Well based on how you described air control towers, I think its time we stop calling them air control towers. They should just be called airport plane taxi services since by your account they do virtually nothing to help planes land and only tell landing planes what strip to land on and coordinate how planes on the ground taxi around.
In this case they providing guidance, they weren't controlling the aircraft. Ground is responsible for making sure that the taxiways are clear, the tower makes sure runways are clear, and approach is responsible for maintaining separation in the air around an airport.
Anyway, OK legally the pilot has ultimate responsibility, but I think its just wrong to blame him 100% if he's getting faulty information from the air control tower.
The information that was advisory, not instructions. It's 100% the pilots job to maintain situational awareness. And it's definitely, absolutely, 100% the pilots job not to bust minimums. Apparently the radar was old and already was showing problems with the YAK and the Il-76 (as per the report).
Its kind of like driving your car. At the end of the day you are responsible for your driving actions despite what people in the car may tell you.
There is a difference between someone issuing you a command and providing you with advice.
I think the pilot originally thought there would be an ILC airport tracking device that would help him land (like there was when Putin and other top Russians landed there before) and only found out last minute there wasn't one.
They had planned to fly the NDB approach from the get go.
The pilots should have been trained to understand that landing in Russia is not like landing in most countries.
Seems pretty straightforward to me for an NDB approach.
I do give credit to the Russian air tower in that they tried to request from Moscow another airport for the plane to land at.
He knew the weather was below minimums, Vnukovo and Minsk were already offered up en-route. Vitebsk was closed that day (even though it was listed as an alternate before taking off, ridiculous).
Russian ATC and the tower should have taken action once they realized that the Yak pilot didn't really care much about following proper procedure instead of complimenting him for pulling off the landing after breaking the rules. But all sides pushed it, and now everyone is dead.
It was completely avoidable by the aircrew had they just followed their own rules. Relying on advisory information from a beat up radar at a decommissioned airforce base in a foreign language when flying your head of state and top military brass is in terrible weather, to put it quite simply, grossly negligent.
But it's over and done now. Like I posted earlier, first and foremost it's the PAF and BOR that should be held to account for putting the President's life in danger like that. The fingerpointing is inevitable, and there's blame to be doled out to just about everyone involved. The only problem is that it deflects from the fact that it was a completely avoidable accident had the crew just followed their own rules. This is a huge, huge, huge black eye for the PAF, and they should take corrective action ASAP to ensure that they can fulfill their mission of providing safe flights for VIPs.
Anyway, your telling me when landing in Russia a plane has to first make an attempt to land (with the possibility of crashing) before somebody in Russia gives the plane clearance to land at another Russian airport???
An approach was requested from the crew, and provided by ATC. The CVR bits in the report are an easy read.