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Arizona Senator and former presidential hopeful John McCain had an opinion column published in a Russian publication Thursday in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed last week.
In his column, published by Pravda.ru, McCain addressed the Russian populace and wrote that he is "more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today." "I make that claim because I respect your dignity and your right to self-determination. I believe you should live according to the dictates of your conscience, not your government," wrote McCain.
"I believe you deserve the opportunity to improve your lives in an economy that is built to last and benefits the many, not just the powerful few."
Titled "Russians Deserve Better Than Putin," McCain also wrote in protest of the repressive nature of the Putin government on a variety of topics. "President Putin and his associates do not believe in these values. They don't respect your dignity or accept your authority over them," wrote McCain.
"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's column was published both in English and Russian on the website after some initial confusion was found over which Pravda edition the column was supposed to go to. Russian for "The Truth," there are two Pravda publications: one was the infamous mouthpiece for the Soviet regime and the other a relatively new online publication.
McCain's column was in response to Putin's English language opinion piece published by the New York Times last week. Titled "A Plea for Caution from Russia," Putin wrote that Americans should be cautious regarding Syria due to the questionable evidence regarding chemical weapons usage. "The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders," wrote Putin.
"A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."
Putin also stated in his column that American Exceptionalism was wrong, arguing that the mindset is "extremely dangerous."
"There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy," wrote Putin. "Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) posted an op-ed in The Christian Post titled, "Putin Is Wrong," arguing that America is exceptional. "History teaches us that a strong and engaged America is a source of good in the world. No nation has liberated more people or done more to raise living standards around the world through trade and charity than the United States. We remain a beacon of hope for people around the world," Rubio wrote.