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Kremlin releases staged footage of Putin’s “response” to Crocus City Hall attack

Pavel Zarubin, an anchor at state-owned television channel Russia-1 has released “documentary footage no one has seen yet.” The first of the two action-packed videos claims to show “Vladimir Putin’s work in the minutes and hours after the mass casualty attack.” Putin was ostensibly being filmed at the moment when he was informed about the attack at Crocus City Hall. The cameraman, who apparently just happened to be in the president’s office at the time of the tragedy, employs a wide range of intraframe editing techniques, zooming in to his face, shifting the focus, and so on. In one of the scenes, Putin is handed a hard copy of his statement to the accompaniment of a superhero-movie sound effect – the one we hear when the Flash runs faster than light.

The videos surfaced two days after the attack and present a picture that stands in stark contrast to the one visible in the immediate aftermath of the attack, when Putin all but disappeared from public view. At that time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said simply that the president “had been informed,” and state-controlled television channels spent hours waiting in vain for the president to make an address to the nation. When the shooting broke out, federal television networks continued their broadcasts without changes. Thus, Channel One kept airing the singing contest “Golos” — The Voice — even after the world’s leading media outlets broke the news about the terror attack in Moscow. Multiple online messages speculated that Putin was ignoring the attack and was not going to give a statement.

At half past midnight on Friday, some six hours after the attack, the RuTube channel of state-owned news agency RIA Novosti displayed the starting screen of a broadcast entitled “Vladimir Putin’s Statement on the Mass Casualty Attack in Moscow.” However, the broadcast never happened. Citing sources in the government, Vedomosti soon wrote that reports of the president’s upcoming emergency address were premature.

Putin finally went on air 19 hours after the attack, only to compare the terrorists’ acts to the violence of Nazis, who “engaged in reprisals on occupied territories.” Putin claimed that the shooters were driving towards Ukraine, where “a window” had been prepared for them at the border from the Ukrainian side.

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