Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (58)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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EU Army proposal and NATO, Russia’s ongoing descent into the abyss, China at ASEAN, European political developments of much interest. Possible adverse US policy changes on AI. An interesting package of reports on the Su-57 and other air power capabilities.

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

A ‘True European Army’? Dream On – WSJ
Military autonomy is unworkable. There are better ways to improve the Continent’s defenses. ‘We must protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia, and even the United States,” French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month, calling for European strategic autonomy from the U.S. That autonomy would, in Mr. Macron’s words, include a “true European army.” A few days later, German chancellor Angela Merkel echoed the call for a European force. The vision is gaining momentum, propelled in part by Donald Trump’s diplomacy of rudeness against America’s European allies. There’s one complication: European strategic…
Russia, extremism in Middle East the biggest threats facing NATO: Deputy Secretary General – National |
She went on to praise Canada for its contributions in several missions, including its deployment to Iraq, it’s role in Ukraine for several years and its presence on the borders of Russia and Latvia.
No new U.S. missiles in Europe but there are new Russian missiles: Stoltenberg | UNIAN
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he would “raise with the EU ministers one challenge we all face and that is the new Russian missiles which are putting the INF Treaty in jeopardy” as he delivered a doorstep statement ahead of the defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels Tuesday. The NATO chief says he does not want another arms race to start.
Lord Jopling’s report at the NATO PA is an analysis of Russia’s hybrid war against the democratic world – MP Friz
The fundamental report of the British parliamentarian Lord Thomas Michael Jopling “Countering Hybrid Threats in Russia” says Russia’s hybrid war is primarily aimed at the Euro-Atlantic community and NATO/EU countries, delegation member to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Iryna Friz has said.
NATO approved resolution that condemns Russian aggression in Sea of Azov, construction of Kerch Strait Bridge –
The NATO Committee for Civilian Dimension of Security has unanimously passed the resolution of the Alliance’s Parliamentary Assembly. The document condemns the Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov and blames the construction of Kerch Strait Bridge. Iryna Fryz, the head of Ukraine’s Permanent Office in NATO reported this on Facebook. ‘Condemning the illegal construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge by Russia, and Russia’s policy in terms of selective denial and groundless detention of Ukrainian and international vessels in the Sea of Azov, we’re deeply concerned about new challenges in terms of security, economy, and environment in the region’, the resolution said. The resolution also insists that the NATO needs to assign funds to weaken the Russian system of area denial weapons (А2/AD), deployed in the Baltic States, Kaliningrad, and the Black Sea region. In recent months, Russia’s activity in the Sea of Azov has increased significantly. The Russians do not allow merchant ships leave Ukrainian ports to pass through the Kerch Strait without hindrance. In this regard, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko instructed the Minister of Defense, the Chief of General Staff and the command of the Ukrainian Navy to take measures to stop Russian provocations regarding blocking the entry of ships into Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.
NATO Committee unanimously condemns construction of Kerch Bridge – 19.11.2018 11:36 — Ukrinform News
The&nbsp;Committee&nbsp;on the&nbsp;Civil&nbsp;Dimension of&nbsp;Security&nbsp;(CDS) of NATO unanimously condemned Russia's construction of the Kerch Bridge.
NATO Committee on civil security dimension adopts amendment submitted by Ukrainian side, condemns construction of Kerch bridge – MP Friz
In a resolution at the 64th session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which is taking place in Canada, the Ukrainian delegation introduced and took into account an amendment to further strengthen NATO deterrence forces in the east and a new paragraph condemning the construction of the Kerch bridge, head of the parliamentary delegation of Ukraine to the NATO PA Iryna Friz (Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction) has said.
NATO PA receives reports on Russian PMCs in Ukraine, Syria – MP Friz
Members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly have received two reports about the activities of Russian private military companies in Ukraine and Syria, head of Ukraine’s parliamentary delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Verkhovna Rada deputy (Bloc Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction) Iryna Friz has said.
Ukraine presents report on Kremlin’s relations with Islamic terrorists at NATO PA meeting – Friz
In a resolution at the 64th session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA), which took place in Canada, the Ukrainian delegation presented another report on the relationship of the Russian Federation with Islamic terrorist organizations, head of Ukraine’s parliamentary delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Verkhovna Rada deputy (Bloc Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction) Iryna Friz has said.
UAWire – Kyiv: US supports Ukraine joining NATO
The US is expecting Ukraine to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to a joint statement by the Ukraine-US Strategic …
NATO allies wrapped up massive exercise Iron Wolf 2018 near border with Belarus – Defence Blog
Iron Wolf 2018, a Lithuanian-led multinational exercise, wrapped up in Pabrade on Monday (19 November 2018), with a live-fire demonstration. According to NATO’s statement, the exercise, which began on 4 November, mobilised around 3,500 troops from 13 NATO Allies¹ and partner nation Ukraine. It provided an opportunity for forces to enhance their readiness, and train with one of four NATO battlegroups in the region. It is worth noting that geographically the exercises were held in the border areas with the Republic of Belarus. This fact caused concern both in Belarus itself and in its main ally in Russia. The exercise was designed to test the battlegroup’s readiness to plan and conduct defensive operations, together with a battalion of the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade. The battlegroup also tested its military mobility en route to the exercise. In less than 24 hours, 10 convoys with around 350 vehicles deployed from their garrison to the exercise. Around 1,400 soldiers from six nations were involved. This was the largest single movement of military vehicles Lithuania has seen for years. “We conduct exercise Iron Wolf to train and evaluate the ability of our units to quickly redeploy forces to any place in Lithuania and to carry out multinational defensive operations. This is the biggest exercise this semester together with our allies. We will train mobility, the ability to quickly reach any area to defend it against any enemy in the territory in Lithuania,” said Colonel Mindaugas Steponavičius, Commander of the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Iron Wolf Brigade. Meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in Brussels today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Lithuania for hosting the exercise. “Such exercises are part of the Alliance’s strengthened defence and deterrence,” he said.
Latvia Marks 100 Years Since Independence From Russian Empire
Latvians have been marking the centenary of their independence with festivities across the country including music concerts, military parades, and fireworks.
Suspicion of Putin Is Making Poland Some Useful Friends – Bloomberg
Relations between the Baltic states and Poland’s nationalist government are blossoming thanks to a common enemy.
Norwegian warship sinks in fjord after rescue blunder | The Independent
A $500m (£385m) warship has almost completely sunk to the bottom of a Norwegian fjord after smashing into an oil tanker off the coast of the Scandinavian country. 
U.S. Navy officer could face questions in Norwegian frigate collision – The Washington Post
The American sailor was onboard the KNM Helge Ingstad as part of an exchange program when it collided with an oil tanker.

Weapons of the weak: Russia and AI-driven asymmetric warfare – To Inform is to Influence
This report confirms what I have maintained, that Russia’s use of propaganda, information warfare, disinformation, and fake news is a sign of weakness. Russia’s introduction of Artificial Intelligence into their information, hybrid, and political warfare confirm their reliance on information as their primary weapon again both their internal citizens and activists, but as a tool relatively strengthening Russia by undermining the strengths of the West. </end editorial>
Russian drones can jam cellphones 60 miles away – To Inform is to Influence
Truthfully, I’m not impressed with the claim that Russia has increased the distance their drones can jam cell phone signals now by 3 1/2 times, allowing jamming at 100 km or 60 miles. This is an increase in distance, that’s all. An increase in power. It also means this particular drone is now a bigger target, more susceptible to detection and interdiction, as a result. It’s a two-way street. Do we need to pay attention, hardwire more systems, develop new frequency division systems, and pour more resources and efforts into anti-drone technologies? Yes. It is not the end of the world, however. While Russia has strengths, it also has weaknesses. </end editorial>
UAWire – Russia decides to reinforce airborne troops with aviation units
The Deputy Commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, Lieutenant General Alexander Vyaznikov, announced at the meeting with foreign military attaches that Russian airborne troops will be reinforced by army aviation, air defense and anti-missile units, reports Interfax. Speaking about the development of the Airborne Forces, Vyaznikov pointed out that there are significant threats to the security of Russia, which affect vital areas of the state’s activity. To prevent them, Russia will continue to develop mobile components of the armed forces, said Vyaznikov. “In the future, the land component will be strengthened by the formations, which will include units of army aviation, air defense and missile defense, with an integrated capacity for striking an enemy,” explained the lieutenant-general. In May, the Airborne Forces Command announced the transfer of the newest weapons to the Russian military. The paratroopers received drones Orlan-10 and Eleron-3, combat vehicles BMD-4M and armored personnel carriers BTR-MDM Shell. In August, the Commander of the Russian Airborne Troops, Andrey Serdyukov, reported that land troops will have three new tank battalions by the end of 2018. Until 2010, the Airborne Forces had their own transport avaiation. However, in 2010 it was transferred to the Air Force. Airborne combat vehicles and various types of armored personnel carriers remain in service of the Airborne Forces.
UAWire – Russia began Missile Forces’ rearmament with new MLRS
The chief of the Missile Forces and Artillery Forces, Mikhail Matveyevsky, announced that this year, Russian Federation begins rearmament from large-caliber multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) Smerch to more modern Tornado-S systems. In an interview with the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, Matveyevsky stated that modernized self-propelled howitzers 2S19M2 Msta-SM are fully integrated into a tactical single level control system, as well as a modernized mid-caliber multiple-launch rocket system, capable of automatically guiding combat vehicle to the target. Samples of new weapons are promptly delivered to the Mikhailovsky Military Artillery Academy and training centers in order to provide advanced specialists’ training, added Matveyevsky. The simultaneous rearmament of missile brigades with Tornado-S as well as Iskander-M systems is expected to be completed by 2020.
Worker Dies From Injuries Sustained In Sinking Of Russian Dry Dock
A spokesman for the government of Russia’s northwestern region of Murmansk says a worker who was injured in October when a floating dry dock sank has died in an intensive care unit.
Russian drones can jam cellphones 60 miles away
Expect to see more robots conducting electronic warfare in the future. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Nov. 6 that the nation had extended the range on its drone-carried jammers to 100 km, or over 60 miles. Drones as a platform for, and not just the target of, electronic warfare means that the sight of a flying robot overhead could signal incoming strikes as well as a sudden inability to call for help. “Russia has been using a UAV-mounted cellphone jammer for a number of years now,” said Samuel Bendett, a research analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses. The drones operate in a two- or three-vehicle pod with a ground station, collectively grouped as a “Leer-3” system. “When these UAVs fly in teams, one acts as a signal-and-comms relay while another acts as a jammer,” Bendett said. “These Leer-3 systems have been around for about two years at this point.” What is changed is the range of the jammer. The Orlan-10 drones already have a range of 75 miles, which means that, with the latest update on the jammer, the drone pod can interfere with signals up to 135 miles away from where the drone was launched. TASS reports that the 60-mile range is a 3.5 times increase in distance from the initial range. In addition, Bendett said there’s a chance this capability, or an earlier version of it, has already been witnessed in conflict. “Ukrainian forces claim to spot Leer-3 systems in eastern Ukraine, while there is potential evidence that Leer-3 was used in Syria as well,” Bendett said. “Russian forces are constantly training with Leer-3 UAVs as they practice adversary signal and cell comms suppression, identification and eventual destruction of the enemy force. In fact, this kind of training is part of the official [tactics, techniques and procedures] in electronic warfare and other forces across the Russian military.” Advancements in electronic warfare are one of the key components guiding the development of autonomous systems for the military. For now, drones are conducting electronic warfare against cellular communications, but it’s not hard to imagine the same doctrines applied with new technology. In that scenario, it easy to picture other vehicles transforming into jamming machines on future battlefields … and maybe even present ones.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Putin To Hold Annual News Conference Next Month
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to hold his annual news conference next month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says.
One-Fifth Of Russians Live In Poverty, 36 Percent In ‘Risk Zone,’ Study Finds
More than one-fifth of the Russian population now lives in poverty, according to a new study by a research institute with ties to the Kremlin.
Russian Kids Spread Putin ‘Thief’ Slogan
Russian teenagers are posting photos of an anti-Putin slogan chalked on school blackboards, after video emerged of an angry teacher saying people would have been shot for such behavior in Soviet times.
UAWire – Russia to introduce sausage tax
The Russian government’s tax fever shows no signs of subsiding. In the wake of a VAT hike, an increase in excise duties on petrol and a tax on carbonated drinks, the Cabinet of Ministers is preparing to impose an excise duty on sausages and frankfurters, reports. The additional tax may amount to more than 160 rubles per kilogram of sausage, frankfurters or bacon. The Ministry of Health supported the initiative, saying that it will facilitate a healthy lifestyle for Russians, according to the newspaper Izvestia. The new tax will cause a spike in prices: whereas one kilogram of most common brand of sausage in Russia, the Doctor sausage, costs on average 600 rubles now, after the tax it will cost at least 760 rubles, a 26% increase. The Government Expert Council proposed to introduce a new system of duties and subsidies for food producers, according to a statement on the program “Strengthening public health”, part of the national “Demography” project. In mid-October, after being signed by council member Daria Khaltourina, the document was sent to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The authors of the initiative believe that Russia should put a new excise duty on processed meat products (sausages, frankfurters, bacon), and use the proceeds to make healthy food products cheaper. It is hoped that this will help to make the nation healthier and improve longevity among Russians. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added processed red meat (sausage products, bacon, frankfurters, hams from beef, mutton and pork) to its list of carcinogens. Such products increase the risk of malignant tumors, explains Tatyana Zubkova, a leading specialist from the Federal Research Institute of Health Organization and Informatics. Zubkova notes that, in addition to the mentioned correlation between processed meat products and cancer, their consumption also increases the risk of coronary artery disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes. The Russian Health Ministry confirmed that the tax will be implemented, but noted that the specifics are still being discussed. Earlier, the Government Expert Council also proposed a tax on sweetened carbonated drinks of at least 20% of their retail price.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Every Fifth Married Russian has More Children than He or She Wants, Sociologist Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 18 – Seventy-five percent of married couples in Russia have children, but only 55 percent say they would like to have them, according to a 17-year-long study by Yuliyz Lezhnina of the Institute for Social Policy of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics ( Having children is still the basis for marriage in 20 percent of all cases, she says, but as many as 55 percent say they would like to have children, 10 percent one, 30 percent two, and 15 percent three or more. But in reality, 75 percent of married pairs have children, 34 percent one, another third two, and seven percent three or more. That means, Lezhnina says, that “in many families there are more children than they would like or that they simply have become parents without in general planning to do so. One way or the other, each fifth resident of the country is raising children which he or she didn’t want. In rural areas, this phenomenon is encountered more often than in cities.” She adds that the childfree movement and single sex marriages are becoming more common but not so much that one could as of now speak of any trend in that direction. But the change does mean that there is less support for boosting family size as a means of solving Russia’s demographic problems. These findings are not the only piece of bad demographic news to surface in the last few days. Kommersant reports on the basis of the same study that as a result of educational gains among women relative to men over the last 20 years, the share of women who marry men with less education than they have is rising ( In 1995, 31.3 percent of women married men who were less educated than they; by 2015, that figure had risen to 37.1 percent. Because that pattern means that women can earn more outside the home, that will further depress the number willing to stay at home and have children, thus further compromising the Kremlin’s plans for a boost in the birthrate anytime soon.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Language Reform Unexpectedly Giving Republics Chance to Promote Regional Identities
Paul Goble Staunton, November 19 – Vladimir Putin and most Russians certainly expected that his new language policy, one that makes the study of Russian a requirement while the study of the titular languages in the non-Russian republics completely voluntary, would result in a simple shift away from the republics toward the country as a whole. But Russians in the republics are discovering that the situation is not so simple because even if republic ministries of education can no longer require the study of the titular languages, they can and do insist that students study local history and geography, subjects that in many cases promote precisely the regional and even republic identities Putin wants to destroy. According to Anna Smirnova of the Nakanune news agency, “the transition to the voluntary study of languages has become a real test for the Republic of Bashkortostan. Some schools have been able to free Russian-language children from Bashir; others have replaced it with new subjects: local studies, Ufa studies, and the history and culture of Bashkortostan” ( And still a third group of schools has refused to change the existing arrangements and have given “an ultimatum” to parents: “study Bashkir or go somewhere else.” Some of this reflects the speed with which the Russian government has sought to introduce the Putin-ordained voluntary study of languages other than Russian. But it means that now and perhaps for some years to come, Russian-speaking children will be freed from studying the titular language of the republic but will be required to study local history and culture, likely taught by many of the teachers who had earlier taught Bashkir and reflecting their views. Many Russian parents are unhappy with this situation, Smirnova says; but her report suggests that Moscow will have to double or quits, imposing far more control over curricula than it does not in order to make the shift in language use achieve what Putin clearly has indicated he wants. If that doesn’t happen, the non-Russian republics have options to promote knowledge about themselves even among those who don’t want to study their titular languages – and that in turn means that the impact of the shift in language, while profound, may not be as unidimensional or quick as Moscow would like.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnicizing Land Disputes Spread to Middle Volga Where They’re Between Bashkirs and Russians
Paul Goble Staunton, November 17 – It has long been axiomatic that ethnic conflicts in the North Caucasus are rooted in disputes over land both within republics as in Kabardino-Balkaria and Daghestan and between them as with Ingushetia and Chechnya, but relatively little attention has been given to the fact that ethnic conflicts elsewhere in Russia can have the same roots. And the neglect of this factor is all the more serious because unlike conflicts in the North Caucasus which are between non-Russian nationalities and thus at least potentially subject to Russian management, those elsewhere in the Russian Federation are more often between a non-Russian nation and the Russian one. Such conflicts elsewhere over land and the investment of ethnic meaning in them may take a long time to emerge – both sides have good reasons to keep them hidden — but once they break out into the open, they may threaten Moscow’s ability to control the situation far more than do even those in the always restive North Caucasus. That is clearly the case in Bashkortostan. There, Fail Alsynov, the head of the Bashkort National Organization told Radio Liberty Tatar-Bashkir Service journalist Naif Akmal shortly before he was arrested by the police that assemblies of Bashkirs in ten regions and one city have gathered from 300 to 600 people to protest ( in Bashkir and in Russian). Among the most important issues agitating Bashkirs now, he said, was control over land. The Bashkirs are seeing land that they thought would always be there bought up by people coming from “Orenburg and other oblasts,” a clear reference to Russians who have enough money to buy at fire sale prices Bashkir land. (Although Alsynov did not mention it, Russians may have an additional reason for such purchases and the Bashkirs for resenting them: the Orenburg corridor between Bashkortostan and Kazakhstan is a political issue: Many in the Middle Volga see it as a bridge to independence; many Russians worry it could be. See Alsynov says his team has organized the protests via the Internet. His VKontakte group,, has “about 45,000” followers, making it one of the largest in the Middle Volga and a potentially powerful mobilizing tool. Activists have also distributed broadsides to those not connected online.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Political Views, Not Ethnic Attachments Key to Identities in Karelia, Shtepa Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 19 – Like many regions of the Russian Federation, Karelia is today a colony of Moscow, but one must not analyze it according to narrow ethnic categories because it is a mistake to imagine that “’all Karels are for independence but all ethnic Russians are for empire,’” Vadim Shtepa says. The reality is much more complex, he tells Ukraine’s Sichovyk, a product of “a centuries-long Slavic-Finnic symbiosis” in which “Karelian villages coexist with North Russian ones, and there have never been conflicts on a nationality basis” ( in Ukrainian; in Russian). “In local dialects are mixed Karelian and Russian words; people write poems in them and local folk groups use them in songs. Imperial Russificaiton of course has been carried out for centuries but its victims have been not only the Karels and the Wepsy but also the Pomors and Trans-Onegins, the descendants of residents of the Novgorod Republic.” Indeed, in some ways, the local Russians are oppressed more than the others: they are forced to study Moscow Russian in schools whereas the non-Russians have at least limited opportunities to study their own national languages which no one in Moscow understands or considers important. Today, despite all the oppression of ethnic groups, Shtepa continues, “the main division of residents of Karelia goes not along the lines of ethnic origins but rather along those of political views.” There are many Russians who want the republic to control its own resources and destiny and become part of Europe, as there are many self-proclaims Karels who are pure “Stalinists.” There are few outlets now for national or regional views, but one can say that these “combine politics, economics and culture. In politics we call for the free election of the regional authorities; in economics, for taxes collected in the republic to remain there and not be sent to Moscow; and in culture, for the preservation and development of the unique Karelian identity.” When the empire weakens and then dies as is both necessary and inevitable, the regionalist who now lives in Estonia and edits the After Empire portal says, this regional identity will be stronger than any ethnic one in Karelia – and that will pose a greater obstacle to Moscow’s efforts to restore the empire than just about anything else.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Keeps Foreign Leaders Waiting an Average of 78 Minutes Each, Vostretsova Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 20 – The decision of the Singapore prime minister to cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin when the Kremlin leader showed up an hour late calls attention to the fact that Putin has a long history of keeping others waiting, whether they are world leaders or people at home in Russia, Yekaterina Vostretsova says. If Putin’s late arrival in Singapore had been the first such “delay” by the Russian “’monarch,’” she writes on the portal, “the international community might have shown understanding.” But since it is the latest in a long line of such behavior by Putin, it didn’t ( Instead, commentators in many countries pointed out the many occasions in the past when Putin turned up late, including most recently at the session in Paris on the centenary of the end of World War I, the Helsinki summit, and the record he set in making Chancellor Merkel of Germany wait four hours and 15 minutes. Vostretsova says that she calculates that Putin on average makes foreign leaders wait 78 minutes after the time scheduled for their sessions with him. The reasons this graduate of the Leningrad yards ignores “the elementary rules of politeness and international etiquette” are obvious, she continues. Being late is designed to “show the counterpart who is dictating the conditions of the talks, a purely ‘Chekist’ tactic of manipulating the latter even before the start of the talks,” to make the interlocutor nervous and put him off his game, and to disrupt any plans the latter had had for the talks. Finally, in the person of the Singapore prime minister, someone has responded correctly to Putin’s boorishness. Who will be next?
Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Russian Study Partially Lifts Veil on Post-1945 Trials of Soviets who Collaborated with Germans
Paul Goble Staunton, November 17 – Court cases against Soviet citizens who collaborated with the Nazis has long been a little studied “and in part taboo subject,” according to Irina Makhalova, a historian at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics who is leading a small team that has partially lifted the veil on this subject. She describes the work of her team to Russia’s IQ website and in so doing both reports on what the team’s research has found and on why their work has been severely restricted even now more than 70 years after the events it describes. Most important she both confirms and adds to the work Western historians have done in this area ( Because many sources remain classified, Makhalova says, it remains “unknown” even now how many such collaborators were caught and tried and also how many escaped trial and punishment. Most studies in the past were driven more by ideology than facts and as a result, “there are many myths on this theme and a deficit of objective materials.” Except for two high-profile cases during the war, she says, most of the trials were conducted in secret; and the Soviet government released little or no information either about particular cases or statistics about the shape of collaborationism among Soviet citizens during the war. That lack of information was then distorted by a decision of the Russian authorities in the 1990s to provide the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. with copies of some but far from all cases against Nazi collaborationists from Ukraine, Crimea, Moldova and the three Baltic republics. In the absence of better data, the Moscow historian says, her group used this data set. Many of these cases did not involve the holocaust at all, Makhalova says; and the lack of data from other republics had the effect, likely intended, of suggesting that collaborationists came primarily from these non-Russian republics. In fact, Western scholars have concluded that just over half of all collaborationists in the east were ethnic Russians. The Moscow historian says that most experts in the West believe that between one million and 1.6 million Soviet citizens collaborated in various ways with the German invaders. But only about 320,000 are known to have been brought to justice, with a fifth sentenced to death and the others to long prison terms. The data do allow for the possibility to overturning Soviet myths that the only people who collaborated with the Germans were victims of Soviet policies, former kulaks, or members of the upper classes from before 1917. In fact, those who did collaborate were mostly peasants although abut a third were urban residents. But perhaps Makhalkova’s most important conclusion so far in this ongoing study is this: those who collaborated did so not because of their ethnicity but rather because of the specific circumstances in which they found themselves. People of different nationalities who found themselves in one or another circumstance under the Nazis collaborated at roughly the same rate.
Russian Communist All But Barred From Rerun Of An Election He Nearly Won
Andrei Ishchenko, who narrowly lost a Far East gubernatorial election that was annulled following allegations of fraud, now appears to be barred from the repeat vote.
‘I’m afraid I’ll be judged for these feelings’ Disabled people want sex lives and they’re talking about it, but no one in Russia is listening — Meduza
Fifteen years ago, Sergey Basalaev saw the movie “Basic Instinct,” and consciously experienced sexual desire for the first time in his life. He was 20 years old at the time. Watching the scene where Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone dance in a night club, he suddenly realized that something “wrong” was happening to him. “I turned red and my heart started pounding like a steam hammer,” Sergey remembers.
20 Years After Killing, Starovoitova’s Sister Doesn’t Believe Mob Boss Ordered Hit
Twenty years after democratic reformer Galina Starovoitova was assassinated, her sister says she does not believe that an infamous alleged crime kingpin who was implicated in the slaying was in fact behind it.
Bashkir Activist’s Trial Postponed After Russian Translation Trouble
A court in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan has postponed the trial of a prominent local activist, Fail Alsynov, after a court-appointed Bashkir-Russian interpreter was unable to properly transla…
Putin’s old bodyguards mysteriously acquire lavish real estate outside Moscow — Meduza
Novaya Gazeta and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project have teamed up for another investigative article, this time revealing that Vladimir Putin’s former bodyguards have managed to acquire valuable real estate in the Moscow region’s Odintsovsky District, scooping up land that was scammed away from sovkhoz farmers in the late 1990s. According to the new report, the farmers were given worthless corporate stock in exchange for the land they received after the USSR’s collapse. The business responsible for seizing this real estate, “Agrocomplex Gorki-2,” even forged several farmers’ signatures on these deals and had protesters prosecuted and beaten.
Lakhta Center: The Tallest Skyscraper In Europe
In 2018, the Lakhta Center in Russia’s St. Petersburg became the tallest building in Europe. At a cost of more than $1.8 billion, it was even more expensive than the Burj Khalifa, the tallest build…
Suicide Bomber Strikes Police Checkpoint In Russia’s Chechnya
An unidentified woman blew herself up near a police checkpoint in the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Grozny.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Siloviki Said Concentrating Strike Force in and around Ingush Village
Paul Goble Staunton, November 21 – Late yesterday, Ingush residents reported “a concentration of a federal group of forces” near the village of Dattykh, a place to which they had been able to go as recently as three days earlier but that now is cordoned off by the police ( and There was no confirmation of this in the Ingush capital or in Moscow, but local residents said that “when military actions were taking place in Chechnya, siloviki were constantly located there. When Russian forces were present, they added, they could not gain access to the village ( Such reports, whether they are confirmed or not, will have the effect of raising the political temperature in Ingushetia and increased the risk of violence by one side or the other. The last 24 hours also featured additional information on the 11-year-old who telephoned in a false bomb threat in Ingushetia. He is being described as “a telephone terrorist,” another locution that will also increase the risk of copycat crimes (
Alleged Participant In 1995 Budyonnovsk Hostage Seizure Detained In Moscow
Russian authorities say they have detained an alleged participant in a deadly hostage-taking attack in the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk in 1995, a turning point in the first of the two post…
Deputy Speaker Of Regional Parliament In Siberia Found Dead
The deputy speaker of the Krasnoyarsk regional parliament, Aleksei Kleshko, has been found dead.
Russian ‘Cannibal’ Delivers Defense In Verse, Gets 19-Year Sentence For Gruesome Killing
A Russian man on trial on suspicion of murdering a woman and eating parts of her body surprised the court by delivering his final statement in verse.
A ‘baby murder’ controversy in Kaliningrad has pit Russia’s medical professionals against federal investigators and national TV networks — Meduza
The head of a maternity clinic in Kaliningrad has been jailed on charges of refusing life-saving treatment to a newborn and falsifying the infant’s death certificate, leading to a backlash from the medical community and local government. On November 5, a 23-week-pregnant Uzbek woman gave birth to a boy who weighed just 700 grams (about a pound and a half). The child had a heartbeat but couldn’t breathe on his own. He was put on a ventilator but did not survive.
Local Officials Accused Of Negligence In Death Of Russian Teen Who Wrote To Putin
Russian authorities are laying blame on local officials for the death of a 14-year-old girl who media reports said apparently committed suicide after being bullied at school and writing to President Vladimir Putin to seek help for her financially strapped family.
‘Brush your teeth, go to work, and in the evening you take an HIV test’ Russia’s Health Ministry has been paying millions of dollars to a group of curiously connected former TV marketers to create PSAs — Meduza
In early November, Russia’s Health Ministry wrapped up its “HIV Test: Expedition” program, where two minibuses visited 120 cities in 36 different regions, from Kamchatka to Kaliningrad. According to organizers, in six months the ministry was able to test more than 44,000 people for the deadly immunodeficiency virus, though officials haven’t revealed the number of positive results.
Russian Rapper Sentenced To 12 Days In Jail For Gig On Car Roof
A Russian court has sentenced popular rapper Husky to 12 days in prison for performing on a car after prosecutors banned his act.
Russian rapper is arrested for performing in the street, after police force his concert venue to lock out fans — Meduza
The Russian rapper Dmitry Kuznetsov, better known as “Khaski,” was arrested in Krasnodar late on November 21, after police reportedly hounded him out of two venues and pressured organizers into canceling a scheduled concert. In the end, Khaski tried to perform for a crowd of die-hard fans atop a parked car, but that’s when officers moved in and dragged him downtown. Lawyers representing the entertainer told the television network Dozhd that he faces misdemeanor charges and up to 15 days in jail for ignoring police orders and refusing to submit to an alcohol and drug exam.
In Russia, A Dairy Owner Dreams Of Delivering Cheese To Vladimir Putin : NPR
“Normal people collect stamps and I try to give my cheese to Putin,” says cheesemaker David Sirota. “I know 100 ways to get into an event with Putin but every time, his security takes away my cheese.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Chechens Want to Show They’re the Direct Descendants of Noah
Paul Goble Staunton, November 20 – It is almost universally the case that nations claim that they originated in the distant past – or at least earlier than those around them. Now, the Chechens are getting involved in this competition and claim they are descendants from Noah, even suggesting that archaeologists have found the Biblical figure’s ark in the mountains of the republic. In the Prague-based Caucasus Times, political analyst Yevgeny Romanovsky points out that Chechens call themselves “Nokhcho,” which literally means “people.” But many Chechens argue that its more precise translation is “people of the race of Noah” ( They believe that Biblical references to the region where Noah’s ark came to rest correspond with their republic; and “some investigators go even further: they seriously assert that the influence of the Chechens can be traced through all stages of the development of humanity,” Romanovsky continues. Such claims often taken on a hyperbolic form. Ruslan Khaskhanov, a Chechen scholar at the University of Copenhagen, says that he has found traces of the influence of the Chechens in Scandinavia. And Chechen writer Said-Khamza Nunuyev has written several books advancing the idea that “the Chechens are the most ancient people on earth.” That has led some Chechens to suggest that the prophet Moses led into the wilderness not Jews but het ancestors of the Chechens and even that “when dying on the cross, Jesus Christ spoke Chechen.” And now such outlandish notions are attracting more attention given that Chechen archaeologists claim to have found the remains of Noah’s ark on Chechen territory. Moscow’s Dozhd television channel recently interviewed Marat Aslakhanov, one of the promoters of the idea that Noah left his ark in the mountains of Chechnya. (Aslakhanov also believes that the Tyroleans in Northern Italy are a Chechen tribe that has forgotten its “’true origins.’”) Aslakhanov’s ideological soul mate, the Chechen artist Mukhammad Yaskhanov, has an online group with 6,000 people who actively discuss whether Noah chose to start humanity anew in Chechnya first of all, Romanovsky says. Their ideas are also finding support in the government of Ramzan Kadyrov. Dzhambulat Umarov, the nationalities minister, has provided funding for the preservation of the ark’s remains. And Chechen mufti Salakh Mezhiyev supports the Noah theory as well. In Arabic, he says, “Noah is called Nukh or Nokh, and true Vaynakhs know that the real name of the Chechens is the Nokhs – in other words, the sons of Noah.”
Soviet Dissident Zhores Medvedev Dies, Aged 93
A renowned biochemist, Medvedev was the most prominent critic of biologist Trofim Lysenko, a favorite of dictator Josef Stalin who rejected genetics and created a pseudoscientific concept dubbed Ly…
Russia Undermines Freedom Of Expression ‘Both Domestically And Abroad,’ U.S. Says
Russia is working to subvert free speech both at home and abroad, and is stepping up pressure on its independent media, the United States has warned at a meeting of the Organization for Security an…

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnicity of Leaders Doesn’t Explain How They Treat Their Own, Ingush Activist Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 19 – Magomed Mutsolgov, an Ingush activist, says the events of the last two months in his republic have disabused him of the widespread notion that an ethnic Ingush in a position of behavior will always behave well toward his co-ethnics while an ethnic Russian in an equally high position will behave badly toward non-Russians. In fact, he writes on his Kavkaz-Uzel blog, the reverse may often be the case, with someone who is nominally an Ingush mistreating other Ingush while someone who is an ethnic Russia will seek to play by the rules and prevent things from getting out of hand ( “I never thought that I would come to such a conclusion,” Mutsolgov says. He was “always certain that if an individual wasn’t linked to the region in which he worked, he would not do anything to show concern about the region entrusted to him … and on the contrary an individual considered part of this region would bring more good to his own people.” “But,” the blogger and activist continues, “the events of the last month and a half have shown a somewhat different situation.” On the one hand, Mutsolgov says, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, “who is considered an Ingush ethnically,” betrayed his people, repressed them, and acts like the worst kind of outsider. While on the other hand, General Sergey Bachurin, an ethnic Russian who heads the MVD administration in the North Caucasus Federal District, has done everything he could to keep the situation in Ingushetia from spiraling out of control and has shown consistent good will to the Ingush people. With “Ingush” like Yevkurov, the blogger says, the real Ingush don’t need any external enemy: they have one right in their own midst. Meanwhile, various experts have been discussing another aspect of the Chechen-Ingush border, the demining of the territory. Work to remove mines there began only in 2012. Some 3,000 mines have been found; and officials say that if there are no delays, the project should be completed in 2022, a decade after it began (
Man Handed Suspended Prison Sentence For Assaulting Journalist In Daghestan
A court in Russia’s Daghestan region has found a man guilty of attacking a journalist and impeding the reporter’s professional activities.

Belarus Reports

Belarus Putin’s No. 1 target – ex-advisor Illarionov – world news
A recent statement by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko where he opposed the setting up of Russian military bases on his country’s territory shows that he sees the threat of Belarus’s annexation by Russia following the Crimea example. Only one operation could significantly raise the fallen public support rating of the Russian president and maintain it for quite a long time. “What ways could Putin use to try to raise his dropping rating? On the one hand, for Putin there is no need to significantly raise the rating right now, since the so-called “elections” have just passed, and the next ones will be only in more than five years. On the other hand, to start operations like that in Ukraine, Syria, or the war in Central African Republic, intervention in Libya, first of all it is a will that is needed, regardless of the ratings,” Illarionov believes. “The only operation that could really raise Putin’s rating noticeably and maintain it for quite a long time is the annexation of Belarus,” the expert says. “Not parts of Belarus as it was in the case of Ukraine, where Crimea and Donbas were occupied, but the entire country.” “Belarus is more homogeneous than Ukraine and highly Russified. A considerable part of Belarusians are very positive towards Russia, Russians, and even Putin. If Putin decides to go for this kind of operation, his goal will not be to capture pieces of Mogilev, Vitebsk or Gomel regions, but to establish control over the whole of Belarus,” the expert claims. At the same time, as UNIAN reported earlier, Belarus citizens might be gradually shifting away from under Russia’s cultural influence. In June this year, a civic petition was put forward in Belarus suggesting that the government ban the “St. George” ribbons, initially used in Russia to honor the WW2 heroes but then becoming one of the notorious symbols of the “Russian world” the Kremlin has been imposing on neighboring states, yet another instrument in its “soft power” toolkit. There was also a proposal to increase to 50% the use of the Belarusian language in state television broadcasts.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Three Telling Poll Results from Belarus
Paul Goble Staunton, November 22 – Polls in authoritarian countries like Belarus are hardly reliable given that many people there doubt that surveys are truly anonymous and thus think carefully about how the authorities would like them to respond before giving their answers. But the further the questions are from immediate “high politics,” the more accurate they are likely to be. Three polls released this week are extremely suggestive of where Belarusians are at the present time. They are: The first found that 44.4 percent of Belarusians are opposed to eliminating Soviet names from the toponymy of their republic. Such names, this group says, are part of “our history” ( Another 22.4 percent say they would agree to name changes but only if the population was consulted. Sixteen percent say that many names should be changed but not all. Thus, references to Lenin and Marx should go but those of Soviet-era Belarusians should remain untouched. Only 7.4 percent favor replacing all Soviet era names, while 2.6 percent of Belarusians say there ought to be more place names in Belarus from the Soviet past. That means that Belarusians are about equally split between those who want to keep the old names, and those willing under varying circumstances to change them. The second survey found that only one Belarusian in 50 had encountered racism on a routine basis, slightly more than the 1.6 percent who said they had encountered prostitutes and far less than the 21.9 percent who indicated that they often saw public consumption of alcohol ( And the third, 86 percent of Belarusians said they were proud of their language and country and said they were prepared to fight for it in the event of a war. Further, 66 percent said they would like their children to know Belarusian as well as they know Russian – although 34 percent said they didn’t ( Those figures are both impressive and welcome, but another one the poll found isn’t. Only 2.2 percent of the sample said they spoke exclusively Belarusian at home, while 22 percent said they spoke Belarusian and Russian, and 73 percent said they spoke only in Russian in their residences.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Despite Common Poverty, Rural Ukraine and Rural Belarus Now Two Different Worlds, Lavnikevich Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 18 – Many people make the mistake of judging countries on the basis of life in the capital cities, but that is a serious mistake. One needs to get out beyond these places and see life in rural areas as well. That is what Denis Lavnikevich, a Belarusian journalist who has just moved to Kyiv, has now done. While living in Belarus, he says, he spent a great deal of time in rural areas and small towns; but before moving to Ukraine to work as a commentator for Delovaya stolitsa, he says he had not seen the rural parts of that country except out of the window of a bus ( Now, he has had the chance to do more and what he saw, Lavnikevich says, are “two different backwoods worlds.” At first glance, many Ukrainian villages do not look that different than most Belarusian ones. There are numerous half-destroyed wooden houses, many of which are deserted, even though the cost of purchasing any of them would be less than for a smartphone. Both seem forgotten by the authorities and probably are, except at election time. But then you encounter in Ukraine what might be called “a backwater town of a new type,” an indication that in Ukraine “there are not just ghost villages” but something else. There you see brick homes, carefully maintained yards, and average cost cars. People are working, and they have money to spend. “In Belarus there also are such villages,” Lavnikevich says. “They are populated as a rule by Protestants” who don’t drink and have a strong work ethic. A well-known example is Polesya’s Olshany. “The life of a Ukrainian village is organized in a principally different way than the life of a Belarusian one,” he says. “Ten to fifteen years ago, there was practically no work in the village in Ukraine. People lived on the basis of their gardens and small farms; young people and working-age men left for the city.” “But everything began to change with the development of agricultural business,” the journalist says. “Major agro-holdings concentrated under their administration large areas of land and launched massive export-oriented production, which has rapidly become one of the foundations of the economy of the country.” These concerns need workers, and “they have become the largest employers in the village. Of course, today those who want to make a lot of money continue to leave, to the cities, to Poland or even further. But those who remain in their provincial area and do not sit around without work.” “In Belarus,” Lavnikevich says, “everything is different.” Kholkozes and Sovkhozes inherited from Soviet times continue to provide work, but wages are truly small. Private production “in the best traditions of the USSR” is prohibited, and people increasingly turn to alcoholism. In sum, the journalist says, “the difference between rural Belarus and rural Ukraine is in the different self-assessments of the people. Both live very poorly. But in Belarus, this poverty is the conserved Soviet model where an individual does not feel himself to be the master on his own land.” “In Ukraine,” in contrast, “the decline of the village is the result of the political and economic chaos of the last two decades. But here people know that they themselves are the masters and therefore the Ukrainian backwoods s changing by relying on its own resources. The Belarus village isn’t.”
Kiss A Cop, Pay The Price: Forced Apology To Police Statue In Minsk Leads To Flash Mob Kissing ‘Attack’
Four Belarusian women — moved to action by a student’s coerced apology to a bronze memorial — have cuddled and kissed a statue dedicated to the police.
Slap! Belarus Statue A Magnet For Pranksters
Police in Belarus made a boy apologize on video for slapping a statue of a policeman. When people responded by recording themselves kissing it, how would police react?
Crossing A Blue Line: Belarusian Teen Forced To Apologize For Slapping Police Statue
A Belarusian youth, caught on camera slapping a statue of a police officer in Minsk, has been forced to apologize.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Moldovan president leading people’s confidence ranking
The president of Moldova leads the ranking of the people’s confidence among all Moldovan politicians, as is seen from a public opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI). The president of Moldova leads the ranking of the people’s confidence among all Moldovan politicians, as is seen from a public opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI). The poll findings made public in Chisinau on Friday show that 27% of Moldovan citizens trust Igor Dodon, 14% leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform Party (PPDA) Andrei Nastase, 13% Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) leader Maia Sandu, 6% Prime Minister Pavel Filip and 6% Democratic Party leader Vlad Plahotniuc. As many as 4% each trust Party of Socialists Chair Zinaida Greceanii, Party of Communists leader Vladimir Voronin, and Ilan Shor, the leader of a party named by himself. As many as 3% trust Our Party leader Renato Usatii, and 2% each Gagauzia administration head Irina Vlah and parliamentary speaker Andrian Candu. At the same time, 27% of those polled said they do not trust any of the Moldovan politicians. On the other hand, ruling Democratic Party leader Vlad Plahotniuc has the highest anti-ranking: as many as 70% of the respondents have a negative and only 22% a positive attitude toward him. As many as 47% of those polled view President Dodon positively and 47% negatively; 40% view Andrei Nastase positively and 46% negatively. Maia Sandu is liked by 34% and disliked by 58% of the respondents. Almost half of Moldovan citizens support Dodon’s performance as president, 14% disagree with some of his decisions, and 34% absolutely disagree with his position. Asked to assess the work done by the government led by Prime Minister Pavel Filip, only 7% said they are fully contented with its performance, 26% partially contented, and 37% are unsatisfied with it. Asked what the government should give priority to in its work, 35% mentioned salaries and pensions, 25% creating new jobs, 15% countering corruption, and 10% addressing the problem of emigration. Asked to assess the performance of the parliamentary majority led by the Democratic Party, 49% said they disagreed with the lawmakers’ decisions, 17% partially disagreed, 21% partially agreed, and only 6% are fully satisfied with the lawmakers’ work. Also, 46% of the respondents are of the view that the parliament is unreceptive to the people’s needs, 32% that the lawmakers care about the people’s problems only partially, and only 1% fully. Asked to say how they saw the work of local self-government bodies, 60% said they were satisfied with their work fully or partially and 35% said they were unsatisfied. As for Chisinau, only 22% of the city dwellers are satisfied with the work of the municipal administration, while 66% hold the opposite view. Moreover, 67% of Chisinau residents disagreed with the annulment of the mayoral election results. The public opinion poll of 1,503 respondents aged 18 and older was conducted on the entire territory of Moldova except for Transdniestria.
Moldovan Socialists Kick Off Election Campaign With Chisinau Rally
Thousands of people carrying red flags have marched in the streets of the Moldovan capital in support of the main pro-Russian opposition Socialist Party, ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
Moldova’s Socialists Launch Campaign For 2019 Elections
Moldovan President Igor Dodon joined his Socialist Party of Moldova (PSRM) in launching an election campaign on November 18. Supporters of the opposition party marched in the streets of Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, ahead of parliamentary elections set for February 24, 2019. The elections will be held according to a new electoral law passed in September 2017, which critics say gives an unfair advantage to the country’s two largest political parties.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Exclusive: Rohingya repatriation, relocation plans set to be pushed back to 2019 – government official | Reuters

Bangladesh’s plans to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis are set to be stalled until the new year with repatriation and relocation programs only likely be revisited after year-end general elections, a top Bangladeshi official said on Sunday.
Suicide Blast At Kabul Religious Gathering Kills At Least 43
A suicide bombing at a meeting of Afghan religious clerics in Kabul has killed at least 40 people, officials says.


North Korea weapons test is a shot across the bow of Washington
The test-firing of an &ldquo;ultramodern tactical weapon&rdquo; by the North Korean military sends messages to both domestic and international audiences, according to analysts, with the presence of Kim Jong-un at Friday&rsquo;s exercises underlining Pyongyang&rsquo;s resolve to stand up to Washington.
North Korea’s new ‘tactical’ weapon test highlights military modernization | Reuters
North Korea’s claim last week that it had tested an unidentified “ultramodern tactical weapon” highlighted its desire to upgrade its conventional arms and reassure its military even as talks are under way to end its nuclear program, analysts said.
North Korea Denuclearization Plan Has Gone Nowhere Since Trump-Kim Summit : NPR
Five months after the Singapore summit, North Korea’s nuclear program chugs on. “I think right now, we are absolutely stuck,” says North Korea expert Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst.
North Korean defector breaks silence, young anti-Kim Jong Un, interview – INSIDER
25-year-old former soldier Oh Chong Song said: “Not being able to feed the people properly, that results in indifference and no loyalty.”
North Korean defector: ‘If you don’t have money or power, you die in a ditch’ – CNN
The North Korean soldier who was caught on tape making a dramatic escape through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to South Korea late last year has given some startling insights into life in the North, including the suggestion that the majority of young people there have no loyalty to Kim Jong Un.
North Korea Defector: How ‘Upper Class’ General’s Son Escaped After Drinking Session
The 25-year-old said that many North Koreans are “indifferent” to Kin Jong Un’s leadership and feel no loyalty to him.
North Korea detonates DMZ guard posts at southern border – ABC News
The detonations were part an agreement to limit military presence in the DMZ.
American detained in North Korea deported back to US, official says | Fox News
Where Did North Korea’s Cyber Army Come From? – To Inform is to Influence
November 20, 2018 12:10 PM Steve Miller SEOUL — North Korean hackers continue to circumvent protections and compromise computer systems around the globe. Pyongyang’s cyber operatives, like the Lazarus Group, have been linked to computer system infiltrations like the 2014 Sony Pictures Studios hack prior to the release of the U.S. film “The Interview” and the…

US Air Force B-52s ignore Beijing’s ‘great wall’ of missiles with South China Sea flights | Business Insider
Two US heavy long-range bombers tore past Chinese-occupied territories in the contested South China Sea on Monday, demonstrating America’s determination to continue its activities in the region despite China’s militarization of disputed areas.
US flies B-52 bombers near contested islands in the South China Sea – CNNPolitics
Two US B-52 bombers flew near contested islands in the South China Sea Monday, according to US Pacific Air Forces.
China Has More Nuclear Subs Than the West Believed – Defense One
There’s an extra sub under construction, but no permanent nuclear deterrent at sea — yet.
U.S. Warships Visit Hong Kong for First Time Since Entry Barred – Bloomberg
A trio of U.S. naval vessels anchored in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the first U.S. naval ships to harbor in the city since China barred entry to another American ship in September, in a sign of easing military tensions between the two powers.
US military chief says tech giants should work with Pentagon | Fox News
The top U.S. military officer says it’s problematic that American tech companies don’t want to work with the Pentagon but are willing to engage with the Chinese market.
Why Is America So Scared of China? | The National Interest
There are real concerns but not enough to justify current worries.
China building on new reef in South China Sea, think tank says | Reuters
China has installed a new platform on a remote part of the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea which could be used for military purposes, according to recent satellite images reviewed by a U.S. think tank.

China Is Paying for Most of Trump’s Trade War, Research Says – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump is succeeding in making China pay most of the cost of his trade war.
Trump and Xi spar over trade ahead of Argentina summit – CNNPolitics
The United States and China were preparing to hold high-level trade negotiations in Washington until an escalating war of words between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping prompted Chinese negotiators to cancel their plans.
Trump, Xi Signal Readiness for Trade Talks Ahead of G-20 Meeting – Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have indicated they’re both ready for a highly anticipated meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina next week.
The US and China are giving off bad signals ahead of a crucial meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping | Business Insider
President Donald Trump may be talking up the prospects of a deal to ease trade tensions with China, but much of his administration is still acting like any agreement is a long way off.
China blames ‘excuses’ for lack of agreement at APEC, as U.S. ties sour again | Reuters
A major Asia-Pacific summit’s failure to agree on a communique resulted from certain countries “excusing” protectionism, a top Chinese diplomat said, in a veiled criticism of Washington that further sours the tone of China-U.S. ties ahead of a G20 meet.
Asia-Pacific summit ends without joint statement amid US-China tensions | TheHill
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting concluded this weekend without a joint statement being issued, the first time in more than two decades. 
Mike Pence challenges China at Asia-Pacific economic summit
The vice president offered the United States as an alterantive to China’s growing influence in the region.
Xi, Pence trade barbs over trade war at APEC summit while selling visions for regional cooperation – POLITICO
&quot;China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years and those days are over,” the vice president said.
Pence’s Sharp China Attacks Fuel Fears of Cold War Dividing Asia – Bloomberg
Since the Soviet Union fell in the early 1990s, Southeast Asia has sought to avoid getting caught in a fight between major powers. The Trump administration is making that position look increasingly untenable.
U.S.-China Divisions Exposed After One Phrase ‘Torpedoed’ Pacific Accord – WSJ
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea—A summit of world leaders ended in acrimony Sunday with the host nation accusing Chinese officials of threatening behavior and differences between the U.S. and China preventing delegates from reaching a consensus on trade, security and investment. Chinese officials demanding a meeting with Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister forced their way into his office Saturday and had to be escorted away by police after a confrontation, according to two senior officials from the host country. China denied…
Xi says no one wins in ‘Cold War,’ but Pence won’t back down – CNNPolitics
US and Chinese leaders presented opposing visions for the world in back-to-back speeches at the 2018 APEC conference in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, amid rising tensions between the world’s two major powers.
U.S.-China tensions heightened as Pence ends Asia trip
Vice President Mike Pence wrapped up a week-long trip to the Indo-Pacific region on Sunday amid heightened tension between the U.S. and China.
Xi Jinping: US-China trade war will produce no winners – BBC News
The Chinese leader’s comments can be seen as a veiled swipe at Donald Trump’s America First policies.
‘We will never have a deal’: China’s former top trade negotiator warns Beijing is hurting itself in Trump tariff battle | Business Insider
China’s former chief trade negotiator hits out at Beijing for not thinking “deeply enough” about its approach to trade war with US. “If we have people who always talk about politics engaging in negotiations, we will never have a deal,” Long Yongtu said on Sunday. Long’s comments come as tensions between the two nations appear to thaw somewhat ahead of Trump and Xi’s meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina later this month. China’s former chief trade negotiator has hit out at his country’s handling of rising trade tensions with the US, saying that Beijing is failing to think “deeply enough” about its approach to the conflict. Speaking on Sunday, Long Yongtu, a former minister in China’s foreign trade department told a conference that China has been too politically driven in talks so far, and should take a more pragmatic approach, focused on the economic realities of the trade war. “If we have people who always talk about politics engaging in negotiations, we will never have a deal,” he said at the annual conference of media outlet Caixin, according to a report from the South China Morning Post. “We don’t think deeply enough,” he added.
Pence vows no end to tariffs until China bows | Reuters
The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to U.S. demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday.
Russia, China Warn Against Protectionism As U.S. Threatens More Tariffs
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev joined with Chinese President Xi Jinping in warning against growing protectionism and urging adherence to global trade rules.
Doug Ross @ Journal: LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN: Communist China’s Hundred-Year Marathon to Eradicate America
APEC fails to reach consensus as U.S.-China divide deepens | Reuters
Asia-Pacific leaders failed to agree on a communique at a summit in Papua New Guinea on Sunday for the first time in their history as deep divisions between the United States and China over trade and investment stymied cooperation.
Trade war: What happens when Trump meets Xi Jinping at Argentina G-20
Investors and world leaders alike will be glued to the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina, hoping for clues to what’s next.
Lighthizer: China has not corrected actions that led to tariffs – POLITICO
The comments, made as part of an update to a previous report, could complicate talks planned between Trump and China’s leader late this month.

Militants, Police Killed In Failed Attack On Chinese Consulate In Karachi : NPR
At least seven people were killed in the attack, but none of the 21 Chinese nationals in the compound were harmed. In a separate attack in northwest Pakistan, dozens were killed in an open-air market.
Karachi: Chinese consulate attack leaves four dead in thwarted raid – CNN
Armed attackers attempted to storm the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi Friday morning, killing four people, authorities said.
China surveillance firms face backlash amid Xinjiang crackdown | News | Al Jazeera
Facial recognition and AI are growing businesses for Chinese tech companies with ‘nowhere to hide’ for civilian targets.

Fan Bingbing is cheerleading for China over the South China Sea after the government disappeared her | Business Insider
Actress Fan Bingbing wrote a post touting China’s controversial territorial claims to the South China Sea, in her first appearance on social media since issuing a humiliating apology to Beijing for evading tax.
In China, The Communist Party’s Latest, Unlikely Target: Young Marxists : NPR
Chinese authorities are cracking down on student activists, exposing a paradox between a state founded on Marxist principles and the young people it calls upon to carry them out.
Backlash at Chinese University Shows Limits to Surveillance | Time
A Chinese university’s plan to conduct a blanket search of student and staff electronic devices has come under fire
Beijing pioneering citizens’ ‘points’ system critics brand ‘Orwellian’ | Reuters
Beijing’s municipal government will assign citizens and firms “personal trustworthiness points” by 2021, state media reported on Tuesday, pioneering China’s controversial plan for a “social credit” system to monitor citizens and businesses.
China blacklists millions of people from booking flights as ‘social credit’ system introduced
Millions of Chinese nationals have been blocked from booking flights or trains as Beijing seeks to implement its controversial “social credit” system, which allows the government to closely monitor and judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their behaviour and activity. The system, to be rolled out by 2020, aims to make it “difficult to move” for those deemed “untrustworthy”, according to a detailed plan published by the government this week. It will be used to reward or punish people and organisations for “trustworthiness” across a range of measures.
Homoerotic fiction writer given 10 year prison sentence in China, sparking outcry – CNN
A Chinese novelist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for writing and distributing homoerotic novels, provoking widespread debate online over the severity of her sentence.
Dead Chinese sturgeons halt China eco resort construction – BBC News
About 6,000 of the critically rare fish are thought to have died because of the construction work.

In Race for Global Power, U.S. and China Push Nations to Pick a Side – The New York Times
The competition has echoes of the Cold War, as Washington and Beijing each try to foster diplomatic alliances and economic deals to freeze out the other.
UAWire – Japanese Prime Minister Abe promises Putin not to deploy US base on the Kuril Islands
During his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, the head of the Japanese government, promised Putin not to deploy US military bases in the south of the Kuril Islands if Moscow agrees to hand over these territories to Tokyo, reported Asahi Shimbun with reference to high-level government sources. As reported in the newspaper, Abe’s statement confirmed his determination to continue negotiations on the disputed territories. According to the newspaper, the actions of the Japanese prime minister are aimed at showing that the security treaty with the United States does not imply the deployment of military bases in any region of Japan without the consent of the government. Putin and Abe met on November 14 in Singapore, where the Summit of the States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was held. During their meeting, Putin and Abe agreed to step up negotiations on a peace treaty based on the declaration of 1956.
Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon join forces to imply Beijing involvement in Wang Jian’s death | South China Morning Post
The ex-Trump adviser compared Wang’s death to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei SkripalBannon said he joined forces with Guo to draw attention to the disappearance of high-profile investors in China and the country’s growing overseas investments
Live coverage of ‘Chinese Oscars’ cut off after winning director calls for Taiwan independence
Beijing reportedly cut short television coverage of the prestigious Golden Horse film awards during a pro-independence acceptance speech from a Taiwanese director. The glittering ceremony in Taipei, seen as the Chinese-language equivalent of the Oscars, was overshadowed when director Fu Yue told the audience her biggest hope for “our country” was to be regarded as an “independent entity”. Her film, Our Youth in Taiwan, telling the story of the Sunflower Movement protests against a free trade agreement with China, had won the prize for best documentary.
Tatarstan Picketer Protests Against China’s Alleged Persecution Of Muslims
A Tatar activist held a one-man picket in the capital of Russia’s republic of Tatarstan to denounce what he called the Chinese authorities’ persecution of the country’s Muslims.
‘Fake news’ rattles Taiwan ahead of elections | China News | Al Jazeera
Beijing is test-driving propaganda techniques ahead of Taiwan’s largest-ever elections on Saturday, officials say.
‘We Only Killed the Bad People’: 2 Khmer Rouge Leaders, Forever Linked – The New York Times
Khieu Samphan, 87, and Nuon Chea, 92, who were convicted of genocide on Friday, once hoped that the world would “let bygones be bygones.”
Will Political Strains Pull The China-Philippines Cozy Relationship Off Course? : NPR
China’s leader seeks to bring an old U.S. ally into his sphere. But the Philipine people are sceptical that China will deliver on its promise of billions of dollars in aid.
US And Australia Try To Tame China’s South China Sea Ambitions, As Duterte Gives Up
US and Australia try to tame China’s South China Sea ambitions, as Duterte sides with Beijing
US to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan – BBC News
The joint base on Manus Island is seen as a move to curb China’s growing regional influence.
MIKE SCRAFTON. The Geopolitics of Lombrum Naval Base | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations
It is difficult to find a strong, rational strategic argument for Australia’s to return to Lombrum Naval Base (or HMPNGS Tarangau) on Manus Island. Of course, not all of Defence’s activities have strictly military objectives or relate directly to the defence of Australia and in the Southwest Pacific Defence cooperation has been a major component…
Australia ‘in discussions’ with US over Manus Island naval base expansion
Jim Molan | Getting real about Australia’s security | The Strategist
For generations Australia has minimised defence spending because the US was so powerful it didn’t matter what we spent. We are only now starting to dedicate resources close to a sufficient level to provide for our defence needs. Yet we remain far too vulnerable to a shock similar to that experienced in 1941. Our government is running the biggest peacetime rearmament program in our history, spending $200 billion over the next decade. The replacement of many of the key capabilities on which strategy totally depends—warships, submarines, armoured vehicles—is unfortunately over a very long period, yet that shouldn’t detract from the kudos due. But is our strategy today any more sophisticated than our disastrous 1941 delusions? In light of concern about US intentions, and knowledge of US capability relative to what it calls ‘four nations and an ideology’ (Russia, Iran, China, North Korea and Islamic extremism), do we still hope to see the US cavalry come charging over the hill to save us? The cavalry might be a bit busy. Australia now needs to match its rearmament program with a brutally realistic national security strategy, not one based on hope and delusion as we did in December 1941. Realism tests the coherence between policy, national strategy, concepts for national resilience, security and defence, and the steps needed in preparing a nation for war. This time around, let’s not depend on the luck involved in successful battles in the Coral Sea and at Midway. Before anything else, even ships, planes, tanks or personnel, Australian needs realistic strategy. And strategy does not cost. The echoes of the past are getting louder. We must listen to them, and learn from them.

Foreign Policy Reports

After launch of Nord Stream 2 nothing to stop Putin’s aggresion in Ukraine, – Polish PM –
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki opposes the construction of the Nord Stream 2
Ukraine offers to reform UN Security Council –
The UN Security Council (UNSC), in its current mode, cannot guarantee peace and security of the world’s society; thus, it needs to be reformed. Eduard Fesko, the counselor to Ukraine’s permanent office in the UN said that as quoted by Ukrinform news agency. ‘It is obvious to everybody that the Security Council in its current shape does not really suit the effective solution of problems of the 21st century,’ he said. According to the official, Ukraine’s experience of chairing the UNSC in 2016 and 2017 only made it clearer that without the said reform, the Council is doomed to lose its role and position in the wide international context. Ukraine state it was open to discussing all options and approaches to this reform, as long as they aim for the result. Kyiv will officially insist on two principal moments: 1) the Eastern European regional group should have its own representative in the Council, 2) the role of veto in the UNSC’s frameworks should be reconsidered. Currently, the USNC consists of fifteen member states. U.S., Russia, France, the UK and China are the permanent members that enjoy the veto right. The remaining member states are selected for the geographic reasons – five states per a year, with the two-years-long cadence.
Russian Veterans Appeal To ICC Over Moscow’s Alleged Use Of Mercenaries
An umbrella organization of groups representing Russian military veterans has appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the alleged mercenary activities of Russian private s…
Is There Really a Difference Between Patriotism and Nationalism?
Trump critics like Emmanuel Macron say his nationalism is what makes him radical. That’s missing the point.
‘I’m really enjoying this!’ Relaxed Merkel rediscovers her voice – CNN
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making the most of her limited time in office.
Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists | World news | The Guardian
Europe and centre left everywhere need tougher approach to phenomenon that fuelled Trump and Brexit, says Clinton
Hillary Clinton: Europe ‘needs to get a handle on migration’ in order to halt rise of rightwing populists | Fox News
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued frank advice to European leaders: If you want to stop the rise of rightwing populists than get a handle on your immigration crisis.
Italy: lack of sober look at Russia – news portal
Italy and Italians are in thrall to myths about Russia which are very far from reality and harmful. This was a subject of discussion at a conference in the Italian parliament with the participation of leading experts, who offered to look at the facts. Invincibility of Russia? “Russia in Italian discourse: the search for the lost sobriety of look”. The conference’s organizers, the Mondodem political laboratory of the Italian Democratic Party, could hardly come up with a more eloquent name. There has indeed been a lot of Russia in the Italian discourse of recent months since the appointment of the Di Maio-Mateo Salvini government. Members of the government made a point about its special place and their special attitude to it once they came to power. At the time, they said that despite the fact that they are the “government of change, they will not change the foreign policy of Italy. With one exception – their attitude towards Russia. Well, to distorted Russia, we should add. In fact, to Russia full of myths, not facts about it. Conference participants – political scientists, journalists, independent researchers – noted several times that for the current Italian government, Russia is not so much a real state with which it is necessary to somehow build relations, but a symbol of anti-Europeanism, a symbol of resistance to “those Brussels bureaucrats”. For instance, La Stampa journalist Anna Zafesova noted that in the view of both the government and a large number of ordinary Italians, Russia is a great economic and military power. But if you look closely at the facts and not at the image created by the media, you will see a state with a huge mentioned several recent notable facts. For example, about the sinking of a floating dock after the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier slid out of it. The dock was lost precisely because of infrastructure problems, due to numerous blackouts. And since the dock was made in Sweden, Russia can hardly expect Sweden or another North European country to build it another one. Contrary to the Italian idea of “super-rich Russians”, Russia is beset with profound economic problems. Unlike in recent years, even the Russian Finance Ministry does not demonstrate optimism: it does not see any ground for the ruble to strengthen. In addition, the price of oil should soon return to 50 dollars per barrel, which is completely insufficient for the Russian budget. After all, Russia is a country that lives almost entirely off its natural resources, a kind of “snow-covered emirate”, Zafesova quoted her colleagues as saying. In addition to all this, there is a dozen packages of various sanctions over foreign aggression. In social care, Putin’s rating plunged by 15% at once as a result of the sad pension reform, which practically guarantees that 40% of men simply will not make it to retirement. Not to mention the so-called “problem of 2024”, which is, “what will happen after Putin?” Will Russia succeed in reforming this ultra-personalized system of power? So, the invincibility of Russia is only a well-replicated myth, Anna Zafesova concludes.
EU opens disciplinary procedures against Italy
The European Commission said Wednesday it will prepare for an “Excessive Deficit Procedure” following Rome’s refusal to change its draft budget.
Italy May Be ‘Sleepwalking Into Instability,’ E.U. Says, and Weighs Penalty – The New York Times
The European Union took another step toward punishing Italy for insisting on a heavy-spending budget even while it remains heavily indebted.
EU may impose sanctions against Hungary – MP Ariev | UNIAN
The EU may impose sanctions on Hungary for adopting laws against the development of civic society, that’s according to MP Volodymyr Ariev, who is also vice-president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, chairman of the PACE Committee on Culture, Education, Science and Media. The reason is the passing of new legislation hindering civic society development.
Hungary Reportedly Grants Gruevski Asylum, Macedonia Files Extradition Request
The Macedonian government says it has filed an extradition request for fugitive former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, amid reports Hungarian authorities have already granted him asylum.

EU, Britain agree draft deal on future relations | Reuters
Britain and the European Union have agreed a draft text setting out a close post-Brexit relationship, though wrangling with Spain over control of Gibraltar must still be settled before EU leaders meet on Sunday in order to rubber-stamp the pact.
No Brexit is more likely than no‑deal, says Amber Rudd | News | The Times
MPs will block a no-deal Brexit if Theresa May’s deal is voted down, Amber Rudd has warned. Despite the prime minister’s repeated claims that opposing her withdrawal agreement would cause the UK to crash out of the European Union without any deal at all, the new work and pensions secretary suggested
The Brutal Reality Of Brexit
Theresa May’s Brexit deal is the worst of all worlds. But the only realistic alternatives are no-deal Brexit, or no Brexit. British politicians must stop playing political games and face up to their responsibilities.
A vote reversed: What is the path back from Brexit? | Reuters
To leave, or not to leave: Two and a half years since the United Kingdom voted to exit the EU, that is still the question.
Brexit: It’s a done deal, according to former Thatcher advisor
Prime Minister Theresa May has upset people from all sides, including the so-called “Remainers” who feel that the U.K. is still in the European Union but without a seat on the board, according to John Browne, a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher.
Immigration worries drove the Brexit vote. Then attitudes changed. – The Washington Post
Is Theresa May looking backward while the public has moved on?
Nearly half of global CFOs expect a no-deal Brexit 
Chief financial officers (CFOs) from some of the world’s largest firms are unsure whether the U.K. will be thrust into the unknown post-Brexit, according to a new survey conducted by CNBC.
Army’s secret plans to put troops on streets in wake of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit | Daily Mail Online
Plans have been drawn up by the military for Operation Temperer, who usually help police on the streets in the threat of terrorism, in the event of a no-Brexit scenario.
Spain accuses UK of treachery over Gibraltar Brexit deal | Politics | The Guardian
Madrid threatens to ‘stop the clock’ on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement
Spain threatens Brexit deal over Gibraltar status – CNN
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to pass a Brexit deal have suffered a further setback after Spain threatened to veto her draft divorce agreement over the handling of Gibraltar.
EU news : Spain leader in bid to become next Macron of EU as he stands firm on Gibraltar | World | News |
SPAIN’S Prime Minister has launched his bid to expand his power in the EU following in the footsteps of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as Madrid looks to stand firm in the Brexit row over Gibraltar.

Macron’s popularity drops to 25 percent: poll | TheHill
A quarter of French citizens are satisfied with President Emmanuel Macron’s job performance, according to a poll published Sunday.
Czechs Mark Revolution Anniversary With Calls For Premier To Resign
Thousands of Czechs took to the streets in Prague on November 17 calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
Lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Assange says he would fight charges – CBS News
Prosecutors, in an errant court filing in an unrelated case, inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges
How the Trump Administration Stepped Up Pursuit of WikiLeaks’s Assange – The New York Times
As American spies worked to collect intelligence on Julian Assange, Justice Department prosecutors took steps that resulted in secret charges.
Argentine Navy submarine may have ‘imploded’; photos show wreckage on sea floor | Fox News
The Argentine submarine that was lost deep in the sea with 44 crew members on board may have suffered from a partial implosion close to the seabed, a senior official said Sunday as official released photos of the wreckage on the seabed.
European Parliament called on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stop sale of goods with Soviet symbols –
European Parliament called on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stop the sale of goods with Soviet symbols
Ukraine passes Poland 60,000 documents on Soviet repressions –
The Institute of National Remembrance of Poland got about 60,000 pages of the document on the Soviet repressions of the Poles in the 1930s in the result of the cooperation with the Ukrainian archives as Polske Radio reported. “This time we got the evidence of the victims and all documented processes of their arrest and next conviction. It is impressive materials not only for the historians but also for the family of the victims. We could not help them to this day but now we can,” Mazhena Kruk, the Director of Archive of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance said.
Thousands Protest In Skopje Against Macedonia Name Change
A few thousand people rallied in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, to protest against a landmark agreement with neighboring Greece over the country’s name.
Georgian Court Upholds Sentence Against Ex-President Saakashvili
A Georgian appeals court has upheld a ruling which sentenced former President Mikheil Saakashvili to prison for abuse of power over a 2005 incident.

U.S. considering sanctioning Cuban officials over their role in Venezuela
The Trump administration may sanction military and intelligence officials in Cuba who it says are helping Venezuela’s socialist government repress dissenters.
Venezuelans flee to Colombia amid region’s worst humanitarian crisis
Venezuelan migrants have flooded across the Colombian border fleeing rampant hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages under the Maduro regime
US navy hospital ship stokes tensions by giving Venezuelan refugees free care | US news | The Guardian
USNS Comfort, moored off Colombia, will help patients as pressure builds on relationship between Washington and Caracas
‘Cages are more dignified’: Colombia brings cold comfort for Venezuelans | Global development | The Guardian
Venezuela’s turmoil has prompted an exodus to Colombia’s first migrant camp, in Bogotá – yet conditions there offer scant solace
Does Venezuela Sponsor Terrorism? Donald Trump is Trying to Force Maduro From Power, Experts Say
Is Venezuela really sponsoring terrorist groups? Analysts believe the Republican-led initiative is founded on nebulous claims.
Venezuela’s exiled justice department calls for Interpol arrest of Maduro and 18 years for corruption | Business Insider
Venezuela’s exiled justice department issued an international arrest warrant for its own president, Nicolas Maduro.
Trump set to put Venezuela on the state sponsors of terror list: report | Fox News
President Trump is considering designating Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, in an effort to push the socialist government to the brink of capitulation.
Trump admin to designate Venezuela as state sponsor of terrorism: report | TheHill
The Trump administration is reportedly getting ready to add Venezuela to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. 
Trump is reportedly getting ready to put Venezuela on the state sponsors of terror list | Business Insider
The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to escalate its campaign to isolate and pressure the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela by adding the government to the US’s state sponsors of terror list, according to The Washington Post.
Venezuela is a tragedy, not a terrorist threat – The Washington Post
Trump is threatening to label the country a state sponsor of terrorism. That will do little to help those suffering.
Migrant caravan faces opposition from angry Tijuana residents | Fox News
In blunt contrast to the warm reception, thousands of migrants received as they made the arduous journey through Central America to Mexico – receiving food donations and well wishes from locals – the nearly 3000 who reached the Mexican border with California in recent days have been with marked hostility.
Argentine submarine found but ‘IMPOSSIBLE to rescue’ – judge’s SHOCK claim | World | News |
THE ARGENTINE submarine wreck discovered on the bottom of the ocean after it sunk with 44 crew members on board is too ‘difficult’ to be rescued, a judge in charge of the investigation has claimed.
Argentina submarine: ARA San Juan found – BBC News
The ARA San Juan disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean with 44 on board almost a year ago to the day.
Argentina: Submarine missing a year found deep in Atlantic – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.

UAWire – Polish Foreign Minister: After completing Nord Stream 2 Russia will continue war in Ukraine
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warns that once the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been built, nothing will hold Russia back from further …
EU’s Hahn To Hungary: If You Are Granting Gruevski Asylum, Explain Why
The European Union has demanded an explanation from EU-member Hungary over reports that Budapest granted political asylum to fugitive former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

The impact of AI on future warfare
Rear Adm. David Hahn, the Chief of Naval Research, explains how AI is causing a rapid change in how technology is developed.
To maintain tech edge, US seeks export controls on AI
Before the government can regulate artificial intelligence, it has to define it.
The U.S. Could Regulate AI in the Name of National Security – Nextgov
These regulations would be target a big name in AI: China
Understanding the Drone Threat – To Inform is to Influence
While not strictly related to influence operations, the use of drones, countering drones, and gathering information via drones is quickly becoming a global issue.  Electronic warfare is being deployed on drones as a platform and is being used against drones, to crash the drone, remotely seize control, or to impede drone information gathering operations. Spoofing…
This Inventor May Have Cured Motion Sickness Without Drugs. And That Could Mean a Lot to the US Military – Defense One
One manufacturer of virtual-reality trainers has already begun including the devices in its simulators.

2018 Threats to Air Supremacy – YouTube
The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Published on Sep 14, 2017
Russia releases video of Su-57 combat debut in Syria – Defence Blog
The Russian Defence Ministry has released video footage on 19 November showing unique footage of the Su-57 5th-generation fighter jet in its first combat operation in the Syrian Arab Republic. According to a news release put out by the Russian Defence Ministry, the sorties of modern Su-57 5th-generation fighter jets were carried out in order to prove announced possibilities of the newest aircraft in a real combat environment. “During the flights, pilots checked aircraft performances, smart data management system, operation of on-board systems, including armament at high temperatures, complicated underlying surface and other factors,” said in a statement. A Russian Air Force official confirmed that the Su-57, in its first combat operation, was used over Syria during operations against the Islamic State (IS) and other militants. Crews of newest Russian-made Su-57 5th-generation fighter jet made over 10 sorties in Syria. “Su-57 is the Russian advanced air complex of the fifth generation designed for elimination of all types of air, ground and maritime targets. It high maneuverability, supersonic capabilities as well as modern on-board systems and stealth capability provides high efficiency and air superiority,” – also added in a statement.
Here’s the first official video of Russia testing its most advanced stealth fighter in Syria | Business Insider
A new video from the Russian defence ministry shows the country’s most advanced stealth fighter flying sorties in Syria.
Unique footage of the combat work of Su-57 future aviation complexes in Syria – YouTube
Минобороны России Published on Nov 19, 2018 #VIDEO # EXCLUSIVE Unique footage of the combat work of promising fifth-generation Su-57 aviation systems in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Military acceptance. “From T-50 to Su-57” Part 1 – YouTube
Телеканал Звезда Premiered Nov 10, 2018 The T-50, or Su-57, is the most modern and at the same time the most secret Russian aircraft of the 5th generation, any information about it that gets into the press becomes, if not a sensation, then an event. It is such an event that awaits viewers of the “Military Acceptance”. Three issues will be devoted to this amazing fighter. And these are not just films about the aircraft, this is the first in the history of the PAK FA television encyclopedia – a promising aviation complex of front-line aviation. During this time, “Military Acceptance” visited all the enterprises and all the design offices that deal with the Su-57, from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Komsomolsk-on-Amur. For the first time, journalists of the program were shown how STELS-coating is applied, what the composite polymer looks like from which the aircraft is assembled and how this material is tested. And again: for the first time in history, journalists were given the right to inject video cameras directly into the Su-57 case, which means that the audience of the “Military Acceptance” is waiting for truly exciting footage of the new fighter’s flight, including in the most extreme modes
Military acceptance. From T-50 to Su-57. Part 2 – YouTube
Телеканал Звезда Premieres Nov 18, 2018 What kind of paint turns the T-50 into stealth, how the 5th generation engine differs from the usual one and how many enemies the PAK FA combat locator sees. “Military Acceptance” continues the series about the newest Russian Su-57 fighter. In the second series, the film crew of the program will again go to the sky after this unique machine in order to see its flight in the immediate vicinity. In addition, the authors of the program will visit the company, where they create a new generation engine especially for the PAK FA.
A unique shot of the flight of the newest Su-57 – footage from the ramp An-12 – YouTube
Телеканал Звезда Published on Nov 6, 2018 Zvezda publishes the first footage of the flight of the newest Su-57 fighter aircraft taken from the ramp of the An-12 transport aircraft
T-50. Invisible aircraft. Military acceptance – YouTube
Телеканал Звезда Published on Apr 5, 2015 This release of the program is devoted to the latest Russian fighter T-50.
Russia Thinks Stealth Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 are “Paper Fiction” | The National Interest
The very fact that Russia is investing in stealth itself is ample evidence that stealth not only works but is also here to stay. Otherwise, why bother?
Watch Russia’s Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet up close in refuel test-flight (VIDEO) — RT Russia
Russia’s newest supersonic Su-57 stealth fighter jet was filmed performing a mid-air refueling simulation. The footage was captured from the cockpit of a Su-30SM fighter, as well as from the ramp of the An-12 transport aircraft.
UK is set to double its number of F-35 stealth jets – Defence Blog
The UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that UK is set to double its number of world-beating F-35 stealth jets after ordering 17 more aircraft. The 17 new F-35B aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022 and will complement the 16 British aircraft currently based at RAF Marham and in the US, as well as two additional aircraft which are already on order. The multi-million-pound contract signed will see the UK own 35 stealth jets by end of 2022 with Britain manufacturing 15% of the overall global order for 255 aircraft. Overall, the UK has committed to procure 138 aircraft over the life of the programme. “I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the biggest defence programme in history. Our military and industry are playing a leading role in the F-35 programme. We are now building this game-changing capability that will soon be ready for frontline action. This programme is set to bring an immense boost of £35 billion into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production,” Gavin Williamson said. The 17 jets being ordered are part of a $6 billion contract for 255 aircraft being built for the global F-35 enterprise. The announcement is also good news for the UK economy, as British companies are building approximately 15% by value of all 3,000-plus F-35s planned for production. It is projected that around £35 billion will be contributed to the UK economy through the F-35 programme, with around 25,000 British jobs also being supported. “As the largest operator of F-35s outside of the US, the acquisition of 17 more Lightning aircraft underscores our commitment to the programme. This new contract demonstrates how our Armed Forces are equipped by DE&S with the latest equipment and support,” CEO of Defence Equipment and Support, Sir Simon Bollom said.
Russia “accidentally” exposes model of secret hypersonic 6th-generation fighter jet – Defence Blog
Russia’s Zvezda TV channel “accidentally” exposed model of a secret hypersonic 6th-generation fighter jet. In a live broadcast of the Zvezda TV Channel was revealed a model of modern Russian-made hypersonic 6th-generation fighter jet that is likely in unmanned version. Russian sixth generation combat aircraft will be hypersonic, first flight is scheduled until 2025. This was reported on 09 June 2016 by TASS, citing the head of the directorate of military aircraft programs, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Vladimir Mikhailov. “He [prototype] rise into the air, as we plan, no later than two or three years after 2020”, said Mikhailov. United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) expected to fly a hypersonic “sixth-generation” fighter before 2025. Mikhailov stated it was currently under research and development, including engineering design. Certain military experts point out that the project of a new hypersonic fighter jet is called the Pigeon, because of the similarity of the tail assembly.
Can data be shared among US, Chinese and Russian aircraft? Sudan did it.
Most military aircraft operated by Sudan have been modified to operate together and share data, a top commander there says.

Dozens of F-35A Lightning IIs conducts combat power exercise at Hill AFB – Defence Blog
388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs has announced on 19 November that dozens of F-35A Lightning IIs conducted combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise, the wings confirmed their ability to employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, demonstrating the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the Air Force’s only combat-ready F-35A units, the 388th and 419th FWs must be prepared to launch any number of aircraft to support the national defense mission at a moment’s notice. “We are ready to fight tonight, and exercising with multiple squadrons of F-35s can demonstrate our ability to defeat potential adversaries wherever they may arise,” said Maj. Caleb Guthmann, 34th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and exercise project officer. The wings fly between 30-60 sorties per day from Hill’s flight line. During the exercise, they launched roughly the same number of sorties, and aircraft took off in 20- to 40-second intervals.
Investigation: Pilot error, incorrect data caused F-22 to crash, skid on takeoff
The accident investigation board report concluded that pilot error was to blame for the April 13 crash at Naval Air Station Fallon.
Canadian watchdog sounds alarm over F-18 purchase, military priorities
Canada currently operates a fleet of CF-18 fighters but is lacking in a plan to modernize those aircraft for modern warfare, according to a report released by Auditor General Michael Ferguson.
Israel decides to purchase new F-15IA fighter jets – Defence Blog
The Israeli Air Force will purchase a fleet of a new F-15IA (Israeli Advanced) fighter jets, according to an official announcement. According to Ynetnews citing the Israeli Government, the purchase of advanced version of F-15 has already been approved by the government, and the first of the aircraft is expected to arrive in Israel as soon as 2023. In the meantime, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) will continue purchasing F-35 aircraft. In addition to continuing purchasing F-35 multirole stealth fighters, IAF decides to upgrade its dependable F-15 fleet with an improved model capable of carrying 13 tons of explosives with advanced avionics. The purchase will be funded from US military aid money, which comes to some $3.8 billion annually, over the next decade as the new planes are delivered. Today’s F-15 offers next-generation technologies including an advanced cockpit, AESA radar, digital electronic warfare suite, the world’s fastest mission computer and modern sensors to remain ahead of current and evolving threats. With more speed, more range and more payload. F-15IA is an affordable, low-risk solution that maintains capacity and adds a capability to the IAF. With various upgrades to the earlier models, such as more efficient engines and fly-by-wire avionics, which is considered the biggest change to the jet in 20 years, the F-15IA has a 25% decrease in operating cost per flight hour compared to the F-15I.
U.S. Air Force awards Northrop Grumman $330M for E-8C Joint STARS – Defence Blog
Northrop Grumman has announced on 19 November that U.S. Air Force has awarded the corporation a 12-month, $330 million contract for Total System Support Responsibility (TSSR) of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet. The integrated total systems support contract covers TSSR Period Year 19, which began Nov. 1, 2018 and concludes Oct. 31, 2019. Under the Joint STARS TSSR program, Northrop Grumman continues its longstanding partnership with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to provide total systems support to the 116th and 461st Air Control Wings for all facets of sustainment and support of the 16 aircraft Joint STARS fleet at Robins Air Force Base and forward operating locations overseas. Northrop Grumman will provide program management, engineering technical support, aircrew and maintenance training, supply chain and spares management, technical data and publications, program depot maintenance and overall customer support. “The C2ISR division looks forward to the continued teaming with Northrop Grumman to improve critical aircraft availability to our combatant commanders while executing our Joint STARS 2030 roadmap,” said Col David Menke, senior materiel leader, C2ISR division, digital directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Air Force. “While supporting the Joint STARS mission over the past 33 years, we have focused on keeping the high-demand E-8C fleet available and mission capable for the combatant commanders. Our commitment to the supported soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen at the forward operating locations remains steadfast,” said Jane Bishop, vice president, military aircraft surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
Marte ER anti-ship missile successfully completed its first firing – Defence Blog
European guided weapons house MBDA has announced that Marte ER anti-ship missile has completed its first firing, successfully passing a major phase in its development. According to the company, the firing trial was carried out on 9 November in an Italian test range. The Marte ER missile flew for more than 100 km on a planned trajectory that included several waypoints and sea skimming flight, successfully testing all flying phases. Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Executive Group Director Sales & Business Development and Managing Director MBDA Italia, commented: “This test is a further confirmation of the robustness of the ER version of the Marte family of multi-platform anti-ship missiles that can be launched by ships, helicopters, coastal batteries and fast jets. The Marte family has a strong and successful history both at domestic and international levels: most recently with Marte ER being ordered earlier in 2018 by the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) for their new NH90 helicopters. Marte is a single product family that can cover several missions, offering our customers a high level of operational flexibility in the area of maritime superiority, a domain where MBDA in Italy has been able throughout its long history not only to maintain but also to grow as well as further develop competencies and know-how”. The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements. Having completed the 18 months System Definition Phase, the full integration of Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

Famous Viking warrior burial revealed to be that of a woman | PerthNow
HE was tall. He was powerful. The Viking warrior was buried with sword, spear, shield and battle knives. There was one problem.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

Definitions for IO and IW, a common sense approach – To Inform is to Influence
I read an interesting article this morning, one of the authors even has experience with Army IO.  He and his partner tried to make the case that Turkey had waged an Information Operation to expose the Kashoggi assassination by Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi Case- Analysis of an Information Operation – Security Studies Group. When I read the…
USAGM: Record audience growth for independent reporting aided by demand in China, Iran and Russia – To Inform is to Influence
Please note the use of the term Measures of Impact (MOI) in the below press release.   I have not had an opportunity to do a detailed analysis, yet, but by reading the press release, it seems that the USAGM is heading in the right direction. What I read did not look like MOI, but it…
The new way the Army will conduct information operations
A quietly released Army document provides in-depth steps and tactical guidance on how to conduct
Russian Twitter trolls stoking anti-Islamic sentiment in Australia, experts warn | Australia news | The Guardian
Researchers say Russia-linked accounts strongly back Julian Assange and try to destabilise democracy by amplifying social divisions
The Hunt for False News | Facebook Newsroom
Facebook admits black and white content policing ‘not a perfect solution’ in a grey world – Science News – ABC News
Under increasing scrutiny, Facebook is trying to be more transparent about how it polices status updates, photos and news. But consistency is proving tricky.
Researchers uncover new malware activity by Russian hackers – To Inform is to Influence
BY JACQUELINE THOMSEN – 11/20/18 Researchers have attributed new malware activity targeting governments in several countries to a Russian hacking group. Researchers at Palo Alto Network’s Unit 42 found that hackers with APT28, sometimes known as “Sofacy” or “Fancy Bear,” are targeting government groups in the U.S., the European Union and former Soviet governments with weaponized documents containing…
The Czech tech to overcome Russian jammers
Czech company Era is relatively unknown outside of the electronic surveillance community and civil aerospace sector, but it has a rich history in passive sensor technology.
GPS Threats To Shipping Grow In East Mediterranean | Zero Hedge
“We have encountered more severe than normal GPS interference tonight,” read the November 4 report. “Thank goodness for paper charts.”
Can Army Afford The Electronic Warfare Force It Wants? – To Inform is to Influence
WASHINGTON: Army planners are thrashing out how many electronic warfare specialists the service needs, not just to rebuild radio-jamming and spoofing capability in combat units, but to create a training cadre that can sustain the EW corps for the long-term. Whether this plan for robust growth — certainly hundreds of soldiers, possibly over a thousand — will…

US Domestic Policy Reports

US hardens pro-Israel stance at UN, votes against resolution on Golan Heights | Fox News
The U.S. on Friday voted against an annual resolution condemning the “occupation” of the Golan Heights — a change from the U.S. abstention last year — and ripped into the body’s anti-Israel bias, part of an increasingly pro-Israel stance under the Trump administration.
Pence takes a global role as Trump broods – CNNPolitics
One is huddling with the Russian President, gripping-and-grinning with the Japanese prime minister and pressing Myanmar’s ruler to free imprisoned journalists.
Mike Pence and The Return of Faith-Based Foreign Policy – Defense One
In Asia, Trump\’s vice president delivered a Christian message all on his own.
U.S. Prosecutors In Settlement Talks With Accused Russian Agent
U.S. prosecutors and lawyers for accused Russian agent Maria Butina are negotiating over a possible settlement of her case, court filings say.
Top Cheney Aide in Mueller’s Sights as Probe Expands
Mueller’s investigators have examined an array of operatives with ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE—including John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser.
Lawyers: Trump Provides Written Answers To Special Counsel Russia Probe
Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump say he has provided the special counsel’s office with written answers to questions about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and his knowledge…
Trump Says He’s Completed Written Responses To Russia-Probe Queries
U.S. President Donald Trump says he has completed written answers to queries from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidenti…
‘Not Even Invited Into the Room:’ How the Trump Administration Is Treating Federal Scientists – Management –
When Trump was elected, federal scientists were worried. Two years later, their fears are being realized.

US couldn’t cope with massive military death toll if China and Russia declared war at once, government experts warn
The United States would be unable to cope with a cope with casualties caused by a combined onslaught from China and Russia, a new report has said.
Space Force Actually May Be Bargain, New Cost Estimate Says – Defense One
“At this point it may be a coin toss whether or not this makes it through,” says Todd Harrison.
If America’s Military Loses World War III, Low Readiness Will Likely Be The Reason
Defense budgets aren’t likely to grow much in the years ahead, but the military can do a better job of being ready to fight on short notice.
Logan Melgar’s death: 2 Navy SEALs and 2 Marines charged in Green Beret’s strangulation death – CBS News
Suspects accused of breaking into a Green Beret's bedroom while he was sleeping, bounding him with duct tape and putting him into a choke hold
Navy SEAL charged with murder, shooting at noncombatants – CNNPolitics
Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher is being charged by the Navy with stabbing and murdering a wounded person, shooting at noncombatants, posing for a photo and performing his re-enlistment ceremony next to a dead body.
Navy SEAL charged with murder | TheHill
The Navy is charging Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher with stabbing and murdering a wounded person, shooting at noncombatants, posing for a photo and performing his re-enlistment ceremony next to a dead body, according to the charge sheet obtained by
General Dunford’s Border Politics Come Down to This – Defense One
Heres why the Joint Chiefs chairman applauded Greece for welcoming one group of migrants while U.S. troops are helping President Trump stop another.
McRaven: Retired Admiral Who Oversaw Bin Laden Raid Hits Back at Trump Taunts: ‘I Did Not Back Hillary Clinton’
The president had criticized McRaven in an interview with Fox News.