The New York Times has received "plenty of criticism" for running today's op-ed piece by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, according to its public editor Margaret Sullivan

putinPutin knocked President Obama’s desire to hit Syria for its use of chemical weapons and chided the U.S. commander-in-chief’s Sept. 10 characterization of American "exceptionalism."

The NYT should receive kudos, rather than brickbats. In publishing Putin’s piece, the paper stood tall in promoting the free flow of ideas that are the hallmark of freedom of speech.

Putin's piece has triggered a lively debate, attracting more than 2,900 comments on the Times' website. It’s the day’s No. 1 emailed article. That's what happens in a robust democracy.

The press freedom here stands in stark contrast to the state of affairs in Putin's homeland. Some argue that President Obama wouldn’t get a chance to publish his views in the Moscow press.

That's Russia’s loss. Millions of Americans wouldn't want to live in such a restrictive environment. Would you?

The Times says it usually doesn’t publish op-eds from heads of state, but editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal found Putin's op-ed "fascinating and detailed."

Some critics are upset that the Times gave some valuable editorial real estate to Putin, who has adopted a downright ornery stance to the U.S.

In the op-ed, Putin acknowledged the up and down relationship between the U.S. and Russia relations, writing that the former allies against Nazism "stood against each other during the cold war."

His key point: there is "insufficient communications" between the two societies. That's a dangerous state of affairs for the world’s sole superpowers.

The Times gave Putin a platform to speak directly to the American people.

Perhaps, Team Obama will respond to Putin’s criticisms in tomorrow's edition of the Old Gray Lady.