Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
OLYMPICS. Sports Minister Mutko says the WADA report was "falsified” and that Moscow would file lawsuits against the "accusers.” High time Russia struck back; it has had some success in the Western court system. The ridiculousYUKOS shareholder judgement was reversed for example. While accusations of "probably” can be thrown around ad libitum, actual courts don’t want to set precedents that may bite them later.
PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Putin’s campaign to become US President is attracting a lot of attention. Here’s another American opinion sector he controls. I think he’s a shoo-in, don’t you? My August collection of PDS will be out tomorrow.
MORE RUSSIAN "THREATS”. Plans to create a coastal defence division inChukotka have been announced; there were some facilities in the Soviet times in Anadyr. This is the part of Russia that’s next door to Alaska. I look forward to Thinktankistan’s reaction. (The "Putin threat to Alaska” is out there now, but only in a small way: here, here and here.)
PUTIN DOCUMENTARY. Very good. First 20 minutes a reminder of the hopeless mess of 1999.
THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. Remember last year when Russia was destabilising Norway by shoving migrants into it? This year we’re told it wasn’t true actually. But never mind, Russian hackers are the new threat. Classic propaganda: keep the lies coming; nobody remembers the details but the bad impression remains.
RUSSIA-SYRIA. Russia’s intervention began 11 months ago. Obama, again displaying the pitiful advice he gets, predicted a "quagmire". Better he should have listened to "Shellback” and understood "that Moscow confined itself to the things that can be accomplished by violence and stopped when it had done them". Even a few in Thinktankistan and MSM are starting to get it:: "Russia has been able to reassert itself in the region partly because it set out limited goals – something the US might consider taking a cue from.” "As Bismarck said, you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them. But Washington is always trying to sit, indeed trying to sleep comfortably, on them.”
TURKEY-SYRIA. Turkish forces invaded Syria last week and took the town of Jarabulus just across the border on the west bank of the Euphrates. Supposed to be a short-term operation. There seem to be two opinions: A: it’s a betrayal of the Ankara-Moscow rapprochement or B: it’s actually all manoeuvring for the end game and Moscow is OK with it. I’m inclining towards B. "A Deal Over Syria That Left The U.S. Out". We have seen two indications the Moscow-Ankara rapprochement continues.
GONGOS. Two more named undesirable: the International Republican Institute (John McCain’s – "further proof that he fears democracy") and the Media Development Investment Fund, Inc. That’s 7 now: those 2 and National Endowment for Democracy, the OSI Assistance Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the US Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. (Does your local media outlet, reporting on this, tell you about the US law on which the Russian one is modelled? Bet it doesn’t).
DONBASS. A poll shows support for recognising independence or incorporation into Russia is down from January 2015 (23% and 14%) and neutrality is still the preferred option (up from 28% to 38%). There is very strong support for providing humanitarian assistance. Moscow’s policy operates within these constraints. I still say Putin & Co are playing a long game: sooner or later Brussels and Washington will tire and maybe the Ukrainians will get rid of their new masters.
UKRAINE. The Ukrainian nuclear power authorities and a European consortium signed an agreement to supply fuel from a Westinghouse plant in Sweden. Many think that this is potentially dangerous. Allegedly Westinghouse has redesigned its fuel rods after earlier problems. The former Chernobyl director is concerned. A nuclear disaster would dwarf most of the other spillovers from the Ukrainian calamity. Of which there will be many – the Saker predicts the future: a big Somalia next door.
MORE UKRAINE. Even its cheerleaders recognise it: "Every roulette table in Las Vegas is more promising than Ukraine. I know from personal experience". And for once, no attempt to blame Russia.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer