Staunton, July 18 –Donald Trump’s correction of the record of his remarks in Helsinki about Russian interference in the 2016 US elections has attracted a great deal of attention, much of its skeptical; but so far, there has been less attention to a similar “correction” by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
In his remarks at the joint press conference in Helsinki, the Kremlin leader said in response to a question about Crimea, “President Trump’s position is well-known, and he maintains it. He speaks about the illegality of joining Crimea to the Russian Federation” (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/58017).
“We have a different point of view. We consider that we conducted the referendum in strict correspondence with international law and the UN Charter. For Russia,” Putin said at the time, “this question is closed.”
But Russia’s Insider portal has called attention to the fact that the official Kremlin website has modified the Russian president’s words. It has dropped the word “we” throughout lest there be any notion that Moscow was behind the Crimean referendum rather that that vote accepted as a free expression of the will of the Crimean population (theins.ru/news/110464).
At Helsinki and quite possibly just like his opposite counterpart on a different issue, Putin let slip his real view, one that is closer to the truth – Moscow orchestrated the referendum to ratify its military seizure of Ukrainian territory – but that his aides back in Moscow, certainly with his approval, have “corrected” the record to reflect Moscow’s “official” position rather than reality.
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