This has been the week where foreign policy battles have been waged in newspaper op-eds. First, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote an editorial in the New York Times, criticizing the Obama administration’s rush to war in Syria.
In response, an indignant Senator John McCain, highly critical of both Assad and Putin, demanded to write an editorial for a Russian newspaper. McCain’s request was accepted, and he wrote a scathing critique of Putinism in Pravda (in English) and Pravda.Ru (in Russian).
As one of McCain’s lines said that Russia has no free press, below is an interview with the chairman from Pravda.ru, a pro-Kremlin outlet, who says that the very fact that McCain’s editorial was published proves that the Senator is out of touch with today’s Russia. – Ed.
Vadim Gorshenin, the “Pravda.Ru” Board of Directors Chairman, told “Izvestia” why the U.S. Senator published his article not in the “Soviet newspaper,” but on his website.
On Thursday, the site of “Pravda.Ru” published an article by Senator John McCain, in which he responded to the publication of Russian President Vladimir Putin in The New York Times. Initially, McCain promised to publish an article in “Pravda,” but then changed his mind. Vadim Gorshenin, the “Pravda.Ru” Board of Directors Chairman, told “Izvestia” how it happened.
– Who and when suggested to publish an article by McCain?
It was a Foreign Policy journalist, who follows what we publish, and even wrote a lot of bad things about us. Once he heard on CNN the words of John McCain, who indicated that he would like to address the audience through “Pravda” newspaper, he wrote to Dmitry Sudakov, the editor of our English version: “Would you be able to rebut an argument that you do not have freedom of speech, and publish a text by McCain?” Our editor replied that, of course, he would. After that, the American journalist got in touch with McCain’s spokesman, who said that they would do everything that was necessary. Everything came out well, so, as Mikhail Dvorkovich has written in Twitter, the very fact of this publication proves that everything that McCain says is a lie. If all the media are controlled by the Kremlin, then how such an article could appear in a resource that everyone considers pro-Kremlin?
– Did they know that “Pravda.Ru” and the newspaper “Pravda” are different editions?
Yes, of course, they knew. In the American media there have been publications analyzing what the newspaper “Pravda” is like nowadays. When the scandal broke out, and Zyuganov decided that McCain would write something in his newspaper, McCain’s aides asked us some questions about whether we are anything that is close to the newspaper “Pravda.”
– Are you?
There was a court ruling of about ten years ago that we have the same rights to the awards and the name “Pravda” as the newspaper of the Communist Party. But most importantly, we have the English version that in terms of circulation is second only to Russia Today among Russian English-language media. And then we have the traffic – two hundred thousand a day, but the official circulation of “Pravda” is one hundred thousand, and it comes out several times a week.
– And why did the article first appear on the tapes of world agencies, and only then you had it? Your traffic was not enough for them?
They sent us an article at 6.00 am. And embargoed it until 8.00 am, but McCain’s guys were not even notified about it. They believed that at 6.00 am all Russians get up and go directly to the hard work, where they are driven by whips. But we completed everything only by 10.00 am.
– Americans were not disturbed by an ideological component? You were one of Dmitry Medvedev’s trustees during the 2008 election. And you support Putin.
I am a supporter of Putin. But I was not a trustee, I worked both in Medvedev’s headquarters in 2008, and was awarded for this with something, and at Putin’s headquarters in 2012, and he also sent me a thank you letter. But that did not bother them. Quite the contrary.
– But why? McCain decided to publish an article on a website that supports Putin?
McCain still lives in the past. What do they remember from that Soviet era? “Pravda” and “Izvestia”. Less so “News” because it was intended for domestic consumption, while “Pravda” is the mouthpiece of the Kremlin. That’s why McCain wanted an article to appear in the newspaper, that is the mouthpiece of the Kremlin. Putin published his article in The New York Times, a Democratic Party newspaper, and the United States is currently governed by a democrat. McCain wanted to reciprocate, and in this respect he hasn’t gone wrong with us.