Senator John Mccain Challenges Russian President Vladimir Putin

Senator John Mccain Challenges Russian President Vladimir Putin

Senator John McCain loves Russia more than Russian president does. He proclaimed so in the op-ed article published in a Russian newspaper. The article came as an answer to Vladimir Putin’s op-ed column in the New York Times, printed last week.

When Vladimir Putin called to the American public criticizing American politics over Syria, and in general, he made a risky move. No doubt he recruited many adepts with his soft tongue calling for peace and tolerance, but infuriated some prominent political figures as well.

One of them was Senator McCain. Like many others, he was outraged with the whole idea of Putin criticizing American views on the world while using American freedom of press. Unlike others he not only talked, but openly challenged his opponent. He contacted the Russian paper Pravda.ru asking if they would agree to publish his letter addressed to the Russian public. Pravda.ru took the challenge and the article about Putin’s Russia was published in the online paper that succeeded the most prominent Soviet newspaper, Pravda; the former symbol of Russian communism.

The article was printed in an English edition of the newspaper as well as in a Russian version with translation. 200,000 online visitors view Pravda.ru daily.

McCain is known for his strong criticism of Russian politics and Vladimir Putin personally, so he started his appeal to the Russian public by dismantling these accusations.

“I am not anti-Russian. I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today.”

And then he continued to be very tough on the regime, which he believes is corrupt and tyrannical:

“A Russian citizen could not publish a testament like the one I just offered. President Putin and his associates do not believe in these values. 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. To perpetuate their power they foster rampant corruption in your courts and your economy and terrorize and even assassinate journalists who try to expose their corruption.”

Russian society, if you look at it through McCain’s eyes, is not attractive. Economy dependent on few natural resources is not stable. Capital is leaving Russia, the law is corrupt, closest international allies chosen by Russia are mostly tyrants and murderers committing atrocities against their own people. And over all Putin, who claims to bring stability to the country, who in practice actually destroys Russia’s global reputation.

McCain definitely has a point to see Russia the way he sees it. However, his hope to shake Russian society is going to die in vain. Outcry messages toward Senator McCain are already streaming on the website of Pravda.ru. Russians are mostly enraged by his comments and didn’t want to even listen to his criticism. This may be a reason why McCain’s letter won’t have same success Putin’s letter had in America. It is the same reason Russians want to back up Syria, or tried to save Kaddafi or Saddam Husain in the past. Not Russian politicians, but normal people.

They see American involvement in military missions to save people’s lives as an attempt to force American will on the world, on those who are trying to save their independence and right to think for themselves. They fear that one day America will come and try to force its will on Russia and will change their rightful leaders like has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. In that context of Russian fear, McCain’s tough attack on the Russian President will just play along with Putin’s popularity in Russia.

He explained it himself:

“He {President Putin} 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.”

So in this case, the Senator’s letter will be taken as an argument supporting Putin’s view of the USA as a superpower trying to control Russia. Senator McCain tried to challenge the Russian President, but did he really?

By Alsu Salakhutdinov

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