Russian official: D.C. shooting defines ‘American exceptionalism’

Updated
Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, attends a news conference in Moscow, March 27, 2012.
Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, attends a news conference in Moscow, March 27, 2012.
Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

In response to the fatal mass shooting in Washington D.C. Monday, Russian official Alexey Pushkov tweeted that the carnage was an example “American exceptionalism.”

Новая стрельба у штаба ВМС в Вашингтоне - одинокий стрелок и 7 трупов. Никто уже не удивлен. Наглядное подтверждение “амер.исключительности”

— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) September 16, 2013

The tweet, translated by NBC News from Russian, reads: “The new shooting at the HQ of US Navy - is a lone shooter and seven bodies. No one is surprised any more. Demonstrative proof of “americ. exceptionalism.”

Pushkov, a member of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, continued his series of tweets on the D.C. shooting in English:

The USA should part with the notion of American exceptionalism. It contradicts the principles of equal rights and smells of political racism

— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) September 16, 2013

By mentioning this notion of American exceptionalism, Pushkov is citing both President Obama’s national address on Syria last Tuesday, and Vladimir Putin’s op-ed response in The New York Times.

“America is not the world’s policeman,” Obama said in his address. “Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong, but when with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.”

“I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional,’ wrote Putin in The New York Times Wednesday. ”It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

The U.S. embassy rebuked Pushkov in kind, tweeting in Russian (from a Huffington Post translation): ”What is exceptional here? Why use a tragedy for a set of political points?”

Pushkov is no stranger to Twitter controversy. In July, he preempted the Russian government by tweeting that Edward Snowden had decided to accept Venezuela’s offer of asylum. Pushkov promptly deleted the tweet, but the Washington Post managed to get a screenshot before he did. In August, Pushkov tweeted that Obama should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize if the U.S. stuck Syria without UN approval.

Responding to negative reaction about his comments on the Washington naval yard shooting, Pushkov tweeted:

За предложение США отказаться от концепции исключительностью амер. “демократически” мыслящие амер-цы осыпали меня ругательствами. Почитайте.

— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) September 16, 2013

Translated, his tweet reads: “Thoughtful Americans have showered down abuses at me for suggesting that the USA abandons its concept of American exceptionalist ‘democracy.’ Read about it.”

Officials said suspected gunman Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas, opened fire at D.C.’s Navy Yard, killing 12 people.

Translations provided by NBC News’ Albina Kovalyova.

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Russian official: D.C. shooting defines 'American exceptionalism'

Updated