Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
The Vozhd does his annual Valdai Club address in Sochi and produced more media traffic than the rest of the propaganda machine collectively. His comments on martyrdom in a nuclear MAD scenario could be easily labeled as “channeling Ahmadinejad.” He reverses on the pre-emptive nuclear strike doctrine and brags about the new hypersonic weapons, and other Wunderwaffe. He predicts future success in dealing with a post-Poroshenko government in Ukraine and makes some peculiar claims about ISIS holding 700 hostages. PM Medvedev makes some no less foolish claims.
More on the Kaliningrad buildup. Amb Herbst proposes a return to proven Cold War practices. In Finland, Russia supporting trolls are convicted, and one jailed, for their campaign of harassment and intimidation against Jessikka Aro. Twitter releases an archive of posts by Russian and Iranian accounts.
The Russian propaganda machine simply could not overcome the temptation of the Kerch tragedy, and like with MH17, treats it as an opportunity. The Vozhd blames it on Western culture.
The most notable Salisbury report is a commentary by Frederick Forsyth – his assessment of the self-destructive impact of the GRU operation is indeed correct. Col. Skripal’s 90-year-old mother being exploited in Russian media.
Amb Haley does a superb address on Iran in the UNSC. EU companies abandon Iran, while the Vozhd reverses again on Iran in Syria. US also rebuts the Vozhd’s ISIS hostage claim as “fake news.” Update on Saudi situation.
If any nation decides to attack Russia with nuclear weapons, it may end life on Earth; but unlike the aggressors, the Russians are sure to go to heaven, President Vladimir Putin has said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia was ready to “annihilate” any attacker who would use nuclear weapons against it, but would never strike first. “An aggressor should know that vengeance is inevitable, that he will be annihilated, and we would be the victims of the aggression. We will go to heaven as martyrs, and they will just drop dead. They will not even have time to repent for this,” he said. In March this year Putin unveiled an array of new nuclear weapons in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and not be intercepted.
“The aggressor must know that retribution is inevitable,” Putin said Thursday when asked about a potential nuclear strike against his country.
The Russian leader said in Sochi on Thursday that his country is running ahead of the competition in weaponry and is confident he could resist Western pressure while relations remain fraught.
If Russia is ever attacked with nuclear weapons, the Russian victims will “go to heaven” as “martyrs,” says Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made the comments Thursday during… World News Summaries. | Newser
Russians will “go to heaven” as martyrs in the event of nuclear war because Moscow will only ever use nuclear weapons in retaliation, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. “We have no concept of a preemptive strike,” Putin told a forum of international experts in the southern city
Russians will go to heaven as martyrs in the event of nuclear war, because Moscow will only ever use nuclear weapons in retaliation, President Vlad…
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Russian citizens that in the event of a nuclear war they would go to heaven as martyrs, while the rest would just “die.” The Russian president assured that his country’s concept of using nuclear weapons does not provide for a preemptive strike.
Speaking at the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin has touched upon a wide array of issues, including the ongoing war in Syria, nuclear weapons, defense policy and bilateral relations with the US, China and Japan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country will only use its nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack on the country.
Putin once against tries to rewrite the history of Crimea’s annexation. Russian soldiers invaded in 2014, and a referendum was staged under the force of Russian occupation.
“Luckily this monopoly is disappearing. It’s almost done,” the Russian president said in his annual foreign policy speech.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the citizens of many former Soviet Republics regretted the collapse of the USSR, which he described as a “great state”. People in the former republics “interpret it in their own way, but all the same they believe that life in the Soviet
Russian President Vladimir Putin comments came as senior Western ministers pulled out of a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia, expressing deep concern over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
New Avangard hypersonic glider warheads are just months away from entering military service, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, adding that Russia is the first in the world to develop the breakthrough technology.
Russian leader hails new missiles in his country’s military arsenals but says Moscow would only use its nuclear weapons in response to incoming missile attack
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday boasted of his country’s nuclear weapons capabilities, but insisted they would only be used in retaliation.
This would be a significant step that would enable the Kremlin to surpass the U.S. and China. The U.S. is currently unable to defend against this breed of threat.
Fresh from offering a China-scale $25 billion loan to Egypt, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was unusually relaxed and non-combative at an annual gathering of foreign and Russian analysts in Sochi.
19.10.18 10:57 – Putin declares determination to negotiate, build relations with Ukraine’s “new authorities” President Vladimir Putin of Russia says he expects to be on the same page and build relations with the new Ukrainian leadership. View news.
Vladimir Putin showed up at the Valdai Club on Thursday to discuss some of the hot topics for Russian and international politics. Here are the five top takes from the event.
The Russian Prime Minister said that Russia’s position «cannot be influenced, something that everyone realises very well»
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in an interview with Euronews, said that the U.S. President Donald Trump “hasn’t done anything yet to achieve radical improvement between two countries’ relations.” Prime Minister expressed his doubt that Trump will succeed at improving relations in the future. One of the interview excerpts was published on the YouTube channel. “He is unlikely to be able to do it because of the pressure that is being put on him,” RIA Novosti quoted the prime minister. Medvedev added that in the United States the president “is being attacked from left and right”. Another part of the interview published on YouTube concerns Medvedev’s comments regarding “anti-Russian hysteria”. The head of the government stressed that it certainly exists in the United States. “You see, in general, any such assessments are definitely not conducive to the international cooperation. I remember the Soviet period when the Soviet Union also labelled and branded the international capital system and said that it divides us, it didn’t lead to anything good, ” said the prime minister in this part of the interview.
The possible imposition of sanctions against the Russian bank sector will become “the declaration of trade war” but Moscow can overcome the …
New satellite imagery shared exclusively with CNN shows Russia appearing to upgrade four of its military installations in Kaliningrad, Russia’s strategic outpost on NATO’s doorstep.
Satellite images suggest that Russia is bolstering its military strength in Kaliningrad, a strategic Russian outpost on NATO’s doorstep. The alliance says it…
Nuclear strategy hawks in Washington tend to think that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is designed for a future military offensive, but Moscow’s key nuclear strategy old-fashioned deterrence.
Russia's aggressive actions are a challenge faced by the NATO allies, and there is no indication on Russia’s part of any willingness to change.
On 19 October, the U.S. Army Europe has announced the large-scale deploy of armored and aviation brigades in support of Atlantic Resolve mission in Europe. Soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and 1st Combat Aviation Brigade are slated to deploy in early 2019 in support of the Atlantic Resolve mission in Europe. The brigades, based out of Fort Riley, Kansas, are the fourth iteration of Atlantic Resolve back-to-back rotations. They will deploy to various locations throughout Central and Eastern Europe where they will conduct multinational training and security cooperation activities with allies and partners. The armored brigade will deploy with more than 3,500 Soldiers around the end of January with approximately 85 Abrams tanks; 135 Bradley Fighting and Fire Support Vehicles; 15 Paladins; and other support equipment. “After spending the last several months conducting an intensive and comprehensive training cycle that included a National Training Center rotation, the Devil Brigade is looking forward to deploying to Europe in support of the Atlantic Resolve mission,” said Col. Charles Armstrong, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team commander. The aviation brigade’s approximately 1,900 Soldiers will follow in February with approximately 50 UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawks; 10 CH-47 Chinooks; 20 AH-64 Apaches; and 1,500 pieces of support equipment.
Territories between great powers—borderlands—have always been areas of strife. So it is with the countries caught between Russia and the West, those that were once part of the Soviet Union or firmly within its sphere of influence. Much of Europe has consolidated and, with the United States, established a lasting liberal democratic order, but Russia has been increasingly pushing back. Though most of the “borderlands” countries are now West-facing, Moscow wants to control at least the national security policies of its near neighbors. The West should reject Moscow’s claim. It contradicts Western principles and is dangerous to our interests. The United States should lead the West in adopting an explicit strategy of promoting democracy, open markets, and the right of nations to choose their own foreign policy and alignments. This includes their right, if they meet the conditions, to join the EU and NATO. Moscow has not hidden its objectives—to grow its sphere of influence; shift the post-Cold War security order; and weaken NATO, the EU, and transatlantic ties—and is applying a full spectrum of methods to achieve them. The combination of these tactics is sometimes called hybrid war. This includes strengthening ethnic ties abroad and utilizing religion, disinformation, economic boycotts, energy cutoffs, corruption, and the strategic use of its intelligence services. Western powers have been slow to recognize the challenge posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belligerent foreign policy. There was little criticism of Moscow for the 2007 cyberattack on Estonia; deferring to Kremlin sensitivities, NATO did not offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan at its 2008 summit; and when Moscow’s war against Georgia followed months later, the West levied weak sanctions on Russia and lifted them quickly. The West’s sanctions on Moscow for annexing Crimea were also weak. NATO was slow to recognize Moscow’s challenge to the alliance. While the 2014 NATO summit did make arrangements for a rapid deployment force, it spoke of the need to “reassure” its easternmost allies rather than to deter the Kremlin. Only in 2016 did NATO decide to put battalions into the Baltic states, Poland, and Romania to dissuade the Kremlin from provocations there. With the deployment of these forces, NATO has done much to secure its eastern flank. But more needs to be done. The notion that the West can buy peace by allowing Moscow to manage its neighbors—to exercise hegemony in its sphere of influence—is completely wrong. Indeed, history demonstrates this. The Kremlin’s war on Tbilisi and Kyiv has not dissuaded either capital from its Westward course. A new approach is needed. It should be based on older ideas established at the end of the Cold War: states are sovereign; they should enjoy territorial integrity and the right to choose their own political and economic systems. They should also enjoy the right to choose their international friends and allies. We need to return to this policy explicitly and with confidence. The United States should take the lead within NATO in laying out this vision and reminding the allies that the door to eventual NATO membership was left open to Ukraine and Georgia ten years ago. The recent accession of Montenegro and the prospective accession of the Republic of Northern Macedonia—both actively opposed by Moscow—are recent precedents for this policy. But the NATO accession process must change to take account of the new hostile environment that Moscow has created. With Moscow actively opposing membership for new countries, NATO’s granting of a Membership Action Plan for a candidate country makes that country a Kremlin target without conferring on it the protection that membership offers. NATO should be willing to consider new membership criteria; it should consider the NATO-Georgia Commission and its annual national plans as models for membership. As part of this reconsideration, NATO should clarify that membership cannot be blocked by Kremlin aggression or occupation. The EU too must be clear on membership for its eastern neighbors. To its credit, the EU did not step away from the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) after Russian aggression against Ukraine began, despite timid voices in the West blaming the EU for the “Ukraine crisis.” Nor did it step back from its Eastern Partnership Program. But it should fully develop opportunities for greater cooperation under the Eastern Partnership—such as removing remaining barriers to more trade. It should also keep the door open for additional free trade agreements. Equally important, the EU should make sure that it does not short its own interests and dilute its policies to suit the Kremlin. This is particularly important in energy. The EU Energy Charter, which Moscow has signed but not ratified, requires Europe’s energy partners to allow the use of their pipelines to deliver hydrocarbons to Europe. But the EU does not insist that Gazprom open its pipelines to producers in Central Asia. This oversight strengthens Moscow’s hand as an energy supplier to Europe and gives it additional leverage over countries that, it claims, fall into its sphere of influence. Just as damaging is the EU’s countenancing the construction of the Nord Stream II pipeline from Russia to Germany. The European Commission has the power to stop this project. If Chancellor Angela Merkel will not or cannot turn off Nord Stream II, the commission should. NATO and the EU should also enhance policies designed to help borderland countries strengthen domestic vulnerabilities that the Kremlin has exploited. This must include programs designed to limit corruption and to clean up the banking sector. Moscow continues to buy influence through corruption, and the banking system is a prime facilitator as well as a means for money laundering. While Georgia has taken great strides to clean up its banking sector and reduce corruption, much more needs to be done in Ukraine and Moldova. Conditioning aid on reform measures is an essential tool the West should not hesitate to use. The United States and its allies should also consider further weapons transfers to Georgia and especially to Ukraine. Stopping the Kremlin is a vital interest. The front is currently in eastern Ukraine. The West’s interest in stopping Kremlin aggression in the Donbas justifies an aid package of $1 billion a year for five years for military equipment. It should include regular needs such as anti-tank missiles, secure command and control communications, sophisticated drones, and anti-aircraft radar for missiles. Under the same logic, the United States should consult with Georgia on its military needs. The United States with its NATO allies should also consider a greater presence in the Black Sea region. Regular exercises with Georgia and Ukraine should be enhanced, as should port visits to Batumi and Odesa. Romania is a natural partner with which to develop a more robust program. The United States should consider ways to draw Turkey and Bulgaria into greater cooperation. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus are also part of the grey zone. They receive less attention because they have not pursued closer relations with the EU or NATO as energetically as Georgia and Ukraine, and therefore have received less pressure from the Kremlin. But they have been subject to pressure. The United States and the EU should look for ways to increase cooperation with the three countries. Advocates of accommodating Moscow think they are buying peace and stability. That is an illusion. Accommodation makes the borderlands places of Kremlin aggression and instability. However, there is no reason to assume that the people of these regions are willing to forfeit their futures to autocrats in Moscow. Western principles and interests would be served by policies that back the aspirations of the people in these areas to determine their own future. The likely result would be the erasing of the borderlands and the creation of a Europe whole and free. John E. Herbst is the director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. He served as the US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003-2006.
Jessikka Aro is a friend. I reviewed an article she wrote several years ago, and the Finnish pro-Russian trolls jumped onto my case. They even wrote several articles about me on their website, MV-Lehti. They came onto this blog and left crude and poorly written comments, which were actually humorous at times. Several of the…
A Finnish court has sentenced the founder of a pro-Russian website to 22 months in prison on charges of defamation and negligence. The court said MV-Lehti published offensive content about Jessikka Aro, an investigative journalist. Ilja Janitskin and two other journalists were ordered to pay 136,000 euros (£119,300) in compensation. Aro had been the subject…
A court in Finland has sentenced the founder of an anti-immigrant, pro-Russia website to 22 months in prison on charges of defamation and negligence.
On October 6, the day of Latvia’s parliamentary elections, the draugiem.lv social network was hacked, with the front page supplanted by a pro-Russia message, reported LETA.
By @vijaya and @yoyoel Wednesday, 17 October 2018 Today we are releasing all the accounts and related content associated with potential information operations that we have found on our service since 2016. We had previously disclosed these activities, but are now releasing substantially more information about them to enable independent academic research and investigation. This is the continuation of our…
Twitter had previously identified Iran and Russia as the source of fake accounts and coordinated misinformation campaigns, but had largely limited the scope to around the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the upcoming midterm elections.
Twitter published a trove of some 10 million tweets that it said are potentially the product of state-backed operations by Russia and Iran, shedding new light on the scale and nature of misinformation campaigns mounted by the two nations. Twitter said on Wednesday that it had identified 3,841 accounts affiliated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” that has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller for attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. It found another 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran.
17 October 2018 “Danish scholars conclude that RT has ‘exceptional influence’ in social media”. This was the title of a recent story published by the Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti. A similar story was run by Sputnik, also in Russian. The sensational headline about the “exceptional influence” looks like a pat on RT’s back; however, it’s a…
The terrible massacre in Crimea could not leave anyone indifferent. Another mad “Breivik,” a local 21-year-old man, gunned down 21 people, also leaving dozens injured. It would seem that, apart from words of sympathy and condolences, there is nothing much to say in such a situation. However, in Russia, they decided to use this horror to show, first of all, to themselves that “Crimea is ours,” albeit covered in blood. The Russian Foreign Ministry rushed to announce that in the follow up to the tragedy, Russia received words of support from “foreign partners and leaders of foreign countries.” Here comes a long-awaited moment of recognition of the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea. However, in practice, as usual, it turned out differently. First, Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately expressed condolences after the incident and separately emphasized that “in Russia, in the city of Kerch, a tragic event occurred.” It is curious that, often, as accidents occur and high-profile crimes are committed in Russian cities, Putin does not speak of their territorial affiliation aloud. However, this situation was special. Naturally, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi, who was standing next to Putin at that moment, also expressed condolences and did not argue about the territorial issues. This is not surprising, since Russian-Egyptian negotiations, in fact, did not cover the matter. Moreover, the fact remains that Egypt never recognized the Crimea occupation. Second, the TASS state news agency reported that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, at a meeting with the Russian Prosecutor General in Belgrade, expressed his
Russia’s investigation unit strenuously checks student Vladyslav Roslyakov, suspected in the organization of the massacre at Kerch college, for ties with the Ukrainian far-right organizations “Right Sector” and far-right Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defence (UNA-UNSO) which are considered to be extremist in Russia as Kommersant reported citing the sources. “Nevertheless, according to Kommersant, Vladyslav Roslyakov is strenuously checked for ties with the “extremists.” However, not religious ones but “Right Sector” and “UNA-UNSO” that are banned in Russia,” the message said.
Officials said the attack may be similar to school shooting in the U.S.
An 18-year-old student, who later killed himself, was initially believed to be the only one to have been involved in the carnage at the Kerch Polytechnic College on Wednesday.
The mass shooting which took place in Crimea on Wednesday is an unfortunate result of globalization and a collective failure to adapt to it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
As Russians struggle to come to terms with a horrific US-style school shooting in Crimea, which has left at least 20 people dead and dozens injured, Kremlin-controlled media are blaming the “corrupting influence” of the West.
euronews (in English) Published on Oct 18, 2018 People are still reeling from the attack on a technical college in Crimea, which claimed the lives of 20 people. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack appears to be “the result of globalisation”.
The tragedy in Kerch became possible due to globalization, – Russian leader Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday blamed a mass shooting at a college in Crimea on localization, saying a problem that began in the United States had spread around the world through online communities on the Internet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the tragedy at the occupied Crimea’s Kerch College is the result of globalization. Everything began with the infamous tragic events in the USA, Vladimir Putin suggested.
Authorities in the city of Kerch in Russia-annexed Crimea have beefed up security in the central square, where local residents bid farewell to the victims of a shooting rampage at a technical schoo…
Shortly before noon on October 17, an eighteen-year-old student at Kerch Polytechnic College in eastern Crimea detonated a homemade bomb in the school’s lunchroom. Vladislav Roslyakov then roamed the building, shooting everyone he could from a legally purchased hunting rifle. Roslyakov murdered 19 people — a list of the victims’ names was made public on October 18 — and injured another 48, before turning the gun on himself. Meduza special correspondent Irina Kravtsova traveled to Kerch, to find out how this small Crimean city is weathering the aftermath of the massacre.
On October 17, a student at the Kerch Polytechnic College in eastern Crimea killed at least 20 classmates and teachers with a firearm and a homemade bomb, and injured almost two dozen more people. The gunman, 18-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov, then shot and killed himself.
The representatives of State Border Guard Service noted that the agency continues monitoring the situation on the occupied peninsula
It will take time yet for full analysis and evaluation but I suspect the final judgment will be that the Russian attack on the Skripals by nerve agent novichok in Salisbury last March was the most catastrophic mistake the Kremlin has made in many years. The Skripals, although damaged and in hiding, are still alive so it failed in that sense. The agents who did it have been identified and exposed as bungling idiots. Their country has been internationally humiliated. The GRU (always the junior colleague of the better-known KGB) has been bathed in unwanted publicity and exposed as just a bunch of thugs. Worldwide, Russia has suffered ridicule, disbelief and more than 150 of her active agents in embassies across the globe have been expelled and sent home. That takes years to repair.
WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Yelena Skripal, 90, spoke to the Daily Mirror in Yarolsavl, the first time she has spoken to anyone since her son and granddaughter were attacked by Vladimir Putin’s henchmen
THE devastated mother of novichok poison victim Sergei Skripal yesterday begged to see him before she dies.
THIS week, as I may have mentioned once or twice in this column over the last few weeks, is the Salisbury Literary Festival. By the time you read…
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, returning to the Security Council for the first time since she announced her intention to step down earlier this month, tore into Iran’s alleged use of child soldiers on Thursday and accused the regime of “crony terrorism.”
Despite Israeli pressure, Russian President says not his job to prevent Iran from establishing itself in Syria, decries ‘foreign meddling’.
The US decision to re-impose nuclear sanctions on Iran has significant implications for European businesses.
U.S. officials have rejected claims from Vladimir Putin that ISIS has taken nearly 700 people hostage, including several European and US Nationals in Syria.
America has cast doubt on the number of hostages taken from a camp in the war-torn nation
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Islamic State militants recently seized about 700 hostages in a part of Syria controlled by U.S.-backed forces, and are carrying out executions — …
President Vladimir Putin said that Islamic State militants had seized nearly 700 hostages in part of Syria controlled by U.S.-backed forces and had executed some of them.
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Islamic State militants had seized nearly 700 hostages in part of Syria controlled by U.S.-backed forces and had executed some of them and promised to kill more.
ISIS has taken 700 people hostage in an area in Syria controlled by US-backed forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed.
BY ANNA BORSHCHEVSKAYA, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 10/16/18 11:00 AM EDT It may seem strange that Moscow has delivered its S-300 anti-aircraft system to Syria this month. The decision came after the Assad regime accidentally downed a Russian reconnaissance IL-20 plane in northern Syria on Sept. 17 using the less sophisticated S-200. Why give a more advanced version of that weapon…
A “dog fight” between a Russian and US jet, apparently over Syria, looks to be fake news.
The United Nations envoy for Syria is stepping down after gains this year by Syrian, Russian, and Iranian forces in reasserting control over much of the country, eclipsing prospects for an internat…
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry condemns official contacts of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) with the occupation administration of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and sent a corresponding note.
Washington has hardened its stance over Saudi Arabia’s role in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s apparent death as new details emerged linking his disappearance to people close to the kingdom’s crown prince.
President Donald Trump will meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday as the White House struggles to contain a spiraling crisis over a journalist’s apparent death at a Saudi consulate.
The Pentagon has long accepted Saudi abuses as the price of friendship. The latest won’t change that.
The Saudi journalist’s fingers were severed and he was later beheaded, according to details from audio recordings published in the Turkish media.
Twitter suspended a network of suspected Twitter bots on Thursday that pushed pro-Saudi Arabia talking points about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the past week.