Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (259)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Two interesting analyses on the dubious alliance of convenience between Muscovy and Beijing – how long it persists remains to be seen.

Much on the Greenland proposal – both rational analysis and some very emotional criticism.

A major update on the “Flying Chernobyl” FUBAR. Excellent analysis by Prof Blank, and some good observations by Johnson. The latest development is a cited sixty Archangelsk medical personnel exposed to radioactive contamination as a result of handling and treating the victims of the accident – the security personnel did not tell them the victims were radioactive. Very Chekist Russia. Reports that military medical personnel deployed to Nyonoksa to test local inhabitants for exposure. A multiplicity of related reports, and some supposedly technical analyses that belong in Sputnik or RT, not mainstream Western media.

Protests in Muscovy continue. Much analysis. Piontkovsky on the breakdown of the contrived social contract of the Czar-like Vozhd defending the masses from the evil Boyar-like bureaucracy. Some pessimistic but highly probable predictions by Kalinichenko and Volkov. Other reports on Russia’s descent.

US CDA in Kyiv Taylor comments on Donbas. Updates on Azov region, Minsk negotiations, and Crimea – VKS launches an ASM inside a hangar.

Donbas update, and miscellaneous reports on AFU and SBU.

Politics update. More war movies in production, the latest about the Battle of Konotop, a defeat that seldom appears in Russian history texts, and another episode in the 800 years running and continuing “Eternal War” between Ukraine and Russia.

An interesting OCU update.

‘Intimidation, repression and dodgy deals’: How Putin and Xi’s ‘bond’ could ‘blow up Asia’ – NZ Herald

A new situation in Asia has the Western world on edge. The geopolitical seismic shift is a tinderbox that could blow up international relations. A bromance is blossoming between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Together, they’ve declared a new axis of power to counter US “interference”. But it’s a dangerous bond that could blow up Asia and send shockwaves through the world. One surprise clash in July marked a seismic shift in international relations. Two Chinese H-6K strategic bombers threaded their way above international waters to meet up with two Russian Tu-05 “Bear” bombers. They then “probed” the airspace of an island claimed by both South Korea and Japan. It resulted in 300 rounds of cannon fire being shot off as the air forces of four nations squared off in the skies of the Sea of Japan. An international incident was barely avoided, but that was the least of it. It represents the creation of a new axis of power: the combined military might of China and Russia. It’s confirmation of a new cold war with the Pacific’s free democracies, the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and others.

Opinion: Putin and Xi are gambling with their countries’ futures – The Globe and Mail

The leaders’ authoritarian overreach leaves Russia and China isolated from the world stage

UAWire – Russia demands compensation from China for deforestation in Siberia

Russia is expecting China to invest in a joint project to restore the forest in Siberia in the wake of illegal logging and subsequent exportation to china, Dmitry Kobylkin, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, told Vedomosti in an interview. He said that “serious work” is being done with the Chinese. “I asked their law enforcement agencies to get involved,” Kobylkin explained, “Because I really don’t like the fact that we are dealing with their ‘comrades’ on our own here in Russia. They come, buy timber, and we have to clean up the rubble.” Russia’s proposal is to establish seeding facilities and plantations along the border “in order to restore for our children and grandchildren that which the black market woodcutters cut down,” Kobylkin noted. “China must understand clearly,” he emphasized, “that if they don’t get involved in resolving this problem, we will have no choice but to ban timber exports altogether.” The cost of the project will not be exorbitant, he observed, requiring about $30 million from Russia and $60 million from China. “The important thing is for their government to take control of attracting investment. Members of China’s Communist Party were present during the conversation and fully supported me. They are serious about discipline,” the Russian minister observed. Currently the Russian forests are a temporary supplementary source of inexpensive wood which can be treated extremely casually, just as the existing Russian laws and traditions allow, note experts from GreenPeace Russia. Although China is cutting down its own forests more than Russia’s, in China industrial logging is prohibited in wild forests, especially in the mountains, and huge funds are invested in the cultivation of forests on developed land, including land previously used for agriculture and especially purchased from farmers. In Russia, one tenth of all forests, roughly 100 million hectares, effectively has no legal status, GreenPeace observes: they grow on land designated for agriculture, and are not considered forests on paper, which is why they are not protected against deforestation or fires. The new Forest Code adopted in 2006 led to a nearly 75% drop in the number of people employed in the forestry sector, the experts note. Moreover, the people who are meant to protect the forest now spend roughly three quarters of their time dealing with bureaucratic tasks.

Russia, Iran Cite ‘Ecological Concerns’ In Opposing Trans-Caspian Pipeline

Russia and Iran have raised old concerns about possible ecological damage if the Trans-Caspian Pipeline is built, despite a deal last year by the Caspian Sea’s five littoral countries. Will Moscow …


Greenland’s not for sale, but it is strategically important

The presence of Thule Air Force Base makes Greenland a major strategic asset for the U.S. – and China would love to join in.

Buying Greenland isn’t a good idea — it’s a great idea

The reaction to President Trump’s sudden interest in buying Greenland from Denmark has been mostly one of derision. And Denmark, which owns the territory, appears to oppose any sale.

Leonid Bershidsky | Trump Isn’t Crazy to Want to Buy Greenland – Bloomberg

The island is not for sale, but a market for sovereign territories isn’t such an outlandish idea.

Cillizza’s Folly: CNN edits article criticizing purchase of Alaska in Greenland debate

CNN host and analyst Chris Cillizza criticized the 1867 purchase of Alaska by the United States in a Friday opinion article detailing the potential problems if the U.S. pursued the purchase of Greenland.

President Trump’s interest in buying Greenland: 5 questions, answered – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed interest in recent weeks in buying Greenland.

Eyeing Greenland, Trump Again Mixes Real Estate With Diplomacy – The New York Times

The president, ever the real estate maven, has marveled over Greenland’s untapped natural resources. But an expert says his interest represents an “antiquated way of looking at things.”

‘Greenland Is Not for Sale’: Trump’s Talk of a Purchase Draws Derision – The New York Times

Residents of the semiautonomous Danish territory were apoplectic, and Denmark gave a chilly reception to the president’s idea.

Donald Trump: US President eager to buy Greenland – will this stop UK travel to Denmark? | Travel News | Travel |

DONALD TRUMP, the President of the United States of America, has revealed his eagerness to buy the huge island of Greenland. The area, in Denmark, with a population of more than 56,000 has been targeted by the state leader – but will Britons still be able to travel there if he goes ahead with the buy? Details revealed.

Greenland says it’s ‘open for business, not for sale’ after Trump purchase report | Fox News

Greenland dismissed reports that U.S. President Donald Trump has thought about purchasing the world’s biggest island, saying it “open for business, not for sale.”

Denmark: Trump’s Plan to Buy Greenland Is ‘Final Proof That He’s Gone Mad’

Danish politicians called Trump’s inquiry about buying Greenland and its 50,000 residents an out-of-season April Fools joke.

Greenland’s ice sheet just lost 11 billion tons of ice — in one day – CNN

Greenland’s ice sheet just experienced its biggest melt of the summer, according to scientists, losing 11 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean.


Stephen Blank | Russia’s response to nuclear disaster: lie, cover up — and put the world at risk | TheHill

Russia is prone to nuclear catastrophes. But these disasters don’t place Russians alone at risk. Sooner or later, they could place the world in danger, as one very nearly did three decades ago. A 1960 weapons test killed many senior military officials; Moscow covered up that disaster. Then, in 1986, Russian authorities first tried to cover up the Chernobyl power plant explosion even as it threatened hundreds of thousands of lives across Russia and Europe and eventually killed 4,000 to 16,000 people, according to conservative estimates. In 2000, they again covered up and published misleading reports on the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster. Then, last month, the nuclear-powered Losharik submarine, whose mission remains classified, caught fire, killing 14 senior officers. And now, on Aug. 8, a nuclear explosion at the Nenoska weapons-testing range has killed at least seven people, including senior scientists. This latest catastrophe appears to have arisen from a testing failure with the so-called Burevestnik — “Thunderbird” or “Stormy Petrel” (NATO reporting name: SSC-X-9 Skyfall) — nuclear-powered cruise missile. With radiation levels spiking in the region, Russian officials initially ordered the evacuation of one village — six days after the incident — and then reportedly canceled it. They have closed a portion of the nearby White Sea to civilian ships. This new disaster, as in preceding cases, strongly underscores the enduring pathologies of Russian governance, pathologies deeply embedded in Russian political culture even before the October 1917 Revolution and revived by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state. They don’t only endanger Russians. Sooner or later, they will put much of the world in danger, as they very nearly did during the Chernobyl disaster. The first common denominator of these nuclear crises is instinctive, pervasive official mendacity and secrecy. These behavioral reactions to crises are ingrained in Russian bureaucracy, where one survives by avoiding responsibility and hiding the truth from the boss. In all cases — Chernobyl, the Losharik, and now the Nenoska debacle — local and central authorities not only hid critical details from domestic and foreign audiences, they actively lied as to what was going on. Indeed, we still do not know and may never know exactly what caused this latest nuclear failure. Since nobody in Russian government is accountable to anything other than his or her superior, nobody has any incentive to be truthful about anything happening on their watch. The ingrained secrecy reflex derives not only from the ancient Russian folkway of not telling foreigners anything because they are the enemy, but also because the bureaucracy inherently believes it has a proprietorial right to information that nobody else has or should have. Officials deeply believe the public has no need or inherent right to know about events affecting their lives. Beyond secrecy and the fact that in Russia, to quote Tennessee Williams, “Mendacity is a system that we live in,” Chernobyl, the Kursk and Losharik submarines and, now, this tragedy also highlight just how incapable local officials are in coping with crises. It is not surprising that officials whose initiative and resources are systematically suppressed at almost every opportunity cannot or will not act on their own. That would mean taking responsibility, an inherently un-Russian bureaucratic behavior. Local administrations’ incapacity to function autonomously is another ongoing centuries-old pathology that continues under Putin’s ever more centralized, massively corrupt administration. Third, this episode, like so many other nuclear tragedies and so much of Russian history, shows the elites’ callous disregard for the welfare, interests and lives of the people. Twenty years ago Anatol Lieven, at the Carnegie Endowment, observed that Russian officials treat their “subjects” (not “citizens”) as less than human beings. Stalin memorably observed that we still have not learned to value the human factor. Clearly, neither has Putin’s government. Fourth, although there are many other enduring similarities between this and the other previous catastrophes, this one reveals much about Russian nuclear policy. Washington looked at the idea of a nuclear-powered cruise missile 60 years ago and abandoned it because of the risk. Somebody obviously sold Putin a scientific bill of goods (another typical event in Soviet and now Russian history) and prevailed because he proposed building a weapon that U.S. missile defenses could not stop. The idiocy of this decision is that innumerable U.S. and Russian experts have long confirmed that U.S. missile defenses cannot stop Russia’s existing nuclear missiles. Therefore, Moscow’s obsessive threat assessment concerning those defenses has no basis in reality. Instead, it reflects Moscow’s abiding hysteria and paranoia concerning foreign threats that actually do not exist other than in the minds of cynical, equally obsessed security services. That hysteria and paranoia, and the pervasive secrecy and mendacity, feed upon each other along with the callous disregard for human life. The tragic results are clear to all. These and other enduring pathologies of Russian governance ensure that Russia will long see itself at war with the West if not the world, and that its paranoia about outsiders derives from its awareness of the regime’s own domestic illegitimacy. Given the growing domestic unrest in Putin’s Russia, this witches brew could, over time, revive another Russian tradition — mass popular unrest. Stephen Blank, Ph.D., is a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College. Blank is an independent consultant focused on the geopolitics and geostrategy of the former Soviet Union, Russia and Eurasia.

Reuben F. Johnson | How Russia Is Tempting Fate—And the Next Chernobyl – The Bulwark

Putin’s most dangerous weapon system is a threat to his people, but also a source of profit to his oligarchs. The world learned why the Russian defense industry could be categorized as “unsafe at any speed” last Thursday when a huge explosion occurred at the Nyonoska missile test range in the far north of Russia on the White Sea. Radiation levels in Severodvinsk immediately spiked to 20 times the normal level, making it clear that this was a nuclear accident of some kind. Initial reports from Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, admitted the explosion was from the test of a “radioisotope source of energy,” while representatives of the corporation told Fontanka, the St. Petersburg-based Northern Russia news outlet, that the mishap involved “a nuclear battery.” Early emergency service announcements in the region even mischaracterized what happened as an explosion from a nearby military ammunition dump. Immediate speculation, which has now been confirmed, was that this was another test of the 9M730 Burevestnik (SSC-X-9 Skyfall) missile. At least seven people were killed in and an unverified number injured. Residents of a nearby village were finally advised to evacuate on Tuesday. Vladimir Putin first revealed the weapon in a State of the Nation speech to the Federal Assembly in March 2018, in what was basically an infomercial for six nuclear delivery doomsday weapon system that are in various stages of development. Besides the Burevestnik were a new liquid-fueled ICBM called the Sarmat that supposedly carries enough warheads to devastate an area the size of France, a hypersonic cruise missile that carries a single two-ton nuclear warhead, an unmanned robot submarine designed to travel for weeks and then surface offshore New York or Los Angeles or in Baltimore harbor to rain enough enhanced radiation warhead weapons to render the ports unusable, and a missile called Kinzhal that can be launched from the centerline of a single Russian MiG-31 fighter aircraft. These weapons, if ever made operational, would be unimaginably destabilizing to the world’s delicate nuclear balance. But until they have been tested adequately, they probably pose more danger to the Russian people themselves than they do anyone else. The Burevestnik has the greatest chances for creating a real disaster, a fact picked up immediately by none other than the former oligarch and Putin critic-in-exile, Mikhail Khodorkovskiy. In a short video response delivered almost immediately after Putin’s presentation, he zeroed in on the Burevestnik when he highlighted Putin speaking “of tests that have already taken place of a new missile that supposedly has an on-board nuclear engine. And where did these tests take place? Overhead of the territory of Russia.” “And of this missile with an on-board nuclear motor – what is that exactly? It is a missile that has a five millimeter internal canister that holds a wildly dangerous radioactive substance and if that missile crashes into some hill—well you can yourselves clearly imagine that this is a territory that will be permanently contaminated. I do not know, but does he [Putin] understand this? And the people who are listening to him—do they understand this? These people who are watching and applauding. You people—do you realize that you are being told that Chernobyl is flying overhead above you?” The Burevestnik is designed to be like any other cruise missile with a nuclear warhead – except that this missile is supposed to have an on-board nuclear reactor that powers its propulsion system. It is not a conventional, air-breathing, small jet engine-powered cruise missile that has a finite supply of jet fuel on-board and therefore range limitations.

Claire Corkhill | ‘Nuclear-powered’ missile accident in Russia – what really happened?

Russia appears to have developed a revolutionary mini-reactor able to power a missile.

Exclusive: Russian Doctors Say They Weren’t Warned Patients Were Nuclear Accident Victims – The Moscow Times

One doctor was reportedly later found to have a radioactive isotope in their muscle tissue.

A cover-up just like Chernobyl: Sixty doctors who treated naked missile technicians wrapped in plastic bags after mystery Russian ‘nuclear explosion’ are ‘flown to Moscow for urgent tests’ after they were NOT told of radiation risk | Daily Mail Online

Three victims arrived naked in plastic bags to Arkhangelsk Regional Clinical Hospital, Russia, after a ‘radiation explosion’ near the village of Nyonska. Medics were not told extent of explosion.

A cover-up just like Chernobyl: Doctors undergo urgent test after treating blast victims | World | News |

DOCTORS who treated workers injured in a “radiation explosion” in Russia have themselves been flown to Moscow for urgent medical tests, according to reports.

Medics helping radiation explosion victims left stricken after ‘Chernobyl-like injuries’ – World News – Mirror Online

Doctor found to have highly-dangerous Caesium-137 in muscle tissue after treating patients hit by ‘weapons testing accident’ at Arkhangelsk Hospital in Russia

Has an entire Russian town been poisoned by Putin’s secret ‘nuclear disaster’? Military doctors descend on town nearest to mystery blast to give every resident an ‘urgent health check’ | Daily Mail Online

The ‘health examinations’ follow a visit to Nyonoksa, Russia the village nearest to the site of a mysterious explosion that killed five weapons researchers, by ‘people in military uniform’.

‘We Remember Chernobyl’: Information Vacuum Around Arkhangelsk Blast Riles Locals

Emergency responders have been sent to Moscow for evaluation. People are being warned not to eat fish. More than a week after a mysterious explosion at a Russian naval test range on the White Sea, …

In Russia, After the Radiation Came the Rumors – The New York Times

Coping with an unseen risk, residents of a city near a nuclear accident turned to one another for advice. The government has mostly remained silent.

What a mysterious explosion tells us about Russia’s ‘doomsday weapon’ – CNN

An explosion. An abruptly-canceled evacuation. Five dead nuclear experts. And a few traces of radioactive iodine in Norway. These are the fingerprints of what appears to have been Russia’s latest failed bid to test its so-called ‘Skyfall’ missile.

Was Deadly Explosion Off the Arctic Coast the Result of a Nuclear-Powered Russian Weapon? | Live Science

An explosion off Russia’s Arctic coast has led to speculation that the incident resulted from a failed test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Do the details add up?

‘Vengeance Weapon’: The Deadly Nuclear Accident and Russia’s Plan to Surpass US Nuke Tech | CBN News

A deadly nuclear explosion in Russia last week was another sign the country is working to build up its nuclear weapons program. But while Russia poses the greatest threat, it’s far from the only one.

Was Russia experimenting with a nuclear-powered cruise missile? Here’s what we know so far –

Five scientists employed by Rosatom, the state-owned atomic energy corporation of Russia, died last week in what was reportedly a blast at a military site in northern Russia

Nuclear explosion Russia 2019: Putin’s DOOMSDAY WEAPON goes wrong | World | News |

A NUCLEAR explosion in Russia which authorities attempted to surround with a Chernobyl-style information blackout was the result of a top-secret SUPER-NUKE malfunctioning with deadly consequences.

Russia’s New Arms Give the U.S. Room for Pause

The recent failure of a Russian Burevestnik missile test highlights the numerous deficiencies in the weapon’s development, yet Russia will continue to prioritize the development of the missile and other offensive strategic weapon systems. In so doing, Russia will aim to boost its deterrence and negate U.S. missile defense capabilities as much as possible. Because the Kremlin has prioritized the operational deployment of some programs — despite the technical challenges they face — the United States will be forced to upgrade its overall missile defense systems and strategic capabilities.

The nuclear arms race is back … and ever more dangerous now | World news | The Guardian

Donald Trump has increased spending on America’s arsenal while ripping up cold war treaties. Russia and China are following suit

Did Russia’s Bizarre Nuclear-Powered Missile Just Blow Up? | The National Interest

A tragedy–that could happen again.

Russia, China Are Leading Push for Floating Nuclear Power Plants – Bloomberg

Russia and China are leading a push to put nuclear reactors on mobile floating platforms. Rules need to catch up.

Hypersonic: An Arms Race At Five Times The Speed Of Sound

An August 8 explosion in northern Russia, which some have linked to the Kremlin’s development of an advanced generation of super weapons, has focused attention on hypersonic missile systems. Analysts say this new arms race has the potential to scuttle global security agreements.


Nikolai Petrov | Protests in Russia Show How the Political Environment Has Changed | Chatham House

Nikolai Petrov speaks to Jason Naselli about a new wave of protests against Vladimir Putin’s government and what it means for the future of the Russian system.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Death of Putin Myth Means No One Will Voluntarily Come to His Defense, Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – The Putin myth, created in 1999 to generate unquestioning support for the man behind it, has in the 20th year of his reign finally died, “the most consequential event in Russia since its creation,” Andrey Piontkovsky says, not because it means he is about to be overthrown but because without it, no one will voluntarily come to his defense. What this means, the Russian commentator suggests, is that the population no longer views him as their defender against the bureaucracy but rather as the defender of the increasingly hated bureaucracy against them, as part of the problem rather than part of the solution ( And at the same time, it means that while some in the bureaucracy may support him against the population by inertia, fear, or simple obedience, that may be enough to keep him in office for some time to come. But without what the Chinese call the mandate of heaven, Putin wll face new challenges within the elite now and can’t depend on their support in the future. That changes the nature of political life in Russia because it in effect reduces Putin to one politician among many rather than as someone standing above the fray and means that he will be casting about for some new means of restoring the previous status quo, possibly by using nuclear blackmail against the West to show himself and his regime as special and eternal. As often happens in authoritarian regimes, Piontkovsky continues, the ruler’s standing with the elites and the population collapses when he demonstrates “his inability to fulfill a number of basic functions” and thus becomes someone others can and will challenge rather than someone viewed as inevitable and permanent. “For us Soviet people,” the commentator says, this recalls “the classic formula of the transition of nomenklatura power: ‘It turns out our Father isn’t a Father but a bastard.’” Many in the current elite certainly view things that way already, but their fight is going to be even more intense because unlike their Soviet predecessors, they have huge amounts of property to divide. And that may give a new impulse to what Piontkovsky calls “the mobilization party” within the Kremlin who are convinced that the only way they can maintain themselves in this situation is by going to the brink of nuclear war in the hope that the West will blink, back down, and give Putin and themselves a new lease on power.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Influence of Moscow TV Declining But Working Overtime against Russia, Panov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 14 — Two weeks ago, the Levada Center issued a report suggesting that the influence of Moscow television on younger Russians is declining at a precipitous rate, thus depriving the Kremlin of one of its most reliable means of influencing Russian public opinion ( But now a Russian commentator, Valery Panov, argues that the situation is even worse: Not only are young Russians paying less attention to Moscow television than they did, but when they do watch it, they often take more from the advertisements which fill 20 percent of broadcast time than from the programs ( And those advertisements in subtle ways introduce Englishisms and Americanisms in ways that undermine the message of the intervening programs, win over the hearts and minds of young Russians, and give an ideological victory to the West that it does not deserve and an ideological defeat to the Kremlin that it does not appear to recognize. Panov offers the case of one young Russian with whom he spooke whose vision of Russia today and of its future sound more like those of Kremlin critics than Kremlin supporters even though he regularly watches First Channel and Russia-1 and “trusts them more than the Internet.” “In such cases,” he says, “one usually says that with friends like these, one doesn’t’ need enemies, since precisely ‘such friends’ who know well the situation from the inside will hit at the most sensitive places.” But their comments should not be dismissed: They highlight an unexpected reality: “TV is destroying the mass consciousness of Russians no less seriously than the anti-Russian propaganda of the West.” (stress supplied) Advertising on Moscow TV takes up 20 percent of the time, and it has become part of the social milieu” of Russians even though most of it is produced by trans-national corporations with only the most necessary parts being translated into Russian. The rest is typically in English – and the values are certainly those of the West, not of Russia. Perhaps still worse, Panov continues, in these commercials, “Russian speech is presented with distortions of all norms and rules. (This point has also been made by two Russian television personalities during a recent program with commercials —“Americanization” has taken over Russian television to the point, the commentator continues, that “I think this has become one of the threats to the national security of Russia. Perhaps, we need to fine channels for using foreign words” as is done in Spain or in Ukraine “for the use of Russian.” It is understandable that “television is a business, the main goal of which is to gain a profit by any means just as in any other sphere of free enterprise,” Panov says. But television plays an outsized role in Russian life and therefore something has to be done to redress the balance which now exists. “In fact,” he continues, “the television of Russia has been reduced to two simple formulas: the advertisement of good and propaganda,” political and otherwise. Consequently, it promotes what sells and reinforces it, such as the cult of force that has spread from the box to society at large. Panov suggests that things have gotten to the point that “the Americans and Europeans should long ago have stopped spending money on the creation of various structures directed at opposing ‘the influence of Russia.’ For them, Russian television is doing this very well” and using Russian means to do so. “It seems to me,” the Moscow commentator says, “that the role and significance of television in such an important task as the consolidation of society is being underrated in Russia.” It remains the chief source of information even for those who turn to the Internet – and they are still a minority. But – and this is what matters most of all – “Russian television as is the case throughout the rest of the world long ago already ceased to be only a means of mass information but a powerful system of programming the consciousness of millions of people, an instrument for the control of their behavior, a world of psychological compensations, a source for amusement, and the main factor of the formation of any ideas about life.” There is the famous poem of World War II writer Aleksandr Mezhirov who muses when Soviet artillery shells by mistake Russian lines as to who might have given them the wrong map coordinates, Panov says. What’s happening with Russian TV forces one to ask who is giving it coordinates which are causing this channel to hit the wrong people in the wrong way.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Once Again, Time is Working against Russian Protesters, Kalinichenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – Given that each new protest in Moscow has brought more people into the streets, many sympathetic to the opposition have concluded that it will go from strength to strength and ultimately win the day. But Aleksandr Kalinichenko says that time is working not for the protesters but against them. After each protest, the Russian blogger says, some observers say “the end is near, that the the rulers have driven themselves into a corner, and that as soon as tomorrow someone will make the last push and the situation will radically change” ( But again and again and despite such predictions, this hasn’t happened; and Kalinichenko argues, the very same fate awaits those now protesting about the registration of candidates for the September 8 Moscow city council elections. They will cease to be the focus of interest, and any problems they present to the rulers will ebb away. He gives as an example the case of the long-distance truckers’ protest against the government’s Plato taxation program. Initially, it appeared that the truckers had all the advantages: the country needed them to make deliveries and they were prepared to challenge the regime. That was certainly how commentators and the blogosphere presented things; but it wasn’t very long until those who had been excited by the truckers looked away and the truckers felt compelled to return to their jobs lest they lose their livelihoods. A few weeks after everything had looked so promising, no one heard anything about them. The situation with the anti-trash protests in Shiyes has followed much the same trajectory, Kalinichenko says. At first, there was an adrenalin rush and the protesters captured the imagination of the blogosphere and the commentariat. But then everyone began to look away, and the protesters began to go home. With the onset of winter, even more will. After journalist Ivan Golunov was freed, commentators like Vladimir Pozner suggested that the opposition had finally “experienced the taste of blood” and that it would become even more radical and force the regime to retreat. That idea informed the protests about election registrations, the blogger says. “But are these events in fact a continuation and development of the Golunov case?” It is possible the two are mixed together in the minds of some, but they aren’t for most. Instead, the protests about the one and the protests about the other are in fact separate and do not add to one another: in fact, they compete with one undercutting the other, weakening both. That is true of protests across the country. Each looks to his own problems and no one works to combine them into something genuinely massive, Kalinichenko continues. And that means that each will run its course and pass away without having the revolutionary outcomes observers are invariably predicting. “Time always works against protest” of this kind. None of the demonstrators hold out for long. “Information isn’t controlled by those who are protesting. Even the Internet more often follows the stories of the official media than creates its own news.” And that gives the powers that be the whip hand. In short, Kalinichenko says, “each solves his own problem and doesn’t even think that the problems are connected.” As a result, each is dramatic; but each is short-lived and does not lead to the formation of a country-wide opposition that must be created if the predictions of commentators are to have any chance of coming true.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin will Be Followed by a New Putin, Excluding Chance of Russia’s Democratization Anytime Soon, Volkov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – A week ago, Russian historian Sergey Volkov attracted attention for declaring that he saw little or no chance for democracy to emerge in Russia anytime soon because it lacks important preconditions ( If Russia doesn’t disintegrate or somehow “radically softens,” he wrote, “within a few years some new Putin will arrive on the scene” almost immediately. But if it does break apart and remains much as it is, then it will remain under the same kind of ruler for a long time to come at the very least “for decades.” Not surprisingly, Volkov’s pessimistic assessment of Russia’s chances for democratization drawn fire; and in response, he has now explained the basis for his assumptions in a new blogpost that Novyye izvestiya has reposted ( that Russia could move toward democracy only under conditions which do not now exist – “an establishment which had been in place for sometime and was free from the fear that it would lose its property,” something that would allow it make the kind of concessions to the population that could allow democratic arrangements to arise. Because of its history, Russia doesn’t have such a group of people “and for a long time ahead won’t” either. Consequently, some new Putin will appear, a development that may or may not be disastrous depending on how he behaves. As Volkov points out, “the real Putin at various times has behaved differently.” There is a very simple reason why “our ‘democrats’” can’t take power or remain democrats if they do. They don’t have anyone of their own who will carry out their orders. They need “their own ‘police’ but don’t have anywhere from which to get one. And if they came to power, the 1990s would return with bandits in place of police and the population desirous of a new autocrat. “’The force structures,’” the historian says, “always stand at the advanced edge of the regime and even if they are not its essence, their preservation or replacement always serves as an inerrant indicator of ‘whether there was a revolution or not.’” When there is, they are replaced; when there isn’t, they aren’t. When the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia and the ayatollahs in Iran, they cleaned house, replacing the siloviki of the old order with their own. “It is completely impossible to imagine” that the Bolsheviks would have been willing to count on the tsarist police to protect them and enforce their wishes. Any new power needs “a corresponding contingent of people who are ready to kill and die for this power,” Volkov says. “The Bolsheviks and the Iranian mullahs in the form of the Red Guard and the Guardians of the Revolution had such a contingent, and there they did not have any problems with staffing their own ‘police.’” “The psychology of ‘the siloviki,’” he continues, “by its nature means that they are prepared to subordinate themselves to the accustomed authorities or their representatives … are ready to subordinate themselves to some new ‘forceful people’ … but are not under any circumstances ready to take orders from ‘the lousy democrats.’” They might have been willing to take orders from Aleksey Navalny, someone who has the reputation as “a secret nationalist and populist.” Indeed, fears that they might explain why the Kremlin reacted to him as it has, Volkov suggests. But Navalny has faded and no one like him has arisen to take his place. As a result, the historian concludes, “’a new Putin’ will emerge out of that part of the elite which will organize a new perestroika or out of the opposition which will take shape after the appearance” of the results of such a development of events.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: After Putin, National Bolshevism will Continue Despite Another Bout of False Liberalization, Ivanov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – After Vladimir Putin passes from the scene, Mikhail Ivanov says in an essay for the Riga-based Russian conservative Harbin portal, neo-Marxism is likely to take center stage for awhile but do little to change the national Bolshevik system that has dominated Russia since 1917. He says that this is “no secret” among “the majority of White Russian and the pro-European inclined rightists” because they know that “the anti-Russian, anti-European and on the whole ‘anti-White’ system founded by the Bolsheviks after October 1917 and preserved to this day” isn’t going to be easily dispensed with ( That system has put down such deep roots and raised more than one generation of people, he argues, that escaping from it “under current conditions is almost impossible and it is improbable that it will go away completely” even if it is shaken by changes in the composition of people in power in the Kremlin. “This system will change only its wrappings, leaving unchanged the rotting candy inside” — although the author says he would very much like to use another less polite term. With each new wrapper, some will be deceived and see it as a change to welcome or oppose; but those who see what is really inside will remain in relationship to it as they were. According to Ivanov, the next new “packaging will again involve a playing with ‘liberalism’ and ‘democracy’ as in the 1990s. Only in contrast to the 1990s, the future ‘liberalism’ and ‘democracy’ will have a clear neo-Marxist coloration.” It won’t matter very much who is the nominal leader because the system will in fact continue. “Two forces which form the skeleton of the present-day neo-Bolshevism system – the members of United Russia and the siloviki” will continue to dominate things albeit under different names. And any lustration, if it happens at all, “will be extremely superficial and purely for show,” the Harbin writer says. The system understands or should, Ivanov says, “that the quicker such a synthesis takes place, the fewer changes there will be that the cursed people will come out into the streets with cobblestones or Molotov cocktails with all the ensuing and irreversible consequences from such a development.” The West will be charmed by the new packaging of “’the bright Russia of the future’” because it will play to all the themes liberals in the West care about – “tolerance, gay rights, feminism, and so on” – without touching the fundamental property and power relations of Russian society. “Alas,” Ivanov says, “I don’t see any political force which could oppose this trend and take power into its own hands.” The only way forward is to articulate a set of ideas that could capture the population, including “tough anti-communism, anti-neo-Marxism, and extremely tough anti-imperialism.” Such a combination would have a chance to produce a right of center but European-oriented Russia. That probably won’t happen, he suggests, and so Russia will go through another cycle of playing at democracy but continuing to be what it has been, one that will deceive many inside the country and out and only make the situation worse for both.

With Pickets, Russian Protesters Look to Sustain Momentum – The New York Times

Looming over the demonstrations were questions about whether the movement could be sustained past the Sept. 8 elections, and what comes after President Vladimir Putin’s term.

Russian opposition activists picket for free elections – Reuters

Russian opposition activists staged a string of pickets in central Moscow on Saturday to call for free elections and for charges against protesters detained at recent rallies to be dropped.

Russian opposition to defy authorities with fresh protests

Hundreds of riot police were on the streets of central Moscow Saturday as opposition protesters prepared to defy a crackdown by authorities and launch fresh demonstrations to demand to free local elections. In a move to circumvent restrictions by the authorities, the activists were planning to let

The right stuff How the Russian authorities forced the country’s top news aggregator to purge unwanted stories — Meduza

On August 15, 2019, top lawmakers in Russia’s State Duma said they will consider new legislation that would restrict foreign citizens’ right to own major Russian websites. The announcement came after an inaccurate story (about Russia possibly banning the sale of some older cars) reached the top of Yandex’s news aggregator. Several hours after the article started trending online, State Duma deputies refuted the information. Now, in response to this incident, they want to force Yandex, which has its head office in the Netherlands, to transfer control to Russia. This new campaign against the tech giant, however, is hardly the government’s first and only meddling. For the past three years, the authorities have gradually imposed greater control over what is displayed by Yandex’s news aggregator, which happens to be the single most popular news source on the Russian Internet.

Pilot Of Russian Airliner Says Had No Time For Fear As Plane Landed In Cornfield

Damir Yusupov, the pilot who landed a Ural Airlines passenger plane in a Russian cornfield, says he wasn’t afraid after both of the jetliner’s engines were knocked out by birds. He didn’t have time…

Russian ecologist points to illegal dump as likely source of seagulls that forced Moscow plane to land in cornfield — Meduza

On August 15, two Ural Airlines pilots landed their Airbus A321 liner in a cornfield when both of its engines failed shortly after takeoff. The airplane’s crew indicated that birds fell into both engines during a collision with a flock of seagulls. Following the emergency landing, multiple sources argued that the birds may have been attracted to the area surrounding the airport by an illegal garbage dump: Waste has been accumulating for years near Lake Glushitsa less than two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Zhukovsky airport, where the plane took off.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Plan to Restrict Scholars’ Contacts with Foreigners Seen Leading More to Emigrate

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – Russia already faces a serious brain drain as ever more of its scholars move abroad for better pay and freer working conditions, but that exodus is likely to increase in size if a new government plan to restrict their contacts with their foreign colleagues goes into effect, former KGB Lieutenant General Nikolay Leonov says. Leonov, who headed the KGB’s analytic department from 1973 to 1991, says that the proposed measures recall Soviet times and argues that “the experience of the USSR is not the most effective means of producing patriotic feelings.” Scholars need contacts and if they are denied them they will leave Russia ( The former KGB general who now teaches at MGIMO says he “wants to believe” that the science and higher education minister signed the order without paying attention too its contents; but unfortunately, Leonov says, this move is yet another case in which “control over civil society by the siloviki” is increasing. Leonov’s remarks come in the wake of the release to the scholarly community this week of an order the minister signed in February that imposes restrictions on all contacts between Russian scholars and their foreign counterparts. Many Russian scholars are calling this plan “absurd” and a return “to the worst traditions of the Soviet past.” Yesterday, in an open letter to Minister Mikhail Kotyukov, Aleksey Fradkov, head of a laboratory at the Institute of Problems of Machine Building at the Russian Academy of Sciences, published the text of the order, denounced it as absurd and demanded that it be retracted before it does any serious damage ( The order if implemented would require Russian scholars to get approval for such contacts, hold them only in special facilities, and report on them within five days to the authorities. In the age of the Internet, email, and Skype, the ideas behind the order are “simply a senseless anachronism,” Fradkov says. The scholar has been joined by the July 1 Club, which consists of more than 100 members and corresponding members of the Academy of Science who criticized the document for “contradicting the spirit of scholarly creative and the very essence of contemporary fundamental science which arises from the joint efforts of scholars of various countries.” And even Aleksander Sergeyev, the president of the Academy of Sciences, has weighed in against the order. He points out that those scholars who work with classified information have long been subject to special rules but others need not be and that proposals to change that “look ridiculous.” As Natalya Bashykova of the Daily Storm portal notes as well, the proposal inevitably suggests that some in Moscow want to return to the bad old days of the Soviet past when contacts with foreigners were tightly restricted, an arrangement that hurt the USSR far more than it did the West. It appears, she suggests, that the current powers that be like the Bourbons have learned nothing and forgotten nothing and think they can return to that past even in the Internet age without the consequences that such measures had for the USSR.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Scholars Take Up Social Exclusion and Say Nearly One Russian in Seven is at Risk

Paul Goble Staunton, August 15 – For some time, scholars in the West have focused on the issue of social exclusion, a form of discrimination in which people are kept from participating in the life of the society of which they are a part because they are members of a particular social class or group, typically defined by the economic condition of its members. (For an introduction to the concept and its consequences for those who are its victims, see Now, researchers at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics are considering the existence of social exclusion in the Russian Federation and say that almost 13 percent of the Russian population is at risk of falling into such a category; and Rosstat plans to add this measure to its regular reporting ( According to the study, “the risk of social exclusion is real for 13.1 percent of the residents and 19.8 percent of the households in Russia,” with the share of the population ranging from 1.7 percent in Moscow to 34.3 percent in Khakassia and with the unemployed and multi-child families being most at risk (36.2 percent and 22 percent respectively). Sergey Smirnov and Aleksey Kapustin of the Higher School of Economics conducted the research last year for Rosstat. They defined the category of social exclusion the way the UNDP does as being a situation in which people are restricted in their access to the economy, social services, and public life. Social exclusion includes poverty as one of its components but it isn’t equivalent to that, the scholars say. It exists as a result of the combination of poverty “and other factors” which “de facto isolate households from the ‘larger society’” and transform those in it into “a closed and marginal subculture.” According to Kommersant journalist Anastasiya Manuylova, this is one of the first such studies to be conducted in the Russian Federation and will help structure the indices Rosstat plans to use beginning next year to give a more comprehensive description of those who are poor, including why they are so and what that means for their lives and the life of society.


US Chargé d’affaires: I’ve seen changes in the Donbass over Zelensky and they are positive

In the coming months, there will be more than one meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Zelensky; one of them is scheduled in Washington. And no personnel decisions of Kyiv are a prerequisite for negotiations between the Presidents of Ukraine and the USA. Moreover, the fact that Andrei Bogdan remains the head of the president’s office is also, despite widespread rumors, not an obstacle to their meeting. This was stated with absolute certainty by the editors of the European Truth and the Ukrainian Truth, a US attorney in Ukraine William Taylor, in his first brief interview after he again headed the US Embassy in Ukraine. Taylor is an experienced diplomat who knows our country well: in 2006-2009, under President George W. Bush, he already served as US ambassador. It was during his cadence that the American leader came to Kiev. Since then, no such visit has been made, but Taylor does not rule out that it will be time for Donald Trump’s visit – though he adds that there are no such plans now for the US president. About what the US is expecting from the Ze-team, why he already sees the effectiveness of Zelensky in the Donbas, who will almost certainly become the new Attorney General and why the murder of Pavel Sheremet will be an indicator for the new government – read in an interview with the head of the US Embassy at EuroProud. “I do not know of any Zelensky decision made under the influence of Kolomoisky” – When will the meeting of the Presidents of Ukraine and the USA take place? – The most important thing in our relations is that the USA continues to provide support to Ukraine – political, economic, democratic, security. Although meetings are also important, it is good that presidents will meet. It will happen soon. In the coming weeks, there will be an opportunity for this in Warsaw and New York: then both presidents will be in the same city. In addition, you heard that last week, President Trump responded well to President Zelensky and assured that the meeting would take place. – The Zelensky team has made a lot of efforts to get it to the White House this summer, but to no avail. What was the obstacle? – No obstacles, except for the issue of the schedule. Both presidents are clearly interested in meeting, but both are busy people, finding time was not easy. – What about Andrew Bogdan? It is said that the US was not pleased with his appointment, and that was one of the reasons the visit was postponed. – I did not start in vain that we support Ukraine. And Ukraine has elected a president. 73% voted in favor of Zelensky, which is a very strong support. He has every right to choose his team, to choose those who will advise him, and any decision in this area is not our business. So I can say, no, I don’t know about such rumors. Instead, I know that meeting approval is happening, and the only thing that remains is the timing issue. There will be no estimates or statements about the team of the President of Ukraine from the USA. The Ukrainians chose Zelensky for his thoughts, for the team he should build, for his judgment, his politics. And we are interested in the last of this list. It is not the personalities that matter but the decisions and actions of the Ukrainian authorities. And if Zelensky remains committed to a democratic Ukraine, if he continues to pursue problems with the Russian-led troops in the Donbass, he will oppose Russia and the Donbass, and in the Crimea, if he promotes reforms – that will be exactly what we are eagerly. And in principle, we will not say “yes” or “no” about the staff in Zelensky’s team. – What about Kolomoisky? Do you have any reservations about him and his impact on Zelensky? – The president should be able to make decisions on the basis of his own position, his politics, his expectations, and he should not be influenced by any representative of big business or oligarch – whether it is Kolomoisky or any other. In the end, Ukrainians chose Zelensky, not business representatives. – Is it true that the FBI is investigating Kolomoisky? – As an ambassador, I cannot comment on the investigation – it may or may not be there. – And who is Igor Kolomoysky for you? And do you see him playing a special role in Ukraine? – Kolomoisky is one of a large number of big business representatives who have both economic assets and television companies. He is one of those whom you often call oligarchs. I see that there is a widespread desire to limit their influence in Ukraine. There are those who are worried that these oligarchs have too much influence, that they affect television, energy, and so on. The desire of Ukrainians to find a solution to this problem is supported by the international community. These are good intentions. After all, it means increasing competition in the Ukrainian economy, and that is certainly a good thing. – Do they influence Ukrainian politics? – Personally, I don’t see it. I am not aware of any indication that any of President Zelensky’s decisions were made under Kolomoisky’s influence. Of course, I am not involved in the decision-making process in the President’s office, but I really do not see any influence on Zelensky’s politics by any of the big businessmen. This does not mean that such an influence is excluded – it may well appear. After all, you may know more about me, you may have information about some levers, but right now I’m talking about watching. And I haven’t noticed it yet. “Important Issues for the US in Ukraine” – Let’s get back to the issue of meeting Zelensky and Trump. What do you expect from the negotiations? – There will be a brief meeting in Warsaw whether in New York. This will be an opportunity for presidents to say “Hello!” to each other, to personally exchange greetings. It is possible to share one or two ideas. And a real, complete meeting will take place after that. I hope she will be in Washington in a month or two. This is where the real, meaningful communication of the presidents will be. As for your question about my expectations, we expect that after this series of meetings, US-Ukraine relations will become stronger. With the presidents in talks, they will evaluate the US support for Ukraine and confirm that this support will continue. – I confess, I believe in symbolism in diplomacy. And I want to mention President Bush’s 2008 visit to Ukraine. – Oh, I also remember this visit! – You were also the US ambassador at the time. Is it real that now that you are a US attorney in Ukraine, the US president will visit Kyiv again? – As of now, Donald Trump’s schedule does not include a trip to Ukraine, and visits of this level are planned very well in advance. Would I like to see such plans come up? Of course! I want to meet President Trump in Ukraine. I would remind that in 2008, President Bush came here to show clear support for Ukraine on the eve of the NATO summit. In addition, this trip gave President Bush the opportunity to further share with his European counterparts the impressions of what he saw and heard in Ukraine. A visit by a top Washington official – and not just the president – shows that one or the other capital is important to the United States. Such visits are always a sign, a signal. It’s more than symbolism! – What could be the reason for such a visit to Kiev? – There are many issues concerning Ukraine that are important for the United States. There is a war going on in Ukraine. War caused by the Russians. Sending signals of support to Ukraine under these conditions is an important thing. Of course, we can do it differently, but if we choose the way to do it with a visit, it will be a good decision. “Everyone, including Zelensky, says the SBU needs to change” – Is it possible that the movement of Ukraine to NATO will once again attract the special attention of top US leadership? – I will emphasize that the movement to NATO is first and foremost the decision of Ukraine. On your part, there is a signal of such a desire: it is the Ukrainian Constitution, which says that NATO and EU membership is the goal of your country. At the same time, the NATO treaty gives you the right to apply to join the Alliance. And if such a request is made, then the Allies will have to make a decision. And here I will remind about 2008. Back then, as you know, several NATO members did not support providing Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan (MAP). – Do you personally see Ukraine as a NATO member in the future? – Yes of course! The decision of the 2008 NATO summit clearly states that Ukraine will be a member of the Alliance. When will this happen? I don’t know that. This should be preceded by a lot of work that is no less important than getting a MAP! This work should change the Ukrainian army and relations between the military and society, and make the Ukrainian army compatible with the Allied armies. It’s quite achievable, and it’s already done! – I’ll be back to 2008. I remember how sincere and persistent the support of the MAP was for Ukraine by the US and personally by President Bush. What must Ukraine do to gain similar support from President Trump? – There is nothing better than continuing what you are doing now. I am talking about military reform, joint training, the transition to NATO weapons standards. And as for our support, my answer is simple. There is a United States policy that I, the White House, and the Department of Defense endorse: the US believes that Ukraine can apply for NATO membership, and we are happy to welcome Ukraine’s application for membership. And as Ukraine prepares for this step, the United States is seeking to help you change, reform, and strengthen your military. – And we still need to reform NATO Security Service of Ukraine. Only from the head of the SBU do we hear statements contradicting this course. – First of all, we hear a clear signal that the reform of the SBU is the highest priority for the authorities. This is said by NSDC Secretary Alexander Danylyuk, Presidential Advisor Ruslan Ryaboshapka, and SBU Head Ivan Bakanov. All three are involved in drafting a bill that outlines this reform. By the way, the three of them met with representatives of the US, NATO and the EU this week to hear our advice on this reform. We have advised the past authorities and are ready to give them to the new one in order for the SBU to be effective, to be compatible with NATO standards. – Bakanov’s public statements contradict your recommendations: he intends to keep the anti-corruption department, investigate economic crimes, and more. Is he saying something else at a meeting with you? – You are right that they still do not have a solution. The Zelensky team is still discussing what the reform of the SBU should be. Everyone, including Zelensky himself, agrees that the SBU should change. The service has not been reformed since the Soviet era – and now it’s time to do it. There will be no better opportunity. Zelensky, based on popular support, also has the ability to make tough decisions, and a radical change in the SBU is by far not the only tough decision he will face! The thoughtful reform of the SBU can change a great deal. It will be a step forward in the fight against corruption, it will be an impetus for the economy and will increase the investment attractiveness of Ukraine. And I know for sure: there is a lot of debate going on about the outline of this reform. – If the Ze-team chooses a reform that is not compatible with NATO recommendations, what consequences will it have for Ukraine? – The decision on how and when the Security Service is to be changed will in each case be taken by your authorities, not by us. The only thing the US, NATO and the EU can do is give advice based on the experience of many NATO member countries, each with its own intelligence services. We know what works and what doesn’t, what is effective and how to do the best. If Ukraine takes our advice into consideration, great, it will help our special services to cooperate. If another choice is made – well, it will be your decision. But now I can attest that our advice is being followed. We see Ukraine’s interest in our opinion, and that inspires me. – Before the presidential election, Ukroboronprom was at the center of a scandal. How to change the concern and is there any progress on this path? – There are already changes – the new Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Aivaras Abromavicius, has been elected; new procedures for determining military needs have been introduced. Ukraine’s defense industry really needs to change. It has two tasks ahead. The first is that “Ukroboronprom” should provide support to the Ukrainian army, support the fighting capacity of the army in the East. This is the most important task – even though the Ministry of Defense has the right to buy arms independently, without the intermediary of Ukroboronprom. Second, the company needs to become more efficient and accountable. It requires the implementation of business efficiency principles that will allow your defense industry to better respond to urgent needs and at the same time develop new weapons and new technologies. – Given the Ukrainian realities and the ongoing war – is privatization of the enterprises of the defense industry possible? – Of course, it is possible that this process has, in fact, already begun. You already have private arms companies. After all, the US private sector is the backbone of the defense industry! Therefore, the authorities now see private companies among arms suppliers as good. And when the new manager of Ukroboronprom is appointed, it will be necessary to study well the work of all the enterprises of the concern. Some of them are very effective and produce high-end weapons, but there are some that are much less effective. And of course, it makes sense to focus on the former and decide something about the latter. “I will not participate in personnel decisions of Ukraine” – What other reforms are key for Ukraine? – I would put justice reform first. We need new judges, a new level of skill. Courts should be trusted by Ukrainian citizens, and this is possible only if the decisions are objective, based on law and not on money. Second in importance is land reform. We have been talking about it for many years. More than a decade ago, when I was an ambassador, we also talked about land reform! It won’t be an easy decision, but it is needed! This will help the economy grow, which means both jobs and income. – Anti-corruption has been a priority for the United States. How satisfied are you with the work of three anti-corruption institutions – NABU, the SAP, and the NAPC? – You are right, the international community has made a lot of efforts to make anti-corruption institutions in Ukraine work. Some of them are already doing a great job, some are not doing so well. But they are, and they will work if the government, president, and parliament so desire. It is not our job to advise Ukraine whom to appoint, but whom to dismiss. I will not do this for the reason that we will probably be wrong then. We are not smart enough to do this, because Ukrainians are much better able to see and understand the past and future of a particular person (applying for a position. – EP) . – We appreciated your modesty, but the United States has repeatedly provided advice that you call impossible. The US Embassy has already stated that Nazar Kholodnitsky personally is an impediment to the effective functioning of the SAP. Even the EU ambassador decided on a similar statement. – And I will not support this approach. I have another vision. There is a goal – the fight against corruption. There are structures in place for this. And this is your task – to find people who can achieve this goal, organize a competition, select them. I will not participate in this. – You mentioned that only a part of anti-corruption institutions are working well. Who is it about? – As for me, NABU is doing a great job, and it should be encouraged. But we cannot say about the courts at this time. – What about the Prosecutor General’s Office? – Lutsenko has already announced that he will resign (with the start of the new Rada. – EP) , and as far as I understand, the president already has in mind a very competent person who will occupy this position – Is it Ruslan Ryaboshapka? – Yes, I heard that name. The Attorney General has a very important role to play in the work of the law enforcement system. It is not for us to decide who should be in this position, and I can say that Ryaboshapka has respect for himself. We also respect him. Therefore, the appointment of a new Attorney General can have a significant effect. “The idea of peacekeepers is still on the table” – Before the election, Zelensky announced that changes in the Donbass are his top priority. Did you notice his work? – Yes Yes! I’ve seen a number of changes! And they are positive. – Example? – For example, President Zelensky and his team have changed their approach to treating Ukrainians in the occupied territories. I have already visited several crossing points – one at the border with Crimea, the other at the Luhansk region. In both cases, the representatives of the new government, who were with me, were interested in making the crossing of this line easier for Ukrainians living on both sides. Because it is very difficult for many, even physically. For example, at a Crimean point we were on a hot day, and the elderly, moms with strollers, small children – all had to walk a kilometer or a half or so in the sun. And on all the representatives of the new team who came there, I saw that they were genuinely worried. They were looking for ways to ease the burden on these people. Of course, nobody wants to keep this border, and it is not a border at all: Crimea is Ukraine, and the Kherson region is also Ukraine. And people go back and forth! And it must be done so that it is not so burdensome. I saw the same thing on the destroyed bridge in the village of Luhansk. There is a clear desire on the part of the new authorities to rebuild this bridge, and for this it is necessary to withdraw troops, carry out demining and so on. Another example is the truce. I see Zelensky trying to save him, despite last week’s attack, when four Marines were killed . After all, this attack could have put an end to the truce – but Zelensky believes that it should be continued. – Wait, it’s not from Ukraine, not from Zelensky, whether there are shelling. And even questioning whether there is a truce. – Nevertheless, the death toll was lower than the average both before and after the attack on the infantrymen. Yes, it was not zero, but lower. And what has been achieved is not self-evident. This attack was sufficient reason to end the truce period, but it did not! Another example where the escalation was avoided is the detention of a Russian tanker (near the shipyard in Izmail. – EP) . At the time, arresting the ship, Ukraine released the Russian crew, because these people did not participate in the attack on Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait – and the tanker did. And then President Zelensky said that the crew should be released. And he explained: “We did it because we are not like the Russians.” – Can Ukraine stop the war in Donbass? – No. The only one who can do this is Vladimir Putin. But what is important, and what is great, is that President Zelensky picked up the phone twice and called Putin twice to discuss these incidents. So, now it is possible for the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia to discuss the issues of Donbass, the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait. Ukrainians and Russians are now able to talk about it in principle, and for me this is inspiring news. I will return to your question, what has changed since Zelensky. The first is a change of attitude towards Ukrainians in the occupied territories, the second is a new desire for bilateral negotiations with the Russian Federation. And third – a new level of interest in the well-being of people on both sides (from the contact line and the administrative border with the ARC. – EP) . And there is a new desire to disarm weapons. And if the example of Luhanskaya Village is successful and is replicated elsewhere along the line of collision, it could well lead to changes. – Wait, well, you yourself said that the decision is made by Putin. Not Zelensky! And no counter-moves by the Ukrainian authorities can satisfy Putin. – You are absolutely right. Putin is capable of ending this war tomorrow. He can just say the so-called “LPR” and “DNR” to stop them. It can take away from the Donbass the Russian army, special services, Russian arms – and all. – What is Zelensky here for? – And Zelensky can have talks with Putin. And I don’t know what Putin thinks, I don’t know what he plans – I’m not smart enough to understand it. But I know that he is being punished. I know that sanctions have an impact. I know that people in Moscow, including Putin’s close circle, are concerned about sanctions and seeking opportunities to ease them. The sanctions take much longer, much longer than both Putin and his team predicted and imagined. They affect both the Russian economy and specific people who are restricted in their ability to travel, whose assets are frozen. This is a real impact. And I believe that because of this pressure, Putin can make the decision on the Donbas I am talking about. – What can be the way out of this situation? Is this the way peacekeepers are, is this idea still under consideration? – Yes, this idea is still on the table. Peacekeepers are an option, though not the only one. Putin himself and the international community speak of this possibility. This scenario is not envisaged by the Minsk Agreements, but it does not contradict them. It is possible to obtain UN Security Council approval for a group of states to form a pool of observers, peacekeepers who will provide troops to Russia, which will be able to disarm the so-called “republics” and create conditions under which local elections can take place. Courts should be created there, migrants should be returned, pensions should be restored. The international community can provide this, and it will allow the Russians to leave. In this case, Putin will be able to save face. He will be able to say: I successfully defended the Russian-speaking people in the Donbass, now the international community is taking over this role. – Is there a need to change Minsk, or perhaps to modify the Norman format by annexing the USA? – President Zelensky has already raised this issue – so yes, this opportunity is under consideration. Zelensky explained that since the Norman format was not successful, did not lead to any results, he suggested inviting Americans or, for example, the British to join Normandy. We think this is an interesting offer. Of course, other members of the Normandy format have to say that they are thinking of joining the US or Britain, but I can say that we are interested. At the talks, the United States is represented by Kurt Walker, and he also says he is interested in such changes and is already talking about it. “We have to solve the issues of both Crimea and Donbass” – Probably, it is impossible to solve the Donbass issue without solving the Crimean question. And the situation in the Crimea over the last five years has changed significantly – this is the militarization of the peninsula and the replacement of the Crimean population. What do you think? – I think you are absolutely right. Read also Crib for Trump: What the State Department recorded between the lines of the Crimean Declaration The Crimean issue is very important to us and, as you know, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last summer approved the Crimean Declaration , which very clearly states that the US will never recognize Russia’s occupation of Crimea. And yet it is said that a tough sanctions policy – which, I recall, have an impact on Moscow – will remain in place for as long as Russia remains in the Crimea. Therefore, it is important that we maintain this pressure. – Do you understand that the militarization of Crimea affects the whole Black Sea region? – Yes, and not only to the Black Sea, but to the whole of Europe and the international community, including the USA. Russia’s actions demonstrate its level of contempt for international law. And if we are to return to a rules-driven world, then we must address both Crimea and the Donbas. Without this, the system that has provided peace in Europe for 70 years and made Europe’s economic development possible cannot be restored. You need to work to get it back. – Is it possible to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation? – The US is constantly reviewing the sanctions policy – yes, about a week ago we announced new sanctions. We analyze whether the restrictions already implemented work effectively, and monitor the new actions of the Russian Federation. And the ongoing militarization of Crimea is an example of such “new actions”. So I can assure you that we are constantly working on it. And every time we learn about new violations, we consider the possibility of new sanctions against Russia. Who killed Paul Sheremet? – I want to ask about the investigation into the murder of Paul Sheremet, which is a great tragedy for our publication. You know that Ukrainian top officials called this investigation a “matter of honor.” Why do you think we don’t have the answer to the question “Who killed Paul Sheremet” in three years? – This is a big question. This is a big question for me personally as to why this case has not been opened – as you know, on the anniversary of his death I visited the place where it happened. And as you know, shortly after, President Zelensky asked a similar question (at a meeting with law enforcement officials. – EP) . Then we heard that there was progress in the investigation. I do not know at present what this progress is, but I can confirm that the death of Sheremet was a tragedy not only for your publication, but for freedom of speech in Ukraine as a whole, and also for the world. Only if the case is opened, only if the perpetrators of this murder are tried, will it be possible to hope for restoration of respect for media freedom in Ukraine. Therefore, your question is absolutely correct, I also ask: why has this case not been solved yet? Interviewed by: Sergiy Sidorenko, European Truth Sevgil Musayeva, “The Ukrainian Truth”

UAWire – US interested in Zelensky’s proposal to expand Normandy Format

The US is interested in and open to the possibility of expanding the Normandy Format by including the US itself or the UK, US chargé d’affaires …

Presidential Office reveals program of Netanyahu’s visit to Kyiv

On August 19, a series of events with the participation of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu will be held in Kyiv. — Ukrinform.

Finnish president to visit Ukraine in September

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö will pay an official visit to Kyiv in September 2019 and meet with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. — Ukrinform.


Russia’s FSB terrorizing Ukrainian fishermen in Sea of Azov, using beatings to force confessions – SBU

Counterintelligence agents from Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service have reported gross violations of international law by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) against citizens of Ukraine who legally fish in the Sea of Azov.

Russia sees no reason in holding Normandy format meeting without its thorough preparation

Kremlin is not against holding a Normandy format meeting to resolve the situation in Donbas

Putin refuses to participate in the Normandy format without “preparation”: We just would not want to hold a meeting like that

Assistant to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Yuri Ushakov, said that the Russian Federation does not see the point in holding a summit in the Norman format without careful preparation, which guarantees a political result. It is reported by Censor. NO with a link to According to him, Russia would not want to hold a summit without careful preparation. “We just would not want to hold a meeting without thorough preparation,” said Ushakov. He also noted that the French side has repeatedly made a proposal to hold a summit taking into account the change of leadership in Ukraine. “As you know, the French have repeatedly come forward with a proposal to hold a summit in the Norman format in the near future, including taking into account the change of leadership in Ukraine. We support this idea in principle, but we believe that if a summit is held, then should be carefully prepared so that it is clear, gathering at this summit, that we will achieve politically important results, “he said. Ushakov noted that during the August 19 talks between the Presidents of the Russian Federation and France, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, “the Ukrainian conflict will be discussed, as well as possible efforts to resolve it, including in the framework of the Norman format.”

Package of legislative initiatives to protect Ukrainians in Crimea formed

The package of legislative initiatives needed to solve the problems of Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea has been already formed. — Ukrinform.

Medvedchuk: If Russia stops gas transit through Ukraine, our country will lose about $3 billion per year

If Russia stops gas transit through Ukraine’s gas transporting system, Ukraine will lose about $3 billion per year

Russian military accidentally launched an aircraft guided missile in occupied Crimea

Two military personnel of the army of the occupying state launched an aircraft guided missile in the hangar. The hangar and equipment are damaged, 2 missiles are destroyed. The servicemen were convicted. The verdict was handed down to the Russians by the occupying Crimean garrison military court, reports Tsenzor.NET with reference to “Crimea . The unauthorized launch of the X-29TD rocket took place on October 1, 2017. “The investigation established that the military personnel Chebanov and Zverev, while preparing to test the rocket on the Oka automated equipment, violated the rules for handling weapons that pose an increased danger to others. Experts considered that the Ministry of Defense (Russia. – Ed.) Suffered material damage in amounting to more than 46 million rubles, “the court press service said. The court sentenced Alexei Chebanov in the form of a one-year and three-month military service restriction with deduction of 15% of his monetary allowance to state revenue, and Nikolai Zverev – a year of restriction with 10% in favor of the state. When pronouncing the verdict, the court took into account the positive characteristics of the military and extenuating circumstances – voluntary compensation for property damage caused as a result of the crime (three thousand rubles for each defendant), as well as the presence of four young children in Zverev. X-29 TD – Russian short-range air-to-surface air missile. Designed to destroy fortified targets such as reinforced concrete structures, bridges, concrete runways, ships with a displacement of up to 10 thousand tons and submarines in the surface. Источник:


Russian-led forces launch 13 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas

On August 16, the armed formations of the Russian Federation and its mercenaries violated ceasefire in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas 12 times. One attack more was launched at night. — Ukrinform.

JFO HQ reports 12 enemy attacks in Donbas in past 24 hours

Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 12 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas on Friday, the press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) has reported.

Day in Donbas: Twelve attacks, no casualties among Ukrainian military

Donbas militants violated the ceasefire 12 times. No dead or injured among the Ukrainian military reported

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

Russian-led forces have mounted five attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas since Friday midnight. There have been no casualties among the Ukrainian soldiers.

UAWire – Russian media claims that more than 60,000 Donbas residents have applied for Russian passports

More than 60 thousand residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are temporally not controlled by Ukraine, applied for the Russian …

Ex-deputy head of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry granted Russian citizenship – news politics | UNIAN

Former Deputy Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Vorona has been granted Russian citizenship. In 2011, the then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych appointed Vorona to the post of deputy minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Military helicopter crashes during take-off during exercises in Lviv region

At a military airfield in Brody in Lviv region, a MI-2 helicopter crashed during takeoff. On board were 2 people, they were alive and not injured. About this Censor.NET reports with reference to the Main Directorate of the State Emergency Situations Service in the Lviv region. The crash occurred on Friday, August 16th. “At 15.33, a message was received from the operational duty officer of the Western RCC (Regional Coordination Center. – Ed.) That a Mi-2 helicopter, on board of which there were two crew members, fell on the right side of the Brody airport during take-off “, – noted in the State Emergency Service. According to rescuers, there was no fire, therefore, fire departments were not involved. The State Emergency Service emphasized that there were no injuries resulting from a helicopter crash. The helicopter crashed during exercises held on the territory of the military unit A2595. About this publication said the press secretary of the territorial administration of the State Bureau of Investigation in Lviv Zoryana Tivin. Now, investigators of the State Security Bureau and military prosecutors are working at the scene. They find out the reason and all the circumstances of what happened. Источник:

Tank crews of the 1st Armoured are the best in the Land Forces

The competition for the best tank platoon among the representatives of the four ground command operatives is over. Platoons from the 1st Separate Tank Seversky Brigade of OK North, the 17th Separate Tank Krivoy Rog Brigade of OK East, the 128th Separate Mountain-Assault Transcarpathian Brigade of OKV and the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fought for victory “South”. 1st Tank tankers are the best in the Land Forces In a total of four days, the soldiers completed 11 tasks in four categories – sports, professional, driving a combat vehicle and a complex tactical task. 1st Tank tankers are the best in the Land Forces On the first day of the competition, the soldiers fired sniper rifles from the tank and overcame the baton. On the second day, the tankers “circled” in a “tank carousel”, drove their cars for accuracy and met medical training standards. On the third day, crews demonstrate their ability to fire Makarov pistol, including a tank, and demonstrate physical fitness in a half-kilometer obstacle course. 1st Tank tankers are the best in the Land Forces From the first day the leadership was taken over by representatives of OK North. Opponents from the East breathed into their backs. However, they proved their superiority and became the best tankers of the 3rd Tank Platoon of the 3rd Company of the 1st Tank Battalion of the 1st Separate Tank Seversky Brigade of OK North. Second place went to tankers from the 17 separate tank of the Krivoy Rog brigade of the operational command “East”. The third was taken by the team of 28 separate mechanized brigade of OK “South”.

Ukraine’s National Guard member Markiv convicted in Italy turns 30 today

Vitaliy Markiv, a serviceman of the National Guard of Ukraine who was sentenced in Italy to 24 years in prison, turns 30 years old today. — Ukrinform.

Mission: Impossible? Ukraine’s New President Ventures To Reform Powerful State Spy Agency

Previous attempts to overhaul Ukraine’s scandal-prone domestic security service, the SBU, have failed. With an historic mandate for reforms secured in recent elections, can Ukraine’s politically in…

Security Service detains Israeli drug lord Silver

Security Service of Ukraine detained the Israeli drug lord Amos Dov Silver


Defense ministry denies blocking purchase of APCs, pushing Morozov Design Bureau into bankruptcy

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry had declared baseless accusations of alleged intentions to block the purchase of BTR-4E armored personnel carriers and pushing the state-owned enterprise Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (known as Morozov Design Bureau) into bankruptcy.


Eight Die In Fire At Hotel In Ukraine’s Odesa

Eight people died and 10 were injured in a fire early on August 17 in a private hotel in the southern Ukrainian port of Odesa, Ukraine’s emergencies service said.

Zelensky about fire in Odesa: Not only those guilty will take responsibility for crime, but also the owner of “so-called hotel”

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the fire in the Odesa hotel and promised a fair punishment for those who are guilty of the tragedy.

Ukrainian sailor captured amid pirate attack on two vessels off Cameroon – Ukraine’s MFA – news ukraine | UNIAN

Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s consular service department Vasyl Kyrylych has said one Ukrainian sailor was captured as a result of a pirate attack on two merchant vessels off Cameroon. As UNIAN learned from informed sources, the Ukrainian was a member of the crew of the Marmalaita cargo ship.

SBU confirms detention of Israeli citizen Silver, three intelligence officers assisting him in escape

Employees of the Security Service of Ukraine have detained Israeli citizen Amos-Dov Silver in one of the regions of Ukraine.

SBU detains Israeli citizen who escaped during extraordinary events from airport

Security officials of Ukraine detained an Israeli citizen who had fled the day before from Boryspil International Airport during his extradition, a law enforcement source told Interfax-Ukraine.

UWC thanks Canadian senator of Ukrainian origin for unwavering support to Ukraine

The Ukrainian World Congress congratulated Canadian Senator Raynell Andreychuk on her birthday and thanked for her support to Ukraine and Ukrainians. — Ukrinform.


In Ukraine, a film will be shot showing how the Muscovites were completely smashed

Akhtem Seitablaev will begin work on the Konotop battle, which will tell how the army of Ukrainian Cossacks and Crimean Tatars completely defeated a large Moscow army. He announced this during a visit to Sumy on 8 August. Shooting will take place near Konotop, where, 360 years ago – June 28, 1659, a battle took place between the troops of Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky and the Crimean Khanate on the one hand and the troops of the Moscow kingdom on the other. The battle was one of the key episodes of the Moscow-Ukrainian war of 1658-1659. The project is being implemented with the financial support of the state. Recall that as a director, Akhtem Seitablaev, he made such iconic films as “Haytharma” (2012), “Cyborgs” (2017) and “Zakhar Berkut” (2019).



Battle of Konotop – Wikipedia

The Battle of Konotop or Battle of Sosnivka was fought between a coalition led[19] by the Hetman of Ukrainian Cossacks Ivan Vyhovsky and cavalry units of the Russian Tsardom under the command of Semyon Pozharsky and Semyon Lvov, supported by Cossacks of Ivan Bezpaly,[6] on 29 June 1659, near the town of Konotop, Ukraine, during the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667). Vyhovsky’s coalition, in which the Crimean Tatars of Mehmed IV Giray played a major role,[20] defeated the Russians and their allies and forced the main Russian army to interrupt the siege of Konotop. However, the result of the battle only intensified political tensions in Ukraine and led to Vyhovsky’s removal from power several months later.

Ivan Vyhovsky – Wikipedia

Ivan Vyhovsky (Ukrainian: Іван Виговський, Polish: Iwan Wyhowski / Jan Wyhowski) (date of birth unknown, died 1664) was a hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks during three years (1657–59) of the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667). He was the successor to the famous hetman and rebel leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky (see Hetmans of Ukrainian Cossacks). His time as hetman was characterized by his generally pro-Polish policies, which led to his defeat by pro-Russian faction among the Cossacks.

Mehmed IV Giray – Wikipedia

Mehmed IV Giray Sufi, Mehmed Sufi Girai (Crimean Tatar: IV Mehmed Geray, ۴محمدكراى‎‎; Sofu Mehmed Geray, صوفىمحمدكراى‎‎) (1610–1674) — a khan of the Crimean Khanate in 1641–44 and 1654–66. Supporter of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. His nickname Sofu means Sufi in Crimean Tatar. Mehmed IV is a famous poet, he wrote his poems mainly on philosophic and religious topics under penname Kâmil.

The Choice is a film about the Admiral who first swore allegiance to Ukraine

From 22 August to 4 September 2019, a documentary film, The Choice, based on real events, will take place at the October Cinema. About it reports Army Inform Ribbon about the modern Taras Bulbu, whose events unfold in difficult times against the background of the Black Sea Fleet. This is the story of the Ukrainian patriot, Admiral Mykola Zhibarev, who headed the ship’s demarche and brought out the SKR-112, which led to the decision to divide the Black Sea Fleet after the collapse of the Soviet Union. SKR-112 (815) SKR-112 (815) And he became an example of honor and dignity for compatriots. However, he did not keep in the ranks of his followers the most loved man – his eldest son. In 2014, Ilya Zhibarev chose Russia’s side, becoming a traitor to the state and a pain to his father. What was the main character’s path? What price did he have to pay for his love of the sea and his loyalty to his principles? What cost the state irresponsible leadership? Why Ukraine lost Crimea? Why did Elijah make his choice and how did his destiny come about? Will the main sailor of the country be forgiven for the cruelest act of a native man? That which is always more important than even honor, dignity and loyalty to one’s oaths? All these questions are answered by the movie Choice, which was made on Hetman Sahaidachny and Balaklava ships, in the town of Broshniv-Osada on the oil production site, in the apartment of Mykola Zhibarev, in the border guard of the city of Kyiv, the museums of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. , The Odessa Maritime Border Service and the Black Sea coast in the village of Sanzhayk.


Metropolitan Epiphanius, UWC representatives discuss expanding cooperation. Photos

On August 15, 2019, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius met with First Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress Stefan Romaniw and Director of the UWC Mission to Ukraine Serhiy Kasyanchuk. — Ukrinform.