by Charles ONIANS
THE HAGUE, July 24, 2014 (AFP) – Calls to expel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughter from the Netherlands over flight MH17 have fallen flat, with many noting that their Argentine-born queen has not been punished for her father’s junta past.
Despite calls from Ukrainian activists and right-wing Dutch newspapers for Maria Putin, 29, to be punished for her father’s alleged role in bringing down flight MH17, most here noted that you cannot blame a child for the sins of his or her father.
The mayor of wealthy city Hilversum, which lost several inhabitants in the July 17 crash that killed 298 people, 193 of them Dutch, hit the headlines on Wednesday after calling for Maria to be kicked out.
But mayor Pieter Broertjes rapidly withdrew his call, saying it had been “unwise”.
“It came from a feeling of impotence that many people will know,” Broertjes, a former journalist, tweeted.
“Yeah. That’s a possibility,” wrote news monthly HP De Tijd on its website after Broertjes’ call to punish Maria, who moved to the Netherlands with her Dutch partner two years ago.
“Don’t you find it’s a bit dishonest of God not to have given us the possibility to choose our parents?”
Some websites called for Broertjes to step down following his expulsion call.
“If a daughter is indeed responsible for her father’s deeds, then Queen Maxima Zorreguieta (her maiden name) would have had to leave the country long ago,” wrote waarinholland.nl.
Her father Jorge Zorreguieta was from 1979 to 1981 junior agriculture minister under the regime of general Videla.
“Father Jorge and daughter Maxima both say they knew nothing of the ‘death flights’ that dictator Videla used to get rid of his political opponents.
“Of course, it’s impossible not to know about these things if you’re part of a regime in Argentina, where the social ties are so strong.”
Ukrainian activists and some Dutch published photos of the younger Putin’s alleged “luxury apartment” and even the address, saying demonstrators should head there.
But while Dutch police were sent to the flat, no demonstrators turned up.
Some Dutch called on Twitter and Facebook for Maria to be kicked out, using sometimes violent language, but most called to leave her in peace.
“Did you know that Maria Putin’s father lives in Russia?” said one tweet.
One Twitter user noted the problems French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has disassociating herself from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, known for his anti-Semitic outbursts.
“If I had to choose between Maxima, Le Pen’s daughter or Maria Putin, I think I’d choose Maria,” responded another Dutch tweep.
Calls to punish her were simply “nonsensical”, said one Twitter user, while others noted the irony of the fact that she allegedly lives in the “Crimea district” in Voorschoten, outside The Hague.
“It seems obvious that the media should leave #mariapoetin alone,” tweeted another, using the Dutch spelling of her name for the hashtag.
Meanwhile, Dutch media on Thursday quoted local authorities as saying they no longer know where Maria Putin lives. The town councils of Voorschoten and Noordwijk both said they had no evidence she currently lives there.