Indicted, Longtime Trump Adviser Says – The New York Times

The adviser, Roger J. Stone Jr., also said he told the House Intelligence Committee that he had not colluded with Russians or seen any collusion by Trump associates.

Trump To Restrict Russian Open Skies Flights | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

The Trump administration plans to restrict Russian surveillance flights over certain regions of the U.S. in response to alleged violations of the Open Skies Treaty by Moscow.

Republican accuses Russia of interfering in US energy market | The Independent

A Republican Congressman is asking leading tech companies for evidence that Russia bankrolled ads opposing hydraulic fracturing, a contentious energy extraction process that has split American politics.

Senate panel advances Dunford nomination for chair of Joint Chiefs | TheHill

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford’s nomination now heads to the full Senate for a vote, and he is expected to be easily confirmed.

Russia Will Work With U.S. on Manned Lunar Spaceport – NBC News

The head of Russia’s space agency on Wednesday said the first parts of a U.S.-Russia lunar station could be orbiting the moon as early as 2024.

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