Well, right on time it seems. Mr. Putin, is apparently - and I stress, apparently - sending messages. The question is, to whom, and what do they mean? Let's take the troops first, from this Reuters article passed along by G.B.:
What's interesting to note is that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu seems to be somewhat ambiguous as to who the target of these movements is:
Russia is increasing its military presence in the Far East in response to rising tensions in the wider region, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday.
In remarks cited on the defence ministry website, Shoigu said reinforcements were being sent because of tensions in the “eastern strategic direction”, referring to an area encompassing Russia’s eastern border with China and the wider Asia-Pacific.
Shoigu did not specify what the new threats were, or where the additional troops would go. He promised 500 units of new and modernised equipment for the region, as well as some improvements to the navy’s Northern Fleet.
The mention of Russia's long border with China is, however, a suggestion that the target is not simply the United States. But then comes an extremely suggestive nugget:
The city of Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border, has seen weeks of demonstrations against the arrest of a local political leader.
Now, for those who don't know, Khabarovsk is a city almost due north of Vladivostok, lying along the Trans-Siberian railway route between Moscow and Vladivostok. But readers of my recent Lulu book McCarthy, Marshall, and the Other International will recognize Khabarovsk as being the center of something else. In the interwar era, the brilliant Soviet Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky maintained the Far Eastern Corps in that city. These were military units that had been given small parcels of land and a few chickens and livestock to support themselves. It was an isolated remote enclave of "free agriculture" during the era of Stalin's forced collectivization of farms, a policy to which Marshal Tukachevsky was opposed. In effect, the Far Eastern Corps, or the "Khabarovsk Lot" as it was known to the average Soviet at the time, formed a quasi-independent cadre of units in the Red Army, which many including this author believe was to form the basis of a coup against Stalin's regime. Stalin struck first, and had Marshal Tukhachevsky purged and executed. The story is recounted in my book, and is too lengthy to go into here.
The mention of Khabarovsk, to my mind, might suggest that these troop movements may be in response both to an external threat, and an internal one. Mr. Putin's version of globaloneyism is, after all, not exactly that of Mr. Globaloney, but in any case, that's pure speculation on my part, nothing more.
Then, there's this:
So, now look what we have had from Russia in the past few weeks, dating more or less from the time of the recent Sino-Indian border clash:
- Russia suspended its delivery of the S400 surface to air missile defense system to China, while it allowed the same system to be delivered to India;
- Mr. Putin moved more missile batteries into Siberia;
- Mr. Mohdi extended more than a billion-dollar credit to Russia (some of which, as I've suggested, may actually be coming from the USA, using India as a cut-out to avoid appearing to violate the sanctions regime);
- Russia is now moving more troops to Siberia and upgrading equipment in the region; and,
- Russia has arrested a Chinese spy and charged him with espionage and passing Russia's nuclear secrets to China.
In spite of the talk coming out of Moscow occasionally, about the wonders of Sino-Russian friendship, Russia's actions definitely look to me to be consistent with my idea that we are watching the formation of a Quadruple Entente, an "understanding" that China's government has to be contained. And by the way, there's a sixth thing, as this article also shared by G.B. points out:
So, point number six is:
6. Russia and India conducted joint naval exercises just last month together.
And last, but not least, there's Mr. Putin's telegram to Mr. Trump after the latter announced he had contracted the Fauci-Lieber-Wuhan virus and was being quarantined and hospitalized:
If one reads this telegram and the TASS article, I cannot help but think that Mr. Putin is sending messages to more people than just Mr. Trump:
"I am certain that your inherent life energy, high spirits and optimism will help you to overcome the dangerous virus," the Russian leader noted in the telegram, published by the Kremlin press service Friday.
Then, at the end of the TASS article, there's this:
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said that Vice President Mike Pence is not taking over Trump’s duties.
Not taking over Mr. Trump's duties means that the Continuity of Government plans are not in effect, and that disguised behind the euphemism of "not taking over Mr. Trump's duties" lurks the fact that the nuclear football remains in Mr. Trump's hands, a fact made even more curious by the fact that several American AWACs control aircraft were sent aloft on the West coast and the Gulf of Mexico right around the time Mr. Trump was quarantined, an act that Pentagon authorities were quick to announce was merely coincidental, and that the flights had been scheduled long before. Then there's Mr. Trump's Twitter video which, I don't know about you, but it looks to me like the slight background motion in the video suggests he might not be at Walter Reed at all, but either on a ship, or on an aircraft.
And Mr. Putin? Well, that telegram strikes me as mighty strange. The telegram refers to "the dangerous virus", not to "the covid virus" or to "the dangerous covid virus" but simply "the dangerous virus," and that suggests to me that Mr. Putin may have metaphorical viruses - cabals, plots, conspiracies - in mind.
So: high octane speculation of the day: whatever is going on, it's big, and it's looking like certain people are desperate... and a new Japanese Emperor, and a new Japanese Prime Minister, and a mutual logistical support pact between India and Japan, and Chinese counterfeit one dollar bills, and arms smuggling, and...
See you on the flip side...