RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 19 DECEMBER 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

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PARIS MEETING. It happened but nothing much happened. Agreed to a ceasefire and to uphold Minsk. But Zelensky can't deliver: the Ukronazis amuse themselves by popping off rounds into towns in Donbass and Kiev refuses to take the next step: local elections in the rebel areas (Number 4). Nothing suggests that Macron pushed anything, although Zelensky wasn't able to make Number 9 into the next step. The EU extended sanctions; they include a demand for the "complete implementation of the Minsk agreements". If Macron had been serious about bettering EU-Russia relations, he would have had his representative object because Russia has no obligations under Minsk; if he didn't already know that, he learned it at the meeting. So, thus far, no evidence that his actions comport with his words.

PUTIN PRESS CONFERENCE. (Eng) (Rus) I'll say more next time if anything strikes me. Haven't seen anything new so far. Again, lots of details, mostly internal.

SHADOW ECONOMY. I had thought that the imposition of the flat income tax rate of 13% in 2001 had pretty well eliminated the problem of the "grey economy". But a recent study, comparing statistics on taxpayers against the number working, suggests that the "shadow economy" might be as high as 18% of the total workforce. I'm not convinced by that number: some people make too little to pay tax; added to which, given that there are proposals to raise the level from 13%, this study may be part of that discussion because it says that, were the non-payers to be captured, the tax rate could be cut to 11%. So that number might too high but it's something to keep an eye on.

LUZHKOV. Yuriy Luzhkov died last week. Long-time mayor of Moscow, he was fired in 2010. I remember the moment when, as it were, Moscow city began to turn around. There was a garbage skip on the little street where the Canadian Embassy was. It would fill up, keep filling, overflow, fill up some more, overflow again. One day, early in 1994, it was emptied and thereafter was regularly emptied. Say what you like about him and his wife dipping their beaks, but he got stuff done.

INF. Washington has killed the INF Treaty which prohibited intermediate range missiles in Europe. Foreign Minister Lavrov says Moscow will never be the first to deploy them in Europe. If the US did deploy them (their last attempt sparked huge protests) Moscow can have them there the next day.

CORRUPTION. Aleksey Kuznetsov, who was Moscow Region finance minister 2000-2008, was sentenced to 14 years for fraud and theft. He had fled the country but was extradited from France.

WADA. A 4-year ban on Russia. Two comments: more medals for us! And I guess the Russian team did too well in Syria. Anyhow, the new way is getting doctor's notes.

UK ELECTION. The craziness has hit there. Johnson is a Russian stooge; Russia has won the election; Fusion GPS (!!) tells us the UK needs a Mueller report.

SKIPALMANIA. "Ex-MP NORMAN BAKER is certain Russia has killed many people on British soil… but he believes we've been fed a pack of lies over the Salisbury poisonings". Say what you like about the DM, but occasionally it veers away from the-re-type-what-you're-handed mode. (PS Mr Baker, you're late to the party – you're just repeating Rob Slane – but welcome. BTW if they're lying to you now, what makes you so sure they weren't then too?) Skripal has phoned Russia three times – surreptitiously?

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. "Pentagon Concerned Russia Cultivating Sympathy Among US Troops". Too stupid to waste a sneer at.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Erdoğan threatens to close the two US bases in Turkey if Washington goes ahead with sanctions. A YouGov poll finds that a majority of Germans are in favour of reducing reliance on US (55%) and increasing ties with Russia (54%). NATO's biggest problems are internal cohesion. Germany rejects Washington sanctions on NordStream2. Der Spiegel defies Browder.

BAD DAYS FOR LIARS. Afghanistan war lies. Browder. Media lied about "Russiagate"; so did Schiff. And Comey. And of course, all the lies revealed by the IG: and that was just the FBI part of it. More from OPCW. All helping to make the idea of war with Russia more acceptable.

FAKE NEWS. Ukrainian reporter killed by Putin Ukronazis.

UKRAINE. One of Kiev's biggest supporters reiterates his advice that Kiev should let the Donbass go: too expensive to fix and they don't want to be in Ukraine anyway. All true enough but it's noteworthy that neither now, nor three years ago, does he mention Crimea. But the same arguments apply, don't they? And probably in Mariupol, Odessa, Transcarpathia and…

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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10 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 19 DECEMBER 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. The Russians seem to have got themselves into a fine old muddle. “.. the Russians spent five years “cultivating leading Tories including Johnson…”.
    https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/11/hillary-clinton-chris-steele-allege-boris-johnson-is-a-russian-stooge/
    But while he was being “cultivated” Mr Johnson was pushing the Skripal story at home and abroad. And was still pushing the Litvinenko story –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZgGujo2h3A
    Doesn’t add up.
    This is all nonsense. I recollect Tulsi Gabbard getting annoyed that Mrs Clinton characterised her as a Russian stooge. Possibly Tulsi Gabbard didn’t understand that “You’re a Russian Stooge” is just Mrs Clinton’s way of saying “Hello.”

  2. Addition was left behind a long time ago. Consider that we are supposed to believe that Putin can rig elections in the UK and USA but not in Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltics and other places closer to home.

  3. Avatar Peter Williams says:

    One method to reduce the “shadow economy” is the “Tax on Professional Income” currently operating in four regions and expanding to a further 19 regions on 1st January, 2020.
    List of regions – https://www.rbc.ru/economics/15/12/2019/5df616e29a7947112c6112a4
    Explanation of “Tax on Professional Income” – https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/self-employed-taxation/

  4. Avatar Ghost Ship says:

    Does FP fact check the articles it publishes or even put them out for peer review.
    BTW, with all the self-identifying Nazis in western Ukraine what makes Motyl think that the EU will do anything for Ukraine? It’s destroyed what industry Ukraine had so that Germany has a fresh source of skilled workers who will work for peanuts. Perhaps someone should explain to German industrialists that forced labour in Germany ended in 1945, or at least it should have done.

  5. Avatar J says:

    The Nuclear Powered Submarine Belgorod is expected to be handed over to the Russian Navy next year (2020) by its manufacturer Sevmash. The Belgorod will be armed with the nuclear drone Poseidon. The Oscar class Belgorod was modified for special purposes, one of those being a carrier for the Poseidon weapons system. The Belgorod will be able to house up to 4 Poseidon drones.

  6. Avatar Leith says:

    Patrick, do you have any insight as to what happened with the FSB officers shot in Moscow?

  7. Avatar Grazhdanochka says:

    Next Year should have
    – 2 Borey Class Submarines introduced
    – 2 Yasen Class Submarines Introduced
    – Belgorod Reintroduced
    -1-3 Varshavyanka Class Diesels Introduced
    And that is just ‘New’ Submarines (Belgorod well being a new ‘Type’), not including Varshavyanka, Shchuka/Akulas etc) or any Surface Vessels
    Among this biggest Years successes will be the huge progress likely made on Gorshkov Class Friages – whose earlier Missile/Radar Systems likely stalled the entire production line.
    Andrey (SmoothieX12) can talk more of that I am sure

  8. I don’t think this is the appropriate venue for miscellaneous news about Russia.
    So I won’t approve any more comments that don’t directly bear on what I said.

  9. No, I don’t. Still trying to figure out what happened.

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