Sen. Chuck Schumer on Monday said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “schoolyard bully” who is trying to reclaim the former Soviet Union’s status as a major superpower on the world stage.
“And the only way you deal with bullies is stand up to them,” the New York Democrat told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Mr. Schumer was responding to recent bouts of friction between the United States and Russia, including the latter’s decision to grant temporary refuge to Edward Snowden, the former security analyst who leaked information about top-secret snooping programs before fleeing American soil.
President Obama and advocates around the world have condemned a new, anti-gay Russian law that restricts “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships,” casting a dark cloud over the hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Mr. Schumer said Americans need to push back against Mr. Putin — Mr. Obama recently cancelled a planned meeting with the Russian leader — but he did not call for a boycott of the Olympics or other drastic measures.
“The president’s doing his job by trying to keep the person to person relationship OK,” he told MSNBC.
Mr. Schumer described Mr. Putin as an “old KGB guy” who yearns for the glory days of old.
“He resents that Russia is no longer the major power in the world that it used to be … and he’s trying to build it back,” he said.