Published on: March 16, 2018

Good afternoon comrades. Congratulations in acquiescing to this week’s blog.  Compliance is mandatory.

As you can no doubt guess, this week’s blog is concerned with the incident in Salisbury and the ongoing political fallout.  I’d suggest that there is no need to go through the particulars of the events leading up to the increasing tensions and possibility of Cold War 2.0; unless that is you live in a cave. And if you do, when it all kicks off, can I come and live with you?

Naturally there is a huge swathe of information concerning the ongoing escalations in political tensions between the West and Russia.  However, there are a few pieces of commentary that have piqued my interest that I will share.  First and foremost, the ongoing standpoint of Comrade Corbyn and his somewhat desperate need to go against the collective grain and question the almost universally accepted position that it was indeed the Russian regime that sanctioned the chemical weapon attack on our shores.

The attempt is to somehow draw parallels between the Iraq War, the use of apparent “weapons of mass destruction” and the legality of that particular conflict, with today’s issue.  One particularly vehement Corbyn supporter, Craig Murray, published an article on this basis – what he did not expect was that research chemist, Mr Clyde Davis would call him out on his lack of chemical knowledge and utterly destroy his argument.

Mr Davis went on to explain that the Novichok agent used in Salisbury is part of a family created by Russian scientists during the Soviet era.  They share very similar qualities with agents such as VX and Sarin, although it is reputed that Novichok agents are ten times more deadly.

To put this into perspective, a drop the size of a pinhead of VX would kill a healthy adult. As such, substances of this type are hugely difficult to make safely and anyone undertaking to make these would have to take massive precautions. The bottom line is that unless you were a state with the access to the kind of facilities that these chemicals necessitate, why would you even entertain the associated risks?  Why not simply shoot your target?  Unless you wanted to leave an unmistakable and frankly brutal calling card…

And how has the market reacted to this rise in geopolitical tensions?  The FTSE 100 is down 1%, the US S&P 500 is broadly flat and the Japanese Nikkei 225 down 0.70%. Bearing in mind the situation at hand, pretty negligible, only reiterated by Russia’s response…

Yesterday Russia announced that it is preparing to sell $7bn of Eurobonds on the global market. The finance ministry has issued guidance for an 11-year issue paying interest of about 4.75% with commentators stating that this was an obvious desire to signal “business as usual” in the most unusual of circumstances.  All of this against the backdrop of Sunday’s general election in Russia – here is a quick reminder of what happened last time…

In the Bashkortostan region’s capital Ufa, in the foothills of the Urals, Reuters reporters counted 799 voters casting ballots at polling station number 284.  When officials tallied the vote later in the day, they said the turnout was 1,689.

At polling station 591 in the Mordovia, regional capital of Saransk, about 650km south-east of Moscow, reporters counted 1,172 voters but officials recorded a turnout of 1,756.

Finally, a Reuters reporter obtained a temporary registration to vote at that station and cast a ballot for a party other than the pro-Putin United Russia.  During the count, officials recorded that not a single vote had been cast for that party.

And to round off this week’s special edition, the playlist is themed on a similar basis.  Stay warm, stay safe and I shall hopefully see you all next week.

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