Hello dear readers!
On Wednesday night, Russia attacked the south of Ukraine with “Shaheds” – it was reported about the work of air defense in the Odessa and Nikolaev regions. The night before, the target of the Russian missile attack was mainly the western regions: in Lutsk, a missile hit the factory of the Swedish company SKF, which produces bearings, three employees were killed; in Lvov, fragments of rockets fell on residential buildings and a kindergarten, private houses were damaged, there are wounded; in the Dnieper, a certain enterprise was damaged, in the town of Smila, Cherkasy region, the water and heat supply networks were damaged. A total of 28 cruise missiles were launched and only 16 of them were shot down. As Yury Ignat, spokesman for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, explained, Russia has changed the tactics of air strikes: they have become more unpredictable. The X-101 missiles that Russia used on Tuesday night were recently manufactured, but they still have foreign-made chips (here, investigative journalist Sergei Dobrynin explains how Western components continue to make their way into Russia).
There is scant news from the fronts: Ukraine is reinforcing its positions east of Kharkiv to counter the Russian military’s amassed shock fist there, and President Zelenskiy continues to visit combat positions, this time in the Zaporozhye region.
Read the story of the capture by Ukrainian troops of the commander of the Russian reconnaissance battalion, Major Yuriy Tomov, here, and an analysis of the situation on the fronts (serious, but not hopeless) can be found here.
International echo of the war
Battle for Africa. On Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Defense published footage of the inspection by the Russian military of the Shukru Okan dry cargo ship, which was heading to the Ukrainian port of Izmail and was stopped on August 13 by the Vasily Bykov patrol ship: in the video, the crew of the ship kneels on the deck with their hands behind their heads. On Wednesday night, three Russian agencies – TASS, RIA Novosti and Interfax – simultaneously released a “lightning bolt” that “Ukrainian punishers” led by Lieutenant Colonel GUR Praschuk were preparing to sail from the port of Izmail to Africa on a civilian ship. There they, according to Russian news agencies, will engage in sabotage at infrastructure facilities and eliminate African leaders oriented towards Russia. Why this was published, we will probably find out soon. Poisoning. The Insider and Bellingcat published an unusual investigation into a series of possible poisonings of journalists who left Russia in Germany, the Czech Republic and Georgia. The unusual thing is that the names of the poisoners (as well as poisonous substances) have not yet been established, and the publication aims to warn the activists and journalists who have left about the existing threat. The facts are as follows: Novaya Gazeta and Meduza journalist Yelena Kostyuchenko was poisoned in Munich in October 2022 (and still has not recovered), Natalia Arno, president of the Free Russia Foundation, on May 2, 2023 in Prague, Ekho Moscow” Irina Babloyan – in October 2022 in Tbilisi. Judging by the symptoms, this is no longer a “Novichok”, but what exactly is not yet clear. Spies. Three Bulgarian citizens suspected of spying for Russia have been arrested in the UK as part of a major investigation. hybrid threats. In Latvia, they announced the strengthening of the protection of the border with Belarus: all border guards who were on vacation were called to work. How the Baltic States are arming against the background of the war is described in detail here. Fight against mercenary. A man who fought as part of the Wagner PMC in Ukraine was arrested in Kyrgyzstan – he was recruited in a Russian colony, where he ended up under a “people’s” drug article. End of the war. The head of the NATO Secretary General’s office, Stian Jenssen, said that one of the possible options for ending the war could be Ukraine’s renunciation of part of its territories in exchange for NATO membership. In Kiev, these words caused rejection: the official representative of the Foreign Ministry said that Ukraine “does not trade in territories,” and Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk called on fellow citizens to prepare for a protracted war. But the head of the Russian Defense Ministry, Sergei Shoigu, finally explained the “priority” task of the war: it turns out to be the release of Russian prisoners of war.
Russian paramilitary everyday life
Borderlands. The Russian Defense Ministry reported on the downing of three drones over the Kaluga region on Wednesday night (no casualties or damage). On Tuesday, the governor of the Belgorod region announced two victims of a mine explosion in Novaya Tavolzhanka, and the authorities of the Bryansk region announced the suppression of an attempt by a Ukrainian sabotage group to break through. In the process, according to Governor Bogomaz, an “animal of the farm” died (the words “cow” or “pig” against the background of “conducting a CBO” probably look too straightforward). Crash. The head of Adygea said that the head of the Maykop training aviation regiment, Colonel Vadim Gurov, died in a plane crash in the Krasnodar Territory on Monday. Pardoned. A resident of the Arkhangelsk region, last year sentenced to almost 10 years in prison for the murder and subsequent dismemberment of the corpse of his girlfriend, received a pardon after three months in the war and now starts life “from scratch”. In the Volgograd region, on suspicion of raping a child, a former prisoner who fought in the ranks of the Wagner PMC was put on the wanted list (in 2018 he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing a friend and stealing his car). Arsonists. In the Rostov region, a 20-year-old man was detained at the district administration with four five-liter bottles of gasoline – he has not yet been charged with attempted arson, but an administrative report on petty hooliganism has already been drawn up, and this looks like the beginning of carousel arrests. Here is the story of Yegor Balazeikin, a 17-year-old high school student from St. Petersburg, who faces up to 15 years for attempting to set fire to a military registration and enlistment office in the Leningrad Region: he is in a pre-trial detention center, and his health has deteriorated sharply. Wrote too much. A court in Moscow has fined 40,000 rubles to retired GRU colonel Vladimir Kvachkov, who supports the war in Ukraine but criticizes the actions of Putin and Shoigu (“discrediting” the Russian army). Reddit was fined 2 million rubles for refusing to remove information about the war in Ukraine – for this social network this is the first fine in Russia. In Novosibirsk, a criminal case to justify either terrorism or extremism on the Internet was initiated against an 18-year-old transgender girl, Rosfinmonitoring put her on the list of terrorists and extremists, and she herself was released on bail. Money. The Bank of Russia unscheduled raised the key rate to 12% per annum, and the ruble strengthened slightly. What will happen next, here tells the economist Igor Lipsits, recently dismissed from the HSE (spoiler: next – galloping inflation caused by a drop in foreign exchange earnings due to sanctions and an increase in government spending due to the war). Eternal values. In Velikiye Luki, Pskov region, an eight-meter monument to Stalin was erected in front of the main entrance to the Mikron plant. With this statue, the Russian Knight Cultural Heritage Foundation was worn for three years: it was offered to Volgograd, Voronezh, Moscow Region, but they refused. And in Velikiye Luki, as the head of the fund put it, “people expressed a desire to see the monument to Joseph Stalin every day when they come to work.” Elements. The death toll from the gas station explosion in Makhachkala rose to 35, at least 80 people were injured; The investigators have not yet named the cause, but they said that bags of ammonium nitrate were found at the explosion site (do not ask what she was doing at the car service). In Primorye, in connection with the flood, a regional emergency regime was introduced – in order to use the funds of the regional budget to eliminate the consequences.
Around the world
In Belarus, the United Civil Party was liquidated through the court (this is the sixth, five have already been liquidated). In Brest, the mother of Tikhon Klyukach, a former political prisoner and now a volunteer fighting on the side of Ukraine, was detained; in Grodno, a local resident was sentenced to five years in prison for comments in 2020 with calls to go to protests. In Minsk, after being interrogated by the police, 32-year-old Artem Zayats died – three of his cervical vertebrae were broken. The authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh reported the death of a resident from starvation. The region has been under blockade since December last year. The former Minister of Agriculture of the Komi Republic, after receiving the summons, left for the United States, asked for political asylum there and now works as a truck driver. Former US President Donald Trump has been charged with a fourth criminal charge: he is suspected of trying to overturn the results of the presidential election in Georgia. A new judge has been appointed to handle the case.
Political talk. Conversation with economist Sergei Guriev, co-author of the book Dictators of Deception (published by the Nemtsov Foundation), about the de-ideologization of modern dictatorships, a possible global alliance of dictators, and the prospects for a new cold war. Or an interview with politician Pavel Kudyukin: he was a left-wing dissident in the USSR, he sat with Boris Karaglitsky, and now he opposes the war from the left, while remaining in Russia. Pillars. Another analysis of the key techniques of Vladimir Sorokin and a story about his evolution. Or another interview with translator Viktor Golyshev. (When the endless debriefings of Sorokin and the regular interviewing of Golyshev cease, Russia will collapse). Flying and reptiles. A fragment from the book of the historian of science Alexander Goryashko “Wild bird and civilized man. Common Eider and Homo sapiens: 14 Centuries of Relationships” (“LD-Print Printing House”), dedicated to the study of the structure of eider down in the USSR. Or an excerpt from the book Chasing the Turtle: A 200 Million Year Journey (Alpina Non-Fiction) by zoologist Karl Safina, which tells how turtles were exterminated in the past and how this affected marine ecosystems.