(Note 25 March. Just after I put this out I read Jon Hellevig’s “The Hidden Story of Crimea’s Economic Success” which shows up the WaPo story for the nonsense it is.)

THINGS THE WMSM WON’T TELL YOU. “The only developed countries where birth rates remain higher than Russia’s are Australia, New Zealand, and Iceland.” Not, of course that mere facts slow down the anti-Russia propagandists: “Fertility rates in Russia are falling, and Russia’s population is in decline…” (last June) but, then, the Russia they rail against exists mostly in their imaginations.

ECONOMIST. The latest “A hollow superpower” will give as good a laugh in a few years as this prediction from 2012: “The beginning of the end of Putin“. Don’t know why people bother to renew their subscription: it’s not as if anything it says changes year by year.

ECONOMY. In February the industrial production index grew 1% year on year; first growth in a year.

OIL. The major oil producers are supposed to meet next month to discuss production freezes.

CRIMEA. In honour of the second anniversary of Crimea’s return to Russia we have this from the WaPo: “Crimea’s ‘new normal’ of repression”. Not even their readers believe it: the most liked comment is “On the whole, this editorial is another spiteful, propagandistic and manipulative propaganda piece.” Here are a number of Western opinion polls showing widespread, and growing, enthusiasm there.

SYRIA. Increasingly incoherent Washington spokesman says Syrians can make any decision they want as long as it’s the right one. The ceasefire seems to be holding reasonably well and Syrian forces continue to gain ground. Russian special forces were there (no surprise: probably still are). Should have listened to Russia in 2012, says the former Special Envoy to Syria. This makes me wonder if there’s any truth in this. RT crew claims to have found documents on Daesh-Turkey oil trade. My take: “Another Lesson from Moscow Washington Won’t Learn“.


LESIN. Transpires not a heart attack after all but likely murder. FBI dunnit. Putindunnit. (Of course Putin would wait until he got to Washington to kill him rather than an easy hit in Moscow. Probably.) Perhaps we’ll find out some day.

FOOD. Good report from an intelligent observer on situation in St Petersburg.

I WAS WRONG. On who today’s poster child of Russian horribleness is; a new meme is born. I can’t be bothered researching it.

LIES. The truth dribbles out. “The Big Lie About the Libyan War“. “Secret cables from the United States embassy in Beijing have shown there was no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square“. “A 2006 cable from US Ambassador to Syria William Roebuck discussed ‘potential vulnerabilities’ of the Assad administration and the ‘possible means to exploit them’.All that hype about Syria was actually about Israel and Iran. CIA was in Afghanistan before the Soviets entered. All that hype about Libya? don’t forget Qaddafi’s gold. Veterans Today permits itself a victory lap for getting Ghouta right. But don’t worry: everything you read today is true.

WESTERN VALUES. The (new) US general says “I grieve with you” over the destruction of the Kunduz hospital. Newest story, replacing the old and newer, by the way: “targeting sensors experienced a glitch”. Apparently, you can’t see a lit-up hospital from a circling C-130.

OOPS. According to the Electoral Integrity Project, the USA ranks 47th in the world for quality of elections. Bit of schadenfreude for the country that is so quick to judge other elections.

DOCUMENTARY ON UKRAINE. “Ukraine, les masques de la révolution” here with English sub titles and background. The author started out believing all the “revolution of dignity” “European civilisational choice” stuff but found it rather different when he got there.

NEXT YEAR WILL BE BETTER. “We continue to believe that 2016 can and should be the year that Ukraine breaks free from the unholy alliance of dirty money and dirty politics that has ripped off Ukrainians for far too long” – Nuland. Or not: “Catastrophe has no end in sight” – Jim Rogers.

NUCLEAR UKRAINE. A reminder that things can still get a lot worse. Here’s a report claiming that Kiev has taken many of the radioactive vehicles left at Chernobyl and re-used them or melted them down. Ukraine nuclear engineers write protest letter about dangerous orders. And there’s already the concern about US-supplied fuel. Other worries have appeared in the past. There are a lot of reactors in Ukraine.

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