Last weekend, John McCain made it clear he intended to write a counterpoint to Vladimir Putin's viral NYT column, and that he wanted that piece published by Pravda.
The internet teased McCain because of his outdated worldview (let's face it: his worldview is an easy target), but the truth is that McCain really had no idea who he was writing his column for.
Before exploring the dichotomy of dueling Pravda's, we ought to explore McCain's column, which boldly claims that he is "pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today." Besides the typical chest-thumping of American values ("I make that claim because I believe the Russian people, no less than Americans, are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"), McCain attacks Putin for his human rights record, a lackluster social justice agenda with regard to gay rights, and journalistic suppression.
Near the end of his column, McCain boldly states that Russia's international status has been strengthened only by alliance with "offensive and threatening tyrannies" and that Putin has turned Russia against "nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world."
CNN notes a tinge of hypocrisy emanating from McCain's piece regarding Russia's anti-gay legislation, since McCain vehemently opposes same-sex marriage in the United States.
John McCain was hoping from the moment he read Putin's op-ed that he would be writing for this Pravda, the one that represented the propagandized voice of the only party in Soviet Russia. That newspaper was closed with the Iron Curtain, and when Pravda was reopened in 1997 as the official paper of the Russian Communist party, its circulation was markedly lower than the Soviet days. Pravda.ru, which published his column, has existed since 1999 as an electronic news website. McCain, not knowing which Pravda was the official successor, submitted the op-ed to both. Only Pravda.ru would publish the column.
McCain had hoped that one Pravda or the other would have a viewership similar to that of the Soviet-era Pravda. Unfortunately for McCain, much like the American media, the Russian media has a brand new face for a brave new world.
If you want to read a column from the chairman of Pravda.ru explaining the succession of the Pravda name, check it out here.
If you want to check out McCain's column, you can read it in English for yourself here.[Image via Pravda.ru]