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Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (31)


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


U.S. Military Jets Intercept Russian Bombers Off Alaskan Coast
Two U.S. fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off the coast of Alaska on May 11.
US stealth fighters intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska – CNNPolitics
Two Russian TU-95 “Bear” bombers were intercepted by US F-22 stealth fighters in international airspace off the coast of Alaska on Friday, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command.
On 60th Anniversary, NORAD Has Evolved to Guard Against Modern Threats | Military.com
Sixty years after it was formed, NORAD continues to monitor the world’s airspace, waters and land.
CNN asks NORAD officer if denuclearization in North Korea means he’s out of a job
A CNN reporter asked a North American Aerospace Defense Command officer if potential denuclearization in North Korea means he’ll be out of a job.
NORAD’s struggle for relevance on its 60th birthday – iPolitics
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) celebrates its 60th anniversary this week. On May 12, 1958, the United States and Canada, recognizing that it made more sense to defend the airspace of North America together rather than separately, signed the first NORAD agreement.
Trump Touts Increased NATO Spending, But That Sort of Misses the Point, Experts Say – Defense One
Experts say that the conversation’s been too focused on how much allies are putting toward defense, not on what they get for it.
The US Should Embrace the EU’s New Defense-Cooperation Plan – Defense One
After years of complaining that Europe isn’t doing enough to defend itself, concerns about U.S. arms exports are misplaced.
Taras Kuzio | The Case for Ukraine’s Membership of NATO – New Eastern Europe
NATO has accepted countries with problems concerning territorial integrity in the past. However none of the size and strategic importance such as Ukraine. What are some of the arguments in favour of Kyiv entering the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?
Ukraine does not have prospects of EU membership for now – 112.international
Hugues Mingarelli, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, said that the aim of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement is to facilitate the political association and economic integration, but it does not give any prospect for EU membership. For many reasons Ukraine does not have any prospects concerning the EU membership for now, as Hugues Mingarelli, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, stated at the roundtable session on Ukraine’s European choice after the Revolution of Dignity (a revolution in Ukraine in 2014, – ed.), Unian reports. “Turkey along with Balkan countries are the only states which conduct talks to join the European Union. They have a specific prospect for EU membership. As to Ukraine, there is no prospect,” the Ambassador said. According to him, the aim of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement is to facilitate the political association and economic integration, but it does not give any prospect for EU membership. “It is a big disappointment for our Ukrainian partners as they wanted to have a membership prospect, but for now the European Union could not offer this prospect due to certain reasons,” he stressed. Earlier, Ukraine signed the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014. The Verkhovna Rada, the European Parliament as well as the national parliaments of all EY member states ratified the agreement during 2014-2017. The Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement came into force on September 2017. Later, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated that the Agreement was implemented only by 15%.
Poland busts Russian ′hybrid warfare′ ring | News | DW | 17.05.2018
The group was allegedly attempting to exacerbate tensions with Ukraine and promote the Kremlin’s interests. Several Western nations have accused Russia of similar tactics.
Poland breaks up pro-Russian group seeking to fuel tension with Ukraine | Reuters
WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland has detained a Russian woman who was part of a pro-Russian group that sought to whip up tension between Poland and Ukraine and will expel her soon, the national agency for internal security ABW said on Thursday. Four other people involved in what the ABW described as “hybrid” activities against Poland would be banned for five years from entering Poland, the ABW said. ABW identified the Russian woman as “Yekaterina C.”. It did not elaborate on the identities of the four other people which it said had undertaken “determined attempts to consolidate pro-Russian groups in Poland around two key priorities of Russia’s hybrid actions against Poland.” “That is fuelling Polish-Ukrainian animosities in social and political spheres as well as undermining interpretation of Polish history and replacing it with a Russian narration,” the ABW said. There was no immediate comment available from Russia.
DW: Poland busts Russian ‘hybrid warfare’ ring | UNIAN
Polish intelligence agency ABW said on Thursday that it had uncovered a plan to sow discord between Poland and Ukraine and lead an “informational war…against Poland and in the interests of Russia.” The group was allegedly attempting to exacerbate tensions with Ukraine and promote the Kremlin’s interests.
Polish President Asks UN To Deploy Peacekeepers In Eastern Ukraine
Poland’s president has asked the UN Security Council to deploy a UN peacekeeping force in eastern Ukraine throughout the zone of conflict with Russia-backed separatists and along the border with Ru…
Lethal weapon: Has Trump mis-stepped on Ukraine? | European Council on Foreign Relations
Sending anti-tank guided weapons to Ukraine is the right decision. But the Trump administration has gone about it the wrong way.
NATO to support Ukraine and continue to exert pressure on Russia – 17.05.2018 10:36 — Ukrinform News
NATO has welcomed a progress in reforming the security and defense sector of Ukraine under the conditions of continued pressure on Russia.
Polish leader calls for UN force for Russia-Ukraine border – The Washington Post
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda is calling for U.N. peacekeepers to be sent to the Russia-Ukraine border and all territory controlled by separatists in eastern Ukraine.
U.S. Lawmakers Want To Axe Funding For New Surveillance Planes To Monitor Russia – The Drive
Representatives say they don’t want to pay for new aircraft to support the Open Skies Treaty until the Kremlin is again complying with the deal.
US Army to send new Strykers armed with Hellfire missiles to Europe to counter Russia – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army plans to send newest Stryker MSL (Maneuver SHORAD Launcher) short-range Air Defense systems armed with Hellfire missiles to Europe, Warrior Mavin reports. It is reported that Stryker armored fighting vehicles with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles are headed to Europe sooner than expected to bolster the short-range air defense (SHORAD) systems that the U.S Army has funneled into the region to counter Russia. “We are looking for a rapid solution for the near-term fight,” Maj. Gen. John Ferarri, Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation, told Warrior Maven in an interview. The U.S. Army in Europe is in urgently needed air defense system of this class to counter Russia in Europe and provide more support to maneuvering Brigade Combat Teams in combat. The fighting experience in Syria and Iraq showed еру increased close-in air threats from the possible use by a potential enemy of cruise missiles and small unmanned aerial vehicles.
Interview: Swedish defense minister details stance on nuclear weapons treaties
Sweden is looking to boost its defense posture to deal with Russia’s aggressive actions in the region.
Interview: Finland’s defense minister talks air defense, EU procurement regulations
Finland is looking to expand its defense relationship with the U.S. and other potential partners.
Finland, Sweden and US sign trilateral agreement, with eye on increased exercises
The threat from Russia is driving greater cooperation between Sweden, Finland and America.
Russia’s Offshore ‘Missile Tests’: Psychologically Undermining the Economic Security of the Baltics – To Inform is to Influence
This appears to be a cheap and easy way for Russia to undermine Latvia and the Baltics. Russia schedules an exercise, halts commercial and other traffic through the area, and then Russia doesn’t hold an exercise.  I wonder how loudly the Russians would howl if Latvia, Estonia, and/or Lithuania did the same to them? </end editorial>…


Opinion: Germany’s illusions about Putin and Russia | Opinion | DW | 17.05.2018
It would be naive to think that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the better partner than Donald Trump’s US, says DW’s Ingo Mannteufel.
Rapprochement With Russia Is Now a Core Policy Objective for Germany – Bloomberg
As Donald Trump shakes up the global order, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is being pushed closer toward a more predictable partner in Moscow.
Merkel Urged To Press Putin Over ‘New Level Of Repression’
Human Rights Watch has urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to use her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to press for the release of “wrongfully” held human rights activist O…
UAWire – Merkel: Europe cannot rely on US military assistance
Europe can no longer rely on military assistance from the US, German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes, as reported by Interfax. According to …
Merkel To Meet Putin In Sochi For Talks On Iran, Ukraine, Nord Stream 2
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on May 18 for talks expected to focus on the Ukraine conflict, Europe’s respons…
Iran, Syria, energy: What’s in store for Putin-Merkel summit in Sochi (VIDEO) — RT World News
Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, where they are expected to discuss the Iran deal, Syria, Ukraine and more. As the summit looms, RT sums up the recent developments.


This High-Speed Amphibious Armored Vehicle Could Race Russia’s Naval Infantry Ashore – The Drive
Russia’s naval infantry units are still stuck riding in Soviet-era armored personnel carriers that are slow and increasingly vulnerable.
Opinion | Don’t Isolate the Russians. It’s What Putin Wants. – The New York Times
The Kremlin would be delighted by barriers to all things Western.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Victory Cult in Russia has Little to Do with World War II and Everything with Saving Putin’s System, Shtepa Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 12 – The growing ‘Cult of the Great Victory’ in Russia has ever less to do with the actual events of World War II and ever more to do with saving the political system Vladimir Putin has put in place in that country and preventing the disintegration of the Russian Federation, according to Vadim Shtepa. The editor of the Tallinn-based portal, After Empire, says, in an article for Estonia’s International Centre for Defense and Security, this becomes obvious if one considers the history of the day since 1945 and the messages that Putin has used it in recent years to deliver to the Russian people and the world (icds.ee/ru/blog/article/istoki-i-celi-pobedobesija-1/). While Stalin was alive, he points out, May 9 was a day off for people only until 1947 when the Soivet dictator decided that celebrating it would “increasing the significance of military figures who had become dangerous for his personal power.” Consequently, in the last years of his reign, the day was not celebrated officially at all. Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, also ignored this theme because he wanted Russians to focus on the future rather than the past. But after he was ousted, Leonid Brezhnev felt the need for some kind of ideological justification and a distraction from the fact that Moscow wasn’t able to fulfill its promises. And because the future looked less than bright, his ideologists sought to get people to look to the past, “to the heroic cult of ‘the Great Victory.’” It became a centerpiece of the regime’s self-definition, and “as soon as the cult weakened” in Gorbachev’s time when people again began to think about the future, “the empire fell apart.” Consequently, the May 9 holiday declined in importance; but beginning in 1995, “parades in Red Square again became an annual event, and with the coming to power of Putin, the rhetoric of ‘victory mania’ has only continued to grow.” The most widespread symbol of this cult in Putin’s time has been the Georgian ribbon, an innovation the Kremlin came up with 2005 as a response or “remake” of the orange ribbons Ukrainians wore during their revolution of that name in 2004. That event terrified Moscow and it responded in this “’creative’” way. Polls show that for Russians, Victory Day is becoming ever more significant, “a paradox given that the further this event recedes in history, the louder and more triumphal its anniversaries are celebrated.” The obvious reason is that post-Soviet Russia does not have any significant achievements it can point to as occasions for celebration. “In order to conceal this dangerous truth,” Shtepa continues, “the authorities are loading up society with proud myths about ‘the glorious past.’” And these are myths because “the historical truth about World War II for the authorities is also dangerous” be it the Soviet-Nazi alliance, the division of Poland, the attack on Finland or the occupation of the Baltic countries. “If in Brezhnev times, the USSR, albeit through clenched teeth, recognized the role of the Western allies in the war, then in today’s Russian propaganda, these former allies are ever more frequently portrayed as enemies, with Russia being the only savior of the world and the guardian of global justice from ancient times. And this is no joke.” The Kremlin seeks to involve ever more Russians in such demonstrations of fealty to past victories and hence to their continuation by the current leadership. It is pleased that more than 10 million Russians took part in the marches and parades this year. As sociologist Denis Volkov puts it, Moscow views their participation as a response to meetings of protest against it (intersectionproject.eu/ru/article/society/mifologizaciya-pobedy). The Immortal Regiment program has not only involved millions of Russians but is now being extended to other countries as well, and this year its events took place in “more than 70 countries,” nominally autonomously popular but in fact organized by the Russian state and thus forming, Shtepa suggests, “a kind of ‘new Comintern.’” The Putin regime is trying to use this cult against the West, presenting itself as the only true anti-fascist force even as it behaves in a fascistic way with its open celebration of war and conflict, something that marks a clear and disturbing departure from Soviet times, the After Empire editor say In Brezhnev’s time, this was a holiday “with tears in one’s eyes and the main slogan was ‘as long as there isn’t a war,’ today everything has been turned upside down. It has become fashionable to dress young children in Red Army uniforms and propagandists shout almost in ecstasy ‘we can do it again!’” “It is possible,” Shtepa argues, “that the growing absurdity will blow up this campaign from within. Poet and publicist Aleksey Shiropayev suggests what will happen if the cult of ‘the Great Victory’ disappears: ‘Everything – personalities, peoples and regions will be able to reconsider their situation and have a chance at a new fate” (afterempire.info/2018/05/09/cult/). That is a danger that Putin and his regime will do everything they can to counter, Shtepa says; and it is clear that they will seek to impose “‘victory mania’” on the population as long as they can lest everything they care about disappear as it did the last time the peoples of this region turned away from celebrations of the past and began to focus on the future.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Measure of Kremlin’s Solicitude to World War II Veterans – German Vets Get 20 Times what Russian Ones Do
Paul Goble Staunton, May 12 – Many Russian commentators have pointed out that Vladimir Putin celebrates the Soviet contribution to victory over Nazi Germany but that his government doesn’t pay much attention to the rapidly thinning ranks of Red Army veterans who actually fought in that conflict but remain in Russia (e.g., kasparov.ru/material.ph p?id=5AF08382EE232). Today, Moscow’s Novyye izvestiya newspaper provides incontrovertible documentation of this, citing the Open World Foundation’s research on what World War II veterans are paid in various countries around the world. Russia does not rank well (newizv.ru/news/society/12-05-2018/ubiystvennye-tsifry-kak-zhivut-uchastniki-vtoroy-mirovoy-v-raznyh-stranah). Now that the parades and salutes “in honor of Victory Day” are over, Novyye izvestiya says, “it is the proper time to settle accounts. But they are disappointing. The veterans of World War II in Russia are becoming ever fewer, and they are living ever worse, even though the size of military parades is becoming greater.” Germany, which lost the war, currently pays its World War II veterans as much as 600,000 rubles (10,000 US dollars) a month. It even pays the widows of those combatants up to 60,000 rubles (1,000 US dollars) every 30 days. And Red Army veterans who are fortune enough to live in Germany get social compensation of 37,500 rubles (650 US dollars) monthly.. World War II veterans in Great Britain receive approximately the same amount as do German ones. In the United States, World War II veterans are paid 162,000 rubles (2700 US dollars) each month. They are looked after by a special ministry which maintains hospitals and homes for them at government expense. In France, veterans of World War II get a special supplement to their ordinary pensions amounting to 45,000 rubles (750 US dollars) monthly. They also are allowed to retire five years earlier – at 60 – than are all other French nationals. And in Israel, veterans of World War II, “including those born in the USSR,” receive pensions of 90,000 rubles (1500 US dollars) each month, something they can add to their other pensions including the 1,000 rubles (16 US dollars) that Moscow sends to Red Army veterans now living in the Jewish State. Russia trails far behind, Novyye izvestiya continues. Its World War II veterans despite government hype get only 30,000 rubles (500 US dollars) a month and those who served in the rear during that conflict receive only 16,500 rubles (275 US dollars) monthly, figures that hardly allow them to live out their time in worthy conditions. The paper adds as an addendum the following damning fact: Germany has taken on itself responsibility to pay pensions to all those who suffered in Nazi concentration camps and their relatives as well. Almost needless to say, no former prisoner of the Stalinist camps who now lives in Russia gets anything at all.

Russia / Russophone Reports


The Week In Russia: Crossing To Crimea, Stumbling On Sanctions
President Vladimir Putin got some extra mileage from Moscow’s takeover of Crimea by opening a bridge to the peninsula, while Russia struggled to respond to the latest U.S. sanctions without harming…
Kremlin Says Proposal For Three Presidential Terms Not On Putin’s ‘Agenda’
The Kremlin said on May 11 that a suggestion by Chechen lawmakers to change the constitution to allow President Vladimir Putin to serve another presidential term when his current term ends in 2024 is not on Putin’s agenda.
Putin Three-Peat? Russian Duma Gets Proposal To Scrap Presidential Term Limits
A proposal submitted to the Russian parliament would scrap the constitutional limit of two consecutive presidential terms, enabling Vladimir Putin to remain in power past 2024.
Putin 4.0: Five Issues Facing Russia’s President In The Next Six Years
Russian political analysts identify the challenges facing Vladimir Putin as he sets off on his fourth term in the Kremlin.
Putin Vs. Pensions: Will His Reelection Finally Free Him To Tackle Looming Crisis?
After years of warnings about Russia’s demographic problems, the Kremlin is girding itself to take on an issue that is both politically fraught and fiscally critical: reforming the country’s troubled pension system.
Russia’s Kudrin May Get Top Audit Chamber Post
Longtime former Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin may soon become the head of Russia’s Audit Chamber, bringing him closer to President Vladimir Putin’s government after years without a state position.
President Signs Decree To Restructure Russian Government
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree restructuring the government.
Russia Blocks Reporter Who Broke Doping Scandal From Covering World Cup
Russia has denied a visa request to report on next month’s soccer World Cup events from a German investigative journalist who broke the Russian doping scandal story.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Separatist Ideas Spreading in Ethnic Russian Regions from Murmansk to Vladivostok
Paul Goble Staunton, May 16 – Because the Soviet Union disintegrated along ethnic lines, most observers inside the Russian Federation and abroad focus on separatist ideas and movements in the non-Russian republics and thus miss one of the most interesting developments in Vladimir Putin’s Russia: separatist ideas in predominantly Russian areas. The current author has argued that “regionalism is the nationalism of the next Russian revolution” because Moscow has treated Russian regions as bad or worse than it has treated non-Russian ones and because Russian ethno-national identity is far weaker than many in Moscow and elsewhere believe (afterempire.info/2016/12/28/regionalism/). There are many websites reflecting the views of Russian regionalists, but often those who run them have been forced to emigrate by the Russian authorities. As a result, the best evidence for the spread of separatist ideas in predominantly ethnic Russian regions is often provided by those who attack these ideas, both Russian officials and Russian nationalist writers. This week offers two such examples, one, the trial and conviction of an unnamed Russian regionalist in Murmansk (afterempire.info/2018/05/15/free-murmansk/ and sud51.com/criminal/276) and the second, an attack on what the Russian commentator calls “sleeping separatism” in the Russian Far East (stoletie.ru/vzglyad/spashhij_separatizm_782.htm). Earlier this spring, a resident of Severomorsk was tried on charges of threatening the territorial integrity of Russia, charges equivalent since 2014 to extremism, by calling for a referendum on the separation of Murmansk oblast from Russia. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison on a suspended basis as well as 18 months of probation. One of the interesting aspects of this case is that local judges refused to give the man’s name lest they attract attention to him. Meanwhile, at the other end of the Russian Federation in Vladivostok, Igor Romanov, editor of the Russian nationalist Bereg Rus portal writes that “the separatist threat in the Primorsky region and in the Far East is completely real but now it is hidden and in a sleepy state…” Because the United States and other foreign powers want to gain access to and control over the natural resources of Russia east of the Urals, he says, any weakening of Russian power in the enormous regions will “instantly” lead this sleeping enemy to awaken and threaten Russian control there. At present, Romanov says, “our people has been weakened.” Many in Moscow and Vladivostok are more interested in getting money than in defending their country. And such people have too much influence, he says. They need to be replaced with real patriots “for whom service to the Fatherland is a calling.” Otherwise, there will be a disaster ahead.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Demographic Problems Larger and More Intractable than Putin Thinks
Paul Goble Staunton, May 11 – Vladimir Putin’s directive to the Russian government to dramatically increase over the next six years both life expectancy and the number of births, neither of which is achievable without the kind of investment unlikely to be forthcoming, have had the effect of refocusing Russian public attention of the country’s demographic problems. They are both numerous and large, with some well-known like the shifting ethnic balance and the decline in overall population figures but with many others less obvious but with potentially equally serious consequences. Despite this having been a holiday week, three of these received more attention that has typically been the case. First, Putin’s call to cut the number of poor in Russian by 50 percent may be far harder than he thinks. According to a new study by scholars a the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, the number of poor is almost twice the figure that Rosstat gives (social.ranepa.ru/novosti/item/issledovanie-ranhigs-podhody-k-socialnoj-podderzhke-v-usloviyah-mnogokriterialnogo-opredeleniya-bednosti). According to the state statistical agency, about 13 percent of Russians – some 20 million people – are poor; but according to the Russian Academy, the actual figures are 25 percent and 36 million, nearly twice as many. Consequently, if Putin’s goals were achieved, it would only mean that the real number of poor Russians would equal the number Moscow now gives out. But these figures on poverty carry with them additional bad news as far as the country’s demographic future is concerned. They show that households with children are more likely to be poor than are those without and that the more children in the household, the greater its probability of being poor. That means Putin faces a Hobson’s choice: if he pushes to eliminate poverty, he almost certainly will drive down the fertility rate of Russian women and hence the possibility of stabilizing the population; but if he decides to try to boost family size, given Russia’s current social support system, he will almost certainly increase the number of Russian poor. Second, like other countries in the industrialized world, Russia faces a cadres crisis, somewhat later than those in Western Europe but somewhat sooner than those elsewhere. That is, Russia soon won’t have enough people to fill key jobs in health care, education, scholarship and so on (ridus.ru/news/276070). By 2030, experts at the Korn Ferry Hay Group say, Russia will have a shortage of people ready to fill high-skill jobs equal to 2.8 million people, 7.4 percent of the total number of specialists. Their absence, the experts continue, “will cost the Russian economy 297.1 billion rubles (4.8 billion US dollars) annually. The shortage of such people will make it harder to boost economic growth, promote larger family size by providing more social support, and reduce the chances that any of Putin’s “directives” to the government this time around will be achieved. And third, Russia faces a large and growing brain drain, in which its most talented people choose to move abroad to live and work. There are more than 2.7 million people abroad who were born in Russia, slightly more than half of whom have retained their Russian passports (iq.hse.ru/news/219087648.html). Their absence too is a drag on the Russian economy, scholars say. In principle, some of them could be attracted back by higher wages or interesting career possibilities. But some will return, according to new research, only if the political system in Russia becomes more open and less repressive. While moving in that direction would help Putin toward the achievement of his goals, it is probably the single direction one can say with near certainty that he is unlikely to choose to pursue.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Being a Historian an Increasingly Dangerous Profession in Russia, Agora Study Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 11 – For more than a century, Russia has been described as a country with an unpredictable past. The authorities Soviet and now post-Soviet keep changing the national narrative, and those who study the past and fail to keep up with the twists and turns in the Kremlin line risk repressive actions of various kinds. Yesterday, the Agora rights organization published a report on the dangers Russian historians increasingly face. The group’s leader, Pavel Chikov, said that the most dangerous subject for historical research is World War II and the role of the USSR in it, given how central that is to Kremlin officials (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AF3FFA5A0CD6). Over the last decade, the report said, criminal charges have been brought against 17 historians for their discussion of the war. One of these cases was dismissed because of the statute of limitations, but the only 16 scholars were found guilty. And that is just one of the ways, the report, Russia Against History, says, historians were punished. The government also engaged in 41 acts of censorship on historical issues, seven efforts to revise the work of scholars, numerous acts of obstruction of access to archives, and routine prohibition of the use of materials the scholars found in government repositories (sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/discussions/2018/05/d39337/). The situation has gotten worse over the last six years, the Agora experts say. In a separate report, they note that the number of people charged with wearing prohibited symbols has increased by nine times and that over this period 6622 people have been punished, an average of “more than 100 each month (novayagazeta.ru/news/2018/05/10/141552-pravozaschitniki-zafiksirovali-100-faktov-presledovaniya-za-vyskazyvaniya-na-temu-istorii). The authors of the main Agora report say that in recent years, the Russian authorities have increased their efforts to impose a single conception of Russian history in almost all its period but especially during World War II and that their main weapon in that regard has been the use of the provisions of the anti-extremist legislation. Unfortunately, they conclude, “there are no signs that Russian courts, police, prosecutors, and investigators are prepare to consider and apply in practice internationally recognized principles of freedom of historical discourse. And consequently, one should expect the further increase in the number of criminal cases and administrative arrests” of Russian historians.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Sislibizm’ is Putin System’s Dangerous and Deceptive Ideology, Illarionov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 13 – Many still say that the Putin regime lacks an ideology, but in fact from the very beginning it has had one, Andrey Illarionov says. It is sislibizm, a contraction of “systemic liberalism,” that refers to the use of ostensibly liberal rhetoric for the justification of a fundamentally anti-liberal regime. Specifically, the Russian commentator writes on the Kasparov.ru portal today, “sislibizm is an ideological trend which uses quasi-liberal and completely liberal rhetoric for the justification of illiberal political practice and the strengthening of an anti-liberal political regime” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AF7BEAF84D46). According to Illarionov, “the most important aspect of sislibizm is a servile attitude (passing at times to deification) of the state in general and the current Russian state in particular. The supporters of sislibizm are distinguished by a rare ability to distort facts” and to misread situations always to their own benefit. If this were only an intellectual trend, it would be unfortunate but easy to dismiss, the commentator continues. But unfortunately, it is wrapped up with state policy in ways that mislead many as to what the state is actually about and how Russians and others should react to it. He develops his argument by examining the works of Moscow scholar Yekaterina Schulmann in general and her discussion of the Cossack attacks on demonstrators in Moscow and in the regions. The latter is far more immediately important and instructive as to how Russians should evaluate the regime and react to its increasingly authoritarian actions. According to Illarionov, Schulmann confuses here readers by conflating two different means of the term “paramilitaries.” Some like the militia and the police are “undoubtedly completely legal formations.” But there is another kind, not recognized by the state and even in conflict with it, like the Ichkeria forces in the 1990s or the Caucasus imamate more recently. And then there are the Cossack groups “which beat demonstrators on the streets of Russian cities on May 5 of this year … Naturally, they were legal from the point of view of the current authorities which not only did not conduct military actions against them but even provided them necessary support.” The key fact is this: “In a free society, people simply aren’t beaten. If people are beaten … then this is not a free society and not a hybrid regime as Schulmann likes to assert. This is an authoritarian regime.” And if the Cossacks are acting without reference to any law, then “this is not simply an authoritarian regime but a bandit authoritarian regime, not a hybrid one.” But that is not the worst aspect of those like Schulmann who reflect the ideology of sislibizm. The worst is the ease with which they fall into double standards so that they can appear to be criticizing something in one place that they in fact support in others. Schulmann has expressed outrage about Cossack actions in Moscow but supports the use of Cossacks in Krasnodar and Stavropol krays where supposedly it is completely justified by local conditions. For her and others who share her views, “beating citizens with whips in Moscow is not comme il faut. This produces a large quantity of negative headlines and bad pictures for the inauguration of our new beloved by all president. But to beat citizens with whips in the south of Russia is completely justified because there the political culture is different.” That is outrageous and dangerous because if criminal actions are allowed in one place, they can easily spread to others. The only good thing about the Cossacks’ application of whips against the protesters is that because the Cossacks aren’t a state agency, they can be challenged in court more easily and opposed by other “paramilitary” forces who can defend the protesters. The Russian regime has thus produced its worse nightmare: an infuriated population ready to take force into its own hands because the government is using or allowing to be used illegal force against it. Without the organization of such self-defense groups, the opposition will find it “impossible” to advance toward “a genuinely free society.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: 50 Times as Many Russians Know about a Meeting than Take Part in It, Ex-Navalny Aide Says
 
Jehovah’s Witnesses & Russia: U.S. Stands Up to Persecution | National Review
The U.S. mission to the OSCE has behaved in a way that should make Americans proud.
Over 400 legal entities, 200 Russians slapped with U.S. sanctions – State Duma speaker | UNIAN
Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin says more than 400 legal entities and over 200 citizens of the Russian Federation have already been slapped with U.S. sanctions. Today, the State Duma will consider a package of bills on retaliatory measures to U.S. sanctions.
Police Raids Reported Against Jehovah’s Witnesses In Russia
Officials from the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization say Russian law enforcement officers have carried out “mass searches” on members’ homes in the Urals region of Orenburg and in …
Anchor Of Navalny LIVE Online TV Channel Detained
Police in Moscow have detained an anchor of the Navalny LIVE online television channel over the May 5 antipresidential protest organized by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, who is also the ow…
European Court Rules Russia Unlawfully Refused To Issue Passport To Navalny
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Russia to pay opposition politician Aleksei Navalny 2,000 euros ($2,400) in compensation for what it ruled was the unlawful refusal to issue hi…
Russian Duma Approves Anti-Sanctions Bill In First Reading
The Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, has approved in its first reading a bill which provides for the jailing for up to four years of Russians who adhere to economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
Russian Lawmakers Consider Making It A Crime To Observe Foreign Sanctions
Draft legislation in the Russian parliament calls for the jailing of any person or representative of an organization in the country who goes along with sanctions imposed by foreign entities, Russia…
‘Not Their Business To Bomb Voronezh’: Russian Lawmakers Gut Sanctions Bill Targeting U.S.
Russian lawmakers came out swinging last month with proposals to ban a raft of U.S. goods and services, including pharmaceutical products. But following criticism from a range of camps, the languag…
Garbage Truck Driver Shot, Injured Near Disputed Dump Outside Moscow
Russian authorities say a garbage truck driver was shot and injured near a landfill outside Moscow that has triggered high-profile protests by locals who say it is emitting toxic fumes.
Moscow Theater Director Released From Custody After Hospitalization
Russian investigators have decided to free the hospitalized former director of Moscow’s embattled Gogol Center theater from pretrial detention.
Ahead Of World Cup, Rights Watchdog Points To Repression, Discrimination In Russia
The upcoming football World Cup organized by Russia will take place amid “the worst human rights crisis in Russia since the Soviet era,” Human Rights Watch said on May 15.
Navalny Gets 30 Days In Jail For Anti-Putin Protests
A Moscow court has ordered opposition politician Aleksei Navalny to be jailed for 30 days over nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow Grants Visa To ‘Undesirable’ German Journalist, But Will He Be Able To Report On World Cup?
Moscow has backed down from an attempt to block a German reporter who broke the Russian doping scandal from entering the country during the World Cup. But Hajo Seppelt tells RFE/RL it not yet clear what he will be able to actually report.
Why a gory Holocaust film is a blockbuster in Russia – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post
Sobibor has made a huge splash in Russia, but now, Poland and the Netherlands have worked to exclude Russia from a committee planning a new museum on the grounds.
World Cup Snapshot: Nizhny Novgorod Residents Wonder If The $1.1 Billion Was Well Spent
It’s one of 11 Russian cities hosting next month’s FIFA World Cup. And it’s spent over $1 billion in preparations. But locals in Nizhny Novgorod are uncertain exactly what they’ll be left with afte…
Richard Pipes, Scholar Of Russian History, Dies At 94
Richard Pipes, a renowned U.S. historian of Russia and an aide to former President Ronald Reagan, has died at the age of 94.
Russia Searches for U.S. Plane That Vanished Mysteriously in World War II
The U.S.-made Catalina seaplane crashed in 1945, but it was not piloted by an American.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Armenian Government Conducts First Shake-Up Under Pashinian
The Armenian government has conducted its first major shake-up since former protest leader Nikol Pashinian became prime minister on May 8, firing the country’s top police chief and its national sec…
Azerbaijan Warns Armenia It’s Ready For ‘Large-Scale Military Operations’
Azerbaijan has warned Armenia that it is prepared for “large-scale military operations” and says that comments by its neighbor’s new leadership about the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region are “unacc…
Pashinian Assures Putin ‘Strategic Partnership’ Not In Doubt
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for what he called Moscow’s “balanced position” amid the political upheaval that brought him to power in Yerevan…
New Armenian Prime Minister Assures Putin Of ‘Strategic Alliance’
Armenia’s new Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for what he called Moscow’s “balanced position” amid the political upheaval that brought him to power in Yerevan on May 8, and reassured him that the “strategic alliance” between the countries is not in doubt. During a meeting in the Russian city of Sochi on May 14, Putin wished Pashinian success and said he hopes that bilateral ties “will develop just as steadily as they have up to now.” Putin emphasized that Russia is Armenia’s largest trade and security partner, and that he expects the two countries to continue backing each other at the United Nations and in other international organizations.
Turkish Leader Willing To Discuss Diplomatic Ties With Armenia
The Turkish prime minister has said his country is willing to consider an offer by new Armenian leader Nikol Pashinian to establish diplomatic relations and ease tensions between the longtime bitte…
Uzbekistan’s Mirziyoev Meets Trump In ‘Historic’ White House Visit
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev is set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, testing the waters in Washington as he makes changes in a Central Asian nation long isolated by…

Belarus Reports


Japanese Man Jailed In Belarus For Arms Smuggling To Be Released
A Japanese military-history buff who is in prison in Belarus on arms-smuggling charges will be released in days, his relatives say.
Belarusian ‘Chainsaw Killer’ Gets New 22-Year Prison Sentence
A Belarusian teenager serving a 15-year prison term after being convicted of killing a woman with a chainsaw at a shopping mall has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for attempted murder in a se…
#MeToo In Belarus: Ex-Teammates Bolster Korbut’s Sexual-Assault Charges Against Coach
Several former Soviet gymnasts say they were sexually abused by their former coach, who gymnastics legend Olga Korbut has accused of raping her.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports


UAWire – Moldovan President Dodon opposes withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria
Moldovan President Igor Dodon does not support the demand of parliamentary spokesman Andrian Candu that Russian forces should withdraw from …



Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


From Russia With No Love Lost – WSJ
Anti-Putin crusader Bill Browder on his disillusionment with Moscow’s leader and his tangles with the man behind the Trump dossier.
Egypt Denounces Survey On Disputed Border By Russia’s RT Network
Egypt has denounced a poll by Russia’s state-funded RT network asking readers whether a disputed Red Sea border territory belongs to Egypt or Sudan.
Iraq election: Prime minister trails rivals – BBC News
A controversial cleric is set for a stunning comeback, overtaking the prime minister’s bloc.
Time bomb in the Middle East
If it did not have a special status for the three monotheistic religions, Palestinians, Jews, and the Middle East, as well as the international community of nations, the transfer of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ought to be a matter that should only concern the American and Israeli governments.
Egypt denounces Russia Today poll on disputed territory | Reuters
Egypt has protested to Moscow after a Russian state-affiliated broadcaster organized a survey over ownership of a disputed Red sea border triangle claimed by Sudan.
Taking aim at Turkey, lawmakers propose recognizing Armenian genocide | The Times of Israel
Two MKs submit bills calling on Israel to acknowledge massacres carried by Ottoman forces and hold annual memorials
As Turkey tensions rise, Israeli lawmakers push to recognize Armenian genocide as diplomatic revenge – Israel News – Haaretz.com
Long stalled due to the sensitivity of Israeli-Turkish relations, politicians aim to put Erdogan in his place
Intel Minister Katz: Israel helped Turkey thwart ISIS attacks – Middle East – Jerusalem Post
Katz made the statement at an intelligence conference in Tel Aviv.
Bucking trend, Israeli Jews becoming less religious, new study shows – Israel News – Haaretz.com
While percentage of ultra-Orthodox will continue to increase due to high fertility rate, that growth will be tempered by large number of religious Jews turning secular
‘There’s a new sheriff in town’: U.S. officials say Jerusalem embassy move was long overdue – Israel News – Haaretz.com
U.S. Ambassador David Friedman says campaign reaction shows that the decision is ‘single most popular thing’ Donald Trump has done since becoming president
Overrun and outnumbered, special ops soldiers fought to the end in deadly Niger ambush
In the months since the Oct. 4 ambush, U.S. Africa Command has conducted an extensive investigation to answer two questions: What were those service members doing there, and why didn’t they have better support?
Police Name Slain Paris Terrorist Suspect ‘Born In Chechnya’
French authorities have identified the slain suspect in a deadly Paris knife attack as Khamzat Azimov, a naturalized French citizen who was born in Russia’s Chechnya region in 1997.
From Child Refugee To Alleged IS ‘Soldier’– A Closer Look At Khamzat Azimov
Investigators in France and Chechnya are trying to determine whether the Chechen-born man behind a Paris knife attack planned his rampage alone. RFE/RL has been talking to relatives and acquaintances of Khamzat Azimov about his background and possible ties to Islamic State militants.
Chechen Friend Of Paris Attacker Charged With ‘Associating With Terrorists’
A friend of a Chechen-born man who carried out a deadly knife attack in Paris was charged on May 17 with “associating with criminal terrorists” while two women were detained for questioning, French…
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
 
Erdogan’s Economic Plan? More Erdogan: Balance of Power – Bloomberg
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German soccer stars under fire for posing with Turkey’s Erdogan | Reuters
Germany’s DFB soccer federation and several German politicians have criticised two top national soccer players for posing for a photo with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose policies have come under fire in Europe.



Foreign Policy Reports


Morning mail: European council president condemns ‘capricious’ Trump | Australia news | The Guardian
Thursday: Donald Tusk savages US leader over Iran. Plus, what it’s like to live on welfare in Australia
EU leaders ready to offer Trump greater market access to avert trade war | Reuters
The European Union is ready to negotiate opening its markets wider to U.S. imports including cars in a bid to stave off a potential trade war with Washington, EU leaders said on Thursday.
Europe’s Total Failure to Resist Trump | The New Republic
While autocrats take advantage of the president’s foreign-policy chaos, America’s oldest allies are paralyzed by division and dependency.
U.S. Warns Russian-German Gas Pipeline Risks Triggering Sanctions
A senior U.S. diplomat is warning that a planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea raises security concerns and risks triggering U.S. sanctions.
EU Sanctions Five Who Helped Organize Russian Presidential Election In Crimea
The European Union on May 14 sanctioned five people who, according to the bloc, helped organize the Russian presidential election in the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea in March.
U.S. official: Russia-Germany gas pipeline raises intelligence concerns – media | UNIAN
The planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany raises U.S. intelligence and military concerns since it would allow Moscow to place new listening and monitoring technology in the Baltic Sea, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday. The United States also opposes the TurkStream land pipeline that would run through Turkey.
US criticizes Germany for cooperation with Russia in Nord Stream 2 construction, 112.international – US criticizes Germany for cooperation with Russia in Nord Stream 2 construction – 112.international
US criticizes Germany for cooperation with Russia in Nord Stream 2 construction
UAWire – US Ambassador to Germany: Nord Stream-2 is not in Europe’s interests
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell criticized the Nord Stream 2 project during an interview with Funke Mediengruppe. He stated that many …
WashPost: Massive Passport Fraud in Hungary, Perhaps Dozens Entered US Under False IDs | Newsmax.com
A program in Hungary that allows non-citizens to obtain a passport if they have documented ancestry and pass a language test may mean dozens could have used false passports to obtain entry to the U.S.
Victor Orban and Hungary Block EU Motion to Condemn Trump for Moving Embassy to Jerusalem
Russia’s “First Channel” Exposed Broadcasting Insolent Fake – To Inform is to Influence
[Original unedited title:] The network exposed the insolent fake of the Russian mass media about the head of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sunday, May 13, 2018, 12:04 Russian “First Channel” dedicated a separate story to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian origin, Christie Freeland , claiming that she was trying to hide her…
George Soros Group Leaves Hungary, Citing ‘Hate Campaign’ : The Two-Way : NPR
The Open Society Foundations, which promotes democracy and transparency, says it will exit Hungary amid an escalating dispute between Soros and the country’s right-wing government.
Minister: Zeman Hasn’t Hurt Czech Credibility ‘That Much’
Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky said President Milos Zeman did not damage his country’s credibility “that much” with statements that have been seen as supporting Kremlin positions. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Ray Furlong on May 14, he said the Czech Republic’s partners understood that the government makes policy while the presidency was more of a representative function.
Czechs Deny Asylum To Russian Convicted For Saying U.S.S.R. Collaborated With Nazis
A Russian auto detailer who fled the country after his conviction for a social-media post about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact has been denied asylum in the Czech Republic.
Europe Exposes Its Weakness to Russia and China in the Balkans – Bloomberg
Three times a week at 6:30 a.m., Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic sits down for his Russian class. The aim, he says, is to be able to chat as fluently with Vladimir Putin as he does with western leaders in English.
UAWire – German Intelligence: Russia supported Catalan separatists
Russia gave support to Catalan separatists before the referendum in October 2017, stated the President of the Federal Office for the Protection …
Bosnia Struggles With Thousands Of Migrants On New Route To Western Europe
Bosnia-Herzegovina is struggling to cope with an influx of thousands of migrants mostly from the Middle East trying to reach Western Europe that authorities and aid groups warn could develop into a…
Crime, Punishment, And Collective Memory In Serbia
It barely made news in Serbia when a court quietly released one of the paramilitary perpetrators of a signal atrocity against unarmed Albanians. (The views expressed in this blog post do not necess…
Israel Wins Eurovision Song Contest Ahead Of Cyprus, Austria
Israel has won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, beating out second-place Cyprus and third-place Austria at the annual pop-song festival seen by tens of millions of viewers around the world.
Portugal Hosting Eurovision Song Contest Final
Lisbon is hosting the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual europop song fest that draws tens of millions of viewers from around the globe.
‘Pressure Cooker’: Discontent Rises in Venezuela Military as Economy Dives – WSJ
As President Nicolás Maduro runs for re-election, shortages of food, evaporating salaries and desertions have turned the armed forces into a cauldron of conspiracies.
Chief Inspector Unexpectedly Quits UN Nuclear Watchdog
The chief inspector of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has resigned from the agency that conducts inspections in Iran to verify compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Pope Francis: Youth are lost in a ‘virtual world’ instead of reality
Pope Francis said Monday he is worried that youth are too enmeshed in a virtual world of cell phones and other technology, separated, in particular, from the real human contact experienced by performing works of mercy.
Strip the World’s Worst Actors of a Key Financial Tool – Defense One
The U.S. and its allies need to rip the veil of secrecy from the anonymous shell corporations that help drug dealers, terror groups, and kleptocratic …

Strategy / History / Capability Publications


Why Russia Can’t Build a Stealth Fighter (And Might Not Have To) | The National Interest Blog
Moscow has its own security needs—and stealth isn’t high on the list.
Stealth Fighter War: Russia’s Su-57 vs. America’s F-22 Raptor (Who Wins?) | The National Interest Blog
The best of the best go to war in the sky. 
This is why the US doesn’t export the F-22 – YouTube
The Air Force’s Elite Weapons School Has Given The F-35 A New Nickname – The Drive
It’s more common than not for U.S. military aircraft get unofficial nicknames that stick and that seems to have already occurred for the F-35.
Report: Subs Might Be ‘Invisible’ With Sound Bending New Technology | Newsmax.com
Radical new technology that bends sound waves around an object might render a submarine invisible to detection by sonar, according to Penn State University scientists.
The Navy gets a new electronic warfare environment for its F-35s
Given the dynamic nature of electronic warfare in today’s battlefield, solutions must undergo robust testing and simulation prior to deployment.
New approach for tackling fake news and online disinformation – To Inform is to Influence
BY TIM SANDLE The digital transformation of news has opened up a world of new information and has allowed many areas previously ignored to gain a wider profile. However, it has also increased the rate of ‘fake news’. The European Union has taken new measures. Digital news has mad news and reporting more accessible than ever…
Commandos Buying Thousands of Small Missiles That Pack A Bigger Punch Than Hellfires « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
As counterterrorism missions show no signs of slowing down and civilian casualties always a worry, the commando command is turning to a light, guided munition to chase down fast-moving targets.
DARPA has a full team to grab drones mid-air
The team trying to make DARPA’s airborne launch and land war drone concept a reality in 2019.
Air Force deployed mysterious drone to Afghanistan to catch terrorists planting roadside bombs
You may not have heard of Silver Fang, but aviation mishap data obtained by Military Times shows the drone has spent a lot of time in the Middle East.
Marines Want Armored Recon Prototypes By 2023: F-35 On Wheels Or FCS Redux? « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
It’s important to explore a wide range of options and not lock down requirements too early, Lt. Gen. Walsh said. (By contrast, FCS set precise objectives and only then looked to see if they were possible). “We’re trying to solve the problem of what is reconnaissance (and) counter-reconnaissance in the future,” he said, not simply replace an old vehicle with a new one.
Tank War: Russia’s Deadly Armata Tank vs. Israel’s Merkava (Who Wins?) | The National Interest Blog
This could happen. 
(99+) Trans-Intelligence VERSUS Humanity | Jacques Coulardeau – Academia.edu
(99+) The Post of Post-Truth in Post-Media. About Socio-Situational Dynamic Information | Adrian Mróz – Academia.edu
Earth Cooled by Half a Degree Celsius ’16-’18, NASA Data Finds | Newsmax.com
According to a RealClear Markets report on NASA data, the average temperature around the world fell 0.56 degrees Celsius between February 2016 to February 2018.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Winter Isn’t Coming, but HAL’s Grandkids Are
Paul Scharre, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War (W. W. Norton, 2018). The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has known some historical ups and downs. Breakthroughs and false hopes came in cycles, along with peaks and valleys of interest and funding. Those valleys of fiscal backing are known to
Google Grapples With ‘Horrifying’ Reaction to Uncanny AI Tech – Bloomberg
The most talked-about, futuristic product from Google’s developer show isn’t even finished — but it’s already stoking heated debate.
Spies Are Going After US Supply Chains, Intel Agencies Say – Defense One
As cyber defenses close the easier holes, foreign agents are looking to penetrate makers of parts and software.
A DC Think Tank Uses Fake Twitter Accounts And A Shady Expert To Reach The NSA, FBI, And White House – To Inform is to Influence
The Cybersecurity community has been discussing this heavily, all day.   </end editorial> ICIT bills itself as “America’s Cybersecurity Think Tank.” But BuzzFeed News found it’s running fake Twitter accounts and its top expert has questionable credentials. Posted on May 15, 2018, at 1:58 p.m. Craig Silverman BuzzFeed News Media Editor Earlier this year, leaders from the…
“The Nation” Attempts To Ameliorate Russian Information Warfare – To Inform is to Influence
I read the following article, shaking my head almost continuously.  The article was trying to make a point, but after completing the article, I still couldn’t figure it out. It felt like it was pro-Russian but there was no single glaring word or phrase. It seemed to be a subtle attempt to undermine legitimate efforts…
How to Spot a Russian Troll – To Inform is to Influence
This article is about as shallow as it can get, short on details, has no examples, and is a shining example of a sales pitch for a book.  This article seeks to capitalize the recent release of over 3,500 paid ads by Facebook, but it fails to satisfy the “so what” test. After reading it,…
Lawyer: Ex-CIA employee in cyber leak probe ‘deeply saddened’
Covering how the civilian federal government defends its networks and data from cyberattacks and insider threats.
Congressman Ro Khanna Deleting Pro-Russian Tweets – To Inform is to Influence
I am amazed at how Congressman Ro Khanna is mucking things up. Not once, but twice he has spewed Russian propaganda. Congressman Ro Khanna, Please Retract, Revise, And/Or Rethink Your Letter. Now the Congressman is deleting pro-Russian Tweets. “Russia is trolling America and they’re too stupid to see it. The worst part is they’re doing it at…
New Techniques From Russian Trolls To Avoid Detection Detected – To Inform is to Influence
This tweet from Conspirador Norteño – @conspirator0 is outstanding.  ht to Molly McKew for pointing this out. Read the whole thread, please. I tried to include the most pertinent tweets in this thread. Apparently, the Russian trolls and bots are using tactics, techniques and procedures to avoid detection by Twitter algorithms to designed to detect automated bots from spamming.  As Conspirador Norteño…
Is The Russian Troll Farm Playing Black Lives Matter DC And People’s World? – To Inform is to Influence
It is now 2018 but think back to 2016. We are only now seeing the evidence being published of how Russian trolls attempted to use racial divides to sow chaos and confusion inside the United States, to feed the flames of racist extremists, and to undermine the democratic process. Much, if not most, of Black Lives Matter…
Russian Troll Farm Hijacked American Teen Girls’ Computers for Likes – To Inform is to Influence
Google says the extension has been removed ‘from every user’s computer,’ but a Daily Beast examination found otherwise. KEVIN POULSEN 05.15.18 4:28 AM ET Online propaganda was phase one. Then came hijacking computers. The Kremlin-linked Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency took an ominous detour into malware distribution in the middle of the 2016…
What We Learned From Facebook Ads Bought by Russian Trolls | Time
House Democrats released over 3,500 Facebook ads Thursday purchased by Russians to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.
Russia Facebook Ads Used to Manipulate the Election – Rolling Stone
The House Intelligence Committee released the clearest glimpse yet at the Kremlin-backed social media campaign to influence the 2016 election
USA Today: We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Here’s what we found – To Inform is to Influence
Nick Penzenstadler, Brad Heath, Jessica Guynn, USA TODAYPublished 7:47 p.m. ET May 11, 2018 | Updated 1:07 p.m. ET May 12, 2018 The Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election overwhelmingly focused its barrage of social media advertising on what is arguably America’s rawest political division: race. The…
Zuckerberg won’t go to UK for data privacy testimony, despite threat of future arrest – The Verge
Facebook says that it won’t send Mark Zuckerberg to the UK to appear before a Parliamentary committee that threatened to force him to testify the next time he entered the country if he wouldn’t come willingly.
Justice Department and F.B.I. Are Investigating Cambridge Analytica – The New York Times
Federal prosecutors have sought to question former employees of the now-defunct political data firm and banks that handled its business.
Committee publishes Facebook answers – News from Parliament – UK Parliament
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee publishes Facebook’s response to its letter which put 39 outstanding questions to the company after evidence from Mike Schroepfer, the company’s Chief Technology Officer on 26th April 2018. This includes a series of annexes of documents requested from Facebook, including the non-disclosure agreements signed with Aleksandr Kogan and Christopher Wylie.
Cambridge Analytica under federal investigation: Report – CBS News
The political data firm announced earlier this month it is ceasing operations and filing for bankruptcy
myPersonality And Is Facebook’s New Privacy Stance Putting It On A Collision Course With Academia?
Even as Facebook takes steps to reign in mass academic harvesting of private user data, those efforts are running up against the reality of years of freewheeling harvesting and data sharing and the company’s historical reluctance to constrain academic misuse of its two billion users’ data.
Facebook Partners With Atlantic Council | Newsmax.com
Facebook is teaming up with the Atlantic Council to help stop misinformation in elections around the world.
Facebook teams up with Atlantic Council to fight foreign influence – Axios
The plan is to focus on monitoring for misinformation and foreign interference in specific geographic areas

US Domestic Policy Reports


The Russia Investigations: Another Oligarch Becomes Embroiled In The Imbroglio : NPR
Enter Viktor Vekselberg, the latest character to have a role in the Russia narrative. And how did information associated with Michael Cohen’s banking records fall into Michael Avenatti’s hands?
John McCain Says Vladimir Putin Is An ‘Evil Man, Intent On Evil Deeds’
“it was delusional to believe that Putin would ever be our democratic partner,” McCain wrote in his new book.
John McCain: ‘Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man’ – WSJ
In an excerpt from his new memoir, Sen. McCain discusses his longstanding opposition to the Russian strongman—and his own role in receiving ‘the Steele dossier’ about Donald Trump.
The ‘Election Collusion’ Was between Our Intelligence Community and Britain
By Clarice Feldman As I will explain, the widespread notion that Russia and Trump colluded to beat Hillary has long been demonstrable bunk. What seems more clear each day is that there was collusion between certain members of the U.S. and British intelligence communities to spy on the Trump campaign. This may explain, in large part, the reluctance of the Department of Justice to reveal what it knows publicly. After all — with rare exceptions — the two countries’ intelligence services have long had important information gathering and sharing agreements, and exposure of this may harm the traditional reciprocal relationship. Whether the British counterparts were hoodwinked into playing this role is still unclear. Maybe they were. On the other hand, with most of what they know about the U.S. electorate doubtless coming from the NYT and even more left-wing British media, they may well have done this willingly, believing the globalist Hillary had a sure shot at the presidency and this was a means of cementing a relationship with her.
Robert Gates on Presidential Management: Lyndon Johnson ‘Yelled,’ ‘Sweared’ | Newsmax.com
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says all presidents have their own management style and while Gates never spoke with staff as President Trump does, previous presidents have certainly yelled.
Russian company indicted by Mueller pleads not guilty to election meddling charges – To Inform is to Influence
In a surprising twist of events, an attorney for one of the three companies indicted by Robert Mueller showed up in court and pleaded not guilty.  What was initially a crowning achievement for Mueller is turning out to be a massive embarrassment, especially if the attorney, Michael Dubelier, demands the evidence against their client.  Former U.S…
India Russia news: India, Russia working on roadmap to circumvent new US sanctions | India News – Times of India
India News: India may have virtually rejected the mega joint production of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft called Sukhoi T-50 or PAK-FA with Russia, but sev
“We’re Paying a Heavy Price“: Senator Ben Cardin Takes on Trump’s “Sledgehammer” Foreign Policy | Vanity Fair
With tensions rising around the world, Cardin explains what worries him about Iran and North Korea, why the last Democratic midterms were “disastrous,” and how James Mattis could save us all.
The Russia Temptation – POLITICO Magazine
Scandal politics is always very tempting, and the left, especially TV personalities like Rachel Maddow, have given in to it utterly
Indicted Russian Firm Accuses U.S. Of Inventing ‘Make-Believe Crime’
A Russian company that was among the first to be indicted in the U.S. investigation into alleged election meddling has accused Special Counsel Robert Mueller of inventing a “make-believe crime” whi…
Lobbyist Claims Trump Jr. ‘Lost Interest’ During Key Meeting With Russian Lawyer
A Russian-American lobbyist has told congressional investigators that U.S. President Donald Trump’s eldest son seemed uninterested and bored by information brought by a Russian lawyer at a critical…
U.S. Senate Panel Finds Russia Worked To Aid Trump In Election
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says it agrees with an assessment by the country’s intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of hurting the …
UAWire – Russia to start printing money to assist billionaires under sanctions
The Russian government has already given assistance to sanctioned billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s Renova Group, and is currently working on …
US Air Force rescue units move closer to Africa and Eastern Europe
On April 20, Air Force pararescue airmen conducted their final jump over Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, before their units — the 56th and 57th Rescue Squadrons — permanently moved to Aviano Air Base, Italy.
A Reckoning for Obama’s Foreign-Policy Legacy – Defense One
Veterans of the last administration are learning a hard lesson: Policies constructed by executive order and executive agreement are just as easily …
Congress Wrestles with Foreign Infiltration of US Universities – Defense One
The latest NDAA tries to stop potential adversaries from recruiting talent and stealing innovative technology on campus.
Trump’s Lawyer Says Special Counsel Doesn’t Expect To Indict President
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has told the White House that he does not expect to indict President Donald Trump even if he comes up with evidence of a crime in investigating Russia-Trump ties…
U.S. Judge Refuses To Dismiss Case Against Trump’s Ex-Campaign Chairman
A U.S. judge has refused to dismiss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on the grounds that it has nothing to do with alleg…
Inaction in U.S. and Ukraine keeping Manafort cases in limbo: prosecutor – Reuters | UNIAN
Legal red tape in Ukraine and a lack of help from the United States have left Ukraine’s investigations of former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort in legal limbo, senior prosecutor Serhii Horbatiuk told Reuters on Friday. Horbatiuk said Ukraine had sent repeated requests to Washington for help, most recently in March.
‘Who Lost Russia?’ Isn’t Just an Academic Debate – Bloomberg
The answer could help the U.S. avoid alienating other countries.
Mattis hints at new Navy aircraft carrier strategy to throw off Russia and China in a potential future war – Military & Aerospace Electronics
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hinted at major changes in the U.S. Navy’s way of deploying aircraft carriers in comments to the House Armed Services Committee. Business Insider reports.
The U.S. Takes Aim at Russia With a Resurrected Navy Fleet – Bloomberg
A new focus on the North Atlantic sends a strong message but also risks a major incident.
U.S. Senate confirms Haspel to be first woman CIA director – media | UNIAN
The U.S. Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday to be director of the CIA, ending a bruising confirmation fight centered on her ties to the spy agency’s past use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques. Haspel was approved despite stiff opposition over her links to the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation methods.

 

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