‘Did the Americans plan the Paris terror attacks?’ asks leading Russian tabloid

The front page splash of Komsomsolskaya Pravda

American intelligence services carried out the Charlie Hebdo terror attack to punish France for considering dropping sanctions against Russia – or at least, that’s the version of events presented in one of Russia’s leading newspapers today.

The front page splash in Komsomolskaya Pravda, which asks “Did the Americans Plan the Paris Terror Attack?”, is just the latest of a series of bizarre conspiracy theories put forward by some of the Russian press in the wake of last week’s tragedy.

The headline relates to a page 7 interview with a political scientist called Alexander Zhilin, who links the murders of 16 people at Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher supermarket to disagreements between western governments about how to deal with sanctions against Russia.

The trigger, he claimed, was Francois Hollande’s suggestion on January 5 that sanctions imposed against Russia should be reconsidered.

Such dissent in the ranks, Mr Zhilin suggests, could not be tolerated by the shadowy warmongers who run the United States…