Diverse Russian Reactions to the American Strike in Syria

Did “bad boy” Vladimir Putin meet his match in “hoodlum” Donald Trump?

<em>Russian anti-missile systems in Syria.</em>

Russian anti-missile systems in Syria.

By Slava Tsukerman

President Donald Trump’s swift action to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack by hitting a key Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles had triggered emotional reaction in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced the US strike as “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law.”

According to Russian TV news American missiles hit the Syrian air base that is one of the main fighters against ISIS  terrorists and as a result of this strike the terrorists have been able to start new offenses.

Russian press is trying to explain the American action in terms of  the personal interests of Donald Trump.

Ivan Konovalov, a military analysts of a popular Russian website vesti.ru wrote:

“Trump, impulsive and, as we see, very irresponsible, achieved his public relations goal so powerfully  that even [Sen.John] McCain, who always criticized him, now shouts how wonderful it is that we have such a supreme commander in chief “.

Many Russian websites  reprinted this unsigned message:

“The situation in Syria is very serious. The United States began bombing Syria. Evacuation began from Damascus… Now our troops in Syria have a very difficult situation. It is necessary to either let down Assad and lose, or start a war with the United States. The situation resembles the same thing that happened in Serbia in the late 90’s. It is very serious.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the risk of a direct collision between the US and Russia in Syria had “significantly increased” since the US missile strike.

He said: “This move by Washington has dealt a serious blow to Russian-US relations, which are already in a poor state.”

The military observer of tass.ru Viktor Litovkin wrote:

“First of all, it was a demonstrative act of aggression, a demonstration of what the United States could do. Russia has released 16 Caliber rockets, and they released 59 missiles. They show who is better, who is greater, who is stronger … They demonstrate that they do not care about international law, that they do not care about the situation in the UN Security Council … They are a world policeman, judge, investigator, prosecutor and executioner. ”

Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, wrote in Facebook:

I’m afraid, the strike dashed any hopes for a US-Russia anti-terror coalition in Syria, the hopes which we all had when Trump came to power… It started so well, what a shame.”

Here are two very characteristic statements of the very outspoken Russian politician, Senator Alexei Pushkov.

January 14, 2017:

“Extending sanctions against Russia, Obama showed that he did not understand anything. Very soon the former president will see his policy torn to shreds. “

April 2017:

“The blow to Syria is 59 Tomahawks directed against the possibility of an alliance with Russia in Syria. Obama’s, Clinton’s and McCain’s political revenge… The conditions for negotiations in Moscow have become even worse than under Kerry.”

Alexander Panov, a Washington correspondent of democratic newspaper “Novaia gazeta” wrote:

“After the American missile strike on Syria, the Russian political elite is unhappy and disappointed: ‘Comrade Trump, how could that be?! We drank champagne in honor of your victory in the elections, put American flags on our limousines, and, most importantly, we tirelessly scolded Obama and Hillary Clinton!’ For their support, they ‘deservedly’ expected ‘fair’ re-division of the world into zones of influence … And what now? They must restructure on the go and explain to the Russian people the new reality.”

Russian media presents a lot of very controversial comments, suggestions and predictions.

For example, one of the most imperialistic ideologists of Russia, the well known writer Alexander Prokhanov, suggested making a strike in Ukraine similar to the U. S. strike in  Syria.

There are some reports in Russian press that are very difficult to interpret and upon which to comment. In October 2016, Russian press published photos of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems C-300 and C-400 placed in Syria. The publication presented no explanation why they were placed over there. Now, after American missiles’ strike, the Russian Foreign Ministry officially stated that those Russian anti-missile systems were placed last year in Syria in order to prevent the attacks of American cruise missiles on Syrian airfields.

The statement explained that Russia has decided to deploy the C-300 systems in Syria after leakage of data about the intentions of the US to bomb Syrian airfields with cruise missiles. Russian press even presented now a link to 2016 Syrian TV program, demonstrating greatness of Russian anti-missile systems.

The official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, noted that Russian air defense systems are able to ensure the absolute security of bases and airfields in Syria. Konashenkov said that any hope that airfields defended with C-300 can be stricken are ‘illusions of amateurs’.

But they had been stricken. Why? Couldn’t Russians defend them or hadn’t wanted to for some reason? There is no answer to this question.

What steps of Vladimir Putin can be expected now?

Here is the opinion of the prominent Russian democratic journalist Dmitry Oreshkin;

“Mr. Putin is accustomed to take advantage of his behavior as a bad boy in a decent society. Everyone in a bus is traveling quietly, then a bad boy enters, sits down in the place for the disabled, and lights up his sigarette. And no one knows what to do, because it’s pointless to protest. Everybody just wants to travel, who would want to fight with him? And he feels quite comfortable and believes that he dictates his terms to all.

“But today Mr. Trump behaved not as an American president, but as a hoodlum. It turned out that another bad boy entered the bus where Putin was, a boy tougher then the first one. And we do not know what will happen next: the second boy will be kicked out at the next stop, or the first boy will get the knife and will try to stab the second one.

“I think Putin will get scared.”

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Updated: April 16, 2017 — 6:44 am
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