‘For Putin’s Visit, Perm Becomes Ultimate Potemkin Village’ and other neglected Russian stories

One of the large photographs installed to hide city eyesores from Putin before his visit in Perm. September 2017 (Image: social media)

One of the large photographs installed to hide city eyesores from Putin before his visit in Perm. September 2017 (Image: social media) 

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The flood of news stories from a country as large, diverse and strange as the Russian Federation often appears to be is far too large for anyone to keep up with. But there needs to be a way to mark those which can’t be discussed in detail but which are too indicative of broader developments to ignore.

Consequently, Windows on Eurasia each week presents a selection of these other and typically neglected stories at the end of each week. This is the 99th such compilation, and it is again a double issue with 26 from Russia and 13 from Russia’s neighbors. Even then, it is far from complete, but perhaps one or more of these stories will prove of broader interest.

1. For Putin’s Visit, Perm Becomes Ultimate Potemkin Village

Many cities and regions of Russia have long welcomed visits by the countries leaders because they know that local officials will do what they can to spruce things up, something that residents may occasionally benefit from. But this week, when Putin came to Perm, officials there put up huge photographs to cover entire streets, something that ended by embarrassing the officials and provoking demonstrations by Perm residents (ura.news/news/1052303530, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B12FFB1DA7E, ura.news/news/1052303268, newsland.com/community/4109/content/potemkinskii-portal-dlia-putina/5985800 and ura.news/news/1052303544).

The Potemkin village strategy arose in tsarist times, and Putin during his Siberian tour personally displayed another tendency of Russian and Soviet leaders that lives on today: a propensity for gigantism. Rather than taking real steps that might solve actual problems, Putin called for the construction of a bridge-tunnel network linking Japan and Sakhalin, something that would cost more than Moscow can afford and almost certainly will never be built but may become a cash cow for the oligarchs (ng.ru/news/593389.html).

Putin did get one good piece of news: the leader of South Korea said that the Kremlin leader as “the soul of a Siberian tiger” (themoscowtimes.com/news/south-korean-leader-says-putin-has-soul-of-a-siberian-tiger-58877).

2. The Trump-Putin Bromance is Definitely Over

Speaking in Beijing, Vladimir Putin said that the US president isn’t his “bride” and that he isn’t Trump’s “groom” (profile.ru/economics/item/119365-briks). The Russian president also opined that the US secretary of state whom he had counted a friend had unfortunately fallen in with “bad company” (regnum.ru/news/polit/2318585.html).

Meanwhile, the Russian foreign ministry helpfully suggested that Trump may not serve his full term (themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-foreign-ministry-spokeswoman-says-trump-might-not-sit-out-full-term-58848), and Putin himself said he was ready to reduce the number of US diplomats in Russia by another 155 (meduza.io/news/2017/09/05/putin-rasskazal-o-vozmozhnosti-sokrascheniya-dipmissii-ssha-esche-na-155-chelovek).

Looking at the situation between the two leaders, one commentator suggested that clearly Trump isn’t Reagan and equally clearly that Putin isn’t Andropov (gordonua.com/blogs/berezovets/putin-yavno-zaigralsya-tramp-poka-eshche-ne-reygan-no-putin-uzhe-tochno-ne-brezhnev-ili-andropov-205948.html).

3. But One Russian Nationalist Still Backs Trump

A Russian nationalist now standing trial for extremism continues to back Donald Trump and announced that he has sent the American president a contribution to be used to fight LGBT people and Democrats. His contribution, however, is not especially large: 14.88 rubles or just about 25 US cents (fontanka.ru/2017/09/07/064/).

4. Is Putin’s Power Vertical Shaking?

Increasingly, Russian commentators are not only looking beyond Putin but suggesting that his system is coming apart. One insists that no power vertical exists (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2049382-echo/), and others say Putin has failed to institutionalize his rule in any serious way (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59A7F2584D242 and snob.ru/selected/entry/128483).

Putin has reached back to the Soviet period for one new institution: he has created a university for United Russia Party cadres (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AD6367D2646).

5. Moscow Mayor Promotes His Own Cult of Personality

Many news outlets had fun this week with the surfacing of a directive requiring all Moscow news outlets to mention the name of the Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin at least three times in any story about the city (meduza.io/news/2017/09/06/tri-moskvy-tri-sobyanina-zhurnalist-aleksey-kovalev-raskryl-glavnoe-pravilo-napisaniya-zametok-pro-mera-v-rayonnyh-gazetah).

6. Nearly Half of Russians Don’t Think Courts Dispense Justice

According to a new poll, 45 percent of Russians say that the courts in their country don’t dispense justice but rather reflect the will of the powers that be. Many say they would like to see judges elected to make them more responsible (https://newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-gorode-na-neve-proidet-miting-s-trebovaniem-vybornosti-sudei/5986243).

There is a widespread sense that the law is not written for those with money and power but only for those without those things (newsland.com/community/4788/content/zakon-ne-dlia-nikh-edinaia-rossiia-agitiruet-priamo-v-moskovskikh-shkolakh/5986198). And this week, various observers suggested that one aspect of this situation is that senior officials and business types now prefer to get their bribes in suitcases to keep things quiet ( ura.news/news/1052303297).

7. Mixed Signals on Promoting Participation in Elections

Much of the discussion of the upcoming presidential election in Russia is about how the Kremlin can produce high turnout, given that there is no question who will win. But this week officials sent very mixed signals about how much participation they want in other races if not in that one. Some regions are using raffles and rap concerts to get young people to the polls (themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-regions-lure-young-voters-with-raffles-and-rap-concerts-58887), businesses are handing out instrucitons to workers about showing up and how to vote, including at the Uralvagonzavod defense company which was held up as a center of Putin support in 2012 (politsovet.ru/56475-rabochim-uvz-razdali-instrukcii-po-golosovaniyu-za-edinorossov.html), Moscow officials were divided in how much participation they wanted, reducing coverage in advance and even signally that low participation would ensure that the incumbents would all win easily (meduza.io/news/2017/09/07/vedomosti-meriya-moskvy-reshila-ne-osveschat-munitsipalnye-vybory-chtoby-provesti-svoih-kandidatov and thequestion.ru/questions/310025/pochemu-v-moskve-ne-reklamiruyut-municipalnye-vybory-10-sentyabrya), and the central election body called for eliminating all “dead souls” on voter lists, something it probably wouldn’t do if all it was concerned about was boosting participation (versia.ru/pamfilova-poruchila-komissiyam-ubrat-mertvye-dushi-iz-spiskov-izbiratelej).

8. ‘Two Nations’ Emerge in Russia – Rublovka and Glubinka

In Russia today, the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, prompting one commentator to suggest that there are now “two nations” in Russia, Rublovka and Glubinka, an idea that goes back to Friedrich Engels who took it from the title of a Benjamin Disraeli novel (publizist.ru/blogs/107559/20174/-).

Among the reports this week that give substance to this argument are the following:

  • 60 percent of the Russian poor are now working families with children (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AFD24D7FB0A),
  • There are now 69 personal bankruptcies a day in Russia (obkorr.ru/news/59AFEF95A6348.html),
  • The educational system is now divided between the rich and poor as is medical care (takiedela.ru/2017/09/takaya-rossiya-obrazovanie/),
  • Ordinary Russians say that inflation is 3.5 times higher than the government admits (newsland.com/community/4109/content/rossiiane-otsenili-infliatsiiu-v-35-raza-vyshe-chem-rosstat/5985571),
  • Increasingly indebted ordinary Russians are now forced to pay every third ruble of their incomes to serve debt (babr24.com/msk/?IDE=164791),
  • Factories are closing in almost every sector (newsland.com/community/4765/content/vsia-sut-putinskogo-kapitalizma-rossii-v-odnoi-fotografii/5982083), and
  • The finance ministry says it can’t find the money needed to pay for programs in healthcare or other public services (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B22D4FDC2C2 and kommersant.ru/doc/3404204).

At the same time, Putin has been taking steps to protect his friends from sanctions, forcing ordinary Russians to pay the bill (newsland.com/community/129/content/putin-perelozhil-finansovye-poteri-svoikh-druzei-oligarkhov-ot-sanktsii-na-prostykh-grazhdan/5982124). The finance ministry has suggested, however, that officials curb some of their expensive tastes (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/09/07/135071-minfin-predlozhil-menshe-tratit-na-lyuksy-dlya-chinovnikov).

Two other pieces of economic news are suggestive:

  • Russian agriculture which Moscow has been boosted as a driver is now a brake on the country’s economic development, experts say (ng.ru/economics/2017-09-06/1_7067_farmer.html), and
  • One Russian region has acknowledged that there isn’t enough money in the educational budget to offer classes in financial literacy (ura.news/news/1052303549).

9. Ever More Social Problems Surface and Intensify

Russian society faces ever more problems, many of which the regime has brought on itself and some of which may lead to explosions at least down the pike. The regime has imposed new rules that will allow it to seize land and dachas from those who haven’t paid their bills, something that will alarm many (realty.mail.ru/news/39978/nekotoryh_rossijan_mogut_lishit_uchastkov_i_sadovyh_domikov/).

  • Teachers are increasingly complaining about being overworked and underpaid as Putin’s “optimization” program hits them (mk.ru/social/2017/09/04/prepodavateli-vozmushheny-svoimi-zarplatami-i-nagruzkami.html),
  • Human trafficking is on the increase in Moscow and other Russian cities (kp.ru/daily/26726.5/3752653/),
  • The Federation Council wants to adopt legislation that would allow the authorities to expel anyone whose actions they deemed “undesirable” regardless of other laws (nazaccent.ru/content/25239-v-sovfede-predlozhili-vydvoryat-migrantov-za.html),
  • No Russian university ranked in the top 100 in the world this year (rbc.ru/society/05/09/2017/59ae2dfe9a794753f05e3e06),
  • Russian scholars were cut off from access to the largest data base of scientific papers (newsland.com/community/2409/content/rossiiskie-uchenye-lishilis-dostupa-k-krupneishei-baze-nauchnykh-publikatsii/5983455),
  • A new study finds that prostitution like almost everything else in Russian life is highly centralized with those engaged in it able to get the higher prices if they are located near the center of Moscow or at least close to a metro station (iq.hse.ru/news/209000077.html).

There was one piece of good news: the Aeroflot stewardesses won their cases against the national carrier which had dismissed them because they were older than the company wanted (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B027730041E).

10. Putin’s Optimization Costing Russians Access to Health Care and in Some Cases Their Lives

Putin’s cutbacks in health care delivery systems have effectively killed primary care in many places, leaving them without medical assistance when doctors could cure them, and meaning that ever fewer Russians have access to healthcare at all (regnum.ru/news/cultura/2317224.html, regnum.ru/news/economy/2318197.html and newsland.com/community/5392/content/rossiiane-stali-rezhe-poseshchat-polikliniki/5985820).

Because Putin was visiting the Far East, stories about that region were numerous and reported some true horrors: alcoholism among the population there is twice as high as for the country as a whole and 70 percent of male deaths in that region are related to overconsumption of alcohol (newsland.com/community/7411/content/glava-minzdrava-rasskazala-ob-urovne-alkogolizatsii-dalnego-vostoka-vdvoe-prevyshaiushchem-srednii/5985862 and newsland.com/community/5652/content/minzdrav-na-dalnem-vostoke-ot-pianstva-umiraiut-70-muzhchin/5985076).

11. Russians Say They’d Rather Encounter a Chechen than a Ukrainian on a Dark Night

Media company Ekho Moskvy asked the visitors to its portal whom they would least like to meet on a dark street, a Chechen or a Ukrainian. Those who answered said they’d be more afraid of a Ukrainian (dsnews.ua/society/rossiyane-bolshe-boyatsya-vstretit-nochyu-ukraintsev-chem-07092017084500).

Other news from the nationalities front:

  • The North Caucasus is at the bottom of foreign language instruction (kavkazr.com/a/inostranniy-severniy-kavkaz/28694969.html)
  • That region is also ceasing to be a reliably KPRF “belt” (capost.media/news/politicheskiyblog/severnyy-kavkaz-lishaetsya-krasnogo-poyasa-/)
  • Ninety percent of the ethnic Slavs who were in the Russian Far East in 1989 have left since that time, eliminating hopes to restore a Ukrainian Green Wedge there (afterempire.info/2017/09/08/zeleni-klin/)
  • The newly installed head of Buryatia says he has Tatar, Jewish, and Circassian ancestors as well as Buryat ones (nazaccent.ru/content/25286-cydenov-esli-tatarina-poteret-vylezet-buryat.html)
  • The situation for ethnic groups in Karelia is so dire that some of them have now appealed to Putin (finugor.ru/news/grigorev-situaciya-v-respublike-kareliya-blizka-k-nacionalnoy-katastrofe)
  • Leaders of the All-Tatar Social Center (VTOTs) have appealed to Kazan to defend it against being closed down by Moscow (idelreal.org/a/28718013.html).

12. Declared Followers of Little Faith an Increasing Political Problem

People who say they identify with one or another religion but are not really believers in any serious way are an increasing problem because they are the most easily mobilized by radicals for political goals in Russia and other post-Soviet states (ng.ru/ng_religii/2017-08-16/12_426_world.html).

Moscow officials are now promoting the restoration of property not only to the Russian Orthodox Church but to the Roman Catholics as well (sobkorr.ru/news/59AFB3A436160.html) prompting Old Believers to step up their campaign for similar treatment (ruvera.ru/articles/borba_za_imushestvo).

Natalya Poklonskaya’s campaign against the film Mathilda, based on radical Orthodoxy, has been criticized as a threat to Putin’s regime (ru.krymr.com/a/28721573.html).

The compilation of a list of the 100 most well-known ethnic Russian Muslims has been condemned as a witch hung (neofitam.net/?p=308). And the Muslims of the Middle Volga have finally opened the Bulgar Islamic Academy which they suggest will be the leading center of Islamic thought in Russia (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68067).

13. Chinese Billionaire Says Russian Far East Should Be Renamed ‘Pacific Region’

A Chinese billionaire has suggested that calling the easternmost part of Russia the Russian Far East is out of date because it suggests that Russia is centered in Europe not Asia and that Moscow should move promptly to rename it “the Pacific Region.” However much logic he has on his side, this suggestion will simultaneously terrify and outrage many Russians (lenta.ru/news/2017/09/07/dv/).

Most analysts suggested that Putin’s visit to the region will do little or nothing to solve its underlying problems (nazaccent.ru/content/25276-putin-predlozhil-davat-dalnevostochnyj-gektar-sootechestvennikam.html, polit.ru/article/2017/09/08/fareast/ and svpressa.ru/economy/article/180990/). Meanwhile, it was announced that almost a third of all the housing in Russia could be fixed up for what the center is spending on renovations in Moscow alone (newsland.com/community/4788/content/ioshkin-krot-podschital-kak-moskva-zhiruet-za-schet-rossiian/5985427).

Other regionalist news this week: a Kuban activist was punished for promoting separatism in a Russian region (afterempire.info/2017/09/07/polyudova/), and Perm and Krasnodar tried to keep and gain respectively the status of “millionaire” cities, a term introduced in Soviet times that still affects budgetary allocations and not just bragging rights (regnum.ru/news/economy/2318686.html and ura.news/articles/1036272100).

14. Russia has Its Very Own Columbine Incident

A shooting incident at a school near Moscow has been called Russia’s Columbine, a reference to the murderous rampage in an American school in Colorado several years ago (spektr.press/eho-kolumbiny-podrostok-ustroil-strelbu-v-podmoskovnoj-shkole-vsya-istoriya-korotko/). Such violence, and other outbreaks across the country, has put Russians on edge and made them less confident of their personal security (ura.news/news/1052303495 and regnum.ru/news/accidents/2317257.html).

It has led to the publication of special guides on how those in such circumstances should behave (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/09/06/73729-kak-vesti-sebya-uchenikam-studentam-i-prepodavatelyam-vo-vremya-teraktov-i-napadeniy-v-uchebnyh-zavedeniyah) and to warnings that fear of attacks can become a source of instability on its own (ng.ru/editorial/2017-09-06/2_7067_red.html).

15. 49 Percent of Russians Want an End to Syrian Campaign

According to a new poll, 49 percent of Russians want Russia to end its military operation in Syria; only 30 percent favor continuing the Kremlin’s approach (graniru.org/Politics/Russia/m.263792.html). This shift in public attitudes away from Putin reflects both the difficulties Russians are experiencing in their own lives, difficulties the regime says it can’t address because of the costs of security operations and the rise in the number of casualties from the conflict (newsland.com/community/politic/content/obrechennaia-siriiskaia-avantiura-putina/5985900 and obkorr.ru/news/59AFE95A4BBD6.html).

Even the defense ministry is feeling the pinch of budget shortages: Soviet-era tanks are being modernized rather than replaced (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B1936A5292B), and reformers are proposing cutting defense spending to modernize the economy (newsland.com/community/88/content/kudrin-predlozhil-putinu-sokratit-raskhody-na-silovikov-dlia-rosta-ekonomiki/5983856).

Putin’s foreign policy on the cheap is increasingly backfiring or at least being exposed. Russian Germans are ever more alienated, polls show (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/russkoyazychnye-v-germanii-vzbuntovalis-protiv-kremlevskoy-manipulyacii-205961.html), and the US has exposed Russian penetration and disordering of various public functions abroad (themoscowtimes.com/news/facebook-blocks-470-fake-accounts-linked-to-russian-troll-factory-58874, rbc.ru/politics/06/09/2017/59afeafe9a7947426ee76310 and newizv.ru/news/politics/07-09-2017/rossiyu-obvinili-v-rassylke-politicheskoy-reklamy-v-facebook-pered-vyborami-v-ssha).

16. Kadyrov Demonstration in Grozny Far Smaller than Initially Claimed

Ramzan Kadyrov’s demonstration against Myanmar’s war against Muslims there attracted only about 100,000 people and not the million that many reported at the time (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/309098/). That helps to explain both Kadyrov’s own greater deference to Moscow afterwards (onkavkaz.com/novosti/3038-kadyrov-my-prodolzhim-stroit-buduschee-v-sostave-mnogonacionalnoi-i-mnogokonfessionalnoi-rossii.html) and Moscow’s decision not to allow another Muslim demonstration in front of the Myanmar embassy there (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B0429994774).

There were demonstrations on various issues across Russia this week, but the most interesting development was that some of them took up issues other than the ones that had originally animated the protesters, suggesting that there is greater willingness to make alliances against the regime (nazaccent.ru/content/25209-v-tatarstane-proshel-piket-za-zaklyuchenie.html and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/308954/).

17. Education Ministry Wants to Exclude Foreign Words from School Curriculum

Russia’s educational minister says she wants all foreign words to be excluded from the curriculum of schools in her country, a demand that many critics are now questioning (philologist.livejournal.com/9578110.html and newsland.com/community/6784/content/prozhivut-li-shkolnye-uchebniki-bez-inostrannykh-slov/5986302). But her call reflects an increasingly repressive environment across the board:

  • St. Petersburg now wants to find ways to fill up all squares where protests might otherwise occur (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2051432-echo/),
  • Putin began this year of ecology by declaring an environmental group a foreign agent (thebarentsobserver.com/en/2017/09/putins-year-ecology-aetas-declared-foreign-agents),
  • Postal workers are being celebrated for identifying extremist materials in the mail (sobkorr.ru/news/59AD1683D0869.html),
  • A Petersburg dissident has been confined in a psychiatric hospital (ixtc.org/2017/09/v-peterburge-aktivista-otpravili-iz-politsii-v-psihiatricheskuyu-bolnitsu/),
  • Kuban pupils have been forced to report each day about what is on First Channel TV news to ensure that they watch it rather than getting their information online (snob.ru/selected/entry/128715),
  • The Kultura TV channel has stopped carrying Euronews (echo.msk.ru/news/2049282-echo.html), and
  • The Russian government has imposed new restrictions on Russians who want to purchase planes or ships manufactured abroad (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59B242383C106).

18. Moscow Says It Can’t Afford to Bury Lenin

The Russian government has offered many excuses for not closing the mausoleum on Red Square and burying the founder of the Soviet state, but now, it has come up with a new one: Moscow can’t afford to bury Lenin because of budgetary shortfalls (regnum.ru/news/society/2319158.html).

The conflict over the Mathilda film continues to heat up:

  • One theater has been firebombed (ura.news/articles/1036272060),
  • Poklonskaya charged that the film was paid for corruptly (znak.com/2017-09-05/poklonskaya_matilda_finansirovalas_po_somnitelnym_shemam_vozmozhna_korrupciya),
  • Some Russians suggesting that Moscow should keep Crimea but send Poklonskaya back (forum-msk.org/material/kompromat/13667941.html), and
  • One governor now coming out in support of her and her call for a ban on the film (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/09/06/pervyj_russkij_gubernator_protiv_matildy/).

Other clashes on the monument front:

  • A monument to the founder of the Soviet cheka secret police (predecessor of the KGB) has gone up with others now in prospect (https://7×7-journal.ru/item/98242 and agonia-ru.com/archives/11132),
  • A third of Russians saying they want memorials to Stalin (belsat.eu/ru/programs/bolee-treti-rossiyan-vyskazyvayutsya-za-neobhodimost-ustanovki-pamyatnika-stalinu/),
  • A fight between supporters of the murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and Moscow city over whether there can be any memorial to him of even the smallest kind (vestnikcivitas.ru/news/4100 and newsland.com/community/4489/content/memorialnaia-doska-nemtsovu-ustanovlena-nezakonno-moskovskie-vlasti-eio-demontiruiut/5986391),
  • A new conflict in Chelyabinsk over a monument to the anti-Bolshevik Czech Legion (regnum.ru/news/polit/2317076.html)
  • And an older one in Yekaterinburg over the construction of a cathedral there has intensified (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AD0DCFD41C6 and ura.news/news/1052303435),
  • A conflict over a new monument in Moscow to Kabards (nazaccent.ru/content/25258-v-moskve-otkryli-pamyatnuyu-dosku-na.html)
  • And one over the savior of Baikal in the Far East (babr24.com/baik/?IDE=164701) and
  • A new conflict in Moscow over memorials to churchmen and tsarist officials killed by Bolsheviks (newsland.com/community/4765/content/v-moskve-pochtili-pamiat-kaznennykh-bolshevikami-sviashchennikov-i-tsarskikh-chinovnikov/5984866).

Indeed, there are now reports that entire cities are divided more over monuments than anything else (afterempire.info/2017/09/07/2vyatkas/).

19. WADA Official Denies Moscow Reports It is Dropping Its Doping Charges Against Russians

The Kremlin put out stories this week that the World Anti-Doping Agency plans to drop its charges against Moscow and thus allow Russia out of the doghouse, but the author of the report that has so outraged the Russian authorities denies that is the case (regnum.ru/news/sport/2317237.html, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AE8F815008B).

In response, some Russian writers have suggested that WADA wants Russian blood and will do anything it has to in order to get it (newsland.com/community/7268/content/wada-snialo-obvineniia-protiv-rossii-no-po-prezhnemu-khochet-nashei-krovi/5982416 and newsland.com/community/5652/content/eto-khuzhe-chem-my-mogli-podumat/5981850).

Meanwhile, construction projects for the FIFA World Cup 2018 continued to be behind schedule and overbudget with Russians asking how the money might better be used for social needs (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59AFD939B0028, momenty.org/city/i176753/, znak.com/2017-09-06/v_stavropole_40_byudzhetnyh_millionov_na_chm_2018_ushli_chastnomu_licu, newsland.com/community/7268/content/piterskii-pozor-pered-chm-2018-russkoe-chudo-trebuet-eshche-400-mln-i-eto-ne-predel/5986157 and politsovet.ru/56486-vlasti-ekaterinburga-otkazalis-ot-rasstekleniya-balkonov-k-chempionatu-mira-po-futbolu.html).

In addition, Russian athletes were banned from the 2018 Paraolympics (snob.ru/selected/entry/128725) and from another competition as well (newsland.com/community/7245/content/zapret-sbornoi-rossii-po-tiazheloi-atletike-uchastvovat-v-chm-2017/5985032).

20. Northern Sea Route now ‘Completely Ice Free’

The Northern Sea Route that Russia hopes will link Europe and Asia has become “completely ice free” in this summer season as a result of global warming; and traffic along it has jumped with nearly 100 ships now in transit (thebarentsobserver.com/en/2017/09/northern-sea-route-completely-ice-free-and-shipping-thrives).

21. Medvedev Fires Russia’s Top Weatherman

Because unexpected weather embarrassed the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev has fired Russia’s top weatherman, the latest case of shooting the messenger in Russia (spektr.press/news/2017/09/06/medvedev-uvolil-glavu-rosgidrometa/).

22. Majority of Russians Say They Regret Collapse of USSR

The share of Russians who say they regret the disintegration of the Soviet Union has now passed 50 percent, a reflection of Vladimir Putin’s oft-repeated suggestion that that event was “the greatest geopolitical disaster” of the 20th century (newsland.com/community/129/content/bolshinstvo-grazhdan-rf-sozhaleiut-o-raspade-sssr/5984929).

23. Ever More Russians Seeking Patents of Nobility from the House of Romanov

When you have just about everything else, you can now apply to get a patent of nobility from the House of Romanov. That is what numerous wealthy and powerful Russians are now doing (newizv.ru/news/society/04-09-2017/status-bez-privilegiy-kogo-i-za-chto-prinimayut-vo-dvoryanstvo-30b48ce1-7463-47c8-b7fe-b3a59d891e5b). Such patents don’t give their bearers any particular rights; but in the minds of some, they do confer real status.

24. ‘Where are the Cossacks with Their Whips?’ Russians Ask after Muslim Demo in Moscow

Some Russians apparently would like to go back to one of the more ugly features of the Russian Imperial past. After Muslims demonstrated in front of the Myanmar Embassy, some Russians were heard to ask “where are the Cossacks with their nagaikas” when you need them? (newsland.com/community/6399/content/gde-kazaki-s-nagaikami-runet-vzbeshen-aktsiei-musulman-v-tsentre-moskvy/5981394).

25. Russia Gets Another Road to Nowhere – This Time in Udmurtia

Russian road construction plans often lead to the building of roads that don’t actually connect anything but instead simply end in the middle of nowhere. Yet another one of these roads, this time in the Middle Volga republic of Udmurtia, has drawn attention and sparked criticism this week (fedpress.ru/article/1850373).

26. Sakhalin Officials Give Blind Activist a TV

Bad staff work or simple incompetence has led to a decision by officials in Sakhalin to award a television set to a blind activist there, an action that has sparked comment across the country (znak.com/2017-09-06/na_sahaline_chinovniki_podarili_slepomu_aktivistu_televizor).


And 13 more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:

1. Kyiv Paper Describes Putin’s ‘Peacekeeping’ Initiative as ‘War-Keeping’

The Kyiv Post says that Putin’s proposal for “peacekeepers” in the Donbas should be described as “warkeeping” (kyivpost.com/opinion/warkeeping). The author of these lines has always felt that Moscow does believe in “piece-keeping,” a different spelling with a different meaning altogether.

This week, Ukrainian officials identified “more than 75” Russian military units in the region, undercutting Kremlin claims that there aren’t any there (newsland.com/community/ukraine/content/na-donbasse-identifitsirovali-svyshe-75-voennykh-podrazdelenii-rf/5981069).

2. Kyiv Police Launch Effort to Block Illegal Trade in Guns

The Ukrainian government, facing the bleeding back into Kyiv-controlled territory of guns being used in the war with Russia, has begun a massive program to block such trafficking (gordonua.com/news/society/nacpoliciya-nachala-vseukrainskuyu-operaciyu-po-protivodeystviyu-nezakonnomu-oborotu-oruzhiya-206080.html).

3. Kerch Bridge’s Problems and Price Keep Rising

The Kerch bridge between the Russian Federation and Russian-occupied Crimea faces new problems, including the collapse of part of it into the water (infoaccent.net/chast-kerchenskogo-mosta-ukhodit-pod-vodu-raboty-ostanovleny/?_utl_t=fb), a rising price tag that will mean if it is ever completed, it will have cost three times as much as the current longest bridge in the world (https://newsland.com/community/4765/content/tsena-kerchenskogo-mosta-v-tri-raza-prevysila-tsenu-samogo-dlinnogo-mosta-v-mire-smi/5983174).

4. ‘You Have No Rights,’ Occupiers Tell Crimean Tatar Woman

Russian occupation forces have told a Crimean Tatar woman that she has no rights when it comes to dealing with them (khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1504536072). That statement at least appears less hypocritical than many the occupiers make who continue to repress people on the Ukrainian peninsula.

The latest development: school children there are now forced to participate in five-minute glorification of Russia programs (qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/okkupanti-vvodyat-v-shkolah-pyatiminutki-proslavleniya-rossii/177933/).

5. Belarus Authorities Drop References to Moscow as Third Rome in School Textbooks

The Belarusian government has issued new textbooks which have eliminated any reference to Kyivan Rus as the point of origin of Russian statehood and to the notion of Moscow as the Third Rome (newsland.com/community/5206/content/iz-belorusskikh-uchebnikov-istorii-ubrali-kievskuiu-rus-i-moskvu-tretii-rim/5986574).

This week, the Belarusian media also played up the history of the ten years when Minsk was Mensk (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/9/6/262037/) and the 503rd anniversary of a Belarusian defeat of Muscovite forces (freeingria.org/2017/09/v-minske-otmetyat-503-letie-pobedy-nad-moskoviej/).

But the Belarusian authorities refused — despite requests — to open the Soviet KGB archives there to investigators (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/9/4/261849/).

6. Lukashenka Losing His Political Base

Belarusian demographers report that over the last 20 years, almost all the regions of the country except the city of Minsk have seen a decline in population (belsat.eu/ru/news/za-poslednie-20-let-prakticheski-vo-vseh-rajonah-belarusi-umenshilos-naselenie/). That matters because those regions have been the most significant bastions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s support and the cities, and especially Minsk, have been where the opposition is strongest.

7. Vilnius Calls for a ‘Military Shengen’ System

The Lithuanian government has proposed establishing a Shengen-like arrangement for military personnel in Europe so as to allow them to move quickly from one place to another to counter threats (rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/abroad/litva-predlagaet-es-sozdat-voennyj-shengen.d?id=49221309).

8. Moldovan Army Says It Answers to the Government, Not the President

The Moldovan armed forces, pointing out that their country is a parliamentary republic, say that they take their orders from the government, which is pro-European, rather than from the president, who is pro-Moscow (ng.ru/cis/2017-09-08/6_7069_moldavia.html).

9. Georgians Suspect Moscow May have Set Forest Fires in Their Country

Georgians fear that Moscow may have come up with another form of “hybrid” attack. Many of them think that Moscow or its agents are responsible for setting ablaze parts of their country and forcing the government to focus on that rather than on anything else (ng.ru/cis/2017-09-06/5_7067_fire.html).

10. Kazakhstan’s Muslim Leaders Ban ‘Salafite Sex’

Kazakhstan’s Muslim Spiritual Directorate says that none of the faithful should engage in what it calls “Salafite sex,” the kind of sexual activity that some Salafis call for that deprives women of satisfaction (newtimes.kz/proisshestviya/item/58076-smk-predlozhil-zapretit-salafitskij-seks-v-kazakhstane).

11. Kazakhstan Cuts State Share in Economy and Passes Russia in Per Capita Consumption

While Russia is seeing the state sector of the economy grow at the expense of the private one, Kazakhstan is undergoing exactly the reverse process (newsland.com/community/6437/content/pochemu-v-rossii-dolia-gosudarstvennogo-biznesa-rastiot-a-v-kazakhstane-sokrashchaetsia/5985951).

That is one of the reasons, experts say, why Kazakhstan now outranks Russia in consumption per capita (newsland.com/community/4788/content/rf-teper-ne-samaia-blagopoluchnaia-strana-v-sng/5983862).

12. Tajik Officials Banned from Disagreeing with Regime Policy in Public

A new code that has been imposed on government officials in Dushanbe bans any employee of the state from expressing dissent about government policies (fergananews.com/news/26840).

13. CIS Leaders, Except Those of Russia and Kyrgyzstan, Use Western Aircraft Rather than Russian Ones

A survey finds that the leaders of CIS countries, except for the presidents of Russia and Kyrgyzstan, have chosen to use Boeing and Airbus planes rather than Russian products, itself an indication of one of the ways these states have reoriented themselves since 1991 (new.ia-centr.ru/publications/na-chem-letayut-prezidenty-stran-sng/).


Edited by: A. N.

Dear readers! Since you’ ve made it to this point, we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away, which is why it's extra important to provide news about Ukraine in English. We are a small independent journalist team on a shoestring budget, have no political or state affiliation, and depend on our readers to keep going (using ťhe chance - a big thank you to our generous supporters, we couldn't make it without you). We are now $5,000 short of our financial goal and need your support to continue working. If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation!

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  1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

    Re 22: “Majority of Dwarfstanians Say They Regret Collapse of USSR”

    Irrelevant. More to the point is what the people in the former SSRs say. Do they regret the collapse of the USSR? I doubt that very much. Not one of the former SSRs will voluntarily seek reunification with Dwarfstan, not even Belarus. The only way that reunification can be achieved is through force, but as the Ukrainian example shows, it doesn’t work. Dwarfstan is simply too weak to force all the former SSRs to rejoin.

    1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

      One should consider those peoples mind-set, they don’t know anything else or blind indifference?

    2. Avatar veth says:

      Senate increases defence funding for Ukraine to 420 million dollars in 2018, about 100 million more.

    3. Avatar Tchitcherine says:

      And even so, the RFSR chose to declare it’s independence from the USSR. A little pointless, because the USSR in practice had already ceased to exist, but still. We all regret some life choices, but we all go on and live with them.

  2. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    Point No. 11: “Russians Say They’ Rather Encounter a Chechen than a Ukrainian on a Dark Night”. Too funny or perhaps not so funny from the point of view of the average Russian. In any case, this could explain why most Russians have such a deep rooted inferiority complex vis-a-vis their relations with Ukrainians. Other explanations could also include; 1) Why so many Russians prefer to have Mongoloids such as Putin or individuals that look like Mongoloids such as Brezhnev to lead them in battle against the Ukrainians, 2) Why so many young Russian soldiers are terrified at the prospect of being sent to Donbas to fight against Ukrainians, 3) Why the Russians have tried to usurp Ukrainian culture, tradition and history as part of their own, and so on. Please feel free to add to this list. It shouldn’t be difficult.

    1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

      “on a Dark Night”, really?
      Ukrainians sleep at night and only rats are out at night (Ukrainians don’t eat rats).

      Would any Russian know what a Ukrainian looks like anyway?

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        Don’t ask “Screwdriver” who is an ardent viewer of fake news broadcasts from Russian Television (aka RT News). Apparently, this individual believes that Leonid Brezhnev was a Ukrainian whereas anyone with an iota of intelligence would know that Brezh who was born in Ukraine, identified himself as an ethnic Russian although he had distinguishing features which could easily suggest a lineage traceable to a Mongol or Neanderthal ancestry. The very same could also be said for Vovochka the Pompous Pederast Putin.

        1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

          Screwball is a Bolshevik with no moral scruples, a mental cyst.

          1. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            Bolsheviks are communists, I am anti-communist.

          2. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            Your parents were card carrying Bolsheviks who took pride in suppressing the Ukrainian nation, own it!

          3. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            This is why people call you Nazis, because this is how you killed almost all the Jews in Lviv., in 1941.

          4. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            You bolsheviks killed more jews then the German nazis – before, during and after the war. These are the sins you refuse to accept but openly slander a Nation to hide your guilt.

          5. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            You poor thing so much confused . Jews know better then some malorussian shmack, Holocaust is all about German Nazis and they servants like Ukrainian Nazis. Try to present your views in Israel, people will spit into your face.

          6. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            You really need to get a Yiddish dictionary boychick. Sin kurva would be your definition.

          1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            Rubbish! The information provided by this passport stated that his nationality may have been Ukrainian based on his place of birth. However, his documented genealogy is clearly ethnic Russian based on the surnames of his parents and grandparents which are all Russian. Furthermore, the surname Brezhnev is also Russian and not Ukrainian. And on one final note, Brezhnev never identified himself as an ethnic Ukrainian. He considered himself as an ethnic Russian in every respect and so did everyone around him. Try peddling your garbage elsewhere.

          2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            You just completely unaware of Soviet passports. Nationality had nothing to do with a place of birth. You believe that everybody who was born in Ukraine were “Ukrainians” in the “nationality” section ? You wrong. 🙂

          3. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            No, “Screwdriver”, and don’t try to lecture me on the subjects of Sovietology and/or Kremlinology as I specialized in those fields of study while in university under the direct tutelage of a renown world expert. Furthermore, you have not provided any evidence whatsoever to refute or even challenge the comments that I made on the subject matter.

          4. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            My mother was born in Ukraine, in her passport it says ” nationality” – “evreika”. She could not change her nationality, – when both parents have the same nationality in birth certificate, you can not make any changes in the Soviet passport.
            So if it says “Ukrainian” in Brezhnev`s passport under “nationality”, then at least one of his parents was “ukrainian” by nationality in birth certificate.

          5. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            There are three different possibilities which could explain the reason as to why Brezhnev’s passport indicated that his nationality or ethnicity was Ukrainian, including; 1) He may have had a distant ancestor or relation who was of Ukrainian origin, 2) There may have been a clerical error such as identifying his ethnicity based on his place of birth, 3) He may have had a political reason to insist that his ethnicity be listed as Ukrainian. In that regard, it should be noted that Brezhnev’s initial power base rested with the so called “Dnipropetrovsk Mafia” in Ukraine and as such he may have thought that it would be expedient to curry favor with his ethnic Ukrainian contemporaries by identifying himself as a Ukrainian. However, it should still be underlined that both of Brezhnev’s parents had ethnic Russian surnames as well as both of his paternal and maternal grandparents.Therefore, it would be erroneous to suggest that Brezhnev was an ethnic Ukrainian as indicated on his passport without taking into account the evidence that would strongly suggest that he was actually an ethnic Russian.

          6. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            I have a Soviet passport saying I was born in Russia but I was actually born in the West.

          7. Avatar ak47 says:

            How nice. Ublyudok with no country or honor.

          8. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            Yes, the Soviet was no country and had no honor.

          9. Avatar ak47 says:

            The Soviet Union saved the world from nazi scum whom your shamed predecessors served as they exterminated women and children and committed other war crimes and then escaped justice like pathetic cowards, Considering that you hail from this criminal stock, no honour indeed can be expected of you, son of a nazi bitch. Soviet Union also invested a country called ukraine as it gathered together scraps of Russian and Polish lands, now trampled by modern day nazis, with bandera and shuhevich portraits and torches..

          10. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            And which Nashi orphanage are you from?
            Limited educationally and socially or that would be par for the course?

          11. Avatar ak47 says:

            You wear your fascist clothes with pride – they won’t fit me or indeed any Russian. We are the antidote to the rise of modern nazis marching across the Baltics, Ukraine, the terrorist states of america, Canada and elsewhere. You clearly have no education to be able to spell your name correctly. It is Nikolay – you dumb hohol with no country, honour or identity.

          12. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            Actually, I’m wearing jeans and a tee shirt, nothing special.
            They aren’t very expensive but I guess you can’t afford much anyway?
            You do know that you just proved your ignorance, right?

    2. Avatar veth says:

      Russians have no culture, no religion, no morals, no future, no past, so invade the neighbors and take what you think is yours.

      1. Avatar ak47 says:

        Vile veth surely, mass murder with impunity, invasions, destruction of states on a pack of lies, regime change, coups, slander, blackmail, use of weapons of mass destruction on civilians, sponsorship of nazis and terrorists are the “achievements” and cultural identity of the criminal state you call home. Once you pull your empty skull out of your GMO $hithole the reality will be clear as daylight.

    3. Avatar Screwdriver says:

      Point No. 11 – if you would pay attention, telephone poll showed completely different results. Ukrainians in Russia do not possess any threats.
      “Mongoloids such as Brezhnev to lead them in battle against the Ukrainians,” Brezhnev was Ukrainian, as a matter of fact many Soviet leaders were from Malorossiya.
      “Why so many young Russian soldiers are terrified at the prospect of being sent to Donbas ”
      Russia do not use drafts in military conflicts lately, only those who willing to sign a contract, so nobody is terrified. 🙂
      “Why the Russians have tried to usurp Ukrainian culture, tradition and history as part of their own”
      There was no such thing as “Ukrainian culture” until 19 century, it was always called Russian or Malorussian culture.

      1. Avatar Brent says:

        The only “culture” Russia knows is one of theft, murder, idolizing midgets and f*cking sheep….oh wait….and cleaning toilets!!!

        I’m curious why you moved to the U.S. “Screwball”….did your wife leave you for a Western man and you are still trying to find her? Maybe if you got your head out of the toilet bowl, you’d have more luck….

        1. Avatar ak47 says:

          Surely, bent brent mass murder with impunity, invasions, destruction of states on a pack of lies, regime change, coups, slander, blackmail, use of weapons of mass destruction on civilians, sponsorship of nazis and terrorists are the “achievements” and bloodlife of the criminal state you call home. Once you pull your empty skull out of your GMO $hithole the reality will be clear as daylight.

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Bogov Emerscum you Putinoid tu rd.

          2. Avatar ak47 says:

            You are turd – it is your name and nature, piece of brown lump.

        2. Avatar 159357 says:

          f*ck off racist

      2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        Pure kremtoid BS.

      3. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

        Screwdriver, ‘There was no such thing as “Ukrainian culture” until 19 century, it was always called Russian or Malorussian culture.’?
        How come then, that the powers that be in the Kremlin always complain about the so-called fact that the Russian speakers in Ukraine are being oppressed and that they are or will be forced to speak Ukrainian, etc…?
        You cannot have your cake and eat it as the English say. Or Ukrainian and Russian are the same language, belong to the same culture and Ukrainian and Russian speakers cannot oppress each other linguistically speaking. Or they are different languages, belong to a different culture.
        Try to solve that riddle 😉
        By the way, that so-called oppression is one hell of a load of Kremlin bullshit.

        1. Avatar Screwdriver says:

          “Ukrainian ” language was called Malorussian before, as one of the languages of Rus. Different parts of Rus ( Kiev , Vladimir, Suzdal, Novgorod, Tver etc) spoke different dialects. (similar to German lands, with huge number of small states few centuries ago)
          Also If you look at the historical data, …lets say 19th century – most people in Kiev spoke Russian, some surzhik (mix of Russian and Malorussian), and very few spoke Ukrainian (Malorussian).
          More spoke Yiddish then Ukrainian. Ukrainian was mostly used west of river Zbruch, former Poland.

          1. Avatar Eolone says:

            Apparently, the Iranians beat the Russians to “Malo-Russia”. The Don, Donets, Dnieper rivers are Iranian names. Seems that Donbas is Iranian in origin. Your Russki is a johnny-come-latey.

          2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            You aware that Abraham gave birth to Isaac…etc.. , right ?

          3. Avatar Eolone says:

            Maybe his wife.

          4. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            His Iranian wife…gotcha…
            This case is closed, thanks, you dismissed.

    4. Avatar ak47 says:

      Wipe your slobber, hohol. It is amusing how all of you wrapped in a slimy ball of wriggling worms whip yourselves into ecstasy over a list of grotesque falsehoods and depravities courtesy of a low life propagandist recycling other depravities from another low life russophobe kasparov.ru. All of you are a pathetic excuse for humans salivating over utterly trashy hate-filled regurgitations to satisfy your insecurities, paranoia, hate and russophobia. WTF is with your name hohlyatskiy saloed? Igor is the correct spelling.

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        Oh my! Such an angry, bitter and twisted little russian troll. Is your hovel leaking rain drops again? Did your sister give you an old dose of herpes? Has Putin stopped providing you with rotten russian cabbage? What a mean spirited pederast! Would you like some fresh Ukrainian cabbage with worm free Belarusian salo which you could wash down with Georgian brandy. Feel free to provide me with the name of your dilapidated bridge in Sankt Peterburg and I’ll send a Chechen courier to bring your goodies. P.S. Don’t forget to check for bombs.

        1. Avatar ak47 says:

          Not angry, bitter or twisted, but disgusted. You must’s confuse these things as you judge others by yourself , kastryulegolovyi maidown. So the saying is true: A ukranian us just a stupid Russian. Thanks for your questions of concern but none of the deprivations fortunately apply to most people in Russia or me personally. I know looking at the hell on Earth which has become your former homeland, it is hard to imagine life can be different elsewhere. In my beautiful home town of Tambov we also have a few thousand ukranians who fled the nazi nightmare of banderastan. Most are quite normal and hard working people and just like millions more are relieved and happy to call Russia home. As for zombified dikheads like you trolling from across the ocean, you have no country or honour to defend – you are a prostitute.

          1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            No, ak47, you are indeed an angry, bitter and twisted little russian troll and should be disgusted with your inability to spell common English words. Furthermore, you should stop mimicking the hitlerite fascist, Vovochka Zhirinovsky and be ashamed that your mother must continuously clean the huge volume of spit that you leave on her computer keyboard. As for Tambov, it will indeed become an even more beautiful town once the simpletons (ie. the putinistas) are deported to Eastern Siberia which will soon become part of China. Finally, let loose your innermost secret desires and show some fortitude in openly expressing your true love for the Ukrainian language, its people, its traditions and its culture. Not only will the people of Russia admire you for this thoughtfulness but the truth will set you free.

          2. Avatar ak47 says:

            “No, ak47, you are …” – well, what can I say, a kastryulegolovyi hohol living in Canada or the terrorist states of dumerica knows best. I doubt you can pull me up on any errors as you desperately clutch at straws spewing your russophobic ad hominem. After all unlike Russians maidan-infected Ukranians consider it the ultimate mark of approval of their existence if they imitate the self-proclaimed exceptional master state in everything, including the language.
            Amusing to see how depraved banderalogs like you attempt to try their fascist clothes on Russians – they don’t fit since Russia is the only antidote to the rise of western inspired nazism in the world and most prominently on show in the Baltic reichs and post-maindan okaina. You wear your nazi badges with pride for now, apologist for the crimes of bandera, shuhevich, SS Galichina, Solovijko (aka Nahtingal), Aidar, Azov, Tornado and the rest of the assortment of fascists who seized power in the 2014 coup.
            Indeed the inhumane nazi ideology is oozing out of your every hole. Unlike in post-maidanokraina, no person, including those living in Tambov, is threatened with deportation, violence or repressions. Russia welcomes all. It is the illegal regime you support which is ethnically cleansing Donbass of its inhabitants whom the Kiev propaganda has proclaimed to be subhuman, not unlike the original nazis back in the 1930s ad 40s.
            Whilst no one in Russia wants to see ukranians suffer, I doubt the poorest and most corrupt state in Europe, which is Ukraine will survive for much longer. The maidan junta’s imposed national idea of russophobia and hate won’t sustain your former country for long.

  3. Avatar veth says:

    Russians point weapons at Ukrainian ship as it inspects Ukraine’s marine economic zone
    Sunday, September 10, 2017 9:00:57 AM

    The marine protection ship Grigory Kuropyatnikov conducted a planned survey of Ukraine’s exclusive (marine) economic zone in the gas deposit region, during which it documented further violations by Russia, the Ukrainian State Border Services reported.
    The survey was done at all the active deposits in the northwest part of the Black Sea – Shtormove, Arkhangelsk, Golitsynsk and Odessa.

    “The goal of the interdepartmental group was to verify the received information concerning the initiation of activity in several sections of the Black Sea Shelf, the movement of Russian-annexed self-lifting floating drill rigs, the delivery of additional equipment which could give evidence of illegal activity being carried out by the Crimean occupation authorities, mining natural resources which belong to Ukraine,” the report states.

    The Ukrainian marine protection ship was able to survey about 20 facilities at four deposits.

    “Once again we documented the presence of armed people who took combat positions when the marine protection ship approached, and sometimes purely demonstratively, without hiding, they pointed weapons at the ship. When the drill platform crew was questioned over radio, the personnel admitted to belonging to Russia and claimed to be in neutral waters, not violating the law. However, they did not confirm that they were mining gas,” the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported.

    At the same time, specialists from Naftogaz Ukraine and Chornomornaftogaz gave evidence that at several MSPs (Marine Stationary Platforms) there is equipment which clearly confirms that work is being done to upgrade, reinstall or renovate the mechanisms and devices, which means that they have been used for mining operations. The process of hole-drilling has been documented at the Krym-1 self-lifting drilling rig (renamed “Ukraina”) at the Odessa gas condensate deposit.

    “Acting within the legislation of Ukraine and the norms of international law, the marine protection ship warned all facilities at all the deposits that legal violations by them were being recorded, and that it is unacceptable for them to continue the illegal activity in Ukraine’s exclusive (marine) economic zone. As a result of the survey of the deposits by the interdepartmental group, a statement has been drawn up on the identified legal violations, and it has been submitted to the military prosecutor general’s office for further reaction,” the department concluded.

    1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

      RuSSian ships must be torpedoed.

  4. Avatar veth says:

    Ukrainian official: Russia will withdraw from Donbas next year
    Saturday, September 9, 2017 9:00:14 AM

    Russia will leave the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions next year as plans for this have already been made, as explained by the Deputy Minister on the issues of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, Yuri Grymchak in an interview with Apostrophe.

    “First, we have the so-called Protocol on the Minsk Agreements implementation dated February 12, 2015, where in paragraph 10 it is stated that according to the Minsk Agreements the following should happen: All foreign troops and mercenaries must be withdrawn, and militants must be disarmed. This protocol was signed by the Russian Federation in 2015, and these agreements were entered into the UN Security Council decision, which means they are an international document. This was the first sign,” the Deputy Minister said.

    The second sign, according to Grymchak, is that to date, there is a situation where Ukraine’s allies openly acknowledge that the Russian Federation is an aggressor country that actually has occupied part of the territory of Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

    “They understand that the Kremlin has created “gaskets “or” proxy “there, these fake “governments”. Therefore, today the pressure on Russia has increased in many times. And the results within Russia – the economic, financial and political situation – leave the Kremlin no other choice but to leave the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, “Grymchak said.

    “And, finally, there is information from various sources that the so-called leaders of these fake formations [the so-called DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) and LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic] began looking for and are trying to buy housing in the Russian Federation and in unrecognized republics like Abkhazia, etc. There was also information that the Russians began to withdraw particularly valuable military equipment. Not tanks with artillery, because it is not of great value…,” added the Deputy Minister.

    Earlier, Yuri Grymchak reported that Russia is gradually withdrawing its weapons from the Donbas, starting with especially valuable pieces.

  5. Avatar veth says:

    Russia began the process of reducing its presence in the separatist-held territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as stated by Yuri Hrymchak, Deputy Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, during an interview with Apostrophe.

    According to him, Russia is gradually withdrawing its weapons from the Donbas, starting with particularly valuable equipment.

    “For example, REBs – electronic warfare complexes. I was informed that they began to withdraw counter-battery systems. That is, the equipment the Americans supplied to us, and which is produced in Russia as well. There are not so many of them in the Russian army itself, it’s rather a deficit armament. And very expensive. I was also informed that the Russians have begun to withdraw their drones,” Hrymchak noted.

  6. Avatar veth says:

    Saakashvili in Lvov…………!

    1. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

      He is or was in Lviv.

  7. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    RuSSia is the world’s largest openair lunatic asylum.

    1. Avatar Styx says:

      in your wet farting dreams that is ..

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        Keep stroking to Putin.

        1. Avatar Styx says:

          keep being a slimy maggot.

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            I am what I am. While you are a human piece of garbage.

          2. Avatar Styx says:

            there is nothing human about you, inhuman piece of garbage.

          3. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            RuSSians are subhuman.

          4. Avatar Styx says:

            there are no humans inside of Scradje’s b. side where you reside.

          5. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            RuSSia is a cesspit.

          6. Avatar Styx says:

            cesspit a.k.a Scradje’s b side is where you permanently reside.

          7. Avatar zorbatheturk says:


          8. Avatar Styx says:

            yes, you are a tool of Scradje’s b. side.

          9. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            How’s the weather in Irkutsk, comrade?

          10. Avatar Styx says:

            it’s fine in Monaco, scumbag ..

          11. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Ha ha, Igorvich.

          12. Avatar Styx says:

            ho ho, zorbavich ..

          13. Avatar Styx says:

            how’s the taste of slime in Scradje’s backside, maggot ?

          14. Avatar ak47 says:

            This is why Russians have always saved other peoples and the world from scum and turk the turds like you and will do it again.

          15. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Eat a smegma sandwich, scumbot.

          16. Avatar JaneandSam says:

            Flagged for multiple flagrant personal attacks and violent threats

            User profile Styx reported to Disqus administration

          17. Avatar JaneandSam says:

            Enjoy your forthcoming banning. You’ve been reported by multiple users for violent threats.

          18. Avatar Styx says:

            Carry on good work on behalf of murderous Banderites.

            They do need your blatantly shameless support.

          19. Avatar JaneandSam says:

            Flagged again.

          20. Avatar Styx says:


            You may now go back to bed with zorba – the most disgustingly sordid poster on disqus.

          21. Avatar JaneandSam says:

            Flagged again.

          22. Avatar Styx says:

            being morally depraved and shameless comes naturally to you.

          23. Avatar JaneandSam says:

            Flagged. You can stop the insults and abuse at any time. The choice is yours.

          24. Avatar Styx says:

            I am aware that you are unable to stop being morally depraved, blatantly dishonest and proudly shameless to the point of being indecent.

            You have no choice. And never will have one.

    2. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

      It is also a land of Gulags (and a prison of nations), poverty and despair. That in turn is why so many people of wealth and/or intelligence will continue to emigrate or at least until such time that a revolution will drown the sewer rats in power.

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        It is a cancer.

    3. Avatar ak47 says:

      Surely it is this trashy site – the cesspit of turk the turds, braindead nazi seppos and hohol descendants of nazi war criminals.

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        The scum are the russkies.

        1. Avatar ak47 says:

          Yeh, we have shitted you out. sluuurp you turd the turk go.

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Dead RuSSians make great bonfires.

  8. Avatar Eolone says:

    No. 7: Elections. Only 12% participation in Moscow? The powers that be got the low turnout they wanted. Also in Moscow:

    “Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin fired two top officials in Moscow’s Novo-Peredelkino district a day before the election after a YouTube video showed one of them bribing election monitors.”

    From 2 weeks ago, regarding the disparity of rich and everyone else, the latter has 25% of the wealth. I wondered at this, then realized the oligarchs own mineral ore, oil and gas deposits, which swamp anything the rest of the population has.

    1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

      The Russians do not have elections. They have selections and with the possible exception of a few brief moments in history, this has always been the case since the founding of Muscovy. As for the low turnouts, this should be considered as normal since most Russians are cynical concerning the entire electoral process in a country that has no democratic tradition and where the authorities manipulate with impunity all statistical data in every selection.