Patrick Armstrong was an analyst in the Canadian Department of National Defence specialising in the USSR/Russia from 1984 and a Counsellor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow in 1993-1996.
HYPERSONIC WEAPONS. Are real game changers. Extremely fast and, at the same time, manoeuvrable, impossible to stop with present or imaginable technology. And certainly not by anything the USA has: "Patriot Missiles Are Made in America and Fail Everywhere". Russia has systems fielded and more in the works, it is years ahead of the USA, the latest US test was a bust. What does this mean? In a word: everything within 2000-3000 kilometres will be hit. Every forward base; every assembly area; every logistics base; every airfield; every warship. Can you stop one? Probably not; but you won’t have to stop one: ten Kinzhals for one carrier? Good exchange. Stay at home.
ECONOMY. Russia’s economy is obsolete, ‘exhausted’ and has failed to transition to better, modern model, says ex-finance minister Kudrin. If you say so, but I don’t think a FIRE economy is a good idea.
LEVIATHAN. Russian movie: "But behind them – way, way behind them – stands the Leviathan of post-Soviet Russian politics, a figure who is never named and seen only in the official portrait on the mayor’s wall: Vladimir Putin". Actually, a wholly American story. Never saw the movie but sure got the "only in Russia bit” from the reviews; didn’t knew the American source until Vladimir Golstein’s post.
ENGINES. Remember when Russian shipbuilding was doomed for want of Ukrainian engines? No more, done it themselves. Two years earlier, too.
BAM. A second tunnel is opened.
GRUDININ. His ex-wife ratted him out and he’s banned from running for the Duma.
RUSSOPHOBIA. Interesting piece by Alexander Lebedev about the anti-Russianism which even he – a rich and insulated guy – meets. One wonders whether he, or some other Russian plutocrat, funds Strategic Culture Foundation. Much more likely than Washington’s idea that it’s run by Russian security organs: Moscow still thinks RT is the way to go. Washington is, as usual, projecting and deflecting: it buys opinions, therefore Moscow does too.
STRATEGIC WEAPONS. US and Russian team met in Geneva. Martyanov discusses: the Russians are ready to talk about hypersonics et al but only later. Russia has the upper hand here and Washington will have to make real concessions. Something, as we see with the Iran negotiations, it doesn’t know how to.
FAKE NEWS. KGB takes over Russia and moves West. Or so the book said. The "Putin Whisperers” get away with all sorts of nonsense but in this case they guessed wrong. Russian plutocrats are losing patience and have the deep pockets to sue. Fridman and Aven forced one withdrawal. Abramovich will be next. Meanwhile, the author has been under-bused by her main source. (Nasty Russian bullies say her supporters.) Regard everything you see or read about Russia from Western authorities or media as wrong. You’ll be correct to do so much more often than not. And Browder loses a case in Switzerland.
SYRIA. Interesting video on Russian MPs in Syria and what they do. Many are Vaynakhs and everybody knows not to mess with them.
NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. "[Putin] has a real problem — he is — he’s sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else. Their economy is — what? — the eighth smallest in the world now — largest in the world? He knows — he knows he’s in real trouble, which makes him even more dangerous, in my view.” Biden to US Intelligence Community. Two days later the Nauka docked with the ISS. No wonder the US Establishment is surprised all the time.
EXPERTISE. Anne Applebaum is looking for the English text of Putin’s Ukraine essay. Incredible!
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Slow to be vaccinated? Blame Putin, the NYT does. Putin’s Long War Against American Science. A year ago but ever-young.
WARGAME. The US military is a paper tiger. A wargame in October simulating a Chinese attack on Taiwan ended with utter defeat for the US forces. "Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably… They knew exactly what we were going to do before we did it.” No kidding: China, Russia and Iran know they’re on the hitlist, they haven’t been sitting around. I’ll have a piece in Strategic Culture Foundation shortly on this and other US wargame disasters which presaged real-world military failures.
UKRAINE. Moscow’s long game.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer