Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, is an Eastern European territory with a strong Soviet vibe. Technically, the country does not exist. Transnistria is considered a part of the Republic of Moldova, and isn't an officially recognized nation of its own, despite declaring independence in 1990, followed by a war in 1992. I attended this year's Independence Day celebrations in Transnistria, hoping to understand what the place and the people are all about. Here's what I saw. Read the rest
“Putin’s Russia,” as ABC News reports today, would have featured the Russian President hunting, fishing, and generally being a very macho man outdoors. Read the rest
As Kevin Poulsen tweeted, “Tired: Russia's 2016 interference in the presidential election. Wired: Russia's 2018 interference in the midterms.” Read the rest
The military-grade nerve toxin attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia may have left the victims with 'compromised mental capacity,' a British judge said on Thursday. It is unclear whether the former Russian double agent and his adult child will recover from being poisoned with what the UK says was a Russian chemical weapon known as 'Novichok.' Read the rest
Trump's buddy President Vladimir Putin has just announced that Russia has new nuclear-capable weapons in the works that "renders defense systems 'useless,'” according to NBC News. To show off his developing nukes, he pairs his announcement with the chilling video above of a nuclear weapon going straight toward Florida.
According to NBC:
"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development ... you have failed to contain Russia," he said.
He accused the West of "ignoring us. Nobody listened to us. Well listen to us now."
He boasted that Russia's new ICBM is “powerful and modern and defense systems will not be able to withstand it,” he said. “Missile defenses will be useless against it.”
Putin said Russia will not be "an aggressor," but, "Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies … any kind of attack … will be regarded as a nuclear attack against Russia, and in response we will take action instantaneously no matter what the consequences are. Nobody should have any doubt about that."
Read NBC's full story here. Read the rest
Facebook is reported to soon reveal it exposed an estimated 126 million Americans, many of whom voted, to what was effectively Russian state propaganda (served from Russian webservers in Russia) during the runup to the U.S. 2016 presidential election. All of that content favored Trump, who is now President of the United States. Read the rest
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is a powerful reactionary figure in the country's toxic political scene, which has welded a tale of thwarted imperial destiny to a thin-skinned fundamentalist theology that can't bear the slightest sign of mockery; he's blamed ISIS on secularism and Pride parades and says that marriage equality literally heralds the imminent apocalypse. Read the rest
Here is the full and complete transcript of remarks given to news reporters by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, just before Lavrov went into a closed-door meeting with President Donald Trump.
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The Russian Foreign Ministry reports today that Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly today in New York. He died on Monday age 64, just one day before his 65th birthday. Read the rest
Huge New York Times investigation on Russia's role in the elections, and Trump's upset victory: "The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the US.” It's a riveting tic-tock narrative, and no doubt those in the intel/security biz will debate the contents.
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An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.
The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.
The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.
Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.
With Putin and Russia in the news more and more thanks to Trump and Steven Seagal, maybe it's high time to learn how to pronounce Russian text. Thanks to the instructor's lovely accent in this ten-minute tutorial, you'll be pronouncing (if not understanding) in short order. Read the rest
U.S. officials are investigating online security attacks that targeted reporters at The New York Times in Moscow. A U.S. official said Tuesday that the Times was among various U.S. news organizations targeted. CNN was first to report the story, and the Times has since confirmed and corrected some details. Read the rest
Yes, you read that right. This video shows a gameboy, connected to a handgun, that when you point and shoot, takes a picture. Which then prints out on a thermal paper rollm like a grocery store receipt. Read the rest
Around 11:00AM ET today, Interfax, CNN, and other news agencies began reporting that Malaysia Airlines flight 17, heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.
Some 280 passengers and at least 15 crew members, a total of 295 lives, are believed to have been on board the Boeing 777 passenger jet. This is the second crash involving Malaysia Airlines within the past few months. Read the rest
This is a film of a training session of the Russian Army deploying an inflatable Orthodox church and paratrooping priests.
Piecing together what exploded in the skies over Russia, using infrasound sensors operated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization
In the NYT, a piece by Sophia Kishkovsky on Svetlana Kuritsyna, "the very antithesis" of the imprisoned protest-art group Pussy Riot. Sveta is described as "a disarmingly direct, red-cheeked, 20-year-old Putin supporter from an impoverished rural region" who stands out "for her very normality and has become an accidental celebrity after an innocent, and somewhat inarticulate, video interview in which she glowingly praised Mr. Putin." The clip became a meme, with more than 2 million YouTube views, she now has her own reality show. Read the rest