Vladimir Putin's spokesman says he is hospitalized with the coronavirus. Read the rest
Impeached U.S. President Donald Trump spoke today with Russian crimelord Vladimir Putin today, ostensibly to mark the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, but one wonders what other information may have been exchanged, don't one. Read the rest
In Russia, two human rights groups say Vladimir Putin's government has vastly expanded surveillance to enforce the nation's coronavirus lockdown, using facial recognition technology and collection of personal data. The groups say regulation is required to ensure that surveillance measures are both temporary and proportionate. Read the rest
“'The difference now is the speed with which it spreads, and the denigration of the institutions that we rely on to understand the truth. I think we're in dangerous territory.'”
Don't miss the New York Times investigation detailing Russia's decade-long health disinformation campaign against the United States and other Western democracies, using social media and news outlets to sow confusion and hurt institutions. Read the rest
Huh, that's... weird? No?
The White House announced today that impeached U.S. President Donald Trump spoke today to Vladimir Putin of Russia. Read the rest
“Everything is okay,” the RIA news agency reports. Seems legit. Read the rest
Donald Trump loves to test the waters about abolishing Presidential term limits. As much as he might fantasize about becoming dictator-in-chief, it would take a lot to actually make it happen, so I wouldn't hold my breath worrying about it.
That being said, Vladimir Putin just found a sneaky way to lock himself into power until at least 2036: tacking a rider onto another, humongous bill, just hours before the Parliament votes on it.
In the past, Mr. Putin proceeded cautiously, seeking to preserve a veneer of legitimacy. Confronting term limits in 2008, Mr. Putin opted for a four-year hiatus as prime minister while his protégé, Dmitri A. Medvedev, became the caretaker president.
In January he proposed some nebulous constitutional changes that analysts said pointed to his intention to stay beyond the end of his current term.
But with his proposal on Tuesday, Mr. Putin seemed to prefer something bolder, saying he supported the legislation for the good of the country. The president is the guarantor “of the security of our state, of its internal stability — its internal, evolutionary stability,” Mr. Putin said. “And I mean evolutionary. We’ve had enough revolutions.”
“No one is saying” Mr. Putin will run again in 2024, one lawmaker, Aleksandr Khinshtein, said in a televised interview. “But the possibility of doing so must exist for the head of state in order to maintain stability in society.”
I guess bad faith arguments for implausible deniability are totally fine when your country is run for decades by a famously guileful spymaster. Read the rest
• U.S. intelligence briefed House on Russia to ensure Trump's re-election. • Classified briefing to lawmakers made Trump angry • Trump said Democrats would “weaponize” news of Russian military campaign • Trump was mad DNI Joseph Maguire would let staff appear • That's why Maguire's out, Richard Grenell's in as 'acting' DNI.
In Washington last week, U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers that Russia is carrying out a military-grade attack on the 2020 elections, with the goal of making Americans doubt the integrity of the vote and ensure re-election for impeached, manifestly unfit and corrupt President Donald Trump, Reuters reported Thursday. Read the rest
On his batshit Twitter account, impeached and manifestly bonkers U.S. President Donald Trump is calling for all cases that came out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to be "thrown out."
Trump implied that he could bring a lawsuit over the matter. Read the rest
“Russia has sent intelligence agents to Ireland to map the precise location of the fibre-optic, ocean-bed cables that connect Europe to America,” Ireland's security agency suspects, according to this report in The Times of London.
“This has raised concerns that Russian agents are checking the cables for weak points, with a view to tapping or even damaging them in the future.”
Irish security officials believe Russia may be targeting Ireland as a regional base for military intelligence operations because the country's counterintelligence abilities are limited, and Moscow presumably views Ireland as a vulnerable spot.
Additionally, various tech giants that have placed their offices in Dublin to evade U.S. taxes might be juicy targets for Vladimir Putin's corporate espionage programs.
Ireland is the landing point for undersea cables which carry internet traffic between America, Britain and Europe. The cables enable millions of people to communicate and allow financial transactions to take place seamlessly.
Garda and military sources believe the agents were sent by the GRU, the military intelligence branch of the Russian armed forces which was blamed for the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer.
[thetimes.co.uk] Read the rest
A court in Moscow today issued fines of 4 million rubles each against Twitter and Facebook for the social media companies' refusal to store data about Russian citizens inside Russia. Read the rest
Impeached American president Donald John Trump wants a 25% reduction in the military fund designed to deter Russian aggression against the U.S., no reason, why are you asking, no really, why, you seem kind of obsessed. Read the rest
“They identify an issue that they know that the American people feel passionately about on both sides and then they take both sides and spin them up so they pit us against each other. And then they combine that with an effort to weaken our confidence in our elections and our democratic institutions which has been a pernicious and asymmetric way of engaging in affect information warfare.”
— FBI Director Chris Wray, Feb. 5, 2020
On Wednesday, FBI Director Chris Wray said Russia is targeting Americans with an ongoing “information warfare” campaign that is likely to intensify as the nation heads into the 2020 presidential election. Read the rest
The Kremlin says Russian president Putin "has no view" on a proposal to change his title to "Supreme Leader," reports US News and World Report. The title is one of a number being considered by a commission formed after Putin announced his desire to change the Russian constitution. From the article:
"There are... some very curious proposals among those put forward. For instance, they proposed renaming the position of head of state to 'Supreme leader'," Pavel Krasheninnikov, the government commission's co-chair, told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government newspaper.
When asked about the idea on Wednesday, the Kremlin was non-committal, calling it a "new initiative" and one of various proposals that may or may not be implemented.
"Right now all this is at the discussion stage," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "President Putin has no view on this."