RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 10 OCTOBER 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

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HEALTH. Paul Robinson reads junk so that I don't have to: a book by some academic explaining why so many Russians (wrongly – of course!) support the horrible Putin. Well, only a tenured intullekchul couldn't figure it out. (I can never forget Orwell's "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.") Here's two (more) reasons why so many Russian have liked and trusted Putin & Co for so long. An excellent report from Awara on Russian longevity. "In 2000, the difference in life expectancy between the two countries [USA and Russia] was 11.1 years or 14.5% in favor of the US. But by 2019, the difference had shrunk to only 4.8 years or 6.1% ". As it were, 20 years of Putin & Co cost his voters only 12! Suicides, homicides and infant mortality are also way down: a third or less of what they were in 2000. Boozing has dramatically decreased – a WHO report says down by 43%. Excessive drinking – especially binge drinking – was a weighty contributor to low life expectancies, suicide, homicide and infant mortality. The health system is improving hugely and Russians no longer have to drink their way through the Time of Stagnation and the misery and hopelessness of the 1990s. Many causes, certainly, but no one (except silly intullekchuls) could deny Putin and his team a lot of the credit. If you were a Russian, you'd support them too (well, maybe not if there's enough American money – Navalniy's operation just declared a foreign agent, BTW.) Putin and his team are doing what people hire governments to do. (I leave the reader to contemplate his own government's achievements. Russia's curves are all going up; ours are all going down. What will we see in another 20 years? And that's not even mentioning China. For the West it looks bad. We want to start hoping that they – and Iran – are magnanimous in victory.)

NEW NWO. In August Rosneft said it would be moving to Euros to denominate its contracts, it has now done so. Ankara has signed on to the Russia replacement for SWIFT.

VISAS. Quick internet visas for St Petersburg are now being issued; the plan is that this will spread to the rest of Russia next year. Apparently the happy experience with the World Cup was the inspiration. The government is pushing tourism and I would expect it to grow significantly. Russian "soft power" is pretty inept but maybe they're starting to figure it out: the experience of most visitors is that Russia "shows well". For those of us in the "Five Eyes" the tiresome old procedure will remain.

SANCTIONS. US foreign policy today seems to be threats, bombs and sanctions. A GAO report declines to judge whether sanctions (20 countries!) are effective. (Are the other two effective?).

REMEMBER when they used to say once KGB always KGB? Does that also apply to former members of organs of state security who are now all over US TV as "independent experts"?

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS I. Years ago the anti-Russia mob were telling us that Moscow was doing something nefarious about Caspian Sea boundaries. I predicted the ultimate answer would be Baku's and so, grosso modo, it has proved to be. The seabed is divided by the five. Putin just ratified it.

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS II. Remember the Russian submarine in Sweden in 2014? Well, not Russian: a "Swedish object"? It was pushed to boost defence spending. You'll be glad to know Swedish state TV launched a campaign against fake news spread, apparently, only by Trumputin.

PROTESTS. Still believe they're real? Read this.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Pelosi sees Russia's "hand" in the Ukraine business and the NYT discovers a top secret scary Russia unit that's bungled everything it tries to do. (Extremely unsecret, in fact.)

UKRAINE. After his disappointing meeting with Trump ("I really hope that you and President Putin get together"), Zelensky went home and signed on to the "Steinmeier Formula". Which is really just a way of getting Kiev to do what it is already supposed to do in the Minsk agreements. Protests began immediately. Zelensky is in a difficult position: the plutocrats – who have the money – like to keep Ukraine lawless so they can steal more; the nazis – who have the guns – ditto; Trump doesn't care and Europe is sick and tired of the mess. I reiterate that, at the end, I expect Ukraine to be much smaller.

WHERE DID IT GO? According to the head of Ukraine's Central Bank, there is almost no gold left.

MH17. This could become interesting: Netherlands MPs demand investigation into Ukraine's role. Do you think Zelensky might be tempted to blame his predecessors for that and the Maidan shooting?

SYRIA. US withdrawal? Or just rearrangement? Ankara's actions and intentions? Where's Russia in all this? The US war party is melting down. The Kurds will probably have to to make a deal with Damascus.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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22 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 10 OCTOBER 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    I recall & credit the Ukraine gold theft story. Germans were asking hard questions about their gold at the Fed, getting stonewalled. Maybe they got it to shut them up. Libyan gold also taken. Hmm?

  2. Andrey Subbotin says:

    Those health increases sound impressive, but if you look at Ukraine or Belarus stats, you will see very similar numbers – 8 years life expectancy raise, child mortality dropping from 15 per 1000 to about 6 etc. All without Putin. I rather think it is general medicine advances.

  3. Amir says:

    There is NO WAY general medicine advance can add 6 years to the life expectancy of a developed country. It is no doubt related to common preventive strategy, cheap but extremely hard to implement as it requires a change of habits: http://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/reports-and-publications/physical-activity-nutrition/walking-executive-summary/index.html

  4. Fred says:

    Andrey,
    So years of war and massive corruption have been good for Ukraine? That’s an interesting take on things.

  5. J says:

    What did you think about the FBI’s detainment of a Russian MP Inga Yumasheva when she came to the U.S. for a better U.S./Russia relationship confab at Ft Ross. It appeared that the FBI goal was to embarrass Russia and throw mud on the better relationship confab. The FBI also tried to ‘turn’ the Russian diplomat, much to their failure.

  6. Lyttennburgh says:

    Care to provide us with the up to date source? For I have doubts that under Ulyana “Doctor Death” Suprun and her reforms the Ukraine could have improved it’s healthcare landscape.

  7. Lyttennburgh says:

    UPD.
    Andrey Subbotin is either misinformed, or wants to disinform us all. Re:Ukraine – https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A2%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%96%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C_%D0%B6%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%82%D1%8F_%D0%B2_%D0%A3%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D1%96.
    Life expectancy:
    1990 – 65.7 (Males), 75 (Females).
    1995 – 61,3 (Males), 72,6 (Females).
    2013 – 66,3 (Males), 76,2 (Females).
    Note: that’s official stats in the pre-Maidan Ukraine. Please, show me, and I quote Andrey Subbotin, “8 years life expectancy raise”. Etc, etc, about other claims – will we see some proof?

  8. Seamus Padraig says:

    Then why did (ex-)Soviet lifespans shrink between 1990 and 1995? Did medicine go backwards in those years?

  9. Was it policy? Was it a rogue event (he did sort of ask her for a date)? Either way, more than a little third world behaviour.

  10. vig says:

    you have shares in privately handled Gold Trusts?
    Am I wrong you are following zerohedge? Otherwise: What’s your point?

  11. vig says:

    patrick,
    Paul Robinson reads junk so that I don’t have to: a book by some academic explaining why so many Russians (wrongly – of course!) support the horrible Putin.
    Yes, guess that’s the central burdens of academics.
    Somewhere on his reading list, although he seems to have offered it to JP or Russia Researched at one point in time for Review. Check his blogrole.
    https://tinyurl.com/K-B-Smith-The-Russia-Anxiety
    Definitively worth of slow reading.

  12. ISL says:

    Thanks PA,
    Found the article on protests and soft power rather interesting (and oh so tinged with Russian propaganda in tone, largely (or completely) accurate in fact and highly imploring.). Basically, find a small but vocal group with grievances for foot soldiers to manipulate the media and larger society. Given how riven the US is and how inequality is swelling the ranks of folk with grievances, I expect to see the same technique applied quite successfully against the US in the near future (probably not already – I suspect, though the foundation is being laid). Trump rode just such a group into the presidency, but US life expectancy continues shortening.
    Key difference is that the Chinese or Russian authorities take pains to avoid the bloodshed that would occur in the US for similar protests. I guess the difference is the direction of sanctions.
    Still, when this situation with bloody crackdowns happens in third world countries it generally has led to civil war. With so many Democrats and Republicans focused on divisiveness…. Ready to jump on a bandwagon that could lead to civil war (or at least smoldering insurgencies).
    It looks inevitable (trump is accelerating – destroying faith in SWIFT) that the US will lose its international currency status at some point in the not distant future. I would expect in the economic chaos of the adjustment we will see foreign amplification of protests in the US, the same as in Hong Kong today.
    Whats good for the goose is good for the …

  13. casey says:

    Singapore joining the Eurasian Economic Union’s Trade Zone (with Iran & India in the wings) seems yet another link signaling a rapidly (dizzyingly) accelerating Eurasian integration, particularly against the backdrop of accelerating sanctions/tariff/threat blizzard from the West. Was Trump’s threat to destroy the Turk economy a response to another seemingly important signal, the Rus-Turk move to bypass SWIFT?

  14. prawnik says:

    Even if Ze genuinely wanted to make peace with Russia, and even if he were prepared to admit that Crimea and Donbass are gone forever, Zelensky’s American masters would never allow him to do so.
    Trump may not care, but, as you said, Trump doesn’t care. The State Department and the various alphabet agencies do care very much however, and Trump has proven to be pliable.

  15. Andrey Subbotin says:

    Data from macrotrends.net, life expectancy at birth 2000-2018
    Ukraine 67.42 71.82 +4.4
    Belarus 67.6 74.49 +6.9
    Russia 65.4 72.29 +6.9
    Data from indexmundi.com, life expectancy at birth 2000-2017
    Ukraine 66 72 +6
    Belarus 68.0 73.0 +5
    Russia 67.2 71.0 +3.8
    WHO data, life expectancy in 2018
    Ukraine 72.5
    Belarus 74.2
    Russia 71.9
    or check this google chart
    https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country:BLR:MDA:EST&hl=en&dl=en#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:BLR:MDA:RUS:UKR&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false
    Data jumps quite a lot, but pretty clear Russia is not exceptional compared to its neighbors.
    Russian ministry of health recently claimed that life expectancy increased by 7.7 years since 2000, including by 0.8 years in the last 6 months. This is probably where Amara claims come from. Maybe in the last year there was some breakthrough, but I’d take that with a grain of salt at this point.

  16. catherine says:

    MH17. This could become interesting: Netherlands MPs demand investigation into Ukraine’s role. Do you think Zelensky might be tempted to blame his predecessors for that and the Maidan shooting>>>>>>>>>>
    The Ukraine appears unable to escape its mafia oligarchs and Zelensky appears to have been the perfect sheep to trot out for the voters.
    https://www.dcreport.org/2019/10/03/now-you-know-how-really-weird-this-whole-ukraine-thing-is/
    “Since being elected Ukraine’s president in real life last April, Zelenskyy has often made it difficult for observers to understand whether he’s as idealistic as his fictional alter ego or a cynical protector of the status quo,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
    But what if there was more? What if Zelenskyy’s boss was a Bond-esque villain, one of the richest and shadiest men in the world, a guy so tough that he crushed Russian separatists with his own paramilitary units,
    That’s Ihor Kolomoisky, the oligarch worth an estimated $1.2 billion who owns the TV network that ran Zelenskyy’s “Servant of the People,”
    Kolomoisky also allegedly managed to move $5.5 billion from his Ukraine bank, PrivatBank, which he founded in the 1990s, to a “branch” in Cyprus before it was nationalized in 2016 after years of fraud.
    Kolomoisky fled to Israel and Switzerland shortly thereafter. Zelenskyy often flew to visit him in Geneva and Tel Aviv, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
    But it would seem as if his election was all Kolomoisky needed to triumphantly return to the motherland—which he did as soon as Zelenskyy became president.
    Zelenskyy, who used a bulletproof Mercedes during his campaign that was registered to a business associate of both his and Kolomoisky, has denied claims that he is a “puppet” of Kolomoisky.
    One of Zelenskyy’s key advisers on his campaign and now in his administration is Andrei Bogdan, a former adviser to Kolomoisky.”

  17. The extent to which Ze is a creature of Kol is a matter of much debate and, IMO, we don’t yet have enough data to form a useful opinion. Strange as it may seem today, lots of “experts” were convinced that Putin was a creature of Berezovskiy and an intelligence agency not a million miles from were I sit thought for some years he was a tool of the Yeltsin “family”. So Ze may surprise us yet. Or not.
    As to weakening his opposition (Poro et al) an real investigation of the Maidan shootings will soon prove Ivan Katchanovsky correct that it was a false flag. Kol had nothing to do with that. As to MH17 it’s a bit trickier because there is a school of thought that he had something to do with it.
    Ze has a difficult path to tread — without Washington, today’s Ukraine is nowhere, therefore he must suck up to Trump as hard as he can go. One way is by revealing all to Barr & Co. Another might be to reveal the (Former) US administration’s chicanery in the “revolution of dignity”.
    His election in a Trumpian world was unexpected in Kiev in all respects and creates a brand new situation.
    More questions than answetrs.

  18. Lyttennburgh says:

    Dubious sourcing. I’m relying on domestic agencies in each county. Upon which they are relying? You did not provide the original sources. That WikiDorkian article that I cite originally at least has the decency of having a number of outgoing (official!) sources in the links.
    One also has to point out (rather needlessly) that Russia had it worse compared to the Ukraine and Belorussia, given that the former shares a border with the Caucasus and Central Asia, which means – drug traffic (and other stuff).

  19. Lyttennburgh says:

    Not only that, catherine, but Ihor “Benya” Kolomoisky is also investigated by the FBI:
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/billionaire-ukrainian-oligarch-ihor-kolomoisky-under-investigation-by-fbi
    Pretty amazing, innit? This year’s April start’s with the stal-warts of the FBI starting to realize that maybe Kolomoysky acquired all these pieces of real estate with some dirty money. The April ends with Kolomoysky’s candidate making to to the semi-finals of the Ukrainian steel cage match aka the Elections – and wins. Oh, and if you were wondering – yes, Israel has extradition treaty with the US. 😉
    Just a thought experiment.In case of FBI being, ah, “thorough” – would the Ukraine extradite Benya to the US? Maybe – maybe! – Kolomoysly is searching for a safe harbour – in Russia?

  20. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    No to both initial questions; not a goldbug. My point? I despise the “elites” who torment whole nations. Didn’t burn enough ants with magnifying glasses when kids I guess, on to bigger atrocities.

  21. catherine says:

    Agree.
    But Zelenskyy’s cozy relationship with Kolomoisky is definitely not a good sign.

  22. vig says:

    ok, I never burned ants with a magnifying class. … But then, why not? interesting image.
    I despise the “elites” who torment whole nations.
    I did struggle with the “elite” “elitist” argument from the time I first stumbeld it, ages ago. … As argument, that is.
    I recall & credit the Ukraine gold theft story.
    Now this aspect or part of your story interests me. Ukrainian banks hoarded all that gold and sudddenly it was gone?

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