Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to speak out personally against the establishment of an international tribunal for prosecuting persons involved in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) catastrophe.
In a conversation with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Putin called these proposals premature and counterproductive. At the same time, Putin expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that in world media “politicized” versions of the investigation have appeared — as if Rutte could somehow influence CNN coverage.
But it is no longer major news that the Kremlin “gods” sincerely believe that Western leaders influence their own media the way they themselves influence Channel One or NTV (Russian National Television). What is newsworthy is Putin’s obvious nervousness. It would seem that he should not be paying any attention to the idea of the tribunal — all the more so since Russia is confident of its own innocence in this tragedy. Moreover, Putin would have been expected to support the such a tribunal in order to demonstrate this innocence again.
However, Putin understands perfectly that he has gotten himself into a real mess. It is no accident that on the very day that he spoke with the Dutch prime minister articles appeared in world media about Putin’s involvement in the crime. The logic of journalists is ironclad. Even if you agree that the Boeing was destroyed by separatists, it is important to understand where they got the Buk (missile launcher). And if the Buk was of Russian origin, it means that the senior military leadership of the Russian Armed Forces was involved in its appearance. The commander-in-chief of these forces is Putin. And to discuss his innocence is the same as discussing the innocence of Hitler in the crimes of the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. Or to argue that Stalin “did not know” about repressions. Therefore, Putin is involved. And he knows it. Therefore he is nervous.
Mark Rutte called the Russian president to persuade him of the need to reach a compromise regarding the tribunal. The Dutch prime minister simply has no other choice. In his country citizens are demanding that those responsible be punished. But Putin also has no choice: he is saving his own skin. He is not afraid of public opinion in Russia because most of his compatriots, educated in the cannibalistic system of the Soviet Union, view crime as the continuation of policy. But Putin does not want to close the door to the West for himself and his entourage. This is why the international tribunal has become his daily nightmare.