Zakhar Prilepin: They and us. Viewpoints of Russia and the West

ALAFF’s author’s translation of Zakhar Prilepin’s article in the latest issue of the magazine «Stolitsa Nizhny» (in English — «The Capital Nizhny [Novgorod]»). The magazine is published in the city of Nizhny Novgorod (one of the largest Russian cities, the capital of Privozhsky federal district of Russia, one of the cities that hosted the World Cup 2018 in Russia). This is a monthly city magazine with news of culture and business. In this article, Zakhar Prilepin talks about the attitude of the Russian and Western media to world events and the prejudice of Western journalists towards Russia, expressed in the use of primitive clichés and stereotypes.

Zakhar Prilepin — famous Russian writer, publicist, philologist, TV host. Known for his social, political and humanitarian activities. A member of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation since October 2016. Zakhar Prilepin is known for his civil position. In particular, the writer went as a volunteer to the Donbass to fight on the side of the militia against Ukrainian chasteners. Works of Prilepin were published in English, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Armenian. Detailed bibliography of the writer.


zakhar_prilepin1
Zakhar Prilepin, a writer.

Nine out of ten European media will never publish what I tell them about the conflict in the Donbass. No European country has published my book on Donbass events; while the writings of Ukrainian writers about cyborgs*, GRU snipers on the Maidan and Putin’s aggression were published by all European countries, many times. But who will reproach them for keeping silent about the truth? They just see it that way. But what about us? What do we see?

Nine out of ten meetings with a journalist from any European country follow the same pattern: «Do you have problems with the publication of books [in Russia], since you worked in the same newspaper with [Anna] Politkovskaya? How are journalists being persecuted in Russia? Is Russia in the Donbass a policy of expansion? Crimes of the Russian army in Syria — what do you know about it? Why do Russian people love Stalin so much and dislike Gorbachev? Is it possible to defeat corruption in Russia? Why did you change your mind about Putin?». Out of mercy, at the very end of the conversation, they are asking something about my next novel translated into their European language.

One can, of course, go along the line of least resistance and answer the question about Donbass and the expansion policy: yes, this is an expansion policy; when asked about crimes in Syria, one can say: yes, these are crimes against humanity; when asked about Stalin, one can say that the Russian man is a slave and lagged behind the Europeans by 100 years; plus add something about Putin, summarizing all of the foresaid. The problem is that before me all this was already said in the West by Boris Akunin; why should i repeat.

I am lazily saying that they themselves are full of corruption; that their journalists write about the agenda that is allowed, but they don’t write about the agenda that, in their opinion, is not the agenda, and, it seems, they don’t even think about it; that they themselves hang around in Syria (and bomb it), and for some reason they even tamper on Ukraine; that the people in Russia do not like Stalin, but simply want to cut the comb of the completely shameless [Russian] bourgeoisie, which, it seems, is already not afraid of anything except Stalin. But there is no Stalin, and it is impossible to return him from the underworld for a week. But the most important thing that I explain [them] is something else.

If, I say, a British, Italian, French or German writer arrives in Russia, the Russian journalist will never have the thought to arrange an interrogation with passion. For example, like this: «What have you done in Syria (Algeria, Iraq and down the list)? What are you doing in Ukraine? Why do you have such corruption? Why do you have migrants [problem]? What is this gay propaganda in your schools? Why is there a lack of freedom in your newspapers? Why do they draw Putin with Hitler’s mustaches in your magazines? Is this funny?».

Well, if you try, you can assume one some very tactfully formulated question to any of the topics mentioned, but the colleagues themselves will begin to hiss discontentedly on a journalist who asked such a question. Why is that? [Because] We love guests. We respect them. We do not believe that their writers should be responsible for their politicians and, all the more so, to condemn them while staying in a foreign land. But on the other hand, I tell myself, if they ask me such questions, then they believe that the Russian writer has the right to answer them? And I begin to answer. Unfortunately, at least one of my five interviews will not be published. Sometimes two.

In a recent interview, I said that North Korea is a country like any other, and brought the world much less evil than many European players; as for the repressions in North Korea itself — South Korea supplies 99% of the news about North Korea. This is the same thing as judging Russia by Ukrainian news, but only worse. They (European journalists — ALAFF.) did not even cut out this piece [of interview], but solved [the problem] simply and radically: people who say such things have no right to be heard in a European country.

zakhar_prilepin2
According to Zakhar Prilepin, his interviews with Western media on
political issues often remain unpublished.

Another time I said that in France alone, over 80% of the media belong to three corporations that are controlled by the United States, so don’t tell me about the freedom of the European media and about our (Russian — ALAFF.) terrible censorship. This conversation remained in the dictaphone and did not reach the readers either. For the third time… However, nevermind. The fact is that this is not censorship, right? This is an «editorial policy». They just do not share my point of view, but share theirs and Boris Akunin’s. Of course, if these are not the same but different points of view.

 

* «Cyborgs» — the nickname of the Ukrainian soldiers who participated in the battles for the airport of Donetsk in 2014-2015.

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Raqqa. Damage assessment

For visual analysis of destructions in Raqqa city, ALAFF used the terraserver.com website. A free version of the website was used, so the images contain watermarks, which, however, do not interfere with the perception of the images.

Files contain images ‘Before‘ (b/w) and ‘After‘ (color). ‘Before’ is the state of the Raqqa city as of October 2011. ‘After’ is the same as of October 2017. Here is how variants of the same image look on terraserver.com website (the site of the infamous «incident in Khan-Sheikhun» in Idlib province was taken as an example):

The overall image (Raqqa city) is divided into several large areas. In turn, these large areas are divided into sectors. The division into sectors is as follows:

raqqa_image_sectors

Sector A1 is the upper left corner of image, sector H5 is the lower right corner. The image of the area, that unites all sectors (the compound of sectors), will be shown at the very bottom.

Both images — ‘Before’ and ‘After’ — show destructions visible to the eye.  These are only destructions that are noticeable/visible from a great height — i.e. these are fairly large destructions of objects (buildings, roads, structures etc). Naturally, the images do not show the destructions that can be seen only in the horizontal plane, that is, looking at the object from the side, not from above — this refers to the destroyed/damaged walls of buildings, broken windows, holes in the walls, traces of shells, bullets and other ammunition etc.

Comparisons of all objects are numbered. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

 

Descending: sectors A1 — H1:

raqqa_destruct_A-1raqqa_destruct_B-1raqqa_destruct_C-1raqqa_destruct_D-1raqqa_destruct_E-1raqqa_destruct_F-1raqqa_destruct_G-1raqqa_destruct_H-1

Descending: sectors B2 — H2 (sector A2 is absent, because does not contain destructions):

raqqa_destruct_B-2raqqa_destruct_C-2raqqa_destruct_D-2raqqa_destruct_E-2raqqa_destruct_F-2raqqa_destruct_G-2raqqa_destruct_H-2

Descending: sectors B3 — H3 (sector A3 is absent, because does not contain destructions):

raqqa_destruct_B-3raqqa_destruct_C-3raqqa_destruct_D-3raqqa_destruct_E-3raqqa_destruct_F-3raqqa_destruct_G-3raqqa_destruct_H-3

Descending: sectors A4 — H4:

raqqa_destruct_A-4raqqa_destruct_B-4raqqa_destruct_C-4raqqa_destruct_D-4raqqa_destruct_E-4raqqa_destruct_F-4raqqa_destruct_G-4raqqa_destruct_H-4

Descending: sectors B5 — H5 (sector A5 is absent, because does not contain destructions):

raqqa_destruct_B-5raqqa_destruct_C-5raqqa_destruct_D-5raqqa_destruct_E-5raqqa_destruct_F-5raqqa_destruct_G-5raqqa_destruct_H-5

Just to remind, the sectors show only one large area of the overall image (Raqqa city). This large area of destructions (the compound of sectors) is as follows:

raqqa_sector_1-1

raqqa_2

Despite the fact that such an analysis is a time-consuming process, ALAFF will continue to work on other large areas in order to combine them into a common single detailed image of destructions in the city of Raqqa, which was “liberated” by the so called US-led coalition. According to the results of this “liberation”, about 80% of the Raqqa city is no longer suitable for living — after all, a carpet bombing does not provide for such nuances as concern for minimizing civilian casualties. The “liberators” did not consider it necessary to demine the city, as a result of which the inhabitants of the city (those who survived) regularly become victims of the explosions of the remaining shells and mines. Thousands of dead bodies still (though a whole year have passed) are lying under the rubble, rotting and thus poisoning the soil and water. The long-suffering city was repeatedly bombed with white phosphorus bombs (banned weapons), moreover, the use of white phosphorus was not denied by the so-called coalition itself.

The international community has yet to give a legal assessment of the actions of the so-called US-led coalition in Syria. The illegality of the very presence (occupation of part of the territory of a sovereign state and military actions in there in violation of all international laws) of foreign forces, primarily the United States, in Syria can only aggravate this assessment. It is about serious war crimes. It was precisely complete impunity with regard to the actions of the American regime in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya that made possible the beginning of aggression against Syria. The criminal actions of the American regime in SAR will eventually have to receive a full-fledged legal assessment with all the ensuing consequences. This was done at the Nuremberg trial against the Nazi perpetrators. This must be done once again in relation to American criminals, if the current generation does not want to be ashamed before its descendants.

A journey to Morocco with Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan. About the construction of the shipyard.

Some interesting material for those who are fond of history (XX century, international relationship etc.). Translation of the chapter of the book «A journey to Morocco with Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan» (ISBN 978-5-9950-0467-7). This book was written by Vladimir Yevgenyevich Churov. Some info (in Russian) about the author.

The book «A journey to Morocco with Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan» was released in 2015, edition of 2000 copies only. The book is made in the form of a thick magazine (264 pages), printed on good coated paper and very richly illustrated.

«About the construction of the shipyard» is one of the chapters of the book. The chapter is divided into two parts, now ALAFF is publishing the first part. In this chapter V.I. Churov writes not just about «some people» who visited Morocco in the 60s — there would be nothing remarkable in this. The chapter is interesting, important and «personal» because V.I. Churov’s father was one of three members of the Soviet official delegation sent to Morocco in early 1960-es to study the situation and develop a plan for the possible construction of a shipyard in Morocco. That’s why the author has a lot of interesting information «first-hand» — his father left a lot of documents, records, diaries, photos etc. Plus access to state archives, as well as V.I. Churov’s personal trip to Morocco.

Annotation (taken from the website of the publishing house):

«Vladimir Yevgenyevich’s new book on Morocco refers to the series of «Journey to the Twentieth Century», started by the book «Journey from Budapest to Vienna with the Guards Major-General of Artillery Vladimir Iosifovitch Brezhnev» (2010). The narrator has perfectly mastered all methods of moving in time and space, some of these methods are accessible only to him. He uses his own travel notes and photographs, materials of personal (diaries, letters, drawings and photographs of his father) and state archives. Many documents were previously secret and are published for the first time, for example, the records of conversations between L.I. Brezhnev and A.I. Mikoyan with the kings of Morocco. Details of the biographies of several Soviet diplomats are given for the first time. This book is not a history of Morocco or Soviet-Moroccan relations, but a colorful picture of life in Morocco and the Soviet Union in the 20th century with several important historical finds«.

So here’s ALAFF’s translation of the text, in the form in which it is given in the book:


 

In 1961, as now, the construction of a shipyard on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco was part of world politics.

Sent to the members of the Presidium
of the CPSU Central Committee to vote
Secretly
(DECLASSIFIED)

State Committee
of the Council of Ministers of the USSR
on Foreign Economic Relations
January 27, 1961
№ 02-1/14

CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE CPSU

The Ambassador of the USSR to the Kingdom of Morocco reported (special telegram № 45 of 20.01.61) that Minister of National Economy and Finance of Morocco, Duiri, on behalf of the government, asked whether the Soviet government could urgently send two experts to Morocco to study the construction of a shipyard in Alhousemas (on the Mediterranean coast), as well as the reconstruction of the port of Alhousemas.

According to Duiri, after studying our experts on the construction of a shipyard and the reconstruction of the port of Alhusemas, the Moroccan government intends to apply to the Government of the Soviet Union for the design and construction of these facilities.

Having considered this request, the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on Foreign Economic Relations, the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Shipbuilding and the Ministry of the Navy of the USSR consider it possible to send one specialist of the Ministry of the Navy of the USSR for the reconstruction of sea ports and one specialist of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Shipbuilding for the construction of shipyards.

The draft resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU on this issue, agreed with the Ministry of the Navy of the USSR (comrade Bakaev) and the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Shipbuilding (comrade Butoma), is attached.
Please consider.

Chairman
of the State Committee S. Skachkov

20-ак
27.1.61г.
315-38
ЦК-03371
АП РФ. 30.1.61. П315/58.ф.3, оп.65, д.1015, лл.137-140

Until I started writing the next «Journey…», from the three names of the Soviet ministers, Bakaev, Butoma and Skachkov, mentioned in the aforesaid secret document, declassified at my request, I only knew the name of Butoma. And only because in the jubilee album of the Baltic Shipyard I saw a picture of a large marine tanker project 1559 «Boris Butoma». A little later, in Nikolaev [city], the oil-ore carrier ship «Boris Butoma» was built, with a displacement of 130,000 tons.

The graduate of the Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute, Boris Evstafievich Butoma (1907-1976) for 20 years led the domestic shipbuilding. He was responsible not only for the construction of vessels and ships, but also for the erection and reconstruction of shipbuilding plants, as huge as the Nikolaev’s «Ocean«. From 1957 to 1965, his post was called «Chairman of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Shipbuilding», since 1965 — «Minister of Shipbuilding Industry of the USSR».

During the [Second World] war years, the State Defense Committee and the People’s Commissariat of the Navy entrusted Victor Georgievich Bakaev (1902-1987) with responsible work to ensure the unloading of military cargoes and foodstuffs from Lend-Lease in Murmansk since 1943. It was a dangerous and important task. Bakaev coped with it. From 1954 to 1970, Viktor Georgievich headed the Ministry of the Navy of the USSR.

Semen Andreevich Skachkov (1907-1996) worked at the tank factories in Kharkov and the Urals until the end of the [Second World] war. For a quarter of a century, from 1958 to 1983, he headed the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations without fail.  It seems, he did not leave a memoirs, and in 1996 he took to the grave secrets that could change the history of many countries and the reputation of high-ranking officials.

Preparation of the Moroccan business trip continued through diplomatic correspondence.

The note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Embassy of the USSR in Rabat with a request to the competent Soviet organizations to participate in the implementation of the project of building a shipyard

№ 76/МАЕ/Каб.                                                                                        Rabat, February 14, 1961

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and, referring to the conversation of the Minister of Economy and Finance with His Excellency the Ambassador, has the honor to confirm the interest that represents for Morocco the construction of a shipyard to equip the country with a merchant marine, which is explained by the length of the Moroccan borders and the needs of the development of the national economy. This project could concern the Northern Zone and, in particular, the port of Alhousemas.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to know the organizations or departments in the Soviet Union with which the Moroccan government could come into contact.

The Ministry would be grateful if the Embassy would consider the visit of a delegation of specialists to carry out on-site all economic and technical research and develop a program of research and work on the implementation of this project with competent Moroccan organizations in the shortest possible time. His Majesty’s Government attaches great importance to the implementation of this project in cooperation with the USSR.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs uses this opportunity to renew to the Embassy the assurances of its highest esteem.

АВП РФ. Ф.586. Оп.4. П.6. Д.2. Л.122 (in the collection of documents and materials «USSR-Morocco: Foreign Economic Relations». II. M., 2005)

This project is also mentioned in the proposals on the results of L.I. Brezhnev‘s trip to Africa in February 1961:

c). To instruct the USSR State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations to submit in the shortest time to the CPSU Central Committee proposals on our attitude to Morocco’s request for assistance in the construction of the seaport in Alhousemas, given that the Moroccan ruling circles attach great political importance to the implementation of this project.

АВП РФ. Ф.0601. Оп.2. П.4. Д.9. Л.24.

A careful study of the map of the Mediterranean coast of Morocco by Soviet specialists of the appropriate profile showed the complete futility of building a large shipyard and other, for example, related naval facilities in Alhucemas — now the city of Al Hoceima. From the extreme northern point of Morocco, which is still Spanish coastal enclave of Ceuta, the coast of the Mediterranean Sea gently slopes southeast to the promontory on which Al Hoceima is located, and behind it is a convenient bay, covered from the west and east by promontories, but open to the north.

coast_of_morocco

penon_de_alhucemas

Further to the east to the peninsula Trois Fourches (can be translated as «Trident» or «Triple fork») the shore does not have convenient anchorage. The eastern part of the peninsula is occupied by the second coastal Spanish enclave of Melilla.

02
01
The Mediterranean coast of Morocco from Tangier and Al Hoceima.

Al Hoceima is suitable for the construction of a large shipyard and port, competing with the Spanish. The only obstacle is a small rock in three hundred meters from the shore — the fort of Peñon de Alhucemas belonging to the Spaniards. Together with two uninhabited, also Spanish, islets at the tip of the cape, the armed fort completely controls all access to Al Hoceima.

As a result, the Soviet and Moroccan sides agreed, by mutual consent, to change Al Hoceima to the good old Tangier, guarding the way out of the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. The Soviet Union agreed to provide technical assistance to Morocco in the construction of a shipyard and the organization of a training center in the Tangier area. For engineering and geological research, a section of the Mediterranean coast in Tangier Bay from the city to promontory Malabat was preliminarily determined.

03

INFORMATON ABOUT THE NORTHERN ZONE OF MOROCCO

The history of Al Hoceima is more Spanish than French or Portuguese. Long before the Soviet specialists, the Spanish Lieutenant General José Sanjurjo Sacanell took a liking to a wide strip of beach on the western shore of the Gulf of Alhucemas.

It was at the end of the war of Spain and France against the unification of the twelve coastal Berber tribes that formed the Rif Republic, led by Emir Abd el-Krim — Emir Muhammad ibn’ Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi, Abd el-Krim. On September 9, 1925, General Sanjurjo landed with numerous Spanish and French troops on the beach and founded in this place a city that became a coastal base for an offensive westward into the depths of the Rifs. The general modestly called it his name — Villa Sanjurjo, translated from the Spanish as «city of Sanjurjo».

After the surrender of Abd el-Krim, the Spanish King Alfonso XIII on November 21, 1927 established a special medal of Peace — Medalla PAZ de Marruecos 1909-1927, for the victory in the war, with short breaks lasting for 18 years. On the front side of the silver medal above the Moroccan city, the sun of civilization rises, framed by a wreath of laurel branches with a heartwarming bow under the dove of peace with a palm twig in its beak. The composition is crowned with a closed Spanish royal crown with a cap inside. On the reverse side there is quite pompous inscription, in the spirit of the current US president or [German] Frau chancellor:

ESPAÑA
Siempre dispuesta
a toda empresa de civi-
lizacion universal contri-
buyo a la de marruecos con
la sangre presiada de sus
hijos y con el oro de sus
arcas. El triunfo de sus
armas y la cultura de
sus metodos son los
cimientos de esta
gran obra de
humanidad

In my translation: «Spain is always ready to participate in the campaign to join Morocco to the world civilization at the price of the sacred blood of its sons and gold from its treasury. The victory of arms and cultural methods are the basis of the great feat of humanity». The «great feat of humanity» was also based on: the use of poison gases, tanks, artillery, aviation, severed heads and raped and killed women, chopped off children and oldmen. However, the Rifs too were distinguished by mass slaughter of prisoners.

The medal was worn on a white ribbon with narrow green-red-yellow-red-green stripes along the edges, with an attached silver six-pointed star, made up of two crossing equilateral triangles — the emblem of the Sheriff Empire and Caliph, the nominal ruler of Northern Morocco under the Spaniards.

Even earlier, on June 29, 1916, the King instituted a military medal «For the Moroccan campaign» on a green ribbon. The front side of the oval medal with the inscription «MARRUECOS» was decorated with the moustached profile of the grenadier with a block of crosses and medals on the uniform and in the metal helmet of the Prussian sample «pickelhaube» with a sharp shishak. On the back, the winged and quite a warlike kind goddess of Victory was surrounded by the inscription  «REINANDO DON ALFONSO XIII» — «THE REIGN OF KING ALFONSO XIII».

06

The oval of a silver or bronze medal was crowned with a closed royal crown without a cap inside. Plates were attached to the tape with the names of units and battle sites, for example, «LEGION EXTRANJERA», «MELILLA», «TETUAN», «LARACH». There are variants of the medal of 1915 with the inscription on the front side of «CAMPAÑA del RIF» or «AFRICA».

08
General Sanjurjo.

For the victory, the King granted Lieutenant General Sanjurjo the title of 1st Marquis of Rif. The General became known as Teniente General José Sanjurjo Sacanell, 1 Marqués del Rif, and headed the Civil Guard. However, the Marquis soon quarreled with the King and the republican government that replaced him. After serving a short time in prison, the General went into exile in neighboring Portugal. The city founded by him on the African coast during the Second Spanish Republic was naturally renamed — it became, like the bay, called Alhucemas — Villa Alhucemas.

07

General Sanjurjo crashed on July 20, 1936, immediately after the start of the insurrection that led to the [Spanish] civil war, flying to Spain from the Portuguese airfield of Cascais, which lies west of Estoril, on a light two-seater plane, strut monoplane De Havilland DH, 80A «Puss Moth».

The aircraft was manufactured from 1929 to 1933 with a four-cylinder in-line air-cooled engine with a capacity of 130 horsepower. The pilot survived the accident. Official version: Sanjurjo took too heavy baggage with him and thus overloaded the plane.

11
Spanish Morocco. North Zone before 1956.

His Excellency the Head of State and the Caudillo (Leader) of Spain and the Crusade Francisco Paulino Ermenehildo Teodulo Franco Baamonde (Su Excelencia el Jefe de Estado, el Caudillo de España e de la Cruzada Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Baamonde), who came to power as a result of the civil war, returned the name of General Sanjurjo to the city, under the command of which he landed in the Alhucemas Bay and fought against the Rifs at the head of the Spanish Foreign Legion.

Generalissimo Franco on stamp and coin.

Until 1956, the northern territory of Morocco, Zona Norte de Marruecos, which ran along a rough strip along the Mediterranean Sea, excluding the international zone of Tangier, was under the protectorate of Spain.

Formally, the power of the Sultan, who sat in a palace in Rabat in the French, southern zone of the protectorate, and who had governors in Tangier and Tetuán, the capital of Morocco, extended to all parts of Morocco. In fact, the “representative” of the Sultan in the Spanish Northern Zone of the Maroccan Empire, Imperio Marroqui, Zona Norte, called el Jalifa and el Majzen, — the caliph and manager of the estate of the sultan, — was exclusively a Spanish puppet and was subordinate to the High Commissioner — Alto Comisario de España.

From 1925 until the very end of the Spanish protectorate, the palace in Tetuan was occupied by the Caliph Moulay Hassan bin Mohammed Mehedi Ould Ismail, El Jalifa Muley (in French — Moulay) Hassan Ben Mohammed Mehedi Uld Ben Ismael, or just El Jalifa, as we will call him. For more than thirty years, the sultans changed four times in Rabat, but El Jalifa enjoyed life and did not worry about the future, defended by the black guard and Spanish troops, including the favorite of the Generalissimo Franco Marocan «regulars».

Spaniards began to give El Jalifa special honors and attention after the Second World War, when it was necessary to strengthen Spain’s independent position in colonial affairs. Perhaps Franco did not exclude the creation in the Northern Zone of a separate, submissive to Spain, an Arab-Berber state, or putting El Jalifa on the throne of the entire Morocco.

After the war, the High Commissioner was Lieutenant-General José Varela, 1st Marquis of San Fernando — Teniente General José Enrique Varela Iglesias, 1 Marques de San Fernando. With obvious intent, he titled Caliph «His Imperial Highness» — Su Alteza Imperial or S.A.I. El Jalifa. In 1949, for a whole month, from May 15 to June 15, El Jalifa’s wedding with the 21-year-old daughter of Sultan Abd al-Aliz, Princess of the Highborn Fatima Zuhra — la princesa Lalla Patima Zahara, or Fatima Zohra — was celebrated magnificently in Tetuan. General Varela presented the Caliph with rich gifts: Arabian horses, gold plates, table clocks. Spanish newsreel filmed all the ceremonies. The artist Mariano Bertuchi Nieto drew sketches for the colonial postage stamps dedicated to the Caliph and his wedding.

12

On a dark green stamp of 1 centimo (still with abbreviation cto) His Imperial Highness in a white burnous stands before the throne in the palace. A six-pointed star is clearly visible above his head.

On a blue stamp of 20 ctos, a black guardsman with a rifle on his shoulder paces in front of the gates of the palace in Tetuan.

13

On a crimson stamp worth of 50 + 10 centimo, «The Wedding of H.I.H. Caliph», «Boda de S.A.I. El Jalifa», the caliph goes to the square on a snow-white horse, and on airmail black-and-white stamp of 1 peseta + 10 centimo he is greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at the Palacio del Mexuar palace in Tetuan fortress (alcazaba) on the Square of Spain, now Hassan II Square — Plaza de España, hoy de Hasan II.

One of the last stamps with a nominal value of 70 centimo, painted by Bertuchi in 1955, is associated with another event — the 30th anniversary of the enthronement of the Caliph. Guardsman with a spear guards a solemn reception in the palace.

In 1956, Sultan Mohammed bin Yusef, Mohammed V, sent El Jalifa as ambassador to London…

The Spaniards built cities and ports; in the vicinity of the port cities — dams, bridges and roads.

When France in March, and Spain in April 1956 officially returned Morocco’s independence and, de facto, integrity, the Spanish Post Office did not recognize this independence and in August 1956 produced another colonial series of 8 postage stamps at the National Mint and Printing Office in Madrid (F.N.M.T. — Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre) — sellos de correros de marruecos.

14

On the burgundy and light green stamps worth of 10 and 80 centimo (cts) depicted His Majesty Mohammed V, on the rest [ones] there are visible achievements of Spanish civilization on Moroccan soil. Since the famous artist, who painted all the previous series, Mariano Bertuchi, ended his days in 1955, and there was no replacement worthy of him, heliogravure from photographs was used for paired stamps. The dark gray and dark green stamps of 50 centimo and 10 pesetas (pts) depicted the Andalusian-style building of the Spanish Cultural Representative Office in Tetuan (Delegacion de cultura (Tetuan)) built in the 40s, which has now become the city’s tourist information center.

Dark blue and blue ones, of 25 centimo and 3 peseta, are dedicated to the Polytechnic School (Escuela politecnica) founded in Tetuan by the Spaniards to train national personnel. Now it is called lyceum and bears the name of a medieval Arabian alchemist, doctor and scientist Abu Abdallah Jabir ibn Khayyan al-Azdi al-Sufi, known in Europe as Geber, — Lycée Jābir (Jāber) ibn Hayyān.

15

But on the lilac and brown-yellow stamps of 2 peseta and 15 centimo depicted a port, which became my family while I was writing this book, — the port of Sanjurjo, crowded with fishing boats, or, in other words, Alhocemas, or, in a modern way, Al Hoceima. King Mohammed V wanted to turn this small port into the sea gate of an independent kingdom, establish a shipyard and base, but advisers recommended the outskirts of Tangier.

In December 1956, Sultan Mohammed bin Yusef was preparing to assume the crown of the independent Kingdom of Morocco, and in Spain they printed another series of colonial stamps for airmail. The series reminded of the outstanding Spanish engineering structures in the Northern Zone. On light pink and lilac-gray stamps of 1 peseta 40 centimo and 4 peseta 80 centimo there is a piston, four-engine, with three-fin feathering, the passenger liner L-1049, Lockheed «Super Constellation», which flies over the road bridge that connects the banks of the Nekor River, Oued Nekor, southeast of Al Hoceima — Puente Rio Nekor.

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L-1049 "Super Constellation"

On a dark pink stamp with a nominal value of 25 centimo and on a brick-red stamp with a nominal of 3 peseta 40 centimo, the same plane flies over a grand dam on the Lau River between Al Hoceima and Tetuan — Presa riegos del Lau. The dam, a reservoir and a canal with a power station were built in 1935 according to a project by the Spanish engineer Don Gabriel Barceló Matutano to supply water and electricity to Tangier, Ceuta and Tetuan, and to irrigate dry lands.

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I have all these stamps in my collection. A French-language website Timbres-du-maroc.info and the work of Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto, professor at the University of Castile-La Mancha, entitled «EL PROTECTORADO ESPAÑOL DE MARRUECOS (1912-1956) EN LAS IMÁGENES DE LOS SELLOS DE CORREOS» (2011) helped me in describing them. I hope that the reader, like me, has already sufficiently mastered the Spanish language, formerly so popular in the north of Kingdom of Morocco.

…The year 1961 ends. On November 29, at the invitation of King Hassan II, a group of Soviet specialists arrived in Rabat — three people only.

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H.K. Bondarik and N.N. Chernyaev

The head of the group was Nikolai Nikolaevich Chernyaev, a representative of the State Committee for Shipbuilding, who liked to be photographed in black glasses, and I don’t know anything else about him. In the father’s notes there is a remark concerning the first walk in Rabat:

«…Then we went to the European part of the city. N.N. is well oriented [in the city]. We were surprised by the cleanliness and order. Good publicity. A magnificent catholic cathedral, built on a long time».

Nikolai Nikolayevich had previously been to Morocco, at least in Rabat, [he] was familiar with city’s restaurants.

The group included the geologist Henry Kondratievich Bondarik. Henry Bondarik, famous in many countries professor of Moscow State Geological Exploration University, who lives in Moscow on Lilac Boulevard, and his caring spouse helped me prepare for my trip to Morocco in my father’s footsteps, [they] added photos and documents. Among them — a color postcard with a young Brigitte Bardot, sitting in a chair, in a blue pullover and a white lace skirt. In the foreground are two charming, innocently folded legs. The photographer was, of course, the famous Sam Lévin.

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On the reverse side, the card is diagonally signed, boldly, in Russian: «As a keepsake from paramour, to my dear Henry». And the autograph, well copied with the same ink BBARDOT. Paris, 28.11.61. Knowing the father’s penchant for friendly jokes and spoofs, I do not exclude his involvement in the creation of this masterpiece.

The third member of the group of Soviet specialists, a hydrograph engineer, my father, Yevgeny Petrovich Churov, turned 44 y.o. on February 1, 1962. He celebrated his birthday in Tangier, at the «Rif» Hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean. In fact, as I said, he was a naval officer and scientist, as the Moroccans and French probably guessed. The father had to participate in the selection of the [shipyard] construction site and survey the area adjacent to it. He never worked in shipyards, but during the [Second World] war he gained quite a significant experience in the hydrographic support of the existing, under construction and planned naval bases: on Lake Ladoga in Sortavala, Osintsovo, Novaya Ladoga; in Finnish skerries; on the island of Bornholm.

The archive reference from the Central Naval Archive in Gatchina contains information about the father’s trip to Morocco:

In the order of the Chief of the Naval Academy of the Order of Lenin of November 25, 1961, No. 713 reads:

«Consider as gone on a business trip: Captain 1st Rank Y.P. Churov, from November 24, 1961 to January 20, 1962. Moscow». The place of business trip is not specified in the order.

The basis: Ф. 879. Лп. 5. Д. 12. Л. 127.

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Y.P. Churov in Tangier.

In the correspondence of the Navy’s personnel department for 1962 there is a report by the head of the 4th division of the Navy’s personnel department dated January 30, 1962 to the head of the personnel department of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on foreign economic relations, which reads:

«At your request, I am sending a reference about the Captain 1st Rank Churov Yevgeny Petrovich in order to extend his stay in Morocco».

The basis: Ф. 3. Оп. 56 сс. Д. 5. Л. 351.

Thanks to my friends from the Gatchina naval archive.

The Arctic beyond fiction

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The Arctic is, perhaps, the most unique region of the planet. Stunningly beautiful, but at the same time almost unsuitable for human existence. For many centuries, people tried to explore this mysterious region — travelers discovered transport routes, new islands, previously inaccessible territories. The geostrategic significance of the Arctic is becoming increasingly apparent. The Northern Sea Route is exactly what can breathe new life into the global economy. Controlling this path will ensure the owner prosperity and excellence. The struggle of world players for this control will soon manifest itself with all the evidence.

USSR/Russia has made one of the most tangible contributions to the development of the Arctic. One hundred years ago, the development of the Arctic was a kind of «gold rush» in USSR.  It was the romance of distant travels, dangerous adventures, overcoming oneself, expanding the boundaries of what is permitted, fantastic dreams of a new life in conditions of unapproachable eternal cold…

In this post ALAFF provides a translation of one of the chapters of the book «The Arctic beyond fiction». The book was published by the «Paulsen» Publishing House — one of the few in Russia specializing in «Arctic» literature.

The book was released in 2018, in limited edition of 1000 copies only (first edition). An excerpt from the annotation:

«This book is dedicated to those Russian and Soviet Arctic projects that were not destined to come true. Among them are exotic vehicles and a dam through the Bering Strait, polar cities and new transport routes. The authors of the projects were both serious scientists and engineers, as well as enthusiasts who did not have special training, but were not indifferent to the future of the country, the prosperity of which was often associated with the development of the Arctic».

The material may be interesting to those who are interested in the Arctic region, the history of its development, the Arctic projects (including the most incredible).


Arctic energy

Energy supply has always been one of the most serious problems in the Arctic. Electricity necessary for lighting and heating of houses, as well as for the operation of mechanisms, was to be delivered over long distances (which entailed the problem of constructing power transmission lines in severe conditions of permafrost and impassability) or be generated locally using relatively low-power generators.

As early as the 1930s, various options for the development of polar energy appeared. The most exotic was the idea of obtaining electricity by melting ice, borrowed from Western engineers. Tidal and wind power stations seemed to be more realistic, however, specific technical solutions for installation of wind turbines were not feasible in practice. Variants of the installation of generators on airships and huge steel structures, a kind of «sails», were suggested.

Projects of Arctic nuclear and hydroelectric power stations seemed to be much more practical. In the postwar period, mobile nuclear power plants on the chassis of heavy caterpillar vehicles reached the stage of prototypes. A grand program of Arctic hydro construction was also developed, but technical and environmental problems was the reason to abandon its implementation.

Energy from the cold

In the 1920s, a project was developed by the French engineers G. Claude and P. Bushero to derive energy from the warmth of tropical deserts or waters. Then another Frenchman, Bargeau, proposed receiving energy using the temperature difference between the polar seas and the air of the Arctic regions. If water is pumped out from under the ice and allowed to freeze, the heat obtained could heat the volatile liquid to evaporation, which, in its turn, would activate the turbine. The exhaust gas is then converted again into the liquid in the coolers. The ideas of Bargeau were described in detail in the review in the journal «Science and Technology» (1930), and then in the book by V.N. Lebedev «Arctic» and in the articles of G. Gunther and A. Pan [1].

The most suitable liquid for obtaining energy from the cold, according to Bargeau, was liquid butane hydrocarbon, the boiling point of which at normal atmospheric pressure is 17 degrees Celsius below zero.

The French scientist has also developed a model of a boiler in which water at 0 degrees Celsius is mixed with liquid butane. Butane vapor rushes through the branch pipe into the turbine, propelling it into motion. The turbine, in turn, sets in motion a dynamo. To supply energy during a round-the-clock power plant with a capacity of 30 thousand hp, according to Bargeau’s calculations, it would take a salt lake of 1 km² square, frozen to a depth of 15 cm. The scientist went further and proposed to build a closed circular channel, with both ends communicating with the turbine. The channel could also be held in the thickness of the ice cover on a lake, river or sea, where a turbine will be built.

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Radiators of ice power stations. Image by G.I. Pokrovsky
Technology to youth. 1979. № 2

The energy received in this way would be quite cheap. This was especially important for the Arctic region, where there is very little fuel, and its extraction is fraught with enormous difficulties. Soviet engineers believed that the ideas of the French scientist would be realized not in Canada, as Bargeau believed, but «here in the USSR» [2].

The idea of using the Arctic cold to generate energy decades later again took hold of the minds of scientists.

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The polar power station layout scheme according to Bargeau (cited by A. Pan).
From underneath the ice, through pipes, protected by heat-insulating material, the ice water goes into the boiler room to the boilers. In these boilers-evaporators — liquid cold butane. Water is injected, and under the influence of its heat (the water is warmer than butane, although it has a temperature of only 2 degrees Celsius), butane begins to boil. Its vapors are leaded through a pipeline to the turbine, and the water, from which a cold butane takes away the heat, freezes and falls to the bottom of the evaporators as ice groats, from where it is continuously raked (butane does not mix with water). Butane vapor passes through the turbine and drives it into rotation, so a dynamo gives an amperage. Further, butane vapor enters a condenser-refrigerator, to where pieces of frozen ice brine with a temperature of -22 degrees Celsius are continuously fed. While cooling, the butane vapor is compressed, and the «salty ice» heats up and melts. The liquid butane is returned through the pipes back to the evaporator. The melted ice brine is released outside into the pools and there it freezes again under the influence of a low temperature of the surrounding air.

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Polar power station of Bargeau. The external appearance (Pan A. At the threshold of a new energy era // Technique to Youth, 1935. № 4. P. 45).

It has been calculated that in winter up to a trillion tons of snow falls on the territory of the USSR, and its melting is accompanied by a transfer of heat, which is enough (according to calculations) to generate 2 trillion kW/h of electricity (this is twice the total energy balance including oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy). Therefore, in the special conditions of the Arctic and Antarctica, «ice energy» could be profitable. Professor G.I. Pokrovsky believed that in the Arctic it would be possible to create a station in which there would be a boiler with a liquid whose boiling point would be above 0 degrees Celsius, but below ambient temperature: «Under such conditions, the liquid will necessarily boil, and the resulting vapor will begin to produce work in a reciprocating engine or turbine.When it is completed, the spent steam will flow into the device, cooled by melting snow or ice» [3]. Thus G.I. Pokrovsky proposed the idea of ​​an ice power station, urging young inventors and innovators to continue research in a given direction.

«Flying wind power station — the task of the near future»

In the 1930s, the use of alternative types of energy was actively discussed. In particular — the use of wind energy. The brave project was presented by engineer V. Egorov on the pages of the journal «Technique to Youth» in 1938. He proposed to create powerful wind farms not on the ground, but in the air, where at an altitude of 600-700 m above the ground there are very significant wind speeds. V. Egorov’s wind-powered unit consisted of a «double-bladed wind wheel, mounted on one shaft with a limiting coupling, a reducer and a generator mounted in a special metal casing reminiscent of the exterior of the fuselage of the aircraft». The coupling was designed «to limit the torque at possible jolts and unexpected gusts of wind». The reducer served «to increase the number of revolutions transmitted from the wind wheel to the synchronous alternator». Such a simple design of the wind farm could be installed on high supports.

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Illustrations by A. Katkovsky to V. Egorov’s article «Power Plant in the Air» (Technique to Youth, 1938. No. 12. P. 37.)

But the author came up with a more effective, in his opinion, way. He proposed the use of airships: «A system of wind power units is suspended on steel cables to the all-metal hull of the airship. All units are connected by lightweight but very strong metal trusses, which prevents the displacement of wind turbines relative to each other and gives rigidity to the entire suspension system as a whole. At the same time these metal trusses can serve also for movement of the attendants» [4].

Was it technically possible at the time? The author of the article believed that yes: «Already now there are airships with an all-metal hull with a volume of 70 thousand m³. It is quite possible to build such a hull that we need. Moreover, there are technical designs of such airships. If the all-metal airships of this volume were not built before, it is mainly because they were not of special need» [5]. Such a flying wind power station could work in any combination — independently, in a combination with ground stations or together with another air power plant, etc.

Such flying wind power stations would be of «immense, absolutely invaluable importance» in areas where it is very difficult or impossible to build a ground station, for example, in swampy areas, in the desert, «in regions where there is no local fuel, and imported fuel is very far away, and especially in the Arctic», which is «unusually rich in strong, constantly blowing winds, and here you can create huge power stations in the air». Looking into the future, the author of the article imagined the following picture: «Powerful giant icebreakers plow the waters and break through the ice of the Arctic Ocean. These icebreakers do not need fuel — they use the energy of flying power stations above them and moored to the stern» [6].

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Illustrations by K. Artseulov to V. Egorov’s article «Power Station in the Air» (Technique to Youth, 1938. No. 12).
Konstantin Konstantinovich Artseulov (17(29).05.1891 — 18.03.1980) — Russian and Soviet pilot, illustrator, grandson of artist I.K. Aivazovsky. The First World War and the Civil War participant. He was the first in the world to take a plane out of a corkscrew, which puts him on par with P. Nesterov. The organizer of the school of gliding in the USSR, the tester of the first Soviet jet fighter. He was repressed, and then ceased to fly on airplanes, became a glider and artist-designer, watercolorist. He designed more than 50 books, collaborated with the magazines «Technique to Youth», «Knowledge is Strength», «Wings of the Motherland», «Young Technician», etc. Participated in the publication of the Children’s Encyclopaedia.

P. Dyuzhev’s article described a different type of airship wind engine. Having accomplished the task of transporting passengers and cargo, the aircraft would rise to a height of 600 m, where it would be held by steel cables. There, «on aircraft’s shell the blades opens, coming in several rows», and the hull «becomes a powerful wheel of the wind engine» [7]. These ideas of the use of airships have remained unrealizable.

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photo — Vladimir Petrovich Vetchinkin and Anatoly Georgievich Ufimtsev
Vladimir Petrovich Vetchinkin (17(29).06.1888 — 06.03.1950) — Doctor of Technical Sciences, a scientist who worked in the field of aerodynamics, wind power, missile technology. Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR (1946), full member of the Academy of Artillery Sciences (1947). Winner of the Stalin Prize.
Anatoly Georgievich Ufimtsev (1880 — 1936) is a self-taught scientist, inventor of a wind power electric motor.

In the early 1930s, engineers V.P. Vetchinkin and A.G. Ufimtsev began their work on new types of wind turbines. Looking far ahead, they suggested using multi-wind frame wind farms. According to this project, a frame heavy-duty wind power plant for 100 thousand kW consists of 224 wind wheels (diameter of each is 20 m). Wind wheels mounted on a common vertical frame, having the form of a giant rhombus: «Rhombus is fixed on a vertical swivel tower, which with its lower end rests on a hydraulic thrust bearing, and with its upper end fixed in a bearing held by braces. From the front and back sides of the rhombus, from its central tower, a horizontal lattice trusses protrudes back and forth with ridgepoles, which increase the rigidity of the whole structure.

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Wind power dam of V.P. Vetchinkin and A.G. Ufimtsev. Illustration by V. Filatov and L. Bashkirtsev to the article by B. Kazhinsky and A. Karmishin «Wind-power dams» (Technique to Youth, 1951. № 12. P. 16, 20).

Rear trusses on their ends carry a tail surface. The purpose of this device is to rotate the rhombus with wind wheels facing the wind» [8]. The dimensions of the unit are large: the width of the rhombus is up to 500 m, the weight is about 10 thousand tons, the height is 350 m (that is almost the same height as the tallest building in the world) [9]. The use of such units — a wind dams — was possible in various parts of the country (including in the Arctic and Novaya Zemlya).

image [8] — Megawatt catch of the wind trawl. Image by N. Vechkanov // Technology to youth. 1980. № 11
image [9] — Illustration by K. Artseulov to the article by B. Kazhinsky and A. Karmishin «Wind-power dams».
Technology to youth. 1951. No. 12

The project of a large frame wind power station proved to be unprofitable — according to A. Ostrovsky, deputy general director of the «Cyclone» NGO, given in 1980, the cost of 1 kWh of energy from the wind farm is very high compared to the cost of 1 kWh from traditional producers. Therefore, subsequently it was decided to turn only to the idea of developing small wind turbines (with a capacity of up to 16 kW) [10].

 

Mobile nuclear power plants

Post-war successes of nuclear energy contributed to the development of mobile nuclear power plants, which were intended to be used in the regions of the Far North (primarily for military needs). The main project of the mobile nuclear power plant was TPP-3 (a transportable nuclear power plant). The idea of the project belonged to E.P. Slavskiy, and the direct authors of the development were scientists from the Obninsk Institute of Physics and Energy Y.A. Sergeev and D.L. Broder.

The mobile ground station had a dual-circuit water-water reactor and was a complex of four caterpillar vehicles — «power self-propelled vehicles» on the extended chassis of a heavy tank T-10. One such machine housed a reactor, the second one — a steam generator, a volume compensator and pumps of the first circuit. The third machine was carrying a generator that produced energy, and on the fourth power self-propelled vehicle it was a station control point and the reserve power equipment. The station could not work on the go. To run it, it was necessary to arrange the power self-propelled vehicles in the right order, connect them with pipelines for the heat carrier and working fluid, lay cables.

Arctic1_09
photo — Efim Pavlovich Slavskiy
Efim Pavlovich Slavskiy (07.11.1898 — 28.11.1991) — Soviet statesman, one of the organizers and leaders of the nuclear industry in the USSR. By education he is a metallurgical engineer (in 1933 he graduated from the Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals and Gold in Moscow). In 1946-1953 he was deputy chief of the 1st Main Directorate under the USSR Council of Ministers, the organizer of the production of weapons-grade plutonium for the first Soviet atomic bomb. In 1953-1955, he was deputy, and in 1955-1957 — First Deputy Minister of Medium Machine Building of the USSR. In 1957-1986 he was Minister of Medium Machine Building of the USSR. With the participation and under the leadership of E.P. Slavsky a Soviet hydrogen bomb was developed, nuclear power plants were built, the nuclear industry developed, the nuclear shield of the country strengthened. Twice winner of the Stalin Prize. Three times a Hero of Socialist Labor, he was awarded with ten Orders of Lenin, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor, the Orders of the October Revolution, the Orders of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree, many medals, and foreign awards.

Experimental start-up of the finished station took place in 1961. The tests continued until 1965. Simultaneously, the Obninsk designers designed the floating nuclear power plant «Sever» (it was intended to be used for defense tasks and to help oil workers working on the Arctic shelf). The station was supposed to have two water-water reactors with a capacity of 3 MW each. But in 1967 the Ministry of Defense refused the floating station, and all the work on TPP-3 was canceled.

Another variant of the land mobile nuclear power plant was created by Belarusian designers and was named «Pamir-630D». Started under the direction of V.B. Nesterenko in 1963, the development of its individual units dragged on for many years. The station was completely ready only in the 1980s.

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photo — This was the view of the energy self-propelling machines of TPP-3 station — a transportable nuclear power plant.

The station had a single-circuit reactor, which was located on a three-axle trailer with a tractor MAZ-994. To reduce water consumption at «Pamir» NPP, a highly toxic nitrogen tetraoxide was used as heat carrier and working fluid. In total, the complex involved five vehicles. The first launch of the station took place shortly before the Chernobyl accident. In 1988 the project was curtailed [11]. Similar projects of mobile nuclear power plants were created in the United States.

Nowadays there are also projects of mobile nuclear power plants for the Arctic, one of which is the floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov, which is under construction (commissioning is scheduled for 2019).

 

Plans for hydro construction in the Arctic

The traditional way of obtaining cheap electricity is the use of hydro resources. In the 30-60-ies of the twentieth century, the leadership of the USSR took up large-scale hydro-construction projects in order to industrialize the country. These projects concerned including the Arctic zone, however, most of the projects were never implemented.

Leading organization for the design of HPP «Hydroproject» worked out options for the construction of giant hydroelectric facilities in the Arctic, among which two megaprojects — Nizhneobskaya and Nizhnelenskaya HPPs — should be specially noted.

Nizhneobskaya HPP was considered as the most important part of the planned Unified Energy System for the redistribution of energy flows between the European part of the USSR and Siberia. In total it was planned to build three hydropower cascades on the rivers Ob, Irtysh, Tom. Nizhneobskaya HPP was conceived as the last in a series of a cascade of 10 Ob HPPs and was designed as the most large-scale. Its preliminary capacity was 6 million kW/h with a reservoir area of ​​113 thousand km² (for comparison — the area of ​​the White Sea about 90 thousand km²). Three variants of dam construction site were designed — Narykarsk, Andrinsk and Salekhard, the latter was considered a priority. Nizhneobskaya HPP was supposed to provide electricity to the industry of the Tyumen region and the Urals. The project was actively discussed at various levels of government, as well as in an expert society, the interests of proponents of hydropower development on the one hand and the oil and gas industry on the other collided around it. By the beginning of the design, the prospects of the oil and gas potential of the territory falling under flooding were not yet clear. The construction of the Nizhneobskaya HPP was supported by the Tyumen Region Committee of the CPSU, and it could well have been carried out if not for the discovery of gas and oil fields in the Siberian Ural and Middle Ob area in the 1950s, after which the project was gradually forgotten.

Nizhnelenskaya HPP was designed in the so-called Lena «pipe» — a narrow place before the confluence of the river in the Laptev Sea, where it passes through the Verkhoyansk Range. It was planned that the length of the dam would be about 2300 m, and the height — 118 m. The area of ​​the Nizhnelenskoe Sea was over 60 thousand km² in the project, and the water area of ​​the reservoir extended 1500 km up the river almost to Yakutsk city. The annual design capacity of the HPP is about 100 billion kW/h, which is four times more powerful than the Bratsk HPP. If successful, Lena would turn into a deep-water route, which was planned to be continued by the Lena — the Sea of ​​Okhotsk canal. Such a water system would allow sea vessels from the Northern Sea Route to directly enter the water area of ​​the Pacific Ocean through Lena and the canal, shortening the path by several thousand kilometers [12].

Technical difficulties, the lack of direct consumers of electricity near the planned dam and the difficult-to-calculate environmental consequences led to the suspension of this project.


[1] Arctic cold as a source of energy // Science and technology. 1930. No. 22. Pp. 5-6; Günther G. Arctic Power Station // Knowledge is Power. 1933. No. 7-8. Pp. 2-3; Lebedev N.K. Arctic. S.-L., 1932. Pp. 141-145; Pan A. At the threshold of a new energy era // Technique to youth. 1935. No. 4. Pp. 43-47.

[2] Pan A. At the threshold of a new energy era // Technique to youth. 1935. No. 4. P. 46.

[3] Pokrovsky G. Santa Claus and energy // Technique to youth. 1979. № 2. P. 6.

[4] Egorov V. Power station in the air // Technique to youth. 1938. No. 12. P. 34.

[5] ibid. P. 36.

[6] ibid.

[7] Dyuzhev P. Airship wind engine // Technique to youth. 1940. № 1. P. 56.

[8] Kazhinsky B., Karmishin A. Wind power dams / Images by V. Filatov, L. Bashkirtsev // Technique to youth. 1951. № 12. P. 18.

[9] The height of 350 meters was significant for the 1930s. Then the tallest building in the world was the skyscraper Empire State Building (New York, USA; the top floor height was 373.1 m, the height with a spire was 443.2 m; the structure held a palm in height from 1931 to 1970 year). Now the tallest building is the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, towering 828 m (Dubai, UAE).

[10] Ostrovsky A. Good Old «Sails» // Technique to youth. 1980. № 11. P. 24.

[11] Mobile NPP (FAPP): http://masterok.livejournal.com/443215.html

[12] See more: Komgort M.V., Koleva G.Y. The problem of increasing the level of industrial development in Western Siberia and the project for the construction of the Nizhneobskaya HPP // Tomsk State University Bulletin. 2008. Vol. 308. Pp. 85-90; Magritsky D.V. Natural and anthropogenic changes in the hydrological regime of the lower reaches and mouths of the largest rivers in Eastern Siberia. Diss. … Cand. geograph. sciences. M., 2001.

Syria. Monthly Review (October 2018)

ALAFF plans to give such a reviews monthly. Since this is the first review, ALAFF has decided to include September also. The review shows news of the Russian media channels about restoration of peaceful life in Syria.

May you rise, beautiful ancient country.

 


September 3, 2018. The school year officially began in Syria.

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Most of the Syrian territory is already returning to peaceful life. As in Russia, today there is the beginning of the school year. For the Syrian city of Yalda, the fact that schools are open after a two-year break due to occupation is important now. There are more than two hundred first-graders in both buildings of the school. Boys and girls here are taught separately. In total there are one and a half thousand children. Four hundred arrived only in August. People return to Yalda. Source.

September 7, 2018. Over the past day, the Russian military has distributed 450 sets of school uniforms and schoolbags to pupils of junior classes in the settlements of Mlekha el-Gharbiya and As-Sawarah of the Syrian province of Daraa. Also during the day, targeted assistance was provided in several districts of the city of Aleppo. In addition, the Russian military physicians provided medical aid to 188 residents, including 104 children. Source.

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10 tons of humanitarian supplies from Russia delivered to Syria. The humanitarian aid is addressed to residents of the settlements liberated from the militants. The aircraft of the military transport aviation Il-76 of the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered cargo to Khmeimim airfield from the Russian capital. The humanitarian aid includes foodstuffs, canned goods, cereals, sugar, as well as personal hygiene products and individual filters for water purification.

Soon this cargo will be distributed among the residents of the province of Latakia, victims of the actions of the militants. In addition to food, musical instruments needed to restore the cultural center in the city of Kesab, as well as medical equipment for recruiting a medical assistant were delivered to Syria. Products and other necessary things provided by the Russian humanitarian mission. Source (video).

September 11, 2018. Rail service was launched in the Syrian capital. The launch of the railway line was timed to the opening of the International Trade and Industry Exhibition, which was attended by representatives from 48 countries, including Russia, Iran and China. Source.

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The length of the site is only 18 kilometers. But even for this route, the surviving wagons had to be collected all over the country. The movement of trains between Homs, Hama, Latakia and Aleppo is planned to be restored soon. And it is at this forum that Damascus is negotiating with Russia about the supply of trains and railway cars to the Arab Republic, as well as the restoration of railways. Source (video).

September 14, 2018. In Syrian Daraa, the authorities began to demolish the military fortifications that divided the city into two parts.

The amount of work is very large. There are 12 trucks and three bulldozers. To clear one only industrial zone, it will take 10 days. Work goes from 7am to 3pm.

Every gap made in the earth bastions immediately becomes a place of communication. The city merges together: relatives and friends, who have not seen each other for several years, are visiting. Commodity circulation is being established. Two and a half tons of fuel, which Damascus allocated for the first stage of work, is running out. Source.

September 16, 2018. The first major post-war art festival in the province of Latakia opened in the city of Jabla, which was known in ancient times as an important city of the Roman Empire.

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The festival opened with an exhibition of ancient objects and a performance in a preserved Roman amphitheater, built here about 2 thousand years ago and accommodating up to 8 thousand spectators. A theatrical performance on the stage of the amphitheater told about the centuries-old history of the Syrian people. Source / Video1, Video2.

As part of the exhibition, viewers were able to see cutlery, crockery, daggers. One of the most unusual exhibits was the old spinning wheel, which was used more than 100 years ago. Source.

September 21, 2018. Farmers from the Syrian province of Damascus are preparing to supply apples to Russia.

This year’s harvest is magnificent. The harvest immediately spreads to local markets, and not only in Damascus, but throughout the liberated territory of Syria. The routes of communication are also open for export: Syrian fruits are bought by Jordan, Egypt. Syrian farmers are planning to send apples to Russia in February. Source.

September 25, 2018. Russian military began to update topographic maps of Syria. Until today, the country used maps of the 70s.

Mapping in a post-war country is a strategic task, and the military does it. Russian professionals are teaching Syrians to use the newest mobile cartographic complex — they even brought an educational class with all the units. Source.

In particular, Russia transferred to Syria a unique mobile topographic complex. The mobile digital cartographic system consists of five trucks, five trailers and a container with stationary equipment. Source.

Syrian residents resumed mill operation in Daraa province after terrorists left. The mill in the area of the Yarmuk River (Daraa Province) began its work after a long stagnation during the terrorist occupation.

The militants repeatedly targeted their rockets at this mill, as a result of such attacks, workers usually died. As a result, the mill out of service. However, after the liberation of the province from terrorists, the mill returned to production. At the moment, it brings 40 tons of grain per day, which allows residents of the province to stay afloat. Source.

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Experts have begun work on repair of the high-voltage line with a double chain «Deir Ali — Sheikh Miskin» in the neighborhood of the Daraa province. Damage has happened because of the terrorist organizations which occupied the region earlier. According to the Minister of Energy of Syria, the cost of the damage caused to this line is estimated at 300 million Syrian pounds. It is expected that works on repair of an object will come to the end within two months. The «Deir Ali — Sheikh Miskin» line is of particular importance — it provides with electricity the main part of the Daraa province. Source (video).

September 26, 2018. For the past day, 102 people, including 38 children, took advantage of the humanitarian corridor leading from the Idlib de-escalation zone. 62 people received the necessary medical care, half of whom were children.

In the course of a regular humanitarian action, officers of the Russian Center for Reconciliation distributed 450 food packages in the city of Daraa in the south-west of the country. Source.

In the Syrian province of Homs, the process of restoring the ancient fortress of Krak des Chevaliers began.

The age of the famous tower dates back to the XII century. It was severely damaged during the terrorist attack in the provinces. Krak des Chevaliers was considered the largest stronghold of the Crusaders until 1271. Initially it was called «Hysn al-Akrad», but after being captured by the crusaders in 1099, it changed its name to Kral des Chevaliers, which translates as “Castle of the Knights”. In 2006, the castle was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Source.

September 27, 2018. At the University of Damascus, the Russian language department began its work. The university now has 16 language departments, and the Russian language department is the largest among them.

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There are so many people willing to learn Russian that a new building was built specially for them. The teachers are helped by students from mixed families, for whom Russian is already a second language.

Today, more than 100 thousand people study at Damascus University. And as the war goes away, the number of people willing to return to their desks is growing. A few days ago, another 1,500 applications for reinstatement were received from the liberated Duma and Daraa. Source.

In addition, during the day, officers of the Russian Reconciliation Center distributed 450 food sets in one of the settlements in the province of Aleppo. Source.

September 28, 2018. The restoration of the water supply system begins near Damascus. Pipes for a new aqueduct destroyed by militants are produced around the clock at a local plant.

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In the suburbs of Syrian Damascus began to restore water supply in areas destroyed by the war. Some of the territories are still without communications, and many residents still have to travel tens of kilometers each morning to get water and bring them home.

It is planned to re-lay the pipes in the near future. For this, the local plant even switched to almost round-the-clock operation. The state order gave a serious impetus to the development of production. Source.

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At present, more than 100 hospitals and other medical institutions, about 1,500 residential buildings, as well as 120 power substations are being restored in the Arab country.

In addition, over the past week, the Russian military conducted six humanitarian actions, during which they delivered about ten tons of medicines and food to the affected areas of Syria, as well as provided medical assistance to more than 640 civilians. Source.

September 29, 2018. The production of the world famous silk textile resumes in Aleppo. At present, workers from all over Syria are employed: both local residents of the ancient city and internally displaced people from other Syrian provinces.

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Textile factories of Syrian Aleppo liberated at the end of 2016 are restoring their previous production volumes. In ancient Aleppo are the largest silk producers in Syria. The director of one such enterprise, Ziar Kalahisi, said that his factory was one of the first in the country to resume the production of silk threads after the war.

Earlier it was reported on the evacuation of a number of enterprises from the industrial capital of Syria, Aleppo, the industrial zone of which is the largest in the country. Despite the losses, this production cluster is gradually recovering after the war: today more than 500 enterprises are working there out of about 1,500 that worked during the pre-war period. Source.

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The main border crossing between Syria and Jordan resumed work. Before the war, this corridor was of great economic importance, since the main flow of goods from the ports of the Mediterranean to the countries of the Persian Gulf passed through it.

According to the Ministry of Transport of the Arab Republic, on September 29, trucks began to move through the checkpoint Nasib. Wagons go both in the direction of Syria and in the direction of Jordan. In addition to the border crossing, the [Syrian] authorities repaired the route on which the cars go, and also restored the bridges. Source (video).

September 30, 2018. Russian military delivered humanitarian aid to the mountainous regions of Syria (areas of the province of Hama). There are flour, rice, canned food and bread in the food packages distributed by the officers of the Russian Center for Reconciliation.

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It is very difficult to get to these mountainous areas, so the locals were waiting for the Russian officers. The war did not affect this part of the country, but all the men from the villages went to the front, and the families were left without breadwinners. In addition, there are no businesses nearby where you could get a job. The only source of food is agriculture. Local residents thanked the Russian military and asked to come more often. They made lists of essential items. These are mostly warm clothes and blankets. Source (video).

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The Syrian children’s ensemble «Gvozdika» performed before the military personnel of the Russian airbase Khmeimim with songs in Russian. In such an unusual way the Syrian children said thanks to the Russian military. Songs in Russian were accompanied by a military brass band. Members of the creative team «Gvozdika» today learn the Russian language at school as a second foreign language. Source (video).

October 1, 2018. The Russian military brought building materials to a school in the Syrian city of Jerud, which suffered during the hostilities.

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Now there are already more than 300 children in this school, while the number of students is gradually increasing, because people are actively returning to this region liberated from militants.

The teachers did their best and repaired the classrooms. One of the main problems is the lack of furniture. There are not enough places behind the desks for all the students. Officers from the Center for Reconciliation constantly monitor the situation in the areas most affected by the war. Cargo delivery is organized together with the Syrian authorities. Source (video).

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Over the past day, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the warring parties held one humanitarian action. In the camp for internally displaced persons (Adra village, Rif Damascus province), during the action, 250 food packages were distributed with a total weight of 1.07 tons.

In the school «Adib-Al-Ali» in the city of Homs, together with the All-Russian public organization «Combat Brotherhood», a charity event was held, during which 850 schoolbags with stationery were distributed to children. Source.

In addition, a charity event was held in the Bab-Makam district of Aleppo, during which one ton of fresh bread was distributed to needy residents. Source.

October 2, 2018. Russian military distributed two tons of humanitarian aid in Syria’s Hatla.

Over the past day, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties held one humanitarian action in the village of Hatla, Deir-ez-Zor province. During the campaign, 450 food sets were distributed with a total weight of 1.95 tons.

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In the Ansari Mushahad district of Aleppo, a charity event was held, during which one ton of fresh bread was distributed to needy residents. Also, a charity event was held in the village of Jisrin. School students received 500 schoolbags with accessories. Source.

It was reported that Syria will buy Russian railway cars to create a through railway. The head of the Damascus branch of «Syrian Railways», Ridvan Tikriti, said that the country gonna build a large-scale through railway with the help of Russian business. The main objective of the large-scale project is the restoration of transport links between the Syrian provinces and neighboring countries. It is planned to create a through route from Europe to the countries of the Persian Gulf, as well as the construction of railways to Iraq and Turkey. Source.

October 3, 2018. Syrian authorities help children of Hasaka, despite Kurdish protests.

The Syrian Ministry of Education has sent assistance to students and their families living in areas under the control of Kurdish forces. The aid distributed among Syrian citizens included not only textbooks and stationery sets, but also winter clothing.

Part of Hasaka province continues to be under the control of Kurdish forces. Kurdish invaders do not allow the Arab population to continue education in their own language, they are actively imposing their language and culture on the local people.

In early September, the Kurdish police radicals staged a raid on Christian schools in the city of Al-Kamishly. They kicked the employees out of the building and locked the doors. The reason for the raid was the refusal of local teachers to switch to the Kurdish education system. As a result, local residents went to a large-scale protest rally and defended their schools. Source.

October 4, 2018. Russian military in Syria distributed over 4 tons of humanitarian aid and hundreds of school kits.

Over the past day, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties held two humanitarian actions in the village of Assan of Aleppo province, and in the village of Maharda, province of Hama. During the campaign, 1100 food sets were distributed with a total weight of 4.75 tons.

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In addition, in the village of Assan, the distribution of one ton of fresh bread was organized for people in need. In the school “Mohammed Mustafa Morrey” of the city of Aleppo, a charity event was held, during which students were given 410 schoolbags, 410 sets of writing materials, as well as 10 sets of classroom accessories for teachers. Source.

October 6, 2018. The Russian Center for Reconciliation noted that during the past 24 hours no humanitarian actions were carried out, but medical assistance was provided to 47 civilians, including 31 children. Source.

Masters restore electricity in the province of Daraa. Electricity has already returned to 52 settlements of the Daraa province.

The Syrian authorities continue to repair power lines as part of a large-scale restoration of infrastructure destroyed by militants in Daraa province. During the occupation, power stations located in the region were constantly attacked. Militants have stolen transformers and cables, as well as any devices necessary for the supply of electricity. At the moment, installers are actively working to restore full electrical stability in the province of Daraa. Source.

October 7, 2018. Russian military distributed humanitarian aid to the families of the deceased Syrian colleagues. In addition, in the three provinces of Syria, the Russian Center for Reconciliation conducted regular humanitarian actions.

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In districts of the city of Aleppo, targeted charitable assistance was provided to 68 families of dead SAR servicemen with food and hygiene kits. During the humanitarian actions in the settlements of the provinces of Deir-ez-Zor, Latakia and Aleppo, the Russian military distributed 1350 food sets with a total weight of 5.85 tons. Source.

The main road and bridge construction company has completed the rehabilitation of the 100-km Hama — Abu-Duhur highway in Hama province.

Director of the company, Adnan Khabur, said that after the liberation of the area from illegal armed formations, engineers began a technical inspection of the Hama — Abu Duhur route. As a result, the restoration work was carried out as soon as possible — in just two months. The cost of the work amounted to 268 million Syrian pounds.

Repair crews completely removed blockages and cement blocks, thus they managed to extend the road by six meters. New road signs appeared on the track. Source.

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In the Syrian city of Scalbia (Hama province) a cycling marathon was launched in support of the development of culture of the Syrian republic. As part of the event, a memorable photo session was held with officials of the SAR and ordinary citizens.

According to one of the organizers of the cycle marathon, the participants of the sporting event plan to ride bicycles to the walls of Latakia. Source.

October 8, 2018. Syrian archaeologists plan to resume the excavation of the ancient city of Ugarit. A city on the Mediterranean coast has been on the list of candidates for the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site for many years.

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The secrets of the ancient city of Ugarit are practically not disclosed. The main entrance, the throne room… The largest building here, most likely, was the royal palace. From here at all ends stone-lined streets diverge. The city is so well preserved that scientists easily compiled its exact map.

Ugarit originated in the Neolithic era at the intersection of major trade routes. The ancient merchants carried their goods from Babylon to Anatolia. Here was the way from Greece to Egypt. Unique in those times, the megalopolis, hidden for thousands of years under the ground, was discovered only 90 years ago.

With the beginning of the war, archaeological work on the territory of the ancient city ceased. Now, when there is no danger, archaeologists promise to resume the study of Ugarit in the very near future. According to scientists, the city has been explored only 20%. Source (video).

October 9, 2018. Russian military handed over school supplies to East Ghouta. As a result of the humanitarian action, 600 schoolbags and 600 sets of school uniforms were handed over to the administration of the settlement of Jysrein.

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In addition, in the village of Deir-ez-Zor province, the Russian military distributed 450 food sets with a total weight of 1950 kilograms to local residents during a regular humanitarian action. Source.

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Syrian authorities have begun clearing the city of Yarmuk in the suburbs of Damascus. The city was liberated one of the last, only a few months ago, and today the military has successfully cleared the ruins of the city. Now in these quarters is relatively safe. Nevertheless, part of the area is still closed to civilians, and they will be allowed to return only after the excavators have removed huge blocks of concrete and metal. Source (video).

October 10, 2018. In Damascus, a trout farm began work.

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To breed trout is probably the rarest business in Syria. This small fish farm in the remote village of Al-Makrus is the only such farm in the entire metropolitan area. The capacity of the underground source, which feeds the bath with water, is enough to grow a population of not more than fifty thousand individuals. The population of Damascus is about 6 million people. From this one can conclude how the trout in Syria is a delicacy. Source (video).

Water enters the tanks immediately from under the ground, does not stagnate, does not have time to heat up, but is still not cold enough for the trout to spawn. Farm owner Yasser al-Khattyb buys fry in neighboring Lebanon. In Syria, there are no suitable conditions for nurseries. Source.

Syrian authorities rebuild schools in Aleppo, destroyed by militants. The cost of the project to repair schools located in the liberated province of Aleppo and its environs is 400 million Syrian pounds. About five hundred schools in the province of Aleppo and its surroundings have already been repaired and fully restored. All work was completed in time for the beginning of the school year. Source.

Syrian authorities restore water supply in the province of Homs. They are actively developing a program to provide drinking water to residents of the village of Al-Rayyan and other neighborhoods in the province of Homs after returning security to the region. This area signed a reconciliation agreement about two years ago. The villages around Homs are famous for their olive and almond trees. Source.

October 11, 2018. The exhibition «The Returned Treasures of Syria» opened in Damascus.

In this exhibition, each item is a former bandit trophy returned by the Syrian army. A special task is to search for caches of objects of ancient art, collect them in the headquarters and offices of the ringleaders. To give into the hands of the restorers of the National Museum of Syria.

This exhibition — the message of Syria to the whole world that the country was able to preserve its culture in the most difficult time. Nothing has threatened these artifacts since their inception, as vandals of the 21st century. More than 9 thousand mutilated objects of art are now in the repository. And 500 of them that have already been restored, are now in one of the halls of the museum. Source.

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The Syrian military for several years found about 20 thousand antiques in the liberated territories in Syria. Many need restoration. The total value of the treasures returned to Syria is difficult to imagine. For example, only two coins minted during the time of Alexander the Great, by the most approximate calculations, can cost from 300 to 400 thousand dollars each. The best Russian specialists promised to assist in the restoration of the ancient monuments. Source (video).

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Experts continue to work on the reconstruction of the Umayyad Great Mosque, which has suffered greatly at the hands of the terrorists who occupied the Syrian city of Aleppo. According to the head of the project to restore the most important architectural monument of Aleppo, Sahar Alyabi, the reconstruction of the Umayyad mosque will take place in several stages. The material that is used by experts similar to the one that was taken to build a mosque. In addition, when repairing specialists use mixtures to eliminate traces of fire.

The Umayyad Mosque is considered one of the oldest and largest in the world. According to legend, it is in this mosque that the tomb of Father John the Baptist is located.

The building was erected around a huge courtyard that connects the various areas and minarets of the mosque. The Umayyad court is known for its black and white pavement made of stone. On it you can see the numerous geometric shapes. In addition, there are two fountains in the courtyard of the mosque. Umayyad Mosque and the market next to it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Source.

Hama farmers restore cotton harvest destroyed by militants. Cotton harvest was one of the most important crops in the vicinity of the province of Hama before the outbreak of military conflict in the republic. However, during the years of military operations in Syria, cotton production fell by 2% due to repeated attacks by terrorist organizations on farmers and agricultural land, water sources and irrigation systems in the region.

When safety and stability returned to Hama, farmers began to engage in land again. It is expected that in the future the crop of cotton in the province will grow significantly and even surpass the pre-war figures. Source.

Daraa City Council opens new roads in the province. According to local residents, the opening of new highways between the cities of Dar’a province will make their lives much easier for them, reducing the travel time from one point to another. In addition, it helps to reduce congestion on the already open roads and reduce the number of traffic jams on narrow lanes.

At the moment, the Dar’a provincial authorities are actively engaged in restoring the infrastructure destroyed by the militants — repairing the water supply system, power lines, and sewage. Municipal facilities, residential buildings, schools, hospitals, kindergartens are being restored. After liberation, the industrial and craft sectors gradually resume their work in the province. Thus, new jobs have appeared in the region. Source.

October 12, 2018. First graduates of the Russian language department received diplomas in Damascus university. Source (video).

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The group of graduates is small (17 people), but this is only the beginning. A group of graduates will soon fly to Russia to improve their skills. And after — one hundred percent guarantee of employment. Russian companies are beginning to engage in the restoration of Syria, and translators are in great demand. Source.

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The servicemen of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria conducted another humanitarian action in the province of Al-Quneitra, during which they distributed 300 sets of foodstuffs, as well as 300 sets of warm clothes, to civilians. Also, at the stadium in the city of Aleppo, the Russian military handed over to the children’s sports school 120 basketball sets and 40 balls, which were provided by the Russian basketball club «Lokomotiv-Kuban». Source.

October 13, 2018. In the Syrian city of Jabla (Latakia province), for the first time in many years, a new bypass road was built.

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The road connects several parts of the city and goes to the regional road. The road is designed for 10 years of work without repair. It consists of four lanes with separated oncoming traffic, has lighting throughout and traffic lights at intersections. Sideways are planned to be made on the sidewalks. The road belongs to the city and passes along new residential areas. There is no name for the new street yet, a vote was announced in Jabla so that each resident could offer his own version. Source.

The length of the new section of the road is 4 kilometers. The new road is built according to the most modern technologies and standards. Source (video).

October 14, 2018. The Russian military brought a ton of humanitarian aid to the residents of the Syrian Al-Quneitra. These are products and medicines. The military brought canned meat, flour, sugar and tea — about a ton of food total. Russian doctors too arrived in the village. Source.

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For the first time in several years, residents of a village in the province of Quneitra in southwestern Syria were able to see a doctor. The local clinic was destroyed when the terrorists entered. Russian doctors take in the first place children, which are many here. In addition to advices on how to treat certain diseases, Russian doctors have brought the necessary medicines. Source (video).

The city council of the Syrian Deir-ez-Zor launched the second stage of the reconstruction of the region, which includes the removal of fragments and rubble from the streets adjacent to the Al-Hamidiyah quarter.

At the moment, special machines are working on the sidewalk cleaning on a street parallel to Al-Hamidiyah. Work will be carried out right up to the Municipal Stadium and Al-Hagan Street. Source.

October 15, 2018. Thanks to specialists from the Russian Federation, checkpoints were opened on the border of the Syrian republic with Jordan and Israel.

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The Syrian flag was raised above the «Kuneutra» checkpoint. At about three hundred meters abroad, Israeli flag is already visible. Now the control of humanitarian processes in the area will be taken on by the International Red Cross. The checkpoint has been closed since 2012, when terrorists seized the province of Al-Kuneytra.

In addition to the border with Israel, a checkpoint on the border with Jordan was opened. Freight traffic through the «Nasib» checkpoint stopped due to the war in 2015. And it is finally restored. Source.

Syrian authorities rebuild schools in Idlib destroyed by militants. During the inspection of the destroyed premises, it turned out that all educational institutions suffered significant damage.

At the moment, schools are partly funded by various international organizations. First of all, it is necessary for the rehabilitation of Syrian refugees who have returned to their homeland, who received shelter after the liberation of the region from terrorist groups. Source.

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The general company for the maintenance of roads and bridges in Syria has completed the restoration of the eastern road Aleppo — Hama, the length of which is 205 kilometers. The total project cost was 270 million Syrian pounds.

As part of the project to restore the Aleppo — Hama highway, the masters repaired areas that were destroyed or seriously damaged by the actions of terrorist organizations. Thus, civilians were able to reduce their road to settlements located in the north-east of Hama province. In addition, the restoration of the main road made it much easier to reach villages and cities in the vicinity of Idlib province. Source.

October 16, 2018. Over the past day, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties held one humanitarian action in the village of Hsham, Deir-ez-Zor Province. During the campaign, 450 food sets were distributed with a total weight of 1.95 tons. Also, the Russian military distributed one ton of fresh bread to residents of the Sukari district on the southern outskirts of the city of Aleppo. Source.

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The leadership of the Crimea arrived in the capital of Syria almost at full strength. The purpose of the visit is to organize an economic partnership. The delegation also plans to establish direct flights, create a joint shipping company, open a Syrian trading house on the Crimean peninsula. In addition, the guests from the Crimea want to organize interaction in the field of tourism, construction and agriculture.

Following the visit, a memorandum on trade and economic cooperation was signed, and the Syrian President received an invitation to the Yalta Economic Forum, which will be held in April 2019. Source (video) / Photos.

October 17, 2018. During the day, 357 civilians, including 133 children, and 17 pieces of equipment, were withdrawn through the humanitarian corridor “Abu al-Dukhur” to the eastern part of Idlib province. Also, Russian military doctors provided medical care to 290 applicants, of whom 109 were children.

In addition, the officers of the Russian Reconciliation Center held another humanitarian action in the city of Aleppo. Thus, one ton of fresh bread was distributed to civilians, and 15 families of the dead soldiers of the government army received food and hygiene kits. Source.

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Thanks to the Russian Reconciliation Center, the first [after war] bakery started working in Daraa. A new bakery daily produces 9 tons of bread, but the need is 16 tons. The second workshop is now hastily equipped. Source (video).

77 out of 97 hospitals and clinics were put in order in the region. In Daraa province, most schools are running — 778. Although 373 schools cannot be restored. Local authorities select buildings that are suitable for arranging classes in order to fill the shortage of school places. Source.

October 18, 2018. Over the past day, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties held two humanitarian actions in the village of Kwara of Hama province and the village of Tell-Alam of Aleppo province.

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During the campaign, 800 food sets were distributed with a total weight of 3.45 tons. In addition, in the village of Tell-Alam distribution of the needy residents of one ton of fresh bread was organized. In the area of Saal Ad-Ansari in the south-western outskirts of the city of Aleppo, a charity event was held, during which one ton of fresh bread was distributed to the needy residents. Source.

Repair brigades continue to clear the streets of Deir-ez-Zor from debris. Work on the beautification of the city, liberated from terrorist organizations, will be completed in a short time. Largely thanks to the help of local residents it was possible to do in such a short time.

Soon, Deir-ez-Zor should also be recovered with sewer electrical networks, expanding asphalt paving on the roads, rebuilding schools and government offices located in the Al-Hamidiya district. It is worth noting that television and radio broadcasting was recently restored in the region. This happened for the first time since the beginning of the military conflict. The Syrian authorities are doing everything possible to attract as many refugees to the empty city as possible. Source.

October 19, 2018. Migration center opened at the «Nasib» checkpoint in Daraa province. Here every Syrian arriving the country, who evaded military service, could settle his position.

Colonel Mazen Ganur, head of the migration center at the «Nasib» checkpoint, said that every Syrian citizen who lost his personal documents may apply for assistance at the SAR embassy in Jordan to get special permission to return home. Subsequently, his personal business will be considered in the migration center, where he will be given new identity documents. Source.

The settlement of Seyda in Daraa province gradually returns to normal after the Syrian Arab army returned security and stability to the region.

Currently, the city administration is working to increase the technical services working in the city for the speedy restoration of the damaged infrastructure and the return of the forced refugees. The authorities of the city of Seyda are developing an emergency plan for the speedy restoration of vital services. All this is done in cooperation with civilians. Source.

October 21, 2018. Russian military delivered important humanitarian aid to one of Damascus clinics. They provided wheelchairs and blankets for a medical center in Damascus, where Syrian fighters are recovering from fighting with the militants.

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25 wheelchairs, 50 towels, 50 winter blankets were brought. Assistance was provided with the assistance of the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation. In the coming days, the Russian military are planning to go to the next hospital to support the real heroes who have defended their country.

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Every year more than one and a half thousand Syrian soldiers pass through this rehabilitation center, who were seriously wounded in the battles for the liberation of their country. Leaving these walls, they leave their photos on a makeshift tree as a memento. Now, in gratitude, the Russian flag will appear in the same place. Source (video).

October 22, 2018. In the south-west of Syria, in Bosra, scientists restore the Roman amphitheater. Monument of ancient architecture, located on the border with Jordan, restored after liberation from the militants.

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Bosra is considered the most ancient city in the world. Before the war, the amphitheater hosted every year concerts for 15,000 people, to which people came from all over the world. The ancient city of Bosra was liberated from militants in July 2018. Thanks to the successful negotiations of the officers of the Russian Center for Reconciliation, the terrorists surrendered the city to the Syrian military without a fight. In many ways, this is why the priceless monuments of the city’s architecture have almost never been destroyed. Source (video).

As part of the development of cooperation between Moscow and Damascus in the field of education, the Russian Cultural Center for Science and Culture organized an exhibition at the Tishrin Central Library in Latakia. In total, 12 state universities of Russia took part in it.

The main task of the Russian educational exhibition in Latakia is to inform Syrian applicants about the structure of the educational system in Russian universities. In addition, both sides hope to strengthen Russian-Syrian relations in the field of education. As a result of the event, dozens of students expressed a desire to get an education in Russia. Source.

Syrian authorities are restoring the University in Hasaka after liberation from terrorism. The Al-Furat University Office in Hasaka, Syria, has completed 60% of the work on rebuilding faculties affected by terrorist groups. Thanks to the efforts of the Syrian government army and its allies, university staff and students were able to return to normal life.

Now, students of the Syrian university can safely take exams, which were postponed due to the situation in the province. In particular, at the moment, the teaching staff of the university holds a session with students of faculties of economics, arts and education.

It is expected that the full restoration of the university building will be completed by the end of 2018. Not so long ago, Kurdish forces tried to close the university. Fortunately, they failed to do this. After popular pressure on the Kurdish leadership, Al-Furat was again open to students. Source.

October 23, 2018. The Syrian military began demining in the Syrian city of Dariya.

All dangerous items that are transportable, sappers collect in one place. These are tank shells right in the transporting tubes, mortar ammunition, rocket launchers (jet nozzles), grenades, small arms cartridges. The area for the «general cleaning» is divided into squares, and all this «garbage» is cleaned only on one of them. While some fighters are preparing detonation, others continue searching in the next city block. One month is given to cleaning this suburb of Damascus. Source.

For terrorists, the Dariya region was of major strategic importance. This was their last stronghold in an attempt to take Damascus, so it was here that the fiercest battles took place. Now the former residential neighborhoods are completely destroyed. As soon as the sappers finish the inspection of a particular site, their place is occupied by repair teams. They demolish the destroyed buildings and prepare sites for the construction of new houses. Source (video).

In the area of the Euphrates River in the Syrian province of Deir-ez-Zor, a mill began to work, which used to provide flour for most of the region. Before the beginning of the military conflict, this mill produced 65 tons of flour daily, thus covering the needs of half the inhabitants of the southern province.

After the return of the Syrian government army to the region, the mill returned to work. The internally displaced persons who have returned to their homes help distribute flour between the inhabitants of Deir-ez-Zor and its surroundings.

In the near future, an additional production line will be opened at the mill, which will allow producing up to 120 tons of flour per day. Source.

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A solemn celebration with the participation of the Russian side was held in the northern part of the province of Homs. The event is timed to the numerous victories of the Syrian government army, which returned security to the region.

Participants in the national meeting, which was also attended by residents of neighboring Syrian provinces, expressed their joy and admiration for the return of stability to a country that had been in a state of crisis for a long time. Source.

October 24, 2018. A large reservoir is built in the mountains of the Syrian Tartus. A new reservoir that can accumulate up to 25 thousand cubic meters of water will solve the irrigation problem for local farmers.

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A team of civil engineers erects a unique hydraulic structure, which very soon will fundamentally solve the problem of a serious shortage of water for irrigating olives and nut trees, whose gardens are located near these places. The new reservoir will be able to accumulate up to 25 thousand cubic meters of water. And absolutely all local residents will be able to use the water, for free. Source (video).

Syrian authorities are restoring nearly two thousand homes — 1883 residential houses, 162 power substations, as well as 180 water pumping stations are being restored in the country. Reconstruction of social infrastructure facilities affected by the militants is also being carried out. Thus, at present, in the Arab Republic, the authorities are preparing to pass 154 medical institutions, 163 kindergartens, as well as 182 schools. All this is done with a view to the speedy return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes. Source.

October 25, 2018. Russian military distributed a ton of bread to the inhabitants of Aleppo: a charity event was held in the Sahra-Awad area on the eastern outskirts of the city of Aleppo, during which the distribution of one ton of fresh bread was organized to the needy residents.

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In the districts of El-Suryan, El-Mualimin, El-Jabal, Balalat, El-Calas in the city of Aleppo the Russian military also provided targeted assistance to 15 Syrian families in dire social straits. Source.

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Refugees and deserters began to return from Jordan to Syria through the «Nasib» checkpoint. Customs officers at the border checkpoint «Nasib» between Syria and Jordan are working in an emergency mode. The passage, closed for several years because of terrorists, has resumed work. Refugees are returning from Jordanian territory to Syria through this passage. Among them are the former Syrian military, who left the service and fled abroad because of fears of being captured by militants. Now, amnesty has been declared for them.

Each soldier waited for several years to have a chance to get to Syria. Before opening the “Nasib”, Russian sappers carried out engineering reconnaissance and complete demining of the entire territory of the checkpoint. Now the construction crews are quickly repairing the buildings of the frontier detachment, customs and the shop that have suffered from the attacks of terrorists. Source (video).

Checkpoint «Nasib» is one of the largest in Syria, which received 30-40 thousand tourists and people crossing the border for other needs before the war. As well as several thousand cars. Now the «Nasib» checkpoint is used by about a thousand people a day. The number of people willing to cross the border is growing daily.

A couple of kilometers from the checkpoint, the first wholesale market has already appeared on the Syrian side. The harvest season is in full swing, and merchants from neighboring countries have a lot to profit from. Source.

October 26, 2018. Syrian authorities have begun repairing the largest pumping station in the province of Daraa. The General Directorate of Water Resources in Daraa Province has begun repairing the «Naima» pumping station, located east of the administrative center.

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This station is needed to irrigate farm communities located in rural areas in the east of Daraa Province. During the military conflict, terrorist groups attacked this station, cutting off the power of water networks. On the territory of the «Naima» station is a reservoir that holds two thousand cubic meters of water. With the help of a powerful pump, the reservoir managed to feed several dozen farmer’s plantations, in the region of which about 200 thousand people lived. Source.

Schools destroyed by militants are being rebuilt in Al-Quneitra. In the liberated schools in the Syrian province of Al-Quneitra, lessons began again. The learning process in educational institutions of Al-Quneitra started despite the fact that some schools still remain destroyed. Now the local repair teams are working on the restoration of the buildings.

Most of these schools suffered from the hands of terrorist groups, which for many years kept the entire province at bay. As a rule, the classes in which children had previously studied, terrorists used as their own headquarters and warehouses for weapons storage. Source.

The exhibition of rural products was held in the Syrian province of Damascus. The event was organized specifically for victims of the military conflict.

The exhibition featured products made by female masters. Each individual product had its own history of creation. It is expected that the exhibition will last for five days. In total, it was presented 300 different projects, distributed in special pavilions. Among the food industry at the exhibition were presented dairy products, fruits, vegetables, many types of jam, honey, juices, sweets and pastries.

In addition, separate pavilions were allocated for the sale of cosmetics, ceramic tableware, knitted items, soap, perfume and much more. Source.

October 27, 2018. Repair crews restore the main power station in Daraa.

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Repair crews managed to restore the Sheikh Miskin electrical station in the vicinity of Daraa province on 60%. It is Sheikh Miskin which connects all communication stations in the region. The craftsmen work day and night in order to set up the line as quickly as possible, which supplies electricity to 11 transformer stations in Daraa province. Source.

Pupils of the Sakba School of East Ghouta, which was restored after the departure of terrorists, held an exhibition of amateur performances in honor of the numerous victories of the Syrian government army.

At the moment, most schools in East Ghouta are still undergoing the process of repairing the damage caused by the militants, who for many years kept the region under occupation. The Syrian authorities are doing everything possible to ensure that children return to their desks as quickly as possible. Having taken brushes and paints in their hands, the children painted the walls of the dilapidated school to give the walls defiled by the militants more joy and love. Source.

October 28, 2018. The only Syrian island of Arvad, located in the Mediterranean, is ready to receive foreign tourists. The administration of the island declared its readiness to receive tourists.

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So far, the island is popular only among the Syrians themselves. However, the authorities were able to prepare the island, which is famous for its rich history and attractions, for receiving guests. Source.

October 29, 2018. After a seven-year break, the National Museum opened in Damascus.

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A priceless collection of antiquities is on display for all to see, some of the exhibits had to be literally saved from terrorists. The entrance to the museum on October 28 and 29 was made free for visitors. While only part of the premises is open, the rest are still being restored. There is no such collection of antiquities in any museum of the world. Exhibits began to collect 100 years ago. Specialists from 20 countries gathered at the opening of the National Museum. Source (video).

October 30, 2018. In the Syrian settlement of Drusha in the suburb of Damascus power supply is being restored after war.

Restoration of this settlement is well under way. More than six thousand people lived here before the war. When terrorists came here, the town has become empty. Receding, bandits used to plunder and destroy, but still life in Drusha promptly gets better. About four thousand inhabitants have already returned to their homes.

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Not on all streets in Drusha there is a lighting, there is also no centralized water supply yet. Many houses still stand in ruins, but the main thing is that process is started, and construction crews receive all necessary. The complete recovery of the settlement is planned to be finished within half a year. Source (video).

Repair crews have begun to restore the ancient squares Al-Basil and Al-Alyam in the Syrian province of El-Quneytra. These two squares are a symbol of fight between Syria and Israel for the Province of El-Quneytra. During terrorist occupation they have been partially destroyed. Restoration of these squares is a necessary and important point not only for residents of Syria, but also for the whole world. Source.

Critical thinking as a way to maintain informational hygiene at the proper level

UPDATED — see Conclusions (11)

On September 14, 2018, a website called Bellingcat published the first part of their “investigation” concerning the identification of the suspects in Skripal’s alleged poisoning. The following detailed review will explain why this opus does not stand to any criticism (which is the reason to put the word investigation in quotes). So let us check out this opus step by step.

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«An ongoing Bellingcat investigation conducted jointly with The Insider Russia has confirmed through uncovered passport data that the two Russian nationals identified by UK authorities as prime suspects in the Novichok poisonings on British soil are linked to Russian security services. This finding directly contradicts claims by the Russian president on 12 September 2018, and by the two men in an interview broadcast on RT one day later, that they are civilians who traveled to Salisbury for a tourist getaway».

The first thing that catches one’s eye is the use of a specific wordings. “On British soil” — widely accented by the MSM, this formulation is intended to “aggravate” what happened, artificially expand the scale of the incident, give additional importance, weight and “significance” to the incident. In such a formulation, the incident is no longer just a local inconspicuous incident (every day someone is being killed, raped, robbed, criminal gangs arrange their showdowns, someone settles scores with each other in the most incredible ways etc.), but, in fact, “the invasion of something alien and dangerous onto the territory of a sovereign state”. The “seriousness” of the threat thereby “legalizes” the scale of possible responses and give the authorities a wide space to maneuver in the international affairs.

This is a kind of 25th frame — audience reads and do not pay attention to the wordings, although at the subconscious level the information accumulates in the required form. Repeating exactly the same phrases and wordings insensibly “convinces” people of the “danger” and “scale” of what happened.

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Bellingcat using these very wordings is no surprise. Being just one of the tools of the Western propaganda, the “online investigators” (as they call themselves) goes just in concert with MSM’ narrative (whose bias is far beyond doubt).

Second — poisonings. Bellingcat wrote poisonings. Not just poisoning (i.e. one case), but poisoning(i.e. a few cases). What cases do we know happened “on British soil”? (1) Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and police sergeant Nick Bailey (2) A couple from Amesbury — Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley (3) Anna Shapiro and Alex King — though, this case was so rediculous and fake that even British media prefered to abandon it (4) In early March, Associated Press reported about “21 people sought treatment after ex-spy poisoning” — the number 21 includes both Skripals and police sergeant Nick Bailey, so 18 other people “sought treatment”.

Mentioning “the Novichok poisonings, Bellingcat as if casually hinted that the “suspects” were involved in all the cases. This correlates perfectly with the wording “on British soil”. The use of the word ‘poisoning’ in the plural unnoticeably reinforces the narrative about “the invasion of something alien and dangerous onto the territory of a sovereign state”. Lunatic The Sun directly called it “a reckless and obscene act of terrorism”:

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Attributing responsibility for all cases to a chosen “suspects” does not allow this narrative to “crumble” into several cases unrelated to each other, in which there could be different unrelated to each other suspects. Bellingcat knows well what they write, intentionally using seemingly inconspicuous methods of influencing the minds of the audience.

In general, the following squeeze can be made from the first paragraph:

«Bellingcat investigation <…> has confirmed <…> that the two Russian nationals <…> are linked to Russian security services«.

Remember this. Now let’s go further.

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«Original Russian documents reviewed by Bellingcat and The Insider confirm definitively that the two men were registered in the central Russian resident database under the names Alexander Yevgenievich Petrov and Ruslan Timurovich Boshirov, respectively, and were issued internal passports under these names in 2009. However, no records exist for these two personas prior to 2009. This suggests the two names were likely cover identities for operatives of one of the Russian security services. Crucially, at least one man’s passport files contain various “top-secret” markings, which, according to at least two sources consulted by Bellingcat, are typically reserved for members of secret services or top state operatives».

Bellingcat claimed they reviewed “original Russian documents”. Seems there’s no need to explain that original documents means original documents — i.e. authentic physical copies of documents. Sometimes it could be notarized copies of original documents, or verified digital versions (scans) of original documents, or validated photos of initial original documents etc — but in all these cases still these are not the original documents themselves. The originality (authenticity) of the documents is extremely important. Although, somewhat lower in the text, the “online investigators” decided to clarify what is meant by “original Russian documents” which they reviewed:

«Bellingcat and The Insider have reviewed original records from the central Russian passport and residential registration database…».

Thus, it is not about the authentic physical documents, but about some data from Internet databases. This in itself implies a greater likelihood of information tampering. It is at least imprudent to consider the Internet a source of reliable information (seems it is not necessary to cite as an example the videos of the “White Helmets”, selflessly “saving” the inhabitants of Syria). In Russia, there are no legal databases (mean, with important confidential information like personal data etc) freely available to citizens. Such databases can theoretically be purchased on the black market, or hacked by hackers. In any case, it is illegal acquisition of data. If Bellingcat claims the originality of the information they used, then the database(s) used was supposed to be a database(s) supervised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (in Russia a passport issues are the responsibility of this Ministry). Only one such database is publicly and legally available. Regarding this only database, on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation it’s indicated:

«This service is informational, the information provided is not legally relevant. The source of the information service is a daily updated list of invalid passports, which can be used by any interested person or organization whose activity is related to the need to check the validity of a passport. The list is also posted on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the format of open data, is impersonal and does not violate the current legislation in the field of personal data. If necessary, it can be built into various information systems».

Here is a link to this database (it’s in *.csv format, the size is 1,3Gb, archieved file size is 411Mb). This database contains invalid passport numbers of the Russian residents. Number of the internal Russian passport consists of a passport series (4 characters — xxxx) and the passport number itself (6 characters — xxxxxx). Taking the passport number from the mentioned database and checking it on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (see link above), the result is as follows:

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The system checks whether the passport is valid, and the response briefly informs the result of the check (“Your passport is not among the invalid” / “Your passport is invalid”). The system does not display any detailed personal data or photos. Obviously, this only legally accessible database was not used by the “investigators”.

For some reason Bellingcat didn’t even mention the source(s) of their data, but one can obtain this information on The Insider’ website:

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On the presented b/w photo of Alexander Petrov there is an entry: Источник информации: СПО СК: АС “Российский Паспорт” — in English it reads as Source of information: SPO SC: AS “Russian Passport”. Juridical social network ‘9111.ru’ reported that СПО СК АС (SPO SC AS) is an information base (analytical system) of the State Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation on migration issues.

Bellingcat is silent about the fact if/that they used the information system СПО СК АС “Российский Паспорт” (SPO SC AS “Russian Passport”), although this information is contained in the Russian version of the “investigation” (on The Insider’ website). It is unlikely that The Insider “by mistake” would have placed information with such a specific abbreviation as SPO SC AS “Russian Passport”. Therefore, most likely this database was used.

Let’s pay attention to the very first sentence in The Insider’ version of the “investigation”:

«If you look at the data of Alexander Petrov in the FMS database, it seems that he was «born» in 2009″.

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This is very significant. First, because this is, in fact, the only hint on where the “investigators” presumably obtained their information. Bellingcat does not mention any specific sources of information at all. The Insider mentioned “the FMS database”. Second, because The Insider (= Bellingcat too) writes about the possibility of viewing the FMS database as something routine and easily accessible. “If you look at the data…” — it sounds like an offer to open a Google searcher and find the weather forecast for tomorrow — it’s easу and simple. In reality it is notThird, the information itself on the FMS is false, because by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of April 5, 2016 No.156 “On the improvement of public administration in the field of control over the circulation of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors and in the field of migration” the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation (FMS) was abolished (it came under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs). In other words, the FMS in Russia has not existed since 2016. Hardly The Insider (= Bellingcat too) did not know about it. If all the same The Insider (= Bellingcat too) is not lying and it was the FMS database that they used, then it has to be the old database of the period until 2016. Again, such a database can only be obtained on the black market by illegal means, which, in turn, raises serious doubts about the originality and authenticity of the information obtained in this way.

But then it comes even more interesting thing. The mentioned above database contains publicly available information (numbers of invalid passports), and is only a small part of the AS “Russian Passport” information system (which was administered by the FMS until 2016). This bigger (main) database is a serious information resource, access to which is strictly limited. Automated System “Russian Passport” (AS “Russian Passport”) allows to search, view and receive information about the issuance of a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation and information about the identity of the owner of the passport and his place of residence. At the same time, the full history of issuing passports of a citizen of the Russian Federation (of all previously issued passports) is kept. This is exactly what Bellingcat says on their website — that is, in fact, it is AS “Russian Passport” that Bellingcat describes, referring to the storage history of all previous issued internal (domestic) and foreign passports of a person:

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«A standard passport file – <…> – contain a history of previous, expired ID documents (called domestic passports), international passports issued to the person (both expired and current), as well as previous address registrations«.

By this link on the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (the one which absorbed the FMS in 2016), the user goes to a page called “Granting access to employees of state authorities and organizations to the AS “Russian Passport”. The page contains two download links: first one is called ‘Requests for access‘ (*.docx file), the second one is called ‘Access Regulations‘ (*.pdf file):

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The study of these documents is quite interesting, because makes it possible to understand whether the “investigators” from Bellingcat and The Insider actually accessed data from AS “Russian Passport”.

Let’s open ‘Access Regulations’ *.pdf file. This is a 13-pages official document with four genuine signatures of high-ranking officials on the title page. The full title of the document is “Regulations for granting access to employees of state authorities and other organizations to the automated system “Russian Passport”. The title itself already contains an indication that only employees of the Russian government bodies can get access to this system. At the very beginning of the document are the “General Provisions”:

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I. General provisions

  1. These regulations define the procedure for granting access for employees of state authorities and other organizations to the automated system “Russian Passport”, as well as the procedure for providing information on the facts of searching or viewing information in the AS “Russian Passport” for employees of state bodies that are a component of the forces and means of ensuring the security of the Russian Federation.
  2. Access to AS “Russian Passport” for state authorities and other organizations is provided only with the existence of appropriate legal grounds.

The II section is called “Terms and abbreviations”. The III section is “Granting and Extension of Access”. In particular, this section indicates that the AS “Russian Passport” uses a two-factor user authentication system. Authenticators are the user’s password and his e-signature key. This section also indicates that “The state authority or other organization for receiving or extending access to the AS “Russian Passport” sends a written request with the attached application”. The IV section is called “Restoring access to AS “Russian Passport”. The V section is “Providing information about the fact of the search or view information in the AS “Russian Passport”. The VI section is “Final Provisions”. At the end of the document are the Appendices,  in particular, a sample of a written application for granting access to AS “Russian Passport”:

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In general, the document contains an extremely detailed procedure for obtaining access to AS “Russian Passport”. The fact is that access to this information system is strictly regulated and limited. It involves a complex procedure for obtaining permission to access, requiring a written application, as well as specially made electronic access keys. All actions in this system are monitored and reported. Access to this system can be obtained only by employees of state authorities of the Russian Federation.

It is quite clear that neither Bellingcat nor The Insider could access this system. Mean, legally. So why does The Insider mentions on its website that AS “Russian Passport” was used (Bellingcat is generally silent about this)? If this database was actually used, it means only one thing — that it was obtained by hacking or acquiring on the black market.  In the latter case, it is no longer possible to talk about the authenticity of the information.

In this regard, the comments of the “investigators” themselves are very indicative. The fact is that they are confused in the testimony. Thus, on September 14, Roman Dobrokhotov (The Insider’s editor in chief) posted a response to the post of the Russian MFA’ spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Facebook. Maria Zakharova suggested that the “investigators” hacked the FMS database. In his response, Dobrokhotov wrote, in particular, the following:

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«Maria, it is very pleasant that you paid attention to our investigation. This, by the way, is only the first part, the second will be on Monday. But I have to upset you, neither Bellingcat nor The Insider Russia hacked anything. Databases, including passport databases, are freely sold on the radio market, on the darknet and anywhere. And they are traded — you will be surprised — by the very valiant employees of the FMS and law enforcement agencies. You don’t have to be an agent of the Mi-6 to buy an extract from the FMS <…>».

I.e., The Insider, in fact, says directly that the FMS database was acquired on the black market. By the way, Bellingcat denied too that the FMS database was hacked:

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But still a statement from The Insider contradict the words of Bellingcat, which they wrote on the same day on September 14:

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The Insider says that the data was bought, in fact, on the black market, though Bellingcat says that a certain “source in the Russian police” was looking for this data for them. A rather strange discrepancy in the testimony. Someone from the “investigators” is lying, most likely Bellingcat. It was shown above that access to the AS “Russian Passport” (passport database managed by the FMS until 2016) is provided only to a certain narrow circle of people (employees of state bodies of the Russian Federation) under strict control, and implies a complicated procedure for obtaining a special admission (written applications to obtain admission, electronic access keys, report on actions in the system etc). It is very unlikely that a certain “source in the Russian police” would risk his/her entire career in order to provide confidential data to some Western bloggers. This is very improbable. Imagine an analogy — some Russian journalists or bloggers will turn to the American police (by the way, how — call the US police, write a letter, meet some US policeman in private?) with a request to provide some confidential data from a closed database. Complete nonsense. Most likely what The Insider declared — mean, data acquisition on the black market. But, to repeat, this in itself casts serious doubt on the originality (declared by Bellingcat) and reliability of the information — the database could be sold and resold a hundred times, changes could be made to it (including intentionally), etc.

But let’s go back to Bellingcat’s text. Speaking of the passport data on Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the “online investigators” says that they did not find earlier data:

«However, no records exist for these two personas prior to 2009″.

Strange statement. “No records exist”, or you simply failed to find the data? It is logical to assume the latter. It is also worth recalling that in the summer of 2018, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation gave a special explanation why about 1.5 million Russian passports were invalidated:

«The ministry explained that the passports of a citizen of the Russian Federation have been issued since 1997, until 2006 information about documents was included in different databases. It is worth noting that during this period, the base of passports was managed by the FMS, disbanded in 2016 (functions were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs).

In 2006, in order to form and put into operation the unified information automated system “Russian Passport”, the previously disparate passport databases were merged. Due to the lack of proper technical capacity at that time, when downloading information from different counts, the status of some passports changed from “valid” to “invalid”».

Suspects receiving their first passports (in Russia, citizens get passports from the age of 14) falls in the range of 1997-2006. The information could be in different databases. When combining an array of information some data may have been altered or lost. Sometimes it happens that due to errors in the documents, people even have to prove that they are alive. Mean, there are many reasons why some kind of error may occur in the documents or information. Lack of data can also be explained by the banal features of administration. The fact that “online investigators” did not find the information (at least they say so) in one concrete database they used yet says nothing.

But Bellingcat does not stop there and continues to fantasize:

«However, no records exist for these two personas prior to 2009. This suggests the two names were likely cover identities for operatives of one of the Russian security services».

In this case (as in many other cases actually) Bellingcat falls into pure conspiracy. Allegedly the lack of information (only from the words of the “investigators”) about a person is a sign of belonging to a special services. Yes of course. Indeed, according to Bellingcat, there are no other explanations. Well, the reader may laugh here, but let’s keep it serious. The reader should pay special attention to the construction of a statement: “online investigators” failed to obtain some information (“no records exist”), but on this basis an extremely dubious assumption (“this suggests”) is being made that the suspects are intelligence officers (“were likely cover identities for operatives of one of the Russian security services”). Unsubstantiated assertion that “no records exist” is presented to the reader as allegedly a proven fact, on the basis of which a further assumptions are made. Moreover, Bellingcat does not even hide the doubtfulness of their further assumptions — the word “likely” was used. Probably, Bellingcat confused something, because today it is trendy to use the expression not “likely”, but “highly likely”™. Imperfection.

But then the reader is offered the most interesting. Bellingcat shares a “discoveries”:

«Crucially, at least one man’s passport files contain various “top-secret” markings, which, according to at least two sources consulted by Bellingcat, are typically reserved for members of secret services or top state operatives».

Not sure where it’s better to start to review this nonsense. Well, first of all pay your attention to the phrase “at least one man’s passport”. At least one man’s passport… while there are two men total (suspects). ‘At least’ means minimum. Between minimum and maximum of something there should be an interval filled with increasing values. This is the very meaning of the words minimum and maximum — they reflect the minimum and maximum values from the whole range of values, respectively. Is it Ok to use a phrase “at least” speaking of one man, while you have just two men total? Don’t know. Seems for the “online investigators” it is Ok. There are two men (suspects), at least one of them… Here it should be a facepalm meme. However, the use of such meaningless and inappropriate phrases is fully consistent with the competence of the “online investigators”.

By the way, Bellingcat’s attempt to create a semblance of “discoveries”/“findings” regarding the identification of Alexander Petrov is very curious:

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«Bellingcat and The Insider have reviewed original records from the central Russian passport and residential registration database and have identified the passport files belonging to the two suspects.

The person using the name Alexander Petrov does in fact have a passport file, under the name Alexander Yevgenievich Petrov, born on 13 July 1979 in Kotlas, a small town in northern Russia. The birth date coincides with that of the Alexander Petrov who flew on Aeroflot flight SU2588 on 2 March 2018, as seen in the passenger manifest reviewed by Bellingcat.

This person’s domestic passport photo matches the photos released by the UK authorities and the face of the person calling himself Alexander Petrov in the RT interview».

Apparently, no one told Bellingcat that one of the documents required for Russians to obtain a British visa is to provide a photocopy of their internal (domestic) passport:

To be sure, ALAFF contacted the visa center (agency) in Moscow that deals with the issuance of British visas, and asked if a Russian passport is required for a British visa. Here are screenshots, pay your attention to the lower right area — there is shown a chat, where the visa center operator promptly answered ALAFF’s question:

A chat only:

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The question: «Hello. Is a copy of a Russian passport required when submitting an application for a British visa?».

The answer: «Yes, make a copy of the first page».

On the first page of the Russian passport there is all the key information — b/w photo, series and number of a passport, date and place of birth of a person, etc.

The suspects entered the territory of Britain, which means they have a British visa. Which, in turn, means that the British authorities have all the data on the internal (domestic) passports of these two men — including b/w photos, birth dates and other stuff. By the way, the date and place of birth is also indicated in the electronic application form, which must be filled out when obtaining a British visa. In other words, all these data (full names, dates and places of birth, b/w photos, series and numbers of passports etc) were provided to the British side when the suspects were applying for a British visa.

But Bellingcat is surprised that Alexander Petrov (as a supposed “fictional personality”) indeed has a passport (“Alexander Petrov does in fact have a passport file <…>”), and that it is the name Alexander Petrov and his date/place of birth that are indicated in this passport (“<…> under the name Alexander Yevgenievich Petrov, born on 13 July 1979 in Kotlas <…>”). Bellingcat also makes a “discovery” that, it turns out, a b/w photo from Petrov’s domestic passport (which was provided to the British side) and the photo published by the British authorities (who received b/w photo from Petrov’s domestic passport) belongs to one same person. Truly fantastic conclusions, isn’t it?

Bellingcat pretends to have found some “original documents”, “compared” the dates of birth and photographs of the one whom the British authorities stated as a suspect with the one who flew to London on SU-2588 flight. The obtained “comparisons” allegedly allowed Bellingcat to “establish” that it is about one same person, and thereby “identify the suspect”… while the British authorities knows full well that it is about one same person, because they have photocopies of the Russian (domestic) passport of Alexander Petrov, which he provided when he applied for a British visa. By the way, is that why the British side is not in a hurry to recognize Bellingcat’s “findings” as a serious argument, preferring not to comment on the situation?

It is about a profanation of the “discoveries”/“findings”. It’s like your bank, where you took a loan, perfectly knowing your telephone number, would suddenly come up with a “revealing” statement that they have “found your phone number” using some data on the Internet and comparing them with the list of contacts in the phone book. And the bank will be genuinely “surprised” that the photos of the one who took a loan from them (i.e. you) and your photo means one same person. Truly fantastic.

Bellingcat is “surprised” that the dates of birth are the same for the one whose passport information they have “found”, and the one who flew to London on a SU-2588 flight (in particular, this “coincidence” allowed Alexander Petrov to be “identified”). Naturally birth dates coincide, because this is one person. In an interview with RT, Alexander Petrov (who gave that very data, including birth date, to the British Embassy) does not even try to deny that it was he who flew to London by that very flight SU-2588. Looking at his passport, Petrov indicated his birth date when filling out the electronic application form for a British visa. Buying tickets to London, he once again indicated his birth date, looking at his passport. It would be very strange if the dates of birth did not match.

Be “surprised” at elementary logical banal things is necessary for the “online investigators” to convince their readers of the “importance” of the “finds” they have made. By the way, one really must not exclude that the British authorities, having on hand the photocopies of Russian (domestic) passports of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, contributed to the “finding” of these data by brave “online investigators”. After all, it is unlikely that the curators would not have provided Bellingcat with such data.

But let’s go further to the more serious things. Bellingcat mentioned “various “top-secret” markings” on the documents. It is the most interesting part of the whole “investigation”.

bellingcrap_3

«Alexander Petrov’s passport dossier is marked with a stamp containing the instruction “Do not provide any information”.  This stamp does not exist in standard civilian passport files. A source working in the Russian police force who regularly works with the central database confirmed to Bellingcat and The Insider that they have never seen such a stamp on any passport form in their career.  That source surmised that this marking reserved for operatives of the state under deep cover».

Here is the very “stamp” mentioned by Bellingcat:

bellingcrap_stamp_fake

The first oddity — Bellingcat describes in detail the content of the “original documents” on Alexander Petrov, but for some reason refuses to show the passport form in full. Instead, the “online investigators” pass on this passport form to the main British propagandists — the BBC corporation (aka “Bla Bla Channel”), which is publishing the article on the same day, showing the passport form in full:

bellingcrap_passportform_fake

To see better the other oddities we have to zoom Bellingcat’s picture:

bellingcrap_stamp_fake_zoomX5_1

The enlarged image clearly shows that the elements of two Russian letters (‘Е’, ‘Д’) in the Petrov’s name are translucent. There is no such thing in any other place in his passport form — the text is everywhere black and opaque. What’s wrong with these translucent places? Disappearing ink? Next, b/w passport form for some reason has gray places. On the enlarged image, the gray word is clearly visible in the area of the “stamp” (under the numbers — indicated by an arrow). The left end of a strange strip above the “stamp” is also gray/translucent. What’s this? No less curious is the difference in the writing of one same letter — at the top of the passport form in the Petrov’s name (‘Александр’), the Russian letter ‘Д’ — the one that has a translucent part — comes with a simple horizontal bottom line, but in two other places this same letter comes already in the standard academic form — the bottom horizontal line at its ends has strokes down:

bellingcrap_passportform_fake_letterD

By the way, on the front side of the passport form, the Russian letter ‘Д’ in its standard academic form (with strokes down) occurs 4 times — 2 places are clearly visible, the other two places are hidden by “blurriness” (which, however, did not touch the strokes down). Four times a person wrote the letter in the standard way, but for some reason this same letter is written differently in the name ‘Александр’ — without strokes down:

bellingcrap_passportform_fake_letterD3

(ALAFF slightly processed the original image in Photoshop to “remove”/reduce the blur that hides the information — the Russian letter ‘Д’ under the blur became visible better).

One more oddity — that same letter ‘Д’ in one place looks very strange — the natural spelling of the letter is interrupted, and the strokes down for some reason are shifted to the left relative to the letter:

bellingcrap_passportform_fake_letterD_shift

Moreover, if you put the strokes “in place”, they actually don’t match with the letter (the thickness of the strokes differs from their “natural place” in the letter):

bellingcrap_passportform_fake_letterD_shift2

But let’s carefully examine the “stamp” itself. To do this, first take a look at the original real blank form for obtaining a Russian passport (ALAFF gives it in comparison with the Bellingcat’s form):

Pay attention to the upper right corner of the original real passport form. There’s a printed text: “Приложение 1 к Инструкции о Применении положения о Паспорте гражданина Российской Федерации форма № 1П” — English translation is “Application 1 to the Instruction for the Use of the Regulations on the Passport of a Citizen of the Russian Federation, Form № 1П”. ALAFF took the upper right corner of the original real passport form with this text and resized it so that the scale was comparable to the text in Bellingcat’s passport form.

First, let’s take a close look at the word “Приложение” (“Application”) and note the oddities (click the image to enlarge):

bellingcrap_stamp_fake_compare_2

One can see in the picture explanations for all the marked oddities. In Bellingcat’s passport form the word “Приложение” (“Application”) has become 1) gray 2) completely unreadable. There are only some common nominal contours of the letters. What should have been done to mutilate the word this way?

But even more interesting is the following (click the image to enlarge):

bellingcrap_stamp_fake_compare_3

ALAFF noticed a few oddities:

  1. The word “Приложение 1” (“Application 1”) in the original real passport form is located approximately in the middle above the text, but for some reason it is significantly shifted to the left in Bellingcat’s form (orange line to green line). Although, ALAFF admits that the “displacement” can only be a feature of printing — different editions of the passport forms could differ slightly.
  2. The second line of the text: “паспорте гражданина Российской Федерации” — ALAFF underlined this text with a blue line. Pay your attention that in the original real passport form, the text above the line runs smoothly and parallel to this line. And now compare this with the text in Bellingcat’s passport form — the letters and words “float” up and down, up and down.
  3. Pay attention to the “stamp” itself. ALAFF made two parallel lines (below and at the top of the “stamp”) in light blue color. It is easy to see that black bold contours of the “stamp” are almost identical to parallel lines. This means that the “stamp” has to be put on the passport form perfectly accurate (without even the slightest inclines), which is almost impossible in reality, especially considering the “stamp” shape (it’s not round, but stretched horizontally). Seems only a robot could put such a “stamp” ideally horizontally without tilting it. No, of course, a person can too stamp so perfectly smooth, but for this you need to specifically try on, trying not to tilt the stamp. All the same, the natural way of putting a stamp on a document implies some “light negligence”. Just a few pictures found in the Internet to show the idea (horizontal stamp tilted):

It is also worth noting that the original real passport form is never sterile white (as in Bellingcat’s version). It can not be stated unequivocally, but one must not exclude that the “online investigators” used an intentional exposure of the document. It is well known that this editing technique allows you to hide some flaws and shortcomings (including those that could reveal the manipulation). ALAFF spent 10 seconds and made the exposure of the original real passport form, take a look and compare:

Sterile white is better, isn’t it? For someone it’s better. It shows no marks, artifacts and other “graphic garbage”. The Bellingcat’s text paragraph we are reviewing also includes a curious indication:

«<…> That source surmised that this marking reserved for operatives of the state under deep cover».

The key word is surmised. The source did not say confidently, for sure. He/she just made a guess. In other words, the source, in fact, has no idea what it is (Bellingcat: “A source working in the Russian police force who regularly works with the central database confirmed to Bellingcat and The Insider that they have never seen such a stamp on any passport form in their career). So he/she surmised. The absurdity of the source’s surmise, exposing his/her incompetence, will be shown below.

Well, this was only the front side of the passport form. Bellingcat in their “investigation” shows the back side also, this time in full, which is rather strange, given the refusal to show the front side in full. Here’s the back side of the passport form:

bellingcrap_passportform2_fake

Again, sterile white — i.e. seriously exposed, probably to hide unwanted details. Again, with that same “stamp” in the upper right corner. By the way, the “stamp” on this side is different in details from the one on the front side (click the image to enlarge):

bellingcrap_stamps_compare_all

Practically all letters differ slightly, ALAFF marked (with orange rectangles) only the most obvious differences between the letters/numbers. The appearance of the letters (including curvature) in itself raises serious doubts about the authenticity of the presented “documents”.

Talking about the back (reverse) side of the passport form, Bellingcat writes:

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«Adding additional credence to the hypothesis that Alexander Petrov’s persona is a cover identity comes from another page in his passport file, which is reserved for input of biographical data. In Mr. Petrov’s case, this page is left blank, and in addition to the same stamp “Do not provide information”, a hand-written note is added with the text “There is a letter. S.S.”. Per the same source interviewed for this story, S.S. is a common abbreviation for “sovershenno sekretno”, Russian for “top secret”«.

Remember, at the beginning of the text Bellingcat used the word “likely”. Now the word “hypothesis” is used. On the one hand, this is good, because the “online investigators” still indicate and remind their readers that all their reasonings are not a facts, but only an assumptions. On the other hand, words like “likely” and “hypothesis” (traditionally used in the absence of facts) somehow agree very poorly with what Bellingcat stated at the very beginning of the text. Remember this — “An ongoing Bellingcat investigation conducted jointly with The Insider Russia has confirmed through uncovered passport data that…”? Conjectures, assumptions, hypotheses… that confirm something? Interesting. This is something new. Scientists would be surprised.

ALAFF translated the blank passport form submitted by Bellingcat into English — this is necessary for understanding important details:

bellingcrap_passportform2_fake_eng

Why is it so important to know what is printed on this side of the passport form? That’s why: Bellingcat claimed this — “Adding additional credence to the hypothesis that Alexander Petrov’s persona is a cover identity comes from another page in his passport file, which is reserved for input of biographical data. In Mr. Petrov’s case, this page is left blank. As one can see on the submitted form translated by ALAFF, this side of  the passport form is intended for service notes only. This side of the passport form does not imply any “biographical data”, as Bellingcat claimed.

In case of the destruction of a passport (if a new one is issued, the old one is destroyed), the civil servant makes corresponding notes on this side of the passport form. In case of replacement of a person’s passport due to a change in the name, surname, gender, information about the date and(or) place of birth (this is not the case of Alexander Petrov), corresponding notes are also made there. The fact is that this side of the passport form does not imply any “biographical data”. Bellingcat is directly lying (assuming that the Western reader does not know the content/purpose of the passport form). One of two things: either deliberately misleading the public, or the manifestation of the same incompetence inherent in “online investigators”.

There’s also a good question — on the basis of what the reader should accept that the presented blank passport form “belongs” to Alexander Petrov, and not to someone else? In fact, the reader is invited to just believe it.

Again, let’s compare what Bellingcat suggest to their readers with the back side of the original real passport form:

Compare the appearance of the horizontal lines on the passport form. They should be clear, legible, uninterrupted and smooth. Bellingcat has obvious problems with this. Again, there is an inexplicable “leapfrog” in the printing of letters on the passport form presented by the “online investigators” (the letters and words “float” up and down, although they should go straight and parallel above the red line — see the image):

bellingcrap_passportform2_fake_letters_float

Then, pay attention to the titles in the upper right and lower right corners of the original real blank passport form. In the upper right corner it is printed: “Форма № 1П (оборотная сторона)” — in English it is “Form № 1П (reverse side)”. In the lower right corner the abbreviation “ДПК 604”:

passport_back_symbols

These are integral titles and are a must-have part of a real (genuine) passport form. Both of these titles must be present on the passport form. As one can see, Bellingcat’s “document” has neither the first (“Форма № 1П (оборотная сторона)”) nor the second (“ДПК 604”) title. Which in itself speaks eloquently about the authenticity of Bellingcat’s “document”.

Next, Bellingcat speaks about the abbreviation:

«Per the same source interviewed for this story, S.S. is a common abbreviation for “sovershenno sekretno”, Russian for “top secret».

“Online investigators”, themselves not possessing sufficient competence, obviously use sources that are also not sufficiently competent. The thing is that what source told Bellingcat is not true. A more correct English translation of the Russian phrase “Совершенно секретно” (“Sovershenno sekretno”) sounds like “Absolutely secret”, not “Top secret”. But more importantly, in Russia, the abbreviated version of “Совершенно секретно” (“Absolutely secret”) does not look like “S.S.”. The phrase “Совершенно секретно” (“Absolutely secret”) is either not shortened at all, or is shortened only slightly — sometimes it can be written as “Сов. секретно” (“Abs. secret”) or “Сов/Секретно” (“Abs/Secret”), sometimes as “С/секретно” (“A/secret”). Here are just a few examples of Russian declassified archival documents, where there is a mark “Совершенно секретно” (“Absolutely secret”):

No one in Russia writes a phrase “Совершенно Секретно” (“Absolutely secret”) abbreviated as “С.С.” (“S.S.”). English analogue of this phrase is “Top Secret”. Can’t  say with certainty, but it is unlikely that the United States uses the abbreviation “T.S.” for this phrase. Which is quite logical, because such a short abbreviation does not allow to understand the very meaning of the abbreviation. What makes Bellingcat think that things are different in Russia? Of course, with a special desire, someone can “reveal”/“understand” the meaning of the abbreviation “S.S.” as “Совершенно Секретно” (“Absolutely secret”). But one can just as well “uncover” this abbreviation as banal forename and last name — for example, Sergei Skripal, Semen Suvorov or Stepan Savinov (hundreds of variants). This abbreviation can also mean the phrase “Сделать Срочно” (“Make urgent”) or “Сделать Сегодня” (“Make today”). On the whole, there is a huge number of options for “decoding” of such abbreviation. The fact is that in Russia the abbreviation “С.С.” (“S.S.”) is not a “common abbreviation for “sovershenno sekretno”, Russian for “top secret” as Bellingcat claimed (reffering to its mysterious source). It is a lie.

Bellingcat used a false personal opinion of some unknown source to “tie” the notes on the passport form to a hypothesis that the suspects belong to a special services.

On the back (reverse) side of Alexander Petrov’s passport form not less interesting is a handwritten note “There is a letter S.S.”. To understand what’s wrong with this note we have to go ahead a bit and look at the passport form of another suspect — Ruslan Boshirov, whom Bellingcat “studies” in one of the following parts of their “investigation”, calling Boshirov a “GRU agent” named Anatoly Chepiga. So this is “Chepiga’s” passport form submitted by Bellingcat:

bellingcrap_chepiga_passport

What the reader should pay close attention to is the font with which “Chepiga’s” passport form is filled. Doesn’t it remind anything? Seems we have already seen it somewhere… On the blank passport form of Alexander Petrov. The one who fabricated the “documents” submitted by Bellingcat and The Insider made the note “There is a letter S.S.” on Alexander Petrov’s passport form in the same font that filled out “Chepiga’s” passport form. Or vice versa — “Chepiga’s” passport form was filled with the same font that was used to make a note on the back side of Alexander Petrov’s passport form.

ALAFF made a comparison of the similarity of letters. For comparison, five letters were taken from the phrase “Есть письмо” (“There is a letter”) — the Russian letters ‘е’, ‘с’, ‘и’, ‘м’ and ‘о’. It was these letters that were taken because these five letters from the phrase “Есть письмо” (“There is a letter”) appears on “Chepiga’s” passport form. Click the following images to enlarge and see the comparison:

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bellingcrap_samefont_2

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To show the obvious sameness of the font, ALAFF inserted both words from the phrase “Есть письмо” (“There is a letter”) written on Alexander Petrov’s passport form into the “Chepiga’s” passport form submitted by Bellingcat:

bellingcrap_passport_words_added4

Without knowing in advance where these two words stand, it is rather difficult to say that there is something wrong with the filled passport form:

bellingcrap_passport_words_added5

After a detailed review of the features of the front and back sides of Alexander Petrov’s passport form, ALAFF would like to say a few more words about the stamp “Do not give information”. The fact is that this stamp itself does not make any sense. “Do not give information”… to whom? When applying for a passport, a filled passport form is intended for the relevant departments (FMS, MIA, Police etc). The passport form is filled in by the applicant himself.

Alexander Petrov was given a passport form already stamped “Do not give information” (i.e. a stamps were put on a blank passport form before Petrov began to fill it)? That is, he was as if instructed “to not fill out” this form (i.e. to not write anything there)? But what — without this “instruction”, he did not know that he should not fill the form (in the “GRU” they did not instructed him)? But why then the front side of the passport form is filled, if there is also a stamp “Do not give information”? It turns out that Petrov ignored a stamp and filled out the front side of the passport form, but then he decided to pay attention to the stamp, and left the back side of the form blank. A complete absurdity.

In case the “Do not give information” stamp was placed on a passport form after Petrov filled out this passport form, then for whom was this stamp? For the relevant departments (FMS, MIA, Police etc)? The passport form (back side) was left empty — according to Bellingcat, Petrov did not fill it, i.e. there was no information there anyway. Why then put a stamp “Do not give information” on an empty passport form? How can you “not give” someone already missing information? It turns out that someone gave someone absolutely “empty”, meaningless instruction/command, putting such a stamp.

This is some truly meaningless farce. Not even mentioning the very fact that one same stamp, in fact, was put on both sides of the passport form. Who in their right mind puts two identical stamps on both sides of the same small piece of paper? For what? Those who made (fabricated) this stamp did not even understand what they were doing without worrying about the meaning of this stamp.

But the main essence is as follows. Without having the necessary competence, the “online investigators”, on the basis of the presented “documents”, make fundamentally false conclusions. Presenting a blank passport form with a strange “secret notes” and “stamps”, Bellingcat states that this indicates that the suspects belong to a special services. Such an idea of the work of a special services has nothing to do with reality. This is the mindset of comic-books and Hollywood action movies. The very essence of intelligence work implies maximum stealth and secrecy, maximum “merging” with others in terms of appearance, behavior, and so on. In no way “stand out” and not attract attention to yourself — this is one of the key characteristics of special services agents.

In this regard, a comment of the former deputy head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Postavnin is very characteristic. A former high-ranking official gave an interview to the “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper, the article was published on September 15, 2018. ALAFF translated this interview in full (“Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper — KP, Vyacheslav Postavnin — VP):

Passport profiles of Russians Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov published by Bellingcat cause serious doubts about authenticity, ex-deputy head of the Federal Migration Service of Russia Vyacheslav Postavnin told “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.

VP: «Special service passports for classified employees, of course, exist, but you will never distinguish them from real ones. The same applies to the passport questionnaires, — explained Postavnin. — There will never be an empty biography, as in the published questionnaires of Petrov and Boshirov. On the contrary, there will be a specially composed biography.

The special passport is made in the general order. No one brings a separate folder for everyone to understand: “Hey, look, we register a spies”. At most, there will be a phone call for everyone to do, as quickly as possible, without noise and dust. But there will be no notes “Top secret” and “Do not give information”. That’s the point: the less attention you attract, the better. Those [Bellingcat’s] questionnaires that we were shown are rough, unprofessional work».

KP: On one of the questionnaires is a stamp with a seven-digit number and a note “Do not give information”. What could it be? American journalists, for example, claim that this is the [Russian] Ministry of Defense’ phone.

VP: «I have no idea. Never seen such a thing. In my opinion, these are all some flubs of the compilers of these [passport] forms».

KP: The investigation mentions the “secret” office of the FMS 770001, where only special agents and “thieves” receive passports. Does this office really exist?

VP: «This is the usual [FMS] office in Moscow. Passports are received there by everyone who is assigned to it at one’s place of residence. These are tens and even hundreds of thousands of people. The fact that special services officials get their passports somehow in a special way is a myth. Being the deputy head of the FMS, I changed my passport in the general order at the place of [my] residence».

KP: How hard is it to access the FMS database? Who has access to it?

VP: «There is an instruction where the holders of access are clearly spelled out — employees of the FMS and other state services. But it cannot be said that the database is somehow very strongly protected. I judge by the fact that it constantly “retards”, breaks. I think any skillful hacker can easily hack it. Yes, you can buy it on the black market too, alas. This is another reason why no one will “display” secret agents in passport questionnaires [by leaving unfilled blank forms and “Top secret” markings]».

It is an exhaustive comment explaining all the key points. There is an interesting detail in Vyacheslav Postavnin’s biography — for more than 10 years (1981-1993) he served in the state security bodies of the USSR and Russia. This is a person who knows firsthand about the peculiarities of the work of the relevant state authorities (including special services). There’s also a very interesting comment from Alexander Vassiliev — a Russian journalist, writer, and espionage historian, who lives in London. He is a former KGB officer. Vassiliev commented to the “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper on September 17, 2018:

«It is alleged that these are documents of the FMS. That “S.S.” means “Top secret”, that by this mark and stamp “Do not give information” it can be determined that Petrov has something to do with the Russian special services. That is, it turns out that any employee of the FMS, in principle, any official can familiarize himself with this [passport] form, and according to the stamp and “S.S.” mark, make a conclusion about Petrov’s belonging to some special service. That is, the secret service wants to classify its employee, but in fact declassifies him. Why Petrov could not register a passport as an ordinary citizen of Russia? Without marks and stamps? Without conspiracy? There is an idea that in this way they wanted to make him a “fake identity”. But they did it so that according to this questionnaire his affiliation to the special service is visible? Petrov and Boshirov are called GRU operatives. Why should the GRU operative [being a Russian] have a “fake identity” of a Russian citizen?»

It is clear that a former KGB officer (i.e. the one who knows for sure about special services’ work principles) seriously questions the version offered by Bellingcat and The Insider.

The fact is that no one in their right mind will leave the passport forms empty and put up some strange “stamps”/markings hinting at the possibility of belonging to a special structures. Call it a common sense. It is a common sense. The very essence of the special services irrefutably testifies to the fact that if a passport is made for a special agent, everything will be done to ensure that such a document does not stand out from the masses. A very detailed and credible agent biography will be developed, which will be placed on the passport form. No one ever will place such documents (with “Top secret” notes and a special “stamps”) in civilian databases precisely because of the possibility of data leakage or theft. To put such data in the database so that one day some bloggers could buy or hack it and thus expose a secret agent? You must be kidding. These are elementary things. This is a common sense. The basis of Bellingcat’s assumptions is a complete lack of understanding of the very principles and peculiarities of the work of a special services.

Approaching the end of the review, let us consider the issue of a flight. This issue contains a very important detail, which additionally destroys Bellingcat’s already shaky semantic construction.

bellingcrap_8

«Aeroflot’s passenger manifest, reviewed by Bellingcat and The Insider, discredits Petrov and Boshirov’s claims, made in the RT interview, that they had been planning their visit to Salisbury for a long time. The manifest records the times of booking, check-in, and boarding of each passenger. In the case of the two suspects, they made their initial booking – and checked in online – at 20:00 GMT (22:00 Moscow time) on 1 March 2018, the night before their short trip to London and Salisbury».

ALAFF specially revised the original RT interview several times to state with confidence that Bellingcat was misleading the readers. At 1’55 in an interview, speaking of the trip, Alexander Petrov says literally the following:

«From the very beginning, we planned to come to London and, roughly speaking, “to disport”. It was not a business trip, to be honest. We have planned out in such a way that we will visit both London and take a trip to Salisbury. Naturally, this all had to be one day.

(Further, Petrov explains why the trip to Salisbury has failed)«.

Some points should be clarified here. This may be (it is, in fact) obvious to the Russian-speaking person, but the Western reader may not catch the peculiarities. First, the phrase “From the very beginning” here means a word “Initially”, or “Originally”. In other words, Petrov just explains that the trip was essentially an entertainment, not a business trip. Second, the phrase “we planned to come to London” contains the word ‘planned’, but, again, this word does not mean that some “plan” was made in advance. The word ‘planned’ is used in the meaning of ‘was going’ (or ‘wanted’), i.e. “we planned to come to London” = “we were going to come to London” (“we wanted to come to London”).

The fact is that nowhere in the interview neither Alexander Petrov, nor Ruslan Boshirov say that they have been planning their trip for a long time. But this is what Bellingcat wrote:

«<…> Petrov and Boshirov’s claims, made in the RT interview, that they had been planning their visit to Salisbury for a long time«.

Bellingcat again lies shamelessly, inventing something that was not in reality, attributing to two men those words that they never said. Pay your attention to a curious detail: Petrov says bluntly that they were going (“planned”) to go to London, but Bellingcat claimed that the men were planning a “visit to Salisbury. It’s very convenient to distort the facts in favor of supporting your theory, isn’t it?

When lies about a “long-planned trip to Salisbury” disappears, two men buying tickets shortly before departure does not seem so suspicious. An ordinary weekend trip. Bought tickets at the end of the work week, rested for a couple of days somewhere (Bellingcat itself mentioned that is was a “short trip to London and Salisbury”), returned home on Sunday to go to work on Monday. Elementary things.

But the brave “online investigators simply can not resist the temptation to use cheap propaganda tricks. Mean, this:

«The two suspects flew back to Moscow on 4 March 2018, having taken two trips to Salisbury both on March 3rd and March 4th, the day on which the Skripals were poisoned«.

Speaking about the return of two men home on March 4, it is necessary, of course, to point out that this is “the day on which the Skripals were poisoned. Thus, the reader is being hinted — look, Skripal was poisoned on March 4, and on this same day the two men went home. Suspicious, isn’t it? The fact that the return home on Sunday (this day fell on March 4) is due to the banal need to go to work on Monday is tactfully silent.

Before making final conclusions, let’s consider the last interesting point. To do this, one have to go to The Insider’ website to see this wonderful nonsense. At the very end of their already short article, the “investigators” writes:

theins_3

«No less interesting are Russian passports. Firstly, they were issued by the FMSO 770001 in the city of Moscow — “ordinary mortals” do not receive passports there. In this FMSO, passports are received either by privileged persons for a bribe (for them it is synonymous with “special” car numbers), or by representatives of law enforcement agencies».

The Insider speaks about Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, and claims that their passports were issued in the FMSO (Federal Migration Service Office) with a department code number 770001 in the city of Moscow. The Insider assures its readers that “ordinary mortals don’t receive passports there”. Thus, the “investigators” are trying to convince the reader that the Moscow office of the FMS with the department code number 770001 is some kind of special, “elitist”, specially designed for “privileged persons” (officials, VIP persons, secret agents, etc.).

The Insider’s article was published on September 14, like Bellingcat’s. Everything was good, but something happened that the “investigators” did not expect — people on the Internet began to upload photos of their own passports issued just in this FMS office with the department number 770001, thereby ridiculing The Insider’s guess-work. Here are some of these photos:

Sources of photos, respectively: one, two, three, four, five.

Some people did not post photos, but simply wrote comments like this:

«Me too have the same [FMSO] number as most of the residents of New Moscow, who received passports in the migration center on Novoslobodskaya Street«.

New Moscow is the territory attached to Moscow in the course of a large-scale project to expand the territory of Moscow. It is worth noting that in the presented photos is a foreign passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation. The FMS office’ department code (presented on photos) — 77001 — contains 5 digits, including 2 zeros, though The Insider mentioned a 6-digit number, including 3 zeros — 770001. In this regard, some made claims that “these are different numbers” and therefore “do not testify of anything”. Even Bellingcat was not too lazy to point out “an error”:

bellingcrap_fmso_twitter

In the 1) Bellingcat indicated that the number should be 770-001, in the 2) Bellingcat wrote that the passport should be Russian internal, but not foreign.

I.e. Bellingcat tried to say that passports shown by different people “do not prove anything”, because are foreign (not internal) and with a five-digit number (not six-digit number). Well, dilettantes again showed a lack of competence. The 5-digit number 77001 and the 6-digit number 770001 are essentially the same — mean, these numbers belong to the one same Office of the Federal Migration Service of Russia for the city of Moscow. The difference is that a 5-digit number is assigned when issuing a foreign passport, and a Russian internal passport receives a 6-digit number. Here is the website of the Federal Migration Service Office, where, in particular, one can see what services the FMS office with a department code 770-001 provides. Among other services, issuing both internal passports and foreign passports are all duties of this FMS office. Therefore, in fact, there is no difference between the 5-digit number 77001 and the 6-digit number 770001 — they are issued by the same one FMS office. In other words, passports shown by people on the Internet are proof that the very “special” (for secret agents only) FMS office with a department code 770001 is a fiction, fake.

Probably, it is necessary to tell how the department code in the Russian internal passport is decrypted. It is a six-digit number. The first three numbers (in our case 770) indicate the subject of the Russian Federation: a republic, region or city of federal significance — Moscow or St. Petersburg. The remaining three numbers (in our case 001) indicate the status of the MOMI’ (Main Office of Migration Issues) department engaged in the paperwork. A few examples of codes of the regions of the Russian Federation: 77 is Moscow, 90 is Crimea, 78 is St. Petersburg, 69 is the Tver region etc. Full list of region codes can be found here. In the number 770-001 we are interested in, the first two digits 77 mean that the passport was issued in Moscow (77 is a regional code of Moscow). The third number in order (in our case it’s zero) indicates the authority that issued the passport. The value in this field is determined by the number:

  • “0” — FMS Office (now MOMI — Main Office of Migration Issues);
  • “1” — Passport and Visa Service (PVS), or the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Department of Internal Affairs or the Central Internal Affairs Directorate;
  • “2” — PVS of the district or city level;
  • “3” — PVS of rural or urban type.

The hierarchy descends from the federal level (“0”) to the regional local (“3”). Thus, in our number 770-001, a zero coming after 77 means that the passport was issued by the FMS Office (that is, the main body, but not some regional branch). The remaining three numbers in our number 770-001 refer to the passport office of the administrative units: Moscow or other cities of the Russian Federation, subjects of the country. These numbers may vary by city districs. ALAFF has already given a link to the FMS website where one can see which numbers correspond to the offices of the Federal Migration Service in each specific district of Moscow. Number 001 means only that the passport was issued by the central (main) FMS office in the city of Moscow. This central (main) office is coded 001, other branches of the FMS in Moscow have different numbers depending on the district of the city.

Here are some examples of other numbers. This one with the department code 770-008 means that the passport 1) was issued in Moscow — digits 77, by the capital FMS Office — digit 0, 2) was issued in the Presnensky district of Moscow — digits 008 (according to the list of Moscow districts and their respective FMS department numbers):

fms770001_internal_moscow4

These two ones with the department code 770-121 means that the passports 1) were issued in Moscow — digits 77, by the capital FMS Office — digit 0, 2) were issued in the North Butovo district of Moscow — digits 121 (according to the list of Moscow districts and their respective FMS department numbers):

This one with the department code 770-052 means that the passport 1) was issued in Moscow — digits 77, by the capital FMS Office — digit 0, 2) was issued in the Kosino-Ukhtomsky district of Moscow — digits 052 (according to the list of Moscow districts and their respective FMS department numbers):

fms770001_internal_moscow3

Some may ask — why pay so much attention to all these details? The fact is that the materials of the “investigators” like Bellingcat and The Insider are often based on the fact that readers do not know, or will not clarify the details. Thought, the devil is in the details. “FMS Office with the number 770-001 is only for privileged persons…” — who will be interested in and clarify that this is the most common branch of the FMS, where thousands of ordinary citizens make out documents every day? “We looked at the FMS database…” — who will be interested in and clarify that access to such a database have only employees of state authorities, and implies a complicated admission procedure? “S.S. in Russia is a common abbreviation of the phrase “Sovershenno Sekretno” (“Top Secret”)…” — who will be interested in and clarify that this statement has nothing to do with reality, and that in Russia no one shortens this phrase to “S.S.”? And so on…

But wait, The Insider and Bellingcat did not like the fact that all of the passports shown by people on the Internet were foreign, not internal? Well, here we can also please the “investigators”:

Gerard Depardieu — a truly great actor and, apparently, now one of the most famous Russians. Depardieu received Russian citizenship in 2013. His internal Russian passport was issued just in that same FMS office in Moscow with a department code 770-001. This is the head (main) office of the FMS in Moscow, a kind of Headquarters, Main directorate.

Sources of two other photos, respectively — one, two. Apparently, both Depardieu and these two are the “GRU agents”? But let’s beat the last nail in this coffin. Here are a couple (though there are more) of news video reports, showing the FMS office’ branch in Moscow on Novoslobodskaya Street — the very branch where people received their foreign passports with the department code number 77001 (those shown on the Internet and making fun of The Insider’s claims):

This is some really unusual “very special office of the Federal Migration Service”, which allegedly gives out passports “only to privileged persons”, and where “ordinary mortals don’t receive passports”, (according to The Insider and Bellingcat) — its branch has been shown on federal TV not once, where it was said that hundreds/thousands of citizens have problems in paperwork due to so-so work of this branch. The Insider’s ridiculous fantasies do not even reach the level of a cheap tabloid press. It is absolutely not clear where the “investigators” took the information about the alleged “privileged status” of the FMS’ branch with the department code number 770001 — they read it somewhere, heard it somewhere, or someone told them? The Insider did not bother to explain. That, however, was quite expected.

By the way, the issue of the department code number 770001 in suspects’ passports is very curious also because the reader may notice that there is no such material in the article on Bellingcat’s website — the “online investigators” do not say anything about the number 770001. Although the article on The Insider’s website talks about this number. Why did Bellingcat prefer to keep silent about it? Although on September 14, they bravely reported on this number:

bellingcrap_fms_database4

The “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper reported that after people started posting their own foreign passports with the department code number 77001 on the Internet, thereby ridiculing the arguments of the “investigators”, Bellingcat hurried to edit its article and delete the paragraph about the department code number 770001 in suspects’ passports. It is likely that it was so, although it is now impossible to confirm (even the cached version of Bellingcat’s article will not say anything). Apparently, having understood the absurdity of the material, Bellingcat decided not to disgrace itself. However, in vain.

Conclusions.

The observations made allow us to conclude the following:

(1) It is not possible to confirm the authenticity of the documents submitted by Bellingcat and The Insider. In fact, the reader is asked to simply believe that these are “original documents”.

(2) The illegal nature of the acquisition by the “investigators” of the information provided is obvious. Disagreement of the “investigators” regarding the method of obtaining information also raises big questions — The Insider said, in fact, about the purchase of data on the black market, Bellingcat said about a certain “source in the Russian police”.

(3) ALAFF does not exclude that Bellingcat received some of the information from their curators. The British authorities have photocopies of Russian (domestic) passports of suspects on their hands — that is, all the data (b/w photos, date and place of birth, etc.) that Bellingcat “found in the databases”, “compared”, and thanks to which the “online investigators” were able to “identify” Alexander Petrov.

(4) The falsified nature of the submitted documents is obvious, including to a high-ranking official who directly worked in the FMS system of Russia. Documents submitted by Bellingcat and The Insider have all the signs of manipulation. In other words, these documents are fake. A strange and absolutely meaningless “stamp” with the inscription “Do not give information”, placed in the upper right corner of the passport forms is guaranteed to be a fake, intentionally placed on a documents (as well as a handwritten note “There is a letter / S.S.”) — an empty passport form was taken, on which a “special marks” were placed. Submitted documents of extremely poor quality, with “floating up and down” letters/words, unnatural “broken” lines of the passport form. The documents are seriously exposed — probably, to hide the unwanted details. “Curved/twisted” letters. Strange translucent parts in some letters. The word (in the “stamp” area), which should be black, suddenly for some reason became gray. Absence on the passport form (reverse side) of required typographic marks. The presence of strange black stripes/lines on the documents (seems to be made in Microsoft Paint graphics editor):

In fact, personal data of two civilians were “edited” in order to endow them with certain “elements” hinting at possible involvement in the special services, to support a bizarre narrative spread by the British authorities due to absence of facts and evidence worthy of serious consideration. At the moment, there is not a single sign that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov have at least some relation to the incident with “Skripal poisoning”. Yes, the couple was in Salisbury, and that is, in fact, the only thing known about them. Moreover, the couple themselves do not even try to deny that they visited the town.

(5) Other features of the documents mentioned in the “investigation” — passport numbers that “differ only in one last digit”, “special”/“VIP” number 770001 in suspects passports etc — were not even shown at all. It is not possible to establish whether the mentioned details exist at all.

(6) Bellingcat directly lied in two important moments:

  • when claimed that back (reverse) side of a passport form is “reserved for input of biographical data”.
  • when claimed that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov had a “long-planned trip to Salisbury”.

(7) It’s important to understand what Bellingact actually do — they not make a conclusion because of this kind of provided data (“special” passport forms), but they provided this kind of data (“special” passport forms) to make a [necessary] conclusion. This fits perfectly the method of work this kind of sources use. On this account, the famous meme has been walking on the Internet for a long time:

bellingcrap_work_method

To convince the reader of the improbable hypothesis that two civilians belong to special services, passport questionnaires were manipulated in order to create the appearance of “strangeness” and “unusual”. To support the hypothesis, Bellingcat used the erroneous personal opinion of some mysterious “source in the Russian police“ (the one who think that “S.S.” means “Top secret”), as well as Bellingcat’s own personal opinion, which is that it seems suspicious to Bellingcat that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov bought plane tickets on the eve of their departure.

(8) The anonymity of the sources also does not add confidence to Bellingcat’s opus. The online investigators practically nowhere in their article specifies their sources:

bellingcrap_source1bellingcrap_source2bellingcrap_source3bellingcrap_source4

Only in one place Bellingcat indicates a certain source working in the Russian police force who regularly works with the central database, but, again, does not indicate what it means — is this a man, or a woman, since what year this source has been working in the Russian police, what rank he(she) is in, and so on. The reader is invited, in fact, to simply believe some depersonalized source in the Russian police.

On this occasion, OffGuardian recently left a very accurate comment:

(9) Bellingcat’s reputation does not allow to treat with confidence the submitted materials. Just to remind the reader that this company, in its the most famous “investigation” of the crash of MH17 flight, used falsified data to try to “prove” the narrative about the fault of the Donbass militiamen, who allegedly used the Russian BUK. This large scale fake was brilliantly exposed back in 2015 (it is highly recommended to read carefully to anyone who has not done so yet). At a recent briefing by the Russian Ministry of Defense, the falsified nature of Bellingcat’s “MH17 evidence” was once again confirmed.

Repeat once again — the company deliberately used falsified data (videos, photos, audio recordings etc) to “prove” the required version of the event. To trust such a company in its new “investigation”? No, thank you.

(10) Remember again the main squeeze (made at the beginning of the review):

«Bellingcat investigation <…> has confirmed <…> that the two Russian nationals <…> are linked to Russian security services«.

The observations made in the course of this detailed review allow us to confidently refute the “confirmation” made by Bellingcat and The Insider.

(11) All the versions and “new details” of the incident are issued by the British authorities in doses and with a certain frequency to keep the topic (aka “Skripal case”) in the information space and maintain the anti-Russian course. Regular information “leaks” in the media space (through MSM, tools like Bellingcat ect) are designed to keep footdragging and protraction of the establishment of the truth. The incident is moving farther into the past. Details are gradually erased. The emergence of an increasing number of “versions” further keeps away the probability of finding the truth. Here’s how it works:

bellingcrap_versions

Of course, the scheme is conditional — there may be much more versions of what happened. But the scheme shows the essence — the green arrow reflects diminishing opportunities to find the truth (the more the most incredible versions appear, and the more time passes — the farther the truth is from us).

The British authorities took two civilians and decided to make them a “GRU agents”. The story takes some time. Then some accomplices are discovered, apparently, also special agents (of course, from the GRU, because according to the British authorities there are no other special services in Russia). Next, these accomplices will have some other accomplices — this, naturally, will take time to establish, then it will take time for propaganda tools like Bellingcat to “investigate” and “discover” some “revealing details”, then it will take time for media/society to react. Then these new accomplices, probably, will be implicated in some kind of criminal incidents around the world — and it will take time for media to suck’n’lick all these “new details”. It can go on forever, like the MH17 story. Meanwhile, the incident itself will go even further into the past, will become almost forgotten. Only a shell in the form of information noise will remain.

The task of the reader is simple — to comply with informational hygiene, not allowing to fool yourself. To do this, the reader only need to avoid questionable sources like Bellingcat or The Insider. After all, “sofa experts” can not teach you anything good.

UPDATED [2.11.2018]:

It happened exactly what ALAFF said. It’s about the appearance of all new versions and various “details”. In the absence of any facts that would allow the two civilians to be “tied” to the incident in Salisbury on March 4, the British media are practicing the “investigation” of the surrounding circumstances. After all, the topic of the “Skripal case” should not be forgotten by the reader, this topic should be kept afloat by any means, and not allowed to be “lost” in the information space.

Back in early April(!) 2018, the British media already wrote ridiculous stories about several places in Russia, where the “Novichok” was allegedly made. Some pointed to a laboratory in the Yasenevo district in Moscow, others claimed that the secret production was in the closed city of Shikhany. Then this topic was quickly forgotten. But a couple of days ago, The Mirror decided to reanimate the “forgotten sensation”. After all, the reader must have at least something so that the “Skripal case” is not forgotten. There are no new “sensational data” yet (invention takes time), so the media poets decided to take on the old — they again got the story of “closed laboratories” from the archives.

Apparently, this practice of “returning to the past details” will continue, pushing the establishment of the truth further away from us according to the aforecited scheme.

MH17: West-backed Ukrainian regime hiding traces.

On May 24, 2018, a Joint Investigation Team at a briefing in the Netherlands presented the wreckage of a missile that, according to the commission, shot down a Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777-200ER aircraft flying a MH17 flight from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Now let us leave aside all the questions about why the investigation is generally carried out in the Netherlands (but not in Malaysia, or some other neutral state), why these fragments were shown only in late May 2018, almost 4(!) years after the catastrophe (it is hard to believe that the presented fragments were found right on the eve of a briefing), the obvious deliberate delay/footdragging of the investigation, as well as the utter lack of professionalism of the «joint commission», which bases its findings, in fact, on photos and videos from the Internet(!), collected and “analyzed” by dilettantes from Bellingcat back in 2016(!).

mh17_1

~3,5 months later, on September 17, representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Russia at a special briefing presented sensational information that unequivocally testified to the identity of the missile, which, according to JIT, hit a Boeing. The presented documents show that the missile was manufactured in 1986 and transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in military regiment number 20152 (now it is the 223rd anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine). In 1991 Ukraine became a fully owner of the missile, having gained independence after the collapse of the USSR. The missile did not return to Russia since Ukraine received it in 1986.

A briefing by the Russian Ministry of Defense is in itself a reference sample of a serious attitude to the matter and a standard of how to provide evidence (or, at least, worthy information). Now anyone can compare this with the British version of «highly likely»(c) when there’s some «irrefutable evidence available», which, however, «cannot be shown» because of a «national security concern».

But this is not the most important thing. The situation is both amazing, funny and incredible. In fact, JIT (which includes Ukraine) itself, with its own hands, presented data that unequivocally testified to the fault of Ukraine in the tragedy of the downed Boeing. In fact, JIT itself gave Russia data (the numbers on missile’s fragments), which exposes the lies and misinformation spread by JIT for 4 years.

From the very beginning of this pseudo-investigation it was clear what it was about. JIT did everything to ignore reality and cover the true criminal — Ukraine. Thus, both JIT itself and all countries that “unconditionally trust the commission’s conclusions” become complicit in the crime. The very fact of the inclusion(!) of Ukraine (that is, one of the suspects) into the commission investigating a crime is already blasphemous and surreal. The direct responsibility of Ukraine for the airspace above the combat zone not closed for civil Aviation was not taken into account and unnoticed. The testimony of eyewitnesses about the direction from which the missile was launched was ignored. The wreckage of the downed aircraft remained lying on the site of the crash (with a competent investigation, the professionals had to collect everything up to the very last bolt) — apparently, the commission did not need it.

mh17_4

The records from black boxes for some mysterious reasons still have not been demonstrated to public. The stubborn refusal of Ukraine to provide their primary radar data was considered insignificant. A suspicious absence of satellite images available in the United States and allegedly testified «guilty of the militiamen for the downed Boeing» was silently taken for granted. The sudden and strange «suicide» of one of the key witnesses, the pilot Vladislav Voloshin, did not lead to certain thoughts. A large-scale scientific experiments (repeat, a scientific ones), conducted by Almaz-Antey corporation and refuting the JIT version (based on data from Internet) about the direction of the missile’ launch, was ignored. The data manipulation (scroll down for English text) carried out by the JIT was Ok. The declassified data of the Russian Ministry of Defense on BUK’ characteristics (BUK missiles 9M38 and 9M38M1) were ignored. The primary radar data provided voluntarily by Russia, which clearly recorded the absence of a missile launch by the Donbass militia, were ignored. Malaysian Minister of Transport Anthony Loke declaring about Russia’s nonparticipation was ignored…

Does a professional, honest, competent investigation team work this way in a real transparent investigation aimed to find the truth? The answer is obvious. Farce, played by JIT, is not just criminal. A diligent covering of a true culprit — Ukrainian regime — has long been obvious to many adequate people. JIT does a much more terrible thing — it lies brazenly to the relatives of the dead people, hiding the truth from them. Yes, at a certain point it will become impossible to lie anymore. Sooner or later it will happen, because the truth always come out, anyway.

However, the criminals will try to justify themselves to the last, invent a new lies, delay the “investigation” even more, cover up the traces, divert attention. Actually this is already happening. ~2,5 weeks after the exposing briefing by the Ministry of Defense of Russia, on October 8, on the territory of Ukraine in the Chernihiv region «suddenly» a state of emergency happened — the weapons warehouse caught fire, and the ammunition began to explode uncontrollably. As of October 13, the explosions continued for the fifth day in a row.

ukraine_explode_depot

Back in September, many Russian experts (as well as ordinary people) expressed the opinion that after the data submitted by the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Ukrainian regime would try to destroy evidence. In particular, the documentation, which shows the obtaining in 1986 of that same BUK missile. Thus, the famous Russian war correspondent Alexander Kots wrote on September 17, on the eve of the Russian Defense Ministry briefing:

Translated:

«<…> a fire will soon happen in the 223rd anti-missile Terebovlyansky regiment in Stryi, Lviv region.

And the fire is supposed to destroy all documentation, starting in 1987. Although I am sure it has already been destroyed».

The fire happened in another warehouse, but Kots guessed the development of events correctly. Armen Gasparyan, a publicist, one of the leading Russian political scientists, tweeted on October 8, when it became known about the fire in the Ukrainian weapons warehouse:

Translated:

«In Ukraine, another ammunition warehouse exploded.

Two weeks ago, during «Vesti FM» broadcast i predicted this event in the near future. So it happened».

Vladimir Kornilov, a popular political scientist and historian, wrote on September 17:

Translated:

«The press conference of the Russian Defense Ministry on the downed Boeing is just beginning. But it is already clear that documents are being submitted that track the fate of the BUK missile, which was presented several months ago in Holland. And Ukraine will not like these documents very much«.

The Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Peter Tolstoy, commented on the data presented by the Russian Defense Ministry on MH17 to the RIA Novosti news agency:

«The first thing that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did is that he signed a decree on the termination of the Treaty of Friendship with Russia. Information about this is posted on the official website of the President of Ukraine 16 minutes after the start of the briefing by the [Russian] Ministry of Defense in Moscow. It was hard to imagine a more stupid step. What’s next? A sudden flared fire on the territory of the 223rd anti-aircraft missile brigade near Ternopol? The aggravation of the situation and the beginning of open hostilities in the Southeast in order to pretend to be a victim again? If, even after the Russian Ministry of Defense presents today’s most valuable information, the Joint Investigation Team will declare that Russia is still to blame, then it can be safely stated both its incompetence and political engagement».

Franz Klintsevitch, member of the Defense Committee of the Federation Council said:

«The West can pretend that nothing has happened, and will continue to «play the same old song». Besides, there is a very high probability that Ukraine will try, as they say, to clean everything up«.

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing:

«Of course, we understand that after today’s briefing, the Ukrainian side can destroy these documents and declare that they either did not exist or that they were previously destroyed. We do not exclude such a version that it can be said that this missile had previously been moved to Russia».

On October 9, during a briefing, the official representative of the Armed Forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Daniil Bezsonov, voiced information that the 9M38 missiles from the BUK missile system with all the accompanying and technical documentation were stored in the burned down warehouse. Bezsonov suggested that the warehouse could have been set on fire deliberately:

«The fire at the 6th arsenal of the command of the support forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Chernihiv region is not accidental. This is already the 4th burning warehouse of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2 years. <…>

I’d like to specially note the fact of storage in this warehouse of 9M38 missiles from the BUK anti-aircraft missile system and all the accompanying and technical documentation to them. The fire occurred just at that moment when the world community demanded from Ukraine documentation on the missile complex of the BUK that are in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a full and objective investigation of the death of 298 people on July 17, 2014.

I’d like to note that last week the location of the 6th arsenal was visited by a group of foreign officers, among whom were high-ranking NATO representatives».

Anyways, the fact is that the thing is happened — the weapons warehouse was destroyed, most likely including all the authentic documentation, which recorded the arrival of that same BUK missile in 1986 in Ukraine, the fragments of which were demonstrated by the JIT on May 24, 2018. Destroying evidence not only further delays «investigation», but, what’s more important, deprives the relatives of the victims to establish the long-awaited truth.

Of course, the armory was not destroyed just to hide all traces of «dangerous» documentation. Probably the main reason was the intention to [once again] hide traces of large-scale thefts and shortfalls. However, the destruction of documentation has become a timely and very useful bonus. Ukrainian regime killed two birds with one stone. Bravo.

 

Ukraine. Terrorism as an instrument of russohatred policy. Approved by the West.

Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko. 26.06.1976 —  31.08.2018.

zahar

 

The head of Donetsk People’s Republic. A Patriot. A Hero. A real Man. RIP.

Killed in terrorist act, organized by Ukrainian regime under the support and/or control of US special services. The fact that the terrorist act was planned and carried out by the special services of Ukraine under the direct supervision of the United States was declared by Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the DPR Defense Ministry’s corps. In connection with the incident, the Investigative Committee of Russia instituted a criminal proceedings «on the basis of the elements of the crime provided for in part 3 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (an act of international terrorism that caused the death of a person)«. Source.

Murder of the head of state. Big or small, recognized or unrecognized state  — it does not matter. Usually this is regarded as a Casus belli, i.e. direct declaration of war. June 28, 1914, the terrorist attack that killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It became the prologue of the First World War. And this is not the only historical example.

The DPR in this case has the full moral and legal right to formally declare war on the Kiev regime and conduct several demonstrative military operations, like the events of 2014-2015 — the Debaltseve pocket, Ilovaisk pocket and others, when thousands of Ukrainian chasteners were deservedly destroyed, and the Ukrainian army suffered great losses — human, reputational, military, etc.

Taking into account what happened, Russia should draw the following conclusions and/or take the following measures:

  • Disavow the recognition of the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian authorities. It has long been a necessary decision, the adoption of which the Russian authorities for some reason are still postponing.
  • Recognize a number of Ukrainian officials as persona non grata in Russia.
  • To declare that further meetings in the Normandy format are impossible, while Petro Poroshenko and his entourage are in power. To meet in the Normandy format after the assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko (one of the signatories of the Minsk agreements) by one of the participants in this format would have been a complete surrealism. However… it seems the spineless and weak-willed policy of Russia towards Ukraine allows the option of such a meetings even(!) after the terrorist attack in which the head of the DPR died.
  • Recognize the verdict of the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal, who condemned Petro Poroshenko and other officials of Ukraine guilty of genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment, having legitimate force in the territory of the Russian Federation.
  • Seriously consider the possibility of recognizing the independence of LDPR.
  • To consider the possibility, in agreement with the authorities of the LDPR, to place a Russian military base on the territory of the republics.
  • Develop and introduce into the Russian legal field the concept of a ‘state that supports terrorism’ and recognize the United States such a state, with all the ensuing consequences. There are already sufficient grounds for such a decision (illegal and criminal US’ activities in Syria, support and sponsorship of the Kiev regime, continuing US support for the war crimes of the Saudis in Yemen etc).

 

LDPR’ special services need to seriously review the principles of their work. The murder of a person of such a level as Alexander Zakharchenko became a very serious blunder of the security services of the Donetsk People’s Republic. They did not notice the impending assassination attempt, they let it through, let it happen. And, btw, this is not the first time. Thus, they «missed» the murder of Arseny Pavlov aka «Motorola» and Mikhail Tolstykh aka «Givi», they «slept through» an assassination attempt on Igor Plotnitsky (head of the Lugansk People’s Republic until November 25, 2017) in 2016… All these are very serious mistakes in the work of special services and security of the LDPR. They need to draw very serious conclusions from the incident and take the necessary measures to prevent such in the future.

Btw, this fact — a more than unsatisfactory work of LDPR special/security services — once again shows that there is no mythic «Russian army in the Donbass» invented by the Kiev regime. Simply because the Russian special services do not allow such a mistakes, because they have a completely and qualitatively different, long-term work experience (last year, the state security agencies of Russia celebrated the 100th anniversary). Catastrophic mistakes in the work of the Donetsk and Lugansk special services clearly speak of inexperience and poor level of work.

In addition to numerous murders, one can recall how a transmission towers towards Crimea were blown up, energy blockade of the Crimea, food blockade and economic blockade of the Crimea, illegal detention (in fact, piracy) of Russian ships and holding people hostage by Ukraine etc. Not even mentioning the military aggression of Ukraine against the population of Donbass, which has been going on for 5 years already. All these terrorist attacks and crimes are on the account of the West-backed Kiev regime.

Given all this, and especially after the murder of Alexander Zakharchenko, for the Russian Federation there is no point in continuing to have any official relations with Ukraine, or at least reduce such relations to a minimum. Any relations with a terrorist state are by definition toxic. Btw, the relations with the sponsors of such a state are no less toxic. The Russian leadership must draw appropriate conclusions. As soon as possible.

Updated:

On August 2, 2018 about 200 000 (!) of Donbass residents came to bid farewell to their dead leader and commander (videos — one, two, three). People came to express their respect and pay tribute to the memory of the Hero. Alexander Zakharchenko was followed by applause:

It is very characteristic that the American video service YouTube blocked online video broadcasts from the funeral of the Head of the DPR in Donetsk. The broadcasts of «Newsfront«, the TV channel «Tsargrad» and the Donetsk «Oplot TV» were switched off. It was also reported on the removal from Facebook of a large number of posts with the name of the deceased Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic. This became another and obvious manifestation of political censorship in the West, in particular, in the United States. Source.

In this regard, one of the users wrote a very accurate comment (source):

FBcensorship2

«Facebook has removed video of the farewell of Donetsk residents with Alexander Zakharchenko. Well, sure, 200 000 people who came to bid farewell to their leader and commander, don’t fit into the ideologically correct image of the «Russian occupation» and Donbass people suffering from it».

 

 

ERA technopolis: Russian MoD’s military innovation complex of the future.

mit_era

At a meeting of the military-industrial commission in September 2017, the President of the Russian Federation instructed the Ministry of Defense to organize work on the creation of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA (MIT ERA).

February 23, 2018, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu presents a project of the ERA technopolis to the Russian President Vladimir Putin:

At the presentation it was said that «the main goal of scientific research and development planned in the ERA technopolis should be the creation of artificial intelligence systems for military purposes and providing technologies» (source).

The model of the MIT ERA was also presented at the conference «Artificial Intelligence: Problems and Solutions», which took place in the Patriot Park on March 14 and 15, 2018 (source, with more photos):

After all the necessary project documentation was prepared and presentations were held, on June 25, 2018, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree on the creation of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA (media reports one + two):

MIT ERA is located on the Black Sea coast on an area of 17,2 hectares. Technopolis is being built in the resort city of Anapa. The object will be formed until 2020 (source). It is planned to place laboratory buildings, a 10-storey research center, a fitness center, a stadium, as well as sections of multi-storey houses for servicemen and members of their families on the territory of the ERA technopolis (source).

As stated on the official website of the Russian MoD, the essence of the project is the formation of an innovative infrastructure that provides search, development and implementation of breakthrough technologies in the defense sector, as well as the creation of projects capable of providing military and technical leadership of Russia.

The main areas of research will be (1) IT-systems, automated control systems, (2) robotic systems, (3) computer science, computer technology, (4) technical vision, pattern recognition, (5) information security, (6) nanotechnology and nanomaterials, (7) energy, technologies and life-support machines, (8) bioengineering, biosynthetic and biosensor technologies.

(1) IT-systems and ACS << info

One of the priority areas of the scientific activity of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA is developments in the field of automated control systems and information and telecommunication systems.

(2) Robotic complexes << info

In the modern world, robotics is one of the main directions of scientific and technological progress. At the Department of «Robotic Technical Complexes» of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA a scientific and production base has been created in order to be able to practice various methods of modeling, control and application of robots in civil and military spheres.

(3) Informatics, computer facilities << info

[This is] One of the directions of modern information technology. Integration of knowledge from the areas of microprocessor technology, programming, modern network technologies and computer systems, modern information computing systems. Computing rooms and laboratories of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA are equipped with the latest generation of equipment, stands and specialized measuring equipment associated with computer equipment, with a specialized application package installed on them, which allows to ensure high quality of laboratory and practical training.

(4) Technical vision. Pattern recognition << info

To date, the methods of pattern recognition find practical application in various areas of human activity — everywhere, where one of the main tasks facing a person, is the classification of certain objects or phenomena, to which their formalized description can be compared.

(5) Information Security << info

The importance and popularity of the «Information Security» area is constantly growing due to the rapid development of digital and telecommunication technologies. The laboratory complex of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA allows for in-depth research and testing in various areas of information security.

(6) Nanomaterials, Nanotechnologies << info

The Military Innovative Technopolis ERA is actively working on the creation and implementation of nanotechnologies and new nanomaterials in production, as well as research of nanomaterials using modern methods of microscopy and spectroscopy.

(7) Power engineering. Technologies, devices and machines of life-support << info

Scientists around the world are looking for an ideal alternative energy source — affordable and absolutely safe. By combining the scientific topics carried out by research groups, research and development in the field of energy generation, transportation and consumption are conducted in the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA. This will increase the Russia’s economic and defense potential by ensuring sustainable energy supply of facilities, increasing energy efficiency, reducing energy losses during transportation, and reducing pollution.

(8) Bioengineering, Biosynthetic, Biosensor Technologies << info

One of the most modern lines of science, emerged at the intersection of physicochemical biology, biophysics, genetic engineering and computer technology. On the modern technological base of the Military Innovative Technopolis ERA, a cycle of developing new medicinal compounds is carried out, beginning with the identification of actual biomics for high-performance bioscreening, the synthesis and testing of new molecules, and the development of ready-made medicinal formulas.

(a source of detail for the above-mentioned activities of the MIT ERA).

mit_era_scheme

In the course of MIT ERA activities close attention will be paid to educational programs for young scientists in the ranks of the Russian Army.

The uniqueness of the MIT ERA is that each development can be implemented directly on the basis of the technopolis: from the idea to the test sample.

To this end, it is proposed to create modern laboratories and engineering centers, equip the centers for collective use of scientific and technological equipment, centers of technological competence in relevant scientific areas and even «open sites» for joint development.

The location of the technopolis on the sea coast creates comfortable conditions for work and life.

MIT ERA official presentation videoclip:

At the end of March 2018, «National Interest» published an article on the ERA technopolis project, drawing analogies with the failed useless project of Skolkovo, but having justly noted a significant difference — the MIT ERA is entirely a project of the Russian Ministry of Defence, which gives the project much more reliability and prospects. After all, there are already a lot of successfully implemented major projects among the achievements of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, such as Patriot Park, international competitions «Army games«, annual conference on international security, «Zvezda» television and radio channel, Arctic and Far East military bases («Arctic trefoil» and other), development of the Far Eastern island of Matua etc.

The structure of the ERA technopolis is divided into two main sectors:

Era_city

Scientific and educational sector << link

Includes: a research laboratory center with advanced equipment, design departments focused on the development of highly specialized projects, a special software development center equipped with super computers, and open sites for experimental research.

Residential sector << link

In the coastal zone of the Black Sea there are: a residential block, a sports and recreational complex with a swimming pool, a gym, recreational areas.

The development of the ERA technopolis, as follows from the concept, is divided into two stages. The first stage is designed for 2017-2018: at this time, the government bodies and personnel should be formed, plus a directions for future research and development should be determined. At the same time, it is planned to form clusters and four scientific companies, as well as to involve educational institutions, public and research organizations, state corporations and industrial enterprises. The second stage — 2019-2020 — involves the deployment in the technopolis of the offices of defense enterprises, own laboratories and engineering centers of industrial enterprises and state corporations, as well as the creation of the Technopolis Development Fund (source).

March 2018 — Inspection of the construction of the ERA technopolis and the housing stock for its employees by the working commission of the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of Russia consisting of four deputy Ministers of Defense of the Russian Federation (source, with more photos):

June 2018 — Working trip of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to the troops of the Southern Military District, during which the next inspection of the construction of the MIT ERA took place (source, with more photos):

A recent report (June 24, 2018) on the progress in the construction of the ERA technopolis, inspected by the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (at  9’22):

The opening of the ERA technopolis is planned for September 1, 2018. This was reported by the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting with participants of the forum «Russia — a country of opportunities» (held in March 2018). The head of scientific projects of the innovative ERA center was appointed the president of the National Research Center «Kurchatov Institute» Mikhail Kovalchuk.

ERA technopolis official website (in Russian).

ERA tachnopolis on the website of the Russian Ministry of Defense (in Russian).

Ukrainian People’s Tribunal sentenced Petr Poroshenko to life imprisonment.

LNR_tribunal

On June 22, 2018, the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal for the investigation of war crimes of the regime of Peter Poroshenko against the citizens of Ukraine (UPT) sentenced the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, for crimes committed against the people of Donbass to life imprisonment with confiscation of property. In addition to Poroshenko, another 7 officials were sentenced.

Video. June 22, 2018. Announcement of the verdict of the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal:

Full video of the event.

Guided by the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, the Statute of the People’s Criminal Tribunal for Ukraine, the statute of the International Criminal Court, the Fourth Geneva International Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons and Civil Objects during the Armed Conflict of 12 August 1949, the Second Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on the protection of victims of non-international character from 1977, the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal for the Investigation of War Crimes of the Poroshenko regime against the citizens of Ukraine sentenced: Ukraine’s president Petr Poroshenko, Secretary of the national security and defense council of Ukraine Aleksandr Turchynov, Chairman of the Verkhovnaya Rada Andrey Parubiy, Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, ex-Prime-Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk, minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov, defense minister Stepan Poltorak, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko to:

— 6 years in prison for abuse of authority and official position that had serious consequences;

— 3 years in prison for public incitement to armed conflict;

— 12 years in prison for plotting, preparing and unleashing a military conflict;

— 15 years in prison for conducting aggressive military action;

— Life in prison for violation of laws and customs of war, involving premediated murder;

— 12 years in prison for excess of authority or official powers by a military official, committed with the use of weapons, committed in state of martial law or in a battle, where it caused any grave consequences;

— 10 years in prison with the forfeiture of property for creation of paramilitary formations which is in contravention of Ukrainian laws, and participation in the operations, leadership in the formations, financing, supplying weapons, ammunition, explosives or military enginery to these formations;

— 5 years in prison for preclusion of legal professional activities of journalists’

— 15 years of prison with the forfeiture of property for organizing an armed criminal gang for the purpose of attacking businesses, institutions, organizations or private individuals;

— Life in prison with the forfeiture of property for aiding an act of terrorism that exposed human life;

— 12 years in prison with the forfeiture of property for financing terrorism;

— 15 years of prison with the forfeiture of property for aiding an assault for the purpose of taking possession of somebody else’s property, accompanied with violence dangerous to life and health of an assaulted person, or with threats of such violence;

— 10 years in prison for torture, repeated or committed by a group of persons upon prior conspiracy;

— 8 years in prison for violence against population in an operational zone;

— 10 years in prison for banditry against population in an operational zone;

— 10 years in prison for illegal confinement or abduction of a person by a group of persons;

— 10 years in prison for intended grievous bodily injury committed by a method characterized by significant torture, or by a group of persons, motivated by national or religious hatred;

— Life in prison with the forfeiture of property for aggravated murder;

— Life in prison for genocide;

— 8 years in prison for violation of citizens’ equality based on their race, nationality or religious preferences;

— 2 years of prison for failure to pay salary, scholarship, pension or any other statutory payments;

— 12 years in prison for premediated destruction of public utilities;

— 10 years in prison for willful destruction of property committed by way of setting fire, explosion or by any other generally dangerous method;

— 12 years in prison for blocking of transportation routes, and capturing of a transport enterprise.

The total sentence is made by merging the less severe penalties into more severe, and constitutes LIFE IN PRISON WITH THE FORFEITURE OF PROPERTY, to run from the moment the sentenced are arrested. Source.

LNR_tribunal2


The initiative group of citizens of Ukraine residing in Donetsk and Lugansk, on March 15, 2018, announced the creation of a people’s tribunal to investigate war crimes committed in the Donbass by the regime of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The Tribunal operates in accordance with Ukrainian law, as well as taking into account the norms of international law. The work of the UPT is attended by Elena Shishkina, presiding in the trial, judges Lyubov Batyashova and Tatyana Kravchenko; the people’s accuser Sergei Kozhemyakin; the national defender Elena Gridina; 12 juries, determined by the drawing of lots from among the applicants, six of them — from Lugansk region.

The UPT considered crimes committed not only by Poroshenko himself, but also by high-ranking officials of his regime, in particular, by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Aleksandr Turchynov, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko, Ex-CNSDU Secretary, Chairman of the Verkhovnaya Rada of Ukraine Andrey Parubiy, head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others.

The Ukrainian People’s Tribunal started its work on March 20. The first hearing of the UPT was held in Donetsk on March 26-27: the tribunal brought charges against eight figures of the criminal regime of Poroshenko, including the president of Ukraine himself, and also considered accusations against the Poroshenko regime concerning the use of armed forces against the civilian population. Source.