Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
STOCK MARKETS. Is this IT? I don't know – baleful take, bad but not The End. Much is going on under the blanket – China sold US$100 billion in US treasuries in the last 2 weeks. But I don't see Russia being hit worse than the USA or Europe.
RUSSIA INC. The World Bank, using its PPP calculations, has decided that the Russian economy is bigger than the German one. Its top five are China, the USA, India, Japan and Russia. Its numbers put the BRICS GDP at 96% of the G7's. The world is changing.
FOOD SANCTIONS. Following an order from Putin, the authorities very publicly destroyed contraband food. Some say this is a terrible idea, others that it is necessary; Russians themselves are split. But new opportunities are being created; here's a (rather high-end) thing: a co-op of local farmers supplying a store. (In Russian, but you'll get the idea, click on ФЕРМЕРЫ to meet them. The list is much longer than when I first looked at it a couple of weeks ago.)
JIHADISTS. It is reported that Russian security forces killed the head of the Caucasus Emirate. Gordon Hahn discusses. That he had just been appointed suggests Russian intelligence is ahead of the situation.
MAIDAN MASSACRE. One of the primal events of Maidan mythology is the "heavenly hundred". One researcher, Ivan Katchanovski (a Canadian, I'm proud to say) has seriously investigated. His conclusion is that it was a "false flag". Read here what you won't see in the WMSM.
OSCE IN DONBASS. The OSCE has now about 600 monitors in the area of the fighting. The Donbass locals bitterly complain that the monitors do not blame the Kiev forces for the random shelling of civilian areas (lots of evidence that they do, by the way. One should distinguish, as this AI report does not, between terror shelling and the consequences of fighting.) There have been severalprotests in Donetsk. I don't regularly follow the daily SMM reports but I have noticed that while they occasionally ascribe the fire to the Kiev side, they usually report the shelling as if it came from an unknowable location. Their spokesman defends the SMM. However, there is only one possible interpretation of Poroshenko's assertion that their children will "hole up in basements" and "that is exactly how we will win this war".
WHY DIDN'T HE SIGN IT? Because Yanukovych's experts told him the cost would be US$160 billion – far more than the EU said (buried in this story in Der Spiegel). An underestimate as it turns out.
THE STATE OF UKRAINE. Ukraine just celebrated its independence day. Not a happy experience. A Ukrainian source says, since independence, it has had the worst performing economy in the world. In the first six months of this year it's dropped 16% year on year. (English summary) Even the US media suspects that new IMF money has been stolen. Eight thousand soldiers and police have defected to the Donbass fighters; 1300 security officers. A US poll shows negligible support for the situation. How many Ukrainians have fled to Russia? Several million: last year Russia had more asylum requests than anywhere. Ukrainian refugees are welcomed in Russia, not so much elsewhere. Crime. Theft. Even the Western media occasionally notices: Demoralised Ukraine troops start to lose faith in Kiev,Kiev forced to fight its own fascist militia and Ukraine Is Too Corrupt for Debt Deal to Work. Disaster.
DISASTER. I've lost track of all the "formers" who have criticised the Western stance on Ukraine/Russia (all of Merkel's and Hollande's living predecessors, I think) but here's a piece by Dmitriy Babich that sums it up. My take on the lack of forethought by the neocon authors.
ANOTHER DISASTER. People who think ISIS is a consequence of or creation of Washington's policy received support from the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency when he said "I think it was a willful decision". Catastrophe piled upon catastrophe.
OOPS! It turns out that the Captive Nations Resolution, reissued routinely, refers to "Cossackia" as well as Ukraine. Does Washington therefore recognise Donbass, presumably part of said "Cossackia", as separate from Ukraine? Does anybody read these things before they sign them?
???? Norwegian TV is showing a series in which Russia invades Norway. At the request of the EU. To keep the oil flowing. So are the Russians the good guys, or the bad guys?