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Letter from Vladimir Putin


Claim:   Text reproduces an open letter to Americans from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

INCORRECT ATTRIBUTION

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, August 2013]

A letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the American people has been circulating around the internet for the past couple of days. In the letter, Putin re-introduces Americans to some unpleasant facts about history and life they’d rather forget, such as Nixon’s reasoning behind massive carpet bombing of millions or North Vietnamese for the purpose of 'looking good' while exiting the war, and how Pakistan has been using the U.S. as a 'false ally' to gain foreign aid, while using the funds to embolden the Taliban in Afghanistan. He calls out Barrack Hussein Obama for having the audacity to meet with gay rights activists while he is in Russia next week, a group Putin despises, while refusing to carve away time to meet with him and solve the Syria issue. He compares the action to the equivalent of him (Putin) coming to the U.S. and meeting with Obama’s domestic enemy, the N.R.A.
 

How do I put this politely? You Americans are dumb. Today, Russia and America are fighting each other over fighting the Muslim radicals. Instead, we should be uniting to crush these violent Islamists, once and for all.

You Americans want to remove my ally, the Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. To borrow a phrase from your John F. Kennedy, Assad may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s my son-of-a-bitch.

So if you want to destroy him, what are you going to give me in return? If your answer is, "We will give you nothing," well, why would I ever agree to that? That's not negotiation, that's dictation; it's a return to the bad Yeltsin days, when Holy Mother Russia was pushed into the mud like a used whore.


[Remainder of the letter can be viewed here.]
 

Origins:   This "open letter" from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Americans, putatively expressing that politician's viewpoints on U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war and other international matters, was published on breitbart.com on 3 September 2013 under the
title "LET’S JOIN ONE ANOTHER TO CRUSH THE UNHOLY, UNRULY, JIHADI MUSLIMS" and attributed to Vladimir Putin. Many readers who encountered this item on that site (and elsewhere) mistook its attribution and first person tone as an indication that the piece was actually written by President Putin himself.

Even though this item may have been cast in the first person and mockingly bylined as something penned by "Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," it's not an actual open letter to Americans written by the Russian president. It's a political opinion piece that uses a "literary ventriloquism" device through which an author expresses his viewpoint by putting his words into someone else's mouth — highlighting what the writer wants the audience to understand by presenting the author's words as another person's, as if the audience were "inside the mind of" that other person.

Coincidentally, nine days later the New York Times published a (much more temperate) op-ed piece about U.S. military intervention in Syria which was also bylined with Vladimir Putin's name. According to the UK's Guardian newspaper, the editorial had been offered to the Times by the public relations firm Ketchum (which works on behalf of Russian interests), and the idea for the article and its basic content did indeed come from President Putin, with some of his assistants crafting the final text.

Last updated:   12 September 2013

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