Saturday, 19 July 2014

Kursk 2

All the glitter and multi-billion dollar gloss of the Sochi Olympics have long since tarnished. With the Malaysian air disaster, Putin is showing the same face to the international community as he did to the Russian public when the Kursk submarine sank in 2000 with the loss of 118 crew:
Carefully staged photo-ops aside, the Russian leader cut an unimpressive figure in public: tetchy, foul-mouthed and unsympathetic. If trouble brewed, he disappeared. When the Kursk, one of the most advanced vessels in Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet, sank after a botched torpedo launch, Mr Putin stayed on holiday for a week. When he was finally asked by an American television interviewer what had actually happened (Russian naval officials had blamed everybody and everything but their own incompetence), Mr Putin seemed to find it impossible to show sympathy, distress or contrition. He grimaced and said simply ‘it sank’. (Edward Lucas, The New Cold War)
Clearly, Putin does not care too much about his image in the world media any more. He's now exclusively playing to a homegrown audience via a media which is almost wholly under his control. Elsewhere, the mask has slipped and the KGB mediocrity underneath is showing through.

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