Red Dawn “Wolverines” in Ukraine

“A photo posted to Twitter on Friday morning by journalist Nolan Peterson showed a burned-out Russian T-72 tank on a roadside supposedly near western Kyiv. Along the barrel, scrawled in white spray paint, was the word ‘Wolverines,’ another seeming homage to the 1984 Cold War-era movie ‘Red Dawn’.” 

-Max Hauptman, “‘Wolverines’ graffiti straight out of ‘Red Dawn’ showing up all over battlefields in Ukraine.” taskandpurpose.com. April 16, 2022

I find it interesting how the story of Red Dawn was re-purposed for the Ukrainian cause.

Defining the West

“The biggest surprise for Putin, of course, was the West. All the nonsense about how the West is decadent, the West is over, the West is in decline, how it’s a multipolar world and the rise of China, et cetera: all of that turned out to be bunk…

…The West is a series of institutions and values. The West is not a geographical place. Russia is European, but not Western. Japan is Western, but not European. “Western” means rule of law, democracy, private property, open markets, respect for the individual, diversity, pluralism of opinion, and all the other freedoms that we enjoy, which we sometimes take for granted. We sometimes forget where they came from. But that’s what the West is.

—David Remnick interview with Stephen Kotkin. “The Weakness of the Despot.” New Yorker. March 11, 2022.

Collateral Damage: SATCOM Terminals

“My theory is that attackers somehow managed to compromise/spoof the ground station/NOC in charge of those spot beams covering, at least, Ukraine. At a certain time they abused a legitimate control protocol to issue specific commands to the targeted SATCOM terminals, resulting in the claimed permanent damage. That request may involve disabling the transmitter, corrupting the antenna pointing logic, demod, power params…

…Finally, we should bear in mind that, as it has been explained, the KA-SAT infrastructure involves multiple interconnected gateways Earth Stations and a specific number of mappings between beams and gateways. As a result, I would say that probably the Enercon incident, and the disruption that [occurred] in other [E]uropean countries, were just a ‘collateral damage’ derived from attacking the main target: Ukraine.

-Ruben Santamarta, “SATCOM terminals under attack in Europe: a plausible analysis.” reversemode.com. March 7, 2022

I thought this was an interesting example of how a cyber attack has unintended effects and does not necessarily hit the intended target.

“The Long Telegram” by George F. Kennan

“In atmosphere of oriental secretiveness and conspiracy which pervades this government, possibilities for distorting or poisoning sources and currents of information are infinite. The very disrespect of Russians for objective truth–indeed their disbelief in its existence–leads them to view all stated facts as instruments for furtherance of one ulterior purpose or another. There is good reason to suspect that this government is actually a conspiracy within a conspiracy, and I for one am reluctant to believe that Stalin himself receives anything like an objective picture of [the] outside world. Here there is ample scope for the type of subtle intrigue for which Russians are past masters. Inability of foreign governments to place their place squarely before Russian policy makers–extent to which they are delivered up in their relations with Russia to good graces of obscure and unknown advisers whom they will never see and cannot influence–this to my mind is the most disquieting feature of diplomacy in Moscow, and one which western statesman would do well to keep in mind if they would understand the nature of difficulties encountered here…

…We must see that our public is educated to realities of Russian situation. I cannot over-emphasize importance of this. Press cannot do this alone. It must be done mainly by Government, which is necessarily more experienced and better informed on practical problems involved. In this we need not be deterred by [ugliness?] of picture. I am convinced that there would be far less hysterical anti-Sovietism in our country today if realities of this situation were better understood by our people. There is nothing as dangerous or as terrifying as the unknown. It may also be argued that to reveal more information on our difficulties with Russia would reflect unfavorably on Russian-American relations. I feel that if there is any real risk here involved, it is one which we should have courage to face, and sooner the better. But I cannot see what we would be risking. Our stake in this country, even coming on heels of tremendous demonstrations of our friendship for Russian people, is remarkably small. We have here no investments to guard, no actual trade to lose, virtually no citizens to protect, few cultural contacts to preserve. Our only stake lies in what we hope rather than what we have; and I am convinced we have better chance of realizing those hopes if our public is enlightened and if our dealings with Russians are placed entirely on realistic and matter-of-fact basis.”

George K. Kennan, “The Long Telegram.” wilsoncenter.org. February 22, 1946

Top 104 Books Published in English on Russia in 2019

“Hundreds of books about the Russian-speaking world are scheduled to be published in English in 2019. This list narrows that group down to 104 that show exceptional promise — and gives you the tools to find the ones you’ll love in seconds…

…the previews below are largely laudatory, but their optimism can make them a light read in and of themselves: this collection will take you from literary greats to romping counterfactual histories and from dark Soviet humor to gorgeous children’s books.”

—Hilah Kohen, “2019’s top Russia-related books: ‘Meduza’ has your reading list for the next 10,000 years.” Meduza. January 30, 2019.

Meduza in English

“Every day, we bring you the most important news and feature stories from hundreds of sources in Russia and across the former Soviet Union. Our team includes some of Russia’s top professionals in news and reporting. We value our independence and strive to be a reliable, trusted outlet for verified, unbiased information about Russia and the former Soviet Union, as well as a source for sharp insights about one of the world’s most enigmatic regions.”

Meduza in English, and RSS

h/t Electric Eel

Above Us Only Stars

“GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are used in everything from cellular communication networks, to basic consumer goods, high-end military systems, and stock trading inputs. But these systems are vulnerable: by attacking positioning, navigational, and timing (PNT) data through electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, state and non-state actors can cause significant damage to modern militaries, major economies, and everyday consumers alike.   With recent technological advances, the tools and methodologies for conducting this interference are now at a high risk for proliferation. GNSS attacks are emerging as a viable, disruptive strategic threat.

In this report, we present findings from a year-long investigation ending in November 2018 on an emerging subset of EW activity: the ability to mimic, or “spoof,” legitimate GNSS signals in order to manipulate PNT data. Using publicly available data and commercial technologies, we detect and analyze patterns of GNSS spoofing in the Russian Federation, Crimea, and Syria that demonstrate the Russian Federation is growing a comparative advantage in the targeted use and development of GNSS spoofing capabilities to achieve tactical and strategic objectives at home and abroad. We profile different use cases of current Russian state activity to trace the activity back to basing locations and systems in use.”

Above Us Only Stars: Exposing GPS Spoofing in Russia and Syria.” C4ADS.org. April 2019.