Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
NATSECADV Bolton interviewed on nuclear strategy, Russia, China and related matters. VKS deploys Tu-160 BLACKJACKs to Anadyr, in Chukotka, in the Far East, almost exactly 900 nmi from Elmendorf AB. Shoigu intercept and escort appears to have been staged by Russia for propaganda purposes.
Reports on the “Flying Chernobyl” FUBAR begin to abate – mostly analysis, some of dubious quality. Preobrazhensky comments on how the Vozhd’s grandstanding over his Wunderwaffewill see him held responsible by the public for this accident. Reports low level fallout detected at the border – noting that a few kilograms of radioactive material cannot compare to the vastly greater quantity involved in the Chernobyl accident.
The Muscovy protests continue to keep media active, although the focus is shifting to govt payback against the opposition and its supporters. Prof Goble’s digest of the Forbidden Opiniontelegram channel makes for an interesting read, and in many ways coherent with Hotz’ analysis of the Muscovy leadership as a Junta. The reports of police resignations, and use of undertrained provincial police is also very revealing and coherent with earlier reports of a shortage of RG and police personnel in the Moskva Oblast. In some ways this is reminiscent of the Soviet era problem of “unusable forces”, although that problem was centred on minority conscripts considered barely literate in Russian, unmotivated, and marginally if at all trainable.
In Ukraine, US CDA Taylor comments on the upcoming POTUS-Ze meeting. GUR briefs on Russian invasion scenarios. Ukraine provides large package of evidence to MH17 JIT in the Netherlands.
Donbas update. More on the proposal for LSARP to overhaul and upgrade Poland’s MiG-29 9-12 FULCRUM fleet. More T-64BV MBTs overhauled and upgraded.
More on religious repression in Russia.
The Voice of America on Twitter: “Bolton on Russia’s nuclear capability. @VOA Contributor @Greta Van Susteren interviews National Security Adviser John Bolton in which they discussed Russia’s technological advances to develop their nuclear weapons. https://t.co/Dm9fLE6uaN” / Twitter
U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton says a mysterious accident last week in northern Russia that caused a temporary spike in radiation levels shows how hard the Kremlin is working to develop…
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton discusses the recent nuclear incident in Russia and Iran’s nuclear program in an interview with Voice of America contributor Greta Van Susteren on August 14.
Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers have completed a non-stop flight to the Anadyr airfield in the Russian Far East, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. The airfield is one of the closest to the US border, a mere 600 km from the closest point. The defense department said that the relocation was done as part of a planned tactical flight exercise led by Lieutenant General Sergey Kobylash, commander of the long-range aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. The flight lasted more than eight hours and covered a distance in excess of 6,000 km. The strategic bombers did not need to refuel. “During the exercise, they will practice being relocated to operational airfields, as well as making flights with aerial refueling. The event will involve roughly ten Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Il-78 aircraft,” the ministry noted. In January, the US and Canadian Air Forces scrambled fighters to intercept Rusian Tu-160 bombers that came close to the Canadian border in the Arctic. The two Russian bombers were escorted by two F-22 fighters, two CF-18s, and an E-3 AWACS early warning and control aircraft as they flew over the Arctic Ocean. There was a similar incident earlier in August. Two Russian Tu-95 bombers flew over the neutral waters of the Bering Sea, and were escorted by American F-22s and F-18s at various points in their route. The Tu-160 is a supersonic strategic bomber designed to deliver nuclear and non-nuclear missile strikes against targets deep in enemy territory. These Russian bombers have been flying regularly over the neutral waters of the Black and Baltic Seas and the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Russia says it has flown two nuclear-capable bombers to its Far East region across from Alaskan territory, an action state media claim demonstrates the Kremlin’s ability to base such warplanes ne…
Russia said on Wednesday it had flown two nuclear-capable TU-160 bombers to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska as part of a training exercise that state media said showed Moscow’s ability to park nuclear arms on the United States’ doorstep.
NATO has provided further details on an incident that occurred over the Baltic Sea a day ago, saying alliance warplanes approached two Russian Su-27 escort jets that were flying without a flight pl…
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel accused Russia of terminating the INF Treaty
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – When the Chernobyl nuclear accident took place in 1986, the behavior of the Soviet powers that be was to remain silent, understate the nature of the problem or lie about it and the reaction of the population of the USSR was to fear the worst because they knew they weren’t being told the truth. Mikhail Gorbachev who initially behaved just as all other Soviet leaders did was able to use this accident to promote his program of glasnost and thus prevent Chernobyl from undermining his position, although in the end, the glasnost he opened as a result of that tragedy cost him his job and his country. Now, Russia has suffered a deadly nuclear accident at the Severodvinsk naval facility, and both Russian officials and the Russian population have responded almost to the letter the same way their Soviet predecessors did. Officials have remained silent, understated the seriousness of the problem or outright lied about it. And the Russian people who know they aren’t being told the truth by their own leaders – they are getting it only from foreign sources — are once again fearing the worst, with some talking about Armageddon and others rushing to take iodine in the mistaken belief that it will provide complete protection against exposure to radiation. But there is little evidence that Putin wants to use this tragedy as the occasion for changing either the way in which he and his officials respond to anything the authorities don’t want talked about or the ability of domestic Russian media to cover what is going on openly and honestly, including challenging the duplicities of Russian officials. Instead, there is something more ominous, the suggestion by close observers of the scene that Putin himself bears direct responsibility for the tragedy, something that will make it even more difficult for the Kremlin leader to change direction but that could lead to an explosion of popular anger against him and his neo-Soviet dishonesty. In a commentary for Deutsche Welle, Russian political analyst Ivan Preobrazhensky puts it bluntly: “The main person responsible for what has happened in Arkhangelsk Oblast,” he says, “is Russian President Vladimir Putin” (dw.com/ru/комментарий-авария-под-архангельском-медийный-чернобыль-российской-власти/a-49999144). “More than once,” the commentator continues, Putin “has given to understand that the development of new arms in the country is taking place under his personal control. And since 2018, he has demonstrated his personal involvement in this sector more than once.” Given Soviet-Russian psychology, those working in this area will do anything to please him. They will work extra hard, ensure that any successes are reported upward, and do whatever is necessary to make sure that any problems are covered up lest they reflect badly on “the leader of the nation.” That is what has happened in this case as so often in the past, Preobrazhensky says. But there is a deeper link between this disaster and Vladimir Putin. He and no one else is responsible to exacerbating tensions with the West and demanding new super weapons to defeat it in a nuclear war the Kremlin leader has more than once implied that he is prepared to fight and win. That too will add to what the Russian commentator says is already “an explosion of disbelief.” Preobrazhensky says that he “doesn’t know what will be the consequences of the failure of this test for Russia’s defense capabilities. No one, I think, knows that or what will be the impact of this on the health of people in the zone of the accident” or farther away. “On the other hand,” he argues, “one can say precisely that what has taken place is a real media ‘Chernobyl.’ This is the diagnosis of the Russian authorities who have been no more willing to speak the truth to their fellow citizens than were the rulers of the USSR before its disintegration.” Just like the Soviet citizens then, Russian citizens now “no longer believe their leaders; and this will without fail have consequences,” perhaps even more serious and direct for Putin than the 1986 accident had on Gorbachev.
Norway’s nuclear safety authority is analyzing tiny amounts of radioactive iodine detected in the air in northern Norway in the days after a deadly explosion during a rocket engine test over the border in Russia.
Defense News’ Russia correspondent takes a look at government, media and commercial industry reports to pinpoint what exactly exploded Aug. 8 in Nyonoksa.
Russia’s military appeared to do an about-face on Tuesday after telling residents of a village near a navy testing range to evacuate after a mysterious explosion, only to cancel the order hours later while adding to the uncertainty surrounding the incident as local officials claimed soil samples showed that radiation levels have not risen after the blast.
Russia admits the “temporary spike” in radiation after the accidental explosion of a missile was much more powerful than initially reported.
Last week’s mysterious accident, along with changing or contradictory information from authorities, has led to speculation about what happened.
There are many unanswered questions about the suspected Russian nuclear-powered missile that exploded, killing 7.
"Accidents happen," said Vladimir Putin. But this wasn't simply a case of rotten luck
Earlier, commenting on the alleged “failed missile explosion in Russia,” and bragging about the US’s supposed “similar, though more advanced, technology”, US President Donald Trump claimed last week’s deadly rocket test in Arkhangelsk region concerned technology related to the 9M730 Burevestnik, an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile.
The Kremlin won’t say much about a blast at a secretive Russian nuclear reactor.
In the aftermath of a deadly radioactive incident in Russia’s Far North, many have suggested the culprit was the testing of a nuclear-propelled missile capable of flying at hypersonic speeds. But o…
A deadly explosion at a Russian testing site has focused attention on President Vladimir Putin's bid to build a nuclear-powered missile that the Kremlin hopes would give Moscow the edge in a new arms race. Western experts have linked the blast at the Nyonoksa test site on August 8, which caused
A flying unshielded nuclear reactor would spew massive amounts of radiation, and that’s if it’s working correctly.
Secrecy still surrounds the failed nuclear-powered missile test near Severodvinsk, in northern Russia, which killed five scientists.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – For the last two weekends while protests roiled his capital, Vladimir Putin “recused” himself from his duties by going on vacation, first in a bathysphere and then at a biker show, unwittingly sending a message not that he has everything under control but that he has no idea what to do, according to The Forbidden Opinion telegram channel. With his ratings falling and ever more Russians protesting against the actions of his regime, the channel says, Putin, “judging by everything doesn’t have the slightest idea what to do with all this in the future” and has apparently decided to pull back and await events (t.me/TheForbiddenOpinion/3866). That sense of his uncertainty frightens the population because many Russians have the sense that the siloviki are now acting on their own without any constraints from above and Putin’s entourage who have counted on him to keep things from getting out of control and no longer have the sense that he is capable of doing so. The fears of elites in that regard, the telegram channel says, may prompt one or more of them to try to push Putin out of the way, not because they necessarily know what to do next but because they fear he doesn’t and that the Russian ship of state is therefore is in potentially dangerous waters.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – The excessive use of force by siloviki elements against Moscow protesters was not the product of panic among the authorities, Alexander Hotz says. Instead, it was a provocation by the siloviki to “occupy the commanding heights” at the start of a succession struggle within the Putin regime, a regime that increasingly resembles a junta. In a Facebook post, the Russian commentator from Tula says that the Russian force structures did what they did in order to provoke the opposition and then demonstrate their capacity to defeat anything that the protesters might do, thus winning preferment within the regime (facebook.com/alexandr.hotz/posts/1468757679930573). Hotz argues that “the struggle for ‘the heights’ is connected with the beginning of a real fight among the clans for the place of successor.” The best way for the siloviki to seize that position is to “imitate ‘mass disorders’” which only they can put down. But this development has another consequence: it makes Putin “a lame duck” dependent on the siloviki. “The aging dictator is condemned to operate on the winner of this internal vendetta to the extent that he is not capable any longer of preserving the former balance between ‘the economic elite’ and the ‘oprichnik’ defenders.” As a result of the weakness of the former, the latter have gained influence and power. It thus is becoming likely that the next few years will see a constant “’rocking of the boat’” with both a growth of protests and a growth of repression. In this worst case, this will lead to “a creeping ‘Chechenization’ of the regime,” with massive numbers of disappearances and the flight of thousands abroad. At the very least, the logic of the situation points toward the formation of a junta, one in which those who control coercive force will be of decisive importance. In the short term, the situation for the population will deteriorate. But there is a reason for optimism: such a scenario is “the direct and shortest path to the collapse of the system.” In fact, “the junta-ization of ‘Putinism’ has some natural limits,” Hotz says. Sooner or later, peaceful protests will grow so large that responding to it by force will become increasingly counter-productive. And that in turn will lead to the defeat of the junta in ways that will recall the end of the Soviet Union. There could very well be as a result a repetition of “the ‘Soviet’ model of imperial collapse familiar to members of my generation,” Hotz says. “Young people will have the chance to repeat our experience.”
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – Police brutality at the Moscow protests (spektr.press/news/2019/08/13/u-aktivistki-kotoruyu-policejskij-udaril-v-zhivot-nashli-cherepno-mozgovuyu-travmu/) and justified by the Kremlin (znak.com/2019-08-13/kreml_opravdyvaet_zhestkie_deystviya_silovikov_na_akciyah_protesta_v_moskve) has its roots in poor training, the use of masks, and the experience of police in the North Caucasus, according to two former policemen. They predict that the situation will get worse as protests increase because the authorities will be compelled to bring in even more officers without special training in crowd control and will see that their colleagues who behaved badly in earlier demonstrations have not been held accountable because since they wore masks, no one can say who is guilty. But one of them stresses that all of this is exacerbating tensions within the police force, most of whose officers are unpolitical professionals and the minority, often with experience in the North Caucasus, who think that brutality is an appropriate and useful tool against the opposition. Moreover, they suggest, because many of the professionals are appalled by what is going on, they are leaving the force in ever larger numbers, thus shifting the balance within the police and the siloviki more generally away from those who are committed to obeying the law toward those who think that brutality is acceptable. Vladimir Vorontsov, a 13-year veteran of the Moscow police who now heads the Police Ombudsman webpage, says that some police are well trained and professional but that as protests have grown, more without training are being used (meduza.io/feature/2019/08/13/pochemu-politseyskie-byut-lyudey-na-mitingah-im-prikazyvayut-chto-oni-govoryat-o-svoey-rabote-doma). Many officers resent being assigned to crowd control, viewing it as a distraction from their real mission of fighting crime; and some commanders view assigning people to this task as a form of punishment. That is all the more so because the police who are sent to control protests are often not paid the supplements they are supposed to get. That forces those in charge to bring in police from nearby cities like Kaluga, Tula, Ryazan and Vladimir who are even less trained in dealing with crowds and even less interested in being there than are the Moscow police. According to Vorontsov, the majority of police are apolitical; but some do accept the ideological image of the opposition put out by the regime and believe that those taking part in demonstrations are “enemies” of Russia and thus do not deserve to be treated with the respect they would accord even to criminals. The police forced to work with protesters are also affected by two other factors, both of which push them in the wrong direction, the ombudsman says. On the one hand, they are infected by the attitudes of the Russian Guard whose officers are far more inclined to use force against the population than are the police. And on the other – and this is more critical – the recent decisions of the powers that be to put the police in masks gives many there the sense that they cannot be identified and therefore can do anything they like without fear of reprisal from the population or punishment by the authorities for illegal actions. Many in the police are unhappy with what is happening and leaving. “I have the sense,” Vorontsov says, that “everything is falling apart.” Those sent to control demonstrations aren’t getting the extra money they are promised, and therefore, “the larger the demonstrations in the future, the more the interior ministry will be shaken within,” with more officers leaving. n Another police veteran, now retired, suggests that an additional factor is at work. Andrey Ivanov who worked in the police in Pskov oblast for many years before retiring in 2015 says that ever more police have experience working in the North Caucasus where brutal behavior by the police and other siloviki is the norm. When they return to Russia proper, they bring that experience back with them, he says, and they think that acting toward civil protesters as they acted toward militants in the Caucasus mountains is entirely reasonable, appropriate and effective, yet another way the events in one place are bleeding into another (mbk-news.appspot.com/region/ne-konchenye-a-zhertvy/).
Simultaneous civil unrest in Moscow and Hong Kong presents the state authorities in Russia and China with similar challenges, but just how do the police crackdowns in these two cities really compare? To get a better idea, BBC Russian Service correspondent Artem Voronin spoke to activists in Moscow and Hong Kong, and asked them about how law enforcement is responding to protesters, comparing police tactics in Moscow and Hong Kong along five lines: cruelty, rioting criminal charges, the use of provocateurs, battle formations, and officers from out of town. Meduza summarizes Voronin’s report. Cruelty Moscow: The police have beaten protesters in street confrontations and attacked demonstrators already in custody. Arresting officers even broke Konstantin Konovalov’s leg, while he was out jogging hours before a planned protest, and state investigators later concluded that the officers acted lawfully. In his first public comments about Moscow’s opposition demonstrations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the police response has been “absolutely justified,” and argued that it’s protesters who are guilty of resorting to violence. Hong Kong: According to Joshua Wong, a student activist and the secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō, the level of police violence escalated significantly, after demonstrators started occupying the city’s airport. Wong speculates that the police are using greater violence against some protesters (for example, officers recently fired rubber bullets at close range and used tear gas in a subway skirmish), while refraining from a full-scale crackdown at the airport. Wong thinks this dual approach is meant to intimidate the airport occupiers. Tommy Cheung, who helped lead student protests in 2014, says, “The strategy has changed. Before, they simply cleared the streets with tear gas, and they stopped when it was done. Now they chase down activists, to arrest them or beat them.” He says police officials have also started calling protesters “cockroaches,” apparently to dehumanize them and justify greater cruelty against demonstrators. According to Cheung, the authorities are even arresting anyone who seeks medical treatment for wounds caused by the police’s rubber bullets. Rioting Moscow: Russia’s laws against rioting stipulate strict penalties: up to eight years in prison for participation, and up to 15 for organization. Officials in the capital have now charged 13 people with participating in supposed riots on July 27 (activists and human rights officials dispute this characterization of the day’s events), and all but one (a diabetic who was hospitalized after the police confiscated his insulin) are now in pretrial detention. Hong Kong: Tommy Cheung says there are now 44 people charged with rioting, and each faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Hong Kong’s laws against civil unrest, moreover, define rioting extremely broadly. According to Amnesty International UK, the defendants in this case cannot expect fair trials. Provocateurs Moscow: Reviewing footage of Moscow’s July 27 rally, videoblogger Alexey Romanov spotted a young man who called on demonstrators to attack the police, and then disappeared, in an apparent effort to give the authors a pretext to escalate their crackdown on the peaceful assembly. (Meduza has also learned that a PR consultant may have worked with members of Moscow’s law enforcement to obtain activists’ contact information, which was then used to encourage them to rally groups of “physically fit people, exclusively guys and men,” in order to “fight back against the devils in uniform.”) Hong Kong: Joshua Wong says the police have embedded spies in the opposition. On social media, activists have shared videos that show men dressed as protesters apparently aiding the police, and some suspected provocateurs have come to protests with foreign flags. Battle formations Moscow: To arrest protesters, small teams of officers typically advance from a police cordon and then drag a targeted demonstrator back behind the police line. Two officers usually arrest a single protester, while as many as four officers are used against activists who resist. If demonstrators cling to each other or resist once in custody, they’re kicked, punched, or hit with clubs, until they surrender. When moving against entire crowds, police advance in a line, to force protesters from a certain area. There are usually two lines of police, with a second line hitting protesters by reaching over the shoulders of the first advancing line. Officers also divide crowds into smaller “sectors,” making protesters easier to control, while trapping activists inside police lines, where they can be arrested. Hong Kong: The protests in Hong Kong are far larger and more intense than in Mocscow. Demonstrations have been almost constant for roughly 10 weeks, and activists clash openly with the police, both of whom are equipped for serious acts of violence. While Moscow’s protest confrontations have happened mostly in close quarters, the fighting in Hong Kong is nearer to trench warfare, where the police establish perimeters from which they fire tear gas. When going on the offensive, police advance with shields in rows, or small groups move forward behind a shielded officer, and then pounce on protesters in close combat. The protesters, meanwhile, are outfitted in helmets and homemade padding, and are often armed with bats. Out-of-town officers Moscow: According to the VKontakte group Police Ombudsman, 400 officers from Vladimir, Kaluga, Rzyan, Tver, Tula, Smolensk, Yaroslavl, and outside Moscow were brought in to police Moscow’s July 27 rally, when the authorities suppressed what they later said was “mass rioting.” Hong Kong: According to Joshua Wong, officials have brought in officers from mainland China and dressed them in the uniforms of local law enforcement. He says this could be because the protests are now so large that local police cannot handle them, but it’s also the case that regional officials, not China’s Central Interior Ministry, controls the local police. If the city declares a curfew, Joshua Wong says, it will be mainland police who enforce it.
The ongoing conflict between Moscow’s Election Commission and a group of unregistered independent City Duma candidates has led to some of the largest protests in years, as well as several criminal investigations targeting political activists. In addition to the widely publicized “Moscow Case” against supposed rioters at an unpermitted rally on July 27, there are at least five other election-related probes now in progress. At Meduza’s request, Mediazona journalist Maxim Litavrin compiled a complete guide to all the various criminal charges.
Tens of thousands of Muscovites are fighting for a fair election in the city at Russia’s heart. State TV and pro-Kremlin media are casting them as a freaky assortment of fringe groups out to subver…
The head of the local chapter of Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation says he has been removed from the list of registered candidates for the upcoming municipal elections.
A court in Moscow has sent a civil rights activist to pretrial detention under a controversial law that criminalizes participation in more than one unsanctioned protest within a 180-day period.
One of four activists who had their two-month pretrial detention terms upheld on August 15 has thanked a Moscow court for proving the point of thousands of Russians who have taken to the streets in…
Protests for free elections in Russia hit a climax this week after a video, which has since gone viral, appeared to show a police officer violently punching a female demonstrator in the stomach following what officials called the largest such gathering in eight years.
A widely-condemned video that shows a Russian riot police officer punching a woman in the stomach on the day of a sanctioned protest for free elections will be investigated by authorities, state-run media in the country has reported.
Hours after St. Petersburg Acting Governor Alexander Beglov declared himself to be the gubernatorial race’s only candidate without party affiliation, his biography disappeared from the website of United Russia, the country’s ruling political party. Still archived by Internet search engines, Beglov’s United Russia bio described him as a member of the party’s high council and the former head of its St. Petersburg branch. The online anomaly was first reported by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Russia’s government is trying to put Soviet-style restrictions on scientists’ contact with foreign peers, requiring them to ask permission and report back on meetings.
A court in the Siberian town of Kiselyovsk has fined an American woman after she interviewed local residents who had asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide them with asylum.
A CNN reporter said she was targeted by a Russian propaganda campaign following her exclusive report on the country’s activity in Africa.
A CNN reporter said she was targeted by a Russian propaganda campaign following her exclusive report on the country’s activity in Africa and a secretive mercenary group called Wagner. CNN has discovered that Wagner now has hundreds of fighters operating on three different continents.
A Moscow court has ruled that French banker Philippe Delpal can be transferred from pretrial detention to house arrest pending trial on fraud charges, while the head of his company, U.S. investor M…
Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – The recent signing of an agreement between the All Cossack Social Center and the Assembly of the Peoples of the North Caucasus, one that treats the Cossacks as a people with national-territorial aspirations, has sparked discussions about the status of the Cossacks and Moscow’s attitudes toward them. (On the agreement, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/08/all-cossack-social-center-and-assembly.htmland for additional materials published after that article, see voccentr.info/voc-rabochaya-poezdka-na-severnyj-kavkaz/and voccentr.info/intervyu-opublikovannoe-chastichno/. For background on Cossack aspirations, see this author’s “Cossackia: No Longer an Impossible Dream?” Jamestown Eurasia Daily Monitor, February 21, 2019 at jamestown.org/program/cossackia-no-longer-an-impossible-dream/and the sources cited therein.) The Kavkaz-Uzel news agency has now published two surveys of expert opinion about the current state of play concerning the status of the Cossacks as well as why and how Russian officials continue to block their claims to nationhood (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/338918/and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/339056/). The comments the scholars make are important not only for what they say about the Cossacks but also for the insights they offer about how Russian officials and researchers understand ethnicity and what officials can do to manipulate the situation via the census and other means. Aleksey Gun of the Moscow Institute of Geography says that in his view, “a people [narod] is something more than an ethnos or nation; it is a certain historical community in which people position themselves in common in relation to worldwide processes. But if one speaks specifically about the Cossacks, I would not use the word ‘people.’” The issue of whether the Cossacks are an ethnic group is a more serious one, he says; but again, in his view, the Cossacks are not one but rather a sub-ethnos of the Russian nation.” They lack too many of the characteristics he believes are needed for this separate status, and Moscow isn’t ready to recognize them as a separate people. Sergey Abashin, an anthropologist at the European Institute in St. Petersburg, says that the problem is complicated by the fact that some believe that people are members of a group if they believe themselves to be while others insist that they are only if they share a series of characteristics. “The desire to be recognized as a people existed among the Cossacks at the beginning of the 20th century, but then the Cossacks lacked the political will to achieve that.” Instead, they remained largely a social stratum. “In Soviet times, they were repressed and included in the Russian people,” he says. According to Abashin, “from time to time, ideas have appeared that the Cossacks are a people, but there is no mobilization, mass support of Cossacks and political will behind such ideas.” And he notes that the number of people identifying as Cossacks in the census fell fro 140,028 in 2002 to 67,573 in 2010. That reflects several things, he suggests, including assimilation, the inclusion of the category of “Russian Cossacks,” and the actions of census takers who included them as Russians even if they weren’t, all factors that reflect what the powers that be want and work against other non-Russians as well. Yevgeny Varshaver, a sociologist at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, acknowledges that there is little agreement on who constitutes a people and who does not. Instead, many scholars follow the political decisions of the countries in which they live, including Russia. Eduard Burda, a historian and the author of The Terek Cossack Uprising of 1918, says many Cossacks continue to identify as a separate people but Moscow doesn’t want that to continue because it fears that if the Cossacks identify as a people, they will ultimately make territorial demands. The government’s “state registry of Cossacks,” he says, has “only one goal,” to undermine the possibility of such an identity. And it has been “successful,” because officials have listed people on it “from the street who have no relationship at all to the people.” Genuine Cossacks, he says, are thus leaving the registry. Dmitry Uznarodov, a researcher at the Cossack Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Southern Scientific Center, notes that demands for recognition of the Cossacks as a people come not from those on the register but from “unregistered” Cossacks and the regime won’t recognize them. Andrey Benkov of the Southern Federal University says “for the majority of Cossacks it is not so important whether they are recognized as a people or not. Real Cossacks calls themselves a people.” But if Moscow “officially” declares they aren’t, Cossacks will be angry, so the center should avoid doing that. Finally, Yury Anchabadze of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology says that he doesn’t see any danger to the state from recognizing the Cossacks as a people as long as they remain a cultural community and do not make political demands. But he believes that at present such recognition is “impossible.”
Twenty-three people, including nine children, have been hospitalized with injuries after a Ural Airlines aircraft made an emergency landing in a farmer’s field near Moscow. The airline said on August 15 that one of its Airbus A321 aircraft made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Zhukovsky airport on the outskirts of Moscow after birds were sucked into its engines.
The crew of a Ural Airlines aircraft is being hailed as heroes after making an emergency landing in a farmer’s field near Moscow with no fatalities among the 233 people on board.
A Russian airliner carrying 226 passengers made an emergency landing outside Moscow on Thursday after hitting a flock of birds during take-off, causing both engines to malfunction, according to the airline.
A Russian passenger jet flew into a flock of birds then crash-landed in a cornfield just outside a Moscow airport Thursday, according to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency.
On the morning of August 15, an Airbus A321 made an emergency landing in a corn field outside Moscow, after losing its engines in a collision with a flock of birds. The Ural Airlines flight had just taken off from Zhukovsky, en route for the Crimean city of Simferopol. All 233 people on board survived, though 29 people have been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
On the morning of August 15, an Airbus A321 plane owned by Ural Airlines took off for Simferopol but never arrived. Shortly after leaving the Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow, the plane made an emergency landing with 233 people on board. A flock of seagulls had collided with the jet during takeoff, with birds falling into both engines. One of the engines lost power, and the other caught fire.
The United States is interested in the proposal of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to join the Normandy format. — Ukrinform.
The United States believes it interesting a proposal of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to expand Normandy Four thanks to the United States or the United Kingdom and it is mulling this possibility, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. in Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor has said in an interview with European Pravda ezine published on Thursday.
The comprehensive meeting between the presidents of Ukraine and the United States will take place in Washington, D.C. a month or two after a brief meeting in Warsaw early September or at the UN General Assembly session in New York. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal has announced that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the United States is almost agreed. The Ukrainian president first spoke on the phone with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 25.
U.S. Charge d’Affairs in Ukraine William Taylor stated that there is no visit to Ukraine in the schedule of U.S. President Donald Trump. The visits of such level are planned in advance as European Truth reported. According to Taylor, he would like the U.S. President to have such plans as he want to meet Trump in Ukraine. The Charge d’Affairs noted that the visit of the top-official from Washington shows that this or that capital is important for the U.S. Such visits are always a sign, signal. “It is more than symbolism,” Taylor added.
Taylor is convinced that Zelensky should hold talks with Putin to discuss the issues of Donbas, the Black Sea, and the Kerch Strait.
President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda has called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to maintain sanctions against the Russian Federation until Russian aggression against Ukraine ceases. Nausėda met with Merkel amid an official visit to Germany.
Chief Directorate of Ukrainian Intelligence of Defense Ministry described several possible scenarios of possible Russian invasion in the coming years, reports Radio Liberty with reference to Ivan Aparshin, the head of the Security and Defense Office of the Secretariat of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers. The first and most dangerous scenario Ukrainian intelligence considers a full-scale war against Ukraine. If Moscow makes such a decision, it will be implemented as soon as possible, and airstrikes could be carried out at important military and industrial facilities. According to Ukrainian Intelligence, Russia has deployed about 500 aircraft and more than 300 military helicopters near the border with Ukraine. The ground invasion could follow the airstrikes: according to Kyiv, about 80 thousand Russian soldiers are stationed near the Ukrainian border and in the territories of Ukraine temporally controlled by Russia. The Ukrainian military believes that Russia may also use non-strategic nuclear warheads. Ukrainian intelligence assumes that only in the Crimea there are five warships, six submarines and 12 fighter jets, capable of carrying missiles with nuclear warheads. According to the second scenario, Russia will use special operations forces and illegal militia groups to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. According to the Research Manager of the Ukrainian Center for the Army Studies, Conversion, and Disarmament Valentin Badrak, in this case, sabotage and intelligence groups can begin to “destroy arsenals” and provoke technological disasters, which, in turn, can cause fear and distrust of the authorities among the population. The third scenario assumes the start of a border conflict. The Ukrainian military considers the Russian-Ukrainian border, the “occupied territories of Ukraine,” and the border with Transnistria and Belarus to be potentially dangerous areas. The fourth scenario assumes that Russia will start a war with neighboring countries, and Ukraine will be drawn into the conflict. Ukrainian intelligence does not think that this scenario is highly likely. According to analysts, the scenarios of possible aggression should be considered in the development and reorganizing of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Ukraine has completed the transfer of the criminal case against the persons suspected in the crash of MH17 flight to the Netherlands, reports Ukrainski Noviny news agency with reference to the Security Service of Ukraine. The materials of the case mention three citizens of Russia and one citizen of Ukraine, including former Defense Minister of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic Igor Girkin (Strelkov). Security Service of Ukraine refused to specify, whether the order for the arrest of suspects was issued and if the measure of restraint is chosen. It is estimated that the trial will start on March 2020. International Investigation Agency officially named the suspects of the airplane crash in June. Besides Girkin suspects are Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and the citizen of Ukraine Leonid Kharchenko. According to investigators, they shot down the liner by the anti-aircraft missile system delivered from Russia. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 over separatist-held territory of the Donetsk region. All 298 people on board were killed. Passengers of the flight included citizens of 10 countries. The majority of the victims (196 people) were citizens of the Netherlands. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT)—which includes representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine—has carried out criminal investigation of the tragedy. The countries participating in the investigation have agreed not to create a separate tribunal, and decided that those responsible would be brought before the Dutch court. On May 24, 2018, the JIT presented additional evidence of Russia’s crucial role in the tragic air disaster. The JIT concluded that the Buk ground-to-air missile system that shot down the passenger airplane was in service of the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk. On May 25, the Dutch government took steps to hold Russia accountable for the crash of flight MH17, a process which will be managed separately from prosecuting the perpetrators. Australia stated it will seek payment of compensation from Russia to the families of the MH17 crash victims.
Ukraine passed all the materials on MH17 crash to the Netherlands
A court in the town of Kopeysk, Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, has refused to transfer Ukrainian political prisoner Oleksandr Kolchenko from imprisonment in a colony to correctional labor. Kolchenko was seeking the transfer to correctional labor because of the need to support his mother.
Over the past day, August 14, one Ukrainian military serviceman was killed in the Donbas warzone as Russian-occupation forces opened fire at the Ukrainian positions in breach of the latest ceasefire agreement. The Ukrainian side reports 13 enemy attacks over the past day.
On August 14, the armed formations of the Russian Federation and its mercenaries violated ceasefire in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas 13 times. — Ukrinform.
Spokesman for Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Dmytro Hutsuliak says Russian-led forces have mounted five attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas since Thursday midnight. There have been no casualties among the Ukrainian soldiers.
On August 12, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) recorded 8 Grad multiple launch rocket systems, a tank and dozens of armoured combat vehicles in the occupied Donbas. — Ukrinform.
Observers with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission say they lost an unmanned aerial vehicle in the Donbas warzone after spotting “small-arms fire assessed as directed at” the UAV near Obozne, the settlement occupied by Russia-controlled forces. The monitors were unable to recover it.
The SBU’s Anti-Corruption Department has been for more than a month monitoring Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Yuriy Hrymchak and his assistant Ihor Ovdienko received the first part of the bribe. The official and his aide earlier received US$600,000 as first part of the bribe.
The Ministry of National Defense of Poland is considering the possibility to start along with Ukraine joint works to upgrade Soviet-made MiG-29 (Fulcrum) fighter jets aircraft. Modernization works will be carried out at the capacities of Lviv Aviation Repair Plant.
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 at the State Enterprise Lviv State Aviation and Repair Plant, which is part of Ukroboronprom. Defense Express reports with reference to the Concern press service . On the Polish side, representatives of several aviation industry companies participated in the event. From Ukrainian – representatives of Ukroboronprom, heads of state aviation repair companies and 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 modernization 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. Recall that the Polish Air Force has more than 30 MiG-29 fighter jets (of these, officially, only 21 are combat capable – note DE). However, after the crash of this type of aircraft in March this year. their flights are prohibited. Thus, only 48 F-16 fighter jets are now protected by the sky in Poland. Earlier, on May 16, the Ministry of National Defense of Poland announced its intention to acquire the first squadron of these fighter jets (16 aircraft) by 2026 and the second squadron (the remaining 16 aircraft) shortly after 2026 for the purchase of 32 F-35As. F-35A fighter planes are to replace Soviet-made 1980s fighter jets in the Polish Air Force – MiG-29 fighter jets and Su-22M4 fighter jets (26 of them are now officially ready to fly only 12 units – approx. DE). The purchase of the F-35A will be made through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The Armed Forces, for their part, are currently estimated to have between 40 (according to The Military Balance 2018) and 120 MiG-29 fighter jets. It is also known that for several years the works on deep modernization of such planes have been carried out at the State Enterprise “Lviv State Aviation Repair Plant” (MiG-29MU2).
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression at the Lviv State Aviation and Repair Plant, which is part of the Ukroboronprom SC, about 30 frontal MiG-29 fighter jets have been repaired and modernized. This information was made public by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak during his visit to the LDARZ on May 3, Defense Express reports. ” In recent years, you have put on the wing of almost 30 aircraft. Partially repaired, partly modernized . ” – said the Minister of Defense. News on the topic: LDARZ UPDATES PRODUCTION CAPACITIES FOR REPAIRING MILITARY AVIATION At the same time, he noted that the repair and modernization of Ukrainian combat aircraft is carried out using exactly domestic parts and units. News on the topic: Armed Forces received two modernized MIG-29MU1 fighters “ Now, not only do we repair our aircraft, we have learned how to upgrade with our components , it is a very important element in enhancing the combat capabilities of the Air Force. And today the plant works in this mode – repair and modernization of the components manufactured at the enterprises of Ukraine ”, – said Stepan Poltorak.
The Kharkov armored plant, which is a part of Ukroboronprom, has completed the regulated repair and modernization of 10 T-64BV tanks for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. About it reports ArmyInform . These fighting vehicles came from the Donbass fighting area in the spring of this year. Within a few months, the company’s specialists had rebuilt almost all systems and units, replaced defective devices, tested weapons, and installed modern communications, satellite navigation equipment and even rear view cameras. According to the management of the enterprise, since the beginning of 2014 Kharkov tank repairmen have already repaired more than 230 units of T-64 tanks of various modifications and T-80. Now another large group of T-80 armored vehicles is being repaired in the shops. It is planned that in October, after the successful restoration and testing of the range, these tanks will also be sent to the combat units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Kharkov Armored Plant State Enterprise completed regular repairs and modernization of the T-64BV party in the number of 10 vehicles for the needs of the Armed Forces in Kharkiv. About it reports Army Inform In addition, at the end of July, the Lviv Armored Plant transferred a batch of refurbished and upgraded T-64BVs to the Armed Forces of eight units. The Kharkov enterprise T-64BV arrived in the spring of 2019 from the area of fighting in the Donbass in a rather poor state. For several months, the specialists of the defense-industrial complex have carried out a considerable amount of work: they have restored the work of almost all systems and units, replaced the defective devices, checked the work of armaments, as well as installed modern means of communication, satellite navigation equipment and even rear view cameras. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 230 units of T-64 tanks of various modifications and T-80 have been repaired by Kharkov tank repairmen. Now another large group of T-80 armored vehicles is being repaired in the shops. It is planned that in October, after the successful restoration and testing of the range, these tanks will also be sent to the combat units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The SE “Lviv Armored Plant” this year also launched a serial modernization of the 2017 T-64 tanks equipped with thermal imagers, digital radios, satellite navigation and new dynamic protection. The T-64BVs were restored and upgraded at the Lviv Armored Plant T-64BV restored and upgraded at Lviv Armored Plant Photo: Ukroboronprom In addition to T-64, the company repairs T-72 tanks, as well as manufacturing machines based on them.
A huge trailer, a crane with an arrow, a bulldozer, an excavator arrived. The roar stood good all day, set in the evening. Already the Muscovites had to watch what was happening to us. The fighters of one of the brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, part of the United Forces, are testing for the first week new advanced modular houses , reports ArmyInform . They are said to be much more comfortable than blinds, but not suitable for use on the front. The reason is the lack of armored protection, that is, in the event of an enemy projectile will be destroyed with the people inside. Company commander Vitaliy Ivanovich, whose fighters are testing the six-seater module, shows positions and new housing: – Here, look, they brought us these houses from the very beginning, – says the company emotionally. – A huge trailer, boom crane, bulldozer, excavator arrived. Installation work was completed only in the evening. The roar stood good all day. Already the Muscovites had to watch what was happening to us. Good thing we have a truce now. And if not? From our positions to the enemy from 400 to 1200 meters. LNG is extracted, MSK is extracted, even PKM is extracted. What do you think the enemy would give us to set them up? Maybe he would give it to cover everyone at night. They saw where the equipment worked. At the front of the hidden do all the work is simply impossible. Ivanovich says that a few months ago, it was in these positions that the enemy went. In half an hour 32 mines arrived. People were rescued by the strong cover of the blinds. “There is not much need for this house,” the officer says. – There will be a few inclusions. The result is futile work and money spent. The main task of commanders is to save the lives of personnel. The Chief of the General Staff also constantly emphasizes this. So let’s dig in as deep as possible. The house was also buried. Due to the lack of a bathroom and communications it was possible to lower it deep underground. Made overlaps of powerful logs in three rolls, everything is fine. For internal equipment, the fighters have minimal remarks. In general, what about the ergonomic placement of shelves, bedside tables, desktops. The guys are unpretentious and happy about any improvement in comfort. However, they do not understand why plastic windows underground. Another drawback is that there is no spare output from the module. And according to the security measures it should be. At the position of the adjacent company are testing another modification of the housing module – to four berths with amenities inside. Warriors are embarrassed by its price – almost half a million hryvnias for a lined container with beds and a bathroom, as well as communications and units. They say: “Now we will install it, connect it, and then go to rotation, and the house will remain if its enemy does not destroy it. And we have no PPD, you know? The team has been living in tents since 2015! ” Demonstrates the module Maxim – operator reconnaissance combat reconnaissance machine. – Here is a housing module for four berths with amenities inside brought last week, – he says. – Inside there is a toilet, washbasin, shower, air conditioning. The lodge is comfortable, nice, something like a block in a hostel. This is much better than living in tents with stoves, firewood, smoke and carbon monoxide. There is air conditioning and electric heating. An interesting situation arises: we have better conditions near the occupied Gorlovka than after the rotation. Better into the dugout… – the military is testing new housing modules Maxim is concerned that through the nodes of provision and communication of the bathroom such a module can not be deeply dug. This is a major drawback. It can only be used on the surface, and this is a risk. – Hit the projectile – and the house just won’t. I think they should be set far from the front line, where the risks of arrivals are minimal. If the shelling begins, no one will run here to hide. One hit – and it just won’t happen. Better into the dugout…
112 Ukraine International Editorial Council expressed concerned about possibility to lose license for broadcast
A Ukrainian deputy minister and his aide have been detained after allegedly taking a bribe worth $480,000, the National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) said on Facebook.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has called businessman Victor Pinchuk in for questioning as a witness in criminal proceedings. His questioning is scheduled for August 27.
Ukraine’s largest private electricity and coal producer says the anti-graft bureau has no “basis” to charge its employees with manipulating electrical power prices, Kyiv-based Concorde Capital inve…
Ukraine’s Acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun and Minister of Education and Science Lilia Hrynevych say children who have not been vaccinated according to the relevant schedule will not be allowed to attend kindergartens and schools. Ukraine is fully provided with vaccines both for children and adults.
As economic growth falls across Europe, Ukraine may be embarking on an upswing. The pace – 4.6% – was unexpectedly quick.
A community of Russian Baptists have been forced to hold their meetings outside after local authorities sealed off their prayer room — saying it did not meet anti-terrorism regulations. The case follows a U.S. government report highlighting “repressive behavior” by Russia towards religious minorities.