July 25, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8194

Russia This Week – Focus On S-400 Delivery To Turkey – July 25, 2019

July 25, 2019
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8194

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.

Photos Of The Week



In The News:

  • S-400 Delivery To Turkey

  • Domestic News: Oppositionists Deliver An Ultimatum To The Moscow Authorities

  • News In Brief: S-400 Delivery To China; Russia-China Military Cooperation; Incident With South Korea; Strange But True

S-400 Delivery To Turkey

(Source: Turkish Defense Ministry)

On July 12, 2019, deliveries of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey began.

Kommersant Columnist Drize: There Are No Political Dividends For Russia

Kommersant columnist Dmitry Drize wrote:

"The issue of S-400 delivery is covered in the Russian press as a major victory, a victory over the US specifically, and over NATO and the rotten West in general…

"For Erdogan, the S-400 delivery is definitely a political victory. He faces very complicated relationships with Europe and the US…

"Regarding Russia and its victory – it's good of course that we've made some money and haven't had another helping of sanctions slapped in our face. Yet, there are very few political dividends: we have not hammered down anything, despite what the official propaganda would like [to claim]."

(, July 12, 2019)

Russian Military expert Pavel Felgenhauer commented in the Russian media outlet Novaya Gazeta on the recent deliveries of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey. According to Felgenhauer, even though Russia celebrated the delivery as a victory over the US and NATO, Moscow cannot replace the West with Turkey neither economically, nor technologically. Furthermore, Felgenhauer warned that Turkey is not an ally, since – even recently - the Turkish forces prevented the Syrian government forces from launching an operation, prepared by the Russian command, in Syria's Idlib province.

(See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8186, Russian Military Expert Felgenhauer: Turkey Is No Ally; Russia Cannot Replace The West For Turkey, July 22, 2019)

Views From Turkey

S-400 Delivery To Turkey – AKP Mouthpiece Yeni Safak Columnist: We Must Avoid Rendering Turkey Dependent On Russia, Moscow Cannot Act Independently From The Jewish Forces And May Push Us Into A Trap

Turkish writer Yusuf Kaplan commented on the delivery in the Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Safak, known for its hardline support of the ruling AKP Party, that the acquisition of the S-400 systems represents an important step in Turkey's fight for independence and its future.

Kaplan also added that Turkey must make strategic agreements with Russia and develop cooperation security projects to balance the "sinister" relations Turkey established with the U.S. and EU countries. However, Kaplan also warned the Turkish government to avoid taking steps that will render Turkey overly dependent on Russia.

According to Kaplan, Russia cannot act independently of Israel and the "Jewish forces" and following the directives of the "lords of the global system" that Turkey is challenging may ensnare Turkey at any moment.

(See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8172, S-400 Delivery To Turkey – AKP Mouthpiece Yeni Safak Columnist: We Must Avoid Rendering Turkey Dependent On Russia, Moscow Cannot Act Independently From The Jewish Forces And May Push Us Into A Trap, July 16, 2019)

Turkish Expert Burhanettin Duran: Failure To Respond To The S-400 Agreement Would Allow Russia Into The NATO Weapons Market

Turkish expert Burhanettin Duran penned an op-ed in the Daily Sabah expressing confidence that Turkey would emerge virtually unscathed: "Turkey's geopolitical importance renders its exclusion from NATO or the Western alliance impossible. Yet it is no longer a country whose own interests can be ignored either – especially under Erdogan's leadership. Failure to respond to the S-400 agreement would allow Russia into the NATO weapons market. Any attempt to make an example out of Turkey or remove it from NATO, however, pushes the country toward China and Russia.

"Likewise, Turkey will start looking for alternatives if the United States fails to deliver its F-35 fighter jets. In the end, Turkey will have been pushed outside the Western alliance structurally. In the long run, that exclusion will lead to a radical geopolitical break in Europe, the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East."

(, July 21, 2019)

Turkish Expert Yilmaz: 'How Can A Country Be A NATO Member And Simultaneously Be Sanctioned As An Adversary?'

Turkish expert Levent Yilmaz wrote in the AKP mouthpiece newspaper Yeni Safak:

"Everyone seemed to forget we were NATO allies, but when we decide to buy the Russian S-400s suddenly everyone remembers that we are part of NATO. On Thursday evening, it was announced during a press conference that Turkey has been removed from the joint F-35 program.

"Then let us ask one last question that international lawmakers need to answer: how can a country be a NATO member and simultaneously be sanctioned as an 'adversary'?"

(, July 20, 2019)

Read More:

  • Russia will complete the first stage of delivering S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Turkey this week, Head of Russia's Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev said. (, July 23, 2019; read the full article)

  • Turkey is ready to take counter-measures, if the United States imposes sanctions over the delivery of Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a live broadcast of the TGRT television channel. (, July 22, 2019; read the full article)

  • The United States, which is threatening to impose sanctions on Turkey for the purchase of Russia's S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, is thus punishing Ankara for the display of its sovereignty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters. (, July 19, 2019; read the full article)

  • Russia, Turkey in talks for joint production of S-400 parts: report. (, July 22, 2019; read the full article)

Domestic News: Oppositionists Deliver An Ultimatum To The Moscow Authorities

On July 20, a rally "For admission to elections" was held in Moscow on Academician Sakharov Avenue in support of independent candidates for the Moscow City Duma, who were prohibited from taking a part in the elections. The action was organized by representatives of the unregistered Libertarian party and was approved by the authorities.

It was one of the most massive opposition rallies in recent times. The police counted 12,000 people at the rally, while the organizers claimed that 20,000 attended. According to the "White Counter" project, which counts people at the rallies, about 22,500 people came to the rally. "White Counter" reported that the police delayed the passage of people... The Ministry of Internal Affairs denied this information.

FBK [Anti-Corruption Foundation] founder Alexey Navalny took part in the rally. Speaking from the stage, he delivered an ultimatum to the Moscow authorities. Navalny suggested that an unauthorized rally be held in front of the Moscow City Hall in a week, if all the independent candidates will not be registered by that time. As soon as they are registered, the protests will cease, the politician stressed. Another participant Ilia Yashin also stated: "We give Moscow City Hall a week to admit us to the elections".

Navalny also called for the launch of the project "Smart voting" which will help support any candidates, except the ones from United Russia [who are running as independents].

At the beginning of the week it became known that a number of oppositionists would not be allowed to be elected to the Moscow City Duma. Election commissions in Moscow reported that they found a large number of invalid voter signatures [on their nomination petitions].

Oppositionists believe that the signatures were rejected specifically to keep them out of the election. They claim that some of the signatures were rejected by graphologists without explaining the reasons. In addition, according to independent candidates, inspectors deliberately made typos when checking voter data through the GAS Vybory [Governmental Automated System for Elections] system and the Interior Ministry base.

The first action in support of independent candidates for the Moscow City Duma was held last Sunday, July 14th. It was not approved by the authorities. When the protesters began to set up the tents in order to stay overnight, the police intervened: the protesters were dispersed and 25 people were detained.

The authorities simply cannot afford to register oppositionists now, political analyst Abbas Gallyamov said: "After such mass protests, this will be unequivocally interpreted by the public as a sign that the government was "frightened" and "backed down". … The Kremlin also cannot allow politicians like [investigative lawyer] Lyubov Sobol to sit in parliament, Gallyamov said. "One of the basic pillars of the regime is the principle of dividing the opposition into "systemic "and" non-systemic". Only the "systemic" opposition can sit in the deputy chairs - this is a payment to them for not personally criticizing Putin. "Non-systemic" opposition should not sit in the deputy seats, but in avtozakakh [a prisoner transport vehicle, used by police in Russia]. If Sobol suddenly finds herself in the chair of the Moscow City Duma deputy, this order will collapse. The "systemic" oppositionists will simply have no reason to preserve loyalty to the Kremlin...", stated Galliamov.

The volume of the protest, its duration, as well as the fact that an increasing number of people are willing to participate in it, these are all factors that should work in favor of the protesters, said political analyst Alexander Kynev. "Common sense dictates that someone (from the opposition) should be registered, but who [precisely] is the question. The probability that they register everyone is almost nonexistent, I just don't believe in it" said Kynev. "If several candidates are registered, and the protests will still continue after that, the authorities may have to expand the list", Kynev continued.

Elections to the Moscow City Duma will be held on September 8, 45 deputies will be elected. 290 people filed the registration documents for the elections, 233 candidates were registered: 45 people from the "Liberal Democratic Party of Russia", 44 from the "Communist Party of the Russian Federation", 40 from the "Just Russia", 32 from the "Communists of Russia", four from the "Motherland", two from "Yabloko" and one candidate from "Civil Force", the "Green Party" and the "Party of Growth". There are no candidates from United Russia on the list: all of its representatives go to the polls as a self-nominated candidates.

(, July 20, 2019)

(Source:, July 20, 2019)

(Source:, July 20, 2019)


Read More:

  • Moscow law enforcement officers search homes of opposition candidates following several days of mass protests for fair elections. (, July 25, 2019; read the full article)

  • Moscow investigators launch criminal case against opposition for 'exerting pressure' on election officials. (, July 24, 2019; read the full article)

  • Navalny is arrested again in Moscow for advocating a mass protest this Saturday outside City Hall against local election meddling. (, July 24, 2019; read the full article)

  • Photo: Protesters demand fair elections in St. Petersburg. (, July 24, 2019; read the full article)

  • Not so lonely anymore, here's what speakers told more than 22,000 Muscovites who gathered on Saturday to demand fair elections in September. (, July 21, 2019; read the full article)

News In Brief:

S-400 Delivery To China

  • Russia kicks off delivery of 2nd S-400 regiment set to China by sea, says source. (, July 24, 2019; read the full article)

Russia-China Military Cooperation

  • Russo-Chinese relations in the military domain have reached a high level and continue to develop, according to the white paper headlined ‘China's National Defense in the New Era,’ released on July 24. (, July 24, 2019; read the full article)

  • Chinese bombers arrive at airfield in central Russia to take part in Aviadarts competition. (, July 24, 2019; read the full article)

  • Russia’s Aerospace Force and China’s Air Force carried out joint air patrol for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. (, July 23, 2019; read the full article)

Incident With South Korea

  • The Republic of Korea's Air Force fired warning shots after Russian military aircraft allegedly violated the country's airspace twice on July23, the Yonhap news agency reports, citing officers from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. South Korean F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets were scrambled after two Chinese and three Russian aircraft approached the ROK air defense identification zone (KADIZ) over the Sea of Japan, the JCS said. (, July 23, 2019; read the full article)

Strange But True

  • Director Oliver Stone has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to become godfather to his daughter, a transcript from a recent interview released on the Kremlin's official website has revealed. (, July 20, 2019; read the full transcript)

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