Category Archives: Russia

Caroline Glick: Unlike Obama, Trump Walks the Walk on Russia

In her daily press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders rejected the contention that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals for interfering with the 2016 election proves the Trump administration is soft on Russia.

To back up her point, Sanders drew a distinction between former president Barack Obama’s policies towards Russia and President Donald Trump’s Russia policy, and insisted Trump has been much tougher on Russia than Obama was.

Sanders was right.


‘Un-Tattoo You’: Russian Court Orders ‘Confiscation’ Of Inmate’s Swastika Tattoos

A court in the central Russian city of Cheboksary has drawn attention for ordering a prisoner to remove Nazi tattoos from his body.

District court Judge Vladimir Mitrofanov ordered a 1,000-ruble fine ($18) against R.R. Gabidullin — an inmate at the No. 6 federal prison colony — and for his tattoos to be “confiscated…in the form of self-removal [from] his body two images similar to Nazi symbols.”

Although there have been several cases in Russia since 2014 — when the law was tightened against the display of “extremist” symbols — of prisoners being fined for having Nazi symbols tattooed on their body, this appears to be the first case in which the prisoner has also been ordered to remove the offending images.


Muslim kills 5 women in church shooting in southern Russia, attacker killed

Update: Women shot dead in apparent Islamist attack on Orthodox church in North Caucasus region

Five people have been killed and several others injured in a gun attack on a crowd of churchgoers in Dagestan in southern Russia, local police confirmed. The shooter was killed by security forces.

The shooting happened in the city of Kizlyar, a provincial capital in the Republic of Dagestan. The gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle at a group of people leaving a church ceremony dedicated to the end of the Russian folk festival of Maslenitsa, which marks the start of Lent for Russian Orthodox Christians.

Background… Dagestan: New Epicenter of Muslim Terrorism in Russia


The tactics of a Russian troll farm

The indictment of 13 Russians charged with attempting to manipulate American voters using social media shines a fascinating light on a sophisticated, relentless operation to exploit the internet for political gain. Here’s how US investigators say the Russians did it.

It was 2014, and in a building in St Petersburg, the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) was already hard at work building its arsenal to take on US politics.

According to US prosecutors, the IRA had gathered stolen identities of real Americans, and a formidable encyclopaedia of what “works” on social media when it comes to riling up Americans talking about politics. Two members of the agency were said to have travelled to the US to gather more intelligence, a fact-finding tour taking in nine states, according to investigators.


Putin’s Pocket Army? The Rise of Russian Mercenaries in Syria

If you think the media has been saturated with news about Russia think again. While thoughts might run to Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign, I refer to something possibly far worse: the development and expansion of Russia’s private military companies (PMC) and its implications for the global spread of armies for hire by great powers and multinational corporations alike.

Before going further it is important to define exactly what I mean by PMC sector.


Iran, Russia, and China’s Central Role in the Venezuela Crisis

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just completed, by most accounts, a successful visit to Latin America. He began his five-nation tour by invoking the Monroe Doctrine and suggesting the Venezuelan military could manage a “peaceful transition” from the authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro. This reminded several regional observers of President Trump’s suggestion last year of a possible “military option” for Venezuela, hinting at possible U.S. or multilateral intervention to stop the country’s collapse.

An armed action or military intervention in Venezuela by any nation in the Western Hemisphere, including Venezuela’s own military, must take into account the role of Iran, Russia and China in the crisis. Russia and China were prominently mentioned by Tillerson during his visit to the region; Iran, however, was notably absent from his remarks.

Prior to any discussion on what to do about Venezuela, a consensus about what led to this crisis needs be reached. The role of Iran is critical in such a conversation.


‘Fancy Bear’ hackers took aim at US defense contractors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft, an Associated Press investigation has found.

What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims.

The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who also intruded in the U.S. election, went after at least 87 people working on militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms or other sensitive activities, the AP found.


Syria: Russian warplane shot down and pilot killed on ground by rebels in Sarqeb

Syrian rebels have killed a Russian pilot after his plane was shot down in the country’s northwest.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the pilot was killed after landing alive on the ground near the rebel-held town of Sarqeb, in Idlib province.

Syrian troops have been trying to reach the town under the cover of Russian airstrikes.


Russian-trained mercenaries back Bosnia’s Serb separatists

Russian-trained mercenaries are helping establishment a paramilitary unit serving the Serb separatist leader in Bosnia, it was reported in Sarajevo on Friday.

The report on the Žurnal news site, which was confirmed by the Bosnian security minister, comes at a time of mounting western anxiety about Russian efforts to destabilise the Balkans and resist Nato enlargement in the region.

On Tuesday, Milorad Dodik, the hardline leader of the Serb half of Bosnia, staged a military parade in Banja Luka in defiance of a ruling by the country’s constitutional court.

The Žurnal report said that a militia called “Serbian Honour” – which it said had been trained in a Russian-funded “humanitarian centre” in Serbia – was in the process of setting up a paramilitary group to be used against Dodik’s opponents.


Expect America’s Tensions with China and Russia to Rise in 2018

Yesterday’s 2017 review and forecast for 2018 focused on the most urgent challenges the Trump administration faces: the volatile Middle East, international terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Today, we examine the strategic threats posed by China and Russia and one of President Trump’s continuing priorities: preserving and enhancing American sovereignty.


St Petersburg supermarket bombing was a terrorist act, says Vladimir Putin

The explosion at a supermarket in Russia’s second-largest city was a terrorist attack, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, adding that another attack had been thwarted.

At least 13 people were injured Wednesday evening when an improvised explosive device went off at a storage area for customers’ bags at the supermarket in St. Petersburg. Investigators said the device contained 200 grams (7 ounces) of explosives and was rigged with shrapnel to cause more damage.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.


10 injured, dozens evacuated after explosion in St. Petersburg store

Nine people have been taken to hospital following an explosion in a storage locker at a busy St. Petersburg supermarket. Over 50 people have been evacuated from the building.
“There was a bang. Emergency personnel are already on the scene. The evacuation has been completed, and there was no fire,” a local Emergencies Ministry official told TASS news agency.

The victims were taken to the accident ward with injuries “of variable severity.” One man refused hospitalization.

Officials are treating the investigation as a potential mass homicide attempt and say that the explosion was equivalent to 200g of TNT.

More… Bomb rips through St Petersburg supermarket injuring ten Christmas shoppers in suspected terror attack

TwitterSt. Petersburg


‘Russian spy in Downing Street’: Ukrainian interpreter in Theresa May talks accused of espionage for Moscow

A senior Ukrainian government interpreter who attended sensitive security talks with Theresa May inside Downing Street has been arrested for allegedly spying for the Kremlin.

Ukraine’s security service on Thursday said it had arrested Stanislav Yezhov and opened a treason investigation, five months after he accompanied the country’s Prime Minister on an official visit to London.

The interpreter for Ukrainian cabinet ministers had been recruited by a Russian intelligence agency and had been electronically passing them secrets, authorities in Kiev alleged.