Putin’s order to shoot down a passenger plane

On 7 February 2014, about 40,000 people gathered in Sochi for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Published: 14th March 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2018 02:29 AM   |  A+A-

On 7 February 2014, about 40,000 people gathered in Sochi for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Around the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an order to shoot down a passenger plane

110 people on board
The pilots of a Turkish Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Kharkiv (Ukraine) to Istanbul reported that one of the passengers had a bomb and the plane had to change course to Sochi, according to a two-hour documentary titled “Putin”. The president said he gave permission to shoot down the jet, which had 110 people on board, after security services told him that was the procedure in such situations

Two calls and a false alarm
Just before the ceremony started, Putin was informed that it was a false alarm—the plane had not been hijacked and so was not brought down. When interviewer Andrei Kondrashov asked how he felt during the time between the two calls, Putin said, “I’d rather not talk about that”

Documentary or action movie?
The two-hour documentary, released online on Sunday a week ahead of an election Putin is expected to win in a landslide, presents an overwhelmingly positive picture of the president

The segment about the plane is intercut with images of fighter jets flying through the sky and shots of the Twin Towers on 9/11, with an action movie-style soundtrack
“Everything’s fine,” an ‘unshakeable’ Putin told International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach after the incident, according to the film. Putin also said in the documentary that he would “never” give the Crimean peninsula back to Ukraine

Before the polls
Putin’s slogan in a lacklustre election campaign has been: “A strong president—a strong Russia”. The documentary was produced and presented by Kondrashov, who is a spokesman for Putin’s campaign. It also features interviews with a number of the Russian leader’s allies including former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

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