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By Alexei Anpilogov, Moscow*
  @bears_with

A unique icebreaker will create a new geopolitical reality for Russia.
Russia has large-scale plans in the Arctic – and the world’s most powerful nuclear icebreakers will ensure Russia’s presence in this crucial region. Three icebreakers of the LK-120YA Leader project will be built according to the strategy for the development of the Arctic zone until 2035 approved by the President of the Russian Federation. What is unique about this ship and what tasks will it solve?

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Alexei Kudrin (lead image) , officially Russia’s state auditor, is the irrepressible successor to President Vladimir Putin upon whom the oligarchs, the western secret services and the London and New York financial press agree.

Their dream team for regime change comprises Alexei Navalny as president; Kudrin as either Vice President or Prime Minister. According to the latest nationwide poll of political trust, Navalny is the trusted choice of between 2% and 4%, no better than he was polling three years ago. Last month, however, Kudrin, had  fallen off the trust list altogether. A year ago, he managed to make it on to the distrust list, running just behind Navalny between 2% and 3%.   

It’s his insignificance that Kudrin has determined to do something about. So last week he issued a three-year macro-economic strategy for the country. As the Moscow financial press noticed, this is the first time the Accounting Chamber exceeded its official mandate, challenging both the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A freelance Australian-Ukrainian reporter named Demjin Doroschenko (lead image),  employed by the Australian, British and US press to report from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014,  has been exposed this week as an  agent of  the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). Reporting to a figure he calls “my SBU handler”, he had been operating in the Donetsk area before and after the crash, and had been spying on groups fighting the Ukrainian regime in Kiev.

In the record of an interview  Doroschenko gave to agents of the Australian Federal Police and Australian foreign ministry in Kiev in March 2015, the man admitted he had been paid by the SBU to pass himself off as a freelance journalist for western media in the Donetsk area before and after the MH17 shoot-down. He had met, he said, with Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Dutch police in July 2014, and then again in November of that year, to give them physical evidence he said he had taken from the crash site, as well as purported witness testimony identifying a Russian missile unit as the cause of the aircraft shoot-down.  The evidence appears to have been given to him by the SBU.

Doroschenko also ackowledged that he had been trying to sell his information to Dutch police investigators until the SBU confiscated his computer files, and handed them over to the Dutch directly.

The media which paid Doroschenko to report from the MH17 crash scene included the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), a state broadcaster; the Murdoch press in Sydney and in London; Associated Press;  and NBC of New York.

Of the 298 passengers and crew killed on board the aircraft, 189 were Dutch; 44 were Malaysia; 27 Australian; 12 Indonesian; and 9 British. 

Reporting to the Sydney Morning Herald on July 18, the day after the shoot-down, Doroschenko categorically denied the Ukrainian government forces were responsible. “They don’t have any weapons like this that could have brought down an airliner at ten thousand meters. No way. So it had to come from the other side and only a very modern weapon system could have done that. I can only think it would have been deliberate, because air defense systems have IFF recognition system so you can tell if it is a military aircraft or a civilian aircraft you are going to shoot down. It could only have come from across the border. It is an act of absolute barbarism and terrorism in my opinion.”

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By Evan Jones, Sydney
  @bears_with

The MH17 was brought down over six years ago. John Helmer, with others, has compiled a book on the farce that has attended the pursuit of cause and culprits. Australia’s involvement is peculiarly both integral and marginal.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Armenia has lost the October war with Azerbaijan because of Armenian failures in battlefield intelligence, obsolete defences, and the political miscalculations of Prime Minister Nicol Pashinyan (lead image). His only allies now are the mountains and the weather.

This is the consensus this week of Moscow’s leading military analysts. “During the period of Nikol Pashinyan’s premiership,” Vzglyad reported the Russian General Staff assessment on Tuesday, “three intelligence chiefs were replaced, and one of them had no competence and was a purely political appointee from the West. All this was accompanied by internal anti-Russian rhetoric, multiplied by national arrogance. Some leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh have said things like ‘we don’t need the Russians at all, we can walk to Baku without you.’”

“Moreover, over the last six months, in the General Staff of Armenia there has been a mass dismissal of officers who were trained in Moscow.”

“It’s probably about time that real purges within the government took place,” Pashinyan had announced in April. According to the Russian assessment, Pashinyan then made the nervous novice’s classic mistake: he reinforced his palace  guard against rival Armenians, but underestimated his traditional Azeri enemy and has now lost control of territory.  

The Armenian riposte is that Moscow analysts who say this “receive money from Turkey and Azerbaijan.”

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014 was an operation the US-appointed regime in Ukraine intended for the purpose of drawing the NATO alliance into military intervention in the Donbass. It failed, but the Dutch keep trying.  

The Navalny Novichok of August 2020 is an operation in Berlin intended to draw the NATO alliance into the German election campaign to ensure the outcome remains loyal to NATO and the US. This operation hasn’t failed yet.

It won’t if the retired chief British bureaucrat and supervisor of the intelligence services and war machine, Baron Sedwill (lead images), has anything to say about it. Last week he said quite a lot. He explained that “naivety” towards Russia is “probably mistaken”. When he discovered the Russians had attempted to assassinate Sergei Skripal with Novichok in March 2018, he says he was an “advocate for muscular reprisal”. This included “a series of other discreet measures including…covert measures as well, which obviously I can’t talk about. The Russians know that they had to pay a higher price than they had expected for that operation.”

Because he wasn’t asked, the British baron didn’t explain why  his discreet,  covert and high-price muscle moves against Russia in 2018 failed to deter a Russian repeat of their Novichok operation just two years later.

Either that makes the Navalny Novichok a successful move on the part of the Russians, to show how puny the muscles of Sedwill and the NATO alliance have proved to be.  Or else the Navalny Novickok is an Anglo-German operation intended to provoke the pro-NATO, pro-US faction in Berlin into using discreet, covert and high-price muscle against their German critics and rivals.  

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Last night the question was put by Hans-Joachim Spanger of the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt to President Vladimir Putin, requesting his analysis of the evidence of poisoning in the case of Alexei Navalny; and the President’s assessment of whether the affair marks a turning point for the worse in Russian-German relations, ending the “special role of the Chancellor”. Spanger also asked Putin “what Russia can do to avoid it happening, or conversely, to turn the turning point around again”.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Republican Party sources in Pennsylvania say this week’s indictment of six Russian military intelligence officers for cyber-warfare operations in the Ukraine, Georgia, the UK, and South Korea is a highly effective political advertisement for the local US Attorney,  Scott Brady, 51, (lead image, right). The sources say Brady is running to become the Republican candidate to be the next state governor or senator in 2022.

The timing of Brady’s announcement this Monday was driven, the sources say, by the withdrawal of the incumbent Republican senator Pat Toomey, reported on October 4; and by Brady’s calculation that, win or lose in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump will lose the national election on November 3. When that happens, and until Inauguration Day on January 20, Brady will have to resign his post for replacement by the incoming Democratic president.

“The Republican nominations for governor and senator are wide open,” a well-known state Republican attorney says. “Brady comes from a Trump county in the west; his reputation in Pittsburgh is that of a Trump loyalist. If he’s the only Republican candidate from the west of the state, he stands a good chance of splitting the eastern county votes and winning the party primary. By making this indictment of the Russians public now, he’s drawing enormous free advertising of his credentials for the race – if Trump wins next month, and especially if Trump loses.”

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
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A grand jury of steelworkers and coalminers in western Pennsylvania has voted to charge six Russian Army officers with several criminal offences, including defence against two enemy states at war on Russia’s borders,  Ukraine and Georgia; the UK’s chemical warfare laboratory at Porton Down; and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Netherlands.

According to the 50-page indictment by a local US attorney, the Russian soldiers were engaged in a “conspiracy to deploy destructive malware and take other disruptive actions for the strategic benefit of Russia”.

Between April 5 and 6, 2018, the soldiers sent emails pretending to be a journalist from a German national weekly newspaper and a British journalist. The emails were sent to official addresses of the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down in England,   and to the OPCW in The Netherlands. Regarding the poisoning incidents in Salisbury of March 4, 2018,  involving Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the “Conspirators purported to have information to share regarding the poisoning”.

No evidence has been presented of what information they, or the Russian military intelligence agency GRU at which the six officers worked, had about the Skripal case because their emails were ignored. Malware alleged to be attached to the emails appears to have caused no damage to the targeted computers, nor allowed effective espionage inside the DSTL and OPCW files.

The attempts  to communicate with Porton Down and the OPCW have been charged to be the US criminal offences of wire fraud, damage to computers, identity theft, and abetting a scheme of spearphishing – breaking into the computers of Porton Down and OPCW when those organisations were accusing the Russian Army of an attempted assassination by the chemical agent they called Novichok.  

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Alexei Navalny has opened his US media campaign on Sunday with interviews on CBS Television and the New Yorker magazine. Wearing a new white shirt, he has also opened a new version of the attempted assassination.  

In Navalny’s fresh plot, he now says he was poisoned when he was putting on clothes in his hotel room in Tomsk, and then touched a water bottle. “We know that I was poisoned in the hotel because I — well, again, it’s just a pure speculation because no one knows what happened exactly —  but I think that when I was, er, maybe put some clothes with this poison on me, I touched it with the hand [left hand], and then I sipped from the bottle [right hand]. So this nerve agent was not inside of the bottle but on the bottle.”

The evidence for the poisoning, Navalny insisted to CBS, can be found in the reports of the French and Swedish military laboratories. According to a partial release of the official report by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), “two blood samples were collected from the patient [Navalny] on the 5th of September 2020”.  

Litigation in a Stockholm court by Mats Nilsson is under way to compel publication of the full FOI report. The laboratory onfirms it did not test Navalny’s urine, skin samples, clothing, or the water bottle.

Navalny now claims to the New Yorker that the evidence of his poisoning can be found in the classified report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), although it too has announced that it did not test the water bottle and did not identify Novichok. “I was poisoned with a different kind of Novichok. Even the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons classifies its reports, because no one wants to publish the formula.”

According to the report of the OPCW, “the mission was restricted to the collection of biomedical samples from Mr Navalny. No other information was shared by the German authorities. On 6 September 2020, the TAV [technical assistance visit] team visited the Charité Hospital in Berlin… In line with OPCW procedures, blood and urine sampling was conducted by the hospital staff.”  

The only laboratory which did test the bottle, the German Army laboratory IPTB in Munich, has not been identified by Navalny in his new US media claims as a source of what happened to him. No testing of the clothes which Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, brought with the bottle to Berlin has been reported by any source. According to Navalnaya, she wrestled a suitcase of Navalny’s clothes away from local police at Omsk airport to take it on board the charter flight to Berlin.

For the first time Navalny has revealed a diagnosis he says was discussed with his wife at the Omsk Hospital. “There were all these doctors at the hospital in Omsk wearing their white coats,” he told New Yorker, “saying, ‘Of course, he wasn’t poisoned, of course, it’s a case of pancreatitis.’ It’s hard to argue with that. They are doctors! And we are not. And Yulia and [assistant Leonid] Volkov both told me that even as they were making arrangements to have me airlifted to Germany, they were thinking, What if it is pancreatitis and tomorrow he comes to in Germany, furious?”

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