Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (41)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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NATO / EU / Russia Reports

RAF fighters scramble on alert due to Russian bomber over Black Sea –

Two NATO fighters scrambled on alert on Thursday, as the Russian bomber flew close to the border of Romanian airspace over the Black Sea. The RAF, British Royal Air Force reported that on the official website. ‘Operating from the Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta on the Black Sea coast, the RAF Typhoon’s responded to the suspected bomber aircraft heading west towards NATO airspace’, the message said. One of the RAF pilots who was on alert duty at the time, specified that the Russian plane did not violate the said airspace, so the command ordered to patrol the skies ‘as a deterrent’. The RAF mission in Romania is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures introduced in 2014. At the time, the Alliance started implementing these Assurance Measures with the goal of demonstrating the collective resolve of Allies and the defensive nature of NATO.
Why Eastern European countries aren’t attacking Trump over NATO – Vox
Eastern Europe’s response to Trump’s stances on NATO and Vladimir Putin has been noticeably muted.
Merkel Discusses Ukraine, Syria With Russian FM, Military Chief
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met July 24 in Berlin with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and army chief of staff Valery Gerasimov to discuss the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.
More Javelins to be produced, including for Ukraine, Lithuania | UNIAN
Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin joint venture has won $307.5 million modification contract for Javelin Weapon System full-rate production for Australia, Estonia, Lithuania, Turkey Taiwan and Ukraine. Pentagon signs off a contract for the production of Javelin ATGMs.
NATO: Reform Only Way to Save Alliance | National Review
Reforming the NATO alliance is the only way to save it.
UAWire – Noble Partner 2018 multinational military exercises to be held in Georgia
More than 3000 soldiers from NATO member and partner states will take part in the annual Noble Partner drills, which will be held from August 1-1 …
UAWire – Russia promises to respond to the deployment of NATO forces at Georgian border
Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation announced on Wednesday that Russia will have to …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Georgia Will Soon be in NATO and Moscow Must Respond by Expanding Networks with Breakaway States, Russian Analyst Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 20 – Following the NATO summit in Brussels, Aleksey Beliyev says, Moscow must recognize that Georgia is going to become a member of the Western alliance very soon, quite possibly as others have suggested, even without having to fulfill a Membership Action Plan (MAP). As a result, the Russian security analyst says, Russian officials must build a ramified road and rail system in the North Caucasus that will integrate Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Russia and give Moscow the ability to counter any NATO move ( Unfortunately, he continues, Moscow has not taken the necessary steps to do so up to now, with one project after another left unfunded or repeatedly delayed. But the imminence of Georgia’s membership in the Western alliance leaves the Russian side with no defensible option except to restart these projects and launch others – and to begin to do so right now. The most immediately striking aspect of Beliyev’s article today is that he views the question of Georgian membership in NATO as an imminent done deal, a remarkable position for him to take given that Vladimir Putin clearly hopes he can intimidate alliance members into at a minimum delaying admission of Tbilisi by threatening a harsh response to any such action. To be sure, the analyst says, NATO has not give an exact date for Georgia’s “inevitable” admission, “but in the opinion of many experts this process is hardly likely to be drawn out.” And NATO advisors are already flooding into Georgia, focusing their attention on Georgian border regions between Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “It is not excluded,” Beliyev argues, “that intelligence and/or military objects of NATO will be places in Pageri, Oni and/or Mestia, that is – and [he] stresses this yet again – in that part of northwestern Georgia which adjoins the Georgian-Russian border and at one and the same time geographically separates Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” It is precisely in this region that the Georgian authorities are planning to extend over the next two years existing railroad lines from Tkibulil and/or Dzhvari, linking it to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line and giving NATO enormous opportunities for rapid maneuver. Russia must react to that promptly. “In the emerging situation, the accelerated establishment of a unified transportation-economic and on the whole defensive infrastructure space of the Russian Federation, Abkhazia and South Ossetia is taking on especially great importance.” Unfortunately, Beliyev says, talk about such projects has far exceeded progress on the ground. According to the analyst, “the military-strategic importance of these projects for the security and development of economic cooperation among Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia and even more in the context of the ever more rapid coming together of Georgia and NATO is obvious.” In his article, Beliyev describes the various rail and highway proposals that have been made over the years to address these problems and the general failure of Moscow to ensure that plans become realities. Now with Georgia set to become a NATO country, perhaps the Russian government will take action. “In a broader context,” he says, “South Ossetia and Abkhazia have for a long time already needed to be more closely integrated into the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty, which besides everything else, will accelerate the realization of such projects” linking these two unrecognized states with Russian territory.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Three-Quarters of All Nazi Collaborators during World War II were Soviet Citizens, Crimean Historian Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 20 – Three of every four non-Germans who collaborated with the Nazis – approximately 1.5 million – were Soviet citizens, an issue few in Russia want to face, according to Oleg Romanko, a historian in occupied Crimea ( There have been collaborators in other wars, the specialist on that subject says; but never so many. Why that was so, he continues, has not been completely established because the issue is so sensitive and because of a tendency of people on all sides of the issue to politicize the question or simplify it to the point of absurdity. One misconception that gets in the way of an adequate understanding of this issue is the insistence by most on all sides of the debate that “betrayal of the motherland,” a legal and moral term, is equivalent to “collaborationism,” which is first and foremost “an historical phenomenon, Romanko continues. In fact, they are very different phenomena. “In Soviet historical literature, all who cooperated with the military-political structures of Nazi Germany were treated only in a negative way and at the same time in an extremely simplified way,” the historian says. “In reality, this phenomenon was much more complicated … and depended on a large number of factors which influenced it.” At the other extreme, he suggests, is Western historiography which “tries to put Soviet collaborationism in one category with similar phenomena that occurred in Nazi-occupied Europe.” While they were similar in some ways, they were also very different, a reflection of the very different experiences of Europe, on the one hand, and the Soviet Union, on the other. “Soviet collaborationism was essentially a continuation of the events of the civil war of 1918-1920, and its immediate preconditions were the special features of the socio-political development of the pre-war USSR … [including] repression, collectivization and religious persecution.” These experiences meant, Romanenko says, that by the early 1940s, many people living in the Soviet Union were prepared to protest or even rise against the regime in any way that was possible. In addition to these “internal” anti-communist causes, external ones played a role as well such as the location of the front and the attitudes of the occupation forces. When the Germans were doing well, more people were prepared to cooperate with them; when they began to lose, fewer did so. At the same time, the Germans did not have clear ideas about what they wanted in the occupied territories – and depending on who was making decisions, German policy toward particular regions like Crimea was in flux. On the peninsula, some Germans wants to make it part of a subjugated Ukraine; others want it to become a German enclave like Gibralter; and still others wanted to make it “a German Riviera” having expelled all the native residents to make that possible. At different times, these various positions dominated. In practice that meant, Romanko says, that “even the occupation administration was not here organized” in a consistent way. The multi-national composition of the Crimean population also played a role. The Crimean Tatars via the Muslim committees were able to achieve more than others, but other minorities were not similarly successful in representing their interests. The Germans did not allow the Russians to form such committees or represent themselves as a community until later in the war when the Vlasov movement became involved. Then the Russians quickly gained more influence on the occupation forces than the others, with the number of Russians involved rising rapidly. As to the numbers of people involved in collaboration, there is little agreement; but as to the number of Crimean residents who took part in German-organized military units, there is common recognition that “approximately 50,000 people of various nationalities” were involved, a significant figure given that fewer than 14,000 residents ever joined the partisans there. That meant, Romenko says, that “by the spring of 1942, as a result of their activities, the partisan and underground movement was in fact destroyed. And this was in Crime where Soviet power had existed already for a good 20 years. What then can one say about the Baltics and Western Ukraine where the Soviet partisan movement did not acquire such a mass character?”
Pro-Stalin Lawmaker Confirmed As Head Of Duma Culture Committee
An outspokenly pro-Stalin, nationalist lawmaker has been confirmed as head of the Russian State Duma’s Culture Committee.
Controversial ‘Native Languages’ Bill Passes Legislative Hurdle In Russia
The Russian State Duma has approved in its final reading a bill on the teaching of “native languages” in schools that has angered representatives of many of the country’s ethnic minorities.
Report: Khakas Language, Culture Activist Charged With Extremism In Russia
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly lodged an extremism charge against an activist who promotes indigenous cultures and languages following a post on the Internet.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Pension Reform Push a Test of Power Vertical’s Willingness to Back Any Putin Move No Matter How Absurd, Shelin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – The true test of an autocrat’s power is not when people go along with him when he is promoting reasonable ideas but rather when they do so when he is pushing senseless and absurd ones. Vladimir Putin’s backing of the pension reform, Sergey Shelin says, is increasingly a test of the second kind. The Rosbalt commentator provides a detailed analysis of the amount of money the Russian government would in fact save if its pension plan was implemented and says it is miniscule. Moreover, if the issue was money for the state, Moscow use other means to get it including asking for sacrifices from the elites ( “If one looks at the real and not the fabricated figures, then the budgetary subsidies for old age pensions are comparatively small, not critical for government finances – and in the next few years will remain so.” Thus, despite what the Kremlin media and government officials say, there was no urgency to take this step now Moreover, he continues, the Putin regime does not really care about money as such. Instead, it cares about its power and ability to maintain it to do whatever it wants. The Kremlin is concerned about falling approval rates but takes some solace in the fact that while they have affected Putin’s standing, they have left all the other power groups even further behind. And the powers that be thus could be influenced by public demonstrations if they were to become really large; but so far, they have been relatively small and dispersed and thus are easy for the regime’s siloviki to control and if need be suppress altogether as the time for a decision about the pension bill extends into the fall. All this leads to the inescapable conclusion, Shelin says, that “the genuine meaning of the measure [of pushing the pension reform plan now] has become an all-Russian exercise of the power vertical, a test of its readiness to fulfill meaningless orders and its ability to simply turn away from social and public interests.” Anyone who looks at the situation with clear eyes can see, the Rosbalt commentator continues, that the vertical has with few exceptions passed this test. Putin’s power “vertical has shown that it owes nothing to the people.” The question is how the people will react when they recognize that that is how the regime views its relationship to them.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Demography Being Abused in Russian Pension Age Debate, Vishnevsky Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 22 – Both supporters and opponents of the Russian government’s plan to raise retirement ages frequently invoke demographic statistics; but all too often, Anatoly Vishnevsky of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, they use these figures incorrectly and thus make it more difficult for Russia to solve some of its problems. In a comment for Demoscope, he demographer points to two areas where the problems are especially great: discussions of the link between pension age and life expectancy and arguments about the demographic burden the elderly (and the young) place on working-age cohorts ( “One of the chief arguments in favor of raising the pension age is that the current pension age was set in the early 1930s and does not correspond to the present-day level of life expectancy,” Vishnevsky says. This argument is frequently invoked but it is “based on an incorrect understanding of ‘life expectancy.’” Life expectancy figures usually are the number of years people will live from birth; and in those terms, Russia has made significant progress over the last century by reducing infant mortality. But when it comes to pension ages, the relevant figure is the life expectancies of those who have reached that year. And there Russia has made little progress, at least compared to other advanced countries. Since the 1920s, the average Russian man at age 60 can expect to live only 1.6 years longer than did his counterpart 90 years ago. That means that if the pension age is increased to 65, he will live in retirement 2.5 years LESS than his counterpart in 1965 would have. The situation with regard to women is even worse. If their retirement age is boosted as planned, they will live on pensions 2.7 years less than their predecessors did in 1965. If Russia could boost these life expectancies before the reform was fully in place, that would be one thing – but achieving significant increases is “utopian” – and everyone should admit that. The second demographic argument Vishnevsky addresses is the burden that non-workers place on the working-age population. There the arguments of supporters of raising the pension age are stronger; but, and this is important, they are placing all the burden on resolving this problem on the shoulders of pensioners and potential pensioners. “The real relationship of the number of working and non-working people depends of course not only on demographic but on economic and social factors,” Vishnevsky says. The demographic ones are “very important” and can as is the case with Russia make solving the entire problem far more difficult. In Russia today, he continues, “structural demographic changes which it is practically impossible to influence are beginning to have an unfavorable impact on the economy and social life of the country and this is becoming a serious challenge for Russian society.” In this, Russia is hardly alone: many countries face this problem. But Russia today is almost unique in the way in which politicians and journalists have acted as if this problem suddenly appeared, grew enormous and must be dealt with via extreme measures. None of those things is true, the demographer argues. And a more gradual approach is thus more likely to be effective. A major reason so many Russian political figures get this wrong, he says, is that in the 1990s, as a result of the echo from World War II, Russia had one of the lowest non-working to working burdens in the world. Since then, things have changed; and some have acted as if this problem dropped from the sky rather than being one experts saw coming a long time ago. Radically raising the retirement age won’t solve this problem; that will require a far more complex approach, Vishnevsky says. And coming up with one will require a serious effort because “the growth of the demographic burden is only beginning.” The current short-term fix on offer “will solve nothing,” he says. Moreover, it “will generate social tensions and in the final analysis can lead the social situation in the country into a dead end out of which it will be very difficult to escape.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Major Powers don’t Want Russia to Become a Federation as that Would Make It Stronger, Khakimov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 22 – Vladimir Putin clearly believes that respecting the Russian Constitution and allowing Russia to become a genuine federal state represents a threat to its existence just as he is convinced that the existence of the union republics in Soviet times led to the destruction of the USSR. But the Kremlin leader gets it precisely wrong, Rafael Khakimov, head of the Kazan Institute of History and long one of the most passionate supporters of federalism for Russia. And he has now come up with a new argument as to why Putin should change his mind ( If Putin were right, the historian and former political advisor to the Tatarstan president, then Western countries would have been in the lead in promoting it for Russia as a means to the demontage of the Russian state; but in fact, he points out, they have not been and instead have often backed Russian centralization. “Federalism is a dangerous thing: it could make Russia a world leader. Given those natural resources, variety of territory, and intellectual forces which are gradually leaking out abroad, each region could follow the example of Tatarstan,” Khakimov says. “But how do the US or China look at this possibility? For them, Russia must not be allowed to become a federation. All the most developed countries have become federative (the US, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Australia, Canada and so on). Thus, Russia must be kept as a strict hierarchical and archaic system which gives birth to corruption.” For these countries, “Russia must be kept in the Middle Ages. It must not finally reject the clan traditions of the horde and become a federation.” Clearly that is what the other major powers think. “Is this not so?” Khakimov asks rhetorically.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Life and Death of the Most Important Citadel of Soviet Islam
Paul Goble Staunton, July 22 – Bakhtiyar Babadjanov, a visiting scholar at Vienna’s Institute for Iranian Studies, provides some new details on the Central Asian Muslim Spiritual Directorate (CA MSD) which existed between 1943 and the demise of the USSR, the institution that was created at Moscow’s insistence and charged with establishing “Soviet Islam.” In a comment for the CAA-Network, the historian notes that the founding of the CA MSD was announced at a meeting of Muslims from across Central Asia in Tashkent October 20-23, 1943, when Stalin was allowing the revival of religious institutions as part of his effort to mobilize the population for war ( The first head of the CA MSD was styled “the mufti of the five republics” of Central Asia. He then set up kaziyats in each of the republics, the heads of which were named by imams and mullahs there. The CA MSD had various departments, including those for coordination with the Soviet state, relations with Muslims abroad, and education. The institution’s willingness to do what Moscow asked, something that was overseen by a commission to ensure that all its declarations were consistent with Soviet policy, was reflected in its very first fetwa which declared that Muslims serving in the Red Army could eat pork, despite Islam’s prohibition on doing so, Babadjanov says. It established a series of training institutions, including the Mir-i-Arab madrassah which has existed since 1946, the Barakhan madrassah which operated between 1956 and 1962, and the Higher Islamic Institute which was founded in 1971. It also issued a journal, Muslims of the Soviet East, which came out in various languages. Most of the funding for the CA MSD came from offerings collected in mosques and even more at burial sites which had become pilgrimage sites for Muslims who could not at that time make the haj to Mecca. In 1957, the Soviet authorities launched a campaign against such sites, significantly reducing the muftiate’s income. Nonetheless, the CA MSD promoted the Soviet regime’s values but had little success in enforcing Moscow’s views on “the proper religiosity” of the population. Most Central Asians, the scholar says, retained the Islam that they had inherited from the past, despite all efforts to detach them from this. This whole system began to collapse during Perestroika. Soviet officials lost their veto power over the actions of the CA MSD. “For example,” Babaldjanov says, “fetwas were no longer set to the Committee on Religious Cults for confirmation and in most cases were written in Arabic and not translated into Uzbek or Russian.” The CA MSD encourage the opening of new mosques and madrassahs, and by 1991, in Uzbekistan alone, there were 4878 mosques and ten madrassahs, dramatic increases from only a few years before. But even as it became more active, the CA MSD lost control of the situation outside of Uzbekistan. The kadiyats in the other republics grew into independent MSDs, and today, the CA MSD does not even have direct relations with let alone control of the five national MSDs that have come into existence. For all practical purposes, it no longer operates.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses Reflects, Reinforces Links Between Russian State and Russian Orthodox Church, Chivchalov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – Few developments in recent years have highlighted the unfortunate and increasing fusion of state and religious functions than the cooperation of Russian officials and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in persecuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to Anton Chivchalov. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ activist, who has been forced to flee from Russia to Belarus where the persecution of his denomination is much more infrequent says that “again and again the Russian state helps one elect religious organization deal with another by offering the first its police forces” ( This represents “a complete restoration of the medieval system in which the Orthodox Church had state functions and could persecute any it found unsuitable,” Chivchalov says. “Today, the close cooperation of siloviki with ‘Orthodox activists’ in the struggle against law-abiding citizens of the country who believe otherwise is something only the blind do not see.” The Jehovah’s Witness activist says that he would very much like to ask “sincere honest Orthodox believers: how do you react to the fac that your mother-church understands the Gospel teaching about love to those close to one and even to enemies? Are you prepared to close your eyes to this? And if you are, then what else are you prepared to close them for?” Chivchalov says he is often asked what the Jehovah’s Witnesses are persecuted in Russia. “In response,” he says, he “usually enumerates a number of readily accessible facts: “Patriarch Kirill even before being elected patriarch actively fought with the Witnesses in Kaliningrad and Smolensk and their literature was first held to be ‘extremist’ seven months after his enthronement; “Procurator Yury Chaika has a church order for ‘work for the good of the Church” and has promised to ‘actively cooperate with the Russian Orthodox Church; “Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov graduated from the St. Tikhon Orthodox Humanities University; “Aleksandr Dvorkin, the main ‘sect fighter’ of the country, a professor of the same university and the possessor of four church awards, works in the justice ministry and the State Duma; “In Voronezh, prohibited literature from the Orthodox ‘anti-sect’ center was planted on the Jehovah’s Witnesses; “In Arkhangelsk, Governor Igor Orlov said in an interview to the official site of the local bishopric of the ROC MP about his intention to ‘de-legalize’ the Jehovah’s Witnesses in cooperation with the ROC MP; and “Metropolitan Ilarion called the new persecutions of the Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘a positive step.’” This list could be expanded “much further,” Chivchalov says; indeed, the government and the church are adding new things to the list, including the involvement of nominally independent Orthodox activists in joint work with the Russian police forces to repress the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Might Belarus Follow Ukraine and Reject an FSB Officer as Russian Ambassador? ‘Kommersant’ Asks
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – Yesterday, the Duma committee on CIS affairs approved the candidacy of Mikhail Babich, the presidential plenipotentiary in the Volga Federal District, to be Russian ambassador to Belarus; but now Minsk must give its assent or agrément. And there may be a problem, Moscow’s Kommersant says today. In an article entitled “The Extraordinary and Plenipotentary Political Representative,” the paper’s Viktor Khamrayev and Marina Tsareva point out that in August 2016, the Ukrainian government refused to accept Mikhail Babich because of the KGB and FSB past and that the Belarusian authorities could do the same ( Because of his past connections, Mikhail Vinogradov of the Petersburg Politics Foundation says, Babich “is much more influential than a regular diplomat, has access to the top people, and knows how everything is done in the corridors of Russian power.” Belarus should thus welcome him, he suggests. However, others are less certain not only because of the reasons Kyiv had for rejecting him and the possibility that he will conduct himself less as an ambassador than a pro-consul but also because for Babich who is known to have wanted to become a deputy Russian prime minister overseeing the defense industry this may be a demotion and act accordingly. In Soviet times,” Kirill Koktysh of MGIMO tells Kommersant, shifts from party work to diplomatic service frequently represented a form of exile. But he adds that Babich is “a practical politician and a tough negotiator,” something that will mean the joint Russian-Belarusian business projects will increase.” If that happens, it could boost Babich back in Moscow. According to Moscow political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko, Babich “will be not simply an ambassador in Belarus but someone responsible for the CIS as a whole,” while Vladimir Zharikhin of the Moscow Institute for CIS Countries says that “relations between Russia and Belarus are set not at the ambassadorial level but at the presidential one.” “Therefore,” Zharikhin says, “the political ‘role of ambassador Babich will be minimal. His primary work will be cooperation with business circles, links with society, and the establishment of a circle of sympathizers around the embassy.” Whether Minsk will view this as all he is likely to be involved with remains to be seen. (For more background and a broader discussion of this case, see the current writer’s “Putin Names FSB Officer to be New Ambassador to Belarus,” Jamestown Commentaries, July 20, 2018 at
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Trump Needs Putin, Putin Trump, and Russians Need Both of Them, Khazin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 20 – In three interrelated articles, Mikhail Khazin argues that Donald Trump is out to destroy the power of finance capital around the world, needs Vladimir Putin to help him complete his effort, and that Russians must not blame the American president for the sanctions others in the US have imposed on them. Russians need both presidents, he says. Trump seeks to destroy the pre-existing world order and to achieve his goals, he needs Vladimir Putin’s support and the understanding of the Russian people, the Moscow economist who is a prominent member of the influential Izborsky Club says ( and According to Khazin, Trump is seeking to reverse the de-industrialization of America that has resulted in an ever greater share of workers being employed in service rather than productive industries and whose wages have stagnated because services even more than industries are subject to withering competition from abroad. As a result, most of the population has seen its incomes stagnate or fall; but there is one big winner: finance capitalism and the educated elites who support it. Trump has thus decided that he must destroy finance capitalism and especially its international network that was established after World War II. The forces arrayed against him are enormous, Khazin says; and that is why Trump needs Putin as an ally. Putin too is interested in destroying the international order which has left Russia on the margins. And consequently, the two men have reason to come together and to fight the liberal elites that surround finance capitalist operations. Despite this common ground, created in Khazin’s telling by “objective circumstances,” the United States government has imposed sanctions on Russia. Some Russians are thus inclined to blame Trump for this; but doing so, Khazin says, “is just as stupid as accusing Stalin of organizing the Great Terror.” The Great Terror, he continues, was organized by “those political forces in the USSR which had put as their goal the task of liquidating ‘Stalin’s group’” and possibly Stalin as well in order to drive out the Old Bolsheviks and replace them across the board with “patriotic Soviet technocrats.” Much of the political crisis in the United States now, Khazin says, resembles that. The Clintonites and the international financiers standing behind them view Trump as “an open threat because they constantly need the emission of new money which they will not receive as long as Trump is in power.” These two superficially very different situations lead to a single “conclusion,” the economist argues. “When a new force appears in politics which begins to push on the old … then the old begins to use against it purely ideological measures, and with their help increases ‘social tensions’” to try to block the new leader. That is what the finance capitalists and the Clintonites are doing now; but Khazin says that he thinks Trump is going to succeed just as Stalin did. Russians need to remember that and thus not to fall into the trap prepared by the world’s financiers that Trump is behind sanctions against them. “That is just as stupid,” Khazin says, “as accusing Stalin of organizing ‘the Great Terror’ or Lenin of organizing the murder of the tsar and his family.” To rephrase Karl Marx, Khazin’s ideas are not powerful because they are true but rather because, while fundamentally false, they are easy for both Moscow elites and the broader population of Russia which grew up on such pseudo-Marxist analysis to take them without much question and at face value.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Stalin Frequently Modified Russia’s Borders, Adding and Subtracting Territory, Butakov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 19 – One of the most widely held misconceptions about the USSR was that borders among the various republics were both natural and fixed, neither of which was the case, and that as a result borders among the post-Soviet states are not only legitimated by international law and agreement but by the widespread acceptance that they are eternal. In fact, republic borders were changed frequently, more than 200 times affecting areas large enough to be minuted in the central Soviet legal journals and far more than that involving small adjustments among the republics. (See the current author’s “Can Republic Borders be Changed?” RFE/RL Report on the USSR, September 28, 1990.) Now, Russian regionalist Yaroslav Butakov has made an important contribution to an understanding of this issue in an article detailing which territories Stalin joined to the RSFSR and which ones he gave up to other republics between the 1917 revolution and his death in 1953 ( The RSFSR was officially proclaimed with the adoption of its first constitution in July 1918, with its borders being those under the control of the Soviet government. In the course of the Russian Civil War as a result of changing military fortunes, those borders changed frequently, Butakov says. Among the borders that changed the most between 1918 and 1925 were those between the RSFSR and Ukraine initially as a result of military developments but then by the decision of Moscow which split the Don region between the two republics and then included the eastern part of the Donbass in what is now Rostov Oblast. “Initially,” the regional specialist writes, “all of Central Asia with the exception of the former Khivan khanate and the Bukhran emirate … were included in the RSFSR; and there were created two soviet socialist republics (ASSRs), the Turkestan and the Kyrgyz.” As the latter eventually became the Kazakh SSR, the RSFSR’s borders with it were set in the 1920s. Orenburg became the first capital of the Kyrgyz Autonomous republic which also included all of Orenburg gubernia. “In June 1925, the Kyrgyz ASSR was renamed the Kazakh ASSR and its capital moved to Ak-Mechet, which since that time has been called Kzyl-Orda,” Butakov says. Many mistakenly believe, he continues, that “the present northern oblasts of Kazakhstan were transferred out of the RSFSR to the Kazakh SSR by Nikita Khrushchev during the virgin lands campaign of 1954. This is not so.” Instead, the borders between the two were set after some movement back and forth between 1921 and 1924. After that, they remained stable. Other areas which Stalin moved to include within the RSFSR or at least the USSR were the Far Eastern Republic which was absorbed into the RSFSR in November 1922, northern Sakhalin which was annexed in May 1925 after Japanese forces were driven out and Wrangel Island which was included within the RSFSR borders in August 1924. During World War II, Stalin annexed Tannu-Tuva and transformed it into the Tuvin Autonomous Oblast within Krasnodar kray in October 1944. Later in 1961, it became an ASSR. And at the end of the war, Stalin annexed the southern half of Sakhalin and the Kurile islands, what the Japanese still refer to as the Northern Territories. At the end of the Winter War with Finland, Stalin oversaw the annexation of the southern part of the Karelian isthmus. In 1944, it was transferred from the Karelo-Finnish SSR. In 1944, after the absorption of the three Baltic countries, Moscow took regions of Estonia and Latvia and included them in the RSFSR. In 1945, on the basis of decisions of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the RSFSR was expanded to include the former German East Prussia as the non-contiguous Kaliningrad Oblast. And in 1947, the Finnish city of Pecheneg was included in the RSFSR’s Murmansk Oblast on the basis of the Moscow-Helsinki peace treaty. Stalin also gave up RSFSR territory to others, primarily in the course of forming union republics in Central Asia, but also part of the North Caucasus which was transferred to the Georgian SSR after Stalin deported many of the nations from this and adjoining territories. But “the most significant land gift from the RSFSR under Stalin” was the one he gave to Belarus. In 1924-1926, Belarus received almost all of Vitebsk, Mogilev and Gomel oblasts, thereby increasing the territory of the Belarusian SSR “by a factor of three.” Posted by paul goble at 5:09 PM
Window on Eurasia — New Series: For First Time since 1999, James Bond Will Go Up Against a Russian: Moscow’s Hybrid Response
Paul Goble Staunton, July 22 – For the first time since 1999, the next James Bond movie will have a Russian as 007’s antagonist, according to the British press. The producers of the latest in the series of Bond Films are currently looking for someone to play the part who is “from Russia or the Balkans” ( During the Cold War, the Soviets were a reliable enemy in Hollywood films not only about spy wars but also in other genres as well, a pattern that once violated after 1991 sometimes led to improbable and absurd searches of an “enemy” country, such as happened when the producers of The Might Ducks – Two made the squad from Iceland into the heavies. In the 1990s, it was no longer politically correct to show the Russians in the role of heavies in movies about political or military themes; but the rise of the Russian criminal world meant that Hollywood movies often featured characters from that world as adversaries of police forces in the West. Russians are not pleased but not at all surprised by this latest Bond development. Moscow political analyst Aleksey Makarkin tells Slovo i delo that it appears that the film producers have decided that most Americans want to see Russians as enemies ( There are Americans who “sympathize with Russia,” he says, “but their influence on the public sphere is not that great.” Therefore, Makarkin continues, he “doesn’t think that the film will generate any protests in the West,” however much Russians may not like being cast once again as enemies. But Moscow appears to have come up what can, in the age of Putin, best be described as a hybrid response. Robbin Young, a Bond girl in an earlier film, told the British press that she has sent intimate photographers of herself to the hacker Guccifer 2.0 ( She says she was “in shock” when she discovered that her online correspondent wasn’t a gentleman from Romania as she had thought but rather a group of 12 hackers who have just been named in an indictment by the United States for their work to destabilize the American political system. The actress says that she is devastated by all this.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Celebrates Another Disgraceful American Concession after Helsinki
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – Major acts of betrayal like selling out Ukraine or calling into question American responsibilities to its NATO allies are not the only signs of a more insidious process that is now at work in Washington: a willingness to back away from anything that the Putin regime doesn’t like. That happened this week when the US Department of State removed from its website a report on the downing of the Malaysian passenger liner that included a condemnation of Russia for its role in that horrific event. Not surprisingly, Moscow is pleased, especially because it is linking this act to the recent Helsinki summit. Picking up on the US publication, Business Insider, Moscow’s Izvestiya reported that the Department had removed the post it had prepared on the shooting down of the plane “after the meeting of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki” ( It notes that “journalists had found in the cached version of the website of the US embassy in Moscow this document which for a certain time appeared on the main page of the diplomatic representation but then disappeared” ( The version that was taken down said, Business Insider reported and Izvestiya repeated, that “four years after the destruction of the MH17 the world still is waiting for Russia’s recognition of its role.” Queried about this, the State Department’s press office refused to comment saying only that “the US position on the catastrophe has not changed.” But words matter. Taking down a post which says as all independent investigators have found that Russia was behind this act of state terrorism represents a serious act of betrayal not only of Ukraine but of the truth. Perhaps even more ominously, it shows just how far down into American officialdom Trump’s deference to what Putin wants has penetrated. While the Izvestiya report cast itself as straight news, its appearance provides clear evidence that the Kremlin is thrilled by this further piece of evidence of just how far some in Washington are now prepared to go not to offend Putin but rather carry water for him. He will certainly read it as another indication that at least for now, he can continue to push.
Former Russian independent TV chief editor to launch a new investigative news outlet — Meduza
Roman Badanin, the former chief editor of the independent television station Dozhd, is launching his own media outlet, and calling it Proekt (“Project”). The new outlet will have its own website, release podcasts, and publish content on YouTube.
Crimea prosecutor’s office suggests actual punishment for foreigners attending occupied Crimea’s official events | UNIAN
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea offers to prosecute foreigners who take part in various events hosted by occupation authorities on the Russian-annexed peninsula. It is necessary to make Crimea cumbersome for the occupying state, the prosecutor said.
Rights Group Memorial Deems Jailed Russian Activist A Political Prisoner
The Moscow-based human rights group Memorial says it has determined that Mikhail Savostin, an activist charged with illegal drug possession, is a political prisoner.
Russian Court Sends Terrorism Case Against Ukrainian Back For Additional Investigation
A court in Russia halted the trial of a 20-year-old Ukrainian man charged with abetting terrorism shortly after it got under way, sending the case back for additional investigation.
Sixth Russian Prison Guard Arrested In Yaroslavl Torture-Video Case
A court in Russia has ordered pretrial detention for a sixth prison guard accused of involvement in the severe beating of an inmate in the Yaroslavl region.
Russian Authorities Probe Alleged Abuses In Prisons After Torture Video Emerges
Russian federal authorities are cracking down against prison guards and local police in a series of abuse cases after video emerged on social media showing guards torturing a prison inmate in the c…
UN Panel Urges Russia To Prosecute Cases Of Torture In Prisons
UN human rights experts are urging Russian authorities to prosecute alleged widespread cases of torture in Russian prisons and labor camps, including beatings, electric shocks, and suffocation.
Four Russian Prison Guards Sent To Pretrial Jail In Inmate Beating Case
A court in Russia has ordered two months’ pretrial detention for four prison guards suspected of involvement in the severe beating of an inmate.
The Week In Russia: The Torture Problem And The Second-Summit Dilemma 
A harrowing video of an inmate’s beating shone a bare-bulb spotlight on Russia’s prison-torture problem. And a second summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was pushed into 2019…
Moscow Court Fines Pussy Riot Activists Over World Cup Protest
A Moscow court has fined four members of the Pussy Riot protest group for wearing police uniforms when briefly interrupting the July 15 World Cup final between France and Croatia by running onto th…
‘Jon Snow As Jesus’ Image Could Land Russian Student In Prison 
Russia has already convicted a blogger for mocking Christianity with Pokemon Go. Now a Russian student is facing potential prison time for a meme likening Jesus Christ to a character in the massive…
Nephew Of Chechen Leader Kadyrov Becomes Grozny’s New Mayor
A nephew of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya, has been appointed by local legislators as Grozny’s mayor.
Witnesses Call For More Action Against Doping In Russian Sports
The United States and international sports authorities should do more to address the Russian doping scandal, whistle-blowers and sports officials have testified.
Arbitration Court Upholds Doping Bans Of Three Russian Athletes
The international Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has rejected the appeals of three Russian athletes who had earlier been disqualified for doping and has stripped two of them of medals they w…
Prisoners of state secrecy: How Russia aborted its “archival revolution” |Euromaidan Press |
This article is the third part of “An email to the realm of shadows,” Euromaidan Press’ series on the post-Soviet archives in Ukraine and Russia. After the Euromaidan Revolution, Ukraine experienced nothing short of an “archival revolution.” The historical archives of the Soviet secret service, the KGB, which was one of the enforcers of the oppressive Soviet regime, were opened up for public access. However, this progressive step is not insured from pitfalls, as the unhappy but informative experience of Russia before Putin suggests. It is particularly important given that Ukrainians, like every other nation, need a frank discussion about both their victimization and on assuming some measure of responsibility for a number of past tragedies. Russia’s experience shows that the opening of previously classified KGB archives is irreversible only provided that the old triangle of stereotypes – of a “wise” official guardian in charge of documentary treasures, “too curious” researchers, and the “unenlightened” audience—is abandoned. Otherwise, history can be easily re-appropriated by the state and used to revive authoritarian structures.
Soviet-Era Cars On Parade In Moscow
A flashy parade of classic Soviet cars was held in Moscow on July 21. The fifth-annual parade, which was followed by an auto rally through the center of the Russian capital, featured some 133 crews driving classic Soviet-era cars. The most-popular car brands were GAZ, Moskvich, and Volga.
Mystery as sky turns black in the middle of DAY in remote Russian towns with locals blaming secret weapons test, aliens or the DEVIL
AN area bigger than the British isles was plunged into darkness for several hours on Friday – sparking rumours of a meteorite or apocalyptic weapon test. One local said: ‘Day suddenly turned into a dark night’.
Mystery gets murkier over cloud that turned day into night
No official explanations for darkness over swathes of Yakutia amid conspiracy theories of a UFO, new weapons tests, a meteorite, or pollution from wildfires.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

Majlis Podcast: What A New Caspian Sea Accord Will Really Mean

A summit of Caspian Sea littoral states is set for August 12 in Kazakhstan’s port city of Aktau. It is the fifth such summit, but this one is the big one.
Kyrgyz Minister Takes Control Of Probe Into RFE/RL Journalist’s Death
Award-winning RFE/RL journalist Ulanbek Egizbaev had received death threats ahead of his apparent drowning, fueling speculation that he might have been the victim of foul play.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Miscalculated in Small Ways and Large with Its ‘Panik’ Provocation, Khzmalyan Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 23 – In order to bring Yerevan to heel after Nikol Pashinyan’s visit to NATO, Moscow first hoped to restart the Karabakh war and then failing that to organize an imitation of such a conflict with the appearance of Russian soldiers in the Armenian village of Panik last week, Armenian commentator Tigram Khzmalyan says. But in small ways and large, he says, Moscow miscalculated and now that event has backfired on its Russian organizers who are having to scramble to salvage the situation lest its moves further radicalize Armenian opinion instead of intimidate Yerevan as the Russian authorities had clearly hoped and expected ( According to Khzmalyan, “the place and timing of this local fire show were chosen not accidentally.” On the one hand, he says, the Russians probably didn’t think about the various anniversaries on July 17, although they did want to avoid staging something this in Gumri where many are still angry about an event in January 2015 when a Russian soldier killed two people. But on the other, the Russian “’experts” were obviously unaware that the Armenian name Panik has absolutely no connection with the Greek god Pan or with the sparking of fears that derives from his name. However, that may be, the Russians by their actions in Panik sparked not “panic and fear” but “anger and resistance.” “For the first time in the history of Armenian-Russian relations, something unheard of happened.” In reaction to the appearance of “’little green men,” Armenian villagers “will empty ands blocked a military column, forced the Russian soldiers to get out of their machine, and ordered them to unload their guns.” At least, the situation didn’t escalate to the taking of Russian hostages and the seizing of Russian weapons. A village elder officially called on the Russian embassy to compensate and apologize. The prime minister denounced the event as a provocation directed “against Armenian-Russian relations and a challenge to the Armenian government. And the Armenian defense minister said that the Russian basing agreement needed to be revisited. The Russian response was symbolic: the commander of the base, Col. Yelkanov said three times over that “nothing happened in Panik and that there were no shootings. There was only the imitation of shooting.” According to Khzmalyan, “imitation” is “the key word in present-day Armenian-Russian relations” in which Moscow talks about strategic partnership with Yerevan but arms Baku and repeatedly says it favors a peace deal over Karabakh but does nothing to advance things toward that end. But “imitation in politics is just as fruitless as in love,” the Armenian analyst says. “There are things which it is impossible to achieve by money, provocations or threats. For example, love, trust, and friendship. One can imitate them but not for long.” And when they are seen to be an imitation, they backfire. Even the suggestion that Yerevan will revisit the basing agreement is a remarkable indication of that. “It is,” Khzmalyan says, “the beginning of a long and difficult but inevitable and irreversible process of the do-colonization and de-occupation of Armenia.” Frightened by this possibility, Moscow has taken two steps designed to forestall it: It has promised Armenian 200 million US dollars’ worth of arms (, and its diplomats have hinted that the Russian side may now press for including Karabakh in the Minsk talks ( Moscow’s willingness to take these steps shows how serious it considers the situation to be. In the short term, these actions may help: the Armenian defense ministry has already issued a statement saying Yerevan must shoulder some of the blame for the events in Panik ( But in the longer term, they are likely to be every less effective.

Belarus Reports

Activists Concerned Over Death Threats Against Belarusian Journalist

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has expressed concerns over death threats received by a well-known Belarusian journalist based in Poland.
Convicted Journalist: ‘You Don’t Get A Fair Chance’ In Belarus
Belarusian journalist Dzmitry Halko was sentenced to four years of “limited freedom” by a Minsk court for assaulting a police officer. Certain of his innocence, he tells RFE/RL he feels “trapped” b…
Belarus Extends Visa-Free Travel For Tourists To 30 Days
Belarus is extending visa-free travel for tourists from five to 30 days in a bid to attract more visitors to the former Soviet republic.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

From 50 to 100 citizens of Moldova reportedly fight against Ukraine in Donbas – media | UNIAN

Moldova’s Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) reports that 56 citizens of Moldova are fighting against Ukraine’s army on the side of the Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, while unofficially this number is estimated at 100 people. According to unofficial information, two Moldovan citizens were convicted in Ukraine.
German Artist Brings ‘Stumbling Blocks’ Holocaust Project To Moldova
German artist Gunter Demnig brought his Stolpersteine, or “stumbling blocks,” project to Moldova — laying the first brass plate on the streets of Chisinau. Each Stolperstein commemorates specific people who were murdered in the Holocaust, on the sidewalk in front of the house where they lived or worked.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

The Next Prime Minister of Nuclear-Armed Pakistan Really Hates the U.S.

There is compelling evidence that the Pakistani army is supporting Imran Khan, intimidating his opponents and suppressing the press to get him into power.


North Korea Hands Over Remains Of 55 U.S. Servicemen Killed In Korean War : NPR

The remains of what are believed to be about 55 U.S. servicemen arrived at Osan Air Base in South Korea as part of an agreement between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korea hands over the possible remains of American war dead – CNN
A US Air Force plane carrying what is believed to be the remains of US troops killed during the Korean War some 65 years ago arrived in Osan Air Base in South Korea on Friday morning.
Trump thanks Kim for ‘fulfilling a promise’ with return of Korean War remains | TheHill
President Trump on Friday thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for “fulfilling a promise” by returning the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War.
Jeff Merkley: North Korea is ‘playing its normal game’ – CNNPolitics
North Korea is “playing its normal game” in its negotiations about denuclearization with the United States, Sen. Jeff Merkley said Wednesday following a Senate hearing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Let’s offer North Korea a peace treaty officially ending the Korean War | Fox News
President Trump seems to have persuaded North Korea to turn over the remains of 55 American military service members who were killed during the Korean War.
North Korea is dismantling a key missile testing site — and it’s a big win for Trump | Business Insider
North Korea has reportedly started dismantling rocket launching and testing facilities that President Donald Trump has said it agreed to in an off-the-books deal, and it’s a major US victory in what have been fraught, slow-moving talks.
North Korea Says Now Is Time to End the War With U.S. and South Korea
North Korea said “peace can come only after the declaration of the termination of war” and lashed out at South Korean conservatives opposed to it.
North Korea is dismantling a missile facility, but talks with US are still bad – Vox
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is dismantling a rocket-launch site. But his country’s nuclear talks with the United States are still going nowhere.
North Korea Appears To Be Dismantling Key Parts Of Launch Site | HuffPost
Pyongyang could be trying to build trust as they engage in talks with Washington, but analysts are skeptical.
US military commander: On North Korea, the lack of trust is the enemy – CNN
The top US military commander on the Korean peninsula said Friday that even as the United States and North Korea work on easing tensions and working toward denuclearization, diplomacy between the two nations was operating in an environment “void of trust.”
Otto Warmbier’s brain damage was caused by a suicide attempt | Daily Mail Online
The 22-year-old Virginia University scholarship student was also never physically tortured by the North Korean authorities during his captivity in 2016 and 2017, the story claims.

Use Maritime-Law Trends to Offset Beijing’s Gains in the South China Sea – Defense One
Exploiting changes to the law of the sea can help put China in a place where it has bought much less than it bargained for.
Ryukyu Shimpo – Okinawa, Japanese newspaper, local news » Ishigaki mayor agrees to receive Japan Ground Self-Defense troops
CIA official: China is waging a ‘cold war’ against us – CNNPolitics
The goal of China’s influence operations around the world is to replace the United States as the world’s leading superpower, the CIA’s Michael Collins said Friday.
US-China trade: China is waging a ‘quiet kind of cold war’ against US
China is waging a “quiet kind of cold war” against the United States, using all its resources to try to replace America as the leading power in the world, a top CIA expert on Asia said Friday.
Last 6 doomsday cult members on death row executed by Japan – CBS News
7 others, including cult’s leader, were put to death 3 weeks ago; cult’s crimes in 1990s included infamous sarin gas attack on Tokyo subways
China’s Xi Warns Against ‘Unilateralism’ As BRICS Summit Opens
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on fellow BRICS countries to remain united in opposition to protectionism and “unilateralism” in the wake of threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to im…
Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Mattis Host AUSMIN at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University – YouTube
HooverInstitution Streamed live on Jul 24, 2018 Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis host Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Defence Marise Payne for this year’s Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Royal Australian Air Force’s P-8A fired Harpoon missile for the first time – Defence Blog
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced on 23 July it had successfully test-fired one of its recently acquired ATM-84J Harpoon missile from P-8A Poseidon aircraft during Exercise RIMPAC 18. According to the RAAF’sstatement, ATM-84J Harpoon missile was launched from the aircraft at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, off the coast of Hawaii. Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the Harpoon is integral to the P-8A reaching full operational capability. “The successful launch of the Harpoon requires a significant effort from a range of specialist personnel,” Minister Payne said. The Harpoon was released within the Pacific Missile Range Facility and successfully struck its target, the former USS Racine, a decommissioned US Naval ship.

Foreign Policy Reports

Trump Wants Europe to Buy U.S. Gas—but Russia Is in His Way – WSJ

President Trump wants Europe to buy more U.S. gas, but Vladimir Putin’s Russia stands in the way. Russian gas is cheaper and U.S. exporters may not actually want to rush to Europe, given their gas fetches a higher price in Asia.
Russian Gas Doesn’t Power Germany – Renewable Energy Does
As of this month, renewable energy has become the single largest power source in Germany, at 36.3%. Russian gas accounts for just 4.3% of power generation.
URGENT 🔴 President Trump EXPLOSIVE Statement at The White House – YouTube
Latest World News Updates Published on Jul 25, 2018 President Trump delivers urgent speech during joint statement with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker Relating: White House Press Briefing – President Trump Press Conference.
Donald Trump strikes deal with EU to prevent trade war | News | The Times
The truce between the European Union and President Trump over trade wars has generated anger in Paris today amid fears that it would leave France open to an invasion of unhealthy American food and hurt its farming industry. While German ministers welcomed the announcement that Brussels and Washingto
Republicans visiting White House surprised by EU trade announcement – ABC News
Senators from farm states told the president how their farmers are feeling.
BRICS Nations Call For ‘Open’ Trade, Decry ‘Protectionism’
The five BRICS nations have reaffirmed their support for an “open world economy” based on the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as the countries’ leaders look to avoid a looming glo…
Germany: Sharp rise in number of anti-government extremists – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Rise of the Reichsbuerger: Sharp increase in number of extremists who reject ‘modern Germany’ | Daily Mail Online
The Reichsbuerger – or Reich Citizens – movement refuses to accept the rules of post-war Germany. Its adherents often clash with officials and police and many refuse to pay taxes to the federal government.
UAWire – A group of Slovak MPs is set to visit annexed Crimea
Several deputies from Slovakia have decided to visit the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed, from Ukraine by the Russian Federation, despite …
Why Trump unexpectedly blinked on trade, Putin – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump has spent weeks drawing battle lines for a trade war with Europe and courting Vladimir Putin — causing almost universal angst in Washington. On Wednesday, he blinked on both.
UAWire – German Federal Intelligence Service accuses Russia of espionage
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Germany has included Russia, China and Iran among the &quot;players&quot; engaged in  …
U.K.’s Jewish Papers Denounce Labour Party as ‘Existential Threat’ – The New York Times
Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader, is under fire again over anti-Semitism, this time over how his party defines it.
Jeremy Corbyn faces growing calls to solve Labour’s antisemitism crisis | Politics | The Guardian
Senior party members add to Jewish newspapers’ criticisms
Russia’s Night Wolves Mark Territory In Slovakia
The Slovak chapter of the Night Wolves — a Russian nationalist motorcycle club known for its allegiance to the Kremlin — has set up a compound near Bratislava housing old tanks and armored vehicles. Members angrily confronted two RFE/RL journalists filming nearby.
Venezuela to remove five zeroes from ailing currency | Reuters
Venezuela will remove five zeroes from the bolivar currency rather than the three zeroes originally planned, President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday, in an effort to keep up with inflation projected to reach 1 million percent this year.
Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing? Putin’s Biker Pals Set Up Military-Style Camp In Slovakia
A base equipped with tanks, gun range, and military equipment in a small Slovak town has raised fears among officials, but not locals.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports

How to Stop Losing the Information War – To Inform is to Influence

Very good and thought-provoking article which hits most of the really important pieces and parts of the information war being waged globally by Russia against the West. In the US we have not responded and this article calls out that lack of action.
How to Stop Losing the Information War – Defense One
No one is in charge of messaging, counter-messaging, and coordinating America’s instruments of information power. Here’s a way to change that.
Report: Russian Hackers Have Gained Capability To Cause U.S. Blackouts
Hackers working for Russia claimed “hundreds of victims” last year in a major, long-running campaign that enabled them to gain control over some U.S. electric utilities, where they could have c…
French “pseudo-media” outlet promoting Kremlin narratives – military columnist | UNIAN
The Kremlin propaganda in channeling its agenda uses not only own national-level media and pro-Russian outlets in other countries, but also smaller-scale information platforms and opinion leaders to spin their stories, that’s according to Oleksandr Kovalenko, a military columnist for OSINT NGO Information Resistance. In order to understand what’s happening, one should focus on the source of spins.
Why Congress may have just boosted China’s cybersecurity
Lawmakers’ decision to spare ZTE is a boon for the Chinese government, which has embarked on a strategy of homegrown technological development that could bolster Beijing’s cyber capabilities.
How Russian hackers tricked people into giving their passwords
Russian hackers who penetrated hundreds of U.S. utilities, manufacturing plants and other facilities last year gained access by using the most conventional of phishing tools, tricking staffers into entering passwords, officials say.
These known flaws are ‘critical risks’ to data security
Nation states, cybercriminals and hacktivist groups are attacking known vulnerabilities in common business software that can lead to losses of data, according to a new report.
Russian company had access to Facebook user data through apps – To Inform is to Influence
Russia gained unprecedented access to Facebook users’ data via Cambridge Analytica’s sharing that data with  I have no doubt that that data, in turn, was shared with Russian intelligence. If it wasn’t shared previously, it certainly is now.  </end editorial> by Donie O’Sullivan, Drew Griffin and Curt Devine   @CNNTechJuly 11, 2018 A Russian internet company…
Microsoft exec: says company stopped Russia from hacking 3 congressional campaigns in U.S. | UNIAN
In a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute’s Security Summit on Thursday, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust Tim Burt said that in the course of hunting for phishing domains targeting Microsoft customers, members of Microsoft’s security team detected a site set up by Russian actors that was being used in an attempt to target congressional candidates. Fake Microsoft domain was tied to attacks this year against congressional campaigns.
Ever heard of ‘deep fake’ technology? The phony audio and video tech could be used to blackmail US troops
The ability to distort the truth is expected to reach new heights with the development of so-called “deep fake
Computers Have Found a Better Way to Spot Emailed Malware, Researchers Say – Defense One
Somehow no one thought of applying machine learning to malicious email in exactly this way. But the results are big.
Novel set of general descriptive features for enhanced detection of malicious emails using machine learning methods – ScienceDirect
Probable Russian Troll Posting – To Inform is to Influence
I just stumbled across this probable Russian troll posting on Facebook. “This was not taken in Baltimore. This was not taken in Chicago. This was not taken in Los Angeles. This was taken in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. I took this photo. These were protesters calling me and anyone that disagreed with them “racists,” “bigots,” or…
The Conference Call That Shook Investor Faith in Facebook – WSJ
Comments about revenue growth, monetizing Instagram Stories and the impact of new privacy laws during the earnings conference call hit Facebook’s shares.
Facebook’s Stock Drops As User Growth and Revenue Decline | Time
In the midst of public scandals, Facebook’s revenue and user growth both declined. Shares fell as much as 11 percent
‘We are fighting for information about war’: Pentagon curbs media access – POLITICO
Defense Secretary James Mattis has not briefed reporters on-camera in the Pentagon since April, while his chief spokeswoman has not done so since May.
The Curious Case Of A Russian Bot – To Inform is to Influence
Warning. I cannot prove this person is a Russian bot. Conversely, I also have no proof to the contrary that this is a real person. The other day a Canadian researcher posted a link on his Facebook page: I clicked on the link but I was informed that I was blocked. I was mildly shocked. …

US Domestic Policy Reports

How Silicon Valley Became a Den of Spies – POLITICO Magazine

The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight back.
Chinese theft continues in cyberspace as new threats emerge, U.S. intelligence officials warn  – The Washington Post
The report also singles out Russia and Iran as malign actors intent on penetrating American computer systems and critical infrastructure.
China, Russia, and Iran working harder to steal US trade secrets – Business Insider
While Moscow’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election are widely known, spy services from China, Russia and Iran, along with their proxy…
Chinese theft continues in cyberspace as new threats emerge, U.S. intelligence officials warn  – The Washington Post
The report also singles out Russia and Iran as malign actors intent on penetrating American computer systems and critical infrastructure.
US intelligence says Chinese intellectual theft continues but ‘at lower volumes’ | South China Morning Post
The report published by the National Counterintelligence and Security Centre says China mounts a multifaceted approach to stealing trade secrets
China Is Still Stealing America’s Business Secrets, US Officials Say – Defense One
The 2015 agreement between Xi and Obama produced only a lull in Beijing’s economic espionage.
‘Rocket Kitten’ and the state-backed hackers that reportedly conduct economic spying on the US

House passes final defense bill with limits on F-35s to Turkey, China crackdown – POLITICO
The compromise legislation, rolled out Monday, is the product of historically quick negotiations.
House easily passes $717B annual defense policy bill | TheHill
The House on Thursday easily passed the $717 billion annual defense policy bill, keeping it on track to become law before the start of the fiscal year for the first time since fiscal 1997.
U.S. House Passes Bill Allowing Waivers Of Russian Military Sanctions
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation allowing the president to waive penalties against countries that purchase weapons from sanctioned Russian defense companies if they are se…
Trump’s Space Force Will Have to Wait – Defense One
The president has called for the creation of a new military branch. So far, Congress is ignoring him.
No-Bid Maintenance Contract Sweetens Air Force One Deal for Boeing – Defense One
A newly released contracting document reveals details about the $3.9 billion deal to buy and modify two 747s for presidential use.
Bipartisan Senate proposal unveiled to stop Trump from leaving NATO – POLITICO
The legislation is a rebuke to Trump, who has criticized the U.S.-European military alliance.

Benjamin Haddad and Alina Polyakova | Don’t rehabilitate Obama on Russia
We should not slip into collective amnesia over the Obama administration’s weak and underwhelming response to Russian aggression.
Putin Not Welcome In Congress If He Visits Washington, Leaders Say
The leaders of the U.S. Congress, citing Russia’s alleged interference in U.S. elections, say they will not invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to address Congress or visit the Capitol if he ac…
GOP chairman: Trump has created ‘tremendous distrust’ among officials, American public | TheHill
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)on Wednesday charged that President Trump’s comments on Russia, NATO and other topics have created “tremendous distrust” among the American people.
Pompeo spars with senators at testy hearing | TheHill
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to tell lawmakers Wednesday what exactly President Trump discussed in private with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week in Helsinki, adding to tension and uncertainty on Capitol Hill over the administr
Pompeo takes Trump’s word on the Putin meeting. Not many people would. – The Washington Post
Attempts to get details haven’t been fruitful for the press, Congress or even some members of the president’s Cabinet.
Lawmakers grill Pompeo over Trump-Putin meeting – YouTube
ABC News Published on Jul 26, 2018 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fiercely defended the Trump administration’s foreign policy against questions on North Korea, Russia, Iran and more.
U.S. House Speaker Nixes Move To Remove Official Overseeing Russia Probe
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has rejected a move by fellow Republicans to impeach the No. 2 Justice Department official who oversees the special counsel investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 pres…
U.S. Senator Says Russia Tried To Hack Her Network
A U.S. senator has accused Russian hackers of trying unsuccessfully to infiltrate her Senate computer network, in what could be the first publicly known attempt at meddling in the 2018 elections.
Russians Unsuccessfully Tried To Hack Computers Of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill : NPR
McCaskill, who is one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election this fall, said in a statement she “will not be intimidated” and that Vladimir “Putin is a thug and a bully.”
Key Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill targeted in password-stealing scheme by Russian hackers: report | Fox News
Russian hackers targeted staff employed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., using a sophisticated password-stealing scheme late last year, according to a new report.
Claire McCaskill says attempted Russia hacking on her office ‘not successful’ – CNNPolitics
Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said Thursday that Russians unsuccessfully attempted to hack her Senate computer network.
Russian Hackers’ New Target: a Vulnerable Democratic Senator
Sen. Claire McCaskill is a top target for Republicans looking to grow their slim Senate majority in 2018. Turns out, Russia’s “Fancy Bear” hackers are going after her staff, too.
Trump ‘Concerned’ Russia Will Push For Democrats In November Elections
U.S. President Donald Trump says he believes Moscow will try to influence November congressional elections in favor of the Democrats and not his fellow Republicans, although the U.S. intelligence c…
How the G.O.P. Gave Maria Butina Her Ultimate Cover | Vanity Fair
Never underestimate the right’s ability to overlook the politics of pro-Russian activists as long as they love guns.
Gun Play: The Rise And Fall Of Maria Butina’s Wannabe Russian NRA
Accused Russian agent Maria Butina capitalized on the niche issue of gun rights in Russia to build a political profile that ultimately helped her rub shoulders with power players in the United States.
Samantha Bee on Maria Butina: ‘The news is starting to feel like a bad movie’ | Culture | The Guardian
Comics, including Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, discussed the Trump-Cohen audiotape and alleged Russian spy Maria Butina
Samantha Bee tears into NRA over silence on indictment of alleged Russian agent | TheHill
Late-night host Samantha Bee on Wednesday tore into the National Rifle Association and the NRA’s spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, for staying silent on the indictment of a woman accused of acting as an agent of Russia. 
Trump probably doesn’t have to worry about the Michael Cohen tapes
Michael Cohen’s secret recordings of President Trump may turn out to be of little importance.
Emails: Lawyer at Trump Tower Meeting Has Close Ties to Senior Russian Officials – The Daily Beast
She reportedly received “assistance” from senior Interior Ministry personnel.
Lawyer In Trump Tower Meeting Had Closer Ties To Russian Officials Than She Let On | HuffPost
The documents paint a portrait of Natalia Veselnitskaya as a well-connected attorney who served as a ghostwriter for top Russian government lawyers.
Trump attacks Michael Cohen, denies he knew of 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians
Trump’s angry tweet follows reports that Cohen has asserted the president knew about the 2016 meeting.
Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Says Trump Approved Aides’ Meeting With Russians
U.S. media report that President Donald Trump’s former lawyer has said the president knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting between his aides and a Russian delegation that offered to help Trum…
Cohen says Trump approved Trump Tower meeting with Russians – POLITICO
The president’s longtime attorney says he was there when Trump learned of and OK’d the gathering.
Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting – CNNPolitics
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.
Donald Trump just said something truly terrifying – CNNPolitics
If you blinked, you might have missed it.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: There is One Trump – Melania — who Doesn’t Like Putin, Some Russians Say
Paul Goble Staunton, July 22—Donald Trump may love Vladimir Putin, but his wife doesn’t, Russians say in commenting on the reaction of the American First Lady to her handshake with the Kremlin leader in Helsinki. And she has good reasons, they say, which go beyond any concerns she may have about the compromising materials Russia may have on her husband. Since the film clips first appeared a week ago showing Melania Trump’s obvious distaste for Putin, various Russian outlets have suggested that she really must despise the Russian leader and have speculated on why that should be so. Now, Viktor Shevchuk sums up what may be involved. In an article for Russkiy Yevrey entitled “Why Melania Trump Hates Putin, the Russian commentator says that her reaction to the Kremlin leader may have to do both compromising information Moscow may have on her husband and on her own ethnic own background ( Born in Slovenia in 1970 which was then part of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, the future American First Lady may have had no particular reason to like the Russians who again and again backed the Serbs against her own people and from whom the Slovenes pursued independence when that became possible. Later she became a model and actress and met and married the future US president. The key event in her reaction to Putin may be that she was not in Moscow with Trump when he is accused of falling into an FSB trap. “Bur already at the end of 2013, it became known from the press, that the couple for a certain time fell out of the public view,” Shevchuk says.” Then, Melania Trump became to appear at functions “without Trump,” and for long periods there are practically no photographs of the two appearing together. “Apparently something happened in the family of the Trumps;” and the two went their separate ways as often occurs in such cases. “And so” the Russian journalist says, “it is possible that something happened inn Moscow and that the personal antipathy of Melania Trump to Putin has that as a reason. Not because [the Kremlin leader] is a tyrant and dictator [but because] compromising materials in fact exist.” Of course, it’s possible, Shevchuk concedes, that all this is simply the product of imaginative conspiracy thinking and that the real reason for Melania’s dislike of Puti is tha the has “killed several thousand people in Ukraine and Syria.”
FBI Would’ve Been Derelict Not to Use Steele Dossier for the Carter Page FISA Warrant
Commentators like National Review’s Andrew McCarthy try to discredit the Mueller investigation by sliming the process to spy on a former Trump advisor. Here’s why they’re wrong.
Rod Rosenstein Impeachment: Who Are the 11 Republicans Demanding Deputy AG’s Dismissal?
They accuse Rosenstein of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
‘Like a Soviet-type economy’: GOP free traders unload on Trump – POLITICO
The president’s $12 billion farm bailout gets an ugly reception among many Republicans in Congress.
German meddling in U.S. politics and Trump foreign policy triggers sharp rebuke from GOP Senators | Fox News
German interference in the U.S. political system as means of countering President Trump’s foreign policy agenda has sparked sharp criticism from Republican senators.
Pence says religious freedom summit is ‘just the beginning’ | Fox News
The U.S. State Department wrapped up its three-day Ministerial for the Advancement of Religious Freedom on Thursday.
Pompeo issues declaration calling for world governments to prioritize religious freedom | TheHill
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rolled out a document on Thursday urging governments around the world to prioritize religious freedom, further elevating an issue that the Trump administration has pushed since last year.
The seduction of socialism – Washington Times
For the current generation, sometimes referred to as millennials, it appears one thing is more seductive than sex &mdash; and that’s socialism.
Democratic Socialists Gain Momentum, and Lose Their Way
DSA Founder Michael Harrington Might Not Recognize the Socialism of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Judge Agrees To Postpone Manafort Trial
A U.S. federal judge has postponed the trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort until next week, and disclosed the identity of five witnesses who have been granted i…
Potential Manafort jurors given questionaires as trial nears – CNNPolitics
The trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort inched forward Tuesday as Judge T.S. Ellis broadly laid out the criminal charges against Manafort in front of a few dozen potential jurors.
New Manafort docs appear to contradict own lobbying claims – POLITICO
New court documents offer possible evidence that the former Trump campaign chairman’s team lobbied on behalf of the Ukrainian government in the U.S.
Manafort Evidence on Ukrainian Political Work Revealed – The Daily Beast
In the evidence, a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders was revealed to work with Manafort in Ukraine.
Paul Manafort calls Ukrainian election “most satisfying” campaign of career | UNIAN
For nearly a decade, Paul Manafort toiled in service of Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych, work that is chronicled in hundreds of documents he is hoping to block jurors at his upcoming federal trial from seeing. Manafort is arguing that the details of what he did in Ukraine have no bearing on the bank and tax fraud charges he is facing.