RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 18 JANUARY 2018

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. I believe that we are approaching the exposure of the plot. Some reading to bring you up to speed. The conspiracy explained (part of it actually – there were other players. MSM too). Happenings: 1) documents 2) interviews of principals 3) reborn investigations of e-mails and Clinton Foundation. First charges laid in Uranium One (an American charged with bribing a Russian too!). Today’s step. The Dossier is central to the conspiracy. I reiterate: there was no Russian government involvement in the US election; there was no Russian government collusion with Trump. It was a story invented to support a conspiracy against Trump and then an attempt to cover up the conspiracy when, in the destruction of the plotters’ expectations, he was elected. This is very big.

HEALTH. The Minister has provided some statistics that show the steady improvement in Russians’ health. For the first 11 months of 2017, the death rate decreased by about 3% with a considerable drop in deaths by alcohol poisoning (16%). Infant mortality continued its steady decline and so the population increases from each end. In the last five years, alcohol consumption dropped a lot as has smoking; meanwhile exercise rates are up. The overall effect is an increase in life expectancy: now put at 72.6 years for men and 77 years for women. It seems that Russians are more optimistic about the future and less depressed by the present. This further strengthens my belief that Russia is poised to take off in a way that it never has before.

GOLD. Russia has bought quite a lot of gold (and maybe more than it’s telling us). Photos from the gold vaults. I wonder if China will show its hoard.

RUSSIA INC. Growth of 1.7% and inflation down to 2.5% last year. In comparison the EU’s growth forecast was 1.7% but they’re now saying 2.2%; the USA’s was 3.2%. But here are different figures with USA 2.2%. But, anyway, considering sanctions and so on, that’s not bad.

RUSSIAN BASES IN SYRIA ATTACKED. On the night of 5/6 January the Russian bases at Khmeimim and Tartus (Syria) were attacked by 13 UAVs, 10 at the former. The aircraft were armed with mortar bombs. Seven were shot down, six were hacked of which three of which were safely landed. The aircraft themselves were fairly crude but the navigation systems and other electronics were quite sophisticated. The attack was launched from the de-escalation zone in Idlib. On the 12th in a complicated operation involving special forces, artillery with smart munitions and air reconnaissance, the MoD says the people responsible were killed and the depot destroyed (videos). Plenty of rumours of course: a US reconnaissance aircraft was said to be in the area; the Pentagon denies involvement; Putin said it wasn’t Ankara. Certainly the air defences showed their ability – especially by taking over six of the UAVs and bringing three to a soft landing. So, if the US was involved (and who knows what’s going on in Washington’s idiotic and incoherent activities there?) then it discovered that Russian air defences are formidable. (They will only be strengthened – this was an all round learning experience.)

BEEDO! BEEDO! BEEDO! A rather ridiculous publicity video showing the USAF bravely intercepting two Russian fighters flying from Russia to Russia along the very restricted international air corridor in the Baltic. The US side claims the Russians did not “did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file”. The Russians say they did. I remind readers that it was NATO that rejected a Russo-Finnish proposal that all aircraft fly with their transponders on.

SANCTIONS FOR THEE BUT NOT FOR ME. A Russian company has signed to launch 12 Dove-series satellites for an American company.

KOREA. As Churchill observed, jaw-jaw is better than war-war and we’re getting talking in Korea. One assumes Beijing is somewhere in the background. Moscow and Beijing are coordinating their efforts. Much, if not most, is hidden and consumers of the MSM would be astounded to hear that President Moon gives Trump some of the credit.

THE TRUMP EFFECT. Whether I, Korybko or the Saker has got it right, things are changing and “America First” is making other countries wonder where they fit in. Doctorow observes, others bemoan, but it’s happening.

FANTASIA UKRAINIA. There are no nazis in Ukraine. And, if there are, there aren’t many of them. And if many, they have little influence. If influential there, then nowhere else. Never mind: 25 December is now a holiday and Hallowe’en is making progress so all is well. (This fatuous piece savaged here).

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 4 JANUARY 2018

LOST OPPORTUNITY. Karlin reminds us that once the USA was extremely popular in Russia. In the early 90s a high of 80% felt good about the USA. 35% then thought the US was friendly and 3% thought it hostile: today it’s 3% and 59% respectively. I’m sure someone will blame Putin for the reversal.

SECURITY. The FSB Director tells us in his annual roundup that 120 foreign and international NGOs, covertly used as tools of foreign intelligence, were stopped and 137 agents of foreign special services were uncovered. 23 terrorist attacks were prevented.

CORRUPTION. The former Economic Development Minister was found guilty of accepting bribes and sentenced to 8 years in a penal colony and a fine of 130 million rubles.

POVERTY. The Labour Minister tells us that about 13% of population lives below the poverty line. Putin has raised the minimum wage and, beginning in 2019, it will be set to the “employable population’s subsistence level for Russia as a whole for the second quarter of the previous year”.

COMMUNISTS. The Russian Communist Party (the real opposition in terms of votes, policies and seats) has nominated the head of the Lenin State Farm, Pavel Grudinin, as its presidential candidate. Although not an actual CP member, he runs a successful farm in Moscow on socialist principles. (Google Maps). He may bring in more votes than the charisma-free Zyuganov did in numerous previous runs.

ELECTION. I quote Karlin a lot because he is, in my opinion, one of the best of the best observers on Russia and has the advantage of having lived both here and there. I recommend his discussion of the function of elections in a country when everybody knows the super popular President and his pedestal party will be re-elected. He argues that the political leadership wants to own the broad centre of opinion; the performance of parties on the wings allow course corrections. A species of demos-kratia isn’t it?

DEPT OF IRONY. “UK turns to Russian project targeted by sanctions for gas supply“.

TARTUS. I was scornful of earlier Western excitement over the “naval base in Syria” which was not a huge facility but just a corner of a small port used as a rest stop. But it will become bigger: Putin just signed the law. Described as a “inventory and logistics support centre” the lease is for 49 years. This will allow the Russian Navy to have a permanent Mediterranean presence. (A tiny voice asks whether Moscow is becoming tempted by its success – does it really need bases here and there? Is that really in its national interest?)

SYRIA WRAPUP. 34 thousand sorties and 215 new weapons systems tested and lots of experience. They say (but the claimed precision is preposterous) 60,318 terrorists killed, 2840 of them Russian-born.

SYRIA. There is still a US military base in Syria, the Russian CGS says it is fully blocked by the Syrian army. Again we wonder who’s in charge? Washington has lost in Syria and it’s time to leave. But it doesn’t: still stories of “moderate rebels” being trained; still stories of Daesh fighters being protected. A much better informed observer than I has a theory: two delegators in the chain create confusion.

S-400. The loan agreement with Turkey has been signed: about US$2.5 billion. Why would Russian sell them and why would Turkey want them? My theory here.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. CNNoids were no doubt shocked or puzzled by this: “Trump is right about the FBI“; video). The London Review of Books unveiled a bit (but not much: the piece could have been written a year ago). “Was the Steele Dossier the FBI’s ‘Insurance Policy’?” moves closer. Even the WaPo starts to doubt. Stay tuned: a big document dump is coming.

TRUMPOLOGY. I put this theory out there for your consideration: “Trump Cuts the Gordian Knot of Foreign Entanglements“. Andrew Korybko has something similar here. Certainly plenty of people are saying that he is “isolating” the USA; but they assume it’s because he is “incompetent“, Korybko and I think he’s doing it on purpose. (Trump’s alleged incompetence is a prime pillar of the Russia interference panic: for the believers, no one so “dangerously incompetent“, unqualified or mentally ill could have beaten the “most qualified presidential candidate in history” on his own.)

POLAND-UKRAINE. Poland, which had something to do with encouraging and assisting the Maidan coup, is increasingly concerned about what it helped stirred up. A lot of Poles were murdered by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army which is much loved by today’s Kiev. A monument to the Volyn massacre is under construction: it shows a baby impaled on a trident. See also the recent movie. History has not stopped in that part of the world.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 14 DECEMBER 2017

CIVIL SOCIETY. If you believed the Western media you’d think that Putin did everything in Russia from writing editorials to planning the state doping program and that whatever feeble civil society existed was the creation of selfless foreign NGOs now suffering “squeezing“and a “devastating” “crackdown“. One of the authors sent me the report “Indigenously Funded Russian Civil Society“. In this researched and balanced picture of the state of play we learn that 1) foreign NGOs never funded much (a high of 7% in 2009); 2) there’s quite a lot of civil society activity; 3) there are quite a few sources of funding from government, businesses and private individuals. Read it: a summary of an important subject that gets mostly propagandistic treatment. Russians are doing things on their own at an accelerating pace.

PRESIDENCY. Putin said he’ll run again. This will be his last term – he will be 72 at the end – so, apart from anything else, he will be grooming a successor. He will be elected. And for good reason: you’d vote for more of the same too. Quick summary of today’s press conference. English. Russian.

CORRUPTION. According to the Procurator-General, since 2014 corruption has cost Russia about US$2.5 billion; 122,000 corruption-related crimes have been registered, more than 45,000 sentenced, of whom 4500 were law enforcement staff, 400 were politicians and 3000 were officials.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. The story so far. Wife of DOJ Deputy Was Fusion GPS Employee, CIA Research Aide, and Applied for HAM Radio License Month After Contracting MI6 Agent Christopher Steele… “. Oh, maybe he and they went a little too far. I think we’re getting close to the exposure of the whole rotten conspiracy. “What in the hell is going on with the Department of Justice and the FBI?

RUSSIA INC. “Expert” predictions of doom fail again; tiny budget deficit and foreign reserves up.

EU-USA. The German Foreign Minister has called for more independence from Washington. In particular he mentioned the damage done by the Congressional sanctions and the fear that abrogating the Iran agreement could be dangerous.

PROBLEMS WITH THE NARRATIVE. The Western Official Narrative is getting harder to spin. Apparently Ukraine is a disappointment in its “fight against corruption” (Washington, IMF). Well, duh: if you replace crooked oligarchs with different crooked oligarchs what would you expect? Meanwhile the BBC says British taxpayers subsidised Daesh. US too. Unintentionally. Of course.

SYRIA. Putin says it’s basically over. The BBC gives an entertainingly grudging report, Fox, USA Today, France 24, Haaretz, New Yorker ditto: lots of only helping blood-soaked dictator, killing civilians, chemical attacks, US coalition did the real work. Washington alternately claims credit or says the declaration is premature. French Foreign Minister ludicrously says Russia “misappropriated the victory“. Washington says it will stay: not a good idea. Bad losers all: complete defeat.

NATO EXPANSION. NATO made a promise. It broke it. Moscow has no reason to ever believe it.

IOC. Doping! What’s that got to do with it? US Senator says we have to stand up to Putin the bully. Thereby giving the whole game away. A very flimsy case – based, in fact, on a single source.

NEW NWO. Putin’s trifecta: Assad, Sisi and Erdoğan all on the same day. Trapped in their misinformation bubble most Westerners can’t see it, but Moscow is establishing a reputation in the rest of the world for competence and reliability. China ditto. The world is readjusting itself. We approach a tipping point, I think, in which the reality can no longer be hidden. I am stunned by the speed of the decline: only a quarter of a century ago the West was triumphant in everything.

MUST READ. Gilbert Doctorow’s presentation of his book Does the United States have a future? He starts: “I will explain why a book about the United States failing on the world stage deals so largely with what is happening in Russia.” The neocons and their liberal allies, in their overreach, had to attack Russia “Because it has been the only major power to publicly reject the US global hegemony both in word and in deed.” Their attempts, ranging from “colour revolutions” to sanctions to regime change in neighbours to Olympic boycotts, have made Russia stronger, more united and more determined and brought Russia and China into close partnership. The ricocheting failure feeds the crescendo of hysteria that is tearing the US polity apart. And the losing wars go on and on. My readers will have noticed that these Sitreps lately have had more to do with Russia-in-the-world and less with Russia internally: Doctorow explains why Russia is now so very central in the geopolitical rebalancing. That was very much not the case when I began the series twenty years ago.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 30 NOVEMBER 2017

FOREIGN MEDIA. I don’t know what Sputnik’s and RT’s audiences actually are in the USA or elsewhere but indications are that they are small or even tiny. But this hasn’t affected the year’s conniption fit and so we must be protected from their influence by Google, Twitter and now the US government. Well, apart from the mockery this makes of common-sense, proportionality and those Western values they’re always boasting about, Moscow has reacted. And, as usual, in a much more powerful way. Putin signed the amendment; now “foreign media outlet distributing printed, audio, video and other messages and materials designed for an unlimited number of people may be recognised (может быть признано) as a foreign agent.” Quid quo pro. Whining has begun: the BBG, HRW, State Department.

CORRUPTION. According to Transparency International’s 2017 report, a third of Russians say they had to pay a bribe for some public service. Like Karlin, I can believe this (plus or minus – there is some tradition of giving gifts there) because, unlike the easily cooked perception scores, this is a yes or no question. But, as I argue here, this is the lowest and least important form of corruption: the worst forms aren’t even detected by the little guy because the service was stolen long before he tried to buy some of it. And I would further observe that, whatever you may say about the Duma, you can’t say it’s run by “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests“: it pretty much does what the popular and elected government tells it to do. In short, not all corruptions are equally bad.

RUSSIAN STATE DOPING. I don’t believe it: it’s a “Gish Gallop“. Counter arguments here and here.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Aspergers, gunslinger, now tired. The website – you decide.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA I. It’s not working. 52% believe it’s better to have Russia on “our side” than not; 76% of Republicans and 51% of independents agree but only 29% of Democrats. (I presume Dems find it easier to believe that Trump won because Putindunnit than that he beat their candidate fair and square). It’s not working in Europe either: another poll show large majorities in Germany, Poland, France and UK would like better relations with Russia. But the effluent is still pumped out: “weaponised information“. (As a readers’ guide to this sort of thing, you won’t go wrong assuming that whatever US/NATO accuse Russia of doing, they are actually doing. For example, the Pentagon “weaponised information” years ago: “Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media“.)

AMERICA-HYSTERICA II. “FBI and Justice Department officials have told congressional investigators in recent days that they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier.” The collapse of the Fusion GPS operation will unravel the whole construction. And it’s coming. (And don’t forget Awan.) All this because the Dems fixed their nomination and then lost anyway.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE. There has been some kind of coup or prevented coup in Lugansk. The head of State, Igor Plotnitsky, has resigned and is said to be in Moscow. The official story is that a “criminal group” controlled from Kiev has been arrested and a coup averted. A group of Ukrainian saboteurs have been arrested. No doubt, more information will trickle out.

PAPER TIGER. Further to my suggestion that NATO is a paper tiger we learn that half of Germany’s tanks are not ready for action. Less belligerent behaviour might be prudent: Moscow doesn’t get the joke: “We need to plan and undertake measures that will help us to respond to such a scenario quickly…“.

SYRIA. Lots of action. Trump has cut off arms supplies to Kurds in Syria (but, as always, can a mere POTUS make them do it?). Putin has been talking to everyone in and around the neighbourhood and lots of meetings. Patrick Lang, a connected observer, thinks it’s about over.

MAIDAN SNIPERS. One of the founding myths of the “Revolution of Dignity” was the massacre on the Maidan. Ivan Katchanovski has proved, to anyone with the capacity for objective thought, that it was a false flag operation; here is his paper; here is a summary. Two Georgian snipers have come forward to confess; here is a summary of what they said with links to the original. The story continues to develop and Katchanovski is following it.

UKRAINE. A country put together out of bits and pieces of other countries should worry as it fails further: Poland does not hide its ambiguous intentions towards western Ukraine. First, create positions of influence, then formulate territorial claims“. Meanwhile, Maidan II seems to be going nowhere (no support from outside, I guess).

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 16 NOVEMBER 2017

WESTERN VALUES™. So now RT America is a “foreign agent“. (Remember all the faux outrage about Russia’s FARA imitation law? No? But it was only a year ago: “Russia: Four years of Putin’s ‘Foreign Agents’ law to shackle and silence NGOs“. Hard to keep up, isn’t it?) In case you think this reflects poorly on the “champion for free speech and free press”, John McCain, channelling Brezhnev, explains why it doesn’t. In the Cold War they blocked us but we didn’t bother to block them. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out: the side that mostly lies wants to stop its population hearing the side that mostly tells the truth. One reason is that telling (mostly) the truth is just easier. For example, Russian propaganda for the home audience lets the Western side say whatever it wants as long as it wants. Why? “the Russians have no need to lie, their propaganda is fundamentally truthful, fact based and logical…. unlike their American counterparts, the Russians are not engaging in policies which they cannot justify before their own public opinion or before the public opinion of the rest of the planet”. In Syria the Russians are doing what they say they are doing; no need to explain why Russian troops supposedly in Ukraine can’t be seen; there are no Pokemon stories in Russia. In short, Russian propaganda is all made in the West and every idiotic story is re-played. “So yes, the Russians are using the immense arrogance and poorly-concealed hatred for Russia of some of the more pompous and least intelligent representatives of the West to paint an absolutely fair and accurate representation of the western ruling elites”.

SPEAKING OF THINGS HARD TO JUSTIFY before the Western public. “Raqqa’s dirty secret…. a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters…. escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition…“. “Some of the U.S.-made weapons available on these markets likely first entered Syria as part of an ill-fated Pentagon program to train and equip fighters in northern Syria to take on the Islamic State.” Are these bugs or features? Either way, the West isn’t doing what it says it is doing.

RELIGION. I found this video interesting: Putin and most of the Russian religious establishment (named here, but not the RC Ordinary for some reason) honour Minim and Pozharsky. That’s diversity.

RUSSIA INC. Inflation fell to 2.7% in October; this is a post USSR record low. Slowly but surely.

BOMB SCARES. There have been a series of hoax bomb scares across Russia lately. Phoned in from abroad we are told. Wondered that myself: I’m not suggesting it was governments but the panic is constantly pumped higher and there are a lot of excitable people out there.

REMITTANCES. A study shows that all FUSSR states except Russia and Kazakhstan are “intensely dependent” on remittances. Author’s summary: “a new system of transnational, cross-border dependency, unprecedented in its intensity”. The two “magnets” are the EU and Russia. An interesting take on the post-Soviet reality; at the end of the day, you’re either a dependent of one or of the other.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Best summary of the story so far: “The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election… were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee…“. Even the MSM is starting to notice (WSJ): “The Clinton campaign commissioned a foreign ex-spy to gin up rumors, which made it to U.S. intelligence agencies, and then got reporters to cite it as government-sourced.” Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS are the ur-sources. We get closer: a Fusion GPS exec spent seven hours with the House Committee on Tuesday. Bershidsky, no friend to Putin & Co, points out how ludicrous the theories have become. This was never expected to become public; it was supposed to stay in the background of her march to the White House.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Spreading fast. “How the Russian meddling machine won the online battle of the illegal referendum” (El Pais). “Putin’s lying machine: Revealed, how Russia’s spewing out ruthless propaganda… “. Enjoy the map which shows how the Kremlin is “stoking discord” around the world. Again we see that lying takes more effort. And a constant effort too: always plugging holes in the narrative which gets ever more preposterous. (But read the comments: the story isn’t selling well).

MAYBE FILE. “American” LNG delivered to Europe is actually purchased in Russia. Same source said “American” coal for Ukraine also came from Russia. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I await confirmation.

SYRIA. The Syrians have liberated Abu Kamal, the last urban hold of Daesh in Syria; 25 months after Russia intervened. Some American talking heads are still in denial (more convolution).

UKRAINE. Maidan II continues but the WMSM doesn’t see it. On Sunday Saakashvili led a march demanding Poroshenko’s impeachment. Couldn’t make this stuff up.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 2 NOVEMBER 2017

BOOK PLUG. Phil Butler’s “Putin’s Praetorians”. A number of us explain how we came to our present views on Putin and Russia. Many simply couldn’t believe the absurdly one-sided accounts of, especially, the Sochi Olympics and Ukraine. A little digging uncovered the lies and they’ve never gone back.

REMINDER. A big nuclear forces exercise last week with an ICBM and 3 SLBMs fired. Dramatic night sky effects in Siberia: they saw their tax rubles at work.

GOLD. The Central Bank of Russia holds 1800 tonnes of gold. China (the world’s largest gold producer – Russia is number three) holds a similar amount. Many connect this with the coming “petroyuan“.

RUSSIA INC. Russia continues its climb up the World Bank’s rankings for ease of doing business.

ELECTION. There’s no real opposition to Putin. And why would there be? Sneering as much as it can, even the Guardian gets it.

PROPAGANDA. Putin attends the opening of a prominently-placed monument to the victims of the Soviet repressions. The monument. Paul Robinson catalogues how the lügenpresse spun this into an attack on Putin for supporting Stalin or being repressive or something. I read the Soviet media back then and it was non-stop lies, belittling, twisting of everything in the West: a complete reversal today.

SYRIA REVELATIONS. Perhaps not coincidentally with revelations on “Russiagate” and Hollywood, come revelations about Syria. First, Washington admits (quietly) that the Syrian “rebels” have used chemical weapons. Second, a senior Qatari official reveals that Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA began shipping weapons to jihadists in Syria in 2011. The Syrian army has found stocks of Western and Israeli weaponry in captured Daesh areas. Everything, Dear Readers, your governments and media have told you about Syria has been a lie. (BTW, how many US troops in Syria? Anybody know?).

WHAT NOW? Washington wants genetic material from Russians? Bio war? No, no, only a paranoid Russian would suggest that: for benign, even laudable, reasons. Of the US Air Force. More.

WESTERN VALUES™. RT says Twitter approached it with a scheme to sell ads during the election but RT turned it down. Twitter has banned ads from RT because of “election interference”. We learn today that Twitter actually interfered by burying things harmful to Clinton.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. It’s rare that the alternative media and the MSM report the same thing on the same date, but it just happened. Philip Giraldi notes that, now that we know that the Clinton campaign paid for most of the Steele dossier, “Russiagate began within the Clinton Campaign headquarters”. The WSJ says the same but still thinks that it was “Russia” that dunnit; but it dunnit to the other side. Jatras marvels that, despite the collapse of Version A, they still blame Russia. But not so fast, we’re not there yet: the Steele dossier is 99% fake – enough money was spend to manufacture the wanted stories – “Russia”, as in the government, had nothing to do with it even if individual Russians did. (But why bother to get actual Russians when you’re making it up? We only have Steele’s word for it that he did). One hopes we are only a few weeks away from the contrived mess exploding. Meanwhile, in what may be the very last idiocy, we are informed that Russia Is Using Marxist Strategies, and So Is US President US President Trump“. The suicide of American soft power, Andrew Korybko perceptively calls it.

HUNGARY CLEARS ITS THROAT. Ukraine’s neighbours remember the OUN and its deeds. Poland put out the movie Volyn, for example. Now it’s Hungary’s turn. Kiev just passed a law insisting on Ukrainian instruction, there are a lot of Hungarian speakers (many of whom have Hungarian passports), Budapest has just announced it will block Kiev’s efforts to gain greater connection to NATO. (More) The most likely future of Ukraine is that parts break off the edges.

A NEW CHERNOBYL? Not at all, merely the utterance of “information terrorists working in the interests of Russian propaganda.” All will be well; better than well, even. (Read November 1, 2017 Update.) (Information terrorists – that’s a good one, eh?)

UKRAINE. Another tent city in Kiev. Saakashvili has a plan. Crooks, clowns and nazis. Ten thousand casualties from non-military causes – morale is terrible. Life in Kherson. Ukraine continues to test the limits of Adam Smith’s apophthegm that there is much ruin in a nation.

NEW NWO. Russia and the Philippines take another step in their courtship.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 19 OCTOBER 2017

SAUDI ARABIA. The visit of Salman bin Abdulaziz was pretty significant I think. The deal on the petrodollar was that Riyadh would insist on USD for payment in return for protection. Because Washington’s wars in the MENA have only made Iran stronger, Riyadh cannot think the deal is working out and it may be looking for a new sponsor: it happened before when Abdulaziz switched from London to Washington. My thoughts here. I believe that the sale of S-400 air defence systems could be a geopolitical gamechanger. Another of Moscow’s strengths is that it talks to everybody: and so it has offered to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran. Because Washington takes sides, it is useless should Riyadh want to negotiate its way out of messes with its neighbours. “The success of the Euro-Asian triptych is based on the essential principle of transforming enemies into neutral players, neutral players into allies, and further improving relations with allied nations.” Slowly, patiently, bit by bit the long game is played.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The world has entered an era of rapid change. Things that were only recently referred to as fantastic or unattainable have become a reality and have become part of our daily lives.” I don’t think Putin’s referring to the latest computer game, do you? History didn’t end, after all.

RUSSIA INC. I expand on something I wrote some time ago. Russia is a “full-service” economy. One of four on the planet. It and China are going up; the USA and the EU are going down.

CW. It was announced that the last of Russia’s chemical weapons inherited from the USSR have been destroyed. The USA, not completed its own program, is now aiming for 2023. Neither country hit the first deadline of 2007, nor the second of 2012. The NYT does its best to blame Russia for finishing early.

PUTINVILLE. Moscow has been named the fourth safest megacity for women and St Petersburg the best tourist destination in Europe. I don’t put a lot of stock in these ratings but they are useful counters to the Russia as hellhole nonsense that clogs the Western MSM.

WESTERN VALUES™. This should be good for a laugh: Petr Pavlenskiy has been arrested for setting a fire at the Bank of France. Paris granted him asylum after he was fined for setting a fire at the FSB headquarters in Moscow. Does “protest art” in Russia become arson in France?

GETTING SCARED. Russia used to be feeble and falling apart and the danger was that some crazy general would get hold of “loose nukes” and do something bad. Now the Russia-as-enemy campaign is starting to frighten the people who created it. Some of the alarm is feigned as part of the campaign for more money but I think they’re really starting to understand that they have woken a sleeping giant and filled him with resolve (as Admiral Yamamoto is said to have said). And they fear that the US military, after a couple of decades of fighting people who can only fight back with car bombs and suicide belts, isn’t ready for Prime Time. Some US military connected outfit has put out a how to fight Russia manual (rather amusingly based on the assumption that Kiev forces were fighting the Russian Armed Forces in Donbass – won’t they be surprised if they were to meet the real thing!). Meanwhile the Heritage Foundation laments that “Our military has undoubtedly grown weaker“. This shouldn’t be unexpected, Washington assumed too much and pushed too much. But, still, nothing much has been learned: Kiev wasn’t fighting the Russian Armed Forces and Heritage’s idea that Congress should “pass a budget that will truly provide for the common defense” is laughable. The problem isn’t money. But here we are: another step towards the new new world order.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Latest top hits from the three principal fake news outlets: “Catalonia held a referendum. Russia won” from the WaPo; Pokemon from CNN; cute puppies from the NYT. Meanwhile Senator Burr admits that, after months of hearings, “I’m not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven’t any” and the real Russian scandal emerges from the shadows. (But, Dear Readers, before the usual drivel about corrupt and corrupting Russians starts up, if your government is for sale, can you blame people for buying it?)

UKRAINE. Another coup in the making? Demonstrations kicked off by a torchlight parade. Demands (at the moment) are a new election law for parliamentarians, an anti-corruption court, ending parliamentary immunity. Signed by Tymoshenko and Saakashvili among many others including some of the nazi battalions. Perhaps not coincidentally, an investigation into fraud committed by President Poroshenko has been opened. Did the coal from Pennsylvania actually come from Russia? Nuclear fears. Another huge ammunition dump fire. The collapse continues.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 21 SEPTEMBER 2017

WADA YA KNOW? Fake story, fake accusation as I said at the time “My default position nowadays is that it’s all lies.” NYT reports that WADA has cleared 95 of the 96 athletes they looked at. But that propaganda outlet cannot resist suggesting that that Russia may have destroyed the evidence. That’s the information war: smear the unfounded charge all over; when the story collapses and the damage done, move on to the next one. What we did learn however, is that a remarkable number of Western athletes have a doctor’s note that allows them to take banned substances. Interesting eh?

MOSCOW ELECTIONS. While the pedestal party won overall, there was some excitement because, in a very low turnout, “liberals” organised a win in some seats in Moscow. Karlin is not impressed and points out the correlation with bicycle rental stations. Shamir takes it more seriously seeing it as the latest Washington regime change effort. Perhaps he’s right: both The Guardian and Newsweek hail it (BTW: the comment by Germann Arlington absolutely nails the Big Inconsistency of Western reporting: “If the elections are rigged then the result should have been the usual 98% for Putin’s party. If the election is not rigged then why is it always presented as such?”). Russian politics are pretty frowsty: the pedestal party dominates (but the Putin Team is popular) the KPRF and LDPR were led by the same guys when the USSR was still around, even Yavlinskiy (then, now) is still out there (Crimea is part of Ukraine: not a big vote getter). One day things will start to change but I doubt this is the moment.

LISTENING IN. Wikileaks tells us about Russian scanning of electronic communications. Putin often tells us that everything is done legally. Well, it always starts that way, doesn’t it? If they can, they will.

ZAPAD-2017. Well, the exercise is over and Russia didn’t conquer/invade/attack or even threaten anybody. Next overreaction scheduled in four years. (I amuse myself laughing at the excitables.)

SAUDI-RUSSIA VISIT. My take on Salman bin Abdulaziz’ visit to Moscow. I remember that Abdulaziz switched from London to Washington in 1945 and speculate that Riyadh may again be adjusting its place in the developing new power order.

STALIN’S NOT BACK. Robinson describes a visit to a church dedicated to the New Martyrs situated on a Cheka killing ground. The truth is that Russia remembers everything.

NEW PARK. The horrible old Rossiya Hotel is gone and replaced by an interesting park (design idea).

SANCTIONS. According to the UN rapporteur, sanctions and counter-sanctions cost the EU US$3.2 billion a month; the Russian economy has lost US$55 billion in total. He calculates the total cost to both at US$155 billion. In short, he agrees that Europe has been hit much harder than Russia and certainly much more than the USA. Perhaps that was the real point: Washington’s “overriding strategic objective the prevention of a German-Russian alliance“.

RUSSIANS IN SYRIA. The author has sent me a file of photos which are of interest. What is immediately apparent (I can’t help comparing them with what I saw during Chechnya I) is the aura of tough professional competence and lots of sophisticated kit.

S-400. Turkish President Erdoğan says Ankara has already put down a deposit on the S-400 SAM system. I am still rather puzzled: this is a crown jewel weapon system and Turkey is, still, in NATO. We are assured that this is just the export model and that even taking it apart wouldn’t reveal its secrets.

TRUST. Trump announced the closure of the CIA support to Syrian rebels. Or has it ended, or was that just weasel-wording that allowed the Pentagon to continue? Who can say? Foreign Affairs magazine, no less, has just gone public with The Pentagon Is Spending $2 Billion Running Soviet-Era Guns to Syrian Rebels” and there are persistent reports (denied by Washington of course) that US helicopters lifted people out of Deir ez-Zor after the Syrians broke the siege. (Deir ez Zor was the scene of the US attack on Syrian forces a year ago.) Trump’s constant references to the Iran nuclear deal as “one of the worst” does not give anyone confidence that Washington would keep its word to Pyongyang (or anybody).

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. All the reasons why the Russia-election-interference story is bunkum. Not least of which is the remarkable inactivity of the FBI: for example “The FBI has never questioned Assange [he confirms that] or Murray” and neither has it ever looked at the DNC servers. Nonetheless, every time you think the hysteria has gone as far as it can, it goes a bit farther: Morgan Freeman joins the circus. Bershidsky trashes the latest nonsense. One can hope that it’s finally jumped the shark.

NEW NWO. Beijing shows its teeth.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 6 SEPTEMBER 2017

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack” finally got the VIPS analysis into the mainstream. (Briefly: Guccifer 2.0 documents were locally downloaded and doctored to give a Russian flavour). Has this killed the story? Maybe: the MSM has been shrieking about other things since. (And the interminable US investigations inch closer to the truth.) Normal hysteria returns: “Putin’s Hand Can Clearly Be Seen In the Chaos of a Destabilized West“. Amazing how powerful these people think he is, isn’t it? Nothing is beyond his reach (except Kiev and Vilnius.)

DIPLOMATIC PROPERTY. A complete violation of the Vienna Convention: “Article 22. The premises of a diplomatic mission… are inviolable… The host country must never search the premises…”. Washington has set a precedent that will come back to bite it: what’s to stop any country that thinks it’s on Washington’s target list from doing the same? Incredible. Who’s in charge?

BRIDGE. The Kerch Strait bridge rolls along. Here’s the railway arch being moved into position and the first ship passing under it. Here’s an amusingly one-sided account of things from the Daily Signal.

ZAPAD 2017. NATO is giving itself a major case of the fantods over this exercise “close to its borders”. The website so you can follow yourself: 14-20 September in Russia and Belarus, 13K troops, 70 aircraft, 250 tanks, 200 guns and 10 warships. “Anti-terrorist” of course – aren’t they all these days? – “The exercise stipulates that some extremist groups have penetrated… “. They have them every four years.

QUAGMIRES. Shortly after Moscow began its intervention in Syria, Obama opined “An attempt by Russia and Iran to prop up Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire and it won’t work“. Well, yesterday Damascus broke the seige of Deir ez-Zor which probably marks the beginning of the mopping up phase. In short it’s not a quagmire and it did work. The US involvement in Afghanistan, on the other hand, is about to enter year 17, getting on for twice as long as the Soviets were there. That is a quagmire and that hasn‘t worked; the Pentagon isn’t even sure how many soldiers it has there: 8.4K, 11K or more? Russia has had three military actions this century – Chechnya II, Ossetia and Syria – all victories; all US military interventions have been failures. What’s the difference? I would suggest that Russia initiates military violence with a clear plan 1) to do only what violence can do 2) that is integrated with a diplomatic and civil program for the things it can’t and 3) coordinated with reliable allies on the ground. When it has done what it set out to do, it stops. Washington, on the other hand, 1) expands its aims after the initial success far past those that violence can achieve 2) has a negligible diplomatic effort and 3) its allies on the ground turn out to be phantasms of the Washington echo chamber. Added to which, I do not believe that the US military is nearly as competent as its cheerleaders think it is; I suspect it resembles the post-Vietnam mess I saw on exercises in Germany in the 1980s. Maybe even “hardwired for failure“.

ISRAEL. Jerusalem seems to have understood its defeat sooner than Washington. Iran has a much stronger presence in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq thanks to two decades of calamitous interventions. It is argued here and here that a nervous Netanyahu received a dusty answer from Putin in Sochi: Iran is Russia’s “strategic ally in the Middle East”.

BRICS. The summit communiqué is rather blah except for 10 and 11 which deal with finance and currencies. There’s a story that China “is preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into gold“. This would be a strong blow to the power of the US dollar and, by extension, of Washington itself. When Kennan warned against the “superficial and ill informed” decision to expand NATO I don’t think he foresaw all the downstream consequences. Beijing, famous for long-term thinking, took a warning from it too. Newton’s Third Law of geopolitics.

OOPS! It will be at least 2024 before the US can replace the Russian rocket motors. Carefully excluded from Congress’ sanctions bill of course.

KOREA. Has there been much mention in your local news outlet of the US-South Korea exercises of 21-31 August which, they say, sometimes include practising “decapitation strikes”? (The media often leaves out important synchronicities.) I’ve heard that North and South will meet in St Petersburg. We shall see; there is a solution to the problem: what Beijing calls “double suspension“. And it probably doesn’t require Washington: Seoul could agree to stop the exercises and tell some of the 35K+ US troops to leave. Putin has strongly condemned Pyongyang’s tests: “a flagrant violation“.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 24 AUGUST 2017

THE NEW NWO AND RUSSIA. This is very much worth reading. The authors argue that in the coming (well, already here) rivalry between the American maritime power and the Chinese land power, Russia is the swing player that can hand victory to one or the other: “So logic says that the US should be very nice to Russia and seek to establish some kind of military alliance”. Well, logic’s voice isn’t loud enough for the US Congress to hear. Also interesting is their discussion of Germany’s choices and the important role Saudi Arabia could play if it changes protectors again. (I too wondered this two years ago.)

PUTIN’S POPULARITY. Some Western academics asked “But is his popularity real, or are respondents lying to pollsters?” and concluded “Putin’s approval ratings largely reflect the attitudes of Russian citizens.” I didn’t bother to read their paper because I know – as does any serious observer – the answer already. Of course he’s popular: he is the leader of a team which has achieved a tremendous turnaround in Russia’s situation. Since 2000 all indicators are up. I wish we could say the same in our part of the world.

RUSSIA INC. GDP grew 2.5% year-on-year in the second quarter; this is the highest growth since 2013. PMI is up to 52.7. Inflation is the lowest in five years.

USSR DEBT. With a payment to Bosnia, Moscow has paid off the last of the debt it inherited from the USSR. When an earlier agreement that the 15 would divide the debt fell apart, Moscow took responsibility for all of it in return for USSR assets abroad. It did this despite the fact that its creditors insisted on repayment while many of its debtors could not pay. The total was about USD80 billion and many debts to it were forgiven. I well remember how glad we all were that it took responsibility for the debts as well as the other leftovers: weaponry outside, nuclear weapons and its guarantee of Russian citizenship to any Soviet citizen who wasn’t automatically given citizenship where he lived. It was only later that the last three were rebranded as evidence of imperialistic intentions.

DEMOGRAPHICS. There has been a small net decline in Russia’s population this year after several years of growth. We will see if this is a bump or a trend. (Although Karlin, who is much more knowledgeable than I, predicted a return to “normal” rates two and a half years ago.)

AGRICULTURE. The Agriculture Minister estimates the grain harvest will be 110 million tonnes which would leave as much as 40 million for export. So Russia will presumably keep the title of number one.

VISA RETALIATION. My take: I believe Moscow is ready to follow Washington right down to zero representation is that’s where it goes. But, if the Russiagate bubble bursts (probably the most severe blow is the exposure of the Guccifer 2.0 fake by VIPS) then the original pretext will burst too and things can get back to normal.

MAKING WATER RUN UP HILL. Lithuania is getting LNG from the USA and Ukraine coal from the USA. More expensive but supposedly for security. Well, whatever: if they want to pay more, let them. Of course in all likelihood they will “pay” with IMF or EU loans. Payback’s a problem for later.

CHANGE OR BLIP? The Prime Minister says Riga is interested in better relations with Moscow and a Polish poll shows number who regard Russia as a threat down about 50% in 3 years. After all, despite years of “Europe faces a ‘real threat’ from Russia” Russia still hasn’t conquered anybody. But that just makes some people shout louder: “The growing Russian military threat in Europe“.

TRUMP KEEPS AFGHANISTAN GOING. Reinforcing failure. Trump Vows To Leave A Better Afghanistan For Nation’s Grandchildren To Fight In. The generals rolled him, as they rolled Obama. And if it really was short skirts, then there’s a lot more to that story than he, or McMaster, probably know. Today the Americans get their supplies in via Pakistan or the Central Asian countries (through Russia). Washington has made threatening noises at Pakistan and Russia. How then?

CHICKENS, HOME, ROOST. Torchlight parades in Kiev, Riga, Tallinn. And now Charlottesville. “Nationalists” there, but “Nazis” here. Some historical background for the Ukraine case; Baltics.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Newsweek discovers a new bottom level. “Charlottesville’s Alt-right Leaders Have a Passion for Vladimir Russian Federation President Putin“.

UKAINE. More signposts of disaster. Ukrainians now spend 50% of their income on food; not poverty says the Minister of Social Policy fatuously but because they like to eat well. The Economist rates Kiev among the ten least liveable cities. Did Ukraine supply the rocket motors to North Korea? And, I’ve mentioned this before, but the longest-lasting effect of the Kiev coup may be a nuclear disaster.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer