Putin sees reason for hope in Syrian arms deal
Russian President Putin said he is not 100 percent certain that a plan to destroy Syrian chemical weapons will be carried out but is optimistic.PT1M35S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2u39c 620 349 September 20, 2013
Washington: Republican Senator 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 Pravda newspaper 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."
He is not enhancing Russia's global reputation. He is destroying it.
"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.
US Republican Senator John McCain has responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin's opinion piece in The New York Times with a highly critical comment piece of his own in Russian publication Pravda. Photo: AFP / Gianluigi Guercia
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 organised criminals, had been beaten and denied medical treatment.
McCain also criticised Putin for siding with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the 2½-year civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.
The senator submitted the editorial to Pravda, which posted it online Thursday in English and in Russian.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's New York Times opinion piece disagreed with President Obama's view of "American exceptionalism" and blamed the Syrian rebels for the recent chemical attack. Photo: Reuters / Ria Novosti
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 criticised 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 US 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 US lawmaker to respond to Putin. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon wrote in a piece for the Moscow Times about the suppression of the Russian people and the disregard for basic human rights.