RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 23 JULY 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

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RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 795K; total deaths 12,892; tests per 1 million 178K. Russia has done 26 million tests (third after China and USA); among countries with populations over 10M it's second in tests per million and of those over 100M first. Russia claims to have a working vaccine that is safe and reliable and that produced antibodies in all who were tested. Mishustin expressed confidence to the Duma. In an amazing development Newsweek actually published this "What Russia Got Right About the Coronavirus—and What It Can Share With The World".

KHABAROVSK. Two weeks ago the FSB arrested Sergey Furgal, governor of Khabarovsk Region, on suspicion of organizing murders in 2004 and 2005. He was one of the few governors not from the pedestal party but from the LDPR. Furgal was quite popular and there have been significant protests. Doctorow discusses the background: one of his conclusions is that there are misgivings in the Russian Far East about Moscow's closeness with Beijing. Protest numbers have probably been exaggerated, but are still significant. Perhaps the appointment of another LDPR member as acting governor will calm things down. We will see. A terrorist plot in Khabarovsk was just prevented: would it be too cynical to wonder whether Moscow is telling the good citizens of Khabarovsk how valuable it is to them?

RUSSIA INC. Despite everything, Russia's FOREX and gold kitty keeps growing – now worth 569 billion USD. Of course, quite a bit is the increase in the price of its gold holdings (about 2300 tonnes).

RUSSIA-EXERCISE. Snap combat readiness test of Southern Military District. Kinzhal launch. Video. Not aimed at anybody or anything, just routine, blah blah blah, but, should anyone be watching…

CHINA. Another conversation between the two presidents about their "comprehensive strategic partnership". China FM Wang told Lavrov the USA had "lost its mind, morals and credibility".

NYT BIAS. Historian David Foglesong has written a piece about the long-time Russophobia of the NYT: "propaganda…is not necessarily untrue.… It is a method of emphasis calling attention to that which it is desired to have known". It is desired to have known. Free media indeed.

WESTERN VALUES™. Today's bloviation: "America is fundamentally good… America, uniquely among nations, has the capacity to champion human rights and the dignity of every human being made in the image of God, no matter their nation… And to the world, America is the star that shines brightest when the night is the darkest…". And so on. Does any other country said this sort of thing routinely?

MEDDLING. The CIA has been authorised to make cyberattacks on other countries including Russia. You only do this if you think you're better at it than your targets; otherwise you've just stuck a kick me sign on your back. Are the Americans better at this? Doubt it.

NORDSTREAM 2. Washington is going all out in sanctions; Bonn is determined to finish it. Well, Washington is going to lose this one; then what?

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. All lies. "The statements by Mr. Strzok question the entire premise of the FBI's investigation of the Trump Campaign and make it even more outrageous that the Mueller team continued this investigation for almost two and a half years. Moreover, the statements by Strzok raise troubling questions as to whether the FBI was impermissibly unmasking and analyzing intelligence gathered on U.S. persons."

STEELE. Troubles are catching up to him. He just lost a court case in the UK against two Russian bankers over claims he made in the infamous Dossier. The fines plus court costs may bankrupt his company. And more revelations about the worthlessness of the sources of the junk in the famous Dossier. Bit late for this to come out – anybody with a bit of nous knew it was garbage from the start.

BUT THEY'RE STILL AT IT. The UK report is the same old crap from the same old sources (Steele too!) – don't pay it any attention. GIGO. Flying vampire bats with smart phones. (And Soviet stars – natch.)

NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. Today's story is that Russian big wheels were getting the vaccine months ago, I guess we're supposed to forget last week's story that Russia was trying to steal our vaccine.

THE EMPTINESS OF FORMER FLAPS. Why do Russia's enemies fall from balconies? Oops! Can we re-write that?

HISTORY. "Canada’s Nazi Monuments". And don't think there aren't policy implications today.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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26 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 23 JULY 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Berlin, of course. Brief brain slip.

  2. Christian J. Chuba says:

    “State Dept: … America is the star that shines brightest when the night is the darkest – Mike Pompeo …
    Does any other country [say] this sort of thing routinely?”

    The answer to your question is no.
    A possible explanation is that other countries are run by regular sociopaths instead of narcissistic sociopaths.

  3. Deap says:

    After several decades of steady America degradation talk, it is pleasing to hear something of value about the place. What you refer to as bloviation. Yes, much of the praise is well earned.
    America is unique on this planet. Which is not to say it is perfect, but it still holds the ability to work towards perfection within its fundamental framework. Yes, people express pride about their own nations; this is not unusual nor needed to be dismissed.
    Trump has long sold sizzle; not the steak. If he acts like an exaggerated cheer leader right now, during these very dark and partisan times, I say hip, hip hooray. We could all use some good old fashioned pride of ownership; too much bratty cynicism of later has played out its hand, badly.
    Exaggeration can be used to first paint the target. Then let’s see if we can start moving towards it. We have now well seen what hating America has harvested. We are not talking absolutes here; just at least some healthy emotional shifts. Gheesh.

  4. Deap says:

    Is it reasonable to suspect the lavish Primorksy Aquarium, well outside of Vladivostok is really also a hidden missle silo?

  5. Deap says:

    Scratch a Swiss, and see if you don’t find deep, deep and even haughty chauvinism under their thin external chocolate coating.
    Has not China for eons prided itself as the Middle Kingdom, who claims they need nothing from the outside world? Why should we trade with the British, they have nothing we need. Took inundating them with opium to get them to change their minds about their national pride.
    Japan, centuries of Edo isolation – there was nothing Japan needed from the outside world either until the Admiral Perry Black Ships forced their hand too. Even now, NZ has effectively cut themselves off from the entire world forever – or until they finally get a covid all clear. Is that not also a form of extreme national superiority?
    Curious thing, this thing called “national” pride. Essentially, it is an artificial construct at the same time it is very, very real.

  6. Yeah, Right says:

    Deap, all the examples you give are of countries that look inward. Navel-gazing on a national scale.
    The quotes from Pompous are the exact opposite: a statement that the USA’s unique and radiant goodness grants it “the capacity to champion” outside of its own borders.
    Or, in a word: “interfere”.
    I don’t think New Zealand has any interest in interfering in anyone else’s internal affairs. Neither did the Ming or Qing dynasties of China or the Edo period of Japan, except in disputes with each other.
    But the post-WW2 USA does, and does so on steroids.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, Right
    Sounds like a massive case of penis envy. If it bothers you so much why don’t you move to a big country where you won’t feel slighted. How about China?

  8. blum says:

    Posted by: turcopolier | 24 July 2020 at 09:25 AM
    ‘Penis envy’ reminds me of something I thought I might better not mention.
    I never heard or read gheesh or sheesh uttered by a male.
    but yes, maybe Patrick Armstrong finds a way to align a Russia sit-rep with positively hopeful aspects of relations that may get a lot better in Trump’s next term.

  9. Lytennburgh says:

    >Once this damn isolation is over, I will be “wondering” about any of this on this outlet lot less. But right now, such ruminations do become a favorite indoor sport.
    Posted by: Deap | 12 July 2020 at 11:24 PM
    I take it that userperson “Deap” is still in isolation and, therefore, keeps ruminating on the off-topic themes. Lots of free time but not enough to read the whole of blogpost and leave a relevant comment, eh, Deap?

  10. Yeah, Right says:

    “Sounds like a massive case of penis envy. ”
    No, more a case of not liking it when someone makes inappropriate comparisons.
    And thank you for your suggestion by, no, no thanks. I much prefer it where I am: 20 minutes by bus from the beach. 10 minutes by train to The Big Smoke, and within easy walking distance of more pubs and cafes than you can shake a stick at. And all open for business.
    God’s own country, I kid you not.

  11. Mark Logan says:

    Re: The Lavrov conversation with China.
    I don’t think many Americans understand what a heavy lift it is to rise from pure Marxism. I believe Russia and China are still struggling with that common problem, though the pathology in each place have significant differences, and to them we demand too much too fast.
    This little video from China is what I would like to share. Sorry it’s packed with ads but bear with it to the elevator story. The damage done to a culture, to a people, by Marxism…

  12. Ulenspiegel says:

    “RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 795K; total deaths 12,892; tests per 1 million 178K. Russia has done 26 million tests (third after China and USA); among countries with populations over 10M it’s second in tests per million and of those over 100M first. Russia claims to have a working vaccine that is safe and reliable and that produced antibodies in all who were tested. ”
    1) The Russian numbers for tests and detected cases were a complete joke for many weeks. Is the situation really better now?
    2) In Moscow we see a excess mortality that is three times higher than the reported cases. And please do not tell me that we have a very long flu season in Russia. 🙂
    3) More than 500 Russina doctors and nurses have died from cov-19 (12.000 citizens according to official numbers), as comparison the German number is 20 (with 9000 citizens). You do not see an issue?
    4) More than 400 Russian hospitals had out of control cov-19infections.
    Reporting official Russina numbers when you lack the ability or willinggness to check for plausibility is weak propaganda. 🙂

  13. Deap says:

    Mark, A round trip on the Berlin metro, traversing from West Berlin to East Berlin and back again underscores your claim about the heavy lifting necessary to transform post-Marxism. Without looking at the signage, you knew when you were passing from one zone to the next; including the look of the people on the trains. That was a number of years ago, but this contrast was well discussed in the country at the time – the Ossies were different in looks and demeanor from their Wessie counterparts. It does take a while and at least a new generation to change inside, as well as outside. And this works both ways, as some Ossies mourn what they lost too.

  14. Dear Till. Check my source. You might also read earlier Sitreps of mine where I question all the figures from everywhere.

  15. blum says:

    That was a number of years ago, but this contrast was well discussed in the country at the time
    Posted by: Deap | 25 July 2020 at 02:11 PM
    How many? Years ago you noticed the difference in looks and demeanor between Germans West and East?

  16. English Outsider says:

    Interesting to read of the Russian Covid work. On testing, if the test is as good as stated it could greatly speed getting the economy back, especially in the most difficult area of air travel –
    “Our testing system has already helped to quickly locate and prevent potential outbreaks at many of Russia’s largest industrial enterprises, as well as at offices and soccer competitions. Unsurprisingly, other countries have purchased more than 13 million of our tests—indeed, they account for more than a third of all tests completed in the U.S.
    “Rapid, accurate tests like ours will be essential to opening up the world economy. They can vastly ease international air travel, for example. They will soon be used in airports around the globe. Rather than spending 24 hours in a mandatory quarantine in Athens, travelers may soon, after a 30-minute wait, be able to go to Greek islands directly.
    “This is a solution to a trillion-dollar issue. According to UNCTAD, the global tourism industry will lose between $1.2 trillion and $3.3 trillion this year. More than 120 million jobs are at risk globally in the tourism industry alone, along with some 1.25 billion indirect jobs that could also be lost.”

    Along with a treatment one doesn’t see generally mentioned, at least in the UK, and some news on a vaccine –
    “There are three adenovirus vector-based vaccines that have already showed strong results in Phase 1 of clinical trials. These have been developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, England’s Oxford University in partnership with Astra Zeneca and China’s CanSino Biologics. We believe that all three will be needed.”
    Seems fine but – “Even if a mRNA vaccine moves at warp speed to gain regulatory approval, such approval will not be possible until 2021, since extensive safety testing needs to be done. This includes insuring that there is no negative impact on fertility—a key parameter for nations that plan to vaccinate a large part of their populations.”
    Difficult to believe, however, that the Russian death figures are accurate. Don’t see how they can be – they are highly suspect everywhere else. Perhaps such figures work within a country for the purposes of comparing last month with this – providing reporting within the country remains consistent – but for comparisons between countries I don’t believe they answer.
    The Spectator article you link to was pretty revolting – “sweet spots” indeed – but not as bad as many. To judge by the increasingly frantic English blogs I looked through recently half the country believes the unfortunate British PM is Moscow’s puppet – while the other half swears blind he’s Brussels’.
    But that’s just the blogs. More likely that several thousand journalists and “opinion formers” are industriously flogging their respective dead horses.
    I have constructed a scenario that satisfies both camps – that Mr Johnson is a Moscow asset and a Brussels asset simultaneously. If it would interest you I could set it out. But somehow I don’t think it would. I suspect you’ve seen a lot of such characters and understand that politicians are usually only assets for themselves.

  17. Deap says:

    blum – I recall demonstrations against Bush and the Iraq War going on at the old American Embassy in Berlin, when I was making my Ossie-Wessie observations. New US Embassy by Brandenburg Gate had not yet been built – still an empty lot. Time flies. Plus the neon clad East Berlin grotesquerie parliament building was still standing. Nice to see that was replaced by a later trip.

  18. J says:

    U.S. tick studies in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan by the U.S. Navy’s Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland have isolated 4 bio-agents that pose serious bio-terrorism threats.
    Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus (TBEV),
    Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV),
    Coxiella burnetii (the causative agent of Q fever).
    These bio-agents have the potential to be engineered for mass aerosol dissemination and used as bio-weapons.
    The bio-agents discovered in infected ticks in Kazakhstan under the DoD program has been under study as potential bio-weapons for several years.
    What has also been under study is the Corona-virus. DoD sampled 200 guano samples from three caves in Kazakhstan. All tested positive for the Corona-virus. This was known as DoD Defense Threat Reduction Agency Cooperative Biological Research project KZ-33: MERS Corona-viruses: Surveillance and detection in Kazakhstan.
    In addition to this, back in 2008 Senator Lugar remarked that the USAF safely transported plague samples from Kazakhstan to CDC Ft. Collins. Plague is one of the priority Pentagon projects in Kazakhstan as well as anthrax and tularemia. It is currently considered to be one of the most serious bio-terrorism threats. Y. pestis (the bacteria which causes the disease plague) was developed as an aerosol weapon by several countries in the past. The hazardous cargo was part of a Soviet-era collection of especially dangerous pathogens. The plague samples were shipped to the U.S. for research after 5 years of negotiations with Kazakhstan.
    WHO has said that a dissemination of 50 kg of Y. pestis in an aerosol cloud over a city of 5 million might result in 150,000 cases of pneumonic plague. Of those, 80,000 to 100,000 cases would require hospitalization, and 36,000 victims would be expected to die. A plague epidemic in the 14th century killed more than a third of the population of Europe within a few years. In some cities, up to 75% of the population died within days.
    Recently health officials in China confirmed a bubonic plague outbreak in the Inner Mongolia district, triggering increased prevention measures throughout the region by Chinese officials. Two other cases were reported in Mongolia, in addition Russian health officials in Siberia are now testing rodents for plague after the cases were reported in Mongolia and China.
    Defense Threat Reduction Agency has been operating Level-3 bio-labs in Kazakhstan since 2009. There are several Pentagon labs around the globe with many located in former Soviet Union nations,as well as in the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia.

  19. J says:

    The Skripals poisoning (supposition that was most likely by his MI6 handler who lived nearby) was a keystone cop affair by the British government. They issued a D notice to the British media after it was discovered that the initial report by the U.K. Clinical Services said they were poisoned by Fentanyl, not the Novichok nerve agent. Which the word Fentanyl was redacted and immediately replaced with ‘a substance’. Sounds familiar to some U.S. media reporting doesn’t it (George Floyd affair comes to mind).

  20. blum says:

    blum – I recall demonstrations against Bush and the Iraq War going on at the old American Embassy in Berlin, when I was making my Ossie-Wessie observations. …
    Posted by: Deap | 25 July 2020 at 07:10 PM
    And at that point in time you were able to spot the difference? While passing from one “zone” to the next?
    Interesting you mention the Palace of the Republic.
    You feel you were able to spot Eastern German vs Western German faces and demeanor in the protests at the American Embassy?

  21. Barbara Ann says:

    “As many as 32 militants of the Vagner foreign private military company were apprehended by Belarusian law enforcement officers near Minsk this night.”
    I have read that is is quite usual for Wagner & in fact many Russians to use Minsk as an transit point given the COVID restrictions on Russian airports.
    Patrick – is this Lukashenko ginning up a fake coup attempt to help ensure his re-election? I wouldn’t have thought he’d need a coup factor and if so he seems to be playing with fire. I look forward to seeing Andrei M’s take on his blog too.

  22. J says:

    What will the Kremlin answer be to Belarus Lukashenko’s questions regarding the 32 Russian Mercenaries Wagner Group currently under detention in Belarus?
    Late Wednesday the head of the Belarus KGB was ordered to begin an investigation into this ’emergency situation ‘.
    Lukashenko is not jumping to conclusions until his KGB has vetted the affair.
    What I find interesting is how Lukashenko opponent Valery Tsepkhalo has quickly boot-scooted his rump to Russia fearing arrest.

  23. Barbara Ann says:

    I’ve read speculation that Putin may be in on whole Russian PMC fake Minsk coup thing. Odd as it sounds it may make sense. Apparently Lukashenko is way down in the polls with the election on August 9th. Maybe Putin has agreed to go through with this charade so as to try and keep Lukashenko in power. The Borg’s choice would no doubt be his rival; the 37 year old Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
    The lack of coverage on this event so far by the Russophobic Western MSM says to me that this is not some Euromaidan style thing Lukashenko has cooked up with the CIA (I’d guess it might be the last thing he did if it was).

  24. J says:

    I don’t know how many are familiar regarding the Russia-Belarus relationship? They are a Union State, a supranational between Belarus and the Russian Federation where citizens of either nation can traverse back and forth, settle, and work without hindrance, much like between the different states of the U.S. where one can freely travel, move to, and work without hindrance.
    With this latest Wagner Group Mercenaries affair, both respective nations are ask each other basically the same question. The Western presses, and D.C.’s propaganda unit Radio Free Europe are making hay of the situation and really playing up their agitprop.

  25. J says:

    August 2nd was the 90th anniversary of the Russian Airborne commonly known as the VDV.
    An exercise recently concluded at the Ryazane Airborne training facility. The exercise composition included 6,000 troops, with more than 40 military transports, 400 assorted equipment, 15 helicopters, 2 fighter bombers, utilitization of airborne drones to assess enemy positions and strengths, D30 howitzers were airdropped to be used within 5 minutes of their deployment on the front lines. BMP-4s were deployed for testing.

  26. J says:

    There were suprise combat readiness inspection drills in Armenia. The recent drills were to test their combat readiness skills given the current situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
    For a little history of the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it began July 12th in Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district on the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border, the Armenian armed forces opened fire at the Azerbaijani positions using artillery. The battles continued until July 16. This conflict originally began back in 1988 when Armenia claimed territorial rights which Azerbaijan claimed that was their territory not Armenia’s. The resultant combat saw Armenia making a 20% gain of territory that included the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. In a 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia was cited by the UN for not implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts. So the impasse between the two has continued to this day.
    Something to note regarding Armenia, ever since Armenia became the worlds’ first Christian nation, it has had to fight its way through history as a nation. It has rebuffed the Arabs and the Turks on several occasions throughout its history. Urahtu began in 860 B.C. and by the 6th century was replaced in 6 B.C. by the Orontid dynasty aka the Satrapy of Armenia. In the 1st century it became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, and in the late 3rd to early 4th century A.D.. In 301 A.D. it officially adopted Christianity. From the 16th to the 19th centuries the traditional Armenia homeland came under the rule of the Ottomans and Persians and ruled by them for over two centuries.
    The Armenian alphabet that we see today was created by Mesrop Mashtots an Armenian linguist in 405 A.D..

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