Vladimir Putin with Dmitry Rogozin. Archival photo: Sputnik
The turning back of the plane carrying the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is being compared ironically with the U-turn made over the Atlantic by the plane of the former Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov. Primakov, one of the initiators of Russia’s return to Soviet revanchism and its anti-Western foreign policy, ordered that his aircraft be turned back after learning about the start of the NATO operation against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in the Balkans. The crazy maneuver has come to symbolize the collapse of any hopes for change in Russia. Soon afterwards, President Boris Yeltsin would leave politics and the checkist Vladimir Putin would defeat the checkist Primakov in the competition of who could best protect the interests of the FSB (Russia’s Federal Security Service).
But Primakov had the plane do the U-turn over the Atlantic of his own volition . Rogozin, however, had to return home after Romania barred the airliner with the undesirable passenger from entering its airspace to fly to neighboring Moldova. Rogozin, of course, does not fly over Ukraine. Earlier, despite being on the European Union’s sanctions list, he was able to visit the country whose “curator” he is considered to be in the Kremlin. But this time Bucharest decided not to do any favors for Rogozin. And it is clear why. The Russian official was planning to hold an elaborate celebration in Bendery to mark the 25th anniversary of the actual occupation of Transnistria, which, of course, was called a “peacekeeping operation.” The Romanians quickly agreed with the position of Moldova’s government and parliament, which considered this “holiday” a mockery of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
After returning to Moscow, Rogozin brazenly threatened to exact revenge on the Romanian government while, following the example of his boss Vladimir Putin, he pretended to worry about the women and children on the passenger plane, whose lives supposedly were endangered by Bucharest’s decision. At the same time, the thought that sanctioned individuals should not enter the cabins of commercial airliners did not even enter Rogozin’s head. Women and children probably were supposed to become a live shield for Putin’s associate to help him get to Moldova to mark the day of the occupier. However, it simply did not work this time.
Sadly, Moldova’s acting president turned out to be on the side of the occupier. It was Igor Dodon, in fact, who had invited Rogozin to Moldova and who was preparing to accompany him to Transnistria and to embrace the head of the occupation administration, Vadym Krasnoselsky, at the dubious holiday. Afterwards, when Dodon’s anti-state plan was undermined by the joint efforts of Moldova and Romania, the president threatened his own country with mass protests and promised to go to Bendery without Rogozin. And that is because Krasnoselsky clearly indicated there could be no discussion about the restoration of the territorial integrity of Moldova.
However, when two presidents — the legitimate one and the puppet– dance together to the tune of Rogozin’s balalaikas, the Russian official does not even have to come. The dance will take place under any circumstance.