Archive for the ‘Russia Sucks’ category

Russia Questions the Legality of Independence in the Baltic States.

July 2, 2015

Russia ‘reviewing’ legality of Baltic states independence

June 30, 2015 Via AFP and Yahoo News


Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite is not too happy about Russia’s arrogance. [Photo Credit: Unknown]

(What about reviewing the legality of occupying a country without the consent of the population? Besides, do Russian courts have jurisdiction over the Baltics? I think not. – LS)

Moscow (AFP) – Russia’s Prosecutor General is reviewing the legality of the independence of the three Baltic countries from the Soviet Union, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The move drew a furious reaction from Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite, who said, “No one has the right to threaten” our independence.

Two lawmakers from the majority United Russia party argued in their appeal to prosecutors that decisions by the State Council of the Soviet Union, which granted independence to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were illegal.

The lawmakers claimed that the decisions “brought great harm” to the country and should therefore be qualified as “state treason”, according to the appeal which is now under review.

The Prosecutor General’s office is “reviewing the request by lawmakers in accordance with Russian law,” a spokesman told AFP.

Lithuania was the first of three countries to declare independence in 1990, followed by Estonia and Latvia in rapid succession. The State Council, which was chaired by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, recognised their independence in 1991 in its inaugural session.

Lithuanian leaders reacted angrily to the review. “Our independence was gained through the blood and sacrifice of the Lithuanian people,” Grybauskaite said in a statement.

“I hope this meaningless action will be stopped,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP, calling the move a “provocation”.

Asked about the lawmakers’ initiative, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists he had “not heard about such a request”, adding that Moscow has diplomatic relations and state agreements with the Baltic countries.

Russia has seen a number of bills calling historical facts into question.

Last year a group of lawmakers asked prosecutors to look into decisions taken by Gorbachev that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In America, you wear uniform. In Russia, uniform wear you.

June 18, 2015

Russian Army Re-Brands Under Putin

Jun 17, 2015, 2:26 PM ET By PATRICK REEVELL Via ABC News


Putin showcases all the latest military goodies. (photo credit: Don’t Want to Know)

(Get out your checkbooks! – LS)

MOSCOW — Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday opened a massive military expo in a brand new army exhibition center just outside Moscow, unveiling another major project meant to showcase Russia’s armed forces as modern and professional.

In the past five years, Russia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars modernizing its military; this year alone it will spend $57 billion on defense. Much of this has gone towards rearming the Russia’s troops, supplying them with new tanks and armored vehicles.

But the modernization efforts are not limited just to buying new weapons. Russia’s army has been overhauling its training, recruitment and, most recently, its image. Beginning with its logo, the army has been undergoing a re-branding. Uniforms and paint jobs have been redesigned, as have mess halls and rec rooms; Russia’s defense ministry has even launched its own clothing line, modeled after popular European brands. The idea is to make the Russian military more appealing to young Russians.

The exhibition center and expo are part of this trend. Named Park Patriot, the exhibition center will eventually form part of a military-themed amusement park. It has vast car-parks — the government appears to be expecting a lot visitors.

Under Putin the military has become a more and more prominent part of Russian society. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and with tensions now high with the West, the army has become a constant feature on state television and a theme at many public events. The number of military exercises has also jumped considerably, taking place almost continuously since the Ukraine crisis began.

But behind the shiny exteriors of the expo and re-branding, the modernization plans are running into difficulties.

The drop in oil prices has forced Russia to cut back on defense spending for the first time since 2010. The Russian government has announced that it is trimming its budget by roughly 5 percent for 2015, reducing it to $57 billion instead of $60 billion. A number of economists have warned Russia’s budget cannot sustain this level of military spending while its economy continues to struggle, stifled by Western sanctions over Ukraine and more significantly by low energy prices.

Even with the cuts, Russia still has the fourth largest defense budget in the world, although its spending is dwarfed by that of the United States, which is set to spend well over $500 billion this year.

Welcome to The New World Disorder

June 5, 2015

Nuke Deal Could Result in Iran Joining Eurasian Security Bloc Led by Russia and China

By Patrick Goodenough June 5, 2015 Via CNS News

putin-kremlin
Straight out of a James Bond movie, Russian and China plot to take over the world.

(Iran under the protective arms of the Bloc? Could be the best place to be when announcing to the world that you now have nukes. – LS)

(CNSNews.com) – Apart from other benefits Iran may accrue as a result of an international agreement on its nuclear program, Russia on Thursday held out another, long sought-after reward – membership in a growing Eurasian security bloc, which some observers view as a means to counterbalance the West and NATO.

After hosting a meeting in Moscow of foreign ministers from Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave the clearest indication yet that Iran’s decade-old bid to join the group will succeed.

“Iran has been actively engaging in SCO issues as an observer since 2005,” Lavrov said. “Bloc members have discussed Iran’s application for SCO membership and reached consensus to raise Iran’s status in the organization after its nuclear issue is solved.”

June 30 is the deadline for Iran and the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – to reach a final agreement resolving the lengthy nuclear stand-off.

Ten days later Russia will host a summit of SCO leaders in the southern city of Ufa.

Last September, as Russia looked forward to holding the rotating presidency of the six-country bloc, Lavrov said that the SCO hoped to begin a long-deferred expansion “during the Russian presidency.”

Whether he was including Iran in that prediction remains to be seen. Meanwhile two other countries knocking on the door, India and Pakistan, look set to join: “We adopted recommendations paving the way for India and Pakistan’s accession to the SCO,” Lavrov said on Thursday.

Current members of the SCO are Russia, China, and the former Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Official observer states are Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mongolia, while Turkey, Belarus and Sri Lanka are “dialogue partners.”

Together the current members account for one-quarter of the world’s population, and control resource-rich territory stretching from the Caucasus to the Pacific Ocean.

Should India, the world’s second-largest country by population, and Pakistan become members, the SCO’s combined population will be more than two-fifth of the global total.

From its beginnings as the Shanghai Five in the late 1990s the bloc’s stated mission has centered on regional security, including combating “terrorism, extremism and separatism.”

Beyond regular joint military exercises and security coordination, SCO members also cooperate in other fields, including economic development, law enforcement including drug trafficking, transportation, disaster relief and culture.

SCO officials and governments, especially core members Russia and China, have long dismissed Western concerns about the bloc being a counterweight to NATO or the West in general, insisting that the organization poses no threat to “any third party.”

Nonetheless, Russian media outlets and analysts in particular characterize the SCO as a “counter balance” to NATO, and Russian leaders at times use phrases alluding to Moscow’s rejection of a U.S.-dominated world system, for instance calling the SCO “an important factor in the emergence of a new polycentric world order.”

U.S. officials were troubled when in 2005 the bloc called for the U.S. to set a deadline for withdrawing from Central Asia troops who were supporting operations in Afghanistan. Months later, SCO member Uzbekistan year expelled the U.S. from the strategically-located Karshi-Khanabad airbase, amid strained relations over human rights abuses.

Also in 2005, the SCO turned down a request from the United States to become an observer – at the same time as it gave Iran, India and Pakistan observer status.

Addressing the foreign ministers gathered in Moscow, Putin said Wednesday that “the SCO is gaining greater weight and importance all the time, as it addresses the issues of greatest priority for our countries and for the region as a whole.”

On Thursday, a member of the Iranian delegation led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif predicted that the SCO could “become the main competitor of the G7” – the Group of 7 major industrialized countries: the U.S., Canada, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and Italy.

(Russia formally joined the G7 – which thus became the G8 – in 2002, but its membership was suspended in March 2014 in response to the Ukraine crisis.)

Iranian deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Rahimpour told Russia’s official Sputnik news agency that the SCO “will become stronger as an international institution if the organization accepts new members,” adding that Iran wants “want the SCO region to be strong and independent.”

In a Gesture of Peace, Russia Agrees to Build Second Nuke Plant in Iran

June 1, 2015

Russia to Start Construction On New Iranian Nuke Plant

BY: Adam Kredo June 1, 2015 1:48 pm Via The Washington Free Beacon

(Putin needs a little cash to cover all those S-300 shipments.  Besides, he’s got a lot of uranium coming in from his investments in the United States ….thanks to Hillary and Bubba. – LS)

Russia announced on Monday that it would start construction this year on a second nuclear plant in Iran, according to regional reports.

Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation made the announcement early on Monday, stating that it will begin building a second nuclear power plant in Iran’s southern region later this year, according to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.

Meanwhile, an earthquake struck Monday morning near the site of Iran’s current nuclear power plant in Bushehr, near where the second plant will be built.

Iranian media outlets reported the quake as hitting a 4.4 magnitude with no injuries occurring as a result. Iran’s southern region is prone to such incidents.

Iranian officials announced in late 2014 that it had already begun the initial stages of construction on at least two nuclear plants in the region. In November, Tehran finalized a deal with Russia to aid in the construction of these plants.

“We have entered the executive phase of the construction of these two nuclear power plants based on the contract signed between Tehran and Moscow in March to construct the plants,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, deputy chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, was quoted as saying at the time.

The construction of these new plants is not barred under the terms of a current agreement between Iran and Western powers to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

“In general, the construction of light water nuclear reactors is not prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions, nor does it violate the [interim agreement struck in 2013],” a State Department official told the Washington Free Beacon in January.

Iranian officials said on Monday that its negotiators would not give up further ground as talks reach the final stage in June.

“These are the final days of the negotiations and both sides naturally try to see more of their demands met, and they may even make use of provocative remarks through their officials and unofficial people,” Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, a spokesman for the Iranian government, was quoted as saying on Monday.

“But what matters is the issues that are written and not speeches, and we are striving to materialize the Iranian nation’s rights in full in what is written,” he said.

Give Your Life for Mother Russia and Get Burned

May 29, 2015

Russia Is Using Mobile Crematoriums to Hide Ukraine Dead

MAY 26, 2015 6:00 AM EDT By Josh Rogin Via Bloomberg View

(Really?? So now, Russia burns their ‘war heroes’ to cover up the mounting casualties of an ill-gotten war. Makes you wonder how far they might go to continue the coverup. – LS)

Russia is so desperate to hide its military involvement in Ukraine that it has brought in mobile crematoriums to destroy the bodies of its war dead, say U.S. lawmakers who traveled to the war-torn country this spring.

The U.S. and NATO have long maintained that thousands of Russian troops are fighting alongside separatists inside eastern Ukraine, and that the Russian government is obscuring not only the presence but also the deaths of its soldiers there. In March, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told a conference, “Russian leaders are less and less able to conceal the fact that Russian soldiers are fighting — and dying — in large numbers in eastern Ukraine.”

Hence the extreme measures to get rid of the evidence. “The Russians are trying to hide their casualties by taking mobile crematoriums with them,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry told me. “They are trying to hide not only from the world but from the Russian people their involvement.”

Thornberry said he had seen evidence of the crematoriums from both U.S. and Ukrainian sources. He said he could not disclose details of classified information, but insisted that he believed the reports. “What we have heard from the Ukrainians, they are largely supported by U.S. intelligence and others,” he said.

Representative Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps officer and a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, was with Thornberry on the Ukraine trip in late March. He tweeted about the mobile crematoriums at the time, but didn’t reveal his sources. He told me this week the information didn’t come just from Ukrainian officials, whose record of providing war intelligence to U.S. lawmakers isn’t stellar.

“We heard this from a variety of sources over there, enough that I was confident in the veracity of the information,” Moulton said, also being careful not to disclose classified U.S. intelligence.

Both Thornberry and Moulton agreed with Vershbow’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin was struggling to keep up the ruse that he has no soldiers fighting inside Ukraine. Moulton said the mounting evidence of dead Russian soldiers is causing a domestic backlash for Putin. Russian and Ukrainian bloggers and activists have been compiling lists of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine, including details of their service and circumstances of their deaths. New organizations in Russia representing soldiers’ families have sprung up to publicly challenge Putin’s narrative.

“Russia is clearly having a problem with their home front and the casualties they are taking from the war,” Moulton said. “The fact that they would resort to burning the bodies of their own soldiers is horrific and shameful.”

There had been unconfirmed reports of Russia using mobile crematoriums in Ukraine for months, including leaked videos purporting to show them. But never before have U.S. lawmakers confirmed that American officials also believe the claims.

The head of Ukraine’s security service, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, said in January that seven truck-mounted crematoriums crossed into his country over a four-day period. “Each of these crematoriums burns 8-10 bodies per day,” he said.

The next month, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held up the passports of several Russian soldiers and intelligence officers he said were captured or killed in Ukraine, rejecting the Russian assertions that these troops had accidentally wandered over the border.

For many in Washington, the Russian casualties represent a rare vulnerability for Putin — one that should be exploited through providing weapons to the Ukrainian military. This is a position held by the top U.S. military commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, Secretary of State John Kerryand many top lawmakers in both parties.

Yet, in the face of European resistance, President Barack Obama said in March that he was still pondering providing defensive arms to Ukraine. More than two months later, he has yet to make a decision. The result has been a de facto policy of limiting U.S. assistance to Kiev to non-military items. Even that assistance has been delivered late, or in many cases not at all.

Thornberry said arming the Ukrainians would raise the price Putin pays for his aggression. As long as Putin feels the cost of his Ukraine policy is manageable, Russian fueled instability will continue, he said.

The recently passed House version of next year’s national defense authorization act contains explicit authorization for appropriations to support Ukraine’s military and provide it with defensive lethal weapons. This goes further than the action Congress took last year in passing the Ukrainian Freedom Support Act, which Obama signed but still has not acted on with regard to lethal support for Ukraine. The new legislation would set aside money specifically for the arms, and provide for increased production of items the Ukrainians want including Javelin anti-tank missiles.

“We’re doing anything we can possibly think of to get at legislatively forcing it to happen. How do we force the president to provide weapons to a country if he doesn’t want to?” Thornberry said. “I can’t find anyone who is against this except for President Obama.”

Moulton said that the West has a moral obligation to help the Ukrainians, and under current conditions, the Ukrainian military simply can’t face down the heavy weapons Russia continues to pour into Ukraine. He also said that if Putin isn’t confronted now, he will only become more aggressive later. “When a bear comes out of hibernation, he doesn’t have a few blueberries and go back to sleep. He is hungry for more,” said Moulton.

The Obama administration is understandably concerned that giving the Ukrainians arms will fuel the fire and risk a retaliatory Russian escalation. But if that’s the decision, Obama should let the Ukrainians and the American public know it. He then must come up with an alternative to the current, failing approach to stopping Putin’s murderous mischief.

For Those of You Who Didn’t Notice, Russia is Not Our Friend

May 26, 2015

Russian Missile Deal with Iran Means ‘Military Option Dead’

By The Clarion Project Tue, May 26, 2015

(I wouldn’t say a military option is completely dead, it’s just a tad more difficult. – LS)

Iranian news sources are reporting that negotiations with Russia to buy the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems were “successful.”

Western officials say delivery of the system would essentially eliminate the military option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

During a press conference Monday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the missiles will be delivered as soon as possible.

Amir-Abdollahian spoke after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, in Moscow.

Since 2007, Russia has repeatedly threatened to sell the system to Iran but relented under Western pressure. On April 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree facilitating the sale of the missile system.