Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Russian citizens are being given a broad range of excuses and conspiracy theories over the downing of Flight MH 17 in rebel-controlled Eastern Ukraine. The reasoning is preposterous and outrageous and one wonders how any citizen could swallow such drivel. But then, during the previous disappearance of a Malaysia Air flight this year, CNN explored the possibility that aliens had taken the plane. Fortunately, there were many news agencies covering the event so one could get a variety of views on what happened. However, in Russia's case now, there doesn't appear to be reporting that alleges the plane was shot down by a missile. In other words, Russian citizens are being given an altered perception. How many of them believe their government? Putin has vested interest in keeping the spotlight away from him and so far, he seems successful at home, if not in the rest of the world. Sooner or later, however, the reality of the tragedy will reach Russian citizens and will create a public relations problem for Putin and his autocracy. Will it be enough to cripple his power? Probably not, but his strong man image will be dented, and that is a first step in eventual downfall.