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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Kremlin’

Kremlin Denies Reports Russian Fighter Jets Fired at IAF

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Responding to Israeli media reports of Russian fighter jets opening fire at IAF aircraft in Syria’s skies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, “I don’t want to comment on the Israeli press. The Israeli press’s reports in this case are far from reality.” Which for someone unwilling to comment on the Israeli press was plenty commenting.

Yediot Aharanot reported last week that Russian fighter jets in Syria had opened fire twice at Israeli aircraft, but did not provide dates and locations of the incidents, nor the sources for the report.

Peskov was asked about the topics discussed during last week’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and said that both leaders had focused on Syria and the Middle East as a whole, as well as on bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

“The meeting was very useful and very substantive. It comprised three formats: a narrow-format meeting, negotiations at the level of delegations, and a tete-a-tete talk,” the spokesman explained.

According to Yediot Aharanot, the meeting between Putin and Netanyahu took place even as two separate reports on the Russian fighter jets opening fire on Israeli aircraft were coming in.

Peskov was asked about the Netanyahu cabinet resolution to keep the Golan Heights as an eternal part of the State of Israel, and told reporters, “The Russian position does not change, is in compliance with the corresponding resolutions of the UN Security Council and has no new aspects.”

United Nations Security Council resolution 497, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, states that the Israeli Golan Heights Law, which annexed the Golan Heights, is “null and void and without international legal effect,” and called on Israel to rescind its action. The Council requested the secretary-general to report to the Council within two weeks on the implementation of the resolution, and in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Council would reconvene, not later than January 5, 1982, to discuss further action under the United Nations Charter.

That’s where things are holding for now.

JNi.Media

Anti-Semitic Protesters Demand Kremlin Outlaw Chabad in Russia

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

In the city Perm, about 870 miles east of Moscow, a crowd of 100 people gathered last weekend to demand that Moscow outlaw the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Russia. It’s not the first time anti-Semites in Perm have tried to rid the city of Chabad, and Jews.

The event that ignited this particular protest was the grant of a plot of land to the local Jewish community, headed by a Chabad emissary, by the government. No fees were charged for the transfer of land.

Last Saturday, the protesters appeared with picket signs that read, “Liberate Us Russians from Chabad” and “Chabad Out!” Another protester held a sign that showed just how deeply ingrained his anti-Semitism really is: “Chabad Settlement Is Over The Line: 1547.”

The reference is to the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible, who rendered a decision in 1547 to ban all Jews from living and/or even entering his kingdom, because they “bring about great evil.”

In 2013, unidentified vandals hurled a firebomb at the synagogue in Perm in attempt to torch the Chabad-affiliated Jewish house of worship.

That attack came just a day after a popular Russian blogger had written a vicious post slamming a ceremony bringing a new Torah scroll to the local Perm synagogue. “Lubavitcher Chassidim will host a torch parade in Perm and demand to close the streets to traffic,” the blogger wrote, as translated and related by the Shturem website.

“Three hundred guests are expected to attend, including guests from the U.S., Israel and Russia. Economist Mikhail Doliagin stressed that these are Lubavitcher Chassidim who sued Russia in the United States, and managed that the verdict with a monetary fine for holding the Schneerson Library in Russia. Instead of giving Chabad privileges, all Lubavitch activities should be banned throughout Russia.”

The talkbacks on that article reflected the virulent anti-Semitism that is usually masked by politically-correct public diplomacy.

“All pro-Russians must band together. They all the intellectuals out, now they want the books as well.”

“Chassidim are a religio-political sect that worships the dollar, meaning the USA. Their agenda is to destroy Russia, through lies and deceit that they propagate in the media.”

During a meeting in Moscow with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder this past Tuesday (April 19, 2016) President Vladimir Putin said,“Russian Jewish organizations are making a substantial contribution in the cause of domestic political stability in Russia, for which we are very grateful.”

Putin has been directly and indirectly responsible for the allocation of land grants – free of charge – to numerous Jewish, Christian and Muslim community and faith groups. Some of those grants came as restitution for property stolen during the Soviet era.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Offers to Help Israel Develop Natural Gas Fields

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Consider it a form of ‘protection.’ Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has offered to invest in Israel’s natural gas development.

Diplomatic sources told the Middle East Newsline (MENL) on Wednesday, “Putin very much wants to make Russia into the major developer of energy fields in the Mediterranean, and the first target has been Israel.”

A decision last month by Israel’s High Court of Justice nullified a “stability clause” that would have blocked regulatory changes to an offshore gas outline for the next 10 years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had included the clause at the request of the consortium that developed the reserves, Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group, in return for their massive investments.

The decision, however, may have killed the deal signed with the consortium and potential customers as a result. Although the court gave the government a year to fix the clause, it did little to soothe the fears of bureaucracy-exhausted investors, nor to prevent new customers from bolting.

Moreover, there have been attempts by Lebanon to claim Israel’s northernmost natural gas fields. One of the reserves is located off the coast of Nahariya, south of Lebanon’s territorial waters, and is a field Lebanon had never laid claim to until Israel discovered the gas and oil therein.

Hezbollah representatives spent months referring in various speeches to the reserve. Lebanon even attempted to recruit help from the United States in 2014 in seizing the reserve from Israel.

Putin, however, has pledged Russian influence to block attacks by Iranian proxies against any Russian-operated field. Efforts by Hezbollah to stop Israel from developing its natural resources beneath the Mediterranean would likely be among the targets of Russian ire.

More than one of Israel’s natural gas fields are located near Lebanese maritime borders.

According to the diplomatic source, Putin envisions an investment between $7 billion to $10 billion to develop Israeli offshore gas fields.

Several weeks ago, Putin said he plans to meet with Netanyahu in the nearest future, noting that Russia and Israel have “many issues” to discuss.

Israeli media reported this week that Netanyahu plans to travel to Moscow later in the month, allegedly on April 21, to meet with Putin.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told media on Wednesday that such a visit is indeed under consideration. “We will make a relevant statement in a timely manner” Peskov said, according to TASS.

Hana Levi Julian

‘Panama Papergate’ Exposes Global Offshore Havens, Israeli Names

Monday, April 4th, 2016

A massive document leak in Panama has been exposed by journalists who tracked down and revealed 11.5 million records that connect hundreds of thousands of offshore entities to businesspeople, celebrities, sports stars, world leaders, criminals and places around the world – including Israel.

The network was uncovered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations, including Haaretz. The documents were reviewed by a team of more than 370 journalists from 76 countries.

Some 600 Israeli firms and 850 Israeli shareholders are found among the 11.5 million records of the obscure but immensely powerful Mossack Fonseca law firm, based in Panama.

Among the Israeli names mentioned in the documents, according to Haaretz, were those of attorney Dov Weisglass, former bureau chief to late prime minister Ariel Sharon, wealthy Israeli Idan Ofer and Israeli African mining industry mogul Jacob Engel. Also mentioned was Bank Hapoalim, which used the Panama law firm for management of various trust funds, up to 2011.

The firm was founded by a German who immigrated with his family after serving in Hitler’s Waffen-SS during World War II. He and his sons built Mossack Fonseca, which told ICIJ that it follows “both the letter and spirit of the law. Because we do, we have not once in nearly 40 years of operation been charged with criminal wrongdoing.”

The firm has branches in more than 35 other locations around the world and has created shell companies to hide assets for top clients, working with more than 14,000 banks, their subsidiaries and branches, law firms, company incorporators and other agents over the years.

The leaked data spans nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, an insider’s look at how personal money flows around the world at the very top of world leadership. Most of the offshore industry services actually are legal, but the documents reveal that shortcuts were taken by banks, law firms and other offshore players in order to ease the way for their mega clients.

The personal financial affairs of at least 12 current and former world leaders were the ‘Panama Papergate’ scandal.

Included among the top leaders were Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson of Iceland, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the kings of Saudi Arabia and Morocco and the children of the president of Azerbaijan.

Offshore companies were also linked to the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has vowed to fight ‘armies of corruption” as well as to 128 other international politicians and public officials.

At least 33 of those exposed were blacklisted by the U.S. government, including a firm that supplied fuel for Syrian regime aircraft that bombed and killed thousands of its own citizens, U.S. authorities charged.

The Kremlin pre-empted the report March 28 with charges the journalists’ consortium was preparing an “information attack” against the Russian president and his associates.

Hana Levi Julian

Lithuania Restores Military Draft, Eyes Ukraine’s Fight for Life

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

As the situation in Ukraine provides an object lesson in what to avoid in national defense strategies, Lithuania has decided to restore mandatory army service to its list of “to do”s for young men entering adulthood.

Lithuanian males from ages 19 to 27 will be called to serve their country for a period of nine months beginning in September 2015. The draft will be in force for the next five years.

Some 3,000 eligible males will be drafted, government officials told international media on Tuesday. President Dalia Grybauskaite said after a meeting of top government officials and military leaders the measure was necessary due to the “growing aggression in Ukraine. Lithuania has no tanks or military aircraft, however. Its entire military force totals some 15,000 troops.

The move comes amid tensions that continue to widen concern around the region — as well as around the world — as Ukraine fights for its life with pro-Russia separatists seizing control over an increasingly wide area.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday, according to the DW website.

Speaking to a meeting of U.S. senators, an irritated Kerry said Tuesday that officials in Moscow had been “lying” about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the height of the Cold War,” Kerry told the Senate subcommittee meeting. “And they have been persisting in their misinterpretations — lies — whatever you want to call them — about their activities to my face, to the face of others, on many different occasions,” he added.

On Saturday, he and the Russian foreign minister would meet to discuss “Syria and other things” before leaving for Iran to continue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

Hana Levi Julian

Kharkov Moving Towards Secession?

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Less than a month after the eastern Ukrainian capital city’s Jewish mayor was shot in the back, the Kharkov region is set to hold a referendum on independence within the next week.

Kharkov residents were urged to go to the polls to vote on whether to join the secession of the southeastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, the Itar-Tass news site reported.

“Southeast” Coordinating Council of Movement spokesman Yuri Apukhtin made the announcement Sunday at a rally in the city’s Freedom Square. A number of demonstrators waved Russian national flags at the rally, including those from the Ukrainian Communist party and from “Borba” (Struggle).

“Our task is not to participate in Ukrainian presidential elections in any case,” the activist said from the podium. “We should meet on this square on May 25. We do not recognize these elections.”

Presidential elections are scheduled in Ukraine for May 25 although the original election date was to be held on March 29, 2015. The date was changed following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. A second and final runoff election will be held on June 15 if the first election is inconclusive, according to media reports. The elected candidate will serve a five-year term in office.

Apukhtin said that although he had been invited to attend a second all-Ukraine national unity roundtable meeting held in Kharkov on Saturday, he “refused to participate.”

Jewish communities around Ukraine are watching the secessionist movements closely, and contingency plans are being made in each area. For the most part, however, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries say they are not leaving. All programs are continuing as planned thus far.

Meanwhile, Kharkov Mayor Gennady Kernes, 54, has been recovering in Israel since the beginning of the month from the critical wounds that nearly ended his life. Kernes suffered gunshot wounds to several vital organs, including the lungs and liver, during an assassination attempt in the wee hours of the morning several weeks ago.

Opposing his former Russian patrons, Kernes began to support Ukrainian nationalists in February following a coup in Kiev. He was shot while jogging prior to starting his work day.

Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz, Kharkov chief rabbi and Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, visits him regularly at the hospital where he is being treated in Haifa. The mayor has reportedly continued to carry out his duties with his staff in Kharkov to the best of his ability via telephone. However, due to his medical condition, doctors say it is unclear when he will be able to return to his office, although they are sure his condition will improve.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia ‘Disappears’ One of its Own News Agencies

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Perhaps we are “back in the USSR” again, to quote the Beatles.

In a posting on the Kremlin’s website on Monday, Dec. 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed that the Russian International News Agency – RIA-Novosti – a leading Russian state-run news conglomerate, will be “eliminated.”

Why?

“In order to increase the effectiveness of public media.”

And in its place, Putin created a new media entity, “Russia Today,” naming as its director Dmitry Kiselyov. Kiselyov, according to BuzzFeed, is one of, if not the most, profoundly anti-Western, pro-Putin “journalist” currently operating in Russia. He is also viciously anti-gay in a way that goes beyond mere homophobia. Last year Kiselyov told a Russian TV audience that banning gays from distributing propaganda to children was not sufficient.

“I think they should be banned from donating blood or sperm, and if they die in a car crash, their hearts should be burnt or buried in the ground as unsuitable for the continuation of life,” was Kiselyov’s position, as reported by BuzzFeed.

In the years following the extreme media repression which characterized the Soviet Union era-policies, there has been a slow but perceptible growth in Russian media to engage in actual reporting. While the Russian media never had the freedoms enjoyed by the Western press, RIA-Novosti in particular had become a trusted news source for at least certain kinds of information about what was happening in Russia.

RIA-Novosti extensively covered the growing protests in the Ukraine. The Ukranian protesters oppose their government’s recent turn away from the West and towards Russia.

A report from the Associated Press on Monday quoted a spokesperson for the Ukranian Opposition who said that its headquarters in Kiev had been “stormed by authorities.”

Since Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, following his four-year term limit-required hiatus, he has been implementing increasingly stringent controls over various aspects of life, including curtailing the slowly developing press freedoms.

Putin’s latest repressive act coincides with increasing reports about Putin’s diminishing popularity.

The decree abolishing RIA-Novosti states that it will be completely dissolved in three months.  There was no word on whether the many thousands of its employees will have a future at the new media empire Putin is creating. Certainly they will be required to practice a very different form of journalism if they do.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/russia-disappears-one-of-its-own-news-agencies/2013/12/09/

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