Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (19)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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NATO / EU / Russia Reports

Stephen Blank | Putin Is Waging a Proxy War Against the West in Ukraine

Hacking the 2016 election was just another front against the US.

Phillip Karber | Russia, China, and the US: challenges yet to come

In this Global Strategies lecture, Phillip Karber looks in detail at Russian and Chinese military capabilities.

Russian spies’ role in the great green hoax | Comment | The Times

So, Russia does appear to interfere in western politics. The FBI has charged 13 Russians with trying to influence the last American presidential election, inclu

Vladimir Putin decided to annex Crimea in a paranoid huff, late at night, believing the CIA had just tried to kill him, says the one Russian lawmaker who voted against it — Meduza

“The decision was made on the night of February 23, 2014, at a meeting between Vladimir Putin and four senior Russian state officials. A few hours earlier, Viktor Yanukovych had fled Ukraine, and Putin had nearly been in a helicopter crash, after a very rough landing in Sochi. Putin believed this was an attempt on his life by foreign intelligence agencies. Having decided that he was ‘surrounded by conspiracies,’ he proposed annexing Crimea. Most of the men around the table were against it, but that didn’t stop Putin.” This is the version of events former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev presented in Ukrainian court on Wednesday at a treason trial against deposed President Viktor Yanukovych. Ponomarev wasn’t present at the meeting he described, saying he heard the account from an “officer in the Federal Protective Service” and “another participant in the meeting with Putin.” Ponomarev, who was the only Duma deputy to vote against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, did not name either of these people. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later denied Ponomarev’s account, adding that the alleged incident with Putin’s Sochi helicopter landing never took place.

Day of Russian betrayal – news about politics | UNIAN

February 20 is not only the anniversary of the Maidan killings. On this very day four years ago, the Kremlin launched its operation to annex the Ukrainian Crimea. No matter what Russian officials may say about the “will of the people” and “referendum” the fact remains: the territory was captured as a result of the military operation. Russian troops were even rewarded with medals for taking part in it. Crimea seemed to have inebriated Russian leaders, pushing them toward delirious ides of creating “Novorossiya” in eastern Ukraine, thus giving start to the invasion of Donbas, which has so far claimed more than 10,000 Ukrainian lives. It was February 20, 2014, that was the point of no return in Ukraine-Russia relations. It would be safe to call this date the day of Russian betrayal of Ukraine and Ukrainians. It is curious that among the Russian fanatics and supporters of the idea of Russia’s greatness at their neighbors’ expense, not everyone is satisfied with Putin. Their main problem with their long-ruling president is his indecisiveness. In their opinion after the triumphant seizure of Crimea, the Russian leader had to go all the way and “crush the ‘Banderytes'” together with the state of Ukraine, capturing all of its major cities. Lviv is an exception, though. Perceiving it as the center of Ukrainian identity, Russians believe its residents cannot be “fixed”. This incidentally proves that the Ukrainian language can, in fact, serve as protection against Russian bullets, since Ukrainian speakers somehow become alien to Russian “brothers”, standing aside, beyond the “one people” logic. So, the part of the Russian society professing the “Crimea is not enough” religion has been very unhappy with the Minsk agreements, which, despite being a real burden on Ukraine, gave it an opportunity to catch breath and, perhaps, allowed preserving the Ukrainian state as such. It is not a common thing to talk about this publicly, but in private conversations, the idea constantly arose that Ukraine should have either been left alone or, if a decision was made to deploy the army, this had to be done with all Russian brazenness. Russian soldiers from the first wave of invasion in 2014, are viewing the latest developments only as a betrayal. After all, they had been killing Ukrainians for the sake of “great Russia” and for a “single country”, not for redistribution of Soviet-era factories and anthracite flows by gang leaders from the occupied territories. Russia has also betrayed the adepts of the “Russian world” in the east of Ukraine. It is no secret that there was (and of course, still is) pro-Russian population in our country, and it was these people who served as a kind of an invisible link bonding the two states politically. It was these people, fooled by the Russian TV, who took to the streets after the Maidan victory, frightening each other with boogey-tales of “Banderytes” and horrors of same-sex marriage. It was them who were crying out to Putin to introduce Russian troops. And so came Girkin and Borodai, who, with the help of the Russian regular troops (“on vacation”, of course) and Russian mercenaries, tore parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions off Ukraine’s body. Some locals actually wanted Donbas to become part of Russia, and the Kremlin took advantage of this fact – by stealing Ukraine from all of the region’s residents. The occupied Donbas has changed its status: from once being of Ukraine’s wealthiest and most influential regions, and plunged down to becoming an unstable gray zone. The Kremlin cannot integrate the region into the Russian Federation, but neither is it willing to let it go. Moscow yearns for “geopolitical grandeur,” but in practice, it only managed to deprive the occupied Donbas population of the benefits of civilization: ATMs, mobile communications, airports, quality healthcare, and justice, also replacing freedom of movement with curfews and humiliating checks at roadblocks and checkpoints within people’s own country.

Four years since the illegal annexation of Crimea: article by Boris Johnson – GOV.UK

In an opinion piece published in European media, the Foreign Secretary marks 4 years since the events which led to the illegal annexation of Crimea.

UK Foreign Secretary to Russia: No country, however large, can dismember its neighbour without consequence | UNIAN

UK Foreign Secretary to Russia: No country, however large, can dismember its neighbour without consequence. Current news and events for 23 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Russia may unleash bloody massacre in Donbas to discredit peacekeepers, Ukraine – expert | UNIAN

Russia may unleash bloody massacre in Donbas to discredit peacekeepers, Ukraine – expert. Current news and events for 23 February from UNIAN Information Agency

U.S. Questions How Much It Can Trust Russia Over Ukraine – WSJ

U.S.-Russian negotiations over a peacekeeping force for eastern Ukraine are emerging as a test for Washington on the wisdom of trying to negotiate with Moscow.

“Up to 30,000 peacekeepers”: presidential envoy on size of possible mission in Donbas | UNIAN

“Up to 30,000 peacekeepers”: presidential envoy on size of possible mission in Donbas. Current news and events for 23 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Graham to Russia on Ukraine: ‘You’re going to get what you deserve’

Defense leaders from Europe and the United States expressed optimism about the prospect of Ukraine becoming a NATO member, with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina arguing that relations with Moscow may be beyond salvageable anyway.

Graham to Russia on Ukraine: ‘You’re going to get what you deserve’ – media | UNIAN

Defense leaders from Europe and the United States expressed optimism about the prospect of Ukraine becoming a NATO member, with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina arguing that relations with Moscow may be beyond salvageable anyway. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko raged against Russia during a speech at the Munich Security Conference, accusing its neighbor to the east of waging what he described as a hybrid war, and asking NATO allies to stand with the embattled country against an increasingly threatening adversary, Defense News reported.

Russia not so much a (re)rising superpower as a skilled strategic spoiler

Russia is a major global power in outlook and reach, locked in a values-based confrontation with the West. But it still lacks all elements of a developed superpower.

AI warfare is coming, and some global leaders say NATO isn’t ready

The future of warfare will involve artificial intelligence systems acting as lethal weapons, and much like cyber a decade ago, NATO allies are ill-equipped to manage the potential threat, said current and former European leaders speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

Lavrov blames NATO for Russian aggression in Ukraine | UNIAN

Lavrov blames NATO for Russian aggression in Ukraine. View news feed in news about politics for 19 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – NATO explains why Ukraine cannot become a member of the Alliance

In her speech at the Munich Security Conference, Deputy Secretary General of the Alliance, Rose Gottemoeller, insisted that Ukraine differs from …

NATO Secretary General accuses Russia of unleashing new nuclear race – media | UNIAN

NATO Secretary General accuses Russia of unleashing new nuclear race – media. View news feed in news about politics for 19 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – The US expresses concern about the new Russian cruise missiles

The commander of the United States Northern Command And North American Aerospace Defense Command, General Lori Robinson spoke to the United …

‘We’re In Trouble’: Rancor Rules At Munich Security Conference

Sharp and often fierce rhetoric permeated this year’s Munich Security Conference, which asked participants if the world could manage to step back from the brink.

UAWire – US Special Representative Volker: peacekeeping mission will help to resolve the conflict in the Donbas

The US Special Representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker believes that a peacekeeping mission in the Donbas will help to resolve the conflict and …

Czech Foreign Minister: we support territorial integrity of Ukraine and preserving sanctions against Russia, – 112 – Czech Foreign Minister: we support territorial integrity of Ukraine and preserving sanctions against Russia –

The diplomat reiterated that the Czech government continues supporting Ukraine’s aspirations to join the EU, – 112

Ukrainian news on UN peacekeepers in Donbas – Sweden declares its readiness to send peacekeepers to Donbas –

Sweden is ready to provide its troops for the UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas, if Russia and the West agree to this

Germany is ready to finance the restoration of the destroyed infrastructure of Donbas – Germany ready to finance restoration of Donbas, – German Foreign Ministry –

Germany is ready to finance the restoration of the destroyed infrastructure of Donbas

Poroshenko, U.S. Congress delegation talk about sanctions against Russia, Crimea de-occupation | UNIAN

Update: Poroshenko decides to take part in court hearings on Yanukovych’s treason. Current news and events for 18 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Poroshenko, Mattis discuss situation in Donbas | UNIAN

Update: Poroshenko decides to take part in court hearings on Yanukovych’s treason. Current news and events for 18 February from UNIAN Information Agency

NATO chief sees little progress on UN peacekeepers for Ukraine – media | UNIAN

Update: Poroshenko decides to take part in court hearings on Yanukovych’s treason. Current news and events for 18 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – Polish Prime Minister: launch of Nord Stream 2 pipeline may provoke a war between Ukraine and Russia

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the construction of the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream-2 creates a new unnecessary tension, …

Paul Goble | Kremlin Covertly Promoting Regime Change in Latvia, Riga Security Official Warns – Jamestown


Latvia in turmoil amid U.S. probe, central bank chief’s detention

Latvia’s government was meeting in emergency session on Monday after one of the Baltic country’s biggest banks reeled under accusations of busting sanctions on North Korea and the central bank governor was detained by the anti-corruption agency.

Latvia Signals Russia May Be Interfering in Banking Crisis – Bloomberg

The banking crisis engulfing the tiny nation of Latvia has turned into a potential diplomatic incident, as Riga points the finger at Moscow.

Latvia orders Spike | Jane’s 360

Latvia has signed an agreement on the purchase of Spike anti-tank missiles from Rafael-Diehl-Rheinmetall joint venture EuroSpike. The EUR108 million (USD133 million) agreement was signed by Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and EuroSpike managing directors Günter Lauer and Arie Lapidot on 12 February.

Latvia’s $134M missile buy expected to bolster anti-tank capability

Under the plan, the missile systems will be gradually integrated with Latvia’s military units by 2023.

Movement of Russia’s military equipment near Latvia’s border is information war – Chief of Defense – To Inform is to Influence

The Russian military equipment being moved close to Latvia’s border is sending a message of intimidation. Latvia is choosing to categorize this as an information war effort but will surely position forces to counter a Russian invasion.  Latvia does not have the military power to properly resist, that is a commonly held assumption.  </end editorial> February…

US military wants Russia to get used to it being in the Black Sea – CNNPolitics

The US Navy is ramping up its presence in the Black Sea as part of a bid to counter Russia’s increased presence there, a US military official tells CNN.

Navy sends destroyers to Black Sea to ‘desensitize’ Russia

The deployment comes as Russia continues to militarize the Crimean Peninsula.

Reuters: Ukraine progress should soften sanctions on Russia – Germany’s Gabriel | UNIAN

Update: Poroshenko decides to take part in court hearings on Yanukovych’s treason. Current news and events for 18 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – Turchynov: ‘heroes’ claiming that Russian annexation of Crimea could have been prevented are lying

Some recent claims asserting that the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014 could have been prevented are not true, according to statements …

Amphibiosity, the Royal Marines and the Defence Debate in the UK – Defence-In-Depth

PROF ANDREW DORMAN, PROF MATTHEW UTTLEY, MS ARMIDA VAN RIJ The House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) has recently released a report emotively entitled ‘Sunset for the Royal Marines?’ The report followed on from the HCDC’s rapid inquiry into the future of the UK’s amphibious capability in the wake of a series of press reports…

Russia deploys two S-400 batteries near Vladivostok | Jane’s 360

Key Points Two S-400 batteries assigned to the 1533rd Air Defence Missile Regiment are now operational near Vladivostok The current deployment brings the total number of operational S-400 batteries in Joint Strategic Command East to seven Satellite imagery captured in 2017–18 shows that Russia has deployed two S-400 strategic surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries near Vladivostok, replacing S-300PS batteries. DigitalGlobe imagery captured on 3 December 2017 showed that a former S-300PS positioned east of Vladivostok was equipped with the S-400. Subsequent imagery captured on 24 January 2018 also showed a second S-400 battery deployed near Podnozhye on Ostrov Russkiy, south of Vladivostok.

UAWire – Russia conducts exercises with Bastion and Bal coastal missiles systems in annexed Crimea

On February 15th, Bastion and Bal missile combat crews of the Russian Black Sea Fleet held exercises on destroying sea targets in the annexed …

UAWire – Russia will stop production at the main gas field in Crimea because of the legal case brought by Ukraine

Russia intends to stop production until July 18, 2018 at the largest gas field in the Crimean shelf zone, Odessa, as reported by RBC news agency …

UAWire – Russia conducts tests of Tor Arctic missile system

A video of tests of the Arctic Tor-M2DT short-range missile system has been published on the YouTube-channel of RT (Russia Today) news agency. …

UAWire – Russian Navy commander: Russia will increase its presence in international waters

The Russian Navy is increasing its presence in the World’s Oceans, according to Vladimir Ivanovich Korolev, the commander-in-chief of the Navy, …

UAWire – Kremlin to reinforce 58th Army in southern Russia

The Russian Ministry of Defense has begun to reorganize the primary strike force in the south of Russia, the 58th Army. Two new motorized rifle …

Russia releases video of its modernized ballistic missile defense system

While the U.S. continues to obsess over reliably solving the physics problems of hitting a bullet with a smaller bullet, Russia doesn’t see the need to be so precise.

Missile launch of Russian modernized missile defence system – YouTube


If Russia feels threatened, its reaction could be ‘unpredictable, swift and massive’

“The country may be one of the biggest ‘black swans’ of political risk in 2018,” EIU’s Agathe Demarais said in a report.


Russia / Russophone Reports

Russia’s election boss warns of ‘fake news’ designed to undermine Kremlin vote – The Washington Post

“Huge resources will be shelled out by those who find it necessary to weaken our country at any price.”

Why Is Russia’s Paris Hilton Trying To Take Down Vladimir Putin?

Ksenia Sobchak brings confusion and curiosity to the Kremlin’s carefully managed election.

Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Detained

Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny says he has been detained by police in Moscow.

Russian Supreme Court Rejects Sobchak’s Bid To Strike Putin From Ballot

The Russian Supreme Court has rejected presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak’s bid to remove incumbent Vladimir Putin from the ballot in the country’s March 18 election.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Russia is Returning to Totalitarianism,’ Gudkov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 20 – “Russia is returning to totalitarianism” following five year in which the Putin regime has sought to discredit all democratic ideas and to transform elections into a ritual for the confirmation of those already in office, according to Lev Gudkov, head of the independent Levada Center pollng agency. He tells Süddeutsche Zeitung that what will take place in Russia on March 18 “strictly speaking” should not be called elections. “In fact,” he says, one ought to find another term, perhaps plebiscite or acclamation” for “the ritual of confirming he who is already in power” (левада-центр-россия-возвращается-к-тоталитаризму/a-42652329). As a result of Putin’s efforts, even if opposition figure Aleksey Navalny had been allowed to run and had the elections been more or less honest, Navalny would not have received more than 20 percent of the vote. But the Kremlin couldn’t allow him to run because it would have given him the chance to expose more corruption around Putin and his team. According to Gudkov, Putin has succeeded in shifting responsibility for his mistakes onto the prime minister, the government and the Duma. “The high level of Putin’s support as in other authoritarian regimes reflects the weakness of state institutions,” and the fact that the police and justice system defend the state rather than individuals. He argues that the impact of the Crimean Anschluss is less than it was but continues to affect how Russians think. And in the intervening period, the Russian government has intensified censorship and control over society with “all domestic policy having taken on a repressive character,” justifying suggestions that things are “rolling back to totalitarianism.” Since 2012, Putin has had as his goal the discrediting of all democratic ideas in Russia not because of the confrontation with the West but rather in order to “discredit the pro-Western liberals inside the country,” something he has succeeded in doing, promoting “an outburst of artificial traditionalism if not fundamentalism.” The confrontation with the West does have one important domestic consequence, however, Gudkov continues. Many in the provinces get a psychological boost from the idea that Moscow has knocked the West back on its heels even if they have not seen any improvement in their lives. “We’ve forced them to respect us,” they feel.

Russia news – How Russia constructs the myth of “historically Russian” Crimea –

Putin’s Crimean speech has set the agenda for Russian media for the forthcoming years

Head Of Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation Detained At Moscow Airport

The director of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation has been detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, a senior Navalny associate says.

Russian Media Regulator Blocks Website Backed By Khodorkovsky

Russia’s media regulator has blocked a website backed by former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the latest media site to be blacklisted by the agency.

How one of Navalny’s former staffers teamed up with a notorious strategist to steal his political party — Meduza

On February 22, the former deputy head of Alexey Navalny’s presidential campaign office in Moscow announced on Facebook that he’s filed paperwork at the Justice Ministry to register a new political party called the “Progress Party” — the same name as Navalny’s unregistered political party. But there’s a hitch: that former Navalny campaign worker, Vitaly Serukanov, doesn’t have anything to do with Navalny’s political party. Serukanov’s party is being created on the foundation of an existing party called “Civic Position.” Navalny says Serukanov is working with the political strategist Andrey Bogdanov to try to steal the Progress Party. Meduza has confirmed that Bogdanov has ties to “Civic Position.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Inverted Political Reality Makes Russia Like the Titanic, Shevtsova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 19 – Russian reality under Vladimir Putin is one in which everything is turned on its head, Liliya Shevtsova says. “Weakness, compensated by unpredictability creates the illusion of strength. Stability is preserved by eroding principles and [suggesting] the lack of alternatives. [And] aggressiveness conceals a lack of certainty.” That pattern, the Russian political analyst says, once recognized provides a clue for understanding both the real nature of Russia today and also why what looks like a stable situation is certain not to remain one ( To make her point, she examines 21 cases of this inversion: 1. “Legitimacy of Power” is being undermined both among traditionalists who see the regime destroying itself by de-sacralization and among the modernists by “their lack of faith” in the possibility of the change of the system. 2. Putin’s new term and his agenda: “The Kremlin hasn’t thought up any idea which can unify the country. ‘Dictatorship of law’ is discredited by illegality. ‘A besieged fortress’ by the country losing access to resources from the West. ‘A purge’ by the need to build a defense against ‘the purged.’”

Russians discover the ultimate lifehack: solve any problem by stamping it with Alexey Navalny’s surname — Meduza

Having played a decisive role in turning back both Napoleon and Hitler, the Russian winter is a fearsome adversary. Invading armies know it. Communal services crews in Moscow know it, too. This winter has dumped an unusually large amount of snow on the capital, overwhelming cleanup workers and forcing Muscovites to get creative, if they want to make their local roads and street corners a priority for the plows and snow shovelers.

Kadyrov Calls Putin A ‘Superhero’ Who Should Rule Russia For Life

The Kremlin-backed head of Russia’s Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov, says he hopes President Vladimir Putin will remain in power for life.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Strategy of ‘All Victories, But No Defeats. are Ours’ Degrading Russian Security, Mironov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 19 – Like crony capitalists elsewhere, Vladimir Putin has promoted “the privatization of profit and the nationalization of losses,” an approach that has played a larger role than falling oil prices or anything else in the continuing stagnation and degradation of the Russian economy, Maksim Mironov says. But now the Kremlin leader has extended that idea to foreign policy, insisting that “all victories are ours” but that any defeats are things Moscow has nothing to do with and indeed knows nothing about, an approach that may give tactical advantages but that in the longer term leads to the degradation of the Russian military ( Mironov, who teaches economics in Madrid, argues that Putin’s application of a domestic model for foreign affairs was clearly in play during the beginning of the Russian moves in Ukraine. When no one resisted as in Crimea, he proclaimed victory and was celebrated for it; when Ukrainians did resist in the Donbass, he claimed Moscow wasn’t involved. This approach has allowed Putin to avoid responsibility for the Donbass and the obvious Russian involvement in the shooting down of the Malaysian jetliner, the economist says; and the Kremlin leader is seeking to extend it to Syria, where all victories are ascribed “to the glory of Russian arms and the genius of Putin personally.” But defeats in contrast “are either minimized or even recognized as such” as has been the case with the massive number of deaths of Russian mercenaries on the night of February 7-8. One can only imagine how Moscow media would have covered the events if the mercenaries had not lost but succeeded in seizing the oil processing facility. However, “the operation failed, and Russia by all possible means has tried to separate itself from this defeat: these are not out soldiers, we in general aren’t aware of what occurred there, and so on and so forth.” Many see this as a brilliant play by Putin, and at the tactical level, it may be, Mironov says. But just as in the economy where the Kremlin refused to recognize reality and instead after 2008 covered with tax money all the losses of its oligarch allies, this approach is leading to the degradation of the Russian armed forces and for the same reason. If Russia is to be successful, “every defeat should be analyzed. Generals responsible for them must be punished.” If weapons don’t work, they must be changed and so on. But that is possible only if those in positions of power are honest about what is happening and admit to both victories and defeats. “In Russia now,” however, “the military take responsibility for victories,” Mironov says; “but none of the military commanders, including the minister of defense take responsibility for defeats.” The presence of mercenary units who do not fight under the Russian flag make that even easier. Everyone responded with hysteria when Russian athletes were compelled to appear at the Olympic under a flag other than Russia’s, but they have not recognized that “our military already for many years has been fighting without any flag. The state has intentionally sent them into battle as ‘nothing,’’” ready to disown them if they do not succeed. This is extremely destructive over the longer term, Mironov says. “If we want to have a strong and successful army, then the military must fight under the flag of their native country. And generals must take responsibility not only for victories but also for defeats.” And the families of those who die in that cause must be taken care of. Otherwise, the economist says, what Russia will have is “not an army but a band of people with guns from whom you never know what to expect.”

Russian Roulette For The Womb: Seven Sex Partners ‘Guarantees Infertility’

A regional health minister in Russia claims that seven male sex partners is an unlucky number for young women trying to bear their first child.

Kremlin says Russian defense sector ‘fine’, accuses U.S. of unfair competition

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that “everything is fine” in the Russian defense sector, responding to an assertion by the U.S. State Department that sanctions had cost Russia $3 billion in lost defense contracts.

Russia’s Most Popular Conspiracy Theory Is All But Unknown in the U.S. – Atlas ObscuraMan who says he was a Russian ‘troll’ arrested after going public – To Inform is to Influence

By ANASTASIA BUTLER PATRICK REEVELL MOSCOW — Feb 20, 2018 Russian police have reportedly arrested a man who has claimed to be a worker at a so-called troll factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, hours after he gave interviews to foreign journalists and lifted the lid on a secretive organization the U.S. Department of Justice last week…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Demographic Collapse Driving Ethnic Shifts in Non-Russian Republics

Paul Goble Staunton, February 18 – For most of the last three decades of the 20th century, the share of non-Russians in the population of most non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation increased because the non-Russians had significantly higher fertility rates than did the ethnic Russians living among them. Now, fertility rates among most non-Russians have fallen in some cases approaching that of the ethnic Russians, a development some scholars in Moscow assumed would mean that the ethnic balance in these republics would stabilize rather than the share of non-Russians continuing to increase relative to the ethnic Russians there. But that has not happened, for two reasons. On the one hand, the age structure of the population favors the non-Russians who have a greater share of their number in the prime child-bearing age groups than do the Russians and so give birth to more children even when their fertility rate is similar because the age structure of the ethnic Russians is tilted to older groups. And on the other hand, ethnic Russians continue to leave these republics going to or in many cases back to predominantly Russian areas while members of the titular nationality return from other parts of the former Soviet Union, often in large but seldom much ballyhooed numbers. Obviously, there are variations; but in an article today on the Kavkazr portal, Alan Gagloyev describes how “the number of the ethnic Russians in North Ossetia is contracting” because “Russians are leaving and dying” and the share of Ossetians is increasing because they’re coming back ( Between 1979 and 2010, the number of Russians in North Ossetia fell by 53,000, from 200,000 to 147,000 and in percentage terms from 34 percent to 21 percent; and experts say there is every reason to expect that to continue because an extraordinarily high percentage of those remaining – some 21 percent – are over the age of 60. Younger ethnic Russians are trying to leave, specialists in North Ossetia say because unemployment is high, pay is low and also most positions are handed out on the basis of nepotism, something few Russians can take advantage of there. Young North Ossetians are leaving as well, some 47,000 in the last 12 years alone. Meanwhile, however, the number and share of Ossetians in North Ossetia has continued to climb from 299,000 (50 percent of the population) in 1979 to 460,000 (65 percent of the population) in 2010, not so much because of more births but because of the return of large groups of Ossetians from abroad. An estimate 86,000 have come from the Republic of Georgia. (There were 100,000 Ossetians in Georgia in 1989; now there are only 14,000.) Smaller numbers have returned from other parts of the North Caucasus as well as from further afield. But these changes in the Ossetian population have not been driven by higher birthrates. Indeed, local demographers are concerned that the birthrate in the republic is too low. In 1926, Ossetia ranked second in the USSR in terms of the number of children in each family; today, local demographers say, it ranks 53rd on that measure.

Watchdog Warns Corruption Usually Follows Media, NGO Crackdowns

Transparency International says government crackdowns on NGOs and media are associated with higher levels of corruption and most countries are “moving too slowly” to combat graft.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Has Moscow Peeled Off Another Country from Anti-Moscow Block in Post-Soviet Space?

Paul Goble Staunton, February 22 — Moscow is reading Azerbaijan’s decision not to take part in a Chisinau meeting on March 2 with the Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia as the end of GUAM, the association of countries that seeks membership in Western institutions rather than being dominated by Moscow. That will transform GUAM into GUM, Bogdan Bezpalko of the Russian Presidential Council on International Relations says because the enterprise in the Moldovan capital in partnership with the Atlantic Council “bears an openly anti-Russian character and Azerbaijan does not want to take part in it” ( “Up to now,” the Russian commentator says, “all attempts to create anti-Russian blocks on the post-Soviet space have ended in failure, chiefly because the idea of opposing Russia comes from the West and contradicts the economic interests of the post-Soviet republics not one of which is in a full sense its own actor and independent.” Bezpalko adds: “Accusations against Russia that it is interfering with ‘the European choice’ of former republics of the USSR are invented.” Those countries which want to work with European institutions are free to do so, but those that do have in every case, he says, suffered economically. The Kremlin would certainly like to see GUAM collapse. It celebrated the decision of Uzbekistan which joined the association in 1999 to pull out of that grouping in 2002. And it is clearly pleased that Azerbaijan appears to be following along the road of Uzbekistan now. But Moscow may be counting its chickens before they are hatched: Azer Kerimli, the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM says that the Chisinau meeting “is occurring outside of the GUAM format” between three countries which have signed association agreements with the EU. Azerbaijan ahs not, but “we will continue to work in the Parliamentary Assembly,” the Azerbaijani diplomat said. About that, “there are here no issues

‘Un-Tattoo You’: Russian Convict’s Swastikas To Be ‘Confiscated’

A Russian court says two Nazi swastikas must go from an inmate’s chest, and he’s apparently got to do it himself.

‘Provoking gentlemen is no good’: A Russian parenting magazine publishes advice from a psychologist who says it’s okay to beat girls when they ‘challenge’ boys, so the boys don’t turn gay — Meduza

Having played a decisive role in turning back both Napoleon and Hitler, the Russian winter is a fearsome adversary. Invading armies know it. Communal services crews in Moscow know it, too. This winter has dumped an unusually large amount of snow on the capital, overwhelming cleanup workers and forcing Muscovites to get creative, if they want to make their local roads and street corners a priority for the plows and snow shovelers.

Moscow Cinema Fined For Showing Stalin Comedy

A movie theater in Moscow has been fined 100,000 rubles ($1,750) for showing the banned satirical film The Death Of Stalin.

Moscow: U.S.-Russia Ties Will Be Difficult To Repair

Russia says it would be “very difficult” to improve relations with the United States, which have plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War.

Slain Opposition Politician Nemtsov’s Home In Moscow To Get Plaque

A plaque honoring slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov will be mounted on the apartment building where he lived in Moscow, the city’s mayor says.

Daghestan Muslim Leadership Condemns Mass Shooting Outside Church

The mainstream Muslim leadership in Russia’s Daghestan region has condemned an attack that killed five people outside a Russian Orthodox church, saying that the suspect had “nothing to do with the …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Frightened Kizlyar Murders Could Spark a Christian-Muslim Religious War

Paul Goble Staunton, February 20 – Both civil and religious leaders are clearly frightened that the killings of Orthodox believers by a Muslim at a church in the Daghestani city of Kizlyar could spark a religious war between Christianity and Islam on Russian territory, a conflict that could prove far more violent and destructive than even the Chechen wars. And consequently, even though most media coverage has tried to characterize the event as an act of terrorism independent of faith, Russia’s religious leaders both collectively and individually have warned of the dangers of such violence and called for “unity in the face of extremism.” In a statement yesterday (, the Inter-Religious Council of Russia, which includes representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews, declared: We, heads and representatives of the traditional religions in Russia, were pained by the news about an attack against Orthodox believers in the town of Kizlyar in which five people were killed. The perpetrator of the crime purposefully shot at Orthodox believers at the moment when they were coming out of the church after a divine service. The killer carried out his attack on the Forgiveness Sunday – the day when the Orthodox Christians traditionally seek to reconcile themselves with all. It exposes the misanthropic ideology of extremism manifesting the true face of the Satan’s servants who cover up their true face with the name of God. The aim of the terrorist and his inspirers is to stir up interreligious discord, to destroy the age-old tradition of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Russia. The religious leaders of our country call to do everything possible to prevent it.

Russia church shooting kills 5 after gunman opens fire on people leaving service | Fox News

Five women were killed and several others were injured after a gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle on people leaving a church service in Russia’s Dagestan region on Sunday, Russian media outlets reported.

‘Thank You, Putin, For Everything’: Russian Kids Plump For President

Russian laws ban using minors in election campaigns, but that hasn’t stopped a school in Daghestan from posting photos of children holding pro-Putin posters.

Alexei Navalny: the man who would bring down Vladimir Putin | Times2 | The Times

The office manager gestures at the door as she leads us inside. “Yes, this is the one the police cut through with a circular saw,” she says casually.We are ente

Homophobic video warns Russians of dangers of not voting | World news | The Guardian

Video seeks to boost turnout at presidential election by playing on homophobia and xenophobia

Spanish Policeman Dies After Clashes With Russian Soccer Fans

A Spanish police officer died after security forces clashed with fans of the Russian soccer club Spartak Moscow in the Spanish city of Bilbao where a Europa League match was taking place.

Russian Doping Case Rocks Olympic Curling – The New York Times

A Russian may lose his bronze medal after failing a doping test in a sport not accustomed to such high-profile cases, but one that is physically demanding.

Fairy-Tale Ending: Russian School Finally Gets Its ‘Antiterrorism’ Fence

For six years, a school in Pskov Oblast begged local authorities for funds to build a perimeter fence required by federal law. Finally, they took matters into their own hands.

In Far East, Locals Wary Of Russia’s Bid To Draw Newcomers

The Russian government is planning to increase the subsidy paid to attract people to settle in the Far East to 1 million rubles, plus other perks. But locals eking out a tough living think more sho…

Russia Reported Ready To Challenge Any U.S. Tariffs On Steel, Aluminum

Russia may challenge any move by the United States to impose stiff new tariffs on imports of Russian steel and aluminum in a complaint before the World Trade Organization, Russian state-run news ag…

Russian Tycoon Deripaska Quits As Head Of Aluminum Empire

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska is stepping down as the head of Russia’s Rusal aluminium empire only days after he was named in a corruption scandal and appeared on the U.S. list of oligarchs who b…

Russian Activist’s House Burns Down After Protest Against Deforestation

The home of a Russian activist has been burned down in what he suspects was an arson attack in retaliation for his opposition to deforestation in the Altai Republic in southern Siberia.

Friday briefing: Flake news! Russia spawns ‘beast from the east’ | World news | The Guardian

Snow blast from Siberia to hit Britain … Labour backs post-Brexit customs union … and how police threw out murder charge over battered mum’s death

Russian Takes His Cat Skydiving |

60-year-old Vladimir Kulikov, from the Novgorod Parachuting Club went sky diving with his cat, named “The Kid”. They jumped from a height of 1200m. Apparently, the cat loved it, or that’s what Vladimir says, anyway.

Russian Sports-Doping Whistle-Blower Says ‘Sorry’ For Cheating Clean Athletes

Russian sports whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov says he is “very sorry” for his role in what has been described as an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the Olympic anti-doping system.

IOC Expels Critic Of Decision To Allow Russians At Olympics

A vocal critic of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow Russian athletes to compete at the games has been expelled from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Podcast: Russia’s Hunger Games

We pretty much know what will happen on March 18. The real suspense is what happens next. And a big clue about how Vladimir Putin will govern in his fourth term will be revealed by what he does with the security services after the election. Russian media has been filled with speculation and leaks about how the Kremlin leader is planning a major shake-up of his siloviki. So what can we expect? Where is the Russian security state going? On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, we look at what is reportedly on the table and what it means. Joining me is 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.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

No Apostrophe: Nazarbaev Decree Spells Out Changes In New Latin Alphabet For Kazakhstan

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has decreed changes in the Latin-based alphabet that is to replace Cyrillic in the Central Asian country, abolishing apostrophes that came under severe criticism from linguists.

Belarus Reports


Belarus is preparing to make Russia a serious competitor in the international arms market, reports . According to the material of the publication, Minsk is going to actively promote the export of seriously modernized Soviet air defense systems – the Buk-MB air defense system and the new Polonaise MLRS system of its own design. By the end of 2017, Belarus exported various military products for more than a billion dollars, said Oleg Dzheporyov, who is chairman of the State Military Industrial Committee of Belarus. At the same time, the list of Belarusian military equipment exported today is quite extensive. It includes anti-aircraft missile systems, multiple rocket launchers, radar systems, electronic warfare systems, optoelectronic devices, armored vehicles, military vehicles, special-purpose computers, robotic complexes, drones. The achieved indicators allow the country over the past several years to enter the Top 20 world arms exporters. At the same time, the Republic of Belarus seeks to maximize its sales markets. According to the move, in 2017 the country increased the export of military products by 15 percent, and the volume of its own production of military equipment increased by a quarter. According to the Belarusian official, the year 2017 was for Minsk “the year of conquering new markets”: products and services of military enterprises from Belarus were delivered to 69 countries (in 2016 there were 60 of them). One of the actively promoted systems for export is the deep modernization of the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, created in the USSR. The new model of the SAM was presented on January 31, 2018 at the exhibition of developments of the State Military Industrial Committee (Goskomvoroprom) of Belarus for 2016-2017. This is a modification that received the designation “Beech MB”, it was developed by enterprises and organizations of the State Military Industry System, among which OJSC “Agat – management systems” is the managing company of the holding “Geoinformation management systems”, research and production LLC “OKB TSP”, JSC “140 repair plant” and JSC “2566 plant for repair of electronic weapons.” According to Vladimir Lavrenyuk, the representative of the State Military Committee, this modernization of Buk air defense system is qualitatively different not only from the base model of the complex, but also from its subsequent versions, including the M1-2 Buk, which is still in service with the Belarusian army. Lavrenyuk noted that the degree of modernization of the complex allows talking about the actual creation of a new Belarusian SAM. As a result of the deep modernization all obsolete equipment of the ZRK was replaced with modern parts, the complex was completely executed on a new element base. As part of the modernization, more than one hundred new devices and units were created for the Buk MB in Belarus. Buk MB is able to work with any type of modern automated control systems, as well as digital radar systems. The introduction of fundamentally new technical solutions into the complex made it possible to increase the range of target detection by the radar of a self-propelled gun installation (SOA) by as much as 30 per cent, and also to carry out automatic recognition of the target according to trajectory features and an automated one based on a sound portrait. Significantly, the characteristics of the suppression systems for both passive and active interference were improved. Separately, there is a built-in integrated simulator system that allows operators of Buk MB to conduct training both within the complex and autonomously on the combat elements entering into it. The air defense complex upgraded by the Belarusian military complex was able to use solid-fuel single-stage anti-aircraft guided missiles not just one, but three types (9M38, 9M38M1, 9M317) in any combination. The 9M38M1 missile, created in the USSR, had a speed of 850 m / s, the range of fire was 35 km, the maximum height of the targets was 22.5 km, the probability of defeat was 0.71. The more modern 9M317 missile system has increased its speed to 1,230 m / s, the range of fire is 42 km, the maximum height of the targets being hit is 25 km, the accuracy is 0.78. If each self-propelled fire unit of the upgraded complex is single-channel for the purpose, in general, “Buk MB” in its standard configuration already has six target channels. In the conditions of modern combat, this is important for the reliable cover of protected ground targets and the repulse of a massive air strike. Since the SOUs of the modernized complex are independent fire units that can work both in the SAM system and independently, the Beech MB has a higher combat survivability, which is especially important in case of the use of modern models of anti-radar weapons by the enemy. The structure of each division of the modernized Belarusian air defense system Buk MB includes 6 self-propelled 9A310MB fire engines, 3 9A310MB transport-loading machines, and a three-axis radar target detection system with a phased array antenna (it allows to detect air targets created using the ” stealth “), the military control center 9S470MB and various auxiliary equipment.

EU Urges Belarus To Undertake ‘Serious’ Electoral Reform

The European Union has called on Belarus to immediately work on a “serious and comprehensive” reform of the election law and processes following local elections in the country.

Prosecutor Seeks Four-Year Prison Sentence For Belarusian Activist

The state prosecutor has asked a Belarusian court to sentence an activist who took part in protests against a law obliging the unemployed to pay taxes on “social parasites” to four years in prison.

Belarusian Supreme Court Upholds Japanese Man’s Arms-Smuggling Conviction

The Supreme Court of Belarus has rejected an appeal from a Japanese military-history buff who is in prison on arms-smuggling charges after he brought antique gun parts into the country.

One Man, Three Votes?

A Belarusian activist filmed himself voting multiple times in local elections, after reading how the authorities were planning to perpetrate voting fraud.

Belarusian Journalist Said Beaten By Police, Charged With Resistance

A Belarusian journalist has been charged with resisting law enforcement officers after an altercation in which his employer, the TV channel Belsat, says he was beaten by police.

Belarus Files Complaint As Ukraine Takes Olympic Skiing Gold

Oleksandr Abramenko has won Olympic freestyle skiing gold for Ukraine in the men’s aerials competition at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Belarusian Activist Tried Over Violence At ‘Parasite Tax’ Protest

A Belarusian activist who took part in rallies against a law obliging the unemployed to pay taxes on “social parasites” is on trial in Minsk on a charge of attacking a police officer.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Moldova’s Filip Renews Call For Russia To Quit Transdniester

Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip has repeated his call for Russia to withdraw its troops and armaments from Moldova’s separatist region of Transdniester.

EU Presses Moldova On Judicial Reform, Fighting Corruption

The European Union is urging Moldova to press ahead with judicial reforms and undertake a “more decisive fight against corruption,” according to a draft text seen by RFE/RL.

Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia to discuss regional security – The Washington Post

Moldova is to host a conference on the security challenges facing three former Soviet republics where there are ongoing concerns about Russian influence.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Putin’s Syrian dilemma: Back Israel or Iran? – Israel News –

All of the Russian president’s achievements in Syria could come crashing down unless he answers this one fundamental question

Iran’s Syrian Front – WSJ

Assad’s atrocities grow as Tehran builds a new anti-Israel satellite.

Iran Waging Desperate Campaign to Stop the Rise of Christianity in Its Country | American Center for Law and Justice

Christianity has ignited like a flame across the country of Iran, making the Iranian government so nervous they’re desperate to extinguish it quickly. The…

Iranian Airline, Under Sanctions, Bought U.S. Jet Parts Through Front Firms – WSJ

An Iranian airline under sanctions by the U.S. for ferrying weapons and fighters into Syria repeatedly bought U.S.-made jet engines and parts through Turkish front companies over the past several years, most recently in December, federal investigators said.

Iranian airline covertly bought parts from U.S. suppliers – CBS News

Turkish front companies used in deal that violates U.S. trade sanctions, Commerce Department says

Iran’s Sanctions Evasion Went East After Europe Cracked Down – Bloomberg

The U.S. effort to put Iran in a financial vice was working. European banks were paying big fines and closing off its money flows, and severe sanctions on the country’s banking and energy sectors were forcing it to the table on a nuclear deal. But as U.S. enforcement officials would soon discover, Iran had found a new channel for its illicit transactions: Asia.

To push Iran back, Israel ramps up support for Syrian rebels, ‘arming 7 different groups’ – Israel News –

With the Assad regime’s advances the civil war and America’s reduced involvement in the region, Israel has been forced to make significant changes in its policies in the Golan Heights

Iran, Deeply Embedded in Syria, Expands ‘Axis of Resistance’ – The New York Times

Iran is training thousands of militiamen in Syria and deploying drones and precision weapons. Its goal, say analysts: a united front in any war with Israel.

Vox Sentences: Iran is quietly building up its military in Syria – Vox

Trump signals support for a bipartisan background check bill in the wake of the Parkland shooting; Syria could be the setting of a potential conflict between Iran and Israel after heightened tensions between the two countries.

Iran’s Expansion Across the Region

Iran news update

Iran official: Tel Aviv would be ‘razed to the ground’ if Israel attacks – CNN

Iran issued a strong warning to Israel on Monday in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fiery speech at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference.

‘We will level Tel Aviv to the ground’ Iranian official warns Israel – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

“The US and Israeli leaders don’t know Iran and don’t understand the power of resistance and therefore, they continuously face defeat.”

Netanyahu vows to hit Iran directly, if necessary

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, the prime minister presents a piece of an Iranian drone he says Israel shot down on February 10, urges world not to repeat mistakes of 1938 Munich Agreement and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; touching on Polish Holocaust Law, PM adds we will not forgive or forget the Nazis and their collaborators.

Brandishing drone fragment, Netanyahu warns of war with Iran – The Washington Post

The Israeli prime minister warned that Iran is testing red lines with its behavior in Syria.

Israel Prepares to Take On Iran and Hezbollah in Syria

The Israelis think Iranian bases in Syria and the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah are unacceptable.

SpaceX testing its own satellite broadband internet network

SpaceX is on a collision course with the world’s biggest telecom and satellite manufacturing companies.

Benjamin Netanyahu Warns Iran to ‘Not Test Israel’s Resolve’ | Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at security conference in Munich that Iran should “not test Israel’s resolve”

Netanyahu says Israel could act against Iran’s ’empire’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.

The nuclear agreement is ‘the worst deal ever’ — for Iran

Some of the most inspiring images of the new year – and therefore, in this age of Trump, some of the least noticed — have come from Iran.

Israel Builds Case for Europeans to Accept Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Fix’

Some former Israeli officials say European powers should change course on the 2015 agreement that those powers championed.

Syria: Russia Blocks Urgent U.N. Ceasefire Proposal | Time

World leaders called for an urgent cease-fire in Syria as government forces pounded the opposition-controlled eastern suburbs of the capital

The fall of ISIS in Syria could spell more trouble for the US

As the war against ISIS in Syria draws to a close, there are signs a new conflict has reached a tipping point.

Stop Syria’s carnage: The players in the horrific war must get serious | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The continuing slaughter in Syria, this time focusing primarily on East Ghouta outside of the capital Damascus, should sound an alarm to the world that it …

Strikes Hit Syria’s Ghouta For Fifth Day As UN Pleads For Cease-Fire

Warplanes and artillery bombarded eastern Ghouta — a rebel enclave near Syria’s capital, Damascus — for a fifth straight day on February 22, as the United Nations pleaded for a halt to one of the…

Public reports ‘clearly show’ Assad’s use of chemical weapons: McMaster

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said on Saturday that, despite denials, public reports showed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was using chemical weapons, and added that it was time for the international community to hold the Syrian government to account.

U.S. Says Russia Has ‘Unique Responsibility’ For Killing In Syria’s Ghouta

The United States has criticized Russia over the bombing of Syria’s eastern Ghouta, saying Moscow has a “unique responsibility” for more than 400 people being killed in the Damascus suburb this month.

Has Turkey Gone Rogue? « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Ankara on Thursday, he will find Turkey unrecognizable as the ostensibly Muslim democracy and close ally that U.S. officials once held up as a model for the Islamic world. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is poised to complete his long transformation of Turkey from a raucous — if imperfect democracy — to an autocracy, one ruled by caprice and fear.

Erdogan’s Fatal Blind Spot – Foreign Policy

The real threat to Turkey isn’t the Kurds. It’s the Islamic State.

Why Turkey Says It’s Ready to Go to War With Syria Over Afrin – WSJ

The fight in Afrin has thrown a spotlight on international powers—from Turkey and Russia to Iran and the U.S.—vying for position in Syria. Here’s a rundown of what’s at stake for the competing powers.

Turkish minister rebukes ‘Turkey versus Kurds’ comments

Turkey is not against Kurds, but opposes ‘all terror organizations’, Cavusoglu says at Munich Security Conference – Anadolu Agency

Turkey Mulls Talks to Avoid War As Russia and U.S. Allies Chant ‘One Syria’

Can Turkey talk its way out of a full-on war with Syria?

After ISIS, the US Faces Its Next Battle: Syria’s Erupting Fault Lines – Defense One

Without leadership, Washington’s options are limited in the chaos of the civil war\’s end game.

Behind Turkey’s Actions in Syria: A Fear of Waning Influence – WSJ

The Turkish offensive against the Kurds that has brought Turkey to the brink of conflict with the U.S. comes as the country is fighting to preserve its leverage in a fractured Syria.

Monitor: Syrian Military Bombardment of Damascus Suburb Kills 100, 500 Wounded

Numerous civilians among the dead and wounded

Report: Turkey Nationalism on Upsurge Again

Study shows President Erdogan’s rhetoric encouraging wave of nationalism among Turkish populists

Stakes rise in Turkey’s Afrin assault as pro-Assad militia arrive

Turkey warned of grave consequences on Wednesday after pro-Syrian government forces entered Syria’s Afrin region to help Kurdish fighters repel a Turkish offensive.

Turkey: 6 Journalists Sentenced to Life Over Failed Coup

The defendants were accused of links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen

Afrin: Syria ‘sending fighters to help Kurds against Turkey’ – BBC News

Pro-government forces will support Kurds fighting a Turkish offensive in Afrin, state media says.

Turkish army hit village in Syria’s Afrin with suspected gas: Kurdish YPG, Observatory

Syrian Kurdish forces and a monitoring group said the Turkish military carried out a suspected gas attack that wounded six people in Syria’s Afrin region on Friday.

Russia Defends ‘Devastating’ Syria Bombing Amid Outcry Over Civilian Deaths

Russia is defending a massive assault on a Damascus suburb by Syrian and Russian warplanes that an independent monitor says killed at least 250 civilians in two days.

Doctors and children among hundreds dead in Assad blitz | World | The Times

Doctors and aid workers last night described heart-wrenching scenes in the besieged Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta where hundreds of civilians have been kil

Eastern Ghouta’s doctors forced to use expired drugs – CNN

The devastation wrought in eastern Ghouta by a relentless bombardment by the Syrian regime has forced doctors to use expired drugs and scrabble for water as the number of dead reached 300 in three days, medics and activists said.

‘War of extermination’ in Eastern Ghouta |

Regime kills more than 100 civilians including 20 children in single day

Syria war: Eastern Ghouta bombing ‘catastrophic’ – BBC News

A doctor working in the Eastern Ghouta says there is no food, no medicine, and no international aid.

Syria’s Civil War Complicated By Multiple Proxy Battles | Time

Seven years into Syria’s “civil war,” the country is at greater risk than ever of being overrun by the proxy wars of other nations.

Syrian Observatory: bombing kills 94 in eastern Ghouta in a day

A surge in attacks by the Syrian government and its allies killed 94 people in the rebel pocket of eastern Ghouta in the space of 24 hours, a war monitoring group said on Monday.

Kurdish fighters say pro-Assad militias have arrived to thwart Turkish offensive in Syria’s Afrin – The Washington Post

Turkey is framing assault as a matter of national security, viewing Kurdish fighters as an extension of Turkey-based militants it has fought for decades.

Noah Feldman: Syria is the new Afghanistan, where war won’t end – The Salt Lake Tribune

Russia condemns Iran’s calls to destroy Israel, but also tells Jerusalem that Tehran is not the problem – Israel News –

Russian FM Lavrov admonishes Iranian desire ‘to wipe Israel off the map,’ but insists: Iranian meddling isn’t the only way to understand Middle East

Militants in army uniforms ambush Iraqi troops near Baghdad, 27 dead | Fox News

Militants disguised in army uniforms ambush paramilitary troops north of Baghdad, killing 27.

Israeli jets strike Gaza after soldiers injured by Gaza bomb | World news | The Guardian

Eighteen Hamas positions targeted, says Israel’s military, after IED explosion on border left four troops injured, two of them severely

US aims to separate part of Syria to create Kurdish-dominated autonomy – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has commented on the situation in the war-plagued Syria, including the issue of US military presence in the country and its support of Kurdish factions. “It is clear that the United States has some strategy which I believe entails staying in Syria forever with its armed forces…

A train crash between Turkey and the US put on hold

The bewildering high-level diplomatic traffic of the past week to overcome the highly contentious positions between Turkey and the U.S. over Syria is an indicator that the Donald Trump administration may be more serious than before about finding a solution to Ankara’s security concerns.

Russia Opposes U.S. Bid To Condemn Iran Over Supply Of Yemeni Arms

Russia is opposing a bid by the United States and its allies to include language condemning Iran for allegedly violating an arms embargo imposed on Yemeni rebels in a UN resolution renewing that em…

The Latest: Kerry: We must ensure Iran nuke deal survives –

Elite Hackers Stopped ISIS From Shooting Down a Passenger Plane, Israel Claims

The Israeli Defense Forces’ elite hacker group, Unit 8200, gathered information that thwarted the attack.

IDF cyber warriors thwart major ISIS aviation terror attack – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

Spread across the country, the online soldiers of Unit 8200 are on the front line of Israel’s cyber wars 24/7, 365 days a year to identify possible threats and effectively neutralize them.

IDFs Unit 8200 helped Australia thwart attempt to bomb plane

Israels Military Intelligence Directorate reveals it provided Sydney with information on ISIS plot to plant a home-made bomb disguised as a meat-mincer on an Etihad Airways flight in July 2017.

US motion to put Pakistan on terror financing watchlist fails amid division – Daily Times


Myanmar bulldozes what is left of Rohingya Muslim villages – NBC News

Rights groups say the vast operation is destroying crucial evidence of mass atrocities against the Myanmar’s ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority


Trump announces new North Korea sanctions – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the US Treasury Department is imposing new sanctions against North Korea specifically targeting the country’s shipping and trading companies and vessels in an effort to further isolate the rogue regime.

Trump Declares New Shipping Sanctions On North Korea : The Two-Way : NPR

The latest punitive measures are aimed at ships and shipping companies from several countries that are sending oil and other products to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Why North Korea and America could be at war by April | Fox News

When the Olympic flame fades from PyeongChang we should brace ourselves for what could be the most tension filled few months internationally we have seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Pence was set to meet with North Korean officials during the Olympics before last-minute cancellation – The Washington Post

The vice president’s office promoted his trip as an effort to combat what it said was North Korea’s effort to use the Winter Games for propaganda purposes.

US Open to Discussing Talks With North Korea

South Korea’s efforts to engage North Korea in denuclearization talks with the US has defused talk of a bloody nose strike

APT37: Inside the Toolset of an Elite North Korean Hacker Group | WIRED

Security researcher at FireEye break down the arsenal of APT37, a North Korean hacker team coming into focus as a rising threat.

Progress at North Korea’s Experimental Light Water Reactor at Yongbyon | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., and Jack Liu. Commercial satellite imagery from 2017 through February 11, 2018 indicates steady progress has been made towards the operationalization of the (100 MWth/30 MWe[1]) Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Having been under construction since 2010, the ELWR seems to be nearing operational status based on improvements made over the past year, including new provisions for a more consistent cooling water supply, installation of internal equipment and the connection of the reactor to the local electrical grid. The latest imagery from February 11 shows the ELWR is externally complete, while the two adjacent construction support yards now appear relatively quiet as opposed to mid-2017 when equipment was actively being transferred from the yards into the reactor dome.[2] The overall site remains clean and well maintained with roads and paths cleared of recent (post-January 30, 2018) snowfall. The February 11 image (Figures 1 and 2) also shows ice melt along the river adjacent to the reactors with steam/vapor emanating from the generator hall of the 5 MWe reactor (Figure 3), which, despite the lack of a visible cooling water outfall, is suggestive of at least partial recent operations. The 5 MWe plutonium production reactor is well maintained and has been operational over the past year, although intermittently or at low levels. Based on the latest and other recent imagery, it is not possible to conclude whether the reactor was defueled/refueled at the end of its predicted operations cycle finishing in late 2017.[3]

Another one of North Korea’s hacking groups was just outed: Reaper – VICE News

The elite hacking group, also known as ACT37, is linked to Pyongyang and has emerged as a significant threat according to U.S. security firm FireEye.

Former Spymaster to Lead North Korea’s Olympic Ceremony Delegation – The New York Times

Kim Yong-chol, a high-ranking North Korean official accused of overseeing deadly attacks on the South, will visit South Korea to discuss the possibility of future talks.

Watch out. North Korea keeps getting better at hacking – NBC News

The North Koreans have figured out how to bridge the air gap — meaning they can hack into computers that aren’t even connected to the internet.

North Korea’s Tunnel Network Is Impressive (But Not Invulnerable) | The National Interest Blog

Here is how America could even the fight with Pyongyang.

Shadowy North Korean IT group believed hiding out in Russian Far East: sources | The Japan Times

A group of North Korean information technology experts has moved its base from Hong Kong to Vladivostok in Russia and is likely engaged in collecting forei

North Korea is a ‘kingdom of evil,’ celebrated defector says | Fox News

A 35-year-old defector is the new human face of the North Korea horror.

North Korea denounces Fred Warmbier’s trip to the Olympics

The Warmbier’s, of Wyoming, Ohio, have criticized the totalitarian regime in North Korea since their

China’s Overseas Basing: Will the PLA Follow the Renminbi? | The National Interest

The People’s Liberation Army will play an increasingly visible role in and beyond Eurasia, through deployments and diplomacy.

North Korean Cheerleader Speaks Out on Psychological Training in Kim Jong Un’s ‘Army of Beauties’

“We were not just there to cheer, we were told to go into the heart of the enemy,” she said.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger: China’s Ever-Evolving Military Tech – Defense One

China’s progress hasn’t gone unnoticed.

South China Sea militarization nothing to fret over, says Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte — Quartz

Generally speaking, a sovereign nation dislikes it when a foreign power establishes new military bases within striking range of its capital. But when it comes to China doing just that to the Philippines in the South China Sea, Rodrigo Duterte, it seems, doesn’t mind at all. The Philippines president, speaking to a crowd of Chinese-Filipino businessmen…

Philippines ‘Concerned’ as US Intelligence Tags Duterte a Threat to Democracy

More than 4,000 people have been killed in what police call legitimate operations against suspected drug dealers and users under the Duterte’s signature war on drugs since July 2016

South China Sea turning into signals hub for Chinese military | SOFREP

What if your strategic interests required creating land out of thin air, or in this case, deep blue ocean?  Enter the People’s Republic of China and their man-made islands in the Spratly island chain, in the hotly disputed South China Sea.

China is challenging ‘dominance’ of U.S in South China Sea, diplomat says – NBC News

The risks of a “miscalculation” and armed conflict have risen in the disputed South China Sea, according to the Philippine envoy to Beijing.

China’s Maritime Creep Could Create a Crisis for Japan | The National Interest

Despite apparent moves by Beijing and Tokyo to improve ties, there is no way to discount the evolving signs of trouble in the East China Sea.

Waking up to China’s infiltration of American colleges – The Washington Post

Confucius Institutes are the Communist Party’s outposts in the West.

North Korean athletes at Winter Olympics desperate to avoid ‘hellish GULAG fate’ of 1966 World Cup squad

The homecoming of the 1966 North Korean squad saw them publicly shamed, arrested and thrown into a concentration camp for failing to bring about national glory

UAWire – Russia to sell Indonesia fighter jets for palm oil

Russia has signed a contract to sell Indonesia 11 Su-35 fighters, Interfax news agency reported, citing a source in Jakarta. The negotiations …

US, India, Australia, and Japan discuss Belt and Road alternative – Business Insider

The infrastructure scheme could be an attempt to counter Beijing’s spreading influence via its multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.


Foreign Policy Reports

Rattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn threatens free Press as he dodges spy scandal questions

THE Labour leader ducked out questioning by The Sun and other media by slipping out of a Westminster conference via an underground car park. Then he issued a video message directed to The Sun saying: ‘We’ve got news for them: change is coming’.

Communist spies ‘wanted Corbyn to betray MI5 secrets’ | News | The Times

Theresa May has called on Jeremy Corbyn give more details about his dealings with spies in the eastern bloc. The prime minister called on the Labour leader to b

Jeremy Corbyn’s feelings for Soviets are not a secret | Comment | The Times

Jeremy Corbyn valued Soviet leadership. He was worried about the break-up of the Soviet Union. He believed Nato was an instrument of Cold War manipulation. And

Jeremy Corbyn accused of wanting Soviet-style capital to replace City | News | The Times

Jeremy Corbyn’s threat to make the City of London a “servant” of industry risks ruining a national asset, finance chiefs said last night.The Labour leader vowed

Jeremy Corbyn smiles and steps over Marxism’s victims | Comment | The Sunday Times

Sometimes an item of news can be both fascinating and completely unsurprising. So it is with the revelation in The Sun (complete with documentary evidence) that

Global Elites Cannot Save a World In Turmoil – Defense One

Last weekend’s security conference in Munich was a stark reminder that this class has nothing of substance to offer a world in turmoil.

Corbyn-inspired SPD youth leader, Kevin Kühnert, could end the Merkel era | World | The Times

Numerous men have tried to thwart Angela Merkel. All have failed.Yet if Mrs Merkel’s hard-fought coalition deal falls at the final hurdle then the credit — or b

Sullivan explains why U.S. opposes Nord Stream 2 – 22.02.2018 11:23 — Ukrinform News

The United States opposes the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, because it does not fulfill the task of diversifying gas supplies to Europe and undermines Ukraine's energy independence.

Two Polish radicals suspected of setting Hungarians’ Uzhhorod office on fire – news portal

Two Polish radicals suspected of setting Hungarians’ Uzhhorod office on fire. They will be charged in absentia and declared wanted. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Two Argentines Arrested in Russian Embassy Cocaine Probe | World News | US News

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

Argentina foils diplomatic luggage cocaine plot – BBC News

Arrests are made in Argentina after 400kg of cocaine was found in Russian diplomatic luggage.

Czechs to open satellite center to serve intelligence, NATO

The Czech Republic’s army says it is planning to open a new satellite center to serve the country’s military intelligence and NATO.

CSIS on Twitter: “Even wars have rules. The New Barbarianism explores the harrowing phenomenon of attacks targeting the health sector.… “


Emmanuel Macron Wants YOU for the French Army – Foreign Policy


Chance of halting Brexit now close to 50:50, says leading campaigner

Opponents of Britain’s exit from the European Union are preparing a major campaign they say now has close to a 50:50 chance of stopping Brexit by blocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal, a leading pro-EU campaigner said.

UK prime minister seeks post-Brexit EU security alliance – ABC News

UK prime minister seeks post-Brexit EU security alliance

Theresa May warns EU against cutting security ties | Daily Mail Online

Theresa May is due to speak at the Munich Security Conference today where she will hail the success of EU-wide co-operation against terrorists and people smugglers.

The Latest: Polish Leader Pushes European Defense Spending | World News | US News

MUNICH (AP) — The Latest on the Munich Security Conference (all times local):

France unveils controversial migrant deportation bill – The Local

The French government defended a new immigration bill as “completely balanced” on Wednesday despite criticism from rights groups and some ruling party lawmakers that it will lead to thousands of extra deportations.

Rampaging Twitter ‘bots’ bred in Suffolk farmhouse | News | The Sunday Times

A British businessman is at the centre of a vast network of fake Twitter accounts used to spread anti-western propaganda and online scams.In his day job Jamie R

Inside Europe: Rise in support for the AfD | All media content | DW | 23.02.2018

An opinion poll published on behalf of German tabloid Bild shows that the right-wing, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), is more popular than the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). The news comes as the SPD begins a crucial vote on a government coalition with Angela Merkel. Keith Walker speaks to DW’s Political Correspondent Thomas Sparrow.

German Government Hinges on Party Tally – WSJ

Germany’s political future is staked on a ballot among the fractious rank-and-file of a once-mighty Social Democratic Party still reeling months after its worst electoral showing since World War II.

Germany in March to allow Russia laying gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine – Naftogaz CEO | UNIAN

Germany in March to allow Russia laying gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine – Naftogaz CEO. Current news and events for 23 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – Hungarian Parliament adopts resolution to support Poland against Brussels ‘pressure’

On February 20, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a resolution &quot;to support Poland against pressure from Brussels&quot;, reported the Polish Press …

Luxembourg says Budapest’s policy might cost Hungary EU membership | UNIAN

Luxembourg says Budapest’s policy might cost Hungary EU membership. View news feed in world news for 21 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Mussolini’s heirs gain ground in Italian election | World | The Times

The Brothers of Italy are out pressing the flesh in Pianura, a gritty Naples suburb, when one of the activists says: “The locals sometimes greet us with a fasci

German defense minister slams Trump’s military-heavy approach to security – The Washington Post

Comments underscore a deepening rift in the transatlantic alliance between U.S. and Europe.

Germany‘s Oldest Party Drops Below Right-Wing Upstart in Poll – WSJ

Germany’s main center-left party, the Social Democrats, saw its rating fall below that of the right-wing Alternative for Germany for the first time in an opinion poll published Monday, piling fresh ignominy on the country’s disintegrating center-left.

Poland Broke Law With Ancient Forest Logging, EU Court Adviser Says

The legal adviser to the European Union’s top court says that Poland broke the law by authorizing logging in one of the continent’s oldest forests.

Latvia’s banking crisis: Here’s why it matters for the rest of Europe

The scandals rocking Latvia’s banking system are the latest in a series of crises for the former Soviet state.

The Czech Freedom and Democracy Party – where do the legs grow? – To Inform is to Influence

This is very similar to the disassembly of Russian dolls. You will open one, and inside one is another. Radim Fiala – MP from the Liberty and Straight Democracy movement (SPD), Tomio Okamura  – collaborated with a young Russian man who was published on disinformation sites. This young man once linked the leader of the “Public Affairs” party (Věci veřejné)…

Corruption Currents: Scandals Rock Latvian Banking Sector – Risk & Compliance Journal. – WSJ

Latvia’s banking sector fell into crisis amid a number of scandals.

Latvian Central-Bank Chief Released On Bail Amid Corruption Charges

Latvia’s central-bank chief has been released from custody on bail hours after the Baltic country’s anticorruption agency accused him of receiving at least 100,000 euros ($125,000) in bribes.

ECB imposes payment block on Latvian bank amid US corruption allegations

The ECB stopped payments by one of Latvia’s largest banks on Monday, after its liquidity position collapsed following allegations from U.S. authorities.

Lavrov Vows Close Russia-Serbia Ties Despite EU Ambitions

During a visit to Belgrade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed Serbia’s drive to join the European Union, but also vowed that Moscow would remain engaged with the Balkan country no m…

Explosion Closes U.S. Embassy in Montenegro as Assailant Dies In Blast

The attacker hurled an explosive device believed to be a grenade towards the U.S. compound, before dying in the explosion himself.

Hand Grenade Thrown At U.S. Embassy In Montenegro, Attacker Killed : The Two-Way : NPR

An unidentified man threw a hand grenade at the compound in Podgorica before reportedly killing himself with another explosive. U.S. citizens are being asked to avoid the area until further notice.

Serb Who Attacked U.S. Embassy In Montenegro Was Pro-Russian, Ex-Yugoslav ‘Soldier’

A Serbian-born war veteran who attacked the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro on February 22 opposed Montenegro’s pro-Western government and appeared to be angry about the U.S. role in Kosovo’s independen…

U.S. Embassy Montenegro Attack: Serbian Suicide Bomber Hated NATO and Fought Under Accused War Criminal

The most recent post on the suspect’s Facebook page was a meme generator that created an image of Trump commenting on the suspect’s Facebook profile picture.

ECB Latvia Containment Dome Is Fully Operational Bond Contagion – Bloomberg

Central bank measures to prevent contagion from Latvia’s banking troubles are kicking in nicely.

ECB Freezes All Payments by Latvia’s ABLV Bank Amid Treasury Department Probe – WSJ

The ECB has frozen all payments by a Latvian bank, following accusations by the U.S. that the small bank laundered billions in illicit funds, including for companies connected to North Korea’s banned ballistic-missile program.

Deaths From Measles Outbreak ‘Quadrupled’ In Europe Last Year

The number of deaths caused by measles in Europe quadrupled to 35 last year, the World Health Organization’s European regional office has reported.

Russian Lawmaker Claims Innocence As Mafia Trial Opens In Spain

Russian lawmaker Vladislav Reznik and 17 other suspects have gone on trial in Spain accused of money laundering for two Russian organized-crime groups.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Translators, psychologists, and inventors: Who are the Russians indicted for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election? — Meduza

On February 16, the U.S. Justice Department indicted 13 Russian citizens for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The most recognizable name on the list of Russians belongs to the catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin, the general director of the “Internet Research Agency” (better known as “Russia’s troll factory”). The other 12 individuals singled out by the American grand jury are businessmen, translators, analysts, and office managers. They face charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Some of these people have been linked to the “troll factory” in past investigative reports, while there’s almost nothing known about others on the list. Meduza looks at the specific charges against these dozen Russians and what we know about them.

A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy | The New Yorker

Adrian Chen discusses the role of “experts” in the Trump-Russia story, in particular the frenzy over last week’s federal indictment targeting the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency. Is it possible to be a skeptic without playing into the President’s hands?

How A Russian Troll Factory Waged An Aggressive Campaign To Disrupt The U.S. Election – To Inform is to Influence

When I first received the link to this page, the transcript was not there.  I don’t know if you know this or not, but I HATE audio podcasts and videocasts because I’m forced to listen or watch it at the speed of the broadcast.  A transcript I can read many, many times faster than a pod/videocast. …

Inside the Russian Troll Factory: Zombies and a Breakneck Pace – The New York Times

Ex-employees of the Internet Research Agency, which was indicted last week over meddling in the 2016 election, described their often bizarre work lives.

A former Russian troll speaks: ‘It was like being in Orwell’s world’ – The Washington Post

One worker spoke with The Washington Post, describing what it was like to be in a troll factory.

The Troll Farm: What We Know About 13 Russians Indicted by the U.S. – The New York Times

Employees and associates of the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy company based in St. Petersburg, are accused of trying to interfere in the 2016 election.

Insiders: Russia troll farm even zanier than indictment says

More accounts of the Internet Research Agency’s stranger activities have come forward from former employees.

The Big Loophole That Helped Russia Exploit Facebook: Doctored Photos – WSJ

This use of doctored images was a crucial and deceptively simple technique to spread fabricated information during the 2016 election. Tech companies, which are under fire, struggle to screen for indications photos might have been distorted or taken out of context.

Automation and the use of multiple accounts

Keeping Twitter safe and free from spam is a top priority for us. Today we’re announcing an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting conversations on Twitter.

How Russia Turned a Student Journalist’s Web Post Into Fake News

A photograph and web post by USC student journalist Tiana Lowe was doctored and used in a misinformation campaign by the Russia-backed Facebook page Blacktivist. Photo illustration: Heather Seidel/The

Foreign Disinformation is a Threat to Military Readiness, Too – Defense One

Troops — and their families — need training to spot and discard false narratives and information.

Neutralizing misinformation through inoculation: Exposing misleading argumentation techniques reduces their influence

Misinformation can undermine a well-functioning democracy. For example, public misconceptions about climate change can lead to lowered acceptance of the reality of climate change and lowered support for mitigation policies. This study experimentally explored the impact of misinformation about climate change and tested several pre-emptive interventions designed to reduce the influence of misinformation. We found that false-balance media coverage (giving contrarian views equal voice with climate scientists) lowered perceived consensus overall, although the effect was greater among free-market supporters. Likewise, misinformation that confuses people about the level of scientific agreement regarding anthropogenic global warming (AGW) had a polarizing effect, with free-market supporters reducing their acceptance of AGW and those with low free-market support increasing their acceptance of AGW. However, we found that inoculating messages that (1) explain the flawed argumentation technique used in the misinformation or that (2) highlight the scientific consensus on climate change were effective in neutralizing those adverse effects of misinformation. We recommend that climate communication messages should take into account ways in which scientific content can be distorted, and include pre-emptive inoculation messages.

How to Inoculate the Public Against Fake News – Defense One

When people were given a toolbox of deceptive techniques and told to “play Russian troll,” they learned to reject disinformation.

Why Fake News Spreads: A Neurological Explanation – Defense One

The logical part of your brain really, really likes listening to the social part, which just wants to fit in.

UN Chief Calls For Regulatory Scheme For Cyberwarfare

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for global regulations to minimize the impact of electronic warfare on civilians.

Data breaches at federal agencies jumped 20 percent last year

Agencies are storing more data in cloud services, but does that make it easier to breach?

Data breaches at federal agencies jumped 20 percent last year

Agencies are storing more data in cloud services, but does that make it easier to breach?

Air Force wants to mitigate cyber vulnerabilities in avionics systems

Here’s how the Air Force is investing in mitigating and detecting cyber vulnerabilities in avionics systems.

The Air Force requested $30M to develop a ‘cyber carrier’

The Department of Defense’s budget request for fiscal 2019 describes a plan to develop such a war-fighting platform for Cyber Command.

On Russia, Facebook Sends a Message It Wishes It Hadn’t – The New York Times

Some Facebook executives still seem more interested in defending themselves from criticism than owning their mistakes related to the 2016 election.

After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced – The New York Times

Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia were focused on Robert Mueller. But after news broke about the shooting, they quickly changed their focus.

Kremlin Watch: RT and Sputnik had more Twitter outreach than official Brexit campaigns – To Inform is to Influence

Topics of the Week According to a new report prepared by the 89up digital agency, the Kremlin’s mouthpieces, RT and Sputnik, produced anti-EU content on Twitter that had greater reach than the Vote Leave or Leave.EU campaigns. The office of special counsel Robert Mueller announced last Friday that 13 Russian operatives and three Russian entities, including the Internet Research…

Facebook To Use Postcards To Verify Ad Buyers To Prevent Election Meddling

Facebook says it will use postcards sent through the U.S. mail in an attempt to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections in the future.

Russia’s Electronic Warfare Capabilities to 2025 – To Inform is to Influence

International Centre for Defence and Security, Tallinn, Estonia Author: McDermott, Roger N. Project director: Jermalavičius, Tomas Publication date: September 2017 Keywords: Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD), Capabilities & Capability Planning, Command & Control, Electronic Warfare, Defence Acquisition, Defence Industry, NATO, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Georgia Executive Summary Russia’s Armed Forces’ electronic warfare (EW) capability development will pose a serious…

International Hackers Find 106 Bugs in US Air Force Websites – Defense One

One bug discovered during Hack the Air Force 2.0 earned $12,500—the largest federal bounty paid out so far.

Russia Claims US Coalition “Mystery Helicopters” Supplying Arms To ISIS In Afghanistan – The Drive

There’s no evidence to support the allegations, but they are another prime example of Russia’s active information warfare campaign against the US.

Democracy: A Western tool for domination – Global Times

Having failed to stem the expansion of Chinese political and economic influence worldwide, the Western imperium will doubtless focus its stop-China efforts in the years ahead on its favorite hobby-horse: democracy.

Why Russia Is Emerging as the World’s Indispensable Diplomatic Power | The Nation

Moscow, working in concert with others, has set courses toward the diplomatic resolution of several key conflicts.

Russia Claims US Supplying Weapons To Terrorists In Afghanistan In Unmarked Helicopters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said U.S. should provide an explanation to the alleged claims of unmarked helicopters supplying weapons to terrorists groups such as Islamic State.

U.S. Warns ‘Significant Transactions’ With Russian Military Could Face Sanctions

The United States has warned governments around the world that they could face sanctions over any “significant transactions” they make with Russia’s military, senior U.S. officials have said.


US Domestic Policy Reports

A Consensus Emerges: Russia Committed an “Act of War” on Par With Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Should the U.S. Response be Similar?

The extreme war rhetoric about Russia issuing from elite discourse is as deceitful as it is dangerous: what retaliation should the U.S. use?

Russia’s cyber meddling ‘sophisticated espionage,’ says national security advisor

McMaster stated firmly that United States will “expose and act against” those that use cyberspace, social media, and other means to advance campaigns of disinformation, subversion and espionage.

U.S. comments on death of Ukrainian medic in Donbas conflict zone, calls on Russia to cease violence | UNIAN

The U.S. Department of State has been informed of the death in Donbas of a 23-year-old Ukrainian medic Sabina Halytska, according to its spokesperson Heather Nauert. “We received reports that a Ukrainian medic was killed while trying to aid civilians near the contact line, reminding us that the conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to rage on. Civilians and first responders face real dangers every day,” Nauert said Thursday. She stressed that it was Russia who “manufactured” the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and continues to control its proxy forces in Donbas. Read more on UNIAN:

Romney’s Russia Vindication – WSJ

He was right about the Kremlin in 2012, not that Democrats admit it.

The unwitting: The Trump supporters used by Russia – Feb. 20, 2018

CNN speaks with people unwittingly used by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency.

Sarah Sanders cryptically hints at action against Russia – CNNPolitics

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, seeking to blunt criticism that the Trump administration has not punished Russia over its 2016 election meddling, cryptically hinted Tuesday that an unpublicized action had already been taken.

Kremlin Says No Evidence Russian State Meddled In U.S. Election

Days after the U.S. Justice Department formally accused 13 Russians and several companies of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has reiterated the…

Putin’s chef cooks up a storm – The Mueller investigation

THE business empire of Yevgeny Prigozhin had humble roots: a hot-dog stand on the streets of St Petersburg in 1990. “We mixed the mustard at home in my apartment,” he once recalled.

Putin’s Chef Ordered Russian Mercenaries to Attack U.S. Troops in Syria, Report Claims

Yevgeniy Prigozhin rose from running a hot dog stand in the 1990s to interfering the U.S. elections and controlling Russian mercenaries in Syria.

The investigations into Russian meddling are not enough – The Washington Post

Congress needs to set up a bipartisan commission if we want to protect our democracy.

Liz Peek: Obama’s legacy will be that he allowed Russia to ‘sow discord’ in the US | Fox News

In a recent tweet, President Trump asked: “Why didn’t Obama do something about the (Russian) meddling?”

Trump Tries to Shift Blame to Obama for Not Countering Russian Meddling – The New York Times

President Trump suggested that the Obama administration did not do enough to prevent the Kremlin’s influence campaign.

Mueller’s Indictment Reveals Details of Russian Election Interference – Defense One

Thirteen Russian nationals connected to the shadowy Internet Research Agency were indicted by the special counsel on Friday.

Mueller’s Indictment of Russian Trolls May Backfire – Bloomberg

I fear the indictment of Russian internet trolls may lead to less freedom for both Americans and Russians.

Russia indictments lay the foundation for broader conspiracy charges, says former FBI special counsel | PBS NewsHour

After months of downplaying Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, President Trump lashed out on Twitter this weekend over the special counsel’s indictment of 13 Russian officials. Matthew Olsen, a former special counsel to Robert Mueller when he director of the FBI, talks about the indictment and what it means for the investigation.

Inside the “troll factory” at the center of Russia’s election meddling campaign – CBS News

One internet activist went undercover writing fake news for the group accused of running a disinformation campaign targeting U.S. voters

What Is the Internet Research Agency? – Defense One

The origin of the Russian “troll farm” that allegedly targeted America’s 2016 presidential election.

Russia’s Election Interference Is Digital Marketing 101 – The Atlantic

The new Mueller indictment doesn’t get at the root of the problem: the unchecked market power of social-media companies.

Stop the intelligence games over Russia – release the documents! | Fox News

U.S. intelligence officials have been interfering in American politics since the middle of the 2016 election campaign through their favorite media and politicians.

How a law firm’s work on Ukraine ties into the Russia probe – The Washington Post

Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with a Trump campaign official. Van der Zwaan worked for the international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which was hired to write a 2012 report on the Ukrainian government’s prosecution of an opposition leader on corruption charges.

How Vladimir Putin mastered the cyber disinformation war

Robert Mueller’s move to indict organisations affiliated to the Kremlin is a change in tack

Laughing? Not so much. Most Russians just wish the election-tampering story would go away

President Trump tweeted Sunday that Moscow was laughing about Friday’s indictments charging 13 Russians with meddling in the U.S. presidential elections. In fact, most Russians say they aren’t laughing, because they don’t believe the allegations.

Former Skadden Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Lying in Russia Investigation – The New York Times

The lawyer admitted lying in an interview with the special counsel about conversations he had with Rick Gates, who served on the Trump campaign.

New indictment hits Paul Manafort and Rick Gates with tax and bank fraud charges – NBC News

Mueller’s investigators are asking whether ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised Steve Calk a White House job in return for $16 million in home loans.

Mueller more than doubles criminal charges against Manafort and Gates

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III filed a vastly expanded criminal indictment against President Trump’s former campaign manager and his business partner on Thursday, more than doubling the number of charges they face.

Mueller asking if Manafort promised banker White House job in return for loans – NBC News

Mueller’s investigators are asking whether ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised Steve Calk a White House job in return for $16 million in home loans.

They Have No Damn Right – Joe Biden on Russian Meddling in US Presidential Elections – YouTube

UATV English Published on Feb 17, 2018 Three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens were indicted by a Washington D.C. court on February 16th on charges of engaging in a widespread effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election through social media. At Munich Security Conference, former US Vice President Joe Biden had this to say on the matter.

Russian Bots Are Spreading False Information After The Florida Shooting : NPR

It’s known that Russian groups used Facebook and other social media platforms to spread false information during the 2016 election, but now Russian bots are doing the same after the Florida shooting. So, how are tech giants thinking about tackling these issues and making sure the same thing doesn’t happen in this year’s midterm election?

Trump supporters, conservatives rage over Russian bot purge, #TwitterLockOut

Conservative Twitter users lobbed accusations of left-wing bias and censorship after they lost thousands of followers in an overnight Russian bot purge.

How Unwitting Americans Encountered Russian Operatives Online – The New York Times

With imperfect English and tireless posting on Facebook and Twitter, Russian trolls summoned Americans to rallies, praised Donald J. Trump and played on political divisions.

Assigning Blame for Russia’s Election Meddling | The New Yorker

Adam Entous on Donald Trump accusation that the Obama Administration did nothing about Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election.

US will impose costs on Russia for cyber ‘aggression,’ says cybersecurity czar

The malware attack known as NotPetya wiped out billions of dollars as it spread across 64 countries in July 2017.

After officially blaming Russia for the NotPetya virus, U.S. officials promise “consequences.”

White House cybersecurity czar talks of punishing Russia for the NotPetya virus.

Russian hacking: States boost efforts to protect their voting systems

Congress has yet to set a vote on a bill to provide states with federal grants to help them upgrade their aging systems.

US Treasury’s “Kremlin list”: will Putin’s regime collapse as a result? – news portal

US Treasury’s “Kremlin list”: will Putin’s regime collapse as a result?. The US Treasury sent the Congress a so-called “Kremlin list”, a list of 114 high-ranking officials and 96 oligarchs close to the Russian regime. The report mentions all Russian ministers, assistants and advisers to President Vladimir Putin, the heads of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as businessmen with a fortune of over 1bn dollars, including Mikhail Fridman, Suleyman Kerimov, Alisher Usmanov, Oleg Deripaska, Yevgeniy Kaspersky and others. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

McMaster: FBI indictments prove Russia meddled in US elections | Fox News

H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser to President Trump, reportedly said Saturday that the new FBI indictments show indisputably that Russian meddled in U.S. elections.

Colorado voters hit by Russia’s tweets in presidential election: Analysis shows troves of voters exposed to propaganda – To Inform is to Influence

I find it interesting that most liberal news sites are taking an all or none perspective when it comes to Russian trolls and bots during the 2016 election. According to them, all the troll and bot coverage was totally anti-Hillary. There is no hint of mainstream coverage prior to the election. I take exactly the…

Trump Blames Obama and Democrats for Failing to Stop Russian Meddling – The New York Times

The president seemed to embrace the idea that sowing discord in American politics had been Russia’s aim, after previously saying little to acknowledge a threat.

Trump: Russia’s goal of election meddling “stirring up chaos” | UNIAN

Trump: Russia’s goal of election meddling “stirring up chaos”. View news feed in world news for 19 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – Radio Liberty’s Russian Service accuses ‘troll factory’ of attacking its YouTube channel

Radio Liberty’s Russian Service has declared a potential cyberattack against its YouTube channel by so-called &quot;Internet trolls&quot; and bots. …

Tillerson Says U.S. Considering Additional Sanctions Against Russians

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States is considering additional sanctions against Russian individuals amid bipartisan criticism for the administration’s delay in enforcing …

Kremlin says there’s no significant evidence of Russian meddling in US election

The Kremlin reacted to the indictment of Russian nationals for illegal interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

An Indicted Russian Picks Up the Phone, and Mocks the Idea That Russia Meddled | The New Yorker

Adrian Chen talks to the indicted Russian I.T. worker Mikhail Burchik, accused of overseeing the Internet Research Agency and spreading pro-Trump propaganda.

America No Longer A ‘Nation Of Immigrants,’ USCIS Says : The Two-Way : NPR

The new director of Citizenship and Immigration Services says changing the federal agency’s mission statement reminds staff that they work for the American people.

Oh My, Sputnik Claims: A New Low – Russia Smeared in US School Massacre – To Inform is to Influence

I know that the truth is hurting Russia when noted pro-Russian journalist, Finian Cunningham writes an anti-US journalism screed. As noted in the article, the New York Times published a story today, illustrating how Russian bots took advantage of our emotions following the Florida massacre. In response, Cunningham wrote his article. Here are a few…

Florida School Shooting: Russian Twitter Bots in Gun Control Debate | Fortune

After the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida school shooting, Russian Twitter bots joined in the gun control debate, spreading disinformation.

U.S. Army Awards Medal of Heroism to Slain Parkland Students

Peter Wang, Alaina Petty, and Martin Duque weren’t old enough to enlist, but they were brave enough to save fellow students when the gunfire began.

Copycat school shooting threats sweep across the country | Daily Mail Online

Edward Charles Osgood (left) and Mackenzie Rae Swink (right) are among the dozens of kids to be arrested in copycat school threats in the days after 17 died at a Parkland, Florida high school.

How the Marines Could Win the Next War: Barges Armed With Railguns, Missiles and F-35s | The National Interest Blog

The future is now?

The State of Defense 2018

The State of Defense 2018

Amnesty accuses President Trump of human rights violations – BBC News

Amnesty International says Donald Trump’s policies could signal “a new era of human rights regression”.

How to Grow the Military Without Buying More Ships, Planes, Tanks – Defense One

Pentagon leaders want to shorten the time spent on overhauls, keeping the weapons more available to fight.

Continuity From Ambiguity: The Real Role of Nuclear Posture Reviews in U.S. Nuclear Strategy – War on the Rocks

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from a policy roundtable on the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review from our sister publication, the Texas Nati

U.S. Military Plans New Nuclear Weapons, Making War with Russia and China More Likely, Experts Say

The decision sparked heated debate: Will it bolster the U.S. military’s ability to deter threats, or make a nuclear war more likely?

Russians laughing at US over election inquiry, Trump says | World | The Times

President Trump warned that America was being thrown into “discord, disruption and chaos” as he lashed out at his top national security adviser, the FBI and Con