Who’s the Bigger Threat to America? Putin or Obama?


According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 20% of Americans regard Putin as a threat and 18% regard Obama as a threat.

So, it’s Putin, by a nose.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, about a quarter regard the USA as the greatest threat to peace, far more than any other country.

Report here.

Data here.

RF Sitrep 20150326


PUTIN’S DISAPPEARANCE. Western media outlets, governments and “experts” beclown themselves. Again.

CRIMEA, THE WAY HOME. Крым Путь на Родину. Here it is with English subtitles. Watch it: Korsun showed Crimeans what was coming, Berkut provided a seed crystal for self-defence and taught them how to recognise and suppress a “spontaneous” demo (go to 41).

WESTERN VALUES™ PART 1. Andrei Babitsky, once a certified hero journalist speaking truth to Putin, has been fired. It’s not enough to be 99% anti-Putin, it must be 100% all the time. Read this.

NEMTSOV MURDER. Remember that? The investigators stick to their story: Dadayev did kill him; ordered by Adam Osmayev, commander of Jokhar Dudayev Battalion in Kiev forces, to embarrass Putin. This raises the possibility that the Charlie Hebdo connection was just the hook to get Dadayev to do it.

SNOWDEN. The German Vice Chancellor says Washington threatened to cease sharing intelligence if Berlin offered him asylum or allowed him to travel there. Deduction: if Germany was threatened, so was everyone else. We know that the Bolivian President’s plane was forced down (so much for Obama’s promise). Evidently, a lot of pressure was applied. One country refused to knuckle under. What do you suppose that has to do with current events?

RUSSIAN ECONOMY. Piece here from a rational observer. Not too bad but wait and see. Another agreeing.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR. The German Foreign Minister told US Secretary of State John Kerryit’s far too early to pat our shoulders and take pride in what we have achieved” in Ukraine. Thousands dead and maimed, immense property damage, economic ruin, oligarch wars, neo-nazis, war talk. Much too early.

WESTERN VALUES™ PART 2. Turns out that the Clinton Foundation got lots of money from a Ukrainian oligarch. No effect on policy of course.

MINSK II. Kiev has broken it. Item 4 called for “a dialogue” “on modalities of conducting local elections”. Instead the Ukraine parliament passed a law saying that elections can only begin after the areas are returned to Kiev’s control. No dialogue there. By the way, read the agreement: Moscow is required to do nothing, Kiev much. So when the WMSM tells you Moscow has broken it, as it will, ask yourself what part of the agreement it’s broken. A resumption of war is likely, and the end result will be the same. But this time, I expect Moscow to really intervene (why bother with another agreement Kiev won’t keep?) And, when it does, there will be no need for blurry satellite photos and reporters who forgot their smart phones. But, should the oligarch war get violent – see below – there will be no requirement.

OLIGARCH WARS. Have started. Still very murky but here is what we know. Ihor Kolomoysky is someone your media outlets have not told you much about: an oligarch, funder of many private armed formations, suspected of many atrocities (MH-17 shootdown?), he was appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk in the new oligarch-free European-style Ukraine and hailed as a patriot by the ever-accommodating WMSM. Parliament passed a law that would have reduced his control of certain oil companies. He sent armed men to take over two head offices. Poroshenko said no more private military organisations would be tolerated. Yesterday he dismissed him as Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. Not over yet; in theory Kolomoysky has a lot of armed forces that answer to him. WMSM and State Department spin will be entertaining to watch.

DRAGOON RIDE”. The brainchild of the excitable General Hodges, a US army column will travel through several east European countries: “to assure those allies that live closest to the Bear that we are here”. Ludicrous: a cavalry squadron, an insignificant light force, will probably only make people nervous. There should be some amusement as it proceeds through the Czech Republic: the locals have been warned not to throw vegetables at it and the Czech Army will escort it. Moscow will only be more contemptuous. And that’s assuming there are no embarrassing breakdowns, lapses in discipline, traffic accidents, protests etc.

PUTIN’S INFORMATION WAR. No wonder the West is having trouble selling its story: The product they’re selling is not very attractive overseas”. “if you’re going to say someone is a poisonous liar who traffics in conspiracy theories, then you should show that. That the Post doesn’t seem to feel the need to do so either means the evidence isn’t there, or that the burden of proof is very low when it comes to official enemies”. Western governments wouldn’t be whining unless they knew their story was failing.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada Websites: ROPV, US-Russia, Russia Insider

The Great Putin Disappearance



As consumers of media outlets in the West know, Putin’s “disappearance” is a sign of something very, very important. Probably.

He’s dead. There was even a Twitter thingee #ПутинУмер.

It’s a coup. “Vladimir Putin is ‘alive’ but ‘neutralised’ as shadowy security chiefs stage a stealthy coup in Moscow, it was claimed last night.” says the Daily Mail. “Social media was thrown into a frenzy after pictures emerged late Friday night of multiple unmarked white trucks pulled up beside the Kremlin.” said Ukraine Today. There to cart away his loot suggested the Daily Mail. A coup: “Former presidential adviser, Andrey Illarionov reports that in a few days it will be announced about the resignation of Vladimir Putin and the power will be taken by a group of officers and security forces led by the head of the presidential administration.” Anders Äslund speculates on who is who in the coup.

Maybe everything or anything suggests the ever-amusing New York Times. Flu perhaps but also: “There have been periodic glimpses of the tension behind the high red walls of the Kremlin, infighting over the wisdom of waging war in Ukraine that has only deepened as the value of the ruble crumbled…” Nemtsov murder, distraction, “dusty playbook of the Soviet Union”, mistress, blah, blah, blah. (And, Dear Readers, because it is the NYT, after all, I can’t resist this at the end of the piece “Correction: March 13, 2015. An earlier version of this article misstated the surname of the Italian prime minister. He is Matteo Renzi, not Renzo. It also misstated the year the submarine Kursk sank. It was 2000, not 2002.” What corrections will be discovered by the NYT’s layers of fact-checkers in a week?).

The Independent shoves them all in (except the possibility that nothing has happened. But hey! It’s Russia, something must have happened) and tosses plastic surgery into the mix.

In Switzerland to witness the birth of the heir shouts the New York Post quoting a Swiss paper. Of course we can’t expect the mainstream media to have the resources of Anatoly Karlin who found a photo of the obviously un-pregnant so-called girlfriend.

Julia Ioffe uses up some trees in the Washington Post darkly speculating – Stalin in June 1941, Gorbachev in August 1991 – a sign of something, that’s for sure.

The Economist: “What is one to make of it all? In the absence of better information, one might ask what it has meant in the past when rulers of secretive governments vanished from public view.” So let’s go back to 1564, because it’s well known that nothing in Russia ever changes. (Just think how long and hard people would laugh at you if you used Henry VIII as evidence of something in today’s Britain).

No, it’s war. All the Russian Embassy staff had left London. That was apparently connected with the British nuclear first strike that didn’t happen.

Something vaguely Brobdingnagian is about to happen. Some huge announcement is coming on the weekend.

Abducted by aliens? Well, probably not but let’s put it out there anyway.

Flu, says a CIA source (ah something rational at last). But Ioffe authoritatively informs us they’d never admit he’s sick (“manly men don’t get sick”).

The BBC is magisterial as ever but still manages to make a big deal of it: “And all this because there’s been no verifiable sighting of the omnipotent and normally omnipresent Vladimir Putin since 5 March.”

Well, here’s his schedule on the Presidential website: there’s something nearly every day. But that doesn’t count because the Western media can’t find the website, can’t read Russian, don’t know anyone who does, wouldn’t believe it, has to get excited because everybody else has got excited. Anyway, he met with the President of the Kyrgyz Republic (a country not too far from the NYT’s Kyrzbekistan, but probably not in the Austrian-speaking world, one assumes) today so the panic is over.

What have we learned? Well that the BBC, NYT and so forth don’t think alien abduction or nuclear first strikes are credible enough to toss into the list. (Although trucks removing the temporary skating rink on Red Square make the cut in several outlets.) So we’ve discovered that they do have some standards, after all. So that’s something on the credit side.

The West has developed a hysterical obsession with Putin and this “absence” was a chance to display it and make fools of themselves. Certainly, the Western media, losing ground and credibility steadily, will not have gained any from this preposterous performance. I can’t help wondering whether Putin and his team (which has shown itself to be much smarter than anybody in the West) didn’t concoct the whole fake disappearance to allow the West and its tame sources to be-clown themselves and take their reputation down another couple of points. Now, that would be clever. And fun to watch; a tiny hint from Putin? “Life ‘would be boring without gossip’”.

Also notice the assumption in practically every one of these stories. Which is that Russia is a tremendously unstable place held together by one man. This despite the fact that the Constitutional successor, a long-time member of The Team, has actually been president before and that The Team has demonstrated a remarkable coherence – to say nothing of competence – for fifteen years now.

The second thing to notice is this crackbrained obsession with one man. Putin is the Qaddafi, the Saddam Hussein, the Milosevich, the bin Laden, the Aidid, of Russia. If only he would go, the bear would roll over and expose his tummy. Well, getting rid of those guys didn’t work, and getting rid of Putin won’t either. It’s not just one man, it’s a whole country. When are they going to learn this?

My theories: normal few days, maybe some flu. But Putin does take a three or four day retreat most years to a monastery and it is Lent.

(But I really like the idea of a sting operation to allow the Western MSM and its tame “experts” to make fools of themselves.)

RF Sitrep 20150312


A SPLIT AT LAST? Many of us have been wondering how much longer Europe will harm and abase itself in Washington’s service. Has the crack finally opened? You must read this: Der Spiegel, quoting the German Chancellery, is saying that NATO and Washington are lying. “German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn’t understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn’t the first time.” “The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove’s comments as ‘dangerous propaganda’.” “No wonder, then, that people in Berlin have the impression that important power brokers in Washington are working against the Europeans”. The EU foreign policy chief says the EU will not allow itself to be dragged into confrontation with Moscow. Rather late but welcome nevertheless. Perhaps this explains why Washington took its first step to de-escalate by postponing sending troops to Ukraine. In Washington’s war against Russia, it’s Europe that is paying and, should fighting spread out of Ukraine, it is where it will be fought.

MORE DE-ESCALATION? Zbigniew Brzezinski (“without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire”) now says Washington should assure Moscow that Ukraine will never be in NATO. Of course NATO and the EU are already pretty tightly joined (more tightly than people realise) but that’s something.

NEMTSOV MURDER. The official story, never particularly convincing, has taken another hit. Sputnik reports the chair of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission says neither suspect has admitted involvement and the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council wonders whether the earlier confession was beaten out of them. The Saker is also unconvinced.

HOW STUPID DO THEY THINK WE ARE? NATO which claims to see Russian tanks crossing the border, admits “it’s unclear to what destination” weapons withdrawn according to the Minsk provisions have been moved to. Is this ignorance an indication that Kiev is indeed faking the pullback, or is NATO, as the Germans say, just making everything up?

MH17. Remember MH17? World’s biggest story until suddenly it wasn’t? Coverup says a Dutch reporter. (Video). No evidence of a Buk, but plenty of evidence of air-to-air missiles and cannon shots in the wreckage. Maybe that’s why we hear so little about it.

CORRUPTION. The Governor of Sakhalin has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a bribery scandal connected with a contract bid.

HMMM. Remember that story about the Russian aircraft shutting down the USS Donald Cook? I didn’t take it seriously until I read that a Russian company delivered the first of its helicopter-mounted jamming systems to the Russian Armed Forces. Add in stories of submarines “sinking” carriers… Take carriers and Aegis out of the US surface fleet and all you have are expensive targets.

CRIMEA. The former Japanese PM visited Crimea and says what he saw there convinced him that the secession referendum reflected popular will. Two polls agree with him. Here is some background on Crimea-in-Ukraine: many votes to get out. By the way, Catherine did not “conquer” or “acquire” Crimea in 1792; lost to the Mongols five and a half centuries earlier, she re-acquired it. Ditto Novorossiya.

NEW NWO. Chinese have a liking for enigmatic and poetical statements. But Washington is so bound up in talking to itself that it doesn’t hear. So the Chinese Ambassador to Belgium put it a bit more bluntly: Washington’s involvement in Ukraine could “become a distraction in its foreign policy… The United States is unwilling to see its presence in any part of the world being weakened, but the fact is its resources are limited, and it will be to some extent hard work to sustain its influence in external affairs.” Russia is working on its alternative to SWIFT and Beijing says its will be in place by the end of the year.

IMPERIAL OVERSTRETCH. Venezuela is now a threat to the USA. How many is that now? “During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries”. Resources “limited”, “to some extent hard work to sustain”, “distraction to foreign policy”.

UKRAINE BOWS TO IMF. A leaked document tells us it’s the usual “austerity package”: big increases in energy prices, 20% cut in state employees, reduction in schools, retirement age increased and so on. The usual results and misery will follow and, when Ukraine has been asset-stripped, the apology.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada Websites: ROPV, US-Russia, Russia Insider

Ten Delusions That Show Obama Hasn’t a Clue about Russia: And that’s just stuff he and his advisors don’t know about Russia


Lots of other things out there to be wrong about too

Something to bear in mind is that Obama and his advisors are spectacularly (is that strong enough? how about apocalyptically?) mis-informed about Russia. Rather frighteningly so indeed for people who are making such important decisions. For example…

Russia doesn’t make anything.

Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity.

The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking.”

Russia is isolated

with its economy in tatters.

The above five have been adequately exploded in numerous pieces on this website and elsewhere. They are, in short… no other way to put it… wrong. Russia makes lots of things; it attracts immigrants second only to the USA; its population is growing; Washington and its followers may not like Putin very much, but he’s an honoured guest in many parts of the world; its economy is doing reasonably well.

What is (scarily, if you think about it) interesting about all these beliefs is how out-of-date they are. They are as old-fashioned as John McCain’s notion that the Russian equivalent of the NYT is Pravda.

Let’s see if we can find another five delusions.

I can’t find a quotation, but it’s evident Obama believes – and certainly many have told him so – that Putin is a sort of Criminal-in-Chief surrounded by lesser criminals and if these lesser criminals can be hurt enough by sanctions, they will overthrow Putin. Here’s the theory voiced by Khodorkovskiy. Here’s another piece of wishful thinking about how fragile Russia is. Not working, is what one would say. And, in a ridiculous attempt to save the theory, we have this notion: the theory was true but it isn’t any more. Anything but admit that Putin and his team are strongly supported because of their record of success and that Russians, of all people (history, people, a thousand years of stubborn defiance and eventual victory) aren’t to be bullied. They believe they are at war and they rally around the leader; always have, always will.

Obama’s circle believe that they can fool the Russians (as easily as they can fool their own people). While Western media outlets are in full shriek over Nemtsov’s murder, not even Putin’s opposition thinks he was responsible for it; nor does one of Nemtsov’s closest associates. Even if Putin were in the habit of killing his critics (and how many prosperous and long-lived Putin opponents, without any shred of irony, will assure us that he is?), only the most credulous would think he would do it against a photo backdrop of the Kremlin. Russians know, even if consumers of managed Western media outlets do not, that there have been too many conveniently timed events of late.

Obama’s entourage believe they are (in their boss’s absence of course) the smartest guys in the room. Well, Dear Reader, you decide how small the room is. Here’s US Secretary of State John Kerry keeping it real. Russia Today can be heard in English. (Takes off glasses to show sincerity) Do we have an equivalent that can be heard in Russian?”. Yes, actually, you have, and it’s been broadcasting away for most of your life. Who briefs these people?

Putin is short and that somehow means something. I wouldn’t bet on it. And let’s stop talking about bare chests.

The tenth reason. You – Washington – you can’t take on everybody at once. You can’t do regime changes in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, Syria, Yemen, Czech Republic, China, Macedonia all at once. You can’t have wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia, Uganda all at once. “During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries”. “According to the report, US forces are deployed and equipped for combat in no less than fourteen countries!” Big as you are you’re not big enough to take on everybody at once. It’s all falling apart. Every day there’s another crisis caused by what you did about the last crisis. Listen to some Chinese advice: Washington’s involvement in Ukraine could “become a distraction in its foreign policy… The United States is unwilling to see its presence in any part of the world being weakened, but the fact is its resources are limited, and it will be to some extent hard work to sustain its influence in external affairs.” “A distraction”, “limited”, “to some extent hard work”… Typically enigmatic but clear enough. It’s over. Live with it.

And one bonus reason. If we get rid of Putin, all will be well. If we get rid of Qaddafi, all will be well. If we get rid of Saddam Hussein, all will be well. If we get rid of Milosevic, all will be well. If we get rid of Aidid, all will be well.

Oh, and by the way, Russia is not Libya.

There’s lots of other things they don’t know, but as I’m concerned about Russia here, I’ll just enumerate a few. They don’t know Lecture 1 of Ukraine 101. They’re constantly being fooled by the “moderate opposition” they fund. Always surprised when something goes wrong. Like Yemen, just after boasting about it. Of course it helps that the MSM is covering your back. But that just leads to more hubris.

These people are in charge of our destinies. They don’t know what they’re doing, (“speaking languages that other people understand”, “I don’t know what the term is in Austrian”, not only the wrong word, but the wrong alphabet, “I think there is too much of, ‘Oh, look, this is what intervention has wrought’ … one has to be careful about overdrawing lessons”) and nobody is there to tell them.

Sleep well.