By John Helmer, Moscow
Kremlin insiders report that fear for survival is now sweeping the Kremlin and the ministries of the Russian government, as it is acknowledged by senior officials that President Vladimir Putin (lead image, left) will make “significant changes” when he announces the new government after his inauguration in six weeks’ time.
Putin, the sources have disclosed, has been unpleasantly surprised by two results of the Skripal poisoning case, after the intelligence and security services have briefed him on all they now know of the case. The first surprise for Putin, the sources claim, is the failure of command and control on the part of the civilian arm of government to respond to the British challenges after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal was announced on March 4. The second is the behaviour of the state media and propaganda arm operated by Dmitry Peskov (centre), the presidential spokesman. “The Foreign Ministry hasn’t known how to act in London, whom to employ, whether to open its mouth, or keep it shut. The state propaganda organs have made this worse. Everything the government now says, truth though it may be, now looks unbelievable cover-up.”
The sources are guarded in their predictions. They believe Dmitry Medvedev will be reappointed prime minister. They expect that senior officials regarded as too fond of the west will go.
Watch and read as Dmitry Peskov explains to his boss why he should not be dismissed, and in the process reveals to the British government how the spokesman makes the president look culpable in the Skripal affair — an affair Peskov calls an “accident” six times over. That’s a dramatic news-breaking term; Peskov fails to explain it.
Peskov, 50, comes from a Soviet Foreign Ministry family. He started there himself in 1990, rising slowly through the ranks to First Secretary. Eight years — all of his foreign posting time — he spent in Turkey. Peskov then started as a press officer in the Kremlin in 2000; he has been Putin’s spokesman at the presidency and the prime ministry. His present post, which also includes the power to direct the budgets and operations of the state media, commenced in 2012.
Last week Peskov summoned Russia Today Television (RT) for an unusually lengthy interview. Spoken in English, at 46 minutes it is far too long for most television viewers. With no independent count of the RT audience and a re-broadcast estimate of 28,000 for the video clip, Peskov was appealing to the president not to remove him. Watch the video here . The transcript can also be read in full .
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ATdRpvQKvI 
Read these excerpts from an MI6 point of view, or from the perspective of the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) or the French Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE). They are asking themselves why Putin, with all that is now known to him of the movements, communications, and business activities of Yulia Skripal in Moscow and her father in England, would direct Peskov to say these things, but omit to explain the Russian evidence for the “accident”.
- “…because this is Russia, it’s an outstanding country with its own traditions, historical traditions and historical mood of people. When they face any pressure coming from the outside they unite and they unite around a strong leader. This happened numerous times during our history. And, of course, partly it’s happening now because when you see an unprecedented pressure, when you see even craziness coming from some countries, you understand what I mean, people cannot tolerate it, they resist. And while resisting they unite around a strong leader. “
- “Russia and President Putin is looking for repairing relationship where it is possible and looking for developing and furthering relationships with various countries, especially our partners in Europe, with the United States, and proceeding in this developing as far as our partners are ready to. The foreign policy, as far as I can interpret it, in Putin’s understanding the main purpose of foreign policy and international relations is to ensure a comfortable environment for implementing of domestic tasks.”
- “…if you analyse the reaction coming from responsible members of international society, you will see that there’s a certain understanding of necessity of urgent negotiations on international security and even disarmament.”
- “We cannot compare our military expenditures. In five years we’re going to spend less than 3% of our GDP for military defense purposes and for arms production purposes. It cannot be compared with the expenditures of the United States. But I would like to remind you the latest statements of President Putin. Russia is not going to be driven into an arms race. It doesn’t correspond with President Putin’s primarily goal of domestic economic development and domestic breakthrough in economy.”
- “The more Russia is rising the more uncomfortable they feel and the more tough they start to behave in the international relations. And in this tough behavior they are ready to jeopardise international law, the basics of international relations, free trade and commerce regime. They are ready to forget about fair trade, they are ready to forget about WTO rules. They are ready to forget about every rules when they want to suppress Russia.”
- “Lots of countries in Europe understand that Russia is an untakeable part of Europe and you cannot think about prosperous and developing Europe if you don’t see Russia being involved in all the European processes, that Russia’s voice has to be taken into account and so on and so forth. We cannot say that this angry attitude is an overwhelming one.”
- “Actually what happened during the last three or four decades, Anglo-Saxon media started to rule the world – economic, commercial media and also political media. I mean the media from the United States and Great Britain. They are the most powerful, the most influential and they have the widest possible reach globally. And, of course, this feeling of monopoly brings a will to manipulate this monopoly. You can use this monopoly as a tool of delivering your point of view, whether it’s right or wrong it doesn’t matter, you can adjust it in accordance with the situation – to simply manipulate the brains of people throughout the world. And this is why they strongly oppose the appearance of any rivals, even small rivals like RT – in comparison with this huge machine.”
- “…size doesn’t matter here.You can be small, but you can do much more influential things. That is what you [RT] are doing. And that what makes them nervous because you are pretending to be a rival for them and this rivalry can ruin the system of brainwash. This is the reality what we see.”
- “What we see is the country of Byron and Shakespeare, the country of Conan-Doyle, the country that used to be a brilliant empire with immense political traditions of diplomacy and so on and so forth, it turned into a country where politicians are making, let me humbly say, irresponsible statements. This is a problem. It’s a reflection of a very hostile policy, predictably hostile policy. And this is the reality that we have to face and we have to minimize the consequences of this unfortunate reality for our country and we have to ensure using all possible diplomatic and political methods. We have to minimize the consequences for our own country and to ensure that conditions for our domestic purposes are suitable and comfortable.”
- “…we have to remember, the starting point is words of President Putin that Russia has nothing to do with this accident. This is number one. Number two: we’re not speaking about an attempted murder of the Russian spy in Great Britain. We are speaking about the attempt to murder the British spy in Great Britain. He was a British spy and he is a British spy. He is not a Russian spy.”
- “[Sergei Skripal] is a Russian citizen, but he is not a Russian spy. He was handed in to Britain as a result of an exchange. So, why should Russia hand in a man that is of any importance or that is of any value? It’s unimaginable. If he’s handed in – so Russia quits with him. He’s of zero value or zero importance. Go ahead! So this is number one. Number two – words of President Putin: “We’re not as crazy as to even to think about something of that kind before presidential elections and before such an important global event as the football championship”. Number three. The first accusations came from politicians just a couple of hours after the accident. A couple hours after the accident we heard the first accusations against Russia that ‘highly likely, Russia was responsible of that attempt of murder.’ And now we see the words of experts from the OPCW that say that the preliminary examination of this agent will take about three weeks. Is it contradictory? Yes, it is. Well, in general, why to blame Russia? Maybe it’s a very rude comparison especially in this situation, I don’t think that anything can be ruder than the reality but, nonetheless, just imagine: Moscow city, a car accident, there’s a victim in the car accident. And we see what was the car. The car was a British-made car. Let’s say, a Range Rover. And just imagine, that myself or the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman makes a statement that a man was killed by a British-made car in a car accident in the centre of Moscow and highly likely Prime Minister of Great Britain may be responsible for that murder. Is it crazy? It is crazy.”
- “We want to have a version. And we want to have a version as a result of Russia’s taking part in this investigation, at least receiving some data, receiving some information. You would probably notice that the briefing in the Foreign Ministry for ambassadors of various countries – we haven’t seen ambassador of Great Britain there. If Britain has questions in this case why wouldn’t the British ambassador come and hear the answers? As if they’re asking questions not willing to get any answers. As if they ask questions having judgements prior to that. This is extremely unfair. This is extremely contradictory with international law, international principles of behavior and diplomacy.”
- “Everything that can be said as a theory is improper. You know, I’m not a politologist, I’m not a journalist to throw any theories of the incident. We have to be very responsible against this incident. This is really very dangerous for all of us – the usage of a nerve agent in Europe. This is a danger for all of us. This was an attempt of killing of the Russian citizen. By the way, I don’t know if Mr. Scripal still has a Russian citizenship, but his daughter definitely has. And Russia is the country that, of course, needs to receive the information about the state of health of its citizen that was assassinated on the British soil. This is completely unfair to mention any slightest possibility of Russia’s being involved in that.”
- “We’ve heard lots of statements coming from the American president saying that he would like to solve the existing problems between us two through a dialogue that is totally supported by his Russian counterpart Mr. Putin. But we know that some people in Congress and in the Senate are of a different opinion. I do not know to what extent the balance of power in the United States (and it’s none of our business, we cannot interfere in those affairs and we don’t have a slightest wish to interfere in that situation) can affect the future of our relationship. But we still consider the most important statements by the President of the United States and we do hope that there will be a chance for President Putin and President Trump to sit down together sooner or later.”
- “Every joke from the president carries a very important, deep understanding. [Question]: So how did you react? “If the President is criticising you, even half-seriously, half-jokingly, you have to take it into account. Every press secretary in this world… [Question: Bullshits?]…is being criticised sometimes by his boss. It’s unavoidable.”
- “President Putin is Russian and is making his jokes in Russian. And when they are interpreted incorrectly this is the problem of misinterpretation. Sometimes, yes, we feel different cultures, sometimes we cannot understand jokes coming from the other side and the same thing happening… You know, it’s national specialities, I would think. And it’s rather our handicap in explaining our own President, I consider it to be our mishandling of information. So we have to be more careful, more creative in explaining those jokes.”
- “He’s got a huge understanding of what to do to make this country better. And he sees better than anyone in this country the scope of the problems. He knows the problems of different regions, he knows the problems of people working in different spheres of the economy, of civil servants, he knows ecological problems, he knows problems of production, problems of healthcare, problems of social insurance and so on and so forth. But at the same time he understands what can be the way of solving these problems. And I can feel it working next to him that it’s a huge drive for himself combined with sense of responsibility. This is a great chance for our country and a great challenge for himself. [Question: That’s why you never wanted to leave him?] It’s an unbelievable experience, an unprecedented experience. I can hardly imagine any other position in this world that brings such an experience to you.”