Russian Newspaper Issues Front-Page Apology for Flight MH17

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Left-leaning Russian publication Novaya Gazeta Russia (New Gazette Russia) made it very clear how they felt about Russia's involvement in the MH17 disaster. The front page of today's paper boasted the bold headline: "Forgive Us, Netherlands" in Dutch, and in smaller letters underneath the same message in Russian. 

The story received a four-page spread inside the paper. On the left side of this page, the headline reads "They thought they were dolls," and the description of the photograph, "From the site of the Boeing fall." Specifically, it states "fall," rather than crash or shooting. The quote highlighted at the bottom comes from a witness to the MH17 crash, "They're telling us that there is no war. But what is this? People thought they were dolls and it was babies!" On the opposite side of the page, "Holland met the deceased in silence," with the photography description as, "Netherlands C-130 and Australian C-17 delivered from Ukraine the first forty coffins with remains of the victims of crash Malaysia Airlines." In this case, Novaya Gazeta more boldly calls it a "crash," though "shooting" still does not appear in any headlines. 

On the third and fourth pages, the newspaper examines how the rest of the world covered the MH17 tragedy. This headline is as bold as the front page: "Russians will understand they may become outlaws." For many in the country who may not have access to international publications, Novaya Gazeta shows exactly how the rest of the world sees Russia in light of this tragedy and Kremlin's subsequent denial of any involvement. 

This entire spread is a direct contradiction to other Kremlin-friendly publications, which are putting the blame on Ukraine. Yesterday, Russian officials accused U.S. intelligence of fabricating evidence, though global (not only U.S.) intelligence sources have been able to link Russia to the separatists and their weapons. Novaya Gazeta blames the Russian separatists.

This is the first, and only, newspaper coming from Russia with such a front page, even though the paper has paid the price for being anti-government in the past. Four of their journalists have been murdered since 2001. Novaya Gazeta was established by Mikhail Gorbechev, former president of the USSR, with money he earned from winning the Nobel Peace Prize. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.