Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Putin and Trump Follow Similar but Distinct Scripts in Dealing with Tragedies, Bykov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 20 – The responses of US President Donald Trump to the school shooting in Florida and Russian President Vladimir Putin to the shooting in the Daghestani church are remarkably similar in one way but distinct in another, a reflection of similar impulses in dissimilar situations, Dmitry Bykov says.

            In a commentary for Sobesednik, the Moscow commentator notes that “Trump continues to follow the Putin path: he as he has in the past used national tragedies for the strengthening of his own power and an occasion to insist on his own innocence” (

            But precisely because Americans have seen this so many times before, they quickly put it in context and are far less impressed with Trump’s argument that the FBI could have prevented the school shooting if it had not been distracted by what Trump continues to call “the fake news” of Russian meddling in US elections.

            The Americans react to what Trump says much as they might to the behavior of an exotic animal suddenly transplanted into their midst, Bykov continues. And that is the source of the difference between Trump and Putin in this case: Russians haven’t responded that way to their leaders since the end of the 1980s.

            This leads to another “principled difference” between Trump and Putin. “Trump curses the special services for the fact that they have concentrated on an invented foreign threat and missed a domestic one.” But for Russians, that is “unthinkable” because for them no domestic problem or even all of them taken together “outweighs any single foreign one.”

            The Russian special services under Putin have as their priority “the investigation of foreign threats and influences. Domestic psychopaths can shoot as they want in the country’s schools. The problems,” in the telling of Putin and his regime, “are only from the outside.”

            And consequently, if Trump were “a true Putinist, he would have already said that [the shooter in Florida] had been recruited by Kim Jong-un and acted with the assistance of traitors from among the Democrats.”

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