RUSSOMANIA. The US is going though a period of insanity over Moscow’s influence to a degree not, I think, exceeded even during the McCarthy period. The immediate motives for this hysteria are projection, distraction and avoidance. It is actually Washington that overthrows governments, insinuates its GONGOS everywhere, spies on everybody, dominates world propaganda, has military bases everywhere and is at war all the time. Accusing Moscow is psychological projection. As to distraction, we only heard that “Russia had hacked the election” when it was proved that the Clinton machine had hacked the DNC. Blaming Russia avoids the pain of understanding why the Democratic Party lost so badly. But I think there’s a deeper terror that accounts for the intensity of the frenzy. And that is, simply, that the New American Century is not going very well. Brzezinski proudly announced the unprecedented supremacy of American power two decades ago; he has since had to admit that that era (and what a short “era” it was!) is already over. The “New American Century” has become “Our Miserable 21st Century: unemployment, food stamps, opioids, incarcerations, crime, murders, departed manufacturing. And, outside the borders, wars that have no end. First proclaimed by neocons, consummated with liberalism’s humanitarian bombers, we see – today – the unavoidable consequence of hubris: believing you are the “most powerful, good and noble country in the history of mankind“, believing in “American global leadership”, believing in “American exceptionalism” is the route to Nemesis. The hierarchs of the “Church of America the Redeemer” can sense that it’s slipping away, but they don’t know what to do: how can they blame themselves? how can they admit their soteriology is hollow? Blame somebody else; blame Russia. But Russia didn’t start these wars, it didn’t jail millions of Americans, it doesn’t prescribe opioids, it didn’t steal American jobs: all it did was resist. The acolytes of the Church of America the Redeemer see the rise of something even more frightening: people are starting to see Russia as a standard bearer of the alternative, an example of a government that puts its own population first: trot out the usual smears of racism or some other bad word, but it’s happening. The European satraps see it too: vide Marine le Pen’s slogan of Oui, La France! The same slogans, mutatis mutandis, are rising all over Europe. The Imperium destroys itself with its globalism and its unending wars; it needs no assistance. As the USA sinks, Russia rises. All that Russia (and many other countries) have done is resist as best they can. The hierarchs curse their imagined opponent louder.

ESTONIA. Must be made of solid gold or unobtainium or something: according to this writer, Putin’s doing all this just so he can invade it in 2022. Trump, Assange, Wagenknecht. Le Pen; all is proceeding as planned. Nothing to do with globalism and unending wars: it’s all Evil Putin all the time.

ST ISAAC’S. A famous church in St Petersburg, sometimes called the “cathedral of stone”, turned into a museum by the Bolsheviks. What to do with it today? The ROC wants it back, people object. Fred Weir discusses the pros and cons. (A model, if I may say, of how to report on Russia. Just report: leave out the editorialising and sneery little adjectives.)

WADA WE SAY? “It was admitted by WADA that in many cases the evidence provided may not be sufficient to bring successful cases.” So, in the end, just another anti-Russia fake news story. But we did learn about Therapeutic Use Exemptions. If you’d thought athletes were healthy, I guess you were wrong.

RUSSIA’S HACKING FINGERPRINTS. Wikileaks tells us the CIA can fake hacking attribution. These two former US int operatives believe the DNC leak was an inside job; no Russian connection at all.

RUSSIA INC. “Russia has exited recession” says Bloomberg: positive growth for a year. And its PMI has been over 50 for a year now. So… sanctions didn’t work… oil price cuts didn’t work… Obviously there’s more to the Russian economy than Western policy people think they know.

HMMMM. A UK Commons Committee says “it is shortsighted not to engage with Russia“. Russia-bashing may be fun but Russia isn’t going away. Time to face reality.

UKRAINE. Extremists block coal moving from the Donbass into Ukraine (yes, all this time Kiev has been buying and Donbass rebels have been selling, coal). Energy emergency declared in Remnant Ukraine. Kiev cannot/will not/dare not control the extremists. The blockade continues. Donbass rebels cut the remaining ties to Kiev. In this video you can watch one set of Maidanites accuse the other of being Putin’s puppets. Remnant Ukraine continues to delaminate, but, as Adam Smith observed, there is much ruin in a nation and, miserable as it is, Ukraine hasn’t hit bottom yet.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


DEMOGRAPHICS. I was going to write about demographic trends but Karlin has done it first and better. In the early 1990s more died than were born, a decade later the two trends began to reverse direction and today births slightly exceed deaths. He believes that the TFR has stabilised at 1.75 making it one of the higher rates in Europe. Life expectancy has risen from a low of 64 in the mid 1990s to nearly 72 today. The abortion rate has declined a lot – cut in half in the last four years – since the mid-1990s. Karlin sees this as a return to demographic normalcy, suggesting that he expects it to stabilise at these rates. I’m not sure: Russia has reversed the decline, something very few countries in modern times have done. Maybe Russia’s population will continue to grow. Why people en masse decide to have or not have that extra child is rather puzzling. Certainly (for once) Russians are confident their country is moving in the right direction (fourth in the world in fact – ahead of any in the “West”). So, if having confidence in the future makes a lot of parents have another kid…

FAKE NEWS ON RUSSIA. I hope this becomes a regular series: five in a week and a half.

KERCH BRIDGE. A photo from the ISS of the portion to Tuzla Island (Now also on Google Maps).

PHONE PRANKS. Russian phone pranksters, pretending to be Ukraine’s PM, got Rep Walters to express concern over Putin’s fixing the Limpopo election and invading Gabon. Then they called McCain.

NAVALNIY. He has been given a 5 year suspended sentence over embezzlement of funds from the KirovLes company. He still plans political activity but his day is over: another oppositionist with minimal support at home boomed by Western GONGOs. The truth is that there is very little opposition to Putin & Co – maybe 25% tops – and probably half of that thinks he’s too soft.

SANCTIONS. I believe Western sanctions and Russia’s counter sanctions have been good for Russia. I am interested to see a poll in which nearly half of Russians claim to be unaffected by Western sanctions. I think people who expect Moscow to offer a lot of concessions to end them have got it backwards.

MILITARY TECHNOLOGY. A mobile laser system designed to “dazzle” laser-guided weapons. A jam-proof radio using rapid frequency-hopping. The “Soratnik” armed robot vehicle, tested in Syria, will be put into service this year. The all-round anti missile radar detection system is complete. The Armed Forces are over half equipped with “new weaponry”. I and others have said it before: Moscow has given up expecting anything from the West and fears that it may have to fight a defensive war. Hahn describes Putin’s evolution from optimism to distrust concisely here. I believe that NATO’s gratuitous destruction of Libya was the turning point. Can Trump reverse the trend?

NEW NWO. Some interesting Western polls. Four NATO members – Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia and Turkey – say Russia is their preferred ally in case of a military threat! Support for NATO in Ukraine – never very high despite all Washington’s investment – has declined: in 2014 36% saw it as protection and 33% as threat; now it’s 35% to 29% the other way around. In Finland, despite considerable effort, opposition to NATO membership has increased from 58% in 2015 to 61% in 2016. Russia places only sixth on a list of enemies/unfriendlies for Americans. A very recent poll finds Americans exactly divided (43%-43%) on whether Russia is friendly or not. Karlin presents a very interesting hypothesis. That’s pretty amazing given six months of intense anti-Russia propaganda from all sources. The anti Russia mob are over-egging the pudding. (Not to mention that if Putin really is that all-powerful maybe it’s prudent to get on his good side). And, as Swedes are discovering right now, they have more pressing concerns than imaginary Russian submarines in the Archipelago.

MAIDAN MASSACRE. Third anniversary last Monday; it is a key founding myth of today’s Ukraine. Ivan Katchanovski has proved “that the massacre was a false flag operation.” A long read but apodictic.

DONBASS. Putin has signed a decree recognising certain low-level documents issued by the rebel authorities in the Donbass. This will no doubt get people excited but it should be recalled that Moscow supports – indeed is one of the authors of – the Minsk agreement that envisages the area remaining part of Ukraine (however unrealistic that may seem today). His decision may be related to the constant shelling of towns there – which even RFE knows was started by Kiev – and reports of ballistic missiles fired into the civilian areas and would perhaps be a form of pressure on Kiev. There is also a humanitarian motive to allow easier border crossing – at least a million Ukrainians have fled to Russia.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


RUSSIA INC. Summarising three recent authorities, Wikipedia says Canada’s GDP is greater than Russia’s and Germany’s is about two and a half times greater. There’s something deeply misleading and, in fact, quite worthless about these GDP comparisons. Russia has a full-service space industry including the only other operating global satellite navigation system. Neither Canada nor Germany does. It has an across the board sophisticated military industry which may be the world leader in electronic warfare, air defence systems, silent submarines and armoured vehicles. Neither Canada nor Germany does. It has a developed nuclear power industry with a wide range of products. Ditto. It builds and maintains a fleet of SSBNs – some of the most complicated machinery that exists. Ditto. Its aviation industry makes everything from competitive fighter planes through innovative helicopters to passenger aircraft. Ditto. It has a full automotive industry ranging from some of the world’s most powerful heavy trucks to ordinary passenger cars. It has all the engineering and technical capacity necessary to build complex bridges, dams, roads, railways, subway stations, power stations, hospitals and everything else. It is a major and growing food producer and is probably self-sufficient in food today. Its food export capacity is growing and it has for several years been the leading wheat exporter. It has enormous energy reserves and is a leading exporter of oil and gas. Its pharmaceutical industry is growing rapidly. It is intellectually highly competitive in STEM disciplines – a world leader in some cases. Its computer programmers are widely respected. (Yes, there is a Russian cell phone.) It’s true that many projects involve Western partners – the Sukhoy Superjet for example – but it’s nonetheless the case that the manufacturing and know-how is now in Russia. Germany or Canada has some of these capabilities but few – very few – countries have all of them. In fact, counting the EU as one, Russia is one of only four. Therefore in Russia’s case, GDP rankings are not only meaningless, but laughably so. While Russians individually are not as wealthy as Canadians or Germans, the foundations of wealth are being laid and deepened every day in Russia. What of the future? Well there’s a simple answer to that question – compare Russia in 2000 with Russia in 2017: all curves are up. Of course Russians support their government – why wouldn’t they? It’s doing what they hired it to do; we others can only dream of such governments. For what it’s worth, PwC predicts Russia will be first in Europe in 2050, but, even so, I think it misses the real point: Indonesia and Brazil ahead of Russia? No way: it’s not GDP/PPP that matters, it’s full service. Russia is a full-service power and it won’t become any less so in the next 30 years. Autarky. Very few aren’t there? And… in that little group of four autarkies on the planet, who’s going up and who’s going down? A big – fatal even – mistake to count Russia out.

TREASON. A couple of weeks ago it was revealed that a computer security specialist and an FSB officer had been arrested under treason charges. Another arrest followed. Theory 1. Connected with a group of hackers known as Шалтай-Болтай (Humpty-Dumpty) for whom the FSB has been looking for some time. Theory 2. Connected with the “golden showers” dossier. If so, this is evidence that the dossier is fake – the FSB would not publicise arrests if it really had kompromat on Trump. But passing even fake information to Western intelligence could be treasonous. Theory 3. Something else. But the treason aspect does suggest information passed to foreign intelligence operatives.

FAMILY LAW. Decriminalisation of domestic violence brings out the usual stuff from the usual sources. The reality is much more complicated and John Helmer explains the background: “An amendment adopted last year by the Duma decriminalized a first battery offence between strangers but left battery between kin or spouses as it was. The practical effect was anomalous — strangers beating children could be treated with more leniency than parents.” The new law equalises things. But the proof will be in the results and there’s no guarantee the law won’t be changed again.

FREE LAND. Last year a program offering free land in the Far East was begun. According to the website, there have been 55,000 applications and about 5000 plots handed out.

UKRAINE. US Senators McCain and Graham visit Poroshenko and urge him to attack: “Your fight is our fight. 2017 will be the year of offence.” Even RFE/RL admits Kiev re-started the war. Is there a US law against Americans doing this? Maybe, under the new management, we will find out.

NEW NWO. Another wheel comes off the juggernaut.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


TRUMP’S FOREIGN POLICY. In his inaugural speech he said that other countries were quite right to put their own interests first. Has any other US President in recent decades ever said that? The official site continues the echo of Adams’ policy to not go abroad to seek out monsters. All to the good – the world has suffered enough from the Exceptionalists – 26 thousand bombs in 2016. However, some things disturb me. I don’t like the hostility towards Iran from him and his team – Iran (much stronger today thanks to the inept machinations of Washington, by the way) may be a concern for Israel and Saudi Arabia, but it isn’t for us; to say Iran is “the foremost state sponsor of terrorism” while ISIS/Daesh is “the greatest threat globally” is not only idiotic but self-contradictory. Secondly, threats against China’s activity in the South China Sea are frivolous: in the final analysis there is nothing Washington can do about it short of a big war (which it would certainly lose) and no reason why it should. Finally, if he seeks a less interventionist foreign policy, why does he want even bigger armed forces? And, if, as some think, there is some notion of a Kissingerian separation of Russia and China, there will be disappointment. Xi Jinping recently emphasised the difference between China’s relations with the USA and with Russia: “We will strive to build new model of major country relations with the United States, a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia…“. Lavrov reinforced it by saying he considered Russia-China relations as “a model for responsible major powers“. The situation was very different in 1972 and the intervening years have taught Beijing and Moscow to put little trust in Washington’s promises or capacity to carry them out.

RUSSIAN HACKING. I hope – probably naively – that, now that it has failed in its purpose, we never hear anything more about this preposterous story. Although we do need serious investigations.

FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE. The Neocon Lament: Nobody wants them in Trump’s Washington.

MYSTERIOUS RUSSIA. Not the face you’d expect under a papakha, is it? Wikipedia on African-Abkhazians.


RUSSIAN MPs IN ALEPPO. Interesting video – most are Chechens but all of them are Russians. In this respect – the distinction between русские and россияне, Русь and Россия – Russians are better heirs of the Roman Empire than we are. Note the first-rate equipment and air of soldierly competence.

SYRIA. The Astana meeting, sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran, took place. Nothing was decided, but it was another step in a necessarily slow process. Some developments in identifying the non-jihadist opposition; Turkey further distanced itself from the USA; Iran made another advance in importance. Russian and Turkish aircraft have conducted joint operations. As an earnest of the paragraph in America First Foreign Policy on defeating ISIS, the Russians report the US passed target information to them. There is reason to believe that the US military will be happy to cooperate: “they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis“. Remember what Michael Flynn, then DIA head, now National Security Advisor, said. (Remember the flapdoodle when Trump called Obama the “founder” of ISIS? That’s what he meant.) Tulsi Gabbard has visited Syriainterviews here.

SPEAKING OF WASHINGTON AND DAESH… “we were watching, we saw that DAESH was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened… We could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate, but instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.” And that’s after the US giving an “extraordinary amount of arms”. Kerry, thanks to Wikileaks at 22:25. Washington always thinks it can “manage that” and never does: a catastrophic record of self-deception and hypocrisy since 1979.

MH17. Don’t try investigating or challenging the official story yourself, you’ll get into trouble. Trump himself is unconvinced. There’s a call for a new investigation.

UKRAINE. Kiev had 460 troops killed in the Donbass last year – 55% from non-combat causes (63 of them ruled as suicides). Terrible morale. There’s a move to punish Pinchuk for daring to suggest it’s over.

WESTERN VALUES™. The Director of Human Rights Watch has decided that Trump and the others revolting against the established order are “a new generation of authoritarian populists [that] seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections”.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


PREDICTION FOR 2017. The revolution will continue. And spread. And there will be more harbingers of that change – here’s this week’s.

RUSSIA HACKED THE ELECTION. Read the disclaimer – not even the authors of the DHS/FBI report believe it. (Were the Russians listening? Of course they were and so was everyone else. As soon as it was learned that the Ukraine coup was plotted on open cellphones and Clinton was wedded to her Blackberry, you can be sure that every hacker in the world started looking. And when they found an insecure private server, dopey passwords, phishable dupes and plenty of juicy information – a hacker’s paradise! Clinton’s decision to ignore State Department security procedures is one of the biggest security leaks in US history. Here’s Tuesday’s interview with Assange: not Russia and not a state.

PUTIN-ABE MEETING. While no breakthrough on the territorial issue (Moscow is not giving it up: if ever possible, the opportunity has passed), a number of agreements that will lead to others. Tokyo broke the G7 boycott of Russia, Washington will be next and then the rush. I bet Ottawa will be last.

FAILING RUSSIA. Remember all that stuff you were told by the “experts” about failing Russia? Very, very poor predictions – when not simply purchased to order, they were a mixture of wishful thinking and profound ignorance. Here are photos of major infrastructure projects of 2016. A lot is happening.

“THE RUSSIAN THREAT”. Gone: it’s not a priority. I like the Tillerson appointment and either of the two people said to be short-listed for Ambassador will be good too.

WADA. Since I learned about Therapeutic Exemption Certificates, I’ve stopped taking WADA seriously.

NEW FAKE NEWS RECORD. Anti-Russia fake news used to last a few days (NYT photos, WaPo PropOrNot) but the WaPo has managed to put out and retract a story on the same day! Even CNN’s fake news story about the Anglo-American School in Moscow lasted a bit longer.

NUKES, TRUMP AND PUTIN. New nuclear arms race!!! More fake news: here’s my take.

OIL CUT. The agreement has gone into effect; Russia’s share of the cut is 300,000 barrels a day.

SYRIA. I recommend the following antidotes to the rubbish in the Fake Stream Media (FSM): Aleppo didn’t “fall”, it was “liberated. Eva Bartlett. Vanessa Beeley. Andrew Ashdown. Carla Ortiz (watch incredulity from the CNN hairstyle at 4:00). They’ve all actually been there: they don’t report on Aleppo from the UK. MSF, formerly respected, has disgraced itself. A ceasefire negotiated by Russia, Iran and Turkey is operating (under current management the USA is недоговороспособны). Russian engineers continue to clear Aleppo. Russian aircraft support Turkish operations in northern Syria. I was very interested to see Erdoğan‘s statement that he had evidence that the US coalition supports Daesh (of course it does. As he very well knows. Stay tuned). I would expect, under the new circumstances, that Gabbard’s bill will pass. She is, BTW, someone to watch.

FROM LAPUTA’S KITCHENS (SYRIAN BRANCH) TO YOU. Mona’s magic pyjamas save her again and again and again. Aleppo’s twitter girl has amazing Internet service and doesn’t like to speak Arabic (see also Ortiz video above). Anybody remember “Gay Girl in Damascus“? Fake Syrian atrocity videos in Egypt and in Norway.

UKRAINE. It’s never easy to know what’s really going on there – for example the Privat Bank nationalisation has several interpretations. But of greater import is oligarch Viktor Pinchuk’s piece “Ukraine Must Make Painful Compromises for Peace With Russia“. No EU or NATO membership, local elections in the Donbass and Crimea is Russian. It has the usual fantasies to sweeten the bitter medicine – Ukraine will be so rich in “15 to 20 years” that Crimea will beg to come back – and the usual claptrap blaming Moscow. But the recommendations remain. We will see whether anything comes of it but it’s momentous that a big player who thought he had secured his future (a BIG donor to the Clinton Foundation) realises his investment is gone and is trying to make another. Ukraine is pretty dysfunctional and there are a lot of people with guns who get extra votes, as it were, but the dream is over. Three years after Maidan Ukraine is ruined, in a civil war, overrun with nazis, as corrupt as ever, has got nothing from the EU and will get nothing from the USA. It will soon disappear off the West’s news pages joining Kosovo, Somalia, Libya and the other regime change triumphs nobody talks about today. USA Today discovers Crimeans like being in Russia. Expect more of this as the FSM adjusts to the new boss in town.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


HOPE AND CHANGE. And within a few days of each other, too. Trump: “we will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments… Our goal is stability… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS… we will seek shared interests wherever possible.” Putin: “We are ready for a serious discussion on building a stable system of international relations… we affirm the principles of justice and mutual respect in international affairs… I certainly count on joining efforts with the United States in the fight against real rather than fictional threats, international terrorism being one of them.” A chance for a real meeting of minds and intentions, don’t you think?

PUTIN’S STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH. English, Russian. I suppose the theme would be this: “In recent years, we have had a hard time, but these trials have made us even stronger”. It’s true, Russia has survived – and prospered – despite Western sanctions and low oil prices. And it is undeniably stronger and in a better position, internally and externally. Its opponents are stumbling and facing internal revolts: even the neocons understand that “the triumph of the West is over” (although they still blame others – less “softness” or “retreat” and everything would have worked out). Putin’s foreign policy position is still the same: “We do not want confrontation with anyone. We have no need for it and neither do our partners or the global community. Unlike some of our colleagues abroad, who consider Russia an adversary, we do not seek and never have sought enemies. We need friends. But we will not allow our interests to be infringed upon or ignored.” As usual, the main emphasis was on domestic matters – a rather dry exposition of things done and things to do. What did catch my eye were these numbers: IT exports ($7 billion) were half the value of arms exports ($14.5 billion) which were lower than agricultural exports ($16.2 billion): the economy is diversifying and the sanctions and counter-sanctions have helped it to do so. Another great achievement – mostly unknown to the West because it doesn’t fit the story – is the turnaround in mortality figures: the fertility rate is now (2015) higher than the EU average and the infant mortality rate slightly better. But I was surprised to hear him saying that the defence industry must produce consumer goods: “conversion” had few successes in the Gorbachev period. But, generally speaking, the speech was dry and businesslike, as these things are: a record of what’s happened and what’s planned. The general impression being that the worst is over.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. My latest collection is here. I must say the “fake news” nonsense is more ridiculous than anything yet: the idea that Putin is controlling what Westerners think is more than merely ludicrous. The truth is that consumers of the WMSM are tired of being surprised by everything that happens: they’re searching for more reliable information elsewhere. Meanwhile the WaPo is trying to slither away from its PropOrNot story.

OIL. We appear to have an agreement to cut back oil production which will raise prices and they say Putin played a key role in getting agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. So, if it’s true, as some say, that Washington got Riyadh to drop prices to hurt the “Gas Station Masquerading As a Country”, then it’s another success for Moscow.

PRESSTITUTES. (I am indebted to Paul Craig Roberts for this evocative epithet). There’s a new boss in town and it will be amusing to watch the WMSM change its tune. The UK Independent may be out in front with “We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria – and the West should be ashamed of how we drew the conflict out” and This is why everything you’ve read about the wars in Syria and Iraq could be wrong“. (I stress that neither Dejevsky nor Cockburn has changed, it’s the fact that they are published – and with such headlines – that suggests the editors are changing the message). The WaPo, however, just digs its hole deeper: “How a 7-year-old Aleppo girl on Twitter became our era’s Anne Frank. (A more sceptical – and researched view here.) Schadenfreude is not admirable, but it is enjoyable: I look forward to bankruptcies.

SYRIA. Amusingly, after a phonecall from Putin, Erdoğan “clarified” his remark that the purpose of his incursion into Syria was to overthrow Assad: not at all, just to fight Daesh. Large sections of east Aleppo have been liberated (video; watch it, I doubt your local “news” outlet will show it) and Russian combat engineers are clearing UXOs; two Russian medics were killed when a field hospital was shelled.

UKRAINE. Independent again – allegations by an insider of enormous high-level corruption.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


TRUMP AND PUTIN. Strange as it may seem, Trump and Putin have the same job: they both want to get their countries working again; or, if you prefer, to make America/Russia great again. There are more similarities than an American jingoist would like to think of: unemployment, failing infrastructure, poverty, loss of production ability, hopelessness, corruption, failed wars. The difference is that Russia is 20 years further along the curve, having got through the collapse of empire and the death of ideological fantasy. The USA has (we hope) reached the end of the New World Order/Neo-Con fantasy and given up its “imperial overreach“. Moscow did, long ago: “I felt an enormous sense of relief, as if a huge leech had dropped from my back“. In this endeavour, wars are not only a distraction but make the internal decay worse. In my opinion, too many wars are what kill off empires most of the time: empires end up losing the war while winning every battle. Trump seems to understand this; at their end, empires are simply a losing proposition by every measurement.

PRESIDENT TRUMP. At a minimum, the worst case of more and more wars and accelerating confrontation with Russia and China leading to nuclear destruction all round has been avoided. Trump’s idea that the US and Russia can collaborate in fighting Daesh et al takes us right back, in fact, to Putin’s phone call to Bush on 911. Trump has been very persistent in his assertion that Washington and Moscow should work together and has held to it despite much abuse. It’s all very encouraging so far.

WAR PREPARATIONS. My belief is that Moscow, like most everyone else, expected Clinton to win and the two meetings on war preparations were scheduled well before. I would expect Moscow to continue war preparations for the following reasons. 1) Obama & Co are still in office (remember недоговороспособны). 2) Moscow has just learned (again) that Washington’s policy can suddenly change 3) while both willing and hoping, Moscow is prudently waiting to see what Trump and his people really do. It awaits actual meetings, discussions and actions (most of which will be stopping actions) in Syria and NATO. Washington is the driver for most everything and Moscow will wait for the drive to be turned off. Washington long ago squandered the trust and good will that Moscow had for it in the 1990s. If Trump can get the Washington-Moscow relationship right, many other international entanglements will disappear and he will have the time and money for his ambitious domestic programs.

CORRUPTION. At last a serving minister has been arrested and fired (“due to the loss of trust“). I’ve long said that I’ll believe the anti-corruption effort is really biting when someone in an office near Putin or Medvedev is busted. Pretty close, this time. But Serdyukov and the Luzhkovs walk free (although I have sympathy for Yuriy – I remember the immediate improvement he brought to Moscow)

FAILED SLOGAN. Putin wants you to vote Brexit! Putin wants you to vote Trump! Bulgaria! Moldova! Now Putin wants you to vote a certain way in Germany and France. Not a winning accusation, as it turns out. Like the “Assad-must-go curse”: the more you say it, the less you get.

RUSSIA IN THE WORLD. It’s not so surprising (if you ignore the rubbish the WMSM pumps out and think about it) that, one after another, people are scrambling to make an arrangement with Moscow. It hasn’t been beaten, it hasn’t backed down, it hasn’t collapsed. Rather it has gone from strength to strength and its opponents are the ones that are staggering. Even Obama has changed his tune: now Russia is a “superpower” with “influence around the world”; only two and a half years ago he said it was only a regional power acting out of weakness.

WESTERN VALUES™. Remember when the USSR censored our stuff and we didn’t care about theirs because they were lying and we weren’t? Neither does the EU which condemns Russian media together with “violent jihadi terrorist groups”. Hopefully all this will be swept away by the Trumpquake.

WHITE HELMETS BUSTED! This organisation, which has been much hailed in the West and has received much money, is a complete fake. Many of us have know that for a long time – here and here – but here, at last, is the film. Make sure everyone is in position, check the fake blood, is there enough dust? (oops, the black overalls are too clean; were they teleported to the site? Pretty slapdash!); then Action! Screams, movement and another dramatic rescue! The fakers are getting sloppier – Bellingcat’s stuff now refutes itself. (PS anybody remember “Green Helmet”? I do.) Aren’t you glad they didn’t get a Nobel Prize? Where do you suppose the money actually goes?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


SYRIA. Moscow and Damascus have evidently had enough after the US attack on Syrian soldiers. A Russian military spokesman warned that Russian forces in Syria have capable air defences, are spread around the country and will shoot first. The Syrians said, on their part, that they had upgraded systems and would also shoot first. The Americans, for once (no we’ll beat you harder than you’ve ever been beaten before bluster), are not so cocky: “We’re not sure if any of our aircraft can defeat the S-300.The Russians are increasing their forces: new SAMs specialised to deal with cruise missiles are now there and a naval flotilla (including their aircraft carrier) is on the way. A lot of air defence will be there. So, probably no “no fly zone” now. Russia and Syria stop airstrikes on the jihadist-held part of Aleppo for a humanitarian pause; today extended as residents try to get out. No more talks says Washington on the 3rd, phonecall on the 6th, face-to-face on the 15th. Anybody in charge in Washington? My take on what Moscow has done in a year.

CIVIL DEFENCE. A big civil defence drill at the beginning of the month. As I’ve said before, Russia is preparing for a big war. Others agree. It doesn’t want one but it fears one may come anyway.

RUSSIA INC. The IMF’s Deputy Director of Research said the economy was headed in the right direction and the government had done the right things. Fitch agrees and improved its risk rating. “Tatters” 21 months ago; “free fall” 17 months ago; “collapse” 10 months ago. Nope.

OIL. A few weeks ago OPEC announced that it would restrain production. Putin, Russia having pumped its record since the USSR days, said Moscow was ready to freeze production too. We will see.

CORRUPTION. The FSB amused itself by revealing it had gathered evidence against a bribetaker by means of a bugged samovar they had presented him. “A present from your friends at the FSB” indeed!

WESTERN VALUES™. From the NYT: “At the meeting last week, Mr. Kerry was trying to explain that the United States has no legal justification for attacking Mr. Assad’s government, whereas Russia was invited in by the government. ‘The problem is the Russians don’t care about international law, and we do.'” No comment.

WADAYATHINK? 583 therapeutic use exemptions for US athletes in 2015.Their athletes cheat and get banned from sporting events. Whereas ours take performance-enhancing drugs solely to combat their crippling asthma attacks which might otherwise prevent them from winning the Tour de France.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Always possible to say something stupider, isn’t it? “If the past 15 years show anything, it is that Putin, like a marauding Red Army tank, has no reverse gear.”.

TURKEY. Turkstream is back on. December 2019 is the new completion date. I wonder how the EU is doing in building the pipelines to Turkey to pick up the gas. Because it won’t be coming through Ukraine.

NEW NWO. Serious subject, fatuous title: Bromance Between Xi and Putin Grows as U.S. Spats Escalate.” I’ll say it again: arguably the most important result of the US’s “era of global dominance” will be the Moscow-Beijing alliance.

US ELECTION. The Obama administration has “officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations” and counter attacks are promised. No evidence and “inflammatory and irresponsible” says one who knows about these things. But now that Trump is talking about the election being rigged, and lots of people agree, they’re trying to walk the story back. The NYT neatly squares the circle by saying it won’t be “rigged” but it could be “hacked”. And Putin was mentioned more than anything else in the four US debates. How remarkable that nobody is talking about Seth Rich.

GEORGIA. Georgian Dream won the parliamentary election; presumably normal relations with Russia.

UKRAINE. Pretty scathing attack on Poroshenko in Kyiv Post. I have no idea what this means but am not inclined to think either coincidence or “speaking truth to power”.

POLAND-UKRAINE. Movie about massacres of Poles by Ukrainian nazis in the war. Kiev not happy: “an element of the anti-Ukrainian propaganda conducted by Russia.

FROM LAPUTA’S KITCHENS TO YOU. “The Pentagon paid a UK PR firm half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq.Of course, you may all rest assured that they don’t do that anymore and certainly not in Syria.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


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


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