Those corpses decomposing in the sun in Ukraine, it’s such an appalling public relations disaster for the Russian government and I’m wondering just how much control Vladimir Putin actually has. People keep calling him Stalin–I certainly have–but Stalin would have had this scene swarming with NKVD, locked down, the bodies would be gone, the wreckage cleared, the Buk crew probably shot, and the idiot generals on the phone worried about their own fate. There would be no videos at all. None. An official story would be in all the Russian papers, on the radio, the TV. No rumors–rumor mongers would be shot–just the official story. That is all the western media would see. The official story might have been a lie, but it would have been coherent. No idiocy about the passengers being already dead. No talk of a plane full of spies. No absconding with a Buk missile launcher in broad daylight. It is so bizarre to see what is unfolding now, such a sloppy, undisciplined approach, armed men firing warning shots, bodies rotting on the road, and complete incoherence in the official explanation. How much in charge is Putin, really? How is this happening?