8 months ago


2 No.15 MARCH 6, 2018

2 No.15 MARCH 6, 2018 DAY AFTER DAY WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA REUTERS photo Thelastargument What stands behind Putin’s nuclear threats? THE BEST ACTORS: SAM ROCKWELL (FOR THE FILM THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI AS THE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR), FRANCES McDORMAND (FOR THE PICTURE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI AS THE BEST ACTRESS), ALLISON JANNEY (FOR THE PICTURE I, TONYA AS THE BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS), AND GARY OLDMAN (FOR THE FILM DARKEST HOUR AS THE BEST ACTOR) Atriumphofpredictabilityandmelodrama The Oscars award ceremony was held in Los Angeles By Dmytro DESIATERYK, The Day Nine works competed in the main category, called the Best Picture Award. Quite predictably, it went to The Shape of Water (which also won awards for the best production design and best original score), which approached the contest having already won the Golden Lion at the Venice Festival. Mexican Guillermo del Toro also received a statuette as the best director (he already holds a Golden Globe in the same category). The action takes place in 1962, at the height of the confrontation between the USSR and the US in the Cold War. Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute girl who works as a cleaner at a secret government laboratory in Baltimore. A new living “test subject,” who is a humanoid amphibian, is brought to the laboratory. A bond gradually forms between the cleaner and the alien. When Elisa finds out that the government intends to kill and dissect her beloved partner, she hatches a rescue plan. The director stylized the picture to approximate classical films of the early 1960s, filled it with hairstyles, outfits, interiors of the time, and the soundtrack with appropriate songs. Of course, del Toro added violence and sex scenes to the mix to make it look like an adult production of sorts, but in essence, The Shape of Water is a melodramatic fairy tale with a sugary happy end. A beautifully filmed love story involving a Cinderella and an Amphibian Man: is not it just what a broad audience needs? Evidently, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw it that way. Awards for the best actress and best supporting actor went, respectively, to Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, who played the antagonists in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (directed by Martin McDonagh, known for the black comedy crime film In Bruges). Single mother Mildred Hayes goes against the police of her hometown, believing that law-enforcement officers do not want to solve the murder of her daughter Angela. To do this, she rents three billboards, located at the entrance to the city, and posts on them short inscriptions that remind people of Angela’s murder and the inaction of sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). While Willoughby has no clue about the crime, the townspeople react to Hayes’s actions initially skeptically, and then aggressively; police officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell) is especially active in opposition to her, and she resorts to aggression in response. Like with In Bruges, the strongest feature of the film is its screenplay: Three Billboards is an exciting story with a lot of unpredictable turns, but McDonagh’s directing is too melodramatic. McDormand is a favorite actress of the Cohen brothers; unfortunately, here she lacks the brothers’ ironic inspiration, but this Oscar is still long overdue for her. The best actor’s name became totally clear once Darkest Hour (directed by Joe Wright) hit the screens; it is a typical historical biopic of the “darkest hour” at the beginning of the war, when Germany seemed invincible. Wright shows events starting with the resignation of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and ending with the Operation Dynamo, initiated by his successor Winston Churchill to evacuate troops encircled by the Germans under Dunkirk. Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, is unquestionably the principal character here. We see him through the eyes of his opponents and allies, as well as his wife and secretary; immersed in doubts and despair; in funny or touching situations; in parliament and among the people. It will not be an exaggeration to say that this generally mediocre film rides to success on 60-year-old Oldman. His external transformation is striking (they say he spent a few hours a day with a makeup artist, who jokingly remarked that he had to “turn a ferret into a bulldog”), but no less noticeable is the actor’s effort to convey his character’s mind, with a great many individual traits, emotional contrasts, and a wide range of reactions. Most likely, Churchill will now be associated with Oldman for a long time, who, I would like to remind our readers, became famous for playing rebels, criminals, and outsiders. The Operation Dynamo itself, which involved the evacuation of 300,000 British, Belgian, and French troops, cut off on the northern coast of France in 1940, is covered in Dunkirk (a US-UK- France co-production, directed by Christopher Nolan), which won the awards for the best sound editing, best sound mixing, and best film editing. Its storylines unfold on a beach, filled with a demoralized army, on the sea, where the Allied ships are evacuating people under German bomb attacks, and in the air where British fighters are trying to resist the Luftwaffe. The director does not show the Germans themselves, turning them into an anonymous and therefore even more terrible threat. This structure allows him to saturate the plot with lots of parallel scenes and maintain a crazy dynamic without losing the integrity of the whole. Nolan sets an ultra-high pace right from the very first frames which show a young British soldier’s escape from the enemy’s bullets through the streets of a deserted town. All battles and disasters are filmed/pictured flawlessly. The strongest feature of Dunkirk is the fascinating density of events, which is enhanced by composer Hans Zimmer. His minimalist music heightens tension to the limit of the possible. When time comes for it, Zimmer lets out somewhat pathetic, but appropriately lengthy synthesized chords, and as a flotilla of civilian ships that came to the rescue of the encircled soldiers (the titular Dynamo) enters the frame, tears start coming by themselves. In general, Nolan and Zimmer can manipulate the audience’s emotions, and they did follow the suit this time as well. By Valentyn TORBA, Natalia PUSHKARUK, The Day On March 1, exactly four years after the Federation Council of Russia had approved the use of arms in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin delivered an annual state-ofthe-nation address. His statements were of a boastful and even threatening nature. He had no scruples about intimidating the US and the Western world, saying that the Russian armed forces have adopted a small-scale heavy-duty nuclear energy unit that can be installed in a cruise missile which is invulnerable to missile defense systems. Speaking on national television, Putin demonstrated Russian intercontinental missiles, cruise missiles, and other weapons on video and animated trailers. He said Russia had made considerable progress in this sphere on the basis of designs by Russian scientists only. He said, among other things: “We started to develop new types of strategic arms that do not use ballistic trajectories at all when moving toward a target and, therefore, missile defense systems are useless against them, absolutely pointless… One of them is a small-scale heavy-duty nuclear energy unit that can be installed in a missile like our latest X-101 air-launched missile or the American Tomahawk missile – a similar type but with a range dozens of times longer, dozens, basically an unlimited range.” Putin issued direct threats in his speech: “I hope that everything that was said today would make any potential aggressor think twice, since unfriendly steps against Russia such as deploying missile defenses and bringing NATO infrastructure closer to the Russian border become ineffective in military terms and entail unjustified costs, making them useless for those promoting these initiatives.” “You did not listen to our country at the time. Listen to us now,” Putin said, claiming that some of these weapons are already being tested. So, Putin has in fact announced a new wave of the arms race. It will be recalled that as far back as February 16 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to be open about observation of the 1987 USSR-US Treaty on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter- Range Missiles. Stoltenberg pointed out that, unfortunately, NATO is forced to remain a nuclear bloc to counterbalance the threat from such countries as Russia, China, and North Korea. Tellingly, the USSR-US arms race was based not only on the desire to dominate in the world, but also on ideological differences between the capitalist and the socialist worlds. In 1991 Russia declared an opposite path – towards democratization, free trade, freedom of speech, etc. But Russia has remained de facto a totalitarian state with simulated democratic institutions. The latter aspect continues to relax, to some extent, the vigilance of some Western politicians. They remain prepared not only for a dialog with the Kremlin (a dialog with a dangerous potential enemy is necessary), but also for cooperation. The proof of this is the recent statement of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who supported Russia’s construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In this situation, consolidation of the Western world is of dire necessity in spite of all the existing array of sanctions. Obviously, every time Putin makes such a harsh and blackmailing statement, he resorts to intimidation in response to increased pressure on him. The Day has asked some military experts what Putin’s aggressive statement really means. Is it blackmail of the West or an attempt to use his old pre-election ploy of flexing muscles? ● “THE KREMLIN KNOWS NO OTHER WAYS OF INFLUENCE THAN INTIMIDATION AND BRIBERY” Valentyn BADRAK, director, Center for Army, Conversion, and Disarmament Studies: “What Putin is saying and doing is a mix of populism and the threshold of adventurism which is higher than that of Western leaders. Owing to this higher threshold, he acts quite actively and sometime achieves his goal. His current statement on strategic nuclear armaments is the reaction of a beast at the end of its tether. For he can see that the Western world began to knit together for obvious reasons and is correcting its mistakes in spite of problems, such as Trump-Merkel relations and different views of the current US administration and European capitals on the solution of some problems. Putin is aware that this situation works against him. But he knows no other ways of influence than intimidation, blackmail, and bribery. A time is coming when an anti-Putin coalition may be formed. On the other hand, we can notice a grave problem of Russia in terms of technology. All grand projects, such as the PAK DA next-generation strategic bomber and the PAK FA fifth-generation jet fighter, are failing and have achieved no tangible success. In reality, Putin has not a single weighty argument except for nuclear weapons. Therefore, he is undoubtedly insisting on this aspect and hinting that he can resort to the last arguments. The abovementioned statements were caused by a series of Russia’s defeats, particularly in Syria. On the Ukrainian territory, he may be increasing attacks in the battlefield but is unable to prevent Ukraine from receiving technical military aid, which means that Ukraine is getting stronger. But time is no longer playing in favor of Putin, for the West has begun to awaken and draw proper conclusions after his aggressive actions. The current presidential race is his last ‘swan song.’ That’s why he is using all the possible arsenals to make his voters respect him. Hence, the very fact of this speech shows that Putin is very much nervous. On the other hand, this cannot help causing alarm because, in a condition like this, Putin may resort to any destructive measures, including raising the quality of attacks against Ukraine. The latter fact is particularly dangerous to us. Ukraine has so far nothing to counterbalance Putin in a 5th-generation war. And he knows that, under these circumstances, the West will be unable to offer military support.” ● “NONTRIVIAL BLACKMAIL OF THE WEST” Galia ACKERMAN, chief, Russian bureau, journal Politique Internationale; Paris: “Russia is rife with military hysteria. The regime is trying to convince the Russians that they are standing almost on the brink of World War Three. Sanctions are interpreted as not a punishment for Ukraine but a wish to curb the rise of Russia. So, the only thing he [Putin. – Ed.] can boast of is weapons. “Indeed, he said they have totally new types of weapons, for example, non-ballistic missiles which he alleges cannot be spotted by air defense systems. If this is the case, the air defense system loses some of its advantages. He can boast of supersonic weapons and submarines that can dive to a hitherto inaccessible depth. “Clearly, Russia is arming to the teeth and, owing to military superiority, wants to become a major player on the international stage. As a matter of fact, the operation in Syria showed this. “I think this is important, above all, in the context of the election campaign. As there are no great economic successes, it only remains to set hopes on the object of national pride – ‘we are the strongest of all.’ “These statements show that Russia is becoming a more dangerous player on the international stage. Essentially, it is nontrivial blackmail of the West.” Does the West have any grounds for alarm and how should it respond to these statements of the Russian president? “There may be grounds for alarm, especially in the US, because relations are very tense now. America is imposing new, sectoral, sanctions. For example, it became known yesterday that Exxon Mobil is cutting ties with Russia because of these sanctions. In other words, Exxon Mobil, as an American company, no longer has a right to this kind of cooperation. All these measures are dealing quite a painful blow to Russia, so the latter must have adopted the strategy of relying on military force, which will force the West to reckon with Russia and meet its demands in order to avoid a confrontation. “It is difficult to say how the West will respond. They will take it into account, but NATO and other entities will hardly make any statements in reply.” ● “PUTIN’S STATEMENTS ARE, FIRST OF ALL, INTENDED FOR THE DOMESTIC CONSUMER” Leonid POLIAKOV, former Deputy Minister of Defense, Ukraine: “Putin’s statement on the nuclear weapons shows that he got into a very difficult situation due to his Chekastyle subversive activities. Suffice it to recall interference into US elections, the recently exposed drug traffic, terrorism, bombings in Syria, and many other things. On the eve of the elections, he must rehabilitate himself in some way as a strong international leader capable of exerting worldwide influence. But he is trying to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of his potential voters. Sanctions as well as criminal cases are pushing Putin to an ignominious end – either through a court action or through a Kremlin plot. That’s why it is extremely necessary for him to be reelected and thus remain a legitimate leader, for his legitimacy has been considerably undermined. As for the essential side of the matter – whether Russia really has an arsenal that poses a threat to the world – it is known that it really was and still is developing this kind of weapons. But, in reality, there is no convincing evidence that these weapons (especially hard-to-intercept hypersonic missiles) arouse serious concern in the West. If this posed a serious threat, then, judging by the way the Americans react to such things, this would have been common knowledge long ago. I think Putin is so far exaggerating the real danger of his weapons to the West, and his statements are, first of all, intended for the domestic consumer.”

■ PHOTO FACT By Valentyn TORBA, The Day WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA By Natalia PUSHKARUK, The Day Recently, the US released a report on Russia’s interference in electoral races. The intelligence was requested by former president Barack Obama in his last weeks in office. According to the document, the intelligence community has developed substantial evidence that Russian operatives compromised state websites or voter registration systems in seven states prior to the election of 2016. As reported by the NBC News who cited three US high-ranking officials as their sources, the interference affected the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin. At the same time, all officials who spoke to the media outlet agreed that no votes had been changed in any way. “To this day, six of the seven states deny they were breached, based on their own cyber investigations. It is a discrepancy that underscores how unprepared some experts think America is for the next wave of Russian interference that intelligence officials say is coming,” the NBC News reports. Meanwhile, head of the National Security Agency and commander of the Cyber Command Admiral Mike Rogers made a remarkable statement regarding the situation around alleged Russian interference in the US electoral races. In particular, he stressed that US President Donald Trump had not authorized him to prevent Russian cyber interference with US elections, the Voice of America reports. “I have never been given any specific direction to take additional steps outside my authority,” he said. According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin has “clearly come to the conclusion that there is little price to pay (for its US election interference) and that therefore, ‘I can continue this activity.’” In response to such statements, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders only said that the administration was taking a number of steps to prevent this and going to continue to implement them over the coming weeks and months. “Rogers’s remarks reinforce statements he and the nation’s other top intelligence chiefs made earlier this month declaring that Russia is continuing efforts to disrupt the US political system and is targeting the 2018 election,” The Washington Post commented on the official’s statement in an article. Parliament has passed a resolution to disclose the names of the Kremlin’s Ukrainian prisoners. A total of 241 MPs voted for draft resolution No. 8064, in which the Verkhovna Rada calls foreign parliaments and parliamentary assemblies of international organizations to do their utmost to free the Ukrainian citizens unlawfully detained by the Kremlin. The resolution says, among other things: “We are calling for applying all the possible international political and diplomatic mechanisms, as well as sanctions, against Russia for the purpose of the immediate release of all the hostages captured as a result of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian citizens unlawfully held by Russia on groundless and politically motivated charges.” Earlier, Iryna Herashchenko, First Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, had said: “I promised to have this parliamentary resolution with political prisoners’ names drawn up as I met relatives of the hostages. We wrote the resolution’s text together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the 4th anniversary of the Crimea annexation, we want to call Putin’s prisoners by name and demand that they be freed.” ● “THE CONGRESS IS INCREASINGLY DECISIVE” The Day asked Americanist, Professor of Borys Hrinchenko University of Kyiv Oleksandr TSVIETKOV to comment on this news. “These are not the first facts showing this interference. The entire intelligence community in the US has been confidently reporting interference and cyber attack attempts targeting the country’s political system. The US faces a challenge “The situation in Washington is now critical in this area, since the White House is not giving any direct orders to intensify the fight against Russianbased interference. Therefore, members of the Congress, especially those from the Democratic Party, are asking why no additional measures are being taken. After all, the midterm election that will take place in November this year is approaching, and there is a very real danger that such interference will continue. “One can consider, in the context of Admiral Rogers’s statements, that his current authority is insufficient. According to him, he needs additional powers in order to achieve greater results and guarantee that such interference will not take place in the fall of this year. The White House’s answer reflects its attempts to find different approaches to this matter. For example, the Department of State has agreed to allocate 40 million dollars to oppose Russian and Chinese propaganda inside the country. But this is a slightly different aspect of the matter, because it confronts propaganda being spread through the press. Meanwhile, cyber attacks are a new phenomenon and they have never reached this magnitude before, so the US faces a challenge, as it does not know yet whether it will be able to offer a confident response by the fall.” Kremlin’s prisoners named on 4th anniversary of Crimea annexation DAY AFTER DAY No.15 MARCH 6, 2018 3 In your opinion, what should Donald Trump do to protect the US from Russian interference in elections? “A whole set of different conflicts and problems intersect here. The president, of course, does not want such measures to be linked to the 2016 election campaign and the fact that Russia’s cyber interference helped him win that election. This is his personal perception, so he is not that active in giving directions to intensify this fight. Moreover, the team of Special Counsel Robert The intelligence community has proved Russia’s interference in elections in seven American states Ukrainian MPs appealed to their foreign counterparts Mueller also digs deep into this issue, and they will now look into businesses and incomes of the Trump Organization and his entire family to find out whether there is any connection with foreign influences there. This is why this issue is so critical now. The Congress is increasingly decisive in its demands that special measures be taken by the executive branch, and especially intelligence agencies. Meanwhile, on the side of the administration, we see mostly support for public and civic initiatives for now.” And how do you comment on the news that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded? “People are talking about it now because this issue has been finally resolved, but it was debated for a relatively long time. Experts link it to the White House chief of staff’s decision to narrow the circle of people who have access to top-level classified documents. “It means that Trump’s son-in-law will now have access only to information on matters that he directly supervises on behalf of the president, that is, only within his own remit. Prior to that, he, as a family member and as a person who had direct access to the president in a private family way, had access to toplevel classified documents. It is now limited, and this decision is welcomed by all US political forces.” Besides, members of parliament are calling on international organizations to impose sanctions on the persons implicated in the persecution of Ukrainian political prisoners. Forty million to counter propaganda How the West is trying to resist Russian informational influence By Natalia ISHCHENKO It was announced last week that US Department of State and Department of Defense have agreed to allocate at least $40 million for countering foreign propaganda and disinformation financed by “certain states.” The two agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement to transfer funds to the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center (GEC). One of the initiatives is the creation of an Information Access Fund to support public and private partners working to expose and counter propaganda and disinformation from foreign nations. ● COUNTERACTING RUSSIA’S DESTRUCTIVE ACTIVITIES Civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, and other American and foreign institutions will be eligible to compete for grants from the GEC. The media quote Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein as saying that “we would be happy to get applications from any group that shares our determination to counter disinformation.” The Global Engagement Center was founded in 2016 to counteract Islamist propaganda. Its mandate was expanded later so that it could also counter the propaganda and disinformation funded by other states. Observers believe that, although Russia is not named directly, counteracting Russia’s destructive activity in the information field is from now on one of the Center’s main objectives. In addition to budgetary allocations, nongovernmental funds will also be used to counter propaganda and disinformation. Goldstein said that the private sector had contributed a part of the $40 million. “This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight,” Goldstein said. “It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive.” ● STANDARDS ABOVE ALL The US activities in averting informational dangers drastically differ from the European Union’s steps. Washington believes that anti-American propaganda and disinformation pose a threat to national security and should be dealt with by the Department of Defense. Brussels has a different vision of this problem – from the viewpoint of protecting the values of a free world and democracy, meeting the standards of journalism, and the quality of the media. This is why the European “analog” of the American GEC – East StratCom Task Force (StratCom) established by the European External Action Service – focuses on the disproving fakes. In other words, it reacts to the well-known and already committed information attacks, without trying to forestall them. The StratCom employs several times fewer staff members than the GEC does, and it is considerably underfunded. Besides, there is no proof that StratCom receives support from EU states’ defense ministries. I recently attended a TV program with a well-known activist of the “stopfake movement” in Ukraine. I was trying to explain that exposing fake news is an overwhelming task for those who want to curb the spread of propaganda and disinformation. After the program I said frankly: debunking bogus items is an extremely difficult and necessary job, but is a “Sisyphean labor.” One can deny lies and distortions in the media indefinitely, but this in no way hinders fake news makers from continuing to invent and spread them. And if you take into account that the audience of “stop-fake projects” is dozens, hundreds, and thousands times smaller than that of the propaganda media, the effectiveness of the “disproval conveyor belt” looks still more doubtful. But this kind of activity fully suits the Europeans who are thus (ostensibly) combating disinformation without infringing the freedom of speech at all. ● ALL FIGHT AGAINST FAKES! Ukraine, which is suffering from Russia aggression, is trying to diversify the means of resisting hostile influence in the sphere of information. This includes bans on Russian social media and deportation of Russian propagandists, i.e., actions that are vital for protecting Ukraine’s national security but trigger a negative reaction in the West. The EU recently discussed again its strategy in countering propaganda and disinformation. Academics, journalists, and media experts discussed at a Brussels conference in late February what is to be done to make propagandists as well as troll- and bot-makers stop their activities. But again, as before, they only focus on anti-fake actions in order to protect democracy. The media quote Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy, as saying: “Fake news can even pose a threat to our democratic values. So it is very important to get as many people as possible involved in the process and try to find a solution.” The European Commission is expected to disclose its plans to counter fake news in the next few months. But we can forecast even now that the main efforts will be concentrated on increasing the media literacy of people and the quality of journalism. ● NOT YET A COLD WAR, BUT… It is unknown so far which measures the United States will support to enhance anti-propaganda and anti-disinformation activities. Earlier, in the 1980s, an entity called Active Measures Working Group functioned in the US. This group analyzed Soviet “active measures,” first of all, disinformation and propaganda, and suggested various counteractions. The group cooperated with not only the Department of Defense, but also the CIA and the FBI. It is so far a long way to a full-scale confrontation with the “evil empire.” Yet some steps “from the past” have already been taken overseas. By contrast with the Europeans who confine themselves to verbal criticism of Russian propaganda facilities, such as RT (ex-Russia Today), last year the US Department of Justice forced the Russian state-run channel RT to register as a “foreign agent.” The procedure was in line with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This law was passed in the US on the eve of World War Two in 1938. In spite of its name, the Foreign Agents Registration Act is aimed not against spies or foreign intelligence agents but against people and organizations that try to influence the formation of public opinion in the US on the instructions of and with financial support from other countries. The chief target was Nazi Germany which was trying to influence the US public in order to prevent the US from taking part in the imminent war. Now, 80 years on, the “anti-Hitlerite law,” which has considerably eased off since then, is being applied against Russia. We will know what the Americans are prepared to do in order to protect themselves from a destructive informational influence when it will be clear on which projects the 40 million dollars will be spent. Still, judging by the experience of past years, we will not be told about most of the planned and taken measures to counter “actions of certain countries.” They will, at best, hint us about it many years later. For example, Hollywood will make a film about this kind of special operations.

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