Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Summary of SECDEF address at AUSA. Good Åslund essay on Russian funds tied up in the West – how much of these assets might be claimed by a post-Putin Russia trying to get back what kleptocrats stole? Zaslavskiy on the corrosive impacts of dirty Russian money in the West begging the question of what has been Russia’s most important export post 1992? Oil? Gas? Weapons? Or Corruption, political chicanery, and Tsarist/Soviet style neo-colonialism? Intersection book on post Crimea Russia summarised.
Whitmore PV OpEd on Kremlin make believe is very good – the big question is how many of these phantasms are believed to be fact in Muscovy? Prigozhin and the Troll Factory explored, while Russia is now buying up media companies in Europe to overcome the credibility collapse of RT/Sputnik, and not so bright European governments are letting them do it as well. Excellent essays on the “Orthodox Taliban” by Davydov and Engström, a truly self-inflicted medieval Russian malady. More than a dozen other articles detailing Russia’s descent into the abyss.
Belarus opposition pleads for help from Ukraine. Has Ukraine’s Lenin-fall infection hit Belarus? Putinist Pres Dodon may be suspended by Constitutional Court in Moldova.
Amb Pifer’s very good essay on the shift of public attitudes in Ukraine since 2014 is damaged by the early inclusion of two Russian propaganda constructs as fact. Galeotti understates the relative importance of the internal political versus the very real invasion threat. Donbass fires continue. Interesting Youtube timelapse show of GE satellite imagery of Russian military gravesites around the Donbass region. Three nice UATV backgrounders on AFU. Ukraine formally dumps treaty with Russia on defense industry cooperation. Nice review of new SNIPEX 14.5mm long range rifle that appears to be based on KPVT/ZPU components rather than the classic PRTD/PTRS previously prototyped for the anti-material and anti-sniper roles. Poland backs Ukraine vs. Hungary in language spat. Tymoshenko/Saakashvili protests turn ugly (and have the Russians been feeding this spat?).
Israel, Iran, ISIS, Kurdistan reports, and Russia says it will retain current presence in Syria after the war, thereby making its fiscal woes persistent.
DPRK reports are mainly backgrounders, some very good, while BBC exposes Russian sanctions claims as yet another propaganda scam lacking any substance. Excellent coverage of opening day of CCP Congress. FP analyses Indian foreign intervention posture.
WSJ on the global resurgence of secessionism, which we know Russia has actively promoted to normalise the invasion of Crimea. Good forensic studies of Hungary’s Orban and his toxic motives for aligning with Putin. Georgia and US aid the MH17 investigation.
Four reports on propaganda and two on UK counter-propaganda and cyber effort.
Russian RBC report on the Troll Factory and its extensive effort meddling in the US is beginning to percolate into the English language media, and we can expect more when the MSM figure out the value of this study, much based on insider disclosures. The Hill reports on the Bureau’s investigation of Russian corruption in the US nuclear industry.
Russia / Russophone Reports
Secretary of Defense James Mattis kicked off the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on Monday. The meeting is billed as the “largest landpower exposition and professional development forum in North America” and is attended by much of the Army’s civilian and military leadership, as well as defense industry leaders. Much of the coverage of his speech focused on what he said about North Korea. But in his prepared remarks, he deliberately touched on several threats that give a sense of his view of the world from the Pentagon’s E-ring. Secretary Mattis was asked by an interviewer earlier this year what keeps him up at night, to which he famously retorted, “Nothing. I keep other people awake at night.” But in his speech at AUSA, he described the current international situation as “the most complex and demanding that I have seen in all my years of service.” If there are global threats that at least occupy his mind during waking hours, these are them.
Russia is usually considered a strong state. Therefore, the international community has let it get away with military aggression in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, with only limited sanctions.
When the Soviet empire collapsed in 1991, it was widely believed that Western-style democracy and liberal capitalism based on free elections, separation of powers and the rule of law would eventually take root in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other regions emerging from the Cold War. Even when ex-Communist Party leaders and representatives of Soviet security services returned to power throughout the former Soviet Union (FSU) in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, mainstream political thought never once doubted the inevitability of democracy’s march across the globe. Experts debated speed and direction, but rarely questioned the ultimate destination. Unfortunately, recent global events have shown that the post-Cold War flow of money and values was not a one-way affair. When the floodgates opened after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the post-Soviet swamp was not swept away but instead served to muddy Western waters. In most FSU countries, democratic institutions and national economies have not become as strong and transparent as originally envisaged—in fact, the reverse trend has often been highly and sometimes tragically visible. The truth is that the West has largely failed to export its democratic norms and is instead witnessing an increasingly coordinated assault on its own value system. This destructive import of corrupt practices and norms comes not only from post-Soviet kleptocratic regimes like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, but also from China and other countries around the world whose ruling elites now possess far-reaching financial and political interests in the West.
Russia has become a very different country since it annexed Crimea three years ago. By breaching international law, its relations with the West are now fraught with tension, even in areas where there was once hope of cooperation. In a bid to reduce its dependence on Europe, Russia has touted its pivot to Asia and its Eurasian Economic Union, but those wheels have been slow to turn. Inside the country, three years of economic stagnation have followed that historic takeover of 2014. Sanctions are biting, and so are low global oil prices. Within the government bureaucracy itself, power struggles are underway: new ideologies and new faces are jostling for prominence. The aim of this book is to provide an analysis of these trends providing a road map for anyone seeking to understand the workings of “post-Crimean” Russia. It includes studies of Russia–West relations, the role of sanctions, Western policy towards Ukraine, anti-Americanism, Russia’s military doctrine, the fate of its army’s modernization plans, migration, the increasing “weaponization” of history, and the government’s attempts to build a new “Crimean consensus” with Russian society, a reworked social contract emphasizing traditional values and a vastly different understanding of human rights to that in the West. The authors of the book are experts from Germany, Poland, Russia and United Kingdom. Ulrich Speck, James Sherr, Ernest Wyciszkiewicz, Petr Bologov, Bartłomiej Gajos, Pavel Luzin, Tatiana Stanovaya, Ben Noble, Fabian Burkhardt, Vladislav Inozemtsev, Olga Gulina, Olesya Zakharova, Stepan Goncharov, Olga Irisova, Denis Volkov and Anton Barbashin are among the regular and ad hoc contributors to Intersection: Russia/Europe/World, an online publication on Russian foreign and domestic affairs.
The annexed Crimea can only be returned to Ukraine after the fall of the current political regime in Russia, as expressed by Heorhiy Tuka, the …
It should strike us as pretty odd when the top diplomat of a major power promises to defend something that doesn’t exist. But that is exactly what Sergei Lavrov did this week. Speaking at a youth festival in Sochi, the Russian foreign minister vowed that Moscow will respect, protect, and uphold the sovereignty of South Ossetia. Now, South Ossetian sovereignty, of course, is a fiction. South Ossetia is effectively a Russian-occupied protectorate — and the only countries other than Russia that recognize it as an independent state are Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru. According to international law, South Ossetia is part of Georgia. So when Lavrov says Moscow will respect, protect, and uphold the sovereignty of South Ossetia, what he really means is that Russia will continue to disrespect, subvert, and undermine the sovereignty of Georgia. Lavrov’s pledge to defend South Ossetia’s nonexistent sovereignty is, of course, not all that unusual. Russian officials often talk about make-believe things. They’ve pledged to defend Ukraine’s border with Crimea, which also doesn’t exist, since — according to international law — Crimea is part of Ukraine. And they regularly call for diplomacy to resolve the so-called civil war in the Donbas, which also doesn’t exist since the conflict in eastern Ukraine is a war of aggression instigated by Russia and Russia alone. There is, of course, a reason for all this talk about imaginary things. Every time Lavrov or another Kremlin official talks about the make-believe — be it South Ossetian sovereignty, the Ukrainian-Crimean border, or the civil war in the Donbas — the imaginary becomes normalized and reified. It’s a clever rhetorical trick, and we should not play along.
Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian oligarch dubbed “chef” to President Vladimir Putin by the Russian press. In 2002, he served caviar and truffles to President Bush.
Apparently the Russian Information Warfare machine is attempting to not influence the media in Eastern Europe, but to outright purchase it, control it, and then run it. Is it to influence CIS countries? Ooze into those countries and gain control? Spread the network of Russian Information Warfare through more outlets? Expand RT television and Sputnik News? The answer to all the above is yes, and then some. </end editorial>
The Russian government is now having to respond to those who are simply following extreme ideas that the state has been encouraging for years through its propaganda
Recent bouts of religious fundamentalism in Russia can be traced to neo-Oprichnik unions and brotherhoods
Paul Goble Staunton, October 17 – It has become a commonplace to observe that “the Kremlin is losing control of the situation” and that it is using “preventive repressions” against not only its obvious opponents but even its own followers, Liliya Shevtsova. But despite regular predictions of its imminent demise, the Putin regime remains entrenched in office. There are many reasons why this is so, reasons reflecting the political culture of the country; but one of the key sources providing the Kremlin with “a cushion” against change deserves more attention than it has often received, the Russian commentator argues (svoboda.org/a/28791261.html). This source involves “the discrediting of the leading ideological trends and their party formation which form the essence of normal politics.” Instead of such people playing their expected and necessary roles, they have become among the regime’s chief props and have yield the political arena to others who also help the regime stay in power. “A special role in the imitation of ideological-political life is being played by ‘the systemic liberals.’ They not only took part in the rebirth in Russia of the system of personal power, but it is precisely they (and not the siloviki) who today are the decisive force in securing the continuity of this system.” “What would the Kremlin do without Nabiullina and Dvorkovich, Siluanov and Oreshkin?” Shevtsova asks rhetorically. “’The systemic liberals’ not only guarantee the economic resource for a degrading construction and thus extending its life but also deprive liberalism of the opportunity to become an alternative to autocracy in Russia.” In a similar fashion, the KPRF is also a prop for the system, the Russian commentator says. It ensures the channeling of left-wing protest in directions that do not threaten the Kremlin and thus “has become an obstacle on the path of the rebirth in Russia of independent left-wing forces, including social democracy.” Without these trends, the political field would seem to have been left to the Russian nationalists, but they have been gelded by the Crimean Anschluss and the regime’s crackdown against their leaders, Shevtsova continues. Those who remain outside of prison have become “allies of the authorities and have lost their anti-regime tone.” The absence of any political channels for the expression of grievances leaves the population with only one option: the street. And that channel, Shevtsova says, almost certainly will be brutal reflecting the brutality that has been visited upon it by the current occupations of positions of power. Those members of the liberal or left elites who thought they could cooperate with the Putin regime and change it from the inside should recognize that any possibility for that has been ended by the arrests of Belykh and Ulyukayev as well as by the unending replacement of governors with those who are little more than cogs in the Putin machine. In short, Shevtsova writes, “the Kremlin has closed the question of the reformation of Russia ‘from above’ and ‘from within,’ leaving society only one scenario—the scenario of the street revolt. And what else could one expect if the powers that be aren’t prepared to lift the cover on the bubbling teapot?” And that has another consequence everyone should face up to: “Any mass street protest always is directed at destruction and not at construction, toward radicalism and not compromise, to one-man leadership and not the search of coalitions, and finally to revenge and not forgiveness and peacemaking.” The Putin regime, “seeking to secure itself eternal survival has prepared a symmetrical response. And the harsh force from above is today, the more powerful will be the future response of those below to force. And no one can anticipate when this cause and effect link will go into effect, a year from now or five years? Or perhaps tomorrow?” But whenever it is, the protests that will bring the regime down will “put off the real transformation of the system” because they will represent only the change of the occupants of the positions of power and not of the regime itself. “Regime change without a change in principles will lead to the reproduction of autocracy albeit with different persons in charge.”
Paul Goble Staunton, October 17 – The massive indifference of Russians now to the revolution of a century ago is “no accident,” Sergey Shelin says. There are no parties bearing the positions of the opposing sides, the Soviet system destroyed both the participants and the links between them and the next generations, and the Putin regime itself has a schizophrenic view on the event. Russians this year are fascinated by a movie about the future last tsar’s love affair with a ballerina, the Moscow commentator says; but they are mostly indifferent to the revolutionary events which led to his overthrow and to the establishment of a system that still casts an enormous shadow on their lives (republic.ru/posts/87044). There is no continuing connection between the people of 1917 and those of 2017 — the Soviets saw to that, destroying many and forcing others to identify in ways that were not accurate but very much required. And “the rapidity with which people forgot” the November 7th holiday in the 1990s “as soon as it ceased to be official shows it had long lost its importance.” In fact, “the spell” of the Russian revolution in contrast to the spells revolutions elsewhere cast on their populations was much smaller precisely because of the totalitarian nature of the regime that that revolution brought to power and its assumption that it had to control everything past, present, and future, the commentator continues. As a result, Shelin writes, “already in the 1990s, May 9 began to be viewed as the foundation day” of the country’s political system and thus “Stalin in a corresponding fashion as its founding father.” Under Putin, that has only intensified; and it leaves little room for the revolutions of 1917. Today, that “grandiose” revolution has become “the stepchild” of the political system, and people are neither thinking about its meaning, identifying with its heroes on any side, or asking questions about what might have been. That will happen eventually perhaps but it is not happening now. And the Putin regime is not displeased with that because it has an ambiguous relationship to 1917, Shelin argues. On the one hand, it wants to trace its patrimony back a thousand years; but on the other, as the website of the FSB which traces that organization’s forefathers only to the establishment of the Cheka makes clear, it is rooted in the system of that year’s victors. Thus, in one respect, the Putin government is on the side of the Reds, and in another, on the side of their opponents. No wonder it cannot come up with a clear message, and no wonder in the absence of such a message can the Russian people find something to cling to. The situation with May 9 in contrast is simple and easy for all concerned. Eventually, radicals on the left may rescue 1917 asking the questions Russians won’t ask now and drawing the conclusions about what to do next. But 2017 is not the year for that, and so the centenary of the revolution is the very worst time to try to celebrate or even mark that event, Shelin concludes.
For all the strong arguments that conscription is expensive, archaic and ineffective when it comes to defending territory in a modern war, conscripted troops are seen as a useful internal political tool for Russia’s authorities
Paul Goble Staunton, October 17 – Some Russian officials, including Vladimir Putin, apparently believe that global warming will work to Russia’s ultimate benefit by allowing for crops over a larger portion of its territory; but in the shorter term, global warming is undermining Moscow’s plans to develop the Far North and even threatening the lives of people there, experts say. According to experts, URA’s Vyacheslav Yegorov says, “everything that has been built” up to now or may be built in Russia’s North may collapse as the result either of unexpected subsidence as the permafrost melts or explosions from methane gas released as part of that process (ura.news/articles/1036272626). On the Yamal peninsula alone, one of Russia’s most important oil and gas fields, these twin developments are destroying buildings and pipelines and thus putting at risk Moscow’s plans for the regions. They are also threatening the lives and way of life of the people there, both indigenous and arrivals from elsewhere. Specialists at the Scientific Center for the Cryosphere of the Earth in Tyumen say that the first gas bubbles that threaten to explode were identified three years ago. Now, some 7,000 of these dangerous places have been identified, they say; and the experts point out that the number has continued to grow even though this summer was cooler than the last three. Aleksey Titovsky, the head of the scientific department of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Oblast, says that the appearance of these gas bubbles and their explosive potential “can radically change the approach to the exploitation not only of the Yamal but of the entire Arctic.” Indeed, he continues, they already represent “a definite danger” both to gas pipelines and industrial objects and to the lives and way of life of the people who work for them or who carry on their traditional reindeer herding. Because scholars don’t understand yet why these gas bubbles are likely to explode, it isn’t possible to warn people in advance. And Vitaly Bogoyavlensky, the deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Problems of Oil and Gas, say that these gas bubbles have already pushed up and damaged pipelines and, when they explode, are likely to do even more damage, possibly damaging them and leading to leaks. But the first thing people in the region are likely to notice, Maksim Pershikov, the director of the Yamal Highway Inspectorate, says, is damage to roads, not only old ones but those constructed recently and supposedly with the most up-to-date methods and materials. Many of them are now becoming impassable and need to be replaced.
Russia’s Central Bank launched a recent clean-up operation to stop Russia’s largest private bank Otkritie from going bankrupt. A one trillion-rouble “hole” had been discovered in Otkritie’s assets. Almost immediately after that, the Central Bank had to bailout another – BinBank, Russia’s 12th largest. Where does this leave the country’s private banking sector?
Aleksei Navalny has spent a lot of time in Russian courts over the past several years. There was his trial for embezzlement in the Kirovles case back in 2013. There was his trial for fraud and money laundering in the Yves Rocher case in 2014. And there’ve been all those hearings over the years for participating in unauthorized protests. But there is only one court that is not controlled by the Kremlin that has ever issued a ruling in any case involving Navalny — the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). And it has done so in three separate cases. In November 2016, the ECHR ruled that Navalny’s conviction for embezzlement in the Kirovles case violated his rights and those of his co-defendant, Pyotr Ofitserov. In February 2017, the European Court ruled that Navalny’s conviction for participating in an unauthorized protest in 2012 was unlawful. And this week, the ECHR ruled that Navalny and his brother Oleg were unfairly convicted of financial crimes in the so-called Yves Rocher case (see news story featured below). Vladimir Putin has, of course, signed legislation effectively permitting Russia to ignore ECHR rulings it doesn’t like — which is a violation of Moscow’s treaty obligations toward (and membership requirements for) the Council of Europe. Russian courts have devised some convoluted work-arounds. After the ECHR’s decision on Navalny’s embezzlement conviction in the Kirovles case, the Russian Supreme Court followed suit and appeared to comply by overturning the verdict and ordering a new trial. But in the new trial, the court issued the exact same ruling — practically word-for-word — as the overturned verdict. It was a clear and unambiguous snub of the ECHR ruling. But despite all this, the ECHR’s rulings remain a scathing indictment of Russian criminal justice.
Personnel change in Russia’s provinces is hardly new
Paul Goble Staunton, October 17 – Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that Russians should pay for a portion of their health care not only violates the Russian Constitution which mandates government-financed care for all but will also increase social inequality and worsen public health, according to Russian experts. It is not clear exactly what form such co-payments would be – his own press secretary says no program has yet been coordinated with the Presidential Administration – but the fact that the Kremlin made it just five months before the election and at a time when he is spending vast sums on the military and “mega” projects like bridges to Crimea and Sakhalin is striking. Putin’s words underscore his contempt for ordinary Russians and his willingness to see the health of many Russians deteriorate still further given that many can barely make ends meet at this time of economic crisis and will certainly be forced to choose between food and housing, on the one hand, and medicine, on the other. The Russian leader may believe that such proposals will largely avoid criticism because they reflect trends in other countries, including in the United States, where a much-less-hard-pressed government is still trying to shift medical cost burdens from the taxpayers as a whole to those who need treatment. But experts in Moscow are already criticizing the whole idea because of its economic and health consequences, and no one expects it to be implemented any time soon. Indeed, like an increasing number of Putin initiatives, it may never happen. However, it is an indication of what he thinks and of how hard pressed Russia’s budget is given the crisis and his military spending. For a selection of social and economic criticism that has surfaced so far, see vedomosti.ru/economics/articles/2017/10/17/738102-rashodi-na-zdorove. More is certain to appear in the coming days as Russians focus on this latest attack on their rights and as experts consider the impact more income inequality and ill health will have on population growth rates.
Yury Bykov, whose biting social commentaries have resonated among Russians, has apologized for the “betrayal” of his fans after his TV spy thriller was derided as Kremlin propaganda.
A Moscow court has extended the house arrest for renowned theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, whose detention on fraud charges stunned the Russian artistic world and elicited support internation…
The Oktiabrskiy District Court in the city of Krasnodar of the Russian Federation has extended the arrest of the 19-year-old Ukrainian citizen, Pavlo Hryb, who is being held in custody in Krasnodar-based pre-trial penitentiary facility, before January 4, 2018, the press service of the court told UNIAN. News 18 October from UNIAN.
A citizen of Ukraine Roman Ternovskiy has been detained in Russia's Rostov region for "promoting" the Right Sector organization on Facebook, the Investigative Committee of Russia told UNIAN. News 18 October from UNIAN.
The Investigative Committee of Russia claimed about the detention of Ukrainian citizen Roman Ternovsky connected with ‘Right Sector’ in Rostov region – Russian Investigative Committee claims to detain member of Right Sector: video – 112.international
Russian Investigative Committee claims to detain member of Pravy Sector: video
On October 16, the Arbitration Court of Moscow considered a lawsuit filed by the German concern Siemens against Rostec regarding the supply of …
Although Ukraine today certainly needs the support of the whole world; we, the Belarusians, need Ukraine’s support.
(Updated) There are seven sergeants, a company sergeant and two officers among the suspects. On Tuesday, the Investigation Committee made a statement that it had initiated a criminal case on the death of Pechy soldier Aliaksandr Korzhych. There are seven sergeants, a company sergeant and two officers among the suspects. All of them are in custody. – 8 criminal cases were initiated against 8 servicemen under Art. 443, 455, 209 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, – the official IC report notes. Servicemen are suspected of hazing, abuse of power and fraud. The Investigation Committee promises to give a legal assessment of inaction of superior commanders. At the moment, there are 7 sergeants and a company sergeant among the suspects. All of them have been taken into custody, they will be charged. – Five sergeants were detained on October 13 and 14 on suspicion of using physical violence against subordinate cadets and systematic extortion of cigarettes and food from them. Their actions are qualified under Part 2 of Art. 455 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus,” – the Investigative Committee reports. The investigation of the criminal case on the death of 21-year-old Sasha Korzhych continues.
This Lenin was located near the military unit. The monument to the Russian Bolshevist Vladimir Lenin unexpectedly disappeared from the Red Army Street in Lida. Representative of the Belarusian National Congress in Lida Valer Minets wrote about the disappearance of the monument on Facebook. A Lida resident, who passed by the monument and saw an empty pedestal, confirmed this information to Radio Liberty.
Ukrainian two-time Olympic champion in artistic gymnastics Tatiana Gutsu has accused Belarusian gymnast Vitaliy Sherbo of rape. Latest UNIAN news from 18 October.
Former Soviet gymnast Tatiana Gutsu has accused ex-teammate Vitaly Scherbo of raping her in 1991, when she was 15 years old and he was 19.
Transnistria / Moldova Reports
Moldova’s Constitutional Court says that President Igor Dodon can be temporarily suspended after he refused to swear in a new defense minister. Moldova’s Constitutional Court says that President Igor Dodon can be temporarily suspended after he refused to swear in a new defense minister. Pro-European Prime Minister Pavel Filip proposed Eugen Sturza as defense minister twice last month, but Dodon, who wants closer relations with Russia, refused to swear him in. Dodon said he wouldn’t endorse Sturza because he wasn’t a professional military officer. The Court’s President, Tudor Pantiru, on October 17 ruled that Dodon has the obligation to accept the appointments made by Filip, and he could be “temporarily stripped of his duties for deliberately refusing… to exercise a part of his constitutional powers.” Dodon called the ruling “a grave violation” of the court’s powers and threatened street protests. Moldova hasn’t had a defense minister since December last year when incumbent Anatol Salaru stepped down amid political infighting. Dodon last month demanded the dismissal of acting Defense Minister Gheorghe Galbura after the country’s military sent soldiers to a multinational training exercise in Ukraine against the president’s wishes. Dodon in a Facebook posting on September 8 accused his country’s pro-Western government of trying to “add the Moldovan Army to the NATO side” and involve it in “geopolitical confrontations” after Chisinau sent 57 soldiers to join U.S.-led military drills in Ukraine.
Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine and Russia maintained relations that at times were testy, but their differences largely appeared manageable. That changed in 2014, when the Kremlin used military force to seize Crimea and then supported armed separatism in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. As a result, attitudes within Ukraine toward Russia have hardened to a considerable degree, and the appeal of Western institutions such as the European Union and NATO has grown. A Testy Relationship with Russia The end of the Soviet Union in 1991 left newly independent Ukraine with a number of difficult issues with Russia: (1) the fate of the Soviet nuclear weapons systems in Ukraine, (2) division of the Black Sea Fleet, (3) resolution of energy and other debts, and (4) Crimea, which had been transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. With U.S. help, Ukraine and Russia found agreement on the elimination of the nuclear weapons. Kyiv and Moscow separately struck an arrangement on dividing the ships of the Black Sea Fleet, and Ukraine agreed to allow Russia to use ports and other facilities in Crimea for its warships, an agreement that was later extended to 2047. The sides resolved their differences over debts and, while they had occasional spats over energy, particularly natural gas contracts, they usually found a solution. As for Crimea, the only part of Ukraine with a majority population of ethnic Russians, tensions periodically arose. But the Russian government in the 1990s and 2000s generally respected the agreement reached among the newly independent states when the Soviet Union fell apart: those states would be recognized within their borders at the time, i.e., Crimea was a part of Ukraine.
Those who argue that reform must take second place to military victory are in effect cheerleading for the kleptocrats.
Russian-backed militants launched 44 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas in last day. Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, another four servicemen were wounded.
Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 44 times in the past 24 hours, with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as killed in action (KIA) and four troops wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 18 October from UNIAN.
Ukraine’s military says that two of its soldiers were killed and four were wounded amid multiple cease-fire violations by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine on October 17.
Glasnost Gone Published on Jun 19, 2017 Using a May 2017 satellite image, I’ve updated the information on this cemetery, near Russian occupied Donetsk.
UATV English Published on Oct 17, 2017 This story is about people of different peaceful professions, former military personnel and ATO soldiers who left the military service as reservists. All of them are ready upon first call to duty to enter the military ranks in order to protect their homeland and families. All of them participate in exercises in firing, engineering and first-aid medical training.
UATV English Published on Oct 17, 2017 They want to be real professionals. Discipline, physical activity, a strict military instructor do not scare them. They came here to learn from the best and study the tactics of the best armies in the world.
UATV English Published on Oct 17, 2017 This year the Sea Breeze training sessions are radically different from the previous ones. They take place in the Free Play mode. Nobody except the commanders knows what the tasks will be from year to year. Despite this, all the units manage to accomplish their missions very well.
The decision was taken at a government meeting on October 18. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine terminated the agreement with the Russian government on retaining the specialization of enterprises and organizations involved in production of military products. The corresponding decision was made at a government meeting on October 18. The agreement was signed in Moscow (Russia) on December 21, 2000 and entered into force on March 4, 2005. According to the document, the parties were obliged to contribute to the preservation of the production and scientific technical specialization of enterprises and organizations that take part in the development, production and testing of weapons and military equipment, provision of military services and supplies of materials, semi-finished products, components, add-in products, training and auxiliary property.
Rifle SNIPEX 14.5 is a semi-automatic large-caliber weapon, the main function of which is long-range target shooting. Developed by XADO Chemical Group, Ukraine The bullpup design, where the action is located behind the trigger group, was developed with ultimately easy operation and maximally available maintenance system in mind. Tight barrel locking is achieved through a rotating bolt. During loading the cartridge is placed into the magazine opening by open breech. Schneller-type trigger system makes sight shooting easier. The rifle is designed exclusively for shooting resting and, to that end, is fitted with folding bipods and an additional support under the buttstock. Recoil reduction (free-floating barrel, gun carriage system) is achieved due to an original design, and the rifle does not create any unpleasant load for the shooter. The rifle was introduced at the XIV International specialized exhibition ‘Arms and Security – 2017’ in Kyiv. гвинтівка Snipex калібру 14,5×114 – Ukrainian Military Pages
The Command of Ukrainian Air Force hosted a meeting of the representative of the Headquarters Allied Air Ramstein Col. Alexandre de Bordelius. The Ukrainian working group was chaired by Deputy Commander of Air Force LTG Arkadii Vashutin. The Ukrainian party briefed the guest on General Structure of the Ukrainian Air Force and its main tasks. The parties focused on discussion of NATO-Ukraine cooperation, including possibility of participation of representatives of the Ukrainian Air Force in Trident Juncture 2018 exercise.
Active cooperation between Ukraine and Canada helps deter Russia’s aggressive behaviour, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said, as UKRINFORM reports. “Through our trade agreement, military partnership, cultural ties and cooperation with NATO, Canada sends a very strong signal of deterrence to Russia,” Sajjan said. He said that Canada had deliberately placed its troops in Latvia in order to ensure that the events in Donbas could not repeat in the Baltic States. According to him, a strong Ukraine is the best illustration of the failure of Russia’s actions. The Minister also stressed on his FB page, ‘I had the pleasure of spending some time on the Day of Defender of Ukraine with members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Vancouver’.
Olena Makarenko Ukraine entered another stage of working on its judiciary reform – the creation of an Anti-Corruption Court, a topic which was hotly debated. Civil society activists insisted on its necessity, and President Petro Poroshenko and his inner circle attempted to prove that such a court is useless, suggesting to create anti-corruption chambers in every court instead. The rhetoric of the president changed only recently, just before the Venice Commission issued its recommendations on the question which set the final chord in the discussion: Ukraine needs a court. The process of its formation is the key question now. And without the support of the EU, there is a risk that neither the court nor the fight against corruption will be effective in Ukraine. During his speech in PACE on 11 October, Petro Poroshenko praised progress in the judicial reform, mentioning that the work on the creation of an Anti-Corruption Court has been started. “But we know that the devil is in the details,” said the President regarding the work of Parliament on legislation. Ukrainian activists agree with this statement. However, they also see a threat coming from the President and his administration, both of which can add details which potentially derail the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court.
President Petro Poroshenko has just done an about-face. On October 4, Poroshenko announced that he supports the creation of a specialized high anticorruption court, and that he soon will submit a draft law marked “urgent” for the court’s creation. However, the president suggested the creation of a multiparty parliamentary working group to develop such a draft law, which is worrisome. A working group is often a place where legislation goes to die in Ukraine. Civil society and foreign partners should use all the leverage and technical assistance they can muster to ensure that the draft law is ready as soon as possible. Until recently, Poroshenko appeared dead set against the court’s creation. In September at the Yalta European Strategy conference in Kyiv, he spoke against the idea of establishing a separate institution, implying that only “Third World” counties have anticorruption courts. But this change of mind is exactly what Ukraine needs. The creation of a specialized high anticorruption court is Ukraine’s only chance to build a justice system independent of the current ruling class. The main logic behind establishing an anticorruption court is that it is needed to complete a new anticorruption ecosystem, which consists of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP). Since its creation in 2015, NABU has carried out several high-profile arrests in embezzlement probes, including those of the country’s tax agency chief Roman Nasirov and Mykola Martynenko, a key ally of ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. But with bitter irony, ordinary Ukrainians compare the arrests of high-level officials to “catch and release” fishing. Not a single politician is in jail. In August, the director of NABU, Artem Sytnyk, lamented that every fourth case submitted to the courts by NABU and SAP is sabotaged. Hearings do not start for six months or more. According to Sytnyk, the tendency is to punish those who work on lower operational levels rather than the organizers of graft schemes. The establishment of a specialized high anticorruption court is outlined in the law “On the Judicial System and the Status of Judges,” which was submitted by the president and adopted in 2016; it is part of Ukraine’s commitment to its international partners, including the International Monetary Fund. A new law on the anticorruption court should be adopted to launch the process, and this court will specialize in NABU and SAP cases only. In the past few months, as the debate over the court has intensified both inside Ukraine and among Ukraine’s international partners, it has become increasingly confusing to determine which justice formula one should support: a court, a chamber, or many chambers. Below are the three main arguments used by the government and commentators to oppose the anticorruption court.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dismissed Ihor Razinkov as first deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine.
At a meeting of the UN General Assembly, Ukraine was elected by 177 votes to the UN Human Rights Council for 2018 to 2020, ass reported by the …
y the end of the year, Polish president Andrzej Duda will have visited Kharkiv to reaffirm Poland’s stance towards Russian aggression, – Polish foreign ministry
Poland is opposed to a review of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, and calls on Kyiv and Budapest to resolve their disagreement …
Education ministers of both countries will sign respective declaration, which defines basic areas of implementation of the language-related provision of the law
In an interview with Ukrainian News, the Executive Director of the international anti-corruption organization Transparency International in …
Under Poroshenko’s rule, Ukraine has become the poorest country. Yes, we must honestly admit: the main tragedy and the main shame of modern Ukraine is that hundreds of thousands or even millions of ordinary people live very poor. To be frank, it is poverty, not poorness. Millions of Ukrainians across the country are forced to literally fight for their survival. This is the indicator of health (more precisely, of ill health) of the Ukrainian economy. And you cannot hide it behind any figures of the country’s GDP growth voiced by the Cabinet. The ratings of political leaders uncontrollably decrease because of people’s discontent with socio-economic reforms. Moreover, the authorities that personify the “new” statehood look detached from Ukrainian society. And the more significant this gap between these or those authorities grows, the faster the confidence and support falls.
Thousands of opposition protesters demonstrated in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to demand reforms to the electoral system and new anticorruption measures. Minor scuffles were reported in front of the parliament building during the mainly peaceful protest. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)
Protesters scuffled with police near Ukraine’s parliament building in Kyiv during an antigovernment demonstration. Police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd of some 4,500 people, who were calling for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to enact anticorruption reforms or step down. Injuries were reported by both security officers and demonstrators. (Current Time TV)
Ukrainian protesters in Kyiv who are demanding that President Petro Poroshenko enact anticorruption reforms or step down have blocked a main street near parliament with dozens of tents.
Law enforcers seized a large number of weapons, balaclavas, explosives and staples
Security agencies establish facts of weapons purchase by protesters, – Prosecutor General – 112.international – Security agencies establish facts of weapons purchase by protesters, – Prosecutor General – 112.international
The cases of physical beating of citizens, law enforcers and members of parliament, protected by the law, shall be strictly prosecuted
Supporters of the leader of the "Rukh [Movement] of the New Forces" Mikheil Saakashvili intend to seize power in Ukraine at any cost, Chairman of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc parliamentary faction Artur Gerasimov said while addressing the Parliament on Wednesday, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 18 October from UNIAN.
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Israel is wasting no time in trying to translate Donald Trump’s call for a tougher approach to Iran into action.
With the fall of its capital and loss of territory, the Islamic State may be reeling but not vanquished.
Britain faces the most acute threat ever from Islamist militants seeking to inflict mass attacks, often with spontaneous plots that take just days to bring to execution, the head of the MI5 domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday.
After the completion of the main phase of the military operation in Syria, Russia will not reduce its military presence there, stated in Moscow …
With the fall of Raqqa, the sad story will pick up exactly where it left off in 2014.
Washington should respond to sectarian conflict near Kirkuk by seeking to preserve a united Iraq while supporting Kurdish autonomy.
As the Iraqi government reclaimed the city of Kirkuk, Kurdish troops had the choice to watch or flee.
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
There are viable military options available to the US President but they would be catastrophic.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 18 – As often happens, Vladimir Putin has been given credit for something that on closer examination appears to be far less than Russian and Western media are saying. In this case, the BBC’s Russian Service has found that his joining the UN sanctions regime against North Korea will affect only one percent of Russian-North Korean trade. On Monday, the Kremlin leader signed a decree strengthening sanctions against North Korea, a move many welcomed as a sign that Putin wants to be more cooperative with the international system. But the numbers show how remarkably little this may cost him and his country (news.mail.ru/politics/31356848/). The UN sanctions are intended to prevent North Korea from gaining any components that it might use for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and includes a ban on dual-use technologies as well. So far this year, Russia exported 400,000 US dollars’ worth of goods that would now be banned; last year, it sold Pyongyang one million dollars’ worth of such goods. Russia’s main exports to North Korea have been coal, food products including vodka, and medicines. North Korea in turn has exported only about a tenth as much to Russia as Russia has exported to it, with a third of its total being clothes. Putin has also promised that Russia will stop all scientific-technical cooperation with North Korea except in the areas of medicine, nuclear medicine, and aircraft and aviation technology, as long as it secures guarantees that this cooperation will not promote the development of Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The Kremlin leader also agreed that all North Koreans working in Russia at jobs other than diplomatic ones are to be deported and that Pyongyang is prohibited from using any property in Russia except for diplomatic and consular work.
And what about those 1,000,000 plus troops?
A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian and Jack Liu. There have now been three detected and reported earthquake-like events subsequent to the most recent, very large (~6.1 magnitude) underground nuclear test conducted by North Korea on September 3, 2017 at its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. Recent media reporting has suggested that, as a result, the site may no longer be suitable for further underground nuclear testing. The three earthquakes were likely induced by the ~250 kiloton nuclear test; however, US nuclear test history at the Nevada Test Site provides evidence that such post-test tremors are not unusual. Furthermore, even in the face of what has been dubbed “Tired Mountain Syndrome,” abandonment of the site for nuclear testing should not be expected. Such historical precedent, combined with the presence of two other, as yet unused tunnel complexes within the test site, leads us to conclude that there is no valid reason to assume that the Punggye-ri test site is unable to contain additional underground nuclear tests.
Almost half of Kim’s public engagements so far this year related to military activities.
It could be yet another false dawn, but it appears that – after 30 years of gathering dust – North Korea’s so-called “Hotel of Doom” might be nearing completion. The imposing pyramid structure has loomed over the nation’s capital, Pyongyang, for three decades, but construction has stalled time and time again, leaving the building merely an expensive shell. However, new satellite images appear to show work has restarted on the 3,000-room, 105-storey establishment officially known as the Ryugyong Hotel, with cranes and building trucks milling around its base. There have also been rumours that officials plan to open parts of the landmark to the public in the near future. German tourist Till Mosler, who visited Pyongyang recently, said his guides in the city boasted that the hotel would soon be finished.
A local partner is likely to be heavily involved in a proposed upgrade of half of the Lynx helicopters in service with the Republic of Korea Navy.
The new company, Korea Aviation Technologies, will develop drones with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.
A new willingness to use force beyond its borders suggests that a sleeping giant may be awakening.
The 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party—the most important political event in China—kicked off today (Oct. 18) with a marathon speech of three-and-a-half hours by China’s president and party chief, Xi Jinping. Already the most dominant Chinese leader in decades, Xi is expected to further consolidate his power at the weeklong leadership reshuffle…
President Xi Jinping of China gave a 205-minute speech to open the Communist Party congress. Here is what mattered.
John Ruwitch BEIJING (Reuters) – The speech was long, the refreshments austere, but Zhang Weiguo, a Communist Party official from Hubei province in central China, was thrilled. “It was strongly persuasive, infectious, cohesive, and had rally-appeal,” Zhang said after Chinese President and party boss Xi Jinping gave a nearly three-and-a-half hour speech in Beijing’s cavernous Great Hall of the People to kick off the 19th Communist Party Congress. “I came out of the auditorium feeling infected, my motivation infinitely enhanced.” The scene is a far cry from a convention of the Democratic or Republican Party in the United States, with their rock concert-like atmosphere, balloons falling from the rafters and raucous cheering crowds. Instead, most delegates wore conservative business suits, turned pages of the speech in unison, and clapped politely on cue, giving the start of China’s most important political event in five years the vibe of an academic conference. This is party politics with Chinese characteristics. Delegates from China’s dozens of ethnic minority groups were required, as always, to wear traditional costumes, often with elaborate headgear – and news photographers swarmed.
Warning of deep and complicated changes but describing the outlook as “extremely bright,” the president is set to make himself the indispensable man.
The first priority for wealthy Chinese has been to move as much money abroad as possible. If Beijing has its way, that won’t be an option anymore.
Foreign Policy Reports
Ethnic nationalism is up. So is competition between great powers. It sounds like 1914.
Excellent article by Paul Roderick Gregory, about the games Russia is playing, seeking forgiveness for illegally annexing Crimea by using Catalonia as an example. The problem is Russia is and was wrong and the whole world is calling their bluff. </end editorial>
Politics in Hungary and Russia seem similar these days. A closer look shows two rather different shades of authoritarian rule
The political party ‘Fidesz’ headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban is the leading in Hungary. The recent events connected with the Ukrainian ‘Law on Education’ showed the real attitude of this person and his party towards Ukraine
Despite the AfD’s success at the ballot box this September, Germany’s right wing populists are experiencing growing pains
Modern Austria is a typical small and distinctive European state, whose political elite adheres to economic and national selfishness and is interested in upholding the interests of its citizens primarily, and not carrying peace to Ukraine
Georgia assists the Netherlands in the investigation into the MH17 disaster; Georgian army send Buk missile to Netherlands, so that experts may continue investigation. Georgia assists the Netherlands in the investigation into the MH17 disaster, which took place over Donbas in summer 2014. The Georgian army passed the investigation team a missile from Buk anti-aircraft missile launcher. According to RTL TV channel, the Dutch military and special services came to Georgia in February 2016 and loaded the missile on board of Hercules cargo plane. Dutch Defense Ministry and the MH17 investigation group are now checking if the device is capable of downing fighters of the Dutch Air Force. As is known, the Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines, widely referred to as flight MH17, was downed over the occupied area of Donetsk region in July 2014. 298 people lost their lives; no one survived. The international group of investigators found out that the civilian aircraft was shot down from Buk missile launcher, which was brought there from Russia.
The US has given important evidence to the investigators of the Malaysian Boeing 777 flight MH17 which was shot down over the Donetsk province …
Strategy / History / Capability Publications
The U.S. Air Force is steadily ramping up production of precision-guided weapons.
The U.S. Navy could decide who will develop the world’s first navalized unmanned aerial refueling tanker by next summer, having issued a request for proposals.
Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Space Vehicle 01 has been declared
The Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, has left its Smithsonian home for a new mission—a traveling exhibit commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s touchdown on the Moon.
Every year, Russian television celebrates itself and its celebrities at a ceremony where awards are presented to the industry’s most acknowledged professionals. Just like the Emmy Awards in the US, the Russian show, known as the TEFI Awards, is broadly publicised in the media. This year on October 3, prizes were presented to hosts and shows which turned out have one particular feature in common: Impressive track records in spreading disinformation. The Russian independent outlet The Insider was the first to present highlights from the TEFI winners’ back catalog of fake news stories. Here we share some of The Insider’s examples and add highlights from our own reporting, including results from searches made in our own new publicly available database of almost 3,500 examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation.
Here is a great example of Russian Information Warfare at work. There is nothing too blatant about this. It’s fairly subtle, not screaming, and is presented in a cool, calm, and professional manner. It creates a commonality between Russia and Belarus, in this case. ‘Look how alike we are’. ‘Look at the threat we share’.
More coal for the fire exposing Russian global efforts of Information Warfare. The effort by Russia to destabilize, sow chaos and dissent, and undermine Western democracy seems to grow by the minute. Yet the United States does practically nothing. </end editorial>
The Defense Department will be able to send data that requires a secret-level security clearance to view to the company’s cloud.
With clear standards and an emphasis on the basics, the UK Defense Ministry hopes to protect the security of its industrial base.
British government is apparently seeking countermeasures for the Russia’s ‘cold war-style’ information war, aiming to minimize the influence of the Russian propaganda on Russian-speaking inhabitants of the Baltic States and those in Ukraine
US Domestic Policy Reports
A day after Dozhd television published an interview with a former member of Russia’s infamous Internet Research Agency, the magazine RBC released a new detailed report on the same organization’s efforts to meddle in U.S. domestic politics. Meduza summarizes RBC’s new report here. The Internet Research Agency, Russia’s infamous “troll farm,” reportedly devoted up to a third of its entire staff to meddling in U.S. politics during the 2016 presidential election. At the peak of the campaign, as many as 90 people were working for the IRA’s U.S. desk, sources told RBC, revealing that the entire agency employs upwards of 250 people. Salaries for staff working in the U.S. department apparently range from 80,000 to 120,000 rubles ($1,400 to $2,100) per month. The head of the IRA’s U.S. desk is apparently a man originally from Azerbaijan named Dzheikhun Aslanov (though he denies any involvement with the troll factory). In August and September this year, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter suspended 118 communities and accounts run by the St. Petersburg “troll factory,” disabling a network capable of reaching 6 million subscribers. In 2016, at the height of the U.S. presidential campaign, this network reportedly produced content that reached 30 million people each week.
The first examination of the actual videos produced by the Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg, Russia, aka Glavset. Many examples are included in the article which is way too long and too detailed for me to archive here. </end editorial> By Caroline O The videos encouraged African Americans to stock up on guns and stay home on election day — and that was just the beginning. “My advice to Black people is not to go out and vote. The best thing you can do is stay home [on election day].” This was what video bloggers Williams and Kalvin Johnson told viewers on their YouTube page on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 — the day of the presidential election. Claiming to be from Atlanta, the duo, who call themselves “Williams and Kalvin,” tried to convince African American voters that there was no point in voting and it didn’t matter who won the election. The best way to make your voice heard, they said, was to boycott the election.
This is one of those times where it is really useful to check the original Russian article. “Troll Factory” spent about $ 2.3 million to work in the US RBC.ru Right away we have three very relevant new disclosures Glavnets, the Troll Factory, hired up to 100 activists to work inside the US Glavnets paid for approximately 40 rallies held inside the US Glavnets spent $2.3 million on the overall anti-US program Another chart pops up and it identifies details previously unseen.
Through the Saint Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, also known as the “Troll Factory”, nearly 40 rallies and protest actions were …
A timeline of what we know about how Russian agents used Facebook, Twitter, and Google to wreak havoc on the election.
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
In response to the US requiring the company and staff supporting RT and Sputnik News to register as foreign agents, Russia is restricting RFE/RL, VOA, and CNN. This was just published by RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news outlet which has not been asked to register as a foreign agent. Once again, Russia is off the mark. RFE/RL, and VOA are appropriate counterparts to RT and Sputnik News, as they are all government agencies. CNN, however, is a commercial station. Russia just does not seem to “get it”. Additionally, the US is only requiring they register as foreign agents, there is no restriction on their work. Any violations of speech exists solely in the six inches between Margarita Simonyan’s ears. Russia, always the victim. They play that card so well, but always wrongly played. </end editorial>
A U.S. judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought against the Associated Press by a Russian billionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Widespread concern about North Korea’s nuclear capability may be novel, but Americans’ visceral response to the threat of nuclear attack is far from it. Fo
He feels “appallingly guilty,” and wants to “hurt” his former comrades of the far-right.