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More Than 80% of Russians Blame Ukrainian Army for Malaysia Airlines Crash

Published: July 31, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • People wait in line to sign a memorial book, lay flowers and light candles in memory of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 passengers at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
    Photo: Pejman Akbarzadeh / Persian Dutch Network / Wikimedia Commons

Eighty-two percent of Russians believe the Ukrainian army is to blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a poll released Wednesday by the independent Levada Center showed, as the investigation into the tragedy suffered yet another setback Wednesday.

A mere 3 percent of respondents to the poll bought into the Western version of events and pinned the blame for the July 17 disaster — in which nearly 300 people were killed — on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The overwhelming majority echoed the Russian government's official line and pointed the finger at the Ukrainian military.

One percent of respondents cited pilot error, and another 1 percent technical malfunction. Two percent said they believed a bomb had exploded on board the plane, and another 16 percent expressed difficulty in answering the question.

The poll, conducted from July 18 to 24 among 1,501 adults in six major cities, reflects the polarizing effect the tragedy has had on Russia and the West. Its publication follows on the heels of another round of sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union over what they say is Russia's aggressive policies in Ukraine, where more than 1,000 people have been killed since mid-April as pro-Russian separatists battle Ukrainian troops.

More than 10 days after the downing of the passenger plane shocked the world and thrust what had previously been a mostly domestic conflict in Ukraine into the international arena, there are more questions than answers regarding who is responsible for the loss of 298 lives.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe headed back to the nearby city of Donetsk on Wednesday after a failed attempt to access the wreckage site. Pro-Russian separatists in the area had refused to let them through over safety concerns amid ongoing fighting in the area, the Associated Press reported.

Ukrainian security official Andriy Lysenko said at a news briefing Wednesday that the rebels had "mined the approaches to this area [the crash site]. This makes the work of international experts impossible."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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