MY LATEST WRITINGS: RUSSIA, UKRAINE ET AL: WHAT NEXT?
ULTIMATUM. The EU is not in the picture – too weak and the US won’t fight for it; NATO ditto. Do Berlin and Paris start to see reality? London has invited Shoygu but is shipping PAWs to Ukraine. Russia keeps up the pressure – a not-very-reliable source says a nuke boat surfaced off the US coast. Lots of exercises – Guards Tank Army, social media videos of military equipment moving around. Live firing of the formidable Iskanders. Lost submarines in the Med. A representative tough-guy piece from a couch warrior (she of we have good int on Russia fame). It is now clear the US/EU/NATO are not going to fight for Ukraine – empty threats and futile sanctions are all Kiev can expect. But the SWIFT threat would be a big shot to the foot. Somebody notices that Russia is pretty sanction proof (Googlish from INOSMI). In short, Russia pretty much has the hammer. We see the fruits of Putin & Co’s long game.
DONBASS. It should be understood that the official position in Moscow at present is that the rebel areas are part of Ukraine and the Minsk Agreement provides a method for resolving grievances. (Note, BTW, given the constant refrain that Moscow must “comply”, that it has no obligation). But this position could suddenly change given that Kiev has never fulfilled any part (especially No 4) and that Kiev’s “allies” haven’t tried to make it. One of the many possible “Or Elses“.
GUNS. Improved Pantsir AD system coming. Completely modernised White Swan makes maiden flight. Three new subs this year. China-Russia-Iran naval drills start tomorrow.
TALK SHOWS. Russian TV loves long talk shows – Doctorow has an interesting piece on one of the most important. “Russian elites talk WAR: ‘Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,'”
PEDOPHILES. The Duma has passed a bill providing for life imprisonment for serial pedophiles.
HACKERS. Russian security is arresting members of the REvil hacking group at Washington’s request. They are thought to be behind the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline last year.
COVID. The Duma has postponed a bill requiring QR code proof of vaccination. There is a good deal of resistance to this in Russia.
NAVALIY. Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov, close allies of Navalniy, have been added to the state register of extremists. Neither is in Russia.
RUSSIAN DOLPHINS OFF US COAST. For your amusement.
CIA TRAINING. We learn that the CIA has been running training programs in Ukraine since 2014. Moscow has a good deal of experience of dealing with Washington-supported nazi resistance in Ukraine.
GALICIA. Anybody know why Ioseb Bissarionis-dze decided to put it in the Ukrainian SSR rather than giving it back to Poland in 1945? An important decision as it’s turned out.
KAZAKHSTAN. That didn’t take long, did it? All the CSTO troops are back home. They say at least 225 (including 19 police and soldiers) died, about 4500 injured. A lot of people in the security organs have been arrested, starting with Masimov, the head of the National Security Committee, some defenestrated; so the plot ran deep. (Here’s a photo of Masimov with – of all people – Hunter and Joe). If this were an attempt by some part of the US deep state to answer Moscow, it only shows how profoundly out of touch they are. Nazarbayev appears, everything’s calm. Interesting take on what it was all about here.
LESSONS LEARNED. Little countries often try to play off the big guys against each other. But Kazakhstan and Belarus have just learned that this isn’t possible today because Washington wants total control. Others will learn from these examples.
NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. I don’t remember Soviet propagandists assuming their consumers to be as stupid as the creators of this do. Ummm – you told us that Putin tried to kill him, he’s completely in his power now: shouldn’t you at least spend a little effort coming up with some explanation for why he’s still alive to give interviews to you?
THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. ICAO supports Minsk on the Ryanair grounding last year – a few inconsistencies but no “air piracy“. And “Havana syndrome” bites the dust. Ah well, on to the next…
RUSSIA-IRAN. The two Presidents are meeting. The beginning of something big. Very Mackinderish.
SWEDEN. This week drones, last week the Russians were going to snatch Gotland. Years ago somebody in the Swedish security apparatus told me that these stories – “submarine sightings” in those days – were faked up by the people in the Swedish security organs who want it to join NATO.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer