Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 1046K; total deaths 18,263; tests per 1 million 270K. Russia has done 39.5 million tests (fourth after China, USA and India); among countries with populations over 10M it’s done the most tests per million. Lancet paper on Russian vaccine. Photographs of the vaccine production line. Claims that Surfactant drugs are effective treatment. A machine capable of detecting numerous pathogens including COVID-19 unveiled.
CAR CRASH. The famous actor Efremov was given an 8-year sentence for causing fatal car crash.
TREASON. A military historian and reservist has been imprisoned on charges of high treason; no details given and the trial was in camera. There have been several recent trials. I wonder what’s going on. Renewed attacks on Russia, or a decision to clean things up?
NAVALNIY. Notice Novichok doesn’t need people in hazmat suits this time? Noticed the mysterious bottle? (Helmer and Cunningham have). Hard to keep the lies straight – another hole in Skripalmania.
CONTEMPT. Now they come right out and tell us they think we’re stupider than pond scum: "a variant that the world did not know until this attack, but which is said to be more malicious and deadly than all known offshoots of the Novichok family… The fact that he is still alive… is only due to a chain of happy circumstances."
IN THE COUNTRY THAT MAKES NOTHING. "The President drove an Aurus limousine along a newly-built section of the Taurida motorway.”
UBI. Medvedev, leader of the majority party, floats the idea of universal basic income. Something to watch.
VODKA. Continues its decline as Russia’s booze of choice. Another change to the Russia of clichés.
AGRICULTURE. Short piece on how effectively Russia has used sanctions and counter sanctions to make its agricultural sector an important international player. It’s been a stunning achievement in fact and unimaginable in the 1990s – I remember an agricultural guy then just shaking his head. I reiterate – Russia, far from being the feeble and failing entity described by Western propaganda, is the closest thing to an autarky on the planet today. Twenty years of peace and you won’t recognise Russia.
THE HUMBLE SOYBEAN. China imports a lot from the USA. But, given the way things are going, it’s probably reconsidering: Commerce Minister Zhong calls for a "soybean industry alliance” with Russia.
DOOM AVERTED. AGAIN. Russia’s military, formerly "hamstrung” by lack of parts from Ukraine, has replaced the lack. COVID-19 didn’t finish Russia and Putin off. Relying on Western coverage of Russia makes you more ignorant. Continuing to, failure after failure, makes you stupid.
RATINGS. New Levada poll puts Putin back in the high 60s.
ANOTHER ONE. The Admiral Nakhimov (remember seeing it in the distance in the 1990s) put in water after years of reconstruction. Prestigious-looking ships packed with weapons.
COOLEST PLANE EVER. Is back. Did you know it’s actually younger than the American B-52?
PROBABLY NOT A COINCIDENCE. Film of biggest nuclear weapon ever declassified.
WESTERN VALUES™. Navalniy. Assange. MH17 trial. Meng. Sacoolas. Sterling examples all.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA I. "Vote because Russian lessons are expensive". But suppose Putin doesn’t care whether you speak Russia as long as you obey? But see below – Farsi is probably a better choice.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA II. China Russia and Iran are "are seeking to disrupt our election". Has there ever been such a fearful superpower? I still bet that Tehran will make the choice because the other two will cancel each other out.
PROBLEMS WITH THE NARRATIVE. Remember when we said Russia was dangerously fast tracking its vaccine? Forget we said that.
EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Pompeo says the European Allies "chose to side with the Ayatollahs". Time to sanction them all I guess.
BELARUS. The shape of the settlement is appearing: a referendum on constitutional changes; Lukashenka steps down; new election; solid alliance with Russia.
UKRAINE. A poll shows 49% distrust and 44% trust President Zelensky. Not so surprising: he hasn’t delivered on anything. Not that anybody would let him. Ukraine continues its misery.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer