Category Archives: Russia

Polish Journalist Punched in the Face After Insulting Russians on TV Debate Show

A Polish journalist was punched in the face on Russian television this week, after telling a debate panel, “Ukrainians want to live like normal people, not in shit, like you [in Russia].”

ED: Am I the only person that finds this funny ?

Polish journalist Tomasz Maciejczuk’s run-in with another man’s fist came during an appearance on the Russian TV show “Voting Right.” The episode never aired, but the TVTs station published the video on YouTube on Nov. 22.

The man who hit Maciejczuk was Ihor Markov, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served briefly in Ukraine’s parliament before the Maidan Revolution. Today, Markov is wanted by police in Ukraine in connection with riots that took place in Odessa in September 2007.

This week’s fight on Russian television broke out when the debate turned to average salaries in Russia. Maciejczuk took the opportunity to point out that the Russian economy lags significantly in this area, saying heatedly, “When we talk about money, I want to congratulate Romania on its victory. And do you know why? Because today the average salary in Romania is higher than it is in Russia. And it’s higher in Latvia, too.”

When pressed to talk about Ukrainians, Maciejczuk let loose his quip about “living in shit.” In response, the show’s host, Roman Babayan, threw a piece of paper in his face, and fired back, “You’re the ones who live in shit!”

It was chaos after this, with Babayan, Markov, and others charging Maciejczuk and demanding, over and over, that he leave the television studio. When Maciejczuk refused to go, arguing that his remarks were no more offensive than comments Russians often make about Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, Markov leaned in and punched in him the forehead. The footage published on YouTube abruptly ends there.

Maciejczuk seems to be okay. On Vkontakte, he remained defiant, mocking political analyst Sergei Mikheev, who also appeared on the show, for his apparent ignorance about average salaries in Russia.

Russia’s state-news media, meanwhile, has described the incident as yet another Russophobic outburst by a foreign journalist. Sputnik’s Russian-language Armenia division, for instance, spoke to Mikheev and historian Armen Gasparyan, who accused Maciejczuk of intentionally staging a scandal. Gasparyan told Sputnik that Maciejczuk even confessed to him in the past that he “knows better” than what he says on the air.

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Ukraine Demonstrators Attack Russian Banks in Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine—Nationalist demonstrators in Ukraine on Saturday attacked two offices of Russian banks in the capital amid observances of the second anniversary of the protests that brought down the Russia-friendly president.

Demonstrators threw rocks through windows at the offices of Alfa Bank and Sberbank and damaged furniture and equipment inside. Protesters also vandalized the offices of the holding company of Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov. Police didn’t intervene.

Tens of thousands of people in the Ukrainian capital came to various observances of the “Day of the Heavenly Hundred.” The term refers to those who died during the months of protests in Kiev that culminated with President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing.

Saturday was the second anniversary of the bloodiest day of the protests, when more than 50 people died from sniper fire.

After the ousting of Mr. Yanukovych, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and Russian-speaking separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions launched protests that escalated into a war that has killed more than 9,000 people.

A cease-fire was called a year ago, but reports of violations are frequent. Russia, which Ukraine and Western countries claim has sent troops and equipment to back the insurgents, blames the Kiev authorities for keeping tensions high by failing to push through measures that would increase autonomy for the eastern regions and allow local elections.

But nationalists vehemently reject any concessions to the east and are angered by authorities’ failure to address Ukraine’s endemic corruption. Mr. Akhmetov, whose wealth springs from mining and steel in the east, is a target of their anger.

“We need to have a third Maidan,” said Nikolai Kokhanovsky, a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, using the common term of the protests of 2014 and those of the 2004 Orange Revolution. New protests would “sweep away this corrupt government and pro-Russian oligarchs who have betrayed our revolution of dignity.”

“Russia and the oligarchs are guilty for life in Ukraine becoming worse and worse,” said 21-year-old protester Ruslan Tymchuk, who was dressed in camouflage and wielding a bat.

In recent weeks, political tensions have risen and President Petro Poroshenko this week urged Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a key figure of the 2014 protests, to resign along with his government. But Mr. Yatsenyuk survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

At the observances for those who died in the protests, Mr. Poroshenko vowed that efforts would continue to bring to justice the snipers who killed demonstrators and asserted that despite the eastern conflict and severe economic difficulties “nonetheless, the country is changing and moving forward.”

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Russia accuses Ukrainian Security Service of kidnapping of two Russian soldiers in the Crimea

Interfax has reported that the Russian Defense Ministry has accused the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) of illegally detaining two Russian servicemen, and then transporting them out of the Crimea.

“At approximately 1pm on the 20th of November, employees of the SBU illegally detained two Russian soldiers, warrant officer Maxim Odintsov and junior sergeant of contract service Alexander Baranov, and transported them out of the Crimea to the Mykolaiv region,” the Russian agency said.

The ministry accused the SBU of yet “another gross provocation” and demanded “an immediate return of the ‘kidnapped’ servicemen to the territory of the Russian Federation”.

“According to some reports, the SBU are attempting to fabricate charges against Odintsov and Baranov for alleged crimes committed against Ukraine. Psychological and physical pressure will be exerted on the soldiers in order to obtain the ‘necessary’ confessions,” the ministry continued.

It was previously reported that a Russian court in the Crimea arrested two Ukrainians and accused them of organizing “acts of sabotage” against objects of infrastructure in the annexed territory.

On the 10th of November, the Federal Security Service of Russia announced the arrest of members of a “subversive group” in Sevastopol. Two of the three detainees, Dmitry Shtyblikov and Oleksiy Bessarabov, are experts at the Nomos analytical center. The center was doing work in Sevastopol until the beginning of 2014. The third detainee is a captain of the second rank and a reservist, Volodymyr Dudka.

Russia to withdraw from ICC treaty after equation of Crimea annexation to war

The Russian Federation intends to withdraw from the Rome Statute on establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the Court called Crimea annexation an armed conflict in the preliminary investigation. The corresponding decree was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it was published on the official website of the Russian Federation legal information.

In particular, Putin agreed to accept the proposal of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, which, as noted, in coordination with other agencies, such as the Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee requested to notify the UN Secretary General about Russia’s intention to withdraw from the contract.

Putin’s decree was published the next day after the ICC issued a preliminary investigation of the Prosecutor, which states that the annexation of Crimea has signs of an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“According to information we received, the situation in the Crimea and Sevastopol is equivalent to the international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict started before February 26 [2014], when the Russian Federation has involved its Armed Forces to gain control over big part of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the government of Ukraine,” the document stated.

Earlier it was reported that the International Criminal Court (The Hague Tribunal, Netherlands) considers the situation in the annexed Crimea to be an equivalent of international armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia. This was stated in the annual report of the preliminary investigation by the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court, published on November 14..

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Savchenko writes open letter to Trump, asks him to maintain anti-Russian sanctions

Ukrainian lawmaker and former military pilot Nadia Savchenko has written an open letter to U.S President-elect Donald Trump asking that he continue and even increase sanctions against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.

“I appeal to you with the kind request to maintain and even to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation, because this country understands only force. I also ask for international diplomatic, technical, and military support for Ukraine,” wrote Savchenko.

The lawmaker also asked Trump to monitor and support the release of imprisoned Ukrainians in Russia and hostages in the country’s war-torn Donbas region. Savchenko herself was released from a Russian prison under a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin in July, after more than two years of imprisonment there and being subjected to a sham trial by a Russian court.

“As the world called for my release, now I would like to help (Ukrainian prisoners) by raising awareness about their plight, too. I’d be very thankful for your possible future answer, in which you might explain to Ukrainians and to all the nations of the world the main points of your future administration’s steps regarding these questions,” Savchenko went on.

“I want to add that you have every possibility to prevent World War III,” added the lawmaker.

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Is World War III On The Horizon? NATO Puts 300,000 Troops On ‘High Alert’ To Combat Russian Aggressions

Whoever the next President of the United States is will have plenty on their plate to begin their term including Russia which has been testing boundaries as of late. To counter this growing threat NATO has put 300,000 troops on high alert to counter and deter Russia’s assertiveness.

NATO felt that there was strong enough hostilities coming from Moscow that they wanted a huge ground force to be ready for an all-out war. The high alert means that troops will be able to mobilize within two months, instead of the typical time of around six months.

“These measures proved themselves necessary because of Russia’s unprecedented military activity in the world,” Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg told the Times. “With Russia increasing its military power, holding exercises and increasing its expenditure on propaganda, NATO can’t avoid getting itself ready to meet any threat.”

“We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among Nato allies and that is exactly the reason why Nato is responding,” NATO’s Secretary General said. “We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”

In October, NATO was preparing to station 4,000 troops on the Russian border with the Baltic states in its biggest military build-up since the Cold War. NATO chiefs issued an ultimatum to Russia last month promising to respond with deadly military force if the aggressions did not cease.

“We have seen Russia being much more active in many different ways,” said Stoltenberg, a Norwegian. “We have seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up over many years; tripling defense spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbors.”

The fear is that Vladimir Putin could snatch back Baltic states in a quick land invasion. is reporting that there are eight countries in Eastern Europe gearing up for a war, including Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Finland and Sweden. Analysts believe that Russia could easily roll into most of those countries and take over a country like Estonia in as little as 60 hours.

But it isn’t just ground troops that are ramping up their preparedness. NATO fighter pilots are also being quite vigilant against Russian aggressions.

From the Washington Post:

At least 13 Russian warplanes coursed through the skies. And the NATO fighter jets kept rushing into the air to meet them. By the end of the night, Finland and Estonia said their airspace had been violated — and in the sea below, a powerful nuclear-capable missile system was on its way to a Russian naval base in the enclave of Kaliningrad.

For the seven German fighter pilots who trade 24-hour shifts at this remote air base, the escalation has a practical effect: more close encounters with Russian fighter pilots high in the skies. The pilots often fly within 10 yards of the Russian jets, close enough to wave hello, or in one recent incident, see a Russian pilot flash a middle finger.

“Maybe he watched too much Top Gun, ” said Lt. Col. Swen Jacob, the commander of the German contingent that is posted for a four-month rotation to a round-the-clock air-policing mission in Estonia.

The Germans have scrambled 34 times since they arrived for their latest posting in Estonia on the last day of August, rushing into the air to escort Sukhoi fighter jets, Ilyushin reconnaissance planes and Antonov transport planes. The majority of the traffic comes from runs in international airspace between Russian air bases near St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave wedged between Lithuania and Poland. Russian military flights often fly without transponders, making them invisible to civilian aircraft and raising the risk of midair crashes.

Let’s hope that this does not escalate more than some military generals waving their dicks around.

The State Bank of Japan tightens sanctions against Russia

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has limited the financing of Russian companies and financial institutions, Nikkei reports.

JBIC took this recent step as a show of agreement with the USA and the European Union, which has imposed relatively more severe constraints against Russia. The state bank will stop financing projects that European or American companies have pulled out of. The Japanese lender will also check to see that no private-sector peers will fund a potential borrower.

However, the JBIC will still ensure that “adequate fund-transfer mechanisms” are in place to provide limited financing. The bank stated in October that they would credit Sberbank of Russia with a 4 billion yen loan ($38.5 million).

Tokyo has severed economic cooperation with Moscow to resolve longstanding disputes though it has not taken steps as severe as the West has done.

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Klimkin: If Russia does not remove heavy weapons, they could potentially have their own bases in the Donbas

Heavy weapons of the self-proclaimed republics of Donbas should be returned to the Russian Federation, and should not be stored on site during the local elections. If not, Russia could potentially then have their own military bases in the area as per the OSCE mandate. This was stated by the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin, in an interview with Levyi Bereg.

“One of the OSCE’s proposals is to establish a warehouse in Donbas where military equipment and weapons could be stored during the elections. This means that Russia will actually have military bases on Ukrainian territory where weapons could be deployed from, and we will be unable to do anything about it. This is all possible under the mandate of the OSCE mission”, Klimkin

Klimkin said that there are currently hundreds of units of heavy weapons in the Donbas.

“These include tanks and armored vehicles. All of those units won’t be left there once the OSCE takes control of the border”, he said.

According to Klimkin, if all of these weapons stay in the Donbas, there is no hope for any kind of safety.

Recently, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that during the Berlin talks, the Normandy Four agreed on the deployment of an armed OSCE mission, the road map for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the withdrawal of forces.

Russia has refuted statements made by Poroshenko with regard to the OSCE mission, by claiming that only a potential agreement on the deployment was given in Berlin.

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Reporters Without Borders Declares Putin and Chechnya’s Ruler to Be ‘Enemies of the Press’

President Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, have earned the infamy of appearing on Reporters Without Borders’ list of “enemies of the press,” according to the RBC news agency.

The group recently updated its list, which now includes the names of 35 politicians, state officials, and criminal organizations. Putin and Kadyrov join the likes of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev, and Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the president of Turkmenistan.

On the enemies list, you can also find longtime Cuban leader Raul Castro, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Russians Are Growing Uneasy About the Kremlin’s War in Syria, New Poll Shows

Despite Russia’s lack of independent news coverage on Syria and the heavily controlled nature of television, a new poll by the Levada Center suggests that the public is beginning to worry about Moscow’s conflict with the West in Aleppo spinning out of control.

“On the whole, most people are still positive about the Kremlin’s role,” says sociologist Aleksey Grazhdankin, Levada’s deputy director, who has been studying Russians’ attitudes since the beginning of Moscow’s military campaign. But, he says, there have been some significant changes in the way Russians perceive their country’s foreign policy.

Indeed, support for Russian airstrikes in Syria is still high: 52 percent of respondents said they support the attacks. A year ago, this figure was roughly the same, at 55 percent. But the number of those who fully support the bombings fell a significant 5 percent: from 21 percent to 16 percent. Increasingly, Russians also can’t make up their minds about Moscow’s campaign in Syria, with undecided respondents rising from 19 percent last year to 23 percent in the first week of October 2016.

Entering the Syrian conflict more than a year ago, Vladimir Putin set out to restore Russia’s presence on the global scene, following international isolation that resulted from Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine.

Russians sympathized with these aims, and the public welcomed the country’s return to global affairs. “Besides, Russia fighting in a foreign country adds to the self-esteem of some Russians,” argues political analyst Mikhail Troitskiy.

A year ago, 40 percent of the country said it expected Russian airstrikes would improve Western attitudes toward Russia. Today, just 30 percent of respondents — a clear minority — embrace this view. A year ago, 49 percent of Russians said that Russia and the West would be able to find common ground in Syria. That figure has dropped to 35 percent today.

In other words, what was initially thought to be a cause for cooperation has become yet another battlefield in Russia’s expanding confrontation with the West. According to Levada’s new survey, Russians have not welcomed this development.

“Some Russians saw a certain contradiction,” agrees political analyst Mikhail Troitskiy. Putin declared an exit from Syria in March, but Russian never actually withdrew, and has instead continued to support Assad’s government militarily.

Many in Russia say they have struggled to understand Moscow’s support for Assad. “For many Russians, it is difficult to figure out what interests Russia has in supporting a faraway land and why Russia should risk confrontation with the West for [Assad],” said Troitskiy.

Almost half of the country (48 percent) says it fears the Syrian conflict could evolve into a Third World War. A few months ago, in July, just 29 percent of Russians expressed this fear. While Grazhdankin notes that this figure should not be exaggerated, he says it’s significant that more and more Russians are worried about a global catastrophe. “It’s a fear of confrontation,” he says.

Generally, Russians welcome their government’s efforts against terrorism. “Russians, unlike some nations, prefer a tough approach — whether in crime or terrorism,” says Grazhdankin. Also, during last 15 years, anti-American and anti-Western attitudes have become embedded in Russian society, making perceptions of global confrontation not altogether shocking.

But still, as the Levada Center’s new poll shows, Russians’ comfort level with escalated tensions isn’t limitless.