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Vladimir Putin: Unpaid Journalist

Everyone is talking about Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in The New York Timesso we’re glad that the paper has disclosed how it went down. According to Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ public editor, it wasn’t exactly the most exciting collection of events:

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.

Huh. For a guy that drives Formula One cars, dives for archeological treasures, takes Judo classes and more, this is pretty boring stuff. In fact, the most notable item about how Putin ended up in the Times was that he won’t be paid. We like to imagine the Andrew Rosenthal, the Times’ op-ed editor, sent Putin’s team an email promising Putin exposure via a byline, but no payment.

Poor Putin. Maybe he could start a blog?

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