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Have there been other examples of reunification/annexation, such as in the Crimea, that succeeded without using deadly force?

Have there been other examples of reunification/annexation, such as in the Crimea, that succeeded without using deadly force?



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I'm not trying to start a debate about if Russia's recent actions in the Crimea are legal or whether the majority of the population agrees with what has happened. However, the action was successful partially because the Russian Troops did not use deadly force. Are there other examples of similar successes due not using deadly force?

Please don't cite situations where in the end they ended in open warfare.


There are not many situations of annexation or unification in recent history, and most of those are accompanied by warfare or guerrilla violence. So this is a relatively unusual situation.

Given the narrow question you asked, the most obvious answer is German unification. The DDR/GDR basically just dissolved and those East German Lander were incorporated into the BRD/FRG under the Basic Law. It didn't take troops invading, so I don't know if you mean it. It was also certainly popular on both sides (at least in the sense of favoring Einheit).

One could also pose the United Arab Republic as an answer, though maybe not one you were looking for. Syria offered to join Egypt in a fit of pro-Nasser pan-Arabism, but also to ward off perceived Communist influence over their government. The hybrid state of two noncontiguous portions only lasted three and a half years until Syria seceded. Nasser talked about pan-Arabism, but didn't make any moves to bully or to woo Syria. The parallel to Crimea is not terribly strong, but it was an annexation (Syria wanted full union, not a federal union) and it did not come from or cause violence.

There are examples of territories annexed to the United States with varying degrees of violence or pacificism, such as the gift of the Northwest Territory by the British (an unexpected windfall), the Louisiana Purchase, Texas Annexation, Oregon Territory from Britain, Mexican Cession & Gadsden Purchase, purchase of Alaska from Imperial Russia, controversial annexation of Hawaii, and so on. I'm not sure the extent to which you'd consider a purchase of territory to fit your criteria, but many of them were done more or less peacefully, except to the extent that the locals suffered violence from the new government. The Mexican Cession came from war, but the Texas Annexation was itself peaceful - excluding the war for independence that Texas had just waged (with a number of border-crossing Americans pushing for the fight).

You could also have examples of territories returned to former sovereigns who lost it from warfare, negotiation, or colonial tribute. This would include the return of Hong Kong from the UK and Macau from Portugal to China, the return of borderland territories from Russia to China, the return of the Sinai to Egypt by Israel, and so forth. I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but there are more of these examples. These were all peaceful, but often the previous disposition had been either via warfare or through colonial threats.

There are some other Russian examples mildly parallel to the Crimea. Russia had troops in South Ossetia as observers since 2004 and issued Russian passports to many South Ossetians and Abkhazians during the 2000s. In 2008, this was cited as a basis for Russian troops moving into Abkhazia and strenghtening their position in South Ossetia, though neither has yet been annexed and of course there was a relatively brief period of warfare. The main comparison is that it was a matter of Russia slicing off territory from its neighbors. Russia did something similar with Transnistria, a breakaway portion of Moldova that has Russian troops and a leadership with an essentially Soviet-era outlook. But Russia has not made real moves to annex Transnistria, which is both landlocked and noncontiguous with Russia, so would be an exclave. It is also not ethnically Russian.

You can find other examples where annexation led to non-state violence (terrorism or civil war) like Israel and Jerusalem or Morocco and Western Sahara. One could get into little nitpicking fights about Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights and whether to count its annexation (including Shebaa Farms, claimed by Lebanon) as resulting in violence or as subsumed in the larger regional conflict. None of these annexations have been accepted by an international consensus of states, as with Crimea.


Similar examples are the Anschluss of Austria; the annexation of Sudetenland (but there was an explicit agreement of France and Great Britian and there had been fighting in previous attempts); and the establishment of the Protectorate_of_Bohemia_and_Moravia.

Later these turned out to not be so bloodless, but initially it was achieved without much loss of lives. No one thinks Adolf Hitler is a nice guy due to this, either.


The Romans took over a few provinces, especially in the East, by being named heir by the last king. Pergamum and Bythinia, at the minimum.


The decolonialisation of Singapore and (now) East Malaysia and their subsequent annexation to Malaya in 1963 occurred with no military actions taking place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_of_Malaya#Evolution_of_the_Federation_of_Malaya

Granted, their neighbours (namely Philippines and Indonesia) were not happy about this and organised a number of terrorist attacks and low-level skirmishes soon afterwards, but the territories themselves were annexed peacefully and there was no significant local resistance to the annexation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesia%E2%80%93Malaysia_confrontation


There are several such examples in Russian/Soviet history:

Annexation of three Baltic states (1940)

Annexation of Bessarabia and Bukovina (1940) from Roumania.

Like in Crimea, none of them gave any armed resistance.

Occupation of the Western Ukraine and Belorussia in 1939 by the Soviet military also did not meet with much armed resistance.


Would you consider the partitions of Poland by the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Austria in the 18th century?


How Russian Schools are teaching the Annexation of Crimea

MOSCOW—It will take some time to revise Russia’s history textbooks to reflect the annexation of Crimea. But that’s not preventing the authorities from moving quickly to assure the country’s school curriculum sticks to a politically—and patriotically—correct line on the issue. In recent weeks, a new course titled “We Are Together” has been introduced in high schools throughout the country. The course presents the annexation as a “reunification of Crimea with Russia”—the exact phrase used by Russian authorities.

Officials from the ruling United Russia party, which is spearheading the educational campaign, have joined teachers to give lectures on patriotism as part of the course. “As a former teacher, I understand that the events in Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia need to be clarified for students,” Nikolai Bulayev, a State Duma deputy from the United Russia party, said in remarks reported by Russian media. “We need to explain the position taken by our president to them,” Bulayev added.

During a lecture at School No. 28 in the city of Ulyanovsk, on the Volga River some 560 miles from Moscow, history instructor Lyubov Moskalyova is busy clarifying and explaining.

“Of course, not all states want to see a strong Russia that carries out its foreign policy according to its national interests,” Moskalyova tells students as an official from the local mayor’s office looks on. “I am happy for Russia, I am proud of my president,” she adds, her voice cracking with emotion. The students appear bored and listlessly repeat memorized information about Crimea’s economy, geography, and history.

One student says he would be willing to fight to unify eastern Ukraine with Russia.

At another school, Ulyanovsk’s Gymnasium No. 1, the class discussion is much livelier. One student, Yegor Tsvetkov, says the annexation—which he obediently calls a “reunification”—is just a first step toward a Russian takeover of eastern Ukraine.

“A referendum should be conducted in [eastern Ukraine] to see what percentage of the population supports unification with Russia,” Tsvetkov says. “I’m sure, an absolute majority would vote in favor.” Tsvetkov adds that he favors the use of military force and says he would be willing to fight to unify eastern Ukraine with Russia.

Another student, Arseniy, who gave only his first name, disagrees, adding that he has “increasingly negative” attitudes about the Crimean annexation. “I support my country but I think the confrontation with the West is stupid,” he says. “I hope there will be some kind of peaceful solution [for the crisis].”

Not all teachers, however, are enthusiastic about the new course. “This is outrageous. It’s an outright brainwashing of children,” says Tamara Eidelman, who teaches history at School No. 567 in Moscow. Eidelman says important facts, like the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars during World War II, have been left out of the course.

Eidelman says she “would teach the patriotism classes with great pleasure,” but only if she could do it her way. “I would tell the class what I really think,” she says. “Possibly, that’s why the [school administration] wouldn’t ask me to teach patriotism,” she says.

But amid today’s patriotic frenzy, such opinions can be dangerous. Mikhail Kopitsa, a history teacher in the northwestern city of Arkhangelsk, says he was reprimanded and required to write an official letter of explanation after criticizing Russia’s military presence in Crimea. “I see my role is to—at least slightly—counter the flood of propaganda coming from the media,” Kopitsa says, adding that he is disturbed by what he describes as the “mindless” and “one-sided” patriotism prevalent in Russia today.

Nazi Education

Education played a very important part in Nazi Germany in trying to cultivate a loyal following for Hitler and the Nazis. The Nazis were aware that education would create loyal Nazis by the time they reached adulthood. The Hitler Youth had been created for post-school activities and schools were to play a critical part in developing a loyal following for Hitler – indoctrination and the use of propaganda were to be a common practice in Nazi schools and the education system.

Enforcing a Nazi curriculum on schools depended on the teachers delivering it. All teachers had to be vetted by local Nazi officials. Any teacher considered disloyal was sacked. Many attended classes during school holidays in which the Nazi curriculum was spelled out and 97% of all teachers joined the Nazi Teachers’ Association. All teachers had to be careful about what they said as children were encouraged to inform the authorities if a teacher said something that did not fit in with the Nazi’s curriculum for schools.

Subjects underwent a major change in schools. Some of the most affected were History and Biology.

History was based on the glory of Germany – a nationalistic approach was compulsory. The German defeat in 1918 was explained as the work of Jewish and Marxist spies who had weakened the system from within the Treaty of Versailles was the work of nations jealous of Germany’s might and power the hyperinflation of 1923 was the work of Jewish saboteurs the national resurgence which started under the leadership of Hitler etc.

Biology became a study of the different races to ‘prove’ that the Nazi belief in racial superiority was a sound belief. “Racial Instruction” started as the age of 6. Hitler himself had decreed that “no boy or girl should leave school without complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity.” Pupils were taught about the problems of heredity. Older pupils were taught about the importance of selecting the right “mate” when marrying and producing children. The problems of inter-racial marriage were taught with an explanation that such marriages could only lead to a decline in racial purity.

Geography taught pupils about the land Germany had taken away from her in 1919 and the need for Germany to have living space – lebensraum.

Science had a military-slant to it. The curriculum required that the principles of shooting be studied military aviation science bridge building and the impact of poisonous gasses.

Girls had a different curriculum in some regards as they studied domestic science and eugenics – both of which were to prepare young girls to be the prefect mother and wife. In Eugenics, girls were taught about the characteristics to look out for in a perfect husband and father.

Indoctrination became rampant in all subjects. At every opportunity, teachers were expected to attack the life style of the Jews. Exam questions even contained blunt reference to the government’s anti-Semitic stance:

“A bomber aircraft on take-off carries 12 dozen bombs, each weighing 10 kilos. The aircraft takes off for Warsaw the international centre for Jewry. It bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100 kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about 8 tons. When it returns from the crusade, there are still 230 kilos left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty ?”

Other questions would also include areas the government wanted taught by teachers in the nation’s search for a master race:

“To keep a mentally ill person costs approximately 4 marks a day. There are 300,000 mentally ill people in care. How much do these people cost to keep in total? How many marriage loans of 1000 marks could be granted with this money?”

PE became a very important part of the curriculum. Hitler had stated that he wanted boys who could suffer pain: “a young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp’s steel.” PE took up 15% of a school’s weekly timetable. Boxing became compulsory for boys. Those who failed fitness tests could be expelled from their schools – and face humiliation from those who had passed such tests.

In 1937, pupils were give the choice of studying Religious Instructions or not.

For boys considered special, different school were created. Those who were physically fitter and stronger than the rest went to Adolf Hitler Schools where they were taught to be the future leaders of Germany. Six years of tough physical training took place and when the pupils from these schools left aged 18, they went to the army or to university. The very best pupils went to Order Castles. These were schools which took pupils to the limits of physical endurance. War games used live ammunition and pupils were killed at these schools. Those who graduated from the Order Castles could expect to attain a high position in the army or the SS.

From 1935 on, after the Nuremburg Laws, Jewish school children were not allowed to attend schools. The Nazi government claimed that a German pupil sitting next to a Jew could become contaminated by the experience.

The sole purpose of this educational structure was to create a future generation that was blindly loyal to Hitler and the Nazis.

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Post-War Korea

Rhee’s Turbulent Regime Until Overthrown in April 1960

Rhee continued to rule as a tyrant after the war, and continued to be increasingly unpopular with both his U.S. protectors and a majority of his Korean subjects until he was run out of the country by massive demonstrations in April 1960, when Rhee was eighty-five years old. Rhee and his Austrian wife Francesca hurriedly went into exile in Hawaii.

Convinced of his own messianic importance, Rhee was labeled by the CIA at the beginning of the hot Korean War as “senile.” Though perhaps Rhee was more unpredictable and cantankerous than senile, the CIA also concluded that Rhee had “not hesitated to use such totalitarian tactics as stringent censorship…police terrorism, and …extra-governmental agencies such as youth corps and armed patriotic’ societies to terrorize and destroy non-Communist opposition groups and parties.” (italics added)

For a brief time after Rhee’s exit, South Korea enjoyed its first real democratic government. Though the presidency was intentionally weakened, a bicameral parliamentary system was established with a cabinet responsible to it. A new National Assembly elected at the end of July 1960 represented diverse views. The press was finally free, and reunification with the North was being openly discussed. In the early months of 1961, there remained an optimism about the future of Korea’s democracy.

It is interesting to note that in December 1960, during this open period, the surviving people from the now famous July 1950 massacre at the village of No Gun Ri, first took their grievances and request for compensation to the U.S. and Korean governments. The U.S. government shunned the request. As the reader may remember, a September 29, 1999 Associated press story first made public the U.S. massacre at No Gun Ri, which has opened a floodgate from many other locations of similar massacre accounts.

However, the elite land owners and the right-wing became terrified with this drift to the “left.” The Korean economy was still relatively poor, and it retained a dependency on the United States. The Korean military and the right-wing were quickly running out of patience. They wanted to be in charge. The military coup of May 16, 1961, tragically concluded this short experiment with Korean democracy and hoped-for reunification with the North.

Repressive Military Dictator, Pro-American “President,” General Park Chung Hee, 1961-1979

The regime of repressive military dictator, pro-American “President,” General Park Chung Hee, former Lieutenant in the imperial Japanese forces, began with his military coup on May 16, 1961. He oversaw a “miracle of economic development” and prosperity for a middle class, and the expansion of octupus-like corporations known as Chaebols. These were, and are, generally family-owned and managed groups of commercial enterprises that operate monopolies and oligopolies in particular product lines and industries. Usually they originated in landed families with direct lineage.

However, this “progress” occurred at a tremendous cost to liberties and justice for a majority of the Korean people. Park’s administrations reeked with corruption throughout. Nonetheless, he was sufficiently pleasing to his U.S. protectors who referred to Korea as a one party “democracy.” He quickly established the Republic of Korean (ROK) CIA shortly after his 1961 coup, and by 1964, this secret agency had 370,000 officers and staff.

Park’s cousin, Colonel Kim Chong Pil, who became a close associate of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, was the first director of the ROK CIA. Ironically, Park’s reign abruptly ended with assassination on October 26, 1979 by his then Korean CIA chief, Kim Chae-gyu.

Rev. Moon, who many U.S. Americans have heard so much of, considers himself the new Messiah, and his wealthy organization, working with assistance from Kim Chong Pil, purchased substantial influence inside the U.S. government, as well as with Japan. In 1982 Moon was the main financial backer for creation of The Washington Times, a staunch supporter for the Reagan-Bush terrorist policies in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Moon’s paper became a big supporter of the Bush presidency and after Bush Sr. left office in 1993 Moon’s organization continued to finance some of his speeches around the world. In the 1980s Kim Chong Pil received money from Moon for his unsuccessful 1987 bid for the Korean presidency. Interestingly, Moon also became a strong financial supporter of Kim Dae Jung, the longtime dissident supporting reunification, who became South Korea’s President in 1998. Kim Phong Pil served as Korean Prime Minister under Kim Dae Jung in 1998-99. And perhaps even more strangely, Moon apparently has also secretly contributed more recently to North Korea’s top officials, while supporting the new Bush presidency. Seeing that the source of Moon’s money remains mysterious, his simultaneous connections to the Bush family, Kim Dae Jung in South Korea, and Kim Jong Il in North Korea, will provide an interesting side scenario in the early 2000s.

The U.S. CIA assisted in recruiting cadres for the KCIA, using similar methods being used to staff the Vietnamese Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) under Diem, which was the early beginnings of the later Phoenix assassination program. The CIA sent its top psychologist to Seoul to assist in the inital selection of the nucleus for the KCIA. Tests were given to a number of Korean police and military personnel to assess candidates strengths and weaknesses using a “Personality Assessment System.” The CIA also immediately dispatched interrogators (cf., torturers) to Korea, initially working at the newly created joint KCIA-USCIA interrogation center in Yon Don Tho outside Seoul.

Repression of dissidents, i.e., those who advocated reunification of the Peninsula or were critical of Park’s policies, was a regular feature during this period. Those who publicly discussed the Korean dream of reunification were charged with spying under the draconian National Security Law, introduced during Rhee’s tenure, making it a capital offense to disturb the tranquility of the nation, i.e., to advocate discussions about reunification with the North. By the early 1960s there were more than 700 of these political prisoners housed for life in a separate compound at the big prison at Taejon, a facility that had no heat, allowed no visitors, and provided no bedding. An ex-guard at the prison described how the men kept warm in the winter by rubbing quickly with their hands on their skin, over and over, day and night. Each of these prisoners were promised immediate release if they signed a statement refuting their advocation of reunification of the two Koreas. Most of these men who survived their cruel incapacitation served more than 30 years before beginning to be released in the mid-to-late 1990s. Of the nearly 100 ex-prisoners still alive in August 2000, more than half chose in early September to return to North Korea and resume their passion for reunifying their homeland.

Park sent 312,000 military soldiers to aid the U.S. war against the self-determination forces in Vietnam during the period September 1965 to March 1973. The U.S. paid the bill for these forces, who were known for their brutality, making this one of the largest mercenary operations in history. General Chae Myong-shin served as the Commander-in Chief of the South Korean troops in Vietnam from 1965-1969. Korean primary area of operations was in II Corps along the central Vietnam coast from Phan Rang, south of Cam Ranh Bay, to Qui Nhom, further north. The ROK Marine Corps 2nd Blue Dragon Brigade landed in Vietnam in September 1965 and operated in northern areas until February 1972. The Capital Tiger Division also arrived in September 1965 in Qui Nhon. The ROK 9th White Horse Division landed at Ninh Hoa near Cam Ranh Bay in September 1966 in the more southern area of their area of operations. At any one time, there were about 50,000 Korean troops present there. Future Korean military dictators, Chun Doo-hwan (1980-1988) and Roe Tae Woo (1988-1993), served under Chae as Korean military officers in Vietnam, receiving much of their “leadership” preparation. A total of 5,083 Korean soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War.

In the year 2000, Kim Ki-tae, a former Korean Marine officer in Vietnam, confirmed massacres of civilians by his forces in 1966 in Quang Ngai Province in Vietnam. Korean troops massacred at least 1,000 plus civilians (out of a population of 6,000) in Binh An (January – February 1966) and another 600-700 in neighboring Quang Ngai and Phu Yen Provinces in early 1966. How many other civilians were killed is not yet known. And Kim Yeong Man, a ROK Marine veteran of the war in Vietnam, is the only known member of the 312,000 Korean troops who served there who has returned his war medals to the Korean government and publicly apologized for his role in the murder of civilian populations.

“President” Park utilized a Korean wheeler-dealer, Tongsun Park, a man close to the KCIA and a key narcotics smugglers in Asia, as his most notorious political agent in the United States. Utilizing “recycled” money, some from the drug trade, Park was able to continue to offer substantial bribes to Congress for continued support, despite his repressive domestic policies. In addition, U.S. corporations such as Gulf Oil and Caltrex Petroleum made millions of dollars of secret payments to Park as a price for doing business in Korea. Park threatened Korean businesses with confiscation if they did not provide millions for his regime. Despite this, Park’s favorable relations with the U.S. Congress and the Johnson and Nixon administrations, enabled the continued flow of large amounts of U.S. aid, including subsidized rice to Korea, often carefully concealed from accountability. Hundreds of millions of dollars kept Park solvent and politically “stable,” which in turn high-financed his powerful lobby in the U.S., while enabling maintenance of incredible covert intelligence operations against Korean dissidents living and studying in the U.S. with the assistance of the FBI, and most likely the CIA as well.

Dictatorial Regimes of Major General Chun Doo-Hwan, 1980-1988, and General Roh Tae Woo, 1988-1993

The October 26, 1979 assassination of President Park created a brief void in the South Korea power structure. U.S. President Jimmy Carter became anxious about political stability and possible threats from North Korea and sent an aircraft carrier to near Korean shores. The U.S. relied on the predictable Korean military for assuring security. On December 12, 1979, Major general Chun Doo Hwan, chief of the Defense Security Command (DSC), and General Roh Tae Woo, commander of the ROK’s Ninth Division stationed in Seoul, both nominally under U.S. military control, executed a coup with thirty-six other Korean military officers. This coup brought to power the 1955 graduating class of the Korean Military Academy, arresting a number of other ROK officers who fled to the U.S. Eighth Army headquarters in Seoul for protection.

Nonetheless, in the early months of 1980 there was some political space throughout the country under an interim government that restored some of the political rights that had been forbidden unde
r Park. In late April some miners took over a small town in eastern Korea, and Chun Doo Hwan used this “threat” to Korean security by annointing himself as the new head of the KCIA while retaining his post with the DSC. The U.S. military commander in Korea at the time, General John Wickham, had earlier given his okay to the Korean military to be vigilant about any potential “de-stabilizing” political activities, including that they be empowered to independently assess the reliability of Korean political candidates.

After Chun took over as head of the KCIA, demonstrations erupted all over the country, and by mid-May thousands of students and regular citizens were in the streets of virtually every city. m On May 17, Chun declared martial law, closed the universities, dissolved the legislature, banned all political activity, and arrested thousands of political leaders and demonstrators in the late night hours of May 17-18. In effect, Chun completed the coup begun on December 12. In the process, the Kwangju rebellion was ignited. See account and chronology in section below.

Chun was President Reagan’s first visiting head of state in Janaury 1981, shortly after a trial of Kim Dae Jung’s “treason” had sentenced the long time advocate of reunification to death. The U.S. actually intervened with Chun to show leniency to Kim, which led to Chun commuting the sentence to life in prison. The invitation from Reagan was a prize for Chun’s show of “leniency.” Chun received a further boost when the Reagan administration sold South Korea thirty-six jet fighters and added several thousand more U.S. troops to be stationed there. Shortly after his Washington visit, in February, Chun arranged for his own inauguration as President of South Korea. His tenure was full of repression for thousands of dissidents, along with rampant corruption. In 1981 alone, he had arrested over 37,000 civic, labor, and student leaders for their political views and imprisoned them in remote areas. By the end of his Presidency in 1988 he had amassed $900 million through various illegal schemes. Understandably his repressive presidency was extremely unpopular.

After another student had been tortured to death in 1987, the ruling party nominated Chun’s good friend, Roh Tae Woo, to succeed Chun. Because the now released Kim Dae Jung, and Kim Young Sam of the New Democratic Party split the vote in the December 1987 elections, Roh Tae Woo was elected as Chun’s successor. Roh continued the repressive and corrupt practices of Chun, having amassed an illegal fortune of $650 million for himself. The election of Kim Young Sam in 1993 finally removed the Korean military from their explicit rule from within the presidency itself, though retaining plenty of power over Korean political policy.

In 1996, Chun and Roh were tried for their role in the December 1979 coup, in the 1980 Kwangju massacre, and for outrageous corruption. On August 22, 1996 they were convicted, Chun sentenced to death but commuted to life, Roh receiving 22 years in prison.

Kwangju Massacre, May 1980

To help understand the U.S. role in this May 1980 massacre, it is instructive to describe the political context in the critical year 1979, and the thinking that derived therefrom in the minds of the so-called human-rights-oriented Carter administration officials in Washington, D.C.

The January 1, 1959 Cuban people’s Revolution continued (and continues to this day) to be experienced by U.S. political and business leaders as an example that threatens their ability to preserve unfettered hegemony over “Third World” peoples and nations. It remains like a thorn in U.S. insistence on each country in the world “crying uncle” when demanded to do so. The humiliating defeat of the April 17-19, 1961, CIA-directed invasion of Cuba as directed by both Presidents Eisenhower and his successor Kennedy, using anti-Castro Cubans, drove the thorn deeper into the U.S., insulting its sense of arrogant invincibility. Thousands of examples of sabotage actions, including numerous bombings rarely reported in the Western press, dozens (perhaps hundreds) of assassination attempts on Castro’s life, and by 1979, a nineteen-year harsh economic embargo, had terribly hurt but not destroyed the Cuban revolution, and it is almost beyond belief in U.S. American political minds that Cuba remains independent of the United States and its savage capitalist model.

The U.S. final defeat in Southeast Asia (Vietnam) on April 30, 1975, was still deeply stinging U.S. politics. It also stung the Korean leadership. Korean “President” Park had expressed feeling threatened by the 1975 U.S. pullout in Vietnam and increasingly considered the U.S. as an unreliable ally.

In January 1979, Vietnamese troops marched into Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Kampuchea) and ousted the ruthless Khmer Rouge regime, “forcing” the U.S. to choose to support Pol Pot at the U.N. against the continued U.S. enemy Vietnam which now was backing the new government in Cambodia.

In January 1979, the western-friendly Shah of Iran (who was placed in power in the first place by a CIA coup in 1953) was deposed, and forced to flee the country. The western-unfriendly Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile on February 1, 1979 and quickly proclaimed an Islamic Republic.

On July 19, 1979, the Sandinistas, accused by the U.S. of being “communist Marxist-Leninists,” were successful in a Nicaraguan revolution that ousted long-time U.S. puppet dictator Anastasio Samoza. The Sandinistas immediately introduced a mixture of socialist and capitalist reforms helping the poor majority who had been kept in misery during the 46 years of the Samoza dynasty. This revolution inspired self-determination movements all over the world, as had the Cuban revolution, and was seen by the U.S. as a serious threat to the kinds of “stability” necessary to assure “safety” for Western capitalist interests around the globe. When President Reagan came into power in January 1981, the U.S. very quickly started planning ways to thwart the Sandinista government, leading to an all out effort utilizing U.S. trained and armed terrorist forces and an economic blockade aimed at overthrowing the government.

In neighboring El Salvador, serious strikes and widespread dissent broke out from March through May 1979. An anticipated military coup occurred on October 15, 1979, launching a civil war that lasted until a U.N.-brokered peace accord was signed in 1991. In 1980 the U.S. started pouring in the first of what became billions of dollars to support a series of corrupt, death-squad supporting governments to contain and defeat the “communist” guerrillas and the popular movement working for democratic changes throughout the society.

On October 26, 1979, Korean “President” Park was shockingly assassinated by his KCIA chief, Kim Chae-gyu. U.S. was worried about disruption of “stability” in Korea.

On November 4, 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran was seized by Islamic militants, and 62 U.S. Embassy staff were taken hostage. This was another serious blow to U.S. prestige and hegemony.

On November 6, 1979, President Carter created a secret policy-making crisis team to monitor the evolving situation in Korea (“Operation Cherokee”), declaring as a priority the prevention of “another Iran” in South Korea. The crisis team was comprised of: Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Under Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific William J. Gleystein, U.S. Ambassador to Korea and Donald Gregg, intelligence staff of the National Security Council and previously CIA station chief in Korea (1973-1975).

On December 12, 1979, Chun and Roh seized control of the South Korean military.

On December 25, 1979, 85,000 Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan at the “invitation” of Babrak Karmal, joining a large number of So
viet troops already present there. Carter had begun to send covert aid to murky Marxist but anti-Soviet elements in July 1979, contributing to fears by a pro-Soviet government that it would be covertly overthrown by the U.S.

In February 1980, U.S. military intelligence knew that Korean Special Forces were being used by Chun to assure stability in domestic affairs.

On May 7, 1980, U.S. Ambassador Gleystein cabled that he was aware of Korean movement of two Special Forces brigades to Seoul for “contingency” actions against student demonstrators.

On May 8, 1980, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) cabled the Joint Chiefs of Staff detailed information about the deployment of Korean Special Forces [13th Special Warfare Command (SWC) Brigade, 11th Brigade and 7th Brigade] to Seoul and Kwangju. The cable included information about the extensive training of these units in the use of CS gas for riot control purposes. Conversation with a former Korean military official who was a member of the Fiftieth Division supply office at Taegu at the time of the Kwangju massacre, indicated that U.S. military experts in chemical weapons briefed Korean military personnel on using those weapons to have a paralyzing effect on the rioters at Kwangju. (CS is a virulent form of tear gas banned in some countries as a form of chemical warfare.)

On May 8, 1980, Ambassador Gleystein, with the advance approval of Warren Christopher and Richard Holbrooke, assured Chun that the U.S. would not oppose contingency plans to use military troops to maintain order.

On May 17, 1980, Chun declared martial law provoking massive ecalations of street protests, seriously threatening Korea’s “stability.” U.S. Embassy was alarmed.

On May 18, elite Special Forces paratroopers of the 7th Brigade (“black berets”) landed in Kwangju and began the indiscriminate murder of students, women and children — basically anyone on sight. Some students were burned alive with flamethrowers. The 7th Brigade of Korea’s Special Forces had a reputation for brutality stemming from their actions in Vietnam. In sixteen other municipalities of South Cholla whole populations rose in rebellion. The 11th SWC Brigade, at some point, joined the 7th Brigade.

On May 19, a U.S. Embassy information officer present in Kwangju communicated to Ambassador Gleystein who in turn cabled Washington reporting “Special Forces used fixed bayonets and inflicted many casualties on students.”

On May 21, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators drove the soldiers from Kwangju city. The city was immediately administered by citizen’s councils which desperately appealed to the U.S. Embassy for intervention to stop the brutality of the Korean military. However, U.S. General John Wickham had already released from his “U.N.” command the frontline troops from the 20th Division at the Combined Forces Command (CFC) located in Seoul and at the DMZ that Chun’s martial law forces requested to retake the city. About 500 people were already dead with nearly 1,000 missing.

On May 22 (in the afternoon in Washington but in the daylight morning hours of May 23 in Korea), Carter convened a high-level White House meeting to discuss the crisis in Korea. According to minutes of the National Security Council (NSC), participants included: Edmund Muskie, the new Secretary of State Warren Christopher Richard Holbrooke Zbigniew Brezinski, Carter’s National Security Adviser Stansfield Turner, Director of Central Intelligence Harold Brown, Secretary of Defense and Donald Gregg of the NSC. After a full discussion of the crisis, “there was general agreement that the first priority is the restoration of order in Kwangju by the Korean authorities.”

On May 23, Ambassador Gleystein told acting Korean President Choi Hyuh Ha that “firm anti-riot measures were necessary.”

On the evening of May 26 loudspeakers from helicopters warned Kwangju’s citizens that the 20th Division would enter the city at dawn on May 27 and that all citizens should disarm and return to their homes.

On May 27, at 3 a.m., the 20th Division entered Kwangju, killing anyone on the streets who did not lay down his or her weapons, whether sticks, stones, or more serious weapons, many of which had been seized from local armories. The final death toll has never been definitively determined, but estimates run as high as 2,500, with 15,000 injured, and 2,000 armed dissidents going into hiding in the nearby mountains.


Russia’s “Dirty Policy of Occupation” of Crimea and Ronald Reagan

On March 18 th , 2014 following a popular self-determination referendum of the people of Crimea the Russian Federation declared reunification with the Crimean Peninsula which was illegitimately transfered to the Soviet Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev. Nevertheless, the western global corporative media, politicians and statesmen classified the act as a matter of “aggression, violation of international law and unlawful occupation of a part of territory of an internationally recognized independent state and the UN’s member”. Russia’s authorities on this occasion issued an official statement that Crimea’s re-annexation by Russia is based on the same self-determination rights as of the people (the Albanians) of Kosovo in 2008 which self-proclaimed independence from Serbia (by Kosovo parliament without any popular referendum) is already recognized by almost all western liberal governments.

The following text is a personal contribution to better understanding of the case of Russia’s “dirty policy of occupation and annexation” of Crimea in March 2014.

Grenada is an independent state, a member of the UN, located in the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea very close to the mainland of the South America (Venezuela). The state is composed by southernmost of the Windward Islands combined with several small islands which belong to the Grenadines Archipelago, populated by almost 110,000 people of whom 82% are the blacks (2012 estimations). The state of Grenada is physically mostly forested mountains’ area (of volcanic origin) with some crater lakes and springs. In the valleys are bananas, spices and sugar cane grown. The country is out of any natural wealth significance but has relatively high geostrategic importance. Economy was and is primarily agricultural with some very limited small-scale industry of the food production nature with developing tourism sector as growing source of the national GDP. The state budget is constantly under a high level of foreign debt (a “debt slavery” phenomenon).

As the island, Grenada was discovered by the Europeans (Ch. Columbus) in 1498 and colonized by the French in 1650 becoming a possession of the French royal crown in 1674. During the Seven Years War (1756−1763) between all major European states, Grenada was occupied by the British and according to the Peace Treaty of Paris in 1763 was given to the United Kingdom being a British possession for almost two hundred years with preservation of slavery. The process of democratization of the island started in 1950 when the universal adult suffrage is granted by the United Labor Party. Being shortly a member of the West Indian Federation (1958−1962) and seeking internationally recognized independence, Grenada was granted such separate independence only in 1974 with Matthew Gairy (a leader of the United Labor Party) as the first Grenada’s PM. However, only three years later in 1979 Gairy was deposed from the post in a coup d’état lead by Maurice Bishop (1944−1983) as a leader of a Marxist political group under the official title of the New Jewel Movement. M. Bishop proclaimed a new Government under the name of the People’s Revolutionary Government that became not welcomed by the US administration like the Socialist (Marxist-democrat) Government in Chile after the 1970 elections formed by Salvador Allende (1908−1973).

The issue is in this case that Allende was the first Marxist in the world’s history who became elected by the popular vote as the President of one sovereign and independent state. A new President of Chile was a head of the Unidad Popular that was a coalition of the Marxists (Communists) and the Socialists and therefore faced by hostility of the USA whose administration supported Chili Congress against Allende. The Congress backed by the USA heavily opposed Allende’s radical program of nationalization and agrarian reform – a program voted by the electorate in 1970. Due to such obstruction, there were inflation, capital flight and balance-payments deficit which heavily contributed to an economic crisis in Chile in 1973: exactly what the US administration wanted and needed. The crisis became the main excuse for the military coup organized and accomplished by the Chili army Commander-in-Chief general Augusto Pinochet (born in 1915) – a typical local exponent of the US global politics. As a consequence, there were around 15,000 killed people together with President Allende and about 10% of the Chileans who left the country during the new military dictatorship (1973−1990) which replaced Chili democracy elected by the people and brutally abolished all labor unions and any opposition organizations and groups. The capitalism was fully restored with the economy and social order very depended on the US financial support as a price for transformation of the country into a classic (US) colony. Nevertheless, the 1973 military suppression of democracy in Chile was a clear message to the whole Latin America that the Monroe Doctrine of “America to the Americans” (read in fact as “Americas to the US”) is still leading framework of the US foreign policy in this part of the globe. The Monroe Doctrine was articulated in President James Monroe’s seventh annual message to the Congress on December 2 nd , 1823. The European powers, according to Monroe, were obligated to respect the Western Hemisphere as the United States’ sphere of interest. Following later such doctrine, for the matter of illustration, there was the US direct military invasion of Panama causing the fall of General Noriega in December 1989: “Operation Just Cause”.

Similarly to the Allende Case in Chile, Grenada governed by the President M. Bishop turned to the left in both inner and external policy of the state. Therefore, he encouraged very closer relations with F. Castro’s Cuba and potentially to the USSR. As a result, at the island there were some Cuban military presence composed by the engineers who were repairing and expanding the local airport. This fact became the main reason that political situation in Grenada became of interest of the U.S. administration. However, due to the internal quarrel within the People’s Revolutionary Government, Bishop was overthrown from the post and murdered by another Marxist, Bernard Coard, in 1983 who took control over the Government. There were the clashes of protesters with the governmental troops and soon violence escalated. However, the army troops under the command of General Hudson Austin soon took power and established a new military regime. This new Grenada coup was immediately followed by direct US military intervention in the island on October 23 rd , under the order by the US President Ronald Reagan (the “Operation Urgent Fury”), for the very real reason to prevent a Marxist revolutionary council to take power. The US military troops left Grenada in December 1983 after the re-establishment of “democratic” (pre-revolutionary) regime and of course pro-American one transforming Grenada into one more Washington’s client state.

It is of very high concern to see what was de jure explanation by the US President Reagan for such military intervention and de facto the US military occupation of one sovereign and independent state. The President, based on the CIA reports on the threat posed to the US citizens in Grenada (the students) by the Communist regime, issued the order to the US Marines to invade the island in order to secure their lives. Here we have to remember a very fact of issue how much the CIA reports have been (and are) really accurate and reliable by only two fresh examples:

  • In 1999 Serbia and Montenegro were bombed by the NATO troops (the “Operation Merciful Angel”) exactly based on the CIA information about the organized (the “Operation Horse Shoe”) and well done massive ethnic cleansing of the local Kosovo Albanians (100,000 killed) committed by the Serbian regular army and police forces.
  • In 2003 the US and the UK troops invaded Iraq based also on the CIA reports about possession of the ABC weapon of mass destruction by the regime of Saddam Hussein (1937−2006) (the “Operation Desert Storm 2”).

However, in both mentioned cases the reports are “proved to be unproved”, i.e. very false.

Leaflet air-dropped during the US invasion of Grenada in 1983

The fact was that in the 1983 Grenada Case, there were really about 1,000 US citizens in the island, majority of them studying at the local medical school. Citing the alleged danger to the US citizens in Grenada, the President ordered around 2,000 US troops, combined by some international forces from the Regional Security System based in Barbados. The White House claimed that it received a formal request for military intervention by the PM of Barbados and Dominica (both the US clients). If it is a true, and probably it is, then any state receiving such invitation by the foreign Governments (second states) has right to invade other state (third state) in order to restore the “democratic” order (in the sense of bringing justice) or at least to protect its own citizens. For instance, following the White House logic from 1983, overthrown legal President of Ukraine V. Yanukovych by the street-mob in 2014 could call the Russian President V. Putin to restore a legal order in whole Ukraine by the Russian army. In regard to the 2014 Kyiv Coup, according to Paul Craig Roberts, Washington used its funded NGOs ($5 billion according to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at the National Press Club in December 2013) to begin street protests when the elected Ukrainian Government turned down the offer to join the European Union. Similarly to the Ukrainian coup in 2014, the Guatemala coup in 1954, when democratically elected Government of Jacobo Arbenz became overthrown, was also carried out by the CIA. Following also Reagan’s logic for the military invasion of Grenada in 1983, the Russian President could send a regular army of the Russian Federation to occupy Ukraine for the security reasons of Russia’s citizens who were studying at the universities in Kyiv, Odessa or Lvov. Nevertheless, similar Reagan’s argument was used (among others) and by Adolf Hitler in April 1941 to invade and occupy the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as, according to the German intelligence service, the German minority in Yugoslavia (the Volksdeutschers) were oppressed and terrorized by the new (pro-British) Government of General Dušan Simović after the coup in Belgrade committed on March 27 th , 1941.

Nonetheless, the fact was that during the intervention in Grenada, the US troops faced military opposition by the Grenadian army relying on minimal intelligence about the situation in the country. For example, the US military used in this case old tourist maps of the island. Similar “mistake” the NATO made in the 1999 Kosovo Case by bombing the Chinese embassy in the wider center of Belgrade using also outdated tourist map on which a new Chinese embassy did not exist (here we will not comment or argue on credentials of such army and its headquarters to intervene outside of its own home courtyard). In order to break the Grenadian resistance the “Hollywood” President R. Reagan sent additional 4,000 troops to the island. Finally, an “international coalition” lead by the US troops succeeded to replace the Government of Grenada by one acceptable to the USA.

Regardless to the fact that a great part of the Americans did not support the 1983 Grenada Case that it took place only several days after a very disastrous terror act on the US military post in Lebanon when over 240 US troops were killed, calling into very question the use of the US military force in order to achieve the political goals, Reagan’s administration officially proclaimed the case to be the first “rollback” of the Communist influence since the beginning of the Cold War in 1949 (as the US military interventions against the “Communist infection” in Korea and Vietnam have been unsuccessful). A justification of the military invasion was mainly framed within the idea that the US citizens (students) in Grenada could be taken hostages similar to the 1979 Teheran Hostage Crisis. However, several US Congressmen, like Louis Stoks (Ohio), denied any real danger for any American in Grenada prior to the invasion (that was confirmed and by the students themselves) followed by unsuccessful attempt by seven Democrats in the Congress, led by Ted Weiss, to introduce a resolution to impeach R. Reagan. Finally, the UN General Assembly with majority votes (108, with only 9 against and 27 abstentions) adopted Resolution 38/7 on October 28 th , 1983 which clearly accused the USA for violation of international law (“deeply deplores the armed intervention in Grenada, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of that State”).

The 1983 Grenada Case is not for sure either the first or the last “Hollywood-style” violation of the international law and territorial sovereignty of some independent state by the US (or other) administration. But it is sure that it was done by the order of up today the only “Hollywood” cowboy-actor star in the office of White House in Washington as according to the US Constitution, Arnold Schwarzenegger does not have right to run for the post of the US President as he was not born on the US territory.

Finally, if you think that the 1983 Grenada Case has nothing common with the 2014 Crimean Case, you are absolutely right.


Contents

The Russia–Ukraine gas dispute of 2009 damaged Russia's reputation as a gas supplier. [5] [6] [7] After a deal was struck between Ukraine and the EU on 23 March 2009 to upgrade Ukraine's gas pipelines [8] [9] According to Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko the plan appeared to draw Ukraine legally closer to the European Union and might harm Moscow's interests. [9] The Russian Foreign Ministry called the deal "an unfriendly act" (on 26 March 2009). [10] Professor Irina Busygina of the Moscow State Institution for Foreign Relations has said that Russia has better relations with certain leaders of some EU countries than with the EU as a whole because the EU has no prospect of a common foreign policy. [11]

In September 2012, the European Commission (EC) opened an antitrust investigation relating to Gazprom's contracts in central and eastern Europe. [12] Russia responded by enacting, also in September 2012, legislation hindering foreign investigations. [13] In 2013, the poorest members of the EU usually paid the highest prices for gas from Gazprom. [14]

The commission's investigation was delayed due to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. [15] In April 2015, the EC accused Gazprom of unfair pricing and restricting competition. [16] The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, stated that "All companies that operate in the European market – no matter if they are European or not – have to play by our EU rules. I am concerned that Gazprom is breaking EU antitrust rules by abusing its dominant position on EU gas markets." [17] Gazprom said it was "outside of the jurisdiction of the EU" and described itself as "a company which in accordance with the Russian legislation performs functions of public interest and has a status of strategic state-controlled entity." [18] Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the Kremlin was using Gazprom as "a tool of political and economic blackmail in Europe". [19]

In October 2016 general Leonid Ivashov explained in Russian Channel One that Russia's engagement in the Syrian Civil War was critical to prevent construction of hydrocarbon pipelines from Middle East to Europe, which would be catastrophic for Gazprom and, in turn, for the budget of Russian Federation. [20] [21]

Russia strongly opposed the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Some EU member states, including Poland and Britain, have agreed to join the United States in the "coalition of the willing". [22] The foreign ministers of Russia, France and Germany made a joint declaration that they will "not allow" passage of a UN Security Council resolution authorising war against Iraq. [23]

The run-up to the 2013 Vilnius Summit between the EU and its eastern neighbours saw what The Economist called a "raw geopolitical contest" not seen in Europe since the end of the Cold War, as Russia attempted to persuade countries in its "near abroad" to join its new Eurasian Economic Union rather than sign Association Agreements with the EU. [24] The Russian government under president Putin succeeded in convincing Armenia (in September) and Ukraine (in November) to halt talks with the EU and instead begin negotiations with Russia. [25] Nevertheless, the EU summit went ahead with Moldova and Georgia proceeding towards agreements with the EU despite Russia's opposition. [26] Widespread protests in Ukraine resulted in then-President Viktor Yanukovych leaving Ukraine for Russia in February 2014. Russia subsequently began a military intervention in Ukraine. This action was condemned as an invasion by the European Union, which imposed visa bans and asset freezes against some Russian officials. [27] The Council of the European Union stated that "Russia's violation of international law and the destabilisation of Ukraine [. ] challenge the European security order at its core." [28]

Russia views some of the countries that applied to join the EU or NATO after the fall of the Iron Curtain as part of its sphere of influence. It has criticised their admission and frequently said that NATO is "moving its infrastructure closer to the Russian border". The expansion of NATO into the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as well as the proposed ascension of Georgia and Ukraine are among Russia's main claims to NATO's encroachment of its sphere of influence. [29] [30] NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow responded that NATO's major military infrastructure in Eastern Europe is no closer to the Russian border than since the end of the Cold War, and that Russia itself maintains a large military presence in neighbouring countries. [31]

Since 2014 annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Donbas, the European Union has imposed sanctions over Russian Federation, initially involving visa bans and freeze of assets of 170 individuals and 44 entities involved in these operations. [32] [33] The EU sanctions have been continuously extended and are in force as of 2020. [34] Russian own food imports embargo remains in force. [35]

In May 2020 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel responded to calls from Russia for relaxation of the sanctions to facilitate the COVID-19 response explaining that the EU sanctions are "deliberately narrowly framed in order to limit the risks of unintended consequences or harm to the wider population" and none of them prevents "export of food or medicines, vaccines or medical equipment". As the original reasons for sanctioning were not removed by Russia, the sanctions were extended for another year. [36]

Moscow increased its efforts to expand its political influence using a wide range of methods, [38] including funding of political movements in Europe, increased spending on propaganda in European languages, [39] operating a range of media broadcasting in EU languages [40] [41] and web brigades, with some observers suspecting the Kremlin of trying to weaken the EU and its response to the Ukrainian crisis. [42] [43] [44]

Russia has formed close ties with Eurosceptic and populist parties belonging to both ends of the political spectrum. [45] By the end of 2014, a number of European far-right and far-left [46] parties were receiving different forms of financial or organisational support from Russia in an attempt to build a common anti-European and pro-Russian front in the European Union.

Unlike in the Cold War, when Soviets largely supported leftist groups, a fluid approach to ideology now allows the Kremlin to simultaneously back far-left and far-right movements, greens, anti-globalists and financial elites. The aim is to exacerbate divides and create an echo chamber of Kremlin support.

Among the far-right parties involved were the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), [47] Alternative for Germany (AfD), National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), France's National Front, Italy's Lega Nord, [48] Hungary's Jobbik, Bulgaria's Attack (Ataka), and Latvian Russian Union. [49] [50] [51] Among far-left parties, representatives of Die Linke, Communist Party of Greece, Syriza and others attended numerous events organized by Russia such as "conservative conferences" and the Crimean referendum. In the Europarliament, the European United Left–Nordic Green Left are described as "reliable partner" of Russian politics, voting against resolutions condemning events such as Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, and supporting Russian policies e.g. in Syria. [46]

Konstantin Rykov and Timur Prokopenko, both closely tied to United Russia and Russian Federation's Presidential Administration, were the key figures in funneling money to these parties. [52] Agence France-Presse stated that "From the far right to the radical left, populist parties across Europe are being courted by Russia's Vladimir Putin who aims to turn them into allies in his anti-EU campaign" and that "A majority of European populist parties have sided with Russia over Ukraine." [43] During the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, British politicians Nigel Farage of the far-right and Jeremy Corbyn of the far-left both defended Russia, saying the West had "provoked" it. [53] [54]

Luke Harding wrote in The Guardian that the Front National's MEPs were a "pro-Russian bloc." [55] In 2014, the Nouvel Observateur said that the Russian government considered the Front National "capable of seizing power in France and changing the course of European history in Moscow's favour." [56] According to the French media, party leaders had frequent contact with Russian ambassador Alexander Orlov and Marine Le Pen made multiple trips to Moscow. [57] [58] In November 2014, Marine Le Pen confirmed a €9 million loan from a Russian bank to the Front National. [59] The Independent said the loans "take Moscow's attempt to influence the internal politics of the EU to a new level." [60] Reinhard Bütikofer stated, "It's remarkable that a political party from the motherland of freedom can be funded by Putin's sphere – the largest European enemy of freedom." [61] Boris Kagarlitsky said, "If any foreign bank gave loans to a Russian political party, it would have been illegal, or at least it would have been an issue which could lead to a lot of scandal" and the party would be required to register as a "foreign agent." [62] Le Pen denied a Mediapart report that a senior Front National member said it was the first installment of a €40 million loan. [59] [60] [63] In April 2015, a Russian hacker group published texts and emails between Timur Prokopenko, a member of Putin's administration, and Konstantin Rykov, a former Duma deputy with ties to France, discussing Russian financial support to the Front National in exchange for its support of Russia's annexation of Crimea. [64]

In June 2015, Marine Le Pen launched a new political group within the EU Parliament, Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), composed of members of the Front National, Party for Freedom, Lega Nord, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), Flemish Interest (VB), the Congress of the New Right (KNP), and Vlaams Belang. Reviewing votes in the EU Parliament on resolutions critical of Russia or measures not in the Kremlin's interests (e.g., the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement), Hungary's Political Capital Institute found that the future ENF members voted "no" in 93% of cases, European United Left–Nordic Green Left in 78% of cases, and Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy in 67% of cases. [65] The writers stated that "It would therefore be logical to conclude, as others have done before, that there is a pro-Putin coalition in the European Parliament consisting of anti-EU and radical parties." [65]

The Financial Times and Radio Free Europe reported on Syriza's ties with Russia and extensive correspondence with Aleksandr Dugin, who called for a "genocide" of Ukrainians. [66] [67] The EUobserver reported that Tsipras had a "pro-Russia track record" and that Syriza's MEPs had voted against the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement, criticism of the Russian annexation of Crimea, and criticism of the pressure on civil rights group Memorial. [68] The Moscow Times stated that "The terms used in Russia's anti-Europe rhetoric also seem to have infiltrated Tsipras' vocabulary." [69] Russia also developed ties with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz), who praised Vladimir Putin's "illiberal democracy" and was described by Germany's former foreign minister Joschka Fischer as a "Putinist". [70] Hungary allowed a Russian billionaire to renovate a memorial in Budapest, which some Hungarians called illegal, to Soviet soldiers who died fighting against the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and Putin visited it in February 2015. [71] Orban's government dropped plans to put the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant out to tender and awarded the contract to Rosatom after Russia offered a generous loan. [72] Zoltán Illés said that Russia was "buying influence". [72]

Two new organisations – European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis and "Agency for Security and Cooperation in Europe" (ASCE) – recruiting mostly European far-right politicians, were also heavily involved in positive public relations during the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, observing Donbas general elections and presenting a pro-Russian point of view on various events there. [73] [74] In 2014, a number of officials in Europe and NATO provided circumstantial evidence that protests against hydraulic fracturing may be sponsored by Gazprom. Russian officials have on numerous occasions warned Europe that fracking "poses a huge environmental problem" in spite of Gazprom itself being involved in shale gas surveys in Romania (and not facing any protests) and reacted aggressively to any criticism by environmental organisations. [75]

A significant part of the funding of anti-EU and extremist parties passes through St Basil the Great fund operated by Konstantin Malofeev. [76] [77]

In February 2015, a group of Spanish nationals was arrested in Madrid for joining a Russian-backed armed group in the war in Donbas. Travelling through Moscow, they were met by a "government official" and sent to Donetsk, where they saw French and other foreign fighters, "half of them communists, half Nazis". [79]

In March 2015, the Russian nationalist party Rodina organized the International Russian Conservative Forum in Saint Petersburg, inviting a majority of its far-right and far-left (including openly neo-Nazi) supporters from abroad, many of whom had visited a similar event in Crimea in 2014: Udo Voigt, Jim Dowson, Nick Griffin, Jared Taylor, Roberto Fiore, Georgios Epitidios (Golden Dawn) and others. [80] [81] [82] [83]

Since 2012, a fund created by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia (Fund for the Legal Protection and Support of Russian Federation Compatriots Living Abroad) has transferred €224,000 to the "Latvian Human Rights Committee", which was founded by pro-Russian politician Tatjana Ždanoka. Latvijas Televīzija reported that only projects which supported Russia's foreign policy objectives were eligible for funding. [84]

In June 2015, the European Parliament stated that Russia was "supporting and financing radical and extremist parties in the EU" and called for monitoring of such activities. [4] France's National Front, UKIP, and Jobbik voted against the resolution. [85] These and other extreme right organisations are part of Russia-sponsored World National-Conservative Movement. [86] In July 2016, Estonian foreign affairs minister Marina Kaljurand said, "The parade that we have seen of former and current European leaders to Moscow calling for rapprochement — and tacitly agreeing to the dismantling of Europe — has been disheartening for those of us who understand that a unified Europe with a strong American partnership is the only reason we have a choice at all about where our futures should be." [87]

In June 2016, Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek stated that Russia was supporting right-wing populists to "divide and conquer" the EU. [88] In October 2016, the EU held talks on Russian funding of far-right and populist parties. [89]

In 2018 Czech counter-intelligence service BIS published a report documenting significant increase of activity of Russia and China-backed actors to influence regulators and political bodies. [90] In 2020 a detailed analysis of Russian intelligence actions and active measures between 2002–2011 to prevent ballistic missile defense component from being deployed, involving "manipulation of media events, outputs, and reports and abusing cultural and social events". This also included attempts to recruit Russian-speaking population in the country, but majority was not interested in supporting the policy of Vladimir Putin. [91]

In July 2009, central and eastern European leaders – including former presidents Václav Havel, Valdas Adamkus, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Lech Wałęsa – signed an open letter stating:

"Our hopes that relations with Russia would improve and that Moscow would finally fully accept our complete sovereignty and independence after joining NATO and the EU have not been fulfilled. Instead, Russia is back as a revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods. [. ] It challenges our claims to our own historical experiences. It asserts a privileged position in determining our security choices. It uses overt and covert means of economic warfare, ranging from energy blockades and politically motivated investments to bribery and media manipulation in order to advance its interests and to challenge the transatlantic orientation of Central and Eastern Europe." [92]

Latvian journalist Olga Dragilyeva stated that "Russian-language media controlled by the Russian government and NGOs connected with Russia have been cultivating dissatisfaction among the Russian-speaking part of the population" in Latvia. [93] National security agencies in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia have linked Moscow to local pro-Russian groups. [89] In June 2015, a Chatham House report stated that Russia used "a wide range of hostile measures against its neighbours", including energy cut-offs, trade embargoes, subversive use of Russian minorities, malicious cyber activity, and co-option of business and political elites. [94]

In 2015, the U.K. media said that the Russian leadership under Putin saw the fracturing of the political unity within the EU and especially the political unity between the EU and the U.S. as among its main strategic goals, [95] [96] one of the means in achieving this goal being rendering support to Europe's far-right and hard Eurosceptic political parties. [97] [98] In October 2015, Putin said that Washington treated European countries "like vassals who are being punished, rather than allies." [ citation needed ]

In November 2015, the president of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, said that Russia had launched a massive hybrid warfare campaign "aimed at destabilising the whole of Europe", giving repeated violations of Bulgarian airspace and cyber-attacks as examples. [99]

In January 2016, senior UK government officials were reported to have registered their growing fears that "a new cold war" was now unfolding in Europe, with "Russian meddling" allegedly taking on a breadth, range and depth greater than previously thought: "It really is a new Cold War out there. Right across the EU we are seeing alarming evidence of Russian efforts to unpick the fabric of European unity on a whole range of vital strategic issues." [100] The situation prompted the US Congress to instruct James R. Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, to conduct a major review of Russian clandestine funding of European parties over the previous decade. [100]

On numerous occasions Russia was also accused of actively supporting United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union through channels such as Russia Today and Russian Federation embassy in London. [101] An analysis of the Russian government's English-language news service, Sputnik, found "a systematic bias in favour of the "Out" campaign which was too consistent to be the result of accident or error." [102]

In February 2016, a film circulating in Hungary, in which recruited students expressed anger at the policy of the USA, was identified as a version of a Russian movie with the same script funded by a pro-Putin organisation, Officers’ Daughters. [103] Published in March 2016, Swedish security service Säpo's annual report stated that Russia was engaged in "psychological warfare" using "extreme movements, information operations and misinformation campaigns" aimed at policy makers and the general public. [104]

In June 2016, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia will never attack any NATO country, saying: "I am convinced that all serious and honest politicians know perfectly well than Russia will never attack a member state of NATO. We have no such plans." [105] He also said: "In our security doctrine it is clearly stated that one of the main threats to our safety is the further expansion of NATO to the east." [105]

In late 2016 media in a number of states accused Russia of preparing grounds for a possible armed take-over at their territories in future, including Finland, [106] Estonia [107] and Montenegro. In the latter an armed coup was actually in progress but prevented by security services on the day of election on 16 October, with over 20 people arrested. [108] A group of 20 citizens of Serbia and Montenegro "planned to break into the Montenegro Parliament on election day, kill Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and bring a pro-Russian coalition to power" according to Montenegro chief prosecutor Milivoje Katnić, adding that the group was led by two Russian citizens who fled the country before the arrest and "unspecified number of Russian operatives" in Serbia who were deported shortly after. [109] [110] A few days after the failed coup Leonid Reshetnikov was dismissed by Putin from his duties as head of Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which also had its branch in Belgrade where it supported anti-NATO and pro-Russian parties. [111] In 2019 a number of Montenegrin politicians and pro-Russian activists were convicted for the attempted coup as well as two Russian GRU officers Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popoo( convicted in absentia). [112]

In 2017 a cache of email was leaked demonstrating funding of far-right and far-left movements in Europe through a Belarussian citizen Alyaksandr Usovsky who funnelled hundreds of thousands of euros from Russian nationalist and oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev and reporting to Russian State Duma Deputy Konstantin Zatulin. Usovsky confirmed the authenticity of the emails. [113]

In 2017 three Alternative for Germany parliamentary deputies confirmed that they together received $29'000 in sponsored private jet visit to Moscow, which caused significant controversy in Germany. [114]

In 2019 a transcript was published from a meeting in Moscow where representatives of Italian nationalist Lega party were offered "tens of millions of dollars" of funding. The delegation to Moscow included Italy's deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. [115] In 2020 chat transcripts were published by Dutch media of far-right politician Thierry Baudet indicating inspiration on his anti-Ukraine actions and possible financial support from Vladimir Kornilov, a Russian described by Baudet as someone "who works for president Putin". [116]

In 2020 a Spanish court looked at transcripts of calls between a Catalan independence activist Victor Terradellas and a group of Russians who came forward with an offer of up to 10'000 military personnel, pay out of Catalan debt and recognition of Catalan independence by Russian Federation in exchange for Catalan recognition of Crimea. Frequent arrivals of known GRU operative Denis Sergeev into Spain, coinciding with major Catalan independence events, raised a questions about involvement of GRU Unit 29155 in escalation of the protests. [117]

On 28 April 2021 the European Parliament passed a resolution that condemned Russia's "hostile behaviour towards and outright attacks on EU Member States" explicitly mentioning suspected GRU operation in Czechia in 2014, poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny and escalation of war in Donbass. The resolution called, among other things, for discontinuation of Nord Stream 2 project. [118]

Intelligence activities Edit

A Russian spy, Sergey Cherepanov, operated in Spain from the 1990s to June 2010 under a false identity, "Henry Frith". [119]

In its 2013 report, the Security Information Service noted the presence of an "extremely high" number of Russian intelligence officers in the Czech Republic. [44] The Swedish Security Service's 2014 annual report named Russia as the biggest intelligence threat, describing its espionage against Sweden as "extensive". [120]

According to a May 2016 report for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Russia was engaged in "massive and voracious intelligence-gathering campaigns, fueled by still-substantial budgets and a Kremlin culture that sees deceit and secret agendas even where none exist." [121]

One of the main figures perceived as European far-right and far-left contact in Russia is Sergey Naryshkin, [122] who in 2016 was appointed as the chief of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). [123]

In 2018 the head of British MI6 warned that "perpetual confrontation" with the West is core feature of Russian foreign policy. [124]

Since 2009 in Estonia alone 20 people were tried and convicted as operatives or agents of Russian intelligence services, which is the largest number of all NATO countries. Out of these 11 convicts worked for FSB, two for SVR, five for GRU, and one was not disclosed. Seven people were low-grade intelligence sources or couriers, primarily involved into contraband of various goods (e.g. cigarettes) from and to Russia and thus easily recruited. More importantly, five of the convicted were officials of Estonian law enforcement and army. [125]

In 2020 German prosecution issued an arrest warrant for Dmitry Badin, a GRU operative, for his involvement in 2015 hacking of Bundestag. [126]

In March 2021 Bulgarian security services arrested six people, including officials in defence ministry of Bulgaria suspected of collecting intelligence for Russia. One of the arrested who has a double Russian-Bulgarian nationality was operating as the contact person between the suspects and Russian embassy. Earlier in 2020 five Russian diplomats and a technical assistant have been expelled from Bulgaria as involved in illegal intelligence operations. [127]

Cyber attacks Edit

In 2007, following the Estonian government's decision to remove a statue of a Soviet soldier, the Baltic country's major commercial banks, government agencies, media outlets, and ATMs were targeted by a coordinated cyber attack which was later traced to Russia. [128]

In April 2015, the French television channel TV5 Monde was targeted by a cyber attack which claimed to represent ISIL but French sources said their investigation was leading to Russia. [129] In May 2015, the Bundestag's computer system was shut down for days due to a cyberattack carried out by a hacker group that was likely "being steered by the Russian state", according to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany. [130] The agency's head, Hans-Georg Maaßen, said that, in addition to spying, "lately Russian intelligence agencies have also shown a willingness to conduct sabotage." [130]

British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of "threatening the international order", "seeking to weaponise information" and "deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories". [131] She mentioned Russia's meddling in German federal election in 2017, [131] after German government officials and security experts said there was no Russian interference. [132]

Concerns about foreign influence in the 2018 Swedish general election have been raised by the Swedish Security Service and others, leading to various countermeasures. [133] According to the Oxford Internet Institute, eight of the top 10 "junk news" sources during the election campaign were Swedish, and "Russian sources comprised less than 1% of the total number of URLs shared in the data sample." [134]

Military doctrines Edit

In 2009, Wprost reported that Russian military exercises had included a simulated nuclear attack on Poland. [135] In June 2012, Russian general Nikolay Makarov said that "cooperation between Finland and NATO threatens Russia's security. Finland should not desire NATO membership, rather it should preferably have closer military cooperation with Russia." [136] In response, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said that "Finland will make its own decisions and [do] what is best for Finland. Such decisions will not be left to Russian generals." [136] In April 2013, Svenska Dagbladet reported that Russia had simulated a bombing run in March on the Stockholm region and southern Sweden, using two Tu-22M3 Backfire heavy bombers and four Su-27 Flanker fighter jets. [137] A nuclear attack against Sweden was part of the training exercises. [138]

In May 2014, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin joked that he would return in a TU-160 after his plane was barred from Romania's airspace. Requesting an explanation, Romania's foreign ministry stated that "the threat of using a Russian strategic bomber plane by a Russian deputy prime minister is a very grave statement under the current regional context." [139] Rogozin has also stated that Russia's defence sector has "many other ways of travelling the world besides tourist visas" and "tanks don't need visas". [140]

In October 2014, Denmark's Defence Intelligence Service stated that in June of the same year Russian military jets "equipped with live missiles" had simulated an attack on the island of Bornholm as 90,000 people visited for the annual Folkemødet meeting. [141]

In November 2014, the European Leadership Network reviewed 40 incidents involving Russia in a report titled Dangerous Brinkmanship, finding that they "add up to a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided midair collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs, and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis over a very wide geographical area." [142] [143] In March 2015, Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, stated that Danish warship "will be targets for Russian missiles" if the country joined NATO's missile defense system. [144] Danish foreign minister Martin Lidegaard said the statements were "inacceptable" and "crossed the line". [145] A few days later, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said that Russia could "neutralize" a missile defense system in Denmark. [146] In April 2015, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland decided to increase their military cooperation, telling Aftenposten: "The Russian military are acting in a challenging way along our borders, and there have been several infringes on the borders of the Baltic nations. Russia’s propaganda and political manoevering are contributing to sowing discord between the nations, as well as inside organisations like NATO and the EU". [147] [148] In June 2015, Russia's ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, told Dagens Nyheter that if Sweden joins NATO "there will be counter measures. Putin pointed out that there will be consequences, that Russia will have to resort to a response of the military kind and re-orientate our troops and missiles." [149]

In April 2015, the Russian navy disrupted NordBalt cable-laying in Lithuania's exclusive economic zone. [150] [151] From April 2013 to November 2015, Russia held seven large-scale military exercises (65,000 to 160,000 personnel) whereas NATO exercises were generally much smaller in size, with the largest composed of 36,000 personnel. [152] Estonia criticised Russia's military exercises, saying that they "dwarfed" NATO's and were offensive rather than defensive, "simulating the invasion of its neighbors, the destruction and seizure of critical military and economic infrastructure, and targeted nuclear strikes on NATO allies and partners." [87]

In 2016, Sweden revised its military strategy doctrine. Parliamentary Defense Committee chairman Allan Widman stated, "The old military doctrine was shaped after the last Cold War when Sweden believed that Russia was on the road to becoming a real democracy that would no longer pose a threat to this country and its neighbors." [153] In April 2016, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia would "have to take the necessary military-technical action" if Sweden joined NATO Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven responded, "We demand respect [. ] in the same way that we respect other countries' decisions about their security and defence policies." [154]

Russian military activities in Ukraine and Georgia caused particular alarm in countries which are geographically close to Russia and those which experienced decades of Soviet military occupation. [155] [156] Poland's foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski stated, "We have to reject any type of wishful thinking with regard to pragmatic cooperation with Russia as long as it keeps on invading its neighbours." [157] Following the annexation of Crimea, Lithuania reinstated conscription, increased its defense spending, called on NATO to deploy more troops to the Baltics, and published three guides on surviving emergencies and war. [158] Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė stated, "I think that Russia is terrorising its neighbours and using terrorist methods". [159] Estonia increased training of Estonian Defence League members and encouraged more citizens to own guns. Brigadier General Meelis Kiili stated, "The best deterrent is not only armed soldiers, but armed citizens, too." [156] In March 2017, Sweden decided to reintroduce conscription due to Russia's military drills in the Baltics and aggression in Ukraine. [160]

In his speech at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference in June 2018, the Chief of the General Staff Mark Carleton-Smith said that British troops should be prepared to "fight and win" against the "imminent" threat of hostile Russia. [161] [162] Carleton-Smith said: "The misplaced perception that there is no imminent or existential threat to the UK – and that even if there was it could only arise at long notice – is wrong, along with a flawed belief that conventional hardware and mass are irrelevant in countering Russian subversion. ". [162] [163] In a November 2018 interview with the Daily Telegraph, Carleton-Smith said that "Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and ISIL. . We cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses or leave it uncontested." [164]

In 2020 German media reported that members of German far-right extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) and The Third Way party attended military training in Russian Federation. [165]

Assassinations and abductions Edit

Alexander Litvinenko, who had defected from the FSB and become a British citizen, died from radioactive polonium-210 poisoning carried out in England in November 2006. Relations between the U.K. and Russia cooled after a British murder investigation indicated that Russia's Federal Protective Service was behind his poisoning. Investigation into the poisoning revealed traces of radioactive polonium left by the assassins in multiple places as they travelled across Europe, including Hamburg in Germany.

In September 2014, the FSB crossed into Estonia and abducted Eston Kohver, an officer of the Estonian Internal Security Service. Brian Whitmore of Radio Free Europe stated that the case "illustrates the Kremlin's campaign to intimidate its neighbors, flout global rules and norms, and test NATO's defenses and responses." [166]

Between 2015 and 2017 officers Denis Sergeev, Alexey Kalinin and Mikhail Opryshko, all from GRU Unit 29155 were frequently traveling to Spain, allegedly in relation to the upcoming 2017 Catalan independence referendum. The same group was also linked to a failed assassination attempt of arms dealer Emian Gebrev in Bulgaria in 2015 and interference with Brexit referendum in 2016. [167]

On 4 March 2018, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who acted as a double agent for the UK's intelligence services in the 1990s and early 2000s, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, England. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May requested a Russian explanation by the end of 13 March 2018. She said that the UK Government would "consider in detail the response from the Russian State" and in the event that there was no credible response, the government would "conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom" and measures would follow.

In 2019 a Russian operative was arrested in Germany after he assassinated a Chechen refugee, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili. In response Germany expelled two Russian diplomats. [168]

In April 2021 Czechia expelled 18 Russian intelligence operatives working under diplomatic cover after police investigation linked two GRU officers Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga to 2014 Vrbětice ammunition warehouses explosions. [169]

Use of migration issues Edit

In January 2016, several Finnish authorities suspected that Russians were enabling migrants to enter Finland, and Yle, the national public-broadcasting company, reported that a Russian border guard had admitted the Federal Security Service's involvement. [170] In March, NATO General Philip Breedlove stated, "Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve". [171] A Russian state-run channel, supported by Sergey Lavrov, broadcast a false story that a 13-year-old German-Russian girl who had briefly disappeared had been raped by migrants in Berlin and that German officials were covering it up. [172] Germany's foreign minister suggested that Russia was using the case "for political propaganda, and to inflame and influence what is already a difficult debate about migration within Germany." [172]

In Bulgaria a number of Russian citizens (most notably Igor Zorin and Yevgeniy Shchegolikhin) are involved in cooperation with far-right and anti-immigrant movements, for example organization of paramilitary trainings for "voluntary border patrols". [173]

Putin's propaganda Edit

Russian government funded media and political organisations have primarily targeted far-right circles in Europe, attempting to create an image of Russia as the last defender of traditional, conservative and Christian values: [174]

Putin, in his annual address at the end of 2013, when defending the discriminative “anti-gay propaganda law” from international criticism before the Sochi Olympic Games, practically put Russia in the role of the global “moral compass” of conservatism. Putin claimed that banning "propaganda of non-traditional relations" should not be regarded as discriminative, it is only about strengthening traditional family values, which is a guarantee of Russia’s greatness. He also downplayed the Western approach of „so-called tolerance — genderless and infertile", and said that the "destruction of traditional values from the top" in the West is "inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people

Russian and pro-Russian media and organisations have produced fake stories and distorted real events. One of the most widely distributed fake stories was that of 13-year old Lisa F. In March 2017 a Russian TV team reportedly paid Swedish teenagers to stage a scene of anti-government protests in Rinkeby. [175] The scale of this campaign resulted in a number of EU countries taking individual actions. The Czech Republic noted that Russia had set up about 40 Czech-language websites publishing conspiracy theories and false reports. [176] According to the state secretary for European affairs, "The key goal of Russian propaganda in the Czech Republic is to sow doubts into the minds of the people that democracy is the best system to organise a country, to build negative images of the European Union and Nato, and [to] discourage people from participation in the democratic processes." [176] An analyst for the Lithuanian military stated, "We have a pretty huge and long lasting disinformation campaign against our society". [177] Lithuania has given three-month bans to Russian channels Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius stated, "A lie is not an alternative point of view". [177] The head of Finland's governmental communication department, Markku Mantila, said that Russian propaganda sought to create suspicions against Finland's leaders, the European Union, and NATO. He stated, "There is a systematic lying campaign going on. It is not a question of bad journalism, I believe it is controlled from the center." [178]

European Union has taken a number of steps at various levels to counter hostile propaganda and disinformation. EU Action Plan Against Disinformation of 2018 explicitly mentions Russia as the main threat source and East StratCom Task Force is an EU body working since 2015 on recording, fact-checking and debunking hostile disinformation. Council of the EU also runs a Council disinformation working group (ERCHT) dedicated to analysis and planning on response to disinformation. A number of Eastern and Central Europe countries run their own open-source intelligence institutions whose objective is to analyze events and influence from Russia. Among these are Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding (CPRDIP), the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership, or the Polish Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW). [179]

In November 2016, the EU Parliament passed an anti-propaganda resolution. [180] EU Disinformation Review is a news feed analysing and debunking most notable fake stories distributed in Russian media. [181] In 2018 the European Commission initiated a new Action Plan to counter "disinformation that fuels hatred, division, and mistrust in democracy" as well as interference with elections, "with evidence pointing to Russia as a primary source of these campaigns". [182]

In June 2021 a Russian advertising firm Fazze attempted to recruit numerous YouTube and Instagram influencers for paid posts spreading false claims about several COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by European companies. [183]

On 22 March 2020, after a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Russian president Vladimir Putin arranged the Russian army to send military medics, special disinfection vehicles, and other medical equipment to Italy, which was the European country hardest hit by the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. [184] The President of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed their gratitude to Russia. [185] According to some analysts, Russia's medical aid was an attempt to shape positive perceptions of the country at a time of global uncertainty. [186]

Conspiracy theories have been in circulation since the day of the Smolensk air disaster on 10 April 2010, when a Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft of the Polish Air Force crashed near the Russian city of Smolensk, claiming in general that the crash was in fact a political assassination, an act of war against Poland or an elaborate coup attempt, possibly orchestrated by Russia. [187] [188] Law and Justice's leader Jarosław Kaczyński and the head of the parliamentary committee of investigation Antoni Macierewicz have been described as long time supporters of the assassination theory. [189] [190] [191] Macierewicz repeated these accusations as newly appointed minister of defence in 2016, causing a significant controversy in Polish, Russian and international media. [192] Opinion polls in 2013 found that more than one-third of Poles think it is possible that the Smolensk crash was an assassination. [191]

The OSCE mission monitoring the 2006 parliamentary elections in Latvia mentioned that

Approximately 400,000 people in Latvia, some 18 per cent of the total population, had not obtained Latvian or any other citizenship and therefore still had the status of "non-citizens." In the vast majority of cases, those were persons who migrated to Latvia from within the former Soviet Union, and their descendants. Non-citizens do not have the right to vote in any Latvian elections, although they can join political parties. To obtain citizenship, these persons must go through a naturalization process, which over 50,000 persons have done since the 2002 Saeima election. The OSCE claimed that the fact that a significant percentage of the adult population did not hold voting rights represented a continuing democratic deficit. [193]

As reported by the European Commissioner for Human Rights 2007 report on Latvia, in 2006 there were 411,054 non-citizens, 66.5% of them belonging to Russian minority. [194]

In 2017, there were 0.9 million ethnic Russians in the Baltic States, [195] [196] [197] having declined from 1.7 million in 1989, the year of the last census during the Soviet era. [ citation needed ]

Beginning in 2019, instruction in Russian language will be gradually discontinued in private colleges and universities in Latvia, as well as general instruction in Latvian public high schools, [198] except for subjects related to culture and history of the Russian minority, such as Russian language and literature classes. [199]

In 2015, a Spanish investigation found links between Russian politicians, including allies of Vladimir Putin, and organised crime in Spain. [200] In May 2016, a Spanish judge issued arrest warrants for Russian government officials close to Putin. [201] In late June, Spanish authorities arrested seven people implicated in a money laundering ring with connections to United Russia, Russia's ruling political party. [202]

In January 2016, there were allegations that the Russian mafia was concealing money in Irish Financial Services Centre funds and land in Ireland. [203]

The EU is Russia's largest trading partner, accounting for 52.3% of all foreign Russian trade in 2008 and 75% of foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Russia also come from the EU. The EU exported €105 billion of goods to Russia in 2008 and Russia exported €173.2 billion to the EU. 68.2% of Russian exports to the EU are accounted for by energy and fuel supplies. For details on other trade, see the table below [204]

Direction of trade Goods Services FDI Total
EU to Russia €105 billion €18 billion €17 billion €140 billion
Russia to EU €173.2 billion €11.5 billion €1 billion €185.7 billion

Russia and the EU are both members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The EU and Russia are currently implementing the common spaces (see below) and negotiation to replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement to strengthen bilateral trade. [204]

The joint "Partnership for modernization" Edit

18 November 2009 at the summit Russia-EU in Stockholm as one of the main vectors of deepening of strategic relations EU-Russia put forward the initiative "Partnership for modernization" (PM).

The goal of the Partnership is to assist in the solution of problems of modernization of economy of Russia and the corresponding adaptation of the entire complex of Russia-EU relations based on the experience of the existing dialogue mechanisms "sectoral" interaction of Russia and the EU.

At the summit in Rostov-on-don (June 2010) leaders of Russia and the EU signed the joint statement on "Partnership for modernization". The document sets the priorities and the scope for intensification of cooperation in the interests of modernization between Russia and the EU.

In accordance with the joint statement of the priority area of "Partnership for modernization" should include the following areas: expanding opportunities for investment in key sectors driving growth and innovation enhancing and deepening bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and also creation of favorable conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises promoting alignment of technical regulations and standards, as well as the high level of intellectual property protection transportation promote the development of sustainable low-carbon economy and energy efficiency, and support international negotiations on combating climate change enhancing cooperation in innovation, research and development, and space ensuring balanced development by taking measures in response to regional and social consequences of economic restructuring ensuring the effective functioning of the judiciary and strengthening the fight against corruption promote the development of relations between people and the strengthening of dialogue with civil society to promote the participation of people and business. This list of areas of cooperation is not exhaustive. As necessary can be added to other areas of cooperation. The EU and Russia will encourage implementation of specific projects within the framework of the "Partnership for modernization".

To coordinate this work with the Russian and the EU defined the respective national coordinators (with the Russian Deputy Minister A. A. Slepnev, with EU – Deputy General Director for external relations of the European Commission H. Mingarelli, since 2011, Director for Russia, European external action service Gunnar Wiegand).

According to the results of the analysis of existing formats of cooperation with European partners, it was determined that the PM should build on existing achievements within the formation of four General spaces Russia-EU, but not replace, existing "road map" and not be the reason for the creation of new structural add-ons. The main mechanisms of the initiative of PM have been recognized sectoral dialogues Russia-EU.

The national coordinators in cooperation with co-chairs-Russia sectoral dialogues the EU has developed an implementation plan for PM, contains specific joint projects in the priority areas of cooperation.

11 May 2011 the Ministry of economic development of Russia held an enlarged meeting of representatives of the sectoral dialogues the EU-Russia involved in the implementation of the initiative "Partnership for modernization", chaired by the national focal points initiative.

During the meeting the parties discussed the progress of the project Work plan PM and has identified priorities for the second half of 2011, measures to support projects, including the attraction of resources of international financial institutions, as well as the participation of business in implementing the tasks of the PM.

In order to create financial mechanisms for cooperation in the framework of PM by Vnesheconombank and the European Bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD) and Vnesheconombank and the European investment Bank (EIB) has signed the relevant Memoranda of understanding. The documents envisage the possibility of allocating the aggregate up to $2 billion to Finance projects in the PfP, provided that they meet criteria of financial institutions and approval by the authorized management bodies of the parties.

As priority directions of financing selected areas such as energy efficiency, transport, innovation initiatives related to small and medium enterprises (including business incubators, technological parks, centers of business technology, infrastructure, financial services SMEs), as well as commercialization of innovations in several sectors, including the above, pharmaceuticals, and environmental protection.

On the sidelines of the summit Russia-EU in Nizhni Novgorod on 9–10 June 2011 signed joint report of the coordinators of the PM which summarizes the work accomplished and gives examples implemented to date, practical activities and projects within the Work plan.

In the framework of the implementation of the Work plan PM during the said summit was signed a provision on the establishment of a new Dialogue on trade and investment between the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation and the Directorate General for trade of the European Commission. Co-chair of the Dialogue on the Russian side is Deputy Minister of economic development of the Russian Federation A. A. Slepnev, the EU - Deputy Director General of the Directorate General for trade of the European Commission P. Balazs. The dialogue will cover trade and investment relations EU-Russia, including the obligations of the European Union and Russia in the WTO and current trade and economic agreements between the European Union and Russia.

Kaliningrad Edit

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast has, since 2004, been surrounded on land by EU members. As a result, the Oblast has been isolated from the rest of the federation due to stricter border controls that had to be brought in when Poland and Lithuania joined the EU and further tightened before they joined the Schengen Area. The new difficulties for Russians in Kaliningrad to reach the rest of Russia is a small source of tension.

In July 2011 the European Commission put forward proposals to classify the whole of Kaliningrad as a border area. This would allow Poland and Lithuania to issue special permits for Kaliningrad residents to pass through those two countries without requiring a Schengen visa. [205] 2012–2016 visa-free travels were allowed between Kaliningrad region and northern Poland. [206]

Energy Edit

Russia has a significant role in the European energy sector as the largest exporter of oil and natural gas to the EU. In 2007, the EU imported from Russia 185 million tonnes of crude oil, which accounted for 32.6% of total oil imports, and 100.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent of natural gas, which accounted for 38.7% of total gas imports. [207] A number of disputes in which Russia was using pipeline shutdowns in what was described as "tool for intimidation and blackmail" [208] caused European Union to significantly increase efforts to diversify its energy sources. [209]

During an anti-trust investigation initiated in 2011 against Gazprom a number of internal company documents were seized that documented a number of "abusive practices" in an attempt to "segment the internal [EU] market along national borders" and impose "unfair pricing". [210]

Siberian flights Edit

There have been agreements on other matters such as the withdrawal of taxes on EU flights over Siberia.

Meat from Poland Edit

Further problems include a ban by Russia on Polish meat exports (due to allegations of low quality and unsafe meat exported from the country [211] ), which caused Poland to veto proposed EU-Russia pacts concerning issues such as energy and migration an oil blockade on Lithuania and concerns by Latvia and Poland on the Nord Stream pipeline. [212] In 2007 Polish meat was allowed to be exported to Russia.

2014 Russian food embargo Edit

Announced 6 August 2014 by President Putin. Russia banned European food imports in response to EU sanctions. [35]

The legal basis for the relations between the EU and Russia is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). Signed in June 1994 and in force since December 1997, the PCA was supposed to be valid for 10 years. Thus, since 2007 it is annually automatically renewed, until replaced by a new agreement. [213] The PCA provides a political, economic and cultural framework for relations between Russia and the EU. It is primarily concerned with promoting trade, investment and harmonious economic relations. However, it also mentions the parties' shared "[r]espect for democratic principles and human rights as defined in particular in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a new Europe" and a commitment to international peace and security. [214] [215] A replacement agreement has been under negotiations since 2008 and following that and WTO entry, a more detailed agreement will be negotiated.

Russian exports to the EU have very few restrictions, except for the steel sector.

Russia has chosen not to participate in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), as it aspires to be an "equal partner" of the EU (as opposed to the "junior partnership" that Russia sees in the ENP). Consequently, Russia and the European Union agreed to create four Common Spaces for cooperation in different spheres. In practice there are no substantial differences (besides naming) between the sum of these agreements and the ENP Action Plans (adopted jointly by the EU and its ENP partner states). In both cases the final agreement is based on provisions from the EU acquis communautaire and is jointly discussed and adopted. For this reason, the Common Spaces receive funding from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which also funds the ENP.

At the St. Petersburg Summit in May 2003, the EU and Russia agreed to reinforce their co-operation by creating, in the long term, four common spaces in the framework of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1997: a common economic space a common space of freedom, security and justice a space of co-operation in the field of external security and a space of research, education, and cultural exchange.

The Moscow Summit in May 2005 adopted a single package of Road Maps for the creation of the four Common Spaces. These expand on the ongoing cooperation as described above, set out further specific objectives, and determine the actions necessary to make the common spaces a reality. They thereby determine the agenda for co-operation between the EU and Russia for the medium-term.

The London Summit in October 2005 focused on the practical implementation of the Road Maps for the four Common Spaces.

Common Economic Space Edit

The objective of the common economic space is to create an open and integrated market between the EU and Russia. This space is intended to remove barriers to trade and investment and promote reforms and competitiveness, based on the principles of non-discrimination, transparency, and good governance.

Among the wide range of actions foreseen, a number of new dialogues are to be launched. Cooperation will be stepped up on regulatory policy, investment issues, competition, financial services, telecommunications, transport, energy, space activities and space launching, etc. Environment issues including nuclear safety and the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol also figure prominently.

Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice Edit

Work on this space has already made a large step forward with the conclusion of negotiations on the Visa Facilitation and the Readmission Agreements. Both the EU and Russia are in the process of ratifying these agreements. The visa dialogue will continue with a view to examine the conditions for a mutual visa-free travel regime as a long-term perspective. In a 15 December 2011 statement given after an EU-Russia summit, the President of the European Commission confirmed the launch of the "Common Steps towards visa-free travel" with Russia. [216] Russia hoped to sign a deal on visa free travel as early as January 2014. [217]

Cooperation on combating terrorism and other forms of international illegal activities such as money laundering, the fight against drugs and trafficking in human beings will continue as well as on document security through the introduction of biometric features in a range of identity documents. The EU support to border management and reform of the Russian judiciary system are among the highlights of this space.

With a view to contributing to the concrete implementation of the road map, the Justice and Home Affairs PPC met on 13 October 2005 and agreed to organise clusters of conferences and seminars, bringing together experts and practitioners on counter-terrorism, cyber-crime, document security and judicial cooperation. There was also agreement about developing greater cooperation between the European Border Agency (FRONTEX) and the Federal Border Security Service of Russia.

Common Space on External Security Edit

The road map underlines the shared responsibility of the parties for an international order based on effective multilateralism, their support for the central role of the UN, and for the effectiveness in particular of the OSCE and the Council of Europe. The parties will strengthen their cooperation on security and crisis management in order to address global and regional challenges and key threats, notably terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They will give particular attention to securing stability in the regions adjacent to Russian and EU borders (the "frozen conflicts" in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh).

EU activities in this area are done in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Common Space on Research, Education, Culture Edit

This space builds on the long-standing relations with Russia through its participation in EU Research and Development activities and the 6th FPRD in particular, and under the TEMPUS programme. It aims at capitalising on the strength of the EU and Russian research communities and cultural and intellectual heritage by reinforcing links between research and innovation and closer cooperation on education such as through convergence of university curricula and qualifications. It also lays a firm basis for cooperation in the cultural field. A European Studies Institute co-financed by both sides will be set up in Moscow for the start of the academic year 2006/7.

Russia and the EU continue to work together under Horizon 2020, which runs from 2014 to 2020. [218]

On 4 May 2010, the EU and Russian Federation raised the prospect of beginning negotiations on a visa-free regime between their territories. [219] However it was announced by the Council of Ministers of the EU that the EU is not completely ready to open up the borders due to high risk of increase in human trafficking and drug imports into Europe and because of the loose borders of Russia with Kazakhstan. They will instead work towards providing Russia with a "roadmap for visa-free travel." While this does not legally bind the EU to providing visa-free access to the Schengen area for Russian citizens at any specific date in the future, it does greatly improve the chances of a new regime being established and obliges the EU to actively consider the notion, should the terms of the roadmap be met. Russia on the other hand has agreed that should the roadmap be established, it will ease access for EU citizens for whom access is not visa-free at this point, largely as a result of Russian foreign policy which states that "visa free travel must be reciprocal between states." Both the EU and Russia acknowledge, however, that there are many problems to be solved before visa-free travel is introduced.

The dialogue was temporarily frozen by the EU in March 2014 during the 2014 Crimean crisis. [220] In 2015, Jean-Maurice Ripert, the current French Ambassador to Russia, stated that France would be interested in abolishing short-term Sсhengen visas for Russians in 2016, the Spanish Minister of Industry José Manuel Soria made a similar statement on behalf of Spain. [ citation needed ] In June 2016, EEAS released a Russian-language video describing the necessary conditions for the visa-free regime. [221] The same year, a number of EU officials, including the head of EEAS' Russia Division Fernando Andresen Guimarães, said that they would like to restart negotiations on visa abolishment [222] the Czech President Milos Zeman also spoke out in favor of visa-free regime for Russians. [223] On 24 May 2016, the German think tank DGAP released a report called "The Eastern Question: Recommendations for Western Policy", discussing the renewed Western strategy towards Russia in the wake of increased tensions between Putin's regime and EU. Their recommendations include visa liberalization for Russian citizens in order to "improve people-to-people contacts and to send a strong signal that there is no conflict with Russian society". [224] Likewise, the chairman of Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger suggested granting "visa-free entry to countries of the Schengen area for ordinary Russian citizens, who are not to blame for the Ukrainian crisis and have nothing to do with sanctions". [ citation needed ] On 29 August 2017, the German politician and member of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Marieluise Beck published a piece in Neue Zürcher Zeitung with a number of recommendations for EU on dealing with Russia and counteracting Kremlin propaganda one of them is visa-free regime for Russians in order to incorporate Russians into Western values and promote democratic change in Russia. [225] In October 2018, the member of SPD and Bundestag deputy Dirk Wiese suggested granting visa-free EU entry to young Russians in order to facilitate student exchange programs. [226] In July 2019, the German politician and chairman of the Petersburg Dialogue Ronald Pofalla stated his support for visa-free regime for the young Russians, and said that he will be negotiating for it in the second half of 2019. [227] Later that month, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said that visa-free regime "is a matter we want to pursue further. We may not be able to decide it alone, but we intend to sit down with our Schengen partners to see what can be done". [228]

Among the most vocal supporters of Russian membership of the EU has been former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In an article published to Italian media on 26 May 2002, he said that the next step in Russia's growing integration with the West should be EU membership. [229] On 17 November 2005, he commented in regards to the prospect of such a membership that he is "convinced that even if it is a dream . it is not too distant a dream and I think it will happen one day." [230] Berlusconi has made similar comments on other occasions as well. [231] Later, in October 2008, he said: "I consider Russia to be a Western country and my plan is for the Russian Federation to be able to become a member of the European Union in the coming years" and stated that he had this vision for years. [232]

Russian permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov [ru] commented on this by saying that Russia has no plans of joining the EU. [233] Vladimir Putin has said that Russia joining the EU would not be in the interests of either Russia or the EU, although he advocated close integration in various dimensions including establishment of four common spaces between Russia and the EU, including united economic, educational and scientific spaces as it was declared in the agreement in 2003. [234] [235]

Michael McFaul claimed in 2001 that Russia was "decades away" from qualifying for EU membership. [236] Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has said that though Russia must "find its place both in NATO, and, in the longer term, in the European Union, and if conditions are created for this to happen" that such a thing is not economically feasible in the near future. [237] Czech President Miloš Zeman stated that he "dreams" of Russia joining EU. [ citation needed ]

According to a number of surveys carried out by Deutsche Welle in 2012, from 36% to 54% of Russians supported Russia joining EU, and about 60% of them saw EU as an important partner for their country. [238] [239] [240] [241] Young people in particular have a positive image of the European Union. [242]

Russian and EU public opinion Edit

A February 2014 poll conducted by the Levada Center, Russia's largest independent polling organization, found that nearly 80% of Russian respondents had a "good" impression of the EU. This changed dramatically in 2014 with the Ukrainian crisis resulting in 70% taking a hostile view of the EU compared to 20% viewing it positively. [243]

A Levada poll released in August 2018 found that 68% of Russian respondents believe that Russia needs to dramatically improve relations with Western countries. 42% of Russians polled said they had a positive view of the EU, up from 28% in May 2018. [244] A Levada poll released in February 2020 found that 80% of Russian respondents believe that Russia and the West should become friends and partners. 49% of Russians polled said they had a positive view of the EU. [245] However, with the exception of Bulgaria, Slovakia and Greece, the share of residents in the rest of the EU countries polled by Pew Research Center with positive views of Russia is considerably below 50%. [246]


Water

Water has long been a scarce resource in the semi-arid region, and is under increased threat of over-extraction a symbol of the pressure on regional water resources is the fact that the level of the Dead Sea is dropping by one meter per year. Israeli authorities have controlled West Bank water resources since they seized the land from Jordan in 1967, and continue to control completely all Palestinian access to water resources in the West Bank, including in Areas A, B and C. Israel provides Jewish settlers with access to water for domestic and agricultural use that it denies Palestinians. This policy has benefited the Jewish settler economy while damaging that of Palestinians, whose agricultural sector has lost up to 110,800 jobs compared to its potential with adequate access to water resources, according to the World Bank.

Jewish settlements—which use a significant proportion of the water to produce agricultural goods for export by a government-run private export company, Agrexco—are serviced by wells in the West Bank (largely in the Jordan Valley), and by the Israeli national water network (Mekorot), which itself extracts water flowing from aquifers lying beneath the occupied West Bank. [13] Even many unauthorized settlement outposts are connected to the national water network. In general, Israeli subsidies for settlers, including those for settlement agriculture products, help offset costs of water and other utilities.

Average Israeli per capita consumption of water—including water consumption by settlers—is 4.3 times that of Palestinians in the occupied territories (including Gaza), according to the World Health Organization. In the Jordan Valley, an estimated 9,000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the total amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, some 2.5 million people.

Over-extraction of water by Israel has caused a drop in the water table in the West Bank, which contributed to a 4 percent decrease in the total amount of water Palestinians extracted from 1995 to 2007, even as the Palestinian population increased by as much as 50 percent, according to the World Bank. According to UN estimates, some 60,000 Palestinians currently living in Area C lack any access to running water and must pay high prices – up to one-sixth of their income – to bring in water tankers, which in turn require special permits from the Israeli authorities.

In 1995, according to the Oslo accords, Israel granted the PA a role in developing and regulating the use of some water resources in the West Bank, by creating a joint Israeli-PA water commission with equal representation for both sides, which must approve West Bank water projects. However, the commission’s history indicates that in reality Israel and the PA are not equal partners. As of April 2009, the World Bank reported the commission had approved all but one Israeli-proposed projects in the West Bank, but only half of the projects (by dollar value) proposed by the PA for the benefit of Palestinians, of which only one-third had been implemented or begun implementation.

One reason for the unequal approval of projects is that Israel often proposes infrastructure projects that will provide water to Palestinian communities only if pipes are first laid to service Israeli settlements. Fewer projects are implemented than approved because, in addition to approval by the joint water commission, Palestinian water projects in Area C must also be approved by the Israeli Civil Administration, which often cites security grounds for refusing requests, such as ruling that Palestinian wells would be drilled in areas considered too close to settlements. Moreover, the majority of Palestinian projects that have been approved involve improvements to water networks rather than drilling new wells or increasing the amount of water available to those networks as noted, total Palestinian water consumption has decreased over the past decade even as the population has grown.

Israeli planning restrictions and military orders have forced Palestinians in Area C to spend up to one-sixth of their income to purchase water at significant expense from small, portable water tankers water restrictions have severely affected Palestinian Bedouin communities, many of which have no reliable access to water sources. In one case discussed in this report, Israeli authorities cut water pipes leading from a spring to a Palestinian farm in the northern Jordan Valley, which now has no access to water other than via expensive tankers. The spring now supplies water for a nearby settlement through pipes that run through the farmer’s land, which he cannot touch.

The creation of water infrastructure to service Jewish settlers, and the diversion of water resources away from Palestinians, is discriminatory. Israel’s unequal provision of access to water resources is unjustified by any reasonable security concern or other necessity (severe water shortages affecting tens of thousands of Palestinians, notably in Area C, also violates Israel’s obligations as an occupying power to ensure the welfare of the occupied population).

Its policy of exploiting the occupied territory’s natural resources to benefit its own citizens violates its obligations under customary international law to alter such laws and policies in the occupied territory only where doing so benefits the local population, does not permanently deplete resources, or is required by reasons of strict military necessity (to the knowledge of Human Rights Watch, Israel has not invoked the justification of military necessity regarding its exploitation of natural resources in the West Bank, and recently ordered a temporary halt to quarrying activities by Israeli and multinational companies in the West Bank after a petition filed by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights NGO.) The effects of Israel’s discriminatory restrictions on access to water, including prohibitions on well drilling, access to the Jordan River, and the destruction of water pipes, tanks, and cisterns, have been so severe that they have forcibly displaced residents of several Palestinian communities, which also amounts to a serious violation of the prohibition against involuntarily transferring residents of an occupied territory from their homes.


Options in the Stars: Automated Celestial Navigation Options for the Surface Navy

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In response to the four recent mishaps , the U.S. Navy Surface Force is going through a cultural shift in training, safety, and mission execution. The new direction is healthy, necessary, and welcomed in the wake of the tragedies. Admiral Davidson’s “ Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents ” examines a myriad of different aspects of readiness in the Surface Force and the recommendations are far-reaching. There will likely be more training and scrutiny added to officer pipelines and ship certifications, some of which will come from the newly-created Naval Surface Group Western Pacific .

Included in the review were the subjects of Human Systems Integration (HSI) and Human Factors Engineering (HFE), in which the Review Team Members describe how “Navy ships are equipped with a navigation ‘system-of-systems,’” and that “The large number of different bridge system configurations, with increasingly complex and ship-specific guidance on how to make them work together, increases the burden on ships in achieving technical and operational proficiency.” I had the same experience – one where an Officer of the Deck (OOD) was challenged to monitor up to five different consoles with assistance from six different watchstanders while maintaining safety of navigation and executing the plan of the day. Thankfully, the recommendations in the Comprehensive Review address these difficulties, and five specifically address the immediate, unique needs of OODs:

  • 3.2 Accelerate plans to replace aging military surface search RADARs and electronic navigation systems.
  • 3.3 Improve stand-alone commercial RADAR and situational awareness piloting equipment through rapid fleet acquisition for safe navigation.
  • 3.4 Perform a baseline review of all inspection, certification, assessment and assist visit requirements to ensure and reinforce unit readiness, unit self-sufficiency, and a culture of improvement.
  • 3.8 As an immediate aid to navigation, update AIS laptops or equip ships with hand-held electronic tools such as portable pilot units with independent ECDIS and AIS.
  • 3.13 Develop standards for including human performance factors in reliability predictions for equipment modernization that increases automation.

One solution to the recommendations would be the addition of Automated Celestial Navigation (CELNAV) systems which could provide additional navigation support to Bridge watchstanders. Specifically, the systems could continuously fix the ship’s position in both day and night with as good, if not better, accuracy provided by sights and calculations using a computer, without the risk of human error or GPS spoofing. An automated celestial navigation system could either feed directly into the ship’s Inertial Navigation System (INS) or feed into a display in the pilothouse (with which a Navigator could verify the accuracy of active GPS inputs within a specified tolerance), both of which would provide redundancy to existing navigation systems. Automatic CELNAV systems are already used in the military, could be applied to surface ships rapidly, and could serve as a redundant, automated, and immediate aid to navigation against the potential threat of GPS signal disruption.

The Review Team’s recommendation to accelerate replacement of aging radars is a primary focus to support OODs, but given the capabilities of peer competitors against our GPS, rapid investment in shipboard CELNAV systems would be a worthwhile secondary objective. There is significant evidence of Russia testing a GPS spoofing capability in the Black Sea in June of this year , when more than twenty merchant ships’ Automated Identification Systems (AIS) were receiving locations placing them 25 nautical miles inland of Russia, near Gelendyhik Airport, rather than in the north-eastern portion of the Black Sea. Further, China maintains plans to actively combat the use of the Global Hawk UAV, to include, “electronic jamming of onboard spy equipment and aircraft-to-satellite signals used to remotely pilot the drones, [and] electronic disruption of GPS signals used for navigation.” At the outbreak of broader conflict one can imagine a far greater and more extensive denial effort for surface forces.

Due to potential threats, there are built-in securities for military GPS receivers to combat disruption threats. These include the Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) and expected upgrades for GPS Block III, to include more secure signal coding, with a scheduled inaugural launch in Spring 2018 . Automated CELNAV can actively compliment both security mechanisms by providing redundancy against a technical failure or a cyber-attack and before the remaining GPS Block III satellites are brought online.

From a training perspective, the U.S. Navy reinstituted celestial navigation instruction for midshipmen in 2016 and quartermasters and junior officers in 2011 throughout their pipelines. The officers and quartermasters are trained to use the computer-based program STELLA (System To Estimate Latitude and Longitude Astronomically), developed by George Kaplan of the U.S. Naval Observatory in the 1990s. While the use of the program has sped the process of sightings to fixes from nearly an hour down to minutes, there is still a delay and the potential for human error. Automated CELNAV systems can provide both an extra layer of shipboard security against the potential threat of GPS disruption and assist in fixing the ship’s position continuously and as accurately as human navigators. Both arguments support increased readiness in the surface force and make ships more self-sufficient in the event of potential GPS disruption.

In 1999 George Kaplan argued that independent alternatives to GPS were necessary and required and that the hardware to implement these alternatives was readily available. Potential Automated CELNAV systems that could be configured for surface ships are already used in both the Navy and the Air Force. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), SR-71 Blackbird, RC-135, and the B-2 Bomber each use systems like the NAS-26, an astro-inertial system initially developed in the 1950s by Northrop for the Snark long-range cruise missile. Similar systems have previously been proposed for the Surface Forces. Cosmo Gator , an automated celestial navigation system, was submitted by LT William Hughes, then-Navigator of USS Benfold (DDG 65). This system would update the ship’s Inertial Navigation System (INS) with the calculated celestial position to provide essential navigation data for the rest of the combat system. OPNAV N4 funded LT Hughes’ proposal in March 2016 following the Innovation Jam event onboard USS Essex (LHD 2). Rapidly acquiring any of these various Automated CELNAV options supports the same piloting and situational awareness recommendations as an integrated bridge RADAR suite. The Navy can continue to cultivate a culture of improvement and further equip ships through the acquisition of more immediate aids to navigation like CELNAV systems.

As a result of the Comprehensive Review and associated ship investigations, the Surface Force is looking at innovative solutions to ensure that tragedies aren’t repeated. While the Navy strives to build a culture of improvement and to implement the CNO’s “ High-Velocity Learning ” concept continually, we must seek answers not only to the problems we face today but the threats we face tomorrow. The threats from peer competitors are defined and growing, but the options to provide greater shipboard redundancy are already created. In the same context that the Surface Force will endeavor to improve human systems integration for our bridge teams, we also should pursue Automated Celestial Navigation systems to make sure those same teams are never in doubt as to where they are in the first place.

Lieutenant (junior grade) Kyle Cregge is a U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer. He served on a destroyer and is a prospective Cruiser Division Officer. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or Department of Defense.

Featured Image: PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 3, 2016) Midshipman 2nd Class Benjamin Sam, a student at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, fixes the ship’s position using a sextant aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven Leigh Ellis/Released)


A brief history of dogs in warfare

Posted On January 28, 2019 18:40:06

Puppies are fluffy and adorable and cuddly companions. Companions who are capable of sinking long, sharp teeth into the flesh of enemy skulls and pulling muscle from the bone.

And in honor of National K9 Veterans Day celebrated on March 13, we took a look at the history of dogs in warfare.

While dogs are known as man’s best friend, they’re also fur missiles that have served in mankind’s wars since at least 600 B.C when the Lydian king deployed dogs to help break the invading army of Cimmerians.

In the early days, the dogs were used to break up enemy formations, charging into the ranks and tearing down as many enemy soldiers as possible. Friendly forces would either hit the enemy just behind the dogs or would wait, letting the dogs sow chaos before the humans hit with maximum force.

As warfare modernized, so did the service of dogs. They gained armor for avoiding injury in combat (think large dogs in little knight costumes) and breeders tailored new generations of dogs better suited for fighting. Dogs were pressed into new roles, acting as couriers, sentries, and scouts.

Rrobiek, a Belgian Malinois military working dog, and his handler, Army Staff Sgt. Charles Ogin, 3rd Infantry Regiment, practice bite training after work in Baghdad, Feb. 14, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Anna Pongo)

In American military history, dogs served primarily as morale boosters, though some acted as prison guards and sentries. In one case during the Civil War, a Confederate spy who suspected she would be searched hid documents in a false coat of fur on her dog. The documents were safely delivered to Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard who was a little surprised when the woman cut the false hide off of her dog.

On the water, dogs served as rat catchers and mascots. Ships’ dogs also helped find food and water on undeveloped islands.

(Photo: U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command)

During World War I, dogs originally appointed as unit mascots distinguished themselves in open combat. One of America’s greatest animal war heroes served in World War I. Stubby the dog started hanging out with Connecticut soldiers drilling for service on the front lines.

Stubby went overseas with the 102nd Infantry and gave soldiers early warning of artillery, gas, and infantry attacks. During a raid against German defenses, Stubby was wounded by a hand grenade. Stubby stayed in the war and later apprehended a German spy. He was later promoted to sergeant.

Sgt. Stubby rocks his great coat and rifle during World War I. (Photo: Public Domain)

Of course, the introduction of true industrial war in World War I brought other changes to animal service, including the beginning of dogs acting as engineers. Dogs were fitted with cable-laying equipment and would place new communication lines when necessary, providing a smaller target for enemy soldiers trying to prevent Allied communication networks.

In World War II, dogs returned to their old roles, but they were also pressed into new ones. In one of the more horrific moments for animal combat, Soviet forces trained dogs to scurry under German tanks while wearing magnetic mines. The mines would detonate against the hull, disabling or killing the tank but also the dog.

Rob was a heroic parachuting dog of World War II later awarded the Dickin Medal. (Photo: Imperial War Museum)

The first airborne dogs jumped into combat on D-Day, accompanying British paratroopers as they fought the German armies.

America’s greatest dog of its greatest generation was likely Chips, a German Shepherd, Collie, Husky mix that forced the capture of 14 Italian soldiers in one day during the invasion of Sicily despite being wounded.

Throughout Korea and Vietnam, dogs continued to serve next to their humans.

Australian soldiers pose with their black labs trained to hunt Viet Cong soldiers in the infamous tunnels of the Vietnam War. (Photo: Australian War Memorial)

In Vietnam, an Air force sentry dog named Nemo was patrolling the airbase perimeter with his handler when they were attacked by Viet Cong guerillas. The handler killed two enemies and Nemo savagely attacked the rest while the handler called for reinforcements. Nemo lost an eye and the handler was injured, but Nemo kept him safe until reinforcements arrived.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, dogs have served primarily in explosive detection roles, helping American and allied forces avoid IEDs and mines. They’ve also served on assault teams with special operators.

While some of the dogs in modern special operations are trained to engage directly with the enemy, Cairo went on the kill/capture mission against Osama Bin Laden but was there to search out hidden passages, enemies, or weapons.


Russia’s “Dirty Policy Of Occupation” Of Crimea And Ronald Reagan

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

On March 18 th , 2014 following a popular self-determination referendum of the people of Crimea the Russian Federation declared reunification with the Crimean Peninsula which was illegitimately transfered to the Soviet Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Nevertheless, the western global corporative media, politicians and statesmen classified the act as a matter of 𠇊ggression, violation of international law and unlawful occupation of a part of territory of an internationally recognized independent state and the UN’s member”.

Russia’s authorities on this occasion issued an official statement that Crimea’s re-annexation by Russia is based on the same self-determination rights as of the people (the Albanians) of Kosovo in 2008 which self-proclaimed independence from Serbia (by Kosovo parliament without any popular referendum) is already recognized by almost all western liberal governments.

The following text is a personal contribution to better understanding of the case of Russia’s 𠇍irty policy of occupation and annexation” of Crimea in March 2014.

Grenada is an independent state, a member of the UN, located in the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea very close to the mainland of the South America (Venezuela). The state is composed by southernmost of the Windward Islands combined with several small islands which belong to the Grenadines Archipelago, populated by almost 110,000 people of whom 82% are the blacks (2012 estimations). The state of Grenada is physically mostly forested mountains’ area (of volcanic origin) with some crater lakes and springs. In the valleys are bananas, spices and sugar cane grown. The country is out of any natural wealth significance but has relatively high geostrategic importance. Economy was and is primarily agricultural with some very limited small-scale industry of the food production nature with developing tourism sector as growing source of the national GDP. The state budget is constantly under a high level of foreign debt (a �t slavery” phenomenon).

As the island, Grenada was discovered by the Europeans (Ch. Columbus) in 1498 and colonized by the French in 1650 becoming a possession of the French royal crown in 1674. During the Seven Years War (1756�) between all major European states, Grenada was occupied by the British and according to the Peace Treaty of Paris in 1763 was given to the United Kingdom being a British possession for almost two hundred years with preservation of slavery. The process of democratization of the island started in 1950 when the universal adult suffrage is granted by the United Labor Party. Being shortly a member of the West Indian Federation (1958�) and seeking internationally recognized independence, Grenada was granted such separate independence only in 1974 with Matthew Gairy (a leader of the United Labor Party) as the first Grenada’s PM. However, only three years later in 1979 Gairy was deposed from the post in a coup d’état lead by Maurice Bishop (1944�) as a leader of a Marxist political group under the official title of the New Jewel Movement. M. Bishop proclaimed a new Government under the name of the People’s Revolutionary Government that became not welcomed by the US administration like the Socialist (Marxist-democrat) Government in Chile after the 1970 elections formed by Salvador Allende (1908�).

The issue is in this case that Allende was the first Marxist in the world’s history who became elected by the popular vote as the President of one sovereign and independent state.

A new President of Chile was a head of the Unidad Popular that was a coalition of the Marxists (Communists) and the Socialists and therefore faced by hostility of the USA whose administration supported Chili Congress against Allende. The Congress backed by the USA heavily opposed Allende’s radical program of nationalization and agrarian reform – a program voted by the electorate in 1970. Due to such obstruction, there were inflation, capital flight and balance-payments deficit which heavily contributed to an economic crisis in Chile in 1973: exactly what the US administration wanted and needed. The crisis became the main excuse for the military coup organized and accomplished by the Chili army Commander-in-Chief general Augusto Pinochet (born in 1915) – a typical local exponent of the US global politics.

As a consequence, there were around 15,000 killed people together with President Allende and about 10% of the Chileans who left the country during the new military dictatorship (1973�) which replaced Chili democracy elected by the people and brutally abolished all labor unions and any opposition organizations and groups. The capitalism was fully restored with the economy and social order very depended on the US financial support as a price for transformation of the country into a classic (US) colony. Nevertheless, the 1973 military suppression of democracy in Chile was a clear message to the whole Latin America that the Monroe Doctrine of 𠇊merica to the Americans” (read in fact as 𠇊mericas to the US”) is still leading framework of the US foreign policy in this part of the globe. The Monroe Doctrine was articulated in President James Monroe’s seventh annual message to the Congress on December 2 nd , 1823. The European powers, according to Monroe, were obligated to respect the Western Hemisphere as the United States’ sphere of interest. Following later such doctrine, for the matter of illustration, there was the US direct military invasion of Panama causing the fall of General Noriega in December 1989: “Operation Just Cause”.

Similarly to the Allende Case in Chile, Grenada governed by the President M. Bishop turned to the left in both inner and external policy of the state. Therefore, he encouraged very closer relations with F. Castro’s Cuba and potentially to the USSR. As a result, at the island there were some Cuban military presence composed by the engineers who were repairing and expanding the local airport. This fact became the main reason that political situation in Grenada became of interest of the U.S. administration. However, due to the internal quarrel within the People’s Revolutionary Government, Bishop was overthrown from the post and murdered by another Marxist, Bernard Coard, in 1983 who took control over the Government. There were the clashes of protesters with the governmental troops and soon violence escalated. However, the army troops under the command of General Hudson Austin soon took power and established a new military regime.

This new Grenada coup was immediately followed by direct US military intervention in the island on October 23 rd , under the order by the US President Ronald Reagan (the “Operation Urgent Fury”), for the very real reason to prevent a Marxist revolutionary council to take power. The US military troops left Grenada in December 1983 after the re-establishment of �mocratic” (pre-revolutionary) regime and of course pro-American one transforming Grenada into one more Washington’s client state.

It is of very high concern to see what was de jure explanation by the US President Reagan for such military intervention and de facto the US military occupation of one sovereign and independent state. The President, based on the CIA reports on the threat posed to the US citizens in Grenada (the students) by the Communist regime, issued the order to the US Marines to invade the island in order to secure their lives. Here we have to remember a very fact of issue how much the CIA reports have been (and are) really accurate and reliable by only two fresh examples:

  • In 1999 Serbia and Montenegro were bombed by the NATO troops (the “Operation Merciful Angel”) exactly based on the CIA information about the organized (the “Operation Horse Shoe”) and well done massive ethnic cleansing of the local Kosovo Albanians (100,000 killed) committed by the Serbian regular army and police forces.
  • In 2003 the US and the UK troops invaded Iraq based also on the CIA reports about possession of the ABC weapon of mass destruction by the regime of Saddam Hussein (1937�) (the “Operation Desert Storm 2”).

However, in both mentioned cases the reports are “proved to be unproved”, i.e. very false.

Leaflet air-dropped during the US invasion of Grenada in 1983

The fact was that in the 1983 Grenada Case, there were really about 1,000 US citizens in the island, majority of them studying at the local medical school. Citing the alleged danger to the US citizens in Grenada, the President ordered around 2,000 US troops, combined by some international forces from the Regional Security System based in Barbados. The White House claimed that it received a formal request for military intervention by the PM of Barbados and Dominica (both the US clients). If it is a true, and probably it is, then any state receiving such invitation by the foreign Governments (second states) has right to invade other state (third state) in order to restore the �mocratic” order (in the sense of bringing justice) or at least to protect its own citizens. For instance, following the White House logic from 1983, overthrown legal President of Ukraine V. Yanukovych by the street-mob in 2014 could call the Russian President V. Putin to restore a legal order in whole Ukraine by the Russian army.In regard to the 2014 Kyiv Coup, according to Paul Craig Roberts, Washington used its funded NGOs ($5 billion according to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at the National Press Club in December 2013) to begin street protests when the elected Ukrainian Government turned down the offer to join the European Union.

Similarly to the Ukrainian coup in 2014, the Guatemala coup in 1954, when democratically elected Government of Jacobo Arbenz became overthrown, was also carried out by the CIA. Following also Reagan’s logic for the military invasion of Grenada in 1983, the Russian President could send a regular army of the Russian Federation to occupy Ukraine for the security reasons of Russia’s citizens who were studying at the universities in Kyiv, Odessa or Lvov. Nevertheless, similar Reagan’s argument was used (among others) and by Adolf Hitler in April 1941 to invade and occupy the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as, according to the German intelligence service, the German minority in Yugoslavia (the Volksdeutschers) were oppressed and terrorized by the new (pro-British) Government of General Duᘚn Simović after the coup in Belgrade committed on March 27 th , 1941.

Nonetheless, the fact was that during the intervention in Grenada, the US troops faced military opposition by the Grenadian army relying on minimal intelligence about the situation in the country. For example, the US military used in this case old tourist maps of the island. Similar “mistake” the NATO made in the 1999 Kosovo Case by bombing the Chinese embassy in the wider center of Belgrade using also outdated tourist map on which a new Chinese embassy did not exist (here we will not comment or argue on credentials of such army and its headquarters to intervene outside of its own home courtyard). In order to break the Grenadian resistance the “Hollywood” President R. Reagan sent additional 4,000 troops to the island. Finally, an “international coalition” lead by the US troops succeeded to replace the Government of Grenada by one acceptable to the USA.

Regardless to the fact that a great part of the Americans did not support the 1983 Grenada Case that it took place only several days after a very disastrous terror act on the US military post in Lebanon when over 240 US troops were killed, calling into very question the use of the US military force in order to achieve the political goals, Reagan’s administration officially proclaimed the case to be the first “rollback” of the Communist influence since the beginning of the Cold War in 1949 (as the US military interventions against the 𠇌ommunist infection” in Korea and Vietnam have been unsuccessful). A justification of the military invasion was mainly framed within the idea that the US citizens (students) in Grenada could be taken  hostages similar to the 1979 Teheran Hostage Crisis. However, several US Congressmen, like Louis Stoks (Ohio), denied any real danger for any American in Grenada prior to the invasion (that was confirmed and by the students themselves) followed by unsuccessful attempt by seven Democrats in the Congress, led by Ted Weiss, to introduce a resolution to impeach R. Reagan. Finally, the UN General Assembly with majority votes (108, with only 9 against and 27 abstentions) adopted Resolution 38/7 on October 28 th , 1983 which clearly accused the USA for violation of international law (�ply deplores the armed intervention in Grenada, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of that State”).

The 1983 Grenada Case is not for sure either the first or the last “Hollywood-style” violation of the international law and territorial sovereignty of some independent state by the US (or other) administration. But it is sure that it was done by the order of up today the only “Hollywood” cowboy-actor star in the office of White House in Washington as according to the US Constitution, Arnold Schwarzenegger does not have right to run for the post of the US President as he was not born on the US territory.

Finally, if you think that the 1983 Grenada Case has nothing common with the 2014 Crimean Case, you are absolutely right.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 2:00 am and is filed under Immediately available to public. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Russia This Week: Gorbachev Confirms There Was No NATO ‘Non-Expansion’ Pledge (October 13-19)

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Novaya Gazeta reported today 19 October that Ludmila Bogatenkova, a Soldiers’ Mothers activist from Stavropol Territory, was arrested by court order in Budyonnovsk.

According to reports from her colleagues and friends, she has been taken to the Belaya Lebed [White Swan] pre-trial detention center in the city of Pyatigorsk.

Bogatenkova, 73, chair of the group Mothers of Prikumya, has been charged under Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (“extortion”). Prikumye is a region near the Kuma River in Stravropol Territory.

Nothing further has been learned about the charges or a lawyer assigned to defend Bogatenkova her friends appeared reluctant to speak to the press, fearing worse persecution.

Novaya Gazeta was able to learn that an ambulance was called to the court room yesterday, October 18, during her arraignment, which was halted. Bogatenkova is a registered disabled person and it is believed that she became ill in the courtroom.

Meanwhile, a lawyer who works with the Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg has begun working on her case. Mikhail Fedotov, chair of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, said he would monitor her case Bogatenkova served as an expert for the Council.

In August, Bogatenkova reported on the cases of 9 soldiers of the 18th Motorized Brigade from army unit 27777 based in Chechnya who were reportedly killed in Ukraine. On 25 August, Sergei Krivenko and Ella Polyakova, members of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, presented the list to the Russian Investigative Committee. At the time they said they had compiled a list of some 400 soldiers killed or wounded in Ukraine.

The Council members met with Russian Defense Ministry officials in August to present their lists, but have not heard anything back since then.


Polyakova,
third from right and other activists at a meeting in August of the
Presidential Human Rights Council and Russian Defense Ministry to
discuss missing soldiers in Ukraine.

Russia Behind the Headlines, an English-language news site sponsored by the state-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta, ran an interview with the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in which he refutes a common Kremlin propaganda claim about NATO expansion.

Taking their cue from Russian leaders, the pro-Kremlin propaganda outlet globalresearch.ca (Centre for Research on Globalization) has repeatedly published claims that Western leaders “lied” about plans for NATO, and even historians have interpreted Gorbachev’s own memoirs to imply the West broke its promise to Moscow. Putin even blamed the forcible annexation of the Crimea on “NATO enlargement.”

This interview shows why we’re fortunate such a historical actor is still alive to explain what happened when the Berlin wall fell 25 years ago.

RBTH: One of the key issues that has arisen in connection with the events in Ukraine is NATO expansion into the East. Do you get the feeling that your Western partners lied to you when they were developing their future plans in Eastern Europe? Why didn’t you insist that the promises made to you – particularly U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s promise that NATO would not expand into the East – be legally encoded? I will quote Baker: “NATO will not move one inch further east.”

M.G.: The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact was terminated in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either. Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement was made in that context, mentioned in our question. Kohl and [German Vice Chancellor Hans-Dietrich] Genscher talked about it.

Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled. The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country no additional troops would be deployed no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. It has been obeyed all these years. So don’t portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West’s finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia did not object at the beginning.

The decision for the U.S. and its allies to expand NATO into the east was decisively made in 1993. I called this a big mistake from the very beginning. It was definitely a violation of the spirit of the statements and assurances made to us in 1990. With regards to Germany, they were legally enshrined and are obeyed.

The idea of “NATO expansion” as a trigger for Russian aggression is a popular one for analysts keen to blame the West for the war in Ukraine, explain Russian alienation, claim the US has treated Russia like a loser, or find something the West can change instead of demanding change from Moscow.

Gorbachev’s remarks make it clear that there weren’t promises made, that some aspects of the discussion only concerned Germany, and that at best we can really only argue about the violation of “a spirit” not a letter.

Anna Applebaum dispenses with these claims in a piece titled “The Myth of Russian Humiliation” in the Washington Post in which she covers the joining of both EU and NATO by Central and East European nations:

These two “expansions,” which were parallel but not identical (some countries are members of one organization but not the other), were transformative because they were not direct leaps, as the word “expansion” implies, but slow negotiations. Before joining NATO, each country had to establish civilian control of its army. Before joining the European Union, each adopted laws on trade, judiciary, human rights. As a result, they became democracies. This was “democracy promotion” working as it never has before or since.

But times change, and the miraculous transformation of a historically unstable region became a humdrum reality. Instead of celebrating this achievement on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is now fashionable to opine that this expansion, and of NATO in particular, was mistaken. This project is incorrectly “remembered” as the result of American “triumphalism” that somehow humiliated Russia by bringing Western institutions into its rickety neighborhood. This thesis is usually based on revisionist history promoted by the current Russian regime — and it is wrong.

For the record: No treaties prohibiting NATO expansion were ever signed with Russia. No promises were broken. Nor did the impetus for NATO expansion come from a “triumphalist” Washington. On the contrary, Poland’s first efforts to apply in 1992 were rebuffed. I well remember the angry reaction of the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw at the time. But Poland and others persisted, precisely because they were already seeing signs of the Russian revanchism to come.

Indeed, Russia would be hard put to explain why the decision from the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, where Georgia and Ukraine were not given invitations or Membership Action Plan, due to opposition from Russia, Germany and France, and a decision by President Barack Obama not to deploy missiles in Czech Republic and Poland, prior to the reset, could somehow explain aggression against Ukraine 6 years later in 2014.


Watch the video: Life Inside Putins Crimea (August 2022).