Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3.13.13 - Russia Watchers Blogs Review

Russia Watchers Blogs

"Russia Watchers Blogs" bundle created by Mike Nova

A bundle is a collection of blogs and websites hand-selected by your friend on a particular topic or interest. You can keep up to date with them all in one place by subscribing in Google Reader.
There are

65 feeds
included in this bundle
  • Алекс
  • Александр Кынев, политический аналитик
  • Beware of Putin
  • Блог Джона Байерли
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Russia
  • Da Russophile
  • East and West-feed
  • Eurasia Lift - Terrorism/ Extremism/ Human rights
  • Russia - Publication
  • Publications and Events
  • Russia and Eurasia Program
  • The Oil and the Glory - Steve LeVine
  • Robert Amsterdam
  • Sean's Russia Blog
  • Russia and Caucasus - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Foreign Policy BlogsRussia | Foreign Policy Blogs
  • Global Voices » Russia
  • Heritage Russia
  • In Moscow's Shadows
  • Dances With Bears
  • La Russophobe
  • Владимир Прибыловский
  • Майкл Макфол
  • Навальный
  • The Onion Dome
  • Ariel Cohen-Heritage Fn-Russia
  • Inside Russia and Eurasia - home
  • Articles: Kim Zigfeld Archives
  • Putinania
  • Putin Watcher
  • Russia! magazine
  • Global Voices по-русски
  • Russian Military Reform
  • Russian Defense Policy
  • Russian History Blog
  • Siberian Light
  • Steve LeVine
  • The Russia Monitor
  • opendemocracyru
  • Twitter / robertamsterdam
  • Блог Олега Козловского
  • WindowonEurasia
  • Window on Eurasia -- New Series
  • AEI.Org: Leon Aron
  • Kafkasya Forumu
  • Chatham House - Russia and Eurasia
  • Chatham House Publications
  • EU-RussiaCentre
  • Eurasia Daily Monitor - The Jamestown Foundation
  • North Caucasus Analysis - The Jamestown Foundation
  • openDemocracy - oD Russia
  • The Power Vertical - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Robert Amsterdam
  • Russia Blog
  • Russia: Other Points of View
  • Russia
  • Soviet Roulette
  • Johnson's Russia List's Facebook Wall
  • Russia Blog's Facebook Wall
  • Russia Profile -Russian Politics, Russian business, Russian current affairs's Facebook Wall
  • Russia Beyond the Headlines's Facebook Wall

via Russia Beyond the Headlines's Facebook Wall by Russia Beyond the Headlines on 3/13/13
PHOTO OF THE DAY - Russian President Vladimir Putin and American actor Steven Seagal during the opening of sport center 'Sambo-70' in Moscow

Source: Alexei Nikolsky / RIA Novosti

Photo of the day 2013

via Russia Beyond the Headlines's Facebook Wall by Russia Beyond the Headlines on 3/13/13
Anybody fancies some Yandex shares?

Yandex SPO going at a discount | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Company launches new offering as shares are down, but still trading near nine month highs

via Russia Beyond the Headlines's Facebook Wall by Russia Beyond the Headlines on 3/13/13
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke to Kommersant before the today's 2+2 meeting in London:

Russian, British ministers meet in 2+2 format in London | Russia Beyond The Headlines
A UK–Russia meeting involving ministers of foreign affairs and defense is intended to further promote positive relations between the two countries

via Russia Beyond the Headlines's Facebook Wall by Russia Beyond the Headlines on 3/13/13
A few days ago something very unusual happened in the RBTH newsroom...

Harlem Shake at RBTH
Credit: rbth Read more about Russia:

via Russian Military Reform by Dmitry Gorenburg on 3/13/13
I’m still swamped with various projects, so in the meantime, here’s another Oxford Analytica brief. This one is from mid-December…
Although China and the United States have focused greater attention on Central Asia in recent years, Russia remains the dominant power in the region. Its size and the cultural, political and economic connections that remain from the Soviet period are such that Central Asian countries are reluctant to take any actions that would antagonise Moscow. For Russian leaders, Central Asia serves as a buffer zone that protects Russia’s southern border from potential threats.
  • Increasing Chinese economic presence in Central Asia will curtail Russia’s efforts to limit China’s regional political influence.
  • After NATO’s exit from Afghanistan, Russia and Central Asian states will cooperate to prevent radical Islam from destabilising the region.
  • Shifting patterns of energy demand and supply will reduce Russia’s ability to use energy as a tool for political influence.
Russia’s various initiatives in Central Asia are shaped by three interest groups with widely divergent interests that often work at cross-purposes to each other:
  • The military and defence industry is focused on the role of great power competition in the region; it seeks to promote arms sales and to increase Russia’s military presence.
  • The energy industry focuses on securing exclusive rights to gas transit from Central Asia to Europe.
  • The security services concentrate on the transnational threats to Russia from radical Islam, terrorism and drug smuggling.
Maintaining monopoly
Throughout the last decade, Russia sought to maintain its energy-transit monopoly on the export of petroleum and natural gas from Central Asia. Until 2005, all major export pipelines from the region went through Russia giving it control over transit fees. Russia’s monopoly over natural gas transit to Europe also gave it political and economic leverage over downstream countries dependent on supplies of Russian natural gas for domestic consumption.
The construction of alternative pipelines over the last decade has eliminated Russia’s monopoly on hydrocarbon transit from Central Asia. Energy-producing states in the region can now sell their products to China and Iran. At the same time, changes in patterns of supply and demand for natural gas in Europe have decreased the political and economic significance of Russia’s remaining monopoly on natural gas supply to some European countries. The development of new methods of shale gas extraction in the United States has increased the supply of LNG to Europe at the same time as the 2008-09 global financial crisis has led to a sharp drop in demand for natural gas.
These factors decreased Russia’s ability to set prices and to use its control of energy supply for political ends, thus reducing the importance of future Caspian pipeline transit. Russia is now likely to focus on energy production in the Caspian Sea region and has already begun to develop several oil and gas fields that it controls jointly with Kazakhstan.
Keeping China at bay
China has sought to increase its economic and political influence in Central Asia without alienating Russia for a number of reasons. For example:
  • Central Asia has become one of China’s primary energy suppliers;
  • Central Asia serves as a security buffer zone between China and both Russia and the United States; and
  • China seeks to prevent Uighur separatists in Xinjiang from using Central Asia as a safe haven.
To further these goals, China made large investments into the Central Asian economies and, in particular, in energy infrastructure. The region provides raw materials to China in exchange for finished products such as machinery, food and consumer goods.
Russian leaders fear that their country’s position in Central Asia is gradually being displaced as China’s political influence and economic power grow. To maintain its sway in Central Asia, Russia has focused on ‘tying’ China into regional networks and institutions while retaining levers of influence through institutions in which China is not a member.
In the security realm, Russia has combined participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with its role in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). While the SCO provides a neutral forum where Russia can discuss security and plan joint operations and exercises with China, the CSTO allows Russia to address Central Asian security issues without China’s participation. At the same time, Russia has sought to counter China’s economic influence in Central Asia by setting up the Customs Union, which, in 2014, is expected to include Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Recent discussions concerning the establishment of the Eurasian Union in 2015 are also part of the effort to cement Central Asian economic ties to Russia.
Ensuring political stability
Although most of the regimes in the region have endured for over 20 years, Central Asia is now entering a period of potential political instability.
  • Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are all bracing for a potential resurgence of Islamist radicalism in the aftermath of the likely US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.
  • Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan — both states ruled by authoritarian presidents in their mid-1970s — are highly vulnerable to succession risks.
  • Kyrgyzstan is still recovering from two episodes of violent regime collapse in the last decade.
The potential destabilising influence of radical Islamist groups and drug smuggling networks is a key concern for Russia. Moscow believes that the current Central Asian leadership has been able to contain the threat of radical Islam and is worried that a regime change, combined with the withdrawal of NATO troops, would facilitate the spread of radical Islam to Russia.
These concerns have led Russia to provide various forms of security assistance to the region’s more vulnerable states. In the last year alone Russia has:
  • extended leases on military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan;
  • sold weapons to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan;
  • sought to persuade Uzbekistan to re-engage with the CSTO; and
  • agreed to provide 1.3 billion dollars to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to modernise their military forces and ensure their security after the departure of Western troops.
The extension of Russia’s military base agreements with Central Asian countries, together with Kyrgyzstan’s decision to ask the United States to vacate the Manas base after the NATO departure from Afghanistan, will leave Russia as the sole security provider to vulnerable states in the region.
CONCLUSION: Russia’s security relations with Central Asian states will strengthen as they face the consequences of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. At the same time, Moscow’s efforts to remain the dominant economic partner of the region’s key players will likely falter as China strengthens its position as the main recipient of Central Asian energy exports and a key supplier of imported consumer products.

via Window on Eurasia -- New Series by paul goble on 3/13/13

Paul Goble

Staunton, March 13 – Ten days ago, OMON troops broke into a Surgut bar frequented by workers from Central Asia and the south Caucasus, detained some of them and forced others to shave their beards, Interfax-Religion reported yesterday, an incident that had received little notice before then but that is now sparking outrage on many Muslim websites.

The Russian news agency report is straightforward. It says that heavily armed OMON troops entered a bar near the mosque in the Khanty-Mansiisk republic city because of reports that there was a fight there, detained several for a day or two, and forced three to shave or at least trim their beards (

Faizulo Aminov, the head of the Tajik diaspora in Surgut, told the news service that he had spoken with Aleksandr Yerokhov, the city’s chief of police, who acknowledged that the incident had taken place, that the officers were his subordinates and offered his apologies. Yerokhov added that “the guilty party” had been “found and punished.”

But the Interfax report not only led to more reports by mainstream Russian news services (see, for example, but also sparked interest in regional and local outlets (,

These outlets, while adding some interesting details – the OMON troops involved were from a unit that had carried out the attack in the Latvian capital on January 20, 1991) and the gastarbeiters involved were from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan – generally repeated the Interfax report.

Islamic and Caucasian sites, however, were more critical of what took place, featuring photographs of some of those involved which clearly show that the men involved may have been forced to trim their beards but certainly did not shave them off entirely as the Interfax report had implied ( and

And these sites gave more prominence to reports that the “OMON raid” was connected with the recent wave of arrests in various places in the Russian Federation of “members of one of the extremist groups of Salafis” rather than being something of only local interest.

Consequently, this story is likely to be picked up by other media outlets in the Caucasus and Central Asia and generate anger among Muslims there and by outlets in the Russian blogosphere which are likely to present the behavior of the OMON as heroic or at least entirely justified.

Those differing interpretations in turn will only raise the temperature of relations between Muslim gastarbeiters and Russian residents and could trigger more such events elsewhere, yet another example of the way the new media are playing an ever greater role in inter-ethnic relations in the Russian Federation.

The page is monitored for updates. There are no changes detected since 03/13/13 06:45:14.

via Russia on 3/13/13
The page is monitored for updates. There are no changes detected since 03/13/13 06:35:55.

via Kafkasya Forumu by CF Admin on 3/11/13

With just under a year to go until the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Reporters Without Borders activists gathered outside the Russian embassy in Paris today and unfurled a 70-metre-long banner showing the Olympic rings transformed into a bloody knuckleduster to draw attention to the impunity largely enjoyed by those who have attacked and killed journalists in Russia.

We are doing this in order to renew our support for Russia’s journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders at a crucial moment for freedom of information in that country,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

Twenty-eight journalists have been murdered in connection with their work since 2000. The fight against impunity for those who attack and kill journalists is unfortunately still absolutely essential. But, as cracks begin to appear in the Putin regime, monstrous new laws are placing civil society under permanent threat. The authorities now have a repressive legislative arsenal ready to be used when the time comes.

“We have no desire to deny Russia the right to project the image of a proud, dynamic and modern country, but we must not be deceived by the universal consensus that surrounds Olympic events. The real events are not those that will be taking place on the ski slopes and, in this other struggle, Russian civil society has more need than ever of our help.

via Russia Blogs's Facebook Wall by Russia Blogs on 3/13/13
Любимый байкер Путина получил орден Почета за «патриотическое воспитание»

Глава российского мотоклуба Александр Залдостанов, более известный под прозвищем "Хирург", награжден орденом Почета.

Любимый байкер Путина получил орден Почета за «патриотическое воспитание»

via Russia Blogs's Facebook Wall by Russia Blogs on 3/13/13
Most-Wanted Militants Reported Killed In Chechnya

Eleven suspected militants reportedly have been killed in Russia’s Chechen Republic in the North Caucasus.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said the two most-wanted Islamic insurgent leaders — the …

Most-Wanted Militants Reported Killed In Chechnya

via Навальныйon 3/13/13
Во-первых, это прекрасно, посмотрите.
Про нашу старую подругу:

Во-вторых, (и это совершенно не прекрасно) "басманный" "судья" "Артур" "Карпов" сегодня снова доказал, что не зря его внесли в "список Магнитского" - отказал в удовлетворении нашей жалобы на СК, отказывающийся расследовать преступление Бастрыкина.

То есть, даже не в возбуждении уголовного дела отказано, а даже в проведении первичной проверки. То, что сам Бастрыкин преступлением не считает, таковым и не является, типа. Удобно.

В-третьих, (и это снова прекрасно) если ещё не читали, то обязательно прочитайте о докладе Центра проблемного анализа и государственно-управленческого проектирования, содержащего анализ прошедших выборов в ГосДуму:

Первое место заняла КПРФ с 25–30%; второе место — «Единая Россия» с 20–25%; третье место — «Справедливая Россия» с 15–20%. Реальная явка составляла около 50%. Избирательная система, установившаяся в стране, масштабно фальсифицирует результат выборов.

Второе, и это также выявлено, что уровень фальсифицируемости в этой системе устойчиво растет. Основной вид фальсификации — это переписывание протоколов на всех трех уровнях, включая уровень ЦИК. Родилось политическое явление делегитимизации центрального правящего режима, наблюдаемое уже в нескольких регионах страны. Политически можно вполне уверенно говорить, что итоги работы правящей партии оценены электоратом как негативные. Ей отказано в правящей позиции.

Важнейший момент: автор доклада С. Сулакшин - совершенно никакой там не либеральный, прозападный деятель и антипутинец.
Вовсе даже наоборот. Например, в соавторстве с Якуниным из РЖД, он был автором весьма адской книжки «Западня. Новые технологии борьбы с российской государственностью».

В 2010 Якунин в соавторстве с профессорами В.Багдасаряном и С.Сулакшиным выпустил книгу «Западня. Новые технологии борьбы с российской государственностью», ISBN 978-5-699-43369-8, изд-во ЭКСМО АЛГОРИТМ, М., 2010., тираж 3 тыс., в которой задолго до событий на Болотной площади и проспекте Сахарова (2011—2012) подробно проанализировал новые сетевые технологии разрушения российской государственности, в том числе посредством вербовки деструктивных масс через социальные сети Интернета.

Это как раз про то, что везде ЦРУ, просовывающее через фейсбук щупальца в неокрепшие мозги россиян и заставляющее пить колу вместо кваса и кулебячьего взвара.

Так что, дядечка весьма консервативно настроенный и на протестные митинги явно не ходит.

Просто штука в том, что ЛЮБОЙ (консерватор/либерал/центрист) , кто станет анализировать выборы с научной и непредвзятой точки зрения, будет вынужден признать очевидную ведь: выборы были сфальсифицированы в такой степени, что эту Думу признать легитимной невозможно, а охламонов-единороссов, сидящих в здании на Охотном Ряду, никак нельзя считать представителями народа. Это самозванцы.

Ещё один аргумент в пользу того, что сейчас каждый честный русский (и не только) человек имеет полное моральное право брать за шкирку собак-единороссов и вытаскивать их из здания Думы, бросая под колёса многотонных грузовиков и снегоуборочной техники, мчащейся по улице. А потом пить квас и кулебячьий взвар, всмехаясь в русые усы.

Только с депутатом Валуевым так не получится. Его из Думы надо постепенно едой выманивать.

via Навальныйon 3/11/13
В среду в Басманном суде у нас будет довольно любопытное разбирательство со Следственным комитетом из-за одного преступника.

Помните же случай, из-за которого все журналисты стояли неделю на ушах: чешский шпион и по совместительству глава СК Бастрыкин вытащил в лес (буквально) журналиста "Новой Газеты" и там угрожал убить его (тоже буквально).

Вообще, конечно, на ушах должны были стоять не только журналисты, а вообще все жители страны.

Всё-таки это глава СК и (в теории) главный борец с преступностью, коррупцией и злоупотреблениями. Его должность и красивые золотые погоны никак не предполагают, что он будет нажираться как свинья, а потом грозить журналистам убийством.

Представьте себе ситуацию, в которой вы (будучи начальником, должностным лицом, с охраной, пистолетами и мерседесами) выводите кого-то в лесополосу и говорите ему: "Тебе отрежут голову, а ноги будут в другом месте. Никто не найдёт, а если и найдут, то я же и расследовать буду".

Если это не преступление, предусмотренное ст. 119 УК РФ, то что тогда ещё "угроза убийством"? Только уже достать пистолет и стрелять под ноги, как в фильмах про ковбоев.
Конечно, журналисту нельзя было не воспринимать эту угрозу реально, ведь общеизвестен и другой факт из жизни пана Бастрыкина:

То есть, это чувак, которому дали погоны и пистолет, и который любит вытащить пистолет, чтобы погрозить кому-то, а потом использовать погоны, чтобы отмазаться.

Ну так вот, как и положено законопослушному гражданину, узнав о совершенном преступлении, я обратился с заявлением об этом самом преступлении.

И ожидал, что заявление моё будет проверено в установленном порядке. А дальше либо возбуждение дела, либо отказ в его возбуждении.
Это было в июле прошлого года.

Было понятно, что раз преступление Бастрыкина должны расследовать подчинённые Бастрыкина, то они будут изворачиваться, как могут.
Но реальность превзошла ожидания:

То есть, не то, что даже "проверили и обнаружили, что преступления нету", а просто-таки "и регистрировать не будем, это на преступление не похоже".

Мы, конечно же, сразу пошли в суд, обжаловать такую писульку от пана Бастрыкина.

Жалоба попала к судье Карпову, фигуранту списка Магнитского, известного также тем, что активно вместе с СК стряпает "Болотное дело" и выносит незаконные решения об арестах.

Карпов этот принялся защищать Бастрыкина на свой манер: СК не регистрировал наше заявление, а Карпов тупо отказался рассматривать жалобу на действия СК. Сказал "непонятно, где именно было совершено возможное преступление, поэтому и обжалуйте его где-то, непонятно где".

Мурыжил он нас так несколько месяцев, пока 28 января 2013 мы не грохнули его в Мосгорсуде - постановление Карпова о возвращении жалобы отменили.
За эту волокиту, кстати, мы нажаловались на Карпова председателю МосГорСуда и в ККС Москвы.
А ещё записали заявление на тему вынесения заведомо неправосудного решения.

28 февраля 2013 состоялось заседание в Басманном суде у Карпова же (к сожалению) о рассмотрении жалобы по существу.
Заседание отложено на 13 марта в 09.30

Вот в среду и узнаем, является ли такая мелочь, как вывезти в лес журналиста и пообещать ему "отрежут голову, а я буду расследовать" основанием для проведения проверки в нашей стране.
Или раз всё равно "а я буду расследовать", то, значит, не может совершить преступления пан Бастрыкин на этой одной седьмой части суши.

Стоит только послушать самые громкие речи на тему российско-американских отношений, как у вас может сложиться впечатление, будто русские и американцы всегда только спорят и никогда не сотрудничают. В действительности сотни, если не тысячи, россиян и американцев работают в совместных проектах, представляющих взаимный интерес. Это изучение новых возможностей для энергетики в Арктике и поиск совместных решений проблем с распространением оружия массового поражения в Северной Корее, развитие образовательных учреждений и поиск новых возможностей для бизнеса в области высоких технологий, согласование наших подходов в группе Р5+1 по Ирану и обеспечение надёжных маршрутов поставок в Афганистан, совместные культурные проекты и проведение совместных научных исследований. Идёт сотрудничество и в космосе – на международной космической станции, и в таких местах, как Биробиджан, где расположена одна из 21 школы, в которых США поддерживают программу по преподаванию английского языка для малообеспеченных школьников.

В своей собственной работе я ежедневно занимаюсь развитием сотрудничества между нашими правительствами и обществами по широкому кругу вопросов. Когда я встречаюсь с официальными лицами в Министерстве иностранных дел, или в Кремле, или в Белом доме, или же с представителями бизнеса, депутатами, или с лидерами гражданского общества в Спасо-Хаусе, я всегда обнаруживаю, что большая часть моего рабочего дня уходит на обсуждение прагматических вопросов, представляющих общий интерес для обеих сторон. И ведь почти все эти дискуссии проходят в атмосфере взаимного уважения.

У нас есть разногласия с российскими властями. Иногда мы пытаемся наладить сотрудничество в таких областях, где оно не идёт. Наши деловые начинания и контакты с общественностью также иногда ведут к разногласиям и заканчиваются ничем. Но это нормально, особенно для стран с таким диапазоном интересов, как у России и Соединённых Штатов. Такие случаи разногласий между нами привлекают основное внимание, в то время как спокойная ежедневная работа по важнейшим направлениям сотрудничества остаётся незаметной.

Чтобы обеспечить большую сбалансированность и помочь исправить возникшие недоразумения, посольство США в Москве и наши консульства в России решили посвятить месяц февраль освещению некоторых областей, в которых идёт сотрудничество между нашими странами.Каждый день в течение месяца, используя хэштэг #СШАиРФ, мы размещали в твиттере по одному сообщению, иллюстрирующему примеры такого сотрудничества. Ниже приводится полный список этих сообщений. Этот список, конечно, как и предполагалось, не является исчерпывающим. Однако я надеюсь, что он даст вам представление о широком спектре направлений сотрудничества между нашими странами. Некоторые из приведённых примеров сотрудничества хорошо известны, другие же примеры известны только тем, кто принимает непосредственное участие в этих программах. Я полагаю, что каждый пример сотрудничества сам по себе очень важен, потому что каждый такой пример сближает наши страны и наши народы, а все вместе эти примеры показывают, как много можно сделать, если работать совместно, и заставляют нас искать новые пути сотрудничества.

28 твитов о сотрудничестве:

1. США и Россия недавно отметили конец 2-го года инспекций в рамках Нового Договора по СНВ. Прекрасный пример сотрудничества! #СШАиРФ

2.@DowChemical подписали соглашение с @rosnano_ru и HCC по производству в России композитных материалов: #СШАиРФ сотрудничают по инновациям

3. #СШАиРФ 7 американских специалистов-преподавателей проводят в российских вузах программы повышения квалификации преподавателей

4. США инвестирует в энергоэффективность в РФ; $100 млн. кредит @OPICgov для Virgin Green Fund даст беспроигрышные результаты для #СШАиРФ

5. Официальные лица #СШАиРФ встретились вчера в Вашингтоне для обсуждения вступления России в @OECD.

6. Ученые из США и России проведут инвентаризацию выбросов сажи из дизельных двигателей в Мурманске #СШАиРФ

7.В Вашингтоне прошла 1-я встреча рабочей группы #СШАиРФ по взаимодействию в правоохр. сфере; большой шаг на пути к взаимному сотрудничеству

8.С/х предст-во США познакомило поставщиков продуктов из РФ с > 65 экспортерами из США: #СШАиРФ

9.Школьники #СШАиРФ изучают вопросы безопасной утилизации ядерных отходов в совместном онлайн проекте:

10. В 2012 г. @USEmbRu отправило 200 россиян в США для участия в образовательных и профессиональных программах обмена. #СШАиРФ

11. Двустор ком #СШАиРФ: @ENERGY и @MinenergoGov продвигают партнерство в сфере енергоеффективности, чистых технологий, и энергобезопасности

12. 22 января #СШАиРФ присоединились к резолюции 2087 Совбеза #ООН, осуждающей запуск ракеты #КНДР и усиливающей санкции.

13.#СШАиРФ сопредседатели ГИБАЯТ, партнерства 82 стран, готовых совместно действовать против угрозы ядерного терроризма

14. #СШАиРФ сотрудничают по гармонизации тех.стандартов продукции для торговли и интеграции в #ВТО. #СШАиРФ

15. Молодежные программы спорт.обмена: благодаря минспорту РФ и @StateDept 71 спортсмен и тренер тренировались заграницей в 2012 г. #СШАиРФ

16.@MarsCuriosity изучает #Марс с помощью прибора ДАН (Россия) в рамках научного сотрудничества #СШАиРФ в области космоса

17.На выставках в РФ в 2012 с/х торгпредство США познакомило 53 человек с новой продукцией #СШАиРФ

18.#СШАиРФ вместе с межд. партнерами работают над решением регион. конфликтов. Хороший пример–сегодняшние переговоры «5+2» по Приднестровью.

19.В 2012 мы выдали на 23% больше туристических и бизнес виз в РФ по сравнению с 2011, установив таким образом рекорд всех времён. #СШАиРФ

20. Россия и США совместно оснастили все пограничные пункты РФ технологией против контрабанды ядерных материалов. #СШАиРФ

21. 4 февраля #СШАиРФ подтвердили согласие сотрудничать по поставкам в Афганистан в 2013 году для безопасности и стабильности региона.

22. Сотрудничество #СШАиРФ на борту #МКС длится более десятилетия, внося свой вклад на благо всего мирового сообщества

23. Генконсульство США в СПб организовало визит племенных старейшин Аляски для помощи Кунсткамере в исследовании артефактов 19 века #СШАиРФ

24. #СШАиРФ 460 старшеклассников из малообеспеченных семей занимаются дополнительно английским языком в рамках программы Госдепартамента.

25. Благодаря сотрудничеству @StateDept и @MFA_Russia россияне могут получить трёхгодичную визу в США всего за $160. #СШАиРФ

26. Голоса #СШАиРФ были ключевыми по рез.1929 Совбеза #ООН по #Ирану, мы остаемся партнерами в переговорах «шестерки» по его ядер программе

27.Вместе с партнерами по Арктическому совету #СШАиРФ разработали комплексный план по реагированию и предотвращению разлива нефти в Арктике.

28.Раб.группа #СШАиРФ по морским млекопитающим встретится 2-10марта в Сиэттле для дискуссии по охране моржей и др видов

28 Days of Cooperation: #USandRF

If you only listened to some of the loudest rhetoric on U.S.-Russian relations, you might get the impression that Americans and Russians only argue, and never work together. In fact, dozens if not hundreds of Russians and Americans wake up every day and continue to cooperate on projects of mutual interest, be it exploring new energy prospects in the Arctic Sea, seeking joint solutions for addressing our mutual proliferation concerns about North Korea, developing educational institutions and business opportunities in the high-tech industry, coordinating our positions in the P5+1 in dealing with Iran, playing music together, ensuring that supply routes to Afghanistan continue to work efficiently, or conducting research together. Cooperation happens in outer space, as part of joint missions at the international space station; and it happens in places like Birobidjan, which is home to one of the 21 schools where the U.S. supports English-language instruction for disadvantaged teenagers.

In my own work here in Russia every day, I am developing and maintaining cooperation between our two governments and societies on a wide range of issues. Whether I am meeting with government officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kremlin, and the White House, or meeting with business people, Duma deputies, and civil society leaders at Spaso House, I find that most of the hours in my day are consumed by pragmatic conversations about common interests. And almost all of these discussions take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

We do have differences with the Russian government. Sometimes we pursue areas of cooperation that do not end up working out. And our business ventures and societal contacts also sometimes lead to disagreements and dead ends. That is normal, especially for two countries with the range of interests that the United States and Russia both have. Yet, these instances of differences between us seem to get the bulk of the attention, while the quiet, everyday yet vitally important spheres of cooperation go unnoticed.

To provide more balance and help correct such misperceptions, we at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates decided to dedicate the month of February to highlighting some of the many areas where our countries are cooperating. Every day in February, we posted to our Twitter feed one example of this cooperation, using the hashtag #USandRF. The complete list of these examples is below. The list is by no means exhaustive, and is not meant to be. I hope, though, that it gives you an idea of the broad spectrum of areas in which our two countries are working closely together. Some of the examples we cited on our Twitter feed are well known, but I imagine others were known only to those directly involved. I believe, though, that each and every example is important in its own way. Individually, they bring our countries and people together, and collectively, they demonstrate how much can be accomplished when we cooperate, impelling us to look for more ways of doing so.

1. The US and Russia recently marked the end of year 2 of on-site inspections under New START Treaty.Great example of cooperation! #USandRF

2.@DowChemical signed agreemnt w/@rusnano_en&HCC for production in Russia of advanced composite materials;part of #USandRF innovation agenda

3. #USandRF Currently 7 English Language Fellows are working with Russian institutions of higher education on teacher training projects in Russia

4. US invests in energy efficiency in Russia;$100mil @OPICgov loan in support of Virgin Green Fund will leverage win-win outcomes for #USandRF

5. US and Russian officials met yesterday in Washington regarding Russia’s @OECD accession #USandRF

6. US, Russian scientists inventory black carbon emissions from diesel engines in Murmansk. #USandRF

7.#USandRF Law Enforcement Working Group met for the 1st time in DC; a big step forward in cooperation on criminal cases of mutual interest.

8. FAS matched Russian food and cattle companies with 65+ U.S. exporters #USandRF

9.Students from #USandRF jointly investigate control of nuclear spent fuel in an online project:

10. In 2012, the US Embassy sent 200 Russians to the U.S. to participate in academic and professional exchange programs. #USandRF

11. #USandRF BPC Energy WG chaired by @ENERGY and Minenergo advances policy and partnerships in energy efficiency, clean tech, and security.

12.On Jan.22 #USandRF joined the #UNSC in passing Res2087, condemning #NorthKorea’s launch of a ballistic missile & strengthening sanctions.

13.#USandRF co-chair GICNT, a partnership of 85 nations implementing shared nuclear security principles.

14.Harmonizing product tech. standards–good for trade&WTO integration. @CommerceGov&RF Ministries cooperate. #USandRF

15. Youth Sports Exchanges: 71 high school athletes & coaches trained abroad in 2012, thanks to @StateDept & Russian MinSport. #USandRF

16. @MarsCuriosity exploring the red planet with Russia’s DAN instrument; continuing #USandRF space science cooperation

17. Ag Trade Office assisted 53 Russians looking for new food products at U.S. trade shows in 2012 #USandRF

18. #USandRF, with intl partners, work together to solve regional conflicts. Good example-today’s 5+2 talks on Transnistria settlement.

19.In 2012, we issued 23% more visas to Russian tourists & business travelers than in 2011, setting an all time record. #USandRF

20. Russia and U.S. jointly equipped all Russian border crossings with technology to stop nuclear and radiological smuggling. #USandRF

21. On Feb4 #USandRF recommitted to cooperating on transporting supplies and personnel for security and stability of Afghanistan in 2013

22.Over a decade of #USandRF manning #ISS, our int’l cooperation bringing benefits to all mankind

23. St Pete Consulate arranges visit by Alaskan tribal elders to assist Kunstkamera research rare 19th century Alaskan artifacts.#USandRF

24.#USandRF The US Government offers access to extra English instruction to around 460 Russian teenagers from disadvantaged families

25. Thanks to @StateDept & @MFA_Russia cooperation, Russians can now apply for a 3-year US visa for business/tourism for just $160. #USandRF

26. #USandRF supported key vote #UNSC Res1929 on #Iran and continue to be partners in the P5+1 talks

27.With our partners on the Arctic Council, #USandRF developed a comprehensive oil spill prevention and response plan for the Arctic.

28. #USandRF Marine Mammal Working Group meets March 2-10 in Seattle to protect walrus, sea otter, other species

Я, впрочем, − продолжал болтать Коровьев, − знавал людей, не имевших никакого представления не только о пятом измерении, но и вообще ни о чем не имевших никакого представления и тем не менее проделывавших чудеса в смысле расширения своего помещения. Так, например, один горожанин, как мне рассказывали, получив трехкомнатную квартиру на Земляном валу, без всякого пятого измерения и прочих вещей, от которых ум заходит за разум, мгновенно превратил ее в четырехкомнатную, разделив одну из комнат пополам перегородкой. Засим эту он обменял на две отдельных квартиры в разных районах Москвы − одну в три и другую в две комнаты. Согласитесь, что их стало пять. Трехкомнатную он обменял на две отдельных по две комнаты и стал обладателем, как вы сами видите, шести комнат, правда, рассеянных в полном беспорядке по всей Москве. Он уже собирался произвести последний и самый блистательный вольт, поместив в газете объявление, что меняет шесть комнат в разных районах Москвы на одну пятикомнатную квартиру на Земляном валу, как его деятельность, по не зависящим от него причинам, прекратилась. Возможно, что он сейчас и имеет какую-нибудь комнату, но только, смею вас уверить, что не в Москве.

via Алексon 2/12/13

Огромное спасибо участникам за принципиальность и поддержку... В позиции: "За нашу и вашу свободу" первая часть - ожидаема и естественна, а вторая заслуживает особого уважения. Любой из нас прекрасно знает, что выступать за равенство для ЛГБТ-людей, за их гражданские права в России - означает подставлять себя под потоки грязи, оскорблений и агрессии.

Для гея бороться с гомофобией - естественная вещь. Но не каждый, кто относит себя к "большинству", готов оказаться в среде гомофобной ненависти. Поэтому (ещё раз) респект авторам проекта за человечную позицию.

К сожалению, гомофобия в России - часть государственной политики. Власть нуждается в церкви, в качестве идеологического института, который обеспечил бы "вертикали" легитимность. Гомофобия - это плата, которую режим платит РПЦ (в которой сегодня особенно нуждается). К тому же, травля "меньшинств" - отличный метод консолидации путинского "большинства" против "внутреннего врага"

Когда-то борьба с расизмом в Штатах была общей задачей национального выживания; сегодня в России борьба с гомофобией - это не только борьба за равные права для "меньшинств", но одновременно (что важнее) и борьба за право людей из "большинства" оставаться людьми...

via Алексon 2/18/13
Сначала цитата. "...Меня очень поэтому несколько вещей напрягает. Во-первых, это агрессивное требование равенства со стороны современного ЛГБТ-сообщества, которое фактически требует от государства того, что не может им обеспечить природа. Вот, как-то Эпаминонд и Пелопид не выходили друг за друга замуж...".

Занятная логика. А борьба суфражисток Латынину не напрягает? В конце-концов, женщины древней Эллады не требовали избирательных прав и политического голоса были лишены. Как и Эпаминонд с Пелопидом - брачных возможностей. Возьмём это за образец?

Я бы предложил Латыниной пойти дальше и усомниться в равенстве для инвалидов. Им природа тоже не может обеспечить физического равенства, поэтому давайте отберём у них и равенство правовое: запретим браки, например. Или уберём пандусы с улиц: если природа тебя чего-то лишила, то задача государства - никак этому не противоречить.

Во-вторых, чего именно "природа" "не может обеспечить" гей-парам? Полноценного брачного союза? Рождения детей? Не очень понятно.

Вообще, идея Латыниной, что государство должно следовать за мифической "природой" и выводить право из природной данности, - "напрягает" меня не меньше. Уж слишком дико это звучит в устах современного журналиста.

via Алексon 3/6/13
Для блога на "Эхе" -

Корреспондент "Эха" Алексей Голубев решил горячо вступиться за консервативное "большинство" и его право на гомофобию. ("Просвети меня. О геях, православных и православных геях" - Разумеется, самое время, - поскольку государство с его гомофобной политикой (очевидно) не справляется с задачей без помощи нашего автора...

Хочу поблагодарить Алексея Голубева: у него получился прекрасный символичный текст, который смело можно назвать "энциклопедией гомофобных штампов". Все стереотипы и мифы "консервативного большинства", касающиеся гей-сообщества, автор умудрился "впихнуть" в свою статью. Которая, впрочем, рисует не столько образ ЛГБТ, сколько даёт представление о типаже гомофоба (с подтасовками, оскорблениями, ложью и пристрастием к "постельному" взгляду на жизнь). Попробуем разгрести пласты "аргументации".

Тема "нормы", разумеется, становится основной, поскольку под ненависть к "гомосекам" должна быть подведена хоть какая-то научно-медицинская база. Современному российскому гомофобу всегда чрезвычайно важно придать обоснованию дискриминации ЛГБТ-сообщества цивилизованный, наукообразный формат.

Здесь всё очень просто: рамки медицинской "нормы" определяются бытовым решением большинства. Это компетенция "колхозного схода", РПЦ, "православного большинства", "родительского собрания", - но никак не медицинской науки. "Большинство" (видимо) не нуждается в нормативах ВОЗ, МКБ-10 ("Международной классификации болезней") или в нормативах "Всемирной ассоциации психиатров" (включая Россию). "Я не считаю гомосексуальность нормальной" - этого вполне достаточно для изобретения "патологий" и самостоятельной постановки "диагноза".

Хотя диагностика "патологий" с позиций церкви, "греховности" и "Левита" - такой же нонсенс, как и суждение о "бозоне Хиггса" с точки зрения Ветхого Завета.

Гомофобу не важно, что депатологизация гей-ориентации в медицинской науке - это событие прошлого века. А МКБ-10 (базовый документ ВОЗ для всех стран-членов организации) - квалифицирует гомосексуальность и бисексуальность как "варианты сексуальной нормы".

Разумеется, г-н Голубев может считать гомосексуальность чем угодно: "извращением", "патологией", "ненормальностью" (флаг ему в руки). Важно только честно оговаривать свою позицию: "на мой ЛИЧНЫЙ взгляд, который не совпадает со стандартами современной медицины".

Это честнее, чем играть в "доктора", рассуждать о "девиациях" и изобретать параллели с "зоофилией", "педофилией" и прочими патологиями, не будучи компетентным в медицине.

Странная вещь: автор почему-то не планирует вмешиваться в нормативы современной хирургии, не отрицает томографии, генного анализа или антибиотиков, он желает лечиться по стандартам ХХI века, но познания о сексуальной ориентации своих сограждан он будет упорно черпать из советского учебника по психиатрии 1953 года издания.

И здесь мы сталкиваемся со второй поразительной особенностью гомофобной аргументации. Для гомофоба сексуальная ориентация - это исключительно сфера "постели" и "секса".

Словно речь идёт не о людях, не о душе и не о чувствах друг к другу, а о "случке" и "животном сексе". Поразительное умение гомофоба сводить мир человеческих чувств к "постели" и "телесному низу" - постоянно поражает воображение. Если г-н Голубев не видит принципиальной разницы между скотами и людьми, - сравнивая гомосексуальность с "зоофилией", - то я ему искренне сочувствую.

Спешу разочаровать г-на Голубева: чувства однополых партнёров друг к другу ничем не отличаются от чувств гетеросексуалов. А социальная значимость одних ничем не отличается от ценности других. Абсолютно ничем. Природа человеческих чувств едина, - разнятся только сексуальные техники.

Но кроме секса (удивлю гомофоба) в человеке есть ещё много чего, - и хорошо бы не забывать, что ЛГБТ-граждане - прежде всего люди, с правами, чувствами, социальными проблемами и человеческим достоинством. Крики о том, что российское гей-сообщество "тащит постельные темы на улицу" - банальная ложь тех, для которых семья, любовь и семейный союз (разнополый или однополый) исчерпывается "постелью".

Любой семейный союз двух людей (а также их право на любовь) - не может быть "социальной тайной", которой стыдятся на улице или в публичном пространстве. Любая секретность в вопросах брака - унизительна для человеческого достоинства. А именно секретности и требуют гомофобы.

Как типичный представитель гомофобной мифологии, Голубев "не понимает", что борьба ЛГБТ за РАВЕНСТВО прав - это не "сексуальная", а СОЦИАЛЬНАЯ задача. Впрочем, если вместо человеческих проблем гей-сообщества автору сподручнее рассуждать про "собак", "случку" и "постель"- я глубоко сочувствую уровню его убогого взгляда на мир.

Наконец, пора напомнить автору, что врать нехорошо. Излюбленной темой гомофоба в России является тезис о том, что "никто у нас гомосеков не притесняет". (И вообще, "что им надо? Каких ещё прав не хватает?")

Голубев может не знать, - тогда я напомню, что у гей-сообщества нет политических прав на свободу собраний (гарантированных 31 статьёй Конституции). Исключительно все мирные акции гей-активистов (выходивших с социальными лозунгами и радужными флагами) запрещались в Москве с 2006 года. Шествия, пикеты, собрания, кинофестивали - под запретом. Причём речь идёт о гражданских правах людей, а не о "парадах" и "карнавалах" (фотографии которых так фальшиво приведены в посте Голубева). Лучше бы он опубликовал российские кадры разгонов и избиений мирных акций, когда сам факт принадлежности к ЛГБТ - достаточное условие для ареста.

Голубев против права "меньшинств" на мирные собрания? За отмену Конституции для одной социальной группы? Тогда и надо об этом прямо говорить: на геев гражданские права не распространяются. Это будет честнее, чем городить дешёвую ложь про отсутствие дискриминации. Гомофобы (конечно) имеют право на собственную позицию, - просто не надо при этом врать.

И последнее, в виде пожелания гомофобному комьюнити (называющему себя "подавляющим большинством"). Хватит тешить себя фантазиями про "постели" и "секс". ЛГБТ-активисты требуют только одного: соблюдайте вашу Конституцию, уважайте гражданские права ВСЕХ социальных групп, прекратите дискриминацию по признаку ориентации.

Вот и всё. А про "интим" поговорим дома. Сексуальная ориентация - это не "постельный", а СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ феномен (как и для любого вменяемого гетеросексуала, - брак, семья и любовь - это не только "секс", но и органичная часть социальной жизни), вот и соблюдайте РАВЕНСТВО социальных прав. Минимальное требование, не так ли?

Если гетеросексуалы живут в браке и играют свадьбы публично, если они появляются на публике в качестве супругов (а не прячут свой "грязный секс" в стенах квартиры), то и ЛГБТ-граждане не должны делать из своих браков социальную тайну.

Отлично, что гражданское общество в России всё лучше понимает позорность гомофобной ненависти к согражданам. (Как и лжи в их адрес). Проекты "Афиши", "Граней.ру", и другие важные инициативы СМИ по вытеснению гомофобии из области нормального человеческого общения, - это не только защита "меньшинств" от лжи и агрессии, - но и защита "большинства". Точно так же, как движение в Штатах за равенство чернокожих - спасало не только их, но и американское общество в целом - от печального расистского удела.

Ну а судьба идейных гомофобов очевидна: продолжать врать про "патологию", выдумывать "диагнозы", путать чувства людей с "зоофилией", плевать на человеческое достоинство и всячески лгать, что у нас "никого не притесняют".

via Window on Eurasia -- New Series by paul goble on 3/11/13

Paul Goble
Staunton, March 11 – The “main mistake” of the Russian opposition in the past has been its focus that on Moscow rather than on the regions, but clashes between demonstrators and the authorities in Russia’s regions are prompting them to redirect their attention, a shift that will generate “a wave of effective actions,” according to one activist.

Writing for the site on Saturday, Igor Artyomov, head of the Russia Be Liberated by Our Forces movement and a member of the opposition’s coordinating council, notes that “the most impressive event” of the last weekend was a case of popular activism provoked by the authorities in Novokuznetsk (

Because of the over-reaction of the authorities, he continues, many people who are in every way “very far from Russian nationalism and Orthodoxy” were drawn “into the ranks of the protesters” whose initial cause was opposition to the construction of a third mosque in that western Siberian city.

Given that spring and a new protest season are coming, Artyomov continues, opposition leaders have expressed two points of view on how they should proceed. According to the first, they will simply have to wait for “the next rise” in protest activity. But according to the second, they must bring into Moscow “supporters from other cities” and organize events there.

The truth is somewhere in between: the opposition needs to recognize that “all our largest ‘street’ successes” have occurred unexpectedly when society is “’boiling’ but the authorities were not prepared, did not know in advance the place, time and format of our actions.” That combination should dictate the opposition’s strategy, Artyomov says.

Moreover, opposition leaders need to recognize that change will come to Russia not by their will along but rather “when several factors come together … when society will beat htepeak of mass dissatisfaction, when the opposition will have a network and mobile structure throughout the entire country, and when the authorities will commit mistakes and land in a crisis.

“When will that happen?” Artyomov asks. “It is senseless to predict,” but the opposition needs “to be prepared.” And to do that, it must overcome its “main mistake” of the past: its “Moscow-centrism” and recognize that while the final act of any political drama will be in the capital, the lead up to that can come from elsewhere.

The activist suggests that the opposition start focusing on its potential allies “in all major cities of more than 100,000,” assemble activists in each, and carry out “joint regional actions” on any subject in order to develop the country-wide network he believes is necessary. At first, these actions can be local, but then, on the basis of them, broader events can take place.

Variety is of the essence, Artyomov says. “People are tired of one and the same message being delivered by ‘the liberals;’ they want to express themselves and they want to be heard.” Indeed, it may be useful to have “several” different messages being delivered at one and the same meeting to add interest and increase “horizontal” ties.

And in looking beyond Moscow, he argues, activists should not forget the enormous value of posters and signs put on buildings. At first the authorities will take them down, but if there are enough “Vova, Go Home!’ signs and slogans put up, they won’t be able to and the opposition will gain new recruits.

All of this, Artyomov concludes, “is of course not at end in itself. These are “steps to the creation of a structure which will have the chance to free Russia in a peaceful and unforced manner. That such a liberation is necessary and inevitable is understood today by a large number of people” – and not just those in the Russian capital.

via Window on Eurasia -- New Series by paul goble on 3/13/13

Paul Goble

Staunton, March 13 – Mosques in Russian cities have become a communications hub for illegal migrants, some Russians say, and consequently, “the more mosques” that are permitted, “the more illegal migrants” there will be, an argument that is certain to intensify opposition to the construction of Islamic facilities across the country.

Given that the Russian authorities admit there are 3.3 million illegals in the Russian Federation already and the likelihood that the real number is far greater than that, these Russians say, the construction of any new mosques should be put off until Moscow is able to restore law and order in this area.

Such attitudes, especially if they become widespread, are likely to prompt the Russian authorities not only to oppose any new construction for their growing Muslim population but also to monitor more closely and perhaps even raid mosques in the name of the politically popular idea of fighting illegal immigration.

According to an article on the “Osobaya bukhva” this week, mosques currently serve as a place where illegal immigrants can learn “various methods” of avoiding Russia’s official migration services and thus by their nature contribute to an increase in their number and their illegality (

The article, which is based on the weekly program “Kirillov Says,” reports on the views of some Russians who say that they might not oppose the construction of new mosques if the problem with illegal immigration were brought under control, although many of those with whom Kirill spoke appear to be against mosques as such.

In reporting on these comments, Kirillov says that he is “not asserting that every imam is some kind of local variant of the Dikkensian Fagin,” who is deploying immigrants to engage in illegal activities, but rather that mosques in Russian cities are places where illegals assemble and learn how to arrange their lives out of sight of the authorities.

Because the mosques help the illegal immigrants, he continues, that means “the more mosques, the more illegals there will be.” And he insists that this will be the case until “a new visa regime is established with the countries of Central Asia,” an approach now favored even by the Coordinating Council of the Opposition.

Kirillov relates the conversation he had with Sergey “Spider” Troitsky about this and about how the latter would cope with the problem of illegal immigrants in the Russian Federation. Troitsky’s comments are disturbing, but they likely reflect the attitudes of many others.

Troitsky suggested that “in order to struggle with the wild quantity of Caucasians who are now occupying Russia,” there is only one appropriate measure: “all the gastarbeiters must be put under the control of the Emergency Situations Ministry,” which will “purchase” the necessary workers in Central Asia or China and then ensure that they work only where they are wanted.

In his city of Zhukovsky, Troitsky continued, such an arrangement would allow for the creation of “a labor army,” with military discipline and whose members would serve only in positions out of the public eye and not in stores or supermarkets so that they would not offend the sensibilities of the local Russian population.

He said he opposes the construction of any mosque there, “not because” he is against Muslims, but because there should not be any new religious buildings lest after the erection of a mosque, demands would arise for a Baptist church or a Satanist one. “We will not permit that,” he concluded.

via Window on Eurasia -- New Series by paul goble on 3/13/13

Paul Goble

Staunton, March 13 – Ten days ago, OMON troops broke into a Surgut bar frequented by workers from Central Asia and the south Caucasus, detained some of them and forced others to shave their beards, Interfax-Religion reported yesterday, an incident that had received little notice before then but that is now sparking outrage on many Muslim websites.

The Russian news agency report is straightforward. It says that heavily armed OMON troops entered a bar near the mosque in the Khanty-Mansiisk republic city because of reports that there was a fight there, detained several for a day or two, and forced three to shave or at least trim their beards (

Faizulo Aminov, the head of the Tajik diaspora in Surgut, told the news service that he had spoken with Aleksandr Yerokhov, the city’s chief of police, who acknowledged that the incident had taken place, that the officers were his subordinates and offered his apologies. Yerokhov added that “the guilty party” had been “found and punished.”

But the Interfax report not only led to more reports by mainstream Russian news services (see, for example, but also sparked interest in regional and local outlets (,

These outlets, while adding some interesting details – the OMON troops involved were from a unit that had carried out the attack in the Latvian capital on January 20, 1991) and the gastarbeiters involved were from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan – generally repeated the Interfax report.

Islamic and Caucasian sites, however, were more critical of what took place, featuring photographs of some of those involved which clearly show that the men involved may have been forced to trim their beards but certainly did not shave them off entirely as the Interfax report had implied ( and

And these sites gave more prominence to reports that the “OMON raid” was connected with the recent wave of arrests in various places in the Russian Federation of “members of one of the extremist groups of Salafis” rather than being something of only local interest.

Consequently, this story is likely to be picked up by other media outlets in the Caucasus and Central Asia and generate anger among Muslims there and by outlets in the Russian blogosphere which are likely to present the behavior of the OMON as heroic or at least entirely justified.

Those differing interpretations in turn will only raise the temperature of relations between Muslim gastarbeiters and Russian residents and could trigger more such events elsewhere, yet another example of the way the new media are playing an ever greater role in inter-ethnic relations in the Russian Federation.

via THE RUSSIAN FRONT by DStone on 6/19/11
Not particularly Russian, but this does have some military history relevance . . .
In summer travels, I found myself stuck without a wide selection of reading material, but came across an old Modern Library edition of Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West. Since that’s a book far more often referenced than read, and I didn’t have lots of other options, I decided to plow through it.
The book lived down to my expectations. It’s positively Hegelian in its grand rhetorical flights of fancy about capital-H History, and in its impenetrable style. On the bright side, once you get the hang of what Spengler is up to, the book’s easy to skim through very quickly. I may comment on some of his substantive arguments anon, what struck me was a single line on p. 387 in the chapter on “Philosophy of Politics”:
The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.
Thanks to a youthful flirtation with alternative rap, I recognized this as a line from PM Dawn’s 1991 song “Comatose.” I was pretty sure Spengler hadn’t stolen from PM Dawn, but I found it only slightly less surprising that PM Dawn was citing Spengler. To google I turned . . .
. . . to find to my surprise that the quotation is widely attributed to Marcus Aurelius (for example, here, here, here, and here), both in collections of military quotation and especially in business books. One organization even made it their official slogan, complete with a bust of Marcus Aurelius on the home page.
To add insult to injury, Marcus Aurelius wins the citation wars by a ratio of about 5:1 over Spengler.
The problem is that there’s no evidence that Marcus Aurelius ever uttered or wrote the words in question. It’s nowhere in his Meditations, and no one ever gives a real citation. The dubious prize for earliest misattribution to Marcus Aurelius (at least according to google books) goes to Jay Levinson and David Perry’s Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters.
Of course, in terms of the popularity of the quotation, Marcus Aurelius is a lot better than Spengler. The one is a philosophical emperor, one of the last good one the Romans had. The other was an obscurantist pessimist, and while not the Nazi he’s often painted as being, was no friend to democracy, capitalism, or liberalism. It’s tough to imagine management theorists being quite so eager to Spengler for inspiration.

Is Putin's inner circle thinking about life after Putin?

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Last week's resignations from the State Duma appear to be a warm-up for a wholesale reset of Russia's political system.

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Vladimir Putin is offering the elite a new deal they can't refuse. And they don't like it.

via Sean's Russia Blog by Sean on 2/17/13

Here’s what we know so far:
A meteor disintegrated outside of the Ural city of Chelyabinsk. The space rock was 17 meters wide, weighed an estimated 10 kilotons, traveled at 30 to 50 kilometers per second, and, according to NASA, had an explosive force of half a megaton. That’s about thirty times the force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The meteor’s shockwave injured over a thousand with 48 hospitalized, destroyed about 200,000 square meters of glass, damaged t3724 residences, 671 schools, 11 monuments, 69 cultural objects, and 6 sports complexes. The Twitter hashtag #метеорит shot up to number one in Russia. Fragments of the meteor have been found. And to top of all off, no one died.
Just so you don’t think the Russian government has been asleep at the wheel, the Emergency Management Agency has been mobilized into action. Today, dead Prime Minister walking Dmitry Medvedev named Dmitry Rogozin to head a task force to find ways to “predict and prevent disasters from space.” And the asteroid panic has even reached the US, where the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has announced that it will hold hearings to come up with ways to better identify asteroids and mitigate their threat. I just hope, I sincerely hope that the latest asteroid craze doesn’t spark the production of Armageddon II. Please spare us . . .
Yet despite all this, there are some in Russia, and by some I mean supposedly well-respected opposition journalists, politicians, and cultural figures who don’t think it was a meteor at all. For a selected few, the fireball that reigned terror on the citizens of Chelyabinsk signified something far more sinister.
I’ve already blogged about Yulia Latynina’s crazy rocket theory. It turns out, the critic of all things Putin was forced to comment about her deleted column on radio show Kod Dostupa. Here’s how she explained herself:
Unfortunately, rather than keep this idea [that the meteor was a rocket] to myself, I quickly informed Novaya gazeta readers. Well, of course, it’s nonsense because as soon as it became clear that they were talking about a kiloton explosion, I understood that this wasn’t a rocket at all, but that it was really a meteor.
This is all well and good. A coincidence, indeed. A meteorite flew to Chebarkul region. Well? It happens. But incidentally, for me personally,what happened to me is interesting. When paranoia emerges in a person, he immediately begins to have accept any logical confirmation of this paranoia. The fact that the [meteor] was flying on a straight trajectory and so on. And it is absolutely amazing that paranoia only emerges horribly logical. What separates life from paranoia is that it’s not logical. So given the fact that NASA didn’t detect the meteor, then [the fact that] GLONASS didn’t is forgivable.
I’ll let the reader come up with their own conclusions in regard to this. However, I just want to emphasize that Latynina has admitted that she is paranoid. I’m sure that in her mind this gives her unmatched clairvoyance into Russian political life like some medieval holy fool. Nevertheless, I appreciate the candor. However, I’m sure if pressed, she’d blame her paranoia on Putin too.
But at least Latynina admitted that her theory was bunk. We can’t say the same for some others. Upon hearing news about the meteor on the radio, Russian rock icon Andrey Makarevich charged that the ball of fire was some kind of Kremlin PR magic to lull the masses.
And there it is a meteor! How timely! They’ll talk about it for three days minimum. Or else a week.
By the way, is it expensive to launch a meteor? For it to fall where needed, beautifully, and where it won’t maim very many people. Still it can [cost] a lot. Why not? It’s a good time. I think it’s considerable cheaper than the Olympics. And it works!
Then there was Alfred Kokh ranting on his Novaya gazeta blog about how Russian satellites’ failure to detect the meteor’s rapid descent is indicative of a corrupt and decrepit system. This is more proof of what I call the omnipotent Putin syndrome. Namely, that even the opposition buys into the Putin myth to some extent. And when the super vozhd and all he represents slips, they are the first to scream, “Ah ha, you see!” as if they’re privy to some sacred knowledge unbeknown to the rest of us.
But at least Latynina, Makarevich, and Kokh can say their ejaculations were premature. Boris Nemtsov, on the other hand, has no excuse. He had all the confirming facts that this was indeed a meteor. Yet, he wrote this on his Facebook page:
Alfred Kokh is surprised why the search ended for the Chelyabinsk unidentified flying object, the explosive force of which was 20-30 atomic bombs [like those dropped on Hiroshima]. And why was Latynina’s version that it wasn’t a meteor, but our rocket that someone accidentally launched was ridiculed even in independent media.
It suggests to me that the discussion around a UFO is extremely dangerous and disadvantageous for the government. If this was a meteor, then why didn’t the satellites detect it? This large object with enormous destructive potential and silence . . . We don’t have a satellite detection system?? Where is it?? We waste a colossal sum on the army–more than two trillion rubles and by 2020 it will be 20 trillion. Where did this money go??? Was it stolen, embezzled? For who is such a discussion needed in light of the Oboronservice and Serdyukov affair. They definitely don’t need it. Latynina’s version is really bad for Putin and Shoigu. There is disorder in the army, rockets fly uncontrolled and what do Putin and his valiant Minister of Defense offer.
That it’s better to stop the search and quietly forget what they decide in the Kremlin. We await the increase the satellite budget and new embezzlers.
And this is one of the darlings of the United States Congress and the Western press?? A potential shining star of a Putin-less Russia??

via Steve LeVine by Steve LeVine on 8/1/12
Posted by Steve LeVine
Less than a year after the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq, Baghdad is losing a primary lever over independent-minded Kurdistan — its grip on the northern region’s revenue-earning oil industry. Kurdistan’s secret weapon? Foreign oil companies are exasperated with Baghdad’s stinginess and allured by the Kurds’ more liberal terms for oil contracts.
These companies are becoming an unintentional fifth column in Kurdistan’s march toward economic autonomy. On July 31, France’s Total became the third big oil company to break with Baghdad by signing an unsanctioned oil deal with Kurdistan. Baghdad, intent on full mastery over the nation’s massive petroleum revenue, forbids oil companies from dealing directly with Kurdistan and instead requires them to bid for projects through the Ministry of Oil and to ship their oil through Baghdad-controlled pipelines. However, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Total have now flouted Baghdad’s wishes, putting their oil deals in Iraq’s south at risk in the process. Their calculus is that despite the relative inferiority of Kurdistan’s oil reserves, the potential upside there outweighs the downside threat of possibly losing access to Iraq proper, according to oil company executives with whom I have spoken.
The pressure will now be on Baghdad to somehow stem what is looking like an oil-company rebellion. It’s yet another challenge for the Iraqi government, which is already struggling with rising violence and dropping oil revenue because of sagging global prices.
History has seen numerous states taken over by companies — one thinks, for instance, of the United Fruit Company’s activities in Latin America. But should this trend continue in Kurdistan, it would mark, as far as I recall, the first time that oil companies have been principal actors in a nation becoming effectively autonomous. Of course, it will be up to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to ensure that it is not swallowed up by the companies, which was the fate of some Central and South American countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
On the surface, the companies’ decision to spurn Baghdad seems foolish. Iraq is a huge prize in the oil business, with some 148 billion barrels of proven oil reserves — the second-largest conventional volume in the world. By comparison, the KRG claims to have another 45 billion barrels of oil under its own soil.
After Saddam Hussein’s overthrow in 2003, oil companies from around the world rushed in for the right to both rework old, debilitated fields, and to drill new ones. But Baghdad has exacted tight-fisted terms, signing only low-paying service contracts that effectively turn high-risk, high-return wildcatters into mere hired hands. Until recently, the world’s oil companies have bristled at the terms, but gone along in hopes of conventional production sharing agreements down the road. Now, the grumbling in the ranks is growing to a roar.
A fourth-round auction of oil properties in May showed both that Baghdad seems to have no intention of greater generosity — and also that the companies are fed up. Just three of 12 blocks on offer found successful takers.
In October, ordinarily ultraconservative Exxon uncharacteristically signaled the first sign of upheaval by signing an exploration deal with Kurdistan despite having an agreement to produce oil at Iraq’s West Qurna field. That seemed quite a gamble: West Qurna, after all, holds some 8.7 billion barrels of oil, and there was a distinct possibility that Baghdad would revoke the deal as punishment for Exxon’s opening to the Kurds. Now, Total’s decision — the purchase of a 35 percent stake in two exploration blocks in Kurdistan — makes what had been a gingerly tip-toeing toward the KRG look more like a headlong rush. Total did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Punishment has been meted out for the companies’ defiance: Exxon was barred from the latest auction, and Chevron, which has no current deal in the south, has been officially blacklisted from any future contracts. However, the companies don’t seem fazed in the least.
"We understand completely that if we enter into a contract in the north, we’re probably going to be blackballed in the south," an official from one of the companies told me on condition of anonymity. "So the question is, ‘Have we exhausted all our options for getting a deal in the south on terms that we would find acceptable?’"
The answer for companies headed for the door is yes, the official said. "I think that’s beginning to be borne out as a lot of companies are looking to renegotiate their terms," he told me.
"The terms in the north are much better. The government gets a stake, but the better you do, the more you get, and the terms are attractive," he said. Plus the overall conditions are "night and day better" in Kurdistan than in Baghdad, he said. "You fly into a very modern, efficient airport. There are good hotels, good infrastructure."
When combined with the Kurdish authorities’ already-existing plans to build independent oil and natural gas export pipelines out of Kurdistan that avoid the Arab regions of Iraq entirely, the oil deals look increasingly like a robust, commercial-led carving out of the region as a stand-alone entity. Some might call it another substantial piece of the puzzle toward the creation of the Kurds’ longstanding national dream — a state of their own.
Robin Mills, a former Shell geologist and author of The Myth of the Oil Crisis who does private consulting on Iraq, said in a Twitter exchange that the Total news is a "big blow" for Baghdad. As for Total itself, the company seemed to be taking on sub-par fields in Kurdistan — "not a crown jewel in return for risk they’re taking with Baghdad" — but that "perhaps Total just doesn’t see any risk with Baghdad any more."
Can the embattled Iraqi central government get the rebellious oil companies back in line? Patrick Osgood, deputy editor of Oil & Gas Middle East magazine, suggested in a tweet that Baghdad could respond by making "a quick fire sale [of Total's fields] to Petrochina," the publicly traded arm of the state-controlled China National Petroleum Company. But even that may not solve Baghdad’s basic problem: "Can’t see it’s smart for Baghdad to be so reliant on Shell, BP, Russians & Chinese," Mills said.
Some messages that run counter to conventional wisdom stand out from this showdown: Oil companies, it turns out, will not pay any price for access to the biggest fields in the world, but in fact will seek greener pastures. Oil cannot be bottled up — it will find its market. And sometimes, a new state can take form without a shot fired or a single protester in the street.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/GettyImages

via Siberian Light by Andy on 4/7/12
I’m absolutely baffled by the story coming out of this week of a 20 million rouble ($660,000) lawsuit involving Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian church, and Yury Shevchenko, a former Russian health minister.
The basic story is pretty straightforward, but so odd that there must be something going on below the surface that I just am not quite getting. If anyone could explain it to me, I’d be really grateful!
From what I can gather Shevchenko, who lives in an apartment on the floor below Patriarch Kirill, was having some kind of construction work done. As a result, some kind of undetermined substance (dust, sand, or harmful nanoparticles, depending on who you believe) was carried up and coated many of the surfaces in Patriarch Kirill’s apartment. Lidiya Leonova, who lives in the apartment, and is described in the media as it’s “keeper”, “discovered that all of the property, including the library, was covered in a thick layer of dust” and took it upon herself to sue Shevchenko for the damage caused to Patriarch Kirill’s apartment, including to some very valuable religious texts.
The case went to court and ultimately, after being barred from leaving the country by the court to treat his cancer abroad, the judgement went against Shevchenko and, again according to the media, he was forced to sell an apartment that he had bequeathed to his daughter in order to meet the bill.
Most of the reports in the English language media I’m reading seem to being fairly critical of Patriarch Kirill. The Moscow Times is laughing at the claims that the dust was harmful, pointing out that it was just sand and it would have been far more efficient to just hire a maid to vacuum it up. RFE/RL are taking a slightly different tack in also observing that the Partiarch has a very nice (and presumably very expensive) Swiss watch that, in order to substantiate his claim that he never wears it, has to be airbrushed out of official photos whenever the sleeves of his robe ride up and the world catches a glimpse of it.
Others, though, seem more supportive of the Patriarch. says that any damages awarded will be donated to charity (which makes you wonder whether it is actually very expensive to clean up the damage) and that the Patriarch has reportedly pronounced that it would be “incorrect” to forgive Mr Shevchenko for his crime. RT points to a sustained anti-Church information campaign, of which this and the Pussy Riot demonstration are just examples.
I’m just so confused. Does anyone know what’s really going on here? If so, please could you explain it to me?
Picture courtesy of the Russian President’s website

via Sean's Russia Blog by Sean on 3/2/13

I’ve encountered a lot of interesting people in my seven years of blogging. But none have been as flamboyant as the infamous La Russophobe. Here’s an email that I received from Ms. Zigfeld this evening that proves why:
Dear Sean,
In a recent blog post, you called for Yulia Latynina to lose her job. Not that, of course, you have even 10% of the kind of influence that would be needed to make that happen, or that she or her employer even know who you are, but I think that if you review these posts calmly you’ll perhaps see they are childish, bitter, petty and ought to be beneath you. They make both you and your university look bad. The mere fact that you have the time to devote to such drivel does so, to say nothing of the wretched content. Yulia risks her life exactly the way Politkovskaya did, and she is published by editors who are among the bravest and most important of any editors of any newspaper at any time in world history. Your comments are grossly disrespectful of their judgment and the risks she is taking. You are not qualified to pass judgment on them, to say the least. Worst of all, you didn’t even see fit to call for Zhirinovsky to lose his job, which clearly establishes that this is a personal thing you have with Yulia. She didn’t even make a factual mistake, she just expressed an opinion that turned out to be bogus, and she owned up to it. It’s not a basis for her to be fired, just that simple.
So here’s what: I’m giving you one week to reconsider, apologize for going too far and admit she should not be fired. If you don’t, I’m going to call for you to be fired. In my view, I have more ammunition that you did in regard to Yulia. And I’m for sure way more powerful than you are.
As the great Stan “The Man” Lee often says, “Nuff said.”
Here’s a screen shot as proof of the missive’s authenticity. I’ve removed our respective emails.

via Russian Military Reform by Dmitry Gorenburg on 2/1/13
The Russian Navy has just concluded its largest exercise in the Mediterranean in many years. The ships involved represented all three of Russia’s European fleets and included the missile cruiser Moskva, the Udaloy-class destroyers Marshal Shaposhnikov and Severomorsk, the Yaroslav Mudriy and Smetliviy frigates, six large landing craft (the Kaliningrad, Novocherkassk, Alexandr Shabalin, Saratov, Nikolai Filchenkov, Azov), two submarines (one nuclear and one diesel-powered) and various support vessels. The total number of ships involved was over 20. In addition to the ships, the exercise included at least 20 aircraft. The exercise is being overseen by two senior MOD officials, deputy chief of the General Staff Aleksandr Postnikov and deputy Chief of the Navy Staff Leonid Sukhanov.
The timing and location of the exercise, as well as the heavy representation of amphibious ships, have raised questions about the Russian Navy’s goals in the Mediterranean. To my mind, this is another case of the Russian military trying to kill many birds with one stone. During the second half of the Cold War, the Soviet Navy had a virtually constant presence in the Mediterranean. Its squadron had a number of simultaneous tasks — ensuring the security of critical sea lanes to the Black Sea, deterring the United States Navy, ensuring continued access to the Suez canal for Soviet shipping, and engaging existing and potential allies in North Africa and the Middle East were probably the most significant of these. The Russian military has long sought to restore its presence in the region and has in the last 5-6 years taken numerous opportunities to send ships to the region to engage in exercises and conduct port visits. This exercise, first and foremost, is simply an expansion of this effort.
Second, the exercise is designed to prepare the navy for possible future operations in Syria. Discussions about the possibility of the Russian fleet seeking to have a deterrent effect on potential US or NATO intervention efforts in the Syrian civil war seem to me rather misguided. The assembled Russian forces are no match for the NATO forces that would be assembled in the region in the event of an intervention. The Soviet navy was always exceedingly cautious to only get involved in conflicts (even just with show of force operations) only in circumstances where the balance of forces was favorable. While those days were a long time ago, the current leaders of the navy were trained in that tradition and are unlikely to get involved in adventures of this type. Furthermore, the composition of the task force indicates that the navy wants to be prepared for a potential evacuation scenario. Such an evacuation may be focused on Russian citizens living in Syria, or (less likely) it may be part of a bid to rescue defeated Alawite leaders from their coastal stronghold down the road. The presence of a large number of surface combatants may be an indication that the navy wants to be prepared to undertake such an evacuation even in circumstances where its ships may come under fire from hostile forces (presumably the victorious Syrian rebels).
The final goal, for the navy, is just to increase preparedness. The Northern Fleet likes to send its ships to exercise in the Med during the winter months. The weather is nicer, allowing for more complicated maneuvers. Official reports indicate that the exercise covers a wide range of naval operations, including counter-piracy and convoy operations, ship defense from small boat attacks, coordination with both naval and long-range aviation, ASW, opposed amphibious landing, and search and rescue. The navy has conducted exercises in the Med pretty much annually since 2008. The fact that this is the largest is in part a reaction to the geopolitical circumstances in the region and in part an indication that the Russian navy is gradually gaining confidence and increasing its capabilities.

via Russian Military Reform by Dmitry Gorenburg on 2/11/13
In recent weeks, some analysts have started to argue that the military reform promulgated by Anatoly Serdiukov over the last four years is being systematically rolled back by his successor. Given the unremittingly hostile coverage of Serdyukov and the decisions he made during his tenure, this is not surprising. This perception is further strengthened by the rhetoric and stream of decisions emanating from the Russian Ministry of Defense itself. As one analyst recently noted, “[Defense Minister] Shoigu’s three-month tenure consists of little more than examining and questioning every decision made by Serdiukov.” If you listen to the statements coming out of the MOD and the vast majority of the commentary in the Russian press, you would certainly have the impression that every change that Serdiukov enacted during his years in office has either already been overturned or will be reversed in the near future.
I want to correct this impression. What we have right now is a situation with a number of potentially negative developments, but no real indications that the key aspects of the reform are about to be reversed. It is true enough that Shoigu has reversed a number of Serdyukov’s decisions. But (with the exception of defense procurement, which I’ll address separately) these changes have largely focused on relatively peripheral issues such as military education and medicine. In the education sphere, Shoigu has restored the old training system that has top officers in school for a total of eight years during their careers instead of Serdiukov’s Western-style system of one stint in a military academy followed by short courses to gain skills needed for specific positions. This is certainly a blow to modernization, and may well lead to an excessive number of graduates coming out of the military academies without positions available for them. This outcome could lead to pressure to increase the number of officers in active service, which would be a big blow to the reform effort. So it may be worth watching the number of students being admitted to the newly reformed academies in the next year or two. Similarly, the shift in control over military training from the military branches to the recently reformed Main Combat Training Directorate will leave the branch headquarters with little to do. Aleksandr Golts is concerned that they will start getting involved in commanding the troops, which used to be their bailiwick but is now under the Unified Strategic Commands. Again, a potentially negative development, but not one that has happened yet.
The one critical area where bad things have already happened is in military procurement. I’m of the school of thought that believes that one of the main reasons that Serdiukov was removed is that his policies were threatening the income streams of key players in the defense industry. It is therefore not at all surprising that one of the Shoigu-led MOD’s early acts was to essentially take imports of military technology from foreign sources off the table. As I’ve already written, this will ease pressure on domestic defense industry to improve quality of production while keeping prices from spiraling out of control. As a result, the procurement of a new generation of military equipment in the quantities needed for the military is likely to be imperiled.
Other than in procurement policy, the key structural elements of the reform remain untouched. These include the shift to a three-tiered organizational structure for the military with the brigade as the key unit, the establishment of unified strategic commands that are designed to enhance inter-service cooperation, the reduction in the number of officers, and the goal of shifting away from conscription to a primarily contract-based manning structure over time. As long as they remain in place, the Russian military will remain on track to be transformed away from the Soviet mobilization army to a more modern, more mobile, and more unified military force. According to Golts, all of these elements have recently been affirmed by the country’s top political leadership and by top officials at the MOD. Golts further argues that the new defense plan recently presented to the president by Shoigu and new Chief of the General Staff Gerasimov, if it’s as comprehensive and thorough as described in the media, could only have been prepared under the direction of Serdiukov and Makarov. There simply has not been enough time to prepare anything serious in the three months since Serdiukov was fired.
It’s certainly possible, as Golts and other commentators have indicated, that Shoigu will come under increasing pressure from the old-school career generals to repeal those aspects of the reform that are, to me anyway, the core of transforming the military into a 21st century fighting force. Golts argues that because Shoigu has been made an army general, he will not be able to withstand the pressure to do whatever the generals want. An alternative (and not contradictory) argument, also made recently by Golts, is that Shoigu is likely to accede to the generals’ desires because he does not expect to the stay at the MOD for long and will therefore do whatever the generals ask of him. These are both possibilities. And the indications for the future of military reform, given Shoigu’s initial actions, are certainly not positive. But I have not yet seen anything definitive that would cause me to assume that Shoigu is going to reverse the structural aspects of the reform. I would therefore urge caution in reading any analyses that argue that Russian military reform is dead.

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