May 8, 2015
Russian Blogosphere Survey for May 8, 2015
This is the 33rd edition of the feature. To view other editions, click on the Daily Brief tab above the title.
The recent Putin-Netanyahu telephone discussion in which the Israeli leader apparently agreed not to supply weaponry to Ukraine suggests there might be a deeper understanding between the two countries. Even US publications like Bloomberg and Forbes noted the development. It is easy to see Israel’s motivation as consisting of the perception that the weakening US hegemon is losing its influence over the Middle East and the region is slipping into chaos, but any lasting Russia-Israel alliance would need to take into account Israel’s concern with Iran and the Shia movements in the region. So have the two leaders reached an understanding of some sort?
Not with each other, but with the West. Not only are the two countries expanding bilateral trade (without the use of the dollar) and collaborating on the Asian Infrastructure Bank, but they are even thinking in terms of a military alliance. The big uniting factor is the shared perception of hostile Western intentions and policies toward the two major Eastern powers.
The system in question is the Strelets, capable of being mounted on a variety of armored vehicle chassis and of using different missile types, including NATO-standard ones used by Turkey. This appears to be the first sign of the expanding scope of military cooperation between Russia and Turkey, and Oboroneksport representatives indicate there are several other projects in the works.
“The new official signed without taking a bribe”
Political Russia’s new project is no doubt recognition of the fact that one of the useful services rendered by people like Navalnyy (whose blog is the most-read and most-cited in Russia) is uncovering genuine corruption and abuse of authority in places high and low. That is the essence of his appeal, and it also shows there aren’t enough means of uncovering such abuses.
The most recent Minsk contact group meeting was interesting in that
the Undead Kiev actually deigned to negotiate with the “terrorists” of DPR and LPR, and moreover the two sides formed four working groups to deal with specific issue areas. LPR head Pushilin, in particular, referred to the talks as a “breakthrough.” So maybe there is a glimmer of hope after all.
mental cases self-proclaimed Ukrainian patriots who are outraged about the arrests of the individuals apparently responsible for the killing of Kiev police officers have posted very detailed personal information about the MVD minister Avakov’s son. Not that they are openly calling for retribution, but at the same time they are hinting it might not be a bad thing if something were to happen to him.
UAF deserters and draft evaders face severe restrictions
“Guys, what sport is this? Running from the army.”
The sanctions being discussed include banning deserters and evaders from owning land, borrowing money, entering public service of any kind, etc. The inhabitants of the western Ukrainian city of Tarnopol, where the news was published by a local newspaper, could not conceal their
joy irritation at the fact that the sons of people with political pull aren’t even likely to get a draft notice in the first place. The Sovetskiy Blogpost notes that the article did not elicit a single comment in praise of mobilization. Evidently Western Ukraine thinks it’s best that maybe other regions ought to be doing the dying.
Ukrainian analysts note, in their most recent assessment of the situation, that there have been no major changes except in Kherson and Nikolayev Regions, where the pro-Russian sentiment and anti-Kiev government has increased.
Kiev government hopes that it will earn $20 billion through
Hunger Games privatization of state enterprises, mainly in the energy sector. However, Kiev will need every penny since, consistent with austerity policy effects in the EU, cutting spending actually made Ukraine’s budget deficit worse, as belatedly noted by the Ministry of the Economy. The NBU is introducing ever-more draconian measures to control the hryvnya exchange rates, with the effect of accelerating the country’s capital flight.
Even the turbulent 2014 was good for Crimea’s tourism industry. While the number of tourists was only 70% of the 2013 level, tourism revenue was significantly higher (up to a factor of 4) due to the greater affluence of Russian tourists. The trend is likely to continue this year, as the weakened ruble makes domestic Russian tourism more attractive financially (one of the reasons EU members are have objections to sanctions). Conversely, while Ukrainian officials were predicting a boom in internal tourism, the
ritual seppuku reforms carried out by the Yatsenyuk government led to such an impoverishment of the Ukraine’s population that the 2015 tourist season is expected to be the worst in recorded history.
Since it’s unlikely that
light sabers the AK-12 will be procured in sufficient quantities to replace all of the AK-74s, at least not in the foreseeable future, the AK-74 will soldier on with continued upgrades.
One of the T-14s “died” right on the Red Square during the general rehearsal. The main problem with the vehicles is that they are still new and experimental, while their military driver-mechanics only have experience with vehicles currently in service, hence the occasional mishap. However, as the video shows, the T-14 left the Red Square under its own power two minutes after the mishap. The problem seems to have been with the vehicle’s transmission, or its improper use by the driver. A T-15 experienced a similar problem at a different location and had to be evacuated on a flatbed trailer.
Training for amphibious assaults, I see???
X-wing Su-25 is apparently fixed up, fueled-up, bombed-up, and ready to go!
The graphic above purports to show the number of Ukrainians in the allied armies of WW2. Aside from engaging in some very questionable accounting (I suspect many, possibly most people identified as Red Army Ukrainians might be surprised, even outraged, at such a classification), and omitting the incovenient fact that the “120 thousand” Ukrainians of the Polish Army were the first to desert once the fighting started on September 1, by what logic is UPA classified as an allied force? Although the UPA-troopa on the poster above is correctly shown stabbing the Polish soldier in the back…
So on the one hand you have UAF dressed up in Red Army uniforms (though I can’t tell if they are wearing Red Star badges on their uniforms), but on the other you have a Kubelwagen with Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler “key on a shield” marking on the fender. Does any other country have similar trouble figuring out on which side of WW2 it was?
Ukrainian soldiers of the 116 Schutzmannschaft Battalion on leave in Berlin. The truth of the matter is that the only Ukrainians who fought in the name of a Ukraine were individuals like those on the photograph. The “good Ukrainians” took an oath to defend the peoples of the USSR, one and all.
Life and Society
From a political event in St. Petersburg.
A protest by Russian film students against US foreign policy and pressure not to attend the Victory Parade.
“It’s hard to be a Ukrainian historian these days, because if UPA was part of the anti-Hitler coalition, it means they were acting hand-in-hand with Stalin, right?”
“And now Petya will pretend he’s a tiger!”
“Nope, still a pig!”
“As soon as Armata was unwrapped the dollar got cheaper, oil price went up, and they admitted the Boeing was shot down by the Ukrainians!”