Dedicated Russian thread

Oh those Russians, they just can't help themselves. The Catalonian independence movement may have their fingers all over it:

Moscow views the EU as a massive threat. Therefore anything that weakens the EU or a member state thereof is in its interest.
 
Russia trying hard to claim some rather dubious morale high ground over the (if Trump has his way) soon to be defunct New START Treaty.

'Russia’s Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday it had shown the country’s new Avangard nuclear missile system to U.S. inspectors for the first time, a move Moscow said showed a key arms control treaty was still effective.
Russia is due to deploy next month the Avangard system, a hypersonic glide vehicle designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, one of several new types of weapons touted by President Vladimir Putin as ahead of their time. The Defence Ministry said a group of visiting U.S. arms inspectors had been shown the Avangard system from Nov. 24-26 under the auspices of the New START treaty, which came into effect in 2011.

'The treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the world’s two biggest nuclear powers can deploy to no more than 1,550 each. The treaty, which is due to expire in 2021, also curbs the number of nuclear launchers and deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers they can have.'


 
Any idea of a 'prisoner swap' is off the cards with WHELAN for the moment as he hasn't even been charged with an offence:
But Julie Fisher, the chargée d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, dismissed any such exchange.

“There is no need to discuss a swap,” Fisher told reporters after visiting Whelan in prison. “There is no evidence, no crime,” said Fisher. “They need to release him. Paul has not been charged with a crime.”
Allegedly he has declining health and hasn't been able to make phone calls since his arrest 11 months ago, including today on Thanksgiving Day:
“Russian authorities denied Paul Whelan the minor comfort of a Thanksgiving dinner today. As American families around the world gather, Paul marks 11 months in prison and can’t even call his parents. This is shameful treatment,” tweeted Rebecca Ross, the U.S. Embassy’s spokeswoman.
 
Zemlyak said:
The plot thickens. But as suspected even more leads showing Russia may be behind the killing in Berlin.





Stand by for counter factuals and alternative theories.
Not so much counter theories as straightforward denial:
“I don’t think there are serious suspicions (of involvement by the Russian authorities) and there cannot be any. What relation to the Russian authorities (does this have)?,” said Peskov.

“This is absolutely groundless speculation. This topic is being somehow whipped up by German media, but this does not mean that this is how things are,” Peskov said.
Same old on the failure to cooperate in the investigation, hence two diplomats expelled:
The Kremlin on Wednesday denied the Russian government had been involved in the murder of a Georgian citizen in Berlin, hours before Germany expelled two Russian diplomats over what it said was Moscow’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation.
 
Seems another critic of Putin has met with an "accident" , well makes a change from falling from a building I suppose.

A Russian businessman who lived in Britain has reportedly been hit by a car and killed while walking his dog in Surrey.

 
"Struck by a falling gargoyle while swimming off Beachy Head."

Entering Russian politics seems to pass the Pratchett Test for suicide.
 
Muscovite PsyOps paying off? Trump helping cloud the issues?

 
Muscovite PsyOps paying off? Trump helping cloud the issues?

I wonder how the continual participation of the hard left on BBC political shows affects perception of Russia. On the one hand they cite possible Russian influence in elections while on the other they invite a swathe of communists, hard left socialists as "commentators" and refer to them in a way that suggests that they are impartial or rational. The word "activist" seems to be continually missed out. On the former Andrew Neil Show, he had far left guests and various others to let them make a fool of themselves.
 
Looks like Russia has been banned as a country from competing in all sporting events for four years inc the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup:
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has imposed a four-year ban on Russia from all global sport, including the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup finals.

WADA's executive committee took the decision after concluding Moscow had tampered with laboratory data.
They have 21 days to appeal the decision.

Individual athletes not implicated in the cheating will be allowed to compete and queries have been raised for some teams, such as the football one; whether they could compete under a neutral flag:
Individual Russian athletes untainted by the scandal will still be able to compete in competitions independently under a neutral flag.

It is unclear whether those who play team sports such as football will be able to play under a neutral flag.
 
Looks like Russia has been banned as a country from competing in all sporting events for four years inc the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup:


They have 21 days to appeal the decision.

Individual athletes not implicated in the cheating will be allowed to compete and queries have been raised for some teams, such as the football one; whether they could compete under a neutral flag:
 
Totally foreseeable. But the Kremlin is happy to play the victim card.
 
Looks like Russia has been banned as a country from competing in all sporting events for four years inc the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup:


They have 21 days to appeal the decision.

Individual athletes not implicated in the cheating will be allowed to compete and queries have been raised for some teams, such as the football one; whether they could compete under a neutral flag:
In probably unrelated news, the head of the WADA has been admitted to hospital tonight. Doctors described his condition as, "Stable, but glows in the dark".
 
I wonder how the continual participation of the hard left on BBC political shows affects perception of Russia. On the one hand they cite possible Russian influence in elections while on the other they invite a swathe of communists, hard left socialists as "commentators" and refer to them in a way that suggests that they are impartial or rational. The word "activist" seems to be continually missed out. On the former Andrew Neil Show, he had far left guests and various others to let them make a fool of themselves.
Should the opposition party in the UK win the upcoming election it will be the UK who have the "hard left" government and not Russia, who by contrast will look rather moderate.

There was a news story in the CBC this weekend headlined as Canada's CSE (Communications Security Establishment) looking for Russian attempts to interfere in the UK election. I didn't post the story as the content didn't quite live up to the headline as CSE would only respond to the CBC with a very generic response about sharing information with the UK in this regards.

However, the story mentioned Jeremy Corbyn being accused of pushing a Russian disinformation campaign. The story didn't take a position on this one way or the other, but the average reader will come away with the impression that it's Labour who are Moscow's fellow travellers.

After the recent Canadian election the Canadian government did say that attempts at disinformation and misinformation were detected (although not the source), but nothing serious enough to have an effect on the election. This was not announced until after the election was over, probably to avoid politicising the security apparatus. On the other hand, so far as I am aware none of the major political parties were repeating Russian disinformation campaigns.

I don't think the Russians have any particular preference as to the ideological tendencies of whoever is running in elections in major Western countries. Rather, I think they favour candidates who are isolationists and complete idiots. Governments operating on these lines are less likely to engage in policies which have a negative effect on Russia.

Russia isn't the only threat in this regards by the way. The Indian government was conducting operations against the Canadian government, and the same American oligarchs who are the money men and string pullers behind American politics were secretly funnelling laundered money through front organisations trying to unseat the Canadian government in the previous election (I don't know yet if they were at it again this time).

And of course the UK has its own propaganda apparatus directed at foreign countries, and the head of Twitter's MENA operations with editorial control just happens to be an officer in the UK's 77th Brigade, which uses social media to conduct "information warfare". I'm sure that's just one of those amazing coincidences which seem to happen so often, you have to admit however that the optics of that don't look all that good from the perspective of a great many countries in the rest of the world.

It's all part of the world we operate in, and we have to get used to it while also being wary of politicians who repeat information they can't cite a source for.
 
An interesting, and quite reasonable, hypothesis. It shifts some of the 'blame' for Russia today from rapacious Western capitalists to revanchist Russian militarists.

'It was a turning point that tilted Russia toward the rule of President Vladimir V. Putin, now in power for two decades. At the time, Mr. Putin was an unknown municipal official in St. Petersburg, but five years later he became master of the Kremlin, propelled there by yet another Chechen war.

'Anatoly Shabad, a former physicist and prominent pro-democracy politician in the early 1990s, visited Chechnya repeatedly in 1994, first to try to prevent war and then to halt the killing once it started. Holed up in the basement of the presidential palace in Grozny, the Chechen capital, as Russian forces launched a disastrous, all-out assault on the city on New Year’s Eve 1994, Mr. Shabad emerged in the morning to find streets strewn with the corpses of Russian soldiers and their burned-out tanks.

'Despite the Grozny debacle and many others, Mr. Shabad said, security and military officials who had pushed for the war — known as “siloviki,” or men of force — came out on top, regaining much of the influence they had lost to democratic forces after the Soviet Union imploded in 1991. “The siloviki were the losers on the ground but they acquired power. The time of democratic transformation passed and society returned to its old state of mind,” Mr. Shabad, now retired from politics, recalled.

'The 1994-96 war was freighted with foreboding from the start, with many of Mr. Yeltsin’s most stalwart supporters and senior military figures warning of disaster. “It will be a blood bath, another Afghanistan,” predicted Gen. Boris Gromov, the deputy defense minister, who had led the last Soviet troops home from that country in February 1989. The deputy commander of Russia’s ground force resigned in protest.

'Like the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the first Chechen war ended in a stalemate. Russia pulled out after signing a peace accord that left Chechnya’s ultimate status undecided but essentially gave the region the self-rule that Moscow had gone to war to prevent. And like the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Russian departure from Chechnya left a devastated land that quickly descended into lawless strife among rival factions.

'While the Afghan war had pushed the Soviet Union toward collapse, the Russian Federation survived the Chechen debacle. But it was utterly humiliated and fundamentally reshaped. That made the ascent of a strongman like Mr. Putin, a former K.G.B. agent who vowed to restore order and avenge Russia’s defeat in Chechnya, not only possible but perhaps also inevitable.'


Full article here: The War That Continues to Shape Russia, 25 Years Later
 

Zhopa

War Hero
A good reminder of just how grim and desperate it really was.

One of my former employers got its knickers in a twist when gruesome jihadi videos started coming in and offered special support to the Arabic, Pashto etc. speakers working on them, to the only very slight amusement of the Russian team who'd been dealing with video nasties of Chechens merrily hacking and shooting bits off their Russian prisoners and hostages for about the previous decade.
 
I can't quite follow the last posts with any so weighty, so I'll just go with something more light-hearted. Prisoner on trial tries to escape from court by trying to climb through the ceiling:


Having said it's light-hearted, he is actually accused of killing his own sister.
 
Putin may look to tweak the Russian constitution again. He did it previously, as mentioned HERE from four to six years and allowing him a second double term. This time, if and when he does step down, but due to go in 2024; he appears to be considering returning the constitution to how it was before:
“It’s only possible to do this (changes) after thorough preparation and a deep discussion in society. You’d need to be very careful,” Putin said at his annual news conference.

He said he was open to tweaking presidential term limits, suggesting they could be changed to limit anyone’s ability to serve more than two terms, something he has done.

“One thing that could be changed about these (presidential) terms is removing the clause about ‘successive’ (terms). Your humble servant served two terms consecutively, then left his post and had the constitutional right to return to the post of president, because these were not two successive terms,” he said.

“(This clause) troubles some of our political analysts and public figures. Well, maybe it could be removed.”
 

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