Happy Christmas, so to speak, as it were, sort of. Let’s hope.

ULTIMATUM. Moscow has had enough. “Do they really think we do not see these threats [угроз]? Or do they think that we will just stand idly watching threats to Russia emerge? This is the problem: we simply have no room to retreat“. Excellent backgrounder from Doctorow. Here they are: draft USA/Russia treaty and draft Russia/NATO agreement. Short summary: after enumerating all the agreements these people have signed up to (remember all the stuff about “Rules-Based International Order”?) the drafts flesh out the principle that security is mutual. Neither should make the other nervous; if one party feels threatened, the issue will be resolved by negotiation. Neither is to station nuclear weapons outside its territory (which means the USA will have to pull back); no further expansion of NATO. Or to put it another way, USA/NATO must formally commit in writing to what they promised back then: “U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous ‘not one inch eastward’… was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders… according to declassified documents…”. Maybe Washington hears. USN seems to get it. We stand at the edge.

OR ELSE. All ultimatums have an “Or Else” – possibilities that I see. Two points – Russia will not “invade” Ukraine – it is a huge decaying, lawless, collapsed, unstable liability and Russia doesn’t want to rescue it, pay for it or police it. (This has been clear to me for years.) But it will respond powerfully to any foolishness from the Ukronazis. Second, stopping Nord Stream only costs Moscow money (it has plenty: USD620 billion-worth) but it will cost Germany much more.

TREATIES. There were four key Cold War arms control treaties, negotiated with much effort. The CFE Treaty controlled conventional weapons. The INF Treaty banned medium range nuclear weapons. START regulated the big nuclear weapons. Open Skies, the least of the four, allowed inspection flights (Moscow withdrew Saturday). All that remains is a feeble version of START. For all their deficiencies they kept the lid on things and created a level of trust and interaction. All were killed by Washington (blaming Moscow of course). This is part of Moscow’s motive to force a re-start.

KENNAN saw it all coming a quarter of a century ago: “a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs”.

GUNS. Since last Sitrep: super anti-submarine torpedo, Okhotnik dropping PGM, RPV shooting down helicopter target, mass production of Tsirkon begun, two new SSNs and two new Airborne regiments.

CORRUPTION. University report suggests extensive kickbacks in state contracts.

JUST NUKES AND OIL. A large maternity centre opened in Khanty-Mansi Region.

PUTIN PRESS CONFERENCE. I’ll cover it next Sitrep. Summary from Sputnik.

BATTLE ON THE ICE MEMORIAL. Check it out. Powerful. Speaking of Russia’s attitude today…

RUSSIA/CHINA. The two presidents talk (Kremlin) (Beijing). Xi: “China and Russia need to launch more joint actions to uphold the security interests of the two sides more effectively. China and Russia need to step up coordination and collaboration in international affairs, be more vocal on global governance”. Washington should understand that Beijing is a co-signer of Moscow’s ultimatum.

MH17. The Dutch “trial” hops along to its pre-ordained conclusion.

WESTERN VALUES™. CSIS comes to call. Knowing what my American colleagues went through, and knowing that when Shere Khan growls, Tabaqui obeys, I informed SCF that I would stop writing for them and thanked them – always published what I sent, never tried to shape it, never changed a word and always treated me right. More from Ron Paul’s site.

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. This takes the cake – boy oh boy when we do a whole bunch of stuff that there’s no way we ever will, you’ll be sorry then, you nasty people!

RUSSIA-UKRAINE RELATIONS. A Levada poll shows some interesting results. (Googlish) To me the most important finding is that about half of each think relations should be those of separate countries but without visa and customs barriers. (I suspect the Kremlin gets its views about Ukraine from sources like this rather than opeds in the WaPo or Guardian. Where does the White House get its do you suppose?)

UKRAINE. Zelensky likes to live dangerously – he’s shutting down the largest opposition party, attacked one of the plutocrats and decided to charge his predecessor with treason. Whole thing will probably blow up soon. In the cold.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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13 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 23 DECEMBER 2021 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Ed Lindgren says:

    The Quincy Institute’s Anatol Lieven posted a column to the QI’s webpage a couple days ago which states that Ted Cruz is maneuvering for a vote in the Senate early in January to apply yet more sanctions on the Russian/German Nord Stream 2 project.

    The U.S. is concerned that the pipeline represents a ‘security risk’ for Europe. The Germans, with the largest economy in Europe (and #4 in the world), are big boys and girls who can probably make up their own minds about how risky it is to pipe natural gas from Siberia.

    On the other hand, Mr. Cruz represents the state of Texas, and he undoubtedly has constituents who would much rather have Europe purchase expensive natural gas produced in Texas (and with an added premium because it has to be liquified for transport overseas). Russia just represents competition.

    But then again Cruz is a dedicated Russiaphobe, easily in the same class as the late John McCain. That mindset is a liability that tends to cloud one’s better judgment. Although I can understand it in the case of McCain; no doubt the result of all the years he spent as a ‘guest’ of the North Vietnamese in Hanoi.

  2. Christian J. Chuba says:

    An off the cuff question for anyone who has driven in either Russia or China and the U.S. Who has better traffic lights? Our Think Tank guys in DC are always churning out articles about how Russia and China are declining economically and it reminds me of the 70’s when the Soviet Union used to brag about their economy. The answer that we always gave was, ‘look at the store shelves’, to get past the spin.

    I do not know the answer to this question. I am genuinely curious about it.

    The U.S. has simple timed traffic lights. Many but not all can adjust their time based on whether or not a car is waiting right in front of it. Oh, and the car has to be in the perfect spot to be seen. In the U.S., I don’t see any fancy processing beyond that.

  3. ISL says:

    Dear PA,

    Agree on Ukraine, and Defense minister Shoigu declaring that via mercenaries the US has brought chemical weapons into Ukraine (true or false is not relevant) sets the stage for a “powerful response to Ukronazi foolishness.” Clearly the US is hoping for this scenario as the weapons being sent to Ukraine will no more change the balance of power than the Afghanistan weapons.

    I foresee hypersonic missiles in Cuba based on President Putin’s comment about they (US) should feel a nuclear threat on their doorstep. Thoughts?

    Russia is number four in electrical energy usage, which can be considered a proxy for economic strength without worrying about purchasing parity and other biases economists are want. Not perfect given climate and insulation and cultural differences.
    and well above, say, Germany. Not just oil and nukes (neither of which need much energy).

    • My suspicion is that there already is a nuke threat to USA’s doorstep. What there hasn’t been since 1814 is a CONVENTIONAL threat to the USA mainland. (recall that USA/Canada went nuts when the Japanese occupied some far away island in the Aleutians.) That’s what Moscow is threatening. Just how — well I speculate in my paper.
      The other possibility that I can see is the obliteration of the Azov Bn.

      • ISL says:

        I would not shed a tear if the swastika bearing Azon Bn was ground into fertilizer.

        From your paper:
        “Moscow could make a public demonstration of what Poseidons can do and show in a convincing way that they are at sea off the US coast. Ditto with Burevestnik.”

        Unless they blow up something, it is hard to see the US taking it seriously. That was the reasoning behind dropping little fat man on people rather than an island. But what to blow up without risking nuclear escalation. Maybe an abandoned bridge?

        Another possibility is overflying an aircraft carrier at say 60k ft and frying all its electronics. My guess is an aircraft carrier is too large to tow, presumably it would be evacuated and sunk to prevent beaching in enemy territory.

  4. zmajcek says:

    Can Russia live without Youtube, Google, Iphone, Android, Microsoft, Siemens, Swift and countless other western technologies ?

    This is what it will get hit by 1st, rather than missiles. Reminds me of Asimov’s Foundation 1st crises.

    • In a word yes. Most of these already have Russian or Chinese equivalents.

    • cccn says:

      They can’t really sanction off YouTube/Google, as it would be trivial to bypass that via VPN; though they already have Russian alternatives to them (RuTube & Yandex). Android is OpenSource n’ they’ll end up using Chinese smartphones instead – Xiaomi/Huawei/Honor (& Others) are already very popular due to their price. Such sanctions would only kill off competition for Russian/Chinese products in the Russian market.

      Swift is the most interesting because it’s not really a technological breakthrough in any way. The only effort here is in releasing an alternative system out into the world as a standard. That said, it is almost impossible for the Russians to be kicked out as the Europeans need to agree. What will they use to pay for Russian gas/oil products? It is not serious enough to even take into account.

  5. Fred says:

    ” And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.”

    It’s much worse than that; our Harvardesque elites looted the shell of the USSR with unrestrained glee. They are doing the same thing here.

  6. MILLER says:

    I think Patrick errs in stating that the hold on SP-2 will cost Gasprom and its European partners money. At the current level of gas prices, the investment in the pipeline will be covered in short order.

  7. jim ticehurst says:

    I Have been Fascinated to Read the Articles available…About Vladimir Putins Current Embrace of the Russian Orthodox Churc..His Regular Attendance..Taking Communion…and How He Associates Himself with Prince Vladimer of Kiev..Who Converted to Christianity. After Extensive Research Of Religions….and then Established The Orthodox Church In Russia..This Appears to be a Serious Personal ssue With Putin..Especially since the Leaders in Ukraine are Now..Hostile to the Russian Orthodox Church…Putin is Building a Giant Statue to Prince Vladimir currently In That Factor cannot be Discounted..In Current Matters…

  8. jim ticehurst says:

    What I Found Most Interesting about Prince Vladimer..born 956…Died 1015 was that He was Called The Russian Viking..Prince of all Russia…and to learn the Early History ..of Norway..Sweden and Other Nordic Country ..Included Historical Involvement across Europe..and down into Ukrain..Novgorod…and Joint Viking Military Operations with the Russians Against Invaders..You never read or Hear That Taught about The Vikings..or The History of the Formation of Russian..that far Back…Im glad Patricks Posts Inspired me to further My Research in these Areas..

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