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  • INTERFAX-UKRAINE 17:30 02.08.2018
    Lviv Airport increases passenger traffic by 50% in seven months

    Lviv International Danylo Halytsky Airport in January-July of this year increased passenger traffic by 49.7%, to 844,500 people, according to the airport's official Facebook page.

    In July 2018 the airport transported 193,100 passengers, which is 45,4% more than in Jul -2017.

    The number of flights made in July reached 1,600, which is 26% more than in July last year.

    At the same time, the number of flights in January-July increased by 30.5%, to 8,479 from 6,495.

    As reported, passenger traffic at Lviv airport in the first half of 2018 amounted to 651,500 people, which is 50.9% more than in the first half of 2017.

    Lviv International Danylo Halytsky Airport is located 6 km south from the city center.

    The main international routes served by the airport are Warsaw, Istanbul, Munich, Vienna, Baku, Thessaloniki, Madrid, Rome, Tel Aviv, Bologna, Radom, Iraklion, Minsk, and Burgas.
    https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/economic/522545.html

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    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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    • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Tim Ash July 30, 2018
      Good Things Are Happening in Ukraine, Even if They Don’t Make Headlines

      Ukraine just got a big win. On July 25, the International Monetary Fund signaled its support for Ukraine’s amended plans to create an Anticorruption Court. The Rada passed the original bill in June and amended it on July 12 to address concerns subsequently raised by the IMF.

      Approval of an IMF-compliant bill is a major victory for anticorruption campaigners. The hope is that there will be a sea change in reining in corruption, something which business surveys, and indeed general surveys, identify as the number one reform priority. And it is critical to securing domestic and foreign investment and to pushing growth beyond the current 3 percent trajectory.

      Analysts and experts expect the Poroshenko administration to quickly constitute the Anticorruption Court and make it operational by the year’s end or, at least before the March 2019 presidential election.

      The battle for approval of the Anticorruption Court has become a key indicator of the Ukrainian authorities’ willingness to address corruption. But the epic battled has lasted for more than a year, and it has overshadowed other good news stories elsewhere on the reform front, and there have been numerous wins.

      A new privatization law passed in January considerably simplifies the process, triaging the various state assets into those to be sold, those retained and restructured, and those to be wound down. For small-scale sales, the ProZorro public procurement system is being utilized for their sale and this seems to be proceeding apace. Admittedly larger sales are slow moving and the Centroenergo sale slated for later this year will be a key test. And while the 22.3 billion hryvnia target for receipts from state asset sales for 2018 will fall well short, receipts will be higher this year than the previous, which shows some progress.

      The passage of a new law on foreign currency regulation this summer is major step forward. The previous law dates as far back as 1993 and is simply not fit for purpose. Unlike the previous law which took as the starting point that only transactions detailed in the law were permitted, the new modus operandi is that FX transactions are permitted unless otherwise legislated against. Importantly, foreign investors secure an equal playing field with locals. The National Bank of Ukraine has been tasked with setting the practical implementation of the law and broader constraints of ensuring macro stability, which suggests that some of the emergency measures, such as mandatory export surrender requirements will be retained but only temporarily. Indeed, the NBU has a proven track record as one of the leading reform bastions in Ukraine. It wants to fully liberalize the FX regime. More broadly, the NBU has conducted monetary policy in a credible and orthodox way with a smooth and faultless transition to the new governor, Yakub Smoliy. The furthering of the NBU’s institutional strength is also one of the big reform wins for 2018. The NBU is now a highly competent and credible institution—a night and day transformation four years after the Euromaidan.

      In the area of banking sector reform, a new law on state bank governance approved on July 5 opens the way for the creation of independent supervisory boards at state-owned banks which, after the nationalization of Privatbank, constitute over 50 percent. From the current situation where all members are appointed by either the cabinet or the president, six of the nine members will now be independent. This is important to attracting foreign equity stakes in these banks, as a precursor to their eventual sale which is the clear commitment of the Ukrainian authorities.

      An independent supervisory board has already been created at the state railways, and similar independent boards are a work in progress at the Ukrainian postal service and Ukrenergo, which are similarly important in improving the efficiency of public institutions likely to remain in state ownership as strategic assets.

      Energy sector reform is ongoing and while the media focuses on the government’s refusal to increase gas prices as it agreed to with the IMF in March 2017, that’s not the whole picture. Naftogaz’s independent supervisory board has agreed to an unbundling plan for the energy sector to be implemented in 2020. This should be a priority for the next administration, and is critical to maintaining the reform wins in the energy sector.

      These are just some of the reform successes this year; the list also includes healthcare, deregulation and improvements in the business environment, simplification of customs procedures, and protection of creditor rights. It is important to give credit where credit is due to the many reformers still fighting the good fight in Ukraine and to highlight these lesser-known wins.
      Good Things Are Happening in Ukraine, Even if They Don’t Make Headlines

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      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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      • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Lada L. Roslycky & Olena Tregub July 30, 2018
        Why It’s Too Soon to Celebrate Ukraine’s New National Security Law

        Ukraine’s Soviet-based national security framework has finally been replaced. Ukraine’s Rada passed the bill on June 21 and its passage was greeted with a mix of praise and skepticism. The US State Department publicly welcomed Ukraine’s new national security law, noting that the framework will increase cooperation with NATO, and its full implementation will deepen Ukraine’s Western integration. “The law is consistent with Western principles,” the State Department wrote. Others, were less impressed, parliamentarian Svitlana Zalishchuk, noted,

        “This law could have looked good in 2014. Today it looks like a stopgap that’s not sufficient to really bring us closer to NATO,” Zalishchuk wrote.

        Indeed, now is not the time to celebrate since the new law leaves many things out.

        The law is designed to define and delineate the powers and structure of Ukraine’s security and defense bodies. In post-Soviet states with high corruption in the public sector, the division of power over security and defense bodies tends to spark political and clan-based infighting. Claiming that something is a matter of national security (when it is not) to justify secrecy is an instrument corrupt actors like to use. It is the portal through which they gain power and money and through which taxpayer’s and international donor’s money disappears.

        In Ukraine, this type of competition, such as the ongoing one between the president and the interior minister, is a national security threat in itself. Ukraine’s new national security law does not directly limit this sort of competition. But the fact that it enshrines higher levels of transparency and public oversight, including the creation of a new parliamentary oversight committee, are all positive steps forward.

        Importantly, the new law mandates that Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) be restructured in such a way that its work will be more focused on the state’s interests, rather than the economic interests of the powerful. The security and intelligence services will also be subjected to more direct and assured parliamentary oversight.

        Yet, critics charge that the abuse of the secretive SBU will remain largely the same. For years domestic and international partners have pressed the parliament to remove the SBU’s power to fight economic crimes. While the new bill does remove its powers to fight corruption, “gathering counterintelligence to protect the economic security of Ukraine” remains one of its functions. Thus, the risk remains that the SBU will remain an instrument used by its controlling powers to steal from legitimate businesses, lining the pockets of their puppet masters.

        Further, Ukraine’s economic security is directly related to defense procurement. Ukraine has an enormous problems with defense procurement. While the new law calls for “full disclosure of all financial information” in the defense sector, defense procurement is excluded from regular procurement, and the new law will not change this. Thus, the law on state secrets requires the most diligent, expedited, and expertly-led reform. Without a democratic understanding of the type of information that justifiably should be classified, by whom, how, and when, the laws that will flow out of Ukraine’s new national security framework risk futility. This is where Ukraine’s international partners can step in and help.

        All too often in Ukraine, overclassifying things has been abused by corrupt public servants seeking to acquire or maintain power. In the run-up to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, the former Minister of Defense and former director of Ukroboronprom abused national secrecy to strip Ukraine of military equipment, transferring it to Russia. More recently, overclassification of procurement by the Ministry of Defense has been linked to corrupt schemes related to fuel, machine parts, and even ambulances. Secrecy blankets corruption in Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.

        Markedly, Ukraine’s new national security law doesn’t set a deadline for the creation of a new law on state secrets (or other laws directly related to Ukraine’s national security fabric such as the laws on intelligence and state defense order). Incongruously, however, a tight, six-month deadline has been set for the creation of laws governing the SBU and democratic oversight and control over the SBU and intelligence bodies.

        Transparency and accountability are national security issues. Now, perhaps more than ever, it is time for Ukraine’s civil society to cooperate with international donors and ensure that the new national security framework will be used by parliamentarians to create new, democratically justifiable and transparent laws for Ukraine’s defense and security sectors. To this end, a clear and concise definition and understanding of state secrets with regulated public oversight is required. Why It’s Too Soon to Celebrate Ukraine’s New National Security Law

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        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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        • ATLANTIC COUNCIL July 30, 2018
          Michael B. Mukasey, Wall Street Journal
          How Trump Can Defend US, NATO, and Ukraine From Russian Aggression

          Full Text Wall Street Journal
          https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-p...ion-1532989476

          Americans must at least take seriously the possibility that Mr. Trump diminished the U.S. commitment to European defense.

          Fortunately, it will be possible to repair that damage through a major recommitment to opposing Russian aggression. The Trump administration’s policies—as opposed to the president’s recent words—already offer a firm basis for such a strategy. Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Trump has sent arms to Ukraine to aid in its resistance to Russia’s attempts to seize its territory. That lethal aid should be sustained and enhanced, specifically to offset the advantage the Russians and their proxies have in armor, artillery and cyber and electronic warfare.

          Although President Trump has suggested that joint military exercises are more costly than effective, it would be useful to conduct such exercises more often and with more troops to deter Russia and reassure American allies. The U.S. should also hasten to rebuild its Atlantic Fleet, and especially its rusty antisubmarine-warfare capability, to counter the growing Russian naval presence off America’s eastern coast.

          And to retaliate against Russian election interference in a way that would catch the attention of former KGB officer Vladimir Putin, the FBI should consider putting Russian intelligence officers under 24/7 in-person surveillance, as the Russians do routinely to U.S. personnel in Moscow.

          Those steps would show our European allies—and Mr. Putin—that America’s actions speak louder than its words.
          How Trump Can Defend US, NATO, and Ukraine From Russian Aggression

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          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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          • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Kateryna Kruk August 1, 2018
            How One Entrepreneur Is Changing Ukraine One Bowl of Borscht at a Time

            A successful entrepreneur, graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, winner of a popular cooking show, social media influencer, and brand chief at several Kyiv restaurants, it would seem that thirty-one year old Ievgen Klopotenko has it all. However, few know that his most ambitious plan isn’t about business. He wants to change the food culture of Ukraine. And the first step, he believes, is reforming the catering system in Ukrainian schools.

            “One could wonder why I don’t use time devoted for this project for leisure or doing business,” laughs Klopotenko. “But I still remember the horrible taste of goulash at the school canteen. Eating at school was pure torture. Besides, I really hate the Soviet Union and everything about it. The school catering system in Ukraine is nothing but Soviet.”

            As a child, Klopotenko was exposed to international cuisine when his grandmother moved to England and he spent a few weeks in Italy on an exchange program.

            After his travels, he returned to the “world of harsh reality,” or the school cafeteria. Klopotenko admits he used to sprint across the street to grab a sandwich at home, but his mother, the head teacher, sat next to him, forcing him to eat “hateful liver” instead.

            Klopotenko is absolutely right. It is hard to imagine, but in the twenty-seven years since Ukraine became independent, no one has made any changes to the recipes governing school canteens. Even worse, the official cookbook that school cooks are obliged to follow hasn’t changed since 1957.

            The system needs a change, but not only because of its age. It is simply not tasty, nor is it healthy.

            Klopotenko isn’t the only one with nightmares of the school canteen; I couldn’t find anyone who said they enjoyed school lunches. Children spend half of their day at school, so if they aren’t eating at the canteen, they are eating snacks—that is, baked goods or sweets, which should not be the foundation of a schoolchild’s diet.

            To understand the scale and seriousness of the issue, one should keep in mind that we are talking about almost four million Ukrainian pupils. And Klopotenko has a plan for all of them.

            He started from the basics, from the official cookbook for school cooks. “A new cookbook for schools is a starting point... I studied all the ingredients that are used at school canteens and simply improved the recipes. Even the simplest dish can be made tasty and visually appealing. For example, I took the most basic salad with cabbage and added few grams of sunflower seeds. Simple? Yes. But it gives it an absolutely new taste.”

            Klopotenko really cares that children like the new menu. After he updated all of the school recipes, he went to several test schools where kids could try them. He cooked everything for them himself; he spoke to children and asked their opinions. “After their feedback, I updated the recipes again based on what they like most and what dishes...the children don’t even touch.”

            Now Klopotenko is trying to get the book approved and allowed for use at schools. “The situation is rather peculiar. Since even those who tried to make some changes never went so far [as we have], there is no clear way how to do it. No one [has] cared about changing old Soviet regulations.”

            Klopotenko sees it as both a challenge and an opportunity. He says he knows what to do next but doesn’t want to reveal more details since he has several plans for securing the state’s approval.

            Although confident he will succeed, Klopotenko is ready to fight if needed. “There are many adequate people in Ukraine, in the state institutions too. But if their goodwill won’t be enough, I am ready to fight for the project publicly using the power of social and traditional media,” says Klopotenko, adding that he is building his media presence for this effort. “I’m on TV not just for fun. I perfectly understand now that my team and I are growing a ‘muscle’ to push a project.”

            https://youtu.be/kWHqck027BM

            Publicity is also needed for another step: to popularize this new book in schools. “We will make special videos explaining to cooks how to cook new dishes. We will make the book available online so every parent can consult it and become our ambassador in their schools. We will tell children about new dishes and how important good food is. Every time children are eating in school canteens now, they are consuming Soviet culture and Soviet attitudes. This must change. I want to open them to new tastes and new food.”

            Klopotenko sees this project as a major step in improving food culture in Ukraine. “After schools, kindergartens will follow. And after that, I want to change the entire system of public eating.”

            Those aren’t just words: Klopotenko also teaches at one of Kyiv’s cooking colleges, is preparing a new cooking methodology and collection of recipes for students, is working on a book about Ukrainian traditional cuisine, and is getting ready to open his own restaurant in Kyiv.

            “I want to show Ukrainians what our cuisine could be if the Soviet Union [hadn’t] come and destroyed it.” How One Entrepreneur Is Changing Ukraine One Bowl of Borscht at a Time

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            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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            • ATLANTIC PRESS Paul Thomas August 1, 2018
              Even with ProZorro, We Should Expect the Same Old Thing When It Comes to Privatization in Ukraine

              In January, Ukraine’s parliament passed a new privatization law that simplifies the process of selling off state-owned companies. The law reduces existing categories of assets (e.g. buildings, land) and equity (company ownership) into small and large objects. Small objects are assets or companies worth less than 250 million UAH (about $1 million). Everything else is defined as large privatization. The government will retain ownership of some assets deemed strategic and will undertake some restructuring, most importantly at the state gas company Naftogaz.

              Almost all small privatization objects are to be sold through ProZorro, an online public procurement platform. The idea is that changing the process by which these assets and companies are sold will improve transparency and introduce market pricing by through online bidding. The government also hopes to greatly accelerate privatization activity.

              Large objects will be sold with the help of advisers who will recommend a starting price for the auction and attempt to attract investors. Advisers will help the government set price and sale conditions that are achievable for a large state-owned company. In some cases, the government will try to sell equity in large state enterprises through ProZorro using a bidders’ opening price as the starting point.

              Although the new law represents an improvement in efficiency and transparency, using an online platform does not guarantee a reduction in corruption or an increase in economic benefit for the nation and may or may not raise additional revenue. The government’s approach to privatization remains strategically flawed. The fundamental problem is that the government wants to sell companies rather than assets and do so without first crafting a realistic and effective privatization strategy.

              The government has never crafted a privatization strategy where the ultimate objective is to create maximum value for the economy; this could be measured in a number of ways, including an increase in GDP, business formation, capital investment or employment. Instead, the government produces an annual plan to sell assets and companies for the sole purpose of raising money for the annual budget. A budget is not a strategy, and this approach has failed time and time again.

              The government has never set a realistic goal for privatization revenues. In 2016, they wanted to raise 17.1 billion UAH whereas actual sales were only 192 million UAH—or 1 percent of the goal. The plan for 2017 was also to raise 17.1 billion UAH but actual sales were only 3.8 billion UAH—or 20 percent of the goal. For 2018, the target is 22.3 billion UAH, but this figure is highly unlikely to be achieved.

              A privatization strategy requires the government to determine the desired outcome of privatization sales. If the sole purpose is to earn money for the budget and the government does not care if a company continues to operate or is cannibalized after the sale, then no strategy is required. Either the equity share package will be purchased, or if not, it will be included into next year’s unrealistic plan. A fundamentally important part of any privatization strategy would be for the government to put insolvent companies—those whose liabilities exceed their assets, often greatly so—into bankruptcy to completely liquidate all liabilities, including current equity. Physical assets could then be sold, preferably after being organized into one or more economically viable asset packages. This would require some legislative changes and would upset certain political and economic groups, which likely explains the government’s reticence.

              Two recent asset sales illustrate how this can be done correctly. In auctions in late 2016, two hydroelectric power stations located in Mykolayiv oblast were sold as stand-alone income-generating assets, rather than being sold as part of a company whose equity value is encumbered by large debt and other liabilities. One hydroelectric station sold for five times the initial asking price at 52.5 million UAH and the second station sold for 64 million UAH.

              By contrast, selling equity often minimizes sales price. If a balance sheet contains liabilities that exceed asset values, the company has zero business value. This raises a troubling issue. If a buyer is responsible for creating the excessive liabilities that drove the business value to zero, either legitimately or illegitimately, then that buyer benefits twice: once from running up the debts—perhaps by selling inputs to the company at above-market prices or selling company products through intermediary companies at below market prices—and then again from purchasing the company at a greatly reduced privatization price. And government revenue from privatization is minimized, not maximized.

              The Ukrainian government should be commended for its recent improvements to the privatization process but it must, after twenty-five years, finally adopt a privatization strategy that benefits the economy and not just the budget. Even with ProZorro, We Should Expect the Same Old Thing When It Comes to Privatization in Ukraine

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              • Remnants of a 12th century unique medieval fortification wall discovered in Kyiv
                EUROMAIDAN PRESS Diana Kuryshko 2018/07/30 - 23:03

                https://i1.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...0%B0.jpg?w=800
                Modern view of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery. Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

                On the premises of Ukraine’s National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve, where the famous Lavra Monastery is located, archaeologists have unearthed the foundations and remnants of a fortification wall, which was ruined by Batu Khan amid his Siege of Kyiv of 1240.

                https://i0.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...18_3.jpg?w=660
                Remnants of the fortification wall, its length was 21 meters. Photograph: Serhii Taranenko

                Serhii Taranenko, Head of the Scientific and Research Department of Archaeology at the Kyiv-Pechersk Preserve, told BBC Ukraine about the find.

                According to archaeologists, the foundation and walls consist of boulders, small rubbles of sledged stones, and chippings of the Old-Rus bricks, known as plinthites.

                At the excavation site, a piece of an Old-Rus bracelet with a braided ornament was also found.

                https://i2.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...72_8.jpg?w=624
                Fragment of a Kyivan Rus times bracelet found at the excavations of the wall. Photograph: Serhii Taranenko

                The dig was conducted near the Gate Church of the Trinity in the Metropolitan Garden of the Lavra.

                The archaeologists have discovered that the wall is 21 meters long. The scientists have unearthed only fragments of foundations as of now, scheduling the full excavation for the next year.

                https://i2.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...8505.jpg?w=400
                Foundation of the wall. Photograph: vechirniykiev.com.ua

                “Among the plans we have is creating of the display, which will include the remains of the fortification walls. Maybe we with an information center,” told Mr. Taranenko.

                According to Taranenko, the find was a part of the wall which enclosed the Upper Lavra. This fortification was built at the end of the 12th century and it stood for about 150 years, up to the Mongol-Tatar invasion of Rus and the fall of Kyiv in 1240.

                https://i1.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...4096.jpg?w=624
                Archaeologists at work in the Lavra. Photograph: Serhii Taranenko

                It was built in place of a wooden fence, so-called stovpya. After the Mongol-Tatar incursion in the 13th century, the next stone wall around the Lavra emerged only at the end of the 17th century, funded by Hetman Ivan Mazepa.

                https://i0.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...?fit=600%2C194
                The archaeologists call this wall unique because only two other pieces of the monumental fortification from the Kyivan Rus time
                Remnants of a 12th century unique medieval fortification wall discovered in Kyiv |Euromaidan Press |

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                • Stalin frequently modified Russia’s borders, adding and subtracting territory, Butakov says
                  EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2018/07/20 - 11:11

                  One of the most widely held misconceptions about the USSR was that borders among the various republics were both natural and fixed, neither of which was the case, and that as a result borders among the post-Soviet states are not only legitimated by international law and agreement but by the widespread acceptance that they are eternal.

                  In fact, republic borders were changed frequently, more than 200 times affecting areas large enough to be minuted in the central Soviet legal journals and far more than that involving small adjustments among the republics. (See the current author’s “Can Republic Borders be Changed?” RFE/RL Report on the USSR, September 28, 1990.)

                  Now, Russian regionalist Yaroslav Butakov has made an important contribution to an understanding of this issue in an article detailing which territories Stalin joined to the RSFSR and which ones he gave up to other republics between the 1917 revolution and his death in 1953.

                  The RSFSR was officially proclaimed with the adoption of its first constitution in July 1918, with its borders being those under the control of the Soviet government. In the course of the Russian Civil War as a result of changing military fortunes, those borders changed frequently, Butakov says.

                  Among the borders that changed the most between 1918 and 1925 were those between the RSFSR and Ukraine initially as a result of military developments by including into RSFSR cities Unecha, Rylsk, Belgorod, Valuyky and Rossosh. All northern counties of Ukrainian Chernigov gubernia were moved into what is now Russia’s Bryansk Oblast. Moscow decided to split the Don region between the two republics and included the eastern part of the Donbas in what is now Russia’s Rostov Oblast.

                  “Initially,” the regional specialist writes, “all of Central Asia with the exception of the former Khivan khanate and the Bukhran emirate … were included in the RSFSR; and there were created two autonomous soviet socialist republics (ASSRs), the Turkestan and the Kyrgyz.” As the latter eventually became the Kazakh SSR, the RSFSR’s borders with it were set in the 1920s.

                  Orenburg became the first capital of the Kyrgyz autonomous republic which also included all of Orenburg gubernia. “In June 1925, the Kyrgyz ASSR was renamed the Kazakh ASSR and its capital moved to Ak-Mechet, which since that time has been called Kzyl-Orda,” Butakov says.

                  Many mistakenly believe, he continues, that “the present northern oblasts of Kazakhstan were transferred out of the RSFSR to the Kazakh SSR by Nikita Khrushchev during the virgin lands campaign of 1954. This is not so.” Instead, the borders between the two were set after some movement back and forth between 1921 and 1924. After that, they remained stable.

                  Other areas which Stalin moved to include within the RSFSR or at least the USSR were the Far Eastern Republic which was absorbed into the RSFSR in November 1922, northern Sakhalin which was annexed in May 1925 after Japanese forces were driven out and Wrangel Island which was included within the RSFSR borders in August 1924.

                  During World War II, Stalin annexed Tannu-Tuva and transformed it into the Tuvin Autonomous Oblast within Krasnoyarsk kray in October 1944. Later in 1961, it became an ASSR. And at the end of the war, Stalin annexed the southern half of Sakhalin and the Kurile islands, what the Japanese still refer to as the Northern Territories.

                  At the end of the Winter War with Finland, Stalin oversaw the annexation of the southern part of the Karelian isthmus. In 1944, it was transferred from the Karelo-Finnish SSR. In 1944, after the absorption of the three Baltic countries, Moscow took regions of Estonia and Latvia and included them in the RSFSR.

                  In 1945, on the basis of decisions of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the RSFSR was expanded to include the former German East Prussia as the non-contiguous Kaliningrad Oblast. And in 1947, the Finnish city of Pecheneg was included in the RSFSR’s Murmansk Oblast on the basis of the Moscow-Helsinki peace treaty.

                  Stalin also gave up RSFSR territory to others, primarily in the course of forming union republics in Central Asia, but also part of the North Caucasus which was transferred to the Georgian SSR after Stalin deported many of the nations from this and adjoining territories.

                  But “the most significant land gift from the RSFSR under Stalin” was the one he gave to Belarus. In 1924-1926, Belarus received almost all of Vitebsk, Mogilev and Gomel oblasts, thereby increasing the territory of the Belarusian SSR “by a factor of three.” Stalin frequently modified Russia’s borders, adding and subtracting territory, Butakov saysEuromaidan Press |

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                  • Maxim Shevchenko calls for independent group of journalists to investigate death of Russian film crew in Africa
                    Echo of Moscow 15:50, 2 august 2018

                    Maxim Shevchenko announced on Thursday that an independent group of Russian journalists will carry out their own investigation into the deaths of Orkhan Dzhemal, Alexander Rastorguyev, and Kirill Radchenko, who were killed in the Central African Republic on July 30, while filming a documentary about Russian mercenaries in the area. Based on statements Shevchenko made to the radio station Ekho Moskvy, it’s not clear if the independent group already exists.

                    According to Shevchenko, the investigation into the murders should be conducted by “a group of independent war correspondents and professionals with combat experience, including members of the armed forces” and friends of the killed journalists.

                    Calling on Russian state officials to support the creation of the independent group, Shevchenko noted that the former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky (who financed the documentary expedition to Africa) is already assembling a team of journalists to investigate the murders. Shevchenko didn’t specify, however, if he believes his independent group should collaborate with Khodorkovsky’s group or work in parallel.

                    Maxim Shevchenko announced his resignation from Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council in May, after the organization ignored his calls for an inquiry into the Cossack groups that attacked anti-Putin protesters on May 5. https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/08/02...crew-in-africa

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                    • For the first time ever, Russia acquits a draftee charged with evading non-military service
                      Meduza 11:57, 2 august 2018

                      A district court in Volgograd has become the first court in Russia to acquit a draftee charged with evading non-military service. Konstantin Titov was assigned to work at an assisted living community for the elderly and disabled, but the state failed to provide him with dormitory housing, as required by the law. Titov faced a fine of 80,000 rubles ($1,265) or half a year’s salary, 480 hours community service, or six months in jail. Local prosecutors say they will appeal the verdict.

                      According to the newspaper Kommersant, Russian courts have tried 30 people for evading alternative civilian service over the past 10 years, convicting all of them, until Konstantin Titov.
                      https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/08/02...litary-service

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                      • please delete
                        Last edited by Hannia; 3 August 2018, 09:42.

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                        • Madonna wears hats by Ukrainian designer in Vogue Italia
                          KYIV POST Artur Korniienko Updated Aug. 1 at 5:46 pm

                          https://www.kyivpost.com/wp-content/...11-800x520.jpg
                          Baginskiy's team made 12 hats in three days for the shoot, and Madonna herself was in touch to discuss the design, as Baginskiy told Buro24/7 website.

                          American singer Madonna posed wearing a hat by a Ukrainian designer Ruslan Baginskiy for the cover story of the August Vogue Italia magazine. The issue is coming out on Aug. 3, two weeks before the singer’s 60th birthday on Aug. 16.

                          The photo shoot for the story titled “Just One Day Out of Life” took place in Lisbon, Portugal, where Madonna has lived for a year with four of her six children.

                          Baginskiy’s design was featured in the shoot alongside brands like Prada, Dior, Dsquared2, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, and others. Madonna helped picking clothes for the shoot.

                          “She basically did her own styling,” said Giovanni Bianco, the creative director of Vogue Italia, about the choice of Madonna’s clothes in an interview for Women’s Wear Daily news journal.

                          The fedora hat she wears in one of the photos was custom-made by Ruslan Baginskiy Kyiv brand.

                          “We only had a few days to make a delivery and only one night to finish the special embroidery with hearts and the name of the new song – ‘Beautiful Game’,” says the brand’s official Instagram account.

                          Baginskiy told Ukrainian website Buro24/7 that his team made 12 hats in three days for the shoot, and Madonna herself was in touch to discuss the design.

                          In another photo, Madonna’s adopted daughter Mercy James wears a Ruslan Baginskiy black canotier hat, the brand reports.

                          https://www.kyivpost.com/wp-content/...61244416_n.jpg
                          Madonna’s adopted daughter Mercy James takes part in a Vogue Italia photo shoot wearing a Baginskiy hat.

                          Earlier this summer, Madonna posted photos of her wearing Baginskiy’s hats. This summer she posted a couple of photos on Instagram, where she wears the Ukrainian-made hats.

                          Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and businesswoman. The Guinness World Records acknowledged her as the fourth best-selling act of all time and the best-selling female recording artist.

                          Baginskiy became famous after the model Bella Hadid wore his hat in a photo shoot for the W Magazine in 2017. Since then, his hats have been worn by the models and celebrities like Kaia Gerber, Irina Shayk, Sofia Richie, Kourtney Kardashian and now Madonna.

                          Ruslan Baginskiy sells his hats via Instagram for Hr 5,000 – Hr 13,000. Online fashion retailer Forward sells Baginskiy hats for Hr 4,296 – Hr 9,398. Hats by Baginskiy are also available at Revolve, Browns and Shop Bob stores. https://www.kyivpost.com/lifestyle/m...ue-italia.html

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                          • Ukrainian school programs to include deeper studies of Holodomor of 1932-1933
                            112.ua Published Aug. 3 at 11:29 am Aug. 3 at 11:29 am

                            https://www.kyivpost.com/wp-content/...47-800x520.jpg
                            A girl reads the Holodomor Book of Memory at the National Memorial to Holodomor victims in Kyiv on April 24 during a photo exhibition entitled “Guardians of the Truth,” featuring stories and portraits of witnesses of the atrocity. Photo by Oleg Petrasiuk

                            The Great Famine of 1932-1933, widely known as Holodomor in Ukraine will be studied in Ukrainian schools more thoroughly than before. The press service of Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science reported this on Friday morning.

                            The Ministry and the National Museum ‘Memorial for Victims of Holodomor’ signed the respective agreement, which implies that the school program will feature more scrutinized approach to studies of Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine. The Ministry and the Museum obliged to join efforts in shaping the scientific and research base for the education process in secondary schools.

                            There were three Holodomors in the 20th century: in 1921-1923, 1932-1933, 1946-1947. The Holodomor of 1923-1933 is the only one admitted as a genocide. The events of 1921-1923 and 1946-1947 are constituted as a famine, which genocidal nature has not been proved yet.

                            The Holodomor lasted for 17 months – from April 1932 to November 1933. The researchers have not defined the number of victims yet. They name the numbers from 1,8 million to 10 million. Most of the experts believe that the number of victims is from 3 to 3,5 million.

                            Many countries, including some states in the U.S. and governments of particular cities recognized Holodomor of 1932-1933 as the act of genocide of the Ukrainian nation.
                            https://112.international/society/uk...933-30813.html

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                            • INTERFAX-UKRAINE 10:52 03.08.2018
                              Crimean Tatar TV channels ATR, LALE to broadcast in Crimea from Chonhar tower

                              The National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine in accordance with the Information Policy Ministry of Ukraine has issued new licenses for temporary broadcasting from Chonhar TV tower to the territory of Crimea for Crimean Tatar TV channels ATR and LALE.

                              Member of the Council Serhiy Kostynsky gave the information on his Facebook page, adding that the licenses were issued using a simplified procedure.

                              "According to the draft Broadcasting Development Strategy in the south of Kherson region and Crimea, in line with the schedule we are increasing the number of broadcasters, first of all local ones," he said.

                              In addition, the National Council re-issued licenses for temporary broadcasting in Luhansk and Donetsk regions to broadcasters already broadcasting in accordance with the requirements of the new law, in particular: UA: Ukrainian Radio, UA Radio Luch, Tryzub FM, Radio Pulse, Strana FM, Russian Radio Ukraine, Radio FM Halychyna, Army FM, Public Radio and Radio Klass.

                              As reported, in March the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting said that the media holding ATR intends to apply to the international court with a claim for damages incurred as a result of the occupation of Crimea. https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/522652.html

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                              • INTERFAX-UKRAINE 13:21 03.08.2018
                                Amount of outdoor advertisement to be reduced in Kyiv, including in subway

                                Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has said that the amount of outdoor advertisement would be reduced in Kyiv.

                                "We found a compromise with all the key players in the advertising market and agreed that there should be less outdoor advertising in the city. Today, for example, you will not see so-called cross street banners in the center of Kyiv. You will not see such a large number of billboards. The adopted rules are in effect. This will concern subway. We will minimize the amount of advertising that "hides" both the subway cars and the stations," the Kyiv City Administration reported, citing the mayor speaking on the NewsOne news channel.

                                According to him, the issue of streamlining the placement of advertising on transport is urgent.

                                Klitschko said that he instructed the profile deputy Oleksiy Reznikov and the advertising department of the Kyiv City Administration to develop the scheme for placing advertising on transport in a short time. So, it should not be on windows and doors of subway cars, on the doors of the subway entrance and marble fragments of the station decoration. In addition, advertising should not spoil the appearance of stations, which are monuments of architecture. https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/522720.html

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