Controversial Russian Lawmaker on Board of ‘The National Interest’ Magazine

Alexey Pushkov joked about ‘American exceptionalism’ during Navy Yard shooting
Alexey Pushkov (right) with the secretary general of the Council of Europe Thorbjoern Jagland / AP

Alexey Pushkov (right) with the secretary general of the Council of Europe Thorbjoern Jagland / AP


Russian lawmaker Alexey Pushkov, who derided the Navy Yard shooting on Sept. 16 as an example of “American exceptionalism” on Twitter, is an advisory board member at the National Interest, a journal published by the Center for the National Interest.

“New shooting at the Navy headquarters in Washington — Lone shooter and 7 corpses. No one is surprised. American exceptionalism,” Pushkov wrote on Twitter the day of the shooting, according to a translation from the Huffington Post.

His comments about the Navy Yard shooting sparked outrage on Twitter, including a rebuke from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

“What is exceptional here? Why use a tragedy for a set of political points?” the embassy said on Twitter, according to the Huffington Post translation.

Pushkov has been involved in previous Twitter controversies, writing that President Barack Obama should have his Nobel Peace Prize revoked if he launches a military strike on Syria, and for saying Edward Snowden had taken asylum in Venezuela.

Pushkov, head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, last appeared in the pages of the National Interest on June 19, in an interview on Russia’s Syria policy with the magazine’s associate publisher Paul Saunders.

Pushkov said in the interview the evidence that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons in an April 2013 attack against the opposition was “fabricated in the same quarters as the data about Saddam Hussein possessing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched a large-scale chemical weapons attack on an opposition-controlled suburb of Damascus in August, killing an estimated 1,400.

The National Interest is published by the Center for the National Interest, formerly known as the Nixon Center. The magazine was founded by Irving Kristol in 1985 and has published influential essays including Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History.”

In recent years, the magazine has shifted sharply toward the foreign policy “realist” camp. Its advisory board also includes controversial academic John Mearsheimer, whose 2007 book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” was criticized by Jewish groups as anti-Semitic.

Prominent conservatives, including National Rifle Association president David Keene and Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist, have sat on the Center for the National Interest’s board.

In a statement to the Free Beacon, the NRA’s public affairs director Andrew Arulanandam said “America is exceptional because we have a Constitution that guarantees fundamental rights.”

The National Interest’s publisher Dimitri K. Simes did not return request for comment. An assistant who answered the phone said the publication was aware of Pushkov’s comments, before asking whether she was speaking to a reporter or a “justifiably concerned citizen.”

Alana Goodman   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Alana Goodman is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, she was assistant online editor at Commentary. She has written for the Weekly Standard, the New York Post and the Washington Examiner. Goodman graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2010, and lives in Washington, D.C. Her Twitter handle is @alanagoodman. Her email address is

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