What are Putin's strangest phrases
Biden and Putin - irreconcilable opposites?
Last Friday, President Joe Biden spoke on the phone to Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky for the first time. According to a Kiev announcement, Biden has emphasized his country's unwavering support for an independent Ukraine. Joint maneuvering exercises in Ukraine were also considered, in which around a thousand soldiers from at least five NATO countries are to be involved. The Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that this would prompt Russia to take appropriate military countermeasures on its side. "Russia is not threatening anyone and has never threatened anyone," he added. A strange claim related to Ukraine, from which Russia annexed Crimea seven years ago. In addition, Moscow supports separatist forces in eastern Ukraine that would have collapsed long ago without this military help.
From a geopolitical point of view, Ukraine is perhaps the most weighty issue of dissent between Washington and the Putin regime. The Kremlin chief has basically never accepted the political independence of the former Soviet republic and tsarist province, despite previous contractual assurances. And Biden, who as Vice President had a lot to do with this country, seems - unlike his predecessor Trump, who was not interested - to have understood well that Russia cannot play a dominant role in Europe without the sprawling Ukraine as an appendage.
Apart from his demonstrative advocacy of Ukrainian interests, Biden had already clouded his personal relationship with Putin with a highly controversial statement. When a journalist asked a journalist on American television whether he thought Putin was a killer, he quickly answered yes. That was a highly undiplomatic and probably ill-considered answer. Quite a few contemporaries inside and outside Russia may be convinced that Russian secret service operations with deadly effects can hardly be carried out without the placet of the ruler in the Kremlin. But it does not help to defuse specific problems if incumbent statesmen publicly denounce themselves as criminals without solid evidence. Because when considering soberly, the statesman must also be aware that, in the interests of his own country, he will not be able to avoid negotiations and compromises, even with unscrupulous potentates. Churchill and Roosevelt cooperated with Stalin without any illusions about the character of his regime.
Meanwhile, rhetorical provocations do not have to irretrievably obstruct the path to subsequent political agreements. One should remember, for example, the upset that the then Federal Chancellor Kohl had set off in the mid-1980s when he connected the first signs of relaxation from the new Kremlin chief Gorbatschow to the propaganda methods of Josef Goebbels. At the time, nobody could have foreseen that Kohl and Gorbachev would soon develop an extremely constructive partnership that made a decisive contribution to the dissolution of the Soviet empire and the reunification of Germany.
Whether Biden and Putin will ever achieve a similarly relaxed relationship and an equally important understanding seems rather unlikely from today's perspective. But even in this case, the truth that history has repeatedly confirmed applies: the future cannot be foreseen.
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