Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update (336) – 15 October 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Again, apologies for a barebones report. This is how the report looks using only one basic editing tool, with no manual editing. No pictures, no maps, no dividing lines. Lots of extra spaces.

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HM Govt engages Saatchi agency to reverse damage done by Russian IO – it will be interesting to see how well they do given the complicity of UK tabloid media in propagating and sensationalising Russian propaganda. More on Iskanders in Kaliningrad.

Pointkovsky very accurately assesses the groupthink driven political delusion in the Kremlin, where wishful thinking has determined most major decisions since and including Krymnash. Kiryakova, Gudkov, Shelin, Kozlov essays show further momentum in the descent into the abyss. Tolstoy report exposes the lifestyle of the oligarchs. Two excellent NatGeo reports.

Ukrainian UGV at AUSA has produced remarkably a lot of Western MSM coverage, and a pleasant change from Russian proxies and naysayers in the MSM whining about corruption and social inequity and blaming the effects of an invasion on Ukraine itself. Nina Khrushcheva visits Ukraine. More on Day of Defender events, and nationalists celebrate the 75th anniversary of Bandera’s UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army), favourite hate object of the Soviets/Russians, Polish nationalists, this despite large numbers of UPA personnel killed by the Nazis. More on equipment handover yesterday, showing the transfer included a wider range of equipment than previously shown (other imagery includes an S-300PS / SA-10B battery). More on Applebaum’s book. More Crimean repression.

Iran debate is now wholly polarised, more along political lines than strategic agendas – so much of the commentary is not about Iran but the sins of POTUS. More Tehran threats over the IRGC – DCI’s comparison of the IRGC to ISIS understates the destructiveness of the organisation, which is Iran’s Waffen SS, and tries to dress and salute like the SS as well. More on the Kurds, Iranian cyber, Syria and Taliban.  HJS study of ISIS indicates selective recruitment of sociopaths – not unique as many terrorist movements are about symbiotically providing a platform for sociopaths to express their needs.

DPRK debate continues, and remains like the Iran debate polarised more along political lines than strategic agendas. More DPRK threats, more appeasement calls, and more sensationalised overstatement of DPRK capabilities. Majumdar yet again gets himself into difficulty. More on DPRK cyber. Most valuable item today is NatGeo short documentary on life inside the DPRK that looks remarkably like the 1950s to 1960s USSR.

Mixed bag of foreign policy reports.

Good work by MWI and Telenko.

Social media and cyber dominant themes in IO and US domestic debate.

Russia / Russophone Reports

UK targets Eurovision viewers to counter Russia’s ‘infowars’ | Politics | The Guardian

Saatchi agency hired to run range of projects, from ‘rebranding’ Ukraine to influencing Russian-speaking minorities in Baltic states

Russia mulls boosting missile capabilities on NATO border | News | DW | 12.10.2017

Russia has warned that it could deploy more high precision missiles to its Kaliningrad enclave, which borders Poland and Lithuania. Moscow has accused the US of illegally propping up its own forces in the region.

Russia May Send More Iskander Missiles To Kaliningrad

Russia may send more of its most advanced missiles to its Kaliningrad region in response to U.S. military deployments on NATO&#39;s eastern flank, a prominent Russian lawmaker said. Retired Genera…

Putin’s system is irreversibly collapsing, says Piontkovsky -Euromaidan Press |

The future of Vladimir Putin and system of power he created will be determined in the next few months, and it will depend on the actions of the United States, believes Andrei Piontkovsky, the renown Russian analyst and political scientist. In a recent interview, he shared his views on what awaits the Putin regime. Piontkovsky believes the Kremlin has not fully realized the extent to which the American political establishment’s attitude toward the Putin regime has changed. “These changes are a direct consequence of Trump’s victory. Before the election, those in Washington who understood the nature of the Russian threat were a distinct minority. Now, however, confronting the Russian threat has become mainstream among the American military and political elite. This was unconditionally demonstrated at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, on July 18-21, 2017. Representatives of nearly all the US military and national security establishment – from previous and current administrations – gave presentations. The main theme of the speakers was that Putin is waging total hybrid warfare against the West, that this reality must be recognized as an existential threat, and that Putin must be defeated,” the analyst said.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Black Hundreds of 1917 have Returned to Russia but Not the Leftist Forces that Blocked Them a Century Ago

Paul Goble Staunton, October 14 – In a classical example of Russian suggestions that “everything new is the well-forgotten old,” Nakanune commentator Elena Kiryakova suggests that the challenges Russia faces now echo the threats it encountered a century ago, but with one essential difference. The notorious xenophobic and anti-Semitic Black Hundreds of the late imperial period have returned in force, she says; but the centrist and leftist forces that opposed them a century ago have not, thus opening the way to a truly horrific future unless something is done and done soon (nakanune.ru/articles/113360/). She cites with approval the conclusions of Russian historian Aleksandr Kolpakidi that Russia now faces “the very same threats and internal contradictions which the empire encountered on the eve of the October Revolution” but lacks any “’heirs of the Bolsheviks’” and so is drifting toward the extreme right, something that will provoke an explosion. Kolpakidi says that today “the difference between rich and poor in the country is growing, and this gap will soon be just as enormous as it was in tsarist times. This is obvious. Then the overwhelming majority of the population – 90 percent – were ‘second’ or even ‘third’ class. The very same thing is true now.” Kiryakova for her part suggests that Natalya Poklonskaya, the leader of the campaign against the film “Mathilda” has become “the informal leader or voice of this mass of ‘Black Hundreds people 2.0” and continues to “tilt at windmills” even though she has not yet sparked the kind of violence that the tsarist-era Black Hundreds were notorious for. Poklonskaya has reached back to Black Hundreds mythology, however, to threaten vengeance on all those who attacked or attack the tsar because they represent the same “dark forces” that destroyed the Russian Empire and sparked the murder of the Russian Imperial Family. According to Yekaterinburg activist Ilya Belous, she has picked up her most notorious ideas from extreme right Russian émigré writers whose works have been circulating in the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate since it entered into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Her activities and those of others like her make it imperative that Russians recall what the Black Hundreds were and what they represented. “Representatives of extreme right organizations in Russia from 1905 to 1917 who operated under the slogans of monarchism, great power chauvinism and anti-Semitism were called Black Hundreds people,” Kiryakova writes. At first, the Nakanune journalist continues, such people called themselves “’the true Russians,’ ‘patriots’ and ‘monarchists,’” but then they accepted the term Black Hundreds because that originally referred to the units Kyzma Minin assembled which “led Russia out of its Time of Troubles.” Among the organizational forms this movement took a century ago were the Russian Monarchy Party, the Black Hundreds, the Union of the Russian People, and the Union of the Archangel Michael, to name just a few. Kolpakidi says that those who support such ideas now are a threat, although as dangerous as they may be, they won’t necessarily overthrow anyone. In 1917, there were approximately two million people enrolled in various Black Hundreds groups, “but in February 1917, not one of them came out to defend their tsar.” At the same time, Leonid Lyashenko, a Moscow historian says, one should not underestimate the impact of such groups now and in the future. They represent an attempt to “split society,” first between believers and non-believers, then among all faiths, and on to other possible divisions as well. “Nothing good will come from this,” he argues, noting that calls to impose Orthodoxy on the non-Orthodox portions of the population will do nothing but spark protests. But despite the obviousness of that, Lyashenko continues, the Black Hundreds of today are calling for “Orthodoxy above everything else.” Kolpakidi adds that this is leading to another rewriting of Russian history one that will replace the liberal one of the 1990s and the Soviet one of earlier decades. And he says that despite the Moscow Patriarchate’s claim that it is opposed to all this, in fact the church hierarchy is actively supporting it. And he ends with his own conspiratorial interpretation that echoes those of many in the Black Hundreds movement. “It is now secret,” he says, “that the CIA actively worked via the émigré church. Naturally contacts have been kept up. Perhaps, this was even done specially” for the current purposes. After all, Kolpakidi concludes, “the Black Hundreds idea appeared in Russia just after the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church with the foreign church.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians have Evolved from Homo Sovieticus to PutinMen, Gudkov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 14 – Lev 87, the head of the Levada Center polling agency, says that Russians have evolved from Homo Sovieticus to Putin Men, changing in certain fundamental ways as a result of Vladimir Putin’s rule but retaining many of the features from the Soviet past. The longtime sociologist says that a Soviet man was archetypically “a person born in and shaped by a totalitarian regime. Life in repressive conditions [made] him crafty and skilled at doublethink. He [knew] how to bypass the authorities’ demands while simultaneously maintaining informal and corrupt relations with them” (themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-evolution-of-homo-sovieticus-to-putins-man-59189). “They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work,” is his motto, Gudkov says. “They pretend to care for us, we pretend to respect them. Soviet man demonstrates his loyalty to the authorities through collective symbolism and performance. But his real values and interests are in the private sphere — his home and family.” The Soviet man “has few demands: he knows he has little to no power and deeply mistrusts everyone but those closest to him, expecting nothing good from anyone else. After living through countless restrictions — the traumas of war, collectivization, modernization, miniscule salaries, residence permits — he just wants one thing: to survive.” While shaken by the transformations of the 1990s, transformations in which Russians “lost their sense of self-respect and dignity,” the sociologist say, they retained many of these qualities; and then Vladimir Putin arose and added some new dimensions by arguing that “there’s nothing to be ashamed of” and that it was time to “turn a new page in our history.” “With that came the conviction that Russia had a right to use force, especially on its borders. Russians’ pride was hurt when former Soviet republics changed alliances. When they had color revolutions or moved to integrate with the West, aggressive feelings spiked, fueled by state propaganda,” the pollster continues. And attitudes toward the rest of the world changed as well. “Today in polls, Russians describe the West as coldhearted, lacking in spiritual values, extremely formal and aggressive. Russians no longer believe the Western model is for them — their country has its own ‘special’ path.” As a result, Gudkov argues, “a national inferiority complex” was covered by “imperial arrogance” to form a mechanism which “allows Russians to come to terms with their lowered status following the collapse of the Soviet Union.” But this aggressive stance toward others has “serious limits.” “Only around seven percent of Russians say they’re prepared to make a personal sacrifice to advance the country’s interests abroad,” an attitude that reflects the fact that “because people feel they have no decision-making power, they don’t feel responsible for the outcome” or show much willingness to support it beyond words. Moreover, Gudkov says, “under Putin, the state has largely returned to its previous role as a paternalistic caretaker with the redistribution of resources as its main function. ‘Putin takes care of us’ is a frequently-heard response in polls. [And] human rights and individual freedoms are just words for the majority of the population.” “At the same time, attitudes towards repression have softened. Josef Stalin, whose popularity is steadily rising even among those who suffered most under him, is seen as an effective manager who deserves respect. This return to the Soviet concept of governance is most common among the elderly who live in the countryside.” In Russia today, only about 15 percent of the population are politically active in support of any position. “The vast majority is completely uninterested in political life. Asked whether they want to be more involved, 85 percent of people say no. Politics, they feel, has nothing to do with them.” “After the protests of 2011, religious conservatism was presented as a counterpoint to demand for reform and political opposition. Being Russian has become synonymous with being an Orthodox Christian. As with most ideologies, this belief is superficial. … 40 percent out of those ‘religious people’ say they don’t believe in God.” Thus, the Soviet man of a generation ago “has somewhat changed: He’s been fed, he’s changed his clothes, he’s bought a car and owns a home. But he still feels insecure and vulnerable. And he’s just as aggressive towards his neighbor because there are no institutions that have laid down rules that people follow,” the sociologist says polls show. “Today the average Russian expects a minimum living standard — work, a home, and some social rights. Private property is valued, but no one expects any guarantees. People know that the government can take away everything they have at any moment and for any reason.” Moreover, they say “the government represents the interests of the security services, oligarchs and bureaucracy — but not the interests of ordinary people. And they believe this cannot be changed. So, in Soviet fashion, they adapt and make deals with the authorities. Corruption is perceived as both serious and commonplace.” At the same time, Gudkov says, “the theory that Russians are somehow not prepared for a liberal democracy is false. Russians today simply reflect and respond to their circumstances. In a different situation they’d behave differently. Now there is no desire for change. The idealism and romanticism of the perestroika era has evaporated.” The young supporting Navalny “are an exception to this rule,” Gudkov concludes, “but the narrative that a new generation will bring change is a false one. Today, Russia’s Soviet-era institutions stamp out any idealism. It will take more than one generation to change that.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Economic Plans Will Lead to Russia Falling Ever Further Behind the West, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 14 – Behind upbeat verbiage that has changed little over his time in office, Vladimir Putin appears to have finally settled on an economic plan that represents no threat to his power but that will generate such slow growth that Russia will fall ever further behind Western countries, according to Sergey Shelin. Putin’s “new economic therapy” for the country, the Rosbalt commentator says, is one that the Kremlin leader at least partially believes in and is based on four principles (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/10/13/1652956.html): : · The installation in all positions of technocrats, “that is, of people absolutely obedient and with a horror of making any independent decisions. Their task is to fulfill orders from the highest which by definition will be wise.” · The building up of “the power of the control and supervisory machine. Each person, be he an official, a business person of any rank, or an ordinary citizen must constantly be supervised from all sides and be in a panic-like fear of doing something ‘shadowy.’” · “The completion of the process of bringing state income into line with expenditures … while preserving but no longer increasing the enormous amount spend on the force structures and cutting everything else from pensions to education, medicine and road construction.” · The backing of those parts of the economy doing relatively well with state funds and especially on those involved in “beautifully composed projects,” likely of the gigantist type. There is no place in this system for entrepreneurialism, but it will ensure low inflation, a balanced budget, state control, and the transparency Putin so highly values in others. It won’t attract much investment or generate much creativity among workers. But that isn’t needed, Shelin says, if all one wants is modest growth that is no threat to the existing political system. Moreover, it will give some growth, albeit relatively little, but some. This year, as this system has been put in place, it generated about one percent growth in GDP. (The second percent that the government talks about reflects not reality but the constant efforts of Rosstat and the government to be upbeat, Shelin says.) But one percent is half as much as other countries are achieving, and that means with each passing year, Russia under Putin’s system will fall further and further behind. Eventually, there will be no possibility of catching up without changing the system as a whole, the Rosbalt commentator suggests. Unfortunately, there are reasons to think that even this low growth rate will be hard to sustain if the Putin system remains in place. The wrong people are likely to get government money, the continuing centralization of the system will make larger mistakes more common, and the system will lead to the further degradation of management in many places. Shelin says that any careful observer has already noted that there has been a decline in the level of competence of workers and a weakening of management as people by instinct “return to Soviet standards, something “inevitable in institutions” which lack the opportunity to make any decisions for themselves. But there likely will be some small amount of growth each year, the Moscow commentator says, something the regime can point to in the hope of saving itself because it will inevitably present any increase in GDP as its work and any problems as the result of the hostility of the outside world.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Sets Up Mechanism to Promote Good News about Domestic Developments

Paul Goble Staunton, October 14 – In advance of the presidential elections, the Kremlin has put in place a mechanism to gather, evaluate and disseminate through state-controlled media news about positive developments inside Russia lest the current depressed state of Russian public opinion continues. Petr Kozlov of BBC’s Russian Service reports that the Presidential Administration has taken this step because officials there “want to improve the social self-assessments” of Russian citizens lest the media’s focus on bad news overwhelms them and leads them to blame the incumbent regime (bbc.com/russian/features-41601374). Recently, Sergey Kiriyenko, the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration, held a meeting with federal officials and asked them to “systematize the collection and offering of information which could be used to demonstrate that life is improving,” according to a Kremlin source. Subsequently, according to an official in the office of the governor of Krasnodar kray, Kozlov says, the Kremlin has made the same demand to regional officials and to companies as well. But he continues by observing that “positive news is only part of the information strategy developed by the authorities in advance of the presidential elections.” It is also working on a digital strategy that is likely to be carried out by the Mail.ru group. And some Kremlin supporters, if not the PA itself, plan for 100 regional channels in the Telegram network as well. Three developments appear behind these moves, Kozlov suggests. First, polls show that Russians are increasingly unhappy and ever more prepared to make demands of the regime. Second, the structure of the media means that even outlets that want to boost Putin often feature bad news to compete with others because bad news always gets more coverage than good. And third, while everyone agrees that Putin will win re-election if he runs, his administration wants to make sure that the election is as comfortable for him as possible, something that will be all the more likely if Russians have been given a new diet of news suggesting that things are getting better and better in this best of all possible worlds. The Kremlin is generally pleased with the messages involved in coverage about international affairs. “There,” one Moscow observer says, “everything is good, everyone understands that there are problems in Ukraine, that we are winning in Syria and that Trump is a strange man.” But domestically, there are problems. Not only are more problems there reported widely, observers in Moscow say; but the style of Russian media in general and of Russian television in particular makes it unlikely that the regime will be able to turn things around at least in any way that will have the impact the Kremlin expects.

Putin crony Sergei Pugachev lied about £71m trust for countess | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

Countess Alexandra Tolstoy’s life has the epic sweep of the novels written by her Russian namesake, a distant relative. An English boarding school was followed

Billionaire’s lover who crashed to earth with a big bump | Daily Mail Online

Alexandra Tolstoy, 43, was the long-time mistress of Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev. He was accused of illegally siphoning money from a Russian bank and the cash could now be seized.

Russia’s Governors Shake-Up: Fresh Ideas Or ‘Illusion Of Renewal’?

MOSCOW — As President Vladimir Putin this week continued his run of sackings in Russia’s regions, state TV told the nation the Kremlin is grooming a new generation of leaders for top posts acros…

Russian Authorities Detain Crimean Tatar Protesters In Crimea

Dozens of people have been detained in the Russia-occupied Ukrainian region of Crimea for demonstrating in defense of Crimean Tatars. Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov said on October 14 that more than 10…

Russia To Reject Strasbourg Court If Not Allowed To Help Select Judges

Russian State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has said Moscow will not consider itself bound by the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg if Russia is not allowed t…

Russian Director Zvyagintsev Wins Top London Film Prize, Again

Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s drama Loveless&nbsp;has won the best-picture prize at the London Film Festival, three years after his previous film, Leviathan, won the same award. …

Russia Launches Space Cargo Ship To ISS

An unmanned Progress space freighter carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) was launched by Russia from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14. The Soyuz 2.1…

Launch of Russia’s Fastest Space Cargo Mission Yet Aborted in Final Minute

The Russian space agency Roscosmos aborted the launch of its fastest cargo mission to the International Space Station yet today (Oct. 12) due to &quot;reasons yet to be analyzed&quot; that occurred just one minute before liftoff, a NASA spokesperson said.

Take a Tour of a Soviet-Era Ghost Town at the Edge of the World | National Geographic

Located just 800 miles from the North Pole on the island of Spitsbergen, the Soviet-era ghost town of Pyramiden is one of the northernmost permanent settlements in the world. The site was first developed as a mining village in 1936, after the Soviets acquired the rights to mine the local coalfields. Although Pyramiden was abandoned in 1998, it remains remarkably well preserved due to the frigid Arctic climate. Today only six people permanently reside in the former communist outpost. Working as Pyramiden’s resident tour guide, Aleksandr Romanovsky is one of those few inhabitants. Better known as “Sasha from Pyramiden,” Romanovsky gives tours of the frozen Soviet time capsule to curious tourists. In this short film from filmmaker David Beazley, visit the Arctic ruins of the Soviet era as Romanovsky reflects on his solitary life at the edge of the world.

Having Fled a War in Abkhazia, These People Are Stranded—in a Soviet-Era Luxury Hotel | National Geographic

Having fled a forgotten war two decades ago, three women live in a twilit limbo.

‘Expect The Unexpected’ As Kyrgyz Voters Cast Ballots In Presidential Poll

Voting is under way in Kyrgyzstan in an election that could result in the first peaceful transfer of power from one popularly elected president to another in Central Asia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Belarus Reports

EU ‘Ready to Welcome’ Belarus President to Eastern Partnership Meeting

RFE/RL reports that President Alexander Lukashenko has been invited to the EU’s Eastern Partnership meeting “without restrictions.”

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Moldovans Killed, Wounded In Ivory Coast Plane Crash

Four Moldovans were killed and two were injured when a propeller-driven Russian-made Antonov cargo plane chartered by the French Army crashed in rough weather into the sea near the international airport in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, on October 14. Ivorian Security Minister Sidiki Diakite said four French citizens were also injured in the crash. (Reuters)

Four Moldovans Killed In Plane Crash In Africa

Four Moldovans were killed and two others were injured when a propeller-engine cargo plane crashed into the sea near the international airport in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan on October 14, th…

Ukraine Reports

Robot Wars Are Here as Ukraine Plans to Use Them In Conflict With Russia | Big Think

Ukrainian military shows off a new robot that can see action against Russian-backed forces next year.

Ukraine demonstrates new armed ground robot | Daily Mail Online

Ukrainian military officials have unveiled an adaptable war robot that can switch up its mode of travel, and even the type of weapons it carries. The Phantom could hit the battlefield next year.

Armed Ground Robots Could Join the Ukrainian Conflict Next Year – Defense One

At AUSA, officials showed off a robot shaped by the hard lessons of hybrid war.

Russia-Backed Forces Could Face Armed Ground Robots in Ukraine Conflict in 2018

As robotic warfare becomes increasingly normal, experts warn we still have much to learn about the overall implications of using this technology.

Nina Khrushcheva: In Russia, the attitude toward the authorities is obsequious – it’s “people for the government”. In Ukraine, it’s more about “government for the people”

Nikita Khrushchev’s great-granddaughter Nina Khrushcheva, who is Professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York, has told UNIAN of what she had gained from having family ties with the former first secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee, as well as of the way modern Russia is following the path of the Soviet&nbsp;government,&nbsp;and explained why she considers the Trump family &quot;a malignant growth on American democracy.&quot; News 13 October from UNIAN.

Ukraine is no weakling in military sense – Yurij Mykhajlyshyn

Ukraine cannot boast it has state-of-the-art high-precision weapons. However, Ukraine has well-trained land troops, powerful artillery, mechanized and tank units. We cannot be called weaklings in this sense,” political analyst Yurij Mykhajlyshyn said, speaking on ZIK TV late Oct. 14. “Of course, the scale of military confrontation in Donbas cannot be compared with the catastrophic events of WWII. The situation in Donbas should not scare us too much. We cannot boast state-of-the-art weapons but our armed forces have well-trained land, artillery, and tank units. We are no weaklings by any measure, and our army is able to repulse enemy attacks” the expert said. “It is wrong to scare Ukrainians that the war and occupation will happen if radical political changes take place in the country. In my opinion, it is the lack of radical political and economic changes that pays the way to the intervention and occupation of Ukraine by the enemy,” he said.

Poroshenko: will Not allow repeating the mistakes of a century ago | The Quebec Times

Petro Poroshenko regularly participates in events with the participation of the military Petro Poroshenko spoke at the ceremony of oath students in Kyiv military Lyceum named Ivan Bohun, timed to the Day of defender of Ukraine and the feast of the Intercession. “Today we remember the centenary of the UNR Army, who defended our land from armed aggression from the outside and “red” and “white” Russia. Independence 100 years ago, lost the politicians and not the military who do not have enough responsibility to unite against an outside threat,” – said Petro Poroshenko. “On the current political elite, do not all seem to read the history books. However, my team has learned its lessons. I guarantee that will not allow repeating the mistakes of a century ago”, – the President added. The students took the oath on St. Sophia square in Kiev. “There is no doubt that among these age not matured Teens are the future officers and generals, ambassadors and Ministers. And perhaps even the Secretary General of NATO, because Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance”, – said Petro Poroshenko. He also announced the transfer of the army of 200 units, including 62 tanks. The transfer will take place in Zhytomyr, on the range of the 95 airmobile brigade. On 14 October Ukraine celebrates the feast of the Intercession and the defender’s Day. Also this day marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian insurgent army. A variety of events are planned in different cities of the country. In particular the March in honor of UPA fighters ATO will be held in Kyiv,Lviv, Kramatorsk.

Nationalists celebrate anniversary of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (PHOTOS) | KyivPost

Ukrainian nationalists held their annual march on Oct. 14 in Kyiv. Demonstrators march the streets of Kyiv every year on Oct. 14, when Orthodox Christians celebrate the Intercession of the Theotokos (Mother of God), known commonly as Pokrov, or Day of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin. Historically, the holiday was the major one for Ukrainian Cossacks and in 2014 was pronounced the Cossacks Day, an official holiday. It is also the day when the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, known under its Ukrainian abbreviation UPA, was created on Oct. 14, 1942. The paramilitary and later partisan army engaged in conflicts during World War II against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Ukrainians also celebrate Defender Day on Oct. 14, established in 2014 to pay tribute to all those who fought and are currently fighting for state sovereignty.

 

Nationalists Mark 75th Anniversary Of Ukrainian Insurgent Army

Thousands of Ukrainian nationalists have marched through the capital, Kyiv, to mark the 75th anniversary of the creation of the controversial Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). March organizers sai…

Nationalists march on occasion of Defender of Ukraine Day, 75th anniversary of UIA starts in central Kyiv

The March of Glory on the occasion of the Defender of Ukraine Day and the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) has started on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard in downtown Kyiv.

ATO report: Donbas militants violate truce 23 times in last day

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 23 times in the past 24 hours, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 15 October from UNIAN.

Ukraine reports 12 attacks on its troops in Donbas Oct 14

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian troops in Donbas 12 times on Saturday, October 14, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 14 October from UNIAN.

Генеральний штаб ЗСУ on Twitter: “Self-propelled 152.4 mm howitzers “Msta-S” are taking part in artillery challenge in Chernihiv region #UAF #artillery #challenge #ARMY https://t.co/z3bs6xqvnd”

 

 

President handed certificates for military equipment and weaponry to the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The overall number of items exceeded 200.

 

 

 

Tests of the Skif anti-tank missile system showed that its warhead burns armor up to 1 meter thick – Ukrainian Skif antitank missile system: Breaks armor up to 1 m – 112.international

Tests of the Skif anti-tank missile system showed that its combat part burns armor up to 1 meter thick.

Ukrmilitary English on Twitter: “BTR-4MV1 APC at the Arms And Security 2017 exhibition in Kyiv #armsandsecurity #armsandsecurity2017 https://t.co/2V8MrSvQTD”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RK-4 Ingul portable rocket grenade launcher

Ingul is intended to destroy lightly-armoured and unarmoured equipment, field-type constructions…

FSB detained six Ukrainians who crossed Russian border – 112.international

They are accused of smuggling

Russian MP says Ukraine did not invite Russia’s delegation to PABSEC General Assembly in Kyiv

Head&nbsp;of the&nbsp;Russian delegation&nbsp;to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), State Duma MP Mikhail Emelyanov says Russia has not received an invitation to the General Assembly’s session to be held in Kyiv in late 2017, which was for the first time over PABSEC’s 25-year history, according to the Russian news agency TASS. News 15 October from UNIAN.

Russia will not take part in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Kyiv – Ukraine didn’t invite Russia to Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation – 112.international

Russia will not take part in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Kyiv

Romanian minister: Ukraine will keep minority schools open

Ukraine has pledged not to close Romanian language schools under a new education law that has caused alarm in Romania, Russia and Hungary, Romania’s foreign minister said Friday, according to the Daily Mail. News 14 October from UNIAN.

Why Is Ukraine Attacking Anti-Corruption Activists?

It’s disheartening to see law enforcement agencies more concerned with lining their pockets than fighting corruption.

Millions of People in Ukraine Are in Desperate Straits as Winter Approaches

Humanitarian assistance is greatly needed for millions of people living in zones close to contact line with Russia that separates the areas controlled by each side

How Stalin Hid Ukraine’s Famine From the World – The Atlantic

In 1932 and 1933, millions died across the Soviet Union—and the foreign press corps helped cover up the catastrophe.

Ukraine’s forgotten holocaust | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

And Stalin, recognizing the scope of the disaster, refused to authorize any relief, as to do so would be to admit publicly that collectivization was at fault.

Activist threatened for opposing Ukraine city’s honoring of Nazi SS officer | The Times of Israel

A street was named for Dmytro Paliiv, a commander of the Galician SS division, a German-led unit comprising Ukrainian volunteers. An activist against fascism who sued a Ukrainian municipality for naming a street for a Nazi SS officer has come under a campaign of intimidation, he said. Mikhail Voroniak, a Red Army veteran, in summer sued the western municipality of Kalush near Lviv for deciding to name a street for Dmytro Paliiv, a commander of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician. An activist against fascism who sued a Ukrainian municipality for naming a street for a Nazi SS officer has come under a campaign of intimidation, he said. Mikhail Voroniak, a Red Army veteran, in summer sued the western municipality of Kalush near Lviv for deciding to name a street for Dmytro Paliiv, a commander of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician. Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up Voroniak told the Russian news site Primechaniya that he has come under a “aggressive pressures and threats of murder” since he sued. A local court last month dismissed his motion against the honor to Paliiv but Voroniak appealed to the Lviv Administrative Court of Appeals, which was scheduled to review the appeal last week. The court postponed its deliberations to Oct. 30, Primechaniya reported Friday. One of the threats made against Voroniak was on Facebook, where a user wrote to him: “Be afraid of your own shadow. Death to the enemies,” the news site reported. The naming of the street for Paliiv, whose troops murdered countless Jews during the Holocaust, is part of a series of gestures honoring nationalists in Ukraine following the 2014 revolution, in which nationalists played a leading role. They brought down the government of President Viktor Yanukovuch, whose critics said was a corrupt Russian stooge. Also before the revolution, Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and other nationalists accused of complicity in the murder of Ukrainian Jews have received honors from state authorities for their fight against Russia. But the level and frequency of state-sponsored glorification of their actions has increased dramatically after the revolution, which sparked an armed conflict with Russian troops and separatists loyal to Moscow.

Kyiv Bans Russian Banknote Featuring Crimean Images

Ukraine has banned a new Russian banknote that includes images from the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea. The National Bank of Ukraine announced on October 13 that the new Russian 200 ruble ($…

49 people in occupied Crimea hauled in for “talks” on their protesting – 112.international

49 people were detained in the occupied Crimea for “unauthorized picketing”. After the so-called local police “talked to them”, they were released, Interfax informs linking to the so-called “Ministry of Internal Affairs of Crimea”.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Liberman: Trump’s Iran speech brave, Europe ‘burying head in sand’ like pre-WWII | The Times of Israel

Defense minister says all moderate regional states know Tehran presents ‘existential risk,’ Europeans looking to ‘escape reality’

CIA Director Pompeo Lashes Out at Iran, Compares It to ISIS – NBC News

The day before the Trump administration is expected to announce its decision on the Iran nuclear deal, Pompeo compared Iran to its hated nemesis ISIS.

Newt Gingrich: ‘Death to America’ — Why Trump’s Iran policy is right | Fox News

In my experience, dictators and revolutionary movements mean exactly what they say. In this case, the Iranians would like to destroy both America and Israel.

Nikki Haley was Trump’s Iran whisperer – POLITICO

U.N. Ambassador paves they way for decertification as other cabinet members urged caution.

EU: US has no right to terminate Iran accord – POLITICO

In sharp rebuke to Trump, EU’s foreign policy chief says deal will stay in place.

Germany’s foreign minister warns Trump’s Iran move increases risk of war.

President Donald Trump managed to get the country’s European allies to pretty much side with Russia and Iran after he threatened to leave the nuclear a …

Approach to Iran exposes growing irritation between U.S. and allies – The Washington Post

No single country can demand changes in the nuclear accord, one European leader warned.

The Audacity of Iran’s Foreign Minister – The Atlantic

Javad Zarif portrays a destabilizing revolutionary power as a benevolent force for stability—and a dictatorship as a democracy.

Iran issues second warning to US over security force decision | New York Post

LONDON — Iran told the United States on Tuesday that it will keep “all options on table” if President Donald Trump designates its elite…

Behind Trump’s latest moves: A return to constitutional government | New York Post

Do you remember how glum Barak Obama looked after last year’s election? It wasn’t because he liked Hillary Clinton. Instead, he was mourning for the last four years of his administration. He was looking at all his unconstitutional executive orders going down the tube. Obama kept the Affordable Care Act looking healthy via an extra-constitutional grant of $1 trillion to health-insurance companies. That required congressional approval, and Obama’s decision to bypass Congress was held unconstitutional by a federal court. President Trump’s decision Thursday to halt the bailout makes the litigation moot and represents a return to constitutional government. The same can be said of Trump’s Friday decision to throw the Iran deal back to Congress, by refusing to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal. Recall that this was a treaty that should never have been adopted without two-thirds approval in the Senate, as required by the Constitution. That didn’t happen — because a compliant Republican Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which provided that the president certify to Congress every 90 days that the suspension of sanctions against the regime is “appropriate and proportionate” with respect to its illicit nuclear program.

Trump’s Irrational Hatred of the Iran Deal | The New Yorker

Even fierce critics of Tehran called the agreement vital to international security. The President wants to decertify it.

Trump’s Iran Derangement – The New York Times

Decertifying the Iran nuclear deal will signal that the United States is now a power whose word is worthless.

Iran denies reports Tehran closed border with Kurdish Iraq – Iran – Haaretz.com

Iran’s Tasnim news agency says Iran closed the border over last month’s independence vote ■ Iran had previously blocked direct flights to and from Kurdistan

Iran’s a Distraction. The Urgent Problem Is Kurdish Oil – Bloomberg Gadfly

Kurdish referendum fallout could quickly spiral into substantial disruption of oil exports.

Trump Decertifying the Iran Deal Could Have Unseen Cyberattack Consequences | WIRED

By decertifying the nuclear deal with Iran, President Trump could risk provoking hacks from a country that hasn’t focused on US cyberattacks in years.

Iran cyberattack targeted UK Prime Minister’s email | New York Post

Iran was behind a cyberattack that targeted British Prime Minister Theresa May’s email and dozens of other accounts belonging to members of Parliament,…

Joshua Boyle says Taliban-linked captors raped Caitlan Coleman, killed infant daughter – The Washington Post

Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle were abducted in October 2012 while traveling in a remote area of Afghanistan outside Kabul.

Video: Russia uses Deir Ezzor airbase to continue fight against ISIS

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:55 P.M.) – After more than one year of forced stoppage, the recently-liberated Deir Ezzor airbase returns to its full operational mode i

Russia tends to think chemical attack in Syria’s Khan Sheykhoun staged

Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Moscow tends more to opt for the “staging” version of the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib Province earlier th

ISIS used promise of rape to lure recruits with history of sexual violence, report says – ISIS – Haaretz.com

British think-tank finds ‘relationship between committing terrorist attacks and having a history of physical and/or sexual violence,’ Guardian reports

Rape and slavery was lure for UK Isis recruits with history of sexual violence

Men with a history of sexual violence and domestic abuse joined Islamic State because of the organisation’s systemic use of rape and slavery as a form of terrorism, according to new analysis. The promotion and sanctioning of sexual violence by the extremist group was a pivotal means of “attracting, retaining, mobilising and rewarding fighters” as well as punishing kaffir, or disbelievers, says a report to be released by the Henry Jackson Society. Enshrining a theology of rape, the sexual exploitation of women alongside trafficking helped fund the caliphate and was used to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating prohibited.

ISIS setbacks reported in Syria – CNN

ISIS is said to have suffered key setbacks in Syria, with US-led coalition forces grabbing more turf in the terror group’s self-declared capital of Raqqa and the Syrian military seizing a key eastern city.

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

Trump too tough on Iran, North Korea, Clinton says | Fox News

With his tough talk and hardline stances on Iran and North Korea, President Donald Trump could damage America’s credibility abroad – and even provoke a nuclear-arms race in East Asia, Hillary Clinton says.

South Korea parliament chief tells North Korea to resume missile talks: Ifax

Chung Sye-kyun, the speaker of South Korea’s parliament, on Sunday called on North Korea to resume talks over its nuclear and missile programme, saying its nuclear tests were a threat to the Korean Peninsula, the Interfax news agency reported.

North Korea not ready to hold talks with South Korea in Russia – agencies

Politicians from North and South Korea will not hold direct talks in Russia on Monday about Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programme despite attending the same event, Russian news agencies said on Sunday.

North Korea in talks with Russia: FINAL chance to stop World War 3 | Daily Star

RUSSIA will hold talks with North Korea in a last bid to stop an all-out nuclear war erupting on the Korean Peninsula.

A Secretive NYC Backchannel May Be The Best Hope For Avoiding War With North Korea

The North Korean diplomats in New York “don’t engage in propaganda, they don’t bang on the table, they don’t engage in threats,” a veteran diplomat said.

‘War by next summer’: North Korean crisis at perilous point – NZ Herald

Trump ‘overloading’ the US military and pushing us towards war, a general has said.

North Korea calls Trump a ‘strangler of peace’ – CNN

North Korea continued its harsh anti-US rhetoric Sunday, calling President Donald Trump a “war merchant and strangler of peace.”

North Korea’s Threats Won’t Intimidate Australia, Minister Says – Bloomberg

Australia pledged to continue to support allies seeking to curb North Korea’s efforts to build a nuclear arsenal after Pyongyang warned of the risks of siding with President Donald Trump’s administration.

Australia will ‘not be cowed’ by North Korea threats, minister says | World news | The Guardian

North Korea warns Australia ‘will not be able to avoid a disaster’ if it continues to ‘zealously’ support US’s stance against Pyongyang

Why It Might Be Nearly Impossible to Destroy North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons | The National Interest Blog

And why deterrence might be the best option.

What America’s key diplomat on North Korea says about ‘Rocket Man’ | Rosemary O’Hara – Sun Sentinel

In an interview with news editors, America’s top diplomat on North Korea lays out the year’s events, where things stand and what it will take to tamp down tensions.

The Book Mattis Reads to Be Prepared for War With North Korea – POLITICO Magazine

What America’s top military leaders have learned from a 54-year-old history of the Korean War.

North Korea has used its embassies for wild business ventures — and neighbours aren’t happy | Business Insider

North Koreans have created various business…

12 surreal pictures of a missile-site-turned-resort in North Korea – Business Insider

New plans show North Korea wants to expand a surreal resort that is also a missile testing site. But beneath the propaganda are signs the country is changing.

North Korea in 3D: See Rare Photos of People in the Secret State | National Geographic

Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič headed to North Korea with the goal of documenting daily life in a country rarely seen by foreigners. See the process behind capturing these hypnotic 3D images inside one of the most secretive states in the world. The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

North Korean design gives a glimpse inside the hermit kingdom | WIRED UK

Nick Bonner’s memorabilia from the reclusive nation has helped to uncover its secret identity

Japan labels North Korea ‘significant geopolitical risk’ to global economy | The Japan Times

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso singles out North Korea’s development of deliverable nuclear weapons as “the most significant geopolitical risk” to steady and broad-based economic growth.

Expert Warns of North Korea’s Growing Cyberwar Capabilities

Russia, China may have helped Pyongyang in hacking effort that netted US-South Korean war plans for ‘decapitation’ of North Korea’s leadership

Microsoft head blames North Korea for ‘WannaCry’ hospital cyberattack

He added that governments need to do more to protect citizens from malicious attacks.

Why I Went to North Korea – The New York Times

When war may be looming, it’s critical that journalists go out and report.

China’s 19th Communist Party Congress is about to start – is Xi Jinping trying to tighten his grip?

China&rsquo;s Communist rulers will hold their twice-a-decade Party Congress next week &ndash; a high-powered political gathering which determines who will rule 1.

Foreign Policy Reports

Why Russia’s Nord Stream Pipeline is About Geopolitics, Not Economy – YouTube

UATV English Published on Oct 15, 2017

UAWire – Russia calls Turkey’s decision to not allow ships from the Crimea an ‘unfriendly step’

Turkey has confirmed that it will not permit entry for ships arriving from ports in the Russian-annexed Crimea, stated a member of the Turkish …

Crisis in Central Asia: Why conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan occured – 112 International – Crisis in Central Asia: Why conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan occured – 112.international

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev accused official Astana of interfering in the internal affairs of his country

Don’t Worry About War with North Korea — Venezuela Is the Real Problem

As Donald Trump continues to recklessly handle North Korea, a humanitarian crisis in the South American nation could pose a larger problem for the U.S.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications

MWI Podcast: Human Analysis in the Age of the Algorithm, with Dr. Nicholas Krohley – Modern War Institute

In the era of big data, the minds of human analysts are no match for the processing power of computers fed with terabytes of data and armed with powerful algorithms. But MWI Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Nicholas Krohley argues in this episode that, far from obviating the need for those human analysts, the incorporation of more and more data into military and intelligence analysis makes human judgment more important than ever. Listen to the full episode below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the MWI podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app!

US tank brigade to be armed with Israel’s Trophy system – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the international arena is the most complex and demanding he had seen in more than four decades of service.

Trent Telenko | History Weekend: Revisiting “Atomic Diplomacy,” the “Million Casualty Lie,” and Casualty Planning for the Invasion of Japan

When I wrote my Sept 2nd column “Happy VJ-Day, Plus 72 Years,” last month, it was with the intent to show a couple of things. First, that “Atomic Diplomacy” — the belief that USA dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan to intimidate the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War — was a Leftist identity based belief system unsupported by the real historical record. And second, that it’s genesis was due to the lies and cover up of those lies by a generation of high level US national security bureaucrats like Paul Nitze and WW2 generation flag rank politicians for decades after World War II. This column will expand on that second point by revisiting “Atomic Diplomacy,” the “Million Casualty Lie” founding myth that it pushed and recent research finds by research partner Ryan Crierie and I had on the War Department casualty planning for the Invasion of Japan. In addition to the lies of Paul Nitze so well laid out by Paul Newman’s various books, which my last VJ-Day column dealt with, there was in fact a great deal of lying about the American casualties and the Atomic bomb. It was a “Million Casualty Lie,” but the Atomic Diplomacy Historical Revisionists got the lie vector 180 degrees wrong. The Post War American military, and General Marshall in particular, was in fact hiding a much bigger casualty number for the conquest of Japan and the destruction of the Imperial Japanese military. And they had been hiding it from public view since July 1944. The following will show that the War Department planning process is where these lies were born during the war, where these institutional lies were spread from and the how/why/who kept these lies going in the decades afterwards.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Spies like us: How computers bonded the U.S. and Russia – Salon.com

Award-winning news and culture, features breaking news, in-depth reporting and criticism on politics, business, entertainment and technology.

U.S. and Russian company Kaspersky spying scandal

The Russian government used antivirus software from the private Russian company Kaspersky to steal classified U.S. data. We asked experts about it.

Twitter gives profile names of Russian-linked accounts to Senate investigators – CNNPolitics

Twitter has given staff of the Senate intelligence committee profile names of 201 accounts linked to Russian efforts at interfering in last year’s election, two sources with knowledge of the matter confirm to CNN.

The Russia Investigations: Facebook Makes Nice, Imbroglio Sucks In More Tech Firms : NPR

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg launches a goodwill tour in D.C., more big tech companies are pulled into the imbroglio and the White House weighs its Muller strategy.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#87) October 13, 2017 – To Inform is to Influence

US Domestic Policy Reports

US Congress mulls first ‘hack back’ revenge law. And yup, you can guess what it’ll let people do – To Inform is to Influence

Can you say ‘collateral damage’? By Iain Thomson in San Francisco 13 Oct 2017 at 22:36 Two members of the US House of Representatives today introduced a law bill that would allow hacking victims to seek revenge and hack the hackers who hacked them. The Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act (ACDC) [PDF] amends the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to make limited retaliatory strikes against cyber-miscreants legal in America for the first time. The bill would allow hacked organizations to venture outside their networks to identify an intruder and infiltrate their systems, destroy any data that had been stolen, and deploy “beaconing technology” to trace the physical location of the attacker. “While it doesn’t solve every problem, ACDC brings some light into the dark places where cybercriminals operate,” said co-sponsor Representative Tom Graves (R-GA). “The certainty the bill provides will empower individuals and companies use new defenses against cybercriminals. I also hope it spurs a new generation of tools and methods to level the lopsided cyber battlefield, if not give an edge to cyber defenders. We must continue working toward the day when it’s the norm – not the exception – for criminal hackers to be identified and prosecuted.” I never thought of it this way. It’s basically the cyber version of being allowed to murder someone for entering your property. https://t.co/vu1TxqQIMK— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) October 13, 2017. Congress has been mulling such laws for a while but many security professionals are worried that such legislation will lead to IT departments and individuals going into full vigilante mode, and causing massive collateral damage. But the bill’s sponsors say that safeguards have been built in.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Is Trump’s Delay in Imposing New Sanctions Playing into a Larger Moscow Game to Lift Them?

Paul Goble Staunton, October 15 – Many Russian commentators are suggesting that Donald Trump’s refusal to impose Congress-mandated sanctions on Russian leaders is an act of “sabotage” – see, for example, Aleksandr Nemets’ essay on Kasparov.ru about recent developments in Washington (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59E25FA8BE820). Despite mounting anger in the US Congress and the American population, Nemets says, “Trump does not want – or can’t, as a result of secret ties with Moscow! – to change his previous model of behavior” of pushing for better relations with Moscow and thus “continues to sabotage anti-Russian sanctions.” But another Russian commentator, Anna Nemtsova, suggests more may be going on, that Moscow even now is working to frighten Washington into lifting sanctions by having Russians pull more than one trillion US dollars out of the West or by playing on Western fears that if sanctions continue, someone even worse than Putin could come to power in Moscow (thedailybeast.com/moscows-plan-to-beat-sanctions-russia-first). In a new article entitled “Moscow’s Plan to Beat Sanctions? ‘Russia First!’” Nemtsova says that both conservative and liberal factions in the Kremlin elite believe that the new sanctions have “cornered” Putin and are forcing him to take radical actions to try to save the situation by convincing Washington it must change course. She writes: “some Russian VIPs still wake up hoping to make a deal with the Americans before the Russian presidential election campaign of 2018 is underway—to convince Washington that if the pressure of sanctions grows worse, a much scarier “enfant terrible” than Vladimir Putin will come to power in Russia.” These people, Nemtsov continues, call themselves “the Jumpstart Party” (ryvok in Russian) and, according to one of its leader’s, Yury Krupnov, who says he has Putin’s support, are demanding that Russian elites “either bring all your offshore money back home and invest in developing the economy or you will have to go.” The group estimates that Russian companies now have approximately one trillion US dollars in banks and brokerage accounts abroad. Russian businessmen could be threatened with jail or death if they did not repatriate their funds, Yury Gromyko of Moscow’s Shiffers Institute says. Such a sudden and massive withdrawal of funds, of course, would have a significant impact on Western markets and might lead some in Washington to reconsider their positions on sanctions. Indeed, it is not impossible that President Trump is among those who might expect that to happen and who might delay sanctions to prevent that from taking place But in Russia itself, Nemtsova says, few expect this call for repatriation to work anytime soon. Repressive moves against Russian businesses just now would, as Moscow economist Yevgeny Gontmakher points out, end any chance that foreigners would ever invest in “such an isolationist Russia.” But the Jumpstart supporters have a fallback position, one that might do even more to change some minds in the West. According to Krupnov, “Washington should consider a deal with Russia, a joint struggle against global challenges.” If it doesn’t, a new leader will emerge in the Russian capital. He won’t be a reformer, the Ryvok advocate says, “but a completely anti-Western, revenge-thirsty general, who would cause harm to the USA.” For Moscow’s strategy as outlined by Nemtsova to work, it would not even be necessary for the Russian side to take either action. Simply threatening the one and raising the prospect of the other might be enough. Indeed, it is not impossible that the comments by Ryvok leaders to Nemtsova and others are part and parcel of that game. Moscow may calculate that it need make only a few moves to lend credibility to these threats to change minds in the West and thus it may believe that Trump’s foot-dragging will play into its hands.

Wary of Hackers, States Move to Upgrade Voting Systems – To Inform is to Influence

WASHINGTON — State election officials, worried about the integrity of their voting systems, are pressing to make them more secure ahead of next year’s midterm elections.Reacting in large part to Russian efforts to hack the presidential election last year, a growing number of states are upgrading electoral databases and voting machines, and even adding cybersecurity experts to their election teams. The efforts — from both Democrats and Republicans — amount to the largest overhaul of the nation’s voting infrastructure since the contested presidential election in 2000 spelled an end to punch-card ballots and voting machines with mechanical levers.

U.S. discord emboldens Russia, could boost gas prices – The Blade

The next time you are at the pump, take your time to appreciate the moderate gas prices. They may not last. The Kremlin-controlled Russian media have focused on reports of the discord between and within the U.S. branches of power, most recently flooding media outlets with reports of the spat between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tellingly, the Russian media have abstained from gloating, which was its usual reaction with slip-ups of the Obama administration, as was the case with the announced Syrian chemical-weapons-use red line that was never enforced. That’s because the status quo — with the Trump administration in its current state of disrepair — suits the Kremlin just fine. The Kremlin — which publicly defines Russia’s national interest as winning in a zero-sum game against the United States — has successfully used the mixed signals that the U.S. leadership has sent to both friends and enemies around the world to its own advantage. Most notably in the Middle East.

Clinton attacks Trump’s handling of Iran, North Korea – The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton says President Donald Trump’s threat to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord is “dangerous,” and she suggests her former campaign opponent is undermining the validity of the United States’ promises to other nations.

Bob Corker on Trump’s biggest problem: The ‘castration’ of Rex Tillerson – The Washington Post

Undercutting his own chief diplomat sets the president on a dicey binary path.

‘It’s not my war; this is our war’: Bannon threatens McConnell, Corker and GOP incumbents – The Washington Post

The former White House chief strategist (again) vows war against the GOP establishment.

 


 

 

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