First, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the US in The New York Times. Now Sen. John McCain has fired back on a Russia website, saying Mr. Putin is holding Russia back.
Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin in an opinion piece published in the online version of Pravda on Thursday, saying the Russian leader uses corruption, repression and violence to rule in his own interest.
“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,” wrote Senator McCain.
The Arizona senator and former GOP presidential candidate billed himself as more pro-Russian than the current Moscow regime, saying he was dispelling the falsehoods Russian officials use to stay in power.
McCain focused in particular on Mr. Putin and his associates punishing dissent. The American lawmaker recounted the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who had accused the Moscow government of colluding with organized criminals, then was beaten and denied medical treatment while in prison.
McCain criticized the imprisonment of the rock band Pussy Riot after they were accused of staging an anti-Putin protest inside a Russian Orthodox Church. And he accused Putin of siding with a dictator by backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“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,” wrote McCain.
McCain’s article was intended as a riposte to an op-ed by Putin published in The New York Times on Sept. 12. That piece criticized the US for threatening airstrikes against Syria, saying such an attack would be contrary to international law, and insisted the US should not think of itself as an exceptional nation, as “we must not forget that God created us equal.”