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  • Vladimir Putin’s Outlaw State
    NY TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD SEPT. 29, 2016

    President Vladimir Putin is fast turning Russia into an outlaw nation. As one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, his country shares a special responsibility to uphold international law. Yet, his behavior in Ukraine and Syria violates not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.

    This bitter truth was driven home twice on Wednesday. An investigative team led by the Netherlands concluded that the surface-to-air missile system that shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in July 2014, killing 298 on board, was sent from Russia to Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. Meanwhile, in Syria, Russian and Syrian warplanes knocked out two hospitals in the rebel-held sector of Aleppo as part of an assault that threatens the lives of 250,000 more people in a war that has already claimed some 500,000 Syrian lives.

    Russia has tried hard to pin the blame for the airline crash on Ukraine. But the new report, produced by prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, confirms earlier findings. It uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow’s continuing cover-up.

    Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, told The Times last week that his government is determined to bring both Russia and the individuals who fired the missile to justice.

    Some Western officials have accused Russia of war crimes, charges that could be pursued through international channels, even if Moscow blocks a formal referral to the International Criminal Court. New sanctions against Russia also should be considered. Mr. Putin will undoubtedly fight any such action, using his veto on the Security Council, but whatever his response, the United States should lend its support to Ukraine’s quest for accountability.

    There seems no holding Mr. Putin to account in Syria. For months he has pretended to negotiate on a political solution to a five-year-old civil war between his client, President Bashar al-Assad, and rebels backed by the United States and some Arab nations. But despite pleas from Secretary of State John Kerry, who has spent an enormous amount of time and effort negotiating two separate (and short-lived) cease-fires, Russian and Syrian forces, backed by Iranian ground troops, have continued the slaughter.

    Over recent days, Mr. Putin has again shown his true colors with air attacks that have included powerful bunker-busting bombs that can destroy underground hospitals and safety zones where civilians seek shelter. On Sept. 19, Russia bombed an aid convoy, which like hospitals and civilians are not supposed to be targeted under international law.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Kerry threatened to withdraw an American team from Geneva where the two sides had established a center to collaborate on a cease-fire. But that is likely to have little effect, and Mr. Kerry has few, if any, diplomatic cards to play.

    President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria. And Mr. Putin may be assuming that Mr. Obama is unlikely to confront Russia in his final months and with an American election season in full swing. But with the rebel stronghold in Aleppo under threat of falling to the government, administration officials said that such a response is again under consideration.

    Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior — butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home — suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/29/op...law-state.html

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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    • Eastern Europe arming itself because ‘no one wants to be the next Ukraine’
      EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/09/29

      In what many are calling “the Putin effect,” countries across Eastern Europe, including even Belarus, nominally Russia’s closest ally, are now arming themselves even when they have to cut social welfare spending because, in the words of one commentator, “no one wants to be the next Ukraine.”

      This sacrifice makes them producers of security and not just consumers who rely on others, including NATO and the United States, whatever some Western politicians may say; and it is an indication of just how frightened they are that the Kremlin leader, however bogged down he may be in Ukraine, appears to them as a continuing existential threat.

      Some of the increases these countries are making in their defense structures are usefully surveyed today by the Belsat news agency.

      Poland has done perhaps more than anyone else, beefing up its territorial defense and increasing the size of its military, including the development of a system of reserves modeled on the US National Guard and plans to purchase new weapons systems in the coming years.

      The Czech Republic, Belsat says, has moved in “the very same direction,” approving a security and foreign policy strategy based on the proposition that Russia is now a major threat. It has increased defense spending, as has Slovakia for the same reasons.

      The three Baltic countries have increased the size of their forces and their spending on defense. Estonia plans to spend over the next four years more than Belarus does. Latvia is raising its defense spending to two percent of GDP. And Lithuania is forming special forces and a trilateral force with Poland and Ukraine. The Scandinavian countries are also increasing their defense capacity and links with NATO.

      Estonia, Belarus and Ukraine have retained the draft, and Latvia is thinking about restoring it in order to guarantee a sufficiently large defense force. Finland has a draft, and Sweden is now debating restoring obligatory military service.
      Eastern Europe arming itself because ‘no one wants to be the next Ukraine’ | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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      • How ‘separatists’ are prosecuted in Russia Independent lawyers on one of Russia’s most controversial statutes
        MEDUZA 12:11, 21 september 2016

        Russia’s Supreme Court is preparing a ruling to clarify one of the Russian Criminal Code’s most controversial statutes: Article 280.1 (on public calls to action for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation). The article entered the Criminal Code in May 2014, and has, so far, been applied in 15 cases (the majority of which concern Crimea). In addition, there have been five convictions for statements on social networks and publications, in particular. Since this article has no precedence in Russian law, Meduza asked the head of the international human rights group Agora Pavel Chikov and its lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliev for their thoughts.

        After the parade of sovereignties
        The issue of Russia’s territories has garnered a lot of discussion in recent years in terms of how and who can join the Federation and whether someone can leave. A consensus has formed in public opinion both on a measure of autonomy and a right to self-determination and – concurrently with the appearance of article 280.1 in the Criminal Code – about being held liable for calls to action to violate Russia’s territorial integrity.

        Article 280.1 went into effect on May 9, 2014, and a relevant case appeared almost immediately, with the first sentences being handed down in 2015. Though the lawyers confirmed that investigators were and are cautious in applying this law: in two years, there have been 15 cases, five convictions, and one forced hospitalization. All of these defendants were found guilty: three were given prison terms and one was sent to a psychiatric hospital.

        So what is so wrong with convicted citizens getting sentenced to prison?

        To understand the situation, perhaps, it stands to briefly recall the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the right to peoples’ self-determination (Article 5). The Constitution also includes an entire chapter on Federation (chapter 3). But there is one small detail: the Constitution only addresses the question of being admitting to the Russian Federation. There is not a single line about the possibility, or even the right, to secede from it.

        Well, then what about sovereignty? Yes, republics have a right to sovereignty, but in no way does this imply the right to secede from the Federation. This is the official explanation and interpretation of the constitutional provisions the Constitutional Court gave in the late 1990s and early 2000s (for example, the decision № 10-P of 7 June, 2000).

        We will not bore you with legalese like "contractual federation" or "constitutional federation." Put simply, the Constitutional Court’s positions are as follows: all subjects of the Russian Federation are inalienable and constitutive parts of the Federation and do not have the right to secede from the Russian Federation. The Constitutional Court made these rulings after the so-called "parade of sovereignties" and infamous events in the North Caucasus in the 1990s. It turns out that the subjects of the Russian Federation misinterpreted the term "sovereignty". In reality, the term had several different meanings that the subjects did not understand.

        One can argue over whether these findings are valid or not, but today the situation should be taken as a given, since the Constitutional Court is the only authority that has the right to officially interpret the Constitution’s provisions and its decisions cannot be appealed. Hence, the government’s official position is: it is possible to join the Russian Federation, but impossible to secede from it. All of this is clear in the words of the anthem “the age-old union of fraternal peoples,” or its Soviet equivalent “forever united.2 It seems like freedom, but is really an eternal union.

        The Politics of Separatism
        Increasingly, the word "separatism" has a negative, illegitimate meaning. In reality, separatism does not mean something prohibited and illegal in all cases. Separatism is a policy and practice based on peoples’ right to self-determination and secession in order to create a new state or become a part of another state.

        We can identify two main ways to realize secession: peaceful and violent. Currently, there are legal separatist political parties: there’s the Québécois Party in Canada and the Scottish National Party in Scotland. There have been official referendums on independence held in these countries: in Scotland, just recently, in 2014, and in Quebec in 1995.
        The most famous example of a violent solution to territorial issues was that of Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary organization whose goal was to achieve full independence for Northern Ireland (In 2005, the IRA leadership announced a transition to a political settlement of the conflict). It is likely that defined legal regulations in the West in regards to independence referendums are intended to limit such violence. This position is also held by the European Court of Human Rights. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in which Russia plays an important role, shares this position as well. In particular, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism (of June 15, 2001 and ratified by Russia in 2003) mentions criminal prosecution for separatism carried out exclusively through the use of force.

        Russian lawmakers introduced a new article into the Criminal Code prohibiting calls for the violation of territorial integrity in 2014. We will not speculate on the real motives of law’s authors or try to find a connection between these innovations and infamous events in Russia and Ukraine in spring of 2014. The draft amendments to the Criminal Code were developed and adopted in 2013, long before those events. Today this is not so important. What is more crucial is to understand how investigators and courts interpret and apply these laws, and even more importantly, against whom.

        There is another important detail. As we have said, the amendments to the Criminal Code went into effect on May 9, 2014, but after two and a half months (that is on July 21, 2014), revisions were adopted. The maximum penalty of three years of imprisonment was increased to four. Crimes that were initially treated as minor offenses were now more serious crimes.
        As a rule, amendments to sentencing in the Criminal Code occur in large blocks (that is of amendments to numerous laws pertaining to various categories of offenses simultaneously), but, in this case, amendments were introduced for this single article only, which is something that had never happened before. Why all the attention? It is very simple: the code practically prohibited sentencing for minor offenses and only then punished people mainly with probation, as opposed to real imprisonment. A “legitimate” reason is necessary to arrest and sentence someone to real time in prison.

        Provocative Statements
        As of today, there have been 15 criminal cases tried on the basis of Article 280.1, all in the period of 2015-2016. According to official Supreme Court data, no one was sentenced under the article in 2014.

        In 2015, sentences were handed to Rafis Kashapov, Yuri Avdoshkin, Darya Poliudova, Vladimir Zavarkin, Alexei Moroshkin, and Alexei Z. Kashapov pleaded innocent and he was sentenced to three years in a penal colony. Polyudova pleaded innocent and got two years in a settlement colony; Moroshkin was sent to compulsory mental treatment. Zavarkin pleaded innocent and was fined. Alexei Z. pleaded innocent and received probation. Criminal cases have been initiated and investigated against three more: leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement Refat Chubarov, Crimean businessman Lenur Islyamov, and Crimean journalist Anna Andriyevskaya.

        In 2016, Alexei Bubeev pleaded innocent and was sentenced to two years and three months in a penal colony. Ilmi Umerov, Nikolai Semena, Vladimir Khagdaev, and Andrei Piontkovsky are currently being investigated under Article 280.1. Piontkovsky fled Russia, Umerov is in custody, and Semena and Khagdaev are under house arrest. In Kaliningrad, there also a case that the FSB initiated in August 2016.

        The statements of the accused pertained to status of Crimea (eight cases), Karelia, Siberia, and the Urals, as well as a unified Mongolia, Chechnya, the Republic of Komi, the Kuban Region, and the Kaliningrad region.

        The statistics are strange. Do only those who have threatened Russia’s integrity fall under Article 280.1? Why has one statute caused so much fuss? Who are these “villains” who call for Russia’s disintegration? Where are their weapons, recruits, plans to seize telephones, railway stations, etc.? Where are their calls to violence? In reality, there is no evidence of such menacing uses of force, nor the court actually need them, the lawyers say. Nothing but words are necessary for both prosecution and conviction. The numbers do not tell the whole story about these people and their dealings. Therefore, we focus on those who have already been convicted.

        Avdoshkin, aka Yuri Stop, a known co-chairman of the nationalist organization "Northern Frontier" and the chairman of the group "Russians" in the Komi Republic, "acted on separatist sympathies deliberately kept texts on his computer that appealed to the public for the secession of the Komi Republic from the Russian Federation with the purpose of provoking an indefinite number of people to carry out illegal acts aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the state”. The court did not mention any calls for violence in its sentence. In reality, Avdoshkin had posted a comment to a certain article online. The defendant plead guilty and the court past judgement without examining the evidence.

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

        Comment


        • How ‘separatists’ are prosecuted in Russia Independent lawyers on one of Russia’s most controversial statutes
          MEDUZA 12:11, 21 september 2016

          Russia’s Supreme Court is preparing a ruling to clarify one of the Russian Criminal Code’s most controversial statutes: Article 280.1 (on public calls to action for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation). The article entered the Criminal Code in May 2014, and has, so far, been applied in 15 cases (the majority of which concern Crimea). In addition, there have been five convictions for statements on social networks and publications, in particular. Since this article has no precedence in Russian law, Meduza asked the head of the international human rights group Agora Pavel Chikov and its lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliev for their thoughts.

          After the parade of sovereignties
          The issue of Russia’s territories has garnered a lot of discussion in recent years in terms of how and who can join the Federation and whether someone can leave. A consensus has formed in public opinion both on a measure of autonomy and a right to self-determination and – concurrently with the appearance of article 280.1 in the Criminal Code – about being held liable for calls to action to violate Russia’s territorial integrity.

          Article 280.1 went into effect on May 9, 2014, and a relevant case appeared almost immediately, with the first sentences being handed down in 2015. Though the lawyers confirmed that investigators were and are cautious in applying this law: in two years, there have been 15 cases, five convictions, and one forced hospitalization. All of these defendants were found guilty: three were given prison terms and one was sent to a psychiatric hospital.

          So what is so wrong with convicted citizens getting sentenced to prison?

          To understand the situation, perhaps, it stands to briefly recall the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the right to peoples’ self-determination (Article 5). The Constitution also includes an entire chapter on Federation (chapter 3). But there is one small detail: the Constitution only addresses the question of being admitting to the Russian Federation. There is not a single line about the possibility, or even the right, to secede from it.

          Well, then what about sovereignty? Yes, republics have a right to sovereignty, but in no way does this imply the right to secede from the Federation. This is the official explanation and interpretation of the constitutional provisions the Constitutional Court gave in the late 1990s and early 2000s (for example, the decision № 10-P of 7 June, 2000).

          We will not bore you with legalese like "contractual federation" or "constitutional federation." Put simply, the Constitutional Court’s positions are as follows: all subjects of the Russian Federation are inalienable and constitutive parts of the Federation and do not have the right to secede from the Russian Federation. The Constitutional Court made these rulings after the so-called "parade of sovereignties" and infamous events in the North Caucasus in the 1990s. It turns out that the subjects of the Russian Federation misinterpreted the term "sovereignty". In reality, the term had several different meanings that the subjects did not understand.

          One can argue over whether these findings are valid or not, but today the situation should be taken as a given, since the Constitutional Court is the only authority that has the right to officially interpret the Constitution’s provisions and its decisions cannot be appealed. Hence, the government’s official position is: it is possible to join the Russian Federation, but impossible to secede from it. All of this is clear in the words of the anthem “the age-old union of fraternal peoples,” or its Soviet equivalent “forever united.2 It seems like freedom, but is really an eternal union.

          The Politics of Separatism
          Increasingly, the word "separatism" has a negative, illegitimate meaning. In reality, separatism does not mean something prohibited and illegal in all cases. Separatism is a policy and practice based on peoples’ right to self-determination and secession in order to create a new state or become a part of another state.

          We can identify two main ways to realize secession: peaceful and violent. Currently, there are legal separatist political parties: there’s the Québécois Party in Canada and the Scottish National Party in Scotland. There have been official referendums on independence held in these countries: in Scotland, just recently, in 2014, and in Quebec in 1995.
          The most famous example of a violent solution to territorial issues was that of Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary organization whose goal was to achieve full independence for Northern Ireland (In 2005, the IRA leadership announced a transition to a political settlement of the conflict). It is likely that defined legal regulations in the West in regards to independence referendums are intended to limit such violence. This position is also held by the European Court of Human Rights. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in which Russia plays an important role, shares this position as well. In particular, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism (of June 15, 2001 and ratified by Russia in 2003) mentions criminal prosecution for separatism carried out exclusively through the use of force.

          Russian lawmakers introduced a new article into the Criminal Code prohibiting calls for the violation of territorial integrity in 2014. We will not speculate on the real motives of law’s authors or try to find a connection between these innovations and infamous events in Russia and Ukraine in spring of 2014. The draft amendments to the Criminal Code were developed and adopted in 2013, long before those events. Today this is not so important. What is more crucial is to understand how investigators and courts interpret and apply these laws, and even more importantly, against whom.

          There is another important detail. As we have said, the amendments to the Criminal Code went into effect on May 9, 2014, but after two and a half months (that is on July 21, 2014), revisions were adopted. The maximum penalty of three years of imprisonment was increased to four. Crimes that were initially treated as minor offenses were now more serious crimes.
          As a rule, amendments to sentencing in the Criminal Code occur in large blocks (that is of amendments to numerous laws pertaining to various categories of offenses simultaneously), but, in this case, amendments were introduced for this single article only, which is something that had never happened before. Why all the attention? It is very simple: the code practically prohibited sentencing for minor offenses and only then punished people mainly with probation, as opposed to real imprisonment. A “legitimate” reason is necessary to arrest and sentence someone to real time in prison.

          Provocative Statements
          As of today, there have been 15 criminal cases tried on the basis of Article 280.1, all in the period of 2015-2016. According to official Supreme Court data, no one was sentenced under the article in 2014.

          In 2015, sentences were handed to Rafis Kashapov, Yuri Avdoshkin, Darya Poliudova, Vladimir Zavarkin, Alexei Moroshkin, and Alexei Z. Kashapov pleaded innocent and he was sentenced to three years in a penal colony. Polyudova pleaded innocent and got two years in a settlement colony; Moroshkin was sent to compulsory mental treatment. Zavarkin pleaded innocent and was fined. Alexei Z. pleaded innocent and received probation. Criminal cases have been initiated and investigated against three more: leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement Refat Chubarov, Crimean businessman Lenur Islyamov, and Crimean journalist Anna Andriyevskaya.

          In 2016, Alexei Bubeev pleaded innocent and was sentenced to two years and three months in a penal colony. Ilmi Umerov, Nikolai Semena, Vladimir Khagdaev, and Andrei Piontkovsky are currently being investigated under Article 280.1. Piontkovsky fled Russia, Umerov is in custody, and Semena and Khagdaev are under house arrest. In Kaliningrad, there also a case that the FSB initiated in August 2016.

          The statements of the accused pertained to status of Crimea (eight cases), Karelia, Siberia, and the Urals, as well as a unified Mongolia, Chechnya, the Republic of Komi, the Kuban Region, and the Kaliningrad region.

          The statistics are strange. Do only those who have threatened Russia’s integrity fall under Article 280.1? Why has one statute caused so much fuss? Who are these “villains” who call for Russia’s disintegration? Where are their weapons, recruits, plans to seize telephones, railway stations, etc.? Where are their calls to violence? In reality, there is no evidence of such menacing uses of force, nor the court actually need them, the lawyers say. Nothing but words are necessary for both prosecution and conviction. The numbers do not tell the whole story about these people and their dealings. Therefore, we focus on those who have already been convicted.

          continue read:https://meduza.io/en/feature/2016/09...uted-in-russia

          æ, !

          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

          Comment


          • Russian government denies that it plans to deprive unemployed citizens of free healthcare benefits
            TASS 04:43, 29 september 2016

            The Kremlin's press service has denied that a law is being drafted to deprive unemployed citizens the right to free medical care.

            "Neither the government, nor in the Ministry of Labor is developing any legislation that would suggest introducing non-subsidized medical care for unemployed citizens," said the press service on Thursday.

            The government stressed that the provision of free healthcare (both on the federal and the municipal level) is guaranteed by the Russia constitution.

            Previously, the press service said that "it [was] necessary to distinguish between those citizens who are unemployed and the millions of people who work in the 'gray economy' and do not pay taxes."

            On Wednesday, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister of Labor Olga Golodets announced that a bill was being prepare to force unemployed people to pay for the use of healthcare centers and hospitals.

            Under current Russian law, unemployed citizens do not pay insurance fees, including those for mandatory health insurance.

            In a 2014 document on fiscal policy, it was mentioned that compulsory contributions could be introduced in 2015-2017 for unemployed citizens to maintain access to health insurance in the future. Ministry of Labor has prepared a bill that would force unemployed people to pay for the use of healthcare centers and hospitals. This was announced by on Wednesday.

            In early September 2016, Valentina Matviyenko, chairman of the Federation Council—Russia's upper house of parliament—said that citizens must either pay social security or receive fewer medical benefits. https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/09/29...hcare-benefits

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            • Russia bans PornHub
              TJournal
              11:42, 14 september 2016

              The Kremlin's media and Internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has ordered Russian ISP's to block PornHub, the world's leading porn website.

              IP's and URL's for PornHub and YouPorn were added to Russia's Registry of illegal content on May 13th. According to Roskomnadzor, it acted in accordance with a local court decision, which had ruled in May 2016 that PornHub 'violated the ban on the dissemination of information regarding the production of pornographic materials and paraphernalia'.

              Russia's current laws do not ban the consumption of pornography, although production is illegal. In April 2015, a court in Tatarstan ruled that all Internet porn in the country was illegal, however major websites continued to work in Russia. https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/09/14...a-bans-porhhub

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              • Judicial reform launched in Ukraine The judicial reform was launched in Ukraine today, September 30: the necessary changes to the Constitution were adopted by MPs in June.
                UNIAN Sept 30, 2016

                According to the amendments, the Parliament is now authorized to create and eliminate judicial institutions, instead of the President of Ukraine. Higher specialized courts will be abolished, but the Supreme Court will remain – all of its judges will be changed, according to Ukrainian news service TSN.

                Judges will also see an increase in wages but their immunity will be limited. However, this will only apply to committing a crime, such as a bribe, or an accident, but not the rulings issued.

                The High Council of Justice will be replaced by the High Council of Jurisdiction. It will give consent to the detention, arrest and dismissal of judges. The "violation of the oath" will be excluded from the possible reasons for dismissal.

                Prior to the judicial reform, 29 judges were dismissed by the Verkhovna Rada on the proposal of the High Council of Justice, including those who had convicted Maidan protesters.

                http://www.unian.info/politics/15481...ine-today.html

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                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

                Comment


                • Israel appeals to Ukraine MFA due to anti-Semitism in broadcasts from annexed Crimea The Embassy of Israel in Ukraine has handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine a note regarding the content of the Planeta TV and radio company, promoting xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
                  UNIAN Sept 29, 2016

                  The National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine said that they have long been trying to deprive the company of a broadcasting license.

                  The note states that the embassy "will be grateful" if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the law enforcement agencies about the broadcaster, the National Council said.
                  The regulator has given an explanation to the Foreign Ministry and expressed confidence that Israel's note would be a serious argument for the speedy detection of offenses committed by the company, which has a registered office in Kyiv, but is broadcasting from the territory of the annexed Crimea.

                  "On August 31, 2016, a routine inspection recorded a number of violations, in particular in broadcasting, as propaganda of exclusivity was found, as well as of superiority or inferiority of persons on grounds of their religious beliefs, ideology, membership of a nation or race, physical or property status, social origin. The regulator applied an "ad warning" sanction to "Television Network" UNIQA-TV" LLC (satellite broadcasting, logo Planeta). Dissemination of hate speech by the TV channel, especially during the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy, is particularly outrageous and cynical," the National Council said. Read also Poroshenko: Together, we are building Ukraine where there is no place for anti-Semitism

                  "Another warning was issued the broadcaster on July 14, 2016. And earlier, on June 25, 2015, for violation of license conditions and program concept of broadcasting, as well as the failure of the National Council orders to eliminate violations of Part 8 of Article 28 of the Law of Ukraine "On Television and Radio broadcasting," the National Council decided to appeal to the court to revoke the license of the broadcaster. The trial on the suit of the National Council is still ongoing, while the broadcaster continues to violate the license conditions and requirements of the current legislation," the National Council stressed.

                  "In September, the National Council appealed to the SBU Security Service and Interior Ministry with a request to take appropriate measures of influence to the broadcaster, which distributes xenophobic and chauvinistic statements on air," the regulator said.

                  Israel appeals to Ukraine MFA due to anti-Semitism in broadcasts from annexed Crimea

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                  Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                  • Sep. 30, 2016 UKRAINE TODAY
                    Miracles do happen... even in maternity homes in Ukraine

                    A woman from the city of Zhytomyr gave birth to triplets, she was expecting twins

                    A 29-year old woman from Zhytomyr in Ukraine gave birth to triplets even though she was expected to have twins. It became a real surprise not only for her and her husband, but also for doctors. All ultrasound scans showed she was pregnant with a twin.

                    Zhanna Ivanova's birthing started too soon. The woman was admitted to the regional maternity clinic delivering three boys into this world - each being two kilograms. Even though they are 2 months early, they are all healthy. And these three newly-born boys have yet another brother waiting for them at home.

                    "Everyone was telling us we have twins. We expected two boys. But when we were told we will have another boy, we were extremely happy", Zhanna Ivanova, triplets' mother, said. Triplet surprise in the city of Zhytomyr: Miracles do happen... even in maternity homes in Ukraine

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                    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                    • Ukraine's diplomat explains how to bypass Russia's veto in creating MH17 tribunal Ukrainian diplomat Volodymyr Vasylenko, who worked as Ukraine's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, a judge for the International Criminal Court in 2001-2005 and was Ukraine's envoy to the UN Human Rights Council in 2006-2010, says that Ukraine should insist on the creation of an international tribunal on the downing of flight MH17 to bring the guilty to justice.
                      UNIAN 20 Sept 2016

                      He advises that the results of the Joint International Criminal Investigation Team, which has been investigating the MH17 crash, should be handed over to the International Criminal Court, he said at a press conference in Kyiv on Friday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

                      "Ukraine is eligible to raise the issue of bringing that case in front of an international court, as the crime was committed in its territory," Vasylenko said.

                      In his words, the second option could be the creation of an international court in the presence of the states that have been involved in the MH17 investigation.

                      Vasylenko does not rule out that Russia may use its right to veto at the UN Security Council, but if it happens, the UN Charter stipulates – and there has been a precedent already – the creation of an international court by the UN General Assembly.

                      "If the UN Security Council is unable to take such a decision, it could be done through the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly, and this decision would serve as permission," he said.

                      Vasylenko also expressed the opinion that the preliminary results of the MH17 investigation, which have been recently made public, are very well-grounded and analyzed.

                      "If the case gets to court some day, the court would have a very substantial evidence base for analysis and decision-making," he said.

                      He says that from the point of view of international law, the MH17 incident is not an act of terror but a war crime, as military hardware was used against a commercial plane," he said.

                      Commenting on the possibility of bringing to justice Russian President Vladimir Putin whose army was reportedly involved in the downing of the plane, Vasylenko said that the Western nations could create an anti-Putin coalition and toughen anti-Russian sanctions.

                      "An anti-Putin coalition could be created along with the adoption of large-scale sanctions to punish Putin and his criminal gang, as the West has sufficient leverage – economic, political and diplomatic one to press Russia and make it abide by international laws. As the Western leaders should take it soberly in order not to pay a higher price if they try to please Putin without thinking that he poses a threat to the Western democracies and the entire international community," he said.

                      Read more on UNIAN: Ukraine's diplomat explains how to bypass Russia's veto in creating MH17 tribunal

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                      • Reuters: Russia sends more warplanes to Syria amid world anger at 'barbarous' strikes Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its campaign of air strikes, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as Moscow defied global censure over an escalation that Western countries say has torpedoed diplomacy, according to Reuters
                        UNIAN 30 Sept 2016

                        U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the Russian and Syrian bombing of the city of Aleppo as "barbarous", the White House said after the two leaders spoke by telephone, Reuters wrote.

                        Fighting intensified a week into a new Russian-backed government offensive to capture all of Syria's largest city and crush the last remaining urban stronghold of the rebellion.

                        Moscow and its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, spurned a ceasefire agreed this month to launch the offensive, potentially the biggest and most decisive battle in the Syrian civil war which is now in its sixth year.

                        Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was ready to consider more ways to normalize the situation in Aleppo.

                        But in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov criticized Washington's failure to separate moderate rebel groups from those the Russians call terrorists, which had allowed forces led by the group formerly known as the Nusra front to violate the truce brokered by Moscow and Washington.

                        The call came a day after Kerry said there was no point pursuing further negotiations with Russia over Syria "in the context of the kind of bombing taking place".

                        Western countries accuse Russia of war crimes, saying it has deliberately targeted civilians, hospitals and aid deliveries in recent days to crush the will of 250,000 people trapped inside Aleppo's besieged rebel-held sector.

                        Moscow and Damascus say they have targeted only militants.

                        Reuters: Russia sends more warplanes to Syria amid world anger at 'barbarous' strikes

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                        • Trump’s Russian roulette - How the Repubican nominee’s embrace of Vladimir Putin has given Clinton a swing state opening.
                          POLITICO Katie Glueck 9/30/16, 3:36 AM CET

                          The Hillary Clinton campaign is meeting with swing-state leaders of Eastern European descent, encouraging ethnic debate watch parties and phone banks, and scheduling conference calls with Clinton allies from her State Department days as part of an aggressive effort to capitalize on Donald Trump’s embrace of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his equivocal support for NATO.

                          For years, voters with Eastern Bloc roots embraced the Republican Party, viewing the GOP as an anti-communist bulwark and a champion of strength in the face of Russian aggression.

                          But the Republican nominee’s frequent praise of Putin and talk of conditional American backing for NATO members under attack has alarmed voters with close family ties to Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and other Eastern European countries, raising the prospect that they’ll bolt the top of the GOP ticket in November.

                          “The Latvians are primarily Republicans, as are Lithuanians, Estonians, and many Ukrainians, but Trump has put them in a real bind,” said Maris Mantenieks, a Latvian leader in Ohio’s Eastern European ethnic community. “Because in all honesty they don’t want to vote for [Clinton], and yet again they can’t express their Republicanism due to Trump’s positions.”

                          These voters, many of whom live in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, are deeply worried by an emboldened Moscow, and anxious over the possibility that the Baltic nations might be the next target of Russian adventurism. Trump’s lavish praise of Putin has exacerbated those concerns — leaving an opening that Clinton’s campaign is leveraging by emphasizing her willingness to get tough with Putin, and her unwavering support for NATO. Earlier this month, Clinton met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in New York— and her allies made sure to publicize the message that Trump snubbed him.

                          For many, their ties to Eastern Europe are attenuated — it could be enough to make a difference in a tightly contested race, Democrats say.

                          “From a policy perspective, one of the things Trump really opened up is conversations with groups that tend to lean more conservative, because of his dangerously pro-Kremlin ties … and anti-NATO perspective,” said John McCarthy, Clinton’s “director of heritage community outreach,” who is focused in part on cultivating support for Clinton from Eastern European-American communities in battleground states.

                          In Pennsylvania, according to the most recent Census data available, there are more than 100,000 people of Ukrainian descent; 820,000 of Polish descent — a demographic that tends to be more Democratic-leaning, but that cares about strong support for NATO; 46,000 Croatians, and thousands of Lithuanians, Latvians, Albanians, Estonians and people of other Eastern European ethnicities. In Ohio, there are around 40,000 Ukrainians, more than 400,000 Poles, and thousands of Americans of other Eastern European heritage.

                          While these groups don’t necessarily vote as monolithic blocs — for many, their ties to Eastern Europe are attenuated — it could be enough to make a difference in a tightly contested race, Democrats say.

                          Restaurant owner Dominykas Ceckauskas pose next to a mural on the wall of his Lithuanian establishment depicting U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin | Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty

                          “I believe in our community, in many Eastern European communities, there is a high percentage of … voters that do still take foreign policy seriously because of our own immigrant story, or their strong support for NATO, that would lead one to be a supporter and vote for Hillary Clinton,” said Steve Rukavina, a leader in the national Croatian community based in Pennsylvania and helping to organize ethnic engagement efforts for Clinton in the state, in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee’s National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council. “We believe that can make a difference in this election, in any swing state that could be very close. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

                          In Ohio, engaging Eastern European ethnic communities is a campaign staple, particularly in northeastern Ohio, which is home to significant Polish and Ukrainian communities. George Voinovich, the late Republican governor, senator and Cleveland mayor — himself of Serbian and Slovenian descent — prioritized establishing strong relationships with ethnic communities in the state, and GOP Sen. Rob Portman, up for re-election this cycle, is taking the same approach.

                          Portman has met with ethnic leaders in the state as many as 14 times in the last three years, and is a champion of a strong Ukraine, a country at odds with Russia and pro-Russian forces. He still looks poised to net strong support from the Ukrainian and Eastern European voters but community leaders have made clear to him that this year, support for Trump at the top of the ticket is a bridge too far.

                          At a breakfast meeting with local ethnic leaders last month — the day after a bombshell report dropped revealing extensive ties between Trump’s then-campaign chair and pro-Russia forces — Portman couldn’t escape talk of the GOP nominee.

                          Over Ukrainian cheese blintzes, leaders assembled around the table in Parma, Ohio, laid into Trump, sketching out their concerns about Trump’s lavish praise of Putin, and his equivocal support for NATO.

                          “There was a very strong anti-Trump feeling there,” said Mantenieks, who attended the meeting and said he had an extended conversation with Portman after the breakfast.

                          Added Erika Puussaar, an Estonian-American leader from Cleveland, “I’m very supportive of Rob Portman, our senator, because that’s very important to him that he supports NATO. I don’t think Donald Trump has any idea about how these smaller countries depend on NATO. That’s the only defense against Russia. These countries were invaded during the Second World War, they lived under Russian rule for 50 years, NATO is the only military protection they have.”

                          Yet she harbors serious reservations about Clinton, too, and is considering voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson — playing into Democratic hopes that Republican-leaning voters from ethnic communities won’t turn out for Trump.

                          Andrew Futey, who advises Portman on ethnic outreach and is himself a leader in Cleveland’s Ukrainian community, cautiously gave the Clinton campaign credit for their attempts at engagement.

                          “I think there’s an effort by her team to reach out,” said Futey, who also worked for Voinovich and is undecided on whether he will vote for Trump. “I just hope it’s genuine and that it’s real, and not taking advantage of a political situation, but I think it’s pretty clear her team is trying to reach out.”

                          “Mr. Trump was met with great support by the Polish-American community” — Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks

                          In a sign his campaign senses the risk, Trump has launched his own attempts to reach out to Americans of Eastern European descent, addressing Polish Americans in Chicago on Wednesday.

                          “We want to be strong, which means we want more countries to follow the example of Poland,” Trump said, attempting to soothe concerns about his position on NATO. “If every country in NATO made the same contribution as Poland, all of our allies would be more secure. And people would feel even better about NATO.”

                          Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a prominent Trump surrogate who attended the event, added that while Trump may push other countries to contribute more to NATO, he understands the “solemn obligation” to defend NATO members from attack.

                          Asked what else his campaign was doing to court ethnic voters, spokeswoman Hope Hicks replied only that, “The event [Wednesday] was a tremendous success. Mr. Trump was met with great support by the Polish-American community.”

                          Ulana Mazurkevich, a Ukrainian-American activist who has been working with the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania, said she has no doubt that some ethnic voters will still back Trump — a man whose name she can barely utter because “I get all upset,” she says.

                          An incredulous Mazurkevich is bursting with stories about disagreements she has had with other Ukrainian and Polish-American acquaintances. But through one-on-one meetings, roundtables, door-knocking, handing out flyers at Ukrainian schools and working the crowds at ethnic events, she and other Clinton supporters are expecting to curb Eastern European-American tendencies to vote Republican this year.

                          “Especially with the Ukrainian community, the message is very strong and clear,” she said. “You have a choice: Do you vote for Putin, basically, or there’s another choice: Do you vote for Hillary?” Trump’s Russian roulette – POLITICO

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                          • “DNR” and “LNR” preparing youth there for annexation of region by Russia, Husarov says
                            EUROMADAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/09/29

                            Moscow continues to insist that it recognizes the Donbas as part of Ukraine and will seek its return to Kyiv’s control, but its agents in the unrecognized “DNR” and “LNR” are setting up special camps expanding patriotic instruction in the schools to prepare the young there for the annexation of the region by Russia, according to Vyacheslav Husarov.

                            Husarov, a reserve officer of Ukraine’s intelligence service and an expert in the Information Resistance Group, describes this system in an interview today with Kyiv’s Apostrophe news agency.

                            Both the “DNR” and the “LNR,” he says, organized youth camps this past summer and also sent young people from there to other camps in Russia. In addition, the two “republics” have introduced “patriotic education” courses in the schools and organized Soviet-style Pioneer organizations.

                            And they have organized military training schools in the two oblasts, places which did not have such institutions in the past. All of these things, Husarov says, are intended to prepare the Russian-occupied area to become part of the Russian Federation. “There is no doubt of that,” he says, given what Moscow is doing in Moldova’s Transdniestr region.

                            This is all part of Putin’s plan to extend Russian influence and control across the entire former Soviet and former Warsaw Pact space, something that represents a threat to all the countries in these regions. Ukraine might at some point become a leader that could unite these countries in an anti-Russian coalition. But for the present, it is too weak to do so.

                            In other comments, Husarov says that it is “not a very correct idea” to talk about Ukraine liberating Russian-occupied Crimea by military means. Ukraine isn’t ready for this, and Russia has created “a quite serious military sector which would be able to ensure serious resistance to any Ukrainian move.

                            What makes Husarov’s observations about the “DNR” and “LNR” actions with respect to young people there is that it suggests that Moscow is taking a long-term view and is creating a cadre of people who can be either a foundation for Russian expansion or a Moscow-organized fifth column should the Kremlin in fact hand the Donbas back to Kyiv’s control. "DNR" and "LNR" preparing youth*there for annexation of region by Russia, Husarov says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                            • Serhii Zhadan 2016-09-21
                              EUROZINE MAGAZINE Source: Novoye Vremya

                              No special status -

                              From a distance it isn't visible, but talking with local residents, you can feel it: something is changing. Ukrainian novelist and poet Serhii Zhadan reports from Starobelsk, a town in the Luhansk region near the ceasefire line, held by the Ukrainian government.
                              -----------------------------------------
                              After three days of appearing in Houses of Culture, libraries, and military bases, we are headed home, to Kharkiv. But acquaintances of ours from Starobelsk, the co-organizers of the Road to the East-festival, unexpectedly suggest that we join them in taking assistance to a local family with lots of children. We stop by the supermarket and pick up several bags of food: sugar, flour, canned goods. We head to where they live. The road is torn up, like the majority of roads here. After the rain, everything looks particularly bleak. The family has five children. They are a bit spooked, not used to attention. But they adapt quickly, start smiling.

                              There was no war in Starobelsk. But this family doesn't need a war to feel abandoned and forgotten in time and space. They have their own special status: they are trying to survive no matter what the politicians say on television. How many families like them are there here? With lots of children, not needed by anyone. Local families, or families who came here from occupied territory. Even before the war they didn't feel particularly secure, but then the war made their problems second-tier, problems that could wait. In general, war is a good way to absolve yourself of responsibility. Which is what the Ukrainian authorities have been doing for a couple years now.


                              Demagogy, propaganda, populism, cursing the occupiers. Sometimes you get the impression that these occupiers should renovate our schools, roads, bridges, stock our libraries, support our hospitals. You think about this when you talk with the locals. After all, you can't voice your demands to the authorities - the authorities are far away, they won't hear you - but here you can complain to the volunteers and activists. And in response the volunteers will try to help in some way. Because the authorities can't help anyway - they have more serious matters to deal with: they're busy counting their money.

                              Meanwhile, the Luhansk region keeps on living its life, having adjusted to the reality that the war goes on, and no one can say when it will end. The soldiers say hello to the locals, and everyone has gotten to know each other long ago; girls go up to the soldiers at their posts, breaking every imaginable regulation, and chat amiably. These soldiers in these small Luhansk towns far from the front look altogether well-groomed (and svelte) - unlike the ones sitting in trenches a few dozen kilometres from here. Everything there is, of course, simpler and more immediate - what most needs to be clean are the weapons.

                              We are standing in Starobelsk on the square in front of the bus station. In the middle of the square there is an enormous puddle. A jeep with a "Chaplain" license plate drives across it slowly. Some local person comes up to us, points to the puddle and says: "This is the city's calling card." No way, we answer him, you're its calling card. That's more or less how it is: cities can be rebuilt, roads can be repaired, but you can't substitute budget allocations for love.

                              Today there truly are important things happening with the local population (all right, all right, with part of the local population). Besides an attachment to their birthplace, they are beginning to feel a sense of responsibility for that place; they're trying to do something, at least with those potholes and mud. Activism, ribbons, and flags are evolving into projects, civic initiatives and working with the authorities. That is, the idea is becoming reality, changing that reality at least in some small way.

                              From a distance you can't see it, you won't read about it online, but talking with local librarians, village and town mayors, doctors, and teachers, you understand: something is really changing. Their relationship to the country, their understanding of it, their sense of it is changing. They don't have all that many opportunities, and so it is of the utmost importance that tomorrow they aren't deprived of what they still have today. Otherwise what will be the point of all these projects and initiatives, if behind their backs someone yet again gets it in their head to dump territory, to offer someone special status, to barter over leading positions and profit sources. Right now it is important to hang on to these people, not to let them go, not to betray them, when all is said and done.

                              In the school principal's office there is a portrait of the president (yes, yes, the Ukrainian president); in the Novopskov regional museum there is a new hall dedicated to the Anti-Terrorist Operations; in Svatove, at the same time as our festival, there was an interregional volleyball tournament. The air is clear and light, and the dark blue valleys are warming in the sun. On the streets you see more and more colourful Chinese coats and tennis shoes. Buses run along the dilapidated road towards the Russian border. Everyone has his own road to the East.
                              Eurozine - No special status - Serhii Zhadan

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                              • Ukraine warns Butivka mine being gradually besieged by hybrid forces The hybrid military forces in Donbas take advantage of the ceasefire and are now setting their firing points very close to the Ukrainian positions in an attempt to form a semicircle around the Butivka coal mine, according to Ukraine's TV news service TSN.
                                UNIAN 30 Sept 2016

                                The enemy has long ago determined its targets at the coal mine, and there are actually no safe positions there, TSN said.

                                Some Ukrainian positions regularly come under enemy crossfire, while Ukrainian troops are banned from firing back because they should abide by the recently agreed ceasefire.

                                Only traces of bullets on the left walls demonstrate how intensive firing is near the Butivka coal mine: the distance between holes in the walls is not more than 10-12 centimeters. Butivka is being mercilessly attacked even when other positions see a truce.

                                A Ukrainian soldier whose nom de guerre is Sam says that the firing point he is defending now is being slowly encircled by the enemy.

                                "They've started to regularly open fire at eight o'clock. Four positions have been built – and that's all. [Machine-gun] tracers are flying all night long so that nobody could even lift the head to see where they come from," he said.

                                These are just a few remaining concrete slabs – this is where the Ukrainian defenders of the Butivka coal mine can hide themselves from enemy fire, TSN said.

                                The Ukrainian soldiers who are defending the mine can withstand heavy attacks, and not long ago they were able to post a new Ukrainian flag – it is much bigger than the previous ones and is flying higher, the television news service said.

                                Ukraine warns Butivka mine being gradually besieged by hybrid forces

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