Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
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.
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