Category Archives: Russia

WW3 News: Vladimir Putin Gives Obama 24-Hour Ultimatum, Satan 2 Ready For Deployment

Vladimir Putin has finally had enough of America demonizing his country that he has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton as WW3 tensions run high. In his global message, he warned that he will start shooting down US aircraft in the Middle East if the United States continues to slander Russia.

The global announcement was made on Friday, October 21st with the Russian president also warning the US to prepare for the possibility of World War 3. This appears to be no idle threat because as of Sunday, October 23rd, Putin has ordered the Russian Defense Ministry to begin training and managing all local authorities, law enforcement, and state security.

According to the Conservative Daily Post, this is all to prepare Russia for a nuclear war with the United States. However, despite both superpowers teetering over the edge of nuclear Armageddon, Hillary Clinton still spent the last two days blaming Putin and Russia for WikiLeaks and continues to call him a “thug puppet.”

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Russia Promises to Retaliate Against New NATO Deployments. Somehow.

Russia’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, said Moscow will be forced to take certain defensive measures, in the face of NATO’s planned troop deployments in Eastern Europe. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Shoigu accused NATO of undermining the region’s strategic stability, according to the RBC news agency.

NATO has announced plans to send an additional 4,000 alliance troops to the region. The final deployment is expected early next year.

“On the western border of [Russia and Belarus], the U.S. and other NATO members are actively building up their offensive potential, opening new bases and developing their infrastructure,” Shoigu told reporters.

NATO officials, meanwhile, say the organization’s actions are designed to reassure alliance members that were former Soviet states.

The growing presence of NATO troops and weaponry in Eastern Europe became a hot international issue following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, with many alliance members — particularly the small countries on Russia’s borders — worried that NATO’s eastern flank is vulnerable to Russian aggression.

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The undoing of Vladimir Putin

Russia is on the march, but its economy is crumbling. No party can survive once the money runs out.

During Catherine the Great’s tour of Crimea in 1787*, Russian Prince Grigory Potemkin is said to have created entire plasterboard villages and hustled the same group of happy peasants back and forth along her route to impress the empress with a vision of prosperity. Recent scholarship suggests the tale of the Potemkin village is largely apocryphal. The prince probably just put some ribbons and banners on existing buildings and hid a few beggars out of sight. Yet the myth persists, largely because it says something useful about Russia and its fixation on outward appearances. It still holds some truth today.

Since welcoming the world to the lavish 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Russian President Vladimir Putin has embarked on an ambitious and calculating campaign to return his country to global prominence through military strength. He began by invading Ukraine and seizing the Crimean Peninsula, drawing immediate condemnation and sanctions. Russian bombers and submarines now regularly test the defences of Western countries, in a reprise of Cold War tensions. And NATO has serious concerns about protecting member Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from a Crimean-style blitzkrieg. A recent RAND Corporation wargame scenario found Russia could likely capture all three capital cities in under 60 hours. Canada’s plan to send a 450-soldier battlegroup to Latvia next year is a small bulwark against this possibility.

In the Middle East, Russian jets have pounded the Syrian city of Aleppo to rubble while Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the aging Admiral Kuznetsov, makes its way to the Syrian coast where it will be the centrepiece of a large Russian naval force in the Mediterranean—a military build-up unprecedented since the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Russia has no intention of attacking anyone, Putin said in a speech last week. No one believes it.

Russia has even inserted itself into the United States’ presidential election, as it is widely accepted that a cyberattack on the Democratic Party was the work of Russian hackers. Republican nominee Donald Trump, a fan of Putin’s aggressive political style, has gleefully seized upon the purloined information.

Russia has returned as a foil to Western democratic ideals. But how deep does the threat run?

It is a lesson of geopolitics that military force is merely a reflection of economic strength. Without a strong and growing economy behind it, no military can project power over the long term. While Putin has engineered a stunning reversal of Russia’s international reputation, there remains a massive hole in his economic defences. In many ways, Russia is a Potemkin country.

The collapse of oil prices and sting of Western sanctions has thrown Russia into a severe recession. According to the World Bank, between 2013-15, Russia’s GDP fell a stunning 40 per cent. Despite a population four times our size, the Russian economy is now smaller than Canada’s. Last year, Russian inflation hit 12 per cent. Poverty is up significantly, wiping out more than a decade of progress. Putin has decreed the national deficit cannot exceed three per cent of GDP next year, but with state pensions and other public spending programs rapidly losing ground to inflation and cuts, he has so far avoided significant reductions in the massive military budget. But a new budget proposal this week contemplates a 27 per cent cut in defence spending.

Putin’s autocratic rule is not in any immediate danger; his United Russia party won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections this September and there are slight signs of an economic recovery. Yet no party can survive once the money runs out. During the glory days when oil fetched more than $100 a barrel, Russia socked away its surpluses in a reserve fund. Denied access to conventional bond markets due to Western banking sanctions, Russia has come to rely heavily on this nest egg to cover its shortfalls. From US$85 billion in January 2015, the fund will sink to $15 billion by the end of this year. According to Ondrej Schneider, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, “at the current rate, the fund would be depleted in mid-2017, perhaps a few months later.” The outlook for Russia, says Schneider, is “sombre.”

There’s no denying the large shadow Russia currently casts over global affairs. But having rebuilt his military during an oil boom, Putin is now facing a struggle to maintain this reputation as Russia’s economy weakens—a prospect that may make him even more dangerous and unpredictable over the short term. Containing Putin will require continued and united opposition to his bullying tactics. Sanctions have clearly had an impact and will bite deeper over time. It’s also necessary to meet military feints with equivalent chess moves, as in Latvia. Finally, we can’t neglect the role of economic growth as a strategic weapon. The collapse of Communist Russia was ultimately brought about by its failure to keep pace with Western capitalism. The same thing will likely be the undoing of Putin too.

Crimea, Donbas, Aleppo — crimes of historic proportions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved his goal. He has entered the history books as a head of state who has committed “crimes of historic proportions.” This is exactly how the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, described the bombing of east Aleppo in Syria. The official did not directly name the country responsible for the actions leading to these crimes. But he urged the major powers of the world to turn over the investigation of the tragedy in Aleppo to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The UN Human Rights Council voted to conduct a special international investigation of the crimes in Aleppo. Russia and its shameless allies voted against it. Because they had no doubts that the bloody footprints would lead investigators to the office of Vladimir Putin.

Actually, such a course of events was not difficult to predict. It was predictable even when the Russian military began the occupation of Ukrainian Crimea on Putin’s direct orders. Putin likes to say that this occupation was “bloodless” even though two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, followed by the murders and torture of Crimean Tatars and other activists. But, of course, this did not impress the world as much as the bombing of Aleppo does now. And Putin became intoxicated with impunity.

The Donbas war was the next phase in his crimes. Here people were already dying by the hundreds, thousands were left homeless, and millions were forced to flee. But aviation was not used during the conflict and Russian propaganda tried to create the impression of a “civil war” where the Kremlin was acting as the protector of a mythical category of Ukrainian citizens — the Russian-speaking population.

The destruction by the Russian military of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet on territory controlled by Moscow was a serious miscalculation by Putin. However, investigations of these kinds of accidents usually take a very long time. And Putin found the time for a new adventure — the Syrian one.

Many experts in the West now claim that the Russian army in Syria has been more efficient than had been expected at the beginning of the campaign. Perhaps this is the case from the military point of view. In Afghanistan, the armed forces of the Soviet Union were efficient as well. But it is impossible to win when practically the entire nation is fighting against you, and when the army of the dictatorship is unable to overcome its opponents. As a result, several tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers died. And more than a million of Afghans were killed. But the Soviet Union had no other way to save the puppet regime of Babrak Karmal than by carrying out the mass destruction of Afghans. That is why it was Afghanistan and not Hungary or Czechoslovakia, with many fewer victims of the Soviet invasion, that became the grave of the communist regime.

Now the same situation is being repeated in Syria.

Putin has no other way of supporting Bashar al-Assad than by killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians. However, he still will fail to achieve victory; he will simply destroy people and cities.

But now is not the age of Afghanistan. There are completely different information technologies. There are completely different internet and television capabilities. There is a completely different attitude toward Russia. Putin’s country is not the USSR with its “protection of workers and peasants,” and Moscow will no longer be able to deceive anyone with slogans.

Every day the world can see horrifying images from Aleppo on its TV screens. Images of Putin’s crimes. Crimes of historic proportions.

But Putin has limited options. He cannot stop the massacre of Syrians because that would condemn Assad’s regime to a quick collapse. He cannot continue the bombing because each new shelling worsens his relationship with the civilized world and creates a gap between that world and Russia. For the time being the pro-Russian lobby in the West can still defend his interests, block the introduction of new sanctions, talk about the need for dialogue. But all this will end soon. Russia’s isolation is a matter of time. And the reason for this isolation is war crimes. Crimes of historic proportions.

The Russian president mistakenly thinks that he will not be held responsible. He will be. The day will come when he and other Russian leaders will be handed over to the International Tribunal by their own countrymen. Putin has simply failed to realize that with his Syrian actions he has crossed the line that separates the politician who seeks to protect his own interest from the common serial killer.

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Russia’s Flotilla Flop

Moscow wanted to impress the world, but mostly we just laughed

Russia’s great flotilla of eight naval ships to the eastern Mediterranean hasn’t been the public diplomacy coup Moscow hoped for.

NATO calls the flotilla “the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War,” but most people in Russia or in the West who know anything about it have probably only seen the photos of the Admiral Kuznetsov — Russia’s only aircraft carrier — billowing smoke on the open water.

You might be surprised to learn that the Kuznetsov hasn’t broken down: the smoke is normal for the 30-year-old ship, which runs on diesel fuel. That ominous plume of black smoke rising up from the flight control tower? The Russian military expected you to see that.

What Moscow apparently failed to anticipate is the ridicule such ancient-seeming technology would invite in cyberspace, where the Kremlin’s opponents and nervous foreign observers have seized the images as proof of Russian military decline, despite the ongoing intervention in Syria.

On Twitter some of Vladimir Putin’s most popular critics have had a field day with the publicity backlash. With a touch of photoshop, for instance, Ilya Repin’s classic painting “Barge Haulers on the Volga” was transformed into a joke about the Kuznetsov. The caption below reads, “Russia in one picture.”

Mass arrests of militants in Donetsk and Horlivka (Gorlovka)

Militant ‘police’ chiefs arrested under the pretext of Motorola’s murder investigation

Numerous sources report mass arrests of militant chiefs and regular members of so-called ‘DPR’ force structures in Donetsk region. Today such detaining of ‘DPR police’ chiefs noted in militant-held town of Horlivka.

Ukrainian journalist from the town of Horlivka in Donetsk region Oleksandr Bilinsky revealed the details.

“In Horlivka today again those who got too wealthy in these past two years were cleansed. The search revealed a lot of weapons, money and fake documents possessed by the chief of ‘traffic police’ Dmitry Tuva. He is responsible for trafficking to Rostov stolen cargo trucks, left by businessmen who fled to other cities of Ukraine. Chief of driving licenses office Denis Nemytkin is in intensive care, after a ‘conversation’ with “DPR MGB” (‘state security ministry’ of ‘DPR’ – UT) his lungs failed. I remember before the war you could ‘solve’ any question with him, he was ‘a purse’ of this office,” journalist wrote on Facebook.

Ukrainian MP and coordinator of ‘Information Resistance’ volunteer group Dmytro Tymchuk gave a wider picture of situation.

“‘DPR MGB’ carries out large-scale detention of ‘DPR police’ staff. It has been said these are suspects involved in the liquidation of the commander of ‘Sparta’ gang, ‘Motorola’. There are rumours spreading among the employees of ‘DPR interior ministry’ that the detentions were carried out on the direct orders of the ‘DPR’ leader Zakharchenko, who uses the elimination of ‘Motorola’ to eliminate undesirable elements from the ministry like Plotnitsky did in ‘LPR’ (the last one under the pretext of ‘combating the consequences of the coup attempt’ conducts mass purges in the ‘state institutions of LPR'”), Tymchuk explained. 

“This is what happens to traitors. They become expendable for their own henchmen,” Oleksandr Bilinsky summarized. 

How Putin loses grip on Russia’s pipeline politics

As President Vladimir Putin seeks to reinforce Russia’s position as a global power through nuclear saber-rattling and military campaigns in Ukraine and Syria, the next U.S. administration will need to both contain and cooperate with him. If played right, that may get easier in the years to come. The reason: The transformation of the world’s natural gas markets is weakening Moscow’s economic toolkit. And that will make Putin’s pipeline politics — his use of natural resources for foreign policy purposes — obsolete. 

It’s clear that Russia will try to make a last stand to hold on to its natural gas market in Europe. Last Tuesday, the European Union granted Russian gas behemoth Gazprom access in Germany to the Opal pipeline, which connects to central and eastern European markets. Other Moscow plans include building new pipelines in the Black and the Baltic seas. During a recent visit to Ankara, Putin signed an agreement with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to build the on-again-off-again Turk Stream undersea gas pipeline, which will allow Moscow to strengthen its position in the European gas market.

In addition, Moscow is ignoring strong opposition from such EU member states as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as it tries to bulldoze ahead with its planned Nord Stream II pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine to bring Russian gas to Germany.

Even if these pipelines are built, which is increasingly unlikely in the case of Nord Stream II, Russian energy politics are coming to the end of their heyday. Since the late 2000s and the early 2010s, the global gas sector has experienced a significant shift following the boom in U.S. shale-gas development. The breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques have irreversibly altered the landscape of the American natural gas industry.

The United States is the world’s leading gas producer and, since 2016, a liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) exporter to Brazil, India, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Portugal, Kuwait, Chile, Spain, China, Jordan and, most recently, the United Kingdom. This creates competition for Russian gas both inside and outside Moscow‘s traditional European turf.

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Putin Was Fooled by Bogus Report in Russia’s Own State Media

At a conference on Monday for interethnic relations in Russia, President Vladimir Putin cited a fabricated news story from the state-owned television network Channel One, which claimed that the Austrian Supreme Court acquitted a Middle-Eastern refugee of raping a 10-year-old boy. 

Putin mentioned the story in order to explain why Russia should draw on its own experiences with interethnic relations, rather than Europe’s. 

“You saw what happens — an immigrant raped a child in one of the European countries,” the president said. “The court acquitted him for two reasons: one, he did not speak the host country’s language; and, two, he didn’t know that the boy — and it was a boy — objected.” 

This was a clear reference to a story Channel One aired on the morning of Oct. 26 about “blatant tolerance” towards immigrants in the EU, featuring a claim about an Iraqi migrant named Amir who was convicted of raping a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool. According to the story, the rapist’s conviction was overturned by the Austrian Supreme Court because the prosecution failed to establish that the defendant understood that his victim objected to his sexual advances.

In reality, the 20-year-old immigrant was not acquitted by the court, but rather is still in state custody awaiting a new trial that will take place in 2017.

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Russia Has to Be Contained (But So Does Every Superpower)

The West has increasingly spoken in recent years of the need to contain Russia. But in doing so, it has blurred the line between “containment” and “deterrence.” Today, observers speak primarily of the latter, with the connotation of “intimidation” and the use of “scare tactics.” Of course, containment is impossible without the use of force, but where simple scare tactics suffice, full-scale containment is unnecessary.

At a recent meeting between Russian experts and U.S. investors and political analysts, the discussion focused on the need to make corrections to the so-called “plutonium agreement.” The U.S. delegation reiterated that the conflict over weapons-grade plutonium is a simple misunderstanding on technical matters.

However, the Kremlin does not want the problem to be perceived this way. Otherwise, it would not have incorporated an ultimatum to the United States in the text of a federal law subsequently adopted by the State Duma. That law calls for the U.S. to reduce its military infrastructure on the territory of NATO member states, “abandon its hostile policy towards Russia,” and even “provide compensation for damages Russia suffered…from having to introduce counter-sanctions against the U.S.” Normally, victorious countries deliver such ultimatums to the vanquished.

The law communicates one message very clearly – that when it comes to the most important issues, nothing and no-one can “contain” Moscow.

Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama argue that his policy of sanctions has failed. They point out that, even under sanctions, Russia has managed to work against U.S. interests in a number of regions around the world.

However, the classical 1940s concept of containment did not imply the literal isolation of the Soviet Union, much less the entire Eastern bloc. Even during his most fervently anti-Kremlin period, George F. Kennan, the founder of U.S. containment strategy during the Cold War, held that the only way to contain Russia was not to isolate it, but to involve it in the global system. Kennan advocated using a system of checks and balances that differed fundamentally from the one that guarantees domestic freedoms in the Anglo-Saxon world.

Here we come to the core of the problem.

Why did the U.S. concern itself with this issue in the first place? Because, when a center accustomed to applying force to others loses its bearings, it has the potential to go unstable. It becomes incapable of assessing the risks of its behavior. So what should be done?

In the 1940s, the West aimed its strategy, oddly enough, at helping Stalin’s Russia move forward in a predictable manner, without excesses. It compensated for the Soviet Union’s ruinous lack of internal restraints with a system of external political constraints. The West did not seek to isolate the Soviet Union, but left it room to move, instead attempting to channel that energy along a particular path. This gave rise to the concept and policy of “containment.”

The intentional sphere had a two-bloc system, and although observers continued referring to it as a Cold War, it was essentially a process of searching for equilibrium. The extreme shortage of democracy in the Eastern Bloc was offset by external substitutes, ranging from NATO and the UN, to the IMF and EU.

It is no accident that Russia is losing its restraint. It stems from weakness, from long having sought an easy way to integrate with the global system rather than doing the hard work of institution building and reform.

Russia is very weak. It has no state institutions and no competent government bureaucracy. Its leadership has degenerated into a personality cult. And what’s more, that leadership is always ready to aggravate the situation. Only in this way do its members take on the appearance of true leaders – only during those brief moments when tensions flare over yet another emergency that they themselves have created.

Putin, in the role of President, has already played the lead in so many different scenes that any actor might envy him. But this musical comedy has gone on too long – and for Putin himself, it has become a daily charade. It has been said that some tzars reign, but they don’t govern. In Russia, every attempt at governing immediately degenerates into a sham.

Can any such structure hold itself together from within? No. Can an outside force keep it in line? No it can’t.

Russia has turned itself into a generator of global crises, and has been offering it for some time now practically as a product or service. Now the Moscow authorities always have something to offer the Russian people: the ability to ratchet up tensions in the world and grab the spotlight.

It would be a mistake to look at the Admiral Kuznetsov warship, belching smoke as it plies the English Channel, and see it as a simple yet controversial symbol of Russian weakness. Deep inside, unsuspected by the casual observer, lies an engine room – a crisis generator. The grime and smoke, typical of any engine room, are signs that it is working – cranking out one risk-laden emergency after another. The generator compensates for its relative weakness with the fact of its indestructibility and its readiness to stir up trouble whenever and wherever needed.

In conversations with Americans, I am surprised at how they regret their inability to keep Russia out of the New World Order. But that Order is essentially one of global containment. That system includes everyone while restraining each in a way that serves the interests of all. It is impossible to build relations with Russia that are separate from the world order.

The greatest danger to the modern world is if a sovereign state possessing a huge arsenal of weapons of mass construction were to become uncontrollable. The only three countries capable of posing such a hypothetical threat are the United States, China, and Russia – each of which has very different nuclear capabilities. Only those three states are capable of deliberately upsetting the global status quo with a single, heavy-handed act of abandon. Of course, that could only happen under yet unimagined circumstances – but such circumstances have never been conceivable beforehand. It is therefore the goal of the future world order to contain all three of those states. Without that ability, the very idea of a world order loses any meaning.

Containment is like the strong exoskeleton of control that compensates for the lack of internal political integrity. But if to consider the benefits of containment as it applies to Russia, why limit that discussion to Russia?

The eight-year run of Obama’s peace-loving administration follows the less successful imperial escapades of former U.S. President George W. Bush. The fear of a Donald Trump presidency that has gripped the U.S. establishment – not unlike what happened in Russia in 1996 – has caused a mobilization of the masses intent on doing whatever it takes to keep out evil.

The world is just as interested in the soft containment of the U.S. as it is in supporting its positive contribution – if not outright leadership – in various sectors. In any future world order, Russia will, by default – with or without Putin – remain a restraining factor against the U.S. on a par with the European Union and China. Even the conservative structures of NATO and the United Nations to some extent serve as constraints against U.S. hubris.

Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian conflict prompted the formation of a “lesser UN” of sorts in the Middle East that includes Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Russia, Iran, China, and the EU.

The series of ongoing crises has effectively become the new world order. The situation in Aleppo is nothing but bloody chaos for its residents, but for the major powers, it is the venue of their interaction and the architecture of their mutual deterrence.

Russia has lost its previous frame of reference. It needs a new one for the sake of future progress. Russia needs support for what appears to be a budding effort toward modernization – one very unlike the previous attempt. And such support should be conditional upon a certain framework.

However, Russia will not accept all forms of support, and not all should be offered either. Threatening new sanctions against Russia, with their attendant financial hardships, will only force Moscow to increase its dependence on Beijing. Ideally, the United States could somehow reduce the risk of that happening by proposing some sort of triangular containment in which Russia would take a natural interest. Of course, that could only happen in the context of multilateral relations in the Far East that involve other countries as well.

Many observers complain about the lack of “transparency and trust” between our countries. It should be understood, however, that the Russian state is currently focused exclusively on “generating distrust” toward other countries – and as a result, toward itself. Moscow would have to first slow down its “generator” in order to exercise restraint. And Russia is unable to entirely abandon its distrust of the world – in which it plays no significant role other than its occasional “special ops.” It is therefore useless to demand that Moscow show good faith or transparency up front, as a precondition to further talks.

It is impossible to contain Russia without involving it in the world order. However, a world order that cannot guarantee containment of all of its most powerful members is not only useless, but also dangerous.

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Former Foreign Minister of Poland: Putin could cease support for Assad if given Ukraine

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, suggested that the crisis in the Russian economy could force the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to offer a substantial agreement to the new President of the United States. Vladimir Putin could refuse to support the Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, if the United States let him have Ukraine.

Sikorski believes that such an exchange would be possible because the Middle East has always been a priority for the United States.

“That what Putin dreams of, sort of a Yalta-2. The chances for the implementation of such a scenario are minimal, but Russian leadership may have such plans,” Sikorski believes. The former Minister also added that the ascendance of Donald Trump to the White House would be necessary for this. The U.S Presidential elections will take place on the 8th of November.

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