RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 6 DECEMBER 2018

RUSSIA INC. This report from Awara on Russia’s economy is much better than the one I mentioned last time. The authors argue that the Putin Team saw sanctions coming and proofed the economy against them: “Russia now has the world’s most self-sufficient and diversified economy capable of producing anything possibly made in the world. Russia is now for the first time in its history food self-sufficient while simultaneously exporting more food than ever before. With this clout, Russia is prepared to withstand the economic siege, that the US regime is hatching.” And it’s armed to defend itself. The sanctioners did not, as they thought, “have good intelligence“: “The single biggest error was to believe the propaganda lie that the Russian economy was totally dependent on oil and gas. Here they foolishly confused the share of oil and gas in total exports – which was and remains at the level of 60% – with the share of these commodities of the total economy, which in 2013 was 12% (today 9%)”. In short, Russia is well-positioned to go it alone. (It doesn’t have to though, all the countries on Washington’s hitlist are potential collaborators). As I like to put it, Russia has a full-service economy, few others do. I recommend reading the report (testy in parts, but given the mountain of anti-Russia nonsense, that’s forgiveable).

TURKSTREAM. Another big step with completion of the offshore section.

WESTERN VALUES™. The next time the US State Department solemnly declares some country’s election “undemocratic”, just laugh: ballot harvesting in CA and NC.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Finally we learn what Flynn’s “crime” was. He may have corroborated Pence’s erroneous statement that there had been no contacts with Russian officials and, like so many others, he lobbied for a foreign government. (His real crime, of course, was revealing Obama’s and that is why he had to be taken out first.) I hope this begins the end of the Mueller farrago.

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. Guardian prints fake story, gets caught, some ex-CIA guy suggests Putindunnit. “They had 17 aircraft, we have 48 missiles – I think we’re going to win that one.” In the real world, just before they noticed anything, the first Kinzhal would have slammed in at Mach 10.

GEORGIA. Salome Zurabishvili is the new President of Georgia. She, a quondam French diplomat, was Saakashvili’s Foreign Minister (salary paid by Paris, BTW) until she had enough of him and quit. Always wondered whether Paris’ relatively rational view on the 2008 war owed something to her.

CW ATTACK? WHAT CW ATTACK? More Than 100 People Wounded In Aleppo Chemical Attack: Syrian Officials“. “The West Stays Mum About Aleppo Chemical Attack“. Not a hard deduction.

UKRAINE. No one expects that Poroshenko can be re-elected, no matter what fraud he pulls off. And nothing to suggest that his erstwhile supporters in the West want him any more. The simple truth is that post-Maidan Ukraine has been a comprehensive disaster and a new President (Tymoshenko is ahead and she’s no friend) will need someone to blame. And who better than Poroshenko? So his choice is to finagle his way out of the election or join Saakashvili in the Formerly Useful Club with an arrest warrant on his head and no money. Hence the stunts: the church robbery and now the Kerch Straits adventure. (I doubt your Local News Outlet told you that Ukrainian military vessels following the Russian rules quietly passed through in September.) He tried to get out of elections by declaring martial law but his opponents forced a limitation: only a month and only in Novorissiya and bordering Transdnestr (where he wouldn’t get any votes anyway). So that option has been blocked for the moment. (Another something your LNO outlet hasn’t told you: in early November the martial law regulations were amended to allow deportations. Almost as if it was planned, eh?) What’s left? Start an attack on the eastern rebels and claim Russia invaded? Plenty of rumours of that from both sides. (CW attack? Alleged Russian buildup.) There are always rumours of an imminent Ukrainian attack and I usually discount them; I am less willing to do so this time because of Poroshenko’s desperate situation. If Kiev does attack, it will be another defeat.

MH17. A lawsuit is possible. Not sure what to think: a real trial, with real evidence and real argument would be a good thing; another precooked show not. Are real trials still possible when it’s Russia?

TRUMP OPENS A NEW FRONT. “I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race… “. (Is his INF treaty denunciation a step to getting a US-Russia-China INF? Step one of what Scott Adams calls his persuasion technique?)

Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 22 NOVEMBER 2018

VICTORY! I’ve been waiting a decade for Washington to explain that the Ossetia war was actually a triumph for it. And here it is at last. American efforts resulted in “the Russians withdrawing to their start positions.” Well, they never intended to occupy Georgia. The same official then creatively blames Assad for “producing” ISIS. A complete echo chamber of delusion.

SANCTIONS. Bloomberg calculates that the Russian economy is about 10% smaller than it forecasted it would be in 2013. It reckons that about six percentage points of the decrease are due to Western sanctions and the rest to other factors. In short, sanctions have hurt but not as much as all that. I have long believed that this is transitory pain which will pay off later. For example, the increase in Russian food production has been remarkable. It would be interesting to see Bloomberg do an estimate for the cost to the EU: plenty of estimates out there, some as high as €100 billion. The point is that Russia wasn’t such a big market for the EU, but it was one of the few that was growing.

CORRUPTION. We are told that 300 police officers have been fired this year after complaints from citizens. There were 45,000 complaints. VTsIOM reports that trust in the police has dropped ten points since last year’s all-time high of 67%. Better than the old days when trust was under 50%; so, more work to be done, but work is being done. Corruption is a tricky subject, often treated too simply, I believe.

DIPLOMACY. Russia is trying to fix Libya and Afghanistan. I think it’s time to start contemplating the thought that Moscow might have some soft power.

WAR. A recent report comes as close as we will ever see to an admission that the USA would lose a war with either Russian or China on their home turf. This comes on the heels of a report showing that a large number of key defence components manufacturers are not secure and an earlier one that said many US weapons systems are vulnerable to hacking. These are consequences of endless wars in MENA, twenty years of poking Russia and China and unilateralism. Surely the rational conclusion would be that Washington should start rethinking things from the bottom up. Nope, more of the same is the answer: “The report also called for an expansion of the current $716 billion defense budget.”

THE LATEST. “GPS glitches during NATO’s largest war games in decades blamed on (DRUM ROLL) Russia“. Maybe. Russia is preparing for a war and, without GPS, NATO ground and air forces would be pretty helpless. So maybe a teeny tiny test to see if jammers worked. On the other hand, excuses are cheap and the exercise was not a very happy experience for Norway.

WESTERN VALUES™. Over the years I have grown drearily accustomed to human rights organisations being co-opted – weaponised is the fashionable word – by the Western war party (MSF, Pussy Riot and the rest) and have pretty well given up on them. But, a ray of light appears. Amnesty International is active in reporting the destruction of Raqqa by the US coalition. It is starting a project to record the destruction: what they have collected so far on “the most destroyed city in modern times” is at strike-tracker. So the next time the White Helmets or Bellingcat tells you of some Russian atrocity, remember that it would be impossible to be more indiscriminately destructive than US/NATO “targeted actions“.

US ELECTIONS. Did Putin fix them? If so how? Why did he want Trump’s party to lose the House? If he didn’t, why didn’t he? I look forward to the NYT explaining how this fits into Operation Infektion.

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. Masha and the Bear. “Putin’s tanks are hidden in Masha’s backpack“. DM readers treat this with the scorn it deserves. A friend suggested setting up a mock conference to make deadpan over-the-top claims to ridicule Russophobia. I don’t think you can ridicule people who believe in Masha’s armoured backpack and Medvedev’s pillow carrier.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Some more straws in the wind. Madrid has allowed 3 Russian warships to resupply at Cueta, the first time in 3 years. A minister says Paris will lead EU efforts to create a payment mechanism to keep trade with Iran. And TurkStream marks another milestone.

UKRAINE. Remember when Ukrainian nazis were just Putin propaganda? US News, Daily Beast, AIM, Fox, and plenty more assured us (BBC here) that reports of nazis in Ukraine were only troll factory output. Now, for some reason, the Western media is noticing: New Republic, CBS, AP, Max Blumenthal. Even the US propaganda outlet RFE/RL tells us: “Azov, Ukraine’s Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights On U.S., Europe.” And chickens are arriving home as this Criminal Complaint shows. Why they notice today what was perfectly obvious then, I cannot tell you.

NOTE. Alexander Mercouris has referred me to his discussion of the Bloomberg report. He argues, very convincingly, that the report doesn’t actually make sense when you look at it carefully, that Russia has very effectively responded to Western sanctions and that it is a very strong position to withstand further sanctions. He sees the report as part of a propaganda effort to gather support for more sanctions on the grounds that sanctions are working and that another push will gain the desired result. It’s reinforcing failure along the lines of Einstein’s alleged definition of insanity.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 8 NOVEMBER 2018

US ELECTION. The chance of war has gone up a bit: the House investigation into the conspiracy will stop (unless Nunes can do anything in the next two months) and go into reverse. Any move Trump makes towards improving relations with Russia will be met by the House shrieking he’s a Putin puppet: the new people in charge there are too heavily invested in the Russia story to stop now. The US political system will be seized up – lots and lots of investigations. Threats and counter threats. Not such a bad thing for the rest of us if the US system turns into a cannibal banquet but further ratcheting up the anti-Russia hysteria is not so good (top priority says Schiff). (A Chinese view of increased danger).

COINCIDENCE? 25 October 2018, China: “concentrate preparations for fighting a war”. 26 October 2018, Russia: “Yes, Russia is preparing for war”. They hear what’s said; they see what’s happening in their neighbourhoods. They draw conclusions and take steps.

TODAY’S THOUGHT. “In light of this very low level of military competence, maybe wars are not our best choice of hobby.

THE MOTHERLAND CALLS. A Russian diplomat says Russian exiles are returning. I can believe it: they moved West for security or better money; as Russophobia intensifies (see below) it’s not safer and maybe the money’s not so good after all. I expect to see a steady trickle of returnees.

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. “Half of the Russians in London are spies, claims new report“. (But why not all of them? They’re Russians, after all, and should shut up and go away.) That’s 75 thousand Russian spies. Wow! And the report says there are only 200 case officers to handle them. But that’s nothing for Putin’s superhuman minions: they threw the US election with 80K FB posts buried among 33 trillion posts (that’s about half a billion others to every “Russian” post). They control time: they arrived in Gatwick at 1500 on a flight scheduled to arrive at 1545 that actually arrived at 1558. (Gotta be pretty stupid or inattentive to swallow this nonsense.)

SWIFT. Is a network linking banks around the world enabling transactions to move around easily and securely. US-dominated, it was used because it worked. But once Washington turned it into a weapon against Iran in 2012 (and again just now), it stopped being so convenient. It’s not fantastically complicated to replicate, SWIFT was used because it was expedient. But, if you’re on Washington’s hitlist, or fear you may be, it’s not so attractive. So Moscow, which is on the hitlist, has developed its own system and is linking other countries to it. It’s the same thing with the “petrodollar“: useful until Washington weaponised it; then time to find an alternative. And, when you must, you will: Delhi will pay for its S400s in rubles; Iran has turned off transponders on its tankers; Hungary upped its gold reserves (and so did Russia – now 17% of FOREX). The SWIFT story is an interesting demonstration of the fact that, sometimes, using it can mean losing it.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Macron calls for real European armed forces and Europe continues to be rebellious about Washington’s stance on Iran (new sanctions imposed – but with waivers to its oil customers. But not for the EU). Ah well, talk is cheap – especially in the EU – and there are formidable problems creating a European army – a new report shows the stunning incapacity of the German forces. They would have to completely rethink the Russia relationship then find the mountains of money to build up their forces, support elements and supply chains. Today Europe relies on the US to provide all these things. The US military, in its turn, as a new report shows, depends on foreign suppliers or a single struggling domestic manufacturer for several hundred key inputs… (NATO should meditate on being a little less demanding, don’t you think?) But the Istanbul meeting did show a refreshing independence from Paris and Berlin. It’s rather like the SWIFT story: they went along with the USA because it was easy and it worked well enough. But it’s no longer easy and it doesn’t work so well.

SYRIA. While the Russia-Turkey-France-Germany meeting on Syria in Istanbul did not settle all issues, or maybe even any issue, it was momentous because of no USA and the end of the “Assad must go” magical spell. Moscow continues to give us lessons on how to blend military power with diplomatic skill. Meanwhile, in Syria, demonstrating the opposite, we see US-backed forces fighting Turkey. As I wrote three years ago, it’s not hard to see why Moscow runs rings around Washington here and elsewhere. The midterms will probably put Washington back to недоговороспособность: no agreement possible either because it can’t make one or won’t keep it.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 25 OCTOBER 2018

CHURCH DISPUTE. I dreaded having to write something because I really don’t know enough. But US Secretary of State Pompeo has saved me much study by proving that those who see the hand of Washington are correct to do so: “We urge Church and government officials to actively promote these values in connection with the move towards the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” Who knew an avowedly secular state like the USA felt competent to make rulings on such esoterica as ethnophyletism or autocephaly? You’ve heard Official Washington’s opinion (swiftly retransmitted by your local news outlet), here are others: one, two, three, four, five. Their argument is that Constantinople has arrogated too much to himself and Orthodoxy will split; Washington & Co talk of “freedom” (but don’t show much understanding of who’s who). This further excuse for violence will increase the misery of Ukraine. (And, ironically, the dominant church in western Ukraine, the home of the Ukrainian nationalism that’s driving things, has nothing to do with this: it’s under Rome.)

NUCLEAR DOCTRINE. At Valdai, Putin made a statement on Russia’s nuclear doctrine. No change, but with a twist that caught people’s attention: “Our concept is based on a reciprocal counter strike… any aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable and they will be annihilated.” The attention-catching part was “And we as the victims of an aggression, we as martyrs would go to paradise while they will simply perish because they won’t even have time to repent their sins”. Don’t forget that American spokesmen have made some stupidly aggressive statements lately.

DRONE ATTACK. The Russian MoD says a US aircraft coordinated the January drone attack on their Syrian bases.

EXPLOSION. There was an explosion and shooting at the Kerch Polytechnic College in Crimea and a number of people were killed. It is said to have been done by one student who then killed himself.

RUSSIA INC. Russia has climbed two places the World Economic Forum ranking to 43 of 140. Current account surplus predicted.

AGRICULTURE. One of the most surprising developments to me, who remembers farms in the 1990s, has been Russia’s agricultural turnaround. This five-minute report gives an introduction.

STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION. Let me put in a plug for this site. It has now acquired quite a stable of writers (myself included) and is a good place to get alternative views to those repeated by the drearily monotonic Western outlets. There may be Russian government money behind it but my bet is that the government’s effort is still in RT (see below). My guess (and another author’s) is that it’s bankrolled by a rich Russian who’s tired of the endless anti-Russia coverage. I have never had anything I have written changed or censored. I recommend you bookmark it.

WESTERN VALUES™. Enjoying the irony, RT introduces New Samizdat to bring you the news that the ZapGlavLit (if I may coin a neologism) hides.

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. Watch it. Adam Schiff, senior Democrat on House Intelligence Committee.

NATO EXERCISE. NATO bravely shows it won’t be intimidated by Russia’s building up its military on its doorstep by holding an exercise on said doorstep. “NATO is a defensive Alliance… committed to defense and deterrence.” A defensive alliance with a moving doorstep.

INF TREATY. Trump talks of pulling the US out. Is this the loud prelude to re-negotiation that we saw him do with Korea and NAFTA? Or is he clearing the battlespace for the expected damp squib from Mueller or a blue dribble? Tune in in mid-November.

NEW NWO. “The Perfect Storm Bringing China And Russia Together“.

OOPS. Apparently many US weapons are very vulnerable to cyberattacks. Stories of cruise missile attacks, USS Donald Cook, destroyers rammed by container ships make you wonder, don’t they?

UKRAINE. Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine” In Open Democracy no less. Bit by bit the word is seeping out. IMF rates Ukraine the poorest country in Europe. This piece gives a summary of its problems with Hungary, Poland and Belarus.

GEORGIA. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office says it has a recording that proves Saakashvili sanctioned the murder of Patarkatsishvili. (English) (Georgian) (At the time some UK outlets blamed Putin but when they discovered he was Saakashvili’s enemy they quickly shut up.)

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 OCTOBER 2018

WAR. I didn’t notice this at the time, but it’s effectively a declaration of war against Russia. I will be writing more but, in essence, the US State Department official responsible for Russia has given the game away. “It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration’s foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power.” It’s a Mackinder war; so far fought by sanctions (the economic fundament) and propaganda (political fundament). Ignore details of the latest accusations against Russia (Star Wars, organic food); they’re only there because, unlike the Romans, the Americans are uncomfortable about their imperium unless they drizzle moralistic cant over it. But think about it: when American businessmen outsourced manufacturing to China, Beijing took advantage of the gift. NATO expansion destroyed better relations with Russia. Washington alienates the Iran that its failed wars make more influential. Its wooing of India isn’t going well (see below). Destruction is its policy in MENA. And CAATSA will alienate everyone else. I call it a series of unforced errors.

SKRIPALMANIA. Has now been completely outsourced to Bellingcat. Which tells the discerning observer two things: 1) there is no evidence 2) the truth is probably the opposite. (And for those of you who take Bellingcat seriously: become discerning.)

LATEST. Do the Russians spy? They’d be fools not to. Do I believe this? Not from these sources.

THE CONSPIRACY. Bit by bit, slowly (far too slowly) the story comes out. A DNC/FBI/CIA conspiracy to discredit Trump. I just read Shattered where it is stated that the Russia story was invented as the excuse for failure: but the book establishes that defeat was the consequence of never being able to articulate a reason to vote for her, a disorganised campaign and not observing the dissatisfaction that Sanders and Trump (and Bill Clinton) perceived. The Russia stuff is 1) a distraction from failure, 2) a hook on which to hang Trump and 3) propaganda for the “Mackinder war”.

RETURN. Moscow has been quietly trying to get some of its rich emigrés to return. Here’s one interesting story. I am amused by the conceptual difficulties the authors have with his story: fear for his life or that his money will be lifted? Berezovskiy – and just after begging Putin to let him back, Perepilichniy, Glushkov, Golubev and Skripal and Litvenenko. Russian exiles don’t last as long in the UK as elsewhere; maybe GRU hitmen only have maps of England. And remember the “Cyprus haircut“.

LAUNCH FAILURE. The emergency system worked and both passengers landed safely. Videos.

BATTLEFIELD TESTING. Russia’s Military Operation in Syria: Three Years On” is a round-up of all the weapons they have tested. A lot.

S300s. Have been delivered to Syria – video. 24 S300PM launchers and 300-plus missiles. They were formerly in Russian service until replaced by S400s and were handed over for free. Tough talk from Israel. An alternative opinion: an Israeli writer thanks Russia for “saying to Israel: Stop right there”.

VICTIM OF RUSSIA. Says Volker. No, of Kiev. Americans do swallow whatever Kiev feeds them – remember Senator Imhofe and his photos of Russians invading through the Ukrainian mountains?

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. The Daily Beast has forgotten the first rule of decision-based evidence-making when it says there’s no evidence of Russian interference in US midterms: after the decision, you create the evidence. If the Dems win, then the Russians didn’t; if the Repubs win, they must have.

INDIA. Putin visited and business was conducted. Washington will not be happy: Delhi will buy Russian warships and S400s and oil from Iran. Some think Delhi has capitulated to Washington but I don’t agree. I think it’s doing what every wise middle power does: don’t be drawn into anyone’s orbit and avoid offending the mighty. Beijing’s very successful strategy: “hide your ambitions and disguise your claws”.

CHEAP AND STUPID. More nuggets from the Stupidity Mine. The US Navy will blockade Russia (are there no atlases in Washington?). Syria “that flopping cadaver of a regime“. Britain will defend the Arctic from Russian land grabs (atlas please). Destroy Russian missiles. They’re so frustrated: other people they’ve demonised have gone (Aidid, Saddam, Milosevic….) but Putin goes on and on.

US BIOWEAPON LAB? Suggested by a former Georgian minister; reiterated by the Russian MoD; denied by everybody else. Some reporting and a discussion; you decide; I don’t know, information wars go both ways. This story, however, does seem to be real.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 27 SEPTEMBER 2018

CONSEQUENCES KEEP COMING. Moscow’s story is that the Israeli F16s (or at least one) hid behind the Russian aircraft. Jerusalem denies this but the Air Force commander did immediately hustle off to Moscow. Other theories. Minister of Defence Shoygu sets out the consequences here. S300s with IFF ASAP. But, to my mind, the most significant is his third point: “In the regions adjacent to Syria and over the Mediterranean Sea, all satellite navigation, on-board radars and communications systems of aircraft engaging targets in Syrian territory will be jammed”. Everybody suspects that Russian communications jamming technology is very effective and powerful. We’ve had some revelations of what they can do with their capture of drones and the last cruise missile attack on Syria (unless you believe the Pentagon’s idiotic statement of 76 missiles at one complex). Given that the US and its allies have been fighting enemies without any such capacity for decades, I suspect that Russia is far ahead of anyone in these capabilities. (And I would make the same argument about its air defence: it’s probably the world leader there too. And I would also bet that the Russians practise operations with no communications and no air superiority and that nobody in NATO does.) The mere fact that Shoygu – nobody’s idea of a blowhard – has made the statement shows that he is confident that Russia can do it. Given that the armed forces of the USA & Co cannot function without GPS and easy secure communications, Russia turning off the switch would be a stunning blow. Which leads me to suspect that whatever capabilities Russia reveals in the coming time will not be its full powers. I reiterate: NATO has already lost any future fighting war with Russia on its own territory or near to it. The consequences of “light-hearted actions” just keep coming: “Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.”

MH17. Russia was immediately blamed and it’s been a fact-free Gish gallop since then: flight routes changed retroactively, sudden discoveries of “evidence” defying the laws of physics, faked up intercepts, a potential suspect gets a veto but the owners of the airplane are shut out, blame Russia before the inquiry is finished, no sign of Kerry’s promised data but “social media and common sense” instead, radars switched off, damage ignored when it doesn’t fit the story. But, finally, a mistake: the Ukrainians came up with a fact. Missile parts have serial numbers, those serial numbers are recorded in logbooks, logbooks exist and the numbers can be looked up. Those parts were from a Buk missile supplied to a Soviet AD unit in the Ukrainian SSR in 1986 and the missile remained there when the USSR broke up. Oh, and Bellingcat’s favourite video is a fake. Conclusions: 1) that particular missile had nothing to do with MH17; 2) the Ukrainians shot MH17 down either on purpose or by accident (wouldn’t be the first time). But let’s gallop round the fact-free track again.

SYRIA. As I suspected, lots of talking and manoeuvring in the background. Russia holds most of the cards. Putin and Erdoğan have cut a deal and the battle is postponed. You can watch the rough cuts of the next “CW attack” yourself. (Was the whole thing a ploy to get the White Helmets to expose themselves?) In any case, with Shoygu’s new jamming decree, a FUKUS attack would be much more difficult.

WADA YA KNOW? Ban lifted, sour grapes. But, again, the damage has been done. The purpose of propaganda is to leave an impression when the details are forgotten. (A theory that dear little Canada was behind the accusation. I dunno: I just put it out there for interest: but two Canadians led the charge.)

WHO’S DRIVING THE CLOWN CAR? “Mnuchin’s slip-up forced Treasury officials to scramble to come up with a plan that would match the secretary’s under-oath statement, according to four congressional sources directly involved in the sanctions process. And in April, the department sanctioned Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and his aluminum company Rusal”. Daily Beast – not a Trump-friendly source but the story sounds plausible to me. As experience shows, US knowledge and intelligence about Russia is pretty poor. Nevertheless, more sanctions for some reason or other. Soon, the way things are going, the only country the USA won’t be sanctioning will be itself.

SKRIPALMANIA. Poisoned, not poisoned. Murderers” says BoJo. More Bellingcrap.

NEW NWO. Trump blew up some more of the globalist NWO in his UN speech. But still the rubbish about Iran the “leading sponsor of terrorism” and let’s sanction Venezuela for the “restoration of democracy”. Confused? So am I: is it the “right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions” or does the USA still “tell you how to live or work or worship”?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 13 SEPTEMBER 2018

WHAT IS TO BE DONE? PCR asks. Martyanov and Saker answer. PCR responds. More, more. A collapsing imperium is dangerous:What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta“. We are in serious times, folks.

ELECTIONS. The pedestal party won most but the communists and Zhirinovskiy won some. The same boring scene for years: the ruling party is dull but people support what stands on its pedestal. They’re not very enthusiastic (turnout in the low 30s) but neither are they very discontented. The political system works well enough. Pension protests continue.

RUSSIA INC. IMF predicts 1.7% growth this year (North America 2.8% and Europe 2.4%). Deloitte CIS expresses confidence; Fitch says coped with sanctions well. I say, considering the economic war being waged against it, that Russia isn’t doing badly.

SYRIA. Two facts: Idlib is the last stronghold of jihadists in Syria and Damascus sooner or later will have to take it. Numerous threats out of FUKUS about CW attacks (Assad must be a disciple of Sun Tznever). (Check this story out and see what you think.) Very dangerous. Optimistic view that the people running the US military aren’t that stupid; pessimistic view that the neocons are that stupid; Russia is winning with the patient game; no, it’s time to sink a US ship, it’s the only way Washington will get the message. Erdoğan is playing games. BUT. Fisk finds no signs of a big offensive (but would he?) and the Kremlin feigns ignorance. Which leads me to these thoughts. Moscow is certainly aware of the correlation of forces. Moscow is talking to everybody. The clearing out of the south was accomplished with very little fighting: most of it seems to have been pre-negotiated. Russians are masters of deception in war. So I suspect that the West is being played and that what, how and when will, again, surprise the punditocracy. But it is a very dangerous situation and, as VIPS says to Trump: “The best way to assure Mr. Putin that you are in control of U.S. policy toward Syria would be for you to seek an early opportunity to speak out publicly, spelling out your intentions. If you wish wider war, Bolton has put you on the right path.Watch this video and decide who runs State. As always, the most important question is who’s in charge in Washington? Well, maybe the truth is leaking: go to 4:20; the Netherlands awakes.

A REMINDER. OPCW Report “Destruction of declared Syrian chemical weapons completed” 4 Jan 2016. And a US company did it on a US ship.

VOSTOK 2018. Videos. MoD page. The parade. Of course the exercises are staged (I was on NATO exercises in The Day and so were they). Moscow is trying to get Washington to understand that your average gas station can’t do this.

CLINTON-YELTSIN. To summarise: please Bill, I beg you; Hah hah Boris, stick it in your ear. (IMO Yeltsin is doing what he can, but Russia is weak and USA is triumphant.) But Putin remembers.

SKRIPALMANIA. Nonsense piled on nonsense. The fabled principles of British law — presumption of innocence, prosecution must prove its case — are tossed when it’s Russians: now it’s petitio principii and “probably” all the way. The “executed” “hitmen” speak. Murray’s take: bad presentation but quite possible.

ANOTHER REMINDER. As wannabe “Russian poisoning” cases pop up, remember Karinna Moskalenko. It’s an old and tired movie.

WHO’S IN CHARGE IN GERMANY? Merkel supports Russia in Syria but may do a bit of bombing after the false flag CW attack. With its 4 planes? Unconstitutional and illegal. Last ditch desperation?

THE GWOT. Only 17 years from attacking al Qaeda to defending it. Even Graham Fuller, a creator of the policy of supporting jihadists there but not here, doubts the efficacy of the program.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES. Theories then, facts now. “Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Back Syrian Rebels“. “AQ is on our side in Syria“. Official admits Skripalmania and Syria are connected.

DONETSK. The leader was killed in an indiscriminate restaurant bombing. Probably the work of Kiev. Maybe a bit of help from Washington.

UKRAINE. The US Special representative for Ukraine wants the US to supply weapons to Kiev. (Why do none of these people ever wonder what became of Ukraine’s gigantic USSR legacy arsenal? Shipped to Georgia. (Well it seemed like a good idea at the time.) Well, Russia can play that game a lot more effectively. And perhaps it’s time it openly did. Again: who’s in charge in Washington?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 30 AUGUST 2018

PENSIONS. Responding to protests, Putin addressed the nation. He explained the necessity of reforming the pension system so as to keep it funded, explained other alternatives the government considered and explained why it rejected them, and made some softening modifications. As I expected, a little exercise to show that Batyushka listens. In essence, he has said “trust me”. And, because they do, I would expect the protests to die down. And, changing the system is both necessary and appropriate.

RUSSIA INC. Industrial production January to July 2018 is up 3.1%. A bit better than the USA or EU.

FOREIGN CURRENCY. The Central Bank of Russia will not purchase foreign currency for the next month. No doubt to see what happens next.

LONG GAME. “[Stolypin said] ‘Give Russia 20 years of internal and external peace and quiet and it will change beyond recognition.’ Vladimir Putin and his team follow this dictum to the letter.” Read it.

SYRIA. The final battle is being prepared. An informed opinion on the coming Idlib battle. Russian warships are gathering. Another faked up chemical attack is in the news: Moscow says it has evidence of preparations being made; Washington is warning. (Will the trained sheep again bleat “Assad has once again done the one thing that could stop his victory!”) A new twitter girl has appeared on cue. Should there be another “attack”, I have no idea what FUKUS will do. I am mystified: the last two US-led strikes could not have been less militarily effective; noisy indeed, but just blowing up stuff to no effect at all. Fake CW attacks met by fake responses; all I can think of to explain this is that it’s theatre for the simple-minded to distract from some deeper game: well, Washington is talking to Damascus. Iran and Syria just made a military agreement. Iran has become stronger and more influential. This is an unplanned consequence of the failed neocon/liberal-interventionist wars wars in the area.

US SANCTIONS. Trump says he would consider lifting sanctions in Russia “if they do something that would be good for us.” What I think he is doing here is preparing the ground for lifting sanctions. It’s part of the art of persuasion. Up until now sanctions have had no conditions on them: Russia’s bad and must be sanctioned until some future unstated something happens: don’t forget that the years-obsolete Jackson-Vanik sanctions stopped just as the faked-up Magnitskiy sanctions began. Sanctions never end, only the excuses change. Trump has just moved the horizon a bit: “something good”. Well, that’s anything he says it is, isn’t it? For those who don’t understand what I’m saying, read this.

WHO KNEW? The USA imports oil from Russia. Quite a lot too: 15 million barrels in May. Canada’s pipeline confusions create another market for Russian oil. Something else for counter-sanctions.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. The departure of McCain may reduce the passion for a time.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. “Russia trolls ‘spreading vaccination misinformation’ to create discord.” (Don’t forget to read “Why you can trust BBC News” at the bottom.)

PROBLEMS WITH THE NARRATIVE. The interesting fact is that, despite the non-stop hysteria over Russia and Putin that we have seen for what – decades? or just one decade? – it’s not really having such a strong effect. A recent Gallup poll shows 58% of respondents think it is more important to improve relations with Russia than to take steps against it. 58%!!!! The “Russia interfered” story has been sold to the masses but Dems think it affected the outcome and Repubs do not (which is evidence of confusion as to just what the “interference” was.)

NEW NWO. Some people think Putin’s meeting with Merkel was very big: Ishchenko, Escobar, Doctorow, Bloomberg. Wait and see: it will be a long, complicated process of small moves, some forward, some back. But see below.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Or are they? On the one hand, Macron says Europe must stop depending on Washington for security and have more cooperation with Russia and again today; the German Foreign Minister says much the same; the German Finance Minister says Europe must develop its own payments system. On the other, Siemens is pulling out of Iran, Total has already gone, Airbus is scrambling. Does Europe still have “two feet” to stand on? EU’s loss is Russia’s and China’s gain.

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. As the excitement over last year’s Zapad exercises ends, it’s time to wind up the alarm for the Vostok exercise. (Dumbest comment is, and will remain, this one: “One of the reasons that Russia invited Chinese forces to the exercise was to defray any concern in Beijing that the wargames are directed towards China.“)

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 16 AUGUST 2018

TURKEY. As everyone knows, Ankara-Washington relations are bad and getting worse. There are many factors involved in Turkey’s economic problems but Washington’s pressure is exacerbating them and it is using the opportunity/excuse to force Erdoğan back into line. The situation creates, to put it mildly, a tremendous opportunity for Russia and China to offer a better deal, thereby weakening NATO and strengthening their own “Eurasian bloc”. Erdoğan spoke to Putin on Friday and Lavrov has just been in Ankara, possibly presenting the bill. Erdoğan is changeable and could go either way, but it’s a major decision point: going Washington’s way would be a big surrender whereas a deal for Chinese and Russian investment in return for leaving NATO and getting out of Syria could be a big win. Turkey’s value to NATO was never the “common values” tripe we hear so much about today but instead its large army and important real estate. Possibly a huge development in the new New World Order coming.

DEFENCE. More steps to protect against what Medvedev calls “economic warfare“. Putin has signed a law allowing Russian-owned foreign operating companies to be re-registered in two areas in Russia. The Finance Minister speculates about abandoning the USD in oil trade. An argument that Russia didn’t sell as many US Treasuries as thought but moved some elsewhere.

VISAS. Many complain that the cumbrous Russian visa system is a deterrent to tourism. The World Cup was a great victory for Russia in the information war, and it’s interesting that they have decided to extend visa-free entry for holders of fan IDs until the end of the year. I think people saying what a good time they had there is a powerful counter to anti-Russian propaganda.

CASPIAN. After years and years the Caspian Sea Convention has been signed by the five littoral countries. Not every last detail is nailed down but the generality is clear: local economic zones, relatively free use and no foreigners. This is essentially what I foresaw in 1998 although it has taken much longer than I anticipated. We are reminded that, thanks to the Kalibr, Russia’s Caspian Flotilla has a greater significance than Washington ever suspected.

MAGNITSKIY MOVIE. An authorised version is available on Vimeo here. I urge you to watch it: not only does it complete destroy Browder’s case, it is an interesting detective process as the film-maker gradually perceives the inconsistencies and manipulations. Browder’s story has been extremely important at setting up the anti-Russia dancing mania: if it’s a lie, then what?

EUROPEAN REVOLT? Well, will they defy Washington? Tough talk from Mogherini, also Britain, France and Germany. The “blocking statute” is being activated. Meanwhile a reminder of the cost of Washington’s last sanctions effort: food exports to Russia cut in half. (And China just snapped up France’s business in a gas project in Iran.) In short, there must be more than a few Europeans realising that the cost of joining Washington’s crusades is too high. But it’s rather hard to imagine Europe’s current rulers daring to think outside the “Atlanticist” box let alone acting on such thoughts.

WESTERN VALUES™. In the Cold War the USSR undertook an enormous (but futile) exertion to block our news and propaganda; we, confident that we were in the right, didn’t bother. Today Facebook, advised by Atlantic Council people, is blocking “Russian propaganda”. To defend against this attempt to impurify our precious bodily fluids, a US Senator (Dem of course) is floating a proposal for more government-imposed controls. Those who are mostly telling the truth don’t do this. Maybe NATO could buy old Soviet jamming equipment.

SYRIA. More endgame. UN observers, with assistance from Russian Military Police, return to the Golan Heights. China may participate “in some way” in the battles around Idlib. The Russians and the UN say there are about 6.6 million Syrian refugees in foreign countries of whom 1.7 million say they are ready to return. So far this month 16 UAVs have been shot down at the Russian airbase. Apparently the YPG has switched sides. Peter Ford’s assessment. Pat Lang’s.

SKRIPALMANIA. Dumb, dumber, dumbest and dumbester.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. “U.S. senator says Russians have penetrated Florida election systems“; “Governor Demands Bill Nelson Back Up Claims That Russia Hacked Florida Voting Systems“. Well, ummm errrr.

NEW NWO. Not there yet, but more steps: Turkey, Caspian and EU defiance. (I haven’t stopped thinking that this may be just what Trump intends.)

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 2 AUGUST 2018

TREASON. Among the super weapons Putin described in March were hypersonic missiles and warheads. The story is that details (some? many?) have been leaked to the West by people working at research centres. The FSB is investigating and arrests have been made. Apparently the recipient of the information was a scientific institute in Belgium which which there was an agreement. I don’t suppose we’ll ever learn what actually happened nor be able to fully believe what we are told. There was an earlier case involving China.

RESERVES. Sputnik tells us that Russia’s reserves are worth about US$460 billion. It’s selling off US Treasuries (now US$15 billion down from US$92 in December) and buying gold (now 1944 tonnes). It’s clear that Russia Inc is getting out of US securities, probably for protection in case of more sanctions, and getting into gold. I would expect this to continue. Is China doing the same?

PENSION REFORM. Protests are occurring – significant ones organised by the KPRF last week. The plan is to raise the age qualification gradually over time. This is, in fact, quite reasonable and even necessary as life expectancies increase. My bet is that the government will announce a compromise (already planned and worked out), extend the time period and the issue will die away.

BROWDER MOVIE. A Russian documentary maker believed everything Browder said and started a film to justify him. As it progressed, he discovered anomalies and came to realise the story was false. See here. It is moving around the Net now and it’s worth looking for because Browder’s story is a primary founding myth of the Putin hysteria. The film is fatal to Browder’s story.

MILITARY. For twenty years the US military has been attacking people who can’t fight back (but who are, nonetheless, beating it. An intriguing paradox: my explanation here; a similar one here.) The Russian activity in Syria is a wakeup call. First there were complaints about Russian air defence bubble, now EW. I doubt the US military has much of either and we may be certain that the Russians aren’t using their best and latest. Without guaranteed communications and GPS, the US military cannot operate; in a war with Russia they would have neither. Here’s the effect of an anti-ship missile and there’s Poseidon. In short, and I hope it’s sinking in, the US has lost the future fighting war with Russia. Time to talk.

WHO BENEFITS FROM THE RUSSIA HYSTERIA? Not you or I, that’s for sure. A good summary and analysis here. “The Utility of the RussiaGate Conspiracy“.

SKRIPALMANIA. Latest information from my secret source.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK. “After A Week Online, NATO’s Latest ‘Counter-Disinfo’ Facebook Game Is A Complete Flop“. Not complete: people at the NATO Centres of “Excellence” were paid.

NEW NWO I. Trump says he’s ready to talk to Iran, Washington is talking to the Taliban, covert program to arm Syrian jihadists rebels ended. Cutting the Gordian Knot. Why the Establishment hates him so.

NEW NWO II. Turkey attends BRICS. US sanctions Turkey. What next?

TRUMPUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. A collection of cartoons covering the meeting.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. As I suspected, it was The Dossier. And I’ll bet there’s a Skripal connection.

WESTERN VALUES.Republic of Latvia, Apartheid State within the EU“. But they’re only Russians, so it doesn’t count.

RUSSIAN “INVASION OF UKRAINE”. Ivan Katchanovski has examined records of 1000 Donbass PWs: only 1.5% were Russian military and 4% Russian citizens. It’s a civil war, not a foreign invasion. “If Russia had invaded, you wouldn’t have to ask; if you have to ask, it hasn’t.

UKRAINE. The longest-lasting legacy of the US-EU coup in Ukraine may be a nuclear disaster. And it’s not just the overstrain of the existing reactors added to corruption and incompetence, there’s also the fuel issue. The Ukrainian reactors are Soviet-era VVER reactors and they are designed to take Russian (ie Soviet) fuel cores. “Nuclear fuel assemblies are specifically designed for particular types of reactors and are made to exacting standards says the World Nuclear Association. A Russian supplier is, of course, doubleplusungood in today’s Ukraine. Well the first reactor has just been fuelled with Westinghouse cores. This was tried at Temelin in the Czech Republic and they had to go back to the Russian fuel. Read this and feel worse. (BTW, it took me some time to find references to Temelin’s fuel problems in Western sources. Buried it seems. Here’s TASS on the issue.)

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer