RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 2 APRIL 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

Russian flag

COVID AND RUSSIA. As of today there are about 3600 cases and 30 deaths, most in Moscow City. Why so much lower than other places? Some reasons: Moscow ordered travel and flight closures earlier than Western countries; it does not appear to have run down its stockpiles of PPE (as the USA and, apparently, most Western countries did); the war-time/emergency preparedness of a country that knows the cost of not being prepared and the fact that anti-Russia sanctions have made the country very self-sufficient. (As even the NYT admits. A few weeks ago, though, in NYT-land, Russia's economy was faltering. Hard to keep up with the Party Line it is.) That having been said, Moscow is pretty much locked down and other cities are following suit. Putin laid out the government's program last week. In essence: a lot of help for the little guy and more taxes on rich people who keep their money outside Russia. In today's address to the nation, he extended the paid holiday to 30 April. The Constitutional referendum is postponed. Entry has been banned to foreigners, an isolation hospital is being built for Moscow and the military are building more around the country. Russia has enough PPE and ventilators that it can spare them for other countries. Several potential vaccines are being tested. So, perhaps after thinking it had escaped it, Russia is bracing but it seems to be much better prepared than the Western average. Helmer discusses the state of play.

SOFT POWER. The brutal truth is that the "leader of the free world" took 500,000 test kits out of Italy, tried to bribe a German pharmaceutical company to move to the USA and advertises easy immigration for doctors. NATO and the EU have done little to help their worse affected neighbours. Meanwhile Russia, China and Cuba – all bad boys to the "Rules-Based International Order" – are providing assistance. (And to the USA itself! PR? of course it is, but it's also a teaching moment which the WaPo doesn't get.) The propagandists leap to their keyboards: "Beware of Bad Samaritans" is a classic. It includes the lie that 80% of the stuff Moscow sent Italy was useless (Bryan MacDonald takes the effort to trace the lie back to the the fake newsmakers at the Atlantic Council/"Integrity" Initiative) and manages the logical leap of accusing China and Russia both of giving useless stuff and giving too little of it. Liars have no imagination: all they can do is project their own behaviour.

NEW NWO. Post COVID, things are going to be a lot different. I offer Stephen Walt's "The Death of American Competence" for your reflection. Pompeo's boast only six weeks ago that "The West is winning" looks hollow. This 2019 rating of countries best prepared to deal with a pandemic hasn't worn well (USA and UK first, Russia and China in the middle). 2020 – the year the West lost its mojo.

OIL WAR. Oil is about US$25 a barrel. The story in brief: Russia refused a production slowdown, Saudi Arabia (but why?) started pumping like mad, COVID reduced demand and here we are. Have Putin & Co decided that now is the time to bring down the USA? Or at least its fracking business? Or is it a power play to teach Washington a lesson so it will stop interfering with Russia's market? Anyway Russia is in a position to outlast either Saudi Arabia or the US frackery.

TRIALS. One of Mueller's "triumphs" was indicting a St Petersburg company for interference on behalf of the Russian government. (Weepy Maddow flashback). A safe stunt because the Russians wouln't show up in court. But they did. The prosecution has dropped the case. Why? Bluster, bluster, but the short answer is that there was no evidence. Let Bernhard, who got the story right from the beginning, take you through it. Oh, and the owner of the company is going to sue. In a similar situation, the judge in the MH-17 trial has demanded the prosecution 1) say whether it did receive the claimed US evidence 2) show it to the judge. Leaks tell us that the JIT has never seen it; not surprising because there isn't any (that's an easy deduction: if the US really did "observe it" as Kerry claimed, we would have seen it now.) Sometimes Western courts work the way they're supposed to.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. No COVID holiday here: Putin’s virus! Sow discord! Disinformation! Russian sources pushed conspiracy! Disinformation! Hacking of our minds! And not just the USA: Disinformation! Sow panic in West! Weaken Western society! Online disinformation assault! Any deviation from Big Brother's latest can only be Russian disinformation.

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Europe sends COVID aid to Iran, Washington adds to the sanctions.

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. WaPo admits Crimeans happy to be in Russia. WaPo!!?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

About Patrick Armstrong

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11 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 2 APRIL 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Paul Damascene says:

    Patrick’s updates are always brilliantly brief, so much so I wish they were longer.
    Add to Leader of Free World leadership in solidarity: scooping masks on the tarmac intended for France.
    Will check Helmer, because after being I think the first to close border with China, and being pretty rigorous at least in Moscow airport (others too?), I had the impression perhaps RF took eyes off the ball for a bit. Late to suspend football, (hockey I would understand), and all that late night disco dancing …
    And as the devil Xi put it: this sickness is a devil. Hope it doesn’t come back to bite them, because there is no number of ventilators sufficient once things get up a doubling daily head of steam…
    Here’s hoping not.
    Canada was on that best prepared list #5, and aside from S. Korea and perhaps Australia (under testing?), it looks like none of those countries deserved to be there.
    Oddly in Canada there may have been a surfeit of expertise — Medical Officers in BC and Ottawa basically wrote the book on SARS; overconfidence and an inability to allow the precautionary principle to prevail over the technocrat’s “nudging,” “hedging” gradualism.
    But lost MOJO, emphatically yes, it would appear.

  2. Fred says:

    “The propagandists leap to their keyboards…”
    They did that on the German aricle too, which quoted an “Welt am Sonntag quoted an unidentified German government source as saying Trump was trying to secure the scientists’ work exclusively”
    Thanks for Stephen Walt’s (of Harvard University) essay, he wrote in 2018 “The Realist Case for Impeachment” . Certainly can’t be an anti-Trumper. As to oil an import tariff could set a floor price in the US and stabilize fraking companies. The US could use the revenue too.

  3. English Outsider says:

    Mr Armstrong – Might I add that CureVac did issue an explicit denial that President Trump had tried to get exclusive rights.
    Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped the rumour becoming stated fact to most Europeans, to judge from comments I’ve seen.
    I also noticed at a recent Press briefing President Trump going out of his way to acknowledge a plane load of medical equipment the Russians had sent over.
    Am I being over-optimistic in thinking that Trump wants detente but is held back from it by the neocons and the big donors?

  4. JohninMK says:

    Re your “Saudi why?” comment.
    The link below is to a graph showing the increase in US production as opposed to Saudi over the past 10 or so years and it is stark. The US up by 8.5MBPD the Saudis 1.8MBPD although of course the Saudis started from a higher base.
    In March I think the Russians basically said to the Saudis, you and the US control the World $ oil market, sort it out between you. The Saudis, with those figures in mind, may have suggested to the US that between them they share a cut in supply. When told no, the Saudis decided to destroy the economic basis for unconventional oil. We will never know what actually happened but as a gasoline user I’m happy.
    https://srsroccoreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/United-States-vs-Saudi-Arabia-Net-Oil-Production-Increase-2008-2018-768×549.png

  5. Fred says:

    Patrick,
    I’m sure something did. “to secure exclusive rights” is in that story. It sounds like somebody in Gemany is throwing that company under the bus. “There are open questions about CureVac’s leadership. CEO Daniel Menichella, a U.S. citizen, had to abruptly leave the company after he participated earlier this month in a White House meeting where Trump reportedly approached him with his offer.” Somebody got a promotion, now would a carefully leaked fake story manage that during times like this?
    Did you hear the latest about 3M, N95 masks and distributorships prioritzation on Tucker Carlson tonight?

  6. CK says:

    The Great Musk:
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/ventilators-donated-elon-musk-cant-150000445.html
    Musk: a funky aroma, an artificially sexy smell.

  7. Ulenspiegel says:

    “Russia, China and Cuba”
    Re Russian help: Is the stuff useful? I mean for the pateints/docs, not as contribution to Russian propaganda.
    China: China received support when they had issues, what is now so special that they deliver?

  8. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Here’s another one for you from Clownworld, courtesy of Andrei at his Smoothiex12 blog:
    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/04/send-them-back.html?m=1
    Sending top shelf ventilators made by a Russian firm under U.S. sanctions? I wonder if this is some sort of ironic Russian humor, besides being a bridge-building gesture, of course. If it’s a troll, we richly deserve it, IMHO.
    Remind me again why we are not working collegially with this talented nation of Russia.

  9. Gee, I guess we’ll have to sanction the USA for breaking the anti-Russia sanctions before it sanctions us for not sanctioning sanction-breakers.

  10. Lyttennburgh says:

    2Ulenspiegel
    I will give you 100% TrueUkrainian (the new plucky “democratic” friends of the Great West, remember?) answer – of course not!
    As everybody knows ™, Russian help is not just useless, but promotes this dreadful, aggressive “Russki Mir”, that stands for everything wrong, compared to the bright* genderless globalist and eco-friendly progressive future.
    Western countries and their populations, that have become the subject of the brutal and aggressive Russian humanitarian help (that’s Italy and US of A) in order to maintain ideological integrity and robust correct-think, have to adopt a few simple measures, already tried and tested by the great patriots of the Ukraine:
    1) Ask any Russian doctor and member of the medical personnel, that might try to treat you, about their attitude towards Putin, war in Syria and to whom really belongs the Crimea (optional for the Westerners – also ask about gays and representation quotas). If the answer is not 156% ideologically pure, refuse to be treated by such violent satrap of the Regime!
    2) Stage a raid on a warehouse with the medical masks from Russia, and expropriate every single one of them! In order to prevent innocent bystanders from ever using such vile tools of Russian propaganda in their daily life, find a new and creative way to dispose of them. One such use is beloved by all truly patriotic members of the Ukrainian civil society (like C14 and “UPA-UNSO”) – use them to make torches for your next rally!
    3) Be proactive citizen – refuse to use Russian lung ventilators! Die a free person!
    _______
    *) But not too bright as not to offend epileptics.

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