A Ukrainian group calling itself Cyber Hunta has released more than a gigabyte of emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, Vladislav Surkov, that show Russia’s fingerprints all over the separatist movement in the Ukraine.

A Ukrainian group calling itself Cyber Hunta has released more than a gigabyte of emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, Vladislav Surkov, that show Russia’s fingerprints all over the separatist movement in the Ukraine.

While the Kremlin has denied the relationship between Moscow and the separatists, the emails show in great detail how Russia controlled virtually every detail of the separatist effort in the Russian-speaking regions of the Ukraine, which has torn Ukraine apart and led to a Russian takeover of Crimea.

And unlike the reported Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Ukrainian hack reached deep into the office of the Russian president.

“This is a serious hack,” said Maks Czuperski, head of the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council (DFRL), which has searched through the email dump and placed selected emails on-line.


Ukraine Plans to Make Military Attack Drones

#ukraine #drones #manufacturing
By Igor Kossov
KYIV — Ukraine plans to test locally-made military attack drones next year, according to President Petro Poroshenko and state defense giant Ukroboronprom.
Poroshenko called for “new, modern weapons to defend against the aggressor,” in a speech last week in Kharkiv. To that end, he said that a priority is to develop cruise missiles and attack drones.

Earlier, Ukroboronprom general director Roman Romanov told Poroshenko-owned Channel 5 TV station that armed UAVs are in development by state aircraft developer Antonov, a part of Ukroboronprom.

“This UAV model that we are making now at Antonov will be tested soon, I want to say next year,” said Romanov. “It’s designed to carry weapons, rockets.”


Ukraine was the world’s 12th largest arms exporter in 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Multiple requests for comment to Ukroboronprom and Antonov were not returned last week.

Talk of developing military drones had been circulating since the start of the conflict with Russia in 2014. Several light drone models, designed for recon and artillery targeting were designed by volunteer civilian engineer groups such as PeoplesProject and Army SOS.

Alexander Turchinov, the National Security and Defense Council Secretary, stated earlier this year that Ukraine’s military has a “huge demand for combat UAVs” and that production will be prioritized by Antonov.

Ukroboronprom unveiled the design of its first UAV in July 2015 and showcased the completed model in February. The BpAK-MP-1 Spectator, built by Ukroboronprom subsidiary Meridian and a team from Kyiv Technical University, is a light fixed wing recon drone that can be launched by hand and can carry an electronics suite with a mass of up to 1.5 kilograms.


Future UAVs, possibly including the much larger attack drones, will have help from Poland. Ukroboronprom signed a memorandum of understanding with Polish developer WB Electronics SA in 2015. Among the MOU’s provisions was an agreement to cooperate on UAV production.

According to Ukroboron deputy director Arthur Kheruvymov’s comments to the media last year, combat drones may be part of the agreement. He mentioned that WB Electronics will help develop a machine with a 14-meter wing span that can find and destroy targets.

The MOU was broadened this year in September. In public, the Polish and Ukrainian sides were vague about what new agreements were reached.

Three separate drone developers at this year’s thirteenth annual International Arms Exhibit in Kyiv said that despite strong pro-UAV statements by military and Ukroboronprom officials, they have not seen real demand for their products this year. As a result, they are turning to the more lucrative civilian agricultural sector.

With reporting from UBJ Kharkiv Correspondent, Kate Sukhopleshchenko — kate.sukhopleshchenko@theubj.com

For comments and news tips, please email UBJ Defense Correspondent Igor Kossov at igor.kossov@the ubj.com.

Photo: Poland’s WB Electronics displays its Fly Eye reconnaissance drones on its website. WB Electronics made a deal with Ukroboronprom to help it develop unmanned aerial vehicles. (supplied)

the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate

Theodore Dalrymple:

—“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”—

IT investors call on government to ease tech companies’ path to growth

Prominent Ukrainian capital investors and business angels discussed their algorithms for investing in Ukraine’s tech industry at the Lviv IT Arena conference on Oct. 1.

And all agreed that the process of investing, either in big tech companies or small startups, could be made simpler and easier if the government did its part by passing better laws and improving the economy.

The help of investors is almost always needed to develop young companies, according to Horizon Capital CEO Lenna Koszarny. She compared California’s Silicon Valley, the desired destination for many IT startups, with the Earth’s highest mountain and said, “If I needed to climb the Everest, I would go with a guide.”

But the creation of partnership between investors and entrepreneurs is not entirely dependent on figures and business plans, she said.

“We look, first of all, at the entrepreneur, at the spark in the eye. We look for passion, we look for energy,” Koszarny said. “Investing is both art and science.”

Digital Future CEO Oleksii Vitchenko agreed: “People are the most important asset in any startup.” However, he said that there’s another important thing startups should have to attract his attention – companies should be focused on global markets.

“We want to invest into something digital that can compete globally,” Vitchenko said.

The Oct. 1 investment panel discussion at the conference was focused on details of putting money into companies, and, according to managing director at HP Tech Ventures Vitaly Golomb, the final goal isn’t only to earn money after investing.

“We’re investing in a third technology revolution,” Golomb said.


Kremlin Panics after Dutch Report, and It Should

Headline overstated, but there are signs of discomfort:

Dismissing the report as based on “speculation, unqualified and unprofessional information,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov hinted vaguely that new data on the crash had emerged. A representative of Almaz-Antey, the company that produces the Buk missile (the model that destroyed the Malaysian Boeing), did not rule out an accidental launch caused by poor maintenance and a possible violation of procedures by the missile launch crew. A permanent fixture in the presidential press corps, Andrei Kolesnikov, indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin could have been misled by his advisers, speculating that if Putin finds out that pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas deliberately shot down a civilian airliner, he will turn his back on them. And the chief editor of the influential Echo Moskvy radio station, Alexei Venediktov, said something similar, though he presumed that Putin would thoroughly investigate Russian military involvement in this tragedy.

This unusual variety of perspectives on such a crucial issue betrays fear in Moscow’s official circles. Before the report, Kremlin propaganda denied not only Russian or separatist involvement in the tragedy, but even refused to admit that the Boeing was shot down by a Russian-made missile. With a straight face, pro-Kremlin media quoted non-existent Spanish air traffic controller Carlos, Ukrainian Air Force Captain Voloshin, and other fakes, though none of the numerous explanations Moscow offered could hold water. Why would Peskov be so hesitant to deny Russian involvement now, while Almaz-Antey, Kolesnikov, Venediktov, and many others dared to spell out what had been anathema for Kremlin only days before? Putin and his cohorts have been caught red-handed in willful mendacity on many previous occasions and the Russian regime has invariably maintained its collective poker face. No one seriously expects the Russian government to extradite the accused perpetrators to the West. What caused such an uncoordinated response this time?

The international investigative team indicated that about a hundred individuals were “linked to the crash or to the transport of the Buk” missile, though the investigators have yet to determine who could be held criminally responsible. There is a chance that some of them belong to Russia’s top leadership, perhaps all the way up to Putin himself.


United States Suspends Contact With Russia Over Syria Impasse

In a sharp deterioration of relations, the U.S. on Monday suspended diplomatic contacts with Russia over Syria, while Moscow halted cooperation on a joint program for disposal of weapons-grade plutonium.

The U.S. move followed a threat last week from Secretary of State John Kerry after new Russian and Syrian attacks on the city of Aleppo. The State Department said Russia had not lived up to the terms of an agreement last month to restore the cease-fire and ensure sustained deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged cities.

“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments … and was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed.”

“Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, inconsistent with the Cessation of Hostilities, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need, including through the September 19 attack on a humanitarian aid convoy,” he said.

An airstrike last month hit a United Nations humanitarian aid convoy, killing 20 people. The United States has accused Russia of hitting the convoy, but both Russia and Syria deny it.


Question from a friend: Is Lviv (or Ukraine) becoming Hipster?

There’s a conservatism in E Europe, as well as a fear and respect for historical oppression that seems to preclude hipster culture.

It may look and feel hipster, and it certainly places a premium on creativity and expression, but you don’t have that nihilism and fraud generally associated with Western hipsters.

Perhaps this is a case of the copy being better than the original. (Eastern Europe copies and aspires toward Western success in many facets of life, business, society.)

‘Slave labour’ in the prisons of eastern Ukraine

Human rights activists in eastern Ukraine say they have evidence that slave labour camps reminiscent of Soviet gulags are operating in rebel-controlled areas. A newly published report alleges that 5,000 people in the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic are held in solitary confinement, beaten, starved or tortured if they refuse to carry out unpaid work.

Alexander Efreshin had a good job and a steady girlfriend when one night, five years ago, he was out drinking beer with friends and came across a parked minibus with an open door. He climbed in, started the engine and drove a short distance. A friend then poured lighter fluid on the passenger seat and set it on fire.

Both were arrested, and at the age of 24 Efreshin was shattered to receive an eight-and-a-half year sentence for robbery and arson.

In Ukrainian prisons people who work in the prison factory have their sentence reduced by a third, so Efreshin agreed to work, sustained by the thought that he would be out in less than six years. He received a small payment in return, which he spent on improving his food ration.


Puzzles (off topic)

I always resent these puzzles for being deliberately misleading and using “+” and “=” in a devious way. Con artists, some of these puzzle writers.

I keep thinking “YOU’RE LYING!!! That is not a ‘+’ function. Why don’t they just use commas and then challenge readers to find the pattern?”

They don’t gain anything by lying — ie by using symbols with long-established and widely accepted definitions as placeholders for the mystery function which the reader is challenged to discover.

Another early problem for me was that I didn’t want to violate the integrity of numbers and calculate digits separately. When digits abutt their neighbors, it means something. It’s a promise and civilized people will honor that promise.

You can create puzzles (or for that matter art) without this sabotage.

Once I realized the vulgar barbarity of these puzzle writers they became much easier.