Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (100)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Good news from Salisbury it appears the second poisoning victim is recovering. Russians continue their toxic propaganda barrage, while the country appears to be unraveling from within. FIFA Cup appears to have become more of an embarrassment for Muscovy than a propaganda coup – as Russian nationalists are now openly advocating the ‘Destruction’ of Ukraine, in a manner that would do the NSDAP proud.

An update from Salisbury, including disturbing reports on the predicted persistence of the agent.

More unsurprising reports from Iran and Turkey.


Russia Responds to British Defense Minister’s Novichok Accusation

Russia has committed an attack that resulted in the death of a Briton, defense minister Gavin Williamson said on Monday, linking Russia to the incident after a 44-year-old woman who was poisoned by nerve agent Novichok died. In response, the official Twitter account for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Williamson’s statements the latest attempt to unfairly blame Russia for poisonings related to Novichok. “Gavin Williamson‘s claim that Russia has something to do with death of Dawn Sturgess is just the same old mantra #russiansdidit,” the ministry tweeted. “Could you perhaps come up with something new? A proper and careful investigation for instance?” Williamson was asked in parliament about the threat facing people in Britain after the death of Dawn Sturgess on Sunday.

Kremlin: Moscow ‘deeply concerned’ about Amesbury Novichok death

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences over the death of a British woman who was poisoned by a Soviet-developed nerve agent, four months after a father and daughter were poisoned with the same chemical in a nearby city.

MP no-show raises questions over UK’s concern about Amesbury ‘Novichok poisoning’ — RT UK News

The alleged Novichok poisoning in Amesbury stirred up a whole new wave of anti-Russia hysteria, and yet when it came to the Home Secretary’s parliamentary updates on the case, the chamber was surprisingly empty.

Russia’s UK Embassy Calls Amesbury Poisoning ‘Anti-Russian Provocation’

Russia’s embassy to Britain said on Monday it would regard the Amesbury poisoning incident which has left one woman, Dawn Sturgess dead, as an anti-Russian provocation in the absence of access to the investigation. Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer has said Sturgess died after being poisoned with a nerve agent that also struck a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in March. “Without access to the investigation files and to our two citizens (the Skripals), we will consider the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury as an irresponsible anti-Russian provocation by official London,” the embassy said in a statement.

Russian firms are selling sick ‘Novichok’ products, including shirts | Daily Mail Online

Novichok – the name of a lethal and illegal chemical weapon designed in Soviet times – is being used as the name of a craft beer, a vodka, a brand of coffee, a cocktail in Volgograd, and vegetable oil.

Russian ‘Novichok’ Beer Has Some Belarusian Drinkers Hopping Mad

A Russian-made beer mocking the nerve-agent poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Britain has drawn fire from critics in Belarus after it hit the shelves in Minsk.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Only 38 Percent of Russians Now Say They Trust Putin, Lowest Since 2013

Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – According to a new VTsIOM poll, only 37.9 percent of Russians now say they trust Vladimir Putin, a figure down five percent in the last two weeks and one near where it was in 2013 before the Kremlin leader invaded Ukraine and occupied and annexed Crimea (nakanune.ru/news/2018/07/08/22512886/). On the one hand, that figure is not terribly low by international standards. Many presidents and prime ministers in the West with equal or even lower figures remain in office and often do not feel compelled to change direction either because they have been elected for a specific term or have the necessary votes in parliament. But on the other, for Putin, who has the power of a dictator but who has claimed legitimacy because of overwhelming public support, these figures are worrying, not because they mean the Kremlin leader faces a direct challenge or that he will be forced to change direction in the ways the population wants. Putin is unlikely to retreat on pension reforms or anything else: his personal style is to strike out rather than retreat and to seek to recover his legitimating majority by playing on patriotic feelings by seeking a new foreign policy victory. That is what he did in 2014 with his invasion of Ukraine. And consequently, these new figures mean that he is likely to be more dangerous now than in some time, especially that these poll figures have been accompanied by the suggestion of some commentators that Putin may remain president but he is no longer a leader. Rather they say, he is out of touch (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5B41F641D4FE7). Most analysts are suggesting that he will seek to recover his standing by a new act of aggression abroad; but others say that he will at least first try to mobilize Russians at home either by positing a threat from abroad or some danger from within (newizv.ru/comment/sergey-sharov-delone/08-07-2018/vlast-gotovitsya-k-mobilizatsii-srazu-posle-okonchaniya-mundialya). One potential target, similar in its indefiniteness to “enemy of the people” in Stalinist times is “Russophobe,” a charge Putin might deploy against various groups to mobilize the Russian population in the name of defending Russian sovereignty. In that event, the first victims of Putin’s effort to win back support would be the Russians themselves. But just as Stalin’s campaign against “enemies of the people” did not stop at the Soviet border, any Putin campaign against “Russophobes” would likely soon taken on an international dimension as well (newsland.com/community/8211/content/otnoshenie-k-rusofobam-kak-k-polnotsennym-chlenam-obshchestva-eto-oshibka/6401542).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Shock Pension Therapy’ has Fundamentally Changed Russian Attitudes toward the Regime, Koltashov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – Like the broader shock therapy in the 1990s, the Russian government’s proposed “shock pension therapy” has fundamentally changed the attitudes Russians have toward the powers that is leading them to revisit their past support for Vladimir Putin and to reject all the systemic parties, Vasily Koltashov says. While the demonstrations against the proposed reform are widespread, they are still relatively weak, the head of the Moscow Center for Political-Economic Research says; and they are not yet in a position to threaten the government let alone Vladimir Putin. But if the regime mishandles the situation, that could soon change (nakanune.ru/articles/114078/). The major reason for this shift, he continues, is that Russians are no longer protesting about some relatively abstract idea like “ending corruption,” but rather they are focusing on a specific proposal. Their willingness to demonstrate shows that people are “dissatisfied” and won’t react well if their demands are ignored. Most of those taking part in the protests against the proposal to radically raise the pension age are not following the systemic parties whose leaders they do not trust. Rather they are acting on their own as a result of a fundamental shift in their personal positions, something that presents the powers with a far greater problem. “The most important thing that is happening now is taking place not in the streets but in the minds” of the population,” Koltashov argues. The upsurge in patriotism as a result of the World Cup “is not influencing the process” by which “people are revising their attitudes toward state policy, officials and Medvedev.” “Many of my apolitical acquaintances or people who traditionally have always voted for Putin say that for them all this has been a shock,” he continues. They aren’t yet prepared to go into the streets and consequently massive protests are unlikely if as expected the government compromises by reducing the number of years it will raise retirement ages. But if the government pushes ahead, then all bets are off, Koltashov says. The first indication of that will be the collapse of support for all the systemic parties. They are all “dead” because they do not reflect the attitudes of society. United Russia has such a negative rating that there is nowhere for it to go.” Koltashov says that he does not think that Russia is approaching a revolutionary situation. Indeed, he declares that “a revolution is impossible.” But ever more people are demanding that Medvedev and his government go, and some are talking about the need for the departure even of his superior, Putin. “The repudiation of parties and of certain individuals in Medvedev’s campaign is leading to a demand for completely different political organizations in Russia which will correspond to the attitudes of society,” the analyst says. “And this demand will be satisfied,” especially if the economy continues in crisis. What is important to recognize from the outset, Kolpashov says, is that the Russian people aren’t about to turn to the liberal opposition and to a figure like Aleksey Navalny. His views aren’t that far from where the governments are whatever he says, and he is handicapped by the fact that he is “openly pro-Western.” Instead, the Moscow analyst argues, “processes will go along a different path, one unexpected and dangerous for the powers that be.” Today, “the patriotic idea is the idea of the existing powers, the president, the foreign policy establishment and the military,” all of whom operate on that idea. But – and this is something neither the Kremlin nor the opposition has allowed for – patriotic ideas can be taken over by the opposition and used against the regime. Russians “do not want radical liberal reforms. They want that the market be supplemented by a social state.” The destruction of that is something they’re more agitated about than they were a decade ago. If the powers that be forget this, they “will suffer enormous losses to their reputations and at a certain moment may lose control over the patriotic idea because patriotism is today a very important phenomenon, Koltashov says. But the patriotism of today “has nothing in common with that which existed 15 years ago.” “The implicit patriotism of the 1990s was somewhat different because it arose on the basis of the development of Russian capitalism.” Today, it can arise as a defense of the social state; and any attack on that state, as “shock pension therapy” shows, can lead to a reaction, one that could become a core element of a new patriotic and anti-Western agenda.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s VAT Increase Will Hit Harder, Sooner and More Broadly than Pension Age Change, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – Although the Kremlin’s plan to increase retirement ages has attracted more attention and protest, the value-added tax (VAT) increase the government is now pushing through the Duma will hit harder, sooner and more broadly, driving down industrial production and overall growth and increasing inflation next year, Sergey Shelin says. With little debate or public complaint, the Rosbalt commentator says, the Duma has passed the government’s tax measure which will increase the VAT from 18 to 20 percent, go into effect not gradually but all at once in January 2019, raise inflation by about two percent, and cut GDP growth to 1.4 percent (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2018/07/06/1715701.html). Despite suggestions to the contrary, the additional revenues from this VAT increase will not go to boosting pensions, Shelin says. Instead, they will provide about half the funding needed to meet Vladimir Putin’s “May decrees” about infrastructure, education and health care. Thus, this measure was needed to meet Putin’s announcement regardless of its impact on the economy. But this prompts two other questions, the Rosbalt commentator says. On the one hand, why was this proposal advanced at the same time as the project for raising the pension age? And on the other, why has business which will be hit hard by this measure remained completely quiet instead of protesting? “It is easy to answer the first question,” Shelin says. Initially, the finance ministry wanted to put all this out as a single package but then the government divided it up so that the total consequences of the government’s efforts for the population would not be so obvious to everyone. Judging by the population’s almost exclusive focus on the pension issue, that calculation seems to have been justified, he continues. But why are businessmen so quiet? There, the situation is more complicated. It is not just about conformism. Many businessmen have shown they are prepared to complain when government policies hurt them. Rather it is that some production is excluded from the hike and so businessmen can shift their efforts into those sectors. That works especially in areas where the Russian producers are competing with imports. If the latter are blocked entirely or taxed at a higher rate as they would be, domestic producers can not only gain market share but do so while raising prices at the same time, the commentator continues. Who says the Putin economic system doesn’t work? It increases taxes but in such a way that domestic producers can raise prices. Russian consumers pay for both, but those around the Kremlin become wealthier as a result of tax and price maneuvers that few Russians understand but that many will suffer from as a result, while a tiny minority benefit from both.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘The Russian Empire has Fallen Apart Twice, but God Loves a Trinity,’ Shtepa Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 10 – Vadim Shteppa, the founding editor of the After Empire portal that is based in Tallinn, says that he came up with the idea for an online discussion forum on federalism during the unsuccessful revolution of 2011-2012 when not only Muscovites but Russians across the country protested against the regime for stealing the election. At that time, he and other like-minded regionalists came up with a Manifesto of the Congress of Federalists outlining their ideas. (For the text, seeruss.ru/pole/Manifest-kongressa-federalistov.) And in 2013, he and these people organized a conference on federalism in Russia (On that, see liberal.ru/articles/6198 andwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/08/window-on-eurasia-empires-dont-become.html.) But when Vladimir Putin entered his third term, the Kremlin made it virtually impossible to have such discussions within the country, Shtepa says. They frightened Russia’s rulers who were prepared to talk about federalism only in the case of other countries where Moscow wanted to establish breakaway regions (afterempire.info/2018/07/10/project/). With the adoption of Putin’s “law on the struggle with separatism” in 2014, the situation became even worse because any serious discussion of federalism even at the level of previous years put those who took part in it at risk of being charged with a crime. That is why he established After Empire in Estonia. Unlike other Russian opposition publications, After Empire focuses on federalism and on the situation beyond the ring road. Unfortunately, “many people who leave Russia remain mentally in the condition of Muscovites. As some say, one can take a politician out of Moscow but one can’t take Moscow out of a politician.” If more Muscovites could come to see their city and region as distinctive rather than simply the capital of an empire, this would be a positive development, Shtepa continues; but so far, the number who do so is swamped by the number of imperialists. The portal ha been growing, largely because “there simply doesn’t exist in the Runet any other such portal, one where there are free discussions about the future geographic arrangements of Russia – or post-Russia if you like,” the editor says.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Must Fight Ethnic Separatism among Northern Peoples Outsiders are Promoting, ‘Cyrillitsa’ Editor Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – Because of the natural wealth of the Arctic region and because global warming is making it ever more accessible, the Arctic may soon become “a hot spot” like the Middle East with various outside powers contending for influence and control, according to Olga Ikonnikova, the editor of the Russian nationalist Cyrillitsa portal. But even before that happens, she continues, “the Russian part of the Arctic, of course not without the assistance of democratic political technologies, could be seized by separatist attitudes,” a threat Moscow must treat seriously and take immediate steps to combat (cyrillitsa.ru/kolonka-shef-redaktora/66167-pochemu-sever-rossii-nakhoditsya-pod-ugr.html). Most people believe that the issue of the status of the indigenous peoples was “solve” long ago, Ikonnikova says; but one need only glance at “the behavior of our neighbors who also are in the Arctic Club (the US, Norway and Finland) to see that the problems of the numerically small peoples in particular of the North are still being raised.” “Our Arctic partners,” she continues, “are already step by step preparing their own information space in order to provide help to the unhappy Russian Nentsy, Chukchis, or Saami to escape from ‘the oppression of the Russian enslavers.” “Of course, I am exaggerating,” Ikonnikova says; “but if you devote close attention to articles in Finnish and Norwegian newspapers devoted for some reason to the way of life and activities of the numerically small peoples of the Russian North, then everything Russian in these materials will be described only in a negative way.” The leaders of the regions of the Russian North “must devote the closest possible attention” to such articles in order to figure out what outsiders are planning. “Otherwise,” the editor says, “at a most serious moment, we will obtain on our territory analogues to the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People whom the Norwegian and Finnish neighbors will help with joy.” Counterpropaganda is not enough, she says. “Active measures” are needed. Among the most important is to ensure that local officials provide the numerically small peoples of the North with all the benefits that federal legislation provides, including deferments from the draft, special funding, and various kinds of affirmative action. Russia has a good record in taking care of the Northern peoples, she says; but it is important that this be continued. If it isn’t, other Arctic powers will take advantage of the situation and promote separatism not for the benefits of these people but exclusively for themselves.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Authorities See Separatism Everywhere in Kaliningrad

Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – The local history museum in Sovetsk, formerly Tilsit, in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, has been shut down, the latest victim of a campaign launched last month by oblast governor Anton Alikhanov who declared that “foreign agents of influence in Kaliningrad are numerous, harmful and have been working there more than a decade.” “Our neighbors, including via agents of influence here,” the governor continued, “tell us all the time about Little Lithuania or the Rech Pospolita,” and they insist that “supposedly we here in Kaliningrad are people with a special identity,” separate and apart from the Russian nation. Andrey Vypolzov, a journalist for the Moscow portal Sovershenno Sekretno, has investigated the situation and now has filed a report, one that he suggests shows that Alikhanov and those who think like him are quite properly worried about what is going on in the exclave (sovsekretno.ru/articles/id/5913/). In his view, the museum deserved to be shut down and other steps need to be taken. The museum has behaved especially badly, Vypolzov says. It has had an exhibit on Tilsit, the name of the city before the Soviet annexation; it has shown pictures of the region when it was German; and it has hosted people like Vytautas Landsbergis who has sometimes suggested that Kaliningrad should be part of his Lithuania. Vladimir Shulgin, a regional historian of Russian nationalist leanings, says that “it seems to [him] that our authorities do not see the seriousness of this problem; they do not understand [the dangers].” And they do not recognize that many of the problems arise from the actions of local officials rather than from any foreign visitors. Action is required now, he insists. And local “patriotic” activist Maksim Makarov goes even further in sounding the alarm. Closing the museum in his view was only a small step in the right direction given recent events like the decision in 2011 to go back to the Tilsit coat of arms after a special Sovetsk coat of arms was confirmed in 1998. Or even worse, he suggests, was the following: Kaliningrad’s youth theater “on its official site” declares itself to be the Tilsit Theater and then compounds its crime by writing that name in Latin script!

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Pension Situation and Impact of Reform on Russian and Non-Russian Regions Very Different

Paul Goble Staunton, July 8 – Moscow’s plan to raise pension ages at least in part is intended to reduce “the burden” workers have to carry for those who have retired from situation across the Russian Federation in which there are only about two workers for every retirees to one in which there will be three workers for everyone who draws a pension. But because the demographic situation in various parts of that country is so different, the size of pensioner “burden” on the working-age population and the impact of the proposed increase in the retirement ages are going to be different as well (rbc.ru/economics/05/07/2018/5b3b6c739a79475033464791 andonkavkaz.com/novosti/4557-dagestan-okazalsja-samym-molodym-regionom-rossii.html). In some predominantly ethnic Russian regions, because of low birthrates, outmigration, and shorter life expectancies, the “pensioner” burden is much greater than the all-Russian average; and in some places like Karelia, Arkhangelsk oblast and Tula oblast, it is closer to one pensioner for every worker, a relationship likely to be unsustainable. At the same time, however, in other non-Russian and especially Muslim republics in the North Caucasus with higher birthrates, the situation is very different. The pensioner “burden” is already far less than Moscow’s goal of one pensioner to every three workers; instead, it is in some cases one for every four or even more workers. The reform also has different consequences for regions depending on life expectancies. In some predominantly Russian regions, the share of the population that will live long enough to collect a pension if the retirement age is boosted is far smaller than in other Russian regions like the city of Moscow and than in some North Caucasus republics like Ingushetia. In addition, experts at the Institute of Demography of the Higher School of Economics, those areas with longer life expectancies, again like some in the North Caucasus, will continue to collect pensions longer than those, again in predominantly ethnic Russian and non-Russian regions in the Russian North. Because pensions in Russia are a federal responsibility, there are few if any ways Moscow could adapt to these variations; but on an issue of such sensitivity, it is important to remember that the proposed pension reform will create at least in the minds of some new classes of winners and losers. To the extent that these follow ethnic, religious, or cultural lines, that could affect profoundly public attitudes and patterns of protest.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Now Focusing on Discrimination against Russians Rather than by Them

Paul Goble Staunton, July 10 – Reflecting the shift from liberal values to populist ones in many countries, the Kremlin is signaling that it will devote more attention to acts of discrimination against the ethnic Russian majority by non-Russians than against non-Russian minorities by the Russian majority as in the recent past. Most analysts and human rights activists continue to argue that discrimination against minorities by majorities is far more common than the reverse and that the power of the state should be used to protect the minorities against majority oppression, but populist leaders in many countries have won support by insisting that it is the majority that needs protection. In the United States, for example, discrimination by whites against Blacks has been countered by state power, which has been responsible for remarkable progress by that minority and by a shift in the attitudes of the majority. But now populist candidates have discovered that they can win support by complaining about that. Now, Vladimir Putin, whose government has never gone as far in supporting minorities as even the Soviet regime has, one whose first two decades at least US political scientist Terry Martin has intriguingly described as The Affirmative Action Empire (Cornell, 2001), is opting for the populist majoritarian position. So far, the Kremlin leader has not openly declared that is his intention. But it is clear from the way in which he is applying power, moving against the autonomy and language rights of the non-Russian peoples and promoting the majority nation above all, that that is very much his plan. Now, there is another piece of evidence: Aleksandr Brod, a member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, has declared that Moscow must set up additional monitoring to measure and then to counter discrimination against ethnic Russians in Tuva (rapsinews.ru/human_rights_protection_news/20180706/284248020.html). a In response to complaints by the ethnic Russians in Tuva, Brod said that “it is necessary to analyze the reaction of the procuracy and the practice of court decisions” in order to ensure that officials in the republics do not discriminate against ethnic Russians, the majority nation in the Russian Federation. His comments and proposals came in response to an open letter from Viktor Molin, head of the Union of Russian Speaking Citizens of Tuva, to Putin and Tuvan Senator Lyudmila Narusova in which he asserted that since the coming to power of Sholban Kara-oola in that republic the Russian population has been subject to “oppression.” Two years ago, a FADN poll found anti-Russian attitudes in Tuva to be among the highest in the Russian Federation; but then, this issue was taken up only by lower-ranking officials. Now, with Brod’s imprimatur, more ethnic Russians are certain to begin complaining about how they are the real victims of discrimination and not just in Tuva (nazaccent.ru/content/27657-chlen-spch-prokommentiroval-zayavlenie-o-diskriminacii.html).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: To Terrify, Putin Doesn’t Need Mass Murders: He has TV, Khersonsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – There are as yet no mass repressions in Russia, but there is “simply no need for them,” Ukrainian poet and translator Boris Khersonsky says. Vladimir Putin has control of television and thus can instill terror in the population without the bother of a large number of murders. “In the present-day Russian Federation, he continues, “the role of ‘the great terror’ play the means of mass information and of television above all.” He needs only repress a handful, show it on television, and everyone will be afraid (nv.ua/opinion/hersonskiy/bolshoj-terror-v-rossii-2480167.html). This is in marked contrast to Stalin’s times where far more killings were needed that people heard about and then spread the fear they felt by rumors, Khersonsky says. Now, “the possibility of danger reproduced via the media, extends” any particular horror far more rapidly and to a far larger audience. Why go to the bother of “mass public executions?” he asks rhetorically. Television will have the same impact more easily and more quickly. And it will achieve the ends that Stalin sought by updated, perhaps one can say “hybrid” means. But both under Stalin and under Putin, “by the unwritten laws of psychology” – including the Stockholm syndrome in which victims come to identify with their oppressor – horror will give birth to devotion. Deprivations will do the same. And under this devotion lies the betrayal” of everything human. .

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Men Aged 27 to 42 Dying at More Rapid Rates than During Soviet Times, Rosstat Figures Show

Paul Goble Staunton, July 6 – A close examination of Rosstat death rate figures shows that Russian men between the ages of 27 and 42 have been dying at more rapid rates than their counterparts in the latter years of the Soviet Union, with the death rates peaking in the first years after 1991 and again between 2002 and 2007 (ss69100.livejournal.com/3981804.html). There has been a slight improvement in death rates among this cohort since 2008; but the rates are still above Soviet-era ones; and this loss of males in the early rather than later years of their working life exercises a powerfully negative impact on Russia’s demographic and economic situation and future. On the one hand, deaths in this age group depress the number of potential fathers or remove them from just-formed families, sparking any number of social problems in the absence of social supports. And on the other, it removes from the workforce many who have received the most recent schooling and thus those who can bring the most up-to-date skills to jobs.

Croatia Fires Soccer Coaching Assistant After Player’s ‘Glory To Ukraine’ Video

Croatia’s soccer federation said it was firing an assistant coach for his role in a controversial video by a Croatian player following the team’s World Cup victory over Russia.

Ukrainians launch ‘Glory to Ukraine’ flash mob on FIFA page on Facebook – 10.07.2018 12:52 — Ukrinform News

Ukrainians have started posting the slogan &quot;Glory to Ukraine&quot; on FIFA’s page on Facebook, thus expressing their dissatisfaction with the International Football Federation’s reaction to an incident involving Croatian footballers at the 2018 World Cup.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin-Linked Russian Commentators Step Up Calls for ‘Destruction’ of Ukraine

Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – While most coverage of Russia has been focusing on the World Cup and Russians obsess about a Croatian footballer shouting “Glory to Ukraine” after his team defeated Russia, Kremlin-linked commentators have stepped up their calls for the complete destruction of the Ukrainian state altogether, Kseniya Kirillova says. Such vicious calls have never been absent from Russian rhetoric since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in 2014, but they have generally although not always been confined to the margins of Russian discourse. But now, the US-based Russian analyst says, they are taking center stat (day.kyiv.ua/ru/blog/obshchestvo/v-rossii-prizyvayut-unichtozhit-ukrainu). But these calls appear less likely to presage a new broadscale attack on Ukraine, she continues, than an expansion of diversionary and destabilizing activity within Ukraine by Russian agents and an effort to counter the sinking morale of pro-Moscow forces in the Donbass who increasingly feel that Russia is not doing enough for them. The comments of self-described “television commentator” Valentin Filippov are not atypical of the new wave of Russian writing on this subject. He says directly that Ukraine is not a country but “a terrorist organization” and its population “are in essence the very same Russians Ukraine has been called upon to destroy” (politnavigator.net/khvatit-obmana-ukraina-sama-ne-razvalitsya.html). Moreover, Filippov continues, “all our actions which are not directed at killing Ukraine make it stronger.” It is time to drop the sentimentality and focus on the goal because the continued existence of Ukraine is a threat to Russia and the Russians. “The enemy must be destroyed and not forced to accept a peace.” To that end, he says, “the only effective means is the complete liberation of Ukraine from the powers that exist there, the complete cleansing of the territory from hundreds of thousands of Nazis and murderers” by “sowing chaos on its territories and in a planned fashion splitting city from city and village from village.” Those who ask “’what will America say?’” need to be “ignored,” Filippov says, because, as correctly noted the new president of Russia, ‘why do we need a world in which there is no Russia?’” and who has also said that Ukraine is “’the economic, political and geographic space of Russia.’” “In fact,” Kirillova observes, “the appearance of such ‘masterpieces of agitprop’ do not mean that Putin is planning a new invasion of Ukraine in the near future. However, it is undoubtedly the case that the Kremlin in the future will try with all the forces at its disposal to destabilize the country from within.” That will require that Moscow itself prepare “ever more new terrorists prepared to sow this very chaos in exchange for promises that ‘the absolute evil’ and the most horrific threat for Russia’ will be destroyed literally immediately after the militant fulfills his latest assignment” against Ukraine. And there is growing evidence Moscow is preparing precisely such terrorists and doing so in precisely the same way and with precisely the same people who were involved four years ago, including oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev and his Donetsk Higher All Military Command Academy (tsargrad.tv/articles/kak-opolchency-stanovjatsja-kadrovymi-oficerami_141493). That will give new heart to the pro-Moscow forces in the Donbass and new headaches for Ukraine even as Putin makes nice with the West in the hopes that the latter will lift sanctions and allow him to continue to act in exactly the same ways that he has and that reflect his unchanging character.

Ukraine Slogan Dents Putin Bid to Skip Politics at World Cup – To Inform is to Influence

By Anthony Halpin and Jasmina Kuzmanovic July 9, 2018, 5:41 AM EDT When Croatian defender Domagoj Vida shouted “Glory to Ukraine” in an online video message after his team defeated Russia in the quarterfinals of the soccer World Cup, it was a reminder that sport and politics can’t always be separated [despite] whatever Russian President Vladimir Putin…

“Glory to Ukraine” Becomes Viral Meme – To Inform is to Influence

Ukrainian artist Andriy Yermolenko has updated his popular series of spoof #WorldCup posters to reflect Russian rage over Croatian player Domagoj Vida’s “Glory to Ukraine” video message The Croatian coach has been fired but Croatia’s Domagoj Vida escaped a FIFA ban on Sunday. I dropped “Glory to Ukraine” into Google News and got hundreds of hits. …

Ukraine Offers To Pay Fine For Croatian Soccer Staffer Involved In Video

Ukraine’s soccer federation has offered to pay a fine imposed by world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, on a member of Croatia’s coaching staff for his role in a controversial video made after Croati…

“Glory to Ukraine!”: Gazprom turns off review option on Facebook as rating plunges | UNIAN

It was Ukrainian users who targeted the Facebook profile of the Russian energy giant long known for its gas blackmail tactics against Ukraine. The company’s Facebook review rating fell to 1.5.

Britain Suggests Russia Is Behind Latest Nerve Agent Case – The New York Times

The authorities were still seeking a container that may have held the agent that poisoned two people, killing one of them.

U.K. man exposed to Novichok is now conscious

The baby boy, who had been buried under a pile of sticks and debris, was discovered in the middle of the night on Sunday in Montana’s Lolo National Forest.

UK man exposed to deadly Novichok agent regains consciousness | Fox News

The English man who was exposed to the deadly nerve agent Novichok last week has regained consciousness, according to hospital officials.

Novichok: Man exposed to nerve agent is conscious – BBC News

The partner of a woman who died after being poisoned is in a stable condition but “not out of the woods”.

Condition Of British Man Exposed To Novichok Improves

A British hospital says a man who was exposed to a deadly Soviet-made nerve agent has regained consciousness and is now in stable condition.

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley speaks to police officers – BBC News

Investigators hope Charlie Rowley can help shed light on how he and his partner were exposed.

Amesbury Novichok victim Charlie Rowley ‘has spoken to police’ | Metro News

Scotland Yard says police have ‘briefly’ spoken to Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley. Officers are still trying to find the source of the nerve agent which left him seriously ill…

Novichok: Why nerve agent source must be found – BBC News

The death of a woman months after Novichok was first used raises fears about how long it lasts.

Novichok used in Wiltshire ‘could remain active for 50 years’ | UK news | The Guardian

Top counter-terrorism chief says nerve agent could survive for decades in container

Novichok Could Remain Active for 50 Years: U.K. Police | Time

Novichok, the powerful nerve agent that killed one and left three critically ill, could remain active for 50 years, U.K. police said

Novichok poisoning: Two hundred concerned residents attending public meeting after woman dies are told nerve agent “could last 50 years” – Mirror Online

A public meeting is being held in Amesbury days after mum-of-three Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent in Wiltshire

Investigation into deadly chemical agent widens in England – CBS News

Authorities have broadened their investigation into the nerve agent poisoning of an English couple

Novichok agent – Wikipedia

Novichok Victim Dies: Did the Kremlin Really Lose Control of its Deadliest Poisons?

The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?

Novichok victim was ‘a gentle soul’, says family – BBC News

Dawn Sturgess’s family describe the 44-year-old, who died on Sunday, as “generous to a fault”.

Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess’ family break silence and pay tribute to “gentle soul who’d give her last penny to somebody in need” – Mirror Online

A statement issued by the Metropolitan Police on behalf of the family fread: “Dawn’s death has been devastating for us”

Amesbury: Novichok death increases pressure on investigators – BBC News

How the death of Dawn Sturgess will affect the ongoing investigation into the Amesbury poisonings.

Coronel Close Swindon: Poison probe spreads as cops seize medic’s car | Daily Star

A CAR seized by masked troops in connection with the Amesbury Novichok poisoning belonged to a paramedic and RAF hero who treated the victims.

Murder investigation to find the source of a second Novichok poisoning

The same deadly nerve agent used against a former Russian spy and his daughter could be linked to a second poisoning that killed a 44 year old woman in the UK.

The science that explains why the novichok nerve agent isn’t a huge health risk | WIRED UK

The missing container in the Amesbury novichok poisoning is key for investigators. But the way the nerve agent behaves and spreads means the public should be safe

Germany considers Iranian bid to withdraw 300 million euros cash: Bild | Reuters

German authorities are considering a request by Iran to withdraw 300 million euros from bank accounts held in Germany and transfer the cash to Iran, Bild newspaper reported Monday, citing unnamed government officials.

North Korea Threatened to Sell Missile Technology to Iran—Unless Israel Paid $1B

The offer was reportedly made during secret meetings between the countries’ ambassadors in Sweden 19 years ago.

Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide attack targeting Russian forces in Syria – Defence Blog

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the western countryside of Deraa province, Syria on Tuesday. According to Laith Alkhouri citing the Islamic State media, a suicide attacker blew himself up near Russian and Syrian forces in Zeyzun allegedly killing 35, wounding 15. In a series of posts in Telegram on 10 July the Islamic State’s sources reported that up to 5 Russian soldiers died during a suicide attack. For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense has refuted the recent reports from Syrian news outlets alleged dozens of Russian soldiers killed in Syria as a result of the terrorist attack. “There have not been any losses of Russian servicemen in the Deraa province or in the Syrian Arab Republic in general,” the defense department said. “All Russian servicemen are alive…” The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the explosion hit Zaizun, a village in the western countryside of Daraa province which rebels agreed in recent days to hand over to regime control. At least eight rebel and regime fighters were killed in the attack, has been blamed on Jaish Khalid ibn al-Walid, which is linked to the IS and controls a valley region in Daraa province. “Eight regime and opposition fighters who recently reconciled were killed in a suicide car bomb attack targeting a military position in Zaizun,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Iranian Woman Who Protested Headscarf Gets 20 Year Sentence | Time

An Iranian woman who removed her obligatory Islamic headscarf out of protest in December says she has been sentenced to 20 years in prison

Iranian F-4 fighter jet crashes in the southeast of the country – Defence Blog

The F-4D fighter jet of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force from the 10th Tactical Air Base crashed in the southeast of the country on 11 July. The F-4D fighter jet was on a training mission when it went down over the Chabahar city. A local medical official from the city of Chabahar told that the jet crashed in a mountainous area at around 10:15 am local time. According to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), both crew members safely ejected themselves out of the aircraft. Two pilots are hospitalized, one has a neck injury, the other has a leg. The local source reported that Iranian fighter jet crashed due to a technical malfunction. Thirty-two of the Air Force F-4Ds were sold to Iran in 1968. Deliveries started in 1968, were completed in 1969. The F-4D is a special version of fighter jet tasked with air to air interception duties. In addition to the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder, the F-4D was also capable of firing the Falcon missile. Also, F-4Ds were the first aircraft to use laser-guided munitions carrying GBU-1O/B Mk 84 Laser guided bombs in May 1968.

UAWire – Israeli Minister of Defense says he ‘found out from the newspaper’ about airstrike in Syria

The Minister of Defense of Israel Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that he “found out from the newspaper” about the missile strike which, as …

Israel Prepares for Syria to Win Back Border but Plans ‘Harsh Response’ If Forces Enter Golan Heights

Syria and Israel have been technically at war since 1948 and have fought at least three major conflicts, including in 1967 when Israel seized the Golan Heights.

Israel Threatens ‘Harsh Response’ to Any Syrian Forces in Demilitarized Golan | World News | US News

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

UAWire – Washington: Russia wants to get Turkey on its side

The United States Permanent Representative to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison stated that Washington is working every possible solution to convince …

🇹🇷 Erdogan vows to advance Turkey under new governance system | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Jul 10, 2018 Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been sworn in for a second term and has already named his new cabinet. He takes office with sweeping new powers, after a controversial referendum on the role of the president in April last year. President Erdogan says his country should work hard to achieve its goals for 2023, which is the year that marks modern Turkey’s centenary. Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu reports from the capital, Ankara.

Erdogan Names Son-in-Law as Treasury and Finance Minister – Bloomberg

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan named his son-in-law as economy czar in a new administration and removed the last member of an investor-friendly financial team that’s been gradually pushed to the sidelines. The lira plunged the most since a failed coup in 2016.

Meet the 40-Year-Old Erdogan Son-in-Law Running Turkey’s Economy – Bloomberg

PhD in finance? Check. Graduate school in the U.S.? Check. Experience as a corporate executive? Check.

Turkish markets sink as President Erdogan hires son-in-law as finance minister

In a rejection of economic orthodoxy, Erdogan named his son-in-law Berat Albayrak as finance minister, removing some incumbent officials considered friendlier to foreign investors.

Turkey’s advanced missile system undertakes acceptance trials – Defence Blog

The KHAN advanced long-range surface-to-surface missile system developed by Turkish company Roketsan is undergoing acceptance trials. On 10 July, the official Twitter account of Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) was posted a video of what appears to be a continuation of the test cycle of a new KHAN artillery missile system. The KHAN (Kaan in Turkish), known as Bora, is a Turkish modern tactical ballistic missile system. It is a long-range surface-to-surface system carries 2 containers with ballistic missiles. Missiles are fitted with 470 kg conventional warheads. According to the Roketsan, the KHAN missile provides high lethality depth by means of its long range. KHAN Missile can be launched from Roketsan made Weapon System and other platforms with applicable interfaces for integration. The main role of the Khan ballistic missiles is to engage concentrations of troops and armored vehicles, as well as other important targets, such as airfields, command posts, air defense batteries, and support facilities. In some cases, this ballistic missile can be used as an alternative to precision bombing. The missile itself has a solid fuel rocket motor and a range of 280-400 kilometers. It is controlled by aerodynamic control with electromechanical actuation system. Source also reported that the new Turkish missile system based on a new Belarus-made MZKT-7909 heavy high-mobility chassis. This vehicle is powered by a TMZ-84631.10 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 525 hp. engine is mated to an automatic transmission.

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