But how did it get in the paper? BuzzFeed has the answer this morning, and it’s not that Putin simply dialed up the Times‘ editors to ask if he could have some space on the Opinion page.
A PR firm put it there. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirmed that the column came through Ketchum, a firm that has worked with the Russian government to place opinion pieces praising Putin-led policies in other publications.
No one at Ketchum responded to BuzzFeed‘s requests for comment.
According to a ProPublica report published in November 2012, Ketchum, which has a contract with the Russian government, has placed opinion columns by “seemingly independent professionals” in The Huffington Post and on CNBC’s website. The practice of PR firms placing opinion columns isn’t unusual, ProPublica points out. It’s just rarely discussed.