Targeting Adversaries & Deanonymization Attacks Against Tor Users

https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/08/21/targeting-adversaries-deanonymization-attacks-tor-users/

 

Tor is a P2P network for promoting traffic security of various forms of internet communications for millions of users worldwide. In most cases, Tor users are very unlikely to become the target of an adversary, as they are namely shielded via Tor against opportunistic local hackers, local censorship authorities and hostile destinations. Deanonymizing adversaries act through attempting to attack as many Tor users as possible, instead of targeting specific users or groups of users.

 

For some Tor users, this may be more or less insignificant; however, Tor is mainly intended to protect the identity of human right workers, military personnel, journalists, law enforcement agents and others, who may encounter huge, meticulously determined and generously financed adversaries. Even though a considerable percentage of these adversaries will not target specific users, or are said to be “hoovering” adversaries, some may be interested in specific Tor users, on the basis of offline reasons. Different strategies are deployed by adversaries who may choose to target specific Tor users.

 

A group of researchers recently published a paper that introduced and investigated “targeting adversaries” who launch attacks against specific users of Tor, or other similarly secure P2P communication networks. Throughout their paper, the researchers argued that attacks launched by “targeting adversaries” represent more realistic and more alarming threats to users who namely rely on Tor’s protection, than attacks which were described in prior studies analyzing Tor’s security. Previous research studies and Tor design strategies have been centered on protection against adversaries with “hoovering” behavior, i.e. who don’t target specific Tor users. The adversaries investigated in this paper specific target users e.g. visitors of a particular web page, users of a given private chat channel……etc, and disregard other Tor users. They presented a model of such “targeting adversaries” and investigated three example cases where specific users might be in the crosshairs of the adversaries;

A cabal conducting online meetings via MTor, a recently published Tor multicast protocol. A cabal online meeting using a private IRC channel. Users of a specific anonymous service, or a .onion website. 

The study discovered that targeting adversaries comprise their targets faster than deanonymizing attacks examined in previous research studies. Let’s take a look at the results obtained from studying MTor adversaries:

MTor Adversary:

A targeted and compromised user X who belongs to a cabal that holds online meetings only via MTor can reveal to a targeting adversary all communications throughout the cabal, in addition to the group’s long term keys and identifiers. A targeted, yet uncompromised, user X with a compromised guard that connects to an MTor cabal could render the cabal the adversary’s target by association. Note that when the target group is open, the adversary can join it.

 

The adversary throughout such an attack will try to look at all pairs of users , to link each pair belonging to a multicast group and to identify a specific user engaging in a multicast group. The targeting adversary usually aims at identifying all users of a given multicast group, predicting the size of the cabal and/or pinpointing MTor groups that a target user might belong to.

 

Targeting adversaries own middle relay nodes that help them estimate the size of the cabal and identify guards that they should target for the purpose of compromise or bridging, in order to identify the clients behind these guards. The MR can predict the size of the cabal.

 

The guard of a given MTor group user can visualize all of the group’s GID sessions, and may then choose to identify other members of the group. The authors of the paper assumed that the traffic patterns for any member of the cabal during a multicast session will be linked, so that the GID will not be necessary for the adversary to link other users with the cabal; this assumption has been also presented by authors of MTor. The study found out that targeting adversaries are capable of launching active attacks, that can include disruption of communications among a group and/or generation of its very own group traffic if the adversary becomes a member of the group. Nevertheless, for simplicity, the study’s initial analysis assumed that adversaries are passive.

The study highlights the current capabilities of targeting adversaries across Tor and represents a useful resource for forging countermeasures to shield Tor users against such adversaries.

Coast Guard service members with Port Security Unit 305 stand watch along the shore of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 19, 2017, [2400 x 1587]

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4332/36638919525_fdda85e34f_o.jpg

Coast Guard service members with Port Security Unit 305 stand watch along the shore of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 19, 2017,

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4332/36638919525_fdda85e34f_o.jpg

[Military] Coast Guard service members with Port Security Unit 305 stand watch along the shore of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 19, 2017,

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4332/36638919525_fdda85e34f_o.jpg

[From the Emerald Vaults] Unredacted Plot from Part 4

Plot 1: Keep Your Friends Close

RP: Quan, that old fool, had died of a mysterious heart disease that day he plotted against the Catons. Tom, always a stickler for deliberation, collapsed under the weight of his own exercise. Doggo, a fervent member of the cult of the Curious One, had gone insane, plotting to kill She Whose Rolls Define Fate. A few months later, the king himself would meet his own demise, bedridden and insane. It seemed the rumored Curse of the Ancients had come down on the old king and his ministers for being so rash in dealing with the Cantonese Pirates. Quan would’ve been rolling in his grave if he heard what reckoning the pirates delivered upon Sagaing, his beloved settlement.

The masses were restless, unable to reason how so many could’ve died in the span of only a few years. They complained about what little the government had done to stop the enslavement of their fellow brothers and sisters. Some had turned to religion, training in the sacred martial art of judo to appease the Great Goddess, Aimerais. Others had begun aggressively boarding up their homes and fencing their fields in fear of an invasion. Fewer and fewer people came to the markets of Bago every day, in fear that raiding parties would enslave them and steal their blessed bananas, the holy fruit of the Great Goddess given to her by the Curious One before

he became corrupted.

The various lords had begun to act up too, as Minsaw had yet the authority (and possible insanity) that his late father had. Some of had no trouble paying lip service to the new King, but others had yet to say a word. Minsaw’s hold on the Empire was barely palpable as the army had to adjust its size to guard the whole of the Empire.

The Taungoo Empire was at an impasse. Although the new king had done much to protect the new settlements from outside, it seemed that we lacked the intelligence needed to match. Although legendary for its covert operations, the old ministry was close-minded. Sloppy. They lacked the proper protection of the Goddess, unable to protect what was in front of them whilst they plotted away in secret against their enemies. Government documents were easily stolen and leaked to our rivals. The old ministry met its demise the same way it brought down the Catons.

In light of this, it was about time the King renewed their relations with neighboring empires. While relations were still relatively stable, it never hurt to try to improve relations with neighbors, especially considering the many new works of art and literature that the Great Goddess Aime blessed the people of the nation with. With so many of the faithful of Bago pAYiNG mOnIEs tO eMEraLd, there were more than enough funds to send a party of the faithful to spread their faith to the civilizations of the North. After all, the "Middle Kingdom" had yet to adopt a faith, so what would they to lose under the divine protection of Aime?

It was decided. A great tribute of monks, performers, storytellers, elephant tamers, and cooks would go and parade through the many cities of the Song Empire, spreading the wonderful and culture of the Burmese. At Bianjing, they would greet the ministers of the Song Empire with respect and hopefully start a new age of exchange between the two Great Empires.

[REDACT] "Surely your majesty knows how much money this expedition requires?" Sun (/u/TheHeroWith1000Faces) confronted the newly-crowned Minsaw (/u/EmeraldRange). "This is more than half our treasury. I knew you were inexperienced, but how could you be so rash?"

"You ought not to so callously object to your King like that. What the world would not know is that this is a guise for an entirely different plot. A normal country might send spies under the guise of monks and cultural exchange, but this was simply just the fallback guise should their spies be caught. The plan was to send a parade of troops to Canton to prepare for a military plot next part. "

King Minsaw rummaged around and brought out a badly crumpled scroll. He held it out and said to Sun "This is what I've sent to Caton for 'transparency.' They should think this particular plot is about the Song, when it is not".

Sun took the scroll and didn't bother opening it before he asked "Then please enlighten me, your Majesty, what you actually want to do"

"You're the minister of Homeland Security, is there any other threat than the Cantons? My father was stupid to go crazy after them, we must be calculated and precise. As your first mission as head of the new Department of Intelligence, you and this band of people will go to Canton to look and garner as much intel and influence in the region as you can. Go all out. Use artists to scout out the land for potential invasion routes by creating great landscapes. Pay off officials for government whereabouts and reward them with the money I've given you. Make the population love She Whose Rolls Define Fate, and push out anyone whose presence might be troublesome for our future plans. Create a network of monasteries on the Milk Road to track enemy movements and bless trade.

"Slip something more into our laxative food when you feed the high ranking Shenzhen officials so that some people more sympathetic to Taungoo can be in power ready for our plans. We don't need to kill anyone, just make them get explosive diarrhoea before important decisions. Shove the food down their throats if you must, but always remember that the Canton ministers must suspect nothing. Anyone who's caught is just simply there for a pit stop before going to the Song. Remember that our objective is to invade Shenzhen quickly and unexpectedly once you have returned with the intel. I’m sending you along with all this gold and some military-trained warriors because I know you to be like quicksilver hand. Go and make use of your skills for the Empire.[/REDACTED]

"Sun, I hereby appoint you as the field operator for this mission. Go and spread the protection of the Great Goddess to the vulnerable masses and the culture of my great Empire far and wide. May the exchange of ideas and goods bless the both of our empires, and may Aime always protect you. I trust that your skills and expertise will always equip for any situation you encounter."

"Yes, my liege." replied Sun.

Invested: /u/TheHeroWith1000Faces, 1 Warrior and 77 gold

Result: Bianjing converts to Aimeism [REDACTED] Real Result: Gain boosts to plot against Canton next part. Specifically to move troops there and to flip Shenzhen [/REDACTED]

[Mission Concept] House of the Devil

House of the Devil is an amalgamation of the Blood Money levels A House of Cards and Dance with the Devil.

Map Design – The Shamal Hotel featured in A House of Cards will be the main structure of the map, but will now also include the parking garage, sub-basement, and top floor penthouse as seen in the Shark Club building in A Dance with the Devil.

The front entrance to The Shamal will remain mostly the same, albeit with the modern Hitman flair – more NPC's, more details, more freedom. It will be expanded and redesigned to look more elegant and classy.

Around the side of the building is the entrance to the parking garage. This will look similar to the parking garage entrance in the Blood Money version, and the layout will be mostly the same, however the first floor lobby and security desk will not be included.

The sub-basement features the Hell party, a masquerade type party with a demonic theme. The penthouse suite on the top floor features the Heaven party.

The main floor of the building features a casino and a middle-eastern themed restaurant, just as its Blood Money counterpart did, except the casino is on the same level as the lobby instead of down a flight of stairs.

the sub-basement, parking garage, lobby, floor 7, floor 8, and the penthouse are all accessible via elevator.

The Story – There are 5 targets in this mission. Anthony Martinez, Vaana Ketlyn, Henrik Schmutz, The Sheikh, and Tariq Abdul Lateef.

Schmutz was a former Ether employee and stole vital DNA samples and research. He intends to sell this research to Ether's number one competitor – APEX International.

APEX's CEO, The Sheikh, will be arriving in person to field the purchase of Schmutz's stolen DNA samples and research.

The Sheikh's head scientist, Tariq Abdul Lateef, will also be present to inspect the samples and research prior to handing over the payment.

The three are expected to meet at some point this evening at the Shamal Hotel, but there is a complication.

Anthony Martinez, a corrupt CIA agent working multiple angles for his own financial gain, is attending a masquerade party at the Shamal as cover – he plans to hijack the DNA research, and well as the payment, and sell it on the international black market.

In order to accomplish this, he has enlisted the help of Vaana Ketlyn, a major player in global black trade, who will help him fence the research in exchange for half The Sheikh's intended payment. The two have a history together of mixing business with pleasure.

Our client is a third party who wants the DNA research recovered and destroyed before it falls into the wrong hands. What you do with The Sheikh's payment is entirely up to you. The client also wants The Shiekh, Lateef and Schmutz eliminated, which will deliver a major blow to unethical DNA

The Mission – Apart from the inclusion of two extra characters and a number of new opportunities, the House of Cards portion of the mission will play out largely the same. The Sheikh, Schmutz and Lateef will play out very similar routines, with a few modifications to fit with the updated game play of the new title. Martinez will at some meet with Ketlyn in the sub-basement to discuss plans on how to acquire the research and money.

Opportunities

The Jaws of Defeat – Vaana Ketlyn has spared no expense with her Heaven and Hell themed raves, but the real spectacle is the live shark swimming around in the water tanks surrounding the dance floor in the sub-basement. As a former world-renowned circus performer, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for Ketlyn to perform a death-defying stunt. Perhaps there is an opportunity to up the stakes? – Vaana will perform a stunt routine involving the Shark. Rig the safety equipment to cause her to fall into the shark tank and be devoured. Her opioid-impaired party goers may very well think it's all part of the show.

A Dance with the Devil – Anthony Martinez and Vaana Ketlyn have a decade-long history of business relationships, with plenty of pleasure mixed in. Apparently, it has been two years since they last saw each other in person, and judging by their recent phone calls, their reunion may be an emotional moment. Nevertheless, they are both professionals and will likely focus on the job at hand… unless they can be persuaded. Catching them in the moment might be a good opportunity to eliminate them both at once. Spike Martinez's drink with an aphrodisiac, and send flowers to Ketlyn. During their meeting, set the sound system to play a slow romantic song. They will issue security staff to clear the dance floor for a private dance. Dispose of them in any way you see fit (dropping the lighting rig is one option).

Poor Reception – The Sheikh has been complaining that his phone calls are being dropped due to poor reception inside the building, and that he is tired of walking outside to take calls. This may be a chance to get him right where you want him. Acquire and use Lateef's cell phone to call The Sheikh, and kill him when he goes outside to take the call. You can carry the cell phone with you and call him from anywhere, but if you prefer remaining true to the original, you can snipe him from Lateef's hotel room.

Room Service – Lateef will need to thoroughly examine the DNA samples and research that Schmutz plans to sell to The Sheikh, but since The Sheikh insists that he and Lateef are not seen together, Schmutz will visit Lateef in Lateef's hotel room with the briefcase, but they apparently have never met and do not know what each other looks like. Posing as Room Service may give you an opportunity to slip into the room ahead of their meeting and prepare for Schmutz's arrival. Getting a Room Service disguise and an 8th floor Master Keycard will grant you access to Lateef's room. Lateef will insist that he did not call for room service, but 47 will make up some excuse about expired dairy product in the mini-fridge and needing to check the expiration dates. From there, you can either distract Lateef so you can hide in the room, or kill him and take his disguise. Eventually, Schmutz will show up and you can either examine the briefcase and let him go, examine the briefcase and discreetly plant a remote bomb and then let him go, examine the briefcase, stand up and kill him right there, or jump him the moment he walks in the door.. among any other number of things.

No Deal – The Sheikh is not a trusting man, and does not completely buy into Schmutz's claim that he has betrayed Ether by stealing the DNA research. As far as corporate espionage goes, this would be a deadly game for Schmutz to play, were he to double-cross The Sheikh. Schmutz has every intention on following through with the deal – his loyalty is to the highest bidder, and nobody will bid higher than The Sheikh. But, sabotaging the DNA samples and research and allowing the meeting to go through will no doubt cause The Sheikh to have Schmutz eliminated. Sneak into Schmutz's room, ruin the DNA samples (poison) and then allow Schmutz to meet with Lateef. Lateef will appear surprised that the samples are no good, but will pretend like everything is ok. When Schmutz leaves the room, Lateef will call The Sheikh and inform him that Schmutz is lying. The Sheikh will have his guards intercept Schmutz and lead him to an outside area to kill him. You can; kill Lateef after he calls The Sheikh, kill The Sheikh before he walks back inside after taking the phone call (only possible with a sniper rifle), and allow The Sheikh's men to kill Schmutz.

More on the way, just out of time to type it up for now.

How Russia Treats Its Ukraine Veterans

How Russia Treats Its Ukraine Veterans

by Christopher Miller via Master Feed : The Atlantic

URL: http://ift.tt/2vU4NbZ

Russian volunteer Andrei Kamayev arrived in war-torn eastern Ukraine in late September 2014, bursting with patriotic bravado and convinced that he was following in the footsteps of his grandfather—a Soviet intelligence officer in World War II—by fighting against “fascists and Nazis.”

Using terms propagated by the Kremlin to describe Ukrainian government forces fighting Russia-backed separatists, the 49-year-old Kamayev admits to other motives for joining up: He also wanted to help restore the Russky Mir, or “Russian World,” and stave off the perceived encroachment of NATO.

But his dream of military glory came to a quick and devastating end on February 1, 2015. As Kamayev followed a convoy of tanks during an assault near the strategic town of Debaltseve—then Ukrainian-controlled—a mortar shell exploded beside him, shredding part of his left leg. He was evacuated to a nearby hospital, but without the proper medicine to treat him, gangrene set in and doctors were forced to amputate the rest of his leg up to his hip.

He was lucky to survive, unlike many fellow Russians who volunteered to fight in Ukraine. But back in his new home, St. Petersburg, Kamayev hobbled around the former imperial capital on crutches, struggling to get by.

For him and thousands of other unrecognized, so-called veterans of the Kremlin-fomented conflict in eastern Ukraine, there is little, if any, glory beyond the battlefields of a war that grinds into a fourth year, with no end in sight.

No Official Recognition

These Russian vets didn’t return to a hero’s welcome. Most bear permanent scars, both physically and mentally, and with no veterans benefits and few jobs available they struggle to make ends meet. Moreover, infighting among different groups of them over ideology, strategy, and legacy, has kept them from uniting as a more influential voice.

They include the Union of Volunteers of Donbas, a group headed by Aleksandr Borodai, the former leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic.” The group is closely tied to the Kremlin through Vladislav Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s point man on the conflict, and seen by some volunteers as being elitist. I spoke with some members of the group in a village outside Kaluga, where they were participating in war games on July 30.

Another is the Public Movement of Novorossia, an organization headed by Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, a Russian who commanded separatist forces in the first months of the war but is viewed by many volunteers as a traitor for retreating and relinquishing territory in Ukraine to Kiev. Girkin, who was eventually recalled to Moscow by the Kremlin, didn’t respond to a request for an interview.

Kamayev does what he can to help by running Veterans of Novorossia, a St. Petersburg-based NGO whose name (“New Russia”) draws on an imperial-era term denoting large parts of today’s southern and eastern Ukraine. His deputy, 41-year-old Denis Shchinkorenko, fought in arguably the bloodiest action of the Ukrainian war—the battle for Ilovaysk.

They assist Russian volunteers who fight or fought in eastern Ukraine, many of whom are frustrated and disappointed with the uncertainty of their future, Kamayev says. My interviews with more than a dozen other fighters in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kaluga, supported that assessment, and illustrated how the thousands of Russians who fought in Ukraine find it difficult to readjust to daily life and now exist on the fringes of society.

They get no official state support of any kind. Kamayev lives on a measly state pension that he gets not for military service, but “for being an invalid—like if I had been hit by a passing trolleybus.” It’s a sick irony, he suggested, that those who make it back from Ukraine in one piece have to struggle to get by.

The volunteers feel left out, perhaps because they were never really recognized in the first place. While Putin has not dismissed the possibility that some Russians might volunteer to fight in Ukraine, he has denied supplying them with arms and the Kremlin has officially refused to acknowledge their role.

Essentially, what the Kremlin gets is a large and powerful proxy army that allows it to maintain plausible deniability of official involvement in the Ukraine conflict. The volunteer soldiers, according to the fighters themselves, get next to nothing.

Fighting For The 'Russian World'

Kamayev puts the number of Russian fighters registered with Veterans of Novorossia at 3,000, but the total size and breakdown of the Russian volunteer force is unclear. Other groups did not provide figures. Estimates range from zero, if you go by the lack of official Kremlin acknowledgement, to tens of thousands, according to Kiev.

Kremlin-backed forces fighting in Ukraine comprise 39,300 active fighters, including 36,400 “Russian proxies”—a figure that includes volunteer fighters from Russia, Ukraine, other former Soviet republics, and elsewhere, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence told me.

The remaining 2,900, according to the directorate, are Russian regular servicemen, an allegation of involvement that has consistently been denied by the Kremlin despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Most volunteers who spoke to me were ordinary citizens with varying degrees of military training, but were eager to take up arms for reasons that range from patriotism to adventurism. I am not identifying all of them by name because some requested anonymity for fear of their families finding out what they are doing, prospective employers learning their history, or due to outstanding warrants in Russia, among other reasons.


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Many cite the restoration of the _Russky Mir_—an area dominated by ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers that encompasses most of the territory of the former Soviet Union—as a big inspiration. Another common reason for joining the separatist fight is the 2014 revolution that ousted Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Many volunteers describe the country's post-Euromaidan government as “illegal” and “fascist"—terms spread by the Kremlin and Russian state media to whip up emotions over a revolution they consider a “coup.” Others specifically cited the May 2014 Odessa tragedy, in which rioting and a fire left 48 pro-Russian activists dead, as well as what they feel is unwelcome NATO encroachment.

“NATO is getting closer and closer to us, despite the promises given in the early 1990s that it wouldn't expand this far east,” Kamayev said, repeating a claim often made by Russian officials that has been widely debunked. “We used to have the great and powerful Soviet Union and now Russia is surrounded all over.”

Still others took inspiration from Moscow’s operation to annex Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, wishing to help along what they had hoped would be the subsequent annexation of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, where the number of people killed in fighting between government forces and separatists has climbed to 10,000 since April 2014. Russia has taken strides to incorporate the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people's republics” economically, and even recognized the separatist regions’ passports and school diplomas, but has thus far shown no interest in bringing them officially into the fold.

And then there are the adventure-seekers merely looking for a taste of a real-war experience. This camp includes Emil, a 37-year-old Russian photographer who spoke to me in Moscow. He declined to give his last name and was light on details about his roots except to say that he studied cinematography and once worked as a fashion photographer. Emil said he got a taste for war while photographing the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict in Abkhazia, one of two breakaway Georgian regions over which the war was fought. He went to Ukraine when hostilities there were at their peak in 2014 and 2015, trading his camera for a gun after a friend was shot and wounded. When the conflict slowed to a simmer, he said, he went to photograph and fight in Syria and has returned “many times.”

'Shoot And Run'

Born and raised in a small town near Yekaterinburg, Kamayev was excited to leave his life behind to fight for the battlefields of Donbas. He spent his 7,000 rubles (or about $115) in savings on a camouflage military uniform he got from a surplus store before flying to the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don and making his way to the Russian-Ukrainian border. From there, he crossed into Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region without much questioning by Russian border guards.

“When you get to the border, you don’t say you’re going to fight. You say you are going for business or humanitarian reasons … or for vacation or to visit family,” Kamayev explains. “If your documents are in order, you’re let through easily.”

Upon his arrival, Kamayev was given a beat-up old Kalashnikov rifle and 10 bullets—just enough to “shoot and run,” he said—and ordered to the front line with the separatists’ 1st Slovyansk Battalion in Nikishyne. Dubbed by Ukrainian media at the time as “the gates of hell,” Nikishyne, which sits just 15 kilometers south of Debaltseve, suffered horribly under five months of heavy shelling that destroyed more than 90 percent of the homes there and left it looking like a moonscape.

Kamayev understood the dangers he was facing. By the time he joined the fight the number of people killed had topped 3,000, Donetsk airport had been obliterated, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 had been shot out of the sky, and the deadliest battle of the war—Ilovaysk, with a body count from both sides well over 1,000—had been fought.

He was surprised by the “chaos” he encountered, but was happy to be there and fought undeterred from the trenches for months. For his efforts he said he received only a onetime payment of 15,000 rubles, or about $250, for fighting in October 2014. (Other fighters said they received nothing, or amounts far less than that.) He recalled there being no proper command structure; from the way he described the infantry’s role, it sounded like volunteers were merely used as artillery fodder. Their sole purpose, he explained, was to grind down their enemy, hold their ground at all costs, and, if possible, to gain some back. His unit of 10 men fought in two-hour shifts, allowing them some time to rest.

“You learn to find happiness in the little things,” he said of his time at the front. “You’re happy that you survived, you’re happy that you ate … and got some sleep.”

But happiness was a passing feeling. Three out of the 10 men he fought alongside returned home in coffins, while another five, including him, suffered serious injuries. Only two came home physically unscathed. Kamayev and Shchinkorenko said those grim casualty figures are generally in line with the thousands of volunteers who fought in eastern Ukraine.

No Homecoming Parties

In contrast to the boisterous public celebrations for the annual Airborne Forces Day on August 2, the day after I met Kamayev in St. Petersburg, there have been no homecoming ceremonies for the Russian volunteer fighters, no street banners heralding their sacrifices, and certainly no medals of valor.

The only physical symbols of their achievements adorn the inside of a dark basement tucked behind a gray building that sits along a canal in St. Petersburg. The Museum of Military Valor of Donbas, as it is called, is filled with war artifacts brought over by volunteer fighters. Bullet and artillery casings, collections of badges with the emblems of different fighting units, photographs of pro-Russian propagandists (including a British blogger and an American radio host), and memorials to notorious commanders cut down in battle or assassinated sit in glass cases and hang on the walls.

Donning a camouflage uniform with a patch showing a Kalashnikov rifle above the words “we'll teach you how to have a dialogue” on the right sleeve, a baby-faced 26-year-old who goes by the nom de guerre “Academic”—a name given to him by his comrades for his ability to make sense of military maps—showed me a helmet he said is “special.”

“This one has the brain material of a Ukrainian Nazi inside,” chuckled Academic, using the Kremlin propaganda term for Kiev’s government troops.

Academic said the museum keeps an electronic database of fighters killed in the war. He did not allow me to view the list, but said there are “more than 3,000” names of Russians included in it.

Flags from Syria, including a flag of the Islamic State, supposedly taken by fighters who decamped there after fighting in eastern Ukraine, are also on display.

Stress And Unemployment

Shchinkorenko said most volunteers who come to the Veterans of Novorossia office complain of suffering from serious psychological issues and feelings of “being transformed.”

“To some extent, we remain there, at war,” Shchinkorenko said. “I am trying to understand whether a postwar syndrome is actually a syndrome or maybe a transformation of personality.”

Kamayev recalled one fighter who committed suicide. “He lived alone after he came back,” he said. “Apparently, he didn't tell anyone that he was in Donbas and had nobody to talk to about it.”

Veterans of Novorossia—which stays afloat on Kamayev's pension and income from a small business Shchinkorenko co-owns, according to the men—at least provides a place where volunteers can meet and discuss employment opportunities.

But with Russia’s economy still struggling and few options available to them, many admit they have been forced to take jobs in Russia’s shadow economy after failing to acquire remunerative employment. Some said their only work option was to take mercenary work in other war zones, such as Syria.

On the day I visited, Vitaly, a Russian who declined to give a last name but said he fought as a volunteer for three years before returning home with a wife from Donetsk, dropped in to discuss prospective work, among other things. He said many of the guys try to find employment in Moscow as construction workers, or try their luck in Kerch, the Black Sea town on the annexed Crimean Peninsula where Russia is building a bridge from the mainland.

Some of the most desperate ones go back to Ukraine.

'Symbol Drenched In Blood'

Kamayev said there are many fewer volunteers willing to go to Ukraine and fight these days. Public support and crowdfunding to aid a cause isn’t what it was three years ago. Word has spread to prospective recruits that it is not worth the risk, and the guys who fought and came back are disappointed that they failed to achieve their goal of capturing Novorossia. “Novorossia is a symbol drenched in the blood of our close friends,” Shchinkorenko said.

That the war has entered a stalemate of sorts and the fighting has become less intense has actually turned off some of those looking for serious combat experience, although the death toll among soldiers and civilians in the first six months of 2017 was double that over the same period of 2016, according to figures from the Ukrainian military and the Organization for the Security and Cooperation (OSCE).

Asked about official military support, Kamayev grew tense but suggested that, yes, that, too, has ebbed.

A New Fight

Veterans of Novorossia has its eyes on a bigger prize—the NGO wants to persuade the government to grant Russians who fought in Ukraine state status. It’s a long shot, but one that could shape the fighters’ futures.

The effort has yet to really get off the ground, however. Kamayev admitted that to push hard for such status now would be ill-advised, given that it would mean formal recognition by Moscow of having a hand in the war. “The less we will demand for ourselves, the more the state will probably respect us,” he said.

Even without formal recognition, however, his deputy, Shchinkorenko, believed Russia’s Donbas volunteers will eventually be seen as heroes. “We are the good guys,” he said, conceding an important fact. “It depends on who will be in power [when the war ends] and who will write the history books.”


This post appears courtesy ofRadio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Harassed by a employee at TikiTaco

My wife and I ordered on a Friday night and a chimichanga had a toothpick in it. I understand this can be an easy mistake and went in Saturday afternoon to let an employee know so this might not happen to someone else. She offered me a $6.99 credit towards my next order because their new system does not currently allow them to give a cash refund back. I said this was fine and we would come back at night to redeem the credit. My wife and I came back that night and I ordered 4 tacos at $1.99 a piece so about an $8 order. The cashier said the total after the credit would be $4.58. I asked why it would be $4.58 because I assumed they had just mistaken the amount of the credit. This is when another employee jumped in and verbatim called me a "little b*" and if I was going to "b" about a couple of dollars difference I could just "get the F** out". I was in absolute shock as I have never experience this type of customer service at a restaurant. I had already paid the $4.58 for the new order and so I didn't want to leave until I had received what I had paid for. The cashier I had previously spoken to apologized on multiple occasions while a crowd of people in front of TikiTaco looked shocked at the abruptness that this employee began cursing at me. He closed all the windows in my face and told me to leave. I told him I had already paid for my new order and would appreciate either the food or my money back before we left. He told me he was the owner (I don't think he was) and that my wife and I had to leave now without my money back or the food. He continued to spew profanities at me and called a security company that I assume monitors 39th St. While speaking to the security guards about the situation the first employee came out with my food and apologized again for the other person's actions. It's unfortunate because my wife and I have been frequent customers of this establishment since they opened just a few months ago. If this was not the owner who spoke to me like this then I would love to be contacted by them because I have quite a bit of the interaction recorded. I understand that a restaurant shouldn't be judged by 1 bad apple but something should be done about this. I will continue to post on to review forums to let other people know.

How I found My Locksmith Company

Locks offer safety for our homes, services and cars. However when you accidentally lock on your own outside, you may yearn for just a minute that secures didn't exist! It's time to call a locksmith, however whom should you call? That should you depend securely open your auto or residence? Let's take a look at some "musts" to try to find when selecting an emergency situation locksmith professional.

Go Local

Among the very first things to consider is whether the locksmith is regional. Locksmith professionals that lie in another city could bill even more to take a trip. Neighborhood locksmith professionals normally have an office nearby where you can actually see when future lock or safety and security requires arise. This allows you to establish a partnership with your neighborhood locksmith and also build trust fund. It's a smart idea to discover a couple of trusted locksmith professionals you could rely on your local area. If one's not readily available immediately when you require emergency locksmith service, you could call on the various other and hopefully obtain your issue dealt with quickly. This is very important if you often require the services of a locksmith professional for your service.

Keep in mind that some locksmith professionals may run a "mobile" locksmith professional solution. This indicates they likely run out of their house as well as do not have a real storefront. If this holds true, you could discover others that have used their solution or research study them through the Better Business Bureau or a regional customer security agency.

Obtain References

Ask loved ones if they understand of an excellent locksmith professional. If you reside in a village, there might only be one or two 24-hour locksmiths. But also for bigger cities, there might be 25 or more to pick from. Others who have utilized a locksmith professional can allow you recognize which they like in order to help you narrow your choices.

Use Net Resources

Numerous locksmith professionals now have their own website describing their solutions, hrs of procedure, charges, etc. This offers you a fast way to research study multiple locksmith professionals in your area as well as contrast the solutions as well as pricing. Some Internet listing services supply info on several locksmith professionals in your area. You can use these to locate locksmith professionals originally and then contrast by doing a little study by yourself. If you locate yourself in an emergency situation, you may be able to utilize your mobile phone to access a locksmith directory online. Some solutions will also call the locksmith immediately for you to conserve time.

Automobile Locksmiths

If you are shut out of your car, make certain to search for an auto locksmith online or in your local yellow pages. Some locksmiths concentrate on automobiles, homes or organisations. A vehicle locksmith will certainly have the ability to unlock your vehicle securely without hurting the door or lock. Note: If your insurer or various other solution offers assistant roadside service, make certain to call them initially. This can save you time and money on locksmith services, jump-starts if you have a dead battery, flat tires, towing, and those humiliating minutes when you just run out of gas!

Locksmith Responsibility as well as Prices

Make sure to ask the locksmith professional if he's insured in situation damages happens. Liability insurance coverage will likely cover any kind of problems that occur while the locksmith is carrying out the deal with your car or home. An insured locksmith might charge somewhat a lot more for his solutions, however you'll have satisfaction when choosing someone with a professional expectation on his business. Additionally, confirm prices before agreeing to the service. Make sure there are no concealed charges, and also ask about potential added fees if the locksmith professional encounters problems with your lock. Be cautious if the locksmith professional informs you instantly that he will should pierce and change your lock as opposed to opening it. Expert locksmith professionals could usually open nearly any door as long as prior damages doesn't exist.

Be on Guard

Notice the locksmith's lorry … whether it is plainly noted with a company name or logo design. Additionally, watch out for somebody who does not verify that you are the real owner or a licensed individual to have a car, house or business door opened. A trustworthy locksmith WILL CERTAINLY ask for your identification before carrying out the job. This safeguards you and also others from break-ins as well as burglary. As soon as the job has been finished, request an itemized billing that damages down the labor costs, parts, service fee, and so on.

Discovering a dependable 24-hour locksmith professional doesn't have to be made complex. Prepare in advance for emergency circumstances. Keep a listing of reputable locksmith professional contact number in your purse or handbag in all times. Or bookmark a website directory of regional locksmith professionals so you can access it easily from your laptop or smart phone when you require it. Hold up some extra cash in your emergency funds for locksmiths. You never ever know when you'll need one!

If you are wondering, My Locksmith Company, they service all over canada.

How I found My Locksmith Company

Locks offer safety for our homes, services and cars. However when you accidentally lock on your own outside, you may yearn for just a minute that secures didn't exist! It's time to call a locksmith, however whom should you call? That should you depend securely open your auto or residence? Let's take a look at some "musts" to try to find when selecting an emergency situation locksmith professional.

Go Local

Among the very first things to consider is whether the locksmith is regional. Locksmith professionals that lie in another city could bill even more to take a trip. Neighborhood locksmith professionals normally have an office nearby where you can actually see when future lock or safety and security requires arise. This allows you to establish a partnership with your neighborhood locksmith and also build trust fund. It's a smart idea to discover a couple of trusted locksmith professionals you could rely on your local area. If one's not readily available immediately when you require emergency locksmith service, you could call on the various other and hopefully obtain your issue dealt with quickly. This is very important if you often require the services of a locksmith professional for your service.

Keep in mind that some locksmith professionals may run a "mobile" locksmith professional solution. This indicates they likely run out of their house as well as do not have a real storefront. If this holds true, you could discover others that have used their solution or research study them through the Better Business Bureau or a regional customer security agency.

Obtain References

Ask loved ones if they understand of an excellent locksmith professional. If you reside in a village, there might only be one or two 24-hour locksmiths. But also for bigger cities, there might be 25 or more to pick from. Others who have utilized a locksmith professional can allow you recognize which they like in order to help you narrow your choices.

Use Net Resources

Numerous locksmith professionals now have their own website describing their solutions, hrs of procedure, charges, etc. This offers you a fast way to research study multiple locksmith professionals in your area as well as contrast the solutions as well as pricing. Some Internet listing services supply info on several locksmith professionals in your area. You can use these to locate locksmith professionals originally and then contrast by doing a little study by yourself. If you locate yourself in an emergency situation, you may be able to utilize your mobile phone to access a locksmith directory online. Some solutions will also call the locksmith immediately for you to conserve time.

Automobile Locksmiths

If you are shut out of your car, make certain to search for an auto locksmith online or in your local yellow pages. Some locksmiths concentrate on automobiles, homes or organisations. A vehicle locksmith will certainly have the ability to unlock your vehicle securely without hurting the door or lock. Note: If your insurer or various other solution offers assistant roadside service, make certain to call them initially. This can save you time and money on locksmith services, jump-starts if you have a dead battery, flat tires, towing, and those humiliating minutes when you just run out of gas!

Locksmith Responsibility as well as Prices

Make sure to ask the locksmith professional if he's insured in situation damages happens. Liability insurance coverage will likely cover any kind of problems that occur while the locksmith is carrying out the deal with your car or home. An insured locksmith might charge somewhat a lot more for his solutions, however you'll have satisfaction when choosing someone with a professional expectation on his business. Additionally, confirm prices before agreeing to the service. Make sure there are no concealed charges, and also ask about potential added fees if the locksmith professional encounters problems with your lock. Be cautious if the locksmith professional informs you instantly that he will should pierce and change your lock as opposed to opening it. Expert locksmith professionals could usually open nearly any door as long as prior damages doesn't exist.

Be on Guard

Notice the locksmith's lorry … whether it is plainly noted with a company name or logo design. Additionally, watch out for somebody who does not verify that you are the real owner or a licensed individual to have a car, house or business door opened. A trustworthy locksmith WILL CERTAINLY ask for your identification before carrying out the job. This safeguards you and also others from break-ins as well as burglary. As soon as the job has been finished, request an itemized billing that damages down the labor costs, parts, service fee, and so on.

Discovering a dependable 24-hour locksmith professional doesn't have to be made complex. Prepare in advance for emergency circumstances. Keep a listing of reputable locksmith professional contact number in your purse or handbag in all times. Or bookmark a website directory of regional locksmith professionals so you can access it easily from your laptop or smart phone when you require it. Hold up some extra cash in your emergency funds for locksmiths. You never ever know when you'll need one!

If you are wondering, My locksmith Company , they service all over canada