Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 28, 2015

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April 28, 2015

Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 28, 2015

By J.Hawk

This is an almost-daily Fort Russ feature. To view earlier editions, click on the Daily Brief tab above the title.

Politics


Film “President”. My Impressions

 “We preserved the country. Federal budget inflows increased by a factor of 22, actual individual incomes by a factor of three, there are 2.8 times fewer people who live in poverty.”

 “Right now the anti-Russian measures is taking the form of the so-called sanctions. This is simply an effort to slow Russia’s development. It’s a policy which we have known for centuries. There’s nothing new here.”

“I always act on the basis of what is, and deal with those tasks which are facing me.”

Russia’s Security Council proposes reducing the use of foreign currency

The proposal concerns both internal and international transactions, with the ruble taking place of the dollar and the euro when it comes to settling foreign accounts. The article does not mention what measures this initiative would entail. The Security Council also recommended that the Russian government and the Central Bank increase the liquidity of Russia’s banks, including major regional chains. 

The Moscow-Berlin humanitarian convoy enters Poland

At least some Russian bikers entered Poland in spite of the official prohibition, though others appear to have been denied entry at Brest. This has been one of the more confusing stories of last week, there were even reports of Germany canceling the Night Wolves’ Schengen visas, but at the time the march is apparently continuing, as the Night Wolves were seen at the largest cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Braniewo (see the video above). One of the aspects that’s causing a stir is that, prior to their entry into Poland, the Night Wolves also paid their respects to Polish officers executed at Katyn.

Lavrov: US is violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty

Lavrov cited the fact that the US continues to store its tactical nuclear munitions on the territory of five NATO members in support of his claim.

A Czech diplomat calls the Odessa burning “the right thing to do”.

 
Vaclav Bartushka is the Czech Republic’s senior diplomat on the matters of energy, and he said that what justified the burning was the calm that it created in the city.  However, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said that it was “totally unacceptable to describe killings of people as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.”

Russia extracting natural gas within 100km of Odessa

 Ukrainian media is reporting that the Russia is using the drilling platforms belonging to the Crimea-based Chernomorneftegaz company (which was nationalized after Crimea became part of the Russian Federation) to extract natural gas from continental shelf deposits located within 100km of Odessa. The platforms reportedly enjoy the protection of Russian Navy missile boats.

The Unwanted Mistrals: what will happen to the ships next?

The blogger points out that while France does not seem overly eager to deliver the ships, Russia is likewise not all that eager to have them delivered, as the billion dollars that France is bound to return is actually of greater use right now, and domestic shipyards are fully capable of building similar ships. Moreover, it’s not clear whom France would sell them to. These ships were being built from scratch to be compatible with the Russian Navy infrastructure and operational systems, not NATO. 

Is the Mistral story over yet? A new twist

Eagle-rost is citing a French publication, Journal du Dimanche, as saying that the contract will be formally cancelled in about one month, and that France will return not only the 800 million euro that Russia paid for the Mistrals, but also 300 million euro in damages. The agreement has not been formally signed yet, as the two sides are working out the final details. If true, the report suggests that France wanted to end this tale on the most amicable terms possible with Russia, while at the same time not wanting to damage its relations with Washington.

Stable Nazarbayev

To the surprise of exactly noone, Nursultan Nazarbayev won in the race in which he ran practically unopposed. However, given that he’s 75 years old, it would appear that Kazakhstan’s President-for-Life will be retiring in the foreseeable future, which will put the question of succession, as well as Kazakhstan’s political stability, on the agenda. Belarus, incidentally, is in a very similar position.Will the post-Lukashenko and post-Nazarbayev result in Maidan-like upheavals in those countries too?

Volunteer formations which refuse to join the UAF will be dealt with by law enforcement

The OUN Battalion has plainly refused to subordinate itself to the UAF, and now Kiev is threatening it with arrests and trials. Interestingly, yurasumy also names the Right Sector as an organization that refused to subordinate itself. Didn’t Yarosh strike a deal with Muzhenko a few weeks back?

 The results of shelling of the Kramatorsk Airport, February 10, 2015

The above photo, courtesy of Google Maps (notice, by the way, how much more detailed the image is than the “evidence” of Russian presence on the Donbass presented by NATO…), shows some of the effects of the long-range rocket bombardment of Kramatorsk during the final stages of the winter campaign. The bombardment forced the ATO HQ to evacuate (thus disrupting UAF command and control during the battle of Debaltsevo), and also damaged two Mi-24 helicopters.

Yatsenyuk complains Donbass failed to pay Ukraine $3 billion in taxes

 At the same time, Ukraine has stopped its social payments to the inhabitants of the Donbass, although that’s not preventing Yatsenyuk (who, incidentally, has been known to cite the cessation of payments as a net plus for the budget) from blaming his government’s budget woes on the Donbass.

Marauders-Liberators

 One of the major factors motivating Ukrainians to join the “volunteer battalions” and even the UAF is the prospect of plunder, which they have been engaging in on a major scale in the “ATO zone”. The official Ukrainian position is that it’s the Russian Federation (!) that’s plundering the Donbass, but in actuality even Ukrainian media are starting to notice that their own troops have been guilty of stripping bare sizable parts of Ukraine, and even plundering humanitarian aid provided by Ukrainian volunteer aid organizations.


Economy


Insulin for export

The Orel Region-based factory which is operated by the French firm Sanofi, is the first Russian entity to receive the European certification for its insulin. Other Western pharmaceutical firms are likewise working on locating their operations in Russia.

Tenth-generation uranium enrichment centrifuges are being tested in the Urals

These centrifuges are being tested at the Urals Electro-Chemical Combine (UEKhK). The “generation” designation applies to the efficiency of the centrifuges, with each generation being four times more efficient at the task of separating uranium isotopes (in terms of time and energy needed) than the preceding one.

Russian students win NASA “home-made” lunar rover design contest

The second place was taken by a German team, but both teams consisted of students from the International Space Education Institute, which has branches in Moscow and Leipzig.

Russia expands its crane exports

The rapid growth of these exports is facilitated by the drop in the value of the ruble, which also means Russian crane manufacturers are cornering the domestic market as well.  It also helps that the Avtokran recently launched the production of several brand new crane models.

How people live in Russia and Ukraine today

Neat little dashcam video compilation showing difference in the quality of life on two sides of one border. With extra comparisons to EUrope, with its big islands of poverty and hopelessness. 

Ukraine’s national debt reaches 100% of its GDP

According to NBU data, it has been at that level since late February 2015, which suggests a certain stabilization. The suspension of the fighting on the Donbass greatly helped, no doubt, and Ukraine’s debt burden will likely continue to be a major deterrent to Ukraine’s willingness to wage a new campaign on the Donbass. 

Military


More Armata. General Mayev and drawings

The daily dose of Armata. Aside from the obligatory rehearsal footage, some interesting graphics guessing at what might be hiding under all that canvas. 

Leopard 2 vs. T-80

German Ministry of Defense argues that it does not possess ammunition for the 120mm guns of its Leopard 2 tanks capable of penetrating the frontal armor of upgraded Russian tanks, presumably referring to the Kontakt-5 and Relikt reactive armor suites. 

History


How did Prince Aleksandr become “Nevskiy”?

Though his known for his victory during the “Battle on the Ice” in 1242 against the Livonian Order of crusaders, he became Nevskiy already two years earlier, after his victory over the Swedes on the shores of the Neva River.

Photo Galleries


Russian Army encampment in the Rostov Region

 Young Putin

 Yet more photos of the World’s Most Interesting Man.

Russian Watches, pt. 1

 Russian Watches, pt. 2

A unique T-80 in the Chelyabinsk Victory Park

What makes it unique (or, at any rate, very rare), is that it’s a pre-production vehicle used for troop trials to identify problems to be fixed before the vehicle went into full production. In a way, these T-80s were the Armatas of the 1970s, in that they represented the high point of Russian tank ascendancy in the second half of the 20th century, which the T-14 is intended to recapture.

 The World’s Best Army. You are doomed, capitalists!

Igor Korotchenko continues to file tons of photos from parade rehearsals. What’s interesting about the photo above is that while the uniforms are modern, the rifles and helmets are from the Great Patriotic War era.

A Cossack Wedding in the Amur Region

The Handicapped. It’s not about pity.

 A photo report about a business which employs the handicapped.

The city of Yoshkar-Ola

The good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Humor


It’s like that

“The EU does not consider the Donbass to be an obstacle to a visa-free regime with Ukraine, it considers Ukraine the obstacle.

 Where did they get that idea?

“If it weren’t for the Red Army defeating Hitler, we’d be living just like in Europe, say the Ukrs and the liberal talking heads. Where did they get the idea we’d be living at all?”

“I’m going down to see how things are going in Ukraine”

Guys, is the mobilization over yet?

“Don’t take it so hard. I also piss in my pants when I negotiate with Lavrov.”

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