Senator John McCain (image credit Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
Just over a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin objected to the idea of "American exceptionalism" in a New York Times opinion piece over Syria and other issues, Sen. John McCain has penned a retort in Russia's Pravda newspaper, saying the Russian people deserve a better leader than the one they have.
"President Putin claims his purpose is to restore Russia to greatness at home and among the nations of the world. But by what measure has he restored your greatness?" McCain writes in the commentary, published Thursday on Pravda's English-language website.
PRAVDA STORY: McCain: Russians deserve better than Putin
"He has made her (Russia) a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world," McCain says.
McCain directly addresses the Russian people in his commentary, saying: "I believe in your capacity for self-government and your desire for justice and opportunity. I believe in the greatness of the Russian people, who suffered enormously and fought bravely against terrible adversity to save your nation. I believe in your right to make a civilization worthy of your dreams and sacrifices. When I criticize your government, it is not because I am anti-Russian."
Putin, too, appealed directly to the public in his opinion piece, published on Sept. 11, urging the U.S. to show caution over recent events in Syria.