RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 25 JUNE 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

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RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 613K; total deaths 8605; tests per 1 million 124K. Russia has done 18 million tests (second after USA); among countries with populations over 10M it's second in tests per million and of those over 100M first. Scientists claim to have a vaccine; tests should be complete by end of July. Putin address: improving but still some bad regions; description of what government did; extension of some special payments. GDP fell 12% in April when "holiday" was begun.

OIL WARS. Seem to be pretty much over. But futures are still low for Saudi Arabia and US fracking.

TAX. For two decades Russia has had a flat income tax of 13% . A brilliant move when introduced, it ended widespread tax evasion almost instantly. But in the speech above, Putin said it will be bumped to 15% for people with incomes over 5 million RUR (US$71K). But still simple and pretty flat.

VICTORY PARADE. Held on the 75th anniversary of the first one. Video. Can't get these numbers out of my head: Germany invades June 1941; three years later Operation Bagration annihilates Army Group Centre; a year later Soviet soldiers sight-see in Berlin. Has there ever been so quick a turnaround? (Well… Napoleon invaded Russia June 1812, the Russian Army entered Paris March 1814 and invented the bistro. Seems to be a historical lesson there…)

VICTORY. A VTsIOM poll shows 95% think that it was the most significant event for Russia of the 20th Century and 69% think the most significant event in Russian history.

SANCTIONS. "We are not asking for sanctions to be lifted. We are simply improving our resilience and self-reliance." And so they have; and the newest US sanctions on Syria will be a gift to Iran.

VISAS. It is reported that the simple e-visas for visitors will be extended to all Russia starting next year. ABCA probably excluded.

A WIN. Two years ago the Russian authorities ordered the social app Telegram to give up its secrets; it refused; the authorities ordered it shut down; people kept using it; the authorities have given up after a sort of compromise.What's the difference? Well, in our part of the world the social media doesn't resist. Yet another of the many reversals of behaviour I've seen since I started in the business in 1984.

INFRASTRUCTURE. Moscow Metro has got quite a bit bigger in ten years.

VIDEO. Short video of Russian scenes and scenery.

PAUL WHELAN. Sentenced to 16 years for espionage; reports that an exchange is being worked out.

WEAPONS. A new Borey-A SLBM Knyaz Vladimir accepted into the Navy. Several new Army weapons shown at the parade. A Ukrainian looked at the equipment on parade and and asked his countrymen how they can believe they're facing that army in the Donbass; sure would notice one of these things.

GAPS. MacDonald uses a car crash to show the attitude gap between Russian elites and the "little people". But he has been arrested and could face 12 years. We'll see.

SKRIPALMANIA. "5 Facts BBC’s 'The Salisbury Poisonings' Forgot to Mention", "the only word for that is a miracle". Propaganda for stupid people with short attention spans.

LESSONS OF THE WAR. Putin's piece published in National Interest. Official text English, Russian. Apart from an unwillingness to acknowledge that territorial acquisitions in 1939 and 1940 were made to gain strategic space, I see nothing wrong with it. All of it was mentioned by AJP Taylor years ago.

HACKING. Don't need cunning Russian hackers when incompetence gets the job done.

START. Talks began in Vienna with a childish stunt by the American side. I wouldn't expect any results: the Americans are fatally deluded. As for the Russians: "We don’t believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever".Russian has a word for that: недоговороспособны and it's characterised US behaviour since at least this event (in Obama's time). Can't make an agreement with them and, even if you do, they won't keep it.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. From Canada. Short version: everything we say or do is true; Putin the opposite. ("Mueller indicted Mr. Prigozhin and the Internet Research Agency for 'waging information warfare against the United States of America'". Oopsies! ) From the Baker of the Maidan Don't waste your time on the original, Mark Chapman has done the work for you.

BELARUS. Colour revolution in progress? For what it's worth Lukashenko was in Moscow for the parade and is confident it has been thwarted.

WESTERN VALUES. Hashim Thaci indicted for war crimes. NATO gave him a country.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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19 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 25 JUNE 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. J says:

    Главный Храм ВС РФ
    Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

  2. JohninMK says:

    Enjoy your updates. The MH17 trial is turning into an interesting indictment on Dutch justice. There is no beyond reasonable doubt evidence (No US satellite pictures as claimed by Biden, even within NATO to Dutch Intel) and the defence is not pushing that hard but have asked for the Russian General to be called to describe the BUK missile’s documented life i. e. it came from Ukraine’s stock.
    So, on July 3rd the Judges have to decide whether to allow that evidence, which definitely puts the evidence less than reasonable double, or not allow it and convict the four defendants on insufficient evidence to meet Dutch Law, or allow them to go free.
    Looks like they have a bit of a problem meeting the expectations of the US.

  3. JohninMK. Given the way the investigation has carefully ignored all the Russian evidence, I expect the kangaroo to hop. But — who would have expected Thaci to be indicted?

  4. scott s. says:

    In that WWII essay, a couple times Putin made reference to “revisionism” in the west, but I don’t know to what he is referring? Maybe i need to go back and read it more carefully. I got the impression he means that there is new movement to claim USSR did nothing in the war?

  5. SCOT S. What he’s talking about are all those who think the wrong side won. Many of whom are the management in our new wonderful allies in NATO. Not to say all the people we scooped up and resettled in the USA and Canada.

  6. Ghost Ship says:

    ALISON MCCOURT – lived on an army base just to the north of Salisbury where on a weekend there not much more to do than visit the local Tesco supermarket. So ALISON MCCOURT driving into Salisbury on a Saturday is not that unlikely. Furthermore, having arrived in Salisbury from the north it’s likely she and her family would park in the main Central Car Park and the most pleasant route from there into the centre of Salisbury happens to go past the spot in the Maltings shopping centre where the Skripals were sitting. So really not that an improbable event.

  7. Ghost Ship says:

    Baltic states and other territory regained in 1939-1940 – most had been part of Russian Empire prior to World War 1. As successor state to Russia Empire what was wrong with Soviet Union recovering its lost territory?

  8. English Outsider says:

    Mr Armstrong – on Belarus a commment from the site you linked to, MOA, links to a useful set of maps –
    Though I’m not at all sure about Professor Walker himself. Looking at his work on the Ukraine he seems to me too well-informed to genuinely believe the views he is advancing.
    On Belarus there seem to be three schools of thought. Lukashenko is a patriot looking after his country as best he can. He’s an EU patsy who’d better look out or Russia will get him. He’s a Russian patsy who’d better look out or NATO will get him.
    Whatever the case there’s something wrong with these Intermarium countries and beyond, from Latvia down to Macedonia. The elites don’t seem to be doing too badly, big surprise, but the level of depopulation is astounding.

  9. blum says:

    who would have expected Thaci to be indicted?
    Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 25 June 2020 at 04:25 PM
    Yes, curious, indeed.
    Any chance we’ll find out more about the genesis of the “Operation Horseshoe” Plan???

  10. J says:

    What’s interesting in the Whelan affair, is that he has 4 passports, court-martialed dishonorably from the Marine Corp for attempting to steal more than 10 grand, with all kinds of money at his disposal to throw around. No wonder he was placed under FSB scrutiny several years ago. It sounds like a bad novel with a bad bad cover story. For a purported dishonorably discharged Marine, he looked very well fed in all of the pictures. And his trying to hang out with male Russian Intel types, wouldn’t have sent up any smoke signals and got the FSB’s immediate attention now would it.

  11. J says:

    A Constitutional Referendum is underway in Russia, from June 25th to July 1st, 2020. This referendum is in keeping with Putin’s 15 January address before the Federal Assembly.
    Now what is close to the Russian faithful are the changes that will steer the nation back to God. Last week Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all the Rus Cyril voted for changes that will introduce God back into Russia’s Constitution, for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution. The changes will also defend Marriage as a Union between a Man and a Woman. Patriarch Cyril wants all Russians to vote for the changes in the Constitution, so that the Nation will always be able to differ between good and evil, and to connect modern Russia with it’s 1000 years of Christian history.
    Patriarch Cyril seeks to correct the crimes and errors of the communists in Russia.

  12. J says:

    Thank you for your article: Russia-Haters Then and Now.
    Russia playing by the rules? NATO and company put their hands to their faces, form an ‘O’ with their mouths and grunt like a sow.

  13. J says:

    What I find interesting is how the movement of U,S. troops from Germany to ‘permanent’ placing in Poland next to Kaliningrad, will play out within the Kremlin. The German government is apoplectic at the thought of loosing all that U.S. do-re-mi and the thought of they themselves having to up their military expenditures to compensate for the loss.
    Poland on the other hand has ‘asked’ that U.S. troops and equipment (I.E. fighters, etc.)be placed ‘permanently’ in Poland, and that ‘they will foot the bill’ for their permanent presence, not the U.S.. On the grave side of it, the move seen through Russian eyes is that it is a violation of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act.
    Notwithstanding is the back and forth angst between Poland and Russia over the history of WWII. Also what is not understood in the West is the deep angst between Russia and Poland dating back to the Polish Muscovite War.
    What will the Kremlin’s response be with more movements of NATO lily pads closer and closer to Moscow?

  14. JamesT says:

    A Russian friend tells me that the Russians view Poland as being like a very small but very loudly barking dog who barks at you incessantly while hiding behind its owner.

  15. James T. Much as I love Poles (and thank them for saving Europe in 1683) they do have a dismal history of assuming they’re bigger and more important than they actually are; it always ends badly for them. Vide the Poland-Hitler Pact of 1934 — made them think they were OK with Hitler. Or today, resisting the whole “universal values” package that sucking up to the West brings with it. Can’t have both, guys. As I argued here, all these countries should have gone for the not-one-or-the-other-but-a-bridge-to-both route. Everybody happier, more secure and more prosperous.

  16. J says:

    June 25 through 1 July was the voting period for Amendment Changes to the Russian Constitution.
    Those amendments are:
    Remove the “in a row” clause from the article regulating the maximum number of presidential terms, discounting previous presidential terms before the amendment enters into force.
    Nullify the number of presidential terms served by the current President (Vladimir Putin) or former President (Dmitry Medvedev) to allow either to serve his first term if elected to the presidency in 2024.
    The Russian Constitution should take precedence over international law;
    The State Duma (the lower house of Parliament) should have the right to approve the Prime Minister’s candidacy, the State Duma will also be able to approve the candidates of Deputy Prime Ministers and Federal Ministers, the President will not be able to refuse their appointment, but in some cases will be able to remove them from office;
    Persons who hold “important positions for ensuring the country’s security” (President, Ministers, judges, heads of regions) should not have foreign citizenship or residence permit in other countries, either at the time of their work in office or, in the case of the President, at any time before;
    A presidential candidate must live in Russia for at least 25 years (currently 10 years) and may not have ever in their life held foreign citizenship or residency (with no possibility of renouncing foreign citizenship to become eligible to be president);

    The Federation Council (the upper house of Parliament) will be able to propose that the President dismiss Federal judges; in some cases, the Federation Council, on the proposal of the President, will have the right to remove judges of the Constitutional and Supreme courts;
    Particular ministers who are the heads of law enforcement agencies must be appointed by the President in consultation with the Federation Council;
    The minimum wage cannot be lower than the subsistence minimum;
    Regular indexation of pensions;
    Consolidation of the status and role of the State Council (at present it is only an advisory body and is not prescribed in the Constitution);
    Granting the Constitutional Court the ability to check the constitutionality of laws adopted by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation at the request of the President before they are signed by the President;
    Faith in God;
    Defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.
    Amendments were easily passed.
    The period of ‘dual’ citizenship and ‘dual’ passports have ended with this change to the Russian Constitution. One can only salute one flag, which our U.S. could take a lesson from and end all dual citizenship and dual plus passports.

  17. J says:

    According to a Central Asia News Net article, Russia’s in crisis, it’s economy is tanking, and it’s bankruptcies soar by 68%.
    The article states that Russia relies on oil/gas sector tax revenues. And they cite The Washington Post as one of their sources if not their chief source.
    I don’t trust WaPo’s take on things as they have been proven over and over again to be little more than a propaganda rag by those forces that disparage Russia at every turn.
    Here’s the article by the Central Asia News Net to judge for yourself

  18. J says:

    Wonder never cease. What works in the Ukraine would fall flat or sort of here in the U.S.. Take for example the recent firing of Ukraine Minister Aleksandra Klitina. She don’s a bikini and launches a new party in the process. Her newly formed party she’s names ‘Ukraine against corruption. Apparently she’s tired of pants wearing idiots as she calls them. She was fired last November when she was Deputy Infrastructure Minister. Her opponents say she got her post to begin with through the bedroom.
    Україна проти корупції

  19. J says:

    Here’s a former Soviet missile facility in the Ukraine that’s been turned into a museum. The Museum of Strategic Rocket Forces is full of interesting stuff. A launch from the facility of a SS-24 “Scalpel” ICBM would reach U.S. soil in about 22 to 24 minutes. It’s Command Post was a 125 ton fiberglass capsule complete with 20 shock absorbers.
    The tour by Retired Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Solonenko is interesting to watch.
    Ядерні шахти України. Як виглядав третій в світі арсенал атомних бомб

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