How the New York Times landed Putin’s op-ed

BY newsdesk  September 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM EST

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

The New York Times made news of its own today when it published an op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The piece called for American caution when considering a strike against Syria and said military action could “throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

Shortly after the story hit newsstands, some raised questions about how the Times got the opportunity to publish it. Earlier today, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan explained the process.

> “The Times editorial department was approached Wednesday by an American public relations firm that represents Mr. Putin, offering the piece. Also on Wednesday, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, in the course of an interview about Syria, mentioned to The Times’s Moscow bureau chief Steven Lee Myers that an article was in the works.

[Editorial Page Editor Andrew] Rosenthal agreed to review the article and quickly decided to publish it. It was posted on the Times Web site by Wednesday evening.”

Putin’s op-ed made us wonder which other heads of state have penned op-eds in major American newspapers.

Well, in 1999, then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, then-French President Jacques Chirac, and then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder co-wrote an op-ed in the Times, urging the U.S. to ratify a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear weapons. In May 2010, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about “the hard work ahead” in his country. In 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, the chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization, made his case for a “long overdue Palestinian state” in a New York Times op-ed.

H/T Sam Lane