Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (245)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

The Mainstream media is starting to pick up on the importance of the protests in Moscow.  I received a CNN alert about the hundreds arrested.  This does not mark the end of the world, as some say, and it’s certainly not the end of Russia or Putin.  It does, however, portend the end of popular support for Putin.  

Vinculum.  A bond, a unifying entity.  A vinculum, unifying the Russian people to rise up and throw off their shackles.  Corruption and oppression in the Moscow elections is one thing.  Shadowy changes in the retirement age is another, in the middle of the Russian World Cup.  Sneaky invasions of other countries. Massive corruption of Russian officials and oligarchs.  Covert assassinations of former Russians outside Russian borders.  Opposition candidates blocked, beaten, and assassinated.  The huge disparity from normal Russians and the Russian leadership.  The list goes on.  No single issue has caused the Russian people to rise up in a colored revolution.  There is no vinculum.  But it appears to be coming.   

I’ve been asked, twice, by friends if Putin is trying to become an Emperor or Tsar.  Perhaps.  He has until 2024 to change to Russian constitution to make him President for life…  The thing that bothers me is that since he is supposedly so rich (estimates said he’s worth up to $200 billion), has a huge $1 Bn ‘palace’ by the Black Sea (Putin’s Palace), and is in his mid-60s (currently 66), if he stays in office he would never enjoy his ill-gotten riches.  Who knows what Putin will do?

From 1937: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!

</end editorial>

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INF update – curious how vocal Russia’s little helpers in the West are, after their shameful conduct during the Cold War went unpunished. New round of Skripal sanctions detailed. AV-MF / VKS updates.

More than two dozen reports on Muscovy protests, the unravelling of the Chekist regime’s public support, and other aspects of Muscovy’s descent into the abyss. Optimists should note that Russian history shows it could take some time yet for this destructive and self-destructive regime to fold, but when it does fold it could either go the way of Libya, or as badly as Syria.

Turkey update – a lot of optimistic analysis that underestimates Erdogan’s capacity for narcissistic self-interest at the expense of his nation. What is good for Turkey is irrelevant if it doesn’t serve Erdogan.

Two fascinating reports on the unravelling of Russia’s campaign to present Ukraine as a Nazi state rooted in deep anti-Semitism. The first is Amb Chaly’s media briefing on how Jewish organisations in the US actively supported Ukraine’s campaign in the US to gain recognition of the Holodomor as a genocide akin to the Holocaust (Russia has opposed this intensively as it trashes their attempts to promote Stalin, and makes them as the self-identified successor state to the USSR liable for damages as Germany was). The second is Sokol’s excellent study of Russia’s propaganda campaign to paint Ukraine as intensively anti-Semitic, and the dummies in the West who are gullible enough to swallow Russian propaganda (there are some notable US journalists in this category).

Ukraine IR update. Most interesting are Zelensky Administration comments on discussions with the White House, as the meeting agenda will be now primarily defense. Ukraine’s agenda for some time has been to gain major non-NATO ally status. We should expect Ze to argue for this, possibly more, if the language we are seeing accurately reflects their agenda. Amb Volker talks to media in Kyiv. Crimea and Moldova updates.

Donbas update – ceasefire is unravelling further by the day. NSDC debates energy supply issues. Industry update – Antonov close to completing redesign of its products to purge Russian components completely. More on the transfer of a confiscated Russian owned SA-3 GOA battery and reloads to the AFU.

Politics update – US lobbying by Ze becomes a media issue.

OCU update, and multiple ROC updates.


NATO – News: Secretary General: NATO response to INF Treaty demise will be measured and responsible, 02-Aug.-2019

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg marked the end of the INF Treaty with a press conference on Friday (2 August 2019), stressing that NATO’s response will be “measured and responsible”, ensuring credible and effective deterrence and defence. Mr. Stoltenberg explained that the INF Treaty had come to an end due to Russia’s deployment of the SSC-8 missile system, which is nuclear-capable, mobile, hard to detect, and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. He stressed that “all NATO Allies agree that these missiles violate the INF Treaty”, and that Russia continues to develop and field the systems, despite years of engagement by the US and other Allies.”We regret that Russia showed no willingness and took no steps to comply with its international obligations,” he said, adding that all Allies support the US’ decision to withdraw, as “no international agreement is effective if it is only respected by one side. Russia bears the sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty”. The Secretary General said that NATO will now work on issues such as exercises, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air and missile defences, and conventional capabilities, while also ensuring that NATO’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. He stressed that “we will not rush implementation or make any rash moves; we will consider our options carefully,” adding that “everything we do will be balanced, coordinated and defensive.” He further noted that Allies remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. He concluded: “We will not mirror what Russia does, we do not want a new arms race, and we have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. NATO continues to aspire for a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make that possible.”

Will we see a new arms race? That depends on Russia, says NATO chief

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insists that despite the

NATO chief says end of nuclear treaty is ‘serious setback,’ after US withdraws – CNN

The official demise of a landmark arms control pact between the US and Russia is a “bad day” for stability in Europe, the military alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN Friday, hours after the US withdrew from the pact.

SECDEF: US has withdrawn from INF, will ‘fully pursue’ development of new missile systems

A landmark arms control treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed three decades ago is dead, prompting fears of a new global arms race.

INF nuclear treaty: US formally withdraws from nuclear treaty with Russia and prepares to test new missile – CNNPolitics

The United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia Friday, as the US military prepares to test a new non-nuclear mobile-launched cruise missile developed specifically to challenge Moscow in Europe, according to a senior US defense official.

UK blames Russia for nuclear treaty collapse, says threatens European security – Reuters

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Russia was to blame after the United States withdrew from the landmark nuclear missile pact (INF) between the two countries, saying the United Kingdom fully supported NATO’s response.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia offers NATO a moratorium on deployment of intermediate range missiles

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow would like to offer the United States and NATO to declare a moratorium on the deployment of missiles of the shorter and medium range following the example of Russia, reports TASS news agency. “We offered the United States and other NATO countries to discuss the possibility of declaring the same moratorium on the deployment of medium-range and shorter-range weapons, as the moratorium declared by Vladimir Putin,” Ryabkov said. The Deputy Minister explained that, according to Putin, Russia wouldn’t deploy new missile systems if the US won’t do that either. On February 2, Putin announced that Russia would not participate in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in response to similar actions by the United States. At the same time, he added that the Russian side will not place medium-range and shorter-range weapons in Europe or other regions of the world if similar American-made weapons don’t appear there. The US began the withdrawal process from the INF Treaty on February 2. The whole process should be completed in six months. The reason for the withdrawal from the agreement for Washington was the development of a 9M729 cruise missile by the Russia. The United States believes that the range of its flight exceeds the permitted norms, but Russia denies it.

The Guardian view on arms control treaties: how we started worrying again | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

Editorial: The end of the INF nuclear treaty is a bad step that could be followed by a worse one

Trump and Putin have killed off a vital nuclear treaty. Here’s how we fight back | Rebecca Johnson | Opinion | The Guardian

In the spirit of Greenham Common, collective, creative action is now required, says anti-nuclear campaigner Rebecca Johnson

China Brushes Off Trump Suggestion Of Joining New Arms Treaty

China rejected suggestions by U.S. President Donald Trump that it join a new arms deal with the United States and Russia following the demise of the 31-year-old landmark nuclear accord between Wash…

U.S. Ends Cold War Missile Treaty, With Aim of Countering China – The New York Times

Trump administration officials say that the treaty tied their hands on China and that Russia was not complying with it, but its demise raised fears of a new arms race.

U.S. Defense Secretary says he favors placing missiles in Asia – Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that he was in favor of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon, a day after the United States withdrew from a landmark arms control treaty.

 

U.S. State Department Details New Skripal-Related Sanctions On Russia

The U.S. State Department has detailed new sanctions imposed on Russia for its alleged involvement in the March 2018 near-fatal nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daugh…

Donald Trump sanctions Russia over nerve agent attack on ex-spy

Lawmakers pressured Trump to act on the 2018 attempt to kill former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal.

Under pressure, Trump slaps long-overdue sanctions on Russia over chemical weapons use – CNNPolitics

Under sustained pressure from Congress, President Donald Trump has imposed long-overdue, legally mandated sanctions on Russia for its poisoning of an ex-spy in the United Kingdom.

 

NORAD identified a group of Russian maritime patrol aircraft flying off the coast of Alaska – Defence Blog

The Control System from North American Aerospace Defense Command positively identified a group of two Russian maritime patrol aircraft flying off the coast of Alaska. “North American Aerospace Defense Command identified a group of two Tu-142 Russian maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Thursday, Aug. 1,” the command said in a Twitter post Friday. The Russian Tu-142 maritime patrol aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace. NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response. The identification and monitoring of aircraft entering a U.S. or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada. Air ForceCapt. Cameron Hillier, a NORAD spokesman, told Military.com on Friday that a positive identification was made electronically via the command’s early warning system radars west of the ADIZ. “It was not an intercept” made by aircraft, Hillier said. It is the first sighting of Russian aircraft in the ADIZ since May, Hillier said. The ADIZ stretches roughly 200 miles off Alaska’s coast.

Su-57 Stealth Fighter Enters Production | Sukhoi 57 Stealth Fighter

Moscow’s first fifth-generation fighter is mysteriously cheaper but might be too little, too late.

Sunk Your Battleship: How Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Is a Navy Killer

“Today the enterprise is working on developing an active homing warhead for the promising anti-ship missile that is planned to be carried by the Su-57 fighter as well,&quot; Krivoruchko said.Russia is designing an anti-ship missile for its Su-57 stealth fighter.But is hunting ships the best mission for

Sukhoi Begins Serial Production Of The Su-57, Meanwhile Let’s See What We Know About Russia’s 5th Generation Stealth Jet – The Aviationist

The first aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2019. On July 29, 2019, in a press release quoted by TASS news agency, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov stated that the Sukhoi Aircraft Company (part of United Aircraft Corporation, which reunites all Russian aeronautic industries) has started the production of 76 Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Force, with deliveries starting by the end of the year: “A state contract was signed at the Army 2019 international arms exhibition between the Defense Ministry of Russia and the Sukhoi Company for the delivery of a batch of Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets. The Sukhoi has started to fulfil its contractual obligations. […] The first plane will be delivered to the customer before the end of 2019.” The contract was announced by President Vladimir Putin on May 15, 2019 as part of the state armament program for the 2018-2028 timeframe. The original program was expected to consider the acquisition of 52 aircraft, which were drastically reduced to just 15 aircraft, even if the requirement was considered around 200 Su-57s.

F-35 Is Old: Russia Could Turn Its Su-57 Into a 6th Generation Stealth Monster | The National Interest

Here’s how.

 

Moscow authorities vow tough action against any new protest – To Inform is to Influence

“Demonstrating without a permit” is the catch-all phrase meaning ‘we’ll never give you a permit, so just quit. When we arrest you we will beat you as we do, we will beat you as we drag you to our paddy wagons, we will beat you in our jails, and we will just beat you when we feel like it. We might even kill you but we will deny everything.” Welcome to Stalin’s Russia v. 2.0. The news covering Russia is full of such stories. Here are a few. Notice The Moscow Times is dangerously exposing Putin. Pro-Kremlin Pundit Blames Demonstrators for Police Crackdown on Moscow Protest Polygraph.info ‘Time for Radical Measures’: Lyubov Sobol Is Seizing the Protest Moment The Moscow Times Violent Crackdowns on Russian Opposition Reveal Dangerous Policy Shift The Moscow Times Kremlin’s Violent Response to Protests in Moscow Is A Dangerous Game The Moscow Times Russian Men in Black The Moscow Times It seems the Putin’s private proletarian guard, the Russian National Guard, or Rosgvardia, has been deployed. The Moscow Times’ articles discuss this in depth. Multiple articles have stated this will not end Putin’s kleptocratic rule over Russia, but it should indicate the beginning of the end. Putin, however, will do whatever it takes to stay in power. If need be, he’ll change the constitution. But first, he’ll injure and kill a bunch of Russians. A lot of Russian people are going to suffer badly. Does Putin care? Doubtful. </end editorial>

Opposition Plans Further Rally In Moscow Amid Warnings From Authorities

Opposition supporters are planning to take to the streets of Moscow again on August 3 in defiance of local authorities in the Russian capital who are vowing to take “all necessary measures” to …

Russian opposition plans new election protest despite crackdown – Reuters

Thousands of Russian opposition protesters were expected to try and rally again in Moscow on Saturday to demand free elections despite a sweeping police crackdown and ban on the event.

Russian police start detaining protesters in central Moscow – Reuters

Russian police started detaining people in central Moscow on Saturday during an unauthorized opposition protest with one monitoring group, OVD-info, saying at least six people had been taken into custody.

Sorry to bother you Ahead of new Moscow protests, Russia’s authorities order polling designed to exaggerate support for a police crackdown — Meduza

The Russian authorities have mobilized sociologists in the wake of mass demonstrations against Moscow city officials, and pollsters are now busy surveying the public’s attitudes towards elections, protests, and the response from the police. One poll released on August 2 by the government-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) immediately won attention from the country’s pro-Kremlin pundits, who promptly cited its results as proof that the public is against demonstrations and “unrest,” and supports Moscow officials’ decision not to register independent candidates for the upcoming City Duma race. Meduza examines the problems with VTsIOM’s polling and looks at some of the other survey work now underway in Russia.

The number of Russians ready to protest in Moscow keeps rising — Meduza

On August 3, demonstrators plan to stage another unauthorized protest against local election officials’ refusal to register dozens of independent candidates in September’s City Duma race. Since July 14, these events have taken place every weekend, and the August 3 rally will be the fourth, so far. Despite the fact that only one of these protests had a city permit (the Sakharov Prospekt demonstration on July 20, which 22,500 people attended), each subsequent event has attracted more and more people on Facebook.

Read the Moscow government’s full decree opening a criminal rioting case against election protesters — Meduza

On July 27, thousands of protesters gathered in central Moscow to demand that opposition candidates be permitted to run for the city’s legislature. The local government did not grant a permit for the event, and police arrested more than 1,300 of the demonstrators, often through violent force. Three days later, Moscow’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case that human rights advocate Pavel Chikov called “a signal that the price of protest is now prison” and “a second bolotka.” The new case alleges that what occurred on July 27 and may occur again was not a peaceful protest but rather a set of violent “mass riots” punishable not by fines but by prison time. Those convicted of calling for the “riots” will face up to two years in prison, participants would receive three to eight, and organizers could be put behind bars for up to 15 years. As of this publication, six people had been charged in the case.

Russia protests: Scores arrested during unauthorised demonstration – BBC News

Fresh protests break out, despite warnings, over candidates being banned from running for election.

Moscow protest: Russian police detain hundreds, arrest a rally leader

Helmeted police in Moscow rounded up at least 381 demonstrators and at least one opposition leader in an effort to squelch an unauthorized march.

Russian officials say 134 demonstrators arrested last week are draft dodgers — Meduza

Russia’s Investigative Committee reported on Friday, August 2, that 134 people detained at Moscow’s unauthorized demonstration on July 27 are suspected of evading military service “for a protracted period.” Spokespeople for the agency say the 134 suspects are all Moscow residents, and it remains unclear if the police also intend to prosecute arrested demonstrators who live outside the capital.

Shady shashlik Moscow City Hall organized an extremely last-minute free rock concert. It’s scheduled for the day of the city’s next mass protest. — Meduza

On July 31, a notice appeared on Moscow City Hall’s website announcing a new rock festival called Shashlik Live. The festival was scheduled to begin only three days later and continue for two days in Gorky Park. Most of the musical acts involved had been invited to participate only a few days beforehand, and some learned about their sets from the City Hall notice itself. Two of those bands, Bravo and Tequilajazzz, quickly announced that they would not be performing. The Shashlik festival is not the only major public event set to take place in Moscow this weekend: Area residents could also choose to attend another music festival organized by the entertainment website Afisha, a soccer match between Spartak and Dynamo — or a mass protest supporting opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. The city’s police department warned last week that it may be unable to handle such a large number of events. For its part, the Moscow government argued that Shashlik Live was planned “pretty long ago” and with no reference to the city’s growing election protest movement.

Caught Up In The Crackdown: One Muscovite’s Long Weekend In A Police Van, A Holding Cell, And A Courtroom

Almost 1,400 people were detained during unsanctioned protests in Moscow on July 27, some of them merely passers-by. This is the story of how one man was detained while sitting on a bench.

Russian police detain prominent opposition activist before protest – Reuters

Russian police on Saturday detained prominent opposition activist Lyubov Sobol ahead of a planned protest in Moscow to demand free elections.

Opinion | Is Putin Burning Out? – The New York Times

The demonstrations of recent weeks may push him to mistakes that test his grip on power.

Putin’s Uncertain Future Shadows a Crackdown on Moscow Protests – The New York Times

With questions over what will happen when the Russian leader’s term ends in 2024, the Kremlin appears resolved to prevent critics from gaining a political foothold.

Russian protesters threatened with jail on eve of planned rally | World news | The Guardian

Move follows police violence during last week’s protests over forthcoming Moscow elections

The opposition in Russia can defeat Putin – but only if its message chimes with an impoverished country | The Independent

This should have been a boring summer in Moscow as far as politics were concerned. Moscow city council, with elections scheduled for 8 September, is not an especially important or influential body. Real power is concentrated in the hands of Moscow’s popular mayor, Sergei Sobianin, a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

The Week In Russia: Who’s Serving Whom? Another Lesson Of The Moscow Protest Crackdown

It’s one of the big questions about Russia: When will the state serve the people? The latest crackdown on protesters in Moscow points to an answer: Not yet.

Amid protests, defiance against Kremlin and Beijing rises – Los Angeles Times

In both Moscow and Hong Kong, police response has grown increasingly violent as protesters remain defiant against their authoritative governments.

Pro-Kremlin Pundit Blames Demonstrators for Police Crackdown on Moscow Protest

After protests against a ban on opposition candidates in Moscow’s upcoming municipal elections turned violent, a pro-Kremlin pundit claimed that the protesters had tried to provoke a harsh police…

UAWire – Kremlin: Russian citizens’ biometric data to be handed over to security services

The United Biometric System (UBS) that will combine the data collected by various banks to identify their clients will have to cooperate closely with Russia’s security forces, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting with the head of Rostelecom, Mikhail Oseyevsky. The UBS that Rostelecom has been developing since 2017 at the initiative of the Ministry of Communications and the Bank of Russia has been operational since 1 July last year, and by 2021 the use of it should become mandatory, the Bank of Russia believes. The system uses voice and facial recognition to identify people. Rostelecom is responsible for collecting, processing and storing the data in the cloud, and providing banks with access through special interdepartmental communications channels. “Guarantees of the security of such a cloud are important,” Medvedev reminded Oseyevsky, adding that the intelligence agency’s involvement is necessary to provide such guarantees. “I hope that you will work on this with colleagues, with the ministry of digital development, with the intelligence agency, simply so that we can understand that everything is really protected against external interference,” the prime minister remarked. “This is an extremely crucial technological element, which is why Rostelecom is already collaborating with the Federal Security Service (FSB),” Oseyevsky responded. He added that testing of the biometric systems in government services and the electronic signing of documents will soon begin. Moscow and the Moscow province will be the pilot regions. “People will not have to go to the government services center. They will be able to identify themselves using their smartphones and receive services that require definite legal identification,” explained Oseyevsky. He said that it will be convenient, save time, and save people from having to travel. “We are counting on a law being adopted that will introduce the concept of digital cloud records, and save us from needing to have flash drives with which to sign a whole range of documents. This will be another step forward from a service perspective,” said the head of Rostelecom.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia prepares ‘mirror response’ to the fine against RT TV channel in the UK

RosKomNadzor (RKN), Russia’s federal agency for censorship of media and telecommunications, is preparing a “mirror response to the biased …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Foundations for Putin’s Control of Electronic Media Laid During Yeltsin’s Second Term, Gatov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – Vladimir Putin’s drive to control Russian television did not start from square one when he became president, Vasily Gatov says. Instead, it built on Boris Yeltsin’s program of forcing the channels to reregister and thus brought them back under the structural control of the state to prevent them from attacking the Kremlin. The former deputy general director of the Novosti news agency who now teaches at the University of Southern California told Radio Liberty’s Yaroslav Shimov that Yeltsin’s moves, albeit generally taken in a “soft” fashion reflected the same desire to limit media freedom and expand government propaganda as Putin’s have (svoboda.org/a/30081192.html). Putin expanded and toughened such control but the basic parameters were put in place by Yeltsin, Gatov says. Yeltsin’s moves and Putin’s initial ones were largely defensive, that is, they were intended to prevent the media from being used against either of them. But after Putin’s first term, he began to use it offensively, to set the national agenda and generate support for himself. The media’s utility for those goals was shown and proposed by Aleksandr Oslon and the Public Opinion Foundation, which linked the study of public opinion with its formation and showed that the media could become an important adjunct to other control mechanisms of the Russian state. Because of their experience in Soviet times when most people dismissed the ostensible message of the media and learned to read between the lines, Gatov continues, it took some time for the people around Putin to understand how all this could work given that they projected their own cynicism onto others. As they gained in their appreciation of the ways the media could be used to control the situation, the Putin team also came to recognize that they needed a far larger and more ramified structure to do so than the relatively small group they had employed up to then within the Presidential Administration. At the same time, Gatov says, the Putin regime did not want the media to become too powerful relative to itself or the structure controlling it an alternative center of power. The regime is comparatively weak. If it were stronger, it would have closed down immediately alternative sources of information “in two minutes.” That it hasn’t done this shows that it is weak: a strong dictatorship would long ago have done that and ceased to worry abut it. But a weak power feels its limits and chooses other methods, including those based on definite and well-known effects” of different kinds of media strategies, These include “priming,” the promotion of particular views by commentaries, “framing,” the structuring of presentations to lead people to draw the conclusions the regime wants, and the use of Putin as a focus of attention via his direct line programs and the line to reassure Russians that the Kremlin leader watches television as well. In the last few years, Gatov argues, Putin has moved to increase regime control of the media and to eliminate its competitors for the mass audience; but as he has done so, there is as yet no answer to the question concerning just what kind of a regime Putin’s is – a personalist dictatorship or “the occupation of state institutions by one structure,” the FSB and its allies. There is evidence for both, he continues, because in reality the regime moves back and forth between the two. That means the regime is weaker than it might otherwise be, and it means that in the event of a serious crisis, the media arm of the state may fracture along with its other parts.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 1929 May Be More Important than 1937 for Understanding Putin, Historians Suggest

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – The day doesn’t go by in which one or another Russian commentator suggests that Russia is on the brink of a new 1937, the year of Stalin’s Great Terror that some fear Vladimir Putin may seek to replicate to remain in power. But a discussion by Russian historians suggests that the Kremlin leader may be more informed by 1929 than by 1937. In the latter year, Urals Federal University historians Lyudmila Mazur and Oleg Gorbachev say, a hungry and tired Soviet population who valued stability above all else were prepared to accept that repressions might be needed to produce it (znak.com/2019-07-31/kak_90_let_nazad_byurokraty_prigovorili_stranu_k_stalinizmu_intervyu_s_istorikami). Although the two do not discuss the possible analogy between the rise of Stalin and the rise of Putin, it appears on the basis of their discussion that the current Kremlin leader was more than a little informed by the actions of his Soviet predecessor in terms of building his own power vertical while gaining the support of a population upset by earlier turbulence. Ninety years ago in 1929, even more than 102 years in 1917, Gorbachev argues, the Soviet system was established as bureaucratic socialism that was modified but remained in place until its end in 1991. It was “the year of ‘the great change,’” with Stalin having vanquished his opponents, launched the first five-year plan, and accelerated collectivization. From the mid-1920s, Mazur continues, “Soviet ‘administered democracy’ was put in place: the organs of power began to be formed by the VKP(b) and controlled by it, not via official structures like a parliament but by the use of another mechanism, the party nomenklatura installed at all levels of administration.” “In the 1930s,” she says, “’administered democracy’ acquired a perfected character: the people unanimously voted for ‘the inviolable bloc of communists and non-party people.’ Candidates formally were advanced by meetings of voters but in fact were agreed to and confirmed in party offices.” “Formally, there was a democratic system of secret elections; in reality, there was a dictatorship of the party bureaucracy,” Mazur says, arguing that what occurred can be described as “’a bureaucratic revolution.’” As far as economic change is concerned, she continues, “however semi-feudal was the economy of imperial Russia, it was already a market economy. The Bolsheviks when they came to power without delay liquidated private property … and the means of production became government owned. In Stalin’s Russia, like all authoritarian regimes, Gorbachev says, the new order came into existence “on a wave of psychological exhaustion of the mass of the population,” which from 1914 on had suffered much turbulence, violence and uncertainty. People wanted something they could count on even if it involved repression. With regard to foreign affairs, Mazur says, undoubtedly it was the case that the possible threat of a big war played a role in what happened in 1929. “But the country didn’t limit itself to defense. Willingly or not, it began to conduct itself as an aggressor: recall the Soviet-Finnish war, the annexation of the Baltic states, and Western Ukraine and Belaruss.” But it is the final observation by Mazur that may be the best reason for thinking 1929 has played a fundamental role in Putin’s calculations. Should anyone really speak “about the end of the Soviet project? Perhaps it would be better to say that it still is continuing in a somewhat modified form?” “There are no soviets, but there is a decorative State Duma and municipal organs which have been deprived of leverage on the authorities. We see as well that a return to the Soviet matric in economics, politics, and psychology is taking place,” and not just the Soviet past as a whole but to the year of the great change that shaped most of Soviet history, 1929.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Now Split into Three Parts Only One of Which Moscow Reliably Controls, Nemets Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – The disintegration of Russia is proceeding rapidly, US-based Russian commentator Aleksandr Nemets says, with China in effective control of much of the area beyond Lake Baikal, Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov much of the North Caucasus, and Moscow reliably in charge of the remainder (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D3F4508C4C01). In a provocative Kasparov commentary, he says that China is already in effective control of much of the eastern portion of Russia, “including Primorsky Kray, Khabarovsky Kray (to the south of the Uda Rivere) Amur Oblast, Chita Oblast (now Trans-Baikal Kray), Buryatia, the southern part of Irkutsk Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Kray. And Nemets argues that what he calls “the Kadyrov empire” is in control not only of Chechnya but also of certain portions of Ingushetia and Daghestan. Because of the expansion of China given Russia’s growing infrastructure problems, Moscow has been forced to ally itself with Beijing; and it has farmed out control of the Caucasus to Kadyrov. The US-based Russian commentator says that “the disintegration of the Russian Federation has advanced quite far and become irreversible. I repeat, this is the situation in July 2019. There is no doubt that the disintegration of Russia will develop further and possibly take quite ugly forms.” That China has made inroads in the Russian Far East in part because of the decay of Russian infrastructure there is beyond question, although calling it an occupation or the already accomplished disintegration of Russia overstates things as they now are. And Kadyrov’s role in the North Caucasus while growing in many ways reflects Moscow’s own desires. (In an equally provocative way, Israeli analyst Avraam Shmulyeivhc argues that Moscow views Kadyrov’s “Chechen totalitarianism” not as a rival but rather as a model for Russia (youtube.com/watch?v=LXYlnlpnQsw&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2ssMIxqz4mzblsiFack-7O18Sb_fkmUTVDkAAlAwpfZR8HxYvhxRF_UE0).) But Nemets is right to point to infrastructure decay as a clear threat to Moscow’s rule of much of the country. Its roads, rail lines, and air routes not only are inadequate to handle existing levels of interaction between the center and the periphery but open the way for outsiders to play a role that a country as hypercentralized as Russsia will view as threatening. An example of the inability of Russian infrastructure to cope came this week: China has reached an agreement with Omsk Oblast, deep in the middle of Siberia, to ship grain produced there on Chinese ships via the Ob River and the Northern Sea Route to Asian markets (omskportal.ru/ru/government/News/2019/07/29/1564396003985.htmland thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2019/07/ships-sail-down-great-siberian-river-deliver-shipments-grain-japan-arctic-route). That doesn’t mean that Omsk Oblast should be added to the list of “China controlled” regions of Russia that Nemets offers. It does mean, however, that regions within the Russian Federation, including those far from the periphery, may develop new relations with the center because of the center’s failure to take care of infrastructure linking them together. And that in turn will promote fissiparous tendencies in at least some of them even if it doesn’t mark the beginning of the end of the Russian Federation anytime soon.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: HIV/AIDS Deaths in Russia Rose 2.2 Percent from 2017 to 2018, Health Ministry Reports

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – The Russsian health ministry posted on its website — but now appears to have taken it down — a report showing that the number of Russians who died from HIV/AIDS and related diseases rose 2.2 percent between 2017 and 2018, a pattern very much at odds with trends in other countries (politsovet.ru/63520-v-rossii-vyrosla-smertnost-ot-vich-infekcii.html). The report also said, Politsovet.ru indicated in its story that the total number of Russians infected with HIV had continued to grow by 1.2 percent between those two years. And it said that in Russia as in many other places, many deaths from this disease were caused by their victims contracting pneumonia. That pattern, the Russian health ministry said, reflects underlying “shortcomings in the organization of anti-tuberculosis assistance to HIV infected patients. The increase in deaths from the disease in Russia reflects difficulties of purchasing anti-retroviral medications widely used around the world but difficult to obtain in Russia because of sanctions.

 

No plans to integrate Russia’s S-400 into NATO, Stoltenberg says – Daily Sabah

NATO does not plan the integration of the Russian S-400 anti-air missile system into any air and missile defense system of the alliance, NATO…

‘No plans’ to mix S-400 missiles into NATO system – Stoltenberg | TRT World

NATO welcomes Turkey’s dialogue with the US on “possibility of buying Patriot batteries,” says NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Ali Demirdas | Should Turkey be kicked out of NATO? – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

The case of Turkey’s possible departure from NATO necessitates the examination of three burning questions.

Zvi Mazel | Turkey and NATO – the end? – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s determination to buy the Russian S-400 antimissile system in spite of American opposition and subsequent suspension of Turkey’s participation in the production program of the F-35 fighter plane have not only dealt a severe blow to the relations between the two countries, it has also raised the question of Turkey’s NATO membership. Other member states are left wondering whether Turkey is still pledged to the organization or on the way out. Turkey has been a valued member of NATO for 67 years because of its geostrategic position between Europe and Asia, it being part of the Middle East and the Muslim world and its proven military might. In the beginning, it was felt that it belonged to the secular and progressive West on the strength of the legacy of Kemal Ataturk. For the North Atlantic/European organization, the Middle East was considered as part of its larger security system. Not a few of these assumptions have been challenged in recent years. Turkey was admitted to NATO in 1952 at the height of the Cold War on the strength of its participation in the Korean War; it had been one of the first countries to answer the UN call and send troops to fight the invading north. Today, the Turkish army is the second largest of the alliance after that of America. Its purpose then had been to secure the support of the West against Soviet territorial demands following WWII. Moscow wanted to annex parts of its eastern regions and to be involved in the supervision of shipping in the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits as stipulated in the 1936 Montreux Convention. Turkey objected, received the backing of Europe and was admitted to NATO. However, NATO is not merely a military alliance; the signatories to the treaty stressed that “they are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.” For many years, Turkey was a faithful ally enjoying good relations with all members who developed their economic and financial cooperation and contributed to its progress. It was accepted as an associate member of the European Union with its attending privileges. America gave it military assistance, established military camps on its territory; the huge Incirlik Air Base was put at its disposal and tactical nuclear weapons were stocked there. Within the NATO framework, Turkey participated in the development and production of attack and defense material and was taking part in the committee supervising plans to manufacture F-35 fighter planes. Nevertheless, seeds of discord appeared as early as 1974, when Turkey occupied northern Cyprus, home to a largely Turkish population, forcibly exiling 180,000 ethnic Greeks. A move condemned by the UN Security Council, demanding the immediate withdrawal of “foreign forces” while the European Committee for Human Rights accused Ankara of violating the European human rights charter. Turkish authorities replied that they were responding to a military coup led by Greek forces who had taken over Cyprus and were about to annex it to Greece; it had acted to save local Turks from being massacred. Great Britain, which maintained military camps in the island, was prevented from launching an attack to dislodge the invaders by the United States, fearful that it would create a rift in NATO and destabilize the region. Washington did impose an arms embargo on its fellow NATO member, an awkward situation for the military alliance. The ban was lifted three years later by President Jimmy Carter. In 1983, the Turkish government of Northern Cyprus proclaimed the independence of “the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” Though Turkey had acted in violation of the NATO charter, which states that “the parties undertake, as set forth in the charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means… and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force,” its army was still at the time the bulwark of a secular regime enjoying good relations with the West. The alliance survived and indeed Turkey sided with the US in its fight in Afghanistan after 9/11. It was from Incirlik Air Base that US planes departed to give logistic support to the troops and refuel coalition fighters over Afghanistan. Turkey also took part in the “international security assistance forces” created by the UN in 2011 to combat the Taliban. NEVERTHELESS, THE Cyprus question was still simmering. Following the discovery of large gas fields in its economic waters, Ankara demanded that their revenues be shared with Northern Cyprus, and to emphasize its determination, it dispatched in 2018 gas exploration vessels to the territorial waters of Cyprus, which is a member of the European Union since 2004. This thorny issue could lead to an international crisis and has already intensified regional tensions. The victory of Erdogan’s Islamist AKLP Party in 2002 was a watershed moment in the relations between Turkey and the United States, and conflicts of interests soon appeared. Erdogan opposed American intervention in Iraq, fearing it would lead to chaos in the neighboring country. The Turkish parliament refused to let American troops set up camps in preparation for the intervention and even forbade the use of Incirlik for the departure of bomber planes. It was a bitter blow since the US Air Force had to find more distant airfields. The rift between the two never healed, and indeed grew as Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey. Turkey demanded the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic Turkish thinker living in the US, accused by Erdogan to be the initiator of the failed military coup in November 2016. The US refused since Erdogan offered no proof of his allegations. A presidential system was adopted in 2017. The regime is openly pursuing an agenda based on the greatness of the Ottoman Empire and on the extremist creed of the Muslim Brotherhood. Dubbed neo-Ottomanism, a mix of religious and nationalist elements, this agenda led the president to embark on an aggressive foreign policy to assert Turkish domination in the Middle East on the basis of Islam, the common denominator of the region. It failed dismally. Only Qatar, which supports the Brotherhood, is still on friendly terms with him. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, as well as Iraq, mistrust him, and Syria sees him as an enemy. Relations with Egypt were cut following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Morsi. The rift with America widened even more with the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. While President Barack Obama set up a coalition to fight Daesh, Erdogan let thousands of enthusiastic young Muslims transit through his country to join the insurgency, and even enabled the sale of crude from the Islamic State. He wanted to help Daesh defeat Bashar Assad’s secular regime and establish an Islamic entity friendly to Turkey, in the mistaken belief that the so-called moderate Islamic groups he was helping would later assume power. He only realized his mistake when America started backing the Kurds and their newly created SDF – “Syrian Democratic Forces” – based on of the Kurdish “People Protection Units,” the largest Kurdish armed force in Syria. Turkey brands them as a terror organization because of their ties to the PKK – the Turkish Workers Party – fighting for the independence of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. Soon, the SDF had defeated Daesh with American help and advisers had taken over the northern part of Syria along the Turkish border. Then came the confrontation with Russia following the downing by Turkish air force of a Russian Su-24 which had entered Turkish airspace for a few seconds. Moscow retaliated by imposing biting sanctions, impacting Turkish agriculture and tourism. Now at odds with the US and with Russia, Erdogan decided to side with the latter and not the former and to pursue his fight against the Kurds. He apologized and was welcomed with open arms by Putin. He was included together with Iran in the Russian-led Astana Economic Forum aiming to draw the future map of Syria – so far with no success. Turkish forces aided by pro-Turkish Islamic militias took Efrin, a vast Kurdish district near the border, after Russian troops, stationed there to support their Assad ally, moved out. (Needless to say, the Syrian president fumed impotently. After all, this is the Middle East). Some 150,000 people fled, rejoining the millions of Syrian refugees. Turkey now announced that it intended to set up a 40-km.-wide security zone on the Syrian side of their border and maintain it with the help of its army in violation of international law. Assad protested to what amounted to an occupation while vainly trying to negotiate an acceptable compromise. On July 24, Ankara announced that talks with Washington about the size of the projected security zone and the forces to be stationed there had failed. IT IS on that highly volatile background that the S-400 crisis came. America made an all-out effort to convince Turkey not to buy the Russian defense system, offering the similar Patriot system with advantageous conditions. It argued that introducing the Russian S-400 to the defense apparatus of a NATO member would in effect provide Russia with a fixed source of information on NATO capabilities and on its own, especially concerning the new F-35 fighter plane. Washington, as an added pressure, stopped training Turkish pilots on that plane in the United States. As the first components of the S-400 started arriving in Turkey, Erdogan announced that the sale would go on. Trump suspended Turkey’s participation in the F-35 project and canceled the permit previously granted to Turkey for the manufacturing of some 900 components, as well of the sale of 100 F-35s, a loss of millions of dollars for American industries. The shifting of alliances born of the downing of the Russian plane has led to a growing Turkish-Russian cooperation. The Turkstream natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey, temporarily halted by the Sukhoi crisis, was completed last November. A nuclear power plant also temporarily on hold for the same reason is being built in Akkuyu under the auspices of Russian Rosatom and is expected to become operational in 2023. America is in a quandary. It sees the S-400 affair as a manifestation of hostility on the part of a country it has been helping for the past 67 years, something akin to biting the hand that fed you. It left it with no choice but to cancel a lucrative deal. Still, President Donald Trump is in no hurry to go further, though there are calls in America to expel Turkey from NATO. It would benefit neither the alliance nor the United States, neither being keen to push it further in the embrace of the Russian bear. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was in Turkey last May at the height of the S-400 crisis, was at pains to stress that Turkey was a valued member and praised it for its present contribution to the fighting in Iraq and past assistance in Afghanistan and Kosovo, adding that the alliance was supporting Ankara against security threats and assisting it to defend itself through anti-missile defense systems and AWACS patrols. NATO, he said, had invested more than $5 billion in military infrastructures in Turkey, including airfields, naval installations and radar. One has to remember that the European Union is heavily dependent on Turkey to stop the flow of refugees from the region and has already paid $6 billion for its help. Turkey does not have to fear being booted out of NATO anytime soon. America has its hands full with Iran and will keep on trying to reach an honorable compromise to resume some form of cooperation. As to Ankara, it has no interest in leaving an organization which gave so much to its defense and development. It is fully aware that it is the West, not Russia, which brings in the technological investments it needs. It is aware, too, that the last 500 years have demonstrated that Russia has been a dangerous ally not to be trusted. And yet… Erdogan will have to tread carefully. In Syria and in Cyprus, events could spiral out of control, leaving Trump no choice but to take a hard line. The writer is former ambassador of Israel to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

Secretary General Cites NATO Unity as Alliance’s Best Deterrent > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Story

Unity is the most effective arrow in NATO’s quiver, alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told NBC’s Courtney Kube at the Aspen Security Forum.,

Delivery of second batch of S-400s to be completed in 2020: Official – Turkey News

Turkey expects the second batch of Russian S-400 missile system supplies to be delivered in 2020, a senior Turkish official has told a private broadcaster.

 

UAWire – Ukrainian ambassador: Jewish organizations facilitated US’s recognition of Holodomor as genocide

For a long time, opposition from Jewish organizations prevented the US from recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. However, Ukrainian diplomats and the diaspora have succeeded in convincing them peacefully, said Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Valeriy Chaly in an interview with Ukrinform. “The idea was primarily to explain the significance of this matter to our partners from Jewish organizations in the US, from other diasporas. You know that at the time, they were wary of the Holodomor being recognized as a genocide and this tragedy being placed on the same level as the Holocaust of the Jews. I am sincerely grateful for the fact that the Jewish organizations in the US supported our idea after we explained the magnitude of the tragedy and the conditions of the attack first by the dictatorial regime of the Soviet Union and then by Russia against the people of Ukraine,” Chaly explained. According to him, the primary difficulty achieving recognition of the Holodomor as a genocide was in Congress. “If I think back on when this matter was brought to the level of the House of Representatives, serious opposition from Russia began. The press secretary of the Russian Foreign Ministry at the time even said that it was unacceptable, and active pressure began on all sides,” Chaly noted. The ambassador described how a massive opposition campaign began. At first there was picketing outside the embassy, although that was quickly put to a stop. Then there were cyberattacks, attempts to use fraudulent schemes, and then phone calls from “pranksters”. “Indeed, after my meeting with the governors of the states who participated in the relevant proclamations, bots immediately began a stream of criticism against their accounts on Twitter and Facebook. There were also phone calls from pranksters who identified themselves as the Ukrainian ambassador to the US and said something along the lines of: ‘We met with you recently, reverse your decision’. In the end, I think, they just couldn’t keep up with us and, through joint activity with the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian organizations in the US, we managed to achieve our goals,” the diplomat explained. “I’m not even talking about shady attempts to exchange Crimea for an end to the war, to oppose the imposition of sanctions against Russia’s aggression, or information attacks. At the end of the day, having failed to achieve a result, they decided to get revenge, and included the Ukrainian ambassador to the US on the Russian sanctions list. I consider it a peculiar reward for our diplomatic successes in the US,” Chaly added. The ambassador explained that two years were spent developing a scheme to neutralize this opposition. “In order to divert attention and redirect the opponents’ opposition, we decided to work simultaneously in all states. It was a joint effort by the diplomats from the embassy in Washington, the consulates general in Chicago, San Francisco and New York, as well as American-Ukrainian and Ukrainian organizations in the US and our friends from other diasporas. We achieved a proclamation in each state recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide. Overall, it has now been done in 23 states. At the same time, which is also important, each state has thereby given a signal to its congresspeople and senators to support our initiative,” said Chaly. In November 2015, the Ukrainian Institute for Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences released data showing that Ukraine lost 3.9 million or 13 percent of its entire population due to high mortality rate in 1932-1934 as a result of Holodomor (famine). According to the researchers, 8.7 million people starved to death during that period in the whole of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Sam Sokol | Russian Disinformation Distorted Reality in Ukraine. Americans Should Take Note – Foreign Policy

Putin’s propaganda portrayed Ukraine as a fascist state filled with anti-Semites. Despite Ukrainians’ election of a Jewish president, the image has stuck.

Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews: Antisemitism, Propaganda, and the Displacement of Ukrainian Jewry: Amazon.co.uk: Sam Sokol, ISGAP: 9781097257508: Books

Buy Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews: Antisemitism, Propaganda, and the Displacement of Ukrainian Jewry by Sam Sokol, ISGAP (ISBN: 9781097257508) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Based on journalist Sam Sokol’s reporting from Ukraine during the first years of the Donbas War, Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews chronicles the collapse of Jewish life in the regions of eastern Ukraine occupied by Russian-backed separatist militias in 2014. Based on extensive interviews and told through the eyes of refugees, politicians, soldiers, and aid workers, this book is a rich account of both the ravages of armed conflict and the Kremlin’s attempts to weaponize antisemitism as part of its hybrid war against Ukraine.

 

Ukraine disappointed with termination of INF Treaty, fully understands U.S. move – news politics | UNIAN

Ukraine is disappointed with the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty and fully understands the U.S. move in response to Russia’s non-compliance. “Ukraine is disappointed with the termination of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) following the situation around it, caused by Russia’s actions, and fully understands the U.S. move in response to Russia’s non-compliance,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on August 2. Read alsoU.S. pulls out of Cold War-era nuclear pact with Russia “Over the last three decades, the Treaty was a cornerstone of strategic stability and global security. Although formally not a party to the INF Treaty, Ukraine was strictly adhering to its provisions throughout the entire period of its existence. During 1988-1991, all ground-based shorter range (500 to 100 km.) and intermediate range (1,000 to 5,500 km.) ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as 25 related facilities, were decommissioned in Ukraine,” it said. The ministry recalled that Ukraine, together with the United States, condemned the development and testing of the RS-26 (‘Rubezh’) intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a range of 2,200 km, as well as further improvement of battle and operational capabilities of the ‘Iskander-M’ missile system. “In Ukraine, we are particularly concerned with the fact that Russia developed and deployed nuclear-capable intermediate range missile systems at a range within reach of several European capitals, as well as the fact that in March 2019, Russia conducted military training in occupied Crimea, involving the use of ‘Iskander-M’ missiles,” the ministry said. In response to Russia’s aggressive actions and proceeding from the fact of the INF Treaty termination, Ukraine will enhance its dialogue with NATO to discuss options of strengthening the defense of the Alliance’s Eastern flank, it said. As was reported, the United States formally withdrew from a landmark 1987 nuclear missile pact with Russia on August 2 after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied. Washington signaled it would pull out of the arms control treaty six months ago unless Moscow stuck to the accord.

NSDC Secretary: Defense to be main topic of Zelensky-Trump meeting

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Danylyuk is convinced that defense will be the main issue on the agenda during the visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry engaged in setting date for Zelensky-Trump meeting – Danyliuk – news politics | UNIAN

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danyluk says that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in the United States, and Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry is engaged in setting a date for their meeting. Ukraine has developed a new agenda for security cooperation with the United States. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danyluk says that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in the United States, and Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry is engaged in setting a date for their meeting. “Two weeks ago I returned from the United States. There I had a clear goal – we developed a new agenda for security cooperation between the United States and Ukraine. There is serious change in the role of Ukraine. It is time to move away from playing the victim role. We are a strong country and should be a reliable partner for our strategic partners. It was from these positions that we discussed proposals [in Washington, D.C.],” Danyliuk said on Radio NV on August 2. Read alsoUkraine’s NSDC sees halt to Russian gas transit as worst-case scenario According to him, such positions will lay grounds for the two presidents’ meeting. When asked exactly when the meeting is to take place, Danyliuk answered: “It is a matter of organization, finding the appropriate time. The Foreign Ministry is engaged in this.”

Volker: US President Trump may join efforts to settle situation in Donbas

“The problem again lies in Russia’s actions and policies. If there are signs that it is serious and is willing to actually end the conflict, I am sure it is very important for President Trump. The format is less important than the content. But if such a meeting is useful, we would certainly consider such an option. And if a new format is created to involve the US and someone else, for example, the UK, France, Germany, we would be ready to support such meetings as well,” Volker said in an interview with Tyzhden.ua Ukrainian online media outlet. When asked if he has noticed any changes in Russia’s policy towards Ukraine after the recent elections, Volker noted that different signals come from Russia. “Moscow has offered to issue passports to Ukrainian citizens, which is an absolutely provocative step that contradicts our goal of negotiations in Minsk. At the same time, there is some progress regarding the ceasefire. In addition, Russia withdrew its forces near Stanytsia Luhanska [a village in Luhansk region]. So we have some positive and some negative things,” Volker added.

Trump could accept proposal to take part in talks on Donbas – U.S. Special Representative

Kurt Volker, the Special Representative of the U.S. Department of State for Ukraine Negotiations, did not rule out that U.S. President Donald Trump will accept the proposal to participate in the negotiations aimed at settling the conflict in Donbas, if Russia shows the willingness of stopping the conflict.

Trump may join the negotiations on the Donbass if Russia is serious about ending the conflict, – Volker

The US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker admits the possibility of involving President Donald Trump in resolving the situation in the Donbass. It is reported by the censor.NET with reference to Ukrinform . “The problem, again, is in the actions and policies of Russia. If there are signs that it is serious and ready to really end the conflict, I’m sure this is very important for President Trump. The format is less important than content. But if the meeting was useful, we would certainly consider such an option, and if a new format were created where the United States and someone else, such as Great Britain, France, Germany, were involved, we are also ready to support such meetings. us a long time to support the highest steppe s attracting the president or secretary of state, as is the case under the “Normandy format” But, of course, we want to support the efforts by any means, to advance in the negotiations and reach a peace. “- said special envoy of the State Department. He also noted that after the recent Ukrainian elections, Russia received different signals. “Moscow offered the issuance of passports to Ukrainian citizens, which is an absolutely provocative step that contradicts our goal of negotiations in Minsk. At the same time, if we talk about a ceasefire, there is a definite improvement. In addition, Russia withdrew its forces near Stanitsa Lugansk. Also resumed discussion about the possibility of exchange of prisoners. So, we have some positive and some negative things, “- said Walker. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3141055

Volker: Direct contact between presidents Zelensky and Putin needed

US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker believes that direct contact between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and President of Russia Vladimir Putin is needed for progress in the prisoner exchange. — Ukrinform.

UN peacekeepers in the Donbass – the best way to implement the Minsk agreements, – Volker

The deployment of a peacekeeping operation in the Donbass would be the best option that would ensure the withdrawal of the Russian military and the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This was stated by the special representative of the US State Department, Kurt Walker, reports Censor.NET with reference to Ukrinform . “The Russian forces must leave. And there must be a certain safe period of time and space for the Minsk agreements to be implemented, in particular, for the conditions for local elections to be held. One way to do this, and I consider it the best, is to deploy a peacekeeping operation with a UN mandate. It is this mission that can create a safe zone for a while, “Volker said. At the same time, he emphasized that this is not the only way. “But I believe that the option with peacekeepers should be considered seriously in order to facilitate the withdrawal of Russian forces and the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” said the special representative of the State Department. According to him, Russia is conducting a military operation in the Donbass. “Accordingly, they want to train their staff and test weapons. And we must focus on making political decisions to change this. So far there are no such decisions, but we need to work on this,” Volker said.

The decision to return the Russian Federation to PACE was erroneous and harmful, – Walker

The decision to return the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is erroneous and harms the authority of the Council of Europe. This opinion was expressed by US Special Representative in Ukraine Kurt Walker in an interview with Tyzhden magazine , reports Censor.NET . “The decision to return Russia to PACE was erroneous. It harms the authority of the Council of Europe. It was the most important organization for the protection of democratic institutions and human rights in Europe, and such a move caused great damage to its authority,” Walker said. At the same time, Walker noted that the return of the Russian Federation to the organization does not mean that Europe is now “turning the page” and forgetting about Russian aggression – on the contrary, anxiety is growing now due to Russian interference in democratic processes in Western European countries. “Now there is clarity in how people talk about Russia. There is concern about the threat to national sovereignty on the part of Moscow: the commission of murders, attempted murders on the territory of European countries such as the UK, the use of chemical weapons and generally the willingness to use it. There is I’m deeply disappointed by the lack of Russian reaction to a number of issues, “the official said. Walker noted that Europe is increasing resistance to Russian decisions, actions and influence. “EU sanctions have been going on for a long time. Even people like the leader of the Italian Northern League Matteo Salvini are beginning to realize that relations with Russia will have certain consequences. We saw this in Austria with the resignation of the government after the scandal with video recordings. Russia’s role is all more viewed as negative. And I think that in Europe the resistance to it is really increasing, “Walker said. Recall, on June 25, PACE adopted a resolution on changing the sanctions mechanism, in which it invited Russia to return to work in PACE without restrictions on voting rights. Despite the nightly vote, the turnout of deputies was higher than usual. 118 deputies voted for the resolution , 62 against, 10 abstained. In protest and solidarity with Kiev, the delegations of six states: Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia, and some Slovak parliamentarians left the meeting . On July 2, a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe arrived in Ukraine to assess the course of the election campaign in Ukraine. On the same day, it became known that the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy canceled the invitation for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to observe the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine . “ Among international observers there cannot be representatives of the aggressor country — Russia, who will not be Putin’s observers, but agents of Putin’s hybrid war . Russia’s influence on the Ukrainian elections is in any way unacceptable,” said Parubiy. On July 3, PACE President Liliane Marie Pasquier stated that Ukraine has an obligation to invite the Assembly to observe the elections . After that, the PACE delegation stated that it was completing work in Ukraine ahead of schedule and was leaving the country

 

Extraction of toxic sand has increased in Crimea, – Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories

The area of the toxic sand extraction has increased on the territory of the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs. The territory of the works has reasonably increased as comapred with 2018 despite of the judicial prohibition of the Russian Federation’s occupied authorities to extract the sand, as it is reported in the Ministry. “According to the results of the processing space photographs the area of extension increased on 25% on the territory of Nyzhnio-Churbashske tailing pond – up to 2612401,1 sq.ft.(1937503,9 sq.ft in 2018). The land of active sand mining increased too, it is about 753474 sq.ft.( 753474 sq.ft. in 2018),” the Ministry informed. It stands to mention that the sand is probably using for building of infrastructure on the temporarily occupied peninsula. “Toxic substances are released into air inevitably from the sand, and precipitation wash the poison out through the broken dam of the tailing pond to the waters of the Black Sea,” added in the Ministry.

Zelensky was asked to resume flights to Russia, launch trains to Crimea

Petitions appealing to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky restoration of air travel to the Russian Federation and launch trains to Crimea. Such petitions were published on the official website of the president on July 25, as Strana.ua reports. As the author of petition Viktoria Temchenko notes, Ukrainians suffer due to cancellation of air travels most of all, as they cannot visit their families. According to the author of other petition, the resident of Sevastopol Rostyslav Kokhno, it has been almost five and a half years since illegal carriers transport passengers by bus to the administrative border with Crimea and transferring them to another vehicle on the other side. He notes that during this time, people got used to pay a lot and to stand in long lines to see their relatives. “Every time our officials talk about the status of Crimea, they all say that they will definitely return it, we just have to wait a little more: international sanctions, condemnation by the world community etc…We really need to face it and accept that the return of Crimea is not being done effectively,” the petition reads.

UAWire – Media: ‘President’ of self-proclaimed Transnistria is Ukrainian citizen

Vadim Krasnoselsky, the President of unrecognized Transnistria, is a citizen of Ukraine, and he has visited Ukraine using a Ukrainian passport, reports Rise Moldova news outlet. State Border Guard Service of Ukraine confirms this information. Major-General Krasnoselsky was the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Transnistria until 2016. For the last eight years, he was on a wanted list in Moldova. At the same time, almost every month he entered and left Ukraine using passports of different countries. From 2007 to 2015, he used a passport of a Russian citizen more than 300 times and used Ukrainian passport at least ten times. He has also visited Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa. The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that since March Krasnoselsky is not wanted by Ukrainian authorities, but they didn’t explain whether he was wanted earlier. However, the document is attached to the article that shows that an international warrant for his arrest was issued in 2007. He was taken off the wanted list in 2015 at Chișinău request. Less than a year later he became the “President” of Transnistria. The Moldovan government is still interacting with Krasnoselsky and does not prohibit the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine to talk with him as well.

 

Russia-led forces violate ceasefire in Donbas 12 times in past 24 hours, two WIA reported – Ukraine’s JFO HQ

Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 12 attacks on Ukrainian Army positions in Donbas in past 24 hours, with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action, the press center of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) reported on Saturday morning.

One Ukrainian soldier wounded amid 10 enemy attacks in Donbas on Aug 2 – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces on August 2 mounted 10 attacks on Ukrainian Army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action. The enemy opened fire from grenade launchers of various types, heavy machine guns, and small arms.

US donates demining equipment to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service. Photos

The pyrotechnicians of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine received US-funded equipment for humanitarian mine clearance in Donbas. — Ukrinform.

One more citizen of Serbia suspected of participating in illegal armed formation, assisting Russia’s occupation of Crimea – Crimea prosecutor

Ukrainian investigators served a notice of suspicion to another Serbian citizen regarding his involvement in the activities of the Self-Defense of Sevastopol illegal armed formation.

Channel of Russia’s illegal migration eliminated in Kharkiv region

Ukraine’s National Police, together with the State Border Service, under the procedural leadership of the Kharkiv region Prosecutor’s Office, has blocked the activities of a group involved in the illegal transfer of people from Ukraine to Russia.

Meeting of gas experts held at National Security and Defense Council. Photos

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine hosted a meeting of the expert group on protection of national interests in the gas field. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s NSDC sees halt to Russian gas transit as worst-case scenario – news economics | UNIAN

The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) is considering a halt to transit supplies of Russian gas via Ukraine as a worst-case scenario. Danyliuk says it is important for Ukraine to maintain the transit of Russian gas after 2019.

Danylyuk: Gas transit talks with Russia to be held after new government is formed

The talks on gas transit between Ukraine and Russia will take place after the new government is formed. — Ukrinform.

Danyliuk: There can be no ‘third forces’ in Ukraine-Russia gas transit talks | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Danyliuk said that head of the political council of the Opposition Platform – For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk’s mediation is not foreseen in gas transit talks with Russia. “Talks are being held between two companies, Naftogaz and Gazprom, and between the governments. There is and can be no mission for some third forces, let alone political ones,” he said on Radio NV on Friday when asked if the talks could be mediated by Medvedchuk among others.

The court denied the Defense Ministry renewal of the order on the transition of units to the new food system

Today, on August 2, the District Administrative Court of Kiev refused to renew the order of the Ministry of Defense on the transition of military units to the new food system in 2019. The decision was made by the judge of OASK Alona Mazur – the same judge who earlier, on July 15, 2019, terminated the order No. 90 . Due to the non-renewal of this document, the transition to a new food system has been stopped in the Armed Forces, which significantly improves the food security of military personnel and is one of the steps towards the introduction of NATO standards in the army. At the same time, the chief specialist of the MOU Department of Law, Dmitry Krivosheya, said that the military units that had previously been fed to the catalog would continue to feed personnel under the new system, since then the process was regulated by another order. OASK judge Alona Mazur The cause of the lawsuit was a lawsuit against the defense office of a natural person – entrepreneur (FOP) Bogdan Alli Konstantinovna (repeated participant of the MOU food tenders), who believes that order # 90 contains the signs of a regulatory act and regulates administrative relations between the Ministry of Defense and the government body subjects. In her view, it should be repealed because it was adopted in violation of the appropriate procedure laid down for regulatory acts. During the court session on August 2 (to which, by the way, the plaintiff did not appear), representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine drew attention to the court that the decree No. 90 has an organizational and administrative character, the effect of which extends exclusively to the structural units of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff Armed Forces. However, the court found no procedural grounds to reverse its previous decision, although it noted that it was listening to the arguments of MOU’s lawyers in the merits of the case (the hearing was scheduled for 13 August).

An-178 is being prepared for testing without Russian components

As part of the import substitution program, an experimental copy of the short-haul transport turbojet An-178 is being prepared for testing. About it reports the Ukrainian military portal The test center at the Antonov State Enterprise is now completing preparatory work on the aircraft fuselage. It already has about 10,000 special sensors – strain gauges. Thanks to them, during static loads on the body of the aircraft it is possible to measure the mechanical deformations that occur during the tests. All sensors are connected to a single automated control system that outputs electronic information from the sensors on the aircraft to the testers’ computers. Which according to the test program set the required loads and monitor how they are supported by the housing. This laboratory confirms that: • properly designed aircraft design • Properly selected materials for the aircraft • correctly selected manufacturing technology • the aircraft was properly assembled An-178 is a Ukrainian short-haul transport turbojet designed by Antonov SE based on the passenger An-158 (An-148-200). It is an average transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 15-18 tons, (two standard sea containers). Its speed is 825 km / h, altitude – 12 km, range – 5.5 thousand km. The aircraft can sit and take off from any aerodrome, including ground cover, which makes it suitable for defense. According to approximate estimates of experts, the cost of the aircraft, depending on the modification, will be from $ 25 – 40 million Also, at the Antonov State Enterprise , work is underway on the import substitution of Russian components on the An-158 passenger aircraft and by the end of 2019, the first aircraft should be complete with Western avionics and equipment. In 2020, its flight and certification tests should begin.

By the end of the year, the An-158 will be rid of Russian components

Work on import replacement of Russian components on the AN-158 passenger aircraft is underway at Antonov State Enterprise and by the end of 2019 the first aircraft should be equipped with Western avionics and equipment. About it reports the Ukrainian military portal Aircraft flight and certification tests should begin in 2020. Such information was voiced in the release of the program An-178 for the Ukrainian army: why the production of Aniv is hampered It is expected that work will also be carried out on the first batch of the AN-158 aircraft. Russian-made avionics on the An-158 will be replaced by the Canadian-made Esterline, which in particular supplies equipment for the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. The chassis, remote control system, wing mechanization control system will also be replaced by Western companies. Parts and components of the aircraft structure previously manufactured in cooperation with Russia, such as ramps, pylons, motorcycle engine parts, wing mechanization nomenclature, ailerons, flaps – are already being mastered in Kyiv at the Antonov state-owned enterprise. Upon completion of the flight testing and certification of the AN-158 aircraft, work will begin on the purging of the AN-178 military transport aircraft.

The confiscated Russian SAM system was handed over to the Ukrainian military

Today, on August 2, the Security Service of Ukraine, the military prosecutor’s office, State Enterprise “Ukroboronservice” and the Nikolaev customs handed over to the military division of the S-125 SAM, arrested in Ukraine under the article “smuggling”. Russian officials planned to deploy armaments to Eritrea, on which the UN Security Council imposed an embargo. In particular, the investigation found that in the period 2007-2010, officials of OJSC “Rosoboronexport” (Russian Federation), by prior agreement with other persons, made illegal movement across the customs border of Ukraine of the S-125 anti-aircraft missile system Pechora and 36 5V27D anti-aircraft missiles. , in full combat gear, along with related equipment and other weapons. The confiscated Russian SAM was handed over to the Ukrainian army At the beginning of 2019, the complex was discovered in one of the warehouses in the city of Mykolaiv during the conduct of investigative measures by the Security Service of Ukraine. Armed with the decision of the investigating judge, an arrest was made. On March 27, 2019, at a Government meeting, it was decided to transfer all of the above weapons to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for further use. After the completion of the procedure, the anti-aircraft missile system, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office, “as part of the whole battery” , was transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Pechora air defense system confiscated from the Russian Federation and 36 missiles were transferred to the AFU. VIDEO + PHOTO

The S-125 Pechora anti-aircraft missile system seized from representatives of the Russian Federation in March 2019, together with 36 5V27D ground-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, were transferred to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine This was reported by the press secretary of the prosecutor general Larisa Sargan, reports Censor.NET . “Remember the anti-aircraft missile complex arrested at one of the warehouses of Nikolayevshchina … in full combat equipment, along with related equipment and other weapons that they tried to illegally move across the customs border of Ukraine to the state of Eritrea? … Today, the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office, together with the Security Service of Ukraine, GP “Ukroboronservis” and the Nikolaev customs provided the actual transfer to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine of the S-125 Pechora anti-aircraft missile system, ”Sargan wrote on Facebook. She added that “now the air defense system, equipped with 36 missiles, will protect the Ukrainian land.” As reported, at the end of March 2019, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko said that since 2007, Rosoboronexport officials from the Russian Federation, by prior conspiracy with officials of the enterprises of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine, have illegally moved across the customs border of Ukraine with hiding from customs control of weapons, ammunition, explosive substances, namely 36 anti-aircraft ground-to-air missiles 5B27D, which are part of the S-125 Pechora missile system in full combat equipment, along with comorbid equipment. In January 2019, criminal proceedings were instituted. According to the Prosecutor General, representatives of the Russian Federation tried to transfer allegedly to Eritrea, and possibly to other countries, using forged documents, after certain manipulations with the documentation in order to undermine the image of Ukraine with the most advanced Russian missile system. In turn, the chief military prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoly Matios said that the missile system was identified during an inventory of storage facilities conducted by the Military Prosecutor’s Office and the Security Service of Ukraine, for the presence of unaccounted for military equipment or dual-use equipment. He noted that this equipment was not registered and was found in one of the seaports of Ukraine. The SBU noted that the military cargo of Rosoboronexport was not stored in accordance with the name and actual products, but only in terms of the number of containers and the estimated weight. During the authorized investigative actions, law enforcement officers, in addition to the mentioned missiles, additionally seized RPG-7, RPG-18 and RPG-22 grenade launchers, TM-62M anti-tank mines, MON-100 anti-personnel mines and common TNT mines in the territory of one of the seaports weighing more than 200kg. They also found grenades for RPG-7, packages of powder charge for PG-7PM, boxes with electric detonators and fuses MVCh-62.

What to Know About Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections | Chatham House

Orysia Lutsevych and Alyona Getmanchuk break down the key aspects of the historic poll.

Washington Lobbying Firm That Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Denied Hiring Reports $70,000 Worth Of Work For Him

Documents show that Signal Group Consulting, LLC, received $69,371.80 from the presidential campaign of Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy for work that included burnishing his image and treating memb…

Zelensky wants visa waivers with number of countries to promote medical tourism

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky proposes to make a list of the countries for establishing a visa waiver program to develop medical tourism in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

About 60 thousand foreigners came to Ukraine for treatment last year

Last year, about 60,000 foreign tourists came to Ukraine for treatment and spent nearly $150 million. — Ukrinform.

50th constituency: Interior Ministry aircraft to take out electoral documentation

Electoral documentation from the problematic constituency №50 in Pokrovsk of Donetsk region, will be taken out by the aviation of Ministry of Internal Affairs. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. “Yesterday, on August 2, the Central Election Commission discovered inaction of the district election commission of single-mandate constituency №50. In order to prevent possible provocations and unlawful actions, it was decided to transfer the election documentation from the problematic constituency with the help of the Ministry of Internal Affairs aviation,” the statement said. It is also noted that the police would protect documents.

Ukrainian National Remembrance Institute appeals renaming Bandera, Shukhevych boulevards in Kyiv

The Ukrainian Institute for National Remembrance (UINR) has appealed a ruling by District Administration Court of Kyiv on changing the decision of the Kyiv City Council to rename Moscow and General Vatutin boulevards to Stepan Bander and Roman Shukhevych boulevards, respectively.

Ukraine’s two Orthodox Churches compete for hearts and minds- La Croix International

Ukraine’s two Orthodox Churches compete for hearts and minds. What should have been a happy celebration in Kiev turns into a demonstration of strength

The Orthodox in Ukraine and their rival churches | The Christian Century

The creation of a new body echoes old hostilities.

Over 500 churches leave Russian Church for new Ukrainian Orthodox Church – The Christian Post

More than 500 congregations have joined the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the past seven months after leaving the Russian-affiliated Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church May Stop Blessing Nuclear Weapons

Clergy within the Russian Orthodox Church want to end the practice of blessing Russia’s nuclear weapons, but others are happy to frame nukes as holy.

Russian Orthodox Church considers a ban on blessing weapons of mass destruction – The Salt Lake Tribune

Moscow • Early one evening in May 2018, days before the annual parade celebrating the Soviet victory in World War II, a convoy of military trucks carrying long-range nuclear weapons trundled to a halt on the Russian capital’s ring road. As police officers stood guard, two Russian Orthodox priests wearing cassocks and holding Bibles climbed out of a vehicle and began sprinkling holy water on the stationary Topol and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles. Since relations between Russia and the West plummeted after the Kremlin’s seizure of Crimea in 2014, such scenes have become common here. Priests have sanctified S-400 surface-to-air missiles, nuclear submarines, tanks and fighter jets. Several years ago, a priest in Russia’s far east explained that weapons, including nuclear missiles, were “perceived as a means of protection and salvation.”

Sputnik Falsely Claims that NATO Combats Orthodoxy

“The persecution of the SPC [Serbian Orthodox Church] in North Macedonia, as well as the latest heightened tensions and pressure on the SPC diocese in Montenegro can be interpreted as part of the wider strategy of the West to counter Orthodoxy.” Source: Sputnik Serbia False The West does not counter Orthodoxy, but the Serbian Orthodox Church has been undermining the sovereignty of pro-Western Montenegro and North Macedonia. On July 20, the Russian government-sponsored web portal Sputnik Serbia accused retired U.S. Lieutenant General Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Hodges of designating Christian Orthodoxy as an enemy of NATO. This followed an interview Hodges gave to the Voice of America Serbian Service, in which he said that the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo should be protected from pressure from both Russia and the Serbian Orthodox Church, as they negotiate to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Hodges served as Commander, United States Army Europe (USAREUR) from 2014 to 2017. He is currently the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, (CEPA). In his VOA interview, Hodges discussed the talks between Serbian President Aleksandr Vučić and the Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi, to ease their strained relations. An agreement between the two countries would open the doors for Serbia to the European Union and allow Kosovo to join international institutions such as the United Nations and Interpol. “Serbia can be a responsible and positive influence in the region,” Hodges said. “Therefore, I think we need to help provide an opportunity for the two presidents (Vučić and Thaçi), to be able to give them some space. That means no ‘red lines’ imposed from the outside. Help protect them from pressures from Russia, as well as allow them to deal with internal pressures they have, from the Orthodox Church for example.”

How the Russian Orthodox Church Influences Russia’s Behavior | The National Interest

If we have truly entered a new era of great-power competition, then every Russian has been given a clear rationale for why he fights—and it will provide the Russian state with the justification for why it asks its people to bear new burdens.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Yekaterinburg Officials Uncertain How to Talk with Muslims about New Location of Mosque

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – Yekaterinburg officials say they are willing to negotiate with Muslim leaders over where a new mosque will be after a corporation reclaimed the land on which the one in the center of the city had been built as a temporary measure. But the officials have a problem: there is no one Muslim leader with whom they can talk. According to one count, there are at least a dozen with pretensions to that status, ranging from those who are prepared to defer to the political elite to those who have a radical agenda and are prepared to lead their followers in the streets, and such divisions within Islam have often been exploited by officials to keep the Muslim community weak (ura.news/articles/1036278558). But now officials fear, URA’s Konstantin Dzhultayev says, that these divisions within Islam may no longer work to their advantage. If the authorities involve only the moderates, the radicals may take to the streets; and if the powers that be include all with pretenses to speak for the community, no agreement is likely – and all the Muslims may be radicalized. And that last outcome is all the more likely if politicians try to raise the issue of the location of the new mosque in the upcoming election campaign or if businesses with their own political interests funnel money to one Islamic group or another in order to provoke or prevent others from getting their way. The URA news agency journalist provides a detailed list of all the names and titles the various Muslim leaders in a single city of Russia have and the problems the city now has in finding interlocutors. Perhaps not surprisingly, the city has done what most officials do when confronted with such a problem: Today, they put off talks for two months. What remains to be seen is how Muslim leaders will react, especially as their old mosque in the center is being torn down and the city so far has offered space only in the distant suburbs. If some of these leaders believe the city is trying to delay things so as to create new facts on the ground, the Muslims of Yekaterinburg could follow the Christians into the streets. The most likely consequence of this delay, however, won’t be in Yekaterinburg itself. Instead, what is taking place there is likely to trigger a new fight over whether the Muslims should seek to unite under some all-Russian Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) so as to have more influence or to remain divided so that they will have more flexibility and independence. The Yekaterinburg events will likely be invoked by those opposed to any centralization of control as evidence of the ways in which the political authorities will make use of such institutions just as they do with the Moscow Patriarchate, however much the powers that be have exploited divisions within Islam up to now.