Reconsidering Great Power Competition Below Armed Conflict

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NATO’s Most Elite Operators and their Biggest Challenges

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Joe Biden Refuses to Voluntarily Testify at Impeachment Proceedings

Joe Biden ruled out the possibility that he would voluntarily testify in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying to do so would “divert” away from the issue at hand.

“No, I’m not going to let them take their eye off the ball,” the former vice president told reporters when asked about the possibility on his “No Malarkey” bus tour in Iowa. “The president is the one who has committed impeachable crimes, and I’m not going to let him divert from that. I’m not going to let anyone divert from that.”

Biden’s refusal sets up the likelihood that he would need to be subpoenaed to appear before Congress, especially if the impeachment inquiry proceeds to a trial in the Senate. Some Republicans, like Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), have already signaled it would be inappropriate for the impeachment inquiry, let alone a trial, to progress without the testimonies of both the former vice president and his youngest son, Hunter. As such, Senate Republicans have begun looking into the Obama-era White House and Hunter Biden’s wheeling and dealing in Ukraine, which has taken center stage in the inquiry.

The former vice president, for his part, has responded to calls that he and his son testify by lashing out at the Republicans, like Graham.

“Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” Biden said last month when asked about the senator’s efforts around impeachment. “I say Lindsey, I just—I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you. I mean, my Lord.”

Biden’s refusal to testify also underscores just how central he and his son are to the Democrats’ case for impeaching Trump. The controversy started when Trump suggested the Ukrainian government investigate how Hunter Biden was able to secure a seat on the board of directors of Burisma Holdings. The younger Biden was appointed to the Ukraine-based natural gas company’s board in 2014, despite having no background in either the energy industry or eastern Europe. More troubling was the fact that Hunter Biden’s appointment seemed to coincide with his father being tapped to lead the Obama administration’s policy towards in Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

As Peter Schweizer, senior contributor at Breitbart News, detailed in his book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Hunter Biden’s background in investment banking, lobbying, and hedge fund management paled in comparison to that of current and past members of Burisma’s board.

Adding to concerns is the fact that at the time Hunter Biden joined Burisma, the company was seen as actively courting leaders in the West to prevent further scrutiny of its business practices. The same month that Hunter Biden was tapped to join the company’s board, the government of Great Britain froze accounts belonging to Burisma’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, under suspicion of money laundering.

A Ukrainian official with strong ties to Zlochevsky admitted in October the only reason that Hunter Biden secured the appointment was to “protect” the company from foreign scrutiny.

It is in the context of Burisma and Zlochevsky’s legal troubles that Joe Biden’s political influence has raised the most red flags. The former vice president has particularly drawn questions over his conduct in demanding the Ukrainian government fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in 2016.

Joe Biden, who has publicly bragged about the firing, reportedly threatened to withhold more than one billion dollars in U.S. aid if the Ukrainian government did not remove Shokin. He has claimed the demand came from then-President Barack Obama, who had allegedly lost faith in the prosecutor’s ability to tackle corruption.

Unofficially, though, it was known that Shokin was investigating both Burisma and Zlochevsky for public corruption. It is uncertain if the probe extended to Hunter Biden, although Shokin has recently admitted that prior to his ouster, he was warned to back off the matter. Regardless of what occurred, Shokin’s successor, who is now himself being investigated for public corruption, dropped the investigation into Burisma.

Congressional Republicans have cited the shadowy timeline of events and the appearance of conflicting interests when arguing for Hunter and Joe Biden to testify before the impeachment proceedings.

“I believe that Hunter Biden’s association on that board doesn’t pass the smell test,” Graham told reporters last month. “If a Republican was in the same boat they would be eaten alive by the media.”

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How are the Russian raiders doing this?

One curious case about the real estate in Moscow, London and Dubai and the liquidated trading company

A few weeks ago an article came out in Russia. Its title sounds unclear: ‘The perdimonocle’s effect. The raiders among us’. The ‘perdimonocle’ is a Russian version of the French phrase ‘perdu monocle’ which means ‘to drop a monocle’. Old actors in a theatre used to do it to demonstate amazedness. In Russian ‘perdimonocle’ has almost the same meaning but sounds also very funny for a native speakers.

The article made some noise among the Russian readers. This story is about illegal takeovers – very sensitive subject in the local context. But the trace of heroes goes far beyond Russia: they’re found in London, Germany, France, United Arab Emirates. So we think it could be interesting to our readers too – how are the Russian raiders doing this?

One little question about the legacy

On May 13, 2013, the Russian businessman Dmitry Timinsky accidentally died in Dubai. He had an old mother Galina and a blood brother Sergey. But also it was a wife – Tambov-born Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova. Dmitry didn’t live with his wife for a long time and even communicate with her. Their marriage became a formality in a short time – she just continued to live in Timinsky’s flat in Moscow. But after Dmitry’s death in the prime of life she claimed for his property. And it’s not about the flat in Moscow, where she wasn’t even registered. It’s about a luxury realty in Dubai, England, Moscow and premium autos. Few millions of dollars is at stake.

To win the prize a poor widow should do just one thing – get rid of claims for property from Dmitry’s mother Galina and blood brother Sergey. And Natalya found ‘real pros’ for this case – Alexander Boksha and Alexander Zolochevsky.

Profession: raider

Boksha and Zolochevsky are not Dmitry Timinsky’s relatives. They prefer to introduce themselves as lawyers, but they’re not. We may say they’re professional raiders.

Once it was a group of companies named ‘ROSBUILDING’ in Russia. Few years ago ‘ROSBUILDING’ was involved in dozens of scandals tied to illegal takeovers of property. Boksha and Zolochevsky were its employees.

You can’t find a lot of information about Alexander Boksha in the Internet. He made use of new right to be forgotten. But everything couldn’t be hidden – for example, a takeover of horticultural storehouse ‘Perovskoye’ in 2013. The scandal was juicy. As reported by ‘Noviye Bedomosti’ Boksha controlled this operation in the behood of Azerbaijanian businessman Yakov Yakubov. ‘Scandaly Ru’ also mention Boksha in the drama of ‘Perovskoye’. Zolochevsky also made an appearance in this dirty game. ‘Nasha Versiya’ mentions him just as Boksha. Obviously the union of Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova with Boksha and Zolochevsky isn’t a coincidence.

Search who is to profit by it

What if Natalya and Dmitry’s brother and mother could agree among themselves? Because Galina and Sergey are ready to the compromise solution. After all she they are relatives with Natalya and could possibly find common language. Might find before the violent incident, which made an accommodation totally impossible.

The unknows slaughtered Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova in 2014. The criminal case was open into undentified persons. The unknows urged Natalya to stop fight for property. Just after this Boksha and Zolochevsky took Natalya under their protection and isolated her from relatives and friends of Dmitry Timinsky.

Is fecit cui prodes – said the wise Romans. Search who is to profit by it.

In this case it is obvious that everyone is loosing because of the conflict: both Sergey and Galina Timinsky and Natalya herself. Only Boksha and Zolochevsky don’t lose anything.

Under pressure

In September 2018 Sergey Timinsky was unexpectedly arrested by police in Dubai and passed a few days in a police holding cell without an opportunity to contact to the Consul of the Russian Federation.

It was about the letter. This letter was delivered to poor widow in Dubai by the Syrian Al Ali Mokhavia. As the Syrian said this letter was from one Sergey and carried threats against Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova.

Timinsky told the arabian investigator about the conflict because of his brother’s legacy. Sergey’s words were enough for the investigator to admit that the situation with letter was incited and Sergey has no attention to it. He was set free.

When Sergey came back to Russia he wrote an application to the Russian relevant authorities. He asked them to get tough with Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova, Alexander Boksha and Alexander Zolochevsky. Timinsky is sure that the provocation in Dubai continues the pressure on him and his collegues. He writes: ‘I might add that formerly there were threats from N.A. Timinskaya and A.V. Boksha toward my collegues, for example, E.V. Rukavishnikova’. At the same time Sergey’s lawyers had also taken care that police of Dubai will investigate the incident and punish guilty persons.

What are the raiders up to?

All the realty and cars the deceased Dmitry Timinsky had bought with money received from investors. In his sphere it wasn’t to difficult to find investors – Timinsky was a financial director in the Russian trading company ‘Forteks’.

The thing is that the trading company ‘Forteks’ went into liquidation as bankrupt. There were few other ‘Fortekses’ on the Russian market, but Dmitry Timinsky had totally nothing to do with them. But the widow, Boksha and Zolochevsky are going to take his legacy completely and Timinsky’s depths mean nothing to them! And may be it’s not the end. It seems that they are going to make a prize of one of the eponymous company ‘Forteks’. The title and Dmitry Timinsky’s contacts with its employees may help them in this operation.

Mentioned Elena Rukavishnikova is a financial director at the company ‘Forteks’ and she was a general director at the liquidated trading company ‘Forteks’. Boksha and Zolochevsky had found her in 2016, informed her that they are going after the company ‘Forteks’, where she works now, and demanded from Rukavishnikova documents and private information about the company. She was quite surprised when they insisted that the deceased Timinsky was not a financial director, but an owner of the trading company ‘Forteks’. The raiders don’t care that it isn’t true.

According to Rukavishnikova at their first meeting Boksha declared: ‘We have enough money to war. Y.M. Yakubov — is a rich man and can wain for a long time. We have a very big network at the limbs of the law and criminal circles’.

Elena Rukavishnikova came in for a lot of trouble – there were threats, aggressive signs of chasing, and finally her personal car was burned near her home. In September 2018 a criminal case was brought for the fact of arson. The suspects – an organised group of persons ruled (according to Rukavishnikova) by Alexander Boksha.

In the course of investigative actions photo and video documentation of the covert surveillance of Elena Rukavishnikova and Sergey Timinsky and the information about Elena’s car movements the day before it was burned were found at Boksha and Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova places.

The similar trace we find in Orenburg: to the one A.G. Pasadze came the same Alexander Boksha with friends. Pasadze was a founder of liquidated few years ago limited liability company ‘Nikson’ was co-founder of the trading company ‘Forteks’.

With help from local rogue cops Boksha ‘convienced’ A.G. Pasadze to sell him 100% of the liquidated company. Then he made Pasadze to bring suit before the Arbitral Tribunal to refound ‘Nikson’. She refused signed documents just after Boskha left and asked for protection from the law enforcement officials. We read in her announcement:

‘I am aking to protect myself from these people and stop this police lawlessness. Otherwise I will have to kill myself ’cause it’s the only way out I see from this situation’.

After all Boksha’s plan failed that time.

The way the spider works

The author of the article came into a conclusion: there is something in common in such cases as Natalya Timinskaya-Kolesnikova’s beating or letter that she received in Dubai. It’s someone’s writing here. Both incidents – irrational and violent.

Why possibly Sergey would have a profit by threatening Natalya in Dubai?  It would be easier to give Natalya that letter in the capital of Russia, ’cause they both live in one district. People who prepared it had known how it will work in United Arab Emirates. They knew that the Russian law enforcements won’t take such letter serious. When Rukavishnikova and Pasadze filed a reports against Boksha they had only an answer: ‘No body, no charge’. On the other hand national security environment in OAE is very scrupulous in such questions. It was a reliance on an oppressive feeling that anyone would have while taking under arrest in a foreign country.

And what about various threats to Pasadze and Rukavishnikova? Put yourself on the place of these women. Could you live through such pressing? What did Pasadze feel If the only way out that she saw was a suicide?

Remember the web that spider are making. One little web is not scary. But the whole system brings death to the victim. We see something in common around the relatives of Dmitry Timinsky and his collegues. Nothing deadly is happening. But may be the victims will get tired from pressing and start to make mistakes? Or just give up.

But may be the raiders haven’t much time left. And may be it will be soon possible to understand why some employees in security agencies were so ‘unwary’. Because the investigation against the raiders and their fellows is ongoing. And soon will come the times when the network in law enforcements won’t help.




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Tags: Dmitry Timinsky, ROSBUILDING, The perdimonocle’s effect

Category: A Frontpage, Russia

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Putin’s Perfect Cover

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The post Putin’s Perfect Cover appeared first on The Cipher Brief.

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Russian Su-30 fighter jets criticized by Belarus, they want F-16 – Defence Blog

Russia has started implementing a contract on the delivery of a batch of its newest Su-30SM multirole fighter jets to Belarus, but some analysts raised concerns about costs over the entire life cycle of the aircraft, from fabrication to maintenance.

The publication reported Friday that a wide range of renowned experts has expressed their concerns regarding Belarus selected Russian-made combat aircraft to replace ageing Soviet-era MiG-29 fleet.

Andrey Porotnikov, BelarusSecurityBlog’s project leader, said that operating and support costs of Russian aircraft are more expensive than U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft.

Usually, the combat aircraft life-cycle cost for an estimated life of 35 years is 2-2.5 times its purchase price, as a result of which the total cost of maintenance of each Belarus’s Su-30SM will cost $100-125 million.

“And now, to sum up, the price of aircraft [about $ 50 million], the maintain of airworthiness and modernization. We get the amount from 185 to 210 million dollars for each (!) aircraft in the next 35 years. And the squadron [12 aircraft], respectively, from 2.22 billion to 2.52 billion dollars. The amount is not small, ”- Andrey Porotnikov stated.

Another disadvantage of the fighter manufactured in Russia is its AL-31FP engines, which six units “eat” during the Su-30SM life cycle (two of them are already installed and paid for at the time of purchase). This circumstance in the publication is explained by the fact that “Soviet (Russian) aircraft engines are traditionally inferior to Western ones not only in fuel efficiency but also in between-repairs and operating life cycles.”

“The Polish Air Force simultaneously operates the Soviet twin-engine fighter MiG-29 and the American single-engine F-16. It is assumed that the American fighter will fly off all 35 years with the same engine that was originally installed on it. Unfortunately, this does not work out with the MiG-29: eight engines will have to be replaced in the same period, ” explained analyst.

Photo by Airman 1st Class Duncan Bevan

According to TASS, the Su-30SM is a generation 4++ serial-produced and upgraded two-seat super-maneuverable fighter jet. The Su-30SM is furnished with two AL-31FP thrust-vectoring reheated double-flow turbofan engines. The fighter has an operating range of 1,500 km and flight endurance of 3.5 hours without refueling.

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