Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (51)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Interesting developments in FRY, many NATO related reports, and Russia’s descent into the abyss continues, with reports of increasing inter-ethnic conflict between minorities. Cyber and IO reports of much interest.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


UAWire – NATO to conduct largest military exercises since 1991
On Tuesday, October 2, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO will conduct large-scale military exercises Trident Juncture, which will be the largest since 1991, reports Deutsche Welle. These exercises will take place from October 25 to November 7, in Norway, the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic. Approximately 45 thousand soldiers from 31 countries, as well as more than 110 aircraft and 60 ships, will take part in the maneuvers. The exercises are not aimed against Russia, they have defensive nature and will imitate NATO’s response to an armed attack on one of the alliance members, said Stoltenberg. All OSCE countries, including Russia, received invitations so that they could send their observers to the exercises. The North Atlantic Alliance significantly expanded the scope of military exercises since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. Russia is also conducting major maneuvers. This September, the Russian Federation conducted its largest exercises since the USSR times, Vostok-2018.
UAWire – NATO forms offensive cyber forces
Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg announced the creation of an offensive cyber force to protect the Alliance’s national information networks. “We see a significant increase in the number and threat of cyber-attacks. That is why we have increased our cyber capabilities, both to protect NATO information networks and to help the countries of the alliance to defend their national networks,” he said. Before negotiations between the NATO defense ministers, Stoltenberg noted that the new structure would prevent interference in the internal affairs of the alliance’s states. “We have witnessed how cyber means are used to interfere in internal political affairs, attacks on critical infrastructure. These capabilities will be part of any future military conflicts. Therefore, we have decided that cyber-attacks can lead to the application of the fifth article on joint defense,” RIA Novosti cited the Secretary General as saying.
Stoltenberg: Black Sea security among NATO’s priorities | UNIAN
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that Black Sea security is among NATO’s priorities. NATO allies restated their full support for Georgia’s sovereignty.
NATO concerned over situation in Sea of Azov – news about politics
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the Alliance is concerned over the situation in the Sea of Azov caused by Russia’s activity there. Stoltenberg also reiterated that the Alliance continues providing support to Ukraine.
Oleksandr Khara | Strengthening of Russia’s military presence in the Black Sea: What will be NATO’s response | UNIAN
NATO noted a significant increase in Russia’s military presence in the Black Sea, mainly due to the build-up of its forces in the occupied Crimea. A relevant statement was made by the Secretary-General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.
Dogfights and Dracula’s castle: US Air Force tightens bond with Romania over summer deployment
F-15 pilots, maintainers and staff from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts just returned from a three-month deployment to Romania.
NATO Chief Reiterates That Georgia Will One Day Join The Alliance
Georgia will one day join the alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, 10 years after the Western military organization first promised the South Caucasus country it would become a me…
US Defense Chief’s ‘Iron-Clad’ Support of Georgia Goes Beyond NATO  
Meeting with Georgian counterpart, Mattis agrees to deter Russian aggression through security assistance, NATO
NATO helping Ukraine with strengthening cyber defenses | UNIAN
NATO has already been helping Ukraine with strengthening its cyber defenses and cyber capabilities. NATO is now helping Ukraine with setting up a cyber incident response centre.
Britain confirms talks with Boeing over potential $2.6B Wedgetail aircraft buy
LONDON — Britain’s defense secretary has revealed the government held discussions with Boeing over the purchase of a fleet of Wedgetail E-7 airborne warning and control aircraft. Discussions are also taking place with Australia about cooperating in the use of the aircraft, Gavin Williamson said. Williamson said the Ministry of Defence had undertaken market analysis and discussions with other potential providers, concluding “that the potential procurement of the E-7 represents the best value for money option for the U.K. against need, whilst representing a significant opportunity for increased defense cooperation and collaboration with our key ally Australia.” “The Wedgetail is the stand-out performer in our pursuit of a new battlespace surveillance aircraft, and has already proved itself in Iraq and Syria,” Williamson said. The MoD said in a statement that further discussions are set to take place prior to an investment decision. “If selected, U.K. industry could be involved significantly with the program, from modification work to through life support,” the MoD said. Said Williamson: “The MoD will work closely with Boeing to ensure [exploration of] how Britain’s leading defense industry could also benefit from any deal.” One company expected to benefit from any E-7 deal is the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group. Marshall already builds auxiliary fuel tanks for the Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft program, and industry sources say the Cambridge, England-based company is set to convert 737 aircraft to the Wedgetail configuration as part of the deal.
UAWire – Latvian counterintelligence warns against opening KGB archives
The Constitution Protection Bureau (counterintelligence agency of Latvia) sent a letter to the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights and Public Affairs and warned that the publication of the former KGB of the Latvian SSR – the so-called bags of the Cheka – will give an easy win to the countries that are not very friendly to Latvia, the Delfi news agency reports. The Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) believed that the publication of the KGB archives on the Internet can create various risks and will reduce public confidence in security agencies. The Counterintelligence Agency notes that the information contained in the archive inadequately and unreasonably affects the interests of different people. “The unprofessional use of archived documents of the communist special services may lead to a situation when reality is not reflected but created,” the SAB wrote in the letter to the Sejm. The SAB also notes that unlike neighboring Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia did not have a law on lustration at the rise of independence restoration. “It is too late to make a decision to start a lustration process now since there are people who died or left the country,” the special service wrote. “If we start a lustration process now, we will violate the rights to privacy and personal data guaranteed in the Constitution of the Latvian Republic.” According to the SAB, the publication of the LSSR KGB archives on the Internet is an act that meets the interests of the countries that are unfriendly to Latvia. Earlier, the Latvian Ministry of Justice developed a project of new rules that will allow Latvian residents to get to access the so-called bags of the Cheka, the archives of the LSSR KGB. The documents will be available in the National Archive and on the Internet.


UAWire – Kremlin: Russia will not ignore NATO’s activity near its borders
Russia will not ignore the escalation of NATO’s military-political activity in the Arctic region, in particular, close to the Russian borders in northern Norway, stated the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova. She complained that Oslo has embarked on an unprecedented militarization of northern regions “violating all the time-tested traditions of good-neighborliness and contrary to the Norwegian leadership policy of self-restraint since the “Cold War” times “not to provide bases on the Norwegian territory for the armed forces of foreign powers until Norway was attacked or threatened with an attack”. Among Norway’s unfriendly steps towards Russia, Zakharova named: “the agreement to double the country’s already deployed American marines number from 330 to 700 people; the extension of their rotational, and in fact constant presence, for five years; their geographical expansion to the north; and carrying out the largest NATO military exercise throughout the history of Norway Trident Juncture 2018 at the end of October, close to the borders with Russia. These military exercises involved more than 40,000 people from more than 30 countries. ”According to the Foreign Ministry’s representative, “another negative addition is the plan for the deployment of 800 British troops to northern Norway”. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that such “irresponsible actions” will destabilize the military-political situation in the North, increase tensions, and undermine the foundations of Russian-Norwegian relations.
UAWire – Vucic: Serbia doesn’t want to be a part of NATO
Serbia does not wish to join NATO. It wants to maintain its military neutrality, said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As TASS reports, the presidents of the two countries discussed the situation in the region, focusing on Serbia’s position regarding the North Atlantic alliance. According to Vucic, his country is “in good relations with all military alliances, including NATO, but Serbia has no desire, no wish to join NATO.” “Serbia wants to maintain its military neutrality and therefore is working on strengthening its own army in order to repel any aggression,” Vucic added. “We have received support from the Russian Federation on this position.” According to recent surveys, 52% of Serbian citizens have not forgiven NATO for the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. At the same time, 62% won’t accept the apology of the alliance. The absolute majority of the country’s citizens (84%) traditionally oppose the entry of Serbia into NATO, and 68% don’t think that cooperation with NATO will be useful in the future.
Russia’s low-cost influence strategy finds success in Serbia – The Washington Post
Cast-off fighter jets, media conspiracies and a biker gang have helped generate good publicity at bargain prices.
Russian MiG-29 fighter jet crashed near Moscow – Defence Blog
Why Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier Pumps Out So Much Black Smoke | The National Interest
Its all about the fuel.
Russia plans to arm its most advanced fighter with missiles meant to cripple the F-35 stealth fighter | Business Insider
Russia reportedly plans to arm its most advanced fighter jet with a powerful hypersonic air-to-air missile that can take aim at aircraft nearly two hundred miles away, making them a potential threat to critical US air assets.
USC Eyes Russian Navy Contract for Project 23560 Leader-class Destroyer
The United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) hopes to get a contract for the construction of a prospective Russian destroyer, USC CEO Alexey Rakhmanov told TASS.

Russia / Russophone Reports


The Week In Russia: Spies, ‘Scumbags,’ And Senior Citizens
President Vladimir Putin branded former double agent Sergei Skripal a “scumbag” and signed a law that will raise the retirement age in Russia by five years.
Russian National Guard says its director single-handedly talked down a suicide bomber outside the Kremlin — Meduza
Viktor Zolotov, the same Russian National Guard director who recently challenged Alexey Navalny to a “duel,” wants you to know that he talked down a suicide bomber outside the Kremlin on Wednesday. And if you don’t believe him, you’re invited to accompany Zolotov to the North Caucasus to witness counter-terrorist training exercises in the mountains.
Protesters Accuse Russian Officials Of ‘Stealing’ Pensions As They Rally Against Retirement-Age Hike
Russians have staged small rallies in several cities to protest against an unpopular plan to raise the eligibility age for retirement pensions by five years.
Domestic support wanes for Putin as pension policy takes its toll, analyst says
Local election results have weakened the Kremlin’s control over Russia’s vital resource-rich regions.
Russia’s Federation Council Approves Unpopular Bill On Retirement-Age Increase
The upper chamber of Russia’s parliament has passed a bill that will raise the retirement age by five years, sending the unpopular legislation to President Vladimir Putin for his signature.
UAWire – Russia loses $2.2 billion through yuan investments
The Bank of Russia continues to lose foreign currency reserves as a result of its operations on the international currency market, finanz.ru …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s ‘Softening’ of Extremism Laws Not Product of ‘Humanism’ But of Administrative Needs, Davydov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – Vladimir Putin is getting more credit than he deserves for his call to drop criminal sanctions against those who write or speak something the regime doesn’t like only once and whose works do not constitute “serious threats for the security of the country and the foundations of the constitutional system,” Ivan Davydov suggests. Putin’s proposal as summarized by TASS does not mean, he points out, that the regime can’t bring criminal charges against those who post or write something more than once or that the authorities do not have other statutes against thought crimes that they can employ if the powers that be want them to (spektr.press/poblazhka-lyubitelyam-memov-pochemu-zhelanie-smyagchit-statyu-za-ekstremizm-eto-ne-gumanizm-i-ne-zdravyj-smysl/). In this case, the Moscow commentator says, Putin and his system “are being moved not by humanism nor by any affection for good sense.” They are simply addressing an administrative and public relations problem that they did not expect Paragraph 282 would produce. On the one hand, while the Kremlin devised this law to go after Russian nationalists, many in regional law enforcement bodies quickly recognized that they could use its provisions to make themselves look good because nothing is easier than finding a text in the Internet, getting a tame expert to call it extremist, and showing themselves to be fighting for the right. That led to a dramatic multiplication of cases, and that in turn became the basis for promotions and other preferments for Russian investigators, prosecutors and the judicial system as a whole, even though it did little to help the Kremlin achieve what it had originally hoped for, the suppression of genuinely dangerous independent Russian nationalism. And on the other, Paragraph 282 created a public relations nightmare for Putin and his regime. Some of the cases officials brought were so absurd that Russians began laughing at the entire process even as they feared that such arrangements could be deployed against them, and people abroad saw what Russian officials were doing in this case as a definer of the regime. Both these reactions generated “an unnecessary nervousness” in Moscow, Davydov says; and nervousness is not something the regime likes unless it can dose it out exactly as it wants. With Paragraph 282, it had lost the ability to do that. Putin thus had to act, knowing that he would end a bureaucratic disaster without limiting his power and getting credit for liberalization. This is clearly the cause behind what Putin has done, the commentator continues. “It is of course necessary to keep the opportunity to send a critic of the powers to jail for his words.” But this “instrument of political terror” must remain that and not become “a means for the easy receipt of prizes and benefits.” “Let us not forget that 282 is not the only paragraph in the criminal code which calls for the punishment of thought crimes.” There are others, and Putin has said nothing about them. And that means, Davydov argues, that “the state obviously doesn’t intend to stop punishing and frightening us; it only is trying to introduce order in this area.” But “all the same,” he concludes, this small step is not unimportant and will benefit some if far fewer than many are suggesting today. “Under present-day Russian realities, that too is no small thing.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘A Revolution May Occur Only in Moscow, But Politics Can Return to Russia in the Regions,’ Ponomaryev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 3 – Ilya Ponomaryev, a Russian opposition politician now living in exile in Ukraine, says that ultimately a revolution may occur only in Moscow but that politics can return to Russia in the regions and become the incubators for change in the Russian Federation as a whole. In a conversation with Vadim Shtepa, the editor of the After Empire portal, Ponomaryev says that he is “absolutely convinced” that “the rebirth of politics in Russia will begin precisely in the regions. … revolution can take place [only] in the capital, but it clearly is beginning not there and the moving forces are in the regions” (afterempire.info/2018/10/02/ilya-ponomarev/). What is holding the regions back, he continues, is that while there is overwhelming agreement that Moscow is stealing from them and should be reined in, there is widespread concern that any call for more local government and control could lead the country down the path to disintegration. That view must be overcome if the regions are to play the role they can. But there is a conceptual problem as well among those who follow events in Russia. Overwhelmingly they focus on events only in Moscow and consider developments in the regions only when they generate a reaction among officials and commentators within the ring road, as was the case with reactions to regional defeats of United Russia in the September 9 voting. To the extent Ponomaryev and Shtepa are right, it is critically important to track what is going on in the regions not just in terms of its immediate impact on Moscow but also in terms of what it means for political life in them and thus in the longer term for political life and even revolutionary change in the country as a whole.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: United Russia Party Not Conservative but Reactionary, Chadayev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 2 – Many Russians and others label United Russia conservative, exactly as the creators of that party want, Aleksey Chadayev says; but in fact, there is a problem because that organization “is not so much conservative,” that is committed to retaining the best of traditions, “but rather reactionary,” that is, it simply reacts negatively to what it doesn’t like. “Reaction to what?” the Moscow blogger asks rhetorically. And offers the following answer: “Of course to the Russia of the 1990s” and thus to the rejection of anything that characterized that decade rather than to the promotion of any other program past or present in particular (chadayev.ru/blog/2018/10/02/edinaya-rossiya-posle-reaktsii/). That works for many Russians who lived through that decade, Chadayev says; but there is now a problem: “In the elections this past March for the first time people went to vote who were born already under Putin’s rule for whom in general there is no principled difference between the eras of Yeltsin, Stalin, and Alexander the Great. All are pluperfect” in their minds. And what is more, with each passing year, the share of the population of whom that is true will become ever larger. Because they have not seen in their lives any policy except a reactionary one and their political activity also will be totally a reaction, only now already to the existing Putinist Russia.” The first fruits of this were seen last month in the protest voting, the Moscow blogger says. Such actions “undoubtedly reactionary,” not to the 1990s or to some other time in the past but to the Putin era. And the regime is making that attitude more common by its own actions, including how it handles the voters and “the process of the informal casting of ‘successors.’” United Russia candidates offered nothing except more of the same, he says. They did not point to a golden age either at some point in the past or at some time in he future. And not surprisingly, Russians reacted negatively to that. They’ve heard this message for 18 years, and they now longer count on the achievement of the past or of the future, just a permanent now. Most of the Russian voters nonetheless knew how to vote as United Russia wanted, but an increasing share compared to past elections didn’t. They no longer saw anything to conserve in the present; instead, they were reacting against it, just as United Russia has unintentionally taught them to. Because of this, United Russia has itself become “toxic,” Chadayev says; and Putin showed that he understands this by running not as its candidate but as a self-promoted one. “Is it possible to correct the situation? For the time being, yes; the process [of reaction to everything’ is only at its beginning. But no one yet understands anything.” As a result, the blogger continues, “now each new decision works to make things worse” again precisely because there is no model of what to be for, either in the past or in the present or in the future; but only one against which the system reacts because its leaders do not like anything and especially do not like change. Russia and Russians can escape from this “beautiful new world” only if they are able to participate in genuine electoral politics where new ideas can arise in debates and talk among the people. But a reactionary party in a reactionary situation isn’t going to promote something like that, at least not intentionally, Chadayev says.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Facing Ever More Regionalist Movements across the Russian Federation
Paul Goble Staunton, October 1 – Moscow is facing ever more regionalist movements, many of them with even more radical separatist agendas that are to be found among non-Russian nationalities, the result of the spread of the Internet which has permitted the development of local and regional identities. Not surprisingly, the Russian government is fighting back against this trend. Because the Soviet Union disintegrated along national lines and because both Russian and Western analysts continue to focus on that rather than on regionalist movements both the rise of the latter, their increasing influence, and Moscow’s efforts to suppress them have attracted less attention. Almost two years ago, the author of these lines argued that “regionalism is the nationalism of the next Russian revolution,” that it is likely to be more powerful than ethnicity in the Russian Federation which is far more ethnically Russian than was the USSR and which consists of many far-flung regions (afterempire.info/2016/12/28/regionalism/). In the ensuing months, the strength of regionalist identities has grown, in large part because of the rise of Internet-based communities of interest – on this trend, seesibreal.org/a/29395369.html and because of Moscow’s combined neglect and oppression of regional interests and concerns. Not surprisingly, given that Moscow has fought what it defines as extremism but what in fact is any objection to its authoritarian rule primarily online, the Russian authorities have gone after these Internet communities and the portals which link and support them with ever-increasing intensity. In the last year alone, the Russian authorities have blocked “more than 24” such communities focusing on the theme of freedom for the Urals region alone, not to mention the numerous other sites devoted to other regions (andrey-lf.livejournal.com/112308.html and freeural.org/nam-uzhe-ispolnilsja-god/). Moscow has also gone after regionalist sites in the Middle Volga, Siberia, the St. Petersburg area, and in the Moscow region (vk.com/fourthrepublicovdinfo.org/express-news/2018/09/27/rossiya-obyavila-v-mezhdunarodnyy-rozysk-predsedatelya-tatarskogomaxim-efimov.livejournal.com/380228.htmlhttp://freeingria.org/ and vk.com/club74462066). But both the nature of the Internet – when one site is suppressed, others can arise – and the growing interest in and support for regionalist agendas, including autonomy or even independence mean that Russia is losing the war even if it wins some of the battles, something that even the Kremlin must be beginning to recognize. As Andrey Romanov, a Urals regionalist who operates the Free Ural site from his post in emigration, puts it, “it is becoming clear to many that Russia does not have any chances in the long term to remain in its current borders” and “the main event in the 21st century will be the disappearance of Russia and the formation on its territory of new independent states.” States, he suggests, that are far more likely to be based on regionalist agendas than on ethnicity alone (freeural.org/nam-uzhe-ispolnilsja-god/).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Conflict in Ingushetia Spiraling Out of Control for the Republic, the Region and Moscow
Paul Goble Staunton, October 4 – Anger about the accord Yunus-Bek Yevkurov reached with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov prompted thousands of Ingush to come into the streets of Magas, the republic capital today, blocking the republic that either approved or did not approve the agreement, and led Russian Guardsmen to fire over the heads of the crowd. In the course of the day, the protesters changed from demanding a referendum on the agreement to a demand that the accord be scrapped without one to an insistence that the republic government leave office and give way to new elections; and those taking part added Islamist slogans to the nationalist ones they had first used. As frightening as the mass protests must be for the republic leadership and for Moscow, splits within the Ingush establishment should be even more worrisome. The republic supreme court came out against the accord, and some deputies of its parliament said that they had not approved the measure despite Yevkurov’s claims. The situation within Ingushetia is fluid and changing fast. Among the best coverage of today’s events is found at takiedela.ru/news/2018/10/04/konflikt-o-granice/newsru.com/russia/04oct2018/magas2.htmlactualcomment.ru/miting-v-ingushetii-protiv-dogovora-o-granitse-s-chechney-glavnoe-1810041133.html, capost.media/news/mainhotnews/v-magase-otkryli-strelbu-vo-vremya-mitinga-protiv-peredela-granitsy-s-chechney/, andpolit.ru/article/2018/10/04/border/. But the events there have been compounded by three additional developments: Ingush in Moscow and other Russian cities are rushing to support the opponents of the treaty, new reports show that Putin’s rating in the North Caucasus has collapsed even further than elsewhere in the Russian Federation, and Kadyrov is threatening military action against Ingushetia (grani-ru-org.appspot.com/War/Chechnya/m.273167.htmlcensoru.net/29885-kavkaz-na-grani-vzryva-v-ingushetii-massovye-protesty-siloviki-otkryli-ogon.html, and aucasustimes.com/ru/opros-na-severnom-kavkaze-rejting-vladimira-putina-padaet-na-fone-jekonomicheskogo-spada/). Given that the protesters in Magas have said that they will not end their protests until their demands are met and given that Kadyrov is threatening to use violence against them, there is a very real risk that the border agreement based on a territorial swap that Moscow thought would calm the situation is going to have exactly the opposite effect. Indeed, it may provoke a new war in the North Caucasus, one in which Moscow will have to restrain its most important client there, Kadyrov, or face the prospect that it will lose control over much of the region. Indeed, some Western analysts are even suggesting that these developments could presage the end of the Putin presidency. After all, Putin has put all his chips on Kadyrov; and now Kadyrov, despite massive subsidies from Moscow and despite being allowed to act almost without regard to Moscow’s interests is now acting in a way that threatens Russian control (rusmonitor.com/avraam-shmulevich-sobytiya-na-kavkaze-govoryat-o-skorom-padenii-putinskogo-rezhima.html). The situation is changing far too rapidly for any such sweeping conclusions; but it is clear that what the Kremlin thought was a solution to a small problem has transformed the situation into a large one, raising questions about the stability of borders, on the one hand, and Moscow’s control of the republics, on the other. Neither Putin nor anyone in his entourage imagined that things would come to such a pass, the latest example of when small things no one really expects to matter may cast an enormous shadow on the course of events.
Thousands Protest Ingushetia-Chechnya Deal
Thousands of people protested in Magas, Ingushetia, against an agreement for an exchange of territory between Ingushetia and Chechnya.
Thousands Rally In Russia’s Ingushetia Against ‘Unfair’ Border Deal With Chechnya
Thousands of people have demonstrated in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Ingushetia to protest against a controversial deal establishing the administrative boundary with Chechnya.
Officials In Russia’s Bashkortostan Investigating Local Clashes Involving Chechens
Officials in Russia’s mainly Muslim-populated region of Bashkortostan say they are investigating clashes with Chechens and local residents that took place over the weekend.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnic Clash Bashkortostan Looks Like a New Kondopoga
Paul Goble Staunton, October 2 – In August 2006, at a time of relatively greater media freedom, Russians were transfixed by stories about a clash between Russians and Chechens in the Karelian city of Kondopoga. Now, there have been clashes between Bashkirs and Chechens in the Bashkortostan’s Temyasovo but little coverage or concern beyond that Middle Volga republic. That has allowed Russian and Bashkir officials to adopt their normal stance and suggest that fights between members of two ethnic groups are nothing more than clashes that could occur between members of the same group with each other. But Bashkir media make it clear that something more happened, and that, without intervention, the situation may soon get worse. A detailed description of the clash and of those involved can be found on line at proufu.ru/news/society/massovaya_draka_s_chechentsami_v_bashkirii_proizoshla_iz_za_shaurmy/. And it suggests, as Radio Liberty’s IdelReal reporter Artur Asafyev puts it, that there has been a new Kondopoga (idelreal.org/a/29520703.html). The fighting between Bashkirs and Chechens resulted in several injuries, and apparently under pressure from Bashkir society, the local authorities have agreed to open criminal cases against those responsible who appear to be the Chechen gastarbeiters (facebook.com/100022826088380/videos/343849709719229/). How far they will be able to go given Moscow’s silence and the power that Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov appears to exercise beyond the borders of his republic remains to be seen. But Bashkirs are clearly outraged by what they see as the unwelcome criminal behavior of the Chechen workers in their midst, just as the Russians in Karelia were a dozen years ago. It is not only a Radio Liberty journalist who is raising the specter of a new Kondopoga. A commentator for Ufa’s Proufa news service suggests that there is now a danger that a broader national conflict may arise in the southern portion of Bashkortostan (proufu.ru/news/society/na_yuge_bashkirii_mozhet_vozniknut_natsionalnyy_konflikt/). The situation there is apparently especially explosive because there is extraordinarily high levels of unemployment and social degradation, local people say, adding that this case shows “yet again” how bad things are with regard to “inter-ethnic relations at the local level” and how easy it is for officials to argue that there are no ethnic clashes when there obviously are.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Was the Soviet Annexation of Tuva in 1944 Illegal?
Paul Goble Staunton, October 4 – Soviet, Russian and Tuvan historians have always insisted that the Soviet Union’s absorption of Tuva in 1944 was entirely legal, the result of a request by the legislature of that nominally independent country and its acceptance by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. But in fact, Kristina Rudich points out, there are serious problems with that narrative. In an article for Russian-7, the journalist says that historians have noted that the Maly Khural of Tuva as its legislature is called lacked the authority to make such a request and that Moscow’s acceptance violated Soviet law since it was made by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet rather than by that body as a whole (russian7.ru/post/kak-stalin-prisoedinil-tuvu-k-sssr/). In reality, historians say, the decision was taken by Stalin personally, a leader who cared little for legal niceties if they got in the way of what he wanted to do. Rudich cites the work of Ukrainian historian Ivanna Ostroshenko on this issue, a Kyiv scholar who has written detailed studies of this most murky of Soviet decisions. According to Ostroshenko, there were many reasons for Stalin’s decision to absorb the former Soviet protectorate (nit.tuva.asia/nit/article/view/738). First, wolfram, gold and uranium had just been discovered there, and Stalin wanted to make sure that Moscow controlled access to these natural resources which had become increasingly important for military needs. Second, the Ukrainian scholar says, Moscow was interested in gaining access to the horned stock in Tuva as part of its plan to develop Soviet agriculture after the war. And third, Stalin was keenly aware of the complexities of the international situation in the Far East and viewed this move as providing Moscow will a base for operation. But here may have been a fourth reason, one that Ostroshenko takes from the writings of British Sovietologist Walter Kolarz. According to him, “the Soviet Union needed to defend the Kuzbass,” the major coal and industrial center near the Chinese and Mongolian borders and could use a Soviet Tuva to do so. And there may even have been a fifth reason, the Kyiv scholar and Rudich says. “It is not excluded,” the latter writes, that Moscow wanted to block any Move to absorb Tuva in the name of a Greater Mongolia or even was thinking about creating in southern Siberia, “a full-fledged Turkic Soviet Republic which would include Tuva, the Altay (Oirotia) and Khakassia.” The Russia-7 journalist points out that this last idea in fact “was discussed both in Siberia and in Moscow but in the end was not carried out.”
Second Historian Of Stalin’s Crimes Arrested On Morals Charges In Karelia
The director of a museum in Russia’s Karelia region has been arrested on suspicion of corrupting a minor in a case that observers say might be connected to the prosecution of Stalin-era historian Y…
Russian Investigative Reporter Leaves Country Fearing Prosecution For Work
A Russian investigative journalist says he has left the country fearing possible prosecution for his work.
Article About Russian Media Boss’s Alleged Crimean Home ‘Withdrawn’
The print run of a Crimean newspaper that ran an article about a villa allegedly belonging to Russian state media boss Dmitry Kiselyov has been withdrawn, the article’s author says.
UAWire – Combined fortune of Russian billionaires grew by $18.4 billion this year
The overall capital of Russian billionaires grew up to 18.4 billion dollars from the start of the year, RIA Novosti reports, citing the ratings …
Ukraine’s Sentsov Reportedly Ends Hunger Strike After Nearly Five Months
Russia’s Penitentiary System (FSIN) says Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was jailed in Russia on terrorism charges, has stopped his nearly five-month hunger strike, but the information has not been either confirmed or denied by Sentsov or his lawyers.​
Russian Man Whose Prison-Torture Claim Caused Outcry Walks Free After Serving Term
A Russian man whose videotaped abuse by prison guards caused a public outcry has been released from prison after serving his nearly seven-year prison term.
Latest Collateral Damage In U.S.-Russia Spat: An Anglo-American School Is Shut : NPR
The Anglo-American School in St. Petersburg, a beloved institution in part of the expat community, had to shut following the closure of the U.S. and British consulates.
Russian Trolls Attacked Publicity for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ | Newsmax.com
Report: Russian Trolls Attacked Publicity for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’
Main Temple of the Armed Forces of Russia: Construction Of The Temple Is A National P – Property? – To Inform is to Influence
I was researching Vostok 2018 this morning and just for grins and giggles, I went to mil.ru, to see what they had posted. Imagine my surprise when the #1 choice on the main page is this and Syria is #9!:  Main Temple of the Armed Forces of Russia (http://hram.mil.ru/) Space Forces Day Joint operational-strategic doctrine…
25 Years Ago: The Day The Russian White House Was Shelled
A Russian constitutional crisis came to a dramatic climax 25 years ago, on October 4, 1993, when President Boris Yeltsin ordered the army to shell Moscow’s parliament building. Official figures put the final death toll in the crisis at 187. Others say up to 2,000 may have died.
Blood On The Streets: Russia’s Constitutional Crisis, 25 Years On
Twenty-five years ago, Russia faced a constitutional crisis that marked a key turning point in Russia’s post-Soviet development. Hundreds of people were killed or injured when the showdown between President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian legislature escalated into skirmishes in the Russian capital and the occupation and subsequent storming of the parliament building. (Originally published October 1, 2013)
Recalling 48 Hours In Moscow During Russia’s October 1993 Crisis
Twenty-five years ago, President Boris Yeltsin cracked down on political opponents who had barricaded themselves inside the Russian parliament. I recall those turbulent days out on Moscow’s streets. (The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL.)
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Like Making Lincoln a Leader of the Confederacy’ – General Kappel Falls Victim to Putin’s Version of Russian History
Paul Goble Staunton, October 1 –Vladimir Putin’s notion that there is a single stream of Russian history appears to be behind one of the most outrageous misattributions one can imagine: presenting White General Vladimir Kappel as a tsarist loyalist memorialized on a street named for a Soviet marshal in a city named for the founder of the Bolshevik state. Kappel whose commitment to democracy and the Provisional government is well known and who led units which included the workers of Izhevsk and Votkinsk who revolted against Bolshevik power now has a monument featuring the imperial black, yellow and white tricolor flag (t.me/Nevrotique/3149 and iarex.ru/news/60413.html). “From a historical point of view,” the Rex news agency editors say, “this is no worse than decorating Robespierre with a Bourbon lily [or] ascribing Lincoln to the Confederacy.” But the situation is even worse because the monument to this democratic White general has been erected in a city named for Lenin (Ulyanovsk) and on a street named for Marshal Tukhachevsky! Few leaders of the White Movement during the Russian Civil War were monarchists, but few were more committed to the principles of democracy or to the rights of workers than Kappel. As a result, in Soviet times, the Russian commander who died in the Siberian ice campaign and was buried in Harbin seldom received much attention. But precisely because of his nobility of character and his democratic principles, Kappel has enjoyed a certain revival in attention among some Russians in the last two decades, most prominently in 2007 when his grave in China was discovered – it had been destroyed by Soviet forces after 1945 — and he was re-buried in Russia. But apparently in Putin’s time, Kappel’s well-known commitment to the well-being and political rights of his working-class soldiers is something the powers that be do not want to be remembered. Instead, Russia’s current rulers prefer to present the general as something he was not, a convinced supporter of the imperial tradition.
Russian Deputy Calls to Prosecute Feminists After Viral ‘Manspreading’ Video
An ultraconservative Russian lawmaker has called for women who “propagate feminism” to be criminally penalized following the publication of a viral video in which an activist douses ‘manspreading’ passengers in public transport. Anna Dovgalyuk, 20, uploaded a video of herself splashing diluted bleach on the pants of seemingly unsuspecting men sitting with their legs spread wide on the St. Petersburg metro. Dovgalyuk defended her campaign against what she called the “disgusting” act of manspreading after facing accusations that her “manifesto” was staged and the manspreading passengers were paid actors.
First robot sex doll brothel opens in Russia aimed at Moscow’s city workers and entrepreneurs | Daily Mail Online
One of the sex dolls can also blink and is bilingual and can ‘talk dirty’ to clients in either English or Chinese. One hour of time with sex robot will cost around £82. They are also temperature controlled.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Can Kazakhstan Stem the Outflow of Ethnic Russians – And Does It Want To?
Paul Goble Staunton, September 28 – As a result of the departure of Russian speakers in general and ethnic Russians in particular, experts say, Kazakhstan is on its way to becoming a mono-ethnic country, one in which the growing majority is becoming more nationalistic and the declining minority is feeling more threatened as a result. Russians are leaving Kazakhstan now less because they think they can do better economically in Russia – many of them can’t, Rosbalt’s Irina Dzhorbanadze says – but because they feel increasingly alien in a Kazakhstan dominated by Kazakhs and fear what will happen after Nursultan Nazarbayev passes from the scene (rosbalt.ru/world/2018/09/20/1733109.html). These feelings, she says, are the product of “’Kazakhization’” efforts of the government and population including greater use of Kazakh in all spheres, an ongoing shift from Cyrillic to Latin script, and talk about Russians as “’a fifth column’” that may threaten the country’s territorial integrity and thus must be blocked. “One local publication,” Dzhorbanadze continues, “even openly welcomed the departure of ethnic Russians from the republic, having noted that ‘one can only be glad’ that they are moving to the Russian Federation.” Such attitudes are not “’total,’” she says; but “they are quite widespread.” But they are prevented from infecting more Kazakhs almost exclusively by President Nazarbayev, “but,” as the journalist points out, “the leader of the nation is quite old and it is very difficult to predict what forces will come to power after him” and whether they will take the same position as he has. What makes the situation of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan especially problematic, Dzhorbanadze says, is that “mentally, the ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan are not Russian Russians. Their lengthy stay in the republic, their way of life and their traditions have left on them a definite and positive impression.” Behind all this, she points out, is the fact that Kazakhstan doesn’t face population decline if Russians leave. “The level of fertility among ethnic Kazakhs unlike ethnic Russians and others is quite high: five children in a family is the norm.” But Kazakhstan can easily become mono-national, something that will have serious consequences for it and the region. At least some Kazakhs believe that they will lose some advantages if the ethnic Russians leave, and they are talking about what Astana might do in order to prevent this trend from accelerating. Yuliya Kistkina of the Central Asian Monitor surveys some of their views (camonitor.kz/31607-mozhno-li-pobedit-v-kazahstane-ksenofobiyu-i-vozrodit-druzhbu-narodov.html). Among the most interesting and definite are those provided by Murat Telibekov, a Muslim activist in Kazakhstan who believes that if the ethnic Russians depart, nationalism in Kazakhstan will grow and possibly acquire extreme forms, something that will undermine what has been “an important advantage.” He urges that Astana immediately move to take five practical steps: 1. All government institutions must reflect the existing multi-national composition of the country’s population. Today, if one visits police departments, to take but one example, there is never any non-Kazakh among the officers, the result of ethnic preferences and corruption. 2. The media must be cleansed of all attacks on ethnic Russians and of suggestions that Moscow is planning to annex the northern part of the country. 3. The government must slow the current program of renaming cities and towns lest that alone frighten ethnic Russians. 4. Astana must adopt an ethnic-blind approach to promoting immigration. 5. And the government must allow the Assembly of the Peoples of Kazakhstan to play a larger role in government decisions. But even more important than any of these steps, Telibekov continues, Astana must promote economic growth so that people will not be inclined to blame their problems on others as they do now. According to him, “the current intolerance and xenophobia are a unique manifestation of sublimation.” “People unconsciously seek the source of their own misfortunes and suffering” in others. These can be sexual or ethnic minorities, foreigners, compatriots who do not know the native language, police or corrupt officials,” he says. If everyone were doing better economically, fewer would be inclined to do so.
Russia Accused Of Stoking Far Right In Georgia
The influence of far-right groups has “dramatically increased” in Georgia, and ultranationalist leaders have connections to the Russian government, according to Transparency International.
Monumental Scapegoat: Tajik Villagers, Embarrassed By Statue, Put It Out To Pasture
Residents of a southern town resented its statue of a wild goat, feeling it was the source of mockery. So they had it put out to pasture for good.
No Reenactment: Tensions Simmer In North Caucasus After Controversial Battle Commemoration
A march to commemorate a battle that took place more than 300 years ago has triggered fresh tensions in a corner of Russia’s North Caucasus, putting a spotlight on the most multiethnic region of th…

Belarus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Is Lukashenka Becoming More Pro-Russian to Save His Country or to Set the Stage for Its Absorption by Moscow?
Paul Goble Staunton, October 1 – Alyaksandr Lukashenka has pursued what his supporters call a “multi-vector” foreign policy, one that balanced his ties with Moscow by improved relations with the West. But in recent weeks and especially at the CIS summit in Dushanbe, the Belarusian leader appears to have scrapped that position and adopted a completely pro-Russian one. Valery Karbalevich of Radio Liberty’s Belarusian Service argues that Lukashenka’s latest moves mean Moscow has demanded that Minsk display more support for Moscow in its conflict with the West and Ukraine as a condition for receiving additional Russian assistance (svaboda.org/a/29516203.html in Belarusian; charter97.org/ru/news/2018/10/1/307299/in Russian.) But the Belarusian commentator says that in his view, it is too soon to draw such conditions. Lukashenka has a long history of moving in one direction for a time and then moving in quite another later. Thus, his pro-Moscow stance now could soon be followed by pro-Western moves particularly if he sees a benefit in taking them. And while Karbalevich does not address this possibility in his article, there is also the chance that Lukashenka is adopting a pro-Russian stance precisely to defend his own country and his own position. If he can show Moscow that he is prepared to be loyal in the extreme, the Kremlin will have fewer reasons to push for the annexation of Belarus by Russia. To the extent that the Belarusian leader is following that logic, his pro-Moscow remarks and actions in recent weeks may be the best defense of Belarus and himself he can put up against increasing Russian pressure on his regime.
Kremlin could resort to seizing power in Belarus, replacing Lukashenka with some FSB general – expert | UNIAN
The attempts of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka to maintain a neutral position, balancing between Ukraine and Russia, will not help him remain in power as the Kremlin has already set an objective to organize a coup d’état in the neighboring country, according to a foreign policy expert Valeriy Kravchenko. Belarus is fearing a Russia-triggered popular uprising aimed to remove Lukashenka and install someone who will simply follow the Kremlin’s orders.
‘Stop Harassment, Detentions Of Journalists,’ EU Lawmakers Tell Belarus
The European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the repeated detention and state harassment of journalists and independent news outlets in Belarus.
Belarusian KGB Says Ukrainian Man Jailed For Espionage Could Be Pardoned
The chief of Belarus’s secret police, the KGB, says Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Sharoyko, who was sentenced to eight years in prison on espionage charges in May, could soon be pardoned.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Russian propaganda, real and serious problem for R. Moldova, says Maia Sandu – To Inform is to Influence
Sep 29, 2018 A real and serious problem in the Republic of Moldova is Russian propaganda, in the context in which Kremlin’s policy is that of keeping the region in the eastern vicinity (of the European and Euro-Atlantic space – ed.n) in a so-called grey area, the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) leader, Maia Sandu,…
Moldovan Parliament Overrides Veto, Approves Transfer Of Land For New U.S. Embassy
Moldova’s parliament has overridden a veto by President Igor Dodon, passing legislation that will transfer the site of a former stadium in Chisinau to the United States for its new embassy.
Foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova discuss liberation of Donbas and Transnistria – 03.10.2018 16:41 — Ukrinform News
Ukraine and Moldova will continue to make efforts for the liberation of Donbas and Transnistria from Russia's presence both in bilateral relations and on international platforms.
Ukrainian suppliers’ sanctions-busting is misinformation – Why Ukraine suspected of selling scrap metal to unrecognized Transnistria – 112.international
Author : Igor Smolov Media publish information that some Ukrainian commercial companies continue to send scrap metal to the territory of internationally unrecognized Transnistria. Recently, the media have published information about some Ukrainian commercial companies, which, despite the sanctions of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, continue to send scrap metal to the territory of Transnistria In addition, the authors of the original articles argue that such export operations create a shortage of raw materials, and also pose a serious threat to the national security of Ukraine. Moreover, the emphasis is on enterprises that are among the largest scrap metal producers in Ukraine. Unfortunately, today there is a confrontation between metallurgists and scrap collectors, and metallurgists, as unconditional monopolists of this market, try to discredit their partners – scrap distributors with various methods in order to redirect their activity from external, more economically efficient markets, to own needs at unreasonably low and economically unprofitable prices for scrap collectors.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Russian military releases photo showing B-52 bomber flying above Syria – Defence Blog
Is ISIS buying valuable military equipment in Western Europe?
Arrests in Denmark suggest ISIS still has drone buyers in Europe.
Algerian Buk-M2E medium-range air defense missile system spotted – Defence Blog
The Algeria National People’s Army’s (ANP’s) has displayed several recently acquired Russian-made the M2E variant of the Buk medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system at the military exercises. The newest Algerian 9K317E Buk-M2E SAMs were spotted during the exercises of the troops of the 4th military district of the National People’s Army in the presence of the Chief of General Staff General Ahmed Gayid-Salah. Buk-M2E, also known as Grizzly, is a multi-channel, multifunctional, highly mobile medium-range advanced defense missile system developed by Almaz-Antey company. Buk-M2E SAM is designed to engage strategic and tactical aircraft, helicopters (including hovering ones), cruise missiles and other aerodynamic aerial vehicles throughout their whole altitude envelope, tactical ballistic and air-launched missiles, and guided air bombs under intense ECM and enemy fire conditions, as well as destroy surface and ground radio-contrast targets. The SAM system is capable of operating both independently and as part of an air defence group. For better survivability, the Buk-M2E uses unique target engagement modes and modern methods of protection against active and passive jamming, as well as precision-guided weapons.
Erik Prince, in Kabul, pushes privatization of the Afghan war – The Washington Post
Some Afghans believe he has the ear of President Trump despite opposition to the proposal at the Pentagon.
Afghan government rejects proposals to privatize war | Reuters
Afghan officials have reacted angrily to speculation that foreign military contractors could take over training and advising the Afghan armed forces, following a renewed push by the founder of private military contractor Blackwater.
Saudi Critic Entered a Saudi Consulate in Turkey and Hasn’t Been Seen Since – WSJ
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist who criticized the government, hasn’t been heard from since entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, in what appears to be the latest effort by the kingdom to stifle dissent.
Post contributor and prominent Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi feared missing in Turkey – The Washington Post
But despite his criticisms of his homeland, Khashoggi consistently expressed his love for Saudi Arabia and his desire to return
Jamal Khashoggi disappears after visiting Saudi Consulate in Istanbul
A journalist critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has gone missing after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, the The Washington Post said.
Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Journalist, Detained in Consulate in Istanbul – The New York Times
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of Saudi leaders, entered the consulate Tuesday and has not emerged since.
US Navy still has technological edge, but Chinese drones proliferating across Middle East
Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones.
 

Foreign Policy Reports


UAWire – Russia’s Gazprom announces plans to build new pipelines to Europe
Even before completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and disassembling the redundant gas corridor for South Stream, Gazprom is dreaming of new …
Klimkin warns of risks of granting “indulgences” to Russia in PACE | UNIAN
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said the Council of Europe is on the verge of ensuring the return of Russians to PACE without Russia’s fulfilling the requirements of the resolutions adopted in response to the aggression against Ukraine. Klimkin thanked the Verkhovna Rada for the statement on the situation in the PACE, but noted that was not enough.
‘About Us, Without Us’: The Day The Munich Agreement Was Signed
Eighty years ago — on the night of September 29-30, 1938 — the leaders of Germany, Italy, France, and Great Britain signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Nazi Germany to annex part of Czechoslovakia without even inviting Prague to the talks.
Not all countries can still choose their foreign policy without threat to their sovereignty, territorial integrity – FM of Czech Republic on Crimea’s annexation
All countries including those situated in Eastern Europe have the right to choose their foreign policy orientation without their sovereignty and territorial integrity threatened, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said, recalling the annexation of Crimea by the Russia. “This year the Czech Republic commemorates 50 years since the Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia. The experience of the ´68 invasion still resonates strongly not only in the Czech Republic, as the moment where many lost faith in the promises of the better world preached by the Soviet Union. This seemingly historical event however carries lessons still relevant today and echoes in incidents which are still occurring in the World around us,” the website of the Czech Foreign Ministry quoted Hamacek as saying during his speech on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “Firstly, it is still not a given that all countries including those situated in Eastern Europe have the right to choose their foreign policy orientation without their sovereignty and territorial integrity threatened. In this context, I would like to recall once more that the annexation of Crimea represents a blatant violation of the international law,” the head of the Czech Foreign Ministry said.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt backtracks on Soviet Union comments about EU
Hunt had prompted a controversy after he said Sunday that the EU was acting like the Soviet Union in trying to prevent members like the U.K. leaving the bloc.
Backing out of the USSR? Theresa May says the EU is not the Soviet Union | Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday the European Union was not the same as the Soviet Union after her foreign secretary provoked anger by likening the 28-member bloc to the USSR.


EU news: ‘Who cares!’ Salvini’s ATTACK to EU dictating against Italy economic plan | World | News | Express.co.uk
MATTEO Salvini launched a scathing attack against the EU dismissing claims ‘some’ European ministers will oppose his Government’s newly announced economic plan for Italy.
Belt and Road: Italy Drawing Up MOU With China, Geraci Says – Bloomberg
Italy’s government is volunteering for a role in China’s vast global infrastructure program.


Macedonia PM ‘determined’ to change name despite referendum failure
More than 91 percent voted to change Macedonia’s name, paving the way for NATO membership, but low turnout means the move could face opposition in parliament.
Macedonia’s referendum makes things awkward for the West – The Washington Post
A historic breakthrough in the Balkans was put on hold Sunday thanks to anemic voter turnout.
After Its Name-Change Referendum, What’s Next For Macedonia?
What are the options for Skopje after low turnout grounded a referendum on a key compromise deal to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?
Macedonian PM issues ultimatum in name-change battle | World news | The Guardian
Zoran Zaev tells opposition MPs to back name change or he will call early election
Macedonians just voted to change the name of their country — but the vote may not count – Los Angeles Times
Macedonia’s government prepared for a political battle Monday to push through a deal with Greece that would ultimately pave the way for NATO membership, after the agreement won overwhelming support in a referendum with low voter turnout.
Macedonians Vote To Change Country’s Name But Low Turnout May Imperil NATO Ambitions | HuffPost
The desire for a referendum stems from a dispute with Greece, which has a province with the same name.
PM Zaev wants to proceed with name-change despite low turnout | News | Al Jazeera
Leaders of opposition party VMRO-DPMNE boycotted the vote, saying the wording on the referendum was misleading.
Macedonia name referendum fails to reach turnout threshold: election commission | Reuters
A referendum to change the name of Macedonia failed to secure the 50 percent turnout required to make the vote valid, the head of the election commission said on Sunday.
Macedonia Name Change Approved in Referendum, Turnout Low | Time
A referendum on changing Macedonia’s name as part of a deal that would pave the way for NATO membership won overwhelming support
Both Sides Claim Victory in Macedonia’s Vote on Changing Its Name – The New York Times
Over 90 percent of ballots cast were in favor of the name change. But more than half of eligible voters stayed home from the polls.
Macedonians Trickling Out To Polls To Vote In Name-Change Referendum
Macedonians have begun voting in a referendum on a deal with neighboring Greece on whether to accept a name change that could pave the way for the Balkan nation’s entrance into the European Union and NATO.
Macedonia referendum: Polls close name change vote – BBC News
The referendum on renaming the country North Macedonia could lead to Nato and EU membership.
Russia and the West battle over Macedonia’s future ahead of name-change referendum – The Washington Post
If the country agrees Sunday to change its name, it has a chance to join the E.U. and NATO.
Macedonia name referendum: Russian warriors and British PR firms fight it out for the country’s soul
And so, the name change poll has become the latest frontline in a battle of influence being played out in referendums and elections across the globe – a battle that often crosses the east-west divide and is increasingly fought under the radar. On one side are Russian information warriors, it’s alleged, while on the other, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, can reveal, are commercial spin doctors ready to deploy 21st century tactics. In recent weeks, world leaders have descended on the Macedonian capital of Skopje rallying behind the referendum. James Mattis, the US defence secretary, used his visit to warn of a Russian disinformation campaign aimed at undermining and derailing the name change campaign. Moscow stands accused of having hired protestors and attempting to bribe officials.
Troubled NATO may be about to get a new member: Macedonia
Support for NATO among Macedonians remains high, with 77 percent saying they want to join the alliance according to a poll last month.
Macedonians vote in referendum on whether to change country’s name | Reuters
Macedonia held a referendum on Sunday on whether to change its name to ‘Republic of North Macedonia’, a move that would resolve a decades-old name dispute with Greece which had blocked its membership bids for the European Union and NATO.
Macedonia to vote on name change and ending Greek dispute | World news | The Guardian
‘Yes’ vote in referendum would pave way for Nato and possible EU membership, say supporters
Vucic Expresses ‘Deep Gratitude’ To Putin As Serbian, Russian Leaders Meet At Kremlin
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has thanked his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for protecting Serbia’s national interests, as the two leaders met for the second time in Moscow this year.
Serbian President Alexander Vučić, who is also the country’s supreme commander, ordered to put the entire Serbian army on high alert – 112.international
Serbian President Alexander Vučić, who is also the country’s supreme commander, ordered to put the entire Serbian army on high alert. Serbian President Alexander Vučić, who is also the country’s supreme commander, ordered to put the entire Serbian army on high alert, RTS reports. The order was transferred to the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces. As you know, about 60 special forces from Kosovo entered the territory adjacent to the lake, which supplies water to the Gazikode hydroelectric power station on the border of Serbia and Kosovo. Then they occupied the Center for Ecology and Sports in the village of Zubin Potok. According to the Serbian police, Serbs “who did not commit any offenses” were detained. After the seizure of the hydroelectric power station, the president of Kosovo took a boat ride on Lake Gazivode. The head of the Kosovo Police and the Minister of Finance came with him. The trip lasted about 15 minutes. After the on the boat, he got into the car and left together with special forces and police. The special forces also left the facilities.
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Says Plan to Swap Territory with Serbia Puts His Country’s Transatlantic Aspirations at Risk
Kosovo’s prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, says a land-swap plan floated by the presidents of his own country and Serbia is a dangerous idea that undermines Kosovo’s aspirations of NATO and European Union (EU) membership.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports


The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – To Inform is to Influence
October 4th, 2018 The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources. ILLUSTRATOR: SCOTT GELBER FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK By Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley October 4, 2018, 5:00 AM EDT In 2015, Amazon.com Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental…
Social Media as War?
P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018). Along with August Cole,
SOCIAL MEDIA AS WAR? – To Inform is to Influence
At last a good book review by someone who reads for what a book says as well as for what it doesn’t say.   There were very few things about this review I did not like, mostly a subtle bias which crept into the review in the penultimate paragraph.  Overall, it sounds like this book would…
What Taylor Swift Teaches Us About Online War – Defense One
What is “real” has become what is real online.
Massive Facebook breach spurs calls for regulation
Facebook announced Sept. 28 that 50 million accounts have been infiltrated in a hack, which comes amid a storm of proposals that the social media giant should be regulated.
Facebook Has Removed More Than A Dozen Big Conservative And Liberal Political Pages
Facebook said the pages were managed by a fake account and were spamming content from LifeZette, a conservative site.
Facebook Removes HyperPartisan Pages – Biased? – To Inform is to Influence
I read this article a few times and every time I remained confused.  Both the conservative and liberal sites that were removed from Facebook were controlled by LifeZette, “a conservative site”.  Yet the article makes it very clear that both conservative and liberal sites were removed. The writing is not as clear as it could…
Massive Facebook breach spurs calls for regulation
Facebook announced Sept. 28 that 50 million accounts have been infiltrated in a hack, which comes amid a storm of proposals that the social media giant should be regulated.
Why the government will publicly name the hackers who attack the US
The United States could begin attributing cyber incidents publicly with more frequency.
Nielsen outlines how US reassessing cyber risk
U.S. leaders are changing how they view threats in cyberspace and now expect that a nation state or criminal actor with cyber capabilities will use those tools against the United States, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said Oct. 3 at the Atlantic Council.
‘We are constantly one step behind’: Finland worries about cyber warfare in shadow of Russia – To Inform is to Influence
Helsinki wants the creation of an international alliance to combat growing threat Kim Sengupta Finland, on the northern edge of Europe and with a population of fewer than 5.5 million, may not seem an obvious player in struggles of geopolitics. But being situated in the shadow of its giant neighbour, Russia, has meant that the country…
How the Pentagon can help improve supply chain cybersecurity
Thomas Michelli, the Pentagon’s acting deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity, talks supply chain risks, identification cards,artificial intelligence and staffing in this Q&A.
US Cyber “Defend Forward” Takes On A Whole New Look: Allies – To Inform is to Influence
In light of the US’ recent Cyber Strategy, this new wrinkle in “Defend Forward” may cause nightmares for potential adversarial countries.  Cyber Mission Force Achieves Full Operational Capability FORT MEADE, Md. — All 133 of U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber mission force teams achieved full operational capability, Cybercom officials announced today. (17 May 2018) The concept was pioneered in…
Can industry bridge the government cyber skills gap?
Solutions providers may hold the key to better federal cybersecurity.
GhostDNS: New DNS Changer Botnet Hijacked Over 100,000 Routers
GhostDNS router DNS changing malware hijacked over 100,000 home routers
Former Cambridge Analytica Research Director Chris Wylie Explains How To Manipulate People’s Minds – To Inform is to Influence
Oct 1, 2018, 05:21pm By Jeff Kauflin Forbes Staff Fintech I cover fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain and investing. Former Cambridge Analytica research director Chris Wylie became famousthis year for exposing the psychological-influence tactics his company used to try to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Now he’s educating the public on how these tactics work, laying the groundwork for…
Unparalleled Soviet Poster Collection Donated to Hamilton – To Inform is to Influence
Hamilton College is at 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323 There are a few collections of old Soviet propaganda. One is at Stanford University from the collection of the late Herb Romerstein. An exhibit at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum was on display for years and is currently a road show. The bookstore at the…

US Domestic Policy Reports


Robert O. Work and Elbridge Colby | The Pentagon must modernize before it’s too late | Center for a New American Security
Developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.
The Pentagon must modernize before it’s too late – The Washington Post
This is our last best chance to maintain our edge over Russia and China.
White House Report Warns ‘All Facets’ Of U.S. Defense Industrial Base Are At Risk
A long-awaited, multi-agency report over a year in the making describes alarming trends in industries vital to national security.
Trump Wants Chinese Parts Out of American Weapons – Defense One
The White House will call for targeted investments in domestic manufacturing in an industrial-base report to be unveiled Friday.
John Bolton Is Living the Dream—for Now – Foreign Policy
After being snubbed his entire career, the national security advisor’s fierce unilateralism has at last become U.S. policy. But even he can’t stop Trump from making deals.
The Army is in its final push toward a decision on the iconic ‘pinks and greens’ uniform
The Army is working on a new dress uniform. A final decision is days away.
One-star general — and Enola Gay pilot’s grandson — forced to retire after misconduct claims
The deputy commander of Air Force Global Strike Command will be forced to retire after an investigation substantiated several accusations of misconduct during his previous command.
Air Force ups maximum retention bonus to $100K, plans big expansion
The Air Force plans to increase the number of career fields eligible for re-enlistment bonuses to 115 in fiscal 2019, up from 92 in May.
DoD Report To Congress On Defense Industrial Base « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
In September, the Defense Department submitted its annual report on the defense industrial base to Capitol Hill. In the report, DoD officials outline a seven-point strategy on how to maintain the base, in the face of looming defense budget reductions.
How to Configure the Space Force? A Question For All the Services
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “Policy Roundtable: Does America Need a Space Force?” by our sister publication, the Texas National Security
Numbers game: How the Air Force is following the Army and Navy’s bad example
The Air Force is using the Army and Navy playbook and focusing on an end-strength number. That could be catastrophic in the future, warns Susanna Blume of the Center for a New American Security.
CNN: Ricin Found in Mail Delivered to Pentagon Mail Facility | Newsmax.com
CNN: Ricin Found in Mail Delivered to Pentagon Mail Facility
Defense Secretary Mattis and the Navy’s top officer targeted in suspected ricin mail attack at Pentagon
The mail triggered alarms as it was screened Monday.
America’s newest nuclear gravity bomb completes design review
The B61-12 life-extension program is on track for production.
America’s Military Is Losing Its Counterinsurgency Operations Capabilities | The National Interest
It is better to focus on existential, near-peer threats.
A staggering number of troops are fat and tired, report says
Glaring concerns over weight and sleep issues for military personnel were raised in a 2018 RAND report.
Trump’s Arms Exports Policy: Debunking Key Assumptions – War on the Rocks
The Trump administration recently released its new Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy designed to increase the already well-established U.S.
Heritage Report: Aging Navy Fleet Complicates Tradeoff Between Buying New Ships, Fixing Old Ones – USNI News
The Heritage Foundation Index of U.S. Military Strength stated the military is too small, too old and not ready enough to support a credible two-war force.
New Official DOD Video Of Soldier, Sailors, Airmen, And Marines – To Inform is to Influence
We’re Loving This Official DOD Video of Cartoon Soldiers Killing Stuff (Task & Purpose) The Pentagon has revamped its official website, www.defense.gov, with better-looking graphics, improved experience, and what Task & Purpose describes as “snazzy videos of cartoon soldiers protecting our way of life.”  An animated video shares the military’s story and explains what the military actually does.  “The cartoon format…


UAWire – Russian Foreign Minister: Putin received invitation to visit the USA
During the press-conference at the UN, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin received an invitation …
Time to start preparing next round of sanctions against Russia: Ex-U.S. envoy | UNIAN
As a champion of sovereignty, Trump could have made reference to Russia’s many violations of sovereignty of other countries. This was a gross oversight, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul wrote in an article for The Washington Post. In his speech devoted to defending sovereignty at the United Nations this week, President Trump barely touched on Russia, only making a passing reference to Germany’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.
Behind the intelligence community’s ‘second epoch’
Have you heard about shake-ups in intelligence community technology?
President of the United States Donald Trump said he intends to seek payment from the developed countries for military support from Washington – Trump intends to seek payment from allies for military support – 112.international
President of the United States Donald Trump said he intends to seek payment from the developed countries for military support from Washington. President of the United States Donald Trump said he intends to seek payment from the developed countries for military support from Washington, DW reports. ‘When it is about rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, what to finance their armies for? They will pay us,’ Trump said.
Ties of Trump’s special advisor on cybersecurity Rudy Giuliani’ with Yanukovych’s team should be investigated – Pentagon ex-official – 112.international
Ex-official of the Pentagon and Director of the American Biden Center Michael Carpenter urges the law enforcement bodies of the U.S. and Special Councel Robert Mueller to investigate the activity of ex-Mayor of New York and current lawyer of U.S. President Donald Trump Rudolph Giuliani as Voice of America reported. “It’s time to shine some more light on Rudy Giuliani’s mobbed-up Ukrainian friends & their ties to the kleptocratic regime of former President Viktor Yanukovych (Manafort’s old boss). Giuliani seems to be involved in a number of schemes in Ukraine,” Carpenter claimed.
Official Trump @War: Full Movie – YouTube
Is Nothing Better than Something? Trashing These Treaties Makes No Sense – Defense One
The Open Skies, Intermediate Nuclear Forces, and New START agreements are important strands of the nuclear safety net.
U.S. Image Slides As Trump Rated Lower Than Putin, Xi In Global Poll
The U.S. image around the world slumped further this year after President Donald Trump criticized allies and praised enemies, with a global poll showing people in most countries trust the leaders o…
The Kavanaugh Hearing Information War – To Inform is to Influence
As much as I hate discussing politics on this blog, this article is a good examination of various techniques used by trolls, propagandists, and concerned citizens.  The article does not discuss is the role of Russian trolls in this discussion. If you check out the Hamilton 68 dashboard, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and investigation figures…
US government may gain new power to track drones and shoot them down
The bill provides no oversight or way to question a government decision about what is a

 

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