Sunday, July 23, 2017

Syrian War News Updates -- July 23, 2017

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Al Jazeera: Syria truce crumbles as air raids hit Eastern Ghouta

Monitoring group says air strikes hit rebel-held towns just 24 hours after a ceasefire was agreed.

Syrian government forces have carried out several air strikes in the Eastern Ghouta area outside of Damascus, a day after the Syrian military declared a cessation of hostilities in the area, according to a UK-based monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Saturday had been relatively calm after the ceasefire took effect with isolated incidents of shellfire.

But on Sunday, six air strikes hit the towns of Douma and Ain Terma in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, it said.

Read more ....

Syrian War News Updates -- July 23, 2017

Syrian warplanes strike near Damascus despite ceasefire, Syrian observatory says -- CBC/AP
Syria strikes hit near Damascus despite ceasefire: monitor -- AFP
Hezbollah and Syrian army advance in border offensive -- France 24
Hezbollah and Syrian Army Attack Islamists on Lebanon Border -- NYT
Lebanese mediator killed in fighting near Syrian border -- Al Jazeera
Syrian army, allies advance against Islamic State east of Raqqa -- Reuters
Militants burst from tunnels, hit weak points in Raqqa fight -- ABC News/AP
US Special Operators Are Moving Closer to the Fighting in Raqqa -- The Drive
U.S., British volunteers battle Islamic State in militants’ de facto Syrian capital -- AP
Women burn burqas and men shave beards to celebrate liberation from Isis in Syria -- The Independent

The Islamic State Did Have The Ingredients To Build A Crude 'Dirty Bomb'

Washington Post: How ISIS nearly stumbled on the ingredients for a ‘dirty bomb’

On the day the Islamic State overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, it laid claim to one of the greatest weapons bonanzas ever to fall to a terrorist group: a large metropolis dotted with military bases and garrisons stocked with guns, bombs, rockets and even battle tanks.

But the most fearsome weapon in Mosul on that day was never used by the terrorists. Only now is it becoming clear what happened to it.

Locked away in a storage room on a Mosul college campus were two caches of cobalt-60, a metallic substance with lethally high levels of radiation. When contained within the heavy shielding of a radiotherapy machine, cobalt-60 is used to kill cancer cells. In terrorists’ hands, it is the core ingredient of a “dirty bomb,” a weapon that could be used to spread radiation and panic.

Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt and watched anxiously for three years for signs that the militants might try to use it. Those concerns intensified in late 2014 when Islamic State officials boasted of obtaining radioactive material, and again early last year when the terrorists took over laboratories at the same Mosul college campus with the apparent aim of building new kinds of weapons.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently ISIS did not appreciate what they had .... 'They aren't that smart': ISIS had the 'perfect' ingredient to build a huge dirty bomb under their noses in Mosul but had no idea (Daily Mail). What is also reassuring is that the real physical impact from such a bomb (if it was used) would have been minimal .... Isis And The C-60 For A Dirty Bomb In Mosul - Not A Huge Problem (Tim Worstall, Forbes).

Taliban Seize Two Districts In Central Afghanistan

VOA: Taliban Captures 2 Districts in Central Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD — Heavy fighting is raging in central Afghanistan where officials say the Islamist Taliban has captured two key district headquarters and is assaulting government outposts in nearby areas.

Insurgents stormed Taywara district in Ghor province early Sunday, after seizing control of the border district of Kohistan in the adjoining northern province of Faryab, according to Afghan and Taliban officials.

Read more ....

More News On The Afghan War

The Latest: Taliban stalk hospital killing wounded police -- AP
Officials: Taliban seize 2 districts, kill wounded police -- Washington Post/AP
Taliban claims more ground in Afghanistan -- SKY News
Taliban Seize Control Of Two Districts In Afghanistan -- RFE
Taliban fighters attack police, capturing two districts -- Al Jazeera
Taywara district center also falls to Taliban control in Ghor province --Khaama Press
Faryab’s Kohistan District Falls To The Taliban -- Tolo News
Faryab’s Kohistan District Falls To The Taliban -- Tolo News
Afghanistan: Taliban overrun 2 districts -- Anadolu Agency
13 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan's Kunduz province; military aircraft targeted gathering, says army official -- First Post
Taliban carry out mass kidnapping in Afghanistan's Kandahar province -- DW
Taliban execute 7 of the 70 abducted civilians in Kandahar province -- Khaama Press
Afghan Police Searching For Missing Villagers After Mass Kidnapping -- RFE
Mattis: Authority delegated by Trump in Afghanistan is tactical, not strategic -- Military Times
Mattis on Afghanistan troops decision: 'We are working to get it right' -- CNN
Afghanistan: A morally corrupting catastrophe -- Alon Ben-Meir, Japan Times/The Globalist
Making Afghanistan Great Again -- Fred Kaplan, Slate

World News Briefs -- July 23, 2017

The Guardian: More Jerusalem clashes feared as Israel searches for way to secure holy site

Death toll of violence over access to compound housing al-Aqsa mosque reaches seven, bringing global calls for restraint

Israeli officials insisted on Sunday they will not remove the metal detectors from outside a major Jerusalem mosque, whose installation triggered rapidly escalating confrontations with Palestinians, will not be removed.

Amid a mounting toll of deaths and injuries in the crisis, Israelis and Palestinians are braced for weeks of confrontation, as both sides appeared to dig into their positions.

Read more ....


Syria: Safe zone demarcation agreement reached for Damascus after fighting leaves 92 dead.

Syria strikes hit near Damascus despite ceasefire: monitor.

Syrian army, allies advance against Islamic State east of Raqqa.

Hezbollah and Syrian army advance in border offensive.

Lebanese mediator killed in fighting near Syrian border.

Iran and Iraq sign accord to boost military cooperation.

Iran seizes Saudi Arabian fishing boat and arrests crew as tensions escalate in Persian Gulf.

Qatar crisis: Turkey's Erdogan calls for swift end to Gulf dispute. Erdogan set to visit Saudi Arabia over Gulf crisis.

Yemen cholera cases could exceed 600,000 in 2017: Red Cross.

Rocket launched from Gaza Strip – Israeli military.

Israel says Jerusalem mosque metal detectors to stay, may be reduced. Israel installs security cameras at al-Aqsa compound.

Netanyahu faces pressure over holy site after violence kills eight.

Iran rejects US threats over detained Americans.


Taliban fighters attack police, capturing two districts.

Taliban carry out mass kidnapping in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Afghanistan: Taliban 'kidnapped dozens' of villagers. 70 villagers kidnapped in Afghanistan, at least 7 killed: police.

Marawi standoff enters third month, underlining crisis in Philippines.

North Korea says South will pay 'harshest' price for challenging missile tests.

Last chance to see North Korea for US tourists.

Japanese PM Abe's support slides again before parliament appearance.

Timor-Leste election: 'Disenfranchised youth' party wins first seats in parliament.

Fukushima disaster: Robot finds possible melted nuclear fuel.


Libya eastern commander Haftar, U.N.-backed premier Serraj to meet in Paris on Tuesday: source.

Ugandan air force carries out airstrikes on South Sudanese rebels positions in Upper Nile.

Western donors freeze support for 'obsolete' South Sudan peace deal.

Saudi Arabia vows to continue efforts to lift U.S. sanctions on Sudan.

Nigeria's ex-oil minister battles slew of graft cases.

Chief of Nigerian Army Staff, Buratai orders troops to capture Boko Haram leader within 40 days.

Egypt opens military base says largest in region.

Kenya poll has Kenyatta at 47%, Odinga at 43% before Aug. 8 vote.

DR Congo opposition unveil plans to force Kabila out.

Mozambique to default on another bond repayment.


EU sounds alarm, urges U.S. to coordinate on Russia sanctions. EU concerned over US bill on Russia sanctions, warns of ‘unintended consequences’.

Protesters demand Polish President veto judicial law.

Britain needs transitional deal with EU, to end before next election: minister.

Popularity tumbles for France's Macron: poll.

Merkel rival Martin Schulz slams migrant policy.

Top Merkel aide says Turkey's conduct 'unacceptable'.

Spain's business leaders worried about Catalan secession.

Greek holiday island battles to recover from deadly quake.

Key figure in US, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak goes home.

‘Imagine living with this crap’: tempers in Venice boil over in tourist high season.

Rome risks water rationing as drought-hit lake set to go offline.


U.S. lawmakers reach deal on Russia sanctions bill, creating limits for Trump.

White House on edge as Mueller quietly pursues Russia probe.

Venezuelan's opposition calls new strike, violence flares.

Venezuelan violinist Wuilly Arteaga hurt in protest.

US weighs financial sanctions to hit Venezuela's oil revenue, sources say.

FARC and former paramilitary arch enemies agree to both face Colombia’s Truth Commission.

'People are getting poorer': hunger and homelessness as Brazil crisis deepens.

Conservative Party merger alters landscape in Canada's oil patch.

SF iconic Golden Gate Bridge to close traffic during marathon due to terrorist threat.


Mattis on ISIS leader Baghdadi: 'Until I see his body, I am going to assume he is alive'.

ISIL women recruits detained in Mosul.

Hundreds of Islamic State corpses await repatriation from Libya.

Shabaab gains in Somalia due to ‘lapses in offensive counterterrorism operations’.

YouTube has started redirecting searches for violent extremism to anti-terrorism videos.


Saudi Arabia turns off the U.S. oil tap.

India's Delhi government tells Philip Morris to remove all ads.

Rookie from New Jersey wins World Series of Poker, $8.1M.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 23, 2017

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gives a speech during a meeting of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 21, 2017, during which he announced freezing all contacts with Israel. (Flash90)

Times of Israel: In first, Abbas halts security cooperation meetings with Israel

As part of general freeze of contacts with Jerusalem over Temple Mount metal detectors, Palestinian sources say PA president suspending security ties for first time since he took office a decade ago

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has canceled security coordination meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials protesting the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The open-ended suspension of security cooperation was part of the more general freeze in contacts with Israel that Abbas announced late Friday, Palestinian sources said, despite initial assessments the PA president would refrain from severing the military ties.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 23, 2017

Israeli Army Gears Up for Escalation in West Bank That Could Last Weeks -- Haaretz

Why Russia's ballistic-missile defense works and the US's kinda doesn't -- Business Insider

Incoming! Russian Airforce to Get Delivery of Over 100 New Aircraft in 2018 -- Sputnik

Putin's forces stage day of military might in Russia as deadly fighter jets take to the skies while the next generation are inspired at armed forces theme park -- Daily Mail

Baltic Frontier: China Will Hold Naval Drills 'Wherever Its Interests Demand It' -- Sputnik

Chinese military to recruit more college students -- Economic Times

Reduce tension through direct dialogue: Pentagon to India, China -- Economic Times

Shortage of ammunition for Indian Army; unfit food on trains: 10 things CAG has red-flagged -- Hindustan Times

ISIS Using Motion Detector IEDs In Battle for Raqqa -- Defense Tech

Egypt opens military base says largest in region -- ABC News/AP

Turkey has agreed to buy Russia's advanced missile-defense system, leaving NATO wondering what's next -- Business Insider

Canadian special forces tasked with buying weapons for Kurds -- RUDAW

Canadian special forces to get new vehicles later this year -- Ottawa Citizen

2 British submariners reportedly asked Theresa May to make it easier to download porn while at sea -- Business Insider

British troops targeted by drones in Afghanistan are being protected by a new radio wave 'rifle' that zaps the unmanned aircraft out of the sky -- Daily Mail

Anti-drone system gets tryout with US special forces -- GCN

U.S. military turns to Silicon Valley to protect troops from drones -- CNN

B-2 Stealth Bomber Flanked By F-15s Stuns At The Royal International Air Tattoo -- The Drive

U.S., seven allies map joint F-35 jet operations in Europe -- Reuters

Breathless F-35 pilots to get oxygen boost via algorithm tweak -- The Register

US Joint Chiefs Chairman: Russia is the Greatest Threat America Faces -- NBC

Top US general: Military option for North Korea not ‘unimaginable’ -- Politico

Top U.S. military commander says at Aspen Security Forum potential conflict with North Korea would be ‘horrific’ loss of life -- Aspen Times

The Navy's put down a 'significant bet' on the $13 billion USS Gerald R Ford, which some say is a risky gamble -- CNBC

How the U.S. Navy Is Waging War on ISIS -- National Interest

Faster, More Powerful Navy Railgun Coming This Summer -- Sputnik

The Navy’s Railgun Will Get Faster, More Powerful This Summer -- Defense Tech

NSA chief: Now is 'not the best time' for US-Russia cyber unit -- NBC

Artillery: When Cheaper Is Better And More Popular -- Strategy Page

The US Navy May Have Watered Down Its MQ-25 Drone Even More -- The Drive

Pentagon nominates Vice Adm. Aquilino to lead Navy’s 5th Fleet -- Stars and Stripes

Veterans' Access to Medical Marijuana Hinges on Monday Vote -- and Stripes

Message On Bunker Buster Bomb Tells ISIS "This Is For Making Me Miss Game of Thrones" -- The Drive

Trump Orders Extensive Study of Defense Industrial Base -- Joseph Marks, NextGov

Pentagon study declares the American empire is ‘collapsing’ -- Raw Story

Weapons: A Better AK-47 But So What? -- Strategy Page

Moscow And Baghdad Agree To A Huge Arms Deal Involving Tanks

T-90 tank © Alexey Kudenko / Sputnik

Strategic Cultural Foundation: Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.

The T-90 is among the best-selling tanks in the world. Hundreds of vehicles have been sold to India, Algeria, Azerbaijan and other countries. A small number of tanks has been delivered to Syria to reinforce the military’s capabilities of combatting Islamic State (IS). Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt are considering the option of purchasing T-90s.

Read more ....

More News On The Russian - Iraqi Arms Deal On Tanks

Iraq to receive Russian T-90 tanks in 2017 -- Iraqi News
Iraq to buy ‘large batch’ of advanced Russian T-90 tanks – Kremlin -- RT
Iraq Purchases 73 T-90 Tank Variants From Russia -- Defense World
Tanks: Russia to supply large batch of tanks to Iraq -- Economic Times
Why Russia's T-90 Is the Tank of Choice for Iraq -- Sputnik
A T-90 tank shoots during a demo exercise at Alabino base (File)'Space Age Technology': Why Russia's T-90 Tank is Taking Over the World -- Sputnik

Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford Speaks At The Aspen Security Forum (Video)

WNU Editor: Key points from General Dunford's remarks at the Aspen Security Forum ....

Dunford: Military option for North Korea not 'unimaginable' (Politico)
Top U.S. General Says Russia Just One Of Many Security Threats Facing Country Today (RFE)
Joseph Dunford says Russia most military capable country of those posing threat to US (TASS)

Inside Edwards Air Force Base (Video)

Meanwhile In Iran

Cartoon Round-Up

After Mosul Iraq's Special Forces Are Struggling To Regroup

Iraqi special operations forces advance during a field training exercise in Baghdad in May. (Sgt. Mitchell Ryan/U.S. Army)

Washington Post: Iraq’s elite special forces struggle to regroup after bloody fight for Mosul

When the Iraqi government launched an online recruitment drive for its elite counterterrorism forces in May, a startling 300,000 men applied. Of those, 3,000 passed a preliminary screening. Only about 1,000 are expected to be accepted into the rigorous joint American-Iraqi training academy, an American military trainer said.

The staggering response points to the popularity of the “Golden Division” following its high-profile role in wresting back territory from the Islamic State. But the rigorous selection process highlights the challenge of rebuilding a force that the United States says lost 40 percent of its human and military resources in the nine-month battle for the city of Mosul.

The counterterrorism forces, numbering only about 10,000, are the undisputed cream of Iraq’s armed forces, but powerful Iran-backed majority Shiite militias are also among the most trusted fighters in the nation. Both are remembered as the forces that stemmed the Islamic State’s march on Iraq in 2014 — as traditional army and police divisions collapsed — and later led the expulsion of the extremist group from its major territorial holdings.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When you lose 40% of your division .... it is going to take time to recover. But the remarkable story is that 300,000 Iraqis applied to replace those who had fallen even knowing that only 1,000 would make the final cut.

Protests Continue In Venezuela As The Currency Collapses

Bloomberg: The Meltdown in Venezuela's Currency Is Deepening

The black-market rate for the bolivar plunges beyond 8,700 per dollar for first time

The meltdown in Venezuela’s currency is deepening as a crippling dollar shortage and a threat of oil sanctions take their toll on the economy. The black-market rate for the bolivar traded weaker than 8,700 per dollar for the first time, according to on Friday, compared with the official rate of around 10 and a more widely used alternative rate of 2,757. That’s creating an illusion for foreigners observing the country’s stock market, which appears to be valued at $2.57 trillion -- bigger than Germany’s, France’s, India’s or Canada’s -- but is worth only $3 billion based on the black-market rate.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Venezuela

Venezuelans Are Now Paying 1000 Times More For US Dollars Than They Did In 2010 -- Zero Hedge
Venezuelan's opposition to hold two-day strike against Maduro -- Reuters
Venezuelans protest Maduro’s plan to rewrite constitution -- AP
Violence flares in Caracas at anti-Maduro march, violinist hurt -- Reuters
Venezuelans protest Maduro's bid to amend constitution -- Al Jazeera
Venezuelan violinist Wuilly Arteaga hurt in protest -- BBC
'I will be back': Violin-playing face of Venezuela's protests injured in clashes -- The Guardian
Venezuela row as National Assembly appoints judges -- BBC
Venezuela's Supreme Court Declares Opposition's Judges Invalid -- Prensa Latina
US weighs financial sanctions to hit Venezuela's oil revenue, sources say -- NBC/Reuters
Venezuela's Perfect Storm for Oil May Be About to Break -- Liam Denning, Bloomberg
As Venezuela teeters on constitutional crisis, Miami lawmakers warn of a new Cuba -- McClatchy
The heartbreak of victims’ families in Venezuela fuels the resistance against Maduro -- Eduard Freisler, Miami Herald
“There’s no middle ground” -- Tim Hume, VICE News

Tweets For Today

Dunkirk: A Must See Movie

Daily Mail: Sacre bleu! French complain that their brave sacrifice at Dunkirk has been written out of new blockbuster movie (while the Russians say it celebrates cowardice)

* Christopher Nolan's film has received a rapturous reception from critics in UK
* But French journalists have criticised Nolan for not including their compatriots
* And some Russian took to social media to mock British for celebrating a defeat

It is one of the most hotly anticipated blockbusters for years - boasting a swathe of star names and receiving a string of glowing five star reviews.

But while Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk seems destined for success in Britain, it has come under fire from French critics, who claim their compatriots' involvement in the evacuation has been downplayed.

And the Russians have also been critical, mocking it as a celebration of British cowardice - despite the fact they had a non-aggression pact with Hitler at the time.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Aside from what some in France are saying .... or from Russia .... I saw the movie tonight, and it is a must see. If you can catch it in IMAX .... do so. Speaking for myself .... it is one of the best war films that I have ever saw.

Picture Of The Day

Response Leader
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Andres Gomez, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist, leads a group of U.S. and South Korean Marines into a CBRN response scenario during Exercise Program 17-7 in Pohang, South Korea, July 3, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo gallery .... U.S., South Korean Marines Fight Unseen Enemy (US Department of Defense)

Russian President Putin: 'I'm Not Made Of Sugar'

RT: ‘Not made of sugar’: Putin shrugs off badass downpour pic

It was a memorable day for Russian social media when Vladimir Putin went out to lay a wreath at a WWII memorial near the Kremlin. In a massive downpour and without an umbrella, photos of the drenched Russian leader flooded the internet. And people only had one question…

“Why didn’t he have an umbrella?”

Not surprisingly, the children he was speaking to in Sochi brought this up.

With all the judo and bare-chested horse-riding, most would agree that the Russian president is made of tough stuff.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:
Non-Russians do not know this .... but a few weeks ago Putin took Russian social media by storm when he stood in the rain while laying a wreath at the WWII memorial near the Kremlin. He has said nothing about that day until his Q&A with Sochi students a few days ... and while the question felt like a plant .... Putin's answer surprised no one.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

With Presidential Elections Only Eight Months Away, Russian Voters Are Facing No Good Alternatives To Putin

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (left) and Igor Strelkov (right), a former pro-Russia separatist commander who took part in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, attend a broadcasting debate in Moscow moderated by journalist Mikhail Zygar (center).

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: Putin's No Good, But Where's the Alternative?

No opposition leader can muster a vision inspiring enough to compete.

No wonder it's so difficult to imagine Russia without President Vladimir Putin: Even his most vehement opponents can't seem to offer an alternative vision for the country.

This week, two prominent opposition figures engaged in a debate. On the liberal side was Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption crusader who has announced his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election even though he has little chance of actually being allowed to run against Putin. Against all odds, Navalny is trying to act as if Russia were a normal democracy: He has opened local campaign offices (where activists are regularly harassed and detained) and broadcasts commentary on current events from his own TV studio (where the debate took place).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In this election cycle .... there are no real opponents to Russian President Putin .... which is a big disappointment to me. No one has a broad vision on where Russia should be .... and those who do cannot articulate it well. The number one issue for most (if not all) Russians is the economy, and on this issue Putin is incredibly weak. What has saved him is that economic reforms instituted after sanctions were imposed on Russia has revitalised the entrepreneur and small business class in Russia .... and it is this sector that is now driving the growth of the economy. If this sector was not booming .... this summer will be remembered as a summer of discontent and mass protests. My prediction .... lacking any real opposition Putin will be re-elected, but he will not run again, and it will be the next Presidential election cycle that things will get interesting

Update: What scares the Kremlin is the internet and social media .... that is an element that they cannot control. And even though next year's Presidential election should be a shoo-in for Putin, the Kremlin is not taking any chances .... Russian MPs vote to ban tools that help users stay incognito online (DW).

Russian President Putin Hints He May Stay As President For Life During A Question-And-Answer At A Sochi School

The Guardian: Vladimir Putin: 'I may not leave Russian presidency'

A question-and-answer session at a Sochi school was designed to make Putin seem youth-friendly after recent youth demonstrations

Asked what he plans to do when he leaves the presidency, Vladimir Putin paused and smiled. “But I haven’t decided yet if I will leave the presidency,” the Russian leader replied, to laughter and applause from an audience made up almost entirely of Russians who were born after he first became president in 2000.

A month after thousands of young Russians took to the streets to protest against corruption among the Kremlin elite, Putin held a set-piece discussion event on Friday with hundreds of children, in an apparent attempt to portray himself as a youth-friendly president.

Read more ....

Update #1: Putin hints he may be Russian president for life (UPI)
Update #2: Putin says he might be Russia's president for life (The Hill)

WNU Editor: The official line is that he has not decided yet to run in next year's Presidential election .... Putin doesn't rule out running in 2018 presidential race (TASS). More here .... Vladimir Putin says he may seek re-election as President of Russia in 2018 (The Independent). But I believe he is going to run again .... Will Putin Run Again? Russian President Laughs Off Talk of Stepping Aside (Newsweek), and this will be his last election .... Russia’s Putin: I Will Not Change Constitution to Stay in Power (NBC). In the meantime .... between now and when he announces his candidacy .... he is doing all the moves to appeal to his base (see the list below) ....

More News On Russian President Putin

Renowned Russian Rights Activist: Putin Treats Me With Dignity, Respect -- VOA
Putin Discloses the Event That Impacted His Life Most -- Sputnik
Putin Sparks Controversy With Remarks On Russian, Minority Languages -- RFE
Putin Reveals His KGB Academy Code Name -- Sputnik
Putin Discusses Personal Life, Future Plans, State Issues With Children in Sochi -- Sputnik