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How Many More Red Lines Is the Russian State Prepared to Cross?

A new cold war is being waged without rules

By Andrei Kolesnikov

Crossing red lines has become a national political sport in Russia. The annexation of Crimea, the war in the Donbass, the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH17, the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, cyber interference in foreign elections, the Skripal saga, the increasing participation of Wagner mercenaries in military conflicts and the resetting of presidential terms. To all of this we can now add the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

The use of Novichok is a surprise that we could have expected. Another anticipated “surprise” is the complete denial of guilt from the Russian side. The strategy and tactics are always the same. 

The state provides cover for state terror via a “state-private partnership,” in the sense that those who carry out these deeds may not formally be representatives of state structures but mercenaries. Those who order the hits are not people right at the top, but mid-level functionaries, carrying out their official duty in this rather “particular” way.

Nonetheless, it is abundantly clear that the outsourcing of killings, beatings, trolling and provocations is a growing part of the “state procurement” market.

Angela Merkel told Russia’s political regime it has questions to answer, as if in imitation of Porfiry Petrovich from Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” 

But the reaction was not that of the protagonist Rodion Raskolnikov, who “whispered like a frightened child caught in the act.” Russia’s political class quickly went on the furious counterattack, speaking in slogans and waving around propagandistic clichés.

As the Russian system has matured from hybrid to pure authoritarianism, the propaganda has become cruder, the counter-propaganda has become more and more aggressive and the lies more and more brazen. Nobody is holding back any longer, since Russia is de facto in a cold war with the West.

Of course, it does not resemble a classical cold war. But all the worse: It is being waged without rules and without any kind of visible desire from the Russian side to initiate a new “détente,” or at least a “restart” in the manner of Dmitry Medvedev.

Instead of foreign policy we see arrogant statements from the foreign ministry’s press service. Instead of restraining their own “outsourcers” in the field in various wars — including those in the cybersphere — they offer clear encouragement.

Another round of deterioration in relations with the outside world will have an immediate impact on Russian citizens — an intensification of the struggle against external influence (which no longer really exists) and the internal “fifth column.”

Yet it is here that an existential crisis lies in wait for the Russian state. It is not so much the political opposition or “foreign agents” who are taking a stand against it, but civil society, which has no organization, leaders or strategy. They are guided only by a feeling that their human dignity is being debased and the desire to defend it by openly protesting.

Having eliminated Navalny in such radical fashion, the state has perhaps decapitated the opposition for a while. 

Navalny is the most recognizable high-profile opposition politician in Russia. But at the same time the authorities are taking blows on another front — from unorganized civil society, which, as events in Khabarovsk clearly demonstrate, is becoming politicized at lightning speed, while its slogans are swiftly acquiring anti-Putin sentiment.

Even for those who have not yet been politicized, Navalny’s “smart voting” technology could be a means of taking revenge for his poisoning in the upcoming regional elections. 

This does not mean that the Kremlin will lose control of the electoral situation, but there is an increased likelihood of more active protest voting and street protests. If not at these elections, then at the next ones. If not in this city, where protests are expected, then in another, where they are not.

As with the situation in Crimea, the state is inflicting harm upon itself with the Navalny affair. The markets have reacted negatively to the announcement of the causes of the poisoning and it is only too apparent that external conditions for the socio-economic development of Russia are worsening. The deterioration of the Russian economy is clearly going to enter a new phase.

Ordinary Russians and businesses are still paying for Crimea today through a reduction in their real incomes. Now they will also have to pay for de facto state terror. Their taxes are being used for unclear purposes, especially if we consider the growth in the share of federal budget funds allocated for secret expenses. Taxpayers’ money is feeding mercenaries, trolls, hackers and poisoners.

We should not expect the liberalization of the political system, it is moving in one direction only. There’s no reverse gear; the resetting of presidential term limits was a clear indication of this. And now the poisoning of Navalny.

Back in the beginning, few could have believed that the annexation of Crimea was possible, or later that autocratic rule would be prolonged in the manner of a despot, or later that such a direct attack would be carried out on the leader of the opposition. The crossing of red lines and moral barriers goes on.

This story was originally published by The Moscow Times Reprinted with the permission of The Moscow Times @Stichting 20 Oktober all rights reserved

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India News Brief

19 September 2020

COVID-19 Cases:5,214,677   Deaths: 84,372

COVID-19 At a Glance 

The new guidelines issued by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 29 August

Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7thSeptember 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA.

Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 101 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.Open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from 21stSeptember 2020.

Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30 September.
Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. However, following will be permitted, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21stSeptember 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW):

Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places remain closed.

According to MHA directive, lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 30th September, 2020.

COVID-19: Highlights 

Religious Places Visit: No Touching of Deity, No Sparkling of Holy Water No Prasada in Temples Wearing Mask Thermal Screening is a must 

Shopping Malls Visit: Elderly People With 65 Years of Age and Children Below 10 Years Are Advised to Stay at Home.

Restaurant and food courts in malls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity with a mandatory distance of six feet between tables. No common prayer mats, physical offerings like prasad, or sprinkling of holy water, in places of worship. Age and health-based restrictions on stepping out of home. Masks to be mandatory, and the Aarogya Setu app 'recommended' for all.

Use of masks, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitisation, the guidelines  require people above 65 years of age, specially  people with comorbidities, pregnant woman, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home. Masks are mandatory at all times, including inside restaurants

Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Indian Health Ministry 

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed..

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

Our COVID-19 Stories

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