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Russia considers pulling out from Council of Europe

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's Council of Federation, announced during a meeting with PACE President Lillian Mori Pasquier that Russia was considering a possibility to pull out from the Council of Europe against the background of tensions between Russia and the West. "We have an internal decision brewing to pull out from the Council of Europe, I am telling you this sincerely," she said. According to her, a number of PACE decisions, including the election of judges, and the Commissioner of the Council of Europe, were illegitimate without Russia's participation. She added that she assesses the situation in the PACE as critical and contrary to the "principle of parliamentarism."

Thu, 20 Sep 2018 18:06:00 +0300

Gubernatorial elections in Russia: Stop, cancel, start again

The results of gubernatorial elections in Russia's Primorsky region (Far East) have been canceled. However the situation remains too vague to hope for its coming resolution. The head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said on Wednesday that the results of the gubernatorial election of the Primorsky region are to be abolished. According to the law, it is up to the regional election commission to make the decision. If the regional commission does not cancel the results of the vote, the Central Election Commission will do it instead, Pamfilova said. New elections will take place in three months, she added. For some reason, though, both regional Governor Andrei Tarasenko and Communist Party candidate Andrei Ischenko decided that this would be a third round of elections for them. The Russian legislation does not envisage such an option, though. At first, United Russia party candidate Andrei Tarasenko said that he would not participate in the new elections. Some time later, he changed his mind and announced at a meeting of his supporters that he would participate. When the meeting was over, he said that he would not take part in the elections. At the same time, a rumor started saying that Tarasenko was stepping down as acting governor. Putin's spokesman stated that the rumour was not true because acting governor can be appointed by president's decree. Communist Party candidate Andrey Ischenko said that it was absurd to abolish the elections because he had won the vote. According to the information from the election committee of the Primorsky region and the CEC, Tarasenko came only 1.5 percent ahead of Ishchenko. Communists say that the margin of 1.5 percent was made possible as a result of falsifications, which automatically makes  Ishchenko the winner. The communist candidate said that he was ready to participate in the new elections. For the time being, it remains unknown whether it goes about a new election and new candidates, or a third round that would come contrary to the Russian legislation. The regional election commission will make an announcement on September 20. Anton KulikovPravda.RuRead article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Wed, 19 Sep 2018 17:51:00 +0300

53 million Russians may lose their jobs within a few years

Three quarters of the able-bodied population may lose their jobs within the next two years because of active robotisation of work processes, a report by the Eurasian Institute for Competitiveness and Strategy Partners consulting company said. In Russia, 65% of the population, or 53 million people, run the risk of losing their jobs too, Leonid Byzov, a sociologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences said. The list of "disappearing" professions includes accountants, security guards, lawyers, postmen, journalists and traffic police officers.Accountants with the function of "calculators" are already being replaced with computer programs. Companies replace security guards with security systems. Lawyers unable to work with neural networks lose their jobs too, because such programs file lawsuits a lot better. Delivery robots will replace postmen, while journalists may lose the struggle for their jobs to text programs, although this may take many more years as journalism is a creative profession. To crown it all, traffic police officers are already being replaced with surveillance systems that make reports of traffic violations and accidents. Also read: Every fifth Russian has employment problems

Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:39:00 +0300

Israel's Netanyahu calls Putin, blames Syria for Il-20 crash

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Sept 18, to express regret over the death of 15 Russian military men, who were killed as a result of the crash of the Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft in Syria. "Netanyahu had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The head of the government of Israel expressed his sympathy about the death of Russian servicemen and said that  Syria was responsible for the crash of the plane," the press service of the Israeli prime minister said. "Israel considers the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose military shot down the Russian plane, completely responsible for this incident. Israel also considers Iran and terrorist organisation Hezbollah responsible," the official statement from Israel said. The Israeli side acknowledged that the country's air force struck objects of Syrian army infrastructure, which allegedly produced weapons of mass destruction for Hezbollah. At the same time, Israeli officials said that at the time when the Syrian army fired the missiles, one of which struck the IL-20, the aircraft of the Israeli Air Force were already flying in Israeli airspace. Israeli officials also said that Syrian air defence forces were throwing up fire chaotically and did not  bother to make sure that there were no Russian planes in the area.Israel also promised to provide the Russian government with all necessary information for the  investigation of the incident.Earlier, Putin urged not to compare the crash of the Il-20 in Syria with the shootdown of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 incident by a Turkish fighter jet in northern Syria in November 2015. "This is a different situation, because the Turkish fighter deliberately shot down our aircraft. Here, it looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances, because an Israeli plane did not shoot down our plane," Putin said, adding that one needs to look into the matter in detail. The Russian Il-20, returning to Hmeymim, was shot down by Syrian air defense systems in the evening of September 17, 35 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast. Fifteen Russian servicemen on board the aircraft were killed. Also read:

Tue, 18 Sep 2018 19:42:00 +0300

Putin: Ilyushin shootdown is incidental

President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a press conference after a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said that the shootdown of the Ilyushin Il-20 military aircraft in Syria was incidental. Putin expressed his condolences to relatives of the victims. "When people die, especially in such tragic circumstances, it is always a disaster. It is a disaster for all of us, for the country and for the loved ones of our fallen comrades," Putin said. At the same time, Putin urged not to compare the crash of the Il-20 in Syria with the shootdown of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 incident by a Turkish fighter jet in northern Syria in November 2015. "This is a different situation, because the Turkish fighter deliberately shot down our aircraft. Here, it looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances, because an Israeli plane did not shoot down our plane," Putin said, adding that one needs to look into the matter in detail. Also read: Russia sees Israel as enemy after Ilyushin shootdown

Tue, 18 Sep 2018 17:04:00 +0300

Russian gubernatorial elections: Solid winner loses vote overnight

The second round of gubernatorial elections in Russia's Primorsky Krai (the Far East) will go down in history of Russia's political life. During the elections of the governor of the Primorsky region, one of the candidates was winning the vote by a significant margin. All of a sudden, it turned out that the winner of the race has lost the election. The advantage of Communist candidate Andrei Ishchenko over acting governor Andrei Tarasenko was not striking, but it was larger than the number of uncounted ballots. In other words, if all the uncounted ballots had been added to Tarasenko's favor, Ishchenko would have still remained the winner. However, the announcement from the Central Electoral Commission made after counting 99.03% of the ballots said that acting governor Andrei Tarasenko won the election having left his rival only 0.5 percent behind. The head of the CEC, Ella Pamfilova, stated in the morning that her department would not rush to finalise the results of the elections in Primorsky Krai. If any violation are found, the results of the second round of the vote are likely to be canceled, she said, urging the supporters of the two candidates to file complaints.The candidates themselves accuse each other of fraud and falsificationы. For example, representatives of regional authorities claim that the team of communist candidate Andrei Ishchenko  delayed the entry of disadvantageous ballots into the electronic GAS "Vybory" system to overblow  a scandal afterwards. Ischenko's supporters claim that his opponent was "given" several tens of thousands of votes.At first, Andrei Ishchenko called to put up tents and threatened to go on a hunger strike. He changed his mind later after he talked to Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Russian Communist Party.  Instead, Ishchenko invited his supporters to come to the building of the administration of the Primorsky region every day at 6:00 p.m. and stay there till late at night. LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky suggested his own solution to the problem. "Gubernatorial  elections in Russia are absolutely unnecessary and nerve-racking. There is no real competition, because candidates of one and the same party take all posts anyway. It is the president who should directly appoint the governors, because they represent the executive power. However, the head of state can appoint representatives of different parties as governors. If a representative of the pro-government party fails, he then appoints a representative of the parliamentary opposition. This would preserve governance and let the steam out," Zhirinovsky wrote on his social media page. Gubernatorial elections were abolished in Russia from 2004 till 2012, when governors were approved by legislative assemblies on the basis of proposals from the president. Afterwards, gubernatorial elections were reinstated. Gubernatorial elections will be held in Russia in Khakassia, Khabarovsk and Vladimir regions on September 23. One can hardly imagine a situation that can eclipse the one in the Primorsky region. Anton KulikovPravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 17:19:00 +0300

Former GRU officer exposes two Russian Salisbury spies

The interview that two Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov gave to RT last week following their international exposure as "two Russian military intelligence officers, who poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury," has left even more questions about what really happened in the British town. A former Russian GRU officer, who wished to remain anonymous, says that it still remains unknown who those two people (Boshirov and Petrov) are. According to him, the two men, who appeared on the screens during the interview, may not be the ones whom they pretend to be. The former GRU officer believes that the Russian authorities could use them simply as those who look like the two men, whom the British special services suspect of arranging the incident in Salisbury.If one assumes that the two people who gave the interview indeed work for Russian special services, then they acted very unprofessionally and risky. The anonymous expert believes that they did not even try to change their appearance when wandering around Salisbury, even though the majority of public places in the UK are under CCTV surveillance. In addition, it was a huge mistake for the two spies to always stay together when executing such a complicated mission. The former GRU officer assumed that the interview of Petrov and Boshirov to RT's Margarita Simonyan raises a lot of questions. The former intelligence officer dubbed this conversation as "nonsense" that neither proved nor refuted anything at all. Also read: Russian spies who poisoned Sergei Skripal say they work in the fitness industry

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 15:28:00 +0300

Russia exposes audio recording proving Ukraine's implication in MH17 disaster

The Russian Defence Ministry exposed the audio recording of a conversation between Ukrainian military men. The recording proves Kiev's involvement in the Malaysian Airlines Boeing disaster (Flight MH17) over the Donbass in 2014, representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry told reporters at a news briefing on September 17. According to Russia, the voice in the recording belongs to Ruslan Grinchak, a Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Grinchak was responsible for controlling airspace in the zone of the military conflict in the Donbass. The man in the recording says that "we" can make another airplane disaster to repeat. The conversation took place in 2016 in the Odessa region of Ukraine during the preparation of the Malachite radar station used to detect and escort air objects. The man's voice that supposedly  belongs to Colonel Grinchak, says: "Take this supervisor, take Levchuk and say: "Boys, if this is going to be like this, then we will ***** another Malaysian Boeing." Also read: Ukraine owned the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Boeing

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:13:00 +0300

Ukraine owned the missile that shot down Flight MH17 Boeing

Representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry said that the missile that shot down the passenger Boeing 777 aircraft over the Donbass on July 17, 2014, was manufactured in 1986. A year later, the missile was delivered to the military unit on the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Lieutenant-General Nikolai Parshin, the head of the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Ministry of Defence told reporters on September 17 that the missile that shot down the Boeing 777 in the sky over the east of Ukraine in the summer of 2014 was produced in 1986 for Buk missile systems. The information was obtained from the analysis of the serial number of the missile, the official said adding that the company the produced the missile still have documents for it in its archives. The serial number of the missile is 8720, Parshin said.On December 29, 1986, the missile was sent to military unit 20152, where it was received. The brigade was part of the Carpathian Military District in the Ternopil region of the Ukrainian SSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the missile never left the territory of Ukraine, Parshin said.Flight MH17 passenger jetliner crashed on July 17, 2014 in eastern Ukraine killing all 298 people on board, mostly Dutch citizens. In 2014, the Netherlands formed the Joint Investigation Team, which included representatives of the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Ukraine, Malaysia. Also read:

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 12:43:00 +0300

Russia to abandon the US dollar at common people's expense

Andrei Kostin, the head of VTB Bank, shared his plans for the future of foreign currency in the Russian Federation. During the Eastern Economic Forum, Kostin, who is ranked one of Russia's most prominent bankers, suggested legal addresses of Russia's largest holding companies should be transferred under Russia's jurisdiction. According to him, foreign registrations of Russian legal entities makes the fulfilment of subsequent tasks more complicated. Kostin pointed out the need to place Eurobonds on Russian platforms and abandon the primary depository in the form of Euroclear. Many experts believe that such suggestions would take Russia towards self-isolation.The head of VTB also pointed out the need for all participants of the stock market to adhere to "unified rules." Some assumed in Russia that Mr. Kostin thus wanted to punish the Americans for the sanctions that they had imposed on him. In a nutshell, Andrei Kostin offered President Putin a plan to refuse from the US dollar. The plan is not very original: Kostin suggests making Russia an outcast country, in which dollar settlements would be excluded. Iran and Venezuela had taken such measures for their economies some time ago, but neither Iran nor Venezuela have showed an economic breakthrough yet. Quite on the contrary, the two nations suffer from declining national currencies and a plethora of restrictions. Some suggested Mr. Kostin could go to Venezuela or Iran to learn a few lessons there. Earlier, Andrei Kostin caused quite a stir in Russia, when he said that Russian citizens' dollar deposits could be converted at market value into rubles.Experts were more restrained in their assessment of Kostin's suggestion. Maksim Shein, the chief investment strategist of BCS, told Pravda.Ru that it makes no difference what currency banks choose to return deposits to clients - the most important thing is to have foreign currency deposits converted into rubles at market value.  The problem of Andrei Kostin's statements and reactions to them is about the radical presentation of such information. It is clear to all in Russia that the national market will grow increasingly national and ruble-oriented against the backdrop of sanctions and Russia's course to economic sovereignty. Mr. Kostin tries to hold common people accountable for the economic crisis in the country. Many people in today's Russia still remember the attitude to foreign currency in the USSR. However, the Soviet Union used to have a developed social system. All the recent moves of the Russian authorities in relation to the retirement age indicate that Russia is taking a sharp liberal turn in economy. Currency restrictions do not fit into liberal reforms. Clearly, Russian banks need to develop and grow under the conditions of economic and financial restrictions, especially when President Putin talks about the need for a major economic breakthrough. The people, however, are not happy about the fact that the breakthrough is going to be made at their expense. This gives rise to panic and scathing comments about Mr. Kostin and his suggestions. It is wort mentioning that the amount of transactions signed within the scope of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok totalled nearly three trillion rubles. Perhaps it is too early to put a cross on the Russian economy and expect dark years to come. Also read: Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy

Fri, 14 Sep 2018 17:08:00 +0300

Russia tests unique invisible missiles during Vostok 2018 war games

Russia tested unique invisible missiles during Vostok 2018 military drills, the head of the 76th Air Defense Division, Sergei Tikhonov said. According to him, the military did not limit the test to conventional training missiles. The command made a decision to destroy training analogues of real cruise missiles of various types during a conventional massive attack. To raise the complexity of the operation, the military chose second-to-none target missiles. It became possible to repel all the attacks in the operation, the official said. Russia conducts Vostok 2018 war games in cooperation with China and Mongolia. Russian Defence minister Sergei Shoigu leads the manoeuvres.

Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:01:00 +0300

Russian 'spies' Petrov and Boshirov say they work in fitness industry

The main event of September 13 in Russia is the interview, which Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov gave to RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. The British authorities accused these two men of involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and referred to them as officers of the Russian military intelligence, GRU. First off, the two men acknowledged in the interview that those were their real names. "From the very beginning, we wanted to come to London and have fun there, it was not a business trip. Our friends have long recommended we should go to visit this wonderful town of Salisbury. We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it, because traffic in England was paralysed on March 2 and 3," Petrov said. In Salisbury, they also wanted to see the town's cathedral, which is famous for its spire. Petrov and Boshirov acknowledged that they could have passed by Sergei Skripal's home, although they did not know where it was located. The two men also said that they did not bring any poisonous substances or Nina Ricci perfumes with them. "Isn't it silly for two normal lads to bring women's perfume along? When you go through customs control, they check all your belongings. If we had had something, they would have had questions as to why a man would have women's perfume in his luggage," Boshirov said.Boshirov and Petrov responded negatively to the question of their work for the Russian military intelligence, which is commonly referred to GRU, although its official name was changed several years ago. The men said that they work in the industry of fitness and sports nutrition. They confirmed that they had been to Switzerland several times as well, but mostly for tourism. The men said that their lived changed completely after their photos and videos were published in world media. "We can't go out, we are scared, we are scared for our lives, for our loved ones, for those people who know us," said Ruslan Boshirov. It is worthy of note that Petrov and Boshirov gave an interview to RT the day after President Putin appealed to them to come out to media representatives. Also read: Putin: We know who Skripal poisoners are

Thu, 13 Sep 2018 15:58:00 +0300

Putin offers Japan to conclude peace treaty in 2018

President Vladimir Putin accepts with the proposal from the Japanese Prime Minister to change the approach to negotiations on the peace treaty. The Russian president invited him to conclude the treaty before the end of the year. "Such a simple thought has occurred to me right now," Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.Putin reminded that Russia and Japan have been trying to conclude the peace treaty for 70 years already. He referred to the Soviet-Japanese declaration from 1956, which ended the state of war between the two countries. The Parliament of Japan and the Supreme Council of the USSR ratified the declaration that stipulated for the conclusion of the peace treaty within a short period of time. "So, we have been negotiating for 70 years. Shinzo said: let's change the approach. OK, Let's do it. Let's conclude the peace treaty, well not now, but before the end of the year, without any preconditions. And then, on the basis of the peace treaty, we will continue to resolve all the controversial issues as friends. This would make it easier for us to resolve all problems," Putin said.Putin's remarks came in response to So Putin reacted to the words of the Japanese prime minister, who once again called for a peace treaty. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that there were  still obstacles to implement the peace treaty. "Mr. President Putin, let us once again confirm our determination, our intentions before numerous witnesses, before our entire audience. If we don't do it now, then when? If we don't do it, then who will do it for us?" the Prime Minister of Japan asked Putin.Russia and Japan have not been able to conclude the peace treaty because of territorial disputes. Japan claims its rights to the Kuril islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai, referring to the Treatise on Trade and the Borders from 1855. Russia insists that the islands became the territory of the USSR as a result of the Second World War.

Wed, 12 Sep 2018 11:12:00 +0300

Putin: We know who Skripal poisoners are

President Vladimir Putin said that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom the British intelligence named as suspects in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK, are civilian people. Putin appealed to Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom London suspected of poisoning former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The president invited them to address the media and make a public statement."In principle, we have, of course, looked into what kind of people they are. We know who they are already, we found them. I hope that they will appear and tell everyone about themselves. It will be better for everyone. There is nothing special and criminal there. We'll see in the near future. They are civilians, of course," Putin said."I want to address them, so that they hear us today, let them come to you, to media representatives," Putin added.

Wed, 12 Sep 2018 10:46:00 +0300

Russia considers possibility to terminate diplomatic relations with UK

Russia should recall its ambassador from the UK and terminate all diplomatic relations with Great Britain, Sergei Mironov, the leader of Just Russia Party believes. "We should stop hoping for the prudence of our so-called Western partners. We shouldn't wait for all this to pass. The actions that the British authorities have taken recently speak in favour of this - they directly accuse the Russian administration of plotting terrorist attacks. In such cases, it deems reasonable to terminate diplomatic relations. The prime minister of one country accuses the administration of another country of plotting terrorist attacks - there's nowhere to go from this," Mironov said. On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by officers of the Russian military intelligence (GRU). It is worthy of note that the relevant special service department at the Russian General Staff changed its title several years ago, but the British prime minister may have not been informed on that.

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 19:17:00 +0300

Chief of Russian National Guards threatens to make juicy meat chop out of Aleksei Navalny

Viktor Zolotov, the chief of the Russian National Guards (Federal National Guard Troops Service), published a video address to opposition activist Alexei Navalny. In his address, Zolotov called Navalny out in a duel and promised to make a "juicy meat chop" out of him. The video comes as Zolotov's reaction to the recent investigation conducted by Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) into the procurement of foodstuffs for the Russian National Guards at inflated prices."With respect to me, you had insulting, slanderous reflections, and it's not customary for army officers to forgive that," Zolotov said in the video message posted on the YouTube channel of the Russian National Guards on September 11. "From time immemorial, the scoundrel would be punched in the face and summoned to a duel," he added. "Mr. Navalny, no one stops us from returning at least part of those traditions, I mean demanding satisfaction, I simply challenge you to a duel - to a ring, tatami, you name it, where I promise to make a fine, juicy meat chop out of you," Viktor Zolotov said sitting in front of the camera. It is worthy of note that Zolotov had earlier served as a security guard for President Putin. Zolotov also promised to trample on Navalny and use him as a door mat. "If, Mr. Navalny, you ever again speak in an insulting or slanderous tone about me or my family members, I promise you that before I step over you and use you as a door mat, I will arrange a show for the entire staff of the National Guards," said Zolotov.It is worthy of note that Viktor Zolotov challenged Navalny at a time when the latter is serving his 30-day arrest in Moscow and has no way to respond.In his video address, the director of the Russian National Guards recalled another investigation conducted by Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund  - about the property of Zolotov's family. The report, published in 2016, evaluated Viktor Zolotov's property at 663 million rubles."I'm not a poor man indeed. Unlike you, when you were just learning to sit down on a pot, I had served in the army, worked at a factory production, was, by the way, an outstanding communist worker, and later engaged in business activities," the military man said. Earlier, officials at the Russian Guards called Navalny's investigation of the purchase of food products for the agency "falsified and provocative." "The deliveries of food and the provision of food services for the troops of the National Guard of the Russian Federation is carried out by an organisation appointed by the government of the Russian Federation in accordance with the current legislation," Zolotov said.We would like to note here that Alexei Navalny's team continues investigating into a variety of "corruption schemes", while all of those investigations have a zero degree of effectiveness. Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund had conducted investigations into "cases" of Dmitry Medvedev, Yuri Kovalchuk, Igor Shuvalov, Igor Sechin, Vyacheslav Volodin, Alisher Usmanov and others. Many of them sued Navalny and won the trials. Mr. Zolotov could follow in their footsteps and do the same. It appears that someone at the top let Alexei Navalny become such a principled oppositionist to release the steam of people's discontent. Navalny himself profits from creating his image of a person, who unmasks others. In fact, however, he is a competent narrator of "scary" stories, a populariser, who wants to be the leader of Russia's opposition, if not president. Many in Russia found Viktor Zolotov's address to Navalny ridiculous. "We have no doubt about the wonderful physical shape of Mr. Zolotov, but we do have doubt of whether he is a man of a high intellectual level," bloggers write on social media. 

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 16:29:00 +0300

Russia launches largest Vostok 2018 war games to get ready for global war after 2020

Russia launched its largest military exercises in modern history in the morning of September 11. The exercises, called Vostok 2018 (East 2018) involve about 300,000 troops, 36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, more than 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and about a hundred warships.The manoeuvres that will last through September 17 are held to practice massive air strikes, interception of cruise missiles, landing missions of sea and airborne assault forces, as well as actions of mobile groups in the deep rear of the enemy under the conditions that would be as close to combat conditions as possible, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said. Russia has not held such military exercises since 1981, when the USSR conducted Zapad-81 manoeuvres. Vostok 2018 war games are held under the status of an international event. They involve the troops of the Eastern and Central Military Districts, forces of the Northern Fleet, all formations and military units of the Airborne Forces, long and military transport aircraft. Chinese and Mongolian armed forces will join the war games at a certain stage of their development. The most dynamic part of the war games will unfold on one of the largest range grounds of the Transbaikal region - Tsugol. More than 7,000 units of military hardware and special equipment, about 250 aircraft and helicopters have been delivered to the site. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation tried to make the task for participants as much complicated as possible - they will have to act in the rapidly changing environment and take prompt and non-standard decisions. In particular, the war games will see the Russian military practice mobile defense and operations to destroy enemy with the use of artillery fire and military aircraft. Robotic equipment  and unmanned aerial vehicles are to be used in the operations as well. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, almost all models of military hardware and weapons available in the arsenal of the Russian army will take part in Vostok 2018 drills, including Iskander missile systems, upgraded T-72, T-90 and T-80BVM tanks. Su-34 bombers and Su-35 multipurpose fighters will protect ground forces from the air. Mi-28 and Mi-35 attack helicopters, Tu-95MS strategic bombers, as well as long-range Tu-22M3 missile carriers. Su-24 bombers, Su-25 interceptors and Su-25 interceptors from the Chelyabinsk region, Perm and Krasnoyarsk territories were delivered to the range ground. Vostok 2018 war games will be held with the use of the combat experience that Russian forces have gained in Syria. The naval part of the manoeuvres involves forces of Pacific Northern Fleets of the Russian Federation - about 80 ships and supply vessels. In the waters of the Sea of Okhotsk and in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, Russian warships will show resistance to air attacks, strike retaliatory blows on groups of ships and launch Caliber missiles.Vostok-2018 war games are held on nine range grounds, in the waters of the Bering Sea and in the Sea of Okhotsk, in Avachinsky and Kronotsky bays. These are two-way manoeuvres with two opposing groups participating: the Central Military District and the Northern Fleet "fight against"  the troops of the Eastern Military District and the Pacific Fleet. NATO considers these exercises as preparations for a large-scale conflict Vostok 2018 war games have caused serious concern for the United States and its NATO allies in Europe, especially the Baltic countries and Poland. NATO officials said that Vostok 2018 war games demonstrate "Russia's emphasis on the work to practice participation in a large-scale conflict."Le Nouvel Observateur quoted French military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, who said making references to the Russian General Staff that a major war in the world would unfold after 2020. It would be either a global war or a series of major regional conflicts, in which the United States and its allies would be Russia's enemy, the expert added. Russia holds the international war games with the participation of Chinese and Mongolian troops against the backdrop of growing tensions with Western countries, the Ukrainian crisis, the conflict in Syria and countless accusations of Russia's interference in internal affairs of Western countries. In 1981, the USSR held Zapad 81 exercises that mobilised between 100,000 and 150,000 troops of the Warsaw Pact countries in Eastern Europe. Zapad 81 were the largest manoeuvres ever organised in the Soviet era. Servicemen from the People's Republic of China have never taken part in Russia's strategic military exercises. For Vostok 2018 war games, China will send about 3,000 troops, as well as aircraft and helicopters of the People's Liberation Army of China.Since 2003, Russia and China have held about 30 military exercises, but none of them have targeted Russia's strategic efforts to ensure security. The PLA takes part in Vostok 2018 war games not only for integrated, anti-terrorist exercises with the police, but also for strategic exercises - a goal that the Chinese had set for themselves long ago, senior fellow at the European Council for International Relations (ECFR), Gustav Gressel told DW, adding that the Chinese military wanted to learn the experience that Russia had gained in Syria. Kremlin officials say that Russia is holding such large-scale war games because of the need to maintain Russia's defensive capability in the current international situation, which can often be very aggressive and unfriendly. Spokespeople for the Defence Ministry of China stated that the PLA takes part in Vostok 2018 war games to develop the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership and further strengthen the ability to jointly respond to various security threats.

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 13:55:00 +0300

Russian fishermen destroy tons of salmon fish and caviar

The Russian fishing industry has set a new record in salmon fish capture. As of August 28, the catch made up 538,000 tons, which was 88% more than on the same date in 2016 (salmon fish capture is compared between even and odd years). According to the results of the salmon fishing season, the catch may near the record amount of 520,000 tons, representatives of the Russian Federal Fisheries said. The 2018 salmon fishing season in Russia became the most prolific one in 110 years. The catch of Pacific salmon (mainly pink salmon) this year in Kamchatka made up a record 450,000 tons. Fishermen produce up to 15,000 tons of salmon per day and say that this is the most successful fishing season in a century.During the salmon fishing season, salmon fish (chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, pink salmon, keta, coho salmon) is caught during summer and in early autumn, when salmon come to spawn to rivers. At this time of the year, fishermen catch salmon fish near river mouths when they prepare to enter estuaries. They also catch fish in rivers, when salmon fish go upstream to spawning places.The selling price on salmon fish has reached a minimum in Russia - 80-90 rubles per kilogram. Not to let the price go down further, fisheries simply throw excessive fish away. Tons of valuable fish can often be found in unexpected locations, such as forests, roadsides, etc. Local fishermen intend to inform President Putin of the record catch during the Eastern Economic Forum. They also want to explain why Russians will not see this record catch of salmon fish in stores. Fisheries discard tons of salmon fish together with caviar. Fish factories were not ready for such a record catch, and tons of salmon fish stuffed with caviar rot out in the open. It is easier for companies to dispose of excessive volumes rather than to process them to their own detriment.

Mon, 10 Sep 2018 19:48:00 +0300

Who gets highest salaries in Russia?

Summing up the results for the six months of 2018, the Russian Federal Statistics Agency, Rosstat,  obtained information on highest salaries that common Russians receive. It turns out that the salaries of pilots and cosmonauts are the highest. The average salary of those working in the field of air and space transport is 161,700 rubles a month ($2,300 given that $1 is currently traded for 70 rubles), the Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports.Those working in the production of crude oil and natural gas earn the average of 123,100 rubles. Employees of the tobacco industry - 111,200 rubles.Salaries are lowest for those working in the clothing industry: 20,800 rubles a month ($300). Furniture makers earn 23,400, and those who produce leather and leather products get paid 24,500 rubles.As for regions, residents of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District receive highest salaries (about 100,617 rubles). The list continues with the Chukotka Autonomous Territory (98,291 rubles), Moscow (82,729 rubles), and the Magadan Region (82 471).The lowest salaries in the Altai Territory - an average of 24,402 rubles per month, in Karachaevo-Cherkessia - 24,481 rubles, in Chechnya - 24,873 rubles, and in the Ivanovo region - 24,874 rubles.As for Moscow, a middle class employee has to make 121,000 rubles ($1,700) to be able to fit in the category. The number is twice as low for regions of Russia.

Mon, 10 Sep 2018 19:12:00 +0300

Russian elections: Voter apathy and mistrust

The people of Russia have probably lost hope for an opportunity to show influence on the fate of their country, even though the Constitution of the Russian Federation gives such powers to the people. Alas, the elections held in Russia on September 9 prove this thesis. Let's consider the most significant expression of people's power at the elections - the turnout. In many regions of the country, the turnout was "sadly low" and could barely catch up with the results of the previous similar elections. It appeared, though, that the turnout would be high, especially in light of the recent decisions that the government and the parliament have made with regard to the pension reform in Russia. It was believed that many voters would come to the elections to vote against some candidates and cast their votes in favour of others. However, the main outcome of the September 9 elections in Russia was voter apathy and mistrust. Shortly before the vote, millions in Russia signed petitions in protest to the initiative of the government to raise the retirement age. However, all those petitions went straight into the bin, parties supported the reform and then everyone could watch Putin's weak and inconclusive speech on TV. On September 9, about 60-70 percent of the Russian population simply decided not to execute their civil duty and preferred to ignore the vote. As Mark Twain once said, "if voting made a difference, they wouldn't let us do it." According to many experts, the election campaign of 2018 has set a record since 2013 in terms of the withdrawal of party lists from elections to regional parliaments and deputies. Eight lists had been withdrawn by September 2. The election struggle was not for votes, but for a possibility to get into the right lists.For example, the lists of Yabloko party were withdrawn from the elections to  regional parliaments in the Yaroslavl Region, the lists of Rodina party - in the Trans-Baikal Territory, Communists of Russia - in Kalmykia, the Party for Justice - in Yakutia and Great Fatherland Party - in the Nenets Autonomous region.As for individual candidates, the story is quite sad here too as all prominent candidates who posed competition to authorities were withdrawn from lists as well. For example, Maxim Suraykin, the head of Communists of Russia party, was removed from the election of the mayor of Moscow. Another candidate, Mikhail Balakin, was forced to defend his right to run at court.One way or another, but the elections have come to an end, and their final results are to be announced within the coming days. One can say for sure that the voting went without scandals and mass violations but under the condition of voter apathy. What does the Kremlin get after the September 9 elections? The Kremlin gets the candidates elected by only a third of Russia's population to continue to "express the will of the people" (under the Constitution) by raising taxes, managing the social sector in regions and implementing the pension reform. Meanwhile, Western publications dream about the day, when Russia falls into Ukraine's abyss of chaos as a result of a coup, in which active minority rises to topple the regime, while passive majority does not interfere. Russia's most recent elections, alas, have shown the growth in the share of passive majority that was supposed to rule the country through elections, but instead stopped trying and ceased to believe in such an opportunity. Most importantly and unfortunately, this is not just a signal or a message - this is the alarm. The political situation in Russia grows more critical while staying outwardly calm. On September 9, the Russians went to the polls to elect MPs, governors (in 22 regions), five mayors, including the mayor of Moscow. Sixteen regions held elections to regional parliaments, while campaigns to municipal legislative assemblies were held in several cities. All in all, the elections were held in 80 Russian regions.

Mon, 10 Sep 2018 14:21:00 +0300