What just happened? Praise is usually welcomed no matter who hands it out, though being called an outstanding person and talented businessman by Vladimir Putin isn’t something to brag about. The Russian President handed out the compliments to Elon Musk just days after it was revealed that the CEO had prevented Ukrainian drones from sinking Russian warships in Crimea.
Putin made the comments while speaking about Russia’s space program at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. “As for private business, Elon Musk, he is certainly an outstanding person,” Putin said. “I think it will be recognized throughout the world. He is an active, talented businessman.”
The Russian president’s words came days after an excerpt from ‘Elon Musk,’ a biography of the world’s richest person, claimed that Musk secretly ordered Starlink engineers to turn off satellite communications near the Crimean coast in 2022 as Ukrainian submarine drones approached the Russian naval fleet for a surprise attack. The SpaceX boss is said to have been worried that Putin would respond by using nuclear weapons against Ukraine.
Musk later posted about the incident on former Twitter platform, X. He said that there was an emergency request from Ukrainian government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol, with the obvious intent to sink most of the Russian fleet. “If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” he wrote.
There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol.
The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor.
If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and…
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 7, 2023
Putin noted how Musk does business with support from the US government, and that Russia is also “willing to develop” support for private businesses in the country.
Last month, Russia launched its first lunar lander in 47 years to explore the Moon’s polar region. Following a 10-day trip to the Moon’s south pole, the LUNA-25 lander experienced unspecified issues when attempting to begin its pre-landing orbit, resulting in it crashing on the lunar surface.
Putin promised to continue to explore the Moon despite the failure of LUNA-25. He also reminded listeners that other global space programs had failed missions in the past.
“It’s a pity, of course, that the lunar landing failed. But this does not mean that we will close this program,” he said. “We will continue working.”
Musk faced accusations of being sympathetic to Russia last year after he posted a ‘Ukraine peace plan’ poll. It suggested a redo of the sham elections that took place in occupied areas of Ukraine that led to Putin authorizing their annexation, but this time they are performed under UN supervision, and Russia must leave if it is the will of the people. Musk had previously offered to fight Putin in single combat over the future of Ukraine.
Musk might be used to receiving praise from unwanted sources. Back in July, Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban leader, applauded Twitter’s commitment to free speech and blasted Meta’s “intolerant policy.”