Kiev has come up with a new way to put on theatrics. When it was announced that the mourned Russian journalist Babchenko is actually alive, many people felt like background actors in a show.
Kiev has come up with a new way to put on theatrics. When it was announced that the mourned Russian journalist Babchenko is actually alive, many people felt like background actors in a show. These include well respected officials, such as UN Security Council representatives. We'll get back to this topic after we've discussed the actual performance. It was a three-act play, including rising action, climax, and falling action.
Watch the report by Andrei Grigoriev.
"Welcome, Arkady". Reporters attending the Ukrainian Security Service's briefing gasped in surprise. There he is, Arkady Babchenko, alive and well, smiling at the successful show.
Arkady Babchenko, journalist: "I'm sorry I made you all worry. But we couldn't do this any other way".
The whole thing was a mere masquerade. The Ukrainian Security Service claimed to have found evidence of an assassination plot against Babchenko. Allegedly, it was organized by Ukrainian citizen G. Here's some footage of his arrest. SBU members are taking a slightly bald man by the arm. The suspect's face is not shown.
Vasily Grytsak, Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine: "Citizen G. offered his acquaintance, a former anti-terror operations soldier, to commit a terrorist attack and kill Russian journalist, Arkady Babchenko, for $30,000".
Another video provided as evidence is of such bad quality that all you can see is someone counting a bundle of cash.
Arkady Babchenko: "About a month ago, I was informed that someone was plotting to murder me and that the money, about $40,000, as far as I know, had already been delivered. It's good to know that I cost a lot of money".
The play's directors, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office and special forces, as well as actor Arkady Babchenko, accuse Russia of plotting the murder on the following grounds: According to them, Citizen G. had a copy of the future victim's documents.
Arkady Babchenko: "They showed me a document containing my passport data and a photo that you could only find in my passport; I think I was 25 when it was taken. So when I saw my own passport photo that can be found only in my passport or at the registration office, it became clear that the document came from Russia, probably from a government agency".
Those who were paying attention noticed many discrepancies from the start.
Mikhail Pogrebinsky, Political Scientist, Head of Kiev Center of Political Studies and Conflictology: "We're getting a lot of conflicting information: first his wife said she found him in the bathroom, and everything happened at the apartment. Then they claim Arkady went out to get some bread. And then, for some reason, he was shot in the back. However, if someone was waiting for him in the hallway, then they most likely would have shot him in the chest".
If he was killed in the hallway, then why was the photo taken on the apartment's wooden floor and why didn't the neighbors hear anything?
Ivan Osipovich, Arkady Babchenko's neighbor: "I don't know if anything happened here. The elevator makes so much noise that we wouldn't have heard gunshots, even if they were from a machinegun".
Arkady Babchenko, blogger, and journalist, served in Chechnya. First he was drafted, then volunteered. He worked with various publishers as a war correspondent but was mostly known for his aggressive anti-Russia rhetoric. After a TU-154 plane crash, which killed the members of the Alexandrov military choir and several of his colleagues, Arkady wrote: "I have no sympathy for the victims." His comment on the tragedy at the Zimnyaya Vishnya mall in Kemerovo was: "Let it all burn".
Arkady Babchenko: "In my opinion, Russia has no citizens or people. It only has...I don't know...serfs, probably".
Russian citizen Babchenko even moved to Kiev. Sounds like the perfect hero for such a provocation.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Office spokesperson: "The best news is that Babchenko is alive. If only it were always the case. It's a pity that a masquerade didn't drop in other cases. It's evident that the story was made up in order to make a propagandistic effect".
Russian journalists, whom Babchenko, according to his posts on social media, never liked, considered him dead and had already expressed condolences to his family.
Pavel Gusev, Moskovskij Komsomolets Editor-in-Chief: "It was a provocation against our journalistic community and Russia. This provocation will have ramifications, but not for Russia".
As it turns out, Arkady was simply part of more anti-Russia theatrics.
Denis Tokarsky, Secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia: "It's typical, large-scale fake news created and distributed by a journalist and the special forces of Ukraine. Here's an expert opinion on the SBU show by a veteran of the Russian special forces.
Sergei Goncharov, head of the International Association of Alpha Counter-terrorist Unit Veterans: "I don't know what the point of that farce was. That farce was organized by SBU members, who are now trying to make it look like a special operation. Although I don't think what happened had anything to do with a special operation".
According to the SBU, citizen G. is currently being interrogated, which means that in the near future we can expect to see the next episode of the Ukrainian soap opera about Arkady Babchenko.
Andrei Grigoriev, Anna Kolk, Vesti
After what happened, it's probably going to be awkward for Arkady Babchenko to look in the eye of those who have been writing his obituaries all day. Although Babchenko probably enjoyed the chance to read so much about himself while he's alive. At least 100 obituaries have already been published. Reputable journalists, young reporters, political scientists, and those concerned tried to find the best words for the occasion. The words were addressed not just to the alleged victim. For example, Radio Svoboda was accused of not giving the journalist a job in Prague: Had they done it, he might still be alive. The Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic was forced to come up with excuses for not giving Babchenko asylum. Reporters without borders, Amnesty International, and high-profile European politicians described the incident as an assassination.
It's now clear that Kiev tried to use a regular police operation to escalate the anti-Russia campaign in the world arena, including in the UN Security Council. How is Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin going to be greeted at the next session? It looks like he knew what was going on and was playing along. And if he wasn't aware, then how can he continue to work in his current capacity? The process started by this piece of fake news was accurately described by Sergey Lavrov even before the media wrote about Babchenko's miraculous recovery from death, while Ukrainian journalists, diplomats, and politicians were competing for the best insults to hurl at Moscow.
Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister: "This fashion of conducting international affairs is very sad. But, as you can see, many people pick it up. Especially those who, like our Ukrainian neighbors, enjoy total impunity due to their Western handlers, while completely ignoring their advice on how to restore order in their homes, the reason being, the Western handlers need Ukraine in order to promote Russo-phobic views".