Half of Russians in favour of MH17 tribunal

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – August 5, 2015)

[Charts here bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-half-russians-favour-mh17-tribunal]

Nearly half of all Russians would support the creation of a UN international tribunal to investigate who was responsible for last year’s MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, according to a poll by Russia’s Levada Centre.

This is in stark contrast to the clear Russian state opposition to such a tribunal being formed. The Kremlin, with more knowledge of the facts surrounding the tragedy, in July vetoed a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution that aimed to assemble an international tribunal charged with prosecuting those suspected of shooting down the passenger jet in July 2014.

Addressing the Security Council at its meeting on July 29, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, suggested “political aims were more important to them [other UNSC members] than practical objectives”.

While the global media appear unanimous in their belief that Russia or Russian-backed separatists are to blame for the downing of the flight, in which 298 died, only 5% of Russians surveyed believed the same. 85% of respondents believed that the Ukrainian military or, indirectly, Ukraine’s leaders are responsible. 17% blame the US.

The vehement belief among Russians in their county’s innocence is reflected by the fact that 47% of respondents would favour the creation of an international tribunal. Only 19% were against the idea, with only 5% saying they were strongly against it.

Who respondents believe to be responsible for MH17 appears to have had a strong effect on whether or not they support the creation of a tribunal, as the bne:Chart below shows. Of those who believe a tribunal should be set up, only 12% think that Russia could be to blame for the crash. Of those who are opposed to a tribunal, this figure rose to 45%.