Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
The rise of Stalin populism is alarming, is it a form of desensitizing Russian citizens to genocide or mass murder?
More on the revival of Stalinism in Russia, and the underlying causes – it is more than propaganda. Davydov on the regime’s “war on everybody”. Update on Russian censorship and data exposure. Mordvinia camps – Gulag redux. New pension policy expected to double unemployment. China’s Su-35S deliveries. EU update.
The major topic in Ukraine is that the SBU captured a key Russian covert ops team tasked with hits on Ukrainian politicians and security officials, detaining all seven members – likely a result of a failed assassination that resulted in the Russian operator setting off his own device. The SBU names the perpetrators of the hits on Gen Shapoval and Col Kharaberyush as LtGen Dmitry Minaev, FSB, and his operator, Oleh Shutov.
Russia rejects UN jurisdiction over captured sailors. Updates on Kerch and Crimea. Donbas update – three Russians KIA, four WIA. Sherr @ Chatham interviewed by Ukrainian media on Russia’s effort to destabilize Ukraine. Ukraine revokes standardization agreement on military equipment (i.e. Sovbloc MilSpecs) in favor of STANAG specs. DEFMIN Poltorak announces impending contract signatures for major procurements of military equipment in the West. A superb RFE/RL photo essay on the Pervomaisk RVSN museum with its preserved ICBM silo and LCC. Politics update – Azov thrown off Facebook for hate speech (self-inflicted).
Election has seen interesting developments. Zelenskiy’s staff agree with Pres Poroshenko’s staff on the April 19 stadium debate, Poroshenko pleads with the CEC to change the rule on the mandatory studio venue. Zelenskiy dodges Pres Poroshenko’s The Pulse talk-show invitation. Reuters on Pres Poroshenko’s campaign reboot, TNI promoting Zelenskiy. Mass media association plead with Zelenskiy to provide a press conference by the 18th April to explain his AWOL policies to all media. Ukrainian Committee of Voters fact checkers pull apart public policy statements by Zelenskiy’s staff, finding some are true, but many are “manipulation” (i.e. spin in our jargon), many “exaggeration”, and some falsehoods. KIIS survey breakdown published, rather late, the most interesting content are actually voter priorities, with the cost of living the highest (IMF had energy subsidies removed with catastrophic impacts on cost of living), revoking the immunity of MPs, judges, and presidents from prosecution, and the most brazen corruption cases second highest, and issues such as foreign policy and defense apparently almost not covered in the survey (in some ways it appears attuned to the campaign agenda of Zelenskiy that is focussed on domestic gripes and almost naive on foreign policy and defense matters). Konoshchuk’s analysis of how the parliament would adapt – or not – to a President Zelenskiy is most interesting. Pres Poroshenko’s biggest challenge since 2014 has been persuading the parliament to pass critical reform bills, which are often thrown out for reasons bad rather than good.
Respect among Russians for Josef Stalin rose sharply in the past year and hit its highest levels since at least 2001, according to a new opinion poll.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 16 – On the centenary of the establishment of the GULAG that he did so much to expand (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CB56680ECD4C), the Levada Center polling agency released the results of a survey showing 70 percent of Russians have a positive attitude toward the Soviet dictator, the highest share ever (rbc.ru/politics/16/04/2019/5cb0bb979a794780a4592d0c). Not surprisingly, this report has provoked a widespread discussion as to how this situation came to be, given that at various points over the last decades, Russians have been told about the massive crimes and failures that Stalin was responsible for. Obviously, for Russians today, these are less important than other things. Among the various explanations offered today about the results are the following: · Commentator Andrey Fursov says that the positive assessment of Stalin is a way Russians now can indicate how much they disapprove and dislike the current Russian regime (nakanune.ru/articles/115069/). · Ethnic expert Sergey Markedonov suggests that those who have a positive view of Stalin don’t know much about him but have made him a symbol of order, stability, and justice, “paternalism if you like” (facebook.com/sergey.markedonov/posts/2658097367596110). · Moscow commentator Sergey Chernyakhovsky says that Stalin’s rating reflects the desire of Russians for new great goals and great results without concern as to how these are achieved (regnum.ru/news/society/2612821.html). · Pro-Putin commentator Anatoly Vasserman says that Stalin is gaining increasing support because Russians have learned to dismiss Western propaganda about the Soviet past as dishonest or worse (regnum.ru/news/society/2612807.html). · Commentator Mikhail Roslyaov says that Stalin remains the symbol of “a strong hand” who destroyed the enemies of Russia and the working class. Support for him is, thus, support for the country and for social justice (publizist.ru/blogs/111086/30544/-). · Sociologist Leonty Byzov says support for Stalin reflects the politicization of society which leads to “more radical assessments of history,” a process that the Kremlin has promoted and one in which Russians associate Stalin with the defense of the downtrodden (cont.ws/@Beria/1297425). But probably the most thoughtful and significant comment about the poll results was offered by Yakov Dzhugashvili, the grandson of the Soviet dictator, who said that people who approve the policies of his ancestor are “degenerates” who think that the end justifies the means no matter how petty the ends or how horrific the means (govoritmoskva.ru/news/194957/).
Paul Goble Staunton, April 16 – Vladimir Putin is preparing for “war on two fronts, with ‘Western partners’ and with his own people,” Ivan Davydov says today in the New Times. But if the first has attracted enormous attention, the second has garnered far less, at least in part because the Kremlin and its media outlets talk far less about it. While some warn against interpreting capacity as an indication of intention and others say that Chekhov’s dictum that the presence of a gun in act one means it will be used by act three, the Russian commentator says “the real arms race” against Putin’s domestic opponents is almost as disturbing as his efforts against foreign enemies (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/179550). War against a foreign opponent is always a useful propagandistic tool, Davydov says. It has the effect of eclipsing and silencing all complains about problems at home in the name of fighting the enemy. But talking about making war against the government’s own population is something else. That raises questions about who makes up the powers that be. So less is said and less attention is paid, but “the arsenal of military machines used for dispersing demonstrations is constantly being expanded,” he continues. There are all kinds of weaponry whose numbers are being increased – he lists some of them – and additional kinds which no one has ever imagined including facial recognition devices and the like. The New Times commentator provides an extensive description of the inventor of Putin’s Russian Guard, but he stresses that “this is not a complete list.” The Kremlin plans to acquire ever more weapons to fight its own people even as it buys others to fight foreigners. Both represent “real arms races” and “open preparation for war.” Only the targets are different.
The recent deployment of six B-52H Stratofortresses bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana at the U.S. European Command area became a real hot topic in the media and in experts community. B-52s have conducted flights near the Russian border in Baltic Region that probably to the annoyance of the Russian military. Moreover, Russian fighter jets repeatedly conducted an intercept of U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber over international waters of the Baltic Sea. As previously reported, the Russian army also moved components of its S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems from Gvardeysk to Baltiysk, the westernmost town in Russia. In a series of posts on Twitter on 22 March, military blogger Petri Mäkelä reported that Russian Defense Forces has deployed S-300 systems at the westernmost point of the enclave of Kaliningrad, near the border with Poland to counter potential air strike. Against the backdrop of growing tensions between Russia and the U.S., many began to wonder who would win in battle of B-52 bomber vs. S-400 missile defense systems.
The big news is that the Russian Duma passed a Ukrainian Committee of Voterswhich mandates that Russian internet service providers must route Russian internet traffic through Russian control points – forming RU.net. RU.net will be a de facto Russian owned, supported, and controlled “IntraNet” as opposed to an Internet. Add to this that Russia is now blocking sites that host “graffiti insulting Vladimir Putin”, as reported at the Reuters report, “Russia blocks news site for anti-Putin graffiti under new law“. Russia is doing this under the pretense of protecting Russians from external influence, however, Russia appears to want to control every aspect of what Russian citizens see, read, watch, and hear. The Russian censorship bureau, Roskomnadzor, has been increasingly stopping apps which circumvent Russian control, disallowing any unsupervised communications. Is this to protect Russians from external influence? Yes, it bars them from reading independent or non-Russian information. Russian citizens are not free to cruise and peruse information freely, they cannot make up their own minds. This is 1984 and Big Brother, if you will. This is 2019 Russia. </end editorial>
Russia’s communications watchdog has given social media companies Twitter and Facebook nine months to move Russian users’ data onto servers in Russia, the Interfax news agency reports.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – In the final decades of Soviet power, Russian prison camps in Mordvinia were known as the worst places any prisoner political or not could be sent, a reputation they acquired largely on the strength of Valentyn Moroz’s samizdat classic, Report from the Beria Reserve (1974). Tragically, a new report by Radio Liberty’s Vadim Meshcheryakov suggests, they deserve that reputation to this day. He even entitles his long, detailed and depressing article about the situation there “The Mordvinian Colonies – Welcome to Hell” (idelreal.org/a/29880370.html). The journalist spoke with Lena Fyodorova, a former prisoner who knew many of the more famous “politicals” who continue to be confined in Mordvinian camps. She recalled that when she was led into the camps, more senior prisoners shouted out at her “Welcome to Hell.” That proved to be an understatement. Prisoners were forced to work far more hours than the norm, often until the middle of the night, when temperatures were far below zero. They were not fed well and allowed to wash themselves only once a week. Some were beaten, and all were subjected to enormous psychological pressure, which was often worse than physical abuse, Fyodorova said. Indeed, things got so bad even for her, the Radio Liberty interlocutor said, that at one point, “I looked to the sky and asked God for death.” She added that her experiences with human rights activists who came to the camps was anything but happy. They listened to her stories but then went and laughed with the prison guards and commandeers. “They laughed over us – these aren’t helpers or defenders” however much they claim otherwise. “Thank God,” Fyodorova says, she only had to spend 30 months in the Mordvinian camp. She would not wish such misery on anyone. And she is certain that those who inflicted injuries and even deaths on prisoners will have to “answer before God” even if they never have to answer before a judge serving the same system they do.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 16 – Many thoughtful analysts have suggested that the Kremlin’s decision to boost the pension age would ultimately have a negative impact not just on pensioners and those near pension age but on the entire population. Now, a new study says that this policy will roughly double the unemployment rate of working age Russians by 2024. Aleksey Kashepov, an analyst at the Moscow Institute for Macroeconomic Research of the Ministry for Economic Development, says that as a result of the boost in the pension age, unemployment in Russia will increase from 4.9 percent now to 9.6 – 9.7 percent five years from now (nakanune.ru/news/2019/4/15/22538326/). That will mean that nearly eight million Russians will be without work, a situation that will not only involve enormous suffering among them and those who depend on them but also impose significant social welfare costs on the state and possibly threaten a rise of anomic and anti-social behavior. “Particular attention should be devoted to people of pre-pension age,” Kashepov says, “since this category is more likely to be harmed by the risk of unemployment.” But that will not be easy because using regulations to limit unjustified dismissals of people in this age cohort will have negative consequences as well as positive ones. The economic analyst does not address the political consequences of this; but an increase in unemployment and in the threat of unemployment will almost certainly lead to greater support for left-of-center parties and perhaps will cause some in this risk group to engage in active protests against the powers that be who have led to their immiseration. Clearly, the situation for many Russians is increasingly dire. A Gazeta article says that Russia’s poorest now lack money even for bread (gazeta.ru/business/2019/04/16/12298747.shtml), and a Svobodnaya pressa analysis adds that the Kremlin has left the Russian people not only with no money but with no hope either (svpressa.ru/society/article/230353/).
Paul Goble Staunton, April 16 – Most people see annexation as something that occurs once and for all at a particular time; but in fact, it can be a creeping process in which one country gradually takes over another which like the frog in warming water doesn’t recognize what has happened until too late – and that is exactly what is happening in Belarus today, Rasa Juknevičienė says. The former Lithuanian defense minister who is now deputy chairman of her country’s parliamentary committee on national security says it is critically important to understand annexation as a process rather than a one-time event if one is to have any chance of blocking it (belsat.eu/ru/news/eks-ministr-oborony-litvy-anneksiya-belarusi-uzhe-idet-lukashenko-neset-otvetstvennost/). Moreover, she suggests, Putin has a model from the Soviet past. During the Cold War, the USSR occupied Eastern Europe and reduced the sovereignty of the countries in its bloc to the point that it could use them for various purposes. They weren’t annexed formally, but they were not fully sovereign either. “I very well remember those times when I was still young,” Juknevičienė continues. “I grew up in the Soviet Union, in occupied Lithuania, and we understand what role satellite states like Poland and the others who were supposedly sovereign states played in international platforms. They were simply used by the Soviet Union.” One is compelled now to ask whether it is possible that Alyaksandr Lukashenka has in his hand a sufficient dollop of sovereignty to redirect the situation toward Belarusian interests and not the interests of the Kremlin,” Juknevičienė says. If she had to give a “yes” or “no” answer, she continues, she would say “’no ‘it is already late.” “But all the same, somewhere in the depth of my heart, I hope or want to hope that sometime at night your president will wake after a dream in which he will see the future of Belarus not in the Kremlin’s embrace. He will see Belarus on the map of Europe together with democratic countries.” One hopes that will happen, but Lukashenka’s actions increasingly are coordinated with Russia’s in ways that suggest otherwise – and that is a serious matter for Lithuanians. “We do not want new iron curtains with this people, but unfortunately they are now being built and built via the militarization of Belarus.” A Russian annexation of Belarus is taking place, not yet juridical but political, Juknevičienė says; “and Alyaksandr Lukahsenka bears responsibility for the fact that Belarus is only formally a state on the map of Europe.” (emphasis supplied) In reality, she strongly implies, it is already no more an independent state that Moscow’s satellites in the Cold War were. It didn’t have to be this way, she suggests, and notes that for a long time already she has said that “Belarus is not the last dictatorship in Europe. After the annexation of Crimea, I think, everyone should have seen that the very greatest threat from autocratic, dictatorial, and mafia, if you like regimes is in the Kremlin.” That is not to minimize the suffering of the Belarusian people under Lukashenka. He has much to answer for. But she concludes, she bases her approach on the idea that “perhaps we can try to show Lukashenka an alternative if it is not too late. But everything now depends precisely on him.”
China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) received the final batch of Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ multirole fighter aircraft from Russia. Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation told TASS on Tuesday that Russia has completed the deliveries of Sukhoi Su-35 generation 4++ fighter jets to China under a contract signed earlier. “In compliance with the contract, all the Su-35 planes have been delivered to the foreign customer,” the Federal Service said. The contract for Russian 24 multirole fighter aircraft is valued at more than $2.5 billion and was signed in 2015. The deal also stipulates the delivery of ground equipment and reserve engines. China had received the first 4 Su-35 fighters in 2016. China has been the first foreign buyer of Russian Su-35 fighter aircraft. Indonesia is the second foreign buyer of Russian Su-35 fighter jets. Reports emerged in early 2018 that Russia had signed a contract with Indonesia on the delivery of 11 fighters. Under the contract, Russia is due to deliver the first fighter jets to Indonesia this year. The fulfillment of the Indonesian contract ran across some difficulties related to US sanctions but a TASS source in military and diplomatic circles said these difficulties “are not critical” and should not affect the deliveries of fighter jets. The Su-35S generation 4++ supersonic fighter jet performed its debut flight on February 19, 2008. The fighter jet is a derivative of the Su-27 plane. The Su-35S weighs 19 tonnes, has a service ceiling of 20,000 meters, can develop a maximum speed of 2,500 km/h and has a crew of one pilot. The fighter jet’s armament includes a 30mm aircraft gun, up to 8 tonnes of the weapon payload (missiles and bombs of various types) on 12 underwing hardpoints. The Su-35S has been in service with the Russian Army since 2015.
The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce is confident that companies that have knowledge of the Russian market are not afraid of "sanctions and …
The EU government has decided to allocate €215 million to the construction of the Baltic Pipe, a pipeline that will transport gas from Norwegian …
Ukrainian authorities say they have arrested seven people they claim were sent by Russian security services to carry out political killings and other “terrorist” acts, including the slaying of Ukra…
Ukraine’s SBU Security Service has stopped the activity of a subversive terrorist group of the Russian special services in Ukraine and detained its members. — Ukrinform.
Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has said the agency has exposed and arrested members of a subversive terrorist group of Russian special services operating in the territory of Ukraine, which had been deployed to carry out political assassinations and liquidate officers of the Ukrainian special services. Several autonomous subversive and terrorist units have been deployed in Ukraine from the Russian Federation and the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” since the beginning of 2017. Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has said the agency has exposed and arrested members of a subversive terrorist group of Russian special services operating in the territory of Ukraine, which had been deployed to carry out political assassinations and liquidate officers of the Ukrainian special services. “The SBU officially reports that the activities of a seven-strong sabotage and reconnaissance terrorist group of the Russian special services have been prevented in the territory of our state. All [group members] have been detained and taken into custody,” Hrytsak told a Kyiv briefing on Wednesday, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Hrytsak said this morning “we were finishing the latest stage of this operation and detained another person who was complicit in the activities of this terrorist group in the territory of our state.”
Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has said the executor of the terrorist attack, which killed officer of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, General Maksym Shapoval, is Oleh Shutov, and the organizer, like in the murder of SBU Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberyush, is Russia’s FSB Lieutenant-General Dmitry Minaev. Oleksandr Kharaberyush and Maksym Shapoval were both special service operatives murdered in car blasts. Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has said the executor of the terrorist attack, which killed officer of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, General Maksym Shapoval, is Oleh Shutov, and the organizer, like in the murder of SBU Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberyush, is Russia’s FSB Lieutenant-General Dmitry Minaev. “Shutov Oleh Mykolaiovych (born on March 9, 1966), resident of the city of Donetsk. He is the one who planted an explosive device under the car of Ukrainian Intelligence General Maksym Shapoval on June 26, 2017. For the first time today, we are releasing data on the executor of this terrorist attack,” Hrytsak said at a briefing in Kyiv, according to an UNIAN correspondent. According to Hrytsak, Shutov rented an apartment in the same apartment block where Shapoval lived. In addition, he rented a parking spot next to that of the victim. The SBU chief added Shutov had fled Kyiv for the Russian Federation after committing the crime, and later arrived in Donbas.
ieutenant General of Russia’s FSB Dmitry Minaev is the organizer of the murder of Maksym Shapoval, Oleksandr Kharaberyush
Saboteur wounded while booby-trapping car in Kyiv survives. He is an officer of the Russian military intelligence. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has said a saboteur who attempted to plant an explosive device under the car of a Ukrainian intelligence officer and was heavily injured as the IED set off early, is alive and uncer custody. The perpetrator is a Russian national working for Russian intelligence, Hrytsak said.
Christo Grozev on Twitter: “This is Timur Dzortov (from his social media profile). Deputy to Head of Ingushetia. Captured by SBU under a fake Kyrgyz passport. Indeed, in 2014-2016 he flew extensively within Russia using “ID of Member of Parliament”… https://t.co/MJNgkwcoIr”
Christo Grozev on Twitter: “This is the Russian secret service officer who blew himself up earlier this month while placing a bomb under the car of a Ukrainian military intelligence officer. He also traveled under a fake ID. SBU says he is now in hospital, and that he was coerced by GRU to do this job… https://t.co/lZfGKUHMyA”
Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Grushko said Russia and NATO had completely ceased both civil and military cooperation. Until now, Russia had actually been in active contact with NATO. They had their strong representative office, which is still in place. In particular, in the mid-2000s, cooperation between Russia and NATO was ongoing within 11 programs dealing with the security sector, anti-terrorism, joint operations, civil control, joint exercises, and so on.
Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko informed UN Secretary-General António Guterres about Ukraine’s appeal to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea demanding the immediate release of captured Ukrainian sailors. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine asks international tribunal to secure sailors’ release in Russia. The request will be heard in Hamburg. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Ukraine has lodged a request with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), seeking the release of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait in November 2018. The Ukrainian side offered Russia to hold consultations in The Hague on April 23 and is awaiting a response.
17.04.19 13:01 – MFA Russia: Case of captured Ukrainian sailors beyond jurisdiction of UN Tribunal The Russian Foreign Ministry states the UN International Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the case regarding the Russian attack on Ukrainian sailors near the Kerch Strait on November 25. View news.
The Russian Foreign Ministry states the UN International Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the case regarding the Russian attack on Ukrainian sailors near the Kerch Strait on November 25. Moscow has called on Kyiv to begin consultations.
A Moscow court has extended the pretrial detainment period for several of the 24 Ukrainian seamen who were jailed after the Russian Coast Guard seized their vessels near the Kerch Strait in a flare…
The Lefortovsky District Court in Moscow has extended the arrest of Ukrainian prisoners of war. — Ukrinform.
The International Arbitration Court has ruled to recover from Russia US$44.4 million in compensation in favor of Ukraine’s largest oil producer, Ukrnafta, for the expropriation of the company’s property in the annexed Crimea. As of April 2019, the interest accrued stood at US$5.5 million.
Ukrnafta defeats Russia in court over Crimean assets. Russia must pay over $44m. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Russia’s abuse of ‘extremism’ legislation is notorious, and suspicions about this ‘operation’ are only exacerbated by the fact that the FSB and other enforcement officers appear to have been accompanied by several Russian and Russian-controlled TV channels –
The Government of the United Kingdom has prepared a document on sanctions against Russia if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. — Ukrinform.
The agenda of the talks in the “Normandy format” in May-June includes discussion of the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. — Ukrinform.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he is unaware of any new meeting in the so-called Normandy Format, which Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko mentioned earlier.
Russia moved another battalion task group close to the border with Ukraine. Stepan Poltorak, the defense minister of Ukraine said that, specifying that the movement was observed after the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine. UNN news agency reported that on April 17. According to the minister, Russia has been increasing the number of troops deployed near the border with Ukraine. ‘There were 28 [task groups], and now it’s 29’, Poltorak said.
Russia’s hybrid military forces on April 16 mounted nine attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action. Three invaders were killed and another four were wounded on Tuesday, intelligence reports say.
Russian occupation forces launched nine attacks, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements four times, on positions of Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has spotted clusters of heavy weapons in Russian-occupied areas of Donbas. The amassing of heavy weapons was recorded both in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The Russian government intends to make it easier for inhabitants of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to obtain …
In case Ukrainian nationals living in the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions obtain Russian passports, they will automatically lose Ukrainian citizenship, Deputy Minister for temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons, Yuriy Hrymchak, said. There will be consequences, the official says.
Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs informed that Ukrainians who get Russian citizenship lose Ukrainians one
In case instability overwhelms Ukraine during the inter-election period there is a serious threat of a new military intervention by Russia, believes James Sherr, an associate fellow in Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia. If people feel deceived following the election, Russia could try to take advantage of instability militarily. In case instability overwhelms Ukraine during the inter-election period there is a serious threat of a new military intervention by Russia, believes James Sherr, an associate fellow in Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia. Speaking with Apostrophe, Sherr suggested that, if Volodymyr Zelensky is elected president and people feel deceived following his win, Russia could try to take advantage of the situation militarily. He stressed that Russia had been investing heavily in destabilizing Ukraine. Russians have agents on the ground, the expert stresses, adding that they understand quite well where the points of instability are, while their methodology is very flexible and they react very quickly.
The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has exposed an anti-Ukrainian Internet agitator in Odesa. Under the procedural guidance of the prosecutor’s office, officers of the special services have exposed the agitator who spread anti-Ukrainian materials through the Russian social networks banned in Ukraine, the SBU’s Office in Odesa region told UNIAN. Operatives established the man had regularly posted materials on personal pages and in social network communities with calls for a change in the constitutional system and the territorial structure of Ukraine by force.
Ukraine has terminated an agreement aimed at strengthening and developing cooperation between the states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the field of standardization of armaments and military equipment. Censor.NET reports citing Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. “Today, on April 17, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine supported the initiative of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and terminated for Ukraine the effect of an agreement aimed at strengthening and developing cooperation between the CIS states in the field of standardization of armaments and military equipment,” the statement reads. First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv said that the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade had conducted an analysis and concluded that the agreement cannot be practically implemented in Ukraine since it ties armaments to state standards. According to him, Soviet standards have been 90% canceled in Ukraine and they are being replaced by European standards. “A strategic course for NATO is also secured in the Constitution so we will carry out the standardization of armaments and military equipment in accordance with this course,” he added. Source:https://censor.net.ua/en/n3122748
Ukraine has terminated an agreement aimed at strengthening and developing cooperation between the states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the field of standardization of armaments and military equipment, the press service of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has reported. — Ukrinform.
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak has announced in the near future the signing of contracts for the purchase of weapons for the Ukrainian army with the defense departments of the partner countries. “We are already negotiating with our partners from the United States and from other countries regarding the purchase of air defense equipment, anti-tank weapons, the purchase of electronic warfare equipment, surveillance equipment, also regarding the modernization of our Air Force, our aircraft … Such negotiations are under way and, I think that in the near future the first contracts will be signed directly between the ministries of defense,” the minister told reporters at the Yavoriv training ground in Lviv region on Wednesday.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has said the Armed Forces of Ukraine will get over 20 new types of military equipment in 2019. “Over the past three years, we have supplied 120 samples of new equipment and put into operation 330 samples. This year we plan to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine with over 20 new types, including the Neptun, Vilkha, and Vilkha M missile systems,” he said during a working visit to Lviv region, according to the ministry’s website. According to Poltorak, the planning has already been completed and the construction of a missile boat has begun. “These plans are quite realistic; after all, both the financial resources and the prerequisites allow us doing this,” Poltorak said. He also said the financial resources and the state defense order would significantly increase combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “The assistance from our partners is extremely important. Over the past few years, from the United States alone, we have received assistance worth almost $400 million. These were mainly artillery reconnaissance stations, electronic warfare stations, unmanned aerial vehicles, communications equipment, boats, anti-sniper complexes, and other weapons and equipment,” the defense minister said. Poltorak said after the Verkhovna Rada had adopted the relevant law, the Ministry of Defense got the opportunity to directly purchase weapons and equipment abroad.
A perfectly preserved nuclear launch site in the Ukrainian countryside
Cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international partners is important for Ukraine both in economic and political aspects, Ph.D. in Economics, Chairman of the Board of Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting Ihor Burakovsky has said.
Ukraine has saved UAH 63 billion in public procurement due to the ProZorro system. — Ukrinform.
The decentralization reform launched in 2014 is the largest anti-corruption step in our country’s history. — Ukrinform.
One Plus One TV sues Ukrainian president, NV Radio. The channel wants the president to refute his statement and 1m hryvnyas as compensation. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Facebook tells RFE/RL that it has officially banned the far-right Azov movement from its platform. But the company’s lax enforcement means pages belonging to the group keep popping up and its leade…
Advisers to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and election challenger Volodymyr Zelenskiy have agreed that the candidates will meet in a debate on April 19 at Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium, a spoke…
The representative of the election campaign staff of the Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko, Oleg Medvedev announced that presidential candidates …
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has agreed to start a debate with Volodymyr Zelensky, his opponent in the presidential election runoff, at Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium at 19:00 Kyiv time on April 19. Poroshenko agrees to meet Zelensky at Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium April 19.
The campaign headquarters of two presidential candidates – Volodymyr Zelensky and Petro Poroshenko – have rented Kyiv’s National Sports Complex (NSC) Olimpiyskiy Stadium until the end of the day on April 19 for holding debates. The candidates’ headquarters are expected to make an official statement.
Representative of the election headquarters of the presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko, Ruslan Knyazevych, will appeal to the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Wednesday regarding changes to the order of conducting debates by presidential candidates, so that Poroshenko will have the opportunity to attend the debates in the studio of the Public TV and at the National Sports Complex (NSC) Olympiyskiy Stadium.
One of the two presidential candidates in Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the availability of tickets for presidential debates, which are to take place at Kyiv’s NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Friday, April 19, between Zelensky and the other candidate and incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko. Free tickets allowing access to the fan zone in the center of the stadium are already available.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the beginning of the distribution of free tickets to his debate with the incumbent head of state, Petro Poroshenko, to be held on April 19. — Ukrinform.
17.04.19 11:15 – Zelenskyi announces ticketing for presidential debates in Kyiv The tickets for the fan zone in the middle of NSC Olimpiysky stadium are available now. View news.
12,000 seats have been reserved for the presidential debates between Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky, slated for April 19
“I believe that I have all the grounds to win the elections. I can reveal what I will do during my cadence. To date, the Constitution clearly requires that the President, the Verkhovna Rada, and the Government of Ukraine do everything possible to implement the necessary reforms that would harmonize our legislation with the European one. And I clearly know in which sectors this should be done. I have already reached an agreement with the European Commission on a cooperation program,” Poroshenko said on the Pulse talk show in the air of 112 TV channel, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. First, the President called the energy sector, where he intends to find a compromise, including concerning the Nord Stream 2. “It is another risk and threat. If we now start everything from scratch or act with regard to Russian interests, this will entail extremely destructive consequences for the Ukrainian energy industry. Over the past five years, we won a lawsuit, won $4.6 billion, and more than 2 billion have already been transferred to Ukraine. We must ensure the energy independence of our state,” the President stressed. The next sector, he said, is the digital single market. “For an ordinary citizen, it means that those, who travel to the EU under the visa-free regime, have the same tariffs and do not overpay for roaming. But in reality, it is the digital management, the IT sector development so that Ukraine could become a full-fledged part of digital Europe,” the President said. “The third point is the continuation of work on the Schengen Area so that, taking into account the reform of the Customs Service, we could reduce the cost of shipping goods to the EU and simplify procedures. The fourth position – I have a clear task and I know how to perform it – we signed the bankruptcy law, which let Ukraine climb 12 spots in the Doing Business rating. We will enter the top-50 countries with the greatest investment attractiveness. After all, nothing will happen without the inflow of the foreign direct investment,” Petro Poroshenko said. He expressed the conviction that Parliament would vote in favour of the law on exit capital tax: “This means that if you invest, you don’t pay a penny, and if you withdraw, you pay tax or exit capital tax. The first steps will be to ensure that no law enforcement agencies could approach and inspect the business as the National Financial Security Service will be launched where analysts work and where everything is transparent via the electronic control.” Summing up, Petro Poroshenko said: “The main thing is not to lose momentum so that we are not turned back. The main thing is not to make a mistake on April 21 [election day], when all power in Ukraine is given directly to every Ukrainian citizen.”
Flanked by rock musicians wearing yellow overalls and black t-shirts with skulls on them, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko pumped his fist, danced to the music and waved to supporters outside a soccer stadium in Kiev on Sunday.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine enjoy the highest level of well-deserved trust and respect of the society and are a reliable guarantor of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the country. — Ukrinform.
Another presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky was invited to the show as well, however, he hasn’t shown up yet. The Pulse talk-show hosts Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel today, on April 16. The topic of today’s show are debates and the second round of the presidential elections. Another presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky was invited to the show as well, however he hasn’t show up yet.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says he intends to diminish his powers through the implementation of the decentralization reform. — Ukrinform.
17.04.19 16:30 – Poroshenko plans to scale back his powers through decentralization President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says he intends to diminish his powers through the implementation of the decentralization reform. View news.
The latest poll by a Kyiv-based International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) says about a third of Ukrainians hope the country’s next president will reduce tariffs, lift immunity off lawmakers, judges and the president, as well as speed up the probe into high-profile corruption crimes. Censor.NET reporst citing KIIS survey According to KIIS Deputy Chief Anton Hrushetskyi, to the question “Which of the following should the next president do in his first 100 days?,” the respondents’ answers were as follows: 39.1% of Ukrainians believe the president should reduce utility rates, 35.5 % say he must submit bills on lifting immunity off lawmakers, judges, president, 32.4% – to start or speed up investigation of corruption-related crimes, 23.3% – to start negotiations with Russia, 18.4% – to reduce the wages of top officials, 16.4% – to start negotiations with the European Union and the United States on Donbas and Crimea, 9.4% – to speed up the investigation of crimes against Maidan, 8% – to initiate a change in the system of parliamentary elections, i.e. the abolition of majority elections and the transition to a proportional system with open lists, 5.5% – to put up for sale premises, cars and other assets of the State Affairs Department, which is engaged in providing the president, 5.2% – to initiate the restart of anti-corruption bodies (the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine, the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office, 4.6% – to seize Russian assets in Ukraine, 4.2% – to submit a bill on the referendum, 3.3% – to start accession negotiations with the EU. A total of 2,004 respondents were interviewed. The poll’s margin of error does not exceed 3.3% for figures close to 50%, 2.8% for figures close to 25%, 2% for figures close to 10%, and 1.4% for figures close to 5%. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3122550
While Ukraine has freed itself from Russia’s political grasp, the Soviet culture of kickbacks and embezzlement remains a daunting challenge for any future president, even one who has played the part of many of the country’s leaders on television.
Volodymyr Zelensky could challenge Ukraine’s kickback culture, National Interest wrote
Apparently, Ukraine’s media wants Zelensky to show his true colors and appear at a press conference. Zelensky is regarded as a “Virtual Candidate”, he has only submitted videos on YouTube and other social media sites and has not debated or appeared interactively. If Zelensky does not appear or respond, what is the media to do? Will the voters hold him accountable? Welcome to the strangest election – ever. </end editorial>
April 16, 2015, 10:50 Photo – obozrevatel.com Representatives of a number of mass media and media organizations have published an open appeal to a presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky with an appeal to attend a press conference no later than April 18 (until the day of the debate). Prior to this, the candidate talked mainly with videos via their instatgrams, YouTube channel. However, the media community and civil society have questions about the candidate’s vision of further development of the country, as well as openness and willingness to be accountable to the society that chooses the President of Ukraine. Here is the text of the appeal and the list of signatories. The letter is open for signing (inform email@example.com). Dear Volodymyr Alexandrovich! On April 21, the second round of the presidential election will take place. During your election campaign, you made dozens of videos that became news media and news media. You gave a number of selected media a few interviews before the first round of elections, but over the past few weeks you personally avoid direct and full-fledged communication with domestic journalists. Our professional duty as journalists is to bring socially important information to citizens on time and in full. Because you ignore our requests and requests for interview, we can not perform the functions assigned to us by the community in full. The media community and civil society have a number of questions about your vision of further development of the country, as well as your openness and willingness to be accountable to the society that chooses you. Our readers, viewers and listeners also ask questions that we can not answer because they never talked to you directly. We appeal to you to show respect for journalists and civil society, which was the engine of all reforms in the country since the Revolution of Dignity. We urge you not to follow the negative practices of ignoring media requests, which, unfortunately, have also taken place over the past five years, and hold a press conference for the media to the official date of debate (no later than April 18) in order to provide a dialogue with media representatives in particular and Ukrainians in general. Prove that the principles of openness and transparency that you declare are not empty words and pre-election slogans. Open call signed: Mediaruk “Media for a Conscious Choice” “UA: First” (NSTU) Ukrainian Radio (NSTU) Public radio Information agency “Ukrinform” Liga.net Public Television Donbass “New time” Radio HB “Ukrainian Week” Media Detector Institute of Mass Information Institute of Democracy Pylyp Orlyk Regional Press Development Institute “Internews-Ukraine” Society “Foundation” Ukrainian Crisis Media Center Association of the Ukrainian press Information campaign “On the other side of news” National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine Human Rights Center ZMINA As reported by IMI, on February 5, Ukraine announced the creation of a media rally “Media for an informed choice” designed to provide citizens with the opportunity to elect the President and parliament on the basis of complete and reliable information. The leading media outlets in Ukraine, including TV channels, radio stations, printed and online editions, as well as media public organizations, entered the media stream.
Experts of the Ukrainian Committee of Voters analyzed a number of public speeches made by representatives of the presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky’s team. They checked the accuracy of the speeches of Dmytro Razumkov and Ruslan Stefanchuk (headquarters’ representatives) as well as the adviser of Zelensky on legal issues Iryna Venediktova, and also considered the election program of the candidate. Of the nine assertions analyzed, three were true, six were not true or manipulative. What is written in the first paragraph in your “Minsk” (agreements. – Ed)? What is the first point, maybe a ceasefire? Dmytro Razumkov, Volodymyr Zelensky’s Headquarters Speaker, March 29, 2019, Zik TV channel, the People Against show. True. In the Minsk Protocol and the Complex of measures for its implementation, the first points say on a ceasefire in certain regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. This can be either one format (debates in the Suspilne Channel studio), or another (on the NSC Olimpiiskyi stadium, – ed.). First, there is no venue. Our colleagues often say “this should be in the studio.” This is not the law. In the law we read about who should be the organizer of this event and who pays. Colleagues refer to the CEC resolution, but the CEC resolution is still slightly lower than the law. Dmytro Razumkov, Volodymyr Zelensky’s Headquarters Speaker, April 5, 2019, radio “NV”. Manipulation. The obligatory TV debate before the second round of elections is provided by the law “On the election of the president of Ukraine”. The law does not really establish the venue for television debates; however the venue was established by CEC Resolution No. 472 of May 5, 2014. According to the decree, candidates who participate in TV debates, no later than 30 minutes before the start of the broadcast, arrive at the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine at 42 Melnikova Street, Kyiv. When you start to go through falsifications and a lot of other things, on which the law enforcement bodies are talking about today, this can plunge the country into chaos. Dmytro Razumkov, Volodymyr Zelensky’s Headquarters Speaker, March 29, 2019, Zik TV channel, the People Against show. Manipulation. International observers said that elections in Ukraine were free and competitive, the rights to freedom of choice were respected. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov reported that there were minor violations, but the elections were “calm, well and in order.” Under the current system of government, there is actually no procedure when, by appointing a president or a people’s deputy, I can oblige him to resign. Ruslan Stefanchuk, member of the headquarters of Volodymyr Zelensky, April 5, Radio Liberty, Your Freedom show. True. Ukraine has not adopted a law on impeachment. My goal is full openness of the authorities’ actions. (The election program of Volodymyr Zelensky) Manipulation. On the eve of the second round of elections, the “Chesno” public movement called upon Zelensky to publish the income declaration for 2018. This was supposed to be a step that would promote transparency in electoral finance. However, the press service of the candidate said that he would not publish the 2018 declaration to the request of public. The press service noted that the declaration of Volodymyr Zelensky for 2018 will be filed within the deadlines established by the current legislation, and made public in accordance with the current legislation. When we faced the question of finding a person who could be considered for a military position, Volodymyr met with Mr. Kyivonis, and agreements were reached. Two days later, this man supported Petro Poroshenko. Ruslan Stefanchuk, member of Zelensky’s headquarters, April 2, 2019, Hromadske Channel. True. On March 6, presidential candidate Serhiy Kryvonis withdrew his candidacy from the elections and supported Petro Poroshenko. During his professional activity, which lasted 3 months, he (Zelensky, – ed.) managed to hold meetings with experts, with journalists, showed himself in the headquarters, in the blog, and on TV – Gordon had an interview with him, and he was interviewed with family on ICTV. Therefore, saying that a person who entered the political field within 3 months did not show himself, is a harsh statement. Iryna Venediktova, legal adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, April 4, 2019, UA: First Channel, Topics of the Day show. Exaggeration. Volodymyr Zelensky declared himself as a politician and presidential candidate on the night of December 31 to January 1. Interview with Dmytro Gordon was published on December 25th. In 2014, there was no debate. We took it calmly. Iryna Venediktova, legal adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, April 4, 2019, UA: First Channel, Topics of the Day show. Not true. In 2014, the presidential elections in Ukraine took place in one round. Mandatory televised debates are provided by the law “On the election of the President of Ukraine” only if a second round of elections is scheduled. We didn’t see such an effect from other politicians as from the political activity of Zelensky. We saw that the youth came to the polls. When did you saw it earlier? Iryna Venediktova, legal adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, April 4, 2019, UA: First Channel, Topics of the Day show. Not true. According to the deputy director of the Razumkov Center Mykhailo Mishchenko, the level of activity of young people in these elections was lower than in the presidential elections of 2014, when 46% of people aged 18 to 29 came to the polls, and in 2004, when 71% of youth vote. At the current elections, this figure was 40%. Read original article at detector.media
From April 9 to April 14, 2019, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted an all-Ukrainian public opinion poll. By method of personal interviewing, 2004 respondents who lived in 129 settlements of all regions of Ukraine (except Crimea) were interviewed by a 3-step stochastic sample with a quota selection at the last degree that is representative for the population of Ukraine under the age of 18. In Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the poll was conducted only on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. The statistical sampling error (with a probability of 0.95 and a design effect of 1.5) does not exceed: 3.3% for indicators close to 50%, 2.8% – for indicators close to 25%, 2.0% – for indicators close to 10%, 1,4% – for indicators close to 5%.
More than 325,000 Ukrainians have already used their right to temporarily change the place of voting before the second round of presidential elections scheduled for April 21, Head of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine Tetiana Slipachuk has said. — Ukrinform.
Volodymyr Zelensky, who, according to the latest social surveys, has higher chances than his opponent Petro Poroshenko to head the Presidential Administration, would be forced to get along with the Verkhovna Rada. At least until the fall, he would not have his own faction in the parliament. But Ukrainian current MPs can side with the winner very quickly. 112.ua has found out whether the Verkhovna Rada is ready to be reformatted under president Zelensky. After the first round of elections, the Verkhovna Rada has created an interfactional association “For the next president of Ukraine, V. Zelensky.” But officially, so far only one person has entered into its composition – Vitaliy Kupriy. According to him, it is planned to attract up to 10 people to the union, probably from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (BPP) and the National Front factions. Zelensky’s headquarters are counting on the support of more than 226 parliamentarians from the majority and the opposition. The BPP faction does not share the competitor’s optimism. One of the MPs from the BPP predicts that if Zelensky wins, he will receive an absolutely uncontrollable parliament and government. According to his calculations, with the most favorable scenario, the newly-elected head of the state will be able to collect about 160 votes for his bills. Petro Poroshenko, in turn, is not idle. On April 15, he met with almost all the deputies of his faction and tried to persuade them that he still has some chances for the victory. And after the results of a devastating poll (according to the internal social surveys, Zelensky’s superiority over the incumbent head of state reaches 20%, and the Rating group assures that the gap among them is 40%) the pro-presidential faction can become an active donor to the new majority. Our sources in the BPP faction predict that from 30% to 50% of their members would side Zelensky. Our interlocutors in Zelensky’s headquarters expect 60% of the pro-presidential faction to support them. Another coalition faction, National Front, also bets on Zelensky. According to 112.ua sources in the faction, the group is oriented on Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. This minister is already drifting towards Zelensky. The Samopomich faction carefully avoids the issue of cooperation with the team of Volodymyr Zelensky. Recently, leader of the Samopomich party Andriy Sadovyi announced the possible withdrawal of some MPs. Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party does not exclude the possibility of cooperation with Zelensky. “If Zelensky’s ideas comply with the party’s programmatic principles, we are ready to support him,” MP from Batkivshchyna Serhiy Vlasenko stated. Out interlocutors expect that the antagonism between “president-reformer” vs. “bad parliament” will add points to Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, which is the leader in sociological polls for parliamentary elections. By the way, as Zelensky’s headquarters assured, some MPs have already addressed them with “suitcases of money for a place in the top thirty of the list.” Another version of the “domestication” of the parliament, which is discussed on the sidelines, is the threat of early parliamentary elections after the “dissolvement of the coalition.” At the same time, there is practically no time to implement this plan in a legal way. According to the law, the parliament elected in early elections cannot be dissolved in the last six months of office. Thus, the decree on the dissolution of parliament should be issued no later than May 27. In addition, even in the case of coalition dissolution, parliamentarians have a month to form a new coalition, and the next plenary week will begin on April 23, but the official election results should be established at the end of the month. That is, until May 27, the new president will not have grounds for parliament’s resignation yet, and after May 27, he will not have such an opportunity. Plan for Petro Poroshenko is simple: by the autumn the euphoria of the showman as a president will be tempered under the pressure of economic and political challenges.
Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Paruiy has no doubt the pro-Ukrainian and pro-European majority will remain in parliament, regardless of the presidential election result. Parubiy believes the role of parliament should be strengthened.
LLC TV Broadcasting Company “Studio 1+1” on April 16, 2019, filed a lawsuit with Kyiv’s Pechersky District Court against Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and LLC Publishing House “Media-DK” to protect its business reputation, demand a retraction and compensation for moral harm. The media group says the information spread by Petro Poroshenko on Facebook as well as in a news report based on an interview given by the president to Radio NV misleads Ukrainians, making them think that the TV channel’s media activity is biased.