Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (53)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Internal Russia developments, China, and Europe are most interesting. In capability, recent Chinese disclosures are of interest, as well as US Army discussions. Tyndall damage remains unclear.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


UAWire – NATO to conduct about twenty ‘experiments’ during military exercises near the Russian borders
NATO plans to conduct about twenty “experiments” during the biggest military exercises in recent years near the Russian borders from October 25 to November 7, RIA Novosti reports citing Supreme Allied Command Transformation. NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 (TRJE18) exercises will be conducted in Norway and will involve about fifty thousand soldiers from thirty countries. “The exercises will provide an environment for testing, clarifying and further development of existing or new capabilities. NATO seeks to provide the best experimental results without putting the military exercises at risk. It will be accomplished by coordinating and integrating the experiments of its organizations and countries in TRJE18,” the Command’s website stated. One of such experiments is the training for expeditious deployment of the coordination-command module for the deployment and control of air forces provided by the allied countries.
U.S. F-16C Fighting Falcons arrived at Sweden, in support of Trident Juncture 18 – Defence Blog
U.S. Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa Public Affairs has announced that F-16C Fighting Falcons and support Airmen from the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, arrived at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, in support of Trident Juncture 2018. Trident Juncture 2018 is the largest NATO exercise since 2015, with participation of more than 50,000 military personnel from 31 nations. Trident Juncture 18 is partially funded by the European Deterrence initiative. EDI funding enables the United States to enhance the U.S. deterrence posture, increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, support collective defense and security of NATO allies and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. partners. This enables faster response to any aggression by a regional adversary against the sovereign territory of a NATO ally. The U.S. Air Force routinely rotates aircraft in and around the theater in support of operations and exercises and in full coordination with host nations, allies, and support partners. By supporting operations like Trident Juncture 18, USAFE helps strengthen the relationship the U.S. has with its NATO allies and partners. Total around 50,000 participants (land forces: 20,000; navy personnel: 24,000 (including U.S. Marines); 3,500 air personnel; 1,000 logistics specialist; 1,300 personnel from a range of NATO commands)
• 31 nations (all 29 NATO members + Finland and Sweden)
• 250 aircraft
• 65 vessels
• 10,000+ vehicles
 Trident Juncture 2018 is a NATO-led high-visibility exercise to be held in Norway. This will be the largest military exercise in Norway since the 1980s. Tags: USA
UAWire – Romania concerned about Russia’s military activity in the Black Sea
Romania is concerned about the increased Russian military activity in the Black Sea. Strengthening European security will be the main topic in …
Romanian government concerns about Russian actions in Black Sea encourage Ukrainians | Euromaidan Press |
A declaration by the Romanian defense minister that his country is concerned by the increased Russian presence the Black Sea is encouraging Kyiv which welcomes such a statement by a senior official of a NATO country as an indication that the Western alliance is increasingly ready to stand with Ukraine against Russia. In an Apostrophe commentary, Mykhailo Samus, deputy director of Kyiv’s Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, says that no one wants to see Moscow achieve “zones of exclusive control” on that body of water. The analyst says that Bucharest’s statement is welcome especially since “Ukraine finally has begun actions which demonstrate that it has the very same rights to make use of the Kerch Straits and the Sea of Azov as Russia.” NATO of course has “limited opportunities in this sphere” because the Montreux Convention limits its ability to maintain forces in the Black Sea. It must rotate them periodically and “now NATO is trying to create a system” based in Constanza, Romania, that will allow it to be present for more sustained periods, Samus says. Unfortunately, not all NATO countries are on board with this, he continues. Sofia is refusing to support such an arrangement because it “considers that this can lead to a greater confrontation” with Russia. For the time being, Romania is “the most active member of NATO which is trying to stand up to Russia.” For that reason, the Kyiv analyst says, today, Romania “is in fact Ukraine’s closest ally on the Black Sea.” The Ukrainian authorities need to “deepen their ties with Romania, including in naval affairs” in order to be able to work with them and through them with other NATO countries including the United States. Ukraine also needs to denounce the agreement it has with Russia on the Sea of Azov so that that body of water will not be an inland sea controlled by Kyiv and Moscow but an international waterway governed by Law of the Sea principles. Ending that agreement is the only way to open the door to a NATO presence in the Sea of Azov. According to Samus, Russia has only “limited” chances to achieve full control over the Black and Azov seas “because any actions in that direction will be viewed by the international community as a challenge and threat, and this will lead to new sanctions against Russia.“ He concludes that “this does not correspond now to the interests of the Russian Federation.”
UAWire – US builds new NATO facilities in Estonia
New facilities for accommodation of NATO troops and equipment which were built using US-allocated funds were solemnly opened on Tuesday at Amari …
No consensus yet in NATO on MAP for Ukraine: Klimkin | UNIAN
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin says the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has no full consensus yet on providing Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan (MAP). According to the foreign minister, the discussions are still ongoing.
NATO-Ukraine Commission discusses situation in Donbas, Crimea | UNIAN
The NATO-Ukraine Commission has discussed the humanitarian aspects of the conflict in Donbas and the human rights situation in Russian-occupied Crimea. NATO noted the importance of the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and pledged to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
Russia not to allow NATO vessels hold drills in Azov Sea, – Russia’s Foreign Minister – 112.international
Russia will not allow the NATO vessels to enter the Sea of Azov for the participation in the joint drills with Ukraine. Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia claimed this as Interfax reported. “Now Ukraine wants to hold the NATO drills in the Azov Sea but it will be impossible to enter it as our treaty with Ukraine demands the mutual agreement for the passage of the military vessels to the sea,” he said.
NATO Parliamentary Assembly to come to Ukraine to discuss Azov Sea – 112.international
NATO Parliamentary Assembly to come to Ukraine to discuss Azov Sea
Hungary to continue blocking NATO-Ukraine Commission | UNIAN
Hungary will continue to block the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the ministerial level, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin during their talks held on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Szijjarto claims Ukraine made no progress on the issue of the education law and failed to implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission.
NATO to continue providing strong political and practical support to Ukraine – 18.10.2018 11:21 — Ukrinform News
The meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission has once again confirmed the Alliance&rsquo;s commitment to supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Ukraine asks NATO to help strengthen security of Ukraine’s ammo depots – 112.international
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to step up the work of the Trust Funds of the North Atlantic Alliance
NATO confirms readiness to assist Ukraine in enhancing protection of ammo depots – media | UNIAN
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, discussed with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels the issue of protection of Ukraine’s ammunition depots. The Alliance is already supporting Ukraine in this regard because Kyiv had asked for help back in 2017.
Poroshenko meets with President of NATO PA – 18.10.2018 10:30 — Ukrinform News
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Rasa Jukneviciene.
Here’s a 6-Country Defense-Development Effort That Just Might Work – Defense One
Among its lessons: sometimes, small is better.
Latvia receives first Polaris MRZR and all-terrain vehicles – Defence Blog
Under a $500,000 US Foreign Military Sales contract, the Latvian National Armed Forces received the first 18 Polaris tactical vehicles. “I am pleased that the vehicles of Polaris will significantly strengthen the tactical mobility capabilities of the Latvian Armed Forces, including the National Guard. The delivery of these vehicles is also one of the proofs of our close and successful cooperation with the United States, “emphasizes Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis. It is planned that, by the end of 2018, another 44 military tactical vehicles, Polaris, will be supplied to the National Armed Forces through the US Government’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme. In addition, in 2020, a substantial US government-funded delivery of Polaris to the National Armed Forces is planned. In total, Latvia will receive up to 130 four-model military tactical vehicles “Polaris” – “Sportsman Big Boss”, MRZR-2, MRZR-4 and MV850 for about 6, 8 million euros, financing from the state budget of Latvia approximately 15% of the cost. Intergovernmental agreements with the United States also include the supply of vehicle parts, engineering support and training. The vehicles are specially designed for a wide range of uses, such as border patrol, rapid personnel deployment, command and control, and supply transport missions. The new Polaris ultralight and all-terrain vehicles will be used mainly to ensure border security. Within the framework of various military assistance programs, the United States has provided support to Latvia for more than 20 years, supplying important equipment such as communications equipment, night vision devices and vehicles to the development of the National Armed Forces.
‘Army Half As Capable After Budget Cuts’ Says Former Chief
General Lord Dannatt also stressed the Ministry of Defence, the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have a responsibility “to show that the money they are currently getting is being spent well”.
Latvia receives final self-propelled howitzer from Austria – Defence Blog
The Latvian National Armed Forces have received into service its final batch of the M109 series 155mm self-propelled artillery system, according to the country’s Ministry of Defence Republic. Ministry of Defence Republic on 18 October has announced that Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and Commander of the National Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Leonid Kalnins will visit the Adazi base to view the self-propelled howitzer purchased from Austria. Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis emphasizes: “I am pleased that in such a short period of time we have received all the howitzers purchased from Austria, which is a historic contribution to strengthening the capacity of the Latvian Army’s fire support.” In April 2017, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Latvian Ministry of Defense and the Austrian Ministry of Defense and Sports on the purchase of M109A5Oe self-propelled artillery systems, including the purchase of fire control and training platforms. The purchase of self-propelled artillery systems is an important complement to the Latvian National Armed Forces, which makes it possible to improve national defense capabilities. In order to improve the ability of the Latvian Armed Forces to support indirect fire, as well as improve Latvia’s ability to integrate fully into NATO operations and training, 47 artillery systems were purchased from Austria. The cost per unit, depending on its modification, is between € 60,000 and € 140,000. Self-propelled artillery system M109A5Oe type A howitzer, which is earlier A2 and A3 howitzers modernized version with 39 caliber M185 barrel, has shot distance with the standard or conventional ammunition is 22 kilometers, while the shooting distance with advanced operational ammunition is 30 kilometers. The 155mm self-propelled artillery M109A5Oe system has installed a semi-automatic charging system, inertial navigation system, electrical system, artillery fire control system. Its modification provides that the howitzer is able to open fire within a minute of receiving the order to fire, as well as after the fire has completed its task within 30 seconds to leave the fire position. With a well-trained crew, howitzers can fire up to 12 projectiles a minute. In addition, his power to protect the platform is equipped with a 12,7mm machine gun. The fire control center is M109A5Oe is an Austrian modification for the M109 platform with a the standard corps and dismantled gun, thus increasing the interior space. The platform is equipped with tactical artillery calculation with printer, radio stations and an additional 28 V generator. For its force protection, platform is equipped with the 80mm smoke grenade system and 12.7mm machine gun. Driver training platforms M109 are designed for conducting practical driving training.
Lithuania received a batch of UNIMOG U5000 military vehicles
The Ministry of National Defense of Lithuania announced the transfer to the National Army of a new party of tactical trucks UNIMOG U5000 manufactured by the German company Daimler AG. This batch includes the supply of 54 5-tonne trucks in the framework of a 2015 agreement with Daimler AG for the purchase of 340 lorries, valued at 70 million euros.

Russia / Russophone Reports


The Week In Russia: A Storm Of Setbacks And A Call For Constitutional Change
Russian President Vladimir Putin has faced something close to a perfect storm in the past several days, with setbacks on many fronts, ranging from politics and opinion polls to space, soccer, relig…
Navalny accepts National Guard director’s ‘duel’ challenge, but the latter says his timing is ‘disgraceful’ — Meduza
Anti-corruption activist and opposition politician Alexey Navalny has accepted the “duel challenge” from National Guard director Viktor Zolotov, but the latter’s spokesman is not happy. “I think it’s blasphemy. It’s self-promotion on people’s bones. It’s really beyond the pale,” Valery Gribakin, one of Zolotov’s advisers, told the radio station Govorit Moskva, adding that Zolotov hasn’t seen “Navalny’s latest opus” and doesn’t plan to watch it.
Kremlin Foe Navalny Accepts Challenge To ‘Duel’
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has accepted a challenge to a “duel” from the head of Russia’s National Guard and has proposed a venue and his weapon of choice.
Kremlin Foe Navalny Summoned To Police Again
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was summoned by police one day after his release folllowing 50 days in jail, and the vocal Kremlin foe could face a new criminal charge.
Kremlin Foe Aleksei Navalny Released After Serving 50 Days In Jail
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been released from jail after serving 50 days for organizing antigovernment protests.
Fraternity Of Peoples?
Russians hold mostly favorable views of China, while Ukraine, the EU, and the U.S. are less popular.
UAWire – Russia falls behind Ethiopia in adult survival rate
In Russia, the proportion of 15 year-olds who are expected to reach 60 years of age is lower than in Kazakhstan, India, Mongolia and Ethiopia, according to estimates by the World Bank. For the first time, the World Bank released a Human Capital Index (HCI) which attempts to “measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18”. One of the index’s components is the adult survival rate, and for this indicator Russia ranks 122 out of 157 countries. The statistic is a “proxy for the range of fatal and non-fatal health outcomes that a child born today would experience as an adult under current conditions,” the World Bank explains. Russia’s score is 0.78, meaning that only 78% of 15 year-olds are expected to live until 60, putting Russia among the lowest scoring countries for this indicator. By comparison, the Word Bank calculated that the US has an adult survival rate of 0.9, China 0.92 and Germany 0.93. Other countries with the same score as Russia (0.78) include Afghanistan, Sudan and Papua New Guinea. Countries such as Iceland, Switzerland and Italy enjoy one of the best results – 0.95. The HCI, which is based on data from 2017, is comprised of five separate indicators: the likelihood of a child surviving to age five; the expected years of school a child will attend by age 18; harmonized examination scores as an indicator of the quality of education; adult survival rate, and the percentage of children who do not have stunted growth. Overall, Russia has a score which is above average in the region and “higher that could have been expected for countries with a corresponding level of income,” the World Bank notes. Russia ranks 34 with an overall score of 0.73 (out of 1), compared to the world average of 0.57.
Russian High Tech Project Struggles after U.S. Sanctions
U.S. sanctions targeting Russia’s nascent high tech industry have caused a Russian microchip company significant financial woes and delayed the launch of an initiative meant to produce substitutes for Western products,the firm’s owner said. President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to develop Russia’s domestic tech industry to make it less dependent on Western equipment. But Moscow’s efforts to manufacture Russian microchips and other high tech products have been thwarted by U.S. sanctions against a string of Russian tech companies. Angstrem-T, which makes semi-conductors, has accumulated significant debts and is set to be taken over by state development bank VEB after failing to reimburse an 815-million-euro ($944.75 million) loan dating back to 2008, said Leonid Reiman, chairman of the company’s board of directors. Reiman, Russia’s former minister of communications and information technologies, said the company’s inability to reimburse its debt was in part tied to U.S. restrictions on the import of dual-use technologies and its addition to U.S. Treasury sanctions in 2016.
Someone sent a severed goat’s head and a threatening note to a Russian independent newspaper — Meduza
Someone wants to scare the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. On October 18, a basket appeared outside the paper’s newsroom. Inside was a severed goat’s head and a note reading, “To Novaya Gazeta’s chief editor. Greetings to you and Korotkov!” A day earlier, a funeral wreath was delivered to the office, attached to a note that said, “Denis Korotkov is a traitor to the Motherland.”
Russia’s Top Judge Spurs New Talk Of Changing Constitution
Just seven months after Putin’s reelection, there’s serious talk about whether to amend the constitution, possibly with an eye toward keeping Putin in power.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Elites’ Overriding Fear of Innovations Putting Russia at Risk, Agora Report Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 18 – The powers that be in Russia are afraid of any changes, technical or social, that they have not explicitly sanctioned in advance, experts at the Agora Analytic Center say in a new report, because any and all changes will entail the loss of their power and wealth. In an 18-page report entitled The Neophobia of the Russian Powers that Be, Pavel Chikov and Damir Gaynutdinov say that these fears limit Russia’s progress in all areas except those the powers hope will keep them in power: the monitoring of the population, propaganda and censorship (docs.rferl.org/ru-RU/2018/10/17/e8b8bf33-3790-4bfe-a7cf-cae16cf95868.pdf). This pattern, they say, explains why Russia is lagging ever further behind in medicine and biotechnology but moving ahead with programs to control the Internet and the media. In the latter, Russia is at the cutting edge, something that is often ignored given its backwardness in other areas, the two specialists on media say. The Agora experts note, however, that Moscow has not yet achieved what it hopes for as far as media control is concerned and predict, as New Times stresses in its discussion of the new report, that the Kremlin will soon sanction updated versions of jamming which the Soviet authorities used to block Western radio stations (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/171422). The policies the Putin regime have adopted with regard to medical innovation and care reflect not only its own views, Chikov and Gaynutdinov say, but also “the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Since 2015, the Putin regime has cut back its expenditures on medical care and research, less because of budgetary stringencies, they imply, than because it does not see them as necessary to the regime’s survival. Instead, they have focused on the installation of more devices to monitor the population. In Moscow alone, they have installed more than 100,000 cameras on the streets, an expensive move that allows the authorities to monitor protests. Moreover, Russia has made important advances in facial recognition technology and the blocking of Internet sites, means to control the population rather than to innovate as such. Such an approach may bring the powers that be short-term protection, Chikov and Gaynutdinov say; but this “fear of the new” not only distorts government spending but interferes with Russia’s economic development and thus its longer-term prospects, something some in the regime have to recognize even thought they are carrying out these policies.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Europe has Ceased to Be ‘The Other’ for Millions of Russians, Morozov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 18 – Between 2003 and 2013, millions of Russian speakrs spent at least part of their time in Europe and quickly discovered that “it was impossible to uncover ‘European values’ without a special optical device,” Aleksandr Morozov says. They did not see in Europe “anything special, any ‘Other’ with a capital letter.” That development, the political scientist says, has had an important if as yet largely unrecognized impact on the cursed question of Russia’s relationship to Europe, on whether Russians must copy Europe or whether they must oppose it as a separate and alien civilization (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/10/15/78202-ischeznovenie-evropy). Russian speakers who moved to Europe to work or to study or simply to live simply did not and do not see “any critically significant difference between themselves and Europeans at the level of everyday life.” For most of them, Morozov argues, “Europe is simply our territory to the west of the Bug River.” Russian historian Andrey Teslya once told him, the political analyst says, that “Europe has disappeared. In the course of two hundred years of Russian history, Europe has never meant as little as it does today. One can even say that the concept of ‘Europe’ has in general disappeared.” For most Russian speakers, “Europe has ‘fallen off the radar screen.’ It has been converted from ‘another world’ into an extension of one’s own activities.” (There are exceptions, of course, Morozov concedes. But those who talk about Europe’s distinctiveness mark themselves out as the liberal minority.) For the overwhelming majority of Russian speakers who have been to Europe for any period of time, “a completely different idea has triumphed: Europe has simply been ‘colonized,’ in the original and not in the imperial meaning of the word.” “It turns out,” Morozov says, that while Russians may not get all the depth of the local situation, they don’t need to: they can “fully participate in all necessary communications” without having or needing that background. They simply fit in at least for all everyday purposes and aren’t some outsider representing a clearly defined religious or ethnic community. At the level of everyday life, he continues, “each Russian saw that under the word ‘Europe’ was understood not ‘the supremacy of law, representative democracy and human dignity,’ but ‘the Brussels bureaucracy’ which only complicates life” for the natives and for Russian speakers who lived among them. Before the Crimean Anschluss, the Russians in Europe did not have any problem. “But after 2014, a colossal problem has arisen” because Russians there suddenly discovered that the principle on which they had been acting – “’if a problem can be solved with money, then this isn’t a problem but an expense’” – no longer held true in every case. Russian speakers had been going to Europe in much the same way that their ancestors had gone east of the Urals, not to integrate, not to form a diaspora, but to act as they did at home on territories new to them. And most continue to behave in that way, even if the situation over the last four years has changed and created mental conflicts. “If we want to understand the real situation of the gigantic Russian-speaking milieu in Europe, then we must consider how language there works, how the real mechanisms of ‘colonization’ are taking place, and how hundreds of thousands of people now function with ‘life in two homes.’” Talking about Russia and Europe in the traditional ways no longer has meaning for most of them.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Zorkin’s Article has Nothing to Do with Any Constitutional Changes, Shaburov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 11 – Because there have been rumors that the Kremlin plans constitutional changes to allow Vladimir Putin to remain in power or to amalgamate the federal subjects, many expected an article by Valery Zorkin, the head of the Constitutional Court, at least to give hints about what those might be if not to specify them in particular. But few who know much about Zorkin’s personal style would have expected that in his latest article, Aleksey Shaburov, a Yekaterinburg commentator says. He writes two or so long, verbose articles a year, few of which have any specific proposals about current issues (politsovet.ru/60548-tochechnye-izmeneniya-konstitucii-o-chem-govoritsya-v-state-valeriya-zorkina.html). Zorkin’s ideological position is well-established and well-known, Shaburov continues. Put in the most general terms, he “views the liberal treatment of human rights as inapplicable for Russia” because to his mind, Russians are collectivist and “the largest and chief collective is the state.” He has “more than once said that in the interests of the state, the rights of the individual can be limited. True, in the Constitution of the Russian Federation is written something else, but the chairman of the Supreme Court delicately passes this by.” Zorkin’s new essay (rg.ru/2018/10/09/zorkin-nedostatki-v-konstitucii-mozhno-ustranit-tochechnymi-izmeneniiami.html) is an exemplar of all that he has written before, Shaburov says; and it would not have attracted much attention except for the rumors that the Kremlin wants to change the constitution, something Putin’s spokesman has now denied. “Everyone expected that precisely Zorkin in his article would announce these changes, but these expectations proved for naught. There is nothing of this in the article,” but a close read shows that he wanted to send a message but not the message most of his readers were in any way looking for. Zorkin’s key argument was that there should not be any radical changes in the Constitution. Instead, it should be developed and any problems within it corrected by decisions of the Constitutional Court he heads. Making radical changes would be “fraught with the risk of serious social and political destabilization.” Put crudely, Shaburov continues, “Zorkin is saying: why change he Constitution if we even without that can use it ‘as needed’?” After all, that is what he has always tried to do for those in power, rejecting things they don’t like such as local governments and promoting those they do like the term of office of the Duma members. The chief justice also talks about creating a two-party system, although such systems, the experience of other countries shows, aren’t created by the constitution but by societies working within one, the Yekaterinburg commentator points out. “The most concrete and specific part of Zorkin’s essay is his attack on the European Court for Human Rights. Here he is very clear: the head of the Constitutional Court doesn’t like that the European Court is imposing on Russia its understanding of human rights.” In his view, each people has the right to decide what those rights include. Such an approach, of course, “destroys the very idea of rights as something inherent in the individual independently of whether society wants it or not. Thus, if society decides for example that the right to freedom of speech isn’t necessary, that this allows such a freedom to be dispensed with.” Naturally, Shaburov continues, “such a doctrine is very useful for the Russian powers that be, and of course it is nowhere included in the principles guiding the work of the European Court for Human Rights.” Consequently, “it is not excluded that this is the only specific message of Zorkin’s new article.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians in Denial about Racism in Their Country and Preclude Fight Against It, Buryat Historian Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 11 – For many reasons historical, cultural and intellectual, Russians remain in denial about the existence of racism in their country, Buryat historian Radzhana Dugarova says; and this denial of what is a widespread reality precludes their being able to combat it when it appears. Observing that she finds it difficult to avoid reading online posts about the absence of racism in Russia, Dugarova says she has identified four main arguments offered by those who deny it exists there: “In Russia, there is no racism because it isn’t characteristic of Russians” is the first (sibreal.org/a/29535740.html). “There is no racism in Russia. I’ve lived my entire life in Russia and not once have I encountered it” is the second. “Racism is everywhere,” and so Russians aren’t to blame is the third. And “why aren’t you angry that they don’t respect our culture” or “commit genocide against Russians in Central Asia and the Caucasus” is the fourth. None of these arguments hold water upon examination, the historian says. She says that “she didn’t know” she was a Buryat until she was five years old and other children in the sandbox wouldn’t play with her because. In school in the center of Ulan-Ude, that was less of a problem because the numbers of Buryats and Russians were more or less equal; when one or the other was much more numerous, then it became one. When she was ten, Dugarova says, she first visited Moscow and was shocked by comments of people waiting in line that she and her mother must have “just come from the aul.” When Dugarov came out of the store, she wanted to tell them that they were “mistaken: auls are in the Caucasus and we have come from Buryatia. Later, she relates, she lived for three years in three parts of the United States. There undoubtedly is racism in the US, although Dugarova says she never encountered it directedly at her. “If much-ballyhooed political correctness is to blame for that, then I vote for it with both hands.” But, she continues, she discovered “yet another important difference between Russians and Americans. Although it may be a form of hypocrisy, “if in America a murder occurs on a racial basis, thousands of people go into the streets and protest.” That doesn’t happen in Russia hypocrisy or not. According to Dugarova, “the recognition of a problem is the first step toward its solution. In Russia, however, people suffer from denial just like alcoholics who are certain that with them everything is in order even as their lives fall into the abyss.” That makes it extremely difficult to talk about racism with them. “It is possible that people in Russia find it so difficult to recognize the existence of racism in the country because of out-of-date ideas about it. In Soviet times, it was considered that we had not racism. That racism was about America while we had internationalism and friendship of the peoples.” Moreover, as Viktor Shnirelman, “one of the few Russian researchers on racism,” points out, “the transition in the world from the conception of biological racism to the conception of cultural racism has not been noted or recognized in Russia.” In other countries, the study of racism is an entire academic discipline with its own terms and theories. “One of the key conceptions of the critical theory of race is white privilege,” Dugarova says. “This social privilege gives advantages to people whom society identifies as whites compared to non-white people in the very same social, political or economic circumstances.” Russians enjoy the same when their Slavic appearance gives them advantages over non-Slavs. But there is another concept in Western theory that Russians would do even better to become familiar with and apply in their own lives, she says. That is the idea of “white fragility, a comparatively new term introduced by Robin DiAngelo, an American researcher on racism and a corporate trainer in racial equality.” “Whites in North America,” she says, “live in a social milieu which defends and isolates them from racial stress. This isolated milieu of racial defense provides racial comfort and at the same time reduces their resistance to racial stress which leads to a situation which I call ‘white fragility.’” Such a condition means that “even a minimal quantity of racial stress becomes unbearable, eliciting a number of defensive actions, including showing emotions like anger, fear, and a feeling of guilt, and also kinds of behavior like arguments, silence and withdrawal from the situation which generates this stress,” the American scholar continues. “Being a representative of the white community, DiAngelo appeals to whites with a call to find in themselves the strength to listen to the point of view of non-whites, to accept the discomfort which may arise and not to confuse this discomfort with literal danger … If white people really did what was required to escape from fragility,” she says, no only our interpersonal relations but our institutions would be changed as well.” Dugarova says that she “considers this appeal important as never before in Russia today. For overcoming racist attitudes, there must be a perestroika of the worldviews of Russians, education in the area of racism and discrimination, lessons of anti-racism in schools and training in work places.” “One would like to hope that with the new knowledge such things would spread, public discussions about racism in Russia would advance to a qualitatively new level.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Regions Now Such a Serious Problem for Moscow that Its Leaders Can’t Talk about Them, Fayzrakhmanov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 14 – Sometimes leaders ignore certain questions because they are so unimportant that neglecting them is appropriate, but often they do so because the issues have become so serious that they either do not know what to do or are afraid that talking about them will only make them worse. One of those issues for the Moscow elites, Tatarstan commentator Ayrat Fayzrakhmanov says, is what to do with the country’s regions, something that neither the head of the Russian Constitutional Court nor the prime minister mentioned in their recent programmatic articles about the future of the country (business-gazeta.ru/article/398848). On the one hand, he says, given the issue of keeping the current elite in office despite declining ratings, “the issue of changing the federal arrangements of the country has been pushed off to a third-tier one” because while the desire to amalgamate regions remains in place, doing this without destroying the foundation is impossible.” But on the other, Fayzrakhmanov argues, “the regions are becoming a headache for Moscow;” and it is easier for people within the ring road to ignore them than to address their concerns and problems even though that almost certainly will ensure that the headache will only grow worse. For many in the center, “relationships of the center and the regions are reduced to the following questions: whom of the technocrats to appoint and should the heads of the remain subject to election?” But with the decline in the ratings of those in power, “the legitimation of selective appointments is ceasing to work.” In reality, Fayzrakhmanov continues, “we are at a fork in the road,” one in which the country could do away with elections and use force alone to impose order or allow of elections that would result in a sharing of power. Moscow may want the first, but “the demand for change at the local level is enormous.” If one listens to Moscow officials, the Kazan analyst argues,“interethnic relations are glorious,” a view that permits some to think that it will be “enough to leave peoples with national cultural autonomy, ensembles, songs, language courses, and ethnic festivals” and that the population is on the way to becoming a single Russian people. But people in Soviet times thought that all the peoples were on the way to becoming a single Soviet people – until the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev showed that was far from the case – and the non-Russians each moved off in their own directions away from Moscow. Today, something similar is brewing, Fayzrakhmanov suggests. “The conflicts in Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabarbino-Balkaria, and Bashkortostan clearly show that ethnic and regional self-consciousness constitutes to be an important factor in the life of society,” however much some in Moscow would prefer to think otherwise. “It hasn’t gone anywhere and is trying to acquire political status for itself.” In Russia today, he concludes, “people are ready to fight for their land, for their people, and for their republics. And thus it is obvious that changing the status of republics or changing borders or amalgamating the regions won’t happen as simply” as some in the country’s capital believe. That they are not talking about this suggests, however, that some of them are beginning to recognize reality even if the rhetoric of Moscow television suggests otherwise.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘A Rural Russia without People’ — What Next Census Will Show
Paul Goble Staunton, October 14 – The Russian government is currently conducting a trial census in advance of the full one planned for 2020. It suggests that when the results come in from the latter in two to three years, they will show “a Russia without people” in the rural areas, with the population concentrated in the major cities but declining in number. In Novyye izvestiya today, journalist Irina Mishina says that the trial census by the new questions it is asking and the old ones it is dropping suggests what the authorities care about and what results they expect after 2020 (newizv.ru/news/society/14-10-2018/rossiya-svobodnaya-ot-lyudey-chto-mozhet-pokazat-perepis-naseleniya). Among the new questions being asked in the trial census are how far respondents live from their workplace, how long they have lived abroad, and how ready they are to take new jobs even if they aren’t currently looking for them. Among those dropped are queries about second jobs and academic degrees. Nikita Mkrtchyan, a demographer at the Higher School of Economics, points out that “a census is important for defining the ethnic composition of the population of Russia and of the people constantly living in our country so as to understand migration processes. But its chief goal” is elsewhere. That goal, he argues, is “to collect data about the state of the workforce today. The question about a second job has disappeared apparently because earlier no one answered it because they wanted to conceal additional income. As for the question on academic degrees, this indicator by all appearance is not important for the leadership of the country now.” The most dramatic changes the 2020 census will show, he and other experts, is the collapse in the size of the population in rural areas – since 2000, it has been falling by 500,000 every year – and the growth of cities to which many rural residents are moving. It will also show the slowing impact of migration which no longer can keep the overall population from falling. Demographers say that the census results will show “a Russia without people” beyond the cities. In Oryol Oblast, 132 rural population points have lost all their people over the last decade; and its officials currently predict that “more than 800” additional ones will disappear from the map in the next several years. Much of this decline has been driven by Putin’s “optimization” program in education and health care which has led to the closure of schools and medical points in villages. As a result, there are no schools to hold young people in the villages, and they and their parents leave even if the latter do have jobs. “Another consequence of the optimization of rural schools,” Mkrtchayn says, “is the outflow of rural teachers and the actual liquidation of cultural life in the villages. Clubs disappear, move theaters close, and people do not have anything to occupy their time. As a result, many take to drink.” “If people do leave for the cities, large or small, they most often remain there,” the demographer says; and that means the rural population has no way of maintaining itself. Natalya Zubarevich, a leading Russian specialist on regional geography, says that people are leaving the villages because there are no jobs as agriculture of the traditional kind has died. The new agro-industrial concerns don’t need workers, and so the villages can’t hold people. And this leads to a decline in population reproduction as urban residents have fewer children. Some of this is going to come out because of the preliminary census being conducted now. All of it almost certainly will come out in 2020 or 2021, sparking a new debate in which Russians are likely to ask questions extremely inconvenient to the powers that be, including but not limited to “who killed the Russian village?” and “what should we do about him?”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Soviet Culture’ Many Russians Now Recall Fondly was Profoundly Anti-Soviet, Mirovich Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 13 – Russians who look back with fondness to Soviet times often acknowledge that times were often hard and repressions exist, but they argue that at least there was culture worthy of the name unlike now. But in fact, Maksim Mirovich says, “no ‘Soviet culture’ in the sense the fans of the USSR remember ever existed.” Instead, the Russian blogger says, “all the works which they remember in reality were not Soviet but anti-Soviet,” regardless of the genre involved, something that becomes obvious if one surveys they one by one (maxim-nm.livejournal.com/448327.html, reposted at https://charter97.org/ru/news/2018/10/13/308821/). The two cinematographers of Soviet times Russians today most often recall, Mirovich points out, are Ryzanov and Gayday; but their wonderful works in fact involved “the most clever trolling of things Soviet.” They gained their strength and their popularity by calling attention to the absurdities of the Soviet system. In contrast,official films about great Soviet construction projects and the like have all been forgotten, he continues. The same thing is true of writers. That gray mass of scribblers who celebrated Soviet values and achievements are not what Russians remember. Instead, they recall as Soviet authors who were profoundly anti-Soviet, including Ilf and Petrov, Bulgakov, Bunin, the Strugatskys, Venedikt Yerofeyev, Varlam Shalamnov, Solzhennitsyn and Voynovich. “Even the laureates of the Nobel Prize,” Mirovich says, writers “like Brodsky or Pasternak were entirely anti-Soviet.” Consequently, one has to conclude that “in general, no ‘soviet’ literature remains in the 21st century. What remains and is recalled instead is more anti-Soviet albeit created in that period.” The same thing can be said about music and the stage, he continues. Those singers, actors and actresses Russians recall and celebrate from Soviet times were all anti-Soviet to one degree or another – even though Russians who celebrate those times a appear to think otherwise by citing anti-Soviet figures in their hopeless defense of the Soviet system.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Stalin’s First Act of Ethnic Engineering – Dividing Tatars and Bashkirs – Still Working, Aysin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, October 15 – The current tensions between Ingushetia and Chechnya, two closely related Vaynakh peoples, are a reminder that it is often the case that “the more closely peoples are related, the more tensions between them that are likely to arise,” according to Kazan Tatar political scientist Ruslan Aysin. In 1920, he says, Stalin used this tendency to divide the Tatars and the Bashkirs lest they form a united Idel-Ural state that would be more difficult for Moscow to rule. The Soviet ruler created two republics and played up the tensions that inevitably arose among them to keep them apart (business-gazeta.ru/article/398838). When the Soviet Union collapsed, Aysin continues, many hoped that Tatarstan and Bashkortostan would be able to look past these tensions and cooperate with one another to promote not only their interests as closely related Muslim Turkic peoples but also to help build the federal system in which not only they but others could flourish. But the watchdogs on the Kremlin towers “weren’t napping,” he says. “Individual politicians began to set Tatars and Bashkirs against one another,” even when there were relatively good relations among those at the top. The principles Moscow used were the same as before: play the ethnic card given the existence of minorities in each republic. “In 2002, relations between Tatarstan and Bashkortostan became tense below the waterline, and the ship of friendship began to go to the bottom. Throughout the 1990s, Ufa in essence had ignored the Tatar question,” or more precisely sought to play it down by reidentifying 300,000 Tatars in Bashkortostan as Bashkirs. Not surprisingly, Tatarstan leaders were furious, and over the next few years, the contacts that the two had developed from the end of Soviet times one came to an end “at practically all levels.” Indeed, it often happened that Tatar social groups weren’t allowed into Bashkortostan, exactly as Moscow hoped. The situation if anything became worse after 2010 when the new republic leader, who has just now resigned, sought not to move in new directions but simply to continue whatever had been doing. As a result, the problems that had arisen in the early years of the decade simply multiplied and became worse. “No one sought to approach their resolution in a systematic fashion,” Aysin says. As a result, the two republics were not able to form the “Kazan-Ufa axis” many had hoped for; and that cost both of them and Tatarstan in particular much of the influence it had had as a promoter of federalism in the 1990s. And that only became worse, the Kazan political scientist says, when Bashkortostan shifted from being a republic that more than paid its own way to one which relied ever more heavily on subventions from Moscow. Given that, Ufa couldn’t defend its own interests led alone make common cause with Kazan. One can only hope this will change, Aysin says; but the arrangements that Stalin introduced at the dawn of Soviet power are still exerting a powerful influence on political life in the Middle Volga a quarter of a century after the USSR ceased to exist, an influence that works not against the center but almost exclusively for its benefit.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Number of Russians Down in All Non-Russian Areas since 1991 and in Most Russian Ones as Well
Paul Goble Staunton, October 15 – The number of ethnic Russians in all the non-Russian federal subjects has declined since 1991, in some cases significantly (more than 90 percent in Chechnya, the most extreme case), and in all but eight of the historically Russian ones. Among these is Moscow where the number of Russians has increased by more than 20 percent. On the one hand, this pattern has led to a relatively small decline in the total number of ethnic Russians in the country – a falloff of just over four percent between the 1989 and 2010 censuses. But on the other, it has meant that the non-Russian federal subjects are in almost every case ever more non-Russian (burckina-new.livejournal.com/1398624.html). In one respect, that represents a sorting out of the country along ethnic lines that recalls what happened in the USSR in the last two decades of its existence. But in another, this new trend is unprecedented in that it reflects more ethnic Russian decline and exit rather than more rapid growth rates among non-Russians. But because people live in particular regions and not in the country as a whole, this decline in the number of ethnic Russians in non-Russian areas means that non-Russians in almost all cases find themselves relatively more numerous than at the end of Soviet times. And it means that ethnic Russians are more aware of their absolute decline than they were three decades ago. This sense of loss among ethnic Russians is likely to be especially strong since despite losses in World War II, ethnic Russians increased approximately a million a year on average during Soviet times, but since 1991, they have declined by more than 17 million in the CIS, the result of super mortality and rapidly falling birthrates.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Disturbing Demographic Developments in Russia Countrywide Statistics Aren’t Capturing
Paul Goble Staunton, October 16 – In Soviet times, both Russian and Western analysts knew that Moscow’s statistics were either so incomplete or falsified that those who wished to understand what was going on had to look to specific cases because the media then did cover important developments on the principle that journalists could “criticize but not generalize.” Now, in Putin’s times, many both in Moscow and the West dismiss such stories as “anecdotal.” If there aren’t statistics gathered by Rosstat or polling agencies, they aren’t nearly as interested as they used to be in considering what they mean. As a result, many particular developments that tell a larger story are ignored or downplayed. Five such stories appeared in Russia this week, each of which deserves to be taken seriously: · Russians Killed in Military Conflicts Now Being Buried in Graves without Names. Ekho Rossii reports that near St. Petersburg, where there is a center which processes combat losses, there is a cemetery in which many gravestones include not the name of the individual interred but only a number, presumably to avoid attracting attention to this mounting problem (ehorussia.com/new/node/17175). · New List of Combat Deaths in Ukraine and Syria Includes 4569 Names. The Znak news agency reports that a list of combat deaths in two of Putin’s wars that is circulating on the Internet includes 4569 names with details on many of them. The list, it suggests, is more compete than anything published earlier by the government or watchdog groups (znak.com/2018-10-16/opublikovan_novyy_spisok_iz_4569_dobrovolcev_i_naemnikov_pogibshih_v_sirii_i_na_ukraine). · 43 Percent of Russian Men Won’t Live to New Pension Age. According to the World Bank, nearly half of all Russian men will now die before they can collect their pensions, a figure more typical of sub-Saharan Africa than of the Wester countries Russians prefer to compare themselves to (rusmonitor.com/43-rossijjskikh-muzhchin-ne-dozhivayut-do-65-i-let.html). · Putin’s Health Optimization Program Means Life Expectancy in Rural Russia Falling Ever Further Behind That of Urban Residents. According to a new Higher School of Economics Study, rural Russians live on average two years less than do urban ones, a gap that will only increase as a result of the Kremlin’s decision to shut down hospitals and medical points in many rural areas, leaving people there without access to medical care (iq.hse.ru/news/225872667.html). · HIV Infections Increasingly Common Among Middle-Aged Russians. Until recently, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia hit mostly people under the age of 35; but now, according to data from the Urals, more than one in every ten people identified as infected is over the age of 50. That appears to be less the result of improved survival of those who contracted the disease earlier than of changes in social behavior and of the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS by heterosexual contact (ura.news/news/1052355364).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Another Putin Myth Demolished: Russians Committed More Crimes in First Decade of His Rule than in ‘Wild 1990s,’ Statistics Show
Paul Goble Staunton, October 17 – Vladimir Putin and his regime love to draw comparisons between his time in office and “’the wild 1990s’” in order to show that the Kremlin leader has brought improvements across the board, including by cutting the amount of crime. But unfortunately, official statistics show that crime actually rose during his first decade in power from the 1990s. Ilya Vasyunin and his investigative journalists at the Project Media Center have drawn on official sources to document the number and kinds of crimes for every year since 1991. They found that the number of crimes committed in Russia rose from the 1990s to the first decade of this century before declining since 2010 (proekt.media/research/statistika-prestuplenyi-v-rossii/). No crime statistics are perfect. Police have reasons for increasing or decreasing their number and victims may be more inclined to report crimes at some times than at others, Vasyunin acknowledges. But the Russian numbers over this period are instructive, he says, because they call into question what the Kremlin has succeeded in getting people to believe. The total number of crimes registered in the RSFSR and then Russia between 1990 and the end of 1999 amounted to 25.6 million. In the succeeding decade, there were six million MORE – for a total of 31.3 million. Then the number began to decline: in the last eight years there have been only 18.3 million. Crime was rising at the end of “the wild 1990s,” with some three million committed in 1999, the year Vladimir Putin came to power. But it continued to rise in the first years of his rule: the greatest number of crimes in any year of this period was in 2006, when 3,855,000 crimes were recorded. The number convicted and sent to prison followed the same trajectory, Vasyunin says. In the 1990s, almost nine million were incarcerated; in the first decade of the 2000s, 9.4 million, and in the years since six million, as Moscow has tried to reduce the use of expensive and often counterproductive jailings. Most crimes, the Project team reports, followed the same pattern, rising from the 1990s to the 2000s and then declining. They provide data on murders, other violent crimes, and property crimes to support that conclusion. Rape was highest in the 1990s and has declined since, in part because the “traditional” values Putin backs make it less likely women will report it. Some crimes, like those involving extremism and terrorism, truly exploded in number after Putin came to power, the result of new laws and a new willingness to report these crimes, Vasyunin says. Recidivism too increased from the 1990s to the 2000s and continued to do so in the 2010s.
‘They’ve Stolen Everything’: In Russia’s Far East, Dreams Deferred Amid Grim Mood Over Pension Reform
In this Far East Russian city, pension reform has elicited a backlash against official corruption and vocal anger toward a president Russians rarely criticize in public.
Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service refuses to apologize for beating, raping, and forcing inmates to build cottages for some officials — Meduza
Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has refused to issue an apology to inmates at prisons and pretrial detention facilities in Orenburg, where prisoners have endured serious abuse by guards. In a letter to FSIN deputy director Valery Maximenko, Timur Rakhmatulin (who heads the Orenburg branch of the “Committee Against Torture”) asked for a formal apology to the abused inmates, after Maximenko personally apologized to Evgeny Makarov, an inmate tortured at a Yaroslavl prison.
Chechen-Ingush Border Agreement ‘Comes Into Force’ Amid Protests
The speaker of the parliament of Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya says the disputed Chechen-Ingush administrative boundary agreement has come into force amid continuing protests in Ingush…
Ingush leader says his controversial border agreement with Chechnya was signed ‘spontaneously’ — Meduza
Ingush leader Yunus-bek Yevkurov is trying to explain why he signed an unpopular border agreement with Chechnya last month. In comments to the magazine RBC, Yevkurov said the motivation to revisit the Ingush-Chechen boundary was “spontaneously” prompted by public backlash to excavation work in the Ingush village of Arshty by the Chechen road-work company “Chechenavtodor.” When the Chechen bulldozer appeared on Ingush territory, Yevkurov says, locals became alarmed that Chechen officials were trying to seize their land.
Russian city councilman’s wife who twerked in front of ambulances on the Moscow Beltway is fined 300 bucks — Meduza
Some memories, like delaying multiple ambulances on the Moscow Beltway because you’re twerking in the road with your friends in an amateur music video, are priceless. But even an invaluable stunt like that can cost you — just ask 29-year-old Oksana Yakovleva, aka the performer “Yaxana,” who was fined 20,000 rubles (about $300) on October 12 for shaking her posterior alongside her pals on a busy highway. An entertaining spectacle in its own right, Yakovleva’s dance made headlines in Russia this week because she’s also the wife of a city councilman outside the capital. Her husband, Alexey Yakovlev, told a local television station that he would “have words” with her about the disruptive twerking.
Officials in Dagestan offer an iPhone SE to the citizen who can report the most Internet ‘hate speech’ criminals — Meduza
Dagestan’s Communications and Mass Media Ministry is promising smartphones to citizens who are especially helpful about reporting Internet users for “extremist content.” The hotline has been active since at least April 2018, but journalists only learned about it recently. The ministry’s website offers a 32-gigabyte iPhone SE to the contest’s winner, but it’s unclear when the promotion ends, and there’s no indication of how many complaints contestants have submitted, so far. Prizes for second and third places are a 32-gigabyte “Xaomi Redmi 5” and “Xaomi Redmi 4A,” respectively.
Mail-Bomb Blast Leaves Russian Jewish Group Leader In Hospital In Kazan
A businessman and Jewish civic group leader in Russia’s Tatarstan region has been hospitalized along with his assistant after a package they received by mail exploded in his office.
Amnesty Says Ingushetia Researcher Stripped, Beaten, Subjected To Mock Execution
A researcher with Amnesty International was “abducted, beaten, and subjected to terrifying mock executions” in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Ingushetia before being released, the London-based r…
Majlis Podcast: Where Are Russian-Uzbek Relations Headed Under Mirziyoev?
Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Uzbekistan on October 18-19. Uzbekistan’s relations with Russia were often poor during Islam Karimov’s 25 years as president. Some are won…
Ingushetia-Chechnya Border Issue Stirs Up Old Resentments
Protests have been under way for nearly two weeks in the Russian republic of Ingushetia over a land-swap deal with neighboring Chechnya. Opponents say the agreement cedes land with deep significance to the Ingush people, and are demanding that the republic’s leader resign.
Ingush Leader Says Putin Told Him To Use Dialogue, Not Force, To Handle Protests
The leader of Russia’s Ingushetia region says President Vladimir Putin has made it clear to him that protesters demonstrating against a deal to redraw the border with Chechnya should not be forcefu…
Straight Outta Moscow? Culture Minister Stakes Claim To Rap As Russian Art Form
Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky is known for eyebrow-raising statements, many of which are hailed by Russia’s social conservatives and derided by its typically liberal artistic community. Add to…
Opponent Of Reinstating Russia Says Was ‘Bullied’ By Anti-Doping Officials
The chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Athlete Committee has said in a BBC interview that she was “bullied” by some WADA officials over her opposition to reinstating Russia’s anti-doping au…
Russian Psychiatric Hospital Chief Fired Over Video Showing Nurses Abusing Elderly Patient
The head of a psychiatric hospital in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk has been fired over a video showing two nurses mocking and mistreating an elderly patient.
Russian Authorities Probe Alleged Abuse In Psychiatric Clinic
Authorities in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region have launched separate investigations into the alleged “mistreatment” of an elderly patient at a psychiatric clinic.
‘Sick’ Or ‘Outstanding’? Dostoyevsky Project Caught Between St. Petersburg’s Past And Future
St. Petersburg’s museum of writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky is planning to add a modernist wing to mark the novelist’s 2021 bicentennial. But some locals worry the stark project will further erode the cit…
Sentsov May Not Survive After Hunger Strike, Cousin Says
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who ended his nearly five-month hunger strike in a Russian prison earlier this month, may not survive because of damage to his health, his cousin says.
Monumental Controversy: Moscow’s Latest Statue
A new statue of the late Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, was unveiled in Moscow on October 18 — amid a petition drive to have it immediately pulled down.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Putin Says Nuclear Power Plant In Uzbekistan Will Provide Central Asia With Energy
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in Tashkent on an official visit, has said a nuclear plant that will be built in Uzbekistan with Russian assistance will provide Central Asia with energy.
World’s oldest woman, 129, remembers time her people were deported by Stalin in World War Two | Daily Mail Online
Koku Istambulova is 129 according to her Russian passport and pension papers which show her date of birth as 1 June 1889.

Belarus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka Tells Putin’s New Man in Minsk: ‘Belarus Will Not Ever Be Part of Russia’
Paul Goble Staunton, October 11 — In his extended first meeting with Mikhael Babich, Putin’s new ambassador to Minsk, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka made it very clear that his country “was, is and will remain sovereign and does not plan to become part of the Russian Federation under any circumstances.” Their meeting took place yesterday, and Lukashenka’s remarks were broadcast on Belarusian television, underscoring how important he viewed them as dispelling widespread rumors that Putin had sent Babich to Belarus to prepare for an Anschluss of that country (censoru.net/30054-lukashenko-poslal-posla-rf-belarus-ne-vojdet-v-sostav-rf-video.html). “We are a sovereign and independent country,” Lukashenka told Babich. “If one speaks openly then this is the case not only thanks to the efforts of our people. Russia wanted this, and the leadership of Russia at that time. The present leadership has declared that it is continuing that course.” “To speak in the 21st century of the incorporation or inclusion of Belarus as part of Russia as some there write is simply funny. I have never heard this even once from the President of Russia. And I never heard if from the first President of Russia either,” the Belarusian president continued. “I think that we have developed normal relations, but I want that you hear about how I see our relations with the Russian Federation from my own lips and in public,” Lukashenka concluded. He also added that “Belarus was and remains Russia’s ally, and is linked to it not only by a common history but by a large number of integration agreements. There will be no ‘turn to the West, which some Russians fear,” Lukashenka told Babich.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Eastern Europe Faces Risk of Local War Now, Larger One Later, Experts Say at Minsk Meeting
Paul Goble Staunton, October 10 – Three participants at a conference organized by the Minsk Dialogue, the Research Center for the Belarusian Business School and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation this week say that Eastern Europe faces more local wars in the near term and far larger ones in the longer term. In a report on their session this week, Aleksandr Dautin of the Thinktanks.by portal, provides details on their conclusions which should be worrisome not only to the region but to the larger world as well (thinktanks.by/publication/2018/10/10/riski-v-vostochnoevropeyskom-regione-kratkosrochnyy-lokalnaya-voyna-dolgosrochnyy-bolshaya-voyna.htm). Nikolay Kapitnoneko of the Kyiv publication Ukraine Analytica said that the main short-term threat is an expansion of the conflict in the Donbass which has already transformed the region from a relatively stable one into “a space where military actions are being carried out.” But the longer term and more serious risk of a broader war lies elsewhere. It is “connected with the destruction of institutions, a deficit of trust, a growth in the influence of spheres of influence among states, and consequently a growth in military spending,” he says. As a result, “there is a real threat that regional security problems will exert an influence on global security.” Denis Melyantsov, coordinator of Minsk Dialogue’s Foreign Policy program, says that the countries of the region vary and therefore the challenges they face vary as well. “For Belarus and Moldova, these challenges are primarily economic … for Ukraine … the war in the Donbass.” But he agreed that longer term threats were the militarization of the region and the conflict between Russia and the West. And Vyacheslav Poznyak of St. Petersburg’s European Humanitarian University stressed the short-term political threat of political fragmentation, the result of significant declines in efforts by the countries of the region to cooperate and the the downgrading of efforts by the US and the EU to promote regional cooperation as threats. As far as the military sphere is concerned, he concluded, “in the short term, the chief threat is a local war; in the longer term – a major war,” something that should give pause to all concerned given its capacity to destroy much in the region and even the region as a self-standing entity.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Think Tanks in an Authoritarian State – the Belarusian Case
Paul Goble Staunton, October 10 – Think thanks are often considered to be one of the characteristics of democracy societies or even as a precondition for its rise, but they exist in other kinds of countries as well, often under difficult conditions and for relatively long periods of time, as a new study of the functioning of independent analytic centers in and for Belarus shows. Yaroslav Krivoy and Olga Grinyuk of the Astragorsky Research Center conclude on the basis of their research that some of these think tanks do exceptional work but differ profoundly from their counterparts in the West because they have little opportunity to interact with the state or affect public policy (ostro.by/society/belaruskiya-nezalezhnyya-analitychnyya-tsentry-nyalyogkae-vyzhyvanne/ in Belarusian; thinktanks.by/publication/2018/10/09/belorusskie-nezavisimye-analiticheskie-tsentry-nelegkoe-vyzhivanie.html in Russian). Government officials, “as a rule,” they write, are suspicious of these independent think tanks because many of the latter are forced to survive on financial assistance from the West.” And Belarusian institutions don’t want to cooperate with them lest they be frozen out as well, especially when the think tanks touch on politically sensitive issues. Nonetheless, Krivooy ad Grinyuk say, a study by the Belarusian Research Council two years ago showed that the best of these think thanks have done significant work and merit attention. The analysts group them according to three things: their organizational potential, the information they draw on, and their research and publication activity. Organizationally, the two continue, the strongest are the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, the Warsaw based CASE Center for Social and Economic Research on Belarus, and the BEROC Center for Economic Research. In terms of the sources of information, the leading think tanks are the Belarusian Center for European Research SYMPA/BIPART, the Astragosky Center, and the Liberal Club. And in terms of research productivity, they are BEROC, the Nashe mneniye expert group NMNE and the Research Center of the Institute of Privatization and Management.
Private Hell: A Mother’s Crusade For Justice
The death of a private in the Belarusian Army in 2017 was attributed to suicide, but his mother did not believe it. Her crusade for justice led to the case being reopened — along with dozens of others of alleged military suicides.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Erdogan On Two-Day Moldova Visit To Boost Ties
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has embarked on a two-day visit to Moldova aimed at boosting relations with the former Soviet republic. Erdogan met on October 17 in Moldova’s capital w…
Moldovans Protest Erdogan Visit
People protested at the Turkish Embassy in Chisinau, during a visit to Moldova by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The protests follow a joint operation by Turkish and Moldovan security services in which seven Turkish teachers were extradited to Turkey.
UAWire – Ukraine and Moldova agree on increasing military cooperation
During the 2018 Arms and Security Expo on Thursday, October 11th, Ukrainian state-owned enterprise Promoboronexport and the Moldovan Ministry of …
 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


The Week That Tied Mideast Experts in Knots – Defense One
Sanctions are not always bad, engagement is not always good, and transactional policy cuts both ways.
US airstrike kills about 60 al-Shabab extremist fighters in Somalia | Fox News
The U.S. military says it has carried out its deadliest airstrike against the al-Shabab extremist group in Somalia in nearly a year, killing about 60 fighters.
U.S. says airstrike targeting al-Shabaab killed about 60 fighters in Somalia – CBS News
The airstrike was the largest against the al-Qaida-linked group in nearly a year, says U.S. Africa Command

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Nikki Haley hinted to China that ‘unpredictable’ Trump could invade North Korea: Report
Ambassador Nikki Haley used the threat of a U.S. invasion of North Korea to secure a new round of sanctions against the regime last year, according to a new report.
[Dispatch] Nikki Haley at the Council for National Policy | Harper’s Magazine
Inside the conference rooms of power: the former US ambassador to the United Nations speaks about working with Trump
Chinese Port Refuses to Service Stranded Russian Ship Over U.S. Sanctions Fears, Company Says
A Chinese shipyard has reportedly refused to finish repairs of a Russian vessel said to be involved in the transfer of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels over fears of U.S. sanctions. Russia’s Gudzon was one of two Russian shipping companies and six vessels – including the Neptun container ship – that the United States Treasury sanctioned for the alleged transfers in August. Russia denies the allegations that it supplied North Korea with refined petroleum products in violation of UN Security Council restrictions and has called the sanctions groundless.
UAWire – Kremlin invites Kim Jong-un to Russia
The press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov confirmed that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un received an invitation to visit …
Is North Korea Denuclearizing? Here’s How We’ll Tell – Defense One
Kim Jong Un may not be giving up his arsenal now. But that doesn’t mean he can’t get there eventually.
North Korea leader sincere, must be rewarded for move to abandon nuclear weapons: South Korean president | Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is sincere and really means to abandon nuclear weapons, South Korean President Moon Jae-in told a French newspaper, adding that the international community needed to reward him for that.
South Korean President Moon Says North Korea Is in Trouble | Time
North Korea’s economy is in such trouble that the nation must keep its denuclearization promise, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
Two Koreas, U.N. Command wrap up first session of talks on disarming border | Reuters
North and South Korea held their first three-way talks with the United Nations Command (UNC) on Tuesday to discuss ways to demilitarize the border as the neighbors push for peace, Seoul’s defense ministry said.
North, South Korea agree to reconnect roads, rail; U.S. concern rises
The two countries will carry out joint transport surveys later this month.
China may ‘ease up’ on North Korea sanctions as trade war drags on
As U.S. president Donald Trump continues to put economic pressure on China, Beijing will be less motivated to be strict in its enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, Eurasia Group’s Scott Seaman said. 
Daylight robbery: cyber escapades of North Korea | The Interpreter
Everyone knows Pyongyang’s criminal hackers are hard at work – but what nobody knows is how to stop them.


U.S. Edges Toward New Cold-War Era With China – WSJ
The Trump administration is moving to counter what it views as years of unbridled Chinese aggression, taking aim at military, political and economic targets in Beijing and signaling a new era in U.S.-China relations.
China-US relations: Are Trump and Xi on the brink of a new Cold War? – CNN
There is growing realization — and fear — among Chinese officials in Beijing that US President Donald Trump could be serious in his promise to upend the types of bilateral relations they have become accustomed to in the past few decades.
US-China tensions soar as ‘new cold war’ heats up | World news | The Guardian
Rivalry escalates amid concerns over trade, as warships nearly collide and an FBI trap angers Beijing
This is how Trump can win the cold war with China – The Washington Post
Tariffs and military threats won’t address the core challenge.
China just asserted its hold over the South China Sea. Will ASEAN nations push back? – The Washington Post
Here’s how China uses its financial clout.
The U.S. ‘Obviously’ Doesn’t Want to Contain China, Mattis Says – Bloomberg
Secretary of Defense James Mattis played down tensions with Beijing, saying the U.S. was “not out to contain China” and was cooperating whenever possible, but that there would be times they would “step on each other’s toes.”
US B-52 bombers tore through the South China Sea in a power play ahead of a sit-down between the US and Chinese defence chiefs | Business Insider
Two US bombers tore through the hotly-contested South China Sea Tuesday, an apparent power play signalling US determination to continue to fly and sail wherever international law allows ahead of a key meeting between US and Chinese defence chiefs Thursday. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe, the Chinese defence minister, met Thursday to discuss a number of issues, particularly their disputes in the South China Sea. Two days prior, two US Air Force B-52 bombers flew through the contested area, sending a message about America’s determination to continue naval freedom-of-navigation operations and aerial overflights in areas the US considers international. The flight comes just a few weeks after a showdown between a Chinese destroyer and a US Navy warship near the Spratly Islands.
US flies B-52s near contested Islands amid China tensions – CNNPolitics
Two US B-52 bombers flew near contested islands in the South China Sea Tuesday, according to a statement from Pacific Air Forces.
Jim Mattis, Meeting His Chinese Counterpart, Tries to Ease Tensions – The New York Times
The defense secretary moved to sand down sharp edges of the relationship after Vice President Mike Pence gave a pointed critique of Beijing.
Defense Secretary James Mattis hits out at ‘predatory’ Chinese behavior – POLITICO
Pentagon chief highlights Washington’s concerns about activities in South China Sea and practice of forcing smaller countries to run up significant debts.
U.S. and China agree to further enhance cooperation between militaries – Defence Blog
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe agreed with the United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis here Thursday to control risks and deepen mutual trust so as to make the relations between the two militaries a stabilizer for the China-U.S. relationship. Wei and Mattis both arrived in the city-state to take part in the 5th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus and Other Sideline Events scheduled from Thursday to Saturday, and the Chinese side echoed the U.S. suggestion for a bilateral meeting. According to the Chinese official, promoting cooperation for win-win development is the only choice for a lasting relationship between Beijing and Washington, enhancing mutual trust is the best cohesive force for strengthening the exchanges of the two armies, and respect and toleration are the rightful means of addressing differences and problems. Wei Fenghe noted that China stands firm on principles guiding issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea, and that the Chinese military take unswerving stance on safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development. Mattis said that differences lie between the United States and China, but they do not necessarily mean confrontation, nor does competition mean hostility. The U.S. side is devoted to promoting the relations between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, and hopes to further enhance exchanges between the two militaries at all levels, and take good advantage of the mutual trust and cooperation mechanism, so as to push the relations between the two militaries ahead on a right track.
Chinese official finds Trump ‘very confusing,’ says US warships at China’s doorstep building tension | Fox News
President Trump’s inner circle is “very confusing” for diplomatic officials in Washington to navigate, China’s U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai exclusively told “Fox News Sunday” in a wide-ranging interview.
Gordon Chang: China’s Rise (and America’s Fall) Just Won’t Happen. Here’s Why. | The National Interest
“China’s economy is beset by excessive debt accumulation and other maladies, but the main factor inhibiting economic potential is not a systemic debt crisis—a concern to be sure—but the abandonment of reformist policies.”  
In 1969, Russia and China Almost Went to War. It Might Have Unleashed World War III. | The National Interest
This is why. 


China’s Great Leap Backward – Foreign Policy
For decades, the country managed to avoid most problems suffered by dictatorships. Now Xi Jinping’s personal power play risks undermining everything that made China exceptional.
Can the Chinese Be Trusted to Lead International Institutions? – Defense One
The abduction of Interpol’s president shows that Beijing’s officials will be subordinate to the orders of the Communist Party.
Wife of China’s detained Interpol chief says he might already be dead – CNN
The wife of former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, who dramatically vanished into police custody after returning to China in September, told the BBC she isn’t sure her husband is still alive.
Meng Hongwei: Wife Of Ex-Interpol Chief Fears He May Be Dead | Time
The wife of the former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, who is currently in detention in China, has said she is “not sure he is alive.”
How China’s Rich and Famous Disappear – YouTube
Wall Street Journal Published on Oct 12, 2018 A film star, the head of Interpol and one of China’s wealthiest investors have gone missing after apparently falling afoul of the Communist Party. The message to Chinese citizens is clear: No matter who you are, the party can get you. Photo composite: Crystal Tai
Vlogger Yang Kaili detained for goofy China national anthem livestream – INSIDER
Yang Kaili, a 21-year-old video star, live-streamed herself singing the Chinese national anthem while waving her arms around like a conductor. She was detained under China’s National Anthem Law, which mandates up to 15 days in detention for treating the anthem “in a distorted or disrespectful way.” Yang Kaili, a 21-year-old video star, live-streamed herself giving an exaggerated rendition of the Chinese national anthem, waving her arms around like a conductor. Chinese officials deemed the move “disrespectful” and detained her for five days, according to Reuters. Yang was detained under China’s National Anthem Law, which mandates up to 15 days in jail for people who “play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way.” Yang has also been banned from live-streaming in the future. She has likely lost a lot of money from that.
Chinese online star detained for five days for ‘insulting’ national anthem – CNN
A popular Chinese online personality who authorities claim “insulted” the country’s national anthem has been put into detention for five days, local Shanghai police said in a statement.
Son Of Pastor Still Detained In China Hopes Dad Won’t Be ‘Forgotten’ | HuffPost Australia
After Andrew Brunson’s release from detention in Turkey, Ben Cao is hoping Trump will also speak up for his imprisoned dad, Rev. John Cao.


How Trump’s Trade War Is Driving China Nuts – POLITICO Magazine
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has reacted to American pressure with a level of desperation that is good for neither Washington nor Beijing.
Trump Embarks on Bilateral Trade Talks to Pressure China – The New York Times
The White House is looking to create deals with many of the nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the pact the president withdrew from.
China ‘won’t be found’ a currency manipulator, IIF chief says
The sell-off in the yuan is in some ways a reversal of the strength in the Chinese currency since 2016, Tim Adams,  president and CEO of The Institute of International Finance, told CNBC.
WSJ: John Kelly, Chinese Officials Had ‘Physical Altercation’ over Nuclear Football
On a trip to Beijing last fall, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wrestled with a Chinese official for control of the nuclear football.
U.S. draws China FX into trade dispute as IMF calls for resolution | Reuters
The United States sought to make currency a central part of any solution to a bruising trade fight with China, keeping the pressure on Beijing to speed up economic reforms at a gathering of world policy makers who pledged to do more to safeguard global growth.
Mnuchin isn’t worried about China dumping Treasurys
Some have speculated that China could hit back at the U.S. by selling a huge chunk of the more than $1 trillion of U.S. treasury bonds it holds.
Mnuchin Says He’s Not Worried China Would Unload Treasuries – Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin isn’t worried that China would use its $1.2 trillion pile of Treasuries holdings as a bargaining chip for a better trade deal.
US-China trade war: PBOC still has plenty of tools, Yi Gang says
“We still have plenty of monetary instruments in terms of interest rate policy, in terms of required reserve ratio. We have plenty of room for adjustment, in case we need it,” said Yi Gang, the governor of the People’s Bank of China.
China echoes IMF pledges to avoid using currency as trade war tool | Reuters
China’s top central banker on Saturday pledged to keep the yuan currency’s value “broadly stable,” a sign that Beijing may be trying to prevent a bruising trade dispute with the United States from spilling over into a currency war.
China’s record trade surplus with the US means Trump’s strategy is “failing” – Vox
Trump’s trade war with China was supposed to fix the trade deficit, but Beijing’s surplus grew to a record high in September.


China likely laid out how Google can help persecute Uighur minority – INSIDER
Google’s secretive plans to launch a censored search engine in China, codenamed ‘Dragonfly,’ are still bubbling away. This week Chinese regional authorities passed new laws that lay out the kind of speech suppression that tech companies will likely have to facilitate and be complicit in.
Why China will win the Artificial Intelligence Race – Modern Diplomacy
Two Artificial Intelligence-driven Internet paradigms may emerge in the near future. One will be based on logic, smart enterprises and human merit while the other may morph into an Orwellian control tool
The Ripple Effects of the China Chip Hacking Story
Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published by The Interpreter, which is published by the Lowy Institute, an independent,
Decoding the bombshell story for China | The Interpreter
Right or wrong, claims Beijing hacked computer chips has accelerated a push to cut out China from US supply chains.
China’s Moon Missions Could Threaten US Satellites: Pentagon – Defense One
A satellite on the far side of the moon might not be quite what the Chinese say, Air Force official warns.
Fake moon will shed light on Chinese city | World | The Times
A Chinese city plans to send an artificial “moon” into orbit in 2020 to help light its streets at night.The scheme follows experiments by Russia in the 1990s in which a 20-metre solar mirror called Znamya 2 produced a beam just over three miles wide that had roughly the luminosity of a half moon bef
A Huge Artificial Moon Could Light Up China’s Skies As Soon As 2020 | IFLScience
The Chinese city of Chengdu is planning on launching an artifical moon to replace streetlights by 2020.


‘How Can You Call Us Monkeys?’ Kenyans Say Chinese Investment Brings Racism – The New York Times
Episodes involving discriminatory behavior by the region’s growing Chinese work force have unsettled many Kenyans, particularly at a time when their government seeks closer ties with China.
Kenya must deal with Chinese racial discrimination — Quartz Africa
There is a growing number of racial discrimination cases by Chinese against Kenyans in Kenya
Brazilian Presidential Frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro: ‘China Is Buying Brazil’
Brazil’s right-wing presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro has warned that China is exerting too much influence in the country.


The Leaders Who Unleashed China’s Mass Detention of Muslims – The New York Times
A trail of online evidence establishes how President Xi Jinping and other senior officials adopted a tough new policy to assimilate ethnic minorities.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Chinese Admits It has Concentration Camps for Re-Educating Uyghur Muslims
Paul Goble Staunton, October 11 – It is a measure of the continuing brutality of the Chinese government and of the tolerance of mistreatment of Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism around the world that an official Chinese source has admitted the existence of concentration camps for the re-education of Uyghur Muslims. A communique by the Standing Committee of the Assembly of People’s Representatives of the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous District contained this admission (xjpcsc.gov.cn/1009/t4028e49c665347630166588b8cf40001001.html in Chinese; summarized in Russian at lenta.ru/news/2018/10/10/camps/). The document specifies that in order to block extremist activities on the territory of the region, the government has set up “special training centers.” Inmates are given ideological training and have their thoughts “put in order,” their behavior “corrected,” and their knowledge of Chinese expanded. At the same time, the communique said that the centers will only use “a humane approach to re-education.” During the summer, reports seeped out of the region about the existence of such camps, reports that sparked widespread expressions of horror (lenta.ru/news/2018/08/15/i_c_u/). One might have expected the Chinese to avoid confirming the stories, but apparently Beijing feels that the world is in such a state and its position so powerful that it can admit to these horrors.
China is trying to erase the Uighurs and their culture | China | Al Jazeera
Uighurs are neither extremists nor separatists as Beijing claims. They just want their rights.
After a Year of Stonewalling, China Defends Muslim Detentions – WSJ
A senior Chinese official offered the government’s fullest defense so far of its mass detention program for Muslims in China’s far west, saying it formed a bulwark for social stability and suggesting the detentions are voluntary.
Million Uighurs detained ‘for their own good’ | World | The Times
The highest official in a Chinese province where up to a million Muslims have been detained has responded to anger over the incarcerations, describing them as an attempt to reintegrate an ethnic minority into society. Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the government of the autonomous Xinjiang region, to
Uighurs: China defends detention of Muslim minority – Vox
China once denied detaining Uighur Muslims. Now an official in Xinjiang claims it’s a good thing.
China’s obscene excuse for its mass ‘re-education’ camps
China just proffered its most pathetic excuse yet for the mass detention of Muslims in far-western Xinjiang: The internment camps are actually … vocational-training centers. Please.
Xinjiang official defends ‘education centres’ for Uighur Muslims – BBC News
Shohrat Zakir gave rare details about what rights groups say are internment camps for Muslims.
‘Sinicisation’ of Muslims in Xinjiang must go on, says Chinese official | World news | The Guardian
Official warns of ‘infiltration of religious extremism’ amid crackdown on region’s large Muslim population
Uyghur crisis: Xinjiang ‘re-education camps’ legalized after China denies they exist – CNN
Authorities in China’s far-western Xinjiang region appear to have officially legalized so-called re-education camps for people accused of religious extremism a little more than a month after denying such centers exist.
China Retroactively Legalizes Internment Camps Where up to 1 Million Muslim Citizens are Detained
Last year, a senior Chinese official responded to the growing number of reports by describing the region’s Muslims as “the happiest Muslims in the world.”
Xinjiang Uyghur crisis: China launches fierce defense of human rights crackdown – CNN
China has fiercely defended an escalating crackdown in the far western province of Xinjiang as necessary for security, claiming inmates of “re-education camps” are happier following their imprisonment.
China Breaks Silence on Muslim Detention Camps, Calling Them ‘Humane’ – The New York Times
Ahead of a showdown at the United Nations, a senior official has made China’s lengthiest defense yet of the camps in Xinjiang region.
Internment camps make Uighurs’ life more colourful, says Xinjiang governor | World news | The Guardian
China on defensive over camps where ex-prisoners have told of arbitrary detention, abuse and indoctrination
China defends internment camps for Uighur Muslims | China News | Al Jazeera
Amid global outcry over mass incarceration of Uighurs, official dubs internment camps as ‘vocational education’ centres.
Malaysia defies China over Muslim Uighur perscutions, Beijing furious – INSIDER
Malaysia this week ignored China’s requests to deport 11 members of the Muslim ethnic minority to China. The southeast Asian country sent them to Turkey instead. Beijing on Friday said “we resolutely oppose” that decision.
Malaysia ignores China’s request; frees 11 ethnic Uighurs | Malaysia News | Al Jazeera
Freed Uighurs were part of a group first detained in Thailand four years ago. They escaped to Malaysia in 2017.
Malaysia stood up to China’s demands to hand over its persecuted Muslim prisoners, and Beijing is furious | Business Insider
Malaysia defied China in its attempts to persecute its Uighur Muslim ethnic minority, and Beijing is furious.


Japan to buy nine more E-2D aircraft from the United States | Jane’s 360
Japan has decided to buy nine more Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&amp;C) aircraft from the United States, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya announced on 12 October. “The E-2C [Hawkeye airborne early warning] aircraft are expected to retire …
Mattis pushes closer ties to Vietnam amid tension with China | Fox News
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is making his second trip this year to Vietnam, and it’s a sign of how much the Trump administration is trying to counter China’s military assertiveness by cozying up to smaller nations in the region.
‘Fragile peace shattered’: China terrifying warning to Australia over following US into ‘Cold War’  | Daily Mail Online
China has issued a chilling warning to Australia after it emerged that the Morrison government would be increasing its naval cooperation with the US in the South China Sea.
Australia’s naval upgrade may not be enough to keep pace in a fast-changing region
Compared to China’s naval ambitions, we seem slow-moving and complacent and lack the agility to keep up with the times.

Foreign Policy Reports


RICHARD ECKERSLY. Getting to the heart of democracy’s decline. | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations
The crisis in democracy is much discussed these days, but almost entirely in political terms that ignore its deeper causes. In this sense, the mainstream news media can be considered ‘enemies of the people’, peddling ‘fake news’. The October issue of the respected US magazine, The Atlantic, addresses the question, ‘Is democracy dying?’, but fails…
The Ghosts of 1918 | The National Interest
One hundred years after the end of World War I, international affairs appear in many ways to be coming full circle.


Poland Seals Deal To Buy LNG From U.S. To Ease Dependence On Moscow
Poland’s state-run gas company says it has sealed a 20-year deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States in a bid to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies.
Poland’s role in Ukraine’s Energy Bridge concept, regional energy security – Atlantic Council | UNIAN
Poland’s concerns about Russian military and hybrid threats has induced Europe’s 9th largest economy to increase its defense spending as a bulwark against further regional interference by Moscow. Such fears have also prompted greater bilateral outreach between Warsaw and Washington. There are four main reasons why the project is an interesting opportunity for Warsaw.
Eastern Europe is trying to break its dependence on Russian gas. Western Europe is doing the opposite. – The Washington Post
Will a gas pipeline help Europe repair its relations with Moscow — or make it more susceptible to Russian interference? That question is dividing the continent.
Energy projects like Nord Stream II boost the West’s oil and gas dependence from Russia, – U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs – 112.international
Energy projects like Nord Stream II boost the West’s oil and gas dependence from Russia, – U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Cuadrilla to resume fracking seven years after tremors | News | The Times
Fracking for shale gas is due to resume in the UK today seven years after being temporarily suspended for causing small earthquakes.About 40 protesters this morning tried to block the entrance to Cuadrilla’s site in a field beside Preston New Road in Lancashire. However, the company already had all


Italy Expected To Propose Reviving EU Funding For Small Russian Businesses
Italy will propose that the European Union revive funding for small- and medium-sized private businesses in Russia when EU leaders meet in Brussels this week, several sources have told RFE/RL.
Italian Minister Says Rome Will Oppose Extension Of EU Sanctions On Russia
Italy’s deputy prime minister says his nation will oppose a renewal of European Union sanctions against Russia, but he suggested Rome is not ready to break with the rest of the EU and veto a rollov…
UAWire – Dutch Defense Minister admits there is a cyber war with Russia
Interfax reports that, while speaking on Dutch national television, the head of the Netherland’s Ministry of Defense, Ank Bijleveld agreed with …
Putin To Attend World War I Commemorations In Paris Next Month
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a ceremony in Paris next month marking 100 years since the armistice ending World War I, the Kremlin says.
UAWire – Lavrov warns that Russia may withdraw from European Council
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Channel Euronews that Russia would leave the Council of Europe on …
UAWire – Kremlin: Russia will no longer participate in PACE
Russia chose to stop participating in the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council (PACE) because the Council postponed consideration of …
UAWire – Secretary General of PACE: If Russia does not pay, it will be excluded from the statutory bodies
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland warned that Russia’s participation in statutory bodies would be terminated if it …
Here’s How the European Union Can Fight Money Laundering | The National Interest
And possibly find a way to work around America’s sanctions.
Religious Hate Crimes In England And Wales Mostly Target People Thought To Be Muslim | HuffPost Australia
New U.K. data show that nearly two-thirds of the targets were perceived to be either Muslim or Jewish.


Hungary’s Leader Orban Bans Gender Studies in All Universities Because It’s ‘Not a Science’
The study of gender is “an ideology, not a science,” Orban’s deputy prime minister, Zsolt Semjen, said.
Hungary ends funding for gender studies programs, calling them ‘an ideology’ | TheHill
Hungary has ended funding for gender studies degrees at its universities, citing low enrollment and saying the field of study is an “ideology, not a science.”
Hungary’s constitution makes street homelessness a crime – CNN
Hungary’s constitution now says sleeping on the streets is a crime. The new legislation, which went into effect Monday, bans “habitual residence in a public space” and gives police the authority to remove rough sleepers from the streets and confiscate their belongings.
Hungary enforces ‘cruel’ ban on rough sleeping – BBC News
Police in Hungary now have the power to remove rough sleepers from streets as well as dismantle huts and shacks


Protesters Throng Berlin In Massive Rally To Support ‘Open And Free Society’ : NPR
Organizers expected 40,000 people to show up at their march Saturday. Instead, they say, more than 240,000 attended. The event comes at a time when far-right populists are gaining ground in Germany.
As Voters on Left and Right Rebel, Glimpse of a Post-Merkel Germany – The New York Times
An election in Bavaria was expected to turn on a populist backlash against migrants, but voters went their own way. The results may worry Angela Merkel, but analysts say they signal a healthy democracy.
Is Bavaria the start of a green revolution in Germany? – CNN
The elections in the state of Bavaria on Sunday suggest a shift is underway among some German voters — and the future is looking a lot greener.
Angela Merkel’s Bavarian Allies Suffer Worst Election Results Since 1950 | HuffPost
The Christian Social Union acquired only about 36 percent of the vote, losing its absolute majority.
In a crushing vote, Merkel’s allies suffer massive losses in Bavaria – Los Angeles Times
An exit poll from Bavaria’s state election Sunday shows the ruling Christian Social Union has lost its majority, in a humiliating performance that is likely to rattle German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fragile coalition government.
Humiliating losses in Bavarian election shake Merkel’s coalition | Reuters
Germany woke up on Monday to the news that its crisis-prone government could become even more unstable after the parties ruling in a loveless coalition suffered humiliating results in an election in the southern state of Bavaria.
Merkel Faces Fresh Turmoil After Historic Bavarian Setback – Bloomberg
Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a new round of coalition turbulence after her Bavarian sister party dropped to a historic low in a regional election that exposed the scope of voter disaffection with Germany’s political establishment.
‘Goodbye Merkel!’ Salvini’s BRUTAL words to EU leaders after Bavarian election humiliation | World | News | Express.co.uk
ITALIAN Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini brutally tore into the European Union as Angela Merkel faced bruising results in the Bavarian elections.
Merkel, Already Wobbling, Faces Fresh Blow in Historical Stronghold – WSJ
Elections in two of Germany’s most prosperous regions are likely to diminish Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and further destabilize her fragile government, potentially even jeopardizing her leadership.
The CSU, long the dominant force in Germany’s Bavaria, is likely to be humiliated in Sunday’s election – The Washington Post
The CSU – long the dominant force in Bavaria – is likely to be humiliated in a Sunday vote.
Bavaria election 2018: Merkel will be blamed for ‘dramatic’ Bavaria election on Sunday | World | News | Express.co.uk
ANGELA Merkel will take the blame for a ‘dramatic’ Bavaria election result on Sunday as her coalition allies will be quick to point their fingers at the German Chancellor for the predicted bad performance of the Christian Social Union party, a political expert has warned.
Germany’s Far Right Finds A New Stronghold In Bavaria, And It’s Costing Merkel : NPR
A booming economy and ever fewer migrants crossing the border haven’t eased a populist backlash against the German chancellor’s political allies in the wealthy alpine state of Bavaria.
Merkel’s Bavarian allies brace for bruising in state election | Reuters
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies are heading for their worst state election result in more than 60 years in a regional vote on Sunday that is likely to increase tensions within Germany’s fragile coalition government.
Norway Apologizes To Women Who Faced Reprisals For Wartime Relations With Nazis : NPR
Women who had relationships with occupying German soldiers faced official retaliation after the war. “For many, this was just a teenage love,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.
Norway apologises to women punished for relationships with German soldiers | World news | The Guardian
‘German girls’ were subject to reprisals after 1945 for relations with the soldiers


Venezuela’s Suicide: Lessons From a Failed State
Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous, thriving states. Today it is one of the region’s most impoverished nations and its newest dictatorship. According to these authors, the toxic leadership and bad economic policies of Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, and the unprecedented level of Cuban influence they have invited into the country. The

Capability / Strategy / History Publications


The Pentagon Is Recruiting Tech Talent Like Colleges Recruit Athletes – Defense One
The Defense Department is trying new methods of engagement to recruit young techies.
Pentagon to Young Techies: We Want You (To Come Work for Government) – Nextgov
The Defense Department is trying new methods of engagement to recruit young tech talent.
The Pentagon’s Push to Program Soldiers’ Brains – Defense One
DARPA’s developing capabilities still hover at or near a proof-of-concept stage. But that’s close enough to have drawn investment from some of the …
Special Report: How to Stop Weaponized Consumer Drones – Defense One
Have a drone you want removed from the sky? Grab your wallet, some patience, and probably a lawyer — because so far, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
The Pentagon’s got mechanical eyes in its sights
A contractor has been awarded nearly a billion dollars to expand the super-human future war capabilities of troops.
How the Office of Naval Research hopes to revolutionize manufacturing
3-D printing parts requires persistent monitoring by specialists to ensure intricate parts are produced without impurities and imperfections that can compromise the integrity of the part overall. To optimize this laborious process, Lockheed is being tasked with developing multi-axis robots that use laser beams to deposit material and oversee the printing of parts.
Pentagon Criticized for ‘Spray and Pray’ Approach to Innovation – Foreign Policy
A prominent tech leader says the Defense Department’s investment strategy hampers its ability to compete with China on military innovation.
The Growing Importance of Data Rights in Defense Acquisition
In the information age, intellectual property stands as a critical aspect of any successful acquisition or modernization effort. Without data rights, the services have their hands tied when it comes to keeping military capabilities leading-edge.
Open Sources for the Information Age: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Unclassified Data > National Defense University Press > News Article View
After years of major spending on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) collection capabilities, the Intelligence Community (IC) is beginning to make a commensurate investment in technology to improve intelligence analysis. However, absent a,
Will drone bases in the near future be staffed by robots?
The lightest footprint of all is that made by only robots.
Ignoring EMP threat is a death sentence for Americans – To Inform is to Influence
Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, France, the UK, Israel, and the United States have nuclear weapons. Iran is close.  High-altitude nuclear weapon detonations (HEMP) or a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) are the two most disastrous events which could be preventable. We narrowly missed one such event in 2012 from a CME. A rogue nation…
Why Nuclear Weapons Don’t Matter
The impact of nuclear weapons on international affairs has been minor compared with the money and words expended on them, but the costs resulting from the atomic obsession have been huge. Take the Iraq War, for example: Former President George W. Bush used the threat of nuclear weapons to justify an invasion that costs hundreds of thousands of lives and destabilized the Middle
If You Want Peace, Prepare for Nuclear War
In an era of new great-power competition, United States must develop a modern nuclear arsenal, including low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, lest it lose the ability to credibly defend its allies against potential attacks by rivals such as China and Russia.
How To Get Nuclear-Weapons Treaties Back on Track – Defense One
The agreements that hold back a strategic arms race are in trouble. But there is a way forward.


Russia’s 5th Generation Stealth Fighter Jet to Be Delivered to Russian Air Force in 2019 | The Diplomat
According to Russia’s deputy defense minister, Su-57 aircraft will be delivered to the Russian Air Force by late 2019.
Chinese J-10 C Spotted Carrying PL-10 and PL-15 New Generation Air to Air Missile | Chinese Military Review
J-10 C fighter aircraft has been spotted with Chinese high agility PL-10 5th Generation Within Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile and PL-15 Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM).
China’s Answer to the F-16 and MiG-29: Why the World Still Fears the J-10 Fighter | The National Interest
Aging like fine wine? 
China to unveil newest long-range strategic bomber during military parade in 2019 – Defence Blog
Chinese media has announced on 15 October that the newest long-range strategic bomber will unveil during a parade as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in 2019. According to the news reports, China to unveil its new long-range strategic bomber at the large-scale air force military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PLAAF. However, there’s no official statement or confirmed from the Chinese government or military. The existence of the bomber program was confirmed by PLAAF commander Gen. Ma Xiaotian in 2016, although Rupprecht wrote in the Jamestown Foundation’s report that it has been under development since the late 1990s or early 2000s. Analysts speculating that the prototype of new Chinese large-tonnage strategic bomber, also known as H-20, is expected to make its first flight soon. Chinese state television also has confirmed that the H-20 bomber will soar into friendly skies in the near future. In addition to this, the silhouette of an unknown aircraft was spotted at an evening gala for China’s strategic bomber division, leading military observers to speculate on Sunday that it could be the new H-20 stealth bomber. The gala was held on October 7 at an unspecified strategic bomber division under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, the official PLA Air Force website reported on Thursday.
China developing lidar-based satellite for detection of deep-diving submarine forces
As China develops cutting-edge deep-sea surveillance, the nation’s navy is concurrently designing a satellite-mounted laser to locate and destroy enemy submarines.
Declassified photo shows Russian experimental tank – Defence Blog
Russian well-known military expert Alexey Khlopotov has released a new photo of ‘Object 195’ experimental tank which remained a secret for 20 years. The image shows the Russian fourth-generation tank, also called the T-95, which was a predecessor to T-14 (Object 148) main battle tank based on the Armata universal combat platform. For the first time on the development of the tank “Objekt 195” was announced in the media in July 2001. It was intended to replace the T-72 and T-80 tanks and become the main battle tanks of the Russian Army. Trials of a full-scale prototype started in 1998. In 2007 it was planned to complete testing of the prototype in 2008 and in 2009 to take the tank into service. In 2008, tests were conducted sample number 2 experimental tank in the second phase of state testing – only two prototypes were built. The images show the experimental tank was armed with 152-mm smoothbore high-pressure gun. Also, the ‘Object 195’ tank was eqquiped with a secondary 30 mm cannon. It is known that the crew was isolated in a relatively small fully armored capsule and the 152-mm smoothbore gun was set to a relatively small uninhabited turret ammunition is under it. The tank was fitted with electro-optical devices and radar to detect combat vehicles and troops for day and night-time operations,. In addition, the tank featured the Shtandartactive protection system (APS), which includes a radar to detect, track, and intercept incoming anti-tank munitions, both kinetic energy penetrators and tandem-charges. The ‘Object 195’ experimental tank was operated by a crew of 3, including commander, gunner and driver. The tank was developed in the framework of the “Improvement-88” research and development (R&D) work with the leading role of JSC “Ural Design Bureau of Transport Engineering” and JSC “Scientific and Production Corporation” Uralvagonzavod “. The program was closed in 2010 in favor of creating a family of combat vehicles on the Armata heavy platform.


More F-35 Problems: Pentagon Orders Entire F-35 Fleet Grounded | The National Interest
What happens next?
80 Percent of F-35s Cleared to Fly Following Inspections — USNI News
80 percent of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter variants are now cleared to fly following a fleet-wide grounding and fuel line inspection.
Majority Of Operational F-35s Return To Flight | Defense content from Aviation Week
More than 80% of operational F-35s are cleared to fly again following engine inspections and all of the U.S. services and international partners have resumed flying, the joint program office says.
The Aviationist » UK F-35B Performs World’s First Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing During HMS Queen Elizabeth Trials
On Oct. 13, an F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter performed the first Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, as part of the ongoing First of Class Flight Trials (Fixed Wing), or FOCFT (FW). BAE Systems test pilot Pete “wizzer” Wilson, achieved the F-35B’s first real SRVL touching down at about 40 knots and decelerating to a standstill in about 175 feet. Britain’s newest aircraft carrier (able to accommodate up to 24 F-35Bs out of the planned 138 F-35 Lightning jets) and the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) are conducting a variety of flight maneuvers and deck operations to develop the F-35B operating envelope for QEC carriers.
Setting The Record Straight On Why Fighter Jets Can’t All Simply Fly Away To Escape Storms – The Drive
Outrage over F-22s left behind at Tyndall AFB as Michael hit and statements saying they should have all been flown away are divorced from reality.
Voyager tanker conduct first refuel of F-35B in UK – Defence Blog
The Royal Air Force’s Voyager KC. Mk 2 Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) tanker has completed the first UK refuel of the F-35B Lightning II jets. According to the RAF’s statement, the refuel took place on the 16thOctober 2018, over the North Sea at 19,000ft. The Voyager, based at RAF Brize Norton, home to the RAF’s Air Mobility Fleet is no stranger to refuelling fast jets, being the RAF’s sole AAR capability. The Voyager KC. Mk 2, is equipped with two underwing pods for refuelling fast jets, and the Voyager KC. Mk 3 has an additional centreline hose for use by larger aircraft. “The Voyager aircraft offers a highly capable Air-to-Air Refuelling capability, with which we provide regular support to many of the RAF’s fixed wing aircraft. Supporting the new F-35B, as it enters service, is a hugely important task for the Voyager Force. Today’s sortie went extremely well and builds on the Air-to-Air Refuelling deployment sorties flown from the US to the UK earlier this year. We look forward to enhancing our support for the F35B during this important period for the F-35B development programme,” said Voyager Captain 101 Squadron. The F-35B Lightning II is the RAF’s newest combat aircraft, operated by 617 Squadron based at RAF Marham, Norfolk. This multi-role aircraft can conduct missions including air-to-surface, electronic warfare, intelligence gathering and air-to-air simultaneously. “It’s fantastic to be able to link up the UK’s 5th generation asset with the RAF’s Voyager tanker in UK skies for the first time. Being able to refuel from an asset such as Voyager gives the F-35B the ability to deliver world beating air power at range in defence of the nation.” said Navy F-35B Lightning Pilot 617 Squadron.
Air Force: Hurricane damage to Tyndall F-22s ‘less than we feared,’ but unknown how many will fly again
The Air Force’s top leadership said Sunday evening that F-22s that remained behind at Tyndall Air Force Base when Hurricane Michael struck were not as badly damaged as originally feared.
Hurricane-Damaged Aircraft Look ‘Fixable’ | Defense content from Aviation Week
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says early reports indicate the U.S. fighter jets left behind at Tyndall AFB, Florida, during the category four Hurricane Michael are “fixable.” Mattis also told reporters Oct. 15 en route to Vietnam that the Defense Department has met all requests to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Where we took the biggest hit was Tyndall Air Force Base,” Mattis says. “Other bases were also hit, but not significantly. Tyndall, the operation center was maintained as part of Norad and she is up and operating on emergency—on generator—power.” The initial review was conducted by Air Combat Command and delivered to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Mattis says the government will not be certain if the aircraft can be repaired until the jets are removed from their hangars. “I’m not ready to say it can all be fixed. But our initial review was perhaps more positive than I anticipated … in light of the amount of damage,” he says. Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright visited Tyndall on Oct. 14 to assess the hurricane’s aftermath and observed damage around the flight line. “We also looked into each of the hangars that housed aircraft which weathered the storm for maintenance or safety reasons,” the officials said in a joint statement. “Visually, they were all intact and looked much better than expected considering the surrounding damage to some structures.” Air Force maintainers will conduct a detailed assessment of the F-22 Raptors and other aircraft before the government can determine if the equipment can be repaired.


U.S. Army Launches Sweeping Long-range Artillery Modernization Plan | Defense content from Aviation Week
Russian superiority on long-range projectiles and missiles spurs Army catch-up plan.
Army Boosts Investment In Lasers « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
AUSA: The Army is investing more and more money in lasers to defeat incoming rockets and enemy drones. Across the Air & Missile Defense (AMD) portfolio, “we put over 50 percent of our S&T (Science and Technology) money going towards directed energy projects,” up from about a third previously, said the AMD modernization director, Brig. Gen. Randall McIntire. To meet an urgent deadline for initial deployment in 2020, the Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IMSHORAD) system now going on 8×8 Strykers had to use existing, off-the-shelf technologies. That means the first two battalions of air defense Strykers, to be fielded by 2022, will mount a combination of missile launchers and machineguns. But the full-up MSHORAD will be “less about missile technology” and have “more of a directed-energy focus,’ McIntire told reporters at last week’s at the Association of the US Army conference. MSHORAD will also probably have electronic warfare systems to jam the transmissions directing enemy drones, although that’s not yet final. (I heard no discussion of another promising technology, microwaves to burn out electronics at a distance). MSHORAD will be the next step from the Army’s ongoing Multi-Mission High-Energy Laser (MMHEL) experiments with Stryker-mounted lasers, which aim to field-test a 50kW weapon in 2021.
Video: Podcast: The U.S. Army Gets its Groove Back | Defense content from Aviation Week
After years of fighting counterinsurgency campaigns, the U.S. Army has realized it is outgunned by Russian and Chinese artillery. The service has a $25 billion plan to match and surpass the shortfallson multiple fronts. Aviation Week’s U.S. defense team discusses multiple modernization programs under way including long-range precision fires, future rotorcraft and tactical UAVs.
Tanks: Obsolete or Every Army’s Top Weapon of War | The National Interest
Perhaps one day the development of exoskeletons will give the infantry the Starship Troopers-like capabilities of a tank. In which case, someone will probably develop an armored vehicle more powerful than the infantryman.
SOCOM solicitation for ‘reverse engineered’ foreign weapons sparks Russian anger, warnings – To Inform is to Influence
By: Kyle Rempfer Kalashnikov Concern — the Russian firm renowned for designing the AK-47 assault rifle — was caught off guard by U.S. Special Operations Command’s desire to “reverse engineer” and “domestically produce” Russian-styled weapons. In statements through state-controlled media, Russian leaders and industry officials warned the U.S. military not to copy its coveted weapon…


Spanish Air Force awards contract to TAURUS for aircraft KEPD 350 weapon system – Defence Blog
The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MOD) and TAURUS Systems GmbH (TSG) signed a contract on 26th September in Madrid for an upgrade and maintenance of the operational capability of the TAURUS KEPD 350 Weapon System used by the Spanish Air Force. The contract value is just below 30 million Euros. The TAURUS KEPD 350 has been in the inventory of the Spanish Air Force for 10 years. It is today operated on the EF-18 fighter aircraft. The advanced stand-off missile TAURUS KEPD 350 provides, with its very long range and a unique intelligent warhead, an important strategic and tactical advantage to the Spanish armed forces. It is optimized for attacking deep buried bunkers and infrastructure even in anti-access and area denied environments. As part of the contract the operational capability of the Spanish TAURUS will be updated by robustification and improvement of the navigation system. This will increase the survivability considerably beyond the original configuration. With the update, the Weapon System is prepared for highly defended modern scenarios and joint operations environments. The project will start immediately. TAURUS Systems GmbH (TSG) was founded in 1998 by its shareholders MBDA Deutschland GmbH of Germany and Saab Dynamics AB of Sweden. The company acts as prime contractor and design authority for the TAURUS KEPD 350E weapon system. The expertise of TSG covers all aspects regarding the development and manufacture of stand-off weapon systems ranging from initial concept studies to fully developed, ready-to-operate integrated system solutions, such as ‘effects-based operations’. It also supports complete solutions during the whole life cycle of each weapon system.
F-16 fighter jet EXPLODES and another is damaged in Belgium after mechanic accidentally opened fire  | Daily Mail Online
The F-16 Falcon jet exploded as it was parked at the Florennes military base in Belgium and a second plane sitting next to it was damaged after bullets were fired from the on-board Gatling cannon.
The Aviationist » F-16 Completely Destroyed By Another F-16 After Mechanic Accidentally Fires Cannon On The Ground In Belgium
A Belgian Air Force F-16 has been destroyed and another aircraft damaged when the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon on board a third F-16 was accidentally fired on the ground by maintenance personnel at Florennes Air Base in the Walloon area of Southern Belgium on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Multiple reports indicate that a mechanic servicing the parked aircraft accidentally fired the six-barreled 20mm Vulcan cannon at close range to two other parked F-16s. Photos show one F-16AM completely destroyed on the ground at Florennes. Two maintenance personnel were reported injured and treated at the scene in the bizarre accident. In a nearby hangar, positioned at the extension of the flight line, a technician was working on an F-16. It is said that by accident the six-barrel 20mm Vulcan M61A-1 cannon of that F-16 was activated. Apparently, the cannon was loaded and some ammunition hit the FA128. This aircraft had just been refuelled and prepared together with another F-16 for an upcoming afternoon sortie. After impact of the 20mm bullets, FA128 exploded instantly and damaged two other F-16s.


‘Lord of the Rings’ director brings the trenches of WWI to life in stunning new documentary
Jackson used innovative production techniques to enhance and colorize almost 100 hours of original footage.
Archeologists have found a buried Viking ship in Norway — Quartz
Whether they’ll ever be able to unearth it from a vast complex of at least seven dome-shaped burial mounds remains to be seen.
Giant Viking Ship Found Buried in Farmer’s Field Just 20 Inches Below Ground
The ship was once embedded inside a large burial mound.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports


The Problem Isn’t Fake News From Russia. It’s Us. – Foreign Policy
Propaganda has long affected elections around the world because publics have an appetite for it.
New RAND Report: The Language of Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Assessment Lexicon and Usage Guide – To Inform is to Influence
The Language of Inform, Influence, and Persuade Assessment Lexicon and Usage Guide for U.S. European Command Efforts Christopher Paul, Miriam Matthews FREE DOWNLOAD Words matter. Many of the terms used to discuss assessment in the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. European Command mean different things to different staff sections, offices, organizations, and individuals. This…
How Realistic Fake Video Threatens Democracies – Defense One
Governments must use technology, education, and public policy to meet this new, dangerous form of disinformation.
Disinformation on Steroids – To Inform is to Influence
Stories are already being generated artificially, with no human involvement, that are purely computer generated. Imagine Deep Fakes, stories, and videos created to sully a reputation, create a scenario, or provide false evidence. Imagine if the timing were such that the impact was felt during a critical meeting, a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, or a national election. There would be no time for refuting the fabricated evidence. The consequences could be disastrous. Thank you to the Council on Foreign Relations and Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron for this fine, thought-provoking piece. </end editorial>
Facebook removes accounts spreading military propaganda in Myanmar
Facebook said it removed 13 pages and 10 accounts that were used to spread military propaganda in Myanmar as part of its ongoing effort to combat the spread of misinformation on its social network.


Top US intelligence official takes veiled shot at Google
Dan Coats seemed to criticize Google, questioning the logic of American companies who refuse to work with the U.S. government but partner with China.
Facebook: Hackers got (very) personal data from 29M users. FIND OUT if your info was breached. / Boing Boing
The good news: Facebook downgrades the number of accounts hit in the breach they disclosed two weeks ago to 29 million, down from 50 million. The bad news: Uh, that’s still a LOT. And if you were one of those 29 million Facebook users, A LOT of your intimate personal data was stolen. Facebook disclosed…
Pentagon Reveals Cyber Breach of Travel Records – The New York Times
The Pentagon on Friday said there has been a cyber breach of Defense Department travel records that compromised the personal information and credit card data of U.S. military and civilian personnel.
What’s driving NATO’s boost in cyber operations
Two announcements have bolstered the transatlantic partnership’s shift to deterring cyberattacks.
DHS Downplays Report That Data Thieves Are Selling Millions of Voters’ Data – Defense One
But your personal data from voting rolls is more public than you likely realize.
Support for ‘hack back’ grows after Trump’s pledge to get aggressive in cyberspace
Support for the idea that businesses should be able to retaliate to cyberattacks, or “hack back,” has recently come from former government officials, experts and lawmakers who say it could be effective deterrent.
Washington state officials brace voting systems against hacking
Election officials in Washington continue to bolster the state’s elections systems against cyber threats that could disrupt voting or cause citizens to lose faith in the results.
Open-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking
Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose?


What is the Army’s integrated jamming and cyber pod capable of?
Leidos believes its solution exceeds the Army’s expectations.
Army looking for software, not hardware for electronic warfare
Software will help the Army meet pacing threats.

US Domestic Policy Reports


Bolton To Travel To Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia
U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton has announced he will be traveling to Russia and three Caucasus nations later this month for talks with senior officials.
President Donald Trump’s full interview with AP on Russia, midterms
The Associated Press asked President Donald Trump about everything from possibly serving one term to Russia and his tax returns.
6 Of The Wildest Moments From Donald Trump’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview | HuffPost Australia
Trump was asked about his treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, whether he thinks climate change is a hoax, and a handful of other topics.
9 noteworthy moments from Trump’s ’60 Minutes’ interview – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country.”
Trump Dismisses Impact Of Russian Hackers On 2016 Election
U.S. President Donald Trump has dismissed the impact of Russian hackers’ actions on the result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, claiming that their number was very small and that some of the…
Warren says Trump should pay up on $1 million offer | TheHill
Sen.
Policy Roundtable: Does Reagan’s Foreign Policy Legacy Live On? – Texas National Security Review
Wacky study alleges conspiracy theory linking Moscow to DC think tanks | Spectator USA
The Institute for Russia’s foolish report baselessly accuses DC think tanks and highly respected US officials of being bought by the Kremlin. The Institute of Modern Russia says that its mission is to help construct a democratic Russia based on the rule of law. Its foolish report does nothing of the kind
Rohrabacher and Rouda face off over immigration, Russia and more in first debate in 48th Congressional District race
Immigration, Russia and an apparent contradiction by Democratic candidate Harley Rouda were highlights Monday in the only debate so far in the tight 48th Congressional District race between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Rouda, of Laguna Beach.
Dana Rohrabacher Russia ties are key focus in California House race
Tense moments peppered a debate between California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democrat Harley Rouda as the incumbent defended his pro-Russia record and accused his opponent of trying to impeach President Donald Trump.
Dallas Beaufort – Making America grow again Alan Greenspan,…
White House considers two female ambassadors to replace Haley at U.N. – POLITICO
Aides have said the president is inclined to select a woman for the post and that they are looking to place somebody already in the administration.


Haley slams UN for electing more human rights abusers to Human Rights Council | Fox News
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley criticized the U.N. Friday after its General Assembly elected new members to the controversial Human Rights Council — including countries with poor human rights records.
White House Chief Kelly, National Security Adviser Bolton Have Expletive-Laden Fight – WSJ
White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton engaged in an “explosive” shouting match prompted by a report that said border crossings increased in the past month and involved criticism of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Kelly, Bolton Get in Profane Shouting Match Outside the Oval Office – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff and his national security adviser engaged in a profanity-laced argument outside the Oval Office on Thursday, according to three people familiar with the episode.
Bolton and Kelly get into heated shouting match sparking resignation fears – CNNPolitics
A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match Thursday, two sources familiar with the argument told CNN.
U.S. Treasury Official Charged With Leaking Documents In Russia Probe
A U.S. Treasury official has been charged with leaking to the online news outlet BuzzFeed confidential documents of suspects in a special counsel probe of ties between Russia and President Donald T…
UAWire – Russia Today TV channel excluded from US broadcast networks
In the US, Russian television channel Russia Today was excluded from broadcasting networks Spectrum and Comcast Chicago, according to the channel’s website. The coverage zone of these networks includes most major cities including New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago and the state of New Jersey. On September 1st, the cable television operator Spectrum refused to renew the broadcast agreement with RT. When RT questioned the reason for the decision, the operator responded that with the development of the internet providing television signal distribution services is not practical. In turn, Comcast Chicago announced that it did not intend to extend the contract for broadcasting RT from the 1st of October, referring to the national defense regulations, namely the John McCain Amendment. It allows distributors to unilaterally without explaining the reason refuse to broadcast content that is financed by the Russian government.
UAWire – Kremlin: US denied entry to Russian appointee to UN post
The United States denied entry to a Russian, who was appointed to the UN secretariat, stated the official representative of the Ministry of …


Who Will Replace Mattis? – Foreign Policy
Trump signals in an interview that his defense secretary might be out.
DoD Scrambles To Write Space Doctrine As Space Command Plan Takes Shape « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
The Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian said Wednesday that the final figure for a Space Force is unclear and is far from a done deal, even though the Air Force recently threw out a figure of $13 billion. “The final answer won’t happen this month or next month,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told a small group of reporters.
The U.S. Army Is Back | The National Interest
Military modernization is a process of continual change. Fortunately, while the Pentagon was forced to take a 20-year procurement holiday, the aerospace and defense industry continued to work on new concepts and capabilities. They also learned how to adapt commercial technologies to the military’s needs. As a result, the Army may have found much of what it needs to jump-start
Space Force: A Historical Perspective
Space might be the final frontier, but it is also now on the verge of becoming a well-worn bureaucratic path.
Reported L3, Harris merger would create seventh largest defense firm in the world
The reported deal would also create a giant in the C4ISR space.
As Tyndall begins recovery, a hard road — and hard questions — lie ahead
As Tyndall Air Force Base begins recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, it faces some hard questions about what the future will hold for the airmen, civilians and their families who were forced to evacuate.
Support for Trump is fading among active-duty troops, new poll shows
A new Military Times poll shows that troops today are evenly split in their views about President Trump.
The Army might be going about enlisted promotions all wrong, according to this study
The Army loves a soldier who promotes quickly, but less experience could harm their units in the long run.

 

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