“I am not anti-Russian,” McCain wrote in the piece for Pravda.ru website. “I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today.” McCain last week said he intended to write an op-ed piece for Russian media after Putin had his own column published in The New York Times. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Russian News Service radio that the president would read the piece, but is unlikely to respond. “McCain is not known as a fan of Putin. To engage in polemics — I doubt it, his is the point of view of a person who lives across the ocean,” Peskov said. The website Pravda.Ru is not known as a serious news source and has nothing to do with the newspaper Pravda published by the Communist party, which was the country’s most important paper in the Soviet era but which has now fallen into obscurity. Some observers have said that the publishing company Pravda.ru is bankrolled by the Kremlin, as it also runs websites that are staunchly pro-Putin and full of stories smearing his opposition. McCain’s piece was sent to both Pravda publications, his office said. Putin in his widely quoted New York Times piece criticised Obama’s plan to bomb Russia’s ally Syria, demanded that Moscow’s plan to secure Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles be given time to work, and slammed Washington for “relying solely on brute force” to conduct its international affairs. In a blunt, often personal counter-punch that ran more than 800 words, McCain wrote that he bears no ill will toward the Russian people, only the country’s government which he says ignores humanity’s “inalienable rights” of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “President Putin and his associates do not believe in these values. They don’t respect your dignity or accept your authority over them,” wrote McCain, who was a staunch supporter of US President Barack Obama’s early plan for a military strike against Syria for that regime’s apparent use of chemical weapons. “They punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media.

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group Bloodhound Gang stuffed a Russian flag down his trousers. “The situation is a result of the scandals over the Madonna, Lady Gaga and Bloodhound Gang concerts, after which the Russian authorities changed procedures for issuing visas to foreign musical and artistic groups,” said the promoters, the Russian Entertainment Academy. Foreign artists can no longer receive visas by invitation from the Culture Ministry under the aegis of cultural links if they come to Russia to conduct commercial activity, according to state-run news agency RIA. It said the procedures were changed following complaints from Vitaly Milonov, a St. Petersburg legislator who criticized Madonna and Lady Gaga and has campaigned against gay rights. Performing in St. Petersburg last year in black lingerie with the words “No Fear” scrawled on her back, Madonna attacked a city law promoted by Milonov that imposed fines for spreading homosexual “propaganda”. Lada Gaga also denounced the law on stage in St Petersburg last year, declaring: “Tonight, this is my house Russia. You can be gay in my house.” A Russian state news agency quoted the head of PMI, which organized Madonna’s concert in St. Petersburg, as saying the new rules could be used by the Russian authorities to keep out performers not to their liking. “Not a single person is going to visit us if the Prosecutor General’s Office starts disputing something or looking for guilty parties,” Yevgeny Finkelshtein was quoted as saying last month.