Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
VICTORY DAY. Parade. Putin speech. "Unfortunately, attempts are made to deploy a large part of Nazi ideology and the ideas of those who were obsessed with the delusional theory of their own supremacy.” Not, apparently, visible to Blinken; I guess he wasn’t in Lviv. But at least someone in the USA notices.
RUSSIA-CHINA: THEIR VIEW. In 1995 48% of Russians thought relations with China were good, now 75% do. Beijing is becoming more blunt: "The combined power of China and Russia is far greater than that of the former Soviet Union-Eastern Europe bloc… If anyone tries to ride roughshod over this fact and pushes China and Russia to join forces in a desperate fight, that must be its nightmare,”
RUSSIA-CHINA: US VIEW. China and Russia’s Dangerous Convergence. The authors’ solution: "We instead suggest a far more modest and incremental approach designed to demonstrate to the people around Putin the benefits of a more balanced and independent Russian foreign policy.” Washington hair pullers are some of history’s dumbest strategists: they think a few soft words will change reality.
HISTORY. Russia’s history under the communists was extensively re-written and re-re-written. (Another crossover parallel in this post Cold War world?) The official line today is, I think, the rational and truthful one of admitting everything. Paul Robinson has a piece on a monument just opened in Sevastopol (where the defeated Whites evacuated in 1920) of Mother Russia and both of her sons – White and Red.
"BANKRUPT” RUSSIA. Getting on for 600 billion USD in the kitty.
VACCINE. Sputnik Light, a single-dose vaccine against COVID-19, has been registered.
MH-17. A dispassionate discussion of the improbabilities of the standard story and the Dutch investigation. But propaganda works by leaving an impression after the details have been forgotten.
FAKE NEWS: NAVALNIY. His doctor disappears!!! Murdered!!! Hit Squad!!! Found safe and sound.
FAKE NEWS: VACCINE. Is Russia’s Covid vaccine anything more than a political weapon? (The begging bit at the end tells us: "Since 1821, tens of millions have placed their trust in our quality reporting, turning to us in moments of crisis, uncertainty, solidarity and hope.”)
FAKE NEWS: PIPELINE. Federal agencies order pipeline to repair its many leaks, saying that, given its "failure history” continued operation would pose an "integrity risk to public safety” in March. Reported that a cyberattack forces it to shut down in May. FBI blames a hacker group. Biden says no evidence that Russia was involved but "there’s evidence that the actors’ ransomware is in Russia [and] They have some responsibility to deal with this”. And we all know the US "intelligence community” is a reliable source. (PS, the last "Russian” group was actually from Ukraine). Ah well, easier to blame Russia than take responsibility for your rotting infrastructure. Will Bellingcat find his GRU couple visited here?
FAKE NEWS: SYRIA. "The result: The letter was never sent, MPs were never informed of the known corruption, and Dutch taxpayers were not able to learn that Mayday mishandled enormous sums of money it received from numerous donor governments, including their own.” So I guess the money that didn’t go to guns for jihadists, or spiffy never-used coveralls, was stolen at source. Le Mesurier admitted fraud and then was (auto?) defenestrated.
PORTENTS OF THE END. International poll with much to chew on. The USA is seen as a greater threat to democracy than Russia or China. There’s less satisfaction in the West than we’re told. Compare USA and Russia – numbers a lot closer than the Western media would have you believe. Rather amazed that most people think their governments handled COVID-19 well, though. Meanwhile ex military in France and USA don’t like the way things are going and who’s doing it.
NATO EXERCISE. Big NATO exercise is underway. Usual boasting and chest-thumping from Washington – defensive, transparent, interoperable. (Not the least of the delights of the present US Administration is the return of old favourites.) While it may not prove to be the farce that Scott Ritter expects it to be, no one who just witnessed what Russia can mass without months of pre-preparation will be impressed. (Something tells me though, that Ritter’s right in drawing our attention to Albania – bet there won’t be much transparency about something with such a chance of being a Charlie Foxtrot.)
USA-UKRAINE. I agree with Diesen here: Washington just told Kiev that it won’t back it. Another example of what you might call the Kurdish Lesson: Washington won’t be there at the ultimate moment. Escobar has more exciting things that he’s heard.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer