Russian Federation Sitrep 2014.02.27


27 February 2014

Olympics. A triumph, no question about it, with the added  unexpected pleasure for Russia of topping the medal list. A Levada poll showed something less than enthusiasm at the start: 53% were glad Russia was hosting but 26% were not. Bet there’s more support now! Perhaps connected is a poll rating that puts Putin up to 68% approval. So, after all the toilets, fake pictures, (intentional fakes too), breathless warnings, subtropical, they were safe, everybody had a private toilet and food, the athletes seem to have enjoyed themselves. Will Western opinioneers and media outlets admit to getting it wrong? (“Sochi has been utter embarrassment for Vladimir Putin”). Silly question: “away from all the cameras, there are still many glaring questions”, “these games were anything but carefree”. I believe they went too far: in the event, millions and millions of viewers have seen the Western MSM’s coverage of Russia revealed to be largely lies and propaganda and the happy, modern ordinary Russians shown are a contrast to the grey, miserable, downtrodden Russians we’re told about. So, while they are indeed only sports, the Games’ success is another bucket of paint remover thrown at the Western portrait of Russia.

Corruption. Investigations chew away: an investigation into fraud at the Defence Ministry re-opened upon new testimony. Perhaps connected is a report that the former minister seeks amnesty. Seven generals and admirals investigated last year for corruption. A senior official in Interior Ministry detained over claims of bribery and abuse of office. Another senior Interior Ministry official dismissed with no reason given.

Bolotnaya case. Jail sentences for seven (longest 4 years, shortest 2 ½ – less double time served I presume as is usual) and probation for one. An anti-Putin rally turned violent in 2012. My sources tell me the violence was organised to happen (one of the principal Putin opponents said she wouldn’t appear because she knew there would be violence) but the WMSM of course pretends that this is a terrible outrage.

More liberals. Vladimir Ryzhkov has quit RPR-PARNAS. I have lost track of how many registered parties there are now – over a hundred I think – so I guess there will soon be one more. The Russian “liberals” are so ego-bound that none can bear to cooperate with another.

Ombudsman. Putin nominated Ella Pamfilova as ombudsman. An interesting choice: she had been the head of the human rights council until she resigned quite loudly in 2010. The apparent reason being her conviction that no one was listening. Many of the other members subsequently quit.

The world is changing. Straws in the wind. China unloading some US bonds (by the way China has an interest in Ukrainian developments). Russia-Egypt arms deal. Big year for Russia-India arms sales and cooperation. India showing interest in the Customs Union. Thoughtful people should know of this editorial in the CPC People’s Daily on Ukraine: “The theories related to politics, economics and security during the Cold War period are still influencing many people on their concept of the world, and some Western people are still imbued with resentment towards Russia”. What would happen if  China unloaded, say, 10% of its $1.27 trillion of USD bonds to underline its displeasure with “outdated thinking”? Perhaps the EU and USA aren’t the final word any more.

Ukraine. Nuland has got her way for the moment and “Yats” is named Prime Minister, As far as I can see, what actually happened was that the protest leaders made their “suggestions” and Parliament rubber-stamped them.  And now it’s time to talk money because Ukraine is bankrupt. At the moment the number mentioned is US$35 billion but it will probably be more – someone has to pay for the gas. But the EU and USA aren’t as rich as they once were: Kerry thinks a billion is possible and the EU doesn’t sound helpful and the IMF is only talking $15 billion. No wonder Hague thinks Russia should chip in. (Who’d have thought, 20 years ago, that Russia would be the one with the spare cash?) Meanwhile, who’s in charge? People like this former fighter in Chechnya? Secession or civil war coming? The next month or so will tell us. My argument that the Standard Western Media Narrative is propaganda and lies is here. My prediction is that Moscow will sit back and watch developments: the EU and USA have broken it, let them pay for it. Ukraine in its present condition is no prize and it could be a real nightmare in a few weeks. I hope I’m wrong.

Syria. A fourth batch of CW left Syria yesterday and a third on the 10th.


© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada

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  1. “My prediction is that Moscow will sit back and watch developments”

    My prediction: a slow burn terror and sanctions war against Russia. Maybe now just about everybody flakes out Putin with empty promises of cooperation. Maybe Russia acts against NATO…or reverts back to the land of Yukos…decadence…hedonism…nose candy…butt plugs…mass starvation and death for anyone not highly skilled or highly jewish. But then…you could predict the same fate for 21st century America.

    Skinhead bombers in Ukraine…skinhead bombers in Oklahoma City…same backers…different scapegoat.

  2. Hopefully Mr. Putin will refrain from destroying the nordics…slavs…italians…we need those people to invent the future.

  3. Dude, EVERY Olympics ends with a wave of good feeling. That’s normal. Even the ones that were obviously overspent (Athens) or had awkward problems (Atlanta) had high favorables. That bump in the polls is expected, part of what you’re paying for. It would be major news if it *didn’t* happen.

    The question is, what’s Sochi going to look like a year from now? Three years? Five? If the answer is “prosperous resort town generating lots of economic activity”, then we can say these Olympics were a success. If the answer is “empty buildings and crumbling infrastructure”, less so.

    Doug M.

  4. As to winning the medal count, consider this: Russia’s not even in the top ten.

    Of course, medal counts make everyone feel great. But it’s hard to imagine a more meaningless indicator, whether per capita adjusted or otherwise. If medal counts meant anything, Honecker’s East Germany would have been the best place to live /ever/.

    Doug M

    • It’s really hard for highly populated countries to get a lot of medals per capita. Only “big” countries in Top 10 are Netherlands and Canada, and they have ~10 and ~5 times fewer people than Russia, respectively.

  5. It looks like Imperial Russia has validated the claims of its worst detractors have been warning about by colonising Russian populated Ukraine and actively supporting the ousted corrupt and inept political puppet President by doing one of the worst geopolitical moves ever.

    How is Putins/Russian supporters going to defend his latest actions? or perhaps they simply won’t.

  6. Very very easily. Russia is not annexing the Crimea, having troops on the territory is not equivalent to annexation. Nobody claimed during the Iraq war that the US wanted to annex Iraq (or Panama, or Grenada or any number of US military interventions). What Russia is doing is securing the peace in Crimea and strengthening its hand before the inevitable negotiations take place which will determine the makeup of a future Ukraine.
    Additionally, it should be pointed out that according to the constitution of Ukraine, Yanukovich is still the President, he was not impeached according to the rule of law. And Yanukovich has asked for assistance from Russia. So has the Crimean government. The people sitting in Kiev are NOT legitimate and were not elected by anybody.
    The people who brought this on are the extremists in Kiev and the Western powers than egged them on, disregarding the agreement that they signed with Yanukovich shortly before their final attack.

    • I will respond to you comment later but didn’t Yanakovich himself he change the constitution that was put in place by lawmakers after the Orange revolution something that he helped achieve through rigged elections and votes to give him a majority in the parliament?

      There is also the illegitimacy of his rule given that his regime did not allow independent courts and investigators to conduct criminal investigations that he no doubt was involved in that would have removed him from power that are now being published online by investigators and journalists retrieved when he and his thugs tried to destroy thousands of incriminating documents before fleeing to his masters in Russia.

      In a more fundamental level that I will discuss later Russia’s recent action has been a complete disaster and run counter to the very real and genuine grievances Russia had against EU and western foreign policy against Russia since the collapse of the USSR.

      Worse is the effect beyond Ukraine of Russia minorities in neighbouring countries like the Baltics with a very real possibility that Russia will support separatist forces in these countries and potential conflict of war in Europe with regards to this Russian policy like Germany during WW2 that would have a disastrous effect among the Russian populations and Russia itself that only has itself to blame.

  7. donnyess says:

    Russia might be dead already…the coastal perimeter of the US/Canada and of course Israel could be the most likely targets for the Russian strategic rocket forces…European capitals only as a last resort…Japan might flip the wrong way for Kerry and friends.