Friday, November 28, 2014

Kazakhstan Moves To Ban 'Illegal' IS Video Showing Training Of Kazakh Children

A grab from the video, titled "Race Toward Good," released via the Islamic State militant group's Al Hayat website, showing Kazakh nationals, including children, in training in Syria.

Kazakhstan has banned new Islamic State (IS) video that shows Kazakh nationals, including children, participating in training exercises in Syria, according to Kazakh and Russian media reports.

The 15-minute video, titled "Race Toward Good," was released on November 22 by IS's media wing, Al Hayat.

In response to the video, the Kazakh Prosecutor-General's Office issued a statement on November 24 saying that it was taking legal steps to prevent access to the video, to deem it illegal, and to prohibit its distribution in Kazakhstan, citing the country's Communications Law.

The video "showed Kazakh citizens residing in Syria and involved in fighting with a terrorist organization. An investigation showed that the content of the video is aimed at the promotion and justification of terrorist activity," the statement said.

"According to Kazakh law, propaganda and justifications of terrorism are prohibited. In order to avoid legal consequences, the Prosecutor-General's Office warns of the need for the strict observance of the law and urges [people] to refrain from disseminating the banned film or individual scenes from it," the statement added.

The video, which has English, Russian, and Arabic subtitles, invites viewers to "meet some of our newest brothers from the land of Kazakhstan" and shows a group of Kazakh nationals taking part in a training camp. A Kazakh militant then explains in Russian that these men are new recruits to IS.

Later in the video, another Russian-speaking masked militant describes what he says is a sniper training camp for the "jamaat [military group] of Kazakh brothers."

The militant says that the Kazakh militants are being trained to use different types of rifles.

Significantly, none of the militants shown in the sniper training class are wearing masks, showing that they are not concerned about their identities being known. 

The video also shows Kazakh children, who are also part of the jamaat, being taught in a school. Their Kazakh teacher explains in Kazakh that in Kazakhstan, children were "raised on the methodology of atheism...the kuffar [infidels] poisoned our minds."

The children are also given military training. One of the children is interviewed in Arabic and says that when he grows up, he will be "the one who slaughters you, O kuffar [infidels]. I will be a mujahid [jihad fighter]."

Another screengrab from IS video titled "Race Toward Good," showing Kazakh children and adults in training in Syria.
Another screengrab from IS video titled "Race Toward Good," showing Kazakh children and adults in training in Syria.

A Significant Message From IS To Kazakhstan

This message -- that IS has attracted fresh recruits from Kazakhstan -- is a significant one. 

The release of the video coincided with an announcement by Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB) Chairman Nurtai Abykaev, who said that there are about 300 Kazakh nationals fighting with IS, of which 150 were women. This figure is apparently based on a video published on the Internet in November 2013, which showed a group of about 150 Kazakh militants who said they had joined IS. The militants said that they had brought their wives and children with them.

By releasing a video that specifically claims new Kazakh recruits have joined IS, the extremist group is implying that the KNB's figure of 300 militants -- the November 2013 figure -- is likely higher.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

The Week Ahead: November 24-30

November 25-27: Czech President Milos Zeman visits Tajikistan.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

Follow Me on Pinterest

MONDAY, November 24:
Belarus/EURepresentatives of Belarus and the European Union hold talks on visa liberalization and readmission in Brussels (to November 25).
Europe: Vienna hosts the Central European Initiative Summit.

EU: European Parliament's Plenary Session opens in Strasbourg (to November 27).

Kazakhstan/Czech Republic: Czech President Milos Zeman visits Astana (to November 25).
Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan: Uzbek President Islam Karimov visits Astana (to November 25).

TUESDAY, November 25:
Bosnia-HerzegovinaStatehood Day.
Tajikistan/Czech Republic: Czech President Milos Zeman visits Dushanbe (to November 27).
The Vatican: Pope Francis is scheduled to address the European Parliament and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
WEDNESDAY, November 26:
Russia/Syria: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem visits Moscow (to November 27).
THURSDAY, November 27:
Russia/CoE: Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland visits Moscow (to November 29).
Ukraine:  EU's new neighborhood and enlargement negotiation commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Kyiv (to November 28).

FRIDAY, November 28:
The Vatican/TurkeyPope Francis visits Ankara and Istanbul (to November 30). 
SATURDAY, November 29:
SUNDAY, November 30:

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

Eight Tweets That Show How The Maidan Is Being Remembered Differently

People brought flowers to Independence Square on November 21, 2014, in memory of those killed during the antigovernment protests that started one year ago.

On November 21, 2013, Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayyem called on Ukrainians to come to Kyiv's Independence Square -- the Maidan. He did so in a tweet.

The tweet, and an accompanying call on Facebook, helped draw protesters to the center of Kyiv to protest then-President Viktor Yanukovych abrupt decision to back out of a deal sealing closer ties with the European Union.

In his tweet, Nayyem asked people to meet in the square at 10:30 p.m., to dress warmly, and to bring umbrellas, tea, coffee, and friends.

One year later, Yanukovych is living in Russia after fleeing Ukraine, Russia has annexed Crimea, parts of eastern Ukraine remain under the control of pro-Moscow separatists, and Ukraine has a new government that faces daunting economic, political, and military challenges.

And the seminal event of the Maidan remains as divisive as ever on Twitter, where some pro-Ukrainian accounts are posting remembrances of the event, while pro-Russian tweeters are marking it with memes and trolling.

From the account @MaidanHistory:

From @euromaidan: "As we once wrote: Maidan now."


From the @EuromaidanPR account:


From blogger Taras Revunets (@ukroblogger):


Pro-Kremlin tweeter Konstantin Rykov (@rykov) posted, "Anniversary of the Maidan. The game looks at an ominous prophecy," adding a link and a screenshot to an online game of Ukraine in a civil war in 2017.

From the @anti_maydan account:

What did Maidan give you?

Faith in a better tomorrow!

But why do you need poverty tomorrow?

From @RussiansForward:


"Congratulations Ukraine on the anniversary of the Maidan," this tweet reads. "Thanks Maidan for Crimea."

The picture says,"They froze, they starved, they died, but nonetheless they stood up for the long-held dream of Crimeans to live in Russia." 

And finally this from Mark Sleboda, a "political analyst" for the Kremlin-funded network RT:


-- Luke Johnson


RFE/RL Discussion: Who Is Islamic State?

Even if you missed the live broadcast, you can still watch our video discussion of the methods and activities of the brutal militant group Islamic State (IS). 

This edition of RFE/RLive features Joanna Paraszczuk, author of RFE/RL's Under The Black Flag blog, which provides daily news and analysis about IS in Iraq and Syria and examines the response to the group in the Arab world, Iran, and across the former Soviet Union.

She was joined by RFE/RL Regional Broadcasting Director for Iran and Iraq Mardo Soghom to talk about who controls IS, whether it functions under a unified command, and whether its leading personalities are indeed the masterminds they appear to be.

Watch it here:

The Week Ahead: November 17-23

Ukraine -- People attend a commemoration ceremony at a monument for Holodomor victims in Kyiv, November 23, 2013

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

Follow Me on Pinterest

MONDAY, November 17:
AzerbaijanNational Revival Day.

EU: European Union's Foreign Affairs Council begins meeting in Brussels (to November 18).
KazakhstanUN Committee against Torture reviews Kazakhstan in Geneva (to November 18).
Russia/Iran: Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin visits Tehran.
Ukraine: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin visits Brussels, meets with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
TUESDAY, November 18:
Germany/Russia/Ukraine: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Kyiv and Moscow (to November 19).

Russia/Belarus: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Minsk.
Turkmenistan/Italy: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzimakes visits Ashgabat.
Ukraine/Norway: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg makes an official visit to Kyiv.
UK/Russia: The Henry Jackson Society in London hosts a discussion titled "Five Years from the Death of Sergei Magnitsky."
UN: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) publishes its State of World Population 2014 report.
U.S./Czech Republic: Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and unveil a bust of the late Czech President Vaclav Havel in the Capitol, the seat of the U.S. Congress.
WEDNESDAY, November 19:
Montenegro/NATOMontenegrin Justice Minister Dusko Markovic visits Brussels, meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

THURSDAY, November 20:
EU/Serbia: EU's new neighborhood and enlargement negotiation commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Belgrade.
MoldovaUkrainian and Polish Presidents Petro Poroshenko and Bronislaw Komorowski visit Chisinau in show of support for Moldova’s pro-European course.
NATO/Baltic States: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visits Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (to November 21).
Turkey: Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit opens in Istanbul (to November 21).

UK/Russia: Chatham House in London holds a discussion titled "Russian Energy: The New International Context."

FRIDAY, November 21:
Azerbaijan: Baku hosts the 43rd session of the European Olympic Committee (to November 22).
Montenegro:  EU's new neighborhood and enlargement negotiation commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Podgorica.
Ukraine: The first anniversary of the Ukrainian protest movement known as Euromaidan that swept former President Viktor Yanukovych.
U.S./Russia: U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller visits Moscow (to November 22).
U.S./Ukraine: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Kyiv.
SATURDAY, November 22:
SUNDAY, November 23:
Russia: The eighth anniversary of ex-KGB officer turned Kremlin critic Aleksandr Litvinenko's death in London.

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

The Week Ahead: November 10-16

Russia -- Natalya Magnitskaya, mother of Sergei Magnitsky, attends a commemoration of her son at Sakharov Center in Moscow.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

Follow Me on Pinterest

MONDAY, November 10:
China: Beijing hosts the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit (to November 11).
Iran/U.S./EUIran, the United States, and the European Union hold talks in Oman over Tehran's nuclear program.
Kazakhstan/Germany: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Astana.
Kyrgyzstan/Turkmenistan: Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev makes an official visits to Ashgabat.
Serbia/Albania: Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama makes a historic visit to Belgrade, the first by an Albanian head of government to Belgrade in 68 years.
TUESDAY, November 11:
Georgia/Kazakhstan: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visits Astana (to November 12).
Kazakhstan/EU: Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov visits Brussels (to November 13). 
Ukraine: A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) begins work in Ukraine (to November 25).
WEDNESDAY, November 12:
EU: European Parliament's Plenary Session starts in Brussels (to November 13).
Macedonia/Greece: New York hosts a new round of UN-mediated talks between Macedonia and Greece over the use of the name "Macedonia."

THURSDAY, November 13:
Croatia: Split hosts the NATO-Industry Forum 2014.
EU/Moldova: European Parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on the Association Agreement with Moldova.
Iran/Azerbaijan: Iranian President Hassan Rohani visits Baku (to November 13).
MoldovaMoldovan Parliament Speaker Igor Corman visits Brussels, meets with European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
Russia: Russia’s Supreme Court reviews the Russian government’s lawsuit to liquidate Memorial, the country's oldest and best-known human rights organization.
Tajikistan/Iran: An Iranian industrial exhibition opens in Dushanbe (to November 15).
FRIDAY, November 14:
Russia/Serbia: Russian Patriarch Kirill visits Belgrade (to November 16).
SATURDAY, November 15:
Australia: Brisbane hosts the Group of Twenty (G20) summit (to November 16).
Georgia: Supporters of former President Mikheil Saakashvili plan rally in Tbilisi.
SUNDAY, November 16:

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

'Sit At Home And Embroider' -- Ukrainian Rebel Sparks Debate On Women's Rights

Ukrainian rebel commander Aleksei Mozgovoi (file photo)

It appeared to be the first sign of discontent in the packed eastern Ukraine auditorium. 

Shortly after the "People's Tribunal of Novorossia," had overwhelmingly approved a death sentence for an alleged rapist, a feared separatist commander opined on the causes of such crimes against women. 

In a video of the October event in the Luhansk region city of Alchevsk, Aleksandr Mozgovoi, dressed in a black beret and military fatigues, announces a ban on women going to bars and clubs on pain of arrest and instead commands them to "sit at home and embroider."

Some in the makeshift courtroom can be heard audibly groaning. 

"You don't like this, huh?" he asks. 

Anastasiya Pyaterikova, a former stripper who has become a prominent face of the Luhansk separatists, does not.

"You’ve gone too far, Mozgovoi!" the "Luhansk Guard" member wrote on VKontakte, a Russian-language social network, on November 5.  "Don’t you think you're taking a lot on??? What right have you got to arrest women, and even more so to lay down your orders??? Have you got women trouble? That's how it looks."
Pyaterikova, a leader of the "anti-Maidan" movement, is known both for racy pictures of her pole-dancing online and for her brief flight from Ukraine to Russia when she fell under Kyiv security surveillance earlier this year.  

Continuing her attack on Mozgovoi, Pyaterikova wrote: "Got carried away and decided you were almighty? Don't anger honest people. Or else we'll quickly do away with your cult."  

'Wasted Chicks In Miniskirts'

But, in a heated debate on a pro-separatist VKontakte forum, some backed the goateed commander, who once dabbled in poetry. 

"In wartime, this is exactly the right approach," says Alisa Kudashova. "The city is filled with the brutalized blood of men and yet here wasted chicks in miniskirts will still wander around at night. Protecting women from violence is absolutely right." 

Her views were backed by Maksim Gorodetsky, a Donetsk resident, who accused women who disagreed with him of being "feminists" (or worse). "In wartime it's better for young women to stay at home," he wrote.

When Yury Belousov, identified as a resident of Mariupol -- a key port city in southern Ukraine that separatists have threatened to capture from Kyiv -- suggested that the law should be modified so that young married women can go out at night in the company of their men, Gorodetsky fired back with apparent condescension: 

"Yury, let me repeat myself: [What you've described] is not a girl, but a woman with her lawful husband!"  

However, the men in the conversation who supported Mozgovoi's edict appeared unable to deflect the words of several commenters who pointed out the hypocrisy of preventing only women from frequenting local taverns. 

"War doesn't divide men and women," said Tatiana Nikulina, who is identified on VKontakte as a Moscow resident. "I think that if there's a state of war then, in principle, all of the bars should be closed...let's be honest here though -- war is war, but if the city continues to go about its life in spite of everything no one should be poking their noses into the lives of grown adults." 

More than 4,000 people have died since April in fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

ALSO READ: Ukraine Separatists Dole Out Summary Justice

Mozgovoi, who has stood by the death sentence handed down at the extrajudicial hearing, has apparently faced enough local pressure to walk back his comments on punishments for women. 

"No one is going to be arrested," the apparently offended commander of the Prizrak ("Phantom") battalion told the Govorit Moskva radio station in an interview. "But the situation is beyond comprehension for me. We put the rapists of these very women on trial, but an outcry arises over the fact that a woman is prevented from having an extra shot of vodka." 

-- Tom Balmforth, Glenn Kates

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Most Popular