Russian Top News Stories, 2 April 2015



Russian Top Stories, 2 April 2015

By J.Hawk

These some of the stories that are the most often reposted on
Russian social media, as reported by

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Poroshenko embarrasses himself in front of Chernigov students

 Poroshenko said that in the year 1700, in Chernigov there were churches while Moscow was still basically a swamp. Yep, he really said that. There is a video. Of course, he said that while the Roshen factory in Lipetsk was being searched–I guess that struck where it hurts, no?

US Army Europe Commander: “Russian electronic warfare systems are stronger than US weapons”

General Ben Hodges said that Russian EW equipment has been able to overcome the US-provided systems (presumably the mortar-locating radars and suchlike). Hodges also said that the Donbass militia is being armed by…China. Planning to open a Second Front against Eurasia???

A movie about the life about the legendary female sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko begins showing

Judging by ticket sales, the Battle of Sevastopol, as the movie is called, is going to be a major hit of the year. Interestingly enough, it is also being shown in…Ukraine’s movie theaters.

Russian foreign currency reserves increase by $8 billion

Or from $352 billion to $360 billion over the course of just one week. Yup, that’s what an “economy in tatters” looks like. Definitely can’t compare to the booming economy in Ukraine…

Russians will be able to use one ticket for all types of transport traveling to Crimea

Until the bridge is completed or Novorossia joins Russia in its entirety (whichever comes first), travel to Crimea from mainland Russia is a complicated affair. To simplify it, the Russian State Railroads have started issuing a new ticket type covering train, bus, and ferry travel, all in one, to facilitate Russian citizens’ travels to Crimea.

Russia’s oil extraction in March 2015 highest since the Soviet era

Sanctions, shmanctions…

Russia and China are once again in the same boat

This article deals with the recent goings-on in Turkmenistan (specifically Poroshenko’s visit there with the objective of buying Turkmen natural gas and the US involvement in Turkmen politics), and the fact that neither Russia nor China will take kindly to it. China, for its part, is sensing the US is trying to do to it what it had been doing to Russia for the last year or so. 

“They didn’t appreciate us”: What Russians are thinking about the West one year after Crimea

When the Levada Center polled Russians on the West’s attitudes toward Russia in October 2014, the two most frequent replies to the Levada Center post is “they fear us more now”, at 30%, and “they hate us more now” at 24%. As of late March 2015, these responses garnered 35% and 26% respectively.  Moreover, the respondents tended to agree that Russia did not earn the West’s hatred.

Ukrainian National Guardsman: “Give us 1000 Abramses, and by summer we’ll be in Moscow”

One of them also said that Ukraine should use the experience of the Third Reich, which successfully used militarization to overcome an economic crisis. 

US armored vehicles are shelling the outskirts of Mariupol

In actuality the story deals with the ongoing fighting around Shirokino, where the militia reports US weapons being used. There is no evidence of such weapons (videos, photographs) presented, however.

Prime Minister of Poland: Russia’s ban on agricultural imports represents large-scale aggression

 I guess we already knew that: anything Russia does is an act of aggression. The corollary is that everything that West does is in self-defense. 

Rescuers found bodies of 54 crew members from the sunken fishing trawler Dalnyy Vostok

63 members of the crew were rescued. Most of the deaths were caused by hypothermia. The cause of the tragedy is still unknown.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk cited a five-year old Putin speech during a meeting with Angela Merkel

Yats is once again in Germany begging for money, and in the process he made a reference to an old Putin speech in which he said that USSR would have won WW2 even without Ukraine. Which is objectively true–just look where the frontline was in December of 1942. But the funny here is that Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko are trying to have it both ways. One day Ukraine is being invaded by USSR on the way to Germany, the next it is Ukraine that is liberating Europe from fascism. 

Poroshenko will be put on trial for his unwillingness to declare war, rather than the ATO against the Donbass

This is, of course, part of wanting to have it both ways: let’s pretend Russia is the aggressor, but at the same time maintain a factory in Lipetsk. This is obviously not going to sit well with lots of people, in this instance the Union of Soldiers’ Mothers whose sons are, after all, dying as a result of Poroshenko’s machinations.

Der Stern about the Russian Armata tank: “The West has nothing like that”

Even the most modern NATO tanks are designs which date to the 1980s. The T-14, on the other hand, represents a genuine breakthrough, the first in many decades, allowing Russia to reclaim the mantle of the leader in tank design which it once held thanks to such designs as the T-34 and the T-64/-72/-80 family. 

VISA wants to remain in Russia

Of course it does, and here’s a big reason why we don’t see more sanctions–at some point US firms will start suffering major losses as a result, without inflicting harm on Russia’s economy. 

Right Sector attacks elderly women and girls

This took place in the Dnepropetrovsk region, where the Right Sector was retained by a major agribusiness to expropriate a farm field. 

OSCE: Aidar Battalion and LPR troops are working together to rebuild a bridge near Stanitsa Luganskaya

That’s an interesting story suggesting there are parties interested in peace even on the Ukrainian side of the front line.  

Russia’s power is taking over the world  

The headline is actually a play on words, since the article is referring to the growth in the sales of Russian gas turbines used for generating electricity. The income from such sales may well exceed the the income from arms sales in 2015. 

Deutsche Welle: The West’s trust in Ukraine has its limits

What, you mean they haven’t been reached yet? What’s it going to take, exactly? If the article is to be believed, the sticking point is the Maidan, specifically who ordered and perpetrated the killing of the Heavenly Hundred. The article notes that the Ukrainian authorities have been obstructing the investigation. Gee, why would they be doing that, if all the “evidence” points at Yanukovych and Putin? 

Bloggers: Lithuania’s President used to work as a KGB hard-currency prostitute

The article refers to the staunchly, maybe even rabidly anti-Russian President of Lithuania Grybauskaite who, according to documents published by Russian bloggers, in her youth was employed as a prostitute to lure Westerners into cooperation with Soviet secret services. It’s hard to say whether the published documents are authentic. Still, Grybauskaite is one of many post-Soviet politicians whose opportunism simply knows no bounds (Angela Merkel with her SED-CDU backflip is another), so the story is not exactly implausible. 

TVN24: When cursing Russia, it’s important not too try too hard

This is actually an InoTV article which deals with foreign news broadcasts, in this instance Poland’s TVN24 which recently warned that perhaps Poland should tone down its criticism of Russia, otherwise once the wind shifts (can you feel it shifting?), Poland is liable to find itself in isolation. 

Zakharchenko: All DPR citizens will be granted status of combat veterans

This is in recognition of the fact all of them bore the brunt of Ukraine’s artillery and air bombardments. Not clear what the implications of the move are–in Russia and most post-Soviet republics this entitles the bearer of such status to a variety of privileges and discounts.  

Gazprom announces the Power of Siberia completion date

The date is 2020, and the Power of Siberia is of course the natural gas pipeline which will supply China with “blue fuel”, thus making it less dependent on shipments of fuels from the Middle East. Which may be easily interdicted by the US Navy… 

Ka-52K to receive powerful anti-ship missiles 

The Ka-52K is the two-seat attack helicopter intended for shipboard use, including from the yet-to-be-delivered Mistrals. The land-based version is armed with cannon, unguided rockets, and laser-guided ATGMs. The naval version will be able to also carry the Kh-31 and Kh-35 Uran anti-ship missiles, which would give the Russian helicopter carriers very effective anti-ship capability.  

52 countries to join the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

The AIIB is the China-centered alternative to the World Bank, of which Russia is one of the founding members. The US had tried to exert pressure on its “allies” (including Australia and UK) not to join, to no avail.  

Sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil sectors to be lifted

Since there appears to be an agreement in six-party talks, there is now speculation as to what it means for Russia. On the one hand, it gives Iran a great deal more room for maneuver, internationally, which might weaken Russia’s ties to that country. On the other hand, we know quite well from Libya’s example that Western countries can be…fickle. 

Ukraine’s passport-printing equipment is out of commission

 In other words, you are not leaving the country any time soon, 5th wave of mobilization…

Bandera’s Inquisition. How the Security Service was creating a “Ukraine for Ukrainians.”

By murdering Russians, Poles, Jews, other minorities on Ukraine’s territory, that’s how. Given that SBU’s head Nalivaichenko wants to rely on that experience, it’s an indicator of the direction Kiev has chosen.   

American Thinker: The effort to bring Ukraine into Europe has failed

 We knew that before it even started, but it’s always good to see US publications realize it. The American Thinker article goes so far as compare Ukraine to the Middle East of Central Europe. 

Vladimir Markin replies to Roshen management on Twitter

This story deals with the recent search of Roshen by Russian police. Roshen management accused Russia of trying to force Poroshenko to sell Roshen for kopeks on the ruble. The Investigative Commission chairman Markin replied that Poroshenko already sold an entire country for 30 hryvnya, so what’s the big deal? Trolling, master level. 

Obama: US sanctions on Iran due to support of terrorism and human rights violations to continue

Just goes to show how useful negotiating with the US is these days. Our excuse for sanctions vanished? No worries, we’ll come up with another excuse.  

Poroshenko calls Ukrainians “ignoramuses”, complains “he has nobody to work with” 

This story comes out of Tarnopol, where Poroshenko (not content with his performance in Chernigov, apparently) told an audience of university students that the country lacks qualified specialists to carry out reforms and to govern the country, which is the reason for the universal chaos. The reason given for the shortage? Yanukovych. Then Poroshenko delivered the punch line: the country can’t invest in higher education at the moment, because of the war.  

Poroshenko is “cleansing” Dnepropetrovsk Region of Kolomoysky’s influence

There is a veritable purge on, with several high-level administrators appointed by Kolomoysky being given pink slips. These measures were criticized as “undemocratic” by Kolomoysky’s underling Boris Filatov.  

Yuzhmash offering its services to the sheikhs?

Poroshenko recently said that Yuzhmash is about to receive a defense order, hinting it would be for missile systems (Yuzhmash designed and produced the R-36 heavy ICBMs), which led to speculation Saudi Arabia is ordering Ukrainian missiles. For all we know, it was just typical Poroshenko bluster. Yuzhmash is in Dnepropetrovsk, and Poroshenko needs to make it look like the place will be better off after Kolomoysky’s ouster.  

US fighters landed in China’s sandbox

Two USN F/A-18s landed at a Taiwanese airbase, reportedly due to technical problems, prompting an immediate official Chinese protest.  

Russian submarine spotted near Florida 

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine was spotted approximately 400km from Florida, as it was shadowing a US carrier battle group. US sources noted it was only the second appearance of a Russian sub this close to US shores since 2009.  

Yatsenyuk has two questions for Germany: “when will the war start?” and “where is the money?”

This article was penned by a Ukrainian political scientist Yuriy Gorodnenko, who argues that Yatsenyuk is motivated mainly by his political survival, which he is trying to assure by provoking a conflict with Russia which would in turn force Europe to fund Ukraine. 

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