Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wrote a blistering column on the website of Pravda, a Russian news organization, as a rejoinder to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New York Times piece, accusing him of turning Russia into a repressive, corrupt nation that is a “friend to tyrants” and “untrusted” by peace-loving countries of the world.
McCain’s column for the Pravda.ru website titled, "Russians deserve better than Putin," was a direct response to Putin’s editorial titled, “A Plea for Caution From Russia,” published on Sept. 11, in the Times, criticizing ‘American exceptionalism.’
The senior senator began his column noting that the Pravda's online editor, Dmitry Sudakov, referred to him as "an active anti-Russian politician for many years," when he invited him to write. However, McCain stressed that the observation was not true and he is more “pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules” Russians today.
The Republican senator accused the Russian government of being repressive, punishing dissenters, protecting the corrupt and controlling the media, and stated that the Russian people deserved better leadership than the current government serving under Putin.
“They don't respect your dignity or accept your authority over them. They punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media. They harass, threaten, and banish organizations that defend your right to self-governance,” McCain wrote.
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Referring to the alleged human rights violations by the Russian government the Arizona senator said that the country's leadership “write laws to codify bigotry against people whose sexual orientation they condemn.”
“They throw the members of a punk rock band in jail for the crime of being provocative and vulgar and for having the audacity to protest President Putin's rule,” he wrote.
McCain also argued that while “Putin claims his purpose is to restore Russia to greatness at home and among the nations of the world” the former KGB official has destroyed the country’s economy and its reputation.
“He has given you an economy that is based almost entirely on a few natural resources that will rise and fall with those commodities. 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,” McCain wrote.
Putin, in his Times column, had portrayed America as a country of warmongers referring to the U.S.'s stance on Syria, and McCain countered by blaming Putin for supporting “some of the world's most offensive and threatening tyrannies.”
“By 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,” he wrote.