Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russian Election / KGB Centenary Ad Hoc Update – 28 December 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A minor deluge of media traffic on Russia’s fake election, fake like almost everything else in Russia. Maybe Putin should issue an edict to rename Russia to “Potemkinland” ….

The centenary of the VChK/Cheka / GPU / NKVD / MGB / KGB / FSB still producing interesting reading. It follows in the time honoured tradition of Ivan IV’s Oprichniki.

U.S. Is Meddling in Election Says Russia, Days After Moscow Bans Anti-Putin Candidate

Putin’s most dynamic critic will not be standing against him, despite Western criticism of his persecution.

Putin: Russia warns U.S. against ‘meddling’ in presidential election

The European Union has expressed concerns over the fairness of the upcoming Russian election.

Russia Accuses U.S. of Election Meddling Over Navalny

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused the United States of election meddling after criticism of Russia’s decision to bar opposition leader Alexei Navalny from taking part in the 2018 presidential elections. A U.S. State Department spokesman expressed concern over “restrictions on independent voices” after Navalny was barred from running by Russia’s Central Election Commission on Tuesday , the state-run TASS news agency reported.

Kremlin says Putin critic Navalny’s protest call to be investigated

The Kremlin said on Thursday that a call by opposition leader Alexei Navalny to hold nationwide protests to back a boycott of next year’s presidential election would be investigated to see if it broke the law.

Daughter Of Putin Mentor Nominated By Opposition Party For Presidential Vote

Russia’s Civil Initiative Party has officially nominated journalist and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak to run as its candidate in a presidential election next year that is widely expected to hand Pr…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Says Corruption and Illegality Threaten Russia’s Stability, Two Evils He’s Promoted

Paul Goble Staunton, December 24 – Rare is the political leader who attacks as threats the very things that he has built his system on, but Vladimir Putin has now done just that, arguing that official corruption and rampant illegality threaten Russia’s stability, an accurate but unintentionally self-damning diagnosis. Speaking at the United Russia Party congress, the Kremlin leader made this declaration, one clearly designed to win popular support for his re-election by suggesting that he is now prepared to take on two of the ills on which his system is based and without which it would not have the shape it does ( Whether Putin in fact is prepared to do more than condemn these phenomena except in a highly selective fashion seems unlikely – his system is based on both — but it is good politics to stake out such a position. But what is interesting about his remarks is that in the case of this evil as in others, he links the problems directly to the stability of the country. Indeed, that is the most important aspect of his remark. Putin has made his career by linking everything he does to that notion and thereby made it impossible for anyone to challenge him because to do so is to challenge something that Russians highly value especially after the turbulence of the 1990s. And consequently, while the Kremlin leader is likely to get credit for saying the right thing here as elsewhere, it is almost certain that he won’t take any action that would threaten his own power, however unfortunate for Russia that power continues to be.

Celebrity-Laden Action Group Officially Nominates Putin As Candidate For Russian Presidency

The All-Russia People’s Front (ONF), an action group consisting of politicians, celebrities, and other well-known Russians, has officially nominated Vladimir Putin as an independent candidate in ne…

Kremlin Dismisses Criticism That Barring Navalny Taints Presidential Election

The Kremlin has rejected concerns that Moscow’s decision to bar opposition leader Aleksei Navalny from running against President Vladimir Putin undermines the legitimacy of Russia’s presidential el…

The Daily Vertical: Navalny, Putin, And The Collective Hallucination (Transcript)

So Aleksei Navalny has been formally barred from running in a fake election, ostensibly because he was convicted of fraud in a fake trial. You could hardly ask for a better metaphor to illuminate the current Kremlin regime. Welcome to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It’s an illusory world where courts pretend to decide matters of law, when in fact they are settling matters of politics; and where the pomp, circumstance, and rituals of competitive elections are imitated, even though the result is a foregone conclusion. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical It’s a collective hallucination in which legislatures pretend to be independent deliberative bodies, when in reality they are appendages of the executive. And sometimes the illusion gets lethal, like when the Kremlin’s little green men gin up a fake insurgency in eastern Ukraine — one resulting in very real death and very real destruction. But the thing about the collective hallucinations that prop up authoritarian regimes like Putin’s is that sooner or later they end. Sooner or later, somebody says the emperor has no clothes — and sooner of later a critical mass of people begins to believe it. Which brings us back to Navalny. It’s highly unlikely that Vladimir Putin and his cronies fear that Navalny could defeat the Kremlin leader in next year’s election. The regime has proven itself quite adept at getting the results they desire. But what they seem to fear is Navalny’s ability to break the Kremlin’s spell and end the collective hallucination that has preserved and protected this regime. And that, more than anything else, is what makes him dangerous.

The Morning Vertical, December 27, 2017

ON MY MIND The fact that after Aleksei Navalny was barred from running in next year’s presidential election, the Kremlin felt the need to warn him not to agitate for a boycott speaks volumes. Because while keeping Navalny’s name off the ballot in March is easy, keeping him out of the campaign is another matter entirely. One way or another, either in the real world or online, Navalny will be campaigning. He’ll be campaigning for a boycott or he’ll be campaigning against the “fake election.” Which puts the Kremlin in a bit of a quandary. Sure, they can lock Navalny up again or place him under house arrest. But doing so would turn him into The Story. It would allow the anticorruption crusader to steal the spotlight at a time when the Kremlin wants Putin’s campaign to be at the center of everybody’s attention. Alternatively, the Kremlin could simply try to ignore Navalny or hinder him with petty harassment. But this would effectively give him free rein to troll the Kremlin’s big show and ruin its ritual. How Vladimir Putin’s regime handles this will be one of the big questions going forward.

Barred From Running, Barred From Boycotting: A Russian Candidate’s Quandary – The New York Times

First Aleksei A. Navalny, an anticorruption activist, was blocked from running for president. Then he was warned not to organize a boycott of the election.

Kremlin Terrified Of Navalny – To Inform is to Influence

The Kremlin, United Russia, President Putin, and the Russian leadership is officially terrified of the threat that Navalny poses to the kleptocracy in place in Russia.  Navalny represents legality, goodness, and the end to the corruption that festers in Russia like an oozing ulcerated wound caused by the lawlessness of the Russian leadership.   The below…

‘I don’t like the Central Election Commission’: Alexey Navalny’s speech to the government officials who moments later barred him from Russia’s 2018 presidential election (full translation) — Meduza

Russia’s Central Election Commission refused to register Alexey Navalny’s presidential candidacy on December 25, a day after the opposition politician’s campaign staged nomination gatherings in 20 cities across the country and Navalny personally submitted his candidacy application to the commission. Before the formal vote, Navalny addressed the commission in a fiery speech where he called on election officials to let him compete in the March 2018 presidential race. Meduza presents an English translation of Navalny’s remarks.

Navalny Calls For Election Boycott As Commission Blocks His Presidential Bid

Russia’s Central Election Commission has officially barred Aleksei Navalny from running against President Vladimir Putin, prompting calls from the anticorruption activist and opposition politician …

Navalny’s Bid for Presidency Shut Down by Russia’s Election Commission

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s presidential bid has been shut down by Russia’s election commission, ending the vocal Kremlin critic’s chances of challenging President Vladimir Putin in the elections next March. Since announcing his bid last year, Navalny has built a national network of supporters — with 83 regional offices across the country and almost 200,000 volunteers. During his official nomination as a candidate by supporters on Sunday, he said he intended to challenge and defeat Putin in the presidential elections next year.

Russia Bars Kremlin Critic From Running for President – The New York Times

Aleksei A. Navalny, the Kremlin’s leading critic, was barred from running for president, prompting him to urge his supporters to boycott the vote and join street protests.

Russian officials block top Putin critic from presidential bid | TheHill

Kremlin officials blocked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic from running for the Russian presidency on Monday.

Putin critic Navalny barred from Russian presidential election

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred on Monday from running in next year’s presidential election after officials ruled he was ineligible to take part due to a suspended prison sentence he says was trumped up.

Alexey Navalny and the Empty Spectacle of the Russian Election | The New Yorker

Masha Gessen writes about Russia’s rigged elections, and Alexey Navalny’s efforts to register as a Presidential candidate opposing Vladimir Putin.

Navalny Calls For January 28 Protests In Support Of Election Boycott

Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, who has been barred from challenging President Vladimir Putin in a March election, is calling for a “voters’ strike” and nationwide demonstrations on January 28 in support of a boycott of the ballot.

Putin’s bête noire ready to take him on at polls | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

Russia’s leading opposition politician cleared the first hurdle of his unlikely bid for the presidency yesterday, tightening pressure on the Kremlin to allow hi

Supporters Nominate Navalny For Russian Presidential Election

Supporters of Russian anticorruption activist and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny held rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities on December 24. The participants displayed red ballot cards to nominate Navalny to run in Russia’s next presidential election, scheduled for March 2018. Navalny, who officials have deemed ineligible to run due to a criminal conviction, addressed the event in Moscow. RFE/RL filmed the rallies in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk, and Yekaterinburg. (RFE/RL’s Russian Service)

Navalny’s nomination took place at a meeting of the initiative group in Moscow’s Serebryany Bor – Navalny nominated for president of Russia –

Navalny’s nomination took place at a meeting of the initiative group in Moscow’s Serebryany Bor

Russia’s Ruling Party Wants ‘Ultimate Victory’ For Putin At 2018 Election

Speaking at an annual gathering of Russia’s ruling United Russia party on December 23, its head and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the party wants the “ultimate victory” of President Vladimir Putin at the presidential election in March 2018 and will give him “all possible support” now and in the future. (Reuters)

UAWire – Putin: Russia must create an army of a new generation

Russia should be among the leaders in building the army of a new generation, stated Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Putin, with the advent of new technologies, the military sphere will be affected by profound transformations. “We need not only to take into account these trends but make them the foundation of military planning and construction.” Russia should be among the leading countries and in some areas the absolute leader in building a new generation army, the army of the era of the new technological order,” he stated at the final collegium of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense. The situation in Syria and in the world as a whole confirms the correctness and timeliness of strengthening the Russian Army and Navy, stated Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The situation in Syria, which I started this topic with, the military-political situation in the world confirms the correctness and timeliness of our decisions on strengthening the Army and Navy, and to move towards allocating the necessary resources for active military construction,” Putin discussed on Friday at an expanded meeting of the Russian Federation Defense Ministry’s collegium. He has noted that in recent years, the deep structural transformations of the Armed Forces have been completed and the entire military administration system has become more effective.

Putin vows to modernize Russia, challengers prepare for race – ABC News

Putin vows to modernize Russia, challengers prepare for race

Russian Communists Nominate Surprise Candidate For Presidential Election

The Russian Communist Party has nominated a surprise presidential candidate to run against President Vladimir Putin in the upcoming election.

Russian Communist Party picks agriculture official to challenge Putin in elections – National |

The party unexpectedly dropped its veteran leader Gennady Zyuganov, choosing instead Pavel Grudinin, a mechanical engineer who has run a farm on the outskirts of Moscow since the mid-1990s.

Russian Opposition Supporters Rally On ‘Day Of Free Elections’

Supporters of anticorruption activist and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny are organizing rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities on December 24 despite authorities banning the event in the…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Entering 2018 with More Fears than Since 2011, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, December 24 – New polls of Russian expectations may not be accurate in all details – few Russians are going to tell sociologists they don’t know or trust their deepest fears – but taken as a whole, these surveys suggest the population is entering 2018 without confidence that it will be better than the crisis years they have just been through, Sergey Shelin says. They have fresh evidence that their leaders are lying about what is going on, given that some officials have now conceded that unemployment is more than twice the level the Kremlin and its propagandists say, the Rosbalt commentator says; and thus Russians are increasingly at odds with their leaders about the future ( What is most instructive, he suggests, is to compare what Russians say they expect now with what they expected in earlier years. There are two things that have changed little over the last six years: expectations that the coming year will bring more corruption scandals and the ouster of ministers and concerns that there will be another war with one of Russia’s neighbors. But if Russians’ expectations of those things have changed little, Shelin says, their concerns about other things have changed dramatically. A year ago, only ten percent of Russans considered a war with the US and NATO possible. Now, 23 percent do, an increase of more than two times. Slightly more than a year ago consider that the economic crisis will continue, 50 percent as against 47 percent; but the share thinking that mass protests about economic problems are possible has jumped from 21 percent to 35 percent. These two figures taken together suggest that Russians really do fear an economic crisis without an obvious exit. And the possibility that there will be mass protests is now higher than at any time since the end of 2011 when in fact mass demonstrations did take place, Shelin notes. Intriguingly, the percentage expecting radical changes at the top of the regime has jumped as well, from nine percent at the end of 2016 to 15 percent now, although it is far from certain just what people have in mind when they say that. What is true is that the only time it was higher was again at the end of 2011, when 20 percent said so. Shelin stresses that “all these figures speak not about the concrete intentions of those questioned … but about the growth of a general dissatisfaction with life.” And there are other indications as well, with more expecting conflicts on an ethnic basis (29 percent now as opposed to 17 percent a year ago) and a deterioration in the North Caucasus (29 percent, up from 22). A year ago, many Russians appeared to believe that they were coming out of the crisis as their leaders said. Now, they don’t. Instead, their fears of what they were worried about have increased, and new ones have been added to the lot.

Maybe Russia Will Completely Change in 2018 (Op-ed)

Reflections, rumors and predictions for the new year

Putin, Russia Celebrate Centenary of Brutal Cheka Police Force | Observer

National healing after the horrors inflicted by the Chekist police force was cut short by the rise of Putin, whose Federal Security Service follows their legacy.

Podcast: The Secret Policeman’s Ball

The Cheka. The GPU. The NKVD. The MGB. The KGB. And the FSB. The Kremlin’s secret police have gone by many names. And this week, they had a birthday. Throughout the year, Vladimir Putin’s regime studiously avoided celebrating dates associated with the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. But the centenary of the founding of the Cheka — the original Soviet-era secret police — was another story entirely. On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the cult of the Chekist in the Russian imagination, the Kremlin’s selective use of history, and the role of the Russian security services going forward. Joining me will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and author of the forthcoming book Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia; and Andrei Soldatov, co-founder of the investigative website and co-author of the books The New Nobility: The Restoration Of Russia’s Security State And The Enduring Legacy Of The KGB and Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators And The New Online Revolutionaries.

Revealed: The Secret KGB Manual for Recruiting Spies

The document is from the Cold War. But the material it teaches is still being used today by Vladimir Putin’s clandestine cadres.



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