Daniel W. Drezner

There’s something about Putin

The last time I was in Europe, reliable sources told me an interesting tale. Angela Merkel apparently has a fear of dogs. Vladimir Putin is aware of this fact. Therefore, whenever Putin meets with Merkel in Moscow, he makes sure his pet dogs are in the room. [UPDATE: Foreign Policy‘s Blake Hounshell confirms this tale.] ...

The last time I was in Europe, reliable sources told me an interesting tale. Angela Merkel apparently has a fear of dogs. Vladimir Putin is aware of this fact. Therefore, whenever Putin meets with Merkel in Moscow, he makes sure his pet dogs are in the room. [UPDATE: Foreign Policy‘s Blake Hounshell confirms this tale.] Sound absurd? Consider that Putin has had some odd moments in his personal interactions with Westerners. There was the day he walked away with the Super Bowl ring, and of course the “I was able to get a sense of his soul” moment with George W. Bush. All of this pales, however, before Putin’s effect on new French President Nikolas Sarkozy. After a lunch with Putin, Sarkozy gave a press conference. The opening of it can be seen here:

For non-French speakers, here’s the gist of it:

reporter: I would like to show you the beginning of the press conference held by french president Nicolas Sarkozy at the end of the summit. He just had lunch with the russian president Vladimir Putin and it seems that he had more to drink than water. Sarkozy: Ladies ad Gentlemen, I apologize for my lateness, dued to the length (smiles) of the dialogue I just had with Mr Putin (smiles again)(pause). How do you want to procced, do I answer your questions? So have you got any question? (smiles). Go ahead. Yes, yes. Well, um.

Still, give Sarkozy credit — at least the man did not lose his watch.

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