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.
KAZAKHSTAN. Major trouble. Started, they say, with the doubling of the price of LPG but now clearly another "colour revolution”, complete with a "leader” who is out of the country. (Page 121 in RAND report). Korybko, Escobar and Bernhard worth reading. President Tokayev promises to be "as tough as possible". CSTO troops already on the ground and very strong counter-actions underway. We’ll soon see if I was correct in what I wrote. But the authorities’ reaction is promising: lay down your weapons or be destroyed. Who wants to live in Ukraine. Libya, Afghanistan or other recipients of NATO’s democracy promotion? (Interesting speculation: "The best way to root out such problems is to let them unfold first as it reveals the actors.”) My guess is that the authorities will regain control pretty quickly.
TWO DIFFERENT LEAGUES. NATO likes to gas on about its quick reaction forces. Russian spetsnaz were in Kazakhstan 13 hours after Tokayev asked for CSTO help (agreed). More are coming.
PRESS CONFERENCE. (Rus) (Eng) Very much internally-focussed, not so much about garbage disposal as in the last couple of years (I guess it’s getting better) and markedly less of "Batyushka, can you fix my roof?”. Foreigners given less opportunity to pose, hector and interrogate. But those who did gave Putin a chance to put the Russian POV: "And you are demanding guarantees from me. It is you who must give us guarantees, and you must do it immediately, right now..”
A THOUGHT. I have long been puzzled why Putin has evidently fallen for the COVID hoax (yes, Virginia, there’s a disease there but it’s not very deadly and mostly kills people with one foot in the grave. I’m just a simpleton who looks at the data: check out Canada’s official data on ages of deceased.) I think that Waggaman is on to something here: Putin may be, as Atlas might put it, being "Trumped”.
GUNS. New things keep coming. The S-500 SAM tested in Arctic (I wonder how many of NATO;s weaponry has been). The S-550 is already in service. Volley-firing of Tsirkons. An American study finds that one little Russian ship has the same hitting power as two of the USN’s main destroyers. Palate-cleansers, so to speak, before the security talks.
DOESN’T MAKE ANYTHING. Another monster icebreaker: four-metre ice.
RUSSIA DOESN’T FORGET. Two suspects in the Khattab/Basayev 1999 invasion of Dagestan arrested.
BRITISH INTERFERENCE IN RUSSIA. Hackers – Underside – have released documents showing London’s investment in "democracy” "civil society” and so on in Russia. (Docs) (Docs) (Docs). All sounds very nice but it’s aimed at subversion. Imagine the reaction in the West if it had actual documents from Russian sources rather than invented nonsense like Putin weaponising humour.
MEMORIAL. Memorial International and Memorial Human Rights Centre have been shut down. Whatever Memorial was when it started (and I remember it from then) getting money from the UK for LGBT matters is some distance from its beginnings in the 1970s.
NOT JUST FOR KILLING PEOPLE. Tank art and – look down the comments – tank bartending.
WHAT RUSSIA WILL DO IN UKRAINE. My bet anyway. "Товарищи, отойдите подальше!” But only if it has to. And maybe Kiev is seeing reality: sees no troop buildup at the border now. But Kiev doesn’t control the Ukronazis. Lieven suggests "Finlandisation” for Ukraine: it’s a solution, but I don’t see it as likely these days. But Ukraine did start out with neutrality hard-wired into its Constitution…
A GOOD THING TOO: the P5 have just declared "We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Now if US/NATO would only understand that they can’t win a conventional war against Russia, maybe we could all calm down.
THOSE PESKY RUSSIANS. "Putin outsmarts EU as new China gas deal to pump ‘same amount’ as banned German pipeline". The commenters are pretty scornful of the absurd headline.
THE DEATH OF IRONY. Make up stuff, get caught, whine.
TABAQUI REPORT. Just after saying only "winners” can demand, Borrell demands.
EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Poland next? Now, if only Warsaw could realise that, in terms of values, it and Moscow are singing from the same songsheet…
NEW NWO. China’s Excellent, Very Good Year.
UKRAINE NPP. I very much hope this report is not true.
THERE ARE NO NAZIS IN UKRAINE. The New Year’s march is becoming a Kiev fixture too.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer