By Benjamin Gunnelle
SHis televised intervention was announced at 8 p.m. Tuesday. But, three hours later, Vladimir Putin is still not on the screen. All official commentators promise: the Kremlin leader will not finally speak until Wednesday morning. “You can go to bed,” tweeted Russia Today’s generally knowledgeable editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. However, without specifying at what time, you have to watch for a long time and wake up the next day.
If recorded, the presidential speech could be broadcast early in the morning in Vladivostok and other parts of the Russian Far East, seven hours ahead of Moscow.
A carefully planned rumor
In the afternoon, Tuesday, the rumor was carefully orchestrated by the Kremlin press pool, although in the evening Vladimir Putin announced a statement. It was just hours after the day’s shock announcement: Moscow-installed authorities in four regions of eastern Ukraine announced they would urgently hold “referendums” on joining Russia from September 23 to 27. Amid the Ukrainian military counteroffensive, a real provocation for Kiev and its Western allies.
The Kremlin leader must step in to support the initiative, but announce a general or partial mobilization of the population for a large-scale military “operation.” Instead of a presidential speech, television showed a loop of his various official appearances of the day: the reception of new ambassadors but also a meeting with officials from the military department.
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