Seven years ago, the citizens of Crimea decided in a referendum to rejoin Russia. Turonout was 83,1%, and 87.77% voted Yes to joining Russia. There’s a nice document on the website of the Republic of Crimea looking into the legal aspects and the legality of this referendum. Some of the key points:
Coup d’état on February 23, 2014 removed the constitutional order of Ukraine and the constitution was set aside;
Crimea continued to be governed by a locally elected legal government;
Crimea had a special legal status, and remained in Ukraine after 1991 only due to a legal compromise, which required a legal, democratically elected government in Kiew. The coup d’état destroyed that;
There were threats of violence and ethnic cleansing against the population of Crimea (65% Russian and 13% Crimean Tatars);
Action of Crimean government was founded in law and thus legal;
Sevastopol was not part of Crimea since Oct. 29, 1948 and was a legal subject of the Russian SFSR;
Transfer of Crimea from Russian SFSR to Ukraine in 1954 was illegal under the then constitutions of the USSR, Russian SFSR and Ukraine;
Sevastopol’s transfer to Crimea and Ukraine was never based on any legally normative act of the USSR or Russian SFSR and was an unilateral act of Ukraine;
The referendum was conducted in a democratic and transparent way;
The French cloud provider OVH, one of the largest in Europe, experienced a fire in one of its data-centers in Strassbourg, France. As a consequence of this fire, the sites SBG2 has been destroyed, SBG-1 partially destroyed and SBG-3 and SBG-4 have been shut-down for now. Status per travaux.ovh.net on Morning March 11 was as follows:
The reason for the fire has not been established yet. OVH Cloud has released a statement yesterday describing the incident and the aftermath:
What does that mean for OVH customers? It likely depends on what kind of service they pay for and whether they have your own backups or not. At the very least it means some service interruption for a client. In any case, if you don’t have a backup/disaster recovery strategy – this should be a reminder to you that you really need one.
I’ve changed the domain name of this blog from ofehrmedia.press to ofehr. press. The old name will be discontinued end of March 2021. With that, I’ve also changed the design template to be leaner and less animated.
This blog is for occasional writing, there’s much more going on on my social media accounts. These are regularly maintained:
On this blog all through 2020 I’ve been tracking the number of excess deaths recorded by statistics Sweden and for some part of the year, it looked like the number of deaths was around the same as the average of the years 2015-2019.
Now, it’s February 2021 and it’s a good moment to look at the whole year of 2020. The data is from Statistics Sweden at scb.se under Preliminär statistik över döda (Excel). The file is being updated regularly, I picked the one on Feb. 7, 2021:
As we can see, towards the end of the year the number of deaths did increase again compared the the average of years 2015-2019. These “excess” deaths are normally attributed by some people to the effects of COVID-19, however that is a stretch at this point and you’d have to look at other data to see whether this is actually the case here or whether there were also other factors contributing to a higher number of deaths in 2020 than in the average in years 2015 to 2019.
There’s something familiar about this “Putin’s Palace” story, for two reasons. For one thing, this piece of real-estate has been in the news since 2010, when it was buing built and rumours that it was somehow linked to Putin began to appear about “Putin’s Palace”. The rumours were kicked off by Sergei Kolesnikov who decided it was more lucrative to market himself as a whistleblower. The story was described by Reuters in 2014.
In short, it seemed to have been owned by a company named Rirus then owned by Nikolai Shamalov and was later sold to Alexander Ponomarenko according to the Reuters article.
The Reuter’s article wasn’t even news. In 2012, BBC Newsnight already ran with this story, with a bit more prose and some images. They re-hashed it in 2016 in an article called “Russia RBC shake-up seen as new Putin raid on media”. The story went quiet until recently when Navalny warmed it up again in a video that shows mostly speculations as what the interior might look like based on 3D renderings based on building blueprints that may or may not be accurate. The whole video is long an boring, and contains no real (primary) evidence on what the building actually looks like on the inside and about belonging to Putin.
The other reason that this looks familiar is because of the familiar pattern that is visible here: Create outrage, support anti-regime protests. The same modus operandi was visible in 2013/2014 when similar stories were run by Western media as part of their regime change campaing in Ukraine. Back then it was “Yanukovych’s Palace” – which actually existed and belonged to him, but was used as a proof of his corruption. Allegedly, there was a “golden toilet” in there, and you could even find pictures purporting to show it on the Internet, but when the estate was raided and made accessible to the public, the toilet failed to materialize.
So it seems West is trying to use the same tricks again to create strife – this time in Russia and cook up an old story, which Putin commented with “Скучно, девочки!” (Boring, girls!).
An update on the coronavirus situation in terms of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, all 56 States and Territories. Data is from covidtracking.com and up-to-date as of December 24, 2020. Note, however, that due to holidays, reporting might be delayed. First, overview of hospitalizations across the United States (large version is on Google Drive):
Data for most states shows a significant upward movement of hospitalizations. Most obvious increase happens in California and New York.
Second, overview of daily deaths across the United States (large version is on Google Drive):
And finally, the comparison of states as to the number of deaths due to COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, as of Dec. 24, 2020:
The MoD of Russia has published an new map of their area of responsibility on December 13, 2020. It shows an extension in the South of Nagorno Karabakh. I present here the maps of Dec. 11 and Dec. 13, so you can see the change:
This is in response to incidents on Saturday Dec. 12 in the area there, when Azeris and Armenians exchanged fire and Azeris moved into the villages Khin Talgar and Khzaberd. The incident is said to have caused several deaths among Azeri and Armenian soldiers, also rumour has it that Turkish special forces also took part in the incident. Prime minister Pashinyan of Armenia made this claim, but it is unconfirmed. The situation is now calm again and both villages have passed under control of Russian peacekeepers.
⭐️🕙⭐️ Summary of the official representative of the People’s Militia of Donetsk People’s Republic
💥Violations of the ceasefire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces over the past day
♦ ️Over the past 24 hours, the armed formations of Ukraine have violated the Set of Additional Measures to Control Compliance with the Armistice FOUR times. ➖All violations were recorded in the Mariupol direction, where the militants of the Marine Corps battalion of the 36th brigade of the VFU, in violation of the SECOND clause of additional measures, from positions in the area of the settlement of the item. VODYANOE TWICE opened fire from RPGs, AGS and grenade launchers in the area of the settlement. LENINSKY, firing a total of SEVEN grenades. ❗️ In addition, in the Ukrainian positions in the area of the settlement VODYANOE, at 14.27 and 14.51 FOUR explosions were recorded during the installation of additional minefields, which were carried out in order to exclude attempts to transfer subordinate military personnel to the side of the Republic.
Original Source in Russian: https://t.me/nm_dnr/2175
You can find an interactive version of the map at https://maps.ofehr.media/maps/ukraine
An update on the coronavirus situation in terms of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, all 56 States and Territories. Data is from covidtracking.com and accurate as of November 16, 2020. First, overview of hospitalizations across the United States (large version is on Google Drive):
Data for most states shows a visible upward movement of hospitalizations.
Second, overview of daily deaths across the United States (large version is on Google Drive):
And finally, the comparison of states as to the number of deaths due to COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants:
We start with a translation of the three-party agreement between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia:
Statement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and President of the Russian Federation 10 November 202011: 45 We, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I. G. Aliyev, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N. V. Pashinyan and the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin, have declared the following:
1. A complete ceasefire and all hostilities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are announced from 00:00 hours Moscow time on November 10, 2020. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, stop at their positions.
2. Aghdam region is returned to the Republic of Azerbaijan until November 20, 2020.
3. Along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor, a peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is deployed in the amount of 1,960 servicemen with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 units of automobile and special equipment.
4. The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is being deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces. The duration of the stay of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is 5 years with automatic extension for the next 5-year periods, if none of the Parties declares 6 months before the expiration of the period of intention to terminate the application of this provision.
5. In order to increase the effectiveness of control over the implementation of the agreements by the Parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping center is being deployed to control the ceasefire.
6. The Republic of Armenia will return the Kelbajar region to the Republic of Azerbaijan by November 15, 2020, and the Lachin region by December 1, 2020. The Lachin corridor (5 km wide), which will ensure the connection of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and at the same time will not affect the city of Shusha, remains under the control of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation.
By agreement of the Parties, in the next three years, a plan for the construction of a new route along the Lachin corridor will be determined, providing communication between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, with the subsequent redeployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to protect this route.
The Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of traffic along the Lachin corridor of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions.
7. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas under the control of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
8. The exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead is carried out.
9. All economic and transport links in the region are unblocked. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the safety of transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with the aim of organizing the unimpeded movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. Transport control is exercised by the bodies of the Border Service of the FSB of Russia.
By agreement of the Parties, the construction of new transport communications linking the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with the western regions of Azerbaijan will be provided. Russian original: http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/64384
To get a better feeling for what this means on the ground, let’s look at some maps. First, the current military situation on the ground according to sources from Azerbaijan (Artsakh sources are similar):
There have been published a few maps that purport to show how the situation is supposed to be resolved. The one that most closely matches the above official text is the one from Sputnik News:
According to this, the green areas are already under the control of Azerbaijan. The shaded-green areas are currently under the control of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and will be handed over to Azerbaijan. The shaded-read areas will be under the control of Russian peacekeepers, including the Lacin corridor which connects Artsakh to Armenia and the city of Shushi.
To better understand this, it is important to understand, what was the area originally covered by the Nagorno-Karabakh Oblast, this mapped is attached at the beginning of the article (the red solid line on the Fig. 2).