Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (44)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting

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Russia, PACRIM very active for developments and media traffic. Russian provocation in Transnistria. Romania mayhem, and Prague Spring 50th Anniversary (and Communists try to blame the 1968 invasion on guess who – Ukraine…). Manafort trial dominates US media.

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

USAF Deploys Raptors To Poland | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week
The U.S. Air Force has deployed F-22 Raptors to Poland in what is the largest deployment of fifth-generation fighters into Eastern Europe yet.
Russian strategic bombers conduct exercise near Alaska
The Russian military says that two nuclear-capable strategic bombers have flown to the easternmost Chukotka Peninsula, near Alaska, as part of an air force exercise.
Russia has conducts “Kalibr” [land attack cruise missile] launches in the Black Sea – Український мілітарний портал
Reading time: 1 minuteThe Russian frigate “Admiral Grigorovich” first performed the firing of a missile system “Caliber” on a surface target at a sea ground in the Black Sea. According to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy, the cruise missile hit the target simulated by the ship. The launch distance was about 40 miles (80 km). The area where the shooting took place was closed for navigation. Earlier, this frigate in the period from December to May 2018 was a asset of the navy of the Russian Federation in the Mediterranean Sea near Syria, after which arrived in the occupied Sevastopol.
UAWire – British fighters intercept six Russian bombers over the Black Sea
British soldiers stationed in Romania intercepted six Russian bombers over the Black Sea, reported the Romanian agency Agerpres. On August 13, …
Britain intercepted Russian Su-24s over the Black Sea – Український мілітарний портал
The Royal Air Force of Britain at the beginning of the week intercepted six Russian bombers of Su-24 in the sky above the Black Sea near the NATO borders, reports Mirror.It is noted that on August 13, Russian-made Eurofighter Typhoon Air Force fighters in the UK flew to capture Russian bombers. As the British fighter approached, the Russian Air Force aircraft returned to the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea.Also, the Royal Air Force of Britain noted the increased activity of Russian military aircraft in the area on the night before the interception.The British fighters arrived at the Romanian airbase Mikhail Kogelnichanu in early May at a mission to strengthen the aviation police over the Black Sea.
British Royal Air Force intercepts Russian bomber aircraft over Black Sea –
On August 13, the British fighter aircraft, which were deployed in Romania, intercepted six Russian bombardment aircrafts over the Black Sea, as Agerpres reported. It was noted that Typhoon fighter aircraft took off from a Romanian base because of the information that there were six Russian Su-24 bombardment aircrafts above the Black Sea not far from NATO borders. They were heading to the annexed Crimea. In particular, one of the pilots said that before the flight they were warned about a significant air activity of Russians at night.
At night, the United States visited Crimea- Український мілітарний портал [Nuke Sniffer]
According to information from Aircraft Spots, tonight, an airplane around the occupied coast of the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea by radio program WC-135W Constant Phoenix was carried out. The WC-135W is used as an Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC)Prior to this, on August 2 and 3, 2018, the US Air Force aircraft aircraft US Air Force Boeing RC-135V with registration number 64-14848. Three weeks ago, the Boeing RC-135 aircraft from the Royal Air Force of Great Britain also traversed the Black Sea region, including the coast of the occupied Crimea. At the beginning of last week, a Boeing RC-135 US Air Force flight with registration number 64-14846 was flown.
U.S. Navy Says Russia Submarine Threat Highest Since Cold War and China Making Things Worse
Russia and China are investing in naval power, and the U.S. military officials aren’t happy about it.
Russia is carrying out secret submarine missions in the North Atlantic and the Med at levels ‘not seen since the Cold War’, US military warns
Russia is carrying out secret submarine machines at levels not seen since the Cold War, a top US admiral warned today
Russia news: Warship plays cat-and-mouse with US nuclear sub | World | News |
A RUSSIAN warship and a US nuclear-powered submarine took part in a tense game of cat-and-mouse the Mediterranean for more than two hours, it has emerged.
US to more than double the number of Marines in Norway – Business Insider
The United States will more than double the number of Marines stationed in Norway, in line with plans first outlined in June, the Norwegian defense ministry…
US to increase Marines stationed in Norway, drawing ire from Moscow | TheHill
America is more than doubling the number of Marines in Norway, following plans outlined in June, in a move that is drawing ire from Moscow. 
Sweden officials sign agreement to purchase PAC-3 MSE – Defence Blog
Lockheed Martin has announced on 10 August that the USA andSwedenofficials formalized an agreement forSwedento purchase Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles and related support equipment. Once the contract is signed,Swedenwill become the sixth international customer to sign an agreement to procure PAC-3 MSE. “We’re honored to partner withSwedenon their efforts to protect and defend their armed forces, citizens and infrastructure,” saidJay Pitman, vice president of PAC-3 at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Today’s global security environment demands reliable Hit-to-Kill technology and innovative solutions. PAC-3 MSE interceptors will provideSwedenwith a formidable layer of defense.” Swedenjoins the U.S.,Qatar,Japan,Romania,Polandand theUnited Arab Emiratesto procure PAC-3 MSE. Several other nations have also expressed an interest in enhancing their missile defense capabilities with the PAC-3 MSE as part of the Patriot system.
Estonia will be fenced off from Russia – Український мілітарний портал
Reading time: 1 minuteThe Estonian government approved a project for the construction of special enclosures worth 190 million euros, according to the ERR.Construction will begin from south to north, as more active illegal migration and smuggling occur on the southern section. The completion of the project is expected in 2026 “At the expense of our available funds, we will immediately launch competitions for the construction of four border sections of a total length of 33 km,” said Interior Minister Andrés Anvelt.According to him, at construction of such sites it is necessary to take into account an estimation of the construction market, according to which the cost of the project can increase to 7% per year.
Poland marks Army Day with parade, call for US military base | Fox News
Poland’s president voiced hope for a permanent U.S. military presence in his country, in a speech as the nation put on a large military parade on its Armed Forces Day holiday Wednesday replete with tanks and people marching in historic uniforms.

Nuclear naivete at Fox News – Washington Times
Fox News on the Web should be deeply embarrassed by Perry Chiaramonte and Alex Diaz’s August 8 article “Russia’s Nuclear Arsenal: All Bark and No Bite?”
Russian secret laser complex spotted near Teykovo ICBM base – Defence Blog
Commercial satellite imagery captured on April 2018 shows the newest Peresvet laser combat system in Ivano region, near the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base at Teykovo. According to the, the facilities of the newest Russian Peresvet laser combat system located ((latitude 56.898855, longitude 40.578283) in the Ivanovo region, near the position of the 2426th technical missile base of the 54th Guards Missile Division of the Strategic Rocket Forces of Russia. The missile formation at Teykovo is equipped with the Topol road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles and the newer Yars. The Peresvet is one of the most advanced and secret Russian combat systems. According to the local media, the new combat laser systems solves air defense and missile defense tasks. Speaking to the nation on March 1, President Putin revealed that Russia had “achieved significant progress in laser weapons,” and that “combat laser systems” began to be delivered into the military last year. Putin’s remarks were complimented by a video showing off what appears to be a heavy, truck-mounted laser platform, whose name and intended purpose remain classified. “I do not want to reveal more details. It is not the time yet. But experts will understand that with such weaponry, Russia’s defense capacity has multiplied,” Putin added.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: West Didn’t Want to Understand Putin’s 2008 War against Georgia, Babchenko Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Vladimir Putin’s attack on Georgia in 2008 was the “first of the Putin wars of a new kind,” Arkady Babchenko says; and the West not only did not understand what the Kremlin leader was doing but did not want to understand because then it would have had to do something. But the West’s denial, the Ukrainian journalist says, meant that Putin’s approach in Georgia – the denials, the use of “puppet quasi-states, and so on – would become his approach in Ukraine and Syria and will be extended to other places unless and until Western leaders understand what this approach means ( Many have suggested that the West’s failure to respond to Russian aggression against Georgia led directly to the annexation of Crimea, the war in the Donbass, and Moscow’s moves in Syria; but Babchenko is making a larger and in many ways more important point: the West didn’t understand because it did not want to understand. “All the technologies Russia is applying now in Ukraine were forged then. The present-day DNR and LNR were forged then. The present ‘we’re not there’ lies were forced then. The present zombification was born and began to grow there, Babchenko says. “Then the world did not understand this,” he continues. “It did not want to understand.” Instead it talked about peacemaking by the sides in the conflict instead of about repelling the aggressor and occupier. It was not prepared to call things, including war and aggression, by their own names. And to a large extent, it still isn’t prepared lest it be forced to act forcefully. “As a result,” he says, “we have what we have.” And what we will continue to have if the world continues in denial about what Putin’s Russia is all about. But that dangerous trajectory is not only affecting what Moscow does abroad but what Moscow does at home – and perhaps some will be concerned about that, Babchenko continues. In 2008, some Russians were able to go into the streets with slogans like “I am Georgia.” Today, because Putin has tightened his grip, few will risk doing the same with ones like “I am Ukraine.” That means that Putin will not be constrained by his own population; and if he is going to be stopped from a repetition of his war in Georgia, outsiders must help. They didn’t do enough in Georgia a decade ago; they aren’t yet willing to do enough in Ukraine now. But if they want to have a peaceful world, they must face their fears, recognize the nature of Moscow’s aggression and take steps to repel it rather than allowing Putin a seat at the table to resolve “conflicts.” Those “conflicts” are things he as an aggressor has created. They must be repelled rather than become the object of talks.
U.S. Says Small Russian Satellite A Space Weapon – To Inform is to Influence
If this report is true, Russia is weaponizing space while simultaneously calling for a ban on weapons in space. </end editorial> Maneuvering satellite part of Moscow space warfare buildup BY: Bill Gertz   August 15, 2018 5:00 am Russia has deployed a suspicious satellite the United States says is part of Moscow’s plans to attack orbiting satellites…
Russia accused of testing a ‘killer satellite’ in orbit | Fox News
It’s small.
US concerned by Russian satellite’s ‘very abnormal behavior’ – ABC News
Critics said the proposed Space Force a wasteful and unnecessary step that added bureaucracy for something that didn’t present a threat.
Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US – BBC News
Official says “there is no way to verify” what object is and whether or not it may pose a danger.
Russia’s Upgraded Tu-22M3M Long-Range Bomber to Be Rolled Out on August 16 | The Diplomat
The first prototype of Russia’s upgraded Tupolev Tu-22M3M long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber will be rolled out on August 16 with ground testing to begin shortly thereafter, according to Russian aerospace and defense company Tupolev. Furthermore, the head of Tupolev, Alexander Konyukhov, recently told Interfax news agency that the maiden flight of the upgraded Tu-22M3M is scheduled to take place in the third quarter of 2018. The first upgraded bomber is expected to be delivered to the Russian Air Force this October. The Tu-22 M3M is a supersonic variable-sweep wing bomber first introduced into service with the Soviet Air Force and Soviet Naval Aviation in the 1970s. Around 60 Tu-22M3M are currently in service with the Russian Air Force, about half of which remain permanently grounded and are not flightworthy. The Russian Ministry of Defense intends to upgrade up to 30 Tu-22s to the more advanced Tu-22M3M variant. Aircraft upgrades will include modern avionics, digital radio-navigation equipment, a new communications suite, and a new updated weapon control system to give the aircraft the capability to launch precision-guided air-to-surface weapons including air-launched ballistic missiles and long-range anti-ship missiles. According to Russian military sources, the Tu-22M3M will be armed with the Kh-32 long-range cruise missile, next to other missiles. As I explained in May: The KH-32, an upgraded version of the Raguda Kh-22 long-range anti-ship missile, has been specifically designed to attack U.S. Navy carrier strike groups, but can also be used for land strike missions. It is reportedly designed to climb to the stratosphere (40 kilometers) after launch and then either directly dives at the target or executes a lighter dive and approaches the target flying close to the ground at around 150-200 meters. The K-32 purportedly has an operational range of 1,000 kilometers and can reach top speeds of over Mach 4 in its terminal phase. The Tu-22M3M can also carry the Rhaduga Kh-15 aero-ballistic missile. The bomber will be capable of carrying up to three KH-32 or 12 Kh-15 missiles. Both the Kh-15 and KH-32 can alternatively be fitted with conventional or nuclear warheads. Overall, the bomber can carry a weapons load of around 24 tons. Next to missiles, the aircraft is also armed with a double-barreled GSH-23 (23-millimeter) gun fitted in remotely controlled tail turret. Part of the Tu-22M3M avionics suite will be similar to that of the Tupolev Tu-160M2 long-range supersonic strategic bomber, according to Russian military sources. Notably, unlike, the Tu-160M2, the Tu-22M3M is not expected to receive a new engine and will continue to fly with its two Kuznetsov NK-25 turbofan engines. With a cruising speed of 900 kilometers per hour, the operational range of the aircraft is around 7,000 kilometers without refueling.
Russia rolls out latest Tu-22M3M supersonic strike bomber – Defence Blog
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) aircraft manufacturing company rolled out its upgraded Tu-22M3M supersonic strike bomber on 16 August. According to local media, the advanced variant of Russian Tu-22M3 supersonic strike bomber rolled out at Kazan’s Gorbunov Aviation Plant. “The first prototype Tu-22MZM was created within the framework of the large-scale modernization program for strategic and long-range aviation systems, currently being carried out by PJSC “Tupolev” (part of the UAC) The next stage of the program is the deep modernization of the first batch of Tu-22M3 combat aircraft,” the head of Tupolev, Alexander Konyukhov said. The updated bomber designed to counter sea and ground targets at a distance of up to 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles) by guided missiles and aviation bombs. The new Tu-22M3M bomber also has an artificial intelligence. Such a statement was made by Sergey Kobylash, commander of Russia’s long-range aviation. “The capabilities of this aircraft are impressive and far superior to all similar foreign-made units,” also noted Sergey Kobylash. During the deep modernization of the Tu-22M3M was installed a new Russian-designed complex of modern digital on-board radio-electronic equipment was installed. In particular, the aircraft received a new navigation, communication, sighting equipment, engine management and fuel automatics, electronic warfare equipment. Replacing 80% of radio electronics allowed to improve the accuracy of navigation and the level of automation of aircraft control, to simplify its maintenance and preflight preparation. The result of this work was a significant expansion of the combat potential of the aviation complex, including increasing combat effectiveness and increasing the combat radius of the aircraft. Tupolev chief executive Alexander Konyukhov said about 30 of Russia’s 100 Tu-22M3 would be upgraded to the newer model by 2020 and the rest later on, along with brand new planes being built.
TASS: Military & Defense – New bomber Tupolev-22M3M presented in Kazan
The Tupolev-22M3M was equipped with the newest on-board digital radio-electronic equipment
Russia announces development of improved Tu-95MSM variant – Defence Blog
The Tupolev Aircraft Company has announced a development of the improved Tu-95MSM strategic bomber variant. According to Alexander Konyukhov, general director of plane-maker Tupolev, the company received a contract from the Russian Defense Ministry to carry out the modernization Tu-95MS strategic bomber and missile carrier. “The maiden flight of Tu-95MSM is expected at the end of 2019,” said the head of Tupolev. He also noted that the decision to upgrade the fleet of Tu-95MS military aircraft will be made by the Ministry of Defense following the results of state tests. In addition, the state tests of the strategic missile carrier Tu-95MS with the upgraded engine NK-12MPM are currently underway – they will be completed by the end of 2018. As reported, at the moment on a planned basis, major repairs and upgrades of the strategic missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MS are being carried out, which significantly prolongs their service life. Also “Tupolev” is working on creating prototypes of deeply modernized Tu-160M aircraft. The head of the Duma Defence Committee, Vladimir Shamanov, reported that Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft are being modernized for the use of new long-range cruise mi
How Can We Stop Russia’s Apocalypse Nuke Torpedo?
If this nuclear-powered terror gets through, you can kiss entire cities goodbye.
Expert refutes media claims to NATO should fear Russia’s Armata tanks – Defence Blog
Russian well-known military expert Alexey Khlopotov refutes media allegations about that America and its partners should fear Russia’s Armata main battle tank. According to, citing the Alexey Khlopotov, appearance In Russia, a new generation of tanks was met fairly calmly in the US and NATO. According to him, dealing with numerous experts from Western countries, he didn’t hear from them any concern about the new Russian Armata tank. “Manipulation in the media is created only in order to pressure taxpayers so that they calmly perceive the increase in defense spending.” – noted Alexey Khlopotov. To date, the Armata’s programme having faced a number of difficulties. More than three years after Armata tank made it’s widely touted, the country has made it clear it has no plans to launch mass-production, first of all, because of the higher cost of Armata tanks in comparison with existing combat vehicles. Many experts from the very beginning voiced doubts and concerns as to the possibility of Russian next-generation tank mass production.

Russia / Russophone Reports

What’s Vladimir Putin’s Next Play? – To Inform is to Influence
COMMENTARY BY Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. @BromundAug 13th, 2018 KEY TAKEAWAYS Summits are tools of policy, not shapers of it. We are now in one of Putin’s peaceful periods. The reason U.S. relations with Russia are bad is because of Russia, not the United States.  The fantasy that the destiny of nations can be settled by a…
Yes Or No: Is A Referendum In The Cards Over Russian Pension Reform?
Russian officials have held out the tantalizing possibility they might allow a national referendum on the government’s much-hated proposal to raise retirement ages. But is it a red herring?
Fifteen-Year-Old Boy Suspected Of Arson Of Russia’s 18th Century Church
Russian investigators say they suspect a 15-year-old boy of setting fire to a 18th-century wooden church in the northwestern region of Karelia.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin has Moved from Targeted Repression to ‘Hybrid’ Terror, Pastukhov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – The recent spate of random and individually unfounded charges against people like Anya Pavlikova and Vladimir Putin’s failure to pardon the victims of such judicial abuse shows that the Kremlin leader has moved from the targeted repression he used in recent years to a new and more frightening “hybrid” terror, Vladimir Pastukhov says. The London-based Russian historian says Putin knows all about these cases, that he could pardon those involved “but doesn’t want to” because “if you release one, you’ll have to release all the others as well. And then who will be afraid of him? And if no one in Russia fears him, then Russia won’t exist” ( Not only is it the case that in Putin’s mind “Russia is fear,” Pastukhov continues. It is also the case that he “can’t allow himself to pardon” people like Pavlikova because he would then lose any control over the force machine which he has put in motion. And that means that Russia must wake up and recognize something truly disturbing. “This is not repression anymore: this is terror, senseless and pitiless,” the historian says. But it is as with most things Putin, a hybrid form which “the generation raised on Sharlamov’s stories and Solzhenitsyn’s GULAG Archipelago do not recognize in its new post-modernist dress … and under a pseudo-liberal sauce.” Today in Russia, “private property while not defended is formally not prohibited. Freedom of speech continues to live in specially set aside reservations … like those for Indians in North America,” he says. And the opposition functions, albeit completely within the limits the Kremlin sets. “The most valuable attribute of democracy” in Russia is for the time being “the right to freely leave the country,” Pastukhov continues. But all these “’liberal excesses’” get in the way of seeing “the main thing: state terror has returned to Russia and is rapidly unwinding in its dangerous spiral.” With the exception of several months in 1917 and the period between the August 1991 putsch and the October turnover in 1993, he points out, “Russia as never a democratic state, and even with regard to these two periods there exist real doubts” as to whether it should have been called democratic then. “Dual power or even powerlessness and democracy are after all not one and the same thing. The entire rest of time, Russia was to a greater or lesser degree an aggressive authoritarian state with a repressive political regime,” one in which the powers turned to “state terror only from time to time.” Repression and terror are different things and this difference lies not in the number of people who suffer, Pastukhov says. If repression has been a constant in Russian life, “eras of terror are a special case, a kind of historical exclusive,” a state in which “society cannot remain for long” because the suffering is so intense and any escape so difficult. The chief characteristic of terror which sets it apart from repression is “the unpredictability of the use of force.” At a time of terror, nothing guarantees anyone protection from being persecuted, and nothing prevents those who are persecuted from losing everything including their lives. This gives rise to a fear of “a special type, a fear that permanently and universally dominates the mind and paralyzes any will to action. Terror is an automatic system to which all are subordinate but in which no one decides anything,” Pastukhov says. Indeed, that is the chief distinction between terror and repression. Unlike the former, the latter is “a spontaneous process which represents by itself a social and political storm developing suddenly under favorable to itself circumstances and ending only when its energy on its own begins to dissipate.” Repression, in contrast, makes sense in that the targets are selected and the punishments chosen. It is thus “administered” and controlled, but “administered terror is a utopia,” the Russian historian says. “The USSR of the era of the Brezhnevite stagnation was a repressive state” in this sense, “despite the total harshness of the system,, but the Russia of the era of the Putinite stagnation is realizing a policy of terror, despite its superficial softness and the eclectic quality of the regime,” Pastukhov argues. That has consequences, he continues. “From the Brezhnev stagnation, Gorbachev could allow himself to exit having destroying the system, but Putin, just like Stalin, is not in a position to make the choice to exit from the labyrinth of the system he has created.” The current Kremlin leader in this sense has “become its hostage, and the repressive machine proceeds on its own.” The individual behind such a project “still can correct the trajectory, but he already is not in a position to stop the flight,” even though it appears on the outside that he is in control of everything. But if he intervenes against the system he has created, it will make his continued rule in the style he has chosen impossible. Consequently, he won’t. In short, Pastukhov says, “Putin has set up a system in which everything depends on him and Putin completely depends on the system he has created and is its slave.” The more power he gathers to himself, the more that is the case and the more problematic his future and that of the system itself become. While the number of issues which require his involvement grows “every day in geometric progression,” Pastukhov says, “with each day it becomes more difficult for [Putin] to intervene in the resolution of each specific one.” That leads to more issues being left without resolution and a growing instability. It might seem that the Kremlin leader could back off and pardon someone like Pavlikova, the Russian historian continues, but he cannot do so without undermining the system. Hence the system has turned to terror – a world that it is far easier to enter than to exit, especially when some Russians get the taste for blood. History suggests, Pastukhov says, that a country can exit from such a situation either via revolution or a change in rulers “in the wake of which society passes through a lengthy and feverish process of rehabilitation.” That is the future Putin has prepared not only for himself but for Russia – and it is certain to be a most difficult one.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Eight American Stereotypes about Russians Contain Positive as Well as Negative Elements, Russian Living in US Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 12 – Russians have long been fascinated by what they see as the stereotypes about themselves held by other nations, particularly by Americans. That interest has only been heightened by stories about the decision of some Trump voters to wear t-shirts declaring “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat” ( Vadim Sovitsky, a Russian who has been living in the United States for some time, provided Open Russia with a list of what he describes as eight of the “most widespread stereotypes” Americans have about Russians,” a list that originally appeared a few days ago at but has been reposted numerous times since then. His list of American stereotypes about Russia and Russians includes: 1. Russians are “inhibited” and do not express themselves emotionally. 2. “All Russians are communists,” a holdover from Soviet times obviously and no longer the case. 3. “Russians don’t know how to tell jokes and never smile.” 4. “Russians are bold and brave.” Sovitsky says he never encountered a single Russian coward in US films about war even though Americans remain convinced that they alone won that conflict. 5. “Russia is a very poor and underdeveloped country” which doesn’t have things like the internet or even telephones. The fact that this stereotype exists, he continues, “means that we have lost in our information war with America.” 6. “Russians are very intelligent,” capable of solving the most complicated intellectual tasks that are often beyond Americans. 7. “Russians don’t understand how people live beyond their own borders.” 8. And “in Russia, practically every individual is quite capable of using weapons, especially guns.” He admits he learned how to assemble and disassemble a Kalashnikov automatic in school and he impressed some young Americans with his ability to do so far more quickly than they. Of course, they “were convinced” that in Russia, “every youngster has his own gun and plays with it.” As far as that is concerned, Sovitsky says, “let them be afraid!”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Young Tatars Prove Far More Politicized and Radical than Many had Thought
Paul Goble Staunton, August 12 – The World Forum of Tatar Youth which concluded its work last week in Kazan was very different from its predecessors. Unlike them, the meeting was not attended by the top leaders of the republic and thus became an opportunity for young Tatars to express themselves more independently. Their speeches, IdelReal commentator Ilnar Garifulllin says, were far more political and radical than the remarks they had made at earlier forum meeting, a pattern that points to the conclusion that Tatarstan elites are now in a “comatose” state while Tatar young people are ever more independent-minded and even radical ( “It is customary to think,” the commentator continues, “that present-day young people are quite weakly interested in the political events and processes which are occurring around them. However, as this forum shows, that is far from the case.” When young people have the chance to speak in the absence of their elders, they are focused on precisely such developments. Speakers and participants indicated that the main focus of their organization must be on enlightenment work, on propaganda of historical memory and on the preservation of their native language, Garifullin says. They adopted a resolution for the Russian government about the need to make non-Russian language classes more accessible ( What is striking about this, the commentator continues, is that the young people have taken a much stronger stand on the language issue than has the World Congress of Tatars or the Tatarstan government, an indication that young people are more worried about this than many had thought, something that may matter ever more in the future. The forum also adopted a call for creating a special experts’ council to work with the Milli Shuro in order to ensure that Tatars and other nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation fully understand “the political and demographic trends” which will affect their common and individual futures. Establishing such a body is necessary, the forum said, because without it, Tatars will not be able to navigate their way in to the future. Unfortunately, Garifulllin says, “the power elite” in Tatarstan which is responsible for that future has been “morally defeated and continues to function in some kind of comatose state.” Another indication of the state of mind of young Tatars was their reaction to guides who led excursions for the delegates. Some of these guides insisted that “’forcible Christianization never occurred in the Middle Volga.’” That is completely untrue, and the young Tatars protested what they were being told. Moreover, the commentator says, “Tatar youth despite the influence of assimilation processes proved to be not cut off from Tatar culture. Even young people who came from distant regions and didn’t know their native language well … nevertheless were acquainted with Tatar songs and dances.” That fact “gives a certain hope,” he concludes, “that even if we lose our language, the feeling of unity and of belonging to the second largest ethno-nation in Russia will allow our younger generation to survive these difficult times.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Medvedev Ignored in Russian Coverage of 10th Anniversary of Georgian War
Paul Goble Staunton, August 12 – Dmitry Medvedev, currently Russia’s prime minister but its president in 2008 when Moscow launched its “short victorious war” against Georgia, a war he took full credit for both then and now (, was totally ignored in Moscow’s televised coverage on the anniversary of that conflict. Petr Mironenko and Irina Malkova of The Bell portal report that Medvedev was completely ignored in all the anniversary stories about the war carried on the First Channel and Russia and appeared only in archival footage on NTV ( This might have not been so striking, they suggest, except for two other developments. On the one hand, Medvedev’s poll numbers have continued to fall with only 7.2 percent of Russians now saying they trust him, far less than the 35.9 percent who say they trust Putin – and only 24 percent approve the current prime minister’s policies. And on the other, in the week of the anniversary of the Georgian war, the Central Election Commission “unexpectedly approved three applications by ‘the legal opposition’ for the conduct of a referendum on raising the pension age, the main cause of the fall in the prime minister’s ratings.” That approval, of course, doesn’t mean that any referendum will in fact be held. In fact, the procedures in place make it unlikely that it will. But giving even this nod of approval to opposition is remarkable not only because it gives the Kremlin a way of backing down if it has to but also because it represents such a slap in the face of the current head of government. Whiting out former officials who fall out of favor is an old Russian tradition, classically described in David King’s The Commissar Vanishes. But in the handling of Medvedev in this case, Vladimir Putin has gone Stalin one better: he has eliminated the image of an official who is still in office if not of course in power.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Fear and Loathing among Russians Chief Inheritance of Soviet Past, Roshchin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – “The fear of ordinary people of those with power in Russia serves as a favorable basis for all kinds of prejudices and stereotypes,” Aleksey Roshchin says. This arose already in the Soviet Union with its ironclad power vertical and is linked with trained unanimity, the enormous size of the country, and even with oil and gas under the earth.” Roshchin, a social psychologist who specializes in the continuing impact of the Soviet period on Russian life, tells Vladimir Shumakov of the Lenta news agency that many fears Russians have are rooted in the enormous size of the country, the weak links of its various regions to each other, and worries that any loosening of control will lead to its disintegration. When the communist system arose, he continues, “all the very worst aspects of the Russian Empire manifested themselves many times over, with the very same super-centralization and complete denial of democracy” and any autonomy for territories or organizations not created by the state ( Distant part of the country “should have been autonomy and in the final analysis certain of them should have been separated from the metropolitan center. That scenario was foreseen and in fact has always been a source of fear.” The collapse of 1991 only intensified that fear and made the demand for central control even greater, Roshchin argues. But this obsession with central control has not been limited to territorial units, he continues. It extends to any efforts by people to organize themselves in ways independent of the state, an attitude that reflects the view that in Russia there must be only a power vertical of the state and “an amorphous mass of people around it.” In Soviet times and again now, Roshchin says, any organization of people from below including even stamp collecting is “a terrible threat to the state.” If they appear, they must be absorbed by the state and their leaderships must be in Moscow. A classic example of this is that even now “there are no independent unions.” Russians must feel they are part of a hierarchy. All this has two consequences, the social psychologist says. On the one hand, Russians are kept in a state of constant stress “because you are defenseless;” and on the other, a second paradoxical consequence arises: your only hope is the state, the very same institution which you are afraid of.” To make this system work, the Soviet state suppressed empathy among Russians. Any concern for others, even those who are weak and obviously need help, Roshchin says, has been viewed as a manifestation of weakness and therefore something that ordinary people should avoid at all costs, unless ordered to do otherwise. This in turn leads to a demand for unity in all things. In the Duma now as in the Supreme Soviet earlier, deputies take decisions “practically unanimously even if they could pass with many fewer votes, Roshchin says. The main thing is that “everyone be involved” so that anyone thinking about dissenting will be marginalized. “Unanimity is in fact very important” in Russian culture, he argue. “It exerts a subjective influence on people. If everyone says one and the same thing, the individual will agree with it no matter how horrific. But if he hears the voice of even a small minority, which says something else, he is freed” from that discipline. According to Roshchin, “people fear the power standing behind officials, not the officials themselves. The power and the bureaucrats are different things, but we view them as a single whole.” But since 1991, Russian fears have multiplied because there have appeared “additional threats to the ordinary person” in the form of the newly wealthy. “The official is dangerous because he is from the state vertical which is always over the ordinary person; the bourgeois is dangerous because he has money and with that he can buy officials, hire bandits and so on, and national minorities [including diasporas and migrants] are always a threat” because they have a built-in form of solidarity. But behind all of these is the fear that any loosening of the bindings holding things together will mean that things will begin once again to fall apart. Hence the attraction of and demand for stability above everything else. And indeed, because this system is inherently unstable, Russia would fall apart except for one thing. And that is its possession of enormous natural resources which belong to the center. That allows Moscow to pay off the population and thus keep it in line. But there is “a danger” in this, one that involves not running out of these resources but “a serious vacillation in their prices,” something which will complicate the center’s control. Russians are “accustomed to political infantilism and it is extraordinary developed.” They generally accept what those above them say and do what those above them tell them to do. “And at the basis of this infantilism is fear,” Roshchin says. And that fear will continue as long as they believe and the state encourages them to believe that the country could fall apart at any moment.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Growth of Separatism in Kaliningrad has Left Russian ‘Patriots’ There ‘in Position of Illegals,’ The Latter Say
Paul Goble Staunton, August 8 – A self-described Russian patriotic group, the Academy of Geopolitical Problems that is led by retired Russian general Leonid Ivashov, says that Western promotion of separatist sentiment in Kaliningrad had succeeded in penetrating the regional government there and left loyal Russian citizens “in the position of illegals.” At a meeting in Kaliningrad last week, activists of the organization said that the West’s policy of promoting a gradual re-identification of the exclave as Koenigsberg has gained important footholds not only among intellectuals but also among senior officials in the regional government. To counter that, the group calls for a wholesale purge of the regional government, the universities, and cultural institutions lest Moscow soon find itself completely on the defensive there as do already many Russian “patriots” ( The Academy of Geopolitical Problems has already convinced the governor of Kaliningrad that he faces a serious problem in this regard, and Anton Alikhanov not only spoke to the group but has begun to remove some cultural figures. But other speakers said that while this was a positive development, it wasn’t enough, especially now. The meeting adopted a resolution which declared that with increasing frequency, Germany and the West since the 1980s have been promoting a strategy of “the evolutionary detachment” of Kaliningrad from Russia, first suggesting Kaliningrad is special, then that it is Koenigsberg, and finally that it is “not Russia” ( The resolution said that separatists of this kind now dominate the local universities, the cultural ministry, and much of the media, something that has been possible because Russia’s opponents have not made any dramatic moves but rather proceeded step by step below the radar screen of the central authorities. There are now enough people in key positions a; s a result of what the group calls “negative cadres selection” that they are in a position to promote more of their like up the latter; and it warned that unless Moscow takes dramatic action soon, Kaliningrad will be lost to Russia and with it much of Russia’s influence in the northeastern quadrant of the country. On the one hand, such declarations are far from unprecedented and reflect a way of attracting attention to groups like Ivashov’s Academy of Geopolitical Problems. But on the other hand, they may lead to the kind of purge that “Russian patriots” want, a testament to the growing influence less of the West than of anger at Moscow that has neglected the region.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Zhirinovsky Calls for Creation of Russian Confederation that Would Eliminate Non-Russian Republics but Include Former Soviet States
Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia who nonetheless often serves as a bellwether of the direction official thinking in Moscow is going, says that the Russian Federation should be restructured and that it and the former Soviet republics should be confined in a new “Russian Confederation.” In remarks released today for delivery tomorrow, the Russian politician argues that “the territory of the former USSR must again eliminate borders and adopt a new confederal state system” and says he has issued an appeal about that to Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko ( “We, the representatives of various nationalities and various regions, want a common space from Chukotka to Kyiv and Chisinau and from Murmansk to Derbent and Kushka. All the territory of the former USSR must be a sace in which one can freely move, on which there will not be visas and tariffs … and where Russian will be the main language of inter-national communication.” He says the peoples of this space must develop “a new formula of political existence,” in which “the Russian Federation will be transformed into the Russian Confederation in which Arkhangelsk, Tashkent, Novosibirsk, Dushanbe, Saratov and Baku will receive sovereignty” and in which Moscow will have the last word “only in seven spheres.” These will be “foreign policy, finance, energy, transportation, communication and ecology. All other laws will be established independently by the subjects of the confederation,” Zhirinovsky says. “We all live on the land of the former USSR, and there is no need to sort people by nationality, religious faith or way of life. All that is the affair of each resident. But we want to live in one space. We are the new citizens of the former lands of the USSR,” [and] we are all landsmen.” “We want freedom and the feeling of belong to an enormous common union,” Zhirinovsky says. The LDPR leader’s proposals recall those of Mikhail Gorbachev when the latter was seeking to preserve the USSR via “a new union treaty” and by seeking to counter Russia’s drive toward independence by elevating the status of the autonomous republics within the RSFSR to the status of union republics within the Soviet Union. And they are thus addressed to three audiences: those who want to see a restoration of the Soviet Union, those who want to see non-Russian regions within the Russian Federation reduced in status, and those who want to see Russian regions within the Russian Federation elevated in status to at least equality with the non-Russian regions. There is little likelihood that this proposal will achieve anything more than Gorbachev’s ideas did, attracting those who operate on the principle “why can’t they all just get along?” and offending everyone else who will see what Zhirinovsky proposes as threatening either their current or future status.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Explosive Growth of Russian Orthodox Church has Left It Corrupt and Backward, New Study Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 8 – The corruption and obscurantism of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has less to do with the personal commitments of its leaders than with the explosive growth of the church after 1991, a growth that has been possible only thanks to its special relationship with the government and that has elevated new hierarchs far too quickly. That judgment is offered by Russian commentator Igor Nadezhdin in an important article on what he calls “the Worker-Peasant Red Church,” an institution that despite its claims is not a restoration of pre-Soviet Orthodoxy but the creation of a new institution based on links to the state and peasant rather than urban roots ( In 1991, when the Soviet empire collapsed, there were approximately 6500 parishes of the ROC MP, of which “two thirds were in Ukraine. “Today, the ROC MP has “more than 36,000 parishes, of which about 25,000 are in Russia,” with even more dramatic increases in the number of bishoprics and monasteries. There was no one with adequate background to restore the church to what it had been thanks to the depradations of Soviet power; and consequently, the ROC MP relied on what it had: rural people who retained some idea about religion but who lacked the training to serve as priests let alone as hierarchs. The negative impact of their views has been especially great in the hierarchy. While parish priests may stay in one place for a long time and do harm only in a narrow circle, the explosive growth of the church meant that those who were ready to rise through the church establishment did so at dizzying speed and without the kind of preparation they needed. These people brought with them their peasant values, Nadezhdin says; and these people not only brought their peasant or more precisely collective farm values with them but used their position to impose these values on those who flocked to the church, insisting that new priests and parishioners follow the most obscurantist of positions. These ills have been only made worse by the role that the state has played in helping to finance this growth. Indeed, the analyst says, “however paradoxical it may soon, this state support made all the economy of the ROC black,” that is off the books and inherently corrupt because it was from the point of view of law hidden from public view. Beginning in the 1990s, the ROC MP got involved in numerous businesses to make money. It was able to profit enormously because its employees, even in non-religious activities, were untaxed and unsupervised. Not surprisingly these economic functions were corrupt and that has had a negative impact on the church. Both because of the caesaro-papist tradition of the ROC MP but also because of the authoritarian nature of the patriarchate’s hierarchy, few could survive if they criticized this and few could stop the dramatic upward flow of money from government-protected firms as well as individual parishes and bishoprics. The people at the top whose religious background is in many cases questionable were thus corrupted by enormous wealth, all hidden from public view. Only occasional anecdotes show just how wealthy the leadership has become even as the church at the local level has been bled dry by the hierarchy. One recent leak reported that the head of a monastery was willing to spend 90,000 rubles (1500 US dollars) of his own money every month for a private cook; and another concerns the proclivity of church hierarchs, “the men in black” of Nadezhdin’s title, to give themselves new cars every year, even though many churches remain in ruins. What is important about his article is that it redirects the attention of critics of the church away from revulsion at the personal styles and habits of the hierarchs and the priests to the structural features, including both explosive growth and government-assisted financing, that are the real problems – and problems that show no sign of lessening anytime soon.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Weapons Companies Not the Only Group Pushing for Expanded Gun Ownership in Russia, Grinkevich Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 8 – Many assume moves to allow Russians to own more guns and to do so with fewer restrictions is the work of the gun lobby, the network of companies that make and sell weapons and that benefit from expanding their markets, Vladislav Grinkevich says. But that is not the case: many others, including some individual lawyers are involved as well. The Russian commentator notes that the actions of the big gun manufacturers always get widespread media attention as do any crimes committed by Russians who own guns legally or illegally. But the manufacturers are no longer the only game in town as far as expanding access to guns is concerned ( These corporations are supported not only by people in official structures like the Military-Industrial Commission but also by lawyers who have adopted the strategy of “small victories” to extend the rights of Russians to own more guns of more varied types, Grinkevich continues. “Formally,” he says, the Russian arms lobby “consists of the very same players as the one in the US: arms companies and structures like the Union of Russian Arms Manufacturers, sporting and hunting organizations, public movements, and individual politicians and activists” of various kinds. But the size of the Russian lobby is entirely different: If the NRA in the US has five million members and is politically powerful, “not a single Russian organization” involved in this fight can count on more than two or three thousand members. As a result, they don’t have the clout and typically follow in the wake of the arms manufacturers. Russian legislation is “much stricter than in the US, Canada, Switzerland, and Austria” and than in many former countries of the eastern bloc. But “on the other hand, Russians have a greater possibility of owning weapons than do the English and the French” and than do residents of Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asia. Until approximately 2013, Grinkevich continues, the main goal of Russia’s arms lobby was to change laws so that Russians could own pistols and more rifles and other long guns. That program was promoted by the Right to Arms, founded by Maria Butina, who has attracted notoriety recently following her arrest in the US as a Russian agent. She and her group were supported by then-Senator Aleksandr Torshin, who is now deputy head of the Central Bank. But despite their efforts and a report they released suggesting that the government would take in billions of rubles in fees if it agreed to liberalization, they did not make big progress with the government or the Duma. Because these groups focused primarily on pistols, they also alienated many hunting and sporting groups who suggested that this was the wrong approach because it would frighten the population and make it more difficult for sports enthusiasts to gain the right to own more and different kinds of long weapons. Instead, these groups have been pushing what can be called “the strategy of small victories,” using lawyer activists to push the limits of the law in localities and thus expand gun ownership and gun rights. One commentator said he would call these people “extremist lawyers in the good sense.” Their efforts, Mikhail Degtyaryev continues, show that “we live in a legal state. We see real results from the struggle for our legal rights. Results with a positive effect.” And these victories have been solidified by certain modifications in laws by the Duma that have expanded gun ownership as well. Such lawyer activists and the gun lobby more generally have serious support within the government, including Dmitry Rogozin, now head of Roskosmos, Igor Shchegolyev, presidential plenipotentiary in the Central Federal District, and Sergy Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the Presidential Administration. But they and their allies still face an uphill battle to expand gun ownership possibilities, Aleksandr Kudryashov, the editor of Russia’s leading gun rights publication, Kalibr, says. According to him, “a pistol in contemporary Russia is viewed not as a weapon but as an attribute of membership in a certain social stratum.” I have the sense, he says, that “if you have a pistol, you are from one stratum. Without a pistol, from another. With a pistol but without permission from a third. All who are focused on this issue know that [someone with a pistol] is either a deputy or a high-ranking official or has 100,000 dollars” to spend. That is, he concludes, “today a citizen with a little pistol for the present powers that be is just like a peasant with a sabre was in tsarist Russia,” someone who doesn’t quite fit the model that the regime has for itself.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin’s Latest Oxymoron – ‘a Little Thaw’ – Wins Backing of Russian Victims of Stockholm Syndrome
Paul Goble Staunton, August 8 — Afflicted by the Stockholm syndrome — the tendency of captives to identify with their captors — some formerly consistent Russian liberals are now prepared to welcome the Kremlin’s latest oxymoron, “a little thaw,” forgetting their earlier recognition that being a little thaw is like being a little pregnant. Last week, Znak’s Yekaterina Vinokurova reports, the Kremlin began talking about taking some steps toward “a partial liberalization” of some of its repressive measures as a means of recovering popular support it has lost because of the pension debacle ( Her Kremlin sources told her that the Kremlin was considering a certain “softening” in the enforcement of laws about offensive speech and a certain limited move away from “a radical agenda” in other areas. The regime’s basic line will remain unchanged, these sources says, but there will be “a small thaw.” Even the promise of such a small shift in direction has been welcomed by some Russian liberals, an indication of just how pressed they have been but also of their own retreat from more consistent liberal positions of only a few years ago, according to two prominent commentators who decry this reaction. Pavel Pryanikov, the editor of the Tolkovatel portal, says that this development shows how far these people have been affected by “’the Stockholm syndrome’” that has made them willing to go along with the authorities ( Indeed, he suggests, it shows how little encouragement those who feel themselves under attack from all sides apparently need in order to make dangerous concessions to the powers that be and thus how easy it is for the latter to gain the backing of those who should be its most consistent and uncompromising critics. Moscow commentator Yegor Sedov is even more appalled. “’Partial liberalization,’” he says, is a contradiction in terms just like being “a little bit pregnant.” One either has liberalization or one doesn’t; partial steps are at the end of the day no liberalization at all if those in power control the process ( What Russia needs is “not ‘a thaw’ but rather an eternal ‘summer,’” something the Kremlin is not going to be willing to allow unless it is compelled to make those kinds of concessions by its democratically-minded opponents. It is, of course, the case, that some will benefit from a partial “thaw,” but they must not allow that to blind them to what the Kremlin is doing, a warning that applies not only to Russian liberals but also to Western observers, many of whom are desperate to be able to point to some “progress” in the right direction by the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: More than Half of Russians Say Neither Side in August 1991 Putsch was in the Right
Paul Goble Staunton, August 14 – Fifty-three percent of Russians say that neither those who launched the August 1991 putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev nor those who defended the legitimate government were in the right, a figure that has remained more or less constant over the last 12 years, the Levada Center reported today. The polling agency said that fewer than 15 percent now support the position of either side and that only six percent of respondents say that the defeat of the putsch was a victory for a democratic revolution. Instead, a far larger number – 36 percent — say it was a struggle within the elite for power or to restore order in the country ( At the same time, more than a third — 38 percent – says that the event was a tragedy that had fateful consequences for the country leading ultimately to the disintegration of the USSR. On the one hand, this set of reactions reflects the complexities of an event that became even more obvious with the passage of time. But on the other, it also provides perhaps a more accurate picture of how Russians see things as the Kremlin has not given an entirely clear signal in recent years as to how people should view things. As the anniversary of the events approaches – August 19-22 – it will be interesting to see whether the Putin regime tries to come up with an official interpretation that fits this event within the Kremlin’s “single stream” of Russian history or whether this episode will be largely passed over in official silence, thereby allowing Russians to form their own views about it.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Occupiers Continue to Work to Destroy History and Culture of Crimean Tatars
Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – The sacking of Bilyal Bilyalov as head of the Crimean Tatar Academic Musical-Dramatic Theater this week on trumped up charges is just the latest move by the Russian occupation forces to undermine and ultimately destroy the history and culture of the Crimean Tatar nation, Zair Smedlyayev says. The Crimean Tatar activist tells Kseniya Kirillova of Radio Svoboda’s Krym.Realii portal that this latest act has become “yet another step by the Russian authorities on the peninsula intentionally directed at the destruction of Crimean Tatar national identity” ( All these dismissals have two things in common, Smedlyayev says. On the one hand, those involved have not been guilty of “the crimes” that the occupation forces say they are; and on the other, they have not engaged in direct political action. Instead, these artists have been working only to ensure that Crimean Tatar culture survives, something Moscow doesn’t want. “The Kremlin by all available means is seeking to show that the Crimean Tatars are a people which does not have its own history or culture” and that they are not in fact “an indigenous people of Crimea.” Instead, Moscow promotes the notion that they are “a diaspora” of the Kazan Tatars and thus already have their own statehood within the Russian Federation. To that end, the occupation forces are not only dismissing important cultural figures but they are destroying cultural monuments, often in the name of “restoring” them as is the case with the khan’s palace, or undermining the survivability of the Crimean Tatar nation by destroying the environment, including water supplies, the nation needs. For Moscow, Crimea is needed “in the first instance” only as “a military base.” Anything that gets in the way of that must be destroyed, Smedlyayev says. Ensuring that the Crimean Tatars have access to their own culture or even enough fresh water to drink are from the Russian perspective obstacles that need to be eliminated. The activist also points to another factor at work against the Crimean Tatars since the occupation began in 2014: Moscow has allowed Chinese farmers to come into the peninsula; and they are poisoning the ground water supplies by their use of chemical fertilizers. “This may seriously harm the ecological situation in Crimea,” the activist says.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Siberians are an Ethnic Group that Arose Out of a Melting Pot of Peoples, Russian-7 Portal Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – Moscow has worked hard to deny the obvious: the people of Siberia are a distinct ethnos which has a history far longer than do the ethnic Russians themselves and which arose and continues to develop as a result of “a melting pot” of people. But now a prominent Russian Internet side has admitted both of those things and more. The Russian-7 portal which often covers lesser known aspects of Russian history and culture features an article entitled “’A Multi-National Melting Pot’: How the Siberians Appeared,” in which it says among other things that “the term ‘Siberia’ is much more ancient than for example Rus ( The term first appeared in the fifth century common era and “until the 13th century, the word ‘Siberia’ was used exclusively to refer to a people and only later did it begin to be applied to the region where they lived. ‘Siberia’ as the name of a land was first mentioned in medieval Iranian chronicles; and in 1375, a Catalonian atlas mentioned ‘Sebur.’” Ethnic Russians and Cossacks did not make an appearance in the region until the end of the 15th century, the portal continues. Their expansion was sometimes peaceful but often involved violent clashes with the local population. Beginning in the 17th century, the Russian state sent prisoners to the region. Many other people fled from European Russia to Siberia, settled and intermarried with the local population and did not return. Such marriages with the Khanty, Mansi, Sakha, Buryats and others led to the formation of “a Russian-Siberian gene pool. But it is important to remember that ethnic Russians were “only part of the ancestry of the Siberian people.” The portal cites the conclusions of Novosibirsk sociologist Olga Yevchevskaya that the isolation of the Siberians is an important part of their regional self-consciousness; and historian Yury Chernyshov says that Siberians are deeply attached to their distinctive identity which emerged because of the harsh climate and the continuing impact of a melting pot. All this may seem of only marginal interest, but it is extraordinarily unusual for anyone in Moscow to acknowledge Siberian identity as an ethnic one distinct from Russian or to point out that Siberia referred to a people for centuries before it was applied to a region and is a far more ancient term than Rus in which Russians place so much value. And it is also remarkable although less rare for anyone in Moscow to acknowledge that a melting pot has worked anywhere in Russia, not only because that term comes from the United States but also because it implies not the assimilation of smaller groups by a larger one (e.g., the Russians) but a fusion of various nations into a new and different one. With this article, Russia-7 will likely spark a new debate between Russian nationalists, who deny the Siberians standing as an ethnic nation and have refused to count them as such in recent censuses, and the Siberians themselves, who will see this a step forward in their effort to win acknowledgement of what they are — a separate nation with a separate territory.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ten ‘Only in Russia’ Stories
Paul Goble Staunton, August 14 – Every day features at least one news report that deserves the epithet, “Only in Russia.” Sometimes these are small developments that are just amusing in and of themselves, but more often, they provide insights about far larger issues than those who write them up often appear to recognize. The last 24 hours, in the midst of the quiet in news terms month of August, have brought an especially rich harvest of these stories. Below is a selection of ten that seem especially instructive as to the nature of Russian realities now: · Siberian Town Wants to Rename Itself ‘Syria’ in Hopes of Getting Moscow Money. Because the Russian government is more willing to send money to Syria than it is to Russia’s regions, a town in Siberia is seeking to rename itself after that Middle Eastern country in the hopes that the Kremlin will help the town’s residents as well ( · Russians Having Open Air Sex Near Kremlin to Make a Freudian Point. A Russian psychologist says that Russians have been engaging in open-air sex near the Kremlin wall not because they couldn’t find anywhere else but because they are engaged in a working out of a Freudian relationship with their governors ( · Russians as in Soviet Times Now Say Some Subjects aren’t for the Telephone. Government monitoring of private telephone conversations in Russia has reached such a point that residents are now saying as they did in Soviet times that some subjects “aren’t for a telephone conversation” but only face to face ( · Russian Designers Now Offering Fashionable Straitjackets. The use of straightjackets in Russia has become so widespread that a fashion designer has come up with stunning models of straightjackets that could be worn on all kinds of occasions ( · Gigantism Returns to the Center of Russian Life. One of the most unfortunate revivals of Soviet practice is the government’s willingness to engage in giant projects even though it routinely says it has no money to fund basic infrastructure costs or even to pay for ordinary services for the population ( · Almost Half of Russians Say They Don’t Work Anywhere. More than 40 percent of Russians when asked where they work say nowhere, apparently because they are working off the books and not paying taxes. Others in the same survey say they would willingly work “na levo” if they would be paid more by doing so ( · Back to the 1990s: Armed Russian Gang Siphons Off Fuel from Pipeline Going to Europe. The Moscow Times reports that an armed Russian gang has been caught stealing 900 tons of fuel out of a Europe-bound pipeline, something that happened often in the 1990s and that Moscow has accused Ukraine and Belarus of doing more recently ( · Yekaterinburg Official Says Presence of Bums Shows How Good Life is There. In what the media are describing as “the latest pearl” of wisdom from a Russian official, a city manager in Yekaterinburg points to the growing number of bums in public spaces there as evidence that the city has become comfortable to live in ( · Officials, Ethnic Gangs and Organized Crime Compete to Control Cemeteries. Because Russian cemeteries are both poorly governed by Russian law and extremely profitable – more than two million Russians die each year – they are currently the object of intense and often violent clashes among officials, ethnic gangs and organized criminal groups ( · Russian People Even More than Putin Want a New Cult of Personality. Many commentators have blamed Vladimir Putin for the rise of a cult of personality around him, but a new study concludes that the main demand for such a cult originates not from the Kremlin but from the Russians who want to participate in such leader worship (
Tatar Activist Detained In Kazan, Questioned In Financial Fraud Probe
A Tatar activist says he has been detained for questioning by Russian police as part of an investigation into suspected financial fraud.
UN Experts Call On Kremlin To ‘Immediately And Unconditionally’ Release Sentsov
United Nations experts have called on the Russian government to “immediately and unconditionally release” Oleh Sentsov, a jailed Ukrainian filmmaker who has been on hunger strike in a Russian penal…
Kremlin Rejects Sentsov’s Mother’s Pardon Request
The Kremlin has rejected a request by the mother of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov to pardon her son and release him from a Russian prison.
A Ukrainian’s Letters From A Russian Prison
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, imprisoned by Russia, has gained global attention. But another Ukrainian was in the dock with him: Oleksandr Kolchenko is serving a 10-year sentence in Siberia.
Russian, Turkmen Presidents To Meet In Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov are due to meet on August 15 for what the Kremlin describes as talks on an “entire range of bilateral relations,” …
Russian Opposition Activist Jailed Over Pension-Reform Protests
The leader of Russia’s opposition Levy Front (Left Front) movement, Sergei Udaltsov, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail over protests in July against the government’s proposal to raise the retir…
Russian Opposition Activist Udaltsov Detained Over July 28 Rallies Against Pension Reform
The leader of Russia’s opposition Levy Front (Left Front) movement, Sergei Udaltsov, has been detained in Moscow.
Local Authorities Withdraw Approval For Russia’s First Gay-Pride Parade
Local authorities in Russia say they have withdrawn their approval of what would have been the country’s first officially approved gay-pride parade — an event that had been scheduled for August 26…
Russian Cosmonauts Set Up Animal-Tracking System In Eight-Hour Spacewalk
Two Russian cosmonauts on August 15 spent nearly eight hours on a spacewalk setting up an antenna for tracking birds and animals on Earth and sending a series of tiny satellites flying into orbit.
‘It’s Inhuman’ — Families Demand Authorities Release Plane-Crash Remains
People are still appealing to Russian authorities to release the bodies of their loved ones, six months after an air crash killed 71 people. Warning — contains disturbing content.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia is Ukraine’s ‘Younger Brother,’ Moscow Historian Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 12 – Russians are so used to employing terms that slight the standing of those around them, be calling all former Soviet republics their country’s “near abroad,” or by referring to non-Russians nations as Russia’s “younger brothers,” terms they would find it hard to accept when applied by others to themselves. But, of course, all countries have just as much right to call their neighbors “the near abroad” as does Russia and many for historical and cultural reasons have an even more compelling case to call others their “younger brothers” than do the Russians with respect to non-Russians in and around them. Unfortunately, Russian use of these terms is so common that it isn’t news, but non-Russian use of them is – and especially so if a Moscow expert says that a non-Russian nation has the complete right to employ them regarding Russia. That has now happened, and not surprisingly, Russian media have treated it as worthy of a headline. Viktor Mirnonenko, the head of the Center for Ukrainian Research of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says that “beyond any doubt” Russia is “the younger brother of Ukraine. I say this as an historian … and am absolutely certain of this” ( According to the scholar, who traces his origins to Ukraine’s Chernihov, “Kyiv bears great responsibility for its ‘younger relative,’” given that “the main intellectual inflow into Russia from long ago has occurred via Ukraine.” In this, Ukraine plays a role for Russia similar to that which Great Britain plays of the United States. Not surprisingly, many Russians are outraged by Mironenko’s suggestion even though they themselves are quite happy to describe Ukrainians as Russia’s “younger brothers” and Ukraine as part of Russia’s “near abroad.” Indeed, they appear to view these terms when they use them as entirely natural. The reaction of Moscow commentator Grigory Pavlodubov is typical. He says that the Ukrainian historian’s words are in the first instance “an attempt to strike at the self-identification of residents of the Russian state and the kind of speculation” one would expect from Ukrainian nationalists (
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Muscovy’s Destruction of the Novgorod Republic – a Tragedy Whose Consequences Continue
Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Despite its proclivity for celebrating even minor historical anniversaries, the current Russian regime is not marking one today that has had fateful consequences for that country for more than 500 year: the destruction of the Novgorod Republic by the Muscovite principality on August 11, 1471. Indeed, almost the only mention of this event this year is a brief article by Yevgeny Politdrug who writes the historical calendar series for the Sputnik i Pogrom portal ( But what he says deserves attention because of its continuing relevance for Moscow’s behavior. “On August 11, 1471,” he writes, “the fall of the Novgorod Republic took place” when a treaty was signed “that in fact deprived the republic of its former status and made it dependent on the Muscovite principality.” Earlier, Muscovy had focused on combatting the Mongols but having won on that front it turned West against Lithuania and Novgorod. Novgorod’s cooperation with Lithuania, Politdrug says, “was used by Ivan III as the pretext for the launch of a military campaign against the republic. The specific cause became the fact that the Novgorodians asked to sent an archbishop to the Kyiv metropolitanate which was under the control of Lithuania and not Muscovy.” Muscovy thus accused Novgorod of treason for its work with “the Latins” and “began a campaign.” The war didn’t last long and Novgorod was defeated with its leaders taken prisoner and then executed. “Formally,” Politdrug continues, “the republic preserved its territory and status. In fact, the Novgorodians were forced to recognize the supremacy of the great prince of Muscovy. The Veche and other aspects of the republic were maintained but subordinated to the Muscovite prince.” As a result, the Veche lost its democratic prerogative to elect its leaders, something that made Novgorod at the time perhaps the most democratic city in Europe; the church in Novgorod was subordinate to the new Muscovite metropolitanate as well; and the city was forced to pay a heavy tax to Muscovy. After 1471, the Novgorod Republic continued to exist in this diminished form for another seven years. “Ivan III patiently waited when there would be a new basis for a campaign” so that he could end the existence of the republic. Meanwhile, he “supported in the Veche a group of boyars who called for the total subordination of Novgorod to Moscow.” Some in Novgorod protested and that was enough for Ivan to declare the city in revolt and lay siege to the city. The city was divided as a result into two camps and negotiations ensued. Talks followed and Novgorod lost: the Veche bell ceased to sound and “with this, the history of the Novgorod Republic ended,” Politdrug writes.
Bolton to meet with Russian counterpart in Switzerland next week | TheHill
National security adviser John Bolton will travel to Geneva next week to meet with his Russian counterpart, the White House announced Tuesday.
White House, Kremlin Advisers To Discuss Arms Control, Iran’s Role In Syria
U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, is expected to discuss arms control treaties and Iran’s role in Syria when he meets his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev i…
Trump adviser Bolton to meet Russian officials next week: Kremlin | Reuters
The Kremlin said on Wednesday preparations were underway for a meeting in Geneva next week between Russian officials and White House national security adviser John Bolton, the first top-level meeting since the Russian and U.S. presidents met in Helsinki.
Bolton To Meet Russian Official In Geneva Next Week
The Kremlin says preparations are under way for a meeting next week between a Russian official and White House national-security adviser John Bolton.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Caspian Agreement Another Step in Continuing Disintegration of USSR, Dubnov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – Vladimir Putin once described the disintegration of the USSR as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,” but yesterday, by joining with the heads of the four other Caspian littoral states in dividing that body of water among them, the Kremlin leader participated in the continuing disintegration of the USSR, Arkady Dubnov says. What is striking, the Russian journalist who specializes on international relations says, is that “the disintegration of the USSR is continuing but doing so without a catastrophe” and that Putin for all his bluster about the events of 1991 has become an active participant in that process ( The agreement Putin and the other leaders signed in the Kazakhstan city of Aktau puts “a period de jure on the question as to who the Caspian Sea belongs to.” Although it does not resolve all the issues there, “it puts an end” to many legal conflicts that had lasted “more than a quarter of a century after the disintegration” of the USSR. Specifically, it replaced the division of the Caspian that had existed between the USSR and Iran since the 1930s, in which Iran had legally recognized control over only “about 13 percent of the surface” of that body of water and where its ships could not move beyond that area “without serious consequences,” Dubnov says. With the demise of the Soviet Union and the appearance in its place of four new countries, the old system collapsed but a new one was not put in its place as they and Iran jockeyed for position. Iran called for dividing the waters into five equal parts, but Russia was “categorically” against that because it would limit the freedom of action of its Caspian Flotilla and because it wanted to retain a veto over any trans-Caspian pipelines between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan that would compete with its own gas exports. At the same time, the three other states, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan had “diametrically opposite” positions to these. Consequently, “a compromise was needed, and they searched for it for 22 years,” the journalist says. But the Aktau summit and the accord announced there are not the end of the road, Dubnov points out. The wording of that document only sets out framework positions and there are many specifics which must be worked out in the future including critically on the use of the seabed. But h e continues, Russia dropped its opposition to a trans-Caspian pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan apparently in exchange for a delimitation of the sea allowing its navy free movement over all but coastal areas and for an agreement among the five to exclude naval forces of all outside powers. “President Putin was forced to approve this,” even though it represents a continuation of the process of the disintegration of the Soviet Union he has so often decried. That means, Dubnov says, that the Russian president will now have to give up such populist rhetoric if he doesn’t want to become known as the creator of this ‘catastrophe’ in the 21st century.”
Caspian Summit Fails To Resolve Issues Between Iran And Nearest Neighbors
While the leaders of the Caspian littoral states resolved some longstanding border issues at their recent summit in Kazakhstan, some important questions between Iran and its neighbors — Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan — still linger.
Caspian Nations Move to Settle Dispute on Oil and Gas Reserves – WSJ
Leaders of five Caspian Sea nations signed an agreement that aims to settle a longstanding dispute over ownership of oil and gas reserves on the landlocked body of water.
Caspian Summit Delivers Less Than Expected
While the leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan did sign an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, it was clear that some of the same issues that prevented an agreement that suited all five countries remained. (The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL.)
Will the Caspian Sea deal hold? | Inside Story – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Aug 13, 2018 Some call it a sea, others a lake. For decades its status has been questioned. Five countries – Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan – now agree the Caspian
Five Leaders Attend Caspian Summit
Leaders of countries sharing the shores of the Caspian Sea have met in the Kazakh port city of Aqtau. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov on August 12. They signed a new convention on the legal status of the resource-rich body of water.
Five States Sign Convention On Caspian Legal Status
The leaders of the five Caspian Sea countries are meeting in the Kazakh port city of Aqtau to sign a convention in an effort to resolve major differences over the resource-rich body’s legal status.
Is it a lake or sea? Five nations sign landmark Caspian agreement | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Aug 12, 2018 It took 22 years of negotiations, but the leaders of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan have signed an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. The dispute hinged on the definition of the Caspian as either a “lake” or a “sea”. The agreement means the five countries can move forward with sharing out the resource-rich inland body of water, the largest in the world. Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reports from Moscow.
Close Combat: NATO Troops Train With Georgians
Ten years after Georgia fought a five-day war with Russia over disputed territories, thousands of Georgian troops are training with NATO and other forces outside of Tbilisi. This is the fourth edition of the annual “Noble Partner” exercises.
The Russia-Georgia War: Not Frozen and Not Forgotten – To Inform is to Influence
All my friends and acquaintances from Georgia were angered and distraught over the tenth anniversary of the Russian occupation of South Ossetia.  The date 08.08.08 is an especially powerful reminder to them of Russian aggression. Ten years later and Russia continues a creeping advance along the border, literally moving fences deeper into Georgian territory. Ten…
Putin Hosts Turkmen Leader In Sochi After Caspian Summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted the leader of Turkmenistan for talks following the long-awaited signing of a new convention on the legal status of the resource-rich Caspian Sea.

Belarus Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Could Putin’s Pseudo-Cossacks Now Moved Up to Belarusian Border become ‘the Little Green Men’ in Belarus?
Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – As relations between Moscow and Minsk deteriorate, the Russian government has moved units of Vladimir Putin’s pseudo-Cossacks into the restricted zone on the Russian side of the Russian-Belarusian border, according to reports from the region that have been summarized by Mikhail Ilin. The Belsat journalist offers not only the comments of Belarusians living in the neighborhood who are unhappy about the appearance of these “Cossacks” but also a video that appears to show “Cossack” units on the other side of the border as well ( According to Ilin, a Russian official says that such “voluntary patrols” were begun during the last several weeks, when tensions between the two countries rose and are at least nominally about blocking any contraband or those who have been given Belarusian but not Russian visas from entering the Russian Federation. Sergey Russkikh of the Khislovich district in Russia says that these popular militia “will work with the border service but that this is a structure of the FSB. They will check” to ensure that Russian laws are enforced. But some Belarusians see a more sinister role for such groups and do not welcome their appearance in the border region. In the best case, this is a Russian effort to put more pressure on Alyaksandr Lukashenka to accept Russian conditions including agrement for Moscow’s proposed plenipotentiary-ambassador and possibly a new military base. In the worst, of course, this could be the advance guard of something like “the little green men” behind the invasion of Crimea. The border between Russia and Belarus, two member countries of the union state, has a complicated history. Between 1995 when Minsk and Moscow signed a friendship accord and February 2017, there was no border zone at all. Then, the FSB restored it after Belarus allowed many foreigners to come for five days without getting a visa.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka’s Attack on the Internet Media a Fool’s Errand, Kalinkina Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 12 – It doesn’t matter why Alyaksandr Lukashenka chose to go after the Internet media in recent weeks or even the denunciations it has sparked in foreign countries, Svetlana Kalinkina says. What matters is that this enterprise is a fool’s errand, something that won’t work as planned but that the fools around the Belarusian president are likely to continue. Such “a special operation,” the Belarusian commentator says, is something only fools would engage in because only they would not understand that “having taken control of the editorial offices of an Internet portal or information agency” yields them “only walls, an office, and technology” ( “This is not television or radio where the main capital are broadcast frequencies” or “a newspaper where sufficiently large investments are necessary and official registration is required for a new start,” Kalinkina says. Instead, “the basic capital of Internet media are people and their reputation.” No matter what a repressive regime sends against them, she says, “people will leave and will create a new site” – and they will continue to function. Intelligent people understand this, the commentator says; but “no one doubts that in our force structures, there are not a few fools” – and they simply don’t understand that they are creating a scandal without achieving their ends.
UAWire – Belarus asks Russia for $1 billion to repay debts
The Belarusian government is asking Russia for a loan of $1 billion in order to repay its foreign debt obligations. As reported by TASS, this …
There Was No Return For Belarus’s ‘Children Of France’
Yanina Grintsevic Stasya was born in France to Belarusians who emigrated there during the Great Depression, but she left France forever when her parents — like thousands of others — decided to re…

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Russia’s “little green men” cross the Dniester river: Moldova reacts to provocation | UNIAN
Russia cannot be considered a peacemaker in Transnistria, and it went for provocation against Moldova, according to Moldovan Minister of Defense Eugen Sturza. The conduct of military exercises in the Security Zone requires authorization of the Joint Control Commission, which in this case was not received, says the OSCE. Russia cannot be considered a peacemaker in Transnistria, and it went for provocation against Moldova, according to Moldovan Minister of Defense Eugen Sturza. “Someone thinks that the use of threats can make you someone’s friend. How can you, climbing over the fence and threatening your neighbor, hope that you will become his friend? Paradoxically, this is what our neighbor, Russia, is trying to do, conducting military exercises with the crossing of the Dniester,” the minister wrote on Facebook, according to Europeiska Pravda. “Such exercise in the security zone, with unmarked armored trucks involved, is a provocative act that undermines the basis of the Russian side’s justification as a peacekeeping mission. It is extremely difficult to explain to them that the exercise of “little green men” with the crossing of the Dniester with armored vehicles is not a peacekeeping mission, and what they are doing does not secure peace in the region. Maybe the OSCE will help us explain the difference?” added Sturza. The OSCE Mission to Moldova expresses its concern over the conduct of military exercises by the Russian Army Operational Group, in particular, the river crossing, in the Security Zone on August 14-15. The mission deployed its observers in the Security Area, but they were prevented from conducting a full monitoring of the exercise.
OSCE Expresses Concern Over Russian Forces Actions In Transdniester
The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) has expressed concern about Russian forces’ “river-crossing military exercise” in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniester and …
Moldova claimed about Russia’s unauthorized exercises in Transnistria – Moldova reports of Russia’s unauthorized drills in Transnistria –
Russian soldiers held unauthorized military drills in Transnistria on August 14-15, during which, in particular, they crossed Dniester river. This was reported by the Moldovan OSCE mission’s press service. “The OSCE Mission to Moldova expresses its concern regarding the river-crossing military exercise conducted in the Security Zone by the Operational Group of Russian Forces on 14 and 15 August,” the message says. I was reported that in accordance with its mandate, the OSCE mission deployed its team to the area of the Security Zone on 14 and 15 August, but the team was obstructed from fully monitoring the exercises. In compliance with the Principles of Co-operation between the Joint Control Commission (JCC) and the OSCE Mission to Moldova from 2004, the Mission shared its observations with all the delegations to the JCC through the established channels. “According to the Agreement on Principles of a Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transdniestrian Region of the Republic of Moldova from 21 July 1992, military exercises in the Security Zone are required to be authorized by the JCC, which was not done in this instance. The Mission reports its findings to the participating States of the OSCE, including the host country, through the established channels,” the mission noted.
UAWire – OSCE Moldova: Russia conducted unauthorized military exercises in Transnistrian Security Zone
The OSCE Mission in Moldova expressed its concern that on August 14 and 15, the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria conducted …
Russians trained in Transnistria – Український мілітарний портал
The press service of the Moldovan mission of the OSCE Special Monitoring Monitor Mission (OSCE) to the OSCE PMM) reported that on August 14 and 15, an operational group of Russian troops in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova carried out unauthorized military exercises that included the Dniester River traffic in the Security Zone.In accordance with its mandate, the OSCE has sent its observers to the appropriate part of the Security Zone, but they have been banned from conducting full monitoring exercises.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

SAS sniper ‘kills ISIS commander from nearly 1.5 MILES away’ | Daily Mail Online
The sergeant killed the Islamic State commander with a .50 Calibre machine gun, shooting him in the chest in northern Afghanistan as the jihadi was midway through briefing his men.
SAS sniper ace kills ISIS boss from 1.1 MILES away with single shot
The kill has been hailed the ‘greatest ever long-range shot’ after it took down a jihadi target
SAS hero sniper takes out ISIS commander with just one bullet from over a MILE AWAY | World | News |
AN SAS sniper killed an ISIS commander with just one bullet from almost a mile-and-a-half away – thought to be the best long-range shot in the elite regiment’s history.
Sniper Shoots ISIS Fighter Dead From Over One Mile Away With 40-Year-Old Gun
“It took several seconds for the round to hit the commander who appeared to fly into several pieces.”
Trump’s Secret War on Terror – Defense One
Drone strikes continue and spread—away from public scrutiny or Congressional oversight.
ISIS remains a regional and global threat despite battlefield losses, Pentagon says – CNNPolitics
ISIS very much remains a threat and is “well positioned” to rebuild, despite being driven to only a few small towns on the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Russia Debates on Expanding Defence Relations with Pakistan
On 31 July 2018, the Pakistan Navy and the Russian Navy signed a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) aiming to enhance “bilateral naval collaboration.”[1] On its heels, discussion has emerged between Russian foreign policy analysts and observers regarding the current state of Russian-Pakistani defence ties and, if it is tenable, the potential scope for growth between the two countries. Konstantin Makienko, the Deputy Director of the Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, outlined that Moscow should “promote [the] Su-35 as actively as possible to Pakistan” in response to India’s growing pursuit of weapons from the United States, Western Europe and Israel (in lieu of Russia).[2] It must be stated that Makienko’s statement is an opinion of his think-tank, not a foreign policy shift from the Kremlin. The common observation of bilateral defence relations between Russia and Pakistan is that it is more limited in scope compared to Moscow’s other bilateral ties. Rather, Russia’s has focused its work with Pakistan to counterinsurgency (COIN) and counterterrorism (CT) cooperation.[3] Simply, Russia’s goal is to maintain its position in India while carving a relatively small, but lucrative market in Pakistan (not just for defence goods, but for energy and other products and services). Thus far, the only big-ticket item of note sold by Russia to Pakistan has been the Mi-35M (i.e. four helicopters), which have been delivered to the Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (PAA).[4] Pakistan is reportedly interested in procuring up to 20 Mi-35M.[5] Otherwise, the balance of Russia’s offerings to Pakistan have been centered on various COIN and CT goods, such as assault rifles and armoured vehicles.[6] Interestingly, there is a report by a co-founder of one of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) that had competed in the Pakistan Army’s new standard-issue assault rifle program claiming that Pakistan had ordered 140,000 Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles from Russia.[7] In June 2016, the Russian News Agency TASS reported (citing an unnamed Pakistani official) that Pakistan would procure “a significant number of AK-103 assault rifles.”[8] If correct, this would align with the competing (and currently applied) view of ties. Ivan Konovalov – i.e. the Director of the Center of Strategic Studies – advised that Moscow continue its targeted approach with Pakistan so as to both continue its (albeit lesser) presence in India as well as build a tenable niche market in Pakistan (for transport helicopters and other areas that would not affect the regional balance in South Asia.[9] On the surface, there is no point in risking the markedly larger – and more frequent – defence contracts in India for comparatively marginal gains in Pakistan. However, could India’s withdrawal from the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program – which was poised to drive development spending of at least $8 billion US alone – have altered the situation to make deeper Russian-Pakistani defence relations tenable? Ultimately, Makienko’s concern stems from the loss of India as a key long-term partner for the FGFA/Su-57 and, in addition, its growing departure from Russia in its short-and-medium-term needs. Unless the Kremlin relaxes its policy to Islamabad, it even risks losing the Pakistani market to “Chinese, South Korean and even Turkish aircraft (or big-ticket items in general).”[10]


Putin asks for urgent summit with Kim Jong-un | World | The Times
President Putin is seeking a summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s state media said today, in what would be the first face-to-face talks between the two leaders.“I affirm that I am ready to meet you at an early date to discuss urgent issues of bilateral relations and important matters of th
US Treasury targets companies in Russia, China for violating North Korea sanctions – CNNPolitics
The US government on Wednesday moved to increase economic pressure on North Korea, adding new sanctions that target one individual and three shipping companies in Singapore, China and Russia for violating restrictions on trade with Pyongyang.
US targets Chinese, Russian firms over North Korea sanctions
The Treasury Department announced new actions Wednesday directed at Chinese and Russian companies that it says facilitated illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea.
Treasury targets Chinese, Russian shipping firms for violating North Korea sanctions | TheHill
The Treasury Department on Wednesday targeted three Chinese, Russian and Singaporean shipping firms for violating financial sanctions meant to cut off foreign aid to North Korea’s economy.
U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Russian, Chinese Firms Over North Korea Trade
The United States has imposed sanctions on three foreign companies it says are helping North Korea with illicit shipments of goods to fund its nuclear program.
Fox News fell for North Korean propaganda – Vox
The host of Fox and Friends humanized North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for visiting for a fish-pickling factory.
Nuclear Test Ban Group Skeptical of North Korea’s Denuclearization Efforts – WSJ
North Korea hasn’t persuaded the world that it is sincere about denuclearization, the head of the global organization tasked with overseeing a ban on nuclear testing said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in calls for closer ties with North Korea
Moon said that the first step would be to physically reconnect road and rail connections with North Korea by the end of the year. He also proposed the creation of an “East Asian Railroad Community.”
South Korea proposes Asian railway community with Pyongyang
The community will reportedly include North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia and South Korea, according to Yonhap News.
Why Is the U.S. Wary of a Declaration to End the Korean War? – The New York Times
Both North Korea and South Korea want to start the process toward a peace treaty in the decades-long war, but Washington is standing in the way.

Judge: ‘Well-planned conspiracy’ to kill Kim Jong-nam | North Korea News | Al Jazeera
Brother of Kim Jong-un was killed with toxic substance in 2017 but women involved say they were unwitting participants.
🇲🇾 Judge: ‘Well-planned conspiracy’ to kill Kim Jong-nam | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Aug 16, 2018 A Malaysian judge has ruled that two women accused of participating in the assassination of the North Korean leader’s estranged brother must mount a defence, setting the stage for a lengthy case, which could last for several more months. The proceedings on Thursday could have ended with the court ordering the release of 25-year-old Indonesian citizen, Siti Aisyah, and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, who is 28. They are accused of killing Kim Jong-nam by smearing a toxic agent, known as VX, on his face while he was at Kuala Lumpur’s airport on February 13, 2017. The women say that they thought they were taking part in a prank for a reality TV show. Defence lawyers said the real culprits had left the country at a hearing last year. South Korean and US officials have said Kim Jong-un’s leadership was behind the death. North Korea denies the allegation. Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi reports from Shah Alam.
Kim Jong-nam murder: ‘Enough evidence’ for women to go on trial – BBC News
The two women are accused of killing Kim Jong-un’s half brother in a bizarre airport ambush.
Murder trial to proceed for women accused of assassinating Kim Jong Un’s half brother
Two women on trial for the brazen assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother were told Thursday to make their defense after the judge found evidence of a “well-planned conspiracy,” extending their murder trial until next year.
Women Accused of Murdering Kim Jong Un’s Half-Brother Could Face Death Penalty; Lawyers Claim They Were Set up by North Korea | KTLA
Two women charged with murdering Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will remain in custody as their lawyers mount a defense against the prosecution’s claims.
Judge: Women Accused of Killing Kim Jong Nam Must Begin Defense Phase – WSJ
Two women accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will need to enter a defense in their murder trial, a Malaysian judge ordered.
Judge may acquit women or call defense in Kim Jong Nam trial | Fox News
Two Southeast Asian women on trial in Malaysia for the brazen assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother could be acquitted Thursday or called to enter their defense in a case that has gripped the world.
Women on Trial for Murder of Kim Jong Nam May Be Acquitted | Time
The two women on trial for the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother could be acquitted or called to enter their defense

U.S. Warns China May Add ‘Nuclear Element’ to South China Sea – Bloomberg
The Pentagon sounded a warning over China’s plans to introduce floating nuclear power plants on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea, part of an annual report assessing the nation’s military strength.
Chinese bombers likely training for US strikes: Pentagon – Channel NewsAsia
The annual report to US Congress highlights China’s growing military, economic and diplomatic clout and how Beijing is leveraging this to rapidly …
China “likely” training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says – CNNPolitics
China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and “likely” training its pilots for missions targeting the US, according to a new Pentagon report.
China’s military ‘likely training for strikes’ on US targets: Pentagon
China has been quietly training its pilots for long-range bomber missions — and the Pentagon now fears that the country is “likely” practicing for World War III.
China warns US plane to ‘leave immediately’
The Chinese military ordered a US Navy plane flying over a highly disputed island in the South China Sea on Friday to “leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding.”
World War 3: WATCH: Chinese military fire WARNING to US Navy near secretive island | World | News |
A US Navy plane was repeatedly warned by the Chinese military to turn around and move away from Beijing’s secretive new islands in the South China Sea. Watch terrifying moment as it was captured on camera.
U.S. Military Sends China Volley of Tweets After Testy Exchange During Navy Reconnaissance Flight
Beijing sent a U.S. navy plane six warnings to turn away from the South China Sea last week.
China threatens foreign ships and planes ‘daily’ in the South China Sea, but no one is yielding any ground | Business Insider
China is threatening foreign ships and planes operating in the South China Sea on a “daily” basis, according to the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
China’s aircraft carriers have glaring weaknesses — but the next carrier could be a ‘huge step forward’ | Business Insider
China angered at new U.S. defense act, to assess content | Reuters
China on Tuesday condemned measures targeting it in a new U.S. defense act, saying it exaggerated antagonism and that Beijing would take a close look at aspects that beef up the role of a U.S. panel that reviews foreign investment proposals.
Beijing furiously protests the new defense act Trump signed into law – Business Insider
After President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Monday, China strongly condemned the measures targeting the country in…
Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents – Foreign Policy
The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought.
U.S., China to Resume Trade Talks as Tariffs Bite – WSJ
Washington and Beijing reached a modest breakthrough in their standoff over trade, saying they will hold lower-level talks later this month on the spiraling dispute.
White House: We may have to kick China out of the WTO
The chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers suggested Monday that the U.S. and other members of the World Trade Organization may have to kick China out of the world trade body if it doesn’t start playing by the rules.
US pushes back on foreign takeover deals – BBC News
The US has strengthened its power to review and block business deals, with an eye to China.
The Unintended Consequences of a Trade War With China – War on the Rocks
After Japan invaded French Indochina in 1940, Franklin Roosevelt began to freeze all Japanese assets and established an oil embargo in August 1941. These
The Chinese street’s view of the trade war: some say they won’t buy U.S. products | Reuters
Chinese officials have been mostly measured and moderate in their response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s ratcheting up of a trade war with Beijing in recent weeks through his announcement of a series of punitive tariffs. They have generally avoided adding to tensions, allowing the Communist Party’s official media to make the most bellicose comments.
Chinese Begin to Vent Discontent With President Xi and His Policies – WSJ
Signs of unease with President Xi Jinping’s leadership have emerged amid public rancor over China’s trade tensions with the U.S., a sluggish economy and public-health and financial scandals.
China Is Going to New Lengths to Surveil Its Own Citizens – Defense One
New tech—including drones disguised as birds—can be a nightmare for Muslims in particular.
What Will Happen When China Dominates the Web
China is set to remake cyberspace in its own image. That will make the Internet less open and allow Beijing to reap vast economic, diplomatic, and security benefits that once flowed to Washington.
Soft-Power Watch: China’s Burgeoning Cultural Institutes in Africa – Defense One
Despite the fact China is building institutions like those European countries have operated for decades, it is their structure which distinguishes them …
Eagle-eyed conspiracy theorists spot bizarre ‘military base’ on Google maps in the middle of the Gobi desert
The strange, circular landing strip was reportedly found in northern China, towards the Mongolian border
Conspiracy theorists spot a bizarre circular shape in the Gobi desert from Google Maps | Daily Mail Online
The strange circular formation, which has been likened to the Stonehenge, was spotted between Kathmandu in Nepal and Mongolia using Google Maps.
China is printing money for countries like Poland and Brazil at ‘full steam’ as it tries to expand its influence on the global economy | Business Insider
China prints foreign currencies on massive scale as costs are cheaper | Daily Mail Online
After launching the ‘Belt and Road initiative’, China has won contracts for money production projects from countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland.

China says claims 1 million Uyghurs imprisoned in camps ‘completely untrue’ – CNN
China has vociferously defended its human rights record at the United Nations, after accusations were made that more than a million Uyghur Muslims have been imprisoned in political reeducation camps.
China has prevented ‘great tragedy’ in Xinjiang, state-run paper says | Reuters
Massively stepped-up security in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang has helped prevent “great tragedy”, a state-run newspaper said on Monday, in the country’s first response to a critical United Nations report on the situation there.
New evidence emerges of China forcing Muslims into ‘reeducation’ camps – The Washington Post
Beijing denies the charge. But families and survivors describe mass detention and forced indoctrination. 
UN Finds ‘Credible Reports’ China Is Holding 1 Million In Secret Camps | HuffPost
A U.N. panel accused China of housing ethnic Uighurs in “a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”
China Uighurs: One million held in political camps, UN told – BBC News
A million ethnic Uighurs may be being held in “re-education centres”, a UN rights panel has heard.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Beijing has Confined One Million Uyghurs in Re-Education Camps, UN Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – The UN Commission for the Liquidation of Racial Discrimination says that the Chinese government has forcibly confined approximately one million Uyghurs in political re-education camps, something Beijing denies but that many visitors to the Xinjiang region confirm ( Guy MacDougal, the vice chairman of the commission, says that “under the pretext of the struggle with religious extremism and the maintenance of social stability, China has transformed the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous District into something that recalls an enormous camp for military prisoners.” The situation may be even more dire than the UN says, Mikhail Kostikov of Kommersant reports. According to the World Uyghur congress, there are not a million Uyghurs confined in such camps but “about three million, who are ‘being subjected to indoctrination’ and ‘do not have access to lawyers’ or ‘contact with relatives.’” Following ethnic clashes in 2009 between the Muslim Uyghurs and the Chinese Beijing has moved into the region to swamp the former and ensure central control, the Chinese authorities imposed tighter controls. But now that period, Uyghurs say, was one of “relative liberalization” because things became much worse after the change in governors in 2016. The new man viewed the Uyghurs as fertile ground for recruitment by ISIS – Beijing says as many as 5,000 members of that nationality have joined ISIS groups — and attacked Uyghurs and other Muslim nationalities there for wearing beards, reading the Koran, attending mosques, or eating according to Islamic strictures. According to sources who have been in the region, the Chinese do not use physical violence against the Uyghurs confined in these camps except for violations of the rules. Instead, they rely on the uncertainty the detainees have about their prospects to instill fears about when they might be released and what will happen to them. What the Chinese authorities are doing is clearly a crime against humanity; but the report about their actions is likely to instill fear among some non-Russian Muslims that Moscow may conclude that if Beijing can get away with this, then the Russian authorities may follow their course, especially at a time when the Kremlin is increasing repression of all non-Russian groups.
China: Xinjiang Camps Are Actually Vocational Schools for Criminals – WSJ
China disputes allegations that it is holding as many as one million Muslim ethnic minorities in internment camps—instead calling them vocational schools—in rare comments before a U.N. panel.
China Uighurs: Beijing denies detaining one million – BBC News
Beijing says reports of mass detentions are untrue, but admits sending some to “re-education centres”.
China’s brutal crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, explained – Vox
A UN panel has said China detains about 1 million in secretive “reeducation camps,” where they face political indoctrination and torture.
How The World Learned China Is Holding Over A Million Muslims In Internment Camps
Regular citizens, reporters and rights groups adapted to get the truth out about China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.

A US ally wants to buy Russian submarines — and the US is not OK with it | Business Insider

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Crony capitalism and corruption in our midst. | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations
Revelations of corruption and actions that look suspiciously like corruption shock us but they shouldn’t: look for corruption in Australia – as in many western democracies – and you will never be disappointed.  It’s as common as other national institutions  – the barbecue or the Akubra – indeed, it’s been normalised. It’s been exceptionally easy…
Australian Senator Calls for ‘Final Solution’ to Muslim Immigration – The New York Times
Leaders across Australia’s political spectrum condemned Senator Fraser Anning, who later said he had not meant to invoke Nazi language.
Australian Lawmaker Refers To ‘Final Solution’ In Push For Muslim Immigration Ban : NPR
In his maiden speech, newly minted Sen. Fraser Anning of the far-right Katter’s Australian Party called for a revival of long-rescinded racially based immigration policies.
The Abuse Scandal Rocking Australia’s Special Operations Forces – Foreign Policy
Recently, a series of disturbing allegations about the conduct of the Australian Army’s special operations forces in Afghanistan have made for gruesome domestic headlines. Individually, each claim is staggering: apparent execution of detainees; reported use of so-called drop weapons, planted to cover up unlawful killings; confirmed reports of commandos flying a Nazi flag on a combat patrol; alleged “blooding” of rookies, initiation rites in which newcomers were pressured to execute unarmed men. In one particularly sadistic case, a prosthetic limb was allegedly pilfered from the corpse of a dead Afghan, only to be repatriated and repurposed as a novelty binge-drinking implement. Taken together, the allegations appear to reveal a devastating collapse of standards within Australia’s special operations forces. This is not the first time Australia’s Special Operations Command has been the subject of intense scrutiny. In the last two years alone, the Australian Defence Force has commissioned no less than three internal inquiries into culture and behavior within the command, each with its own separate framework: cultural, legal, and institutional. The first of these investigations, led by a sociologist named Samantha Crompvoets, began as a more innocuous cultural study, a research drive into the negative impacts of what many within the Defence Department had regarded as an overtasking of Australian special operations forces in the post-9/11 era. Rumors had been circulating for years that a noxious climate of leadership failures, unaccountability, and even of criminal misconduct had made the Special Operations Command a greenhouse for systemic dysfunction. In particular, the so-called beret wars—the internal rivalry between the army’s various commando units—had reached critical mass, poisoning the good relations between each outfit and spurring unsavory competitions based on metrics such as kill counts. When the digging was done, Crompvoets’s report seemed to suggest that the problems within the Special Operations Command were deep; in particular, that some soldiers had used illegal violence on operations and that a systemic values shift among both troops and their commanders had occurred. Soldiers were observing the laws of war only situationally, it appeared, sometimes adapting them after the fact to fit the circumstances of a violent engagement.
Australia orders 211 Boxer wheeled armoured vehicles – Defence Blog
Australia has awarded Rheinmetall an order for 211 Boxer wheeled armoured vehicles worth a total of €2.1 billion (AUD3.3 billion). The contract was signed at Parliament House in Canberra today by the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and the Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia Gary Stewart. Delivery of the advanced 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) will take place between 2019 and 2026. The selection of the Boxer CRV ensures Rheinmetall will play a key role in the comprehensive modernisation of the Australia’s armed forces. Mr Turnbull first announced his government’s intention to order the fleet of Boxer vehicles in March 2018. Rheinmetall AG Chief Executive Armin Papperger said it was a great honour for the company to be chosen as a partner by the Australian Government at such an important time for the ADF. “This demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, the continued successful cooperation between Rheinmetall and the Government and Armed Forces of Australia,” Mr Papperger said. “As a company, we are extremely pleased to have secured one of the biggest orders in the recent history of Rheinmetall.
Estimating Dorado’s Recoverable Reserves | The Wentworth Report
Estimating Dorado’s Recoverable Reserves by David Archibald 17 August 2018   Australia has a security problem concerning liquid fuels. We now import half of the petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel, etc. that we consume. Even if we produced as much oil as we consumed, we wouldn’t be able to refine it with only four refineries…

Foreign Policy Reports

Nord Stream 2 submits application for route bypassing Danish territorial waters | UNIAN
Nord Stream 2 AG has handed in an application and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the Danish Energy Agency for a route passing through the Danish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to the north-west of Bornholm. This application will not substitute the current application which was filed in April 2017.
UAWire – Ukrainian President: Nord Stream is Kremlin’s Trojan horse to European energy security
President Petro Poroshenko believes that the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 is Kremlin’s Trojan horse to the European energy and geopolitical security. “The refusal to implement the project within the Third Energy Package of the EU and Gazprom’s and intentional failure to carry out decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Court on Ukraine’s cases are clear and unambiguous signals of the true meaning of the pipeline and its potentially catastrophic consequences for the European Union,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page.
UAWire – EU to shut doors of citizenship to wealthy Russians
The mass sale of European citizenship to wealthy Russians and natives of former USSR states has caused dissatisfaction among the EU authorities. The practice of issuing “golden visas” and “golden passports” in exchange for investments in property must be stopped, said European Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová. According to her, new rules restricting the inflow into the EU of migrants with suspicious sources of capital will be drafted and published in September. “In recent years, an increasing number of EU countries have been offering citizenship to people if they invest large sums of money,” Jourová said, adding that Brussels is monitoring the issue “with great circumspection”. She added that, by acquiring citizenship, “criminals threaten Europe’s security, or want to launder their capital here”. “The EU must not become a refuge for corruption and dirty money,” Jourová said, emphasizing that “several member countries must do more to avoid granting citizenship”. As Der Spiegel reported, the European Commission has its sights on Greece, Cyprus and Malta, which actively trade in passports, whose primary buyers are Russians and citizens of former Soviet republics.
Germany says Trump’s tariffs, sanctions destroy jobs and growth | Reuters
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has sharply criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs and sanctions policies, saying such measures were destroying jobs and growth and that Europe would not bow to U.S. pressure regarding Iran.
Russian, German Leaders To Meet This Week For Talks On Ukraine, Syria, Energy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin on August 18 for the second time in just over three months, her government says.
Putin To Attend Austrian Minister’s Wedding This Week
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be a guest at this week’s wedding of Austria’s top diplomat, the Kremlin has confirmed.
Israeli’s Netanyahu rips Jeremy Corbyn over images showing politician laying wreath at terrorist gravesite | Fox News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tore into British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn Monday, calling for “unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between” – after images surfaced of Corbyn laying a wreath near the graves of a terrorist group who killed 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Anti-Semitism is so bad in Britain that some Jews are planning to leave – CNN
For months, accusations of anti-Semitism have dogged Britain’s Labour Party and its leader, even as incidents of anti-Semitism are near record levels.
Zakharova: Don’t Believe Reports About Russia’s Destructive Media Influence In Serbia
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic visited the town of Guca on August 10 to attend Serbia’s famous trumpet festival at which Zakharova was named an honorary guest. Speaking to journalists, she said not to believe in reports of Russia’s destructive influence and propaganda in Serbia.
Bosnian Serb Leader Denies Scope Of Srebrenica Massacre, Calls For Investigation
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has disputed whether the 1995 Srebrenica massacre was a genocide committed against Muslim Bosniaks, and called for the forming of an “unbiased” international inves…
Europe Needs Its Own Charles de Gaulle – Foreign Policy
There’s nothing wrong with today’s European Union that France’s legendary 20th-century leader didn’t see coming—and didn’t try to fix when he had the chance.
Days after a bizarre drone attack, Venezuela’s government may be getting ready for another crackdown on the military | Business Insider
The days since an August 4 drone attack on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have yielded few solid details about the perpetrators, but Maduro’s government appears to be moving ahead with efforts to consolidate power and neutralise rivals.

Bucharest Protesters Keep Up Pressure On Government
Despite the sweltering heat and the start of a long weekend, groups of hardcore demonstrators gathered again outside the government building in Bucharest for a sixth night in a row on August 15.
Dozens Injured As Romanian Locals, Expats Rally Against Corruption
Police used tear gas against a rally of anticorruption protesters in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, with at least 34 people being injured, including three security personnel.
Romanians Hit Streets Again For Antigovernment Protests
Thousands of Romanians rallied for the third night in a row, protesting against corruption and demanding the resignation of the current government.
Romania protests: Thousands hold fresh rallies after clashes – BBC News
Thousands stage anti-government rallies in Bucharest and other cities after clashes on Friday.
Thousands of Romanians protested corruption and police responded with force – The Washington Post
Tens of thousands of Romanians took to the streets of Bucharest to call for the government to resign.

Invasion: The Crushing Of The Prague Spring
Fifty years ago, the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia killed more than 100 people and shattered that country’s attempts to reform communist rule.
‘A Terrible Panic’: Czech Photographer ‘Haunted’ By 1968 Invasion
When Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia 50 years ago, crushing the period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring, a young photographer named Libor Hajsky captured scenes of violence and fear — as well as moments of empathy and dark humor.
1968: How The Soviet Union Crushed The Prague Spring
Fifty years ago, Soviet-led forces rolled into Czechoslovakia, ending reform efforts to create “socialism with a human face.”
Soldier Meets Prisoner, 50 Years After Invasion Of Czechoslovakia
One was a Soviet soldier during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the other was imprisoned for protesting it. Now they meet in Prague. This report is based on a documentary, Spring ’68, by RFE/RL’s Ukrainian service.
Czech communists confront bitter legacy of Prague Spring | World news | The Guardian
As Soviet-led invasion’s 50th anniversary looms, party faces renewed hostility. …. “If the same thing happened today, it’s likely they would have the same reaction. You can see it in their defence of Russian foreign policy and their support for the annexation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. There’s a pattern connecting what’s happening today with ’68.” The KSČMX, a successor to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia founded in 1921, refutes such accusations as a falsification of history, fabricated by opponents to demonise it and present-day Russia. The party’s leader, Vojtěch Filip, 63, a lawyer who joined the party in 1983 at the height of the cold war, spoke to the Guardian in the Czech parliament. In his office a sign on the wall in English read: “Where nothing goes right, go left.”He insisted that Russia hadplayed little part in the invasion. “One hundred per cent [the history of 1968] is being falsified. Nobody will write that the whole idea is being based on the position against Russia,” he said. “But the politburo of the Soviet Union at that time had only one pure Russian, and he voted against [the invasion]. [The Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev was from Ukraine. The major force of the invading armies were Ukrainian.”
Klimkin: accusations of Czech communist against Ukrainians absurd –
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called claims of the head of Czech communist party Vojtěch Fillip that Ukrainians suppressed the Prague Spring a complete absurd. He wrote this on his Facebook page. Earlier Czech communist party’s leader, Vojtěch Filip in the interview for The Guardian said that not Russia, but Ukrainians head of the USSR and Ukrainian soldiers of the Soviet Army are responsible for suppressing the “Prague Spring” of 1968. “One hundred per cent [the history of 1968] is being falsified. Nobody will write that the whole idea is being based on the position against Russia,” he said. “But the politburo of the Soviet Union at that time had only one pure Russian, and he voted against [the invasion]. [The Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev was from Ukraine. The major force of the invading armies were Ukrainian.” In its turn, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reminded that in Ukraine communist ideology is banned along with the Nazi one. “I have long been wondering: why are the Communist Parties that still remain in some countries so fascinated by romantic communist ideas? Because the regime of Soviet Union fake communism has long been gone, and modern Russia is a vivid example of economic inequality and social injustice, where a handful people close to the authorities are rich, and the poor are poor,” Klimkin wrote. “Obviously, the reason is not in communism or ideology, but in the nature of Russian totalitarianism, which in principle is unchanged under all regimes – tsarist, communist or Putin. Apparently, the Communists continue to see something endearing in the current Russian regime,” the Foreign Minister added. Regarding the accusation against the Ukrainians that they are allegedly guilty of suppressing the Prague Spring, Klimkin said it was a complete absurdity. “Ukrainians suffered from the communist regime and, by the way, were also oppressed for many centuries. However, it was Ukrainians who in the former USSR actively protested against the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and showed solidarity with the Czechs and Slovaks. The names of Mustafa Dzhemilev, Vasyl Makukh, Zoryan Popadyuk are known to everyone, but not to the Czech Communists for whom unfortunately “Moscow is speaking,” Klimkin noted. While the votes of the 15 Communist MPs are essential to keeping the coalition between Babiš’ ANO party and the Social Democrats (ČSSD) in office, the arrangement masks the party’s political weakness, say analysts. Its declining membership has an average age of 75, older than the country’s average life expectancy. In last year’s parliamentary election, the KSČM received7.8% of the vote, its worse share since 1990. As it was reported earlier, the Ukrainian Embassy in the Czech Republic is outraged due to Czech MPs visiting the Russian-annexed Crimea. The embassy reminded that the UN General Assembly passed the respective resolution (№.68/262 from March 27, 2014), in which it confirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and urges the member countries to avoid any actions, which may be interpreted as the change of status of Ukraine’s Crimea.
Leonid Brezhnev – Wikipedia
Brezhnev was born on 19 December 1906 in Kamenskoye, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire (now Kamianske, Ukraine), to metalworker Ilya Yakovlevich Brezhnev and his wife, Natalia Denisovna Mazalova. His parents used to live in Brezhnevo (Kursky District, Kursk Oblast, Russia) before moving to Kamenskoe. Brezhnev’s ethnicity was specified as Ukrainian in main documents including his passport,[3][4][5] and Russian in some others.[6][7] Like many youths in the years after the Russian Revolution of 1917, he received a technical education, at first in land management and then in metallurgy. He graduated from the Kamenskoye Metallurgical Technicum in 1935[8] and became a metallurgical engineer in the iron and steel industries of eastern Ukraine.
Vasily Margelov – Wikipedia
Vasily Markelov (later changed to Margelov due to a spelling error) was born on 27 December 1906 in the city of Dnipro, Ukraine, the son of Belarusian immigrants Filipp Ivanovich Markelov and Agata Stepanovna.[5][N 1] His father, Filipp Markelov, worked in an iron foundry.[7][N 2] In 1913, the Markelov family returned to Belarus and settled in Kastsyukovichy, the hometown of Margelov’s father,[9] where he graduated from the local parochial school in the mid-1910s.[10] As a teenager, he worked as a loader and a carpenter. In the same year, he became an apprentice in a tanning shop and soon became an assistant master. In 1923, Margelov became a laborer in a local bakery. There is some evidence that Margelov graduated from the School of Rural Youth[11] and worked as a forwarder in local mail delivery.[12] From 1924, Margelov worked in the Kalinin mine at Ekaterinoslav. In 1925, he returned to Belarus and worked as a forester in the timber industry in Kostiukovichi. In 1927, he became the chairman of the working committee of the timber industry and was elected to the local council.[13]

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports

Trump ends Obama-era rules on US-led cyberattacks: report | TheHill
President Trump has reportedly rolled back a series of Obama-era classified rules on how the U.S. government can launch cyberattacks on foreign targets.
Nakasone confirms special Russia unit
Gen. Paul Nakasone during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum July 21, confirmed reports that he stood up a special unit charged with taking on Russian attempts to interfere with American elections in the future.
A Plan for Securing Cyberspace
The U.S government needs to play a more assertive role in protecting the public from digital threats, just as it protects it from conventional ones.
The plan to lock feds in a cyber escape room
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency wants to use escape rooms to teach its employees better cyber practices.
America’s new intelligence research chief wants to predict cyberattacks. Can it work?
In her first comments as IARPA chief, the new director of the intelligence community’s research arm emphasized machine learning to forecast cyberattacks.
Russian Military Spy Software is on Hundreds of Thousands of Home Routers – Defense One
In May, the Justice Department told Americans to reboot their routers. But there\’s more to do — and NSA says it\’s up to device makers and the public.
Why hacking – successful or not – can lead to a crisis of confidence about election security
The Department of Homeland Security is worried about data security and confidence in the voting process during the upcoming midterm elections, a top official said at the Black Hat conference.
Read what Mattis said about election security and offensive cyber
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday acknowledged that Russia made attempts to influence the 2016 election and outlined ― more or less ― how the Pentagon is helping states bolster their election cybersecurity efforts.
Hey Google, could my cellphone be hacked?
Millions of cellphones worldwide using the Android platform could be vulnerable to access without a user’s knowledge, according to a new report.
As Russians hack the US grid, a look at what’s needed to protect it
The U.S. electricity grid is hard to defend because of its enormous size and heavy dependency on digital communication and computerized control software. The number of potential targets is growing as “internet of things” devices, such as smart meters, solar arrays and household batteries, connect to smart grid systems.
FBI eyes plethora of cyberthreats along the Mississippi
Giant cranes loading and unloading gargantuan barges. Oil tankers, supply vessels and pipelines serving a vital energy industry. Flood control structures. Chemical plants. Cruise ships. Drinking water sources. All computer-reliant and tied in some way to the internet. All of them vulnerable to cyber thieves, hackers and terrorists.
An 11-Year-Old Hacked a Mock Florida Election Site in 10 Minutes – Defense One
The hacking event was part of a hands-on workshop within the larger cybersecurity conference.
How hackers can defeat cyber deception methods
Effective cyber deception requires believability and diversity of information. But closely inspecting the data can defeat any spoofing attempt.
How self-driving vehicles are protected from hacks
Car companies are designing autonomous vehicles that can thwart hacks by having a reduced surface attack area, have encrypted internal communications and use their own mapping, according to top researchers.
Russian hackers attack Instagram – media – 15.08.2018 15:58 — Ukrinform News
A widespread hacking campaign that appears to stem from Russia is affecting hundreds of Instagram users, leaving people locked out of their accounts, British online newspaper The Independent has said.
UAWire – Media: Germany plans to establish government agency for developing cyber weapons
The German Federal government plans to establish a state agency for the development of cyber weapons at the initiative of the Ministry of …
Federal supply-chain threats quietly growing
There’s a lot of emphasis on cyber threats, but the government is increasingly vulnerable to gaps in supply-chain security.
Reports of election site hacking rankle Florida officials
It may be child’s play or signs of a serious problem, but either way Florida election officials are pushing back against reports that an 11-year-old hacked a replica of the state’s election website.
Hackers Find Scores of Vulnerabilities in Marine Corps Websites – Defense One
The Pentagon’s latest bug-bounty contest continues a successful run of hack-the-military efforts.
Impact Of Facebook’s False Posts Is Difficult To Measure : NPR
Facebook determined that some of the event pages organizing last weekend’s counter-protests were fake and took them down. How that affected genuine organizing efforts is hard to assess.
The NGA Plans to Lock Employees In a Room Until They Learn Cyber Hygiene – Defense One
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will be locking employees in escape rooms to test their knowledge of cybersecurity.
Tomorrow’s Intelligent Malware Will Attack When It Sees Your Face – Defense One
IBM researchers have injected viruses with neural nets, making them stealthier and precisely targetable.
Experts predict countries will use smart devices to launch cyberattacks
Security professionals and experts surveyed at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas expressed concerns as increasingly more

Russian-backed separatists are using terrifying text messages to shock adversaries — and it’s changing the face of warfare | Business Insider
As the war in eastern Ukraine rages on, so too does Russia’s invasive electronic warfare – and it’s changing how war is fought by sending threats to individual soldier’s phones, and those of their families.
What You Found In 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets | FiveThirtyEight
Last week, FiveThirtyEight published nearly 3 million tweets sent by handles affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll factory.” That group…
GOP lawmaker: Russian meddling fanned the flames in Charlottesville – CNNPolitics
Republican Rep. Tom Garrett said Saturday that he was told during a briefing with the FBI director that Russian meddling played in a role in “fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville,” Virginia, one year ago, when a white nationalist rally turned violent and resulted in the death of a counterprotester. Group wants a sweeping decriminalization, Putin demands more ‘positivity,’ and a Moscow investigator surprises – To Inform is to Influence
Meduza 08:31, 15 August 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 This day in history. On August 15, 1990, Soviet rock legend Viktor Tsoi died in a traffic collision in Latvia. He was 28 years old. Vkontake’s parent company asks Russian officials to decriminalize harmless Internet content Putin says Russia needs more ‘positivity’ on social media Vkontakte says…
Ecosystem or Echo-System? Exploring Content Sharing across Alternative Media Domains – To Inform is to Influence
Ecosystem or Echo-System? Exploring Content Sharing across Alternative Media Domains Kate Starbird, Ahmer Arif, Tom Wilson, Katherine Van Koevering, Katya Yefimova & Daniel Scarnecchia Abstract This research examines the competing narratives about the role and function of Syria Civil Defence, a volunteer humanitarian organization popularly known as the White Helmets, working in war-torn Syria. Using…
Meet the Indiana dad who hunts Russian trolls – To Inform is to Influence
By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN Updated 2051 GMT (0451 HKT) August 13, 2018 Bloomington, Indiana (CNN) When it comes to hobbies, Josh Russell concedes he gets a little obsessive. No matter his interest, be it videogames or miniature figurine board games, he always wants to be the best. Perhaps that explains the dedication he’s shown to his latest pastime:…
Work with us or die, Facebook executive tells media | News | The Times
Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about you and if you don’t co-operate with Facebook your business will die, one of the company’s executives told news publishers. The comments — which Facebook alleges were misquoted — came in a four-hour off-the-record meeting between Campbell Brown, its head of news
The Data Arms Race Is No Excuse for Abandoning Privacy – Foreign Policy
Tech competition is being used to push a dangerous corporate agenda.
How to get away with fraud: the successful techniques of scamming
Australians have lost more than $76 million to fraud so far this year. These are the tactics that online offenders use to dupe their victims.

Does the US have what it takes to be No. 1 in electronic warfare?
According to one top U.S. general, the capabilities are there, they just need to be practiced on a more consistent basis. Others, however, are worried about the EW race.
Rapid Equipping Force to deliver new electronic warfare platforms
Forces Command will be getting a new fleet of electronic warfare tactical vehicles this fall.
A critical top secret intel network needs to evolve
Military officials rely on the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, but voiced it is being stretched beyond its initial capacity.

US Domestic Policy Reports

Against Identity Politics | Francis Fukuyama
Democratic societies are fracturing into segments based on ever-narrower identities, threatening the possibility of deliberation and collective action by society as a whole. Unless liberal democracies can work their way back to more universal understandings of human dignity, they will doom themselves—and the world—to continuing conflict.
GOP lawmaker: Russian meddling fanned the flames in Charlottesville – media | UNIAN
Republican Rep. Tom Garrett said Saturday that he was told during a briefing with the FBI director that Russian meddling played in a role in “fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville,” Virginia, one year ago, when a white nationalist rally turned violent and resulted in the death of a counterprotester. Garrett, a member of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees, said that Russian interference is “seeking to pit Americans against Americans to undermine confidence in Western-style democracies.”
We Regret to Inform You That Russia Is (Probably) At It Again – Defense One
For Putin and company, election season in America is open season for meddling.
Sen. Nelson: ‘Foolish’ to deny Russian election system penetration
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson isn’t backing down from comments that Russian operatives have penetrated some of his state’s election systems ahead of this year’s crucial election.
Election apocalypse: Could Russians actually hack the 2018 midterms? It’s entirely possible |
Shifting a few votes in a few districts could be enough — and if hackers are subtle, they’ll get away with it
As U.S. unleashes sanctions, Americans view Russia as bigger threat than Iran: Reuters poll | Reuters
Americans view Russia as a greater threat than Iran, Reuters/Ipsos opinion polls showed, as the Trump administration this week reintroduced sanctions on Tehran and slapped new ones on Moscow.
Americans’ biggest threat: Russian, not Iran – Business Insider
A new poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that fear of Russia has been rising among Americans since 2015, no doubt spurred on by Russia’s alleged interference in the…
Trump’s foreign policy is actually boosting America’s standing
A story is supposed to have  two sides, but there is only  one when it comes to President Trump’s foreign policy. Most American media treat his every…

President Trump to sign defense authorization bill bearing John McCain’s name – ABC News
The president will be visiting upstate New York on Monday.
New defense budget bill foresees US-Israel counter-drone cooperation
The cooperation will identify “capability gaps” of the U.S. and Israel in countering UAVs and seek out projects to address those gaps to strengthen U.S. and Israeli security.
Trump signals he may ignore Russia provisions in defense bill he just signed
U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement he reserves the right to ignore the defense authorization law’s ban on U.S. recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, among 50 other provisions.
Opinion: Does The U.S. Meet NATO’s Defense Spending Guideline? | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week
Figuring out the appropriate NATO defense commitment is more complicated than simple division.
State Department concerned over Russian satellite’s behavior
A Russian satellite made a series of maneuvers in October 2017 that was “inconsistent
Space Force Is Trump’s Answer to New Russian and Chinese Weapons – Foreign Policy
But creating a new service branch is seen as a slap in the face to the Air Force.
TML Space Force General INTV 081018.mp4 | Powered by Box
Donald Trump’s Space Force addresses China talking as if it owns space – INSIDER
“While other nations increasingly possess the capability to operate in space, not all of them share our commitment to freedom, to private property, and the rule of law,” Vice President Mike Pence said in a clear dig at China that forebodes space conflicts.
How much will the Space Force cost, and what’s it going to look like?
More works needs to be done to figure out how the Space Force will fit into the Defense Department.
MDA director provides rough sketch of possible space-based missile defense sensor layer
What does the Missile Defense Agency director envision for a space-based missile defense layer? Here’s a look.
Mattis defends reversing his stance on Trump’s ‘Space Force’ | TheHill
Defense Secretary James Mattis on Sunday offered his support for the Trump administration’s proposed “Space Force,” and defended his stance after having urged lawmakers to oppose it a year ago.
Pentagon chief Mattis defends his reversal on Space Force – ABC News
Mattis calls Space Force the right way for Pentagon to approach space.
Pentagon chief defends his reversal on Space Force, says it’s the right thing to do
Mattis says he wanted to define what’s needed before rushing in to it.
First U.S. Air Force Rapid Response Hypersonic Weapon: AGM-183A | Defense content from Aviation Week
As China announces tests of another hypersonic vehicle, the U.S. Air Force is revealing new details of its accelerating hypervelocity weapons development strategy as well as concepts for potential space-based surveillance systems to provide early warning. The Chinese vehicle, dubbed Starry Sky 2, was tested on Aug. 3 at Mach 5.5-6 at an altitude of 100,000 ft. Launched by rocket from the ground, and developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, it is a waverider design that rides the shockwave attached to the leading edge to increase lift and lower induced drag. The boost-glide demonstrator was designed primarily to test guidance, navigation and control, thermal management and separation from the booster under high dynamic pressure. Disclosure of the Starry Sky 2 test comes as the U.S. Air Force continues to step up work on fast-track hypersonic weapons development in response to the growing threat of a new generation of Chinese and Russian hypervelocity systems. The first of the Air Force systems is the newly designated AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). A development and production contract for the weapon was awarded to Florida-based Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
USAF Official in Charge of A-10s Says Re-Wing Program Is “Not Going to Happen” – The Drive
At a certain point, political opposition may not be enough to prevent more than 100 Warthogs from ending up unflyable.
Trump’s military parade could cost more than $90 million | Reuters
A military parade requested by U.S. President Donald Trump could cost more than $90 million, a U.S. official said, citing provisional planning figures, nearly three times an earlier White House estimate.