Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update (325) – 04 October2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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An interesting collection of reports from Russia showing how the country is progressively destabilizing, possibly the most interesting of these is Prof Goble’s comparison of Putin’s blundering in the ethnicities game with that of Gorbachev three decades ago. Whitmore observes that Russia has promoted separatism abroad and is at risk of major blowback at home now. Nemtsova and Fukuyama essays are very good. Hoax bomb warnings continue. Chapnin on the breakdown of the ROC. COCW on Medinsky and his debunking.

Venezuelan dictator Maduro visiting Belarus. COCW Award to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin for his statement on Moldova.

In Ukraine, an intensive debate over attacks on ammunition depots continues. RFE/RL on the spate of Russian assassinations inside Ukraine. Donbass fires continue, Grad MLRS being used again. Two border guards vanish on the Russian border. Three excellent AFU photoessays.

Russians grandstanding over Syria again.

DPRK mostly background reports today. The trial of the clueless assassins of Kim Jong Nam continues in Malaysia, VX use has been proven.

Carnegie on Schröder, while Catalonian mess continues.

Excellent essay by Pinkham on Russia’s military mythology.

Propaganda, EW, and Russian cyber-criminals dominate today.

In the US domestic debate, Facebook, paper ballots, Rohrabacher and the state of Russia studies.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Zhanna Nemtsova: “There is no such thing that every Russian wakes up in the morning and thinks: ‘Oh, it’s so great that Crimea is ours’… Everyone thinks about how to get by”

Daughter of Russia's murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Deutsche Welle journalist Zhanna Nemtsova sat down with UNIAN to talk about&nbsp;the time she interviewed her father, explain what &quot;Putinism&quot; is holding on to these days, and reveal her life pursuit. News 03 October from UNIAN.

The Morning Vertical, October 4, 2017

ON MY MIND Moscow may come to regret its support for separatist movements abroad — whether in the former Soviet Union or in Europe. As Gazeta.ru notes in an editorial featured below, Russia has plenty of restive regions and disgruntled ethnic minorities and “the problem of separatism in Russia may again become quite topical.” Moreover, the Kremlin’s support for separatism in Europe could end up costing Moscow what few allies it has left on the continent. Russia, of course, did not create the Catalonian independence movement and the Kremlin has publicly called the dispute between Madrid and Barcelona “an internal matter.” But Kremlin-backed media and pundits sure did encourage it and cheer it on. And one has to wonder how that went down in Madrid. Spain, after all, has been among those European countries who have favored easing sanctions against Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea and its backing for armed separatists in the Donbas. Perhaps now Madrid will have second thoughts.

The Daily Vertical: True Extremism (Transcript)

It could happen if you say true things. Like that Russia’s forceful annexation of Crimea was a violation of international law. Or that the conflict in Donbas is not a civil war, but a war of aggression carried out by Russia against Ukraine. Or that Moscow should decentralize more power to its regions and give ethnic groups like the Tatars greater autonomy. Or that Russian officials are often corrupt. It can even happen if you like or share posts on social media that make such claims. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, if you say, post, share, like, or publish something the Kremlin doesn’t like, then you could be prosecuted for extremism. In fact, all of the things I just cited come from actual criminal cases in which actual Russian citizens were actually prosecuted for extremism. But guess what? The European Court for Human Rights has just weighed in. The court has just ruled on a Russian extremism case — and the Kremlin will not be happy with the verdict. Back in 2006, Nizhny Novgorod-based human rights activist Stanislav Dmitriyevsky was convicted of inciting extremism and sentenced to two years’ probation for publishing speeches of Chechen separatist leaders Akhmed Zakayev and Aslan Maskhadov. The European Court ruled this week that the speeches were not extremist and simply contained criticism of the Russian authorities, that the conviction violated Dmitriyevsky’s rights, and ordered Moscow to pay him 13,615 euros in compensation. Now Russia, of course, has passed legislation allowing it to ignore rulings of the European Court of Human Rights that it doesn’t like. And this, of course, violates Moscow’s treaty obligations to the Council of Europe. So one has to wonder what happens now. Perhaps the Kremlin will simply declare the European Court to be extremist.

In Masha Gessen’s ‘The Future Is History,’ Homo Sovieticus Rises – The New York Times

In her new book, Gessen, a journalist and longtime critic of Vladimir Putin, recounts the experiences of seven people living in post-Communist Russia.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Like Gorbachev Before Him, Putin Today Set Russia on Course to Dissolution

Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – In December 1984, even before becoming CPSU leader, Mikhail Gorbachev suggested that competence rather than ethnicity should determine who would be appointed to key positions in the Soviet Union, a position that challenged the carefully calibrated balance of nationalities that had emerged after the death of Stalin. Two years later, in December 1986, Gorbachev acted on that idea and named Gennady Kolbin, an ethnic Russian who had been the Soviet minder in Georgia, to be first secretary of the Kazakhstan SSR communist party in place of the ethnic Kazakh, Dinmukhamed Kunayev, an action that sparked violent clashes in Alma Ata. (Gorbachev compounded that error by insisting that there were no qualified Kazakhs, an insult but also something he proved was not the case when he imposed an ethnic Kazakh as second secretary in the party organization of the republic.) More important, it led ever more non-Russians, who in the USSR formed half of the population, to ask what Gorbachev’s intentions were for them if they could no longer count on holding at least some of the top jobs in their republics. And that question in turn contributed to the acceleration of events that led to the disintegration of the USSR in another December, 1991. Now, Vladimir Putin as Russian president is following in Gorbachev’s footsteps, by appointing a mixed Kazakh-Russian politician and security officer to be head of Daghestan, in place of Ramazan Abdulatipov, an Avar and thus a member of the dominant nation in that republic (riadagestan.ru/news/president/vladimir_vasilev_naznachen_vrio_glavy_dagestana/). Coming on the heels of Putin’s refusal to extend the power-sharing agreement with Tatarstan and his attack on the obligatory study of non-Russian languages by all pupils in non-Russian republics, Putin may win some plaudits from Russian nationalists who will see this as redressing the imbalance they have always felt is the case. And such people will undoubtedly be thrilled that Putin has installed someone with an interior ministry background with the rank of colonel general in the internal troops, who has spent his entire career in the Russian Federation, and who can thus be expected to impose order on the most restive republic in the North Caucasus. But the peoples of Daghestan and the other non-Russians who now form almost a quarter of the population of the Russian Federation are certain to be less pleased and to see this latest appointment just as non-Russians did Gorbachev’s appointment of Kolbin 31 years ago as a threat to their future and as a compelling reason to reflect about their own aspirations. In contrast to Gorbachev, Putin is certainly far more prepared to use “big blood” to prevent the further unravelling of the empire. But he may discover as Gorbachev did that force alone is not enough to hold things together for long. And if that is so, future historians of the next wave of imperial devolution are going to look back to today’s appointment as a key event.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Does Nationality of a Republic Leader Matter? More than Moscow Thinks

Paul Goble Staunton, October 4 – Russian outlets are putting out the line that Daghestanis themselves are pleased that the Kremlin has named an ethnic Russian to head their republic because only such a person, they reportedly believe, can navigate the complicated ethnic situation in that North Caucasus republic. There may be some basis for that conclusion in Daghestan given that it lacks a single dominant ethnic group and that many of the members of one nationality there may prefer an outsider, even an ethnic Russian, in the top job rather than a representative of one of their competitors. But the claim, circulated by Moscow’s Vzglyad among others, that “many Daghestanis said: send us an ethnic Russian” (vz.ru/politics/2017/10/3/888906.html) almost certainly overstates the enthusiasm of any of them, including the former republic head who urged his replacement not to engage in any sweeping purge of the Makhachkala administration. However, there is even stronger evidence of feelings about the nationality of the republic head than that. Makhachkala’s Chernovik publishes a story that despite the official biography of the new head which says his mother was a Russian and his father a Kazakh, some in Daghestan are saying he really has “Daghestani roots” (chernovik.net/content/lenta-novostey/u-vrio-glavy-dagestana-vladimira-vasileva-nashlis-dagestanskie-korni). According to a Daghestani journalist, people in Derbent, a city in southern Daghestan, are celebrating the new man because they say that “the real father” of the new republic head is Abduali Guseynov, an ethnic Azerbaijani and war veteran. According to the journalist, the new governor has often visited the extended family of Guseynov. On the one hand, this may be an attempt to “domesticate” the new governor and to gain an upper hand for one group within Daghestan. And on the other, it may be nothing more than the kind of wishful thinking many people engage in when change happens. But at the very least, it highlights the continuing importance of nationality whatever Moscow thinks.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: As Telephone Terrorism in Russia Enters Its Fourth Week, Official Worries Multiply

Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – As the anonymous telephone bomb threats in Russia enter their fourth week and spread to major cities like Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, and Moscow, official worries about what may happen next if a real bomb explosion occurs, Russians resist evacuation, or something like that happens during next year’s World Cup competition. With each passing day, Igor Chukreyev of the URA news agency says, Russian experts increasingly fear real terrorists will use this wave of anonymous calls to plant a real bomb, Russians will grow tired of being evacuated when no bombs are found, and Moscow will face both during international sports events (ura.news/articles/1036272460). Worries about these things have given new urgency to discussions about how the authorities should talk about this situation, something the central media have been loath to do although in the cities where the bomb threats have been the most common, officials have had no choice but to provide some information. The central question now, Chukreyev says, is whether they should provide more, including discussions about what is going on and how things are likely to develop. Valery Gorelykh, a Yekaterinburg MVD official, says that the authorities must be careful lest what they say increase rather than reduce the nervousness of the population. “Undoubtedly,” he continues, “it is necessary to inform the public about what is happening … but this must be done in a sophisticated way” or Russians will become either more worried or more cynical. After all, his colleagues say, in Yekaterinburg alone in the last few days, there have been 167 false reports about bombs and some 70,000 people evacuated. Not talking about what is going on, officials say, “only intensifies the sense of weakness of the authorities. But the position of the law enforcement organs is understandable: first one must understand and only then report.” There must be a positive message but not one that suggests officials are out of touch. This is especially important as Russia enters into an election season and as international sports competitions take place, although in the case of the latter, interior ministry officials say that the rules for coverage and for the response of the authorities are very different as was shown during the Sochi Olympics.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Patriarchate’s Failures have Opened the Way for Orthodox Radicalism, Chapnin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – Many Russians believe that the controversy around “Mathilda” explains why Orthodox radicalism is on the rise, Sergey Chapnin says; but in fact the reasons for that are far deeper and when the clashes over the film quiet down, the faithful will have to confront serious questions about “which empire and which Orthodoxy we are heirs to.” In an address to the Predaniye Foundation last week that has been written up by Svetlana Solodovnik of Yezhednevny zhurnal now, the commentator argues that there are many reasons why individual Orthodox radicals have emerged, and they all reflect basic failures of the Moscow Patriarchate (ej.ru/?a=note&id=31631). These failures in turn are a product of the fears of the church leadership that if it takes a clear decision on any one of a number of issues, it will be confronted by large protests from the many who will disagree with it. And it has thus tried to be all things to all people, a stance that in the end has infuriated almost everyone. First of all, Chapnin says, “it has turned out that the Russian Orthodox Church cannot say anything articulate on the occasion of the centenary of the two revolutions,” even though the one allowed the Patriarchate to reemerge and the other brought the church untold suffering. Second, “it hasn’t been able to find a format for recognition of the genuineness of the tsarist remains. In the church, there were and are opponents of recognition, this group is quite large, and the church hierarchs do not want to take the risk. And third, the Moscow Patriarchate “hasn’t been able to find a mechanism for the transfer of St. Isaac’s Cathedral,” in large measure because whatever it does, it is going to continue to face large crowds of protesters in the streets. The church has taken the same stance during the Mathilda controversy, Chapnin says. It has said that “force isn’t Christian, but somehow no one condemns the specific use of force which is taking place here and now,” lest it offend one group of Russians or another. As a result, he argues, “the state and the official church are losing their monopoly on symbolic capital,” and individual radicals “who aren’t meeting the necessary resistance” are coming to the fore. And this of course is “the result of church construction … which has cultivated a kind of Christianity without Christ.” “Over the last 10 to 15 years, the Russian church just like the state has been mainly occupied with searchers for a post-Soviet identity. The state quite quickly … chose as its goals the restoration of the empire.” And not surprisingly, given the church’s links with the state, it followed allow. “The empire is now considered by many Orthodox as something sacred.” But the problem is which empire, tsarist, Soviet or post-Soviet? In large measure because of the way the state has proceeded, Chapnin says, the church has been forced to go a long way toward “Soviet imperial consciousness.” That of course is what the fight over Mathilda is all about, but even once that film recedes from public view, the church and its followers are going to have to come to a decision on whether they support an Orthodox empire or a Soviet one and whether they support only an Orthodox emperor or any emperor altogether. Some have drifted in the latter direction but “happily” not everyone. Another speaker at the meeting Chapnin addressed suggested that “the less free from the state the church is, the more this logic will be considered and the more will appear individual radicals.” That isn’t a necessary result but rather one made likely and more disturbing by the decisions of the hierarchy.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Budget Points to Another Lost Decade for Russia, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 4 – The three-year budget the Russian government has proposed suggests that Russia will continue to stagnate, poverty will continue to grow, and the country will fall further and further behind the developed world and even its nearest neighbors, according to the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta. In a lead article today, the editors of the Moscow paper say that “in Soviet times, the authorities promised citizens constant growth in well-being and they misled them. But the present-day powers that be are promising instead an increase in poverty and they aren’t misleading anyone” (ng.ru/editorial/2017-10-04/2_7087_red.html). “Over the last nine years, the Russian economy has risen by a total of 1.7 percent,” or less than 0.2 percent per year, the editors continue. “Now it is being suggested that the country agree to a second ‘lost decade,’ in the course of which Russia will lag behind the rest of the world in terms of rate of development.” In the decade just ended, China has surpassed Russia in terms of pay, and Kazakhstan in terms of consumer spending. The level of poverty in Russia shot up, and Russia’s GDP fell to 74 percent of what it had been in dollar terms. If the new budget is adopted and followed, by 2020, China, India and turkey will pass Russia in terms of GDP per capita. And by 2035, Russia is likely to fall from being the sixth largest economy in the world to somewhere between tenths and fifteenth. Production per capita will fall from 52nd in the world to 65th to 70th place. The rest of the world will continue to develop just as it has in the past decade and thus leave Russia further and further behind. Over the last 26 years, they write, the Russian economy increased “all of 13 percent” while the world GDP for that period “increased by 148 percent,” more than 11 times what Russia achieved. Of course, it is true that other countries have remained in stagnation for long periods of time. Argentina is one. And “in these countries, people live, raise families, give birth to children, and go to movies, cafes, and restaurants. Such an existence will be possible in Russia as well,” the paper says. But that doesn’t mean things won’t get worse. As the economy declines relatively, tax collections will fall, and the government will cut social spending, especially if it is focused on other things. Next year, the government plans to spend 140 billion rubles (2.3 billion US dollars) less on social needs. That is in an election year: in 2019, the situation will become much worse. According to economist Igor Nikolayev, “never yet in the 212st century has been planned such a harsh budget.” And he predicts more bad things ahead including a rise in the pension age and an end to indexing of pensions. Russians need to speak out against this plan, Nezavisimaya gazeta says; otherwise by their silence, they will have implicitly become complicit in their own increasingly bad future.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Women Taking Place of Men in Hizb ut-Tahrir Ranks in Central Asia, Scholar Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – Central Asian men from the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group are ever more frequently leaving the region for Russia; and their places in that radical group are being taken by Central Asian men, according to Leyla Asulbekova, in a development that is both new and a threat to both Russia and Central Asia. On the one hand, her findings suggest that ever more members of that group are now in Russia and may engage in terrorism or other forms of extremism; and on the other, they point to the emergence of a phenomenon that the governments in Central Asia have little experience with or ability to counter. Asylbekova, a psychologist, presented these findings to a Kazakhstan conference on “The Role of Women’s Organizations in the Spiritual Education of Youth and in the Formation of Immunity to Radical Religious Ideology” (kazislam.kz/ru/songy-janalyktar/item/14858-zhenshchiny-vytesnyayut-muzhchin-iz-khizb-ut-takhrir-v-srednej-azii-uchenye). She said that her fellow specialists on Islamist groups concurred with her conclusions, adding that in her opinion the recent increase in the share of women in Hizb ut-Tahrir in Central Asia is disturbing because “female fanaticism is much stronger and more horrific than its male counterpart.” One of the reasons women have moved into the ranks of such groups, Asylbekova suggested, is that women have been radicalized by the fact that in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries, women have made some progress on various career ladders but have yet to be allowed to reach the very top of any of them.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin has a New Cadres Policy for Regions But It Isn’t the One He Claims, Stanovaya Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 4 – Vladimir Putin has in fact adopted a new approach to the appointment of regional leaders, Tatyana Stanovaya says, but it isn’t about promoting younger technocrats to these jobs but rather about lowering the status of governors at a time of resources shortages and the continuing “de-federalization” of Russia. In a Republic commentary, the Russian analyst argues that the Kremlin put out the alternative view that it had no choice but to install younger specialists in place of aging politicians at the gubernatorial level, but “to put it mildly,” she says, “this is not quite the case” (republic.ru/posts/86759). Instead, she argues, what is going on is a Kremlin effort not to bring to the fore “a new plead of young and talented leaders in the framework of some independent cadres campaign” to improve the economy but rather one intended to reduce the governors still further to cogs in the power vertical run from the center and ensure Putin gets the participation rates he wants. There is no indication, Stanovaya continues, that Moscow is seeking to improve conditions in the regions with its changes. Instead, it has removed “governors who weren’t able to guarantee to a sufficient degree predictable results, who were caught up in intra-elite conflicts and were not keeping the situation under control.” Thus, the Kremlin has been focused not on installing young people but on those who lack independent political skills, compared to those they replace, and therefore are less capable of pursuing any independent policy. The new men are thus more likely to implement without any questioning whatever the center wants. But there is another reason, Stanovaya says, why there appears to be an emphasis on youth. More senior people with more experience in political life often present more problems to the Kremlin than younger ones. Given the devaluation of the position of governor, younger ones will take it when older ones will prefer to do something else. If in the past, a governorship was “a trampoline for advancement,” now it is something with enormous burdens but one that provides few occasions for moving upward. That’s why, the analyst argues, younger people will jump at such a position while older ones won’t. As a result, Russia is becoming “a country of deputies” rather than one with heavyweights in the regions. The new people are executors not politicians, “bureaucrats not leaders,” and thus are significantly less positioned to pursue any independent line. They can thus be counted on to follow any radical shifts the Kremlin may decide on. There is another factor at work here as well, Stanovaya says. “The distancing of the president from domestic affairs has untied the hands of his administration in cadres policy,” opening the way for a very different kind of struggle over appointments to posts of all kinds, including governors. In the past, each appointment involved people at the highest levels; but now, shifts at the regional level “have become less personified and more functional, connected not with specific situations but with the typical problems common for the entire process of selecting governors,” a shift that has opened the way for “a new role of interest groups.” “If earlier interest groups were the initiators” of changes, she says, “now they play a more expert function in the interests of organizing relations with Putin’s Kremlin entourage.” The new people don’t have “patrons.” Instead, they are “recommended” by this or that group, something that promises to change their behavior in office as well. Their loyalties are less closely defined and more “polycentric,” because they aren’t tied to one individual power holder but rather come out of a more general area of expertise. In this process, Stanovaya says, there have been two basic approaches. In the first, Moscow installs someone not connected with the region or public policy and thus treats him as an executor within the power vertical. In the second, where there are “more complicated inter-elite relations,” local elites appear to continue to play a greater role. This new approach to gubernatorial appointments will make future changes easier and changes likely more frequent. But it “will not create any basis for more effective economic or social policies or even for electoral success. It only simplifies the system of relations of the Kremlin with its subordinates.” “The former influential and legitimate governors” are being replaced by “a faceless part of routine executors of the vertical.” But this carries with it the risk that crises in the regions may grow as the economy deteriorates, the analyst says. That is because, she says, “the technologization of power is a process which lowers the resistance of the milieu for the adoption of administrative decisions, but also creates fewer conditions for development and the solution of political and economic tasks.”

For the first time, Europe’s Court of Human Rights rules on an extremism conviction — Meduza

The European Court of Human Rights issued its first ruling on an extremism conviction, finding that a Russian citizen sentenced to two years probation in 2006 for publishing speeches by Chechen separatist leaders was due 13,615 euros in compensation.

Oleg Sentsov: “Anyway, they won’t send me to do time at the North Pole, right?” | Voices of Ukraine

A political prisoner’s letter to the free world By Oleg Sentsov, with commentary by Zoya Svetova, Russian journalist/human rights activist/producer, for Open Russia 09.30.2017 Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine The Ukrainian film director [Oleg Sentsov] sent a letter from the Tyumen [detention] facility. He believes that he is being transferred to [Russia’s] northernmost…

U.S. Calls On Russian To Release Crimean Tatar Leader Umerov

The United States has called on &quot;Russian occupation&quot; authorities in Crimea to release prominent Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov and vacate his conviction for separatism. The State Departmen…

Putin Appoints Ruling Party Stalwart As Daghestan’s Acting Leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed the chief of the ruling United Russia party's parliamentary group, Vladimir Vasilyev, as acting leader of the volatile North Caucasus region o…

Russia’s ‘Myth’-Busting Culture Minister Embroiled In Doctoral Thesis Scandal

MOSCOW — He's the arch-patriotic culture minister and the best-selling author of books purporting to debunk nefarious Western &quot;myths&quot; about Russia. &nbsp; But Vladimir Medinsky i…

EBRD To Shut Five Russian Offices In 2018 Amid Ban On Lending

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says it will shut five of its seven offices in Russia next year, as the London-based lender pursues a ban on new investment loans in th…

Saudi King To Visit Moscow, With Energy, Syria Likely On Agenda

Saudi Arabia's King Salman will travel to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin, the first visit to the Russian capital by a reigning Saudi monarch. Billboards have been erected on th…

Venezuelan President Maduro Visits Russia

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is in Moscow, where he is due to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin said earlier that Maduro will meet with Putin on October …

Putin Says Preparations For 2018 World Cup On Track Despite Delays

President Vladimir Putin has expressed satisfaction about Russia&rsquo;s progress in preparing for soccer's 2018 World Cup, but said construction work on some of the venues remained behin…


Belarus Reports


Venezuelan President Maduro To Visit Russia, Belarus, Turkey

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose government is under pressure from protesters at home and Western governments that say he has become increasingly authoritarian, is to meet this week with th…


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Russia refuses to withdraw troops from Transnistria, declares itself “guarantor of stability”

Moscow says it will not pull back the Operational Group of Russian troops from the territory of the self-proclaimed Transnistria, despite appeals from the Moldovan government, that&rsquo;s according to Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, Kommersant reports. News 04 October from UNIAN.

The government of Ukraine approved the signing of the agreement with the government of Moldova on the joint control of border – Ukrainian government approves agreement with Moldova on joint control of border – 112.international

Ukrainian government approves agreement with Moldova on joint control of border

European Commission Says Will ‘Closely Monitor’ Moldova’s New Electoral Law

BRUSSELS — The European Commission has warned that it will &quot;closely monitor&quot; the implementation of Moldova&rsquo;s controversial new electoral law. EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Ai…


Ukraine Reports


Fear, Speculation In Ukraine Amid Wartime Assassinations

A spate of public killings over the course of 15 months has sent shock waves through Ukraine and left the country’s investigators stumped.

Poroshenko enacts classified NSDC resolution on military cooperation with “certain states”

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has approved changes to the classified resolution on military-technical cooperation with certain states, according to RFE/RL&rsquo;s Ukrainian service. The head of state with his decree has enacted the resolution by the National Security and Defense Council adopted on September 13, which determined the amendments to the Council’s previous decision of August 28, 2015, RFE/RL’s Ukrainian service reports. The content of the resolution, as well as the list of “certain states” in question has been classified.

Satellite vehicles seen above Kalynivka depot, – Chief of General Staff Muzhenko

04.10.17 12:42 – Satellite vehicles seen above Kalynivka depot, – Chief of General Staff Muzhenko Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko said that communication and power supply were off in Kalynivka depot, and that satellite vehicles were noticed above the facility on the day of the accident. Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko said that communication and power supply were off in Kalynivka depot, and that satellite vehicles were noticed above the facility on the day of the accident. Muzhenko listed the attributes that allow defining the explosions at the ammunition depot in Kalynivka, the Vinnytsia region, as a sabotage act, Censor.NET reports citing his interview to ZIK network via LigaBusinessInform. Muzhenko said that in addition to communication and power supply being off in Kalynivka depot, satellite vehicles were noticed above the facility on the day of the accident. “I have a feeling it was a sabotage act. There are many signs that support this. For instance, communications system was damaged. Was it a coincidence? Possibly. As a result of some repair works. A damage to the power supply system. Electricity was off in Vinnytsia for an hour right before the accident. No communication in some law enforcement agencies. I will not say in which ones, this is a subject of the investigation. Satellite vehicles, satellites appeared prior to the event, during the event, and after it,” Muzhenko said.

Explosions at ammunition depots in Ukraine carry signs of targeted sabotages – 112.international

Explosions at ammunition depots in Ukraine carry signs of targeted sabotages. The emergency situations that took place at the ammunition depots and arsenal over past two years carry all signs of the sabotages and could be the consequences of the activity of the enemy special services. Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko claimed this during his speech at the National University of Defense named after Ivan Cherniakhovsky as the press service of the Ministry of Defense reported. ‘The emergency situations at the arsenals (depots) near Svatovo, Volnovakha, Balakliia, Mariupol and Kalynivka are nothing else but the result of the special operation. The enemy replaces the main forces to the deep of our country when he has no possibility to achieve the goals at the East of Ukraine by the military way. Their top priority is the destruction of the weapons of destruction that are not produced in Ukraine and it is impossible to purchase them’, Muzhenko reported. He noted that such actions of the enemy are predicted in the terms of the continued Russian aggression. The Armed Forces assume measures within the available resources to prevent this. The state began to allocate funds to develop the places of storage of the weapons and ammunition and organization of their security. But the volume of work is still significant and it needs years to accomplish the work. ‘Ukraine got million tons of ammunition from the Soviet Union and part of them is useless. The dispersal of this reserve ammunition needs the attraction of the great volumes of the railway transportation and modern equipment’, Muzhenko noted.

Amid latest acts of sabotage security forces hinder drone launch over military base in Kherson

Operatives of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine have detained a group of youngsters who launched a quadcopter in close proximity to the territory of a military base in southern Ukraine's Kherson, the SBU's press center reported. News 04 October from UNIAN.

Defense Ministry asking for additional 100 million on security of Armed Forces’ ammunition depots

04.10.17 12:00 – Defense Ministry asking for additional 100 million on security of Armed Forces’ ammunition depots … View news.

One Ukrainian fighter wounded yesterday, 22 attacks by Russian troops recorded in Donbas, – ATO HQ

04.10.17 09:44 – One Ukrainian fighter wounded yesterday, 22 attacks by Russian troops recorded in Donbas, – ATO HQ On Oct. 3, the illegal armed gangs in the Donbas violated the cease-fire 22 times. One Ukrainian defender was wounded in combat. View news.

ATO HQ: First Grad attack on Ukraine amid “school ceasefire” in Donbas (Photos, video)

Russia's hybrid military forces have used a banned Grad multiple rocket launcher for the first time since the announcement of the so-called &quot;school-time ceasefire&quot; in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 03 October from UNIAN.

Terrorists of Luhansk “republic” trained children to “defend Orthodox faith”. VIDEO

04.10.17 13:51 – Terrorists of Luhansk republic trained children to defend Orthodox faith. VIDEO Terrorists in the self-styled Luhansk people’s republic held special military exercise for children and youth living on the occupied territories. View video news.

Two Ukrainian border guards disappeared on Russian border in Sumy, Ukraine – Two Ukrainian border guards vanish on Russian border in Sumy region – 112.international

Communication with them was lost in the evening of October 3

Two Ukrainian border guards gone missing near Russia border

Two servicemen of&nbsp;the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine are reported to have gone missing in Sumy region near the border with Russia since&nbsp;Tuesday evening, the agency's press service reported. News 04 October from UNIAN.

In 2016-2017, Ukrainian army put in service over 30 new weapons and vehicles – 112.international

Since January 2016, Ukraine’s ministry of defense has put into service 33 kinds of weaponry and vehicles, – Dmytro Hutsulyak, the ministry’s press secretary

Sappers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to demine the perimeter of the military arsenal near Kalinovka | Flickr

Sappers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to demine the perimeter of the military arsenal near Kalinovka. On the territory of the military arsenal near Kalinovka, groups of engineer-engineer units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to work on the elimination of the consequences of an emergency. The fire in the arsenal is localized, measures are taken to demolish the perimeter of the technical territory of the arsenal and adjacent settlements. The implementation of these tasks involves about 1000 personnel and 153 units of equipment from the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In total there are more than 4000 representatives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations, law enforcement bodies and 293 units of engineering. There are 50 demining groups in the arsenal, with more than 220 people and 52 units of equipment, including 5 fire tanks, 3 engineering fencing machines, and a bulldozer artillery tractor. In addition, in case of need, it is planned to attract additional equipment that is in reserve. In the near future, work to clear the territory of the arsenal of explosive objects will continue. The infrastructure of the arsenal is also restored. “Arsenal in Kalinovka is guarded in an enhanced regime”, – Major General Igor Krishtun. Since the onset of an emergency, ammunition depots near Kalinovka, units of the Military Service of the Law Enforcement and High-Military Landing Army have organized an enhanced protection of the territory. – In the period when there was a danger of spillage of ammunition and fragments, in order to protect the military, the protection of the outer perimeter was carried out at a distance of 0.5 km – 1.5 km from the arsenal. Today, we continue to vigorously protect the outer perimeter of the military unit, as well as the administrative part of the arsenal. The entire territory of the arsenal is securely covered. On the road, the forest paths are served by foot patrols and troops on armored personnel carriers. – The head of the Military Service of the Law Enforcement in the Armed Forces of Ukraine – the Chief of the Main Department of the Military Service of the Law Enforcement (GSP) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Ihor Krishtun, noted in a dangerous area where ammunition or fragments may be provided, is prohibited access to local residents.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Kingdom of Sweden visited one of the ATO districts | Flickr

On October 2, the Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General of the Army of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko together with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Kingdom of Sweden, General Michael Büden, visited one of the areas of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. During the official visit to Ukraine of the military delegation of the Kingdom of Sweden and trips to the ATO region, the issues of activating the military-political dialogue were discussed, and the prospective directions and effective forms of military cooperation between the armed forces of Ukraine and Sweden were specified. During the acquaintance of the Swedish delegation with the security situation in the area of combat, Chief of General Staff, General of the Army of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko drew the attention of his Swedish counterpart to the critical situation of civilian infrastructure affected by the shelling of Russian-terrorist troops. General of the Army of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko informed General Mikael Büden that the breach of the regime of cease-fire in the ATO zone by the Russian-terrorist forces coincides with the regular rounds of peace talks in Minsk, which testifies to the pressure of the Russian Federation on the negotiation process. The parties also exchanged experience in reforming and developing the armed forces of both states and strengthening the friendly partner relations between Ukraine and Sweden.

Brigade tactical training of one of the tank brigades of the Operational Command “East” | Flickr

Three battalion-tactical groups, reinforced with artillery and mechanized units, carried out a hundred kilometer-long march from the concentration area to the front of the attack. Further, deployed in combat, the troops went on the offensive and the attack on the move destroyed the main points of the conventional opponent and took new positions. Also, in the course of maneuvers, the Army carried out a boom for a small water obstacle. During the march, the troops covered helicopters of the Army Aviation. Particular attention was paid to the management of troops and the interaction of headquarters of different levels. Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General of the Army of Ukraine Victor Mozhenko personally inspected the course of exercises. – Our goal is to work out the most complex tasks by the headquarters of battalion-tactical groups during the management of troops on the march. That is why the conditional environment of exercises during the day was constantly becoming more complicated, – said the General of the Army of Ukraine Victor Muzhenko. Department of Public Relations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Kharkiv Airport boosts security measures as EASA mulls airspace closure in Ukraine’s east

Kharkiv International Airport has strengthened security measures after the State Aviation Service of Ukraine received from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) a draft bulletin introducing restrictions for air traffic over the eastern part of Ukraine, the airport's press service told UNIAN. News 04 October from UNIAN.

Ukraine, U.S. discuss modernization of locomotives for Ukrzaliznytsia – 112.international

Modernization of locomotives for Ukraine’s state-run railway carrier Ukrzaliznytsia was the central topic for discussion between Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and CEO of General Electric Transportation Jamie Miller

Top-10 countries you did not expect to outrank Ukraine – 112 International – Top-10 countries you did not expect to outrank Ukraine – 112.international

Peru, Mauritius, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama, Chile, Jamaica, Albania, Malaysia, Tunisia take higher positions than Ukraine at least in 9-10 ratings


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Russia Says It Killed Kazakh IS Commander, Hundreds Of Fighters In Syria

Russia claims it has killed a Kazakh militant it says was an important commander in the forces of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igo…

Russia Says Injures Al-Nusra Front Leader, Kills 12 Field Commanders In Air Strike

The Defense Ministry in Moscow says that a Russian air strike in Syria has killed 12 Al-Nusra Front field commanders and gravely wounded the group's leader. The air strike was launched afte…

Mattis reveals new rules of engagement

U.S. forces are no longer bound by requirements to be in contact with enemy forces in Afghanistan before opening fire.

The Pentagon has a new acronym for Afghanistan. Can it win the war?

The Trump administration’s Afghanistan strategy has a new acronym, one which the Pentagon’s top officials say will lay the groundwork for a stable Afghanistan in the future.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Putin says Trump is listening to Russia’s views on North Korea crisis

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump was listening to Russia’s views on the North Korean missile crisis which emphasize diplomacy over further sanctions or military action.

Frontline examines ‘North Korea’s Deadly Dictator’ – CNN

‘Frontline’ review: ‘North Korea’s Deadly Dictator’ provides a timely look at regime of King Jong-un and plays like a political thriller

The U.S. Needs Real Diplomacy to Counter North Korea in Africa | Foreign Policy

The U.S. Needs Real Diplomacy to Counter North Korea in Africa « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Donald Trump Threatened North Korea After Completely Imaginary Negotiations | Foreign Policy

Fake news is threatening to produce a very real war.

U.N. panel urges North Korea to end child discrimination, labor

A United Nations panel for child rights said on Wednesday that North Korea was punishing children for their “parents’ crimes” or political views by discrimination and urged Pyongyang to end child labor.

North Korea Said to be “Aggressively” Jamming BBC Korean Language Service

10/03/2017 The BBC’s Korean-language service, launched on September 25, is being “aggressively targeted” by North Korean jamming, according to a report in The Telegraph of London. The service broadcasts global news, sports, and features to the entire Korean Peninsula for 3 hours starting at 1530 UTC (12:30 AM in North Korea) 7 days a week on 1,431, 5,810, and 9,940 kHz. The HF broadcasts are transmitted from Taiwan and Uzbekistan, while the MF broadcast comes from Mongolia, according to a report on the 38 North website operated by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. The two HF channels are being jammed, but it’s not clear if the MF channel is. “As listening to foreign radio is illegal, the government makes a great effort to prevent people from doing so,” the 38 North report said. “At the most basic level, it modifies radios so they cannot be tuned into anything but state-run channels, although that can be later reverse engineered.” BBC Korea is part of a major expansion of BBC language services. It joins South Korea’s KBS and two US networks — Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. “A handful of religious broadcasters also target North Korea as does South Korea’s National Intelligence Service,” the 38 North report said. — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News and The SWLing Post for some information

What North Korea is really like, according to a Westerner who has visited regularly since 1993 | The Independent

Princess Diana stamps, iridescent cigarette cartons and tinned food labels: these are among the items that author Nicholas Bonner has collected in North Korea since first visiting the reclusive nation in 1993. Princess Diana stamps, iridescent cigarette cartons and tinned food labels: these are among the items that author Nicholas Bonner has collected in North Korea since first visiting the reclusive nation in 1993. Bonner has showcased these everyday items in his new book, Made in North Korea, to give an insight into the banalities of a country’s whose name is synonymous with the cult of personality, political and cultural oppression, and the threat of nuclear war. Based in Beijing, Bonner visits North Korea almost every month as the head of the Koryo Tours travel agency. The objects in the book – the most comprehensive collection of graphic ephemera from the country to date – reflect the graphic design of the nation until the mid-2000s, when digital design took over.

Inside North Korea: What We Saw in Pyongyang – WSJ

Wall Street Journal reporters recount their impressions of North Korea after a recent trip to Pyongyang.

Dark nights in power-starved North Korea | Inquirer News

At the turbine hall at North Korea’s Wonsan Number 5 hydropower station, a placard mounted on a wall proclaims: “Prosperous and Powerful Nation”. But when it comes to electricity the North is anything but.

Five lessons from the weirdest North Korea crisis yet

Unfortunately, the South cannot escape the North’s shadow. When the North falls apart, the world will look to South Korea to clean up the mess.

Post-mortem: VX poison killed brother of North Korean leader – ABC News

Post-mortem: VX poison killed brother of North Korean leader

Kim Jong Nam murder trial: ‘VX-tainted’ blood and urine samples presented in court, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR – Six samples taken from the victim’s  urine, blood, plasma and liver were shown in court on the third day of the murder trial of Kim Jong Nam as the prosecution seeks to build its case that he was poisoned with the deadly VX nerve gas.. Read more at straitstimes.com.


Foreign Policy Reports


Schröder’s Unswerving Loyalty to Putin – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The special relationship that the former German chancellor keeps with Vladimir Putin is doing neither his party nor his country any favors.

Catalonia crisis: Independence declaration looms – CNN

Spain’s constitutional crisis deepened Wednesday after the nation’s king lashed out at Catalan’s secessionist leaders in a TV address and the region’s President vowed to declare independence within days.

Catalonia to move to declare independence from Spain on Monday

Catalonia will move on Monday to declare independence from Spain, a regional government source said, as the European Union nation nears a rupture that threatens the foundations of its young democracy and has unnerved financial markets.

Spain’s king calls independence vote by Catalonia ‘totally outside law and democracy’   – The Washington Post

Businesses were closed and highways were blocked in the latest act of defiance after Sunday’s referendum.


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


Sophie Pinkham | Understanding Russia’s War Stories | New Republic

Putin’s foreign policy is rooted in an epic myth of betrayal and redemption.

B-1B To Fly Through 2040 Without Major Life Extension | Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force is changing the way it inspects, maintains and repairs the B-1B based on initial results from full-scale fatigue testing, but the service does not anticipate any major structural life extension to keep the “Bone” fleet flying through 2040.

Iran unveils new Heidar-41 self-propelled 122 mm artillery system | Defence Blog

Iran’s Army has unveiled the Heidar-41, an indigenously developed 122 mm self-propelled (SP) artillery system. On Sunday, Iran’s Army unveiled three new achievements in the area of artillery fire, named as Heydar 7, 41, and 44 Projects, in the presence of Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari, the commander of the Iranian Army’s ground forces. The Heidar-41 features a 122-millimeter howitzer, fitted with an automatic magazine loader, shorter combat readiness process, and remote activation capability. The artillery system was made through an integration of a D-30 122 mm towed howitzer on a KrAz chassis. The most important component of the upgraded kit is a fully automatic loader with projectiles and propellant charges. For stabilization purposes, the weapon is fitted with 2 hydraulic trails.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports

How I ended up on the RT “Top Ten Russophobes” list | CEPA


The Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT’s list of the top ten Russophobes was an odd collection, mixing institutions (NATO and Buzzfeed, in second and ninth place) with individuals, including me and my friend Anne Applebaum—the prize-winning historian of Soviet crimes—tied for fifth place. The list omitted Bill Browder, the billionaire campaigner behind the Magnitsky sanctions, which aim to punish top Russians for the 2009 killing of Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. It also left out some true giants: Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow; authors Masha Gessen and David Satter; and historian Timothy Snyder.

Google Yanks Russia Today From Premium YouTube Program – Bloomberg

Alphabet Inc.’s Google recently removed Russia Today from a package of premium YouTube video inventory that the company sells to advertisers, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Arizona State University: Weaponized Narrative Initiative – To Inform is to Influence

What isWeaponized Narrative? Weaponized narrative is an attack that seeks to undermine an opponent’s civilization, identity, and will. By generating confusion, complexity, and political and social schisms, it confounds response on the part of the defender. How Does Weaponized Narrative Work? A fast-moving information deluge is the ideal battleground for this kind of warfare – for…

‘Syrian Lessons’ and Russia’s ‘Asymmetric Response’ to the US | Jamestown

The Russian military operation in Syria has highlighted “urban warfare,” information security and electronic warfare (EW) as crucial elements of how Moscow envisions the “wars of the future” will be fought. However, Russia’s top brass is currently allocating a central role to the development of EW capabilities. Increasingly viewed by Russian military strategists as a pivotal tool for gaining and maintaining information superiority over its adversaries in future conflicts, Russia’s growing emphasis on the development of EW is inseparable from two events that occurred soon after Russia went into Syria. First was the November 2015 downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish jets after it had strayed into Turkey’s airspace. The second incident, reported on later that same month, involved Turkey deploying Koral electronic warfare complexes on its southern border in order to “dazzle” (blind) Russian S-400 air-defense missile systems that Moscow had just brought into Syria (TASS, December 1, 2015). Incidentally, speaking from a historical prospective, Syria first became a training ground for the Soviet Army to test its EW capabilities as far back as 1982, following the outbreak of hostilities in Lebanon. And Moscow renewed those efforts in October 2015, when it deployed the Krasukha-4 multifunctional jamming station to the Hmeymin airbase (Obzor.press, October 22, 2015), thus signaling a qualitatively new stage of Russian engagement in the Syrian civil war. Analysis of Russia’s performance in Syria when it comes to electronic warfare poses a number of challenges, of which the most important is the lack of uniformity in assessments produced by top Russian military experts. Some Russian sources clearly overestimate Russia’s EW capabilities, asserting their total superiority over foreign analogues. Whereas others argue that “the lack of precision-guided munitions at the terrorists’ disposal have made Russian systems such as the ‘Krasuha’ and ‘Khibiny’ almost irrelevant” on the Syrian battlefield (Tvzvezda.ru, August 8). Still, empirical evidence suggests that events in Syria (and of course in Ukraine—see EDM, May 24) have spurned the Russian side to increase both its theoretical and practical efforts in upgrading EW capabilities. The most recent trends in this domain include:

What ever happened to the Army’s EW capabilities?

The U.S. Army is playing catch-up with near-peer adversaries in the electronic warfare space. But why did the service even fall behind?

Here’s how the Army wants to integrate cyber, EW into operational formations

The Army is continuing to evolve concepts to fight and win in future operating environments. But what will these capabilities look like, and how will they impact the overall force structure?

Greece Backs Extradition Of Russian To U.S. Over Bitcoin Fraud

A Greek tribunal has given the go-ahead for the extradition of Russian cybercrime suspect Aleksandr Vinnik to the United States, where he is wanted in a $4 billion bitcoin-fraud case. The thre…

Spanish Court OKs Extradition Of Russian Hacker To U.S.

Spain&rsquo;s high court has authorized the extradition of a Russian man wanted by U.S. authorities for running a massive computer bot that sent tens of millions of spam e-mails over many years.&nbsp…


US Domestic Policy Reports


Putin Hopes New U.S. Ambassador To Russia Can Improve Ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped the arrival of the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow will improve badly strained ties between the two countries. Putin met U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman and other newly appointed envoys at a Kremlin ceremony on October 3. Putin said the current state of U.S.-Russia relations “cannot satisfy us.” (Reuters)

Russian Studies is Thriving, not Dying | The National Interest

At least in Political Science, Russian studies is alive and well.

Wanted: Russia Experts, No Expertise Required – Bloomberg

Jingoism has replaced scholarship and a spirit of real inquiry when it comes to Russia. That’s a mistake.

Route Fifty – Russian Hacking Fuels Return to Paper Ballots

After Russian hackers targeted state voting systems last year, some officials are renewing their focus on switching to paper ballots, which they say are…

Exclusive: Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin – CNNPolitics

A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump’s victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

GOP Congressman Met in Moscow With Kremlin-Linked Lawyer at Center of Russia Investigation | Foreign Policy

GOP Congressman Met in Moscow With Kremlin-Linked Lawyer at Center of Russia Investigation « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Tillerson Weighed Quitting in July Amid Tensions With Trump: NBC | Top News | US News

US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence – NBC News

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson intended to quit this past summer amid clashes with the White House. He didn’t, and the feuds have not abated.

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