Public Opinion: Reply to McCain

September 23, 2013

ITAR-TASS (the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia) is a state-owned outlet with close ties to the Kremlin. Last week they published the article below in response to the editorial written by American Senator John McCain, which was published on another pro-Kremlin outlet, Pravda.Ru.

The article is called “Public Opinion: Reply to McCain,” but as we see it is not a public opinion at all, but the collected comments from various government or political officials, carefully selected pundits, and a handful of bloggers and Twitter accounts.

In other words, it adds credence to the claim, made by McCain in his editorial, that the Russian media is actually controlled by the Kremlin, an argument that the chairman of the board of Pravda.Ru also ridiculed last week. – Ed.

DMITRY PESKOV, press secretary of the President of Russia: This is the point of view of a person who lives overseas. As for what Russians deserve, they themselves are capable of answering this question — and answer it themselves when there are elections. I don’t think that the perspective of anyone overseas, no matter who they are, plays some role given Russians’ expression of will.

DMITRY ROGOZIN, vice premier of the government of the Russian Federation: I read McCain’s statement. His head is filled with clichés. For the sake of admonition, he would prefer to bomb Russia, but he is forced to take into account its nuclear status and make do with a propaganda article.

ALEKSEI PUSHKOV, chairman of the State Duma Commitee on Foreign Affairs: Above all, McCain’s article does not contain an answer to Putin’s article published in The New York Times. And it is not even commentary. In my view, it is poorly-persuasive and poorly-inspired justification for an Orange Revolution. We have heard this from many Western politicians, journalists and public figures many times, and therefore I don’t think the article will receive a major international response — unlike the article by the president of Russia.

ANATOLY EL MURID, specialist on the Middle East: On the whole, even without a prejudicial view, McCain’s article does not appear to be significant. It is more likely intended for internal American consumption — the Senator is extremely concerned about his image as an uncompromising fighter, which he tries to maintain.

ALEKSANDR TSIPKO, chief scientific researcher of the Institute for Economics of the Russian Academy of Science, Ph.D. in philosophy: This says that the American elite, which claims the role of a decider of the world’s destinies and which really objectively does play an enormous role in the preservation of modern human civilization, does not have either the intellect or the mind or even the willpower to understand what modern post-Communist Russia is.

VITALY MILONOV, deputy of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg: With his article, which is openly superficial, McCain has exempted himself from the participants of dialogue for a long time to come.

LEONID POLYKAOV, head of the Department of General Political Science, Higher School of Economics, Scientific Research University: McCain presents himself as a pro-Russian politician, because he supposedly advocates the interests of the people against the government oppressing it. This is such a naive construction, and is so much from the propaganda arsenal of the Cold War, that it is even hard to explain why a Senator of the United States of America thinks on such a primitive level. Obviously he considers us to be complete fools and supposes that such cheap tricks can have some effect here.

VLADIMIR SOLOVYOV, television anchor: McCain’s article is a collection of clichés. Some of them are fair, some of them are unfair to Russia. In some places you have the feeling that the Senator thinks God left His testament to people in American documents. Because when he speaks about the Almighty and says what is written in the founding documents of the United States, there is a certain sense that the Senator doesn’t really understand that the documents related to the history of the United States were not written by God.

EDUARD LIMONOV, writer: Senator McCain on the elections for mayor of Moscow: “Democratic procedures are no less important than their result.” He is lecturing us. McCain is playing on Navalny’s team.

MAKSIM MISHCHENKO, leader of the All-Russian Movement Young Russia: McCain apparently did not realize how this idiom is translated into English, “Don’t stick your nose into other people’s business.”

VYACHELSAV KUKLIN, member of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs: McCain constantly lectures us on how to live, but can’t fix things in his own country at all. Really, do we have to put up with his nonsense?!

OLEG IGNATOV, political analyst: I wouldn’t bog down in McCain’s arguments, they are standard and well-known; American politicians regularly produce them. There’s nothing new here. But the gesture itself is interesting, especially in light of the fact that Obama did not write an article for our media. Unfortunately, a consensus has formed in the USA now regarding Russia’s position, and it is negative. But I don’t think that polemics with McCain will improve our relations, we have to go another route.

And it’s also important that in order to improve our relations, we don’t have to work only with the existing Administration, we need dialogue and a search for agreement with both parties, that’s important. Now, many Republicans are against the involvement of the USA in the Syrian conflict, and at the same time they understand that Obama has shown weakness in his Middle East policy. McCain is a hawk, he is a critic of Obama, and believes that he is betraying the position of the USA, but we must seek dialogue with those Republicans who are against the war.

ILYA BARINOV, blogger: It’s as if McCain is saying, “I love Russia! I love timber, fields, oil, gas, gold!”

OLEG SKATYONOK, blogger: Grandfather McCain, you had better come over here. If you want, be a minister, if you want, you can go around the squares with Limonov on the 31st, and in Bryansk you can put up cubes [references to protests for the right to assembly under Art. 31 of the Russian Constitution, held on the 31st of the month].

YEVGENY KOZLOV, blogger: I would like to know how Mr. @SenJohnMcCain manages not to draw to himself the attention of hospital attendants?

@liebenNadin, blogger: McCain is on hard drugs.

@nmuhammedov, blogger: With his article in Pravda, McCain has produced the effect of an unexploded bomb.