Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 7, 2015



Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 7, 2015

By J.Hawk

Situation in Mariupol as of April 2015

The junta is heavily fortifying the city, which at the moment is being held by up to 3000 troops. However, it’s a very heterogeneous mix. A battalion of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, subunits from the 17th Tank Brigade and 79th Airmobile Brigade, plus of course Azov, pieces of Donbass and Dnepr battalions, police and MVD formations. Junta forces seem to be very concerned about popular sentiments–SBU is conducting active surveillance, the Ukrainian national anthem is played from loudspeakers at noon every day, and schools get regular visits from various nationalist organizations. The overall perception is that the UAF is preparing to defend the city, rather than to use it as a jumping-off point for an offensive. 

Yatsenyuk’s dismissal. By the numbers.

There is an effort within the Rada, apparently pushed by the Poroshenko Block, to form a special commission to investigate corruption in the Yatsenyuk government. So far there hasn’t been a vote because…Yatsenyuk’s deputies are physically blocking access to the speaker’s podium. At the same time, there is a “spontaneous” mass meeting outside the Rada demanding the same thing. Looks like Yats is on his way out. The donor conference was about the last thing he could have used in his defense, but evidently his European “partners” are hanging him out to dry.

Serbia’s army to take part in the Moscow Victory Parade

In spite of the pressure leveled by both Washington and Brussels. Not clear how many Serb soldiers will march, and they likely will not bring any heavy equipment with them, but the symbolism matters greatly. 

Revenge is best served cold

 And Yuliya Timoshenko is the one to serve it. One thing that can be said about her is that she is very good at detecting in which direction the wind is blowing. Now that Yatsenyuk is on the ropes, she has come out of virtual hiding and is joining in the assault. In retrospect, Timoshenko was very smart in letting Yatsenyuk seize the PM seat, as that was likely to be an extremely thankless job given Ukraine’s anti-Russian course. Of course, it’s too soon to see whether she’ll be able to reap any practical benefits from Yats’s downfall.

Poroshenko’s son in a traffic accident

Seemingly no big deal, could happen to anyone, and nobody was injured, except that his BMW was rammed by a vehicle full of Azov fighters. I’m sure there’s a bigger story buried here somewhere. The incident was caught on video.

Goodbye KGB! Is Gribauskaite running from her Chekist past?

 Gribauskaite must have some enemies back home, because it’s a Lithuanian website that’s publishing all manner of documents suggesting she was a KGB asset of some sort. The most interesting document published indicates she was arrested arrested in the company of three Finnish men for “immoral behavior”, however, the case against her was dropped after a KGB intervention. Moreover, she was not expelled from the university in spite of that arrest, suggesting patronage in high places. 

Sergey Menshchikov nominated for the post of the Chief of the FSB Counter-Intelligence Service

Menshchikov (on extreme left) was born in Leningrad in 1959, and most of his career likewise revolved around that city, suggesting he is part of the same faction of the Russian government which includes Vladimir Putin. His most notable accomplishment is as the general director of Almaz-Antey, which makes some of the world’s best air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems, such as the S-400 and S-500. Thus he has a proven track record as an effective and technology-savvy manager and leader.

But Poroshenko promised!

Fighters from the Pivden [South] Volunteer battalion were captured on video assaulting security guards at a construction site in the city of Irpen, probably as a prelude to a forcible transfer of property. What’s of interest is that the two militants drove up to the site in a Chrysler belonging to Andrey Berlatom, an advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Poltorak. The two security guards suffered concussions, one of them is still hospitalized. No charges have been brought against the assailants, who have not been arrested or even identified yet–the South Battalion is refusing to identify them. 

Kazakhstan receives its first two Su-30SM fighters

Kazakhstan ordered a total of four such aircraft.

Topic of the Day

“Will give up the Donbass into good hands”

With screens

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A photograph of the T-14 showing the vehicle’s frontal aspect, and moreover with side armor panels fitted. One can also barely make out each of the three hatches for the tank’s crewmembers, all of whom will be placed in the front of the apparently very heavily armored hull. 

Armageddon along Russia’s southern underbelly

In this instance, it’s Tadjikistan which is actively preparing for a possible war along its border with Afghanistan. There is a concern that the Islamic State (which seems to be the new brand launched by Saudi Arabia after Al Qaeda became politically radioactive after 9/11) is establishing itself in Afghanistan and allying itself with the Taliban. Russia has just launched a major program of military assistance to Tadjikistan, which is moreover the site of the 201st Military Base, which is a de-facto cadred Motorized Rifle Division with three regiments. 

Is MTU continuing cooperation with Russia?

The German firm MTU has suspended the delivery of diesel engines for Russian Navy’s Steregushchiy-class corvettes, which delayed their construction as the ships are adapted to accept Russian-made diesels instead. However, MTU is continuing to supply diesel engines for civilian projects, including the high-speed passenger catamarans on order by the Ministry of Industry and Trade for use in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

The First Anniversary of DPR

 Hard to believe it’s been a year already. Big photo gallery at the link, worth taking a look.

Chronicles of an economy in a dive

The government wants to finance political parties out of the national budget–talk about making the trough bigger! At the same time, churches will no longer need to pay property taxes, and to make up the shortfall the retirees will either have their pensions cut or be called out of retirement and made to look for work again. One can readily tell who has influence over government policies and who does not.

April 7, 2015

“Do you know that if it weren’t for the Maidan, right now Yanukovych would have been in retirement, and Ukraine would have still had Crimea, Donbass, and gas?”

“Yatsenyuk is a traitor! An oligarch errand boy!”

Today in Kiev, in front of the Rada. That’s the anti-Yatsenyuk rally reported on above.

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