Freelance opinion pieces contributed to the New York Times are of course compensated by the Times. So how much was Russia President Vladimir Putin paid for his new op-ed in the publication?
Nothing, according to the Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan, who explained the back story behind the op-ed in a blog post:
The Times editorial department was approached Wednesday by an American public relations firm that represents Mr. Putin, offering the piece. Also on Wednesday, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, in the course of an interview about Syria, mentioned to The Times’s Moscow bureau chief Steven Myers that an article was in the works.
[Editorial page Editor Andrew] Rosenthal agreed to review the article and quickly decided to publish it. It was posted on the Times Web site by Wednesday evening.
“I thought it was well-written, well-argued,” he said. “I don’t agree with many of the points in it, but that is irrelevant.”