Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (28)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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NATO / EU / Russia Reports


Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press | The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence | International Security | MIT Press Journals
Abstract: Nuclear deterrence rests on the survivability of nuclear arsenals. For much of the nuclear age, “counterforce” disarming attacks—those aimed at eliminating an opponent’s nuclear forces—were nearly impossible because of the ability of potential victims to hide and protect their weapons. Technological developments, however, are eroding this foundation of nuclear deterrence. Advances rooted in the computer revolution have made nuclear forces around the world considerably more vulnerable. Specifically, two key approaches that countries have relied on to ensure arsenal survivability since the dawn of the nuclear age—hardening and concealment—have been undercut by leaps in weapons accuracy and a revolution in remote sensing. Various methods, evidence, and models demonstrate the emergence of new possibilities for counterforce disarming strikes. In short, the task of securing nuclear arsenals against attack is far more difficult than it was in the past. The new era of counterforce challenges the basis for confidence in contemporary deterrence stability, raises critical issues for national and international security policy, and sheds light on one of the enduring theoretical puzzles of the nuclear era: why international security competition has endured in the shadow of the nuclear revolution.

US concerned about Chinese and Russian long-range precision weapons capabilities – Defence Blog

Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant has expressed concern over the Chinese and Russian military’s growing capabilities. During Senate hearing Robert Neller said that the development and acquisition of long-range precision weapons by our Nation’s chief competitors and threats – China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO) – have placed many of our forward deployed forces within the effective range of their weapons systems, or “threat rings. The general noted that most forward bases of marines are not sufficiently protected from blows, which undermines their ability to prepare and conduct combat operations, so that now the US can not adhere to military concepts based on uncontested control of the sea. “We need additional hardening of our facilities to include aircraft hangars and command posts, the capability to rapidly repair damage to our air stations, and counterprecision guided munitions and advanced air-defense capabilities” – said Robert Neller.

Pompeo Arrives In Brussels For First NATO Meeting As Top U.S. Diplomat
New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed in Brussels for talks with NATO allies on Russian “aggression” in Europe, a day after being sworn into the office.
Hours into the job, Pompeo in Brussels for show of support for NATO | Reuters
Barely 12 hours after being sworn in U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went straight to NATO headquarters on Friday in what European allies saw as strong support for an institution that U.S. President Donald Trump once called obsolete.
Mike Pompeo, Wasting No Time, Meets With NATO – The New York Times
A day after being sworn in, the top U.S. diplomat told leaders of the alliance in Brussels what they wanted to hear.
For Pompeo, Vote for State Department Job Was the Easy Part – Bloomberg
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is as secure as any Trump administration official can be. He’s close to the president, understands Congress and has been welcomed by subordinates desperate for better leadership.
Russia-wary U.S. to press NATO allies to hike military spending: official | Reuters
The United States will press NATO allies, especially Germany, to increase military spending while underscoring the heightened threat from Russia, a senior State Department official said on Wednesday before Friday’s meeting of the alliance in Brussels.
Russia, Ukraine Top NATO Agenda 
Poisoned spy case and Syria chemical attack stoke West-Russia tensions
Russia Tensions to Dominate NATO Meeting, as Ukraine Pushes to Join
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travels to the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels Friday, a day after the U.S. Senate approved his appointment. Russia will top the agenda, as will Western accusations that Moscow poisoned a former spy in Britain. Tensions further increased following Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack and the Western air strikes that followed. As Henry Ridgwell reports, Ukraine is pushing hard to build closer relations in line with its ambition of joining NATO.
NATO to not return to usual relations with Russia until fulfillment of Minsk Agreements – 112.international
NATO to not return to usual relations with Russia until fulfillment of Minsk Agreements
UAWire – Hungary blocks the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
For the third time, Hungary vetoed the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of foreign ministers, Ukrinform reports. The Hungarian government is apparently making good on its promise to apply “pressure” on Kyiv until it changes the law on education that was passed in autumn. Hungary believes that the newly-adopted law violates the rights of national minorities to study in their languages. At the beginning of the year, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that the country will “refuse to support Ukraine in all its EU integration.” In late March, he said that Budapest also intends to block the participation of Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko in the July NATO summit.
UAWire – Hungary: We will block Ukraine’s NATO initiatives until the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians are restored
UNN news agency reports that Hungary will continue to oppose interaction between Ukraine and NATO, as Budapest continues to demand Ukraine &quot; …
Hungary once again blocking Ukraine-NATO Commission | UNIAN
There will be no meeting in April of the Ukraine-NATO Commission at the ministerial level as a result of its blocking by Hungary. Holding the Commission’s meeting at the highest level in July is also under threat.
Hungarian Foreign Minister: Ukraine-NATO Commission meeting depends only on Kyiv – 27.04.2018 17:10 — Ukrinform News
Hungarian Foreign Minister P&eacute;ter&nbsp;Szijj&aacute;rt&oacute; says that holding a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission at the highest level within the framework of the Alliance summit in July depends only on Kyiv.
Hungary unhappy with Ukraine’s plans to sanction dual nationality | UNIAN
Hungary is disappointed with Ukraine’s plans to sanction dual nationality, as is proposed in amendments prepared by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the law on citizenship. Ukraine is taking “unprecedentedly hateful and premeditated” action against national minorities, the Ukrainian President and parliament are stripping national minorities of their acquired rights step by step, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said in response to the proposal to pass a law that will introduce sanctions against citizens of Ukraine who have dual citizenship and participated in other countries’ elections, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on its website. “The ‘first strike’ against minority rights was the Education Act, in which they significantly restricted the rights of national minorities to receive education in their native language, and despite international pressure Ukraine continues to refuse to begin negotiations on the issue with minority representatives,” the ministry quoted Szijjarto as saying.
Hungary distributed over 100,000 passports in Transcarpathia, – Ukrainian MFA – 112.international
Hungary has distributed more than 100 thousand Hungarian passports to citizens of Ukraine of Hungarian origin in Transcarpathia, according to various estimates. This was reported by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar, Radio Liberty reports. “According to various data, including Hungarian sources, more than 100,000 Hungarian passports were issued, but these passports were issued until the moment Ukraine received a visa-free regime. The attractiveness of this passport was practical – it was possible to cross the border smoothly, to get work in Hungary or beyond,” said Bodnar. After such step, according to the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 30 to 40 thousand Ukrainian citizens of Hungarian origin left for other states of Europe to work. As reported, the passport of a citizen of Ukraine improved its position in the ranking of the most coveted passports, taking 91st place. According to the rating, without a visa or with a simplified procedure owners of the Ukrainian passport can get into 114 countries. Ukraine is singled out among five states that have significantly improved their positions compared to last year. The top five countries included Luxembourg, Ireland, Switzerland, Portugal and Sweden. Russia was in 87th place, Belarus – 127, Moldova – 90, Georgia – 96. The US passport is in 35th place. The list is closed by Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ukraine restoring military base near Hungarian border – 112.international
Author : Ridvan Bari Urcosta One of the latest clashes in the bilateral relationship with Hungary was sparked by Ukraine’s announcement that it was restoring an old military base in the town of Beregovo (in Hungarian, Beregszász), just ten kilometers from the Hungarian-Ukrainian border
Stoltenberg: NATO Foreign Ministers to address Ukraine’s aspirations for membership | UNIAN
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that NATO Foreign Ministers are to address Ukraine’s aspirations for membership of the Alliance. The foreign ministers will meet on Friday, April 27, 2018, to prepare for the NATO Summit in July.
The case for Ukraine’s NATO membership – Taras Kuzio -Euromaidan Press |
Speaking at a panel discussion at the 11th Kyiv Security Forum, Taras Kuzio, Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, put forward a case for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. We offer our readers a transcription. I’m going to put a case forward for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. It’s difficult to discuss these requirements because it’s a moving target with NATO all the time, there doesn’t seem to be a single set of criteria like the Copenhagen criteria for the EU, and was introduced only recently. I wonder if these criteria were there in the 1950s if Italy could have joined for instance.
President: Ukraine knocks on NATO’s door not empty-handed – 27.04.2018 16:17 — Ukrinform News
Growing strength and capacity of the Ukrainian army is a weighty argument in favor of full membership of Ukraine in the North Atlantic Alliance.
UAWire – Ukraine offers its Antonov aircraft for NATO transportation
Ukraine can now offer international partners its aircraft which can be used for NATO and EU transportation needs. Ukraine’s State Enterprise, Antonov, released the corresponding statement on April 25, the first day of an international aerospace show in Berlin where Ukraine presented the world’s largest An-225 Mriya cargo aircraft. “Since the Russian company Volga-Dnepr Airlines intends to leave the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS), Antonov is ready to provide a full range of services to the countries participating in this program and guarantees the provision of the required quantity of An-124-100 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya to conduct strategic air transportation in the interests of NATO and the EU,” the statement reads. The Antonov State Company took part in the air show by invitation of the German ILA organizers. At the air show, Antonov demonstrated the aircraft An-225 Mriya, which is the largest in the world. The aircraft is part of the Antonov State Company fleet and boasts a carrying capacity of 250 tons. Antonov has been the leading Ukrainian developer and manufacturer of aircraft since 2015. Antonov is a part of the state concern Ukroboronprom.
MEPs Urge EU Magnitsky Act To Tackle Kremlin’s ‘Antidemocratic” Activities
Dozens of lawmakers in the European Parliament have called on the European Union to adopt legislation that would punish Russian businessmen for money-laundering activities within the bloc that they…
Eastern Ukraine statelets “effectively controlled” by Russia – PACE resolution -Euromaidan Press |
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a resolution stating that the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” (“LNR,” “DNR”) two statelets in eastern Ukraine waging war against Kyiv, are “effectively controlled” by the Russian Federation, European Pravda reports from Strasbourg. Titled “State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” the resolution is dedicated to cases of suspension of separate articles of the European convention on human rights. Three countries – Ukraine (after the Russian invasion), France (after terrorist attacks), and Turkey (after the coup attempt) have enacted such suspensions.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnic Russians Having Become Estonian Citizens Form Increasing Share of Estonian Defense League
Paul Goble Staunton, April 26 – Not only are ever more ethnic Russians choosing to become Estonian citizens, but they are joining the ranks of the Kaitseliit, the Estonian Defense League that until recently many Russian speakers viewed as an Estonian nationalist organization that was profoundly anti-Russian. This development, chronicled by Russian journalist Yevgeniya Volokhonskaya for the Moscow outlet Spektr, is important. On the one hand, it shows ethnic Russians who have chosen to become Estonian citizens are not acting for pragmatic reasons alone such as having access to the EU, as some Moscow writers suggest, but are identifying with Estonia and its values. And on the other, it indicates that Estonian institutions, even those most closely identified with Estonian nationalism, are quite prepared to accept Russian-speaking Estonian citizens as equals, thus undercutting Moscow’s constant refrain that Estonia’s citizenship law and much else are driven by narrow ethno-nationalism. These two factors in turn mean that Estonia is a far more integrated society than Moscow insists and many in the West accept and that the Russian government cannot count on Russian speakers in that Baltic republic to listen to the siren song of Kremlin propaganda even if they continue to watch Russian television. Volokhonskaya says that “a decade ago … the Kaitseliit was considered in the local Russian-language milieu as a purely national phenomenon. Now, however, along with ethnic Estonians ever more Russian speaking residents are joining its ranks” (spektr.press/pod-znakom-kajtselijta-v-estonskom-opolchenii-russkie-i-estoncy-sluzhat-plechom-k-plechu/). Its commanders say, the Moscow journalist continues, that there are no “official statistics” about how many ethnic Russians and how many ethnic Estonians there are: “All of them are citizens of Estonia and it is inappropriate to divide them on an ethnic basis.” More than almost any other institution, the Kaitseliit is closely connected with the history of Estonia. It was formed in 1918 and existed until the Soviet occupation began in 1940. Then it was restored in 1990 and has existed since that time. It currently has more than 25,000 in its ranks. They “actively cooperate with local governments, the police, border guards, rescue organizations and fire departments,” she says. “Russians and Estonians … act together to put out fires and clean up spills as well as taking part in search and rescue operations.” Everyone works together: their ethnic backgrounds are irrelevant. Personal skills are what matter. Those ethnic Russians who take part in its work say they are doing so to serve their country, although some in the broader Russian-speaking community of Estonia still believe that the Kaitseliit includes many Estonians with ethno-nationalist views. However, as experience with that organization increases, such views are being dispelled. One ethnic Russian Estonian citizen with whom Volokhonskaya spoke put it best: people vary in many qualities but the variances among people of the same ethnic group are greater than the variances between such groups.
UAWire – Latvia demands explanations from Russia about missile launches near Latvian coast
Latvian Defense Minister, Raimonds Bergmanis, stated that Latvia expects explanations from Russia regarding two scheduled training missile …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Significant Differences between Lithuania and Latvia
Paul Goble Staunton, April 22 – For those in the West and especially in the United States who are concerned with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, there are few greater challenges than convincing people that these are three very different countries despite their size, geographical propinquity, and some of their histories in the last century. But this challenge must be met because often, the assumption that they are alike rather than three distinct countries leads to policies with unintended consequences. As someone who has followed the three for more than 30 years, the author has seen this again and again. (Cf. his “The Baltics: Three States, Three Fates,” Current History, October 1964, pp. 332-336). Now, from an unexpected source, comes a useful comparison of two of them, one that underscores just how different they are. That source, Aleksandr Nosovich on the RuBaltic portal, who is hardly a friend of the Baltic countries, lists five ways in which the two Baltic countries differ (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/19042018-5-razlichiy-mezhdu-litvoy-i-latviey/). First, the two countries differ in the political history and in the countries which have influenced them most. Lithuania has had a state for centuries, albeit frequently interrupted by periods of foreign rule and was most influenced by Poland. Latvia, in contrast, did not form a state until 1918 and has been influenced more by Germany. Second, Nosovich says, the two differ in the ethnic composition of their population. Eighty-four percent of the population of Lithuania consists of ethnic Lithuanians with small Polish (6 percent) and ethnic Russian (5 percent) minorities. Most of the population are Roman Catholics. Latvia represents a sharp contrast, he suggests. Only 62 percent of its people are of the titular nationality, with sizeable Russian, Belarusian and other minorities. Lutheranism is most common among Latvians; Orthodoxy among the others. Nosovich says the Latgals are a separate nation, something many Latvians now contest. Third, the Russian commentator says, 12 percent of the population of Latvia consists of non-citizens, while in Lithuania there aren’t really any such people. Nosovich says that the Latvians, like the Estonians, discriminated against ethnic Russians in depriving them of citizenship after 1991 while Lithuania adopted “a zero option.” That last assertion is simply not true. The three Baltic countries having been occupied by the Soviet Union did not have any obligation to grant citizenship to those moved in by the occupiers. Latvia, like Estonia, established a set of requirements such people have to meet, and the fact that most ethnic Russians have taken advantage of that says a lot. Lithuania, Nosovich’s assertion to the contrary notwithstanding, did not adopt the zero option the Soviet republics did. It insisted that those who were not citizens or the descendants of citizens of the pre-war republic not only had to apply for citizenship but had to give up citizenship in other states, not what the former union republics did. Fourth, the two countries have different political systems. Lithuania is a parliamentary-presidential system in which the president is directly elected by the people and “has real power.” Latvia, in contrast, is a parliamentary republic whose president is chosen by the parliament and has a primarily representational function. And fifth, the two countries differ in the relationship between the capital city and the regions. In Latvia, most people live in Riga or adjoining urban areas; and it is in the capital that the economy is concentrated. In Lithuania, Nosovich says, “the significant of the capital is much less” because of the importance of other cities like Kaunas and Klaipeda. There are of course many other differences between these two NATO and EU member countries, but perhaps one measure not reported by Nosovich but indicative of the differing influence Russia has had on these two countries in the past is in the number of statues of Lenin in each of them. At one point, a Russian news outlet says, there were 112 statues of the founder of the Soviet state, a figure more than that for Estonia and Lithuania taken together (ru.sputniknewslv.com/Latvia/20180422/8062277/lenin-latvija-krasnye-strelki-ljubov-latysham-nezavisimost-respubliki.html).
Germans show support during largest tactical convoy on German roads – Defence Blog
Ralf Rosenecker said he was on his way to a model-building convention when he drove past a convoy of tanks on a German highway just south of Grafenwoehr, April 22. That was reported by Staff Sgt. Kathleen Polanco. A super fan of tanks, the German citizen decided to turn his car around to follow the convoy with hopes of seeing more tanks. Rosenecker pulled over where he saw U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 278th Military Police Company, 709th MP Battalion, directing traffic at an intersection of two German roads. The MPs welcomed Rosenecker and his friends as they set up a display of three home-made remote-controlled model tanks flying the American flag. Rosenecker said he was excited to see so many tanks because it had been over 15 years since such a large tactical road march was conducted on German roads. Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, home stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas and the Polish Army’s 12th Mechanized Division drove over 700 military vehicles from the Grafenwoehr Training Area to Hohenfels from April 22-24.


Eli Lake | Shun Russia to Save the World – Bloomberg
The stakes are high as Moscow undermines institutions like the UN. When it comes to Russia these days, the U.S. and Europe are striving for deterrence. That’s what drove the Obama administration to impose sector-based sanctions on Russia after its stealth invasion of Ukraine. Deterrence justified the Treasury sanctions this month against Russian oligarchs. They send a message: This is what happens when you interfere in our election. Don’t do it again. Deterrence has its place, but it should not be the only objective when thinking about how to counter Russia. There is also inoculation. As I wrote in 2016, Russia’s participation in international organizations, big and small, too often undermines the institutions themselves. You see this at the UN Security Council when Russia’s veto has shielded Syria’s dictator from consequences for the use of chemical weapons. You also see it at Interpol, where Russia tries to issue arrest warrants for its political opposition. Moscow is like a termite gnawing away at the world bodies in which it participates. This Friday the U.S. Helsinki Commission, a U.S. government entity that monitors human rights in 57 nations, will be looking at the latest potential victim of the Russian rot from within, the United Nations Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, often known by its Spanish initials Cicig. The commission, founded in 2007, does vital work in trying to save this small Central American state from being picked clean by gangsters.
Putin’s nuclear ‘doomsday machine’ could trigger 300-foot tsunamis — but the worst effects might come from the fallout | Business Insider
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said Russia was developing a nuclear-powered torpedo that could detonate a “massive” nuclear weapon. Such a device might create a 300-foot tsunami if exploded in the right location and could rain long-lasting radioactive fallout on a coastal target. Experts have described the hypothetical weapon as a “doomsday” device, saying it could spread unprecedented and long-lived radioactive fallout. But one researcher said such a weapon would be “stupid,” as it’d greatly limit its damage compared with an airburst.
Russia amasses 32,000 troops, Iskander and S400 systems in Crimea – Ukraine | UNIAN
Russia has amassed in the temporarily occupied Crimea more than 32,000 military personnel, 174 artillery systems, 113 aircraft, warships and submarines, as well as S-400 air defense and Iskander tactical missile systems. Russia also deployed eight warships and submarines equipped with Kalibr missiles, and set up coastal anti-ship missile systems Bastion and Bal.
Which robots to watch in the upcoming Russian military parade
When Russia rolls out equipment for the annual May 9th victory parade, it will likely include robots, uninhabited combat vehicles ostensibly ready for action in Russia’s own long-running irregular wars.
Russia’s New Nuclear Torpedo May Be Able to Consume U.S. Cities with Giant Radioactive Waves, Experts Say
Russia’s submersible drone, known to Russia as Poseidon and to the U.S. as Kanyon, may change nuclear warfare as we know it.

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


The Week In Russia: A Matter Of Trust
Vladimir Putin saw his ratings drop in the wake of a landslide election, and watched as the longtime leader of a country in Russia’s close orbit was pushed from power by street protests.
Kremlin, worried about a popular explosion, taking steps to suppress it before it begins -Euromaidan Press |
Vladimir Putin is not acting with the self-confidence one would expect of someone who has just won re-election with more than 70 percent of the vote. Instead, he and those around him appear to be afraid there will soon be a popular explosion that could challenge his rule and are taking new steps to intimidate and combat his opponents. Of course, Putin’s margin of victory reflected less overwhelming support for him than his use of the powers of incumbency and exploitation of traditional Russian deference to those at the top. Indeed, he likely knows that now as polls show his standing has slipped since March 18. Consequently, his regime is taking steps designed to intimidate those who might be thinking about protesting, to attack opposition figures in the streets, and to suppress what the regime seems to think will be a rising tide of protests over the next year – even though polls show only one Russian in 12 is prepared to take to the streets. Earlier this week, Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika declared that his agency has made “the struggle with the protest activity of the population” the chief priority of its work given that in his view protesters of one kind or another separately or together want to “destabilize the situation in Russia.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Losing the Trust of Russians, but Opposition Figures Aren’t Gaining it, ‘Nezavisimaya gazeta’ Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – In a stable democracy, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, when an incumbent loses the trust and support of the population, opposition figures almost invariably pick up support. But that is not the case with Russia today, and that is isn’t opens the way to real dangers ahead. VTsIOM’s finding that Russians no longer trust Putin as much as they did has attracted a great deal of attention and has been explained both by VTsIOM’s Valery Fedorov and the Levada Center’s Lev Gudkov as a natural post-election development, reflecting both problems in the country and declining interest in politics (ng.ru/editorial/2018-04-24/2_7218_red.html). But what has not attracted as much attention despite being more worrisome is that “the decline in Putin’s rating has not been accompanied by the growth of trust in other politicians and especially those in the opposition,” something that one would normally expect, the Moscow paper’s editors continue. “In other words,” they say, “the ordinary logic of political life is not working in Russia,” one in which if the authorities lose support, then their opponents have a chance to gain them. But in Russia, the editors point out, Putin may have lost seven percent but none of his opponents appear to have gained anything at all. Russia’s lack of an opposition of sufficient strength and credibility to attract such support might be seen “as a victory of the ruling elite.” Indeed, that is almost certainly how the Kremlin perceives the situation. But “this harms the stability of the political system more than it helps it,” the editors say. Sociologists say that the recent decline in Putin’s rating was both “predictable and normal. But what will happen if [the circumstances] turn out to be abnormal,” situations in which there arises “a genuine crisis of trust in the authorities which would be expressed in a sharp and rapid fall in the ratings” – and the opposition couldn’t gain from this? That points to a genuine “disbalance in the system,” one that threatens to “’rock the boat’” more than any of the opposition figures now on view do, the paper says. The Kremlin may have ensured itself against them, but in so doing, it has opened the way for more “genuine radicals who in a crisis could ride a crest of popular anger to power. “It is possible to defeat real opponents in the political sphere and to consider that all means are good. But the victory of the authorities must not lead to the institutional destruction of the opposition.” That puts the system out of balance, and it appears that that is exactly the nature of the Russian system now under Vladimir Putin.
Moscow Times – Russians’ Trust In Putin Drops to Below 50% After Election — Poll – To Inform is to Influence
Perhaps Russian propaganda is causing cognitive dissonance domestically in Russia. Perhaps truth and reality are creeping in and causing the barrage of constant lies to sound like the lies they truly are. Perhaps, as all the senior editors of the BBG that I interviewed said, “People are smart enough to recognize propaganda.”  Perhaps there is hope for Russia, yet.…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin System Direct Continuation of Golden Horde-Style Rule, Khakass Historian Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 20 – Many analysts and commentators have suggested that the Russian state was shaped in profound ways by the rule over large parts of it nearly a millennium ago by the Golden Horde; but now Kharmoos Tyundeshev, a Khakass historian, has gone a step further. He says Putin’s system is a near-perfect continuation of Golden Horde rule. That is, the author of The Great Khan Baty – the Founder of Russian Statehood (in Russian) argues, Putin rules a Horde-style federation, has established a totally subservient Duma like the Horde’s kurultai, and acts in his capacity of president just as the khans of the Golden Horde did (svoboda.org/a/29172315.html). In his book, Tyundeshev agues that “the state established by Khan Baty exists up to now,” with the only difference being that “its state language is Russian, itself a mixture of Slavic and Turkic.” The contemporary Russian state thus “was formed not on the basis of Kievan Rus” and “not in competition with the Horde forces.” Instead, he continues, “Russia arose on a completely new Muscovite basis, which was an organic part of the Golden Horde state system. It grew out of the competition of Muscovy with the khanates which had earlier been included in the Golden Horde for the population of a great state that was in the process of disintegrating.” For a long time, “the Golden Horde was for the Russian [rulers] the most importance source of legitimacy and prestige of their power. Close ties with the khan’s court, where customs completely different from ancient Russian ones dominated, customs based on harsh and often blind subordination could not fail to be reflected in [their] consciousness and behavior. Thus, one must conclude, Tyundeshev says, “Khan Baty was the founder of Russian statehood. All the state system in Rus created by him was part of the Golden Horde. Now [Russia] would be called its ‘federal subject’ … [As the horde declined,] the center of administration of the state gradually was transferred to Rus.” “By its mentality,” the historian argues, “Russia is an Asiatic country. There is a small part of the population which prefers a European one. But the grater part, although it belongs to the European race, has an Asiatic mentality. This is connected with traditional ethics, the force of habit and ancestors, and the authority of political leaders.” Not surprisingly, “it is very difficult to learn to be free.” “When serfdom was outlawed in 1861, a large portion of the serfs didn’t know what to do. Then there was a totalitarian regime, in fact, a form of slavery. Of course, an Asiatic mentality has been preserved. This is show in the elections, including the presidential ones: I think there wasn’t any falsification. This is the same mentality. You can’t change it quickly.” In the Golden Horde and in Putin’s system, there is everywhere “a power vertical.” And that means that often “a presidential decree is higher than the Constitution, as for example, that about the creation of federal districts, something that itself traces its origins to the depths of Turkic-Mongol statehood.” “From the Golden Horde has been preserved the tradition of life-long or at least lengthy time in office” of rulers and “voluntarism” in their decisions. But that has serious flaws: “Even if the leader has outstanding abilities and exceptional morality, in the final analysis, the state decays and the regime looks for enemies foreign and domestic.” “In Western Europe,” Tyundeshev says, “there exists a clear division of powers. [Russians however] have a super-presidential republic where the institution of the presidency is above the other branches of power, and the Duma is not like the parliaments in Western Europe. Here there is no system of checks and balances. The Duma always votes as the president says.” That means that “the president is the khan of today.” He gives the following example: In Yoshkar-Ola last summer, Putin declared that “the languages of the national republics must not be imposed on non-indigenous residents.” And immediately officials began enforcing not a law, not a decree, but a presidential declaration and started banning the required study of non-Russian languages. “But we have a multi-national federation; and in the constitutions of the national republics there is a requirement that the second state language is the language of the indigenous population of the republic and all children living in this republic must study it.” An Asiatic khan could overrule this; a European president wouldn’t.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Outlines of Putin-Trump ‘Deal’ Obvious, but Prospects Poor as Neither Knows How to Save Face, Pastukhov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Neither Putin nor Trump wants a war, but both are engaging in actions and bluffs that put them on a course toward conflict even though their countries are not fundamentally at odds and the outlines of a deal between them are clear because neither leader knows how to reach an accord and save face, according to Vladimir Pastukhov. In many ways, the London-based Russian historian says, this is a more dangerous situation than any in the cold war because “both the victor and the vanquished in [that conflict] are facing a challenge which they cannot respond to in an accustomed manner” and thus may enaging in bluffing that will lead to a slide to a war they don’t want (republic.ru/posts/90569). “Between Russia and the West in general and Russia and the US in particular, there do not exist objective antagonistic contradictions,” Pastukhov says. There are conflicts, “but there are in practically none that are not resolvable and that might require a war. More than that, Russia and the US in fact have many points where their interests intersect.” “Russia for a long time already has not been a competitor of the West” in the critical high technology area. Instead, it has cast itself as a raw materials supplier to the West, something that in principle at least should make the two complementary rather than competition, the Russian historian argues. The West has no need to “’seize Siberia;’” for it, access to the natural wealth there is sufficient. And Russia only needs reliable and regular customers for those resources. All that should preclude any military conflict; but despite that compelling logic, both Putin and Trump are increasingly staking out militarist positions. To explain why each has chosen “the tactic of balancing on the edge of war,” Pastukhov says, one must examine some deeper underlying trends in world politics, trends that mean the world today is more like the world of the beginning of the 20th century than at its middle, when the fundamental conflicts were over whether one leader respected another. Overe the last quarter century, the historian continues, the world has experienced what one might call “’geopolitical contraction,’ the twigger for which was the collapse of the Soviet empire. And as a result, an enormous black whole formed in the system of international relations.” Russia in a remarkably brief time “lost the status of a superpower” in objective terms. “But psychologically, neither the leadership of Rusisa nor even more its population was prepared to adequately accept the new realities and re-thinkits role in world culture, economics and politics.” At the same time, Pastukhov continues, the US leadership acted as if Russia had accepted its new status, as “an ordinary state of the third world” that would have no choice but to follow Washington’s lead. “But Russia both in good times and bad,” Pastukhov suggests, “destroys any stereotypes.” There are “two serious problems” connected with Russia and its destabilizing actions in Europe and the world as a whole: On the one hand, there is “a lack of correspondence between the current level of the development of Russia … and the level of its historicallyevolved political ambitions and claims.” And on the other, there is “the domination of the military potential of Russia, left to it as a heritage from the USSR over the general level of its economic and technological possibilities. All this provokes Russia to an adventurist policy,” one in which it hopes to use “hard” power to compensate for its loss of “soft” power. It is striking, Pastukhov argues, that “the US turned out to be in a similar position although at another stage of the political food chain.” It has far greater resources than Russia does but at the same time it has far greater aspirations. If Russia wants to dominate the former Soviet space, the US wants to dominate the world. Thus, these two gaps between capacity and aspiration first in Russia and then in the US have “created similar problems,” and it is this that is leading the world into the situation it finds itself today. “The disintegration of the USSR played a bad joke on America,” Pastukhov says. During the cold war, its “natural borders were marked out by the possibilities of its opponent.” But when its opponent disappeared, the zone of Russia’s responsibilities contracted while that of the US “increased many times over.” And even the United States, the historian says, “does not have the financial and economic resources to fill all the holes on the planet … America in reality is every more loaded down in its isolation. It has not sincere friends and many hidden enemies. It does not have the forces needed to solve all problems at once,” and trying to solve them in turn doesn’t work. “In this situation,” he continues, “Trump’s America, just like Putin’s Russia, is trying to close the gap that has been formed by an over use of military power and thus actively shifting from the language of diplomacy to the language of guns.” And they are doing so to try to find a new balance of forces in what has become “a post-Potsdam” world. Pastukhov says that “the two former super-powers and both are in fact former want to find some new balance point which on the one hand corresponds to the new realities but on the other does not destroy their old illusions.” Moscow “unrealistically” wants one approximately like that of 50 years ago; Washington, one, also unrealistically, as it will be 50 years from now.” This problem has emerged since the Balkans crisis, but it grew to its current dimensions when Russia – “and it was Russia and not the US,” Pastukhov says – “pursued a harsh sharpening” of the situaiton and thereby continued to “redouble the geopolitical stakes” involved. “Having fallen under the toxic influence of the post-Crimean hypnosis, Russian elites simply still did not recognize completely in what a deep historical trap they now find themselves in.” And so they took ever more risks and acted in ever more challenging ways, forcing a response by the other side. According to Pastukhov, “there are theoretically two ways out of this situation: a beautiful war and an awful peace.” Objectively, Russia would lose the war except that its possession of nuclear weapons means that it could take those who are stronger down along with it. The Kremlin would like to use this situaiton to get the West to agree to a big deal, something many in the West are reluctant to agree to given what Moscow has been doing. But “the priority in any case must be to prevent war, and the struggle for democracy in Russia is all the same a task which the Russian elites must resolve on their own, albeit with the moral support of Western society.” “One can assert with a high degree of certainty that everything will end well, that the instinct for self-preservation will work, and that Trump and Putin” will make a deal. “The parameters of this ‘big deal’ have been set by the entire course of previous events, Pastukhov says. “Ukraine will suffer most of all,” likely being forced to tolerate a situation in which Crimea wil remain under Russian control for a long time to come. “But in exchange Russia will have to “give up” the Donbass and agee to a division of Syria with the ensuring sacrifice of Asad. This will be called a suitable occasion for beginning the gradual elimination of sanctions.” “But if the parameters of a deal are obvioius,” Pastukhov says, “the very possibility of its conclusioin seems improbable since neither of the sides understands how to solve the problem of keeping face” as each would have to give up something that it has said it will never do, creating both domestic and foreign policy problems for those who do so. What those who oppose such a deal need to remember is this, Pastukhov says. “The Kremlin cannot win this game in any case” over the long haul. It is simply trying to play for time. “And however strange this may sound,” the London-based Russian historian says, “I wish it success because I very much want to live …”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Genetically Tatars and Bashkirs are More Different than Their Cultures and Identities Are
Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Many people in Western countries have been bombarded with advertisements for genetic testing so that they can learn their “real” ethnicity, and many in Eurasia have been told by Moscow that various groups of Tatars can’t be related because they are genetically different — as if ethnicity was defined by genetics rather than history and culture. The Moscow effort to suggest ethnicity “proves” that Siberian Tatars, Kazan Tatars and Crimean Tatars can’t be one people (gazeta.ru/science/2016/12/14_a_10425539.shtml#page1) has been sharply criticized by Tatar scholars like Damir Iskhakov who say “the definition of a nation [by genetics] leads to mistaken conclusions” about national identities. Nonetheless, genetic testing can provide important clues about the early history and development of various ethnic groups even if it can’t supplant studies of culture or politics or psychology, but as Iskhakov says, it must be used carefully lest it “biologize” and thereby “reify” nations and national identities. A new genetic study by BioMed Central of 30 groups living between the Baltic Sea and Lake Baikal (bmcgenet.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12863-017-0578-3) provides some intriguing clues about the history of various nations, none more intriguing than about some important differences in the bases of the Tatar and Bashkir nations. In an essay for the IdealReal portal, analyst Ramazan Alpaut reviews the BntnioMed Central findings about the Bashkirs and Tatars and concludes that the Bashkirs are closely related to the Hanty and thus likely have their origins in Finno-Ugric communities (idelreal.org/a/башкиры-ближе-к-хантам-и-венграм-татары-к-европейцам/29177069.html). “The Idel Ural region,” Alpaut writes, “are populated as is well known by three groups of peoples: the Uralic, the Turkic and the Slavic.” The Bashkirs and Tatars are the chief representatives of the Turkic group, but despite their linguistic closeness, “generically they are significantly different from one another.” “The Tatars have much in common with the genetics of neighboring countries while the Bashkirs have more in common with those who live in other regions.” That suggests, the Idel-Ural writer says, that “the Bashkirs initially were not Turkic but an ethnic group which subsequently adopted a Turkic language.” At the same time, Alpaut continues, “the Volga Tatars represent at the genetic level a mixture of Bulgars who had a significant Finno-Ugric component, the Pechenets, the Kumans, the Khazars, local Finno-Ugric peoples and the Alans.” Thus, the Tatars, but not the Bashkirs, “are essentially a European people with an insignificant East Asian component.” Alpaut points out that “analysis on the basis of the principle of genetic similarity is insufficient to categorically assert that the Bashkirs were of Finno-Ugric origin.” But it does suggest that the history of their formation as a nation was more complicated and drew on more sources than many have thought. But such information must be treated with extreme care not only because genetics doesn’t define ethnicity but also because genetic measures used for such comparisons are far from perfect: the percentages often treated as absolutes are in fact relative to sample size and to the total of all genes, making any final conclusions highly problematic. Unfortunately, as genetic measurement becomes more common and accessible, ever more people are going to use it without these caveats; and thus such “research” becomes dangerously political especially because it is offered in the guise of science, something it is but only if it is used with the kind of care many simply refuse to devote.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Not Moscow and Provinces But ‘a Continent of Many Future Countries’
Paul Goble Staunton, April 22 – Many Russians and all to many Westerns view the Russian Federation as divided between Moscow and an undifferentiated set of provinces, but in fact, the After Empire portal points out, Russia is “a whole continent consisting of a multitude of future countries,” some well-known but many extremely obscure. That many in Moscow view the provinces this way has made it possible for the Russian government to behave toward those who seek to defend the rights of their people in completely unacceptable and repressive ways to the point of forcing many of those who speak for these “unknown” peoples to flee Russia for their lives One nation that is part of this “imperial terra incognita” and whose activist defenders have been forced into exile is the Shor people, a nation of 13,000 nominally one of the numerically small peoples who are supposed to get assistance from the center but who seldom get any help and often are mistreated (afterempire.info/2018/04/21/shoria/). Yana and Vladislav Tannagasheva, who have been fighting for the Shors for more than five years, have finally been forced to emigrate to a European country where they hope to be able to continue the struggle through international organizations like the European Court ad United Nations (sibreal.org/a/правозащитникам-здесь-не-место/29182610.html). Yana Tannagasheva, a member of the Rebirth of Kazas and the Shor People, says that officials have worked to destroy the Shors rather than help them, have lied about the situation, and have failed to keep their promises to meet with representatives of this small Turkic people. She has become ever more vocal internationally, and the Russian authorities have struck back. Even though she was declared “teacher of the year” at the school she works for, she was forced to resign; and she was told by unidentified thugs on the street that if she didn’t stop pushing for the restoration of the rights of the Shors, she would soon be a widow, a not so implicit threat that they were prepared to kill her husband who also has been speaking out. Earlier this month, the Tannagashev couple and their children left Russia and are now in a European country, “the name of which they ask not to be revealed” at least for the time being. “We arrived here on April 14, handed in our documents to the migration service and are waiting for an interview,” she said. Yana Tannagasheva added that “we are not the first rights activists from among the indigenous peoples of Russia who have been forced to ask for political asylum abroad. Last year, Pavel Sulyandziga, a leader of the numerically small peoples of the North, asked for asylum in the United States. Expelling such people may buy Moscow time, but such repression won’t end the aspirations of these nations. Instead, the arrival of ever more of their activists in the West will make a major contribution to ensuring that the West will no longer view the Russian Federation as Moscow plus provinces but rather as the evil empire that it has not ceased to be.
Broad coalition of non-Russians launch Internet petition drive against Putin’s language policiesEuromaidan Press |
Representatives of a significant cross-section of non-Russian nations now within the borders of the Russian Federation have launched an online petition on Change.org to oppose Moscow’s plans to make the study of non-Russian languages entirely voluntary while keeping the study of Russian compulsory.
Tatar Man Who Claimed Language Discrimination Faces Hate Charges
A man in Tatarstan who complained that regional tax authorities and a bank did not provide services in the Tatar language has been charged with inciting ethnic hatred.
Bashkir Activists Demand Investigation Into Russian Comic For Alleged Insults
Activists of an unregistered Bashqort organization that promotes Bashkir culture in the Russian region of Bashkortostan have urged the regional leadership to investigate a recent performance by a R…
Russia’s Wheat Crop Under Threat From Miserable Start to Spring – Bloomberg
Russia’s poor start to spring means farmers may struggle to collect a wheat crop that’s near to last year’s record.
Russians Are Trolling Their Country’s Brand New World Cup Slogan
Russia’s soccer team has slumped to its lowest ever global ranking and almost a million people are calling for the squad to disband.
Russia Says Nine Terror Suspects Killed In Daghestan
Russia says nine insurgents in the volatile Daghestan region who allegedly were planning acts of terrorism during public holidays in May have been killed by police.
Fourteen Alleged Members Of Hizb Ut-Tahrir Detained In Tatarstan
Security authorities in Russia’s Tatarstan region have detained 14 alleged members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir organization.
Russian Supreme Court Upholds Conviction Of Navalny Brothers’ In ‘Yves Rocher Case’
Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld the verdict against opposition politician Aleksei Navalny and his brother Oleg in the so-called Yves Rocher case.
Library of Ukrainian Literature destroyed in Moscow -Euromaidan Press |
t is reported that the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow has been definitively closed down. The plate on the external wall disappeared last week from the building where the library was previously located. It is not clear when or how the sign was removed. Former employees maintain that just a few days ago the plate bearing the inscription: “Library of Ukrainian Literature” was still visible on the building situated at 61 Trifonovskaya Street. In addition, the library website has been blocked. When we tried to access the site at mosbul.ru, we received the following message: “Sorry, but the site is closed for reconstruction.” Apparently, the library building has been transferred to the Department of Sports in Moscow, which plans to open the Center for Tourism Development in Moscow on the premises.
Prominent Russian Lawyer Feigin To Appeal Disbarment In Court
Prominent Russian lawyer Mark Feigin says he will appeal in court his disbarment for allegedly unethical behavior.
Prominent Russian Lawyer Feigin Disbarred
The Moscow Chamber of Attorneys has disbarred prominent lawyer Mark Feygin for allegedly unethical behavior.
The Designer of Russia’s First Armed Drone Is Under Arrest – Defense One
Is it fraud? A shakedown? Punishment for program delays? The unusual case threatens to derail Russia’s drone ambitions.
‘Without World Cup, No Economic Growth’ In Russia
A senior Russian official says there would be “no economic growth” in the country were it not for spending related to this summer’s World Cup soccer tournament.
Former Moscow Theater Director To Be Transferred To House Arrest
A former director of Moscow’s embattled Gogol Center theater, who is charged with embezzlement and fraud in a case that has sent a chill through Russian culture, will be transferred from pretrial j…
Police Search Regional Parliament In Russia’s Sakha-Yakutia
Police are conducting searches in the building of the regional parliament, or Il Tumen, of Russia’s Far Eastern region of Sakha-Yakutia.
Date Set For Referendum On Garbage Dump Near Moscow
Local lawmakers in the town of Volokolamsk in the Moscow region have set a date for a referendum on the closure of a garbage dump that has been emitting toxic fumes and prompting protests by reside…
Bust Of Yeltsin Joins Stalin, Lenin, Gorbachev On Moscow’s Alley Of Rulers
A bust of the Russian Federation’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, has been unveiled in downtown Moscow, the 11th anniversary of his death.
Event: Plight Of Bitkov Family Offers Clues To How Russian Government Undermines International Institutions – To Inform is to Influence
WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today [Ed. 23 April] announced the following hearing: The Long Arm Of Injustice: Did A Un Commission Founded To Fight Corruption Help The Kremlin Destroy A Russian Family? Friday, April 27, 2018 9:15 a.m. Rayburn House Office Building Room 2172 Live…
Russian Student Resists Order To Join Immortal Regiment March
A Moscow Oblast student wants to decide for himself whether to participate in a demonstration to honor the 27 million Soviets who died fighting Nazi Germany.
OPEC: Russia says it might not stay committed to the oil deal
Market data will be key to deciding the ongoing oil supply-cutting deal led by OPEC, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told CNBC Friday.
International Inuit group angry with Russia’s rocket splashdown in Arctic Waters – 112.international
International Inuit group angry with Russia’s rocket splashdown in Arctic Waters
Russia’s Shrinking Arctic City
After a collapse in coal mining, Vorkuta has lost a third of its residents in 30 years. Can the remaining miners hang on?
Dozens Of Wildfires Sweep Across Siberia, Russia’s Far East
As many as 37 wildfires have been reported in Siberia and Russia’s Far East, sweeping across more than 4,200 hectares of land.
Pushkin descendant puts Russian poet’s turbulent life on stage for first time | Books | The Guardian
Opera tells how radical killed in a duel with his wife’s suspected lover transformed Russia’s literary language
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Views Russians as ‘Divided People,’ Thus Threatening All Russia’s Neighbors, German Historian Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 26 – A core element of Vladimir Putin’s worldview is that the Russians are “a divided people,” German historianWilfried Jilge says, a perspective that underlies his continuing aggression against Ukraine and that lays the groundwork for additional seizure of territories along Russia’s border. The specialist on Eastern Europe argues that Putin’s profound and longstanding belief that Russians are a divided people not only explains his past actions but more importantly opens the way for similar ones in the future (focus.de/politik/experten/these-von-einem-volk-in-seinen-reden-bereitet-putin-den- boden-fuer-weitere-eroberungen-an-russlands-grenze_id_8810077.html; in Russian at planeta.press/articles/21187-focus-putin-schitaet-russkih-razdelennym-narodom/). “In projecting a certain ‘Russian Orthodox world’ onto territories on the other side of the Russian border, [Putin] neutralizes the independence of neighboring countries and of Ukraine in particular.” He does so because the stabilization of that country would be “dangerous for himself,” Jilge says. “Today’s Russia is not a democratic country. Elections there serve to legitimize the autocratic regime which has arisen under Putin.” And both the selection of the date of the elections – the fourth anniversary of the Crimean Anschluss – and Putin’s rhetoric during the campaign show that he relies on the divided people argument. Right up to the present, Putin “justifies the annexation of Crimea by his conception of a certain ‘Russian world,’ according to which ‘the fraternal Ukrainian people’ is part of Russia’s sphere of influence,” the historian says. He bases that notion on both tsarist and Soviet approaches. On the one hand, Jilge says, Putin accepts the tsarist approach of dividing the subjects of the country not be ethnicity but by religion and posits that since most Ukrainians are Orthodox, they cannot be separate. And on the other, he views the Soviet Union as another name for Russia and thus a place where Russia must be dominant or even in complete control. “Putin’s thesis about a single people is an authoritarian-imperialist assertion of identity which does not have anything in common with the real attitudes one can observe today in Ukrainian society. That Putin continues to assert this thesis may be evidence that the Kremlin intends to involve itself with the destabilization of Ukraine,” the German historian says. Clearly, Jilge concludes, “a stable, flourishing and democratic Ukraine could be in the eyes of some Russians an attractive alternative to the Putin autocratic regime and thus threaten the property of the corrupt oligarchs who support the Kremlin.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up – Seven Not Entirely Amusing Stories from Russia
Paul Goble Staunton, April 26 – One of the challenges of trying to cover what is happening in Russia is that it is a country where things that don’t happen often do – or at least are reported to have occurred – forcing one to try to establish whether they are true or the latest example of Russian “fake” news. Today brings an especially rich harvest of Russian stories that are too wonderful not to be true – and in fact they are. Here are the seven best: · United Russia Gives Blind Special Picture of Putin. The ruling United Russia Party has come up with a tactile picture of Putin that it is supplying to the country’s organization of the blind so that even the sightless can know what their leader is like (facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10215012528641629&set=a.1157904022745.24923.1082074855&type=3&theater). · New Russian Vodka Brand has Same Name as Poison Used Against Skripal. Russians can now drink a vodka which bears the same name as the nerve agent that Russian operatives used against the Skripals in the United Kingdom. With luck, those who consume it won’t suffer the same consequences (facebook.com/dimitar.bechev.1/posts/10160400232180392). · Those Fighting the Russian Opposition May Soon Outnumber It. In a survey of the increasing plethora of organizations the Kremlin has set up to fight the opposition, US-based Russian journalist Kseniya Kirillova concludes that “the number of those fighting the opposition in rusisa will soon exceed the number of opposition figures” (svoboda.org/a/29188787.html). · Officials Thrilled Share of Russians Now Forced to Economize has Fallen from 70 to 64 Percent. Although two-thirds of all Russians say that the economic crisis has forced them to economize, Russian officials seem thrilled by a slight decline over the past year, to the horror of some commentators who say the government is ignoring the big picture (forum-msk.org/material/news/14581750.html). · Russian Embassy Gets It Wrong: Nizhny Novgorod isn’t Novgorod Veliky. The Russian embassy in Lisbon has put out a booklet about the upcoming World Cup competition in which they illustrate the page for Nizhny Novgorod with a picture of Novgorod Veliky, an entirely different city and one where there won’t be any football matches (versia.ru/v-broshyure-k-chm-2018-nizhnij-novogorod-pereputali-s-velikim-novgorodom). · At Fork in the Road, Russians Must Choose: To Marx or to Engels. A wonderful survey of unusual place names in the Russian Federation offers the dilemma Russians on one road face: When they come to a crossing, they have to decide to go to Marx or to Engels, two municipalities that aren’t in the same direction (zen.yandex.ru/media/id/5a68d95f79885ef28b4cdaab/russkii-iumor-na-dorogah-ili-suscestvuet-li-ukazatel-v-muhosransk-5adc94c15f496711cd611f5c). · Russia ‘Catches up and Surpasses America’ — by Organizing First Doll Bordello. An enterprising Russian is opening the first bordello with dolls rather than prostitutes, something that not only allows him to stay within the law and claim that he is offering a public service to help save families and help men who have troubles with real women but also to suggest that in this area, Russia has definitely “surpassed” America and can take pride in that. He says that he plans to open a chain of these facilities across Russia (dw.com/ru/виктор-ерофеев-секс-куклы-во-время-чумы/a-43523643newsland.com/community/5206/content/rossiia-obognala-ameriku/6315496 and ura.news/articles/1036274680).

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Hopes Armenian Events Don’t Prove to Be a Real and Infectious Color Revolution
Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Russian officials and commentators already are saying the massive popular protests in Armenia which forced Serzh Sargsyan, the former president who had just become prime minister in order to remain in power, to resign are not like the color revolutions that have led to the formation of anti-Moscow governments elsewhere in the post-Soviet space. But it is obvious they are concerned about three things: the possibility that the ouster of Sargsyan will become an inspirational model for Russians who also have a president who became a prime minister to keep his power, a shift in Yerevan’s relationship with Moscow, and a possible upsurge in along the ceasefire line between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This last “fear” may also be an indication of something Moscow might try to provoke: any Azerbaijani moves will simultaneously unite Armenians and ensure that they will continue to look to Moscow rather than anywhere else for their security, a reality officials in Baku almost certainly understand however tempted they might be to exploit the unrest in Armenia. The Znak news portal has provided one of the first roundups of Russian opinion and commentary (znak.com/2018-04-23/kak_v_rossii_reagiruyut_na_smenu_vlasti_v_armenii_v_rezultate_narodnogo_protesta). Among the key Russian statements it records are the following: · Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mariya Zakharova writes on Facebook that “a people which has the strength even in the most complicated moments of its history not to split up but to preserve respect for one another despite categorial disagreements is a great people. Armenia, Russia is always with you!” · Igor Lebedev, the LDPR politician who is deputy speaker of the Duma, says that the Armenian people have shown that “no one wants to put up with one and the same individual at the head of the state for decades. There needs to be changes in those in power and in their parties.” · Lev Shlosberg, leader of the Yabloko Parrty in Pskov, says that the events show the triumph of “the will of the people.” · Gennady Gudkov, a former member of the Duma and an opposition politician, says that “Armenia provides an example for Russia. He says he imagines that officials in the Kremlin are worried by the precedent of a people unwilling to tolerate political twists and turns to keep one person on top of the political system forever. The Armenians have “stopped the slide toward totalitarianism.” · Fyodor Lukyanov, a leading Moscow foreign policy commentator, predicts that with Sargsyan’s departure, there will follow “stormy new elections” because “the Armenian power structure turned out to be more rickety than we thought.” Sargsyan was right to go under the circumstances, but any such retirement under pressure of crowds in the streets is always “fraught” with problems. Pro-Moscow Armenians, like commentator Armen Gasparyan, however, are providing some reassurance to the Russian government. In a comment for the Nakanune news agency, he says that the Armenian opposition and the Armenian authorities view Russia as their country’s “main strategic partner” in all respects (nakanune.ru/news/2018/04/23/22505341/).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Armenian Maidan Only in First Stages with Many Questions Still Unanswered, Portnikov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 26 – Many commentators writing about the events in Armenia have decided that they are a Maidan that has already succeeded or that it isn’t a Maidan at all, in both cases failing to understand that any Maidan is not a single of events but a series of them and that Armenia is only in the early stages, Vitaly Portnikov says. The Ukrainian analyst suggests the extreme cases of such misunderstanding are in Ukraine where many want to declare that the Armenian Maidan has already won and in Moscow where at least those near the Kremlin continue to deny that the Armenian events are a Maidan at all (ru.espreso.tv/article/2018/04/26/vytalyy_portnykov_v_erevane_obychnyy_maydan). Both the one and the other have forgotten that the Maidan in Ukraine was not a single event but a chain of them and that the final outcome depended on how various forces responded, Portnikov says. Armenia is in fact in the midst of a Maidan, he says; but it is far from clear how it will end. That depends on how various forces evaluate the situation and then act. Consequently, observers should openly acknowledgethat there are a large number of questions for which no answer is yet clear and admit that they simply do not know whether the Armenian Maidan will succeed or will be crushed by the ancien regime or by its allies from abroad, in this case, Moscow. “Armenia is dependent on Russia more than Ukraine was,” Portnikov says. “Sargysan’s retirement in now way means the end of this dependence, especially because all the leadership of the country and the Republican Party, which is the Armenian United Russia remain in their positions.” No one knows “how Moscow will behave if its supporters begin to really lose power. And what is more we do not know the Armenian law enforcement agencies will behave.” Moscow has stressed how peaceful the Armenian events have been as a way of suggesting or convincing itself that they are different from the Ukrainian Maidan. “But the Maidan too was a peaceful protest until the application of force by the Berkut. It grew into a clash of forces only after attempts to disperse the protest.” Moreover, Portnikov says, “the Armenian protest of 2008 wasn’t peaceful, it was dispersed, people died, and its leader Nikol Pashinyan (the same) landed in prison.” On the other hand, the Ukrainian Maidan of 2004 was peaceful and quite similar to the events on Yerevan’s streets now. “What we are observing today is only the first phase of the Maidan,” a period when “the ruling group still doesn’t feel a genuine threat to its power and money” and when the protesters still assume that they can manage to drive this group out of office “with the help of peaceful protests” alone. Portnikov says that the Armenian authorities may be able to “’wait out’” the protesters. That is what Yanukovich did in the first stage of the Ukrainian Maidan. “It is completely possible that the Armenian authorities will be able to disperse the protest by force – then the Russian leaders and their speakers won’t great the people on the streets.” And at the same time, he continues, “it is completely possible that the Armenian powers will have to leave and yield power to the opposition” and that in that event “the plans which its representatives are discussing in Moscow today will collapse.” If that happens in Armenia, then the same things will happen there that happened in Ukraine “after the Maidan.” There will be a war. “For Ukraine, the weak place was Crimea and the Donbass. Armenia’s weak place is Karabakh. An effort to solve the Karabakh problem by force will be undertaken literally the day after the collapse of the current Armenian powers.” In that event, Portnikov says, Moscow will simply “shrug its shoulders and call Armenia and Azerbaijan to begin talks.” The people in power understand this, even though the people in the streets do not want to. But in this case, “supporters of the incumbents are right: a revolution always leads to the disorganization of the state machine and an enemy always uses this.” “Supporters of the Ukrainian Maidan couldn’t imagine Russia’s reaction to their victory. Predictions that after the Olympics in Sochi, Putin ‘would take up’ Ukraine simply weren’t taken seriously,” the Ukrainian analyst says. “Supporters of the protests in Yerevan don’t believe in a big new war.” “On the other hand,” Portnikov says, “there is always the question” for each participant: “’Is Paris worth a mass?’” Was the territorial integrity of Ukraine worth the cost of “dictatorship, a dead end situation, and life in a Russian colony?” Is maintaining Armenian control over Karabah and adjoining Azerbaijani districts worth something similar? “Ukraine before 2014 was a typical Russian colony, and Armenia today is simply a Russian colony, a colony whose residents are struggling for their freedom. They think they are struggling with their own powers. But in fact, they are struggling with Russian controllers of these powers. They are in fact fighting with Putin.” And a struggle of that kind, Portnikov says, “in case of its success will never be simply a street festival.”
Protests Resume, Police Deployed In Armenian Capital After Talks Canceled
Armenian protest leader Nikol Pashinian has launched a fresh demonstration on the streets of Yerevan, leading thousands of supporters on a march after negotiations he was to hold with the ruling Republican Party (HHK) were canceled.
Armenia’s ‘Velvet Revolution’ Prompts Comparisons With Ukraine, Georgia
But analysts say Armenia not torn between East and West following protests averting alleged power grab by country’s longtime leader
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Key Dimensions of the Armenian Revolution
Paul Goble Staunton, April 25 – The events in Armenia are proceeding at such a dizzying speed and involve ever more issues that it is easy lose sight of their complexity and uniqueness – and how important they are not only for that republic but for other countries in the former Soviet space and for relations between and among them. Five key insights from the last day or so include: 1. The Armenian Revolution is Not Over. The resignation of president-become-prime minister Serzh Sargsyan did not end the revolution; it simply changed the nature of the conflict from one about a hated individual to one about a hated system of entrenched power. Thus, the new protests are not about individuals but about replacing the existing party system Sargsyan and his cohorts had used to run the country in an increasingly authoritarian way. This second stage of the revolution is likely to be more difficult but the opposition has shown it can bring out the population against what is the real target of their anger (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AE033A548D75rbc.ru/newspaper/2018/04/25/5adf21a09a7947cd56f6dccd, and dw.com/ru/саргсян-ушел-что-будет-в-армении-дальше/a-43512745). 2. Armenia an Unlikely Model for Other Post-Soviet States. Many opposition figures in Russia and other post-Soviet states have been encouraged by the Armenian protests and their success, but Russian analyst Andrey Illarionov reminds that Armenia is different from Russia and most of the others in 15 important ways making the adoption of the Armenian model extremely unlikely. Just as Armenia is not Ukraine and Ukraine is not Georgia, so too the other post-Soviet states aren’t Armenia (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5ADEF96B2271B). 3. Armenia has Long Tradition of Mass Protests. One of the most profound differences is that Armenia has a tradition of mass protests extending back into the 1980s and therefore what has occurred there in the last few weeks is less the invention of something new but the continuation and expansion of that tradition (afterempire.info/2018/04/25/armenia/). 4. In this Revolution, the Armenian Young are Defeating a Gerontocracy. Many observers have been struck by how young the crowds in Yerevan are in comparison to those around Sargsyan and his regime, a regime that consists largely of those who came to power after the killings in the Armenian parliament in 1999. Revolutions are typically carried out by the young, but this influx of a new and rising generation is striking and gives hope that the revolution will continue rather than be deflected or defeated (chaskor.ru/article/armeniya_pobeda_molodezhi_nad_gerontokratiej_43432). Acts o 5. Armenian Revolution has Been Peaceful Because Armenians are an Armed Population at War. Sargsyan resigned when he saw that portions of the Armenian army had gone over to the protesters. That is a typical sign of imminent regime collapse in all revolutions, but there is one detail that may explain why Sargsyan went so easily and why the Armenian revolution so far has been peaceful. And that is this: the Armenian people have been at war for 30 years, many have passed through the military, and many are armed. On the one hand, that means the difference between the siloviki and the people are smaller in Armenia than they are in places like Russia. And on the other, it means that anyone – the regime, Moscow, or the opposition – who began acts of violence might see Armenia descend into the kind of chaos that its neighbors would surely exploit. Thus, perhaps counter-intuitively, the military experience of the Armenian people and their possession of weapons may serve as a kind of disciplining factor keeping the situation from getting out of hand (snob.ru/selected/entry/136768).
Armenian Revolution: Russian influence to remain amid power shift | UNIAN
The resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan is unlikely to lead to any substantial change the country’s foreign policy or its positioning in both regional and global arenas. There are still many objective preconditions for Armenia’s dependence on Russia. First of all, this is due to a certain isolation of Armenia – it is surrounded by unfriendly states. First of all, ut’s about Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is also due to the complex and conflict-filled situation in the Caucasus. Among other factors, there’s Armenia’s significant orientation toward post-Soviet values, which is evidenced by the latest polls showing that the Armenians remain nostalgic for their Soviet past and feel sorry for the Union’s collapse, even more so than the Russians are. Therefore, we should not expect that the new leadership will decisively and drastically change the country’s geopolitical orientation. Protests and mobilization of civil society in Armenia erupted against a clearly negative trend, that is, a seemingly endless sticking to power by Serzh Sargsyan and officials affiliated with him. Meanwhile, the positive part of the agenda is yet to be cleared up. Obviously, it will be of a compromise nature. In particular, this is indicated by a voluntary resignation of a freshly appointed Prime Minister (also ex-president) Sargsyan. Apparently some agreements have been reached, guaranteeing his status and security, or even a certain continuity of power. We should not expect that the new leadership will decisively and drastically change the country’s geopolitical orientation Therefore, the objective circumstances for Russia to preserve its influence over the country, the unclear nature of the new Armenian government, and the need for this Cabinet to seek compromise with their own people, their moods and expectations, as well as with the previous government – all of this creates leads us to suggest that the new authorities will make no sharp movements and transform the country at a light pace. This is especially true of Armenia’s foreign policy course. But, obviously, changes in Armenia will start from this very moment. An active search will start for alternative political models and alternative development vectors. Foreign-political contacts will intensify, although they never actually shrank under the previous government. That is, Armenia had quite active diplomatic and other types of contacts with the western world and never severed them. Besides, the West will now start perceiving Armenia from a different perspective. So it is quite possible that Armenia’s foreign political vector, if it doesn’t start to change dramatically, will certainly be adjusted. Thus, we will be seeing the country’s withdrawal from being directly tied to Russian politics. Moreover, the external factor that has a significant impact on this is the change in Turkey’s positioning in the region and in its global policies. When Turkey is a U.S. ally and an active NATO Ally, it’s one thing, but when Turkey sides with Russia and Iran, the United States, as a leading geopolitical player, is beginning to seek new allies and new coalitions. So, Armenia can take advantage of the trend and limit its dependence on Russia. Moreover, the Armenian diaspora is very powerful in the U.S.
Armenia’s protests: group of soldiers joins anti-government protests – Defence Blog
 
Sometimes Armenian Protests Are Just Armenian Protests – Foreign Policy
Not every post-Soviet revolution is about the geopolitics of Russia.
Armenia: Serzh Sargsyan resignation a blow to Russia foreign policy | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.04.2018
Street protests have forced the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, just days after he took up the post. The rapid turn of events could shake up Russia’s interests in the region.
Armenia’s protesters just removed its Russia-friendly prime minister
A change in government could threaten Russia’s level of influence in the country — meaning the Kremlin will be watching closely as developments unfold.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Ruins of Empire in Sands of Central Asia’ – Russians Leaving Turkmenistan and ISIS Coming In
Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Russians constitute only two or three percent of the population of the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, their departure having been accelerated by the economic crisis there and the Islamist threat from Afghanistan and Ashgabat’s closure of Russian-language schools and insistence that officials speak Turkmen. In an article on the Russian Information Agency today, journalist Igor Gashkov says that only one Russian-language school is left in the entire republic and Russian is heard on the streets only in the capital city. As a result, he says, Turkmenistan now constitutes “the ruins of empire in the sands of Central Asia” (ria.ru/world/20180422/1519094484.html). The few remaining Russians, the journalist says, speak to outsiders only on condition of anonymity. One of them says that ever more Russians are leaving and that those who remain “simply do not have any opportunity” to do so. “Turkmenistan,” he continues, “is becoming part of the Muslim world forgetting both the Russian and Soviet past.” In that country, “already an entire generation has grown up which does not speak Russian,” the ethnic Russian says. And in the markets, one can no longer buy and sell unless one knows Turkmen. According to the RIA journalist, “Turkmenistan has been converted into the most closed state of the post-Soviet space. Its citizens did not take part in the mass labor migration from Central Asia to Russia in the 2000s and 2010s.” And what its people know about Russia comes mostly from crime shows on television “In Turkmenistan,” another Russian says, “people really low Russian criminal series. And looking at them, they begin to think that we have a very difficult situation with crimes and fires.” This shift from a Russian world to a Muslim one has not made the government in Turkmenistan more popular, however, according to Gashkov. The collapse in gas prices forced the regime to cut popular subsidies and the threat from ISIS in Afghanistan is something many Turkmens are worried about. There are rumors that ISIS units have already crossed into Turkmenistan, but people are uncertain because of the tight control the authorities exercise over the media, the Russian journalist continues. But one ethnic Russian there did tell him that there is good evidence that Islamist radicals are already fighting inside Turkmenistan. “Soldiers are being brought home in zinc caskets,” he says. And “in prisons and camps, the inmates say that if the Islamists come and open the gates of the colonies, then a large part of the convicts will go over to them” and fight against the government.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: How Bad are Things in Russia? An Entire Russian Village Wants to Join Kazakhstan
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – Tens of thousands of ordinary Russians have voted with their feet in response to the deteriorating conditions in their homeland and moved abroad, but the residents of a Russian village in Omsk Oblast have another idea: they want the border between Russia and Kazakhstan redrawn so that they will no longer be part of the former but rather part of the latter. The village, Dubanovka, is situated approximately 140 kilometers from the city of Omsk, Anton Zakharov of Radio Liberty reports. “The last 17 are unpaved: one can only go on them when there is a freeze or a dry spell.” Residents joke, he says, that portion of the highway is where “civilization ends together with the road” (ru.krymr.com/a/29188964.html). “We don’t have any roads or a store or a school or water or in general anything. They’ve thrown us here to our fate,” local people say; and so a group of them have appealed to the Russian authorities to transfer their village from Russian control to that of Kazakhstan. The leader of the movement says he’s sure the situation there “won’t be worse” and might be better. There are about 50 houses in the village, and the children have to travel 17 kilometers to school. Postal service is irregular, and emergency services are late if they bother to come at all. Getting out from under this Russian fate thus looks attractive, Zakharov reports, but few villagers expect it will happen. They’ve asked Russian officials for help but have been ignored, and since the 1990s, they haven’t been able to cross into Kazakhstan because the border is under lock and key. Improving the road to the oblast center would be a good thing, the villagers say; but being under different kinds of rulers would be even better. At least, that is what the residents of Dubanovka have been driven to believe.
Kazakh Citizen Faces Trial For Joining Russia-Backed Separatists In Eastern Ukraine
The trial of a Kazakh citizen who fought alongside Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has started in Kazakhstan’s central city of Qaraghandy.

Belarus Reports


Belarusian Leader Has Harsh Words For Russia, West — And Warning For Moscow
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has used an annual address to criticize both the West and Russia, accusing Western countries of “inciting trade wars” and charging that Moscow has blocked…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Belarusians Want More Films Like ‘Death of Stalin’ about More Recent Politicians
Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – At the end of last week, Belarusians in the city of Mohylev had the chance to watch the British comedy “The Death of Stalin,” a satire the Russian authorities have denied their citizens the chance to view. After the showing, Belarusians offered their views about the film and about the need for films like it about even more contemporary politicians. They also offered up an anecdote about Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka that says something about him but even more about the people who live under his rule (mspring.online/ru/the-death-of-stalin-quotes/, repeated at belaruspartisan.org/life/422818/). Among the best of the Belarusians’ comments: · “It’s hard for me to view the film, ‘The Death of Stalin’ as a comedy. In it are shown horrible times when the powers could shoot people without courts or investigations. That the film was shot in the genre of a comedy only intensifies the feeling of horror from what happened at that time. This wasn’t funny.” · “I understand why this film was banned in Russia; Putin doesn’t want to show the people himself and his entourage. In Belarus, the situation is different: Lukashenka firmly holds onto power, and there aren’t any people who could pretend to take his place. Therefore, he has nothing to fear from the film. But Putn has around him a multitude of oligarchs and heads of various services which compete among themselves.” Parallels with the film are all too obvious. · “It is possible even good that the film ‘Death of Stalin’ was banned in Russia. Otherwise it might have led to explosions and fires at theaters as was the case with ‘Mathilda.” · “Censorship in art should occur only when there are calls for murders, terrorism or extremism. Hitler’s Mein Kampf is an example of what should be censored. However, when satirical films are made or books about those in power are written there should not be any censorship.” · “In Ukraine Russian serials are banned because the Ukrainians are in fact in a state of war with Russia. They know best of all how propaganda penetrates.” · “An information war between Russia and Belarus has been going on for a long time already. I recently read a book and several articles about propaganda methods and manipulation and discovered that all this is employed by Russia … Unfortunately, in Belarus, people don’t have the culture of consuming information so that they can understand where the truth is and where propaganda.” · “There has never been anyone one should not be able to laugh about, except perhaps Jesus Christ.” · “I wouldn’t be against if someone would film a comedy about Zenon Poznyak … It is necessary to test all politicians with humor: strong leaders survive and laugh at themselves … So, if there were a comedy about Poznyak, I think it would be useful even for him.” · “Satire is necessary, without it there can be an explosion in the state. Comedies, anecdotes and jokes about the powers help people relate to them more simply … When they prohibit you from laughing, protest attitudes spread more rapidly.” · And one participant in the discussion shared what he said was Lukashenka’s favorite anecdote. The Belarusian leader opens the door of his refrigerator and there inside his beloved wife is shaking, apparently with fear. “He signs and says, you don’t need to shake; I’ve come for the cheese.”

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Joint police action ‘punches big hole’ in Isis propaganda ability | World news | The Guardian
Computer servers seized in two-day operation in Europe, US and Canada to prevent radicalisation
EU, US police cripple Islamic State media mouthpieces
European and US police forces have struck at the heart of Islamic State’s propaganda machine, seizing servers and “punching a hole” in its ability to spread its radical jihadist message online. The transatlantic takedown was spread over eight countries and was coordinated by the EU’
Iranians Hit By ‘Perfect Currency Storm’
As the value of Iran’s national currency plunges, the effects are being felt by many Iranians.
Iranian Cleric Floats ‘Vatican’ Plan For Holy Shi’ite City Of Qom
An Iranian cleric has suggested that the holy Shi’ite city of Qom should be turned into an independent country, like Vatican City.
Iranians Push Back, Say Rough Treatment At Hands Of Morality Police Is The Norm
Iranians are challenging authorities after they suggest the morality police don’t routinely rough up women.
Mummified body found in Iran could be of ex-ruler Reza Shah | World news | The Guardian
Remains found near mausoleum destroyed after 1979 revolution, which deposed Pahlavi dynasty
Three US Senators Move to Block F-35 Transfers to Turkey
The senators issued a statement expressing concern that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had embarked on a ‘path of reckless governance and disregard for the rule of law’
President Erdogan Is Turning Turkey Into Putin’s Russia | Time
Engineering a brain drain of his country’s educated elite is an effective way for the authoritarian leader to cement power
Israel scraps plan to forcibly deport African migrants – BBC News
The government writes to the Supreme Court that forced migrant removal “is no longer on the agenda”.

Foreign Policy Reports


The Difference Between a Killer and a Terrorist – Defense One
Two mass murders reveal how difficult—and important—it is to correctly identify terrorism when it occurs.
Nordstream2 opens road for Russian offensive in Ukraine, subjects EU to gas wars – Energy panel at Kyiv Security Forum -Euromaidan Press |
Vadym Glamazdin, Special Envoy on government relations at Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state gas provider, believes that as soon as Nordstream2 is built dooming Ukraine’s status as a gas transit country, the EU will experience the full extent of Russian gas manipulations. Meanwhile, Andrius Kubilius, Member of Seimas of Lithuania and ex-Prime Minister of Lithuania, said that the construction of Nordstream 2 will make Putin consider he got a license to use large numbers of military forces for a military offensive in Ukraine. This was told during the 11th Kyiv Security Forum which took place during 12-13 April 2018 in the Ukrainian capital. Euromaidan Press offers a summary of what was said there speech.
How Ukraine can protect itself from Nord Stream 2 -Euromaidan Press |
Article by: Karel Hirman Discussions between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have led to clear success. The position of Berlin towards the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has become more advantageous for Ukraine. In particular, Merkel has called the continuation of gas transit through Ukraine as a decisive requirement for German support of the pipeline [On 11 April, Angela Merkel stated that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project wasn’t possible without retaining Ukraine’s transit role – ed]. Yes, the statement of the German Chancellor is not a refusal to build the Nord Stream 2, but it is nonetheless an important moment. Merkel has publicly expressed what many diplomats had quietly believed was only one possibility. Even more, the new German position in the matter of the Nord Stream 2 has put the initiative into Ukraine’s hands. Today, the most important thing is not to let this opportunity slip away.
Germany’s $10 Billion Gas Bill Shows Perks of Close Russia Ties – Bloomberg
Are Berlin’s close energy ties with Moscow paying off?
Russian influence on Hungary is growing, and this is threat to whole Europe, – MFA – 112.international
Ukraine’s accession to NATO would be beneficial to Hungary and the Hungarian community in Ukraine, but third countries, in particular Russia, are interested in worsening relations between Kyiv and Budapest. This was stated by Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vasyl Bondar in an interview with Radio Liberty. “The problem of Hungary is in trying to use its NATO membership to meet its own goals, which we do not quite understand. On the one hand, as a member state of NATO – on the territory of Ukraine there are Hungarians who are part of Ukrainian society, their security should be a key so Ukraine in NATO would be more profitable for Hungary than vice versa, so I suspect that this is not Hungary’s interest … but the interest of a third party. And it’s not surprising to talk about it, knowing certain facts,” he said. At the same time, Bondar specified that under the “third countries” he primarily refers to the Russian Federation. “I do not want to blame … But politically I can admit that Moscow’s influence on Budapest, unfortunately, is growing, and this is a threat not only for Kyiv, but also for Europe, for unity in NATO and for understanding how Russia is acting, “he added. At the same time Bondar noted that the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban received high support of the society in the parliamentary elections, which means that “he skillfully conducts his policy inside the country, including using politically the subjects of national minorities” and the Ukrainian law ” On education “, containing a norm on the languages of national minorities.” “We basically hoped that by achieving specific goals on the domestic front, the rhetoric of Budapest will change, because I do not think that Budapest is interested in the deterioration of relations with Ukraine, having here such a large community,” he said, noting that after the elections in Hungary is rhetoric against Kyiv, unfortunately, has not changed.
Russia’s growing influence on Hungary “threat to EU” – deputy minister | UNIAN
Ukraine’s accession to NATO would be beneficial to Hungary and the Hungarian community in Ukraine, but third countries, Russia in particular, are interested in worsening relations between Kyiv and Budapest, according to Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vasyl Bondar. Budapest has not yet changed its rhetoric toward Ukraine following the elections as Ukraine expected.
Ukraine’s envoy: PACE corruption report “beginning of a major scandal” | UNIAN
The report drawn by an independent external investigation body on corruption in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), published on April 22, might be the beginning of a big scandal, according to Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Dmytro Kuleba. Kuleba notes that no sanctions are provided for PACE delegates.
Czech court determinately disbands ‘honorary consulate of DNR’ – 112.international
The Supreme Court of the Czech city of Olomouc confirmed its decision to disband the self-styled ‘honorary consulate of Donetsk People’s Republic’. Ceske Noviny outlet reported this on Thursday. The jury declined the appeal filed by Neli Liskova, the official representative of the ‘consulate’ of the Russian militants in eastern Ukraine. According to the decision of the court, the organization and its activity are illegal. Liskova, in turn, said she would turn to the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, adding that she would carry on with her activity – maybe even create another organization like this one.
Russian Lawmaker Matviyenko Meets With Bosnian Serb Officials In Banja Luka
Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, held a series of meetings with Bosnian Serb officials on a visit to Banja Luka on April 24.
UAWire – Mercenaries from Russian Wagner Private Military Company appear in Central African Republic
This year Russia sent to the Central African Republic (CAR) the detachment of the mercenaries from Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) reported. On March 22, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that in late January and early February, a small batch of arms and ammunition was delivered to the CAR, and that five military units and 170 Russian civilian instructors were sent to train servicemen of the Republic. The CIS stated however that those personnel are most likely the Wagner PMC. Earlier, Western media reported the deployment of Wagner PMC to Sudan and the CAR, CIT writes. CIT quoted a report by Agence France-Presse, which claims that there are rows of tents and multiple Russians in uniform on the territory of the Berengo Palace, who trained soldiers of the CAR. Satellite images showed that the camp of Russians appeared on January 21 to 22.
Jewish Leaders Say Their Meeting With Jeremy Corbyn About Anti-Semitism Was A “Disappointing Missed Opportunity”
Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to put an end to the anti-semitism row which has engulfed the Labour party appeared to have failed on Tuesday night after his meeting with Jewish leaders ended in further criticism.
US Congressmen concerned about anti-Semitism in Poland, Ukraine – 112.international
Over 50 US Congressmen sent a letter to the State Department stating that Warsaw adopted a law criminalizing reference to Poland’s participation in Holocaust, and in Ukraine – a law that criminalizes denial of heroism of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
Poland Criticizes US Claim that Polish Law Glorifies Nazism
Charge was made by Ro Khanna, one of two congressmen leading a bipartisan effort urging the State Department to pressure Poland and Ukraine to combat state-sponsored anti-Semitism

Strategy / History / Capability Publications


A new council could advance artificial intelligence for the military
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act defines AI and describes how the Pentagon would task a council to research machine learning.
New Pentagon research chief is working on lasers, AI, hypersonic munitions and more
He’s pushing for weapons systems that troops could soon see in combat.
Here’s how AI can act as a deterrent in future conflicts
The leader of SOCOM believes the military has to adopt AI to keep up with competitors.
Pentagon AI center progressing, but hypersonics and lasers may not get same treatment
An AI Center of Excellence is on its way, but hypersonics and directed energy might not get the same treatment.
Experts Say AI Could Raise the Risks of Nuclear War – Defense One
A new RAND report says ideas like mutually assured destruction and minimal deterrence strategy offer a lot less assurance in the age of intelligent …
US Air Force to Put Sensors on Allies’ Satellites – Defense One
The move is intended to deter Russia or China from shooting down spacecraft — and provide backups if they do.
US Navy’s unmanned vehicle efforts are the answer to deterring adversaries
To protect our national interests and keep our soldiers and sailors safe, we must be continually preparing for the next potential threat — and the next conflict may highly depend on unmanned technology.
Germany and France plans to jointly develop a next-generation fighter jet – Defence Blog
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart Florence Parly have appeared at an air show in Berlin to present a plans to jointly develop a next-generation fighter jet. According to the Reuters, the German and French defence ministers signed a document outlining the high-level common requirements for a new fighter jet, a letter of intent to explore joint development of a maritime warfare aircraft for use from 2035 and a concept of operations for a joint training and operation of a fleet of C-130J transport planes. “This is a historic agreement,” Parly told a throng of journalists, military officials and industry executives. “It shows that Europe is more than a sum of medium-sized powers, and can take its fate into its own hands and ensure its autonomy.” Germany jointly with French are to take over the development of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a complex project incorporating an “optionally manned” command platform, unmanned components and a new fighter plane that is being tentatively scheduled for takeoff around 2040.
Germany, France press ahead on ‘historic’ joint weapons developments | Reuters
German and French officials on Thursday pressed ahead with plans to jointly develop a next-generation fighter jet, a drone and a maritime airborne warfare aircraft, saying the projects showed European unity and strength in an increasingly uncertain world.
What Japan’s F-22/F-35 Fighter Hybrid Might Look Like
The F-3 could be the next world-beating fighter jet. 
South Korea’s F-35 purchase under probe
The contract for 40 F-35As signed under the former Park Geun-hye administration has been under intensive investigation with regard to possible influence-peddling over the Lockheed Martin-built fighter’s selection process and price lobbying.
India withdraws from FGFA project, leaving Russia to go it alone | Jane’s 360
Key Points India has pulled out of its 11-year collaborative programme with Russia to build a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft The decision has ramifications for both the IAF and the Russian aerospace industry The Indian Air Force (IAF) has shelved its 11-year old collaborative Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme with Russia following enduring differences over its developmental cost and technological capabilities. Senior Indian officials, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, recently informed a visiting Russian ministerial delegation that India was withdrawing from the programme, official sources told Jane’s on 20 April.
Jane’s: India withdraws from FGFA project with Russia – Defence Blog
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has shelved its 11-year old collaborative Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme with Russia following enduring differences over its developmental cost and technological capabilities. According to the Jane’s, Senior Indian officials, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, recently informed a visiting Russian ministerial delegation that India was withdrawing from the programme. The FGFA or Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF) is a joint project between Russia and India to development of fifth-generation fighter aircraft. It is a derivative project of the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 that is being developed for the Russian Air Force.
It’s No Surprise India Finally Ditched Its Stealth Fighter Program With Russia – The Drive
With the project effectively dead, the future of both India’s stealth fighter plans and Russia’s Su-57 are in limbo.
The Pentagon Is Making a Ray Gun to Stop Truck Attacks – Defense One
A device that resembles an old phonograph may soon be used to jam and shut down vehicles like the one that killed 10 people in Toronto.
House lawmakers move to stop Air Force from canceling JSTARS recap
If the Air Force wants its battle management system of systems, it may have to move ahead with JSTARS recap.
MQ-25A Contestants Bare All To Woo U.S. Navy | Defense content from Aviation Week
General Atomics, Phantom Works and Skunk Works have uncloaked their MQ-25A designs as decision time approaches. Here’s what we now know.
AERO Vodochody, Israel Aerospace Industries sign partnership agreements – Defence Blog
The biggest Czech aircraft manufacturer, AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s., and world leader in defense systems technologies, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., signed a partnership agreement relating to technical and marketing cooperation for the light combat L-159 aircraft. The cooperation draws on the tradition and experience of Aero Vodochody in the field of military light jet aircraft, the L-159 proven robust platform which has been successfully operated and tested in NATO joint operations, Red Air exercises and real combat missions, and IAI’s innovative and cutting-edge technologies. The partners have agreed to integrate new combat proven state-of-the-art avionics and other solutions, on the L-159 platform , and to jointly market the aircraft. This approach is focused on further strengthening the already proven L-159 and enhance its position in the light attack market.
From drones to the more conventional, recent weapon developments should alarm us all | TheHill
From the Middle East to Russia, weapons technology and its use in the battlefield are evolving at a rapid pace.
Leonardo eyes 3 jets for new decoy able to trick radar-guided missiles
Leonardo claims its new product is the first digital expendable decoy on the market and the most powerful to date.
Superaccurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones in 2018 – IEEE Spectrum
Broadcom has released the first mass-market GPS chips that use newer satellite signals to boost accuracy to 30-centimeters

IW/IO/Cyber Reports


European Commission To Call Out Russia For ‘Information Warfare’
The European Commission is set to single out Russia directly for what it calls Moscow’s “information warfare” as part of EU efforts to fight back against online disinformation campaigns considered …
PACE adopts resolution on counterwork to Russian propaganda – 112.international
PACE adopts resolution on counterwork to Russian propaganda
Senate confirms Trump’s pick for NSA, Cyber Command – To Inform is to Influence
By MARTIN MATISHAK 04/24/2018 12:51 PM EDT The Senate Tuesday quietly confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. U.S. Army Cyber Command chief Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone was unanimously confirmed by voice vote to  serve as the “dual-hat” leader of both organizations. The two have shared a leader since…
NSA launches “Unfetter” cyber tool – To Inform is to Influence
https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/news-stories/2018/unfetter-makes-cyber-better.shtml http://www.executivegov.com/2018/04/nsa-develops-cyber-threat-intelligence-collaboration-platform-tools/ Cyber threats are real, growing, and among the biggest security challenges that public and private institutions face. The internet and connected systems are interwoven into our daily lives – and our economy would not function without them. At the same time, such dependency introduces new and evolving cyber threats, placing networks at risk.…
Trump sends cyberwar strategy to Congress – To Inform is to Influence
Gentle readers, words mean things. In the title, they use the word “strategy”. In the first sentence of the article, they use the word policy. I’m here to tell you there is a very large difference between a strategy and a policy.  There are a few other news outlets which are pushing the same story,…
Countering disinformation: some lessons learnt by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – To Inform is to Influence
Kyiv, April 20, 2018 On March 15th Nataliya Popovych, co-founder and board member of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, and Oleksiy Makhuhin, Head of Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group of Ukraine Crisis Media Center testified before the Special Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods of the Parliament of Singapore. The lessons learnt by UCMC in the four years of serving on the frontline…
Disinfo News: The “Troll” That Went Public – To Inform is to Influence
April 21, 2018 By Polyghaph It seems that not only were rumors of Ian56‘s (@Ian56789) Twitter “death” (suspension) on Thursday exaggerated, but on Friday afternoon the world became acquainted with the real man behind the Twitter account with over 32,000 followers. And contrary to what you see in his profile pic, he’s not male model David Gandy.…
A Mole Among Trolls: Inside the Internet Research Agency – To Inform is to Influence
April 20, 2018 Vitaly Bespalov had no idea what to expect when he arrived at a business center in St. Petersburg, Russia, to ask for a job. Everything about the building seemed unusual to the 23-year-old reporter. There was a lot of security. The windows were darkened. Guards dressed like soldiers asked him where he…
Kaspersky Lab Chief Says Company Banned From Advertising On Twitter
Kaspersky Lab says it has been banned from running advertisements on Twitter amid claims the Russian cybersecurity company has ties to Russia’s intelligence agencies.
U.S. Seeks Long Jail Term For Yahoo Hacker, Sending ‘Message Of Deterrence’ To FSB
U.S. authorities have demanded a nearly eight-year prison sentence for a Kazakh-born computer hacker, asserting that a harsh term would send a message to Russia’s main intelligence agency about hacking and espionage.
VDV Pride and VDV Russian Airborne Song with English Subtitles – To Inform is to Influence
Ladies and gentlemen, Somebody out there, specifically Ivan Rodionov – an obvious alias – published this highly insulting video about Russian airborne and Spetsnaz troops. Gays in Russia are commonly assaulted, abused, even killed. Whoever posted this video, you are a frigging genius. I want to work for you. I want to support you.  But…
Russia and China Militaries Reach ‘New Heights’ Together, Agree to Challenge U.S. in Middle East
Top U.S. military rivals Russia and China have pledged to deepen military ties and create a united front against the U.S. in its Syria and Iran policies.
Ukrainian journalist wins Peabody Awards with project on Russian propaganda – 112.international
Journalists spent 7 weeks in Russia creating materials for ‘Inside Putin’s Russia’ program.
Twitter Tolerates Russian Trolls Over Pornbots, EU’s Ansip Says – To Inform is to Influence
By Aoife White April 26, 2018, 5:02 AM EDT Ansip says colleagues reluctant to blame Russia for fake news EU is seeking ways to stem disinformation on the internet Twitter Inc. seems to tolerate Russian troll accounts more than pornbots, the European Union’s digital policy chief told reporters. Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s vice-president for digital issues, complained…
Report: Insecure Contractor Emails Leave Government Vulnerable – Defense One
Federal IT contractors aren’t using an email security tool that’s now mandated for agencies.
Portugal, Australia to join NATO cyber center
The center is NATO’s multinational and interdisciplinary hub of cyber defence expertise.
The Army wants help turning down the electronic warfare noise
The Army is launching a public competition to find AI that can help electronic warfare officers with signal detection.
Defending hospitals against life-threatening cyberattacks
Like any large company, a modern hospital has hundreds – even thousands – of workers using countless computers, smartphones and other electronic devices that are vulnerable to security breaches, data thefts and ransomware attacks. But hospitals are unlike other companies in two important ways.
UK teen jailed for targeting CIA chief’s phone, email
A British teenager has been jailed for two years for compromising the email and phone accounts of senior U.S. government officials in what a judge called acts of “cyber-terrorism.”
Cybersecurity expert’s case delayed as new details emerge
The case of British cybersecurity expert once heralded as a hero for stopping the WannaCry worldwide computer virus was delayed Thursday to allow his attorneys more time to prepare arguments on why a judge should suppress statements he made after his arrest for allegedly creating software to steal banking passwords.
Future cyber threats will come from inside the architecture
“The Five Most Dangerous Attack Techniques” read the marquee guiding attendees of the RSA cybersecurity conference to this morning’s keynote panel. As the audience shuffled to find seats in the bluely lit room, the four panelists from SANS institute launched into a rapid fire assessment of multiple threats, some of which certainly seemed dangerous.
Russia Spy Hack Case Rocked as Judge Stiff-Arms Feds
Hacker-for-hire Karim Baratov was supposed to be sentenced to years behind bars, in part for his work for Russian intelligence. Then a judge stepped in at the very last minute.
Man fined for hate crime after filming pug’s ‘Nazi salutes’ – BBC News
Mark Meechan put footage on YouTube of the dog reacting to statements such as “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.
Hostility Toward Media No Longer Limited To Authoritarians, Watchdog Warns
The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is warning that violations of press freedom are no longer the practice of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships.


EU Piles Pressure on Social Media Over Fake News
European Commission will draw up a Code of Practice on Disinformation to deter the spread of fake news ahead of next year’s European elections
The Really Dark Side of Facebook – To Inform is to Influence
The world has been outraged by Cambridge Analitica scraping personal data from Facebook to facilitate targeted campaigning in the US Presidential election and, possibly, the Brexit referendum. But this is small beer. The real story is how Facebook, and other social media platforms and search machines (like Google), support Russian Information Warfare, while frustrating Public…
Aleksandr Kogan: The link between Cambridge Analytica and the Facebook data breach — “60 Minutes” interview – CBS News
Mark Zuckerberg has been the one testifying before Congress, but the scientist at the heart of the biggest privacy scandal on Earth has largely stayed out of the spotlight, until now
Kogan: ‘I don’t think Facebook has a developer policy that is valid’ | TechCrunch
 
Facebook reveals 25 pages of takedown rules for hate speech and more – To Inform is to Influence
Facebook rules for moderators are made public for the first time.  Now watch how the trolls adjust to slide between the new rules. FB blog post:   https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/comprehensive-community-standards/ FB policy page:  https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/ </end editorial> Josh Constine@JoshConstine Facebook has never before made public the guidelines its moderators use to decide whether to remove violence, spam, harassment, self-harm, terrorism, intellectual…
Report: Researchers say Facebook doesn’t curb hate speech in developing countries – CBS News
&quot;There's incitements to violence against entire communities and Facebook says it doesn't violate community standards,&quot; Center for Policy Alternatives says
Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match – The New York Times
False rumors set Buddhist against Muslim in Sri Lanka, the most recent in a global spate of violence fanned by social media.
In Search of Facebook’s Heroes, Finding Only Victims – The New York Times
The columnists Max Fisher and Amanda Taub explain how a Buddhist monk helped change their understanding of Facebook’s role in developing countries.
Volatile countries where Facebook is used to fan dissent, Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times
MEDAMAHANUWARA (Sri Lanka) • Past the end of a remote mountain road, in a concrete house that lacked running water but bristled with smartphones, 13 members of an extended family were glued to Facebook. And they were furious.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
Report: Facebook Is Fuelling Violence In Sri Lanka, And Did Basically Nothing To Stop It | Gizmodo Australia
Facebook has been taking a lot of heat for myriad controversies in the US, including its jaw-dropping data privacy screwups and allegations it is maybe…
Facebook to Vet U.K. Political Ads During 2019 Elections – Bloomberg
Facebook Inc. said it will make sure political ads on its platform will be vetted and transparent in time for England and Northern Ireland’s 2019 local elections, the company has said.

US Domestic Policy Reports


Half of college students aren’t sure protecting free speech is important. That’s bad news – To Inform is to Influence
To say the very least, this article is disheartening. Achieving equality and freedom is not about suppressing others. It is about gaining the right to express oneself openly, honestly, and freely. Expressing oneself without the fear of retribution, of physical or mental harm, should be pre-eminent among the free peoples of the world. Yet here that very freedom is under attack. That is cause for alarm. </end editorial>
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “Can you believe that despite 93% bad stories from the Fake News Media (should be getting good stories), today we had just about our highest Poll Numbers, including those on Election Day? The American public is wise to the phony an dishonest press. Make America Great Again!”
 
Liberals are undermining western civilisation | Comment | The Times
An Australian philanthropist has caused a row by leaving a vast sum of money to promote the teaching of “western civilisation” in universities. Universities love benefactions, and two jumped at the offer. But many academics loathe the proposal: to them it smacks of racism, imperialism and claims to ….
Americans Expect Russia Tension Will Get Worse, Poll Finds | Time
Americans largely fear the country’s relationship with Russia and China will get worse in the coming year
Democrats sue Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks over alleged election conspiracy
Democrats created another legal headache for President Trump on Friday, filing a federal lawsuit alleging an election conspiracy involving his campaign, Russia and Wikileaks. The suit comes Republicans step up demands to the Justice Department for records of the Hillary Clinton probe.
UAWire – Russian oligarchs hire US lobbyists to protect themselves from sanctions
Russian billionaires Alexander Skorobogatko and Alexander Ponomarenko have hired professional lobbyists in the US after they were included in …
There Is A Crisis In US Military Aviation Whether Mattis And The Pentagon Admit It Or Not – The Drive
The Secretary of Defense issued a gag order on talking about readiness, ostensibly to maintain operational security, but it only hurts the military.
Russia Accuses U.S. Of Creating ‘Visa Wall’ After Bolshoi Dancers Refused Visas
Russia has accused the United States of building a “visa wall” with the rejection of documents that would have allowed two ballet dancers from the famed Bolshoi Theatre to perform in New York C…
Mueller: Paul Manafort may have been the Trump campaign’s ‘back channel’ to Russia | Business Insider
Prosecutors working for the special counsel Robert Mueller told a federal judge they have long suspected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of serving as a “back channel” between the campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. The revelation came during a hearing this week over whether Mueller overstepped his authority when he charged Manafort with crimes related to his Ukraine lobbying work and not Russian collusion. Manafort’s lawyers also argue that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein gave Mueller an overly broad mandate.
Why America just got serious about sanctioning Russia – 112.international
In response to Russia’s aggression, Western countries imposed coordinated sanctions against Russian individuals, banks and companies
Trump admin rolls out new rules for weapon, drone sales abroad
The Trump administration wants to make it easier to sell weapons abroad. Here’s its plan.
U.S. Offers To Lift Sanctions On Russia’s Rusal If Deripaska Cedes Control
The United States is giving customers of Russia’s biggest aluminum producer more time to comply with sanctions, and says it may lift the sanctions altogether if its top shareholder — Russian tycoo…
US senators push banks to disclose ties with wealthy Russians
Two Democratic senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Sheldon Whitehouse, have written to the banks, which include Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank as well as Europe-based Barclays, Deutsche Bank , UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse.
Trump Did Not Collude With Russia, U.S. House Report Concludes
The lead Intelligence Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives released its final report into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, concluding that President Donald Trump’s…
Republicans on House Intelligence Panel Clear Trump Campaign in Russian Meddling – The New York Times
The committee’s investigation devolved into partisan bickering as Democrats accused the Republicans leading the panel of ignoring crucial evidence and obvious leads.
The Russia Investigations: What You Need To Know About Russian ‘Active Measures’ : NPR
Russia has been waging a broad, concerted campaign of influence against the U.S. that includes a number of both overt and clandestine elements.
U.S. Senators Move Bill To Protect Special Counsel In Russia Probe From Firing
A U.S. Senate committee approved legislation to protect U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller from firing even as President Donald Trump again hinted that he might intervene in the counsel’s investig…


Merkel Has Disastrously Bungled Her Relationship With Trump – Foreign Policy
The chancellor’s approach has been typical of German foreign policy: moralistic, hypocritical — and completely ineffective.
Merkel to Press Trump on Russia Sanctions – Foreign Policy
As Merkel Visits U.S., Germany’s Trade Surplus Isn’t the Problem – WSJ
Mr. Trump is hardly the first to draw attention to Germany’s vast current account surplus, but he’s wrong to blame it on unfair trade practices, writes Simon Nixon. It’s simply a reflection of policy choices—on both sides of the Atlantic.
Merkel visits Trump – so will she envy Macron’s bromance? – BBC News
Tensions over trade, Iran and Nato cloud Chancellor Merkel’s Washington talks with President Trump.
At Least Macron Got a Kiss: Now Merkel’s Up to Sway Trump – Bloomberg
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has one advantage when she meets Donald Trump to discuss a host of conflicts: expectations she can sway the U.S. president are close to zero.
The Politics of Hating (And Loving) France – Defense One
From freedom fries to fast friends, after the Macron visit will Republicans who choose to stand with Trump continue to stand with France? The war on …
Peter Lucas: Press misses real news while bashing Trump | Boston Herald
Here is all you need to know about the Donald Trump-hating Washington/New York media establishment.
Trump, Macron Seek to Resolve Differences, Affirm Close Ties
French President Emmanuel Macron wraps up his first official visit to the United States on Wednesday with an address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress and a town hall event with Georgetown University students. During the three day visit, Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed bilateral trade, climate, Iran and Syria. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports the two leaders downplayed disagreements and highlighted historically close ties between their two countries.
Trump ‘Honored’ to Host Macron for First White House State Dinner
The event followed a day high-level talks on Iran, Syria
I changed Macron’s view over Iran, claims Trump | World | The Times
President Trump has dashed hopes among America’s allies that his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal is waning, suggesting instead that the only views to have shifted during a state visit by President Macron were those of the French leader.He said yesterday of Mr Macron: “He is viewing, I believe,
Macron Urges U.S. to Maintain Its Role as Global Defender of Democracy – WSJ
French President Emmanuel Macron used an address to a joint meeting of Congress to issue a plea to President Donald Trump and the U.S. to maintain its role as a global defender of democracy and human rights.
Macron attacks nationalism in speech to US Congress – BBC News
The French president does not dodge differences with Donald Trump, on climate, Iran and trade.
Macron turns on Trump in speech to Congress. We must ban the French! – Chicago Tribune
Emmanuel Macron turns on Donald Trump in speech to Congress. We must ban the French!
Macron toasts his ‘very special relationship’ with Donald Trump | World | The Times
President Macron has called for the “very special relationship” between France and the United States to form the cornerstone of a new “21st-century world order”.In the first address by a foreign leader to a joint session of Congress in the Trump era, Mr Macron warned that “isolationism, withdrawal a
Macron Mic-Drops on Trump, Offers a New Call to Western Leadership – Defense One
Defending multilateralism and democracy, the French president gave the best political speech America has seen in years.


The White House Is Relaxing Drone Exports. Here’s a Good Next Step – Defense One
A 31-year-old arms-control pact governs UAVs as if they were cruise missiles. Our national leadership in the field depends on fixing that.
A Law Meant to Punish America’s Foes Is Hurting Its Partners: Mattis – Defense One
The secretary asked senators to punch a hole in the sanctions law they passed last year.
The Pentagon’s New R&D Chief Has a Mandate for Change – Defense One
Michael Griffin has orders to concentrate the Defense Department’s diverse research and development efforts on a few key technologies.
The US Does Not Need New Tactical Nukes – Defense One
There’s a false narrative afoot: that we lack the weapons to deter a Russian nuclear strike.
America’s nuclear headache: old plutonium with nowhere to go
In a sprawling plant near Amarillo, Texas, rows of workers perform by hand one of the most dangerous jobs in American industry. Contract workers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pantex facility gingerly remove the plutonium cores from retired nuclear warheads.
Six takeaways from earning calls; Pentagon is still refusing new F-35s; Earnings recap, and a bit more – Defense One
Government news resource covering technology, performance, employment, telework, cybersecurity, and more for federal employees.
Thornberry’s Pentagon-Reform Plan to Nowhere – Defense One
It\’s pitched as a way to cut waste — but would make the misallocation of our tax dollars more likely.
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