Vladimir Putin wrote the "basic content" of an op-ed warning against US military intervention in Syria that appeared under his name in the New York Times, although his assistants then fleshed out the text, the Russian president's spokesman has told the Guardian.Personally I have found the arguments over whether Putin wrote the op-ed appearing in the NYT under his byline to be more than a bit irrelevant. The contention seems to be that questions about the validity of the content would somehow be resolved by the determination of authorship.
The article was offered to the Times on Wednesday by the public relations firm Ketchum, which works on behalf of Russian interests in the US and elsewhere. The paper said it required "little editing" and was published soon after it was received.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the article was all Putin's idea. "The basic content was written by [Putin], then his assistants worked out the text," Peskov said.
I am not sure how much competency Putin has in the English language. There is little doubt that he would require the services of an English translator in putting together a finished copy. Political leaders routinely rely on speech writers to polish their statements to a greater or lesser degree.
The piece raises some important issues about international relations and international law. There has clearly been a back and forth series of debates and negotiation going on between Putin and Obama. What we the public get to see are the staged public events. There are reports that the US and Russia have been having discussions about a plan the secure Syria's chemical weapons for sometime. This did not spring full born on Monday morning.