Russian officials, politicians, and media personalities were quick to react to the crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which went down over Eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17. Authorities in Kyiv, Moscow, and Donetsk have all traded accusations, blaming each other for shooting down the civilian aircraft and killing the nearly 300 people aboard. With emotions running high, a handful of particularly calloused statements by figures in Moscow and Donetsk have attracted the Russian Internet's attention.
1. In that case, we didn't do it.
The self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, Aleksandr Boroday, was curiously unsure about rebel involvement in the incident:
К сожалению, цитата дня pic.twitter.com/3ibcpjFOVL
— reeD (@reedmagofficial) July 17, 2014
Unfortunately, this is the quote of the day. [Caption reads, "If it is really a commercial airliner, then it wasn't us," Alexandr Boroday.]
2. Does it matter who did it?
Leonid Kalashnikov, deputy representative to the Russian parliamentary committee on international affairs, told TV Rain it didn't really matter who was to blame for the downing of the aircraft:
“Вам что, легче станет, если узнаете, кто сбил самолет?”
“What, will it make you feel better if you find out who shot down the plane?”
3. The sinister fifth column.
Bothered that Russian liberals and Ukrainian “propagandists” echoed many of the same sentiments (i.e., they criticized Russian policy in Ukraine), Konstantin Rykov of Russia's ruling political party had this to say:
В такие моменты очень хорошо видно, кто на что надеется и чего реально хочет.. наши либералы и украинские пропагандисты в едином порыве..
— Константин Рыков (@rykov) July 17, 2014
In these moments it's very clear who is hoping for what and what they really want.. our liberals and Ukrainian propagandists striving for the same..
4. It's simple: blame nobody.
Russia Today's chief Margarita Simonyan chalked up the tragedy to good ole Soviet absent-mindedness:
Я так давно работаю в самом сердце разных громких новостей, что абсолютно не верю в теории заговора. Зато верю в простой советский бардак.
— Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) July 17, 2014
I've been working at the very heart of various breaking news for so long, that I absolutely do not believe in conspiracy theories. But I do believe in simple Soviet chaos.
5. Rebels? What rebels?
Last but not least is the reaction of Vladimir Putin himself, who told ITAR-TASS that Kyiv is accountable for the skies over Ukraine's rebel-controlled east.
“Безусловно, государство, над территорией которого это произошло, несет ответственность за эту страшную трагедию. [...] Этой трагедии не произошло бы, если бы на этой земле был мир, не были бы возобновлены боевые действия на юго-востоке Украины”
“Certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this terrible tragedy. [...] This tragedy would not have occurred if there were peace in this land, if the fighting had not renewed in the South-East of Ukraine.”