Cold War past shapes complex Merkel-Putin relationship | Reuters
Apr 24, Merkel Has Disastrously Bungled Her Relationship With Trump The wax figures of U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are pictured greater threat to world peace than Russian President Vladimir Putin. eight years of George W. Bush) followed by soaring highs (Hope!. Apr 4, George W. Bush's Story About Vladimir Putin's Dog Explains So Much named Koni, from a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel: AP Putin to dismiss his way of looking at the U.S.-Russia relationship as a. Dec 1, Acting agency chiefs and those with deep business ties complicate governing, Pompeo 'hopeful' for consular access to detained American in Russia . Angela Merkel: Without George H.W. Bush, I wouldn't be here. German.
The meeting, originally scheduled for Moscow, was moved to Bocharov Ruchei, Putin's personal summer residence in Sochi. The warm temperatures and clear skies immediately made the summit more informal and cozy. Merkel and Putin both looked relaxed, exchanging jokes, and speaking in a mixture of German and Russian.
Speaking The Language The two leaders, of course, are unusually well-suited to communicate. Putin speaks fluent German, and Merkel speaks good Russian as well. As a student in communist East Germany, the chancellor once won a contest for superior knowledge of the Russian language, and was awarded with a two-week tour of the Soviet Union. Merkel had ample opportunity to demonstrate her Russian skills during the Sochi summit -- often with Putin's encouragement. Asked by a Russian journalist how she liked the Black Sea setting, Merkel was instructed by Putin -- using the informal "ty" form -- to answer in Russian.
The chancellor dutifully obliged. Later, when Koni, Putin's black Labrador, made her domineering entrance, Merkel nervously, or perhaps wishfully, commented in Russian, "Now the dog is going to eat the journalists.
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The Gazprom-controlled "Izvestia" newspaper enthusiastically endorsed the cordial, if not expressly amicable, atmosphere of the Sochi meeting, saying relations between Putin and Merkel are beginning to be reminiscent of Putin's warm relations with Schroeder.
Koni makes her entrance epa Not everyone was as awestruck, however. Kremlin critic and journalist Yulia Latynina, writing for "Yezhednevny zhurnal," said the "friendly meeting in Sochi between Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and Labrador Koni" left her bewildered.
Following Germany's refusal last autumn to join in exploitation projects on Russia's Shtokman gas field, and Russia's eviction of foreign majority control of the Sakhalin-2 project -- not to mention the recent Minsk-Moscow dispute and subsequent oil cutoff -- the mood was impossible to comprehend, Latynina wrote.
Latynina went on to speculate that the friendly atmosphere was standard for Putin, who often disarms his counterparts with an unexpected dose of charm. Putin, in fact, has boasted in the past that his KGB background has made him a "specialist of interpersonal relations.
The Thick Of Things If Merkel is interested in enjoying good communication with Putin, it is less likely due to his personal allure and more Germany's current role at the center of the European political scene.
Germany currently heads both the European Union and the Group of Eight G8 club of major industrialized nations. It also remains the one great European power with relatively stable political leadership. It's an opportunity that Berlin hopes to use to consolidate its dominant position within the European alliance and to harmonize different factions within the body.
But despite different outlooks, Merkel and Putin, born less than two years apart, speak each other's language - literally and figuratively.
Merkel, a fan of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, won a trip to Moscow as a teenager for her mastery of the Russian language. Putin's favourite subject in school was German, which he perfected during his half decade as a KGB officer in Dresden, later sending his daughters to the German school in Moscow.
On Merkel's first trip to Moscow as chancellor, the two leaders conversed in their native tongues with translators present, but found themselves interjecting repeatedly to correct the interpreters.
Aides say their conversations follow the same pattern to this day.
He's never had a good relationship with Obama. The conversations have not been easy, according to German sources. Putin speaks a lot, sometimes endlessly. At times emotional and angry, he tries to bully with a mix of genuine and calculated outrage.
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The reserved Merkel waits patiently for the right time to make her points. In his biography of Merkel, Stefan Kornelius likened them to an old married couple who know all of each other's tricks and can anticipate what they are going to say next. Merkel has described her conversations with Putin as challenging tests for her own arguments. She feels that she cannot afford to show any weakness.
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In a conversation with the White House on Sunday that followed a chat with Putin, she reportedly told Obama that the Russian leader appeared to be "in another world", out of touch with reality.
In public, Merkel took care not to criticise Putin too loudly in the first weeks of the Ukraine crisis, fearing it would backfire and make the Russian leader harden his positions. That changed last weekend when an unusually tough statement from her office said she had accused Putin in a phone call of breaching international law with his "unacceptable intervention" in Crimea.
On Thursday in Brussels, she said the EU would follow the United States in introducing visa bans and asset freezes unless Putin moved quickly towards a negotiated settlement on Ukraine.German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at Bush's Texas ranch