Russian war correspondent Eugeny Poddubny on who is Bashar al-Assad

Eugeny Poddubny is one of the best Russian reporters. He’s not just a reporter, but a war reporter — elite of the journalism. Poddubny spent not weeks and not months but years on wars. He experienced many different wars in different parts of the World. As he said himself, he passed through Chechnya, South Ossetia, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria… He also made the war reports from Donbass, Ukraine. Wherever he was — he was always at the forefront.

He made a lot of films about the Syrian war. Just a few examples: «Aleppo. Liberation» (link), «Hit on Syria» (link), «Palmyra» (link), «The nature of war» (link). And countless number of reports. It always was the unique exclusive footage from the scene.

When the blockade of Deir-ez-Zor was broken and the city was finally liberated, Eugeny Poddubny was there, and of course made a report. Legendary Syrian general Issam Zahreddine, who defended the city from ISIS terrorists for years, saluted Poddubny, they greeted and embraced each other.

Eugeny Poddubny was the only reporter who visited the Shayrat airbase after US launched Tomahawks on it under the fake pretext of «chemical attack» in Khan Sheikhoun.

In 2017 the Russian president awarded this brave reporter with the Order of Merit for the Fatherland 4th degree.

On 11 December, 2017 Eugeny Poddubny became a guest on the famous and well-known in Russia TV show «Evening with Vladimir Solovyov«. This TV show is one of the top telecasts in Russia. The program always goes live. The program discusses acute social and political issues both in Russia and in the World. After returning from a working trip to Syria, Eugeny Poddubny talked about what he saw there. During the airtime he talks about what impressions were the most difficult, speaks about the living conditions of the Russian military in Syria, mentions the US military, speaks about the vicissitudes of the work of a military journalist on the front line, responds to the work of foreign media in Syria and the quality of their materials, tells about Bashar al-Assad.

ALAFF translated just a small part of the interview — the one concerning the president of Syria. Full interview (in Russian) is here.

Replicas of Vladimir Solovyov are designated as (VS) and answers of Eugeny Poddubny are designated as (EP).

(VS) : We are being reproached for saving Assad, and as if Assad almost a bloody tyrant and murderer. How much does this fit the truth?

(EP) : You know, in my opinion Assad is the guarantor of the preservation of a secular form of government in Syria. Assad certainly is not a bloody killer, it’s all Western propaganda stamps. You know, the most understandable example is when the US supports the dynasty of the Saudis — what right do they have to discourse who is the dictator and who is not in the Middle East?

From the personal meetings with Assad, I generally had the impression that he is more of a liberal kind, quite Europeanized for the Middle East, extremely free in handling with his inner circle. I do not mean his family. I mean, well, his employees who ensure his activities. No one’s feet are shaken when he looks into the eyes of a man, nobody fainted, you know. If he would be a bloody dictator, then at least in his inner circle some serious tension should be felt. I’m talking about some things that many may not know.

(VS) : Does he go to people?

(EP) : Eh?

(VS) : Does he go to people?

(EP) : He does not just go out to the people. You know, for me it was really amazing that Assad did not move out from his residence, which is located in Damascus. I.e this is not the palace of the president, this is his home. At some point in the war, when the Russian forces did not even started to operate there, it was 1,5 kilometer to the front line, well, 1,5 or 2. And Assad is not only that he did not leave, but his wife was there, his children were there. Moreover, every citizen of Damascus know where this house is located. And so that to be understandable: the security there is one checkpoint at the entrance to the street where Assad’s house is located and one checkpoint on the exit from this street, which just check that there are no explosive devices and weapons in the cars.

Well… this is a man who lives in the center of Damascus. And people live around him. There is a territory of the Russian trade mission nearby. In general, it’s not some isolated president who sits somewhere on the mountain in his palace and does not go anywhere, it’s a man of Syria. Whether he’s bad or good — let the Syrians decide themselves, but it’s a fact that he definitely does not dream only about how to imprison more Sunnis.

As for what future he wants for Syria, at least from the interviews that we had with Assad — both one-on-one and as part of a group of journalists — I can say that he has quite a democratic idea of the development of Syria. And in general, those people who seriously understand what is Syria in principle, know that before the war this was absolutely secular state, and if it was necessary to look for dictators in the Middle East, well, this is in quite other countries which now do not interest anyone.


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