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US IMPOSES NEW SANCTIONS TO KILL OFF PUTIN’S PET PIPELINE

Ukraine Alert

by Diane Francis

Jan 2, 2020

 

The US Senate began 2021 by delivering a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin by passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes sanctions designed to kill off the Kremlin’s strategically important Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

 

The geopolitical significance of this legislation cannot be overstated. It means almost certain doom for Putin’s most important energy project and prevents Russia from tightening its control over EU natural gas supplies.

 

The new legislation imposes draconian sanctions that should permanently end construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas line between Russia and Germany. This energy pipeline, which runs underneath the Baltic Sea, aims to make Europe more dependent on Russian energy while giving Moscow greater direct control over gas flows.

 

If completed, it would also damage Ukraine by rendering the country’s gas transportation system largely redundant and depriving Kyiv of significant transit revenues. Many fear that by reducing Moscow’s reliance on Ukraine for gas transit to EU markets, Nord Stream 2 would also increase the likelihood of a future escalation in ongoing Russian military aggression against Ukraine.   

 

The introduction of tough new US sanctions represents a major strategic setback for Putin and Gazprom. The cost of the incomplete pipeline is so far estimated at USD 11.6 billion, while the project has also galvanized political opposition to Europe’s continued reliance on Russia for the continent’s energy supplies. Critics have long pointed to the lack of economic justification for Nord Stream 2. They see it as a geopolitical weapon, and regard US sanctions as an attempt to disarm the Kremlin.

 

Germany’s reputation has suffered badly in recent years due to its unapologetic backing of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. This support has remained strong despite the vocal concerns of Berlin’s EU partners. Germany stands to gain economically from the deal, which promises to transform the country into a regional natural gas hub while securing cheap supplies for German industry. However, few other European nations shared this enthusiasm for the project.

 

In December 2018, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to condemn Nord Stream 2 as “a political project that poses a threat to European energy security,” and called for the cancellation of the project. Despite this opposition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has steadfastly defended the pipeline as a strictly commercial deal.

 

Efforts to block the pipeline have been underway for a number of years. European initiatives were unable to impede the project’s progress, but measures adopted by the United States proved far more effective. In late 2019, US sanctions finally brought construction work on the pipeline to a halt.

 

Russia refused to admit defeat, and spent 2020 pursuing ways to bypass US sanctions and complete the last 120 kilometers of the undersea pipeline. Meanwhile, Kremlin officials hit back at American efforts to kill the pipeline project by branding sanctions a form of “hybrid warfare.”

 

In July 2020, America responded to this continuing Russian defiance by promising further measures. US Senator Ted Cruz, co-sponsor of the original sanctions package, announced that a second set of deterrents would be included in the 2020 NDAA prohibiting construction, insurance and certification of Nord Stream 2.

 

While Russia and the United States have faced off over the future of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Kremlin’s aggressive conduct elsewhere has continued. In August 2020, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned. In December 2020, US officials identified a series of unprecedented Russian cyber-attacks against American institutions and corporations.

 

“Putin is a KGB thug,” said Cruz during an Atlantic Council webcast in December. “Putting billions into Putin’s pocket and giving him control over an energy lifeline is a bad idea. Putin’s malign activities are all funded by energy revenues. He is a petro-tyrant. Nothing good comes of funding him.”

 

The progress of the NDAA has been torturous and confusing due to the complications of the US political system and domestic political battles. In fall 2020, a proposed round of additional Nord Stream 2 sanctions received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and was included in the NDAA for consideration in December. In mid-December, both the House and Senate gave final approval, but President Trump then vetoed it. This required the House and Senate to override the veto by a two-thirds majority, which was finally accomplished on January 1, 2021.

 

The newly adopted legislation introduces sanctions with policing by the US State and Treasury departments. They must immediately identify “vessels that are engaged in pipe-laying at depths of 100 feet or more below sea level for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, the Turk Stream pipeline project [another gas pipeline stretching from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea] or any project that is a successor to either such project.”

 

This is bad news for the Kremlin, which uses its role as a major international energy supplier to generate geopolitical influence. Nor is there much optimism in Moscow that the incoming Biden administration will bring better news. President-elect Joe Biden, who disdains Putin and opposes Nord Stream 2, will likely launch major retaliatory measures against Russia for its unprecedented cyber-attacks. The NDAA also allocates billions to beef up US cyber security.

 

The latest round of crushing US sanctions is a particularly bitter pill for Putin to swallow because it comes with his pet pipeline project tantalizingly close to completion. Nord Stream 2 is 120 kilometers short of being finished, but it now looks set to remain incomplete. “This project will never deliver gas,” said Cruz in December. “And if a pipeline is 90 percent finished, it might as well be zero.”

 

Diane Francis is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, Editor at Large with the National Post in Canada, a Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, and author of ten books.

 

 

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HOW RUSSIAN MEDIA TRIES TO UNDERMINE

Anna Nemtsova

January 4, 2021

The Daily Beast

 

Earlier this month in a small village in western Ukraine, a group of political pranksters met to declare self-government and to fly the country’s yellow-and-blue national flag upside down as their new symbol. The tiny group of misfits, led by a former plumber named Anatoly Balakhnin, was ignored by most Ukrainians; only Radio Liberty reported on the meeting, noting 10 people had shown up to it. Yet across the border, in Russian media, the new group was declared an “alternative state” and held up as an example of how Ukraine was supposedly facing “issues of separatism” in its western regions.

It’s been almost seven years since Ukraine’s Maidan revolution ran out its pro-Russian president, and since breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine declared themselves to be independent of Kyiv’s governance in a bloody war that continues to this day. More than 13,000 people have died, and nearly 1.5 million people have lost their homes since 2014. Russia has waged a propaganda campaign alongside its military one, to bolster its power inside the former Soviet republic and foment dissent against those who would see Ukraine reunified with stronger ties to the West.

Part of that effort involves latching onto any hint of separatism and going for broke. As such, Balakhnin and his group of misfits in Verkhnya Rozhanka are the latest to be anointed as threats to Kyiv by pro-Kremlin media. The impression from Russian media of the group, said Yevgeny Kisilev, a television commentator in Kyiv, was of a full-scale separatist movement. It seemed “to create a picture of Ukraine that is bursting at the seams, where everything is bad, where people want autonomy and federalization not only in [the breakaway regions of] Donetsk and Luhansk but in other regions too,” Kisilev told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

For his part, the plumber Balakhnin told Strana.ua, an online news outlet with a reputation for pro-Russian views, that he declared himself “the president of the new Republic of Ukraine.” Though he denies he is a separatist, he admits he does not recognize any of the current state institutions. “We intend to develop our state, not ruin it,” Balakhnin told The Daily Beast in a phone interview on Tuesday. He claims his Russian is not great but speaks it fluently; he says he still works as a plumber, shares “Republican views” and does not believe Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has a legal right to lead the country. “I am not pro-Putin, I consider Putin a war criminal; I am glad Russian media spread the word about me, at least people become interested to find out more about me and my supporters,” he said, before noting that while he does not recognize the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), he has met with its investigators, who have approached him over his activities.

 

Ukrainian political observers and press consider Balakhnin’s ideas—he seeks to “return the sense of statehood” to Ukrainian landowners, among other things—weird and irrelevant. But the reaction of pro-Kremlin media to the minuscule movement is a vivid example of the challenges Ukraine faces while trying to push through its post-revolution overhaul of government. Granting local governments more autonomy is one such reform. Russian media have seized on the absurdist political theater of Balakhnin to cast it as a risk of the country disintegrating due to the reforms. “Ukraine’s Public Administration reform was one of the most successful and most challenging for the state,” the founder of Graty media, Anton Naumliuk, told The Daily Beast.

A young democracy, Ukraine has an endless number of issues, and some of them became more obvious during the recent months of the pandemic. Inevitably, Ukraine’s economy has shrunk, and the popularity of the country’s leader, the former comedian Zelensky, has been shrinking along with it.  Last year Zelensky won the election with 73.2 percent of the vote, after promising people that he’d fight corruption and end the war with pro-Russian forces in the east. By the end of this year fewer than 35 percent of Ukrainians trust Zelensky but corruption fighters believe that the president still has a chance to recover his popularity.

Ukrainian society is politically active, and people have been criticizing the authorities in every region. Zelensky’s party, Servant of the People, did not manage to win even one mayoral race in a single big city in local elections this fall. Still, “what matters is that the process of local elections was totally transparent and fair and this is what people should understand about Ukraine,” Egor Sobolev, author of Ukraine’s anti-corruption legislation, told The Daily Beast.

Today, Ukraine is more dependent on the help from the West than before the COVID-19 pandemic. “President Joe Biden has to understand that Ukraine is a developing democracy. If back in 2014 I knew every activist in Kyiv, today there are thousands of outspoken civic leaders struggling to improve the state,” Sobolev told The Daily Beast. Together with a group of corruption fighters and IT specialists, Sobolev has created a database for the banking system of all politically exposed persons and their property abroad.

Earlier this month Sobolev and his supporters joined a street protest against state corruption involving the deputy head of presidential staff, Oleg Tatarov. “Thanks to the public movement, a court now looks into the $3 million corruption around the National Guards property,” Sobolev said, citing the example to illustrate the real challenges for Ukraine. “Thanks to the public reaction, a Ukrainian court now looks into the case.”

Also earlier this month Kyiv, Moscow, and Russia-backed separatists resumed talks on prisoner swaps and military withdrawal in the wartorn east. (The four-way Normandy-format peace talks between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine began in 2014.) Ukrainian leadership hopes Biden’s administration could play a role in the peace talks. Kyiv’s goal is to restore control over Ukraine’s border, while Russia wants more autonomy for Donetsk and Luhansk—but so far the negotiation process has been stuck.

Russian propagandists constantly mock President Zelensky and the hopelessness of the peace talks, referring to Ukrainian negotiators as “madmen” on Vesti, one of the most-viewed talk shows. The news about the new movement of Ukrainian “separatists” gave some in Russian media a reason to gloat: “It is time for Zelensky to start one more Anti-Terrorist Operation,” Versia.ru said in the article about “the new state” in Western Ukraine.

 

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A NEW YEAR PROPOSAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF UKRAINE

Ukraine’s relationship with its Diaspora over the last almost thirty years has been manifestly positive, yet tangibly troubling. Meetings have been held on the highest levels, honors and trinkets bestowed, even  joint efforts made in observances, celebrations and remembrances. Diaspora representatives have served in the Government of Ukraine with some latitude as to legal requirements and limitations for such service. Honorary and even dual citizenship to Ukrainians abroad has been  suggested and discussed with little real result. The only thing lacking has been protection and assistance from the Ukrainian side. But that is what matters.

 

The Diaspora itself can be divided according to financial wherewithal and political influence as well as geographically into East and West. The three characteristics are related. The barometer of how widespread is the Ukrainian Diaspora is the Ukrainian World Congress which today maintains contacts with Ukrainian communities in at least sixty countries. The Western part which includes also geographically eastern countries such as Australia and New Zealand, has availed itself of some degree of financial largess and political clout to be able not only to help itself but to provide financial assistance to Ukraine particularly in the area of humanitarian relief and politically influencing its own government to sanction Ukraine’s most severe predator.

 

The Eastern Diaspora which includes Eastern Europe, Asia and primarily Arab parts of Africa is hampered seriously by economic woes, often trading in local almost meaningless currency and lacking political clout because it itself is weak and further often finds itself in an authoritarian or extremely right wing regime. Poland and Hungary are two striking examples as in both instances the right wing regimes of those countries  strive avidly and blatantly to forge a homogeneous society of its own nationality.

 

The UWC has done much to establish a significant global network of communities. Yet tangible support for these communities, particularly those in need of political influence and, in fact requiring outside political support and protection is very much lacking. Furthermore the UWC fails to exert much influence over the government of Ukraine as the UWC works too closely with and presents itself almost as a ministry within the government of Ukraine. This level of cooperation even worked with the Yanukovich regime even though that regime was clearly anti-Ukrainian. 

 

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a program of assistance to poorer Ukrainian communities abroad but that assistance is so feeble that the budget of some expansive Ukrainian aid organizations in the West exceeds it. The United Ukrainian American Relief Committee in the United States which relies mostly on public support provides more assistance for its various humanitarian endeavors in Ukraine than the entire budget of Ukraine for the needs of Ukrainian communities abroad.

 

Of all the persecuted societies of Ukrainians abroad certainly the one requiring the most attention is the community within the Russian Federation. It is not the poorest of all the Eastern Diaspora communities but it is the most vulnerable. Putin’s concept of “Ruskyj Mir” (Russian World) is not simply wishful thinking. Putin has a strategy of implementation. Structures of the organized Ukrainian community in Russia have been falling like dominoes over the last decade, not coincidentally, beginning with the year that Viktor Yanukovych was ostensibly democratically elected president in Ukraine.

 

Since 2010, central coordinating structures,  the Federal National Cultural Autonomy of Ukrainians in Russia was dissolved by the Russian courts in 2010, the Organization of Ukrainians in  Russia was dissolved ion 2012, then the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow was closed in 2018, the UWC was declared unwelcome in Russia in 2019 and the regional structure “Siryj Klyn” of Ukrainians in the Omsk Region was dissolved in 2020 in a quasi judicial proceeding. In each instance the government of Ukraine did nothing. The most that happened was that the Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba sent a representative to the judicial proceeding in Omsk in August 2020 from Ukraine’s Embassy in Moscow while decrying the Russian action vocally and even strenuously. However, no tangible proceeding was initiated by Ukraine at any international fora.

 

This is a call for forceful diplomacy which may seem like an oxymoron to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. Russia is emboldened by inactivity on Ukraine’s part. A resolution must be introduced at the very least at the Council of Europe, its Parliamentary Assembly  and the General Assembly of the United Nations where Russia is a member, condemning Russian attempts to destroy the Ukrainian community in Russia (a cultural genocide in essence) which contravenes the charters, declarations, covenants and treaties of both institutions. These resolutions not only may garner the support of other member countries within the international community, but also persuade them to invoke further sanctions against Russia.

 

I am not naive enough to believe that this will somehow influence Russian behavior voluntarily  as Russia does not heed or fear international opprobrium. However with its economy in shatters and Russia herself experiencing internal unrest, Russia while never willing to do what is right on her own, may be compelled to check her bad behavior. It will also send a resounding message throughout the world that the government of Ukraine recognizes a duty to protect Ukrainian communities in other countries. Other countries have done as much for their national minority abroad.

 

January 4, 2021                                                              Askold S. Lozynskyj

 

 

  

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AS UNDERSTANDING OF RUSSIAN HACKING GROWS, SO DOES ALARM


Those behind the widespread intrusion into government and corporate networks exploited seams in U.S. defenses and gave away nothing to American monitoring of their systems.

By David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Julian E. Barnes
Jan. 2, 2021

The New York Times

On Election Day, General Paul M. Nakasone, the nation’s top cyberwarrior, reported that the battle against Russian interference in the presidential campaign had posted major successes and exposed the other side’s online weapons, tools and tradecraft.

“We’ve broadened our operations and feel very good where we’re at right now,” he told journalists.

Eight weeks later, General Nakasone and other American officials responsible for cybersecurity are now consumed by what they missed for at least nine months: a hacking, now believed to have affected upward of 250 federal agencies and businesses, that Russia aimed not at the election system but at the rest of the United States government and many large American corporations.

Three weeks after the intrusion came to light, American officials are still trying to understand whether what the Russians pulled off was simply an espionage operation inside the systems of the American bureaucracy or something more sinister, inserting “backdoor” access into government agencies, major corporations, the electric grid and laboratories developing and transporting new generations of nuclear weapons.

At a minimum it has set off alarms about the vulnerability of government and private sector networks in the United States to attack and raised questions about how and why the nation’s cyberdefenses failed so spectacularly. 

Those questions have taken on particular urgency given that the breach was not detected by any of the government agencies that share responsibility for cyberdefense — the military’s Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, both of which are run by General Nakasone, and the Department of Homeland Security — but by a private cybersecurity company, FireEye.

“This is looking much, much worse than I first feared,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The size of it keeps expanding. It’s clear the United States government missed it.”

“And if FireEye had not come forward,” he added, “I’m not sure we would be fully aware

of it to this day.”

Interviews with key players investigating what intelligence agencies believe to be an operation by Russia’s S.V.R. intelligence service revealed these points:

The breach is far broader than first believed. Initial estimates were that Russia sent its probes only into a few dozen of the 18,000 government and private networks they gained access to when they inserted code into network management software made by a Texas company named SolarWinds. But as businesses like Amazon and Microsoft that provide cloud services dig deeper for evidence, it now appears Russia exploited multiple layers of the supply chain to gain access to as many as 250 networks.

The hackers managed their intrusion from servers inside the United States, exploiting legal prohibitions on the National Security Agency from engaging in domestic surveillance and eluding cyberdefenses deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Early warning” sensors placed by Cyber Command and the National Security Agency deep inside foreign networks to detect brewing attacks clearly failed. There is also no indication yet that any human intelligence alerted the United States to the hacking.

The government’s emphasis on election defense, while critical in 2020, may have diverted resources and attention from long-brewing problems like protecting the “supply chain” of software. In the private sector, too, companies that were focused on election security, like FireEye and Microsoft, are now revealing that they were breached as part of the larger supply chain attack.

SolarWinds, the company that the hackers used as a conduit for their attacks, had a history of lackluster security for its products, making it an easy target, according to current and former employees and government investigators. Its chief executive, Kevin B. Thompson, who is leaving his job after 11 years, has sidestepped the question of whether his company should have detected the intrusion.

Some of the compromised SolarWinds software was engineered in Eastern Europe, and American investigators are now examining whether the incursion originated there, where Russian intelligence operatives are deeply rooted.

The intentions behind the attack remain shrouded. But with a new administration taking office in three weeks, some analysts say the Russians may be trying to shake Washington’s confidence in the security of its communications and demonstrate their cyber arsenal to gain leverage against President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. before nuclear arms talks.

“We still don’t know what Russia’s strategic objectives were,” said Suzanne Spaulding, who was the senior cyberofficial at the Homeland Security Department during the Obama administration. “But we should be concerned that part of this may go beyond

reconnaissance. Their goal may be to put themselves in a position to have leverage over the new administration, like holding a gun to our head to deter us from acting to counter Putin.”

Growing Hit List

The U.S. government was clearly the main focus of the attack, with the Treasury Department, the State Department, the Commerce Department, the Energy Department and parts of the Pentagon among the agencies confirmed to have been infiltrated. (The Defense Department insists the attacks on its systems were unsuccessful, though it has offered no evidence.)

But the hacking also breached large numbers of corporations, many of which have yet to step forward. SolarWinds is believed to be one of several supply chain vendors Russia used in the hacking. Microsoft, which had tallied 40 victims as of Dec. 17, initially said that it had not been breached, only to discover this week that it had been — and that resellers of its software had been, too. A previously unreported assessment by Amazon’s intelligence team found the number of victims may have been five times greater, though officials warn some of those may be double counted.

Publicly, officials have said they do not believe the hackers from Russia’s S.V.R. pierced classified systems containing sensitive communications and plans. But privately, officials say they still do not have a clear picture of what might have been stolen.

They said they worried about delicate but unclassified data the hackers might have taken from victims like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including Black Start, the detailed technical blueprints for how the United States plans to restore power in the event of a cataclysmic blackout.

The plans would give Russia a hit list of systems to target to keep power from being restored in an attack like the one it pulled off in Ukraine in 2015, shutting off power for six hours in the dead of winter. Moscow long ago implanted malware in the American electric grid, and the United States has done the same to Russia as a deterrent.

A Supply Chain Compromised

One main focus of the investigation so far has been SolarWinds, the company based in Austin whose software updates the hackers compromised.But the cybersecurity arm of the Department of Homeland Security concluded the hackers worked through other channels, too. And last week, CrowdStrike, another security company, revealed that it was also targeted, unsuccessfully, by the same hackers, but through a company that resells Microsoft software.

Because resellers are often entrusted to set up clients’ software, they — like SolarWinds — have broad access to Microsoft customers’ networks. As a result, they can be an ideal Trojan horse for Russia’s hackers. Intelligence officials have expressed anger that

Microsoft did not detect the attack earlier; the company, which said Thursday that the hackers viewed its source code, has not disclosed which of its products were affected or for how long hackers were inside its network.

“They targeted the weakest points in the supply chain and through our most trusted relationships,” said Glenn Chisholm, a founder of Obsidian Security.

Interviews with current and former employees of SolarWinds suggest it was slow to make security a priority, even as its software was adopted by America’s premier cybersecurity company and federal agencies.

Employees say that under Mr. Thompson, an accountant by training and a former chief financial officer, every part of the business was examined for cost savings and common security practices were eschewed because of their expense. His approach helped almost triple SolarWinds’ annual profit margins to more than $453 million in 2019 from $152 million in 2010.

But some of those measures may have put the company and its customers at greater risk for attack. SolarWinds moved much of its engineering to satellite offices in the Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus, where engineers had broad access to the Orion network management software that Russia’s agents compromised.

The company has said only that the manipulation of its software was the work of human hackers rather than of a computer program. It has not publicly addressed the possibility of an insider being involved in the breach.

None of the SolarWinds customers contacted by The New York Times in recent weeks were aware they were reliant on software that was maintained in Eastern Europe. Many said they did not even know they were using SolarWinds software until recently.

Even with its software installed throughout federal networks, employees said SolarWinds tacked on security only in 2017, under threat of penalty from a new European privacy law. Only then, employees say, did SolarWinds hire its first chief information officer and install a vice president of “security architecture.”

Ian Thornton-Trump, a former cybersecurity adviser at SolarWinds, said he warned management that year that unless it took a more proactive approach to its internal security, a cybersecurity episode would be “catastrophic.” After his basic recommendations were ignored, Mr. Thornton-Trump left the company.

SolarWinds declined to address questions about the adequacy of its security. In a statement, it said it was a “victim of a highly-sophisticated, complex and targeted cyberattack” and was collaborating closely with law enforcement, intelligence agencies and security experts to investigate.

But security experts note that it took days after the Russian attack was discovered before

SolarWinds’ websites stopped offering clients compromised code.

Offense Over Defense

Billions of dollars in cybersecurity budgets have flowed in recent years to offensive espionage and pre-emptive action programs, what General Nakasone calls the need to “defend forward” by hacking into adversaries’ networks to get an early look at their operations and to counteract them inside their own networks, before they can attack, if required.

But that approach, while hailed as a long-overdue strategy to pre-empt attacks, missed the Russian breach.

By staging their attacks from servers inside the United States, in some cases using computers in the same town or city as their victims, according to FireEye, the Russians took advantage of limits on the National Security Agency’s authority. Congress has not given the agency or homeland security any authority to enter or defend private sector networks. It was on these networks that S.V.R. operatives were less careful, leaving clues about their intrusions that FireEye was ultimately able to find.

By inserting themselves into the SolarWinds’ Orion update and using custom tools, they also avoided tripping the alarms of the “Einstein” detection system that homeland security deployed across government agencies to catch known malware, and the so-called C.D.M. program that was explicitly devised to alert agencies to suspicious activity.

Some intelligence officials are questioning whether the government was so focused on election interference that it created openings elsewhere.

Intelligence agencies concluded months ago that Russia had determined it could not infiltrate enough election systems to affect the outcome of elections, and instead shifted its attention to deflecting ransomware attacks that could disenfranchise voters, and influence operations aimed at sowing discord, stoking doubt about the system’s integrity and changing voters’ minds.

The SolarWinds hacking, which began as early as October 2019, and the intrusion into Microsoft’s resellers, gave Russia a chance to attack the most vulnerable, least defended networks across multiple federal agencies.

General Nakasone declined to be interviewed. But a spokesman for the National Security Agency, Charles K. Stadtlander, said: “We don’t consider this as an ‘either/or’ trade-off. The actions, insights and new frameworks constructed during election security efforts have broad positive impacts for the cybersecurity posture of the nation and the U.S. government.”

In fact, the United States appears to have succeeded in persuading Russia that an attack aimed at changing votes would prompt a costly retaliation. But as the scale of the

intrusion comes into focus, it is clear the American government failed to convince Russia there would be a comparable consequence to executing a broad hacking on federal government and corporate networks.

Getting the Hackers Out

Intelligence officials say it could be months, years even, before they have a full understanding of the hacking.

Since the extraction of a top Kremlin informant in 2017, the C.I.A.’s knowledge of Russian operations has been diminished. And the S.V.R. has remained one of the world’s most capable intelligence services by avoiding electronic communications that could expose its secrets to the National Security Agency, intelligence officials say.

The best assessments of the S.V.R. have come from the Dutch. In 2014, hackers working for the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service pierced the computers used by the group, watching them for at least a year, and at one point catching them on camera.

It was the Dutch who helped alert the White House and State Department to an S.V.R. hacking of their systems in 2014 and 2015, and last month, they caught and expelled from the Netherlands two S.V.R. operatives accused of infiltrating technology companies there. While the group is not known to be destructive, it is notoriously difficult to evict from computer systems it has infiltrated.

When the S.V.R. broke into the unclassified systems at the State Department and White House, Richard Ledgett, then the deputy director of the National Security Agency, said the agency engaged in the digital equivalent of “hand-to-hand combat.” At one point, the S.V.R. gained access to the NetWitness Investigator tool that investigators use to uproot Russian back doors, manipulating it in such a way that the hackers continued to evade detection.

Investigators said they would assume they had kicked out the S.V.R., only to discover the group had crawled in through another door.

Some security experts said that ridding so many sprawling federal agencies of the S.V.R. may be futile and that the only way forward may be to shut systems down and start anew. Others said doing so in the middle of a pandemic would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, and the new administration would have to work to identify and contain every compromised system before it could calibrate a response.

“The S.V.R. is deliberate, they are sophisticated, and they don’t have the same legal restraints as we do here in the West,” said Adam Darrah, a former government intelligence analyst who is now director of intelligence at Vigilante, a security firm.

Sanctions, indictments and other measures, he added, have failed to deter the S.V.R., which has shown it can adapt quickly.

“They are watching us very closely right now,” Mr. Darrah said. “And they will pivot accordingly.”

 

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У ЄВРОПІ СКЛАЛИ РЕЙТИНГ ПРОВАЛІВ РОСІЙСЬКИХ ПРОПАГАНДИСТІВ

4 січня 2021

Українська Правда

 

Інформаційний проєкт Єврокомісії EUvsDisinfo оприлюднив дайджест найбільш ганебних провалів кремлівських пропагандистів у 2020 році.

 

Деталі: У цьому рейтингу першу позицію посідає ситуація з отруєнням російського опозиціонера Олексія Навального з подальшим викриттям ФСБ Росії у скоєнні цього злочину. Телефонне самовикриття одного з отруйників у розмові з Навальним стало важким ударом як по репутації ФСБ, так і по авторитету Кремля, вважає антифейковий проєкт.

 

На другому місці – інформаційна атака російських пропагандистів проти вакцин від COVID-19. У інформаційній базі EUvsDisinfo за рік зібрано понад 700 випадків дезінформації, спрямованої як проти вакцин, так і проти самої вакцинації.

 

Але пропагандисти повністю дискредитували власні конспірологічні теорії, коли почали проштовхувати аудиторії необхідність щеплення неперевіреною російською вакциною, і водночас перестали говорити про здатність західних вакцин перетворювати людей на мавп відразу після того, як отримали запрошення від британсько-шведської компанії AstraZeneca до ймовірного співробітництва.

 

Третю позицію ганьби автори віддали російському режисеру Микиті Міхалкову, який у власній програмі намагався видати підроблені спецслужбами знімки білоруських протестів за доказ маніпуляцій з боку самих демонстрантів, і був схоплений за руку російськими ж журналістами.

 

Четверта сходинка незграбної брехні дісталася білоруському диктатору Олександру Лукашенку, який намагався переконати білорусів та міжнародну спільноту у змові Заходу та у зовнішньому управлінні масовими протестами в країні за допомогою сфабрикованих плівок бесіди між нібито представниками західних спецслужб, внаслідок чого був осміяний.

 

П’яте місце дісталося пропагандисту Володимиру Соловйову, який намагався представити аудиторії бої у Нагірному Карабасі за допомогою комп’ютерної гри із графікою невисокої якості. До цього ігрову комп’ютерну графіку намагалося використати Міністерство оборони РФ для ілюстрації бойових дій в Сирії.

 

Шосту позицію автори віддали одному з вірменських видань, яке з використанням кремлівських кліше дезінформації та конспірології примудрилося знайти витівки “ілюмінатів” у провокуванні війни у Нагірному Карабасі, причому “докази” такого втручання були знайдені у відеокліпі Леді Гаги.

Подібний підхід, зазначає EUvsDisinfo, використовується і центральними російськими виданнями, наприклад, газетою “Комсомольська правда”, яка не втомлюється шукати містичні знаки у західних джерелах, на кшталт обкладинки журналу The Economist.

 

Сьому ганебну сходинку віддали депутатам російської Держдуми, які у численних шоу і публічних виступах самі стали джерелом безглуздих фейків, на зразок “Данських борделів для зоофілів” або тверджень, що “США атакують Росію за допомогою кліматичної зброї”.

 

Восьма позиція дісталася представникам міської влади Санкт-Петербурга, які під приводом “санітарних порушень” намагалися закрити заклад під назвою “Zoom-кафе”. Вони зганьбилися, бо таким чином хотіли зупинити віртуальний ЛГБТ-фестиваль на Zoom-платформі, яка із закладом харчування не має нічого спільного.

 

Усього у 2020 році інформаційна база EUvsDisinfo поповнилася 10 000 випадками безглуздої дезінформації, яка ганьбить лише її авторів.

 

Дослівно EUvsDisinfo: “Ми можемо сміятися над очевидною брехнею Лукашенка, поки не згадаємо, що він є кривавим диктатором, який застосовує насильство проти мирного протесту. Ми можемо іронізувати над російськими тезами про “західних ляльководів”, поки не згадаємо, що за ними – антисемітизм та гомофобія. Ми можемо посміхнутися мемам про ФСБ, яке отруює спіднє Олексія Навального, поки не згадаємо, що це був цинічний та спланований замах на вбивство. Найбільш ганебною частиною всіх цих випадків є відсутність будь-якого каяття з боку їхніх авторів. Їхні брехня і маніпуляції є частиною запеклої атаки на демократію”.

 

 

 

   

 

 

               

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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НОВОРІЧНА ПРОПОЗИЦІЯ ДЛЯ УРЯДУ УКРАЇНИ

Відносини України з діаспорою за останні майже тридцять років були явно позитивними, але відчутно недостатними. Зустрічі проводилися на найвищих рівнях, почестях і дарованих бляшках, навіть спільних зусиль,  святкуванням і відзначенням. Представники діаспори навіть служили в уряді України з певною гнучкістю щодо юридичних вимог та обмежень. Почесне і навіть подвійне громадянство українцям за кордоном було запропоновано і обговорено з невеликим реальним результатом. Єдине, чого бракує, це захист і допомога з сторони України. Але це те, що має значення.

 

Саму діаспору можна розділити відповідно до фінансової спроможності і політичним впливом, а також географічно на Схід і Захід. Барометром того, наскільки поширеною є українська діаспора, є Світовий Конгрес Українців, який сьогодні підтримує контакти з українськими громадами щонайменше в шістдесяти країнах. Західна частина, яка включає також географічно східні країни, такі як Австралія і Нова Зеландія, скористалася певною мірою фінансовими масштабами і політичним впливом, щоб мати можливість не тільки допомогти собі, але надати фінансову допомогу Україні, особливо в сфері гуманітарної допомоги і політично впливаючи на власний уряд, щоб санкціонувати найтяжчого хижака України.

 

Східна діаспора, яка включає Східну Європу, Азію і також арабські частини Африки, серйозно стримується економічними бідами, часто торгуючи місцевою майже безглуздою валютою і не має політичної сили, тому що вона сама слабка і часто опиняється в авторитарному або вкрай правому режимі. Польща та Угорщина є двома яскравими прикладами, оскільки в обох випадках режим правого крила прагне явно і завзято створити однорідне суспільство.

 

Хоча СКУ багато зробив для створення значної глобальної мережі громад, відчутної підтримки цих контактів, особливо тих, хто потребує політичного впливу і, насправді, потребують зовнішньої політичної підтримки та захисту, дуже не вистачає. Крім того, СКУ не здійснює великого впливу на уряд України, оскільки СКУ працює надто тісно і представляє себе майже як міністерство в уряді України майже без критичних зауваг. Такий рівень співпраці навіть явно працював з режимом Януковича навіть попри те, що цей режим був явно антиукраїнським. 

 

Міністерство закордонних справ України має програму допомоги біднішим українським громадам за кордоном, але ця допомога настільки слабка, що бюджет деяких експансивних українських організацій допомоги на Заході перевищує її. Об’єднаний український американський допомоговий комітет в США, який покладається здебільшого на публічну підтримку жертводавців, надає більше допомоги для різних гуманітарних зусиль в Україні, ніж весь бюджет України на потреби українських громад за кордоном.

З усіх переслідуваних суспільств українців за кордоном, безумовно, найбільшу увагу потребує громада в межах Російської Федерації. Це не найбідніша з усіх громад Східної діаспори, але вона є найбільш призначена на небезпеку. Концепція Путіна «Руський мир»  – це не просто бажане мислення. У Путіна є стратегія реалізації. Структури організованої української громади в Росії падають, як доміно протягом останнього десятиліття, не випадково, починаючи з року, коли Віктора Януковича нібито обрали президентом.

 

З 2010 року центральні координуючі органи українців у Росії, Федеральна національна культурна автономія була ліквідована у судовому порядку в 2010 році, Організація українців в Росії була також ліквідована судом 2012 року, Бібліотека української літератури в Москві була закрита в 2018 році, діяльність СКУ була оголошена небажаною на території Росії у липні  2019 році і регіональна структура українців «Сірий Клин» в Омській області була ліквідована російським судом у серпні  2020 році. У кожній інстанції влада України нічого не робила.

 

Найбільше, що сталося, було те, що Міністр закордонних справ України Дмитро Кулеба приступив до вокальної критики російської акції, а потім направив представника на судове провадження в Омську в серпні 2020 року від посольства України в Москві. Жодне відчутне провадження не було ініційоване Україною на будь-якому міжнародному рівні.

 

Це заклик до дипломатичної протидії. Росія втішається бездіяльністю з боку України. Резолюція повинна бути представлена принаймні в Раді Європи, її Парламентській Асамблеї та Генеральній Асамблеї ООН, де Росія є членом, засуджуючи російські спроби знищити українську громаду в Росії, яка суперечить статутам, деклараціям і договорам обох інституцій. Ці резолюції не тільки повинні отримати підтримку інших країн-членів в рамках міжнародного співтовариства, але і переконати їх посилатися на подальші санкції проти Росії.

 

Я не настільки наївний, щоб повірити, що це якимось чином вплине на російську поведінку добровільно, оскільки Росія не дослухає і не боїться міжнародного оппробріуму. Однак зі своєю економікою в розхитуваннях і сама Росія переживає внутрішні заворушення, Росія, поки ніколи не готова зробити нічого позитивного самостійно, може бути змушена перевірити її погану поведінку. Такі заходи також надішлють гучне повідомлення по всьому світу про те, що уряд України визнає обов’язок захищати українські громади в інших країнах. Інші країни робили бодай стільки ж для своїх національних меншин за кордоном.

 

3 січня 2021року                                                    Аскольд С. Лозинський

 

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HOW RUSSIA’S ‘INFO WARRIOR’ HACKERS LET KREMLIN PLAY GEOPOLITICS ON THE CHEAP

Moscow, with its growing cyber capabilities, appears undeterred by Western sanctions and other countermeasures

 

By Georgi Kantchev in Moscow and Warren P. Strobel in Washington

Jan. 2, 2021

The Wall Street Journal

 

The sprawling SolarWinds hack by suspected Russian state-backed hackers is the latest sign of Moscow’s growing resolve and improving technical ability to cause disruption and conduct espionage at a global scale in cyberspace.

 

The hack, which compromised parts of the U.S. government as well as tech companies, a hospital and a university, adds to a string of increasingly sophisticated and ever more brazen online intrusions, demonstrating how cyber operations have become a key plank in Russia’s confrontation with the West, analysts and officials say.

 

Moscow’s relations with the West continue to sour, and the Kremlin sees the cyber operations as a cheap and effective way to achieve its geopolitical goals, analysts say. Russia, they say, is therefore unlikely to back off from such tactics, even while facing U.S. sanctions or countermeasures.

 

“For a country that already perceives itself as being in conflict with the West practically in every domain except open military clashes, there is no incentive to leave any field that can offer an advantage,” said Keir Giles, senior consulting fellow at Chatham House think tank.

 

The scope of Russia’s cyber operations has grown in tandem with Moscow’s global ambitions: from cyberattacks on neighboring Estonia in 2007 to election interference in the U.S. and France a decade later, to SolarWinds, seen as one of the worst known hacks of federal computer systems.

 

“We can definitely see that Russia is stepping on the gas on cyber operations,” said Sven Herpig, a former German government cybersecurity official and expert at German independent public-policy think tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung. “The development of new tools, the division of labor, the creation of attack platforms, has all increased in sophistication over the years,” he said.

 

Jamil Jaffer, a former White House and Justice Department official, said that cyber operations have become “a significant part of [Russia’s] play.”

 

“It’s allowed them to level up,” said Mr. Jaffer, senior vice president at IronNet Cybersecurity.

Russia has consistently denied engaging in state-backed hacking campaigns, including SolarWinds, maintaining that the country isn’t conducting offensive cyber operations. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a reset of U.S.-Russia information-security relations.

 

“Russia is not involved in such attacks, particularly in [SolarWinds]. We state this officially and resolutely,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said recently. “Any allegations of Russia being involved are absolutely groundless and appear to be the continuation of a kind of blind Russophobia,” he said.

 

But analysts say that Moscow has added hacking to its arsenal of so-called gray-area activities—a type of warfare that stops short of actual shooting—alongside disinformation campaigns and the use of “little green men,” the masked soldiers in green uniforms who appeared with Russian arms on Ukrainian territory in 2014.

 

Jeffrey Edmonds, a former White House and Central Intelligence Agency official who studies Russia at CNA, a nonprofit research organization that advises the Pentagon, said that Russia’s cyber operations have numerous simultaneous goals, including gathering intelligence, testing capabilities, preparing for potential conflict, by mapping adversaries’ critical infrastructure and laying the groundwork for cyber negotiations.

 

Such operations are a relatively inexpensive and effective way to conduct geopolitics, said Bilyana Lilly, researcher at think tank Rand Corp. That is crucial for Russia, which is facing considerable economic and demographic challenges and whose economy is smaller than Italy’s. A 2012 article in an official Russian military journal said that the “complete destruction of the information infrastructures” of the U.S. or Russia could be carried out by just one battalion of 600 “info warriors” at a price tag of $100 million.

 

Responding to Moscow’s increased cyber activity has been a challenge. Washington’s retaliation measures—sanctions, property seizures, diplomatic expulsions, even the cyber equivalent of warning shots—appear to have done little to deter hacks.

 

“Russia doesn’t see sanctions as an instrument of pressure but as an instrument of punishment,” said Pavel Sharikov, senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies. “The Russian government says, ‘Yes we understand that you don’t like what we are doing, but we don’t really care.’”

 

In recent years, so-called information confrontation has become an established part of Russia’s military doctrine, according to a paper co-written by Rand’s Ms. Lilly. In 2019, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s General Staff chief, said that in modern warfare, cyberspace “provides opportunities for remote, covert influence not only on critical information infrastructures, but also on the population of the country, directly influencing national security.”

 

Russia’s use of hacking to advance its geopolitical agenda initially focused mainly on targets in ex-Soviet countries. A 2007 cyberattack in Estonia disabled websites of the government, banks and newspapers. Later attacks in Ukraine and Georgia knocked out power supplies, disrupted media outlets and targeted election infrastructure, officials said.

 

More recently, Russian state-backed hackers set their sights on the West. In 2014, they penetrated the State Department’s unclassified email system and a White House computer server and stole President Barack Obama’s unclassified schedule, U.S. officials said. In 2015, they got into the German parliament, according to German officials, in what experts see as the most significant hack in the country’s history.

 

Since its interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, Russia has been accused of attacks on the French elections and the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the costly NotPetya malware attacks on corporate networks. This year, Western governments accused Russia of cyber espionage against targets related to coronavirus vaccines. Russia has denied involvement.

 

As the operations have grown in scope, Russian hackers’ technical abilities have improved, experts say.

 

In the 2007 Estonia attack, hackers used a relatively crude tool called “distributed denial-of-service” which knocked websites offline by flooding them with data, and did little to hide their trail, with some of their IP addresses located in Russia.

 

More recent operations have used new reconnaissance tools and methods to cloak operations, including false flag tactics, to make it appear that another country was responsible.

 

In 2018, federal officials said that state-sponsored Russian hackers broke into supposedly secure, “air-gapped” or isolated networks owned by U.S. electric utilities. In the SolarWinds hack, intruders stealthily used a routine software update to gain access to hundreds of U.S. government and corporate systems undetected for months.

 

Still, some former U.S. officials said Russia is far from flawless in the cybersphere.

 

“They’re not 10 feet tall. They are detectable,” said former senior CIA official Steven Hall, who oversaw U.S. intelligence operations in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

 

Ultimately, how sophisticated Russia is in the cyber realm remains to be seen, said Bruce Potter, chief information security officer at cybersecurity firm Expel. Nations are reluctant to deploy their best cyber tools because doing so would cause countries and companies to rapidly patch a vulnerability.

 

“They just put down enough to get the job done,” he said. “And they get the job done.”

 

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HOLODOMOR DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN A PRECURSOR OF TODAY’S RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION

Marco Levytsky, Western Bureau Chief

New Pathway

Dec 25, 2020

 

The Soviet disinformation campaign to cover up the Holodomor is a precursor to the Russian Federation’s disinformation campaigns today, says a Pulitzer Prize winning author of a recent book on the 1932-33 famine.

 

“The techniques of disinformation are different, but the instinct is very similar,” said Anne Applebaum, author of “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” during a virtual conversation streamed online by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta, November 28.

 

When something embarrassing happens that goes against the regime’s picture of itself a disinformation campaign will be launched to cover it up, she noted, citing the Russian attempt to deny responsibility for the downing of flight MH17 over occupied Donbas in 2014 as a recent example.

 

Applebaum described the Holodomor as “one of the greatest and most successful cover-ups of the 20th Century”. “|It was known all over Moscow, it was known to people all over the country and of course it was known all over Ukraine,” she stated adding that there are numerous letters written to Stalin by local Bolsheviks and voluminous reports from the Ukrainian Communist Party – a factor that led to its purging.

 

Applebaum noted that the way it was covered up is worth studying. First there was the threat of arrest for even mentioning that fact and all the members of the Ukrainian Communist Party who objected were either dead or imprisoned a decade later. As well, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin falsified the census figure to cover up the true number of deaths. “It was an effective cover-up. It was so effective that Western countries who had diplomats on the ground telling them what was going on were confused by the story,”she explained.

 

The first time you could publicly discuss the famine in Ukraine in public was during the Nazi occupation in 1941-44 and that’s also when some of the first material on the Holodomor surfaced. Thus, Holodomor deniers picked up on this fact to create the myth that the existence of the famine was a German invention.

 

It wasn’t until the 1980s and Robert Conquest’s “Harvest of Sorrow” that the Holodomor became better known around the world. Now that Ukraine is independent and has opened up its archives, people are starting to treat the Holodomor much more seriously.

 

As for critics who say there was a famine across the USSR, Applebaum pointed out that the famine in Ukraine was “a famine within a famine” with a specific purpose.

 

“Stalin used this moment when there was chaos all over the country to get rid of what was for him a problem. And this was the problem of the national movement in Ukraine and the Ukrainian Communist Party which was very independent of the Soviet Communist Party”.

 

Just as Hitler murdered many other people besides Jews in the Second World War, “you can talk of the Holocaust as something separate and that’s how I see the Ukrainian famine — a specific action that was taken for specific local reasons as a way of benefiting from the general Soviet famine.”

 

Applebaum is also the author of “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956”, “Gulag: A History” and “Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe.” A graduate of Yale, she has lectured widely at leading universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, London, Belfast, Heidelberg, Zurich, Texas, Toronto, and many others. Published in 2017, “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” was awarded the Lionel Gelber Prize as well as the Duff Cooper Prize in 2018.

 

The conversation with her was hosted by Jars Balan (CIUS) and Marta Baziuk (Holodomor Research and Education Consortium).

 

Asked by Balan how the Soviets managed to make people turn on their neighbours. Applebaum explained that the Soviets constructed a narrative that the revolution is moving forward and will bring greater happiness and success in the future, but that for now, the peasantry is standing in the way of progress and has to be eliminated. Thus, scapegoats are created – a practice that continues to this day.

 

“It is amazing how some of these ideas repeat themselves. You focus on one particular social group and you caricature them as ugly or backwards or unnecessary. You can inspire quite a lot of hatred and you can direct that hatred away from the government and its flaws and towards specific enemies,” Applebaum explained adding that the Holodomor is “a fantastic piece of history to study, if you want to understand how extremism is deliberately created.”

 

Asked by Balan about the reaction to her book in some academic circles where the Holodomor is downplayed, Applebaum said she was surprised by the number of positive reviews her book got. She was expecting more pushback from some academics and Russia or people close to Russia. “I found that most academics, including those who used to be hostile to Ukrainian national nuances (were) surprisingly open to it,” she said.

 

Asked by Baziuk about the impact the Russian translation of her book may have, Applebaum stated that for many people who saw Ukraine as an appendage of Russia, this will be a revelation as to how communism played out differently in Ukraine than in Russia.

Another big audience for the translation are Russian speakers in Ukraine who identify themselves as Ukrainian even though they speak Russian. Applebaum next plans a book on the downfall of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

 

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ТЕРИТОРІЯЛЬНА АМНЕЗІЯ ВЛАДІМІРА ПУТІНА

Коментар для українського радіo у Філядельфії частинно підготовлений на матеріялі професора Петра Кралюка з національного університету Острозька Академія і на основі історії ОУН. Матеріял підготовив Осип Рожка.

Антиурядові протести в м. Хабаровську в Російській Федерації, на Далекому Сході, які тривали кілька тижнів, привернули увагу світу.  “Путін! Нам потрібна гідна зарплата і пенсія, а не війна з Україною!!!” – читаємо на плякатах в часі антипутінської демонстрації в обороні арештованого хабаровського губернатора.

Які висновки можна зробити з цього? Хто ті мешканці, що опротестовують Путінські рішення? Звідки взявся її вільнолюбний дух? Попробуємо дати хоч частинну відповідь на ці цікаві питання.

Отже,  в останніх тижнях багато писалося і говорилося про протести у місті Хабаровську проти тоталітарних потягнень деспота Російської Федерації Владіміра Путіна, який не шанує волі місцевих мешканців. Ці протести дали привід писати про новий тип мешканців, які виросли на територіях силою прилучених совєтами в 20-их роках минулого століття, таких як Вороніжчина, Стародубщина і самозрозуміло Кубані чи точніше, Кубанської України, яка в 1918 р. хотіла приєднатись до української держави, але була захоплена большевиками. Їхня доля така сама як територій захоплених москалями на Далекому Cході – тотальна русифікація. Про це не говорить Путін. Але така сама доля чекає Крим і Донбас, якщо ми, зложивши руки придивлятимемося  як рік за роком москалі русифікують Донбас і Крим. Відповідним прикладом є доля Української Далекосхідньої Республіки – яка вважалася державною колонією України. Як дійшло до існування цієї республіки?

Москалі загарбували території різних народів дипломатичною хитрістю і грубою силою. Це також відноситься до територїі китайців на Далекому Сході і ці території стали від половини ХІХ століття  місцем нових поселень з російської царської імперії і сюди виемігрувало багато українців. З Одеси відправлялися пароплави, які везли українців на росіянами новоздобуті території.

“Коли ж була побудована Транссибірська залізниця, яка з’єднала ценральні губернії Росії з Владивостоком, ця міграція лише посилилася. Із кінця ХІХ століття по 1916 р. на Далекий Схід  виїхало 276,000 українців, що становило біля 56% від загальної кількості переселенців у цей край.  В основному це були вихідці з колишньої козацької Гетьманщини – Чернігівської та Полтавської губерній.  Про це свідчать українські назви в тих місцевостях так як Чернігівка, Покровка, Ромни, Іванківці тощо,” – пише пофесор Острозької Академії Петро Кралюк.

Ці землі одержали назву Зеленого Клину і українці помогли їх освоювати як і землі Приморського краю. Хоч обмежені російською владою в національно-культурних правах хоч би й Емським указом то культурне життя проти волі державної влади поволи  розвивалося. В половині першого десятиліття ХХ століття, після японсько-російської війни, яку Росія програла 1905 року, з новим подихом лібералізації, почали з’являтися перші українські організації у Харбіні, Владивостоці. У 1910 р. в Нікольсько-Уссурійському краю було засновано товариство “Просвіта”.

Революційні події 1917 року змусили українців Далекого Сходу оприділитися. Створено Українську Далекосхідню Республіку на території Зеленого Клину, яка обіймала 400.85 км. Ця територія вважалася за державною кольонією України, а ним були теж острів Сахалін  – 37.988 км. із 19.000 населенням, і територія  Приморщини 690.198 км з майже 700 тисячним населенням. Національний прапор  Зеленого Клину був синьожовтим – синій колір символізував небо і море, жовтий – хлібне поле, із зеленим трикутником, який символізував тайгу.

 Від 1918 р. центральні органи цієї республіки знаходилися у Владивостоці. Ця українська республіка мала свою Українську Далеко-Східню Крайову Раду,  яка була законодавчим органом, отже Парляментом республіки і мала свій державний секретаріят який відповідав за виконавчу раду. Владу здійснювали десять окружних рад. Популярною серед мешканців цієї республіки була ідея обєднання з Українською Народньою Державою у Велику Україну.

Тут почали видавати українські часописи з такими назвами як “Українець на Зеленому Клині”, “Щире слово”, “Громадська Думка”, “Ранок” “Нова Україна” ,”Хвилі України” і “Засів”. Вони поширювалися в Харбіні, Хабаровську і Владивостоці.

У 1920 р. на цих територіях постала Далекосхідня Республіка, як буферна зона між Японією (Маньчжу Айго) і Росією і владу тут перебрали більшовики.  Звичайно, большевики інкорпорували ці землі силою у 1922 р. і перетворили її на звичайнісіньку російську область.

Результатом ліквідації Української Далекосхідньої Республіки були масові арешти. Голова секретаріяту Юрій Глушко – Мова був арештований. Силою заборонено українські організації. Судовий процес над українськими патріотами відбувся у Чіті у 1924 р.

Результатом розгрому українських інституцій стала насильна російська русифікація особливо інтенсивно  по містах. Незначний період культурних полегш з боку большевиків, який почався щойно у 1931 р., на підставі якого строїлися великі пляни українізації і запровадження української мови у 809 школах першого ступеня та інших установах, і у шести із 13 ти районів діловодство мало бути переведене на українську мову і ще були пляни українізувати роботу культурно-освітніх установ.  А в інших семи регіонах мала відбутися часткова українізація. Був створений український театр. Однак ці надії і мрії не протривали довше двох років. 14 грудня 1932 року ліквідовано постановою Всесоюзної Комуністичної Партії більшовиків всі українські інституції на теренах Російської Федерації. Це був початок безупинної русифікації українців Далекого  Сходу – русифікації яка триває по сьогоднішній день.

Згідно із статиcтичними даними українців на Далекому Сході в 1920-30-их роках нараховувалося понад триста тисяч осіб. А на початку 90-их років понад пів мільйона. Це тільки частинна картина бо багато українців русифікувалося з різних причин. Для декого було вигідніше бути росіянином чим українцем. З такою логікою і можна було зробити кращу карієру. Не зважаючи на таке думання переведений опит  у 1989 році виявив що 40% українців зберегли свою рідну українську мову. Це великий плюс для українців, які в умовах тотальної русифікації зберегли свою рідну мову.

Після розпаду Совєтського Союзу в Росії утвердилися імперська ідеологія в результаті чого відбулася інтенсивна русифікація українського населення краю. Перепис українського населення у 2002 р. виявив що на Далекому Сході проживає 250 000 українців, а майже  десять років пізніше у 2011 р.,  їх було вже тільки 50,000 осіб. Очевидно, що на українців мусіли сильно тиснути, коли число скоротилося аж у п’ять разів. Де ж вони поділися. Звичайно, приховуються за назвою росіяни.

Однак протести в Хабаровську показують, що вільнолюбний дух місцевого населення не зломаний. Чи не пригадати більшості з них чиї вони діти, ким відібрана їхня територія, чому їх русифікують? Може тоді й зрозуміють страх Москви перед Україною і її мовою, і їхньою мрією далекосхідньої держави Зеленої України? До цих інформацій, які ми використали із даних професора П. Кралюка з Отсрозької Академіїб додаємо деякі матеріяли, які насвітлюють дальшу боротьбу українців за Зелений Клин.

Для цього пригадаємо деякі факти з-перед Другої Світової Війни, а саме з 1937 року. У Харбіні вже від того року існувала Організація Українських Націоналістів. Харбін був зайнятий японцями у складі так званої держави Манчуко, яку японці створили на окупованій Манджурії, у 1931 році. В 1938 р., у 20-ту річницю проголошення українсьої держави в Києві, ОУН звернулася до молоді Далекого Сходу зверненням, з якого подаємо коротенький уривок: “Українська Молоде Далекого Сходу! Хоч Україна сьогодні розшматована чотирьома окупантами: червоною Москвою, Польщею, Румунією і Чехо-Словаччиною, а наша далекосхідня кольонія – Зелений Клин під большевиками, то боротьба за проголошені і таки раз здійснені ідеали Української Нації 20 років тому не тільки не припинилися, але посилюються з кожним днем. Цю героїчну боротьбу за здійснення повищих ідеалів веде Український Націоналістичний Рух і його перший пробоєвик – Організація Українських Націоналістів під проводом Вождя Евгена Коновальця….”

І в дальшому читаємо – “На цьому величному святі ми мусимо заманіфестувати перед цілим світом що й ми тут на Далекому Сході є проти окупації українських земель, проти комунізму, мусимо замініфестувати що ми за Самостійну Соборну Українську Державу та за освободження нашої другої батьківщини – Зеленої України Далекого Сходу”.

І цікаво підкреслити клич який націоналісти видвигнули: “Хай живе Українська Національна Революція від берегів Сяну й Тиси до берегів Тихого Океану під проводом Евгена Коновальця!”

У Харбіні вийшла у 1942 р. націоналістична газета “Сурма” як офіційний орган ОУН на Далекому Сході. У таборі біженців з Совєтського Союзу, що знаходився 20 км від Харбіну, націоналісти проводили національно-освідомлюючу працю з біженцями, яка дала неочікувані прекрасні висліди. Нажаль 19 серпня 1945 р. Харбін зайняли совєтські війська. Націоналістам за їхню любов до України не було помилування – їх розстрілювали.

Частина націоналістів ще у 1945 р. знайшла зв’язок з Миколою Лебедем, секретарем закордонних справ УГВР під проводом ген. хор. Романа Шухевича-Тараса Чупринки, з тодішнім псевдом Лозовського, і виїхала з Харбіну до Шанхаю, а звідтам у дальший світ. Пізніше, у 50-их роках на Далекому Сході була створена ОУН – Північ під проводом Михайла Сороки, членами якої були переважно ув’язнені зеки, воїни УПА і члени ОУН, та Москвою вивезені на заслання патріоти.

Нехай ці факти допоможуть нам пригадати боротьбу українців за власну державу на Далекому Сході – за Далекосхідню Зелену Україну!

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CONGRESS OVERRIDES TRUMP NDAA VETO

BY JORDAIN CARNEY

01/01/21

The Hill

Congress delivered a stinging rebuke to President Trump on Friday, handing him his first veto override in the final days of his administration. 

The GOP-controlled Senate met during a rare New Years Day session and voted 80-12 to override Trump’s veto of a mammoth defense bill, underscoring the depth of disagreement between the two sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The House voted earlier this week to nix Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which greenlights spending levels and lays out policy for the Pentagon. 

It caps off a chaotic session for Congress that started with the longest government shutdown in modern history, included an impeachment trial and is now closing in a rare rebuke of Trump. In addition to the veto fight, Senate Republicans effectively killed the president’s demand for an increase in recently-passed stimulus checks and next week Congress will ultimately reject a long-shot attempt by conservatives to hand the election to Trump. 

But the veto fight over the NDAA is in many ways a culmination of years-long, deep divisions between congressional Republicans and the president when it comes to defense and national security policy, which started almost as soon as he took over the White House with a months-long fight over Russia sanctions. 

“It’s a serious responsibility,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said about the bill on Friday. “But it’s also a tremendous opportunity: to direct our national security priorities to reflect the resolve of the American people and the evolving threats to their safety, at home and abroad.”

The president warned for months that he would veto the defense bill, which with Friday’s veto vote will become law for the 60th year in a row, over language included in both the initial House and Senate bills requiring the Pentagon to change the names of Confederate-named military bases and installations. 

As it became increasingly clear that Congress was moving forward with the bill, Trump also lashed out at the legislation because it did not include a repeal of Section 230, a shield used by tech companies, which GOP lawmakers argued was not related to the defense bill. 

Trump’s veto statement also took aim at other parts of the legislation, including restrictions on his ability to remove troops from Afghanistan and Germany. 

“My Administration has taken strong actions to help keep our Nation safe and support our service members. I will not approve this bill, which would put the interests of the Washington, D.C. establishment over those of the American people,” Trump wrote in his veto statement. 

Trump’s decision to veto the bill — which came a day after McConnell publicly said he hoped the president would back down — forced Republicans to decide in the administration’s twilight whether or not to stick with a bill that initially passed with veto-proof majorities or side with the president, who maintains a vise-like grip on the party’s base. 

Trump, while largely focused on challenging President-elect Joe Biden‘s win, lashed out this week at congressional Republicans, tweeting that “weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.” 

“Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW! Senate should not approve NDAA until fixed!!!” he added. 

More than 100 Republican lawmakers in the House ultimately broke with Trump to support the veto override earlier this week. And several GOP senators told The Hill that they had not heard from Trump or the White House in the days leading up to Friday’s vote trying to sway them to vote against the override. 

“I think it was more about making a statement than anything else,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas.). 

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said that he had not heard from the White House about trying to get him to change his vote and he didn’t know of any other Senate Republicans who had heard from the administration either. 

Some Republican senators did flip their vote to support Trump’s veto after they had initially supported the defense bill’s passage.

In the House, the veto split GOP leadership with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican and highest-ranking GOP woman, voting to override and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sticking with Trump. 

But in many ways the veto override was pre-baked.

House Democratic leadership had signaled for weeks that they expected to override Trump’s veto, marking the first time either chamber had a successful override vote. Before the NDAA fight Trump had issued eight vetoes, none of which had been successfully challenged by the House or Senate. 

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took much of the drama out of the Senate action when he signaled that he believed he had the votes to override Trump’s veto. 

“For the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, failure is simply not an option. So when it’s our time in Congress to have their backs, failure is not an option either,” McConnell said. “I would urge my Republican colleagues to support this legislation one more time when we vote.”