Destinations Magazine

Putin – Obama – Snowden

By Mendeleyeev

Russian social media can be interesting. Perhaps you recall last week the G8 Summit and the side meeting with Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama. They two refused to look at each other, averted eyes, stared at the ground, sat with their hands folded and spoke thru interpreters although Mr. Putin understands English. When finished, Mr. Obama put his hand on Mr. Putin’s shoulder as they were walking away, causing Mr. Putin to step up his pace to create more distance between himself and Mr. Obama.

Well photoshop can be a bitch fun for those who know how to do such magic. Sadly, I have neither the time or the skill but had to chuckle at this doctored photo from a Russian social media site.

Putin Obama G8 height=415

So what was the immediate reaction? All I need to do is show the first two comments:

Comment: The monkey on his back.

Comment:  By the looks of it I’d think the monkey is being ridden.

Before you think I’m the racist, keep in mind that I’m just the reporter and not associated with the message. This does show the deep rift between the two and as it is true that Vladimir Putin intensely dislikes Mr. Obama, always has and even the term detests him might be a mild description; it doesn’t help that Washington sends mixed signals which further angers Mr. Putin.

Washington just can’t seem to get a handle on how to manage a productive relationship with Moscow.  A prime example of that is the dredging up the old story of a Super Bowl ring, obviously timed to make Mr. Putin look bad after his refusal to go along with Washington’s plans for Syria. Especially when Robert Kraft had in Russia told the media that the ring was a gift and only upon reflection back home, and perhaps some nagging from his late wife, did he decide that the ring had been “stolen.” No matter what you think of the story, it is a very old story and an odd time to be hitting the news now. Thank you James Carville and Rahm Emanuel types for dipping into the sewer to pull that one out again.

Would you like to know the real story why Mr. Putin kept John Kerry waiting, for over three hours, before finally meeting with him? Let us be blunt because Mr. Putin’s 40 minute phone call with Israeli PM Netanyahu didn’t take 3 hours. That was a message directed squarely at Washington because Kerry’s visit included more mixed signals. Mr. Putin had ordered Red Square cleared of parade practices two days prior to the Victory Day parade, halting last minute work of parade coordinators. Mr. Putin gave the order so that Mr. Kerry could take his entourage to see Red Square.

So what kind of thank you did the USA show to Mr. Putin for making that happen? Kerry scheduled personal meetings with key opposition leaders for the next day. He also met with several NGO directors who had come under fire by the Kremlin. Mr. Putin was infuriated at the timing of the meetings which are something more usually handled by an Ambassador in most cases instead of a visiting Secretary of State on his first official visit to Russia.

Since the Putin government practically controls the media, when Mr. Putin wants to demonstrate his displeasure with Mr. Obama, within a short period of time that message can be delivered to the vast majority of Russians to whom 85 percent or more get their first and primary news coverage from television. Western media, especially American media is under the delusion that Russians don’t know about a young man named Edward Snowden.

Obviously the American media doesn’t pay much attention to Russian social media but perhaps they should. Were Edward Snowden to leave the airport and walk the streets of Moscow he’d have a prime choice of wedding proposals within the hour. Young Russian ladies love a daredevil and this one has attracted their attention.

So, what does the doctored photo above have to do with Edward Snowden? The State Department and many in the media are frantically frothing at the mouth over what kind of secrets might be revealed to the KGB. Obviously there are things they don’t want Russia to know. Obviously Vladimir Putin ordered Snowden be allowed on Aeroflot flight SU213 from Hong Kong to Moscow.

When was the last time you were allowed to board an international flight with a revoked passport and no visa?! To Russia, no less! Every flight I take to Moscow, no matter from where in the world, my passport is checked and I must have a valid destination visa. These things are checked at the gate and again during the boarding process. Twice before boarding is the standard operating procedure for flights headed for Russia.

So what is Snowden doing now? We don’t know and Russian media representatives have been escorted out of the transit area at the airport.  One thing is certain: for many in various parts of the world this is a very welcome embarrassment to the Obama administration.

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