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Archive for the ‘Sovinoya Section’ Category

Putin murdered dissidents in Communist East Germany

24 September 2011

As reported by the Guardian, Russia’s spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable “psychological” techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.

The federal security service (FSB’s) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as “home intrusions”. Typically the agents move around personal items – opening windows, or setting alarms – in an attempt to demoralize and intimidate their targets.

The FSB operation includes bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception. Its victims include local Russian staff working for western embassies, opposition activists, human rights workers and journalists. The clandestine campaign is revealed in Mafia State, a book by the Guardian’s former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding, serialized in Saturday’s Weekend magazine.

The British and American governments are acutely aware of the FSB’s campaign of intimidation. But neither has publicly complained about these demonstrative “counter-intelligence” measures, for fear of further straining already difficult relations with Vladmir Putin’s resurgent regime. Putin, a former KGB lieutenant colonel, was head of the FSB.

British sources admit they have files “five or six inches thick” detailing FSB break-ins and other incidents of harassment against Moscow embassy staff. “Generally we don’t make a fuss about it,” one said. So pervasive is the FSB’s campaign the British government is unable to staff fully its Moscow embassy. The intrusions are designed to “short-tour” diplomats so they leave their posts early, the source said.

Despite a recent improvement in US-Russian relations, the FSB has also targeted US diplomats and their families. In a 2009 confidential diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, the US ambassador in Moscow John Beyrle complains that the FSB’s aggressive measures have reached unprecedented levels.

Mafia State recounts how the KGB first became interested in “operational psychology” in the 1960s. But it was the Stasi, East Germany’s sinister secret police, that perfected these psychological techniques and used them extensively against dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s. These operations were given a name, Zersetzung – literally corrosion or undermining.

According to former Stasi officers the aim was to “switch off” regime opponents by disrupting their private or family lives. Tactics included removing pictures from walls, replacing one variety of tea with another, and even sending a vibrator to a target’s wife. Usually victims had no idea the Stasi were responsible. Many thought they were going mad; some suffered breakdowns; a few committed suicide.

It was Erich Honecker, East Germany’s communist leader, who patented these methods after concluding that “soft” methods of torture were preferable to open forms of persecution. The advantage of psychological operations was their deniability – important for a regime that wanted to maintain its international respectability. Putin spent the late 1980s as an undercover KGB officer based in the east German town of Dresden.Harding was himself the victim of repeated FSB break-ins, and last November was, in effect, expelled from Russia when the foreign ministry said it was not renewing his journalist’s accreditation.

Mafia State also reveals:
· FSB officers privately admit the agency was involved in the assassination of dissident spy Alexander Litvinenko. They regret, however, the bungled way it was carried out.

· The British embassy in Moscow has a “polonium” chair sat on by Andrei Lugovoi, the chief suspect in the Litvinenko murder. Uncertain what to do with it, officials have locked it in a room in the embassy.

· Russia’s footballing union knew a week before a vote in December that Fifa’s executive committee would give Russia, rather than England, the 2018 World Cup

The FSB never explained why they targeted Harding with such zeal. Other western correspondents have also suffered from occasional “home intrusions”, but on a much lesser scale, the Guardian writes

It is worth mentioning from the side of the Kavkaz Center that contents of this article was briefly retold by some KGB-sponsored Russian media, including a Gazprom radio Ekho Moskvy and an online KGB new agency Gazeta.Ru.

Most interesting with the Russians is not what they write, but what they never write. In this particular case, the Russians censored in the Guardian story all reference to East Germany and Putin, because it is strictly forbidden to write in Russia that Putin was a butcher of the German people and forced German dissidents to commit suicide.

Department of Monitoring
Kavkaz Center

Source: Kavkaz Center.
Link: http://tor.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2011/09/24/15172.shtml.

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Russian Prime Minister Putin to run for presidency next year

MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced he will participate in next year’s presidential elections for a third term as president. It is a move which had been expected for years.

The announcement was made during the United Russia party congress in Moscow where both President Dmitry Medvedev and Putin were addressing supporters about the upcoming elections. Medvedev used his speech to endorse Putin’s presidential run.

“I propose we decide on another very important issue which naturally concerns the party and all of our people who follow politics, namely the candidate for the role of president,” Medvedev told the audience. “[..] I think it’s right that the party congress support the candidacy of the current prime minister, Vladimir Putin, in the role of the country’s president.”

Medvedev’s endorsement was met with applause from the audience, and the Russian leader admitted that this scenario had been planned a long time ago. “What we are proposing to the congress is a deeply thought-through decision,” he said. “And even more, we already discussed this scenario back when we first formed a friendly alliance.”

Medvedev added: “But while we waited a long time to reveal publicly our positions and the scenario for the next elections, I hope that you, and our citizens, will understand that this was a matter of political expediency, linked to the specific political practices of our country. But I would like to emphasize one thing: we have always told the truth.”

In response to Medvedev’s endorsement, Putin said he welcomed the support. “I want to express to you my gratitude for the positive response to the invitation for me to stand as president,” he told party members. “For me this is a great honor. Thank you. I hope for your support in the future. After the presidential elections we will form a new government.”

With Putin likely to win a presidential run next year, the prime minister also proposed Medvedev to head the election list of United Russia during the legislative elections. This would make him prime minister at the end of his presidential term. “I suggest that United Russia’s list for the State Duma elections on December 4 this year be headed by President Dmitry Medvedev,” Putin said. “I believe that this will enhance the party’s prestige and will guarantee its anticipated and honest victory.”

Putin first became acting president in December 1999 until he was elected for his first full term which began in May 2000. He won re-election in March 2004 and continued to serve in the country’s highest office until May 2008 when term limits prevented him from running for a third consecutive presidential term.

Days before the end of Putin’s second term as president, he undertook a series of controversial steps to increase the power of the prime minister. Medvedev had been widely expected to serve only one term so Putin could again become president after a short break.

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.
Link: http://wireupdate.com/news/russian-prime-minister-putin-to-run-for-presidency-next-year.html.

Pussy Riot verdict caps Putin’s hundred days

August 16, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) — The verdict in the trial of the feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot comes barely more than 100 days into Vladimir Putin’s new term as Russian president — a notably hard hundred.

Since it began on May 7, Putin’s third term in the Kremlin has appeared mostly defensive and downbeat. The swagger and brag of his first two terms is absent; he hasn’t even made one of his trademark TV appearances with wild animals or engaged in manly, bare-chested sports.

Instead, the focus has been on opponents, either real or imagined — mostly trying to keep them at bay, but occasionally making awkward attempts to engage them. Some of the highlights of Putin’s first hundred days.

CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS One of Putin’s first actions as president was to appoint as presidential envoy to the Ural Mountains region a hard-faced tank factory worker named Igor Kholmanskikh, who had no formal qualifications for the job. His main selling point: Kholmanskikh had earned Putin’s gratitude by appearing on national television, vowing that he and his co-workers were ready to come to Moscow to fight protesters who had started rising up en masse.

The appointment underlined Putin’s characterization of the protesters as a pampered and deluded elite and suggested he could try to exploit class resentments. “He has rejected pretensions of being the president of all Russia … he has started to work exclusively with the image of ‘the leader of the simple people’,” author and commentator Boris Akunin wrote in his blog this week.

CONTROVERSIAL LAWS Under one of the signature measures passed during Putin’s first 100 days, the maximum fine for participating in unauthorized protests shot up 150 times, to 300,000 rubles (about $9,000). Authorities so far have given permission to hold occasional mass protests, but that leash could be reeled in at any time.

Soon afterward came a law requiring non-governmental organizations engaging in ill-defined “political activity” and receiving money from abroad to register as foreign agents. The law reinforces Putin’s repeated claims that the United States and the West are funding efforts against him and plays to the strong streak of nationalism in Russia. But it could also be read as a tacit confession of weakness — that a vast and proud country is nonetheless very vulnerable.

Another new law calls for a blacklist to ban websites that carry content deemed harmful to children. But the list itself will be kept secret and critics say the law could be used to shut down troublesome pro-opposition sites.

CLUMSY CONCILIATION Amid the flurry of tough and ominous measures, Putin has made a couple of small attempts to appear less rigid, though with questionable success. In a visit to a camp for politically active youth, Putin said his notorious remark likening the opposition demonstrators’ white ribbon symbol to condoms wasn’t intended as an insult. Instead, he said, he meant he was offended that they were using a foreign-inspired political “technology.”

Two weeks ago, he said he hoped the punishment for Pussy Riot’s guerrilla performance in Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral would not be “too severe.” That skirted the question of whether the past five months that the band members have spent in jail wasn’t severe.

WHAT’S AHEAD With more than 2,000 days to go in his current term, Putin faces some significant challenges. Most immediately, the opposition will try to revive the mass demonstrations that went on hiatus during the summer vacation season. Organizers have called for the next one in Moscow to be held Sept. 15. There’s no word yet on whether city authorities will give permission for it, and whether large numbers of protesters would risk running afoul of the new tough law on unauthorized demonstrations.

Much of Putin’s power stems from the prosperity that took hold of Russia during his previous terms. But that hinges to a large extent on oil and gas exports, both of which are vulnerable. Extensive shale gas development outside Russia could reduce revenues for the Kremlin’s coffers and deprive Russia of some of the political leverage it has overseas.

But Putin has at least one presumably happy time to look forward to — the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Winning the bid was a standout moment of his previous time in the Kremlin and he’s sure to put the full force of his power into holding games that will attract millions of admiring eyes to Russia.

Iran to launch Russian TV channel

Sat Sep 17, 2011

Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarghami has announced Tehran’s willingness to launch a satellite channel for audiences in Russian-speaking countries.

Launching a Russian-language television network is a top priority for the IRIB, Zarghami said upon returning from a visit to Ukraine.

The senior Iranian official referred to his meetings with the Ukrainian media, cultural and academic figures, and noted that Iranian-made TV productions have been well received in Ukraine, IRIB reported on Friday.

The IRIB chief pointed out that a number of movies, TV series and cartoons produced by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and subtitled in Russian have been delivered to Ukraine.

Zarghami also said the Russian-language channel will find its audience like other Iranian television networks.

The channel will be broadcasted from the IRIB studios in Tehran and its distribution will soon be secured on satellites beaming to Europe. It will also be streamed online as part of a multiplatform plan.

IRIB’s Russian TV will be the fourth specialized channel to be launched by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, following the appearance of the Arabic language Al-Alam television network, round-the-clock English language Press TV and Spanish-language Hispan TV.

The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to reach out to Latin America with Spanish-language Hispan TV to explain its “ideological legitimacy.”

As a large part of the world’s population speaks Spanish, we will start a network (in Spanish) within the next few months, Zarghami announced in the Iranian capital of Tehran in September 2010.

“This new Spanish network will have a major role in reflecting the ideological legitimacy of our system to the world,” he noted.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/199594.html.

Russian agent urges missile strikes against 4 European countries, the “Kavkaz Center sites”

13 September 2011

A Russian agent in Finland, renegade priest Juha Molari, urged Russian military and the KGB to carry out missile bombings of 4 European countries which, according to his spy data, are sites of activities of the Kavkaz Center. Earlier, the agent gave full names of the citizens of these countries (non-Muslim and non-Caucasian) who are to be eliminated by the KGB for having ties with the Kavkaz Center, an ideological enemy of Putin’s totalitarian Russia.

In his Sunday sermon, delivered on his Internet blog on September 11, 2001, the priest of the Finnish Lutheran Church writes:

“I do not understand why the Russian army does not follow the example of the war, the Americans wage against the axis of evil. If the Russian army were to follow the American model to combat terrorist networks, it would have destroy Georgia and Turkey for all times.

Georgia harbors and supports a large number of North Caucasian terrorists. In Turkey live or have lived in for many years Movladi Udugov, Dokku Umarov and Shamil Basayev.

Russian Iskander missiles could hit the targets in Helsinki, the Baltic region (earlier, the Russian agent mentioned a specific target in Estonia – KC), Austria, and Oslo, because these are strategic and tactical locations of the members of the terrorist group of Maskhadov, Basayev and Umarov, and tolerant local politicians in these countries.

Former chairman of the organization Finrosforum, Heidi Hautala, now supports separatism in Russia. The organization continues to keep as its secretary Mikael Storsjo, the owner of the servers of the Kavkaz Center and so on”, the agent reports to Moscow on his blog.

It is worth mentioning that the current stories by Moscow KGB newspapers and some Western media that the servers of KC are located in Finland were first launched by Juha Molari.

The Russian agent watched a documentary film on Finnish TV about the Kavkaz Center with the participation of Mikael Storsjo, a Finnish businessman and human rights activist. Mr. Storjo demonstrated his company’s servers his Helsinki office, linked to his customers.

In about 2 weeks after the film had been shown on Finnish TV, priest Molari got a “brillaint idea” and came to an idiotic conclusion that these had been the servers of the Kavkaz Center and he reported about that to his bosses in Moscow Center, using sermons on his Internet blog. The Molari’s story was quickly picked up by the Russian KGB-controlled media and reprinted in Western press. And nobody among the journalist ever asked how it was possible that the Kavkaz Center could operate from servers in Finland, having a Swedish IP and a Sweden’s provider.

Last year, the Russian agent Molari urged the KGB to organize terrorist attacks against the Kavkaz Center, to blow up our servers and kill our editors and journalists. He posted his appeal on YouTube.

Molari also publicly declared that he wants to see “the Kavkaz Center destroyed and the KC journalists executed”.

It is to be recalled that Juha Molari has been defrocked and removed from pastoral duties in the parish of Helsinki suburb of Espoo for incitement of hatred. After that, the KGB propaganda channel Russia Today offered Molari to work at their channel as a news analyst.

Department of Monitoring
Kavkaz Center

Source: Kavkaz Center.
Link: http://kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2011/09/13/15114.shtml.

Russian parliament passes restrictions on NGOs

July 13, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s lower house of parliament on Friday passed a bill imposing new restrictions on non-governmental organizations that receive funding from abroad.

Although the bill, which is almost certain to pass the upper house and be signed into law by the president, does not prohibit any organization’s operation, it is likely to create a chilling effect on groups’ activities. It reflects the suspicion of the West and the fear of rising opposition sentiment held by President Vladimir Putin and his backers in the governing United Russia party.

The bill also adds strain to Russia’s relations with Western countries. WHAT THE BILL DOES The bill requires any NGO that receives foreign funding — from governments, groups or private citizens — and engages in political activity to register itself as a “foreign agent,” provide detailed reports of its finances and identify itself as a foreign agent in any material it distributes.

WHY THIS IS OF CONCERN TO NGOS “Foreign agent” is a loaded term for many Russians schooled in the country’s longstanding self-image as an exceptionalist nation beleaguered by foreign malefactors ranging from Napoleon’s troops to Nazi Germany. If an organization identifies itself as a foreign agent, that could undermine its credibility among Russians.

The bill’s definition of political activity is so wide and vague that almost any initiative could be considered political, especially if it proposes new legislation or makes even tacit criticism of current conditions.

The financial-reporting requirements could be expensive and inconvenient for organizations with small staffs and shoestring budgets. In addition, the bill can be seen as a reminder to NGOs that they are under close and probably unsympathetic scrutiny.

WHY THE BILL IS USEFUL TO THE KREMLIN Putin and his circle have long exploited suspicion of foreign involvement in the country. He accused Western governments of trying to influence last December’s parliamentary elections. A state-owned national television channel denounced Golos, the country’s only independent election-monitoring organization, showing suitcases full of dollars the group allegedly had received.

After those fraud-tainted elections set off an unprecedented wave of massive protests, Putin accused the demonstrators of being in the pay of Washington. Although he won a new term as president in March, Putin is under increasing criticism in Russian society and even in the once-submissive parliament. The bill appears to be an attempt at limiting future challenges.

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES Putin has proposed tripling the amount of state funding given to non-governmental organizations, to three billion rubles ($10 million). Although that could compensate for a reduction in foreign funding for NGOs, it is unclear how the money would be apportioned and any NGO critical of the Kremlin can probably count on little or any of it.

Most NGOs have said they would comply if the bill becomes law. But Lyudmila Alexeyeva, leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of the country’s oldest human rights organizations, said Friday that “as soon as this law comes into effect, from that day we will refuse foreign grants” rather than register as a foreign agent.

RECENT ACTIONS AFFECTING OPPOSITION Last month, Putin signed a law sharply increasing the punishment for taking part in an unauthorized protest rallies to 300,000 rubles ($9,000), close to the average annual income in Russia. Although officials gave authorization for several of the massive protests over the winter, authorities historically have been reluctant to give such permission and there are fears the recent relative liberality will be curtailed.

On Friday, Parliament voted to recriminalize libel and slander, just six months after it was decriminalized and made an administrative offense. Although the recriminalization removes the threat of prison terms, it raises the maximum fine to 5 million rubles ($165,000).

Activists worry that the libel law could be used against them “The law about meetings, the law on NGOs, the law on libel, it’s all one train and they’re probably thinking up something else,” Alexeyeva told the Interfax news agency.

EFFECT ON FOREIGN RELATIONS Within hours of the bill’s passage, Foreign Ministry official Konstantin Dolgov issued an aggrieved denunciation of earlier U.S. State Department expressions of concern about the legislation.

“Such approaches cannot be perceived other than as attempts of absolutely inappropriate and gross interference in the activities of Russian government bodies and a sovereign lawmaking process,” Dolgov said in a statement. The accusation of interference in domestic affairs is a frequent Russian response to foreign criticism.

Also Friday, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s charge d’affaires to express concern about the bill.

Ukraine activists protest Russia language bill

July 05, 2012

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — About 1,000 opposition activists were rallying in the capital of Ukraine on Thursday to protest legislation upgrading the status of the Russian language.

The Ukrainian parliament passed the bill Tuesday that would allow the use of Russian in courts, education and other government institutions in Russian-speaking regions of the country. Members of Ukraine’s pro-Western opposition say that such a law would effectively smother the Ukrainian language by removing any incentive for millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians to learn it. They also say it would bring Ukraine back into the Russian orbit and torpedo its efforts to forge closer ties with the European Union.

The activists — mostly students, dressed in traditional embroidered shirts — gathered Thursday outside a government building in the capital, Kiev. Some of them waved national flags and chanted “East and West together!” and “No to the split of Ukraine!” Riot police in full gear stood by.

Seven opposition lawmakers who announced a hunger strike against the legislation on Wednesday were among the demonstrators. Lawmakers loyal to President Viktor Yanukovych, who draws his support from the Russian-speaking east and south, rushed the bill through the parliament, without giving the opposition much chance to oppose it in a debate. Parliament’s speaker, whose signature on the bill is required before it is given to the president, resigned in protest.

Ukraine’s jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko sent a message of support to the protesters from a prison in the country’s east where she is serving a seven-year term for abuse of office. “Yanukovych has declared war not only on opposition and specific democratic values, but on independent Ukraine as it is,” she said in a statement posted on her website. “He has challenged the entire nation.”

The controversial bill has yet to be signed by the president to become law. Tuesday’s passage of the legislation caused clashes between protesters and riot police.

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