Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia expected to announce its national AI strategy – Cyberdyne-ski T-800-ski? Turkey S-400 update – Erdogan’s claim that S-400 and F-35 would be based in different parts of Turkey does not stand up to even trivial scrutiny.
Malaysia is trying to barter palm oil for more Russian fighters, and does an abrupt backflip on MH-17: “Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malaysian government wants strong evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in 2014. The head of the Malaysian government doesn’t rule out that Ukraine could be to blame for the crime.”This will sell very poorly in Kyiv, Washington, The Hague and Canberra, even if it sells in Kuala Lumpur.
Seven reports on Russia’s descent. NATO update – it appears that the European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP)may not be selling well to Western European nations who would rather sell their own products.
Lucas OpEd “The two Vladimirs”is very good and explains the extremely disruptive effect Ze is and will produce in Russia – his Servant of the Peoplesitcom (now on Netflix) is something that would cause extreme cognitive dissonance in the mind of any dedicated Sovok. US appoints new Chargé d’Affaires Kvien in Kyiv. Ze meets with Sen Portman, German FM Maas, French FM Le Drian. Kerch and Crimea updates.
Donbas update. Good JFO footage of Counter-RPV EX – HIND crew scrambles and flies air intercept against an RPV – very interesting Gatling gun pod for this role (probably works just as well against Russian helos). Gen Khomchak meets with Sen Portman, also with US and Swedish delegations.
Politics update mostly dealing with hires and fires, and disagreements with the parliament.
OCU update, and a very large ROC update, as the fusion of church and state becomes a newsworthy issue inside and outside Russia.
Russian leader calls for “technological sovereignty” and, somewhat surprisingly, for protecting IP and civil rights.
Russia has reacted angrily to an assertion by a top U.S. defense official that Moscow “probably” violated an international nuclear test ban treaty.
Talks between Russian and Japanese defense ministers failed to make progress on decades-long island disputes
The American 5th generation F-35 fighter jets will be stationed in Turkey outside the zone covered by the Russian S-400 aerial defense systems, said Turkish Ambassador to the US Serdar Kiliç. “The S-400s and the F-35s will be stationed in two specific regions of Turkey, and the F-35s will not be in the zone covered by the S-400s,” he said at the National Press Club in Washington. The Turkish diplomat drew attention to the fact that Israeli F-35s fly over Syria, where there are also Russian S-400 aerial defense systems, but this does not bother the US. “But when it comes to Turkey, which is trying to set up an anti-air defense system, and not an attack system, problems arise,” Kiliç remarked. He also gave his assurance that the aerial defense systems will only be operated by the Turkish military. On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again suggested that US President Donald Trump establish a work group concerning the S-400s, which Washington is trying to persuade Ankara not to buy. Turkey has already made it clear that it will not call off its plans to buy the S-400s. The first of the systems is scheduled to arrive in the country in July. The US says that the S-400 systems are incompatible with NATO standards. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey for buying the systems, and has on multiple occasions threatened to call off the deal to sell Turkey F-35 fighters (Turkey is a participant in the US’s international F-35 program). Ankara has repeatedly claimed that the S-400s do not pose a threat to the American F-35s.
Trump-Erdogan call spurs hopes of averting crisis over Ankara procuring Russian missiles, though some analysts suggest Erdogan is trying to buy time ahead of a key vote
The lira trimmed gains on speculation Turkey may deploy a Russian missile-defense system along its southern coast, a move that could anger the U.S. and drag it into renewed economic turmoil.
A top Pentagon official has again warned Turkey about the consequences of purchasing a missile-defense system from Russia, turning up the pressure despite Ankara’s stated determination to go through with the deal. A top Pentagon official has again warned Turkey about the consequences of purchasing a missile-defense system from Russia, turning up the pressure despite Ankara’s stated determination to go through with the deal. Kathryn Wheelbarger, the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, on May 30 said the purchase of the S-400 missile system would have a “devastating” effect on Turkey’s participation in the F-35 jet-fighter program and its relations with fellow NATO members. “Completion of this transaction would be devastating, not only to the F-35 program, on which the West has placed its modernized integrated air capability, but it would potentially rupture Turkish interoperability with NATO, a key aspect of the defense of the alliance,” Wheelbarger said during an address to the Atlantic Council in Washington. “Let’s be clear. The S-400 is a Russian system designed to shoot down an aircraft like the F-35, and it is inconceivable to imagine Russia not taking advantage of that collection opportunity,” she added. “Once you introduce Russian systems, it really undermines our ability to continue helping them to defend themselves,” she said. Turkey, as a NATO member, is participating in the production of the fighter jet for use by alliance militaries and has plans itself to purchase 100 of the warplanes. But the United States has demanded that Ankara call off the deal to purchase the Russian system, and NATO allies have also expressed concerns about the potential threat to U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets. Washington has warned Ankara that it could invoke the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and impose financial penalties should Turkey go ahead with the deal.
TOKYO, May 30 ― The Malaysian government wants strong evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in 2014, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today. He said Malaysia accepted the investigation report of Holland but only up to the point where the plane was brought down by a missile made by Russia. Dr Mahathir said while the government agreed that the plane was brought down by a Russian missile, it cannot be certain that the missile was launched by Russia. “They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence? We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine. “You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians, it could be by the rebels in Ukraine, it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile,” he said during a dialogue and media conference with the Japanese Foreign Correspondent Club (FCCJ) here today. Dr Mahathir said people of Russia are military people and they would know that MH17 is a passenger plane. “I don’t think very highly disciplined party is responsible for launching the missile,” he said. The prime minister said Malaysia should also be involved in the examining the black box as the plane belongs to Malaysia and there were Malaysians passengers. “We may not have the expertise but we can buy the expertise. For some reasons, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened. “We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it and the idea was not to find out how this happened but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it to the Russians. This is not a neutral kind of examination,” said Dr Mahathir. Had a neutral party was examining and making the conclusion, Malaysia is willing to accept the findings but here we have parties with political interests in the matter, he added. Flight MH17 which departed from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam on its way to Kuala Lumpur, was shot before crashing near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40 kilometers from the Russian border on July 17, 2014. The incident killed 298 people including 15 crew members. Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said the team was convinced that a BUK TELAR missile was used to down MH17, and that it originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (53rd Brigade), which is a unit of the Russian Army in Kursk in the Russian Federation. ― Bernama
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malaysian government wants strong evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in 2014. The head of the Malaysian government doesn’t rule out that Ukraine could be to blame for the crime. Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malaysian government wants strong evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in 2014. “I don’t think very highly disciplined party is responsible for launching the missile,” he said, the MalayMail news portal reported on May 30. He said Malaysia accepted the investigation report of Holland but only up to the point where the plane was brought down by a missile made by Russia. According to him, his government cannot be certain that the missile was launched by Russia. “They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence? We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine,” he said. “You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians, it could be by the rebels in Ukraine, it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile,” he said during a dialogue and media conference with the Japanese Foreign Correspondent Club (FCCJ). Mahathir said people of Russia are military people and they would know that MH17 is a passenger plane. The prime minister said Malaysia should also be involved in the examining the black box as the plane belongs to Malaysia and there were Malaysians passengers. “We may not have the expertise but we can buy the expertise. For some reasons, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened. We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it and the idea was not to find out how this happened but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it to the Russians. This is not a neutral kind of examination,” Mahathir said. UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines’ MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over militant-occupied territory in Donetsk region. All 298 people on board who were citizens of 10 countries were killed in the crash. The majority of the victims, 196, were citizens of the Netherlands. The Dutch Safety Board October 13, 2015, issued a report on the causes of the accident. It was revealed that the plane had been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The Joint Investigation Team in its report published on September 28, 2016, confirmed that the plane had been downed by a Russian-made Buk brought to Ukraine from Russia. No suspects have been named, though Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said his office had identified 100 “persons of interest” in the investigation, including those who organized the arrival of the rocket and oversaw its transportation from Russia to Ukraine and back. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/10570515-malaysian-pm-doesn-t-think-disciplined-russia-downed-mh17-over-donbas-malaymai.html
It was hardly surprising, when Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu said that Kuala Lumpur was considering bartering palm oil for advanced military equipment. The Southeast Asian country has been hobbled by huge public debt, a slipping currency, corruption and flagging economic growth. In just over a year since coming to power, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government has already suspended or revised major infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars to rein in costs. Malaysia is also no stranger to swapping palm oil for military equipment. It bought Russian-built fighter jets using the controversial commodity in the 1990s. But Malaysia’s latest attempt at bartering is likely to complicate matters for European defense companies, which are vying for contracts as Malaysia seeks to modernize its weapons, including its fleet of fighter jets. “Europe has not generally gone down the barter approach,” Scott Clark, the vice president of Global Defense Program at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, told DW. “It’s generally not the model which Europeans are comfortable with. So I don’t see Europeans particularly keen to adopt that type of model.”
Foreigners legitimately residing in Russia have the right to serve on contract in the Russian army only once, according to a new law signed by …
Before the end of 2019, the Moscow municipal government will hold a competition for a contract to install a facial recognition system that will encompass more than 200,000 cameras in the Russian capital. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced the competition, which will be held in conjunction with Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry.
Since a new law banning online insults against the Russian government went into effect on March 29, Russian prosecutors have been busy determining what is insulting and what is not. So far, they have found illegal insults not only in slurs against President Vladimir Putin but also in news stories about those slurs. Today, however, a case against an activist who hung a banner that read “Putin is a thief” was shut down on a technicality by the Supreme Court of Tatarstan. While the message was not posted online and was therefore investigated under a different law, it gave Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov a chance to comment on the banner’s message in an interview with Ekho Moskvy. That exchange is translated here.
Kostroma Region’s division of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s censorship agency, held a “prophylactic seminar” for local journalists on covering sensitive issues like suicide, drugs, and “insulting the government.” The results, as Kostroma.today journalist Kirill Rubankov told Mediazona, were somewhat absurd.
On May 28, the technology company Infotecs and the Center for Quantum Technologies at Moscow State University presented a new telephone called the ViPNet QSS Phone, Russia’s first model to use quantum encryption technology. 700 million rubles ($10.8 million) in total were invested in the phone’s development, of which Russia’s Science and Education Ministry contributed 140 million rubles ($2.2 million). The basic equipment set for the device, which consists of one server and two telephones, will reportedly cost 30 million rubles ($461,400).
Paul Goble Staunton, May 30 – This week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened the first museum in Moscow devoted to the first Russian emigration whose members, he said, had been “by the will of fate forced to leave their historical motherland” but whose memoirs and memorabilia are not back to serve the entire Russian world. The museum, which holds materials that began to be collected by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn when he was in his Vermont exile in the 1970s, is located in the House of Russia Abroad on the Taganka. It includes some 250,000 items and some 350 personal archives of representatives of the first post-1917 emigration (vm.ru/news/650866.html). Solzhenitsyn’s widow, Natalya, who is president of the Solzhenitsyn Foundation, said at the opening that “three quarters of the 20th century, the spiritual fruits of the Russian migration did not have access to the people. The most worthy names of people in science, the arts, music, and literature remained unknown to an entire generation of Soviet peoples.” “Now,” she continued, “we can know more about the history of our people.”
A new U.S. program is designed to get European nations to stop using legacy Russian gear. But the European defense industry may see it as more a threat than a helping hand. WASHINGTON and MADRID — A new initiative by the Trump administration to subsidize U.S. weapons sales to some former Warsaw Pact countries could rankle European defense leaders, some of whom are fuming over Washington’s recent request for full access to European Union defense coffers. The European Recapitalization Incentive Program, or ERIP, a new tool developed with U.S. European Command to speed the process of getting allied nations off Russian gear, plans to spread $190 million to six countries: Albania, Bosnia and North Macedonia, plus the EU member states of Croatia, Greece and Slovakia. It’s a relatively small amount of money, but the promise of expansion, along with the fact those funds will be used expressly to get countries onto American-made products, likely means European defense firms will keep a wary eye on the program’s future, once they fully get wind of it.
The State Department has quietly launched a new fund to help allies in Europe buy American defense goods – and may look to expand it around the world.
The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office decided to continue the investigation into the events of January 1991, TASS reports. “The lead …
In an interview with BBC Lithuanian President-elect Gitanas Nausėda said that he believes Russia is an "aggressor country" because of the " …
This is a good initiative, but it lacks some basic functions which should be incorporated. There does not appear to be any group of legal advisors, who must be motivated to make quick decisions. Time is of the essence and a legal determination should be almost immediate. This and heavy “bureaucracy” have been impediments to…
‘Even the most patriotic Russian can see that their rulers have been lying to them about Ukraine. They may also wonder why Ukrainians can choose their rulers freely and Russians cannot’ Volodymyr may be Vladimir’s downfall. The two names are in effect the same—whether in the former Ukrainian rendering, or the latter Russian, both mean “ruler of the world”. But the election of Volodymyr Zelensky as president of Ukraine is a nightmare for Vladimir Putin and his increasingly threadbare regime in Russia. For a start, Ukraine had a real election, with lots of candidates and a wholly unpredictable outcome. Would the “gas princess” Yulia Tymoshenko, known for her blonde braids, vast fortune and crowd-pleasing politics make a comeback, the climax of a political career that has spanned jail and the prime minister’s office? Would the incumbent president Petro Poroshenko win re-election? The confectionery tycoon has attracted many brickbats for his failure to deal with corruption. But he does know how to run the country.
The election of Volodymyr Zelensky as president of Ukraine not only destroys Russian propaganda myths about Ukraine but also may lead to the overthrow of President Vladimir Putin’s regime. — Ukrinform.
Kristina Kvien arrived as Charge d’Affairs a.i., U.S. Embassy Kyiv, in May 2019. From 2013-April 2019, she served as Acting DCM/Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at U.S. Embassy Paris. Previously, Kristina served as Acting DCM and Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand; Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy London; and Director for European Union, Ukraine, and Belarus Affairs at the National Security Council in the Executive Office of the President. Kristina has also served at U.S. Embassy Moscow, Russia; the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium; and the U.S. Embassy Manila, Philippines. At the Department of State in Washington, DC, Kristina worked on European Union issues and on bilateral relations with Slovenia. Kristina is a native of California, with a BA in Political Science from Occidental College and an MS in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Kristina Kvien arrived as the U.S. Charge d’Affairs a.i. at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
The United States has sent its new envoy to Ukraine, U.S. Charge d’Affaires ad interim Kristina Kvien. “Today, U.S. Embassy Kyiv staff welcomed Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Kristina Kvien at a Town Hall meeting. She arrived on May 28, 2019,” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Twitter on May 31. From 2013-April 2019, she served as Acting DCM/Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at U.S. Embassy Paris. Previously, Kvien served as Acting DCM and Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand; Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy London; and Director for European Union, Ukraine, and Belarus Affairs at the National Security Council in the Executive Office of the President. She has also served at U.S. Embassy Moscow, Russia; the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium; and the U.S. Embassy Manila, Philippines. At the Department of State in Washington, DC, Kvien worked on European Union issues and on bilateral relations with Slovenia. She is a native of California, with a BA in Political Science from Occidental College and an MS in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. As UNIAN reported earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said on May 7 that U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch would complete her mission by the end of May 2019, although her term was expiring in summer. On the same day, Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer issued a joint statement expressing the conviction that Yovanovitch’s premature recall was politically motivated. “Ambassador Yovanovitch is a dedicated public servant and a diplomat of the highest caliber who has represented the United States under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The White House’s outrageous decision to recall her is a political hit job and the latest in this Administration’s campaign against career State Department personnel. It’s clear that this decision was politically motivated, as allies of President Trump had joined foreign actors in lobbying for the Ambassador’s dismissal. By recalling Ambassador Yovanovitch just mere months before her tenure in Ukraine was set to end, the Administration is harming American interests and undermining American diplomacy. We call on the Administration to reverse this decision immediately. In this period of transition, Ukraine needs gifted professionals like Ambassador Yovanovitch more than ever,” the statement said.
Germany and the United States want to resolve the conflict in Donbas and are ready to support Ukraine in carrying out reforms. — Ukrinform.
The EU expects Russia to comply with the order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea of May 25 and release 24 illegally captured Ukrainian sailors without delay. — Ukrinform.
France and Germany are seeking the resumption of stalled peace talks for the bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Western nations’ foreign ministers say.
France and Germany have expressed support to Ukraine in restoring the country’s territorial integrity, restarting the talks in the Normandy format at the highest level and continuing the reforms. — Ukrinform.
Germany and France, the prime movers of the Minsk peace process, are relaunching the peace talks
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with U.S. Senator Robert Portman to discuss the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, and the need for further pressure on Russia to ensure proper implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Ukrainian president and Robert Portman discussed topical issues of implementing reforms that should bring Ukraine closer to the EU and NATO.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine met with U.S. Senator Robert Portman who came to Kyiv with a visit. The press office of the Ukrainian leader said that on late May 30. The sides discussed the political situation in Ukraine – specifically, the early election of the Parliament. Zelensky admitted that the dissolution of the Parliament meets the requirements of the society; thanks to the snap election in July, Ukraine would be able to shape the new government in September. Related: IMF to come in Kyiv after snap parliamentary elections; discussions with Ukraine to continue ‘If this Parliament that fails to work properly remained, we would have only shaped the Cabinet in December. We can’t wait. We’ve got two wars, the one with Russia and the one against corruption inside the country; that is a threat, first of all, for the economy of Ukraine’, the President said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has discussed with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas “creative ideas” on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Prystaiko says he cannot yet communicate these ideas since experts should discuss them and find specific solutions.
Sweden and Poland as the initiators of the Eastern Partnership value the intention of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to make his first international visit to Brussels to establish contacts with the European Union institutions. — Ukrinform.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Poland and Sweden for supporting Ukraine in the defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity and in the issue of the release of Ukrainian captives. — Ukrinform. The president said this during a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallström and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jacek Czaputowicz, who are now in Ukraine, the press service of the head of state reported. “Thank you for supporting the policy of sanctions against Russia. I hope to continue it until the return of all Ukrainian territories,” Zelensky stressed. The president also stressed that the fight against corruption, poverty and economic stagnation was the second front for Ukraine. Gaining victory on both fronts will allow Ukrainians to build a state they dream of and deserve. For their part, the Polish and Swedish foreign ministers reaffirmed consistent support for Ukraine’s efforts aimed to protect the territorial integrity, return all Ukrainian captives illegally detained by Russia, as well as the efforts in the issues of Ukraine’s integration into the European Union. In the context of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the EU’s Eastern Partnership this year, Zelensky noted that it was crucial for Ukraine to preserve the positive achievements of recent years and speed up the implementation of the Association Agreement and other systemic changes. The president also assured the European partners that Ukraine would continue to move towards deepening its integration with the European Union and NATO.
The session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Seimas of Republic of Lithuania and Senate of the Republic of Poland will be held in Kyiv on June 7-8. — Ukrinform.
Police in Ukraine’s Russia-controlled Crimea region have briefly detained two Crimean Tatar activists for allegedly displaying banned symbols, in the latest example of the ethnic group being harass…
ITLOS court session: Ukraine wins, Russia should release Ukrainian sailors
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has created a delegation of Ukraine to participate in the hearings of the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on the dispute between Ukraine and Russia on the rights of the coastal state in the Black and Azov Seas and in the Kerch Strait.
Ukraine’s Ministry for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons has initiated sanctions against 28 legal entities, scientific and museum institutions whose representatives are engaged in illegal archaeological excavations in the Russia-occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. Russia’s Culture Ministry issued more than 90 orders in 2014-2018 to green-light archaeological excavations in occupied Crimea.
Over 150 Crimeans do military service in Russian territory
The international community has devoted significant attention to the actions of Russian authorities in occupied Crimea to repress, marginalize and force out Crimean Tatars, a crime against humanity that involves harassment, arrests, and other kinds of mistreatment that are all too visible (Krymr.com, May 29). And the world has also paid some attention to Moscow’s efforts to relocate more ethnic Russians to the Ukrainian peninsula, sending in Russian officials to take over positions previously held by others (Idelreal.org, July 2, 2018). But there has been far less coverage of Moscow’s efforts to change the ethnic composition of its new possession by pushing out ethnic Ukrainians living there to re-identify as ethnic Russians. Some of the decline in the number and share of ethnic Ukrainians in occupied Crimea has been the result of fear. According to Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Cemilev, tens of thousands of ethnic Ukrainians have declared they are ethnic Russians in order to avoid problems with the occupiers. That was especially the case in the first months after occupation, when the share of ethnic Ukrainians in the population reportedly dropped from 24.5 percent before Russian forces arrived to only 15.5 percent after less than six months (Sprotyv.info, July 11, 2018). As Russian repression has increased, many more ethnic Ukrainians have decided on this course of action. Moscow has encouraged assimilation not only to weaken Kyiv’s influence on the peninsula but also to boost the number of ethnic Russians, thus covering or at least obscuring the overall demographic decline of the Russian nation (Deutsche Welle—Russian service, May 28).
The international community has devoted significant attention to the actions of Russian authorities in occupied Crimea to repress, marginalize and force out Crimean Tatars, a crime against humanity that involves harassment, arrests, and other kinds of mistreatment that are all too visible (Krymr.com, May 29). And the world has also paid some attention to Moscow’s efforts to relocate more ethnic Russians to the Ukrainian peninsula, sending in Russian officials to take over positions previously held by others (Idelreal.org, July 2, 2018). But there has been far less coverage of Moscow’s efforts to change the ethnic composition of its new possession by pushing out ethnic Ukrainians living there to re-identify as ethnic Russians. Some of the decline in the number and share of ethnic Ukrainians in occupied Crimea has been the result of fear. According to Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Cemilev, tens of thousands of ethnic Ukrainians have declared they are ethnic Russians in order to avoid problems with the occupiers. That was especially the case in the first months after occupation, when the share of ethnic Ukrainians in the population reportedly dropped from 24.5 percent before Russian forces arrived to only 15.5 percent after less than six months (Sprotyv.info, July 11, 2018). As Russian repression has increased, many more ethnic Ukrainians have decided on this course of action. Moscow has encouraged assimilation not only to weaken Kyiv’s influence on the peninsula but also to boost the number of ethnic Russians, thus covering or at least obscuring the overall demographic decline of the Russian nation (Deutsche Welle—Russian service, May 28). Related: Kremlin regrets on withdrawal of Medvedchuk from Donbas talks Since such identity shifts are based almost exclusively on fear or short-term calculations, they could be expected to reverse themselves when the fear passes or when being ethnically Ukrainian in Crimea once again becomes something positive. However, the Russian authorities are engaged in something far more insidious than simply fabricating demographic shifts. Indeed, Moscow intends to entirely wean the rising generation of ethnic Ukrainians in occupied Crimea away from their ethnic roots. Not only have Russian officials closed all Ukrainian-language schools on the peninsula, shut down almost all Ukrainian-language media outlets there (Unian, August 28, 2018), and blocked broadcasts in Ukrainian from reaching this community (Dsnews.ua, December 16, 2017), they have also been working overtime to expunge anything positive about Ukraine from the public record. Instead, the authorities have been playing up Russia and the Russian nation in its place. In a new article entitled “The Strategy of the Kremlin in Occupied Crimea Is to Completely Assimilate Ukrainians and Isolate Crimean Tatars,” Dmitry Tymchuk shines a light on this often neglected trend. Tymchuk is a member of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) and a leader of the “Information Resistance” program that tracks developments in Russian-occupied areas (Censoru.net, May 20). According to Tymchuk, his group believes that “humanitarian security in the broadest sense is an important component of national security.” Consequently, humanitarian security focuses on threats that many overlook because they seem abstract and far removed from the battlefield. But what is happening in occupied Crimea with regard to ethnic Ukrainians shows that is a mistaken view. Based on an examination of textbooks and books for general use that Moscow has introduced there since 2014, he continues, one is forced to conclude that the Kremlin is “not even attempting to hide” its goal to “totally assimilate ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea” even as it more openly works to “isolate the Crimean Tatars.” Related: Russia’s decision to sanction Ukraine was provoked by Kyiv, – Kremlin Wherever possible, the Ukrainian parliamentarian adds, Moscow publications targeting Crimea either ignore Ukraine and Ukrainians altogether or, when that is not possible, blame them for everything negative happening on the peninsula. Russia and Russians, in contrast, are described in the Russian media as responsible for everything positive that has happened in the region. One book published last year, for example, characterizes Ukraine as “destabilized” even during the period when the Viktor Yanukovych regime was cooperating most closely with Moscow. Tymchuk suggests that such a rewriting of history is intended to prompt young people in occupied Crimea not only to accept Russian citizenship willingly but to give up their Ukrainian identity. Tymchuk’s report further asserts that for school-age pupils, “the history of Russia, with all its specific features, has replaced Ukrainian history. Now, Crimean children live in one mental space not with their neighbors from the Northern Chernozem zone or even with residents of the Kuban and Caucasus,” but with Russian areas further away. That is “because, having expunged Ukraine, it is difficult to describe the Kuban and the conquest of the North Caucasus.” And “now, Crimeans seek their common past with the Volga, Siberia, Karelia and Kamchatka” instead. Kyiv has few tools to influence this situation, Tymchuk admits, but it is not doing even the little it could. At the very least, Ukraine and the world should be keeping track of this Russian-orchestrated process. While it is not as dramatic as what the Russian occupiers are doing to the Crimean Tatars, it is just as wrong morally and, under international law, equally a crime against humanity, he concludes (Censoru.net, May 20).
31.05.19 10:35 – Eight attacks against JFO positions yesterday: two Ukrainian soldiers wounded May 30, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions eight times, using Minsk-proscribed weapons four times. View news.
Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in enemy attacks in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on Thursday, May 30. Russia-led forces used proscribed weapons in four attacks.
Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded amid eight enemy attacks in Donbas on Thursday, May 30, the press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) has reported.
In the area of the operation of the Joint Forces, regular training was provided for combat group teams, advanced air gunners and crews of military helicopters of the Army Aviation. This is reported by Defense Express with reference to the press service of the United forces. ” Today, the leading aviation gunmen of the military command executed guidance and targets in a visual way on the air target – unmanned aerial vehicle “, – said the soldier of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Roman. The participants of the exercise worked on the search, guidance and destruction of land targets, as well as small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles at various altitudes. With all the tasks, the military aviators and gunners coped perfectly.
Army Aviators from the Joint Force train to counter the enemy’s unmanned aerial vehicles # OOS # operation_OS In the area of the operation of the Joint Forces, regular training was provided for combat group teams, advanced air gunners and crews of military helicopters of the Army Aviation. The participants of the exercise worked on the search, guidance and destruction of land targets, as well as small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles at various altitudes. With all the tasks, the army aviators coped perfectly.
Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak discussed with U.S. Senator Robert Portman the security situation in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas, the Defense Ministry reports. — Ukrinform.
🇺🇸🇺🇦 Військове співробітництво між Україною та США – розвиток та поглиблення / #US- #Ukraine military cooperation – development and intensification: the Chief of the General Staff – Сommander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Ruslan Khomchak held a meeting the United States high level strategic advisors of the Reform Committee of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant-General (ret.) Keith Dayton on May 30. The sides discussed the development and intensifying of Ukrainian-American cooperation in the context of bilateral military cooperation between Ukraine and the USA, joint projects and issues of defense reform.
🇸🇪🇺🇦 Військове співробітництво між Україною та Швецією: формат та напрями / #Sweden – #Ukraine military cooperation: format and directions – Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant-General Serhiy Bessarab met with the Chief of the Department of Policy and Planning of the Swedish Armed Forces Försvarsmakten Brigadier General Lena Persson Herlitz on May 30, 2019 in Kyiv. The sides discussed the participation of the delegation of the Swedish Armed Forces in the work of the Multinational Joint Commission on military cooperation and defense reform, the assistance, as well as other possible areas of cooperation within the framework of the #MJC, further development of Ukrainian-Swedish bilateral military cooperation.
Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan delegated authority of chief monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to his compatriot, Turkish diplomat Yaşar Halit Çevik. — Ukrinform.
Former president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will donate UAH 1.75 million won in a defamation case against BBC to the NGO “Come Back Alive” and a volunteer from Lviv, founder of the NGO “Help the Front”, Bohdan Masliak. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a decree on the composition of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC). According to decree No. 340/2019 dated May 31, 2019, Zelensky will head the council and Oleksandr Danyliuk will be NSDC Secretary. First Deputy Head of the SBU State Security Service and chief of the SBU’s Main Directorate for Battling Corruption and Organized Crime Ivan Bakanov, Presidential Administration Head Andriy Bohdan, Deputy Presidential Administration Heads Vadym Prystaiko and Ruslan Riaboshapka, along with Finance Minister Oksana Markarova, Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak were appointed NSDC members. Zelensky removed ex-Presidential Administration Head Ihor Rainin, ex-NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov, ex-Chief of General Staff Viktor Muzhenko and ex-Information Policy Minister Yuriy Stets from the NSDC. The decree takes effect from the day of publication.
Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Serhiy Kryvonos during an official visit to Canada met with representatives of the military leadership of the state and discussed military and technical cooperation. — Ukrinform.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleksandr Danyliuk has stated that the question of whether Ukraine will remain a transit country for Russian gas to Europe is a challenge from both an economic and geopolitical point of view.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Danyliuk notes that President Volodymyr Zelensky currently does not have direct contacts with the authorities of the Russian Federation, and Ukraine is developing its position in the negotiations on a settlement in Donbas, and then it will be discussed in the Normandy format.
The anti-ship missile system of coastal landing and the coastal mobile ground-breaking complex for detecting surface targets are allowed to operate in the Armed Forces. This is stated in the annual information bulletin “White Paper – 2018 Armed Forces of Ukraine”, which was announced today, May 31. In general, according to the publication, for 2018, 36 models of weapons and equipment were put into operation, including the mentioned complexes. Also purchased and delivered to the Armed Forces of 7310 new and upgraded weapons and military equipment, equipment and assets, 527 382 units. ammunition for different purposes. We are reminding that the test of the complex of cruise missiles of the RK-360MTs “Neptun”, the state tests of which are scheduled for autumn, and during the shooting of anti-aircraft missile systems for the first time “illuminated” the radar is mounted on the KrAZ-7634NE 8×8 chassis, which is also selected for the launch complex “Neptune”.
Since 2014, about 26,000 units of weapons and military equipment of Ukrainian production have been handed over to law enforcement agencies to ensure the country’s defense capability. — Ukrinform.
ASELSAN offers Ukraine solutions for modernization of artillery systems. Turkish companies are proposing that Ukraine take advantage of modern developments for the modernization of self-propelled howitzers of the Ukrainian Army, as well as the development of new samples produced by domestic defense companies. The main modular solutions from the Turkish company ASELSAN, one of the leaders of the Turkish defense industry, have already been presented to the command of the Missile Forces and Artillery of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These approaches and solutions have already been worked out and tested on samples that are being armed with the Turkish Army. According to ASELSAN, the implementation of joint projects can significantly reduce the time for the Ukrainian side to obtain results that meet the current conditions of warfare. ASELSAN company offers a comprehensive solution, which involves installing on existing and perspective means of fire impression of all necessary systems and equipment of own production, providing both a separate gun and all units of the new possibilities. ASELSAN has developed and produced a fire control system for the new self-propelled howitzers of the Turkish army T-155 Firtina 155/52 on a crawler chassis, as well as for the upgrade of the Panter Panter Panter Panter-M version. The towed 155/52 Panter caliber was developed under the guidance of the local company MKEK to replace the fleet of outdated towed 155-mm ML 14 in the early 90’s. In the upgraded version, the upgraded cannon can be mounted on any chassis of 6X6 or 8X8 cars at customer’s request. This system has a declared range of 24 km using the old 155 mm M107 shots and 40 km with the ERFB-BB shot. Panter-M is used in conjunction with ASELSAN’s developed BAIKS-2000 field artillery fire control system. In turn, the new Turkish self-propelled canary T-155 Firtina (Storm), created with the help of South Korean company Samsung Techwin, has been actively used in the interests of the national armed forces since 2001. Although the howitzers repeat the basic systems of the South Korean K9, the T-155 has significant differences in the design of the tower, chassis details, navigation systems and fire control systems that were developed in Turkey. Solutions from ASELSAN provide rapid deployment of a separate gun and artillery unit, positioning, accurate and fast data computing for firing, effective fire control, communication, integration with modern control and command systems. Planning and execution of fire tasks is carried out with the use of digital maps, with all ballistic calculations with the definition and taking into account the characteristics of each gun, its position, the location of the goal, altitude, meteorological situation, etc. There are possibilities for arbitrary location of guns on a firing position in a dispersed combat order; carrying out an anti-fire maneuver with autonomous definition of the coordinates of a self-propelled artillery unit at a new fire position. All necessary data regarding the state, position of the gun, as well as the information necessary for the execution of the combat task, are depicted on the guarded gun monitor. Each gun is equipped with an inertial navigation system and a radar for measuring the speed of the projectile. The inertial navigation system receives and uses location data using GPS to calculate howitzers coordinates. The ASELSAN inertia navigation devices provide the accuracy of their own positioning of less than 10 meters in all conditions, including movement, placement under trees and other shelters. Also, the motion sensor (odometer) is integrated into the system. The software allows you to perform a combat task even when suppressing the GPS system and refusing the odometer. As an example, the new self-propelled howitzers T-155 Firtina (Storm), thanks to the inertial navigation system of ASELSAN production, has the ability to determine the coordinates of targets with a deviation of 17.5 meters. Firtina can open the fire for 30 seconds. The T-155 Firtina has a maximum range of 40 km depending on the type of ammunition. ASELSAN also provides new systems for actuating the mechanism for lifting and setting the required angle of inclination of the gun barrel, and, after completing the combat task, a quick preparation for the march. New hydromechanical or electromechanical drive systems are used for this purpose. Integrating data of inertial navigation / GPS and digital computing systems into the operation of servo drives of vertical and horizontal guidance CAU allows the operator arrow to direct the gun to the correct target point by pressing one button. Safe and quick loading of ammunition into the gun is provided by automatic or semi-automatic mode. The process can be fully automated, even for the determination, selection and preparation of throwing charges. The installation of automatic charging on howitbons allows one gun or batteries in a reduced state of two or three guns repeatedly improve the performance of the fire task. Combined with the use of a gun with a computer, the charging machine allows you to fire in MRSI (Multiple-Round Simultaneous-Impact mode – the simultaneous impact of several shells; the angle of inclination of the barrel is changed and all projectiles released at a certain time interval flock to the goal at a time ) even with one self-propelled installation. The ASELSAN system provides the opening of fire with a separate gun or division from the march within 3 minutes, and from the prepared fire position – less than 1 minute. This significantly increases the overall efficiency of the fire unit. At the same time 20-30% and 30-40% increase the accuracy of fire and the probability of defeating targets, as well as 3 times increases the survivability of the unit in conditions of fire confrontation by timely changing the firing position before the enemy strikes back in response. The full version of the material was published in Defense Express No. 4 magazine for 2019 .
Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy has said he believes that Ukraine is facing a crisis associated with the actions of President Volodymyr Zelensky. — Ukrinform.
Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy will take part in Ukraine’s snap parliamentary elections. — Ukrinform.
During a meeting with US Senator Robert Portman, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine is fighting two wars, one against …
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with chiefs of Ukraine’s anti-graft agencies – Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk and Head of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky. They also discussed ways to improve the performance of the anti-corruption agencies.
SBU deputy chief resigns. The president’s decree on his dismissal is not there yet. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed from the post of Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Tsigikala Petr Aleksandrovich The corresponding decree was published on the website of the President of Ukraine By another decree he released the general of the Army of Ukraine Tsigikala Petr Aleksandrovich from military service into the reserve with the right to wear military uniforms. Petro Tsigikal headed the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine from July 2017 and replaced Viktor Nazarenko with this post.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Hryhoriy Ostafiychuk as head of the main investigation department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired chief of the main investigation department of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Hryhoriy Ostafiychuk. The respective presidential order was posted on the president’s website on May 31.
European Solidarity elects Poroshenko its leader. The party also elected a new presidium. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Petro Poroshenko has been elected the head of the European Solidarity party. — Ukrinform.
31.05.19 14:58 – Interior Affairs Minister, Arsen Avakov not to run for Parliament Interior Affairs Minister, Arsen Avakov, will not take part in the snap parliamentary election. View news.
Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov has announced he will not run for parliament during the snap elections, scheduled for July 21. The ministry guarantees the elections will be legitimate, fair and transparent.
Co-owner of Kvartal-95 group Borys Shefir has said that if there is a strong desire it is possible to agree with Russian officials to end the war in Donbas.
Co-owner of Kvartal-95 group Borys Shefir has said that if there is a strong desire it is possible to agree with Russian officials to end the war in Donbas. Censor.NET reports citing Detector Media. “It is necessary to end it [the war] … If we really want to, then we can agree [with the Russians],” he said. Shefir said it is not possible “in any case” to end the war on the enemy’s terms. “It’s written in our election program that if people who are materially interested in a war are removed, it’s over. In this case, the former president and his entourage were interested in continuing the war. We’ve removed them, and I’m sure it [the war] will die down,” he said. “Yes, he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] has imperial ambitions. But we can agree with him. And if not, we will declare a real war. What is this fighting with one hand and selling with the other hand?” he said. Shefir added that he thinks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi does not intend remain in his position for long. “Our president is an unusual president. He is not going to earn money in this position. He won’t stay there for long. … Our president says, ‘I will bring order and I will return to my business.’ I don’t know if he will succeed, but he is going to try,” Shefir said. Speaking about the language quotas on television and radio, Shefir said all bans are bad. “Quotas and bans are bad. All of them. They contradict the Constitution of Ukraine. Article 10 dealing with the state language is never fully quoted. … [Introducing language] quotas is not development, but language suppression. Of course, the Ukrainian language needs to be supported and developed, but not by using quotas,” he said. Borys Shefir is responsible for television production at the Kvartal 95 group. Among his priorities is the expansion of cooperation with other television channels, in addition with dealing with the 1+1 media group. Source:https://censor.net.ua/en/n3129841
Police in Hungary have detained and questioned the Ukrainian captain of a cruise ship that smashed into a sightseeing boat on the Danube River, killing at least seven people and leaving 21 people m…
31.05.19 13:52 – Hungarian police detains Ukrainian who navigated Viking ship. PHOTOS A 64-year-old citizen of Ukraine from Odesa who was a captain of the ship that sank in Danube River, was detained by Hungarian authorities over suspicion in negligence, which caused the deaths of people. View photo news.
Creating a compelling drama about the nuclear disaster would be one way for post-Soviet nations to show they’ve learned its lessons.
“Chernobyl,” the HBO mini-series that ends Monday in the U.S., isn’t easy to watch as someone who lived in the Soviet Union in 1986 and who has since visited the Chernobyl exclusion zone. But, like many of my compatriots, I’m watching it — and thinking it should have been made in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus, not by an American entertainment channel. There are two reasons for this. One is authenticity — despite a valiant attempt at it, the series falls short. But the other, more important reason is that this kind of harsh sermon on the importance of listening to experts and running a government for the people, not for its own sake, should have come from one of the affected countries. Those countries, apparently, haven’t learned the lessons well enough to make a movie like this. The authenticity part will probably be lost not just on Western viewers but also on the younger generation of post-Soviet ones, too. The producers tried hard to re-create the late Soviet material culture, even though it does look as though they found the objects at a flea market — they look 30 years the worse for wear. Some lapses were probably too costly to avoid even when the filmmakers knew about them, like modern plastic windows in Soviet buildings. But there’s plenty more. Chernobyl is too far from Moscow to reach by helicopter, and in reality, the government commission sent there soon after the nuclear disaster took a plane to Kiev and then drove. Nor, of course, could Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina even imagine threatening to throw Valery Legasov, an esteemed member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, off a helicopter — this was 1986, not 1936. Legasov, one of the series’s central characters, did indeed hang himself two years after the Chernobyl disaster, having first taped his memories of it. But, as a top-flight scientist, he didn’t live in a dingy apartment with a characteristic deer rug on the wall: That would have been far below his station. Nor was a cat his only companion: As he sickened after multiple trips to the exploded nuclear power station, his wife and daughter took care of him. I know for a fact from several reporting trips that Russian miners don’t drink vodka right at the mine, before they wash off the coal dust. And in the late ’80s, they didn’t require soldiers with assault rifles to keep them in check when a minister addressed them. For that matter, the soldiers in the series appear to hold their weapons U.S. style, butt to the armpit, not Soviet-style, across the chest. Soviet people in 1986 didn’t go calling each other “comrade” except at Communist Party meetings. Ilya Repin’s dramatic painting of Ivan the Terrible realizing he’d just killed his son was never housed in the Kremlin. And some uniforms in the series are from the wrong period. All these inaccuracies, big and small, mitigate the harshness of the movie for viewers with friends and family affected by the disaster. (My ex-father-in-law was one of the 600,000 so-called liquidators involved in the cleanup.) They serve as a filter, a reminder that this is, after all, an American TV series, not a documentary, and that none of the horrible things on the screen are real. But even with that filter, the tough messages of the series come through loud and clear. For one thing, people are often unprepared for the enormity of something like the Chernobyl disaster; they tend to get confused, and try to fool themselves into thinking that the world isn’t actually collapsing around them. That goes both for people on the immediate scene and for the big bosses saddled with the final responsibility. These are situations when experts should be called in immediately and allowed to make decisions unhindered by political expediency or established chains of command. No amount of heroism and fatalism, powerfully portrayed in the series, is an adequate replacement for expertise. Of course, coverups and defensiveness in such situations are heinous crimes; the Soviet Union tersely admitted the Chernobyl disaster to the world two days after it took place, and Communist Party leader Mikhail Gorbachev took 18 days before he spoke about it to the nation. By then, much of the area around the power plant had been evacuated, but May Day parades had taken place in nearby cities even though it could have been dangerous for people to be out in the open. By the time he felt free to speak, Gorbachev focused on criticizing Western reports blaming the Soviet Union for the disaster. The reports would have been there in any case, but they would have been more accurate had the Soviet Union not tried to conceal the extent of the damage. (Russian media researcher Natalia Rostova wrote a good account of the belated official reaction and attempts to keep journalists from reporting on Chernobyl.) Remarkably, some Russian reactions to the series are in that vein, too. The pro-Kremlin daily Komsomolskaya Pravda published a column suggesting that the series is an attempt to undermine Russia’s leadership in nuclear reactor exports, one of the few areas in which Russia is ahead of the U.S. and actively competing for European and Asian markets. The idea, Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist Dmitry Steshin wrote, is to incite the European public against Russian nuclear projects. I’ve read plenty of similar comments on social media; the series has been accused of that ultimate sin, “Russophobia.” It’s clear to most Russian viewers, though, that the HBO production is not some kind of American propaganda effort. The messages are universal: about the limitations of government, management and the human psyche when faced with unforeseen effects of technology. Russians are not portrayed as villains in “Chernobyl.” Even Stellan Skarsgard’s portrayal of apparatchik Scherbina — who ordered the prompt evacuation of the town of Pripyat though many argued against it — is, in general, sympathetic. The question that keeps popping up in my mind is why none of the three ex-Soviet countries most affected by Chernobyl has produced such a powerful re-creation of the 1986 events for the world’s edification. It would have made sense for Russia, with its current nuclear leadership, to show that it has learned the lessons; a posthumous Hero of Russia star for Legasov, awarded by former President Boris Yeltsin, isn’t enough. It would have made sense for Ukraine, too; when I visited the Chernobyl zone in 2012, an illicit trade in potentially contaminated scrap metal was flourishing there amid the ruins and overgrown, abandoned villages. Belarus, heavily victimized by the Chernobyl fallout, would have been a fitting messenger, too. Yet somehow it was the network that produced “Game of Thrones” that found the courage, the money and the considerable skill that went into the making of “Chernobyl.” Now, the world at large will know the story from this version. That the post-Soviet nations left it to the HBO is, of course, not comparable with the original Soviet failure to report openly on the disaster. It is, however, a regrettable sin of omission that in the 33 years that have passed since Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 blew up that the post-Soviet world hasn’t produced anything as compelling as HBO’s flawed but riveting product.
The Orthodox Church in Ukraine this year became ‘autocephalous’ – meaning it is no longer answerable to the Moscow Patriarchate Church. Autocephaly is of huge symbolic importance: for Ukraine, as a sign of political independence; for Russia, as a sign of political loss. The Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church enjoy a close relationship, but both are biding their time and deciding what to do next. The uncertain course of events means that issues arising from autocephaly may not be settled for many years. The domestic consolidation and international recognition of the new church will not be easy or quick, but this is an irreversible change – Moscow is unable to overturn it.
Mystics in the Orthodox Church are increasingly providing healing and political guidance to senior state officials in Russia. The most prominent of these elders is Father Iliy Nozdrin, a confessor to the leader of the church who has met President Putin, according to an in-depth report by Proyekt, a consortium of Russian investigative journalists. “Iliy is the most important and fashionable elder; he is popular among VIPs,” one former state employee told the group. Officials said anonymously that they went to the seer for “physical healing, to be purified spiritually after performing responsible tasks, and for predicting the political future”. Father Iliy, a hunched, 87-year-old man with prominent cheek bones and a wispy grey beard, has a large following among Orthodox believers and a popular…
The Russian Orthodox Church pushes back against the pushback against the construction of a church in a Yekaterinburg park. Is it just “waving its fists after the fight,” as they say, or could it still overcome opposition? Either way, Russia’s dominant religious organization has something to lose. ‘Hearts And Minds’ Evidence, if gathered, would seem likely to show that the number of new openings of sex shops in Russia has fallen off since the 1990s. That may not be true of churches: Kirill, after blessing a new Russian Orthodox church in Strasbourg, France, on May 26, said: “we’re building three temples a day — I am not mistaken: every 24 hours. Thirty thousand temples in 10 years.” Kirill’s math may be off: His figures suggest something closer to eight churches a day. But his point seemed to be that for Russia, no number of churches is too high. “It’s not because we have a lot of money and don’t know what to do with it,” the patriarch said. “Having gone through the years of atheism, our people have understood, in their hearts and minds, that nothing is possible without God,” he said, adding that “our technologically developed civilization needs places where a person can feel close to God.” Polls suggest that may not be the case — or at least, that many Russian believers don’t need to be at church to feel close to God. According to poll results cited in a 2017 report by the Pew Research Center, 7 percent of Russians attend religious services weekly, 30 percent monthly or once a year, and 61 percent seldom or never. The same survey showed that 71 percent of Russians consider themselves Orthodox Christians. The dispute in Yekaterinburg and Kirill’s three-churches-a-day remark sparked an array of responses, including calls for the Russian Orthodox Church to do more charity and questions about the proliferation of churches in a country that needs more hospitals. The Last Tsar There’s also been some wry commentary, like the Twitter post imagining “Yekaterinburg in 2030” as a shining sea of golden onion domes. Before the Bolshevik Revolution, Moscow was known as the city of “the 40 40s,” an inexact reference to the numbers of churches it contained — but this vision of the future would take it to another exponential level: 40 cubed.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 30 – Russia is currently spending 150 billion rubles (2.5 billion US dollars) on the construction of Orthodox Churches, an enormous sum at any point and an increasingly insupportable one at a time of economic malaise and the closing of thousands of schools and hospitals. The ROC MP has been anything but forthcoming about how much it is spending and where the money is coming from, but Lyudmila Butuzova of Novyye izvestiya says that church affairs experts have been able to come up with that figure on the basis of the prices the Patriarchate gave for churches in 2010. At that time, ROC MP officials said a large church for 500 parishioners would cost 250 to 500 million rubles (four to eight million US dollars), a small one for 250 parishioners 90 million rubles (1.5 million US dollars), and village ones 9.9 million rubles (150,000 US dollars) (newizv.ru/news/society/30-05-2019/ekonomika-hramostroitelstva-kto-i-kak-platit-za-duhovnye-skrepy). The ROC MP has been equally reluctant to release figures on where all this money is coming from, preferring to live behind the myth that parishioners are paying. But most of them are older and poorer and certainly can’t come up with that kind of money, Butuzova says calculations show. And the money isn’t coming from the state except in the case of the restoration of some major church buildings. More than 90 percent in fact is coming from business interests and contributions, with wealthy people seeking to solidify their standing in Russian society by building a church. The Novyye izvestiya journalist lists some of the major companies and wealthy individuals who have paid for the construction of churches, but she notes that about half of the money coming in is given anonymously, raising serious questions as to just how private much of that is. Because of this influx of money, the ROC MP has grown enormously at least in terms of the buildings and lands it has. In 1988, the ROC MP had 76 bishoprics and 74 hierarchs, 6893 churches (to be sure only 12 percent of the pre-1917 number), 6674 priests and 723 deacons, two monasteries, two spiritual academies and three seminaries. Today, Butuzova reports, the ROC MP has 293 bishoprics, 354 hierarchs, 40,000 priests, 944 monasteries, five spiritual academies, three Orthodox universities, two theological institutes, 38 spiritual seminaries and nine spiritual schools. Extraordinarily impressive growth of a kind to be sure.
MOSCOW (RNS) — Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church suffered a rare setback this week as authorities in Yekaterinburg, the country’s fourth-largest city, backtracked on plans for a new cathedral after thousands of people protested against its construction in a popular park. Defying a ban on unsanctioned public gatherings, protesters rallied for six consecutive nights between May 13-18, tearing down sections of a metal fence around the planned construction site. The demonstrations drew about 2,000 people every evening — a significant number for illegal rallies in Russia. “This is our city,” shouted protesters, as police with nightsticks dragged people from the crowd, according to footage aired by TV Rain, an online opposition channel. “Today the fence — tomorrow (President Vladimir) Putin,” shouted other protesters. Police made almost 100 arrests, and 33 people were jailed for up to 15 days. The proposed cathedral would have been an exact replica of St. Catherine’s Cathedral, which was destroyed by the Soviet Union in 1930 as part of the Communist state’s anti-religion drive. But many locals in Yekaterinburg, a city of 1.4 million people around 900 miles east of Moscow, objected to its construction in the park, saying it would have deprived them of a rare green space.
MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. Efforts to discredit the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate have been futile, Patriarch Kirill, of Moscow and All Russia, said in a statement published on the official Instagram account of the Russian Orthodox Church on Wednesday. “Neither the power of the state, nor propaganda have worked. Millions of dollars were spent in vain. Time was wasted. But everything has turned into dust,” Patriarch Kirill said. He described the project for giving autocephaly to the schismatic Orthodox Church in Ukraine, led by Metropolitan Epiphany as an “unheard-of test for faithfulness to Orthodoxy,” experienced by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “It might seem that all infernal forces were employed in an attempt to tear Ukraine away from the Moscow Patriarchate, to discredit our Church, to support the splitters and all those who throughout history repeatedly challenged the unity of Orthodoxy. Nothing has come of it,” Patriarch Kirill said.