Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
RUSSIA-CHINA. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says: "In developing China-Russia strategic cooperation, we see no limit, no forbidden zone and no ceiling to how far this cooperation can go.” The two now settle 25% of their business in their own currencies. I would say that the two lasting achievements of the neo-cons and their New American Century have been the ever-closer Moscow-Beijing alliance and the increased influence of Iran. Who did win the Cold War after all?
RESERVES. The Central Bank of Russia has published its account of Russia reserves as of 30 June 2020. The total was 561.1 billion USD (up $44.3 billion since a year before). Euro holdings accounted for 29.5% . For the first time ever gold (22.9%) was a bigger proportion than USD (22.2%). Renminbi was 12.2%. Russia’s economy – failing always failing.
NAVALNIY. The report from the Charité Hospital in Berlin fires another nail gun’s worth into the coffin of the Navalniy story. Numerous health problems, lots of drugs in him, but no novichok symptoms.
WESTERN VALUES™. As Western social media apps censor, people are bailing out and Russian ones grow: the founder of Telegram says 25 million new members have joined in past 72 hours. These things are bubbles: Twitter and Facebook are said to have lost fifty billion dollars after banning Trump.
JOKES. Just heard this one: I can make anti-Putin jokes on Russian social media. Big deal, I can make anti-Putin jokes on Western social media. (A re-tread of a Soviet-era joke). Or this: Due to travel restrictions abroad, Americans have done a coup at home.
SURVEILLANCE. Moscow City has revealed a plan to spend money on a database containing information about every resident, including passport numbers, insurance policies, salaries, car registrations. Much of it appears to already exist. For safety, security and convenience, of course. Mind you, we all volunteered: we all carry smartphones around broadcasting everything we do.
ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN. Putin chaired a meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. They signed a statement on development of Karabakh region. Here are the official statements after the meeting. Its another step in resolving the difficult problem which has deep roots. I note a reference to the OSCE Minsk Group but I don’t expect it to get much involved. It’s done nothing much in 28 years and who wants the West meddling in the area anyway?
THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. "After months of bashing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Western journalists in Moscow line up to be inoculated". A reminder of the job description.
NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. I am amused that the US Navy has announced that it may start "freedom of navigation” trips in the Russian Arctic (despite not not signing on to the UNCLOS.) But the biggest US icebreaker is rather elderly and can barely handle two-metre ice. So perhaps it will lease icebreakers from Finland. Given that the Arctic is a Russian lake, not least because of the Russian monopoly of gigantic icebreakers, one can easily image some embarrassments for the Americans.
NEW NWO. "We are seeing images that I never imagined we would see in this country-in some other capital yes, but not here. No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear, or depend on us in the same way again. If the post-American era has a start date, it is almost certainly today.” Richard N Haass.
UKRAINE. Has been left rather high and dry on vaccines with none of its BFFs in the West doing anything for it. But the Foreign Minister insists Kiev will not buy Sputnik vaccine even if it works: "It [Russia] cares about imposing its propaganda cliches and ideology by supplying the vaccine, even if it were effective”. Like most things in Ukraine, it’s a mess.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer