RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 3 DECEMBER 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

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RUSSIA AND COVID-19. I wonder whether Xi suspected at first (at first) that COVID might (might) have been a biowar attack and communicated that possibility to Putin. (There are probably people in Beijing who think the US used biowar in Korea.) I think they quickly decided that it wasn't but the possibility was put into their minds. (Remember the so-called Thucydides Trap?) I thought this up as an explanation of why, as far as I know, only Russia and China have built new permanent isolation hospitals. Just in case. Any way, four new ones just opened in Russia with another one coming later this month. Putin announced the beginning of large-scale vaccinations yesterday, key workers have the priority. Shoygu announced a vaccination program for the military.

KARABAKH. The ceasefire is holding, refugees are returning. "It is worth noting that international actors [he means Western ones, of course] have been completely sidelined from mediation…" Well, what do they bring to the table and who would trust them? The world is changing.

PUTIN. On his last legs again. Again.

SPACE STATION. An Energia executive says that the ISS is breaking down and suggests it has only about five years left. Meanwhile Beijing says China will start to build its own orbital station in 2021. (A Chinese probe just landed on the Moon.) Do I see a joint venture coming?

NAVAL INCIDENT. Peter the Great Bay is near Vladivostok and Russia claims the straight line from cape to cape; the US does not recognise that. A US warship on a "freedom of the seas" trip entered it and was chased off. Not that the USN would ever bow to foreign intimidation; (entertaining read that: the facts are that the US ship entered, the Russian ship told it to leave, it did – but nobody made it leave!!!) The Russian and Chinese navies should do a FONOP in the Gulf of Mexico. But that would be a silly and dangerous provocation without any real point, wouldn't it?

ARCTIC. Rosneft announces that the Zvezda shipyard in Primorskiy Region has begun constructing the first of 15 icebreaker LNG carriers of the Arc7 class for its Arctic LNG 2 project. There is already a fleet of South Korean-built icebreaker LNG ships operating in Yamal. The Arctic is a Russian lake.

SHARON TENNISON. Interview with her here: worth your time. She's been tirelessly working to improve American-Russian relations for three decades: ordinary people, face-to-face. Probably the greatest thing she has achieved is that Putin – whom she met way back then – certainly knows what she is doing and I'm sure that he feels he has had enough of Americans, he thinks of her and tries again.

NATO is again concerned by how close to its bases Russia puts its country.

NAVALNIY. More confusion and contradictions revealed in the German story.

SKRIPALMANIA. Yulia phoned home, on a burner it seems; living apart, she's OK, dad has a tracheostomy tube; dad never wrote to Putin asking to come back and did not give interviews to Urban.

WESTERN VALUES. The country that judges other countries' elections just had an election. Somebody won. One day a court will tell us who. Lots of evidence of fraud: here, here, here and here. And who would contract out their elections to machines that can be hacked by anyone? (Note the date and source of the video – three years later, in CNN-land, the machines have become 100% solid.)

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Bubbles continue to burst. Too late, of course – the damage has been done. The only way to get to the truth is to sue. Gee maybe Moscow didn't fund the Brexit campaign as we told you. Carter Page is suing Comey and others. Now that Flynn is pardoned maybe he'll sue too.

OPEN SKIES. The USA has formally left it. The irony is that it was Eisenhower's idea.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. A revealing ad for a Russian correspondent for the NYT – in essence, ya gotta believe all the anti-Russian propaganda or we won't hire you. But what I don't get is why pay the housing and transportation costs? They can make up this stuff more easily from home. BELARUS inches towards a solution: Lukashenka just said he will not be President under the new constitution which is expected to appear in 2021.

UKRAINE. Ukrainian historians continue their work: Joe Biden is the descendent of a Ukrainian noble and "culinary deceptions" are the newest Russian "hybrid warfare". Meanwhile, in the real world, Ukrainians are getting out when they can. The seventh anniversary of Maidan – war, poverty, industrial decline, population fleeing, birthrate collapsing, a comedian in powerless power, the oligarchs looting what little is left, nonsense enshrined. And let's not even think about this.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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22 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 3 DECEMBER 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Avatar Deap says:

    Maybe the USN just wanted to take in the dolphin show at the Primorskiy Oceanarium on a remote arm of Valdivostok Bay. Or in the alternative maybe they were checking out whether this massive, oddly located oceanarium in fact is a disguised intercontinental missile silo?

  2. Avatar Christian J. Chuba says:

    “And who would contract out their elections to machines that can be hacked by anyone?”

    As someone in the computer industry. I don’t trust IT. The first release tends to be a mix of good technology with chewing gum and glue to get it out the door. We test for the ‘primary use case’ and then tighten things up in the follow up releases.
    In watching that video, (1. that CNN lady in the blue dress was hot) and 2. I hadn’t thought about ripping the panel off and physically messing w/votes but it makes sense.
    The curtains are drawn and you can get a good product description of the voting machine from the vendor’s own website before hand. If you can do something quietly that takes less than 15 seconds you might be able to swap a memory card. [Note: in version 2, make certain there is at least one screw holding the panel down.]
    I’m thinking the worst you can do by swapping a memory card is ruin the votes on the machine rather than change them. But if most of your neighbors vote the ‘wrong way’, it’s a type of voter suppression.
    Sorry to prattle but seeing them put the usb drive after lifting the panel got me thinking about it.

  3. Avatar ISL says:

    Dear PA,
    It was very telling that China acted as if it was a biowarfare attack (as did Russia), whereas the US acted as if it was going to remain a Chinese problem (after all, the US was rated #1 in pandemic preparedness, so the US could easily handle it).
    If a biowarfare attack, it is likely the Chinese gov’t knows and retaliation (with plausible deniability) would be expected except for the maxim – Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake (or self destructing).
    If it was not, China and the world has learned just how much damage can be inflicted on the US by a pandemic.

  4. @ Christian J. Chuba
    There are videos (demonstrations of how flimsy the security is) around of hackers going into a simulated booth with a pre-prepared Zip drive (remember them?) taking out the old one and putting their own in. Takes no time at all.

  5. @ ISL
    I stress that my biowar idea is 100% speculation — I haven’t a shred of evidence.
    It was my wondering why China and Russia built permanent new structures and also wondering why countries reacted as they did that led me to consider the hypothesis.

  6. Avatar Leith says:

    Never did like borscht. Better is a different Russian soup whose main ingredient besides meat is sour cabbage (i.e. sauerkraut). I forget the name but it is delicious. Russian piroshkis and shashlik are great also. And blini, is it true that French chefs got the idea of crepes from the blini pancakes that Tsar Alexander’s troops ate after the Battle of Paris?
    Russian naval ships routinely use the Gulf of Mexico. They were never told to get out and never threatened with ramming as what happened with the USS McCain. Neither America nor any other country bordering the Gulf of Mexico has claimed it as territorial waters. So the Russian Navy should feel free to continue. Peter the Great Bay has been a bone of contention for decades. Soviet and later Russian Federation claims on those waters are inconsistent with international maritime law. And cape to cape sounds a bit strange as the westernmost cape is in North Korea not Russia.
    Interesting historical fact: Nakhodka Bay in the eastern reaches of Peter the Great Gulf was named Amerika Bay prior to 1970.

  7. Avatar Deap says:

    Loved the “culinary deceptions” link: Made some borsch once and couldn’t get it right until I tossed in a few anchovies. It was shy on the umami.

  8. @Leith
    Never did like borscht. Better is a different Russian soup whose main ingredient besides meat is sour cabbage (i.e. sauerkraut). I forget the name but it is delicious
    Schi. Щи in Russian. I doubt they fed you good borsch. In relation to Gulf of Mexico and Peter the Great Gulf–two completely different entities which cannot be compared in every single respect, not to mention the fact that the United States is not the party to UNCLOS. Russia is.

  9. Avatar Leith says:

    Thanks for the hint Andre – Also I had forgotten to add Chicken Tabac to the list. But that may be more Tbilisi, than Moscow.
    Agreed that the Gulfs are completely different, that is what I was asserting.
    The US is a signatory of UNCLOS. And the US has accepted and complies with the treaty’s provisions. So the US Navy abides by it. The Senate did not ratify it because some dinosaurs there with a distrust of international institutions believe it encroaches on US sovereignty. Unfortunately just the opposite is true. Senate recalcitrance puts us at a disadvantage in undersea oil & gas exploration and seabed mining; and puts us in a no-win situation on rulings of UNCLOS arbitration.
    China and Russia, although they are parties to UNCLOS, do not abide by it. China in particular refuses to abide by rulings of the UNCLOS tribunal in regards to the South China Sea. Russia in the Arctic ignores UNCLOS in claiming undersea ridges as part of their continental shelf. Although one of those ridges is closer to Greenland and Canada than it is to Russia. And the three-mile deep Amunsen Basin, the deepest part of the Arctic Ocean, lies between Russia and that ridge.

  10. Avatar Lyttennnburgh says:

    >”SHARON TENNISON. Interview with her here: worth your time. She’s been tirelessly working to improve American-Russian relations for three decades: ordinary people, face-to-face.”
    A) If that’s really what she was trying to accomplish, then her track record is abysmal indeed.
    B) Meeting and greeting those, who just miiiiight be considered as Russian “fellow middle-class members” (note – they are not) =/= “meeting ordinary Russians”.
    C) She’s a Rotarian.

  11. Avatar ISL says:

    Dear PA,
    Yes: Why build permanent infectious disease hospitals (negative pressure rooms) rather than temporary field hospitals (inappropriate for infectious disease as constructed in the US) unless one expects near future need. The rapidity also suggested a very acute concern.
    Currently, worldometer shows the fall surge of Russian new cases peaked.
    Should a RNA-vaccine resistant Covid strain appear this summer (against which contract tracing would remain effective – for those that can), it would likely signal a new and very scary phase of great power competition.
    —-
    Fascinating that the ISS is breaking down – Space is a very harsh environment – perhaps systemic fatigue is worsening more rapidly than anticipated implying significant new ISS investment is needed – given the Covid spending spree – austerity in the US and EU seem likely to make that a challenge. China OTH has no such political problems and would make a more reliable space station partner.

  12. Avatar ex PFC Chuck says:

    Chris Chuba,
    As the great 20th century political scientist Josef Stalin put it, “Voters don’t decide elections. Those who count the votes decide elections.”

  13. Avatar j. casey says:

    Not a bioweapon, but certainly “manipulated” I would bet. Also, the CCP reacted with the full-on bioweapon response with lockdown, masks, all subsequently shown to be purely disease theater. Looking at certain voices in China social media and WEF, I suspect that response was designed to put the US tit in the lockdown wringer, and allow a vigorous media campaign that would require the US to shoot itself in the foot by going the China route rather than the Sweden route.

  14. Avatar Stephen Wiggins says:

    Interestingly, my eldest daughter told me that she was cooking borshch for dinner. I didn’t ask her which recipe she was using. As dyadya Tolia said, there are as many recipes for borshch as there cooks. Personally I prefer green borshch, but the daughter’s MIL makes a really good beetroot version for winter.

  15. @ j. casey
    The evidence that we have appears to show that the biggest influence on the COVID reaction of UK, the USA and I suspect Canada, was Ferguson’s Imperial College Modal. So, whatever Beijing may or may not have been trying, it was entirely an own goal.

  16. Avatar Lyttennnburgh says:

    Re: ex PFC Chuck
    You are obviously very wise and sage person. No doubt, you are also very honest as well. Care to provide us with the source of this quote?

  17. Avatar Nobel97 says:

    It’s possible that the COVID-19 virus was bio-engineered, but it’s impossible to prove that, of course – but then, that’s the beauty of it. Very few people would ever believe that it was, so you’ve got cast-iron “plausible deniability” – a necessity of any covert operation.
    If it was bio-engineered, the real through-the-looking-glass aspect of this would be trying to determine why it was released in China at the end of 2019. All sorts of nefarious possibilites.

  18. Avatar Norbert M Salamon says:

    Leith:
    The Russian Claim to the underseas Lomonosov ridge is their proposal submitted to the UN, as similar proposals are offered by the Arctic nations {Canada, Denmark, Norway, etc.] to be adjudicated in the coming years.

  19. Avatar Deap says:

    Since citizens want to get out of Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, why not turn these vast tracks of highly productive but now empty ag land into MENA refugee zones? Stop dumping this illegal migration crowd into Italy, Greece and the rest of industrialized Europe.
    Open land in this lower Central European belt is begging to become productive again. Infrastructure is in place – abandoned farms and villages – housing and schools now empty. What would keep this from happening if their own citizens are abandoning this real property to waste?
    A UN reclamation project?

  20. Avatar Deap says:

    Patrick, should we leave out mention of Niall Ferguson’s AVAAZ Director paramour – they are a Soros-linked global activist organization. What this “pandemic” triggered global meltdown a means to their avowed ends?

  21. Avatar Porkupine says:

    @Deap
    Channeling Thomas Swift, I hope!
    Mad times indeed.

  22. Avatar Leith says:

    Norbert –
    Russia claimed the ridge 19 years ago. It was not a proposal. They finally agreed to arbitration when confronted by Canada and Denmark. Both of whom have better cases than Russia due to seafloor exploration that the ridge may be an extension of the continental shelf of Ellesmere Island and Greenland.
    But IMO none have a legitimate claim. Oceanic ridges cannot be claimed as sovereign territory, since by definition they are not part of any landmass according to UNCLOS.

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