Reuters reports: One of Vladimir Putin’s most influential supporters was up early on Thursday explaining to puzzled Russians why the president has softened his stance on Ukraine.
Vladimir Solovyov, the outspoken host of a popular radio call-in, enthusiastically portrayed Putin’s unexpected appeal to separatists in east Ukraine to suspend a planned autonomy referendum as a masterstroke.
“This is a very clever and strong move in the game of chess over Ukraine,” he told listeners. “Putin has again become peacemaker number one.”
Dismissing a caller’s concerns that it might seen be as a sign of weakness, he said: “Putin has forced the Ukrainian authorities into a dialogue … He’s massively raised his support in Europe.”
When another listener dissented, the acid-tongued host told him he was listening to the wrong channel and, inventing a name, told him to “go and listen to ‘Voice of the Enemy’.”
If ever Putin needed supporters like Solovyov, it may be now. [Continue reading…]