Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (165)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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There are two major threads in the global media related to Russia, and both are catastrophic for the Russian propaganda machine. The Vozhd’s personal attack on Col. Skripal has gone literally viral in the global media, guaranteeing that sales of Urban’s new book, The Skripal Files (ISBN 9781529006889), will be no less viral – evidently, this was pitched to a domestic audience, and damn the global impact and political costs. The second thread has been a coordinated series of statements by UK and AUS political leaders, stating that Russia’s GRU is conducting a global cyberwar campaign, citing four case studies, with the intent to “… undermine Western democracies.”  Kirillova produces an excellent summary of contemporary Russian propaganda practices, understandable even to dummies in Western media – notable is the extent to which Russia has departed the Soviet model and wholly internalized the NSDAP model. Felgenhauer on nukes in Crimea. EU clamps down on Russian money laundering, while the US investigates Danske Bank for same. Multiple pronouncements on Russian energy exports, suggesting genuine fear in Muscovy. New report on permafrost melting suggests a major infrastructure breakdown is now unavoidable across Northern Russia. More on Russia’s internal woes.

Salisbury related news is no less interesting. Dutch security disrupts Russian attempt to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Col. Skripal, described by Urban as staunchly nationalistic and dismissive of Ukrainians (very common attitude in Russian emigres) apparently had difficulty believing that the GRU had tried to kill him and his daughter. Multiple reports on Col. Chepiga’s ops in Ukraine, and a former senior Ukrainian security official expected to testify on Chepiga’s extraction operation in Kyiv. Turkish media convinced that Chepiga assassinated a famous Chechen commander inside Turkey. Former MP Ponomarev predicts a stellar career for Chepiga and his subordinate in Russian politics, under the Chekist regime. UK Minister of State for Security at Home Office, Wallace, reported to have signed a collaboration agreement with Ukraine’s SBU.

Iran update.

Multiple reports on Israel and the new Syrian S-300PM2 / SA-10B systems. DefBlog argues that Israeli AF exercises in Greece, who operate the earlier S-300PMU1 / SA-20A, and Bulgaria, who operate the S-300PMU / SA-10B, were intended to gather electronic intelligence and develop tactics to defeat the S-300PM2 / SA-10B system. Russia releases BUFF IMINT from Syria as a propaganda stunt.


Putin urges American political elites to ‘calm down’ on Russian election meddling – YouTube

PBS NewsHour Published on Oct 3, 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a pointed verbal attack on the U.S. while speaking with special correspondent Ryan Chilcote in Moscow Wednesday. He called concerns about Russian meddling in the upcoming 2018 elections “insanity” and he criticized some Trump administration policies. Nick Schifrin talks with special correspondent Ryan Chilcote, who spoke at length with Putin.

Putin: Skripal Not Rights Defender, But ‘Traitor’ and ‘Scumbag’ (VIDEO) – Sputnik International

The Russian Energy Week in Moscow is set to be attended by over 6,000 guests from over 70 countries, with energy companies coming from Austria, Germany, China, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France and the US.

Skripal is a ‘traitor & scum,’ not some rights activist – Putin — RT World News

In a rare personal comment on the Sergei Skripal scandal, Russian President Vladimir Putin lambasted the former double agent as a “traitor” and “scum.” The sooner the media noise around Skripal ends, the better, Putin said.

New Book Allegedly Sheds Light on Skripals’ Life After Poisoning – Sputnik International

In a book entitled, “The Skripal Files,” BBC journalist Mike Urban has described the former Russian intelligence officer as an “unashamed nationalist,” who initially refused to believe that he could have been the target of a Kremlin “murder plot” in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning.

‘Typical mistake of any empire’: US undermines dollar by imposing sanctions globally – Putin — RT Business News

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Washington is making a “colossal” but “typical” mistake by imposing sanctions around the world and exploiting its dollar dominance, warning there will be consequences.

Putin: Skripal is traitor and scum

The Russian leader believes that the scandal around the Skripal files is exaggerated. President Vladimir Putin spoke at a meeting of the Russian Energy Week in Moscow and stated that the scandal associated with the Skripal files is being artificially inflated, while the ex-spy is a traitor to the motherland. Russia 24 is broadcasting the event. “As for the Skripals, this is just another spy scandal that is being theatrically exaggerated. Skripal is just a spy. Betrayer of the nation. It’s a thing, you know, a betrayer of the nation. There it is, one of those. <…> He’s just a scum, the sooner the campaign around him is over, the better,” the head of state said.

Putin Calls Poisoned Former Double Agent Skripal A ‘Traitor’ And A ‘Scumbag’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lashed out at Sergei Skripal, the former Russian intelligence officer whom Britain accuses Moscow of poisoning with a weapons-grade nerve agent in England, calling him a “traitor” and a “scumbag.”

Skripal is just a scumbag and traitor, says Putin | News | The Times

President Putin has launched an extraordinary personal attack on Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent, calling him “a scumbag” and a “traitor”.Mr Putin also furiously denied British allegations that Russian secret agents tried to kill Mr Skripal with the novichok nerve agent.“I see that s

Putin brands Skripal a scumbag and traitor | The Times

President Putin denounced Sergei Skripal as a scumbag and a traitor yesterday as Britain accused Russian military intelligence of carrying out a vast cybercampaign against western targets.Mr Putin’s outburst came days after one of Mr Skripal’s poisoners was unmasked as a decorated colonel in Russia

Putin calls poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal a ‘scumbag’ and ‘traitor’ – Independent.ie

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Sergei Skripal, a Russian former double agent poisoned in Britain, was a scumbag who betrayed Russia.

Putin Calls Sergei Skripal Traitor and Scumbag – Bloomberg

The Russian president repeated denials that his country was responsible for the attack.

Putin labels poisoned spy Sergei Skripal a ‘scumbag’ and ‘traitor’ | Metro News

‘Think about it as a citizen, what would be your attitude to someone who betrayed your own country? He’s just a scumbag.’

Vladimir Putin calls Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal a traitor and “scumbag” – CBS News

Russian president condemns former double agent, restating his insistence that Russia had nothing to do with the nerve agent attack in Britain

Putin lashes out at poisoned ex-spy for first time, calls him ‘scumbag’ and ‘traitor’ – National | Globalnews.ca

Wednesday’s remarks marked the first time Putin directly lashed out at Sergei Skripal, who spent weeks hospitalized with his daughter after both were poisoned in the city of Salisbury in March.

Putin calls poisoned ex-spy Skripal a scumbag and traitor | Reuters

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent poisoned in Britain, a scumbag who had betrayed Russia.

Putin calls poisoned ex-spy Skripal a ‘traitor’ and ‘scumbag’ | News | Al Jazeera

In his toughest remarks on the poisoning case to date, Russian president says Skripal is a “traitor to the homeland”.

Vladimir Putin: Sergei Skripal Is a Scumbag and a Traitor – The Daily Beast

Russian president goes after former Kremlin spy who was nearly killed by a nerve-agent attack.

Vladimir Putin brands Sergei Skripal a ‘traitor’ in furious attack on poisoned spy

The former double agent and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a public bench in Salisbury in March

Skripal poisoning: Putin denounces ex-spy as ‘scumbag’ – BBC News

Russia’s president complains the media are spending too much time on the man poisoned in Salisbury.

Russia news: Vladimir Putin slams Sergei Skripal as ‘SCUMBAG’ | World | News | Express.co.uk

VALADIMIR Putin has blasted Sergei Skripal, the former double-agent who was poisoned in Salisbury, as a “scumbag” and a “traitor to the homeland” in a shock outburst.

Vladimir Putin calls Salisbury poisoning victim Sergei Skripal a ‘scumbag’ in shock interview – Mirror Online

Putin denied any Russian involvement in the Salisbury affair that saw Skripal and his daughter Yulia poisoned with Novichok and led to one local dying

Putin Labels Sergei Skripal ‘A Scumbag’

Around 100 UK military personnel are currently helping with the general decontamination of Salisbury.

Putin Has One Word for Skripal: ‘Scumbag’

Vladimir Putin has previously addressed the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, but never quite like this. When asked on Wednesday about sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of the attack,… World News Summaries. | Newser

Vladimir Putin brands Sergei Skripal a ‘traitor’ in furious attack on poisoned spy | Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin today claimed a former spy poisoned in Britain had betrayed the motherland –  branding Sergei Skripal a “scumbag”.

Putin calls Skripal a ‘traitor to the motherland’ as he laughs off accusations against Russian suspects 

Vladimir Putin has called Sergei Skripal a “traitor to the motherland” and scoffed at allegations Moscow poisoned him in his first comments since one suspect was outed as a Russian military intelligence colonel.

Putin calls Sergey Skripal a ‘scumbag’ and a ‘traitor to his homeland’ — Meduza

Speaking on Wednesday at the Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow, Vladimir Putin called former GRU officer Sergey Skripal a “scumbag” and a “traitor to his homeland,” referring to the double agent who spied for the British before being arrested for treason and later swapped with the West. In March 2018, Skripal was nearly killed in an apparent assassination attempt allegedly by Russian intelligence agents.

Vladimir Putin: Poisoned ex-spy Skripal betrayed Russia – UPI.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned this year in Britain, betrayed his country.

‘Simply A Scumbag’: Putin Calls Ex-Spy Skripal A ‘Traitor’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lashed out at former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, calling him a “scumbag” and “traitor to his homeland.” Putin made the comments on October 3 at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow. Britain accuses Russia of poisoning Skripal with a weapons-grade nerve agent in England.

Reporters Dox Putin’s Top Secret Hitmen Team

As Russian would-be assassins’ cover story crumbles, Putin tells the world their target is a ‘scumbag’ who had it coming.

Columnist Oleg Kashin warns that Russians who are helping to unmask the Salisbury suspects have chosen the ‘wrong side’ — Meduza

In a new op-ed for Republic, columnist Oleg Kashin argues that Russians face a moral dilemma when assisting in the exposure of Russian intelligence agents working abroad. Kashin posits two scenarios that test Russians’ relationship with their state: (1) an undercover cop embedded in a social group, and (2) a secret agent working against foreign operatives. The first situation is modeled explicitly on the controversial criminal case against the “New Greatness” extremist movement (where undercover police officers allegedly set up several young people for felony charges), and the latter is based on the unmasking of the two Salisbury attack suspects as GRU officers. In the former case, Kashin says, outing the cop’s true identity is unambiguously the right choice for Russian civilians, as it could keep innocents out of jail. The same isn’t true, when it comes to helping foreigners, Kashin argues. “There are no moral grounds for siding with foreigners in the Russian state’s confrontations with other states. No state in the world is interested in protecting Russians, and Russian citizens act against their own interests by siding with another state and its intelligence agencies,” Kashin writes, implicitly criticizing journalist Sergey Kanev, who recently fled Russia, after publishing an investigative report claiming that Salisbury suspect Anatoly Chepiga received a medal for his part in bringing deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to Russia in February 2014. Kanev also supplied evidence that likely ties “Alexander Petrov,” the other Salisbury suspect, to Russia’s military intelligence.

Russian units blamed for global hacking attacks – YouTube

ABC News (Australia) Published on Oct 3, 2018 Australian cyber security agencies have played a part in exposing the role of Russian military intelligence units behind a spate of major global hacking attacks. The Australian Cyber Security Centre worked with the UK and other partners to piece together who hosted and perpetrated privacy breaches, the planting of malicious ransomware and hacks on email systems across nations. They are attributing responsibility to the Russian military.

UK and Australia blame Russian GRU for quartet of cyber attacks | ZDNet

The British government says recent ‘indiscriminate and reckless’ global cyberattacks are the handiwork of the Russian military intelligence.

UK finds Russian military intelligence behind cyber attacks | TheHill

The United Kingdom on Wednesday blamed the Russian military intelligence group, GRU, for a series of “reckless” cyberattacks in recent years.

Britain says Russian military intelligence behind host of global cyber attacks | Reuters

Britain accused Russian military intelligence on Thursday of directing a host of cyber attacks aimed at undermining Western democracies by sowing confusion in everything from sport to transport and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

UK accuses Russia’s GRU military intelligence of cyber attacks – BBC News

Alleged attacks include raids on the World Anti-Doping Agency, when athletes’ data was published, and the US Democratic Party.

UK blames Russian military for ‘reckless’ cyber attacks – CNN

The British and Australian governments have accused Russian military intelligence of carrying out a worldwide campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” cyber attacks, including the hacking of the US Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Russia’s GRU spies behind dozens of ‘reckless’ cyber attacks, Government confirms

The Kremlin has orchestrated a series of &ldquo;indiscriminate and reckless&rdquo; cyber attacks in Britain and across the globe, using the same military intelligence unit behind the Salisbury nerve agent attack, the UK Government said.

UK accuses Kremlin of ordering series of ‘reckless’ cyber-attacks | Technology | The Guardian

Foreign Office blames Russia for six specific attacks, including one on US Democrats

Britain Blames Russia’s GRU For High-Profile Cyberattacks On Western Targets

Britain is accusing Russian military intelligence of being behind a host of recent cyberattacks seeking to undermine critical Western institutions from sports and transportation authorities to elec…

UK accuses Russian GRU of global cyber attacks – Reuters.TV

A figure on the world stage for decades, John Bolton has emerged as a trusted figure in Trump’s national security team, one who has reined in his enmity toward Russia and North Korea, and ramped it up against Iran.

Russian military group behind wave of global cyberattacks: UK

The Russians recently launched a new wave of “reckless and indiscriminate cyberattacks” against businesses, governments, media outlets and sports bodies…

Russian GRU agents accused of several cyber hacks by Britain

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says Russian military GRU agents are responsible for ‘reckless and indiscriminate acts’.

Britain: Russian Military Intelligence Behind Cyberattacks

It cites attacks on the World Anti-Doping agency, Ukrainian transport systems and the 2016 U.S. presidential race

GCSB links ‘malicious cyber activity’ to Russian government | Newshub

The attacks targeted overseas political institutions, businesses, media and sporting organisations.

Australian PM accuses Russian military of hacking US Democrats’ emails | Technology | The Guardian

Scott Morrison claims Russian intelligence agency GRU behind cyber-attack during 2016 presidential campaign

‘Cyberspace is not the Wild West’: Australia targets Russian government over spate of attacks

Australia has joined allies in condemning an “indiscriminate and reckless” global campaign of cyber attacks.

Australia joins UK in condemning Russia for wave of ‘malicious’ cyber attacks | SBS News

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned Russia for a wave of “malicious” cyber attacks.

Australia, UK accuse Russia of cyber attacks aimed at undermining Western democracies – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Britain and Australia jointly accuse Russian military intelligence of using cyber attacks to sow confusion in everything from sport to transport and the 2016 US presidential election in an effort to undermine Western democracies.

UAWire – Washington: Russian hackers preparing to attack US energy grid

Russian hackers are actively exploring computer networks of the US energy infrastructure are capable of creating failures in US industrial …

Russian hackers “prepare the battlefield” in US energy systems – DHS Sectretary

Russian hackers are actively exploring the computer networks associated with the US energy infrastructure and are capable of crashing into United States industrial control systems. US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen said in Washington during a cybersecurity summit.”They are conducting research, they want to know how everything works, they can explore the field of battle for future interventions and cyber attacks, and we often see that they scan our systems,” the minister said.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Propaganda Effective Because It Isn’t Ideological or Consistent, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 2 – Kremlin propaganda today is “much more effective than its Soviet predecessor,” Kseniya Kirillova says, because “unlike Communist propaganda, today’s Kremlin ‘information operations’ to not need to adhere to a specific ideology” or “maintain logical consistency.” To achieve its goals, the US-based Russian journalist argues on The Integrity Initiative portal, the Kremlin’s propaganda effort relies on the promotion of “images and the feelings created by images which are so provocative that they affect people much more than rational arguments” (integrityinitiative.net/articles/fear-and-hatred-how-propaganda-persuades-emotion in English; tverezo.info/post/71907 in Russian). Thus, Kirillova says, “Russian propaganda does not create a system of views but appeals directly to emotions, instincts, reflexes and passions, the intertwining of which leads to the desired result for the Kremlin,” because “in combating this disinformation … it is almost impossible to argue with emotions.” As the West’s experience in countering communist ideology, she continues, “a coherent system of views can be refuted [and] ideological errors can easily be debunked by comparing them with the truth. But emotions are another matter,” and Moscow today promotes four of these and then mixes them together. The first of these emotions is fear. Through various media, people are “artifically plunged into an illusory hell” from which they can escape only by “consolidating around a national leader,” in the case of Russia, Vladimir Putin. At one level, such fears are “natural defensive reactions;” but in this case, they are used to anything but natural ends. The second of these emotions is hatred. “Scaring people [in turn] is impossible without creating an image of the enemy, the source of the very threat that gives rise to a sense of fear.” In the Russian case, this includes Ukrainians, Americans, and minorities of various kinds that many Russians already find distasteful. “Hatred is especially dangerous,” Kirillova says, “because it removes moral prohibitions in those who are consumed by it. It justifies the most primitive and base human instincts: the desire to take part in collective persecution, to rummage in someone’s dirty laundry, to invade someone’s privacy, to turn someone’s life into a public spectacle.” The third emotion Kremlin propaganda seeks to promote is cynicism, “an inevitable consequence of hatred and fear.” Not only does this lead to the dehumanization of the other and the devaluation of facts and reason, but it justifies relaxing moral constraints in order to combat the threats Moscow propaganda has highlighted. And fourth, the propaganda emanating from the Kremlin promotes elitism, either of a collective kind like a nation, or of an individual one. In both cases, it posits that the group the Kremlin is appealing to has special rights and missions and thus is justified in taking extreme measures against those who it had identified as enemies. But what makes Kremlin propaganda especially powerful, Kirillova says, is that “all four types are very often intertwined in a person’s mind and it’s difficult to untangle them. [It} creates a full range of emotions … and all of these states are easily interchangeable depending on how a person is feeling at any given moment and how they justify and rationalize each of [them].” As a result, the Kremlin’s propaganda effort and the efforts of those who have copied it have “proven that playing to images and feelings is more effective than any ideology and that controlling emotions is much more effective than controlling thinking.” Indeed, this effort has “also shown how surprisingly easy it is to persuade many people to drop their moral standards.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Undoubtedly Russia has Put Nuclear Weapons in Occupied Crimea,’ Felgengauer Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 2 – Pavel Felgengauer, an independent Russian military analyst, says that even though Moscow will not confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons in occupied Crimea, there can be no doubt that the Russians have placed them there because of the presence of nuclear-capable delivery systems. He tells Ukraine’s Gordon news agency that most of them are probably still in storage bunkers but some of them may already be installed in launch vehicles for possible use (gordonua.com/news/crimea/felgengauer-rossiya-ne-budet-podtverzhdat-ili-oprovergat-nalichie-yadernogo-oruzhiya-v-krymu-no-ono-tam-est-mozhno-ne-somnevatsya-395148.html). The situation today, Felgengauer continues, is a “pre-war” one if one is speaking “about tactical nuclear arms. Formally, this is a secret but the carriers are already prepared and special weapons are located in the warehouses of the 12th main directorate of the ministry of defense of the Russian Federation.” He adds that in his view, some are already on Black Sea vessels or at airbases in Crimea. “For Moscow, Crimea is Russian territory and therefore it isn’t bothered about agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear arms.” The 1991 accord between the USSR and later Russia, on the one hand, and the US, on the other, “bore only the character of a gentlemen’s agreement” and is not in fact now being observed. Russian forces have by various estimates up to 10,000 tactical nuclear weapons. At least some of them are in Crimea. “No one should have any doubts about that,” Felgengauer says.

Danske Bank faces U.S criminal inquiry over suspicious Estonian accounts | Reuters

Danske Bank faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over a 200 billion euro ($230 billion) money laundering scandal involving its Estonian branch, increasing long-held investor fears.

UAWire – EU to restrict cash movement for Russian oligarchs and officials

The EU authorities have decided to control more strictly the movement of large sums of cash in light of an incident in which Russian senator and billionaire Suleyman Kerimov is believed to have brought nearly €900 million in cash into France in order to launder it through purchasing property on the French Riviera. On Tuesday, the Council of the EU confirmed a new customs control regulation to combat the movement of shady capital and money laundering. Persons bringing amounts greater than €10,000 into the region are obligated to declare these amounts. The scope of these obligations will now be expanded to include other liquid financial instruments and products – checks, traveler’s checks, prepaid bank cards and gold. Postal monetary transfers and their transportation will now be monitored for the first time. Persons traveling to or from the EU must declare their money at customs and present it for inspection upon request. The declaration must be made regardless of whether the person is carrying the money on their person, in their baggage, or in their vehicle. “The new rules are necessary because terrorists and criminals have found ways to bypass the current control mechanisms for cash movement,” the Council of the EU observes. “Criminal organizations, whose illegal activities generate significant quantities of cash, must be resisted in their attempts to exploit loopholes in the existing anti-money laundering system”.

Putin Hopes Europe Will Resist US Pressure on Germany Pipeline

Some EU nations oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, fearing it would increase dependence on Russia, while the US wants to sell Europe its own natural gas

Russia Predicts Rising Gas Exports To Europe Despite U.S. Concerns

Russia expects to export a record amount of natural gas this year, despite U.S. efforts — including through sanctions threats — to convince European nations to cut their reliance on Russian gas.

Russia, Saudi Arabia ‘Quietly’ Agree To Lift Oil Production

Russia and Saudi Arabia have struck a deal to raise oil output from September through December to cool rising prices, the Reuters news agency reports.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Global Warming Threatens Key Infrastructure in Russian North, 900-Page Official Report Warns

Paul Goble Staunton, October 2 – Roshydromet, the Russian government’s environmental monitoring agency, says in a new 900-page report that global warming is melting the permafrost in the country’s Arctic regions and putting key infrastructure there, including buildings, military facilities, roads, and oil and gas pipelines. The full text of the detailed report which documents these threats is available online at mnr.gov.ru/upload/iblock/4c6/ГосДоклад_B4_2017.pdf. It has been summarized today by Barents Observer journalist Atle Staalesen (thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic-ecology/2018/10/place-russias-arctic-coast-has-most-dramatic-climate-change). According to the report, last year was the third warmest ever recorded, and only 0.1 degrees centigrade lower than the record warmest year, 2011. The further north and west in the Russian North one travels, the greater the increase in temperatures. The Arctic has warmed significantly and ice cover has declined, although not to the record low of September 2012. The permafrost which underlies the entire region is melting at record rates, approximately 10 centimeters over the last year. But in some places, like Nadym, an oil-producing center, the decline in the depth of permafrost is as much as 38 centimeters. And in the city of Norilsk, the permafrost has continued to melt at ever more rapid rates. The consequences for Russia of this warming are certain to be dramatic, the government report says. All infrastructure is at risk of collapse as ice in the soil melts, land subsides and shifts, and sinkholes open. Some buildings and pipelines may collapse, putting human habitation and the extraction and export of oil and gas at risk. And this will have national security implications as well, the report continues, because as Staalesen puts it, “among the objects most in danger are [military] buildings and coastal installations along the shores of the Arctic.”

Live To See Your Pension?

In these 47 Russia regions, the average life expectancy for men is less than the proposed new retirement age of 65.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians have Become More Tolerant of Anti-Social Behavior Since Soviet Times, Study Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – Over the last 30 years, Russians have become more tolerant of those who don’t pay their taxes, take bribes, use public transit without paying and illegally receive government benefits, according to a new study conducted by Anna Almakayeva and Olesay Volchenko of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. The two sociologists used data from the World Values Study that polled people in various countries, including Russia, in 1990, 1995, 2006, 2011, and 2017. Their full report is available at publications.hse.ru/articles/223131356. It is summarized today by Svetlana Saltanova at iq.hse.ru/news/225039321.html). Almakayeva and Volchenko report that in 1990, 85 percent of Russians were extremely critical of those who took bribes; by 2017, only 58 percent were. In 1990, 65 percent did not approve of those who illegally received government subsidies; now only 36 percent of the sample don’t. Similarly, they report, in 1990, 53 percent of Russians disapproved of those who didn’t pay their taxes; now only 36 percent take the same position. And while 52 percent were offended in 1990 by those who used public transport without paying, now only 24 percent say they are angry at those who don’t pay. These trends show, Saltanova summarizes, that “residents of Russia over time have become more loyal to those who violate the law, including to bribery which is considered by them to be a more serious crime” than many others. What is significant, the authors say, is that this trend has not been accompanied by a decline in the level of trust in the government and judicial system. “Over the last 20 years (from 1995) trust in these institutions has only increased.” Consequently, more positive attitudes toward those who violate the law is not the result of less respect for such institutions. “This growth of tolerance” for those who violate society’s norms, Almakayeva and Volchenko say, “testifies to the fact that actions considered to be anti-social have become a behavioral norm,” something other Russians are far less inclined to condemn at least in specific cases than they were.

Putin’s Botched Pension Reform by Andrei Movchan – Project Syndicate

Russia’s crony-capitalist economic model requires an ever-increasing volume of funds to be burned on lavish mega-projects that generate huge profits for a dozen families close to the Kremlin. Now it seems to be pensioners’ turn to make the sacrifices needed to finance the appetites of Russia’s new aristocracy.

Putin intervenes in extremist reposts controversy to stop ‘manifestations of senility’ — RT Russian Politics News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed softening the law ordering criminal liability for internet reposts of extremist materials. His spokesman described the move as an attempt to “stop the manifestations of senility.”

Putin is watering down Russia’s controversial felony statute on ‘hate speech,’ but the news isn’t all good — Meduza

On September 3, 2018, Vladimir Putin submitted two pieces of draft legislation to the State Duma that would partially decriminalize “extremist” offenses under Criminal Code 282, which prohibits hate speech. Meduza explains why these new amendments have several drawbacks, besides the obvious benefit that there will be fewer felony cases against harmless Internet content.

The Kremlin’s spokesman inadvertently faults Putin for the explosion of ‘insane’ criminal cases against Russian Internet users — Meduza

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposes an amendment to Criminal Code 282, empowering the justice system to treat certain Internet content as a felony “incitement to hatred.” Putin argues that “the computerization of Russian society” necessitates new policing measures. Human rights activists warn that the legislation will be abused.

Russian President Vladimir Putin Unveils 2019 Calendar | Time

This year’s take on the annual diary revives portrayals of the Russian president as a consummate diplomat and outdoorsman

The Remains Of Stalin’s Dead Road

In Russia’s arctic wilderness, the remnants of one of the Soviet Union’s most tragic gulag projects now lies largely forgotten.

Stephen F. Cohen | More Cold War Extremism and Crises | The Nation

Overshadowed by the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, US-Russian relations grow ever more perilous.

Dutch government says it disrupted Russian attempt to hack chemical weapons watchdog | Reuters

Dutch authorities disrupted an attempt in April by Russian intelligence agents to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said.

Former Russian Spy Finds It Hard to Accept Moscow Tried to Kill Him

Sergei Skripal found it difficult to accept Russian government wanted him dead, according to new book

Sergei Skripal initially did not believe Russia tried to kill him – book | UK news | The Guardian

Former spy only gradually came to realise he had been Kremlin target, says author

Mark Urban’s The Skripal Files reveals the spy had a pro-Kremlin outlook — but doesn’t solve the mystery of why he was attacked

Con Coughlin reviews The Skripal Files by Mark Urban

UAWire – Russian intelligence agent suspected of poisoning Skripals awarded Hero of Russia for operations in Crimea

Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, also known as Ruslan Boshirov, a Russian intelligence agent who is one of London’s chief suspects in the Skripal poisoning case, was awarded the title “Hero of Russia” for operations he carried out in Crimea, Novaya Gazeta reports. This information was provided by three of Chepiga’s former coworkers from the 282nd special forces unit in Matveevka, the unit Chepiga joined as a lieutenant in 2001 after completing his studies at the Far Eastern Higher Military Command School. All three sources asked to remain anonymous. “Chepiga got the title Hero of Russia for Crimea,” said one of his fellow graduates and soldiers from the unit. “Inscribed on the stela of the Rokossovsky memorial are the names of graduates who have been awarded the title of Hero – Chepiga is there, as well as Colonel Alexander Popov [not the same as the other poisoning suspect, Alexander Petrov], a graduate from the school in 1995. Chepiga and Popov received the title Hero of Russia through a secret presidential order, for Crimea. At the time, Popov commanded a free special forces unit, and Chepiga was still a lieutenant colonel. The truth is, I can’t even imagine what exactly Chepiga got up to in Crimea.” Novaya Gazeta’s sources named three key special operations that were carried out in Crimea in February 2014: the capture of the Crimean Council of Ministers building, the capture of the Belbek Airport, and the disarmament of the Ukrainian naval infantry brigade in Feodosia. All three operations were carried out without bloodshed, and for this Popov and Chepiga were awarded the title Hero of Russia. The sources say that Chepiga joined the military academy of the Russian Defense Ministry after the operations in Crimea. An investigator working with The Insider and Bellingcat claimed earlier that Chepiga may have received the award for facilitating former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s escape from Ukraine.

Ex-head of Yanukovych’s state security service intends to testify about role of ‘Boshirov’ in evacuating ex-president to Crimea in 2014

Kostiantyn Kobzar, ex-head of Ukraine’s state security service under disgraced ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, has notified Kyiv’s Obolonsky District Court of his willingness to testify about the involvement of Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, also known as Ruslan Boshirov, in evacuating Yanukovych to Crimea in February 2014. Chepiga serves in the Main Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. A scanned copy of the corresponding statement dated October 2, 2018 addressed to Vladyslav Deviatko, chief judge of the case of state treason against Yanukovych, was posted on Facebook on Tuesday by Yanukovych’s lawyer Vitaliy Serdiuk. “In connection with media reports about the participation of a citizen of the Russian Federation Boshirov/Chepiga in guarding and escorting Yanukovych to Crimea in February 2014, I announce my readiness to provide the court with evidence on this matter. I ask the court to ensure my interrogation in court on this matter,” Kobzar’s statement said. As earlier reported, Boshirov/Chepiga is suspected of poisoning ex-Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal in the English town of Salisbury in March. In a meeting with British Minister of Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace in Kyiv on Monday, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said, “Ukraine learned of one of the attackers in Salisbury, a Russian military intelligence officer, was involved in helping Yanukovych flee Ukraine.”

Turkish journalists believe Chepiga-Boshirov participated in liquidation of Chechen terrorist

Ruslan Boshirov, suspected of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal, may be involved in the murder of Chechen militants field commander Abdulvakhid Edelgiriyev. Turkish journalists noted the resemblance of the GRU colonel Anatoly Chepiga with Andrey Sholkhov, who could have participated in the operation to eliminate the field commander of Chechen militants in Istanbul, Abdulvahid Edelgiriyev. Sholkhov’s face was caught on a city surveillance camera, Haber Turk writes. Edelgiriyev was killed in 2015 in the capital of Turkey. It is assumed that he is responsible for the attacks in the Moscow metro and Domodedovo Airport, and also fought in Syria on the side of the IS (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation).

Turkish journalists believe Chepiga-Boshirov participated in liquidation of Chechen terrorist – media | UNIAN

Ruslan Boshirov, suspected of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal, may be involved in the murder of Chechen militants field commander Abdulvakhid Edelgiriyev. Edelgiriyev was killed in 2015 in the capital of Turkey.

Skripal poisoners could make way in politics, ex-Russian MP suggests | UNIAN

Despite the fact that GRU operatives Anatoly Chepiga (aka Ruslan Boshirov) and Alexander Petrov (a possible alias) got exposed following their failed mission in UK’s Salisbury to eliminate a double agent Sergey Skripal, the Kremlin will find another use for them in Russia, according to a former deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Ilya Ponomarev. The ex-MP suggests that Petrov and Boshirov could be elected to the State Duma or appointed governors, but after the change of power in Russia, “questions to the crimes they have committed will reemerge at full strength,” Ponomarev wrote in a blog for the Obozrevatel news outlet. “So we will eventually see these guys behind bars, most probably” Ponomarev believes. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/10285557-skripal-poisoners-could-make-way-in-politics-ex-russian-mp-suggests.html

Former Russian spy Skripal had contacts with Ukraine’s security service – Urban’s book | UNIAN

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal who has survived an assassination attempt by Russia’s special services had contacts with Ukraine’s SBU Security Service. Skripal referred disparagingly to Ukrainians as “simply sheep who needed a good shepherd.”

Former Russian spy Skripal may have met with Ukraine’s Security Service – 112.international

Ex-officer of Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in British Salisbury, had contacts with the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), as Mark Urban stated in his book The Skripal Files, as BBC reports. The book comes out on October 4. Urban writes that, according to his information, ex-GRU colonel Skripal met with the Ukrainian intelligence officers. However, Skripal himself has never mentioned his links with SBU. “Maybe, Skripal was consulting SBU about the actions of the Russian GRU on the East of Ukraine,” the journalist supposed. Earlier we also reported that Salisbury poisoning suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were previously arrested in the Netherlands. The Insider marked that the two visited the Netherlands in April 2016, exactly when the mentioned referendum took place.

Secrets going cheaply and boredom in Salisbury. What we learned from the Skripal book – BBC News Русская служба

The book of the journalist BBC Mark Urbana about the ex-Colonel of the GRU Sergey Skripale goes on sale on Thursday, October 4th. The Skripal Files book contains the most detailed history of Skripal’s cooperation with British intelligence, his exchange for Russian agents, and poisoning in Salisbury. We read this book before the official release.The book was based on the conversations of Urbana with Scripale himself, as well as information from numerous sources of the journalist in the British security agencies. In an interview with the BBC Russian Service, Urban explained that several years ago he had decided to write a book about the espionage war between Russia and the West.One of the heroes of the book was to become Sergei Skripal, so in the summer of 2017 the journalist took a series of interviews with him. Urban retained a good relationship with the former Colonel of the GRU and offered him a talk after the poisoning – but Skripal refused.

Security officers of Ukraine and UK agree on counteraction to Russian special services – 04.10.2018 11:06 — Ukrinform News

Ukraine and the United Kingdom agreed to strengthen cooperation in countering the espionage and subversive activities of the Russian special services and cyber threats. This was discussed during the working meeting of Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Hrytsak with Minister of State for Security at the Home Office of the United Kingdom, Ben Wallace. “Mr Hrytsak told Mr Wallace about the large-scale operation launched by the Russian special services to destabilize the social and political situation in Ukraine on the eve of the elections as well as the attempts to discredit Ukraine in the eyes of the international community. The parties reached an agreement on deepening bilateral cooperation in countering the reconnaissance and subversive activities of the Russian special services and cyber threats,” the press service of Ukraine’s Security Service reports. As noted, Hrytsak and Wallace took part in the opening ceremony of the second module of the educational course on conducting interrogation with the observance of fundamental human rights, held with the support of the British side. The purpose of the event was to acquaint Ukrainian security officers with the best practices of British law enforcement agencies in the field of interviewing eyewitnesses and interrogating witnesses within the framework of investigation of crime.

SBU head tells British counterpart of Russian plan to destabilize situation in Ukraine ahead of elections | UNIAN

Ukrainian and British top security officials agreed to strengthen cooperation in countering intelligence-gathering and subversive efforts of the special services of the Russian Federation as well as cyber threats. The two security chiefs held a working meeting in Kyiv Wednesday. Ukrainian and British top security officials agreed to strengthen cooperation in countering intelligence-gathering and subversive efforts of the special services of the Russian Federation as well as cyber threats. According to the press office of the Security Service of Ukraine, SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak reached the relevant agreement with the British Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace at a working meeting held in Kyiv Wednesday. It is noted that the SBU chief briefed his British counterpart on the directions and nature of the Russian hybrid aggression against Ukraine.

Iran faces sensitive time due to America, economic woes: leader says | Reuters

The people of Iran face a sensitive time because of the pressure from America and economic problems, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a key address broadcast by state television on Thursday.

Iran tensions ratchet as US scraps treaty

U.S.-Iran relations took a tense new turn Wednesday as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened Tehran over attacks on U.S. missions in Iraq and announced the termination of a 60-year old amity treaty with Tehran.

Dollar In ‘Tears’? Iran Celebrates Rial Rally

Clown. Nervous. Anxious. That’s how Iranian hard-liners are describing the U.S. dollar after the beleaguered rial staged an unexpected rally.

Iran news: France blames Iran for failed bombing attack at Paris rally – Trump right? | World | News | Express.co.uk

FRANCE has blamed the Islamic Republic of Iran for a failed bombing plot in Paris at an Iranian opposition rally in June, claiming there is no doubt the rogue nation was behind the incident.

France freezes assets of Iranian intelligence over alleged bomb plot – CNN

France has frozen assets of Iran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals, linking them to a foiled plot to attack an Iranian opposition conference on French soil.

ISIS is in its ‘final throes.’ Or maybe not

THE FALL AND/OR RISE OF ISIS: The Islamic State in Syria is either on its last legs or on the verge of a resurgence, depending on whose assessment you’re buying. At the Pentagon yesterday, Col. Sean Ryan, the chief spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition, said U.S.-backed fighters are closing in on the “last pocket of ISIS resistance” in Syria, and insisted that remaining ISIS fighters are becoming increasingly desperate. “Let me be clear: ISIS is not yet defeated, they’re in the final throes of their evil ambitions.” Ryan said the ISIS remnants are essentially trapped in a small area of the Middle Euphrates River Valley and are being captured by the hundreds, with over 700 men now being held by Syrian Democratic Forces along with their families. The total number of ISIS members, including women and children, now in custody is reported to be more than 2,000.

Russian military releases photo showing B-52 bomber flying above Syria – Defence Blog

The Russian military has released footage of a US B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bomber flying above Syria. An Instagram account claiming to be of a Russian pilot of a fighter jet, posted a picture purportedly of a US B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bomber flying above Syria. The released photo is showing B-52 Stratofortress returns after concluding operations against ISIS terror group and flying over Syria. No further information has been made available regarding the date or place of this photo. Previously, was reported that B-52 bombers have been deployed in the Middle East region, along with more than 400 airmen, to the air campaign in Syria and Iraq against the ISIS terror group. But in April 2018 was reported that the final squadrons of B-52 Stratofortresses have returned home to the Minor Air Force Base in North Dakota after completing extensive military operations in the fight against ISIS in the Middle East and targeting Assad regime. The US-led coalition of 69 nations has conducted an air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq since the summer of 2014. The B-52 now replaced by the supersonic variable-sweep wing B-1 Lancer as the primary bomber, according to US Air Force spokesman. The B-52 is a subsonic long-range bomber that can fly at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and deploy the widest range of weapons in the US aerial arsenal. The aircraft has been operated by the US Air Force since the 1950s. It should also be noted that this Instagram account early also posted the photos which showing probably how Russian fighter jets intercept F-22 Raptor in Syria. The author of the post claimed to have spotted the F-22 in flight through an infrared search and track (IRST) system of Russian Su-35 fighter jet.

Russian missile defences arrive in Syria — and US and Israeli fighters could be in the crosshairs | Business Insider

Russia has delivered its powerful S-300 missile defence systems to Syria after losing 15 servicemembers and a spy plane to a friendly fire incident during an Israeli air raid, and the systems raise the prospect of a Russian war against Israel or the US.

Russia delivers S-300 missile system to Syria | Russia News | Al Jazeera

Russia’s defence minister confirms delivery of the long-range surface-to-air missile to Syrian army.

 

Israel ready to hit Russian S-300 missile systems in Syria – Defence Blog

According to the TASS, Russia has completed the delivery of an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to the Syrian military in defiance of Israeli and US concerns. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a meeting broadcast by Rossiya 24 TV: “The work was finished a day ago,” adding that the system would improve the security of Russian military personal in Syria. Israel, in turn, said that the arms sale would embolden and escalate the Syrian war. Last week, an Israeli official said that the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles are “a complicated challenge” for Israel. The official added: “We’re dealing with it in different ways, not necessarily by preventing the delivery.” Earlier, in April this year, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was pretty clear about that country may strike the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems in Syria if they are used against Israel. “One thing should be clear – if someone fires on our planes, we will destroy them,” Lieberman said in an interview with the Israeli website Ynet. “What’s important to us is that the weapons defense systems that the Russians transfer to Syria are not used against us. If they are used against us, we will act against them.” Israel has repeatedly hit targets in Syria in recent years, most recently earlier this month in Latakia province when Syrian military shot down a Russian military reconnaissance plane, killing all 15 people on board. In addition, the Israeli Air Force has long been preparing to destroy targets such as the S-300, but before that it was assumed that these would be Iranian air defense systems. Since 2000, Israel has been annual discreetly training and testing maneuvers designed to defeat missile systems Russia has deployed in the Middle East. The Israeli Air Force has used jointly military exercises with Greece and Bulgaria to prepare for a potential situation where it will have to perform missions against the S-300 surface-to-air missile system. According to the i24news.tv, the exercises were used to test how the S-300 system locks onto targets, gather data on its tracking radar and to see if the system could be blinded or tricked. The Aviationist also noted that thanks to the exercise in Greece, the Israeli Air Force has gathered important data about the Russian SAM system and had the opportunity to test and improve evasion tactics during simulated attacks against ground targets protected by S-300 batteries. In addition, Israel received more F-35 Adir stealth fighter jets that have an extremely low radar signature allowing the jet to operate undetected deep inside enemy territory as well as evade advanced missile defense systems like the advanced Russian-made S-300 and S-400 missile defense system. Israeli determination and their inventiveness made it possible to hit Russian S-300 missile systems in Syria

 

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