RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 JUNE 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

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RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 502K; total deaths 6532; tests per 1 million 95K. Russia has done 13.8 million tests (second after USA); among countries with populations over 10M it's second in tests per million and of those over 100M first. Moscow city lockdown and ID pass system ended on Tuesday. Russian developers register a drug that may help alleviate the worst symptoms.

COVID COUNTING. The usual suspects are convinced that Russia's lying (the accusation is a pitiful attempt to cover up the failure of the "two best-prepared countries") but I don't believe anything Western outlets say about Russia. But Moscow city has published numbers that may explain things. 15,713 deaths in Moscow in May; three-year average is 9914; therefore excess of 5799. They calculate 2757 had COVID as the main cause of death but it was present in 5260 deaths. Therefore, as I suspected, it's a counting issue: died of versus died with. In any case, even at the larger number, the deaths are far fewer than elsewhere. A new theory to add to the others is that there are fewer old people, thanks to high mortality rates in the Soviet days, and Russians don't generally put them in nursing homes (the source of large proportion of deaths in Western countries.)

CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM. Now set for 1 July. Wikipedia has a summary article and tells us that the vote will be a yes or no on the whole package. Some advertising billboards. Polls suggest the package will pass but not by big numbers.

GENETICS. Putin has told the government to ensure creation of Russian-made laboratory and scientific equipment for research in genetics. Remember the report that the USAF was collecting genetic material of Russians? I think COVID has made Moscow and Beijing rather thoughtful. Teheran too.

OIL WARS. Oil futures are creeping up. OPEC+ has agreed to extend the production cuts to the end of July. So, I guess if there was some attempt by Riyadh to crush US shale and Russian oil, it failed. Who won? Russia did: prices are back in Russia's comfort zone. The Power of Siberia pipeline has sent 1.58 billion M3 of natural gas to China in the last 6 months. The icebreaker LNG ship is on its way to China via the Northern Sea Route.

MONOPOLY. With Dragon's successful docking, Russia has lost its monopoly on taxi service to the ISS.

PERSONALLY I think Moscow is commenting with considerable restraint as the USA learns about colour revolutions first hand. Read this from the Atlantic: "The Trump Regime Is Beginning to Topple". "Regime". Wow, eh?

START. Russia-US talks will begin in Vienna on the 22nd. Beijing says it won't be there. The US side is so deluded that I doubt much will happen. (BTW the US "super duper missile" just failed.)

THE DEATH OF IRONY. Russia Sends More Troops West, Challenging U.S.-NATO Presence Near Borders.

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. "Before Donald Trump, Russia Needed 60 Hours To Beat NATO—Now Moscow Could Win Much Faster" Forbes tells us. The assumption is that Russia would grab the Baltics and stop there. I know the author is just shilling for the weapons makers but, if you assume your audience is really stupid, you become stupider – a race to the bottom of the mine.

MH17. It looks as if all the prosecution has is stuff from Kiev and Bellingcat. So much for Kerry's "we observed it". So will the court find the defendants not guilty or continue with the farce? Speaking of "our values and way of life".

CHINA IS THE NEW RUSSIA. You'd think NATO would be busy enough but it's time to add China to the enemy list: the threat posed by China to "our values and way of life".

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. A Republican caucus group from the legislature of "the greatest force for good the world has ever known" has decided that Russia should be named a "state sponsor of terrorism" and hit with "the toughest sanctions ever imposed". But it doesn't accuse Moscow of fiddling elections; I guess that particular sector of the delusion is reserved for the other side of the aisle.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Sure, we don't need evidence – there's the "playbook".

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Germany rejects US extraterritorial sanctions against Nord Stream 2; a German politician suggests Berlin may respond with counter-sanctions. Trump orders a troop pull-out (would be about a quarter of the US troops in Germany).

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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19 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 JUNE 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Barbara Ann says:

    Thanks for the update Patrick
    A European leader who proposed such a constitutional referendum would consider it also a referendum on their leadership (I’m thinking of course of David Cameron’s plebicide here). Would one be naïve to assume there is any possibility the result will not be a “pass”? If not and in the eventuality that the it isn’t, would you expect Vladimirovich to simply brush it off?

  2. Jimmy_W says:

    I knew of David Axe from his earliest blogging days 15 years ago. He is not a shill. Although he is not a wargamer, either (I think). The real problem here, I think, is that there are few alternative war gaming voices here on the Baltics scenario.
    Should the Rooskies publish their own wargaming results in English, in open press, that would be good to see. And I’m sure David would gladly report that.

  3. Barbara Ann. The referendum is about much more than just the “start the presidential term count all over again”. Westerners focus on that. I would expect the whole package to pass but if it doesn’t I see no reason for Putin to step down. Cameron was in a Westminster system where things are quite different.

  4. Jimmy W. In a serious war Russia would go for the jugular and a lot of NATO bases and ports would disappear in the first couple of days. Plus they would hit the USA. They have said so.
    The three or four battle groups in the Baltics would be ignored.
    Russia has read the NATO treaty and knows that an attack on the Baltics would be considered an attack on all.
    So they wouldn’t attack the Baltics just for fun, and in a big war they wouldn’t bother.
    Therefore I call the very premise of the piece stupid.

  5. I knew of David Axe from his earliest blogging days 15 years ago. He is not a shill
    He is also not a military professional and, in fact, rather ignorant on real warfare, despite being injured in Afghanistan. In other words he is an amateur. How opinions of this hack are even considered valuable in the US is a complete mystery. I guess that is why it is difficult to find any background info on this guy. I will be surprised if he ever took any courses in Operational Research or Weapon System Integration.
    Should the Rooskies publish their own wargaming results in English, in open press, that would be good to see. And I’m sure David would gladly report that.
    Frankly, I doubt he will be able to understand and interpret that professionally. Report on it? Sure. Anyone can report on anything but I think he should pay attention to Ochmanek and RAND doing wargaming “figting” Russians and Chinese and reporting on it last year. As per US wargaming–open, as an example, Naval War College Newport Papers and read result of those war “games”–they are hilarious. If my memory doesn’t fail me NATO observers were invited and were present at Vostok-2018.

  6. cirsium says:

    Patrick – the Russians are using hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic so a lower death rate is understandable.

  7. @Patrick
    So they wouldn’t attack the Baltics just for fun, and in a big war they wouldn’t bother. Therefore I call the very premise of the piece stupid.
    I didn’t read anything smart or even remotely sensible from people like David Axe or a dumpster such as The National Interest in years. This is not to mention the fact that those people have no grasp of modern operations whatsoever.

  8. Christian J Chuba says:

    The Dutch are conducting an an actual trial on MH17 I’m impressed. They appointed a defense counsel and asked Russia for evidence. This is better than the trials Iran gets in the U.S.
    US court [holds] Iran, Syria liable for attacks in Israel
    A Palestinian kills a U.S. citizen in Israel with a knife and the judge finds both Iran and Syria liable for damages. At least Iran is not a totally random choice but Syria? Might as well throw in the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Maduro, pick everyone associated with Iran.
    I’ve read about other lawsuits as well. Someone sues Iran inn civil court, Iran has no representation because they are not going to recognize the legitimacy of the proceedings and I’m not certain they would be able to get visas anymore. The plaintiff gets an easy judgment in absentia and the MSM will cry over the fact that collecting the money will be so hard. They do not care about the debased proceedings itself.
    Since this is purely political, Congress should do it and stop degrading our courts.
    Now how is Iran uniquely responsible these deaths? These were knife, auto, and an occasional shooting attacks. Horrible yes but not IRGC built drones or missiles.

  9. Jimmy_W says:

    David Axes probably would not call himself a Military Analyst, either. He is a classic War Correspondent. His body of reporting stands as his “background”.
    It is difficult to call anything US Military-related operations in the last 20 years, “real warfare”, except for a few moments here and there.
    Sadly, it is difficult for war correspondents to make a living nowadays. (Or any “reporter”, for that matter.)

  10. Fred says:

    That article in the Atlantic is a doozy.
    “As in the case of many such revolutions, two battles are being waged in America. One is a long struggle against a brutal and repressive ideology. The other is a narrower fight over the fate of a particular leader. ”
    Yep, government of, by and for the people, where all are equal under the law, sure is brutal and repressive to would be dictators. NATO, man I needed a laugh. Germany is complaining about Trump pulling out troops decades after the reunification of the country and the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and Jens Stoltenberg is warnig everyone about China only now?
    Very interesting news on the icebreaking LNG carrier, too. Thanks for the insights and analysis.

  11. JohninMK says:

    On MH17, the Dutch court is now in a bit of a bind. The State Prosecutor has to submit evidence beyond reasonable doubt and he has had to admit this week in court that he does not have that as primarily there are no US satellite photos, not even behind multiple levels of security, that they or the Dutch military have been able to get hold of. He has no real evidence just, as you say Patrick, the fair and honest not obtained under duress evidence from Kiev and the definitely undoctored photo analysis of Bellingcat. Logically the case should now collapse.
    Given that that satellite image, as boasted about by Kerry at the time, would have had the Russians bang to rights in a proper court in a major PR coup for the US, I suspect that its non production means that it doesn’t exist.
    Expect legal contortions in The Hague.

  12. Christian J Chuba says:

    Trump repeats Kremlin Talking points
    We have all hear about Trump’s infamous tweet accusing the 75 yr old man in Buffalo of being an Antifa agent to setup the police as along with using electronic jamming (the severe head trauma was a nice touch).
    I heard John Harwood on CNN this morning announce that Trump was repeating misinformation directly from the Kremlin. He used an especially annoying staccato delivery.
    Have any of you heard any govt official make this claim or even someone quoting an ‘unnamed official’? I was struck by how Harwood stated this like a fact without citing any source as if he was saying, ‘you can’t walk through sheetrock’
    Has CNN declined to the point where they now let people declare things that they think their statement should be true?

  13. Leith says:

    CJ Chuba –
    I don’t know where Trump got that rumor. But that 75-year old man is NOT an Antifa provocateur. He is with the Catholic Worker movement, which has been feeding the poor and protesting against injustice since the 1930s. He has been doing this since he retired.
    What was he doing with his cellphone? I have no clue. But there are no known jammers small enough and powerful enough to fit in a cellphone. It is possible to disrupt or block or jam police radio but that can only be done by attacking receiving stations, not with handheld devices that target an individual police officer’s radio. As far as scanning police comms, there are probably cellphone apps for that. But why bother scanning a single police radio? You can scan the whole network with off-the-shelf scanners that have been available for 50 years or more. I’ve had a police & fire dept & USCG scanner for 20 years or more – two actually, one at home and a portable for car and boat. My guess is he was excited and just waving his cellphone around. Gugino sounds Italian to me, all my Italian cousins talk with their hands. If not that then perhaps it was to photograph a badge number.

  14. CJC. They have a copy of the Russian Playbook in the studio.

  15. @Jimmy_W
    David Axes probably would not call himself a Military Analyst, either. He is a classic War Correspondent. His body of reporting stands as his “background”.
    Probably, but that is exactly what he is trying to do and doing so produces an astonishing array of baloney. I could be reporting on brain surgeries but that doesn’t make me a brain surgeon.

  16. J says:

    Pouring good money after bad, seems that D.C. continues on its Ukraine lunacy by committing another $250 Million in weapons, gear and other aid. Why is D.C. continuing to pour good money after bad? This lunacy is packaged as part of the four-year-old Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI.
    So what does this aid entail one may wonder? Counter-artillery radars, air surveillance systems, tactical equipment, military medical treatment, cyber defenses, strategic communications equipment.
    Remember that Trump had put a hold on this aid, wherein the GAO determined that the hold was a violation of the federal Impoundment Control Act.

  17. J says:

    Looks like fermentation is taking place in Belarus, another color revolution bordering Russia is in its early stages. But instead of it being a color revolution, it’s a ‘slipper revolution’. Seems that State and the Soros bunch ran out of colors and are now using objects instead.
    In Belarus their leader Alexander Lukashenko is facing reelection. If the slipper revolution is successful, Belarus will look far worse for wear in the end than the Ukraine after State and Soros played their fermentation debacle there. Lukasneko has been playing a game of cat and mouse with both D.C. and Moscow for several years now. First he would court one, then push them away and look at its competitor for its next affections.
    For Belarus to survive and prosper since it’s fragile economic infrastructure is more homogeneous with Russia’s, if Belarus is turned by the slipper revolution, it’s infrastructure will have no where to go except into the toilet as it’s not compatible with Western economies.
    Now the 64 dollar question I have to ponder, how far will Moscow let it go before it tosses in the flag and cries foul, and picks up the peaces before Soros and crew completely destroys Belarus and adds another Lilly-pad right on Russia’s border.

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