RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20 AUGUST 2020 By Patrick Armstrong

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RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 942K; total deaths 16,099; tests per 1 million 229K. Russia has done 33.5 million tests (third after China and USA); among countries with populations over 10M it's done the most tests per million.

SPUTNIK VACCINE. Bernhard covers the meretricious headlines in the Western media. CNN's deduction is especially irrelevant "Putin and his interests are routinely supported by an unbelievable three quarters of voters. Three-quarters of Americans don't agree on much of anything". The foundation the vaccine is built on. Production photos. Official website so you can see for yourself what they claim.

WARNING. In what we must assume an official statement, two senior officers state that any incoming ballistic missile will be assumed to be a nuclear attack. So this is where we are after low-yield nukes, Obama's modernisation program and killing arms control treaties. Balance of terror and MAD return.

SAME SAME. Navalniy "poisoned". Again. He does appear to be seriously sick this time, though.

PRISONS. Russia has a large prison population, but has been gradually reducing it. It has fallen below 500K which is about half what it was twenty years ago. But still high by European standards.

MEDIA. "There is more diversity of thought – and criticism of government foreign policy – in the Russian mainstream print media than the American equivalent. That's a fact." (Brian MacDonald, an Irish reporter working for RT and living in Russia.)

EDUCATION. Russian universities rank low. USA UK rank best in pandemics. Ranking lists are GIGO.

US TROOP WITHDRAWAL. 12K out of Germany, half to USA, 1000 to Poland, rest stay in Europe.

THE DEATH OF IRONY. Twitter has decided to label "state media" starting with the P5. Amazingly enough, only two of the five qualify to be labelled. RFE/RL ("funded by the U.S. Congress") is not. BBC World Service (government-funded) is not. And so on. Gaslighting.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA I. "Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem". Everything on Russian media is controlled by Putin. Everything Rachel Maddow says about Putin is true. Anyone who questions this is a dupe or puppet. Repeat for 77 pages. Senate report: ditto but take 1000 pages.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA II. Russia is backing Donald Trump, China is supporting Joe Biden and Iran is seeking to sow chaos in the U.S. presidential election…”. I guess that means that Russia and China will cancel each other out and Iran will choose the winner.

BELARUS. Obviously another colour revolution directed from outside. Lukashenka won the election (not by 80% – my guesstimate – 60% or so) but a lot of people are tired of him. He tried to play both sides but now understands that the West wants him dead or gone and only Putin can save him; that is why he has invoked the Union Treaty. And there is the military alliance. So, if Belarus's independence is threatened from the outside (as it is) Moscow can intervene on request. The Russian mercenary story was a (typically incompetent) SBU plot; all are back in Russia. The West sternly warns Lukashenka not to shoot protesters in the eye with rubber bullets or kneel on their necks. (Pompeo, when asked if it's hypocrisy: "Even your question is insulting.") I expect the colour revolution to fail but Lukashenka will, as they used to say, "retire at his own request for health reasons". Putin told Merkel and Macron outside interference was "unacceptable" (strong language for him). Lukashenka has told the Interior Ministry to restore order. Two facts you may not know: Lukashenka says he was offered a World Bank loan if he did a COVID lockdown and Belarus is important for OBOR. A third: the white-red-white flag the protesters all seem to have (another sign of a colour revolution – where do they all come from so suddenly?) was used by nazi collaborators. (The conductors of these performances really have no idea, do they? Belarus lost a quarter of its population in the war).

MOSCOW AND BELARUS. Moscow doesn't care what kind of government Belarus has. Become part of Russia? Nice, maybe, someday; but not if its economy is a drain. What Moscow will not permit (and the treaties give it the entry) are Belarus becoming 1) a hostile military alliance base 2) a constant source of problems. Moscow would have been perfectly happy with a neutral, independent and prosperous Ukraine. (And in retrospect, I'll bet most of the supporters of Maidan would prefer it too).

BELARUS AND ITS NEIGHBOURS. Not leaking population like the Baltics. Much better off than Ukraine. No wars like Russia. OK there's Poland, but it got enormous help from the EU (and still does). Not such a paltry record, is it?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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27 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20 AUGUST 2020 By Patrick Armstrong

  1. Avatar JohninMK says:

    Good summary again. Interesting things brewing up east of the Euphrates with the Arab vs Kurds pressures becoming clearer. Basically uninvited US and uninvited Kurds versus the local Arabs who are starting to grow a pair. The Russians also lost another Major General, probably to an ISIS IED, this week.
    As to Belarus, the locals are yet again, as so often with these colour revolutions, being led astray with the image of living life like we do in the West. Unfortunately it seems to slip the encouragers minds to mention that it is only possible with debt, lots of it. Also that all to money to help Poland on its way has now been spent (converted into debt actually) and as you say, now the UK is out there is no prospect of more. Definitely no mention of asking the Ukrainians how it went for them.
    To a degree I suspect that some Russians might like a bit of chaos in Belarus as no doubt, as per Ukraine, large numbers of educated, Christian and Russian speakers would move east. Boosting again their population. Whilst the poor old EU can only take in uneducated, non Christian, foreign language speakers to boost theirs.
    Showing what good NATOers they are, Poland is accepting another 1000 US troops and a HQ this week on top of placing an order for 4 off Boeing 737-Max, sorry should have said 737-8. An example of rebranding at its finest.

  2. Avatar Flavius says:

    It’s a pleasure to read Russian Sitreps, reporting on Russia by someone who actually understands something about Russia. America-Hysterica has imposed costs on America that cross the entire spectrum of costs, willful ignorance towards reality chief among them. History will be unkind to the notorious Hildabeast for her role perpetuating America-Hysterica by staggering out of her post election funk on the crutch of “it was Putin done me in.” But who knows what may happen between now and when the historians weigh in.

  3. Avatar Per says:

    From RT today on mr 5th column liberast named navalny.
    “Independent Moscow daily Kommersant, citing Telegram channel Pod’yem, claimed doctors suspected the use of drugs along with alcohol, the night before, may be a factor in Navalny’s illness. However, his spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, rubbished these claims, saying the activist didn’t drink alcohol on Wednesday.”
    I almost choked on my coffe when i read that denial from his handler😂

  4. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    The Navalny thing stinks of another Skripalesque attempt by (MI6?) to paint Putin as the caricature of an evil Bond villain. The timing stinks of an attempt to reinforce the proto color revolution next door.
    Anyway, now that Lukashenko has had time to contemplate alternative uses for Minsk lampposts, I expect he will prove remarkably cooperative during the Russian-brokered transition to a new government. I understand that his current position is that a change to the constitution is required before another election can be held. Might not a constitutional referendum present other opportunities too – such as bolstering the Union State? Russia is fresh from its own such exercise and will be more than happy to advise I’m sure.

  5. Barbara Ann. A cynic (not that I am — Heaven forfend!) might wonder whether Navalniy is now worth more dead than alive.

  6. Avatar Lyttennnburgh says:

    Re: Colour revolution (attempt) in Byelorussia.
    1) Exhibit A. Frau/Pani newest darling of the West presidential candidates Tykhanovskaya recent outing with the world class ghoul internevtionist Bernard Henri-Levi: https://twitter.com/BHL/status/1296117234545438721
    2) Exhibit B. “Human chain flash mob” planned for this Sunday by the usual suspects (think Atlantic Council drones) https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-america-can-save-belarus-%E2%80%98europe%E2%80%99s-last-dictator%E2%80%99-167198. Plus a shop list of the predictable demands: neoliberal looting of the country, co-optation of the “civil society” by the Western power block agencies, no to integration with Russia, closure of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant. “EU and NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland would particularly like to see Belarus integrate into the European community” (c). Oh, and entice Elon Musk to help with free Net… somehow. And I remind you, that western propacondom newsies tried to present this as “not aimed at Russia” since day one.
    3) Exhibit C. What Western propacondom newsies won’t show to their target viewership. Pro-Lukashenko rallies across the country: https://twitter.com/trah_babah/status/1296463794940649472. And this is in Gomel’, i.e. in the Western part of the country: https://twitter.com/borisenkodmitr/status/1296138581526941697. Note the prevalence of the normal Byelorussian flags, not the w-r-w “used menstrual pads” of the local Maidowns.
    Re: Navalny.
    I sincerely do not understand why the entire “free” world is doing such loud kipesh over a jobless blogger with 2 suspended prison terms.

  7. Lyttennnburgh. Strange how “democracy” is spelt N-A-T-O isn’t it? PS Putin should stop wasting his time poisoning trivial Russian opponents and slip a little Baldo into BHL’s tea.

  8. Avatar J says:

    I find it interesting how the Russian hypersonic weapons are really not for a U.S. threat, but for the China threat. Putin and Russia well remember the almost crack the planet affair of 1969. Most of our U.S. can only relate the Cuban Missile Crisis, and know little to nothing about the Soviet-China exchange that almost set off nuclear mushroom(s) plural.
    Oh well, time for a cup-o-java

  9. Avatar Lyttennnburgh says:

    In Bernard-Levi’s case it ought to be a cream cake:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhalkX8rf88
    TRADITION!
    P.S. Turns out “entartage” is a real word after all…

  10. @Patrick
    might wonder whether Navalniy is now worth more dead than alive.
    Yep, the guy is, ahem, for all intents and purposes became a “used condom” and may go the way of Nemtsov. There are also some :movements” on the so called “left” flank, or “systemic patriots” who may this premonition of them going (and good riddance) the same way of Russian liberda. Indeed, bar some tired Soviet nostalgia slogans they have nothing to offer. Zyuganov is a comic figure soon to be on par with Zhirik, but at least Zhirik is allowed into court as a jester. They hurt.

  11. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    Lyttennnburgh
    Thanks for the links to pro Lukashenko rallies.
    If anyone is wondering why the Twitter links don’t work, just remove the “.” at the end of the URL 🙂

  12. Barbara Ann and Lyttennnburgh. This piece is interesting. https://www.stalkerzone.org/putins-quiet-ingenious-belarus-special-operation/
    The thing about colour revolutions is that the first few times they surprise you, after that they’re predicable. Looks as if Moscow has figured out what to do.

  13. Avatar Seneschal says:

    @Per

    It would imply that he is a practicing Orthodox Christian. The Orthodox fast every Wednesday and Friday – no meat, no dairy, no oil, no alcohol.

  14. Avatar ISL says:

    Second Flavius: these sitreps are a geopolitical pleasure to read.
    Suggestion (which you may have done once) – several of your topics (MEDIA, AMERICAN HYSTERIA, SAME SAME) are illustrations of the self licking ice-cream cone.
    Interestingly, RT tone has shifted in the course of the last week from approving of the protests, to pointing out the flaws in the protest movement (e.g., does the common person really want to replicate Ukraine in Belorussia?). Consistent with a Russia wanting Lukashenka to panic (done) and then retire after a short period of time (and no further stalling on the Union State).
    It will be interesting to see whether vaccine diplomacy plays a role. The choice of Philippines for Phase 3 tests is obvious outreach.

  15. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    Thanks Patrick, that was an interesting potted history of the White and Red revolution so far.
    I would be astonished if Moscow had not anticipated exactly the series of events described, including Lukashenko losing Western support and thus being re-oriented towards Russia by the sense self preservation.
    The result of Lukashenko’s new status in the West as a used prophylactic, to use Andrei’s analogy, is so advantageous that it wouldn’t surprise me if Russian Intelligence even conspired to help engineer, or at least permit, the inevitable revolution attempt.
    Belarus is not Ukraine and has no equivalent of the latter’s rabidly Russiaphobic Banderite contingent, AFAIK. Thus the revolutionaries have no core around which to coalesce. Any overt Western interference and it’s Anschluss time.
    Yes Luka must go, but all in good time and I am sure a popular pro Russian candidate can be found before the election rerun (I understand one of the candidates Luka locked up may fit the bill, but I forget his name). Who knows, the right person may eventually even swing the pendulum of public opinion the other way, towards reintegration with the RF.
    I hope Tikhanovskaya enjoys Lithuanian cuisine, she may be there a long time.

  16. Avatar J says:

    Here’s Russia’s policy that Putin signed 2 June.
    http://static.kremlin.ru/media/events/files/ru/IluTKhAiabLzOBjIfBSvu4q3bcl7AXd7.pdf
    Putin sees that the greater the clarity, the greater the deterrence. This is a defensive policy.
    The straight-forwardness of the document leave little room for conjecture. One can read it also as being directed towards China as well as the NATO alliance. It serves as a not so subtle warning that if China screws with Russia they’d be joining NATO as a legitimate target.

  17. Avatar JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Yep, Navalny as more useful to his handlers dead than alive after years of futility trying to deceive Russians about his quisling role was my initial thought. Putin swatting at this wholly irrelevant gnat makes as much sense as the claimed poisoning that other tool a while back with polonium did; in other words, it doesn’t make sense, and it didn’t happen as claimed by the butthurt zionists and their shabbos goys. They instead wind up having to settle for some counterproductive nonsense such as the Magnitsky Act for their pains. (It was telling, indeed, that Our Wise Solons in Congress Assembled cozied up to criminal Browder to get this passed; puts you in mind of how comfortable they are with lying and criminality in all of their doings, it does.)

  18. Avatar Lyttennnburgh says:

    2Barbara Ann
    More importantly, Byelorussia lacks oligarchs, that’s why it lacks such big numbers of easily mobilized and militarized nationalist parties. The essence of this coup attempt lies in desire for some people to become oligarchs after implementation of the neo-liberal “reform” program, advocated by Tykhanovskaya cronies.
    Add to that the desire of the countries making up the northern flank of the Butthurt Belt of Europe to solve some of their domestic problems by having “short victorious” eco-political war. E.g., former candidate to the presidency of Byelorussia have arrived to Poland (from the Ukraine) earlier this week. This Tuesday he met with the Polish Foreign Affairs minister, who, of course, expressed solidarity with the protesters and condemnation of the “tyrant”. Next day that Polish minister resigned, officially, due to PiS party’s own pre election pledge to “rotate cabinet members”. His replacement is already causing an uproar from Poland’s sensitive liberals and progressives, ‘cuz the guy wrote an article titled “Stop the LGBT Ideology, Stop the Civilization of Death”.
    How else can Poland unite its public? It’s either proclaim a crusade against Russia, or dig out (again) Kazcysky’s body for yet another autopsy.

  19. Avatar Serge says:

    I just saw video, filmed from a few feet away by a Syrian soldier, of the Russian general and others being killed by IED near Sukhnah earlier this week. Very sloppy stuff, to have high ranking commanders walking around in this area.

  20. @Serge
    Watch documentary on Russian-Georgian War of 08-08-08 and see where General Khrulev was and why he got wounded. That may explain to you Russian highest officers’ mindset.
    https://youtu.be/hdwKylOslo0

  21. Avatar J says:

    Belarus will be conducting military exercises Aug 28 through the 31st. The exercises are under Belarus’s West Operational Command. The tactical exercises include a myriad of assets, drones, EW, airborne, armor, motorized rifle, Belarus’s 103rd airborne. The training is being held at the 174th’s training grounds in the Brest region. Triple A training by the 6th and 11th mechanized brigades.
    On another note the Belarus President has ordered his military to track NATO force movements in Poland and Lithuania.
    Russian FSB negated a kidnapping plot by Ukraine’s Intelligence services to kidnap the Donbass military commander. Two of the kidnappers were acting on assignment by Ukraine’s Counter Intelligence. The Ukraine kidnapping force comprised of two assault groups. Ukraine intelligence in addition had two other kidnappings in planning stages that the Russian FSB also foiled.

  22. Avatar JamesT says:

    The numbers of protesters continues to increase. I am not so naive to not understand that western powers are involved in this, but I think that the Belarussians are also fed up with Lukashenko. Belarus is very much in play. My big question is – will Belarus be offered EU membership? This is the biggest card that Washington/Berlin have to play.
    As for “Moscow would have been perfectly happy with a neutral, independent and prosperous Ukraine” … I don’t think that is quite true. Before Maidan, Ukraine was being told *both* by the EU and by Russia that they had to choose … they could have a free trade agreement with one or the other.

  23. Avatar JamesT says:

    To follow up on my previous comment about possible EU membership for Belarus – while I think it would be very enticing for Belarussians, I am not sure that the EU will offer Belarus this because it could tilt the dynamics within the EU towards being less hostile to Russia. If a country within the EU is pro-Russia and wants good relations with Russia, that would push the EU towards being less hysterically hostile to Russia.

  24. Navalniy’s “poisoning” turned out to be diabetic shock, according to Bernhard. https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/08/navalny-was-not-poisoned.html

  25. Avatar J says:

    Patrick,
    I may turn out to be wrong, but I see Lukashenko weathering the storm. Moscow can’t afford Belarus becoming another NATO lily pad.

  26. Avatar J says:

    I would be curious as to the results of the ‘stuff’ found on Navalniy’s clothing. What had that boy stepped into? Hmm……

  27. Avatar J says:

    Ukraine Intelligence isn’t having a good couple of months. First they screw up their Belarus affair, and then they screw up trying to obtain Russian National Security Secrets. FSB has been busting their attempts, with the latest being 2 Russian service personnel arrested these past couple of weeks for trying to pass Russian States Secrets to Ukraine Intelligence. Not only that, but Ukraine’s attempts at kidnapping have been like a bug splattering on a windshield, the windshield being the Russian FSB. Smack!
    It appears that the Russian FSB know what they’re going to do before they do it. Russian Intelligence has learned some hard lessons, and they don’t want that history repeating itself.

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