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  • Russians today increasingly like a dehumanized mass of orphans, Moscow psychologists say
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2015/10/04

    Two speakers at a Moscow conference of Russian psychologists and psychoanalysts say that Russians today, especially the residents of major cities, resemble a dehumanized and immature group of orphans who lack broader social ties or core values and who ever more often display fear, aggression and depression.

    The conference, entitled “Ecce Home” and organized by Elena Gazarova of the Moscow Institute of Human Physiology, attracted such notable Russian psychologists and psychoanalysts as Tatyana Levi, Elena Mazur, Tatyana Zadernovskaya, Anna Nikitina, Vladimir Galata and Anatoly Korsakov.

    Gazarova told the group that “the contemporary Russian individual is losing spirituality and soulfulness and becoming harsh, formal, mechanistic, programmed and unfree,” all signs she says that speak of a “dehumanization” that has gone so far as to constitute a threat to the human species there.

    Dehumanization, the psychologist says, is “the washing out of the human from the individual,” a process which compromises his or her ability to be a member of society and to show concern about others and reflects a choice of temporary, short-term values over longer-term eternal ones.

    It also keeps people from becoming mature, Gazarova continues. “The contemporary Russian recalls a youth aged 14” who has not yet developed the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood and who thus acts accordingly, often in an increasing state of depression about the surrounding world.

    The other speaker at the meeting, Karine Gyulazizova, focused on the consequences of this in demography. She argued that the mental state of Russians now is one of the reasons for the authorities focus on boosting the birthrate rather than reducing the death rate, something especially hard to do in a population uncertain of what the meaning of life is.

    The analytic psychologist said that much of this is the result of the destruction first of the tsarist empire which destroyed the extended families in which people had been embedded and left them in the state of graduates of orphanages without normal ties to others. That shift predetermined, she says, the eventual collapse of the Soviet system.

    (Gazarova interjected that in her view the problem of Russia’s depopulation has its roots in the terror famine and genocide of peoples in the 1930s, which created a situation in which many came to believe that such things were not only possible but permissible, a conclusion the current regime has done little to challenge.)

    Gyulazizova continued with the following observation: Whatever one wants to say about the current rulers, they “are not fulfilling the parental functions” that the tsar did, something Russians very much need because for Russians, “the tsar is not on a throne but inside their heads.”

    Instead, Russians have come to feel, she argued, that no values are fixed and consequently, they “like orphanage children” can pick and choose whatever is necessary for survival or immediately attract. “An orphan child has absolutely no sense” of broader connections or imperatives.”

    Consequently, the psychologist said, “the present-day Russian people are orphans without families and therefore their choice will always be feverish and always be incorrect.” And that outcome is even more likely, she suggested, when the government makes the wrong choices about what to emphasize.

    Commemorating World War II is fine, she continued, but the government has emphasized its glories rather than its sufferings, thus changing its meaning and making war attractive for young people. Those who fought in the war did so in order that their children wouldn’t have to, but the Russian government is sending a different message.Russians today increasingly like a dehumanized mass of orphans, Moscow psychologists say -- EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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    • IMF: Ukraine Must Resolve 2016 Budget Issues - International Monetary Fund sees Ukraine’s economy contracting 11% this year THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Ian Talley (Washington) Laura Mill (Kyiv) 10/4/2015

      WASHINGTON—Ukraine must resolve outstanding budget issues before the International Monetary Fund gives the green light on the next payout of bailout cash, the IMF said Saturday as it further cut its economic outlook for the conflict-beleaguered nation.

      IMF mission chief Nikolay Gueorguiev said Kiev’s pro-West government had reached agreement with the IMF on most of the budget and policy overhauls needed to complete the latest review of the emergency loan program.

      “However, as the authorities still need more time to fully flesh out their policy proposals for 2016 in some areas, discussions will continue in the coming weeks,” he said.

      The IMF has pledged $17.5 billion to support Ukraine’s economy, which has been buffeted by an ongoing conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east and a currency collapse. The Washington-based lender has in turn demanded tough reforms from Kiev.

      In September, Ukraine’s finance minister announced that the country needed more time to finalize a 2016 budget. The ministry said that several upcoming bills on tax reform, debt restructuring, and military spending meant the original proposal was likely “to undergo significant changes.”

      Last month, the head of the IMF urged the country to stick to the terms of the bailout amid signs of growing disarray in the ruling coalition. One party left the coalition in September over a controversial vote to amend the constitution, while other groups have proposed legislation that the IMF said could undermine the country’s recovery.

      The IMF cut its forecast for growth again this year, now saying the economy will contract by 11%. But Mr. Gueorguiev indicated that the economy was bottoming out and that “macroeconomic stabilization is gradually taking hold,” as the currency has remained stable and inflation recedes.

      The country should rebound by 2% next year, “supported by recovering consumer and investor confidence, improved export performance, and a gradual easing of credit conditions,” the IMF official said.IMF: Ukraine Must Resolve 2016 Budget Issues - WSJ

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      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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      • Reuters: Egypt says Russia's intervention in Syria will counter terrorism
        04.10.2015 UNIAN

        Russia's intervention in Syria will curtail the spread of terrorism and help deal a fatal blow to Islamic State in the war-torn country, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

        Russia launched air strikes in Syria on Wednesday in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, marking a dramatic escalation in a more than four-year-old civil war in which every major country in the region has a stake, Reuters said.

        "Russia's entrance, given its potential and capabilities, is something we see is going to have an effect on limiting terrorism in Syria and eradicating it," Shoukry said in a televised interview on Saturday.

        Vladimir Putin said he is striking Islamic State and helping Syria's Bashar al-Assad, long Russia's closest ally in the region. But the United States is concerned that Moscow is propping up Assad, who Washington has long held should leave.

        Egypt has avoided showing support for al-Assad, a leader whom Saudi Arabia, a key Egyptian ally that has propped up the country economically, believes should be ousted.

        According to Reuters, Shoukry's comments are just the latest sign of warming relations between Russia and Egypt. In a state visit to Russia by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in August, the two countries called for a coalition to fight terrorism in the Middle East.

        In June, Egypt and Russia held their first-ever joint naval exercise.

        Egypt, the Arab world's most-populous nation, is confronted by an increasingly violent insurgency in North Sinai, where the most active militant group has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
        Reuters: Egypt says Russia's intervention in Syria will counter terrorism : UNIAN news


















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        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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        • Russia in Syria - A new spectacle for the masses Vladimir Putin embarks on a risky campaign to prop up the Syrian regime and embarrass America
          Oct 3rd 2015 THE ECONOMIST


          IF HIS intent was to draw attention to his military muscle, he certainly succeeded. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, became the first leader in the Kremlin since Leonid Brezhnev, who invaded Afghanistan in 1979, to send military aircraft on bombing missions outside the territory of the former Soviet Union. On September 30th, Russian jets began a targeted campaign in parts of Syria held by rebels in order to prop up the beleaguered regime of Bashar al-Assad, a Russian client.

          Not since the Boxer rebellion in 1900 have Russian forces fought in such proximity to American ones. In Kosovo they came close. In Syria they share the same skies: America is attacking the jihadists of Islamic State (IS); Russia says it wants to strike IS but has in fact started by attacking other Sunni rebels (including some who have received American weapons) who pose a more direct threat to Mr Assad.

          Mr Putin has ruled out the use of ground forces in Syria, for fear of awakening painful memories of the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan. But by deploying jets and air-defence systems, Russia is complicating Western operations in Syria. France this month joined America in the increasingly crowded skies of the Levant.

          Russia has prepared its air campaign for some time. Two weeks ago it held elaborate domestic war games in terrain closely resembling the Syrian desert. Russian war reporters who spent months on the eastern Ukrainian front lines have suddenly appeared in Syria, cameras rolling at the site of terrorist attacks.

          The Russian Orthodox church has spoken of a holy war. But for the Kremlin it is just as important to be seen to be confronting America, which Mr Putin accuses of trying to dominate the world. Dmitry Kiselev, Russia’s chief television propagandist, put it with wilful inaccuracy: “In Syria, America stands on the side of the terrorist caliphate. Together they are trying to destroy Syria as a secular state.”

          Spade-work

          Russia’s bombing in Syria was preceded by a flurry of diplomatic activity. On September 28th Mr Putin spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, comparing Russia’s role to that of the Soviet Union in 1945 and blaming America for unsettling the Middle East. “I am urged to ask those who created this situation: ‘Do you at least realise now what you’ve done?’ But I’m afraid that this question will remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity,” Mr Putin declared from the podium.

          Russian media portrayed him as a superman who has to clean up a mess. Ria Novosti, the state news agency, and other government propagandists flooded social-media networks with messages bearing the hashtag “#PutinPeacemaker”.

          The president has received some verbal support for his new campaign from the Italian prime minister and the German foreign minister, among others. But in America he is still viewed as a villain. A meeting with Barack Obama—the first long one since Russia’s annexation of Crimea—ended with no result. Trust between the two leaders is the lowest it has been in decades, say close observers.

          Mr Putin may be hoping that by claiming to fight IS he can force America into accepting him again as a partner in power, one too important to be isolated by sanctions imposed by the West in response to the war in Ukraine. Yet his gambit is laden with risks. Russia could get bogged down in what may be an unwinnable conflict. Its relationship with America could get worse rather than better, especially if the two military forces clashed, even inadvertently. Russian pilots might, given the lack of co-ordination in the skies, fall into the hands of knife-wielding executioners. “Putin miscalculated in Ukraine and he may miscalculate in Syria,” warns Dmitry Trenin, the head of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, a think-tank. So why take such risks?

          Russia’s official—and not entirely unreasonable—response is that IS poses a threat to its national security, particularly in the north Caucasus, where many young fighters in Syria come from. The timing of the deployment was also partly prompted by the fact that Mr Assad’s forces have been losing ground. While the Kremlin cares little about his personal fate, it needs him, or another ally, to stay in power long enough for Russia to have a say in any international negotiation on the future of Syria. There is also Russia’s naval base in Tartus on the Syrian coast, its only foothold in the Middle East, which is a big market for Russian-made arms.

          Even more important for Mr Putin is his hold on power at home, and here too Syria may be of use. The bombing provides a new and badly needed spectacle at a time when the war in Ukraine, which dominated the airwaves for a while, is starting to freeze and euphoria over the annexation of Crimea is fading. On top of that the Russian economy, hit by sanctions and falling oil prices, has been shrinking fast. During his first two presidential terms Mr Putin could boast about growing incomes. In his third term, he seems to rely more on the theatre of war and a manufactured sense of pride in challenging America.

          “Syria provides a useful distraction from Ukraine, but strategically it is about America,” says Mr Trenin. So far Mr Putin has avoided a direct clash with his great rival, but he has trapped Russia in a dangerous spiral of confrontation. As Georgy Mirsky, a venerable Middle East expert at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, says: “The rules of the confrontation dictate that you find your opponent’s weak spot and hit, hit, hit.” A new spectacle for the masses | The Economist
          -------------------------------------------------
          A murky situation getting murkier and murkier...
          Last edited by Hannia; 4 October 2015, 18:24.

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          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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          • Weapons pullback begins as ceasefire holds in east Ukraine warzone
            Oct. 4, 2015 UT UKRAINE TODAY

            Ukrainian troops, Russian-separatist forces in Luhansk start operation to relocate light weapons

            The operation to pullback weapons from the front line is entering day two. After a full 48 hour ceasefire, Ukraine's army says their guns of calibre less than 100mm, tanks and mortars are being turned around in the region of Luhansk.

            Opposing miilitant forces there also pledged to do the same - although this hasn't been independently varified.

            The process of relocating weapons began a day after the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany met in Paris.

            Meanwhile in Donetsk region, officials in the self-styled militant regional administration announced they wouldn't remove their military equipment from the contact line until October 18.

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            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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            • Even an end to sanctions wouldn’t prevent humanitarian disaster in Russia, Borovoy says
              EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2015/10/04

              Even if Vladimir Putin succeeded by some miracle in his current effort to get Western sanctions on his country lifted for his aggression in Ukraine, Konstantin Borovoy says, there are six reasons why even that would not prevent the looming humanitarian catastrophe in Russia.

              The head of Russia’s Western Choice Party says that the first of these lies in the nature of Western sanctions themselves. “Their impact is more symbolic” than real because there are alternative channels for outside investment there and the market continues to work. The reason they appear to be working is that no one has any interest in investing in Russia now.

              Second, he suggests, the counter-sanctions that the Putin regime introduced in response, are “more serious” in their impact than are Western sanctions. “The absence of competitive goods in the market is destroying competition” and leading to price increases that are putting many things out of reach of ordinary Russians.

              Third, Borovoy points to the shift in Russia’s budgetary priorities. “The militarization of the budget and its stress on the force functions of the state are the result of all economic problems.” If the population were in fact satisfied with the current situation, such shifts would not be necessary.

              Fourth, there is “the serious factor of corruption and protectionism.” The impact of these is “becoming ever more notable” in Russian government financing. Having to reduce pensions reflects “the ineffectiveness of the state itself,” especially given the way in which Putin’s elite enriched themselves earlier.

              Fifth, Borovoy points out, Russia lacks “strong independent business.” If such businesses existed, they could compensate for many of the shortcomings of the state, but the state has made their presence in Russia almost impossible and thus deprived Russia of an important motor of development.

              And sixth, even if sanctions were lifted, the Russian opposition figure points out, that would do nothing to affect the current declines in prices for oil and other raw materials on which the Putin regime has relied in the past. Consequently, expecting a miracle recovery in Russia even if sanctions are lifted is an exercise in denial of the obvious.

              Sanctions may have allowed Putin to shift the blame to the West in the eyes of many Russians – and even in the minds of some in the West itself – but the fundamental drivers of Russia’s economic malaise were in play before sanctions were introduced and will remain even if they are eventually lifted.

              Scroll down and vu pix: Even an end to sanctions wouldn’t prevent humanitarian disaster in Russia, Borovoy says -- EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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              • Russians today increasingly like a dehumanized mass of orphans, Moscow psychologists say
                EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2015/10/04 Paul A. Goble

                Two speakers at a Moscow conference of Russian psychologists and psychoanalysts say that Russians today, especially the residents of major cities, resemble a dehumanized and immature group of orphans who lack broader social ties or core values and who ever more often display fear, aggression and depression.

                The conference, entitled “Ecce Home” and organized by Elena Gazarova of the Moscow Institute of Human Physiology, attracted such notable Russian psychologists and psychoanalysts as Tatyana Levi, Elena Mazur, Tatyana Zadernovskaya, Anna Nikitina, Vladimir Galata and Anatoly Korsakov.

                Gazarova told the group that “the contemporary Russian individual is losing spirituality and soulfulness and becoming harsh, formal, mechanistic, programmed and unfree,” all signs she says that speak of a “dehumanization” that has gone so far as to constitute a threat to the human species there.

                Dehumanization, the psychologist says, is “the washing out of the human from the individual,” a process which compromises his or her ability to be a member of society and to show concern about others and reflects a choice of temporary, short-term values over longer-term eternal ones.

                It also keeps people from becoming mature, Gazarova continues. “The contemporary Russian recalls a youth aged 14” who has not yet developed the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood and who thus acts accordingly, often in an increasing state of depression about the surrounding world.

                The other speaker at the meeting, Karine Gyulazizova, focused on the consequences of this in demography. She argued that the mental state of Russians now is one of the reasons for the authorities focus on boosting the birthrate rather than reducing the death rate, something especially hard to do in a population uncertain of what the meaning of life is.

                The analytic psychologist said that much of this is the result of the destruction first of the tsarist empire which destroyed the extended families in which people had been embedded and left them in the state of graduates of orphanages without normal ties to others. That shift predetermined, she says, the eventual collapse of the Soviet system.

                (Gazarova interjected that in her view the problem of Russia’s depopulation has its roots in the terror famine and genocide of peoples in the 1930s, which created a situation in which many came to believe that such things were not only possible but permissible, a conclusion the current regime has done little to challenge.)

                Gyulazizova continued with the following observation: Whatever one wants to say about the current rulers, they “are not fulfilling the parental functions” that the tsar did, something Russians very much need because for Russians, “the tsar is not on a throne but inside their heads.”

                Instead, Russians have come to feel, she argued, that no values are fixed and consequently, they “like orphanage children” can pick and choose whatever is necessary for survival or immediately attract. “An orphan child has absolutely no sense” of broader connections or imperatives.”

                Consequently, the psychologist said, “the present-day Russian people are orphans without families and therefore their choice will always be feverish and always be incorrect.” And that outcome is even more likely, she suggested, when the government makes the wrong choices about what to emphasize.

                Commemorating World War II is fine, she continued, but the government has emphasized its glories rather than its sufferings, thus changing its meaning and making war attractive for young people. Those who fought in the war did so in order that their children wouldn’t have to, but the Russian government is sending a different message. Russians today increasingly like a dehumanized mass of orphans, Moscow psychologists say -- EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

                æ, !

                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                • The European Parliament understands the true intentions of the Russian military intervention in Syria, but it will not distract the international community from aggression in the East of Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea.
                  04 October 2015 UKRINFORM

                  President of the Political Group of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament Syed Kamall said this in exclusive comments to an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels.

                  "The New York UN General Assembly summit has indeed happened at a very difficult moment for the international community, with growing tensions not only in Ukraine, but also recent worrying developments in Syria and the wider Middle East. I found the message sent by President Poroshenko to be a very strong and concise one and I agree with its main points, especially on Ukraine being a target of external aggression initiated by Russia and that Kremlin is using its powers as a permanent UN Security Council Member to block important initiatives, like condemnation of "fake referendum" on Crimea’s annexation and establishment of the MH17 International Tribunal. Lack of progress in the East of Ukraine and continued Russian provocation, as well as the strengthening of rebels, are extremely worrisome, especially in the context of the quickly approaching deadline for fulfilling the Minsk Agreements," he said.

                  President Putin in New York tried to portray himself as a potential leader of a new anti-terrorist coalition and focused mainly on the situation in the Middle East, devoting only a brief comment to the situation in Ukraine. Even then he only devoted a few sentences, suggesting the West was guilty of "instigating a coup d’état from abroad".

                  According to Syed Kamall, the involvement of Moscow in Syria on the side of Assad is further disturbing news and I would not exclude the possibility that one of its goals is to shift the attention of the international community away from Crimea, Donbas and Luhansk.

                  "In the European Parliament the European Conservatives and Reformists Group will keep the focus on the East and continue to unconditionally support the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the reform process in the country and providing our full assistance to authorities in order to resolve the current crisis," he said.European Parliament understands why Putin needs Syria — Ukrinform News

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                  Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                  • International students to face new requirements for college admission
                    25.09.2015 17:28 UKRINFORM

                    Foreign nationals, who are planning to enroll into Ukrainian universities, will have to pass some tests.

                    KYIV, September 25 / Ukrinform./ Foreign nationals, who are planning to enroll into Ukrainian universities, will have to pass some tests.

                    Minister of education and sciences Serhii Kvit told reporters at a press conference, Ukrinform reports.

                    "In recent years there has been a tendency that we anyone can become a student at our colleges. These conditions facilitate a significant amount of random persons to get enrolled into universities," said Kvit.

                    According to him, international students often choose majors in natural sciences, engineering and technical professions, medical fields thus tests can be administered on their professional and language proficiency.

                    "The primary requirements are essential to be tested because we care about the reputation of our education," he said.

                    The minister noted tests are being developed on criteria for selecting international students.

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                    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                    • Ukraine President Says Obama Approved Sending New Weapons
                      Elena Mazneva BLOOMBERG BUSINESS October 4, 2015

                      Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday on state television that U.S. President Barack Obama promised his country new models of defensive weapons amid a cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists.

                      Obama said he approved supplying counter-battery systems to the debt-troubled Ukraine, Poroshenko said, according to a transcript of the broadcast on his Web page. The weapons will be used to help Ukraine detect artillery and multiple rocket launch fire, according to a White House official, who requested anonymity to discuss the assistance.

                      Ukraine should receive new Q36 radars this fall, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said on Twitter Sept. 30. Obama signed a memorandum last week authorizing an additional $20 million for “defense articles and services” for Ukrainian forces, a continuation of his administration’s provision of non-lethal support for Ukraine.

                      A cease-fire between Ukrainian forces and the separatists has held since the sides agreed on Oct. 2 to a light-weapons withdrawal during talks in Paris. But the agreement’s full implementation remains deadlocked over local elections in rebel-held territories in Ukraine’s easternmost regions, the issue of local autonomy, and the government’s intention to regain control over its border with Russia.

                      U.S.-Russian tensions have continued to escalate with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision last week to start airstrikes over Syria in defense of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

                      The Ukrainian army has already received U.S. caliber sniper rifles, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Facebook Sept. 29. The country needs new weapons badly, Poroshenko said.

                      Obama has resisted calls from lawmakers and members of his own national security team, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, to send lethal weapons to Ukrainian government forces. White House officials have said the Russians could capitalize on their proximity to Ukraine to deliver heavier weapons faster than the U.S. could.

                      The U.S. has provided nonlethal aid, such as radar, medical supplies and communications gear, as well as economic assistance and military training. That aid now totals $265.5 million, the administration official said.

                      The conflict in east Ukraine has killed more than 8,000 people and soured Russia’s relations with the U.S. and the European Union.
                      Ukraine President Says Obama Approved Sending New Weapons - Bloomberg Business

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                      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                      • So this is 'Putin's propaganda TV'?
                        Oct. 5, 2015, STOP FAKE. ORG Kevin Rothrock

                        A look at how RT’s chief editor responds to evidence that the network is a political failure

                        The Kremlin’s flagship news network abroad, RT (formerly known as Russia Today), is having a rough go of things this month. Last week, The Daily Beast revealed a study from 2013 claiming that “Putin’s propaganda TV” exaggerates its popularity online and on the airwaves. The report was leaked by Vasily Gatov, a disaffected former employee of the now-defunct news outlet RIA Novosti—the older, more professional brother in Russia’s state-funded media family (who was disowned and dissolved in late 2013). The study claims that RT‘s massive budget (about $2 billion between 2005 and 2013), which is supposed to fund the promotion of “the Russian point of view on key international issues,” is largely wasted on a TV station few people watch. Following the publication of these claims, Margarita Simonyan, the 35-year-old chief editor of RT and its parent company Rossiya Segodnya, fired back with an angry blog post on LiveJournal, where she defended her network’s efficacy as a news media outlet and lashed out at RT‘s detractors. Meduza‘s Kevin Rothrock looks at Simonyan’s response to the people who say her propaganda mission has failed.

                        Just a bunch of sore losers and neocons

                        Simonyan says she was first contacted by The Daily Beast earlier this summer. Claiming to have been “amused,” she says the report leaked to the Americans was likely the “latest ploy” by RIA Novosti‘s final chief editor, Svetlana Mironyuk, whom Simonyan calls a lover of “complex and largely useless intrigues.”

                        Simonyan insists that there is statistical evidence to prove RT‘s genuine mass appeal. “We order studies of our audience from the most respected American and European companies and we don’t publish a word of this research without first agreeing with them,” she says. Simonyan also argues that one would have to believe YouTube and Google were in cahoots with RT, in order to think claims about its online popularity are exaggerated.

                        Lamenting the tension with RIA Novosti‘s old staff, Simonyan writes, “It’s a shame when years-old intrigues haunt some people to the degree that they can’t stop themselves from starting and inflating scandals through the tabloid, anti-Russian press in America.” Simonyan holds in especially low regard Michael Weiss, a neoconservative senior editor at The Daily Beast, whom she calls “one of the most successful career russophobes,” who “rose quickly by dumping on Russia and RT.”

                        The “Russian perspective,” complete with meteorites and Japanese earthquakes

                        Trying to refute claims that RT‘s YouTube audience comes mostly for disaster footage, Simonyan cites a study by the Pew Research Center emphasizing that the number of views attracted by RT‘s YouTube videos is “far greater than many other well-known sources.” This was never in question, however, though subsequent articles in the Russian press have called attention to the possibility that RT buys views to inflate its traffic.

                        What Simonyan does not point out about the Pew report is that it actually supports one of the main claims of the leaked RIA Novosti study: namely that “most of Russia Today’s popular videos (68 percent) were not edited news packages in any traditional sense,” but “first-person video accounts of dramatic worldwide events such as the Japanese earthquake.” In other words, RT doesn’t seem to be winning an audience for its on-message content—it’s mission—which Simonyan has described in the past as “giving the Russian point of view on key international issues.”

                        While the Pew study (conducted in 2012) and the RIA Novosti report (finished in 2013) seem to complement one another, Simonyan cites a third text that appeared in The Washington Post by Robert Orttung, Elizabeth Nelson, and Anthony Livshen of George Washington University. This latter research, carried out in early 2015 (after the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea by Russia), suggests that RT is indeed enjoying some success in appealing to foreign audiences with its Ukraine coverage, though the popularity of its content fluctuates radically with the news cycle. Also, Europeans showed more interest in Ukraine than Americans—not unsurprisingly, given that the Ukrainian crisis unfolded in Europe.

                        Even the work by Orttung and his team, however, comes to conclusions like this one: “Apparently, the Kremlin has decided that selling Americans on the Kremlin-sanctioned view of the conflict in Ukraine is too challenging a task even for the experienced Kremlin media merchants.”

                        The unpublished data would blow your mind, probably

                        When challenging claims that RT exaggerates its television ratings with broad, often questionable interpretations of survey data, Simonyan cites an RT article summarizing a study by Nielsen that supposedly shows RT doubling its audience in seven US cities between May 2014 and March 2014. Critics have expressed doubts about this Nielsen study, however, pointing out that it is strangely unpublished. The same is true of another Nielsen survey Simonyan cites to show the supposedly fast-growing popularity of RT‘s Arabic-language service in the Middle East and North Africa.

                        Simonyan never addresses the criticism that RT owes its popularity to reports that have little or nothing to do with the network’s political mission. For instance, RIA Novosti‘s research said RT‘s most-watched segments are about “metrosexuals, bums, and earthquakes.” In her response on LiveJournal, Simonyan simply points out that RT‘s traffic is vastly superior to all other television networks on YouTube.

                        Simonyan also does not respond to those who say RT buys its popularity by broadcasting content that it didn’t record itself. In fact, the Pew study she mentions as proof of RT‘s success on YouTube says this: “The people who shot these videos may not be Russia Today reporters, but the organization acquired the footage and broadcast it, using its own dissemination tools and graphics.”

                        “A quite efficient scheme”

                        After presenting her case in defense of RT, Simonyan finishes by alluding to the sinister alliance she detects between American neoconservatives, the US government, and the Russian opposition. In screenshots, she shows how Will Stevens, the spokesperson for the US embassy in Russia, tweeted a link to The Daily Beast story. Soon following suit was opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who was retweeted by former chess grandmaster and oppositionist-in-exile Garry Kasparov, and also by none other than The Daily Beast‘s own Michael Weiss. “It’s a quite efficient scheme for dispersing information,” Simonyan concludes.
                        So this is ‘Putin’s propaganda TV’?

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                        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

                        Comment


                        • Russia’s Air Campaign No Different From Assad’s
                          VOICE OF AMERICA Jamie Dettmer October 05, 2015

                          ISTANBUL—

                          For more than a year, Syrian insurgents and civilians in rebellious areas in the war-torn country have been enduring a reign of terror from the skies with President Bashar al-Assad’s aircraft dropping cheaply produced improvised “barrel bombs” on them. Now they’re coming under attack from Russian bombers firing so-called “dumb missiles” designed to maximize casualties.

                          In video footage released by the Russian Defense Ministry to the media over the past five days of Russian warplanes taking off from the Bassel al-Assad airbase on the Syrian coast for their sorties, a variety of munitions have been spotted by military analysts - but most have been dumb bombs.

                          The unleashing of unguided ordnance by Russian warplanes was roundly condemned at the weekend by British Defense Minister Michael Fallon. “They are dropping unguided munitions in civilian areas,” he said in an interview with a British newspaper.

                          “There are clear markings for the OFAB 250-270 unguided bombs on Russian jets in Syria,” said Elliot Higgins, the founder of the Bellingcat blog site, which focuses on weapons use in the Syrian civil war and the conflict in east Ukraine’s Donbas region.

                          Russia’s air war in Syria so far is similar to the terror that Assad’s air campaign has been sowing from the skies the past few years, say analysts. Cheap improvised devices such as barrels, oil drums and canisters packed with high explosive and metal fragments and fuel began in 2014 to replace purpose-built but aged and imprecise missiles as the Syrian administration ran out of them.

                          And for the past year the crude-but-deadly barrel bombs have been the Syrian air force’s weapon of choice, prompting widespread international condemnation. They were first used in August 2012 with rudimentary fuses that would detonate on impact, but more recently some have been fitted with altitude-sensitive fuses, which make the bombs explode before they hit the ground, causing even wider damage.

                          Indiscriminate weapons

                          As an arbitrary-killing weapon, the high-explosive OFAB 250-270, which weigh 270 kilograms and hurls shrapnel over a wide area, is only a few technological steps above a barrel bomb.

                          The Soviet-era bomb was designed to destroy military industrial sites, railway junctions and field facilities, and shred personnel in open terrain. It was widely used in Afghanistan and the 2008 war with Georgia.

                          Military analysts say improvised devices like barrel bombs and high-explosive dumb bombs share a characteristic. They are about symbolism and “the terrorizing of a population,” according to Peter Quentin of the Royal United Services Institute, a British think tank.

                          On Sunday - as criticism mounted about the use of dumb bombs - a Russian air force spokesman, Col. Igor Klimov, told the Kremlin-run RIA news agency that Russian Su-34 and Su-24 warplanes were also using KH-29L air-to-surface laser-guided missiles in Syria. The KH-29L is the Russian equivalent of the American smart missile the AGM-65 Maverick, which is being used by U.S. warplanes in Syria.

                          Within hours of Col. Klimov’s statement, state-run Russian media began to flood social media sites with photographs of Russian warplanes fitted with KH-29L missiles attached under their wings.

                          Precision guided technology doesn’t drive out risk or ensure that bombs and missiles don’t go astray. Accurate on-the-ground or surveillance intelligence is also an essential for targeting, as the weekend U.S. bombing of a hospital in the Afghan town of Kunduz likely demonstrates. But the use of imprecise ordnance increases dramatically the likelihood of civilian and non-combatant casualties because of the indiscriminate nature of the bombing.

                          Unguided high fragmentation dumb bombs have been more evident in footage broadcast by Russia Today from correspondents based at Bassel al-Assad airbase. “I've mainly seen the planes fitted with unguided munitions; but there have been some rare examples of them using guided munitions,” Higgins, who has been monitoring the channel’s broadcasts, told VOA.

                          US, others accuse Russia

                          On Thursday, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Otto, deputy chief of staff in the U.S. Air Force, told reporters that it appeared the Russian forces were relying on “dumb bombs” more than precision weapons guided by lasers or satellites.

                          Syrian political activists and rebel commanders agree.

                          “Russia is using just dumb bombs, that’s going to increase the number of civilian casualties,” Hadi Albahra, an anti-Assad opposition leader, tweeted Sunday.

                          Khaled Khoja, head of the Syrian National Coalition - the Western-backed anti-Assad opposition group - said Russia was "clearly" targeting civilians and opposition-held areas, and called for the enforcement of a no-bombing zone. He accused Moscow of just “enabling Assad’s war on civilians.”

                          Evidence that dumb munitions are being used more is also coming from analysis of Russian Defense Ministry-supplied video footage of the impact of the airstrikes.

                          David Cenciotti, a former Italian air force pilot who runs The Aviationist - a military warfare web site - says footage he analyzed of a bombing run Wednesday “shows shrapnel from a bomb possibly exploding south of the target; the second part shows the same target and other shrapnel, but you can also clearly see the blast of a bomb at the bottom of the scene; the third one shows bombs seemingly missing their target by several meters.”

                          Estimates of casualties from the five days of Russian bombing vary. The pro-opposition monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday its activists had documented 39 civilian deaths, including eight children and eight women. The group said it had verified the deaths of 14 fighters; a dozen from the Islamic State group in a raid near Raqqa and two from al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

                          Russia bombing raids have hit several provinces since Wednesday with most focused in Idlib in the northwest and Hama in central Syria in territory not controlled by the Islamic State group, the main target of the air campaign, according to the Kremlin. Russia’s Air Campaign No Different From Assad’s

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                          • Why sanctions against Russia are here for the long-haul
                            Katy Barnato CNBC 10/5/2015

                            Russia's military intervention in Syria has spurred speculation that a common enemy — Islamist extremists — could soothe tensions between Moscow and the West and help in the lifting of sanctions over tensions in Ukraine. However, both sides are unwilling to step down over Russia's annexation of Crimea, raising concerns that tit-for-tat sanctions are here for the long-run and could even be increased.

                            "The sanctions with respect to Crimea are here to stay short-term and probably long-term," Ross Denton, a partner specializing in competition and trade at legal firm Baker & McKenzie, said on Friday at a news briefing.

                            "I certainly don't think they (Moscow) are going to give Crimea back any time soon. And the West will maintain its sanctions, because otherwise it is an open invite to despots around the world."

                            Nonetheless there has been speculation that the West might be willing to step back from sanctions in exchange for military assistance in the advent of a ground move into Syria, or help with the related surge of asylum seekers into Europe. Such speculation has been smacked down by regional experts.

                            Analysts at political risk company Teneo Intelligence noted that it was "almost imperative" for the EU to extend sanctions in order to uphold its claim that Russia's annexation constituted a breach of international law.

                            "A full extension (of sanctions) is no forgone conclusion and also remains contingent upon the situation on the ground," said Teneo analysts, Otilia Dhan and Carsten Nickel, in a research note last month.

                            Last month, the European Union (EU) announced that it was extending Ukraine-related sanctions against individuals and companies until March 2016. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce added a further 29 targets to its blacklist including several Crimean ports, Russia oil giant Rosneft and arms producer Kalashnikov.

                            Following tense discussions between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin this week, Moscow confirmed its first air strikes on civil war-torn Syria on Wednesday, with further reports of strikes on Thursday. But despite signs of a common agenda, it appears that Putin's main interest is in restoring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — who is considered responsible for thousands of deaths — rather than destroying terrorist groups like Islamic State (IS).

                            Meanwhile, Russian authorities are stuck in neutral in Crimea. Russia cannot step back from the peninsula without losing face, given the expense and popularity among the Russian public of the annexation, but also cannot move further into Ukraine without involving official ground troops — a move that lacks popular support.

                            As Putin ponders his next move, the West's so-called smart sanctions are slowly tightening the noose around the Russian economy.

                            Unlike earlier broad-brush trade embargoes, the sanctions are designed to hit Moscow where it hurts, cutting off Russian companies' access to technology needed to support the energy industry. The aim is also to cause minimal damage to Western countries with economic ties to Russia, like Germany, Italy and Greece.

                            "Russia sanctions have been very cleverly targeted to hit what it wants — or what the West thinks it wants: Western technology and technological support for its oil and gas industry, which is only available in the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Australia," said Denton.

                            "We are very slowly going to see things (in Russia's energy sector) dropping off… It is a much more clinic use of financial sanctions."

                            Sarosh Zaiwalla, a senior partner at Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors who represents oil majors in both Russia and Iran, said that sanctions had already hit the ability of Russian companies to raise long-term funds and invest the huge sums needed to develop shale and deep-water oil resources.

                            On Tuesday, Russia's energy ministry announced the postponement of all drilling operations on Russia's Arctic Shelf for up to three years, a move that Zaiwalla said was predominately due to the impact of sanctions.

                            "Sanctions by the U.S. and EU governments on Russia have severely impacted the Russian oil industry, cutting it off from the international market and causing the industry to turn inward. As a result, major international exploration ventures such as those in the Arctic have suffered, as restrictions on financial and technical assistance have forced oil majors to pull out," Zaiwalla, said in a comment emailed to CNBC on Tuesday. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/05/why-s...long-haul.html

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                            • 09:28 05.10.2015 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                              Ukraine has to regain control over part of Ukrainian-Russian border before end of this year - Poroshenko

                              Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said control over the Ukrainian-Russian part of the border has to be regained before the end of this year.

                              "As soon as we elect the new Ukrainian administration, the OSCE, which should now begin controlling the uncontrolled part, transfers the control functions to Ukrainian border guards. This process has to be completed before the end of this year, before changes to the constitution are adopted. Everything is very simple, it says so in [the] Minsk [agreements] and no one is making any attempts to revise it," he said in an interview with Ukrainian television channels aired on Ukraina television on Sunday evening.

                              Poroshenko said Ukraine will not agree on any compromises in the issue of border sovereignty.
                              ============================

                              09:43 05.10.2015 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                              Poroshenko: no changes will be made to Minsk agreements

                              Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says no changes will be made to the Minsk agreements.

                              In an interview with Ukrainian television channels on Sunday evening, the president said the media published a lot of false information after the Paris negotiations. "The first position: changes must be made to the law on the special local self-government regime. The second position: it must take effect before the elections. The third position: all militants without exception must be amnestied. Position four, five, six: it's not true. On the contrary, the Ukrainian delegation and our partners, Germany and France, are clearly saying that we will not be making any changes to the Minsk agreements," the president said.
                              ==================================

                              15:46 03.10.2015 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                              Poroshenko signs law terminating cooperation with Russia in building Khmelnytsky NPP power units

                              Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed into laws terminating an agreement between the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the Russian government on cooperation in constructing power units Nos. 3 and 4 of Khmelnytsky Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and abrogating the Ukrainian law on the location, design and construction of power units Nos. 3 and 4 of Khmelnytsky NPP, the Ukrainian presidential press service reported on Saturday.
                              ===================================

                              11:26 05.10.2015
                              Poroshenko: Shooting at specialists restoring infrastructure in Donbas unacceptable

                              The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine discussed aspects of socioeconomic development of Donbas at negotiations in the Normandy Quartet format in Paris on Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

                              "The conversation concerned the unacceptability of the use of force against and the shooting at our experts dispatched under the Ukrainian government's instructions to restore water and energy supply systems and railways. We consider this categorically unacceptable, and statements on this account were made," Poroshenko told journalists following negotiations between the Normandy Quartet leaders in Paris on Friday.

                              The Ukrainian leader emphasized that the negotiations had been difficult.

                              "But I believe the results of our joint and energetic actions with our European partners brought about certain results," he said.
                              =======================


                              10:40 05.10.2015 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                              Elections in Donbas will be held only after legislation adjustment – Poroshenko

                              President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has stated the elections in some parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions would take place only after the approval of amendments to the relevant provisions of Ukrainian legislation.

                              "[The elections will be held] when we adjust the legislation. Our position is as follows: we expect that the response of those, on whom this depends, to the relevant agreements under the "Normandy format" will be appropriate," Poroshenko told reporters after a meeting of the "Normandy Four" leaders in Paris, asked whether the date of elections in the occupied territories was discussed.










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                              • Yatsenyuk says Ukraine accumulates $1.3 bln needed for heating season
                                05.10.2015 UNIAN

                                Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced at a meeting with regional governors during his working visit to Chernivtsi on October 3 that Ukraine had already accumulated $1.3 billion needed for the heating season, according to the Cabinet's press service.

                                At the same time, the prime minister instructed the regional governors to ensure the timely launch of the heating season.

                                "If there is no heating, people will not pay the bills. The second thing is that you should collect money timely. If there is no money – there will be no gas either."

                                The Ukrainian government aims at getting rid of dependence on Russian gas, and 70% of gas for Ukrainian needs is purchased in Europe now, Yatsenyuk said.

                                The prime minister recalled that the government had set a reduced price of UAH 3,600 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas for households if they consume up to 200 cubic meters and the gas is used for heating.

                                Yatsenyuk called on the regional governors to ensure that households are also provided with subsidies.
                                Yatsenyuk says Ukraine accumulates $1.3 bln needed for heating season : UNIAN news

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