Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (29)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Other than Russia’s ongoing dive into the abyss, the most disturbing reports concern Chinese actions across the GWoS and Djibouti.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


Trump needs to “change the perception” of Russia: Volker | UNIAN
As newly sworn-in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed NATO allies and called for unity against Russian meddling, U.S. Special Representative on Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker commented on the U.S.-Russia relations. He stressed the importance of pulling the West together in the face of assertive Russia.
NATO Cannot Ignore Russia’s Military Capabilities, Top General Says
The chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, believes that Russia’s efforts to boost its weapons capacity should not be downplayed despite reports about its military budget reductions. In an interview with RFE/RL in Prague on May 3, the Czech Army General also spoke of his surprise with Russia’s relatively sanguine response to recent antigovernment demonstrations in Armenia which forced Russian ally Serzh Sarkisian to step down as prime minister after a long presidential tenure. General Pavel also said that supplies of western lethal weapons to Ukraine are not the right solution in its ongoing conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.
UAWire – British Royal Air Force to fight ‘aggression’ over the Black Sea
British Typhoon fighter jets will join the NATO air police mission over the Black Sea to combat &quot;potential aggression,&quot; the Royal Air Force …
RAF Typhoon fighters to patrol airspace over Black Sea | UNIAN
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets will participate in the NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in the Black Sea area. Such air policing missions ensure the Alliance would be able to rapidly and efficiently tackle any potential aggression or threat.
The Black Sea: How Russia Is Looking to Cause Chaos for NATO | The National Interest
Russia will assert itself with vigor in the Black Sea region, taking every chance to embarrass and discredit Western inroads and offering physical challenges to Western forces operating there.
Moscow’s Maritime Threats to Ukraine and the West
Russia’s recent naval activity around Ukraine and the Baltic Sea is more than simply a threat to countries in the region. In fact, it represents a challenge to the international order, one that could be replicated by other rogue nations. Since invading Ukraine in 2014, Moscow has become significantly bolder. Russia has expanded into Ukraine’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the body of water up to 200 miles from the country’s coast that is internationally recognized as its legal territory. Moscow has restricted the dimensions of vessels that can pass through the Kerch Bridge overlooking the Sea of Azov in an attempt to curtail Ukrainian commercial traffic. Russia has also unlawfully seized eight maritime gas fields in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea belonging to Ukraine. And it illegally extracted an estimated 7.2 billion cubic meters of gas from those fields.
Stephen Blank | Moscow’s Maritime threats to Ukraine and the West – 112.international
Author : Stephen Blank Since invading Ukraine in 2014, Moscow has become significantly bolder. Russia has expanded into Ukraine’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the body of water up to 200 miles from the country’s coast that is internationally recognized as its legal territory
Newly confirmed Pompeo stresses defense spending target at first NATO meeting
Newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pressing NATO allies on old theme ― that alliance members pay their way.
Pompeo calls for NATO allies to unite against Russia threats | Fox News Video
Newly sworn in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed NATO allies and called for unity against Russian meddling; former ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker reacts.
New US envoy Pompeo targets Germany over NATO spending
New US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took aim at Germany over its defence spending Friday, using his first NATO meeting to push President Donald Trump’s call for allies to shoulder a bigger burden. As a meeting of alliance foreign ministers put on a united front on the need to counter Russian &
UAWire – Pentagon may increase U.S. military contingent in Poland
James Mattis, the United States Secretary of Defense, stated that the United States is open for discussing the possibility of increasing its …
UAWire – Russia bans several Lithuanian politicians from entering the country
Moscow has made a so-called &quot;stop list&quot; with names of politicians, deputies and political scientists from Lithuania, the Russian Foreign …
UAWire – Latvia detects Russian warships near its territorial waters
The National Armed Forces of Latvia detected two Russian warships near the country's borders. &quot;In the Latvian exclusive economic zone, five …


Ukraine needs to do a lot to join NATO, – US Secretary of State – 112.international
A large group of countries expect Ukraine to take steps after which the country will be able to become a NATO member. This was stated by the newly appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the meeting of the foreign ministers of the member countries of the Alliance, reports European Truth. “A large group (of countries) hopes that the Ukrainians will begin to carry out actions after which they can be invited to join NATO,” Pompeo said. He added that Ukraine needs to do a lot of work, “go a long way to achieve this.” As you know, President Petro Poroshenko insists that the North Atlantic alliance should provide Ukraine with the Action Plan on NATO membership. Earlier it was reported that NATO considered the application of Ukraine for membership in the Alliance. Later information appeared that the NATO committee was ready to support Kyiv with weapons. We recall, on April 27 during a meeting of foreign ministers of the member states, the Ukrainian side planned to hold a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission during the meeting. All the allies, as well as the International Secretariat of the Alliance, supported such an initiative, but Hungary has vetoed it.
Ukraine still has a lot to do on way to NATO membership – U.S. Secretary of State – 28.04.2018 12:22 — Ukrinform News
The United States expects that Ukraine will continue to make efforts towards NATO membership.
Poland suggests changing Ukraine-NATO Commission format – 112.international
It is necessary to conduct “less formal” meetings with Kyiv and Brussels, as Jacek Czaputowicz, Polish Foreign Minister, said after the meeting of NATO states Foreign Ministers, Ukrinforam reports referring to PAP, a Polish agency. “We will probably find a solution, another, less formal form so that Ukrainians could take part in the discussion,” he stated.
Stoltenberg urged Hungary and Ukraine to settle differences as soon as possible – 112.international
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Hungary and Ukraine to resolve the differences as soon as possible. He said this during a meeting of NATO member states on April 27. “It is well known that there are some disagreements between Hungary and Ukraine that made it impossible to hold a meeting at the ministerial level, but we continue to urge Ukraine and Hungary to find a solution to these disagreements as quickly as possible,” Stoltenberg said. He noted that Hungary is an important member of NATO, this country contributes to the collective defense of NATO in various forms, and also increases its defense spending, which is welcomed by the Alliance. The NATO Secretary General also described the situation in Ukraine. “Ukraine is a close partner of NATO, it is also a victim of Russian aggression and the illegal annexation of Crimea, as well as attempts by Russia to destabilize the east of Ukraine. Therefore, it is very important for us to express our solidarity with Ukraine,” Stoltenberg stressed. Meanwhile, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Siyarto told reporters that the holding of the meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission depends only on Ukraine.
Stoltenberg says Hungary “highly-valued Ally,” Ukraine – “partner” and “victim” of Russian aggression | UNIAN
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calls on Hungary and Ukraine to resolve the existing dispute as soon as possible to ensure that a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission is held within the framework of the NATO summit in Brussels scheduled for July. Kyiv and Budapest should try to find a solution as soon as possible, emphasizes the NATO secretary general.
Russia has no influence on Hungarian policy towards Ukraine, – Hungarian Foreign Minister – 112.international
Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Foreign Minister, denies that Hungary could run its policy towards Ukraine “by Russia’s order”. “With a discontent, we completely deny the slander campaign started by the Ukrainian politicians, according to which Russia has the same influence on Hungarian policy towards Ukraine,” Szijjártó stated, as Radio Svoboda reports. He added that Hungarian Government is guided by the intentions to make Kyiv retract the laws which discriminate 150,000 Transcarpathian Hungarians. Szijjártó noted that Hungary expects NATO to show solidarity. He believes, that the alliance is basically “gives easy time to Ukraine” for its geopolitical positions. The Minister stressed that the Ukraine-NATO summits depend on Ukrainians, not on Hungarians. As Hungary has blocked the organization of such meeting for the third time, Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, on April 26 stressed the importance of reaching a compromise between Ukraine and Hungary. He added that the consultation between NATO and Ukraine can be conducted at the ambassadors’ level, but NATO representatives also support the idea of conducting summits at the level of Foreign Ministers.
Ambassador: Meeting of UA-NATO Commission “depends on Hungary and the whole Alliance” | UNIAN
Head of Ukraine’s Permanent Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Vadym Prystaiko, says that the decision to hold the meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission within the framework of the Alliance summit in Brussels this July depends on Hungary and all of the Allies. According to Ukraine’s Representative to NATO, Kyiv is doing its utmost to make sure that the meeting is held.
At NATO Ministerial, US Officials Call for Crimea’s Return to Ukraine
State Department spokeswoman says NATO’s return to ‘business as usual’ with Russia on hold


Ambassador Jon Huntsman Speaks at Media Roundtable in Vladivostok, April 24, 2018 | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Russia
Ambassador Huntsman: I am delighted to be in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. It is my first visit to Vladivostok. I have lived south of here in China, and I’ve lived in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, so I’m familiar with the broader East Asia region and the Pacific region.


No, The Su-57 Isn’t ‘Junk:’ Six Features We like On Russia’s New Fighter – The Drive
The Su-57 is not an F-22, it’s not meant to be, but it packs some novel attributes to offset what it lacks in stealth, at least to a limited degree.
Russia, China, and the US are in a hypersonic weapons arm race — and officials warn the US could be falling behind | Business Insider
Russia, China, and the US are competing in a hypersonic weapons arms race. These weapons can travel at above mach 5 and are manoeuvrable, making them extremely difficult to intercept. Comments by US officials about Russia and China’s recent gains have led some to believe that the US is currently losing the race. The situation is more complex – Russia and China appear to be ahead of the US in terms of nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons, but the US is leading the way in hypersonic weapons that carry conventional payloads.
Russia to Roll Out Hypersonic Missile for the First Time During V-Day Parade – Sputnik International
With East-West tensions reaching a boiling point, Russia relies on its formidable arsenal of next-generation weapons to defend itself against any potential aggressor.
Russia’s next-gen hypersonic ‘dagger’ missile to be unveiled to public at Moscow V-day parade — RT World News
The cutting-edge Kinzhal missile will be presented to the public during Victory Day parade in Moscow, the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced. The weapon is designed to penetrate all known defenses.
Russia’s new Kinzhal missile and what it means for the US – Daily Sabah
The hypersonic missile arms race has begun and Russia is not far behind the U.S. In March 2018, Russia tested its advanced hypersonic air-to-surface…
Brahmos Set To Become Hypersonic Missile System In Next Decade, Will Breach Mach 7 Barrier – Defenceaviationpost.com
Brahmos, the fastest cruise missile in the world co-developed by India and Russia, will be breaching the mach 7 barrier to become a ‘hypersonic’ system in the next decade, a top official said. “We will require seven to ten years from now to become a hypersonic missile system,” Sudhir Mishra, the chief executive and managing director of the joint venture company Brahmos Aerospace, told PTI here over the weekend. He said the missile, which currently travels at mach 2.8 or 2.8 times the speed of sound, will touch mach 3.5 soon and mach 5 in three years.
UAWire – Russia admits its GLONASS navigation satellites are made of over 50 percent of foreign components
Spacecraft of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) are currently made-up of almost 60 percent foreign components, CEO …
Russia has ‘stepped on the gas’ with its submarine fleet — and NATO is on alert | Business Insider
Russian and NATO navies have come into increasingly close contact around Europe in recent years. A particular concern for NATO is Moscow’s submarines. Western navies still have an edge under the sea, but Russia’s progress has them worried.
9 photos of Russian troops setting up and test firing the Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile | Business Insider
Russia’s Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile will be unmatched until at least 2025, Russian state-owned media TASS reported in March. “According to designers, foreign states will be able to create its counterpart no earlier than in 2025,” Russian Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov said. Salyukov’s statement came just a few days after Russian troops successfully test fired the Iskander-M at the Kapustin Yar testing grounds in southern Russia. The missile hit its target about 62 miles away, according to RT, another Russian state-owned media outlet. “Everything is fine. The missile has found its target,” the commanding officer said. Here’s what the test fire looked like and what the ballistic missile can do:
Russia’s monster robot army capable of AMBUSHING Nato forces unveiled | World | News | Express.co.uk
VLADIMIR PUTIN will give the salute to Russia’s new robot combat army at a huge military parade on Red Square next week. He will also showcase his new state-of-the-art Su-57 stealth fighter fresh from war zone trials in Syria.
The Russian Military Is Getting New Assault Rifles
The AK-12 and AK-15 will replace older weapons in the Russian Armed Forces.


Green groups warn of maritime ‘Chernobyl’ as Russia launches floating nuclear power plant
A controversial ship-borne nuclear power plant was launched from St Petersburg as part of a Russian plan to power remote seaside settlements.
Russia′s ′floating Chernobyl′ nuclear power plant heads out to sea | News | DW | 28.04.2018
The twin reactors have left their home port of St. Petersburg for a long, slow journey to Siberia. Environmentalists have slammed the mobile maritime reactors, saying an accident could damage parts of the Arctic.
Russia has launched a floating nuclear power plant critics are calling “nuclear Titanic”
If the world is going to end, why not have it be for a ridiculous, insane reason?
Russia’s floating power plant branded ‘nuclear Titanic’ sets sail on controversial first voyage | The Independent
A controversial floating nuclear power plant built by Russia that environmentalist have dubbed a “nuclear Titanic” has set sail on its first sea voyage. The plant, Akademik Lomonosov, was towed out of the St Petersburg shipyard where it was constructed on Saturday. 
Russia’s ‘nuclear titanic’ sets off for Swedish coast – The Local
A Russian power plant dubbed a “nuclear Titanic” by environmental campaigners set off on Saturday on its way to Sweden’s Baltic coast.
Russia launched a floating nuclear power plant this weekend | Ars Technica
Two nuclear reactors will provide power to an oil town off Russia’s eastern coast.
Russia Launches Controversial Floating Nuclear Plant
A floating nuclear power built in Russia and widely criticized by environmentalists has embarked on its first sea voyage.
Russia Launches Floating Nuclear Power Plant; It’s Headed To The Arctic : The Two-Way : NPR
It’s the first nuclear power plant of its kind, Russian officials say. Called the Akademik Lomonoso, it was towed out of St. Petersburg.
To Power Villages And Oil Rigs, Russia Sent A Nuclear Reactor On A “Tsunami-Proof” Barge
On Saturday, Russia launched Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, out of the St. Petersburg shipyard.
Russia’s floating nuclear power plant is not the first of its kind | Ars Technica
A 10MW nuclear reactor floated in a Panamanian lake during the Vietnam War.

Russia / Russophone Reports


The Week In Russia: North Of Korea
Russia saw further fallout from its bid to block Telegram, and data obtained by RFE/RL showed that Russian applications for U.S. asylum have soared during President Vladimir Putin’s current term.
UAWire – Putin fires five generals and two prosecutors
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree on May 3 that effectively fired five generals of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the …
Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza wants West to ‘stop enabling corruption and rights abuses’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A Russian opposition politician who has twice survived being poisoned has called on Australia’s parliament to pass a Magnitsky Act to punish corrupt oligarchs propping up the regime of Vladimir Putin. After being poisoned in 2015, Vladimir Kara-Murza was in a coma for close to a month and had to learn how to walk again. Then he was poisoned again last year in Moscow. Each time he was given only a 5 per cent chance of surviving but, remarkably, he pulled through. Mr Kara-Murza said the Russian state was trying to kill him in response to his work campaigning for democracy and the introduction of Magnitsky Acts — laws that punish Russian human rights violators through travel bans and preventing them from investing in Western nations. Speaking to the ABC after testifying at a hearing at Westminster on human rights abuses in Russia, the vice-chairman of Open Russia said it was time Western nations followed the lead of the US and Canada and brought in Magnitsky Acts.
Lone Rider: Putin Inauguration Motorcade Through Empty Moscow Unlikely, Kremlin Hints
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s critics said his 2012 inauguration motorcade through deserted central Moscow hinted at a post-apocalyptic move or a leader scared of the masses. The Kremlin indic…
The Russian reality TV star who ran against Putin: ‘He has been a tsar for years’ | World news | The Guardian
Ksenia Sobchak​ polled just 1.6% ​in Russia’s election but she remains ​a​ divisive figure – to some a liberaliser who dreams of toppling the current regime​​, to others an establishment stooge.​ ​What’s her ​true agenda?
Why Russian grievances with Putin haven’t loosened his grip on power | CBC News
Vladimir Milov, a former rising star on Vladimir Putin’s team who became an opposition activist, sits down with CBC News to preview his old boss’s new six-year term and to discuss what it will take to unseat him one day.
As he begins a new term, Putin pushes lofty goals for Russia | The Sacramento Bee
President Vladimir Putin has set lofty goals for his new six-year term in office that begins Monday, but there is widespread doubt about how much he can achieve.
World news – Putin orders to create map that does not distort geographic truth – 112.international
Putin orders to create map that does not distort geographic truth
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Having Gained an External Enemy in 2014, Russian Citizens have Become Less Hostile to Ethnic Groups at Home, Drobizheva Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 27 – A major reason for the improvement in recent years of Russian attitudes toward ethnic minorities within the country, Leokadiya Drobizheva says, is that they now are focusing on an enemy abroad, the result of the harsh negative reaction of the West to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Today, the head of the Center for Research on Inter-Ethnic Relations of the Moscow Institute of Sociology says, “about 80 percent of the population does not have negative feelings about representatives of other nationalities,” a dramatic turnabout from the situation “before 2013” (nazaccent.ru/content/27125-na-otkrytoj-lekcii-v-moskve-govorili.html). With the acquisition of a foreign enemy, Drobizheva says, especially given the attention it received from the media, Russians overwhelmingly came to view those within their country as less of a problem at least relative to the external enemy they saw presented on their televisions on a daily basis. But at the same time, she continues, this does not mean that the formation of a pan-Russian identity is proceeding without difficulties. “The Russian civic nation is a super-ethnic community. We had such a community, the Soviet people, but the USSR ceased to exist and the Soviet people as well” — although “many even now consider themselves Soviet people.” The Soviet people, the pioneer ethno-sociologist says, “all the same was an ideological community” while “the present day Russian nation is being formed not as ideological structure but through integration and unification and is based on the consciousness of people in the first instance of their civic membership.” This Russian “identity” is “a constructed reality and gradually we are forming it.” Russians already have “elements of a civic nation. There is a youth movement and an electoral process … but at the same time we as sociologists know: our people do not feel responsibility for the fate of the country and do not consider that they can decide anything.” “That is very important,” Drobizheva says; and “therefore, in order to be realists, we say that we are a state-civic nation which is only in the process of being formed as a civic one.” As people shift to a civic identity, ethnic differences matter less and people have better attitudes toward members of other groups.
UAWire – Kremlin: over $430 billion illegally withdrawn from Russia
Between 2000 and 2017, more than $430 billion was illegally transferred out of Russia, as stated by the head of the Federation Council Committee …
Russia suffering under new US sanctions | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 10.04.2018
Black Monday was followed by an even blacker Tuesday. Sparked by new US sanctions, Russia’s stock market looks unlikely to recover from its crash anytime soon. What does it mean for everyday people?
Understanding Russia: Why Punishments Might Backfire
Putin is a symptom, not the disease:
Russia’s Crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses Begins With a Foreigner
Some worshippers are fleeing the country after last year’s Supreme Court extremism ruling.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia Have Property Seized by the Government Amid Ongoing Crackdown
The religious group’s administrative center in St. Petersburg, Russia, was seized by the government on Thursday.
Russia’s Muslim Reawakening – by Emei Burell
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Tatarstan’s muslim majority has been looking for steady footing.
Domestic battery surges in Russia after decriminalisation | Abuse | Al Jazeera
Moscow relaxed laws that jailed domestic violence perpetrators, and reported cases of abuse have skyrocketed since.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: 95 Percent of Extremism Charges in Russia arise from Internet Postings, SOVA Expert Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 29 – Mariya Kravchenko, a specialist on extremist crimes for the SOVA monitoring center, says that approximately 95 percent of all charges of extremism brought by Russian officials involve postings of various kinds on the Internet, just one of the reasons why the country’s anti-extremism laws are being applied indiscriminately and incorrectly. Not only does it mean that most charges in this area are about speech rather than action, but it allows the authorities to define the nature of the charges they want to make before doing any investigation, she says. As a result, “ever more people are being convicted of extremism” (https://mbk.media/suzhet/pochemu-vse-bolshe-lyudej-sudyat/). Her conclusions are based on analyses SOVA experts have performed on data recently released by the Russian Supreme Court (sova-center.ru/religion/news/extremism/counter-extremism/2018/04/d39283/ and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AE43BB23475C). They show the following:
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Civic Nationalism in Russia Would Be a Kind of Ethnic Russian Nationalism, Ikhlov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 30 – For several years, Russian scholars and officials have been debating whether the country should move to a common civic national identity or retain its multiple ethnic identities, often ignoring the fact that in Russia, a civic national identity would be profoundly Russian and thus create serious problems in the non-Russian republics, Yevgeny Ikhlov says. Civic nationalism, the Moscow commentator says, can have one of two forms: it can be based on “the doctrine of the egoism of a polyethnic political nation” like the United States where no one ethnic group dominates, or it can be one where “one ethno-historical component dominates” such as in France (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AE63511DDEA3). In the latter, Ikhlov says, “the remaining ethnoses of the political nations are considered as allies” but it is clear to all who defines the nation in fact however much anyone talks about its pan-ethnic civic culture. A Russia that adopted a civic nation model would be far more likely to take that form than the other – but moves in that direction could have other more dire outcomes. Thus, in the case of a declared civic national identity, “the confrontation at the ‘mosaic’ level (communities, confessions, regions, and social strata) of the traditional social system do not disappear: they are transformed into inter-ethnic [confrontations] without in any way losing their sharpness and severity.” Or what may prove even worse, they may become “class (socio-political) and inter-civilizational. Thus, in the final analysis, Stalin killed more Soviet peasants than Hitler killed Jews,” Ikhlov continues. As far as ethnic nationalism is concerned, the Moscow commentator says, “our generation still recalls the Leninist truism about the distinction between the nationalism of an oppressed nation in the process of being liberated and the nationalism of a great power state.” The former, he points out, is considered “historically progressive;” but it can turn out to be just as cynical and harsh as the other kind. “When bourgeois nationalism triumphs in Russia, this division will immediately occur along the line of non-ethnic or ethnic Russian,” Ikhlov argues. Consequently, he says, “despite the clear cosmopolitanism of the present-day democratic movement, the utopia of the Yeltsin revolution, ‘the United States of Great Russia,’ is doomed to remain only in the text of the Constitution.” As soon as people try to implement it, the dominant ethnos – the Russians – will dictate their terms. Despite this prospect, Ikhlov says, many in the democratic movement believe that uniting with Russian nationalism of one kind or another will only strengthen their position. But that is problematic not only on foreign policy issues but also in terms of what is almost certain to happen in the non-Russian republics within the Russian Federation. There, “nationalism where Russians are the dominant factor will require ethno-political unification.” No Russian nationalism, ethnic or civic, will give up on that, Ikhlov says; and as a result, it will generate a reaction among the non-Russians. And Russian liberals will seek to counter this in ways that will make the situation still worse. According to Ikhlov, “Russian democratic nationalists will try to give ‘real’ federalism and real local self-administration which will immediately increase territorial social differentiation” and hostility. And that in turn will lead to an outburst of ethnic nationalism among the non-Russians “who will demand independence.” But there is an even greater danger involved in Russian liberals playing with nationalism even of the civic kind: “Nationalism is always ‘against someone else.’ If democratic nationalism throws off anti-Westernism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Ukrainianism of the current nationalism … then its sharp [anger] will be directed at Muslims. And immigrants first of all.” “The experience of2013 showed that Russian liberals having satisfied themselves that the new nationalists had broken with their black hundreds tradition proved quite tolerant to anti-Islamism which they ignorantly treated as ‘a conflict of civilizations’ in the spirit of Huntington and were ready to close their eyes to.”
Russian Oil Giant Hoards $44 Billion Cash in Sanctions’ Shadow – Bloomberg
Surgutneftegas OJSC, Russia’s fourth-largest oil producer, is consolidating its position as the country’s richest company by amassing $44 billion in cash and bank deposits even as risks of further U.S. sanctions mount.
Back To The U.S.S.R.: Duma Bill Would Push Students From State Schools Into State Jobs
A ruling-party lawmaker has proposed a bill under which graduates of state universities would have to work in state organizations after school or repay the government the cost of their schooling.
Crimean Tatar Activist’s Suspended Sentence Upheld
The Russia-controlled Supreme Court of Crimea has upheld a suspended two-year prison sentence for a Crimean Tatar activist who opposes Moscow’s rule in the Ukrainian region.
Chechen Supreme Court To Hear Case Of Rights Activist Titiyev
The Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic will hear an appeal on May 3 in the case of Oyub Titiyev, a prominent human rights defender who has spent nearly four months in detention on drug charges t…
Navalny Supporters Detained, Warned Ahead Of Anti-Putin Rally
Supporters of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny in several cities have been detained a day before planned protests against President Vladimir Putin, who starts a new term on May 7.
Chechnya Court Rejects Appeal, Leaves Activist Titiyev In Jail
The Supreme Court in Russia’s Chechnya region has rejected an appeal by the chief of the human rights group Memorial’s office in Grozny, Oyub Titiyev, against the extension of his pretrial detentio…
‘Primorye Partisans’ Sentenced In High-Profile Murder Case In Russia’s Far East
Five Russian men known as the “Primorye Partisans” have been sentenced to prison terms of between eight and 25 years in prison on murder charges in a high-profile retrial.
Schlumberger Gets Approval to Buy Into Russia’s Biggest Driller – Bloomberg
Schlumberger Ltd. won preliminary approval to finally complete a three-year-old plan to buy into Russia’s biggest oil driller.
U.S. Not Aiming To ‘Put Russian Aluminum Giant Out Of Business’ With Sanctions
The United States isn’t seeking to put Russian aluminum giant Rusal out of business by sanctioning the company, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, but its majority owner Oleg Deripaska must …
Wildfires Destroy 1,870 Square Kilometers Of Forest In Russia’s Far East
Russia’s Federal Forest Fire Center said on April 29 that more than 70 wildfires in the previous 24 hours had destroyed about 1,870 square kilometers of forest land in the country’s Far East.
Russia World Cup threatened by lone jihadi terror attacks
The threat has been driven by Russia’s military involvement in Syria and separatist militancy in its disputed Northern Caucasus region.
Putin, FIFA Chief Declare Russia ‘Ready’ To Host World Cup Next Month
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared that the country is “practically finished” with preparations for the soccer World Cup, World Cup, which is to be held from June 14 to July 15 in 11 Rus…
Russian Olympic Chief Steps Down After Ban In Pyeongchang
The head of the Russian Olympic Committee is stepping down from his post, three months after athletes from his country were forced to compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics as neutral athletes.
Russian Doping Whistle-Blower Countersues Banned Athletes
A key whistleblower in the doping scandal that has engulfed Russian Olympic sports since 2016 has filed a countersuit against three athletes who earlier sued him for libel and a Russian oligarch wh…
Court Rulings Lifting Doping Sanctions On 28 Russian Athletes To Be Appealed
The International Olympic Committee says it plans to appeal rulings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that lifted doping sanctions the committee had imposed on 28 Russian athletes.
Russian Investigators Say Athletes Still Using Banned Race-Walk Coach
Russian investigators say some athletes from the country’s national track-and-field team are still training with a coach who was banned for life for doping.
Looking Back At The U.S. Intervention In Russia 100 Years Ago : NPR
Thousands of U.S. troops arrived in Vladivostok, Russia, 100 years ago hoping to influence the course of the civil war that raged in the country after the Bolshevik Revolution.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Georgia reveals first Javelin anti-tank missile systems – Defence Blog
The Georgian Armed Forces have unveiled the first its newly delivered Javelin anti-tank missile systems. On April 30, 2018, within the framework of the celebration of the 27th anniversary of the creation of the Georgian armed forces, an exhibition of arms and military equipment was held in the territory of the military camp of the 4th mechanized brigade of the Georgian army in Vaziani, which was attended by members of the Georgian leadership headed by Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili. Among other things, the first time showcased the US anti-tank missile systems Javelin received by Georgia.
Georgian President Calls For ‘Strategic Tolerance’ Of Russia
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has lashed out at the country’s government on domestic issues and urged it to stick to what he called a “policy of strategic tolerance” in relations with Ru…
NATO General Surprised By Lack Of ‘Visible Russian Interference’ In Armenia Crisis
A high-ranking NATO general says he is surprised by the lack of “visible Russian Interference” aimed at manipulating developments in Armenia’s political crisis.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Playing a Long Game in Armenia – and has Many Cards Left to Play
Paul Goble Staunton, May 3 – Now that the Armenian Republican Party will vote for Nikol Pashinyan and make him prime minister on May 8 and that he has called for supporters to end their mass actions, many especially in the West are rushing to proclaim the Armenian political crisis over with the opposition leader the big winner and Vladimir Putin the big loser. But that rush to judgment almost certainly is a mistake even if it turns out that Pashinyan and Armenia do come out ahead. Putin and the forces in Armenia he prefers are playing a longer game. Yes, they want to keep things quiet ahead of the Russian presidential inauguration – the Republican Party announcement gives them that – but they have many cards left to play. And both Putin and the Republican Party in Armenia know that if they pressed too hard, using the military, Armenian or Russian, to maintain their positions, they would likely drive Armenia further in the direction of a Ukrainian-style Maidan that might very well trump Yerevan’s dependence on and ties with Moscow. Instead, in a move that suggests they have learned something from what occurred in Kyiv five years ago (ej2018.ru/?a=note&id=32428 and iarex.ru/articles/57512.html), they have adopted a policy of temporary restraint that has won them points in the West and led at least some of their opponents in Armenia to let down their guard. Putin and those who favor his kind of authoritarian governance know very well that the Armenian events so far have not been a full-blown revolutionary Maidan and that their strategy must be to prevent them from growing into such an event. Allowing Pashinyan to become prime minister helps them to do that (topcor.ru/1154-v-armenii-nachalsya-svoy-maydan.html). The corrupt ancien regime in Yerevan is still very much in place, and Pashinyan will not be able to transform it immediately especially if the country goes immediately into a new cycle of elections as he has promised. Moreover, they can resist in ways that it will be far more difficult for him to mobilize public opinion and international support against. And a change in the office of prime minister as important as it is symbolically as an indication of the power of the people rather than the old elites will do nothing to change Armenia’s geopolitical situation. Moscow has the levers to restart the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan at any time and thus checkmate any Armenian politician who opposes Russia. Pashinyan deserves credit for orchestrating a real triumph, for showing that not everyone in the post-Soviet space will follow blindly along in the direction of Putinist corruption and authoritarianism. But he will need continuing support from the people and the West as well as a fair degree of luck if he is to transform Armenian political life. The prospects as one Russian commentator are far from rosy. Indeed, Olga Tukkhanina says, there are no obvious scenarios with an entirely happy scenario for Armenia (news-front.info/2018/05/03/majdan-v-armenii-heppi-enda-v-stsenarii-net). But it is also true there aren’t any for Russia — unless the Kremlin plays its long game more skillfully than it has elsewhere.
Vice Speaker Sharmazanov doesn’t see Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister of Armenia | ARMENPRESS Armenian News Agency
YEREVAN, MAY 1, ARMENPRESS. Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Armenia Eduard Sharmazanov doesn’t see PM candidate Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister, reports Armenpress. “Like yesterday, today as well, you, Mr. Pashinyan, didn’t convince me, I don’t see you in the role of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief”, Sharmazanov said during the debate of the election of the PM in the Parliament on May 1. Sharmazanov said today they are electing a leader of the executive who first of all should be distinguished by predictability of political steps and clear political ideology. “Being predictable means to be consistent and unchanged. If you are elected, who is going to be the first deputy prime minister, the deputy PMs, the ministers of defense, finance, the Police chief, the head of the national security service? Who? No response”, Sharmazanov said.
Armenia Protest Leader Pashinian Officially Named PM Candidate, His Faction Says
Armenian protest leader Nikol Pashinian has been officially nominated as a candidate for the post of prime minister in the upcoming vote on May 8, after he secured the backing of 41 lawmakers in the 105-seat parliament, a member of the Pashinian-led Yelk faction told RFE/RL on May 3.
Armenian Mass Protests Paralyze the Capital, Pressuring Ally Russia – WSJ
Thousands of demonstrators brought Armenia’s capital and other cities to a standstill, venting their anger at the government’s refusal to hand over power.
Armenian President Steps In to Mediate Political Standoff – Bloomberg
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian said he’s trying to defuse a deepening political crisis by mediating between the ruling party and the opposition ahead of a crucial vote in parliament on a new prime minister.
Pashinian Tells Russia, U.S., EU, Georgia He’s Working To Settle Crisis
Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinian has met with the ambassadors of Russia, the United States, Georgia, and the European Union, and informed them that he is working to settle the country’s p…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Sargsyan’s Departure Appears to Mark ‘End of ‘Karabakh Clan’ in Armenia
Paul Goble Staunton, April 30 – Serzh Sargsyan’s departure from office under pressure from street protests appears to the demise of the “Karabakh clan” both economically and politically. Indeed, a major reason Armenians opposed him was the corruption associated with his regime and its business allies in Karabakh, the Armenian-occupied republic within Azerbaijan. But Sargsyan’s departure and the end of “the Karabakh clan” may matter even more politically. Since 1991, all three past Armenian presidents – Levon Ter-Petrosyan (1991-1998), Robert Kocharyan (1998-2008), and Sargsyan (2008-2018) – either began their careers in Karabakh or made them as leaders of the Karabakh movement. (Armen Sarkisian, whom Sargsyan selected to be president when he transformed the Armenian political system from a presidential one to a parliamentary one, also represents a break from the Karabakh clan in that he has made his career as an academic and a diplomat rather than as a political activist.) That a Karabakh clan should have emerged in Armenia once independence was achieved represented the working out of a poison pill arrangement Stalin created in the 1920s in the South Caucasus: The Soviet dictator drew the borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in such a way that each had an outlying region threatened by the other and thus a breeding ground for nationalism. In the case of Armenia, that is Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian area that Stalin left within Azerbaijan, and from which the Armenian political class has sprung for most of the last three decades. In the case of Azerbaijan, that is Nakhchevan, the non-contiguous autonomy of that country that is where the Aliyevs hail from. Indeed, Heydar Aliyev at one point was called “the khan of Nakhchevan.” This arrangement guaranteed that the regimes in the two countries would be far more nationalistic than would have been the case had the Armenian leadership come from Armenia proper and the Azerbaijani from the Apsheron peninsula near Baku and that the battle for Karabakh would define politics in both as it has since the late 1980s. This is not to say that Armenians from Armenia proper or Azerbaijanis from across that country are not also focused on this issue given the number of displaced persons and the sense of national injustice felt on both sides. But rather it is to say that the political elites in both countries are more focused on the Karabakh issue than they might otherwise be. The Russian government has exploited this situation, tilting now to one side and now to another, since 1988, something it undoubtedly has found easier to do with elites in Yerevan and Baku who define their national identities and tasks in relationship to Karabakh and the other occupied territories. The rise of Nikol Pashinyan puts an end to the rule of “the Karabakh clan” at the very top of the Armenian political pyramid and likely undermines its influence both in economics and politics. Russian commentators are worried about that. One writes that “the end of ‘the Karabakh clan’” raises the question as to whether Armenia will remain Russia’s ally. Armenia almost certainly will for geopolitical reasons, but Moscow commentator Denis Chistov’s approach to this question is instructive: he focuses on the loss of power of “the Karabakh clan” in the economy on which Russia has relied rather than on its possible political demise (versia.ru/ostanetsya-li-armeniya-soyuznikom-rossii). That Moscow has counted on the set of corrupt relationships that define “the Karabakh clan” economically is no surprise: Vladimir Putin doesn’t divide economics and politics the way many other leaders do, and using economic leverage in this way is an effective means of forcing Armenia to tow the line. But the loss of political power by “the Karabakh clan” carries with it two possibilities, one extremely dangerous and one more hopeful. On the one hand, those in Moscow and Yerevan who don’t want any change in the past arrangements of power will have every incentive to exacerbate the Karabakh conflict to return that issue to the center of Armenian political life. And on the other, the appearance of a new Armenian president not so directly attached to the Karabakh question may open the door for new and more dramatic moves to resolve the conflict, something that would benefit both the people of Armenia and the people of Azerbaijan even though they would inevitably reduce Moscow’s role in the region.
Pashinian Demands ‘Really Free’ Elections In Armenia
Armenian protest leader Nikol Pashinian has said “really free” elections must be the solution to his country’s political crisis. Pashinian was speaking at a news conference in Yerevan on April 27.
Pashinian Vows No ‘Geopolitical Reversals’ As Thousands Show Support
Opposition leader Nikol Pashinian promised no “geopolitical reversals” if he is elected prime minister as thousands of supporters gathered to cheer him on in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri.
Armenia: Acting PM cancels talks with opposition leader | News | Al Jazeera
Armenia’s acting prime minister cancels talks with opposition for second time this week as political crisis deepens.
Inside Armenia’s Improbable “Velvet Revolution” – The American Interest
In toppling Armenia’s long-serving leader, the protests in Yerevan have already surpassed all expectations. How did it happen—and what comes next?
Armenians Want What They Need, After Getting What They Wanted
With the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, many Armenians got what they wanted. Now, as politicians hold talks on how to proceed, those same Armenians are looking to get what they need.
Armenia’s Crisis of Legitimacy – The American Interest
Sargsyan’s resignation may not suffice to address the long-brewing anger against Armenia’s establishment—nor resolve the country’s main geopolitical conundrum.
Armenia protests: Russia appears to back old regime as uncertainty grows over future government | The Independent
Bloodless and quick, the success of Armenia’s velvet revolution surprised everyone. But the resignation of the country’s longtime leader Serzh Sargsyan on 13 April – accompanied, as it was, by a wild party in the streets of Yerevan – now looks like being but the first chapter of a much longer story.  And as the country falls into constitutional crisis, Russia seems to be monitoring the vacant steering wheel. 
Armenian ruling party quits PM race as protest leader bids for power | Reuters
Armenia’s ruling party will not put up a candidate for prime minister, it said on Saturday, in a bid to ease tensions after more than two weeks of street protests against the ruling elite.
Pallone: Armenia is not Russia or Belarus
It is not like regimes where peaceful actions are prohibited…
Thousands rally as Armenia lawmakers weigh up new PM
Tens of thousands rallied in Armenia’s capital Tuesday ahead of a crucial vote to elect a new prime minister as protest leader Nikol Pashinyan warned of a “political tsunami” if lawmakers don’t back him to lead the country.

Belarus Reports


Lukashenka is beefing up information defence. Who is the enemy? – LB.ua news portal
Lukashenka is beefing up information defence. Who is the enemy?. The events of recent months show that Alyaksandr Lukashenka is seriously concerned about Belarus’s information security. However, the specifics of the Belarusian political regime preclude any effective counteraction to modern information threats, especially from Russia. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Transnistria / Moldova Reports


EU’s Mogherini Critical Of Moldovan Banking Fraud Investigation
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has voiced concern over the slow pace of an investigation into the disappearance in 2014 of more than $1 billion from Moldova’s banking system.
Journalists In Kosovo, Moldova Call For Greater Freedom, Protection
The Association of Journalists of Kosovo marked World Press Freedom Day with a demonstration in Pristina on May 3 calling for greater protection for reporters.
Eight Moldovan citizens convicted for participation in Donbas Conflict – 112.international
Eight Moldovan citizens convicted for participation in Donbas Conflict
May Day Celebrations Feature Marches, Protests, And A Concert
May Day celebrations in several countries in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe featured marches, protests, and a concert.
Vehicles From Transdniester Region To Get Neutral Registration Plates
The owners of vehicles in Moldova’s separatist region of Transdniester will receive neutral registration plates and will be allowed to participate in international road traffic as of September this year, according to an agreement between Chisinau and Tiraspol.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Netanyahu: Abbas was a Holocaust denier, has remained a Holocaust denier – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post
Abbas alleged on Tuesday that European Jews were massacred for centuries because of their “social behavior related to usury and banks.”
Iran arrests British Council employee as she visits home country | World news | The Guardian
Iranian national, Aras Amiri, ‘accused of colluding against national security’, is latest detained person with UK links
Iran surpasses Israel in scientific research rankings – Iran Nuclear Deal – Haaretz.com
20 years ago Israel led research rankings in the Middle East, but other nations have since overtaken it. Yet in terms of quality rankings, Israel still holds the lead
‘It’s Like McDonald’s And T-Shirts’: Iran’s Foreign Minister Blasted For Defending Hijab Rule
An attempt by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to defend the hijab rule and downplay human rights violations in the country has not gone down well with some Iranians.
Syrian Rebels Accept Russian-Brokered Surrender Deal In Homs Enclave
Syrian rebels said they have accepted a deal brokered by Russia to leave territory they hold near Homs, the country’s third-largest city and one of the last rebel enclaves left in the war-torn coun…
Top ISIS leader arrested in Mosul – The National
<p>It comes as the country sentences 19 Russian women to life in jail for ties to ISIS</p>
Iraq: 19 Russian women handed life sentences for joining ISIL | ISIS News | Al Jazeera
Women are among 560 arrested for ‘joining and supporting’ the armed group that was defeated last December.
Iraq Hands Life Sentences To 19 Russian Women For Joining IS
The Central Criminal Court in Baghdad has sentenced 19 Russian women to life in prison after convicting them of joining the Islamic State terrorist group
Iraq sentences 29 foreign women to life in prison for joining ISIS
Iraq sentenced 29 foreign women to life in prison for joining Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the latest in a series of heavy verdicts against foreign women linked to the militants.
Trump Is Right to Target Saudi-Russian Collusion – Foreign Policy
Pakistan cosies up to Russia, but Moscow doesn’t seem to want to take sides
Pakistan and Russia have pledged to improve defense ties, but Moscow appears to be trying to balance its South Asia relations rather than abandon its traditional strategic partner India.
West, Russia ‘Share Interest’ In Afghan Stability, Top U.S. Commander Says
The West and Russia have a shared interest in Afghanistan’s stability, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told RFE/RL.
The Mossad ran a fake diving resort for tourists in Sudan. This is the incredible story behind it – Israel News – Haaretz.com
One of the Israeli intelligence agency’s most daring missions is being turned into a movie, ‘Red Sea Diving Resort.’ One of the operatives looks back on a breathtaking operation that saved thousands of Ethiopian Jews’ lives in the 1980s

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


China’s Xi says ready to play role for political solution on Korean peninsula
BEIJING (Reuters) – China ready to join others in playing an active role in pushing forward the process of a political solution to the Korean peninsula issue, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
South Korea says it wants U.S. troops to stay regardless of any treaty with North Korea | Reuters
South Korea said on Wednesday the issue of U.S. troops stationed in the South is unrelated to any future peace treaty with North Korea and that American forces should stay even if such an agreement is signed.
Condoleezza Rice’s advice to Trump: Leave the details of Kim negotiations ‘to people who understand all the nuance’ – POLITICO
“Don’t be anxious about moving American military forces,” she adds.
Condoleeza Rice Says Rex Tillerson, Not Trump, Deserves Credit for North Korea Talks
President Donald Trump was famously at loggerheads with his former Secretary of State.
House Republicans nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize – CNNPolitics
A group of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters in the House of Representatives have sent a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, formally nominating the President for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Kim Says He’ll Give Up Weapons if U.S. Promises Not to Invade – The New York Times
South Korean officials said the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, had told them that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if Washington ended the Korean War and promised nonaggression.
Trump Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize, Says South Korea’s Moon | Newsmax.com
South Korea’s Moon: Trump Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize
After North Korea triumph Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, not Obama | Fox News
At the conclusion of the day-long summit between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in Friday, one thing was clear: the meeting would never have taken place if not for President Trump.
Trump ‘Absolutely’ Deserves Credit for North Korea-South Korea Peace Talks, Says Australian PM
“I’ve given him that credit because Donald Trump has taken a very, very strong, hard line on the denuclearization issue,” said Malcolm Turnbull.
Mattis says there’s never been more optimism on North Korea – CNNPolitics
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday that there is more optimism than ever before when it comes to dealing with North Korea.
Korean Accord Draws Praise, and Caution, From North’s Neighbors – The New York Times
China, Japan and Russia, which were not part of the summit meeting, acknowledged that most of the hard work still lay ahead.
N. Korea’s Kim willing to talk to Japan ‘any time’: Seoul
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ready for dialogue with Japan “any time”, Seoul’s presidential office said Sunday, as concerns grow in Tokyo that it is being sidelined from the reconciliation drive with Pyongyang.
North Korea Nuclear Agreement: What Is ‘Tired Mountain Syndrome’?
Nuclear testing may have exhausted a North Korean mountain, meaning toxic gases from nuclear tests could seep to the surface, but not all experts agree.
North Korean TV Showed a Vastly Different Broadcast During Historic Meeting with South – Breaking News Alerts
British firm ‘masks’ Kim Jong-un’s chemical weapons supply to Syria | News | The Sunday Times
A company registered at an industrial estate in Northamptonshire has become embroiled in the suspected shipment of chemical weapons supplies from North Korea to Syria.The address on the outskirts of Daventry is feared to be one of several front operations in Britain used by the regime of Kim Jong-un
North Korea will close nuclear test site in May, South says – CNN
Kim Jong Un will close his nuclear site in May and invite experts and journalists from the US and South Korea into the country soon, the South said Sunday.


U.S. warns China of ‘consequences’ over reported missiles in South China Sea
The White House said “there will be near-term and long-term consequences” after China reportedly moved missiles into the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands.
China installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts: CNBC | Reuters
China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea, U.S. news network CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.
Beijing reportedly challenges US, lays strong implicit threat with anti-ship missiles in the South China Sea | Business Insider
China has reportedly stationed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on the Spratly Islands in the highly disputed South China Sea. The missiles are believed to have a range of 295 nautical miles and 160 nautical miles, respectively. US officials said the latest developments would “only serve to raise tensions and create greater distrust.”
China added missile systems on Spratly Islands in South China Sea
By all accounts, the new coastal defense systems are a significant addition to Beijing’s military portfolio in one of the most contested regions in the world.
China has used lasers to injure US air crews flying over Djibouti, Pentagon says
Two U.S. troops suffered minor injuries after Chinese military personnel shined a laser at American military aircraft deployed to Djibouti, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa – CNNPolitics
Chinese personnel at the country’s first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots and prompted the US to launch a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, two military officials told CNN.
US warns China after lasers injure American pilots in Africa | TheHill
The United States has issued a formal warning to China after personnel at the Chinese military base in Djibouti used lasers to interfere with U.S.
Two US airmen injured by Chinese lasers in Djibouti
The U.S. has issued a diplomatic complaint to China over the incident that


Canada, Australia to send military aircraft to monitor North Korean ships | CBC News
A Canadian patrol aircraft is joining an international mission to monitor North Korea’s compliance with UN sanctions. The operation will run out of a U.S. military base in Japan, watching for ships suspected of carrying prohibited goods to and from North Korea.
Australia sending plane to monitor North Korean ships’ ‘illicit trade’ | Australia news | The Guardian
P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft will look for ship-to-ship transfers of goods prohibited under UN sanctions
The ties that (don’t) bind: Australia-Russia relations | Foreign Brief
Tone of Modi, Xi Talks Praised, Differences Remain
The two nations are bumping up against each other along stretches of their border, in the Indian Ocean and over Xi’s signature Belt and Road initiative
India’s Diminishing Purchases of Russian Military Systems: An Analogy for the Overall Relationship? – Future Directions International
Background India recently announced that it was withdrawing from the joint development project with Russia of a fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra informed a Russian ministerial delegation meeting towards the end of February that India would withdraw its support from the project and make a decision at a later date as to whether it would re-join the project or purchase the developed aircraft outright once it had been made operational. The decision to withdraw from the project is not surprising but it is emblematic of the overall relationship, which has been deteriorating for some time now.
Who’s testing a laser in Djibouti?
There’s reason to suspect someone might be testing a laser as a weapon near China’s military base in Djibouti.

Foreign Policy Reports


Ukraine among priorities of Poland’s presidency at UN Security Council – ambassador – 04.05.2018 14:36 — Ukrinform News
The situation in eastern Ukraine is one of the main priorities during a month-long rotating presidency of Poland at the UN Security Council.
Brussels threatens to cut off cash for eastern autocrats | World | The Times
Brussels will have powers to cut off cash to countries that fail a new “rule of law” test under the European Union’s first post-Brexit spending plan.The European Commission’s €1.3 trillion budget for 2021-28, presented by Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday, attempts to fill the hole left in the EU’s co
Empire strikes back: EU to combat strongmen | Reuters.com
The European Union will deploy a new financial weapon next week to try to rein in what Brussels sees as illiberal nationalism rising in the east of the bloc and threatening its democratic foundations.}
Russia plants agent in Poland under “Russophobe” cover to tar Ukraine-Poland ties | UNIAN
Russian intelligence has for the past two months been actively engaged in promoting its yet another project aimed at further antagonizing and radicalizing Ukrainian-Polish relations, creating the “International Anti-Bandera Movement.” OSINT experts claim the detention and further deportation of a Polish “journalist” was scripted as part of yet-another “active measures” plan, to provide a legitimate cover for the Russian intelligence asset.
UAWire – Kyiv: Hungary continues to block Ukraine-NATO Summit
The NATO Summit in Brussels can take place on July 11-12 with the participation of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as reported by …
EU Expected To Expand Russia Sanctions Over Presidential Poll In Crimea
The European Union is set to sanction five people who, according to the bloc, helped organize the Russian presidential election in the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea in March.
Oil Prices Fall as U.S. Output Hits Record – WSJ
Oil prices slipped amid signs of rising U.S. crude production and stockpiles, despite continuing uncertainty about whether America will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Russia Twitter bots rallied for Labour during general election, report claims
Labour says it is not aware of any such campaign but the Government calls the claims “extremely concerning”.
Russian Twitter bots tried to swing the UK election for Corbyn, investigation claims | Business Insider
Russia attempted to influence the UK’s 2017 General Election, an investigation by The Sunday Times states. The investigation made in conjunction with Swansea University found 6,500 Twitter accounts run by bots masquerading as English women. 80% of the automated accounts were set up during the weeks before the snap election. The accounts tweeted overwhelmingly in support of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and were hostile towards Prime Minister Theresa May.
Juncker: No European security agenda ‘without Russia’ – POLITICO | UNIAN
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says there is no security agenda for Europe without Russia, as the latter is a major player. Juncker has called on the EU to learn to talk to Russians on an equal footing.
Only Religion Can Stop Terrorism, says Russia’s Top Priest
Patriarch Kirill has repeatedly praised Putin, calling his presidency a “miracle of God.”
Russia’s Patriarch Kirill Visits Muslim-Majority Albania
Patriarch Kirill is making his first trip as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church to Muslim-majority Albania.
Russia’s Patriarch Kirill Celebrates Mass In Albania
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, celebrated Mass in Tirana on April 29 during his first visit to mainly Muslim Albania.
3 countries where Russia’s shadowy Wagner Group mercenaries are known to operate | Business Insider
Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed two weeks ago that the US killed hundreds of Russians during a large firefight in Syria in early February. “In Syria now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match,” Pompeo said. “A couple hundred Russians were killed.” The Russians were part of Wagner Group, or Vagner Group, a private mercenary company reportedly contracted by the Syrian government to capture and secure oil and gas fields from ISIS. The Wagner Group started getting attention in 2014 when its mercenaries fought alongside Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, before moving to Syria. While little is still known about the shadowy mercenary group, they are believed to be operating in at least the following three countries:
Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook page is littered with anti-Semitic posts | Daily Mail Online
Jeremy Corbyn was plunged into a new anti-Semitism row last night after The Mail on Sunday discovered that his official Facebook page is littered with vile slurs against Jews.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications


Pentagon’s Big AI Program, Maven, Already Hunts Data in Middle East, Africa « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
Project Maven has made huge strides in its first year, but the key is remaining open to updates from whoever has the best idea for new algorithms, and new code, a military leader says,
What the Pentagon is learning from its massive machine learning project
Project Maven has already deployed in five or six locations across Africa and the Middle East. Here’s what officials are learning from those deployments so far.
Here’s how intelligence agencies will take advantage of machine learning and AI
With greater interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, industry officials offer greater clarity on how those technologies will work for the national security community.
Terrorists Are Going to Use Artificial Intelligence – Defense One
Machine-learning technology is growing ever more accessible. Let’s not have a 9/11-style ‘failure of imagination’ about it.
What if Congress kills the Strategic Capabilities Office?; Pentagon projects arms-spending decline; Still no Air Force One deal; and more. – Defense One
Government news resource covering technology, performance, employment, telework, cybersecurity, and more for federal employees.
A Criminal Gang Used a Drone Swarm To Obstruct an FBI Hostage Raid – Defense One
And that’s just one of the ways bad guys are putting drones to use, law enforcement officials say.
Five questions on autonomous weapons and the future of war
Paul Scharre, a former U.S. Army Ranger who now heads a program at the Center for New American Security, discusses the roles for humans in future wars with autonomous weapons.
Big Hypersonic News Coming; Faster Progress Likely: Roper « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
We can expect an important announcement in a few weeks that “a significant acceleration is doable” of the Air Force’s hypersonic efforts. Roper said he’d completed a review of all the service’s work on hypersonic, one of the Pentagon’s top priorities.
Innovation at the edge: the top air defence trends by domain – Airforce Technology
Air combat is no longer dominated by dogfights between fighter aircraft. Air superiority now hinges on electronic warfare, networked capabilities and control of the electromagnetic spectrum. Julian Turner looks at the latest innovations informing attack, surveillance, refuelling and logistics aircraft.
Fighter Jet Will Reinvigorate Stunted European Defense Industry | Combat Aircraft content from Aviation Week
Ten months after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron revealed joint ambitions to produce a new European fighter jet, the first pieces have begun falling into place. Heralding a new era of European multinational defense programs, Airbus and Dassault Aviation are putting aside years of fierce competition to work side by side on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), while France will take the lead in platform development. The fighter is the flagship in a wave of new cooperative programs European governments hope to use to strengthen their resolve against a resurgent and increasingly aggressive Russia, as well as to halt the tide of European cash flowing into U.S. coffers for new armaments.
Eurofighter, F-35 Vying To Replace German Tornado Fighters | Defense content from Aviation Week
Airbus presents upgraded Typhoon with standoff weaponry as a counter to F-35’s stealth.
Japan Wants Big Fighter In Possible U.S. Or UK Joint Program | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week
Japan is sticking with its concept for a large fighter as it explores possible cooperation with the U.S. or British governments in developing the aircraft.
Turkey’s fighter jet program races ahead as Russian firm reveals interest
In a surprise move, a top Russian aerospace company has expressed interest in developing an engine to power the TF-X, the Turkish fighter aircraft in the making.
Air Force Leaders Deliberately Slow-Rolling A-10 Refurbishment
new homepage
USAF Nuke Chief Not Expecting Easy B-52 Engine Upgrade | Defense content from Aviation Week
As the U.S. Air Force embarks on a major re-engining of the Boeing B-52H, its leadership is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task at hand.
Grading the MQ-25 | Aerospace America
Is the U.S. Navy’s proposed refueling drone the best strategy for empowering pilots to penetrate enemy airspace?
Biggest Challenge Facing USAF’s Top Weapons Buyer? Software | Defense content from Aviation Week
The U.S. Air Force’s new acquisition chief wants to revolutionize the way the service develops and buys cutting-edge technology.
ILA 2018: Hensoldt introduces TwInvis passive radar system
ILA 2018: Hensoldt introduces TwInvis passive radar system
How the Army could unlock the secret to coalition comms
The Army is test-driving new network concepts for battlefield communications.
‘Invisibility cloak’ metamaterials make their way into products
Wave-bending materials revamp satellite antennas and drones — as a start
I led the Falklands SAS mission that no one wants to talk about | Times2 | The Times
In April 1982, a few days after the Argentine invasion of the Falklands, I was ordered to report to the SAS camp in Hereford. I was 28, a captain in B Squadron, and had spent five years in the army, two of them in the SAS in Northern Ireland and Oman.At 8am the next day we were told there would be a
New discovery on fragments of Dead Sea scrolls in Jerusalem | Metro News
New fragments of writing on the Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered with the help of new imaging techniques. They couldn’t be seen with the naked eye, but new letters and…

IW/IO/Cyber Reports


New Russian Propaganda Outlet In May 2018: “USA Really. Wake Up Americans” – To Inform is to Influence
“Russian troll factory hiring for new anti-U.S. operation; biggest danger is not to America | Trudy Rubin” Really nice story on the surface, “USA Really. Wake Up Americans.” is going to be a new propaganda outlet headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Diving into the story more deeply and contemplating the details, I was just a…
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Report On Russian Active Measures – To Inform is to Influence
Read the redacted, declassified House intelligence committee report on Russian interference in the US election. Available here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4448613-Declassified-House-intelligence-committee-report.html   
Final report of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation – To Inform is to Influence
12 March 2018 In January 2018, the European Commission set up a high-level group of experts (“the HLEG”) to advise on policy initiatives to counter fake news and disinformation spread online. The main deliverable of the HLEG was a report designed to review best practices in the light of fundamental principles, and suitable responses stemming…
Can the Navy protect this ship from hackers?
The Department of Defense IG found cyber deficiencies in the Navy’s Expeditionary Fast Transport program.
Tech firms fret over push to legalize ‘defensive’ hacking – To Inform is to Influence
I observed my first “hack back” 20 years ago, so this capability is not new.  It was being done for intelligence purposes, however.  The debate continued in the corporate and government world, with a corporation’s “right to self-defense” often cited.  At one point I witnessed a government senior deferring to a corporate entity in this…
Pentagon Bans Sale of Chinese-Designed Phones On Military Bases – Defense One
Military personnel better stick with iPhones or Android devices.
Local governments’ cybersecurity crisis in 8 charts
Within the past few weeks, two large American cities learned that their information systems were hacked.
DARPA wants to arm ethical hackers with AI
The Pentagon’s technology agency seeks artificial intelligence tools to help expand vulnerability testing of its networks.
Techies! Britain’s defence secretary wants you – for cyber-sniping at Russia • The Register
Also wants journos to do gov info ops, but let’s focus on sensible idea
The U.K. Parliament just threatened Mark Zuckerberg – VICE News
They’ll issue a formal summons if he continues to ignore their requests to come before the lawmakers
Cambridge Analytica to File for Bankruptcy After Misuse of Facebook Data – The New York Times
The consultant, which said it would cease most operations in the United States and Britain, relied on Facebook data to profile and target voters during the 2016 campaign.
Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata – To Inform is to Influence
By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco 2 May 2018 at 20:29 The company formerly known as Cambridge Analytica shocked the media today when it announced an immediate shutdown and liquidation of its business. That “shutdown,” however, may be short-lived as official documents indicate those behind the controversial analytics company will be launching as a new firm with a less-toxic brand. The surprise announcement…
Pentagon Orders Stores on Military Bases to Remove Huawei, ZTE Phones – WSJ
The Pentagon is moving to halt the sale of phones made by Huawei and ZTE in retail outlets on U.S. military bases around the world, citing potential security threats they say the gadgets could pose.

US Domestic Policy Reports


Merkel And Trump Meeting Includes Some Strange Moments, But No Tangible Results : Parallels : NPR
Handshakes and cheek kisses from the U.S. president surprised onlookers, but they were the only unanticipated events to happen during Friday’s two-hour talk between the world leaders.
Angela Merkel and Donald Trump stress unity amid differences | News | DW | 27.04.2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump emphasized the importance of transatlantic ties at a press conference on Friday. Iran, trade and defense spending were high on the agenda.
UAWire – Media: Merkel invited Trump to visit his ancestral homeland in Germany
During a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Friday, German Chancellor Angela President Trump to visit the homeland of his ancestors, the village of Kallstadt in the federal state of the Rhineland-Palatinate from where his grandparents emigrated in the 19th century, Bild reported on Sunday with reference to sources in the German delegation. According to the publication, this was Merkel’s way of reminding Trump that he has a special bond with Germany. In addition, she presented to the President an engraving of 1705 with a map of the Palatinate. Kallstadt also could be seen there. Trump’s grandfather Frederick Trump, born Friedrich Trump, was born in the village of Kallstadt in 1869 and immigrated to the United States in 1885. Bild noted that Merkel failed to get concessions from Trump on either the issue of keeping a deal with Iran or the exclusion of EU countries from the list of states for which the US plans to introduce duties on steel and aluminum on May 1. At a press conference with Trump in Washington, Merkel said that she discussed with him the question of the possible introduction of duties and that “the decision remains in the hands of the President” of the United States.
Trump and Merkel tried – and failed – to hide their differences in Washington | US news | The Guardian
After the French president’s warm visit, the frosty atmosphere was clear as the US and German leaders discussed Nato and Iran
House Russia report says major spy law has a cyber problem
The House Intelligence Committee is recommending malicious cyber actors be included as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
House Republicans release redacted Russia report – CNNPolitics
The House Intelligence Committee on Friday released a redacted version of the Republican report on the committee’s year-long Russia investigation, in which GOP members say they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and disputed the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to help elect Donald Trump.
The Russia Investigations: The House Intel Committee Duels Over Evidence. Again : NPR
Democrats complain about the lack of evidence present in Republicans’ report because Republicans didn’t look for it. But it might also not be there because it doesn’t exist.
Trump weighs in on reports of Kremlin ties to Russian lawyer at Trump Tower meeting – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump suggested Saturday night that Russian President Vladimir Putin might have directed a Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign associates in 2016 to disclose ties to Moscow recently in order to sow chaos for him in retaliation for aggressive actions he has taken against Russia.
Russian Lawyer Veselnitskaya Says She Didn’t Give Trump Jr. Info on Clinton
Attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya told NBC News’ Keir Simmons in an exclusive interview Tuesday that she was simply looking for support in her opposition to the Magnitsky Act.
Trump Tower Russian admits to deeper ties to Kremlin: NBC
The emails show a correspondence between Veselnitskaya and a Russian official coordinating a response to a case brought forward by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Natalia Veselnitskaya collaborated with Russian officials, report says
An organization established by an exiled Russian tycoon says it has obtained emails showing collaboration between Russian government officials and lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016.
Trump hails House Intelligence Committee report on Russia – POLITICO
The release caps a year of partisan acrimony on the panel.
U.S. Allies Caught in New Russia Sanctions Fight Between Congress and Trump Team
Mattis wants a waiver to let countries like India buy weapons from Moscow. The Hill is wary of ceding power to the administration after dragging it to the table.
E-Mails Show Lawyer Veselnitskaya In Close Communication With Top Russian Officials
Newly released e-mails from a Russian lawyer involved in a U.S. money-laundering case showed the lawyer had close contact with officials from the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office, even as she portrayed herself as a private citizen.
Why Is Russia Trolling U.S. Energy?
A recent report highlights Russia’s efforts to sow discord in the U.S. energy markets.
Vladimir Putin’s Old KGB Buddy Has Plans to Help Russia Survive Sanctions
Spy-turned-industrialist Sergey Chemezov is spearheading an effort to turn derelict defense sites into modern high-tech campuses.
NRA gathers docs amid scrutiny over ties to Kremlin-linked banker – CNNPolitics
The NRA is setting aside documents related to interactions with a Kremlin-linked banker, as it appears to be brace for a possible investigation, per sources.
Russian Embassy Complains About U.S. Removal Of Flag At Closed Consulate
The Russian Embassy in Washington has demanded that a flag removed from the now-closed Russian Consulate in Seattle be put back.
Russian Aluminum Giant Makes Bid For Relief From U.S. Sanctions
Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum empire has taken up a U.S. offer for relief from sanctions and announced his resignation from the board and a reduction of his stock holdings to less than 5…
UAWire – Deripaska’s companies ask Kremlin for help after falling under US sanctions
The Ministry of Energy of Russia received a formal request for government support from En+ Group and Rusal who have fallen under US sanctions, …
McCain book: US should consider cyberattack to punish Putin
In his book, set to launch later this month, Sen. John McCain says it’s time for America to go on the offensive in the information war with Russia.
Nepotism in the U.S.: Starting to Resemble Ukraine | The World View
In many countries around the globe nepotism in higher education is not unusual at all.
‘Active Measures’ Documentary Takes on Russian Espionage and Election – Variety
Jack Bryan’s explosive documentary “Active Measures” is about Russia’s espionage program and the effect it had on the 2016 U.S. election.
Baby Breitbarts to pop up across the country? – POLITICO
The Tennessee Star, a right-wing publication with a mainstream name, makes waves while looking to expand.
U.S. Treasury Provides Way For Three Russian Companies To Avoid Sanctions
The U.S. Treasury Department has extended a deadline for investors to relinquish their interests in three Russian companies, a move that gives the firms time to reduce ties with Russian oligarch Ol…
Russian Asylum Applications In U.S. Hit 24-Year Record
The United States received more than 2,600 new asylum applications from Russian nationals in 2017, the latest jump in a multiyear surge since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s election to a third …
Opinion | Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right! – The New York Times
Social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo embody his critical spirit.
Gen. Michael Hayden Has One Regret: Russia – The New York Times
The former N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief on Trump, Snowden and what makes people leak secrets.


Lutsenko seeks joint investigation with FBI in Manafort case – media | UNIAN
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko says he hopes to join forces with the FBI on an investigation relating to U.S. President Donald Trump’s ex-aide Paul Manafort. “The ball is on the U.S. side,” he said.
Ukraine’s prosecutors refute NYT report claiming Kyiv halted cooperation in Manafort probe | UNIAN
U.S. law enforcement officials did not apply to the Prosecutor General’s Office for assistance in their investigation into possible wrongdoings by Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort, Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin wrote on Facebook. The article by The New York Times states that Ukraine officials have frozen four criminal investigations involving Paul Manafort, being “wary of offending President Trump.”
Ukraine and Trump: A Match Made in Heaven – Mother Jones
The New York Times reports that Ukraine has ended its cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller: The cases are just too sensitive for a government deeply reliant on United States financial and military aid, and keenly aware of Mr. Trump’s distaste for the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into possible collusion between Russia and his campaign, some lawmakers say. The decision to halt the investigations by an anticorruption prosecutor was handed down at a delicate moment for Ukraine, as the Trump administration was finalizing plans to sell the country sophisticated anti-tank missiles, called Javelins. I suppose there are two ways this could have gone down. It could have been Trump telling Ukraine stop the investigation if you want the missiles. Or it could have been Ukraine telling Trump give us the missiles or this investigation lasts forever. The truth is that both sides in this are probably corrupt enough to have been the one who brought it up.
Ukraine, Seeking U.S. Missiles, Halted Cooperation With Mueller Investigation – The New York Times
Ukraine, deeply dependent on the Trump administration for financial and military aid, froze its cooperation with the special counsel’s office.
Ukraine froze Manafort probes amid US weapons sales: report | TheHill
Ukraine’s chief prosecutor froze four pending investigations into President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as the U.S. finalized a weapons sale to the Eastern European country.
Did Trump Bribe Ukraine to Stop Cooperating With Mueller?
Trump wrote his own doctor’s letter, his administration wrote and leaked the questions by Robert Mueller that he blamed Mueller for leaking, and the missile sale to Ukraine might have been a bribe to stop the Russia investigation.
New scrutiny of potential Manafort links with Russia – POLITICO
A Mueller question asks about the former Trump campaign chairman, but his defense says there’s an absence of proof.
Judge tosses Paul Manafort’s lawsuit challenging special counsel in Russia inquiry
A federal judge in Washington on Friday threw out a civil lawsuit brought by Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, that sought to challenge the authority of special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation.
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