Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project, covering the latest Russia-related news and analysis from media in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Photo Of The Week
Waiting for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Russia. Pompeo did not visit Moscow on May 13, as previously planned. He will meet the Russian president and foreign minister on May 14. (Source: Rt.com)
Quote Of The Week
Russian Ambassador To The UN: Russia, U.S. Have Never Been At War With Each Other
To a crowd of participants in the Immortal Regiment procession in front of the World War II memorial in New York's Battery Park, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said:
"As we stood here listening to both anthems, it occurred to me that our countries have never been at war with each other. We've always been allies. And we are obliged to do our utmost to ensure the relations between the two countries should become again a pre-requisite of world stability: the kind of relations that we achieved in those days of peace to let the world heave a sigh of relief."
(Tass.com, May 5, 2019)
Russian Embassy Special Report "The Russiagate Hysteria: A Case of Severe Russophobia", April 18, 2019.
In The News:
U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo's Visit To Sochi
Russia's Esoteric Military Techniques: The 'Super Soldier For Future Wars'
Domestic News: Corruption; Request For Replacing Current Governors
New In Brief: Russia-Turkey Relations; Council Of Europe; Druzhba Pipeline; Sergey Dorenko
U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo's Visit To Sochi
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Finland, May 6, 2019. (Source: Mid.ru)
Russian Commentator Driz: "It Could... Work Out In Sochi To Be Something More Than The Usual Constructive Exchange Of Opinions"
Commenting on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Sochi, Russian commentator Dmitry Driz in Kommersant speculates: "It could nevertheless work out in Sochi to be something more than the usual 'constructive exchange of opinions on a broad range of questions.'
"Nevertheless, it is more likely that President Donald Trump is beginning some new game and a specific role is bestowed possibly on Russia. Quite likely this game can be tied to the upcoming elections in America. And here we see that the new scandal is developing around the entourage of Vladimir Zelenskiy, in which persons close to Joe Biden and the Democratic Party of the U.S. are detected. And Mr. Biden, as is known, is also going to elections and may compete with Trump. Earlier the lawyer for the master of the White House, Rudolph Giuliani canceled a trip to Kiev. In his words the reason for this decision was that Zelenskiy's team had 'enemies of the U.S. president...
"It should not be ruled out that they will banally suggest to the Kremlin to play along with the current U.S. administration and in return receive something or maybe even nothing. True, it is a good assumption that Trump will say if you cannot live without the regime of Nicolas Maduro, then extract Venezuela from its crisis on your own and the U.S. will simply move aside.
"Will such a prospect gladden Vladimir Putin. Will they allow U.S. to persuade Kim Jong Un to play ball with the U.S. or to influence Iran in the U.S. interest. It could be that this is the way that they view improvement of relations with Moscow in Washington. So there are few reasons for optimism. Furthermore, on our side as well nothing especially creative is noticeable. There is a clear wariness with regards to the sincerity of American intentions. And as stated above it is well founded. It is quite far to a détente in relations."
(Kommersant.ru, May 13, 2019)
The State Duma Responded To US' Call For Blocking Nord Stream-2 Pipeline
The first Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on energy, Igor Anansky, said in an interview with RT that calls from the U.S. for preventing the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project will not affect the timeline of the completion of the pipeline's construction.
He added that such attacks were not the first ones, and that they were not a surprise. However, the last word about this matter remains with Europe, he said.
"I believe that this is the 10th, if not the 110th, statement from the American side against Nord Stream 2. But everyone understands that it is a consortium of companies from different countries that is building a pipeline system for households and industry in Europe," he declared.
Anansky added that the statements by the U.S. side are not based on economics, but are political, and are aimed solely at forcing Europe to buy U.S. liquefied gas.
(Rg.ru, May 8, 2019)
Former Russian Diplomat Frolov: Venezuela Has Evolved Into A Bargaining Chip For Moscow
Meduza.io summarized an article by former diplomat and columnist Vladimir Frolov analyzing how Venezuela has evolved into a nice bargaining chip for Moscow.
"In an op-ed for Republic, columnist and former diplomat Vladimir Frolov highlights the recent Pompeo-Lavrov meeting in Finland as the major first diplomatic contact between the U.S. and Russia (other than Bolton-Patrushev and various special-envoy meetings). Frolov says the brief talk in Finland, coupled with Donald Trump's longer phone call with Putin, indicate 'tentative' negotiations about a 'grand bargain' involving Ukraine, Venezuela, and possibly North Korea.
"Frolov, who has criticized Moscow's meddling in Venezuela, now says the crisis has become a useful bargaining chip for the Kremlin. Russia recognized early on, Frolov says, that Trump has no real strategy in Venezuela, and the Kremlin realized that Trump would eventually face a choice between a major war or a major humiliation. Moscow can now help Trump avoid both, also knowing that Trump's 2020 electoral hopes in Florida depend largely on his administration's success in Venezuela.
"When John Bolton cites the Monroe Doctrine as an objection to Russian meddling in Venezuela, Frolov says it actually gives Moscow hope that the Americans will come to the negotiating table ready to acknowledge Russia's sphere of influence, once Washington's attempt to overthrow Maduro hits a dead end. If the Kremlin ever gets this recognition, Frolov says Moscow's dream would be a grand bargain wherein the Trump administration pressures Kyiv into enforcing Russia's interpretation of the Minsk 2 agreement and Washington cedes control over Ukraine's geopolitical orbit, in exchange for a constitutional transfer of power away from Maduro in Venezuela."
(Meduza.io, May 8, 2019; original link: https://republic.ru/posts/93677)
Novaya Gazeta reported that in the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk, over 500 children in military uniform had participated in a parade ahead of Victory Day. "The sooner patriotic education begins, the healthier the society will be. This is not just a fun game. This is our gratitude, our memory, our pride," said Natalia Vasyutina, head of the administration's education department.
During the ceremony, the children's choir performed the Soviet Union folk song "Katyusha."
Dozhd TV noted that a photo was removed from the city administration's website showing children holding toy M16 rifles.
(Novayagazeta.ru, May 7, 2019)
View the video
Russia's Esoteric Military Techniques: The 'Super Soldier For Future Wars'
The Russian media outlet Military Portal, Milportal.ru, published a bizarre article by col. (res) N. Poroskov, titled "Super Soldier For Future Wars". In his article, Poroskov writes on the techniques being explored by modern armies. He claims that some of these techniques have been available since the Egyptian and Babylonian priests and in the modern era was explored by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and by the United States.
Poroskov explains that the psychic reserves of the individual including the soldier, including clairvoyance and transmitting thoughts over a distance and other hidden functions, can be identified and exploited. "The science of parapsychology serves this," the Russian colonel writes. The technique has been around since the Egyptian and Babylonian priests and in the modern era was explored by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and by the United States.
Poroskov further writes:
"One of the advantages of this science is that it facilitates victory without any physical contact. Russian special forces have used the combat methods of parapsychology during the Chechen wars. The high command was interested in figuring out how [a soldier] in an altered condition, can 'reveal' information: to reveal the adversary's plans, to understand his real amount of forces. One of the techniques that enables obtaining precise information is metacontact, a technology which was tested during 1980s by the Soviet military. This technology enables to retrieve information in a state of altered human conscience…
"Not much is known about this unique technique. Yet, one of its dimensions is telepathic contact. Russian specialist have reached [the capability] working with dolphins. The researchers were providing commands telepathically and the dolphins fulfilled them… Later it turned out that this technique is useful in affecting humans and even machinery. The power of thought could possibly, for example, disrupt computer codes, burn crystals in various generators, to intercept conversations or disrupt tele and radio transmissions and communications...
"Many countries are planning to create a super-soldier capable of withstanding torture, hunger, sleep deprivation, and cannot be broken by beatings or electric shock he will feel no pain or fear can eat grass communicate telepathically, withstand stress and scale walls like a lizard..."
Moreover, Poroskov explains: "The philosophical concept of trans-humanism offers new technologies for improving human mental and physical capabilities by using new technology thus warding off diseases and even death. Ultimately it approaches divinity. In so-called developed world countries this trans-humanism tendency is particularly evident due to the ruling religion – Protestantism. Protestant principles are not bad: work conscientiously and a great deal. Yet, given the protestant ideology and the rule of the market - the human being will become dispensable. A substitute will be created for him, for whom the representatives of the contemporary elite will become god-like…
"Simultaneously with improving a human being, another process is taking place - the annihilation of the 'unadvanced', i/e minimizing the Earth's population. The biological war existed centuries before the current era, though it was called differently…
"Hitler, speaking of the occupied Slavic territory's population: no vaccines, no hygiene, only vodka and tobacco. This strategy is being continued today by the transnational corporations. According to the scarce information we have, the population is being reduced with the help of 'vaccines'. We do know about artificially created mutant influenza strains. And [I have not yet] started to talk about genetically modified food…"
Poroskov also adds: "The Genome of a Russian man was completely deciphered by the Russian Academy back in 2009. A bit earlier 'Epicyte', an American company, has created a modification of corn, whose consumption leads to male sterilization. The development went to the Pentagon."
(Army.milportal.ru, February, 26, 2019)
In another publication the author claims that esoteric technologies have already been employed by the Americans to influence Russia's climate:
"In February 2014, a climatic attack on Sochi and Krasnya Polyana was planned. It aimed at melting the snow on ski routes thus disrupting the [Sochi winter] Olympics. They planned to achieve such an effect by artificially created anti-cyclone in order to "boil" the atmosphere above Sochi. Russia has found ways to counter those plans…"
The author claims that the U.S. has attempted to influence Russia's climate, possibly, through the HAARP project.
(Army.milportal.ru, March 11, 2019)
(The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere. Operation of the research facility was transferred from the United States Air Force to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Aug. 11, 2015, allowing HAARP to continue with exploration of ionospheric phenomenology via a land-use research and development agreement – https://www.gi.alaska.edu/facilities/haarp)
Fluctuations in the ruble are possible due to the increase in U.S. duties on goods from China.
Andrey Belousov, assistant to the Russian president, said that the U.S. decision to increase duties on a number of goods from China will have a negative impact on the ruble.
He noted that this decision can reduce the pace of development of the entire world economy and lead to the outflow of capital from emerging markets. For Russia, these dangerous and unpredictable fluctuations of the ruble may lead to its weakening.
"The risks are not so big yet, they are not so important. I think we'll handle this problem. But nevertheless, the risks exist", he said.
(Rg.ru, May 9, 2019)
The Russian Ministry of Finance has published estimates regarding Russian federal losses, following fraud in the Federal Purchasing Chain. According to the ministry, the estimated loss for the federal budget in 2018 was about 153 billion rubles (approximately US$2.5 billion), because of "tightening contracts' terms for specific suppliers" and "pricing that was intentionally too high or too low." This constitutes about 2% of the overall cost of contracts, yet this figure represents only the direct fraud losses.
Nevertheless, various experts believe that the real damage resulting from financial fraud in the Federal Purchasing Chain constitutes about 20% of the final overall cost, i.e. approximately US$25 billion, 2018 alone.
(Iz.ru, May 7, 2019)
Request For Replacement Of Current Governors
Secret social research carried out for the Kremlin revealed that there were four regions with the maximal request for replacing the current governor – Sevastopol, Archangel, Komi, and Ingushetia. At the same time, Muscovites showed the least desire to change their mayor. This was revealed to Rbc.ru by two sources close to the Kremlin acquainted with the research data. The research also measured the level of trust in the governors and the attitude towards their activity. The studies are in fulfillment of a decree issued by Putin to measure the effectiveness of the heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.
Rbc.ru notes that the process has already resulted in the removal of a number of governors. This was the case with Alexey Orlov, who had a minus 63 rating. Dmitry Ovsyannikov of Sevastopol was next from the bottom, with a rating of minus 52, followed by Igor Orlov in Archangel, with a minus 44, Sergey Gaplikov in Komi with a minus 44, and Yunus-Bek Yevkurov of Ingushetia, with a minus 40 rating.
Sergey Sobyanin of Moscow scored 59, and Chechnyan strongman Ramzan Kadirov scored 48. These are the only two governors who have served more than one term.
As the rating is conducted biannually, shifts are measured between surveys. Sergey Nosov of Magadansk slid downwards by 33%, while Vladimir Vladimirov of Stavropol rose by 14%. Sometimes the results are not related to performance but express dissatisfaction with the federal government, for example on pension reform. The plunge in the rating of Archangel's Orlov is related to the scheme to dump Moscow's waste in Archangel.
(Rbc.ru, May 13, 2019)
News In Brief:
Turkey calls S-400 procurement a 'done deal' (Hurriyetdailynews.com, May 11, 2019; Read the full article)
Around 100 Turkish servicemen will start training, at a military center in Russia, to operate S-400 missile defense systems at the end of May. (Tass.com, May 6, 2019; read the full article)
Council Of Europe
Russia is looking at all options concerning its potential withdrawal from the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights, according to Russian Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Ivan Soltanovsky. (Tass.com, May 6, 2019; read the full article)
Ukraine resumes oil transit to European consumers via Druzhba pipeline. (Rt.com, May 11, 2011; read the full article)
Who contaminated the petroleum supply in the Druzhba pipeline and made Russian oil exports unusable for weeks? 'Meduza' investigates. (Meduza.io, May 9, 2019; read the full article)
Sergey Dorenko, the journalist who trashed Putin's rivals before sacrificing his career to criticize him, has died. (Meduza.io, May 10, 2019; read the full article)