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  • Activists fill Moscow center with posters of abducted Crimean Tatar (Video) In Moscow, the activists placed numerous posters with photos of the Crimean Tatar human rights activist Ervin Ibragimov, who was abducted in May.
    UNIAN 11 Oct 2016 Video

    This way, the activists are trying to draw international attention to the abductions and murders of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea, the press service of the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine told UNIAN.

    The ministry also posted a video on YouTube on abductions in the temporarily occupied peninsula.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, Ibragimov disappeared in Crimea in May 2016. His car was found abandoned in the middle of the road. Ibragimov is a former deputy of the Bakhchisaray city council, a member of the executive committee of the World Congress of the Crimean Tatars.

    https://youtu.be/exoG6NIKFNA

    Activists fill Moscow center with posters of abducted Crimean Tatar (Video)

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    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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    • Russian Internet watchdog wants to block aid website for homosexual kids
      07:50, 11 october 2016

      Russia's federal Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor may block the website of Deti-404, a project which provides assistance to gay teenagers, if information that it considers forbidden is not deleted by the end of the day, said the website's administrator Elena Klimova on Tuesday, citing a letter from the agency.

      The letter said Klimova was sent on 10 October. The watchdog, said Klimova, did not elaborate upon precisely what information was deemed inappropriate.

      "Thus, the project will most likely be suspended in the near future on the territory of the Russian Federation. There will be no mirror website [made]. That is all the news. We are working on it," said Klimova.

      --The website, according to a court ruling, contains "information that explicitly promotes nontraditional sexual relations among children, namely homosexuality among boys, lesbianism among girls, and bisexual relationships among children." This, according to the court, was a violation of a law "on the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development."
      --In 2015, a court ruled to block the Deti-404 page on social network VKontakte. The management did, however, continue to work from a different address. Administrator Elena Klimova was fined 50,000 rubles (approximately $800) for the promotion of nontraditional sexual relations among minors. The Supreme Court upheld that decision.
      --The Deti-404 project was designed as a platform in which gay teenagers could share their problems. https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/10/11...omosexual-kids

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      • Russian officials are told to bring their children home from abroad
        Znak.com 12:44, 11 october 2016

        Online publication Znak.com reported that Russian officials and deputies have been advised to bring their relatives, namely children studying abroad and parents living in other countries, back home. According to the publication, which cited unnamed sources, this informal request was made by the presidential administration.

        Znak.com maintains that this recommendation has been made to all officials, including members of the presidential administration, as well as deputies at all levels of government and employees of state-owned corporations.

        This information has yet to be confirmed by other sources.

        Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told news agency TASS that he had "never seen or heard" of such information.

        --In 2014, shortly after the annexation of Crimea to Russia and the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas, Interior Ministry employees, as well as employees of other security agencies, were forbidden from travelling abroad. Officially, this ban was presented as a recommendation. https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/10/11...me-from-abroad

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        • THE DAILY STAR Middle East Lebanon Oct. 11, 2016 | 01:21 PM
          Russian jets resume heavy bombing of eastern Aleppo: rebels, monitor

          BEIRUT: Russian jets resumed heavy bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Tuesday after several days of relative calm, a rebel official and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

          Air strikes mostly hit the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Zakaria Malhifji of the Aleppo-based Fastaqim rebel group told Reuters.

          "There is renewed bombardment and it is heavy," he said.

          Rebel officials and the Observatory reported casualties from the air strikes but gave no immediate toll.

          Moscow and Damascus reduced air raids in the northern city last week. The Syrian army said it was partly to allow civilians to leave opposition-held eastern neighborhoods.

          The Syrian government said rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms.

          Insurgents denounced that offer as a deception.

          President Bashar Assad seeks the complete recapture of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city before the 5-1/2-year war, and which has been divided between government and opposition control for years.

          Assad's ally Russia has meanwhile built up its forces in Syria since a brief ceasefire collapsed last month. Russian Jets Resume Heavy Bombing of Eastern Aleppo | World Affairs Journal

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          • Nearly 1.7 million IDPs registered in Ukraine
            UKRINFORM 11.10.2016

            As of early October, 1 million 696 thousand Ukrainian citizens, who had been forced to move from Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, were registered.

            This was reported by the press service of the Social Policy Ministry of Ukraine.

            "As of October 10, 2016, 1.696,326 internally displaced persons or 1.374,632 families from Donbas and Crimea were registered by the social protection departments of regional and Kyiv city state administrations," the press service informed.

            As reported, slightly over 1 million families applied for financial assistance, and 930,975 of them were assigned such benefits.
            Nearly 1.7 million IDPs registered in Ukraine - 11.10.2016 11:22 — Ukrinform News

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            • Putin: Sanctions hurt Russia but also negatively affect global economy
              UAWIRE ORG October 12, 2016 9:26:02 AM

              Speaking at the VTB Capital “Russia Calling” forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Western sanctions do hurt the Russian economy, but they also negatively affect the global economy.

              According to Putin, the detrimental effect of the sanctions, both in Russia and throughout the world, are especially apparent in the sphere of technology.

              "We often repeat the mantra that these so-called notorious sanctions do not really affect us. Their influence, and above all the threat I see, is the limit of the transfer of technology. This, incidentally, is not only detrimental to the Russian economy but to the world economy as a whole, because the Russian economy is a vital sector for the global economy," Putin told investors at the forum.

              “So those who do this [impose sanctions] hurt themselves in the end,” the Russian President added.
              UAWire - Putin: Sanctions hurt Russia but also negatively affect global economy
              Last edited by Hannia; 12th October 2016, 15:27.

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              • World faces crisis like 1952/53 rather than 1914, 1939 or 1962, Piontkovsky says
                EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/10/12

                Leaders, like all other people, typically go through a process whenever confronted with a radical change in the situation around them.

                The first stage is denial, an effort to convince themselves and others that nothing has really changed and that the approaches they had used can still work.

                The second stage is a search for an analogy, for some event or events in the past which can provide guidance on what they should do.

                And only latter, and quite often after the crisis has crested, do leaders and individuals move on to an empirical approach, one in which they seek to find the specific features of the new environment in which they find themselves.

                In large measure, the challenges Vladimir Putin has posed to the world were initially met by denial, especially on the part of those Western leaders who felt that if they admitted there was a problem, they would have to come up with a solution – and not having an obvious solution, they tried as best they could to deny there was a problem.

                Now, they are in the time of the search for analogies, with some viewing what Putin has done as like Hitler’s actions in 1939 when he led a mobilized Germany to war against the rest of the world, with only Stalin as his temporary ally and others arguing the world is either going back to a new Cold War with its Cuban missile crisis or stumbling toward a hot one a la 1914.

                Obviously, the analogies leaders choose matter, because they will inevitably select from the flood of information those “facts” which confirm their point of view; and consequently, it is terribly important not only to consider the limits of the analogies on offer – Putin isn’t Hitler, Russia isn’t the USSR, and no archduke is traveling to Sarajevo – but to examine others as well.

                Russian commentator Andrey Piontkovsky suggests an analogy few appear to have considered. He says

                “The situation is very reminiscent of the last months of Stalin’s life (the winter of 1952-1953). Then, Stalin was completely seriously preparing for a nuclear war.”

                As in 1952-1953 with regard to Stalin’s plans, most of Putin’s entourage are “disappointed in Putin” and in his break with the West, which undermines their personal wealth and goals, he continues. There are exceptions, of course, like Nikolai Patrushev who has called for making use of nuclear weapons as a threat, something Putin has accepted.

                There is thus an objective basis for an elite move against Putin, “but there is no institutional mechanism or decisive group of people capable of taking a step so needed for the survival of Russia and possibly the entire world,” Piontkovsky says.

                At least at the end of Stalin’s time, there was a Politburo whose “task above all was putting limits on the possibilities of the power of the first person.” Its members pushed out Lenin, dispatched Stalin, and removed Khrushchev. In short, it “was a defense mechanism against the insanity of the top man.”

                Tragically, in Putin’s Russia, “there is no such mechanism.”
                World faces crisis like 1952/53 rather than 1914, 1939 or 1962, Piontkovsky says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                • ‘Russia is trying to be an empire but it ever more resembles a colony,’ Glukhovsky says
                  EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/10/12

                  The fundamental contradiction in Russia today is that “externally Russia is trying to be an empire but internally it ever more resembles a colony” — albeit one in which the colonial rulers come from the same nationality as most of the ruled, according to Dmitry Glukhovsky.

                  The Russian commentator says that when other post-Soviet states celebrate their national days, it is clear to everyone that they are marking their “liberation from the former metropolitan center.” But when Russia does, what “liberation” is it celebrating? From the burden of empire? Or perhaps from its own past.

                  Unlike all the others, he argues, Russians were enslaved by “people of the same nationality, the same faith and the same culture” as themselves, by Russians whose only desire was and is “to preserve power and use its idols” for their own benefit but not the benefit of the Russian people.

                  Tragically, Glukhovsky says, Russians have generally accepted this arrangement without protest. “Why have we put up with this? … Why have we agreed to belong to cannibals?” How can Russians explain this? And why haven’t they either resisted or fled in massive numbers to escape such a fate?

                  “Could it be that Russians simply don’t need freedom? That while other peoples do, [Russians] don’t?” After all, the last 25 years show that Russians were able “to free the colonies but somehow did not want and were not able to free themselves or even attempt to do so.” The most obvious answer is not encouraging.

                  Even those Russians who protested government repression in the past quickly fell in line with the Kremlin following the annexation of Crimea, treating it as “an act of historical justice and a sign that Russia had finally risen from its knees,” Glukhovsky says.

                  And he cites the words of Nicholas Berdyaev in The Russian Idea that “no other national idea” fits Russia so well and elicits unanimous support as “the idea of territorial expansion. Moreover, the Russian philosopher said,

                  “Russia is condemned to be a police state regardless of what the authorities call it,” all in the name of holding its enormous territory.

                  It appears that in the name of doing that, Russians have overwhelmingly concluded that they do not really need the freedoms that were on offer after 1991, Glukhovsky says. Instead, they are prepared to go back to being repressed as long as the borders stay where they are or expand.

                  “We left Egypt 25 years ago; we have made a circle in the desert through oil-rich sands; we long for pharaonic prisons … and we are voluntarily returning to Egypt,” the Russian commentator says. “Those who were born in the desert got this love for Egypt alone with their mothers’ milk.”

                  And he adds bitterly,

                  “One can understand when veterans of the special services masturbate over Stalin.” But it is harder when those doing so are in their teens, something all too common because “for among our young people are a mass of Stalinists.”

                  But there is a common element: freedom requires that people take responsibility, and neither group wants to do that.

                  Some of this can be explained by simple fear and some by the fear of standing out, Glukhovsky says, commenting that whenever he publishes an article that “calls things by their proper names,” his parents and grandparents advise him to tone his comments down lest they call attention to and result in bad outcomes for him.

                  “Over the course of 25 years of freedom, the generation now in their 60s doesn’t believe in it, although they believe in the possibility of a repetition of terror … and they are ready to be silenced even before the powers that be ask for it.”
                  Some younger people who do not want to struggle for freedom have simply left the country.

                  “Those who do try to continue a discussion of the past and future of Russia outside of the ideological frame of propaganda are blocked by provocateurs and red guards, clowns … and Cossacks, who … simulate patriotism and spy mania.” This happens because Russians have failed to understand that “the path to the justice [they] want lies only through freedom.”

                  “I understand,” Glukhovsky says, “those who march in columns, and I also understand those who put their heads in the sand.” They simply want to live their lives without problems. Only those like Anna Politkovskaya and Boris Nemtsov are prepared to show courage to make changes and to shame those of us who don’t follow their lead.

                  People in every country, including in Russia, “are born free and unique.” It is only after birth that Russians have given up on freedom. “I do not want to believe that [Russia] really is condemned to be an imperial colony,” he concludes. Its enormous territory “can be a space of justice and freedom. But we need to deserve it.” Right now, that isn’t the case. ‘Russia is trying to be an empire but it ever more resembles a colony,’ Glukhovsky says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                  • Red lines Ukraine can’t cross in the Minsk process
                    EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2016/10/12

                    A new meeting of the leaders of the countries in the “Normandy Four” could take place on 19 October.

                    Kyiv has emphasized the necessity to create a draft roadmap to implement the Minsk agreements, which should determine the order of the implementation of security and political measures.

                    In a memo for Ukrainian authorities, Ukrainian think tanks have prepared a memo regarding the “red lines,” i.e. the limits for compromise in the areas of political dialogue, security, and humanitarian issues that should not be crossed by Ukraine within the framework of the Minsk Agreements implementation. While the Minsk process is regarded as the only solution to regulate the conflict in Donbas, Russia has been exerting political pressure on Ukraine to conduct elections in Donbas before a ceasefire is established, and before Ukraine has full control of the border. Without proper monitoring by observers, this would open up possibilities for Russian-backed candidates to enter Ukrainian parliament and wreak havoc from within.

                    The think tanks warn: the political part of the Minsk agreements must take place after the security issues have been resolved.

                    On ceasefire:
                    • a complete and sustainable ceasefire should be maintained according to clause 1 of the “Package of Measures” during disarmament and withdrawal of troops (clause 2 and 3 of the “Package of Measures”) and until the full restoration of control of the border by Ukraine;
                    • the ceasefire should be observed by the OSCE Monitoring Mission and the Joint Control and Coordination Centre, established within the Trilateral Contact Group.

                    On ceasefire:
                    • if until the elections military equipment and armaments are kept on Ukraine’s territory in special security storages, those storages should be guarded by the representatives of an international mission with a military component. Only armed observers are able to ensure compliance and not only monitoring of the implementation of security obligations by the parties

                    On restoration of border control:
                    • permanent control over the border should be restored before the elections in the occupied territories. As an option, acceptable to the conflict parties, border control should be executed by the OSCE Special monitoring mission (SMM) or to the OSCE mission on the Russian border at “Gukovo” and “Donetsk” checkpoints, following the extension of the latter’s mandate to cover all of the Ukraine-Russia border.

                    On elections:
                    • the elections to local government institutions in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts should be held only within a completely demilitarized territory (after Russian military forces and mercenaries are withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine, and military equipment and armaments are, at a minimum, kept in secured storages on the territory of Ukraine and are in the process of withdrawal from the temporary occupied territories);
                    • the election date may be canceled in case of ceasefire violations;
                    • the elections should be held only after the exchange of prisoners and illegal detainees is completed;
                    • the elections should be held according to Ukrainian legislation, according to a law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine;
                    • the law on the elections should not define the election date, but should contain a list of preconditions for the elections, both political (general preconditions for elections defined in the OSCE Copenhagen Document of 1990) and technical (development of an electronic voter register to ensure maximum voting for the internally displaced persons (IDPs), duration and conditions of the election campaign, etc.). The elections should be held only after implementation of the preconditions defined by this law. The political preconditions are the restoration of the basic principles of democratic process; in particular, international observers should confirm freedom of political activity, including freedom of political campaigning and the free functioning of political parties registered in Ukraine (according to the law of Ukraine “On Political Parties”) and non-governmental organizations within the region. Preconditions for the elections should be assessed and approved by a specially established independent election commission including the representatives of the OSCE;
                    • the right to vote should be granted only to the citizens of Ukraine with appropriate residence registration in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts as of April 1, 2014;
                    • conditions should be created to guarantee the maximum possibility for the internally displaced persons to realize their voting rights;
                    • running in the elections should be denied to the persons who have committed grave crimes;
                    • full access to Ukrainian media should be restored at least 2 months before and during the election campaign;
                    • results of the elections should be determined by the Central Election Commission in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine;
                    • security during the elections, including along the administrative boundary line, should be provided by an international police force, established with the OSCE participation and under its supervision and control.

                    On amnesty:
                    • the law on amnesty for persons connected with the events that occurred in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts should not contradict the Ukrainian legislation and should not apply to the crimes against humanity and war crimes. Furthermore, the law on amnesty should contain a defined term of validity and the conditions under which the persons that have been already pardoned can be held accountable for other crimes (e.g. in cases of crimes committed outside the time period to which the law on amnesty applies).

                    On decentralization:
                    • the implementation of the law on special arrangements of local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts should not contradict the constitutional distribution of powers (e.g. law enforcement agencies, judiciary system, etc.)

                    This list is not intended to be exhaustive and may be expanded in accordance with the political situation.

                    Signatories:
                    Institute of World Policy
                    Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation
                    Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research
                    Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation
                    Donetsk Institute of Information
                    School for Policy Analysis at NaUKMA (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

                    Source: Insitute of World Policy

                    Red lines Ukraine can't cross in the Minsk process -Euromaidan Press |

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                    • Ban on alcohol sales in Kyiv at night becomes effective Oct 12 Business entities, holders of relevant licences, are banned from selling alcohol as well as soft alcoholic beverages and beer from 23:00 to 10:00.
                      UNIAN 12 Oct 2016

                      The ban does not apply to restaurants, it is reported.

                      Kyiv authorities warn they will revoke licenses of those businesses that will fail to comply with the city council's decision.

                      The city council also recommends that the Kyiv police should tighten control over the enforcement of the Code of Administrative Offences, prevent the consumption of alcohol, alcoholic beverages and beer on streets, in parks and gardens, sports facilities and public transport.

                      As was reported earlier, on September 22, Kyiv City Council introduced limitations on the sale of alcohol in the capital city's retail outlets at night, from 23:00 to 10:00


                      Ban on alcohol sales in Kyiv at night becomes effective Oct 12

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                      • Russia preparing for war in the media but not in the budget, Moscow commentators say
                        EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/10/13

                        The Moscow media are filled with stories suggesting that Russia is preparing for war, but a close examination of the Russian government budget calls that conclusion into question, leaving open an even larger one: will this media firestorm lead to a real one or will it burn out of its own accord?

                        Anyone who has followed the news from Moscow over the last several weeks, the Meduza portal notes, has to conclude that “Russia is preparing for war. The newspapers and television channels are talking about sudden checks of the military and military exercises … the construction and location of bomb shelters … and rations … in the event of military action.”

                        But a close examination of the Russian state budget, Ekaterina Schulmann of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration says, shows that

                        “Spending on defense is not growing but declining.” What is growing is spending for agencies that can suppress “domestic disorders.”

                        “If someone thinks that we are preparing for a world war,” Schulmann says, “this isn’t visible” from the budget. “If we are preparing for something, then it is for some kind of internal disorders. We intend to feed our defense ministry a little less and to feed out special services and interior force structures more,” at least judging from the budget.

                        But can what is going on in the media lead to something real, can the war on television become a war in reality? That is a question Moscow commentator Oleg Kashin addresses because he says if the current situation were a movie, the news would be a leading indicator.

                        That may not be the case now, he suggests, because

                        for the current Russian elite, “foreign policy always was only a continuation of domestic policy.” All of Putin’s words and actions are addressed in the first instance to the people of the Russian Federation and are intended to ensure that he and his entourage will remain in power.

                        Talking about war is one thing – it may be very good politics – but going to war is something else because it would destroy almost everything that Putin has achieved up to this point and cast doubt on his ability to remain in power in any meaningful war, the commentator continues.

                        To be sure, Kashin says, “we really can’t imagine what is in the heads” of the people in the Kremlin, the former KGB officers. “The little pictures which they draw for internal use have begun suddenly to come alive,” and thinking about what that could mean has got to be horrible for them, as does backing down, given the domestic consequences of doing so.

                        “What is to be done? They do not know.” They know how to ramp up anger but they aren’t prepared to live with taking the obvious next step.

                        Sergey Shoygu likes playing military commander but only as long as it is play and not the real thing, Kashin argues, given what he has to know a real war would amount to.

                        Everything Putin has done, the Moscow commentator says, has been “subordinate to a single goal, that his power will be beyond dispute and that no one else will have the opportunity to make politician decisions … Long ago [he and his entourage] achieved this, and now, they don’t have anyone to divide responsibility for what they have brought about.” Russia preparing for war in the media but not in the budget, Moscow commentators say | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                        • Russia v America - Going nuclear
                          Angry over sanctions, Russia suspends an arms-control deal
                          Oct 8th 2016 | MOSCOW | THE ECONOMIST

                          http://cdn.static-economist.com/site...008_EUC773.png

                          THE list reads like a hostage-taker’s demands. Russia wants America to roll back the expansion of NATO, repeal the Magnitsky Act, end sanctions and pay compensation for Russia’s losses. Until it does, Vladimir Putin declared this week, Russia will stop abiding by an agreement regulating the disposal of plutonium. Russia was forced to act, Mr Putin claimed, because of “the threat to strategic stability posed by America’s hostile actions” (and its failure to deliver on its end of the deal). The move is a reminder that, unlike America, Russia is happy to throw nuclear arguments into the mix when it does not get its way.

                          The suspension of the Plutonium Management and Disposal Agreement (PMDA) is a message intended not so much for Barack Obama as for his successor. “Russia does not plan to work seriously with America” until a new administration arrives in 2017, says Andrey Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council. Mr Putin’s demands serve as a “wish list” should the next American president seek to restore the relationship.

                          Tensions between Russia and America have been building over Syria, where ceasefire efforts have failed and Russian jets continue to pound rebels in Aleppo. On October 3rd, the day Mr Putin issued his decree, American officials announced they were pulling out of talks with Russia over Syria. “Russia failed to live up to its own commitments,” the State Department declared. Since the war in Ukraine, according to Samuel Charap of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a think-tank based in London, Russia and America have managed to protect some islands of co-operation, such as over Iran’s nuclear programme. Now, he says, the tensions have “begun to sweep over those islands”.

                          Russia’s willingness to invoke its nuclear might for political aims is alarming. A year after annexing Crimea in 2014, the Kremlin announced it could deploy nuclear weapons there. Even before suspending the PMDA, Russia had eroded the spirit of nuclear co-operation that prevailed after the end of the cold war. For the past three years, America has alleged that Russia is in breach of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) because it has tested a ground-launched cruise missile with prohibited range. Russia has also refused to discuss limits on tactical nuclear weapons, the anticipated follow-up to the New START strategic weapons treaty of 2010. Mr Putin snubbed Mr Obama’s final Nuclear Security Summit earlier this year.

                          Russia’s complaint that it has observed the PMDA more diligently than America does have some substance. Dogged by delays and rising costs in building a special facility to dispose of its plutonium, Mr Obama has opted for a cheaper method of treatment than the one specified in the agreement. Russia has declined to consent to this, putting America in technical breach of the deal.

                          To keep the spirit of the agreement, America could press ahead with getting rid of its excess plutonium. Russia says it has no intention of using its stockpile for new warheads. Ridding the world of some of the stuff would make it marginally safer. The danger of suspending the PMDA is not so much in leaving more plutonium about, but in demonstrating that the Kremlin considers nuclear security just another bargaining chip.
                          Going nuclear | The Economist

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                          • Oct. 13, 2016 ATLANTIC COUNCIL Hanna Hopko
                            Will the West Ever Stand Up to Putin?

                            German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested that the Normandy Four—leaders from France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine—gather on October 19 to discuss the war in Ukraine.

                            But this is premature. Nothing will come out of this meeting without a detailed roadmap for a real ceasefire and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adherence to fully implement the Minsk agreements.

                            Russia is essentially demanding that Ukraine fully implement Minsk, including the holding of elections in Russian-occupied territory in the Donbas, while meeting a tiny part (at most one percent) of its Minsk obligations. After all, the most basic requirement of Minsk is an end to the shooting, but there has not been one day since the first ceasefire was agreed to over two years ago that there has not been shelling from the Russian-controlled side of the contact line. This is not a genuine offer to secure peace; it’s just a game. The Kremlin must be completely isolated until the shelling in the Donbas stops.

                            It is high time for the West to understand that Ukraine is not a buffer zone. We are a strategic partner and the restoration of global security is not possible without Ukraine.

                            Russia has cleverly used international institutions to prevent it from taking real steps to implement Minsk. It influences the decisions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and its membership in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is laughable: Russia blatantly disrespects and disregards the organization’s mission. At the UN Security Council, Russia had no problem wielding its veto on the draft resolution on Syria, even when innocent lives are at stake.

                            We have been given bad advice by some of our European friends. As Ukraine considered amendments to the constitution that would give eastern Ukraine greater decentralization so as to fulfill the Minsk agreements, one European official urged their adoption. “If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek. This is a Christian value,” he told me. But this isn’t a theological discussion. The Europeans understand that Russia invaded Ukraine, but still they require the victims to take the initiative to resolve the conflict, which was triggered by Russian aggression.

                            The situation that we are in—a hybrid peace—will bring more losses than the hybrid war that killed thousands in eastern Ukraine over the almost last three years. After 10,000 deaths, "turning the other cheek" means allowing more body bags and instability in the broader region. Putin will not give up his expansionism easily.

                            It is time for the world to wake up. The West has pressured Ukraine during the last two years while not making any attempt to force Putin to secure a real ceasefire.

                            Continental Europe talks a lot about values, but from Kyiv it looks like just that: a lot of talk. The dialogue between Europeans and the aggressor has nothing to do with Christian values. Negotiating with a tyrant using the language of appeasement is pointless. Russia annexed Ukrainian Crimea and then invaded the Donbas, bombed peaceful districts of Aleppo, has built up its military massively, engages in military provocations in the Baltics, and ignores its agreements on peacekeeping and military deterrence. How many times should we turn the other cheek?

                            We were hopeful that the West’s response might change this fall. Even after the interim report of the Joint Investigation Team on the MH17 tragedy demonstrated that Russia provided the Buk missile that killed 298 innocent people, and even after Russia and Syria’s inhumane attacks on hospitals and civilians in Aleppo, the West’s response was inadequate. France, Germany, and the United States could take actions that would get the Kremlin’s attention. They could suspend Russia from the SWIFT banking system or refuse to buy its oil and energy products. A recent picture at the United Nations was equally depressing: nothing could be done as Russian blocked the French resolution calling for a ceasefire in Syria and the banning of military flights over Aleppo.

                            The weak and conciliatory reactions of the West deeply concern us, and they concern others in Eastern Europe as well. The sad truth is that the West does not seem to know how to confidently stand up to Putin any more.
                            Will the West Ever Stand Up to Putin?

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                            • Russia preparing for war in the media but not in the budget, Moscow commentators say
                              EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/10/13

                              The Moscow media are filled with stories suggesting that Russia is preparing for war, but a close examination of the Russian government budget calls that conclusion into question, leaving open an even larger one: will this media firestorm lead to a real one or will it burn out of its own accord?

                              Anyone who has followed the news from Moscow over the last several weeks, the Meduza portal notes, has to conclude that “Russia is preparing for war. The newspapers and television channels are talking about sudden checks of the military and military exercises … the construction and location of bomb shelters … and rations … in the event of military action.”

                              But a close examination of the Russian state budget, Ekaterina Schulmann of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration says, shows that

                              “Spending on defense is not growing but declining.” What is growing is spending for agencies that can suppress “domestic disorders.”

                              “If someone thinks that we are preparing for a world war,” Schulmann says, “this isn’t visible” from the budget. “If we are preparing for something, then it is for some kind of internal disorders. We intend to feed our defense ministry a little less and to feed out special services and interior force structures more,” at least judging from the budget.

                              But can what is going on in the media lead to something real, can the war on television become a war in reality? That is a question Moscow commentator Oleg Kashin addresses because he says if the current situation were a movie, the news would be a leading indicator.

                              That may not be the case now, he suggests, because

                              for the current Russian elite, “foreign policy always was only a continuation of domestic policy.” All of Putin’s words and actions are addressed in the first instance to the people of the Russian Federation and are intended to ensure that he and his entourage will remain in power.

                              Talking about war is one thing – it may be very good politics – but going to war is something else because it would destroy almost everything that Putin has achieved up to this point and cast doubt on his ability to remain in power in any meaningful war, the commentator continues.

                              To be sure, Kashin says, “we really can’t imagine what is in the heads” of the people in the Kremlin, the former KGB officers. “The little pictures which they draw for internal use have begun suddenly to come alive,” and thinking about what that could mean has got to be horrible for them, as does backing down, given the domestic consequences of doing so.

                              “What is to be done? They do not know.” They know how to ramp up anger but they aren’t prepared to live with taking the obvious next step.
                              Sergey Shoygu likes playing military commander but only as long as it is play and not the real thing, Kashin argues, given what he has to know a real war would amount to.

                              Everything Putin has done, the Moscow commentator says, has been “subordinate to a single goal, that his power will be beyond dispute and that no one else will have the opportunity to make politician decisions … Long ago [he and his entourage] achieved this, and now, they don’t have anyone to divide responsibility for what they have brought about.”
                              Russia preparing for war in the media but not in the budget, Moscow commentators say | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                              • It's official: Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General The UN General Assembly today appointed by acclamation the former Foreign Minister of Portugal, Antonio Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down on December 31, the UN press service reported.
                                UNIAN 13 Oct 2016

                                Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He will become the world's top diplomat on 1 January 2017, and hold that post for the next five years, reads the report.

                                Adopting a consensus resolution put forward by its President, Peter Thomson, the Assembly acted on the recommendation on the UN Security Council, which on 6 October forwarded Mr. Guterres' name to the 193-member body as its nominee for UN Secretary-General for a five-year period, ending 31 December 2021. The Assembly's resolution also welcomed the historic process Member States set in motion late last year: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world's top diplomatic post.

                                It's official: Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General

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