Russia’s Top News Stories for April 3, 2015

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4/3/2015
Russia’s Top News Stories for April 3, 2015

By J.Hawk

Politically relevant news stories going viral on Russia’s social media, as reported by mediametrics.ru

Russian MOD: The number of draftees choosing contract service is growing.

Right now there are nearly 300 thousand Russian servicemembers serving under contract. A Russian draftee has the option of serving 1 year of compulsory service or 2 years of contract service, with better pay, benefits, and living conditions. A growing number of draftees is choosing contract service, and many of them re-enlist after their two-year contract expires. Some branches of service, like the submarine fleet and the airborne forces, are nearly entirely staffed by contract soldiers.

Crimea no longer dependent on Ukraine’s water

The Russian military laid down 8 pipelines to transport water from artesian wells into reservoirs which previously were filled with water that came via canals from Ukraine. This action deprives Ukraine of an important lever of influence. The dependence on electricity supplies should be likewise ended by the end of 2015. 

Poland thanks Russia for evacuating its citizens from Yemen

In unrelated news, hell has just frozen over.

Ryabkov: Russia is ready to supply fresh fuel for Iran’s reactors

Now that there is a framework agreement that stipulates the return of spent fuel for reprocessing, it’s highly likely that Russia’s nuclear industry will be Iran’s supplier of choice, due to the high quality of Russian fuel and Russia’s political reliability. Let’s face it, if your reactors are optimized to accept Western nuclear fuel, where’s the guarantee the West won’t find another excuse to impose sanctions on Iran?

Hardly anyone wants to take Yatsenyuk’s place

 There are persistent rumors that Yatsenyuk is about to be dismissed, possibly even next week, but there’s a major obstacle: nobody wants to take his place, and the negotiations to form another government with another PM could take months to complete. Which means Ukraine could be stuck with Yats for a long time to come.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) to oversee the National Payment System

The National Payment System a Russia Central Bank-established company which is to function as an alternative to Western electronic payment processing firms like VISA and MasterCard. It was established after the US financial restrictions on Russia’s financial sector were imposed, so as to limit the potential damage from another round of US sanctions. It also represents a major step toward limiting US influence, as it was inspired by China’s similar national payment system.

Russian Duma deputy proposes banning Russian state-owned firms from investing in Ukraine’s economy

This is one of many potential retaliatory measures in the event Ukraine decides to nationalize Russian state property on its territory–something it had not done yet, all the rhetoric about Russia’s supposed aggression notwithstanding.

Russia’s Arctic air defense to receive the Krasukha system

The Krasukha is billed as electronic warfare system with large area coverage. It was designed to degrade enemy radars and precision-guided munitions, presumably including GPS-guided ones which now represent a large proportion of NATO’s offensive arsenal.

A US destroyer is heading for Crimea

The USS Jason Dunham has entered the Black Sea, and it is being closely watched by the Russian military.

“Why is nobody talking about the association agreement?”–or how to dig into a landfill without losing one’s dignity

 This article discusses the fact that hardly anybody in Ukraine even talks about the EU Association Agreement, which was supposed to be the crowning achievement of the Maidan and which accomplished…exactly nothing. There are no tangible benefits, only quite a few tangible disadvantages. Like having to dig through dumpsters in search of food…Dignity Revolution forevah!

The two main threats to the West are Russian imperialism and Muslim mass migration

This is an InoSMI translation of a Czech article bewailing the apparently hopeless situation of the EU. Remarkably, they don’t even attempt to propose a solution, of which there are in fact many potential ones. How about being friends with Russia? Or actually take measures to make Muslims in your midst actually feel at home? But no. Europe’s feeling of own superiority will once again lead to a tragedy.

Rogozin about Western media criticism of Russia: “The bourgeois seem to be panicking a little”

 Rogozin is replying to the Czech article discussed above, noting that the EU is increasingly looking like a colossus on clay feet. EU’s greatest weakness is the unwillingness or inability to think about the welfare of the future generations, and to sacrifice for the sake of the future. 

Estonia’s president decided not to bomb Russia

Estonia’s president seems to be one of the “panicking bourgeois” Rogozin is referring to, because he is concerned about NATO’s likely inactivity in the event of a Russian cyberattack taking out an Estonian powerplant. His insistence on NATO doing something was so great that he had to assure his alarmed European interlocutors that he had no intention of bombing Russia. Still, what if Estonia suffers a power failure due to the lack of maintenance of its electricity grid? Might it not want to blame Russia as a diversionary tactic? Ilves also proceeded to call Greeks and Italians Russia’s “useful idiots.”

A Farewell to Arms?

The article makes a wholly reasonable argument that Ukraine is being kept on a short leash and on life support because it is still needed as a gas transit state. Russia, moreover, is cognizant on Crimea’s vulnerability should Ukraine cut off its energy supplies. However, that dependence will end by the end of 2015, once Russia completes the construction of power lines across the Kerch Straits.

Crimea may become an island

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So apparently Kiev wants to build a shipping canal that would, in effect, unite Odessa and Mariupol. Given the expense, there is little chance of that happening–and how is that “wall” on the border with Russia coming along, anyway?

Opinion: Nalivaichenko’s UPA in a new guise idea will intimidate Ukrainians

The article refers to Nalivaichenko’s desire to transform the SBU into a veritable political secret police along the lines of OUN-UPA. However, the objective is not only intimidation–they may also be counting on enthusiastic support from among the nationalists, whom the Kiev junta views as their main basis of support and constituency.

The US State Department is “strongly condemning” the closure of Crimean media

The media in question were pro-Kiev TV and radio stations which continued to operate until very recently, but which had failed to apply to recertify in accordance with Russian law.

The Russian government to support small business innovation

Five billion rubles are being earmarked for support of small businesses engaging in innovation. The idea here is to make up for the decline in private lending, due to the high Central Bank rates, with direct government support. This is intended to be a temporary measure until the Central Bank lowers it rates.

Amur officials from Oleg Kozhemyako’s team will go to Sakhalin

This is a big unfolding story, which is part of the ongoing campaign against government corruption and abuses in Russia. A couple of weeks ago the governor of Sakhalin was dismissed and arrested on corruption charges. Kozhemyako is a popular governor of the Amur region, a rising star in the United Russia party, who has been given the task of cleaning house on Sakhalin.

Poroshenko introduces a Rada bill on Martial Law

The bill does not introduce the martial law, it only clarifies what would happen should it be introduced. Not clear whom this is aimed at. The domestic audience? Russia? Europe? However, one of the key provisions of the new bill is that the president cannot be removed as long as Martial Law is in effect. Useful, no?

 Foreign investors are helping the ruble strengthen

In other words, the “ruble panic” has long passed, which means the Central Bank is once again free to build up its foreign currency reserves.

SC Johnson to replace Ukrainian cleansers with imports from other countries

Apparently several brands of SC Johnson cleansers were being manufactured in Ukraine. Well, not anymore.

Protesters throw manure at the US Embassy in Kiev

The crowd was about 2.5 thousand strong, and the protest was aimed at Western interference in Ukraine’s politics.

Medvedev to chair the import substitution commission

The first meeting is to take place in May. Russia is still heavily dependent on imports, for example 90% of machine tools, 60% of oil and gas industry equipment, at least 50% of agricultural equipment are imported. The objective is to reduce that dependence through targeted subsidies, and Medvedev is confident that the Russian manufacturers could significantly increase their market share within 2-3 years.

Obserwator Polityczny: The West deprived Ukraine of 300 years of civilization in one fell swoop

Remarkably, this is a Polish publication which says that the West-sponsored coup is transforming an industrialized country into the world’s garbage dump. The article also suggests a major US “philanthropist-billionnaire” is about to dump his Ukraine investments. Soros?

DPR: Ukraine is not returning empty coal cars

What is it doing with them? Selling them off to raise money???

When it comes to Russia sanctions, it is Russia who will laugh last

The article is citing a Western analytical firm OilPrice, which argues that Western sanctions only opened greater investment opportunities to Asian firms.

Azov troops showed their “Black Panther”

The Black Panther is simply a modernized T-64BV with a more advanced reactive armor suite. Still, it goes to show that Azov is still a very privileged unit when it comes to deliveries of advanced equipment that is in a very short supply in the UAF.

Ukrainian paratroopers buried what’s most important

Turns out the most important thing is…alcohol. This bizarre ceremony is supposed to be part of an anti-alcohol campaign in the UAF, due to the high level of non-combat losses that are being incurred due to alcohol abuse. 

Fascists in the center of Moscow

Turns out the fascists are collectible scale figures on sale at a major children’s store on the Lubyanka Square. This instantly created something of an uproar (the went viral almost instantly!), and now the store is facing a potential investigation into its alleged promotion of Nazism. 

DPR reports a drop in food prices thanks to imports from Russia

In March alone DPR received four thousand tons of food from Russia, presumably paid for with the money Ukraine pays for Donbass coal. The story also reports DPR is receiving food shipments from…Turkey.

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