Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (59)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

I love the thanks from NATO to Russia for jamming the GPS signal.  Such sarcasm is not seen enough, I wonder if Russia ‘gets it’?

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Reports from inside Russia are by far the most interesting and explain a lot of current Russian foreign policy behaviors. Interesting reports also from China / DPRK and Europe. A fascinating series of reports on Facebook’s self-inflicted troubles.


NATO / EU / Russia Reports


Belgian warplanes scramble to intercept Russian jets over Baltics (Video) | UNIAN
On Nov 28, Belgian warplanes scrambled to intercept Russian Su-27 Flanker jets in the Baltic Region, the Belgian Air Force tweeted on Thursday. According to the Belgian Air Force, the jets were flying without a flight plan.
UAWire – NATO thanks Russia for ‘assistance’ during military exercises
During the NATO military exercises Trident Juncture 2018, Russia created obstacles to the operation of the GPS equipment. Nevertheless, Russia unwittingly helped the Alliance forces who performed military tasks to improve skills, stated NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, Ukrinform reported. “The representatives of the commanding staff of the exercises said that they expected such actions by Russia. They believe this helped to train better since Russia’s attempts to interfere with the exercises of our troops in real time are the best way to understand what should be done in such cases and how to react,” Gottemoeller commented on the intervention of the Russian Federation in the work of the GPS equipment during the military exercises of NATO. Earlier, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said that Russia could be involved in numerous failures in the GPS satellite navigation system during the large-scale military exercises of the North Atlantic Alliance Trident Juncture 2018. The largest NATO exercises since the Cold War have been held in Norway since October 25. The purpose of the exercises Trident Juncture 2018 was to test the ability of NATO to restore the sovereignty of an ally after an act of armed aggression. These exercises will also test and certify the NATO Response Forces for 2019. In addition, they should have been a signal to Russia stating that the allies are ready to act together and ensure the protection of the Atlantic. The exercises involved bout 50 thousand soldiers from 31 NATO and partner countries, about 250 aircraft, 65 ships and up to 10 thousand cars.
Finland and Sweden explore ways to deal with emerging threats in the information environment – To Inform is to Influence
I hope that someone from the US is involved in this tabletop exercise, specifically from the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication’s (DNSA/SC) staff. It is their job to coordinate these efforts on behalf of the United States as well as building a better network of experts in this field.  I also hope the…
Russia Warns Against New U.S. Missile Deployments In Europe
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned that the planned U.S. withdrawal from a Cold War nuclear arms treaty could critically undermine stability in Europe.

Russia / Russophone Reports


Russia’s Craziness Makes It Dangerous, Weakness vs. Strength – To Inform is to Influence
I wanted to include this article, it offers a subtle pronouncement of Russia’s craziness and its danger, because of its weakness. David Patrikarakos rightly postulates that Russia might do something crazy as a result of being weak. Yes, Putin desperately needs to avoid both a colored revolution inside Russia. Putin also needs to win an ongoing popularity contest within Russia after really agitating Russian citizens by raising the pension age during the 2018 World Cup. Weak countries do stupid things when facing the reality of failure. Russian arrogance, bravado, and machismo might well drive Russia to do something really crazy. The sheer stupidity of an invasion of another country, especially Ukraine, should hurt, even to think about it. But, don’t forget, this is Russia. Russia’s economy is crippling its military in the long term. Russia cannot and will not use its nuclear weapons. Same for its conventional military, it can only afford “oozing” invasions based on fake and false provocations. That leaves only words. Russia will continue waging an information war with the West. Expect more craziness. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. But always remember “Crazy Ivan” from The Hunt For Red October – an unexpected action which became predictable. </end editorial>
UAWire – Jehovah’s Witnesses accuse Russia of human rights violations
The Jehovah’s Witnesses organization has filed 37 statements in European courts concerning human rights violations against members of their religion in Russia and the Crimea. This statistic was reported by Calisto Walker, a representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses head office in New York, in a comment to Krym.Realii TV. According to Walker, the Jehovah’s Witnesses HQ in New York is convinced that, despite criminal persecution in Russia and Crimea, adherents will continue to preach and to hold services. “Jehovah’s Witnesses will always believe in God and worship him. Of course, now, in order to read the Bible and sing songs, people will gather in small groups and be very careful. But they will still continue to believe in the Kingdom of God,” Walker said. On November 16 in Dzhankoy, Crimea, Russian FSB agents conducted searches and made arrests at several dozens of addresses of people suspected of being Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion which is prohibited in Russia and the Russia-annexed Crimea. According to a correspondent of Radio Liberty’s Russian service, the leader of the local Witnesses group, Sergey Filatov, was arrested. The group was registered in 2015 and abolished in 2017 following the ban on the religion in Russia. On April 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia declared the administrative center of the Jehovah’s Witnesses “an extremist organization”.
Putin: US-China trade war offers great opportunities for Russia — RT Business News
The escalating trade friction between the United States and China is opening the door for Russian producers to enter the Chinese market, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the global investment forum in Moscow on Wednesday.
Putin says Russia ditching dollar in sanctions response
President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia had no choice but to cut its dependency on dollars to conduct trade, after becoming the target of increasingly severe US sanctions. “It isn’t our goal to desert the dollar,” Putin told an investment forum in comments broadcast on national
By undermining Russia’s use of dollar US ‘shooting itself not in the foot but a bit higher’ – Putin — RT Business News
Those pulling dollars out of Russia aren’t shooting themselves in the foot, but a bit higher – Putin
Putin Aims Below The Belt With Wry Remark Targeting U.S. Dollar
Russian President Vladimir Putin denigrated the dollar and hit out at U.S. sanctions against Moscow with a wry remark about his country’s efforts to decrease its reliance on the U.S. currency.
Pavel Baev | Putin’s Month-Long Diplomatic Tour Highlights Russia’s Growing Irrelevance – To Inform is to Influence
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 165 By: Pavel K. Baev November 26, 2018 06:09 PM Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, had to recently (November 13) explain that there was nothing extraordinary about the fact that President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were out of the country at the same time (RIA Novosti, November 13). Medvedev’s whereabouts are usually of scant interest even to his own government, but Putin’s travel schedule for most of November has been so full that he repeatedly had to dispatch his head of government to international fora of sub-prime importance. As the series of spy scandals and cyber-related controversies with the West continues, the Kremlin, indeed, sees an urgent need to demonstrate that Russia defies hostile attitudes and is able to overcome sanctions and isolation. One manifestation of this defiance has been the threat not to send any official delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next January, unless three sanctioned and duly un-invited oligarchs—Oleg Deripaska, Andrei Kostin, and Viktor Vekselberg—are added back to the guest list (Vedomosti, November 13). The Swiss hosts have not budged, however; and the steadily expanding international sanctions are in fact causing pessimistic expectations among the Russian business elite (RBC, November 20).
Polina Ivanova on Twitter: “Nothing to see here, says the Russian federal protective service, as its security guards float over the Kremlin on a something resembling an upside down umbrella #russia #kremlin… https://t.co/eiZfYzNwYo”
Twitter Suspends Account That ‘Impersonated’ Putin, Issuing Tweets In English
Twitter late on November 28 suspended an account that it said had been impersonating Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian bot-in-chief? Twitter blocks ‘fake Putin’ who lured over 1mn followers in 6 years — RT World News
It took Twitter six years to realize that the @putinRF_eng account, with over a million followers, had nothing to do with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has for long maintained that he has no time to waste on social media.
Twitter says account with 1 million followers was Putin impostor
Twitter Wednesday suspended an account that had built up a following of 1 million by claiming it was an official account of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia Targets Google For Not Deleting Banned Groups From Search Results
Russia’s communications watchdog is accusing tech giant Google of failing to comply with a law requiring it to delete search results for organizations that are banned in Russia.
Russia Rejects $1.3 Billion International Arbitration Ruling In Ukraine Bank Case
Russia says it will not accept an international arbitration ruling obliging Moscow to pay Ukraine’s biggest state-run bank $1.3 billion in compensation for loss of business and assets in Crimea fol…
UAWire – Russia wants to fly to the moon to check if Americans were there
The head of the government corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin during a visit to the Russian Space Systems together with the President of Moldova Igor Dodon stated that it is necessary to check whether Americans were on the moon, RIA Novosti reports “We set a goal to fly and check if they were there or were not. They say they were, we will check,” said Rogozin answering the corresponding question. At the same time, Rogozin believes that currently, no one on earth can handle the moon program alone. Therefore in researching the moon, he hopes for cooperation with the US. Earlier, on NASA’s space agency website, an audio recording of the landing of the Apollo 11 mission on the moon was published.
New investigative report explains how the Kremlin conquered Russia’s Telegram channels — Meduza
In a new investigative report for the website Proekt, journalists Mikhail Rubin and Roman Badanin explain “how the authorities turned Telegram into television” by colonizing and buying out the medium. Rubin and Badanin say Kremlin officials were initially worried about the influence of Telegram channels on Russia’s political system, and in late 2016 they started leaking insider scoops to certain journalists, to see where on the network the information emerged. Instead, the Kremlin quickly discovered that the people behind these channels are generally “scam artists” capitalizing on Russia’s “information shortage” by “creating the illusion that certain informed insiders” would tell the truth behind online nicknames. Ironically, nobody more than state officials themselves wanted this to be true. Meduza summarizes Rubin and Badanin’s Proekt report.
Arms For All? Khodorkovsky Says Russians Need Guns
Mikhail Khodorkovsky remains upbeat about the prospects of democratic change in Russia, but sees the need for the citizenry to protect themselves from the government.
Russian Cyber Operations: State-led Organised Crime – To Inform is to Influence
James Sullivan Research Fellow 28 November 2018 Russia is emulating approaches used by cybercriminals as it blurs the line between state and non-state activities in cyberspace The recent activities of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation – Russia’s military intelligence, otherwise known by its traditional (if…
Accused Russian Agent In Washington Appears Near Settling Case
A woman charged with working secretly for the Russian government to sway politicians in Washington appears to be moving toward a settlement of her case with U.S. prosecutors, according to her famil…
Khodorkovsky: Russia Involved In Journalists’ Deaths In Africa
Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky has alleged that Russians working for the Central African Republic played a “serious” role in the deaths of three Russian journalists. Orkhan Dzhemal, Aleksandr Rastorguyev, and Kirill Radchenko were killed in July while making a documentary about the activities of the Vagner Russian paramilitary group in the African country. Speaking to Current Time TV on November 23, Khodorkovsky claimed that he had proof of Russian involvement in the murders of the journalists.
UAWire – Media publishes employment contracts details of Russian mercenaries from Wagner private military company
A mercenary from the Wagner private military company (PMC) in Syria has revealed information on the employment contract signed by the PMC’s …
UAWire – Media uncovers ties between Wagner private military company and Putin’s chef
The BBC Russian service has found a connection between the Wagner private military company (PMC) and the businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is also known as “Putin’s Chef”. Megaline, a company affiliated with Prigozhin, built a chapel in Russia’s Rostov province to commemorate the Russian volunteers who died in Syria. It has also built a number of facilities for the Defense Ministry, including a small military town in the region of the Belgorod province bordering with Ukraine. The company Exclusive Technology, which owns the site on which the chapel was built, may also be connected to Prigozhin. It uses the same insurer as Megaline, one of its employees used the mailbox of one of Prigozhin’s other businesses, and it is located in St. Petersburg in an office neighboring Prigozhin’s business.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: “And an Angel Appeared unto Stalin…”
Paul Goble Staunton, November 24 – Along with the traditional Orthodox cult of Russia’s tsars, Pavel Pryanikov says, “there is beginning actively to be developed in the Orthodox milieu now the sanctification of Stalin,” something the Russian blogger describes as “a good example of historical Tolkienism.” It is only to bad that this is beginning in the 21st century and not in the 19th when it would have been much easier to fabricate the necessary “documents’ and thereby “easily convince the illiterate mass of the population of the truth of such legend mongering.” Now, it is happening in a less trusting age (facebook.com/ppryanikov/posts/2166996546678726). In the November issue of the Orthodox newspaper Rus Derzhavnaya, an issue that has not yet been posted on the paper’s webpage (http://rusderjavnaya.ru/), there is reproduced what purports to be quotations from Patriarch Aleksii II about how Stalin became a monk of the Orthodox Church. “This was in 1941,” the quotation begins. “The Germans were only 40 kilometers from Moscow. And an angel appeared unto Joseph Vissarionovich. And said: ‘Take the tonsure, and you will save both Moscow and the entire world. Call Patriarch Sergii.’” In 1941, of course, Sergii was not yet the patriarch but “the angel already then called him that.” And Joseph Vissarionovich asked what name he should take after tonsure. And “the angel said, ‘Your name will be Georgy.’ ‘Have Sergii come and tonsure you,’ the angel continued.” And when the patriarch came, “Stalin asked him: ‘What will be my service as a monk?’ The latter responded that he will serve as he has up to then,” only dressing modestly, not eating to excess or drinking too much. “’Only what is necessary for life.’” And Stalin’s new status was to be kept “’secret.’” “How beautiful and elevated is our history!” Prayanikov exclaims. “The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the USSR takes the tonsure under the name Geogry – and on the day of the great martyr, Georgy the Bringer of Victory, and then on Easter, we ended the war in Berlin!” “The first person of the Bolshevik state bowed his head before the truth and power of God and repented in the name of the entire people. And Russia was forgiven although it passed through fiery tests. Here is who is the real marshal of Victory! How great and victorious is the Russian Orthodox tradition of combining monasticism and militarism.” In a way, Pryanikov continues, as the blessed Matrona of Moscow, whom Stalin saw in the same fall of 1941 and quite possibly after he had become a monk, said, “Perhaps the Lord will forgive him.” And he notes that there is additional “evidence” for Stalin’s change of status in the memoirs of Yury Solovyev, the leader’s personal bodyguard. In his 2005 book, The Kremlin from the Inside, Solovyev relates that there was a small chapel in the Great Kremlin Palace that Stalin often visited but always alone, apparently to “fulfill his spiritual requirements” and clear evidence that the Soviet leader was “a believer” and not an atheist. “If one considers the historical personality of Stalin without any ideological filter, one can see,” Pryanikov says, “that he was a classical empire, a real Russian tsar, the student and continuer of the work of the tsars Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Nicholas I, and Alexander III.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Another Revenant from High Stalinism: Putin Officials Warn Against Kowtowing to the West
Paul Goble Staunton, November 24 – One of the more noxious if sometimes amusing policies of Stalin’s regime at the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s was its regular warning against kowtowing to the West and related assertions that the Russians had invented everything the West had anyway. Those policies or at least the attitudes behind them appear to be making a comeback, something that should not have come as any surprise given the attacks on foreigners that have become a regular feature of Putin-era propaganda. Nevertheless, calls by senior officials to adopt a “Russia-only” approach are striking. In Stalin’s time, these appeals opened the way to systematic repression of many individuals and groups, including not unimportantly, the Jews. So far at least, under Putin, that has not happened; but what has occurred this week suggests that today’s Kremlin is less far from that outcome than many assume. The first of these two salvos comes from Russian Enlightenment Minister Olga Vasilyeva who has sharply criticized the use of words borrowed from other languages in the educational process and directed teachers to “open their dictionaries” and us perfectly good Russian equivalents (stoletie.ru/lenta/vasiljeva_prizvala_vospitatelej_govorit_po-russki_990.htm). And the second comes from Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko who has declared that “the use of foreign medical technology” amounts to “worshipping the West,” an expression perilously close to the terms Stalin’s propagandists used (agonia-ru.com/archives/27006). Fortunately, the reaction of many Russians to these notions is that they reflect at the very least hypocrisy on the part of their authors, a healthy attitude that informs many of the Twitter and Instagram posts that have appeared since Vasilyeva and Matviyenko made their comments (yaplakal.com/forum1/st/50/topic1872895.html).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Re-Sovietization’s Dangers Increasing as Those Who Lived in USSR Pass from the Scene, Krylov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 27 – Many analysts in both Russia and the West have operated on the assumption that the further into the past the Soviet system recedes, the less likely its restoration becomes; but Konstantin Krylov says that the reverse is true: the danger of re-Sovietization will increase as those who actually lived under it pass from the scene. That is because the past will become mythologized, the Russian commentator says; and there will not be anyone left to challenge these myths on the basis of personal experience, something that could prove fatal if institutions are not put in place to ensure that no one will accept the new mythology and act on it (https://www.apn.ru/index.php?newsid=37617). Krylov begins with the observation that “there is nothing more vital than ideas, and harmful ideas in particular. They are like weeds: however often they are pulled out, they grow back in the human mind again and again, especially among those who connect their life with this or that idea – or even lived in the era of its dominance.” The same thing is true with political ideas: “Even disappointment in a political idea does not necessarily lead to a state of being free from its influence. For example, the author of this essay regularly encounters people who consider themselves anti-Soviets but who think exclusively in the framework of Soviet Marxism.” Many assumed that such people are older and will soon die out, replaced by younger ones who are not so trapped, Krylov continues. But that unfortunately is not the case. Indeed, he argues – and the emphasis here is his own – “if Sovietism is fated to be reborn, it will be reborn precisely in the new generations, not in those who lived in the USSR.” There are compelling reasons for that conclusion, he suggests. “Soviet power was totally false,” it described reality in ways that did not have “any relationship to reality but presented itself as a description of that reality.” Those who lived under it knew and know that; those who didn’t are prepared to accept its description as perhaps distorted but nonetheless true. Another major reason for their doing so is the extent to which many younger people accept the idea promoted by many of their elders that the Russian Empire before 1917 was so evil that regardless of what the Soviets did, they and their system were ultimately necessary and an improvement. And still a third reason is the widespread belief promoted by many that all that has happened is somehow the direct result of the inherent characteristics of the Russian people, a nation which supposedly always needs a strong hand and total control. Because there are Russians, such people think, Soviet power was unavoidable. Today, Krylov says, “one of the chief restraining barriers to a left turn in Russian politics is that not all the elder generation has passed away, a generation which still remembers the black horrors of socialism.” Even those clutches of old people who march with red flags don’t really want to go back, at least more than selectively. They remember. But not so the younger generation. They are “innocent” of any facts about the past. Instead, they get their ideas from Soviet films and Soviet books, and they think the false picture those things project is reality, much as they accept many falsehoods offered on the Internet or in films now. Because this is the case, the current powers that be are preparing for a left turn, “not as the only possible program, of course – there are always several possibilities – but as one of them.” And to that end, the authorities are promoting the notion that “Soviet power was somehow good or at least acceptable.” The goal of such propaganda and such a strategy, Krylov continues, “is not the preservation of the current regime,” whose members want to live in the West when they can, “but the preservation of the colonial rule of the Russian Federation.” Those who say this can’t happen here will point to the fact that today there are no revolutionary parties. But Krylov says, there is “a simple answer: [such parties] are no longer needed.” Instead, as the Maidan showed, it is possible to use mass communications to draw a crowd and change the situation. That strategy can work with young people who don’t know the realities of the past far better than with pensioners who may be nostalgic about some aspect of it but at a fundamental level know just how horrific Soviet power was and, whatever they may think they are for, would never support a simple restoration of the status quo ante.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: US May Very Well Add Russia to List of State Sponsors of Terrorism, Inozemtsev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 28 – There are more than 200 groups that one or another country has identified as terrorist, Vladislav Inozemtsev says; but there are only four countries – Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and South Yemen – that the United States identifies as state sponsors of terrorist acts beyond their borders. Russia is now at risk of joining them, he says. There is no more damning accusation than that, the Russian economist and commentator says; and the fact that some in the US are now considering that possibility for Russia must be worrisome to Moscow because from it would follow sanctions far more severe than any the Kremlin has seen so far (snob.ru/entry/168743). When Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and unleashed the war in the Donbass, many Ukrainian officials accused Russia of being a sponsor of terrorism; and after the shooting down of the Malaysian civilian airliner, such calls spread to Europe as well, Inozemtsev continues. But such charges multiplied after the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury last spring. It was at that time that American congressmen began demanding that Russia be included in the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Shortly thereafter, Senator Lindsay Graham introduced a bill, “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression,” which required that the State Department consider whether Russia should be on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. That bill has not been considered by the Senate largely because of the campaigns in advance of the mid-term elections in the US, Inozemtsev says; and it was dismissed as “being beyond good sense” by Putin’s spokesman. But now that the elections are over and in the wake of new Russian actions, it is likely to be taken up at the start of next year. At the very least, the inclusion of Russia on such a list is going to become the subject of more discussions as more information comes out about the recent actions of the Russian special services and “private military companies” comes out, the latter because of the suite of 357 members of such units in the International Court. According to Inozemtsev, the prospects that this question will not only be raised but decided in the affirmative are “extremely realistic.” That doesn’t mean that the West will stop all contacts with Russia: it hasn’t with others on the list. But it does mean that there will be more pressure for a new round of far more draconian sanctions. “In almost all cases when a country lands on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, serious financial measures are introduced, including among the very first restrictions on any international transactions.” That prospect should give the Kremlin pause and should lead more Russians to ask why Moscow has been acting as it has. The Crimean Anschluss made a certain amount of sense from Putin’s point of view: it boosted his rating at home and highlighted Western weakness. But what he has been doing since then is more difficult to explain or justify. In many cases, his actions appear to defy common sense in that they have brought neither him nor Russia any benefit. “Why support a failed dictator in Syria if you don’t even fully control him? Why get more heavily involved with Hezbollah and Hamas if no one in the West will have anything to do with these organizations? Why have the foreign ministry conduct negotiations with the Taliban? Is it really necessary to kill one’s own former spies? … and finally, why expand actions with band formations in Africa” and link odious regimes with senior Russian officials? According to Inozemtsev, “even the imagined use from such exertions is close to zero, while as a result of them, the chance of becoming identified as the patron of ‘great terror’ in the eyes of the civilized community is greater than ever before.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Reasons Why Russia’s Military-Industrial Complex Can’t Catch up with America’s
Paul Goble Staunton, November 29 – Many Russians, including Vladimir Putin, believe that the country’s military-industrial complex has some magic capacity to catch up and surpass its counterpart in the United States, Moscow analyst Dmitry Milin says; but there are five important reasons why that is not the case. First, unlike its Soviet predecessor, the Russian military-industrial complex is dependent on imports for almost everything. Indeed, without purchases from abroad, Russia’s defense industry can’t produce anything except “perhaps” bullets (newizv.ru/article/general/29-11-2018/5-prichin-po-kotorym-ne-rabotaet-voenno-promyshlennyy-kompleks-rrssii). Second, Milin continues, “there are no magic technologies” which will make up for the failure of Russia to invest sufficiently in this sector to overcome its decay. For example, Dmitry Rogozin who heads Roskosmos says that in his area, “87 percent” of the basic equipment is outdated. Compensating for that will take all Moscow is spending and more. Third, for the Russian defense sector to become competitive without reliance on others, it will have to encourage innovation and risk-taking, something those in charge do not. Changing that culture to one like the Americans have will require not just money but a transformation of mentality. That is harder than even finding more money. Fourth, because of the enormous bureaucracy and corruption, even if Russia does put more money into this branch, it will find that the cost of producing any particular item will be four to eight times greater than is the case in China or the West. That means that Moscow would have to spend four to eight times as much to get the same output, not a realistic possibility. And fifth, while the Russian political elite often announces new weapons systems, it has proved incapable of organizing things so that they are delivered in a timely manner. “For example,” Milin says, three major systems, the SU-57, the Armata, and the S-500, were supposed to be ready in 2013. They aren’t ready yet.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Western Sanctions Work in a Way: Wealthy Russians Selling Yachts Before West Can Seize Them
Paul Goble Staunton, November 29 – Aleksandr Mamut and Vasily Anisimov, listed by Forbes as the 42nd and 68th richest Russians, have just sold their yachts out of fears that if they did not do so, Western governments will impound or seize them outright (primechaniya.ru/home/news/noyabr-2018/rossijskie-oligarhi-speshno-rasprodayut-svoi-superyahty-opasayas-ih-aresta/). That Russia’s richest are able to take such steps, of course, reflects the fact that Western governments instead of imposing sanctions quickly, have in almost every case signaled their intentions well in advance allowing the richest Russians to escape the losses that they should with justice suffer. A more serious sanctions regime would be imposed quickly and even unexpectedly so that those who have been the most guilty of exploiting the system would not be able to escape. At the very least, Western governments and Western publics should focus on this problem lest the greatest criminals once again escape punishment.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Disturbing New Statistics about the Direction Putin is Taking Russia
Paul Goble Staunton, November 29 – Statistics, especially statistics released by Moscow or dependent on Russian figures, are anything but the most reliable measure of what is taking place in the Russian Federation. But five such indicators released in the last 48 hours are too disturbing not to be at least mentioned. The five include the following: · Russia leads all European countries in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases by a factor of two, an indication of the failure of public health efforts in that country and the unwillingness or inability of the Russian authorities to purchase anti-retroviral drugs from abroad, medications that in many places mean that this disease need not be a death sentence (forum-msk.org/material/news/15214043.html). · On a wide variety of measures of the standard of living, Russians are rapidly falling to the level of many sub-Saharan African countries and are ever further behind the advanced industrial world (finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/rossiya-rukhnula-do-urovnya-afriki-v-reytinge-socialnogo-blagopoluchiya-1027766545). · The number of Russians who want to emigrate has risen in the last several years from eight percent to 12 percent, a 50 percent increase (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BFCF65728457). · Sixty percent of Russian business leaders say that Western sanctions have hurt the Russian economy, although a smaller share say these restrictions have hurt their own operations. But both numbers undercut Kremlin claims that sanctions haven’t mattered (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BFD423A04045). · The number of scientists and researchers in Russia, in decline since Vladimir Putin came to power, is now falling at an accelerating fate, undercutting any possibility that the country will be able to recover or modernize on its own anytime soon (ehorussia.com/new/node/17426).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Society isn’t Backward but the Russian State Is, Pozharsky Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 29 – It has become a commonplace to say that Russian society is backward and that its failures to modernize explain and even justify the backwardness of the Russian state. But that is wrong, Mikhail Pozharsky says. Russian society isn’t “backward,” he insists; but the Russian state very much is. Sociological studies show that “Russia is one of the least religious and traditionalist countries of the world,” the Russian commentator says; but nevertheless, “the stereotype” that it is backward rather than the state remains very much “alive,” not in the least because Russian government propaganda promotes this notion (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BFF87F4BA665). What is especially to be regretted, Pozharsky says, is that Russian liberals are among the ones who uncritically accept the notion that the Russian people are backward while the Russian state is not, an attitude which means they accept the kind of backward state that has been created and only want to turn it in a different direction. As a result of Russian government propaganda, liberals in Russia and many elsewhere accept the notion that the worst and most repressive actions of the Russian state are not what the state wants to do but rather what it feels compelled to do because of the nature and attitudes of the Russian people. But that is nonsense, Pozharsky says. Russians don’t need to have the government ban concerts or works of art. They will simply behave the way people in other countries do: they won’t buy tickets or attend shows. To think otherwise, as Russian liberals do, is to fall into a trap the Kremlin has carefully prepared.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Federation Council Members Want to Drop Use of Cages in Russian Courtrooms
Paul Goble Staunton, November 25 — The Russian Federation and many other countries as well put those charged with crimes in cages while in the courtroom, a practice that suggests they are already guilty as charged and explains why a smaller share of those charged now is exonerated than was the case in Stalin’s time. Now a group of Russian senators, enthusiastically backed by human rights groups and lawyers, has called for an end to this practice in order to show those charged with crimes with the respect for their innocence until conviction under the provisions of the Russian Constitution (profile.ru/obsch/item/128197-k-podsudimym-proyavili-uvazhenie). In July, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko said that her colleagues should take up the issue of how accused are seated in court not only so that they would not be presented as if they were already guilty but also so that the accused and their lawyers could more easily consult with one another to protect the legal rights of those involved. She advised that Russia should follow the practice in European courts where the accused “sits alongside his lawyer at a table in humane conditions.” And Vyacheslav Lebedev, the head of the Russian Supreme Court, has come out in support although he says that arrangements should be coordinated with the interior ministry first. There is no reason to fear that any prisoner will flee, the justice says. That didn’t happen in Soviet times when prisoners were put in the dock (as in England) but not in cages. And in the years since cages were introduced, there have been almost no attempts at flight. In the last ten years, he says, there has been “perhaps” one attempt. Cages only began to be introduced in Russian courts in April 1992, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and for a very different reason that to prevent flight. Instead, as lawyers now recall, the accused were put in cells in order to protect them from attack by relatives of the victims of the actions they were accused of. Then, in February 1993, the justice ministry, the interior ministry and the Supreme Court called for the installation of such cages in all court rooms by January 1, 1994, ostensibly in response to the rise in crime, the increasing number of people charged, and thus the risk that some would try to flee. There is no law requiring the courts to have cages metal or glass for defendants. And so a decision to do away with them in most or all cases could be taken without having to pass any new legislation. Both kinds of cage should be done away with, with the glass ones used in Moscow and other large cities, dispensed with because among other things circulation is poor. The European Human Rights Court has frequently declared that the use of cages should be ended because “the image of someone behind bars, especially if the case is open and journalists are present has a negative impact on the presumption of innocence guaranteed by Article 6 of the Russian Constitution.” At present, metal cages are used in the courtrooms of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. But they are only sparingly employed in Armenia and Georgia and Ukraine and Azerbaijan are seeking to replace them with glass ones. But this positive step may not happen all that quickly. Andrey Babushkin, a defense lawyer and member of the Presidential Human Rights Council, says that Moscow should move “carefully” les there be flights or attacks on prisoners. Unfortunately, unlike in Soviet times, there aren’t enough guards for courtroom work. He also says that in the case of particularly dangerous criminals, cages should be retained; but he estimates that only about 20 percent of those charged would have to be kept in them.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia and the West Soon Will Be Moving Leftward, Pastukhov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, November 28 – Many commentators now talk about the ways in which Russia and the West are moving to the right, with the former seeking to recover the Soviet past and the latter the unreconstructed capitalism of the past, but that “rightist wave” in both cases will soon be overwhelmed by a new and much-longer-lasting leftward “tsunami.” In a Republic commentary today, the London-based Russian analyst says this reflects trends inside Russia and the West but even more the interconnection of the two, an interconnection that is often not understood given all the talk about how isolated Russia is as a result of its own efforts and those of others (republic.ru/posts/92564). Most discussion about Russia’s “isolation from the rest of the world” only partially conceal “the close, essential and uninterrupted links of Russia with the world, which pass through all its history and play in it a defining role,” Pastukhov continues. “Russia was and remains a significant part of the European cultural eco-system, and all of the essential vacillations and vibrations of the latter are reflected in its fate. More than that, being one of the weakest places of this eco-system, it picks up this vacillations and vibrations earlier than others” and sometimes manifests them in more extreme forms. It is thus important to recognize that “the powerful and various processes observed in Russia since the beginning of the ‘00s also are not only a response to strictly domestic challenges but also reflect certain more common world-wide tendencies, perhaps somewhat grotesquely designated as a new historical trend.” This trend, of course, is usually called “the rightist wave” and includes the growth of rightwing populists in Europe, Brexit in the UK, Trumpism in the US, and “finally the victory of the rightwing candidate in Brazil,” Passtukhov says. “What do all these various phenomena have in common? Above all, a bet on ‘good’ old nationalism and hostility to globalism which until recently was much loved.” Russia’s turn to the past is very much part of this, a reaction against globalism and a retreat into a past that never was and never will be restored. Indeed, Pastukhov suggests, both in Russia and the West, the leaders of this trend “resemble not architects but archaeologists.” And there are powerful forces now working that make it almost impossible that they will become more than that. “There are serious reasons to suppose,” the analyst says, “that the growth economy has exhausted itself, at least at this stage of human history.” Populism and the retreat into the past are a protest against this. But what this suggests is that the world for quite a long period may be mired in the new middle ages, predicted by Berdyaev.” If that is the case, Pastukhov says, then the need will arise to revise “almost all existing paradigms but in no way in the direction of ‘classical capitalism … but toward a rejection of classical capitalism and a transition to greater state regulation and to still more serious international integration – that is, to move in a leftward direction.” Thus “a paradoxical situation has arisen: the world economy is obviously moving to the left,” but political leaders are moving in the opposition direction, in response less to this underlying trend than to the behavior of those who served as the cheerleaders of globalization since the end of the 1980s. Today, he continues, “we are paying with Trump and Brexit for the dictatorship of political correctness and for liberal bolshevism which transformed the demands of minorities into imperatives for the majority. Very rapidly was passed the point at which oppressed minorities… became a terrible force,” offending majorities who are now responding in kind. But this will not last because it is not rooted in the underlying economic reality, the commentator says. “’The right wave’ is a temporary phenomenon. It is a correction in the political market. It does not respect the essence of processes taking place and will not reflect them. It cleanses the way of ‘the left wave’ which was … changed the entire … landscape.” What is coming, Pastukhov says, “will be a really long night, and it is uncleaer whether we will see at the dawn capitalism as we knew it at the beginning of modern times or whether this will be an entirely different historical formation.” If the world does survive, it will be “a much harsher one than today with government interference in the economy” and where the distribution of resources will play a role equal to or greater than their production, and one in which cooperation among states and between governments and businesses will be required in order to survive. The risks of today’s “’temporary’ ‘right wave’” are so great that they may involve a major war. “Moreover, after this ‘right wave,’ there may follow ‘a left wave’ … As a result, the world will remain in a zone of quite lengthy turbulence, from which it will be difficult to escape without losses and the growth of authoritarianism not only in Russia. And Pastukhov concludes: “The world’s economic and political systems are completing a complex and gigantic shift to the left,” one obscured by a temporary shift to the right. Those who want to understand the future must look beyond that and must stop separating Russia out from this broader trend.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Trying to Create a Single Power Vertical Among the Cossacks, Likely in Vain
Paul Goble Staunton, November 27 – Today, at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, “registered” Cossacks from throughout Russia, voted to create a single All-Russian Cossack Society with a single ataman that will oversee and control the 11 Cossack hosts (nazaccent.ru/content/28740-uchreditelnoe-sobranie-vserossijskogo-kazachego-obshestva-prohodit.html). Vladimir Putin in a message to the group made it clear that he not only supports this development but along with t eh Russian Orthodox Church played a key role in it. “Today,” he said, thanks to Cossack volunteers and “the support of the organs of power and of the Russian Orthodox Church, Cossackry is not only being reborn but is becoming a more significant and constructive force” (tass.ru/obschestvo/5839261). According to the Kremlin leader, “the creation of the All-Russian Cossack Society will make possible the development of the Cossacks and its unification around the centuries-old traditions of devoted service to the Fatherland and also to the preservation of unique cultural and historical heritage.” The vote to create this new body was unanimous, Oblastnaya gazeta reports (oblgazeta.ru/news/43989/), yet another indication of how much the Kremlin is behind this latest move. But even more significant, the constituent meeting said it would register with the state and then Putin would appoint its “ataman for a six-year term.” That is an obvious violation of the democratic traditions, admittedly sometimes violated, of the Cossacks, and the formation of a single Cossack organization under the control of the state ignores three important aspects of that community which all too many Russians and others choose to ignore. First, the Cossack community is extremely diverse, with different histories, different religions, and different nationalities. It is not all ethnic Russian and Russian Orthodox as much as Hollywood and Putin invariably try to suggest otherwise. And many Cossacks today will be offended by efforts to portray it otherwise and as a single whole. Second, while many Cossacks engaged in state service historically, the relations of most of them with the Russian state have been fraught, not only in that some of the 13 hosts that existed at the end of tsarist times consisted of people who fled the state but also in the ugly genocide of the Cossacks under the Soviets. And third, the “registered” Cossacks that were represented in Moscow today are only a small part of all Cossacks. Most Cossack groups are independent and refuse in principle to register, many are in opposition to the government, and many are unprepared to serve as Putin’s shock troops against the population. With this Moscow meeting, the Kremlin may achieve what it does want, a single power vertical within a portion of the Cossacks prepared to do its bidding and that it can present as what it isn’t, the Cossack world as a whole. And that in turn likely means that Putin and company will now use the existence of this new “body” to go after those genuine Cossacks who don’t go along. But even that will do little to stifle demands by most Cossacks for recognition as a distinct nation, for the restoration of their lands, and for support popular and political not as a police force of the empire but as an ancient and proud people.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Pomors, Seen in Moscow as Ethnic Russians, Gain Backing for Being Treated as Distinct Nation
Paul Goble Staunton, November 26 – There are important variations within what Moscow defines as the ethnic Russian nation, but especially in recent years, the center has sought sometimes with success and sometimes not to suppress them lest such differences lead to the emergence of groups who claim to be a distinct nation. Moscow has at least two fears. On the one hand, the emergence of such groups as nations would have the effect of cutting into ethnic Russian majority in the country, a majority that has been in decline since the USSR came apart. And on the other, the appearance of such nations would cast doubt on Kremlin claims about the monolithic quality of the Russian one. Some of the groups are quite large, such as the Siberians, who number in the millions; but most are smaller, with only a few thousand people involved. But given the centrality of ethnicity as a flashpoint even in Putin’s system, even the aspirations of the latter for acceptance as nations represents a serious problem. In many ways, the people who are the litmus test of where the Russian authorities are on this issue are the Pomors, a traditional fishing community who live on the seacoast near Arkhangelsk and who number from just over 3,000 according to the 2010 census to several times that number according to activists. Over the last decade, members of the Pomor community have sought the status of a separate nation; and Moscow has responded by charging those who do so with various crimes including treason and making it clear that they are ethnic Russians and nothing else. (See windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/01/a-people-within-people-pomor-challenge.html). Now, however, it appears that the Pomors have gained a new advocate in Moscow, although as Vzglyad reports, he faces serious opposition from Academician Valery Tishkov, former head of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology and a close advisor to Vladimir Putin (vz.ru/news/2018/11/22/951709.html). Andrey Babushkin, a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council, says that in his view, the Pomors are “a separate and self-standing people” and should enjoy all the special benefits that the Russian government offers the numerically small peoples of the North. He is calling for regional authorities to conduct research to confirm that fact. “It must not be allowed to happen that peoples who have existed over the course of many years should disappear from the face of the earth. But independently of whether the Pomors are recognized as an ethnos or not, it is necessary that the Russian settlers in the north get the very same guarantees which the indigenous numerically small peoples of the North now do.” Babushkin, who some have suggested is pushing this idea because of supposed attachment to the Old Believers says the Sakha Republic’s approach to such groups hould at a minimum be extended to the Pomors in the Arkhangelsk area. There is no basis for making a distinction, he argues in a blog post (president-sovet.ru/members/blogs/post/3500/). Varvara Osipova, the press secretary of the Presidential Human Rights Council, says that Babushkin is expressing his personal opinion and in no way that of the Council as a whole. But the leading opponent of his position is Tishkov, who says that “the Pomors are in no way a separate people or a minority.” They are “one of the forms of identity of the ethnic Russians.” “In the census,” the academician continues, the Pomors “are counted as Russians just as the Cossacks are. They can be separated out as a special ethnographic variant connected with historical tradition but this is in no way makes them a separate people.” Moreover, Tishkov continues, the law on numerically small peoples does not provide support for all peoples numbering fewer than 50,000 but only to those who continue to live according to their traditional way of life. Many smaller groups don’t, and they aren’t given any special benefits. But Mikhail Todyshev, a specialist on the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian North, Siberia and the Far East, notes that “the Pomors have for a long time aspired to having the rights which are given to [the others] extended to them. And this is based on their way of life and traditional economic activity.” “Naturally, not having any defense, [the Pomors] are exposed to the take over of their land by industrial development and this represents for them a serious threat.” In his view, deciding whether they are a separate ethnos or not is less important than providing them with the assistance they need.
Report: Most New European HIV Cases Last Year Arose In Ukraine, Russia
Almost 160,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Europe last year, with three-quarters of the new cases arising in Ukraine and Russia, two European health agencies said on November 28.
Moscow Rejects HIV Rates Reported By WHO Study
Moscow has rejected a fresh report co-authored by the World Health Organization (WHO) that shows Russia registered the highest number of fresh HIV cases in Europe last year.
Russian HIV Patients Deal With Persistent Stigma As Incidence Rises
Nearly 160,000 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Europe last year — and two-thirds of those cases were in Russia. Researchers say the stigma surrounding the disease makes it harder to share prevention and treatment information with the public. Ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, RFE/RL’s Russian Service spoke to one HIV patient in Moscow, who described the routine prejudice he faces.
Russian state TV anchor’s British citizenship makes his government ‘public council’ memberships illegal — Meduza
On November 22, Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation revealed that Rossiya-1 television anchor Sergey Brilev has had British citizenship since at least 2001. A few days later, Brilev verified this information, insisting that he’s violated no laws, saying, “An employee at a federal state unitary enterprise isn’t a state official […] and I have no access to classified information.” In fact, Brilev’s second citizenship means he broke the law twice by illegally joining two public councils, first at Russia’s Interior Ministry and then at Russia’s Defense Ministry.
Former Russian Defense Ministry Official Arrested On Bribery Charges
A former Russian Defense Ministry official and ex-official at Moscow’s CSKA sports club has been arrested on bribery charges.
Ingush Opposition Activist Sentenced On Hatred Charges
An opposition activist in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Ingushetia has been sentenced to two years and 11 months in a colony-settlement, a penitentiary in which convicts live close to a facilit…
Russia’s media censor wants to fine Google for refusing to censor search results — Meduza
On November 26, Russia’s federal media censor announced administrative charges against “Google, LLC” for failing to comply with a law that requires online search engines to purge any hyperlinks to materials that are banned in Russia. Google has also refused to connect to the federal information system where these websites are listed. For violating Russia’s Internet censorship rules, Google faces a fine as high as 700,000 rubles (about $10,430).
Russian Nationalist Kremlin Critic Maltsev Says Granted Political Asylum In France
Vyacheslav Maltsev, an outspoken Kremlin critic and leader of an outlawed Russian nationalist opposition movement, says he received political asylum in France.
‘Russia Today’ chief editor says the Kremlin helped free a rapper from jail — Meduza
On Monday, November 26, a district court in Krasnodar overturned the 12-day arrest of the rapper Dmitry Kuznetsov, better known as “Husky,” and the performer was promptly released. According to Russia Today chief editor Margarita Simonyan, Husky has the Putin administration to thank: the jail sentence apparently angered “two or three” Kremlin officials, and they intervened in the local courts. A source close to the Putin administration later confirmed this rumor to the independent television network Dozhd.
Russia Violated Basic Rights With LGBT Rally Bans, European Court Rules
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia violated several basic rights by barring rallies planned by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community i…
Police seize ‘International Tolerance Day’ drawings from Russian grade school, after news outlet calls them ‘gay propaganda’ — Meduza
In mid-November, a grade school in Yekaterinburg held a week-long drawing contest called “Tolerant World” in honor of International Tolerance Day. In all, about 17 students between the fifth and 11th grade took part in the event.
‘Dad, Please Come Home’: Russian Homework Assignment Raises Eyebrows Behind The ‘Front Lines’
Fourth-grade students at an elementary school in St. Petersburg were tasked with writing a letter to their fathers on the “front line,” sparking outrage among some parents.
Russian Activist Detained In St. Petersburg Over Pro-Ingushetia Action
An activist with Russian human rights group Vesna (Spring), Valentin Khoroshenin, has been detained over a demonstration of support for Ingushetia residents in their tug-of-war with Chechnya regard…
Until earlier this month, a health clinic in Moscow was offering clitorectomies on religious grounds to girls as young a five — Meduza
Not far from the Baumanskaya subway station in Moscow, there’s a small two-story building attached to a brick warehouse that dates back to the 19th century. The warehouse was recently converted into lofts, but the annex houses a medical center called “Best Clinic,” which offers a wide variety of services ranging from dentistry and psychotherapy to surgery and cosmetic work.
Jailed Russian Activist Faces New Charge Days Before Release
A Russian opposition activist serving a prison term after being found guilty of assaulting police during a protest is facing fresh charges four days before his scheduled release.
Moon Rocks Collected By Soviets Sell For $855,000 At Auction
Three rock fragments retrieved from the moon by an unmanned Soviet space mission in 1970 were sold for $855,000 at a New York auction on November 29.
Russian Asylum Seeker Dies In U.S. Custody, Days Before Deportation
The Russian Embassy in the United States says it is looking into the circumstances of the death of a Russian citizen who died at an immigration jail in the state of Washington.
To avoid sanctions, Kremlin goes off the grid – To Inform is to Influence
A word of warning before reading this article.  Some phrases and facts are grossly misleading. Many of the words, phrases, and concepts are derived directly from Russian propaganda. South Ossetia is not a breakaway region, it was seized in a military action by Russia in a war with Georgia in 2008.  It is now “occupied…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: 100 Bridges in Russia have Collapsed in Last Year; Even More at Risk, Experts Say
Paul Goble Staunton, November 26 – Articles last week suggesting that Russia’s Kerch Straits bridge might be at risk because it is rapidly settling on a soft seabed have called attention to a larger problem: the state of Russia’s bridges more generally. Russian experts say approximately 100 have collapsed in the last year alone and that more will soon unless urgent measures are taken. The major reason for this problem, Nurlan Gasymov of the URA news agency says, is serious underfunding of regional programs to repair and rebuild the country’s aging infrastructure. Many have not been fixed for more than 30 years, and their collapse is costing lives and undermining the country’s transportation network (ura.news/articles/1036276896). The situation is now so dire, the Siberian journalist says, that it sometimes happens that several bridges collapse in the course of a single day. On October 9, for example, that occurred, with two bridges collapsing onto the Trans-Siberian railway in Amur Oblast and a third falling down in Mordvinia. Mikhail Blinkin, a transportation economist at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, says that “an enormous number of bridges are in a dangerous situation” because they aren’t being maintained. Those in the worst shape are bridges under the responsibility of regional or local officials. “There is no money” to do even minimal repairs, he adds. Worse this underfinancing of bridge repair has been true for decades, extending back into Soviet times. Now, the bill for this failure to maintain the bridges is coming do; and it is far higher than any official had anticipated, in large measure because Russia has so many rivers and thus so many bridges. According to Rosstat, there are abut 42,000 bridges in Russia, with a total length of 2.1 million meters. “Every ninth bridge is made of word,” and “about 500” are acknowledged to be at the point of collapse. Many were built when the weight of trucks they had to support was half as much as the weight now. Aleksandr Strelnikov, a specialist at the Russian transportation ministry, says that many of the bridges were constructed inadequately and thus were going to fail regardless of maintenance. Still worse, he continues, the quality of bridge construction has declined in recent years: it was far superior in Soviet times. Now, officials try to build bridges too quickly. The problem is made worse by Russia’s severe climatic conditions, but it has been hidden from many because the worst cases are in poor regions distant from the capital. Many of the bridge collapses now are not even reported in the central media, and so Russians do not know just how bad things are becoming beyond the areas in which they live.
Russian Man Dies Of Injuries Suffered In Latest In Series Of Bridge Collapses
A man who was injured in one of at least five recent bridge collapses in Russia has died.
Miss Moscow 2015 converts to Islam, marries King of Malaysia | Fox News
A former Miss Moscow has become the new “Queen of Malaysia” after she converted to Islam and married the country’s King Muhammad V of Kelantan.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


I Coined The Catchphrase: Looking Back On A ‘Rose Revolution’
Fifteen years ago this week, journalist Natia Zambakhidze found herself at the center of one of the most compelling — and consequential — dramas in her nation’s history.
Dushanbe Wants Answers After Tajik Man Dies In Moscow Police Custody
Tajikistan has asked Russia for an explanation after a Tajik man died while in the custody of Moscow police.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Stalin Worried about Public Opinion ‘in His Own Way,’ Georgian Party Official’s Son Recalls
Paul Goble Staunton, November 26 – It is a commonplace that Stalin did what he wanted without regard to public opinion and used repression and propaganda to maintain his image as infallible. But a new memoir about Kandid Charkviani, first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in Georgia from 1938 to 1952, suggest that on occasion, he did care – or at least said he did. In an interview with his son Gela posted on the Kavkaz-Uzel site, there is the following story that deserves to be noted as an exception to what most assume was the universal rule. “When Stalin was in Georgia in 1951,” Gela Charkviani says, “he went from Borzhomi to Khashuri but didn’t go to his native Gori” (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/83781/posts/35469). “It was said that he wanted to go but thought better of it. Charkviani [senior] asked him to come to Tbilisi but [Stalin] said that if he were to go to Tbilisi, then people would say, ‘why didn’t you go to Tbilisi or Baku?’ He in his own way was afraid of public opinion,” Charkviani junior says. The memoirist relates another example of this “fear.” “When the first volume of his collected works was published, it was issued in Russian. Charkviani [senior] asked to make one in Georgian, but [Stalin] refused, saying that ‘then all the republics would ask to put it out in their languages, in Uzbek or Armenian, for example.” According to Charkviani [junior], “Stalin tried not to show any particular favoritism to the Georgians” lest he offend other nation or force them to try to compete.

Belarus Reports


UAWire – President of Belarus wants to recover the payment Russia owes for construction of FIFA World Cup facilities
President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, demanded to resolve payment for the work done by Belarusian builders in Russia and Turkmenistan. “I …
Belarus Executes Convicted Murderer, Rights Group Says
Belarus has executed a convicted murderer, the Minsk-based human rights group Vyasna (Spring) says.

Ukraine Reports


Ukraine Crisis Media Center: The Russian attack on Azov – To Inform is to Influence
Russia attacks in the Azov Sea Russia has provoked a conflict with Ukraine in the Kerch Strait. In the morning on November 25 a motor boat of the Russian Federation’s coast guard rammed a Ukrainian tugboat (video). In the evening following long-standing blocking of Ukrainian ships Russian vessels opened fire towards them. These actions come…

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


U.S. touts new evidence of Iranian weaponry in Yemen, Afghanistan | Reuters
The United States on Thursday displayed pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan, a tactic by President Donald Trump’s administration to pressure Tehran to curb its regional activities.
‘We are desperate’: economic crisis hits ordinary Iranians | World news | The Guardian
US sanctions ratchet up pressure on Tehran, yet there is no evidence of measures sparking an uprising
France, Germany taking charge of EU-Iran trade move but oil sales in doubt | Reuters
France and Germany are to take joint responsibility for an EU-Iran trade mechanism to minimize the risk of U.S. punishment but few now believe it will cover oil sales, heightening fears for the fate of the landmark international nuclear deal with Iran.


UAWire – Syria claims to have repelled Israeli air attack
Syrian anti-air defense systems reportedly destroyed a number of “hostile air targets” in the region of Al-Kiswa, which lies south of Damascus, reported the news agency Alalam, citing Syrian TV. Syrian agency SANA also reported the attack citing a source in the Syrian military. “Our anti-air defense divisions responded to an attack by several hostile targets in the region of Al-Kiswa, and shot them down,” the source stated, clarifying that while the attack was being repelled, the Syrian anti-air systems also “had dealings with other targets”. Alalam did not specify where the other targets were located or whether they were destroyed. A source later told SANA that the Syrian military was “continuing to defend” but did not mention any more specific details. A source in the Syrian security structures told RIA Novosti that the Syrian anti-air defense systems had shot down an Israeli military aircraft and four missiles in the region over Al-Kiswa. The Israeli weapons reportedly did not hit their targets. SANA later published a video of the anti-air systems firing, periodically lighting up the night sky. The Israeli military denied the reports that they had lost a plane over Syria.
UN Syria Envoy Calls Astana Talks On Syria ‘Missed Opportunity’
The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura has called the last Syria peace talks of the year in Astana, a “missed opportunity” for the Syrian people, as talks in the Kazakh capital ended without res…
🇸🇾 Russia, Turkey and Iran hold talks on Syria in Astana | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Nov 28, 2018 Russia, Turkey and Iran are holding new talks on Syria in Kazakhstan capital. Delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition are expected to attend. The United Nations and Jordan have been invited as observers.
Russian airstrikes in Syria after alleged Aleppo poison gas attack test ceasefire – CBS News
More than 100 people stream into Aleppo hospitals with symptoms pointing to likely chlorine gas attack, as new violence tests fragile truce
UAWire – Media: Explosions reported in the sky near Russian airbase in Syria
Telegram channel Directorate 4 reported, citing the Syrian media, that there were explosions in the sky over the city of Jableh, where the Russian Khmeimim airbase is located. According to preliminary data, air defense systems located in the base fired two rockets on militant drones. The last drone attack on the Russian military base in Khmeimim was reported in September. At that time two anti-aircraft systems destroyed two militant drones. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that over the two months, the air defense systems in Khmeimim air base shot down 50 unmanned aerial vehicles. Between August 9 and 11, the Russian military also detected and destroyed four drones launched from the territory controlled by militant groups. Subsequently, the Syrian air defense destroyed an “enemy target”, which violated the airspace on the border with Lebanon. In early August, representatives of Russia, Turkey and Iran told the UN humanitarian mission that they would do everything possible to prevent the death of civilians in the province of Idlib. There are 4 million people in this territory. At the end of July, Russian President’s Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev announced that the Syrian government troops do not plan a large-scale operation in this province. He also said that the threat against Russian soldiers at the airbase Khmeimim is eliminated, then there would no longer be a need to conduct operations against militants.
UAWire – Russia bombs Syrian insurgents after alleged use of chlorine
Russian and the Syrian authorities accused the opponents of Syrian President Bashar-al Assad of shelling Aleppo with chemical munitions. Russian …
Syria: toxic gas attack on Aleppo leaves more than 100 injured – CNN
Around 100 people were injured in toxic gas attack on the government-controlled city of Aleppo Saturday, according to Syrian state media and a British-based human rights group.
Syrian rebels accused of chemical attack in Aleppo | TheHill
The Syrian government and Russia are accusing rebel forces of initiating a chemical attack that injured more than 100 people in Aleppo on Saturday.


The Senate Takes a Step to Void America’s Blank Check to the Saudis – Defense One
Washington can continue to work with Riyadh, but it need never again accept flagrant violations of human rights, international norms, or U.S. national …
G20 summit: Theresa May to raise Khashoggi killing with Mohammed bin Salman | News | The Times
Theresa May will tell Mohammed bin Salman that she expects him to hold to account those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi when she meets the Saudi crown prince today.The prime minister said that she would deliver a “very clear message” about the death of the journalist — who was killed
Saudi Arabia close to clinching $15 billion deal to buy THAAD missile system
Saudi Arabia has signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the United States for Lockheed Martin’s THAAD missile system.
The Khashoggi killing had roots in a cutthroat Saudi family feud – The Washington Post
Behind the vortex of rage and lawlessness in the royal court that ultimately sucked in the Post Global Opinions columnist.
A Saudi agent discussed hiding Khashoggi’s remains before his death, prosecutors say – The Washington Post
The phone conversation, if confirmed, would support Turkey’s assertion that the killing was premeditated.
Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish police raid villa outside Istanbul in search for body – The Washington Post
A Saudi intelligence agent called the farm’s owner a day before the journalist was killed, a Turkish official said.
Turkish police raid villas in rural village hoping to find Khashoggi remains – ABC News
The search continues for the body of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi nearly two months after he was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital – WSJ
We don’t condone Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. But the kingdom is a powerful force for Mideast stability.
Senate Rebukes Trump in Historic Vote to Curtail Support for Saudi Campaign in Yemen – Defense One
Lawmakers have tried for years to end U.S. involvement in Yemen. They just passed a big procedural hurdle, thanks to an empty chair at a Senate briefing.
Matthew Hedges: UAE pardons British academic charged with spying – CNN
British academic Matthew Hedges, who was sentenced to life in prison for spying in the United Arab Emirates, has been pardoned with immediate effect.
Matthew Hedges convicted of spying pardoned by UAE after admitting he’s with MI-6
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates on Monday pardoned and released a British academic sentenced to life in prison on charges of spying…
Russia, Turkey block dollar as payment option for S-400
Russian leader rules out US dollar in trade of air defense system – Anadolu Agency

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


North Korea reveals nuclear EMP attack plans
In a sign that North Korea is not planning to give up all its nuclear arsenal, the communist government has revealed plans to use the weapons to launch EMP attacks that effectively dismantle technology and computers in the blast area.
North Korean propaganda promotes EMP attacks using nuclear weapons – DailyNK
North and South Korea Get U.N.’s Go-Ahead to Study Joint Rail Project – The New York Times
South Korea has offered to help upgrade the North’s rail network and link it to its own. Now the Security Council has signed off on a joint study of the idea.
French official suspected of spying for North Korea arrested – ABC News
A French citizen has been arrested on Sunday as part of an investigation for allegedly “collecting and delivering information to a foreign power”.
Arrested French official suspected of spying for North Korea
France’s domestic intelligence agency is investigating an employee of the French Senate who is suspected of spying for North Korea, a judicial official said Tuesday. Publishing house Delga said on its website that Quennedey traveled to the Koreas in his role as the head of the French-Korean Friendship Association, and wrote a book and essays about North…


South China Sea: U.S. Navy displays strength even as Beijing’s military reach grows – The Washington Post
The USS Ronald Reagan strike group underscored the U.S. military power in the region. But some warn that China could soon have the upper hand.


How Strong Is China’s Navy? Beijing’s Third Aircraft Carrier Project Revealed
The newest vessel will be China’s third warship when complete.
China reveals new domestically-built aircraft carrier under construction – CNN
The Chinese government has revealed for the first time it has started construction on a new domestically-made aircraft carrier, the third overall in the People’s Liberation Army Navy fleet.
Beijing plans an AI Atlantis for the South China Sea – without a human in sight | South China Morning Post
Urged by President Xi Jinping to dare to do something that has never been done before, scientists say challenges could give China huge technology lead
China Is Building a $9 Billion Rival to the American-Run GPS
(Bloomberg) — China is taking its rivalry with the U.S. to the heavens, spending at least $9 billion to build a celestial navigation system and cut its dependence on the American-owned GPS amid heightening tensions between the two countries.
Why China Is so Good at Building Railways – YouTube
Wendover Productions Published on Nov 13, 2018
What World War I Tells Us About a China-Japan War Today | The National Interest
“The Great War at sea presents an example worth emulating in certain respects and modifying or rejecting in others. Let’s devise forces capable of mounting a low-cost strategy, keep the alliance sturdy, and cultivate mariners, soldiers, and aviators who extract full value from their fighting machines. Do that and Tokyo may yet prevail.”


China Faces Two Traps as Trump-Xi Meeting Looms – Bloomberg
Wall Street is looking to ancient Greek history to game out the U.S.-China trade conflict. Also, consumers are confident and Fedspeak.
Top Beijing official attacks US over WTO reforms, and says China economy is not as developed as claimed | South China Morning Post
Head of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says doubts about country’s economic status come from ignoranceThinly veiled attack comes days before President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump meet in Argentina
China’s ‘Economic’ Losses Aren’t Because of US Trade Success
Let’s not overstate the impact tariffs have at reforming China’s economy.
Larry Kudlow previews Trump-Xi talks on tariffs and trade at G-20 summit
Trump and Xi are expected to talk trade at the G-20 summit in Argentina as a mounting series of tariffs levied by Washington and Beijing contribute to concerns about slowing global economic growth. 
Trump’s trade talks with China could snap markets out of their funk
The coming week could be an important turning point for two big fear factors for markets — trade wars and rising interest rates.
Wall Street reverses losses after White House adviser’s trade remarks | Reuters
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher on Tuesday after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart on Saturday was an opportunity to “turn the page” on a trade war.
Exclusive: Fearing espionage, U.S. weighs tighter rules on Chinese students | Reuters
The Trump administration is considering new background checks and other restrictions on Chinese students in the United States over growing espionage concerns, U.S. officials and congressional sources said.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma is a Communist Party member, China state paper reveals | Reuters
Jack Ma, the head of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and China’s best-known capitalist, is a Communist Party member, the official Party newspaper said on Monday, debunking a public assumption the billionaire was politically unattached.


Taiwan votes in local elections amid pressure from China | Fox News
Taiwanese began voting in midterm local elections Saturday seen as a referendum on the independence-leaning administration of President Tsai Ing-wen, amid growing pressure from the island’s powerful rival China.
Taiwan President resigns as head of party after losses in local elections – CNN
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen announced her resignation Saturday as head of the Democratic Progressive Party after the party suffered a “crushing defeat” in local government elections, a vote with significant implications for the island’s relationship with mainland China.


Chinese Consulate in Karachi attacked by Baluchistan separatists
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack, describing it as part of a conspiracy against Pakistan and China’s economic and strategic cooperation.
After attack on Chinese consulate, Pakistan points to India – ABC News
Pakistani police say the suicide bomber used foreign-made C-4 plastic explosive.
Bad Blood Between Japan, South Korea Tests U.S. Strategy in Asia – WSJ
A resurgence in frictions between South Korea and Japan, the U.S.’s two closest allies in East Asia, is testing the united front Washington wants to present against threats from North Korea and China.

Foreign Policy Reports


UAWire – Europe and Israel agree on alternative to Turkish Stream pipeline
Gazprom’s prospective southern gas corridor to the EU, initially called South Stream but later renamed to Turkish Stream, now has a major competitor. Israel, Italy, Greece and Cyprus have reached an agreement to build the East Med gas pipeline, which will transport gas from the Leviathan gas field, the largest gas field discovered in the 21st century, with an estimated 3.5 trillion cubic meters of reserves. According to The Times of Israel, EU experts have given the go ahead to the project, the planning and technical justification of which was financed by the EU. A binding intergovernmental agreement on the construction will be signed by February 2019, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced. The project, which will become the world’s longest deep-water gas pipeline, will cost in the region of $7 billion. It is intended to span the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of up to 3,000 m from the source near Israel to Cyprus, and from there to Crete and through mainland Greece to Italy. The pipe will have a capacity of 20 billion cubic meters per year, twice as much as the second line of Turkish Stream, which Gazprom also initially intended to end in Italy. The laying of the pipeline will take 4-5 years, Steinitz noted. “If everything goes according to plan, in 2024-2025 we will become a supplier of energy resources for Europe,” he added.
Turkish Stream is another Russian blow to Ukraine – 112.international
Everything will remain as it is now: Russia will continue to supply gas to Europe. But the state-owned giant Gazprom wants to make supplies not through Ukraine anymore, but in other ways. Currently, approximately 40% of natural gas exported by Gazprom, that is, about 80 billion cubic meters, goes through Ukraine. By commissioning new gas pipelines, Russia wants to counteract the hostile government in Kyiv and continue to receive billions for gas transit. Currently, Gazprom is working on two projects designed to replace most of the transit gas supplies through Ukraine. One of them is the Nord Stream-2 Baltic gas pipeline under construction, through which in a few years, an additional 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be delivered directly to Germany. The second pipeline is called the “Turkish stream”. It should bypass Ukraine through the Black Sea. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to watch the completion of the Turkish Stream underwater part construction. A few years ago nobody believed that this pipeline would be commissioned at the end of 2019. After the conflict with Brussels, the Kremlin chief in 2014 had to bury the South Stream project, the predecessor of the Turkish Stream. But in December 2014, Putin unexpectedly — like a rabbit out of a hat — pulled out the Turkish Stream project. True, the Russians will suffer significant losses regarding the transmission capacity of the pipeline: through both its lines, it is possible to pump only 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year – half as much as planned in South Stream.
UAWire – Media: Gas supplies via Turkish Stream will go through Hungary and Slovakia bypassing Ukraine
The Russian gas monopoly Gazprom chose its gas supplies’ route to Europe along the second Turkish Stream line. It will go through Bulgaria, …
Merkel’s faction in Bundestag recognizes Nord Stream 2 dangerous for Europe, Ukraine – envoy | UNIAN
Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk has said a document was adopted at the meeting of the largest faction of the German Bundestag defining the strategy for the development of partnership between Germany and Ukraine, as well as confirms the threat that the Nord Stream 2 project is posing. The adoption of the Roadmap of Ukraine’s support in these critical days is a sign of solidarity against the Russian aggression.
Gazprom may abandon long-term gas transit contract with Ukraine – Kobolyev | UNIAN
CEO of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine Andriy Kobolyev says Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom may refuse to sign a long-term contract on gas transit through Ukraine and admits the transition to reservation of capacities on general terms. The current transit contract between Ukraine and Gazprom was signed in 2009 for a period of 10 years.
Nord Stream 2 “purely political” project – President of Slovakia | UNIAN
Slovak President Andrej Kiska claims that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea is an exclusively political, not an economic project. Ukraine and Slovakia leaders spoke about coordinating efforts to counter the pipeline construction.
UAWire – President of Slovakia: Nord Stream 2 is a purely political project
The President of Slovakia, Andrei Kiska, at a joint briefing with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, announced that Nord Stream 2 is a …
Ukraine, Slovakia coordinate actions aimed at preventing construction of Nord Stream 2 – 24.11.2018 12:56 — Ukrinform News
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and President of the Slovak Republic Andrej Kiska discussed issues of bilateral cooperation in the energy sector.


All Brexit options would hurt UK economy | News | The Times
Britons will be worse off under all Brexit scenarios with the economy eventually up to 3.1 per cent smaller even if Theresa May gets her preferred outcome, according to Whitehall analysis released today.The government released an 83-page analysis on the possible changes to GDP, tax revenue and trad
The Brexit debate is currently just the deluded fighting with those in denial. The U.K. is in trouble.
“Brexit” is the the British withdrawal from the E.U. which half the county no longer wants, no one knows how to stop and everyone knows will cause chaos.
Brexit: Donald Tusk tells European Union to approve deal – BBC News
Theresa May meets top EU officials in Brussels as Spain withdraws its objections to the deal.
Boris Johnson: Brexit deal like the Titanic – YouTube
The Telegraph Published on Nov 24, 2018 Boris Johnson has likened Theresa May’s Brexit plan to the Titanic, warning that the prospect of the UK being trapped in the customs union looms like an “iceberg ahead”.
EU removes last major obstacle to Brexit deal, paving the way for approval – CBS News
Even in the EU approves the deal, the U.K. Parliament still has to pass it — and many MPs have already state opposition
Americans and Germans sharply divided over their countries’ relationship, new research shows – CNN
Americans and Germans are sharply divided over their countries’ decades-long relationship, according to a new Pew Research Center and Körber-Stiftung public opinion survey.


Anti-Semitism never disappeared in Europe. It’s alive and kicking – CNN
What does anti-Semitism look like in Europe in 2018?
A Third Of People In Major European Countries Know Little Or Nothing About The Holocaust | HuffPost Australia
Many Europeans also hold anti-Semitic beliefs, a CNN poll confirms.


UAWire – Ukrainian representative: PACE refuses to ensure return of Russian delegation
The chairman of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE Volodymyr Aryev wrote on Facebook that at a PACE meeting in Helsinki, it was decided to abandon …
Russia poses danger to Czech Republic, EU: Czech Foreign Minister | UNIAN
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček says Russia poses a danger to the Czech Republic and the European Union. The EU member states should deepen strategic communication and fight disinformation, the minister said.
Czechs Protest After Babis Government Survives ‘No-Confidence’ Vote
Thousands of Czechs demonstrated in the capital, Prague, after the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis survived a no-confidence vote triggered by a fraud investigation.
Ukrainian Lover Of Czech PM’s Son Tight-Lipped On Crimea Affair
RFE/RL has tracked down the Ukrainian woman who could shed light on a political scandal rocking the Czech Republic.
Hungary’s Orban meets with Chuck Norris – The Washington Post
The American action movie star paid a visit to Viktor Orban while in Budapest.
Hungary Denies Extradition Of Suspected Russian Arms Dealers To U.S.
Hungary has denied a U.S. request to extradite two suspected Russian arms dealers and instead sent the two men to Russia, the State Department says.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Hungary’s Jobbik Party Shows Itself to Be Putinist, Not Hungarian Nationalist
Paul Goble Staunton, November 26 – Hungary’s extreme right Jobbik Party, which has long pushed Budapest to take up the cause of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine, is now even refusing to discuss an appeal by Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia for similar support, a pattern that underscores that Jobbik is less a Hungarian nationalist party than a Putinist front organization. Last week, the Free Idel-Ural organization called on the Hungarian party to support the Finno-Ugric peoples in the Russian Federation just as consistently as it supports the ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine. (See windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/11/hungarys-jobbik-party-could-turn-out-to.html.) But since then the party has now refused even to speak with journalists about doing so, Ramazan Alpaut of Radio Svoboda’s IdelUral portal says, an obvious indication that Jobbik is following the Putin line of supporting secessionist groups everywhere except in the Russian Federation (idelreal.org/a/29621460.html). That position is at least hypocritical and, in the case of Jobbik, adds weight to charges that the party receives illegal funding from Moscow. Tracking such “inconsistencies” in the positions of parties like that and exposing them to public view is a critically important means of countering the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.
European Court Denies Yanukovych Aide’s Bid To Suspend EU Sanctions
The president of the European Union’s General Court has dismissed Andriy Klyuyev’s attempt to have the bloc’s sanctions against him suspended.


Exclusive: Rosneft’s Sechin flies to Venezuela, rebukes Maduro over oil shipments | Reuters
The head of Russian oil company Rosneft , Igor Sechin, flew to Caracas this week to meet Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and complain over delayed oil shipments designed to repay loans, two sources briefed on the conversation said on Saturday. The visit, which was not publicly disclosed, is one of the clearest signs of strain between crisis-stricken Venezuela and its key financier Russia. Over the last few years, Moscow has become Venezuela’s lender of last resort, with the Russian government and Rosneft handing Venezuela at least $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006, according to Reuters calculations. State oil company PDVSA is repaying almost all of those debts with oil, but a meltdown in its oil industry has left it struggling to fulfill obligations. Sechin and a large delegation of executives met with officials at PDVSA in a Caracas hotel this week. Sechin also met with Venezuela’s leftist leader Maduro, and chided him overoil-for-loans shipments that are behind schedule.

Capability / Strategy / History Publications


Defeat, Not Merely Compete: China’s View of Its Military Aerospace Goals and Requirements in Relation to the United States | RAND
This report examines how competition with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) shapes Chinese thinking about developing military aerospace power. It also examines how China selects between “copying” foreign powers and “innovating” its own solutions. Over the past two decades, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has made rapid advances in building up new capabilities and operational concepts. Aerospace power has been a core feature of the PLA’s rapid modernization. In particular, since 2004, the PLA Air Force has pursued a service strategy aimed at developing the capacity to “simultaneously prosecute offensive and defensive integrated air and space operations.” This report explores the extent to which the desire to “compete” with the U.S. Air Force (or other advanced air forces) shapes PLA thinking about the development of military aerospace power. It examines how China selects between the options of “copying” foreign powers and “innovating” its own solutions to various operational military problems, as well as which areas China chooses to not compete in at all.
What Deters and Why: Exploring Requirements for Effective Deterrence of Interstate Aggression | RAND
The challenge of deterring territorial aggression, which for several decades has been an afterthought in U.S. strategy toward most regions of the world, is taking on renewed importance. An increasingly belligerent Russia is threatening Eastern Europe and the Baltic States with possible aggression, conventional and otherwise. China is pursuing its territorial ambitions in the East and South China Seas with greater force, including the construction of artificial islands and occasional bouts of outright physical intimidation. North Korea remains a persistent threat to the Republic of Korea (ROK), including the possibility of large-scale aggression using its rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal. Yet the discussion of deterrence — as a theory and practical policy requirement — has lagged in U.S. military and strategy circles. The authors aim to provide a fresh look at the subject in this context, with two primary purposes: to review established concepts about deterrence, and to provide a framework for evaluating the strength of deterrent relationships. For greater focus, they concentrate on a specific category or form of deterrence: extended deterrence of interstate aggression. The authors consider the requirements for the United States to deter potential aggressors abroad from attacking U.S. allies or other countries in large-scale conventional conflicts. Examples include Russian attacks on the Baltic States and a North Korean assault on the ROK. The study stems from a specific research question: What are the requirements of effective extended deterrence of large-scale military aggression? The focus is therefore on the criteria that tend to distinguish successful from unsuccessful efforts to deter interstate aggression.
US Air Force Is Redrawing Its Pacific-War Playbook for China – Defense One
New Pacific Air Forces chief wants deeper cooperation with allied militaries — and better drills for when comms go down.
Why the military needs Skynet
Is an adaptable multi-network architecture the future of the Department of Defense? Time for humans and machines to team up.
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.
Navy Developing Prompt Global Strike Weapon that Could Launch from Sub or Surface Ship – USNI News
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy has stood up a program office within its Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) to address the conventional prompt global strike mission the Pentagon has handed to the sea service, the SSP director said recently. Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, speaking earlier this month at the annual Naval Submarine League symposium, said each service will field some sort of hypersonic capability to contribute to conventional prompt global strike – the idea that the military should be able to hit any target on the planet within about an hour. The Navy is developing the hypersonic glide body that all the services will use, as well as a booster to launch the Navy’s weapon off a yet-to-be-determined platform. To support this development, the Pentagon and Navy acquisition officials have agreed on an acquisition decision memorandum for the new hypersonic capability and asked Wolfe to set up a program office specifically for that system. “We have a program, we are funded, and we’re moving forward with that capability, which is going to be tremendous to allow our Navy to continue to have the access they need, whether it be from submarines or from surface ships,” he said. That open question – whether a sub or a surface ship will launch the weapon – is a new development. At last year’s Sub League event, Wolfe’s predecessor, Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, announced that SSP had flown a weapon from a ground-based test site in Hawaii that could eventually support the conventional prompt global strike mission from an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine (SSGN) tube. This year, Wolfe said the Navy is intentionally keeping its options open as it develops the glide body and the booster.


Despite the new Russian stealth fighter, the US will maintain air superiority | NEWSREP
The Russian military has been showcasing its latest fifth-generation jet fighter, but the U.S. will continue to maintain its advantage in the aerial
中国空军 歼-20 Chinese J-20 Super Powerful Demo !!! 珠海航展2018 第十二届 中国国际航空航天博览会 – YouTube
Tonkatsu298 Published on Nov 11, 2018 中国空军 歼20 Chinese J-20 Super Powerful Demo !!!! 珠海航展2018 第十二届 中国国际航空航天博览会
Air Force Official on the F-35: “It’s like fighting Mr. Invisible.” | The National Interest
While the Raptor would be the most formidable fighter in the world due to its raw performance even without stealth, it’s now clear to me that even the F-35 with its mediocre kinematic performance will be an extremely dangerous foe in the air due to its low radar cross-section and sensors.
Marines want a binocular night vision device for troops now
The Army has an advanced program that will deliver binocular NVGs, but it’s at least a year away.
How Russian robots take after Peter the Great
Experimenting with robotics toys today is one way to develop the military robot designers of tomorrow.
Yes, Virginia, there is a submarine payload module that could launch drones
A tool built to launch missiles could be adapted to turn submarines into the motherships for their own fleets of autonomous robots.
These drone swarms survived without GPS
The agency says its new drone technology can collaborate and adapt with minimal human commands, even when its communications are challenged.
This Completely Silent Airplane Achieves Flight With no Moving Parts
MIT researchers have achieved flight with an aircraft heavier than air that uses no moving parts for the first time.


Armistice (World War 1 Documentary) | Timeline – YouTube
Timeline – World History Documentaries Published on Jun 21, 2017
Messerschmitt Bf-109 G14 “Black 2” Charged DB605 Sound! – YouTube
PaddyPatrone Published on Nov 19, 2018 Messerschmitt Bf109 G14 “Black 2 / Schwarze 2” at the Hangar 10 Fly In 2018 flown by Volker Bau. Aircraft is based on a Hispano Aviación HA-1112 and was rebuild with DB605 engine to Bf109 G14 specs.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports


Facebook engineer warned in 2014 of Russian intrusion, U.K. lawmaker says – CBS News
A Facebook engineer discovered in October 2014 that &quot;an entity with Russian IP addresses&quot; was harvesting vast troves of information, a British official revealed
British Parliament seizes Facebook documents in ‘unprecedented move’ | TheHill
British Parliament on Sunday obtained a trove of internal documents from Facebook related to claims about the company’s user privacy policies and allegations that CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to drive competitors out of business.
British politician questions Facebook over Russian data collection
Lawmakers from around the world berated a top Facebook executive over “fake news” on Tuesday at a hearing that CEO Mark Zuckerberg refused to attend.
Parliament seizes cache of Facebook internal papers | Technology | The Guardian
Documents alleged to contain revelations on data and privacy controls that led to Cambridge Analytica scandal
The most explosive moments from Facebook’s hearing, where furious lawmakers tore into ‘frat-boy billionaire’ Mark Zuckerberg | Business Insider
Lawmakers from nine countries tore into Facebook on Tuesday after CEO Mark Zuckerberg failed to attend an international committee hearing in Westminster, London.
Facebook to send VP instead of Mark Zuckerberg to international committee – CNN
Facebook is sending a vice president of public policy to face questioning from a first of its kind international committee on disinformation and “fake news.
Internal documents Facebook has fought to keep private obtained by UK Parliament – CNN
The British Parliament has obtained a set of internal Facebook documents the social media giant has fought for months to stop from being made public, according to Facebook and a lawyer involved in a suit against the company.
Facebook asks Parliament to keep quiet on internal documents seized following cat and mouse game | Business Insider
In a letter to British MP Damian Collins, Facebook chief of public policy Richard Allan asked Parliament to put internal documents that were seized by the body last week off limits until a judge addressed the matter, according to a copy of the letter shown to Business Insider.
Facebook documents seized by UK parliament ahead of a crucial hearing
The files are reported to contain confidential emails in relation to Facebook’s data and privacy controls in the run-up to the firm’s data scandal earlier this year.
Early Facebook investor stands by Zuckerberg but calls for change
“I would back and invest again and again in Mark Zuckerberg,” says Jim Breyer, an early investor and former board member.
How Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be humbled by a creepy bikini app | Business Insider
Just when you thought that the heat from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal was gone, a fire has been lit under the story again by a group of British lawmakers who have been relentless in their pursuit of answers.
Zuckerberg’s Next Big Scandal Could Get Personal | Vanity Fair
British lawmakers have seized internal Facebook communications including sensitive e-mails between Zuckerberg and top executives. “We are in uncharted territory,” says one MP. “We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook, and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest.”
Facebook shutters election interference ‘war room’ for now
The company may open new war rooms for future elections.
Facebook won’t say if it will sever ties with Elliot Schrage, the outgoing top exec who took responsibility for linking critics to George Soros | Business Insider
Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s outgoing vice president of communications and public policy, has endured a turbulent end to his decade-long tenure at the social network.


The godfather of fake news – BBC News
Meet one of the world’s most prolific writers of disinformation
White House Launches Cyber Reskilling Program – To Inform is to Influence
By Jack Corrigan, Staff Correspondent NOVEMBER 30, 2018 10:12 AM ET In its trial run, Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy will certify some 25 feds with non-technical backgrounds as cyber defense analysts. The White House is launching its first program to retrain federal employees for careers in government cybersecurity. The Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy will provide feds…
U.S. Charges Six Russians, Two Kazakhs In Online Ad Fraud Scheme
U.S. prosecutors have indicted eight people, most of them Russian, for an alleged online fraud involving fake advertising that caused companies to lose tens of millions of dollars, the Justice Depa…


Photo Gallery: Commercial Advances Are Reshaping Electronic Warfare | Aviation Week
Advances in commercial electronics are reshaping the electronic warfare (EW) arena. The commercial availability of advanced electronics is driving the proliferation of active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radars with digital architectures and agile waveforms that are harder to defeat, and digital radio-frequency memory (DRFM) devices that enable advanced countermeasures. The result is renewed investment in EW development to bring digital technology to all parts of the system, from radar-warning receivers (RWR) to electronic countermeasures (ECM).
Enemy air defenses make electronic warfare a higher priority
The United States will need systems to counter advanced enemy air defense systems.
Here’s why Marine Raiders want to take down GPS, cellphones and a Russian navigation service
The Raiders are looking to train its special operators for a fight with near-peer adversaries.

US Domestic Policy Reports


White House Seeks Alternatives to Independent Space Force – Defense One
Pentagon leaders were dutifully double-timing toward a new military branch. Then they got new marching orders.


Stop China’s Infiltration of US Railroads – Defense One
America shouldn’t be buying Chinese railcars, ceding control of its rail industry, or injecting spyware-laden rolling stock into its transportation …
What Other Countries’ Experience Tells America About Its Decline – Defense One
In Twilight of the Titans, two scholars provide a warning to a rising China, and a road map for the United States to regain its standing.


H.R. McMaster told Trump off for asking Iraqi prime minister about oil
Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster once rebuked President Trump after he raised the possibility of taking Iraq’s oil to compensate the U.S. for the money it has spent on the country’s war in a phone call with Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, according to a report.
Donald Trump sticks knife into Macron as protests erupt in Paris in tweet blasting EU Army | World | News | Express.co.uk
DONALD Trump has blasted Emmanuel Macron over the violent protests in France at the weekend as he accused the EU of not paying its share of defence costs.
Hillary Clinton responds to backlash over Europe migration comments – INSIDER
On Friday, Hillary Clinton responded to backlash over her controversial call for Europe to curb migration in order to thwart right-wing populism.
Former FBI Director Seeks To Quash Subpoena To Testify In Russia Investigation
Former FBI Director James Comey has asked a U.S. judge to quash a subpoena from congressional Republicans compelling him to testify behind closed doors about his decisions on the Russia investigati…
Mueller and Michael Cohen Bring Trump-Russia Link Into the Open – Bloomberg
A new Mueller court filing describes how Michael Cohen negotiated with the Kremlin about a Moscow business deal during the 2016 campaign.
Julian Assange Faces Federal Charges. But Let’s Not Forget What We’ve Learned From WikiLeaks. | HuffPost Australia
As the U.S. reportedly closes in on Julian Assange, a look back at WikiLeaks’ biggest stories.
Manafort Denies Report He Met With WikiLeaks Founder Before 2016 Election
U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort denied ever meeting with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after The Guardian newspaper published a story alleging the two met at…
Opinion | What Was Paul Manafort Thinking? – The New York Times
There’s no good explanation for why he lied to Mueller.
Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Admits Lying To Congress In Russia Probe
U.S. President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with the federal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump Says Wouldn’t Rule Out Pardoning Former Aide Targeted In Russia Probe
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will not rule out pardoning his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who this week became the renewed target of a special investigation into ties between Rus…
U.S. Prosecutor Says Manafort Violated Cooperation Deal In Russia Probe
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has accused President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of lying and violating his deal with prosecutors to cooperate with their investigat…
Paul Manafort lied after pleading guilty, Mueller’s team says – CNNPolitics
Paul Manafort has “breached” his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office two months after he started to cooperate in the Russia probe, prosecutors alleged Monday.
Paul Manafort: Trump ex-aide lied to FBI, Mueller said – BBC News
Investigator Robert Mueller loses a key witness in his probe on alleged Russian election meddling.
Mueller: Manafort has lied to FBI, special counsel’s office since plea deal | Fox News
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office “on a variety of subject matters” since his plea deal thereby violating the agreement, Mueller said in a court filing submitted Monday night, while adding that Manafort claims he’s been truthful.
Manafort Breached Plea Deal by Repeatedly Lying, Mueller Says – The New York Times
Prosecutors said lies by Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, on “a variety of subject matters” relieved them of all promises they made to him in their deal.
Former Trump Adviser Goes To Prison For Lying About Contacts With Russians
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, began serving a two-week prison sentence on November 26 after a judge rejected his last…
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