April 10, 2015
Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 10, 2015
OUN battalion being disarmed by 93rd Brigade in Peski
An OUN battalion member is complaining that the 93rd Brigade gave them an ultimatum to disarm. The two sides are “negotiating.” At the same time, the Right Sector units have departed the front lines. Was last night’s shooting somehow connected to the attempt to disarm the volunteer battalions at the front line?
Akhmetov is getting ready. Economic justification for liberating the Donbass
The argument here is that Ukrainian oligarchs, facing the growth of Poroshenko’s power and forcible nationalization (and transfer to Poroshenko’s friends), are beginning to look at Novorossia in a more friendly manner. Starting with Akhmetov, who has plenty of assets in that region, including in Mariupol.
NBU relaxes currency restrictions for critical imports
Ukraine simply can’t survive without imported fuels and medicines. Therefore the NBU is relaxing the restrictions on hard currency purchases for those types of imports. Will it have an effect on the still-rigidly held exchange rate, which is maintained only due to the prohibition to buy and sell foreign currency?
There was “medium-intensity” fighting in the vicinity of Donetsk (Avdeevka, Spartak) which seems to have died down by morning. Cassad (Boris Rozhin) believes it was a reconnaissance by force of the sort we have seen near Shirokino. My view this was a training exercise for the benefit of the newly mobilized UAF troops who have never been in combat, a “battle day” of sorts. The fact volunteer battalions are being disarmed (see the top post) may have had something to do with it too.
Even though this completely violates Point 8 of Minsk 2, Kiev refuses to pay salaries and pensions of the Donbass population, or to restore the banking system. It is “justifying” the refusal by claiming that any funds provided “would be used for war.”
Drakulablog.com has a history of publishing confidential information (though admittedly of unproven provenance) on sensitive national security issues. Today it has published materials from the February 19, 2015 NATO HQ meeting on “strategic communications”, namely a psychological and information warfare strategy to discredit the Russian leadership among the population of Eastern Ukraine. In addition to targeting key Russian officials, it also intends to promote separatism in Russia’s regions. Cassad posted images, as well as links to documents uploaded by Drakulablog.com.
Odessa will be free!
Poroshenko visits Odessa. Awkwardness ensues.
Several more photos at the link.
Colonel-General Aleksandr Lentsov is the Deputy Commander of Russian Ground Forces and Russia’s representative to the Joint Control and Coordination Center which is a Russian-Ukrainian organization working with the OSCE on ceasefire matters. The fact that both OSCE and the JCCC are putting increasing pressure on the Right Sector and other volunteer battalions likewise points to the possibility last night’s fighting was the work of the volunteer bns, which need the war to resume to justify their existence.
Poland’s president Komorowski (on the left) visited Ukraine and gave a speech before the Rada on April 9. Komorowski spoke of Ukraine being part of Europe, and how Europe will never be “whole” without Ukraine, but the blogger suspects that what Komorowski really meant was that Poland will not be “whole” without Ukraine which it is trying to reclaim, and its attempts to provoke a conflict between Russia and US/EU are simply part of that strategy. Remarkably (and this was noted by Poland’s non-mainstream media), Komorowski visited Ukraine just as the Rada passed the law designating OUN-UPA the defenders of Ukrainian independence.
The VMF wants a small missile ship capable of operating not just in relatively confined waters (Black Sea, Caspian Sea), but also in the open ocean, including in the far north. It would be a replacement for the project Ovod (Nanuchka) missile corvettes which date to the 1970s.
The German firm Rheinmetall had a contract with the Russian MOD to equip the Mulino training ground and make it suitable to conduct large-scale force-on-force training exercises (using laser simulators and the like). It will be the biggest facility of this kind in Europe, allowing 30 thousand troops with heavy equipment to engage in mock battles. Since Rheinmetall has refused to complete the order due to EU sanctions, the facility will be finished by Russian firms.
A line for free food. Debaltsevo, Novorossia.
The Mig-35 is to Mig-29 what Su-35 is to Su-27–a generation 4++ fighter that fills the “light fighter” niche that is still being occupied by relatively unmodernized Mig-29s. The initial contract is for two aircraft–once the design is perfected and its tests are completed, it is expected that the VVS will procure these aircraft as Mig-29 replacements.
The majority of Russia’s oil and gas extraction equipment is still imported. But that proportion is shrinking due to import substitution.
A trip down memory lane, and a large photo gallery.
The Cheremukhovskaya bauxite (aluminum ore) mine is 1550m deep, and is owned by Rusal, Russia’s largest aluminum producer and exporter. This is the first new mine to be opened in the Northern Urals in the last 10 years.
Turchinov recently said that he was in favor of using a “dirty bomb” against Novorossia. However, from the context it’s clear that Turchinov actually had no idea what he was talking about, because he also said, “I don’t care if it’s clean or dirty, as long as it’s effective.” This prompted Dmitriy Rogozin to call Turchinov “an idiot”, a fair if overdue assessment.
The other tank depicted in the post bears the inscription “Death to Aidar”
T-72B3 on exercise in Chechnya
A video from a March Russian Army exercise in Chechnya.
Russia’s governors are rated against a variety of socio-economic progress indicators. The latest one is the number of active sports clubs operating in their regions. The Russian Ministry of Sport wants to increase the proportion of Russians actively engaged in sports from the current 22.5% to 40% in 2020.
A huge gallery, and it’s not even complete! Where’s Kizhi, for example?