Kremlin spokesman says NYT mistranslated his words
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has accused the New York Times of “mistranslating” a quote by him implying that Russian elections are rigged. While next year’s election will be democratic, Peskov suggested that President Vladimir Putin’s public support is so high that he will almost certainly win another term.
In a lengthy feature on the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on life in Russia, the New York Times quoted Peskov as saying “our presidential election is not really democracy, it is costly bureaucracy. Mr. Putin will be re-elected next year with more than 90 percent of the vote.”
The quote came amid a section of the story talking about how the ongoing military operation in Ukraine has consolidated support for Putin. According to Russia’s Levada polling center – an organization generally cited favorably by Western media – Putin has enjoyed an 80% approval rating through the entire conflict, except for immediately after he announced a partial mobilization last September.
Speaking to Russia’s ‘Podiom’ media on Sunday, Peskov said his words were “conveyed incorrectly.” While the New York Times’ version of the quote implies that the Russia does not hold democratic elections, Peskov actually said that, when Putin’s popularity and the “consolidation of society” due to the conflict are considered, “it can be said with confidence that if Putin is nominated, he will be re-elected with a huge advantage.”
“But elections are democratic, the president himself spoke about this,” he continued. “Although, on the other hand, they cost a lot of money, and it is clear in advance that Putin will be re-elected by a huge margin. This is what was discussed, and the published quote is, of course, a mistranslation.”
Peskov did not explicitly state whether he thought this “mistranslation” was intentional.
Peskov has previously condemned Western media for its one-sided coverage of the conflict. Speaking to reporters after a deadly Ukrainian missile strike on the Crimean Bridge last month, he declared that “the collective West is ready to turn a blind eye to any terrorist attacks that the Kiev regime organizes in our country.”
“This is not news. It was like this before and it will continue to be like this. We understand that perfectly well,” he added.