RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 2 SEPTEMBER 2021 by Patrick Armstrong

QUESTION. How many in the former USSR and Warsaw Pact now think that they made the correct bet in the 1990s? How about Western Europe? This will be one of the biggest geopolitical questions for the 2020s. The Afghanistan disaster will have very significant downstream effects; much more than the Vietnam defeat. That was one thing but this is another: in 1975 NATO had a purpose because the USSR was still there; China was poor and weak; the Shah still ruled. Afghanistan wasn’t just a defeat of the Washington’s neocon cabal and revelation of the duplicity of the military-industrial-media complex, it was the finish of post Cold War triumphantasies, moralistic finger-wagging, superior values boasting, NATO adventurism, “nation-building” and many other delusions widely shared in the West.

RESCUE. There are still a lot of NATO and Tabaquis left behind in Afghanistan – what do you bet they make their way to the Russian Embassy to ask to be helped out? And Moscow will do it – the propaganda value is too great to pass up: Russia – the reliable partner.

AFGHANISTAN. Another exercise on Afghanistan’s periphery: Combat Commonwealth-2021. Troops from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic will be involved. Mostly air defence which is an interesting choice.

WATCH THIS. They tell you Russia is a decaying rathole, check this out: Gelendzhik 2010 and now.

ELECTIONS. Duma elections will be held on the 19th and the pedestal party (United Russia) isn’t doing too well. The communists (KPRF) and Zhirinovsky’s party (LDPR) may triumph in some regions but most expect UR to keep a working majority overall. Putin – who’s not formally a member of UR – and other government people are out busily bribing the taxpayers with their own money.

NAVALNIY. A documentary takes a look at the “poisoning” and concludes it was likely a mishap from lithium. Meanwhile, in an interview from prison, he complains that the worst thing is official TV. (BTW, didn’t Western “news” outlets spend weeks telling us that Putin was determined to kill Navalniy and actually tried twice; why aren’t they wondering why he’s still alive? The answer of course – which shows you what Western coverage of Russia really is – is that details in war propaganda aren’t supposed to be remembered: they’re just made up and ignored as needed to create the enemy picture.)

IMPORT SUBSTITUTION. As everyone knows, Putin is skilled at judo which is the art of using the opponent’s strengths against him. When sanctions were imposed after Maidan, Moscow cleverly imposed counter-sanctions on food. This, plus government support, has resulted in Russia becoming pretty much food independent. Likewise many other industries have profited from import substitution. The next area is what you might call electronic independence. Even the Moscow Times has to admit that Russia has made huge improvements here too. Russia is gradually becoming a rather curious economic beast – a economically self-sufficient country with high-demand exports. Pretty strong position, I think.

PLUTOCRATS. Forbes (not that I take it very seriously – anybody remember when it put Chernomyrdin at the top?) has decided that Tatiana Bakalchuk and her husband are Russia’s richest. What’s interesting is that they didn’t use their connections to steal stuff in the 1990s but made it from their e-commerce company Wildberries. Banned in Ukraine, of course.

TANK BIATHALON. Loud and dirty things you can do in a tank.

GARBAGE. A subject that has featured in the last few Putin Q&A sessions is garbage dumps. It seems that the communists were pretty casual and the problems are building up. People complain of nasty messes near them and the Natural Resources Minister has warned that facilities in more than 20 regions will run out of space within the next two or three years. There is a plan and I expect that the problem will – as so many others have been – gradually be ameliorated. Plastics ban?

THE DEATH OF IRONY. “Ukraine Shuts Down Opposition Media – U.S. Ambassador Applauds ‘Daring Act’, Calls For Support“. What actually happened is that Medvedchuk’s party is more popular than Zelensky’s; so shut his news outlets down and put him under house arrest. Perfectly acceptable and praiseworthy because… Putin!

ENDING? Biden, in his end of Afghanistan speech said: “we’ve got to learn from our mistakes… This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries”. Does that mean out of Iraq and Syria too? Or is the key word here “major”? which in practice means no change (they all start as minor, soon-to-be-over victory parades.)

Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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17 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 2 SEPTEMBER 2021 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Datil D says:

    Saudi Arabia signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia this week against US wishes that any allies do so, guess the Saudi’s don’t see any future after Trump’s replacement with Biden’s handlers.

  2. Lytenburgh says:

    >”revelation of the duplicity of the military-industrial-media complex”

    The US of A *IS* Military-Industrial (and media) complex. “Arsenal of the Democracy”, remember? Singer Sewing Machine Corporation can make heavy machine guns, Whirlpool Washing used to make barrels for heavy rifled mortars (still can in theory). There are plans still in effect how to harness their industrial plants for war effort in a sec.

    This “revelation” won’t do anyone good. Because, really – whatcha gonna do about it? They are virtually non-outsourcable bread-winners and job-providers for high and low.

    >”it was the finish of post Cold War triumphantasies, moralistic finger-wagging, superior values boasting, NATO adventurism, “nation-building” and many other delusions widely shared in the West.”

    Press X for “Doubt”.

    >”government people are out busily bribing the taxpayers with their own money.”

    If you, Mr. Armstrong, think that Russians could be “bribed” with that, then you either don’t know or don’t respect the Russian people.

    Because – Liberal God forbid! – you can’t accidentally take the things at their face value, instead.

    But I thank you for a very forthcoming “middle-class” top-notch elitist sneering. So refreshing.

    • LeaNder says:

      If you, Mr. Armstrong, think that Russians could be “bribed” with that

      I tried to wrap my head around “bribing people with ‘their own’ money” … Took a second. Admittedly … Fear of a communist takeover in Russia? To the extent I checked expat insider Anatoly Karlin, at least concerning the last time around, he suggested that if any the Nationalists have a bigger chance, although minimal.

      Now Lytt, dear:
      Because – Liberal God forbid! – you can’t accidentally take the things at their face value, instead.

      I’m trying to decipher this and the next paragraph too? Admittedly.
      Who is the liberal God vs the “god”(?!) of United Russia vs the communist and nationalist parties?

      • LeaNder says:

        correction:
        he suggested that if any the Nationalists have a bigger chance, although minimal.

        The nationalist frontman had a lot more chances than the communist one. Although, as I put it before, ignorable ones.

    • @Lytenburgh
      I see I have once again offended The Only One Who Really Knows.
      Dear oh dear. I guess I’ll cry myself to sleep again.

      • Lytenburgh says:

        Why thank you for your fine compliment, Mr. Armstrong. You do know how to charm a fellow.

        Bless your heart.

    • Peter Williams says:

      Singer could make .50 BMGs and they were the finest .50 BMGs used by Australia, far better than GM or Ford variants, Why? A BMG is a timed weapon, much like a sewing machine, timing is everything. But could Singer today build a BMG, I doubt it.

    • d74 says:

      @ Lytenburgh

      For your first part (arsenal of the democracies).
      I had, in Germany, in my weapons inventory 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, your Browning 50 M2 HB.
      They had been manufactured by General Motors, division Frigidaire of Brasil in 1944. The friction parts (breech) were treated with stainless steel or something similar. Legend had it that they were made to face extreme cold on the Russian front. (USA, arsenal of a not so democratic one…)
      50 M2 HB, a powerful and precise weapon, puncture-proof. Delicate to reassemble after a complete cleaning. (Go/NoGo gauge, unforgettable). The French army still uses them.

  3. Leith says:

    Patrick – Periphery? It’s a bit far from Sary Shagan to the Afghan border. Perhaps four or five times the range of the S-400. Or does that exercise include locations in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan? And what happened to the Russian/Tajik ground forces exercises down near the border with Afghanistan, are those finished?

    In other news, sorry to hear Lavrov say Moscow has no intention to play role of mediator between the Taliban and the Panjshir Resistance. I’ve heard that many in southern Tajikistan are volunteering to assist Masoud and Saleh.

  4. elkern says:

    Tank Biathlon! Yee-ha!

    I love the wild & crazy side of Russian culture; it really resonates with the wonderful nuttiness of the America I know & love: Bugs Bunny, Demolition Derby, Rock-n-Roll, Bungee Jumping, etc…

    And, oh yeah, thanks for the sober news too!

    • Peter Williams says:

      Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tLZ3vpSjUY 2019 Biathlon.
      Imagine if in 2022, there were US, UK and German teams competing. This would be truly spectacular.

      • elkern says:

        Yeah, it would be very interesting to see how US, Brit, & German tanks stack up against Russian & others; I’d much rather we learn this way than in WWIII.

        I read that the Indians brought their own tanks one year but they broke down in practice runs so they wound up using Russian tanks. Looks like China was the only country which actually used their own tanks.

  5. James says:

    One thing that I think Putin doesn’t get, as per the ‘Russia’s Drive to Replace Foreign Technology Is Slowly Working’ article in Moscow Times, is that it is not just that “open-source technology is immune to Western sanctions” … its that anyone can assign their developers to these projects.

    Sooner or later Russia and China will wake up and start sponsoring their engineers to become important contributors to projects like PostgreSQL. Thus they will come to have more influence/control over the infrastructure that the entire world is running on.

    Maybe 60% of the software on your iPhone is open-source and that percentage is growing every year.

  6. Deap says:

    Do you think, now in retrospect, Biden flying the Rainbow Flag from the Kabul Embassy was not such a great idea. And US declaration of LGBT Month across Afghanistan was a victim of insensitive timing?

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