Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
COVID AND RUSSIA. Overall totals to today are 28K infected, 232 dead. This raises the question of why the death rate in Russia appears to be lower. One theory is that the widespread Soviet-era tuberculosis vaccinations (BCG vaccine) may have had an effect – just how or why is unclear, but there seems to be a statistical relationship. A test of its effectiveness is beginning in Australia. Over half the cases are in Moscow but every region except one reports cases: most of Sunday’s infections in Shanghai came from a flight from Russia the day before. A pass system was introduced in Moscow yesterday but not very successfully (and many standing in line waiting to be checked). The new hospital in Moscow Region is up and running. A vaccine prototype is undergoing human testing (including by the developer). The Victory Parade is postponed. Meanwhile Russian military specialists are working away in Italy. (This, by the way, is why NBCW units were sent – not to spy, or for "gaining access to Italy’s health and military system, which is part of a larger NATO structure", or to create "A hybrid lie. Or a hybrid truth” or be useless or whatever else NATO flacks imagine).
OIL WARS. After a lot of phonecalls – especially between Putin, Trump and Riyadh, OPEC plus Russia plus USA have agreed to a production cut. How long will the agreement last? Your guess – it probably depends on whether the USA can deliver or will deliver: Scott Ritter thinks it can’t. On the other hand, Washington has had a chance to learn its lesson – shale oil needs price about twice what it is today back down to about $20/bbl; one producer has already gone bust. COVID has so greatly reduced demand that the cuts may have little effect anyway.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. US Attorney General Barr just said the Russia collusion probe was a travesty, had no basis and was intended to sabotage Trump. All true of course. May we take this as a sign that at last (at last!) Durham is ready to go with indictments? Or will it prove to be another false alarm? There’s certainly a lot to reveal: A recent investigation showed that every FISA application (warrant to spy on US citizens) examined had egregious deficiencies. It’s not just Trump.
MEANINGLESSNESS. Remember the Steele dossier? Now it’s being spun as Russian disinformation. So we’re now supposed to believe that Putin smeared Trump because he really wanted Clinton to win? Gosh, that Putin guy is so clever that it’s impossible to figure out what he’s doing!
COVID BLAME I. Back in the day I read a certain amount of Soviet propaganda about the wicked West. And, while it was quite often over the top, pretty monotonous and probably – judging from what ex-Soviets have told me – not all that effective in the long run, it usually had, buried deep inside, a tiny kernel of reality. Western anti-Russia propaganda, on the other hand, is nothing but free-association nonsense. Take the NYT’s latest: the headline alone tells you it’s crap: "Putin’s Long War Against American Science: A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses.” Another difference was that Soviet propaganda at least ran on the assumption that the Soviet system was preferable: this, on the other hand, is a pitiful attempt to blame the US COVID failure on somebody else. Nonetheless, this is not rock-bottom for the NYT’s anti-Russian fantasies: that target was hit a couple of years ago with "Trump and Putin: A Love Story". (But, the goalposts keep moving: if you accuse a Dem of Trumpish grabbing, you’re probably a Putinbot.) I guess it will only get more: "The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.”
COVID BLAME II. Maybe it’s not Putin or Xi who’s to blame: maybe it’s your own propaganda outlet: "VOA too often speaks for America’s adversaries—not its citizens… VOA has instead amplified Beijing’s propaganda."
PROBABLY MEANINGLESS COVID FACTOID. 75% of reported cases are in NATO countries.
DISAPPEARING UP YOUR OWN FUNDAMENT. "Why do we find ourselves in a situation where an EU-funded body set up to fight disinformation ends up producing it? There are two main reasons… ” Sure, they’re good enough reasons but I think the real reason is that they are paid well to make this stuff up: these are not honest mistakes. Anyway, read the source yourself and ask whether you are convinced.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer