WAR PLANS. US/NATO war plans always start with a heavy bombardment. The expectation is that complete air superiority will be quickly gained so that aircraft and cruise missiles will have unrestricted freedom to destroy vital infrastructure. This succeeds against countries like Iraq, to say nothing of Afghanistan. But it won't happen if the first few minutes of the war see the destruction of half of NATO's airfields, hangars, ports and EW assets in a cloud of hypersonic missiles. Russia sends another message to Washington and Brussels – don't even think of it. But, of course, they are thinking of it. Shoygu called for increased production of hypersonic missiles. Not, they say, easily detectable by radar. A US ship entering the Black Sea would have about three minutes to detect and defend against Kinzhals fired from 550 kms away in Crimea. The just-deployed Bastion system would take longer. Russia isn't trying to do everything everywhere, just defend its own territory: that's an achievable goal; the other isn't.
WAR DREAMS. Fantasy: in NATO planning the Polish Army quickly seizes Kaliningrad. Partial reality: in Polish Army war game, Warsaw is surrounded in five days. Real reality. Poland has targets: see above.
NAVALNIY. The story continues. The theory that he's being fitted up for a treason charge was given a boost when Zakharova said he should be called an "agent of influence" rather than a politician. His suspended sentence for fraud was lifted and he's off to prison. Read Yves Rocher's statement; sounds to me as if the company believes he did swindle them. The fact that there's now a campaign against the company suggests my deduction is correct. Meanwhile his wife is being set up as the new Navalniy – it's evident from the Charité report that his health is pretty bad. After the lacklustre performance of the demos, one of his people declared a moratorium but was ordered to reverse the decision.
COVID. The Sputnik vaccine received good press from The Lancet. Vaccination centre in Sochi. Russia has developed a quick PCR process. Forget all that stuff we were saying a few months ago: we want it now. All this is causing cognitive dissonance for Western propaganda organs: read this tripe: "Putin’s COVID-19 charm offensive will be transient".
FINES. Moscow fines RFE/RL for failure to declare 'foreign agent' status on material aimed at Russians. Washington will have the fantods but this is just Moscow's version of the US FARA legislation in action.
POLICE BRUTALITY. Here's the video Moscow is giving every visitor who comes to lecture it.
START Extended for five years. A good thing, but otherwise more of the same from Washington: "determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy" and so on.
RUSSIA-CHINA. A piece in the Russian media suggests that the two are very close to concluding a formal military alliance and enumerates the mutual advantages to the world's largest economy and best military (too soon to call it that? Should we wait a few years when it will be obvious?). It's coming.
EU. The EU has made a mess of its COVID vaccine policy. An EU official is sent to Moscow to beg for the Sputnik vaccine. But he can't resist giving the usual moralistic lecture. (As an aside, I am sick and tired of EU flunkeys posturing about "European values"; if it weren't for the USSR – 80% – and the Anglosphere – 20% – they'd all be goose-stepping around in leather giving each other Hitler salutes: Hitler, Franco, Mussolini and the rest of them were all Europeans). Lavrov is not amused and called the EU unreliable. EU guy returns, usual sources accuse him of being feeble, and he starts talking tough again. "Headless chicken". Moscow doesn't care: the Western model is now seen as one of failure.
WESTERN VALUES™. Listen to Blinken explain why Israel can annex Golan ; one day he will explain why Crimea can't be Russian.
PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Vladimir Putin Has Become America’s Ex-Boyfriend From Hell: "a geopolitical stalker". This from the outlet that has "stalked" Putin 3000 times in four years. And never forget this demented bit of filth.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer