Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 8, 2015

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April 8, 2015

Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 8, 2015

By J.Hawk

The podium also wants to be understood

The blockade of the speaker’s podium at the Rada by Yatsenyuk’s deputies who don’t want a vote on a commission to investigate corruption in the government is continuing for the second day.

Putin’s New Agents

Yep, it’s Timoshenko and Tyagnibok. What is a surefire sign you might be an agent of Putin in the Rada? Calling for the investigation of corruption within the Yats government, which prompted the above accusation. 

How to recognize a “lifestyle separatist”

Guess what. Are you criticizing mobilization? Praise LPR and DPR? Have doubts about the existence of the Ukrainian nation? Argue that Maidan might not have been such a great idea after all? Propagate Russian symbols? Spread rumors about non-existent threats to the Russian language in Ukraine? Describe the government of Ukraine as a pack of thieves? Discuss the state of the economy? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you too might be a lifestyle separatist. Please report to the nearest SBU office immediately.

Nikolai Azarov: EU myths and truth

Yanukovych’s Prime Minister Azarov has been on a tear lately, writing articles and giving interviews promoting a better understanding of the choice that Ukraine is facing. In this installment, he points out that, if you look at the most recent EU members from Eastern Europe, their salaries are only marginally higher than (pre-Maidan’s) Ukraine’s, and even then a significant portion of them goes to pay taxes and utilities. 

Nemtsov’s girlfriend was complicit in his murder

Turns out Duritskaya had two cell phones on that night. One of them, which she threw into a trash bin on the bridge after the murder, had a tracking device that was used to track her and Nemtsov. The story speculates that Duritskaya was released by the investigators in hopes she would lead them to whoever ordered Nemtsov’s killing. And, as we know, the first thing that Duritskaya did was to fly back to Kiev…

LPR is holding a large-scale exercise near Lugansk

Now that LPR has subordinated all the armed formations on its territory to its military high command, it is holding an exercise in order to fully integrate these formations into its brigade and corps structures, and to train new personnel. Ceasefire or not, everyone is expecting that the fighting will resume at some point during the spring or summer (Ukraine’s default will see to that).

The inside of a Msta-S self-propelled howitzer during fire mission

Russian Terminator from the Donbass trains with an anti-tank rifle

The weapon is the WW2-era 14.5mm PTRS semi-automatic AT rifle, the precursor of contemporary high-caliber “anti-materiel” sniper rifles. It was likely taken from a museum (!), however, the ammunition for it is easily available, since the 14.5mm KPVT machine-gun which arms Russian APCs from BTR-60 through -80 was designed to use the round originally designed for PTRS and its single-shot cousin PTRD.

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From the PSZ Yantar press service

Yantar is the Kaliningrad-based naval shipyard where the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates are being built. Admiral Grigorovich seen here heading out to sea for the first time. 

Donbass battalion officially breaks ties with Semenchenko

But is sure was fun while it lasted, no? The move was prompted by the growing number of scandals in which Semenchenko is mixed up. Somebody up there must really hate him.

Caught himself in time

Anton Gerashchenko is an advisor to MVD head Avakov. In this interview with Ukrainian TV, he was relating a story of a large arms cache being found in Kharkov. What’s of interest is that the list of weapons allegedly confiscated included a MON-50 directional anti-personnel mine which, Gerashchenko said was used in…and then he caught himself at the last second. The only incident of recent year in which MON-50 figured at all was the Volnovakha bus massacre, which was attributed to the DPR rocket artillery bombardment, even though evidence suggested a directional AP mine.

Tanks in paintings

 A large picture gallery by Russian and international artists.

Poles will be Poles

Data from flight recorders of the Tu-154 airplane which crashed in Smolensk in 2010, killing Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski and many other senior officials indicates the pilots were under pressure from the head of the Polish Air Force to land no matter what, in spite of the fatal weather conditions and ground control warnings not to land. Kaczynski’s supporters and Polish nationalists in general still believe that Putin had Kaczynski murdered.

Import and export of most important goods in early 2015

 While the volume of Russian exports in the first two months of 2015 dropped by 23% in comparison with the first two months of 2014, Russia is continuing to run a sizable trade surplus of $32 billion. The structure of Russian exports is changing. Fuel and energy are decreasing, though still constituting the majority of Russian exports (69.7% of the total value of exports). Russia is exporting more metals (nearly 11% more than last year), chemicals, machinery and equipment (33% more than last year), lumber, and  food (27% more). Russia’s imports, on the other hand, decreased by 38% which more than compensates for the drop in exports. The European Union remains Russia’s most important trade partner.

Russian paratroopers carry out a jump onto a drifting ice pack

The jump took place about 100km from the North Pole. In addition to Russian paratroopers, troops from countries of the Collective Defense Treaty also took part. 

Gerashchenko: “Putin owns the Inter TV channel”

Once again, Gerashchenko is an advisor to MVD chief Avakov, and is displeased with Inter for reporting on corruption within the MVD. However, Gerashchenko’s accusation raises another important point. Considering that everyone in Ukraine is Putin’s agent and everything of note is owned by Putin, how do we know Ukraine is not part of Russia already?

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