RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 25 JULY 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

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STALIN. The Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights condemns efforts to erect statues to Stalin: "civil servants of all levels should be clearly aware of the inadmissibility of the use of state or municipal land and buildings for this purpose. Such actions contradict not only morality, respect for our departed, innocently injured ancestors, but also official state policy". Ah well, mere facts should never get in the way of shrieking from the usual sources: (Guardian in July; WaPo in June).

DEMOS IN MOSCOW. There have been substantial protests in Moscow over the disqualification of opposition candidates for council elections. (Video). Candidates are required to get signatures from voters – these are easily faked and equally easily declared fake. If the establishment is trying to nobble Navalniy & Co, it's wasting its time and doing itself a disservice: they have little support and it's better to let them run. Moscow Times gets excited: no, it's not a "pre-revolutionary situation".

RUSSIA/CHINA. Joint Russia-China air patrol. The first of many, no doubt. The NYT (yesterday's news today) clutches its pearls. "That means President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia and peel it away from China. But his approach has been ham-handed and at times even counter to American interests and values." Now that's chutzpah!

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. We're not saying that they started the Great Hawaiian Pizza War, but them pesky Rooskies sure would like to. Satire is impossible.

NEW NWO. JP Morgan asks: "Is the dollar's 'exorbitant privilege' coming to an end?"

EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Ankara defied Washington, the S-400s arrived, Washington cancelled its participation in the F-35 program. Why did Ankara insist? I believe the principal reason is insurance against becoming Washington's former friend: much more dangerous than being its enemy.

MH17. I have always thought the JIT "investigation" was rotten – see this (port engine intake – BIG clue as to direction of missile). We now have a documentary that reiterates Malaysia was excluded, a secret mission to get the black box first, the intercepts are fakes, more people report seeing fighter planes, the radars were not down for repair. But including Ukraine in the JIT and excluding Malaysia were enough clues that the investigation would be a fix. I'm sceptical that it was a BUK (too few fragments); I think the fighter plane sighting reports should be looked at. I think the Ukrainian side shot it down but I don't know whether by accident (wouldn't be the first time) or whether there was government involvement (but those faked up intercepts were out pretty quickly, weren't they?) Helmer discusses; the documentary.

UKRAINE 1. Not only was Poroshenko beaten by Anybody at All but the latter's instant support party won a majority on Sunday. In second place an eastern party; the Galicians, nazis and former Big Wheels were left in the dust. The only conclusion is that the voters of Ukraine are sick and tired of the last five years; the West's project in Ukraine has failed. And for the second time: Yushchenko was also scornfully rejected. Now what? The so-called NGOs (Washington puppets all) have given President Zelensky "red lines" – an obvious threat that there will be another "spontaneous" revolt if he tries to make peace and have a normal relationship with Russia. He is in office, without a tail and with only the support of the population and how many guns do they have? Three reasons for cautious optimism 1) Washington allowed the elections to happen without interfering 2) Trump shows little interest in Ukraine 3) the EU has its own problems. So maybe… if Zelensky does want to change course, if he moves quickly and decisively, if he can get backing from some power agency, if the West keeps out, if the rebels in the east want to be in some new Ukraine, if the nazis hold off… Probably too many ifs; Ukraine's nightmare is not over. I still think the end state will be a rump Ukraine with the other bits eaten by its neighbours. Post 1991 Ukraine has been pretty miserable for its unfortunate inhabitants; who really wants a re-do?

UKRAINE 2. A couple of weeks ago Zelensky proposed a bill to remove high-ranking officials who held their posts during the Poroshenko period – Poroshenko having lustrated the Yanukovych period. In short, he's proposing that nobody who's held high office in Ukraine before can hold it again. Which is a very interesting proposal indeed; even a reasonable one given their dismal performance. He now has the parliamentary majority to make it law. But again, there are questions: nobody knows who the newly elected members of his party really are and there are the suspicions that he's just Kolomoisky's creature and all that has happened is that a new batch of robbers has arrived in Kiev to steal what's left. I hate to fall back on the feeble analyst's conclusion but time will tell.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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24 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 25 JULY 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Avatar ISL says:

    Thanks for the update, Patrick,
    Given the problems with the F-35, being kicked out of the program is actually good in the long term. However, it seems obvious that Turkey looks at the S-400 as insurance against as you say, becoming a former friend of the US given what Erdogan argues happened during the coup. Surprising how few commentators have picked up on it. Either they are extremely unimaginative or it is believed that summarizing recent US history (e.g., Libya) is a career killer.

  2. and all that has happened is that a new batch of robbers has arrived in Kiev to steal what’s left.
    This is precisely who they are–Ukrainian “elite” can only reproduce this type. Yes, Ukraine will end up as a rump and, most importantly, Russia doesn’t want to pay even for that and by Russia I mean majority of Russians, including power elite.

  3. Avatar Seamus Padraig says:

    Patrick, I’ve also heard rumors that Saudi Arabia is interested in buying the S-400. Any truth to them?

  4. Yes. I don’t know how far along the deal is. I mention it in the reference that I gave. I wonder whether SA is contemplating a new switch of external patrons (as Abdul Aziz did when he switched from the UK to the USA).

  5. Avatar prawnik says:

    If Ze attempts to change course, he will find:
    a. The IMF will suddenly decide that Ukraine is not making serious enough efforts in its anti-corruption drive, and something something money laundering. The latest tranche will be delayed.
    b. Western prosecutors will start taking a deep and abiding interest in Kolomoiskii’s financial activities.
    c. Assassination. There are a lot of Galicians lurking around with weaponry, something something, what a tragedy.
    d. Maidan 3.0. See the above comment about Galicians with weaponry.
    e. Something else. The tanker seizure was clearly intended to force Ze to stay on side.
    TL;DR: Trump may take little interest in Ukraine, but his neocons in the State Department do, and they are not about to throw up their proverbial hands and say “Oh well, I guess we lost fair and square then”.

  6. One can hope (and maybe one should). On some other discussion group someone suggested that Ze should arm his supporters and set them on the nazis. A happy ending will only come, if it does, after more unhappiness. Ukraine is another NATO stability triumph, isn’t it?
    but I still stick by what I thought 5 years ago. The future map will look different. (This time I suspect Warsaw will be too smart to take Galicia)
    https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2014/05/27/the-destruction-of-ukraine/

  7. Avatar johnf says:

    If SA change external sponsors to Russia that probably doesn’t affect their relationship with Israel – who we are told have an excellent relationship with Russia – but would it affect SA’s hostility to Iran because of Iran’s relationship with Russia?
    If it does that wouldn’t please Israel.
    Would SA take UAE and even Egypt with them?
    UK and USA were partners so hand over of SA was fairly amicable. US and Russia aren’t friends.
    I can’t really see this happening. Which is no reason at all why it won’t.

  8. MH17. Thanks for that link to the documentary. It laid out a clear case that the JIT investigation stinks to high heaven. I think you may have participated in some of our discussions on this years ago.
    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2014/07/judging-by-your-analysis-and-comments-i-gather-that-you-find-it-near-inconceivable-that-the-ukrainian-junta-forces-could-hav.html
    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2014/07/another-look-at-the-aa-missile-theory-ttg.html
    Judging by some of the eyewitness accounts in the documentary, I’m leaning more to a shoot down by a Ukrainian SU-25. I was always puzzled by the change of direction of the airliner’s flight path before it broke up. A chase/strafing run and AA missile strike seems a more likely explanation for that direction change that a sudden Buk strike. I believe the Ukies had versions of the SU-25 with pressurized cockpits and refurbished to handle the R-60, R-73 and Israeli Python missiles. Do you know if anyone is still researching this scenario?

  9. Avatar ISL says:

    An overall evaluation of Middle East geopolitics and trends in geopolitics of US versus Russia for the last decade suggests rapid waning of US influence, which is certainly playing a role in calculations in all regional capitals, including Riyadh in the region.
    1. Multiple US regime change efforts have all failed to produce the US desired result (a US aligned govt) in quite a few countries,
    2. Russia has succeeded in its desired ME military results,
    3. Russian military hardware has been field proven to work, whereas US military hardware has not – consider up armored Humvees – wrt the mission (one can argue that the mission is impossible and was set by idiots from DC, but from a marketing perspective that’s irrelevant).
    4. The dollar is slowly losing reserve status
    5. The US is tied to the Israeli loose canon, constraining US ability to follow its own interests.
    6. The US is implicated in the failed Erdogan coup, raising questions about the security of depending on US systems
    7. Our Saudi buddies, with significant behind the scenes US support, seem to be losing in Yemen.

  10. And, of course, there’s this rather interesting video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrfKZUttEwE

  11. Avatar Lyttenburgh says:

    >”Candidates are required to get signatures from voters – these are easily faked and equally easily declared fake. If the establishment is trying to nobble Navalniy & Co, it’s wasting its time and doing itself a disservice: they have little support and it’s better to let them run.”
    Mr. Armstrong, did you just suggest for the Moscow’s Electoral Commisson to break the law?

  12. Avatar Outrage Beyond says:

    In that rather interesting video:
    “Apparently it was an incident” [accident?] “Nobody had any intent to take it down.”
    “Gave a shot accidentally – wanted to hit one plane, hit another one.”
    These quotes from the video seem to reference the theory that the Ukrainians were actually trying to shoot down Putin. Apparently, the paint scheme on MH-17 was similar to that of the Russian presidential jet.

  13. The MH-17 Putin plane idea has been around for a while and is easily searched for. One problem is Putin drives a 4 engined plane and MH-17 was 2 engined.

  14. Avatar Lyttennburgh says:

    >”No”
    In that case, what do you mean by “it’s better to let them run” given the fact, that to allow “them” run would mean to break the law?

  15. Avatar Tom Wonacott says:

    Regardless of excluding Malasia (which, I agree, should not have happened), the Russian government has lied about everything beginning with their July 21, 2014 news conference in which the MOD of Russia put forth several contradictory theories on the downing of MH17. A recent report on the movement of Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade by Novaya Gazeta toward the border is reported because it surely applies to the Bellingcat report on the movement of the Russian Buk missile into Ukraine (Russian Troops Moved Toward Ukraine Border Ahead of MH17 Crash, New Reports Say https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/06/russian-troops-moved-toward-ukraine-border-ahead-of-mh17-crash-new-reports-say-a65906):

    “…..Newly discovered documents suggest that at least 170 Russian troops were deployed near the Ukrainian border shortly before Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down there five years ago, Russia’s investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper said, supporting previous reports.
    MH17 was shot down in July 2014 over territory held by pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people onboard. A team of Dutch-led prosecutors said in May 2018 that the Buk anti-aircraft system used to bring down the passenger plane came from Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, a claim Moscow has repeatedly rejected.
    NEWS
    The unclassified documents allegedly indicate that escorted air defense troops with the 53rd brigade were moving toward the Ukrainian border with the Buk system two days ahead of the MH17 crash, corroborating reports by the Bellingcat investigative website and the Dutch-led team…….”

    In addition murdered journalist and politician, Boris Nemtsov, also provides a convincing narrative about Russian complicity in the downed passenger jet (“Putin. War”).
    The JIT clearly got this right. There is no conspiracy to blame Russia in the downing of MH17. They shot it down and refuse to acknowledge it because they also refuse to acknowledge their supply of weapons and personnel (liker Wagner) – or even their two invasions of Eastern Ukraine in late 2014 and early 2015.
    Thanks.

  16. What’s with this stuff about how Russia hasn’t explained what happened therefore it’s guilty? We see this with Skripal too. No, that’s not how it works. The prosecution has to prove its case and it has to use facts to prove it.
    Here are some facts: The serial numbers and log books of missile parts. Actual radar tracks. Satellite data. Convincing eyewitnesses. Experiments done by the missile manufacturer. Serious examination of the wreckage. Changed FlightAware tracks. JIT leaves all of these out (even though it’s responsible for the first fact).
    Here are some non-facts. Faked conversations. Faked videos. Inconvenient pieces of damage left out of the calculation. Anything by Bellingcrap. Assertions by opposition politicians and newspapers. JIT includes all these
    Important missing facts. Ukrainian radar data. Kerry’s “we saw everything”. JIT has no comment on these.

  17. The whole signature thing is such BS that I have no idea whether they are faked (and maybe that would be the point — get the EC to disqualify the fakes you knowingly put in there and then scream) or they’re real and over enthusiastic sycophants are disqualifying them.
    The timing should make anybody suspicious: gotta distract the MSM’s feeble attention from Gilets Jaunes so wind up your stooges in Moscow and Hong Kong.
    And now Navalniy’s lawyers say he’s being poisoned.
    Can’t these guys come up with a new script?

  18. Avatar Tom Wonacott says:

    As much as I appreciate you taking the time to respond (and you are one of the few that does), I don’t think Russia is going to get away with this one.
    Thanks.

  19. Avatar Lyttennburgh says:

    > “The whole signature thing is such BS that I have no idea whether they are faked (and maybe that would be the point — get the EC to disqualify the fakes you knowingly put in there and then scream) or they’re real and over enthusiastic sycophants are disqualifying them.”
    Oh, so you now are saying that Moscow’s electoral commission is lying? Care to prove it? What have you read about it so that you have doubts whether they are fake or not? Have you read the article in “Argumenty I Fakty” (http://www.aif.ru/politics/russia/rasskazat_by_gogolyu_oppoziciya_ispolzovala_dannye_umershih_lyudey?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop)? Or Ilya Rememslo’s (who’s a lawyer and member of “Obschestvennaya Palata”) run down about how Gudkov Jr, Sobol’ and the rest of Navalny gang gathered their “dead soul” signatures? You simply assume that “Regime lies”.
    And if not, if you can’t prove that the Electoral Commission is lying, if, indeed, the oppos were gathering “dead souls” thus violating the existing legislation, and still insist on allowing them to run… what kind of liberal you are, Mr. Armstrong? What about the rule of law?

  20. Avatar Lyttennburgh says:

    Once again about signatures:
    1) “Dead souls” of Gudkov, Jr (https://telegra.ph/Gudkovy-kak-u-otcov-i-detej-ne-soshlis-mertvye-dushi-i-finotchety-07-17)
    2) L.Sobol’s “dead souls” (https://telegra.ph/Mertvye-dushi-Lyubovi-Sobol-okonchatelnoe-razolachenie-07-16). This explains her hysterics (http://www.aif.ru/politics/russia/podpisi_pokoynikov_oppozicionerka_sdala_podpisnye_listy_s_mertvymi_dushami).
    3) Sergey Mitrokhin’s “dead souls” (https://telegra.ph/Mertvye-dushi-Sergeya-Mitrohina-Dokazatelstva-07-15).
    4) NTV’s fragment about fake signatures (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQEJCN1yaxk) and press-conference in MEC, with proofs and evidence of fraud by the oppos.
    Maybe, indeed, it’s better to reasearch the issue firsthand, instead of making blanket statements like “them run and damn the law”!?

  21. Only your first link to Aif worked for me and I see it “340 signatures of dead people were found when checking the subscription lists of 12 candidates.” That’s 28 each (although some are evidently intended fakes).
    I assume — isn’t it normal — that everybody collects more signatures than required in order to cover for the fakes.
    So I agree that I was hasty in assuming any playing around by the authorities.
    I do not for one moment regard Navalniy & Co as anything much more than Western regime change tools. Interesting to speculate whether N&Co intentionally put the dead souls in so as to have an excuse for the usual theatre.

  22. Avatar Lyttennburgh says:

    >”Only your first link to Aif worked for me”
    You don’t use TG?
    >” I see it “340 signatures of dead people were found when checking the subscription lists of 12 candidates.” That’s 28 each (although some are evidently intended fakes) I assume — isn’t it normal — that everybody collects more signatures than required in order to cover for the fakes.”
    Quote:
    “По словам юриста, выявление факта фальсификаций означает не просто минус 200 подписей у этих кандидатов. Количество фиктивных подписей — это 66% от всех проверенных. Если перенести этот процент на общее количество сданных подписей, получается, что оппозиционные кандидаты в реальности могли собрать примерно по 2 тысячи голосов в поддержку своего выдвижения. При минимуме примерно в 5 тысяч.
    «Глава штаба Навального Леонид Волков говорил, что даже одна подпись умершего человека говорит о фальсификациях. Теперь мы видим, что у кандидата Навального Любови Соболь по меньшей мере 10 подписей умерших людей. О какой честной избирательной кампании тогда можно говорить?» — заявил корреспонденту «АиФ» Илья Ремесло.
    По его мнению, цель оппозиции — это не участие и победа на выборах (что невозможно из-за невысокой популярности), а дискредитация московской избирательной кампании и собственный пиар. Все собранные данные юрист передаст ЦИКу, чтобы там могли ознакомиться с ними и сделать собственные выводы.”

    – (http://www.aif.ru/moscow/mertvye_dushi_kazhdaya_shestaya_podpis_oppozicii_vzyata_u_pokoynika)

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