Dedicated Russian thread

And the World Cup arrests start with a bit of poofery, guess he's got to do something different now he can't get publicity by trying to arrest Mugabe

I would arrest Peter Tatchell for almost anything. Nothing to do with him being gay, but for him trying to stir the brown stuff. (fnarr) Tatchell has very little to do with gay lib or whatever acronym it is known by now, but a vile hate filled self-publicist.
 
Henry Jackson Society
Thanks to @SkippedOnce I've just seen a paper by Bob Seely MBE MP and his take on Russian ‘hybrid’ warfare or as he calls it ‘Contemporary Russian Conflict’.

All of the indicators are there as we have seen over the past few years and (imo) he puts them all together. Must admit, I know Bob although no contact for a couple of years now and he wasn’t really talking about Russia in the time that I knew him.

Bob Seely - Wikipedia
@scalieback Many thanks for that.

I worked alongside Bob Seeley for a while, quite a few yars ago - nice chap, not a close friend, but definitely a colleague whose professionalism I admired. Not been in touch since, but this is a great piece of work by him: Henry Jackson Society

Bob has hit the nail right on the head with this paper. It demonstrates the continuity of the application of what I call the "Muscovite mentality or mindset". The Kremlin is the sole source of authority in Russia, therefore it controls all levers of power and can use the full spectrum of national resources for the conduct of multi-level operations against its ever-present perceived enemies. This is something that is very difficult to understand for your average westerner used to a plural society.

It obviously touched a Muscovite nerve as the riposte on RT was: “........ yet another attempt to foster Russophobia by publishing anti-Kremlin propaganda masquerading as a peer-reviewed study.” (As quoted on the Bob Seeley wikipedia entry). This is actually a great accolade indicating that he is right in his analysis.
 
I've just been thinking more on the suject of the paper by Bob Seely originally quoted above by scalieback and commented on by myself. In actual fact, all the phases of this "Contemporary Russian Conflict" mode could already be seen in the partitions of Poland in the late 18th Century (Prussia and Austria also participated in the partitions, but the direction and thrust came from Moscow).
 
Russians keep being a nuisance to everyone, they don't contribute much to European culture, except thwarting every attempt to invade them, from Napoleon to Hitler, relying just on cold winters.
 
Russians keep being a nuisance to everyone, they don't contribute much to European culture, except thwarting every attempt to invade them, from Napoleon to Hitler, relying just on cold winters.
Not sure if the above is a wah, but:

On the contrary, the Russian peoples have contributed a great deal to European culture. Russian achievement in the arts has been extensive and original. In the sciences perhaps not as much, but they have been able to get a lot of things done through hard work and innovative ideas. This is despite the "Muscovite mindset".

I have no beef with the peoples of all the Russias, but I believe they would have been far better served if the usurper state of Muscovy had not built upon its work as the tax-collector of the Mongol Khan and subjected them to an oriental despotism far removed from the ethos of the original mediaeval Russian principalities. The Russian peoples remain the greatest victims of Muscovite aggression, manipulation and propaganda. Russia is a misnomer the country would be better served by the moniker "Thralldom of Muscovy", as it is essentially still an empire ruled autocratically from the Moscow Kremlin.
 
An interesting piece from the International Crisis Group on "Patriotic Mobilisation in Russia":
https://www.crisisgroup.org/europe-central-asia/caucasus/russianorth-caucasus/251-patriotic-mobilisation-russia?utm_source=Sign+Up+to+Crisis+Group's+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=fedad2e2a3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_04_08_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dab8c11ea-fedad2e2a3-359289081

This is quite typical of an autocratic state, the organised preparation of a population for an expansionist war. It is part of the holistic approach being taken by the Kremlin to re-assert the dominance of Muscovite State over the territories lost since the end of the Cold War and to overcome the (perceived) unjustified and humiliating defeat it suffered then. This closely parallels the policies followed by Germany after 1933 and does not bode well for European security.
 
Another interesting article in the Economist pointing towards Moscow's expansionist intentions vis-a-vis Ukraine.
Ukraine wants a national church that is not beholden to Moscow

In the "Muscovite mindset", there can be no alternative power base to challenge the State, therefore no separation of Church and State. Since its inception, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has been a tool of Muscovite State control (including in the Communist era). So Ukraine seeking its own Autocephalous Patriarchate is seen as an act of aggression against Moscow, which fully intends to reconquer as much of Ukraine as possible.

Once the Football World Cup is over (sorry Russia - I was looking forward to the likelihood of the Russian team being beaten by England) are we looking at a potential land-grab of a coastal corridor to Crimea?
Russia’s ‘Boa Constrictor’ Strategy in the Sea of Azov: A Prelude to Amphibious Landings? - Jamestown
 
World Cup exit strips Putin of cover for pension reforms
With Russia out of the World Cup, many feel the population will look harder at the increases age of pension eligibility from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 63 for women. All announced during the opening ceremony.

Whether they do go back to redress the age limits, or fire up the rhetoric with some sabre rattling or even push for the Mariupol corridor. Down to 75% popularity (as if a western leader could get such), they may look at reforms:
Following the polling backlash, officials were now considering ways to soften the pension reform, two sources familiar with discussions told Reuters.

“Any victory comes and goes. People forget,” said Nikolai Petrov, a political analyst at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

“...Every day people will remember that they could be receiving their pension but are not getting it because of this bad government,” referring to how some people were likely to perceive Putin’s administration.
Levada Center sociologist Stepan Goncharov said this situation would now change.

“It’s fair to say that the issue of pension reforms will return to the top (of the agenda) after the end of the tournament,” he said.

The extent of popular outrage at the plan, which aims to ease pressure on state coffers from an ageing population and a struggling economy further weakened by sanctions, would depend on what the government did next, he said.

A final decision on what form it will take is expected in autumn.
Peskov seems dismissive of the predictions:
The Kremlin this week shrugged off the idea it might face greater public pressure over the reforms once the World Cup ended.

“It is the job of experts to reach these conclusions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Let them do that.”
 
From Chatham House - an interesting and informative take on Russian economy and politics.

Stagnation in Russia is Raising Geopolitical Risks
Philip Hanson | Associate Fellow | Russia and Eurasia Programme

Economic stagnation in Russia is contributing to geopolitical risk by encouraging – and, to an extent, dictating – the Kremlin’s pursuit of a belligerent foreign policy. As the deep reforms needed for Russia to achieve sustainably higher growth are unpalatable domestically, President Vladimir Putin has instead adopted the time-honoured diversionary tactic of stoking nationalism and emphasizing external threats. This does nothing for the economy, and makes further geopolitical entanglements likely.

On any reckoning, the Russian economy is underperforming. Real GDP growth was just 1.5 per cent in 2017, according to the preliminary official estimate, and little improvement on this anaemic rate of expansion is in prospect. The IMF forecasts growth of around 1.5 per cent annually into the 2020s. Commentators may argue over definitions, but this amounts to ‘stagnation with a plus sign’.

Read the full text >
 
From the Economist Espresso today:
Greece ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats. Reports suggest the move may be connected to efforts to extract information that could be used to bribe Greek officials, or interference in a deal to rename Macedonia. Russia said it would respond in kind. The spat has raised eyebrows: Greece and Russia, both Orthodox Christian countries, have traditionally enjoyed good relations.
Moscow meddling once again. A resolution of "the Macedonian question" opens the way for (North) Macedonia's accession to NATO.
 
From Chatham House - an interesting and informative take on Russian economy and politics.

Stagnation in Russia is Raising Geopolitical Risks
Philip Hanson | Associate Fellow | Russia and Eurasia Programme

Economic stagnation in Russia is contributing to geopolitical risk by encouraging – and, to an extent, dictating – the Kremlin’s pursuit of a belligerent foreign policy. As the deep reforms needed for Russia to achieve sustainably higher growth are unpalatable domestically, President Vladimir Putin has instead adopted the time-honoured diversionary tactic of stoking nationalism and emphasizing external threats. This does nothing for the economy, and makes further geopolitical entanglements likely.

On any reckoning, the Russian economy is underperforming. Real GDP growth was just 1.5 per cent in 2017, according to the preliminary official estimate, and little improvement on this anaemic rate of expansion is in prospect. The IMF forecasts growth of around 1.5 per cent annually into the 2020s. Commentators may argue over definitions, but this amounts to ‘stagnation with a plus sign’.

Read the full text >
How did the author coming up with those growth figures? I followed the link to the IMF data, but the story does not define any terms and if I select what appears to be the most relevant set of IMF data it gives a very different picture.
Report for Selected Countries and Subjects

If I select Gross domestic product, current pricesPurchasing power parity; international dollars, I get the following data. I have also added GDP growth rate by calculating as (year - previous year)/year.

Year, GDP, % growth
2009, 3063.803,
2010, 3240.904, 5.8%
2011, 3475.383, 7.2%
2012, 3670.36, 5.6%
2013, 3796.767, 3.4%
2014, 3891.965, 2.5%
2015, 3835.814, -1.4%
2016, 3876.984, 1.1%
2017, 4007.831, 3.4%
2018, 4168.884, 4.0%
2019, 4322.616, 3.7%
2020, 4473.663, 3.5%
2021, 4627.305, 3.4%
2022, 4777.361, 3.2%
2023, 4933.387, 3.3%

Here's the report's chart:



As a comparison, here are the GDP history and projections for another oil and gas dependent economy, Alberta. This covers a shorter time span, but note the similar fall in GDP in the 2014 to 2016 time frame, the recovery in 2016 to 2017, and that the economy wasn't expected to recover to 2014 levels until the 2018 to 2019 time frame.
Economic outlook


Russia overall is less dependent upon oil prices than the province of Alberta, but Russian GDP growth will continue to be closely tied to oil and gas prices for the foreseeable future. They are currently focusing heavily on expansion into the China market, where their pipeline access gives them a cost advantage over LNG.
 
Interesting article on how Russia is the Syrian conflict as a "battle lab" to improve its weapons and tactics:
How Russia's Military Is Becoming Even Deadlier
There is reason to believe that the recent failed Russian mercenary operation (when a batallion sized unit got taken out by joint fires) to take Syrian oilfields protected by Kurds with US military support was designed to monitor and evaluate the latest US capability in this field.
 
Just seen a great piece on Russian assymentric warfare on the Politico website. It is written from an American perspective, but it equally applies to Europe and especially to Brexit Britain.

It is especially pertinent for us here on this forum as we have seen at first hand examples of Russian trolling and sock-puppetry including posters averring to have been UK forces veterans.

Putin’s attack on the US is new Pearl Harbor
 
Stacey Dooley's report on violence towards women in Russia was shown on BBC 2 last night. Primarily about how the change to Russian law has legalised battering your wife/girlfriend as long as you don't put her in hospital.

As part of the report it showed how the church was taking over and returning to the middle ages in its attitude to women and leaning more to the Islamic attitude. It is not quite there with regard to women's position in society but definitely they are the property of the husband. As far as the church is concerned and members of government as well, domestic violence is a western concept.

It unintentionally highlighted the massive drink/drugs problem and unemployment in regional towns and the inability of women to access social security without the husband. Government money to support refuges for women has been slashed to the point that it is only due to voluntary help that there are any atall.

As a parting shot she went through what Russia had achieved for women under communism and it is no wonder that many look back on Soviet Russia with fond memories.

The concept of the place of women in Russia as barefoot and pregnant, chained to the sink is alive and thriving in Russia.
 
Stacey Dooley's report on violence towards women in Russia was shown on BBC 2 last night. Primarily about how the change to Russian law has legalised battering your wife/girlfriend as long as you don't put her in hospital.

As part of the report it showed how the church was taking over and returning to the middle ages in its attitude to women and leaning more to the Islamic attitude. It is not quite there with regard to women's position in society but definitely they are the property of the husband. As far as the church is concerned and members of government as well, domestic violence is a western concept.

It unintentionally highlighted the massive drink/drugs problem and unemployment in regional towns and the inability of women to access social security without the husband. Government money to support refuges for women has been slashed to the point that it is only due to voluntary help that there are any atall.

As a parting shot she went through what Russia had achieved for women under communism and it is no wonder that many look back on Soviet Russia with fond memories.

The concept of the place of women in Russia as barefoot and pregnant, chained to the sink is alive and thriving in Russia.
The logical conclusion of the "Muscovite Mindset" as applied to women.
 
The Imperial Russian armoured cruiser Dimitrii Donskoi has been found off the coast of a South Korean island. The ship was sunk during the Russo-Japanese War. Salvagers 'find sunken Russian warship'

This is being reported in a wide range of major media, but I have linked the BBC because they have so far provided the least hysterical account of the alledged value of the gold rumoured to be on the ship, limiting themselves to "gold which would be worth billions of dollars if found today"

Other media are less restrained and are reporting it to be worth $130 billion. RT is actually much more restrained in its reports than most western news sources so far.

While it seems likely that the Dimitrii Donskoi has been discovered, the chances of there being the rumoured amount of gold on board are pretty much nil in my opinion. The basis of the rumour is that the ship allegedly held the fleet's treasury for paying the crews and meeting the fleet's expenses as it sailed around the world to the far east. If true, this could amount to a nice sum of money. The rumours however provide no reason as to why such an implausibly large sum of money would be needed for this.

As a historical discovery however, this is an interesting find.

Here is a photo of the stern, showing the name of the ship.


Here is a video, including underwater footage. The submarine belongs to a Canadian company contracted by the South Korean firm to do the examination of the wreck.

 

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