Category Archives: News & Views

Ukrainian National Arrested In Connection With Scheme To Illegally Export Rifle Scopes And Thermal Imaging Equipment

Earlier today, Volodymyr Nedoviz, a lawful permanent resident of the United States and citizen of Ukraine, was arrested on federal charges of illegally exporting controlled military technology from the United States to end-users in Ukraine. Federal agents also executed a search warrant at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania location that was used in connection with Nedoviz’s illegal scheme.

Nedoviz is scheduled to make his initial appearance today at 2:00 p.m. at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York, before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr.

The arrest and charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York; Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord; FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr., New York Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for New York; and Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office.

The complaint alleges that the defendant conspired with others located in both Ukraine and the United States to purchase export-controlled, military-grade equipment from sellers in the United States and to export that equipment to Ukraine without the required licenses. The devices obtained by the defendant and his co-conspirators included some of the most highly powerful and technologically sophisticated night vision rifle scopes and thermal imaging equipment available, including, among others, an Armasight Zeus-Pro 640 2-16×50 (60Hz) Thermal Imaging weapons sight, a FLIR Thermosight R-Series, Model RS64 60 mm 640×480 (30Hz) Rifle Scope, and a ATN X-Sight II 5-20x Smart Rifle Scope. In many cases, the devices purchased by the defendant and his co-conspirators retail for almost $9,000, and they are specifically marketed to military and law enforcement consumers.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/ukrainian-national-arrested-connection-scheme-illegally-export-rifle-scopes-and-thermal

The spring 2014 invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula placed Russia on the wrong side of international law and set the country on a path towards escalating hybrid hostilities with the entire Western world EDITORIAL: Vladimir Putin is learning the hard way that Crimean crime does not pay Russian President Vladimir Putin signs off on the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. The Kremlin initially sought to depict events in Crimea as a local uprising, but Putin himself later admitted to deploying troops Business Ukraine magazine Wednesday, 08 March 2017 00:54 Ever since the stunning Russian takeover of Crimea in early 2014, it has become popular to regard Vladimir Putin as some kind of geopolitical genius. The international media regularly depicts him as a James Bond-style supervillain, always a few steps ahead of his hapless Western opponents as he determines the fate of the world from the depths of his impenetrable Kremlin lair. It is easy to imagine Putin taking personal pleasure in such hyperbole, seeing it as a reflection of Russia’s resurgence and testament to his own prominent place in history. If the Russian leader is honest with himself, however, there must also be moments when he reflects on the mounting costs of his Crimean conquest and regrets ever having given the fateful order to invade. At first glance, Putin’s recent achievements would appear to justify the hype. Over the past three years, he has been widely credited with stealthily invading mainland Ukraine, turning the tide of the Syrian conflict, undermining the unity of the EU, and putting Donald Trump in the White House. These bold gambits have made Putin the most talked-about personality in world politics and pushed Russia back to the top of the global agenda. The real question is whether any of this has actually served Moscow’s interests. Economically, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. The Russian economy, once a magnet for international investment and the engine behind Putin’s soaring domestic popularity, has been badly mauled by the aftershocks of his foreign policy adventures. Russians are significantly poorer today than they were three years ago. To add insult to injury, they must watch increasingly limited state resources diverted from basic public services towards the military. Putin’s foreign policy exploits have certainly succeeded in transforming the geopolitical conversation, but there is little evidence to suggest Russia has benefitted from the changing tone of today’s diplomatic dialogue. The attack on Ukraine has reinvigorated NATO and given the military alliance a new sense of purpose after a quarter of a century in search of a coherent post-Cold War role. There is now a significantly increased NATO presence close to Russia’s borders, while individual member states are boosting their military spending. If the invasion of Crimea aimed to thwart NATO, it has backfired spectacularly. Putin’s imperialism has also served as a wonderful NATO recruitment tool. Montenegro’s impending NATO membership represents a huge strategic shift in a region once considered Russia’s Balkan backyard. Even arch-advocates of neutrality like Sweden and Finland are now actively debating the merits of NATO membership. This is hardly surprising. Putin’s actions in Ukraine have torn up the existing international security framework, fuelling territorial anxiety throughout Russia’s borderlands. The nations of the Baltics and Central Europe sought NATO membership in the 1990s in order to protect themselves against future Russian aggression. Inevitably, the recent realization of these fears will only encourage additional nations to seek the protection of NATO’s collective security shield. The Russian leader’s revanchist foreign policy has proven equally self-defeating elsewhere. Across the EU, escalating Kremlin cyber warfare and hack attacks have forced governments that would much prefer a policy of business as usual to reluctantly acknowledge the growing Russian threat. France and Germany are just two of the countries to conclude in recent months that Russia is conducting hybrid hostilities against them. Likewise, Putin was widely credited with helping to sway Britain’s EU referendum, but this alleged success has so far failed to bring any advantages for Kremlin interests. Far from rushing to patch up its differences with the Kremlin, Post-Brexit London has shown no signs of softening its stance on Russian sanctions. On the contrary, UK leaders have gone out of their way to demonstrate their continued support for Ukraine and resolve with regard to Russia. The victory of Donald Trump has been similarly anticlimactic. The exact role Russia played in Trump’s US election triumph is still the subject of heated debate, but there can be no mistaking the Kremlin’s undisguised glee at his success. This enthusiasm now looks to have been misplaced. Trump has already dropped one key advisor over Russia ties, and appears to be rapidly distancing himself from earlier talk of “grand bargains” with Putin. With Russia-related scandals continuing to dog the Trump White House, Moscow is rapidly downscaling its earlier expectations. No wonder Kremlin TV channels have abruptly ended their love affair with all things Trump. Closer to home, the seizure of Crimea has spread panic throughout the former Soviet sphere and left Putin’s Eurasian Union dream looking less and less realistic. Instead of embracing the concept of ever-closer union with Russia, most of the former Soviet republics are now nervously looking to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the Kremlin. The recent war of words with formerly pliant Belarus is an indication of just how far things have deteriorated. The biggest setback of all has come in Ukraine itself. Putin’s hybrid war sought to destroy the Ukrainian state. Instead, he succeeded in consolidating Ukrainian national identity in ways few would have thought possible prior to 2014, while creating a formidable military bulwark against further imperial adventures. This loss of influence in Ukraine is a genuinely historic blow to Russian interests that will echo for generations. None of this was inevitable. If Putin had not invaded Crimea, relations with post-Maidan Ukraine would eventually have stabilized. Russia would still be a G8 nation and a welcome partner at the top table of world affairs. Instead, Putin will mark the third anniversary of his Crimean crime trapped in an escalating and seemingly unwinnable geopolitical confrontation that is entirely of his own making. AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook22Share to TwitterShare to LinkedIn Business Ukraine magazine Crimea Euromaidan Revolution Hybrid War Kremlin Putin Russian army in Ukraine Russian Spring

At first glance, Putin’s recent achievements would appear to justify the hype. Over the past three years, he has been widely credited with stealthily invading mainland Ukraine, turning the tide of the Syrian conflict, undermining the unity of the EU, and putting Donald Trump in the White House. These bold gambits have made Putin the most talked-about personality in world politics and pushed Russia back to the top of the global agenda. The real question is whether any of this has actually served Moscow’s interests.

http://bunews.com.ua/opinion/item/editorial-vladimir-putin-is-learning-the-hard-way-that-crimean-crime-does-not-pay

A little Twitter rant on Communism, then and now

In late 80s, Nobel Winning Economist Paul Samuelson asked if communist mass murders weren’t “worth while” given Soviet economic strength.

Communist violence of revolution/early-20s sanitized from history. “Stalin did it.” So todays commies think lack of violence caused Fascism.

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” ~Milan Kundera

Communists slaughtered nationalists en masse. For two generations, every manner of violence and non-violence was deployed to erase identity.

British children taught that there are two sides to Soviet genocide

Pulitzer Prize winning economist Paul Samuelson made a similar argument in the 80s. Genocide made worth while by the economic prosperity of the Soviet Union. (wtf!?!?!)

We forget how numerous, prominent, and degenerate the Soviet Union’s fellow travelers were.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/08/children-taught-two-sides-soviet-genocide-outrage-has-stop/

Russia is a mess — the poverty rate is soaring and only 10 of 85 regions are financially stable

Moscow has tightened its belt, and its efforts are paying off, even though oil prices have not recovered and the economic sanctions against the country remain in place.

In fact, Russia stands to pull out of recession this year. The country’s economy is expected to start growing again in 2017 — by 1.5%, according to World Bank projections — thanks to a budget based on more realistic oil prices and a slimmer spending plan. Foreign investment has also started trickling back in as the rest of the world grows accustomed to navigating Russia’s sanctions. Western credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s have even raised the country’s outlook from negative to stable.

But despite the overall economic upturn, Russia’s people are still in dire straits. One-quarter of Russian companies cut salaries in 2016, at times even skipping payments to their employees. The average monthly wage in Russia dropped 8% last year (after falling 9.5% in 2015) to under $450 — less than the mean monthly pay in China, Poland or Romania — while the poverty rate jumped to nearly 15%. And the country’s regional governments are not faring much better, much to the Kremlin’s consternation.

An overwhelming problem

Russia’s vast territory is split into 85 official regions of varying shapes, sizes and designations. (Two of these regions, Sevastopol and Crimea, are not internationally recognized as Russian territory since Moscow annexed them from Ukraine in 2014.)

According to the Russian Finance Ministry, only 10 of Russia’s 85 official regions — most of them commodity producers and metropolitan areas with substantial tax bases — are economically or financially stable, down by half since 2015. Of the country’s remaining regions, 30 manage to scrape by because direct federal subsidies make up at least 33% of their revenues. Half of the $3.5 billion in subsidies that the Kremlin disburses each year goes to just 10 of those regions: Dagestan, Chechnya, Yakutia, Kamchatka, Crimea, Altai, Tuva, Buryatia, Stavropol and Bashkortostan. That leaves more than half of Russia’s regions struggling to fulfill their social obligations and meet the federal government’s demands for funding.

Seventy of Russia’s regions send 63% of the income they generate to the federal budget, keeping only the remaining 37%. The federal government, meanwhile, returns at most 20% of the money by way of subsidies and intergovernmental transfers.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/russia-is-a-mess-the-poverty-rate-is-soaring-and-only-10-of-85-regions-are-financially-stable-2017-01-31

First head of Russian-backed “Luhansk People’s republic” Bolotov reported dead

Valery Bolotov, the first head of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LNR”), died. Bolotov’s associate Aleksandr Borodai, the former “Prime Minister” of the “LNR,” told the Russian outlet RBK that Bolotov’s relatives informed him of the death, and the news was confirmed by a source from Bolotov’s circle.

Bolotov was born in Taganrog (Russia) and had a background in the Russian military, contradicting the myth that the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine is a rebellion, rather than a Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine. . . .

The leaders of the Russian-backed “republics” in Ukraine’s eastern territories have been victims of mysterious deaths, which has fueled speculation on what exactly the relationships between the “republic leaders” and their Russian masters are. The British outlet The Guardian wrote then that Pavlov was “killed as result of either an internal feud or Russia removing ‘inconvenient’ separatist leaders in the field.”

Earlier, a series of mysterious deaths took place in the “LNR” after an alleged military coup against Igor Plotnitskiy, in which former “Prime Minister” Gennadiy Tsypkalov was found hanging in his cell, warlord Yaroslav Zhilin was killed in a restaurant, and former deputy of people’s militia chief Vitalii Kiselyov died in his prison cell. There were four other similar cases during the last six months: Aleksandr Bushuev, Aleksandr Nemogay, Alexander Osipov, and Sergey Litvin were reportedly killed due to their disobedience or growing personal authority. This suggests that those who refuse to follow the rules set by Moscow are being replaced by more obedient individuals.

http://euromaidanpress.com/2017/01/28/luhansk-donbas-ukraine-russia-bolotov-plotnitskiy/

Percentage of Europeans Who Are Willing To Fight A War For Their Country

74% – Finland
73% – Turkey
62% – Ukraine
59% – Russia
58% – Kosovo
55% – Bosnia and Herzegovina
55% – Sweden
54% – Greece
47% – Poland
46% – Serbia
41% – Latvia
39% – Switzerland
38% – Ireland
38% – Macedonia
38% – Romania
37% – Denmark
29% – France
28% – Portugal
27% – United Kingdom
26% – Iceland
25% – Bulgaria
23% – Czech Republic
21% – Austria
21% – Spain
20% – Italy
19% – Belgium
18% – Germany
15% – The Netherlands

http://brilliantmaps.com/europe-fight-war/

Ann Coulter – When Immigration Policy Discriminated Against Christians from the Soviet Union

Amid the hysteria over this prudent pause in refugee admissions from seven countries whose principal export is dynamite vests, it has been indignantly claimed that it’s illegal for our immigration policies to discriminate on the basis of religion.

This is often said by journalists who are only in America because of immigration policies that discriminated on the basis of religion.

For much of the last half-century, Soviet Jews were given nearly automatic entry to the U.S. as “refugees.” Entering as a refugee confers all sorts of benefits unavailable to other immigrants, including loads of welfare programs, health insurance, job placement services, English language classes, and the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after only five years.

Most important, though, Soviet Jews were not required to satisfy the United Nations definition of a “refugee,” to wit: someone fleeing persecution based on race, religion or national origin. They just had to prove they were Jewish.

This may have been good policy, but let’s not pretend the Jewish exception was not based on religion.

If a temporary pause on refugee admissions from seven majority-Muslim countries constitutes “targeting” Muslims, then our immigration policy “targeted” Christians for discrimination for about 30 years.

Never heard a peep from the ACLU about religious discrimination back then!

https://www.amren.com/news/2017/02/donald-trump-muslim-ban-ann-coulter-immigration/