September 5, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
Elena Egorova, MK – translated by J. Arnoldski
Vladimir Putin can feel avenged. At the G20 summit in China, he attained everything that he was denied two years ago following the events in Crimea, and was paid special attention and respect by other leaders. The special attitude towards the Russian president was evident even during the concert program in which the only foreign melody played in addition to national ones was “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky. Meanwhile, the Chinese made Barack Obama feel like he is henceforth a “lame duck.”….
Vladimir Putin arrived in China the night before and, according to tradition, was late. Agrentine President Mauricio Macri, with whom a series of bilateral meetings have been scheduld on the sidelines of the summit, did not wait around for him this time.
The Russian president and other leaders are staying in the most prestigious district of Hangzhou close to West Lake. The luxury five-star hotels sit side by side with Ferraris and Chanel boutiques….
However, Vladimir Putin has hardly any time for such shopping. On Saturday night, he managed to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who showed more patience than his Argentine colleague. In the morning, he visited the residence of Xi Jinping, and not with empty hands. A Chinese businessman who complained of the shortage of Russian ice cream in the Celestial Empire suggested the idea of an original gift for Xi.
“I’ve brought you a whole box of ice cream,” Putin declared from the doorstep.
Apparently, the gift was worth it. According to the leader of the People’s Republic of China, every time he comes to Russia he asks his aides to buy him such a delicious treat. He then relishes it at home with his whole family.
“I honestly don’t know the brand, but I know that Xi Jinping was very satisfied,” Economic Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev participating in the talks confirmed and added: “He buys it every time he’s in Moscow, but now he’s got some for free.”
While other members of the delegation could not be reached, Ulyukaev briefly commented on the main results of the meetings of the Russian president, who managed to complete more than half of the scheduled program ahead of time. According to Ulyukaev, he discussed cancelling the embargo and establishing a free trade zone with Turkey. With the Chinese president, he discussed in detail all 10 joint projects, including gas pipelines and long-haul aircraft.
With Theresa May, Putin couldn’t find much common ground. The new prime minister of the UK agreed to cooperate with Russia on all except security issues. Period. Journalists paid attention to how awkward May acted during the meeting with the Russian leader, even forgetting to shake his hand and clearly not wanting to pose for the cameras. Perhaps this isn’t so much a problem with Putin as it is in her lack of appropriate skills. After all, Prime Minister May has been in office for less than two months and her participation in the G20 summit is her first big appearance in the “spotlight” of big politics.
The main events of the summit have been planned for the second half of the day. Their preparations could not have but given Vladimir Putin flashbacks. During his youth and adulthood, high foreign guests were met in the same way in the Soviet Union. Crowds of happy Chinese followed by motorcades greeted him along the roads. Then there were slender ranks of serious-faced soldiers standing at attention for hours. And then came the very very long red carpet at the end of which Xi Jinping met leaders. The press center which broadcasted the ceremony strengthened this feeling of “back to the USSR” with books “What do you know about the Chinese Communist Party” distributed everywhere in at least 6 languages….
To the surprise of Russian journalists, their Chinese colleagues were extremely sensitive to complying with protocol. When European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker decided to kiss the Chinese president on both cheeks, a disapproving hum swept through the ranks of local reporters.
They greeted Barack Obama’s appearance on the screen with restrained expressions. The American president’s visit, as it turns out, has been unsuccessful since the very beginning, when they forgot to bring a ladder to his plane at Hangzhou Airport, thus forcing Air One’s passengers to file down the ordinary exit ladder. But Putin’s appearance was greeted with genuine joy.
The Russian leader has managed to take revenge for all of the past offenses and isolation. Chinese authorities announced in advance that the Russian president would be almost the main guest of the G20 and have stuck to their promises. Xi did not let ” his friend Vladimir” out of his site once. Putin even took the revered central place in the summit “family photo.” Even along the long journey to the conference room (the G20 is being held in one of the largest buildings in China with an area of 850,000 square meters), he was accompanied by Xi side by side the whole way.
It seemed like no one was interested where Barack Obama was at the time. Chinese television has not shown Obama even once.
According to Xi Jinping, over the next two days the leaders of world states will discuss key challenges facing the global economy and attempt to find the resources which, contrary to expectations, will still force it to grow. Major discussions on this topic will be held on Tuesday.
So that guests would not quarrel ahead of time, the organizers of the summit decided to dedicate the first day to so-called “team-building.” Presidents were met with a reception, boat rides, a lights show, and a concert.
Journalists particularly looked forward to photographing the leaders with their spouses, but they were bitterly disappointed. Almost all of the participants arrived in China without their second halves. Even South African President Zuma, for some reason, did not bring his wife with him. None of the G8 members did.