Russian Blogosphere Survey for May 2, 2015

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May 2, 2015

Russian Blogosphere Survey for May 2, 2015

By J.Hawk

This is the 28th installment of this “almost-daily” Fort Russ feature. To view earlier editions, click on the “Daily Brief” tab above the title.

 
Politics


Poklonskaya: An Azov militant was captured in Crimea while preparing an act of terrorism

The unnamed Azov militant was known to have participated in the fighting on the Donbass. It was not announced how he arrived in Crimea. He is accused of attempting to set fire to a mosque in Simferopol–which would have been a very effective “false flag” attack aimed at provoking inter-ethnic conflict in that part of the Russian Federation.

Was France allowed to compensate its losses from sanctions?

 The most recent quarterly report by the French petrogiant Total plainly states that the firm will continue work on three major projects in the Russian Federation, now that the French government had in effect given it the go ahead, EU sanctions notwithstanding. One wonders how many other, lower profile, cases there are, with individual EU countries finding loopholes and exceptions to the sanctions regime (which is hurting them, after all), to the point that the official lifting of sanctions will become a moot point.

Victory Banner delivered to the International Space Station

 It was actually delivered already in March by the crew of the Soyuz-TMA-16M spacecraft, but the news was only made public today.

“Germany, protect Montenegro! The Russians are coming!”

This is the continuation of the story reported a couple of surveys ago, dealing with the letter written by Igor Lukshich, Montenegro’s minister of integration, pleading with the German Foreign Minister Steinmeier to accept Montenegro into the EU and NATO as soon as possible to avert a possible political and economic collapse brought about the by EU-RF sanctions stand-off.  He has something to worry about: Russian tourists bring in one third of Montenegro’s national budget intake, and early estimates indicate that, because of Russian decisions to curtail tourism to Montenegro, the number of Russian tourists expected to visit the country will decrease by 80%. So, unsurprisingly enough, Montenegro is hoping Germany will bail it out financially.

 Europeans are seeking truth in Russian media

An Austrian newspaper Die Presse argues that citizens of the EU are increasingly turning to the Russian media for news and points of view they will not get from their own media. Moreover, the attractiveness of the Russian media is also bolstered by the relative clarity and efficiency of the Russian system of governance, which compares favorably to the non-transparent, arbitrary, red-tape-ridden, detached from reality mess that the EU has become. 

Muscle-flexing in the Mediterranean

 The muscles that will be flexed belong to the Russian and Chinese navies which plan to hold a joint exercise in the Mediterranean in May 2015. It will be the first exercise of this kind, and China’s interest in it was motivated by the growth in US military activity around its periphery. Contrary to the photo that went with the story, there are no indications of an amphibious assault exercise being planned. The Chinese ships that will participate are currently on an anti-piracy patrol around the Horn of Africa and off the coast of Yemen.

Donetsk “child railroad” makes its first run in a year

The “child railroad” is a narrow-gage rail service running between Shakhtersk and Pionyersk stations, which are relatively close to the front line. One of many signs of Donbass life returning to normal (more photos at the link).

What does the term “unified Russian-separatist forces” mean?

 That’s the official term increasingly used by the US government, which is a reflection of claims made by US intelligence agencies that Russia is exercising close operational control over DPR/LPR military forces, which are considered to be an extension of Russian armed forces. Why the change? Nkfedor believes it has to do with the upcoming military parade in Moscow, US efforts to delay the lifting of EU sanctions, or even US displeasure with Russian intent to supply air defense systems to Iran. However, historically such US accusations were made only when Ukraine was on the brink of a major defeat. In other words, fighting could go on for weeks and months, but only when the UAF found itself encircled at Ilovaysk or Debaltsevo did the rhetoric start heating up. The difference is that there’s no fighting right now. Does it mean the US is expecting DPR/LPR to go on the offensive and fears the UAF, weakened by the winter campaign, will go down in defeat?

The Price of Defeat

A video documentary showing the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Debaltsevo, corpses and all…No subtitles, but then they aren’t really necessary here.

Will the glorification of UPA damage Ukraine’s relations with Israel?

Yad Vashem scholars are already drawing attention to the indisputable fact that UPA always maintained a militantly anti-semitic ideology, and moreover actively participated in the Holocaust. In addition, unlike Poland, there is little to be gained for Israel to support Ukraine, so Poroshenko’s policy to secure his political survival by leaning on the “cynical banderites” is almost certain to damage the country’s international standing.

“Inexperienced paratroopers” took Yarosh’s journalists’ car under fire

Ukrainian MOD issued three versions of events, in the following sequence: paratroopers were following orders; paratroopers were not following orders; the incident did not take place. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s version will look like…The shooting occurred near the front lines, at checkpoint 95, and the Right Sector reports they were assisted in the firefight by the Krivbass battalion. In the meantime, Right Sector is picketing the Presidential Administration in Kiev with signs that say “Poroshenko is a rat.” I’m guessing the honeymoon is over.

Poroshenko: “The war will continue for as long as necessary.”

 Poroshenko also said during his interview on the STV channel on April 30 that the war will end only after Ukraine will return its control over Donbass and Crimea. Now, does he actually believe it, or are such statements motivated by the internal political usefulness of the conflict, which includes the ability to shift blame for the country’s economic troubles, and to murder political opponents? I am leaning toward the latter explanation, though one cannot rule another desperate roll of the dice should Ukraine actually be faced with a default.

The West has fixated on Bandera

And not in a good way. Financial Times reports that the EU is strenuously looking for ways to improve relations with Russia (in other words, to find an excuse to resume normal trade, which is already evident from the Total story above), and it is exerting massive pressure on Kiev to fall into line. This explains Poroshenko’s rough treatment at the EU summit (reported on in an earlier survey), and may even be behind the apparent shift of Kiev policy toward the Right Sector. This of course places Poroshenko in a tough spot, because making peace with the Donbass means losing the “cynical banderite” constituency which Poroshenko really wants to rely on. The wild card is, of course, Washington which, however, so far has not been willing to defy the EU on the issue of arming Ukraine.

Saakashvili washes his hands of Ukraine

Wow, you mean it’s actually possible to wash your hands of BanderoUkraine? I thought it was like blood on Macbeth’s hands. You wash and you wash, but it’s still there…It’s not clear what prompted Saakashvili to attempt to sanitize his hands, he only said that he wants to tie his future to that of his own country (which, in case you are wondering, is Georgia). Considering that he is under criminal investigation in Georgia, and moreover was offered the post of Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, he really must have a dim view on Ukraine’s future prospects.

Economy

Survey of new production facilities, April 2016

Fifteen major production facilities (defined as representing an investment of at least 500 million rubles apiece) began operations in the Russian Federation in the month of April 2015. They include a metal casting plant in Taganrog for the needs of the aerospace industry, a metallurgical plant in Stupino (Moscow Region), a bauxite mine in Severouralsk (Sverdlovsk Region), an insulin factory in Kaluga, a cookie factory in the Leningrad Region (16 thousand tons of cookies per year!), an aviation component assembly plant in Nizhnyy Novgorod, a pharmaceutical plant in Gatchina (Leningrad Region), and several others. 

Genuine import substitution: SIIS forum demonstrates domestic high-tech designs

SIIS is the Siberian Information Industry Systems forum, which is an annual event held in Novosibirsk which gives the region’s IT industry an opportunity to demonstrate their recent inventions and designs. Ideas and designs that were discussed included Russian cloud computing and data storage systems offering a very high level of information security, software used in controlling complex industrial processes,  drone datalink software, and many others.

The proportion of Ukrainians shopping at “second hand” clothing stores has doubled

However, the relief this measure will provide to Ukrainian pocketbooks will likely be temporary, because the growth in demand is not being met by an equal growth in supply, leading to rapid growth in used clothing prices. 

Ukraine offered the Branson Plan

 Nope,
not Photoshop. Richard Branson actually visited Ukraine to give a
series of lectures on how to run a business, though it’s not clear how
Branson’s experience of running a business is applicable to the parallel
universe inhabited by Ukraine. For some reason those lectures also
included a recommendation that Ukraine should legalize marijuana and
other drugs, including “hard” ones. It couldn’t possibly hurt–the country already seems to be
under influence…

Military

A mixed aviation division formed in Crimea

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 The division includes a regiment each of Su-30, Su-27, Su-25 combat aircraft, and a combat helicopter regiment. They will be based on Crimea’s airbases that have been renovated after years of neglect by Ukrainian authorities.

An Il-76 carries out a first landing onto an Arctic airfield

Though the term air “field” doesn’t really apply here since there is no field there, only snow-covered ice, on one of the islands of Franz Josef Land archipelago. The plane delivered 80 people and three tons of equipment for developing infrastructure on the archipelago.

District-wide Aviadarts-2014 competition

Aviadarts is one of several military competitions held by the Ground Forces and the Air Force every year to foster “best practices” when it comes to combat readiness and realistic training, and the military district phase culminates in a national competition between the best crews from each district.

Domestic helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ship design

Russian shipyards were never happy with the idea of buying Mistrals in France, so should that country fail to deliver the ships, they have a design or two of ships with similar capabilities up their sleeve.

Yesterday’s parade rehearsal

The first Yak-130 delivered to Bangladesh

 The
Yak-130 contract was signed in 2013, and provides for the delivery of
16 of these aircraft, the last of which will arrive in Bangladesh in
2016.

 What will the US instructors teach the Ukrainian army?

Blogger alex-leshy points out the all-too-obvious fact that the US military was not able to create a single combat-capable army in any of the 81 countries it attempted to do so over the last 50 years. I mean, where are the 10 “combat ready” divisions of the Iraq army today? What would happen to Afghanistan’s army if the thousands of US troops were to leave? And those were massive efforts over a lengthy period of time, representing a much greater expenditure of resources than sending 300 paratroopers for a brief outing to Ukraine. 

History

Petrograd, May 1, 1917

 May 1 Celebration, Moscow, 1958

A May 1 present

May 1 is also the anniversary of the shoot-down of CIA U-2 reconnaissance aircraft piloted by Francis Gary Powers over the Sverdlovsk Region. May 1, 1960 was purposefully chosen by the CIA in hopes that the holiday would weaken the effectiveness of Soviet air defenses. That assumption (and with it, the plane) was exploded by an S-75 surface-to-air missile launched by the 57th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade defending Sverdlovsk. Powers survived and was put on trial in Moscow, to be eventually swapped for a Soviet agent captured in the West.

 The Legendary Katyusha

There were actually two major variants of this weapon, one firing 82mm RS-82 rockets, and the one pictured above firing 132mm RS-13 rockets, both of which were also used by Russian aircraft as ground-attack weapons, though they seem to have been developed for air-to-air combat (the first combat use of the RS-82 was in air combat over Khalkhin-Gol). The Katyusha could be mounted on virtually any truck chassis, and was also used widely in its “non-self-propelled” variant. The Red Army also used heavier rockets, up to 300mm in caliber, but the term “Katyusha” does not seem to be used to describe them.

Life and Society

DPR: “Everything is just beginning”

A photo gallery showing the effects of post-winter campaign cleanup efforts.

 Kotlas: a city on the line to Vorkuta

A photo gallery.

Humor


It’s like that

 “It’s hilarious to see Jews call USSR an occupier, since if it weren’t for Stalin and USSR all of those Jews would have ended up in ovens, which is something they seem to have forgotten about.”

To each his own

“Russian May 1: Peace! Labor! May!”
Ukrainian May 1: Knife the Muscovites! Bandera will come and restore order! IMF give us money!”

 Advice

“Be sure to watch the Victory Parade in Moscow. You’ll see the real Russian Army, not the one which you’ve been fighting on the Internet.”

A little humor

“Long live the Baltimore People’s Republic!”

“Karma forgets nothing. Say hello to the Maidan, America.”

Getting ready for the parade

“Three Warriors (May 2015)”

How do I like Shariy without giving away my IP address?

Is that true? You liked Shariy?!

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