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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Liveblog Day 100: The Battle For Donetsk Continues

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
A Window On Eurasia

In his latest Windows on Eurasia column, Paul Goble provides insights on power and blame in Russian society. With the regime's efforts to convince people of their dependency, many are more inclined to focus on the sole preservation of minimum standards of living, such as healthcare and pensions, rather than risking change and improvement.

Read here: Kremlin Will Be in Trouble if It Tries to Take Away Anything Russians Assume is Rightfully Theirs, Gudkov Says.

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Georgian-Abkhazia war veterans have stormed a government building in Sukhumi after opposition leaders' demands to organize an "all people's assembly" were not met under president Aleksandr Ankvab, who fled during the storming. Paul Goble underscores the further, possible spread of such armed insurrection to other regions.

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Read here: ‘Donetsk Disease’ Spreads to Abkhazia

In a third article, Paul Goble draws on long-standing skepticism towards political parties in Russia, which stems from sentiments that concerns and interests are not readily addressed, and that differences between parties are vague and "petty". Such dissatisfaction with ineffectual, existing parties hauntingly points towards a tendency for the emergence of single party system, reminiscent of Soviet times.

Read here: Russian Skepticism about Parties Opening the Way to a Return to One Party Rule, Commentator Says

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Donetsk Separatists Ask Moscow For Aid

The self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' has asked Russia to send troops before. While many would argue they have received aid (see update below and this one for a few examples), Russia has not yet officially sent troops or aid across the border to the separatists.

Today they are repeating their call for help.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Rebels Killed At Donetsk Airport Identified As Russians and Chechens
Obozrevatel' has posted an article claiming that Chechen spetsnaz from Russia's Interior Ministry were fighting for the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic." The article is accompanied by pictures that were evidently found among the personal effects of the fighters killed at the Donetsk Airport yesterday.

The article was also accompanied by a video said to be taken by one of the fighters of his "exploits" in the region, but that video has been removed by Google due to violations of YouTube standards on violence.

Obozrevatel' says (translation by The Interpreter):

Terrorists in the East of Ukraine are supported not only by Chechen mercenaries or "performers on tour" but spetsnaz from the Interior Ministry of Russia. This became known after identification of the fighters who were liquidated during the battle near the airport in Donetsk.

In particular, in the telephone of one of those killed was documentation of his "heroic" journey in the form of photographs and videos. Some of the photos were made in Donetsk from the roof of the airport.

These fighters were also reported to take part in a seizure of a base of the Ukrainian forces in Donetsk, says Obozrevatel'. According to the testimony of eyewitnesses, they lined up the personnel in the courtyard, then brought an Orthodox icon out of the building and demonstratively shot it.

According to Semyon Semenchenko, commander of the Donbass batallion, saboteurs and weapons for the "terrorists" continue to be brought in to Ukraine from Russia.


The pictures claim to show, among other things:

2. Chechen fighter holding up raised first finger, which is said to be a sign adopted by militants in Chechnya meaning "there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet."

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4, 9, 10. Men in Russian police uniforms.

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7. Photo of the 4th Regiment of the Chechen Republic Interior Ministry with the wolf picture.

13. What appears to be a residence permit for Moscow in a passport, showing it was issued at the Department of Internal Affairs in Lomonosovsky District, Moscow.

We have not independently corroborated these claims.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
OSCE Releases Preliminary Election Investigation

The OSCE, which has been monitoring the presidential election,  says that despite flaws, and the terrible security situation, overall the election went fairly smoothly:

The 25 May early presidential election in Ukraine was characterized by high voter turnout and the clear resolve of the authorities to hold what was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and with a respect for fundamental freedoms in the vast majority of the country. This was despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions and the increasing attempts to derail the process by armed groups in these parts of the country. The Central and other election commissions operated impartially and collegially on the whole, although a number of transparency issues arose just prior to election day and decisions taken may have been beyond their authority. The voting and counting process were transparent and largely in line with procedures, despite large queues of voters at polling stations in some parts of the country. The early stages of the tabulation process were evaluated less positively by International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) observers mostly due to technical problems.

The election took place in a challenging political, economic and in particular security environment. Genuine efforts were made by the electoral authorities to conduct voting throughout the country, despite continued unrest and violence in the east of Ukraine, where anti-government forces control some areas, and the acting government is conducting counter-insurgency operations. This seriously impacted the election environment and affected the general human-rights situation there, also
obstructing meaningful observation. The election did not take place on the Crimean peninsula, as it is not under the control of the Ukrainian authorities, and citizens residing there faced serious difficulties to participate in the election...

In most of the country, election day took place peacefully. The CEC put voter turnout at 60 per cent. It started posting detailed preliminary election results by polling stations on its website on election night. Despite efforts of the election administration to ensure voting throughout the country, polling did not take place in large parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, due to systematic disruption by armed separatist groups. The voting and counting process was orderly and well organized in most of polling stations observed, with only minor procedural problems noted. However, the high number of voters frequently resulted in overcrowding, especially where local elections were held simultaneously, and frequently delayed the count in these polling stations. The early stages of the tabulation process were assessed negatively in a fifth of observations from IEOM observers, mainly due to working conditions, overcrowding, and an attack on the CEC’s computer system that disrupted the processing and transmission of election results.

There were specific criticisms in the report, but none of them, at this point, seem critical to the results (read the full report here).

As for the results, counting is still going on. They results however have not changed. Poroshenko is ahead, and has more than 50% of the vote, so will likely avoid a runoff election.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
National Guard Reports Fighting in Lugansk At 2 Military Facilities

RFE/RL has the latest report:

Ukraine's National Guard has reported fighting in the restive eastern city of Luhansk and said there were new "losses."

The brief May 28 statement said pro-Russian separatists attacked and attempted to seize a base the National Guard unit was using.

The statement said there were losses "both in the ranks of the military unit and the attacking side" but did not provide any casualty figures.

The statement said separatists had attacked a different military base in Luhansk earlier on May 28. (UNIAN and AFP)

Video shows some of the gunfire from earlier:

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