Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (255)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia claims they’ve won the arm’s race.  Cool. You win. Now quit.  Yeah, didn’t think so. Russia is terrified.

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Su-57 OPEVAL to finish EOY. More ADIZ and other provocations in Barents, Norwegian and North Sea. Bizarre AV-MF claim that a NATO F/A-18 harassed DEFMIN Shoigu’s transport en route to Kaliningrad. Fiszer labels the V-MF “only a shadow of its former strength” and a “Floating Chernobyl.

Almost fifty reports on the “Flying Chernobyl” accident. POTUS states the accident involved the 9M730 Burevestnik / SSC-X-9 SKYFALL nuclear powered GLCM. He also states the US has better cruise missiles, and Russia responds claiming Russian missiles are better than US missiles, and Russia is winning the arms race. Most notable news is reports that the population is being evacuated from Nyonoksa, but the MoD is claiming this is unrelated to the accident. MoD evidently hopes nobody will see glow-in-the-dark polar bears and reindeer. Much media and analytical commentary on Muscovy’s mishandling of the accident in the media.

The Muscovy protests have produced almost as much media activity as the “Flying Chernobyl” accident. Much analysis by Western and Russian analysts, and some of it is quite good – Khrushchova is always incisive. The single biggest topic is the report on the RosGvardiya troops punching 26 year old Ms Darya Sosnovskaya, who is now in hospital recovering from a related head injury. But much more interesting from a strategy perspective are reports that protests took place in more than 40 cities across Russia, and that in Ulyanovsk, Lenin’s birthplace, ten citizens objected to the arrest of a youth and beat up a squad of RosGvardiya troops, attempting to take away their firearms. The outlook is at this stage more mayhem, as the more contempt the regime shows for the public, the more of the public will side with the protesters. Blaming it on the evil West does not appear to be selling well.

Ukraine IR and Crimea updates.

Donbas update. SBU bags yet another Russian covert operator. NDSC Secretary Danyliuk labels Putinist Medvedchuk a natsec threat to Ukraine. Industry update – most interesting report is the meeting of Polish and Ukrainian engineers in Lviv intended to find ways of getting Poland’s MiG-29 9-12 FULCRUM fleet flying again.

Politics and ROC updates.


Russia’s Su-57 Joint Trials To End This Year | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

MOSCOW—The Russian Aerospace Forces expect to complete join evaluation trials of the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter this year, Lt. Gen. Sergey Dronov, the service’s deputy commander, told local media on Aug. 12. “Serial purchases are planned to start after completion” of the trials, he said. The Su-57, previously known as the Sukhoi T-50, was developed under the PAK FA program to replace the service’s fourth-generation Su-27/30 Flankers. The …

UAWire – Norwegian F-16s scrambled to intercept Russian strategic bombers

Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers flew over the Barents, Norwegian and North Sea. At several parts of the route, they were escorted by Norwegian …

Russian warplanes drill submarine hunt in Norwegian Sea, Norway on edge – Eye on the Arctic

As the Northern Fleet prepares a major naval exercise in the Norwegian Sea, a powerful group of Russian airplanes flew into the area. It is happening with increasing frequency; Russian vessels and aircraft engage in exercises in the Norwegian Sea, not very far away from the location of Norway’s Joint Headquarters in Bodø. This time, however, was extraordinary. In action were also the Mig-31MB, a supersonic attack aircraft that can control large swaths of air space. According to the Russian Armed Forces, the air force fleet that on Thursday flew from the Kola Peninsula across the Barents Sea and into the Norwegian Sea included several Mig-31BMs, as well as six long-range Tu-142 and Il-38. The main objective of the air force group was to hunt down submarines and the exercise took place in international air space. They conducted joint action in the air and cooperated with surface vessels in the area, the Russian Northern Fleet informs. A total of 18 pilots and 9 aircraft were included in the exercise that took place in difficult weather conditions. More than 10 hours were spent in the air and the distance exceeded 12,500 kilometers, a press release reads.

Russian Jets ‘Drive Off NATO Warplane’

Russia’s Defense Ministry has said that Russian Su-27 warplanes forced away a NATO F-18 jet after it approached an aircraft carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over international waters. The TASS news agency on August 13 reported that Shoigu’s plane was flying from Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad to Moscow when the incident occurred over the Baltic Sea. The report said Shoigu’s plane was also carrying a TASS reporter at the time. It did not specify Shoigu’s aircraft type. NATO did not immediately comment on the report. Russian media reported the minister’s aircraft was being escorted by two navy Su-27 jet fighters at the time. TASS earlier reported Shoigu was visiting Kaliningrad for a ceremony marking the start of construction on a branch of the Nakhimov Naval School, among other activities. Russian media reported a similar event involving a plane carrying Shoigu in June 2017, saying the minister’s plane was “buzzed” by a NATO jet over the Baltic Sea before being chased away by escort planes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Russian Fleet a Floating Chernobyl,’ Polish Analyst Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – The deadly July 1 fire on Russia’s super-secret Losharik submarine “showed the world,” Polish journalist Michał Fiszer says, “that the Russian fleet represents a real threat not because of its military might but because of the conditions under which it operates.” In a Polityka commentary, Fiszer says that this situation threatens Russia in the first instance but other countries as well (polityka.pl/tygodnikpolityka/swiat/1800958,1,marynarka-wojenna-rosji-jest-w-tak-zlym-stanie-ze-zagraza-samej-sobie.read; available in Russian at inosmi.ru/military/20190806/245585267.html). Since 2000, 294 sailors have lost their lives in submarine accidents, the Polish journalist says. More than half – 156 – have been on board Russian vessels. China, Argentina and India account for most of the rest, with only two British, one American, one Canadian and one Equadoran having lost their lives in submarine accidents. While details about the specific cause of the Losharik submarine remain scare – it isn’t clear whether the problem was with the reactors or the torpedo tubes – it is worrisome because it is the second such deadly submarine accident since the 20th century. The first, of course, involved the Kursk on August 12, 2000, in which 118 Russian sailors lost their lives. Moscow has done little to ensure that its sunken submarines don’t leak radioactivity or dangerous chemicals into the sea. In 2003, Fiszer says, five Scandinavian and Baltic countries gave the Russian fleet 200 million US dollars to do so; but it remains unclear how much the Russians have achieved in this regard. “The Russian navy,” the Polish journalist continues, “is only a shadow of its former strength.” Emblematic of its decline has been the fate of Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Kuznetsov. It has been under repair since operating off Syria but the completion of its refitting has been delayed by the loss of the floating drydock in which it was kept. Now, Moscow officials say it will return to duty in 2021; but as Fiszer notes, “no one believes that,” including almost certainly those who are putting out this line. Just how desperate Moscow is to get things moving is reflected in talk about moving a floating drydock from the Pacific to Arkhangelsk, an almost impossible task. But the biggest indication of the problems the Russian fleet presents for its complement of sailors and for the environment is this: every time the Kuznetsov or some other major Russian naval vessel puts to sea, these ships are accompanied by tug boats capable of towing them back to Russian ports if they break down. In the last two weeks, others have been expressing concern about Russian ships. Alaskans and environmentalists are worried about the possibility of an accident on the recently launched Russian floating atomic power station build to service the Northern Sea Route (hebarentsobserver.com/ru/arktika/2019/08/na-alyaske-obespokoeny-rossiyskoy-pates). And a deadly explosion near the northern port of Severeodvinsk is prompting new questions and concerns about security in that sector of the Russian naval effort (thebarentsobserver.com/ru/bezopasnost/2019/08/pod-severodvinskom-proizoshel-vzryv-reaktivnogo-dvigatelya-rakety-est-zhertvy).

U.S. Envoy To North Korea Favored As Next Ambassador To Russia

U.S. envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun is President Donald Trump’s likely choice to be the next ambassador to Russia, Vox News and Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter insi…

U.S. Efforts To Derail Russian Pipelines To Europe Have Failed Since The 1960s. Will Nord Stream 2 Be Any Different?

Going back to President John F. Kennedy, U.S. administrations have tried and failed to stop Kremlin energy pipelines to Europe. Will President Donald Trump have more luck blocking Nord Stream 2 — …

Kremlin Says It Is Winning Arms Race Against U.S. Despite Rocket Explosion – The Moscow Times

The Kremlin boasted it was winning the race to develop new cutting edge nuclear weapons.

Kremlin says Russian missiles remain world’s best despite US developments – Russian Politics & Diplomacy – TASS

“Russian developments in this area are so far considerably outpacing the level, which other countries have been able to achieve,” the presidential spokesman noted

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian “Skyfall” explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!” / Twitter

Trump Comments on ‘Missile Explosion’ in Russia, Boasts of US Having ‘More Advanced Technology’ – Sputnik International

Five employees of Russian nuclear energy corporation Rosatom were killed on 8 August in an explosion that happened during testing of a liquid-propellant rocket engine at a military site in the Arkhangelsk Region of northwestern Russia.

Donald Trump says an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile accidentally blew up in Russia, and here’s why experts say he’s right — Meduza

On August 8, two soldiers and five staff from a nuclear research center in Sarov died in an explosion in the Arkhangelsk region while testing some of Russia’s latest “hardware.” Since the blast, monitors have recorded raised levels of background radiation in the area, and part of the White Sea has been closed to shipping. The United States has announced openly that the accident occurred when testing an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile called ”Skyfall” (known as “Burevestnik,” or “Thunderbird,” in Russia). Vladimir Putin unveiled this new weapon to the world in a national speech, roughly a year ago. Meduza reviews what we know about this missile, and why experts believe this is what blew up last week in Russia.

U.S. Has ‘More Advanced’ Rocket Than Russia’s Nuclear Cruise Missile – Trump – The Moscow Times

U.S.-based experts and officials suspect a mysterious blast in Russia’s north occurred during testing of the Burevestnik missile.

Nuclear missiles: Trump tries to brag about ‘advanced’ US technology | indy100

Donald Trump was immediately shut down by experts after he suggested the US had “more advanced” nuclear missile technology than Russia. On Thursday, five Russian nuclear engineers were killed in a rocket engine explosion, which is thought to be linked to tests for a nuclear-powered cruise missile announced by Vladimir Putin in March 2018.

Trump: US is ‘learning much’ from Russian missile explosion | TheHill

President Trump on Monday said his administration is “learning much” from a mysterious explosion in northern Russia last week that reportedly took place during the test of a nuclear missile.

Trump: US ‘Learning Much’ From Russia Nuclear Explosion | Newsmax.com

President Donald Trump said Monday an explosion that took place last week during the suspected test of a nuclear missile in northern Russia is helping the United States in learning much about the technology involved.

Trump says US is ‘learning much’ from accident at Russia’s military testing range – World – TASS

The accident occurred at a military testing range near Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk region on August 8

Donald Trump: U.S. learning from ‘Skyfall’ explosion in Russia

Donald Trump tweaked Russia over a mysterious explosion he said was tied to a nuclear-powered missile Moscow officials have described as a new weapon.

Trump: US has better weapons than the ‘failed’ Russian ‘Skyfall’ missile

President Trump weighed in on a suspected failed missile explosion in northern Russia, noting U.S. technology is far superior to the “failed” weapon.

Trump comments on Arkhangelsk training ground explosion

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Locals are told to leave nuclear testing area Nyonoksa | The Independent Barents Observer

They will be taken away from the settlement located near Arkhangelsk by train. The evacuation is not related to the recent missile engine explosion, military authorities say.

Russia explosion: Village near site of missile accident to be evacuated, report says – CNN

Residents of a Russian village near the site of a suspected explosion of a nuclear-powered missile have been told to evacuate, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported, citing a local official.

Russia evacuating village close to missile explosion | TheHill

Russia will temporarily evacuate the village closest to the site of an accidental explosion involving a prototype missile that uses nuclear fuel,

Chernobyl-style evacuation after Russian nuclear missile test explosion – Daily Star

FEARS of another Chernobyl-style disaster are being realised as residents living near the Russian nuclear missile test explosion site are evacuated.

Russian Village Evacuated After Suspected Nuclear Missile Explosion That Killed at Least 5: Report | KTLA

Residents of a Russian village near the site of a suspected explosion of a nuclear-powered missile have been told to evacuate, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported, citing a local official.

Russians Fully Protected From Radiation Missile Engine Explosion in Arkhangelsk – Kremlin – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, while commenting on possible radiation exposure following a missile engine explosion in Russia’s Arkhangelsk Region, has said that people were fully protected.

Vladimir Putin’s Chernobyl – WSJ

A mysterious explosion may be evidence of a new nuclear missile.

Trump Confirms Missile Exploded During Testing in Russia – WSJ

President Trump on Monday appeared to confirm reports that an advanced nuclear cruise missile had exploded during testing in Russia, saying on Monday night that the U.S. was “learning much” from the incident.

Russia Has a Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile. Yes, You Read That Right. | The National Interest

And there is a problem: A reactor that powers one of these weapons might have created “possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl.”

‘We are fulfilling the task of the motherland’: Russians killed in missile test blast were working on ‘new weapons’ – Raw Story

Russia’s nuclear agency chief on Monday confirmed that five scientists killed last week were developing “new weapons” and vowed to continue testing despite the explosion. The accident took place at an Arctic military facility on the coast of the White Sea on Thursday, but Russian authorities only admitted its nuclear nature on Saturday.

Russia’s Top Nuclear Official Promises ‘New Models Of Weapons’ Following Explosions And Radiation Spike – Task & Purpose

Russia’s top nuclear official promised on Monday to succeed in developing new weapons as he paid tribute to five scientists killed in what U.S. experts suspect was the botched test of a new missile vaunted by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia Vows To Develop New Nuclear Weapons Despite Fatal Testing Mishap | HuffPost

Five Russian scientists were killed last week in what U.S. experts suspect was the botched test of a new nuclear missile.

Russians killed in missile test blast were working on ‘new weapons’ | The Times of Israel

Scientists killed at secretive nuclear research facility were believed to be developing Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile

Russian failed nuclear test hints at Putin’s dangerous plans to beat U.S. defenses

An explosion off the coast of Russia’s Nyonoksa military range was likely a test of its nuclear-powered Burevestnik missile, according to experts.

Russian Agency Confirms Brief Radiation Spike Near Northern Naval Test Site

Russia’s weather-monitoring agency has reported a measurable jump in radiation levels near the Arkhangelsk naval test site where an explosion and fire last week killed at least five people.

Russia’s Nuclear Power Plant Ship Raises U.S. Fears While Questions Surround Deadly Missile Accident

Just as Russia’s floating nuclear power unit began a journey toward Alaska, a radioactive missile accident shrouded in mystery raised more concerns about Moscow’s record.

Russia Vows To Make New Weapons Amid U.S. Suspicion Of Blast That Killed Five Scientists

Russia’s chief nuclear official has vowed to continue developing new weapons while attending a funeral on August 12 of five Russian nuclear researchers who were killed in an explosion in what U.S. …

US officials look closer at mysterious explosion in Russia l ABC News – YouTube

ABC News Published on Aug 12, 2019 U.S. officials are reportedly looking into whether a new nuclear-powered missile was connected to a nuclear accident that killed seven Russians on Thursday.

Russia tests ‘vengeance’ cruise missile – BBC News

The nuclear-tipped Burevestnik missile will also have a nuclear propellant.

Russia tests ‘vengeance’ cruise missile [Video]

Russia’s military is testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile, called Burevestnik. It is called a &quot;vengeance&quot; weapon, to be used after an initial nuclear strike. Experts linked it to a deadly explosion at a Russian Arctic test range on 8 August, but the authorities did not name the weapon involved.

In Russia, Days of Fake News and Real Radiation After Deadly Explosion – The New York Times

Russians vented their anger online and to local officials about the absence of reliable information after the explosion of a small nuclear reactor at a military test site last week.

Chernobyl Comparisons Sparked by Secrecy Around Deadly Russian Nuclear Rocket Blast: ‘We Got a Mini-Fukushima Right Beside Us and They Pretended Nothing Scary Happened’

There are concerns over the levels of radiation after the reported failure of a nuclear-powered cruise missile known in Russia as the Burevestnik.

Russia Explosion Latest: Radiation Reached 16 Times Normal Level – Bloomberg

Russia said it’s far ahead of the U.S. in developing new nuclear-powered missiles despite a failed test that prompted President Donald Trump to boast of American superiority in the field.

Russia says radiation levels rose by 4-16 times in city after accident: TASS – Reuters

Radiation levels in the Russian city of Severodvinsk rose by up to 16 times on Aug. 8 after an accident that authorities said involved a rocket test on a sea platform, Russia’s state weather agency said on Tuesday, the TASS news agency reported.

Russian nuclear body says deadly blast was caused by nuclear power project, not powerful new missile

A mysterious explosion that killed five nuclear scientists on Russia&rsquo;s northern frontier last week was caused by a nuclear power generator, Russia&rsquo;s Rosatom state nuclear concern has said following reports the blast was related to a state-of-the art nuclear missile.

Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile blows up, creating “mini-Chernobyl” | Ars Technica

Atomic research agency acknowledges “isotope power source” of “rocket engine” exploded.

Russian nuclear engineers buried after ‘Skyfall nuclear’ blast | Russia News | Al Jazeera

Experts link the explosion to the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile touted by President Putin in March 2018.

Russia explosion: a nuclear mystery lingers after a deadly mishap – CNN

An official state of mourning has been declared in the Russian city of Sarov. Last Thursday, five nuclear specialists employed by Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, were killed in a blast at a military test site in northern Russia, not far from the port of Severodvinsk.

Russia Says Small Nuclear Reactor Blew Up in Deadly Accident | Time

The failed missile test that ended in an explosion killing five scientists last week on Russia’s White Sea involved a small nuclear reactor.

A Mysterious Explosion Took Place in Russia. What Really Happened? – Foreign Policy

Russia’s catastrophic test of a nuclear-powered missile proves that a new global arms race will mean new nuclear accidents.

Rocket mystery: What weapon was Russia testing in Arctic? – BBC News

A rocket engine blew up in the Arctic, killing five nuclear experts and sparking a radiation scare.

U.S. Officials Suspect New Nuclear Missile in Explosion That Killed 7 Russians – The New York Times

Intelligence officials suspect that the explosion involved a prototype of a nuclear-propelled cruise missile that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has boasted can reach any corner of the earth.

Russia’s Missile Explosion Means it Failed Two Tests – Bloomberg

A nuclear-powered missile’s explosion is less important than the government’s failure to tell the whole truth about it.

Russian Defense Ministry Initially Denied Radiation Leak After Rocket Engine Explosion

“There were no emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, background radiation is normal.” Source: Russian Ministry of Defense, August 8, 2019

Russia buries nuclear engineers killed in test | The Times

Moscow Thousands of people attended the funerals of five Russian nuclear engineers who were killed during a secret weapons test. The five worked in Russia’s main nuclear weapons research centre, in the closed town of Sarov 230 miles east of Moscow. They were on a sea platform testing a “nuclear iso

Opinion | What Happened at Russia’s Missile Test Site? – The New York Times

Don’t expect a straight answer from Vladimir Putin’s government.

 

Nataliya Vasilyeva on Twitter: “In the first Kremlin comment on the mass protests in Moscow, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told me the president has not spoken out about the demonstrations because he doesn’t think they are significant enough.” / Twitter

 

Putin risks losing Moscow | Vladimir Putin | Al Jazeera

Russia’s revitalised pro-democracy movement is increasingly gaining ground in the Russian capital.

Vladimir Putin faces Russia democracy movement, declining support – Washington Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin is marking 20 years in power, but the celebrations are decidedly muted.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Not Just Moscow – Protests Took Place in More than 40 Russian Cities

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Not surprisingly, almost all eyes today have focused on the fact that the demonstration of 50,000 people in Moscow represented the largest protest in Russia since 2011 (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2480267-echo/), but perhaps equally important, Russians in more than 40 other cities took to the streets in support of the Muscovites’ demands. Across the country, often in percentages that exceeded those in Moscow, Russian citizens of various regions and nationalities expressed their support for the same principles that those in the capital were calling for and experienced similar repression (idelreal.org/a/30103151.html,idelreal.org/a/30103009.html,newtimes.ru/articles/detail/183712,sibreal.org/a/30102750.htmland mbk-news.appspot.com/region/pikety-solidarnosti-kak/). These demonstrations more than the claims of those taking part in the Moscow streets provided evidence that the citizens of Russia share the views of the people in the capital at least on the issue of open and honest elections and that the protest in the capital was important not just because it occurred there but because it resonated everywhere. Unfortunately, these regional protests seldom made the first paragraph of Russian or Western reports about the Moscow demonstrations; and equally unfortunately, other related events also tended to be obscured in what was typically either a celebration or a denunciation of the revival of Muscovite civil society. Among the other stories below the fold that deserve attention are the following: · Once again Vladimir Putin left town, this time to attend a biker’s meeting (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2480473-echo/). · A second Orthodox church in Moscow provided asylum to demonstrators being chased by the siloviki, an indication that there is more support for the people at the level of parish priests than is normally assumed (credo.press/226099/). · While the young participants attracted the most attention in the West, observers on the scene were struck by how many middle-aged people there were, people who have something to lose and thus whose participation signals a genuine increase in popular anger (facebook.com/a.makarkin/posts/2339850712796360). · News surfaced today that more Moscow journalists have been summoned to their draft boards for possible dispatch into the army, yet another way the Kremlin is putting pressure on those who report the truth (maximonline.ru/guide/maximir/_article/miting-voenkomat/). · Moscow police who have been ordered to control the demonstrators reportedly are reluctant to wear their uniforms when off duty lest they attract the negative attention of ordinary citizens (ura.news/articles/1036278615). · Duma deputies, showing their usual competence, unexpectedly declared that Russia will have fewer unsanctioned meetings if the authorities give permission to more of them (regions.ru/news/2627199/). · Ever more protesters are recognizing that protests now differ from protests in 2011-2012 not only because the issue at the center of them is self-liquidating as of September 9 but also because the authorities have become far more adept at using social media against the protesters (facebook.com/fyodor.mamonov92/posts/2384549428304409). · And finally there is growing awareness that those taking part in the protests are not the traditional opposition but rather a much broader group of people who are speaking for themselves rather than for any opposition leader or candidate (themoscowtimes.com/2019/08/10/a-number-the-authorities-cant-ignore-moscow-opposition-sees-record-protest-turnout-despite-crackdowns-a66800and charter97.org/ru/news/2019/8/10/344385/).

10 people beat up Rosgvardiya troops in Ulyanovsk | Цензор.НЕТ

n Russian Ulyanovsk, the investigating authorities opened a criminal case under article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Use of violence against a representative of the authorities”) on the fact of an attack of ten people on employees of the Russian Guard. According to Censor.NET with reference to the website of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Ulyanovsk Region, the incident took place on the evening of August 9 in one of the yards of the Upper Terrace microdistrict. Rosgvardiya troops conducted an administrative arrest of a young man. At this time, more than ten people came into conflict with the security forces. The fight began, as a result of which the National Guard received bodily injuries. In addition, the TFR said in a statement, the attackers tried to seize the service weapons of Rosguard employees. As a result, security forces fired warning shots.

As Putin’s Popularity and the Economy Dip, Protests Pop Up Across Russia

Yevgeny Dubinin had never been to a political protest before. But he was so angry Moscow authorities had refused to register opposition candidates in the city council election that he couldn’t sit at home. “They’re taking away people’s right to vote, telling them whom to vote for,” the 44-year-old business manager said on his way to a late-July demonstration on the capital’s main street, Tverskaya, that had been denied a permit by authorities.

As Putin’s Popularity and the Economy Dip, Protests Pop Up Across Russia – Bloomberg

Despite police crackdowns and mass detentions, demonstrations against the Kremlin’s repressive tactics have continued.

Susan B. Glasser | Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Imperial Impostor

Despite fashioning himself as a tsar, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deep insecurity defines his political decisions. ….. When Putin came to power, it seemed as though the world was going in the opposite direction. Putin had to be an outlier. Russia was a declining power, “Upper Volta with nukes,” as critics used to call the Soviet Union. Putin’s project of restoring order was necessary, and at least not a significant threat. How could it be otherwise? On September 9, 2001, I and a few dozen other Moscow-based correspondents traveled to neighboring Belarus to observe the rigged elections in which Alexander Lukashenko was ensuring his continuation as president. We treated the story as a Cold War relic; Lukashenko was “the last dictator in Europe,” as the headlines called him, a living Soviet anachronism. It was simply inconceivable to us that two decades later, both Lukashenko and Putin would still be ruling, and we would be wondering how many more dictators in Europe might join their club. History has shown that just because something is inconceivable does not mean it won’t happen. But that is an important reason we got Putin wrong, and why, all too often, we still do. Putin is only nine years away from hitting Stalin’s modern record for Kremlin longevity, which appears to be more than achievable. But the West’s long history of misreading Russia suggests that this outcome is no more preordained than Putin’s improbable path to the Russian presidency was in the first place. We may have misunderestimated him before, but that doesn’t mean we might not misoverestimate him now. The warning signs are all there: the shrinking economy, the shrill nationalism as a distraction from internal decay, an inward-looking elite feuding over the division of spoils while taking its monopoly on power for granted. Will this be Putin’s undoing? Who knows? But the ghost of Brezhnev is alive and well in Putin’s Kremlin.

Kremlin: Putin doesn’t think Moscow protests significant

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Tuesday broke weeks of silence on opposition protests and police violence in Moscow, saying that President Vladimir Putin does not see the increasing wave of…

Kremlin Says Protests in Moscow Have Not Created a Political Crisis – The Moscow Times

“Protests happen in many countries of the world,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Соболь Любовь on Twitter: “«Sobol had predicted accurately that, despite mass arrests at previous demonstrations, this weekend’s protests would be the biggest yet. She believes that “Moscow has changed, Russia has changed and people are demanding political representation.”» https://t.co/S9ryIsBYA3” / Twitter

“The Next Step Is the Kremlin”: Why Moscow Protests Have Putin’s Government Worried | Democracy Now!

Up to 60,000 protesters gathered Saturday in Moscow in the largest demonstration Russia has witnessed in years. Although the protest was officially authorized, dozens of protesters were arrested in the capital, and dozens more were also arrested in demonstrations across the country. Saturday’s protest was organized to denounce the recent barring of opposition candidates from running in an upcoming election for Moscow City Council. We speak with Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at The New School. She is the co-author of “In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones.”

Nina Khrushcheva on Moscow Protests, Nuclear Tensions & How U.S. Media Creates Animosity Toward Russia | Democracy Now!

New School professor Nina Khrushcheva talks about this weekend’s mass protests in Moscow and the failings of the U.S. media when it comes to covering Russia. She also discusses the increasing nuclear tensions between the United States and Russia. The U.S. recently pulled out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Last week, seven Russians, mostly nuclear scientists, died in an explosion in the White Sea during a suspected test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. The blast caused a radiation spike in the surrounding area. Click here to watch Part 1 of our conversation.

Putin Generation: Russia’s loyal youth?

Young people are often looked upon as the generation that are capable of driving change in society and politics.

Wanted Man: Notorious Ukrainian Berkut Commander Gets Second Crack At Protesters — In Moscow

Sergei Kusyuk, a former commander of Ukraine’s Berkut riot police wanted in Kyiv for his role in violence at the 2013-14 Maidan protests, has been spotted commanding Russian riot police during the …

Woman Punched By Officer During Moscow Rally Arrest Hospitalized With Head Trauma

A female protester who was controversially punched and beaten during a rally for free municipal elections in Moscow has been taken to hospital for treatment of a head injury.

Footage of a Russian ‘Robocop’ punching a female protester in the stomach during ‘free election’ demo sparks anger in Moscow and an online campaign to unmask the ‘scumbag’ officer | Daily Mail Online

The clip circulated online by Russian celebrities with millions of followers, shows the moment two helmeted riot policemen drag the woman, Daria Sosnovskaya, to a waiting police bus.

Russia news: Uprising as furious protesters march against Vladimir Putin in record numbers | World | News | Express.co.uk

PROTESTORS against Vladimir Putin demonstrated en masse over the weekend as tensions rise against the government.

Viral clip of Russian policeman punching female protester stirs anger – Reuters

Video footage of a Russian police officer punching a young woman in the stomach has stirred anger among many Russians who believe the authorities have used excessive force to disperse weeks of political demonstrations in Moscow.

Viral clip of Russian policeman punching woman sparks outrage | News | DW | 13.08.2019

A video clip of a Russian riot policeman punching a female protester has gone viral, provoking outrage on social networks. Russia’s Interior Ministry has promised that the “guilty will have to face responsibility.”

Viral Clip of Russian Policeman Punching Young Woman During Protests Stirs Anger – The Moscow Times

The woman is seen struggling to break free and trying to trip up one of the police officers who responds by punching her in the stomach.

Outrage over video of woman hit by police at Moscow rally | World | The Times

Footage of a masked Russian police officer punching a woman in the stomach at an opposition rally in Moscow has prompted a rare investigation by the authorities.Darya Sosnovskaya demanded that state investigators identify and prosecute her assailant. She said that the police had grabbed her after sh

Russia protests: video of riot police punching woman sparks inquiry | World news | The Guardian

Moscow democracy protester Daria Sosnovskaya says blow left her unable to breathe as she was hauled away to police station

Riot police in Russia punch woman during protest for free elections – video | World news | The Guardian

The&nbsp;video&nbsp;shows a woman being dragged by two masked police officers in riot gear, with one of them punching her in the stomach

Russian police probe video of officer beating woman

Russia’s interior ministry opened an investigation Monday after a video showing a riot policeman punching a woman in the stomach during a protest for free elections went viral. The video, which has more than 360,000 views, shows a young woman dragged by four masked policemen in riot gear, with one

WATCH | Russian police probe video of officer beating woman | News24

Russia’s interior ministry has opened an investigation after a video showing a riot policeman punching a woman in the stomach during a protest for free elections went viral.

Video shows Russian policeman punching female protester

“What kind of a scumbag do you need to be to hit a member of the fairer sex,” wrote singer Egor Krid on Instagram Sunday. “I don’t care what she did. This kind of thing just shouldn’t happen.”

Moscow Court Orders Yabloko Member Held In Custody Over ‘Mass Unrest’

A Moscow court has remanded a member of the Yabloko opposition party to pretrial custody for two months on “mass unrest” charges following a unauthorized July 27 rally in the capital where police u…

Russian Inmates Allegedly Coerced To Attack Detainees

A human rights group has obtained video of an apparent beating at a pretrial detention center in St. Petersburg. It’s the latest allegation of endemic violence in the Russian prison system.

UAWire – Russia accuses ‘foreign forces’ of inciting unrest through YouTube

Andrey Klimov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council, said that “foreign forces” used YouTube videos to provoke Russian citizens to protest …

Putin Is Very Pissed Off at YouTube for Not Censoring “Illegal Mass Events” – VICE News

The Kremlin is demanding that Google, which owns YouTube, do the government’s dirty work and censor videos of protests in Moscow.

Russia protests: Google may be treated as hostile influence for streaming ‘illegal’ events on YouTube

Russia has complained to Google about streaming these acts of political dissent on YouTube.

Russia tells Google not to advertise ‘illegal’ events after protests

MOSCOW – Russia’s state communications watchdog has asked Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events” on its YouTube video platform, it said on…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Police Deploy Same Jamming Devices Against Muslims They Did Against Protesters

Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Fearful that the enormous number of Muslims coming to mosques on the occasion of the Kurban-Bayram holiday might get out of hand, the Moscow police deployed the same bus with equipment capable of jamming smart phones just as they did against the election rights protest, Antono Razmakhin of Moskovsky komsomolets reports. But there was no need for that. Indeed, the thousands of Muslims who came to pray were hardly the threatening group many Russians have viewed them in the past, the journalist says. Instead, they were remarkably secular in appearance and overwhelmingly Russian speaking (mk.ru/social/2019/08/11/kurbanbayram-v-moskve-lico-stolichnogo-islama-izmenilos.html). Indeed, Razmakhin entitles his article “Kurban-Bayram in Moscow: The Face of Islam in the Capital has Changed,” becoming less that of outsiders dressed differently and speaking foreign languages than that of people who dress as other Muscovites do, speak the same language, and treat religious holidays the same, mostly as an occasion for socializing. Of course, the journalist says there were many deeply religious people and the language of prayer was Arabic; but most seemed to treat the event as an occasion for getting together and talking about their lives – and for them, the language most often used, one that bridges the gaps between other languages, was Russian. Kurban-Bayram recalls the willingness of Ibragim (Abraham) to sacrifice his own son if God required it, Razmakhin says. “In the Torah and the Bible, the son is called Isaac; in the Koran, Ismail. But the story and its message are the same. One Uzbek with whom the journalist spoke, who has been driving a taxi in Moscow for ten years, made exactly that point. “I’m a Muslim,” he said; “there is nothing separating me from Christians. We even have a common holy book.” It was originally written “in three languages – Imran [Hebrew], Yunan [Greek] and Latin,” and “everything in it is the truth!” Later in history, the Uzbek said, governments had translated the holy text into various languages in order to confuse people and make them easier to control and rule. This positive message about interreligious relations stands in stark contrast to the fear-mongering Moscow media have displayed at the time of Kurban-Bayram in the past; and it suggests that as Muslims in Moscow have become less different than other Russians so too other Russians have become less hostile to them. If that is the case, Razmakhin concludes, it won’t be a bad thing.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: People take Part in Collective Protests for Five Reasons Not the Usual Three, Moscow Scholar Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Western investigators have long insisted that people take part in collective actions such as protests for one of three reasons: a feeling of injustice, a belief that only collective action can change things, and a politicized identity, that is, a pre-existing identification with the cause the protest is organized to advance. But Dmitry Grigoryev, a specialist at the International Research Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, says, on the basis of his study of protests in Spain and in Russia that two other factors may play an even larger determining role (iq.hse.ru/news/301573440.html). On the one hand, he says, people may be driven to take part in protests because of the ideology they accept. And on the other, Grigoryev suggests, they may do so out of a sense of moral obligation, a belief that participation is required to maintain their standing with others who believe as they do. Grigoryev’s additions are important in the Russian context because they suggest that the ideology the Kremlin has sought to impose with its stress on democracy and law may lead Russians to protest when they conclude that the regime is hypocritically saying one thing and then doing another. And they are important because they highlight the way in which the social pressures people feel because they are members of some community may have more to do with why they go into the streets than any personal conviction. At a certain point, such people do not want to stand aside lest they be viewed as outsiders.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Protest Movement Must Broaden Its Agenda or It will Ebb After September 8, Makarkin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Many observers, impressed by the growth of the number of people coming out to protest in Moscow in recent weeks, have ignored two important aspects of the situation that are likely to lead to the dying out of this wave of demonstrations rather than to its further expansion, Aleksey Makarkin says. On the one hand, the Moscow political analyst points out, they have forgotten that the issue that has brought Muscovites into the streets will no longer matter given that it is primarily about the registration of candidates for an election that will take place September 8 (facebook.com/a.makarkin/posts/2339850712796360reposted at newtimes.ru/articles/detail/183703). After that date, the question of access to the ballot by candidates will not have the same meaning that it does now, he suggests, and it will become ever more obvious that “those speaking out now have something to say to Moscow but at present, they do not have something to say to the country as a whole.” Yes, the Moscow protesters have received support from around the country — see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/08/not-just-moscow-protests-took-place-in.html– but that support has been about the question of registration of candidates in Moscow rather than about broader issues. And on the other hand, Makarkin continues, “the issues which really agitate people [across the Russian Federation] are prices, pensions, social security and environmental protection” rather than the ability of candidates to gain access to the ballot as important as that is to the Moscow protesters. “If by fall, the opposition will succeed in integrating these themes into its agenda, then the situation could become serious,” the Moscow analyst concludes. But “if not, then the protest [now on public view] will be significant but local – and therefore over time will attenuate rather than grow.” What he does not address in this post are two possibilities that may open the way to more dramatic developments. On the one hand, the response of the authorities to the demonstrations by its very brutality may work to mobilize people. And on the other, demonstrations are a kind of civil society school: when people take part in one, they are more ready to take part in others.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ten Unwelcome Truths Russians Must Accept If Their Country is to Progress

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Aleksandr Bondaryev, a theoretical physicist, and his coauthor Elizaveta Pokrovskaya offer on Facebook ten truths that Russians of all kinds must understand and come to terms with if the country is to make progress for those who live within it (acebook.com/alexandre.bondarev/posts/2952114214830163reposted at region.expert/10thesises/ and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D4EFF09C7595). Many will reject some or all of these propositions, but Bondaryev and Pokrovskaya’s list highlights some of the most fundamental misunderstandings which affect both the defenders of the current order and its most passionate opponents. As such their list provides a veritable checklist of issues on which many need to rethink their assumptions. The ten are: 1. Russians must understand and come to terms with that “the Empire (Russia) in its current form is not viable either geographically or bureaucratically and that any power, even one full of the best intentions, which continues to try to preserve the Empire will suffer an inevitable defeat.” 2. They must understand and acknowledge that “’reforms from above’ traditional for Russia every time remain incomplete and lead only to the restoration of the form regime in one form or another. 3. They must understand and recognize that “the interests and needs of various regions are different and may not coincide or may even contradict the interests of the Center.” 4. They must “recognize that certain territories of Russia have already become districts of social collapse, ‘dead’ zones sometimes in the literal sense, and that all that can be done with them is too provide assistance to those who are forced to remain there but would like to break out of these places of social misfortune.” 5. They must cease to view Russia and the Russian population exclusively as objects of politics who are to be controlled and directed from above. 6. They must accept that the notion that 3.5 percent of the population is sufficient to change things is completely false. Far more people must be involved. 7. They must accept that the needs and requirements of any group are better known to its members than to those who are not part of them and who live elsewhere. 8. They must recognize that “the most natural form of meeting the local interests of people can only be local self-organization and self- or mutual-assistance which can take the most varied forms.” They must never assume that such local bodies be coordinated by those above them. 9. They must recognize the right of people in the localities to make their own decisions and not try to impose the views of the current state or the opposition on them. 10. And they must recognize already now that if local self-administration is established and if the center at some point weakens, some localities will declare their autonomy or “even independence.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: When Putin Leaves Office, the World Won’t End and Russia Won’t Fall Apart, Stolarov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – One of the chief sources of support for the current Kremlin leader is that government propaganda has managed to convince a large number of Russians that if and when Vladimir Putin ever leaves office, their entire world will end and the Russian Federation will fall into pieces, Andrey Stolyarov says. Russians need to recognize, the Russian writer says in a Rosbalt commentary, that neither of these things will happen when Putin departs. The world Russians live in will not cease to exist, and the Russian Federation will not disintegrate into pieces like the Soviet Union did or into a Hobbesian war of all against all (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2019/08/10/1796400.html). Do Russians need Putin now? Stolyarov asks rhetorically. The answer, he says, is “quite simple” and negative as one can see by considering what he has done in the past and what he is incapable of doing in the present and what others can do now and why his departure will in fact help them rather than hurt them. Every political leader has a task which he must resolve, the writer says. Putin had sought a task when he came to power, to “minimize chaos … stop the general disintegration, stabilize the state … and create a reality where new rules of life would be clear.” By 2008, he had on the whole achieved all that. “A new ‘Putinist’ Russia arose which fully satisfied the majority of Russians,” who compared their situation then with their lives in the 1990s. But by achieving his first task, Putin put in place the needs for a very different one, not the restoration of order but rather the development of the country. That he was not and is not capable of, and as a result, Russia has entered the longest period of stagnation in its history compounded by growing international isolation and a sense among elites and the population that the situation isn’t going to change anytime soon as long as Putin is in charge. The Kremlin leader can keep things stable but he can’t develop the country. “His active potential is exhausted. A different politician, one oriented on the future, and not on the preservation of the rotting present” as Putin all too clearly is, Stolyarov continues. So the answer is that Putin was needed but isn’t needed any longer. But will the country and its government disintegrate when Putin leaves? The answer to that question is an equally loud “no,” the Russian writer says. The much-discussed clan wars within the elite are not nearly as problematic as they were: clan heads have become more restrained not because of Putin but because they now that their actions could make things worse for themselves and not just others. The belief that Russia will disintegrate along the lines of the USSR is equally exaggerated, Stolyarov says. Some republic leaders may dream of becoming presidents of independent countries, but they are very aware that “Russia has a strong army, the Russian Guard, and the FSB. The cost of trying to secede could be very high.” No one is likely to be inspired by the example of Chechnya in the past or the Donbass now, he continues. But even more, he says, there is no reason to think that the Kremlin will weaken when Putin leaves. There is a collective Putin even now that will continue and act more closely according to its interests than Putin is. Given all this, Stolyarov says, “there does not exist any need that [Putin] continues to be the head of Russia.” In his view, the people and the elites could easily agree to “thank the president for his self-sacrificing work, present him with the order ‘For services to the Fatherland’ First Class, put a bust in the yard of the apartment bloc where Putin lived as a child and so on. If only he would leave. But this discussion is purely theoretical, Stolyarov says, because Putin has no plans to do so voluntarily and no one seems to be in a position to force him to do so against his will.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Nostalgia for Soviet Past Helping Russians to Overcome Trauma of Loss, Abramov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – “Societies which experience historical traumas, need anesthesia an psychotherapy, sociologist Roman Abramov says. That often takes the form of nostalgia for “’the good old times,’” which in the Russian case for many but far from all was the period of Brezhnev’s rule (https://iq.hse.ru/news/301388060.html). “Waves of nostalgia became a frequent phenomenon of the 20th century when major geopolitical cataclysms, world wars, revolutions, and sharp social and technological changes occurred,” he says on the basis of his investigations of nostalgia. Such attitudes, he says, “played the role of anti-depressant, anesthesia and an adaptive mechanism at one and the same time.” “People attempted to find a peaceful and well-off past and then lose themselves in it, forgetting their present problems for a time, Abramov says. “But this escapism interest on it n the end not infrequently helped them adapt to new conditions.” For Russians now, that past time was the Brezhnev era; and interest in it is helping them to cope. Of course, he continues, that period was not all of one piece. There was economic stagnation, the Afghan war, the campaign against dissidents and the third wave emigration. But “these events did not touch everyone and appear less traumatic” to society as a whole than more recent ones. The investigator adds that “present-day societies with their ideologies of uninterrupted innovation and change and the doing away with traditional systems of values have promoted the growth of nostalgia.” Millions of people not surprisingly respond to turning to a past real and often imagined to provide them with reassurance. “The nostalgic eco-system,” Abramov says, “are a good example of the symbiosis of emotions, recollections, practical actions, institutions, people and things. All of them transform reality, giving it a nostalgic tone and at the same time stimulates nostalgic consumption” of goods from the past. “’The last Soviet generation’ using the words of Aleksey Yurchak, the author of This was Forever Until It ended, became the generator of popular museumification of the late ‘soviet’ world, which arrived in large measure in 2009-2012.” There are many museums now about Soviet life in the real and virtual worlds and set up by professionals and amateurs. This trend, Abramov continues, has been provoked by and is provoking the further development of museums, films, books and exhibits about the crimes of the Soviet past and especially the GULAG. Demographically, Soviet nostalgia has been greater in small cities and the countryside and less in the major cities. Soviet nostalgia in Russia has now become a major focus of scholarly research, Abramov says, with researchers in many disciplines making contributions to its description and meaning. This research began in the West but has no engulfed many in the Russian Federation and the other post-Soviet states. He gives two examples of especially valuable work: Galina Orlova’s on the nuclear power researchers in Soviet times (Vestnik Permskogo nationalnogo politekhnicheskogo universiteta, 2 (2018): 108-126) and Valentina Kharkhun’s study of museums on the victims of communism (uamoderna.com/md/memory-wars-muzeum-of-communism).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Non-Russians Face Problems in Republics Where They’re Not the Titular Nationality

Paul Goble Staunton, August 10 – Non-Russians face problems not only from the Russian state but in non-Russian republics where another nation is the titular nationality and they are not. These difficulties seldom attract the attention that Russian-Non-Russian issues do, but they are often even more intractable and politically explosive. Paradoxically, the problems such groups face are often greater when they are closely related culturally and linguistically to the titular nationality because in such cases, the republic government is especially concerned to support its own nation against possible encroachment by another. That is particularly the case with the Tatars who live in neighboring Bashkortostan and who have sought since Moscow divided the two peoples in 1920 to gain some special status for themselves there. Now that issue appears to be heating up; and it throws light on the larger and less attended to problem of the status of non-titular non-Russians in non-Russian republics. This issue came into sharp focus this past week when a Tatar asked Vladimir Barabash, who is running for head of Bashkortostan whether he intended to give Tatar the status of a state language in the republic and Barabash replied with a question of his own: “What do you need that status for?” Tatar commentator Ilnar Garifullin in an essay for Radio Liberty’s IdelReal portal provides an answer (idelreal.org/a/30101666.html). He says that Barabash’s answer is nothing new but reflects his failure to understand why Tatars have been asking for this status for 30 years, a status that would mean Tatar would be used in all spheres of life in the republic. Those questioning Barabash should have asked as a follow up “why do Russians or Bashkirs need a state status for their language?” Because if there are reasons they should have it, those same reasons apply to the Tatars. As Garifullin says, “Tatars are not fighting for something new but for the return to the Tatar language of the state status that it once had but that was then taken from it. Fighting for something new is one thing; returning a right illegally taken from you is an entirely different matter altogether.” “Tatars have become the only one of the three largest state-forming ethnoses who haven’t been allowed to hold an all-national congress” in Bashkortostan. The World Kurultay of Bashkirs has taken place and the Assembly of Russians of Bashkortostan has as well. But the Tatars haven’t been allowed to do the same.” The Tatars despite their numbers and despite paying taxes like anyone else are being treated like “second class” citizens, Garifullin continues. Worse, the authorities don’t feel the need to discuss things with them or include them in republic programs: there is no mention of the Tatars in the republic’s strategy documents about languages, for example. No Ufa official is meeting with Tatars to discuss the lack of Tatar-language television in the republic, the lack of Tatar sections of theaters of various kinds, the lack of research institutes focusing on Tatar issue and the lack of up-to-date Tatar schools and gymnasia – or to talk about plans to close university departments that have been preparing Tatar language teachers. “In the civilized world today, the observation of collective national rights is an inalienable attribute of the development of a democratic system just like all other civic rights and freedoms are,” Garifullin says. “Without this, one cannot call oneself a liberal or even a democrat and supporter of respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens.” But what is worrisome he says, is that where these rights are not respected, “uncomfortable questions sooner or later arise at the most inconvenient moment” and in potentially explosive ways, the commentator says. The Tatars are an indigenous people of Bashkortostan, but they are also an irredenta – and the balance between these is not easy. Times are changing, Garifullin says, and the Tatar “question” is again being asked. Depending on how Ufa responds to the language issue, it will be easily solved. But if Ufa ignores that, it is not likely that the Tatars will limit themselves to asking only about their language rights.

How Does the Kremlin Kick When It’s Down? – War on the Rocks

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trust ratings are at historic lows. So are levels of popular satisfaction with Russian government authorities and economic policy. This discontent recently spilled into the streets with mass demonstrations against the Moscow’s authorities decision not to register the independent candidates for the City Duma elections. The images of riot police beating the protesting Muscovites went viral. Popular Russian celebrities with millions of followers on social media called upon their subscribers to join the protests. Dissatisfaction with the regime is not limited to the capital: In Russia’s European North, the citizens of Arkhangelsk oblast are fighting against the construction of a massive landfill. Earlier this summer, in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg, people protested the local governor’s plan for building yet another church in place of a park. The Kremlin is losing the public’s tolerance to the severe mismanagement of the state. How will this domestic turmoil affect Russia’s international behavior? Some commentators of Russian politics suggest that Putin uses international adventures to compensate for his decreasing popularity at home. For example, former Georgian president and long-time Putin opponent Mikheil Saakashvili recently pointed out that when Putin’s public support decreases, he escalates ongoing international conflicts or launches new ones to galvanize support at home. This assumption is consistent with a diversionary war argument: To draw public attention away from problems at home, leaders start a war that boosts popular support for the government. Interestingly, Putin’s track record suggests that the opposite is true: Russia does not go to war when domestic support is at its lowest. Does this suggest that Putin will practice restraint in foreign policy as he deals with discontent at home? That conclusion would be premature. Low public approval does not limit the Kremlin’s ability to advance its foreign policy objectives using nonviolent means. Thus, Russia observers can likely expect covert and cyber operations as well as bold diplomatic moves that will divert the public’s attention at cost lower than the use of force. Why is that?

 

Mass Protests in Moscow and the US Media’s Failings on Russia Coverage

New School professor Nina Khrushcheva discusses US-Russia relations.

What’s behind the Moscow protests? – BBC News

Thousands of Russians have been protesting for weeks – with mass arrests and a violent police crackdown.

The Chilly Moscow Summer of 2019 | Human Rights Watch

Rain and protests. Protests and rain. Since mid-July, Moscow has been flooded by rain and engulfed in public protests, sparked by the authorities’ cynical exclusion of viable opposition candidates from the upcoming city council election. What should have been sunny weekends and picnics in the parks, this summer is all about work, leaking shoes, and squabbles over child-care.

Trump admin quiet on Moscow protests while defending Hong Kong’s demonstrations – ABC News

Amid weeks of protests in Moscow and Hong Kong, the Trump administration has been outspoken in support of Hong Kong while refusing to say much of anything about Russia

Ukraine’s Deputy MFA on video of Moscow police’s attack on female protester: Interesting to see PACE reaction – news politics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Yehor Bozhok has commented on a video surfaced online where a uniformed officer punch a detained female protester in the stomach during an August 10 demonstration in Moscow, Russia. The uniformed officer staggers the woman with a punch in her stomach.

 

UAWire – Media: Putin, Merkel and Macron teach Ukrainian President Zelensky a ‘tough lesson’

After four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Donbas, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested an emergency session of the Normandy …

Putin, Macron to discuss situation in Ukraine and work in Normandy format – media – news world | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit France on August 19 to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the further work in the Normandy format with French President Emmanuel Macron. Putin will pay a one-day visit to France.

President withdraws Bezsmertnyy from Minsk talks – LB.ua news portal

President withdraws Bezsmertnyy from Minsk talks. He has been with the trilateral contact group a little over a month. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

“There is my public position, and it is not at stake,” – Bezsmertny about the reasons for dismissal. VIDEO

Roman Bezsmertny said that the reason for his dismissal from the Trilateral Contact Group to resolve the situation in the Donbass is his public position, which does not coincide with the vision of President Vladimir Zelensky and his team. According to Censor.NET, the Bezsmertny said on the air of channel 24. “There is no secret in this. There is my public position. And this is the position not only regarding tactics of actions in the negotiation group, but also regarding tactics of actions on the demarcation line. If we take the story for the last three months, I honestly, correctly, openly spoke that here it is necessary to act like this, and here like this … And obviously, such a position is not up to the court. But it is the president’s right to appoint, dismiss, “Immortal explained his point of view.

Ukraine has Plan B in case of termination of Russian gas transit – Danylyuk

Ukraine has Plan B in the event that the Russian Federation terminates gas transit to Europe, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Danylyuk has stated. — Ukrinform.

 

SBU blocks cyber attack on broadcasting server of Black Sea TV – news ukraine | UNIAN

Operatives of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine in cooperation with representatives of the Black Sea TV and radio company have blocked a cyberattack on the company’s broadcast server. The attack was aimed at disabling key elements of broadcast control and backup.

Crimea occupation authorities seek talks with Ukraine on resuming water supplies – news politics | UNIAN

Authorities in the Russian-annexed Crimea are set to ask Moscow to initiate a negotiation process with the Ukrainian government on the resumption of water supplies from the Dnipro River to the occupied peninsula. Overnight August 12, part of the city of Kerch in the occupied Crimea left without water.

Resuming water supplies to Crimea must not be considered “even hypothetically” – Chubarov – news politics | UNIAN

Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, has warned Ukrainian authorities against considering the issue of resuming water supplies to the Russian-occupied Crimea “even hypothetically”. The Mejlis leader believes should use natural resources available on its territory to counter Russian aggression and liberate the occupied territories.

Zelensky’s envoy for Crimea: Ukraine blocked technological canal to Crimea, not Dnipro River – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President’s permanent envoy for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Anton Korinevych says Ukraine has blocked a technological canal located on its territory, rather than the Dnipro River. Ukraine has every right to impose such measures, he said.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: As Long as Crimea Remains Occupied, Kurban-Bayram Will have ‘Special Meaning’ for Crimean Tatars, Mufti Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Mufti Ayder Rustemov, the head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Crimea who is now living in Kyiv, says that “as long as Crimea is occupied, the Muslim holiday of Kurban-Bayram will have special meaning for Crimean Tatars” because it is about sacrificing for a larger purpose. The Crimean Tatars need to be reminded of this given that “we are in a state of struggle with occupiers who have come to our motherland” (qha.com.ua/po-polochkam/poka-krym-okkupirovan-kurban-bajram-imeet-osobennyj-smysl-dlya-krymskih-tatar-muftij-ajder-rustemov-o-suti-prazdnika-i-o-tom-kak-ego-otmechayut-v-kieve/). “When you are on your native land,” the mufti says, “everything is absolutely different” than when you are elsewhere. “Although Ukraine is our country because Crimea is part of Ukraine, native places are where you were born. The city in which you work will never replace the village in which you were born.” The mufti continues: “Let us hope that we will be able to return to Crimea and do everything possible which depends on us.” Asked by the QHA news agency how many Muslims now live in Kyiv, Mufti Rustemov says that “unfortunately no one maintains this figure, but it is obvious to the eye that the number of Muslims is growing and the number of Crimean Tatars who are coming to Kyiv from Crimea is growing is well.” “I am not pleased by this,” he says. “On the contrary, I regret it because the repressive machine is working there, and people are forced to leave their motherland and try to begin life in the center of Ukraine all over again.” The Crimean MSD has opened a representative office to help them, and its mosque and two prayer rooms hold a few more than 400 people. In the city and oblast as a whole, the mufti continues, there are now on the order of 15,000 Crimean Tatars. In addition, there are many more Muslims of other nationalities. All can prayer freely.

 

 

Russian proxies launch ten attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas

13.08.19 10:32 – Russian proxies launch ten attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas August 12, the armed formations of the Russian Federation and its mercenaries violated ceasefire in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas 10 times. View news.

One Ukrainian soldier wounded amid 10 enemy attacks in Donbas on Aug 12 – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces on August 12 mounted 10 attacks on Ukrainian Army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action. Enemy forces opened fire from grenade launchers of various types, heavy machine guns, and sniper and small arms.

Russian-led forces mount three attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donbas since Tuesday midnight – news war | UNIAN

Spokesman for Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Dmytro Hutsuliak says Russian-led forces have mounted three attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas since Tuesday midnight. There have been no casualties among the Ukrainian soldiers.

Two persons charged in absentia for recruiting children to Donbas terrorist groups – news politics | UNIAN

Operating in the temporarily occupied area of Donetsk region, the perpetrators set up the so-called military-patriotic clubs for children “Spartantsy” [Spartans] and “Amazonki” [Amazons], as well as the public military-patriotic movement “Molodaya Gvardiya” [Young Guard]. Ukrainian prosecutors note that the two are adepts of the “Russian world” concept, also promoting the idea of Donetsk region seceding from Ukraine.

Russian spy exposed in Lviv region – news ukraine | UNIAN

Counterintelligence officers of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine have exposed a Ukrainian national, resident of Lviv region, who is believed to have been spying for Russia. The man, who is now being charged with treason, has been cooperating with a Russian intelligence official operating under the diplomatic cover.

SBU exposes agent of Russian special services

Counterintelligence officers of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) have exposed in Lviv region a local resident who was performing intelligence tasks for the Russian special services, the SBU press center has reported. — Ukrinform.

SBU counterintelligence exposed an agent of the special services of the Russian Federation, who transmitted data to a spy at the Russian Consulate General in Lvov. The diplomat was expelled. PHOTO | Цензор.НЕТ

In Lviv region, counterintelligence agents of the Security Service of Ukraine exposed a local resident who carried out intelligence of the Russian special services and transmitted the collected data to a spy diplomat acting under the diplomatic cover of the Russian Consulate General in Lviv. According to Censor.NET, this is stated in the message of the SBU press center. “SBU operatives established that a military pensioner, the head of a public organization, was recruited by the Russian special services in 2014. On instructions from Russian curators, he collected intelligence information about political and public figures, units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, special and law enforcement agencies, and foreign military instructors in western region of the country, ”it was informed. SBU officers documented that the man passed the collected data to a Russian intelligence officer who “worked” under the diplomatic cover of the Russian Consulate General in Lviv. The attacker was notified of suspicion under Part 1 of Art. 111 (high treason) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The case file was sent to court. And the specified diplomatic spy was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine persona non grata for activities incompatible with the status of consular officer. He has already left the territory of Ukraine.

Security chief says Putin’s friend ‘threat’ to Ukraine – LB.ua news portal

Security chief says Putin’s friend ‘threat’ to Ukraine. “He will be able to use parliament’s platform to not just sit there.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Danyliuk: NSDC meeting on Donbas being prepared – news politics | UNIAN

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksandr Danyliuk, says the NSDC’s meeting on Donbas is now being prepared. A forum in Mariupol has also been scheduled for September.

Ukraine’s NDSC Secretary says Medvedchuk poses “threat” to Parliament – news politics | UNIAN

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Danyliuk says the presence in Parliament of Chairman of the political council of the Opposition Platform – For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally in Ukraine, a “threat” to Ukraine’s national security. Medvedchuk has a clear pro-Kremlin orientation, Danyliuk said.

Zelensky eases naturalization of Russian nationals subjected to political persecution – news politics | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky simplified the procedure citizens of the Russian Federation who were persecuted for their political beliefs. Also, a procedure was simplified for obtaining citizenship by foreigners and stateless persons who defended Ukraine.

Zelenskiy Signs Decree To Fast-Track Citizenship For ‘Persecuted’ Russians, ‘Defenders’ Of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has simplified naturalization procedures for foreigners and stateless people who have “defended Ukraine” and for Russians facing “political persecution” at home.

 

Specialists of aviation enterprises of Ukraine and Poland discussed ways of development of MiG-29 aircraft – Укроборонпром

08/13/2019 Ukrainian and Polish experts and experts are exploring the possibilities of upgrading Mig-29 aircraft. The problematic issues of maintaining the flight status, operation and modernization of these fighters were discussed at an international conference recently held on the basis of the State Enterprise “Lviv State Aviation Repair Plant”, which is a part of the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”. Representatives of a number of profile companies in the aviation industry took part in the event. From Ukrainian – representatives of “Ukroboronprom”, heads of state aviation repair companies, air forces of the Armed Forces. During the conference, participants discussed a wide range of production issues faced by representatives of the two neighboring countries in the operation, repair and upgrade of the MiG-29. It is worth noting that the experience of Polish partners in this matter is more than 20 years, and Ukrainian aircraft repairmen have been working with MiG-29 aircraft for more than 25 years. Therefore, during the event, the parties shared their many years of experience in the operation and maintenance of the fighter park. As a result of the conference, a model for the exchange of specialized information and working recommendations between the representatives of the participating countries was developed. Arrangements have also been made to hold such meetings on a regular basis and to expand the list of participating countries.

Ukrainian-Turkish JV already has four defense projects – Bukin

A joint venture created by Ukrspecexport, part of the Ukroboronprom State Concern, and Turkey’s Baykar Defence, already has four projects in the sphere of weapons and military equipment, Ukroboronprom CEO Pavlo Bukin has told Ukrinform. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Ukraine and Turkey establish joint arms production company

Ukraine and Turkey have established a joint corporation for producing precision weaponry and aerospace technologies, the National Security and …

 

Ukraine’s Lviv Tank Plant Starts Making Upgraded T-64 Tanks

The Lviv Tank Plant has become the second Ukrainian factory to start manufacturing the modernized model of T-64 tanks.

 

Oleh Havrylyshyn | What Is Ukraine? We Finally Have an Answer- The Atlantic Council

The election of Volodymyr Zelenskyy as president sets the stage to finally define the national idea of Ukraine. Since independence, it has not been clear to the world—or Ukrainians—what exactly Ukraine is and what defines Ukrainians. To say, “We are not Russian” was not incorrect but rather too vague; it confused outsiders since a fifth of Ukraine’s citizens consider themselves ethnic Russians, and an even greater number frequently speak Russian alongside Ukrainian. Three aspects of the 2019 election point to the emergence of democratic multiculturalism, a society which respects and accepts diversity, as a national idea. First, Ukraine elected a president from its tiny Jewish minority (somewhere between 360,000 and 400,000 in a population over 40 million), and did so by a huge margin. Zelenskyy’s Jewish identity wasn’t a big deal during the campaign. The victory of a Jewish president stands out as an important historical moment given the conflictual history between ethnic Ukrainians and the Jewish population in the past. Zelenskyy’s landslide victory invalidates the Kremlin’s propaganda efforts to portray Ukrainians as neo-Nazis and anti-Semites—an accusation countered earlier by Jewish community leaders in a May 2014 open letter to Putin: “It seems you have confused Ukraine with Russia where Jewish organisations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies.” Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich re-emphasised this in September 2016. “Ukraine has become finally Ukraine. Ukrainians as a nation have become proud that they live here, and of course, Jews are also proud” because “thanks to Putin, they are now Ukrainian Jews,” he said. More evidence of a multi-ethnic society is found among Crimean Tatars who fled Russian repression and established the Crimean Majlis (a parliament) in exile in Kyiv. In the July parliamentary elections, the first African-Ukrainian MP, Zhan Beleniuk, was elected. Beleniuk represented Ukraine at the Rio Olympics and took a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling. He is the son of a Ukrainian mother and a Rwandan father. Second, the strength of Zelenskyy’s victory spanned Ukraine from east to west, and the new president won a majority in 26 of 27 oblasts; even in the districts of Lviv oblast where Poroshenko had the majority, Zelenskyy received respectable percentages of 25-45, with 37 percent overall in the oblast. Thus, his victory was solid not only in the east where relatively more ethnic Russians live, Russian is more commonly spoken, and the historical orientation is more toward Russia but also in the West where more ethnic Ukrainians and Ukrainian speakers live, and historical connections are oriented toward Europe. The breadth and depth of Zelensky’s victory calls into question the oft-noted east-west divide. The third revealing aspect is the relative cleanliness of the elections. Foreign observer missions confirmed that the dirty tricks common in the post-Soviet space were largely absent, incumbents or well-heeled opponents’ efforts to tilt media coverage or influence voting and counting procedures minimal. (The one giant exception would be 1+1’s favorable coverage of Zelenskyy before and during the campaign.) Furthermore, this was the third round of reasonably clean elections since the fraud of 2004 which sparked the Orange Revolution. If this string of good elections and the evidence of two popular revolutions is not enough for Freedom House to raise Ukraine’s scores and put it in the free category, serious analysts should be asking for good explanations. In sum, the elections results suggest that Ukraine has a strongly democratic society and government espousing diversity in ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and regional dimensions. If this is not a multicultural democracy, what is? Such a development is particularly meaningful given the decline of democracy in parts of Europe and electoral dictatorships to the east. Ukraine may count among the small handful of countries which have largely avoided such non-democratic trends, arguably along with Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Indeed, there is a sweet irony in the comparison with Canada, which might provide an example for enshrining multiculturalism as a formal policy. In 1964, Senator Paul Yuzyk, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, delivered his maiden speech to the Senate entitled, “Canada a Multicultural Nation,” which began a process that culminated in Canada enshrining multiculturalism as its national idea. Perhaps for the 28th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence on August 24, Zelenskyy could make a similar announcement about a multicultural Ukraine, with a reference to the Ukrainian origins of the concept in Canada, to add color and energy to the idea. Oleh Havrylyshyn is an adjunct research professor in the Institute of European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University in Canada.

Ukraine’s New Parliament To Be Sworn In On August 29

Ukraine’s new parliament will get sworn in on August 29, Kyiv-based Dragon Capital investment bank wrote in a note to investors, citing the national legislature’s website.

Ukraine’s Ex-President Questioned In TV Tax Evasion Case

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko answered investigators’ questions in an alleged tax-evasion case involving the purchase of a TV station. His supporters, including his teenage children, faced off with anti-Poroshenko protesters outside the State Bureau for Investigations in Kyiv on August 12. When Poroshenko emerged after the questioning, he said he did not trust the investigators in the case. But he added that he would submit to a polygraph test if it was broadcast live on the television channel, Pryamiy TV. Officials said he had been summoned only as a witness in the case, which stems from Pyramiy’s change of ownership in 2017. Poroshenko, a billionaire businessman, lost his bid for re-election in April to popular TV comedy actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Poroshenko says Pryamyy TV subjected to raider attempts – LB.ua news portal

Poroshenko says Pryamyy TV subjected to raider attempts. He accused the State Bureau of Investigation of having intimidated journalists for three months. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Reports: Ex-White House Counsel Craig Goes On Trial Over Work In Ukraine

Jury selection started on August 12 at the U.S. District Court in the trial of former White House counsel Greg Craig, who is accused of misleading authorities in relation to the work he performed f…

Kolomoyskyy’s ex-business partner wanted for money laundering – LB.ua news portal

Kolomoyskyy’s ex-business partner wanted for money laundering. No measure of restraint has been selected yet. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

UAWire – Zelensky promises to put an end to illegal amber mining in Ukraine

The Ukrainian government will put an end to illegal amber mining in three provinces: Volyn, Rivne and Zhytomyr, President Zelensky said in a …

National Police chief offers solution to illegal mining of amber in Ukraine – news economics | UNIAN

Chief of Ukraine’s National Police Serhiy Knyazev says that making illegal mining of amber a serious crime would help solve this problem. The national budget loses about UAH 600,000, or US$23,900, per tonne of illegally mined amber.

The Semi-Secret Story of Servant of the People Party’s Election Victory

A group of 30 political technologists led by former business coach Artem Mykhaylyuk helped Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party get the largest

Russian Priest In Hot Water Over Violent Baptism

A Russian Orthodox priest has been banned from the clergy after video showed him using force while baptizing an infant boy. and reporting.