A few hours ago, the First Channel of Russia’s TV announced that a combined action by Russian and Ukrainian ‘special services’ have thwarted a planned attempt on Putin’s life.
‘Following an international search, members of the gang were apprehended earlier this year,’ said Marina Ostapenko, head of PR for the Ukraine’s secret police (SBU). According to the First Channel, the inspiration behind the planned assassination came from an Adam Osmayev, who had spent a long time in London. The moment Osmayev was arrested, he began to cooperate with the police, all purely voluntarily of course. According to him, the plot involved the use of a suicide bomber, trained for the task somewhere in the UAE.
Within minutes of the announcement, rumours began to circulate in Moscow that the plot is Putin’s equivalent of the Reichstag Fire staged by the Nazis in 1933 to consolidate their hold on power. Those who spread such rumours point out the convenient timing of the announcement, a few days before the election. Why, they ask, if the arrests were made two months ago, the announcement came only this morning?
Why indeed? After all, Putin is reputed to have form in staging explosions for political purposes. It was the explosions in Moscow blocks of flats back in 2000 that set up the Second Chechen War and established Putin as the strong national leader so beloved of the Russians and admired by Peter Hitchens. A few years later Alexander Litvinenko wrote the book Blowing Up Russia, accusing Putin of the crime. In due course, the book attracted a rather extreme and decisive form of literary criticism in the centre of London, which didn’t do much to exonerate the Russian secret police in general and Putin in particular.
As questions are bound to be raised, by me among others, it’s only natural that the First Channel (Putin’s mouthpiece) should nip them in the bud. Asking such questions, explained their press service, ‘is a clear sign of mental illness obviously linked with the election campaign.’
Thanks for the diagnosis, Comrades — oops, sorry, ladies and gentlemen. And there I was, wondering what was wrong with me. No doubt, if I lived in Moscow rather than London, I’d get proper treatment from the psychiatrists working for Col. Putin’s former employer.