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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lavrov Pulls Essay After Censorship Complaint

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has yanked an essay he wrote for a leading U.S. academic journal over the phrase "Cold War" and what the ministry described as "censorship."

Lavrov withdrew an essay he wrote for the influential journal Foreign Affairs because the editors "subjected the article to heavy corrections, if not to say censorship," the ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The journal's editor, however, called the assertions "utterly erroneous."

The ministry said the subtitles editors proposed -- "Averting a New Cold War" or "Averting Conflict Between Russia and America" -- would have run counter to the heart of Lavrov's article.

In the essay, Lavrov warns of attempts to roll back Moscow's global influence and goes to great lengths to explain that Russia is an open country that "does not erect walls." In the statement, the ministry included a link to the original 2,440-word text with the title "Containing Russia: Back to the Future."

It was intended to be a response to an essay by pro-Western Ukrainian politician and Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Her essay, titled "Containing Russia," accused the Kremlin of returning to Soviet expansionism and called on the United States and Europe to counter with a strong response -- one that keeps Russia in check without sparking a new Cold War.

Tymoshenko's article appeared in the May-June edition of Foreign Affairs.

The Foreign Ministry said Lavrov's submitted his piece in May. It was to appear in the September-October edition.

The ministry indirectly charged that Foreign Affairs' editing would have unnecessarily aggravated U.S.-Russian relations by distorting Lavrov's text.

"By shortening his essay by 40 percent, key elements of its original message were lost," the statement read, adding that some editorial changes would have forced Lavrov "to more or less underwrite foreign policy approaches of the U.S. government that would be totally unacceptable to us."

In a statement Thursday, Foreign Affairs editor James Hoge called the ministry's assertions "utterly erroneous" and "unfortunate."

He also denied that the journal's editors tried "in any way" to change the political content of Lavrov's essay.

He said the edited draft was sent back to the Foreign Ministry, and that all subsequent changes by the author were "incorporated into the final draft."

Furthermore, Hoge said, the journal "did not dictate what the subtitles should be." The journal, rather, suggested several subtitles and "made clear that the wording should be the minister's choice," he said.