PARIS MEETING. It happened but nothing much happened. Agreed to a ceasefire and to uphold Minsk. But Zelensky can’t deliver: the Ukronazis amuse themselves by popping off rounds into towns in Donbass and Kiev refuses to take the next step: local elections in the rebel areas (Number 4). Nothing suggests that Macron pushed anything, although Zelensky wasn’t able to make Number 9 into the next step. The EU extended sanctions; they include a demand for the “complete implementation of the Minsk agreements“. If Macron had been serious about bettering EU-Russia relations, he would have had his representative object because Russia has no obligations under Minsk; if he didn’t already know that, he learned it at the meeting. So, thus far, no evidence that his actions comport with his words.

PUTIN PRESS CONFERENCE. (Eng) (Rus) I’ll say more next time if anything strikes me. Haven’t seen anything new so far. Again, lots of details, mostly internal.

SHADOW ECONOMY. I had thought that the imposition of the flat income tax rate of 13% in 2001 had pretty well eliminated the problem of the “grey economy”. But a recent study, comparing statistics on taxpayers against the number working, suggests that the “shadow economy” might be as high as 18% of the total workforce. I’m not convinced by that number: some people make too little to pay tax; added to which, given that there are proposals to raise the level from 13%, this study may be part of that discussion because it says that, were the non-payers to be captured, the tax rate could be cut to 11%. So that number might too high but it’s something to keep an eye on.

LUZHKOV. Yuriy Luzhkov died last week. Long-time mayor of Moscow, he was fired in 2010. I remember the moment when, as it were, Moscow city began to turn around. There was a garbage skip on the little street where the Canadian Embassy was. It would fill up, keep filling, overflow, fill up some more, overflow again. One day, early in 1994, it was emptied and thereafter was regularly emptied. Say what you like about him and his wife dipping their beaks, but he got stuff done.

INF. Washington has killed the INF Treaty which prohibited intermediate range missiles in Europe. Foreign Minister Lavrov says Moscow will never be the first to deploy them in Europe. If the US did deploy them (their last attempt sparked huge protests) Moscow can have them there the next day.

CORRUPTION. Aleksey Kuznetsov, who was Moscow Region finance minister 2000-2008, was sentenced to 14 years for fraud and theft. He had fled the country but was extradited from France.

WADA. A 4-year ban on Russia. Two comments: more medals for us! And I guess the Russian team did too well in Syria. Anyhow, the new way is getting doctor’s notes.

UK ELECTION. The craziness has hit there. Johnson is a Russian stooge; Russia has won the election; Fusion GPS (!!) tells us the UK needs a Mueller report.

SKIPALMANIA. “Ex-MP NORMAN BAKER is certain Russia has killed many people on British soil… but he believes we’ve been fed a pack of lies over the Salisbury poisonings“. Say what you like about the DM, but occasionally it veers away from the-re-type-what-you’re-handed mode. (PS Mr Baker, you’re late to the party – you’re just repeating Rob Slane – but welcome. BTW if they’re lying to you now, what makes you so sure they weren’t then too?) Skripal has phoned Russia three times – surreptitiously?

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. “Pentagon Concerned Russia Cultivating Sympathy Among US Troops“. Too stupid to waste a sneer at.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Erdoğan threatens to close the two US bases in Turkey if Washington goes ahead with sanctions. A YouGov poll finds that a majority of Germans are in favour of reducing reliance on US (55%) and increasing ties with Russia (54%). NATO’s biggest problems are internal cohesion. Germany rejects Washington sanctions on NordStream2. Der Spiegel defies Browder.

BAD DAYS FOR LIARS. Afghanistan war lies. Browder. Media lied about “Russiagate”; so did Schiff. And Comey. And of course, all the lies revealed by the IG: and that was just the FBI part of it. More from OPCW. All helping to make the idea of war with Russia more acceptable.

FAKE NEWS. Ukrainian reporter killed by Putin Ukronazis.

UKRAINE. One of Kiev’s biggest supporters reiterates his advice that Kiev should let the Donbass go: too expensive to fix and they don’t want to be in Ukraine anyway. All true enough but it’s noteworthy that neither now, nor three years ago, does he mention Crimea. But the same arguments apply, don’t they? And probably in Mariupol, Odessa, Transcarpathia and…

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


POWER OF SIBERIA. Putin and Xi turned on the pipeline on Monday. It carries gas from Russia’s Far East into China and has a carrying capacity of 61 billion M3 per year. There’ll be more. This has no small strategic significance: previously, for foreign sales, Russia was dependent on customers in Europe who are all, to a greater or lesser extent, subject to pressure from the war party. Added to which transport was affected by Kiev’s whims. Turkstream (scheduled to start next month) and the two pipelines to Germany help with the second problem and this one with the first. Sooner or later, Russia-China pipelines would have appeared but I think Ishchenko’s argument that the Western war on Russia speeded up the process is credible. (Come to think of it, now that Putin’s hand is imagined everywhere, maybe it’s time to consider that he’s the American war party’s real backer; after all, everything it’s touched has turned to dust: from the forever wars, to Iran’s increased influence, to the Russia-China alliance and now the furore in the USA over Ukraine – itself another disastrous project.)

WEAPONS. More and more projects are surfacing. The Ground Forces commander says the Kungas robot family is ready for the next stage of tests – the Uran-9 UCGV is already in service. In accordance with the New START Treaty, Avangard was shown to US inspectors and it’s expected to be in service this month: a very hypersonic re-entry vehicle – there’s no defence against it because it’s less than 30 minutes from anywhere. These super weapons are not cost free: Putin confirmed that the August explosion in Severodvinsk did involve an unique weapon (one assumes either the Buravestnik or the Poseydon); work will continue said he. An over-the-horizon radar station is opened. The first upgraded White Swan strategic bomber is being tested.

SOFTWARE. A law has passed requiring electronic gadgets to have Russia software in them. The BBC idiotically says: “Others have raised concerns that the Russian-made software could be used to spy on users”. “Idiotically” because one of the reasons for the law is that US-made software is spying on users.

DEMOGRAPHICS. Karlin sees a small increase in Russia’s population over the next 30 years.

TOURISM. Moscow – World’s Leading City Destination 2019. Russia does show well.

CORRUPTION. The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a case into large scale theft during construction at the Vostochniy launch complex.

BROWDER. His story has been swallowed whole all over the West, “Magnitsky laws” passed and he has been pretty successful in quashing Nekrasov’s documentary. But, finally, a major Western news outlet takes up the story: Der Spiegel: “The case of Magnitsky: How true is the history on which US sanctions against Russia are based?” How true is it? Not very. (DS did it because of the ECHR decision?) DS merely repeats what Nekrasov discovered: watch the documentary and see the lies taken apart.

NATO SUMMIT. “NATO is obsoleteargues withNATO is brain dead“. “The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan“: next month NATO will have doubled the USSR’s time there; can it triple it? Busy busy busy: “much broader range of threats than in the past”: Russia, Middle East, Africa, weapons of mass destruction, cyber attacks, threats to energy supplies, environmental challenges. Add China. And space. More money. Trump leaves early. Brain dead and obsolete.

OPCW. Corrupted over Douma, how about Skripal? Helmer tweets: “British Ministry of Defence document reveals it is missing chain of custody over Skripal blood samples which the ministry’s DSTL laboratory at Porton Down claims to prove a Russian Novichok attack. Publishing shortly.” Somebody could have added “type A-234 nerve agent in its virgin state” or BZ to the sample? Nah, who’d do that?

WADA. A other corrupted organisation. (Tinfoil hat alert!) Dear Little Canada behind it?


THE DEMS STEP ON THE RAKE. Impeachment. Only question is how big will Trump’s win be?

NEW NWO. “Macron offers a very coherent geopolitical view of the world. He’s probably now the only western leader to have one.” Very interesting read. The Normandy meeting will tell us if he’s serious.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Six more EU countries join the INSTEX payment system to bypass US sanctions on Iran. US Germany Ambassador not amused. German poll: US down, Russia up.

UKRAINE MISCELLANY. A discussion of how dangerous the decision to use US fuel in Ukraine nuclear power plans could be. A Maidan participant realises that it was all for nothing. Ukronazis spotted in Hong Kong. The scourge has spread to the USA. Tails, dogs, chickens, roosts.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer



Michael Edward “Mike” Luckovich (born January 28, 1960) is an editorial cartoonist who has worked for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 1989. He is the 2005 winner of the Reuben, the National Cartoonists Society’s top award for cartoonist of the year, and is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes. He says “Normally with my cartoons I try to use humor to get across my point. After Sept. 11th, you just couldn’t use humor. The tragedy was so enormous, you couldn’t be funny. It’s almost like you have to come up with cartoons using a different part of your brain. I was just trying to come up with images that expressed the emotions that I was feeling and tried to focus in on different aspects of the tragedy that I thought were important.” (Wikipedia)