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Kremlin spokesman: Putin did not want to offend anyone by op-ed in New York Times

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – BISHKEK, September 13, 2013) The Russian presidential spokesman is perplexed by comments from White House officials about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in The New York Times.

“We heard a statement by a White House press secretary this morning by Moscow time. I would like to note in this regard that, when Putin was writing this article and when Russia was preparing its publication, no one actually was going to enter into a confrontation with anyone, not to mention offend anyone,” Peskov told journalists in Bishkek on Friday.

“Putin never lectures anyone in international affairs. He just doesn’t have this habit,” he said.

“Our American friends have gotten quite accustomed to backslapping everyone a patronizing way in the past several decades,” Peskov said. “This is what has often formed attitudes toward the U.S. in the world,” he said.

“The president’s article deals with international relations. Any country seeing itself as democratic projects all domestic processes onto international relations this or that way. And, certainly, we expect this from everyone,” he said.

“We still find it hard to understand why our partners and counterparts in the White House administration still insist on their exceptionalism,” Peskov said.

“Democratic existence in itself implies the existence in a competitive environment. There is the impression sometimes that our partners have grown disaccustomed to this,” he said.

The New York Times published Putin’s op-ed on the situation in Syria in its Wednesday issue. Putin said in the article that he considers U.S. President Barack Obama’s words on what makes the U.S. nation exceptional dangerous.

“I carefully studied (Obama’s) address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional’. It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin said in the article.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said earlier to journalists in commenting on Putin’s article, “As for the editorial, we’re not surprised by President Putin’s words. But the fact is that Russia offers a stark contrast that demonstrates why America is exceptional. Unlike Russia, the United States stands up for democratic values and human rights in our own country and around the world. And we believe that our global security is advanced when children cannot be gassed to death by a dictator.”

Carney said also that the United States disagrees that the Syrian insurgents may be responsible for the chemical weapons attack. “Russia is isolated and alone in blaming the opposition for the chemical weapons attack on August 21st. There is no credible reporting – and we have seen credible reporting – that the opposition has used chemical weapons in Syria. And we have been joined by now 34 countries in declaring that the Assad regime is responsible for the use of chemical weapons on that night.”

“President Putin has invested his credibility in transferring Assad’s chemical weapons to international control and ultimately destroying them. This is significant. Russia is Assad’s patron and protector, and the world will note whether Russia can follow through on the commitments that it’s made,” Carney said.

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