PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Being away for so long, I wasn't following it closely but some things I didn't expect. Putin won of course but did a bit better than I thought he would. I really thought Grudinin would do better but he turned in the worst performance of a KPRF candidate. Zhirinovskiy also faded. The "liberals" are finished as a force I think: you can't go around saying that Crimea is part of Ukraine and expect people to not notice that you're parroting Washington. 20 years of Washington's behaviour has reversed a strong pro-American sentiment. In this respect Simonyan's piece is relevant: "We no longer want to live like you. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer. We no longer respect you".
PUTIN 2.1. The electorate voted for more of the same and that's what they'll get. And, if you were a Russian, so would you have: grosso modo, the improvements across the board since 2000 that you have personally seen and tasted are compelling. Putin has to find a successor but he can be confident that because he is trusted whomever he picks will be too. I have every confidence that Putin will make a good choice: by and large he has chosen pretty well and his team is remarkably stable. Someone, I expect, not too well known now because he (or she, certainly very wrong to rule that out: Russia has the highest percentage of women business leaders) should be in his 40s.
SKRIPALMANIA. This ridiculous story is collapsing. Years of flaccid acquiescence by MSM stenographers have made the anti-Russia fabulists sloppy: after some wavering on thallium and Scaramella, the Litvinenko story settled down; MH17 stated on message throughout (except for a slip-up in the Dutch report: see port engine intake) but this one was incoherence and absurdities from the start. We are reminded of a similar anti-Russia fabrication in 1994. What next? Re-writing history, of course. Or pretending it away. Craig Murray is the best single source: not wrong yet.
SPORTING DANGERS. Ever notice the coincidences? Georgia's invasion timing? Just when the lies about Sochi are revealed it's time to move the narrative to Ukraine? Ban Russia from the Olympics but clear it after. The soccer World Cup will be held in Russia in a couple of months and it will be held in a dozen Russian cities; the world will see that they're not miserable s—holes full of wretched people suffering under Putin's boot. What to do? This is too big a deal for the governments of soccer-mad countries to dare to boycott. Nerve agent attack? When that story bursts, then what? It seems that sports are the greatest threat to world peace.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. We have an interesting American poll showing that an increasing number of Americans believe that there is a "deep state". Here's the poll; read it for yourself. How could that be?
WESTERN VALUES™. Remember due process? Presumption of innocence? International agreements? Vienna Convention? Rule of law? Beijing remembers: see below.
NEW NWO. China weighs in on Skripalmania reminding us that no matter how subservient NATO allies may be, the rest of the world is less impressed: "Over the past few years the international standard has been falsified and manipulated in ways never seen before." The petroyuan moves a step closer with the opening of an oil futures market in Shanghai. With the gold-yuan exchange in Hong Kong already functioning, it's only a matter of deciding the right time to connect the two. The Chinese Defence Minister visits Moscow: "The Chinese side came to let the Americans know about the close ties between the Russian and Chinese armed forces." Step by step.
GERMANY. Expel 4 diplomats to show "solidarity", approve Nord Stream. Does that make sense?
UKRAINE. An American survey shows that the mood in Ukraine is bad and expecting worse. Well, that's one post-Maidan Ukraine expectation that will be fulfilled. Nadia Savchenko, a former Ukrainian hero, has been arrested in Ukraine on terrorism charges. She dares to suggest that the massacre was a false flag. (Read Ivan Katchanovski's paper: "This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power. It found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas". Here are confessions by some of the snipers that your local news outlet has been too busy to tell you about.)
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer