Letter From the Editors: May 30-June 5, 2016

Author: Matthew Larson

Conspiracy Cocktail Turns Toxic.

It is apparently rather difficult to look at what is going on in Eastern Europe these days without entertaining a conspiracy theory - at least that’s the impression one gets from perusing the Russian papers. This week, Russian commentators offered up all sorts of interrelated conspiracy theories that combine to create a heady cocktail that has become both intoxicating and quite toxic. The main ingredient is the hot-button issue of Ukraine, which is currently still buzzing over the release of war hero Nadezhda Savchenko. The chatter in the Russian press has been about the details of her exchange and what Vladimir Putin hopes to gain from what seems like an obvious defeat. Yevgeny Kiselyov believes that the Russian leader bowed to pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and plans to compensate for the loss by stirring up more trouble in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Kiselyov senses political battles brewing over Savchenko as she begins her new role as a politician and potential government detractor in the Supreme Rada. To ward off the threat, a member of the Ukrainian president’s party faction released very timely and damning evidence of political corruption involving high-level politicians, including those from Batkivshchina, Savchenko’s party. Rounding out the Ukraine conspiracy theories is an article by Sergei Zhiltsov accusing the West of pitting Ukraine against Russia and of protracting the Donetsk Basin conflict to pursue its own agenda.

What is that agenda? Russia’s NATO representative Aleksandr Grushko has a few theories - namely, that the alliance is using the Ukraine conflict as a pretext to prove its "indispensability" and get its members to boost military spending. He believes that NATO has no interest in a positive agenda with Russia based on political dialogue and an equal footing.

Another ingredient in the conspiracy cocktail is the Turkey-Russia-EU angst triangle. Anna Glazova writes that Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan ...

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