NEW WEBSITE. Check out Aims to provide a better source of Russia-related news. You will be able to read today what the Western MSM will grudgingly admit to in a few months.

CORRUPTION. We are informed that peculation in the defence sector may have totalled half a billion dollars. We cannot fail to notice that former Defence Minister Serdyukov walks free (as, come to think of it, do the Luzhkovs). I have always said I’ll believe that the anti-corruption drive is really biting when someone in an office near Putin or Medvedev is arrested. Hasn’t happened yet.

MILITARY EXERCISES. There have certainly been a lot of military exercises and drills in Russia this year. All quite understandable. Until 2008 I think Moscow operated on the assumption that the threat from NATO could be handled by nuclear deterrence and that Russia’s main security problems were from jihadists in the Caucasus and Central Asia. But the Georgian attack on Ossetia, which Moscow suspects was egged on by some people in Washington – certainly there were “mixed messages” – taught them that proxy wars will be coming. The fighting in Ukraine, will not have made them any less certain of this. Hence, the big drive for up-to-date and well-equipped conventional forces. George Kennan saw it all coming: “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever.” Reason or not, here we are today.

“PEACE MARCH”. So-called; in Moscow pulled 5K to 10K – other sources make other claims but my sources suggest that that is more accurate. Plenty of counter-demonstrators were there too.

SPACE. The ISS is not quite so dependent on rockets from Russia (“which doesn’t make anything”) now that a US resupply rocket has docked.

TRUCE IN UKRAINE. Is holding. More or less. Still some shelling but prisoner exchanges are happening and some pullbacks. Atrocity reports from the OSCE. More coming. Westerners, duped by reports of Kiev gains – this BBC map was especially misleading – have no idea of the scale of Kiev’s defeat – 65% of its military hardware lost. Only now are Western media outlets starting to report reality. The NYT reports that Kiev took so few prisoners (or have so few still alive) that they kidnap civilians to make up the numbers.) Kiev was utterly defeated and did appalling things: will your news outlet tell you?

WHAT WAS IT ALL FOR? The whole thing began 21 November 2013 when Yanukovych decided to delay the implementation of the EU agreement to take Russian responses into account. On 12 September 2014 Poroshenko decided to delay the implementation of the EU agreement to take Russian responses into account. Mercouris sums up the cost of the eleven-month delay in that decision.

BACKING DOWN? Did Obama just intimate that he finds Crimea in Russia and a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine acceptable? Or was it just empty talk? See Sean’s Russia Blog for the suggestion.

GENERAL WINTER. The coal shortage in Ukraine may reach five million tonnes. The head of the Ukrainian gas company says Ukraine either has to save five billion cubic metres of gas or buy it from Russia. Going to be cold.

SAAKASHVILI. Who has not set foot in his native land since he ceased to be President, has now had all his property in Georgia seized as well as an arrest warrant issued. Do you think he and Poroshenko ever discuss what happens afterwards?

POROSHENKO’S VISITS. He visited North America, addressed Parliament and Congress, standing ovations all round. “The aggression against Ukraine has become one of the worst setbacks for the cause of democracy in the world in years” and so on. But, it seems, not with much practical result.

OLD DISPUTES? Both India and Pakistan have filed applications to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; given their long hostility this is somewhat surprising. The Chinese President has said, after talks with India’s PM, that Beijing is ready to cooperate with Delhi over the disputed territories. Meanwhile, many deals in the works between the two. Again, interesting. Of course a common threat can make people re-think the relative importance of things (witness Greece and Turkey in NATO).

SANCTIONS. Germany’s industrial production sags; Russia’s not doing badly.


© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (


MH17. The preliminary report is here. It wasn’t pilot error (but who thought it was?); nor a problem with the aircraft (ditto). “The aircraft was penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft” (already knew that). So: cannon rounds, AAM or SAM, or some mixture thereof are all possible. Transmissions stopped at 1320:03 UTC and the “black boxes” had not been tampered with. Not much is it? For what it’s worth, the Russian military briefing shows a fighter jet just in front of MH17 at 1320 UTC (1720 Moscow time); MH17 disappeared from the radar at 1323 UTC.

CEASEFIRE. There is a ceasefire, there have been violations. I doubt it will last; the issue is not yet settled.

WHERE DO THE WEAPONS COME FROM? Cyberberkut claim to have hacked Kiev’s records: the rebels have captured, between 20 Jun and 23 Aug, 79 T-64 MBTs, 94 IFVs, 57 APCs, 24 Grad MLRS. This site attempts to record them. Another source is Soviet-era depots. (Said to be a large one at Slavyansk).

NEO-NAZIS. Remember when Ukrainian neo-nazis were just another of Moscow’s tall tales and Putin was the real fascist? Not so much any more: the MSM has finally noticed: Guardian, Telegraph, New York Times (but only at the very end of the piece), Newsweek, German TV. (But caution is advised: this may be reported only so the WMSM can pretend to be “objective”). Given the mighty Ukrainian warrior tradition, how could they be defeated? Only by betrayal; and that has to be in Kiev. Will these people return to Kiev determined to punish the “traitors”? Stay tuned. (Incidentally, Dear Reader, as far as I know, the NY Books piece is the first time the Western MSM has described what we who follow the Saker and Cassad have seen for months: shattered vehicles and corpses. The slaughter is stunning).

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. Here’s a report that vaguely accuses both sides and claims Russian involvement (usual satellite photos of weapons supposedly from Russia – but much better photos than NATO’s interestingly – and reports). But more significant, and more detailed, a report on crimes of one of the neo-nazi “volunteer” forces on the Kiev side – the Aidar battalion.

SO WHAT’S GOING ON? I have always said that all Moscow ever wanted from Ukraine is a country 1. that paid its gas bills 2. wasn’t a NATO launch pad and 3. didn’t have a political crisis every 5 years that kept everybody in Moscow up all night. In short: prosperous, neutral and stable. But that possibility is gone now. So how about a fractional Ukraine (Crimea is not/not going to be a US Navy base – check out this if you think I exaggerate) that’s neutral but broke? But is this still possible? But I don’t think Moscow is all that happy about an independent (or incorporated) Novorossiya with an indeterminate and contested border on the other side of which is a neo-nazi entity, stuffed full of missiles and NATO (ie US) bases. Tough one for Moscow to figure out and, I hear, much argument there and attempted pulling of strings. But, contrary to Brussels/Washington/Kiev assumptions, Moscow does not control the fighters in Novorossiya; they have a vote too and they want out (you would too after this).

THEN. Ukraine news broadcast, one year ago today: pretty trivial stuff, eh? Bet a lot of Ukrainians wish it was the same today instead of the spreading catastrophe.

FOREWARNED IS… NOTHING, APPARENTLY. Report from US Embassy in Kiev 2008. “Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war.”

INTELLIGENCE. I have been pretty contemptuous of the “evidence” presented by Washington and NATO. I’m not alone: here are some former intelligence professionals equally scornful. Indeed, so pathetic is the “evidence” that it suggests the whole Ukraine thing is being run out of State and the White House with minimal involvement from Langley or the Pentagon. By the way, the OSCE monitors on the scene report none of the things NATO and Washington are saying.

REVERSE FLOW GAS SUPPLY TO UKRAINE? Maybe not such a good idea, after all. Probably not legal either.

CONFUSED. Is the Mistral sale cancelled, deferred, or what? You figure it out. What about more EU sanctions? Coming tomorrow; they’re tied to the the ceasefire; some members say “no”. Moscow has retaliation ready. Astute observers notice that Russia is shrewdly helping its domestic production and that of the BRICS. And Russian GDP is still growing. On the other hand, Europe is hurting.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (

NATO is Meeting Today in Wales. Here’s My Suggestion for an Agenda

But you know perfectly well that we will hear that NATO is wonderful, Ukraine is wonderful, Russia is bad and so is ISIS. NATO must get stronger.

What we should hear is that NATO has screwed up everything it’s touched since about 1990 and should, for the security of its members, let alone the rest of the world, pack up and go home.