Sunday, October 26, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: Russia's Looming Ukraine Hangover

Too many shots of Strelkov?
Too many shots of Strelkov?

The nationalists are feeling betrayed and they're getting restless. The public is getting nervous about the costs of absorbing Crimea. The elite is getting jittery about the effect of sanctions. And the infighting among the siloviki over the spoils of war is intensifying.

After every party, comes a hangover. And as we all know, hangovers are no fun.

In the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," we discuss Russia's new normal in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

Joining me are Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows"; Kirill Kobrin, editor of the Moscow-based history and sociology magazine"Neprikosnovenny zapas"; and Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and author of "Sean's Russia Blog."

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Podcast -- July 11, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- July 11, 2014i
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by: Anonymous
July 11, 2014 18:13
all this is simply fantasy of RFE
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 12, 2014 09:23
What did you expect, Anonymous: Hillary told the RFE/RL to write a "story" on how Russia will have a "hangover" - so they have to write it. And if not, you know - the labour market is volatile :-)).
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 13, 2014 21:02
You know Hillary isn't in the government anymore? If you're going to have a conspiracy theory, try to at least keep an eye on who would be in charge.
In Response

by: Sasha from: Moscow, Russian Federatio
July 14, 2014 01:52
Sadly this is the reality of THE WORLD
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 15, 2014 15:10
Dear Anonymous, call it a conspiracy theory if you wish, but the ones in the US govt are not necessarily the ones who run the show in Washington DC. For example, the AIPAC has never been in the US govt, but - as anyone knows - these are the guys that pull strings behind all the Washington clowns, be it Hillary Clinton, sen McCain or Brian Whitmore.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 11, 2014 18:22
Aha, Russia is going to have a hang-over, Baschar al-Assad's days are numbered, George W Bush "accomplished" his "mission" in Iraq in 2003... Interesting and orginal stories...
What is happening in Ukraine now is the following: representatives of the Dnepropetrovsk clan are intensifying the massacre in order to distract the attention of the population from how this clan is eliminating its competitors from the economic arena (look, for ex., at Kolomoysky's call to "nationalize the possessions of those oligarchs who supports separatists").
In the meantime, this very clan is carring out hasty privatizations - in order to grab what remains in the state ownership (for ex., the Ukrnafta society - guess who will obtain it as a result of the privatization).
And normal people are already experiencing the beauties of this new life: hot water has been switched off for households in Kiew and Kharkiw, gas supplies to housholds have been cut by 30 % nationwide.
Welcome to this beautiful prosperous life that Victoria Nuland promised!
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 12, 2014 10:11
Real Problem for future of ukr
is when war will finish
and all this militias will be still existing and pretending to have their slice of cake .
Than ukr will be very near to somalia or libia .
Isn't a coincidence if julia Timoshenko is reported forming her own militia .
The future of ukr will be very similar to its past
When this land was in a permanent chaos situation
with bands of cosaks ridding all over the country
Good luck to people who lives in the country that don't exist
named ukraine
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 12, 2014 18:16
Hi, Anonymous, competely agree with your assessment that "ukr will be very near to somalia or libia". As far as Julia planning to form her own militia: only logical, just a "normal" security dilemma mechanism - once your neighbour starts forming a militia, you simply have to assume that he might use the latter to attack you and form a militia of your own in order to be ready to respond.
The critical moment will most likel be this coming winter: once Ukraine runs out of the gas it currently has, it will start stealing gas from the pipeline that channels the Russian gas to Europe. Russia will then switch off its gas supplies altogether, so Ukrainians will unfortunately have to sit in cold appts in the month of December. And it will simply be too late to take any measures at that point: the country (just as you said) will just desintegrate into a conglomerate of warring regions, so Russia will have a chance of picking and chosing the ones it wants to have.

by: Jack from: US
July 11, 2014 18:26
the whole story about Ukraine can be expressed in one sentence:
the Ukraine is such a dumpster even Putin does not want it

by: Mamuka
July 11, 2014 22:05
To paraphrase the American humorist Mark Twain, the reports of the demise of Putin's power may be greatly exaggerated.

If Putin's Russia does indeed have a hangover, I hope they do not try to find their pokhmelye in Georgia. As the podcast notes, something has to be done with all the armed men from the "People's Republics."

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 12, 2014 11:44
POROSHENKO:
YATCENUK:
PUTIN:
_____________________________________________
It becoming apparent that real "Separatists" are Russian professional secret armies, GRU-Spetcnaz, infiltrating not unlike battalions of Yamadaev, Timmerman and "Zapad", only fiasco of Russia that enslave and repopulate "Slavic World" make them more careful than in Abkhazia or S. Ossetia.
____________
Not too careful.
They leave trail of kidnapping, torture and killings of prisoners and civilians.
They are at the brake of unleashing in open "Beslan" scale crimes, forged once by GRU.
They loosing hope to enslave again Ukrainians, at least in East Ukraine (Na koleni rab Hohol!), but they don't leave.
Why not?
Waiting order from Russia?
Staying as leverage?
What Russia wants?
To bargain for equal partnership of Ukraine with EU and Russia?
But it was offered by Ukraine from beginning!
Let's wait for coming negotiating of Ukraine, EU and Russia.
Still, why people have to be killed?
Are Russian leaders and GRU condemned their men to commit war crimes and be exterminated?
Or they still hope conquer Ukraine, to scream: "Na Koleni!"?
It went far enough - Russia becoming enemy of Caucasian Race and Human Civilization, including lured by Russian propaganda Slavs and Eastern Christians!


In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 16, 2014 07:12
PS:
I have to offer new-old terminology to call evil of Russia.
Some used "Russkie bl..i" - unfair to good half of Russians.
Some used "Varyazhskie s..ki" - unfair to some Varags in
number of countries, or so they say, affiliating too by error.
Why not use well known name "double-faced Stervyatnik"
for Czarist Tyranny and "Bolshevik Stervyatnik" for red Tyranny?
Or simply "Stervyatnik" for any Russian tyranny, specially because they attempt to merge?
Or, if angry - "Pleshivyiy Stervyatnik"…

1.
_____________________________________________
Ukraine was for 300 years betrayed, plundered-enslaved
by "pleshivyiy Stervyatnik".
East Ukraine had substantiall influx of Russian occupiers,
"holodomoring", bestially killing, squeezing and intimidating people, acting as stealing for Russia "tax" collectors, even in Soviet times.
"Stervyatnik" is a parasite-terrorist there: "Na koleny Hohol,"
as their bosses "Stervyatrniks" in Russia and formerly occupied republics, with their secret armies, including
"oboroten's" that destroy lives and property,
pining it on Ukraine.

2.
__________________________________________
Most of Ukrainians partially recuperated lately, not as
intimidated as Eastern Ukrainians, but still were plundered
by the same "Stervyatnik" and its influx till late Maidan
protests.
The attempt of Ukrainians be free from serfery,
when Yanukovich signed transfer of Ukraine as property
to Miller-Putin, infurriated "Sterrvyatnik" answered by bullets
and perpetual invasion by GRU-Spetcnaz.

3.
______________________________________________
West Ukraine at large is like most of Ukrainians, only they
have minorities of once parts of neighboring countries,
before WW2, including those that were fighting for free
Ukraine since Russian Revolution, but some of them
forced by "Stervyatnik's" hate and later Nazi Germany
fought on the wrong side of the Global war.
War criminals died in combat, the rest got amnesty,
however, when Stalin was put under house arrest in1947,
KGB and Army of "Stervyatnik" started force some of them
and their children snitch for "Stervyatnik" and even
act as pseudo-pro-Nazis - use it to blame Ukrainians for
trying be free.
Leaving aside national question, Ukraine must be
independent country and live in dignity.
West Ukrainians must be careful not to be used by invading
"Stervyatnik" as "Zhupel" for invasion.

4.
__________________
Errors of CIS nations...
(Will continue)
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 21, 2014 04:40
"ERRORS" OF CIS NATONS:

All that enable Russia to do things to other nations was forged
by Russian ruling race (and its military), Varag-Prussak,
through history, last time since 1947-49, specially since
secret pact with Bechtel and Brits, 1954-56.
Old nomenclature in USSR was replaced by those that had no honor of independence of their nations, even it was limited in USSR.
New leaders are about the same, mind controlled by KGB-GRU.
It is why Russian imperial "Stervyatnik" so easy made one
after another leaders of Belorussia, Kazakhstan and some
others, including Yanukovich, sign agreement with Russia
to give-up as property land, industries, housing and people
and be serfs of Moscow.
It is why Ukraine's people protested.
Read bible!
NO NATION'S PROPERTY, LAND OR FREEDOM SHEL BE
TAKEN AWAY, NEITHER BY FORCE NOR BY MONEY!
________________________________________________
Leaders of former USSR republics and E. European countries
weather installed, or misunderstand, or hypnotized by Russian
agencies, if they agree their nations vanish as property of Russia.

1.
Friendship of non-Russian nations that built USSR property
was never sheared by ethnic ruling race of Varyag-Prussak.
They offer to Russia mutually beneficial trade and projects,
but Russia don't accept it.
Russia pressure them to be part of new Russian Union, with
repossession all they own by Moscow elite and becoming
also property, like serfs.
If not, they force them to be part of EU controlled by Germans,
blame them for it, invade, conquer and promise parts of E. Europe countries to Germany and Austria, according to 1954
pact, as it was in Czarist times.

2.
It is where are all pre-planed by "Stervyatnik" errors.
Any nation must be free and live in dignity.
Any region of E. Europe and former USSR can as they wish
cooperate with each other as regional common wealth.
Regional Common Wealth or country can be part of larger
common Wealth, not necessary only one, like EU and CIS.
That would, with prudent legal agreements, make progress
much better that in former USSR, expanding possibilities
of human and other resources for mutual beneficial trade,
projects and assistance.
Russia sabotage it externally and internally.
They using stolen gas and oil to pipe it to partners in 1954
pact, resurrect colonial empires, to supply and addict them,
to ask them built in Russia industries, steal for elite of pact
partners billions, while conquering E. Europe and C. Asia.
Putin said they still need Ukrainian motors and rockets,
as security excuse for aggression.
But Russia refused for number of years buy it from Ukraine,
building similar plant by Germans.
What happened with it Putin? German project is just an outlet
to transfer stolen money, as was once "Villuy", built all too long
by Bechtel?
Ukraine always liked to trade with Russia and CIS, it is Russia
that blockade all neighbors, wile dancing on Bundfershaft with
imperial pact partners!

(Will continue)


In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 21, 2014 04:44
3.
CIS Leaders, knowing or not, don't state clearly their positions
internationally and publicly.
Russia installed provocateurs in all former republics.
Pro-Russian Yanukovich sold Ukraine to Russia - didn't work.
In Ukraine few KGB-GRU Russian occupiers agents played
"Bandera" - it didn't work, Maidan asked Lviv block them from
coming there.
Still Russian prepared propaganda unleashed lies about "Nazi
Ukraine invading Russia" - don't work.
It would be expected new President would be more clear on the issue of EU and Russia, but he still saying that Ukraine is Europe (as say Saakasahvili) and that they ended forever with their old soviet past.
It isn't clear even for me.
Who is hypnotizing them and why?
Are, ordered by Russian spies, they subconsciously mislead
West, for Russia to conquer the World?
Georgian, Ukrainian and other CIS nations were never
"Chakalka" bitch to lure World into crick full of Russian
hyenas!
Their leaders must state clear - they are independent nations
and want just trade and project with West and East.
They must say clear that security matters are threatened by
Russia and non-Russians ask for international assistance
only as minimal self-defense from Russian invaders, as it goes.
______________________________________
Will Russians withdraw from invaded countries?
Maybe not - but all World must be clear about the truth.
I don't think Russia, even its bloody "Stervyatnik", is mad
enough with whole truth known to the World drag the World
into Global war.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 12, 2014 18:28
by the way, guys, you might have noticed that Putin has just visited Cuba and Nicaragua and is heading to Buenos Aires where he will meet presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Once Russia has installed its ICBMs in South America, it seems to me that someone else is going to have a hangover :-)).
And as Che used to say: "Hasta la victoria siempre!"
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 14, 2014 05:10
And in the meantime, the BRICS (Brasil, Russia, India, China, S. Africa) will sign tomorrow (Tuesday) a treaty that will create a BRICS Development Bank that will rival with the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, WB) which will render yet another blow to the US hopeless aspirations of dominating the global finance. One more reason for someone to have a hangover...
Source: http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/07/13/actualidad/1405270597_195035.html
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 14, 2014 13:28
VIDEO: The Truthseeker: 'Genocide' in Eastern Ukraine (E43) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JFY6Xug6X8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

by: American Tolerast
July 12, 2014 22:44
Vova's parting gift will be to make the civilized world miss his comparatively sane company, because now inevitably his successor will be a true believer in the Russian messianic-supremacy that, to him, is mere useful idiocy for pandering to the peasants. Then it will be time to hold open our doors for all gays, Jews, Muslims, liberals, and all other designated "untermenschen" who manage to escape the Eurasian killing fields with their lives.

Absolutely nothing good can come from the cultural abyss on Europe's eastern edge. In the 90s, we let a silver-haired drunk lull us into a false sense of optimism that Russia might someday be a proper neighbor and a cultured member of the world community worthy of respect. Putin corrected us, and for that alone we should be eternally grateful to him. If not eternally, than at least for two or three decades until Russia's next contraction when we again convince ourselves with that same soothing lie from 1917 and 1991, "They're different this time. They can be trusted now."

by: JLNancy
July 13, 2014 06:02
IMO one soundbite says it all > (Mark Galeotti) "...Kremlin would be pretty stupid..."

Yeah, it is.

So...imagine a scoundrel rapes and tries to murder his victim whilst folks sit around and *chat* re how humiliated this perp-on-a-pedestal will be when his *reputation* plummets.

?!

Convince the victim, the victim's family and friends that they're supposed to CARE about such discussed sterile rationalizations.

Then persuade them that they have to politically and peacefully *negotiate* with that scoundrel (who's, also, suffering from a hangover). It'd be like talking to a head of lettuce.

*The party's over* mentality re Russia's crime is morally repugnant, asinine, arrogant and brutally stupid. NSFL

For Scoundrel Putin (and the current Putin pirates in eastern Ukraine), *crime pays*. Now, that's a bitch.


by: Anonymous
July 14, 2014 14:01
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ59APT0Zks

by: Michael Hammerschlag from: Kiev
July 16, 2014 01:28
Yes, indeed- I said Putin has unleashed titanic forces with his Crimean coup alone that would probably sweep him from power in 4-5 years. Now he is trapped with escalating and becoming more of a murderer + thug and reaping even more condemnation... and getting attacked by Russia's whack-job nationalist right for "losing the Donbass". When you breed Frankenstinian conflicts, you can't necessarily control them.

But your discussions are too sterile and lacking in moral outrage- another Maidan acquaintance of mine was just killed in the East, human rights Russian journo Andre Mirinov was a friend (killed w Italian photog by Sep mortars). For Ukrs it's not a geopolitical game- its life and death of a nation- one that had an empire 300 years before Moscow existed.

http://hammernews.com
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 16, 2014 12:21
You are absolutely right when you say that "For Ukrs it's a life and death of a nation" question, and the disintegration is, of course, going to be an inevitable consequence of the state failure process that was launched by the Euromaidan on November 21st last year.
As you see, Crimea has already successfully seceeded from Ukraine (I can imagine how happy people there are right now seeing what is going on in the rump-Ukraine).
Donbass is successfully fighting a war of secession of their own right now (the punitive action of the Kiew junta was launched more than 3 months ago (Apr. 15th) and they are nowhere close to accomplishing it.). By the month of November (in 3,5 months!!) Ukraine will have run out of the gas it currently has (according to Yats), Russia will have discontinued its supplies of natural gas to Europe throught the "Friendship" pipeline - so, people in Kiew, Lemberg and Dnipropertowsk will be sitting in their cold appts with temperatures of 20 below zero on the street.
What do you expect to happen to Ukraine then? Of course: a compelte economic collapse and the disintegration of the rump-state into a conglomerate of regions warring with each other.
And Russia will then jump it and pick up bits and pieces of what used to be known of Ukraine - the bits and pieces it needs, of course.
Alles gute, Michael, and liebe Grüße aus Wien! Don't forget to buy a stove that you can activate by burning wood if you plan to stay in Kiew this coming winter :-))!
In Response

by: JLNancy
July 17, 2014 07:56
ONLY a rhetorical question Eugenio etal LRT >

did the Russian Orthodox church (Third-Rome *morality*) or your own beloved mother that taught you to be such a viperous Russian troll...
or is it the: 8 hour shift, $36 a day with a cheap lunch thrown in (that one wouldn't feed a dog) job that make you a human being bereft of any Godly intelligence?

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In this space, I will regularly comment on events in Russia, repost content and tweets I find interesting and informative, and shamelessly promote myself (and others, whose work I like). The traditional Power Vertical Blog remains for larger and more developed items. The Podcast, of course, will continue to appear every Friday. I hope you find the new Power Vertical Feed to be a useful resource and welcome your feedback. More

17:49 October 24, 2014

EVENING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

PUTIN ACCUSES UNITED STATES OF 'UNILATERAL DIKTAT'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of escalating conflicts around the world by imposing what he called a "unilateral diktat."

Putin made the remarks in a combative speech to political experts at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Putin said the United States has been "fighting against the results of its own policy" in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

He said risks of serious conflicts involving major countries have risen, as well as risks of arms treaties being violated.

He also dismissed international sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "mistake," saying they aimed at pushing Russia into isolation and would end up "hurting everyone."

We did not start this," he added, referring to rising tensions between Russia and the West.

(Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, TASS)

MERKEL URGES PUTIN TO SOLVE UKRAINIAN GAS DISPUTE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call to push for a quick resolution of the ongoing gas dispute with Ukraine as winter looms.

The call by Merkel to Putin on October 24 comes as representatives of the EU, Russia, and Ukraine are due to meet again next week in EU brokered talks aimed at solving the gas dispute between Kyiv and Moscow.

Merkel also underlined that upcoming elections in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists must respect Ukrainian national law.

Pro-Russian insurgent leaders are boycotting a parliamentary snap poll on October 26 in Ukraine and are holding their own election in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, home to nearly three million people, on the same day instead.

(Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters)

UNHCR SAYS MORE THAN 800,000 DISPLACED IN UKRAINE CONFLICT

By RFE/RL

The United Nations says the conflict in Ukraine has forced more than 800,000 people from their homes.

Around 95 percent of displaced people come from eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been battling pro-Russian separatists.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, told a briefing in Geneva that an estimated 430,000 people were currently displaced within Ukraine -- 170,000 more than at the start of September.

It said at least 387,000 other people have asked for refugee status, temporary asylum, or other forms of residency permits in Russia.

Another 6,600 have applied for asylum in the European Union and 581 in Belarus.

The agency said it was "racing to help some of the most vulnerable displaced people" as winter approaches.

It also said the number of displaced people is expected to rise further due to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.

THREE ALLEGED MILITANTS KILLED IN NORTH CAUCASUS

Three alleged militants have been killed by security forces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region.

Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee says that two suspects were killed in the village of Charoda in Daghestan on October 24 after they refused to leave an apartment and opened fire at police and security troops.

One police officer was wounded.

Also on October 24, police in another North Caucasus region, Kabardino-Balkaria, killed a suspected militant after he refused to identify himself, threw a grenade towards police, and opened fire with a pistol.

A police officer was wounded in that incident.

Violence is common in Russia's North Caucasus region, which includes the restive republics of Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, and Chechnya.

Islamic militants and criminal groups routinely target Russian military personnel and local officials.

(Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS)

MOSCOW LAWYER IN HIGH PROFILE ORGANIZED CRIME CASE KILLED

A lawyer, who represented an alleged victim of the notorious Orekhovo criminal group in Moscow, has been assassinated.

Police in the Russian capital say that Vitaly Moiseyev and his wife were found dead with gunshot wounds in a car near Moscow on October 24.

Moiseyev was representing Sergei Zhurba, an alleged victim of the Orekhovo gang and a key witness in a case against one of the gang's leaders Dmitry Belkin.

Belkin was sentenced to life in prison on October 23 for multiple murders and extortion.

Last month, another of Zhurba's lawyers, Tatyana Akimtseva (eds: a woman), was shot dead by unknown individuals.

The Orekhovo group was one of the most powerful crime gangs of the Moscow region and in Russia in the 1990s. Its members are believed to be responsible for dozens of murders.

(Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax)

17:27 October 24, 2014

LITTLE GREES VOTERS, ANYONE?

17:26 October 24, 2014

SPY VS. SPY

17:00 October 24, 2014
08:29 October 24, 2014

MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

UKRAINIAN PM WARNS OF RUSSIAN DESTABILIZATION OF ELECTIONS

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is warning that Russia could attempt to disrupt Ukraine's parliamentary elections scheduled for October 26.

Yatsenyuk told a meeting of top security officials and election monitors on October 23 that "It is absolutely clear that attempts to destabilize the situation will continue and will be provoked by Russia."

Yatsenyuk said "we are in a state of Russian aggression and we have before us one more challenge -- to hold parliamentary elections."

The prime minister said Ukraine needs the "full mobilization of the entire law-enforcement system to prevent violations of the election process and attempts at terrorist acts during the elections."

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said authorities have ordered some 82,000 policemen on duty for election day.

He said 4,000 members of a special reaction force would be among those maintaining order during polling hours and would be concentrated in "those precincts where there is a risk of some terrorist acts or aggressive actions by some...candidates."

The warning by Yatsenyuk comes on the heels of three violent attacks on parliamentary candidates in the past week.

The latest, against Volodymyr Borysenko, a member of Yatsenyuk's People's Front Party, occurred on October 20 when Borysenko was shot at and had an explosive thrown at him.

He allegedly survived the attack only because he was wearing body armor due to numerous death threats he had recently received.

Elections to the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament, will be held despite continued fighting in the eastern part of the country between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Voting will not take place in 14 districts of eastern Ukraine currently under the control of the separatists.

Those separatist-held areas -- in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions -- are planning on holding their own elections in November.

Additionally, Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in March means the loss of 12 seats from the 450-seat parliament.

Polls show President Petro Poroshenko's party leading with some 30 percent of respondents saying they would cast their vote for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

It that percentage holds on election day it would mean Poroshenko's bloc would have to form a coalition government, likely with nationalist groups who oppose conducting peace talks over fighting in the east.

(Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax)

RUSSIA DENIES ESTONIAN AIRSPACE VIOLATIONS

By RFE/RL

Moscow has denied claims of an incursion by a Russian military plane into Estonia's airspace.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told Interfax news agency on October 23 that the Ilyushin-20 took off from Khrabrovo airfield in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on October 21.

The spokesman said the reconnaissance plane flew "over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea" while on a training flight.

On October 22, Estonia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Tallinn, Yury Merzlakov, after the Estonian military said the Russian plane had entered its air space.

In a statement, NATO said the Ilyushin-20 was first intercepted by Danish jets when it approached Denmark, before flying toward non-NATO member Sweden.

Intercepted by Swedish planes, the alliance said the Ilyushin entered Estonian airspace for “less than one minute” and was escorted out by Portuguese jets.

NATO has stepped up its Baltic air patrols and Moscow has been accused of several recent border violations in the region amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict.

Last month, Estonia accused Russia of abducting one of its police officers on the border.

Russia claims Eston Kohver was seized inside Russia on September 5, while Estonian officials say he was captured at gunpoint in Estonia near the border and taken to Russia.

The European Union and United States have called for the immediate release of the Estonian security official, who is facing espionage charges in Russia.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Navy has been searching for a suspected submarine sighted six days ago some 50 kilometers from the capital, Stockholm, although it said on October 22 it was pulling back some of its ships.

Swedish officials have not linked any particular country to the suspected intrusion and Moscow has denied involvement.

(With reporting by Interfax, TASS, and the BBC)

RUSSIAN COURT POSTPONES RULING ON OIL FIRM BASHNEFT

A Moscow court postponed to next week a ruling on a move to take control of Bashneft, an oil company from tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

The judge said on October 23 that the next hearing will take place on October 30 after the prosecution requested more time to prepare its case.

Prosecutors filed the suit in September to regain state ownership of Bashneft, citing alleged violations in the privatization and subsequent sale of the company to AFK Sistema investment group.

Yevtushenkov, the main shareholder of the conglomerate, is under house arrest on suspicion of money laundering during the firm's acquisition in 2009.

Yevtushenkov, 66, was arrested on September 16.

He is ranked Russia's 15th richest man by U.S. magazine Forbes, with an estimated fortune of $9 billion.

(Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS)

11:11 October 23, 2014

THERE IS NO RUSSIA WITHOUT PUTIN?

According to a report in the pro-Kremlin daily "Izvestia," deputy Kremlin chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi that Western politicians "do not understand the essence of Russia."

"Volodin stated the key thesis about the current state of our country: As long as there is Putin there is Russia. If there is no Putin, there is no Russia," Konstantin Kostin, head of the Foundation for the Development of Civil Society, told "Izvestia."

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