Yesterday will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the more bizarre days in Maltese electoral history. But before delving into the somewhat murky waters of the Prime Minister’s cloak and dagger, and diplomatically dangerous, assertions about Russia’s nefarious interests in Maltese political affairs one central question needs to be asked: why, exactly would Vladimir Putin want to see Simon Busuttil elected? The fact of the matter is that if asked to choose a preferred leader of Malta, Putin would no doubt prefer a Socialist Prime Minister who has over his tenure consistently looked east and courted and sold state assets to countries such as Azerbaijan and China over a Christian Democrat who believes so wholeheartedly in the European project.
The suggestion that people in the upper echelons at the Kremlin, who are known to do nothing without Putin’s seal of approval, have plotted to derail the Maltese elections to remove Joseph Muscat from power by concocting the Muscat-Egrant story, using the services of a Russian fake whistleblower employed at Pilatus Bank, is a only slightly more absurd a concept than believing Putin even cares who the leader of Malta may or may not be.
The Prime Minister yesterday morning asserted that he has information from Malta’s security services that Russia was interfering in the Maltese electoral process with the aim of dethroning him as revenge for Malta’s refusal last November to refuel a Russian naval asset heading to Syria, as well as for facilitating Ukraine’s entry into the EU’s visa waiver programme.
Such information, he said, came by way of “allied countries” and an unsubstantiated article appearing yesterday morning on a French intelligence-related website said the agencies expressing such concern were America’s Central Intelligence Agency and the UK’s MI6.