MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti) – US Senator John McCain, well-known for his vociferous criticism of the Russian leadership, has slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime for corruption, repression and bigotry in an op-ed published on a Russian news website, Pravda.ru, in response to Putin’s piece in a US newspaper last week.
In an article titled “Russians deserve better than Putin,” McCain, who says he is not anti-Russian but “more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today,” criticizes Putin and his associates for disrespecting human dignity, punishing dissent, rigging elections, controlling media and perpetuating their power by fostering rampant corruption.
He condemns Putin for the death of whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky and for destroying Russia’s economy and global reputation by allying it with “some of the world's most offensive and threatening tyrannies,” and supporting a Syrian regime “that is murdering tens of thousands of its own people to remain in power and by blocking the United Nations from even condemning its atrocities.”
President Putin rules “by corruption, repression and violence. He rules for himself, not you,” McCain wrote in his piece submitted to Pravda.ru following an invitation prompted by his interview with CNN last Thursday in which the senior Republican senator slammed Putin’s op-ed in The New York Times criticizing Washington’s push for military action in Syria.
McCain, who had earlier called Putin’s piece “an insult to the intelligence of every American,” joked “I would love to have a commentary in Pravda.” The original Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Union, but closed down after the breakup of that state. Both Pravda.ru and a new print publication called Pravda claim to be the legitimate heirs to the original publication.
“We have to remember who Putin is. He's a KGB colonel apparatchik, who has never abandoned the Russian ambitions for an empire and influence in the world," McCain said on Jake Tapper’s show on CNN, "The Lead."
Putin has not yet read McCain’s piece, which was published in both Russian and English, but he definitely will, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding, however, that he is unlikely to respond.
“McCain is well-known for not being a fan of Putin,” Peskov said in an interview with Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio. “Entering into polemics is unlikely: It’s the opinion of a person who lives across the ocean.”
“As for what the Russians deserve, they are able to answer that question themselves, and they do just that when they go to the polls. I don’t think the opinion of anyone across the ocean will play a role in the Russian people expressing their political preferences,” Peskov said.