Russia Stories Rolling Up Like London Buses

You know what they say about London buses – you wait for ages for a Number 57 to come along and then three arrive all at once. It’s a bit like that with suitable stories for this blog. You can have a long drought when it seems like there’s nothing to write about and then, wham, story after story arrives in quick succession.

Which is what it’s been like these past few days.

First, we had claims from the US State Department that Russia was trying to blacken the name of Western anti-covid vaccines in order to persuade other states to buy the Russian Sputnik V vaccine instead. Just about no evidence was provided to support this claim, beyond mention of three obscure websites that I imagine almost nobody reads. Allegedly, these websites have ‘links’ to Russian intelligence, but again no evidence was given to support that allegation. Furthermore, the State Department organization responsible for the claim has in the past made some highly dubious similar allegations against other websites (that I discussed and debunked here). Nobody should take its statements at face value. Frankly, the story is poorly-informed scaremongering.

It’s also enormously hypocritical, for next up was the disgraceful story that the United States had pressured Brazil not to accept deliveries of the Sputnik V vaccine. I really think that this is one of the outrageous things that I have read of late. After accusing the Russians of anti-vax activities, it turns out that the US government is not only involved in such activities itself but is rather proud of it. In the name of countering Russian ‘influence’, it sought to deprive Brazilians of a much-needed defence against a pandemic that has already killed a substantial part of the Brazilian population. It is quite indefensible.

Then, we had bus number 3: the publication of a new foreign policy and defence review by the British government. This listed Russia as “the most acute threat to our security,” and announced the UK’s intention to “reshape the international order,” increase military spending, and supplement its nuclear arsenal, while also declaring that, “The UK will deploy more of our armed forces overseas more often and for longer periods of time.”

I have written a piece about this for RT, which you can read here. I conclude that, “A Russian could only draw the conclusion that the United Kingdom is hell bent on an aggressive and hostile policy,” but that “Ultimately, the main loser will not be the Russians, the Chinese, or any other foreign power, but the British people themselves.” For their government’s “bizarre set of priorities”  will squander their national resources on pointless military adventurism at a time when other far more important matters should be taking precedence.

But the buses keeping rolling along. For next we have the US intelligence community making more bizarre allegations of Russian electoral interference, this time in the 2020 presidential election. And then after that, we have President Joe Biden calling Vladimir Putin a ‘killer’.

My contempt for the US intelligence community has never been greater. As a former intelligence person myself, I find myself asking, ‘Were we always this bad?’ I don’t know the answer, but in this instance, we have claims that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2020 election based on the actions of two guys who aren’t even Russian, but are said to be ‘proxies’, with yet again no supporting evidence provided. If I have time, I’ll write more on the topic later. Suffice to say, the reality doesn’t justify the hysterical headlines.

As for Biden’s comments, well what can one say? Didn’t he just order the bombing of Syria. Doesn’t that make him a ‘killer’ too? Politicians should avoid this sort of language. I suspect, though, that what this and the intelligence report mentioned above indicate is that Russiagate, with its allegations of Trump-Putin collusion to undermine American democracy, has done irreparable damage to US-Russia relations. One gets the impression that there is now a deep, deep hatred of Russia within the US government, a hatred that prevents any sane analysis of Russian intentions and actions, as well as of US national interests. I fear that this will last for quite a long time.

45 thoughts on “Russia Stories Rolling Up Like London Buses”

  1. “allegations of Russian electoral interference, this time in the 2020 presidential election”

    and here I had innocently thought because a Democratic Party candidate won, there would be no claim as to interference.
    But no, as you say Russia gate is a meme so deeply embedded, no matter what: RDI (Russia did it).

    What I found most astonishing was the accusation that Russia smeared candidate Biden with the claim of acting corruptly in Ukraine, both with the fact likely through his agency his son received a lucrative position in an oil company and that he himself pressured the removal of a “corrupt” official. The story is far from being properly investigated but almost all MSM claim no wrongdoing without this investigation actually having been done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I actually thought something similar just today: “Funny how when it became clear that Biden’s about to win, all the talk about Russian electoral meddling just completely stopped”. Well, I guess enough time (and events) has passed by now to secure the legitimacy of the new president, so now they can go back to the regularly scheduled program…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading your article this “IR” reads more like an attempt by the UK to try to go “pissing with the big dogs” – forgetting their empire sort of vanished some time ago – “but being unable to lift the leg” as the German saying goes….

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  3. “…but the British people themselves.” For their government’s “bizarre set of priorities” will squander their national resources…”

    But don’t ‘the British people’ (those who matter, anyway, and possibly a lot of others) expect their government to establish a massive trade agreement with the US government? That’s what I hear. And if so, shouldn’t the British government act …ugh… accordingly, be nice to their friends in Washington?

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  4. Enter #4 – Putin the Killer (sounds like a Neil Young song)

    And this from a nation whose presidents since WW2 supported death squads, had their own sons of a bitches from South Korea to Chile, Panama, Malaysia, Philippines etc (consult the list in a previous post)

    When finally Russia stops to bend over and just take it?
    The more Russia takes it without even some Vaseline, the more of a laughingstock it becomes on the international scene.

    Just stop the damn NS2 and plug the thing, leave a bare minimum diplomatic staff in the US and kick out all except a few US staffers – and close the foreign correspondents down except those from friendly countries.
    The West has become nothing but a burden to Russia, let them fuck themselves instead fucking other countries…..

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      1. Of course they tried to sabotage it, but the EU parliament willingly gave their assent to the sabotaging – so, let them have it..or better, let them have not the gas. If it stays in the ground a bit longer, it won’t get stale…

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    1. “Enter #4 – Putin the Killer (sounds like a Neil Young song)”

      True story! Photo proof:

      ^On May 29 there will be 3 years since this heinous crime – for which no one was punished.

      “And this from a nation whose presidents since WW2 supported death squads, had their own sons of a bitches from South Korea to Chile, Panama, Malaysia, Philippines etc (consult the list in a previous post)”

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  5. American Totalitarian Establishment still feels a lot of vulnerability about the whole Biden situation with Hunter/Ukraine, the missing laptop, the Post story, all that jazz. They know they are treading on thin ice, and it makes them feel hysterical.
    They can scream all they want about “Russian disinformation” except it’s all factual.
    Plus, 50% of all Americans believe the Dems stole the election, and that’s not exactly a crazy conspiracy theory, especially after the Time Magazine expose (which was actually not even an expose, but just blatantly bragging about how they cheated)!

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  6. “but just blatantly bragging about how they cheated”

    You are so naive, it is not cheating, it is election engineering – electioneering for short – totally above board.

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  7. So, I see that plan of separating China and Russia described in the ‘Longer Telegram’ is hitting a few snags. Probably there is some angry conversation in the White House along the lines of:

    “This is why we don’t let Grandpa do interviews with the media!”
    “But he hasn’t spoken to Congress and hasn’t given a State of the Union in 2 months, so people are starting to wonder…”
    “One more interview and I’m going to be forging Grandpa’s signature to get you fired! And don’t think you’ll be able to get a job in the media after being fired from a Democratic administration!”

    Technically, Russia can diffuse the tension by claiming that it doesn’t consider Biden’s statements as the official position of the USG because he has cognitive decline and the words were put into his mouth by the journalist. Well… I guess it won’t diffuse it so much, but will make it more hilarious.

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    1. Haha! that’s exactly what Russia should do: Announce that they prefer to speak with the puppetmaster of this nutso Punch and Judy show. The one hiding behind the curtain.
      Why should they try to speak with crazy old Punch? All he does is flail right and left, and then toss the baby out the window.

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    2. Well, I was right on my last prediction, or at least close enough! Putin claims that if a person says something like that, then they are that thing, and that Biden has problems with his health. Also offers him an online debate. Which will never happen unless Biden managed to somehow dismiss his minders. From the Colonel:

      “Путин отреагировал на адресные оскорбления Байдена, записав короткий диз в стиле “сам такой” и завуалированно намекнул на проблемы Байдена со здоровьем. После чего последовала попытка взять Байдена на слабо, предложив ему онлайн-дебаты.”

      https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/6639844.html

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  8. What is the US/UK endgame here? Do they think if they exert enough pressure on Russia, one day a sufficiently groomed and compliant lackey will come to power, usurp ‘Putinism’ and deliver Mother Russia into the arms of the Anglo-American empire?

    When America puts countries under sanction there is no clear way out. Iraq was sanctioned until it was invaded and destroyed, Colonel Gadaffi of Libya took the US/UK offers of “friendship” at face value, gave up his WMD programs and opened Libya up to western investment, thinking cooperating would end the sanctions that had been placed on Libya and usher in an era of peaceful coexistence.

    Instead, NATO and a bunch of proxy “rebels” bombed and destroyed Libya and the Colonel was sodomized by a bayonet and shot dead. Libya is now failed state with competing warlords locked into a permanent civil war. No sanctions though (as far as I know).

    Do they think Russia and China will end up like this? They must have some sort of endgame in mind, even if sane people find it completely ludicrous, but what is it? Or are they just winging it and hoping things will magically “work out” in their favor?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Libya was what puzzled me on SST. … Curious Crux there that didn’t quite fit into the larger Arab Spring guided discourse.

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    1. > What is the US/UK endgame here?

      Eric, it’s a very good question. Unfortunately, with few good answers. I’ve been trying to scheme out the possible outcomes, like I’d do with a math puzzle. I am no expert, of course… but here’s what I’ve got.

      If the goal is to keep Russia down economically and technologically – which it very clearly is, and has always been – all they need to do is slow it down enough. Then time is on their side: the longer they wait, the further Russia falls behind.

      So what’s Russia to do? First, invest heavily in cutting edge technology, and, of course, very carefully cultivate its human capital. It is doing all that. However, Russia is at a disadvantage here: it’s population is less than a half of the US’s, and only a third of EU’s. In other words, even if Russia is five times smarter about developing it’s best and brightest, in isolation, it’s going to just barely keep up with the collective West. And isolation is what sanctions policy is trying to achieve.

      So, it is imperative for Russia to seek out alliances and nurture them. The whole idea of “multipolar world” is based on the hope that the benefits of multilateral cooperation for each country outweigh the costs of pissing off the bullies. It may work out, and I am keeping fingers crossed that it does. However, I am not overly optimistic.

      So what about China? I am not sure China really needs us that much. Perhaps if we aligned with China earlier… but now, with 1.4 billion of educated, hard-working people, technologically almost caught up with the West, it aims to be a hegemon in it’s own right, at least in its chosen sphere of influence. And it is pretty obvious that Russia and China are too different to integrate culturally and move forward as a single block, the way collective West does. It can only be a limited partnership based on immediate practical interests.

      Of course, there is the whole rest of the world out there. There’s India; there’s Central and South America; there’s Middle East; there may even be Africa to recon with at some point. But none of these players (except India maybe, if it plays it right) are big/strong enough to stand their ground. They will tend to cave in to US’s (or China’s) pressure.

      So unless there’s a major change that completely reshuffles the situation, I am afraid we are pretty much screwed. Maybe not screwed screwed like Libya and Syria, but definitely stuck with a bad hand.

      What are the possible ways out of this stalemate? Let’s imagine that China really “leaps forward” economically and technologically, consolidates it’s sphere of influence in Asia&Pacific, and aggressively confronts the West from a position of power. Then the West will suddenly need Russia very much. Or, alternatively, if the West chooses to aggressively contain China now; then China might need Russia very much. These two scenarios may open up some opportunities to strengthen Russia’s hand in a short run, but what’s then? If the biggest player(s) reject the multipolar model and settle on a “divide and conquer” scenario, without a population (and thus the economy/technology) to match, how long will Russia be able to chart it’s course independently?

      So the only way for Russia is to promote and defend the multipolar model, at all costs. If it fails, the bigger fellas will probably just gradually digest the rest of the world, piece by piece. Russia is too big to swallow whole, so I guess they’ll have split it up. Как то так…

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      1. I want to draw everyone’s attention to this immaculately written (and fact-free) comment by userperson “Lola”. I hope that not just the commentariat of the Irrussionality will do justice to this presentation of the contents of the typical Russian old-school “shy and conscientious” intilligent’s brain, but also prowling “handlers” from the various agencies devoted to the defense of the Western Democracy.

        Thank you again, “Lola”, for once more confirming basic utility of the liberal value of “freedom of speech”. Please – write more. Don’t hinder yourself.

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      2. You vastly overestimate the stability of either the EU, the USA itself and NATO. Neither the EU no the USA are combined the shining “colective” light of the future anymore, the engineering is below par in both military and civil realm, the “woke” nonsense will slowly destroy what is left of intellectual capacities…no, your vaunted West is on a downhill slide.

        https://www.german-times.com/nato-and-the-eu-were-created-in-a-world-that-vanished-30-years-ago-clinging-to-that-lost-era-means-denying-the-facts-of-the-present-day/

        “This gradual dissolution of NATO and the EU represents an implosion that holds immense potential for danger. At its core, it is an apolitical and in many ways irrational reflex to a political vacuum. This vacuum emerged almost 30 years ago when no one could come up with an answer to the crucial questions being posed at the time, namely “Who are we now?” and “Where do we stand?”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7245304/

        “So, is the West really on the ropes? Perhaps. But ultimately its survival will depend on the speed at which people can adapt. If we don’t reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, tackle inequality and find a way to stop elites from squabbling among themselves, things will not end well. In Tainter’s view, if the West makes it through, it will be more by luck than by good judgement. “We are a species that muddles through,” he says. “That’s all we’ve ever done, and all we’ll ever do.”

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      3. Lyttenberg, I really don’t get you. Literally, I don’t understand what you are saying, alleging, whatever. I sense hostility, but I have no clue what triggers it.

        1)” Fact-free”: of course it is fact-free! It is pure guesswork and announced as such!
        2) I am pointing out that Russia is under attack from powerful adversaries hell-bent on destroying it. Do you disagree?
        3) I am venturing that making a stand for multipolar world is what Russia needs to continue to do. Anything wrong with that?
        4) I am clearly rooting for Russia. Don’t you?

        So what’s your problem?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “Fact-free”: of course it is fact-free! It is pure guesswork and announced as such!”

        Also you:

        “So what about China? I am not sure China really needs us that much. Perhaps if we aligned with China earlier… but now, with 1.4 billion of educated, hard-working people, technologically almost caught up with the West, it aims to be a hegemon in it’s own right, at least in its chosen sphere of influence. And it is pretty obvious that Russia and China are too different to integrate culturally and move forward as a single block, the way collective West does. It can only be a limited partnership based on immediate practical interests.”

        […]

        A-ha. Surely, it’s just a coincidence that your (it was you who printed all these words, right, Lola?) comment repeats nearly verbatim all the usual tropes and propaganda points reposted (faithfully) by the members of the “shy and conscientious” Russian intilligentsia inhabiting “This Country” ™ since Perestroika.

        “I am pointing out that Russia is under attack from powerful adversaries hell-bent on destroying it. Do you disagree?”

        Again, surely, it’s just a coincidence that these talking points and tropes are also typical examples of the “Information Warfare 101” tricks, which ultimate’s aim is to sap the enemie’s resolve and convince that resitence is futile – join our side, we have coockies.

        So I have to wonder – what was your point, Lola? To act as witting or unwitting conduit of the adversarial propaganda? Well, thank you – now we know more about enemies methods. And the enemy will surely know, that here in Russia it still has faithful adherents of the “West the Beautiful” imaginary construct, in the form of the “lost generation” intelligentsia.

        If not, well – harrumph! Given your claim that all these paragraphs printed by you were fact-free by design, you’d do better and to the same effect writing about, I dunno, Nibiru, Majestic 7 and “Kyshtym dwarf Alyosha” and their relevance to the current geopolitics. That, at least, would be more entertaining and… post-modern.

        “4) I am clearly rooting for Russia. Don’t you?”

        That’s what you claim. This and similar comments is what you actually do, meaning – whine and act as de-facto source of the adversarial propaganda.

        Look, Lola. I ain’t your relative or some other person, who’d hug and say “everything will be juuuuuust fine!”. I take other people’s hysterics on-line not as something that I need to rush to and calm down, but as sources of disruption, either deliberate or not. It’s not the first time you post fact-free diatribes (surely – by pure coincidence!) repeating what’s written in the anti-Russian outlets and propaganda sources, whose owners make no secret of harming my (not sure about yours) country. By now, Lola, you’d either pretend better to “root for Russia” (c), or revaluate your tactics completely.

        Me? I don’t “roor for Russia”. I live here, I work, I contribute and advice others to do the same. You are the one (as we’ve established in previous instances) to sincerely believe in the all-conquering power of the “разговоры в пользу бедных”.

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      5. I’ll try to answer both Peter Moritz and Lyttenberg here.

        First, I am not “overestimating” the West, I am just trying to consider the worst case scenario, because – in case you have not noticed – I am answering Eric’s question, “What is the US/UK endgame here?” Their endgame is to destroy Russia, and I am guessing they want to do it slowly (in order for MIC to gorge on overinflated military budgets for as long as possible).

        I am aware the West is on a bad trajectory, but THAT’S NOT THE REASON TO UNDERESTIMATE THE THREAT LYTTENBURGH!

        I admit though that I was kind of depressed when I wrote this post – over the video I watched showing the scale of destruction in Homs, Syria. It was devastating. Russia did what it could, but Syria is in ruins and under sanctions. How are they going to rebuild? Can/will Russia step in again? Is China going to do it and turn Syria into it’s client state? Or someone else? Cause if it continues to lie in ruins, all the battles won will have been for naught, and that’s heartbreaking.

        In order to accomplish greater things, Russia needs a more powerful economy. It needs more people. Am I wrong to point it out?

        We can’t just claim we are invincible and count on the West to shoot themselves in the foot. We can’t count on benevolent China either. Speed matters. Time matters. Waiting it out might not work. We need to bring back all the compatriots abroad, we need to attract as many educated immigrants as we can assimilate. It’s imperative I think. Do you really disagree?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. PS to Lyttenburgh:

        1) China: I had high hopes for China alliance for a long time. I went as far as learning almost 1000 characters and reading a few adapted books in order to be able to read Chinese media directly (I have another 4000 to go, but what’s the hell). I am still somewhat hopeful about China, but I have a lot of misgivings, and I am not going to pretend that I don’t.
        2)”… repeating what’s written in the anti-Russian outlets and propaganda sources…” I don’t really read those. I just scan headlines, which, contrary to what you say, consistently paint a picture of a sinister Sino-Russian alliance.
        3) You are rude and aggressive, but I don’t hold it against you too much, since you appear, in your own rude and aggressive way, to stand on the right side of things. And you sometimes say smart and funny things. So I hope we can continue to coexist (oops! sorry about my lib vocab… hope I haven’t triggered you again, Iron Snowflake! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. BREAKING NEWS!
    In my morning scan of Russian press, I came upon still another borrowing of an important word from American into Russian, this new word was employed by none other than the esteemed politician Vladislav Surkov, as an accurate description of American President Joe Biden.
    In Russian the borrowed word is rendered as мазафака .
    Homework assignment: Can anybody guess the original American word in its English spelling?

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    1. @yalensis,

      ” мазафака ………….”

      The original will not be allowed to be published, I am afraid.

      Regards,

      Like

      1. Although it hasn’t stopped a few from saying it (the F-word by itself) here. I myself wouldn’t do it, though.

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  10. A bit after the fact by now, but Russia could do worse than cheerfully apologizing for interfering in the 2020 elections; helping Mr. Biden to be elected; promising not to do it again: Hoist them by their own petard !!

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  11. “ As a former intelligence person myself, I find myself asking, ‘Were we always this bad?’ I don’t know the answer”

    Yes we were.

    Immediately after WWII, we persuaded ourselves that Stalin burned with the desire to attack Teh West.

    A perceptive observer at the time, a British Army officer who served on the British military mission to the USSR, minces no words.

    “Even in Russia, the land of immensities, it means that one in every twelve Russians alive in 1941, one In twelve men, women, and children, has died a violent death, in order that the others might resume their lives with a swing and, if possible, a flourish. And most of those fifteen million were adults.

    The survivors will not, of course, forget this. But we seem to have forgotten it. Because now, with this great country shattered, ravaged, and exhausted, with her people strained to the breaking-point, and with her adult manhood more than decimated-now, at this moment, there are many loud voices in the West crying out that another war is coming quickly and that this time the aggressor is Russia. And these voices, which cry out of a depth of imbecility, or ignorance, or unimaginativeness which is truly horrifying to contemplate, are widely believed.”

    Edward Crankshaw-Russia and the Russians, 1948, pgs 200-201

    Imbecility, ignorance, unimaginitiveness. Of a depth which is truly horrifying to contemplate.

    Hallmarks of the postwar US foreign policy elite, their intelligence community included, from the get-go.

    This is even more strongly confirmed by this 1987 paper by Michael MccGuire, a former chief of the Soviet division or Royal Navy Intelligence, noting that after the war, Stalin wanted to preserve the “Grand Alliance” against a renewed German threat:

    Click to access 1987-800-05-McGwire.pdf

    Executive Summary

    It is an axiom of Western politics that the actions of the Soviet Union created the cold war. So entrenched is this judgment that it carries a corollary with it: Soviet leaders must realize that the resistance of the West–the practice and philosophy of containment–is an inevitable result of their commitment to expansionism. It is difficult in Western perspective to imagine that Soviet leaders could seriously doubt this understanding of the past, however firmly the Soviets may deny it for the sake of public justification.The historical record suggests, however, that the Soviet Union neither intended nor anticipated the intense rivalry that developed.In the wake of World War II, Stalin saw a resurgent Germany in fifteen to twenty years time as the principal threat to Russia, and he sought to preserve a collaborative relationship with the United States as a means of containing the threat. It was not until 1947-48 that he acknowledged belatedly and reluctantly that the primary threat was an ideologically hostile coalition led by the Anglo-Saxon powers.This evolution of Soviet perspectives very likely has strong contemporary resonance. In 1969 the Soviets again committed themselves to a policy of collaborating with the United States and in 1983 they apparently concluded that such a policy was not feasible. Whether they have also acknowledged, as Stalin did, that the United States poses an imminent danger and whether they will in some measure repeat Stalin’s highly belligerent reactions are questions of major significance, and they require cool-headed assessment. However firmly we may reject the ultimate validity of Soviet perspectives, it is distinctly dangerous to misperceive what they in fact are.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not only was Gehlen a fraud, it’s overwhelmingly likely that Fremde Herr Ost was thoroughly penetrated my the Soviets.

        Both times.

        Like

  12. Not only was Gehlen a fraud, it’s overwhelmingly likely that Fremde Herr Ost was thoroughly penetrated my the Soviets.

    Both times.

    Like

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