Has Kravchuk Seen The Light?

Former president of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk is a media person in Ukraine, and has a large presence on the television there...

Appearing on the "5 channel" he had this to say:

Those processes that have taken place in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine were not only caused by the Russians. The cause [of this] is our senseless policy in relation to the regions. The problem is that we have been declaring the idea of independence of regions. But in practice all financial flows have been going through the center, and the center was robbing them (that is regions)

I talk to many people, [and] such poverty as in Lugansk and other regions is impossible to find. Even though these are relatively wealthy regions. Therefore there was basis for [social tensions] to blow up. However, there wasn't any basis for these regions to come to the idea to separate from Ukraine.   

Kravchuk has not seen the light entirely in my opinion. He is correct that people's economic needs have not been met by the unitary arrangement, but so haven't cultural needs of the people. The latter is what gave people of Eastern Ukraine the idea to separate from Ukraine. Fair enough, I guess Kravchuk still wants to maintain his presence on Ukrainian media which have for months been claiming that no discrimination of the Russian cultural element has been taking place. And hence, the people in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea have had nothing to complain about.

Another aspect of Ukrainian propaganda is to label the protests and uprising in the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea as Russian instigated, or at the very least Russian inspired. The point is to downplay internal causes, and the inconvenient fact that who the Ukrainian forces are fighting in the East are largely natives of the region. I guess it makes leveling cities from multiple rocket launchers easier. On top of that, an outside enemy helps to consolidate the public, and is a useful target to blame economic hardships on. 


The Harvest Of Despair

Ever since the sowing period in early spring, I keep on hearing about the unsatisfactory levels of agricultural production in Ukraine. Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Shariy made an interesting account of the fall on his facebook page, and I decided to translate it...

Friends, not everything is so scary. We are anticipating a wonderful harvest on top of all the niceties. 

So, according to data from Government Statistics Bureau, agricultural production in Ukraine has dropped by 17.6% in comparison with June last year when the mob ruled over Ukraine. (note: mob or "banda" is what Yanukovych's government was called by Maidan protesters)

Plant cultivation fell by 30.1% in June

As of June 1, cereals and grain legumes (not including corn) made up only 9.3% of all the area sown.

The production of grain fell 2.1 times.

The production of wheat (winter wheat and spring wheat) fell 4.8 times, of rye by 27.5 times (!), of grain legumes 2.3 times.

Rapeseed - minus 36.5%, harvest of fruits and berries minus 12%.

Grain reserves are minus 20% as of June 1 in comparison with last year.

70% of wheat harvested is fodder, it is for the cattle to eat, also a rather small amount. Maybe for export? No. The costs of logistics are too high. And that's not only problem.

The hryvna has crashed which led to double increase in the price of resources. And that made our produce not needed by anyone on global markets. There the prices are persistently low.

Maybe we can sell it to Russia? That wouldn't work. Due to damaged relations, the export of agricultural products has dropped by 30%, including grain by 10%, vegetables by 50%, meat by 75%, the import of milk products is banned, [that of] packeted juices [also], and so forth...

[Should we] save them? No. We do not have the capacity. We can only store away from rain 30 tons, and the rest will go to the forefathers.

Simply put, under the previous government of thieves and criminals it was possible to create reserves thanks to which there will not be hunger. Not this year at least.

And I have to say, we have won, and glory to Ukraine and her wise rulers... 


Ukraine Is The Worst Performing Economy In The World

According to The Economist...

I avoid that Russophobic rag by the name The Economist like plague, so I found the above graphic here


Putin Saved Crimea From Bloodshed

Opponents of Russian annexation of Crimea have only one solid argument against it. The annexation was not entirely correct according to international law. Indeed, Ukraine did not give consent to the annexation. But breaking the law in order to save lives is a noble thing to do. And knowing how the Ukrainian state treats attempts at greater autonomy by its heterogeneous regions, (that is Donbas, Transcarpathia, or Crimea, and couple of others) we know that such a consent would never be given. 

For the last 23 years, the Ukrainian state treated any attempts to establish autonomy in the regions with ignorance and repression. The Ukrainian state ignored referendums in Donetsk region, in Transcarpathia, it even sent APCs to Crimean cities to intimidate people demanding more autonomy. It was only to be expected that the Ukrainian state would meet renewed demands for greater autonomy from regions in 2014 with repression. 

In Crimea, as well as later in the Donbas, mass protests led to the formation of local militias. The radical nationalist organisation "Right Sector" threatened to send a "train of friendship" to teach the Crimeans a lesson. But the Russian military got involved and no "train of friendship" full of "Right Sector" thugs ever arrived. What such "train of friendship" would have looked like was shown on 2 May in Odessa, when thousands of thugs were brought into the city with the approval of local government, and were unleashed against activists at Kulikovo Pole. Dozens of unarmed, peaceful activists were burned alive in the House of the Trade Unions.

The people of Donbas were unfortunately not so lucky, their region did not turn out to that attractive for Russia to take under her protection. But we have had the chance to see the full extent of what the Ukrainian state is capable of doing to people who dare to demand more self-determination. Instead of entering negotiations, the criminal Kiev regime unleashed a military operation against Donbas. Ukrainian state would have unleashed a military operation against Crimea too had the Russians not intervened.  


Ukrainian Soldiers Are Fed Nutrition Way Out Of Shelf Life

Oleg Lurie published on his blog some photos that were earlier posted on a forum of Ukrainian commandos. 

The photos show that Ukrainian soldiers are being fed something that looks like fossilised space food.


No the above are not bricks, nor are they stone pavement from the Maidan in Kiev, they are loafs of bread. 

The can above remembers president Yushchenko.

That white paste is sugar, it is apparently hard as a rock. And that brown substance, no that is not street heroin, it is tea. It remembers president Kuchma. 

But has not Washington not sent the Ukrainians food rations? Well those, as Vice reported already back in April, were resold by enterprising officers. The latter must be making a killing on this war.

But some Ukrainian soldiers are inventive, here they are preparing a viper:



Russia Has Reached An Agreement With Iran On A Large Oil Deal In Defiance Of The US


Russia has reached an agreement with Iran about a large oil-for-goods deal which will help weaken the influence of sanctions on both countries.  

Today, [both] sides have signed a 5 year memorandum of understanding which envisages a delivery of Russian equipment and consumer products in exchange for Iranian oil.

The co-chairmen of the intergovernmental committee Iran-Russia, the Minister of Energy of Russia, Alexander Novak and his Iranian counterpart, Bijan Namdar Zangane have signed today a five year memorandum of understanding - reported the ambassador of Iran in Russia, Mehdi Sanai on his Facebook page.

We are talking about broadening of trade and economic cooperation. The Ministry of Energy has confirmed to Kommersant that we are looking at participation of Russian companies in projects in construction and repair in the area of electricity generation and [electric] networks in Iran, and also the export of cars, equipment, and consumer products from Russia to Iran. Iran is ready to sell Russia its oil which is currently under embargo from Western countries. Specific contracts might be signed during a meeting of the intergovernmental committee which will take place [between] 9-10 September in Teheran.

Russia and Iran have held talks about the deal since the end of last year. All the while, Washington exerted pressure on Moscow with the aim to abort a deal being reached. The White House fears that the oil cooperation with Russia will reduce the impact of Western sanctions against Iran, and will reduce the pressure on Iran in the ongoing "Group of Six" talks about the status of its nuclear programme. 


Burning Wood

When you have nothing else left...

It has been reported that Kiev will be left without hot water. Director of the department of housing infrastructure at the Kiev City State Administration, Dmytro Novitsky said:

We are planning to shut off [from hot water] to all the households, so that the heating season would pass [well] with more certainty than we have at present according to our calculations.

Earlier on the pages of this blog, I featured a report about limits imposed by the Ministry of Energy on consumption of gas which are to ensure that there would be enough fuel to heat the homes with in Winter. Now it appears that the limited supply of gas might not be enough. Novitsky said that they have been allotted 1 billion 200 million cubic metres of gas which is "not enough to pass the heating season (that is winter) in a stable fashion, and to obtain a comfortable temperature." In other words, they would not be able to provide regular heating of the homes in Winter. That is why they are planning to shut off hot water in the city until mid October.

It begs a question, will there actually be hot water in late Autumn and Winter? Perhaps the municipality of Kiev will provide the people with hot water on New Year's Eve. Last summer, the West Ukrainian city of Ternopol' provided hot water for an extended period of time on August 24 to celebrate Ukraine's Independence Day. In many cities of the Ukraine the supply of hot water was limited even before the current crisis.

People attempt to cope with the scarcity of hot water by buying electric boilers. But as the writer Andrey Vadzhra pointed out, too many people with electric boilers might prove to be a burden on the antiquated electric grid. But certain Ukrainian officials have other solutions. For instance, the first deputy head of the Kiev City State Administration, Igor Nikonov suggested people use energy saving technologies and alternative sources of energy. Hopefully, the middle classes of Kiev will be able to afford those energy saving technologies. 

Referring to alternative sources of energy, Nikonov suggested that "hospitals, for instance, should look into the possibility of installing and using hard fuel cauldrons." That is burn coal, wood, or tires perhaps. Nikonov's colleague, the head of Transcarpathia's regional council, Ivan Baloga suggested that all projects that have to do with the social sphere move to systems of heating which are not based on gas. He likewise suggested changing gas cauldrons for cauldrons burning a different type of fuel. Fuel of local provenance to be precise. I hope they will have mercy on Transcarpathia, a region that already suffers from the environmental consequences of deforestation. 


Russia Is Not Nigeria... But Is The Ukraine Nigeria? 

Well, at least it is much closer...

Mark Adomanis published a post where he points out the folly of comparing Russia to countries of sub-Saharan Africa. He uses economic data to demonstrate why such comparisons are off the mark.

Nevertheless, comparing the level of development of East European countries to sub-Saharan Africa is certainly not an unworthy exercise. It is not very intellectual to be honest, but entertaining, especially if you give it a good spin. Take for instance Botswana, with GDP per capita of $15,675 (World Bank -2013), and population of 2,155,784 (CIA -2014), if she wasn't a remote country south of the equator, it would be a hot candidate for membership in the EU. I mean Bulgaria is already a member with GDP per capita of $15,941 (World Bank -2013), and population of 7,364,570 (census -2011).

So is the Ukraine Nigeria? Not quite yet I must say. At present, GDP per capita of Ukraine is at $8,788 (World Bank -2013); Nigeria's is $5,862 (World Bank -2013). That is Ukraine's GDP per capita, is greater than Nigeria's by $2,926. For comparison, Russia's GDP per capita is $24,120 (World Bank -2013). Quite clearly, Russia is in a different league than the Ukraine and Nigeria. 

The nominal GDP of Nigeria is at $522,638 which is far more than that of Ukraine which is at $177,431. This clearly has to do with Nigeria's large population, more than four times that of Ukraine, and even bigger than that of Russia. Perhaps the comparison of the Ukraine to Nigeria is not the best. With GDP per capita of $9,685 (World Bank -2013), Namibia appears to be a far more suitable country to compare to the Ukraine. 

To those wishing to compare other East European countries to sub-Saharan Africa, I also suggest comparing Moldova to Ghana, and Georgia to Swaziland.


Mass Desertion From Ukrainian Army

Directly from the horse's mouth...

A curious, a report written by Valentin Nalivaychenko, the head of Ukraine's secret service (the SBU), and addressed to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, detailing mass desertion from Ukrainian army. I found it here

And here is my translation, I have focused on translating only the main text:


I report that... the period between 14 to 19 July 2014 we are observing a catastrophic rise (to 47% that is 3473 people) in the number of deserters from the Armed Forces and National Guard of the Ukraine in comparison with the same data from only a week before (25%, that is 1847).

Besides that, the number of those that went missing has risen (to 47%, that is 1344 people, last week: 344, that is 10%). 

This phenomenon is linked to the increased activity of the enemy in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and the increase in casualties of the abovementioned forces. This fact influences the combat capability of the manpower, and makes the continuation of the Anti-terrorist Operation (ATO) impossible. In case this negative dynamic continues, within 2-5 days, 2 thirds of battle-worthy units taking part in the ATO will cease existing.

In the interests of maintaining the capability of armed forces, I suggest conducting a withdrawal to the area of Dobropol'e and Smolyaninovo. After restocking ammunition, regrouping, and rotation of 60% of the troops, offensive shall continue. 


While the head of the secret service complains about soldiers losing their will to fight, the Finance Minister, Oleksandr Shlapak, complained that the state is running out of money to fund the war. 


New Military Units And Gear In Crimea

The Russian force in Crimea gets reinforced...

Certain Russian public figures who are supportive of Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine to help the rebellion in Donbas, argue that having crushed the rebellion in Donbas, the Ukrainian military, emboldened by its victories in the East, will move to attack Crimea. This fear was recently repeated by the commander of rebel forces in the Donbas, Igor Strelkov. There is certainly some evidence suggesting this fear is not unfounded. We cannot count on the Ukrainian government remaining rational. It can actually be argued that the Ukrainian government might find war with Russia rather reasonable given its situation. The economic troubles Ukraine faces can in that case be blamed on the hardships of wartime, and potential protests suppressed as provocations abetting the enemy. And for that, war with the rebels in the East might not be enough. We can only hope that sanity prevails. 

There have been reports suggesting that Ukraine is bringing troops and gear close to the border of Crimea. Ukrainian politicians have for months now promised to return Crimea back into Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov recently warned against desires to attack Crimea. But of greater interest than the warnings of the Foreign Minister are the actual developments on the ground in Crimea herself. What follows is my account of some reports. 

A recent report in Rossiyskaya Gazeta says that new military units are being formed which should defend the peninsula from both land and sea invasions. These new military units fall under the Black Sea Fleet. One more artillery regiment of the Black Sea Fleet will now defend the coastline. The regiment is armed with 300 units of military gear, including 60 artillery systems. To this group belong the anti-tank missiles "Khrizantema", 152 mm howitzers "Msta-S" with automated systems of guidance, and multiple-rocket-launchers "Tornado-G".

A bit earlier a new regiment tasked with the protection against radioactive, chemical and biological dangers was formed. They have around 200 vehicles and special gear. Among them is a modern vehicle for radioactive, chemical and bacteriological reconnaissance, the "RKhM-4", which is based on the "BTR-80". Likewise in the arsenal of the regiment are smoke screen creating devices, the "TMS-65" and "TDA-2K" (Watch videos below:)

These are used to hide ground installations from aviation and radars. 

Back in March this year, the newspaper Izvestiya reported that, according to their information the "Club-K" rockets were delivered to the peninsula. The "Club-K" rockets are transported in classic containers that one sees on freight ships. They can be based on the coast, or mounted on trucks, trains, ships. The Izvestiya article calls them "the killer of aircraft carriers". The rockets are designated to strike objects both on land and on sea within a radius of 300 km. 


11 Reasons Why Russians Do Not Respect Ukrainians

A friend of mine translated the following blog post (here is the original in Russian on his personal blog) into English. It was allegedly originally posted at some forum by a Chechen with no love lost for the Russians...

1. Point 1 is, of course, lack of principles and new "truth" daily. A Russian loves fundamentality, but not floating opinion. To him, floating opinion equals lies. As I remember the Russians, they always had their truth: in 1991, in 2014. And if this truth evolves, then only a little. A Ukrainian always tailors the events, which gives the perception of being unscrupulous and slippery.

2. A Russian dislikes betrayal, and senses the Ukrainians as traitors. He knows that a Ukrainian will always have an excuse to betray. Excuses can differ, but the essence is always the same - to inflict maximum harm to a Russian. Everything that a Ukrainian does, he does not for himself, but to harm the Russians. They usually don't care about themselves, that's why they are so poor.

3. Unreliability is the prime factor. Today one thing, tomorrow the other. See point 1.

4. A Russian disrespects a Ukrainian for his disrespect of his own history. To a Ukrainian, history doesn't exist. To him it is only a closed-circuit set of excuses, but not a science. He can rewrite it infinitely, that's why a Ukrainian doesn't know his own history. To a Russian, a Ukrainian is "an Ivan who doesn't remember his kin".

5. A Russian doesn't tolerate scapegoating and shifting the blame. Yes, USA is his enemy, but you rarely hear him saying that USA is guilty of Russia's problems. A Russian blames all his problems only on himself. A Ukrainian, quite the opposite, is never guilty. He is always dressed in white and a victim. The Ukraine is a sugar country that is surrounded only by piles of shit that spoil her life.

6. The Ukrainians, compared to the Russians, don't feel the intimate zone of a man, his untouchable freedom. The Ukrainians often easily invade it with vulgarity and unsportsmanlike behaviour. No matter how much riot policemen beat the Russians, they will never hunt them in their homes - sportsmanlike behaviour is the very essence of Russians. Not so for the Ukrainians, who try to hit where it hurts most, which shows their innate lowly, petty meanness. In Russia, this is considered unacceptable.

7. Gossip and rumors - not respected in Russia. Despised actually. Not so much on the Ukraine.

8. Demagoguism. In everything and everywhere, with use of double standards. See point 1. The Russians are, after all, fundamentalists. Even I, a Chechen, can understand them more easily, and make an arrangement with them. What's more: with the Russians, you can make a long-term arrangement. While with the Ukrainians you can make an arrangement for an hour... And then the Ukrainians' short-term desires will cancel the arrangement.

9. Lack of love towards one's homeland and one's people is truly a Ukrainian thing, despite their radical nationalism. A Ukrainian never compares the Ukraine and Russia, he always compares Europe and Russia. Which proves that, subconsciously, the Ukraine doesn't exist for him...

10. A Ukrainian won't see a plank in his own eye, but sees a speck in the eye of a Russian.

11. From the experience of Chechen War, which I have. An Ukrainian will never fight on the front-lines like a Russian will. The Ukrainians [they fought on Chechen side] were used by [Chechen warlord] Gelayev for diversions. While the Russians, yes, we picked them up from pools of piss and shit, crying, but: they never leave their positions. Actually, that's what always shocked me. While the Ukrainians fight only when the luck is on their side. Naturally, I agree with [Chechen warlord] Khattab, who called Russians "stubborn silent"...


The Ukraine Goes Into A Saving Mode

Kiev and Khar'kov were left without gas. Original

The Ministry of Energy reacted to "Gazprom" stopping deliveries.

The head of Ukraine's energy ministry, Yuriy Prodan, ordered that gas shall not be delivered to Kiev's and Khar'kov's heat and electro-power central stations (TEC). The goal is to save the resource, the delivery of which "Gazprom" stopped. For the very same reasons, heating will be switched off.

The Ministry of Energy of Ukraine ordered Naftogaz to limit gas deliveries to TEC of the company "Kievenergo", and to the TEC-5 in Khar'kov, and end gas deliveries to the company "Khar'kov gas systems" in connection with saving of gas.

Therefore, the ministry set new limits to the volumes of natural gas [that can be] consumed, for TEC-5 of "Kievenergo" 480,000 cubic metres per day, for TEC-6 of "Kievenergo" 48,000 cubic metres of gas per day, writes Ukrayins'ki Noviny referring to the orders of the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry, Yuriy Prodan. 

For Khar'kov's TEC's, TEC-5 and "Khar'kov gas systems" there have been set zero volumes of consumption, that is gas deliveries to Khar'kov were stopped.

The limits are set to begin on 10 July.

Prodan also ordered the directors of businesses to ensure limiting the consumption of gas in accordance with the established norms.

The reason for these limits, according to the document, is to save gas.

[But] not only gas.

Apart from this, as became known, the president of the observatory council of the company "Kievenergo", Ivan Plachkov said that to pass the heating season (that is "cold period") normally, it is necessary to immediately quit hot water deliveries. That too happens to be a method of saving gas. 

We should mention that hot water has already been turned off in nearly half of the homes in Kiev. As of morning 10 July, 4,936 homes out of 11,000 were left without hot water. The day before, RBK reported [that] 3,305 homes [were left without gas].

On 16 June 2014, "Gazprom" stopped deliveries of gas to "Naftogaz". Both companies filed lawsuits on each other in the Stockholm Arbitration Court.  


Novorossiya Agitation Spotted In Odessa

Novorossiya is a separatist project that envisages creation of an independent state in the South-Eastern part of the Ukraine. It was first mentioned on this blog in this post from 2011 as "New Russia", as a historical name for the South-Eastern region of the Ukraine. I did not assign much importance to the name then, so much so I decided to render the name "Novorossiya" into English.

But in the wake of the Maidan coup, Novorossiya has become more than just a historical name, it is now a name of a movement for self determination of the territory described by me in the above-linked post. While the Donbas erupted in an armed rebellion, other regions of Novorossiya have been more peaceful. Some, such as Kherson and Dnepropetrovsk, still retain a considerable loyalty to Ukraine. The liberation of Novorossiya will therefore be a long term process requiring some enlightenment of the population.

The Odessa based venue, Timer, published some photos of posters, newspapers, and graffiti related to propagating Novorossiya in the city.

According to my information, the above newspaper has been spotted even outside the borders of Novorossiya, in Kiev and in Sumy.


The graffiti above reads: "Odessa is Novorossiya"

"The butchers of Odessa and Donbas, under a tribunal."

The above poster says "karateli", translated as: "one who participates in a punitive operation", accompanied by the faces of Stepan Bandera, the leader of Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, and Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of Right Sector. Below are pictures from WWII atrocities, Lugansk bombing of 2 June, and the Odessa Massacre of 2 May. 


In The Ukraine An Austerity Maidan Is Brewing

I have decided to translate reports from Ukrainian press that speak about the highly unsatisfactory economic situation in the country. This one comes from

On Tuesday (1 July), things were hot around the Rada. There the members of the (Maidan) self-defence have mutinied (in the process, even the former acting head of the Presidential Administration, Pashinsky, was beaten up), and the "Credit Maidan" protested, demanding a law be enacted which would fixate payments in the hryvna according to the old exchange rate. The latter demonstration the government already labeled as paid hirelings. But nobody can deny that the issue of payments on hard currency loans has become rather serious after devaluation. Those that in 2008 took loans with the exchange rate being 5,05 (hryvna to 1 USD) are hardly happy now that they are forced to return their loans with the exchange rate being 12. And that's by far not the only social problem.

In recent months, most protests in the capital were political. However, in their background, events have taken place that concern all of us right now. The price of imported goods rose, fuel and marshrutka [prices rose] by 50% because of the falling hryvna, the wages of government employees and pensions have been frozen, bonuses to wages were cut.

The price of gas for the population has risen in May, the price of electricity in June, the price of heating and hot and cold water in July. Moreover, for the birth of a second and a third child [the government] will pay the same [reward] as for the first, that is several tens of thousands less than before. Meanwhile, they are talking about the danger of a social revolt due to the impoverishment of the people even among the pro-government majority. "In my opinion, somebody really does not take into consideration that for the past 10 years he became the government purely thanks to the Maidan, and not at all through elections. Well, I have news for these gentlemen: preconditions for a revolutionary situation have not gone anywhere, rather the opposite. And considering that every subsequent revolution is more bloody and merciless than the previous one... [this time] you will not be able to run to the airplanes." -wrote a "Bat'kivshchina" MP, Vladimir Polochaninov on his facebook page.

"It is possible that not everything is this tragic. However, if the government keeps on only working on the East, and [keeps on] brushing away the increasing social problems in the country, the people will suffer for a month or two, but in six months [the people] will ask [retribution] for everything" -said the deputy head of the committee for social policy, and an MP from UDAR, Pavel Rezenko. "Everybody understands that the economy is in a dire state. And we do not observe anything being done so that the situation improves in the future. In a situation where on one hand there are very low living standards, and the absence of prospects that they will improve, and on the other hand there aren't any real reforms, there is a real likelihood of, if not revolution than social tensions which will lead to a crisis of the government and of the parliament. Only early elections into the Rada, which would give hope for a qualitative change of the government, can partially reduce the tensions."

Political commentator, Vladimir Fesenko thinks that so far social protests are being controlled artificially, and if this isn't stopped than the situation in the country could spiral out of control. "I will agree that social tensions are growing, and in autumn can spill over into mass protests." -says political commentator Vladimir Fesenko. "However, now the protests are being fueled artificially. The "Credit Maidan" is a hired [protest] using the technology of the Maidan to stir up tensions in the society. And I would suggest to Polochaninov, who is said to be a person close to Avakov, to turn the attention of the head of the Interior Ministry to the necessity of the police doing what they are responsible for. If this disorder continues, there will be anarchy and chaos in the country."

PS: Recently, the offices of Vesti in Kiev were recently attacked by Ukrainian nationalists. Watch a video of the attack below:


The nationalists were allegedly unhappy about Vesti's "pro-Russian" content, according to reports