WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Sen. John McCain insisted he is “more pro-Russian” than President Vladimir Putin, accusing Putin of corruption, repression and self-serving rule in an opinion piece for a Russian news website answering the Russian leader’s broadside last week in The New York Times.
“I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today,” McCain wrote. “I make that claim because I respect your dignity and your right to self-determination.”
“President Putin doesn’t believe in these values because he doesn’t believe in you,” McCain wrote. “He doesn’t believe that human nature at liberty can rise above its weaknesses and build just, peaceful, prosperous societies. Or, at least, he doesn’t believe Russians can. So he rules by using those weaknesses, by corruption, repression and violence. He rules for himself, not you,” McCain wrote.
In an op-ed headlined “Russians deserve better than Putin,” McCain singled out Putin and his associates for punishing dissent, specifically the death in prison of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The Russian presidential human rights council found in 2011 that Magnitsky, who had accused Russian officials of colluding with organized criminals, had been beaten and denied medical treatment.
McCain also criticized Putin for siding with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the 2 1/2-year civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.
McCain’s opinion piece was published Thursday on the news website Pravda.ru, a website established by former Pravda journalists. The newspaper Pravda is an organ of the Communist Party and is no longer an influential or widely read newspaper, in contrast to its huge presence in the Soviet Union’s media landscape.
McCain assailed Putin and his associates for writing laws that codify bigotry, specifically legislation on sexual orientation. A new Russian law imposes fines and up to 15 days in prison for people accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors.
On Syria, McCain said Putin is siding with a tyrant.
“He is not enhancing Russia’s global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world,” the Arizona senator said.
McCain also criticized the imprisonment of the punk rock band Pussy Riot. The three women were convicted of hooliganism after staging an anti-Putin protest inside a Russian Orthodox Church.
The article by McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, comes just days after the U.S. and Russian officials reached an ambitious agreement that calls for an inventory of Syria’s chemical weapons program within a week and its complete eradication by mid-2014. Diplomatic wrangling continues, however.
In his own op-ed last week, Putin blamed opposition forces for the latest deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria and argued President Barack Obama’s remarks about America were self-serving. Putin also wrote in the Times that it was dangerous for America to think of itself as exceptional, a reference to comments Obama had made.
McCain was not the first U.S. lawmaker to respond to Putin. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., wrote in a piece for the Moscow Times about the suppression of the Russian people and the disregard for basic human rights.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy