Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (37)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Some quite remarkable reports emerging on Russia’s internal decay. Momentum gathering on Transnistria. Ukraine reports dominated by further escalation, Russia’s strangling of the Azov Sea. Much on China, of much interest.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


Russia threatens to ‘strongly retaliate’ if US establishes Space Force — forgets they already have their own – To Inform is to Influence
Three times Russia has militarized space already: Troops of Anti-Missile and Anti-Space Defence (PVO) in 1967 Russian Space Forces in August of 1992 and again in 2001 Russian Aerospace Forces in 2015 But now Russia chooses to be outraged. </end editorial> BY ALEX HOLLINGS 06.22.2018  Although Russia has stood up space oriented branches of their armed forces on…
Pentagon Intelligence Chief: Russia And China Will Have Weapons in Space ‘In the Near Future’ – Defense One
The Defense Intelligence Agency’s director says the U.S. lead in space is diminishing and tomorrow’s skies will be filled with enemy robot satellites.
Putin leading xenophobic movement out to damage U.S., Hillary Clinton says | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as the leader of a xenophobic movement that wants to weaken the United States’ traditional alliances and undermine democracy, former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Friday.
Clinton calls Putin leader of a ‘xenophobic movement,’ and Russian meddling a threat to ‘western democracy’ | Fox News
Hillary Clinton warned Friday that Russian interference in the 2016 election is a part of a “white- white-supremacist and xenophobic movement” headed by Vladimir Putin to undermine western democracy.
Mattis Says U.S. Needs To ‘Up Its Game’ In Arctic Amid Russian, Chinese Moves
The United States needs to “up its game” in the Arctic, which is an increasingly important region as global warming opens up new sea lanes and makes oil and mineral resources there more readily available, the U.S. defense secretary has said.


Outside EU, France launches crisis force with Britain, others | Reuters
France launched a military force with other countries including Britain outside the framework of the European Union on Monday, as Paris tries to keep London close to European defenses after Brexit.
Nine EU states sign off on joint military intervention force | World news | The Guardian
Nine EU member states have agreed to establish a European military force for rapid deployment in times of crisis, an initiative which has won the backing of the UK as it seeks to maintain defence ties after Brexit. Spearheaded by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the joint enterprise will allow national armed forces across Europe to coordinate and react swiftly together. Ministers from France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain and Portugal signed a letter of intent in Luxembourg on Monday. Since the election of its new government, Italy has backtracked on its initial support, but Rome has not ruled out the country’s future involvement.
Nine EU states to launch joint military force as Paris pushes for post-Brexit crisis defence group
Britain is to team up with France, Germany and other willing nations to launch an initiative to co-ordinate European military deployments outside the framework of the European Union.
Britain signs up to Macron military pact | UK | News | Express.co.uk
THE Ministry of Defence has signed up to a new European military force.


Europe and North America need to stay united – now more than ever | Jens Stoltenberg | Opinion | The Guardian
Political differences are putting Nato under strain, but all parties must realise that the transatlantic union makes us safer, says Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Head: No Guarantee Trans-Atlantic Alliance Will Survive | Military.com
The bonds between Europe and North America are under strain, the head of NATO warned.
Nato chief warns over future of transatlantic relationship | World news | The Guardian
Exclusive: Jens Stoltenberg says US and Europe must work to avoid breakdown in western unity
Russian sanctions are helping to prevent another Crimea, NATO’s Stoltenberg says
The secretary-general also said he had thanked President Donald Trump for securing bigger NATO budgets.
In Eastern Europe, U.S. Military Girds Against Russian Might and Manipulation – The New York Times
American soldiers and allies, on a military exercise in Poland and Lithuania, are ramping up to thwart Russian cyberattacks and information warfare.
NATO focuses on speed in the Baltics amid worries over Russia
Saber Strike, a U.S.-led NATO military exercise, was held last week amid concern about potential Russian aggression in Europe.
Pentagon names key defense challenges in case Russia invades EU | UNIAN
U.S. commanders are worried that if they had to head off a conflict with Russia, the most powerful military in the world could get stuck in a traffic jam. During at least one White House exercise that gamed out a European war with Russia, the logistical stumbles contributed to a NATO loss.
Pentagon names key defense challenges in case Russia invades EU | The Washington Post
Humvees could snarl behind plodding semis on narrow roads as they made their way east across Europe. U.S. tanks could crush rusting bridges too weak to hold their weight. Troops could be held up by officious passport-checkers and stubborn railway companies, according to The Washington Post. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/10164209-pentagon-names-key-defense-challenges-in-case-russia-invades-eu.html
NATO Will Outlive Trump (and Putin), Don’t Worry – Defense One
Before Trump heads back to Europe, remember that NATO isn’t the G-7 and military relations are much stronger than the political ones they often endure.
UAWire – Stoltenberg invites Poroshenko to NATO North Atlantic Council meeting
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg invited Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council of NATO that includes heads of state and government, as well as a high-level meeting of participants and partners of the Assistance Mission peacekeeping effort in Afghanistan. This was reported by the president’s press service. Stoltenberg and Poroshenko spoke by telephone on Tuesday and discussed preparations for Ukraine in connection with the NATO summit in July. They also talked about developments in the Donbas and the release of Ukrainian hostages, which Russia is holding in prisons in its own territory and in the occupied regions. “Petro Poroshenko informed the Secretary General about developments in the Donbas and stressed the importance of a UN mandate to place a multinational peacekeeping force in the occupied part of the Donbas. The Head of State stressed that Ukraine continues to move in the direction of Euro-Atlantic integration and to make reforms in the security and defense sector in accordance with NATO standards and with the practical assistance of the Alliance,” the report stated. On March 20, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó announced his intention to block Poroshenko’s participation in the NATO summit because of the Ukrainian law on education, which, according to Hungary, infringes on the rights of national minorities. Poroshenko replied that he was not going to cancel the trip. On June 22, following a meeting of the Hungarian-Ukrainian intergovernmental working group, Szijjártó said that Hungary will no longer block Ukraine’s participation in the July NATO summit, but will continue to block the political meetings of the Ukraine-NATO Commission.
UAWire – Kyiv: The situation in Crimea and Donbas will not prevent Ukraine from joining NATO
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia will not prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, as stated by the Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security Ivan Vinnik (part of Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity”). “This is a myth, created by Russian propaganda, that countries that are in involved in territorial claims cannot become subjects of NATO. I would like to remind you that Ukraine is not involved in a territorial conflict, we have the armed aggression of Russia, the result of which was occupation of part of our territory,” Vinnik said in the lobby of the Verkhovna Rada. According to him, Ukraine needs to “liberate these territories as required by the law on de-occupation (law no. 7163).” “NATO clearly delineates issues of armed conflict, armed aggression or any internal conflicts in the context of territorial claims,” Vinnik said. On June 21, the Verkhovna Rada adopted, in the second reading, bill No. 8068 in its entirety. This bill is related to the national security of Ukraine, according to which the fundamental national interests are, among other things, the integration of Ukraine into various European spheres, and gaining membership into the EU and NATO.
Eight Countries Military Intelligence Meet With Ministry of Defense of Ukraine – To Inform is to Influence
June 25, 2018 An international special event of such a level of representation was first held in Ukraine since the beginning of Russian armed aggression against our state Within a few days the International Forum “BLACK SEA INTELLIGENCE FORUM” was held at the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Participation in the event, in addition to the Ukrainian side, was taken by delegations of experts from the ministries of defense of eight countries of the world, headed by representatives of senior management. The forum is due to the significant deterioration in recent global and regional security through the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation and the need to find ways to resolve the situation by joint efforts of the countries of the region and the leading countries of the world. During the briefings, plenary meetings and panel discussions of the event, existing and potential threats to regional and world security were considered in the thematic areas. At the same time, one of the greatest threats to the national security of each of the countries-participants of the forum and global security was as a whole determined by the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation, in particular the increase of the Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine and the temporarily occupied Crimea, as well as the escalation of tension by the Russian side in the Black and Azov in the seas During the event, the method of preparing joint reports from several parties was actively used. In addition, the heads of delegations held a number of high-level bilateral and multilateral meetings. Participation in the forum was taken by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, General of the Army of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak, the chief of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General Vasily Burba, and representatives of the leadership of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Having analyzed the intelligence received by the participating countries in detail about the state and trends of the spread of existing and potential threats, the participants identified practical measures to counter the expansion of Russian aggression in the region and in the world.
UAWire – NATO to require its air forces to operate in all areas and conditions
NATO Joint Air Power (JAP) must be able to defend itself from the forces of its competitors and to foresee the growing role of cyber- and space- …
For the First Time in Its History, NATO Releases Joint Air Power Strategy
NATO Joint Air Power (JAP) plays a key role in supporting the accomplishment of NATO’s three core tasks – Collective Defence, Crisis Management and Cooperative Security – including the Alliance’s strengthened Deterrence and Defence posture, NATO’s efforts in Projecting Stability, and NATO’s role in the International Community’s fight against terrorism. A balanced and innovative approach to JAP, that understands, accepts and mitigates risks, will provide a coherent military capacity, enhancing the development of a credible and flexible NATO posture..
German air force in dire straits: chief of staff | Reuters
NATO member Germany’s air force is in dire straits and funds are urgently needed to modernize its weaponry and systems, the air force chief of staff said on Wednesday.
U.K. Royal Air Force Gearing Up For Combat Air Future | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week
UK Rapid Capability Office is speeding up the introduction of new capabilities.
Latvia’s experience on fighting propaganda on the eve of elections – How Latvia is going to fight Russian propaganda – 112.international
Latvia is actively preparing for Russia’s possible propaganda attacks, similar to those that took place before the elections in the countries of Western Europe and the US. Author : Gazeta Polska Codziennie Latvians are somewhat accustomed to the traditional means of Kremlin propaganda, therefore, operations in social media are considered a serious threat in the context of the upcoming elections
Baltic States, Poland To Link Power Grids To EU, End Russian Reliance
The Baltic states and Poland have signed an agreement to connect their power grids to the European Union network by 2025 in a bid to end their dependence on Russia dating back to the Soviet era.
Estonia orders South-Korean-built 155mm self-propelled howitzers – Defence Blog
Estonia has signed a contract with South Korean group Hanwha to acquire 12 K9 Thunder artillery systems, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Estonia announced on Tuesday. “This artillery procurement will bring Estonia’s defence capability to a new level and is one of the most significant steps in building up armoured manoeuvre capability,” said Col. Rauno Sirk, director of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI). “Estonia will have at its disposal a weapons system with the most powerful firepower yet, which is developed taking the needs of conscripts and reservists into account, and which is dependable and mobile in even extreme conditions.” The first howitzers are scheduled to arrive in Estonia in 2020, the ECDI announced. According to the agreement, South Korea’s company to supply twelve its K9 Thunder 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled tracked howitzer under a contract worth €46 million.
Navalny Supporter From Sochi Seeks Political Asylum In Sweden
Sochi opposition activist Dmitry Titkov, who is allied with Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, says he has asked for political asylum in Sweden.
Romania minister says country facing cyber-attacks, Russians – To Inform is to Influence
Russia is flexing its muscle all over Europe, much to everyone’s displeasure. The subtitle should be “How not to win friends in Europe”. How to make every country mistrust you.  How to irrevocably damage your reputation. How to use FIFA World Cup 2018 as cover for acting like an ass. </end editorial> Published: June 25, 2018…


German representative to NATO: Peacekeepers in Donbas cannot replace Minsk agreements – 28.06.2018 14:20 — Ukrinform News
UN peacekeeping mission should be deployed in eastern Ukraine, but it cannot be an alternative to the implementation of the Minsk accords.
Hungarian FM denies Moscow’s influence on Budapest’s policy | UNIAN
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has denied accusations that Budapest is acting under Russian influence on the issue of the Ukrainian educational law. Szijjarto stressed Hungary is not pro-Russian or pro-American, it is “Hungary First.”
Hungary is uncertain whether to block recognition of Ukraine as aspirant-country to NATO, 112.international – Hungary is uncertain whether to block recognition of Ukraine as aspirant-country to NATO – 112.international
Hungary is uncertain whether to block recognition of Ukraine as aspirant-country to NATO
UAWire – Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs: war with the Russia cannot be an excuse for Ukraine to violate the rights of Hungarians
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó stated that the war with Russia cannot be an excuse for Ukraine’s “violation of the rights …
Szijjarto names three conditions for Hungary to unblock NATO-Ukraine Commission | UNIAN
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has named specific requirements put forward by Budapest, the implementation of which will allow unblocking of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). The minister says that both the Ukrainian side and NATO Allies are aware of said requirements.
UAWire – Hungary names conditions necessary for Ukraine-NATO Commission to resume work
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has named three conditions under which Hungary would agree to unblock the activities of the Ukraine-NATO Commission. “The first condition [is that] the transitional period for the language of education should be extended until 2023, and during this time [Ukraine will] have to negotiate with the minority on what changes will be implemented. The second condition, which also fully meets the Venice Commission’s proposals, is that [the norm on the language of education] should not apply to private schools,” Szijjártó said in an interview with European Truth (Evropeiska Pravda). The third condition, he said, has already been fulfilled, as Ukraine has begun consultations with representatives of the Hungarian minority. The Minister does not rule out that Hungary could block not only the work of the Commission, but also the granting to Ukraine of the status of NATO Aspirant Country. “In addition, we will take into account the completion of the next round of consultations between the Minister of Education of Ukraine and the Hungarian minority, which is scheduled for the beginning of July,” the Minister said. On June 22, Szijjártó said that Hungary would lift the veto for a separate meeting of NATO leaders with the participation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, but that it would continue to block the work of the Ukraine-NATO Commission. Since autumn 2017, conflict between Ukraine and Hungary has continued over the language statute of the new law “On Education.” Budapest believes that it infringes the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry has, in response, begun blocking Ukraine’s participation in NATO events.
Hungary to not support Ukraine-NATO relations until amendments to education law – 112.international
Hungary to not support Ukraine-NATO relations until amendments to education law
Hungary agrees to Ukraine’s participation in NATO summit, but keeps blocking bilateral Commission | UNIAN
Hungary has officially waived its veto on the holding of a separate meeting of NATO leaders with the participation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, but continues to block the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC), that’s according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. The decision of Hungary to block political meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Commission remains in force.
UAWire – Hungary allows Ukraine’s participation in the NATO Summit
Hungary will no longer block Ukraine’s participation in the NATO Summit. However, Hungary’s decision to block political meetings of the Ukraine-NATO Commission remains in force, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated. “Recently I met with Mike Pompeo in Washington and I told him there that we are not against the NATO Summit with the participation of Ukraine, which will take place in July in Brussels. Security issues, including those concerning the Black Sea region, will be discussed,” Mukachevo.net cites Szijjártó as saying following a meeting of the Hungarian-Ukrainian intergovernmental working group on Ukraine’s Law of Education. Four ministers took part in it in the discussion: Ministers of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Liliia Hrynevych, and the Head of the Ministry of Human Capacities, Miklós Kásler. Klimkin stated that these meetings served as very important consultations on how to implement the new education law. According to him, the next consultations will take place in early July, since there are positive dynamics.


The Russian Military Is Neglecting Its Eastern Flank | War Is Boring
Дрейфующий контингент | Еженедельник «Военно-промышленный курьер»
Кардинально улучшилась внутренняя обстановка в армии, она перестала быть «всероссийским пугалом», причем для этого не понадобилась отмена призыва. Он должен остаться в основе отечественных военных традиций, только его сохранение может гарантировать безопасность страны, даже если сегодня на контракт люди стоят в очередь.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Officer Shortage in Russian Army Leads to Commissioning of Two Classes of Lieutenants This Year
Paul Goble Staunton, June 23 – Historically, the Russian military has commissioned a single class of lieutenants each year; but this year, because of changes in training arrangements for those in higher educational institutions and because of a shortage of officers in the Russian army, it is commissioning two classes, one last March and a second in October, Izvestiya reports. As a result, the Moscow paper continues, there will be approximately 2,000 newly-minted lieutenants entering service, “three times more than last year,” with experts insisting the “accelerated” program “will not reduce the quality of the preparation of officers” (iz.ru/757228/aleksandr-kruglov-bogdan-stepovoi/leitenantskie-pogony-polozhat-pod-novogodniuiu-elku). The defense ministry says it plans to have two classes next year as well but then to return to a single class in the following years once the shift in the preparation of officers enrolled in higher educational institutions from five years to four has been fully achieved. This four-year program represents a return to what was standard at the end of Soviet times. Many will likely see this boost in the number of new officers as an indication of the Kremlin’s future military plans. After all, as Izvestiya points out, “the last time” there were such additional classes was in 1999 and 2000 when the army needed more officers “for conducting the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Civil and Military Shipbuilding Collapsing
Paul Goble Staunton, June 23 – Russia’s shipbuilding sector, both civilian and military, has significantly contracted over the last four years and appears certain to continue that trend at least this year and next, according to a detailed new 73-page report prepared by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. The full report is available at dcenter.hse.ru/data/2018/06/03/Рынок продукции судостроения 2018.pdf. It has now been summarized at both iq.hse.ru/news/220398683.html and thinktanks.by/publication/2018/06/22/rossiya-rezko-sokraschaet-stroitelstvo-korabley.html). In 2014, the study says, Russian yards produced 252 large ships (those over 20,000 tons). In 2015, that number fell to 200; in 2016, to 168; and in 2017 to 150. The Higher School projects that it will produce 108 and that in 2019, it will launch only 79, less than a third of the number it completed only five years earlier. The number of civilian ships produced fell at a more rapid rate than the number of military ones, the report continues; but the latter number fell as well. Nonetheless, of the 770 ships produced in the last four years, 434 of them were for the Russian military, both the navy and other siloviki. In three of the five Russian shipyards, building vessels for the navy and for government projects like the Northern Sea Route now predominates, driving out civilian production which has been having a hard time attracting investors in any case. Russia now is not among the world leaders in shipbuilding. It lags far behind China, South Korea and Japan, which together produce more than 90 percent of the world’s commercial vessels. Russia in 2016, the Higher School of Economics study says, produced only 0.5 percent of them.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Coastal Ships Again Being Outfitted for Offensive Military Action, ‘NVO’ Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – Until very recently, ships in Russia’s coast guard fleet lost much of the offensive capability they had represented earlier; but now Moscow has changed course by rearming them and thus positioning these ships to support the regular Russian navy in wartime, Aleksandr Mozgovoy says. In today’s Novoye voennoye obozreniye, the independent journalist said that was symbolized by something that happened a year ago but that was little noted at the time: the coastal ships for the first time in years were not part of the June 30th Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg (nvo.ng.ru/realty/2018-06-22/1_1001_vmf.html). According to Soviet and Russian doctrine, the coastal defense ships were intended for transfer to the regular fleet during wartime. As a result, they were more heavily armed than they would have to be for coast guard duties. But as recently as a year ago, it appears they were no longer intended to support the navy. Now that appears to have changed. According to Mozgovoy, that shift reflected a worldwide pattern over the last 25 years; but it appears likely that Moscow has decided to go back to the Cold War model and arm these coastal ships so that they can support naval operations at sea and especially against land targets. He provides a detailed discussion of the ships in this class in support of his contention. If the Russian military analyst is correct, that means that many of the Russian coast guard-type vessels in the Sea of Azov which Ukrainian and Western analysts generally have viewed as something other than an offensive threat may now be carrying the kind of weapons that would allow them to support a landing on the Ukrainian littoral. That the Russians should want to recover this capacity for their coastal ships, Mozgovoy says, is no surprise. Western analysts are calling for a similar rearmament of their coast guard vessels. And so “undoubtedly” the new vessels for the FSB coastal service will carry far more weaponry that their immediate predecessors.
Russia to revive the Soviet project of a giant torpedo – Defence Blog
Russia has plans to revive project of development of super-power nuclear torpedoes, Shamil Aliyev, one of Russia’s leading specialist said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency. According to theRIA Novosti, citing the to scientist, in Russia revise the idea of academician Andrei Sakharov to create a super-powerful torpedo with a nuclear warhead. “Now there is a tendency to return to ideas that were not realized before. Now Sakharov’s views on the production of torpedoes 24 meters in length, 1.5 meters in diameter with a nuclear warhead and a range of 50 kilometers, are being re-examined, ” Shamil Aliyev said. It is worth recalling that in the Soviet Union were a project of super torpedoes for used against naval bases in the United States, as well as to strike the city located on the coast. The explosion of a bomb could form a giant wave – a tsunami destroyed everything on the coast and even far away from the coastline. Shamil Aliyev also noted that the idea in the USSR “was not realized because it did not work well, it was just that there was no money”.
Russian Navy finally accepts R-30 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile into service – Defence Blog
Following fourteen years of testing, the Russian Navy finally accepted into service the D-30 missile system including R-30 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, according to a 29 June statement by the TASS news agency. “The verification firing program, set by the military department, has been fully and successfully accomplished, the reliability of the Bulava has been proved, which removed all obstacles for the missile to be taken into service. The corresponding decision has been made, the necessary documents have been signed, ” reports TASS citing the source in the Russian military-industrial complex. The submarine-based R-30 Bulava (NATO reporting name: SS-NX-30) is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile making part of the D-30 launch system. The missile is designed to carry multiple warheads and has a range of around 9,500 kilometers. The Bulava has an Astro-inertial guidance with a Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system update. It has a CEP of 350 m. This missile was designed to overcome air defenses. For this role, it carries an array of decoys. Furthermore, RVs are capable of in-flight maneuvering and re-targeting, in order to outmaneuver hostile air defenses. TASS also noted that since 2005, about 30 test launches of the R-30 missile were carried out and about a third of them were accompanied by various technical problems. The last launch took place on May 22, 2018, when K-535 Yuri Dolgoruky submarine performed a successful salvo launch of four Bulava (SS-NX-32) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) from the White Sea.
Russian Aerospace Defence Forces receives 5th generation radars – Defence Blog
Russian Aerospace Defence Forces have received the new 59NE Protivnik-GE 3D decimetric band track data processing radar, said Russian defense ministry press service. According to the Russian defense minister’s press service, the 5th generation 59NE Protivnik-GE universal mobile three-coordinate radar station has been introduced in air defence units in the Samara region. “The radar is designed to control the space, detect air targets, determine their high-resolution coordinates (azimuth, distance, altitude), speeds and flight trajectories at long ranges and high altitudes. The station is able to operate under conditions of intense radio interference when being part of automated air defence control systems, rapid reaction forces and air traffic control systems,” the Defense Ministry’s press-service has said. In conditions of intense radio interference, the radar is able to give information simultaneously for guiding fighters and targeting anti-aircraft missile battalions without additional refinements. The airspace viewing height is up to several hundred kilometres.
New unit to counter UAV created in Russia Federation – Defence Blog
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced the creation of a new unit designed to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), said unit will be established in the motorized rifle complex of the Central Military District, stationed in the Kemerovo region. The new anti-UAV unit is formed within the 74th Motorized Fusiliers Brigade of the Kemerovo Oblast Guard. The new unit, made up of 50 military personnel specialized in air defense and electronics systems, will use Borisoglebsk 2 as a base system, which is a multi-functional electronic warfare (EW) system mounted on a MT-LB armoured vehicle, developed by Sozvezdie during a period of six years, as of February 2015 has been manufactured and delivered by UIMC to the Russian armed forces. It is designed to interrupt communications and GPS systems by controlling four types of single-point interference units. The main task of the anti-drone unit is the identification and neutralization of UAVs of various types. For its destruction, it will send the obtained information to the air defense units that will use portable anti-aircraft missile systems. This unit was created taking into account the combat experience obtained during anti-terrorist operations in the Syrian Arab Republic by the Russian army, it is expected that during the remainder of this year it will start its field tests reaching operational status in 2019. Gabriel Bazzolo quDron
Russia to set up military technopolis near Crimea | UNIAN
The Era military innovation technopolis of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will be created in the city of Anapa, Krasnodar Territory. The relevant decree was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
UAWire – Putin replaces the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet
Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced Admiral Aleksandr Vitko as the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. Vitko is a defendant in the …
UAWire – Russia warns of deteriorating security due to NATO drills in Baltic
Russia has a negative perception of the Ramstein Alloy military drills being carried out by the air forces of NATO and its partners over the …

Russia / Russophone Reports


How Russia Buys Influence – To Inform is to Influence
“Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not corrupt.” With these words, Anne Applebaum illustrates how Russia conducts their hybrid warfare in the 21st century, to include the corruption that enables Russia to still operate fairly freely. Russia is mistrusted by most countries and people, therefore they work in the grey zone of the law, in between legal and illegal. Most of it absolutely unethical and immoral, but not quite illegal. Putin has no shame. He realizes most people have a price. It is how that person is paid is the secret. </end editorial>
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Has the Disintegration of Russia Already Begun — and with China’s Help?’ Nemets Asks
Paul Goble Staunton, June 28 – Twenty-two years ago, Aleksandr Nemets, then a Russian scholar at the University of Minnesota, published a book, The Growth of China and the Prospects of the Eastern Regions of the Former USSR (New York, 1996), in which he predicted that a rapidly growing China would soon dominate Russia’s weakening eastern regions. In a commentary on the Kasparov portal today, the economist who now lives and works in New York says that for most of the last two decades events haven’t moved as quickly as he thought but that now they are accelerating in exactly the directions that he suggested long ago (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5B33D786A4D39). After making significant inroads economically in Siberia and the Russian Far East in the 1990s, Nemets says, Russia’s oil-price-driven recovery in the first years of this century allowed Moscow to restrain and even restrict Chinese penetration of those regions and Chinese companies pulled back. But with the economic crisis of 2008, that retreat was reversed. And China’s position became even stronger after February 2014 when the West imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. In May of that year, the analyst says, Russia even signed an agreement with China – “after 20 years of talks which began in 1994!” – on the construction of a gas pipeline from Eastern Siberia to China. Simultaneously, he continues, talks began on giving China various concessions, including logging, in the region. Moreover, Chinese tourists began flooding the region because the collapse of the ruble made prices there is especially attractive. And Russian firms began to export even bottled “Baikal Water” to China. As oil prices continued to fall and Western sanctions to intensify over the next few years, Nemets says, “the Chinese received a completely free hand in the eastern regions of China.” At first, Russians there asked Putin to defend them; but by 2017, these calls were replaced by cries of “save us!” The economist says that the results are there for all to see: “the Putin ‘power vertical’ already doesn’t work in Buryatia, Transbaikal Kray, Amur Oblast, the southern part of Khabarovsk Kray, and Primorsky kray,” all regions which China lost to Russia between 1650 and 1861. In these places, the centers of real power are major Chinese firms because businesses in the Putin system dominate the local political regimes. Anger among local Russians is rising because the Chinese are being allowed to cut down forests in Russia massively and almost for nothing at a time when Beijing has banned that practice in China itself. (For details, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/06/new-russian-film-asks-has-entire.html). To put it in lapidary fashion, the US-based Russian economist says, “the Chinese have eaten the tail of the Putin monster crocodile.” And that prompts the question: “Is it not the case that in the Putin economy, everything is so rotten that the disintegration of Russia already has begun” in of course the best “hybrid” manner?
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Should Pursue a ‘EuroAmerican’ Not ‘Eurasian’ Future, Shtepa Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 28 – The non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation are drawn to the model of European nation states, Vadim Shtepa says; and it would be both appropriate and valuable if the predominantly ethnic Russian oblasts and krays would be drawn toward “the American federal experience.” If those two things come together, the regionalist says, they would be in a position to create a complex but voluntary synthesis, one in which “the ‘American’ component would appear to be more important simply because the Russian-language regions of Russia form a majority in Russia” (afterempire.info/2018/06/28/euroamerica/). “Present-day political activists from the non-Russian republics should not repeat Kremlin stereotypes that ‘all Russians are everywhere the same.’” Instead, they should “seek out points of mutual action with the Russian regionalists.” Only when that happens, Shtepa says, will there be “the final destruction of the empire which in turn will bring freedom to all national republics.” For this to happen, the editor of the After Empire portal says, will require a transformation of the thinking of both Russians and non-Russians. The challenge for the former may be especially great. That is because so many Russians accept the notion that the highest value is “the preservation of a single state centered on the Kremlin.” That is not just a view held by nationalists and imperialists: it is found among people across the political spectrum. “The Eurasian phantom of ‘great Russia’ can be present among the supporters of any ideology be they nationalists, communists, liberals” or someone else. And foremost, these views are held as unquestionable dogma. That arises from the notion, Shtepa says, that there is some “irrational ‘opposition’” of Russian space to that of the West. The behavior of many non-Russians who look to Europe and have even formed European movements like European Tatarsstan or the Buryat civic movement belie Russian beliefs on this score. This contradiction in Russian thinking was on display among the original Eurasianists like Trubetskoy, Savitsky and Suvchinsky. “While criticizing European civilization and opposing their Eurasian ‘Exit to the East’ to it, they themselves after the Bolshevik revolution somehow preferred a personal ‘exit’ not to China, Mongolia or Iran but to hated and ‘spiritless’ Europe.” Shtepa acknowledges that he also fell for these Eurasian temptations in the early 1990s; but he soon saw through them after travelling in various countries and various regions of Russia, an experience “which clearly showed all the artificiality and archaic nature of the Eurasian dogmas.” “For example,” he continues, “the residents of Novosibirsk and Vladivostok hardly consider themselves ‘Asians’ because the border between Europe and Asia is accepted as passing along the Urals.” But his real epiphany came during a visit to St. Louis in the middle of the United States, a city combining European order and Siberian spaciousness in ways that any visitor from Russia could not fail to notice. It came to him, Shtepa says, that “the future of the Russian space could be a similar synthesis of the European and American experience, both cultural and political.” Turning to the non-Russians, he says, “the republics within the Russian Federation are analogues of European nation states.” That was obvious in the early 1990s, but now, with the liquidation of federalism in favor of Putin’s vertical, “those who fight for the national-cultural distinctiveness [have lost] a healthy federalist consciousness.” Today, many non-Russian activists are fighting for the preservation of instruction of their state languages in the schools. But all too often, their statements resemble petitions to the Kremlin tsar and his duma. They should not be seeking but demanding that the powers that be observe the principles of federalism” given that the country calls itself a federation. “Why in Russia do Kremlin bureaucrats decide everything for everyone?” Shtepa asks rhetorically. “One must force the authorities to answer this question or openly acknowledge the fact that Russia is not a federation but remains a unitary empire.” But everyone must recognize that “this imperial will not be destroyed by the efforts of the national republics alone,” he argues. The situation now is fundamentally different than in 1991. Then, the union republics which had equal status under the constitution declared sovereignty and Russians supported them. Now, the republics are far fewer, less equal, and more repressed than the union republics were, and it is inconceivable that Russians anytime soon would come out in support of their right to exist from the Russian Federation. Far more likely they would demonstrate against any such event. In short, “Tatarstan isn’t Lithuania;” and it is a mistake not to recognize that fact. Consequently, he says, “the position of Andrey Illarionov who views the prospects for a new disintegration of the empire exclusively with regard to the national republics appears too narrow,” Shepa says, citing an article the Russian economist did for his portal (afterempire.info/2018/05/10/illarionov/). He is kind enough to say that the author of these lines is closer to the truth when he argues that “in this process, namely the Russian regionalists will play a decisive role” (“Regionalism is the Nationalism of the Next Russian Revolution” (in Russian atafterempire.info/2016/12/28/regionalism/). In Shtepa’s view, “any geopolitical transformations of the Russian space are unthinkable until the Russians themselves want to play a new historical role,” one in which they act for themselves and not as the force binding together the Kremlin empire. Is that possible? Many like Aleksey Shiropayev have wrestled with the question (afterempire.info/2018/02/15/shiropaev/). Kremlin propaganda treats any such shift toward Russians acting for themselves rather than for the Kremlin as something that will inevitably lead to the disintegration of the country. But Mikhail Epshtein is surely right when he says that “the goal is not the dividing up of Russia but the multiplication of Russias” (afterempire.info/2018/03/27/more-russias/). “For the majority of Russian regions, the American rather than the European experience is more instructive,” Shtepa says, citing the arguments of Pavel Ivlyev (afterempire.info/2018/05/06/ivlev/). He adds that “not ‘separating from the empire’ but jointly liquidating ont his space the imperial principle as such” is what can serve as the goal of both groups. “If the empire is preserved,” Shtepa continues, “even in reduced borders, it will inevitably begin again to threaten the independence of its neighbors” and repress its own people. The Kremlin likes to talk about “a Russian world,” he notes; but as long as the country is an empire, it will be “’a Russian war.’” “A genuine Russian world will be possible only after the empire, as a federative multiplicity of Russian-speaking countries united not by someone ‘from above’ but on the basis of their own voluntary agreement.” In the Russian case, that means the oblasts and krays must be raised to the status of sovereign republics. Moreover, “in this case, the Russian language will be transformed from an imposed ‘language of empire’ into a post-imperial lingua franca.” Of course it is “completely possible” that Russian in some regions will “evolve in the direction of regional dialects, just as imperial Latin at one point ‘disintegrated’ into Italian, French, Spanish and so on.” But regardless of what happens, it is wrong to view Russian as “’the property’ of the empire. It belongs to all who use it.” Unfortunately, “today, as a result of the efforts of the Kremlin unifiers, language issues in Russia are again sharpening.” But fighting only for language will in no way undermine the empire, he argues. That is a different task entirely – and it is one the non-Russian republics can win only if they adopt a new way of thinking and work to help the predominantly Russian oblasts and krays to do the same.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Neo-Nazism Now ‘Serious Global Threat,’ Russian Rights Activist Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 26 – Seven decades after the defeat of Hitler, neo-Nazism has ceased being “a marginal phenomenon” and become “a serious global threat” both in countries with a strong democratic tradition and those which are coming out of their own very different totalitarian pasts, according to Moscow human rights activist Aleksandr Brod. The passing of the generation which remembered the horrors of the Third Reich and the self-confident, self-serving and wrong belief that economic growth would make the return of Nazi-like ideas have both contributed to this dangerous trend, he writes in Nezavisimaya gazeta (ng.ru/kartblansh/2018-06-26/3_7252_kartblansh.html). According to the Russian National Security Council, there are about 500 neo-Nazi groups acting on the territory of European Union countries, despite the fact that many were victims of Hitler, Brod says. There are also neo-Nazi groupings and trends in the former Soviet republics and in the United States as the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August showed. Indeed, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he continues, “there exist more than 900 various ‘hate groups’ in the United States.” “Unfortunately, Russian reforms in the 1990s weighted down with the slogan about the invisible hand of the all-powerful market also underrated the danger of the transformations they carried on from as far as radical nationalists, defenders of xenophobic and racist views are concerned,” the human rights expert says. “As a result,” in Russia, “the nationality question was ceded to the populists; and a great deal of time was required until the authorities and civil society were able to recognize that danger which could arise as a result of ignoring such an important sphere.” One reason for that, Brod suggests, is “the mistaken opinion that economic growth by itself will lead to the solution of socio-political and even ideological problems.” The experiences of many countries shows that “neither a high level of economic development nor a large middle class … [prevents] outbursts of xenophobia and nationalist and racist attitudes.” Instead, “the political culture of the people, the strength or weakness of democratic traditions and government and civic institutions are the factors which play the primary role in the task of struggling with xenophobia, nationalism, and racism.” And besides the government, experts, journalists, and activists of various kinds must play a role as well. Brod devotes most of his attention to the situation in the West where he says “playing at” neo-Nazi attitudes by politicians and in the former Soviet countries other than Russia where he says national “historical policies” bear much of the blame for the legitimation and rise of Nazi-like ideas and movements. He devotes much less time to Russia where these arguments could be made with equal or even greater force and when he does discuss his country, he blames liberal reformers, whose neglect of this issue certainly has played a role, rather than to the Putin regime which in the name of fighting fascism has in fact promoted it in the worst Orwellian fashion under other names.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Passive Anti-Semitism Widespread in Russia But Active Kind Almost Nonexistent, Levinson Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 25 – Aleksey Levinson, a Levada Center sociologist who had been measuring anti-Semitism in Russia since the late 1980s, says that passive anti-Semitism is almost universal in Russia but the active kind is almost unheard of and is unlikely to emerge unless prominent leaders start to promote it. In the new Neprikosnovenny zapas, he points out that many have been surprised by and some have even challenged the findings of sociologists and pollsters like himself that there is very little anti-Semitism in Russia compared to what many, given the country’s history, might expect (magazines.russ.ru/nz/2018/2/neokonchatelnoe-reshenie-odnogo-voprosa.html). The main reasons for that, Levinson suggests, are that active anti-Semitism, support for actions intended to exclude or destroy the Jewish ethos, “has achieved these goals” – there are few Jews left and most are assimilated — and state anti-Semitism “as a policy of excluding Jewry not as an ethnic but as a social category has also achieved its goals.” At the same time, however, there exists and is reproduced a residual but passive anti-Semitism, a set of attitudes that is not directed against the existing Jewish population” and won’t be until and unless some senior government official mobilizes people on that basis at some point in the future. Many people in Russia and abroad are surprised by the findings of sociologists like himself, Levinson says, and in some cases actively dispute them. And consequently, he says, he wants to “make one more attempt to offer an explanation” of the findings and of why they are in fact accurate. To do so, he says, it is necessary to discuss the history of the question. “Jews in the Russian Empire were one of the peoples/ethnoses which had the majority of the attributes of such – their own language and alphabet, faith, way of life and compact settlement and a specific niche in the economy. They had various kinds of relations with other ethoses ranging “from friendship and cooperation to hostility and striving to their exclusion of elimination as an ethnos and from that social space which other ethnoses supposed were theirs, the sociologist continues. “The pogroms of the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries led to the mass emigration of Jews from the Russian empire; pogroms during the civil war led to their mass physical extermination … [and] the Nazi ‘final solution of “the Jewish question” on the occupied territories of the USSR completed this solution.” The Jews left were no longer an ethnos. “In addition to these factors, there were others which stimulated the rapid assimilation of part of the Jews to the dominant Russian culture with a corresponding rejection of Jewish culture. By the end of the 1940s, it was possible to speak about the specific non-ethnic but social category who were called and often called themselves or considered themselves Jews, but there was no basis, in my opinion,” Levinson says, to speak about the existence of a Jewish ethnos on the territory of the USSR.” There is also a history of state anti-Semitism. The Russian Empire excluded Jews from most walks of life and actively persecuted them, supporting the pogroms. “In the Soviet Union at the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s, this line was continued but in the lightly masked forms of the struggle with ‘rootless cosmopolitanism.’” Until the end of the USSR, Levinson says, there were unpublished but very real limitations on the admission of Jews to higher educational institutions, their ability to work in state institutions and the ruling party and even their participation in public life. That led to further emigration when that became possible. But “with the formation of Russia as a new state,” he says, “these practices as government policies ceased to exist: they could be initiated by one or another set of officials in the spheres of their authority but they remained in this sense private manifestations” rather than government policy. As a result of all this, “the number of those who consider themselves Jews and register as such in censuses and polls has been reduced to 150,000 … Assimilationist processes continue; however along with them in the Jewish milieu have appeared successful tendencies of restoring communal and religious ‘Jewish life.’” Research shows, he continues, “that under Russian conditions, the positions of any boss and above all the highest, on ‘the Jewish question’ have decisive importance for anti-Semitic manifestations in the masses.” If the higher ups give the signal, then passive anti-Semitism will become active in the form of “’administrative’ anti-Semitism.” “That anti-Semitism as in the past has as its goal the driving our and exclusion of Jews from this or that social space (from ‘our’ house, enterprise, city or state),” Levinson says. The existence of that possibility is one of the reasons many resist accepting poll findings showing that anti-Semitism as a body of attitudes is relatively passive in Russia today. Those attitudes, he continues, include “negative and long established ethnic stereotypes” and beliefs in “’a world Jewish government” and a conspiracy of Jews behind the highest offices in Russia and other countries. But such ideas, while “very important, lack at present an aggressive potential.” At the same time, Levinson says, studies show that Russians view Jews as having qualities that they themselves lack and that they believe “Jews live ‘here’ only because things are good for them. If they become bad, then they will leave,” a notion that reflects the idea that Jews are not that patriotic. And of course, there are the ubiquitous Jewish jokes. Many observers suggest that there are too few Jews in Russia now to spark anti-Semitism, Levinson says, but that argument isn’t convincing. There are many countries which display “anti-Semitism without Jews.” And in Russia, most people say that they know at least some Jews. And it is no explanation for the low level of active anti-Semitism to say that anti-North Caucasus attitudes have displaced the space anti-Semitism occupies traditionally, Levinson continues. But hatred of the North Caucasians and Central Asians “cannot explain he lack of anti-Semitic manifestations” in Russia.” According to the sociologist, there are two reasons for the low levels of active anti-Semitism in Russia. On the one hand, most Jews have so completely assimilated to Russian culture that many Russians have trouble seeing them as distinct as anti-Semitic attitudes typically require. And on the other, Levinson argues, “at present, not one of the influential elite groups is making use of anti-Semitism as a political resource. The only ones using it now,” he continues, are “marginal and local groups” who do not set the weather for the country as a whole.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘CIA Agents Killed Lavrenty Beria,’ Moscow Blogger Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 26 – When one reads the Russian press especially in the Putin era, he or she is constantly reminded of the old anecdote about a Jew in a shtetl who subscribed to an anti-Semitic newspaper. When his friend asked him why he read such drivel, the man responded “because I like to learn just how powerful we really are.” That thought struck the author of these lines today when he read a blog post by Sigizmund Mironin, a Moscow writer who has published books and articles about the death of Stalin and much else. In his post, Mironin said that 65 years ago today, Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria was shamefully murdered by CIA agents” (publizist.ru/blogs/108391/25635/65). But the preposterousness of this idea pales into insignificance compared to the Russian blogger’s celebration of Beria, Stalin’s notorious secret police chief. Indeed, his words are the latest of a much broader public campaign by some in Russia to restore the reputation of Beria and elevate him to a status almost equal to Stalin’s. According to Mironin, Marshal Bulganin was “complicitous in this attack on “the greatest worker of the Soviet state wo perhaps even exceeded in his abilities the Great Stalin.” Not only did Bulganin and the other leaders at the time conspire with the CIA, he continues, they then sought to do everything in their power to blacken Beria’s reputation. Various researchers have concluded that Beria was killed on June 26 and not at the end of December as official Soviet history has it and as the more than 40 volumes of testimony he gave while under arrest. He was shot, Mironin says, after leaving the Kremlin where he had been signing documents about the Soviet nuclear power and rocket programs. Beria’s contributions to the Soviet Union were immeasurable, the blogger says. He made Georgia a leader in the Soviet economy. He carried out collectivization there in a voluntary fashion. “He stopped the repressions of 1937 and conducted an unpublicized amnesty” at that time. Moreover, Mironin continues, Beria “prepared NKVD forces to such an extent that they were the only ones that responded in a worthy fashion to Hitler’s attack of June 22, 1941; and during the war, he supervised the production of weaponry and the development of the key oil industry. Even more, he created Russia’s atomic bomb whose secrets Bulganin gave to the CIA. “After the death of Stalin,” Beria “insisted on an amnesty for more than 1.5 million prisoners.” He ended the Doctor’s Plot and “stopped the anti-Semitic hysteria in the USSR.” And he rehabilitated many who had been unjustly convicted as the result of efforts by others in the Soviet leadership. To obscure all that, those in that leadership who had conspired with the CIA and who wanted to cover their tracks came up with the false story that Beria kidnapped and sexually exploited young women. That is simply nonsense. Had he wanted any women, they would have stood two or three-deep along the road his car travelled and have tried to get his attention. But the most important aspect of this case is this, Mironin insists. “If there had not been this shameful murder, then there would not have been any Perestoika and the USSR would have continued to proudly carry the banner of freedom and equality throughout the world. One must not condemn Beria but rather put up monuments to him in every city and every village.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: When Stalin’s Repressions Drove Special Settlers to Cannibalism and Their Death
Paul Goble Staunton, June 21 – The heroine of Nevil Shute’s classic novel, A Town like Alice, observes at one point that there is something worse than being a Japanese prisoner of war in a POW camp: it is to be a prisoner of war that the Japanese army is unwilling to admit to any camp as were she and the group of women she lived among. That is because, she said, in the camps there was a certain kind of order, food however inadequate and shelter however shabby. But those who were classified as prisoners of war but not taken into a Japanese prison camp had none of those things and had to struggle for their existence even harder than some behind the barbed wire. Something similar could be said about a category of Stalin’s victims that has attracted far less attention than the GULAG inmates. These were the special settlers, people who were deported from their home areas, dumped in places without food or shelter, and often allowed to descend into savagery before dying. Andrey Filimonov of Radio Svoboda has therefore performed an especially noteworthy service by calling attention to the Nazin tragedy, which was as he points out “one of the most horrific pages of Russian history of the 20th century” and “a symbol of the senseless cruelty” of Stalin’s rule (sibreal.org/a/29293884.html). Over a few weeks in May-June 1933, he recalls, “on an island in the middle of the Ob River died from hunger 5,000 special settlers. Many of them became victims of cannibalism” as others struggled to survive in a place with no food or shelter. Today, a church has been erected where they died, “the innocent victims” of Stalin and Stalinism. Most of the people sent to this island appear to have been caught up in a sweep by the special services to round up those who had violated the passport regime the Soviets had introduced a year or two earlier or who were especially dangerous recidivists on whom the authorities decided not to waste time on trials but simply to exile. Both earlier and later, the Soviet state deported and exiled portions of numerous ethnic and religious minorities, hoping thereby to get them out of the way and to boost the population of Siberia. But so many died in the process that this goal was not really achieved – and it may be that Moscow didn’t even care if it was. Those on the island in the Ob were sent east in cattle cars to Novosibirsk and then put on barges to travel down the Ob to the north. They were not dressed for this nor was much food provided for them. And the special settlers began suffering almost immediately, with deaths beginning even before they arrived. Local people and even local Bolsheviks knew what was going on and as the people on the island died in droves, they began to call the place “Cannibal” or “Death Island.” Investigations were carried out in summary fashion shortly after all 5,000 died and then with more care by Memorial activists in the summer of 1989. In his article, Filimonov quotes liberally from these reports which document the horrific nature of a system that drove people to cannibalism and then their deaths. They deserve to be remembered alongside the other victims of the GULAG, and Filimonov deserves to be praised for contributing to that task.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Still Refuses to Recognize Soviet Genocide of Ingermanlanders
Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – Most of the peoples whom Stalin deported have been allowed to return to their home areas and have been politically at least partially rehabilitated. But one stands out because Moscow still refuses to acknowledge it was the victim of a genocide, has not rehabilitated it, and did not even allow its name to be mentioned until after 1991. These are the Ingermanlanders, a Finnish-speaking people whose homeland was centered on what is now Leningrad oblast and who complicated history and relationship with Finland explains part of the Russian state’s unwillingness to recognize the crimes of its predecessor against them, Yaroslav Butakov says (russian7.ru/post/chem-ingermanlandcy-ispugali-sovetsk/). Many people confuse the Ingermanlanders with the Izhors, the regional specialist says; but the similarity between them is limited to the fact that the name of the region of Ingermanland derives from the Swedish term for the Izhors, Ingeri. Sweden in the 17th century settled two Finnic ethnic groups, the Evremei and the Savakots, there. They became the Ingermanlanders. These two groups did not assimilate with the Izhors because they were Lutherans while most of the Izhors were Orthodox. Before 1917, there were approximately 16,000 Izhors and 160,000 Ingermanlanders in St. Petersburg gubernia. In addition, there were about 1,000 Ingermanlanders in Siberia where they had been exiled after a rising in 1804. The Ingermanlanders were affected by the rise of national self-consciousness during World War I and the Russian Civil War, and many of them were inspired as well by Finland’s declaration of Independence. Helsinki in the event did not march on Petrograd, but the Bolsheviks were deeply suspicious of the Ingermanlanders. And they began to take actions against them. In May 1919, they forcibly mobilized Ingermanlanders into the Red Army and confiscated their property. That provoked some Ingermanlanders to proclaim a Republic of Northern Ingria two months later, an entity that initially received some support from Finland. But in October 1920, Helsinki concluded a peace treaty with Moscow and ceded this territory to the RSFSR. Many of those living there fled to Finland, while others joined the White Army of General Yudenich. Following his defeat at the hands of the Reds, more than a thousand of them fled with him into Estonia. From that time onward, Butakov says, Moscow viewed the Ingermanlanders as unreliable; and as Soviet power strengthened, the regime took ever harsher measures against them, measures that Butakov says rise to the level of genocide. As part of Stalin’s collectivization campaign in 1929-1931, more than 18,000 Ingermanlanders were deported to Siberia as kulaks. Then in 1935-1936, during the second wave of collectivization, approximately 41,000 Ingermanlanders were deported to the north, Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia. And then in 1937-1938, Moscow decided to complete “the ethnic cleansing” of the Ingermander’s region. Soviet officials ceased to recognize them as a separate ethnic community and closed Finnish-language schools, newspapers and theaters throughout Leningrad Oblast. What remained of the Ingermanlander intelligentsia was repressed. Some 10,600 were denounced as Finnish spies, and 80 percent of these were shot. When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Soviet officials decided to deport all remaining Ingermanlanders to Arkhangelsk Oblast, a plan that was not implemented because the German advance was so rapid that most of the remaining Ingermanlanders were soon in German-occupied territory. More than 63,000 of the Ingermanlanders then fled to Finland, but as a result of the Soviet-Finnish treaty, “more than 43,000 Ingermanlanders were forcibly returned to the USSR, with most settled in various parts of the northwestern segment of the RSFSR. Later, they were dispersed even further into the Russian interior. Despite all these actions and the failure of the Soviet or Russian governments to acknowledge them and fully rehabilitate the Ingermanlanders, more than 20,000 people within the current borders of the Russian Federation still identify as such, promote their national identity as they can, and maintain ties with Finland. Indeed, the upsurge of their national movement has gone so far that the Kremlin has done what it typically does in such circumstances – organized its own regime-controlled Ingermanlander group in order to present itself as being on the right side of history and to divide the Ingermanlander nation.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Circassians, Balkars Denounce Language Bill, Say It Opens the Way to the End of Non-Russian Republics and Ethnocide
Paul Goble Staunton, June 29 – A meeting of 200 leading intellectuals and officials in Kabardino-Balkaria unanimously denounced the Kremlin’s proposed language bill, saying that it is another step toward Moscow’s demolishing of the non-Russian republics and toward the launch of a new Russian wave of ethnocide against the Circassians and other non-Russian nations. The anger of the Kabardins, a subgroup of the Circassian nation, and of the Turkic Balkars about this measure was reflected both in that the Nalchik meeting attracted nearly all the leading intellectuals of that republic and in that two members of the KBR parliament joined them, Larisa Cherkes says (kavkazr.com/a/yazyk-i-respublik%D0%B0/29325256.html). Olga Efendiyev-Begret of the Circassian Zhegu Organization says that “practically all the participants called this bill an act of ethnocide and compared it to the genocide of the Circassian people” in the 19th century. Balkar participants in the meeting agreed and recalled the tragic events in their nation’s history as well. Aslan Beshto, the head of the Kabardin Congress, says that the Kremlin measure, one that he describes as “absolutely illegal and chauvinistic,” should be have been rejected and “killed in its cradle by the deputies of the national republics in the State Duma.” That was their responsibility and they failed to meet it. According to him, the presence of the two local deputies is a welcome sign because both “expressed a readiness to cooperate with society and to engage in dialogue,” although as yet “there is no full recognition [by them and others] of the danger on the brink of which the republic finds itself.” Madina Khadkuasheva, a philologist, adds that the Russian Duma did not expect such “a stormy reaction” to the measure. It has never faced a situation like this before. But she said that Circassians and other non-Russian nations plan to continue to fight the measure regardless of what Moscow does.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: A New Siberian Emigration Takes Shape
Paul Goble Staunton, June 27 – After the Russian civil war, when many anti-Bolshevik Russians emigrated, one of the most important if typically neglected groups consisted not of people from Moscow or St. Petersburg but those from Siberia who viewed themselves not only as members of the White Movement but as descendants of the Siberian regionalists of the 19th century. Initially, the most important center of this politically and intellectually active group was in Harbin; but over time, most of the Siberians in the first emigration either settled in or looked to the great Siberian publishing effort centered in Prague (cyberleninka.ru/article/n/n-n-ablazhey-sibirskoe-oblastnichestvo-v-emigratsiiscience-education.ru/ru/article/view?id=8384, and multiurok.ru/files/prichiny-emighratsii-iz-sibiri-v-kitai.html). Today, when commentators do talk about emigration from Siberia, they are referring to the migration of people from that region to North America in pre-historic times or more often to the movement of Siberians from their home area to European portions of the Russian Federation (e.g., afterempire.info/2018/01/05/siberians/). Those are important topics, but they should not be allowed to overshadow something even more important: the formation of a new Siberian emigration, the product of Russian repression that is driving “a very large group of people” from that land just as it has done with those from other regions like Ingria and the Urals. That makes an interview Kseniya Smolyakova of Radio Svoboda’s Sibreal portal with Sergy Gorr, one of their number, especially important not only because he details the kind of repression he and others like Aydar Kudirmekov from the Altai Republic have suffered but about their thinking as Siberians in emigration (sibreal.org/a/29287495.html). Gorr, who worked with the Navalny campaign in Siberia, says that people there “with each passing day see that everything in Russia is becoming worse. The political and economic crisis in the Russian Federation, creatd by the current powers has grown over into a sharp phase of struggle not only with opposition movements but with independent minded people.” Indeed, it appears that the Kremlin has taken North Korea as its model for the future of Russia. “The criminal rulers with Putin at the head want to make out of Russia a raw materials slave holding ghetto by destroying everything showing signs of intelligence, honor and independence.” That is driving people out, and “the number of newly arrived political emigres from Russia over the last month has sharply increased.” Many of these new émigrés are Navalny supporters but others are representatives of the numerically small peoples of the Russian Federation and especially of Siberia and the North, he continues. Some of them now live in tents but “no one is starving. They are studying languages and of course following and discussing what is happening in Russia.” “I do not consider that we are an opposition,” Gorr continues. “Just the reverse, the Putin regime is in opposition to the people.” And “as soon as the situation begins to change and it becomes obvious that the regime will fall,” he says he and those like him plan to return to “build our common new free Russia” where they were born and grew up. Like the Siberian emigration of nearly a century ago, this group is not or at least not yet extremely large nor are its members marching together in lock step. Some want to see Siberia as an independent country; while others favor its inclusion in a genuinely federal Russia. But they are acting as Siberians rather than simply as Russians. And for Moscow that must be a source of concern, especially because the new Siberian emigration has far greater opportunities to send its ideas back home than did the first, which was typically forced to limit itself to sending back tamizdat before the name, pamphlets and texts printed abroad and smuggled into Siberia in the 1920s and 1930s.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Is Russia on Its Way to Becoming ‘a Boyar State,’ the Very Worst Regime for the Russian People?
Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – In Russian history, Moscow commentator Nikolay Yurenyev says, periods when the tsar is weak, old or for other reasons withdraws from direct rule often have resulted in the rise of a boyar state, one in which the wealthy seek to carve out power for themselves and to block others from gaining any. Such periods, he continues, have “lasted until power is assumed by the next dictator-tsar.” And not only have boyar states been “the worst period for the people,” they often have led to another time of troubles in which both the people and the state itself have suffered (publizist.ru/blogs/107999/25609/). Yurenyev adds that it appears to him that Russia is entering into a new “boyar kingdom,” where “present-day clans steal from the people without any constraints and the tsar, it seems, is willing to tolerate rather than combat this unfortunate development. Indeed, the Kremlin leader appears to be on his way to becoming the servant of these “boyars.” Under that term, the commentator says, he doesn’lt include “all the Deripaskas, Linsins and Mordashovs” but rather “the higher bureaucracy around Putin and in the regions. Theya re a real force!” Consider the following news items that have recently appeared on the Internet, Yurenyev suggests. “The procuracy will not challenge a law about increasing by two and a half times the pension of Kamchatka officials and deputies … The law about the sharp increase in pensions of the first persons of Kamchatka entered into force on April 22. It was developed in the kray government and supported by the overwhelming majority of [regional] deputies. “The very greatest increases were given to the governor, the first vice governor, the chairman of the Legislative Assembly and his first deputy. Going on pensions, they will receive approximately 150,000 rubles (2500 US dollars) a month from the regional budget. [Lower-ranking officials will receive 100,000 (1600 US dollars).” Moscow officials like Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin expressed outrage and promised to do something, but of course they haven’t. Meanwhile, people from the regions have unleashed a veritable campaign of attacks on Putin, his former wife, lovers, and assets now held in the West. “It is obvious from this” or should be, Yurenyev suggests, that those with real power want “the tsar” to know whom he should bow down to – today’s “boyars” who have real power and have no intention of giving it up.
Is Russia on Its Way to Becoming ‘a Boyar State,’ the Very Worst Regime for the Russian People? – To Inform is to Influence
Paul Goble Sunday, June 24, 2018 Staunton, June 24 – In Russian history, Moscow commentator Nikolay Yurenyev says, periods when the tsar is weak, old or for other reasons withdraws from direct rule often have resulted in the rise of a boyar state, one in which the wealthy seek to carve out power for themselves…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Circassians Denounce Kremlin’s Language Bill as ‘Purely Imperial Policy’
Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – The Duma’s passage on first reading of the Kremlin’s language bill that would make the study of all languages in Russia except Russian purely voluntary by a vote of 373 to 3 with one abstention has sparked outrage in the non-Russian republics generally and the Circassian ones in particular as an appalling case of the center’s “purely imperial policy.” Even before the vote, Kavkazr journalist Larisa Cherkes reports, deputies in the regional parliaments of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya had spoken out against the measure even though they recognized that Moscow doesn’t care what they think (kavkazr.com/a/chisto-imperskaya-politika/29313613.html ‘purely imperial policy’ Aslan Beshto, the head of the Kabardin Congress, says he wasn’t surprised by Moscow’s actions because “they have made it clear that the opinion of society does not affect the deputies much.” He said that now he and other Circassian leaders plan to appeal to the Constitutional Court. Martin Kochesoko, a Circassian activist from Kabardino-Balkaria says that “Russia has always conducted a policy of assimilating numerically small peoples.” The only thing that has changed, he adds, is that “now it is doing so openly. Today, in the Russian Federation, all the indigenous peoples except for the Russians are losing their languages and uniqueness.” The Russian federation exists “only on paper,” he continues, but “we Circassians will do everything we can so that our people will live.” A third Circassian activist, Zaur Zhemukha, says that the Circassians plan, if the Kremlin bill is approved on the third reading, to demand consistency from Moscow and call for the elimination of the requirement for the obligatory study of Russian” given that “Russian is not native for us.” Despite these words, the Circassian activists both those and others have little hope that they will be able to stop this train. But they will continue to work, and it appears that one of the most important consequences of this resistance will be continuing meetings among Circassian activists who now live in different republics as a result of Moscow’s divide and rule strategy. The next such meeting is planned four days from now in Nalchik.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Three Telling Statistics and Three Telling Signs of the Times from Today’s Russia
Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – Sometimes the flood of stories from the Russian Federation is so large that one is at a loss to decide which ones must be reported and which ones neglected. Today is such a day, and so here is a listing of three new statistics from Russian polls and three new developments in Russia that constitute at the very least telling signs of the times. The three poll results are: 1. Support for Russian Government and Vladimir Putin Both Falling. The VTsIOM polling agency, which is known to have close ties with the Kremlin, nonetheless reports that as a result of gasoline price increases and the threat of a rise in retirement ages, Russian support for both the Russian government and Vladimir Putin has fallen over the last month, with Putin suffering a decline of over eight percent (politsovet.ru/59359-reyting-putina-za-mesyac-upal-na-8.html and rbc.ru/politics/22/06/2018/5b2ca83d9a79476fe6076750?from=main). 2. Only 24 Percent of Russians Say They have Suffered from Western Sanctions. According to another VTsIOM survey, 24 percent of Russians say they have personally suffered as a result of Western sanctions, but 67 percent say the sanctions have not had any effect, the preferred answer as far as the Kremlin is concerned (the-village.ru/village/city/news-city/316413-vliyanie-sanktsiy). 3. Russians Significantly Less Likely Now than in 1991 to Blame Stalin for War Losses. The share of Russians who blame Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin for the enormous losses the USSR suffered at the start of the war has fallen from 36 percent in 1991 to only nine percent now, as a result of consistent Putin efforts to shift the blame away from the Soviet leader (ng.ru/editorial/2018-06-22/2_7250_red.html). And the three new developments are: 1. Russian Soldiers Directed to Kiss Putin Icon and Children to View Him as a Saint. A picture of Russian soldiers kissing an icon of Vladimir Putin has appeared in numerous publications and websites today (publizist.ru/blogs/4796/25580/), and a school in Tula has put up a picture showing Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as saints (znak.com/2018-06-22/v_tulskoy_detskoy_biblioteke_povestili_kartinu_so_svyatym_putinym_na_kolesnice). 2. Graffiti Warns Kremlin: ‘We are the Revolution,’ signed ‘The People.’ Russians are increasingly angry about the proposed boost in the pension age and have come up with any number of slogans against the idea. Perhaps the most radical appears on the walls of a village in Sverdlovsk oblast that has gone viral on the Runet. It reads simply: “You are of the reforms. We are of the Revolution. The People” (rusmonitor.com/zhiteli-revdy-sverdlovskojj-oblasti-pridumali-svojj-lozung-pensionnojj-reformy.html). 3. An Invitation to Suicide? Moscow Urged to Pay for Funerals of Those Who Die Just Before Reaching Pension Age. A St. Petersburg legislative assembly deputy has proposed that the Russian government take responsibility for paying for the funerals of any Russians who die just before reaching pension age, an appeal that has already been denounced as “an invitation to suicide” that would save the government money (rusmonitor.com/lyudejj-ne-dozhivshikh-do-pensii-budut-khoronit-besplatno.html and censoru.net/27694-kreml-poobeschal-za-svoy-schet-pohoronit-vseh-rossiyan-kotorye-otkazhutsya-ot-pensii.html).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: What’s in a Name? Russia Must Overcome Its Imperial Place Names, Butakov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 19 – Since the end of Soviet times, many Russians have worked to eliminate the names of communist heroes from the map of Russia; but that is a far smaller and ultimately less important challenge than overcoming the imperial names embedded in the mental maps of Russians, Yaroslav Butakov says. “The categories ‘center’ and ‘periphery’ are so deeply imbedded in the consciousness of those living under Russian power that they dictator corresponding political doctrines, political understands and political expectations,” the regionalist writer argues. They must be changed if Russia is to advance (afterempire.info/2018/06/19/names/). “Russian geographic nomenclature,” Butakov continues, “over recent centuries has been overfulfilled with terms distorting the spatial picture of the world. Their only assignment is to stress the basic and world-building function of the ‘eternal’ imperial center.” And that is what they unfortunately have done. In an earlier essay, he considered the term “Far East” as it is in appropriately applied to the regions of the Russian Federation along the Pacific (afterempire.info/2018/06/07/fareast/). But similar problems arise if one considers the terminology used for other parts of the country as well, Butakov argues. “A resident of ‘Central Russia’ is accustomed to think that he lives in ‘Central Russia,’ but that is only because Moscow is located there.” A quick glance at a map shows that “Moscow is in no way the center of Russia but rather is located on its extreme western borderland,” the regionalist says. As Butakov points out, “the geographic center of Russia is located between Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. Given that, “Moscow and all the European part of the Russian Federation is Beyond the Urals” for this center; and “from the point of view of the Pacific regions, Moscow in general is the Far West.” Moving the Russian capital by itself will not solve this problem: it will simply lead to the appearance of another hyper-centralized state focused on a different city. That is what happened when the capital was shifted to St. Petersburg by Peter the Great and then shifted back to Moscow by Lenin. The essence of the empire wasn’t changed in either case. The essential task, Butakov says, is “to liquidate the empire-centric nomenclature together with the empire and to create a polycentric political space.” To promote the latter, he suggests, it will be helpful to promote the former first. “Everyone, especially in the regions, awaits changes in Russia in the first instance from what ‘they are saying in the capitals,’” he continues. But that isn’t necessary. “History shows that even in centralized states changes often begin with political events far from the very largest cities.” According to Butakov, “the historical wound, even curse, of Russia is the lack of the majority of regions of their own names. In contrast to the European Tyrol Provence, Alsace, and the various states of the US, in Russia, it has been customary to call regions according to the names of their main cities.” This tradition extends back for centuries; and “in principle, it does not exclude the creation of regional self-consciousness. But it does make this process more difficult.” “Any Russian oblast is as it were an attachment to the oblast center,” just as the regions are to Moscow. “The exceptions are only the national republics, although even in them, there is always a dominant city. Here we see the complete opposition of the situation in the United States and in Europe.” Those Russian regions located along major rivers have done better in terms of identity, Butakov says. “At least, they have the chance to identify themselves not with the central city, ‘the residence of the tsar’s representative’ but with a natural object. And still better off are those like Kamchatka or Sakhalin which are already embedded in the names of the region. “But why not revive some old name, for example one connected with an ethnos that has disappeared or alternatively creatively think up and develop a new one?” Butakov asks. In Europe there are many regions named of peoples who have disappeared: Andalusia, Lombard, Saxony, and Prussia,” to name only a few. Some regionalists are promoting this in what is now Kaliningrad and in the area around Moscow. And “the creation of new regional identities on the basis of well forgotten old ones seems fruitful and prospective.” In the case of Russia, in fact, it may well be the only possible path forward. “Regional polycentrism,” he argues, “obviously presupposes not competitive emulation of Moscow by other Russian megalopolises but the liquidation of the very Muscovite-imperial model, when a gigantic ‘capital’ gives commands to a faceless ‘land’” beyond. According to the regionalist writer, “when each region acquires its own real geographic name like the American states or the European historical districts, empire-centric thinking will collapse in the consciousness of people.” And consequently, getting rid of imperial names is a task of first importance.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Won’t Change Fundamentally Until It Falls Apart, Zaydman Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – Many Russians are even now talking about what will happen “after Putin,” and an increasing share of them believe that the country will follow its historical path of “a thaw” after the deep freeze of his times, Vadim Zaydman says. But they forget that such thaws will then be followed by a new freeze unless and until the empire disintegrates. History teaches that Russia again and again has alternated between dictatorships and thaws, with each leading to the other usually on the occasion of the death of the individual who promotes it, the Russian commentator says in an essay for the Kasparov portal today (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5B2BBBD47F5BD). And that imperative drives even the most unexpected to become dictators — or to become reformers, as Stalin’s secret police chief Lavrenty Beria showed by starting a reform program far more radical than anyone could have expected from such an individual or than was offered by any leader until Mikhail Gorbachev. But that doesn’t mean that the personal qualities of an individual who comes to power in either of these repeating historical cycles. Vladimir Putin provides evidence of this, Zaydman says. Its true the Russian people “can’t live without a strong hand” but it was hardly “obligatory” that they suffer as they have under the current rulers. If someone else had come to power in 2000, he says, he would have behaved differently and not gotten the country embroiled in wars with Georgia, Ukraine and Syria. Those things happened because of “the personal characteristics” of the current president: they weren’t inevitable. That is obvious if one considers pre-World War II Europe. At that time, anti-Semitism was widespread, and almost any German government which would have come to power in 1933 would have suffered from that horrific defect. But if it had been led by someone other than Hitler, there wouldn’t have been the Holocaust. Similarly, if someone other than Stalin had risen to power in the USSR, the country would have had a dictatorship by the 1930s, Zaydman says; but “most likely, it would not have been as bloody or involved millions of victims.” That outcome reflected Stalin’s own psychology and paranoid attitudes. In short, the commentator says, “the laws of history are of course inexorable, but at times personality also matters in history and influences its course.” According to Zaydman, the appearance after Yeltsin of an autocrat “was practically inevitable, but if the Boris Nikolayevich’s choice had fallen on a different successor, there probably would not have been the horrors without end which we have today,” horrors that are the product of Putin’s working out of his psychological problems. Once Putin goes, the cycle will repeat itself, the commentator argues. Whoever comes will introduce a thaw, but in the absence of one fundamental change, that thaw will fail to transform the country and instead lead to the rise of a new autocrat after its author leaves the scene. According to Zaydman, “Russia after Putin thus has no prospects, at least in the visible future and in the form in which it exists today, above all in the size in which the country exists now.” Historian Aleksandr Yanov is right: having confused size with greatness, Russia has trapped itself in the past. “The 20th century was the century of the collapse of empires. Today, there are no more empires on the earth other than the Russian,” and its imperial construction is the foundation of the vicious cycle from which the country and its people are unable to escape, the Kasparov commentator says. He continues: “In the 21st century, it is not size which determines the greatness of a country.” It is what it does with its people and how they are able to display their own creative genius. But Putin and those like him are trapped in a 19th century mindset that fails to understand that new reality. Tragically, Putin isn’t alone, Zaydman continues, noting that he “does not understand the fury with which even the most liberal democrats talk about what it will be necessary to undertake AFTER PUTIN in order to prevent Russia from falling apart, as if after Putin there won’t be other concerns.” “I do not understand why this imperial curse is holding Russia back and not allowing it to move forward” but instead leading to an infinite series of thaws and freezes, to “the reincarnation in power of various Putins,” especially since “the time of empires has passed, empires have disappeared as at some point the dinosaurs died out.” But there is one hope: “the probability that the third and final period of the disintegration of the Russian Empire will occur is quite high and, by the way, Putin is devoting all his efforts in way that will make this inevitable.” Paradoxically, Zaydman concludes, this disintegration of the Russian state will give its peoples the chance to become a normal civilized country or more likely countries, capable of living and moving forward in the 21st century – even if today, few, including the most liberal, recognize that reality.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin May Decide to Use Pension Crisis to Oust Liberals in the Government, Martynov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – The overwhelmingly negative reaction to the Russian government’s plan to raise retirement ages has prompted many Moscow commentators to suggest that Putin will “moderate” the reform, blame the government of Dmitry Medvedev, and win back his popular support which has been slipping. But Kirill Martynov, the political editor of Novaya gazeta, argues that Putin may have “a Plan B,” one that would involve placing all the blame on Kudrin “and other liberals” and using this crisis as a way for a wholesale removal or purge of these people from his regime (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/06/21/76891-kto-podstavil-kudrina). For the moment, the commentator says, Putin has been keeping his distance from the debate about the pension system, thus positioning himself to intervene in a timely and carefully calculated fashion to cut back the raising of retirement ages and thus allow the reform itself to go through “in a more or less unchanged form.” The pro-Kremlin commentators who of course support the reform fall into two camps. The first consists of television talk show hosts who “are competing with each other to say how profitable and useful raising the pension age will be literally for all Russians” and even that it will by itself promote better lives as people strive to live to pension age and beyond. That group’s arguments have clearly been rejected by the population, Martynov says. The second group which includes people like Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko cast their arguments in favor of the reform in “pragmatic” terms. They acknowledge that while no one is happy about it, the country has no other choice but to raise retirement ages and to do so immediately. They point to “objective demographic causes” and to the fact that the decision has been put off for too long, conveniently forgetting that those who put it off are the ones insisting on it now. They also ignore the fact that the government appears to have no intention of raising the retirement ages of some groups, such as the siloviki. “But the chief argument of ‘the pragmatists,’” Martynov continues, “is to rely on authorities. Leading liberal economists like Aleksey Kudrin,” they argue, “for a long time have explained to us that raising the pension age is inevitable. Why then are you disputing that? Perhaps you have more competent specialists?” Those making this argument, of course, never mention that liberal economists never have called for pensioners to pay for “’the geopolitical successes’ of the country in Syria and other regions of the planet.” They’ve never called for a speedy approach to reform so that Moscow will have enough money to support its campaign in Ukraine and deal with sanctions. “And certainly only in their worse nightmare would they want to cut social guarantees at the very time when the tax burden on the citizenry and business is growing, as is happening now,” the commentator says. Even the most committed of them must be “bewildered” by the timing of what the Russian government is doing. And they must be especially concerned that the government has taken up such an unpopular measure out of the liberal reform agenda and not addressed any of the other problems liberal reformers support, Martynov says. “Without real reforms and changes in the rules of the game within Russian state capitalism, in particular without the reduction of the appetites of ‘the fat cats’ sitting on their monopolies, all manipulations involving increasing the retirement age will simply disappear in bookkeeping holes in the current budgets,” the Novaya gazeta writer argues. But none of this can be discussed in the current political environment, he continues. It is simply “too dangerous.” And one way out of this politically explosive situation is for Putin to save himself and his friends by denouncing Kudrin and the liberals, dispensing with their services, and pushing through a much less radical reform. Indeed, Martynov implies, this may have been the Kremlin leader’s plan all along.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Maintaining the Draft Will Harm Both Russian Army and Russian Economy, Sociologist Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 19 – The Russian government should dispense with the mass draft because keeping it is blocking the technological advance of the armed forces and keeping those drafted from acquiring the skills needed to advance the Russian economy when they finish service, sociologist Sergey Belanovsky says. This double whammy, the director of research at the Moscow Center for Strategic Planning argues, can best be avoided by ending the draft, relying on volunteers, forcing the military to modernize, and providing more training to those entering the workforce (sbelan.ru/Research-Presentations/Efficiency-use-labor-resources-in-armed-forces-of-the-Russian-Federation.pdf). In his 22-page study and in the summary in Novyye izvestiya today (newizv.ru/article/general/19-06-2018/sotsiolog-sohranyat-vseobschuyu-voinskuyu-obyazannost-srodni-bezumiyu), Belanovsky supports his positions with detailed sociological data about the military, the economy and the cohort of men aged 18 to 25. Belanovsky’s argument has been made repeatedly by Western observers and some Russian economists who note that because the Russian army has traditionally relied on numbers rather than technology, officers have less incentive to shift to labor-saving technologies that could make the military a more effective force. And both groups have pointed to the way in which military service, even when reduced to 12 months as now, has the effect of leaving new entrants two the workforce less prepared than they would otherwise be. In all too many cases, their military service does not prepare them for any job more technologically advanced than a janitor or guard. In the past and despite the recognition of the political leadership of these two factors, there are at least two reasons why the Kremlin may be more prepared to accept this argument now than in the past. On the one hand, Putin has said he wants to end the draft and so advocates of that start with a real advantage. And on the other, the declining size of the draft-age cohort means that if the military continues to take large numbers out of it, this will have a serious and negative impact on the Russian economy, at the very least making it far more difficult for Moscow to pursue the economic breakthrough the Kremlin insists it needs.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five ‘Only in Russia’ Stories
Paul Goble Staunton, June 18 – So far this week – and it is only day two! — the Russian media have featured at least five “only in Russia” stories, some of which are funny at one level but most of which are deeply troubling at another. The five are: · An official who stole at least 26 million rubles (430,000 US dollars) from government accounts has been sentenced … “to six years of freedom,” in the words of the MBK news agency, yet another consequence of the Putin regime’s taking care of its own while repressing and stealing from the population at large (mbk.media/region/ministr-i-svyazi/). · A group of Russian scholars argues in new research that feminism is a major cause of the growth of crime among Russian. By adopting feminist ideas, the researchers say, women are in many cases led down the garden path to criminal activity (versia.ru/rossijskie-yuristy-poschitali-feminizm-prichinoj-rosta-prestupnosti). · A conference of nationalistically inclined linguists and sociologists say that Russia need to adopt as soon as possible “a clear ideological doctrine on language” so that it will be in a position to defend and promote Russian against other languages foreign and domestic (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2018/06/18/rossii_srochno_nuzhna_yasnaya_yazykovaya_ideologiya/). · The backers of the acting head of the Altai Republic have made a very public promise to him that they will secure him “120 percent of the votes” in the upcoming election. That figure exceeds even what the leaders of some of the North Caucasus republics have been promised and received (regnum.ru/news/polit/2432932.html). · Punitive psychiatry, one of the most horrific elements in the late Soviet system, is making a comeback under Putin; but now the jailors in white have come up with a new diagnosis to be used against those who engage in dissent. In Soviet times, they were said to suffer from “sluggish schizophrenia.” Now, they are said to display an overly developed interest in “unhealthy activity” (svoboda.org/a/29293375.html).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Muscovites See ‘Act of Terrorism’ Where Russian Officials See Only ‘Unhappy Accident’
Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – On Saturday evening, a taxi plowed into a crowd in the center of Moscow, something that led many Russians to conclude that it was a terrorist act like ones that have occurred in Europe. But Russian officials quickly insisted that it was only “an unhappy accident.” The police put out a video which was intended to support their version of events, but some who had been at the scene insisted that the pictures it showed did not correspond with either what they had seen or what the authorities insisted was the case (msk.newsru.com/article/17jun2018/terror_taxi.html). A copy of the video is now available online and certainly supports the claims of those who saw in this action some intentional action rather than simply an accident. The driver kept going along the sidewalk through the crowd, and when people opened the door of the taxi he was driving, he sought to flee (facebook.com/slava.rabinovich.9/videos/1804972822897357/). Former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Royzman helped spread the version that this was a terrorist action first on Twitter and then on Echo Moskvy. The opposition figure said that the authorities have put out all kinds of versions, but that he personally “considers this a terrorist action (twitter.com/roizmangbn/status/1008249051752620033 and echo.msk.ru/news/2223204-echo.html). In reporting this controversy, the Newsru agency notes that “the unwillingness of the police even to allow the version about an intentional attack on pedestrians was reflected from the first … This isn’t surprising, especially now when universal attention is focused on Russia in connection with the World Cup competition. Moreover, it adds, it is worth noting that the US State Department before the weekend “published an appeal to its citizens in Russia warning them about the possibility of terrorist acts at the World Cup.” And the agency points out that “the siloviki in Russia are extremely reluctant to recognize any incident as a terrorist one, even if there seems to be evidence of that.” Newsru cites the case last when a 19-year-old attacked others with a knife in Surgut, something ISIS immediately took credit for and that the man himself said was a follower of Islamist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “Despite this,” it continues, the magistracy continued to call what happened ‘attempted murder.’” It is often difficult to determine what lies behind a particular criminal act, and it is entirely possible that the Moscow authorities are correct in the current case. But under conditions of low information when officials are known to lie to make the regime look good as now, many are unlikely to believe them — and don’t. And that raises a still more dangerous possibility: Russians may see terrorism in actions that have nothing to do with terrorism and thus respond with fear and support for repressive measures as a result.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Draft Legislation on Cossacks Both Confusing and Dangerous, Semushkin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – New draft legislation under preparation by the Russian government since the end of last year further confuses the situaiton regarding the Cossacks, muddying the waters between the few genuine Cossacks who trace their ancestry back to before the Soviet period and the neo-Cossacks the Kremlin has been sponsoring to do its dirty work. The measure talks a lot about “the revival of the Cossacks,” Dmitry Semushkin says, but one can’t “’revive’ what has died of was killed,” as the pre-1917 Cossacks larely were. Instead, it promotes “re-enactors” in fancy dress much like the Civil War re-enactors in the United States who dress up in period clothing and imagine they are part of something. But both the proposed law like Russian government practice is dangerous because it lumps all the Cossacks together and thus undermines the few genuine Cossacks in Russia while promoting people who are little more than thugs as they showed in whipping protesters on May 5 (eadaily.com/ru/news/2018/06/17/zakon-o-razvitii-rossiyskogo-kazachestva-pravila-igry-v-kazakov-mnenie). The commentator provides a detailed analysis of the legislation, three points of which are especially worthy of notice and concern. First, Semushkin says, the law specifies that anyone who declares that he (and it makes no provision for women doing so) is a Cossack is one regardless of ancestry or culture or anything else. That demonstrates, he says, that at one level, the measure is straight out of “the contemporary game culture of the neo-Cossacks” rather than having anything to do with the Cossacks as a people. Second, just as the Putin regime has increasingly reduced nationality to language, this measure reduces Cossacks to state service and even more to fancy dress. Historically, Cossacks did not wear special clothes except during times of military service. But the new measure defines them in terms of their uniforms. That is part of a general trend in Russian society to move back to one based on social strata, but it makes a mockery of what the Cossacks are, their traditions, and their diversity, something the measure also ignores, focusing almost in its entirety on the Don, Kuban and Terek Cossacks rather than on anyone else. And third — and this is in many ways the most disturbing aspect of the legislation – it specifies that Moscow will consider as a Cossack abroad only someone who cooperates with the Russian state. Those who defend their nation against a state that tried to wipe them off the face of the earth from now one won’t be considered Cossacks by the Russian state. That suggests that the Russian government plans to launch a new effort to penetrate, subordinate and possibly even use Cossack groups abroad, yet another form of the “hybrid” wars that the Putin regime has become notorious for. The new bill has not yet been presented to the Duma, and it remains unclear whether or if it will pass, although as a government measure, it almost certainly will. But as an indication of Kremlin intentions, it is a threat to the Cossacks as a genuine people and to others, both opponents of the regime within Russia and other countries as well.
Ukrainian film director on hunger strike in a Russian prison casts dark cloud over World Cup
Revered Ukrainian film writer Oleg Sentsov has been on a hunger strike for 36 days in a Russian prison colony in northern Siberia. Concerns are growing about his fate after he has refused to eat until the Kremlin releases all 64 Ukrainian political prisoners.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin-Trump Meeting Won’t Result in Dramatic Changes on Ukraine Many Fear and Some Hope, Shevtsova Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – Vladimir Putin has achieved a major goal with plans for a summit between him and US President Donald Trump in Europe sometime in July now going forward. That meeting effectively ends the international isolation the Kremlin leader has experienced since he invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Putin goes into the meeting, Liliya Shevtsova says, with great expectations given the willingness of many European leaders to come to him, their anger at Trump over trade and the Iran agreement, and the apparently increasing fatigue many in the West feel about the current hard line against Russian aggression (svoboda.org/a/29308048.html). That has led to hopes among Putin and his supporters for some kind of “grand bargain” or “big deal” with Trump that will involve forcing Ukraine to accept Russian conditions and ending Western sanctions on Russia, steps that not surprisingly many in Ukraine and in the West clearly fear, the Russian analyst continues. But both these hopes and these fears are almost certainly misplaced, Shevtsova says. “The readiness of the West for dialogue with Moscow does not meet retreat.” Some governments like those of Hungary and the Czech Republic have cozied up to Putin, but nonetheless, they continue to observe the sanctions regime against Russia.” “Trump can call as often as he likes for the return of Russia to the Seven and call Crimea Russian because they speak Russian there,” Shevtsova argues, “but his administration is creating around Russia a cordon sanitaire. More than that, the American elite has consolidated on an anti-Russian basis, largely because it has not found any other basis for doing so.” European leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron may trade “compliments” with Putin, “but both reaffirm for those who may not understand: Europe will not lift the sanctions on Russia until there is progress on fulfilling the Minsk agreement son Ukraine.” And the G-7 has even agreed to create a rapid reaction force to be able to counter Moscow. At the same time, she says, it is the height of naivete to think that Trump will make a final break with Europe and seek friendship only with Russia. That isn’t going to happen: the Transatlantic “family” has had many disputes, but the community “has survived all the storms.” It is implausible to think that will change, however unpredictable Trump likes to be. And the US president who prides himself as a deal maker would have to be offered something tangible to agree to any major change on his part. Putin has little to offer, and while some might be satisfied with promises of future action as was the case after Trump’s Singapore meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, that won’t cut it in this case. “In a word,” Shevtsova says, “the Ukrainian issue remains for the West a kind of ‘red line’” which isn’t going to be crossed. This isn’t because of Western sympathy for Ukraine but because “the surrender of Ukraine would be a recognition by Europe of its own powerlessness” and its leaders won’t allow “the American leviathan to do so either. “By attempting to keep Ukraine from flight to Europe,” she continues, “Russia has buried the European vector of its development. How could one be a European country if one tried to keep one’s neighbor from making a European choice?”” That is the underlying reality; and no one summit is going to change it. Shevtsova continues: “However much the Kremlin wants to force the world to forget about Ukraine, that isn’t going to happen because the West isn’t going to give anyone the right to break windows in its neighborhood, because the Kremlin constantly talks about Ukraine and makes it a domestic factor, and because restraining Russia has become not only a key element of Ukrainian identity but a key principle of European security.” Putin thought that by using force against Ukraine to prevent it from realizing its European choice, he could restore Russia’s greatness and “imperial power.” But by “a bitter irony” for him, his efforts to “preserve this Great Power quality” have brought and will continue to bring “crushing” consequences – including at the upcoming summit.
Putin’s rating falls to level recorded before start of aggression against Ukraine | UNIAN
The rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin from June 10 to 17 decreased from 62% to 54%, according to the Public Opinion Foundation). According to sociologists, the drop was due to the recent car fuel price hikes and the latest announcement of pension reform.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Digs In on Pension Plan as Popular Opposition to It Mounts
Paul Goble Staunton, June 23 – Andrey Turchak, a senior official of the ruling United Russia Party, has declared that any criticism of the pension reform plan by party members is impermissible, an indication that the Russian government has decided to dig in against mounting popular anger and opposition (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5B2E01946BC10). His order comes as the media is reporting that the number of Russians who have signed an online petition against raising the pension age has passed 2.2 million, making it one of the most signed petition in Russian history and an indication of how much what Moscow is doing is at odds with the Russian people (forum-msk.org/material/news/14763723.html). And yet another measure of just how intense Russian feelings are about the government’s plan to take a step so many of them oppose are commentators who say that the situation is now such that Russians are being asked “to help the state by dying before they can go on a pension” (sovross.ru/articles/1710/40074).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Pension Conflict Highlights Existence of Two Almost Separate Nations in Russia, Shelin Suggests
Paul Goble Staunton, June 20 – The conflict over government plans to increase the retirement age in large part reflects the existence of two different nations in Russia, who live in different worlds and eras and who do not have a common language in which the upper and lower strata of the population can discuss what is going on, according to Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin. Unlike in many other countries, he argues (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2018/06/19/1711497.html), Russia does not face a pension crisis. Indeed, an analysis prepared by the Bank of Russia last year reached precisely that conclusion in the course of an examination of the system for at least the next two decades (cbr.ru/publ/moneyandcredit/vlasov_mamedli_08_17.pdf). But that is not how things appear to those at the top of the Russian political and economic system. “Vladimir Putin, along with his closest circle live in the distant past when the nobleman distributed to his peasants various bounties,” sometime more and sometimes less but without a fixed system, Shelin says. “The previous ‘reform’ of Russian pensions, with the introduction of the ball system and the end of savings plans, completely fit into this logic,” Shelin says. “If before this a citizen reading the annual reports of the Pension Fund sent to him about the sum of savings, as corrected for inflation, could calculate his future pension, now this became impossible.” But “on the other hand, nothing interfered with his continuing to hope for the generosity of the nobleman. People with an archaic cast of mind or artificially induced to that condition have become accustomed over the last 12 years to the idea that pensions in real terms will almost always grow.” And it is from this that arises “the principled distinction of ordinary people from the passive peasants of the century before last.” Today’s man on the street like his predecessor does not have any idea where the money for his pension is coming from but unlike the Russian peasant in the past can’t imagine that the state will ever pull back. “From the leader and from television, he expects to find out only about new benefits.” “It is understandable why the head of government did not tell the people a word about the supposedly government (but not presidential!) plan for raising the pension age. He and the ideal part of his subjects simply haven’t developed the language needed for discussing the so-called unpopular decisions.” In the current system, Shelin continues, “the [supreme] leader dispenses only benefits. This is his key function which in a specific case may be carried out a little later either by the softening of the ‘government’ plan by order from one high or in the extreme case even by its replacement.” But there is a problem: “besides the ideal citizens, we have unideal ones. Those who absolutely do not believe the state, who try to keep away from it as far as possible, who live and work in the shadows, and who don’t make contributions to the pension fund.” The number in “the tens of millions.” The leader and his surrounding people view them as a problem and the source of a deficit in the Pension Fund. But this is not really the case, Shelin says, at least in the middle term. The powers that be don’t have a vocabulary to get these people to contribute, and therefore they turn to the only means they know, exposure and punishment. “In Russia there is also a stratum of people who think in a contemporary fashion. They live mostly in the megalopolises and in principle are prepared to a serious argument about new pension plans … But agitation in favor of ‘pension reforms’ will only perplex those who think independently.” Such people don’t believe the government will keep its promises for any period of time: it hasn’t up to now. And consequently, they will be suspicious too. And so they too will be angry about what the government is proposing. But these are only part of a more general problem: The lack of a common language between the powers and the people. “As in the past, there is no generally understood language in which various groups of the less privileged can discuss measures” that will affect their position in a negative way. Until that language emerges – and there is little sign that it can given the current rulers – the real fight is not between two positions on raising the retirement age. Rather, it is about two world views, one based on a past that cannot be restored and another on a future that is only incompletely here.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Median Incomes Now Far Below What It Takes to Be Middle Class
Paul Goble Staunton, June 21 – The median income of Russians is currently 26,500 rubles (440 US dollars) a month, far below the 121,000 rubles (2000 US dollars) needed to be middle class in Moscow or even the 60,000 rubles (1,000 US dollars) to meet that standard in most of the regions of the country, according to the Analytic Credit Rating Agency (ARKA). In a new study, the agency defines “middle class” in Russian conditions as having sufficient funds to buy high-quality goods, own property and a car, save some money, travel abroad, and not have difficulty meeting monthly bills. Typically, people in this category, it says, either have higher educations or are entrepreneurs (svpressa.ru/society/article/203255/). Russian experts accept the findings of this study but dispute its definition of middle class. Andrey Bunich of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Landlords says that it fails to take into account the self-assessment of people: “Many [Russians] consider themselves middle class even though they really aren’t” in terms of income. Adding that characteristic to the mix, he says, means that “the total number of people in the middle class [in Russia] can be estimated to be about 20 to 25 percent of the total population.” That is relatively small for a modernized country, but more disturbing, Buich suggests, is the composition of this group. Overwhelmingly, it consists of bureaucrats who are dependent on the budget rather than the economy. The number of entrepreneurs is much smaller, perhaps “about five million.” Thus, the regional divergence reflects an unequal distribution of state funds. But overall, it means that the Russian middle class is “absolutely paternalistic” in its thinking. That means that its middle class won’t play the same role in Russia that it has in Europe or the United States. Indeed, he suggests, it won’t promote business but rather because of its values retard the development of the economy. Sociologist Aleksandr Prudnik agrees, arguing that “the middle class in Russia” consists mostly of bosses rather than those who make a direct contribution to the economy. And because the middle class in most countries defines the society, that means that the Russian one can’t promote development in the ways many expect. But even the size of the middle class in Russia may be a problem, Aleksandr Safronov of the Academy of Labor and Social Relations says. Russia’s is declining as a share of the population because of the economic crisis and now forms far less than the 40 percent of the population most analysts say is needed for socio-political stability. Consequently, he suggests, Russia’s middle class by its nature won’t produce the kind of economic and political development its counterparts have in the West and by its size may even become the basis for instability.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: North Caucasians Outraged Their Deputies Did Not Vote Against Putin’s Language Bill
Paul Goble Staunton, June 23 – North Caucasians on social networks are expressing outrage at the fact that none of the 26 Duma deputies voted against the Putin-backed measure to make the study of all languages but Russian voluntary. In the event, 19 voted for the measure, and nine did not take part in the voting. Bloggers say that this reflected “cowardice” on the part of their representatives who caved to pressure from above rather than reflecting the clearly expressed views of the people in their regions, the Kavkaz-Uzel news agency reports (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/322080/; cf. windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/06/circassians-denounce-kremlins-language.html). Before the vote, Yushaa Gazgireyev, a United Russia deputy from Ingushetia, said that “the adoption of the bill in the form offered creates a threat to the multi-national nature of the Russian Federatio” and Zaur Gekkiyev, a United Russia deputy from Kabardino-Balkaria, asked that it be pulled and replaced. But neither voted against. It is true that one of the three deputies who voted against was a former Daghestani official, Rizvan Kurbanov, who is a member of the KPRF. But at present, he doesn’t represent the republic. Instead, he is part of regional group which represents occupied Crimea, occupied Sevastopol, and Kaliningrad. Nine deputies from Daghestan voted for the measure, while three each from Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia did so, and one each from Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Ingushetia. But not one of the deputies from Chechnya voted for the measure. However, they didn’t vote against but rather did not participate in the voting. For their failure to vote note, one blogger denounced them for “cowardice,” while another said that “not voting was equivalent to voting yes.” Further, yet a third said, “not voting ‘against’ is anything but courageous.” Bloggers attacked all those who voted in favor for undermining the future of their national languages. There are as yet no indications that anyone in the North Caucasus hopes to initiate recall movements as is already the case in Tatarstan (idelreal.org/a/29306788.html), but people in the North Caucasus are clearly just as angry as are non-Russians in the Middle Volga who are now translating their anger into actions. In Bashkortostan, the government decided that every school in the republic must from now on fly the republic flag (idelreal.org/a/29313078.html), and some in Tatarstan are saying that they intend to fight to keep the title “president” for the head of their republic (idelreal.org/a/29313373.html). If this pattern spreads, those who warned that Putin’s language policies could cause far more problems for Moscow than he could ever imagine.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Reviving Tsarist-Era Hostility toward Education, Experts Say
Paul Goble Staunton, June 23 – In a disastrous case of drawing on unfortunate even tragic tsarist policies, S. Magaril and P. Filippov write in Yezhednevny zhurnal, Vladimir Putin is reprising tsarist-era attitudes toward education, attitudes that contributed to Russia’s backwardness and explosions of violence in the early years of the 20th century. After reviewing the history of tsarist antagonism toward schooling, an attitude reflecting the view of tsars that it was easier to keep the people in line if they were not educated, the two say “today we observe the very same efforts of the powers not to allow Russians to get good educations especially in economics and political science” (ej.ru/?a=note&id=32607). Today’s “school and higher educational institution programs do not provide explanations for the poverty of some countries and the wealth of others,” Magaril and Fillipov say. “They do not explain the importance for development of pluralism, political and economic competition, the supremacy of law and an independent judicial system.” “In place of the former communist utopia,” they write, students are force fed “imperial fantasies.” The level of teaching in all disciplines is declining, in large part because Putin has ordered raising the pay of instructors while cutting government financing of universities and other higher educational institutions. And that is compounded by the fact that the only way rectors can pay themselves more is to cut the number of instructors. That has resulted in a system in which rectors are paid as much as 80 million rubles (1.3 million US dollars) a year while instructors and professors are paid a pittance. Indeed, the old joke that “if the boss eats meat every day, while his subordinates eat cabbage, then in turns out on average that we all eat soup” has once again gained currency. The reduction in the number of instructors has led to a situation in which there are now 12 students for every instructor in Russian higher schools, while the average in other countries is three or four to one. “Instructors are becoming fewer and the quality of education is falling,” the two historians say. This doesn’t both the elite around the Kremlin because their children long ago went to England or Germany to study. Of course, the two write, “this policy is rational if you evaluate it starting from the selfish interests of the ruling group. It is directed above all at het enrichment of the powers of the wealthy and not at the growth in the country of human capital.” History shows, they say that “educated people don’t accept propaganda as readily an don’t believe that ‘the tsar is good but the boyars are bad.’ (One is talking about really educated people and not about specialists in Marxist-Leninist philosophy.)” The educated “know languages and can compare life and the system in Russia and in developed democratic countries. It is harder to deceive them; and it isn’t an accident that each fifth Moscow, according to polls by sociologists of the Levada Center, is today ready to emigrate and escape the realities of Putin’s ‘democracy.’” In all too many ways, Magaril and Fillipov say, “the present rulers of Russia have heeded the advice of Empress Catherine” – don’t educate the Russian people or you’ll have problems. Of course, “many Russians understand where such a policy leads. But they are silent, they don’t protest, they are afraid.” So far, “they even vote for ‘the national leader.’ They behave correctly [because] after all we aren’t Armenians. We still put up with things.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Media Focus on ‘First Ever’ Decline in Number of White Americans
Paul Goble Staunton, June 21 – Russian media outlets are giving prominent play to a report by the US Bureau of the Census that “for the first time in the entire history of the United States, the white population has been contracting” over the last two years, sometimes illustrating such stories with pictures of Ku Klux Klan members (vz.ru/news/2018/6/21/928864.print.html). Between 2015 and 2016, the number of those the Census Bureau counts as non-Hispanic whites declined by 31,516, a trend that has accelerated over the last year. Their total number now stands at 197,800,000. Meanwhile, the number of Hispanics increased by 2.1 percent, the number of Black Americans by 1.2 percent, and those of Asian origin by 3.1 percent. Not only are the number of white Americans declining, but they are becoming older with their average age equally 43.5 years. Those from Latin America in contrast have an average age of 29.3 percent, a difference that has serious consequences for the future birthrate given that whites are now older than the prime childbearing cohort while Hispanics are in the middle. Analysts at the Census Bureau say that whites will become “a national minority” in the United States before 2045. This demographic sea change helps to explain much of the political turbulence that has roiled US politics over the last several years, turbulence that Moscow has done what it can to intensify. Groups that feel they are about to be displaced from their dominant position often behave worse and more defensively than those who sense they are on the rise. But in reading about this trend in the United States, Russians can hardly avoid thinking that a similar trend is at work in the Russian Federation. Ethnic Russians while forming a larger share of the population of that country than whites do in the US nonetheless are in decline as well, while non-Russians and especially Muslims are growing more rapidly. Consequently, some of the turbulence that Moscow sees and has backed in the United States will soon be coming to Russia as well, leading to the emergence of more “Russia for the Russians sentiment,” an idea the Kremlin recognizes as dangerous but may soon feel it has no choice but to play to.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Rights Activists, Intellectuals Speak Out in Defense of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Paul Goble Staunton, June 20 – Dozens of Russian human rights activists and intellectuals have denounced Moscow’s repression of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a landmark action not only in terms of support in Russia for the embattled religious group – the powers that be have banned it – but also an indication that the Russian intelligentsia is re-emerging as a force for the common good. “Throughout the entire world,” their appeal says, “Jehovah’s Witnesses practice their religion openly and freely. They have been banned in China, North Korea, Tajjikistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and now in Russia,” bringing “great shame” to the country (grani-ru-org.appspot.com/Society/m.270973.html). A major reason the Russian state has been repressing the Jehovah’s Witnesses are “their absolute pacifism and categorical refusal to use force,” the appeal continues. They are in no way extremism: if the standard Moscow has used to ban the denomination were applied to other faiths, “all religions would have to be banned.” “What has taken place with them in essence is taking place with us: this is a test of the immune forces of society. The persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses shows the baselessness of [Russia’s] anti-extremism legislation in general. If society doesn’t defend the Jehovah’s Witnesses, if their rights are not restored, this will mean everyone can be called an extremist.” The rights activists and intellectuals called for an end to the persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the immediate freeing of all now being held. Attached to the appeal is a list of 22 Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been declared political prisoners by the most prominent Russian rights groups. Among the signatories are some of Russia’s most prominent rights activists, including Lyudmila Alekseyeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Svetlana Gannushkina of Civic Action, Aleksandr Daniel of Memorial, Sergey Lukahsevsky of the Sakharov Center, Lev Ponomaryev of For Human Rights, Aleksandr Soldatov of Portal Credo, and writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya. There are an estimated 150,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, and since the courts banned their organization, many of them have been charged with crimes carrying up to ten years in the camps. According to members of the group, repressions against the Jehovah’s Witnesses intensified in mid-April and have spread across the Russian Federation. In May, the European Court of Human Rights received an appeal from Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, given that they have exhausted all possible appeals within the Russian Federation. That makes the declaration of the activists and writers critically important in attracting public attention to the plight of this religious community. If the Putin regime gets away with its suppression of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it will beyond any doubt first move against Protestant groups, members of other religions, and ultimately, as the signatories of this appeal note, against all Russians, in exactly the way Pastor Niemoeller warned about the Nazis 75 years ago. Niemoeller’s classic warning needs only to be updated: “If they come for the Jehovah’s Witnesses and we don’t say anything, they will ultimately come for others and for us – and then there will be no one left to defend us or anyone else.
UAWire – Russian companies prepare to be disconnected from SWIFT
Russia’s largest companies continue to report that they are ready for a possible disconnection from the SWIFT international payment system. Gazprom Neft announced that it has followed Rostec and Rosneft in transitioning to the Central Bank of Russia’s SWIFT equivalent – the Financial Message Transmission System (FMTS). The nearly 100% Gazprom-owned company, which holds the 4th place for oil extraction in Russia, has begun to use the Russian SWIFT equivalent instead of the traditional one, TASS reports, citing the company’s press service. The transition to FMTS is a “major step towards increasing the payment independence of Gazprom Neft, which can now be certain that its payment obligations will be carried out independently of external factors,” explained Alexey Yankevich, deputy general director of economics and finances. In addition, the Russian SWIFT is cheaper: transition to it “will help to optimize costs’, the senior executive observed. Russia’s Central Bank has been working on an equivalent to the international payment since President Vladimir Putin gave the order in 2014. Elvira Nabiullina announced that the preparations had been completed at the start of 2017. Initially, only banks were connected to the FMTS, but since the end of 2017, companies in the non-financial sector have joined the system too. Rosneft reported its connection to the new system in March, and Rostec in April. “We are also able operate without SWIFT” said Arkady Dvorkovich, then First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, at an international economic forum in Davos. A month later, Dvorkovich announced that banks and companies were “morally and technologically prepared” for such a development. He emphasized that the government was ready to meet any challenge, including disconnection from the world financial system.
Russia’s top 280 lies – INTERNATIONAL EDITION – To Inform is to Influence
by Julia Davis Continue reading: http://www.russialies.com/russias-top-280-lies-international-edition/
The Week In Russia: World Cup Hosts Advance, Retirement Recedes
Vladimir Putin edged closer to a long-awaited meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, and Russian soccer fans reveled in decisive wins that moved the underdog host country past the group stage of the World Cup. But millions of Russian citizens got less welcome news, as the government pushed to raise the retirement age and lawmakers voted on language-education legislation that ethnic minorities fear could erase their cultures.
What the Kremlin did while Russians were watching the World Cup – To Inform is to Influence
The Russian authorities have used the World Cup as a useful distraction. by Roman Dobrokhotov The World Cup is in full blast and Russia hadn’t seen such level of festivities for generations. In 11 Russian cities, there is a carnival-like atmosphere; the streets are full of people day and night; the otherwise hostile Russian fans are now…
FIFA And Russia Corruption – To Inform is to Influence
The most important statement in this article, besides all the incriminating evidence against both Russia and FIFA.  Why Hasn’t FIFA Acted? Well, there’s the not-so-small matter of its banner event, which is currently being held in the country that sponsored all this doping. That event is FIFA’s main source of revenue. FIFA’s main incentive, therefore,…
Argentina Asks Russia To Deport Fans Who Beat Up Croatians At Soccer Match
Argentina on June 22 said it has asked Russia to detain and deport four of its soccer fans filmed fighting with Croatian fans at a World Cup match.
Bloomberg deletes from article scandalous map with neutral Crimea | UNIAN
Bloomberg has apparently reacted to criticism over the publication in an article covering the upcoming elections in the emerging markets of a world map where the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was marked as a neutral territory. The publication added to the article the following note: “Corrects to remove map with errors”.
Moscow Court Extends Navalny’s Suspended Sentence
A Moscow court has extended by one year the five-year suspended prison sentence given to opposition leader Aleksei Navalny on an embezzlement conviction in the so-called Kirovles case.
Oleg Navalny Released From Russian Prison After 3 1/2 Years
Oleg Navalny, the younger brother of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, has been released from prison after spending 3 1/2 years behind bars in the so-called Yves Rocher case.
Navalny’s Brother Released From Russian Jail
The brother of prominent Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was released from prison in western Russia after serving a 3-1/2 year sentence.
Navalny Aide Rearrested Shortly After Finishing 15-Day Jail Term In Far East
Russian activist Vladimir Dubovsky, the coordinator of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s regional team in the Far East, has been rearrested shortly after finishing a 15-day jail term.
Russian Journalist Charged For ‘Attending’ Anti-Putin Protest
A journalist in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan has been charged with attending an illegal protest against President Vladimir Putin and may face a fine or several days in jail.
Bomb Threats Prompt Evacuations In Rostov-On-Don; No Explosives Found
Russian police early on June 27 said they received multiple bomb threats in the World Cup host city of Rostov-on-Don, prompting the evacuation of bars and restaurants across the city, but no explos…
Putin Dismisses Ex-Tank Factory Foreman Who Offered To Help Quash Protests
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed his representative in the Urals federal district, Igor Kholmanskikh — a former tank-factory foreman Putin had elevated to the post after the obscure manager offered to help him quash opposition protests.
‘Worst Human Traffickers’ Include Russia, Belarus, Iran, Turkmenistan
In a new report, the U.S. State Department says Belarus, Iran, Russia, and Turkmenistan remain among the worst offenders of human trafficking and forced labor.
A Century Ago, the Romanovs Met a Gruesome End – To Inform is to Influence
Helen Rappaport’s new book investigates if the family could have been saved By Anna Diamond SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE JULY 2018 On the night of July 16, 1918, seven prisoners, and their four attendants, were led into a basement by roughly the same number of guards. There, they were shot, bayoneted and clubbed. Their bodies were first disposed…
‘We’re begging. What else can we do?’: The humiliation of the Moscow mayoral race’s ‘municipal filter’ — Meduza
On the evening of June 26, at the Moscow Municipal Council building, mayoral hopefuls met for a second time with municipal deputies to give speeches and try to convince the elected officials to endorse their candidacies. According to the city’s “municipal filter,” in order to appear on the ballot in September, mayoral candidates need the support of 110 deputies: at least one deputy in 110 different municipalities across Moscow. Candidates have until July 3 to rally the necessary signatures, and there are another two gatherings with municipal deputies scheduled before the deadline. Even before the June 26 meeting, opposition candidate Ilya Yashin announced that he won’t be able to overcome the municipal filter. Incumbent Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and several others who say they’re running for mayor didn’t bother to attend Tuesday’s event. Meduza special correspondent Taisiya Bekbulatova, who’s been following the candidates’ meetings with Moscow municipal deputies, did make the trip.
UAWire – Russia overjoyed by fake news of anti-doping whistleblower suicide attempt
On Wednesday June 27, the Russian media virtually buried alive the former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, World Anti-Doping Agency ( …
Amnesty Sees Glimmer Of Hope For Peaceful Protesters In Russia
Amnesty International has cautiously welcomed a resolution by Russia’s Supreme Court to provide guidance for administrative cases concerning freedom of assembly, warning that it will mean “noth…
Hunger-Striking Sentsov’s Health ‘Very Weak,’ Lawyer Says
The health of jailed Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike for almost 40 days in a Russian penal colony, is “very weak” and deteriorating, his lawyer says.
Ukrainian Ombudswoman Not Allowed To Meet Jailed Sentsov
Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova and her Russian counterpart, Tatyana Moskalkova, have arrived in Russia’s far-northern region of Yamalo-Nenets, where they plan to meet with jailed Ukrainian…
Ukrainian Due To Be Released From Russian Prison Put In Solitary Confinement
A Ukrainian activist jailed in Russia has been put in solitary confinement weeks before his scheduled release, a human rights organization says.
‘Protect Human Rights Defenders,’ EU Tells Russia
The European Union has called on Russian authorities to drop the criminal cases against human rights activists Oyub Titiyev and Yury Dmitriyev, saying they are facing “questionable” charges.
Ukrainian Activist Expected To Be Released After Court Suspends Sentence
A jailed Ukrainian activist is expected to be released after a court in Russian-controlled Crimea shortened and suspended his politically charged prison sentence.
Kremlin says Sentsov won’t be pardoned at Jagland’s request – 26.06.2018 14:28 — Ukrinform News
Ukrainian film director, political prisoner Oleg Sentsov cannot be pardoned on grounds of the request of Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbj&oslash;rn Jagland.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Like Russia, Kazakhstan Struggling with Ethnic and Non-Ethnic Nationhood
Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – Over the past several years, many Western writers have focused on the debate going on in the Russian Federation between those who advocate the promotion of a non-ethnic Russian identity encapsulated in the term Rossiyanin and those who argue that ethnic identities, including the Russian one (Russky), must be retained. Russia is hardly alone in having this debate, and the former Soviet republic where it has been going on the longest – since the run-up to the adoption of the Brezhnev Constitute in 1976 – and the most intensively is Kazakhstan, a debate Talgat Ismagambetov explores in an important new article (caa-network.org/archives/13450). Perhaps because ethnic Kazakhs were a minority in their own republic – until the mid-1980s, they were outnumbered by ethnic Russians – Kazakhstan was among the very first to talk about the possibility of rethinking the identity of its residents by shifting from an ethnic (Kazakh) to territorially defined (Kazakhstanets) one. Its officials and legal specialists took the lead in urging that this very different definition be included for all republics in the Brezhnev constitution, but despite some support among Moscow legal specialists, the CPSU rejected the idea at that time. However, it never completely disappeared, at least in Kazakhstan. Isagambetov takes up the story at the end of Soviet times, noting that the inherent conflict between Kazakh and Kazakhstanets as the definer of the nation, has been “an unresolved dilemma for more than 25 years,” even though the Kazakh share of the population has risen from 40 percent at the end of Soviet times to 70 percent now. Ethnic Russians in the country, the Kazakhstan legal specialist says, very much want to have Kazakhstanets as the definer; and at least some of them are angry that Moscow under both Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin have not pressed for this, not only in Kazakhstan but in all the post-Soviet states. In the first key documents defining Kazakhstan, he continues, the drafters used the two, guided in their decision by their experience with nationality “combined in ‘the multi-national soviet people.” But historian and ethnographer Nurbolat Masanov pointed out early on that this was a mistake as the two terms have very different meanings and implications. The tension between the two was obscured by the Soviet period concept of “Soviet socialist nationality,” which included ab initio the notions of both ethnicity and a specific civic content. Thus, many in Kazakhstan assumed that they could use the terms almost interchanbably, Isagambetov suggests. It was also complicated by the fact that in Kazakhtan, the modern Kazakh nation took shape after the creation of a state structure rather than before it as happened elsewhere, and thus many saw Kazakh as including a variety of civic values even when these were not specified by the authors involved. But Kazakhstan’s realities meant that the two terms in fact existed in uneasy relationship with each other. The Kazakh nation could be “the consolidating nucleus of the multi-national Kazakhstan people,” “the Kazakhs could form a nation while all the rest were diasporas,” or “the Kazakhs are part of the Kazakhstan nation,” a view Nursultan Nazarbayev has promoted. All three possibilities are implicit in the use of the terms Kazakh nation and Kazakhstan people, Isagambetov says; but some stress one while others stress the others, often accusing those who are inclined to make any departure from the ethnic Kazakh core of being “mankurts” or “pseudo-Kazakhs. The most controversy about national identifications, he continues, is over language, both the role of the Kazakh language and the functioning of the Russian language” in Kazakhstan. But because controversies about language have been so intense, the government has promoted a non-ethnic definition of nationality to avoid them, defining nation in technocratic ways. But that has not been entirely successful. Neither most Kazakhs nor most Russians are satisfied with that notion. Consequently, “the processes of nation construction in Kazakhstan have not ended or become clearer.” Instead, they constitute “the chief intrigue at this stage of the modern history of the country.”
Saakashvili Convicted Of Abuse Of Power, Sentenced In Absentia
A Georgian court has sentenced former President Mikheil Saakashvili in absentia to six years in prison after convicting him of abuse of power.
Azerbaijani military displays Israel-made air and missile defence system – Defence Blog
Azerbaijan has displayed several recently acquired Israel-made land-based Barak-8 air and missile defence system during a military parade on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Azeri Armed Forces. The new Barak-8 air and missile defence system is designed to destroy any types of aerial threats as aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as cruise missiles and combat jets from a range of 70 to 150 km. Barak 8 was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, Rafael and other companies. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) produce the missiles. The vertical launch system with Barak 8 interceptor missiles was installed on a Belarusian-made Volat 8×8 wheeled chassis developed by MZKT. According to theisraeldefense.co.il,Azerbaijan ordered an operational land-based version – 12 launchers and 75 surface-to-air missiles.
Azerbaijan received Turkish high precision cruise missiles – Defence Blog
The Azerbaijan Air Force (AzAF) has ordered Turkey-made SOM medium-range, all-weather air-to-surface standoff cruise missiles. According to the “Azeri Defence”, the recently received SOM cruise missiles developed by Turkey’s Roketsan will make its maiden public appearance in parades in Baku on 26 June. SOM is an air-to-surface missile to be used against heavily defended, high-value anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and land targets such as surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites, exposed aircraft, strategic assets, command and control centers, and naval vessels. Its modular design supports the required operational flexibility. The SOM provides enhanced capabilities by building on existing SOM air-to-surface cruise missile technology. SOM cruise missiles come in four different variants: the SOM-A, SOM-J, SOM-B1, and SOM-B2. The SOM-A is already in the Turkish Army’s inventory. The bases version of stand-off missile is powered by a turbojet engine and has a range of more than 250km. It is operable under all weather conditions, and also in hostile environments.

Belarus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Reasons Lukashenka is Now Saying His Country Could be Annexed by a Neighbor
Paul Goble Staunton, June 25 – There is an old joke among lawyers that when in a case, the facts are against you, you argue law; when the law is against you, you argue facts; and when both are against you, you raise your voice. Something similar helps to explain why Alyaksandr Lukashenka has just now stated openly Belarus could disappear from the face of the earth. On the one hand, given Vladimir Putin’s aggressiveness, need for ever new foreign policies to distract from his failures at home, and his oft-repeated desire that Russia and Belarus become a genuine “union state,” Lukashenka’s remarks may appear to many as nothing more than stating the obvious. But on the other, few leaders are going to state the obvious if it makes them look as desperate as Lukashenka’s suggestion at the end of last week that unless Belarus makes an economic breakthrough, he does not exclude the loss of Belarus’ independence and its annexation by a neighbor, which certainly won’t be Ukraine, Poland or Lithuania. And that prompts two questions: why is he doing this and why is he doing it now? There are at least five reasons why Lukashenka may have decided on what can only be described as such a desperate public confession before his own people and the world of weakness and danger (stoletie.ru/lenta/lukashenko_ne_iskluchil_poteru_nezavisimosti_belorussijej_195.htm).
Shaky “bridge” between the West and Russia: Why Minsk never ceased to be Moscow’s “ally” | UNIAN
Analysts at the U.S.-based private intelligence company Stratfor reported that since 2014, Belarus has turned from Russia’s failthful ally into a neutral mediator between the West and the Kremlin. But this is not the first time Alexander Lukashenko had his tail stepped on, and began playing a game seemingly independent of Russia. Lukashenko is trying by all means to retain power, and if to this end he needs to become anything, be that even a bridge between the West and Russia or a pro-Western politician, whatever, he will undoubtedly do all it takes. At least, he will pretend he does… But there are a few nuances worth mentioning here. First, what kind of a “bridge between the West and Russia” can the Belarusian president be if he professes values that are opposite to the European ones? He politically persecutes his opponents, oppresses freedom of speech, and suppresses any manifestations of civil liberties. Is this the country that has come to life and seeks to return to the European family of peoples? Second, during his long-term cadence, Lukashenko oppressed all that was pro-national and all that was democratic. On whom can he rely if in the absence of the Belarusian ideology as such, the empty space was filled with the notorious concept of the “Russian World”? Thirdly, there is a parallel that can be drawn between Belarus and Ukraine. After all, back in the day, Russia almost managed to occupy key government positions in our country, that’s when our chiefs of security agencies, defense ministry, etc had Russian passports in their back pockets or simply used to work for our northern neighbors. The same thing has been happening in Belarus. Despite recurrent personnel purges, who could actually know the real degree of infiltration of state bodies with agents of Russian intelligence? That is precisely why the Kremlin might be able to remove Lukashenko from power at any given moment, make him more loyal, or simply absorb the country altogether. Indeed, Lukashenko earlier used to take certain steps that went against Russia’s interests and were in favor of the West, like releasing political prisoners or changing his foreign political rhetoric. But it was more related to the gas pipe issue. As long as Russia provided the resources necessary for Lukashenko to preserve his regime, he remained loyal to Moscow. Instead, when the gas flow was under threat, he tried to balance and pretend to be a democratic leader.
UAWire – Ukrainian Intelligence Services: Belarus is a potential springboard for Russian invasion
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense considers Belarus to be a possible springboard for a Russian invasion. Radio Liverty reports that this was stated by Vadym Skibitsky, Spokesperson of the Main Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR MOU). According to Skibitsky, Ukrainian intelligence is keeping an eye on all operations arranged by Russia on the territory of Belarus. Skibitsky noted that Russian units, in particular airborne troops, conducted many combat training activities on the territory of Belarus in 2016 and 2017. “Airfields were studied, the territory was studied, [and we discovered that] there were exits to the Ukrainian border. We believe that a threat from the north exists,” the HUR MOU spokesman said. In 2017, the Zapad military exercises took place on the territory of Belarus, as well as partly in Russia. According to official data, the exercises covered training facilities and two terrains across Belarus and involved the participation of 10,200 servicemen. Belarus’ neighboring countries, including the Baltic states and Ukraine, were concerned that Russia would use the Zapad-2017 exercises to aggressively develop its military presence in the region, which is on the eastern flank of NATO, and turn Belarus into a springboard for a potential offensive against Ukraine.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow and Minsk have Tried to Destroy Belarusian but the Belarusian People are Preserving and Reviving It, ‘Novaya Gazeta’ Author Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 27 – The Soviet government followed by the Belarusian regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka have done their utmost to destroy the Belarusian language, but the Belarusian people have kept it alive much as Jews persecuted for their beliefs kept their faith and are now reviving it despite Lukashenka’s opposition. In a remarkable article in today’s Novaya gazeta entitled “We are Real!” Irina Khalip, the paper’s correspondent for Belarus, point out that most Belarusians are put off by the military parades Lukashenka loves to watch but not just because of the dust and damage to the roads they leave behind (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/06/27/76960-my-nastoyaschie). Instead, they are offended by Lukashenka’s marshal’s uniform, by the interior ministry’s wearing an NKVD uniform from the 1930s, and by the fact that all the orders in the military are given in Russian. Some view this as a group of uniformed collaborators; but others as “an army of occupation.” And they see such performances and especially the use of the Russian language not only as “alien” to themselves but as “the result of a longstanding, targeted and planned destruction of Belarusian,” their native language. Such “a loss of language always leads to distrust and even hostile feelings toward government institutions.” Khalip says she is “very sad that Russians, including alas friends, colleagues, educated and intelligent people most often of all do not understand the drama here.” Even in her own paper, she notes, there sometimes appear lines like “’only Russian will give a Belarusian access to science and culture; otherwise they will sit in their villages at a time of space flights.’” “I do not intend to engage in polemics,” she continues. “I do not want to explain to the author that access to science and culture is possible in any language, that for the Belarusians the professional path to the West rather than the east is for the Belarusians much more popular, with Polish and Czech is not English more important and with more prospects than Russian.” “The state of the Belarusian language now didn’t drop on us from the sky,” the journalist says. Belarusians didn’t decide one fine day to give up their language and use Russian, except of course of a few “renegades” who seek to “muddy the waters by trying to speak Belarusian in a customary Russian-language milieu.” That isn’t true, Khalip says. Instead, “the Belarusian language was destroyed over a long period and in a planned manner, in the framework of Soviet colonial policy. From 1920 to 1937, there were four state languages in the BSSR – Belarusian, Polish, Russian and Yiddish.” And those languages were all on the coat of arms of the republic. In government offices at that time, business was conducted in two languages – Belarusian and Yiddish. “It is possible that this is what led them to their fate. With Yiddish, it is true, Hitler ‘helped’ a lot; [but] with Belarusian, the Soviet authorities dealt with on their own. Under the slogan, “if you speak Belarusian, that means you’re a nationalist!” the Soviet authorities in the 1930s “destroyed practically the entire national intelligentsia. In 1937, they shot hundreds of writers and scholars and burned their archives in jail yards so that no word from these nationalists would survive,” Khalip says. Thus began “the stigmatization of Belarusian,” and “Belarusians really began to speak Russian – in order to survive.” Belarusian schools were closed, universities stopped teaching in it, and Belarusians were allowed to study their native language only two hours a week as if it were foreign language rather than their own. “But,” she continues, “the real Belarusian language, living and warm, became a secret knowledge, just like the Jewish faith was for the forcibly baptized Spanish Jews. And do Russians know “why Alyaksandr Lukashenka has held power for so many years? Because he is conducting the very same colonial policies [the Soviets did] in exchange for oil and gas at domestic Russian prices. In 24 years, not one Belarusian-language university has opened in Belarus; and Minsk with its two million people has only seven Belarusian-language schools.” “The Soviet bureaucrat Alyaksandr Lukashenka is not in a position to destroy his internal raykom matrix and therefore issues forth phrases like ‘in Belarusian it is impossible to express anything great.’” But precisely because he and Moscow say these things, the Belarusians themselves have taken it upon themselves to save their language and their nation. Belarusians, she says, “speak their language. They use it consciously in their families and in their company offices. Belarusian-language stores and automobile dealerships are appearing. The books of Svetlana Aleksiyevich are popular. And other Belarusian books are distributed by mobile phones. As a result, “international brands coming into Belarus order ads in the Belarusian language.” And because this is so, the Novaya journalist and ethnic Belarusian insists, the Belarusian people are reviving their language and ensuring the survival of their nation well into the future. “They will return their language, and they will open universities, and they will be happy,” she says. But under one condition: that they won’t again be shot by those who want to build an empire rather than a nation.
UN Rights Rapporteur Laments Lack Of Improvement In ‘Kafkaesque’ Belarus
Belarusians continue to live under severe restrictions on freedom of assembly and other rights after nearly a quarter-century under President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, UN special rapporteur Miklos Haraszti has told RFE/RL.
Top-Level Delegations In Minsk To Unveil Memorial To Victims Of Nazi Camp
Delegations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, and Poland have arrived in Minsk to unveil a memorial to the victims of a Nazi extermination camp near the Belarusian capital.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Russian Soldiers Occupy This European Country, and Neighbors Are Trying to Get Them Out
This is the fight within Europe that everyone appears to have forgotten about.
UN Backs Call For Withdrawal Of Russian Troops From Transdniester
The United Nations General Assembly has backed a call from Britain, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and seven other countries for Russia to withdraw its troops from a breakaway region of Moldova.
Chisinau thanks Ukraine for supporting UN resolution on Transnistria – 23.06.2018 12:34 — Ukrinform News
Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip has thanked international partners for supporting the resolution of the UN General Assembly on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria.
Klimkin: Transnistria has to become Moldova’s full part, 112.international – Transnistria has to become Moldova’s full part, – Ukrane’s Foreign Minister – 112.international
Ukraine is gradually defending the territorial integrity of Moldova, as Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, said communicating with the journalists in Lviv region, broadcasted by 112 Ukraine. “A successive line. Everything that we are doing in a “5+2” format, everything that we are doing within the UN: Transnistria has to become Moldova’s full part. This is completely obvious both in the political and economic sense,” he not
Transnistria should become integral part of Moldova – Klimkin | UNIAN
Ukraine and its partners are working consistently to ensure that the Russian troops pull back from Transnistria, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin who spoke at a briefing in Zakarpattia region June 23. The minister notes it is clear that Russia has created in Transnistria a zone that is even worse than Russia itself, some kind of a mixture with Soviet Union. Ukraine and its partners are working consistently to ensure that the Russian troops pull back from Transnistria, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin who spoke at a briefing in Zakarpattia region June 23. “We are working consistently to ensure that there are no Russian troops in Transnistria. it’s clear that a zone has been created there that’s even worse than Russia, some kind of mixture with the Soviet Union in terms of the mentality and anything that’s been going on there,” Klimkin said. “Remember those arson cases in Zakarpattia [the arson at the office of the Hungarian Culture Center in Zakarpattia]? It was organized by people from Transnistria. And who is in charge of Transnistria? …It’s the Federal Security Service [of the Russian Federation] … We will work with the Moldovan side to make everything really transparent and clear. All that we do in the “5 + 2″ format, all that we do within the framework of the UN: Transnistria should become an integral part of Moldova. This is absolutely clear in the political, economic, and mental senses,” said Klimkin. On June 22, 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the complete and unconditional withdrawal of foreign military forces from the territory of the Republic of Moldova. Sixty-four countries supported the resolution, while 15 voted against it and a total of 83 delegations abstained. An openly pro-Russian politician Igor Dodon was elected President of Moldova in November 2016. During the televised debate during his campaign, he declared that Crimea belonged to Russia.
The UN, Romania, Ukraine And Allies Try To Evict Russia From Transnistria – To Inform is to Influence
Russia has been occupying Transnistria, an area of Moldova that borders Ukraine since March of 1992.  Many of the former Soviet states worry that Russia will ooze into and occupy bits of land, ignoring their sovereign territory.  Ukraine sees Transnistria as a probable spot from which to launch an invasion.   Russia calls its soldiers in…
Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia may take Russia to court – Moldovan Parl’t Speaker | UNIAN
The politician says Moldova will continue demanding Russian withdrawal from Transnistria.
U.S. Urges Moldova To Respect Rule Of Law In Election Dispute
The United States State Department has said it is “closely monitoring” the situation surrounding the June 3 mayoral election in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.
‘Orange’ Hue? Moldovan Mayoral Chaos Could Loom Large Over National Vote
Chisinau’s electoral mess and resulting protests dealt another blow to Moldova’s democratic development. Could they also be a precursor to trouble with parliamentary elections?
U.S. Calls Move To Void Chisinau Mayoral Vote A ‘Threat To Democracy’
The “nontransparent” decision by Moldova’s Supreme Court to uphold the invalidation of the mayoral election in the capital, Chisinau, is a threat to democracy in the the country, the U.S. Sta…
EU Urges Moldovan Authorities Who Voided Local Poll To Respect Voters’ Will
The European Union has condemned a move by Moldova’s judiciary to invalidate a mayoral election won by a pro-Western candidate, urging the authorities to respect the voters’ will amid continued pub…
Moldovans Protest Nullification Of Chisinau’s Mayoral Election Results
Thousands of people demonstrated in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, on June 24 to protest the nullification of mayoral election results that had shown a victory for a pro-Western candidate.
Moldovans Protest Mayoral Vote Annulment
Thousands of people have protested against the nullification of mayoral election results in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau. On June 24, protesters marched from the city hall to the Moldovan parliament. The June 3 municipal runoff was won by pro-Western candidate Andrei Nastase, but court rulings annulled the results, citing violations of the country’s campaign laws by both candidates.
Moldovans Protest Top Court’s Voiding Of Mayoral Election
Protest are continuing in Chisinau after Moldova’s Supreme Court upheld a decision to invalidate the results of a Chisinau mayoral election that was won by a pro-Western anticorruption activist.
Moldovan Supreme Court Upholds Decision To Void Chisinau Mayoral Election Amid Protests
Moldova’s Supreme Court has upheld a decision to invalidate mayoral election results in Chisinau that had shown a victory for a pro-Western candidate.
Ukraine, Moldova to synchronize their energy systems with ENTSO-E – 23.06.2018 10:20 — Ukrinform News
Ukraine and Moldova are interested in ensuring the synchronous operation of energy systems of the two countries with the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E).

Ukraine Reports


Russian S-400 can hit any targets at a central part of Ukraine – Defence Blog
Ukraine is concerned about the deployed of modern Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems in the illegally-annexed Crimea. According to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov, the Russian S-400 advanced air-defense systems in Crimea is a serious security threat to Ukraine. “The S-400 air-defense systems can hit any aerial targets in the central part of Ukraine. All this is a serious threat for us,” Oleksandr Turchynov said in a recent interview with Kyiv’s Interfax-Ukraine news agency. Russia’s S-400 (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and surface targets. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers. Russia deploys its S-400 in the Crimea since August 12, 2016, and gradually increases their presence. The S-400 in Crimea is able to primarily control the airspace over the peninsula itself, but also part of the territory of Ukraine, where numbers of big cities and military bases are located. Russian surface-to-air missile systems in the illegally-annexed Crimea could present a significant challenge for forces operating in the Black Sea as for Ukrainian Army or NATO’s troops.
UAWire – Turchynov: Ukraine to have an army of half-million reservists
Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, said that the system of territorial defense which is being established in the country will make it possible to train 500,000 soldiers as reservists for the army. Speaking at a training ground in the Chernihiv province where territorial defense drills were taking place, the NSDC secretary said that the reserve training system developed by the General Staff should provide Ukraine with “a powerful half-million strong army, capable of reliably protecting the country from any aggressor,” the NSDC’s press service reported. “The development of a territorial defense system must ensure that under the conditions of a special period, that is, under conditions of large-scale military opposition, every region and every city is transformed into an impenetrable fortress,” Turchynov said. The NSDC secretary also noted that young people and veterans of the military operation in the Donbas are working side by side in the training exercises. Such cooperation is “an important component of a patriotic upbringing,” he observed. The Northern Fortress drills will take place over two weeks, not far from Ukraine’s border with Belarus. The primary participants are persons liable for military service who are in reserve. Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, who was present at the drills, said that the territorial defense brigade will help to “double the country’s defensive capabilities, train the patriotically inclined population, and form a security belt in Ukraine,” Interfax-Ukraine reported.
UAWire – Russia sends dozens of military vessels to Azov Sea
Russia has transferred roughly 40 military boats and two small missile ships to the Sea of Azov. This was reported by Vadym Skybytsky, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, in a Channel 5 broadcast. “The problem is that, at the start of the war, we were unable to completely agree on a border. This border is not in the Azov sea, or the Kerch Strait. Secondly, extremely active operations began in May 2018. Today, according to our military intelligence data, roughly 40 military boats are being taken by Russia into the waters of the Sea of Azov. They have entered it. They weren’t previously in such numbers. These are both FSB boats and military boats. Even two small missile ships were redeployed from the Caspian Sea into the Sea of Azov, this was a show of force,” Skybytsky said, commenting on the “maneuvers” performed by the Russians in the Sea of Azov. According to the spokesperson, Russia now actively monitors everything going on in the Sea of Azov. “Secondly, today they have taken complete control over the sea routes of all civilian maritime traffic proceeding to our ports in Berdyansk and Mariupol through the Kerch strait. In addition, they have begun to monitor very actively everything taking place in the Sea of Azov and the entire coastal zone of the Sea of Azov… The number of ships subjected to inspection by Russia is increasing. Now there is another threatening situation. Say, a ship has come out of Mariupol. It goes to the Kerch strait and waits for three days until it is let under the Kerch bridge. That’s okay if the cargo is long-lasting, but if it is another kind of cargo altogether, time will pass and civil companies will stop using our ports,” Sybytsky explained. He also added that Ukraine may consider the option of having civilian vessels escorted by Ukraine’s Border Guard Service. When asked about the threat of a Russian attack from the Sea of Azov, Skybytsky responded that such a threat undoubtedly exists, but this would not be in the near future, since Russia does not have the necessary forces there to mount a large-scale attack at present. “The threat exists, but today, according to our assessments, there are not yet enough watercraft there to carry out a large-scale operation,” observed the intelligence directorate representative.
Russia trying to squeeze Ukraine out of Azov Sea – media | UNIAN
Russians are increasing their efforts on blocking the Sea of Azov with their coast guard vessels, adding to construction of the brigde over the Kerch Strait. What Russia is doing today in the region is practically an economic blockade, which will result in grave consequences for Ukraine.
Is Russia Annexing The Azov Sea? – To Inform is to Influence
Tensions escalate in the Azov Sea as historical territorial claims, botched agreements, and heightened military presence threaten the stability of the region and Ukrainian economic endeavours. No shots have been fired and no major incidents have occurred, but the appearance of six Russian vessels in the form of patrol personnel-carriers and draught gunboats, as well…
Expert predicts when Putin may intensify aggression in Donbas | UNIAN
Military expert, Colonel (Rtd) Oleh Zhdanov has said another surge of military activity in Donbas is possible after a relative decrease in intensity during the World Cup and with the approach of anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. The aggressiveness of the policy will increase with the approach of presidential elections in Ukraine.
British Foreign Minister: Britain-Ukraine cooperation after Brexit will be more intensive – 112.international
After Britain left the EU, its cooperation with Ukraine will become more intensive, as Boris Johnson, British Foreign Minister, said at the conference on Ukraine’s reforms in Copenhagen on June 27, 112 Ukraine reports. “We have expressed ourselves accurately from the very beginning: we believe that the exit from the EU will give Britain the opportunity to become closer to the rest of the world, than earlier. I would like to emphasize that we are leaving the EU, not Europe, our friendship, our partnership with Ukraine will certainly become more intensive,” he stressed. According to Johnson, such relations will be developed towards a long-term perspective. “It is significant to see that our Ukrainian friends are moving forward in terms of these reforms, which are crucial for their future,” he noted.
UK Foreign Secretary assures that Brexit will not affect relations with Ukraine – 27.06.2018 16:55 — Ukrinform News
Official London states that after Brexit its relations with the EU and Ukraine will remain strong. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said this during the Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “It will be an outstanding new agreement that we can conclude next year … Believe me, it will leave the relationship between Britain and Ukraine unchanged and allow us to do even more than we did before,” Johnson said. He noted that since the very beginning the British clearly stated that they considered Brexit as an opportunity for the UK to develop relations with the rest of the world more than ever before. In addition, Johnson promised that his country would extend support for various programs in Ukraine – from training of servicemen to confrontation of Russia’s disinformation.
U.S. House of Representatives committee adopts draft resolution in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty – 29.06.2018 13:00 — Ukrinform News
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has adopted a draft resolution of the House of Representatives &quot;Expressing support for the countries of Eastern Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization&quot;.
UAWire – Volker compares the situation in Eastern Ukraine to the annexation of Crimea
Special representative of the U.S. State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volker compared the situation in eastern Ukraine with the annexed Crimea …
Volker on Donbas: Neither civil war nor ethnic conflict, it’s a state-to-state conflict | UNIAN
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker says that the crisis in Donbas is not a civil war or ethnic conflict, it’s a state-to-state conflict. The United States has proposed – along with France and Germany and Ukraine and others – that there be a deployment of a UN mandated peacekeeping force.
Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy met with Special Representative of the US State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volker during his visit to the United States – 112.international
Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy met with Special Representative of the US State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volker during his visit to the United States. Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy met with Special Representative of the US State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volker during his visit to the United States. On this on June 28, Parubiy informed on his page on Twitter. “At the meeting with the US Department of State Special Representative Kurt Volker, we discussed the security situation in Ukraine, and also the issue of attracting American business to the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, because this is not just a matter of energy, but also a matter of security,” he said. Parubiy also together with his colleagues from Georgia, Lithuania and Moldova held a conference in the US Congress on countering Russian hybrid threats, in particular, it means the construction of NordStream-2. “Because this is not an economic project, it is a hybrid weapon of the Kremlin against the European countries of the free world,” he said. Earlier Yuriy Allerov, the Commander of the National Guard, met with Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine, within the official visit of Ukraine’s delegation to Washington, as the press office of the National Guard reports. The parties have discussed the situation on the east of Ukraine, the role of the National Guard in the Joint Forces Operation and its cooperation with the Armed Forces. Allerov and Volker have also talked about the practice of the integration of the volunteer battalions to the National Guard. “Another topic of the discussion was the development of the cooperation between Ukraine’s and California’s National Guards,” the message says. The armed conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk regions between Ukrainian and Russian armies started in 2014. Since then the governmental forces conducted an anti-terrorist operation in Donbas. On April 30, 2014, the Anti-terrorist operation was officially over. It was replaced with the Joint Forces Operation.
Allerov discusses Donbas situation with Volker, 112.international – National Guard Commander discusses Donbas situation with Volker – 112.international
National Guard Commander discusses Donbas situation with Volker
Poroshenko set to send Constitution amendments to Rada to pave the way for EU, NATO | UNIAN
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced he will soon submit amendments to the Constitution to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, to pave the way for European Union and NATO membership. The president says it is possible to gather three hundred votes in parliament for that decision.


They beheaded, skinned, cut heart out: soldier about tortures in Russian captivity, 112.international – They beheaded, skinned, cut heart out: soldier about tortures in Russian captivity – 112.international
The pro-Russian militants of the so-called “Donetsk People’s and Luhansk People’s Republics” severely tortured the Ukrainian soldiers who were captured: they beheaded, skinned and committed other massacres. Former soldier of “Donbas” battalion Dmytro Kulish who was a hostage claimed this as 112 Ukraine broadcasted. “Not everyone returned from the captivation. The people who were alive at the video later were beheaded. Also, there are the cases when people were skinned and a lot of other tortures which we, those people who were there, can confirm personally. In 2014 the Russian mercenaries tied our “Donbas” battalion soldier to the truck, dragged him and then cut his heart out; there is the evidence of this, photo and video-recording of these events,” Kulish said.
SBU: Captive Ukrainians taken from occupied Donbas to Russia, subjected to torture – 25.06.2018 18:25 — Ukrinform News
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has documented a lot of facts when Ukrainian captives were taken to Russia for interrogation and subjected to torture there.
Security Service says Russian military personnel tortured Ukrainians – Russian military servicemen torture Ukrainian prisoners, – Security Service – 112.international
Russian military officers are often involved in tortures of Ukrainian prisoners in Donbas conflict area. The head of Ukrainian Security Service Vasyl Hrytsak reported this on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel. “They either directly tortured Ukrainians or organized such things with the help of those who fought on the side of terrorists,” he said. Hrytsak reported on documented cases of torture on the territory of Russian Federation. “Our captured soldiers were transported to Russia, where, under the command of the security services, as a rule, it was FSB, they interrogated, tortured them brutally, and then returned back to Donbas,” the SBU head said. Several offenders were identified.
Ukraine’s Security Service has released 3,224 hostages from militants’ captivity – 25.06.2018 16:32 — Ukrinform News
In 2014-2018, the joint center at the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has managed to release 3,224 Ukrainian hostages from the militants&rsquo; captivity in Donbas.


Four Ukrainian troops killed, two wounded in Donbas as militants mount 28 shellings in past day | UNIAN
Over the past 24 hours, Russian occupation forces led aimed fire on the positions of the Joint Forces in the conflict zone, with 28 shellings recorded, including nine attacks with the use of heavy weapons. Near Yuzhne, the enemy actively employed mortars, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns, to provide cover for their sniper and a sabotage group.
Joint Control and Coordination Centre released some details of the recent attack on Zalizne, Donetsk region – 112.international
Joint Control and Coordination Centre released some details of the recent attack on Zalizne, Donetsk region
Battle near Pivdenne: Platoon commander and serviceman killed – 112.international
From the beginning of Thursday afternoon, June 28, in the Donbas area, pro-Russian militants opened fire seven times. From the beginning of Thursday afternoon, June 28, in the Donbas area, pro-Russian militants opened fire seven times, six of them from mortars and tanks. In the Pivdenne region, the Ukrainian Armed Forces participated in a battle, which resulted in the death of the Combatant of the Joint Forces and the platoon commander. This is reported by the Press Center of JFO in Facebook. According to information, near Pivdenne enemy troops opened fire around 08:30 on residential areas. They used mortars, heavy grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. “The commander of the company of the Royal Brigade, Oleg Lototsky, whose unit defends this settlement, quickly assessed the situation and started the battle. In a moment, the firearms on duty already opened fire on the enemy. As it turned out, a group of militants came close to the town under cover of a fire. A minute later, a battle was fought on the outskirts of Pivdenne, led by platoon commander Valery Shishan. The battle lasted almost half an hour, “the report said. During the fighting, a reserve group fighter was injured. The platoon commander, together with the company commander, began to rescue the serviceman. “This is exactly what the sniper-terrorist was expecting, Valery Shishan was mortally wounded. He was the oldest in the unit, and soon he would have turned 58. Without waiting for his commander, later the soldier of the reserve group Andriy Volos died from wounds. He was only 25 “, noted in the JFO headquarters. According to preliminary intelligence data, on June 28, 5 militants were killed and 8 wounded. Also, the situation in the Mariupol direction remained tense. There, the enemy fired from the weapons banned by the Minsk agreements.
Donbas war update: Three Ukrainian soldiers killed, another three wounded in past day | UNIAN
Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and another three were wounded in action in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past day, June 27. Seven violations of the ceasefire in Donbas by the enemy have been registered since Thursday midnight.
Three Ukrainian soldiers killed in 122mm artillery attack near Mariupol on Wednesday | UNIAN
Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an attack near the village of Bohdanivka not far from the Ukrainian-controlled strategic port city of Mariupol in Donetsk region on Wednesday, June 27, when the Russian-controlled forces opened fire from proscribed 122mm artillery systems. Enemy casualties are not known yet.
JFO: Russia-led forces continue armed provocations against Ukrainian troops | UNIAN
Russia’s hybrid military forces continued armed provocations against the Ukrainian troops in certain sectors on Thursday, June 21. The Joint Forces fully control the situation.
Russian Def. Ministry “recognizes” participation of Russians in Donbas fighting in 2014 | UNIAN
The Russian Defense Ministry has indirectly recognized at their servicemen a number of men who died near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk in August 2014. Graves of two paratroopers who died in 2014 were discovered at the Krestovsky cemetery near Pskov, while three others were found in the village of Vybuty.
Strong Europe Tank Challenge 2018: Team Points
U.S. Army Europe and the German Army co-held the third Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area
Ukraine Cyberpolice Chief Alleges Russian Hackers Preparing Massive Strike
The head of Ukraine’s cyberpolice has claimed that Russian hackers are infecting computer systems of Ukrainian firms with malware to establish “back doors” for a large-scale coordinated attack.
UAWire – Ukrainian intelligence officers detain pro-Russian spies at the demarcation line in Donbas
Ukrainian intelligence officers detained two men that were collecting intelligence on the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Joint Forces Operation’ …
UAWire – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania visits the boundary line in the Donbas
On Saturday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius visited a local school and one of the transit checkpoints in the frontier town of …
Ukraine Parliament passes National Security Bill
Among the fundamental national interests of Ukraine, the law states the acquisition of membership in the European Union and NATO. The Verkhovna Rada adopted Bill “On National Security of Ukraine” (No 8068), an UNIAN correspondent reports. The bill defines the principles of state policy on national security and defense. Among the fundamental national interests of Ukraine is Ukraine’s integration into the European political, economic legal space and that in the sphere of security; membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; development of equal and mutually beneficial relations with other states. The bill says that threats to the national security of Ukraine and the relevant priorities of state policy in the areas of national security and defense are defined in the National Security Strategy of Ukraine, Strategy of Ukraine’s military security, Cybersecurity Strategy of Ukraine, and other documents on national security and defense, which shall be approved by the National Security and Defense Council and confirmed by Presidential decrees. The Security and Defense Sector of Ukraine consists of four interrelated components: security forces; defense forces; military-industrial complex; citizens and public associations that voluntarily participate in ensuring national security. The new legislation defines civil control, in particular of the state of law and order in the security and defense bodies, their staffing, availability of modern weapons, military and special equipment, provision of necessary supplies of material resources and readiness to perform tasks in peacetime and in a special period; effectiveness of the use of resources, in particular budgetary funds, in the security and defense sectors. The bill determines which areas shall be supervised by the president of Ukraine, National Security and Defense Council, Verkhovna Rada, and Cabinet of Ministers. It specifies that public associations can, in particular, receive information from state bodies on the activities of the components of the security and defense sector, except for information with limited access; carry out public expertise of draft laws, decisions, programs, submit their conclusions and proposals for consideration to relevant state bodies.
How Ukraine’s law on national lecurity has changed after being edited by parliamentary committee – 650 amendments to Ukraine’s national security law – 112.international
The presidential version of bill No. 8068 was not ideal, but it was at least well structured and logical. Author : Iryna Sampan | President Poroshenko will attend NATO summit, which will be held in July. By then, the law on national security has to be adopted. President Poroshenko will attend NATO summit held in July. Until then, the law on national security has to be adopted to prove that the Ukrainian parliament has fulfilled its obligations. The Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy expressed his hope that on June 21, he “will be able to put to a vote and get a positive decision on the bill on national security.” The presidential version of a bill No. 8068 was not ideal, but structured and logical. It required refinement in some provisions. However, the committee decided to actually rewrite it. Ukraine was not ready to participate in the war not only financially, but also legally. However, today there are three laws, which absolutely do not correspond to the current military-political situation. This is the Law on the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine (2003), the Law on Democratic Civilian Control over the Military Organization and Law Enforcement Bodies of the State (2003) and the Defense Planning Organization (2005). Therefore, in February 2018, the President submitted a new bill “On National Security of Ukraine”, in which these three documents were optimized, and a new course for the power and defense departments was indicated. What is of fundamental importance: a) the way to the EU and NATO; b) civil democratic control over the Armed Forces, other structures of the security, and defense sector; c) the distribution of powers between the Ministry of Defense (with the civilian minister) and the General Staff of the Armed Forces (where the commander-in-chief and the chief of the General Staff are two different persons, and not one, as now). And in the presidential bill No. 8068, all these issues were logically articulated. Of course, not as flawlessly as would like it to be, but let us speak later about it. We have analyzed the first version of the law on national security right away, as the text appeared in the media (“The Law on National Security: What does it change and why is it for Ukraine?”).
Defense Ministry: 234,000 servicepersons already got combatant status – 25.06.2018 09:40 — Ukrinform News
Since the start of combat actions in eastern Ukraine, 234,000 servicepersons and employees of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have received the combatant status.
UAWire – Large-scale aviation exercises to take place in Ukraine
This year’s international aviation exercises, Clear Sky 2018, will take place in October and will become the largest aviation exercise since Ukraine’s independence, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated on Thursday, June 21. “More than 40 aircraft, dozens of anti-aircraft missile systems, hundreds of servicemen from Ukraine and almost 10 NATO countries will be engaged in the largest-scale international exercises of aviation units,” the Ministry’s statement reads. The Clear Sky 2018 exercises have been tentatively scheduled to last about two weeks. “Simulation of tactical tasks without using military weaponry will take place in the area of certain airfields—mostly in the western part of Ukraine—and also over the territory of Poland and Romania,” the Ministry of Defense stated. Ukraine will provide an estimated 20 aircrafts of various types, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, stationary and mobile radar units and mobile fire teams of the air defense unit to the exercises. The United States will be represented by air crew, ground forces and ground facilities. In general, more than 10 aircraft units will be transferred to Ukraine (aircrafts F-15C/D, С-130, КС-135, UAV МQ-9). Several specialists from ground technical engineering personnel, search and rescue teams, guard units, air medical evacuation units and cyber security units will take part in the exercises, as well. Ukrainian and American pilots will perform air tasks with Polish and Romanian colleagues using F-16C planes. Roughly 10 additional NATO countries are planning to engage forward air observers and other various specialists with the exercises. “Organizers expect that the Clear Sky-2018 exercises will contribute to security in Eastern Europe and will make it possible to enhance the training levels of Ukrainian Air Force crews,” the statement emphasizes. “The crews will be trained in performing tactical tasks in a cooperative environment, reaching a fundamentally new and qualitative level of compatibility with U.S. air forces and other NATO member-countries during this joint air operation, which will serve to protect the sovereignty of airspace.”


Ukraine develops new mobile counter-battery system – Defence Blog
Ukrainian company UkrObonrProm’s subsidiary, SE “Scientific and Production Complex “Iskra”, has developed a new 1L220UK mobile weapon locating system. The 1L220UK is a weapon locating radar system designed to providing protection of own troops and civilians by suppressing enemy artillery weapons and/or provide warning for incoming fire. The weapon locating radar system incorporates the latest technologies and is effective in a counter-fire and ECM environment. According to the UkrOboroProm representative, the system is capable of precisely locating and identifying the type of threat (shells or rockets) as well as tracking their trajectory. It tracks at tens of kilometers the exact location of enemy guns, mortars, multiple launch rocket system, as well as air defence missile systems and tactical missiles. The L220UK provides effective firing activity under the conditions of reduced visibility and enemy electronic counter-measures; increase of the reconnaissance and killing area by a factor 8 to 10 times, in comparison with the battalions equipped with standard facilities; reduction of fire mission execution time by a factor of 1,5 to 2 times; reduction of the ammunition expenditure by a factor of 2,5 to 3 time. Reconnaissance/check range of fire positions, km: Artillery – 30 Mortars – 30 Tactical missiles – 55/80. And, among other things, the 1L220UK keeps track of the airspace, having the opportunity to fix the enemy’s unmanned aerial aircraft. The entire system fits on a single vehicle (semi-trailer with KrAZ truck): the radar, operation shelter and the power generator. The 1L220UK, in its capabilities, far exceeds the counter-battery radars that are now on the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ukraine highlights MT-LB Shturm-SM-2 tank destroyer
The launcher is equipped with four RK-2M laser guided missiles (LGM) in the ready to launch position with the day/night target engagement pod in the middle.
Twenty-nine years in hangar: Antonov seeking funding for second Mriya completion (Photo) | UNIAN
Back in the Soviet times, Antonov had plans to build a minimum of ten such ercord-holding cargo aircraft, but an ambitious space program, for which Mriya had been designed, was curtailed. Nearly $300 million is needed to finish the construction.
LimpidArmor presented the first demo-video of the system of augment reality for armored vehicles
LimpidArmor is the helmet-mounted circular review system
The Ukrainian military successfully tested Myslyvets, unmanned reconnaissance and weapon system – Ukrainian army tests Myslyvets, unmanned reconnaissance and weapon system – 112.international
The Ukrainian military successfully tested Myslyvets (Ukrainian for ‘hunter’, – 112 International) the unmanned reconnaissance and weapon system. The press service of the Cabinet posted this on Facebook. ‘During the tests, the experts checked its capability to overcome obstacles, to complete a range of engineering, tehcnical and combat missions. The developers marked that the device can carry thee armement of various sorts – a machinegun, an automatic grenade launcher, a portable missile launcher, cannons, et cetera’, the message says. After the tests, the system will be adopted by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and sent to the combat area in Donbas. As we reported earlier, the first test launch of Javelin missiles took place in Ukraine on May 22. President Petro Poroshenko added that the Ukrainian servicemen completed the due training that is necessary to use this particular kind of weapon. ‘You’ve seen the happy faces of our soldiers. Their dream has come true today. This is a very symbolic thing because it’s a symbol of cooperation with our U.S. partners’, he said. The launches of Javelin missiles appeared to be successful, as all rockets hit the targets. The military also performed training launches of Ukraine-made anti-tank missile systems Stugna.
UAWire – Ukrainian Security Service uncovers company delivering alloy used in missile production to Russia
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced that it has uncovered a company in the Kirovohrad province which has been exporting a chemical …
UAWire – Poroshenko praises Ukraine-made military radar stations
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko spoke on Twitter about the radar stations that were made at the Iskra Scientific and Production center. According to him, Iskra is the jewel of the defense industry of Ukraine that plays an important role in the defense capacity of the State. The President said that this type of radar station has “higher characteristics” than those offered in foreign markets. Poroshenko noted that on June 22, on Friday, he handed certificates for these radar stations to the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “These stations should close the Ukrainian sky to the enemy,” the Ukrainian President added. As reported by UNIAN, Poroshenko said that Ukraine will buy foreign anti-missile systems and improve the development of its own to strengthen defense. According to the Ukrainian leader, it will be done “for Ukrainian people to be sure that the Ukrainian border is effectively protected and the Ukrainian army is the best in the world.” According to Ukrainian Channel 5, the given radar complexes are used to set targets at low and medium altitudes. According to specialists, prototype models are intended for reconnaissance of the enemy’s artillery positions, detection of aerial targets and suppression of connection. The serial production of the radar systems is scheduled to begin in 2019.
UAWire – Kyiv to lift restrictions on the privatization of Ukrainian defense companies
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC), the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Security Committee of the Verkhovna Rada …
Privatization of state-owned defense enterprises could be legitimized in Ukraine – 26.06.2018 17:20 — Ukrinform News
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has stated that a possibility of privatization of state-owned defense enterprises could be approved at the legislative level.


Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate to lose right to be called “Ukrainian” once Constantinople grants tomos – Filaret | UNIAN
Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret claims that after receiving a Tomos on autocephaly from Constantinople, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that  is now in unity with the Russian Orthodox Church will lose the right to be called “Ukrainian.” The Patriarch estimated Ukraine’s chances of getting the tomos at 99%.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ukraine Divided Geographically on Autocephaly as It is on Many Other Issues
Paul Goble Staunton, June 27 – A new poll finds that more than 30 percent of Ukrainians support autocephaly for the Orthodox church in their country, while 20 percent oppose it, but those nationwide figures conceal enormous differences between western Ukraine where people are overwhelmingly in favor and the central and eastern where they are less supportive. In western Ukraine, the poll carried out by the Kucheriv Democratic Initiative Foundation and the Razumkov Center Sociological Service found that 58 percent support independence for the Ukrainian church, a figure that fell to 35 percent in the central part of the country, nine percent in the south, 10 percent in the east, and 18.5 percent in the Donbass. In the south and east, the poll reports, opponents outnumber supporters with 24 percent and 28 percent respectively but in the Donbass opponents are outnumbered by supporters who receive 28 percent (qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/svishe-30-ukraintsev-podderjivayut-sozdanie-pomesnoi-tserkvi-opros/193766/). What is perhaps most striking given that this issue has agitated much of the Ukrainian media and political space in recent months is that 35 percent of all Ukrainians say they are indifferent to the issue, a figure that is approximately the same as the share who support this change in the status of the church. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that Ukraine is close to receiving a tomos of autocephaly from the Universal Patriarch in Constantinople, a development the Ukrainian leader says is essential to the stability of Ukraine. Patriarch Filaret, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate says this could happen next month.


Poroshenko signs law on establishing High Anti-Corruption Court | UNIAN
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed the Law of Ukraine “On the establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court.” The Verkhovna Rada on June 21 adopted presidential draft law No. 8497 on the establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court.
Freeland: Canada interested in cooperation with Ukraine – 29.06.2018 12:19 — Ukrinform News
Canada is interested in expanding cooperation with Ukraine.
PM Groysman: Reform conference in Denmark has met Ukraine’s expectations – 29.06.2018 13:32 — Ukrinform News
The 2nd Ukraine Reform Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, has met the great expectations of Ukraine.
Deepening of Ukraine-EU cooperation to be discussed at summit in Brussels, – Poroshenko, 112.international – Deepening of Ukraine-EU cooperation to be discussed at summit in Brussels, – Poroshenko – 112.international
Deepening of Ukraine-EU cooperation to be discussed at summit in Brussels, – Poroshenko
EU gives final approval for EUR 1 bln loan to Ukraine | UNIAN
The Council of the European Union on Tuesday, June 26, adopted the allocation of EUR 1 billion of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. Following today’s decision, the European Commission, in consultation with the EU Council, will draft a memorandum of assistance.
Kyiv Commission endorses idea to name public garden near Russian embassy after Nemtsov | UNIAN
A special Kyiv Council Commission has supported the idea to name a public garden near the Russian Embassy  in honor of Boris Nemtsov, the slayed Russian opposition leader, that’s according to Oleksiy Reznikov, deputy chairman of the Kyiv State City Administration. None of the Commission members opposed the move.
British journalist of Russia Today is not allowed to enter Ukraine, 112.international – British journalist of Russia Today is not allowed to enter Ukraine – 112.international
British journalist of Russia Today is not allowed to enter Ukraine
UAWire – Poroshenko promises Ukrainian national Balukh, imprisoned by Russia, that he will do everything possible to free him
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has promised Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh, who is on a hunger strike in a Crimean …
Hungary realizes Ukraine not to change education law – Klimkin | UNIAN
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says Hungary began to realize that Ukraine does not intend to discriminate against the Hungarian community in Zakarpattia region after the adoption of the new law on education. “The fact that we have pushed away from the dead end is a really significant victory,” Klimkin said.
Lithuanian foreign minister Linkevičius: EU should cancel roaming for Ukraine – 27.06.2018 17:30 — Ukrinform News
The European Union should give Ukraine clearer and more concrete ways of further integration. The European Union should give Ukraine clearer and more concrete ways of further integration. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said this at said at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “I would like to see specific things. Our, the EU’s, approach to Ukraine should be more tangible and clear. First of all, I’m talking about initiatives in the field of communication, digital communication, abolition of roaming charges,” the Lithuanian minister believes. Linkevičius also mentioned Ukraine’s accession to the European Energy Union among other areas of integration. Today, June 27, Ukraine marks the fourth anniversary of signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
One million Ukrainians work in Poland, only every third to get pension, – Social Policy Minister, 112.international – One million Ukrainians work in Poland, only every third to get pension, – Social Policy Minister – 112.international
One million Ukrainians work in Poland, only every third to get pension, – Social Policy Minister
UAWire – Ukrainian court sentence citizen of Iran to 11 years in prison for espionage
On June 25, the Ordzhonikidzevskyi District Court of Kharkiv sentenced an Iranian citizen to 11 years of imprisonment for espionage (in …
Ukraine’s SBU foils attempt to sell nuclear material (Photo, video) | UNIAN
The counterintelligence unit of the Security Service of Ukraine conducted a multi-stage special operation to prevented the sale in Ukraine of nuclear material, Radium-226, the agency press service reports. Security operatives discovered a container with Radium-226 in a 2-meter deep underground cache in a regular backyard.
Libyan Diplomat’s Son Abducted In Kyiv, Police Say
Police in Kyiv say that officers have been put on alert after the son of a Libyan diplomat was kidnapped in the Ukrainian capital.
Tragedy On Sunshine Street
She fought for justice in her sister’s killing and earned a rare victory. But Iryna Nozdrovska’s own demise is a powerful symbol of deep and lasting failures in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Poroshenko & Co. Get ‘Judge Judy’ Treatment From Separatist ‘Tribunal’
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and other leaders have been “sentenced” to life imprisonment – by unrecognized separatists in Luhansk.
Jews Want to Drown Ukraine in Blood, Ukraine’s Military Prosecutor Says Amid Wave of Racist and Anti-Semitic Attacks
A recent coordinated attack on a Roma community left one man dead, and Jewish monuments have been defaced across the country.
Kyiv Police Arrest Two Suspects In Kidnapping Of Libyan Diplomat’s Son
Authorities in Ukraine say they have arrested two individuals suspected of kidnapping the son of a Libyan diplomat in the capital, Kyiv.


How Europeans View Roma
Europeans generally have negative attitudes toward Roma, members of an ethnic group that lives on the margins of society who are frequently the victim of discrimination, prejudice, and hate — as s…
Interior Minister: Attack on Roma “inspired” by Russia, carried out by Ukrainians | UNIAN
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has confirmed the “Russian trace” in the recent attack on the Roma camp near Lviv, calling such actions “medieval savagery.” “Cyberpolice analysts show us a copy of that website [launched] from the Russian Federation. This website was opened and administered in Lviv, Kharkiv, Kyiv and in one more region. Where did this come from? Yes, this was inspired from there [Russia], but this was done by our people here!” the minister said. He has pointed out this is not the first case over the past three months where ultra-right raicals attacked Roma camps.
Organizer of attack on Roma camp near Lviv received “instructions” via social networks – Gerashchenko | UNIAN
Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian MP and member of the Council of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has said the organizer of the recent deadly attack on the Roma camp that left one person killed and three injured, received instructions via social networks and was also promised a reward for setting up such attacks. The goal was to kill and maim, not just intimidate, MP Gerashchenko said.
Police decided to undertake a set of preventive measures to protect Romani people – 112.international
The police decided to undertake a set of preventive measures to protect Romani people
Deadly Attack Escalates Violent Trend Against Ukrainian Roma
Attackers struck another group of Romany campers amid an escalating trend in Ukraine, leaving one man dead.
Seven Arrested For Deadly Attack On Roma Camp In Western Ukraine
Ukrainian police say seven people have been arrested in western Ukraine in connection with a deadly overnight attack on a Roma camp in a forest on the outskirts of Lviv
Masked attackers storm Roma camp in Ukraine | Ukraine News | Al Jazeera
A group of masked assailants attack minority camp on the outskirts of Lviv, killing one man and wounding four others.
Ukraine Roma camp attack leaves one dead – BBC News
It is the latest in a series of attacks in Ukraine, where violence against minorities is on the rise.
 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Whirlybird-Brained: U.S. Making Wrong Chopper Choice for Afghanistan
new homepage
Dutch Parliament Passes Limited Ban On Burqa, Niqab
One far-right Dutch politician said the next step is to “close all the mosques in the Netherlands.”
Russia’s new Pantsir-SM air defence system spotted in Algeria – Defence Blog
The new generation of Russia-made combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system Pantsir-SM has been seen in a video attributed to the ‘Sakhr 2018’ exercise carried out by the 36th Motorised Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Military Region in northeast Algeria. The Algerian Ministry of National Defence released video showing exercises with new Russian Pantsir-SM missile system. The distinctive characteristic that new air defence system is fitted to a new 8×8 K-53958 “Tornado” truck chassis with an armored cab. The updated modification of the air defense system will supposedly exceed the existing one in efficiency. In particular, it is set to be equipped with a new high-speed missile, while the range of target detection and destruction will double.

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


‘Denuclearization’ Of Korean Peninsula Backed By Putin, Moon
The leaders of Russia and South Korea have agreed to back efforts to bring about the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula and said recent dialogue between the United States and N…
Russian, South Korean Presidents Discuss Security, Economic Cooperation
Russia is “determined” to continue working to improve security on the Korean Peninsula, President Vladimir Putin has said during a meeting in Moscow with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Trump: North Korea ‘total denuclearization’ started; officials see no new moves | Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites and that a process of “total denuclearization … has already started,” but officials said there was no such evidence since a landmark summit last week.
Pompeo says won’t put timeline on North Korea denuclearization steps: CNN | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he will not put a timeline on negotiations for North Korea’s denuclearization, contradicting a senior defense official who said Washington would soon present a timeline to North Korea with “specific asks.”
U.S. to give North Korea post-summit timeline with ‘asks’ soon: official | Reuters
The United States will soon present a timeline to North Korea with “specific asks” of Pyongyang after a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a senior U.S. defense official said.
US to give North Korea post-summit timeline with ‘asks’ soon -official
The U.S. will present a timeline to North Korea with “specific asks” of Pyongyang after a historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, a senior U.S. defense official said.
Pentagon indefinitely suspends some training exercises with South Korea | Reuters
The United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, the Pentagon said on Friday, in the aftermath of the summit earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
2 more training exercises with South Korea suspended indefinitely | Fox News
A move in support of the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Trump says North Korea still ‘extraordinary threat’ – BBC News
Donald Trump renews sanctions against North Korea, just days after saying it posed no nuclear risk.
Pompeo corrects Trump, says North Korea is a nuclear threat | TheHill
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that North Korea still poses a nuclear threat, directly contradicting President Trump’s claims from earlier this month.
Trump now says North Korea is still an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat’ – AOL News
President Trump on Friday reaffirmed in a letter to congress that North Korea is still a threat to the United States.
North Korea Erasing Most Anti-US propaganda – To Inform is to Influence
We are a long way from kiss-kiss, hug-hug, but this indicates a step forward.  I watched North Korea’s Korean Central Television Live and didn’t see any anti-US broadcast…  http://www.dprkfriendship.com.mx/ seems to have shut down. Uriminzokkiri was shut down last year by YouTube but appears to be replaced by Red Star (붉은별). I looked through their archives and didn’t…
North Korea cancels annual anti-US rally for first time in years – To Inform is to Influence
Actions speak louder than words.  This is another good step. We may not be ready to sing Kumbaya together, yet, but maybe…  soon? </end editorial> JUNE 25, 2018 LAURA WIDENER The annual rally inspired nationalist fervor while commemorating the start of the Korean War. In a sign of improving relations with the United States, North Korea…
North Korea skips annual ‘anti-US imperialism’ rally
North Korea is skipping its annual “anti-US imperialism” rally marking the start of the Korean War, one of the most politically charged events staged by the regime as it tones down the rhetoric following the summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
Infrastructure Improvements at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Research Facility | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea
A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu. Commercial satellite imagery from June 21 indicates that improvements to the infrastructure at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace. Modifications to the 5 MWe plutonium production reactor’s cooling system appear complete, but a less-than-normal cooling water discharge from the outfall pipe makes a determination of the reactor’s operational status difficult. The status of the Radiochemical Laboratory—used to separate plutonium from spent fuel rods—remains uncertain, although the associated Thermal Plant has likely continued operations, and a small non-industrial building of an unknown purpose has been newly erected near the cooling tower. Construction continues on support facilities throughout other operational areas of Yongbyon, especially at the Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR), where the new engineering office building appears externally complete and a small building similar to the one observed at the Radiochemical Laboratory has been erected. Continued work at the Yongbyon facility should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize. The North’s nuclear cadre can be expected to proceed with business as usual until specific orders are issued from Pyongyang.
North Korea making ‘rapid’ upgrades to nuclear reactor despite summit pledges | World news | The Guardian
Monitoring group says work shows why a denuclearisation deal rather than a ‘statement of lofty goals’ is needed
Satellite images show North Korea upgrading nuclear facility – CNNPolitics
New satellite images show North Korea has made rapid improvements to the infrastructure at its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center — a facility used to produce weapons-grade fissile material, according to an analysis published by 38 North, a prominent North Korea monitoring group.
North Korea: Satellite images show upgraded nuclear facility despite Trump-Kim summit
New satellite images from June 21, less than two weeks after Trump boasted of a diplomatic breakthrough with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program, appear to show improvements to a North Korean nuclear plant.
North Korea ‘executes officer who jumped gun on peace on peninsula’
A senior North Korean military officer who told colleagues they no longer needed to &ldquo;suffer and tighten our belts to make rockets and nuclear weapons&rdquo; has been executed by firing squad, according to reports in dissident media.
North Korean Defector: Kim Jong Un “Is A Terrorist” – YouTube
Business Insider Published on Jun 22, 2018 The whole world watched as president Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018. A North Korean defector and human rights activist, Yeonmi Park, shared her opinion on the historic meeting. Business Insider tells you all you need to know about business, finance, tech, science, retail, and more.
Rival Koreas agree to August reunions of war-split families – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Kim Jong-un has a high-ranking army officer killed by firing squad | Daily Mail Online
Lieutenant General Hyon Ju-song was shot at the firing range of the Kang Kon Military Academy located in the Sunan District of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang.
North Korea says to ignore Japan until it scraps military drills, other measures | Reuters
North Korea will continue to ignore Japan unless Tokyo halts hostilities against its neighbor, such as large-scale military drills and efforts to boost military readiness, the isolated nation’s state media said on Monday.
Over 55 nations pitched in against North Korea in the Korean War — Quartz
The Korean War began 68 years ago today. On June 25, 1950, North Korea sent troops into the South, expecting to quickly take over and unify the Korean Peninsula under the communist rule of Kim Il Sung. What’s largely forgotten is just how global the response against this invasion—which nearly succeeded—was. The United Nations had…


Prosecutor: Kim Jong Nam killers skilled assassins as in Bond movie – Business Insider
“This type of assassination can only be seen in James Bond movies, and the two girls were not randomly picked as a scapegoat,” the Malaysian prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin argued.
Kim Jong Nam’s ‘Assassination’ No Prank, Say Prosecutors – WSJ
Two women on trial for killing the half-brother of North Korea’s ruler weren’t pranksters but trained assassins, Malaysian prosecutors said, urging a judge to reject defense arguments for dismissal.


Trump says remains of 200 US soldiers have been returned from North Korea | TheHill
President Trump said North Korea has returned the remains of 200 U.S. or allied service members lost in the Korean War following his summit with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, earlier this month.
Trump says North Korea has returned remains of 200 U.S. war dead | Reuters
President Donald Trump said North Korea had returned on Wednesday the remains of 200 U.S. troops missing from the Korean War, although there was no official confirmation of the move from military authorities.
US moves 100 caskets to DMZ for service members’ remains from North Korea | Fox News
The U.S. military said Saturday it has moved 100 caskets to the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, to receive the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War.
68 years after the Korean War, hundreds of US families are still searching for closure – CNN
As a child, Ruth Hebert would run on the beach at the edge of the Pacific and look to the horizon knowing her father was out there, somewhere.


China Won’t Yield ‘Even One Inch’ of South China Sea, Xi Tells Mattis – The New York Times
Disagreement over the contested sea and Taiwan are major issues as the American defense secretary meets the Chinese leader in Beijing.
Xi Warns Mattis China Won’t Surrender ‘One Inch’ of Territory – Bloomberg
President Xi Jinping told U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis he wouldn’t give up any territory that China considered its own, an unusually blunt warning as security disputes simmer below a fight over trade.
China’s Xi Jinping Warns Mattis Beijing Won’t Back Down on Disputed Territories – The Daily Beast
After U.S. complaints about Beijing’s increased military presence in South China Sea.
China won’t give up ‘one inch’ of territory says President Xi to Mattis – BBC News
Xi Jinping told the visiting US defence secretary he would make no concessions on the South China Sea.
How China just increased the risk of a conflict with the US
President Xi Jinping’s words on Wednesday represent a deliberately emotive defense of China’s claim to island territories in the South China Sea.
Are We Quietly Planning to Go to War with China? | Alternet
We’re seeing signals that the U.S. military is already setting the stage for an eventual confrontation with China. On May 30th, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a momentous shift in American global strategic policy. From now on, he decreed, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), which oversees all U.S. military forces in Asia, will be called the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).
Which Country Has Top Air Force? China Edges Toward U.S. and Russia With Latest Weapon, Report Says
The J-20 fifth-generation heavy stealth fighter brings China into a class only occupied by the world’s leading military powers: the U.S. and Russia.
China’s new video of its naval-aviation forces blows ‘Top Gun’ away – Business Insider
The slick video features tight choreography and some serious hardware, and spy satellites may have caught Chinese navy crews while they filmed it earlier…
PLAN big military exercises 2018 – YouTube
Assault Horizon Published on May 18, 2018 #PLAN_Video Summarising the 2018 PLAN naval review and military exercises conducted in the first half of the year. credits to: 我和南海有个约会 via Weibo
China could spread power projection to Pacific Ocean, Mekong River
Many experts say Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government will ramp up China’s presence in neighboring waterways as it pursues regional supremacy.
Military recorded 20 instances of lasers attacking US aircraft since September: report | TheHill
The Pentagon has recorded 20 incidents since last September where lasers — believed to be Chinese — have been used to target U.S. aircraft in the Pacific, CNN reported on Friday
Suspected Chinese lasers target US aircraft over the Pacific, US military source says – CNNPolitics
Lasers have been used to target US aerial operations in the Pacific, with 20 incidents recorded since September of last year, according to a US military official.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis makes U-turn on China and hopes for Beijing RECONCILIATION | World | News | Express.co.uk
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has made a major U-turn on his future plans with China as he claimed he is seeking more open dialogue with Chinese leaders less than a month after he blasted Beijing for its militarisation in the disputed South China Sea.


Xi says China must lead way in reform of global governance | Reuters
China must lead the way in reforming global governance, the foreign ministry on Saturday cited President Xi Jinping as saying, as Beijing looks to increase its world influence.
Trade War Punctures China’s Pride in Its Technology – WSJ
More sober assessments of the country’s innovative capabilities have emerged from China’s tech community in recent weeks, as the U.S. has threatened tariffs and export restrictions to punish Beijing for what it says are theft of technology and unfair trade practices.
China, Europe Warn Trade War Could Trigger Global Recession – Bloomberg
China and the European Union vowed to oppose trade protectionism in an apparent rebuke to the U.S., saying unilateral actions risked pushing the world into a recession.
Trump is about to escalate his trade war with China – Vox
Trump wants to limit Chinese investment in the US. China will strike back.
White House Launches Strategic Communications Effort To Counter IP Theft By China – To Inform is to Influence
We are finally seeing a strategic communications effort launched around the IP theft issue by China. China has been raping us for at least a decade and we’ve done almost nothing in response or to prevent further theft and espionage. The White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy just published a report, titled “How…
China’s ‘Thousand Talents’ plan key to seizing US expertise, intelligence officials say – To Inform is to Influence
Pentagon tells House Armed Services Committee programme is an aggressive, 10-part ‘toolkit for foreign technology acquisition’ PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 3:12pm China’s “Thousand Talents” programme to tap into its citizens educated or employed in the US is a key part of multi-pronged efforts to transfer, replicate and eventually overtake US military and commercial technology, according to US intelligence officials. The programme, begun in 2008, is far from secret. But its unadvertised goal is “to facilitate the legal and illicit transfer of US technology, intellectual property and know-how” to China, according to an unclassified analysis by the National Intelligence Council, the branch of US intelligence that assesses long-term trends. The programme was highlighted on Thursday to House Armed Services Committee members as Pentagon and intelligence officials outlined what they said was an aggressive, 10-part Chinese “toolkit for foreign technology acquisition”. The National Intelligence Council’s analysis, produced in April, described the talent plan as “China’s flagship talent programme and probably the largest in terms of funding”. It was also cited in a combative White House report posted on Tuesday titled “How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World”.
Here are all the US states that ship more than $1 billion worth of goods to China that would be slammed by tariffs | Business Insider
President Donald Trump escalated his trade dispute with China earlier this week, ordering the US Trade Representative to compile a list of $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods to be subjected to an additional 10% tariff.
Eye in the Sky: China Reportedly Spies With Robotic Bird Drones
The drones are so convincing that other birds fly beside them.


US military aims for $1 billion missile defense radar in Hawaii
The system would spot warheads on missiles headed for Hawaii and other U.S. states.
State Department requests US Marines for Taiwan, in move that could anger China – CNNPolitics
In a move likely to irk Beijing, the State Department has requested that US Marines be sent to Taiwan to help safeguard America’s de facto embassy there, two US officials tell CNN.
U.S. DoD confirms deal to sell amphibious assault vehicles for Taiwan – Defence Blog
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed deal to sell amphibious assault vehicles for Taiwan. According to the DoD, BAE Systems Land & Armaments, York, Pennsylvania, is awarded an $83.6 million contract to provide the necessary material and technical engineering to build, integrate, test, and deliver 30 Assault Amphibious Vehicle, Personnel Vehicles 7A1 (AAVP7A1); four Assault Amphibious Vehicle, Command Vehicles 7A1 (AAVC7A1); and two Assault Amphibious Vehicle, Recovery Vehicles 7A1 (AAVR7A1). Work on the contract will occur in York, Penn., and is expected to be completed by July 2020.
South Korea acquires P-8 maritime patrol aircraft – Defence Blog
The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) has acquired the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA),a senior executive at Boeing said on 25 June. The South Korean procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) also said separately that it had decided to buy the P-8 Poseidon aircraft, worth around 1.9 trillion won (US$1.71 billion), through the U.S. government foreign military sales program. Kang Hwan-seok, a DAPA spokesman, told a media briefing the decision was made after a comprehensive review of legal aspects, cost, schedule and performance. Saab and Airbus had also shown interest in meeting the government’s needs with the Swordfish and C295 MPA models respectively, but the Boeing contract was ultimately awarded on a “sole-source” basis that did not require a competitive tender process. According to the Boeing, the P-8 is an aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations. It is also effective at humanitarian and search and rescue missions. A derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, the P-8 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space.
South Korea Must Offer Alternatives to Military Draft, Court Rules – The New York Times
The country has jailed hundreds of conscientious objectors every year, mostly Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now such men will be given the option of civilian service.
Court Orders South Korea to Overhaul Hallowed Conscription Law – WSJ
South Koreans who refuse mandatory military service must be given an alternative, a court ruled, paving the way for a shakeup in a decades-old draft system. It’s a shift for a nation that imprisons more young men for refusing military service than the rest of the world combined.


Australia to boost maritime surveillance with acquisition of six MQ-4C Triton UASs | Jane’s 360
Australia is to acquire six Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime unmanned aerial systems (UASs), with the first platform scheduled to enter service in mid-2023, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on 26 June. All six Tritons are planned to be fully operational by late 2025, Turnbull
Australia buys giant drones to spy on China | World | The Times
Australia is spending £4.7 billion on massive drones that can fly for up to 30 hours to spy on Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea. The six surveillance drones, called the Triton, have a wingspan of 130ft, equivalent to that of a Boeing 737 passenger jet. They will be equipped with cameras
Australia to buy 6 US-made Triton drones for $5.1 billion
The drone, which has the same wingspan as a Boeing 737, will give Australia high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities across 10 percent of the world’s surface, a government official said.
Australia commits to Triton in $5 billion deal
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2023 and the last in 2025.
Australia commits to Triton in $5 billion deal
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2023 and the last in 2025.
Australia confirms Triton order – UV – Unmanned Vehicles – Shephard Media
On 26 June the Australian government announced it was investing A$1.4 billion ($1.04 billion) to acquire the first of six Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAVs …
The Aviationist » U.S. Navy Inducts MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Into Service Ahead Of First Operational Deployment to Guam
By David Cenciotti NBVC Point Mugu’s first two Triton drones commence operations (with interesting tail markings). On May 31, Unmanned Patrol Squadron One Nine (VUP-19) DET Point Mugu hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony, marking on track delivery of an Early Operational Capability (EOC) to the Fleet and completion of their new hangar at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu. VUP-19, that will fly and maintain Triton to support overseas operations beginning in 2018, currently operates two MQ-4C Tritons: the first arrived at NBVC on Nov. 9, 2017 and the second arrived in April this year. The two UAVs are housed in a specially built hangar used by the maintenance detachment to accommodate the pair of 130.9-ft wingspan drones built by Northrop Grumman for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Shorealone Films photographer Matt Hartman attended the ceremony at NBVC Point Mugu and took the photographs you can find in this post. Noteworthy, the two aircraft feature different tail markings: the first one #168460 sports a high-visibility emblem of VUP-19, whereas the second one #168461 sports a smaller, low-rez badge.
AN/ZPY-3 Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS)
The AN/ZPY-3 MFAS is a 360-degree field-of-regard active electronically scanned array radar designed for maritime surveillance. The AN/ZPY-3 MFAS is a 360-degree field-of-regard active electronically scanned array radar designed for maritime surveillance. The X-Band two-dimensional sensor features a combination of electronic scanning and a mechanical rotation, allowing the radar to spotlight a geographic area of interest for longer periods to increase detection capabilities of smaller targets, particularly in sea clutter. MFAS infographic Download the MFAS infographic The AN/ZPY-3 MFAS sensor is the first radar system to provide full 360-degree persistent coverage of both open oceans and littoral regions from extremely long ranges. The AN/ZPY-3 MFAS sensor operates with a rotating sensor that incorporates electronic scanning and provides mode agility to switch between various surveillance methods. These include maritime-surface-search (MSS) mode for tracking maritime targets and inverse-synthetic-aperture radar (ISAR) mode for classifying ships. Image-while-scan capability is used to interleave very short duration ISAR functions (ISAR snapshot and high- range resolution) during MSS scans. Two synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes are used for ground searches; spot SAR for images of the ground and stationary targets and strip SAR for images along a fixed line.
BAE wins multi-billion pound Australian warship contract – BBC News
The nine anti-submarine warships will be built in Australia by a local workforce.
Australia picks UK’s BAE Systems for $26 billion combat ship deal
Australia has picked British defense contractor BAE Systems for a $26 billion program to build a new generation of warships.
 

Foreign Policy Reports


United States reiterates its opposition to Nord Stream 2 – 28.06.2018 11:57 — Ukrinform News
The United States encourages Ukraine to carry out the energy sector reform and reiterates its opposition to implementation of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project. This was discussed during the meeting of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Copenhagen on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “The Deputy Secretary emphasized the importance of energy sector reform and reiterated U.S. opposition to Nord Stream 2,” the U.S. Department of State reported after the meeting. As noted, the American side “reinforced the importance of the Ukrainian government meeting the IMF’s requirements for the next installment of its financial assistance package.” The parties also discussed anti-corruption reforms, Ukraine’s IMF package, energy security, and humanitarian issues.
UAWire – Gazprom’s European partners under threat of US sanctions because of Nord Stream 2 pipeline
European partners of Gazprom are frightened of coming under US sanctions for helping to construct the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, said a member of the board of the German energy company Uniper, RBC new agency reported. Reiner Hartmann heads the Russian branch of Uniper, a company that belongs to the Nord Stream 2 consortium of investors. He said the likelihood that the United States will indeed impose sanctions ,that it is threatening with, is “extremely threatening” for all of Gazprom’s European partners. Hartmann noted that, as result of thus, the European participants of the consortium, OMV, Shell, BASF, Engie and Uniper are all looking for an “investment decision” that should be made “while there is still time.” In addition, he hopes that the German government and the European Commission will be able to negotiate with the US but he does not believe the talks would succeed because US President Donald Trump wants to supply shale gas to Europe. In the second half of March, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that companies cooperating with Russia within the framework of the construction of Nord Stream 2 could fall under sanctions. According to her, the United States is against the construction of the Russian gas pipeline because it will undermine the energy security and stability of Europe and it will also give Russia “another means to exert pressure” on it.
UAWire – Denmark considers legal steps to block Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Denmark can adopt a law that will provide legal context to block or postpone the implementation of the Russian project Nord Stream-2, announced …
Danish Prime Minister offers to assess risks of Nord Stream 2 for Ukraine – 112.international
okke Rasmussen, the Prime Minister of Denmark has offered to assess the risks of the Nord Stream 2 for Ukraine at the joint press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman as Governmental Portal reported. “Lokke Rasmussen offered to bring a discussion of the project at the European level to seriously and prudently analyze all risks and Ukraine’s role as the transit State of the gas,” the message said.
Italy vows to expel far more migrants, but it won’t be easy | Fox News
Barely a week in office, Italy’s new, populist interior minister was losing no time in bringing home his message: His government will make good on a campaign pledge to swiftly deport 100,000 migrants from Italian soil.
Migration crisis could break Europe, warns Merkel | News | The Times
Europe’s destiny will be determined by how it handles a growing political crisis over migration at a summit in Brussels today, Angela Merkel has warned.The German chancellor told the Bundestag parliament this morning that tonight’s meeting of the European Council could seal the EU’s fate.The talks,
Bavarian conservatives heading towards ‘German Brexit’ over migration: SPD leader | Reuters
The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats on Saturday vowed to oppose a push by Bavarian conservatives to crack down on migration, in defiance of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, warning the dispute could lead to a “German Brexit”.
Merkel’s Fragile Coalition Teeters On Edge Of Migration Question : NPR
The German chancellor hopes to find some answers to that question at a European Union summit beginning Thursday. The parties she counts as allies have been deeply divided over how to treat newcomers.
Merkel: Migration Could Determine EU’s Fate
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that migration is a challenge that “could determine the fate of the European Union.” Merkel addressed the Bundestag — the lower house of Germany’s parliament — on June 28 before heading to an EU summit expected to focus on migration. (Bundestag via Reuters)
UAWire – Europe to abandon Russian Soyuz launch vehicles
By 2023, Europe plans to stop using Russian Soyuz-ST launch vehicles for launches from the Kourou Space Center, RIA Novosti news agency reports …
Merkel-Trump Clashes Push Germany to Watershed Moment With U.S. – Bloomberg
There is a corner of Berlin where the golden age of U.S.-German relations lingers on.
Merkel plays down chances of breakthrough in EU migration talks | Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel played down expectations of any major breakthrough at hastily-arranged talks among European Union leaders on Sunday on the migration dispute dividing Europe and threatening her own government.
EU news: Italy blasts ‘arrogant’ Macron for causing EU EMERGENCY | World | News | Express.co.uk
ITALY has launched a furious attack on “arrogant” French President Emmanuel Macron warning that France risks becoming its ‘Number 1 enemy’ on migration issues, a day before European leaders meet in Brussels for a hastily arranged meeting on the divisive issue.
Italy says ‘arrogant’ France risks becoming ‘No.1 enemy’ on migration | Reuters
Italy on Saturday said “arrogant” France risked becoming its “No.1 enemy” on migration issues, a day before European leaders convene in Brussels for a hastily arranged meeting on the divisive issue.
A spy scandal broke out in the relations between Germany and Austria – Spy scandal: Vienna leaves Berlin’s orbit of influence – 112.international
The Austrian leadership uses a spy scandal to reduce the influence of Germany and the European Commission on the political course of the EU member states. A spy scandal broke out in the relations between Germany and Austria. The Austrian Profil magazine, close to political circles, published the material, which states that the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in 1997-2006 followed the activities of 2,000 institutions in Austria, including ministries, banks, companies, arms manufacturers, Islamist movements, embassies of the United States, Iran and several other countries, and representations of international organizations. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz demanded explanations from the German authorities about the activities of the BND in his country. He also stressed that the Austrians had previously suspected the Germans of espionage on their territory. In 2015, Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner suspected BND of collecting information for the US National Security Agency. Since the time of the Anschluss in 1938, Vienna has been wary of Berlin’s attempts to interfere in its affairs. However, another point is interesting in the Austrian-spy scandal: why suddenly the authoritative Austrian edition began to stir up the events of 12 years ago. The spy scandal is very much like a pre-planned information attack against Germany, which is used by the Austrian leadership to implement goals that are not directly related to national security. The Profil already had experience of cooperation with the Austrian authorities in the information field. At one time, the former Profil editor Hubertus Czernin helped investigate the ties between former Austrian President and former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim with the Nazis during the Second World War. The reason to get out of Berlin’s orbit of influence There is nothing surprising in the fact that intelligence services of influential countries work in Austria, where right-wing sentiments are strong in recent years, a migration problem and Islamic extremists are active. Not to mention that Austria is one of the most influential players on the world arms market and took part in the implementation of the Russian gas pipeline project “South Stream”, when it was still relevant. A small and quiet at first glance, Austria is an object of intersection of interests of Russia and Europe. In addition to the German scouts, in Austria probably work their colleagues from the USA and Russia. The Austrian authorities do not make huge scandal, since the activities of foreign special services on the territory of any state are interference in its internal affairs. The limitation period does not matter. It’s only the Austrians who apparently want to use the espionage scandal to get out of Berlin’s orbit of influence and tackle the migration crisis without looking at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy, which is being imposed by the European Commission on other EU member states. Following the last parliamentary elections, a conservative coalition of the Austrian People’s Party of Sebastian Kurz and the Austrian Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Strache came to power in Austria, and proposed to tighten the migration policy. In January 2018, Merkel criticized Kurz for opposing the implementation of the European Commission’s plan to resettle Muslim refugees by quotas to EU member states.
UAWire – European Court of Human Rights combines proceedings against Russia on Crimea and Donbas
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has combined proceedings against the Russian Federation on the Crimea and the Donbas, stated Ukrainian …
America’s closest allies are furious about Trump’s tariffs, and now an unorthodox idea to go after him is gaining steam | Business Insider
President Donald Trump’s headlong push toward a trade war is prompting unprecedented responses from countries around the world and blowback from top US allies.
Tens of thousands anti-Brexit protesters march in London, demand new vote – CBS News
Organizers of the People’s Vote march say Brexit is &quot;not a done deal&quot; and people must &quot;make their voices heard&quot;
Financial firms will abandon Britain after Brexit, says IMF chief | News | The Times
Financial firms will relocate en masse to continental Europe after Brexit, according to Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, who said that EU officials should increase regulatory and supervisory capacity to prepare for the influx.Ms Lagarde was opening an event in Dublin to m
Airbus Tells Britain It Wants Details of a Brexit Deal, or Else – The New York Times
The aerospace giant said that the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union could force it to consider leaving.
Airbus has delivered a body blow to Brexit Britain. It won’t be the last | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
Forget Brexiteer fantasies: where in the Commonwealth will Liam Fox find buyers for plane wings made in north Wales? asks Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty
France’s Macron brings back national service – BBC News
All 16-year-olds will now have to spend at least a month in civic service.
Flare-Up Between Kosovo And Serbia After Liberian Gaffe
A dispute over a claim that Liberia has renounced its recognition of Kosovo underscores Serbia’s stubborn refusal to recognize Kosovo’s statehood.
Russian Envoy Postpones Srebrenica Visit After Dispute With Mayor
The Russian ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina has indefinitely postponed a visit to Srebrenica after a local official turned down his request to visit the memorial complex where the victims of the 1…
Red Army Choir Plays To Thousands In Belgrade
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received members of the Russian military’s famed Aleksandrov song-and-dance ensemble, also known as the Red Army Choir, on June 23 in Belgrade. The ensemble then performed outside the city’s St. Sava Church for an estimated 5,000 spectators. Serbia’s government subsidized the free concert with 18 million dinars ($177,000).
Serbian President Receives Red Army Choir In Belgrade
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received members of the Aleksandrov Ensemble, widely known as the Red Army Choir, on June 23, ahead of their gala performance in Belgrade. The choir performed the famous Russian folk song Kalinka for Vucic.
Budapest Cancels ‘Billy Elliot’ Performances
After a pro-government newspaper claims the musical—about a boy who loves ballet—could “turn kids gay.”
UAWire – Polish Senate approves changes to the Law on the Institute of National Remembrance
The changes to the Law on the institute of National Remembrance adopted by the Sejm have been approved by the Polish Senate. 76 senators voted …
Poland Backs Down on Holocaust Bill After International Criticism – WSJ
Poland unexpectedly backed down on a controversial libel law that sparked objections from the U.S. and Israel, softening measures that would imprison those who say the nation was complicit in the Holocaust.
Poland Holocaust law: Government U-turn on jail threat – BBC News
There was an outcry when Poland made it illegal to say the country was complicit in Nazi war crimes.


Venezuela police accused of killings, rule of law ‘virtually absent’ – Business Insider
About 125 people died in anti-government protests last year in Venezuela, where the UN says extrajudicial killings of demonstrators and criminal suspects are…
No paper, no electricity, no news: Information controls keep coming in Venezuela – To Inform is to Influence
Posted 26 June 2018 16:02 GMT Amid widespread protests in response to Venezuela’s social, political and economic crises, state control over information has reached new heights. In June 2018, Venezuelans have seen online newspapers, pornography sites, and the Tor network blocked, in what appears to be the latest move in an ever-evolving strategy to limit access to information…
Venezuela’s Maduro calls Pence a ‘poisonous viper’ | Reuters
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a “viper” and vowed to defeat what he called Washington’s attempts to force him from power.
Mike Pence is a ‘poisonous viper’, Venezuela’s Maduro says – BBC News
Nicolás Maduro lashes out at the US vice-president over his visit to Venezuelan migrants in Brazil.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications


US Retakes Supercomputing Crown, But China Has Far More of Them – Defense One
Since 2002, China has gone from having none of the world\’s fastest supercomputers to having more than anyone else.
Can industry help government make sense of artificial intelligence?
The House Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee wants to develop a private-public commission to inform applications of AI.
General: Project Maven Is Just the Beginning of the Military’s Use of AI – Defense One
Air Combat Command chief invites tech firms to help build next-gen tools for the Pentagon. Also says dissent \”is part of being an American.\”
AI Logistics Let Combat Units Move Faster: Uptake’s DIUX Contract « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
The Army needs to figure out how to support the forces it has more efficiently so they can maneuver more freely, with less frequent pit stops for maintenance or supply runs for repair parts. That’s where Uptake’s AI comes in.
New design of stealth tanker aircraft unveiled at conference in Atlanta – Defence Blog
Guy Norris, a senior editor with Aviation Week & Space Technology, posted on its Twitter account the photo showing the new stealth tanker aircraft concept. Guy Norris, wrote on Twitter that it is latest evolution of Air Force Research Laboratory stealthy tanker transport shows up at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Atlanta. The 3D model of new stealth tanker is a concept demonstrator of new aircraft which are equipped with sophisticated stealth capabilities. The U.S. Air Force needed the special air-to-air refueling aircraft for stealthy missions. In 2016,Aviation Week reported that the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command recently announced the “KC-Z” program intended to develop a next-generation tanker aircraft—one that could fly into dangerous airspace to support strike fighters like the F-22 and F-35—by 2035. At the moment there is no exact information about the project and about all the participants of the program.
Opinion: Open Tenders Cripple Defence Procurement At Great Cost
 
U.S. Marines ‘Strike’ First F-35B From Inventory | Defense content from Aviation Week
The USMC has decided to remove the first F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical landing fighter from its inventory after determining a repair was not justified.
The Countries Where F-35 Sales Are Taking Off – Foreign Policy
Pentagon, Lockheed Martin Close To Securing F-35 Lot 11 | Defense content from Aviation Week
The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are nearing a deal for the 11th lot of F-35s that includes more than 130 jets, multiple congressional aides say.
Air Force expands mission for Reaper attack drones, adds new weapons | Fox News
The Air Force is advancing plans to retire its Predator drone by transitioning pilots to the larger Reaper drone – and widening the mission scope of Reapers to include more weapons integration, attack options and ISR possibilities.
Take a Good Look at This Picture. The Air Force Wants This Plane to Fly For 80 Years. | The National Interest
Is that even possible? The Air Force plans to fly its war-tested 1950s-era C-130 aircraft well into the 2030s and beyond through a sweeping, multi-pronged technical overhaul, designed to enable the propeller-flown aircraft to perform its high-risk troop transport and combat support missions for decades to come. While there have been many innovations, upgrades and technological enhancements to the aircraft since it originally surfaced in the mid-1950s, the historic cargo plane may wind up flying for more than 80 years, according to current Air Force plans.
U.S. Army chose DRS to supply mission equipment package for IM-SHORAD system – Defence Blog
Leonardo DRS announced that the U.S. Army has chosen a company to supply mission equipment package for the Interim Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system (IM-SHORAD). According to the announcement, Leonardo DRS, Inc. has been down-selected by the U.S. Army, and will begin negotiations, to provide its mission equipment package for the service’s accelerated Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) effort. The mission equipment package includes kinetic and non-kinetic defeat capabilities and an on-board radar. The Leonardo DRS system, when integrated on the Stryker A1 platform, will provide maneuver Brigade Combat Teams with a full “detect-identify-track-defeat” capability required to defeat UAS, rotary-wing and fixed-wing threats. The system, developed by Leonardo DRS’s Land Systems business unit, integrates mature technologies from industry teammates and partners, including Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP), Raytheon’s Stinger missiles and Rada’s Multi-mission Hemispheric Radar. The IM-SHORAD solution provides both hard and soft kill capabilities to the warfighter while minimizing impacts on the mobility of the Stryker. According to Col. Chuck Worshim, program manager for cruise missile defense systems with the Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, General Dynamics Land Systems — which produces the Stryker — will be the platform integrator for the IM-SHORAD system.
Army Pushes Bradley Replacement; Cautious On Armed Robots « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
“Recent guidance from Army senior leadership has us looking at, emphasizing, Bradley replacement,” Miller told reporters in a conference call. “What we have now done is moved to accelerate our optionally manned fighting vehicle, the Bradley replacement, and we want to be able to focus on that.”
U.S. Navy ordered ballistic protection panel sets for the V-22 Osprey – Defence Blog
The U.S. Department of Defense announced it has awarded a contract to MACRO Industries for hardware in support of the V-22 aircraft, the Pentagon announced. MACRO Industries of Huntsville, Alabama awarded a $20,475,867 fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of up to 200 Ballistic Protection System panel sets, as well as single floor spares for the V-22 aircraft. The V-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor helicopter designed for vertical takeoff and landing, but sports the capabilities for long-range flights like a turboprop aircraft. The Osprey is primarily used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force. Work on the contract will occur in Huntsville, Ala., and is expected to be complete in June 2023. More than $7.1 million will be obligated to MACRO Industries at the time of award. More than $4.2 million of those funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year in September. The obligated funds will be allocated from Navy fiscal 2016 and 2017 aircraft procurement funds, the Pentagon said.
U.S. Defense Department award contract to General Dynamics for Stryker hull upgrades – Defence Blog
The Defense Department has awarded General Dynamics a contract for upgrades on the Stryker armored combat vehicle. The deal, from U.S. Army Contracting Command and announced on Wednesday, is valued at more than $68.5 million and enables General Dynamics to upgrade the flat bottom under bellies of the vehicle to the double V-hull configuration, according to the Defense Department. The double V-hull configuration is preferred by the U.S. military as it provides better protection for vehicles that encounter improvised explosive devices or land mines. The Stryker V-hull design configuration was prompted by the surging death toll of U.S. and coalition forces during the Iraq War. The solution was to replace mobile units using Humvees with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles made by the Oshkosh Corporation. The V-shaped hull increases both crew and vehicle survivability by deflecting the explosive blast away from the vehicle. Work on the contract will occur in Sterling Heights, Mich., and is expected to be complete in March 2020.
Japan reveals details of new 155 mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer – Defence Blog
Japan Ministry of Defense has confirmed plans to replace its ageing FH-70 towed howitzers and has revealed fresh details about new wheeled self-propelled howitzer. According to the MoD’s statement, the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) is developing new wheeled self-propelled howitzers for replacing FH-70 towed howitzers for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). Details of the first prototype of 155 mm self-propelled artillery system, based on 8×8 chassis were released at the official website of the Japan Ministry of Defense. The new artillery system is a hybrid of the wheeled truck chassis, with a 155mm 52-calibre long-range gun that is equipped with the on-board computation, inertial navigation and aiming systems. The vehicle has a maximum length of 11.4m, a height of 3.4m and width of 2.5m. A typical operating crew is five personnel though three can manage the gun and vehicle functions in an emergency.
Russia’s Much-Hyped Robot Tank Is Actually Steaming Hot Garbage – To Inform is to Influence
Russia’s Uran-9 unmanned ground vehicle appears to be a festering cesspool of failures.  The unmanned ground vehicle appears to fall short of any of the vaunted propaganda Russia has been pushing out about it for years.  Unlike the feel-good Russian videos featuring cartoon tanks, the real deal lacks the range, lacks reliable firepower, and lacks the…
Hungarian military orders 20 H145M military helicopters – Defence Blog
The Hungarian Ministry of Defence has ordered 20 H145M military helicopters, according to announce by Airbus on 29 June. The Hungarian Ministry of Defence has ordered 20 H145M military helicopters equipped with the innovative HForce weapon management in the frame of the military modernisation programme Zrinyi 2026. Together with the helicopters, Airbus will provide an extensive training and support package. “We are honoured to be of service – once more – to the Hungarian Ministry of Defence whom we today welcome as a new customer for our H145M helicopters. With this new order, we are fostering our excellent and trustful relationship with the Hungarian Armed Forces after their acquisition of two A319 military troop transporters last year. Team Airbus is grateful for the continued trust and confidence that the Hungarian government has placed in our products”, said Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The Hungarian fleet will be equipped with a fast roping system, highperformance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding operational requirements. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Hungary to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons. The H145M is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces and has since been ordered by Thailand and the Republic of Serbia. The programme’s maturity allows Airbus Helicopters to execute orders on cost and on schedule. Mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95 percent. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). In addition, the helicopter is equipped with the Helionix digital avionics suite which includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.
KEYMOD or M-LOK? – YouTube
 
A Senate panel wants to spend an extra $400 million on microelectronics
The technology contributes to nearly every electronic system used by the defense department, and it’s only to get more important.
Researchers Fish Yellowcake Uranium From the Sea With a Piece of Yarn – IEEE Spectrum
For decades, researchers have attempted to capture uranium dissolved in the world’s oceans and convert it to fuel for nuclear power plants
Making Fuels with Carbon Dioxide Pulled From Air Could be Affordable – IEEE Spectrum
Results of the first detailed engineering design and cost analysis of direct air capture are in

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports


New Russian Information Warfare Tool: Religious Warfare – To Inform is to Influence
Russia has apparently approved, at the Presidential level, using religion as a divisive tool against Ukraine. Russia has already elevated the Russian Orthodox Church to almost unholy levels already. Is the Russian Orthodox Church serving God or Putin? and The Russian Orthodox Church Expanding Propaganda? Now Russia has apparently approved the use of Russian special services to break apart efforts at an independent Ukraine Orthodox Church and use this to further destabilize Ukraine. </end editorial>
Propaganda war against Ukraine’s aspirations to gain Tomos on autocephaly – To Inform is to Influence
This article highlights arguments used by Russia against the establishment of a separate Ukraine Orthodox Church.  Oleksandr Sagan, IB.ua, and Stop Fake do a good job countering all of Russia’s points.  Of note, Russia is using both diplomats and clerics to makes these points, as if this were a governmental matter.  </end editorial> By Oleksandr…
Inside Look Into the Death Squads Used by Ukrainian Counterintelligence – Sputnik International
In an exclusive, in-depth interview with Sputnik, Sergei Sanovsky, a former training instructor for one of Ukraine’s most notorious far-right volunteer militias, shared his story about how he went from being hailed a “hero of Maidan” to getting kidnapped and tortured by Ukraine’s Security Service for refusing to run an extrajudicial death squad.
Are Russian hackers about to attack Ukraine?
Ukraine has been a test bed of Russian cyber aggression, and U.S. officials warn that an upcoming holiday could see another attack.
Romania minister says country facing cyber-attacks
Romania faces Russian aggression on a daily basis in the Black Sea, and is fending off a wave of cyber-attacks and political interference, the defense minister said Monday.
UAWire – Head of the German security agency accuses Russian hackers of attacking country’s power grid
Hans-Georg Maassen, who currently serves as President of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, blamed Russia for a …
Illinois finalizes its plans to prevent another Russian hack
Local election officials hoping to use federal cybersecurity funding to upgrade Illinois’ decades-old voting machines will have to keep waiting, as the State Board of Elections announced that the majority of the $13.9 million coming into the state will be funneled to training and bolstering cyber defenses.
How memes are being weaponized for political propaganda – To Inform is to Influence
The populist form of communication accessible to anyone with MS Paint is also a crucial form of propaganda DEIDRE OLSEN FEBRUARY 24, 2018 7:00PM (UTC) In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, which left 17 dead, WIRED reported that the Alliance for Securing Democracy and RoBhat Labs, data-gathering groups that monitor Twitter activity, had identified…
Bloomberg Makes Crimea Mistake And Corrects Same – To Inform is to Influence
Thank goodness for good journalism.  It still exists. Bloomberg mistakenly marked Crimea as a part of Russia on a map. The Ukrainian Embassy in the US called out the mistake. Bloomberg corrected the error and the correction was noted. Crimea is Ukraine.
How telework fuels the insider threat
Following several intelligence leaks, a large percentage of corporate executives and small business owners believe that data breach risks increase when employees work out of the office, a new study finds.
Mattis declares vigilance to be the best cyber defense
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has issued a memo warning the department’s employees of the consequences for poor cyber hygiene in a world where secrets can fall into the hands of digital intruders.
Controversial ‘hack back’ debate undecided after new details
A new book has added to a long-running debate regarding whether a company should be able to retaliate in cyberspace.

US Domestic Policy Reports


Ahead of summit, U.S. and Russia tussle to control the narrative – POLITICO
The Kremlin is often the first to share news with the world, leaving some to wonder whether Putin will best Trump in messaging.
White House, Kremlin To Jointly Announce Putin-Trump Summit
The White House and Kremlin are expected to simultaneously announce where and when U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be holding a summit next month.
Bolton Holds Talks With Putin In Moscow
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton met with Russian President President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on June 27. Bolton was on a one-day visit to Moscow to lay the groundwork for what will be the first summit between Putin and President Donald Trump. The summit is expected to take place in July.
Bolton Dismisses ‘Criticism’ Of Planned Trump-Putin Meeting
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton dismissed what he said was criticism of President Trump’s planned meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, saying talk of a “nexus” between Trump and the Kremlin was “complete nonsense.” Bolton was speaking in Moscow after talks aimed at planning the meeting, the time and place of which will be disclosed on July 28.
U.S. NSA adviser in Moscow: Recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea not “position of U.S.” | UNIAN
Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs (NSA) John Bolton says that the recognition of the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea by Russia is “not the position of the United States,” and sanctions against Russia over Ukraine should remain in force. Bolton met with Putin and other Kremlin officials in Moscow.
What to expect from a Trump-Putin summit
While a summit between Trump and Putin will be significant due to the global importance of their countries, it may ultimately result in little more than a public relations event, experts said.
President Trump Set To Meet With Russia’s Putin : NPR
“Maybe something positive will come out of it,” the president said. The date for the summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will be announced on Thursday. It could come in July.
Details set for Trump-Putin meeting – YouTube
CNN Published on Jun 27, 2018 Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet soon, Russian and US officials said on Wednesday, setting up a fraught encounter just as Western alliances appear fractured.
Putin Says Bolton Visit Gives Hope For Steps To ‘Restore Full-Scale Relations’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told U.S. national security adviser John Bolton that his visit to Moscow gives him hope that steps can be taken to improve badly strained relations between the countries.
Putin might ask Trump to decide on Ukraine behind Kyiv’s back – U.S. Senator | UNIAN
Russian President Vladimir Putin at his upcoming meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump will probably seek, as it happened before, to solve the Ukraine issue without having Kyiv at the negotiating table, that’s according to U.S. Senator Rob Portman who spoke at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing June 26. U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell has noted that the U.S. position as regards Ukraine is clearly outlined.
UAWire – Media names date when Putin and Trump will meet in Vienna
The Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, citing a source, has named the date that the leaders of Russia and the USA will meet in Vienna. According …
U.S. Security Adviser’s Moscow Trip Seen As Prelude To Trump Meeting With Putin
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton is heading to Europe on a trip that will also take him to Moscow amid expectations he will clear the way for a July meeting between President Donald Trump…
U.S. Republican Lawmakers Seek Putin Visit During Russia Trip
A high-level U.S. delegation of Republican lawmakers will travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg soon, two members of the group have confirmed.


Successfully Countering Russian Electoral Interference – To Inform is to Influence
Interesting French brief just released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Wake-up call, especially for anyone who still thinks the Russians didn’t materially affect the 2016 elections here. More important, a pretty good synopsis for how to prevent another round of meddling this year. Many options are left out, however. It does not seem like either author is experienced with information warfare, information operations, strategic communications, or public relations. Their input, while good, is limited. One point deserves attention, however, and I have mixed feelings about what is presented. “Lesson 8: Beat Hackers at Their Own Game” is a section highlighting where outlandishly fake emails were inserted into the system, thus undermining any resultant leaks. This appears to be good advice and worth considering. The title, however, is misleading. This is not about beating hackers, it is about gaining a modicum of control over the information when it is leaked. Bottom line, this is a genius idea but needs to be presented properly. Additionally, the briefing is six pages long, so there is no room to discuss anything in detail. This document represents a good starting point for any efforts to counter Russian efforts at influencing elections or countering Russian information warfare. </end editorial>
Trump says finishing U.S. study on tariffs on cars from EU
France launched a military force with other countries including Britain outside the framework of the European Union on Monday, as Paris tries to keep London close to European defenses after Brexit.
BREAKING! IG Horowitz Testifies That Key Intel Was Redacted From Report That Could Implicate Lynch
 
FBI agents are ready to revolt over the cozy Clinton probe
Veteran FBI agents say FBI Director James Comey has permanently damaged the bureau’s reputation for uncompromising investigations with his “cowardly”…
“The Russians Play Hard”: Inside Russia’s Attempt To Hack 2018—And 2020 – To Inform is to Influence
BY NICK BILTON JUNE 22, 2018 1:48 PM A light breeze was rustling along Connecticut Avenue when I arrived at an unmemorable bar in Washington, D.C., and plopped down across from a former federal intelligence official. It had been an exhausting day. For decades, I’ve covered the goings-on and machinations within Silicon Valley, but these days the…
Russia’s Novak Says Discussed Sanctions, Energy With Top Trump Officials
Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has met with his U.S. counterpart Rick Perry and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss energy issues and U.S. sanctions on Russia.
Mueller reveals closer Manafort ties to Russian oligarch – POLITICO
Paul Manafort and his wife received a $10 million loan from Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin.
Manafort had $10 million loan from Russian oligarch: court filing | Reuters
A search warrant application unsealed on Wednesday revealed closer links than previously known between President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin.
Trump Ex-Campaign Chairman ‘Got Loan’ From Russian Billionaire
Reuters is reporting that newly released court filings reveal that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a $10 million loan from Kremlin-connected Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
Investigators detail Manafort money from Ukrainian corruption, Russian oligarch – CNNPolitics
New court documents in Paul Manafort’s criminal case give the fullest picture yet of what prosecutors say was the former Trump campaign chairman’s financial reliance on Ukrainians suspected of corruption and a Russian oligarch, while he allegedly schemed to defraud banks and the US government.
Ticking Countdown to Trade War Enters Final Hours: Economy Week – Bloomberg
Trade tensions occupied global economy watchers again this week as the hours count down to July 6 when President Donald Trump will decide whether to slap tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods.
Russian Billionaire’s Firm Moves To Dismiss U.S. Election Meddling Case
A Russian company accused of helping fund a propaganda operation aimed at swaying the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor has asked a U.S. judge to dismiss the case brought agai…
U.S. House Republicans Shout Down Official Over Russia Probe
Congressional allies of Donald Trump shouted attacks at a top U.S. Justice Department official over an inquiry about possible collusion between the president’s 2016 campaign and Russia, telling h…
Trump’s “NATO is as bad as NAFTA” comment is scary – Vox
President Donald Trump criticized the NATO alliance in front of the Group of Seven. This is scary development.
Trump told G-7 leaders that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’: report | TheHill
President Trump earlier this month reportedly told the leaders of the Group of Seven member countries that NATO was “as bad as NAFTA,”
Mattis is out of the loop and Trump doesn’t listen to him, say officials
The president respects his defense secretary but increasingly ignores his advice and keeps him in the dark
Trump-Mattis dynamic raises concerns of rift at Pentagon – CNNPolitics
Up and down Pentagon hallways, there is a sense of anxiety.


How Latinos Are Shaping America’s Future
They’re the focus of the immigration debate. But across the nation, Latinos are rising to power and offering a glimpse of what’s ahead.


FIRST EMP COMMISSION – Home
 
Mattis to Naval War College grads: ‘If this was vodka, it’d be a lot better speech’
The 2018 graduates were treated to some candid comments from the defense secretary.
Space Force: Go Slow, Learn From Army Air Corps « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
The stakes are high for President Trump’s nascent Space Force because a poorly integrated service is a price America cannot afford to pay. This means a careful, thoughtful, conditions-based approach must be followed to assess if and when an autonomous military space organization will provide the best path forward. All four services will contribute to a Space Force and they won’t be alone. The National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, and elements of others such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who are in the business of maintaining space situational awareness and space traffic management functions may all come together. For lessons in how to avoid creating a service that just ends up being a stovepipe, consider the Air Force’s experience when it became a service in 1947. Even though this occurred over three quarters of a century ago, the broader evaluation points are still valid.  Setting the Conditions    The successful establishment of the United States Air Force in 1947 validated five conditions necessary to justify a new armed service. First, it needed to demonstrate a unique, actionable theory regarding airpower and air warfare to ensure the appropriate linkage between ends, ways, and means. Technology and people are only effective if they are strategically employed to achieve a specific set of aims. Second, airmen needed to demonstrate that they could produce direct combat effects in and from the air in a useful fashion at a scale equivalent to the other services. Airpower had grown to a level of pragmatic scale where it redefined how the country operated and identified itself. Airpower was also able to fulfill peacetime roles on a mass scale. Finally, airmen were able to argue a convincing case sufficient to win in the political realm. Using these same standards for America’s military space capabilities suggests that a Space Force may not yet meet those conditions.
The Army is most excited about these 3 capabilities
Here are cyber and electronic warfare emerging technologies the Army is evaluating at Cyber Quest.

 

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