vladimir putin

Russia’s diplomatic intervention in the Syria crisis has received much praise from politicians and media outlets around the world. In a sense, the praise is deserved: by finally pushing the Assad regime into negotiations, Russia has halted – at least for the time being – a universally undesired military action.

Following an op-ed in "The New York Times" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Senator John McCain promised to write a response for the Russian website Pravda.ru. It was published on September 19. McCain is a controversial figure in Russia for his combative stance against Putin. And Russian social-media users met his piece with applause, scorn, and ambivalence. Some notable reactions below.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee, criticised Mr Putin and his associates for rigging elections, imprisoning and murdering opponents, fostering corruption and "destroying" Russia's reputation on the world stage.

All this excitement over recent Russian public diplomacy on Syria is a bit odd to those of us who have been following that diplomacy strategy for over a decade. That Vladimir Putin chose to write an op-ed in The New York Times this week is not at all shocking. It is part of a broader pattern of Russian outreach that began in 2001.

Putin is known for the love of strong language and a questionable, if not inappropriate, sense of humor. This has not changed over his nearly 15 years in power. Russia’s head of state ascended to the presidency in 1999-2000 famously promising to “waste terrorists in the out house, ” and most recently dismissed Assad’s chemical attack claims as “utter nonsense,” raising some eyebrows in the West.

Finding that his strategy of shirtless horseback diplomacy was proving ineffective, Russian President Vladimir Putin instead decided to appeal to the American people directly—with words—in our biggest newspaper today. It’s a nice article—refreshingly not-strongman-ish, pleasantly nostalgic. (Remember that time we beat the Nazis together? Putin does.)

The New York Times op-ed that has much of the country — including Washington — abuzz on Thursday was placed there by Ketchum, a public-relations giant with a long history of dealings with the Russian government. A spokeswoman for Ketchum confirmed a report from BuzzFeed's Rosie Gray that the firm submitted Russian President Vladimir Putin's piece to the Times, and that Putin himself wrote the op-ed.

September 12, 2013

Today, Vladimir Putin wrote an op-ed about Syria in the New York Times. The piece was placed by the public-relations giant Ketchum, Buzzfeed reported. On Nov. 16, 2012, we explored how Ketchum placed pro-Russia op-eds in American publications by businesspeople and others without disclosing the role of the Russian government. Ketchum's latest public filing says it was paid $1.9 million by Russia for the six-month period ending May 31, 2013. It received another $3.7 million for its work for Russian energy giant Gazprom over the same period. Here is our original report.