Dedicated Russian thread

Well, it seems that at long last the pro-Russian Medvedchuk is having interviews without coffee:


It is curious that he and his coterie are being allowed to work against Ukraine's interest in cahoots with Russia for as long as this.
It's interesting that previous president Poroshenko even didn't plan to close TV channels and moreover to detain his political opponents while mr.Zelensky despite declared liberal views has done it.
So now, if the opposition comes to power in Ukraine (that can not be excluded) then it could do the same things.
On this video pres.Zelensky says that he never closed TV channels, he hasn't right to do it and that he is for the freedom of speech.
 
Well, it seems that at long last the pro-Russian Medvedchuk is having interviews without coffee:


It is curious that he and his coterie are being allowed to work against Ukraine's interest in cahoots with Russia for as long as this.
It will be interesting to see the Kremlin's reaction to this.
 
It will be interesting to see the Kremlin's reaction to this.
Putin's spokesman mr.Peskov said that the president regarded mr.Medvedchuk as Ukrainian politician who wishes to normalise relations with Russia. But Kremlin will not interfere in this situation.
1621005509982.png

I think that arrest of mr.Medvedchuk will only add points to the opposition. Meanwhile economic situation can be described by only one word - catastrophe.
 
So, despite the lack of assertion from Washington, just how likely is it that the Kremlin is not conniving in this?
There's absolutely nothing new about ransomware extortion. It's been going on for years, starting off small and then going after businesses and municipal governments.

Ransomware is just a new approach at making money from computer viruses. Many viruses deploy multiple payloads, with file encryption being just one of them. Many of the ransomware gangs also steal confidential files and threaten to publish them publicly as part of the extortion plan.

So far as we know, the ransomware gangs are the same people who were previously using viruses to rent botnets for hire, sell dubious pills, and anything else they could think of.

These gangs operate all across eastern Europe, from Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and yes, Russia as well. When communism collapsed a lot of very highly skilled engineers were left without work and turned to crime to make money. They formed networks of people who could bring skills together for particular projects. There are multiple levels of suppliers, with different groups specialising in different technologies and subcontracting to one another.

It's not much different from telephone support scammers operating from India, 419 Nigerians operating from Spain, or "dark market" drug dealers operating from the US or the Netherlands. White collar crime requiring specialised skills tends to congregate in clusters, just like the rest of the high tech industry (Silicon Valley, Taiwan, etc.).

There is money in all of these activities and very little risk, so someone somewhere is going to do it. The solution is going to have to be better security, which in Colonial's case was reportedly appallingly bad.
 
There's absolutely nothing new about ransomware extortion. It's been going on for years, starting off small and then going after businesses and municipal governments.

Ransomware is just a new approach at making money from computer viruses. Many viruses deploy multiple payloads, with file encryption being just one of them. Many of the ransomware gangs also steal confidential files and threaten to publish them publicly as part of the extortion plan.

So far as we know, the ransomware gangs are the same people who were previously using viruses to rent botnets for hire, sell dubious pills, and anything else they could think of.

These gangs operate all across eastern Europe, from Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and yes, Russia as well. When communism collapsed a lot of very highly skilled engineers were left without work and turned to crime to make money. They formed networks of people who could bring skills together for particular projects. There are multiple levels of suppliers, with different groups specialising in different technologies and subcontracting to one another.

It's not much different from telephone support scammers operating from India, 419 Nigerians operating from Spain, or "dark market" drug dealers operating from the US or the Netherlands. White collar crime requiring specialised skills tends to congregate in clusters, just like the rest of the high tech industry (Silicon Valley, Taiwan, etc.).

There is money in all of these activities and very little risk, so someone somewhere is going to do it. The solution is going to have to be better security, which in Colonial's case was reportedly appallingly bad.
Agreed, but if Russian based hackers tried this stunt against a Russian target, they would be strung up on piano wire in the Lubyanka (or whatever nice venue they use now for this sort of stuff. As its an American target, medals and tea are a more likely recompense.
 
Agreed, but if Russian based hackers tried this stunt against a Russian target, they would be strung up on piano wire in the Lubyanka (or whatever nice venue they use now for this sort of stuff. As its an American target, medals and tea are a more likely recompense.
Reportedly these crime gangs have enough sense to not go after targets in whatever country they happen to live in. That means they don't offend the rich and powerful who can set the local police on them. In Russia though I suppose some of the business owners may decide to bypass dealing with the police and just run the ransomware gangs through a wood chipper themselves.

This afternoon while reading ARRSE I had someone from India call me to try an "Amazon package" scam on me. Everybody knows who these people are and what office buildings they are operating out of. It takes intense diplomatic pressure on India to get them to do anything about it though. The Indians make a few examples and then things go right back to normal. Complaining to India about it will do nothing effective because it isn't affecting them. The solution will have to be technical and security oriented to prevent the Indians from spoofing telephone numbers and I can then just block all calls from India.

The same thing will be true for ransomware. Companies operating critical infrastructure will have to up their game in terms of security, and that will only happen if the government forces them to with penalties which treat piss poor security in a manner similar to piss poor financial bookkeeping.

A side benefit of this is that making these systems more secure against criminal attacks will also make them more secure against cyberwarfare attacks.
 
It will be interesting to see the Kremlin's reaction to this.

Yes, the Kremlin wasn't too happy when 3 pro-Russian TV stations were closed down.

I don't know whether you noticed this piece on Jamestown. TBH I haven't sat down to listen to it myself yet, but hope to do so this weekend.

 
It's interesting that previous president Poroshenko even didn't plan to close TV channels and moreover to detain his political opponents while mr.Zelensky despite declared liberal views has done it.
So now, if the opposition comes to power in Ukraine (that can not be excluded) then it could do the same things.
On this video pres.Zelensky says that he never closed TV channels, he hasn't right to do it and that he is for the freedom of speech.

The theory is that Poroshenko used Medvedchuk as a conduit or go between with Putin and initially Medvedhcuk's channels supported Zelensky. However, when Zelensky wasn't getting anywhere with Donetsk or compromise on them the Kremlin and so no peace dividend, the channels turned critical, and the rest is history.
 
Yes, the Kremlin wasn't too happy when 3 pro-Russian TV stations were closed down.

I don't know whether you noticed this piece on Jamestown. TBH I haven't sat down to listen to it myself yet, but hope to do so this weekend.

A good analytical piece. Bottom line: Moscow's threat to Ukraine has not gone away with the recent announcement of a partial reversal of the buils-up of Russia's forces around Ukraine.
 
Well Putin did say it was as reliable as a Kalashnikov rifle:
 
Well Putin did say it was as reliable as a Kalashnikov rifle:
There's no actual scientific data in the story which supports there being a problem with efficacy of the vaccine, just people making veiled references to "doubts". Overall, the story is a propaganda piece. This is exactly the sort of article which anti-vaxxers seize on to cast doubt about the safety of all vaccines.

The situation in Brazil is purely political. Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has made a mess of handling the pandemic. He was a prominent denialist of the pandemic's seriousness, and promoted all sorts of quack remedies (like Trump did). He also made a mess of the vaccine roll-out in Brazil.

His main political rival, known as "Lula", helped a number of provinces bypass Bolsonaro and buy vaccine directly, including Sputnik V. Lula is Bolsonaro's main rival for the presidential election next year. According to current polls Lula would thoroughly trounce Bolsonaro if the election were held today.

As a result of this Bolsonaro is having his officials crap all over everything Lula has been involved in, including Sputnik V. That takes a lot of cheek considering the quackery that Bolsonaro was promoting earlier.

There are plans to produce the vaccine in Brazil and so far as I know these plans are still ongoing.

The Czechs are cancelling buying the vaccine due to political fallout over accusations that Russian intelligence were involved in an explosion at an ammunition depot in the early to mid 2010s.

The rest of the countries mentioned in the article as expressing opposition to the vaccine were quite open about it being for geopolitical reasons, including Ukraine and Lithuania.

Canada has not seriously considered buying Sputnik V, and I doubt we would even consider it unless it was the only vaccine available. But that would be for geo-political reasons, not because we know of any problems with its effectiveness.

The article also claims that the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, which the article just calls "Pfizer" was developed in the US. That will no doubt come as a surprise to the German developers of the vaccine. This is very well known to anyone who has followed any news about vaccine development, so it's not a minor oversight. I would take the accuracy of the rest of the article as being about the same.

The main issue the US have with Sputnik V is that the Russians have been exporting it to countries around the world and arranging for local production, while the US have been largely absent, exporting only small quantities during the peak of the crisis. This has been a diplomatic success for Russia and a failure for the US.

The Americans might want to wind their necks in about "doubts about quality control and documentation". Canada received a shipment of 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine from the US, one of their few exports of vaccine. The entire shipment has been on hold in Canada for about a week or so now because of doubts about quality control and the veracity of documentation by the US manufacturer. There are concerns that it was part of one of the spoiled batches (there was a big scandal about this) of vaccine and that they are trying to pawn it off on us.
 
There's no actual scientific data in the story which supports there being a problem with efficacy of the vaccine, just people making veiled references to "doubts". Overall, the story is a propaganda piece. This is exactly the sort of article which anti-vaxxers seize on to cast doubt about the safety of all vaccines.

The situation in Brazil is purely political. Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has made a mess of handling the pandemic. He was a prominent denialist of the pandemic's seriousness, and promoted all sorts of quack remedies (like Trump did). He also made a mess of the vaccine roll-out in Brazil.

His main political rival, known as "Lula", helped a number of provinces bypass Bolsonaro and buy vaccine directly, including Sputnik V. Lula is Bolsonaro's main rival for the presidential election next year. According to current polls Lula would thoroughly trounce Bolsonaro if the election were held today.

As a result of this Bolsonaro is having his officials crap all over everything Lula has been involved in, including Sputnik V. That takes a lot of cheek considering the quackery that Bolsonaro was promoting earlier.

There are plans to produce the vaccine in Brazil and so far as I know these plans are still ongoing.

The Czechs are cancelling buying the vaccine due to political fallout over accusations that Russian intelligence were involved in an explosion at an ammunition depot in the early to mid 2010s.

The rest of the countries mentioned in the article as expressing opposition to the vaccine were quite open about it being for geopolitical reasons, including Ukraine and Lithuania.

Canada has not seriously considered buying Sputnik V, and I doubt we would even consider it unless it was the only vaccine available. But that would be for geo-political reasons, not because we know of any problems with its effectiveness.

The article also claims that the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, which the article just calls "Pfizer" was developed in the US. That will no doubt come as a surprise to the German developers of the vaccine. This is very well known to anyone who has followed any news about vaccine development, so it's not a minor oversight. I would take the accuracy of the rest of the article as being about the same.

The main issue the US have with Sputnik V is that the Russians have been exporting it to countries around the world and arranging for local production, while the US have been largely absent, exporting only small quantities during the peak of the crisis. This has been a diplomatic success for Russia and a failure for the US.

The Americans might want to wind their necks in about "doubts about quality control and documentation". Canada received a shipment of 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine from the US, one of their few exports of vaccine. The entire shipment has been on hold in Canada for about a week or so now because of doubts about quality control and the veracity of documentation by the US manufacturer. There are concerns that it was part of one of the spoiled batches (there was a big scandal about this) of vaccine and that they are trying to pawn it off on us.
It will be useful to see further test results:

Extract (my bold):
However, it's hard to precisely determine the efficacy of Sputnik V. It was approved for use in Russia last August before the state safety review had been completed. Eight months after the government's fast-track approval, there is still no reliable data on the vaccine. Russia has not yet made crucial primary data available to an independent drug testing authority.

In September, British medical journal The Lancet published partial results from Sputnik V's phase 1 and 2 trials. However, the two studies on safety, tolerability and immunogenicity only included 38 participants each. The findings stated a strong immune response, and said no serious adverse side effects had been detected.

International experts had strong reservations about the results — and not only because of the size of the trial groups. Several researchers pointed out a number of oddities: For example, even though the participants had been given very different forms of the vaccine, the study found that they all had the exact same level of antibodies in their blood on different days. They said that it could not be a coincidence that the participants all had identical levels of T-cells, which fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Some 40 scientists from Europe, the United States, Canada and even Russia signed an open letter raising concerns that data might have been manipulated.

On February 2, Russian scientists published interim results from phase 3 trials in The Lancet. They said that over 18,000 participants had received two doses of the vaccine at an interval of three weeks and claimed that efficacy was at 91.6% with no serious side effects. Once again, their international colleagues responded with skepticism, pointing out that there could not be an independent evaluation if the primary data had not been published.

According to a new study released on April 3, Sputnik V is also effective against the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the UK and the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa. However, this has not been confirmed by a standard peer review process.
 
It will be useful to see further test results:

Extract (my bold):
US have "doubts" about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and haven't approved it either. They picked at what they said were problems in the study and told AstraZeneca they would have to do the whole study over again, and in the US, before they would approve it. The US may never approve it for use there. None the less, hundreds of millions of people have gotten this vaccine and undoubtedly tens of thousands, or possibly even hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved as a result.

FDA wants 'significant' amount of extra data on AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine
"We can foresee that we will not be using the AstraZeneca doses that we expect to come online," Andy Slavitt, a Covid-19 adviser to the Biden administration, said during a briefing this week, adding that the U.S. plans to ship the AstraZeneca product it pre-purchased to other countries in need.

AstraZeneca Struggles With Data Needed for Covid-19 Vaccine’s Approval
AstraZeneca executives have struggled to pull together the full data necessary to apply for U.S. approval of its Covid-19 shot, according to people familiar with the matter, further delaying its efforts to secure the Food and Drug Administration’s go-ahead.
 
US have "doubts" about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and haven't approved it either. They picked at what they said were problems in the study and told AstraZeneca they would have to do the whole study over again, and in the US, before they would approve it. The US may never approve it for use there. None the less, hundreds of millions of people have gotten this vaccine and undoubtedly tens of thousands, or possibly even hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved as a result.

FDA wants 'significant' amount of extra data on AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine


AstraZeneca Struggles With Data Needed for Covid-19 Vaccine’s Approval
Doesn't cancel out the further study necessary for the Sputnk vaccine.
 
Detailed information about Sputnik V
Adenovirus-based vaccines for Covid-19 are more rugged than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. DNA is not as fragile as RNA, and the adenovirus’s tough protein coat helps protect the genetic material inside. As a result, Sputnik V can be refrigerated and does not require very low storage temperatures.
Gamaleya has announced that the two-dose Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 91.4 percent, and the single-dose Sputnik Light has an efficacy rate of 79.4 percent. But the company has not published scientific papers with the full details.
According to data, 75 % of the country’s population have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. And of these 90 % received the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. To date, the state hospital is practically Covid-free with only one patient hospitalized and no patients in intensive care.
As a result of this positive development, the country has decided to combine the vaccination campaign with tourism. The goal is to offer vaccination to other nationals and at the same time support the decimated tourism sector.
In this context, the government of San Marino has decided to offer two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine along with an overnight stay of at least three nights twice in 21 days for a total of 50 euros.
How effective is Sputnik V vaccine? It is still an open question.
Argentina’s health ministry has said Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more effective at preventing coronavirus infections than its Chinese and Indian competitors, the South American country’s media reported Wednesday.
Argentina has so far distributed the first doses of Sputnik V among 2.6 million recipients, China’s Sinopharm among 1.2 million and India’s Covishield among more than half a million, according to the Telam news agency.
 
RFE/RL has produced a piece triggered by a recent Chatham House (an excellent if quite lengthy) report about "myths and misconceptions" about Russia (Link: Myths and misconceptions in the debate on Russia ) concerning one of the myths. It presents an even-handed summary of this particular issue and the verdict does point to it being a myth:
Incidentally, the Chatham House report does detail the very issues that I describe as the "Muscovite Mindset".
 
RFE/RL has produced a piece triggered by a recent Chatham House (an excellent if quite lengthy) report about "myths and misconceptions" about Russia (Link: Myths and misconceptions in the debate on Russia ) concerning one of the myths. It presents an even-handed summary of this particular issue and the verdict does point to it being a myth:
Incidentally, the Chatham House report does detail the very issues that I describe as the "Muscovite Mindset".
I would like to quote your source
Among those who have fueled Russian claims of a promise was the last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock, who has repeatedly insisted, both in congressional testimony and more recently, that Gorbachev had received assurances that if Germany united, and stayed in NATO, the borders of NATO would not move eastward.
So at least informal promise was given and it has been confirmed.
 
Top