Dedicated Russian thread

Just why do opponents of the Russian regime suddenly succumb to unknown chemical/biological agents? The Kremlin may issue denials until it is red in the face, but the message is in the action not the wording and it is reinforced every time it happens. The Muscovite Mindset in action: The Kremlin does not tolerate opposition. Toe the lie or you will be seriously f@cked up.

A couple of good Foreign Policy articles on the subject:

A quote from the first article:
“The Kremlin has a long, ugly history of intimidating and killing those who they see as a threat to the state. Journalists, opposition figures, vocal Russians abroad, and others always have to remain aware that the Kremlin doesn’t see them as free citizens.”
More protests in Moscow. A much smaller number involved and so far about 10% of arrests from last week. What may have muted this weeks protests are reports of a new round of detentions and home searches before today and apparently opening up proceedings for what they term as ‘mass civil unrest’:
Authorities carried out a new round of detentions and home searches before Saturday’s protest and opened criminal proceedings for what they term mass civil unrest, an offense which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail.
The protests are deemed illegal as permission for them to be held has not been granted. However, protesters say any formal requests are refused:
Activists say the Russian constitution allows them to freely protest. But authorities say they need to agree the timing and location of any demonstrations in advance, something that was not done ahead of Saturday’s protest.

Opposition activists say the authorities have repeatedly refused to allow protests in central Moscow, leaving them with no choice but to go ahead anyway.
E2A: Russian police detain more than 300 opposition protesters in Moscow
Over 300 reportedly arrested in Moscow. Police say 30 detained of 350 at the protest. 1,000 people attended a similar authorised protest in St Petersburg:
Police said they had detained 30 and that 350 had attended the protest. A similar but authorized protest in St Petersburg was attended by up to 1,000 people, they said
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.....The protests are deemed illegal as permission for them to be held has not been granted. However, protesters say any formal requests are refused.....
You mean to say that the Fox rapist isn’t entirely correct / honest when he says that people are perfectly free to protest as long as they ask nicely first?
Hope it's collateral damage only- not likely though.
Hope it's collateral damage only- not likely though.
Thanks, 8 injured according to TASS:
Eight people were injured in the incident, TASS news agency cited doctors as saying. A Russian soldier was killed, TASS cited a source as saying. A source from another agency, RIA, at the defense ministry denied the information about the soldier’s death.
Hope it's collateral damage only- not likely though.
Where would you rate that on a scale of 1 to 10?

3.6. Not great, not terrible.
Whole thread on the ammo dump fire, including some 'whataboutery :) . It's now been put out by IL76 and Mi15's 'water bombing' the dump:

Of more concern, and I meant to post this a while ago is another place in Siberia that according to a state official is an environmental catastrophe in waiting:
A Russian state official warned on Wednesday that an abandoned chemicals factory in Siberia could cause an environmental disaster akin to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident unless urgent action is taken to tackle it.

The Usolyekhimprom plant, which produced chlorine and other chemicals in the Irkutsk region, was abandoned due to bankruptcy in 2017, according to Russian news agencies. But the factory still contains an array of toxic substances, the head of state environment watchdog Rosprirodnadzor said.
Svetlana Radionova is apparently head of the state environment watchdog and action needs to be taken now. The article is dated 24/07/2019 and since then (yes I know Siberia is huge) we've had wild fires and now an ammo dump explosion in the region:
The official, Svetlana Radionova, said she had recently visited the facility and, among other things, discovered wells filled with oil waste that could potentially burst and flow into the Angara, a major Siberian river.

“This is essentially the territory of an environmental catastrophe. We need to act now otherwise we will have an ‘ecological Chernobyl’,” Radionova said in an interview with pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia.
Apparently nobody knows what is actually stored there, but she's seen 'a huge amount of mercury residue' and some pressurised tanks containing unknown chemicals:
“No one knows what’s there (at the Siberian site),” Radionova said, adding she had seen a huge amount of mercury residue there that needed to be “de-mercurised”, and tanks, some of them pressurised, containing dangerous, unknown chemicals.

“This is a huge, chemically dangerous enterprise which is in a half-destroyed state. Its negligent owners exhausted its final resources and chucked it,” she said.

The factory’s owners have not responded to the allegations.
To be honest, it was only a question of time. Russia conflating agitprop with news and of course, deploying the 'victim' card:
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, said in a statement on Thursday it was now taking steps to retaliate.

“... Roskomnadzor has repeatedly said it would rely on the principle of reciprocity in the case of discriminatory attitudes towards Russia media abroad,” it said.
It will be interesting to see what they undoubtedly will fine the BBC for:
Amendments would be introduced into the Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma, in coming days allowing it to apply the same standards that Britain had used in the RT case to British and other foreign media operating on Russian territory, it said.
They do seem to be looking at what Ofcom use. Whether the interpretation is the same remains to be seen:
Roskomnadzor said it had opened a communications channel with Ofcom for consultations on the subject.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “These are entirely matters for Roskomnadzor.”
As for those who think there are similarities, perhaps they can point me to an RT investigation into CivCas caused by the RuAF in Syria? The BBC has done it on the RAF.
The opposition remain banned from partaking in the forthcoming election. 57 or so have been refused as the signatures they have collected are allegedly forged.

They have already said that they will be on the streets to protest again this coming weekend. Reportedly 2,000 or so over the past couple of weekends were detained, albeit most were released quite quickly:
Russia’s main election board on Wednesday upheld rulings barring several Kremlin critics from a Moscow election next month as the opposition said it would press ahead with nationwide protests this weekend.

Police in Moscow have detained more than 2,000 people at recent rallies protesting the exclusion of opposition candidates from a Sept. 8 election, prompting the biggest standoff between authorities and the opposition in years.

Most of those detained were released quickly.
Some opinion polls reported 37% positive and 27% negative on the protests. Presumably 36% are neither bothered or have a view:
A poll by the Levada Centre said on Tuesday that 37 percent of Muscovites related “positively” to the protests in Moscow compared with 27 percent who said they viewed them negatively, the RBC medial portal reported.
Nice crisp uniforms and brand new badges:
......... Presumably 36% are neither bothered or have a view: .............. Nice crisp uniforms and brand new badges:
I would argue that of those 36%, a large majority are too scared to voice an opinion.
As for the badges, the iconography and design appear to be inspired by historic fascist badges.
I would argue that of those 36%, a large majority are too scared to voice an opinion.
As for the badges, the iconography and design appear to be inspired by historic fascist badges.
Putin has had a youth movement very much inspired by the Hitler youth, so it's just taking it a step further
Two dead, radiation spike (3.6?) as allegedly a rocket engine blew up at a naval missile testing site in N Russia:
Two people were killed and a nearby city reported a spike in radiation levels when a rocket engine blew up at a testing site in northern Russia on Thursday, forcing authorities to shut down part of a bay in the White Sea to shipping.

The brief spike in radiation reported by authorities in the nearby city of Severodvinsk, inhabited by 185,000 people, apparently contradicted the defence ministry, which had earlier been quoted by state media as saying radiation was normal.
The radiation spike was 'short term' but they didn't say to how high (or to what level the meters could read):
“A short-term rise in background radiation was recorded at 12 o’clock in Severodvinsk,” Ksenia Yudina, a spokeswoman for the city authorities, said. A statement on the city’s website did not specify how high radiation levels had risen, but said the level had fully “normalised”.
It's a test site for naval weapons including ballistic and cruise missiles and according to officials is now closed:
Russian media said an area near Nyonoksa is used for tests on weapons including ballistic and cruise missiles that are used by the Russian navy.

An official at the northern port of Arkhangelsk said an area of the Dvina Bay in the White Sea had been closed to shipping for a month because of the incident.

“The area is closed,” the official, Sergei Kozub, said, without giving further details about the reasons for the move.
Unsure if it affects Archangel of WW2 convoys fame:
Officials did not give full details about the size or location of the area that was closed, but it did not appear to include Arkhangelsk itself, a major port for the export of oil products and coal.
Two decades of Putin. Some notable dates in there. If he stays in power another 20 years (he can if he keeps doing the same thing that Sergey ignores under Russia's constitution), where will it lead Russia? More of the same? Worse for the West?

He certainly is a strong leader and espouses Russia's greatness. Has he 'made Russia great again'? Or is he returning to the 'good old days' of blind obedience by the proletariat? Interesting times......

Dec. 31, 1999 - An ailing Yeltsin resigns, names Putin acting president.

March 26, 2000 - Putin wins his first presidential election.

Aug. 12, 2000 - The Kursk nuclear-powered submarine sinks to the bottom of the Barents Sea killing all 118 crew after an explosion onboard. Putin’s image suffers a jolt after he comments on the crisis only after four days.

2002 - Chechen militants take more than 800 people hostage at a Moscow theatre. Special forces end the siege, but use a poison gas in the process which kills many of the hostages.

2003 - Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is arrested and charged with fraud. He is later found guilty and jailed in a case his supporters said was punishment for his meddling in politics. He is only released in 2013 after Putin pardons him.

March 2004 - Putin wins second term as president with more than 70 percent of the vote after oil prices fuel a consumer boom and raise living standards, a trend that continues for another four years.

September 2004 - Islamist fighters seize more than 1,000 people in a school in Beslan, southern Russia, triggering a three-day siege that ends in gunfire. A total of 334 hostages are killed. Over half of them are children. Some parents say the authorities botched the handling of the siege and blame Putin.

December 2004 - Putin scraps direct elections for regional governors making them, in effect, Kremlin appointees. Putin says the move is needed to keep Russia together.

2005 - Putin describes the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the twentieth century.

2006 - Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of rights abuses in Chechnya, is murdered in Moscow on Putin’s birthday. Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko dies in London that same year after being poisoned with a radioactive substance. A British inquiry years later concludes he was killed by Russian spies.

2007 - Putin gives a speech in Munich in which he lashes out at the United States, accusing Washington of the “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations.”

May 2008 - Constitutional limits on him serving more than two consecutive presidential terms see Putin become prime minister after his ally, Dmitry Medvedev, becomes president.

August 2008 - Russia fights and wins a short war with Georgia which loses control over two breakaway regions that are garrisoned with Russian troops.

2012 - Putin returns to the presidency, winning re-election with over 60% of the vote after a decision to extend presidential terms to six from four years. Large anti-Putin protests take place before and after the vote with critics alleging voter fraud.

Feb 7-23, 2014 - Russia hosts the winter Olympic games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Feb. 27, 2014 - Russian troops start annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region after Ukrainian protesters oust the country’s Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovich. Russia incorporates Crimea the following month after a referendum condemned by the West. The United States and EU go on to impose sanctions on Moscow.

April 2014 - A pro-Russian separatist uprising breaks out in eastern Ukraine which results in a conflict, still ongoing, which hands the separatists control of a vast swath of territory and leaves over 13,000 people dead. Western countries accuse Russia of backing the uprising; Moscow denies direct involvement.

Sept. 30, 2015 - Russia launches air strikes in Syria in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in President Bashar al-Assad’s favour.

November 2016 - Donald Trump is elected president of the United States after promising to improve battered ties with Moscow. U.S. authorities determine Russia tried to interfere in the election in his favour however, casting a pall over U.S-Russia ties despite Russian denials.

March 4, 2018 - A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter are poisoned in England with a nerve agent. They survive but a woman who lives nearby dies after her partner brings home the poison found in a discarded perfume bottle. Britain accuses Moscow, which denies involvement.

March 19, 2018 - Putin wins a landslide re-election victory and the mandate to stay in office until 2024.

June/July 2018 - Russia hosts the men’s soccer FIFA World Cup.

2019 - Protests break out in Moscow over a municipal election which the anti-Kremlin opposition says is unfair. Putin has yet to comment on the demonstrations.
This time the rally is authorised. According to a monitor its 40,000 or so, according to Police only 20,000. Elsewhere nearly 50,000.

Navalny is still in jail. Presumably wary of what he eats and drinks. There’s an investigation ongoing into his anti-corruption foundation for alleged money laundering. Arrests already made during the week led to investigators opening criminal proceedings against a dozen or so people for what they say was ‘mass civil unrest’ at earlier protests.

Sobol, one of the other activists arrested in a car last week, was arrested again for ‘plotting a provocation’. Unsure why the arrestees were masked. She is on hunger strike as well:
Hours before the demonstration, police detained one of the leading opposition activists, Lyubov Sobol, who is on a hunger strike. Masked men raided her office and the police said they had information she and other activists were plotting a “provocation” at Saturday’s rally.
She remains somewhat hopeful on Twitter:
“I won’t make it to the protest. But you know what to do without me....Russia will be free!” Sobol said.
Looks like one of those banned from running in the municipal election has had the bar overturned by Moscow City Court.
The Moscow city court cancelled a decision by an election commission to bar a Russian opposition candidate, Sergei Mitrokhin, from running in a municipal election in September, TASS news agency reported.

The court ruled in favour of Mitrokhin three days after tens of thousands of protesters turned out at a rally in Moscow, in which Mitrokhin also took part.

A month of demonstrations over elections for the Moscow city legislature have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.
Wiki on him and his affiliation along with former offices:
Seems somewhat 'Soviet' inspired if true. Apparently, if you're a Russian scientist and you want to meet foreign scientists, you need to inform your boss at least five days in advance, who must approve the meeting and apparently you should have a colleague in tow. It hasn't gone down well with some:
In an open letter on Wednesday, scientist Alexander Fradkov criticised the guidelines, which he outlined in detail, and called on the ministry to revise or abandon them.

“Such ridiculous and impossible orders will not improve the security of our country, but will only lead to an increase in its isolation from developed countries and discredit the government...,” he wrote.
Peskov says he hasn't seen the order, that it seems somewhat excessive and that he will look into it:
Asked about the directive, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had not seen it but that, though it sounded excessive, it was nonetheless important for Russia to be wary of foreign espionage.

“Of course, we need to adopt a certain vigilance because foreign intelligence services are not dozing and, let’s put it like this, nobody has cancelled industrial espionage,” he said.

“It happens 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is directed against our scientists, particular young scientists,” he told reporters on a conference call.

He promised, however, to look into the ministry order and said it was important not to get carried away with stringent rules.
It;s because Russia targets naive foreign scientists in such a manner, that it believes it is a target for such espionage.
Today is Black Ribbon Day and it marks the 80th anniversary of when the Nazi-Soviet Molotov Ribbentrop pact was signed

I'm sure our resident Russian trolls will be raising a glass to their forebears mutual cooperation with the Nazi regime, with their XLW totalitarian regimes both committed to genocide via the concentration camps and the gulags respectively

I'm just surprised our Russian trolls haven't mentioned it yet, they're usually so keen to comment on matters affecting Russia, it's puzzling

Perhaps they are busy sightseeing in cathedrals???

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