No direct debate over Putin’s authoritarian path
Dressed casually in open-necked shirts, the two presidents hugged in front of the cameras, and Bush admired Putin’s 1972 Zaporozhets, a cheap, sturdy Soviet-era subcompact that was the first car he owned. “Solid friendship,” a smiling Bush called out to reporters asking about their relationship before the two couples disappeared into a cottage on the grounds of a presidential palace outside this former imperial capital. Bush no longer views Putin as warmly as he did in 2001, when they first met and Bush said he had got a sense of Putin’s soul. But after Bratislava, aides said, Bush concluded that challenging Putin directly only backfires, so he has taken a gentler approach and plans no direct debate over Putin’s authoritarian path when the two stage a joint news conference Saturday.
Russia Cracks Down on Anti-Globalists Ahead of G8
Activists Harrassed, Beaten, Detained and Placed in Free-Speech Stadium
Activists are quietly angry at the extremely tight leash Russian authorities have put on them. The only authorized site for protests is a deteriorating stadium at the hardest-to-reach tip of one of the city’s islands. Not only is it far from the summit site, some 20 kilometers (12 miles), it’s a long distance from everything else, too — the nearest public transit stop is a three-kilometer (two-mile) hike through a park. The detentions, harassment and beatings of activists heading for St. Petersburg “cannot be called otherwise than state extremism,” Lev Ponomarev, director of the prominent Russian watchdog group For Human Rights, said in a statement Thursday.
Rights Group Criticizes Russia for Silencing Critics
The U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch called on Russia Thursday to stop trying to silence critics, and urged the other members of the Group of Eight leading nations to press President Vladimir Putin to better respect human rights, AP reports.
President Warming Up To Russia
Last week, Mr. Bush said he likes Putin very much and Putin called the American president “a decent and honest person.” It’s positive spin on a relationship that may or may not yield results. When Presidents Bush and Vladimir Putin meet they’re likely to be all smiles — despite the serious issues on the table. Like how to disarm Iran and North Korea. Or get Russia into the World Trade Organization. Or provide America with more Russian oil.
Russia’s New World Order
Russia awash in oil money and emboldened by it
Buoyed by expensive energy and a booming economy, the Kremlin is once again flexing its muscles abroad — but very carefully
Putin-Bush meeting may mend rift in relations
A leading Russian expert on North America said Wednesday that a U.S.-Russian presidential meeting due later this week could help the two countries overcome their differences on issues such as Iran and North Korea.
Sergei Rogov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ U.S. and Canada Institute, said that during their bilateral meeting in St. Petersburg on the eve of this weekend’s Group of Eight summit, Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush would likely seek rapprochement on Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as well as on START, a U.S.-Russian strategic arms reductions treaty.
Putin says using secret services abroad for anti-terror legal
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that using special services overseas to combat terrorism was not a breach of international law. “I see no violations here. Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, states can individually or jointly rebuff an aggression. It does not say that this aggression should come from one state against the other,” Putin said during a Web cast. Putin said he hoped the Russian parliament’s upper chamber would endorse a draft law Friday giving the country’s president the right to use the armed forces and secret services abroad to fight international terrorism.
Russia lower house passes bill authorizing anti-terror action abroad
The Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament, overwhelmingly passed a draft law Wednesday that would give Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, English version] the right to use Russia’s armed forces and secret services abroad for counterterrorism measures. Putin asked parliament for greater counterterrorism powers last week after five Russian diplomats were abducted and murdered [BBC report] in Iraq, prompting him to order special forces to find those responsible [Itar-Tass report] and offer a $10 million reward for information leading to their capture.
In this file image taken from Russian State Television Channel on June 28, 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifts the shirt of a young boy called Nikita and kisses his stomach in the Kremlin in Moscow. On Thursday July 6, 2006 Putin answered what was for many observers a burning question: What compelled him to kiss the bare stomach of a young boy in a Kremlin courtyard? The question was one of the most popular among the thousands e-mailed in for the Web chat, hosted by the British Broadcasting Corp. and Russian search engine Yandex.ru. (AP Photo/RTR-Russian Television Channel)
The kissing incident
Putin says kissing boy’s stomach was like stroking a cat
Russians finally got an answer to the question thousands of people wanted to ask President Vladimir Putin – why did he kiss a small boy on the stomach? During a live webcast today Mr Putin explained that the incident in the Kremlin on June 28, when he encountered the boy, called Nikita, lifted his shirt and kissed his stomach, was a spontaneous gesture similar to stroking a cat.
Vladimir Putin defends kissing boy’s belly
Perhaps it is a “Russian” thing, and we just aren’t aware of this peculiar custom, but the Western world’s collective head swiveled in shock when reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his recent controversial kissing of a boy on the stomach as just “a spontaneous gesture of affection.”
Putin wanted to touch boy ‘like a kitten’
Vladimir Putin’s decision to stop a small boy as he walked through the Kremlin and kiss his stomach was prompted by a desire to “touch him like a kitten”, the Russian president said on Thursday. The five-year-old boy, identified as Nikita Konkin by the press, was clearly stunned by the kiss and speculation over Putin’s motivation has run wild in the week since it happened.
Putin weighs in on robots, sex, and Cthulhu
Vladimir Putin took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the issues the Russian people really care about–robots, sex, and Cthulhu. Putin doesn’t remember the first time he had sex, he believes that robots will defend Russia’s borders, and he encourages kids to steer clear of Cthulhu…
Russia may use “gigantic robots” to defend its borders.
“Yes, we will use the latest technical devices. Already now they are being stationed, for example, in the southern parts of our country,” Putin said when reporters asked him after the conference whether Russia planned to use “gigantic, humanoid war robots” to defend itself. Asked to elaborate about what he meant, Putin said: “These are unmanned aerial vehicles. And maybe the time will come for gigantic robots.