Post coup-attempt Turkey and Russia getting friendly


The Washington Post reported on a story that worries Turkey’s NATO allies:

“The leaders of Turkey and Russia pledged on Aug. 9 to restart key energy projects and roll back sanctions, seeking to rebuild ties as Turkey looks beyond its NATO partners for support following a failed coup attempt last month.

“In his first trip abroad since the attempted takeover by the military, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly courted Russia — in vivid contrast to recent and bitter hostilities with Moscow, especially over Syria’s civil war.

“….The Turkish leader repeatedly thanked Putin for his rapid offer of aid following the coup attempt, and called for relations between the two countries to return ‘to their  pre-{Syrian} crisis level, or even higher.”’

To read the article, please hit this link.

Russians intensifies threats against Ukraine


In the resort of Yalta, in Crimea.

In what mean more Russian military attacks against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered naval war games in the Black Sea after he accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs into Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukrainian and other observers fear that Russia may plan to ramp up fighting in the war between  Ukraine and pro-Russian and Russian armed separatists.

Reuters speculated: “Such an escalation could be used by Putin to demand better terms in the Ukraine peace process, or to inflame nationalist passions at home ahead of Russian parliamentary elections next month.”

To read the Reuters story, please hit this link.

Moscow crowd denounces ‘antiterrorism’ laws aimed at Internet

In the sort of mass public protest that is increasingly unusual under Russia’s authoritarian government, hundreds of critics of the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin armed with a rare demonstration gathered in Moscow on Aug. 9 to protest  a new set of so-called antiterrorism laws.

The laws include requirements to store all communications data for six months, and phone and texting records for one to three years.

The New York Times reported that protesters “decried the legislation as an assault on privacy and internet freedom. …”

The Times continued: “For just over an hour, speakers at the rally — activists, politicians and technology experts — called on Russians to resist government attempts to tighten control over the internet, which many view as the last safe space for dissent in Russia. For just over an hour, speakers at the rally — activists, politicians and technology experts — called on Russians to resist government attempts to tighten control over the Internet, which many view as the last safe space for dissent in Russia.”

To read The New York Times story, please hit this link.

Why Putin refuses to admit to state-sponsored doping


Russian President Vladimir Putin  won’t admit to the  massive state-sponsored doping of Russia’s would-be Olympic athletes because that might  be seen as admitting that Mr. Putin  himself

is a criminal.

And so, Bloomberg reports, “Putin appears less and less willing to cooperate with international sports organizations and increasingly inclined to complain about political conspiracies against his country.”

“The issue is no longer just Russian athletes’ participation in the Rio Olympics: It’s about Putin’s state being labeled as criminal. Putin’s reaction under these circumstances — as when a Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine two years ago and Russia and its proxies were strongly implicated — is to deny, deny, deny.”

To read more, please hit this link.

Lucian Kim: The endless lies of Putin’s Russia


Lucian Kim writes in a Reuters opinion piece that the Russian athletes’  “doping scandal is a symptom of a much larger problem: the casual disregard for the truth that has become a hallmark of {Russian President Vladimir} Putin’s rule. In a country where elections are rigged, lawsuits are fabricated, and state TV spews lies around the clock, it’s hard to know what ordinary citizens are to believe anymore. Beyond politics, corruption has not only gnawed away at Russia’s reputation as a sports powerhouse, but cheapened the prestige of its once-vaunted institutions of higher education.

“Putin’s initial denial of Russia’s 2014 military intervention in Crimea — followed by a later admission of it — was the clearest demonstration of the Kremlin’s belief that the ends justify the means. Many Russians seem to agree.

“In a poll taken by the independent Levada Center in April 2015, 37 percent of respondents said they believed their government that Russia wasn’t militarily involved in eastern Ukraine. An almost equal portion, 38 percent, said that ‘even if there are Russian soldiers and military equipment in Ukraine, it’s the correct policy for Russia to deny these facts in the current global situation.’ ”

To read Mr. Kim’s essay, please hit this link.