Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
RUSSIA AND EUROPE. A Levada poll finds the number of Russians – specially the young – who regard Russia as a European country has nearly halved since 2008. Russia is not part of European civilisation in my opinion, but many Russians think it is and they expected to be welcomed home when the USSR went away. Hopeful signs at the beginning were quickly replaced with NATO expansion, hostility, accusations, sanctions and so on. Russians are getting the message. The significance of this is is that many people – and some Russians – regarded Russia as a European country but a defective one; a delinquent who had to be lectured, cajoled and spanked into proper behaviour. Russians who think of themselves as European are prepared to put up with a certain amount of this, but Russians who see Russia as a civilisation-state are not. "For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer.” Original should be read (Googlish) if you want a real Russian perspective.
NEW NWO. Borrell in Moscow, China in Alaska. "The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.” The Western side opened with the list of "crimes” against the "Rules Based International Order”, in each case the charges were contemptuously thrown back. Once China and Russia were prepared to endure the lectures to get to the real business; but no longer. See "Illegal US Operations” from the MFA. Does not have the qualification. The correlation of forces is changing but the West’s rulers keep doing the same things, previous failure teaching nothing.
FAKE NEWS. A good example of how enmity is implanted by Western propaganda. The headline from the BBC: "Nato intercepts Russian planes ’10 times in a day‘”. Further down we learn "the Russian military aircraft never entered its member states’ airspace”. We are told their transponders were off which could be dangerous, we are not told that NATO refused Moscow’s suggestion that military flights in tight areas leave their transponders on; we are not told how many NATO flights there have been around Russia lately. And so the impression is created that Russians are bad people doing bad things to good people just because they are bad people.
RUSSIA/CHINA. A Levada poll shows Russians’ views of China – pretty favourable. I reiterate that while alliances are based on shared enemies, the relations between the two are deepening and widening all the time. Moving away from Washington-controlled trade systems will be the new emphasis apparently. I would expect, given that neither is prone to boasting, that the two are much farther along on payment independence than they say.
TRUMP BUYS PUTIN’S PALACE. Ummm… check the date, folks. (Fun to see how far this travels.)
PROBLEMS WITH THE NARRATIVE. Fresh sanctions may barely dent Fortress Russia. Some of the usual ignorance ("Since 2014, Russia has fallen off the list of the world’s ten largest economies”) but far better than most. This also is an attempt to re-think things, but again hobbled by Western arrogance.
AMERICA-HYSTERIA. You’d think now that the Russia/Trump story had served its purpose, they’d stop it. You’d be wrong: apparently, in 2016 the Russian hacked nothing but the election and in 2020 they hacked everything but the election.
STASIS. Civil war in Atlantic council: can’t suggest even the slightest change in behaviour towards Russia. WaPo tells us that China’s rise is exactly the kind of threat NATO exists to stop; that’s absurd – China has taken advantage of American outsourcing its manufacturing, hardly a problem for guns to solve. Putin’s a killer without a soul: pointless outgassing from the weak.
NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. The ignoramus actually says it.
UKRAINE. Drunken nazis popping off mortar bombs into residential areas, but no real war. US propaganda organs are winding themselves up. Maybe the Russians have sent enough signals to make even the war-crazed in Kiev and Washington think twice. EW equipment in Donbass. Artillery exercise. Disappeared submarine in Med. Paratroop exercise in Crimea. Belarus-Russia exercise. All Black Sea Fleet subs at sea. Second disappeared submarine. Lots of ships in the Med. AD exercise in Crimea. Also a great deal of activity in Syria. And, just for fun, submarines in the high Arctic. So maybe nothing will happen. But, for sure, Moscow’s response will stun everybody.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer