Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP

Gerrit Olivier’s article refers (“An invisible enemy could scupper Putin’s constitutional coup plans”​, June 11). What can we say? Another mishmash of anti-Russian fakes and innuendos.

The main idea of the article, as far as we understand, is that President Vladimir Putin allegedly self-isolated from resolving the Covid-19 crisis, and that it could ruin his “plans to stay in power”. As usual, no arguments provided. Instead, readers are left with stories about “practices of the Soviet past” (Stalin’s disappearance “at the onset” of World War 2) and “general” Mikhail Kutuzov’s escape “into the Russian tundra” in 1812.

He was a field marshal, and there’s no “tundra” in central Russia to escape to — it begins 1,500km to the north. Everything else in the article is handled with the same degree of “expertise”.

And that, aside from threadbare fakes about “Russian invasions”, is the sole ground for Olivier to describe the upcoming constitutional vote — a purely democratic procedure, involving all Russian voters — as a “coup”. A strange “coup”, indeed. It may sound dramatic when one reads it in a newspaper, but it doesn’t answer the question — why even hold a referendum if, in Olivier’s own words, “ever-suffering” Russians are “used to oppression”, and “Russophobia and demonising Putin” will only “strengthen his [President Putin’s] resolve”. 

For deception? Oh, yes, because Olivier believes all Russians are inborn liars, who “obfuscate the truth, an old and typical Russian trait”. Doesn’t that sound Russophobic? Insulting the whole nation?

We agree on one thing: Russophobia and demonising Russia must be abandoned forever. We are glad he said it himself, and can only hope that one day he will follow his own advice.

Alexander Arefiev
Embassy of the Russian Federation

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