Russia, France: Charmed by Putin?

Global Voices Online
Saturday, December 8, 2007

LJ user favorov writes (RUS) this on Nicolas Sarkozy's much-discussed congratulatory phone call to Vladimir Putin:


Putin must possess some truly preternatural personal charm if this is what he does to people after meeting them just once:

There can be no doubts about [the legitimacy of] the results of the Dec. 2 State Duma election, said French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

This from a person who [got elected due to his opposition to Jacques Chirac's pro-Russian policies]...

And here are some comments to favorov's post, which, to some extent, highlight the international dimension of this year's Duma election:


But isn't it only natural that VVP [Putin] has got at least one friend? If I remember it right, VVP got [Sarkozy] drunk once. And they've been [on friendly terms] ever since that party.


VVP's got [plenty] of friends: [Jacques Chirac], [Tony Blair], [Gerhard Schröder], let alone [George W. Bush] and the [CIS] state leaders. There are only [Angela Merkel] and [Lech Kaczyński] that he hasn't yet managed to befriend :)


That is, he hasn't yet befriended those who have seen [chekists] before.


He hasn't befriended those who had personal rather than ideological reasons to dislike him. [...]



Yes, it is strange, indeed. They used to scare us - here, he'll definitely stand up to Putin, yes, he will. Well, [Masha Gaidar] has made her ["DYAVOL" video clip. Looks like she was right, after all. )



The most amazing thing is that France may be the only European country with few reasons to give a damn about Russian gas. It satisfies nearly all its energy needs through nuclear power plants, and gas makes up for 4 percent, I guess, of the overall electric energy consumption. As for the gas for non-energy needs, Algeria supplies enough of it. And as for oil, Russia isn't a monopolist in this area.

So there's nothing but personal charm or a [Helmholtz resonator] to explain this phenomenon.


So it is about the resonator - because I thought Nemtsov was [joking (RUS)] :) [...]

ostap: makes it sound as if he [Sarkozy] is bragging about it. But according to Le Monde, it's more like he is trying to explain himself: after the cited paragraph, he also says that in his conversations with Putin he always raises important issues, from Chechnya to the killings of journalists, and this is more important than whether he has "congratulated" him or not. He also says that he keeps in touch with Putin regularly on such important issues as the problem of Iran - and it would have been somewhat weird not to call him now.

It still sounds pretty unimpressive, but the tone of his response is somewhat different than what it appears to be if you read the Russian piece.


Why unimpressive? It is impressive! It's just funny that he had the guts to act this way, knowing how they are going to grill him about it...


Impressive or not - it depends. Judging by the French media reports on the press conference, he was definitely mumbling there. It looks like it wasn't the matter of having the guts - he just said it without thinking first, and now he really regrets it.


VVP has promised to send Sarkozy squadrons of [the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi], to calm down public unrest in France.

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