Pictures Of The Week – Putin Is 66
Vladimir Putin celebrated his 66th birthday and was feted by congratulations from world leaders and Russian celebrities as well as by Russian citizens.
Banner reads happy birthday captain (Image: Mk.ru, October 8, 2018)
In the Crimea drivers festooned their car bumper, windows and license plates with banners reading "Putin nash" Putin is ours a play on Krim nash – Crimea is ours the slogan which justified the annexation of Crimea by Putin.
(Mk.ru, October 8, 2018)
Some of the congratulations resembled a personality cult such as the following accolade from the pro-government Young Guard youth movement:
"The Young Guardsmen of the entire country congratulate the true leader on this festive date. We are proud of our president, whose name has become part of the new history.
"Your work is based on sincere words and deeds. You are a strong pillar of support for our society, our youth. Together with you we believe in a great future of Russia that today we are forging all together." (Molgvardia.ru, October 7, 2018)
Young Guard Poster: Happy birthday, first one! ( Image: Molgvardia.ru, October 7, 2018)
Not everybody however was in sync with the congratulatory mood.
Masked opponents in St. Petersburg wish Putin "many years in jail" (Image Ru.tsn.ua, October 7, 2018)
In The News:
- S-300 Delivery To Syria
- Russia-Iran Relations
- Russia-NATO Relations
- Russia-India Relations
S-300 Delivery To Syria
Shoigu: 'We Have Completed The Delivery Of S-300 Systems'
On October 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council, where the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported on the delivery of S-300 systems and other equipment to improve security for Russian service personnel in Syria.
The following are excerpts of the meeting's transcript:
Shoigu: "In accordance with the President’s decision, we have started taking a series of measures to enhance the air defense systems of the Syrian Arab Republic, primarily to safeguard our service personnel.
"We have completed the delivery of S-300 systems. It includes 49 units of equipment, illuminating laser radars, major emitter location systems, command vehicles and four launchers. The work was completed a day ago. We have completed the delivery of the full system to Syria.
"Apart from that, we have significantly strengthened and activated the electronic warfare system, and added extra equipment to it. As a result, as of today we control the close zone of up to 50 kilometers and the remote zone, where sorties on Syrian territory mainly originate from, we control 200 kilometers of that.
"As to the unified command system of the overall air defense network, we have also begun equipment deliveries. We will complete the work together with training and readying the crews and forming a single network by October 20."
Putin: "How long will it take to train the crews of the Syrian army to operate the S-300?"
Shoigu: "Three months."
Putin: Thank you.
Shoigu: "Also, the necessary personnel and specialists have been selected and started training."
(Kremlin.ru, October 2, 2018)
Senator Klintsevitch: I Would Not Recommend Violating Syria's Border To Anyone
Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Russian Senate's Defense and Security Committee said the following:
"Undoubtedly, when this air defense system is in place and starts working, this will provide a no-fly zone… I would not recommend to anyone to mess around and violate Syria's border, in a potential attack. If there is an attack, let's say from the direction of the sea, the air defense missiles will reach attacking jets way before their warheads hit the targets."
(Interfax.ru, October 2, 2018)
Russian Military Expert Mikheyev: Electronic Warfare System In Syria Is Capable Of Tracking Planes In Israel And Europe
Vladimir Mikheyev, an adviser to the first deputy director general of Russia’s Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET), stated that the Russian reinforced electronic warfare system in Syria is capable of tracking planes at airdromes in Europe and Israel.
Mikheyev added that specialized jammers could be deployed along with ground-based systems.
"It is also planned to increase the naval taskforce with electronic warfare and air defense systems… And all of this will be integrated under a common control system and we will know not only that someone has entered the airspace in this region but also that somewhere a plane is only operating on the runway, be it in Israel or Saudi Arabia or even in Europe, and we understand that is under control of the integrated aid defense system," Mikheyev stated.
The Russian expert also said that once a plane is spotted at an airdrome, the reinforced radio-electronic warfare system automatically assigns a target number to it and offers various options: "either radio-electronic reconnaissance, attenuation or electronic suppression or even, if we see that the situation is critical, fire to effect."
(Tass.com, September 28, 2018)
Russia Expert Salin: There is No Secret About The Number Of Pieces Delivered To Syria
Pavel Salin, director of the Center for Political Studies at the Financial University, said:
"The [S-300] delivery is being publicized for good reason. There is no secret about the complete [number of pieces delivered]. The cards are put on the table before the Israeli side [and others as well] – this is what you may encounter, calculate your risks. I suppose that Israel also cares about its military personnel and won't expose them to unnecessary risks. Yet the situation is multifaceted – it is dependent on additional factors, not only on Israel. Israel by its actions is also reacting to some other challenges. Therefore one cannot make a prediction."
(Ria.ru, October 3, 2018)
Lavrov: We Have Never Considered Iran As A Terrorist Threat
On the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to media questions on Russia's cooperation with Iran in Syria.
Question: "You have said something quite controversial: You want Iran to be an expansionist country in the region, because you say that you cannot be realistic and expect them to stay within their own borders. Why would you support such expansionism?"
Sergey Lavrov: "This is how fake news is born."
Question: "This is what you just said."
Sergey Lavrov: "No, I said you cannot limit, I mean put Iran within its own borders, and prevent Iran from exerting influence outside its borders, while Saudi Arabia exerts influence outside its borders, and so does Qatar. This is what I said."
Question: "You have used the word cage. This was an interesting choice of word. Your explanation is of course more important than my point."
Sergey Lavrov: "I thought that eloquence was one of the journalistic methods, so I tried to be eloquent. I am sorry. But, please, do not misinterpret me."
Question: "What are the differences between your and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's stances on Iran's role in Syria? The US has made it clear they do not want Iran's military presence in Syria. What do you think about this?
"What do you think of Benjamin Netanyahu's statements regarding threats towards Lebanon when he listed the three Hezbollah missile sites? Are you concerned about future strikes?"
Sergey Lavrov: "Asking about Russia or the US's stance on Iran's presence in Syria, you should not address me but the legitimate Syrian government which invited Iran to help preserve Syria's nationhood and fight terrorism. I can confirm that Iran is efficiently helping to solve counter-terrorism tasks.
"We have never considered Iran as a terrorist threat, including during the periods that were hard for my country, when international terrorists were operating in the North Caucasus. We have never seen any links between terrorists in our country and Iranians. By the way, as regards the United States and its stance on this, several months ago FBI veterans, US military intelligence, sent an open letter urging not to create a fake terrorist threat from Iran. They cited the official statistics, which stated that there is only one Shia organization among one and a half dozen organizations identified as terrorist by the United States. The rest of them included Iran on the list of their enemies.
"Our aims do not entirely coincide; maybe they coincide even less with both Iran and Turkey in Syria. Currently, we are allies in our fight against terrorism, preserving Syria's nationhood, providing aid to the Syrians, and creating conditions to begin their political dialogue that will allow them to choose their future on their own. I have no doubts that this cooperation is fruitful under the Astana format which was welcomed by everyone.
"As regards Israel, as we publicly stated, it has assured us many times it would maintain a de-conflicting channel similar to the one we have with the United States. This is what we are now demanding from Israel.
"When Israel voiced concern over Iranian or pro-Iranian units actually located in the disengagement line on the Golan Heights, we managed to come to an understanding − all the more so as the southern de-escalation zone had been liberated from terrorists and the Iranian units had withdrawn over 100 kilometers, as we were asked by Israelis and Americans. The positions in the disengagement line on the Golan Heights were taken up by Syrian army units. Then, members of the UN Disengagement Observer Force returned there. Our military police are helping them. We have taken efforts to deliver on the promises we made to Israel following its concerns about their security in the area of the Golan Heights. Sadly, our American colleagues (I have already mentioned Al-Tanf) have repeatedly claimed they would eliminate this totally illegitimate zone created for unclear purposes. But they are not performing their obligations."
(Mid.ru, September 29, 2018)
Zakharova: Russia To Respond To NATO’s Increased Presence In Norway
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia will respond to NATO’s increased military presence in northern Norway.
Zakharova: "The escalation of NATO’s military and political activity in the Arctic region, namely, in the immediate vicinity of Russia on the territory of northern Norway, hasn’t gone unnoticed… In violation of all time-tested traditions of good neighborliness and against the policy of the Norwegian government established way back in the Cold War period on self-restraint, [which says] not to provide bases on Norwegian territory for armed forces of foreign powers unless Norway is under attack or under threat of attack."
Zakharova added that Norway set the course for unprecedented militarization of its northern latitudes.
"Reckless saber-rattling in this previously calm region can have far-reaching consequences, and not through any fault of ours," Zakharova concluded.
(Tass.com, October 2, 2018)
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, on October 4-5. Following the talks, the President of Russia and the Prime Minister of India adopted the Joint Statement "Russia – India: Reliable Partnership in a Changing World".
Putin and Modi attended a ceremony held to exchange documents signed during the Russian President’s official visit to India. The signed documents are related to the consultations held by the Russian and Indian foreign ministries, joint operations in the framework of a manned space program, cooperation in nuclear energy, joint projects in mineral fertilizers, cooperation in transport training and interaction in the economy, railway transport and small businesses.
(Kremlin.ru, October 5, 2018)
(Twitter.com/narendramodi, October 5, 2018)
Modi: "The Special Privileged Partnership Between India And Russia Is Important Not Only For Our Two Countries, But For The Entire Multipolar World"; Putin: "Our Two Countries Play A Major Role On The International Arena In Terms Of Sustaining Global World Order'
During the joint press conference, Modi said:
"… India is proud of its historical friendship with Russia. Last year, we marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. That said, relations between our civilizations and cultures date back centuries.
"The special privileged partnership between India and Russia is important not only for our two countries, but for the entire multipolar world. The relations between India and Russia span culture, security and prosperity. We cooperate in a number of spheres, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to host the 19th annual summit meeting between our countries…
"I am also pleased to note that India’s cumulative investment in Russia reached $18 billion by 2017, while Russia invested more than 30 billion euros in India. Indian companies shared their experience and expertise with Russian companies, and vice versa, in energy, healthcare and other areas.
"Russia started LNG supplies to India, and a deal has been signed for 23 years of deliveries. This agreement creates new opportunities for the future and will benefit both countries, helping meet the demand for energy in a new India.
"I would also like to note that Moscow hosted a meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on September 14, during which delegations reviewed our cooperation and adopted a protocol, laying the foundation for creating a strategic partnership forum. Our economic development ministries will sign a memorandum of understanding today, and the first meeting of this kind is to take place in Russia this year.
"We believe in the importance of this platform, since it will bring together prominent business leaders, which could help expand bilateral trade. In addition, this will also be an opportunity to explore new avenues for cooperation…"
"… Political dialogue has been gaining momentum. In fact, this is our third meeting over the past six months, and we will meet again with you, Mr. Prime Minister, at the East-Asia Summit and the Group of Twenty before the end of 2018. I would like to once again invite you to attend the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, in September 2019 as its main guest.
"Our two countries play a major role on the international arena in terms of sustaining global world order. We work in close coordination within the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS and the G20. Russia and India also work together on building a new architecture of security and equal cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region…"
(Kremlin.ru, October 5, 2018)
Putin And Modi Signed A $5.3 billion Deal To Supply India With S-400 Triumf Missile Shield Systems
Despite CAATSA sanctions, Putin and Modi signed a $5.3 billion deal for India to procure the S-400 Triumf missile shield. The system is expected to be delivered by 2020.
(Indiatoday.in, October 5, 2018)
Commenting on US sanctions against Russia, India's Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said that India follows an independent policy and is also keen on getting the Kamov helicopters and other weapon systems from Moscow.
(Thehindu.com, October 7, 2018)
Russian Expert Kupriyanov: India-Russia Relations: Hopes And Anxieties
Ahead of the Putin-Modi meeting, Russian expert Alexei Kupriyanov wrote in article, titled "India-Russia Relations: Hopes and Anxieties":
"India-Russia relations are now experiencing a period of high hopes and great anxieties. There are hopes, because India, contrary to pessimistic forecasts, did not yield to US pressure and did not refuse military-technical cooperation with Russia, once again confirming its aspiration for the great power status and demonstrating the strength of the 'all-weather friendship' between New Delhi and Moscow. Also, there is an anxiety, because it is not clear how cooperation between Russia and India will develop in the next decade, after the current big military contracts are fulfilled."
(Valdaiclub.com, October 3, 2018)
News In Brief:
- President Vladimir Putin has signed controversial legislation raising the country's retirement age. Just hours earlier, Russia's Federation Council approved the bill, raising the pension age from 55 to 60 for women, and from 60 to 65 for men. One hundred and forty-nine senators voted in favor of the bill, just five voted against it, and three senators abstained. Vladimir Putin had recently endorsed the unpopular initiative in a national television broadcast. (Meduza.io, October 3, 2018; read the full article)
- Political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya says the Kremlin wants to lock up Alexey Navalny for good. (Meduza.io, October 2, 2018; read the full article)
- Duma deputy Dmitry Svitsev representing the Liberal Democratic Party wrote to the health minister asking that the government force large enterprises (over 250 people) to pay for the sports activities of their employees. "Such measures will stimulate citizens to lead a healthy way of life, that in the end result will exert a positive influence on preserving the nation's health as a whole." (Ria.ru, October 8, 2018)