When i gave the order to take Crimea. Putin speaks out
He says it plainly. In a promotional video running on the public TV Rossia1, Putin tells how, a few days before the "little green men" popped up, he had a secret meeting with his officials to discuss the annexation of Crimea.
- Tuesday, 10 March 2015
The clip goes with a fast editing and a dramatic music. The interviewer is a silent mask. Only the President’s voice is heard. It's just a one-minute trailer. The full movie, "Homeward Bound" by Andrei Kondrashov, is "coming soon" on the public TV channel Rossia 1. However, what we hear in the trailer is already worth the whole documentary.
"We had a meeting overnight. And when we were leaving, at seven in the morning, I said to my colleagues: we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia". According to Putin, it was February 23, 2014. Four days later, on February 27, the (in)famous "little green men" – soldiers without insignia that Putin has always called " popular self-defense force" – appeared in the Ukrainian peninsula,.
Before claiming the paternity of the “operation Crimea” in a theatrical manner, Putin explains how we got to that point. "I called to the Kremlin the national security committee. The aim was to save the Ukrainian President Yanukovich before he would have been killed. We were ready to send armed forces to ... well, without beating around the bush, We were ready to get him right out of Donetsk by land, by sea or by air".
It was at that point, after deciding to save Yanukovych, that Putin addressed his officials about Crime.
The trailer is intriguing, but let’s wait to see the whole documentary (which is not yet known when it will be aired) to know all the details.
Meanwhile, the events as they happened in reality, does not contradict the Russian president. Yanukovych fled eastern Ukraine on the day after the massacre on the Maidan, and reappeared in a video just two days later. In Kiev, meanwhile, Turchynov was elected acting president, while the Rada voted for Yanukovich’s impeachment. On February 27, Yanukovych appeared already safe in Russia, in Rostov-on-Don. Then, it comes Crimea.
Putin denied Russian military intervention in Crimea from the very beginning. Only later he did mention, on some occasions, a Russian involvement in the events leading up to the referendum, but never said so clearly to have worked for the annexation of the peninsula. So his words in the video sound like a roar in the silence. How can we explain it?
Change of pace
Nothing is by chance. Have not seen the documentary yet, there is no doubt that the interview with the President is not an interview. When Putin talks to the nation and the world through the press, questions are carefully studied by Kremlin experts so that the president says what must be said. For what we can see in the trailer, his words are carefully weighted: "working on returning of Crimea to Russia." Not talking of annexation, nor the use of force. Nor invasion. Yet the change of pace from the past is undeniable.
In addition, can we believe his words? There are no doubts that Crimea was invaded and annexed by force, but really the decision was made that way, on the way back home after a meeting on Yanukovych’s safety? Only then?
Recently the Novaya Gazeta published a secret plan to annex Crimea, prepared in early February by some nationalists, and endorsed by the Kremlin. The timing would match. However, it is extremely likely that such plans were in the drawers in Moscow for a long time before.
True or not, Putin revelation can be yet another flexing of muscles at the international audience or an additional injection of chauvinism to Russians, a little weakened by the economic crisis and the murder of Nemtsov. Or both things together.