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19 November 2020


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Paul Damascene

Any thoughts on why RF is not part of RCEP. Eurasian country on the Pacific. Any reason to think they weren't eligible or deliberately excluded. Multilateralists that they appear to be ... BRICS, CSTO, SCO, BRI...

Patrick Armstrong

@Paul D My GUESS is that this is stage 1 and Russia (and Iran) and some Central Asians will come along in stage 2


Best I could figure from the "good" Russian covid vaccine study:
Started with 40,000 but only observed 16,000 - huge drop out rate. Why?

Only 20 actual cases of covid among the 16,000 observed cases - a 0.001% active disease incidence rate - how did these 16 covid cases break down between the placebo group and the treated group.

Demographics of the groups and the active cases are missing. But the headlines claim 92% success rate. The real story is still missing. Same criteria will be applied to US claims - who are also very coy about the details.

English Outsider

No satisfaction in what has happened In the Ukraine since May 2014, but there must be some quiet satisfaction, Mr Armstrong, in having got it dead right that early. Might I put in a couple of queries?

1. On the school in Sevastopol, the specs didn't show any conversion to military use and the work done was in any case similar to work done by the US Navy in other parts of Eastern Europe. Also converting a school for military use before the coup would have been announcing to the Russians "We're coming", which is unlikely.

So I reckoned at the time that that school renovation was nothing to do with any intention of NATO forces taking over Sebastopol but was simply a "hearts and minds" gesture. I see there was a EUVOM statement later put out confirming this. The school renovation was a "humanitarian facilitation project."


But Lada Ray, writing back in 2014, has a different take -

"One of the high schools (a gymnasium) in Sevastopol the Kiev authorities were about to sell to the US to be repurposed as a school for spies, targeting Russia. It was planned that the kids going to that school would be learning languages and spying techniques since an early age."


Now more is presumably known, was Lada Ray's statement merely part of the wash of speculation around at that time or have documents come to light since that authenticate this story?

2. The involvement of the EU is mentioned. Sakwa, the writer I take as the most authoritative on the EU negotiations with the Ukraine, does not touch on EU liason with NATO forces. Nor, if I remember correctly, does he go into the complex relationship between Brussels and the constituent EU countries.

From what little I've picked up it seems the EU negotiating team was deeply involved in the internal politics of pre-coup UKraine, though having slightly different opjectives from NATO. As for who drove EU policy, it's quite certain that we can't speak of a "Brussels policy" here when looking at the EU pre-coup negotiations but rather that the EU approach to the Ukraine was mostly driven by two main players, Germany and France.

Mr Armstrong - any chance of your sorting this tangle out and giving us a bird's eye view of who was up to what in that confused pre-coup period?

Patrick Armstrong

@ English Outsider
I wrote a lot at the time -- here are 2 https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2013/12/06/ukraine-in-the-mirror-of-the-mind/ and https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2014/02/25/propanganda-and-the-narrative/ -- but root around in my site for other stuff around the dates.
As to the school -- a first step on the way to others is how I thought of it at the time and still do. Seriously, if Sevastopol had remained in Ukrainian do you think the USN would have stayed out of it?
The EU had an agreement that I recall all sides had signed on to (Yan would go early and there would be an election as I remember) but Nuland told them to fuck themselves and they did. The EU putative agreement had something in it (as I recall) about coordination of defence policies or something like that so NATO was hovering in the background. But I was never able to find an actual text of the agreement.
A mixture of wilful delusion, malfeasance, greed and anti-Russian manoeuvres carried out by people who didn't know what they were doing and didn't trust each other (sometime around this period the Polish FM said something about giving Washington a BJ and getting nothing in return.)
And lots more to come -- things will get worse.

Patrick Armstrong

@ Deap
"The Gamaleya Institute promised to publish a report on its findings in a world-leading medical journal after an evaluation and to provide access to a full clinical trial report once the tests are fully complete. The researchers say six months will be necessary to make sure that participants of the study do not develop dangerous side effects."
So that will tell us more

English Outsider

Patrick Armstrong - sincere thanks for the material you have referred me to. Reading further now.

As I read it the echoes of Putin's 2015 UN speech are, as ever, still sounding. He was talking in the context of the Middle East but his remarks apply equally well to the disaster that I believe was consciously brought about in the Ukraine. I have seen various translations but "Do you even yet not realise what you have done?" seems to convey the meaning best.

Patrick Armstrong

@ English Outside4r
Official English
I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done? But I’m afraid that this question will remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity.
Так и хочется спросить тех, кто создал такую ситуацию: «Вы хоть понимаете теперь, что вы натворили?». Но, боюсь, этот вопрос повиснет в воздухе, потому что от политики, в основе которой лежит самоуверенность, убеждённость в своей исключительности и безнаказанности, так и не отказались.


Patrick, IMHO, the Russian base in Port Sudan is aimed at guaranteeing Russian ships, of all kinds, have access to refueling/reparations/mandatory stops for long voyages at sea, in the current state of increasing acts of piratery and impossing of sanctions which include attempts to avoid that thirs ocuntries could stoppings of Russian ships on basis of ancient courtesy by Law of the Sea...

In this context, the recent statement by Boris Johnson on the neccessity of a bunch more of frigates for Royal British Navy comes as concerning, due historical precendents on concession of "Patente de ccrso" to known pirates against foreign ships...especially those carrying gold...

Gold is becoming increasingly, a refuge value. In that sense, Patrick, as international analyst, do you find any connection amongst this fact, the incipient construction of the Russian base in Sudan and the new war in Ethiopia?

One would say there are interests who would want to create added troubles in the region to destabilize Sudan with waves of refugees to twart the Russian project...

I hope Pat allows this coment go through...


I lived in Poland in 1997 and my best friend was Russian. We were planning a trip to Moscow and he was trying to get my visa sorted "the proper way" because I was young and Canadian and didn't believe in paying bribes. After a month of Russian officials messing his friends around he finally came to me and said "Can you just go to that travel agency and pay the extra money (which we all knew covered a bribe to Russian officials as well as a handling fee for the Polish travel agency) and get your visa that way?"

Which of course I did.

So - when I hear about Russian e-visas I think that they are taking people out of the loop in order to reduce corruption.


Re: JamesT

I just *love* this kind of story: "Some bad stuff happened to me ages ago. Now I'm biased against entire country/culture because of this."

Judging by your last sentece, JamesT, you had no further experience vis-a-vis Russian authorities and visa handling agencise since *1997*. Yet you feel entitled to your brand of essentialism, claiming that Russia did not change in 23 years.

Comment section below various "RF sitreps" demonstrates that there are plenty of other people like JamesT, who, instead of trying to understand what's really going on in Russia, are just happy to nurture their "hard won" biases.

Way to go, folks!



What I was trying to say was "I think this is a smart approach and Putin is actually weeding out corruption despite the lying western press sayiing the opposite" ... but I guess I didn't express myself very well. Last time I was in Russia was 2010-ish and things were totally different. The place was MUCH more prosperous and I didn't have to unplug my phone from my wall to avoid constant solicitation phone calls.



Thanks for clarification and admission that "things are different [in Russia]" compared to 1990s. Now, a follow up question - did you have to pay bribes to get your paperwork done in 2010s?

This whole "e-visa" thingie is no issue, really. Just a general trend of "digitalisation" of pretty much everything, *probably*, brought to us sooner than later due to the state of the global affairs in our "anno mirabilis" of 2020.


A brief encounter between Alaska fishermen and a Russian Naval Exercise that occurred this past August in the Bering Sea has some in an uproar, The Spectator and the Western Journal

Alaska Command, NORAD, DOD, and Russia's MOD, had all coordinated with each other well ahead of time. Alas it seems the Alaskan fisherman were left out of the loop.


Russian MOD info on the exercise


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