Under Boris Johnson, Putin and Trump the world has uncanny parallels to 1945

Russia on the offensive, Brexit Britain stands alone, and US disdain for European allies recalls its naivety with Stalin Victory in Europe was made possible by a remarkable military collaboration between the main anti-Axis powers – the US, Russia and Britain. But the three-way relationship, between Franklin D Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill, was never easy, and it set a pattern of national rivalry, suspicion, fear and distrust that persists to this day. A row over a top-secret message, known as SCAF-252, sent to Stalin in late March 1945 by Gen Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander, shows how fraught the relationship could be. In it, Eisenhower detailed his plans for the final defeat of Nazi Germany – but …

AP Declares No Official Democrat Winner In Iowa; Trump Has Advice On Who To Blame

The days-long Democratic debacle in Iowa has forced the Associated Press to throw in the towel Thursday and declare no official winner in what was likely the state’s last first-in-the-nation caucuses. In some of his trademark presidential trolling, a newly “ACQUITTED” Trump offered some trolling advice for the Democrats about who to blame. “The Associated Press is unable to declare a winner of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses because of irregularities in this year’s process and the tight margin between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders,” AP announced on social media Thursday. “Following the Iowa Democratic Party’s release of new results late Thursday night, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted. That …

How the killing of an abusive father by his daughters fuelled Russia’s culture wars

The long read: The notorious case of three teenage sisters inspired a campaign for change and a backlash from the patriarchy At about 3pm on 27 July 2018, the day of his death, Mikhail Khachaturyan scolded his three teenage daughters, Krestina, Angelina and Maria. The apartment they shared in a Soviet-era housing block near the huge ring road that encircles Moscow was a mess, he told them, and they would pay for having left it that way. A large, irascible man in his late 50s with a firm Orthodox faith, Khachaturyan had run his household despotically since he allegedly forced his wife to leave in 2015. That afternoon, his daughters would later tell investigators, he punished them in his customary …

The power behind the thrones: 10 political movers and shakers who will shape 2020

Some are trusted aides, others are fixers who work in the shadows. Often unelected and unaccountable, they all have the ear of national leaders The role of Dominic Cummings in plotting and facilitating Boris Johnsons drive for power has focused attention on the influence exerted by behind-the-scenes advisers and confidants who have the ear of prominent politicians. Powerful men and women around the world all have personal counsellors, trusted aides and backroom mentors. Then there are the insiders string-pullers, fixers and manipulators with ambitions of their own. Few become well-known, although Cummingss notoriety is by no means exceptional. For example, American presidents rely heavily on confidential advisers. Ronald Reagan employed some oddball figures, such as Col Oliver North of Iran-Contra …

Chelsea are back in fashion but Roman Abramovich is out in the cold

Special report: Roman Abramovich never hid source of his wealth and was wounded by British governments reluctance to renew visa; transfer ban increases feeling of Chelsea being on hold In the final minutes of Chelseas crisp win over Crystal Palace in their last home match Frank Lampard put a fatherly arm around 18-year-old Billy Gilmour before sending him scampering on to become the sixth academy graduate to feature in the Premier League derby. At the west London club which first imprinted an oligarchs stamp on English football, Chelseas sparkling, homegrown version this season a club legend appointed as manager promoting young players is the unexpected result of fundamental contradictions running through the club. The most obvious is that Chelsea have …

Molotov-Ribbentrop: why is Moscow trying to justify Nazi pact?

Exhibition about Soviet-Nazi treaty, signed on 23 August 1939, seeks to turn spotlight on wests behaviour in 1930s Eighty years after the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression treaty dividing Europe into spheres of influence, Russia has put the original Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and its secret protocol on public display. Alongside the pact at the exhibition at Russias State Archives in Moscow are documents spanning from the 1938 Munich agreement and occupation of Czechoslovakia until the outbreak of war, which organisers say confirm Soviet fears that the west sought to redirect German aggression toward Moscow. The message to Europe is clear: everyone was at it. Russias foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who spoke at the exhibitions opening this week, made …

Twitter’s Disinformation Data Dumps Are Helpfulto a Point

In October 2017, Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett faced difficult questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about foreign interference in the 2016 election. Flanked by representatives from Facebook and Google, Edgett explained how Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) had systematically spread fake news and stoked partisan sentiment through a carefully coordinated, years-long social media campaign. A year later, Twitter released an archive of more than 10 million tweets, from 3,841 accounts it said were affiliated with the IRA, hoping to encourage “open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics.” The company has followed with additional data dumps, most recently last month when it released details of accounts linked to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and the Catalan independence movement …

Alphabet-Owned Jigsaw Bought a Russian Troll Campaign as an Experiment

For more than two years, the notion of social media disinformation campaigns has conjured up images of Russia's Internet Research Agency, an entire company housed on multiple floors of a corporate building in St. Petersburg, concocting propaganda at the Kremlin's bidding. But a targeted troll campaign today can come much cheaper—as little as $250, says Andrew Gully, a research manager at Alphabet subsidiary Jigsaw. He knows because that's the price Jigsaw paid for one last year. As part of research into state-sponsored disinformation that it undertook in the spring of 2018, Jigsaw set out to test just how easily and cheaply social media disinformation campaigns, or "influence operations," could be bought in the shadier corners of the Russian-speaking web. In …

Muellers account of Trumps world acts as a cautionary tale for UK politics | Will Hutton

Senior figures in both countries behave as if they are above the law. Enough is enough Trump was right. His presidency was announced. Its tantamount to treasonous to work so closely with the Russian secret services during the campaign, with the Russians plainly hoping a Trump presidency would turn a blind eye to the subpoena by the House judicial committee for the full unredacted report is the first step. Democrat leaders may have misgivings about how impeachment will play out politically, but they have a constitutional and moral obligation to act against such a president with such a record. This behaviour sets new abysmal lows. Republican senators will almost certainly block the two-thirds majority needed to secure impeachment in the …