DUMA ELECTION. As expected: the pedestal party improved its standing. United Russia 343 (+105), Communists 42 (-50), Zhirinovskiy 39 (-17), Just Russia 23 (-41) and Motherland and Civic Platform 1 each. “Liberals” wiped out. Nothing surprising about this: Russians know they are under attack and, as they have for centuries, they rally round the leadership. But a very low turnout: my guess is that everyone was confident the government would win. Added to which, United Russia is not a very inspiring bunch. Karlin discusses fraud. Some no doubt, but not enough to affect it.

DIVERSIFICATION. Remember all that stuff about how Russia’s economy wasn’t diversifying? Der Spiegel says it now earns more from agricultural exports than from arms sales. A Russian economist hopes the sanctions last another five years. More non-petroleum exports. Time for a cliché reboot.

GDP. IMF says Russia’s GDP is less than Spain’s. Should change its methodology, don’t you think?

TRUMPUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Convergence! A whole website! “The stakes are enormous. Voting Trump / Pence in 2016 could lead to a Putin / Trump world in 2017.

MH17. The new report is out and says the rebels did it. I’m not going to waste time reading it: more blurry photos, data supplied by Ukraine, social media and none of Kerry’s “imagery“. It still ignores the damage to the port engine. Why is that important? Because in order to damage it, a Buk (given the warhead blast pattern) would have had to be coming from Kiev-held territory in a more southerly direction. The first report ignored the damage so it could claim the missile came from rebel-held territory to the east. QED.

WADAYOUKNOW? More athletes with prescriptions. A lot of unhealthy athletes out there, aren’t there?

TRANSPONDERS. Remember when Russian military planes flying with their transponders off was “reckless” or, as NATO itself complained, “a potential risk to civil aviation“? NATO doesn’t remember either: it turned down a Russian-Finnish idea that all military aircraft in the Baltic area should have them on all the time. “Do little to improve air safety” says NATO. Draw your conclusions, Dear Reader.

RUSSIANS BOMB AID CONVOY! Bellingcat unwittingly proves it didn’t.

SYRIA. Immediately after Kerry negotiated a cessation of hostilities, the US military attacked the Syrian Army. (Another “regretful” error from “the greatest military in the history of the world“.) I think Moscow has given up negotiating with a “partner” that cannot (or will not) deliver and decided for a military solution. Then, when the “facts on the ground” have been changed, diplomacy can resume.

RUMOUR. “U.S. Coalition Intelligence ‘Operations Room’ Inside Syria, Destroyed by Russian Missile Attack: Thirty Israeli, American, British, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari Intelligence Officials Killed, Report“. I’m not convinced, but it’s something to put in the “maybe file”

NEW NWO. A poll shows the US military overwhelmingly support Trump or Johnson, the two non-interventionist candidates. The same poll shows that they are tired of “nation building”. Perhaps years of random destruction and defeat inform their views. Leaks from Special Forces trainers of “moderate” rebels show that they know full well “they are just training the next generation of jihadis” The Saker explains why Moscow sees Washington as недоговороспособны – incapable of making agreements. The Russian and Turkish military chiefs met in Ankara. Russia and Pakistan have their first joint exercise. Duterte contemplates switching sides. The world is changing and people want to join the winners.

LUGANSK. Attempted coup they say; pretty murky; some speculation.

UKRAINE. Today’s reading. “The west looks on as corruption and bigotry rule in the ‘new Ukraine’“. “Bad decisions: how to build the poorest country in EuropeAnd no blaming Russia, Putin, Donbass rebels or any of that for a change. Look at these cartoons enumerating the many improvements EU association would bring to Ukraine: today’s dismal reality (but, even so, it’s better than tomorrow’s will be) is very far indeed from what they were promised. I wonder if any people have ever been so deluded.

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. “The report states that the Libyan intervention was ‘not formed by accurate intelligence’ and that the Cameron government failed to see that ‘the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.'” So another regime change war based on falsehoods. And don’t forget the cackle. I still think this was what convinced Putin to return.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

Russia in Syria – Anniversary

(Questions from Sputnik in italics)

With the upcoming anniversary, how should we assess the effectiveness of Russian military operations in Syria? What has been effective? And what has not?

The Russian operation in Syria, like all intelligent uses of violence, has been a military-diplomatic operation. The military/violence part has been generally successful – Palmyra and soon-to-be-Aleppo liberations sum up the difference on the ground – but the diplomatic part has been much less so. The Saker says that Moscow now regards Washington as недоговороспособны or not capable of making an agreement. This appears to be the case: immediately after the US Secretary of State negotiated a cessation of hostilities, the US military attacked the Syrian Army. (Another “regretful” error from “the greatest military in the history of the world“.) Really? Who is in charge in Washington? Who can deliver? Clearly, at the moment, no one. I think Moscow has given up negotiating with a “partner” that cannot (or will not) deliver and decided for a military solution. Then, when the “facts on the ground” have been changed, diplomacy can resume. If possible.

Why US military command started saying that Russia became a serious military threat? What changes in Russian military caused this? What types of weapons became a matter of US concern?

With my military and Cold War experience, I would note these things in my list of things-not-expected.

  1. The very thought that relatively insignificant boats in the Caspian Sea could affect events a thousand kilometres or more away was a complete stunner.
  2. I don’t think anyone in the Pentagon thought the Russian Aerospace Forces could maintain the sortie rate that they have.
  3. The transformation of “dumb bombs” into “smart bombs” clearly surprised the Americans as shown by the fact that they accused the Russians of indiscriminately bombing (although a thoughtful person would have understood that you don’t “indiscriminately bomb” with three bombs.)
  4. The Americans seem to be stunned with Russian jamming and EW capabilities – we’ve had whines about “A2/AD bubbles” from some of the (formerly) aggressive NATO generals.
  5. We haven’t seen it in action yet, but the S-300/400/500 series seems to be a major off-stage frightener.
  6. Then there were the impressive stunts like the “White Swan” strike from the Kola Peninsula, or the Kalibr cruise missile strikes from the super-silent Varshavyanka submarines in the Med. Obviously intended to keep NATO jumpy: we can hit you anywhere, any time.
  7. And, of course, the speed and decisiveness with which the Russians moved.

So, altogether, it’s not surprising that even former NATO commander Breedlove thinks the Russian Armed Forces are pretty formidable.

How have the Russian operations compared with US anti-IS operations? Both in tactics and weapons?

As to how Russian operation compare with US operations, who better to answer than “a commander of the al-Qaida branch ‘Jabhat al-Nusra‘” who tells us “Yes, the U.S. support the opposition, but not directly.” For years now, Washington has thought it could turn jihadists on and off as it willed. Even one of the creators of the policy, Graham Fuller, doubts the wisdom of this today. Russia is consistent.

How US and Russia could cooperate militarily if politicians reach an agreement?

If. If. If they could agree on who the enemy was.

But is the USA недоговороспособны or договороспособны?

Bellingcat proves the Russians didn’t do it.

The Bellingcat site has a piece entitled “Confirmed : Russian Bomb Remains Recovered from Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack” which includes this picture as well as several others. You may look at the others, but this one picture is apodictic proof 1) that the Russians (or Syrians) didn’t do it and 2) that Bellingcat is a loyal servant of the Borg.


He spends a lot of efforts to establish that the metal piece is the tail piece of a Russian-made OFAB 250-270 Fragmentation High Explosive Bomb. No argument there, I’m sure it is. Said bomb has 92kg of explosive. Which is quite a lot.

  • If said bomb had exploded in this not very large room, all those cardboard boxes would be torn to pieces and burned. To say nothing of a lot more damage to the room itself. Therefore it did not explode in that room.
  • If said bomb was a dud and did not explode, where is the rest of it? Therefore the bomb was not a dud.
  • Therefore the bomb piece was put there to make it look as if the Russians had done it. (And not very competently either: note that it is supposed to have come through the ceiling and neatly placed itself underneath some undamaged cardboard boxes.)
  • If it is necessary to produce a fake picture, then the Russians didn’t do it.
  • QED

And, as a bonus, by perpetrating this fraud, Bellingcat has also proved that he is a stooge of the war party.

A lot to deduce from one photo, isn’t it? It used to be that it took more effort to disprove Bellingcat’s fakes. He’s losing his touch.


ELECTION. The Duma election is on Sunday. I haven’t paid much attention to it because I don’t expect anything exciting or different. A poll gives United Russia 41%, Zhirinovskiy’s party 13%, Communists 7%, Just Russia 6% and ten others (there are 75 (!) parties registered) in the weeds. This is believable (the Communists and Zhirinovskiy share a part of the electorate, it goes back and forth and both leaders have been around since 1993). Putin continues wildly popular, his government is pretty effective, the opposition is tired or tainted, so why shouldn’t his – admittedly boring – pedestal party do well? I doubt we’ll see protests – the NGO law has greatly reduced the power of the regime changers. (Yes there is some real opposition to Putin & Co but it’s so contaminated by Western interference it’s impossible to know what’s real. In any case, it’s likely that most opponents think he’s too soft.) I very much look forward to statements from the US, especially Hillary Clinton, that they weren’t “democratic” or “fair”.

CORRUPTION. A fairly big fish caught: an official, with a responsibility for combatting corruption, was arrested when a search found a lot of cash.

MILITARY. A big exercise wraps up in southern Russia. Video: note thermobaric bombs at 1:50. The “‘unsafe’ intercept of US aircraft” doing “routine operations in international airspace” happened during it. The limit is 12 nautical miles or 22.2 kms. The US plane was 40 miles from the coast and its transponder was off. What does Washington say about Russians when they leave Russia? “Highly irregular” and “aggressive, dangerous“, that’s what. And even more outrage when they turn their transponders off.

WADA WARS. “Fancy Bear” hacked WADA and discovered that some athletes have been given a pass on certain proscribed drugs. WADA doesn’t deny but says it was OK because they had prescriptions. Does drug X cease to enhance performance if doctor prescribes it? I think some explanations are needed.

NEW NWO PART 1. This year’s G20 in China was a triumph for Putin but not so much for Obama. Interesting isn’t it? All the nonsense three years ago in Australia, Obama coming up unscheduled to talk to Putin last year and now this. Zbigniew Brzezinski tells us today that the US’s “era of global dominance” is ending. Only two decades ago – a rather short “era” – he assured us the US was supreme in all categories. Said he then: “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran… Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of U.S. geostrategic skill…”. China-Russia-Iran…. It’s all happening quickly, isn’t it? Newton’s Third Law of Motion in geopolitics.

NEW NWO PART 2. China and Russia have begun a large and rather all-inclusive military exercise in the South China Sea. This (“routine” and “not aimed at anyone” of course) exercise was preceded by Moscow stating its support for Beijing in the Sea.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. A new victim is admitted to the ward. “What is behind Vladimir Putin’s curious interest in Mount Athos?“. Not much of a mystery: there has been a Russian monastery there for 800 years, Russian governments traditionally supported it, Putin is a believer. But no: must be a “listening post or centre for intelligence gathering” or some other “secret agenda”. But seriously, PDS is neither a joke nor accidental as Robert Parry explains.

SYRIA. After long negotiations and much back and forth, Kerry and Lavrov agreed on a cessation of hostilities and a program. Much is still secret (Lavrov wants it all out there but not Washington) but we are told that Damascus and Ankara are in on it too. Russian troops have positions on the Castello Road. So, some hope, I suppose, but I have noticed before that Kerry will agree to things when he is in the same room as Lavrov but, when in another room with other people, he seems to drift away from the agreement. Washington has to give up its imaginary “moderate rebels” and the “Assad must go” mantra. Does it want to? Can it? I honestly don’t know: who’s running the place anyway?

UKRAINE’S NIGHTMARE. Today’s reading list: Origins of the war in Donbass; Ukraine’s Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace; Why American Right-Wingers Are Going to War in Ukraine (note the drunken shootings into Donbass and the tacit support from the regular army). The hearing of Moscow’s case against Kiev for the US$3 billion loan will be in January. Kiev is not expected to win. The Maidan spirals down some more. But, “there is a great deal of ruin in a nation” and we’re not there yet. And, has Paris had enough of Kiev ignoring the Minsk agreement? Or is this another contumacity to be reined in?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

Trump and Clinton, Clinton and Trump

(Written for expert panel)

To me, the choice in the US election is utterly simple: the most important thing is stopping the perpetual wars of the New American Century.

President Clinton means more wars. Deeply implicated in the wars in Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria, she is contaminated by the noxious gospel of American Exceptionalism; the arrogant (and profoundly ignorant) assumption that the US is morally justified in doing anything anywhere to anyone at any time because its intentions are pure. “American Exceptionalism” is manifested today chiefly by armed force: military bases around the world, US special forces active in half the countries and war after war since the close of the Cold War a quarter of a century ago. It should be clear – even if it isn’t to the Exceptionalists – that the US is losing these wars, that each sets up the conditions for the next and that their consequences, far from the “stability” fantasised by the Exceptionalists, are uniformly disastrous. Clinton will end none of them and will start new ones. Added to which, given her extreme rhetoric, there is the non-zero possibility of bringing us to World War Last against Russia and China.

Trump, on the other hand, boasts of his skills at negotiating The Deal. This deserves more attention than it has received. “American Exceptionalism” never negotiates because there is nothing to negotiate about: there’s the Exceptionalist way, the correct way, and there are all the other ways and they’re all wrong; other countries’ national interests count for nothing against the Exceptional. For the Exceptionalists a “negotiation” is a command to do it our way – the right way – or we bomb you. This is not what Trump is talking about: in a real deal both parties feel that they have achieved a good result; a real negotiator respects the other side’s interests and takes them into account; a real deal doesn’t need to be bombed into place. As US power drains away – and even Zbigniew Brzezinski understands that it is “no longer the globally imperial power” he said it was only twenty years ago – managing the decline will be enormously important for the safety of the world. Far better that we have The Dealmaker for four or eight years than The Exceptionalist.

Can President Trump deliver on his promise to step away from confrontation and wars? There’s a very good reason to expect he can. The years of the so-called “imperial presidency” have shown us that while American presidents have to struggle to achieve anything domestically they can start wars ad libitum – especially now that the secret of disguising neocon aims behind a froth of humanitarian rhetoric has been discovered. So all President Trump has to do is not start them.

Therefore Trump is the obvious candidate to hope for and there are good reasons to think Trump can deliver: his starting approach is to negotiate and all he has to do to prevent a new war is to not start it. The other differences between the two candidates fade into froth and bubbles: no more Exceptionalist wars trumps – if my feeble pun may be accepted – everything else.


First You Ride the Meme and Then the Meme Rides You

What follows was put into my head by a piece claiming that in Syria “Russia [was] using advanced weapons system developed through a secret agreement with extraterrestrial visitors“. I’m not suggesting that anyone take this seriously but notice the assumption that Putin is in the superhuman category. Its creators are losing control of Putin Derangement Syndrome.

At first Putin was a figure to be mocked. He overcompensated for being short by taking his shirt off on all possible occasions, by catching large fish, finding amphoras and wrestling tigers. The high point of the mocking period was the Olympics: he’d squandered billions building a site where the water was brown and the doorknobs fell off.

But then the quick little regime change in Ukraine went sour and Putin became evil. As one of Canada’s professional Ukrainians put it “My Ukraine: A personal reflection on a nation’s dream of independence and the nightmare Vladimir Putin has visited upon it.” Ukrainians just wanna have fun but Putin turned the dream into a nightmare. Remember Olga Znachkova who didn’t want the Eurasian Union but wanted frilly undies instead? Evil Putin stole them too. “Smart but truly evil man” says Madeleine Albright (of all people). Too evil for derision but still limited in his effect: a “regional power” acting out of weakness.

But PDS has evolved far past any localised evil, let alone mockery. In my Putin Derangement Syndrome collection in August there were two principal themes. The first was that Putin had the very same uncanny influence over Donald Trump and Jill Stein that he had had over Bernie Sanders; in other words, he has such a grip on the American election that Hillary Clinton is the only truly American candidate left. The second theme was the extraordinary ability of RT and other Russian media outlets to shape people’s thoughts; far exceeding the effects of the much (much) better funded Western outlets. Putin has the power to cloud minds at a distance: he operates at a more than merely human status and he’s using that power to reshape the world.

This is an illuminating case study because it shows that propaganda can take off on its own and exceed the intentions of its originators. The US establishment is fond of demonising its enemies – in recent times we have seen it happen to Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden and many others – but those hate campaigns, once they had whipped up war support, ceased and were forgotten (anyone remember Aidid?). Washington’s current trouble is that it has never tried the technique against someone whom it can’t get at, against someone who is not cowed and, worst of all, against someone who outwits it at every stage. The propagandists have no idea of what to do except turn the volume up higher and higher. So the rhetoric builds and builds, more and more extreme, larger and larger until it bursts into full-blown psychosis and panic.

Putin is already the Moriarty, the Voldemort of the US propaganda machine: the hidden power behind everything bad. Will we see Putin the extraterrestrial agent or Putin the Antichrist, already out there in the crazy fringe, start to appear in the NYT or WaPo as they are compelled to account for the next ratcheting up of hysteria?

Economist cover sometime next year: Cthulhu Returns!



Putin Derangement Syndrome August 2016

In which I collect all the examples of this strange mental defect that have caught my attention in the month of August in the seventeenth year of The New American Century.


Vladimir Nosferatuvich Putin



Hillary Clinton says “We know that Russian intelligence services, which is part of the Russian government which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC. And we know that he arranged for a lot of those e-mails to be released.” (Director of National Intelligence James Clapper would call this “hyperventilating” but what’s he know?).

Anne Applebaum informs us: “This time the goal is to disrupt the American election, discredit the process and, if possible, elect Donald Trump as President of the United States. All available evidence now points to Russian involvement in a thorough hack of the Democratic National Committee.”

Speaking of “all available evidence”, the WaPo tells us the lack of “fingerprints” is the evidence; CBS says the presence of “fingerprints” is the evidence. One or the other, I guess: but it’s all “evidence”, isn’t it?

A “scholar of Russian espionage and political subversion” informs us “For the first time since the 1950s, Russian subversion of the American political process has become a presidential campaign issue.

Jill Stein of the Green Party has been contaminated by Putin.

They’re everywhere: “Putin’s Pawns: Beware the Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left .”

And then there’s Donald Trump himself: “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” A Clinton campaign video lays out the evidence of “Donald Trump’s connection to Vladimir Putin“. “So, you can say Trump and his friend Putin are the founder of ISIS, which probably would be more accurate than calling out the commander-in-chief in that way.” McFaul explains “Why Putin wants a Trump victory (so much he might even be trying to help him)”. Clinton says Putin, Farage and Trump are all together; her campaign chief details the links between Putin and Trump.

But maybe none of this matters, as the WaPo explains; Putin might use Russia’s tremendous hacking power to disrupt the entire election. He’s already sniffing around: “Russians Hacked Two U.S. Voter Databases, Officials Say” and he’s gnawing away at the “newspaper of record“. Maybe it’s already too late: “Vladimir Putin Has Already Won Our Election: It’s time to face the facts: Kremlin spies and hackers are undermining American politics“.

(A small request – can we have a pronunciation closer to vla-DEE-mir than VLAD-i-mir? Americans ought to be able to pronounce the name of their soon-to-be Commander-in-Chief.)


Just watching RT for a short time can so twist people’s thinking that they have to be put on a remedial course of BBC watching.

Are Putin’s beauties on a secret mission to break up the UK?

Then there’s the Nooscope. Whatever that is. But it’s frightening and sinister. A sort of mental Dracula, I suppose. Fortunately we have Masha Gessen to guide us through the forest “A final fact about Vayno is that the letters of his last name can spell voyna, the Russian word for war. Is this the message that Putin is sending?Вайновойна, you decide. Maybe Putin’s “gunslinger walk” or Asperger’s affects his ability to spell. (But he could probably find, or create, someone actually named Антон Эдуардович Война if he really tried, don’t you think?) But, as Gessen is a homonym for guessin’, who knows what message is being sent by whom?

The NYT suggests that in Sweden, where actually two thirds don’t want to join NATO, all expressed opposition to joining can only be the work of A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories. (Amusing to consider the three “false stories” the NYT mentions and think: 1) nukes in İncirlik 2) renditions and other things we only learn about later and 3) SOFA – see Okinawa. The NYT should put more effort into its propaganda: this is an insult to its readers.)


Time for another Olympics, time for another invasion says Luke Harding. (Bit stale-dated that, but the Para-Olympics aren’t over so there’s still time for Putin to invade somebody. But Harding can recycle the piece in two years.)

Why is Russia in Syria? Don’t waste your time listening to what the Kremlin says: the current Porcelain Cup holder knows it’s because “Russia wants to erase the humiliation of the Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

But there’s hope: despite all that Putin has done “Twenty-five years after the great revolution that toppled the Soviet regime, the spirit of dignity and freedom still burns.

Next month, new collection. The PDS epidemic is very contagious.


OLYMPICS. Sports Minister Mutko says the WADA report was “falsified” and that Moscow would file lawsuits against the “accusers.” High time Russia struck back; it has had some success in the Western court system. The ridiculous YUKOS shareholder judgement was reversed for example. While accusations of “probably” can be thrown around ad libitum, actual courts don’t want to set precedents that may bite them later.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Putin’s campaign to become US President is attracting a lot of attention. Here’s another American opinion sector he controls. I think he’s a shoo-in, don’t you? My August collection of PDS will be out tomorrow.

MORE RUSSIAN “THREATS”. Plans to create a coastal defence division in Chukotka have been announced; there were some facilities in the Soviet times in Anadyr. This is the part of Russia that’s next door to Alaska. I look forward to Thinktankistan’s reaction. (The “Putin threat to Alaska” is out there now, but only in a small way: here, here and here.)

PUTIN DOCUMENTARY. Very good. First 20 minutes a reminder of the hopeless mess of 1999.

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. Remember last year when Russia was destabilising Norway by shoving migrants into it? This year we’re told it wasn’t true actually. But never mind, Russian hackers are the new threat. Classic propaganda: keep the lies coming; nobody remembers the details but the bad impression remains.

RUSSIA-SYRIA. Russia’s intervention began 11 months ago. Obama, again displaying the pitiful advice he gets, predicted a “quagmire“. Better he should have listened to “Shellback” and understood “that Moscow confined itself to the things that can be accomplished by violence and stopped when it had done them“. Even a few in Thinktankistan and MSM are starting to get it:: “Russia has been able to reassert itself in the region partly because it set out limited goals – something the US might consider taking a cue from.” “As Bismarck said, you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them. But Washington is always trying to sit, indeed trying to sleep comfortably, on them.”

TURKEY-SYRIA. Turkish forces invaded Syria last week and took the town of Jarabulus just across the border on the west bank of the Euphrates. Supposed to be a short-term operation. There seem to be two opinions: A: it’s a betrayal of the Ankara-Moscow rapprochement or B: it’s actually all manoeuvring for the end game and Moscow is OK with it. I’m inclining towards B. “A Deal Over Syria That Left The U.S. Out“. We have seen two indications the Moscow-Ankara rapprochement continues.

IRAN. Iranian TV showed S-300s deployed at the Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility.

FOLLOW THE MONEY. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.Germany makes some.

GONGOS. Two more named undesirable: the International Republican Institute (John McCain’s – “further proof that he fears democracy“) and the Media Development Investment Fund, Inc. That’s 7 now: those 2 and National Endowment for Democracy, the OSI Assistance Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the US Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. (Does your local media outlet, reporting on this, tell you about the US law on which the Russian one is modelled? Bet it doesn’t).

DONBASS. A poll shows support for recognising independence or incorporation into Russia is down from January 2015 (23% and 14%) and neutrality is still the preferred option (up from 28% to 38%). There is very strong support for providing humanitarian assistance. Moscow’s policy operates within these constraints. I still say Putin & Co are playing a long game: sooner or later Brussels and Washington will tire and maybe the Ukrainians will get rid of their new masters.

UKRAINE. The Ukrainian nuclear power authorities and a European consortium signed an agreement to supply fuel from a Westinghouse plant in Sweden. Many think that this is potentially dangerous. Allegedly Westinghouse has redesigned its fuel rods after earlier problems. The former Chernobyl director is concerned. A nuclear disaster would dwarf most of the other spillovers from the Ukrainian calamity. Of which there will be many – the Saker predicts the future: a big Somalia next door.

MORE UKRAINE. Even its cheerleaders recognise it: “Every roulette table in Las Vegas is more promising than Ukraine. I know from personal experience“. And for once, no attempt to blame Russia.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer