RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 31 DECEMBER 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

Russian flag

Happy New Year!       (as much as it can be, that is)       С Новым Годом!

RUSSIA AND COVID. Total deaths in the first 11 months of 2020 are 13.8% higher than in 2019 – 81% of this increase, she estimates, is connected with COVID. This would suggest 186K fatalities which is quite a bit higher than the 116K put out previously. Here's Karlin's analysis. As for my part, I haven't a clue. I feel I know less than I did at the start when I said the Diamond Princess gave us the basic data. Since then, we've had a multitude of contradictory information, for example see here: for every datum, there is a contradicting one; for every confident opinion, a contrary one. Usually, over time, possibilities narrow but not in this case. I don't know. And things like this make me reach for the tinfoil.

VACCINE. AstraZeneca and Sputnik's maker have made a cooperation agreement. The Sputnik vaccine has been approved for people over 60. Belarus and Kazakhstan will start producing it soon. About a million injections issued as of today. The first foreign countries are starting to receive it.

SPORTS. Russian athletes can't compete under their flag for two years. The mistake the Russians made was not getting on to Therapeutic Exemptions. That way you can transform asthmatics into world champion endurance athletes. Or champion cyclists. Cold War II contaminates everything.

THEFT. On the 8th thieves stole equipment from one of Russia's four "doomsday" C3I planes. But nothing important we're told three weeks later. Pretty embarrassing either way.

OPEN SKIES. Now that Washington has pulled out of the Open Skies Treaty, Moscow is understandably concerned that US allies will pass information to Washington anyway. It is awaiting assurances that they won't. My guess is it won't get them, (more Russian "assertiveness") and that that treaty will die too.

DOESN'T MAKE ANYTHING. The US is still buying rocket engines from Russia. Ten for next year.

NAVALNIY. I don't bother any more – it's just more nonsense. It's all Captain Jedburgh now. For those who do bother, Helmer keeps abreast of the latest revision to yesterday's revision.

BIDEN'S Administration will be full of Russiagate believers, but I agree with the Saker: "sound and fury, signifying nothing". But Moscow may be sending messages to the few that can hear…

1) WEAPONS. And the rollout of new weapons continues. The first regular production Su-57 enters service. Its companion RPV Okhotnik (hunter) will carry out flight tests with weapons in 2021. And a military design bureau specialising in developing weapons for extreme Arctic conditions has been re-opened. So let's add it up: the First Guards Tank Army, an MRD in Kaliningrad, new weapons – especially hypersonic missiles, new warships at regular intervals, new nuclear weapons, serious presence in the Arctic, continuous tests and exercises, coastal missile brigade in Sakhalin. And China and Russia keep getting closer to a formal military alliance (Chinese poll put relations with Russia way out in front.). A joint air patrol of strategic bombers (of course it "does not target any third party"). "A light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs".

2) COMPUTERS. Many US agencies have been penetrated by what seems to be espionage rather than "hacking". Whodunnit? There's no evidence (big players aren't going to leave any are they? No "Feliks Edmundoviches" to titillate the simple-minded). Remember reports that the US was attacking the Russian power grid? Doctorow suspects Moscow is telling Washington that it already knows everything. Maybe. A lesson of history is that you can start a war with Russia, but Russia is likely to finish it. Another is that Russian/Soviet intelligence is very, very good. But we don't know who did it.

RUSSIAN HACKING. Notice the Russians were hacking away, interfering, breaking in continuously from January to October, stopped completely in November and resumed in December. Amazing, isn't it?

FAKE NEWS. "Believed to be … are feared… concerns … if,.. is said to be… thought to have been… It's believed". Another rock solid story.

BLAKE. George Blake, a famous double agent for Soviet intelligence, died in Moscow at 98. Putin's statement is here. What turned him, he said, was his experience in North Korea where he witnessed the relentless USAF bombing of a country already ruined by 35 years of brutal Japanese occupation. The US dropped more bombs on North Korea than it had in the entire Pacific campaign 1941-1945 killing 20% of the population and destroying everything. How many Blakes were created by Raqqa, do you suppose?

NOT ON YOUR "NEWS" OUTLET. Ukraine press conference.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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12 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 31 DECEMBER 2020 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Avatar scott s. says:

    On sports, I guess Katusha had an “average” number of dopers, though the team has been sold to an Israeli group and will race with Chis Froome at its head next year. But on TUEs, yes that’s quite the dodge, and even is a thing for US amateur masters level USCF racing (TUE for low testosterone where steroids are banned in and out of competition normally).

  2. Avatar ISL says:

    Thanks PA,
    Probably this was announced shortly after you hit post:
    https://tass.com/science/1241431
    Russian announces pre-clinical trial of a 99% efficacious covid19 treatment.
    So far the US big pharma drug treatments have been singularly ineffective (combination of overly rushed, and hype aimed at goosing stock prices).
    Given the speed of Covid19 mutation and a number of large studies showing immunity could be short-lived, such treatments may be critical to returning life to normal.

  3. Russians have a joke that due to Covid-19 Russians stopped dying from cancer, heart decease, diabetes, alcoholism etc. Hallelujah. Generally speaking, statistics stops being a valid science because inputs in human field (including health statistics) are at best tenuous, at worst–classic Garbage In, Garbage Out. In technology it is easier to correct and forecast, not in humanities filed. That is why ideology and politics are ruling this “field” and its data-reliability is about the same as most polls in 2016 which predicted HRC’s landslide victory over Trump. Real results and numbers will not be known for a few years. I’ll give you a hint–Karlin will be wrong again. This is not to speak of sources used such as Novaya Gazeta, Moscow Times, Financial Times and “opposition” bloggers–why not go directly for jugular and use “data” from White Helmets, I am sure they have an excellent “demographics” department. Here is a headline which sums up everything one needs to know about Covid-19 pretty well.
    https://komonews.com/news/coronavirus/breast-cancer-survivor-and-mom-of-6-latest-snohomish-co-covid-19-victim
    It is definitely a serious illness, but most of the statistics about it–a complete trash. Enough to see how China changes its data on it. Now they declare she had 10 times number of infected, which, obviously, drops mortality rate precipitously. In 2009-10 61 million people were infected in US with the swine flu. And even in mortality rate estimates varied by the two orders of magnitude:
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html
    Which demonstrates perfectly a grossly inadequate and not soon to be addressed very high inaccuracy of statistics in human field. But then again, what I am trying to say, Western historiography of the XX century is built on the premise that Stalin and “bolsheviks” annihilated 60+ million Russians. How is that mathematically possible this historiography doesn’t disclose. Same as millions of raped German women in 1945.

  4. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    On Biden’s choices for Pentagon jobs, see Colin Kahl:
    Washington Examiner: ‘Russia on the brain’: Biden pick for top Pentagon post was a vocal Steele dossier promoter.
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/biden-pick-pentagon-steele-dossier-promoter

  5. @scott s.
    On sports
    The only sports which matters truly in Russia are Ice Hockey and football (aka soccer), for large part of female population it is also figure skating. The rest, same as Olympic Movement is dying out. Olympic Games long ago stopped generating excitement they used to for a simple reason of them becoming an arena for sanctimonious competition between ideological narratives, which have nothing to do with sports. Especially professional sport of high achievements. I totally share the sentiment that instead of developing professional “Olympic” sports, by far the better use of substantial financial investment will be into mass physical culture, which is also an investment into the national health. I long ago said–let them legalize doping and let the mutants compete. Very many people in Russia think like that.

  6. My suggestion is that the Summer Olympics be at a permanent venue near Mt Olympus and the Winter Olympics at a permanent venue in Switzerland/Austria.
    And we have a third Olympics
    It will be named the Full-Wired Olympics, the only rule is that the contestant must be alive at the end of the contest, prizes awarded to the drug companies. To be held — where else — Las Vegas.

  7. @Patrick
    where else — Las Vegas.
    Exactly:)) They now try to introduce… pole-dancing as an Olympic sports, so, why not. The way things going now, the next logical step will be introduction of poker and whatever else generates profit and TV ratings.

  8. Avatar Deap says:

    Considering you have a disease that already exhibits a 99% recovery rate, I would be interested in the parameters of the study showing a drug offered a 99% “cure” rate.

  9. Avatar Fred says:

    ISL,
    What ineffectiveness are you referring to, the damn things have barely been in circulation? Mutations? That’s China’s round two of their war on the West. Though the mutations reported may be as fake as the Imperial College virus models.

  10. Avatar Ghost Ship says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bellingcat was eventually discovered to be a very complex SVR/GRU black propaganda operation along the lines of OGPU’s Operation Trust/PWE’s Gustav Siegfried Eins, Soldatensender Calais and Kurzwellesender Atlantik. The evidence Bellingcat produces always seems slightly to good to be true but it crowds out other sources. Is the British journalist Eliot Higgins aware of this? Nah, he just a useful idiot.

  11. Avatar Seamus Padraig says:

    Very disappointing that Putin has hopped on board the ‘pandemic’ express. Oh, at least for now we still have Lukashenko. Uncle Luka tells the truth: the real plague is the IMF!

  12. Avatar Alves says:

    Argentina started to vaccinate people with the Sputnik vaccine last tuesday.
    It will likely be one of the vaccines used in Brazil too. To be honest, I am hoping to get that one later in the year, as it has a good efficacy number.
    Regarding the death toll, it was well know that Russia was under counting due to the way that it is counting, just like Belgium is over counting compared to the way most other countries are counting.
    Either way, we will only know something close to the real numbers one year or two after the end of the pandemy, when the excess mortality numbers are more solid (and that is the best way of counting, as pandemies kill by different ways, even by a lack of correct health cara for other diseases during the pandemy).
    Countries with better death control systems might be able to know sooner… and that is how Russia is reaching these numbers.
    It is a slap in the face of people still in denial, but numbers are numbers and those statistics are the ones that really matter in the end.
    Curious fact, some countries saw a reduction on expected deaths, probably due to mask use and social distancing keeping common cold numbers down, less accidents, less polution, etc. New Zealand is one of them:
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32647-7/fulltext

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