PUTIN SPEECH. After the referendum (by the way, perfectly normal numbers for this sort of thing see Falklands Islands, Kosovo and others) the process of re-joining Russia has begun – Putin’s speech here. One of his points was the illegality of Khrushchev’s transfer in 1954 “What matters now is that this decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional norms that were in place even then. The decision was made behind the scenes. Naturally, in a totalitarian state nobody bothered to ask the citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol.” He quoted the UN International Court ruling of July 22, 2010. If I were to pick two sentences to sum it up, they would be these: “Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right.” The second: “Are we ready to consistently defend our national interests, or will we forever give in, retreat to who knows where?” But it should be read: again, read what he says, not what people tell you he says.

UKRAINE FUTURE. Putin said he has no intention of absorbing other parts of Ukraine but this must be considered conditional. The warning is here: “But it should be above all in Ukraine’s own interest to ensure that these people’s [ie Russophones] rights and interests are fully protected. This is the guarantee of Ukraine’s state stability and territorial integrity.” If it gets bad, he will. Yatsenyuk has said he will disarm the extremists. Let’s hope that he does but I think he’s the von Papen of this revolution and I doubt he’ll be around in six months.

LIFE IN UKRAINE. Now that the Crimea issue has been resolved, maybe our intrepid reporters can find the time to turn their attention to investigating fake voting in the Rada, vigilantes “lustrating” doctors, press people being beaten up (congratulations to Huff Post for carrying this one), neo-nazi thugs parading through towns, ditto beating up passers by, ditto beating up cops, ditto smashing up buildings, the “heroes” shaking down a gas station, people in the east turning back Ukrainian armed forces, big pro-Russia demos. Then again, maybe not. But they won’t have to go far or stay in uncomfortable hotels: this stuff is all over the Net and just has to be looked for.

UTTER FAILURE. Whatever the EU and Washington thought they were doing in Ukraine, it has been an utter failure. And there is more failure to come. Ukraine is broke, thousands and thousands of people in the south and east want out, some very nasty people hold the power in Kiev. The West’s absurd “sanctions” (parodied here) have been mocked by the whole Duma requesting to be put on the list. Is Ukraine more united? more democratic? richer? Is NATO stronger? more attractive? How about the EU? Does it look like a good bet for the future? Are Washington-EU relations stronger? Is Russia weaker? divided? poorer? Putin less popular? Do the people of Western countries think their leaders are smarter, more competent, more electable than they did a month ago? Do people believe their media outlets? (read the comments, for example, here). And they just keep digging their hole deeper. Just think, if Nuland, Ashton and the rest had kept their meddling hands out, Crimea would still be part of Ukraine and the tensions inherent in the Ukraine concept would not have burst open. But the concept has been broken and it will likely get nastier before it’s over. Biden may think that Russia is “naked and alone” but note Putin’s thanks to India and China. The world has changed; a lot of people are glad to see the “West” humbled.

SEA OF OKHOTSK. The relevant UN commission has agreed that a 52,000 sq kms section of the Sea is part of Russia’s continental shelf giving it exclusive rights to what may be a lot of resources.

HMMM. There is a report that more than $100B worth of US treasury bills were shifted out of New York.

JIHADISM. The Caucasus Emirate has announced, without details, the death of its leader Doku Umarov. It doesn’t say when so it may be that Kadyrov was correct when he said earlier this year that he had been killed. He was around for a long time – I see my first reference to him was in a Sitrep in June 2006 when he became President of the Chechen Republic/Ichkeria. As the obituary says, soon after he “raised the banner of monotheism and proclaimed the Caucasus Emirate.”

SYRIAN CW. The OPCW announces that more than 45% of the Syrian CW stockpile has been removed with 2 more shipments loaded at Latakia in the last week.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (


PROPAGANDA. Watch for these news items in your local media outlet to indicate when it stops re-typing and starts reporting. Who is what in the new govt in Kiev; the sniper story; General Dempsey has no evidence the soldiers in Crimea are Russians; what the treaty allows Russia to have in Crimea; whether Yanukovych was deposed according to the constitution. There are others but these are a start. Most have had some mention in Europe but very little in North America. The Guardian seems to have the most even coverage. While waiting, amuse yourself by applying to the USA the US State Department method of getting rid of presidents you don’t like. (Number 4; no messy constitutions). Or enjoy the psychoanalysis of Putin.

“REMEMBER THE YELLOW WATER!” I steal this from Gordon Hahn: remember all the stories about Sochi? Many of them outright lies? Don’t be taken in again. Remember the yellow water. And everything worked.

NOT SELLING. But the information war doesn’t seem to be selling. In the Ossetian War the West’s propaganda line was well accepted and it was only months later that the truth started to appear. This time however, I notice that many commenters spurn the standard line. On many websites 50% or more do not buy it. Why the difference? The New Media is more powerful and there are more alternate sources of information than your local media outlets; too many people have heard US diplomats stage-directing things; the rather flippant reaction by Ashton to the sniper story; words of sobriety from Kissinger, Cohen or Matlock. A few examples of these sceptical comments.

DEVELOPMENT. Very interesting chart from World Bank data comparing incomes of the former USSR countries in 1994 with 2012. Two things leap out: the Baltics haven’t done better, despite NATO and EU, than Belarus. And how badly the successive gangs of thieves and fantasists have served Ukraine – it’s dead last.

CRIMEA POLL. The respondents on Sunday are offered two questions: join Russia? Stay in Ukraine with 1992 Constitution. Polling at the moment expects 80% yes to the first. My guess is that Moscow will wait to see if anything develops before saying yes. Remember it only recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia after a war.

CHINA. I don’t recall Beijing expressing an opinion on previous Western overthrows but it has this time. Indeed, Beijing’s statements – enigmatically expressed in its media – are becoming more outspoken. The latest from Global Times says “Chinese public opinion should firmly stand by Russia and support its resistance to pressure from the West”. Interesting way to put it, don’t you think? “pressure from the West”. This may prove to be the most significant consequence of this idiotic Western adventure.

UKRAINE NATIONAL GUARD. With the discovery that the Armed Forces barely exist, the Rada has decided to create a 60,000-strong national guard. Given that “a source in the government” has said that some members will be recruited from “activists” involved in the protests, we will learn whether the neo-nazis are indeed just something in the “Russian media’s fun-house mirror”.

PROBABLY NOT COINCIDENCES. A Russian ICBM was successfully tested; a big air defence exercise is on; an airborne division is exercising. All “long-planned” no doubt like the US warship in the Black Sea. However, in light of Kiev’s statement that there are 220,000 Russian troops on its borders, Moscow is allowing a reconnaissance flight to show Kiev that there are not.

CORRUPTION. Turning to Russia, the dismissed Defence Minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, has been amnestied. At first glance (and second) this would seem to make a mockery of Putin’s oft-repeated promises that no one is exempt in the anti-corruption effort. He seems to have been surrounded with corruption but has escaped personal blame. Interested people may follow the discussion here. One theory is that he is being protected by higher levels – ie Medvedev or Putin or, alternatively, he has something on one of them. (The weakness with that theory is that he would hardly have been fired in the first place.) Another theory is that these kinds of high-level cases never come to a satisfactory conclusion: the swindles are so complicated, involve so many people, the parts are so deniable that it is almost impossible to put a case together – see, for example, the Lockheed case. It is always possible that he was a nincompoop who just didn’t notice. Nonetheless it is a shabby ending to a case that seemed to establish Putin’s seriousness.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (


INFORMATION BATTLESPACE. Just as in the Ossetia War, Western governments and media are in full propaganda mode. And, again, their citizens and news consumers will eventually find out they are being lied to. But this time it will be sooner because the New Media is stronger and alternative views are available. The discovery of neo-Nazis and the sniper story will accelerate the collapse. Washington will soon be talking to itself.

SNIPERS. On 21 February an agreement was cobbled together by representatives of the EU-Russia-Yanukovych-opposition (text here). Very soon snipers started killing people on Maidan Square – both police and protesters and the agreement collapsed. We have an intercepted conversation from 26 February in which an Estonian diplomat tells Ashton that his information is that the snipers were from the “new coalition” (ie the people now in power in Kiev). It is genuine. Easy deductions: the sigint part of the former Ukrainian security service bugged the call. Ergo it has defected from Kiev; ergo what’s the next revelation going to be? It now would seem to be a good bet that these guys bugged the Nuland phonecall too and maybe the Crimea communication too (see below). It took a day but the story has crossed the Atlantic and arrived on Fox.

ZEN JUDO. Russia wins if it does nothing; USA/EU lose if they do anything.

WHO’S IN CHARGE? These guys have the street power: “talking” to prosecutors; no one will take my weapons away; a town council gets the word. Why do you suppose these things are proudly filmed and put out on You Tube? Pour encourager les autres? The BBC interviews some of these people; go to 2:48 – a little bit like Hitler… in our own way. The Guardian finally reports; the comments are fun to read – that’s not what you told us! “I had thought that Russian propaganda about ‘Nazis’ was just that, propaganda, nothing more. Now I read this article describing the composition of the new cabinet, and I’m floored. It’s dominated by neo-nazis and palaeo-nazis, with only token representation of moderates.” More on the Pravy Sektor and Svoboda presence. Another media outlet wakes up. A Swedish paper. There’s a report from Russian media (tomorrow’s news today in many cases – the sniper story first appeared on RT and spread from there) that Yatsenyuk is trying to regularise these people as an accepted militia. When will this information cross the Atlantic? Floored indeed.

IT’S OVER. Ukraine is a space on the map combining bits of the Russian Empire, Poland and Romania bounded by lines drawn by Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev. Inside that space are indeed people who regard themselves as “Ukrainians” but there are lots of other national identities too. It is a country split on “east-west” issues. The “Ukraine concept” could rub along so long as no one tried to make all Ukraine obey the desires of half Ukraine. To insist on alliance with Russia alienates the west just as NATO membership alienates the south and east. The stable option is neutrality. To insist on EU association and cutting Russia off is as bad as a Russia trade connection that cut the EU off. The stable option is an arrangement with each (“tripartite” – here rejected by the EU). But Western arrogance and ignorance keeps trying to split it (blaming Russia as it does). The so-called “Orange Revolution” ten years ago soon forgot “democracy” and “reform” in its desire for NATO membership. This time the “Ukraine concept” has been blown apart thanks to the West’s insistence on EU and not Russia and the neo-Nazi seizure of power. Ukraine is slowly separating along the tear line. Not “secession” yet, let alone joining Russia, but “dissociation”. This would be happening if Putin had never existed; it was implicit in the “Ukraine concept”. The Armed Forces, security structure, police services have probably split. The Ukrainian state has ceased to exist and I don’t see how it can be put back together.

STEPAN BANDERA. Learn about him, he’s a hero in the west of Ukraine and the people in power in Kiev but in the south and east he’s a “fascist” or “Nazi”. This disagreement is the precise aim-point of the destruction of the “Ukraine concept”. Here’s Wikipedia to start with.

COUP IN CRIMEA THWARTED? Some people have pieced together a story of a coup attempt in Crimea on 27/28 February that was thwarted by Russian special forces. Here are the arguments and information; read them for yourself. One, Two Three. Videos, intercepted communications, aircraft movements.

REALITY BITES. US supply routes to Afghanistan depend very heavily on Russia. Crimeans are perfectly happy with the situation. Russia by treaty is entitled to have 25,000 troops in Crimea; it has not exceeded that number. Russian gas supplies to Europe. China is not amused. Turkey is calm. Abandon US dollar? And the nature of the people Washington and Brussels have put into power. And polling data.


© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (