Global News Podcast, Podcast

  • Putin gave a speech yesterday.  St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
  • Sanctions against Russia will hurt the West more than Russia.
  • China’s Xi Jinping gave a telecast speech.
  • There was another talk of expansionism against Ukraine.  Only three regions of Ukraine actually belong to Ukraine, the rest were given to Ukraine by Russia.
  • It was a defiant speech by Putin. 
  • Official candidate status recommended by an executive committee of the EU.
  • Reforms including tackling corruption is on the table before full membership. 
  • Moldova has also been recommended for membership.
  • In Georgia, waiting for EU membership, there are concerns about media independence and other factors.  Georgia is afraid that Ukraine will be leapfrogged before them.
  • Assange is now being threatened with extradition to the U.S. 
  • Previously there had been concerns that Assange would commit suicide were he extradited.  The U.S. has given assurances that he would be “taken care of.”
  • He will be tried on espionage charges in the U.S.  Supporters of Assange are concerned that once in the U.S., there might be new charges.  Assange will be sent to a super max prison.

IN MOSCOW’S SHADOWS, Podcast #70, 6/18/22

  • This podcast is produced by Mark Galeotti, Russian specialist.  He has been banned now, since June, from Russia.
  • He was banned for issuing biased information about the situation in Ukraine and Russia and contributing to “Russophobia.”
  • Putin’s speech at a conference where one of the participants is the Taliban.
  • Putin was, in part, trying to show that he is in good health.
  • Putin argued that the economic sanctions never had any chance of success.  This implies that the impact of the sanctions is now able to be assessed.  Galeotti says it will be months.
  • Is Putin trying to reassure his oligarchs?  Is this his view?  Are his underlings trying to sugar coat the assessment of the effects of the sanctions?
  • “Economic war takes time” said Galeotti.
  • Putin suggested he was fine with Ukraine joining the EU.  But, he thinks that this is a mistake because Ukraine would become a semi-colony of the West.
  • There is a spat between Putin and the head of Kazakhstan.  Was this a stage managed coup against the leader of Kazakhstan.  Tokayev.
  • Lavrov, Galeotti regards with a mixture of “pity and contempt.” 
  • Lavrov was recently coming out with the most extreme rhetoric.  He claimed that Russia didn’t invade Ukraine.  He claimed they “declared an operation.”  Lavrov in “incapable of being shamed.”
  • “Russia is what it is and we are not ashamed of showing who we are.”  Lavrov.  This the current mood within the Kremlin.  We are tired of apologizing. We are tired of being made to feel we are the naughty children.  This sounds very prideful.  It is the “voice of desperation.”  You have not won the argument, so you say you don’t care about the argument.
  • In Russia there is 1) the party of peace (economic interests suffering from sanctions even though they are close to Putin), 2) the party of war (Federal Security Service, speaker of the Duma, head of the United Russia party, Medvedev who is trying to out hawk the rest), 3) the party of silence (the technocrats).  The three divisions in Russia. 
  • Where is the military in this scheme?  Where is Shoigu? 
  • Shoigu has been silent recently.  We do not know why.  Some say that he is in disgrace, but we don’t know.  Galeotti thinks that Shoigu is keeping his head down.  Putin is the final arbiter. 
  • So much of Russia’s strategy is bluff.  We are dangerous and unpredictable, don’t challenge us.  In invading Ukraine, he “called his own bluff.”
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