Russian flag

WHICH G2? Another G20. People met inside, ate, said things and outside Sorosian rioters rioted – watch the video! – (but not spun as a Maidan-like celebration of Europeanness, just car burnings). But the important part was the G2 when Trump and Putin finally met. As everyone knows, the meeting seems to have gone well and went well over time. Some level of agreement on Syria, Ukraine and cyberstuff. But we'll see whether Washington keeps the agreement: with its inconsistent messaging and Deep State sabotage against Trump (did Comey cook the latest nothingburger?), it is unclear whether Trump can deliver. Or maybe the really important meeting was the other G2 with Putin and Xi in Moscow. Both of them can deliver on their promises. The "Chinese-Russian comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation" grows deeper and stronger. Europe sings "Freude, schöner Götterfunken" to the thump of Molotov cocktails and the pop of car windows blowing out. The world is changing.

CORRUPTION. Putin has signed a law creating an online register of former officials dismissed because of corruption. From which I deduce that there are a lot of them. By the way there is a Presidential Council for Countering Corruption which meets periodically.

WHERE IS PUTIN? It's time for another where is Putin panic. He just visited the monastery at Valaam where he often goes on retreat.

RUSSIA INC. "The Russian economy is increasingly becoming self-sufficient and less oil-price dependent." Sanctions do work! (Not necessarily as intended, however.)

FREE LAND. The program of free land in the Far East is about a year old and has been reasonably successful. A problem is that a hectare is either too big or too small. At any event, about 20,000 plots have been registered and nearly 100,000 people have applied.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. More blows. Craig Murray, who claims inside knowledge, reminds us of Seth Rich's murder. Another lawsuit simmers away. An analysis shows the Guccifer 2.0 data had to be a local leak. The latest NYT nonsense is collapsing fast (and may boomerang). Carr remains unconvinced: "The public evidence isn’t enough to identify Russian government involvement, or even identify the nationality of the hackers involved." Oh, and "The FBI requested direct access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) hacked computer servers but was denied", "it was CrowdStrike that told the FBI that it was the Russians." A reminder on how unreliable Crowdstrike is. And how selective the "analysis" was; violating all of the post-Iraq-fiasco procedures, in fact. And, finally, the NYT admits not "all 17" (just a few "hand-picked" analysts, but that's next month's correction). The question remains: what are the Russians supposed to have done?

NONSENSE. Even Newsweek gets it: the US State Department, in its latest Russia-is-the-worst-place-in-the-world report, refers to a lonely bright spot – the city of Kitezh. Which is a mythical Russian city saved from the Mongols by miraculously sinking into a lake.

SYRIA. The ceasefire agreed to by Trump and Putin started on Sunday. Will it last? One must remember that the Kerry-Lavrov ceasefire collapsed when the US attacked Syrian soldiers and, ominously, the US military claims ignorance. This one will be monitored by Russians; Chechen MPs actually. Who would dare meddle with Chechens? And, just out, Macron calls for a "new approach".

WHO YA GONNA BELIEVE? "[T]he Russians are there, they say to fight ISIS. They haven’t fought them much and mostly they just support Assad" says Secdef Mattis. Russians just killed our leader says Daesh. (By the way, you should read the interview – "Iran is certainly the most destabilizing influence in the Middle East". Really!!!! isn't he supposed to be such a student of history? And I guess his reputedly huge library doesn't include Mahan: "We fought on this planet mostly with ground armies until navies became something one hundred years ago." Sheesh!)

THE BUBBLE. Robinson reveals the "Overton Bubble" (read it) that our masters live in. The same people are asked to repeat the same things that they said before; nothing else is acceptable or imaginable.

UKRAINE. A recent Ukrainian poll shows positive views of Russia (44%) outweigh negative (37%) and the regional divide remains. If we add in Donbass, Crimea and the refugees in Russia, it's probably a positive majority. All that suffering, poverty and destruction and nothing's changed. How much longer until Rump Ukraine breaks into its immiscible parts?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

About Patrick Armstrong
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35 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20170713

  1. Matthew says:

    Thank you, Patrick.
    What I don’t understand is why so many policy makers are determined to demonize Russia when a natural alliance would seem to serve the real American interest.
    Of course, by “American interest,” I mean the People of the United States, not just the think tanks and defense contractors.

  2. Fred says:

    “Putin has signed a law creating an online register of former officials dismissed because of corruption. From which I deduce that there are a lot of them. By the way there is a Presidential Council for Countering Corruption which meets periodically.”
    Now there are a pair of ideas to “culturally appropriate”.

  3. We’re into some severe weirdness here. Read the Overton Bubble thing, it seems to be some use as an explanation.
    Watch this for example: Peters is practically foaming at the mouth when asked this question,

  4. jsn says:

    The Overton Bubble article is a good summary of the Overton Window and it’s political implications. A distinction I’ve pushed before I’ll push again here, however, and that is between “liberals” and “the left”.
    The article refers to, “a closed bubble of mainstream left-wing thought unwilling and incapable of engaging with anything outside itself”. It appears to be talking about the Borg in DC, its feeder institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown and Yale and its voice, the Main Stream Media. To suppose that the politicians of the Democratic Party, Ivy League administrators & faculty and our corpretulent Columnists and Senior Editors are somehow of “the left” is a category error: these people are “Liberals”, they are at the center of powerful and very wealthy private institutions that are committed to the 18th Century “Utilitarians” effort to establish a free space for a commercial aristocracy independent of control by Monarchical Aristocracy that was the “establishment” then being challenged. These people are a Liberal Aristocracy that have carved out an elite space and and jealous of their privileges. They are deeply condescending to anyone who’s not submitted to the same credentialing they have and those who have and disagree they call stupid.
    The 18th C liberals, like liberals now, expropriated all the real wealth they could, through “enclosure” and “the Poor Laws” then, student loans, consumer credit and foreclosure mills of six years ago now, from oridnary people. Liberals today have no more in common with “the left” than Adam Smith had with Thomas Payne. Hillary is a Liberal, Sanders is as Left as the Overton window has as yet stretched in the US.

  5. Dr.Puck says:

    Is Putin himself corrupt?
    Has he enriched himself in illegal ways?
    What is his net worth?
    How did he gain his wealth?
    Is it possible that the anti-corruption initiatives in Russia might turn out to be a means for eradicating opponents and their influence?

  6. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Dr. P;
    IMO wealth would mean nothing to a person in Putin’s position. He has all of Russia: the love of her people and the loyalty of her armed forces. He has created a viable Russia and earned the respect of most of the world. I am sure he relishes the enmity of those whose pillage of the Russian natural resources he has (mostly)stopped. He has power. The force is with him. What does he need to steal money for?
    Let us posit, for the time being, that Putin has stolen and off-shored, say, 10 billion US$. If he loses in Russia, is there a single place on the globe he can enjoy that money safely? Do you think he would wish to live like that? Are you thinking of Idi Amin, Baby Doc Duvalier, Tony Blair or Bill Clinton?
    Seems to me that neocons are judging Putin in their own measure, and thereby fooling themselves. Let us see these pull their country back from the jaws of defeat and instill pride in their demoralized countrymen. Perhaps, then, we might listen to such twaddle.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  7. Old Microbiologist says:

    I think this is unanswerable. Putin lives in a world above money and he personally needs nothing and never will, at least as long as he remains in charge.

  8. Fred says:

    Dr. Puck,
    Is it possible that the anti-corruption initiatives in America might turn out to be a means for eradicating opponents and their influence? Let’s ask if Elizabeth Warren is corrupt and using anti-Corruption initiatives to eradicate the influence of opponents?
    How about Bernie Sanders:
    How aobut Debbie Wasserman-Schultz:

  9. prawnik says:

    Well, there’s part of your problem.
    Demonizing Russia serves the Deep State, the Borg, the Blob, whatever you want to call it, very well. Demonizing Russia also is very useful for the establishment in this country.
    Both recognize that you’ve got to have an enemy if you want to do what they intend to. In the case of the Deep State, this is ever increasing control. (“We gotta do this in order to protect you from eeevil russkies!”)
    In the case of the establishment, this is not making reforms. (“We don’t have time for that now and can’t afford it! Russia is about to invade North Dakota!”)

  10. BabelFish says:

    “”We fought on this planet mostly with ground armies until navies became something one hundred years ago.””
    Nelson is spinning in his grave, along with Cook, Preble, Jones, Farragut and host of others.

  11. Peter AU says:

    Kitezh is interesting. How does the white house gather information for its propaganda reports? Local “activists”? If so, sounds like Ru intelligence had a bit of fun.

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree; none of that meant anything to Ataturk or Ayatollah Khomeini.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    LBJ and his ranch comes to my mind as well…

  14. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Yeah, don’t I recall some dustup between the Athenian & Persian fleets at Salamis? As I seem to remember that was a big deal.
    Then, after a steep learning curve against their more proficient rivals, the Carthaginians, the Romans get a leg over and won primacy
    in the Mediterranean Sea. There were repercussions.
    And the fleet of the Holy League rapped the Turks on the snout at the Battle of Lepanto to some effect.
    All of these conflicts at sea happened somewhat earlier than a century prior to Mahan’s writings, and were consequential geopolitically.
    One could multiply examples, surely.

  15. Eliot says:

    Mr. Armstrong,
    ” How much longer until Rump Ukraine breaks into its immiscible parts?”
    But not by Russia’s doing I assume? It would not be in their interest, no?
    – Eliot

  16. johnf says:

    To say nothing of the Athenians, Carthaginians and Vikings. (And the Portuguese and Spaniards).

  17. johnf says:

    Agreed. Here in the UK the wrecking of the Overton Window is coming from the Left, under Corbyn. I would say, looking at the legions of the young he is at the head of, mostly from working class backgrounds, of all races, many of them powerful and intelligent women – who identify themselves first as British working class and only secondarily by their race, gender or sexuality – that they in time are going to sweep all before them (just as the generation of ’45 did).
    What is more interesting is beholding the disintegration of the Overton Bubble. The Blairite liberals within the Labour Party have just been trounced in the General Election. But it is within the Tory Party that the disintegration of the Bubble-ites is most marked.
    The originators of this Overton Bubble – the Thatchers and Tebbits and Lawsons – at least had some cohesion and sense of self and group discipline and team work. They had a common enemy – the Old Left. Those who run the Bubble now are their children. Their Thatcherite parents gave them priveleged upbringings and educations. They are born with an innate sense of entitlement. The ideas they promulgate were not born out of debate and opposition and conviction but just because they’re there and seem eternal.
    With the result that now – faced by serious opposition and deep unpopularity – they are simply disintegrating. They have no sense of loyalty to their fellow Bubble-ites, everyone stabs everyone else in the back, they have no ability to debate or think on their feet. They are like wasps whose Queen has been killed. They cling to power while their opposition use social media instead of the MSM (which is fiersomely hostile but increasingly impotent).
    I never thought I’d live to see this.

  18. LondonBob says:

    Couldn’t disagree more, if they come for your company there is not much you can do about it. Whilst there is corruption in the West there is still the rule of law.
    Putin is the richest man in Russia, wealth means a lot to him. His St Pete network have become fantastically rich, on the other hand they have proven themselves effective and capable rulers, corruption is and always has been a fact of life in Russia.

  19. LondonBob says:

    That Mattis interview is worth reading. Mattis is obviously a man of some intelligence and intellectual curiosity but he seems to be not inclined to learn anything new. Quite clear he sees his role as bending Trump to the correct viewpoints.

  20. Patrick Armstrong says:

    He’s the richest man in the entire galaxy. His net worth is eleventy squintillion buckaroos and it’s all hidden in Panama.

  21. Peter AU says:

    I tried a number of searches some time ago to see if there was anything in the “Putin fantastically rich” meme, but other than bland statements, nothing showed up. Comes across very much like the Russia dunit narrative, where the culprit (Russia/Putin) is found guilty, then the search for evidence commences.
    At one time, I run across an article by a person who had some dealings with Putin in his official capacity in the early to mid nineties. She was part of a small western company requiring a permit to set up business in Russia. Putin looked through the business proposal and rejected it as some points did not comply with Russian laws of the day. The woman who wrote the article, said she fully expected to be hit for a bribe to get the permit, as that was the norm, but the proposal was rejected due to points of law and no bribe was asked for.

  22. Anna says:

    There are people who became indeed obscenely rich on Russian resources, for example, William Browder, who is not even a Russian and who has contributed nothing to Russian Federation. Browder was instrumental in establishing the Magnitsky Act – as well as in demonstrating how easily a freedom of speech could be attacked in the west. By the way, Browder had disposed with the US citizenship as soon as the citizenship became inconvenient money-wise. He is your countrymen now, LondonBob.
    The documentary “Magnitsky Act” by Nekrasov (a known critic of Putin) is currently prohibited for show in the west because the presented facts do not agree with “created reality” a la Karl Rove. Again, the movie is a DOCUMENTARY – you know, like “Two Hundred years Together” by Solzhenitsyn, which is another documentary that documents, with the facts, the life of Jews in Russia/Soviet Union. These facts had such a strong bias against “created reality” that not a single publishing house in the US/UK dares to publish the book. Unlike your frivolous accusations against Putin, the documentary about Magnitsky and Browder (a looter and thief) is filled with the facts . The same is true about “Two Hundred Years Together.”

  23. John_Frank says:

    Thank you Mr. Armstrong for this post, providing your perception of how the Kremlin views events, which is helpful.
    fyi, on Friday TASS reported that:
    State Duma green-lights protocol on deploying Russian air group in Syria
    The agreement and the protocol will be valid for 49 years with the possibility to further prolong them for 25 years

  24. No, it’s how I see events.

  25. Chris Chuba says:

    Whatta thread!
    In the Oliver Stone interview, Putin describes the situation this way, he met with the Oligarchs and said they can keep their ill gotten wealth but from now on must pay taxes and contribute to the Russian Federation. That they will not be able to bribe their way out of trouble (paraphrasing).
    Some of the Oligarchs were subsequently sued for various tax fraud cases, lost their wealth, and emigrated to the U.S. This is the source that proclaims that Putin seized private property to enrich himself.
    Who do we believe in this situation? The meme, Putin is a crook and the richest man in the universe comes mostly from 4 -5 people who have the advantage that the U.S. wants to believe them. The testimony for the Magnistky act came mostly from one person, Browder, described above.
    Talking heads smirk and say that the U.S. treasury or CIA should document the billions of $ that Putin has stolen from Russia. If we had any evidence, or could manufacture it convincingly, don’t you think it would have been released by now? Our number 1 competency is Information Warfare, sigh, I wish it was something less pungent.

  26. Chris Chuba says:

    Dances with Bears discovers the ‘traitor clause’ in the new Congressional sanctions bill.
    It will punish Russian Oligarchs who are patriots while rewarding those who support dissident groups (I wonder if there is a Putin assassination bonus).

    “(A) An identification of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth. …
    B) An assessment of the relationship between individuals identified under subparagraph (A) and President Vladimir Putin or other members of the Russian ruling elite. … (5) The potential impacts of imposing secondary sanctions with respect to Russian oligarchs, Russian state-owned enterprises, and Russian parastatal entities, including impacts on the entities themselves and on the economy of the Russian Federation, as well as on the economies of the United States and allies of the United States.”

    The article does a good job of describing how punitive the new sanctions are on individuals based on their political affiliation. Wow, and we accuse them of meddling. It is a misrepresentation to suggest that this bill is just codifying sanctions to prevent the Administration from removing them without Congressional oversight (I disagree with that limited purpose as well).

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likely, US (and the Western Fortress with her) are going to sanction herself out of leverage with Russia. When it becomes clear that sanctions are not working, she will proceed to try to get others to join her in sanctioning Russia. When that also in turn fails, US will proceed to neogiate with Russia and agree to a 10-year old deal.. Another ceasefire deal, like the JCPOA.

  28. Already has, I would say. Russia is better off, USA hardly affected, EU is worse off. As a small example Canada used to pretty reliably export $500 worth of pork to Russia. That market is all gone for good — Russia, thanks to its clever counter sanctions and wise investment is now self-sufficient in pork. Long since in chicken and soon to be in beef (gestation and growth rates make the difference).
    So my guess is that, when and if the Western-imposed sanctions end, Moscow won’t care very much and it won’t make too much difference.
    Another stunning achievement of the fools and traitors who have been running our countries for two or three decades. (Fools is self-explanatory, traitors? well what do you call people whose every action weakens their own constiutuencies? whether the will it or not.)

  29. DH says:

    Babak, all:
    “As mentioned above SWIFT has disconnected all Iranian banks from its international network as a sanction against Iran. Similarly, in August 2014 the UK planned to press the EU to block Russian use of SWIFT as a sanction due to Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[33] However, SWIFT refused to do so. In their official statement they said, “SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world”.[34] SWIFT also rejected calls to boycott Israeli banks from its network.[35] -wiki
    I assume SWIFT will hold strong regards the potential oligarch targeting. I wonder if Iran might be allowed back in any time soon.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think in that case, the flow of gas to Europe would have been stopped, not to resume for years.
    The thing about Western Fortress that find exasperating is their near-juvenile approach to Power; seemlingly oblivious to the Other Side’s ability to retaliate.

  31. Chris Chuba says:

    Babak and others, I agree in general that the U.S. is overplaying the sanctions card and that it is becoming less effective. But the the DWB article is saying that it can devastate the fortunes of individual Russian oligarchs. So tying sanctions based on their political beliefs is much more intrusive meddling then stealing and then releasing truthful emails during an election cycle U.S. (truth is not supposed to be able to destroy a democracy). It’s a not so subtle hint to encourage a palace revolt.
    I’m not saying that it will work because I do not believe the U.S. is living in reality anymore but just when I think that I cannot be surprised by our hypocrisy, something like this turns up.

  32. John_Frank says:

    Okay, thanks for clarifying. Please accept my regrets.

  33. different clue says:

    The anti-Russia sanctions are an unintended experiment in what Protectionism can allow a country to do for itself/ its economy. The sanctions restrict trade between Russia and non-Russia. The inventors of those sanctions actually believe that Forced Free Trade is good for the countries which the Forced Free Traders target for their Forced Free Trade.
    Russia is treating this non-sale of foreign goods into Russia as the functional equivalent of what Protectionism would be if Russia had applied Protectionist Exclusion its very own self against those same foreign goods.
    If the Russian economy , especially the non-oil sector, grows faster under these sanctions than it did before these sanctions; then Protectionism will be revealed as a successful tool to permit a large country with multi-faceted economic potential to develope its own potential to its own benefit.
    I have read that one of the products now embargoed from sale into Russia is the corn-fed aqua-feedlotted “salmon” grown in Norway and etc. If these sanctions stay in place long enough for Russia to upgrade the Trans-Siberian railroad up to Western European standards, such that wild Kamchatka salmon can be brought to Russia west-of-the-Urals as easily as Norwegian farmed “salmon” was brought there, the Russians may well decide they like Kamchatka REAL salmon more than they liked Norwegian farmed “salmon” anyway. At which point, Protectionism will have shown itself to be completely superior to Forced Free Trade in terms of monetizing and availabilizing good quality REAL salmon into the Russian marketplace.

  34. DH says:

    Chris, Babak, thanks. Reality on the ground works both ways, i.e., Europe prefers not to freeze to death this winter. I recall Putin giving them a taste of that a few years ago.
    It would be nice if this bill had arisen from the rabble of the House, but no. Congress reminds me of Wile E. Coyote, except Wiley was sincere.

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