Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
RUSSIA MAKES NOTHING. In the last month, its Superjet 100 has beendelivered to the first Western customer; its battle robots have been displayed; its new nuclear-powered icebreaker, the largest ever built, has been launched; it has exported more grain than anyone else; its anti-Ebola vaccine has passed the first round of trials; its space capsule returned three astronauts from the ISS. And, for the future: five of the top-ten spots in the ACM-International Collegiate Programming Competition were Russian.
SPIEF. Mercouris contrasts it with 2014: "In summary, the mood this year at SPIEF was of a country emerging from a period when it had been forced onto the defensive and which is now preparing itself for fresh advances both in its foreign policy and in its economic life.” Many more European attendees too.
SANCTIONS. Time to stop them and change policy say French Senate, writers in a British paper and a German paper, former German Chancellor, former German cabinet minister, former OSCE vice-president, former French President. Why? Because they’re costing: drop in EU food exports, Finnish factory shuts down, Le Monde sums it up. Russian agriculture, on the other hand is booming: even Bloomberg agrees, Russia is self-sufficient in chickens, nearly so in pork and moving fast in beef. And is the biggest exporter of grain. Sergey Ivanov rather hopes sanctions continue. His wish will be granted.
NONSENSE. It’s always a difficult choice, but I nominate "Putin’s Russia is a poor, drunk soccer hooligan” as the stupidest thing on Russia published lately. Out-of-date statistics and simple-minded direct USD-RUB comparisons.
MORE NONSENSE. A NATO general says "any attempted aggression by Russia using methods like it did in Crimea would not be allowed to go as far as it did there… ” Perhaps he can name a NATO country in which up to 25 thousand Russian troops, supported by 90% of the population, are legally stationed.
PROPAGANDA IS… "British navy intercepts Russian submarine on way to Channel". More truthful is "UK Illegally Harasses Russian Submarine Engaged in Lawful Passage of English Channel". No wonder the British press is dying.
…NOT WORKING. I take what comfort I can from polls like this one. It shows Europeans aren’t all that scared of Russia and that they don’t approve of the way relations with Russia are conducted. This after years and years of anti-Russia and anti-Putin propaganda.
RUSSIAN HACKERS… DNC. More unsourced accusations.
MIRROR IMAGE. I’ve been doing this since Chernyenko and am ever bemused by the reversal of positions. Then Moscow banned our broadcasts, now we want to ban its. Some want to restrict Russian Open Skies flights because Russia is using them to "expand its espionage capabilities". When Eisenhower proposed the idea the Soviets rejected it for much the same reason. That’s what it’s for:open skies for transparency and confidence-building.
NATO AND STABILITY. Global Peace Index rates Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ukraine and Libya as among the ten most dangerous countries; all have seen NATO’s "stability generation". The German Foreign Minister says "Anyone who thinks you can increase security in the alliance with symbolic parades of tanks near the eastern borders, is mistaken.” Another German Foreign Ministry person agrees. Der Spiegel intimates some allies are disturbed by Poland’s anti-Russia stance.
UKRAINE MISCELLANY. The Azov founder threatens to overthrow the government if it agrees to Minsk-style elections in Donbass. Sikorski (a cheerleader for Maidan) says Kiev should forget about Donbass and Crimea because it can’t afford to re-integrate them. Kiev had better get used to the end of Russian-subsidised gas. (Didn’t that used to be Russia’s "gas weapon"?)Hungary notices Transcarpathia and Kiev notices too. Poll shows Ukrainians still loath their politicians and are just as split on everything else. About five million citizens are now out of the country: that’s over ten percent.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer