First Russian Reactions to the Downed Plane in Eastern Ukraine

The skyline over eastern Ukraine, where a plane carrying 395 people was shot down. Image distributed anonymously online.

The skyline over eastern Ukraine, where a plane carrying 395 people was shot down. Image distributed anonymously online.

An airplane carrying 295 civilians has crashed in Eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian government is blaming separatists armed with Russian surface-to-air missiles. Ukraine's rebels have denied responsibility. With nothing but a few pixelated YouTube videos and a fast-growing mountain of accusations, Russian Twitter users are in the midst of a full-blown hysteria.

Now everyone is fucked.

This is a complete clusterf**k.

August is notoriously a bloody month in Russian history. Past victims of the “August Curse” include several plane crashes, wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and so on. Some Russians have grown tired of the idea.

Just, please, let's not start with the “August came early this year.”

Many online have reached the natural conclusion that rebels shot down the airliner, probably by accident, using weapons provided by Moscow.

Ukraine's national security council announces that it has information about the military hardware now available to militants [in the East], which are capable of downing a plane at such a great altitude.

Naturally, not everyone is ready to hold the rebels responsible. Fast on Dzyadko's heels is Pro-Kremlin figure Konstantin Rykov, who accuses Dzyadko of rushing to judgment.

Dzyadko has already conducted an investigation and discovered who's guilty. [Dzyadko's tweet reads, “Now the ‘militants’ have really done it with their weapons from Russia.”]

Others have questioned why a civilian flight was crossing over Ukraine's rebel airspace in the first place.

The anti-terrorist zone is closed for civilian flights. So what was this Boeing aircraft doing there?

Of course, when in doubt, there is always the tried-and-true fallback of blaming the United States. Indeed, many Russians remember another incident that happened more than 30 years ago—Korean Air Lines Flight 007, which Soviet jets shot down west of Sakhalin Island in 1983, escalating tensions between the US and USSR.

The Americans are no soldiers, but they are masters of the provocation. The war in the East is lost, so they decided to shoot down this Malaysian plane.

This story about the Malaysian Boeing is a terrible tragedy. And for some reason it really reminds me of the American provocation with the South Korean plane in the 1980s.

Details about the attack and the body count are emerging fast, but nothing rivals the speed with which Twitter spins conspiracy theories. In an environment as polarized and angry as the online debate about Ukraine's rebels, the facts probably never had a chance anyhow.


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