Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (187)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and  reporting.

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More aerial mischief by Russia, this time baiting Finland. Updates on meddling and domestic descent. Arctic update – the wayward Beluga’s home near Polyarniy is detailed, the Norwegians named it Hvaldimir (Whaledimir), a play on Waldemar, the old Norse version of what is Vladimir in Russia now. S-400 Turkey and China updates. Russian meddling in EU update.

Ukraine IR, Kerch and Crimea updates – Ukraine wants to give the Kerch Strait international sea passage status to hobble Russia. Russians extend detention of POWs.

The biggest Donbas media topic, globally, is Ze’s first visit to the front lines, to Shchastye in Luhansk, an area of bitter fighting since 2014, especially SOF raids. The media are besotted with Ze wearing body armour and a ZShM-1Kevlar helmet, although unlike his predecessor he is not wearing camo BDUs (worn for good reasons in Donbas). Danyliuk sworn in as NSDC Chairman, replacing the long serving Turchenov, dubbed by Russian media the “Bloody Pastor”,later used widely in Ukraine as a label of his prowess. S-300PS IADS EX stills. US parachutes certified now for AFU operational use. More on Neptun GL-ASCM tests. Radar Kyiv exporting SA-3 GOA semi-active radar seeker upgrade packages to Ethiopia. Pivdenniye restarting production of Zenit ELVs, now purged of Russian components. Ukraine’s MiGRemont may end up overhauling Bulgaria’s FROGFOOTs.

Another deluge of political reports, again focussed on policy, the upcoming election, hires and fires, and the incessant squabbles.

OCU and ROC updates – the ROC is in deep trouble in Russia as a result of the policy of fusing it with the state.


Finnish F/A-18 Hornets intercept Russian planes flying above the Gulf of Finland – Defence Blog

Finland scrambled F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets on Monday to intercept Russian planes it said was flying over the Gulf of Finland near its border. The Finnish Air Force announced on its Twitter account that: “F/A-18 Hornets on Quick Reaction Alert was scrambled to identify Russian Antonov An-12 and Antonov An-72 transport aircraft in international airspace above the Gulf of Finland on Monday 27 May after 11 am.” Also noted that the airspace of Finland was not violated by Russian planes. Later Dutch aviation publication Scramble Magazine has reported that the Russian aircraft involved were An-12BK (RF-95684/20 bl) and Border Guard An-72P (RF-72019). “The An-12 is a really old one, the aircraft was first reported with an in service date of January 1971. It started its career as an An-12PPS, but was converted to a standard An-12BK transport aircraft in 1990,” Scramble Magazine stressed. As to An-72P, intercepted by the Finnish Hornet, this is a light short take-off and landing military transport aircraft in armed border surveillance variant.

This Gorgeous Russian An-72P Border Surveillance Aircraft Was Intercepted By A Finnish F/A-18C Hornet Earlier Today – The Aviationist

The Finnish Air Force has released an interesting shot of an An-72P, an armed border surveillance version of the baseline An-72. On May 27 a Finnish Air Force F/A-18C Hornet on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) was scrambled “to identify Russian Antonov An-12 and Antonov An-72 transport aircraft in international airspace above the Gulf of Finland,” says an official news release by the Ilmavoimat – Flygvapnet. Actually, the An-72 RF-72019 intercepted by the Finnish Hornet is not a “standard” light STOL (short take-off and landing) military transport aircraft: it’s an An-72P (Patrulnyi), an armed border surveillance variant of the characteristic shoulder-wing monoplane with two squat turbofan engines protruding ahead of the wing and exhaust nozzles located on the upper surface of the wing. About 10 An-72P are believed to be in active service with the Russia’s Border Guard (subordinated to the FSB – Federal Security Service). According to Russia’s Warplanes Vol. 2 by Piotr Butowski, the An-72P is fitted with navigation and communication systems as well as an OTV-124 optical-TV sight, installed in the port nacelle of the main landing gear and three cameras. Moreover, the aircraft is armed with a built-in UPK-23 gun pod housed in the starboard side of the lower fuselage in fron of the undercarriage nacelle. The An-72P can carry up to 650 kg of weapons (bombs and rocket launchers) on two underwing pylons while four racks inside the cargo cabin above the ramp can carry 100 kg bombs which can be used when the ramp is slid under the cabin. Interestingly, the An-72P operated by the Border Guard sport pretty interesting camouflaged color schemes. Here below you can see the livery worn by RF-72022. A similar paint job is sported by RF-72020.

Russian Defense Minister Visits Tajikistan For Talks

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has arrived in Dushanbe for talks with Tajikistan’s political and military leadership.

Russia to deploy military specialists to Republic of Congo as Moscow expands global reach – media – news world | UNIAN

Russia will deploy military specialists to the Republic of Congo to provide maintenance for military equipment that Moscow had previously given the African country, the Kremlin said Friday as the country’s role in Africa came under the spotlight. Experts have said Moscow is attempting to expand its global reach in order to counter the impact of Western sanctions, which were levied in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2015.

Russia to Deploy Military Specialists to the Republic of Congo As Moscow Expands Global Reach

Russia has attempted to expand its footprint into Africa by signing military cooperation agreements with around 20 countries.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Putin in Free Fall,’ SerpomPo Telegram Channel Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 26 – The collapse in the share of Russians who say they trust Vladimir Putin to make decisions from 47.4 percent a year ago to 31.7 percent now, the lowest level in more than a decade, has prompted the SerpomPo Telegram Channel to say “Putin is in free fall” and that further declines can be expected (t.me/SerpomPo/3216). The telegram channel even sees the pictures of the Kremlin leader falling while playing hockey as symbolic and makes two further points: If these are the figures reported by VTsIOM which has a track record of being close to the Kremlin and therefore can be expected to make Putin look as good as possible, what are the real ones? And if the 31.7 percent is an overall figure, what must it be for those protesting in Yekaterinburg, Petersburg, Chelyabinsk and Murmansk, not to mention many other places, or for pensioners or for the enormous number of Russians who have become poorer over the last six years of his watch? How much longer are these millions going to put up with their futures being stolen by Putin and his cronies? Is the time approaching when they will say “’Enough,’” SerpomPo asks. “Of will they like their Soviet grandparents or parents be patient and wait until ‘the body is carried out?’” In pointing to such long-standing Russian patience, SerpomPo is qualifying its own headline; but there are two other reasons for qualifying it as well. On the one hand, Putin still controls the agenda and can take actions that will boost his rating. In the past, those have involved military action, making this poll result a matter of concern not just for him. And on the other hand, as opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky points out, while Putin’s numbers are low for an authoritarian leader in control of the media, they are not significantly lower than those a leader of a democratic society would consider perfectly reasonable (echo.msk.ru/programs/year2019/2431655-echo/). One should therefore not overread them as the SerpomPo headline almost certainly does, but such reporting has consequences all its own. Once people talk about a leader’s failures in this way, it is almost a repetition of the Chekhovian principle that if a gun is displayed in the first act, it must go off before the end of the third.

Russian Scholar Of Stalin’s Crimes Sentenced To Nine Years On Child-Sex Conviction

A former museum director who has conducted research at a mass grave containing the remains of thousands of people shot under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has been convicted of having sex with a min…

Russian Soldier Backtracks On Claims Troops Were Tested On Willingness To Shoot Protesters

The Russian special ops soldier had been filmed claiming his military base was quizzed on its readiness to fire at protesters.

UAWire – Survey: economists not convinced by Kremlin’s predicted ‘surge’ in Russian economy

The miraculous economic “surge” that the Russian government predicts will start in the 2020s and bring Russia into the world’s top 5 economies remains a chimera in the eyes of most economists, finanz.ruwrites. A survey of professional economic forecasters conducted by the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics at the end of April, involving 11 Russian and foreign investment banks, seven analysis centers, two institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and major corporations such as Lukoil and Kamaz, showed that absolutely no one believes the economy’s growth rate will exceed 3% in the next 6 years. Of the 24 participants in the study, only one expert predicted a 3% growth rate, and only after the next electoral cycle in 2025. According to the consensus prediction, the Russian economy will grow by 1.3% this year, 1.7% next year, and by no more than 1.8-2% until 2024. Compared to a similar survey conducted in February, the experts’ expectations have worsened by 0.2%. The majority of experts expect that the price of oil will remain relatively stable ($65-67 per barrel of Urals) and the ruble will depreciate gradually, by an average of 1 ruble to the dollar each year. This is radically different to the assessment by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development (MED), which serves as the basis of all economic and budgetary projections for the next six years. The ministry believes that in 2021 the economy will double its annual growth rate to 3.1%, and even 3.3% by 2024. This will be assisted by 25 trillion rubles worth of national projects, which will be financed through tax hikes and the savings from raising the retirement age. The MED predicts that the breakthrough will take place amid falling oil prices, with the barrel price of Urals falling from $72 this year to $59.7 in 2020 and $53.5 by 2024. Despite this, the official prediction is that the ruble-dollar exchange rate will remain stable around 65.1 rubles per dollar this year and 66.2 by 2022. The only thing that the economists and the MED agree on is that the Russian economy has slowed down drastically this year, with the GDP growing by only 1.3%. The growth in excess of 3% that the government is promising seems like a “pipe dream” to most economists, the authors of the study conclude.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Again as in 1989 Beginning to Feel that Fundamental Change is Possible, Solovey Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 27 – A major political crisis in Russia is “inevitable,” Valery Solovey says, not because of the economic crisis but because of “a qualitative change in the mass consciousness” of Russians who once again have come to believe that radical changes are no longer precluded and that if they are so inclined they can achieve what they couldn’t before. It may be, the MGIMO scholar says, that only one percent of the population will in fact take advantage of these possibilities; but as in 1989, that will be enough once the overwhelming majority has gone from acceptance to anger about what the powers that be are doing (etoonda.livejournal.com/2665087.html). The symptoms of this looming crisis, Solovey says, are five: “a qualitative change in mass consciousness,” “the destruction of propaganda” as an effective tool, “the crisis in the personal leadership of Putin,” “the crisis in administration at all levels and in all sectors,” and “the attempt to organize a transition in this turbulent situation.” The MGIMO scholar points out that he “did not say a word about the economy.” Its figures aren’t important; what is is how people view them. And in that regard there has been a significant change: people have lost hope for themselves and their children, and they are angry because they see no good future. Some are emigrating, some are adapting as best they can, and some are now ready to protest via the ballot box or by means of more radical steps. The number choosing the last has increased radically over the last year, Solovey says. “On the eve of the presidential elections, the main emotion regarding Putin was tiredness: People said: ‘we will vote for him, of course, but in the hope that this is the last time.” Those hopes were based on the expectation that Putin would try to restore the social contract he had had with the people. But instead of doing so, Putin reappointed Medvedev showing he wasn’t going to take any steps in that direction and then backed the pension reform that he had pledged never to agree to. That was too much, Solovey says; and something snapped for a large number of Russians. They got angry and their anger began to grow over into aggression. Just as in 1989 and 1990, Russians would vote for anybody as long as he wasn’t a communist, so now they will vote for anybody as long as he isn’t a member of the party of power, United Russia. And again as 30 years ago, when that wasn’t enough, they have become increasingly willing to protest in the streets. But even that is not enough by itself to produce a political crisis, he says. What is necessary is the sense that the situation in which they find themselves is neither inevitable nor permanent. And that sense is growing as well, perhaps even more among those close to Putin than in the population as a whole. The bureaucracy has viewed Putin as the man who controls the population so that they can get on with their thievery. But now there is evidence that he no longer controls the people as he did. His real support is “about 30 percent,” Solovey says; and “this is already insufficient to control society as a whole.” Consequently, they are considering their options anew. Putin has made the situation worse in the regions by dispatching technocrats to serve as governors when what is needed are people with political skills who can interact with the population. The technocrats can’t or at least fear to, and the consequences are a decline in the quality of governance that ever more people can see. The Kremlin might have been able to forestall these problems had it developed a propaganda machine capable of talking about Russia. But Moscow television talks far more about foreign countries than it does about its own – and consequently, people are making up their own minds, having turned to friends and the Internet, in ways the Kremlin doesn’t like. The Kremlin’s response, naturally, is to try to take control of the Internet. And technically, it may soon be able to do so. But almost certainly it will be playing catchup and come on the scene in this regard far too late, especially given that the transition at the top will be taking place all too publicly. Transitions are dangerous because they inevitably destroy the sense that tomorrow will be like today. They open the possibility that things can change and change radically and lead people to think that they can make their own future unlike earlier. Perhaps the number who will do so will be quite small, but Solovey argues, it will almost certainly be enough. Revolutions, their apologists notwithstanding, aren’t made by majorities; they are made by ambitious minorities “who suddenly understand that they have a chance to do now what they could not do earlier. Remember this,” Solovey says. “Before you is opening a chance” – and it may be the only one in a generation. “The future is no longer pre-ordained” in Russia, he concludes, “It has begun to change.” Consequently, he suggests, ever more Russian will think about the future as something different – and that is how revolutions begin.

Satellite images reveal Russian navy’s secret Arctic marine mammal facility | The Independent Barents Observer

These pens near the naval town of Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula might very well be the home from where runaway ‘Whaledimir’ beluga escaped from. Or was he brought to Norwegian waters on purpose? The beluga whale wearing a harness with mounts for a GoPro camera that first was spotted by local fishermen on Norway’s Barents Sea coast in late April is still swimming around in the harbor of Hammerfest. Making big headlines in Norway and around the globe, the locals name him ‘Whaledimir’ (Hvaldimir in Norwegian) after national broadcaster NRK made a poll asking their audience to name the animal. Today the beluga is stripped free from the harness, but is refusing to leave his new life of freedom in Norway. Experts say the whale will likely not survive without being fed by humans.

Here is the Russian navy’s secret Arctic marine mammal facility – To Inform is to Influence

Six beluga whales in pens are visible on this satellite image from Garyachie Ruchy in the Kola Bay, some 3,5 km south of the closed naval town of Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula. Image: Google Earth 3D / The Barents Observer. Source: https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2019/05/here-northern-fleets-secret-marine-mammal-program

Vladimir (name) – Wikipedia

The early occurrence of the name in the East Slavic culture comes with Volodimer Sviatoslavich (Old East Slavic: Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь, “Vladimir the Great”), first Grand Prince of Kiev (r. 980–1015). Three successors of Vladimir the Great shared his given name: Vladimir II Monomakh (1053–1125), Vladimir III Mstislavich (1132–1173) and Vladimir IV Rurikovich (1187–1239). The town Volodymyr-Volynskyi in north-western Ukraine was founded by Vladimir and is named after him.[4] The foundation of another town, Vladimir in Russia, is usually attributed to Vladimir Monomakh. However some researchers argue that it was also founded by Vladimir the Great.[5] The veneration of Vladimir the Great as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church gave rise to the replacement of the East Slavic form of his name with the Old Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) one. The immense importance of Vladimir the Great as national and religious founder resulted in Vladimir becoming one of the most frequently-given Russian names.

11 Russian fighter jets made mock attack on Norwegian Arctic radar [Vardø] | The Independent Barents Observer

Flying in attack formation, the group of Su-24 attack aircraft turned away just before Norwegian airspace. By Thomas Nilsen February 12, 2019 The dramatic simulated attack happend on February 14th, 2018, Director of Norway’s Intelligence Service, Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde, told the audience in his annual speech for the Oslo Military Society on Monday. Haga Lunde had earlier in the day presented Focus 2019 (in Norwegian), the intelligence service’s report on threats and security analyses. «Russia’s rhetoric against Norway has grown sharper,» the intelligence director said. «Russia’s military activity in our region signals dismay with Norway,» Haga Lunde said and stressed that there are «no indications that relations between Russia and the West will improve in 2019.» He then showed the map of how a group of 11 Sukhoi-24 (NATO name Fencer) supersonic attack aircraft taking of from Monchegorsk air base on the Kola Peninsula flying out in the Barents Sea before taking a 180 degree turn into an attack formation towards Vardø. Vardø is Norway’s most northeastern town.

Delivery of S-400 systems may be delayed after June: Defense minister – Turkey News

The delivery of Russian-made S-400 systems to Turkey might be delayed until after June, but they would be deployed in the following months, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on late May 27.

TASS: Military & Defense – Russian experts to visit Turkey to help put S-400 systems into operation

The minister said he did not expect the delivery of the Russian-made missile systems in June

S-400 purchase could redefine Turkey’s geostrategic role | Ahval

With the Turkish government pressing ahead with its purchase of a Russian S-400 defence system, the United States’ patience seems to have run out. A report by CNBC stated: “Turkey has a little more than two weeks to decide whether to complete a complex arms deal with the US or risk severe penalties by going through with an agreement to buy a missile system from Russia.” “By the end of the first week of June,” the report added: “Turkey must cancel a multibillion-dollar deal with Russia and instead buy Raytheon’s US-made Patriot missile defence system or face removal from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme, forfeiture of 100 promised F-35 jets, imposition of US sanctions and potential blowback from NATO.” The report, based on anonymous US sources, was not denied. The US moves, which constitute no less than a full-on threat to Turkey, were followed by another concrete measure to pressure Turkey. Earlier in May, the US Senate Armed Services Committee unveiled a defence budget that aims to ban the sale of F-35 jets to Turkey. The proposed 2020 National Defence Authorisation Act would prohibit funding to transfer the F-35 or related equipment and intellectual property to Ankara “unless the secretary of defence and secretary of state can confirm Turkey has not accepted the Russian system and certify they will not purchase the system in the future,” official sources said. These steps mark a steep escalation in the showdown between Turkey and the United States. All earlier disputes between Washington and Ankara, including those in 1964 or 1974 regarding Cyprus, pale in comparison. While those rifts may have led to partial sanctions, this time Turkey’s decades-long membership in NATO is at stake. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration’s obstinate attitude on the issue can be likened to a cat no longer able to unwind a ball of yarn because it has unravelled too far. Erdogan’s initial push to highlight the S-400 purchase was apparently aimed at gaining leverage and a strong bargaining position. However, as with other recent moves, it seems to have backfired, causing deep damage to the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic arsenal. Erdogan’s pro-Russian stance has emboldened the so-called Eurasianist flank in state structures, pushing Erdogan, whether knowingly or not, into a trap. Erdogan is also being squeezed into a corner externally: whether he chooses to soften to US pressure or acquire the S-400 system, there will be consequences. “To be clear, this is a terrible place to be in,” wrote Aaron Stein, director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Middle East Programme in Washington. “However, if Ankara chooses to deepen its partnership with Russia, bad could turn into grievous, as legacy defence cooperation with the United States could then be called into question. Most important, the Turkish-Russian entente further undermines Ankara’s position within NATO and, therefore, the very notion of collective defence and burden-sharing among the 29 member-states.” The impasse leaves Erdogan with these two choices. If he does choose to ignore US threats and use his opposition to the Americans as a populist tool to ride the wave of nationalism ahead of local elections in Istanbul in June, it will be clear that Turkey’s geostrategic role has been radically redefined. And with the United States’ lack of patience, this could indeed happen very quickly.

China Makes Progress in Induction of Second S-400 Air Defense System Regiment | The Diplomat

Chinese servicemen are conducting a technical inspection of the second batch of S-400 air defense systems.

Austrian Chancellor Ousted Amid ‘Russian-Linked’ Video Scandal

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has lost a confidence vote in parliament, removing him from office over a political scandal that brought down his coalition government.

Austrian Chancellor Kurz Ousted by Parliament

Sebastian Kurz is pushed out in aftermath of scandal linked to his party’s one-time coalition partner

Sebastian Kurz: No-confidence vote removes Austria’s chancellor | News | Al Jazeera

Far-right and centre-left parties force Sebastian Kurz from office after his government coalition imploded in scandal.

EU Populists Gain Modestly; Brussels Sighs With Relief

EU officials had feared Euro-skeptics would run away with EU Parliament elections; some officials note surprise resurgence of smaller strongly pro-EU parties

Amid fractures, Europe is becoming a single political space – The Washington Post

Amid complex fractures, Europe resembles a single political space.

A Europe More Divided – WSJ

Political integration takes a hit in the EU elections, and Brexit means Brexit.

European Parliament Election Results: 4 Key Takeaways : NPR

Europe’s traditional centrist coalition lost its majority, with far-right populist parties and liberal, pro-European Union parties gaining ground. The results suggest a complicated future for the EU.

EU Elections: ‘Disaster’ for Globalists in Poland

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party stormed to victory at Sunday’s EU Parliament elections, described as a “disaster” for a globalist coalition of opposition parties.

German, French foreign ministers to visit Ukraine on Thursday

On Thursday, May 30, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will pay a visit to Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

President of Ukraine had a phone conversation with newly elected President of Lithuania — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a phone conversation with newly elected President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda and congratulated him on the convincing victory at the elections.

Ukraine, Lithuania to enhance cooperation in areas of mutual interest

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky had a phone conversation with newly elected President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda and congratulated him on the convincing victory in the election. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s MIA expects support of newly elected European Parliament in resisting Russia aggression

Ukraine congratulates its partners of the European Union on successfully conducted elections

Klimkin: International tribunal decision thwarts Russia’s plans to use Ukrainian POWs as bargaining chips

The decision by the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordering Russia to release three ships of the Ukrainian Navy and 24 Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait area in November 2018 and allow them to return to Ukraine has disrupted Moscow’s plans. Russia wanted to use the Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) as bargaining chips, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said. “The decision in Hamburg broke the Russian logic, according to which they intended to use our [citizens] as bargaining chips, playing on the political situation. Now, together with friends and partners, we will turn a symbolic victory into practical levers. And we will definitely return the POWs home,” he said on Twitter on Tuesday. On November 25, 2018, Russian border guards reportedly captured the Ukrainian Yany Kapu raid tug and small armored artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol of Ukraine’s Naval Forces. The boats were heading from Odesa to Mariupol. Russia fired on the vessels, seized the boats and captured 24 Ukrainian sailors, wounding three of them. Russia has charged the sailors with crossing the Ukraine-Russia border illegally. On April 16, 2019, Ukraine applied to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for provisional measures against Russia for the release of Ukrainian sailors and ships. The Foreign Ministry noted that, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, naval vessels and their personnel have absolute immunity, which provides that foreign states cannot arrest, detain and judge them. On May 10, hearings of the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in the case of the Ukrainian sailors began in Hamburg. An agent from Ukraine at the hearing was Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for European integration Olena Zerkal. On May 25, the Tribunal issued a ruling that obliged Russia to release three Ukrainian ships and the 24 Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait area in November 2018 and allow them to return to Ukraine. Some 19 judges voted for this decision, one judge – Ruslan Kolodkin (from Russia) – against. The Tribunal ordered Russia to report on the implementation of this decision by June 25, 2019, and also obliged Ukraine and Russia to refrain from any actions that could aggravate or prolong the dispute.

Ukraine to seek change of Kerch Strait status to make it international

Ukraine’s MFA wants to change the status of the Kerch Strait to get rid of Russia’s speculations

Ukraine seeks change of Kerch Strait status

Ukraine’s MFA will seek change of the status of the Kerch Strait to make it international. Censor.NET reports citing LB.ua. Such step will allow getting rid of speculations from Russia’s side, as ships from all over the world use the strait as a transit route. “It’s rather important to provide status determination of the Kerch Strait as an international strait. This will withdraw many issues which still exist, and legal uncertainty including the question of Russia’s speculations concerning the status of the Kerch Strait as an internal strait,” Olena Zerkal, Deputy Foreign Minister, said. Referring to the UN Convention on the Law of Sea adopted in 1982, she noted that the countries which border the strait should not discriminate the vessels of other countries which use the strait for transit, should not prevent transit passage or stop it. Deputy Foreign Minister also noted that Ukraine does not intend to break the accords with Russia on the status of the Kerch Strait concluded in 2003 as this is a basic document which reads that freedom of navigation should be provided.

UAWire – Kyiv: Ukraine will impose new sanctions against Russia if it refuses to release Ukrainian sailors

Ukraine will introduce new sanctions against Russia if it ignores the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to free the …

Azov crisis: Court leaves eight Ukrainian POWs in custody till end of July

Moscow City Court ruled to leave eight Ukrainian POWs in custody

Moscow Court Upholds Extending Pretrial Detention Of Ukrainian Sailors

A Moscow court has upheld a decision to extend the pretrial detainment period for the 24 Ukrainian seamen captured by Russia in November 2018, defying a UN maritime-tribunal ruling that the sailors…

Moscow court extends Ukrainian sailors’ detention until end of July – news politics | UNIAN

A Moscow court has extended the term of detention of 24 captive Ukrainian sailors until the end of July. The deadline for reporting by the Russian authorities to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the implementation of its decision on the release of the sailors expires on June 25.

Interfax-Ukraine to host press conference ‘Who Did Really Give Up our Crimea?’

On Tuesday, May 28, at 14.30, the press center of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency will host a press conference entitled: “‘Who Did Really Give Up our Crimea?” Participants include: former Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Col. Gen. Volodymyr Zamana, lawyers Oleh Zhyvotov, Andriy Podosionov (8/5a Reitarska Street). Registration requires press accreditation.

JFO naval forces conduct training in Sea of Azov. VIDEO

28.05.19 12:51 – JFO naval forces conduct training in Sea of Azov. VIDEO Crews of the Kremenchuk and Lubny small armored gunboats attached to the Joint Forces Operation have conducted their latest training exercises, replete with live fire from stern and fore artillery guns. View video news.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the frontline positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Luhansk region — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the first working visit to Luhansk region to get himself acquainted with the positions of the military in Stanytsia Luhanska and Shchastya. The Head of State talked with soldiers about living conditions, food quality, equipment, housing, social package and staffing of units. In Stanytsia Luhanska, the President visited the frontline, in particular, the observation post and trench shelters. The enemy’s nearest position was 400 meters away. After seeing the living conditions of the defenders, Volodymyr Zelenskyy highlighted the necessity of their improvement. “The conditions for the military who defend Ukraine must be normal,” the Head of State said. In addition, the President listened to the report of Joint Forces Commander, Lieutenant-General Oleksandr Syrsky on the situation in the JFO area. The meeting was attended by Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Ruslan Khomchak.

 

 

 

 

 

Ukraine’s New President Visits Eastern War Zone

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was inaugurated a week ago, visited the war-torn Luhansk region, where the army has been fighting Russia-backed separatists since 2014

Zelenskiy Makes First Visit To Ukraine’s Front Line

Donning a bulletproof helmet and vest over business attire, Volodymyr Zelenskiy made his first visit as president and supreme commander in chief to the front line of the war in eastern Ukraine with…

Ukraine’s Zelensky visits rebel front line

Just a week after taking office, Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky made his first visit Monday to the front line of fighting against Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country, his press office said. Zelensky, who was an actor and comedian before being elected as leader, “examined

Zelenskyi visits frontline positions in Donbas. PHOTOS

28.05.19 11:34 – Zelenskyi visits frontline positions in Donbas. PHOTOS Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has made his first working visit to Luhansk region where he inspected the frontline positions of Ukrainian military in Stanytsia Luhanska and Shchastia. View news.

Zelenskyy visits front line in Luhansk Region – LB.ua news portal

Zelenskyy visits front line in Luhansk Region. The president talked about improving support for the military. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

President Zelensky pays first working visit to Donbas (Photos) – news war | UNIAN

New Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has paid his first working visit to Donbas, eastern Ukraine, during which he inspected Ukrainian army positions in the village of Stanytsia Luhanska and the town of Schastia, both in Luhansk region. Newly appointed Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Ruslan Khomchak was also present.

JFO commander reports on situation at front to President Zelensky

The situation in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas is controlled. — Ukrinform.

Four attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, four terrorists wounded

28.05.19 10:41 – Four attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, four terrorists wonded May 27, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions four times, using Minsk-proscribed weapons twice. View news.

Ukraine reports four enemy attacks in Donbas warzone in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces on May 27 mounted four attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas. Ukraine Army reported no casualties over the period under review.

21 trucks with chemical reagents aboard heads for militant-held area of Donbas

A convoy of 21 trucks with chemical reagents aboard crossed the checkpoint in Novotroitske (Donetsk region), which is held by Ukrainian troops. The cargo headed for the occupied area of Donetsk region, Ukraine’s State Border Guard reported as quoted by Kyivpost. “Water treatment chemical reagents whose total weight is 420 tonnes have been sent for residents of Donbas,” the press service of the State Border Service of Ukraine said on May 28 morning’, reads the article. The trucks were sent on the behalf of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Zelensky appoints Danylyuk as National Security and Defense Secretary

Danylyuk will serve as National Security and Defense Secretary

Oleksandr Danyliuk appointed Secretary of National Security and Defense Council

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed Oleksandr Danyliuk as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. — Ukrinform.

Oleksandr Danilyuk appointed as Secretary of National Security and Defense Council

28.05.19 17:30 – Oleksandr Danilyuk appointed as Secretary of National Security and Defense Council Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has appointed Oleksandr Danilyuk as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. View news.

Командування Повітряних Сил ЗСУ / Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces – [IADS EX]

Командування Повітряних Сил ЗСУ / Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces, Вінниця. 8.9K likes. Офіційна публічна сторінка Командування Повітряних Сил…

Switzerland sends 2,500 tonnes of relief supplies for eastern Ukraine – news ukraine | UNIAN

On May 27, 2019, the first of six convoys from Switzerland, consisting of 21 lorries loaded with aluminium sulphate, reached their destination in Donetsk. The value of these consignments, which include medical supplies and water treatment chemicals, amounts to CHF 2.7 million.

American parachutes are allowed to be operated by the Armed Forces

Special Purpose Parachutes and Airborne Systems Cargo Handling Systems are authorized for operation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a special period. In particular, in accordance with the order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the following are allowed to operate : Parachute system T-11 Parachute system T-11 The T-11 parachute system , designed for combat and training jumps from Mi-8 helicopters and AN-26 military transport aircraft, performed by individual paratroopers or a group, with full-scale weapons and equipment at speeds of up to 277 km / h, from heights from 152 to 5330 m with flying weight of the paratrooper up to 181 kg, day and night. The Intruder RA-360 parachute system , which is also designed for day-and-night jumps from Mi-8 type helicopters and An-26 type airplanes, individual parachutists or a group with full armament and equipment, but already at a speed of up to 360 km / h, and from heights from 1067 to 7620 m, with the flight mass of the parachutist up to 204 kg. Intruder RA-360 Intruder RA-360 Paratrooper system Intruder RA-360 In the parachute system Intruder RA-360 there are three ways to put it into action: manual, by pulling out the manual opening of the main parachute; Forced opening of the parachute’s arm with an exhaust line; opening of the parachute’s pad with the use of a soft exhaust parachute. The term of operation of the mentioned parachuting systems is 12 years. Parachute system Hi-5 . Parachute system Hi-5 Parachute system No-5 Designed for day-and-night combat and training jumps from Mi-8 type helicopters and AN-26 military transport aircraft that are performed by individual paratroopers or a group with full-scale weapons and equipment at speeds up to 360 km / h, with altitudes from 1067 to 7620 meters with a flight mass of the parachutist up to 220 kg. The functioning of the system N-5 provides three ways to enter it into action similar to the system Intruder RA-360. Additionally, controlled operation of the cargo handling systems MicroFly II and FireFly are in operation. The controlled system of precise airborne landing of cargo, MicroFly II, is intended for landing from aircraft of the type An-26 weapons and military assets weighing up to 225 kg in factory containers at a flight speed of up to 277 km / h, from heights of 1067 to 7468 m. The type of intruder RA-360 parachute system.

The Ministry of Defense allowed the use of American parachutes

Special Purpose Parachutes and Airborne Systems Cargo Handling Systems are authorized for operation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a special period. This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Pages The relevant order was issued by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine In particular, the following are permitted for operation: Parachute system T-11 The T-11 parachute system , designed for combat and training jumps from Mi-8 helicopters and AN-26 military transport aircraft, performed by individual paratroopers or a group, with full-scale weapons and equipment at speeds of up to 277 km / h, from heights from 152 to 5330 m with flying weight of the paratrooper up to 181 kg, day and night. The Intruder RA-360 parachute system , which is also designed for day-and-night jumps from Mi-8 type helicopters and An-26 type airplanes, individual parachutists or a group with full armament and equipment, but already at a speed of up to 360 km / h, and from heights from 1067 to 7620 m, with the flight mass of the parachutist up to 204 kg. Paratrooper system Intruder RA-360 In the parachute system Intruder RA-360 there are three ways to put it into action: • manual, by pulling out the manual opening of the main parachute; • forced disclosure of the parachute’s arm with an exhaust line; • opening of a paratrooper wound using a soft exhaust parachute. The term of operation of the mentioned parachuting systems is 12 years. Parachute system Hi-5. Designed for day-and-night combat and training jumps from Mi-8 type helicopters and AN-26 military transport aircraft that are performed by individual paratroopers or a group with full-scale weapons and equipment at speeds up to 360 km / h, with altitudes from 1067 to 7620 meters with a flight mass of the parachutist up to 220 kg. Parachute system No-5 The functioning of the system N-5 provides three ways to enter it into action similar to the system Intruder RA-360. Additionally, controlled operation of the cargo handling systems MicroFly II and FireFly are in operation . The controlled system of precise airborne landing of cargo, MicroFly II, is intended for landing from aircraft of the type An-26 weapons and military assets weighing up to 225 kg in factory containers at a flight speed of up to 277 km / h, from heights of 1067 to 7468 m. The type of intruder RA-360 parachute system.

RK-360 “Neptun” from “Ukroboronprom” tested in the Odessa region

Rocket complex LCD-360MTS “Neptun” was tested at one of the military training ground in Odesa region. During shooting, the work of a whole series of innovations in the design of the cruise missile R-360 was tested. Designers of the DKBB “LUC”, which is part of the Concern, made important changes aimed at significantly improving the efficiency of the cruise missile. First of all, the P-360 received a new self-guards head, which allows you to capture the target in conditions of complex maneuvering. The cruise missile also received a new starter engine, which provides more active take-off on the flight marshall, as well as wings and rails of a larger area, which should increase the handling and maneuverability of the R-360. In addition, a part of the electronic and digital systems that were supposed to work in difficult conditions was replaced with a wing missile. Among these innovations is a new radio altimeter, which helped to reduce the altitude of the R-360. This parameter is one of the most important, because the smaller the height of the flight, the more difficult it is to see the enemy and intercept the cruise missile. And now the R-360 can fly a few meters above the surface. This significantly reduces the time for its detection, identification and interception. At the same time, the components of the navigation system were replaced, which now provide work even in conditions of powerful use by the enemy of the means of electronic fight. In general, taking into account all the changes in the cruise missile R-360, as well as its ability to maneuver in the route to the target, it becomes possible to bypass the enemy’s air defenses and destroy the enemy’s target in an unexpected blow. Recall that the creation of “Neptune” as quickly as possible became possible due to the high professionalism of specialists of many enterprises “Ukroboronproma”, which are part of the cluster of high-precision weapons and ammunition, in particular, “LUC”, DAKK “ARTEM” and “Zhulian Machine-Building Plant” VIZAR “. It should be noted that the fire tests of the missile complex “Neptune”, which includes a universal self-propelled launching unit, a transport vehicle for the transport of missiles, a transport-charging machine and a command-and-staff module, were conducted as part of the tests during which the launches of the upgraded reactive system ” Alya ” .

Rk-360MTs “Neptun” from “Ukroboronprom” tested in the Odessa region – YouTube

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Published on May 28, 2019 Rocket complex LCD-360MTS “Neptun” was tested at one of the military training ground in Odesa region. During shooting, the work of a whole series of innovations in the design of the cruise missile R-360 was tested. Designers of the DKBB “LUC”, which is part of the Concern, made important changes aimed at significantly improving the efficiency of the cruise missile.

In the Odessa region, missiles “Neptune” with new seekers were tested

During the firing, a number of structural innovations were tested. On Monday, May 27, the missile complex of the RCD-360 “Neptun” was tested in the Odessa region on a regular basis, the press service of the DK “Ukroboronprom” reports. During the firing, a number of structural innovations of the cruise missile R-360, capable of striking maritime targets, were tested. The missile is equipped with a new self-homing head, which allows you to capture the target in conditions of complex maneuvering, an engine for more active dedication to the flight area, and wings and rudders of a larger area to increase maneuverability and controllability. In addition, the electronic and digital “guts” of the cruise missile were partially changed. A new radio altimeter has been installed to reduce the altitude of the flight and the complication of its detection and interception by the enemy, and components of the navigation system for operation in conditions of use by the enemy of the means of electronic combat. According to the designers, the innovations will allow cruise missiles “Neptune” to bypass the air defense zones and hit targets in the enemy’s rear. The Neptune cruise missile was developed by the State Design Bureau “Luch” within the framework of the Strategic Program “Rocket Shield”. In December 2019, rocket systems should be supplied to the armaments of coastal defense units of the Ukrainian Navy. dt.ua

“Kyiv Plant” Radar “produced for the air force of Ethiopia 74 inertial RGS-04R semiactive seekers [Ed: SA-3 GOA Upgrade]

PJSC “Kyiv Plant” Radar “produced for the needs of the air force of Ethiopia 74 inertial semiactive heads of homing. According to the published data, “Kyiv Plant” Radar “, which is part of the State Enterprise” Ukroboronprom “, in partnership with UkrSpetsExport, in the middle of 2015 signed the contract USE-20.2-25-K / KE-15 with the Central Directorate of Procurement of the Ministry of National the defense of the Federative Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Under the terms of the contract, Ukrainian enterprises had to place in the African country 74 units of the product RSG-04R and 3 units of special equipment AS2.21.1 for a total of about USD 6 million (UAH 122.3 million at the rate at that time). It is known that at the beginning of this year, 3 units of the AS2.21-1 apparatus (in 2016) were transferred to Ethiopia for a total amount of USD 168.0 thousand and 39 PGC-04R products (in 2017 and 2018) for the total amount 2 808.0 thousand US dollars. Another 35 inertial semiactive self-homing heads RGS-04R were manufactured by Radar and stored in the warehouse of the company in anticipation of transportation. 190527 C125 1 Data on export of Ukrainian weapons to Ethiopia from en.52wmb.comRecall, the inertial semiactive heads of self-designation RGS-04R is intended for modernization of missiles of anti-aircraft missile complexes C-125M to the level of ARM C-125ME1 / C-125Me2 “Blue Nile” MNO of Ethiopia by installing on anti-aircraft guided missiles 5V27D-M1. It is also worth noting that in 2017 the SCC “Luch” and the private domestic company ” Radionix ” conducted in the interests of foreign customer successful launches of missiles from the upgraded S-125 “Pechora”. The range of the damage zone of the S-125M missile with new missiles is 40 km, and the maximum height of the defeat zone is 25 km. 190527 C125 2 Data on export of Ukrainian weapons to Ethiopia from en.52wmb.comIn addition, it is known that Ukrspetsexport, in the years 2016-2017, provided several supplies of various components and equipment for the modernization of the S-125 ZRK in Ethiopia in the amount of about $ 7 million. defense-ua

Pivdenne Design Bureau to equip Zenit LVs with Ukrainian instead of Russian engines over two years

Director General of the Dnipro-based Yangel Yuzhnoye (Pivdenne) Design Bureau Oleksandr Degtyarev says that he is convinced of good market prospects of the Ukrainian Zenit launch vehicle (LV) involved in several international projects. The plans to reequip it with new Ukrainian rocket engines instead of Russia’s RD-171M engines are quite real, he added. “Zenit LV’s launch systems fully meet all world standards,” Degtyarev said in reply to a question from journalists about the Pivdenne Design Bureau’s readiness to resume Zenit LV’s launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. “To my mind, a certain political component is hampering to us,” the director general of the Pivdenne Design Bureau said. He confirmed that the import substitution problems of Russian component parts are relevant “as always” for Zenit LVs. “The RD-171M first-stage engine constitutes the most pressing problem of import substitution in Zenit,” Degtyarev said. “The Pivdenne Design Bureau has developed the RD-815 engine with a 250-tonne thrust and three engines, which constitute Mayak-S3.9 LV’s first stage, are slightly higher than the RD-171M by their overall characteristics,” he said. “We unfortunately have some problems with their manufacture, and we are lagging behind in terms of producing hardware to undertake sound tests. But we are advancing in this direction. And we could have done quite a lot by uniting efforts,” he said. “If we have enough money, we will do it for two years,” Degtyarev said, when asked about how much time the Pivdenne Design Bureau will need for creating a new domestic engine for Zenit LVs. As for the problem of import substitution of Russian aluminum in the space industry, Degtyarev said that aluminum can be bought in Europe and the United States. The Pivdenne Design Bureau has already been shifting to using new aluminum alloys in its developments, he said. The Pivdenne Design Bureau is a Ukrainian main scientific center, which develops spacecraft. This design bureau currently exports about 80% of its products and services, with the U.S. and the EU countries as its main partners.

Zenit (rocket family) – Wikipedia

Zenit (Ukrainian: Зеніт, Russian: Зени́т; meaning Zenith) is a family of space launch vehicles designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in Dnipro, Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union. Zenit was originally built in the 1980s for two purposes: as a liquid rocket booster for the Energia rocket and, equipped with a second stage, as a stand-alone middle-weight launcher with a payload greater than the 7 tonnes of the Soyuz but smaller than the 20 tonnes payload of the Proton. The last rocket family developed in the USSR, the Zenit was intended as an eventual replacement for the dated R-7 and Proton families, and it would employ propellants which were safer and less toxic than the Proton’s nitrogen tetroxide/UDMH mix. Zenit was planned to take over manned spaceship launches from Soyuz, but these plans were abandoned after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Zenit-3SL is launched by the Sea Launch consortium’s floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean and Zenit-2 is launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The engines of the Zenit’s first and second stages as well as the upper stage of the Zenit-3SL rocket are supplied by Russia. There are plans to use an improved Zenit-3SLB rocket for commercial launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome beginning in April 2008. This service is marketed as “Land Launch.”[3] Zenit-3SL has launched 36 times with 32 successes, one partial success, and three failures. The first failure, the launch of a Hughes-built communications satellite owned by ICO Global Communications, occurred during the second commercial launch on March 12, 2000 and was blamed on a software error that failed to close a valve in the second stage of the rocket. The second failure occurred on January 30, 2007 when the rocket exploded on the Odyssey launch platform, seconds after engine ignition. The NSS-8 communication satellite on board was destroyed.[1] On September 24, 2011 Zenit-3SL launched successfully from the Odyssey launch platform under a renewed Sea Launch project with RSC Energia as the majority stakeholder. The rocket delivered the European communication satellite Atlantic Bird 7 to its planned orbit. On February 1, 2013 another Zenit-3SL failed while launching the Intelsat 27 satellite.[4]

Spetstechnoexport supplies new batch of spare parts under long-term contract to modernize An-32 of Indian Air Forces

Ukraine and India are boosting defense cooperation under the program of modernization of An-32 light transport aircraft of Indian Air Forces.

United Aircraft Corporation sues Antonov

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) filed a lawsuit against the Ukrainian state aircraft corporation Antonov with the Moscow Arbitration Court on May 23, according to court files. The essence of the claims has not yet been published in the registry. Inter-District Inspectorate No. 46 of the Russian Federal Tax Service and UAC-Antonov, the joint venture of the UAC and Antonov, are acting as third parties. A UAC representative had told Interfax in February that UAC-Antonov would be liquidated as “Ukrainian representatives have not been involved in its operations for a long time,” and the joint venture itself was “not conducting negotiations.” The UAC and Antonov had signed an agreement on setting up the joint venture in 2010. UAC-Antonov was supposed to coordinate joint aircraft manufacturing programs (among them those concerning the An-70, An-124, and An-140), marketing, and after-sales service. The company started operations in 2011, and the Ukrainian Cabinet ordered Antonov to withdraw from the JV capital in 2015. A year later, the companies which made up the state corporation pulled out of it and became affiliated with Ukroboronprom, and the corporation itself was liquidated.

Repair of the Bulgarian Su-25 in Belarus is in question

Due to sanctions of the European Union, Bulgaria can not repair its Su-25 attack aircraft at 558 at the aviation repair plant in Baranovichi, Belarus. This is reported by the Bulgarian edition of “Diary” In September 2018, Bulgaria announced a tender for the repair and partial modernization of its Su-25 attack planes, which became the winner of the Belarusian company. In November 2018 an agreement was signed on the major repairs of fourteen Su-25 air forces of Bulgaria at an enterprise in Belarus. The total transaction amount was $ 85.5 million. Already in December 2018, the Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria transferred $ 45.7 million for repairs, but the funds did not reach Belarus. According to Deputy Minister of Defense of Bulgaria Anatoly Valichkov, the money was returned due to the policy of the correspondent bank, which was to make a transfer. In February 2019, the European Union extended the embargo for this year to supply weapons to Belarus that could be used for internal repression. In the Bulgarian defense ministry, the bank’s actions are described as a mistake, as the technology is temporarily exported. Now the issues of repair are trying to agree on the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. On the Army of the Air Force of Bulgaria there are four attack aircraft in the version of Su-25UBK and ten Su-25K.

“A bit of a shock”, – Zelensky about his first days in office

President of Ukraine Zelensky said there is a lot of work describing his first days in office

Ukrainian President’s Party to ‘Interview’ Candidates for July Elections

Servant of the People will select candidates for snap parliamentary elections from applications submitted to party website

Ukraine president holds contest for new ‘highly moral’ lawmaker candidates – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s team on Monday invited applications from members of the public to fight a snap election in July for his new Servant of the People party, betting they can wrench power from a discredited political class.

Ukraine’s former comedian president searches for ‘highly moral’ candidates to fight snap election | The Independent

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has invited applications from members of the public to fight a snap election in July for his new Servant of the People party, betting he can wrench power from a discredited political class.

Ukrainian President’s Party Names New Head, Will ‘Interview’ Candidates For July Elections

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s newly formed political party has appointed campaign adviser Dmytro Razumkov as its head and will interview prospective candidates to fill its party list ah…

Servant of the People seeking one-party majority in future Rada – election HQ head

The Servant of the People party has set itself the task of obtaining a one-party majority in the future Verkhovna Rada on the basis of early parliamentary elections.

Servant of the People Party would like to take sole responsibility in parliament

Servant of the People Party would like to be the main at Rada

Ze!Team launches LIFT project to attract new specialists, innovative ideas

28.05.19 16:21 – Ze!Team launches LIFT project to attract new specialists, innovative ideas The team of newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskyi (Ze!Team) has launched the LIFT project, which is intended to become a social elevator and unite qualified specialists and innovations, ensure changes in the country and its comprehensive… View news.

Ukraine’s parliament not to adopt new draft Electoral Code, – MP Lutsenko

Electoral Code not to be adopted until snap elections

Zelensky’s envoy to parliament: Servant of the People Party ready to join coalition – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s envoy to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk says the Servant of the People Party “would definitely like to take on the sole responsibility,” but if this does not work, the party will consider proposals that will correspond to its plans and program. According to Stefanchuk, the party agrees to form a coalition with political forces ready to unite around ideas.

Supreme Court says lawsuit against Zelensky’s Rada dissolution decree not within its jurisdiction – news politics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Supreme Court says a lawsuit against President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decree to disband the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, does not fall within its jurisdiction. The decision can be appealed at the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court within 15 days.

President Zelensky’s opponents thirst for revenge: Are they ready for it?

Many experts and citizens believe that the fifth president of Ukraine when trying to stay in his office, conducted the dirtiest election campaign in the entire history of the country. Mud-slinging and indiscriminate demagogy, the purchase of Tomos for Ukrainian church and the introduction of martial law, however, did not help him. And then he put into effect the “plan B” developed by his team, which included obvious “sabotage actions” aimed at the new president. For 28 days from the date of the second round of elections, Poroshenko made two hundred personnel appointments, distributed to the right and mostly left state awards and titles. Poroshenko things that this should complicate the work of his successor. And moreover, he announced his intention to return to the president’s office in a year or in some five years. Most of the 37% in the first round and 73% in the second, who voted for Zelensky, actually protested against Poroshenko’s government. And the new president inherited huge Augean stables, for clearing of which both a powerful team and a considerable time would be needed. However, the resistance of the former politicians is still great, and they are clearly not going to surrender without a fight. When voting for Zelensky, we had no idea how he could defeat this fire-breathing dragon, fighting against its people with tariffs and prices, bans, and blockades. However, the multi-headed dragon is still powerful, and he desperately snaps and resists. His special forces, the National Front, even made a formal attempt to thwart the early parliamentary elections by announcing their withdrawal from the non-existent parliamentary coalition. However, on May 21, President Zelensky issued a decree on holding elections on July 21. The president’s decision to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada will be appealed to the Constitutional Court, Speaker Andriy Parubiy wrote on Facebook, because, in his opinion, “it’s sad and alarming that the guarantor of the Ukrainian Constitution begins his activity in office with a gross violation of the Constitution. A bad sign.” And here I want to draw attention to two points: 1) Presidential Decree No. 309 speaks of the termination of the activities of the 8th Verkhovna Rada and the appointment of early elections. The term “dissolution” is not even used there; 2) Over the past 5 years, the post-Maidan authority has systematically violated so many laws and articles of the Constitution, why Parubiy kept silence then? Judging by the development of events, Poroshenko will not so much directly target Zelensky, but rely on revenge. However, agreement on early elections and the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers suggests that there would be no tough confrontation. Ukrainian MP Tetiana Chornovol scares the newly elected president with a tragic perspective: “Why am I against the dissolution of the parliament? Because I have participated in three Maidan revolutions (Ukraine had only two Maidan revolutions in 2004 and 2013, – ed.) and I don’t want to go to the Maidan against Zelensky. I want him to serve his term in full. But if he starts by dissolving, he will dig a hole for himself. He needs to appoint hundreds and hundreds of people in the presidential vertical. After the elections, nothing will prevent Ze!Team from forming a coalition with Yanukovych’s former allies from Party of Regions. It will not only the most anti-Ukrainian parliament, but also oligarchic one. Coalition for two: Ihor Kolomoysky with Dmytro Firtash. Or for three – plus Rinat Akhmetov.” The head of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv, Pavlo Vovk, explains that the president has the right to call early elections even after the parties leave the coalition. In addition, the District Administrative Court already has a lawsuit banning 180 officials from leaving Ukraine, including former president Petro Poroshenko, parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy, and PM Volodymyr Groysman. And the court accepted it for consideration. Former Justice Minister Olena Lukash is also confident that the sabotage of the “war party” just has no chance: “Something tells me that the District Court is awaiting a lawsuit declaring Parubiy’s actions (declaring about the absence of coalition) unlawful. And the suit will be extremely promising.” In her opinion, there has been no coalition since February 2016, and since 2010, the head of parliament has been denied the right to declare the absence of a coalition. “This is a chess check, dear National Front!” Lukash comments. The announcement of early elections right during Zelensky’s inauguration was an unpleasant surprise for many people. Immediately after the ceremonial meeting, speaker Parubiy, ex-president Poroshenko, PM Groysman, and former PM, National Front leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, confined to the “last supper”. Oleg Lyashko believes that unpopular MPs should not argue with the president: “There are no constitutional grounds for the dissolution of the Rada. This is a purely political decision. But we are going to early elections, because society expects it.” In fact, MPs have already “surrendered” to Zelensky, having agreed to early elections and even to adopt a new electoral code, Danyil Bogatyriov, Ukrainian Institute for Policy Analysis and Management expert, states. An ardent supporter of both presidents (Viktor Yushchenko and Petro Poroshenko) and vice-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Gerashchenko, very emotionally commented on the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky. “I’ve heard about the release of political prisoners and territories. For me, this is very important…” she wrote on Facebook. May 15, the authorized representative of the President of Ukraine for the peaceful settlement of the situation in the Donbas resigned as the representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian subgroup of the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk. At the same time, Gerashchenko added that she was ready to help the new president with the negotiations in Minsk. This, to put it mildly, is puzzling: Gerashchenko is famous for her unconstructive and even scandalous position at these negotiations in the Belarusian capital. So the new president should refrain from such “help.” Gerashchenko continues to criticize Zelensky: “I did not hear about the Revolution of Dignity, the aggression of the Russian Federation, the EU, NATO, the Victory.” I don’t know what victory she had in mind, but the President began his speech mentioning of pleasant election results. And, yes, the North Atlantic Alliance was mentioned in its inaugural speech. Political expert Yulia Piletska comments on the situation with the confrontation of the new president. “If the political establishment (including ex-president Poroshenko) attacks Zelensky in his attempts to implement initiatives that represent a massive popular request (such as dissolving parliament, for example), then all these politicians will go to margins as representatives of the old epoch and, accordingly, will inevitably lose their rating. We see that now Ukrainians have a very tough mass request for decisive optimistic actions by those in power. Whiners and critics will be sent to political oblivion,” Piletska predicts. Washington cartel has supported Zelensky in his decisive actions. US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry voiced the “blessing” of President Donald Trump: “The message from America is quite clear: we look forward to working with the new president, I hope, with the new parliament.” It is very symptomatic that after the words of US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry that American President Donald Trump is looking forward to working with the new parliament, Ukraine’s main political players have sharply agreed to the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada and early elections, Serhiy Slobodchuk, political strategist, explains. It is very difficult to quickly fulfill all election statements and promises (Poroshenko did not fulfill them at all). And Zelensky’s credit of trust is not endless, Igor Guzhva, the editor-in-chief of the Strana.ua newspaper, believes. MP Vadym Rabinovich urged to abolish the majority system so that it would not allow “buyers of mandates” to go to parliament: “Majoritarian MPs are killing Ukraine year after year, this is what causes colossal corruption. If we reelect half of the parliament by the party lists again, and a half – by majority electoral system, then any next government would buy majoritarian MPs to gain the missing percentage.” It would be strange if Poroshenko’s entourage, having lost the election campaign with a crash, would simply give up power and go into oblivion, Oleksandr Golub, politician, suggests. “They understand the objective weaknesses of the new president: inexperience, lack of a clear program of action, vagueness, and inconsistency of his ideological position, lack of personnel and an organized political force on which the newly elected president could rely. In my opinion, Zelensky has only one real chance: to stop flirting with the losing opponents, to begin to fulfill his promises, to conduct a public audit of the country, to maximally publicly investigate all corruption frauds and to punish the guilty persons meaningfully, whatever posts they occupy, to really stop military operations in Donbas, to appeal directly to their voters by making them members of their team,” Golub concludes. Lawyer Andriy Portnov, who returned to Ukraine, took up the business of Poroshenko and his friends: “Our large legal team started filing complaints about Poroshenko’s crimes on the very first day after the inauguration. We systematized the main crimes of his organized criminal group.” Given the already high anti-rating of the former president and, accordingly, his entourage, their chances of passing into the future parliament will melt. “All this activity should turn Poroshenko’s parliamentary faction into an insignificant political force so that they could not win the next parliamentary elections. And so Poroshenko’s supporters could not influence public life and state policy in our country,” Portnov stated. Most observers were convinced that Petro Poroshenko and the MPs would resist, political consultant Vasyl Stoyakin noted. “The parliament unexpectedly quickly capitulated. Most likely, it was a categorical imperative of the Washington cartel, to create the impression of a peaceful and democratic transition of power. Therefore, resistance to the new president would be sluggish, and this would not lead to the disruption of the elections,” Stoyakin concludes. The former authorities also hate Zelensky’s initiative to hold a referendum on the format of the negotiation process with Russia, as reported by Andriy Bogdan, the head of the Presidential Administration: “We are considering submitting to a people’s referendum so that not only the MPs vote but the people of Ukraine could make this decision. ” And it will be impossible to object to the opinion of the people.

President Zelensky reinstates Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reinstated ex-president of Georgia and ex-Governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region Mikheil Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili was stripped of Ukrainian citizenship in July 2017.

Zelensky returns Ukrainian citizenship to Saakashvili

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has returned Ukrainian citizenship to former Georgian President and former head of Odesa Regional State Administration Mikheil Saakashvili. — Ukrinform.

Zelenskyi returns Ukrainian citizenship to Saakashvili

28.05.19 16:42 – Zelenskyi returns Ukrainian citizenship to Saakashvili Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has returned Ukrainian citizenship to former Georgian President and former head of Odesa Regional State Administration Mikheil Saakashvili. View news.

Zelenskyi appoints Honcharuk as Administration Deputy Head

28.05.19 17:57 – Zelenskyi appoints Honcharuk as Administration Deputy Head President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has appointed Oleksii Honcharuk as the deputy head of the Presidential Administration. View news.

Oleg Ustenko becomes part-time financial counselor of President Volodymyr Zelensky

Zelensky appoints Oleg Ustenko his part-time counselor

Ukraine President’s Ally Rejects Billionaire’s Default Call – Bloomberg

An ally of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rejected an influential businessman’s call to default on the nation’s external debt, saying the proposal is the view of a “detached oligarch.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ukrainian Default Kolomoysky Urges Would Cost Kyiv Western Support and Force It into Moscow’s Embrace, Bielieskov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 27 – Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky is urging that Ukraine default on its foreign debt as a way to kick start its economy, but such a step, Mykola Bielieskov says, would cost Kyiv the support it enjoys in the West and almost certainly force it to accept Moscow’s conditions. In a comment for the Gordon news agency, the deputy director of the Kyiv Institute of World Politics argues default might benefit Kolomoysky but would be a disaster for Ukraine (gordonua.com/blogs/nikolay-beleskov/v-sluchae-defolta-my-possorimsya-s-zapadnymi-partnerami-togda-vozrastet-veroyatnost-chto-pridetsya-dogovarivatsya-s-rf-na-rossiyskih-usloviyah-995157.html). Default would give Kolomoysky a better chance to get more than two billion US dollars from the IMF, but while he might benefit, Ukraine would not, Bielieskov says. “Debt in the West is something holy,” and any failure to pay what one owes as in the case of default would lead to a break with the country’s Western partners. That would almost certainly force Ukraine to turn to Moscow and make greater concessions to the Russians than would otherwise be the case, and it would quite likely lead to an economic crisis in Ukraine. Those who point to cases when default led to positive outcomes forget that the positive outcomes came not so much because of default but from other causes. Ukraine cannot count on them, Bielieskov says; and so it should not be misled by those who would profit for themselves at the expense of Ukraine and weaken the country which continues to be under attack from the Russian Federation. Both economics and politics thus dictates that default be rejected.

Chief prosecutor Lutsenko says he’s ready to step down after parliamentary elections – news politics | UNIAN

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko has announced he is going to step down after the snap parliamentary elections in Ukraine. The elections to Ukraine’s parliament are scheduled for July 21.

Prosecutor should become Ukraine’s prosecutor general, not politician, – EUAM Head

Prosecutor general’s position should be occupied by a professional

Appointment of presidential administration’s head challenged in court – LB.ua news portal

Appointment of presidential administration’s head challenged in court. The claimants want him vetted. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Lawsuit against Zelensky’s appointing Bohdan as Head of Presidential Administration registered

The Supreme Court of Ukraine will rule after five days from the registration moment

Shufrych accuses Poroshenko, Turchynov of high treason

28.05.19 10:48 – Shufrych accuses Poroshenko, Turchynov of high treason MP Nestor Shufrych has filed a statement to the Prosecutor General’s Office on high treason committed by former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and former Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov. View news.

Shufrych accuses Poroshenko, Turchynov of high treason – prosecutor general

Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated this on the Freedom of Speech program on the ICTV channel, Ukrinform reports. “Over the past few days, the figures of the past have begun to send us dozens of statements about the commission of a crime. I took one of them with me. Mr. Shufrych, a well-known person, brought a statement to the Prosecutor General’s Office on a crime committed by Turchynov and Poroshenko. According to his statement, they dared to give orders to troops to shoot at those who occupied our land and therefore they have to answer, as he thinks, under Article 111 of the Criminal Code. This is high treason,” he said. Lutsenko said he considered this statement by Shufrych to be a sign of revenge. He said that statements from representatives of Yanukovych’s regime to law enforcement agencies were one of the reasons why he did not resign. “It’s not about Turchynov and not about Poroshenko. It’s about thousands of those killed and hundreds of thousands of sons who have fought on the frontline, an attempt to rewrite history and turn into criminals those who love and protect their country. I will stay here despite the fact that this is not a very popular position, so that these statements have nothing to do with the law,” he said. Lutsenko said earlier that he planned to resign as Ukraine’s prosecutor general after early parliamentary elections.

Rabinovych, Boiko elected co-chairs of Ukrainian Opposition Platform, Medvedchuk head of its political council

The Ukrainian political party Opposition Platform – For Life held a regular congress in Kyiv on May 27 to consider a number of organizational issues, and its delegates unanimously elected parliamentarians Vadym Rabinovych and Yuriy Boiko its co-chairpersons, the party’s press service said.

Ukrinform launches Twitterstorm in support of Roman Sushchenko

A Twitterstorm demanding the release of Ukrinform journalist Roman Sushchenko, illegally convicted in Russia, begins on Tuesday, May 28, PEN Ukraine has reported on its Facebook page. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine Crisis Media Center: International Tribunal, opinion polling and more – Weekly Update on Ukraine #17, 20 – 26 May – To Inform is to Influence

Weekly Update on Ukraine Issue 17 – 2019 20 – 26 May Situation in the combat zone Russia-backed militants kept violating the ceasefire using the Minsk-proscribed 82-mm mortars. They also fired upon the Ukrainian troops from automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. On May 22 eight Ukrainian troops were captured by Russian proxies in the occupied area…

Supreme Court says journalist’s arrest lawful – LB.ua news portal

Supreme Court says journalist’s arrest lawful. The court rejected his lawyers’ appeal. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

World Bank recommends rescheduling launch of new electricity market in Ukraine – news economics | UNIAN

The World Bank, one of Ukraine’s key lenders, supports the country’s law on the electricity market aimed at introducing competition, but recommends rescheduling the launch of the new electricity market for October 1, 2019, due to unavailability of certain provisions of the regulatory framework and IT systems. A premature launch of the new electricity market before the necessary regulatory and technical means are in place could jeopardize proper market functioning and increase risks to all market participants.

Ukrainian scientist gets prestigious award for contribution to development of physics

Ukrainian scientist Lesya Shchutska has received a prize from the European Physical Society, according to the Ukrainian Interest news site. — Ukrinform.

Over 1,600 police officers to be selected to work in local communities – Groysman

As part of the “Community Police Officer” project, 1,624 police officers will be selected in 2019-2020 to work in united territories communities. — Ukrinform.

Roman Huba | Why Ukraine’s new language law will have long-term consequences | openDemocracy

Ukraine’s new language law, passed at the end of the former president’s rule, makes another attempt to divide Ukrainian citizens.

Roman Huba | Why Ukraine’s new language law will have long-term consequences

Ukrainian language law could have long-term consequences for Ukrainian society

Giacomo Sanfilippo: President Zelenskiy and Orthodoxy in Ukraine | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

In my recent contribution to the Kyiv Post’s “Ukrainian Voices from Abroad: Advice for Zelenskiy” series, I urged the new president to support the stability of the newly autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) while also ensuring the legal status of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine headed by Metropolitan Onuphrius—provided that any and all evidence of the latter’s complicity with the Kremlin to undermine Ukraine’s national security and interests be swiftly investigated. As Halya Coynash reported in February 2018 and scholar Dmitry Adamsky sets forth in his chillingly titled Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy—to cite but two testimonies among many—there can be no doubt that the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate work hand in glove to advance Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical agenda in Ukraine and around the globe. Jonathan Luxmoore has reported that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow went so far as to ridicule the idea of independent Ukrainian nationhood as a Uniate (Greek-Catholic) invention in his remarks to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople when they met at the Phanar last August. Add to this the fact that Metropolitan Onuphrius sits as the senior ranking member of the Permanent Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Zelenskiy’s administration has ample reason to keep a close eye on the Russian Church’s activities in Ukraine. On the surface, my advice to Zelenskiy may seem to fly in the face of my earlier applause for his election as the dawn of a new day in Ukrainian church-state relations. As I cautioned here and here just before and after the OCU received its tomos of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Poroshenko came uncomfortably close to adopting the Russian model of Byzantine symphonia and making the OCU an official state church. This is most decidedly not what I am urging Zelensky to do. Yet in a majoritarian Orthodox Christian nation where half of the entire population identifies with the ecclesiastical entity (the OCU) which fully supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity, its independence from Russia, and its aspirations to integrate with the European Union, it behooves Zelensky greatly to recognize the powerful ally that he has in the OCU. Paradoxically, without the overwhelming support of the OCU’s faithful he would not have won the election against the Orthodox incumbent who had inserted himself directly into the creation and autocephaly of their Church. Already there are concerns that Zelenskiy may squander this opportunity, if more from indifference or antipathy than outright hostility. In an open letter published on May 23 at EuroMaidan Press, individuals and organizations representing Ukrainian civil society listed “implementing any actions aimed at undermining or discrediting the Orthodox Church of Ukraine [OCU] or supporting the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine [under Metropolitan Onuphrius]” among several red lines that Zelensky must not cross, at the risk of causing “political instability in our country and the deterioration of international relations. The fact of the matter is that Zelenskiy’s presidency will fail if he alienates the Orthodox constituency which comprises the majority of the nation’s population. To be clear, this is not an appeal to state power to make Ukraine more Orthodox, or to bring more parishes and monasteries coercively into the OCU, or to give the OCU preferential treatment over the other faith communities represented by the All Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO). Rather this is an appeal to common sense from a purely political point of view: the more the OCU thrives, the more Ukraine’s democratic aspirations and values thrive, and the more Ukraine frees herself from the dark undercurrents of Muscovite hegemony in her political, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual life. While the separation of church and state stands as a self-evident norm in Western democracies such as Ukraine makes continuous progress in becoming, history shows—for better or for worse—that this separation is neither absolute in any given national context nor identical from one democratic nation to another. In Ukraine, it will not look exactly the same as it does in Canada, where I live. As some of our era’s most prominent thinkers grapple with the question of the power of religion in the public sphere, it falls to Ukraine to chart her own course in discovering appropriate ways for church and state to work together for the common good of all citizens, without church or state encroaching on the proper domain of the other. In cultivating a relationship of “collaborative autonomy,” as it were, the Orthodox Church safeguards her ability both to preach the Gospel and to speak truth to power whenever the state becomes an organ of oppression against its most vulnerable minorities, and the state retains its freedom to enact social policies expected of a modern Western democracy but thought to be contrary to church doctrine and praxis. Giacomo Sanfilippo is an Orthodox Christian of Ukrainian and Lemko descent on his mother’s side, a PhD student in Theological Studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, and the founding editor of Orthodoxy in Dialogue. He holds a BA in Sexuality Studies from York University and an MA in Theology from Regis College, both in Toronto, and is an alumnus of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Earlier in life he completed the course work for the MDiv at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary near New York City. Orthodoxy in Dialogue has an extensive Ukraine section in its Archives by Author.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin’s Bet on the Moscow Patriarchate Proving a Bad One for Both, Isayev Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 26 – Having lost the trust of the Russian people, the Putin regime has sought to instill faith in its place because unlike trust which presupposes doubt, faith is unquestioning and does not necessarily need facts, Nikita Isayev, director of the Moscow Institute of Real Economics and leader of the New Russia Movement says. For that effort to replace distrust with unquestioning faith, the Kremlin sought to make use of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. But its bet that the church could help it achieve such faith among the population has collapsed largely because the church’s own mistakes (mk.ru/politics/2019/05/26/rossiyane-teryayut-prezhnyuyu-cerkov.html). “Until recently,” Isayaev argues, “the Russian Orthodox Church in fact was immune from any expressions of dissatisfaction: all conflicts which arose because of its broadening powers were blocked at the root.” But now this has all changed – and changed because of the church’s involvement with the state. Most Russians retain a positive image of the ROC MP as a whole and even support building more churches. But at the same time, ever fewer people remain indifferent to the ROC’s activities.” They may have a positive view of the church as a whole, but 15 to 20 percent of the population now objects to what the church does in particular cases. Of course, some are opposed to building new churches in their backwards. But “dissatisfaction has arisen on another basis: the financing of such efforts and the behavior of particular representatives of church leaders.” Given the difficulties Russians face, the actions of the ROC MP are now being viewed “through the prism of money.” Russians can’t understand why there is no money for schools or pensions, but there is always plenty to build new and far from inexpensive churches. And they are asking where this money comes from and why it is being spent this way. It doesn’t come from the state directly but from companies doing business with the state – and Russians have reason not to like them either. Many who went into the streets of Yekaterinburg to protest plans to build a cathedral in the city’s main square were animated not just by a desire to save this green space but also by anger at the link up between the church, the state, and the corporations which have been financing such things. And news reports suggest, Isayev says, that money continues to pour into the ROC MP and is then handled corruptly with officials stealing huge sums, spending more on themselves and so on. (For numerous egregious examples, see novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/05/25/80650-patriarh-i-ego-okrestnosti). This has happened because the church is increasingly part of the state and the corporations know they have to pony up. Russians can see that too and are angry at all three. As the church has become enmeshed, it has become ever less a religious body and ever more an ideological and profit center. Thus, Patriarch Kirill spoke against abortions not on moral ground but rather to promote the state’s interest in population growth. “These are very dangerous tendencies,” the activist says, “because the sense of being driven into a corner which they are producing, one where an individual feels he has nothing to lose is one of the most powerful preconditions for the manifestation of aggression – and in this case against the powers that be.” The further fusion of the state and church is only intensifying the division between the people and both of these institutions, the analyst continues. The population feels it is losing the church which in the past focused more on the population rather than on the needs of the state and not gaining the state. According to Isayev, “the path of the civilized world is from faith to trust because trust makes possible the uniting of the society, and correspondingly, its successful development as a result leads to the strengthening of the state.” But “our powers that be, unfortunately, have chosen the reverse path,” one that leads “only to degradation.” “The price of the loss of social trust will be too high … no faith will replace it,” no matter how many churches the ROC MP builds – and Kirill says it has been erecting three a day (znak.com/2019-05-26/patriarh_kirill_zayavil_chto_rpc_stroit_po_tri_hrama_v_sutki) – because this isn’t happening out of Christian concerns. Worse, Isayev says, the Russian people can see all this; and so the bet the Kremlin placed on the ROC MP is not only not paying off. It is proving counterproductive in the extreme.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kirill’s Strategy to Control Patriarchate has Left Him with No Choice But to Build Churches, Akhilla Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 27 – It is easy to make fun of Patriarch Kirill, his pursuit of wealth and his attacks on his opponents. It is especially easy to make fun of him now that he is celebrating what he claims is his record of building three new churches every day, a figure that is almost certainly false and is clearly offensive at a time when hospitals and schools are being shut down. But attention to these things distracts attention from something more fundamental: Patriarch Kirill had no choice but to build more parish churches in order to support his radical increase in the number of bishoprics, a strategy he adopted a decade ago but has only expanded upon since his church’s losses in Ukraine. As the Orthodox but anti-patriarch Ahilla portal notes, Kirill justified this approach by saying that more but smaller bishoprics would be closer to the people. Bishops would oversee fewer churches and thus would interact more regularly with them (ahilla.ru/rezultaty-razukrupneniya-eparhij-zasedaniya-vmesto-blizosti-k-narodu/). Even if that had been Kirill’s actual goal – and there is good reason to think it wasn’t – the plan has backfired on him, the portal continues. With fewer parishes in each of the smaller bishoprics, the financial burden on individual parishes has increased because they must still support the typically elaborate church establishment. In some cases, that has driven people out of the church. If one has to pay even more because of the hierarchy’s decisions, it is better to keep one’s distance. And so Kirill has been driven to try to open more churches so that the burden will be more fully divided and fall less heavily on any one parish. There is little evidence that this fallback strategy is working, but what is more important is that such concerns were clearly far from Patriarch Kirill’s calculation. Instead, he has expanded the number of bishoprics in order to ensure that those churchmen who have a vote on key issues are his people and no one else’s. That has become especially important as the loss of the numerous bishoprics he created in Ukraine looms. And this could have immediate consequences: If the Kremlin decides that for its own reasons, Kirill has to be helped to do less, as Putin suggested, and that the only way for that to happen is for the current patriarch to be ousted, controlling the bishoprics is critical. Opening new parishes is thus not just a special case of the giantism that has long characterized Russian leaders, let alone a desire to promote religion, but rather a sensible, from Kirill’s point of view, defense mechanism against the possibility that he will be challenged. It probably won’t save him if Putin wants him gone, but it may delay that eventuality.

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