Russian economy continues to fall. Russian media report on the reduction of government programmes and readiness of Gazprom to reduce prices for Western consumers to compensate the loss of the Ukrainian market and problems in Turkish one, as well as to compete with cheap shale gas.
According to Kommersant, "54% of citizens consider the economic situation in Russia to be poor, 41% - satisfactory, 3% - good. Another 2% were undecided, found by POF. 43% called it bad in December 2015 and only 30% responded negatively about the state of the Russian economy in May last year. 58% of FOM respondents believe that the economic situation is getting worse. More often those people, who call the current situation of the economy bad, think so. According to 27%, nothing changes in the economy and 9% have noticed improvements in this area. Another 6% found it difficult to answer. A month ago 41% believed that the economic situation was getting worse."
The same article states that "according to FOM, President Vladimir Putin's electoral rating fell from 74% to 72% in January, 84% evaluated his work well at the beginning of January, 82% did so in late January. The number of those who consider the activities of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedyev positively, reduced from 55% to 52% in January."
The fall of the presidential rankings may mean the urgent need of the Russian Federation in a new war. Russian television channels continued aggressive propaganda against Ukraine and Turkey as well as Germany during all the week. Work against the Ukrainians has begun in Russia. Russian television channel reported for the first time last week on the eviction of Ukrainian refugees from temporary accommodation - a problem that Russian newspapers and online publications had trumpeted since the beginning of January.
"Refugees had nothing to spend money on till "X day" and some of the most adventurous managed to save for a car, - say experts, supervising Tula MAC. But the other part of persons who are capable to work used the principle "anyway, we’ve got enough" and didn’t hurry to look for a job, though they came more than a year ago. Owners of the hotel, that housed the refugees, there are 25 such MACs in the region, have a right to ask the former residents to leave the premises, but some owners decided to convert the building into a hostel, that is people don’t have to move out, but now they have to pay rent to stay," - informed Russia 24.
As the article in Gazety.Ru says, "according to Civil Assistance Committee, which deals with the help of refugees, MACs are closed because of their decision to disband. At first, according to the committee, camps on the border with Ukraine were closed, gradually freeing all the space given to refugees. At the end of last year there were two high-profile scandals - in the suburbs of Moscow and Tver region. In the latter one - in Ostashkov district –refugees were offered to go somewhere else, those, who did not want to, were loaded into buses and dropped off at the train station, without tickets or money. After the intervention of lawyers and human rights defenders they moved to another camp, which they are not forced to leave. According to Svetlana Gannushkina from Civil Assistance, "refugees have already completed their propaganda role and it is very expensive to support them in MACs."
"We are needed there to clear the land of evil"
Another article in Gazety.Ru tells about results of this terrible phenomenon, as the Russian propaganda is. It is about Russian volunteers who went to fight in Ukraine on the side of "republics". Now they are trying to get the status of combatants. A touchy subject.
"Erkin Ismanov is 41,a Muscovite, married and has four children. He spent almost a year in Donbass, since July 2014. He served in the Palestinians unit, his nickname was Kedr and he received the George Cross of the DPR "For Courage", medal "Volunteer of Donbass", medal "For Service in Battle of Novorossia" and others. Before the war I used to work a stuntman in films and industrial climbers, washing windows in the towers of the Moscow City, I earned good money. Then the war in Donbass started. "I was watching TV and watching, then realized that I could no longer be on the side - children and civilians were being killed, and if we do not fight against those ukrofashistov, then our children will play with shell fragments and not know if they will wake up the next morning," - says Ismanov to Gazeta.ru. In general, he bought a ticket to Rostov, then somehow managed to get to the other side of the border. He joined Palestinians unit in which there were Ukrainians, as well as volunteers, at different times there were 300-500 fighters. "Krasnodon, Snezhnoye, Shyrokino checkpoint – the last one before a buffer zone, for which "ukropy" fought. "Right sector", Aydar unit and others - lists Erkin places of deployment. - And then there was Novoazovsk where I was blown up by a grenade and crippled."
"There was a meeting in Novoazovsk on October 24th, 2014 - says the author of the article about the circumstances of this incident. - "Suddenly I see a grenade rolling on the ground and around there are children, women. So, I pick it up, choose a safe place where to throw it but don’t t have time - it explodes right in my hand, it turnsout I covered it with myself," - says Ismanov. A pregnant woman and a three-year boy were standing next to him, luckily they were not injured. His body was hurt by the grenade fragments, right hand was teared off, tibia on the leg was seriously damaged. Then there were different hospitals - in Novoazovsk, Taganrog, Rostov, St. Petersburg - in the latter, by the way, doctors literally gathered his leg by parts and saved it. He could not walk and work for almost a year and received the 2nd disability group. "The guys came to me, took care of me as a nanny, my younger brother did not abandon us – feeds us, earns all the money for the family, my comrades helped us with money, - says Kedr. – Palestinian battalion commander helped with the prosthetic - I have two of them now, I can take something and move with one, and with another - almost everything, I can even write ...". In May 2015, after being wounded, he was in Kushchevka, the one in Krasnodar region, brought deceased comrade Aleksey Butorin (nickname Bashkir), who died in Shyrokino. While Bashkir was fighting, his wife died, his daughter stayed with her grandparents. "Bashkir was brought to Kuschevka on Polina’s birthday, she was 12 then, and there we came with zinc, - says Kedr. - Since then Polina has become my fifth child, I call her very often, almost every day."
"The most disgraceful is the way hey talk to us, they talk at commissions where disability is determined, DDS, as it seems, or in hospitals, like with cattle – saying directly in the face: "We did not sent you there." If you remember, the same was said to "afghans", who returned from the war? - outraged Ismanov. – I would immediately hit at face for such words but the guys are silent. And at night they are having nightmares: how our guys are undermined or how they murder their comrade." According to Ismanov, the family accepted his choice and support him all the time, children believe that their dad is a hero, his wife, of course, is worried but understands that he cannot do it otherwise. But it’s not like that for everyone, sighs Kedr. Mikhail Komolyatkin, deputy head of the E.N.O.T.corp volunteer organization, that sends volunteers to Donbass, said that many of the volunteers who returned back, could not explain their wives, why they had gone to Donbass, most Russians do not understand "the obvious answer - the protection of national interests of Russia" because of their "non-passionarity". "Absence of a clear status of volunteers in Russia gives rise to difficulties with employment and with law enforcement agencies, - he says. – Novosibirsk bank didn’t open an account for one of my militia friends, saying that they can be brought to justice for "financing terrorist activities."
"Another story is with care and prostheses - continues Gazeta. Ru – Though there are military hospitals and ordinary hospitals in the DPR-LPR but they treat according to their financial capacity, they have neither normal medicines, nor prosthesis very often. You shouldn’t expect expensive treatment, according to the militia, they mostly get prosthesis at their own expense or sympathizers help them. Those, who fought on the side of the DPR, LPR said that the state neither helped the wounded, nor paid compensation to the families of the victims. Volunteers receive all the treatment and benefits from other volunteers or non-governmental organizations. The deputy head of the unit of Donbass Volunteer Union (DVU) Mikhail Pimenov says that there are dozens of cases, if not hundreds, when the militants don’t get jobs, "because the volunteers in Russia not always have a positive image." Therefore, a draft law is needed to legalize their status - for example, equate volunteers to combatants, he said."
"Erkin Ismanov said that he would go again to Donbass soon, because there was "shelling and the situation escalated, they brought Grads, and so we are needed there to clear the land of evil." He is not afraid to die, hoping that comrades and relatives will take care of his children. "My five-year-old son knows that we are fighting for a just cause, for freedom and peaceful sky, and he is proud of me. But I would like others to respect too," - he added. At first, he will call in Kushchevka to give 13-year-old Polina badge of Volunteer of Donbass, which her father Bashkiria was given posthumously."
At the same time, another article of this edition states that "serving in the DPR militia was recognized as a mitigating factor in sentencing. This is the conclusion of the Dimitrovgrad district court judge of Ulyanovsk region Svetlana Fedoseyeva, who mitigated the sentence for repeated drunken driving. As the volunteer lawyer said in the court, "they took the good side", supporting fighters, "who fought against fascism in Ukraine." Judge Fedoseyeva explained that she had taken into account this circumstance in connection with the defendant's state of health, as he was wounded in Donbass".
Meduza plotting shows what Russian television makes with Russians. The author went through Russian Donetsk, where Nadezhda Savchenko is judged, and interviewed local residents what they thought about that process. One of the respondents, Vitaliy, whom Meduza describes as follows: "He was dressed in camouflage, introduced as a private entrepreneur and demanded a passport for verification after the conversation."
"Savchenko? Guilty, - he said. - I evaluate her negatively. Shoot her. Specifically, release and when she runs, say: "Ay-ay-ay, where are you running" - and shoot her. Because every day everything is blocked in the city, millions are spent on her, how is it called, ek-Stra-diction, back and forth in the region (i.e. the delivery of Savchenko to Donetsk from prison - note of Medusa), she eats and drinks from our taxes. Shoot for everything – because she violated the border crossing and aim artillery - for everything. She can be exchanged only 1 for 50, her for our 50. Not for two (Russian citizens Alexander Alexandrov, Evgeniy Erofeyev, who are judged in Kiev - a note of Medusa). It is better to shoot Savchenko and our buy ours out or get something done".
Tatiana and Louisa, pensioners: "We do not understand - this process is going on, and what? One and the same. If she is guilty – then punish her. It is a pity, of course, it's all in vain. She is judged and judged, and then she will still be released. It seems that she will be sent back to Ukraine. We are against it because she must be punished. Sentence her - she deserved! She has been jailed for a year and got fat on our bread. I do not know about the hunger strike! You look on the internet, so she has got such a face! (Laughter)".
Ivan, "a young man with a beard, who was born in Donetsk, he graduated from the Moscow Institute, is looking for work in the capital and building a house in Donetsk for his parents": "For Russia she is an enemy. She helped to destroy our journalists, who worked in the hot spot. Maybe she is a heroine for Ukrainians but I believe Ukraine is the same Russia, as well as Russia itself. But the one that got lost. I do not think that it makes sense to exchange her, even for our military. She is an icon in the Ukraine, some kind of a superhero. Since the summer of 2014 I have had an image in my head that Savchenko committed unlawful acts, I remember her words about Russian, that they are bad and evil. A good man wouldn’t have taken part in the military operations against Donbass. I still do not understand why it was necessary? Why did the US government make illegal government carry out such actions against Donetsk? "
Only two people interviewed by Meduza, a pensioner and a taxi driver, questioned the guilt of Savchenko. Nevertheless, the pensioner still suggested that it would be better to shoot her allegedly while trying to escape, rather than to carry out all this process and block the streets in the city. Another, worker, said he did not know anything about this case.
"We are in Russia, so let's not talk about the presumption of innocence"
The latest session of Nadezhda Savchenko’s trial took place just last week. "Savchenko said that she identified the driver of the Niva, which brought her to Russia, Pavel Karpov - said the article in the Novaya Gazeta". - As previously reported by Novaya Gazeta, Karpov is known that he was closely connected with the people involved in the activities of far-right movements some time ago, in particular Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (CORN). Information about this appeared in the trial of the CORN leader Ilya Goryachev (got life sentence, it will be appealed on February 16th). In his turn, Savchenko’s lawyer Ilya Novikov, referring to publicly available sources, explained to the judges that in 2014 Karpov participated in the fighting on the side of the self-proclaimed "Luhansk People's Republic", being on the territory of Ukraine he called himself "the curator of the Russian President". The lawyer described the supposed kidnaper of Savchenko: "The driver of this car was a fat, short-haired, bearded man in a nice outfit, a bulletproof jacket with a gun. I was surprised that Plotnitsky (head of the "LPR" - Ed.) talked to the fat driver as to the chief."
"At the request of Savchenko, the judge added Karpov’s photo to the case file. The lawyers said they would apply for calling Karpov and former leader of the "LPR" Valeriy Bolotov to the court, adding that they have some kind of eavesdropping record of a telephone conversation, during which the kidnapping of Savchenko was discussed. Conversation transcript: "Bolotov": allo ... "Karpov": Brother, can you tell, my people captured the sniper today, what’s the nationality? "Bolotov": Ukrainian, well I mean a Ukrainian passport ... "Karpov": and where from? "Bolotov": well, I do not know yet ... "Karpov": Well, I was just wondering ... I mean ... "Bolotov": I have already received a call from babushka, *****. (Novikov explains that "babushka" referred to the FSS of Russia.) "Karpov": what did babushka want? "Bolotov": again for about that woman, the helicopter pilot ***** ... "Karpov": why does babuchka *** care? "Bolotov": you captured her, and it is, I know, I know her, it's the one who fought in Iraq and everything else. "Karpov": does babushka want her? "Bolotov": I do not know, *****. "Karpov": women? When we captured a woman, then babushka started ... "Bolotov": yes. "Karpov": capture a man, maybe then it will be less active ... All right, brother, got that, see you."
"Novikov said that, in his opinion, Pavel Karpov called: it became known due to his number, - noted Novaya. - Cited records were received by counterintelligence of the SSU of Ukraine, and there is a court decision authorizing the eavesdropping. Savchenko’s lawyer Plakhotnyuk received the record from the SSU of Ukraine and then handed over to the Russian defenders."
The correspondent of Meduza reported that the judge, nevertheless, rejected the application to call Bolotov and Karpov as witnesses.
He also said in his report that "lawyer Novikov asked then to call senior investigator for special affairs of Russia Dmitriy Manshin to the court. Chief investigator in Savchenko’s case, according to the defense, falsified case materials and interrogation protocols. In addition, lawyer Novikov said that he suddenly had met him in the Basmanny Court, where operator of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company Viktor Denisov had been interrogated in a video talk within Savchenko’s case. "We are convinced that Manshin manipulated the testimony of the victim," - said Novikov (victim Denisov survived during shelling, in which Voloshin and Kornelyuk were killed). Finally, Novikov said that he had eavesdropping record of Manshin’s conversation with Plotnitsky’s assistant Evgeniy Kolomiyets (he came to Savchenko’s trial as a witness), where they discussed a future meeting in Russian Donetsk in a "very cute" way. All the eavesdropping records and the court's decision, that allow them, were lawfully obtained from the SSU by the Ukrainian counterpart, said the lawyer."
"When the judge decided to ask Novikov to clarify something about the process of eavesdropping in the SSU, the lawyer replied with a smile: "You are asking as if I worked for the SSU. Many people think so, but I'm just a poor Russian lawyer." The judge Stepanenko suddenly started to talk about the presumption of innocence. "Does it also apply to Savchenko?! - shouted Feygin, - Your Honor, we are in Russia, so let's not talk about the presumption of innocence!". "Everyone has got her/his truth, but the court has to find out what is true. I have the right to say that Manshin is a criminal, and you’ll invite Manshin, then we'll have a debate", - added Savchenko," - quoted Meduza.
Review prepared by Sophia Petrovskaya, OstroV