RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 30 APRIL 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

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RUSSIA AND COVID. Today's numbers: total cases: 106K; total deaths: 1073; tests per 1 million: 24K. Why so few deaths per cases? One theory is that Russia has done more tests than most large countries so the denominator is larger; another is the the idea that the BCG vaccine has some effect; Russophobes (of course) say that Russia is lying (as if it could cover up lots of deaths given today's social media). Moscow, where half the cases are, is now, after a very unsteady start, tracking people electronically. Putin has extended the lockdown (with full pay) until 11 May. The PM has it.

POST COVID. Russians turn out to have quite a bit saved: 16% say they have enough for a year or more; 25% for 3-6 months; 29% for 1-2 months; 30% report none. The quoted piece sees this as a disaster but, when you add in the support measures the state has provided during the shutdown, low health, education and housing costs, Russians will come out of this better off than many other countries. (Thanks to Jon Hellevig).

RUSSIA'S DOOMED AGAIN. COVID this time. And oil.

OIL WARS. The bottom has dropped out of the business. Full tankers lined up; negative futures prices; current price about $17. Lots more Saudi oil on its way to the USA. The agreement to cut production doesn't seem to have had any effect. Did MBS launch it in a fit of pique? As China's economy powers up again, it will need oil but apparently it's buying it mostly from Russia.

BLAME. The egregious failure of the USA and its minions is going to lead to a lot of accusations: we already see Chinadunnit in full cry in the two supposedly best prepared countries. China, Russia and Iran are all busy spreading disinformation says Pompeo and "disparaging" US efforts. If the story that Fauci gave money to the Wuhan lab to research bat coronaviruses is true, there will be an embarrassing back blast.

THE GREAT PUTIN DISAPPEARANCE II. "Putin Has Vanished, but Rumors Are Popping Up Everywhere" says the NYT. Memory lane trip time. For a modest retainer I will provide the West's intelligence agencies and media access to the top-secret, well-hidden and known-to-only-a-few-of-the-initiated information on his activities. (BTW, we need a new word in English to cover the concept of "stupid".)

HISTORY. A large church to "unite all Orthodox Christians serving in the Armed Forces" is nearly finished outside Moscow. (I do wish they'd stop translating "храм" as "cathedral"). RFE sneers; Moscow Times melts down. Four halls will commemorate three warrior saints and a famous icon from the 1812 war. As I've said before, unlike some countries that prefer to airbrush their history or turn it upside down (as did the USSR, of course) modern Russia attempts to face it all: Stalin plus the Smolensk Icon; it all happened, why pretend that half of it didn't?

MILITARY STUFF. It was revealed that the T-14 Armata MBT had been tested in Syria. Of course they never tell us if it just drove around in the dust and heat or actually shot at things. Syria is a big test-bed for Russian weapons. Paratroopers made a 10,000 metre jump in the Arctic. (Video) The Soviets practically pioneered large-scale parachute operations and today the Russian Airborne are still the only one that routinely drops AFVs and is not, therefore, merely light infantry when it hits the ground.

RUBBISH. The so-called Gerasimov Doctrine is back; sort of. Rubbish and projection I say.

DEATH OF IRONY. "Well, what we have seen is that Russia maintains military presence close to NATO borders and NATO countries, including in the Black Sea."

ELBE. A Putin-Trump joint statement, which is something I guess as we move into the Russians-are- falsifying-history, we-really-won-it and the wrong-side-won season.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Looks like Flynn was set up by the FBI.

GOOD QUESTION. Why does the US have so many biolabs close to Russia? Georgia. Ukraine. Armenia. It's not as if the safety record for the ones in the US is so good.

UKRAINE. For your amusement: "The Peril of Polling in Crimea: Is It Possible to Measure Public Opinion in an Occupied Territory?" Unsurprisingly Ukraine's Foreign Minister concludes it isn't. Meanwhile Saakashvili's back. And land sales are on.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer


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7 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 30 APRIL 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. JamesT says:

    Speaking of Russian paratroopers, there is a Russian “reality TV show” about an all female battalion “of cadets determined to become officers in Russia’s elite airborne troops” on youtube:
    As someone interested in cultural differences I have found it interesting.

  2. JJackson says:

    Re the funding of research into diseases coming from bat CoVs.
    Why would anyone not welcome this? The reservoir of bat CoVs had already caused SARS and a disease in pigs and probably MERS. Corona viruses are generally regarded as second most likely cause of a pandemic after influenza. It would be a dereliction of duty had it not been a funded research target. As SADS-CoV had occurred in China and they have the most knowledgeable CoV researchers it would be stupid not to include them in any research project which would have to take place in China anyway. This is crazy China bashing from a partisan uninformed perspective. It makes the MSM Russia bashing look positively sane by comparison.

  3. Peter VE says:

    I made the mistake of following that link to the Washington Post. Amongst its many fooleries, the author referred to Russia’s “low life expectancy”. What is more important: where we are today, or where we’re going? Under Putin, Russia’s life expectancy has been steadily climbing. Under Obama and Trump, life expectancy in the US has been dropping. I know which train I’d rather be on.

  4. Research is good. But if you’re going to get all huffy about leaks from the biolab, it’s going to be pretty embarrassing if they turn out to be your leaks.

  5. Fred says:

    “…leaks from the biolab…” True, but if you send your ‘student’s’ to be research assistants at their lab and the leak years later is from your lab you have some great credible deniability; as well as a potential ability to stage a leak in somebody elses lab and possibly not get caught at it.

  6. JamesT says:

    Peter VE,
    I’ve been taught that when somebody says something positive about Russia it must necessarily be Kremlin propaganda. So, sorry to have to break this to you, but falling life expectancies are a good thing!

  7. English Outsider says:

    I really liked this one, Mr Armstrong –
    DEATH OF IRONY. “Well, what we have seen is that Russia maintains military presence close to NATO borders and NATO countries, including in the Black Sea.”
    Bastards, those Russians. They will do it.
    Around the time when I believed voting for Brexit meant we’d get it – back then quite a few of us believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden – I put in a little time on the comment sections of English web sites.
    As expected I found that as a “leaver” I was a low IQ xenonophobe who sang the children to sleep with the Horst Wessel Lied. Standard fare. But what took me aback was the level of Russophobia. I ran an informal competition among the “remainers” and found “Putin did Brexit” was far and away their preferred explanation.
    Some of the entries I selected for an honourable mention in my competition got quite technical – “.. “Another option would be a 2nd ref; but that would require an A50 extension and I am pretty sure the new Italian PM would block this. Why? Because he appears to be Putin’s man and Putin wants Brexit.”
    But at other times it was straightforward enough. Here’s the winning entry in that “Who done Brexit?” competition. It came from a man reputed to be one of the Guardian’s staff Russophobes in his day job. I don’t believe that. The style’s a cut above that of the Guardian.
    “For the record … my hierarchy of blame for Brexit goes:
    1. Putin
    2. The hedge fund money launderers and disaster capitalists financed by Putin
    3. The DM/DT/DE/Sun and think tanks and psy-ops firms funded by 2.
    4. The small group of ERG MPs (and ‘kippers) who are in it for the money
    5. The larger group of MPs who are empire fantasists and idiots.
    6. The befuddled pensioners who voted for Brexit after as much thought as a Britain’s Got Talent phone-in.”

    That comment from an English website explaining Brexit mirrors quite a few I’ve seen on American websites explaining Trump. Doesn’t really matter what they find out about General Flynn or Sir Richard Dearlove, it’s now settled history among European and American Progressives that Putin is behind anything they’re nervous about.
    For as well as having the impertinence to put his troops where we put ours, and giving us Brexit and Trump, Putin is also responsible for the AfD in Germany and the Gilet Jaunes in France.
    Haven’t seen him blamed for the Coronavirus. There’s time yet.

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