Putin seeks to boost ties with Washington
Russian President Medvedev (L) and President-elect Prime Minister Putin drink beer in Moscow in this photo. Putin returns to presidency today after 4 years. AFP photoRussia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin is reportedly ready to go far in developing ties between Russia and the United States provided the relationship is equal, ahead of his inauguration to a third Kremlin term.
Putin discussed bilateral relations at a closed-door meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama’s top security aide Tom Donilon at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on May 4, Interfax news agency quoted Putin’s foreign policy aide as saying on May 5, Reuters reported.
“Putin emphasized that in developing the relationship with the United States, Russia is ready to go really far, on condition that the Americans will act on the principles of an equal and mutually respectful partnership,” Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying.
Ushakov said Donilon handed Putin a letter from Obama, calling it “a multi-page detailed document, whose main message is that Obama is ready to cooperate with Putin in order to move forward on the path of the creation of partnership between the United States and Russia.” Putin’s return will technically give him greater powers than he wielded as prime minister. Putin’s return to the presidency today will include a booming 30-gun salute and a special blessing from Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill. Over the weekend national television screens filled with teaser pictures of the ceremony, showing red carpets rolled out across grand Kremlin hallways and members of the presidential guard standing at attention as trumpets blared.
Rival rallies in Moscow
Putin plans to make his first foreign visit as president later this month to the U.S. where he will take part in the G-8 leaders’ summit as well as meet Obama.
Rival rallies were scheduled yesterday in Moscow between tens of thousands of Putin supporters and members of Russia’s nascent protest movement, Agence France-Presse reported. Putin’s opponents were scheduled a “million-man march” to revive their flagging protest movement.
City authorities have approved a march by up to 5,000 people to a square across the Moscow river from the Kremlin. Putin’s supporters vowed to bring out more than 50,000 people for a “celebration” at Victory Park, a site dedicated to Russia’s 1812 defeat of Napoleon.